Venus, The Destroyer of Worlds Part 2
The floods of Deucalion and of Ogyges
The history of Greece knows two great natural catastrophes: the floods of Deucalion and of Ogyges.
One of them, usually that of Deucalion, is described by Greek authors as having been simultaneous with the conflagration of Phaëthon.
The floods of Deucalion and Ogyges brought overwhelming destruction to the mainland of Greece and to the islands around and caused changes in the geographical profile of the area.
That of Deucalion was most devastating: water covered the land and annihilated the population.
According to the legend, only two persons –Deucalion and his wife –remained alive.
This last detail must not be taken more literally than similar statements found in descriptions of great catastrophes all around the world; for example, two daughters of Lot, who hid with him in a cave after the catastrophe of Sodom and Gomorrah, believed that they and their father were the only survivors in the land.
The chronologists among the Fathers of the Church found material for assuming that one of the two catastrophes, the flood of Deucalion or that of Ogyges, had been contemporaneous with the Exodus. Julius Africanus wrote: “We affirm that Ogygus [Ogyges] from whom the first flood [in Attica] derived its name, and who was saved when many perished, lived at the time of the Exodus of the people from Egypt along with Moses.“
He further expressed his belief in the coincidence of the catastrophe of Ogyges and the one that occurred in Egypt in the days of the Exodus in the following words: “The Passover and the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt took place, and also in Attica the flood of Ogygus.
And that is according to reason.
For when the Egyptians were being smitten in the anger of God with hail and storms, it was only to be expected that certain parts of the earth should suffer with them.”
Eusebius placed the Flood of Deucalion and the conflagration of Phaëthon in the fifty-second year of Moses’ life.
Augustine also synchronized the Flood of Deucalion with the time of Moses; he assumed that the Flood of Ogyges took place earlier. A chronologist of the seventh century (Isidore, bishop of Seville) dated the Flood of Deucalion in the time of Moses; chronologists of the seventeenth century likewise calculated that the Flood of Deucalion took place in the time of Moses, close to but not simultaneous with the Exodus.
It would seem to be more probable that, if the catastrophes occurred one shortly after the other, the catastrophe of Ogyges took place after that of Deucalion which practically destroyed the land, depopulated it, and erased every memory of what had happened up to that time.
In the words of Plato, who quoted the Egyptian priest speaking to Solon, the catastrophes must have escaped the notice of the future generations because, as a result of the devastation, “for many generations the survivors died with no power to express themselves in writing.” The memory of the catastrophe of Ogyges would have vanished in the catastrophe of Deucalion if Ogyges had preceded Deucalion.
Apparently, the truth is with those who placed the catastrophe of Deucalion in the days of Exodus; but those who reckoned that Ogyges was a contemporary of Moses were also correct, except that Moses did not live until the Flood of Ogyges –it took place in the days of Joshua.
In commemoration of the Deucalion flood, the people of Athens observed a feast in the month of Anthesterion, which is a spring month; the feast was called Anthesteria.
On the thirteenth of the month, the main day of the feast, honey and flour were poured into a fissure in the earth as a sacrifice.
The date of this ceremony –the thirteenth day of Anthesterion in the spring –is revealing.
It was on the thirteenth day of the spring month (Aviv) that the great planetary contact occurred which preceded by a few hours the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.
The offering of honey and flour as the main ceremony of the feast is also revealing if we recollect that manna, or heavenly corn, tasting like honey, fell on the earth after the contact of the earth with a celestial body.
As to the provenance of the name Deucalion, scholars admit that it is not known.
For the name and the person of Ogyges we have some concrete information.
Although Ogyges was a king, the Greek annalists who wrote of the “flood of Ogyges” as one of the outstanding events of the past of their country, at the same time did not know anything about a king of that name in Greece.
Who was Ogyges?
We can solve this problem.
When the Israelites under Moses approached the border of Moab, Balaam in his blessing of Israel used these words: “His king shall be higher than Agag [Agog].” Agog must have been the most important king of that time in the area around the eastern Mediterranean.
In our reconstruction of ancient history, we shall put forward proofs that the Amalekite king, Agog I, was identical with the Hyksos king whose name the Egyptologists tentatively read Apop I, and who, a few decades after the invasion of Egypt by the Amu (Hyksos), laid the foundation of Thebes, the future capital of the New Kingdom in Egypt.
In conformity with this assertion, we can point to the fact that Greek tradition, which does not know of any activities of King Ogyges in Attica, occasionally places the domicile of Ogyges in Egyptian Thebes, and Aeschylus calls Thebes of Egypt “the Ogygian Thebes,” to differentiate it from the Greek Thebes in Boeotia.
Ogyges is also credited with founding Thebes in Egypt. Agog was a contemporary of the aging Moses; he was a ruler who, in his time, had no equal in the region bordering the eastern Mediterranean; the catastrophe in the time of Joshua, successor to Moses, was called by his, Agog’s, name.
The assertion of Solinus, the author of Polyhistor, that the flood of Ogyges was followed by a night of nine months’ duration does not necessarily signify a confusion with the darkness that ensued after the cataclysm of the Exodus; as the causes were similar, similar results must have followed.
The eruption of thousands of volcanoes would suffice to produce this darkness, of a shorter duration than that which followed the cataclysm of the Exodus.
Thus, the Greek traditions of the floods of Ogyges and Deucalion contain elements which, though interchanged, can be traced to two great upheavals in the middle of the second millennium before the present era.
The Mayan 52 year Period thang
The works of Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl, the early Mexican scholar (circa 1568 –1648), who was able to read old Mexican texts, preserve the ancient tradition according to which the multiple of fifty-two-year periods played an important role in the recurrence of world catastrophes.
He asserts also that only fifty-two years elapsed between two great catastrophes, each of which terminated a world age.
As we have already pointed out, the Israelite tradition counts forty years of wandering in the desert; between the time when the Israelites left the desert and started the difficult task of the conquest, and the time of the battle at Beth-horon twelve years may well have passed.
The conquest of Canaan took fourteen years, and the entire duration of Joshua’s leadership amounted to twenty-eight years.
Now there exists a remarkable fact: the natives of pre-Columbian Mexico expected a new catastrophe at the end of every period of fifty-two years and congregated to await the event. “When the night of this ceremony arrived, all the people were seized with fear and waited in anxiety for what might take place.” They were afraid that “it would be the end of the human race and that the darkness of the night may become permanent: the sun may not rise anymore.”
They watched for the appearance of the planet Venus, and when, on the feared day, no catastrophe occurred, the people of Maya rejoiced.
They brought human sacrifices and offered the hearts of prisoners whose chests they opened with knives of flint.
On that night, when the fifty-two-year period ended, a great bonfire announced to the fearful crowds that a new period of grace had been granted and a new Venus cycle started.
The period of fifty-two years, regarded by the ancient Mexicans as the interval between two world catastrophes, was definitely related by them to the planet Venus; and this period of Venus was observed by both the Mayas and the Aztecs.
The old Mexican custom of sacrificing to the Morning Star survived in human sacrifices by the Skidi Pawnee of Nebraska in years when the Morning Star “appeared especially bright, or in years when there was a comet in the sky.”
What had Venus to do with the catastrophes that brought the world to the brink of destruction?
Here is a question that will carry us very far, indeed.
We shall postpone only for a short while giving the answer to the question just posed.
