Chapter Seven
A STONEHENGE ON THE EUPHRATES

 

"There is a wealth of information in the inscriptions of Gudea; the more we study them and the special features of the Eninnu he built, the more astounded we shall be.

"....Let us begin with the first task Gudea undertook after the construction of the ziggurat was completed and the temple-terrace formed. It was the erection of seven upright stone pillars at seven carefully selected positions. Gudea, the inscription states, made sure that they be firmly erected: he "laid them on a foundation, on bases he erected them."

"....Gudea spent a full year in bringing the rough stone blocks, from which the uprights were carved to shape, from a distant source to Lagash; and another year to cut and shape them. But then, in a frenzied effort that lasted a precise seven days during which the work was carried out without stopping, without rest, the seven stelae (as scholars call these upright stones) were set up in their proper places. If, as the information given suggests, the seven stelae were positioned in some astronomical alignment, then the speed becomes understandable, for the longer the setting up would have taken, the more misaligned the celestial bodies would have become.

"....Gudea gave each one a "name" made up of a long sacred utterance evidently related to the position of the stela (e.g. "on the lofty terrace," facing the "gate of the river bank" or another one "opposite the shrine of Anu"). Although the inscription stated unequivocally (column XXIX line 1) that "seven stelae were erected" in those seven hectic days, the names of only six locations are given. In respect to one, presumably the seventh stela, the inscription states that it "was erected toward the rising sun." Since by then all the required orientations of the Eninnu had already been fixed, starting with the divine instructions and the laying of the cornerstone by Ningishzidda, neither the six spread out stelae nor the seventh "erected toward the rising sun" were required for orienting the temple. Another, different purpose had to be the motive, the only logical conclusion is that it involved observations other than determining the Day of the Equinox (i.e. of the New Year) - some astronomical-calendrical observations of an unusual nature, justifying the great effort in obtaining and shaping the stelae and the haste in setting them up.
 

Gudea

"The enigma of this erected stone pillars begins with the question, why so many when two are enough to create a line of sight, say toward the rising Sun. The puzzle is engulfed by incredulity when we read on in the inscription the sensational statement that the sixth whose locations were named were placed by Gudea "in a circle." Did Gudea use the stelae to form a stone henge - in ancient Sumer, more than five thousand years ago?

"Gudeaís inscription indicates, according to A. Falkenstein (Die Inschriften Gudeas von Lagash), the existence of an avenue or pathway which - as at Stonehenge! - could provide an unimpeded sightline. He noted that the stela which was "toward the rising sun" stood at one end of a pathway or avenue called "Way to the high position." At the other end of this was the Shugalam, the "High place whose awesomeness is great, where the Brilliance is raised." The term SHU.GALAM meant according to Falkenstein, "Where the hand is raised" - a high place from which a signal is given. Indeed, the Cylinder A inscription asserts that "At the radiant entrance of Shugalam, Gudea stationed a favorable image; toward the rising Sun, in the destined place, the emblem of the Sun he established."

"We have already discussed the functions of the Shugalam when Gudea had gone to it, in the old temple, to remove the mortar or mud that obstructed the view through it. It was, we found, "the place of the aperture, the place of determining." There, the inscription stated, "Ninurta could see the repetitions" - the annual celestial cycle - "over his lands."

"....At the Shugalam, Gudea wrote, he "fixed the image of the Sun." All the evidence suggests that it was a viewing device through which the rising Sun - undoubtedly on Equinox Day, to judge from all the data in the inscriptions was observed to determine and announce the arrival of the New Year.

"Was the concept underlying the structural arrangement the same as (possibly) the one at Mount Zaphon (Baíalís) and (certainly) as the Egyptian temples, where a beam of sunlight passed along the preselected axis to light up the Holy of Holies at sunrise on the prescribed day?

"In Egypt the Sun Temples were flanked by two obelisks which the pharaohs erected so that they might be granted long life; their function was to guide the Sunís beam on the prescribed day.

"....Scholars have noted that Solomonís Temple also had two pillars erected at its entrance; like the uprights at Eninnu which were given names by Gudea, so were the two pillars named by Solomon:

And he set up the pillars
in the porch of the temple.
He set up the right pillar
and called the name thereof Yakhin;
and he set up the left pillar
and called the name thereof Boíaz.

"....The two pillars were made of cast bronze, eighteen cubits (some twenty-seven feet) high. Each pillar supported a complex "headband" around which, as a crown, there was placed a corolla whose serrated top created seven protrusions; one of them (or both, depending on the way the verse is read) was "encircled by a cord twelve cubits long." (Twelve and seven are the predominant numbers in the Temple).

"The Bible does not state the purpose of these pillars, and theories have ranged from purely decorative or symbolic to a function akin to that of the pair of obelisks that flanked the entrances to the temples in Egypt. In this regard a clue is suggested by the Egyptian word for "obelisk," which was Tekhen. The term, Budge ( E.A. Wallis Budge) wrote, "was a very old word, and we find it in the dual in the Pyramid Texts which were written before the close of the VIth Dynasty...." "The exact meaning Tekhen is unknown to us and it is probable that the Egyptians had forgotten it at a very early period." This raises the possibility that the word was a foreign term, a "loanword" from another language or country, and we on our part believe that the source, of both the biblical Yakhin and the Egyptian Tekhen was the Akkadian root khunnu which meant "to establish correctly" as well as "to start a light" (or fire). The Akkadian term may even be traced back to the earlier Sumerian term GUNNU which combined the meanings "daylight" with "tube, pipe."

"These linguistic clues sit well with earlier Sumerian depictions of temple entrances showing them flanked by pillars to which circular devices were attached.

"....The search for answers to the puzzle of these uprights is further assisted by examining the term used by Gudea in his inscriptions to describe the stone uprights. He called all seven of them NE.RU - from which the Hebrew word Ner, meaning "candle," stems.

"....Such paired pillars, guiding (actually or symbolically) the Sunís beam on a specific day were sufficient if only one solar position - equinoctial or solstitial - was involved. If such a single determination was intended at the Girsu, two stelae, in alignment with the Shugalam, would have sufficed. But Gudea set up seven of them, six in a circle and the seventh in alignment with the Sun. To form a line of sight, this odd pillar could have been positioned either in the circleís center, or outside of it in the avenue. Either way, the outcome would indicate uncanny similarities to Stonehenge in the British Isles.

