An Ethiopian Journal

"Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters"

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The Battle of Adwa

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The stunning victory at Adwa required Europeans to take Ethiopia and Africa more seriously. It not only initiated a decade of negotiations with European powers in which nine border treaties were signed, it made Europeans begin to reconsider their prejudices against Africans. It came to symbolize a rising awareness among Europeans of African political resources and yearnings and an increasing recognition of indigenous African cultural accomplishments. ”


Written by Tseday

September 19, 2008 at 6:09 am

Phaeton and the Chariot of the Sun

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Scholars claim that the name ‘Ethiopia’ is taken from a Greek expression ‘Aithiops’ meaning “burnt faces”. In Greek mythology, the story of Phaethon could be behind the origin of this name. So supposedly, Phaethon, the son of Helios, borrowed the sun-chariot of his father for just one day. But he was not able to keep course along the sun’s accustomed path. Phaeton was unable to control the fierce horses that drew the chariot. First it veered too high, so that the earth grew chill. Then it dipped too close, and the vegetation dried and burned. He accidentally turned most of Africa into desert; burning the skin of the Ethiopians black. To prevent an even bigger catastrophe, Zeus striked Phaethon by his thunderbolt and the youth fell to earth into the river Eridanos.



Phaeton and the Chariot of the Sun

In the ancient Ethiopia there lived a lad by name of Phaeton. His mother was an Ethiopian princess but Phaeton’s father was the sun-god himself. One day Phaeton was playing with a friend he boasted that his father was Apollo, the sun-god. Phaeton’s friend teased him by saying “Your father really isn’t the Sun. Your mother just mad that up and you are foolish to believe such a story.”

Phaeton went home confused and ashamed. He told his mother of the taunt and begged her to give him some proof that he really was the child of the Sun. His mother spoke softly but proudly, ” My son, your father truly is the radiant Sun. but if you have doubts, then why not go to his palace and speak to him yourself? Go to the land of the far East and there in the high mountains you will find the glittering palace of your father , the Sun.”

Phaeton was overjoyed at his mother’s answer and mad himself ready for the long journey, He traveled in the lad of Persia and crossed the strange land of India. finally he came to the gigantic mountains at the eastern end of the world. The boy climbed into the mountains and found a palace that he immediately knew must belong to Apollo. Although it was early in the morning and still dark, this tall palace of gold and bronze glowed like fiery coals. The entrance of the palace was through two huge gleaning silver doors. On these doors were carved intricate details of the gods and creatures of the world.

The boy walked through the doorway and came upon a dazzling sight. There stood a golden-haired young woman dressed in a bright green robe. She was covered with flowers that had been braided into her long yellow hair. Nearby was a dark haired woman dressed in emerald green, holding an armful of golden grain. Beside her was a man with auburn hair and dressed in a robe of orange, yellow, and red leaves. His hands were stained purple and he held a cluster of freshly harvested grapes. Last of all was an old man whose bluish white hair and beard looked like icicles. These were the four seasons and they stood in a half circle around the brilliant throne. It hurt Phaeton’s eyes to gaze at this throne, for it was made of shimmering jewels and upon his throne, sat Apollo. The god’s eyes blazed like fire and the crown on his head seemed to be made of pure radiant light.

Apollo Spoke, ” Why have you come here to the far ends of the earth, Phaeton?”

The boy replied, “Sir, I have come to find proof that you, great Apollo, are truly my father.”

The Sun-god smiled and answered, ” Your mother has spoken the truth. I am your father. As proof of this I will grant your one wish of your heart’s desire.”

No sooner had Apollo spoken when Phaeton blurted out, “I wish to drive your chariot, father.”

The god of light quickly regretted giving his child a wish and pleaded, No, my child, choose something else. You ask for too dangerous of a gift. Even Zeus, the mighty god of thunder, will not drive the chariot of the Sun. The horses breathe out flames and the chariot itself is fiery hot. So powerful are the steeds that I, a full-grown god, can barely restrain them. What chance would a mortal boy have? The journey is steep and at times I have grown dizzy looking down from the great heights at the Earth below. The path through the stars leads near great, dangerous creatures. You would have top pass Taurus, the giant bull and by the fierce lion. If you succeed in getting past them you would face the Scorpion with its huge deadly stinger and the pinching claws of the great Crab. I beg you to pick some other gift. Think of all the riches in the world or pearls from the boundless sea. Ask for any of these and I shall gladly give it to you.

But Phaeton refused to change his mind and insisted on driving the chariot of the Sun. Apollo sighed and led the boy to the magnificent chariot. It was made of blazing gold , with golden wheels that had spokes of silver. The chariot was embedded with rubies and other precious gems. But unlike Earthly jewels, these gave off a dazzling glow. The horses were called and then brought forth by the Hours, goddesses who waited upon the sun.

At the time Aurora, goddess of the Dawn, opened the curtains of her splendid palace and the skies were filled with a rosy glow.

The sun-god spoke, “It is almost time for the chariot to begin its daily course. But there is still time for me to take your place. Heed my plea and let me go forth, my son.”

But the lad still wanted to have his heart’s desire. So his father anointed Phaeton’s head with a magic oil and then placed the crown of light on the boy’s head. Then he gave instruction, ” Do not use the whip on the horses, my child, for the stallions have enough energy to speed forward on their own, Use the reins to restrain them since your must take the middle path through the heavens, That will be the safest for you and give the Earth the proper light and heat.

The glow from Aurora’s palace had now turned golden and the morning star had set. Thus the day beckoned the horses of the Sun who were pawing the ground and letting out blasts of the fiery flames with each snort. wit a bolt, they charged forth. But their load was much lighter than what they were used to, so these steeds ran faster and wilder than usual.