First we should like to find an explanation for the institution of the jubilee year of the Israelite's.
Every seventh year, according to the law, was a sabbatical year during which the land had to be left fallow and Jewish slaves set free.
The fiftieth year was a jubilee year, when the land not only had to he left fallow, but had to be returned to its original proprietors.
According to the law, one could not convey his land for ever; the deed of sale was but a lease for whatever number of years remained until the jubilee year.
The year was proclaimed by the blowing of horns on the Day of Atonement. “In the Day of Atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you, and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.”
Ever since, exegetes have labored over the biblical statement that the jubilee year was to be observed every fiftieth year. The seventh sabbatical year is the forty-ninth year: “And the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. … And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year.”
To leave the land fallow for two consecutive years was too great a demand and cannot be explained by the need of the soil under cultivation for rest.
The festival of the jubilee, with the return of land to its original owners and the release of slaves, bears the character of an atonement, and its proclamation on the Day of Atonement emphasizes this still further.
Was there any special reason why fear returned every fifty years?
The Jubilee of the Mayas must have had a genesis similar to that of the jubilee of the Israelite's.
The difference lies in the human character of the festival of the Jews and its inhuman character among the Mayas; but with both peoples it was a year of atonement, repeating itself every fiftieth year in the one case and every fifty-second year in the other.
Comets do not return at exact periods because of perturbations caused by larger planets.
The Mayas expected the return of a catastrophe every fifty-second year because that was the interval between two cataclysms that had taken place.
It may be that the comet was actually seen again at such intervals. The Jews fasted and prepared themselves for the Day of Judgment on the earliest possible date of its return; the Mayas had their festival when the dreaded time had passed without harm.
On the Day of Atonement the Israelite's used to send a scapegoat to “Azazel” in the desert.
It was a ceremony of propitiation of Satan.
In Egypt the goat was an animal dedicated to Seth-Typhon.
Azazel was a fallen star or Lucifer.
It was also called Azzael, Azza, or Uzza.
According to the rabbinical legend, Uzza was the star angel of Egypt: it was thrown into the Red Sea when the Israelites made their passage.
The Arab name of the planet Venus is al-Uzza.
Arabs used to bring human sacrifices to al-Uzza; Mohammed, too, in his early days, worshiped it, and even today the Arabs seek its help.
On the day on which the jubilee year was proclaimed, the Israelites dispatched a placating offering of a scapegoat to Lucifer.
But what did Venus have to do with the Jubilee and the atonement?
Venus the Newborn
A planet turns and revolves on a quite circular orbit around a greater body, the sun; it makes contact with another body, a comet, that travels on a stretched out ellipse.
The planet slips from its axis, runs in disorder off its orbit, wanders rather erratically, and in the end is freed from the embrace of the comet.
The body on the long ellipse experiences similar disturbances.
Drawn off its path, it glides to some new orbit; its long train of gaseous substances and stones is torn away by the sun or by the planet, or runs away and revolves as a smaller comet along its own ellipse; a part of the tail is retained by the parent comet on its new orbit.
Ancient Mexican records give the order of the occurrences.
The sun was attacked by Quetzal-cohuatl; after the disappearance of this serpent-shaped heavenly body, the sun refused to shine, and during four days the world was deprived of its light; a great many people died at that time.
Thereafter, the snakelike body transformed itself into a great star.
The star retained the name of Quetzal-cohuatl [Quetzal-coatl].
This great and brilliant star appeared for the first time in the east.
Quetzal-cohuatl is the well-known name of the planet Venus.
Thus we read that “the sun refused to show itself and during four days the world was deprived of light. Then a great star ... appeared; it was given the name Quetzal-cohuatl ... the sky, to show its anger ... caused to perish a great number of people who died of famine and pestilence.”
The sequence of seasons and the duration of days and nights became disarranged. “It was then ... that the people [of Mexico] regulated anew the reckoning of days, nights, and hours, according to the difference in time.”
“It is a remarkable thing, moreover, that time is measured from the moment of its [Morning Star’s] appearance. ...
Tlahuizcalpanteuctli or the Morning Star appeared for the first time following the convulsions of the earth overwhelmed by a deluge.” It looked like a monstrous serpent. “This serpent is adorned with feathers: that is why it is called Quetzalcohuatl, Gukumatz or Kukulcan.
Just as the world is about to emerge from the chaos of the great catastrophe, it is seen to appear.” The feather arrangement of Quetzal-cohuatl “represented flames of fire.”
Again, the old texts speak “of the change that took place, at the moment of the great catastrophe of the deluge, in the condition of many constellations, principal among them being precisely Tlahuizcalpanteuctli or the star of Venus.”
The cataclysm, accompanied by a prolonged darkness, appears to have been that of the days of the Exodus, when a tempest of cinders darkened the world disturbed in its rotation.
Some of the references may allude to the subsequent catastrophe of the time of the conquest by Joshua, when the sun remained for more than a day in the sky of the old world.
Since it was the same comet that on both occasions made contact with the earth, and at each of the contacts the comet changed its own orbit, the relevant question is not, “On which occasion did the comet change its orbit?” but first of all, “Which comet changed to a planet?” or “Which planet was a comet in historical times?”
The transformation of the comet into a planet began on contact with the earth in the middle of the second millennium before the present era and was carried a step further one jubilee period later.
After the dramatic events of the time of Exodus, the earth was shrouded in dense clouds for decades, and observation of stars was not possible; after the second contact, Venus, the new and splendid member of the solar family, was seen moving along its orbit.
It was in the days of Joshua, a time designation meaningful to the reader of the sixth book of the Scriptures; but for the ancients it was “the time of Agog.” As we explained above, he was the king by whose name the cataclysm (the Deluge of Ogyges) was known, and who, according to Greek tradition, laid the foundations of Thebes in Egypt.
In The City of God by Augustine it is written: “From the book of Marcus Varro, entitled Of the Race of the Roman People, we cite word for word the following instance: ‘There occurred a remarkable celestial portent; for Castor records that in the brilliant star Venus, called ‘Vesperugo’ by Plautus and ‘the lovely Hesperus’ by Homer, there occurred so strange a prodigy, that it changed its color, size, form, course, which never happened before nor since.
Adrastus of Cyzicus, and Dion of Naples, famous mathematicians, said that this occurred in the reign of Ogyges.’”
The Fathers of the Church considered Ogyges a contemporary of Moses. Agog, mentioned in the blessing of Balaam, was the king Ogyges.
The upheaval that took place in the days of Joshua and Agog, the deluge that occurred in the days of Ogyges, the metamorphosis of Venus in the days of Ogyges, the star Venus which appeared in the sky of Mexico after a protracted night and a great catastrophe –all these occurrences are related.
Augustine went on to make a curious comment on the transformation of Venus: “Certainly that phenomenon disturbed the canons of the astronomers ... so as to take upon them to affirm that this which happened to the Morning Star (Venus) never happened before nor since.
We read in the divine books however that even the sun itself stood still when a holy man, Joshua the son of Nun, had begged this from God.”
Augustine had no inkling that Castor, as quoted by Varro, and the Book of Jasher, as quoted in the Book of Joshua, refer to the same occurrence.
Are Hebrew sources silent on the birth of a new star in the days of Joshua?
They are not.
