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by Alfred de Grazia




It was early Springtime [1] in Pylos, a Mycenaean town of the Peloponnesus, facing the western sea. The year was between 776 and 687 B. C. It may even have been March 23, -687. A force of 800 men was posted along 150 kilometers of shoreline. With them were liaison officers from the Palace of King Nestor. The famous old sage of the Achaean warriors himself would have been home from the siege of Troy.

A clay tablet, one of those inscribed "immediately before the destruction which baked them and rendered them durable" [2] begins, "Thus are the watchers guarding the coastal regions." [3] What could they be watching for? Obviously no enemy had been sighted nor could the men be in fighting formation, so thinly dispersed were they. It might be as in Jerusalem around this time, when Isaiah the Prophet was answering the call, "Watchman, what of the night?" [4]

Another tablet may have been the last:

A single large tablet bears evidence of haste and changes of mind during its writing.

The retention of such an ill-written document in the archive might occasion surprise, unless it was in fact only written in the last day or two before the palace fell. The meaning of some key words is still uncertain, but there is no doubt that it records offerings to a long list of deities. The offerings are in each case a golden vessel, but the principal deities, if male, receive in addition a man, or, if female, a woman. It has been suggested that these human beings were being dedicated to the service of the deities, but the grisly possibility that they were human sacrifices cannot be lightly dismissed. At all events the offering of thirteen gold vessels and ten human beings to a whole pantheon of divinities must mark an important occasion; and what occasion more likely than a general supplication on the receipt of news of an imminent attack? [5]

The "occasion more likely" is catastrophe. Tidal waves were to be watched for, and the setting of the sun behind the flaming horizons. Matters quickly worsened. The news was bad. The gods and goddesses had taken to the skies. "The whole pantheon of divinities" was supplicated, with the richest offerings; gold and human bodies. Not a solitary god of the sea, or a single god of the hearth, or of love, of battle. All of the great sky-gods seem to have been involved.

So Pylos perished. The Palace 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 [6] . No human hands and hand-set fires could have wreaked such ruin. Only blasts from the sky-electrical, gaseous or both.


The name of King Nestor graces both the annals of the siege of Troy in the Iliad and the Linear B tablets. Which came first, the burning of Troy, or the disaster at Pylos, or did they occur simultaneously? If Pylos were consumed by fire at the same time as Troy was, than its King Nestor would have been away at the siege of Troy. He would have been, shall we say, fifty-five years old, with plenty of fire left in him. One day, before the gates of Troy, he told a long story, whose irrelevance is only seeming. Professor Denys Page refers to it significantly as "a brilliant piece of late Ionian composition, but it has a continuous pedigree ascending to the Mycenaean era." [7] That is, ascending 400 years or so, by his reckoning; by mine, Nestor was a Mycenean in the Homeric Age of 800 to 650 B. C.

When Nestor was a child, Hercules had descended upon Pylos and a battle of the gods ensued. Hercules and Athena were on one side, while Ares was on the other, and Hercules bested Ares. "Herakles had come in his strength against us and beaten us in the years before, and all the bravest among us had been killed. For we who were sons of lordly Neleus had been twelve, and now I alone was left of these, and all the others had perished."

Little by little the Pylians had recovered until they were able to raid their northern neighbors and revenge themselves somewhat for the ravages of old. The revenge came when Nestor was still young - shall we say fifteen years older? Perhaps he was nineteen, for he had been warned from the fight because of his youth, yet had become its hero. If he was fifty-five in -700, say, he would have been nineteen in -736. The disaster that killed all but a few Pylians would have come around -747.

Working in the other direction, one learns something else about the wise old time-clock. Nestor lived to entertain Telemachus, son of Odysseus, shortly before the latter's homecoming in Ithaca. Therefore, we would add ten years to Nestor and ten years of life also to his palace. It could not have been destroyed when the city of Troy was. Supposing Pylos to have been consumed by an atmospheric disaster, and Troy VIIA by the same (for it was indeed incinerated), it is possible still then that the end of Troy VI, which was wrecked by earthquake, might have marked the end of the Trojan War and the departure of the Greeks. We recall two stories of the war: Poseidon battered down the famous Achaean defensive wall near the sea after the Achaeans departed; further, the breech in the Trojan Wall was made to admit the Trojan Horse, which may have been the symbol of Horse-Tamer Poseidon, whose tides swept over all barriers like charging steeds.

If such were the case, Pylos and Troy VIIa would go down in -687, along with pitiable Phaeacia. Troy VI would go down eleven years before. And the War of Pylos involving Hercules, Ares and Athena would be set around -747.

We may take this occasion also to tie in the "neighboring giants," who made life impossible for the Phaeacians when they lived in Hypereia. These were probably astral phenomena of monstrous shape who hurled debris upon them from the skies. The Babylonians were chanting in their hymns to Mars-Nergal: "Great giants, with awesome members, run at his right and at his left." [8] This may have been part of the terrible destruction wrought in Asia Minor in -747 in the time of King Uzziah [9] . For King Nausithous led them to Scheria, and he was the father of their present King, Alcinous, who is in the prime of life.

