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by Alfred de Grazia




It began during the furious quarrel between Odysseus and Achilles at the rich feast of the gods, sings Demodocus, "for it was at this very moment that calamity began to unroll upon both Trojans and Danaans by the plans of the Great Zeus." [1]

The Iliad is sung as the wrath of Achilles on one level - the Poet says so - but is of a type with the battles of the sky gods recited in Scandinavian, Finnish, Hindu, Mexican, Babylonian, and other epics. The Greek gods of the Trojan Wars engage in plain soldiering, hurling rocks and spears, shooting arrows, and driving chariots. They make onslaughts from heaven; they launch disasters upon Earth: plagues, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, hail of stones and arrows, famines, fogs, and darknesses in the day.

The gods negotiate amongst themselves and with humans. They engage in fighting, trickery, argument, and bribery amongst themselves. They build morale and conduct psychological warfare; they provide military intelligence but also distort information for the good of their favorites. They counsel the warriors on tactics. They enforce rules of warfare that they sometimes themselves violate. They manufacture weapons. They promote and reverse events, battles, and decisions of leaders.

Whole sections of the Iliad are devoted to the warring of the gods. On the Achaean side there range Athena, Hera, Poseidon, Hephaestus. On the Trojan side, the line-up includes Ares, Aphrodite, and Apollo. The victory is with the Achaeans and their gods, although the Homeric element ends with Achilles' killing of Hector, the burial of Hector, and a mere pause in the struggle; however, all known versions of the rest of the story, occupying the tenth year, agree that the Achaeans "won the war" and razed Troy. Whether or not Troy was actually destroyed by the Achaeans cannot be told from the ruins of the city. Troy VI and VIIa are the best candidates for the historical city; Schliemann's Troy (now referred to as Troy IIg) is not regarded anymore as a possibility; I have written of this case in the Book, The Burning of Troy. Troy IIg was destroyed by an atmospheric conflagration; Troy VI by an earthquake; Troy VIIa by an atmospheric conflagration. These, to Homer and his audiences, would be the gods in battle, the effects of "a divine-kindled fire of stones" (Iliad) and other superhuman operations. The "Fall of a City" is a legendary symbol in various cultures for a disaster, that is, the disruption and end of a celestial order. It is likely that the Fall of Troy was such a catastrophe, in which human agency played less of a role than the divine.


Some of the Trojan story is reported in the Odyssey, by Demodocus no less, and by Odysseus from Hades. There and elsewhere the post-war adventures of the Achaean heroes are recounted and it would appear that for the most part they received very little for their pains except more suffering, mishaps, treachery, and misadventure.

But let us examine, with Finley's words, the case of

Helen, who is a very peculiar figure. Helen, daughter of Zeus and Leda, was Aphrodite's favorite, and thanks to the gifts of the goddess she succeeded in embroiling Greeks and Trojans in a gigantic struggle that cost both sides dearly. Helen was no innocent victim in all this, no unwilling captive of Paris-Alexander, but an adulteress in the most complete sense. For Paris there was no atonement ... But Helen received no punishment, and scarcely any reproach. She ended her days back in Sparta, administering magical drugs obtained in Egypt, interpreting omens, and participating in the life of the palace much like Arete [queen of the Phaeacians and a strange, powerful figure] and not like a proper Greek woman [2] .

The "enigmatic" and "complicated" image of Helen, that Finely alludes to, has a simple solution. Helen of Troy stands for the Moon. She represents the goddess Aphrodite. Paris-Alexander, Prince of Troy, represents the god Mars-Ares. The Moon that had been "embraced" over centuries by Hephaestus (Athena-planet Venus) in his encounters with the Earth is taken away from him; Athena-Hephaestus and their allies must repossess it. Helen is the Moon Goddess and the world is the male version of Helen, father of the family of all Greeks. Etymologists have also indicated a connection between "Selene" and "Helios," the latter deriving from the same Indo-European root as sun and solis [3] . Thus she symbolizes in the battle of the gods the coming of the Hellenes into their revived nationhood in conjunction with the triumph of the Athena faction of the family of Zeus.

