Jupiter, Gold, and the Birth of Athene
Pindar, speaking of the island of Rhodes, says that Zeus rained
down on the city with golden flakes of snow at the time Athene was
born from Zeus head, shouting with a far-ringing cry, and
all Heaven and Mother Earth shuddered before her. (1)
Homer also says that upon them [the people of Rhodes] wondrous wealth
was shed by the son of Cronus. Strabo, after quoting Homer, adds
that other writers say that gold rained on the island the time when
Athena was born from the head of Zeus, as Pindar states. (2)
Gold-bearing gravelwith ingots in itoriginated from outside
of the Earth and, if we should look upon the Greek legend of Zeus and
the golden rain in Rhodes as containing revealing elements, then the ingots
came from Jupiter.(3)
It could be meteoric gold, and as to the origin the ancients could err;
but the event happened in human memory, actually during the Early Bronze
Age, or at its end.(4)
In 1866 a human skull was unearthed in the interior of Bald Mountain
near Altaville, in Calaveras County, California. The skull of Bald Mountain
was reported to have been found in the shaft of a gold mine, in a layer
of auriferous (gold-bearing) gravel, beneath four layers of lava, each
separated from the other by four layers of gravel. The skull did not differ
in structure or dimensions from the skull of modern man; however, it was
fossilized.(5) In the
gold-bearing gravel of Calaveras were also unearthed fossilized bones
of the mammoth, the great mastodon, the tapir, horse, hippopotamus, rhinoceros
and camel, all extinct animals in pre-Columbian America. But geologically
the layer in which it was found belongs to the Tertiary, and therefore
a great embarrassment was in store for the geologists and evolutionists.
They divide the strata according to the fossils found in them and hold
that in the Tertiary there could have been no human beings, for it is
an age before the advent of man. But we have seen in the case of the Dead
Sea that the great upheavals ascribed to the end of the Tertiary took
place at a much later time, actually in the time of the Patriarchs, which
is the end of the Early Bronze Age period. The auriferous gravels of California
and of the Ural Mountains had their origin at this same time.
The rain of gold on Rhodes is assigned by Pindar to the time when Athene
was born from the head of Zeus. The expulsion of the protoplanet Venus
from the body of Jupiter followed, by decades or by centuries, the contact
of Saturn and Jupiter, and the fantasy of the peoples regarded Venus as
a child of Jupiter, conceived to him by Saturn.
The ancient Persians called Venus Tishtrya, a magnificent and
glorious star which Ahura Mazda [i.e., Jupiter] has established as master
and overseer of all the stars. (6)
Plutarch described the events in the following terms: Then Horomazes
[Ahura Mazda], having magnified himself to three times his size, removed
himself as far from the sun as the sun is distant from the earth . . .
and one star, seirios [i.e., Tishtrya, or Venus] he established
above all others as a guardian and watcher. (7)
Pindar, The Seventh Olympian
Ode, transl. by L. R. Farnell (London, 1930), p. 35.
occasion Zeus is said to have come to Danae, the mother of Perseus,
in the form of a shower of golden rain. See Hyginus, Fabulae
63; Apollodorus, The Library II. 4. 1; Horace, Odes, III.
16. 1. Cf. L. Radermacher, Danae und der goldene Regen,
Archiv fuer Religionswissenschaft 25 (1927), pp. 216ff. Cf. Pindars
twelfth Pythian and seventh Isthmian odes. A fragment of a lost play
of Sophocles (1026) designates Zeus as chrysomorphos"having
the form of gold. Rains of gold are reported also in the Chinese chronicles.
See Abel Remusat, Catalogue des bolides et des aerolithes observees
a la Chine et dans les pays voisins (1819), p. 6. The Scythians
are said by Herodotos (IV. ) to have venerated certain golden objects
which they believed had fallen from the heavens in early times. In the
sacred texts of the Hindus it is said that gold belongs to Brihaspati.
Brihaspati is the planet Jupiter. The Maitrayani Samhita I. 18.