The excavations of Schliemann and Blegen at Hisarlik were valuable as ordinary archaeology; they contributed almost nothing to solve "the Homeric Questions." What we derive from their reports is an important negative: if either Schliemann's Troy or Blegen's Troys were "the real Troy," then Troy was destroyed not by the Achaeans, but by "the gods" - by earthquake and by conflagrations exceeding any possible human agency [10] .

Unfortunately, one cannot at this point be certain of how many celestial encounters in the period -776 to -687 involved simply Mars alone. As we shall see, the years -687 and -747 are candidates for the triple encounters.

If the Battle of the Gods and the Love Affair took place in 698 then, accepting the end of the Trojan War in its tenth year and then years of wanderings of Ulysses, one would have the destruction of Pylos and Odysseus' killing of the Suitors [11] occurring at the same time, eleven years later, 687 B. C. On both occasions, both Venus and Mars were active in the sky. This is not impossible. Venus was "seeking" a circular orbit. Mars may have been "knocked out of the ring" of its more regular orbit. Professor Earl R. Milton and I discuss this matter in Solaria Binaria. Two encounters with Earth as a participant might have been needed.

This interpretation is preferable to one that would dissolve the Odyssean temporal sequence and have Pylos come crashing down at the same time as Troy, with Nestor in two places at the same time. The scene at Pylos upon which Telemachus, son of Odysseus, happens, when in search of news of his father, is convincing. Nestor tells him that he himself had hastened home from Troy (wise old man that he was) in fear of divine wrath, and that those who tarried suffered greatly. Now we find the King and his whole people on the seashores sacrificing a hundred rich cattle to Poseidon. The skies and Earth have not settled. It may be that a month later, Pylos will be destroyed by "star-fire" or astro-flame. If we check back upon Velikovsky's accounting of concurrent events in the Middle East, we see that Sennacherib's Assyrian Army was blasted in 687 B. C. but also that the army of Esarhaddon, his son, fled in terror of astral phenomena on a successive invasion of Palestine [12] . Here again, the puzzle was whether to unite the two events or treat them successively, and Velikovsky chose the latter course, as do we.

The present state of speculation may be conveyed in tabular form:

The Pylos story is not ended, however. There is more to it, and it fashions a warning to scholars who have accepted faithfully the theory that a Mycenaean age was ended about 1200 B. C. by barbarian invasions and a "Dark Age" set in that was to be illuminated by the great poets, Homer and Hesiod, finally around 800 B. C. The Love Affair holds a light to the Dark Age and the disposition of the Dark Age provides a key to the Love Affair.

To return to the story, we call upon the research of Isaacson on Pylos. The destruction of Pylos has been compared with the destruction of Gordion, in Asia Minor. The city whose Gordian knot was later cut by Alexander, perished also in a disaster. Pylos was of Mycenaean Greek culture: Gordius was Phrygian. At Pylos were found ceramics that resembled Mycenaean ware that was associated with Egyptian ware and therefore assigned the Egyptian dates because these were the basis of Near Eastern chronology. The Phrygians, however, are honored by their own archeological and historical dating system and Gordius is said to be of the eighth century before Christ. Table Hypothetical Benchmarks: Planetary Encounters and Historical Coincidences

Calendar date (B. C.)* Elapsed time between periods Nestor's possible age Personal events Other events Sky encounters
776       Olympic Games Founde Venus/ Mars/ Earth-Moon
761 15     Hercules Destroys Troy and Wins Olympic Games Mars/ Earth-Moon
747 15 5 Nausithous Moves to Phaeacia; Iliad and Odyssey begin Career as Epic Cycles; Hercules and Heralids in Peloponnesus (Nestor Sole Survivor) Pylian War of Gods Venus/ Mars/ Earth-Moon
732 15 20 Atreus and Thyestes; Pylians Raid Elians (Nestor a Hero) Mars/ Earth-Moon
717 15   Alkinous Becomes King of Phaeacia   Mars/ Earth-Moon
702 15 45 Nestor and Odysseus at Troy Start of Trojan War Venus/ Mars/ Earth-Moon
698   55 Nestor at Troy; Agamemnon Fights Memnon the Ethiopian Prince (Egypt) Troy VI destroyed by Earthquakes (War of Gods) Mars/ Earth-Moon
687 11 66 Demodocus Sings - Odysseus Returns. Nestor and Telemachus at Pylos. Homer Born. Troy VIIA Destroyed by Fire; Pylos Falls (Last War of Gods); Phaeacia Falls by Earthquake; Sennacherib's Venus/ Mars/ Earth-Moon
        Army Destroyed at Jerusalem Skies clear
670       Greek Alphabet Developed Calendars Reordered; Earth Trembles
630     Iliad Revised and Transcribed by Homer
Odyessey Revised and Transcribed by Homer
  Present skies

*The six major intervals are 15 years each, placed largely on the reasoning of Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, pp 362 ff., that Mars' present orbit is in "favorable opposition" respecting Earth every 15 years. Since Mars had a different orbit before -776 and might have changed its orbit at every encounter between -776 and -687, we must of course ultimately use historical evidence to plot all of the encounters. We must bear in mind, too, that the geological and ecological aftermaths of disaster provoked by celestial behavior can continue for some time. Here, also, we have reasoned that only an 11- year interval separated the last two disaster, that is. Mars was on its way to becoming an outer planet and suffered two encounters close together. Although the problem is not insoluble it will require a great deal of research to established empirically the dates of several peak disasters and the rate of subsidence of disturbances in the aftermaths. (Worlds in Collision, 274-8).

