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 above?


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 thus:

'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 his observations.'

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.*


* Behdet 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 horizon.'

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 Eratosthenes.

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 kingdom.'

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 Testament.


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 it?


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 world:4

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 copper-working centers.


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 this way:

'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 Behdet.)

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 archaeologist.


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 Hamlet's Mill.

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 California, Berkeley.


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 saying:

'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 later.)

I have arrived at this sequence for a geodetic oracle octave (see Fig. 25 below):

8. Dodona
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 Omphaleion)
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 so.

Graves9 informs us of some interesting facts about Apollo, who was official patron god of Delphi and Delos (two of the centers on our list):

'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. Graves says:10

'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 Higgins:11

'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 he says,

'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 'not-to-be-spoken word1.


He says:

'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 well.


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 goddess there.


[At that time the great goddess, Gaia, was also in charge of Delphi, before the usurpation by Apollo.]


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 says:

' [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 Syria.'

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. Parke's book:16

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 reader.

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 friendly omphalosserpent
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 too.

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 prophet Abraham.)

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 somewhat later.

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 astronomical sightings.


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 An-Yang.

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 the Arabs.

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 William Harvey:

'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 complicated.

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 interpreted.83


(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)

Figure 21.

The design carved on to the Babylonian omphalos.

Rawlinson suggested 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 statements:

(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 the Argo.

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 vicinity.


The Behdet-Ararat line actually intersects the famous oracle centre of Hierapolis35 which I propose as the fifth eastern oracle centre at 36° 30'.

Figure 22.

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 them.

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.

Stecchini says:37

'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 Egyptian monarchy.'

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 own emotions.


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 Behdet.


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 Egypt.


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 computing devices:

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 symbol.

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 to Russia.


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 unknown.


These are reproduced here in Figures 23 and 24 and Plate 12.


Manda D'Orosongo                                          Innekouzou


The four Dogon priests who revealed the Sirius traditions to anthropologists






13. Delphi - Greece




Notes to the Plates

Plate 11:

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.


With much ingenuity, Dr Irving W. Lindenblad of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.G., finally devised a technique which made this photograph possible.

Lindenblad (1970; see Bibliography) says:

'. . .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 emulsion effects.'

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!

Plate 12:

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 Stecchini.)

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 (page 410):

'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).

Plate 14:

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 times.


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 harmonic theory).


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.

Plate 15:

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.


Plate 16:

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!)


Plate 17:

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 myths.


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 apart.


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.

Plate 18:

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 in date.

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 horizon.


He describes it as follows (Phaenomena 634-80):

'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 'serpent's tooth'.


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 plough-blade.


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'.)

Plate 19:

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.

Plate 20:

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.


Plate 21:

The identification is found in the classical Encyclopaedia of Pauly-Wissowa under 'Proclus'.


The bust 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 Iamblichus.

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.

Stecchini says:

'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 parallels.'

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.


We 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.'

Graves adds:

'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 Theophrastus:44

'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 us:45

'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 times.

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






  1. Star Names, op. cit., p. 67.

  2. 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.)

  3. The Peoples of the Hills, Ancient Ararat and Caucasus, London, 1971, p. 226.

  4. Op. cit., p. 73.

  5. Allen, Star Names, op. cit., p. 73.

  6. See Note 2.

  7. 7 March 1974.

  8. 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).

  9. The Greek Myths, 21, 10.

  10. Ibid., 170.3.

  11. Higgins, Godfrey. The Anacalypsis, New York, 1927, Vol. I, Book III, Chapter 2, Section 4.

  12. According to the Dogon: 'Sirius is the navel of the world.' See Le Renard Pale, pp. 324-5.

  13. Op. cit.

  14. Parke, H. W. Greek Oracles, Hutchinson (paperback), London, 1967, p. 38.

  15. Ibid., p. 32.

  16. Ibid., pp. 33-4.

  17. Ibid., pp. 94-5.

  18. Ibid., p. 94.

  19. 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).

  20. 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.

  21. Hamlet's Mill, op. cit., p. 286.

  22. Tompkins, Peter. Secrets of the Great Pyramid, Harper and Row, New York, London, 1971. Appendix by Livio Stecchini,

  23. Parke, op. cit., p. 95.

  24. 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.

  25. See Notes 20 and 22.

  26. See also Appendix IV.

  27. 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.

  28. Tompkins, op. cit., p. 182.

  29. Ibid., p. 298.

  30. Herodotus. The Histories, Penguin paperback, London, 1971, p. 124. (Textual reference: Book II, 54-9.)

  31. 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.)

  32. 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. 181.

  33. Pritchard, op. cit., p. 44 ff. (Scholarly references, including Jacobsen, on p. 45,)

  34. Kramer, S. N. History Begins at Sumer (originally entitled From the Tablets of Sumer, 1956, before revision), Doubleday Anchor Book (paperback), New York, 1959.

  35. Garstang, op. cit. (see Note 22). Garstang's book contains a translation of Lucian's De Dea Syria concerning the Great Goddess at Hierapolis.

  36. See Note 32.

  37. Tompkins, op. cit., p. 336.

  38. Ibid., p. 349.

  39. Ibid., p. 346.

  40. See Note 20.

  41. Op. cit.

  42. Graves, Robert. The White Goddess, A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth, Vintage paperback, New York, undated (originally copyright 1948 by Graves).

  43. 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 pagination.)

  44. 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.

  45. Ibid., Book III, xiii, 7. (Vol. I, p. 249).