Let us read in Graves briefly:

The Ionians and Aeolians, the first two waves of patriarchal Hellenes to invade Greece, were persuaded by the Hellads already there to worship the Triple-goddess and change their social customs accordingly, becoming Greeks (graikoi 'worshippers of the Grey Goddess, or Crone'). Later, the Achaeans and Dorians succeeded in establishing patriarchal rule and patrilinear inheritance, and therefore described Achaeus and Dorus as first - generation sons of a common ancestor, Hellen - a masculine form of the Moon-goddess Helle or Helen ... Aeolus and Ion were then relegated to the second generation, and called sons of the thievish Xuthus, this being a way of denouncing the Aeolian and Ionian devotion to the orgiastic Moon-goddess Aphrodite - whose sacred bird was the xuthos, or sparrow, and whose priestesses cared nothing for the patriarchal view that women were the property of their father and husbands [4] .

Hans Jones, author of The Gnostic Religion, may also be quoted. For he has traced a very old belief in the connection between Moon and Helen:

"Some Greek mythological speculation seems to have associated the Homeric Helen with the moon, whether prompted by the similarity of Helene and Selene, or by her fate (abduction and recovery) interpreted as a nature myth, or by Homer's once comparing her appearance to that of Artemis. One story had it that the egg which Leda found dropped from the moon; and the late Homer commentator Eustathius (twelfth century A. D.) mentions that there are some who say that Helen fell down to earth from the moon, and that she was taken back up when the will of Zeus was accomplished. When and by whom this was said, Eustathius does not state; neither does he say (or imply) that in this form of the myth Helen served as a symbol of the anima..." [5]

The plot of the Iliad, then, would become the plot of the Love Affair, where the central action concerns the recapture of Aphrodite from Ares by Hephaestus (Athena). The theory would explain many problems (and no doubt will create some). The question raised endlessly by students, "How could people of little discipline fight so murderously and for so long over a mere woman in an age when women were nearly ordinary chattels?" is answered. Beautiful Helen, eternally unravisheable and unconquerable, was Moon-Aphrodite. Aphrodite was also a Great Goddess, and retained qualities of a Great Mother Goddess; so the psychic prize was not only the Moon and the beautiful women, but also the Mother of Greece.

The connection between the two wars - one of men, the other of gods - is often explained as a form of hyperbole and egocentrism: it "heightens the glamour of the human warriors." This kind of explanation would no longer be necessary. The two wars are inextricably and originally linked now; they must be told together because they happened together. As for the city of Troy and the Trojans, it is as much a mythical place as the Shinning Land of Phaeacia. The Trojans are the Moon-capturing followers of Ares.

As has been argued increasingly for two decades, the Trojans may have been Greeks who were set up by Homer to provide a counterforce to the Achaeans. Perhaps no saga in all mythology treats the enemy so objectively, even with positive sympathy. An epic singer usually delights his audience by heaping sins and defeats upon the enemy. Even Achilles may have to assume a new character, that of Athena-Hephaestus, triumphant, but falling finally through a wound of the foot from the arrow of Paris-Ares-Apollo-Aphrodite.

If this were generally so, and it is not to be demonstrated here, then at least the Love Affair portion of the Odyssey may be fixed as concurrent with the Battle of the Gods in the Iliad. It has been affirmed that the Love Affair is a late piece of the Odyssey. We would not contest this placement at all. We are thinking of the middle 7th century for the composition of the Iliad, and of the culture and the skies being both of the preceding two generations.

Yet one more theory needs to be put forward respecting the Odyssey, before agreeing that the work may well be composed of older materials and have its own hidden plot. Compare the strong affection that Athena holds for Odysseus in the Iliad. He has her traits. See him again in the Odyssey. Again he has her traits.. From beginning to end, the work of the Odyssey is the divine work of Athena. She was not only the producer of the Love Affair, and of the Iliad, but also of the Odyssey as a whole, and as she was the principal actor in the first two, so she is once more the principal actor. For the Odyssey is, in its latent plot, the story of the wandering planet Venus between 1500 B. C. and her final settling in her present orbit, personified in her human mirror-image, Odysseus. She it is who saves him at the beginning from the enraged Sea-Earth god, Poseidon, and places him safely in command of his royal sphere in the end. If the Love Affair is a Holy Dreamtime cycle, and the Iliad is sacred History, then the Odyssey is to be categorized as Sacred Saga.