It is written in a Samaritan chronicle that during the invasion of Palestine by the Israelites under Joshua, a new star was born in the east: “A star arose out of the east against which all magic is vain.”
Chinese chronicles record that “a brilliant star appeared in the days of Yahu [Yahou].”
The Blazing Star
Plato, citing the Egyptian priest, said that the world conflagration associated with Phaëthon was caused by a shifting of bodies in the sky which move around the earth.
As we have reason to assume that it was the comet Venus that, after two contacts with the earth, eventually became a planet, we shall do well to inquire: Did Phaëthon turn into the Morning Star?
Phaëthon, which means “the blazing star,” became the Morning Star.
The earliest writer who refers to the transformation of Phaëthon into a planet is Hesiod.
This transformation is related by Hyginus in his Astronomy, where he tells how Phaëthon, that caused the conflagration of the world, was struck by a thunderbolt of Jupiter and was placed by the sun among the stars (planets).
It was the general belief that Phaëthon changed into the Morning Star.
On the island of Crete, “Atymnios” was the name of the unlucky driver of the sun’s chariot; he was worshiped as the Evening Star, which is the same as the Morning Star.
The birth of the Morning Star, or the transformation of a legendary person (Istehar, Phaëthon, Quetzal-cohuatl) into the Morning Star was a widespread motif in the folklore of the oriental and occidental peoples.
The Tahitian tradition of the birth of the Morning Star is narrated on the Society Island in the Pacific; the Mangaian legend says that with the birth of a new star, the earth was battered by countless fragments.
The Buriats, Kirghiz, and Yakuts of Siberia, and the Eskimos of North America also tell of the birth of the planet Venus.
A blazing star disrupted the visible movement of the sun, caused a world conflagration, and became the Morning-Evening Star.
This may be found not only in the legends and traditions, but also in astronomical books of the ancient peoples of both hemispheres.
The four Visible Planets
By asserting that the planet Venus was born in the first half of the second millennium, we assume also that in the third millennium only four planets could have been seen from terra, and that in astronomical charts of this early period the planet Venus cannot be found.
In an ancient Hindu table of planets, attributed to the year -3102 Venus alone among the visible planets is absent.
The Brahmans of the early period did not know the five planet system, and only in a later (“ middle”) period did the Brahmans speak of five planets.
Babylonian astronomy, too, had a four-planet system.
In ancient prayers the planets Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury are invoked often and the planet Venus is conspicuous in its absence and one thus one speaks of “the four-planet system of the ancient astronomers of Babylonia.”
These four-planet systems and the inability of the ancient Hindus and Babylonians to see Venus in the sky, even though it is more visible than the other planets are most puzzling unless Venus was not among the visible planets.
On a later date “the planet Venus receives the appellative: ‘The great star that joins the great stars.’
The great stars are, of course, the four planets Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn ... and Venus joins them as the fifth planet.”
Apollonius Rhodius refers to a time “when not all the orbs were yet in the heavens.”
One of the Planets are a Comet
Democritus (circa -460 to circa -370), a contemporary of Plato and one of the great scholars of antiquity, is accused by the moderns of not having understood the planetary character of Venus.
Plutarch quotes him as speaking of Venus as if it were not one of the planets.
But apparently the author of the treatises on geometry, optics, and astronomy, no longer extant, knew more about Venus than his critics think.
From quotations which have survived in other authors, we know that Democritus built a theory of the creation and destruction of worlds which sounds like the modern planetesimal theory without its shortcomings.
He wrote: “The worlds are unequally distributed in space; here there are more, there fewer; some are waxing, some are in their prime, some waning: coming into being in one part of the universe, ceasing in another part. The cause of their perishing is collision with one another.”
He knew that “the planets are at unequal distances from us” and that there are more planets than we are able to discover with our eyes.
Aristotle quotes the opinion of Democritus: “Stars have been seen when comets dissolve.” Among the early Greek scholars, Pythagoras of the sixth century is generally credited with having had access to some secret science.
His pupils, and their pupils, the so-called Pythagoreans, were cautious not to disclose their science to anyone who did not belong to their circle.
Aristotle wrote of their interpretation of the nature of comets: “Some of the Italians called Pythagoreans say that the comet is one of the planets, but that it appears at great intervals of time and only rises a little above the horizon.
This is the case with Mercury too; because it only rises a little above the horizon it often fails to be seen and consequently appears at great intervals of time.”
This is a confused presentation of a theory; but it is possible to trace the truth in the Pythagorean teaching, which was not understood by Aristotle.
A comet is a planet which returns at long intervals.
One of the planets, which rises only a little above the horizon, was still regarded by the Pythagoreans of the fourth century as a comet.
With the knowledge obtained from other sources, it is easy to guess that by “one of the planets” is meant Venus; only Mercury and Venus rise a little above the horizon.
Aristotle disagreed with the Pythagorean scholars who considered one of the five planets to be a comet.
“These views involve impossibilities. ... This is the case, first, with those who say that the comet is one of the planets ... more comets than one have often appeared simultaneously ... as a matter of fact, no planet has been observed besides the five. And all of them are often visible above the horizon together at the same time. Further, comets are often found to appear, as well when all the planets are visible as when some are not.”
With these words, Aristotle, who did not learn the secrets of the Pythagoreans directly, tried to refute their teaching by arguing that all five planets are in their places when a comet appears, as if the Pythagoreans thought that all comets were one and the same planet leaving its usual path at certain times.
But the Pythagoreans did not think that one planet represents all comets.
According to Plutarch, they taught that each of the comets has its own orbit and period of revolution.
Hence the Pythagoreans apparently knew that the comet which is “one of the planets” is Venus.
During the centuries when Venus was a comet, it obviously had a tail.
The early traditions of the peoples of Mexico, written down in pre-Columbian days, relate that Venus smoked.
“The star that smoked –la estrella que humeava –was Sitlae choloha, which the Spaniards call Venus.”
“Now, I ask,” says Alexander Humboldt, “what optical illusion could give Venus the appearance of a star throwing out smoke?”
Sahagun, the sixteenth century Spanish authority on Mexico, wrote that the Mexicans called a comet “a star that smoked.”
It may thus be concluded that since the Mexicans called Venus “a star that smoked,” they considered it a comet. It is also said in the Vedas that the star Venus looks like fire with smoke.
Apparently, the star had a tail, dark in the daytime and luminous at night. In very concrete form this luminous tail, which Venus had in earlier centuries, is mentioned in the Talmud, in the Tractate Shabbat: “Fire is hanging down from the planet Venus.”
This phenomenon was described by the Chaldeans. The planet Venus “was said to have a beard.”
This same technical expression (“ beard”) is used in modern astronomy in the description of comets.
These parallels in observations made in the valley of the Ganges, on the shores of the Euphrates, and on the coast of the Mexican Gulf prove their objectivity.
The question must then be put, not in the form: What was the illusion of the ancient Toltecs and Mayas? But: What was the phenomenon and what was its cause?
A train, large enough to be visible from the earth and giving the impression of smoke and fire, hung from the planet Venus.
Venus, with its glowing train, was a very brilliant body; it is therefore not strange that the Chaldeans described it as a “bright torch of heaven,” also as a “diamond that illuminates like the sun,” and compared its light with the light of the rising sun.
At present, the light of Venus is less than one millionth of the light of the sun. “A stupendous prodigy in the sky,” the Chaldeans called it.