Poor Phaeton was terror-stricken and could barely hold the reins much less restrain the powerful horses. Higher and higher the stallions went and thus the rays of the Sun chariot grew distant from the Earth. The sky turned black as night, with the Sun only as a speck of light far above. The horses of the sun ran towards the pole star and in doing so came near the giant serpent. This serpent for ages had been sluggish and harmless since it was in the icy-cold regions of the pole star. But now the great heat from the sun chariot awoke the horrible snake and it hissed, exhaling poisonous breath.

As Pheaton looked down from this great height, his head grew dizzy and he felt sick in his stomach. With the furious horses of fire running madly before him, Phaeton wished he had never set foot in his father’s chariot. Now the chariot was speeding head-long toward the gigantic Scorpion. The huge monster raised its tail in an attempt to slash out with is stinger. Then the fear-struck boy completely dropped the reins and the unchecked horses galloped downwards.

Closer and closer the fiery chariot came to the Earth. Rivers began to dry up, cities and forest caught fire because of the great heat. Neptune raised his head from the sea and shook his trident angrily at the chariot of the sun. But the air was so hot that Neptune soon dove back into the seep blue sea. As the chariot crossed the continent of Africa it was so close that it set on fire the great Sahara forest. That wooded region of northern Africa was reduced to ashes and burning sands.

All creatures began to cry to Zeus for help because of the unbearable heat. The gods. the humans, the animals, and the Earth herself were afraid that everything would soon be burned up. Zeus listened to their plea and then he climbed on high. He was armed with a thunderbolt and he threw the deadly shaft at the chariot of the sun. The magic oil Apollo had put on Phaeton protected the boy from the heat and the flames of the chariot, but it could not save him from a thunderbolt of Zeus. There was a deafening crash as the lightening shattered the chariot and Phaeton fell wrapped in sizzling flames. The horses ran home while pieces of the wrecked chariot fell hissing into the sea.

Quickly the master craftsman of the gods, Vulcan, made a new golden chariot for the sun. But Apollo was so sad over his son’s death that he refused to drive it. So the next day passed without sunlight.Zeus and the other gods then came and pleaded with Apollo, begging him not to leave the world in darkness. the sun god spoke bitterly of his son’s death at the hand of Zeus.

But the chief of gods replied, “You have lost a son, true. But how many men on Earth were burned up? I had no choice but to blast the fiery chariot, otherwise every creature on Earth would have been destroyed.”

With these words and those of the other gods, Apollo was finally persuaded to return to his rightful duty. He bridled his fiery horses to the Sun chariot the next day and the Sun once again traveled its correct course. It still gives proper light and heat to this very day.

Written by Tseday

September 17, 2008 at 9:51 pm

The Nile Valley Civilization and the Spread of African Culture

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By Yosef ben-Jochannan

(A lecture delivered for the Minority Ethnic Unit of the Greater London Council, London, England, March 6–8, 1986. It was addressed mainly to the African community in London consisting of African people from the Caribbean and African people from Africa.)

When we speak of the Nile Valley, of course we are talking about 4,100 miles of civilization, or the beginning of the birth of what is today called civilization. I can go to one case of literature in particular which will identify the Africans as the beginners of the civilization to which I refer. And since I am not foreign to the works of Africans in Egypt, otherwise called Egyptians, I think that should be satisfactory proof. This proof is housed in the London Museum that is holding artifacts of Egypt. In that museum you will find a document called the Papyrus of Hunifer. At least you should find it there. It was there when Sir E. A. Wallace Budge used it in his translation as part of the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Papyrus of Hunifer.

It was there at that time, a copy of which is in the library of Syracuse University in New York, and I quote from the hieratic writing, “We came from the beginning of the Nile where God Hapi dwells, at the foothills of The Mountains of the Moon.” “We,” meaning the Egyptians, as stated, came from the beginning of the Nile. Where is “the beginning of the Nile?” The farthest point of the beginning of the Nile is in Uganda; this is the White Nile. Another point is in Ethiopia. The Blue Nile and White Nile meet in Khartoum; and the other side of Khartoum is the Omdurman Republic of Sudan. From there it flows from the south down north. And there it meets with the Atbara River in Atbara, Sudan. Then it flows completely through Sudan (Ta-Nehisi, Ta-Zeti or Ta-Seti, as it was called), part of that ancient empire which was one time adjacent to the nation called Meroe or Merowe. From that, into the southern part of what the Romans called “Nubia,” and parallel on the Nile, part of which the Greeks called “Egypticus”; the English called it “Egypt” and the Jews in their mythology called it “Mizrain” which the current Arabs called Mizr/Mizrair. Thus it ends in the Sea of Sais, also called the Great Sea, today’s Mediterranean Sea. When we say thus, we want to make certain that Hapi is still God of the Nile, shown as a hermaphrodite having the breasts of a woman and the penis of a man. God Hapi is always shown tying two symbols of the “Two Lands,” Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, during Dynastic Periods, or from the beginning of the Dynastic Periods. The lotus flower is the symbol of the south, and the papyrus plant, the symbol of the north.

But we need to go back beyond Egypt. I used “Egypt” as a starting point, in that of all the ancient civilizations in the world, Egypt has more ancient documents and other artifacts than any other civilization one could speak of. So when you hear them talking about “Sumer” and “Babylon,” and all those other places, theoretically, they can’t show you the artifacts. Thus my position is, first hand information is the best proof; and I can show you the bones and other remains of Zinjanthropus Boisei about 1.8 million years ago. But no one can show me the bones and remains of Adam and Eve, et al.

So I have the proof and you have the belief. If you want to see it you can go to the Croydon National Museum in Nairobi, Kenya; there, you’ll see the Bones Zinjanthropus Boisei. If you want to see the remains of “Lucy,” you can go to the national Museum associated with the University of Addis Ababa. Of course, there are a host of other human fossils that existed thousands of years ago all over Africa; but you can’t find one “Adam” or one “Eve” in any part of Asia.

