The Hounds of Hell

Since Sirius is the Dog Star, let us turn to the dog-headed Sumerian goddess Bau. According to Thorkild Jacobsen,1 'Bau seems originally to have been goddess of the dog and her name, Bau, to have constituted an imitation of the dog's bark, as English "bowwow".* Bau was also the daughter of An. So here the dog-goddess is the daughter of An, whereas in Egypt the dog-god was himself An-pu (Anubis).


* In Egyptian a word for 'dog, jackal', is Auau, which probably has the same 'dog's bark' derivatlon as the Sumerian Bau.


Since An is connected with Sirius, we should thus not be surprised that he has a dog-goddess for a daughter in Sumer. Sirius as the Dog Star was a tradition which was not thought to have existed in Sumer, however, before now.

Since the fifty Anunnaki were children of An, and Bau is a daughter of An, it is not far-fetched to see in Bau a survival (for she is an old goddess who faded into obscurity in later times) of the concept of a dog-star goddess equivalent to his as Sothis. And it is interesting that she was dog-headed. For Anubis was not entirely a jackal or dog, he was merely jackal- or dog-headed.

Bau's husband Ninurta was the son of Enlil. Just as Marduk usurped the position of chief god, at a somewhat earlier time Enlil had usurped this position from An. (The situation is analogous to Greek mythology where Cronos usurped the position of Uranus and was in turn overthrown by Zeus.) There is an interesting 170-line hymn to Enlil2 which seems to describe a stellar abode for the god. The 'lifted eye' or 'lifted light' scanning and searching the lands sounds reminiscent of the Dogon concept of the ray of Digitaria which once a year sweeps the Earth.


In any case, a 'lifted light' which searches and scans is definitely a beam or ray, and is in its own right an interesting concept for the Sumerians to have had as situated in the celestial abode. I must emphasize in advance for the reader that lapis lazuli was considered by the Sumerians to represent the night sky. Here then are significant excerpts from the hymn:

Enlil, whose command is far-reaching, whose word is holy, The lord whose pronouncement is unchangeable, who forever decrees destinies, Whose lifted eye scans the lands, Whose lifted light searches the heart of all the lands,

Enlil who sits broadly on the white dais, on the lofty dais . . .
The lofty white dais of Sothis-Sirius is an Egyptian concept. It is Ast (Isis).

It is also Asar (Osiris), with the addition of a hieroglyphic eye. Later we find in this hymn from Sumer the city of Nippur's temple in comparison:

Nippur - the shrine, where dwells the father, the 'great mountain',

The dais of plenty, the Ekur which rises . . . ,

The high mountain, the pure place . . . ,

Its prince, the 'great mountain',

Father Enlil, Has established his seat on the dais of the Ekur, lofty shrines;

The temple - its divine laws like heaven cannot be overturned,

Its pure rites, like the earth cannot be shattered,

Its divine laws are like the divine laws of the abyss,

none can look upon them,

Its 'heart' like a distant shrine, unknown like heaven's-zenith. . .


The Ekur, the lapis-lazuli house, the lofty dwelling place, awe-inspiring, Its awe and dread are next to heaven, Its shadow is spread over all the lands Its loftiness reaches heaven's heart.

These mentions of the lapis lazuli aspect of Enlil's abode and also that it reaches heaven's heart make quite clear that we are not merely dealing with a solar description. It is not the sun but a stellar abode that is being distinctly described. Hence the references to the ray or beam are all the more curious as they do not refer to the sun's light as might have been thought from a superficial reading.


We continue:

Heaven - he is its princely one; earth - he is its great one, The Anunnaki - he is their exalted god; When in his awesomeness, he decrees the fates, No god dare look on him.

Here we see Enlil has been called the exalted god over the Anunnaki (in other texts his son Enki, or Ea, boasts that he is their 'big brother' and leader). Here Enlil has also himself been given the power of decreeing the fates, which the Anunnaki traditionally do themselves. In the fourth line from the end above, 'heaven' is An and 'earth' is Ki. An and Ki were married. The compound an-ki is Sumerian for 'heaven-earth' and is the word meaning 'universe'. Note the similarity between an-ki and the name of the Egyptian goddess Anukis who is identified with Sothis-Sirius. Also, of course, the similarity to the name Anunnaki.

So we find the above stellar descriptions of Enlil, the father-in-law of the dog-headed goddess we tentatively identify with Sirius. And we find those fifty irrepressible Anunnaki creeping in again. They manage to turn up everywhere, given half a chance, when the subject of Sirius comes up.

Now the many similarities between Sumer and Egypt which we have so far noted (with more to come), which have led us to consider the possibility of the two nations having been in some way linked, may be referred to in a most interesting passage from Josephus,3 in which 'the children of Seth' are mentioned. Many ancient writers supposed Seth to have been Hermes Trismegistus.

This fact may suddenly be more important in the light of what we have begun to suspect about a scantily surviving authentic Hermetic tradition (maligned and obscured by a welter of useless, trivial co-survivals from later times).


Here is the passage:

'The children of Seth' were the inventors of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies, and their order; and that their inventions might not be lost before they were sufficiently known, upon Adam's prediction, that the world was at one time to be destroyed by the force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity of water, they made two pillars, the one of brick, the other of stone.


They described their discoveries on them both, that in case the pillar of brick should be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain, and exhibit those discoveries to mankind, and also inform them that there was another pillar of brick erected by them. Now this remains in the land of Syria or Seirad to this day.

This passage calls forth many comments. The point which immediately springs to one's notice is that there is a 'pillar of brick' in the land of Syria, or in the land of Sumer-Akkad-Babylonia.


Well, this is the very land of brick! It is the land of the brick ziggurat or 'great mountain' - a giant pillar if you like. But where is the land of stone? Why, it is obviously Egypt, the land of the great stone pyramids. Here, then, is a description of two linked cultures, one building brick edifices and the other building stone edifices.


In Egypt we have the Great Pyramid, which so many people have believed to contain in its basic construction the proportions and measurements to demonstrate that it was constructed by highly advanced and civilized men. The great ziggurats of Babylon and other cities, too, though in a more ruinous state, seem to embody in their construction much that is profound. Can it be that Josephus has preserved a tradition of the link between Egypt and Sumer and their respective types of building ? He says the link was an astronomically-defined one.


'The children of Seth' first possessed 'that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies'. Well, we have already discovered for ourselves that the fundamental astronomical and astronomical-religious concepts were common to earliest Egypt and Sumer. And here is Josephus telling us the same thing, and what is more, telling us what the treatise 'The Virgin of the World' would have us know - that it all began with Hermes Trismegistus in the way we have previously discussed.