Charcoal of both burnt-out sites was tested at the same laboratory at the same time to determine its carbon-14 loss. For it is by living that a plant or animal ingests carbon 14; after death the ingestion stops and a decay of this radioactive substance begins. Measuring the loss of Carbon 14 in charcoal samples of the two towns, the investigators discovered what they had expected: the samples of each site could give dates that conventional archeology had already established. But to do so, the investigators performed miracles of purification of the Gordian sample to reduce its age by several hundred years, while they let the samples of Pylos go by polluted and unchallenged because they "proved" what was expected.

Not content with casting the Pylos samples back into the ash-heap, Isaacson advanced three further conclusions from the materials of these two towns far apart, whose dates may now be said to be close together. He discovered that the C14 dates of the olive pollen in a core from the bottom of a lake near Pylos conveyed eighth century readings when the pollen was at its peak. Reasoning that Pylos was tending a maximum of olive trees when the town was flourishing, and that there would be little cultivation in the "Dark Ages" when the population would be sparse, Isaacson logically deduced that the maximum of the short-lived pollen in the eighth century could mean that Pylos was in full flower then as well, although, once destroyed, it remained uninhabited ever after.

He went on to a second point. Analyzing the famed reports of the University of Cincinnati excavations at Pylos, he read in their pages accounts of the mysterious mixing of Mycenaean pottery and geometric pottery in strata where neither could have intruded upon the other. Yet these two types of ceramics were supposed to have been fashioned centuries apart.

Now the basic and perhaps the only unassailable law of geology and archaeology is the law of superposition. Unless proof of accident if brought forward, what is on top is younger than what it rests upon. The Mycenaean and the Geometric Ages then had to be contemporaneous! The "Dark Ages" of 400 to 500 years appeared to have been squeezed out at Pylos. Pondering this point, one is led almost reluctantly to the third point of Isaacson. Gordion of Phrygia in the 8th century has walls that strikingly resemble the walls of Troy VI, which were devastated by earthquake. Archaeologists who are faithful to their conventions must bargain with an architectural similarity that flatly denies their 400 years' or more gap between Gordius and Troy.

Isaacson's work was following a trail already laid by Velikovsky, who had observed that archaeologists of the 19th century had somehow lost their way. Velikovsky exposed the problem and its probable solution in 1973 by the long-deferred publication of his manuscript on the famous rampant lions gate of Mycenae [13] .

In 1881, W. M. Ramsey had noted that the Gate closely resembled a Phrygian tomb gate of the 8th century. Flinders Petrie, the renowned pioneer of Egyptian archaeology and history, had established an authoritative chronology of Egypt which could be applied wherever Egyptian artifacts were discovered, or conversely when foreign artifacts were discovered in Egypt. Petrie discounted Ramsay's evidence, because Mycenae had already been "dated" by the association of its artifacts with those of Egypt. Resemblance or not, the Lions of the two cities were moved four hundred years apart.

Petrie's Egyptian chronological imperialism, spreading over the Near East and the Mediterranean island, compelled scholars to invent a long period of Hellenic culture in which "little happened," barbarism prevailed, the Greeks were illiterate, the arts and sciences were lost - the Dark Ages of Greece, in short, conventionally dated between 1300 or 1200 B. C. and 800 B. C., a span of perhaps 500 years. Not until Velikovsky [14] challenged the Egyptian chronology frontally could any scholar imagine that various baffling puzzles of Phrygia, Mycenaean Greece, and Homeric Greece would have ultimately simple solution; the Gordian Knot was cut. Isaacson's studies of the excavation records at half-a-dozen famous sites, following Velikovsky's hypothesis, have shattered the empirical foundations of the theory of the Dark Ages [15] .


Speaking of the aftermath of catastrophe, Plato declares of the survivors; "At first, they would have natural fear ringing in their ears which would prevent their descending from the heights into the plain." [16]

If one were, at this pint, to take up in order the authoritative works of history and archaeology it might be shown that they are in every case affected by a blind spot in regard to the Dark Ages. This method would be repeating much of Isaacson's work and would expand unduly the present text. It may be better to fashion a new model of the Homeric Age and, by demonstrating its consistency and efficiency, to buttress the theory that the Love Affair portrays an astral and earthly disaster that had recently occurred. Let us call this model, "The Crazed Survivors of Disaster."

It stands in contrast to the conventional "Greek Dark Ages" model. The latter holds that the Mycenaean Age collapsed over the period of a century because of barbarian invasions and that these barbarians in the course of centuries acquired the mentalities and facilities of a civilized people.

