The Oracle Centers
A consideration of the ancient oracle centers will now be useful in
our quest. These centers in the Middle East seem at a casual glance
to be dotted around apparently at random. However, there is actually
a pattern in their distribution which we will find bears some
relation to our subject, and which indicates a highly advanced
science of geography and related disciplines in the ancient world.
Examination of the oracle centers will
be seen to have a connection with the ship Argo and will help us to
fill in some of the missing background to the entire system of the
ancient religious mysteries. The oracle centers were the main places
where religion was practiced in the ancient world. It makes sense
that their occurrence would not be the product of pure chance, and
certainly not of convenience.
What place could be more out of the way
than Dodona in Greece ? It was geographically outside the sphere of
the civilized world of the Greeks - somewhat more north and more
west than any Greek could call comfortable. Why was such an
important and senior place of worship in the wilds? Indeed, for that
matter, why did Noah's ark land on a mountain nobody ever visits and
which is far more remote than even Dodona?
The ark and Argo and their connections
with the Sirius mystery will now be seen to have an intimate
connection with the entire geographical structure of the practice of
religion in the ancient Mediterranean world.
It is important that we
explore these extraordinary ramifications fully.
Now we are about to consider a most difficult and complex web of
ancient practice which it seems to be possible for us to decipher.
Let us approach it in a simpler way than that by which I was
originally led to it. Let us look at the ship Argo as if it were
spread over the surface of the globe by projection. This may seem a
curious idea, but the reader must bear with me. After all, the boat
is celestial, so why not a projection on the earth's surface from
Most prominent in the constellation is
the star Canopus which was called 'the Rudder', pedalion, by Aratos,
Eudoxus, and Hipparchos (the leading Greek astronomical figures
before Ptolemy), as we are informed by Allen.1
There was a place named Canopus on the northern coast of Egypt,
which was quite a famous city to the Greeks, and Allen describes it
'Ancient Canopus is now in ruins,
but its site is occupied by the village of Al Bekur, or Aboukir,
famous from Lord Nelson's Battle of the Nile, 1 August 1798, and
from Napoleon's victory over the Turks a year afterwards; and it
is interesting to remember that it was here, from the terraced
walls of the Serapeum, the temple of Serapis, that Ptolemy made
In his book Hellenistic Civilization,
W. W. Tarn comments on Canopus after Alexander the Great had
founded Alexandria near it, that from Alexandria 'the gardens of the
wealthy extended to Canopus, Alexandria's playground'. To the
Greeks, Canopus was the most famous Egyptian city on the northern
coast before the foundation of Alexandria. In earlier times the fame
of Canopus was held by a city called Behdet, which was a
pre-dynastic capital of Egypt before the unification of Egypt and
the transferring of the capital to Memphis further south.
So, just as Canopus became superseded by
Alexandria, Canopus had itself superseded the extremely ancient
Behdet which existed before 3200 B.C. as the most important city on
the Egyptian coast. In our discussion which follows we must realize
that in the times just preceding and during the classical period in
Greece the fame that had once attached to Behdet had shifted to
Canopus, along with many traditions which were in actuality native
to Behdet, which was by then a neglected place which no Greek knew.*
is on the same latitude as Hebron in the present-day
Israeli-occupied west bank of Jordan. In Chapter Four of The White
Goddess, Robert Graves tells of'. .. the Philistines, who captured
the shrine of Hebron in southern Judaea from the Edomite clan of
Caleb; but the Calebites ("Dog-men"), allies of the Israelite tribe
of Judah, recovered it about two hundred years later. . .'. 'The
Dog-men' are probably connected with Sirius the Dog Star and Hebron
is the eastern counterpart of Behdet.
Richard Allen says further of the city of Canopus:
'Our name for it is that of the
chief pilot of the fleet of Menelaos, who, on his return from
the destruction of Troy, 1183 B.C., touched at Egypt, where,
twelve miles to the north-eastward from Alexandria, Canopus died
and was honoured, according to Scylax, by a monument raised by
his grateful master, giving his name to the city and to this
splendid star, which at that time rose about 7.5 deg. above that
Sir Norman Lockyer in The Dawn of
Astronomy describes ancient Egyptian temples oriented to the rising
of the star Canopus.2
Note in the above story of the pilot Canopus that the names of the
city and the star are specifically said to have the same origin and
that it is from a famous pilot of a fleet, the man at the helm who
steers the rudder in the lead ship. Once again, in another way, the
star (and the place) are identified with the rudder, which was the
other name for the same star.
Allen brings forward another interesting aspect of the star's name,
which will be something familiar to us:
The foregoing derivation of the word
Canopus is an early and popular one; but another, perhaps as
old, and more probable, being on the authority of Aristides, is
from the Coptic, or Egyptian, Kahi Nub, Golden Earth. Ideler,
coinciding in this, claimed these words as also the source of
other titles for Canopus, the Arabic Wazn, Weight, and Hadar,
Ground; and of the occasional later Ponderosus and Terrestris.
Although I find no reason assigned for the appropriateness of
these names, it is easy to infer that they may come from the
magnitude of the star and its nearness to the horizon; this last
certainly made it the [Perigeios - 'near the earth'] of
Notice how the irrepressible Al Wazn,
'Weight', and its Latin form Ponderosus, keep springing up whenever
there seems to be a connection with Sirius.
Allen mentions that 'The Hindus called (Canopus) Agastya, one of
their Rishis, or inspired sages, and helmsman of their Argha . . .'
which is in striking agreement with the Mediterranean concepts.
Further in line with our previous discoveries if will be interesting
to note what Allen says of another of the stars of Argo, the star (eta):
'(Jensen) claims it as one of the
(Babylonian) temple stars associated with Ea, or Ia [Ea was his
Akkadian name, Enki was his Sumerian name; Eridu was his
geodetic city, which was the southernmost of all the Sumerian
cities. A whole book could easily be written on this subject; a
good start for the interested reader would be Hamlet's Mill and
also the relevant section in Expedition Tortoise - see
Bibliography], of Eridhu, the Lord of the Waves, otherwise known
as Oannes, the mysterious human fish and greatest god of the
Here again we have our amphibious
creature Oannes, identified now with the god Enki, who in Sumerian
myth did indeed reside at the bottom of the Abzu, or Abyss, in fresh
(not salt) water. It was, in fact, the god Enki who assisted man
before the flood came by warning the proto-Noah of the Sumerian
deluge story to build his ark. He thus fulfilled the function of the
special presiding deity of the Hebrews, the Jehovah of the Old
How many Jews know that their god was
originally amphibious ?
This early Noah or proto-Noah, whom the god Enki warned, was called
either Ziusudra or Utnapishtim, depending on which period of
pre-Biblical literature one consults. In the early deluge stories,
the proto-Noah in his ark sends forth birds to seek dry land just as
does Noah in his ark and rather as Jason sends forth birds to find
the way through the clashing rocks.
H. W. Parke in his book The Oracles of
Zeus specifically associates the birds sent forth by Jason with
Dodona. Both Dodona and Delphi claimed the 'Greek Noah' Deukalion as
having landed his ark on the mountain tops at their locations. Noah
himself landed his ark on Mount Ararat, which his bird found for
him. We shall see in a little while the importance of these birds
and the locations espied by them.
But recall now the connections between
Dodona and Mount Ararat implied by a common tale of their having
both been found by a 'Noah' in an ark who sent forth a bird who
found the mountain. It is true that one tale is purely Greek and the
other tale purely Hebrew. Naturally, there cannot be any real
connection between Dodona and Mount Ararat. After all, they are
probably purely arbitrary locations. It is all myth and fable, isn't
The Jews and the Greeks were never in
contact. There could have been no liaison between them. It is all
separate hermetically sealed cultures with vague fairy-tales and
nonsense. Isn't it? Can anyone challenge such a view? Of course not.
So it is interesting that Dodona and Mount Ararat are on the same
parallel and have the same latitude.
Furthermore, Mount Ararat has a centre associated with it which
served much the same function to the Caucasians as Dodona did to the
Greeks. It is called Metsamor. Here is a description of it by
Professor David Lang and Dr Charles Burney:3
Archaeological research during the past half century has materially
altered our concept of the history of literature, science, and
learning in Transcaucasia. A key site here is the village of
Metsamor, a few miles to the west of Echmiadzin, and within sight of
Mount Ararat and Alagoz. Close to the village is a massive rocky
hummock, perhaps half a mile in circumference, with outcrops of
craggy stone. The hummock is riddled with caves, underground storage
vaults, and prehistoric dwellings, and is now seen to have been a
major scientific, astronomical and industrial centre, operating in
the fields of metallurgy, astrology and primitive magic from a
period hardly less than five thousand years ago.
The Metsamor 'observatory' is covered with mysterious, cabbalistic
signs. Indeed, hieroglyphic writing in Armenia goes back to very
early times, perhaps to the New Stone Age. All over Armenia, we find
pictograms or petroglyphs, carved or scratched on rocks, caves and
cliff faces, and showing simplified human and animal figures. There
is little doubt that these served as means of communication, as well
as of ritual and artistic self-expression.
They also describe Metsamor's wide-ranging contacts with the outside
Sumerian achievements as pioneers in
copper and bronze metallurgy must not be underestimated. . . .
The early Transcaucasian cultural zone, though geographically
within the Near East, was divided only by the high but narrow
Caucasus from the northern steppes; and, once there, nothing
could prevent the traders reaching the central European
Thus Georgia, with its neighbouring
regions, was perhaps open as much to influences from Europe as
to those from the Near East. Transcaucasia may have been not so
much an original centre as a region into which metal-working
arrived from two different directions, and where, though present
in earlier periods in a modest way, it took root and from the
late third millennium B.C. began to develop along distinctive
lines, no longer owing its forms to external inspiration. . . .
Metsamor gives a hint that, just as
earlier in Europe, once foreign merchants had arrived seeking
sources of metals, bringing their copper and later their bronze
products with them, and explaining, by choice or otherwise,
their techniques to the local population, it was no time before
a local industry began to arise. If present evidence indeed
points to Armenia as the oldest centre of metallurgy in
Transcaucasia, it points also to a Near Eastern inspiration.
It is extraordinary that if you place a
compass point on Thebes in Egypt you can draw an arc through both
Dodona and Metsamor.