The Hebrews similarly described the planet: “The brilliant light of Venus blazes from one end of the cosmos to the other end.”
The Chinese astronomical text from Soochow refers to the past when “Venus was visible in full daylight and, while moving across the sky, rivaled the sun in brightness.”
As late as the seventh century, Assurbanipal wrote about Venus (Ishtar) “who is clothed with fire and bears aloft a crown of awful splendor.”
The Egyptians under Seti thus described Venus (Sekhmet): “A circling star which scatters its flame in fire ... a flame of fire in her tempest.”
Possessing a tail and moving on a not yet circular orbit, Venus was more of a comet than a planet, and was called a “smoking star” or a comet by the Mexicans. They also called it by the name of “Tzontemocque”, or “the mane.”
The Arabs called Ishtar (Venus) by the name “Zebbaj” or “one with hair,” as did the Babylonians.
“Sometimes there are hairs attached to the planets,” wrote Pliny; an old description of Venus must have served as a basis for his assertion.
Hair or “coma” is a characteristic of comets, and in fact “comet” is derived from the Greek word for “hair.”
The Peruvian name “Chaska” (“ wavy-haired”) is still the name for Venus, though at present the Morning Star is definitely a planet and has no tail attached to it.
The coma of Venus changed its form with the position of the planet.
When the planet Venus approaches the earth now, it is only partly illuminated, a portion of the disc being in shadow; it has phases like the moon.
At this time, being closer to the earth, it is most brilliant.
When Venus had a coma, the horns of its crescent must have been extended by the illuminated portions of the coma.
It thus had two long appendages and looked like a bull’s head. Sanchoniathon says that Astarte (Venus) had a bull’s head.
The planet was even called “Ashteroth-Karnaim”, or “Astarte of the Horns”, a name given to a city in Canaan in honor of this deity.
The golden calf worshiped by Aaron and the people at the foot of Sinai was the image of the star.
Rabbinical authorities say that “the devotion of Israel to this worship on the bull is in part explained by the circumstance that, while passing through the Red Sea, they beheld the celestial Throne, and most distinctly of the four creatures about the Throne, they saw the ox.”
The likeness of a calf was placed by Jeroboam in Dan, the great temple of the Northern Kingdom.
Tistrya of the Zend-Avesta, the star that attacks the planets, “the bright and glorious Tistrya mingles his shape with light moving in the shape of a golden-horned bull.”
The Egyptians similarly pictured the planet and worshiped it in the effigy of a bull.
The cult of a bull sprang up also in Mycenaean Greece.
A golden cow head with a star on its brow was found in Mycenae, on the Greek mainland.
The people of faraway Samoa, primitive tribes that depend on oral tradition as they have no art of writing, repeat to this day: “The planet Venus became wild and horns grew out of her head.”
Examples and references could be multiplied ad libitum.
The astronomical texts of the Babylonians describe the horns of the planet Venus.
Sometimes one of the two horns became more prominent.
Because the astronomical works of antiquity have so much to say about the horns of Venus, modern scholars have asked themselves whether the Babylonians could have seen the phases of Venus, which cannot now be distinguished with the naked eye; Galileo saw them for the first time in modern history when he used his telescope.
The long horns of Venus could have been seen without the aid of a telescopic lens.
The horns were the illuminated portions of the coma of Venus, which stretched toward the earth.
These horns could also have extended toward the sun as Venus approached the solar orb, since comets were repeatedly observed with projections in the direction of the sun, while the tails of the comets are regularly directed away from the sun.
When Venus approached close to one of the planets, its horns grew longer: this is the phenomenon the astrologers of Babylon observed and described when Venus neared Mars.
In every country of the ancient world we can trace cosmological myths of the birth of the planet Venus. If we look for the god or goddess who represents the planet Venus, we must inquire which among the gods or goddesses did not exist from the beginning, but was born into the family.
The mythologies of all peoples concern themselves with the birth only of Venus, not with that of Jupiter, Mars, or Saturn.
Jupiter is described as heir to Saturn, but his birth is not a mythological subject.
Horus of the Egyptians and Vishnu, born of Shiva, of the Hindus, were such newborn deities.
Horus battled in the sky with the monster-serpent Seth; so did Vishnu.
In Greece the goddess who suddenly appeared in the sky was Pallas Athene.
She sprang from the head of Zeus-Jupiter.
In another legend she was the daughter of a monster, Pallas-Typhon, who attacked her and whom she battled and killed.
The slaying of the monster by a planet-god is the way in which the people's perceived the convulsion of the pillar of smoke when the earth and the comet Venus disturbed each other in their orbits, and the head of the comet and its tail leaped against each other in violent electrical discharges.
The birth of the planet Athene is sung in the Homeric hymn dedicated to her, “the glorious goddess, virgin, Tritogeneia.” When she was born, the vault of the sky –the great Olympus –“began to reel horribly,” “earth round about cried fearfully,” “the sea was moved and tossed with dark waves, while foam burst forth suddenly,” and the sun stopped for “a long while.”
The Greek text speaks of “purple waves” and of “the sea [that] rises up like a wall,” and the sun stopping in its course.
Aristocles said that Zeus hid the unborn Athene in a cloud and then split it open with lightning, which is the mythological way to describe the appearance of a celestial body from the pillar of cloud.
Athene, or Latin Minerva, is called “Tritogeneia” (or “Tritonia”) after the Lake Triton.
This lake disappeared in a catastrophe in Africa when it broke into the ocean, leaving the desert of Sahara behind it, a catastrophe connected with the birth of Athene.
Diodorus, referring to undisclosed older authorities, says that Lake Triton in Africa “disappeared from sight in the course of an earthquake, when those parts of it which lay toward the ocean were torn asunder.”
This account implies that a great lake or marsh in Africa, separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a mountainous barrier, disappeared when the barrier was broken or lowered in a catastrophe.
Ovid says that Libya became a desert in consequence of Phaëthon’s conflagration. In the Iliad it is said that Pallas Athene “darted down to earth a gleaming star” with sparks springing from it; it darted as a star “sent by Jupiter to be a portent for seamen or for a wide host of warriors, a gleaming star.”
Athene’s counterpart in the Assyro-Babylonian pantheon is Astarte (Ishtar) who shatters mountains, “bright torch of heaven” at whose appearance “heaven and earth quake,” who causes darkness and appears in a hurricane.
Like Astarte (Ashteroth-Karnaim), Athene was pictured with horns. “Athena, daughter of Zeus … upon her head she set the helmet with two horns,” said Homer.
Pallas Athene is identified with Astarte (Ishtar) or the planet Venus of the Babylonians.
Anaitis of the Iranians, too, is identified as Pallas Athene and as the planet Venus.
Plutarch identified Minerva of the Romans or Athene of the Greeks with Isis of the Egyptians, and Pliny identified the planet Venus with Isis.
It is necessary to recall this here because it is generally supposed that the Greeks had no deity of importance who personified the planet Venus and that, on the other hand, they “did not find even a star in which to place” Athene.
Modern books on the mythology of the Greeks repeat today what Cicero wrote: “Venus, called in Greek ‘Phosphorus’ and in Latin ‘Lucifer’ when it preceded the sun, but when it follows it ‘Hesperos’.”