Stonehenge in the British Isles.

"Six outer or circumference points with one in the center would have created a layout that, as in Stonehenge II - belonging to the same time - provided alignments not only with the equinoxes but also with the four solstice points (midsummer sunrise and sunset, midwinter sunrise and sunset). Since the Mesopotamian New Year was firmly anchored to the equinoxes, resulting in ziggurats whose determining corner was oriented to the east, an arrangement of stone pillars that incorporated fixings of the solstices was a major innovation. It also indicated a decisive "Egyptian" influence, for it was at Egyptian temples that an orientation linked to the solstices was the dominant feature - certainly by Gudeaís time.

 

STONEHENGE # 2

"If, as Falkensteinís study suggests, the seventh pillar was not within the circle of six stelae but outside of it - in the pathway or avenue leading to the Shugalam, an even more astounding similarity emerges, not to the later Stonehenge, but to the earliest one, to Stonehenge I, where - we may recall - there were only seven stones: the Four Station Stones forming a rectangle, two Gateway Stones that flanked the beginning of the Avenue, and the Heel Stone that marked out the sightline - an arrangement of seven stone uprights.

"....Such a similarity in layouts would be even more significant than the first alternative, for - as we have reported earlier - the rectangle formed by the four Station Stones implied lunar observations in addition to the solar ones. The realization of this arrangement led both Newham and Howkins to far-reaching conclusions regarding the sophistication of the planners of Stonehenge I. But since Stonehenge preceded the Eninnu by about seven centuries the similarity would have to imply that whoever had planned the layout of the seven uprights in the Eninnu copied from whoever had planned Stonehenge I.

"Such a kingship between the two structures, in two different parts of the world, seems incredible; it will, however, become credible as we bring to light more amazing aspects of Gudeaís Eninnu.

"The six-plus-one circle just described was not the only stone circle on the platform of the new Eninnu.

"Boasting that he accomplished "great things" that called for unusual "wisdom" (scientific knowledge) Gudea proceeded to describe, after the section dealing with the stelae, the "crownlike circle for the new Moon" - a creation in stone so unique that "its name in the midst of the world he caused to brightly go forth." This second circle was arranged as a "round crown for the new Moon" and consisted of thirteen stones erected "like heroes in a net-work" - a most figurative way, it seems to us, to describe a circle of upright stones connected at the top by lintels to form a "network" akin to the Trilithons at Stonehenge!

"While the possibility that the first smaller circle served lunar as well as solar functions can be only surmised, the second larger circle was undoubtedly intended to observe the Moon. Judging by the repeated references in the inscriptions of the New Moon, the lunar observation was geared to the Moonís monthly cycle, its waxing and waning in the course of four quarters. Our interpretation of the crownlike circle is reinforced by the statement that this circle consisted of two groups of megaliths - one of six and the other of seven, with the latter apparently more elevated or taller than the first.

"At first glance the arrangement of thirteen (six plus seven) megaliths, connected at their tops by lintels to form a "crown," seems to be an error, because we expect to find only twelve pillars (which in a circle create twelve apertures) if the arrangement is related to the twelve months of the lunar phases. The presence of thirteen pillars, however, does make sense if account were taken of the need to add one month every now and then for intercalation purposes. If so, the amazing stone circles in the Girsu were also the first instance when calendars made of stone meshed to correlate the solar and lunar cycles.

TRILITHONS

"(One wonders whether these stone circles in the Girsu somehow presaged the introduction of the seven-day week - a division of time whose origin has evaded scholars - the biblical week which totaled seven by adding the six days of creation to the final additional day of rest. The number seven appears twice, in the first arrangement of pillars and as part of the second circle; and it is quite possible that somehow days were according to either group, leading to a repetition of periods of seven days. Also, four phases of the Moon multiplied by the thirteen pillars would divide the year into fifty-two weeks of seven days each).

"Whatever the astronomical-calendrical possibilities inherent in the two circles ( and we have probably only touched upon the very basic ones), it is evident that in the Girsu of Lagash a solar-lunar stone computer was put in operation.

"If all this begins to sound like a "Stonehenge on the Euphrates" - a mini-Stonehenge erected by a Sumerian king in the Girsu of Lagash at about the same time that Stonehenge in the British Isles became a truly stone circle circa 2100 B.C. - there is more to come. It was at that time the second type of stone, the bluestones, was brought to the plain of Salisbury from a distant source.

Preseli Bluestone (spotted dolerite). Stones used at Stonehenge, from the quarry of Carn Meini, Wales.

 

"This too enhances the similarities: Gudea too hauled not one but two types of stones from a great distance, "from the stone mountains" of Magan (Egypt) and Melukhah (Nubia), both in Africa....To reach them, Gudea "into the mountains made a way, and their great stones he brought out in blocks; shiploads of Hua stones and Lua stones."

"....As at Salisbury Plain in the British Isles so was it in the Mesopotamian plain: stones hauled from afar, stones especially selected, set up in two circles. As at Stonehenge I, seven pillars played a key role; as in all the phases of Stonehenge in Lagash too, a large megalith created the desired sightline toward the principal solar orientation. In both places a stone "computer" was created to serve as a solar-lunar observatory.

"Were both, then, created by the same scientific genius, by the same Divine Architect - or were they simply the result of accumulated scientific traditions that found expression in similar structures?

"....In earlier chapters we have pointed out the key difference in design between Stonehenge and all the other temples of the Old World: the former was based on circular formations to observe the heavens; the latter were all built with right angles (rectangular or square). This difference is evident not only in the general plan of the other temples but also in the several instances where stone uprights were found, emplaced in a pattern suggesting an astronomical-calendrical function. An outstanding example was found at Byblos, on a promontory overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The Holy of Holies of its temple, square in shape, was flanked by upright stone monoliths. They were set up in alignments suggesting observations of equinoxes and solstices, but none were arranged in a circle. So apparently was the case at a Canaanite site, Gezer, near Jerusalem, where the discovery of a tablet inscribed with the full list of months and their agricultural activities may suggest the existence of a center for the study of the calendar. There too a row of upright monoliths indicates the existence in antiquity of a structure perhaps akin to that of Byblos....

 

JOSEPH SOLD....

"....The few known instances of monoliths arranged in a circle, somehow emulating the extraordinary circular arrangement at the Girsu, come to us from the Bible. Their rarity, however, points to a direct connection to Sumer in Gudeaís time.