We now return to Allen and his further remarks5 about Oannes:
'Berossos described Oannes as the
teacher of early man in all knowledge; and in mythology he was
even the creator of man ... and some have regarded him as the
prototype of Noah.'
Allen also describes the star Canopus in
'And, as the constellation (of Argo)
was associated on the Nile with the great god Osiris, so its
great star became the Star of Osiris....'
He gives a further application of the
title 'heavy': 'The Alfonsine Tables had (for Canopus) Suhel
Ponderosus ("Among the Persians Suhail is a synonym for wisdom ..."
and there was also, therefore, a "Suhel Sirius"), that appeared in a
contemporary chronicle as Sihil Ponderosa, a translation of Al
Suhail al Wazn.' Allen then gives several tales indicating that this
designation was once applied to another star 'formerly located near
Orion's stars' and 'had to flee south', being an apparent admission
that Canopus is being called by another star's title. Canopus is
south of Sirius (which is 'near Orion's stars'), and so obviously
the description of the invisible Sirius B 'fled south' to a likely
visible star, Canopus.
Now to return to our projection of the Argo on the earth's surface.
We put the stern of the ship and its rudder at the obvious place -
Canopus. (But really slightly altered eastwards to the original city
Now we must consider Dodona. We are told that oak from Dodona was
placed 'in the middle of the keel' of Argo by Athena. It obviously
ran the whole length of the ship.
It is also referred to as being in the
prow, Allen says of this:
Mythology insisted that (the Argo)
was built by Glaucus, or by Argos, for Jason, leader of the
fifty Argonauts, whose number equalled that of the oars of the
ship, aided by Pallas Athene, who herself set in the prow a
piece from the speaking oak of Dodona; the Argo being 'thus
endowed with the power of warning and guiding the chieftains who
form its crew'. She carried the famous expedition from Iolchis
in Thessaly to Aea in Colchis, in search of the golden fleece,
and when the voyage was over Athene placed the boat in the sky.
In measuring with the Argots projection
one does so from the site of Behdet, which is a bit east of Canopus
on the northern Mediterranean coast of Egypt, but it was common
classical Greek practice to think of Canopus in place of the
forgotten Behdet, as for instance with 'the Canopic Hercules' who
went to Delphi and is mentioned by Pausanius as predecessor to the
Greek Hercules from Tiryns who was of much later date. (It is
important that the original Hercules was admitted by the Greeks to
have been an Egyptian.)
In fact, the Delphic oracle itself
compares the Greek Hercules most unfavourably with the original
Egyptian one - and remember it is said that in the earliest versions
of the story it was Hercules, not Jason, who led the Argonauts.
Also, it is well accepted today among scholars that Hercules was in
many ways a survival of Gilgamesh, with particular motifs and deeds
being identical in both heroes.
Well, if we project the Argo on the earth with its rudder at Canopus
(really Behdet) we put the other end at Dodona because the oak in
the prow came from there. Canopus-Behdet is named after the rudder,
and Dodona produced the prow. Therefore we are not merely
fantasizing when we project the image of the Argo in such a way that
the rudder is at the rudder on earth and the prow is at the earthly
source of the prow.
If we then keep the rudder at the same spot and swing the boat over
a map so that the prow which touched Dodona points towards Metsamor,
we discover that the angle made is exactly a right-angle of 900.
Now we get into geodetics, a fearsome subject. The fact is that
geodetics involves a bit of bother. It concerns latitudes and
longitudes, and most people would run a mile upon hearing those
mentioned (sailors and pilots of aircraft excepted). In fact no one
is more likely to flee with terror from the subject than an
There is almost nothing an archaeologist
likes less than being reminded how little he may know about the
Earth as a body in space and about astronomy. The average
archaeologist is almost bound to be ignorant of even the most
elementary astronomical facts. There are many caustic comments on
this state of affairs to be found in The Dawn of Astronomy,
written by the distinguished Victorian astronomer and friend of Sir
Wallis Budge, Sir Norman Lockyer,6 and more recently
some severe remarks have been made also by Santillana and
von Dechend in
But we must come now to some extremely interesting further
discoveries. Egypt is 7 deg. long - in latitude - from Behdet to the
Great Cataract. I have reasons for believing that the ancient
Egyptians thought of distances of 70 as an octave, by analogy with
music. Most readers will know that an octave contains eight notes on
a scale over a space of seven intervals (five tones and two
semitones actually, but let us think only of the seven intervals).
Just as this book was about to go to press, confirmation appeared in
the newspapers that the ancient Mediterranean peoples did indeed
know the principles of our musical octave. In the London Times1 an
article appeared describing the work of Dr Richard L. Crocker,
Professor of Music History, and Dr Anne D. Kilmer, Professor of
Assyriology and Dean of Humanities, both at the University of
The article quoted Dr Crocker as saying:
'We always knew there was music in
the earlier Assyro-Babylonian civilization. But until this, we
did not know that it had the same heptatonic diatonic scale that
is characteristic of contemporary Western music and Greek music
of the first millennium B.C.'
After fifteen years of research, Crocker
and Kilmer have demonstrated that some clay tablets from Ugarit on
the coast of present-day Syria, dating from about 1800 B.C., bore a
musical text based on our familiar octave. Dr Kilmer summed it up by
'It is the oldest "sheet music"
known to exist.'
The two professors have even played the
tune on a reconstruction of an ancient lyre in public, after an
interval of only 3,700 years.8
I believe that the Egyptians laid out a 'geodetic octave' commencing
at 1 deg. north of Behdet (to emphasize its separateness from Egypt)
and culminating at Dodona. For Dodona is precisely 8 deg. north of
Behdet in latitude!
And the related oracle centre of Delphi is
exactly 7 deg. in latitude north of Behdet! (These last two facts
were discovered by Livio Stecchini, as will be explained somewhat
I have arrived at this sequence for a geodetic oracle octave (see
Fig. 25 below):
7. Delphi (with its famous omphalos, a stone navel)
6. Delos, the famous shrine of Apollo, once an oracle centre
(also with an omphalos)
5. Kythera (Cythera), a site on the north-east coast (see
later); or Thera
4. Omphalos (Thenae) near Knossos on Crete (on the Plain of
3. Undiscovered site on Southern or South-western coast of
Cyprus? (Paphos?) (Cape Gata?)
2. Lake Triton (or Tritonis) in Libya
1. El Marj (Barce or Barca)
The ones which I have identified are
spaced apart by one degree of latitude which we shall see was the
geodetic centre of the ancient world (akin to Greenwich in the
modern world) and was also a pre-dynastic capital of Egypt.
What justification have I for speaking of a link between the oracle
centers and the musical octave? I have several reasons, and it would
be just as well for me to give some slight indications here to make
the reader who is justifiably puzzled at this point a little less
Graves9 informs us of some interesting facts about Apollo, who was
official patron god of Delphi and Delos (two of the centers on our
'In Classical times, music, poetry,
philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, medicine, and science all
came under Apollo's control. As the enemy of barbarism, he stood
for moderation in all things, and the seven strings of his lute
were connected with the seven vowels of the later Greek
alphabet, given mystical significance, and used for therapeutic
music. Finally, because of his identification with the Child
Horus, a solar concept, he was worshipped as the sun, whose
Corinthian cult had been taken over by solar Zeus. . . .'
Note also the reference to Horus, whose
falcon would have presided over the Colchian dead in their hope of
resurrection. In fact, one meaning of kirkos (Circe - 'falcon'),
which I did not elaborate on earlier, is 'ring'. I wish to comment
in passing that not only was the ring traditionally a solar symbol
(as was the golden fleece, and as was the falcon), but the Cyclopes
who were one-eyed were really one-ring-eyed.
Cyclopes means 'ring-eyed', in fact.
'One-eyed Polyphemus . . . can be
traced back to the Caucasus. . . . Whatever the meaning of the
Caucasian tale may have been, A. B. Cook in his Zeus (PP-
302-23) shows that the Cyclops's eye was a Greek solar emblem.'
The following remarks by Graves then
tend to dissociate Cyclops from Cyclopes, but perhaps this should
not be done, in the light of all these new insights. After all, the
older Cyclopes were three, wild, and ring-eyed, and sons again of
Gaia the Earth goddess just as were the three fifty-headed monsters
(there is to be much discussion of this later).
They would, according to my 'system', be
solar too, and 'ring', 'falcon', 'earth-born of Gaia' and solar seem
always to go together in the schema. Gaia, indeed, preceded the
solar Apollo as presiding deity at Delphi. Not surprising, as
Deukalion's ark landed on Mount Parnassus above Delphi (according to
Delphic propaganda) and his 'mother' was Gaia, whose 'bones' he
threw behind him to people the desolated Earth once again.
It is not only Deukalion's ark that is connected with Delphi. There
are connections also with the Argo, as we learn from Godfrey
'In the religious ceremonies at
Delphi a boat of immense size was carried about in processions;
it was shaped like a lunar crescent, pointed alike at each end:
it was called an Omphalos or Umbilicus, or the ship Argo. Of
this ship Argo I shall have very much to say hereafter. My
reader will please to recollect that the os minxae or (Delphys)
is called by the name of the ship Argo.'
Other matters which Higgins connects
with Delphi are the sacred syllable om of the Indo-Europeans which
'is not far from the divina vox of
the Greek. Hesychius, also Suidas in voce, interprets the word
omph to be Oela (theia chledon), the sacred voice, the holy
sound - and hence arose the (omphalos), or place of Omphe.'
He relates all this with sacred music
and the traditional sacred name of God which consists of the seven
vowels spoken in sequence to form one word, which is the
'As a pious Jew will not utter the
word Ieue, so a pious Hindu will not utter the word Om.'
Higgins says 'on phe', is the verb root
in Greek of phao 'to speak or pronounce and phemi, 'to say'. (I
might add that , phegos, is the word for oak, as at Dodona, and
phemi, literally means 'oracle'.) Hence Omphe means 'the speaking of
Om.' (At the pheme Dodona the phegos literally practised omphe
because the oak spoke there.)