The "Crazed Survivors" model is constructed from the theory that a general catastrophe involving great ecological and cultural damage is followed by a shocked society. The shocked society would exhibit a complex of expected behaviors that distinguish it from stable or moderately changing or even revolutionary societies, or more significantly, from a society that is slowly evolving from a "primitive" to a "civilized" culture. In the societies of crazed survivors, personal and mass self-destructiveness and destructiveness of others and of culture increase as terror and guilt interact on a complex and massive scale. Depending upon the extent of the disaster, a totally amnesiac and stupefied society of cultural degenerates may ensue or a more furious cultural coping that may eventuate in a flowering of religious institutions, crafts, and arts.

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. We shall proceed now to enumerate and describe briefly a number of psychological and social indications that we are dealing with human beings behaving in the aftermath of catastrophe.

The Homeric Greeks developed a pantheon of skygods and assumed that these gods would continuously manifest themselves by thunderbolts, showers of arrows, tidal waves, earthquakes, meteorites, and so on. They venerated all sky signs and objects from the sky, such as meteoric iron and stones. The earth itself was a living animal and thoroughly animated in its parts [17] . A number of gods and demi-gods contributed to a continual geological and ecological restlessness. Animals, plants, and rocks changed readily into humanoid forms and vice versa. Ovid's Metamorphoses elaborates this theme interminably.

By the time of Thucydides, free will and controlled change were accredited to mankind, but the Homeric Greeks were yoked to moira, fortune, destiny, lot - the law of chance that determines human fate [18] . Uncontrolled license and little self-discipline were ascribed to (projected upon) the gods. Well-developed priesthoods had dissolved, just as other specialized occupations crumpled into individuals. (Finley calculates that over 100 occupations discernible in the linear B tablets dropped to a mere dozen in Homer.) Nevertheless there were ritual guardians and diviners with prodigious memories, aides to kings but not members of kingly families. Priests, bards, and madmen were possessed by gods.

The priests "were guardians of ritual and of the forms and language of the sacramental songs; preservers of the motions and rhythms for the due observance of ceremonial; interpreters of those signs and often obscure sayings by which the gods manifested their decrees, desires or warnings; and, lastly they were the custodians of the science of precedents in all domains;" [19]

The preceding Mycenaean bureaucratic and feudal order had broken down. Finley and other experts have described an oikos (household) system as a kind of feudal plantation system that survived the collapse of bureaucratic urban centralism. It is true that the oikos system prevails, but it is really a piratical or ship-wreck system in which people gathered around surviving leaders. A great many expatriates, outcasts, outlaws and refugees were to be found among the community. There is a remarkable lack of the stable assignment of social, economic, and political rights to the types of people who clustered in these strongholds.

Practically all of the titles of hierarchical officialdom disappeared. The chiefs of households (that it would be a mistake to call "clans") [20] ruled a mixed community as judge and religious-political protector.

The "Argive Kings" and the kings who were supposed to have developed from and after the Homeric heroic age were actually the same traditional kings whose Greco-Mycenaean kingdoms had come tumbling down in the disasters of the 8th and 7th centuries [21] . The warlords and oligarchies followed. Alcinous of Phaeacia rules like Agammemnon. We quote Denys Page:

When history dawns on the island of Lesbos in the seventh century B. C., we discover there a mode of government hardly distinguishable from that of Agamemnon at the siege of Troy. The will of the sovereign power, Agamemnon himself, is not absolute: he must first summon a council of elders, and whatever they approve must be declared to an agora, an assembly of all lesser noblemen. In the seventh century, B. C., at Lesbos the political constitution is exactly the same; and it happens that the sovereign power is still in the direct line of descent from the family of Agamemnon [22] .

This startling claim is followed by one even more sweeping: "In this place certainly, and in other places presumably, the royal family survived throughout the dark ages from beginning to end." We cannot grant either the Lesbos presumption or the general presumption. It is rare in the annals of history to find a genuine 400-year old dynasty, and hard to imagine one that would have suffered 400 to 500 years of the so-called Dark Ages. If the family of Agamemnon of Troy still ruled Lesbos in the seventh century, it is simply because the Trojan War took place less than a century beforehand.

Indeed, Agamemnon himself had probably an upstart pedigree like most of the Homeric heroes. The heroes spoke of home frequently but there is a lack of definition of their homes, Nestor's account being exceptional in the Iliad and those of the Odyssey being largely mythical and savage. 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. Glaukos and Diomedes, in a famous encounter in the Iliad, discovered while bragging of their antecedents that their grandfathers were guest-friends and decided not to fight each other [23] . 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.

The Dark Ages, as a catastrophic century, found ancestors in short supply. So also communities. Homer "does not talk a great deal about tribes and groups and clans and sects and varieties of idealistic associations, whether pacific or belligerent. What Homer does is to confine himself to the immediate family of the warrior in question." [24] Only a short paternal link is stressed, along with guest-friends. 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. But by the "dawn of history," in the next century, we find definite blood lines as the basis of organization of the Greek polis. Apparently, though missing in Homeric times, they are quickly reestablished in the succeeding generations.