"Knowledge of a circle of thirteen with an upright in the center emerges in the tale of Joseph, a great-grandson of Abraham.... Joseph related (a dream), he saw "the Sun and the Moon and eleven stars bowing down to me," meaning his father and mother and eleven brothers.... (this dream led his brothers to sell him into slavery in Egypt)....

"Several centuries later, as the Israelites left Egypt for the Promised Land in Canaan, an actual stone circle - this time of twelve stones - was erected.

Mr. Sitchin relates here the event of Joshua (recorded in the Bible, chapters 3 and 4 of the Book of Joshua), when he crossed the Jordan river leading the twelve tribes of Israel, where instructed by Yahweh, the heads of the twelve tribes erected twelve stones in the midst of the river, enabling them to cross carrying the Ark of the Covenant. After the crossing they were ordered to take the twelve stones and erect them in a circle as an everlasting commemoration of the miracle of the crossing.... The place is know as Gilgal, meaning "Place of the Circle."

"Not only the establishment of the twelve stones circle as a miraculous device is relevant here; so is the date of the event. We first learn in chapter 3 that the time was "harvest time, when the waters of the Jordan overflow its banks." Then chapter 4 is more specific: it was in the first month of the calendar, the month of the New Year, and it was on the tenth of that month - the very day on which the inauguration ceremonies were culminated in Lagash - that "the people left the Jordan and encamped at Gilgal, where Joshua erected the twelve stones brought up from the Jordan River."
 

"....The emergence of traditions of stone circles among the descendants of Abraham can be traced, we believe, to Abraham himself and the identity of his father Terah.... was an astronomer-priest in Nippur when Enlil authorized his son, Ninurta, to proceed with the building of the new Eninnu by Gudea....


Abraham.... was well-versed in royal and priestly matters, including astronomy. Getting his education in the sacred precincts of Nippur and Ur just as the glories of the new Eninnu were talked about, he could not have missed learning of the wondrous stone circle of the Girsu; and this would explain the knowledge thereof by his descendants.
 

"Where did the idea of a circle as a shape appropriated to astronomical observations - a shape that is the most outstanding feature of Stonehenge - come from? In our view, it came from the zodiac, the cycle of twelve constellations grouped around the Sun in the orbital plane (the Ecliptic) of the planets.

"Earlier this century archaeologists uncovered in the Galilee, in northern Israel, the remains of synagogues dating to the decades and centuries immediately following the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans (in A.D. 70). To their surprise, a common feature of those synagogues, was the decoration of their floors with intricate mosaic designs that included the design of the zodiac.

 

Model of Second Temple, above; Floor Mosaic on ruins of Synagogue, Galilee, left. (On Mr. Sitchinís book the mosaic of a Floor Zodiac is shown).

"....From a place called Bet-Alpha (a floor mosaic) shows the number twelve - was the same as nowadays, the symbols were the same as now in use, and so were the names: written in a script no different from that of modern Hebrew.... and so in the very same order that we continue to employ millennia later.

"This zodiacal circle of what the Akkadians called Manzallu ("stations" of the Sun) was source of the Hebrew term Mazalot, which came to denote "lucks." Therein lies the transition from the essential astronomical and calendrical nature of the zodiac to its astrological connotations - a transition that in time obscured the original significance of the zodiac and the role it played in the affairs of gods and men. Last but not least was its wondrous expression in the Eninnu that Gudea built.

"The notion has prevailed, in spite of the facts, that the concept, names, and symbols of the zodiac were devised by the Greeks, for the word is of Greek origin, meaning "animal circle." It is conceded that the inspiration for them may have come from Egypt, where the zodiac with its unaltered symbols, order, and names was certainly known.... the zodiac did not begin there. Studies such as the one by E.C. Krupp (In Search of Ancient Astronomies) have emphatically stated that "all available evidence indicates that the concept of the zodiac was not native to Egypt; instead, it is believed that the zodiac was imported to Egypt from Mesopotamia," at some unknown date.... Greek savants.... have attested that as far as astronomy was concerned, its knowledge came to them from the "Chaldeans," the astronomer-priests of Babylonia.

"....The zodiac, however, was begun, as far as Mankind is concern, in Sumer.... (as it is shown in the first book The 12th Planet).

"....Overwhelming evidence demonstrates that the Sumerians were cognizant of the zodiacal ages - not only the names and images but the precessional cycle thereof - when the calendar was begun in Nippur, circa 3800 B.C., in the Age of Taurus. Willy Hartner, in his study titled "The Earliest History of the Constellations in the Near East" (Journal of Near Eastern Studies), analyzed the Sumerian pictorial evidence and concluded that numerous depictions of a bull nudging a lion (from the fourth millennium B.C.), or a lion pushing bulls (from about 3000 B.C.) are representations of the zodiacal time when the spring equinox, at which time the calendrical new year began, was in the constellation Taurus and the summer solstice occurred in the sign of Leo.

The Apadana, Persepolis, where a depiction of a Lion fighting a Bull are shown.

"Alfred Jeremias (The Old Testament in the Light of the Ancient Near East) found textual evidence that the Sumerial zodiacal-calendrical "point zero" stood precisely between the Bull and the Twins (Gemini), from which he concluded that the zodiacal division of the heavens - inexplicably to him - was devised even before the Sumerian civilization began, in the Age of Gemini. Even more puzzling to scholars has been a Sumerian astronomical tablet (VAT.7847 in the Berlin Vorderasiatisches Museum) that begins the list of zodiacal constellations with that of Leo - taking one back to circa 11000 B.C., just about the time of the Deluge.

"Devised by the Anunnaki as a link between Divine Time (the cycle based on the 3,600 years orbit of Nibiru) and Earthly Time (the Earthís orbital period), the Celestial Time (the time span of 2,160 years for precessional shift from zodiacal House to another) served to date major events in Earthís prehistory as archaeoastronomy could do in historical times. Thus, a depiction of the Anunnaki as astronauts and a spacecraft coursing between Mars (the six pointed star) and Earth (identified by the seven dots and the accompanying crescent of the Moon) places the event, time wise, in the Age of Pisces by including the zodiacal symbol of the two fishes in the depiction.

Written texts also included zodiacal dates; a text placing the Deluge in the Age of Leo is one example.