Phosphorus does not play any role on Olympus but following Cicero in his description of the planets, we read also of “the planet called Saturn, the Greek name of which is ‘Phaenon’,” though we know a more common name, “Cronus”, by which the Greeks called the planet Saturn.
Cicero gives the Greek names of other planets which are not the common ones.
It is therefore entirely wrong to think that Phosphorus and Hesperos are the chief or only names of the planet Venus in Greek.
Athene, in whose honor the city of Athens was named, was the planet Venus.
Next to Zeus she was the most honored deity of the Greeks. The name “Athene” in Greek, according to Manetho, “is indication of self-originated movement.”
He wrote of the name “Athene” as meaning, “I came from myself.”
Cicero, speaking of Venus, explained the origin of the name thus: “Venus was so named by our countrymen as the goddess who ‘comes’ [venire] to all things.”
The name “Vishnu” signifies “pervader,” from the Sanskrit “vish”, to “enter” or “pervade”.
The birth of Athene was assigned to the middle of the second millennium.
Augustine wrote: “Minerva [Athene] is reported to have appeared... in the times of Ogyges.” This statement is found in The City of God, the book containing the quotation from Varro that the planet Venus changed its course and form in the time of Ogyges.
Augustine also synchronized Joshua with the time of Minerva’s activities.
The cover of carbonigenous clouds in which the earth was enveloped by the comet is the “robe ambrosial” wrought by Athene for Hera (Earth).
The source of ambrosia was closely connected with Athene.
The origin of Athene as a comet is implied in her epithet Pallas which, as is commonly known, is synonymous with Typhon: Typhon, as Pliny said, was a comet.
The bull and the cow, the goat and the serpent, were animals dedicated to Athene.
“The goat being usually tabooed but chosen as an exceptional victim for her,” the animal was annually sacrificed on the Acropolis of Athens.
With the Israelites the goat was the victim for Azazel, or Lucifer.
In the Babylonian calendar “the nineteenth day of all months is marked ‘day of wrath’ of goddess Gula (Ishtar).
No work was done.
Weeping and lamentation filled the land. ...
Any explanation of ‘dies irae’ of Babylonia must be sought in some myth concerning the nineteenth of the first month.
Why should the nineteenth day after the moon of the spring equinox be a day of wrath? ...
It corresponds to the quinquatrus of the Roman farmer’s calendar, the nineteenth of March, five days after the full moon.
Ovid says that Minerva was born on that day, she being the Pallas Athene of the Greeks.”
The nineteenth of March was Minerva’s day.
The first appearance of Athene-Minerva took place on the day the Israelites crossed the Red Sea.
The night between the thirteenth and the fourteenth days of the first month after the vernal equinox was the night of the great earthshock; six days later, on the last day of Passover week, according to the Hebrew tradition, the waters were heaped up like mountains and the fugitives crossed on the dry bed of the sea.
The birth of Pallas Athene or her first visit to earth was the cause of a cosmic disturbance, and the memory of that catastrophe was “a day of wrath in all the calendars of ancient Chaldea.”
The Zeus Angle
If there was a problem in this research which caused prolonged deliberation on the part of Immanuel Velikovsky, it was the question: Was it the planet Jupiter or Venus that caused the catastrophe of the time of Exodus?
Some ancient mythological sources point to Venus, other sources point to Jupiter.
In one group of legends Jupiter (Zeus) is the protagonist of the drama: he leaves his place in the sky, rushes to battle Typhon, and strikes him with thunderbolts.
Other legends and historical sources, too, which we have quoted all over this blog indicate that it was the planet Venus, or Pallas Athene of the Greeks.
Athene killed her father, Typhon-Pallas, the celestial monster, and the description of this battle is not different from that of the battle in which Zeus killed Typhon.
Under the weight of many arguments, Velikovsky came to the conclusion –about which he no longer harbored any doubts –that it was the planet Venus, at the time still a comet, that caused the catastrophe of the days of Exodus.
Then why do a part of the legends tie up this event with Jupiter?
The cause of this duality in the mythological handling of an historical event lies in the fact that the ancients themselves did not know for certain which of the planets had caused the destruction.
Some saw the pillar of cloud -Typhon defeated by Jupiter, the ball of fire that emerged from the pillar and battled with it.
Others interpreted the globe as a body different from Jupiter.
The Greek authors described the birth of Athene (planet Venus), saying she sprang from the head of Jupiter. “And mighty Olympus trembled fearfully ... and the earth around shrieked fearfully, and the sea was stirred, troubled with its purple waves.”
One or two authors even thought that Athene was born of Cronus.
The consensus of ancient authors makes Athene-Venus the offspring of Jupiter: she sprang from his head, and this birth was accompanied by great disturbances in the celestial and terrestrial spheres.
The comet rushed toward the earth, and it could not be very well distinguished whether the planet Jupiter or its offspring was approaching.
We divulge here , that at an earlier time, Jupiter had already caused havoc in the planetary family, the earth included, and it was therefore only natural to see in the approaching body the planet Jupiter.
We referred in the introductory part of this blog to the modern theory which ascribes the birth of the terrestrial planets to the process of expulsion by larger ones.
This appears to be what is going on here in the case of Venus.
The other modern theory, which ascribes the origin of comets of short period to expulsion by large planets, is also correct: Venus was expelled as a comet and then changed to a planet after contact with a number of members of the solar system.
Venus, being an offspring of Jupiter bore all the characteristics known to men from early cataclysmic encounters.
When a ball of fire tore the pillar of cloud and pelted the pillar with thunderbolts, the imagination of the people saw in this the planet-god Jupiter-Marduk rushing to save the earth by killing the serpent-monster Typhon-Tiamat.
It is not strange, therefore, that, in places as remote from Greece as the islands of Polynesia, it is related that “the planet Jupiter suppressed the tail of the great storm.”
However, we are told that in the same places, notably on the Harvey Islands, “Jupiter was often mistaken for the Morning Star.”
On other islands of Polynesia, “the planets Venus and Jupiter seem to have been confused with each other.” Explorers found “that the name “Fauma” or “Paupiti” was given to Venus ... and that the same names were given to Jupiter.”
Early astronomy shared Ptolemy’s opinion that “Venus has the same powers” and also the nature of Jupiter, an opinion reflected also in the astrological belief that “Venus, when she becomes sole ruler of the event, in general brings about results similar to those of Jupiter.”
In one local cult in Egypt the name of “Isis”, originally belonged to Jupiter, “Osiris” being Saturn. In another local cult “Amon” was the name for Jupiter.
“Horus” originally was also Jupiter but when a new planet was born of Jupiter and became supreme in the sky, the onlookers could not readily recognize the exact nature of this change.
They gave the name of “Isis” to the planet Venus, and sometimes the name of “Horus”.
This must have caused confusion. “One is confused by the various relations which exist between mother and son (Isis and Horus).
Now he is her consort, now her brother; now a youth ... now an infant fed at her breast.”
“A noteworthy representation shows her [Isis] in association with Horus as the Morning Star, and thus in a strange relation ... which we cannot yet explain from the texts.”
Also “Ishtar” of Assyria-Babylonia was in early times the name of the planet Jupiter; later it was transferred to Venus, Jupiter retaining the name of “Marduk”.
“Baal”, still another name for Jupiter, was an earlier name for Saturn, and later on became the name of Venus, sometimes the feminine form “Baalath” or “Belith” being used.