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. For the sake of Athena, he had to be brought home, there to face and slay a horde of suitors of his "long-suffering" wife. His shepherd slave, Eumaeus, was armed against other shepherds and wild beasts. Marauding was frequent, if not from one's neighbors then from pirates and foreign warriors. Slaves abounded, of various nationalities, one may note. It was a society where every man's hand was raised against his neighbor. Homo lupus homini. "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." [25]

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." [26] In a famous scene of the Iliad, Achilles went so berserk that he battled the river, the River-God and the gods themselves. Ajax went mad and finally committed suicide.

A frank, hollow, extreme braggadoccio characterized the best and the worst of the fighters. The glorification of destructiveness seems interminable. Apart from a chosen few, the women are subjects of aggressive degradation and measured by head of livestock; yet some time before, in Minoan, if not Mycenaean, civilization, women had achieved high position and status. More information about Mycenaean women is needed before we can claim what we guess to be true: that the degradation of women was not a trait of the Indo-European but was the outcome of catastrophically induced aggression.

Certain undercurrents of attitude haunt the passages of Homer. The boasts of the warriors are often about the conquests and destruction of towns. The similes of Homer are overwhelmingly rural and pastoral. May we surmise that the heroes sacked many a half-destroyed town? 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, or of a people who had lost something they once knew, did not own, but had given them their character.

One senses also the general lack of awareness, a "mind-blown" stupidity, a calloused morality. Am I reading feelings into Homer's poetry that are not there? Perhaps. But the interpellations of morality in the Iliad and/ Odyssey are mostly those of the poet. Are these traits not typical of "primitive man" ? Definitely not. It is only by getting

one's concept of primitive man from Homer that one can believe so, for usually modern "primitive man" is gentle, aware, and only occasionally "possessed" or obsessed. The Homeric warriors are not primitive types.

The "guest-stranger" concept of Homeric times is intriguing too. The Homeric peoples had an ambivalence towards outsiders. Deep mistrust alternated with sometime hysterical acceptance. Apparently, a person entering the precincts of an unknown community, one such as Odysseus, for example, would not know whether he would be maltreated or well-treated. This ambivalence appears to have gone beyond logic or normal behavior [27] . Odysseus was warned by Nausicaa that he should avoid being seen in Phaeacia because of the general mistrust of strangers. Yet she also assured him, that if all went well, he would be royally treated. And so he was. The forms of human relations, like the world itself, were shaky. Augeas, "the king of the Epeians, treacherous to his very guest-friends, not long thereafter saw his own rich city, under stark fire and the stroke of iron, settling into the deep pit of destruction. Augeas was himself dragged to the edge of steep death, nor escaped it." [28] It was for double-dealing over the cleaning of his stable that Augeas incurred the wrath of Hercules which destroyed his city and him.

We should say that this same Hercules is an active participant in many of the events of the dark times and one day it may be confirmed that he is an alter ego of the planet Mars. He destroyed Troy once before its destruction by the Achaeans of Homer. He destroyed Nestor's Pylos once. He is often berserk, a paragon of the crazed survivor, and was deified upon death.

Hercules (or Heracles) had progeny, the Heraclids. They were so many that they seemed to be whole bands of people. More than that, they have been identified with the Dorians whom scholars believe to be the Greek ethnic strain that devastated the Mycenaean kingdoms and carried on their primitive development during the so-called "Dark Ages." For example, Rhys Carpenter [29] is to be discovered on a magnificent tour de force aimed at proving that long term intense climatic change from wet to dry caused the Mycenaean civilization of the "14th century" literally to collapse and permitted the starving country folk to sack and burn the centers of civilization in search of necessities. The country and islands were practically abandoned, and only with time did a better acclimated population begin its rise.

Carpenter encounters many obstacles, only two of which need be mentioned here. He is confronted by sudden disaster; yet it is apparent from his own words and in meteorology that climatic disaster can only be sudden and quite destructive if an immense external source produces it. Second, everywhere he turns he sees terrible incendiarism (or, rather, he turns everywhere to avoid seeing the terrible incendiarism that destroyed Mycenaean civilization).

We cannot help but thank him, however, as one must thank practically every strainer and stretcher of the Dark Ages. For he describes in many an incident the takeover of Mycenaean areas by the Heraclids, whom he obligingly postulates as Mycenaean refugee families returning a couple of generations later at the head of mixed bands of other ethnic Greeks, especially Dorians. The Heraclids, in our theory, are crazed survivors, sons, naturally, of Hercules, who is identifiable in myth with Ares or Mars, even though he sometimes fights Ares. The Heraclids are borne back in the name of the God who destroyed their kin and culture.

"How unsettled and mobile were all these heroes," writes Mireaux [30] , after he has devoted a book, like Finley, to discovering a social order that would make sense. "The heroic world of the epics appears in our eyes as something mobile, effervescent and tumultuous."

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. We can imagine what confusion and fear drove them over the seas to found their many colonies, for the period 750-600 B. C. was the great period of colonial expansion. The journey from Crete to Egypt took five days and nights, "a terrifying venture for such poor navigators as were the Greeks of Homer's time." [31]

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." [32]

Probably around 67\ 87 B. C. Gyges the Lydian overthrew the Heraclids of Maeonia in Asia Minor, and struck the first coins. Actually they were not the first coins, but the Greeks had largely abandoned coinage. Homer mentions a gold talent of fixed value, reports Mireaux, but exchange was almost entirely in kind rather than in money.

