Recovering the Lost World,
A Saturnian Cosmology -- Jno Cook
Chapter 23: Destructions by Mars.
$Revision: 42.74 $ (quet.php)
Contents of this chapter: [The Ragings of Mars] [Calendar Reforms] [A Blast From Heaven] [The Death of Quetzalcoatl] [The Ballgame] [The Winged Disk] [Endnotes]
Destructions by Mars
In mainland Greece, of 150 cities noted before the 8th century BC, only 13 survived to 650 BC. The same scale of destruction was experienced in Anatolia, the Middle East, and Italy. The period of 800 BC to 600 BC also saw the largest overseas colonization by the Greeks, as well as the virtual depopulation of the Eastern Mediterranean region and parts of Europe. De Grazia in The Iron Age of Mars (2009) estimates that of a population of 200,000,000 before 800 BC, only 5 million survived. The earlier level would not again be reached until AD 1900. [note 1]
This decline in population presents a serious problem to a reconstruction of history, for not only were there few survivors to write history, but they would have been largely illiterate and uninterested, and even adverse to recording history. We only have the braggadocio records of the Assyrians, and the jeremiads of the prophets of Judah. There are some later (a century later) recollections by the Persians which reach back over the previous hundred years. We also have the accumulated clay tablets of the fortune-tellers and astrologers of Babylon, who concerned themselves more with celestial forecasting than actual history (and mostly dated to after 650 BC).
It is thus with difficulty that history between 800 BC and 650 BC is extracted from incomplete and unserviceable records. Even the books of the Biblical prophets were written or rewritten at later dates from older records, to be put in the service of prophecy and monotheism, and are often not at all helpful. Very little of the writing looks to be contemporaneous with the events.
What we do have are archaeological findings for Anatolia, Greece, and Italy, and eventually for a much broader range of territory. The record of destruction is absolutely astounding. Nothing before or after has equalled the catastrophic devastation of the era of the 8th and 7th century BC. I'll fill in some details below.
This chapter will deal with the repeated close calls by Mars between 806 BC and 687 BC at 15-year intervals (closing in to within perhaps 40,000 miles (60,000 km) accompanied by Mercury. It will deal also with the travels in 685 BC of Mercury high through the sky with Venus (which was especially noted by the ancients) and the thunderbolt from Jupiter which stopped the fires at Venus and Mercury.
The Ragings of Mars
Do not let the 15 year intervals presented above detract from the facts of the utter devastation that Mars caused in India, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Central America, and in the lower United States. Because of the destruction of cities and the dispersal of people, but primarily because Mars appeared at 15-year intervals, we have virtually no written records. Velikovsky never managed to determine the complete scope of the events, except to suggest a 15-year interval. The only suggestion of an actual time span is from the sparse mentions in the Maya Chilam Balam, and even here the record has to be reconstructed from inferences. (Although the last event involving Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter is well dated.)
The appearances of Mars was like bad weather, and it took time before astrologers of the Middle East could even determine that the events repeated at regular intervals, and could be predicted. What is generally known for sure today is that, starting in 747 BC with an Earth shock, and for 60 years thereafter, Mars passed close to Earth five times -- very close. But the prophets of Israel had started their warnings long before 747 BC. From the suggestions incorporated in the Chilam Balam and less so from the archaeological records of destructions of citadels in the Middle East, it could be suggested that the first strike by Mars was in 806 BC. The complete period of the ragings of Mars thus probably extended over 120 years -- 806 BC to 687 BC. [note 2]
Alfred de Grazia, in The Iron Age of Mars (2009), writes:"Planet-Mars is tightly bound in ancient peoples' minds with gods who are paramount warriors, destructive heroes, crushers of towns and armies, dispatchers of plagues, and depicted as red in color. Many, if not all, nations worshiped the planet-Mars and the god-Mars, under their national names for both of them. In Babylonia he was Nergal, in Mexico Tezcatlipoca, for example. Hundreds of Mars identities around the world came into prominence at the same time."
Mars was seen on the day side of Earth as many of the descriptions make clear, although the night sky is invoked in some instances. Mars would have crossed Earth's orbit at an acute angle either in front of or behind Earth, moving in the spring from the night side to the day side, and in the opposite direction in the fall -- but 15 years later.
The Popol Vuh, in at least one instance where the celestial twins (Mars and Mercury) disappear into the night sky, identifies two stars and a nebula that they pass by (see a later chapter). This allows placing the event both at a seasonal date and at a location in the sky.
Entry of Mars at an angle into Earth's plasmasphere (at an angle and far removed from Earth proper) would have removed the shadow portion of Mars's plasmasphere due to the Sun and replaced it with a shadow due to the Earth's electric field, and thus pointing away from Earth. Mars's plasmasphere would also isolate it from the Earth's field. It seems likely that for this reason there were no repulsive forces between Mars and Earth in all instances except one. We have no records of any instances of a sudden Earth shock except in 747 BC. The difference in charge certainly was exhibited with continuous electric arcing.
Thus it might be suggested that Mars moved to the day side of Earth to cause a sudden massive repulsive shock which changed Earth's orbital period by 5 days in 747 BC.
What about all the damage that is on record? Every year and a half Mars crossed Earth's orbit on its way to perihelion with the Sun, and again on its way to aphelion. At 15 year intervals, Mars crossed Earth's orbit close to earth, either going in one direction or another, and alternating between dates in late winter (March) and early fall (October).
Mars would approach Earth's orbit (the ecliptic) at 1.85 degrees from above Earth's orbit. In coming close to Earth (maybe as close as 40,000 miles) both would be at a near standstill with respect to each other. This might last a few days before Mars would advance beyond Earth and speed up (inbound) or slow down (outbound) with respect to Earth.
When near Earth, Mars would continue to lower (at the Spring Equinox) as Earth rotated. With each rotation of Earth (8000 * Pi) Mars would move about 800 miles (40,000 * tan(1.85/deg)) up or down. Although this is a rough estimate, it a reasonable indication of the damage done further north or south of the Mediterranean, like northern Europe and Scotland, and in the Americas in northern Mexico, and the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
There are also records of solar eclipses during this period caused by Mars -- a phenomenon completely inexplicable to later researchers looking over Mesopotamian astronomical records. The fact that Mars was at times seen in the day sky, and at times must have blocked the Sun, might explain the obsession of Assyrian kings with eclipses, since it would be obvious that such eclipses were accompanied by wholesale destructions.
Prayers and pleadings to Mars proliferate in Mesopotamia and India during this period. The Book of Amos records the first major interaction with Mars as predicted by Amos. The Book of Joel also records the threat of Mars. A troop of warriors travels with Mars, called Maruts in Vedic sources, the "Terrible Ones," carrying gleaming spears and throwing fire, lightning bolts, and bolides to Earth. Joel, of course, identifies them as the "hosts [that is, the army] of the Lord." Joel also calls them Ariz, "Terrible Ones," the name for Mars adopted by the Greeks, Ares.
The Maruts are the companions of Mars, asteroids which had accompanied Mars since the time of the first dynasty of Egypt, when the Egyptians duly counted them as part of the herds of small and large cattle of Horus. They will also show up in the tales of Hercules as his stolen cattle or as the armies he raised for various exploits. [note 3]
In the Bible the "hordes" which accompany Mars could be equated to the various enormous groups of warriors supposedly slain in battles at that time. From Ussher:
- 957 BC: "Abijah and his army of 400,000 men, fought with Jeroboam and his army of 800,000 men. Because Abijah trusted in God, he obtained victory against Jeroboam. He killed 500,000 of Jeroboam's soldiers."
- 941 BC: "In the beginning of Asa's reign, Zerah the Ethiopian mobilised an innumerable army to invade the land of Judah. This force had 1,000,000 men... . Asa met this army with 300,000 men from the tribe of Judah and 280,000 from the tribe of Benjamin. He called on the name of the Lord and routed and slew that vast army and took much spoil from them."
- 741 BC: "Pekah killed 120,000 valiant men of Judah in one day. ... The Israelites also carried away captive from Judah and Jerusalem 200,000 women, boys and maids [who they released]."
- 710 BC: "The next morning there were found 185,000 dead men. After this Sennacherib shamefully broke camp and returned into his own land to rest at Nineveh."
All the above dates and the quoted text are from Bishop Ussher, The Annals of The World, Chapter 4, "The Fifth Age of the World." The size of these armies, even if half or three quarters were camp followers, is astounding. And they all die. (The World War II invasion of Normandy involved only 176,000 troops, with a naval support of 196,000.)
This recalls the much earlier Egyptian counts of the Followers of Horus, or the contemporary (8th century BC) spear- and rock-throwing Maruts in the company of Indra (Mars) of the Vedas, or even, as pointed out by Isaiah, the attacks by fiery hot sand which entered through windows and under doors.
We might add to these the Myrmidons ("ants" or "ant people"), the troops of Achilles in the Iliad.
Greek legendary history holds the Dorian invasion of Greece to be the "return of the Heraclids," when the banished third-generation offspring of Hercules returned to lay claim to the Peloponnesus. The dates are very uncertain (but 761 or 762 BC could be suggested). Thucydides dates the invasion to 80 years after the Trojan war, where the Trojan war was assumed to have happened as early as 1200 BC. The invaders included the Spartans, who at best can be dated as an organized community only to about 750 BC. The two ruling families both trace their descent from Hercules (Mars) but, like all twin kings of antiquity, representing Mars and Mercury.
Except for these, there is no evidence of a "Dorian invasion." The Heraclids are the sons of Hercules which is Mars. They were seen in the sky, not on Earth.
All nations watched Mars during these years with great anxiety. Most notable among the destructive effects of these close passes is the frequency of earthquakes, due to gravitational and electric forces on the crust, but especially a moving electric arc which burned forests and lifted the material along with soil ahead of itself in a tornado the size of a hurricane. In an era of city walls, built as a measure against rampaging tribes, and most frequently built on hilltops, Mars becomes known as the "stormer of walls." The seven- to ten-foot cover of burnt matter and soil, which buried fortified hilltop citadels, far exceeds the amount ever deposited by any forest fires or volcanic eruptions (which is seldom more than a few inches).
Alfred de Grazia, in The Disastrous Love Affair of Moon and Mars (1984), notes both the imagined devastations by Mars and the archaeological record. He has reference to the event of 776 BC (the so-called 'ballgame'), but it probably more accurately reflects any of the events from 806 BC through 687 BC. De Grazia describes the destruction of Pylos, one of the destroyed locations, one of hundreds:"Tidal waves wipe out nearly all coastal settlements (where perhaps 80% of the Greek-speaking population was contained in 800 B.C.). Chasms are opened; volcanoes are created and activated. Surface soils are ripped off by winds traveling at hundreds of miles per hour. Communities are obliterated or disrupted by showers of ash and debris, winds, water, fire, and famine."
At 35 degrees latitude, the Earth's surface would zip by an exterior planet at about 500 miles per hour (800 km per hr). At hilltop citadels the electric arc would pause, and the hurricane winds would drop the burnt soils and the ashes of incinerated forests. This, in fact, is the strange specificity experienced by archaeology. De Grazia continues:"The Palace [of Nestor at Pylos] was destroyed in a 'holocaust' which 'consumed everything that was inflammable within it, and even melted gold ornaments into lumps and drops of metal.' The flames melted brick and stone into 'a solid mass ... as hard as rock.' In one room two large pots were fused 'into a molten vitrified layer which ran over the whole floor.' Everything that a human invader might desire was reduced to shapelessness. Stone was burned into lime. No human hands and hand-set fires could have wreaked such ruin."
He follows this with an exploration of Greek society in mainland Greece and Asia Minor, based partially on the content of the Iliad and the Odyssey. His analysis of Homer is without a doubt the most cogent I have encountered. The reader should be aware that, along with many others, I hold that the "dark ages" of Greece do not exist. Mycenaean Greece came to an end in 806 BC, not at the start of the 400-year gap of the Gree "dark ages" following 1200 BC. [note 4]"The Homeric heroes, Odysseus and Achilles among them, typified the bands of survivors of the extensive Mycenaean civilization that was largely destroyed in the catastrophic interventions of the planets Mars and Venus in the Earth-Moon system in the 8th century. The plots of the Iliad and Odyssey, despite 2700 years of trying to make something else of them, clearly point to the skies as the source of the disruptive and awful events that produced the crazed heroes of the dark times. Western civilization has treasured and imitated the posturings of these mad warriors, hardly ever realizing what they were and how the docile mind of later generations would be affected when this madness was presented to it as normality and for inspiration."
Greece and Anatolia represented the epicenter of the repeated destructive close passes of Mars after 806 BC. Although Venus was seen near Earth in 776 BC, Venus was not involved in the destructions. De Grazia continues as follows. I have abbreviated the text and added in some of his quoted sources.
- "The heroes boasted in the names of their parents, some of their grandfathers, and usually stopped at this point; some lapsed into claims of divine forebears in the second generation. ... The absence of 'family trees' among self-assertive 'nobles' raises doubts that they either knew their ancestors or, if they did, could claim any distinction on their behalf. ... This is exceedingly strange. It is not at all like 'primitive peoples' whose lives are bound into communities of blood served by totems. Nor like a bureaucratic society."
- "The warriors stayed away from their 'homes' so long that we could question whether they had any. They remind us of Vandals and Vikings who left home never to return. Of all of Ithaca's warriors, only Odysseus ever reached home. Odysseus played the pirate -- looting, killing, raping. Marauding was frequent, if not from one's neighbors then from pirates and foreign warriors."