Delphi was said to be the omphalos, 'navel', of the world. But it
was in fact only one of many.12 The reader will have noticed that
there is an Omphalos near Knossos in Crete which is one of the
octave sequence of oracle centers laid out in geodetic integral
degrees of latitude from Behdet, pre-dynastic capital of Egypt. A
photograph of the omphalos stone of Delos may be seen in Plate 12 as
The seven vowels, the seven strings of
Apollo's lyre, the seven notes of the octave (the eighth being a
repetition one octave higher of the first as most people will know),
the eight oracle centers in the 'northern octave' of oracles, the
seven degrees of latitude marking the official length of ancient
Egypt itself, the mystic and unspeakable name of God consisting of
the seven vowels run together in one breath - all these are part of
a coherent complex of elements forming a system.
Before going much further, I should justify my tentative selection
of a site on the island of Kythera (Cythera), which is off the
southern coast of the Greek Peloponnese, as possibly being
associated with the fifth in my series of geodetically sited oracle
centers. I found the necessary information while reading Professor
Cyrus H. Gordon's remarkable book, The Common Background of Greek
and Hebrew Civilizations.13
At the end of Chapter II, Gordon tells
us the following:
Sometimes cultic centers attracted
people from remote areas. Probably the most common cause for
such magnetism was an efficacious priesthood, that earned a
reputation for helping people in need of practical advice,
psychological guidance or medical aid. Cythera began to attract
foreigners as early as the Pyramid Age.
A stone cup, with the name of a
Fifth Dynasty [the chronology of Richard A. Parker gives the
dates 2501-2342 B.C. for the Fifth Dynasty] solar temple [of
Pharaoh Userkaf at Abusir] (sp-rc) inscribed in Egyptian
hieroglyphs, has been found on Cythera. Early in the second
quarter of the second millennium, a Bablyonian inscription of
Naram-Sin, King of Eshnunna, was dedicated on Cythera 'for the
life' of that Mesopotamian monarch.
[This is one of the reasons for
believing that both texts were sent to Cythera in antiquity.
Modern deception is unlikely because the Naram-Sin text was
found on Cythera in 1849 before the decipherment of cuneiform.]
The interesting thing is that both
of these texts found on Cythera are religious in character.
Herodotus (1:105) relates that the Phoenicians erected a temple
on Cythera to the goddess of the heavens. Finally in classical
times, Cythera was a great centre of the cult of Aphrodite. The
ancient temples were built in the vicinity of Palaiopolis around
the middle of the eastern shore. I visited the site in 1958 and
found it extensive and promising for excavation. . . .
Egyptians, Babylonians and Phoenicians came to worship the great
[At that time the great goddess,
Gaia, was also in charge of Delphi, before the usurpation by
Ancient cultic installations, carved
out of the living rock, can still be seen on a high place at the
north end, near the shore. A well, cleared some years ago, had,
at its bottom, ancient statuary . . . [there are] ancient stone
walls. . . . The whole area is covered with ceramics that show
the site was occupied in Middle Minoan III (c. 1700-1570), Late
Minoan I—III (c. 1570-1100) [Note: 'Late Minoan III (c.
1400-1100) is the Mycenaean Age'] and subsequently in classical
times (5th-4th centuries B.C.).
The problem posed by ancient Cythera has
not yet been answered. The island is rather remote from Egypt and
Asia for men to have sailed there, for religious purposes alone. And
yet it is hard to discover any more practical reason. Cythera is not
remarkable for its natural resources. . . . Meanwhile we must reckon
with Cythera as a site where all the evidence so far points to its
importance as a religious centre with international attraction. . .
. Such shrines have remained well known throughout the ages. In
classical antiquity, the oracle at Delphi was sought within a wide
radius. Today Lourdes attracts from every continent people in need
of help that they have not succeeded in finding nearer home.
Cythera thus became a centre for Egyptians and Semites and still
other people, from Abusir along the Nile to Eshnunna beyond the
Euphrates. Such visitors brought their influence to bear upon the
Aegean, and on returning home, carried some Aegean culture with
them. . . . It is gratifying that Cythera is now being excavated by
Professor George Huxley for the University of Pennsylvania Museum.
So much for Cythera; an alternative possible site is on the island
of Thera. Or the two may be linked. Some justification for my guess
that site number three would be in the south of Cyprus comes from
the famous references to 'Aphrodite Kytherean, even as far as
Cyprus', in the ancient literature. Also, Herodotus (Book I, 105)
refers to the temple of Aphrodite Urania at Ascalon in Syria and
' [it is] the most ancient, I am
told, of all the temples of this goddess. The one in Cyprus the
Cyprians themselves admit was derived from it, and the one in
Cythera was built by the Phoenicians, who belong to this part of
In the latter (unquoted) part of his
last footnote given above, Gordon mentions that 'Phoenicians' is
Herodotean language inclusive of the Minoans.
In passing, I might mention that a little island opposite Cythera is
called Anti-Cythera and there a famous shipwreck was recovered from
which came the miniature mechanical computer dated from the first
century B.C. (concerning which Professor Derek Price of Yale
University has written a good deal, including a 'cover story' for
the Scientific American). This little computer is one of many
survivals of ancient times which demonstrate conclusively that the
conventional attitudes today to ancient technology are inadequate,
and seriously underestimate the early peoples.
Now as for the site of Delos, I will give information here from H.
W. Parke's authoritative book Greek Oracles14 which will indicate
its importance as an oracle centre in my postulated 'northern
octave' of geodetic centers:
The other point which Dodona could
urge against Delphi in its favour was that it was the oracle of
Zeus himself. Apollo was at most the son of Zeus, inserted
somewhat awkwardly into the Greek pantheon. On the face of it
his prophecies could not be as significant as the utterances of
the father of gods and men.
Delphi replied with an elaborate
piece of theological propaganda. While not attempting to detract
from the supreme position of Zeus, it was argued that Apollo was
his chosen prophet. This doctrine appears first in the Homeric
Hymn to Apollo, but not in the sections connected with Delphi.
It is in the Delian hymn where the infant god bursts from his
swaddling clothes and cries:
'May the harp and the bending
bow be my delight, and I shall prophesy to men the unerring
will of Zeus.'
In the rest of the same poem there
are other references to Delos as an oracle-centre, a function
which had lapsed in the classical period. But this part of the
Homeric Hymn with its description of the Delian festival
evidently dates back to an early stage of the archaic period -
probably about 700 B.C.
The concept of Apollo as the prophet of
Zeus may, then, have started in Delos, but it was certainly taken
over and largely developed by Delphi.
Also '. . . Delos, though later mainly famous as (Apollo's)
birthplace, evidently once had been a centre of divination.'15
My contention that the oracle centers of Dodona, Delphi, Delos,
Cythera, Knossos, and Cyprus are linked as a series - apart from the
obvious facts that they are all separated from each other by a
degree of latitude and are integral degrees of latitude from Behdet
in Egypt and have demonstrable connections with Egypt in tradition
or archaeology - is further cemented by another passage in H. W.
At Delphi, namely the site of the
classical shrine of Athena Pronaia on the east of Castalia ...
as excavation has shown, there was not a settlement, but a cult
centre going back to Mycenaean times. ... It is interesting
archaeologically that a number of important finds from the
earlier archaic periods show clear affinities or actual
derivation from Crete.
For, as we have mentioned, the
Homeric Hymn to Apollo ends by describing how,
'Phoebus Apollo then took it in
mind whom he would bring of men as his worshippers who would
serve him in rocky Pytho. Then while pondering he was aware
of a swift ship on the wine-dark sea, and in it were good
men and many - Cretans from Minoan Knossos who offer
sacrifices to the lord Apollo and announce the oracles of
Phoebus Apollo of the golden sword whatever he speaks in
prophecy from the laurel-tree ...'
Some scholars have seen in the
evident archaeological links between early archaic Delphi and
Crete a basis of fact behind this facade of legend, and it is
possible that the cult of Apollo was introduced by sea from
Crete. . . .
In the Homeric Hymn quoted we find it
specifically stated that Minoan Cretans (contemporaneous with
ancient Egypt, of course, and who traded with the Egyptians) from
Knossos took Apollo to Delphi, the site of an omphalos. And these
Knossians are stated to respect oracles. And near Knossos is a site
called Omphalos which is one degree of latitude south of the site of
Kythera, which is one degree south of Delos, which is one degree
south of Delphi.
Parke gives further information.17 He mentions the connections well
known to have existed between Delos and Dodona through what are
known as 'the Hyperborean gifts', which were sent to Delos by way of
Dodona from the mysterious northern Hyperboreans, whose land has
never been located with any certainty at all, but which is thought
by many to have been Britain.
In Book II of Diodorus Siculus one finds
a description of the Hyperboreans observing celestial objects
through what sounds to me and some other scholars distinctly like a
telescope. The description should be consulted by the interested
Figure 18. Detail of
mural from Pompeii reproduced by W. H. Roscher. The omphalos
is identical to the one at Delos (see Plate 12, top right). Here the
is being harassed by a python
Parke tells us:
'In the Cyclades Delos had once had
an Apolline oracle of importance. . . . One can suppose that
this institution existed ... at the end of the eighth century,
and may have dwindled away in the seventh century. ... By the
time when Pisistratus and Polycrates in the latter half of the
sixth century revived the sanctity of Delos, the oracle appears
to have already ceased and was not restored.'18
It is a daunting prospect to try to set
forth at proper length all the complex tangle of information
concerning the 'northern octave' and its many links with the Sirius
tradition. It is impossible for me to do justice in this book to the
subject of the astronomical knowledge of the ancients.19
From Hamlet's Mill we have a passage which is now relevant. The
reader will have to accept on trust that the seven notes of the
octave and the seven planets of ancient times were thought of in
connection with one another. We cannot here take on the debate
concerning early Pythagoreanism versus Neo- Pythagoreanism and the
genesis of different concepts of 'harmony of the spheres'.