"....It should not surprise us to discover that zodiacal depictions were indeed present in the new temple in Lagash; not however, on the floor as in Bet-Alpha, and not as symbols carved on boundary stones. Rather, in a magnificent structure that can rightly be called the first and most ancient planetarium!

"....But we could have gone to Denderah, in Upper Egypt, enter there the inner sanctum of its principal temple, and looked up to the ceiling. there we could have seen a painting of the starry heavens: the celestial circle, held up at the four cardinal points by the sons of Horus and at the four points of solstitial sunrise and sunset by four maidens. A circle depicting the six "decans" (ten day periods, three per month, of the Egyptian calendar) surrounds the central "vault of heaven" in which the twelve zodiacal constellations are depicted by the same symbols (bull, ram, lion, twins, etc.) and in the same order that we still use and that was begun in Sumer....

"....Scholars are unable to agree on the point in time represented in the Denderah zodiac.... Scholars are, however, certain that it replicated a similar depiction in a much earlier temple, one that was dedicated to the goddess Hathor. Sir Norman Lockyer in the Dawn of Astronomy interpreted a Fourth Dynasty (2613 - 2494 B.C.) text as describing the celestial alignments in that earlier temple; this would date the Denderah "vault of heaven" to a time between the completion of Stonehenge I and the building of the Eninnu in Lagash by Gudea....

Goddess Hathor, in the Fourth Dynasty

 

Some views of Hathorís Temple

"....According to the Egyptian chronology transmitted by the priests and recorded by Manetho, that was the time when demigods reigned over Egypt; such dating of the Denderah skies (as distinct from when the temple itself was built) corroborates the findings, mentioned above (plus more, of which Mr. Sitchin gives details in his actual book) by Alfred Jeremias regarding the "point zero" of the Sumerian zodiacal calendar. Both Egyptian and Sumerian datings thus confirm that the concept preceded the star of those civilizations, and that the "gods," not men, were responsible for the depictions and their dating.

"Since, as we have shown, the zodiac and its accompanying Celestial Time were devised by the Anunnaki soon after they came to Earth, some of the zodiacal dates marking events depicted on cylinder seals do stand for zodiacal ages that preceded the emergence of Manís civilizations.

"....Incredibly but not surprisingly, we find a suggestion that a "starry heaven" depicting the celestial circle with the constellations of the zodiac might have existed in the earliest times in a Sumerian text known to scholars as a Hymn to Enlil the All-Beneficent. Describing the innermost part of Enlilís Mission Control Center in Nippur, inside the E.KUR ziggurat, the text states that in a darkened chamber called Dirga there was installed "a heavenly zenith, as mysterious as the distant sea" in which "the starry emblems" were "carried to perfection."

"The term DIR.GA connotes "dark, crownlike"; the text explains that the "starry emblems" installed therein enabled the determination of festivals, meaning a calendrical function. It all sounds like a forerunner of Gudeaís planetarium; except that the one in the Ekur was hidden from human eyes, open to the Anunnaki alone.

 

"....Some of the most impressive finds now adorning the Assyrian and Babylonian collections in the major museums are colossal stone animals with bodies of bulls or lions and heads of gods wearing horned caps that stood as guardians at temple entrances. We can safely assume that these "mythical creatures," as scholars call them, translated into stone sculptures the Bull-Lion motif that we illustrated earlier, thereby invoking for the temples the magic of an earlier Celestial Time and the gods associated with its past zodiacal ages.

"Archaeologists believe that these sculptures were inspired by the sphinxes of Egypt, primarily the Great Sphinx of Giza, with which the Assyrians and Babylonians were familiar as a result of both trade and warfare. But the Gudea inscriptions reveal that some fifteen hundred years before such zodiacal-cum-divine creatures were emplaced in Assyrian temples, Gudea had already positioned sphinxes at the Eninnu temple; the inscriptions specifically mention "a lion that instilled terror" and a "wild ox, massively crouching like a lion." To the archaeologistsí utter disbelief that sphinxes could have been known in Sumer, a statue of Ninurta/Ningirsu himself, depicting him as a crouching sphinx, was discovered among the ruins of the Girsu in Lagash.

One of the assertions given to Gudea, by Ninurta, was "As a strong place it shall be built, like E.HUSH will my holy place be."

"This last statement is truly sensational in its implications.

""E" as we already know meant a godís house," a temple; and in the case of the Eninnu - a stage-pyramid. HUSH (pronounced "Chush" with the "ch" as in the German Loch) meant in Sumerian "of reddish hue, red-coloured." So this is what Ninurta/Ningirsu stated: the new Eninnu will be like the "Red-hued Divine House." The statement implies that the new Eninnu will emulate an existing structure known for its reddish hue. . .

"Our search for such a structure can be facilitated by tracking back the pictograph for the sign Hush. What we find is really astounding, for what it amounts to is a line drawing of an Egyptian pyramid showing its shafts, internal passages, and subterranean chambers. More specifically, it appears to be drawn as a cross section of the Great Pyramid of Giza and its trial scale model, the small pyramid of Giza - and of the first successful pharaonic pyramid which, quite significantly - was called the Red Pyramid, of the very same hue that Hush had meant.

"The Red Pyramid was certainly there to be emulated when the Eninnu was built in Lagash. It was one of three pyramids attributed to Sneferu.... (circa 2600 B.C.).

"....Having fought (and won) the Second Pyramid War in Egypt, Ninurta was not unfamiliar with the subsequent pyramids. Had he seen, as kingship came from Egypt, not only the Great Pyramid and its companions at Giza, but also the step-pyramid built by the pharaoh Zoser at Sakkara, surrounded by its magnificent sacred precinct, built circa 2650 B.C.? Had he seen the final successful emulation by a pharaoh and his architects of the Great Pyramid - the Red Pyramid of Sneferu....? And did he then tell the Divine Architect: that is what I would have built for me, a unique ziggurat combining elements of all three?

Pharaoh Zoserís Pyramid at Sakkara.

Great Pyramid at Giza

"Else, how can one account for the compelling evidence linking the Eninnu, built between 2200 and 2100 B.C., with Egypt - and its gods?

"And how else, except in this way, can one explain the similarities between Stonehenge in the British Isles and Stonehenge on the Euphrates?

"For the explanation we have to turn our attention to the Divine Architect, the Keeper of the Secrets of the Pyramids, the god called by Gudea Ningishzidda, for he was none other than the Egyptian god Tehuti whom we call THOTH.