Gift-giving was often a spectacular affair. It was more a system of exchange than a pleasant supplement to normal exchange like bonuses or birthday presents. 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.

Altogether there is an incongruous mixture of ethnic names, events, artifacts and practices in the works of Homer. Names that are "centuries old," and not to be heard again in history, occur. 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. T. B. L. Webster [33] shows that Homer is indebted to Minoan and near East influences in plots, style, and references. He is influence by the archaic Mediterranean culture. He is very Mycenaean, Webster concludes. But in all of his speculations, Webster does not speculate upon the important chronological puzzle: If it is proper to imagine that all of these influences happened so "early" and Homer came so late, why not speculate as well that all of these similar bits actually existed almost within the living grasp of the poet? At one time, many scholars believed that Troy and the Trojans were poetic inventions. Then Schliemann discovered "Troy" or something that corresponded to indications found in the poetry. His site at Hisarlik has revealed in successive excavations a number of "Troys." It appears now that the Troy of levels VI and VIIa may have been Homer's Troy but it also appears now that the Trojans were akin to the Greeks and that the Trojan War( s) pitted Greek against Greek. Homer probably stressed differences between Greeks and Trojans as a splendid device, first, to convey the battle of the gods, and, second, to give the disarrayed and scattered Greek communities a common weltanschauung - a common religious, political and cultural outlook on the world.

Moreover, now we permit ourselves another conjecture: The besieged Troy was a congress of allied forces containing Greek and non-Greek forces, clustered survivors, who could be called Greek or Anatolians, who might provide characters with connections as far away as Etruria and send an Anatolian like Aeneas to seek kin in Italy after the wars (as Virgil says).

The Trojan Wars were plural, most likely, during the Martian period. Armies may have come and gone; the occupants of Troy may have changed several times. The artifacts dug up could be interpreted as coming from a melange of cultures - Greek and Anatolian. The revolution of heaven and earth is the heart of the primordial myth and the epic poem. The Homeric epics are no exceptions to the rule. An old era was being destroyed and a new one was arising [34] .

The Iliad and the Odyssey used various dialects of Greek blended by the genius of the bard. Homer used metaphors of the clearest and most ordinary kind, to the exclusion of far-flown and fancy comparisons. Words expressing "fire" abound, for example. 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. Obviously Homer was not primitive, nor inexperienced, nor bereft of imagination; nor were his confraternity of poets, nor their audiences. Why should this melange be used, and not, say, a single preferred dialect like the Tuscan that Dante's genius made to become the preferred Italian tongue? A reasonable answer would be that there was then only a gathering of tongues: the audiences were related, widespread, itinerant, and diffused.

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.

It gives cause for bewilderment. If a sacred language was not understood, that would place the old civilization far into the past; but there are many tie-ins of Homeric and Mycenaean cultures. Conversely, the fact might indicate that the old civilization was either foreign (which it was not) or largely destroyed (which we think was the case).

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.

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 highlands. 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 experts commonly remark on the unabashed juxtaposition of knowledge and ignorance in the epics. Mireaux has said, "There was decidedly nothing primitive about Homeric civilization." The very sophistication of the poets, like Homer and Hesiod, who told about them, indicates an age whose savagery could easily be penetrated by civilized forms.

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.

The massive destruction of Mycenaean civilization fully attested in the archaeological record, was accompanied by a complete social transformation, in which all the institutions by which men organized their existence were refashioned to met the new situation... When Mycenae fell, the surviving Greeks, in their new kind of society, had no need for records or for scribes; in fact, on the evidence we have at present, they had no need for the art of writing and they lost it altogether, improbable as that may seem to modern men [35] .

What seems "improbable" to us is that anything but abrupt catastrophe could cause "the massive destruction" in so many places - Crete, Mycenae, and elsewhere. The Homeric scribes, working with new dialects and a new alphabet, did not need centuries of time to accumulate material on the chaotic life that followed.

Homer did his best to reassure the survivors and to set them on their way again. The incongruences and inconsistencies of material culture, nomenclatures, customs, and attitudes found in his works are not sloppy artistry; they are of the essence of the people whom he was describing. And his work was not an oral conglomerate of centuries, but a description, from two main sources, those of the Iliad and the Odyssey, [36] with as much consistency as he could import to them, of the suddenly produced cultural chaos of the eighth and seventh centuries. He took as his task the assembly of plots dealing with erratic and fear-driven survivors and inspiring these folk to become "one nation under the gods."


The contrast with conventional historiography is obvious: Homer flourished in the middle seventh century. His writings were an agglomerate of the early century. The pieces of his writing came from different quarters; many from the period -670 to -776, some from times stretching far before (-766 to -1500). The people active in his writings were from the crushed cultures of -776 to the beginning of his own lifetime.

The Mycenaean Civilization collapsed in a set of natural disasters. The marginal survivors regrouped repeatedly in the following century. They fought bitterly amongst themselves, used what they could manage of the old tools and skills. Homer sang about them and their destroyed culture.