But now let us pursue other relevant ramifications of Egypt found elsewhere. And let us do so by returning to the subject of the Argo and the fifty Argonauts, who were all Minyae (descendants of Minyas), who were led by Jason (also a descendant of Minyas) in the quest for the golden fleece at the mysterious land of Colchis, which actually existed and was just about as strange a locale as one could wish.


For if you sail through the Hellespont (named after Helle, who fell from the golden ram) into the Black Sea (called the Euxine Sea by the Greeks), and follow the coast of present-day Turkey until you come to the region of the border with the Soviet Union of today, you will have come to Colchis. It is a pretty strange place for the Greeks to attach so much importance to. It sits at the loot of the formidable Caucasus Mountains and not far away are the Georgian people who live in their mountains to such amazing ages as a hundred and ten, with a culture peculiarly their own. Not far to the south is that strange place, Mount Ararat, where the ark of Noah landed after the Flood.


Surely this is a most unusual land, and far removed from the Greek world. Or is it?

Minyas had a great-grandson called Phrixus. Phrixus had four sons who lived in Colchis, to which he had fled on the back of the golden ram and where he gave the golden fleece to the local King of Colchis, and in return was made welcome and married the king's daughter. It is obvious that these four sons were only half-Colchian and would feel some loyalty towards their father's homeland which was in mainland Greece. Sure enough, on his deathbed Phrixus asked his sons to return to Orchomenos, his home in Greece, to reclaim their birthright there.


This they agreed to do. For Phrixus's father had been the King of Orchomenos (as had Minyas) and these sons should be able to claim what honor and position (not to mention more material matters) was rightly theirs. However, they knew that setting things straight might be a bit difficult, as their father and his sister Helle (who fell into the Hellespont) had left in rather a hurry on the golden ram with the blessing of Hermes, but not with too many tears being shed in Orchomenos at the time.

So these four sons set out and were shipwrecked but were fortunately picked up and rescued. Who rescued them? None other than our fifty Argonauts who were just passing. In fact, these Argonaut cousins of theirs were at that moment just happening by on their way to Colchis where their mission was to try to get that fleece back. The four young fellows had no objection to such a plan, especially as they were also descended from Minyas.


The Argonauts had been losing some of their men (for instance, Hercules and Hylas had vanished; Hylas was dragged down into a stream by a passionate water nymph and Hercules went berserk and wandered off into Turkey calling his name in vain, later founding cities and doing various Herculean things). So these four fellows from Colchis were just the thing to recharge the ranks.

But what about this place Colchis ? Perhaps if we examine it we shall find some Egyptian connections. Anything seems to be possible in a magical land like this.

In fact if we look at the Histories of Herodotus4 we read: 'It is undoubtedly a fact that the Colchians are of Egyptian descent, I noticed this myself before I heard anyone else mention it, and when it occurred to me I asked some questions both in Colchis and in Egypt, and found that the Colchians remembered the Egyptians more distinctly than the Egyptians remembered them. The Egyptians did, however, say that they thought the Colchians were men from Sesostris' army.5


This Sesostris is identified tentatively by scholars with Ramses II.


Herodotus continues:

My own idea on the subject was based first on the fact that they have black skins and woolly hair (not that that amounts to much, as other nations have the same), and secondly, and more especially, on the fact that the Colchians, the Egyptians, and the Ethiopians are the only races which from ancient times have practised circumcision.


The Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine themselves admit that they adopted the practice from Egypt, and the Syrians who live near the rivers Thermodon and Parthenius, learnt it only a short time ago from the Colchians. No other nations use circumcision, and all these are without doubt following the Egyptian lead.


As between the Egyptians and the Ethiopians, I should not like to say which learned from the other, for the custom is evidently a very ancient one; but I have no doubt that the other nations adopted it as a result of their intercourse with Egypt, and in this belief I am strongly supported by the fact that Phoenicians, when they mix in Greek society, drop the Egyptian usage and allow their children to go uncircumcized.

And now I think of it, there is a further point of resemblance between the Colchians and Egyptians: they share a method of weaving linen different from that of any other people; and there is also a similarity between them in language and way of living.*


* Circumcision is absolutely fundamental to Dogon culture for religious reasons.

So here we see a probable (indeed, almost entirely certain) explanation for the connection of Colchis with the Argonaut story. No wonder the Hermesgiven (which is to say, Anubis-given) golden fleece was at Colchis. For Colchis was a thoroughly Egyptian country. But because the heroes of a Greek tale must be Greeks and not Egyptians, the Argonauts are all Minyae from Greece.


The familiar anonymity of 'the fifty' witnessed by us with the Anunnaki of Sumer, prevails here among the Argonauts as well. Different epic poets who treated of the tale chucked in various epic heroes. In the main surviving Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes, Orpheus and Herakles (Hercules) are among the crew, though Hercules is left behind as I have just said.


In fact, Hercules was so obviously borrowed for his 'box-office draw' as a 'guest star' in a cameo performance that we can't really take the matter seriously.

On with the story and those Argonauts. I said that Orpheus was included in the cast by that great film producer Apollonius of Rhodes. But another competing film producer, Pherecydes, insisted that Orpheus was not an Argonaut. Diodorus Siculus, a great supporter of women's lib, maintained that Atalanta was an Argonautess.


Apollonius says pointedly that super-star Theseus was in Hades at the time and otherwise engaged (with another contract), but Statius (who was obviously with the other studio) later made Theseus an Argonaut anyway. H. W. Parke has pointed out that the Apolline seers were apparently injected into the Argonaut story as a propaganda effort by the rising power of the Delphic Oracle which was trying to squeeze out the premier oracle of Dodona and achieve first place for itself in the eyes of the Greek public.

Parke has shown how the really central oracular elements in the Argo story were all related to Dodona, not Delphi. Delphi was quite an upstart in the centuries immediately preceding the classical period, and initially was not more important than Dodona, though it was to become so and held precedence by the time of Socrates and the classical Greeks.


Parke concludes that all the Delphic and Apolline elements in the Argo story are late accretions from the time after Delphi had usurped the primacy of Dodona. They would not have been in the Argo epic referred to by Homer, who proves the antiquity of the Argo saga by his mention in the Odyssey (XII, 69-72) of 'the celebrated Argo' and of Jason and the Clashing Rocks.


Significantly, no other Argonaut is mentioned by name by Homer. It is obvious, in fact, from what I said above, that the Argonauts were primarily noted for being fifty in number and related (a comfortable kind of anonymity - cousins!). Outstanding Hellenic heroes were thrown into their ranks by the caprices of successive epic poets to provide recognizable color.


With the exception of Jason there is total disagreement among everyone concerned about just who were the Argonauts. And according to Robert Graves in The Greek Myths, Jason was originally Hercules. And Hercules was originally Briareus. Of course, the answer is that they were not individuals and were not meant to be.