- "It was a society where every man's hand was raised against his neighbor. ... 'The bearing of arms, particularly lance and sword, on all solemn occasions of civil life, was the distinguishing feature which, more than any other, marked the separation of classes in Homer's time.' [Emile Mireaux Les Poems Homériques et l'Histoire Grecque (1948)]"
- "In battle one encounters a frenzied behavior whereby fear is whipped up in order to gain courage. Eliade's words apply to the heroes: 'The frenzied berserker, ferocious warriors, realized precisely the state of sacred fury ... of the primordial world.' [Mircea Eliade Cosmos & History: The Myth of The Eternal Return (1959)]"
- "A frank, hollow, extreme braggadocio characterized the best and the worst of the fighters. The glorification of destructiveness seems interminable. ... There is a pervading sense of splendors of the past being gone and citations of armies, cities, and wealth appear to be grossly exaggerated. This pretentiousness is not that of nobles, [but] of a people who had lost something they once knew, did not own, but had given them their character."
- "They depended upon the seas but were bad sailors. There was no class of specialized sailors. Everyone was a 'sailor.' Maritime ventures were not materially distinguishable from piratical excursions."
- "They were meat-eaters: cattle, sheep, and wild game, animals of the uplands. 'For Homer fish is a detestable food, while Hesiod does not even deign to mention it. Never is fish eaten at the Homeric repasts.' [Mireaux]"
- "Gift-giving was often a spectacular affair. ... The things given seem often to be for re-giving, to be untouched and unused, even homely objects like linens, and the metal gifts seem all too frequently to have semidivine or divine 'makers' which, as false pedigrees conceal humble origins, may have concealed their origins in loot and theft. Their description, too, conveys an awesomeness, as if they were not familiar objects to the childhoods of the gift exchangers. They are described as pirates would speak of their misunderstood loot of pots and laces."
- "Chariots are used, not as battle-wagons, but to convey warriors to places where they would descend and fight. Their use was partly forgotten or had not been familiar to the types who owned them."
- "The Greeks of Homer, to conclude, did not come as an invasion from afar. They consisted of all kinds of Greeks. They were survivors, largely from the rural areas and the interior high lands. From personal experience and hearsay, they knew of the centers of their societies that had been destroyed. They often lacked kith and kin; they lacked communal security; they lacked law and order; they lacked education; they trembled upon the trembling earth."
The analysis by Alfred de Grazia covers only Homer, and the collapse of the Mycenaean Civilization. De Grazia thus places the composition of the Iliad and the Odyssey after 650 BC.
"For a grandly disciplined, informed, and stylized poet like Homer to write so sympathetically of his subjects, he had to be of their age, and to be of their age required that their age be the eighth century." [note 5]
But despite the destruction and dislocations, the Olympic Games continued. The attacks of Mars were at 15-year intervals, and not always at the same locations. Attempts at rebuilding destroyed cities (as for example, at Troy) continued, although this was very infrequent.
If Homer was "of their age," as de Grazia suggested, then the poetic response would have been to conditions localized and particular to himself -- the attacks by Mars would have been experienced in his lifetime. De Grazia suggests a composition date of 650 BC.
From the terse information of the Maya Chilam Balam we know there were five close passes by Mars between 747 BC and 687 BC (at 15-year intervals). But, from the same source, we know that there were a total of nine contacts, thus there were an additional four passes before 747 BC, starting in about 806 BC, also at approximately 15-year intervals. Some locations likely were only touched once.
The condition of a gigantic arc traveling across the surface of the Earth would have been distinctly localized, although the fall of airborne debris could have covered large areas, and the earthquakes would have spread even further away from the path of destruction. What is peculiar, but not unexpected, is that in some instances the same locations were struck repeatedly.
Only after rereading the essay by Ralph Juergens's "Moon and Mars" did I realize that Mars would most likely have approached to within the plasmasphere of Earth, thus within a distance of 20 Earth diameters -- 160,000 miles (250,000 km). Juergens suggests a relatively close distance for the Mars and the Moon interaction (neither has a sizable plasmasphere). Patten and Windsor suggest 27,000 miles for the closest approach to Earth (based on damage due to gravitational attraction). Maya iconography suggests a lightning tail extending from Mars by 4 or 5 diameters -- thus a distance of 21,000 miles (34,000 km) from Mars to the surface of Earth. [note 6]
At a surface-to-surface distance of 20,000 to 30,000 miles, Mars might have lifted the Earth's crust below its path, creating (as Patten and Windsor claim) ridges of mountains. The Earth crust which was lifted would not have subsided back entirely, since the land area of the Earth is only material floating on a heavier substrate, and this last would have filled the hollow left below the lifted mountain ridges. Mars could have remained in place laterally next to Earth perhaps for some days, since in crossing Earth's orbit it would be traveling at nearly the same speed as the Earth. However, since the Earth rotates, the arc below Mars would have moved past at some 500 miles per hour (800 km per hr) at a latitude of 30- to 40-degrees. Near the equator the arc from Mars would move at supersonic speeds -- on the order of 1000 miles per hour. [note 7]
Patten and Windsor suggest any number of curved north-south mountain ranges as being due to the lifting forces of Mars, including the Andes and Rockies. I am not in agreement with a north-south path for Mars, since, as a planet orbiting the Sun, it could only approach Earth laterally although this could happen at any latitude, and would be nearly the same latitude each time. Patten and Windsor hold that the orbits of Earth and Mars were coplanar. This is not correct. The only requirement for Mars to show up near Earth is for Mars's orbital path to cross Earth's orbit close to Earth (and, of course, for Mars's perhelion to be within the orbit of Earth).
Under such a condition, with both planets at almost the same location from the Sun, both would be traveling at nearly the same speed. Even though nearly standing still, Mars would seem to fly by as the Earth continued to spin. This might have taken a number of days.
I disagree with the Patten and Windsor notion of "crescent shaped" mountain ridges. Any ridges which were formed in this process of a close approach would have been almost entirely parallel to the Earth's latitudinal lines. That also means that Mars was seen in a side view, that is, with the rotational axis of Mars directed more or less parallel to the Earth's axis, and seen as rotating.
All indications from references in antiquity is that Mars represented a distended and distorted image -- perhaps wildly flailing like a bat, which is how some Mesoamerican sculptures represent Mars. In Europe, Asia, and China, Mars is represented as a dog, a wolf, a sword, a gruesome giant, and a diseased person. The shapes of the imagery are likely the Martian dust extending into the Earth's magnetosphere. The diseased look probably derives from the pockmarked lower hemisphere. Mars is frequently noted also for its bloodstains and fire. The fire is sand and dust brought to flaming incandescence at Mars or the Earth by the arc between the planets.
The center of the Aztec "Calendar Stone" shows a face with a tongue lolling out. This is Mars. The same tongue appears on images of the Gorgon of Greece, the dreadful snake-haired woman whose gaze would turn to stone anyone who looked (although this image dates from 10,000 years earlier). Add together the snakes, the tongue, the Mesoamerican mention of Mars smoking a cigar (only seen as such by cigar-smoking Olmecs), or with a smoking celt lodged in his forehead, and you end up with a varied and frightening apparition flying by in the skies overhead. In Mesoamerica Mars is also described as carrying a smoking mirror on its forehead, which clearly is the northern ocean (or the remnant of the included deeper ocean, Deuteronilus) steaming water into space. The 13th century AD Icelandic Younger Edda also recounts Thor (who is Mars) with an axe lodged in his head after an encounter:"Thor went home to Thrudvang, but the flint-stone still stuck fast in his head."
In passing over Earth' surface Mars would have induced an opposite charge below it. The result would have been a continuous lightning strike in an attempt at charge equalization. From the evidence of fire, the melting of metals, and the calcification of building stone, as at Troy (Hisarlik), Pylos, and numerous other places, it would seem that Earth was the anode for the lightning strikes.
This is exactly how lightning occurs under "normal" conditions today: negatively charged clouds chase away electrons at the ground below the clouds, resulting in a higher potential difference, which leads to lightning strikes. And like a "normal" lightning strike, the Earth's surface would have been the anode in the strike.
But the passage of Mars is also (or especially) noted for fire, and flames of extreme temperature. An electric arc would certainly qualify, but more likely, it was the dust ionized and ejected from the arc contact point -- burning sands, as Isaiah at one point suggests. Disassociated silicate dust, generated at Earth's surface and ionized as cations.
At Mars the plasma stream was possibly as wide as the planet -- 4000 miles (6400 km) diameter. This is the dimension of the limited plasmasphere of Mars, the small size resulting from lacking a magnetic field and an atmosphere. Within the plasmasphere of Earth, Mars would only have sported a limited plasmasphere, with a double layer perhaps a hundred miles above the surface, and constituted entirely of ferrous and ferric cations (Fe2+, Fe3+) plus the requisite electrons as the negative charges. At the Earth's surface the stream of plasma would concentrate to a much smaller dimension, possibly only tens of miles wide -- and in arc mode. [note 8]
The lightning strikes of the 8th and 7th centuries BC traveled west across the surface of the Earth (because Earth rotates to the east). The lightning strikes may have ignited, extinguished, and restarted numerous times, preferring high ground to land on. The lightning bolts must have been enormous and mostly continuous. The bolt would probably be seen coming from over the far horizon, for in a number of instances we have evidence of people evacuating hilltop locations only minutes before being struck. At Pylos we have written records (clay tablet) of "watchers" posted at the shoreline. To no effect: Pylos was utterly destroyed.
The arc would have resulted in hurricane level forces which tore apart city walls and buildings. As a continuous arc, the bolts would have left behind a path of incinerated trees and grasses and upturned soil. And the arc would have been surrounded by a circular magnetic field which would lift up most of the debris and ashes and send it swirling up. This is how a tornado operates. Tons of loose soil and ashes would have been lifted into the air. The lightning bolt would linger or slow at a hilltop citadel rather than increase its resistive conduction path in leaving a hill. If the bolt stopped or extinguished on a hilltop, the suspended material would have been dropped. That is how Hisarlik got covered in a four- to six-foot layer of burned material.
If the lightning bolt was tens of miles across, the flaming sand would have spread horizontally from its base to a width of perhaps a hundred miles (160 km). Michael Steinbacher has reported that in the southwestern United States, at about 30 degrees latitude, there are gullies running up mountain slopes where the tops have been metamorphized -- altered physically and chemically by heat. It is clear that if flames of ionized sand were forced up these gullies they would concentrate to a greater temperature where the width of the gully decreased. Dennis Cox has made note of top ridges of mountains in northern Mexico which have been melted, and similar metamorphic damage in Texas and Colorado. Let me quote Cox from [sites.google.com/site/dragonstormproject]):"There are tens of thousands of square miles of assorted ejecta, and breccias, and of rivers of melt, and pyroclastic materials in Northern Mexico. All in pristine, unweathered condition like they only happened yesterday. And if you follow those materials upstream back to their respective sources you find no volcanoes, and no craters, only bare patches of smoothly melted stone. Or miles-wide, irregularly shaped melt basins, or strangely shaped denuded mountains with all traces of alluvium blown away. And which, sometimes, in their undulating lines, and angular scale-shaped ridges, look for all the world like the spine of a dragon sleeping in the earth."
Cox assigns the causes to meteors, and thus talks of objects cast down from the skies. Close enough for identical effects. He continues:"... almost all of the object's kinetic energy gets translated to heat. The heat hits the ground in a supersonic, hyperthermal downdraft of perhaps millions of degrees. Most of the time even the detonation shock wave itself gets transformed into the heat. But here is no missing energy. And it doesn't 'dissipate harmlessly' in the atmosphere. The mountain is still history; it just very quickly, and violently, melts and goes away. Think about a gust of wind so hot that it instantly makes granite flow like water, and is just another gust in a turbulent storm. Then realize it's not imaginary. Such things have happened in the recent past. There are mountaintops at 13,000 feet (4300 meters) elevation in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, their glacial ridges melted, blasted, and blown over the ridge top in runnels of melt, like wax on the sides of a candle. And recent enough that the blast melt materials have never been subjected to the grinding action of a glacier. Or mountains in Eastern Texas softened and tossed around like waves in an angry sea."
Mars came close enough to Earth to have its two close satellites observed and described. Both are very small and they circle Mars on extremely tight orbits. To Homer they are Ares's dogs of war, Deimos and Phobos -- Fear and Panic -- rushing madly about his chariot. Hesiod says they are the horses of his chariot. Dean Swift describes the satellites of Mars quite accurately in Gulliver's Travels (1726), apparently on the basis of sources from antiquity, for they are only discovered by telescope one hundred and fifty years after its publication. [note 9]
In the Iliad, Ares, "the bloodied stormer of walls," always loses. Yet a number of belligerent nations take Mars as their primary God. Mars is the chief God of Rome. Their calendar year starts with the month of March in his honor and the founding of Rome is dated to the middle years of the eighth century BC -- coincident with a major disturbance of Earth by Mars in 747 BC which altered the length of the year. The Cimmerians and Scythians, Eastern European steppe peoples, also take Mars as their chief god and start destructive raiding expeditions into Anatolia in the 8th century BC. In the middle of the 8th century BC, coinciding with the return of Mars, Assyria, a small nation in Northern Mesopotamia, models its army after Mars's "horse mounted" hordes, and with similar tactics of speed and utter destruction, expands its conquests over a region from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean and to Aswan in Egypt.