For all of this we praise Homer and his kind. He chose for the leitmotif of his works the natural history of seven centuries. He rationalized the sky-gods for the Greeks and transfigured unbearable truth into tolerable myth. His myths coordinated the basic activities of sexuality, subsistence, respect, power, technology, and wealth into a consistent cultural pattern and created the archaic Greek character. He restored to the Greeks an ethnic identity consistent with the changed nature of the Gods and heaven.


"When the gods fought" was a stock phrase among the ancient Greeks. Or they referred to "the strife of the Gods," meaning something that was not simply confined to passages of the Iliad but was a historical event. According to Velikovsky, the period 776 B. C. to 687 B. C. experienced at least four catastrophes at fifteen-year intervals that were felt throughout the world. There were probably six terror-filled episodes.

This disastrous agenda began with an earlier event, which he dealt with in the first part of his work called Worlds in Collision and in his Ages in Chaos. The former amassed evidence that the planet that we know as Venus appeared before our ancestors as a comet and nearly destroyed life on Earth around 1500 B. C. Thereafter the eccentric orbit of the planet threatened the Earth at intervals of fifty-two years. The comet was worshipped as a god, Pallas Athena, in the Greek world. Sometimes before 776 B. C. and perhaps close to that year, Venus, in a diminishing elliptical orbit, encountered Mars. Thereafter, and until both planets were impelled to take roughly their present safe orbits, now one and now both approached Earth and Moon with consequent devastation to the participating bodies.

Awe-inspiring celestial phenomena accompanied the founding of the Greek Olympic Games in - 776. Hercules is supposed to have organized the games, ushering in what later came to be a quadrennial all - Greek spectacle of religion, athletics, and poetry. The Greek Mythikon calendar ends in - 776. The Historikon calendar begins. But Stecchini says that it may have actually begun, or soon was redone, in - 748/ 7 [6] . And this would conform to those who say that Hercules did not enter upon the games until they had been operative on eight prior occasions.

In the west, the town of Rome was founded in - 748 or - 747. Some say - 753. It was a period of commotion. Fabius Pictor's ancient adoption of the date - 747 seems most likely to have been accepted for an event which probably did not take a single day but had best, for patriotic reasons, to accompany some climactic events.

The founding of Rome was in the name of Romulus who was sponsored by Mars. Romulus was the direct descendant of Aeneas, hence of Aphrodite, mother-protector of Aeneas. Aeneas founded towns in her names on his long journey to Italy. Barely had the Trojans become latinized when Rome was founded. Once more, the revised chronology connects well with an ancient tradition. In the time of Romulus the week and month were reckoned long, and the early calendar began with the month of Mars and proceeded in four nine-day weeks for ten months, a total of 360 days. Romulus himself disappeared on the occasion of a natural tumult during which, says Ovid, the earth shuddered, clouds obscured the heavens, and the sky was riven by flames; "The people fled and the king soared upon his father's steeds to the stars." [7] (His "father" was Mars.) No people on earth came to be dominated more by Mars and imbued wit the spirit of ruthless, single-minded warfare personified by Ares-Mars.

In a study of the validity of carbon-dating in ancient times, H. E. Suess has come upon "a most conspicuous and so far unparalleled irregularity in the *C14 as a function of time. There was a "rapid C14 increase at the beginning of the 8th century B. C. and the sharp maximum between 780 and 770 B. C... It is also the time of a general climate change that took place on the North American continent... The climatic change was not a temporary one; it marked the beginning of a completely new climate epoch." [8] So severe a change introduces the probability of extraterrestrial encounters, for reasons that I have advanced and supported in The Lately Tortured Earth.