Here is the passage:
'And Aristotle says (Rhet. 2.24,
1401a15) that, wishing to circumscribe a "dog", one was
permitted to use "Dog star" (Sirius) or Pan, because Pindar
states him to be the "shape-shifting dog of the Great Goddess
[Gaia]" . . . The amazing significance of Sirius as leader of
the planets, as the eighth planet, so to speak, and of Pan, the
dance-master (choreutes) as well as the real kosmokrator, ruling
over the "three worlds", would take a whole volume.'20
Now this reference to Sirius as 'the
eighth planet, so to speak' is an extremely interesting clue. (In
fact, there is some evidence to suggest that the ancients knew of
the existence of the eighth planet Uranus because the Egyptians
could just have managed to observe it in the way suggested by Peter
Tompkins in Secrets of the Great Pyramid.21
And I believe both that this was
probably the case and that Uranus was sometimes compared to Sirius B
because they were both 'invisible'. Also, Sirius B orbits Sirius A
as a planet orbits a sun, as I have mentioned before, for its
orbital period is less than that of our own planets Uranus, Neptune,
and Pluto. The fact that Sirius B, a star, moves faster than Uranus,
a planet, is an additional reason for the two to be thought of as
similar. Sirius B was additionally compared in some obscure way to
the innermost tiny planet Mercury, the nature of whose orbit was
symbolized by the human intestines - see Figure 13 for this - and
Uranus was the 'octave' expression of Mercury.
Consider this 'eighth planet' theme in relation to the oracle
centers. Dodona is the eighth oracle centre of the 'northern
octave'. In music, the eighth note closes the octave by repeating
the first note an octave higher. The 'eighth planet' would therefore
repeat the first planet which was Hermes (in Latin, Mercury). Now it
was Hermes (Mercury) who supplied the golden ram to Phrixus so that
he could make his getaway to Colchis.
And it was the oak of Dodona which was
fitted into the prow of the Argo which returned the golden fleece.
During the interval of the fleece's stay in Colchis the fleece
rested 'in the grove of Ares (Mars)'. The important points to note
are that the fleece went to Colchis under the auspices of the first
planet, rested there under the auspices of (the planet?) Mars, and
returned under the auspices of Sirius the 'eighth planet' with the
oak of the eighth oracle centre in the Argo's prow.
And we have already seen how Argo, if
swung through a 900 angle, touches its prow first at Dodona and then
points directly at Metsamor near Mount Ararat. But if an extended
Argo has its prow touch Dodona and its rudder at Egyptian Thebes,
the Argo may be swung to Ararat/Metsamor and touches its prow there
Parke says: 'On Asia Minor Didyma near Miletus is the only
oracle-centre for whose activity we have some evidence in the sixth
century.'22 Miletus seems to be on the same parallel as Delos, just
as Sardis is on the same parallel as Delphi.23 And we have seen that
Mount Ararat (having its associated centre at Metsamor) is on the
same parallel as Dodona. There may be a 'northeastern octave' to
correspond to the 'northern octave'.
But we shall see later that geodetic
points exist over great stretches of territory, marked out from
Behdet, the ancient Greenwich.
(For instance, an arc swung through Aea
in Colchis would pass through Mecca as well, if the compass point
were on Behdet. A line from Egyptian Thebes to Dodona intersects the
vicinity of Omphalos and Knossos on Crete. The lines connecting
Thebes, Dodona, and Metsamor, form an equilateral triangle. A line
from Behdet to Dodona intersects Thera. Also, a straight line passes
through the three points Behdet, Mecca, Dodona. As for Mecca, I
doubt that many Moslem scholars will be at all surprised to learn of
these aspects of their holy centre. They know very well that the
centre has geodetic aspects and the central shrine of the Kaaba
dates from prehistoric times; they say it was established by the
Associations of Delphi with the Sirius tradition are not limited to
the Canopic Egyptian Hercules's visit, the carrying of an Argo in
procession, and the desire to claim the ark of Deukalion instead of
Dodona's claiming it (the centers then being rivals for power and
attention, as I have said).
Other Sirius-tradition elements present in connection with Delphi
are concerned with the Argo and the Minyae. It was an oracle from
Delphi which stated the golden fleece would have to be brought back
to Iolchus from Colchis. It was a series of insistent oracles from
Delphi that were ultimately responsible for our knowing the Sirius
tradition from the Dogon today, as we will see near the end of the
book. For Delphi determined the later fate of the Minyae, and it is
their tradition which survives today in the former French Sudan.
The explanation of this will be left to
Now, as to the omphalos stone and also
Behdet. For these subjects we must turn to an amazing book published
in 1971 The Secrets of the Great Pyramid by Peter Tompkins (with a
scholarly appendix by Livio Stecchini). Tompkins tells us:24
The prime meridian of Egypt was made
to split the country longitudinally precisely in half, running
from Behdet on the Mediterranean, right through an island in the
Nile just northeast of the Great Pyramid, all the way to where
it crossed the Nile again at the Second Cataract. . . . Cities
and temples, says Stecchini, were deliberately built at
distances in round figures and simple fractions from the tropic
or the prime meridian.
The predynastic capital of Egypt was
set near the mouth of the Nile at Behdet, right on the prime
meridian, at 31 deg. 30'. . . . Memphis, the first capital of
united Egypt, was again laid out on the prime meridian and at
29deg. 51', precisely 6 deg. north of the tropic. ... As each of
these geodetic centers was a political as well as a geographical
'navel' of the world, an omphalos, or stone navel, was placed
there to represent the northern hemisphere from equator to pole,
marked out with meridians and parallels, showing the direction
and distance of other such navels.
In Thebes the stone omphalos was
placed in the main room of the temple of Amon, where the
meridian and parallel actually cross. . . . For the ancient
Egyptians to have laid out an absolutely straight meridian of
300 of latitude from the Mediterranean to the equator, over
2,000 miles, and drawn two more, equidistant, east and west, as
boundaries of the country [see illustrations in the book], must
have required an enormous amount of personnel and careful
Even more sophisticated was their
method of establishing longitude, as reconstructed by Stecchini.
With the aid of an elementary system of telegraphy, consisting
of a series of beacons, the Egyptians, says Stecchini, were able
to note what star was at its zenith at a certain moment, and
flash the data, via a string of flares, to other observers, so
many degrees to east and west. . . . Because of the advanced
geodetic and geographic science of the Egyptians, Egypt became
the geodetic centre of the known world.
Other countries located their
shrines and capital cities in terms of the Egyptian meridian
'zero', including such capitals as Nimrod, Sardis, Susa,
Persepolis, and, apparently, even the ancient Chinese capital of
All of these localities, says Stecchini,
were set and oriented on the basis of the most exact sightings. The
same applies to the centers of worship of the Jews, the Greeks, and
According to Hebrew historians the original Jewish centre of worship
was not Jerusalem, but Mount Gerizim, a strictly geodetic point 4
deg. east of the main axis of Egypt. It was only moved to Jerusalem
after 980 B.C.
The two great oracular centers of Greece - Delphi and Dodona - were
also geodetic markers according to Stecchini. Delphi is 7 deg. and
Dodona 8 deg. north of Behdet, the northernmost part of Egypt, on
the prime meridian of Egypt.
This is obviously where I got the original idea for my 'northern
octave', from this brilliant observation of Stecchini's.
Readers who have pondered the strange
story of Pharaoh Tutankhamen whose previous name had been
Tutankhaten - and his father-in-law, Akhenaten and mother-in-law
Nefertiti - might do well to note that a geodetic-religious dispute
lay behind Akhenaten's desire to build a new geodetic capital city,
which he did, but outraged the priests in the process. Why were the
boundary stones of this city later ferociously mutilated ? Because
the Pharaoh had tried to establish a variation on the geodetic
system of Egypt (for some very sound reasons, of course), and those
marker stones represented it quite literally!
In Plate 12 the reader may see for himself the surviving omphalos
stones of Delphi and of Delos86 - both of which are spread with
'nets' representing a latitudinal and longitudinal geodetic mesh.26
It is this mesh which is probably carried at all times by Oannes
(see Plates 6, 7, 8 and 9) as a 'basket'.
For the 'warp and woof of the sacred
basket of Oannes/Dagon - surviving as the lyknos basket of Greek
Demeter (who succeeded the Philistine fish-tailed Dagon as
agricultural deity, keeping Dagon's 'basket') - represent perfectly
the warp and woof of latitude and longitude. The Dogon have
traditions of the religious and mythological importance of 'warp and
woof in weaving, and of sacred baskets 'which are not baskets', all
of which may be found described in many places in Le Renard Pale.
In Plate 12 the reader may see the omphalos stone found by Reisner
in the great temple of Amon at Thebes in Egypt. This stone was
placed in the main room of the temple where the meridian and
parallel actually cross.2' In Figure 23 is a reproduction of a
figure from an Egyptian papyrus of omphalos stones
with two doves perched on top. These two doves are the standard
glyph meaning 'to lay out parallels and meridians'.28 They are the
'two doves' who flew to Dodona from Thebes according to the account
of Herodotus.2' Of course, the two doves are in fact
carrier-pigeons. To keep in touch over such enormous distances, and
to maintain prompt communication between oracle-centers which was
essential to the successful operation of a coherent 'world-wide'
religious network spread over thousand of miles, the only available
means were carrier-pigeons.
I am informed that carrier-pigeons could
fly from Thebes to Dodona in about a day. To travel such a distance
oneself by sea and land would take months. Daily communication
between the Egyptian religious centre of Thebes and all its oracle
'colonies' would have been transacted by the very carrier-pigeons
whom we see plainly depicted on omphalos stones by both Greek (see
Plate 12) and Egyptian (see additionally Figure 24) representations
and documented clearly by Herodotus.
Also, I should imagine such
instantaneous 'news coverage' would surreptitiously find its way
into the oracular pronouncements at the various centers and exercise
a considerable political influence. For after all, there was hardly
a king or potentate anywhere in the ancient world who would
disregard an oracular order 'from the gods'. Probably the political
forces were totally ignorant of the 'hot news line' ticking away
secretly in the local oracle centre's temple complex.
I realize that acknowledgement of all these facts is bound to evoke
howls and cries of anguish from any of those archaeologists to whom
a drastic revision of their ideas is more painful than would be an
amputation of all their limbs without an anaesthetic. Such are the
hazards which go with the addictive and opiate pleasures of
submersion in a body of orthodox theory.
As the philosopher David Hume pointed out concerning the
revolutionary discovery of the circulation of the blood by
'It is remarked that no physician in
Europe who had reached forty years of age ever, to the end of
his life, adopted Harvey's doctrine of the circulation of the
blood; and that his practice in London diminished extremely from
the reproach drawn upon him by that great and signal discovery.