The Aztec's chief god is Huitzilopochtli, "destroyer of cities and killer of people," and the Aztecs proceed (at a much later date) to terrorize the other nations of Mexico. Huitzilopochtli is Mars. (There are other Mesoamerican gods associated with Mars, such as the "flayed god" and the "scarfaced god.") [note 10]
Mars caused a disturbance of the Earth's orbit on February 26th, 747 BC. A second significant disturbance happened in 686 BC, on March 23 (some catastrophists suggest 702 or 701 BC). But this second shock was due to Mercury, not Mars. Subsequent events verify this notion. [note 11]
The events of 747 BC and 686 BC stand out, for the Earth experienced a seismic shock and the axis of the Earth was disturbed. During the gyroscopic reaction which swung the axis through a loop, the day was temporarily lengthened or shortened. In the Iliad, Hera sends the Sun unwillingly into the ocean, that is, she is shortening the day. In the Odyssey, Athena holds back the dawn at the edge of the ocean, thus lengthening the night. [note 12]
[Image: Two planets in line with the Sun. When the inner planet's plasmasphere tail, directed away from the Sun, intersects the leading edge of the other planet's plasmasphere there will be an electric interaction. Illustration by J. Cook.]
The reaction to having the plasmaspheres of two planets touch would be the sudden experience of each other's electric fields. This would result in an instantaneous repulsive force -- an Earth shock. As the planets would both move away from each other (in the direction radial to the Sun), the force would decrease, and stop as the planet with the larger negative charge would induce an opposing charge in the facing hemisphere of the second planet. Since this involves the movement of electrons through the crust or atmosphere, it would take some time, perhaps minutes, or even only seconds. The reversal of electric field would result in an attractive force between them, enough certainly to halt the movement away from rhe Sun. The increased difference in charge between the planets also would result in arcing from one to the other in an attempt to achieve charge equalization. [note 13]
Because of the initial repulsive electric force, the crust would be depressed over a large area, resulting in an uplift at the margins. As the Earth rotated, the center of the compressive forces would rotate toward the west or southwest but would diminish very rapidly with the change of the induced charge to an opposite value.
The shock would be transmitted to all of the globe of the Earth, and would both move the Earth in space, and, if the center of the impact was off-center to the Earth's equator, it would tilt the rotational axis. A gyroscopic reaction torque would result if the Earth's axis tilted -- a second twist which would attempt to bring the Earth's axis back to its original position. The Earth's crust might react to the initial shock for a long time. Mesopotamian records indicate earthquakes on an almost daily basis during these two centuries and, even four hundred years later, Rome still records over 50 earthquakes per year. (See Appendix B, "Celestial Mechanics" for the mechanics of the interactions.)
After the Earth shock of 747 BC, the year lengthened by five days, six hours, and 20 minutes to become 365.24 days -- nominally a change of 5 and 1/4 days. Calendar reforms were instituted worldwide, some in 747 BC but a few much later. Egypt attempts an additional correction to the calendar in 239 BC when the priests issue a decree which added one day to the civil calendar every four years. [note 14]"... that the case shall not occur, that all the Egyptian festivals, now celebrated in winter, shall not be celebrated some time or other in summer, on account of the precession of the rising of the Divine Sothis by one day in the course of 4 years."
-- Canopus Decree, 239 BC, found at Tanis.
However, the previous Egyptian Venus calendar, based on the heliacal rising of Venus (Sothis in this case) every 8 years, remained in use until Julius Caesar's calendar was introduced 200 years later under Roman occupation. [note 15]
Between 2193 and 1492 BC there probably were ten lunar months of about 28 days in the year. Shang dynasty oracle records indicate months of 27 and 28 days. I have used a year of 270 or 280 days for this earlier period, which I think it was probably 273 days. This is reason enough why Shang records use both 27-day months and 28-day months.
In the following era, from 1492 BC to 747 BC, the year was 360 days, and the Moon on an orbit of 30 days. Both of these periods are well established. Many people, however, kept to the ten month year of the previous era, and made correction in a number of ways.
When, after 747 BC, the period of the Moon (the month) was no longer a whole-number interval of the year, the religious feast days started to wander around the year, and efforts were made throughout the world to rectify this. Here is a list of how the ancients took notice of the new celestial order of 365 and one-quarter days:
- On February 26, 747 BC, Nabonassar, king of Babylon, introduces a new calendar and an era called "the Era of Nabonassar." This dating schema is used to start compiling a yearly account of activities called the Babylonian Chronicle. Ptolemy (circa AD 150) and later astronomers would continue to use this astronomical record into the 15th century AD. Ptolemy also published a 900-year list of Babylonian kings up to his time using the Babylonian Chronicle. [note 16]
- Ptolemy uses the dates derived from the Babylonian Chronicle for a compilation of lunar eclipses (based on records obtained by Alexander in 331 BC from the Chaldeans), and marks 747 BC as the starting year of the collection, with the first eclipse in 721 BC. It is not certain if earlier records existed, but before 747 the skies were different, and earlier records would be invalid. China starts a record of eclipses at about the same time. [note 17]
- In the previous period, 1492 BC to 747 BC, the Earth year was 360 days and there were 12 lunar months of 30 days. When the number of lunar months changed to slightly more than 12 after 747 BC, a considerable number of people in the world retained the 12-month lunar calendar of the previous era, which ran about 11 days short of a full year, and made adjustments by periodically repeating one of the months. Some of these calendars have lasted into the 20th century AD. [note 18]
- The founding of Rome is dated to 747 BC, the year of the major disturbance of Earth by Mars. Probably long before 747 BC Rome had added two months (January and February) to their original ten-month lunar calendar (dating from before 1492 BC) and set all the months to 30 days, corresponding to the 30-day lunar month of the then-current era. (King Numa, who supposedly arranged this, is a fiction, and all the early records of Rome were destroyed by the Celts.) With the changes of 747 BC, the solution for the Romans was to end the year on February 28th (starting the year on March 1, the month of Mars), abandon lunar months in favor of calendar months, and distribute the extra days of the year equally among the remaining 30-day months. The change to starting the year on January 1 happened 700 years later after Julius Caesar's calendar reform of 40 BC. Appointments to the office of Consul already started on January first a hundred years earlier. [note 19]
- An interval of 4 years, called an "Olympiad" had become the standard of chronology among the Greeks. The Olympiads were counted from the first Olympic Games in 772 BC (four years after the so-called 'ballgame' of 776 BC; see below). The four-year cycle used for the Olympiads is actually based on the coincidence of the synodic periods of Venus and Earth. Five complete orbits of Venus (as seen from Earth) are equal to eight complete orbits of Earth (at that time). At the end of eight Earth years Venus would rise again in the east against the same background stars, and of course on exactly the same calendar day as eight Earth years earlier. Both the convenient halfway point of four-years and the full eight-year cycle of the "Venus calendar" were observed in Greece, Egypt, Mesoamerica, and South America. With the change of 747 BC, the four-year interval fell one day behind each Olympiad. [note 20]
- Five days were added to the Mesoamerican calendar of 360 days, before the end of 747 BC, and were known as the "Sleep of the Year". The same addition to calendars happened in almost every nation around the world, from Peru to Rome, and also to the Egyptian "civil" calendar. The Peruvian calendar included a leap day every four years to account for the quarter day left over at the end of the year. The Egyptian and Mesoamerican calendars did not account for the extra 1/4 day. [note 21]
- The "Long Count" was initiated by the Olmecs on February 28, 747 BC, with the count of double-decades, years, months, and days all set to zero. The "years" are 360-day years (18 "months") where the "month" is 20 days long. A larger measure, the Baktun, consisting of "400-year intervals," was set initially at 6. This is "184.108.40.206.0" in Long Count notation; see "The Maya Calendar" for details. The Long Count continued to be used by the Maya until AD 900. [note 22]
- The Maya considered that all pre-history happened in a Katun named "11-Ahau," which is named after the name of its last day. In the Chilam Balam there are a number of lists of events which always start with Katun 11-Ahau. Significantly, a Katun 11-Ahau ended on February 28th, 747 BC (Gregorian), when the Long Count calendar was started. The concept of assigning all prior history to Katun 11-Ahau may have its origin with this start of the Long Count. Katuns were named and likely were counted prior to this date. [note 23]
- The contemporary Maya of Chiapas, Mexico, still retain the use of the Haab calendar of remote antiquity, and start the 5 intercalated days (the five extra days added to the 360-day year) on February 26 of our calendar. The year thus ends after February 26.
- The Romans in effect did the same thing with the pre-Julian calendar, ending the year in mid-February, but used a 365-day year: "February was split into two parts, each with an odd number of days. The first part ended with the 'Terminalia' on the 23rd, which was considered the end of the religious year; the five remaining days formed the second part." -- Wikipedia
- Tedlock reports that among the Quiche Maya of Guatemala the arrival of a new solar year is celebrated on February 25th, two days early from the Chiapas calendar.
- February 26th, the day of the disturbance of 747 BC, was celebrated as the start of the year (New Year's day) among the Aztecs at the time of Cortez. [note 24]
- At about this time, China declares that there are now 365.25 "degrees" in a circle. We do not know for certain when this practice started, since all books were burned in 213 BC. But it was certainly in use by the first or second century BC. It did not turn out to be convenient in geometry, but worked fine for celestial navigation on the seas. It was still in use in the 15th century AD.
Before 747 BC there had been 12 lunar months of 30 days during a year of 360 days. Since, during this period, an exact multiple of lunar months coincided with the solar year, lunar calendars were in use universally to govern the dates when religious observations were to be held, but many of these counted ten months to the year as their calendars had before 1492 BC. The phases of the Moon would represent a very visible public calendar, which everyone could understand.
The change to a new year of an odd number of days and a fractional day left over, and with a month no longer composed of an even fraction of the year, brought religious observances into total confusion. Attempts at corrections were made worldwide, resulting in many very complex calendars. All of these reforms we are aware of are obvious attempts to bring a lunar religious calendar into conformity with a new solar year, because following a strict lunar calendar during the new era would continuously displace all celebrations by many days over the year.
It should be noted that there is worldwide disagreement on which day constituted the start of the new era. As Hera sent the Sun into the ocean, shortening the day in the Mediterranean region, the Indians of Mesoamerica experience a night which lasted four nights -- thus equal to two full days. Just as in the Mediterranean region we have the Era of Nabonassar starting on February 26th (after nightfall) and the Roman calendar starting after February 28th (the changes to new calendars were independently arrived at), so in Mesoamerica we have a similar disagreement over when the new era started.
In the case of Mesoamerica, the question of dates has become an issue among scholars, and deals with the retrocalculated initial date of the Maya (Olmec) Long Count. John E. Thompson first suggested in 1927 that the Maya Long Count of days starts on August 13, 3114 BC. In 1935 Thompson revised his calculation to August 11, validating the opinion of other scholars who had arrived at a date of August 11, 3114 BC.
This last date (the "August 11" starting date correlation) has become the accepted archaeological standard and is generally used today, although any number of researchers think that the date of August 13, 3114 BC, is more likely to be correct, because a calendar based on August 13 correctly dates many known recorded eclipses. A calendar based on August 11, however, is still used by some people in Mexico and Guatemala. [note 25]
There have been suggestions that the Maya made a two-day correction at some time in the past, but this assumes an absolute and uniform use of the calendar since remote antiquity. Considering the widespread adoption of the Olmec religious practices among the diverse tribes of Southern Mexico, the Yucatan, and Guatemala, as well as the universal use of the (now) 4300-year old Tzolkin calendar, it can be assumed that in 747 BC, when the Long Count was devised, there were some diverse regional opinions on the concept of where one era ended and another started, as well as questions about the existence ("completion") of two days which had not been seen in progress.
A Blast From Heaven
Another strange incident at the time of the last disturbance (the second Earth shock in this era) was widely known in the Middle East. In 687 (or 686) BC the Assyrian army of Sennacherib, on its way to quell a revolt in Egypt, camps some distance from Jerusalem and demands its capitulation on threat of a siege. The prophet Isaiah urges Hezekiah, the king of Jerusalem, to resist, telling him that Sennacherib's army would never arrive. Apparently Sennacherib had been similarly warned by his advisors. [note 26]"The very same night God sent his angel to their camp. He destroyed every man of valour, every commander, and chief man in the Assyrian army. The next morning there were found 185,000 dead men. After this Sennacherib shamefully broke camp and returned into his own land to rest at Nineveh."
-- paraphrased by Bishop Ussher
Since antiquity there has been endless speculation as to what really happened, starting with Herodotus (fifth century BC), who attributes it to mice. Josephus (first century AD), along with modern historians, suggested a plague. But Biblical and Egyptian sources plainly state that it was Ignis Coelis -- "a blast of fire from the heavens." Such would be one of the effects of an electric interaction with another planet. [note 27]
There are two independent records of this event from China. The following is quoted from the Bamboo Books:In the tenth year of the Emperor Kwei, "... the five planets went out of their course. In the night, stars fell like rain. The earth shook."
-- Annals of the Bamboo Books
The Bamboo Books were found in China in a grave in AD 279. The Spring and Autumn Annals, compiled for the state of Lu by Confucius and completed about 480 BC, reads almost identically, but does not recognize the Earth shock."In the seventh year of the Duke [Chwang] ... In summer, in the fourth month, on Sin-maou, at night, the regular stars were not visible. At midnight, there was a fall of stars like rain.