"Thoth was called in the Pyramid Texts: "He who reckons the heavens, the counter of the stars and the measurer of the Earth"; the inventor of arts and sciences, scribe of the gods, the "One who made calculations concerning the heaven, the stars and the Earth." As the "Reckoner of times and of seasons," he was depicted with a symbol combining the Sunís disk and the Moonís crescent upon his head, and in words reminiscent of the biblical adoration of the Celestial Lord - the Egyptian inscriptions and legends said of Thoth that his knowledge an powers of calculating "measured out the heavens and planned the Earth." His hieroglyph name Tehuti is usually explained as meaning "He who balances."

 

....The Greeks identified Thoth with their god Hermes, whom they considered to have been the originator of astronomy and astrology, of the science of numbers and of geometry, of medicine and botany.

HERMES

THOTH

"As we follow in the footsteps of Thoth, we shall come upon calendar tales that rise the curtain on the affairs of gods and men - and on enigmas such as Stonehenge.

Return

 

 

Chapter Eight
CALENDAR TALES

 

"....The notion that the calendar was devised by and for farmers so that they would know when to sow and when to reap has been taken for granted too long.... Farmers do not need a formal calendar to know the seasons, and primitive societies have managed to feed themselves for generations without a calendar. The historic fact is that the calendar was devised in order to predetermine the precise time of festivals honoring the gods. The calendar in other words was a religious device. The first names by which months were called in Sumer had the prefix EZEN. The word did not mean "month"; it meant "festival." The months were the times when the Festival of Enlil, or the Festival of Ninurta, or those of the other leading deities were to be observed.

"That the calendarís purpose was to enable religious observances should not surprise one at all. We find an instance that still regulates our lives in the current common, but actually, Christian, calendar. Its principal festival and the focal point that determines the rest of the annual calendar is Easter, the celebration of the resurrection, according to the New Testament, of Jesus on the third day after the crucifixion. Western Christians celebrate Easter on the third Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or right after the spring equinox. This created a problem for the early Christians at Rome, where the dominant calendrical element was the solar year of 365 days and the months were of irregular length and not exactly related to the Moonís phases. The determination of Easter Day therefore required a reliance on the Jewish calendar, because the Last Supper, from which the other crucial days of Eastertide are counted, was actually the Seder meal with which the Jewish celebration of Passover begins on the eve of the fourteenth day of the month Nissan, the time of the full Moon.

Some aspects of Jewish Traditional Seder Meal.Passover

Expression of New Life; Easter, in the Christian World.

"As a result, during the first centuries of Christianity Easter was celebrated in accordance with the Jewish calendar. It was only when the Roman emperor Constantine, having adopted Christianity, convened a church council, the Council of Nicaea, in the year 325, that the continued dependence on the Jewish

Ruined statue of Roman Emperor Constantine, Rome

calendar was severed, and Christianity, until then deemed by the gentiles as merely another Jewish sect, was made into a separate religion.

"....The current Common Era Christian-calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 and is therefore called the Gregorian Calendar. It constituted a reform of the previous Julian Calendar, so named after the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar.

"That noted Roman emperor, tired of the chaotic Roman calendar, invited in the first century B.C. the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria, Egypt, to suggest a reform of the calendar. Sosigenesí advice was to forget about lunar-time keeping and to adopt a solar calendar "as that of the Egyptians." The result was a year of 365 days plus a leap year of 366 days once in four years.

Julius Caesar (1st century B.C.)

Pope Gregory XIII (late 1500s)

"But that still failed to account for the extra 11 1/4 minutes a year in excess of the quarter day and above the 365 days. That seemed too minute to bother with; but the result was that by 1582 the first day of spring, fixed by the Council of Nicaea to fall on March 21, was retarded by ten days to March 11th. Pope Gregory corrected the shortfall by simply decreeing on October 4, 1582, that the next day should be October 15. This reform established the currently used Gregorian calendar, whose other innovation was to decree that the new year begin on January first.

"....The Egyptians were aware that the solar year is somewhat longer than 365 days - not just by the full day every four years, as Julius Caesar had allowed for, but by enough to shift the calendar back by one month every 120 years and by a full year every 1,460 years. The determining or sacred cycle of the Egyptian calendar was this 1,460-year period, for it coincided with the cycle of the heliacal rising of the star Sirius (Egyptian Sept, Greek Sothis) at the time of the Nileís annual flooding, which in turn takes place at about the summer solstice (in the northern hemisphere).

"Edward Meyer (Agyptische Chronologie) concluded that when this Egyptian calendar was introduced, such a convergence of the heliacal rising of Sirius and of the Nileís inundation had occurred on July 19th. Based on that, Kurt Sethe (Urgeschichte und altested Religion der Agypter) calculated that this could have happened in either 4240 B.C. or 2780 B.C. by observing the skies at either Heliopolis or Memphis.

"By now researchers of the ancient Egyptian calendar agree that the solar calendar of 360 + 5 days was not the first prehistoric calendar of that land. This "civil" or secular calendar was introduced only after the start of dynastic rule in Egypt, i.e., after 3100 B.C.; according to Richard A. Parker (The Calendar of the Ancient Egyptians) it took place circa 2800 B.C. "probably for administrative and fiscal purposes." This civil calendar supplanted, or perhaps supplemented at first, the "sacred" calendar of old. In the words of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "the ancient Egyptians originally employed a calendar based upon the Moon." According to R.A. Parker (Ancient Egyptian Astronomy) that earlier calendar was, "like that of all ancient peoples," a calendar of twelve lunar months plus a thirteen intercalary month that kept the seasons in place.

"That earlier calendar was also, in the opinion of Locker, equinoctial and linked indeed to the earliest temple at Heliopolis, whose orientation was equinoctial. In all that, as in the association of months with religious festivals, the earliest Egyptian calendar was akin to that of the Sumerians.

"The conclusion that the Egyptian calendar had its roots in predynastic times, before civilization appeared in Egypt, can only mean that it was not the Egyptians themselves who invented their calendar. It is a conclusion that matches that regarding the zodiac in Egypt, and regarding both the zodiac and the calendar in Sumer: They were all the artful inventions of the "gods."