So slow is the progress of truth in every science, even when not
opposed by factions or superstitious prejudices !'30
It should be strongly emphasized that
Dodona and Metsamor/Ararat are equidistant from Egyptian Thebes. The
Greek ark landed at Dodona and the Hebrew ark landed at Ararat. The
process of 'landing an ark', therefore, consists of starting at
Thebes and going north to either of the two places which are 8
degrees of latitude northwards and which are joined to each other by
a distance equal to their distances from Thebes. That may sound
The fact is that an equilateral triangle is formed by the lines
joining Thebes with Dodona and Ararat. These facts cannot possibly
be an accident. There cannot be supposedly separate Greek and Hebrew
traditions giving the landing points of the ark in their respective
regions of the world, which then both turn out by chance to be
equidistant from Thebes and the same distance from each other, as
well as on the same latitude.
Since Mount Tomaros at Dodona and Mount
Ararat are both 'landing sites' for an ark, this must mean that the
tip of the prow of the ark literally does touch either of them when
projected on the globe from Thebes. This may be seen clearly drawn
by a cartographer in Figure 19.
Also founded from Thebes by flying doves, according to Herodotus,31
was the Oracle of Ammon in Libya, known to be at the Oasis of Siwa.
In Figure 15 below we may even see a comparison of the line patterns made
by joining Thebes, Dodona, and Siwa with each other, with the line
patterns formed by joining certain stars in the constellation of
Argo together. The pattern is seen to be identical.
The site of Siwa may have been chosen
simply to display this. In both instances we have the helm of the
Argo as the starting point: in the celestial pattern we start from
the star Canopus, identified with the Argo's helm; and in the
geodetic pattern we start with Thebes, which is the site for the
global Argo's helm when projected either to Dodona or Ararat. But
there is another means of projecting the Argo, using Behdet, to
convey other meanings
-bearing in mind always the interconnecting relationships of the
sites, with Behdet equidistant from both Siwa and Thebes, and also
on the northernmost point of Egypt and (see Figure 16 below) on the prime
meridian dividing Egypt as demonstrated by Livio Stecchini.32
When the helm of the Argo is placed at Behdet (near the geographical
Canopus) rather than at Thebes, with the prow touching Mount Ararat,
if we swing the prow across to Dodona through an arc of exactly 900
(a right angle), we find that the prow is then too long and must be
shortened. In fact, for this extraordinary point, documentary
evidence actually exists in a Babylonian text.
In Chapter Three we cited the passage in
another context, and I will here return to it. It is from the brief
Sumerian epic poem 'Gilgamesh and Agga', of extreme antiquity, the
surviving tablets preserving it dating from the first half of the
second millennium b.c. This Sumerian poem contains, within the
framework of what seems to be a local political diatribe, a certain
bizarre core of material which no scholar has ever satisfactorily
(The political aspect of the poem has,
in my opinion, been overemphasized due to Jacobsen and Kramer's
understandable excitement at finding in the poem actual evidence of
the existence 4,000 years ago of a bicameral parliament, which
Kramer wrote up as one of the world's 'firsts' in his excellent
book, History Begins at Sumer.34)
The design carved on
to the Babylonian omphalos.
that the design was of a zodiac.
He thought it obvious
that the figures were of constellations.
I ( would seem
definitely to be a star-map, but it is not necessarily true that the
intention is to represent the sky accurately.
Attempts to interpret
such complex maps (the Egyptian zodiac of Denderah being a notorious
example) usually fall short, so I will not here tempt the fates.
The poem mentions (line 104) a 'fleeing
bird' which I believe may be a reference to the carrier-pigeon
network which we have just discussed. But the most important
elements in the poem seem to me to be two apparently contradictory
(1) 'The prow of the magurru-boat.
was not cut down' (line 80)
(2) 'The prow of the magurru-boat was cut down.' (line 98) In
Chapter Three I discussed why the magurru-boat and the magan-boat
of another poem were in fact that boat which was later known as
I believe that statement (1) refers to
the Argo as projected from Behdet to Ararat, and that statement (2)
refers to the projection of the Argo from Behdet to Dodona. The
latter requires the cutting down or shortening of the prow lest the
Argo extend beyond Dodona.
As long as the prow was not cut down in 'Gilgamesh and Agga', we
find that 'The multitude did not cover itself with dust' in
mourning. For the projection was still extended over the north-west
of Mesopotamia, the Sumerian homeland being at least in the general
The Behdet-Ararat line actually intersects the famous
oracle centre of Hierapolis35 which I propose as the fifth eastern
oracle centre at 36° 30'.
A Babylonian omphalos
stone (from Rawlinson). A flattened view of its
entire conical design is seen in the accompanying illustration
The poem says also, as long as the prow
is not cut down, that 'The people of all the foreign lands were not
overwhelmed'. In other words, the projection did not fall over
foreigners such as those living in Greece. It did not literally
'overwhelm' people of foreign lands, meaning overshadow or pass over
However, when the prow was shortened, the projection of Argo left
Mesopotamia altogether, and then 'The multitude covered itself with
dust' and the people of foreign lands were overwhelmed. It is at
this point that Gilgamesh says to Agga, 'O Agga, the fleeing bird
thou hast filled with grain' (in other words, fed the carrier-pigeon
in preparation for his flight to another and different oracle centre
- namely, Dodona rather than Metsamor).
The entire poem is based round a
repeated refrain which Kramer calls 'a riddle',36 and which concerns
the digging and completing of wells, of 'the small bowls of the
land', and wishes 'to complete the fastening ropes'. At this point
only a Sumerian scholar can tell us whether there are any other
shades of meaning or alternative readings which might make the
passage clearer, following the clue that 'the fastening ropes' may
refer to the rope-like mesh which we see, for instance, on the
omphali of Delphi and Delos.
Can 'the small bowls of the land' be
either geodetic points or their markers, the omphalos stones
themselves, which are like small bowls ? Could 'small bowls' be an
accepted expression for omphali in Sumerian parlance ? Answers to
these questions are entirely beyond the competence of any but a
dozen or so scholars. Even experts in the Akkadian language cannot
help us here, with non-Semitic Sumerian. And even answers from one
of the experts might be wrong through human error.
Sighing, therefore, at the difficulty of
our subject-matter, let us look again at Egypt.
'Because Egyptologists have ignored
the issue of geodetic points and of the linear units, the figure
of the revolutionary Pharaoh Akhenaten has turned out to be the
most mysterious and controversial in the long history of the
He then makes some extremely critical
remarks about Cyril Aldred and others and continues:
Because they have resisted accepting
the solidly documented facts, established scholars have devoted
their energies to debating theories such as that Akhenaten was
impotent, was a practising homosexual, or a woman masquerading
as a man; there are historians who profess to be informed about
the intimate relations between him and his wife, the beautiful
Nefertiti. Since the picture of Akhenaten has remained
indefinite and blurred, scholars have used it to project their
Those who do not like Akhenaten
present him as a psychopath and dispute about the clinical
definition of his illness. ... If instead of trying to imagine
what were the hieroglyphic notes of the psychoanalyst of the
royal family, we consider the documented facts, the most
important action in the revolutionary reign of Akhenaten proves
to be the establishment of a new capital for Egypt, the city of
Akhet-Aten, 'Resting-point of Aten'.
The miles-long remains of the
buildings of this city have heen found and excavated in the
locality known today as Tell el-Amarna. During the reign of
Akhenaten a substantial percentage of the national resources was
dedicated to the construction of this city.
Scholars of the last century, who had
not yet adopted the psychologizing fashion, at least recognized the
political meaning of the shift in the location of the capital of
Egypt. Akhenaten intended to cut at the root of the power of the
priests of the Temple of Amon in Thebes, who through their control
of the national oracle, identified with the god of this temple, had
usurped the royal functions.
But what these scholars did not know is
that the Temple of Amon was the geodetic centre of Egypt, the
'navel' of Egypt, being located where the eastern axis (32 deg. 38'
east) crosses the Nile, at the parallel which is at 2/7 of the
distance from the equator to the pole (25 deg. 42' 51" north), and
that the god Amon was identified with the hemispheric stone which
marked this point.
The new city which was intended to replace Thebes as the capital and
geodetic centre of Egypt was planted in a position which seems
undesirable in terms of what we would consider the function of a
capital city. Some scholars have interpreted this fact as further
evidence of the mental derangement of its founder. . . .
The new capital for the god Aten, who
was raised to the status of the one true god, was set at latitude 27
deg. 45' north, at the middle point between the northernmost point
Behdet and the southern limit of Egypt at latitude 24 deg. 00'
north. . . . Akhenaten wanted to prove that Thebes could not
properly claim to be the geodetic centre of Egypt and that he had
chosen the geodetic centre conforming to an absolutely rigorous
interpretation of maet, the cosmic order of which the dimensions of
Egypt were an embodiment.
In order to follow absolutely exact
standards of measurement, he reverted to the pre-dynastic geodetic
system which counted in geographic cubits starting from Behdet. ...
In terms of the system based on the pre-dynastic capital of Behdet,
there could be no question that Akhet-Aten is the 'true and just'
navel of Egypt.
This conclusion implies that one should re-evaluate the entire
historical role of Akhenaten, taking as the starting-point what he
himself considered the initial step in his program to establish true
and just conformity with maet. There is a possibility that his
revolutionary reforms, which extended from religion to art and
family relations, were understood as a general return to
pre-dynastic ideas and practices.
Note the fact that Thebes had established itself as the 'navel' of
Egypt but not on the basis of the 'Behdet system' which Akhenaten
apparently tried to revive. It shows how ancient the 'northern
octave' must be if it was based on the 'Behdet system' whereas
Thebes was not. The clear involvement of Thebes in the 'northern
octave' system is not exclusive but is complementary to that of
In Herodotus, Book Two (54) we
find this significant tale:
At Dodona . . . the priestesses who
deliver the oracles have a ... story: two black doves, they say,
flew away from Thebes in Egypt, and one of them alighted at
Dodona, the other in Libya. The former, perched on an oak, and
speaking with a human voice, told them that there, on that very
spot, there should be an oracle of Zeus.
Those who heard her understood the
words to be a command from heaven, and at once obeyed. Similarly
the dove which flew to Libya told the Libyans to found the
oracle of Amon -which is also an oracle of Zeus. The people who
gave me this information were the three priestesses at Dodona -
Promeneia the eldest, Timarete the next, and Nicandra the
youngest - and their account is confirmed by the other
Dodonaeans who have any connection with the temple.