-- James Legge, translator, The Ch'un Ts'ew and The Tso Chuen (1872)
The seventh year of the Duke Chwang of Lu is identified as 686 BC by Legge. The quote from the Bamboo Books lists the date (-687) in astronomical notation, which is equivalent to 686 BC, Julian. [note 28]
[Image: Mercury in 686 BC. The separation was 50,000,000 miles (80,000,000 km). Illustration by J. Cook.]
These terse Chinese historical notes, which have been dated to March 23, 686 BC, can be interpreted as a swing of the spin axis of the Earth as it underwent a gyroscopic reaction to an external torque induced by the Earth's plasmasphere contact with the plasmasphere of another planet. The other planet, in this case, was Mercury -- not Mars, as every researcher expected.
The first effect of the sudden electric repulsive force experienced from Mercury, as the plasmaspheres connected, was a shock felt worldwide. The stars would seem to fall, or, on the day side of Earth, the Sun would move away from its normal path.
Sennacherib returned to Assyria, did not record this nighttime disaster (or the campaign) among his records, and spent the next 8 years in seclusion. Two of his sons kill him while he is at prayers in the temple of Nergal (Mars).
There was an Egyptian monument in the eastern delta (at Letopolis, "Mouse City," also known as the "City of the Thunderbolt") to a "mouse god" (per Herodotus), erected in commemoration (apparently) of the defeat of Sennacherib's army which had left Egypt in 686 BC (or never reached Egypt). There are also extant temple inscriptions bearing on this.
I would suggest that it was Mercury which was involved in the incident of 686 BC. Mercury is Hermes among the Greeks, but known as Smintheus or Apollo Smintheus ("Apollo of the mouse") in Asia Minor at the time when Mercury was still known as Apollo, the Archer God, among the Greeks, as in the Iliad. The name Apollo was transferred to the Sun at a later date.
Mercury, although today only a little larger than our Moon, possesed an atmosphere in antiquity, and would have looked maybe four times larger than the Moon. Always in the company of Mars, and traveling only some 180,000 miles above Mars (the Moon is at a distance of 250,000 miles), Mercury would have loomed large in the sky.
It certainly might have looked like a mouse with its plasma coma and plasmasphere tail, just as it might have looked like a bow and arrow with its bow shock and tail. Although the date, supposedly March 23, 687 BC (Julian), would seem to argue for Mars as the agent, a second Earth shock by Mars is not at all well supported. I would opt for Mercury as the agent, and I would place the event in 686 BC rather than 687 BC. For more information bearing on this see Appendix B, "The Celestial Mechanics."
The Earth shock was experienced at night in Peking and Jerusalem. Chinese sources read "at night" as does the Bible. Although Mercury was not seen during the daytime in Asia or the Middle East, it was seen by North American Indians in the daytime. The impact can be located in Northern Alabama and shows as a circle of mountains.
To paraphrase from various legendary North American Indian sources, this is what transpired:The Sun was in the day sky at about noon when it turned black and started to move down, that is, moving directly toward the horizon and additionally toward the southeast. The Sun was choking, and as it dipped down in the sky, the sky darkened and Coyote (Mars) was noticed in the east. Coyote had just crossed over the Earth's orbit in the last few days. Obviously Coyote had snared the Sun, and was dragging it backwards. Only after an hour did the Sun brighten again and return to its path across the sky. Then it was seen what had happened. A mouse had chewed through the lasso. It could still be seen just west of the Sun, with its tail pointing away. [note 29]
The tale of a mouse in the sky is known throughout the world in various forms, as De Santillana and Von Dechend point out in an appendix to Hamlet's Mill. Some of these are not accurate for an involvement with the Sun, however. Most of the daylight during this incident spread only from far Western Europe to the middle of the Pacific. Thus tales of winged mouse Gods from India are suspect. The Polynesians have myths dealing with a rat God that gnawed through the nets of the Pleiades. Mercury was within a few degrees of the Pleiades on March 23, 686 BC. This is correct if it is considered that at this time the dome of the stars had not yet shifted (that would happen in 685 BC) so that the Sun stood directly below the Pleiades at the spring equinox.
As I have previously noted, this event also represents the Tower of Babel incident: a plasma cone in glow mode extended from Earth to Mercury and ignited Mercury's atmosphere. The plasma connection may have lasted a day or more. In that case, everyone saw it, and certainly everyone saw the flaming planet. The reason this story is known worldwide is because it came so late in the history of antiquity. The loss of memory and speech may have been associated with this specific incident, or may reflect the changed condition of the Sun's electric field the following year. More on this last later. [note 30]
The Death of Quetzalcoatl
The shock which cast Mercury into an orbit close to the Sun may have changed the eccentricity of Earth's orbit (which would not change the length of the year but would allow for a required change in Kinetic Energy), because soon after the encounter with Mercury, Earth seemed to have moved its orbit away from intersecting the orbit of Mars and was thereby removed from the threat of Mars. Shortly after Earth was removed from the vicinity of Mars, Venus, too, fell from the sky. [note 31]"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the Morning?"
What happened to Venus? From what little we know, it looks like Venus was suddenly involved in a massive plasma discharge. The discharge also involved Mercury. But less notice was taken of Mercury, for at the start of the nova event Mercury was very close to Venus in the sky. Most peoples recognized Venus, but not Mercury. The starting and ending dates of this event are developed in the chapters "Modern History" and "Olmec Alignments." [note 32]
In Mesoamerica, Quetzalcoatl, who is Venus, is represented as the bearded man or God, who had come from the east to deliver all the benefits of civilization. In their recycling of all history, the Mesoamericans make Quetzalcoatl into the last king of the abandoned and famed city of Tula, already an ancient ruin at the time of the Mesoamerican authors of the 15th century AD. To paraphrase, "Quetzalcoatl, the last King of Tula, traveled east, and set himself on fire. Eight days later he arose in the sky as the Morning Star (Venus)." Both the Popol Vuh and the Annals of Cuauhitlan, two documents independently written a thousand miles apart, agree on this. In the Codex Borgia the mythical hero Quetzalcoatl is burned while his heart ascends to heaven as the Morning Star. [note 33]
The "burning of Quetzalcoatl" happened far from Earth, since it did not involve any noticeable geological disturbance on Earth, although we have many notices of the "Ignis Coelis" during this period. It may very well be that the condition of electric charge for Venus had mounted to the point where only a plasma discharge or a mass ejection could balance forces. At any rate, after its last passage behind the Sun in 680 BC (in eastern Mediterranean chronology), Venus seems to have undergone a massive plasma discharge, and, at some later time, assumed a circular orbit. It must have been an enormous energy outpouring, for Venus lost its coma, its talons, its feathers, and its flowing hair. It assumed the looks of a star. But it took months.
If, as I have suggested, Mercury was involved in the March 23, 686 BC, plasma contact with Earth, then it might also be suggested that we are not seeing Venus involved in a nova event, but that this was a nova-like event of the Sun, involving Mercury and Venus. When Mercury changed its orbit to fall well within the orbit of Venus, it disturbed electric conditions close to the Sun. Today the Sun still reacts to comets which come close by hurling coronal mass ejections toward them into space. That would make more sense of the description, from China, that two suns were seen battling in the sky at this time. The two Suns do not imply that one of them was the actual Sun. But since Mercury remains close to Venus at first, and within a month was close to the Sun, it is certain that for many observers the display involved only Venus and the Sun. The sudden brightening of Venus was recorded in extensive references to "a prodigy in the sky" and of Venus "blazing through the day sky brighter than the Sun," as well as references relating to the changes in the sky. [note 34]
We do not know exactly when this happened, but my suspicion is that it occurred during the year 680 BC in Eastern Mediterranean chronology, which is 685 BC in absolute astronomical chronology (to be discussed below). There are a number of reasons why we have no certain date for this event. First, because the blazing of Venus spanned a considerable amount of time. It was not an event lasting only a day. In fact, it lasted a month and a half, 40 days. Second, the event was not associated with any cataclysmic changes on Earth. And third, the effects were not noticed until the following year, or later. Only later were the lasting changes recognized: Spring started two weeks later, the constellations had moved in the sky, and the polar axis no longer pointed to a location in Ursa Major. When later attempts were made to understand the changes, it came as a massive shock to ideas about the Gods, about knowledge, and about the workings of the Universe -- which will be the subject of the following chapter.
The blazing planets must have represented a cataclysm equivalent to a supernova. The event should have been noted in Chinese records as a nova. It was not. The earliest Chinese record of a supernova (a "guest star") is for AD 185. The eruption of Venus was not considered a "guest star" because although the display was immense it happened during daytime. It was not a star, it was obviously the planet Venus, which, because of its coma and tail, would have readily been seen in the daytime in antiquity, and the planet Mercury.
For both the Mediterranean region and Mesoamerica, the blazing of Venus became the end of mythical and divine history. No new Gods enter the pantheon after this -- with the exception of the personification of Venus as the savior of mankind as Quetzalcoatl, Mazda, Mithra, and Christ.
When Venus and Mercury started to blaze in the skies, it must have seemed as if the end of the creation was at hand. But it ceased, on July 25th, 680 BC (685 BC), suddenly, when a massive plasmoid lightning bolt by Jupiter stopped the blazing planets. I'll discuss this in the next chapter.
In the 8th century, not only did Mars come close to Earth, but on at least one occasion this happened at the same time that Venus was "near Earth" -- but only visually so. This was 700 years after the post-Exodus date of 1440 BC. Venus was seen streaking across the daytime skies and this event was recorded, apparently in 776 BC, but only because Mars also appeared near Earth at the same time, making it look like the planets were in a race.
Venus could not have come close to the Earth without causing the complete destruction of the Earth. Venus, a much larger planet than Mars, with a very large coma, might have looked perhaps half the size of the Moon if it was seen from 10 million miles (16 million km) away. (The Moon is only a quarter million miles away.)
Thus both Venus and Mars were seen on the day side of Earth, and the two planets seemed to chase each other across the sky towards the west (due to the Earth's rotation). If Mars passed Earth at a distance of one-quarter to one-half million miles, Mars would have looked the size of the Moon. Because Mars was much closer to Earth, it might indeed have looked as if Mars was gaining on or overtaking Venus. This may have played out over a number of days.
It has been suggested by Velikovsky that the Earth's Moon seemed to cross the path of the two planets (as if they were near) in its normal rotation around the Earth, but in the opposite direction. Velikovsky proposed that the Moon may have started to change its orbit in response to gravitational forces from three directions. That is totally unrealistic. Almost all imaginings of gravitational forces between planets, even if supposedly close together, completely neglect the absolutely overwhelming effect of the Sun in determining the orbits, and the role of forward momentum which simply does not allow a planet moving through space at 67,000 miles per hour (100,000 km per hr), as the Earth does, to diverge by even a fraction of an inch from its path.
Followers of Velikovsky identified the globes seen in the sky as a "ballgame" between Venus and Mars, with the Moon playing the part of the ball. The Moon was selected as the ball for want of any other likely planet, and the notion that the Moon is small. Problems with this identification are two-fold. First, the idea of a "ballgame" is a Mesoamerican notion, which is here being transferred to the Eastern Mediterranean, where there was no such thing as a "ballgame." In Greece it was a foot race instead.
Second, it is much more likely that Mercury played the part of the ball, although from Greek sources (the Odyssey) the Moon certainly was involved in an electric contact with Mars (but this was not the ballgame). Traveling faster than the Earth, Mars and Venus, or Mars and Mercury, eventually disappeared into the celestial east. This race, of course, was seen from the day side of the rotating Earth, so the planets would seem to be moving to the west. [note 35]
The Popol Vuh records the interactions between One-Hunahpu and Seven-Hunahpu, the father and uncle of the celestial twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, as the "ballgame." The father and uncle here were Venus and Mars, most likely using Mercury as their ball. Mesoamerican balls were very large. Here there is a ball in play, since we are here among the ball-playing Olmecs who invented rubber balls. In the Popol Vuh the father and uncle (as later with Hunahpu and Xbalanque) are said to travel west to reach the ballcourt of the Gods of the Underworld.
The exact year in the eighth century BC of this race between Venus and Mars (or the ballgame involving Mercury) has never been certain, although a date (780 or 776 BC) can be inferred from the date of the first Olympic Games in Greece which was in 772 BC. [note 36]
Venus and Mars may have met "near Earth" (visually) at other times in addition to 776 BC, for in 742 BC, Isaiah declared a prophetic sign "in the height above," to King Ahaz of Judah, saying:"Behold, the Virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel ["God is with us"]. Butter and honey shall he eat...."
-- Isaiah 7:12-14
"The Virgin" is Venus. "Virgin" is a Greek translation of the Hebrew word "the maid" (Ha'almah, per Fritzius, below), that is, "young woman," as Isis/Astarte (Venus) had been known for 2500 years. The date of 742 was derived by Ussher.
Bob Fritzius contends that the "child" is Mars appearing from behind the coma of Venus, and moving though the tail. (He later disclaimed Mars, but offered no substitute.) It is actually Mercury, not in the tail of Venus, but visually behind Venus. See the website at [www.datasync.com/~rsf1/vel/ha-almah.htm].
A later addition to his webpage suggests that what may have been seen was an aborted fissioning of Venus (but I think this is suggested because the phenomenon cannot be tracked to any particular dated event from antiquity). Fritzius believes there is support for this from Greek mythology. Fritzius is a published astronomer and an electrical engineer, but has yet to find mythological support for this event.