They were fifty and they were related and usually seated and they sailed in a magic boat. Just like the Anunnaki, and just like the fifty anonymous companions of Gilgamesh! And in the Gilgamesh fragments from the early Sumerian times, the boat mentioned is a 'Magan-boat', or Egyptian boat. It must be remembered also that Sumer is located between Egypt and Colchis.

We are now beginning to get down to the bare bones of the Argo story. I don't believe that the earliest levels of this ancient tale have ever previously been reached.

Not only Herodotus, but Pindar as well, describes the Colchians as dark. In his IVth Pythian Ode, which is largely about the Argonauts, Pindar says (212): 'Among the dark-faced Kolchians, in the very presence of Aeetes'. Pindar therefore confirms Herodotus on this point.

It remains to attempt a dating. If Herodotus is correct and the Golchians were Egyptian soldiers dating from the reign of Sesostris (Ramses II), then they would have gone to Colchis at some time during the years 1301-1234 B.C., which is estimated by John A. Wilson5 as the period of the reign of Ramses II. This dating is only of use as an indicator of the general antiquity of the origins of our material.


There does not seem to be any archaeological information of any kind from the undiscovered site of Aea, the capital city of Colchis, which is on the coast of the Black Sea (just by a river known anciently as the Phasis), just across the border of the Soviet Union from Turkey. I would suspect the site of Aea has never even been sought! It would certainly make an interesting site for excavation. It would presumably offer an unusual amount of Egyptian- style material mixed with Armenian-Caucasian styles.


It should be extraordinarily interesting from the point of view of ancient art, almost certainly being quite rich in precious metals and beautiful metal-working, particularly gold. We shall see later in this book that it was near a famous ancient metallurgical centre. And, of course, there should be finds which would confirm Herodotus's account.

Here is a description of the site, for those who wish to seek it:

'They reached the broad estuary of the Phasis, where the Black Sea ends . . . and then rowed straight up into the mighty river, which rolled in foam to either bank as it made way for Argo's prow. On their left hand they had the lofty Caucasus and the city of Aea, on their right the plain of Ares and the god's sacred grove, where the snake kept watch and ward over the fleece, spread on the leafy branches of an oak.' (Another hint of Dodona, with the oak and the grove. This similarity will be seen to become extremely relevant later on.)

To return to the question of dates (also bearing in mind Homer's early casual reference to 'the celebrated Argo'), we'll recall my mention of dates when I showed the identical nature of the Sumerian and Egyptian astronomical systems in their essential details. I pointed out then that the Babylonian tablets were dated from the second millennium B.C., giving us an upper limit on time in the Sumerian region.


The Egyptian star clocks to which they bear such total resemblance calendrically had already altered (such as by the introduction of a fifteen-day week instead of a ten-day one, indicating the advanced degeneration of the traditions) in Egypt in the first millennium B.C.

Hence we see that the Egyptian star clocks no longer existed in the necessary form by the first millennium, giving us an upper limit date in Egypt of the end of the second millennium B.C., identical with the upper limit we have in Sumer. I am tempted now to steal a phrase of the physicists and remind the reader that these dates are of an order of magnitude comparable with the date of Ramses II's reign adopted tentatively for the settlement at Colchis of Egyptian colonists.


Surely these three dates cannot coalesce accidentally round the same material! We have no choice but to adopt the approximate date of 1200 B.C. as the upper limit for the spread (and subsequent degeneration) of our Sirius-related material throughout the Mediterranean area, from whichever source it originated.

It may perhaps be of some relevance that this coincides roughly with the end of Minoan domination of the Mediterranean. From the point of view at least of the spread of the Sirius material, I would connect it with what seems to me an obvious fact: that when Minoan sea power, based on Crete, collapsed, the Egyptians and inhabitants of the Near East could and did expand their own maritime activities to fill the vacuum left by the disintegration of the Minoan fleets.


(An alternative but unlikely suggestion is that fleeing Minoans dispersed their culture with them as they settled in exile in different areas of the Mediterranean following the collapse of their nation; but I do not believe they alone were the source of the Sirius material.)

I am inclined to believe the increasingly strong and accumulating evidence that the Minoan culture was dealt a death blow by eruptions of the volcano Thera.


F. Matz, in 'Minoan Civilization: Maturity and Zenith' in the Cambridge Ancient History, says:

'The peaceful transfer of power in Crete from the Minoans to the Mycenaeans is difficult to explain.'

But not, surely, if volcanic eruptions had enfeebled the Minoans. The Minoan cities had no walls. On their island the Minoans relied, it seems, on their unchallenged sea power to keep enemies at bay, just as the Spartans in their unwalled city of Sparta in mainland Greece relied on their unchallenged land power to keep enemies at bay in late classical times.


For the Cretan island could not be reached by enemies on foot, and as the Minoans had total naval superiority they could not be threatened at home. The latest conclusions about Thera seem to be that the towns on that small volcanic island near Crete were first evacuated due to earthquakes some years before the final volcanic eruption which destroyed Minoan civilization.

Herodotus in Book I of his Histories gives us a good illustration of how hopeless it is for a land power to challenge a sea power on the sea, when he shows the landlubber Lydians abandoning their plans to build ships and extend their conquests to the islands because they are aware they just don't know what they're doing.


If the Minoan fleets had been sunk in great tidal waves following volcanic eruptions, the Minoans would have had no choice but to come to an understanding with the Mycenaeans. Any other possibility would have meant suicide. Probably they made a graceful and dignified pact or series of pacts which made the inevitable seem voluntary. And if the Mycenaeans were traditionally a good bit in awe of the more sophisticated Minoans, so much the better for the Minoans who 'condescended' to come to terms like gentlemen.

But the 'spheres of influence' of the sea-going Minoans could not be taken over immediately by the Mycenaeans, who lacked the maritime skill (not to mention ships) to complement on the waves their success in overrunning most of the island of Crete, probably leaving certain areas to the native Minoans according to the pacts I have suggested.


It is not that the Mycenaeans would have lacked the energy or will, but the Minoan fleets would have been destroyed and even the most willing Minoan sailors could not sail non-existent ships for the Mycenaean invaders. Furthermore, the work of consolidating power on the recently taken island would have been a protracted and distracting matter for the Mycenaeans.


So, for all these reasons, the new Cretan rulers could not attain to the full stature of their predecessors and be in complete command of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Mycenaeans had been competing with the Minoans (and raiding them, apparently under Theseus) as best they could for some time before the cataclysm. In fact F. H. Stubbings6 informs us that the Minoans made a 'disastrous Sicilian expedition' against the Mycenaean trading interests in the central Mediterranean. This is reminiscent, of course, of the famous Athenian expedition to Sicily which was a total disaster and caused Athens to lose the Peloponnesian War. Sicily was thus responsible for two great historical disasters that altered the course of events to an unknown extent elsewhere than in Sicily.