The assumption is tied to a brief time sequence derived from evidences of natural disaster. (See the Chart on pages 64-65). The theory of causation seeks evidence of abrupt takeover of a destroyed culture by marginal survivors who cast aside, or employ ceremonially, practices they do not or cannot use or understand. Then they proceed to draw from every source their new synthetic culture.

On the other hand, most Homeric experts nowadays believe that Homer lived a century earlier, that his writings were an agglomerate of centuries before, that the pieces of writings came from different quarters, some of them as early as 1500 B. C. The people acting in his writings, they believe, are fictional characters referring to real characters occupying a space of 400 to 500 years. Their culture is believed to be a composite of all this time, but is concentrated in a true primitive culture that made savage contact with the civilized world in 1300 B. C. or thereabout, and after half a millennium, arrived at the stage of producing Homer and Hesiod. The Mycenaean civilization weakened and then was ruined by invaders. Centuries of primitive illiterate history followed. The pre-Homerics emerged and found new tools and skills. Homer at this point sang about their deeds. They were learning to sail boats; they disliked eating fish; they were learning to use chariots.

This conventional theory is tied to a time sequence derived from an incorrect Egyptian chronology. The society and behavior of the pre-Homeric Hellenes are viewed in a sequence, according to a theory of causation that has a culture being gradually born. Practices are invented or adopted slowly from abroad.

Thus occurs the confrontation of two theories. The reader has already some means of adjudging it. Other means will follow. But before this chapter is ended, a suggestion may be offered to all those who read and write about the Dark Ages of ancient Greece. The suggestion concerns methodology, or, more simply, logic.

The logic of writing about history, that is, about the sequence of cause and events, is that events are arranged by time and then causes are uncovered. This usually works because the succession of events is ordinarily known before the causes are discovered. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc, though strictly speaking a logical fallacy, establishes a presumption of cause: After this, therefore (perhaps) because of this. However, the less the evidence of temporal sequences, the greater the possibility of logical fallacies. Hysteron proteron, as the Aristotelians called it, or "putting the cart before the horse" is one of them. When a temporal sequence is not known, but a presumption of the sequence is held, then the possibility of the reversal of cause increases. The logical problem that is involved in "putting the cart before the horse" is exemplified in the saying, "If the Brahmin do not pray, the Sun will not set." Wise skeptics know that "If the Sun will not set, the Brahmin will pray." (As a matter of fact, they will pray anyhow, if only because in illo tempore the sun did not set.) At the same time, many people, zealous or simply naive, will let the cart be placed before the horse and believe that the cart pulls the horse. In a subtle way, much of the writing about the Greek "Dark Ages" falls victim to this fallacy. Take, for instance, the statement that "the Dark Age Greeks were poor sailors." This fact is usually interpreted to mean that these Greeks were evolving from land animals into seafaring animals; they had not learned yet to sail. But these Greeks had no reason to be good sailors because they were raised as herders and warriors. Seamanship had disappeared with the washing away and destruction of the seacoast settlements. Or take the fact that "the Greek warriors before Troy misused their chariots, dismounting from them instead of fighting from them." This fact is usually interpreted to mean that they were just learning of the chariot from a superior culture with whom they were now coming into contact. But their chariot subculture had just been destroyed with the palaces, and the survivors had not been raised as chariot warriors but used chariots because their "betters" had used them.

"The government of Phaecia was a typical emerging primitive state heading towards the polis of classical Greece out of tribalism." But no tribe stands behind the Phaeacians; they are a colony surviving its mother country and organized more simply than it was.

Or take the fact that the "The Achaeans attacked Troy in the name of their gods, and Troy was destroyed." To most, the statement means that the Achaeans destroyed Troy. On the contrary, "the gods" destroyed Troy and the Achaeans occupied it. Not, "the wrath of Achilles elaborated into "the battles of the gods," but rather "the battles of the gods reduced to the wrath of Achilles."

Finally, considering the Love Affair in this light, the "gods" do not act so that people can have comedy; comedy is played so that the effects of the gods can be controlled.

Further, the dance forms and opera theater of the Love Affair were ancient and Minoan. So asserts Patroni [37] He points out that the dancing circle and chorus carried from Minoan to the classical Greek theater. But when the Greek theater appeared, he writes, we find the rustic god Dionysus, with a goat-cult of dancers cloaked in skins. The poverty of the means, the few actors, the vagabond origins of the Thespian theater, all showed - still according to Patroni who follows the Dark Age theory faithfully - that the primitive real Greek theater was not receiving the subsidies of princes, not the interest or participation of Mycenaean high society; it was left to the rural folk. Again "the cart before the horse." In the general destruction of societies, the art of the survivors made its way quickly forward. The elite and its sophisticated art forms were destroyed; folk art (not primitive art) dominated the scene. An analogy with the problems of geology is tempting. When folds and faults occur, the principle of superposition is thrown off and the effects are baffling to explain. So in history, when temporal evidence is scarce, the principle of post hoc ergo propter hoc loses its ability to guide one. Then, in geology, one says of a layer of shells and pebbles: "This land was raised from the sea", while another will say, "This land was once flooded with shells and pebbles."