In Egypt it was the time of the Libyan and Ethiopian dynasties. These were foreigners, whose domination over the greatest of empires has not been satisfactory explained, except as a consequence of natural disasters. In Italy, Vesuvius exploded with a fury not to be approached until the milder eruption that buried Pompeii and Herculaneum. In Judah, heavenly commotion excited the populace and brought destruction in the times of Uzziah (783-742), Ahaz (735-717), and Hezekiah (717-687); the kingdom of Israel was dissolved and its people dispersed at this time. The Assyrians were under six different kings, the last of whom, Sennacherib, saw his army blasted to death before the city of Jerusalem in a single night of the year -687. It was the period of a Babylonian-Chaldean empire; of Laomedon and Priam of Troy; of the destruction of the now Greek-speaking Cretans at Knossos; of the destruction of Mycenae; and, at the end of the period, there came Homer and Hesiod. They are the oldest known Greek writers, and the first whose writing have appeared in the classical Greek script and alphabet. The adoption of a new calendar by the Assyrians in -747, the beginning of the "Age of Nabonassar," suggests that heavy disturbances occurred in the first and second encounters; probably the Earth's orbit, rotation, and axis all underwent changes.

Thales, one of the great "seven sages," calculated the Greek calendar, perhaps shortly after Homer and possibly around -600. But, as Velikovsky points out, Thales re-calculated the seasons and year after the period of turmoil and changed celestial periodicities. For, "all around the globe the years following -687 saw activity directed towards reforming the calendar." [9] Velikovsky asserts, too, that the day shortened in -717 and lengthened in -687. These would indicate orbital changes, axial tilts, changes in rotational speed, or a combination thereof.

Accordingly, in the Greek-speaking and Middle East areas, crushing damage to late Mycenaean and early Hellenic civilization occurred in the period -776 to -687. One or more of the type of encounters pictured in the Love Affair took place, with Moon and Mars largely barren of atmosphere, and susceptible to nearly complete destruction on the faces that they turn to Earth.

Velikovsky dates the last disaster as centering upon 23 March -687. It is noteworthy that the Romans celebrated the festivals of both Minerva (Athena) and Mars about the same time. The Exodus has also been assigned this day by Velikovsky, over seven centuries earlier. Probably this is more than a coincidence, and the double celebration is evidence of both bodies participating in an encounter about 23 March -687. That the same date would also correspond roughly with the spring fertility rites in which the Moon would have long played the major role would stress, too, the occasion.

This Seventh Century date would put the story that Homer writes down and Demodocus sings in the period of heavy Greek colonization of the Western Mediterranean. The physical destruction of the pre-existing civilization, the movements of people, the loss of their written language, the capture of initiative on the part of the uncouth survivors, the loss of memory (that is, loss of will to report the disaster), the revival of poetic forms, the mastering of the forms and then the Homeric collection and integration of them in writing would have to take place in no more than a hundred years. Only a radical reformulation of the nature of Homeric studies would permit this. But one must pursue this approach, for, in the words of Lucian, "It is the conjunction of Venus and Mars that creates the poetry of Homer."

Notes (Chapter 6: The Rape of Helen)

1. Od. VIII, 81-2.

2. The World of Odysseus, p. 150.

3. So I am informed by the linguist, Malcolm Lowery, who adds, "conversion of original s - to h - is also exampled by hex-six and hepta (septem, seven).

4. Graves, Robert. The Greek Myths, Vol. I., p. 161.

5. (Boston, Beacon Press, 1958) Fn. 9, p. 109.

6. "Astronomical Theory and Historical Data," in Alfred de Grazia, ed., The Velikovsky Affair (New York: University Books, 1965), pp. 158-9.

7. My source is a discussion with Stecchini. On nine-day divisions of the months, see in Worlds in collision, II, viii citing Sicke (1892), Kaegi (1891), Kugler( 1907), Naville (1875), Roscher( 1903, 1904); and Ovid; for the ten -month year, he sites Schiefner (1857), Male (1846), Nilssen (1920), and Frazer (1931) together with Plutarch, Eutropius and Procopius.

8. "The Three Causes of the Secular C14 Fluctuations. Their Amplitudes and Time Constants," Radiocarbon Variations and Absolute Chronology (Proceedings. 12th Nobel Symposium at Uppsala Univ. 1969), ed. Ingrid V. Olsson (Almquist and Wiksell, Stockholm, 1970), p. 602, quoted in Pensée, Fall 1972, p. 41.

9. Worlds in Collision, p. 358.

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