6. Cf. S. Bhattachrji, The Indian Cosmogony (Cambridge, 1970),
a remarkable fact that gold appears only in very recent geological formations.
Sir Roderick Impey Murchison dedicated chapter XVII of his geological
opus Siluria to this phenomenon: On the Original Formation
of Gold and Its Subsequent Distribution in Debris over Parts of the
Earths Surface. He argued, on the basis of his field observations
in northern Russia, that gold is of recent origin:
Whatever may have been the date when
the rock was first rendered auriferous [gold-bearing], the date of
this great superficial distribution of gold is clearly indicated.
For it contains in many places the same remains of extinct fossil
quadrupeds that are found in the coarse drift-gravel of Western Europe.
The elephas primogenius, or Mammoth, bos aurochs, rhinoceros tochorrhinus,
with gigantic stags, and many other species, including large carnivores,
were unquestionably before that period of destruction the denizens
of Europe and Siberia.
The period of the distribution
of gold in the late Pleistocene strata was that of the mass extinctions
of the great quadrupeds at the end of the last ice age. next Murchison
tried to determine the time when the rocks were first impregnated
with gold. He wrote:
Now, it would seem as if these rocks,
in the Ural, have been chiefly impregnated with gold, in a comparatively
recent period. In the first place, the western flank of the Ural chain
offers strong evidence that this golden transfusion had not been effected
in this region when the Permian deposits were completed.
No sign of gold was found
in these older strata.
Nowhere does it [the Permian debris]
contain visible traces of gold or platinum. Had these metals then
existed in the Ural mountains, in the quantities which now prevail,
many remnants of them must have been washed down together with the
other rocks and minerals and have formed part of the old Permian conglomerates.
On the other hand, when the much more modern debacles, that destroyed
the great animals, and heaped up the piles of gravel above described,
proceeded from this chain, then the debris became largely auriferous.
It is manifest therefore that the principal impregnation of the rocks
with goldi.e., when the lumps and strings of it were formedtook
place in the intervening time.
Sometime between the Permian
and the last ice age some event resulted in the infusion of the rocks
with gold. Murchison tried to fix the time more precisely:
We cannot believe that it occurred
shortly after the Permian era, nore even when any of the secondary
rocks were forming; since no golden debris is found in any of the
older Tertiary grits and sands which occur in the Siberian flank of
the chain. If, then, the mammoth drift be the oldest mass of detritus
in which gold occurs abundantly, not only in the Ural, but in
many parts of the world, we are led to believe that this noble metal,
though for the most part formed in ancient crystalline rocks, or in
the igneous rocks which penetrated them, was only abundantly imparted
to them in a comparatively recent periodi.e., a short time (in
geological language) before the epoch when the very powerful and general
denudations took place which destroyed the large extinct mammalia.
In another work of his, The
Geology of Russia and the Ural Mountains, Vol. I (London, 1845),
p. 473, Murchison presented his conclusions about the geological events
which accompanied the deposition of gold:
. . . We conclude that the [Ural]
chain became (chiefly) auriferous during the most recent disturbances
by which it was affected, and that this took place when the highest
peaks were thrown up, when the present watershed was established,
and when the syenitic granite and other comparatively recent igneous
rocks were erupted along its eastern edges.
Murchison, one of the founders
of modern geology, insisted that it was during a major geological
upheaval that gold became part of the rocksit was the time of
mountains being thrown up and molten rock flowing, before
solidifying into granite. Murchison next wondered about the agency
which deposited the gold in the mountains of the Ural and elsewhere.
As a geologist he observed that the material has been chiefly
accumulated towards the surface of the rocks, and then by the abrasion
and dispersion of their superficial parts, the richest golden materials
have been spread out. . . . (Siluria, p. 455).
This last observation is of
fundamental importance, in that since the gold was deposited close
to the surface, it could not have come from inside the earth.].
J. D. Whitney, The Auriferous
Gravels of the Sierra Nevada of California (1880), pp. 268-269.
Yasht 8: 44.
De Iside et Osiride, ch.