But we have to go beyond that. We can look at the artifacts before writing came into being. We will then be in archaeological finds along the Nile. Also you would find that there were two groups of Africans; one called “Hutu,” and one called “Twa.” The Twa and Hutu take us back into at least 400,000 B.C.E. (Before the Common “Christian” Era) in terms of artifacts. The most ancient of these artifacts, one of the most important in Egypt, is called the “Ankh,” which the Christians adopted and called the “Crux Ansata” or “Ansata Cross.” The Ankh was there amongst these people, equally the “Crook” and “Flail.” All of these symbols came down to us from the Twa and Hutu. You know the Twa by British anthropologists who called them “pygmies.” There is no such thing in Africa known as a “pygmy,” much less “pygmies.” But the people call themselves Twa and Hutu, so that’s what they are.

If we look at the southern tip of Africa, a place called “Monomotapa,” before the first Europeans came there with the Portuguese in 1486, C.E./A.D. (Christian Eera), a man called Captian Bartholomew Diaz, and subsequently another European and his group came, one called Captain Vasco da Gama, who came there ten years later in 1496; when they came to that part of Africa they met another group of people there as well, which they called “Kaffirs.” Now this is a long time before the Boers came there in 1652. When the Boers came those Africans may have gone to the moon on vacation (or there they “didn’t meet any natives” [Africans] so they say. But one thing is certain, that Bartholomew Diaz and Vasco da Gama had already left records showing that when they arrived there at Monomotapa the Khaffirs [Africans], including the small ones (Khoi-Khoi, and Khalaharis) (remember I didn’t say “Bushmen” or “Hottentots,” that’s nonsense, the racist names given them by the British and Dutch Boers), were already there.

So with all of these people that were found in this area we could go back at least 35,000 to 40,000 years to another group of people who left their writings and their pictures. Those people are called Grimaldi. The Grimaldi were there in the southern tip of Africa, and traveled up the entire western coast, then came to the northwestern coast of Africa, and crossed into Spain. Not only in Spain, but all the way up to Austria; it was found that the Grimaldi had traveled and left their drawings in caves all along the way. In the Museum of Natural History, New York City, New York, you can see Grimaldi paintings going back to at least 35,000 years ago. I remind you that it is only about 31,000 years before Adam and Eve! It is very important you realize that, the next time you talk about Adam and Eve. So we are told that there is an Adam and Eve that started the world, but that is a “Jewish world” and I’m talking about before Abraham, the first Jew.

The country that I am talking about now goes back to a period called the Sibellian Period. Sibellian I brings us to a period where you will find hieratic writings, the type that no one in modern times has been able to decipher. Sibellian II existed about 25,000 years before the birth of Jesus-the Christ. Sibillian III would bring us to about 10,000 B.C.E., in which we now have the Stellar Calendar that I spoke about, and the pre-dynastic period will be considered from the same, 10,000 to 6,000 B.C.E., and that is the point when High Priest Manetho, in about 227 or 226 B.C.E., attempted to present for the Greeks, who had imposed upon him to write a kind of chronological history of the Nile Valley. Europeans, instead of saying what Manetho said in his chronology of the history of the Nile Valley, forget to say it was at the end of the Nile Valley he addressed. For example, the “First Cataract,” i.e., an obstruction in the Nile River, is at a place called the City of Aswan, when in fact it is the last; the “Sixth Cataract” is in fact Aswan, Upper (or Southern) Egypt.

This is important to understand, because Egypt, which most of us deal with and forget the rest of the Nile Valley, is not at the beginning of the Nile Valley high cultures, but the end. High culture came down the Nile; but if you go on the Nile you will always hear about the “pyramids of Egypt.” Yes, they are the “world’s largest”; they will blow your mind, so to speak, but they are not the first pyramids of Africa; they are the last. There are thirty-two pyramids in Sudan, none in Ethiopia, and seventy-two in Egypt. What happened is that as the Africans became much more competent in engineering, etc., they increased the size of their pyramids in sophistication; thus at the end of the Nile you could see different forms and the colossal pyramids, the largest being one by Pharaoh Khufu, whom Herodotus called Cheops, and that would be one of the pyramids built in the 4th Dynasty. The first of the pyramids of Egypt being that by Imhotep, for his Pharaoh Djoser/Sertor (“Zozer”), the third pharaoh of the Third Dynasty. The architect was the multi-genus, Imhotep, who introduced to mankind the first structure ever built out of stone, and with joints without mortar of any other binding materials.

Now you could understand if I said that the pyramids in Sudan ore older than the pyramids in Egypt, and I simultaneously say that Imhotep built the first stone structure known by man, it would seem to be a contradiction. It is not a contradiction, because those in Sudan were built by two methods. There were some pyramids called silt pyramids, and the second method was mud-brick pyramids. Not the type of “bricks made of mud and straw” mentioned in the Hebrew Holy Torah, specifically the Book of Exodus. That has to be made clear. How did the silt pyramids come about? That type of pyramid came about due to the Inundation Period of the Nile River. This was the period when the Nile River overflowed its banks bringing down the silt from the highlands of Ethiopia and Uganda, and from the Mountain of the Moon, which the people of Kenya called Kilimanjaro.

It is in this perspective that we are talking about Africa as a people. Because, all of that period of time we are talking about, you can go there now and see the artifacts in museums all over Europe and the United States of America. I’m not speaking to you chronologically, because I am using my recall; let us go back to the event that took place; and as I thought about this, something about medicine came to my mind, I remember going to the double Temple of Haroeris and Sobek; Haroeris represented by the Cobra Snake and Sobek represented by the Nile Crocodile. In that temple at the rear, you will find drawings of medical instruments going back to the time of Imhotep. That will bring us to about 285 B.C.E. to the construction of the Double Temple which was during Greek rule. Most of the medical instruments you see there are the exact dimension, the exact styles and shapes still used in medical operation theaters today. You could see all kinds of symbols relating to the use of incense; you could also find the beginnings of the aspect of the calendars (the dating process for the farmers) the same the Coptic farmers still use, the 13-monts calendar, twelve months of thirty days each, and one month of five days. The same one the Ethiopian government still uses, officially; that calendar still a means of telling time to date. When we go to the Temple of the Goddess Het-Heru (Hathor) at a place called Dendara, we see the beginnings of what is called the Zodiac. The French stole the original, and in carrying it to France, in hot pursuit by the Arabs of Egypt, they dropped it in the River Nile. Yet a Frenchman said he remembered everything, and he produced a whole new one within two weeks. So if you read Revelations, like this false Zodiac, it has nothing to do with St. John, but in fact Bishop Athanasius. This is the same thing. How could the French remember the stolen Egyptian Zodiac so well? It was rectangular, but what they remembered is circular. Thus it is the French who made the Zodiac they placed in the Temple of Goddess Het-Heru for tourist these days, and the tourist guides will tell you that is the French one. So!