".... Ra was the head of the first divine dynasty according to the Egyptian priest Manetho.... The reign of Ra and his successors, the gods Shu, Geb, Osiris, Seth and Horus, lasted more than three millennia. It was followed by second divine dynasty that was begun by Thoth, another son of Ptah; it lasted half as long as the first dynasty. Thereafter a dynasty of demigods, thirty of them, reigned over Egypt for 3,650 years. Altogether, according to Manetho, the divine reigns of Ptah, the Ra dynasty, the Thoth dynasty and the dynasty of the demigods lasted 17,520 years....

"....Based on substantial evidence, we have concluded in The Wars of Gods and Men and other volumes of The Earth Chronicles that Ptah was none other than Enki and that Ra was Marduk on the Mesopotamian pantheon. It was to Enki and his descendants that the African lands were granted when the Earth was divided among the Anunnaki after the Deluge, leaving the E.DIN (the biblical land of Eden) and the Mesopotamian sphere of influence in the lands of Enlil and his descendants. Thoth, a brother of Ra/Marduk, was the god of the Sumerians called Ningishzidda.

Sculpture at Temple of Ptah

Sesostris I and Ptah

From the Tomb of Ptah

Adoration of Ra

"Much of the history and violent conflicts that followed the Earthís division stemmed from the refusal of Ra/Marduk to acquiesce in the division. He was convinced that his father was unjustly deprived of lordship of Earth (what the epithet-name EN.KI, "Lord Earth," connoted); and therefore he and not Enlilís foremost son Ninurta, should rule supreme on Earth from Babylon, the Mesopotamian city whose name meant "Gateway of the Gods." Obsessed by his ambitions, Ra/Marduk caused not only conflicts with the Enlilites, but also aroused the animosity of some of his own brothers by involving them in these bitter conflicts as well as by leaving Egypt and then returning to reclaim lordship over it.

"In the course of these comings and goings and ups and downs in Ra/Mardukís struggles, he caused the death of a younger brother, Dumuzi, let his brother Thoth reign and then forced him into exile, and made his brother Nergal change sides in a War of the Gods that resulted in a nuclear holocaust. It was in particular the on-again, off-again relationship with Thoth, we believe, that is essential to the Calendar tales.

"The Egyptians, it will be recalled, had not one but two calendars.... one, was "based upon the Moon." The later one.... was based on the 365 days of the solar year. Contrary to the notion that the latter "civil calendar" was an administrative innovation of a Pharaoh, we suggest that it too, like the earlier one, was an artful creation of the gods; except that while the first one was the handiwork of Thoth, the second one was the craftwork of Ra.

"One aspect of the civil calendar considered specific and original to it was the division of the thirty-day months into "decans," ten-day periods each heralded by the heliacal rising of a certain star. Each star (depicted as a celestial god sailing the skies), was deemed to give notice of the last hour of the night; and at the end of ten days, a dew decan-star would be observed.

"It is our suggestion that the introduction of this decan-based calendar was a deliberate act by Ra in a developing conflict with his brother Thoth.

"....Was there, perhaps, some jealousy between the two brothers on this score....? Marduk lacked the knowledge of medicine and healing, his knowledge fell short of his brotherís: he could not revive the dead, while Thoth could.... His Sumerian depictions show him with the emblem of the entwined serpents, the emblem originally of his father Enki as the god who could engage in genetic engineering - the emblem, we have suggested, of the double helix of DNA.

Cro Protein Molecules Bound to DNA Helix

Thoth

"His Sumerian name, NIN.GISH.ZID.DA, which meant "Lord of the Artifact of Life," bespoke recognition of his capacity to restore life by reviving the dead.... He was prominently featured in magical healing and exorcism texts; a Maklu ("Burnt Offerings") series of incantations and magical formulas devoted a whole tablet, the seventh, to him. In one incantation, devoted to drowned mariners ("the seafaring folk who are utterly at rest"), the priest invokes the formulas of "Siris and Ningishzidda, the miracle workers, the spellbinders").

"Siris is the name of a goddess otherwise unknown in the Sumerian pantheon, and the possibility that it is a Mesopotamian rendition of the starís name Sirius comes to our mind because in the Egyptian pantheon Sirius was the star associated with the goddess Isis.

"....The Egyptians held that the whole Book of the Dead, verses from which were inscribed on the walls of pharaonic tombs so that the deceased pharaoh could be translated into an Afterlife, was a composition of Thoth, written with his own fingers." In a shorter work called by the Egyptians the Book of Breathings, it was stated that,

"Thoth, the most mighty god, the lord of Khemennu, cometh to thee, he writeth for thee the book of Breathings with his own fingers, so that thy Ka shall breathe for ever and ever and thy form endowed with life on Earth."

"We know from Sumerian sources that this knowledge, so essential in pharaonic beliefs - knowledge to revive the dead - was first possessed by Enki.

"....Evidently, the secret was not divulged to Marduk; and when he complained, his father gave him an evasive answer. That alone would have been enough to make the ambitious and power-hungry Marduk jealous of Thoth.... All that (and other events) led - as the Sumerian text makes clear - to an affinity between Thoth and the star Sirius, the controller of the Egyptian calendar and the harbinger of the life-giving inundation of the Nile.

"Were these the only reason for the jealousy, or did Ra/Marduk have more compelling reasons to see in Thoth a rival, a threat to his supremacy?

"....Why was it Thoth, of all the other sons of Ptah/Enki who was chosen to replace the dynasty of Ra in Egypt?

"....It is known that initially the dominating "company of the gods" or divine dynasty was that of Heliopolis; later on was superseded by the divine triad of Memphis (when Memphis became the capital of a unified Egypt). But in between there was an interim Paut or "divine company" of gods headed by Thoth. The "cult center" of the latter was Hermopolis ("City of Hermes" in Greek) whose Egyptian name, Khemennu, meant "eight." One of the epithets of Thoth was "Lord of Eight," which according to Heinrich Brugch (Religion and Mythologie der alien Aegypter) referred to eight celestial orientations, including the four cardinal points. It could also refer to Thothís ability to ascertain and mark out the eight standstill points of the Moon - the celestial body with which Thoth was associated.

"Marduk, a "Sun god," on the other hand, was associated with the number ten. In the numerical hierarchy of the Anunnaki, in which Anuís rank was the highest.... the rank of Marduk was ten, and that could have been the origin of the decans. Indeed the Babylonian version of the Epic of Creation, attributes to Marduk the devising of a calendar of twelve months each divided into three "celestial astrals":

He determined the year,
designating the zones:
For each of the twelve months
he set three celestial astrals,
[thus] defining the days of the year.