There are some problems with the "Immanuel" prophecy. I cannot find anything in Greek mythology that refers to this except a very brief mention of the parentage of Phaethon (who is Mercury) by Hesiod, which Marinus van der Sluijs has pointed out in an article, and which I will address later.
I think the prophecy by Isaiah refers to 685 BC, not 742 or 747 BC. The "fissioning event" recalled in mythology is more likely a recollection of the blazing of Venus and Mercury after June 15 (Gregorian) of 685 BC (the astronomical year), when Venus and Mercury were visually within a degree of each other, but so bright that their comas seemed to merge. Over the following weeks Mercury would be seen moving away from Venus, as if Mercury had just been born. And this planet, smaller than Venus, and only recently relocated to an orbit close to the Sun, had not been seen in the daytime sky in the previous two years, and never again after 685 BC. Mercury had lost its atmosphere the previous year when an Earth shock relocated it to within the orbit of Venus. Without an atmosphere Mercury, at one time looking nearly as large as Venus, had become much smaller. I think that this later element of 685 BC was written into the much earlier warning issued by Isaiah.
In Egypt Mars appeared as "Horus the Child" in sculpture at about this time (after about 750 BC), an inexplicable third Horus. This is possibly Mercury, although it is unlikely that the Egyptians misidentified Mars. The child Horus is originally shown trampling snakes and scorpions, and his image is a charm against snakebites and scorpion stings from the application of water run over the limestone image (as is used today also). He is soon depicted at the breast of Isis. (What a change in imagery!) This "Mother and Child" image spreads to the Middle East and the Roman empire, and eventually to Buddhist India through Greek influences, and is introduced to China. For the Egyptians of the New Kingdom, the second Horus had been assumed dead since circa 2700 BC (or after 1936 BC) when he last passed close to Earth, but at this time, in 747 BC, Mars is recognized again as Horus.
As noted above, Mars, when seen (at one instance) in the proximity to Venus, would look very small and the "Horus the Child" image may have derived from this comparison. The snakes being trampled are described in Vedic literature in the 7th and 8th century BC as contemporaneous companions of Mars. The Vedic hymns, as well as Bible passages and Mesopotamian documents, describe the furious rotation of Mars's satellites accompanied by moving plasma streams, looking like scorpions with waving tails. Vedic literature equates the satellites also with chariot wheels. This last places the description well after 1500 BC, in the age of chariots. The furious rotation of the satellites of Mars were in a direction transverse to the visual travels of Mars past the Earth. Once inside Earth's plasmasphere, the satellites would have trailed sweeping tails of plasma in glow mode, likely composed of the extensive dust of Mars.
Olmec sculptures of this era are of a full-sized adult jaguar or were-jaguar (a half human, half jaguar form), which probably represented Venus (although it may have been Mars), carrying a baby jaguar (depicted as a small adult) who also probably is Mercury.
In the Quiche Maya Popol Vuh of the 16th century AD we again meet these characters. The Popol Vuh takes liberties with history in order to come up with a smooth narrative, although the core of the narrative was well established nearly two thousand years earlier as can be seen from murals and inscribed scenes.
The hero twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, are clearly meant to represent Mars and Mercury, although by the story of their birth they would be Venus and Mars. But they are twins, and as twins most likely they are Mars and Mercury. The "twins" are a celestial phenomenon; a feature which occurs throughout the world at this time -- Italy, Greece, the Middle East, India, China, Australia, and Mesoamerica. Worldwide the twins are identified as black and white, with Mercury (yet with an atmosphere) as the white twin.
In the Popol Vuh one twin, Hunahpu, is identified by the Tzolkin day-name of the first day of the Venus cycle. (The Popol Vuh is a symphony orchestrated to the day-names of the Tzolkin.) The second twin's name, Xbalanque, could be translated from Quiche as "Little Jaguar of the Night." This is a transliteration from the notes of the book by Dennis Tedlock, Popol Vuh (revised edition 1996). Xbalanque is thus most likely Mercury.
In the Popol Vuh the appearance of Venus and Mars (although probably Mars and Mercury) a hundred years earlier (or at some earlier time) was understood to represent their father and uncle, who were put to death by the Lords of Xibalba, the Underworld. Both planets had simply disappeared into the night sky after some incident of the 8th century BC and not returned.
The activities of Hunahpu and Xbalanque are modeled both on the simultaneous appearance of Mars and Mercury in the 8th century BC and on the blazing of Venus and Mercury in the day sky in 685 BC (see later text).
During the various encounters of the 8th and 7th centuries BC, plasma interactions occurred between Venus and Mars, and between Mars and the Earth's Moon. These are described in the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Homeric Poems, which follow closely in time to Homer's epics, have similar descriptions. The Iliad retells the events of the 8th and 7th century BC as the interaction between the Olympian gods in the skies above Troy.
One event was an interaction between the warrior goddess Athena (Venus), and the bloodstained god of war Ares (Mars), with Aphrodite (the Moon) as a bystander. To keep Ares from aiding the Trojans in the battle of Troy, Athena drives a spear into Ares's "lower belly, below his belt." The scar still shows as a 3000-mile-long (4800-km-long) gash below the Martian equator. As Aphrodite approaches to help Ares, Athena bashes her in the breast. "And her heart bled [or melted]," reads the Iliad. [note 37]
Velikovsky notes that Roman historians for the 8th century BC record wildly erratic "months" which remain unresolved for a century. Despite the descriptions from the Iliad and the Odyssey, it is unlikely that the orbit of the Moon changed because of plasma strikes. Plasma strikes will wear away the crust of a planet before "moving" it in space. [note 38]
In the Odyssey, Demodocus, one of the fictional characters (and a poet), recites a poem dealing with a tryst of Ares (Mars) and Aphrodite (the Moon in this case). In this poetic interpretation, Ares's repeated arc mode plasma discharges to the smaller Moon are his ejaculations. Ralph Juergens mentions that, as Mars closed in, the display would have changed from long-range single arcs to much smaller arcs encompassing the whole sphere of the Moon. This last is the net devised by the smith Hephaestus (played by Venus) which falls on the lovers and holds them captive. [note 39]
Seen traveling across the daytime skies, and visually at close range, Venus is here known as the smith Hephaestus, a name which otherwise cannot be related to a planet. Alfred de Grazia, in The Burning of Troy (1984), wrote about Hephaestus: "whose name Robert Graves says means hemerophaistos (he who shines by day)."
De Grazia also discusses at length what is thought to be the event, in The Disastrous Love Affair of Moon and Mars (1984), under the assumption that the love affair, which is presented in comic form, is a disguise for the actual terror it produced in the watching humans.
To put all of this together: Venus and Mars appear in the sky, Venus drives a spear into Mars, and bashes the Moon, a hundred years later Mars makes love to the Moon and is caught in a net. Suddenly in 772 BC the Greeks start up the Olympic games at a location as far removed from almost all of the warring Greek nations as can be imagined: the northwest corner of Peloponnesus. Although I have no idea what this really meant politically, it could be suggested that it was selected to be in the direction of the earlier contact point of a Saturnian plasma stream with Earth.
The Olympic Games in Greece were instituted in 772 BC (Wikipedia says 776 BC) to commemorate interactions between the planets Venus, Mars, and the Moon four or eight years earlier. Originally the games consisted of just one foot race. With each of the following Olympics at 4-year intervals, the activities were expanded to include additional races. Other types of athletic contests did not enter the Olympics until many decades later. [note 40]
We would need to ask, Why the celebration of the Olympic Games? It would follow directly from the logic of the ancients: that Mars showed the people what had to be done in his honor to avoid his wrath in the future. At least in the short run that was an efficacious solution, good for 15 years. Like recasting of the terrifying Mars and Aphrodite event as a comedy in the Odyssey, the "celebration" of the Olympic Games might be another anti-celebration of the experience of terror. The dating of the event to four-year intervals would bring Venus back into the same region of the sky as 4 years earlier, but not Mars. Venus was definitely a part of the celebrations. I should point out that the sequences of Olympic Games became the chronological base for all of Greek history.
In Mesoamerica the "ballgame" event receives an entirely different interpretation from the "foot race" in Greece. The Olmecs engaged in a game involving a large rubber ball. In Mexico the ballcourt comes into use, although possibly not until some 800 years later. The shape of the ballcourt seems to be based on the look of the equatorial rings in the south night sky at the time of the equinoxes before 2349 BC when the shadow of the Earth opened up the center of the rings as an inverted equilateral trapezoid. The ballcourts, which were ubiquitous in Mesoamerica and in use for 2000 years, consisted of two sloped surfaces between which a giant rubber ball was in play between contestants. In later versions there were enclosed end zones at each end of the alley, giving the overall plan view the shape of a capital letter "I."
We know nothing of how the game was played. I'll propose for this narrative that, when played ceremonially, the ballgame was the religious re-enactment of ball-playing twins mentioned in the Popol Vuh; or perhaps the planet Venus and the Sun playing ball in 685 BC, perhaps with Mercury.
The ballcourt is a feature which came to be in near-universal use throughout Mexico and the game, in typical Mesoamerican style, was (apparently) a deadly affair. It is today suspected that the loser (or the winner, some say) was decapitated. It is also, as ever and everywhere in antiquity, in imitation of what was seen in the sky. [note 41]
The concept of a celestial ballcourt becomes an architectural feature of many (but not all) Mesoamerican ceremonial centers, at a minimum so that the ceremonial center and the setting location of the Sun along the horizon, become the two bouncing walls of the ballcourt. The ceremonial centers thus controlled the travels of the Sun. This is the case at Teotihuacan where there are no ballcourts.
Early excavators at the Olmec site of La Venta (900 BC to 400 BC) thought they had discovered a ballcourt (the area between two berms, directly north of the pyramid), but it turned out not to be so. One of the discovered sculptures, however, is still known today as "the football player." They did find rubber balls, to be expected, since the Olmecs cultivated the rubber tree. Apparently ballgames were played at La Venta and the earlier San Lorenzo (1450 BC to 900 BC), for sculptures of the gear and accessories have been identified. Additionally, the colossal heads found in the surrounding jungles all have "helmet" head wrappings, also suggestive of later ballcourt players elsewhere in Mesoamerica (but the original suggestion for this is based on American leather football helmets of the 1920s).
The head wrap may represent a means by which the Olmec people identified themselves with Mars, whose smooth upper half was seen on the close approaches in the 8th and 7th century BC, but this does not explain its use with the 10 heads found at San Lorenzo, which, as I will suggest later, most likely represent Venus rather than Mars. Of course in both cases (Mars and Venus) the planets jolted the Earth like a ball in play between contestants.
See also Linda Schele and David Freidel Maya Cosmos (1993), which discusses three ballcourts at the Maya site of Yaxchilan. The ballcourts were named "First Creation," "Second Creation," and "Third Creation," and have, in addition to the dedication date, appended time intervals pointing to earlier (or first) manifestation of these events (to which these ballcourts were dedicated), all of which can be placed, as suggested by Schele and Freidel, in the 7th century BC. And all of which are the wrong dates by thousands of years -- as a complete misreading of the information of the Day Books which were inherited by Yaxchilan. As I will point out in a later chapter, the historical references are to "creation" celebrations involving the large "altars" found at La Venta, not to celestial ballgames.
The Winged Disk
During this period especially, from 806 BC and continuing a thousand years, we run into a curious iconography in Egypt and the rest of the Eastern Mediterranean: the winged disk. Actually, the symbol of a disk with wings left and right can be found on all continents. In Egypt we can date its first appearance as early as the Old Kingdom, and elsewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean from about 2000 BC. I had initially thought that this might have been a representation of Saturn at the north pole, but more likely it represented the planet Mercury.
Velikovsky and others have pointed out that Mercury has a very long history of providing the names of kings. The veneration of Mercury became prominent, for example, around 2000 BC, and again in the 8th and 7th century BC. The Turin papyrus claims a longer life for Mercury than any other planet, dating it to the nova event of Saturn in 4077 BC.
[Image: Winged Disk, view of Mercury from an equatorial perspective; tail and bow shock not shown. Illustration by J. Cook.]
Mercury, I have noted, would have accompanied Mars on its excursions near Earth. Thus Mercury first showed up for 300 years starting in 3067 BC, then for an equal period starting in 1936 BC, and last for a 120 year period starting in 806 BC. In between these times Mars and Mercury did not cross Earth's orbit anywhere near Earth for a span of more than 800 years. The start of the cycles of close calls are separated by 1100 years. The orbits of Mars and Mercury would have precessed away from Earth's orbit between these times.
Mercury had a magnetic field and an atmosphere, and therefore had plasma plumes at its poles. These would have pointed north and south as Earth passed Mercury, and likely would have been in constant motion. As the Earth turned toward the east, Mercury would have been seen traveling west like a flapping bird.
Special thanks S Borruso for the note on Josephus.
Note 1 --
The destruction was in fact much worse than presented here. Whole islands disappeared, others rose out of the sea. The destruction extended into Northern Europe. See in particular Velikovsky's unpublished documents at varchive.org, "The Dark Ages of Greece," the particular chapters ["Changes in Land and Sea"] for Roman recollections, and ["Closing the Gap"] for Greek, Egyptian, European, and Mesoamerican notes.