So we see the Minoan power may already have been declining. Stubbings says: 'All that is really certain, however, is that the fall of Crete laid the way clear for a vastly increased Mycenaean activity.' And, we may be sure, for a vastly increased Egyptian maritime activity as well. Egypt, which is known to have traded heavily with Crete under the Minoans, must have found itself without choice: expanded maritime activity on her own account or a severe starvation of imported goods.


There may even be a possibility that the name Minyas (and, hence, Minyae for the Argonauts) may have some connection with Minos (which gave us the word Minoan). After all, the Minoans were in considerable contact with the Egyptians and were the best sailors of their day.

It has been worth while to go into all this about the Minoan collapse at about the time of the upper limit dates which we have arrived at in other ways. For with the disappearance of Minoan supremacy at sea, vast numbers of other people were free to ply the sea lanes and no doubt did so, bringing a proliferation of variegated contacts between cultures which the uniform Minoan sea traffic had ironed flat and featureless.


Enterprising folk from almost anywhere -ethnics from mainland Greece, sophisticates from riverine Egypt, and clever Semites from Lebanon, Canaan, Palestine, all with their eyes on the main chance, could find something that would float and have a go.

All these folk suddenly let loose on the high seas brought an inevitable cross-fertilization at the cultural level, even if piracy must have increased alarmingly.


There must have been a lot more drowned sailors and shipwrecked merchants, but an amazing amount of syncretism, during which our Sirius material must have leaked out into wider currency beyond the confines of Egypt and Sumer, Two millennia earlier, or even before that, the Egyptian and Sumerian cultures had shared many secrets: now these secrets were let out of Pandora's box and entered what was to become the Greek culture through synthesis in the white heat of warlike Mycenaean exploits at Troy and elsewhere.


The Heroic Age was beginning, arete (the classical Greek ideal of excellence in all things) was to be forged by blood and iron in the lost Thebaid and the surviving Iliad, with the subsidiary sources of the great Odyssey and what remains of the Argo tales. Deeply imbedded like subtle dragon's teeth sunk in tough battle flesh, the bony outline of our Sirius material was to peer through the membrane of Greek epic tradition, to spring forth now in our century as the armed men of controversy.


They have re-entered the field, we must face them. Rather than enter into combat, let us question these strangers about their origins. We are faced with the living fossils of a world almost entirely beyond our modern comprehension. These creatures are shaggy with the cobwebs of the centuries that preceded even classical Greece, and came before even Hesiod and Homer. These ghosts are antique in a sense which we rarely encounter except inside the tombs of Egypt or the burials at Ur.

To continue with elucidations of the Argonaut complex, we turn now to that invaluable compendium of ail that is strange and wonderful about the world of the Greeks, Robert Graves's superb work The Greek Myths. There we find:7 'Aeaea ("wailing") is a typical death island where the familiar Death-goddess sings as she spins. The Argonautic legend places it at the head of the Adriatic Gulf; it may well be Lussin near Pola. Circe means "falcon", and she had a cemetery in Colchis, planted with willows, sacred to Hecate.5


In the Argonautica, we recall, Jason offers a sacrifice to the goddess Hecate at Colchis at the suggestion of Medea. We shall see later that Hecate is a degenerate form of Sothis, or Sirius. But let us examine the above information from Graves. First we note that Circe, who figures so prominently in the Argonautica, has the meaning of 'falcon'.


This brings to mind the prominent Egyptian symbolic 'falcon of Horus', which was the symbol of rising from the dead, or resurrection. The hawk or falcon of Horus presided over the Egyptian necropolis at Memphis, so it is quite obvious that it could have presided over the Egyptian necropolis at Colchis.

Naturally, the Greeks would have thought of the falcon in terms of their death-goddess Hecate.*


* Hesiod's account of Hecate shows her to have been the original Triple-goddess, supreme in Heaven, on earth, and in Tartarus; but the Hellenes emphasized her destructive powers at the expense of her creative ones . . . Lion, dog, and horse (were) her heads ... the dog being the Dog-star Sirius': Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, 31.7. Hesiod says (Theogony 416): In starry Heaven she has her place, and the immortal gods greatly respect her'.


There was no reason for them to preserve the masculine gender of a Horus of whom they knew nothing. But the falcon of Horus could have had a powerful effect on them as a symbol and have been transferred to a feminine figure of Greek myth. In fact, this cemetery of Circe in Colchis is almost undoubtedly an Egyptian cemetery surviving from Herodotus's Egyptian Colchians, and presided over by the falcon of Horus which in Greek was called Circe, and eventually became a female figure.


The springing up from the earth of the magically sown soldiers in the Argonautica must partially refer to the Egyptian soldiers buried in 'the cemetery of Circe' who were meant to rise from the dead under the auspices of the Egyptian god of resurrection, Horus, whose symbol was the falcon, or 'circe'. (Excavations could unearth the Colchian necropolis some day.)

Circe lived on the island of Aea, which has the same name as the city which Jason visited in Colchis and from where Medea came. In Greek mythology, Circe is the daughter of Helios and Perse and the sister of King Aeetes, the king of Colchis. She is therefore Medea's aunt (Medea eloped with Jason). As for the 'island' of Aea, I believe it was a holm, or river-island, in the Phasis River near the city Aea.

Circe's father Helios is the sun, who rose every morning from his magnificent palace near Colchis where he slept and stabled his horses overnight. And likewise the father of the Egyptian Horus was the sun, and Horus himself represents the rising sun. The Greek word (kirke latinized as circe) revealingly means 'an unknown bird', if we consult (as we shall do from now on) Liddell and Scott's definitive Greek lexicon. In the form (kirkos) the meaning is 'a kind of hawk or falcon', 'a kind of wolf, 'a circle' (which in Latin became circus) or 'ring', and 'an unknown stone'. (kirkaia) means 'an uncertain plant'.

Of these only the proper noun " (Kirke) has the specific meaning of Circe the Enchantress, although the same word in general is 'an unknown bird'. How appropriate a reaction for the Greeks to the falcon of Horus - a bird- symbol unknown to them.


But in trying to be more precise they make (kirkos) 'a kind of hawk or falcon', as that is obviously what it is from its appearance, though its especial symbolic value makes the Greeks doubt precisely what the Egyptians intended. It looked like a kind of hawk or falcon but the Greeks weren't prepared to insist on exactly what species - because it was an Egyptian, not a Greek, idea.