You can see that even in those early times we were dealing with astronomy, and Europeans have not gone one inch further than those Africans along the Nile. What you have to remember, however, is that the Papyrus of Hunefer deals with the Africans who came down the Nile, who were already using this type of thing: and we must wonder since we don’t have the day-to-day, or enough artifacts to put them together to see the transition. Why is it that the Yorubas of West Africa have the same structure of the deity system as the Nile Valley? I don’t remember much because the Yorubas in their own folklore speak of having come from the Nile Valley; so you can stop wondering right there, since it is from their earliest teachings in their folklores.

When we go down the Nile and look at the engineering, and our engineering goes not only to the building of the pyramids by Imhotep, this multi-genius, but equally to the time of Senwosret II, with the division of the Nile water; equally to stop the rush of water. That would put us right back to 2,200 Before the Common “Christian” Era (B.C.E.).

The use of navigation and navigational instruments by using the sun and the stars as navigational tools—we have the best record of that going back even before Pharaoh Necho II, who saw the navigation of the entire continent and had a map of Africa in almost the common shape it is; and that dates to ca 600 B.C.E. Whereas Herodotus, who came to Egypt in 457 B.C.E., and Erastosthenes, who came there between 274–194 B.C.E., used maps which were rectangular in shape. They reflected the end of Africa being where the Sahara is, the southern end of the Sahara, meaning that they had no concept of Africa from about Ethiopia south to Monomotapa, now called the Republic of South Africa. It is important to note that England played a major role in most of the distortion that we are talking about.

Then we come again to another part that we are talking about, that is, agriculture, before we even come to writing. At the gathering state, when man observes the seed germinating, and out of that came the religious conflict, which other men are to later follow, comes out of one of the most secret symbols of the religiosity of Egypt and other parts of Africa. We are now talking about the dung beetle, and the observation of the African along the Nile with respect to the dung beetle, otherwise called the Scarab. The dung beetle hibernates, goes into the manure of a donkey, horse and the cow, only animals with grass manure. And that beetle remains in there for twenty-eight days; you know that particular beetle died in your mind. And when the beetle finally comes out, what better symbol will you have than the resurrection?

The beetle played the same part in the religion of the Egyptians that spread to other parts of Africa, and subsequently into Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and so on. Thus the beetle became the symbol of resurrection. Of course the religion itself had started then. Just imagine you’ve got to go back 1000 years and see your woman giving birth to a baby. I hope I did not frighten most of you fellows about childbirth; because if you had some experience of seeing a baby being born, you would be less quick to abandon your child. As you are standing there and this baby comes from the woman’s organ. You witness this, while the pelvic region is expanding about four or five inches in diameter for the head to pass through, and you are there. You can’t perceive that you have anything to do with this 100,000 or 5,000 years ago. Witnessing the birth of that baby sets you thinking. You immediately start to transcend your mind, and you also start to attribute this to something beyond. Thus you start to believe. You start to wonder’ why is it here? Where did it come from? And where is it going ? Because you are now experiencing birth! But your experience is coming from a woman. Thus you start to pray and the woman becomes your Goddess, your first deity. She becomes Goddess Nut, the goddess of the sky; and you become God Geb, the god of the earth. You suddenly see the sun in all of this and you realize that when the sun came the light came; and when the sun went, the light went; when the moon came you saw a moon in there and you don’t see any light because the light is not shining on it. So you see there is a God, at least there is the major attribute of God because you realize when that doesn’t happen, the crops and the vegetation don’t come.

You also realize that the sun and the moon make the river rise, and the Africans regarding these factors created the science of astronomy and astrology. Astrology, having nothing to do with your love life. Astronomy is the chart of the scientific data of the movement of the planets and the sun and so forth, to the movement of each other. Astrology is a physical relationship of astronomy, the water rising at the high tide and that is what the ancients spoke about and the division of the two disciplines.

It was the Greeks like Plato, Aristotle and others who came and learned. In those days the students would come and read for their education. There were no books to take home, there were no publishing houses like now. You had only one book and most of the subjects were taught orally. Certain instructions were given toe to toe, shoulder to shoulder, mouth to ear. I will go no further than that. Some of you here may know how that was done and under what conditions. The English adopted it and called it Freemasonry. Sir Albert Churchward’s book, Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man, is a corner stone of Freemasonry. Churchward was a big man in England. Besides being a physician, he was also one of those who made English Freemasonry what it is today. So in another adaptation, the British took twenty-two tablets from Egypt, brought them here and set up what they called “Freemasonry.” Of course, the Americans followed suit.

These Africans had moved along the entire continent. You see, we are treating the Egyptians today as if the Egyptians had a barrier that stopped them from going to other parts of Africa. So we say the Egyptians were of a special race, and they had nothing to do with the other Africans. Can you imagine the Thames River at this side stopping the people from the other side from contact with this side, especially when a man standing over there saw a woman here bathing naked; do you think that that river would stop him? Do you think that the Alps stopped a German from going to see an Italian woman? What makes you think that the little river or a little bit of sand would stop a man from seeing a woman naked over there in Africa? I’m using these common symbols so that you can appreciate what I mean. So it isn’t because when you go to Egypt you will notice that the ancient Egyptians are shown by the artist as the ancient Nubians or Ethiopians or anybody else, except when you are talking about the conquerors. In most of these museums they purposely bring you the statues of the Greeks, of the Romans, of the Persians, the Assyrians, and the Hyksos. They don’t bring you any of the Africans. So when they can’t help it, and they need to bring you one that you call a typical African like Pharaoh Mentuhotep III, it is important to Egypt that they have to show him. What they did was to make his nose flat, so you can’t tell the difference.