It is really interesting to see how
chummy Herodotus was with the priestesses of Dodona, for Plutarch
centuries later was to be similarly chummy with the priestess Clea
of Delphi, as we have seen already. Obviously these priestesses were
really good informants for aspiring historians. Just how vividly
accurate the Dodonaean story really is, will in a moment become even
more clear. But as for the question of Thebes versus Behdet, tied in
as it is with the Akhenaten question, I beg to bow out of that
controversy. Put me down as having 'no opinion'.
We must note Stecchini's remarks about Delphi as follows :38
The god of Delphi, Apollo, whose
name means 'the stone', was identified with an object, the
omphalos, 'navel', which has been found. It consisted of an
ovoidal stone. . . . The omphalos of Delphi was similar to the
object which represented the god Amon in Thebes, the 'navel' of
In 1966 I presented to the annual
meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America a paper in
which I maintained that historical accounts, myths, and legends,
and some monuments of Delphi, indicate that the oracle was
established there by the Pharaohs of the Ethiopian Dynasty. This
is the reason why the Greeks portrayed Delphos, the eponymous
hero of Delphi, as a Negro.
Stecchini also explains his theory that
the oracles originally functioned through the operations of
An object which resembles a roulette
wheel, and actually is its historical antecedent, was centered
on top of the omphalos. The spinning of a ball gave the answers;
each of the 36 spokes of the wheel corresponded to a letter
In studying ancient computing devices, I
have discovered that they were used also to obtain oracular answers.
This is the origin of many of the oracular instruments we still use
today, such as cards and ouija boards. . . . The roulette wheel of
Delphi originally was a special kind of abacus for calculating in
terms of angles.
The following information from Stecchini is also both surprising and
informative with regard to the story of the Argo, Colchis, etc. :39
Very revealing is that a base line
was marked along parallel 45 deg. 12' north on the north side of
the Black Sea. This base line started from the mouth of the
Danube, cut across the Crimea, and ended at the foot of the
Caucasus. Beginning from this base, Russia was surveyed for a
length of 10 degrees, along with the three meridians which
formed the three axes of Egypt, up to latitude 550 12' north.
The river Dnieper was understood to
be a symmetric counterpart of the Nile, running between the same
meridians. Key positions along the course of the Dnieper were
identified with corresponding key positions along the course of
the Nile, up to the point of transferring Egyptian place names
The information about the existence
of this geodetic system is provided by (he description of a map
of Russia which is based on it. The description of the map
indicates that it was used at the end of the sixth century B.C.,
but the map may be older; in any case there are other sources of
information about the base line which indicate that it was
marked in very early times.
In Tompkins and Stecchini's marvellous
book40 there are some first-rate photographs and drawings of stone
omphalos navels which are extremely helpful in trying to understand
all these matters. It makes all the difference to see the fantastic
nature of these objects, representative as they are of a highly
developed ancient science which until recently was completely
These are reproduced here in Figures 23
and 24 and Plate 12.
The four Dogon
priests who revealed the Sirius traditions to anthropologists
13. Delphi - Greece
Notes to the Plates
The scientific achievement represented
by this extraordinary photograph is considerable. Until 1970, no
photographic record of the small white dwarf star Sirius B existed,
despite attempts over several decades to obtain one.
ingenuity, Dr Irving W. Lindenblad of the U.S. Naval Observatory in
Washington, D.G., finally devised a technique which made this
Lindenblad (1970; see Bibliography)
'. . .simultaneous observation of
Sirius A and B by conventional photography has always presented
a problem due to the small separation and large magnitude
difference between the components, and because of various
Since Sirius A is enormously brighter
than Sirius B, it is easily understood that it washes out the
smaller star which orbits it. How, then, to photograph the smaller
star at all ?
Dr Paul Murdin of the Royal Greenwich Observatory has provided some
explanatory notes on Lindenblad's photograph and given his
permission for me to quote them here:
'The six spikes on Sirius A are
caused by the hexagon used on the front of the telescope. The
point of making the photo in this way is that Sirius A is about
100 times as bright as Sirius B so that its light tends to
spread out over Sirius B rendering it invisible. By using a
hexagonal lens (actually a 26-inch circular lens with a
hexagonal mask) in his telescope, Lindenblad was able to
compress the star image in certain directions; he chose the
orientation of the hexagon so that Sirius B's image fell in one
of the compressed zones and was thus able to be seen . . .
The wire grating referred to by
Lindenblad makes the small images of Sirius A on either side of
the bright one (there are small images of B too, but they are
too small to be visible). The point of this is that the bright
image of Sirius A (the "zero order" image) is so big that
Lindenblad couldn't measure the position of Sirius B with
respect to A. He made first and second order images, measured B
with respect to them and was able to calculate where B was with
respect to the zero order image of A.'
These calculations enabled Lindenblad to
angle his hexagonal aperture so that Sirius B would 'hit' a
depressed area of Sirius's light - a dip where the light was teased
inwards, and Sirius B could peek through. But it could only peek
through if Lindenblad had first found it!
The reader can by this
point appreciate how clever Lindenblad had to be in order to achieve
any results at all. However, these were not all of his problems.
There was a serious emulsion contraction effect for the photograph,
with such close images.
Lindenblad (1970) says:
'The important correction to the
separation of the components of Sirius due to emulsion
contraction, or the Ross (1924) effect, depended, in van
Albada's method, upon measurements of second-order [images] . .
. However, this procedure could not be employed in the present
work because the dispersion affecting the second-order images
generally rendered them unmeasurable. Consequently, another
technique for determining the emulsion contraction was devised.'
This is a perfect example of
technological feats taking place constantly behind the scenes in
order to produce results which the public then take for granted,
with no appreciation of the difficulties involved. This photograph
could have been reproduced with no comment or explanation, but the
story behind it is part of the saga of the attempt to unravel the
mysteries of Sirius. So loth has Sirius been to give up her secrets
that she has denied us even this photograph until 1970.
All the more reason to wonder at the
Dogon, who, oblivious of our scientific labours, have always drawn
pictures of Sirius in the sand, with its companion - nothing to it!
Top left: The beautiful omphalos stone
found at Delphi in Greece, covered in the mesh thought to symbolize
the latitudinal and longitudinal grid on the Earth. (For an
exhaustive treatment of that theory, see Secrets of the Great
Pyramid by Tompkins and Stecchini, particularly Appendix by
Top right: The superb omphalos stone discovered at Delos, which
incorporates the Delian palm design. (Reproduced in W. H. Roscher,
Neue Omphalosstudien, Leipzig, 1915.)
Middle left: Relief discovered at Miletus in Asia Minor. The figure
of Apollo is resting on an omphalos stone (and an actual omphalos
stone has also been discovered at Miletus) covered in mesh, while a
second, smaller omphalos stone with a serpent is seen in foreground.
The palm is prominent here again. Miletus is on the same parallel as
Delos, and the palm is the 'tree-code' for that latitude in the
oracle octaves schema.
Delos is the western centre and Miletus
is the eastern centre at 37°30'.
The nearby site of Branchidae (also
known as Didyma) to the south seems to have adopted the oracular
functions presumably associated with Miletus itself originally. This
relief appears as Figure 101 (the last in the volume), page 411, of
Das Delphinion in Milet by Georg Kawerau and Albert Rehm, Berlin,
1914. Roscher also reproduced it.
Kawerau and Rehm say with relation to it
'We have already noted here in later
periods the distinctive likeness of Pythian Apollo which is
universally known, and there is nothing extraordinary in finding
this cult image of the Delphinion, the omphalos-andserpent. . .
Middle right: Two Babylonian altars to
the god Anu which bear what appear to be omphali.
Bottom left: An Egyptian omphalos stone found in the temple of Amon
at Napata in Nubia. (See Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. III,
Part IV, 1916, page 255.) This drawing is reproduced by W. H.
Roscher in Der Omphalosgedanke, Leipzig, 1918, as Figure 6.
Roscher says of the stone:
'On the 21st of April, 1917, I
received a letter from Professor Gunther Roeder, now Director of
the Pelizaeus Museum in Hildesheim saying that Reisner (Harvard
University) had, in excavations for the Boston Museum at Gebel
Barka (Napata) in the Sudan, found a stone in a temple of the
Nubian-Merotic kings which was the omphalos of the Amon-oracle
of Napata. . . .'
Bottom right: Another Egyptian omphalos
marker reproduced from Tompkins and Stecchini (see Bibliography).
Top left: Votive relief of fifth century
b.c. from Sparta; Apollo and Artemis, between them an omphalos
flanked by two doves with their heads turned away in the customary
manner for these scenes. (From Plate VII, No. 4, of W. H. Roscher,
Omphalos, Leipzig, 1913.)
Centre top: Votive relief from Aigina, showing omphalos with two
doves, their heads turned away. (From Plate VIII, No. 3, of W. H.
Roscher, Omphalos, Leipzig, 1913.)
Top right coin: Coin from Delphi showing Apollo sitting on the
omphalos stone and leaning on his lyre. He holds a laurel branch,
which is the 'tree-code' for Delphi. Note the clear differentiation
of trees in this compared with the earlier Delos and Miletus
examples of Plate 12; at Delphi the laurel is appropriately shown,
whereas Delos and Miletus display the palm. This coin is from
Imhoof-Blumer's A Numismatic Commentary on Pausanius.
Two bottom left-hand coins: Two further examples of omphali on
ancient coins, with serpents and geodetic mesh visible; both in
British Museum. One is from Delphi and the other from Pergamum.
Two bottom right-hand coins: Two coins
from Delphi showing the entrance to the Temple of Apollo in ancient
The letter 'E' hangs suspended in the entrance way; It is the
second vowel, and Delphi is the second oracle centre in descending
order (the ancient octave was taken as descending rather than as
ascending - the ignorance of which fact has led many modern experts
astray when trying to unravel the complexities of Pythagorean
These two coins may be found reproduced
also in Imhoof-Blumer (above). The second of these coins is to be
found in the Copenhagen Museum, while the first was in Dr
Imhoof-Blumer's private collection in the last century, and its fate
today is unknown to this author.