Ishtar, also, was at first a male planet, subsequently becoming a female planet.
Let us Worship Venus
Now that it has been shown it was Venus which, at an interval of fifty-two years, caused two cosmic catastrophes in the fifteenth century before the present era, we understand also the different historical connections between Venus and these catastrophes.
In numerous biblical and rabbinical passages it is said that when the Israelites went from Mount Sinai into the desert, they were covered by clouds.
These clouds were illuminated by the pillar of fire, so that they gave a pale light.
With this should be connected a statement of Isaiah: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, the light of Noga was upon them.”
“Noga” is Venus; it is, in fact, the usual name of this planet in Hebrew and it is therefore an omission not to translate it so.
Amos says that during the forty years in the wilderness the Israelites did not sacrifice to the Lord, but carried “the star of your god, which you made to yourselves.”
St. Jerome interprets this “star of your god” as Lucifer (the Morning Star).
What image of the star was carried in the wilderness? Was it the bull (calf) of Aaron or the brazen serpent of Moses? “And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole.”
Of this serpent it is said that it was made with the purpose of providing a cure for those bitten by snakes.
Seven and a half centuries later this brazen serpent of Moses was broken by King Hezekiah, guided in his monotheistic zeal by the prophet Isaiah, “for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it.”
The brazen serpent was most probably the image of the pillar of cloud and fire which appeared as a moving serpent to all peoples of the world.
St. Jerome apparently had this image in view when he interpreted the star mentioned by Amos as Lucifer.
Or was it the “star of David,” the six-pointed star?
The Egyptian Venus-Isis, the Babylonian Venus-Ishtar, the Greek Venus-Athene were goddesses pictured with serpents, and sometimes represented as dragons.
“Ishtar, the fearful dragon,” wrote Assurbanipal.
The Morning Star of the Toltecs, Quetzal-cohuatl (Quetzal-coatl), also is represented as a great dragon or serpent: “cohuatl” in Nahuatl is “serpent,” and the name means “a feathered serpent.”
The Morning Star of the Indians of the Chichimec tribe in Mexico is called “Serpent cloud,”
a remarkable name because of its relation to the pillar of cloud and the clouds that covered the globe after the contact of the earth with Venus.
When Quetzal-cohuatl, the lawgiver of the Toltecs, disappeared on the approach of a great catastrophe and the Morning Star that bore the same name rose for the first time in the sky, the Toltecs “regulated the reckoning of the days, the nights, and the hours according to the difference in the time.”
The people of Ugarit (Ras-Shamra) in Syria addressed Anat, their planet Venus: “You reverse the position of the dawn in the sky.”
In the Mexican Codex Borgia, the Evening Star is represented with the solar disc on its back.
In the Babylonian psalms Ishtar says:
By causing the heavens to tremble and the earth to quake, By the gleam which lightens in the sky, By the blazing fire which rains upon the hostile land, I am Ishtar. Ishtar am I by the light that arises in heaven, Ishtar the queen of heaven am I by the light that arises in heaven. I am Ishtar; on high I journey ... The heavens I cause to quake, the earth I cause to shake, That is my fame. ... She that lightens in the horizon of heaven, Whose name is honored in the habitations of men, That is my fame. “Queen of heaven above and beneath” let be spoken, That is my fame. The mountains I overwhelm altogether, That is my fame.
The Morning-Evening Star Ishtar was called also “the star of lamentation.”
The Persian Mithra, the same as Tistrya, descended from the heavens and “let a stream of fire flow toward the earth,” “signifying that a blazing star, becoming in some way present here below, filled our world with its devouring heat.”
In Aphaca in Syria fire fell from the sky, and it was asserted that it fell from Venus: “by which one would think of fire that had fallen from the planet Venus.”
The place became holy and was visited each year by pilgrims.
The festivals of the planet Venus were held in the spring. “Our ancestors dedicated the month of April to Venus,” wrote Macrobius.
Baal of the Canaanites and of the Northern Kingdom of Israel was worshiped in Dan, the city of the cult of the calf, and throngs visited there during the week of Passover.
The cult of Venus spread to Judea also.
According to II Kings (23: 5), King Josiah in the seventh century “put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.”
Baal, the sun, the moon, and the planets, is the division used also by Democritus: Venus, the sun, the moon, and the planets.
In Babylonia the planet Venus was distinguished from other planets and worshiped as a member of a trinity: Venus, Moon, and Sun.”
This triad became the Babylonian holy trinity in the fourteenth century before the present era.
In the Vedas the planet Venus is compared to a bull: “As a bull thou hurlest thy fire upon earth and heaven.”
The Morning Star of the Phoenicians and Syrians was Ashteroth-Karnaim, Astarte of the Horns. Belith of Sidon was likewise Venus, and Izebel, wife of Ahab, made her the chief deity of the Northern Kingdom.
The “queen of heaven,” referred to repeatedly by Jeremiah, was Venus.
The women of Jerusalem made cakes for the queen of heaven and worshiped her from the roofs of their houses.
On Cyprus it was neither Jupiter nor any other god but “Kypris Queen whom they with holy gifts were wont to appease ... pouring libations out upon the ground of yellow honey.”
Such libation, as already mentioned, was made in Athens in commemoration of the Flood of Deucalion.
Not long ago, in Polynesia, human sacrifices were offered to the Morning Star, Venus.
To the Arabian Morning Star, queen of the heaven –al-Uzza –boys and girls were sacrificed down to modern times.
Likewise, human sacrifices were brought to the Morning Star in Mexico; this was described by early Spanish authors, and was still practiced by Indians only a generation ago.
Quetzal-cohuatl “was called the god of winds” and of “flames of fire”; the Greek Athene, too, was not only the planet, but also the goddess of storm and fire.
The planet Venus was “Lux Divina”, “the Divine Light”, in the worship of the Roman imperial colonies In Babylonia, Venus was pictured as a six-pointed star –which is also the shape of David’s shield –or as a pentagram –a five-pointed star (seal of Solomon) –and sometimes as a cross; as a cross it was pictured in Mexico, too.
The attributes and deeds of the Morning Star were not invented by the peoples of the world: this star shattered mountains, shook the globe with such a violence that it looked as if the heavens were shaking, was a storm, a cloud, a fire, a heavenly dragon, a torch, and a blazing star, and it rained naphtha on the earth.
Assurbanipal speaks of Ishtar-Venus, “who is clothed with fire and bears aloft a crown of awful splendor, [and who] rained fire over Arabia.”
It has been shown previously that the comet of the days of the Exodus rained naphtha over Arabia.
In the attributes and in the deeds ascribed to the planet Venus –Isis, Ishtar, Athene –we recognize the attributes and deeds of the comet described in the earlier sections of this now lengthy blog.
When Venus became a new member of the solar system, it moved on a stretched ellipse, and for centuries imperiled the other planets.
Because of its dangerous circling, Venus was diligently observed in both hemispheres, and records were kept of its movement.
In the last centuries before this era, the 225-day year of Venus, and apparently also its orbit, were practically the same as in modern times.
As early as the second half of the seventh century before this era, Venus, watched until then with anxiety, had already ceased to be a cause of dreadful expectation; it probably reached then the orbital stage in which it was found in the last centuries before this era, and where we still find it today.
What caused the change in the orbit of Venus?