Thus once in a while, but when they couldn’t do it, what they did say, was: “Well, Negroes came into Egypt in the Eighteenth Dynasty.” Now it couldn’t be, because the Portuguese hadn’t created Negroes until the seventeenth century, C.E., but how come the Negroes created by the Portuguese have a place they called Negroland, which was in fact the Songhai Empire? In the map you could see where Negroland was, and so how do you get the “Negroes and Negroland” way back in the Eighteenth Dynasty? The Eighteenth Dynasty has such figures as Akhenaton, or Amenhotep IV, and his father, whom the Greeks called Amenhotep III; in the West you would call him Amenophis III. The civilization in Africa did not spread only from along the Nile, but it spread into your own writings, documents, and belief system right here in England.

I now go back to the Etruscans, who later became the Romans; the people of Pyrrhus, who later became the Greeks, because Pyrrhus was what later became Greece. But we don’t have these people until they came from the island of the Mediterranean or the Great Sea. At the time when they left, the Egyptians were the colonizers of other Africans in Egypt. Setting up the first educational system for the people of Pyrrhus, where the borders of Libus (now Libya) and Egypt meet; a little enclave which later became Africa. It is there that the educational system for the Greeks occurred, and from there the Africans moved the system to a place called the city of Elea. It is there that the Greeks would come. This is after they left the Greek peninsula, go to the Italian peninsula where they would meet others to come over to Libus, because they couldn’t come the other way as they were going illegally, sneaking out! Remember, the period of time of which we are speaking, there is no writing in Greece yet. Until Homer there is no writing in Greece. No record you could deal with. Whatever they learned, came from outside, came from Egypt, came from Babylonia. The Babylonian writings are part of this origin of Greece as well as the writings from at least 4100 B.C.E., the First Dynastic period, and this is not when writing started along the Nile. This is the First Dynasty, when Egypt reorganized herself from under two men. The war between the north, headed by King Scorpion, and the south headed by King Narmer, and that will bring us to about 4100 B.C.E. when Narmer started United or Dynastic Egypt.

So the pre-dynastic period was the period of the introduction of religion, of mathematics and science, engineering, law, medicine and so forth. The period of documentation also started then to some extent in the First Dynasty. The period of belief in “One God” really did not start with Akhnaten, that is, when somebody said there must be only “One God.” But the period of absorbing “One God” didn’t start then, because it is that period in 4100 B.C.E., when Narmer, after defeating Scorpion, the leader of the North, decided that the deity of the North, God Amen (which you say at the end of every prayer, you are still praying to the African God Amen), be put together with his own deity of the South, God Ra. But they didn’t notice that he made “One God’ out of the two, God Amen-Ra. He used them in that respect. But the people fell into civil war and there was division again. From that union, God Amen-Ra became God Ptah, and the Goddess of Justice became Maat. Justice, shown as a scale which is the same symbol now used in the United States for justice, except that there is no justice in the United States, because one scale is up, the other is down, and that is not justice; that is “just this”! Justice is when both scales are on the same level, and so the African in America who asks for justice is being foolish. The symbol says you will never get it; you’ll get “just this”!

Before these symbols came the laws on morality and human behavior, the Admonitions to Goddess Maat—Goddess of Justice and Law. There were forty-two Admonitions to Goddess Maat forming the foundation of justice. Then there are the teachings of Amen-em-eope one thousand years before Solomon stole them, some of which he plagiarized word for word, and others he paraphrased, which are now called the Proverbs of Solomon. And yet if we could have stopped there we would have done enough. But it wasn’t the last of it, so to speak. Because we came down with jurisprudence, the basis of law attached to the deity which we are teaching now as jurisprudence. And there is a thing in the African jurisprudence that a harborer should not get away from the penalty of the thief.

During the earliest time of the Kingdom of Ethiopia, King Uri, the first King of Ethiopia had spoken about, “justice isn’t based upon strength, but on morality of the condition of the event.” This now interprets as “the stronger should not mistreat the weaker”; and this is supposed to be something said by Plato, just like the nonsense we hear that “the Greeks had democracy.” The Greeks have never democracy. They never had one in the past and they don’t have it now. When they were supposed to have had democracy in Greece no more than five percent of the people had anything you could call democracy. When you look at that, you find it was from this background going back to the time of Amen-em-eope that theses fundamental laws came from, you could see why those laws spread from North Africa and into Numidia, which is today called Tunisia.

It is at Numidia then that Augustine’s family, continuing the practice of the Manichean religion, carried it into Rome later in the Christian Era. When he left his education in Khart-Haddas or Carthage, it is that same teaching from the Manicheans that Augustine carried into Rome. Ambrose, the greatest Christian scholar in all of Europe, became stunned. But when this twenty-nine-year-old boy arrived and spoke to Ambrose about his education in Carthage, Ambrose said, “Man, you’re heavy.” And Augustine took over. It was the same teachings that Guido the Monk, who went to Spain in the time of the Moors, had taught at the University of Salamanca which they had established. And it was the same Manichean concept that made Augustine write against the Stoics. Augustine wrote the fundamental principle that was to govern modern Christianity in its morality, when he presented them with a book called On Christian Doctrine. He had previously written the Holy City of God. If you want to check Augustine to see if he was an indigenous African read his Confessions. There he will tell you who he was.