Painting from ancient vase in the
Etruscan Museum, Rome. Jason apparently being vomited forth by the
serpent/dragon, rests on the serpent's teeth. 'Serpent's tooth' is
euphemism for Sirius (see Chapter Seven). Looking on is a female
figure in serpent-headed robes, holding an oracular dove; she may be
Medea or a goddess. In the background the golden fleece is seen
suspended in the grove guarded by the serpent.
Note that the breastplate of the female
figure, on which is a fanged Gorgon's face, is composed of scales
identical to those of the serpent/dragon. On her helmet is the Greek
sphinx (a mythological being associated with Greek Thebes). Though
the elements can here be identified in this way, the story implied
by them cannot so easily be unravelled.
The author has not been able to learn
the mythological incidents referred to in this curious vase.
The ram is in the crucible, its fleece
presumably being transmuted into gold in what we would call an
alchemical sense. Was there such a thing as alchemy at this time in
history ? Alchemy is generally thought of as a mediaeval discipline.
But perhaps the attempt to transmute
base materials into gold is an ageless concept, and in antiquity it
could have been less concerned with chemistry and more with
symbolism, as I suspect is the intention here. (No mediaeval
alchemist ever put a ram in the dish for this purpose!)
Above: The goddess Artemis sets the
hounds of hell upon Actaeon and slays him. She holds the bow of
Sirius the Bow Star. The hounds are the hounds of Sirius the Dog
Star. She is herself, in this guise, a Greek version of Sirius the
goddess. But the tradition has become confused and fragmented by the
Greeks, broken down into elements which are used to construct other
Artemis is not generally a
representation of Sirius, but of the moon. The bow and the dogs are
here merely left-over trappings from an earlier forgotten symbolic
system. (From a red-figured vase in the Berlin Museum c. 470 B.C.)
Below: The infant god Apollo, four days
after his birth, shoots an arrow at the serpent Python from his
mother's arms. However, this scene is not Delphi but Delos, for the
palm trees are the 'tree-code' of Delos. This Attic vase painting
provides important confirmation that the story, which was supposed
to have occurred at Delphi, was also linked with Delos.
If Python was not only at Delphi but at
Delos as well, then Python is a concept rather than a creature. This
is all further evidence for the geodetic oracle-octave which
includes both Delphi and Delos, which are one degree of latitude
Delos had ceased to have any function as
an oracle centre by about 600 B.C., which helps one appreciate the
antiquity of the system, since Delos had no oracular functions at
all by the time of classical Greece, when Socrates was gadding about
the agora in Athens.
Below: This is one of the most
interesting cylinder seals to survive from the Babylonian culture.
It is reproduced in Henri Frankfort, Cylinder Seals, Plate XX; and
in Sumerian Mythology, Plate XII, by Samuel Noah Kramer, where
Kramer says of it:
'. . . two gods are guiding a plow,
which is perhaps drawn by a lion and a wormlike dragon.'
Frankfort says of it:
'Two gods plowing; one holding a
plow, the other driving span (consisting of snakelike dragon and
lion) with left hand, which either holds or is shaped like a
scorpion; bird, eight-pointed star, and crescent in field.'
It is Plate 62 in Frankfort's later book
Stratified Cylinder Seals. It is Akkadian style, Late Agade period
This cylinder seal is such an important item of evidence that it
requires extended comment. The lion is the earth-lion well known as
the earth goddess's symbol from the ancient Near East. (See, for
instance, The Syrian Goddess by Strong and Garstang.) But note that
directly beneath the symbol of a star, ploughing is taking place,
and leading right down to the plough blade is the strange form of a
serpentlike dragon. It looks almost as if the mouth of the
serpent/dragon is being ploughed into the ground.
And this, I suspect, is exactly what is
intended. For what seems to be represented is the act of ploughing
and sowing the serpent's teeth, which we know to be a hieroglyphic
pun in Egyptian for 'the goddess Sirius'; we also know that the
growing up from the ground of the 'serpent's teeth' is another pun
for the rising over the horizon of the star for which 'serpent's
tooth' is the other meaning, i.e., Sirius. Its once-yearly rising
was the basis of the Egyptian calendar.
If we assume this to be the case, the figure whose hand has become a
scorpion can be explained. Obviously, the constellation Scorpio is
intended, which is approximately a third of the sky 'round' from
Sirius. From the ancient Greek astronomical writer Aratus, we know
that when Scorpio rises, it chases Sirius and Orion away below the
He describes it as follows (Phaenomena
'The winding River (the
constellation Eridanus near Orion) will straightaway sink in
fair flowing ocean at the coming of Scorpio, whose rising puts
to flight even the mighty Orion . . . Wherefore, too, men say
that at the rising of the Scorpion in the East Orion flees at
the Western verge . . . what time all the rays of the mighty Dog
(Sirius is in this constellation) are sinking and all of Orion
setting, yea, all the Hare (the constellations Lepus), which the
Dog pursues in an unending race.'
The disappearance below the western
horizon, then, of the 'serpent's tooth' (Sirius) which is going into
the ground (to 'grow up' from it again in 70 days' time at its
heliacal rising) seems to be indicated here, for the figure
representing the sky has had his left hand (the east) become
Scorpio, while his right hand (the west) is swallowing the
Over this proceeding of the setting of
Sirius presides, as would be expected, the earth-lion itself, which
pulls the plough that makes the furrows (three of which are visible)
into which will be swallowed that fast-disappearing star just above
The crescent may be taken as an
indication of the waning of the light of the star, almost to
vanishing point - not surprising, as the moon is a 'front man' for
Sirius in many myths. (Kramer thought, because of the ploughing,
that this scene involved 'gods of vegetation'.)
An extremely important representation in
the Louvre. Cadmus of Thebes (Greek Thebes, that is) is seen slaying
the serpent/dragon. Its teeth are almost more prominent than it is.
Cadmus seems to represent the
constellation Orion, for beneath his feet figures prominently a hare
which appears to be meant as the constellation Lepus.
As if to emphasize the stellar
symbolism, on either side of Lepus are what appear to be stars. The
serpent itself, to the left and slightly lower than Cadmus, would
therefore correspond with the position in the sky of Sirius. (The
reader should be advised that in Figure 12 of this book is a star
map of this area of the sky which will help him visualize the
constellations, though the conventional figures of a man, a hare,
etc., are not drawn In.)
Since we know that Cadmus and Jason were
the two heroes who sowed the serpent's teeth, and this serpent has
prominent rows of teeth (notably not fangs, the emphasis instead
being upon the rows), and the serpent is placed in the position of
the star Sirius in this pictorial star-map, we have evidence (if we
accept the star-map interpretation) that the Greeks must have been
conscious of the Egyptian pun whereby 'serpent's tooth' in
hieroglyphics is a synonym for 'the Goddess Sirius'.
The doves and the shrine with serpents
arc both elements of the oracle centers associated with the Sirius
tradition in Greece.
The great hawk of Horus which stands
before the temple of Edfu in Egypt. Similar statues would have stood
at the Egyptian cemetery of Colchis and given rise to the Greek
traditions of Circe ('hawk') through the spread of legends about the
Argonauts and their search for the Golden Fleece at Colchis, which
Herodotus tells us was an Egyptian colony.
The identification is found in the
classical Encyclopaedia of Pauly-Wissowa under 'Proclus'.
is in the Athens Museum, and may be found reproduced (though
unidentified) in Gerhart Rodenwaldt Griechische Portrats. Rodenwaldt
also reproduces photographs of front and side view of a bust later
identified as being that of the earlier neo-platonist philosopher
It is also interesting to note, by way of relation with the ark of
Noah, the ark of Ziusudra (or Utnapishtim), the ark of Deukalion,
and the Argo - all of whom sent forth birds over the water (like
those birds from Thebes as well) that the standard Egyptian
hieroglyph for the act of laying out of parallels and meridians is,
as we have seen, two pigeons facing each other.
'In the religion of the Old Kingdom
(of Egypt), Sokar is an important god of orientation and of
cemeteries. The god and the geodetic point were represented by
the stone object which the Greeks called omphalos, 'navel'; it
is a hemisphere (the northern hemisphere) resting on a cylinder
(the foundations of the cosmos). Usually on top of Sokar, as on
top of any omphalos, there are portrayed two birds facing each
other; in ancient iconography these two birds, usually doves,
are a standard symbol for the stretching of meridians and
Hence we see even further Egyptian
connections with the Greek and Near Eastern tales in which the birds
are let fly and the ship finds the oracle centre's mountain.
Associated with oracle centers was probably also a 'tree-code'.
Dodona had its oak. Delphi was associated with laurel. And we learn
from the Elegies of the sixth century b.g. poet Theognis (5-8) and
from the Homeric Hymns that the oracle centre of Apollo at Delos was
specifically associated with the palm tree. Any site in the Lebanon,
of course, such as Mt. Lebanon and its possibly related centre of
Sidon, would be associated with the famous cedars, known to us also
from the Epic of Gilgamesh as intimately connected with Gilgamesh's
exploits at 'Cedar Mountain' in the Lebanon.
In putting together a schema of trees we
are faced with considerable problems, but this is at least a
beginning. A great deal of information on 'tree alphabets' is to be
found in Robert Graves's books The Greek Myths 41 and even more so in
his The White Goddess.42
The willow was associated with the
Colchian cemetery and with the island of Aeaea of Circe, but
particularly it is connected with the island of Crete in tradition.
But this subject will have to be tackled at some other time, lest I
blow this book up into a puffball of miscellaneous odds and ends.
do know from Robert Graves that the oracle centre of Hebron - which
is on the same latitude as Behdet and seems to be its eastern
counterpart, was connected with the tree sant, or wild acacia,
'the sort with golden flowers and
sharp thorns. ... It is ... the oracular Burning Bush in which
Jehovah appeared to Moses.'
'The acacia is still a sacred tree
in Arabia Deserta and anyone who even breaks off a twig is
expected to die within the year.'43
Its symbolism for the Sirius Mystery is
an act of pure genius, and is graphically elucidated by
'There are two kinds, the white and
the black; the white is weak and easily decays, the black is
stronger and less liable to decay . . .'