"This division of the skies into thirty-six portions as a means of "defining the days of the year" is as clear a reference as possible to the calendar - a calendar with thirty-six "decans." And there in Enuma Elish, the division is attributed to Marduk, alias Ra.

"....Without further discovery of intact or even fragmented tablets inscribed with the original Sumerian text of the Epic of Creation, it is impossible to say whether the thirty-six decans were a true innovation by Marduk or were just borrowed by him from Sumer. A basic tenet of Sumerian astronomy was the division of the celestial sphere enveloping the earth into three "ways" - the Way of Anu as a central celestial band, the Way of Enlil of the northern skies, and the Way of Ea (i.e., Enki) in the southern skies. It has been thought that the three ways represented the equatorial band in the center and the bands demarcated by the two tropics, north and south; we have, however, shown in The 12th Planet that the Way of Anu, straddling the equator, extended 30ļ northward and southward of the equator, resulting in a width of 60ļ; and the Way of Enlil and the Way of Ea similarly extended for 60ļ each, so that the three covered the complete celestial sweep of 180ļ from north to south.

"If this tripartite division of the skies were to be applied to the calendrical division of the year into twelve months, the result would be thirty-six segments. Such a division - resulting in decans - was indeed made in Babylon.

"While this Babylonian planisphere does not answer the question of the origin of the relevant verses of the Enuma Elish, it does establish that what it was supposed to have been a unique and original Egyptian innovation in fact had a counterpart (if not a predecessor) in Babylon - the place claimed by Marduk for his supremacy.

"....The fact is that when the time came, circa 3100 B.C., to extend the Sumerian level of civilization (human Kingship) to the Egyptians, Ra/Marduk - having been frustrated in his efforts to establish supremacy in Babylon - returned to Egypt and expelled Thoth.

"It was then, we believe, that Ra/Marduk - not for administrative convenience but in a deliberate step to eradicate the vestiges of Thothís predominance - reformed the calendar. A passage in the Book of the Dead relates that Thoth was "disturbed by what hath happened to the divine children" who have "done battle, upheld strife, created fiends, caused trouble." As a consequence of this Thoth "was provoked to anger when they [his adversaries] bring the years to confusion, throng in and push to disturb the months." All that evil, the text declares, "in all they have done unto thee, they have worked iniquity in secret."

"This may well indicate that the strife that led to the substitution of Thothís calendar by Ra/Mardukís calendar in Egypt took place when the calendar.... needed to be put back on track. R.A. Parker, we have noted.... believes that this change occurred circa 2800 B.C. Adolf Erman.... was more specific: The opportunity, he wrote, was the return of Sirius to its original position, after the 1,460-year cycle, on July 19, 2776 B.C.

"It should be noted that that date, circa 2800 B.C., is the official date adopted by the British authorities for Stonehenge I.

"....Scholars have long debated, but have yet to verify, the origin of the week, the slice of the year measured in lengths of seven days. We have shown in earlier books of The Earth Chronicles that seven was the number that represented our planet, the Earth. Earth was called in Sumerian texts "the seventh," and was depicted in representations of celestial bodies by the symbol of the seven dots because journeying into the center of our Solar System from their outermost planet, the Anunnaki would first encounter Pluto, pass by Neptune and Uranus.... and continue past Saturn and Jupiter.... They would count Mars as the sixth (as six pointed star) and Earth would be the seven.... For the Sumerians it was Enlil, and no other, who was "Lord of Seven." Mesopotamian as well as biblical names, of persons (e.g., Bath-sheba, "Daughter of Seven") or of places (e.g., Beer-Sheba, "the well of Seven") honored the god by this epithet.

"....Though no one can say who "invented" the seven-day week, it is obviously associated in the Bible with the earliest times - indeed, when Time itself began: witness the seven day of Creation with which the Book of Genesis begins. The concept of a seven-day delineated period of counted time, a Time of Man, is found in biblical as well as the earlier Mesopotamian Deluge tale, thereby attesting to its antiquity. In the Mesopotamian texts, the hero of the flood is given seven daysí advance warning by Enki.... In those versions the Deluge is said to have begun with a storm that "swept the country for seven days and seven nights." In the biblical version the Deluge also began after a seven-day advance warning to Noah.

"The biblical tale of the flood and its duration reveals a far-reaching understanding of the calendar in very early times. Significantly, it shows familiarity with the unit of seven days and of a division of the year into fifty-two weeks of seven days each. Moreover, it suggests an understanding of the complexities of a lunar-solar calendar.

"....That this was not the result of adding 354 + 10 as the number of days, but a deliberate division of the year into fifty-two weeks of seven days each, is made clear in the text of the Book of Jubilees. It states (chapter 6) that Noah was given, when the Deluge ended, "heavenly tablets" ordaining that,

All the days of the commandment
will be two and fifty weeks of days
which will make the year complete.
Thus it is engraven and ordained
on the heavenly tablets;
there shall be no neglecting for a single
year or from year to year.
And command thou the children of Israel
that they observe the year according to
this reckoning:
three hundred and sixty-four days;
these shall constitute a complete year.

" The Book of Enoch, especially in its version known as Enoch II, is believed to show elements of scientific knowledge centered at the time of Alexandria, Egypt. How much of that can be traced back to the teaching of Thoth cannot be stated with any certainty; but biblical as well as Egyptian tales suggest a role for seven and fifty-two times seven beginning in much earlier times.

"Well know is the biblical tale of Josephís rise of governorship over Egypt after he had successfully interpreted the paharaohís dreams.... Few are aware, however, that the tale - "legend" or "myth" to some - had strong Egyptian roots as well as an earlier counterpart in Egyptian lore. Among the former (7 fatfleshed cows devoured by 7 leanfleshed cows) was the Egyptian forerunner of the Greek Sibylline oracle goddesses; they were called the Seven Hathors, Hathor having been the goddess of the Sinai peninsula who was depicted as a cow, in other words, the Seven Hathors symbolized seven cows who could predict the future.