On a point such as this we must 'take advice' as from a lawyer. It is not sufficient merely to cite Liddell and Scott's lexicon. For this subject we turn to D'Arcy Thompson's definitive source-book A Glossary of Greek Birds* Under the entry there for kirkos we read:

'A poetic and mystical name for a Hawk: the sacred Hawk of Apollo; in the main an astronomical, perhaps solar, emblem. ... In Homer, the bird of Apollo . . . Od. xv. 525. .. . The bird is not identifiable as a separate species, and is so recognized by Scaliger and others. Neither the brief note as to its size in a corrupt passage of the ninth book of the History of Animals, nor the mystical references to its alleged hostilities and attributes in Aristotle, Aelian, and Phile, are sufficient to prove that the name indicated at any time a certain particular species. The word is poetical . . . The chief allusions to are obviously mystical, though the underlying symbolism . . . is not decipherable.'

Under another entry, for Hierax, Thompson gives some further interesting information. The word hierax is a generic term for all hawks. It too seems to partake of overtones of Horus, as Thompson specifically notes when he refers to the 'Worship of Hawks in Egypt', citing Herodotus and Aelian, and says:

'In the Rig-Veda the sun is frequently compared to a hawk, hovering in the air. . . . Their heart is eaten, to obtain prophetic powers, Porph. De Abst. ii. 48.9 . . . The Hawk entered in Egypt into innumerable hieroglyphics . . . (as) Horus and Hat-Hor, the latter being the of Plutarch. According to Chaeremon, fr. 8 On the sanctity of hawks in Egypt, and the solar symbolism associated with them there, see also . . .'etc., referring to Porphyry, Plutarch, Eusebius and Clement of Alexandria.

The scholarly reader who wishes to pursue all this must go to Thompson directly.

Kirkos also means 'an unknown stone'. Here again we come upon the stone motif which we encounter with Deukalion (the Greek Noah) and elsewhere. The stones of Deukalion spring up as men - men born from the earth just as the dead of the Colchian cemetery are meant to be born again from the earth.

A further connection of Circe with the Sirius complex lies in the fact10 that the island of Circe was the place where Orion met his death. Orion as a constellation was identified (as Sah) with Osiris, the husband of Isis, who was identified, of course, with Sirius.

The stone motif in its recurring forms seems to have had a particular connection with the Minyae, as I discovered from that invaluable duffle-bag of information, the ancient Greek author Pausanius, whose Guide to Greece is a real 'experience'. The Minyan city was traditionally that of Orchomenos in Boeotia, and it will be recalled that all the Argonauts were Minyae and descended from Minyas, King of Orchomenos.

All my references to Pausanius will be to Peter Levi's excellent translation published in two volumes by Penguin in 1971 with extensive notes and comments by that learned Jesuit translator, who has travelled over most of the terrain described by Pausanius and attempts a running commentary on the present state of the ruins and sights (and sites).

In Book IX, 34, 5, we read: 'Over from Mount Laphystion is Orchomenos, as famous and glorious as any city in Greece.' Levi's footnotes tell us: 'No one knows which mountain this was: probably the one above Hagios Georgios and the modern Laphystion' and:

'(Orchomenos is) at the north-west corner of the old Kopaic Lake.'

At Orchomenos 'there are graves of Minyas and of Hesiod' (38, 3). At Mount Laphystion near by was (34, 4),

'the sacred enclosure of Laphystian Zeus . . . The statue is stone. They say Athamas was about to slaughter Phrixos and Helle here when Zeus sent the children a ram with a golden fleece and they ran away on the ram.'

Now note what Pausanius says (38, 1) about the Minyae of Orchomenos:

'Orchomenos has a sanctuary of Dionysos, but the most ancient one is consecrated to the Graces. They pay particular worship to rocks, saying they fell out of heaven for Eteokles: finely-made statues were dedicated in my time but even these were in stone.'

Levi adds:

'The ruins of these sanctuaries are on the site of the old monastery (now itself in ruins).'

Now, I believe this singular observation on the Minyae's preoccupation with stones ties in with all the recurring stone motifs in our material. And now we shall see a further recurrence which ties back in another way (38, 4):

'The Orchomenians had a legend about Aktaion. An apparition with rocks in its hand was devastating the countryside: when Delphi was consulted the god ordered them to find anything that was left of Aktaion and cover it with earth, and then make a bronze image of the ghost and rivet it with iron to a rock. I have seen this riveted statue; once a year they burn offerings to Aktaion as a divine hero'

The public furore in 1973 over the painting by Titian, The Death of Actaeon, will have reminded British art lovers of the background to the myth which the famous painting portrays. Actaeon happened to see the goddess Artemis (known to the Romans by her Latin name of Diana) of the silver bow bathing naked.


Artemis then hunted him down, with fifty hounds, transformed him into a stag, and killed him with her bow (not only are hounds connected with the Dog Star, but the bow is a familiar symbol connected also with Sirius, which was so often known in ancient times also as the Bow Star).*


* This scene is portrayed in Plate 17, which shows an ancient Greek vase painting from approximately 470 B.C. of Artemis and the hounds slaying Actaeon.


Not only were the hounds of Hades who chased Actaeon fifty in number, but Robert Graves tells us,

'Actaeon was, it seems, a sacred king of the pre-Hellenic stag cult, torn to pieces at the end of his reign of fifty months, namely half a Great Year . . .'11

Note the application of the number 'fifty' here to a period of time. The orbit of Sirius B around Sirius A is fifty years; the reign of a sacred stag-king was fifty months. We know how often in ancient traditions the numerical quantity of time periods remains stable while their quality (as individual durations) varies.


The classic examples are in the Bible, where the seven days of creation refer to seven aeons, and the 'years' of life of the Hebrew patriarchs such as Methusaleh are not correctly interpreted as solar years but as lunar months or 'lunar years' a month long (since by late times the area of the Near East which had by then produced the people known as Hebrews had succumbed to a lunar calendrical craze - literally 'moonstruck' - and everything was a lunar rather than a solar period of time to those people in that area).

Note further the reference to a 'Great Year' of twice fifty months, consisting of two reigns. This would be one hundred months. And it should not surprise us to learn now that the name of the Greek goddess Hecate literally means in Greek 'one hundred'.**


** The Dogon tribe often describe the 50-year orbital period of Sirius B by saying: 'The period of the orbit is counted double, that is, one hundred years, because . . . (of) the principle of twin-ness' (see Chapter 1). Here we have the same custom in operation among the Greeks, of 'twinning' their sacred durations for 50X2 =100. Hecate ('one hundred') unites them.

Perhaps something of the true meaning of the myths is now becoming evident. The ancient peoples were not concealing information from us out of spite. Their purpose in disguising their secrets was to see that those secrets could survive. In fact, so successful were the ancient Egyptians in accomplishing their purpose, that the Greeks often preserve earlier Egyptian secrets in total ignorance of their true meaning, retaining only through an innate conservatism certain peculiar archaic details which we now find to be so important.