As usual, we shall pose another problem besides the first.
Mars, harbinger of celestial Doom
Mars did not arouse any fears in the hearts of the ancient astrologers, and its name was seldom mentioned in the second millennium.
In Assyro-Babylonia, in inscriptions made before the ninth century, the name of Nergal is found only on rare occasions.
On the astronomical ceiling of Senmut, Mars does not appear among the planets.
It did not play any conspicuous part in the early mythology of the celestial gods.
In the ninth or eighth century before this era, that situation changed radically.
Mars became the dreaded planet.
Accordingly, Mars-Nergal rose to the position of the frightful storm and war god.
The question must then present itself: Why, previous to that time, did Mars signify no danger to the earth, and what caused Mars to shift its orbit closer to the earth?
The planets of the solar system move in nearly the same plane, and if one planet were to revolve along a stretched ellipse, it would endanger the other planets.
The two problems –what caused Venus to change its orbit, and what caused Mars to change its orbit – have a common explanation.
The common cause may have been some comet which changed the orbits of Venus and Mars; but it is simpler to suppose that two planets, one of which had a greatly elongated orbit, collided, and that no third agent was necessary to bring about that result.
A conflict between Venus and Mars, if it occurred, might well have been a spectacle observable from the earth.
It is not impossible that the two planets came repeatedly into contact, each time with different results.
If a contact between Venus and Mars really occurred and was observed from the earth, it must have been commemorated in traditions or literary monuments.
The Iliad on the subject of Mars
To this day it has not been established at what date the Iliad and Odyssey were composed.
Even ancient authors differed greatly in reckoning the time when Homer lived.
It was estimated to be as late as -685 (the historian Theopompus) and as early as -1159 (certain authorities quoted by Philostratus). Herodotus wrote that “Homer and Hesiod” created the Greek pantheon “not more than 400 years before me,” which would mean not prior to -884, -484 being regarded as the year of Herodotus’ birth.
The question is still vigorously debated.
Some authors argue that there was a long interval between the time when the epic works of Homer were composed and the time when they were put into writing; others think that these works must have been created not long before the Greeks acquired the art of writing, about -700.
It is also argued that the Greeks must have known this art long before -700 on the assumption that the Homeric works were created much before that date.
It is generally assumed that the fall of Troy antedated Homer by several generations, and also that the great epic works were the creation of generations.
The fall of Troy is sometimes thought to have taken place in the twelfth century.
On the other hand, it has been shown that the cultural background of the Homeric epos is that of the eighth or even the seventh century; the age of iron was well under way, and many other details would preclude an earlier scene.
It is highly probable that the Homeric works were created at that time or shortly thereafter. Whether these poems were first sung by a bard who lived centuries after the destruction of Troy depends on the time when Troy was destroyed.
The tradition about Aeneas who, saved when Troy was captured, went to Carthage (a city built in the ninth century) and from there to Italy, where he founded Rome (a city first built in the middle of the eighth century), implies that Troy was destroyed in the eighth or late in the ninth century.
For what purpose do we burden ourselves with yet another problem to be solved?
It may seem that the two problems –how Venus changed its orbit to a circle, and how Mars changed its orbit so as to come in contact with the earth –are weighted with a third problem from a far-removed field and in itself very complicated.
And even if these matters have something in common, how can a problem with three unknowns be solved?
We shall come closer to a solution of the astronomical problem with which we are concerned and the problem of the epics of Troy if we recognize the cosmic scene of these epics.
A simple test can be devised however.
If Ares, the Mars of the Greeks, is not mentioned in the creations of Homer, this would support the view that the Iliad and Odyssey were created in the tenth century or earlier, or at least that the drama they describe had taken place not later than this time.
If Ares is presented as a war god in these epics, it would indicate that they were composed in the eighth century or thereafter.
It was in the eighth century that Mars-Nergal, an obscure deity, became a prominent god.
Epic poems, rich in mythology, that originated in the eighth or seventh century, would not be silent about Mars-Ares, who became “outrageous” at that time.
With this yardstick at hand, the epic poems of Homer must be reexamined.
The task will not be difficult; the Iliad is full of descriptions of the violent deeds of Ares.
In this epic the story is told of the battles which the Greeks, besieging Troy, waged against the people of Priam, king of Troy.
Deities took a prominent part in these battles and skirmishes.
Two of them, Athene and Ares, were by far the most active.
Athene was the protectress of the Greeks and Ares was on the side of the Trojans.
They were the chief antagonists throughout the epopee.
At first Athene removed Ares from the battlefield: “And flashing-eyed Athene took furious Ares by the hand and spake to him, saying: ‘Ares, Ares, thou bane of mortals, thou blood-stained stormer of walls, shall we not now leave the Trojans and Achaeans to fight?’ ... [she] led furious Ares forth from the battle.”
They met together again in the field; “furious Ares” was “abiding on the left of the battle.”
Aphrodite, the goddess of the moon, wished to participate in the war also, but Zeus, presiding in heavenly Olympus, told her: “Not unto thee, my child, are given works of war; nay, follow thou after the lovely works of marriage, and all these things shall be the business of swift Ares and Athene.”
Thus the god of the planet Jupiter admonished the goddess of the moon to leave the combat that it might be fought out by the god of the planet Mars and the goddess of the planet Venus.
Phoebus Apollo, the god of the sun, spoke to the god of the planet Mars: “Then unto furious Ares spake Phoebus Apollo: ‘Ares, Ares, thou bloodstained stormer of walls, wilt thou not now enter into the battle?’ ...
And baneful Ares entered amid the Trojans’ ranks. ...
He called: ... ‘How long will ye still suffer your host to be slain by the Achaeans?’” The battlefield was darkened by Ares: “And about the battle furious Ares drew a veil of night to aid the Trojans ... he saw that Pallas Athene was departed, for she it was that bare aid to the Danaans.”
Hera, the goddess of the earth, “stepped upon the flaming car” and “self-bidden groaned upon their hinges the gates of heaven which the Hours had in their keeping, to whom are entrusted great heaven and Olympus.” She spoke to Zeus: “Zeus, hast thou no indignation with Ares for these violent deeds, that he hath destroyed so great and so goodly a host of the Achaeans recklessly? ... Wilt thou in any wise be wroth with me if I smite Ares?” And Zeus replied: “Nay, come now, rouse against him Athene ... who has ever been wont above others to bring sore pain upon him.” So came the hour of the battle.
Then Pallas Athene grasped the lash and the reins, and against Ares first she speedily drave. ... Athene put on the cap of Hades, to the end that mighty Ares should not see her.
Ares, “the bane of mortals,” was attacked by Pallas Athene, who sped the spear “mightily against his nethermost belly.” “Then brazen Ares bellowed loud as nine thousand warriors or ten thousand cry in battle, when they join in the strife of the War-god.” “Even as a black darkness appeareth from the clouds when after heat a blustering wind ariseth, even in such wise ... did brazen Ares appear, as he fared amid the clouds unto broad heaven.”
In heaven he appealed to Zeus with bitter words of complaint against Athene: “With thee are we all at strife, for thou are father to that mad and baneful maid, whose mind is ever set on deeds of lawlessness.
For all the other gods that are in Olympus are obedient unto thee ... but to her thou payest no heed ... for that this pestilent maiden is thine own child.” And Zeus answered: “Most hateful to me art thou of all gods that hold Olympus, for ever is strife dear to thee and wars and fightings.”