A perfect symbol of the two stars, the
'black' Sirius B being 'strong' for its size compared with the white
Sirius A. Also of the willow (fourth centers), Theophrastus tells
'There is that which is called the
black willow . . . and that which is called the white . . . The
black kind has boughs which are fairer and more serviceable . .
. There is a (dwarf) form . . .'
The other Arabian star named 'Weight' was in the constellation Argo.
But we see the Argo was associated with Sirius, as well as was the
first star named 'Weight' which was in the Great Dog constellation
and a visible companion of Sirius.
If an Argo is projected on the globe with its rudder near the
ancient Egyptian city Canopus on the coast of the Mediterranean (the
star Canopus forms the rudder of the Argo in the sky) and with its
prow at Dodona (from where the oak came which was placed in the
Argo's prow), if we hold the stern firmly on Canopus but swing the
ship eastwards at the top, so that the prow points towards Mount
Ararat, where Noah's ark was supposed to have landed, we find that
the arc thus described is a right-angle of 900.
Instead of Canopus we must really use the neighboring site of the
now entirely vanished city of Behdet, which was the capital of
pre-dynastic Egypt prior to the foundation of Memphis.
Dodona is exactly 8° of latitude north of Behdet. Delphi is exactly
7 deg. north of Behdet. Delos (another important early oracle
centre, vanished by classical Greek times) is exactly 6 deg. north
of Behdet. Behdet was the Greenwich of the ancient world prior to
3200 b.c. and was used as a geodetic headquarters.
Associated with near-by Mount Ararat as a mystery-centre was the now
little-known site of Metsamor. Mt Ararat is 8 deg. north of Behdet
and on the same parallel as Dodona.
A site on Kythera is known to have connections with early dynastic
Egypt as a religious centre and is about 5 deg. north of Behdet. The
island of Thera may, however, have been an oracle centre. It was
destroyed by a famous volcanic eruption in Minoan times.
All these sites were revealed as a pattern now termed a 'geodetic
octave' by the projection on the globe of the Argo, which is
connected with Sirius. Sirius was not only the element of the most
sacred traditions of the Dogon and the ancient Egyptians, but
apparently of the entire civilized and cosmopolitan Mediterranean
world prior at least to 3000 b.c. and probably well before 3200 b.c.
The amphibious creature Oannes, who brought civilization to the
Sumerians, is sometimes equated with the god Enki (Ea) who ruled the
star Canopus of the Argo. Enki is a god who sleeps at the bottom of
a watery abyss, reminiscent of Oannes who retired to the sea at
night. Enki is also the god responsible for the ark in those early
tales of the Sumerians and Babylonians from which the Biblical ark
and deluge story was derived.
The 'Greek ark' was claimed to have landed at both Dodona and
Delphi. An 'ark' was carried in procession at Delphi.
At Delphi and at Delos are surviving omphalos ('navel') stones.
Omphalos near Knossos in Crete is 4 deg. north of Behdet. We know
from the Homeric Hymn to Apollo that Minoans (before 1200 b.c.)
'from Knossos took Apollo to Delphi'.
The Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten's reform was really at least
partially a geodetic one, explaining the move of his capital city.
He may have wished to return to the 'pure' system of pre-dynastic
Herodotus tells us that Dodona (according to its priestesses, whom
he knew) was founded from Egypt - specifically Egyptian Thebes.
Thebes is equidistant from both Dodona, where the Greek ark landed,
and Mount Ararat, where the Hebrew ark landed. The three points,
when joined, form an equilateral triangle on the globe. Also
according to Herodotus, the Oasis of Siwa, with its oracle of Ammon,
was founded from Thebes.
This oasis centre and Thebes are both
equidistant from Behdet.
Geodetic surveys of immense accuracy were
thus practiced in ancient Egypt with a knowledge of the Earth as a
spherical body in space and projections upon it envisaged as part of
the institutions embodying Sirius lore for posterity.
Back to Contents
Star Names, op. cit., p. 67.
Lockyer, Sir Norman. The Dawn of
Astronomy, London, 1894. (Reprinted in the 1960s by M.I.T. Press
in U.S.A., introduction by Prof, de Santillana.)
The Peoples of the Hills, Ancient
Ararat and Caucasus, London, 1971, p. 226.
Op. cit., p. 73.
Allen, Star Names, op. cit., p. 73.
See Note 2.
7 March 1974.
A week later, on 14 March, a letter
appeared in The Times from Brian Galpin claiming that his
father, Canon F. W. Galpin, had previously established the
certain antiquity of the heptatonic diatonic scale in his book
Music of the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians, Cambridge
University Press, 1937. A month after this, on 15 April 1974, a
letter appeared in The Times from Dr Crocker and Dr Kilmer
themselves, in California, which was long and not particularly
clear. It seemed to be trying to acknowledge Professor Gurney of
Oxford for some assistance and condemning Canon Galpin for
reaching his conclusions on a different basis from themselves.
Crocker and Kilmer obviously aimed at clearing up some
misunderstandings, but only succeeded in muddying the waters (at
least the letter befuddled me).
The Greek Myths, 21, 10.
Higgins, Godfrey. The Anacalypsis,
New York, 1927, Vol. I, Book III, Chapter 2, Section 4.
According to the Dogon: 'Sirius is
the navel of the world.' See Le Renard Pale, pp. 324-5.
Parke, H. W. Greek Oracles,
Hutchinson (paperback), London, 1967, p. 38.
Ibid., p. 32.
Ibid., pp. 33-4.
Ibid., pp. 94-5.
Ibid., p. 94.
I refer the reader who suffers from
a desperate urge to purge his ignorance to that magnificent work
by Sir Norman Lockyer, The Dawn of Astronomy. His book should be
required reading in all schools, even though it becomes quite
technical in places (which the nontechnical reader is well
advised to skim over quickly). This book was published in 1894
in London by Cassell, but at the instigation of Professor
Santillana, has been brought out again by M.I.T. Press in
America in the 1960s (see Note 2).
Of course another excellent, perhaps
essential, book on the subject is Santillana and von Dechend's
Hamlet's Mill (see ch. 3, n. 11). Though it is a long book, the
authors admit it amounts only to a preliminary essay, and it is
a good deal more confusing to read than it should be. In fact,
the authors have frankly let their material overwhelm them; but
they were coping with material on a far grander scale than
Lockyer, and it was like trying to hold back a tidal wave. They
have opened up an entirely new field for modern scholars and
they may wear the badge of the pioneer and perhaps the pioneer's
smile as well.
Hamlet's Mill, op. cit., p. 286.
Tompkins, Peter. Secrets of the
Great Pyramid, Harper and Row, New York, London, 1971. Appendix
by Livio Stecchini,
Parke, op. cit., p. 95.
Livio Stecchini mentions a number of
Greek accounts which associate Delphi with Sardis, the capital
of the kingdom of Lydia in Asia Minor, which is on the same
parallel (38 deg. 28' north)', p. 349 (Stecchini's Appendix) in
Tompkins, op. cit. I believe that the mountain associated with
this geodetic centre is Mount Sipylus, north-east of Smyrna (now
Izmir). See Pausanius III, xxii.4 and p. 13 of Garstang, John,
The Syrian Goddess, London, 1913. Mt. Sipylus boasts an
extremely ancient gigantic carving from the living rock of the
Great Goddess whose main centre came to be Hierapolis, another
oracle centre in the series. The Great Goddess as Gaia (to the
Greeks) was the original patroness of Delphi before the
usurpation by Apollo. ('. . . the earth-goddess was the original
female deity ... in Late Mycenaean times . . . there may have
been an oracle as part of the cult. . . . the arrival of Apollo
as a god of divination was originally a hostile intrusion . . ,'
p. 36, Parke, op. cit.) I believe that Malatia (Malatya),
further inland than Sardis on the same parallel, may be
connected somehow with Delphi and Sardis as well (obviously more
with Sardis than Delphi). For this, see Garstang, pp. 14-15.
See Notes 20 and 22.
See also Appendix IV.
It is such a mesh to which the Dogon
presumably refer when they speak of 'the basket which is not a
basket'. See A Sudanese Sirius System by Griaule and Dieterlen
in this book.
Tompkins, op. cit., p. 182.
Ibid., p. 298.
Herodotus. The Histories, Penguin
paperback, London, 1971, p. 124. (Textual reference: Book II,
Hume, David. The History of England,
Porter and Coates, Philadelphia, undated (nineteenth century), 5
vols. p. 57, Vol. V (end of Chapter 62). See also John Aubrey,
Brief Lives, entry for William Harvey; Hume got much of this
from Aubrey (Hume is not always to be trusted; he does
misrepresent General Monk's motives shamelessly despite Aubrey's
explicit account. Perhaps the reader uninterested in
seventeenth-century English history will forgive this aside.)
See Note 28. The famous oracle of
Ammon in Libya, visited by Alexander the Great following his
conquest of Egypt (if a fruit falling on one's head is a
conquest), was at the Oasis of Siwa, where some ruins are still
preserved. Also sec maps in this book, Tompkins, op. cit., p.
Pritchard, op. cit., p. 44 ff.
(Scholarly references, including Jacobsen, on p. 45,)
Kramer, S. N. History Begins at
Sumer (originally entitled From the Tablets of Sumer, 1956,
before revision), Doubleday Anchor Book (paperback), New York,
Garstang, op. cit. (see Note 22).
Garstang's book contains a translation of Lucian's De Dea Syria
concerning the Great Goddess at Hierapolis.
See Note 32.
Tompkins, op. cit., p. 336.
Ibid., p. 349.
Ibid., p. 346.
See Note 20.
Graves, Robert. The White Goddess, A
Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth, Vintage paperback, New York,
undated (originally copyright 1948 by Graves).
Ibid. See pages listed under acacia
in index. (I leave this to the reader because my edition of this
book is undated and will probably not match the reader's in
Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants,
Book IV, ii, 8., trans, by A. F. Hort, Loeb Classical Library,
William Heinemann Ltd., London, and Harvard University Press,
U.S.A., 2 vols. (This ref. vol. I, p. 299). Theophrastus was the
'father of botany', and succeeded his friend Aristotle as Head
of the Peripatetic School at the Lyceum in Athens. He lived
370-c. 285 B.C., and at the peak of his teaching career actually
had 2000 students.
Ibid., Book III, xiii, 7. (Vol. I,