When Islam came it was supposed to bring something new, but I ask “what did it bring new?” Because Islam was supposed to have started with an African woman by the name Hagar, according to Islamic literature. Hagar was from Egypt, and Abraham was from Asia—the City of Ur in Chaldea. At the time of Abraham’s birth a group of African people, called Elamites, were ruling. Before Abraham, the sacred river of India has been named after General Ganges, an African who came from Ethiopia. The River Ganges still carries the name of General Ganges. And I notice in India they haven’t given up the symbolic worship of the cow, which represents the Worship of Goddess Het-Heru, Hathor, the “Golden Calf” of the Jews. They also haven’t given up the obelisk that still stays there, which the Hindus copied. Again came an Englishman by the name of Sir Geoffrey Higgins, who published a two-volume work in 1836, and in Volume One in particular, he is speaking about all the deities of the past being “black,” but said: “I can’t accept that they could have come from even Egypt, they must have come from India.” He couldn’t accept it!

Out of that religion of the Nile Valley came the Religion of Ngail in Kenya from the same river base. And as the situation changed you had the Amazulu going for it, because the Zimbabwe river is still there. The people who were originally there were kicked off their land by the British, and equally by the Germans. When the German Dr. Carl Peters came there, the struggle between the Germans and the English for Tanganyika was going strong; both sides killed off the people around that area who spoke the local Rowzi language. So when you talk about Zimbabwe, don’t think about the nation alone. Zimbabwe also means a metropolis of buildings equal in design to the pyramids’ cone shape. When the sunlight coming in strikes the altar, the altar shines because of the sunlight. They had a mixture of gold and silver, the exact thing as what happens when you are down at the rock-hewn Temple of Rameses II, which is on November 22nd, when the sun comes in past the doors. It also happens in February. This shows the commonality of the African culture throughout Africa.

And lastly, just remember that when you see the Ashantis, the Yorubas, and all the other African people, they were not always where they are now. Arab and European slavery made the African migrate from one part of the African world to the other; that is why you can see in Akan culture as written by the African writer Dr. J. B. Danquah, the people with the same hair-cut, and the same beads and jewelry system as Queen Nefertari (the wife of Pharaoh Rameses II in the Nineteenth Dynasty), and Queen Nefertiti (the wife of Pharaoh Akhnaton in the Eighteen Dynasty). It is too much to speak about it, really.

If you had known this when you were much younger, you too over there, you would have wanted a nation; for you too would have realized that if you have a golden toilet in another man’s house (nation) you have got nothing. It is only when you have your own house (nation) that you can demand anything, because you don’t even need to demand anything, you do it. It is only when you have your own nation that you can decide the value and the judgment of beauty. If I was ruling England and you came to run for a beauty contest, you could be disqualified even before you came. You’re talking about racism; why not? This isn’t your country. You cannot run for a beauty contest in a white man’s country. You don’t see any Europeans winning any beauty contest in China, Japan or India; but the funny thing is that they come and win one in Nigeria. As a matter of fact Miss Trinidad was a white girl. Miss Barbados also a white girl, and Miss Jamaica was a white girl, all of them in a Black country. And this is what I’m saying. You can call it racist, but you know I’m telling the truth.

What I hope I have done is to make you understand the necessity for further research; but more than all, the necessity to talk to your child. When your physician tells you that you are pregnant that’s when you start teaching your child. Talk to the child at the time of birth. This is when his and/or her education starts, before he/she gets out of school, and before you and I die.

Written by Tseday

September 16, 2008 at 2:36 pm

The Afrikan Presence in the Ancient World

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Afrikan Historians of the Nineteenth Century Knew the Importance of Nile Valley Civilization and the Afrikan Presence in the Ancient World

Despite the vigorous debate among certain Afrikan and European scholars today concerning the Afrikan origin of Nile Valley civilization and of humankind, no such dispute appears to have existed among Afrikan intellectuals during the 1800s. In fact, between 1841 and 1883 Afrikan historians in the United States explained in four histories the central importance of Afrikan people and civilization in world history.

The earliest writer was James W. C. Pennington, who in A Text Book of the Origin and History of the Colored People (1841) based his understanding of human origins on the Christian bible. Afrikans, he argued, were descendants of Noah through Ham, whose sons were Cush (Ethiopia-Nubia), Misraim (Kemet or ancient Egypt), Phut (Somalia) and Canaan (Palestine).1  Pennington said Afrikans in the United States were “properly the sons of Cush and Misraim amalgamated.”2

The sons of Cush, according to the biblical account, settled in Western Asia, the so-called Middle East, “‘bounded east by the eastern branch of the Euphrates and the Persian gulf, south by Arabia, or the Arabian Sea, west by the Red Sea and Egypt, and north by Canaan and Syria.'”3  They also settled in Afrika itself, he wrote.

Pennington also wrote the “Egyptians and the Ethiopians are confederated in the same government, and soon became the same people in politics, literature and peculiarities. … the conclusion is clear that the two nations were equals in the arts and sciences for which Egypt is admitted on all hands to have been so renowned.”4   In this conclusion Pennington relies upon Roman and Greek writers and contemporary European historians of antiquity.5

Also relying upon the Christian bible, Robert Benjamin Lewis in Light and Truth: Containing the Universal History of the Colored and Indian Race, from the Creation of the World to the Present Time (1844) wrote that all of human history began in Afrika with Afrikans. Lewis located the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve in Ethiopia, concluding that “Ethiopia (Gen. ii. 13,) was black, and the first people were Ethiopians, or blacks.”6

He added: “That portion of the earth which was first peopled, after Adam and Eve had left Paradise, was the land of Ethiopia, by the Ethiopians, on the river Gihon, that went out of the Garden of Eden, ‘which compasseth the whole land (or country) of Ethiopia,’ 4003 years before Christ. … The children of Ethiopia were from Adam to Noah” and through Noah’s progeny.7