Not only are the stories mythical and symbolical in that they are not meant to be taken at face value, but they even involve 'characters' and 'events' which have a strictly numerical significance. But this should have been quite obvious to the reader since we began to study the Anunnaki. It is, admittedly, difficult for those of us who have been brought up in our strictly literal civilization, where there is no such thing as a hidden meaning and everything is on the surface, to think in such a way as to understand the ancient myths.


It was, after all, only a century ago that supposedly intelligent people were maintaining that the Earth was created in 4004 B.C., on the basis of what the Bible was reputed to have said! And it is only half a century ago that the courts of Tennessee in the famous Scopes trial decided that the theory of evolution was not only unholy but illegal and could not be taught in the schools.


We mistakenly assume that because we have superlative technology and science we must also be extremely civilized and come from a subtle background of sophisticated thinkers. But this is all a base illusion.

In fact, we are on a low rung of the ladder of evolutionary intelligence, and in many ways (such as ethics and aspirations to excellence) we have gone backward since those early mutants in our paltry intellectual history on this planet, Confucius, Socrates, the Buddha, and the others of whom every reader may substitute his own favorites.

But this book is not meant to be a sermon on the evils of a vacuous civilization. We are meant to be examining the names of some of the principal characters of the Argonautica, and it is best that we pretend to ourselves that we are rational creatures and supremely moral, and turn back to the subject again.

The name Jason means 'appeaser', which is in accordance with his vacillating character (see Rieu's introduction to his Penguin translation of the Argonautica for some caustic comments on Jason.)12 'Medea' means 'cunning'. 'Aeetes' means 'mighty' or 'eagle', and he was Medea's father, the King of Colchis from whom Jason stole the fleece.

Now we have seen that Actaeon was associated with Minyan Orchomenos, with a rock-throwing ghost (echoes of Deukalion), with fifty hounds of Hades, and with a reign of fifty months. The connections go even further. From Pausanius (34, 4) we learn that on Mount Laphystion is the place described thus: 'Higher up (from the spot where the ram with the golden fleece leapt into the air and took off) is Fire-eyed Hercules where the Boeotians say Hercules came up with the dog of Hades.'


Now, this 'dog of Hades' is Cerberus, who originally had fifty heads! (Later the simplification of three heads, as for Hecate who was also of Hades, was adopted for Cerberus, when fifty must have seemed to make no sense and was probably too difficult to paint on vases. But of course three is significant too. The Egyptians portrayed three goddesses in the Sothis-boat: Sothis, Anukis, and Satis.)

Graves informs us13 that, 'Cerberus was, at first, fifty-headed, like the spectral pack that destroyed Actaeon (see 22.1); but afterwards three-headed, like his mistress Hecate (see 134.1).' (The three-headed Hecate is the three Sothisgoddesses blended in one and is an underworld counterpart, just as with the Sumerian 'Anunnaki of the underworld'.)

What of the fleece itself? There are obvious connections of the golden fleece and Colchis with the common golden-yellow dye which comes from saffron (crocus sativus). The crocus with its saffron is even today confused with 'meadow saffron' (colchicum) which takes its name, obviously, from Colchis, which was its chief area of production.


The colchicum plant which somewhat resembles the crocus in its flowering stage was terribly important to the ancient world. It was the only known medicine against the disease of gout (and indeed still is). It is known to have been used to treat gout in ancient Egypt and all over the Ancient Mediterranean.


As Colchis was the place to find colchicum that may explain why the Egyptians first settled there!

It is probable that the crocus and ordinary saffron was present in Colchis in abundance, along with the false or meadow saffron, colchicum, and that the the two became as confused with each other in ancient times as they are today. Indeed, it is only modern botany which proclaims a difference between the two to the extent that we no longer confuse them officially.


As real saffron produced a much valued dye, it is not surprising that a golden fleece dyed golden yellow by saffron dye would be said to exist in Colchis! And indeed, Medea's famous herbal knowledge was well suited to Colchis, which produced the only cure for one of antiquity's most dreaded diseases, a disease which causes terrific pain and discomfort and could only be relieved by the magic herb from the mysterious distant land of Colchis. I.Burkill14 gives interesting information on the early history of saffron.


He says that sun-worshippers speaking an Aryan language spread to India from Turkey and made the saffron crocus an object of veneration and found ways of using its colour.15 This information, given by Tackholm and Drar,16 offers a great deal of support to my contention.

Richard Allen17 discusses Aries (the ram) and says that 'Miss Clerke says that the (Egyptian stellar ram's) stars were called the Fleece.' He adds that the god Zeus-Amen (Ammon)-Jupiter 'assumed the Ram's form when all the inhabitants of Olympus fled into Egypt from the giants led by Typhon'. And in this discussion of Aries, Allen mentions 'some of its titles at a different date being applied to Capella of Auriga'.


This is the sort of process we shall encounter again and again - titles and descriptions of stars being applied to neighbouring or similar stars as the original traditions become confused. It is particularly evident in the application of the description of 'heavy' or 'weight' to different stars associated somehow with Sirius, as the original object to which this description was meant to apply, Sirius B, was not visible and so tradition, being conservative, kept the description and applied it to other stars related to Sirius which could actually be seen. As with numerical traditions like that of 'fifty', when the true significance was forgotten, the symbol or concept was merely given a new, impromptu explanation.

Aries was definitely identified with the golden fleece.


Allen gives much information regarding this:

It always was Aries with the Romans; but Ovid called it phrixea ovis; and Columella pecus athamantidos helles, phrixus, and portitor phrixi; others phrixeum pecus and phrixi vector, Phrixus being the hero-son of Athamas, who fled on the back of this Ram with his sister Helle to Colchis. . . . On reaching his journey's end, Phrixus sacrificed the creature and hung its fleece in the Grove of Ares, where it was turned to gold and became the object of the Argonauts' quest. From this came others of Aries' titles: ovis aurea and auratus, chrysomallusy and the Low Latin Chrysovellus.

As the fleece was a solar symbol, it is just as well that we look at the concept of Horus once again. Horus in Egyptian is Heru. And from Wallis Budge we learrn that Heru is 'the ancient name of the Sun-god'.18 The word heru also has the meaning of 'face'.18


But let us consider the following: Heru (Horus) and his hawk/falcon presided over the Colchian cemetery and gave the name to Circe (which means 'hawk/falcon') who was Medea's aunt. The Greek sun-god Helios was said to stable his horses at Colchis and have a magnificent palace there, from which he arose every morning. Also Colchis was the place of residence of the solar golden fleece.

Now, we recall that in Egyptian the letter 'L' and the letter 'R' are entirely interchangeable and have the same hieroglyph. Consequently, Heru could just as reliably be Helu. If one takes Helu and puts a Greek ending on it one gets Helios! And the same word means the sun-god in both the Egyptian religion (early) and the Greek religion (early). In both lands the name was eventually superseded, in Greece by Apollo, for instance. So here we have a further connection between the Greek tradition as centering around Colchis and the Egyptian tradition as settled there, only this time the evidence is linguistic.