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Note 2 --
During the 8th and 7th century over 300 cities in the Middle East were destroyed by earthquakes and fire. The Mycenaean Greek culture came to an end at this time (although conventionally dated 1200 BC). Mesoamerican farming villages, originally established after 1500 or 1200 BC, also suddenly disappear after about 800 BC.
In Chaos and Creation (1983), Alfred de Grazia writes about the book by Claude Schaeffer, Stratigraphie Comparée et Chronologie de L'Asie Occidentale, IIIe-IIe millénaires (1948):"Certain outstanding events ... struck simultaneously a definite number or even the totality of urban centers of Western Asia. ... Not only is this conclusion persuasive as originally inscribed, but many locations can now be added to the doomsday list."
De Grazia notes the dates of about 2350, 2100, 1700, 1450, 1365, and 1235 BC, and adds:"all that Schaeffer "automaticaly" consigns to the end of the Middle Bronze Age, at around 1750 BC I assign to the same time, but dated at about 1450 BC. The many destructions that he consigns to 1200-1300 BC, I assign to 800-700 BC."
"The results are remarkable. Suddenly, the vast 'hiatus' between '13th century' destruction and 6th century proto-classical times becomes only a brief hiatus. It is clear that the vast movements of 'the peoples of the seas' were a fiction employed by scholars to explain the widespread natural disasters of the 8th and 7th centuries, the Mars disasters of our calendar."
In 1961 de Grazia contacted Schaeffer about updating the 1948 information. The project was cut short by Schaeffer's death.
The "people of the sea" are today held to be real by archaeologists, despite their admission that absolutely nothing is known about them, and there is virtually no mention of them in Egyptian records. I would suspect that the "people of the sea" are asteroids, comets, and bolides in the company of Mars. The sea, in that case, is the sky, even though the Absu had long ago disappeared.
But these could also be refugees from the northern regions devastated by Mars. Revisions of Egyptian chronology have moved the 19th dynasty 500 years into the future, resulting in a coincidence of some of the "sea people" incidents (there are plenty of casual although unspecific Egyptian mentions) with the suspected overpasses of Mars. See, for example, to begin with, Immanuel Velikovsky, Ages in Chaos (1952), and following texts. Also see Jim Reilly, Displaced Dynasties (displaceddynasties.com, circa 2000).
De Grazia's suggested changes of Schaeffer's dates are only "more or less" correct for the lapses in chronology of the Eastern Mediterranean region. First, 2350 BC and 2100 BC can be left to stand for my dates for changes in the Earth's orbit in 2349 BC and 2193 BC.
Schaeffer's date of 1750 BC is 300 years earlier than de Grazia's date of 1450 BC (as representing the Exodus). I should note, however, that except for Schaeffer's collected data, there is little other indication of destruction anywhere else in the world. A considerable portion of the lack of backup studies of the archaeology of this era is designed to avoid confirming the theories brought forward by Velikovsky.
The dating hiatus of the Greek "Dark Ages" starts in about 1200 BC, when the last of the Mycenaean structures are today dated. Thus Schaeffer's dates of 1365 and 1235 BC are probably correctly moved by de Grazia to the period of 806 BC to 687 BC.
Patten and Windsor, in The Mars-Earth Wars (1996), maintain that Mars alternately showed up at the spring equinox and in October. I have included the alternations between spring and fall suggested by Patten and Windsor (but not specific to the spring equinox), but at an interval of 15 years, as initially suggested by Velikovsky, and as can be verified from the Maya Chilam Balam. This series makes much more sense in terms of Bible chronology, and especially the series of prophets who warned of these events. Patten and Windsor suggest that the length of the year changed in -701, but it is fairly certain that this actually happened in 747 BC.
The Chilam Balam is a collection of post-colonial (16th century AD) native manuscripts in the Mayan languages, using European script, which recorded histories and prophesies, many dating back with certainty for hundreds of years, while others recollect events dating back thousands of years before we have any archaeological inkling of the Maya.
Extending the close passes of Mars backwards from 747 BC (-747), give the following set of dates extending to 806 BC, based on the simple supposition of an interval of 15 or 14.5 years. At any rate, the change in the length of the year in 747 BC would not significantly alter these dates. This combines the suggestion of Patten and Windsor with what I have from other sources. (I have added the 686 Mercury event, and the 685 Venus and Mercury nova -- to be discussed later.)
If the last (and only) Earth shock involving Mars happened in 747 BC, then the current synodic period of Mars can be used with an ephemeris for the dates after 747 BC, since there would have been no further changes in the orbit of Mars, except for a change in ellipticity (which does not change the orbital period). That means that the "contacts" of Mars with Earth before 747 BC might have involved only a slightly different synodic period for Mars. The last few calendar dates are accurate, and can be verified from Chinese and Mesoamerican sources. The "Sennacherib event" likely happened on March 23, 687 BC (Julian) and did not involve Mars, as an ephemeris will show. See endnotes of the following chapter for additional details plus Appendix B, "The Celestial Mechanics."
year date Julian astronomical notes -------- --------------- -------------------- 806 BC Spring -805 791+ Oct 777 Feb -776 the 'ballgame' 762+ Oct lesser violence 748 Feb 28 -747 Earth shock, year changes 733 Oct lesser violence 718 Mar 703 Oct -702 lesser violence 688 Mar -687 last sighting of Mars additional data: 687 Mar 23 686 Sennacherib; shock by Mercury 686 Jun-Jul 685 Venus and Mercury in nova
The archaeological record at Olmec La Venta only records the last five events, including 687 BC, although this might be the Earth shock by Mercury in 686 BC. The Guatemalan Popol Vuh also records a mythology of five close contacts. It is possible that Mesoamerica was differently affected by the first four contacts by Mars before 747 BC, since the Earth's orbit changed in 747 BC, although the archaeology of Central America records the disappearance of many villages in the 8th century BC.
I think it is the lack of Day Books based on the Long Count (which was instituted in 747 BC) that kept the previous four contacts with Mars from showing up in later transmitted records. The Popol Vuh thus only recounts details of the last five contacts recorded in the Day Books.
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Note 3 --
Mercury, which apparently accompanied Mars, and was known at that time as Apollo, also steals cattle. It is amazing that there are so many stories about the doings of Apollo, if indeed this planet was only seen on occasion and for very short periods at sunrise or sunset.
Velikovsky quotes from Vedic hymns and from Joel. Inadvertently many of the descriptions match plasma effects and interactions within Earth's plasmasphere of the asteroids closely following Mars.
The Maruts number seven, writes Cardona, from information gathered from Indian sources. Away from the mass of Earth the gravitational sphere of influence for Mars would have been about 400,000 miles (650,000 km) (100 times the diameter of Mars, per Van Flandern). This is twice as far as the Moon is from Earth, and well within the gravitational sphere of influence of Earth. We can only assume that the Maruts remained with Mars because their velocity never matched the required speed needed to switch to becoming followers of Earth or to escape.
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Note 4 --
Plato, in Timaeus, recalls what Egyptian priests told Solon:"... you and your whole city are descended from a small seed or remnant of them which survived. And this was unknown to you, because, for many generations, the survivors of that destruction died, leaving no written word."
"For when there were any survivors ... they were men who dwelt in the mountains; and they were ignorant of the art of writing, and had heard only the names of the chiefs of the land, but very little about their actions."
The phrase, "men who dwelt in mountains," supports de Grazia's characterization of the survivors.
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Note 5 --
The linguistic analysis by de Grazia and others exemplifies the impact that Homer's writings and language had in subsequently unifying the geographically widely separated Greeks. Alfred de Grazia writes:"Homer used metaphors of the clearest and most ordinary kind, to the exclusion of far-flown and fancy comparisons. His poetry seems to be addressing audiences of low verbal ability; or they might have understood a melange of dialects and phrases, a lingua greca like a lingua franca or both. On the other hand, his similes are prolonged and complicated, dealing with rural and pastoral comparisons."
"More significant is the non-use of a sacred, liturgical language. If there had been a Mycenaean dead language, like classical Greek is to modern Greek, or Latin to Italian, then would not that have been the basis for portions of the epic poems? But it was not, not even for prayers. Therefore it did not exist. Mycenaean Greek was probably a living and related set of dialects whose standard expression had disappeared with its ruling class and scribes."
"The linguistic melange (with its numerous catch-phrases of all Greek sub-cultures), which was Homeric Greek, was 'instant prosody.' There had been no time, no more than a couple of generations, to build an epic language. Yet such an epic language would surely have evolved smoothly and uniformly over the several centuries of any 'Dark Ages.' What emerges therefore is a people and culture exploding in space and time, whose language, that of Homer, had not yet caught up with its expanding front."
By 600 BC the Greeks of Asia Minor make a concordance of Homer's vocabulary and are unable to place or define many of his words. It should be noted that Homer probably reintroduced the alphabet to the Greeks, since it seems clear that his works were not recited for 400 years, as conventionally understood, but written down.
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Note 6 --
The iconography of the Maya, as well as the Quiche Popol Vuh, describe a direct connection between Mars and Earth by having Mars (K'awil, in Mayan; Tohil in Quiche) stand on a single leg, often a snake, which is a representation of lightning, reaching down four or five diameters from the bulbous body (or head) of Mars.
Mars, lacking a magnetic field and atmosphere, would have shown with a surrounding dust-laden plasma coma which would have been very little larger than the actual planet.
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Note 7 --
Only where Mars came closest to Earth could mountain ridges be generated (claimed by Patten and Windsor). The mountain ridges (if any) would be formed in strips parallel to latitudinal lines. There are, however, only a few. Similarly, as the Earth rotated, the electric arc of Mars would travel at nearly the same latitude around all of the Earth. The seasonal tilt of the Earth has no influence on this, despite the claims to arc-shaped mountain ridges made by Patten and Windsor. There would be widening of the area devastated by lightning, and lessening, for Mars would shift north or south on its orbit in moving past Earth.
Without needing to find the length of Mars's orbit, or the lateral separation distance to Earth, the rise of Mars can be found as,pi * 8000 * tan(1.85/deg) = 811 mi.
Where pi * 8000 is the circumference of the Earth, and thus approximately equal to the horizontal distance traveled by Mars in one day with respect to the surface of Earth. The orbit of Mars is inclined at 1.85 degrees to the ecliptic (which is the orbit of Earth). Thus in one day (one rotation of Earth) Mars will move "up" by the circumference multiplied by the tangent of 1.85 degrees, while advancing along its own orbit next to Earth.
The value of 811 miles can be compared to the separation of locations of recognized damage by Mars. The distance from Athens to Scottland (at latitudes of 38 degrees and 56 degrees north) is 1242 miles. The distance from Mexico City to Arizona (at latitudes of 19.4 degrees and 34 degrees north) is 1007 miles. Both of these are close to the value of the expected creep northward of Mars, after allowing for another 1000 miles lateral movement.
We could calculate backward on the same basis of the latitudinal distances (1442 and 1007 miles), to calculate how long it would take Mars to travel this far north. That turns out to be 1.23 and 1.52 rotations of the Earth (not counting longitudinal differences), and thus provides a measure of how long it would take Mars to pass Earth.
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Note 8 --
De Grazia suggests the deposition of iron ores (iron oxides) at the time of these close approaches of Mars. But disassociated ferrous and ferric iron ionize positively, and would have remained at Mars, under the assumption that Mars represented the cathode during lightning strikes. De Grazia bases much of this on the association of the start of iron smelting and forging -- the start of the "Iron Age" -- with the two centuries when these events happened. Iron ore is not confined to horizontal bands in the northern hemisphere, as it should be if it was deposited by Mars.
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Note 9 --
There is a third companion or satellite of Mars mentioned by Homer ("Discord" or "Strife"), which is missing today. However, the description is closer to a rising stream of plasma, reading, "Strife, whose fury never tires, sister and friend of murderous Mars, who, from being at first but low in stature, grows till she uprears her head to heaven, though her feet are still on earth."
Jonathan Swift wrote the following in Gulliver's Travels (AD 1726):"They [the Laputans] have likewise discovered two lesser Stars or Satellites, which revolve about Mars, whereof the innermost is distant from the Centre of the Primary Planet exactly three of his Diameters, and the outermost five [Diameters]; the former revolves in the Space of ten hours, and the latter in twenty-one and a half."
He follows this with some mathematical information. The information is nearly correct, and involves Keplerian and Newtonian mechanics. Swift knew both Isaac Newton and Edmund Halley, although neither knew of the satellites of Mars. No telescope could resolve the satellites until 1877, 150 years after Swift. The actual distances are 0.4 and 3.5 diameters and the periods of rotation are 7.5 hours and 30 hours. Patten and Windsor make the following observation in The Mars-Earth Wars (1996):"At that time, in 1725 and 1726, astronomers did not know the diameter of Mars. Laputans disclosed the distance of Phobos and Deimos from Mars not in English miles but rather in Mars diameters. Astronomers in the early 1700's did not know the accurate value for the length of the astronomical unit. And they didn't know how far Mars was from the Sun. This unit of measurement in the satire suggests a very ancient sketch was involved, or a copy thereof from the Catastrophic Era."
Isaac Asimov, in The Kingdom of the Sun (1960), dismisses Swift's claims as a lucky guess, but then writes:"However, his guess that Phobos would rise in the west and set in the east because of its speed of revolution is uncanny, it is undoubtedly the luckiest guess in literature."
Others have suggested that the information came from China or Japan during the 18th century. Swift places Laputa as a small island off the coast of China.