A rather lengthy example may be excused, especially since it is the last. After describing what appears to have been a solid and regulated archaic system (which led me to suspect my theory), Mireaux [38] concludes:

Thus one is led to believe that the (lack of) care for agriculture, and the dispersal of a peasantry so firmly rooted in the soil, must have brought about, in most of the cities, at a quite early stage - and no doubt as early as Homeric time - the dissolution of the primitive brotherhoods of youth and soldierly companionship, and the breaking up of their community-centres. Nevertheless, even if the traditions of a life in common and an armed confraternity were growing looser, they were not yet so obsolete that they could not still color the lives of the rough peasant classes, guiding them and instilling into them the old ideals of honor and pride; for they still knew that their lands were only theirs as long as they could defend them, with helmet, buckler and javelin, after an appropriate training and a traditional initiation received at the hands of their elders.

In this quotation and all of the chapter containing it, Mireaux first establishes the existence of a rigid (old) order, which he calls "primitive," because presumably he believes it to have followed the Mycenaean culture over the centuries.

Then in the same breath, as above, he speaks as if this order preceded the Homeric order which was a breakdown of it.

That is, he reverses the logic of his own evidence. He moves back and forth uncertainly, reversing precedence and effect, and, of course, cause and effect. It is more likely that the "primitive order" he describes was the collapsed remains of the Mycenaean order that had persisted into the eighth century and was retained especially long by the Spartans who clustered fearfully in villages rather than committing themselves to a great polis. This order could only be feebly reinstituted by the Homeric crazed heroes. But a new civilization, which developed out of the Homeric age, moved in all directions; it quickly blended new and old forms. The Love Affair was an effort, on the literary front, to establish the new age by mastering the trauma that came with the end of the old age.

Notes (Chapter 7: Crazy Heroes of Dark Times)

1. The Cambridge Ancient History (1973), Vol II, Part I, p. 611. We recall the suggestion that Odysseus may have awakened to Nausicaa's spring washing rites.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid., p. 624.

4. Cf. Velikovsky (1950), p. 214 et passim.

5. The Cambridge Ancient History, loc. cit., 626.

6. The above details of this paragraph come from Israel M. Isaacson, 'Carbon 14 dates and Velikovsky's Revision of Ancient History." III Pensee no. 3 (1973), 26, p. 29 who is quoting C. W. Blegen and M. Rawson, The Palace of Nestor at Pylos in Western Messenia (Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 1966), I, pp. 167, 40, 199, 210, 169, 66.

7. History and the Homeric Iliad (Berkeley, Calif.: Univ of California Press, 1959), p. 255.

8. Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, 281, quoting Bollenbucher, Bebete and Hymnen and Nergal, p. 29.

9. Worlds in Collision, p. 213.

10. T. Blegen, "Troy VI," Cambridge Ancient History (1973), p. 685.

11. The interpretation of this event, which we cannot take at face value, must await a later day.

12. Worlds in Collision, pp. 268-9, quoting Sidney Smith's Babylonian Historical Texts (1924), p. 5. I refer the reader to The Lately Tortured Earth for explanations of the phenomena of extraterrestrially produced incineration and blasts.

13. "The Lion Gate at Mycenae," Pensee, III (1973). p. 31. supported in the same issued by Lewis M. Greenberg, "The Lion Gate at Mycenae," p. 26.

14. Theses for the Reconstruction of Ancient History (1946); Ages in Chaos (1950); "Astronomy and Chronology," III Pensee, No. 2. 38.

15. I. Issacson, op. cit., and "Applying the Revised Chronology," IV Pensée (Fall, 1974), 5. Posthumous studies of Velikovsky are expected in re Dark Ages and Issacson's (Schorr's) studies are being prepared by him for publication.

16. Plato, The Laws, III, p. 57 of the translation of B. Jowett, Dialogues of Plato, v. V (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1871).

17. Mireaux, p. 24.

18. Mireaux, p. 28.

19. Mireaux, p. 79. Cf. p. 14.

20. As e. g. Mireaux does, p. 55.

21. Contrary to Mireaux, cf. p. 31.

22. Denys Page, The Homeric Odyssey, pp. 145-6, citing Alcaeus and Aristotle.

23. IL, VI.

24. John Cowper Powys, "Preface to Homer and the Oether," p. 146, cf. Mireaux, 124-5.

25. Mireaux, p. 137.

26. The Myth of the Eternal Return, p. 21.

27. Cf. Finley, op. cit., pp. 115-20 et passim. Sociology delineates a "stranger" concept and says it is always observable; but it is a quantitative ambivalence that has a norm which is here far exceeded.

28. pindar, "Olympian Ode 10." (Loeb ed.) It would seem that Augeas and his city were swallowed up by an earthquake or volcanic fissure.

29. Discontinuity in Greek Civilization (Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1966).

30. p. 241.

31. Mireaux, p. 249 and 242-5.

32. Mireaux, p. 146, citing Od XII, 329-32, IV, 368-9.

33. From Mycenae to Homer (1964), p. 197 et passim.

34. See Mircea Eleade, The Myth of the Eternal Return, chap. IV.

35. Finley, p. 168.

36. See pages 134ff below.

37. Op. cit., pp. 250-2.

38. P. 124-5.

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