It seems that the curious Greek word hero comes also from heru, though a word similar to hero exists in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India after 1200 B.C. The word in Sanskrit which has the meaning of 'hero' is the related Vira. It is used in the precise sense of 'hero (as opposed to a god)' in the early Rig-veda and is thus attested at the time of the first migrations of Aryans into India. There is no question that the two words are cognates of each other. However, I propose for them (and we shall see more examples of this later in the book) a common derivation: from the Egyptian heru.

The word heru is given a meaning by Wallis Budge20 almost identical with that of hero and vira and is described as follows: 'applied to the king as the representative of the sun-god on earth'. This is a precise meaning applying to a human being on earth who is neither god nor daemon, but hero. Liddell and Scott make clear that the word was not used solely for those warriors who were prominent in battle, but was used to describe the minstrel Demodocus, the herald Mulius, and even (in the Odyssey, 7, 44) 'the unwarlike Phaeacian people are so called'.


In Homer 'the heroes were exalted above the race of common men', but particularly in Pindar the poet, we find the word used to describe a race 'between gods and men', in precisely the sense that we should expect the word heru to survive in another language. This Egyptian application of the word to their Pharaohs survived almost without change in Greek and Sanskrit and later in Latin and the later Indo-European languages.

It is interesting to note in the account of the word Helios as given by Liddell and Scott, Homer used the term in reference to 'the rising and setting, light and darkness, morning and evening'. In Egypt the precise application of Horus as sun-god was in his activity as rising and setting. He was the child who was born afresh each morning (and to the Greeks Helios was born afresh every morning at Colchis). Homer has thus used the fora-derived Helios in precisely the manner which we might have expected of an Egyptian, rather than a Greek, poet.

In Liddell and Scott we find the listing immediately after Helios of Helio- Serapis, which is 'an Egyptian divinity'. I leave the reader to draw his own conclusions regarding this clear use of the word Helio to preface a description of Serapis. Serapis was the Greek form of Asar-Hep, Hep being what is known in Greek as Apis the Bull. Asar is, of course, Osiris. In Egyptian it was quite common for there to be references to 'Horus-Osiris' combining Heru and Asar. Here in Greek we find this, if we accept my thesis of the derivation of Helio from helu or heru.

The reader is by now presumably immune to shock at the endless 'surprises' which arise in the course of this enquiry. Hence he will no doubt be prepared to learn that if we shorten the 'E' (from eta to epsilon) in Greek, we have the fora-derived word (which has dropped the aspirate, probably in connection with the shortening of the vowel) erion, which means - 'woollen fleece'!

There is a possibility that Herakles ('the glory of Hera'), the original captain of the Argo according to Graves, and his protectress the goddess Hera (wife to Zeus and Queen of the gods) are derived from heru and they are known to be related to the word Seirios which gave us Sirius and the Sanskrit svar, suryas etc. In Sanskrit Sura means 'hero', indicating that these words may relate also. Liddell and Scott believe this complex of words to be separate from the Helios-complex, but their opinion is only an opinion. Surana means 'fiery', just as Seirios can in the sense of 'scorching' (due to the supposed 'scorching' of the Dog Star, etc.)

Back to our fleece. We find that the Greek word for a woollen fleece is related to the Egyptian word for Horus, the Greek word for sun, etc., etc. So much for the puzzling nature of that now moot question: Why a fleece? Back to sacred puns again, which besiege us endlessly.

Let us not forget the Sumerians. Let us look again at that list of the fifty names of Marduk.


One of them is the name Nebiru. It is commonly taken to be the name of the planet Jupiter, but there is confusion there, and the word is discussed in Hamlet's Mill and many other places as one of the infuriating Sumerian words which we would like to understand. Where did it come from? What does it mean ? Why is it one of the fifty names ?

Immediately after this forty-ninth name, Marduk is called 'Lord of the Lands' (its Akkadian form, which has no significance for us, is Bel Matati; I do not know the Sumerian form, which might be of interest to us), Then, after this supposed fiftieth name comes another name, namely Ea-(Enki). Then Marduk is described as being of fifty names. It seems not to make perfect sense, since he has just been given fifty-one names.


One way in which to make it sensible is to treat 'Lord of the Lands' (which is given in English in Speiser and Heidel, unlike all the other names) as a synonym of Nebiru. If we do this, then Ea is the fiftieth name and everything is all right.

Now, let us look at the Egyptian language once again. We find that the word Neb is extremely common and is used in many combinations and means 'Lord'. Without further ado, let me make clear that I believe the Sumerian Nebiru to be derived from the Egyptian Neb-Heru.


If we treat Heru in its older Egyptian sense as the sun, then the descriptions of Nebiru in the Babylonian Enuma elish could read as a perfect description of Neb-Heru - 'the Lord the sun':

'Nebiru shall hold the crossings of heaven and earth. ... He who the midst of the Sea restlessly crosses,/Let "Crossing" be his name, who controls its midst,' etc., though overlaid with this, as with the traditional Horus, is a strictly stellar element which is behind the more obvious solar element.

However, I do not wish unduly to confuse the issue by peeling off too many layers at once. Suffice it to recall the previously mentioned associations of Horus with the Sirius system and note that there is a Heru-ami-Sept-t 'Horus of Sothis' and Heru-Sept, 'Horus the Dog Star' and then to note, again in association with Nebiru which is supposed to have been Jupiter! that there is in Egyptian a Heru-sba-res 'Horus, star of the south, i.e. Jupiter', and Heruup-Shet, 'the planet Jupiter'; also in the Enuma elish Nebiru is clearly described as 'a star'.


Horus also exists as Heru-ami-u which is 'a hawk-headed crocodile with a tail terminating in a dog's head'. The dog is related to Sirius. Heru-urshefit is a jackal form of Horus, heru is also the name of a sceptre and of a jackal- headed standard in the other world.


A form of Horus using the common word Neb is Heru-Neb-urr-t, meaning 'Horus as possessor of the supreme crown'. Another of several is Heru-Neb-pat, meaning 'Horus, lord of men'. HeruNeb-taui is 'Horus, Lord of the Two Lands'. Recall our synonym for Nebiru'Lord of the Lands'!

We are getting deeper and deeper into the legend of the golden fleece, of origins of Greek and Middle Eastern ideas in Egypt, along with key words and names, etc. All these centre round the curious Sirius complex. What more will we uncover ? Perhaps we need a break from all these Egyptian words.


There are many other aspects of our subject, and it leads us ever closer to the solution of our mystery - which is the origin of the subject.




The Sumerian god An had a daughter, Bau (representing the sound of a dog barking, as does the ancient Egyptian word for 'dog', auau), who was a dog-headed goddess. The Egyptian god Anubis (Anpu) was a dog-headed god.