The first round was lost by Ares. “Hera and Athene ... made Ares, the bane of mortals, to cease from his man-slaying.”
In this vein the poem proceeds, its allegorical features being only too readily overlooked. In the fifth book of the Iliad Ares is called by name more than thirty times, and throughout the poem he never disappears from the scene, whether in the sky or on the battleground.
The twentieth and twenty-first books describe the climax of the battle of the gods at the walls of Troy. “[ Athene] would utter her loud cry. And over against her spouted Ares, dread as a dark whirlwind, calling with shrill tones to the Trojans.
Thus did the blessed gods urge on the two hosts to clash in battle, and amid them made grievous strife to burst forth.
Then terribly thundered the father of gods and men from on high; and from beneath did Poseidon cause the vast earth to quake, and the steep crests of the mountains.
All the roots of many-fountained Ida were shaken, and all her peaks, and the city of the Trojans, and the ships of the Achaeans. And seized with fear in the world below was Aidoneus, lord of the shades ... lest above him the earth be cloven by Poseidon, the Shaker of Earth, and his abode be made plain to view for mortals and immortals ... so great was the din that arose when the gods clashed in strife.”
In this battle of gods above and beneath, Trojans and Achaeans clashed together and the whole universe roared and shivered.
The battle was fought in gloom; Hera spread a thick mist.
The river “rushed with surging flood, and roused all his streams tumultuously.”
Even the ocean was inspired with “fear of the lightning of great Zeus and his dread thunder, whenso it crasheth from heaven.”
Then rushed into the battle a “wondrous blazing fire. First on the plain was the fire kindled, and burned the dead ... and all the plain was parched.”
Then to the river turned the gleaming flame. “Tormented were the eels and the fish in the eddies, and in the fair streams they plunged this way and that. ... The fair streams seethed and boiled.” Nor had the river “any mind to flow onward, but was stayed,” unable to protect Troy.
Upon the gods “fell strife heavy and grievous.” “Together then they clashed with a mighty din, and the wide earth rang, and round about great heaven pealed as with a trumpet. ...
Zeus –the heart within him laughed aloud in joy as he beheld the gods joining in strife.” “Ares ... began the fray, and first leapt upon Athene, brazen spear in hand, and spake a word of reviling: ‘Wherefore now again, thou dogfly, art thou making gods to clash with gods in strife … ? Rememberest thou not what time ... thyself in sight of all didst grasp the spear and let drive straight at me, and didst rend my fair flesh?’”
This second encounter between Ares and Athene was also lost by Ares. “He [Ares] smote upon her tasselled aegis. ...
Thereon bloodstained Ares smote with his long spear. But she gave ground, and seized with her stout hand a stone that lay upon the plain, black and jagged and great. ...
Therewith she smote furious Ares on the neck, and loosed his limbs. ... Pallas Athene broke into a laugh. ... ‘Fool, not even yet hast thou learned how much mightier than thou I avow me to be, that thou matchest thy strength with mine.’” Aphrodite came to wounded Ares, “took [him] by the hand, and sought to lead [him] away.” But “Athene sped in pursuit. ... She smote Aphrodite on the breast with her stout hand ... and her heart melted.”
These excerpts from the Iliad show that some cosmic drama was projected upon the fields of Troy.
The commentators were aware that originally Ares was not merely the god of war, and that this quality is a deduced and secondary one.
The Greek Ares is the Latin planet Mars; it is so stated in classic literature a multitude of times. In the so-called Homeric poems, too, it is said that Ares is a planet.
The Homeric hymn to Ares reads: “Most mighty Ares ... chieftain of valor, revolving thy fiery circle in ether among the seven wandering stars [planets], where thy flaming steeds ever uplift thee above the third chariot.”
What might it mean, that the planet Mars destroys cities, or that the planet Mars is ascending the sky in a darkened cloud, or that it engages Athene (the planet Venus) in battle?
Ares must have represented some element in nature, guessed the commentators. Ares must have been the personification of the raging storm, or the god of the sky, or the god of light, or a sun-god, and so on.
These explanations are futile. Ares-Mars is what his name says –the planet Mars. I find in Lucian a statement which corroborates my interpretation of the cosmic drama in the Iliad.
This author of the second century of the present era writes in his work On Astrology this most significant and most neglected commentary on the Homeric epics: “All that he [Homer] hath said of Venus and of Mars his passion, is also manifestly composed from no other source than this science [astrology]. Indeed, it is the conjuncture of Venus and Mars that creates the poetry of Homer.”
Lucian is unaware that Athene is the goddess of the planet Venus, and yet he knows the real meaning of the cosmic plot of the Homeric epic, which shows that the sources of his instruction in astrology were cognizant of the facts of the celestial drama.
Our interpretation of the Homeric poem, I find, has been anticipated by still others.
Who they were, it is impossible to say. However,
Heraclitus, a little known author of the first century, who should not be confused with the philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus, wrote a work on Homeric allegories.
In his opinion, Homer and Plato were the two greatest spirits of Greece, and he tried to reconcile the anthropomorphic and satiric description of gods by Homer with the idealistic and metaphysical approach of Plato.
In Paragraph 53 of his Allegories, Heraclitus confutes those who think that the battles of the gods in the Iliad signify collisions of the planets.
Thus we find that some of the ancient philosophers must have held the same opinion at which I arrived independently after a series of deductions.
The problem of the date when the Homeric epics originated was raised here, to be solved with the help of this criterion: If the cosmic battle between the planets Venus and Mars is mentioned there, then the epics could not have originated much before the year -800. If the earth and the moon are involved in this struggle, the time of the birth of the Iliad must be lowered to -747 at least and probably to an even later date.
The first earthshaking contact with our planet had already taken place, and for this reason Ares is repeatedly called “bane of mortals, blood-stained stormer of walls.”
Homer was thus, at the earliest, a contemporary of the prophets Amos and Isaiah, or more likely he lived shortly after them.
The Trojan War and the cosmic conflict were synchronous; the time of Homer was not separated from the time of the Trojan war by several centuries, possibly not even by a single one.
The statement by Lucian regarding the inspiring drama of the Homeric epics –the conjunction of the planets Venus and Mars –can be refined.
There was more than one fateful conjunction between Venus and Mars –at least two are described in the Iliad, in the fifth and the twenty-first books.
The conjunctions were near contacts; the mere passage of one planet in front of another could not have provided material for a cosmic drama.
In an old textbook on Hindu astronomy, the Surya-Siddhanta, there is a chapter, “Of planetary conjunctions.” Modern astronomy knows only one kind of conjunction between planets, when one planet (or sun) stands between the earth and another planet (differentiated only as superior and inferior conjunction and opposition).
However, ancient Hindu astronomy distinguished between many different conjunctions, translated as follows: “samyoga” (conjunction), “samagama” (coming together), “yoga” (junction), “melaka” (uniting), “yuti” (union), “yuddha” (encounter, in the meaning of conflict, fight).
The first paragraph of this chapter, »Of planetary conjunctions«, of the Surya-Siddhanta tells us that between planets there occur encounters in battle (“ yuddha”) and simple conjunction (“ samyoga”, “samagama”).
The force of the planets, which manifests itself in conjunctions, is called “bala”.