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Although the Aztecs arrive very late to Central Mexico (AD 1100) they derive the qualities of their war God (Huitzilopochtli) from the Toltecs (since circa AD 800) whose war-like God (initially Xipe Totec) had been imported into the region. The people of the earlier classical phase, as at the ceremonial city of Teotihuacan, lasting from circa 200 BC to circa AD 700, had worshipped more benign deities (as far as we know).
It was visitors from Teotihuacan, however, who introduced a magic shield consisting of a flayed human face to the Maya, along with a considerably less effective dart thrower. The genesis of the flayed face, as a mask or shield is clearly seen in earlier Olmec sculptures.
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Note 11 --
The year 687 BC is four 15-year periods after 747 BC, thus suggesting 5 close passes of Mars if 747 BC is included. The year 702 BC is three 15-year periods after 747 BC, equivalent to four close passes.
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Note 12 --
From the timing of the effects on dawn and dusk, it seems clear that the episode of the Iliad recounts a shock by Mars in Northern Asia in 747 BC. The episode of the Odyssey recounts a shock by Mercury in North America in 686 BC, and thus experienced at nightfall in Greece. Electric contacts always happen at about noon local time, and thus at a location of Earth facing the Sun. The Iliad and Odyssey recount what happened at dawn and dusk, a quarter turn away from the location of the noon sun. With these details in place the respective compositional dates of the Iliad and the Odyssey can be determined as after 747 BC and alternately after 686 BC.
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Note 13 --
See the article by Ralph Juergens, at [saturniancosmology.org/juergensa.htm]. From this, by the look of the rilles of craters of the Moon, it might only take seconds for electrons to course through crustal material.
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Note 14 --
With the second Earth shock in 686 BC the length of the year did not change at all, since we have no record anywhere of additional calendar reforms. I would suspect that the ellipticity of Earth's orbit might have changed. That allows a change in Kinetic Energy without changing the orbital period.
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Note 15 --
More details and ephemeris data may be found in the Appendix "The Canopus Decree."
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Note 16 --
The "Era of Nabonassar" actually starts on February 27th of the Julian calendar. Ussher relates:"From twelve o'clock [noon], on the first day of the Egyptian month Thoth, from Wednesday, February 26th, in the evening, in the year 747 BC, all astronomers unanimously start the calendar of Nabonassar."
Ussher is here supposedly using the Julian calendar. The date matches the starting date of the Roman calendar (which we use today) as starting on March 1, the day after February 28th. The Olmec Long Count starts on February 28, 748 BC (-747), but on the Gregorian calendar. I suspect that in all these cases the actual dates are on a seasonal calendar, a Gregorian equivalent calendar.
"Starting at noon" has been the bane of Julian day chronology ever since Ptolemy. "In the evening" is the traditional Egyptian (and Hebrew) start of the day.
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Note 17 --
Before 747 BC, when the Moon's orbit was 30 days, the Moon would have been on an orbit around the Earth which was considerably larger than today. There would not have been any eclipses (lunar or solar) seen on Earth, for the hard shadow of the Moon, the umbra, decreases in size with distance, and at some distance completely disappears. This happens on occasion today because the distance between Earth and the Moon varies somewhat over time.
Ptolemy does not list all the eclipses which might have been available to him, even though certainly by AD 200 these could have been retrocalculated. Ptolemy lists ten lunar eclipses between 721 BC and 381 BC, from Babylonian sources, 5 eclipses from 201 BC to 141 BC, from Greek sources, and four between AD 125 and AD 136, from his own observations (at Alexandria). The number is certainly much less that the 400 or more eclipses which might have been visible in Mesopotamia (although, eclipses are visible only in limited and variable portions of the world).
Robert R. Newton, in The Origin of Ptolemy's Astronomical Tables (John Hopkins, 1985) (also, The Crime of Claudius Ptolemy 1977), questions the validity of many of these eclipses. Others are of a different opinion, although John M. Steele, in "A Re-analysis of the Eclipse Observations in Ptolemy's Almagest" in Centaurus 42 (2000), also questions the validity of some dates.
The point, however, is that both in Alexandria and China, records of eclipses start to appear only after 747 BC, although the earliest in both instances are in 721 and 720 BC. Some of the first eclipses of the Sun experienced in the 8th century BC were at times produced by Mars, and would have been associated with the destructive contacts by Mars. These solar eclipses would have struck terror in the people of the Mesopotamian region.
Alfred de Grazia has noted:"When Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision appeared in 1950, many a critic leaped at it claiming that eclipses of the times before 700 B.C. were known and hence the skies had been orderly for long before then. Over the years he and his supporters put to rest this claim. No such historical record exists; there is no anomaly present."
-- De Grazia, The Burning of Troy (1984)
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Note 18 --
In the previous era, 1492 to 747 BC, the year had been 360 days and the period of Venus was 225 days. The synodic period of Venus (the time of an apparent revolution around the Sun as seen from Earth) would be (360*225)/(360-225) = 600 days.
The continued use of a 10-lunar-month calendar (from the previous era of 2193 BC to 1492 BC), after the year had changed to 360 days (and 12 lunar months of 30 days), would match the 600-day synodic period of Venus. Two rotations through 10 months would bring the year around to another heliacal rising of Venus. After six rotations through 10 months the heliacal rising of Venus (which, I should point out, was absolutely spectacular in antiquity) would again fall on the same solar year day as 5 years earlier, 5*360 - 3*600 = 0. Five 360-day years is 1800 days; six rotations of 10 months of 30 days is also 1800 days.
This explains why after 747 BC, when the period of the Moon no longer divided the Earth's year into equal and repeating segments, the "Venus calendar" was kept in use. Even though it fell behind a day every four solar years it was much more useful than a calendar based on the Moon.
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Note 19 --
Ussher states:"748 BC -- Rome was founded by Romulus according to the reckoning of Fabius Pictor, the most ancient of all Roman writers. This date is confirmed according to the account of the secular games held by the ancient Romans most religiously. This happened shortly before the beginning of the 8th Olympiad, on the feast of their goddess Pales, on the 10th day of April."
The 8th Olympiad is 776 - 8*4 = 744 BC, shortly after 747 BC.
Velikovsky suggests that the changes in the Roman months were made following 747 BC, but this is not likely to be correct. Because it is certain that before 747 BC there were 12 months of 30 days in the year, the only reason to add two months to the year would be to correct the 10-month calendar held over from the previous era, when there were 10 months in the year.
Before 747 BC, all the months were 30 days, adding up to a 360-day year. In 747 BC the decision was made to start the year (March first) after the 28th day of February, since that day coincided with the disturbance (or the end of the disturbance) by Mars. But with the month of February now short by two days, and the new year five days longer, seven extra days had to be distributed over the 12 months of 30 days.
The extra days of the year were distributed to the first, third, and fifth months of the first five months of the old 10-month calendar (March, May, July) and in the same manner to the second five months (August, October, December), with the last additional day going to January.
Later Roman historians, noting the nearly symmetrical distribution of extra days to alternate months of the 12-month calendar, suggested that the emperor Augustus stole a day from February to be added to the month named after himself, August, just as Julius Caesar had done for his month, July.
The Julian calendar instituted by Julius Caesar included a provision for a leap day. February 24th was doubled, that is, used twice, to accomplish the leap day. Note that this is 5 days from the end of the month. It is five days before the day of the Earth shock by Mars.
But things are not as simple as all this. See, for example, the topic of "Roman_calendar" at Wikipedia, some of which is made up on the basis of uniformitarian principles.
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Note 20 --
Assuming a 584-day synodic period for Venus based on the canonical values of the Venus calendar of the Maya Dresden Codex (dating at the earliest to AD 700), when the Earth's year changed to 365.25 days after 747 BC, the coincidence of an Earth/Venus calendar would have been (5*584) - (8*365.25) = 2 days -- representing a slippage of two days over 8 Earth years. A half period (4 years) would only displace the calendar by one day. This Venus calendar was in use throughout the world -- as for example, among the Egyptians and the Inca. It was used nominally also by the Greeks, who base their "Olympiads" on 4- or 8-year intervals, starting in 772 BC. Actual local calendars of the Greek city-states varied enormously, being based on local religious feasts and later on civil tax collection needs.
The Romans, by the first century BC, had done something similar, repeatedly shifting the start of the year by edict of the Senate so as to increase tax collection. Julius Caesar's reform in 40 BC was welcomed universally as a return to sanity. This is also why he was allowed to move the start of the year from March 1 to January 1, breaking a 700-year-old religious tradition.
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In Mesoamerica only the Zapotecs of Monte Alban in West Central Mexico added a leap day. Apparently this was done in 607 BC, when a switch could be made to the Zapotec annual calendar without missing a day of the traditional Tzolkin calendar. See the chapter "The Day of Kan" for details.
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The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar "completed a Baktun" on February 28, -747 (Gregorian), going to a count of six Baktuns, zero Katuns, zero Tuns, zero Uinals, and zero days (220.127.116.11.0 in Long Count notation), on day 11-Ahau, 8-Uo.
The year is the astronomical year of -747, which is actually 748 BC on the Gregorian calendar. (Astronomical dates include a "year zero," which is not used in BC/AD calendar notation.) I have quoted (as elsewhere) an astronomical date (like -747) as a historical date (747 BC, instead of 748 BC).
Additionally, because of the Mesoamerican concepts that a day does not exist until it is completed, the Long Count use of "day zero" actually signifies the first day of the new era, so that the actual era-ending date is February 27th. I should also note that I am using the Thompson "August 11" correlation for conversion to the Gregorian calendar in this instance. See the chapter "The Maya Calendar" for additional details. The "August 13" correlation was, I suspect, instituted in the Valley of Mexico sometime around 600 BC or later. It spread to the coastal Olmec region, and most of the Maya in the Peten and the Yucatan, but not to coastal Guatemala where the "August 11" Long Count was retained to today.
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The "Post Classical" Maya, after about AD 900, reduced their dating to a repeating cycle of 13 Katuns. This is the Maya "Short Count" calendar, where years rotate through a series of 13 Katuns (20-year periods of 360-day years), before repeating again (thus representing about 256 years). The 13 Katun periods are named after the name of the last day of the Katun on the Tzolkin day calendar. The series rotates, in turn, through the Katun names of 11-Ahau, 9-Ahau, 7-Ahau, 5-Ahau, etc., followed by a decreasing series of even-numbered Ahau days, and ending in 13-Ahau.
The texts of The Book Of Chilam Balam of Chumayel, translated by Ralph Roys (1932) insistently claims that Maya history starts with Katun 11-Ahau.
A Katun 11-Ahau ended on February 28, -747, Gregorian, thus starting a new era. Although we would hold that Katun 9-Ahau would be the start of the new era, in the languages of Mesoamerica it is the completion of a previous time period which marks a beginning. (See the chapters "The Maya Calendar" and "The Chilam Balam" for more details.)
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As a comment on the validity of the date of February 26, 747 BC, for the Earth shock by Mars, Velikovsky wrote, "It is worth noting ... that the ancient inhabitants of Mexico celebrated their New Year on the day which corresponds, in the Julian calendar, to the same date [of February 26]." He quotes from J. de Acosta The Natural and Moral History of the Indies, which was translated in AD 1604 and re-edited in AD 1880. "The Mexicans" are the Aztecs, since the Maya celebrated New Year on July 26th when the Sun passed directly overhead in Central Yucatan. However, the quoted date is on the Gregorian calendar, not on the Julian calendar. In about AD 1550 there was a ten-day difference between the Julian and the Gregorian calendars. The date may have been converted from Julian calendar notation to Gregorian calendar notation by the translator or editor.
The information attributed to J. de Acosta does not match other sources for the start of the Aztec new year. Vincent Malmstrom writes, "the Spanish clerics Sahagún and Durán, disagreed: The first cited a beginning Julian calendar date of February 2; the second, March 1."
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Linda Schele and David Freidel used the August 11 correlation in their 1990 book A Forest of Kings, but switch to the August 13 correlation with the publication in 1993 of Maya Cosmos.
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Patten and Windsor quote from Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (1928):"When Rabshakah [the Assyrian commander in chief] heard the singing of the Hallel he counseled Sennacherib to withdraw from Jerusalem, as on this night -- the first night of Passover -- many miracles were wrought for Israel. Sennacherib however did not accept the wise counsel given him."
Egypt had been under Assyrian control for a number of years, an event not much recorded by Egyptians, when a revolt aided by the Sudanese king Tirhaka ousted the Assyrians shortly before 686 BC. Sennacherib's campaign was meant to retake Egypt.
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Note 27 --
More than a "blast from heaven," the incident of this year (held to be either 686 BC or 687 BC) also has to be recognized for simultaneous worldwide earthquakes. But in those days no one paid attention to earthquakes.
Dwardu Cardona, in "Velikovsky's Martian Catastrophes" (Aeon 1990) wrote about this incident:"If the sources are to be believed, the suddenness of the slaughter as the army lay resting during the night plus the 'burned' nature of the victims, with their garments remaining intact, do not imply the effects of a hurricane. But with so many contradicting reports, including that given by Herodotus, all of which invoke 'miraculous' phenomena, should any of these bizarre details be given credence? And if so, which?"
"Thus the aura of mystery remains attached to Sennacherib's last campaign but, as matters stand at present, the issue cannot be resolved by attributing any of this to a close Martian flyby which was apparently noted by no one."
The blast of wind happened almost directly opposite the location of the North American contact site of Mercury, not antipodal, but certainly in the northern hemisphere and at almost exactly the same latitude.