"The earlier counterpart of the tale of the seven lean years that followed the seven years of plenty is a hieroglyphic text, that E.A.W. Budge (Legends of the Gods) titled "A legend of the god Khnemu and of a seven year famine." Khnemu was another name for Ptah/Enki in his role as fashioner of Mankind. The Egyptians believed that after he had turned over lordship over Egypt to his son Ra, he retired to the island of Abu (known as Elephantine since Greek times because of its shape), where he formed twin caverns - two connected reservoirs - whose locks or sluices could be manipulate to regulate the flow of the Nileís waters. (The modern Aswan High Dam is similarly located above the Nileís first cataract).

Ancient ruins at Abu Island,

 (Elephantine today)

Site of First Cataract, Nile River.

Aswan High Dam.... regulating the Nileís waters.... just like Ptah/Enki did....

Women carrying water from the Nile to their villages.

Aswan Dam seen from Space.

"According to this text (continuing with Josephís events, as per the Egyptian account), the Pharaoh Zoser (builder of the step-pyramid at Saqqara) received a royal dispatch from the governor of the people of the south that grievous suffering had come upon the people "because the Nile hath not come forth to the proper heigth for seven years." As a result, "grain is very scarce, vegetables are lacking altogether, every kind of thing which men eat for their food hath ceased, and every man now plondereth his neighbor."

"Hoping that the spread of famine and chaos could be avoided by a direct appeal to the god, the king traveled south to the island of Abu. The god, he was told, dwells there "in an edifice of wood with portals formed of reeds," keeping with him "the cord of the tablet" that enable him to "open the double door of the sluices of the Nile." Khnemu, responding to the kingís pleadings, promised "to raise the level of the Nile, give water, make the crops grow."

"Since the annual rising of the Nile was linked to the heliacal rising of the star Sirius, one must wonder whether the taleís celestial or astronomical aspects recall not only the actual shortage of water (which occur cyclically even nowadays) but also the shift.... in the appearance of Sirius under a rigid calendar. That the whole tale had calendrical connotations is suggested by the statement in the text that the abode of Khnemu at Abu was astronomically oriented:

"The godís house hath an opening to the southeast, and the Sun standeth immediately opposite thereto every day."

This can only mean a facility for observing the Sun in the course of moving to and from the winter solstice.

"This brief review of the use and significance of the number seven in the affairs of gods and men suffices to show its celestial origin (the seven planets from Pluto to Earth) and its calendrical importance (the seven-day week, a year of fifty-two such weeks). But in the rivalry among the Anunnaki, all that assumed another significance: the determination of who was the God of Seven (Eli-Sheva in Hebrew, from which Elizabeth comes) and thus the titular Ruler of Earth.

"And that we believe, is what alarmed Ra/Marduk on his return to Egypt after his failed coup in Babylon: the spreading veneration of Seven, still Enlilís epithet, through the introduction of the seven-day week into Egypt.

"In these circumstances the veneration of the Seven Hathors, as an example, must have been anathema to Ra/Marduk.

"....Since the official spouses of both (Ninki of Enki, Ninlil of Enlil) were not their half sisters, it was important for them to beget a son by Ninharsag (their half sister): such a son under the succession rules of the Anunnaki, would be the undisputed Legal Heir to the throne on Earth.... Ninharsag only bore daughters to Enki.... but Enlil was more successful and his Foremost Son was conceived....This entitled Ninurta (Ningirsu, the "Lord of Girsu" to Gudea) to inherit his fatherís rank of fifty - at the same time depriving Enkiís firstborn, Marduk, of rulership over the Earth.

"...Archaeologists have discovered in the area of Saqqara (of the times of Zoser), a circular "altar top" of alabaster whose shape suggests that it was intended to serve as a sacred lamp to be lighted over a seven-day period. Another find is that of a stone "wheel" (some think it was the base of an omphalos, an oracular "navel stone") that is clearly divided into four segments of seven markers each, suggesting that it was really a stone calendar - a lunar calendar, no doubt - incorporating the seven-day week concept and (with the aid of the four dividers) enabling a lunar monthly count ranging from twenty-eight to thirty-two days.... It is our belief that the genius behind all of those geographically (Stonehenge in Britain; Aztec calendar in Mexico) spread stone calendars was one and the same god: Thoth.

"....What archaeologists identify as games or game boards have been found almost everywhere in the ancient Near East.... Mesopotamia, Canaan, and Egypt.... Two players moved pegs from one hole to another in accordance with the throw of dice. Archaeologists see in that no more than games with which to while away the time; but the usual number of holes, fifty-eight, is clearly an allocation of twenty-nine to each player - and twenty-nine is the number of full days in a lunar month. There were also obvious subdivisions of the holes into smaller groups, and grooves connected some holes to others (indicating perhaps that the player could jump-advance there)....

"....Nowadays we employ ditties ("Thirty days hath September") and games to teach the modern calendar to children; why exclude the possibility that it was so also in antiquity?

"That these were calendar games and that at least one of them, the favorite of Thoth, was designed to teach the division of the year into fifty-two weeks, is evident from an ancient Egyptian tale known as "The Adventures of Satni-Khamois with the Mummies."

"It is a tale of magic, mystery, and adventure, an ancient thriller that combines the magical number fifty-two with Thoth and the secrets of the calendar. The tale is written on a papyrus (catalogued as Cairo-30646) that was discovered in a tomb at Thebes, dating to the third century B.C. Fragments of other papyruses with the same tale have also been found, indicating that it was part of the established or canonical literature of ancient Egypt that recorded the tales of gods and men.

"The hero of this tale was Satni, a son of the pharaoh, "well instructed in all things." He was wont to wonder in the necropolis of Memphis.... One day a mysterious old man told him of a tomb "where there is deposited the book that the god Thoth had written with his own hands," and in which the mysteries of the Earth and the secrets of heaven were revealed....

It was a challenging fate for Satni, as he tried to retrieve the book and face the wrath of Thoth....

"....How Satni managed to escape with the book, the calamities that befell him as a result, and how he in the end returned the book to its hiding place, makes fascinating reading but is unessential to our immediate subject: the fact that the astronomical and calendrical "secrets of Thoth" included the Game of Fifty-Two - the division of the year into fifty-two seven day portions, resulting in the enigmatic year of only 364 days of the books of Jubilees and Enoch.

"It is a magical number that vaults us across the oceans, to the Americas, returns us to the enigma of Stonehenge, and parts the curtains on the events leading to, and resulting from, the first New Age recorded by Mankind.

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