Lewis saw no white-skinned people in the beginning of human history. Of Noah’s three sons, Ham, Shem, and Japhet, he wrote: “To the descendants of Ham, I have generally given the name of Ethiopians — blacks with frizzled or curly hair. The descendants of Shem were denominated Assyrians and Syrians — blacks with long straight hair.”8   As for the progeny of Japhet, Lewis writes they “were also denominated colored people by the Grecian historian.”9

Lewis also commented on the ancient Nile Valley. To the Afrikans of Kemet (ancient Egypt) can be credited, among other things, he wrote, the invention of the alphabet, the invention of books and paper, writing instruments such as the pen, the science of embalming, and the use of linen cloth.10

“It was the Egyptians that discovered the elementary principles; studied the sciences and arts, and the phenomena, and laws of nature; gave names to the planets, and furnished the archetype of those civil and religious systems, which prevailed in that quarter of the world, and have since spread into every civilized nation,” Lewis wrote.11  They formed the first ships and the first libraries and mastered philosophy, mathematics, jurisprudence, medicine, and magic.12

Nineteen years later, William Wells Brown in The Black Man: His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements (1863) discussed an Ethiopian origin of Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) civilization. “It is the generally received opinion of the most eminent historians and ethnologists, that the Ethiopians were really negroes … That, in the earliest periods of history, the Ethiopians had attained a high degree of civilization, … and that to the learning and science derived from them we must ascribe those wonderful monuments which still exist to attest to the power and skill of the ancient Egyptians.“13

As for the Kemites (ancient Egyptians), Brown wrote: “Volney assumes it a settled point that the Egyptians were black. Herodotus, who travelled extensively through that interesting land, set them down as black, with curled hair, and having negro features.” 14

Similarly, George Washington Williams in History of the Negro Race in America From 1619 to 1880 (1883) wrote that Afrikan presence and influence extended into ancient southern and far east Asia. “Now, these substantial and indisputable traces of the march of the Negro races through Japan and Asia lead us to conclude that the Negro race antedates all profane history,” he observed. “And while the great body of the Negro races have been located geographically in Africa, they have been, in no small sense, a cosmopolitan people. Their wanderings may be traced from the rising to the setting sun.”

Williams wrote that Afrikans were the most ancient people of the planet and the oldest and most indigenous of the peoples of Asia. “Monuments and temples, sepulchred stones and pyramids, rise up to declare the antiquity of the Negro races.” Scientific investigation concludes “the Negro type of man was the most ancient, and the indigenous race of Asia, as far north as the lower range of the Himalaya Mountains, and presents at length many curious facts which cannot … be otherwise explained.” He added: “Traces of this black race are still found along the Himalaya range from the Indus to Indo-China, and the Malay peninsula, and in a mixed form all through the southern states to Ceylon.”15

[Biographical statement, if needed: Ahati N. N. Toure is a Ph.D. candidate in Africana and American history at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.]


1 James W. C. Pennington, A Text Book of the Origin and History, etc. etc. of the Colored People (Hartford, CT: L. Skinner, Printer, 1841; reprint Detroit: Negro History Press, nd), 10.
2 Pennington, 12.
3 Pennington, 11-12.
4 Pennington, 22.
5 Pennington, 22-23; and R. B. Lewis, Light and Truth: Containing the Universal History of the Colored and Indian Race, from the Creation of the World to the Present Time (Boston: Published by a Committee of Colored Gentlemen, Benjamin F. Roberts, Printer, 1844), 309-315.
6 Lewis, 10.
7 Lewis, 15.
8 Lewis, 13.
9 Lewis, 19.
10 Lewis, 280-282.
11 Lewis, 282-283.
12 Lewis, 283.
13 William Wells Brown, The Black Man: His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements (New York: Thomas Hamilton, and Boston: R. F. Wallcut, 1863), 32.
14 Ibid.
15 George Washington Williams, History of the Negro Race in America From 1619 to 1880. Negroes as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens; together with a Preliminary Consideration of the Unity of the Human Family, an Historical Sketch of Africa, and an Account of the Negro Governments of Sierra Leone and Liberia. In Two Volumes, Volume I: 1619 to 1800 (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1883), 18-19.

Written by Tseday

September 16, 2008 at 6:03 am


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The Ruins of Empires and the Law of Nature
By C.F. Volney (1890)

I. Origin of the idea of God: Worship of the elements and of the physical powers of nature.
…”It was not till after having overcome these obstacles, and gone through a long career in the night of history, that man, reflecting on his condition, began to perceive that he was subjected to forces superior to his own, and independent of his will. The sun enlightened and warmed him, the fire burned him, the thunder terrified him, the wind beat upon him, the water overwhelmed him. All beings acted upon him powerfully and irresistibly. He sustained this action for a long time, like a machine, without enquiring the cause; but the moment he began his enquiries, he fell into astonishment; and, passing from the surprise of his first reflections to the reverie of curiosity, he began a chain of reasoning.”First, considering the action of the elements on him, he conceived an idea of weakness and subjection on his part, and of power and domination on theirs; and this idea of power was the primitive and fundamental type of every idea of God.”Secondly, the action of these natural existences excited in him sensations of pleasure or pain, of good or evil; and by a natural effect of his organization, he conceived for them love or aversion; he desired or dreaded their presence; and fear or hope gave rise to the first idea of religion.”Then, judging everything by comparison, and remarking in these beings a spontaneous movement like his own, he supposed this movement directed by a will,–an intelligence of the nature of his own; and hence, by induction, he formed a new reasoning. Having experienced that certain practices towards his fellow creatures had the effect to modify their affections and direct their conduct to his advantage, he resorted to the same practices towards these powerful beings of the universe. He reasoned thus with himself: When my fellow creature, stronger than I, is disposed to do me injury, I abase myself before him, and my prayer has the art to calm him. I will pray to these powerful beings who strike me. I will supplicate the intelligences of the winds, of the stars, of the waters, and they will hear me. I will conjure them to avert the evil and give me the good that is at their disposal; I will move them by my tears, I will soften them by offerings, and I shall be happy.