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Note 28 --
Eric Miller, at the Saturnian Conference "Velikovsky -- Ancient Myth and Modern Science" (1994, Portland, OR), introduced his talk with the following:"I was going to go through Velikovsky, show that his dating of 687 B.C. for the second catastrophic event is probably an error, that Velikovsky's sources are incorrect as to his Chinese sources."
The "sources," however, are competent 19th century European astronomers.
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Note 29 --
[Image: Semi-circle of compressed mountains centered on Northern Alabama. Courtesy of Dennis Cox, http://sites.google.com/site/dragonstormproject/]
The source is from Velikovsky and attributed to the Menominee Indians of North America. The Menominee are indigenous to Wisconsin, and thus located well away from the area of destruction. Velikovsky has, as an added detail from an original Ute source (S. Thompson Tales of the North American Indians, 1929), "... a huge conflagration enveloped the American prairies and forests as soon as the sun, frightened off by the snarer, returned a little on its way." The timing is absolutely correct. The event was also noted by Hawaiians and Polynesians, who recall (from their perspective) that at the onset the Sun rose and reversed itself before appearing again.
The North American site of the impact is clearly in Northern Alabama in the USA, centered on Huntsville. The particular shape of the compressed mountains follows the form predicted by consideration of the application of an initial compressive force. The "burning prairies and forests" were due to a path of electric arcing which traveled west from the "impact" location, and were noted by Plains Indian tribes.
It is quite possible that Venus played the role of Coyote in this tale. Venus was in the day sky west of the Sun. As the skies darkened, Venus would have been seen with the cord of a snare (its plasma tail) in hand, extending away from the Sun.
Consideration of the applied torque (due to the electric contact with Mercury) in the northern hemisphere in North America, and the gyroscopic reaction torque, will support the movements of the Sun and Mars described in the text. (See Appendix B, "The Celestial Mechanics" for additional details.)
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Velikovsky was initially uncertain about the date of the second close approach, but in the chapter "The Later Campaigns of Sennacherib," of the later unpublished text "The Assyrian Conquest," Velikovsky notes:"In the last century scholars became aware that there were two invasions of Palestine by Sennacherib and that it is possible to discern in the scriptural record an early and a late campaign against Hezekiah. The first campaign to Palestine took place about -701. The second campaign is dated by modern historians to -687 or -686."
He sources Henry Rawlinson and, more recently, John Bright (1962), William Albright (1956 ?), and Edwin R. Thiele (1951).
Likewise Donald W. Patten and Samuel R. Windsor, in The Mars-Earth Wars (1996), use 701 BC as the year of Sennacherib's disaster, based on the chronology developed by Edwin R. Thiele in The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (1965, and 1951 above).
I am not at all convinced that either 687 BC or 701 BC should be used for a second Earth shock. The selection of dates hinges on the supposition that the catastrophe which befell Sennacherib at the gates of Jerusalem needs to be identified directly with an Earth shock by Mars. This is simply not so, since Sennacherib's army obviously was afflicted with a localized Ignis Coelis. Earth shocks are not required for that to happen, as subsequent history -- into the 20th century AD -- testifies. See Appendix B, "The Celestial Mechanics."
The Chilam Balam only has reference to the first and the last appearance of Mars. The first recorded appearance of 747 BC produced the Earth shock, and changed the orbit of the Earth. Earlier close passes of Mars (before 747 BC) were not recorded as significant, or were missing from the Day Books of the Long Count which was started in 747 BC.
Additional text of the Maya Chilam Balam states that some other planet showed up 9 times ("Bolon Mayel" -- Nine Fragrances), bringing flowers and perfumes. To show "flowers" the planet had to have a magnetic field. As I point out in Appendix B, "Celestial Mechanics," this was Mercury. Mars has no magnetic field. I will insist on the date of 686 BC, not 687 BC, and suggest that Mercury, not Mars, was the agent for the second Earth shock. Two independent Chinese sources confirm the date.
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Note 31 --
I will later suggest that the interactions with Mars stopped in 670 BC, when Earth's orbit became nearly circular (as noted by Rose and Vaughan), and thus Earth no longer came near the orbit of Mars -- which even today is still quite elliptical. See following text for details.
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Note 32 --
It is likely that Isaiah addresses Mercury, that is, Phaethon, not Venus. Phaethon can be placed in 685 BC as Mercury. "Helel ben-Shahar," which is how Isaiah addresses Mercury, reads then as "Shining son of Dawn" (Eos), which is exactly how the Greeks addressed Phaethon.
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Note 33 --
The Popol Vuh actually shrouds this in a narrative of the ball-playing twins Xbalanque and Hunahpu, and reads, "And then the boys ascended this way, here [that is, toward Earth], into the middle of the light, and they ascended straight on into the sky. ..."
The "eight days" of the inferior conjunction mentioned in the text -- the time after which Quetzalcoatl rose as the Morning Star -- are from the canonical Venus calendar. The Maya values are from the Dresden Codex, and were last recopied in circa AD 1200, from manuscripts dating to AD 700. The Maya values and today's values (from first eastern visibility through the following inferior conjunction) are as follows:
236 90 250 8 (Maya canonical values)
263 50 263 8 (Current Values)
both add up to a total of 584 days. The values above represent, in order:
-- the visibility of Venus after first rising in the east
-- the days Venus disappears after setting in the east
-- the visibility of Venus after first rising in the west
-- the days Venus disappears after setting in the west
After setting in the west, Venus would reappear in the east. Neither the 8 days nor the 50 days are hard and fast, since they vary somewhat with the elevation of Venus above or below the Sun, and the relative elevation of Earth. The total, which represents the synodic orbit of Venus, remains the same. The only differences in the values are due to the ellipticity of the orbit -- which will not change the orbital period. The critics of Velikovsky should have understood that, but remained ignorant of basic astronomy.
The canonical Venus calendar of Mesoamerica is only marginally different from current observations. Of note is the longer time of the superior conjunction. The finely tuned tables of Venus predictions of the Dresden Codex, for which the Maya have gained some fame as astronomers, consist entirely of observational corrections to this chart. From this we could guess that the canonical values were derived at an earlier time -- long before AD 700.
William Douglas, in Kronos (1982), supplied the visibility and disappearance of Venus in the seventh century BC from the Tablets of Ammizaduga, as follows:240.2 90 249.4 7 (total 586.6) (Section I) 245 90 245 7 (total 587) (Section II)
As the data shows, the synodic period of the orbit of Venus has decreased by 3 days since the 7th century BC. Since at that time the Earth's period was 365.25 days, the orbital period of Venus was only slightly longer than today, 225.1 days, as can be found from the formula for the synodic period, (365.25 * 225.1)/(365.25 - 225.1) = 586.6.
Also note that the Maya canonical values are close to the 7th century BC values. It would suggest that Venus was still on an elliptical orbit at the time when the Maya (or their Olmec predecessors) first collected this observational data.
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Note 34 --
See for instance the collection of references to "a prodigy in the sky," and other notable displays of Venus, by Velikovsky in Worlds in Collision. Velikovsky, however, often places events in the wrong era and at times he also identifies celestial bodies as Venus and Mars, when it is obvious from the quoted texts that the references are to Venus and Mercury or Venus and the Sun.
If the flaming up of Venus and Mercury was due to a massive plasma expulsion by the Sun (as seems very likely from the follow-up reaction by Jupiter), then the Earth also would have ended up doing the same thing, but because of the Earth's magnetosphere and enclosing atmosphere, the Earth might have been spared the creation of thousands of electric burn craters. There is the contemporaneous statement by Assurbanipal, king of Assyria, about Ishtar (Venus) "raining fire over Arabia" (quoted in the text). Later Roman writers make the same claim of the Earth burning up because of the close approach of Phaethon, as did Plato.
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Note 35 --
It had been assumed that the "ball" in the celestial ballgame of 776 BC was the Moon. This was partially based on reports by Velikovsky from Roman sources that the "month" varied greatly around the time of the founding of Rome, circa 747 BC. However, the Roman "month" was a calendar measure, not the orbital period of the Moon. It was an attempt by the Romans to adjust the calendar to the new length of the year after 747 BC. It is just doubtful that the orbit of the Moon would be affected, especially repeatedly. There is also no information on this from any other sources.
Considering that Mercury shows up repeatedly during the period of 806 BC to 686 BC (as it had for periods after 3067 BC and after 1936 BC), it is more likely that it was Mercury which is to be understood as a participant in the foot race.
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Note 36 --
The Olympic Games were said to have been founded by Hercules (Mars) at Pelop's tomb at Olympia in the northwest Peloponneses. An ephemeris shows a near conjunction of Earth with Mars and Venus in 776 BC (assuming Mars to be within the orbit of Earth, rather than without). Notes on this may be found in Appendix B, "Celestial Mechanics."
The Chinese Book of Shih King, the Book of Odes, lists a "celestial event" for 776 BC. In the 19th century it was reputed to only be an eclipse of the Sun. As a book of collected poetry, the Shih King is not concerned with celestial events. It is the only "celestial event" which entered the book. Since the Moon was on a slightly larger orbit at that time, it is unlikely that the eclipse was caused by the Moon. (No hard shadow would be cast on Earth.) Thus it might have been a planet on an inner orbit.
Another source for celestial phenomena during this period of time, the Spring and Autumn Annals, compiled by Confucius and completed about 480 BC, lists some 35 eclipses, almost all of which were verified in the 19th century, but includes no dates significant to conjunctions with Venus or Mars.
The games have to be understood as religious. Mars set the example in the skies of what activity among humans would keep punishments away.
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Note 37 --
In the 5th century BC Herodotus placed the Trojan war in 1200 BC, a date later taken up by Eratosthenes. However, the date has been in controversy since the time of Herodotus. The Trojan War should be placed in the 8th or 7th century BC -- not in the 11th century BC. The testimony of the Asiatic Greeks, who traced their ancestry to the heroes of the Iliad, agrees on this. Velikovsky also makes a good case for placing the war in the middle of the 8th century BC, after 747 BC.
Following is a footnote from an unpublished document by Velikovsky on the later dating of the Trojan war. The footnote was added by Jan Sammer. The actual document expands on this considerably:A. R. Burn, Minoans, Philistines, and Greeks: B.C. 1400-900 (London, 1930) pp. 52-54: "It cannot be too strongly emphasized that the traditional date of the Trojan War, 1194-84, adopted by Eratosthenes and more or less tentatively accepted in so many modern books, is absolutely worthless" being based on Eratosthenes's "wild overestimate of the average length of a generation." Cf. idem, "Dates in Early Greek History," Journal of Hellenic Studies 55 (1935) pp. 130-146. Cf. also D. Page, History and the Homeric Iliad (University of California Press, 1959) p. 96, n. 159: "(the date) given by Eratosthenes is nothing but a guess proceeding from flimsy premises which could not possibly have led to a scientific calculation." Another writer adds: "sober historical judgment must discard the ancient chronological schemes in toto; they are nothing more than elaborate harmonizations of myths and legends which were known in later times and have no independent value whatever for historical purposes." (G. Starr, The Origins of Greek civilization: 1100-650 B.C. (New York, 1961) p. 67.
-- Velikovsky (Sammer) unpublished document at [www.varchive.org]
The actual dates of the war do not matter. The war was probably a fiction. It is the retelling by Homer and others which weave into the tale the doings of the planets in the 8th century BC that is of interest.
Alfred de Grazia suggests that the characterization of the heroes as berserkers, pirates, and incompetent warriors and sailors corresponds to the expected reaction of survivors of calamities of enormous scope, which removed all prior institutions of government, religion, history, and literacy.
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Note 38 --
The new period of the Moon after 747 BC did not fit evenly into a solar year of 365.25 days. In the previous period, 12 months of 30 days had equaled a year of 360 days. Actually, it is my suspicion that the Roman people of Italy were still using a 10-month calendar cycle, left over from the calendar of an earlier epoch (when two 10-month periods exactly matched the synodic period of Venus). Romulus, mythological founder of Rome, instituted a 10-month calendar, says Ovid (de Grazia). There is also a claim by Roman historians, however, that the second king of Rome, Numa, added two months, January and February, at the end of the ten-month civil year, whose original names ended in October, November, and December, which translate as eighth, ninth, and tenth.
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Note 39 --
See "Of The Moon And Mars, The Origins Of The Lunar Sinuous Rilles" Ralph E. Juergens, Published in Pensee Journal, 1974, in two parts and available locally as [saturniancosmology.org/juergensa.htm] and [saturniancosmology.org/juergensb.htm ]
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Note 40 --
There is a clear reference to the Olympic Games in the Iliad, about a chariot race, recounted by Nestor, which was recognized as an anachronism by the Greek editors in the sixth century BC. This anachronism, one of a number of instances, would date the authorship to well after 680 BC, when chariot racing was added to the foot races.
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Note 41 --
Despite the universal use of the ballgame by many diverse societies in Mesoamerica over a 2200-year time span, we do not have a single description of how it was played. It was banned by the invading Spanish. All the information which has been gathered is inferential.
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Calculations are in Unix bc notation, where ^ denotes exponentiation; the functions a(rctangent), s(ine), and c(osine) use radians; angle conversions to radians or degrees by the divisors rad=.017+ and deg=57.2+; other functions are shown as f( ); tan( )=s( )/c( )
units: million == 1,000,000; billion == 1,000,000,000;
AU == 93,000,000 miles.
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