The Sumerian Bau, as a daughter of An, is a sister of the fifty great gods (Anunnaki) who are also children of An. Since Bau may be a goddess of the Dog Star Sirius, the fact that she is the sister of 'the fifty' is significant, as Sirius B has an orbital period of fifty years.

The golden fleece was situated at Colchis in the Black Sea, where Jason and his Argonauts went to seek it. Colchis was an ancient Egyptian colony before 1200 B.C.

Herodotus emphasizes that the Egyptians originated the practice of circumcision, which survived also among the Colchians, whom he visited (the Hebrews acquired circumcision from the Egyptians while in bondage). It is noteworthy that the Dogon ceremony of the Sigui, which is connected with the Dogon Sirius-mysteries, centres largely round rites of circumcision.

Prominent in the story of the Argo is the female character Circe (whose name means 'falcon' or 'hawk'). Horus, son of Isis and Osiris, was symbolized by a falcon or hawk. Circe presided over the Colchian cemetery (which was originally Egyptian, Colchis having been an Egyptian colony). Horus, who presided over the cemetery of Memphis in Egypt, would have presided also over the one at Colchis while Egyptian influence was still directly exercised. Circe is obviously a Greek derivation of Horus.

The word kirke (Circe) in Greek, which we customarily write 'Circe' due to our habit of changing Greek k's into Latin c's, specifically means 'a kind of hawk or falcon' or 'an unknown bird' - just the sort of confusion we should expect among the Greeks with regard to a concept derived from Egyptian culture and imperfectly understood.

Actaeon, representing a sacred stag-king, was hunted down by fifty hounds (the dog motif joined to fifty) and killed with a silver bow (Sirius has also traditionally been known as 'the Bow Star', and in Egypt the goddess Sirius holds a bow).

The sacred king, such as Actaeon represented, had a 'sacred reign' of fifty months. It is arguable that 'fifty months' is a shorthand version of 'fifty years', but we now see undeniable ancient traditions connecting Sirius with fifty intervals of time (whether months or years) comprising 'a reign'. And of course the orbital period of Sirius B is fifty years comprising 'an orbit', which in mythological parlance could quite easily be considered 'a reign'.

As is explained in Chapter Six, the fifty-month period later became applied to the Olympic Games when they were established. It defined the interval of time separating them - approximating four solar years. In fact, the Olympic Games were actually separated by alternating intervals of 49 months, then 50 months, then 49 months, etc. This suggests even further an attempt more closely to approximate the 49.5 years of Sirius B's orbit in 'month-code'.


For by doubling up in this way, using the nearest two whole numbers in alternation, the exact correspondence was obtained, for 49 plus 50 gives the same as 49.5 plus 49.5. Robert Graves has offered the only previous theory to explain the 'fifty months' in ancient Greece, but his lunar theory does not explain the alternation between 49 and 50, or other mysterious aspects. It is probable that the true explanation based on the Sirius mystery was later overlaid by a lunar tradition which was offered as an 'explanation' to non-initiates, despite its obvious flaws.

It was customary in ancient times also to group together two sacred reigns of fifty months each to form a 'Great Year' of one hundred months. (In practice, as with the Olympic Games, 99 months were actually used, but in theory one used the round figure of 100 months conceived of as 'two reigns'.) The name of the Greek goddess Hekate (Hecate) literally means 'one hundred'. She was involved with the Argo tale and specifically identified by Robert Graves with Isis, and in other ways linked to Sirius as an 'underworld version'.

The fifty hounds of hell who pursued Actaeon have a counterpart in Cerberus, the hound of hell who had fifty heads in the earlier tradition. These fifty heads were later discarded in the tradition, like Gilgamesh's original fifty companions, and Cerberus was said to have three heads. But originally he had fifty, as Hesiod describes him.


This is thus yet another dog-motif connected with fifty (Sirius being the Dog Star), and linked to Sirius in various ways, such as through the goddess Hekate as an underworld version of Sirius. (The fifty Sumerian Anunnaki also had their counterparts in the underworld. Fifty in the underworld as 'death-counterparts' or shadows to fifty in heaven makes one hundred - the very meaning of Hekate.)

The only known cure for gout (a serious ancient Egyptian complaint) is a substance taken from the plant colchicum, named after Colchis where it grew. This may explain a colony at Colchis. Colchicum is also called 'meadow saffron' and resembles true saffron (which also grows along the Black Sea coasts), which gives a golden dye, perhaps explaining the 'golden' fleece. A golden fleece is a solar symbol.


Horus was a solar god. The letters 'L' and 'R' are interchangeable phonetic liquids. The Egyptian form of Horus, Hern, can become Helu and give us the Greek solar god's name Helios. Helios was supposed to stable his horses at Colchis.


The Greek word for 'woollen fleece' is erion, a word similar to Heru with a dropped aspirate ('h').


Back to Contents





  1. Toward the Image of Tammuz and Other Essays, Harvard, 1970.

  2. Kramer, S. N. History Begins at Sumer, Doubleday Anchor Book, New York, 1959, pp. 91-4.

  3. Antiquity of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 2.

  4. Herodotus, trans. A. de Selincourt, Book 2, 103.

  5. In Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 8.

  6. 'The Rise of Mycenaean Civilization', Cambridge Ancient History.

  7. Graves, Robert. The Greek Myths, 2 vols., Penguin Books, London, 1969, 170.5.

  8. Thompson, D'Arcy Wentworth. A Glossary of Greek Birds, Oxford, 1896.

  9. Porphyry, On Abstinence from Animal Food, for those who are not familiar with the traditional abbreviations. Porphyry was an early Neoplatonist, a student of Plotinus, who transcribed the Enneads. Thomas Taylor translated much of what survives of Porphyry's own writings, including On Abstinence, in Select Works of Porphyry, London, 1823.

  10. Graves, op. cit., 170.6.

  11. Ibid., 22.1.

  12. Robert Graves takes the view that Jason means 'healer'.

  13. Graves, op. cit., 31.3.

  14. The reference is to I. Burkill (1935) but I have not been able to trace the publication concerned and have gone to immense pains over it. Burkill was a noted botanist. A botanical publication of his for 1936 is not the correct reference. See Note 15 for source.

  15. Tackholm and Drar, 'Flora of Egypt', Vol. Ill, Bulletin of the Faculty of Science, No. 30, Cairo University Faculty of Science, Cairo University Press, 1954.

  16. See Note 15.

  17. Star Names, op. cit. See entry under Aries.

  18. Wallis Budge, Hieroglyphic Vocabulary to the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead, London, 1911. See entry for Her, p. 273.

  19. Ibid., p. 271.

  20. Ibid., p. 273, entry for Her.