“Thus simple man, in the infancy of his reason, spoke to the sun and to the moon; he animated with his own understanding and passions the great agents of nature; he thought by vain sounds, and vain actions, to change their inflexible laws. Fatal error! He prayed the stone to ascend, the water to mount above its level, the mountains to remove, and substituting a fantastical world for the real one, he peopled it with imaginary beings, to the terror of his mind and the torment of his race.

In this manner the ideas of God and religion have sprung, like all others, from physical objects; they were produced in the mind of man from his sensations, from his wants, from the circumstances of his life, and the progressive state of his knowledge.

“Now, as the ideas of God had their first models in physical agents, it followed that God was at first varied and manifold, like the form under which he appeared to act. Every being was a Power, a Genius; and the first men conceived the universe filled with innumerable gods.

“Again the ideas of God have been created by the affections of the human heart; they became necessarily divided into two classes, according to the sensations of pleasure or pain, love or hatred, which they inspired.

“The forces of nature, the gods and genii, were divided into beneficent and malignant, good and evil powers; and hence the universality of these two characters in all the systems of religion.

“These ideas, analogous to the condition of their inventors, were for a long time confused and ill-digested. Savage men, wandering in the woods, beset with wants and destitute of resources, had not the leisure to combine principles and draw conclusions; affected with more evils than they found pleasures, their most habitual sentiment was that of fear, their theology terror; their worship was confined to a few salutations and offerings to beings whom they conceived as greedy and ferocious as themselves. In their state of equality and independence, no man offered himself as mediator between men and gods as insubordinate and poor as himself. No one having superfluities to give, there existed no parasite by the name of priest, no tribute by the name of victim, no empire by the name of altar. Their dogmas and their morals were the same thing, it was only self-preservation; and religion, that arbitrary idea, without influence on the mutual relations of men, was a vain homage rendered to the visible powers of nature.

“Such was the necessary and original idea of God.”

It clearly results, says Plutarch, from the verses of Orpheus and the sacred books of the Egyptians and Phrygians, that the ancient theology, not only of the Greeks, but of all nations, was nothing more than a system of physics, a picture of the operations of nature, wrapped up in mysterious allegories and enigmatical symbols, in a manner that the ignorant multitude attended rather to their apparent than to their hidden meaning, and even in what they understood of the latter, supposed there to be something more deep than what they perceived. Fragment of a work of Plutarch now lost, quoted by Eusebius, Proepar. Evang. lib. 3, ch. 1, p. 83.

The majority of philosophers, says Porphyry, and among others Haeremon (who lived in Egypt in the first age of Christianity), imagine there never to have been any other world than the one we see, and acknowledged no other Gods of all those recognized by the Egyptians, than such as are commonly called planets, signs of the Zodiac, and constellations; whose aspects, that is, rising and setting, are supposed to influence the fortunes of men; to which they add their divisions of the signs into decans and dispensers of time, whom they style lords of the ascendant, whose names, virtues in relieving distempers, rising, setting, and presages of future events, are the subjects of almanacs (for be it observed, that the Egyptian priests had almanacs the exact counterpart of Matthew Lansberg’s); for when the priests affirmed that the sun was the architect of the universe, Chaeremon presently concludes that all their narratives respecting Isis and Osiris, together with their other sacred fables, referred in part to the planets, the phases of the moon, and the revolution of the sun, and in part to the stars of the daily and nightly hemispheres and the river Nile; in a word, in all cases to physical and natural existences and never to such as might be immaterial and incorporeal. . . .

All these philosophers believe that the acts of our will and the motion of our bodies depend on those of the stars to which they are subjected, and they refer every thing to the laws of physical necessity, which they call destiny or Fatum, supposing a chain of causes and effects which binds, by I know not what connection, all beings together, from the meanest atom to the supremest power and primary influence of the Gods; so that, whether in their temples or in their idols, the only subject of worship is the power of destiny. Porphyr. Epist. ad Janebonem.

II. Second system: Worship of the Stars, or Sabeism.

“But those same monuments present us likewise a system more methodical and more complicated–that of the worship of all the stars; adored sometimes in their proper forms, sometimes under figurative emblems and symbols; and this worship was the effect of the knowledge men had acquired in physics, and was derived immediately from the first causes of the social state; that is, from the necessities and arts of the first degree, which are among the elements of society.

“Indeed, as soon as men began to unite in society, it became necessary for them to multiply the means of subsistence, and consequently to attend to agriculture: agriculture, to be carried on with success, requires the observation and knowledge of the heavens. It was necessary to know the periodical return of the same operations of nature, and the same phenomena in the skies; indeed to go so far as to ascertain the duration and succession of the seasons and the months of the year. It was indispensable to know, in the first place, the course of the sun, who, in his zodiacal revolution, shows himself the supreme agent of the whole creation; then, of the moon, who, by her phases and periods, regulates and distributes time; then, of the stars, and even of the planets, which by their appearance and disappearance on the horizon and nocturnal hemisphere, marked the minutest divisions. Finally, it was necessary to form a whole system of astronomy,* or a calendar; and from these works there naturally followed a new manner of considering these predominant and governing powers. Having observed that the productions of the earth had a regular and constant relation with the heavenly bodies; that the rise, growth, and decline of each plant kept pace with the appearance, elevation, and declination of the same star or the same group of stars; in short, that the languor or activity of vegetation seemed to depend on celestial influences, men drew from thence an idea of action, of power, in those beings, superior to earthly bodies; and the stars, dispensing plenty or scarcity, became powers, genii,** gods, authors of good and evil.

* It continues to be repeated every day, on the indirect authority of the book of Genesis, that astronomy was the invention of the children of Noah. It has been gravely said, that while wandering shepherds in the plains of Shinar, they employed their leisure in composing a planetary system: as if shepherds had occasion to know more than the polar star; and if necessity was not the sole motive of every invention! If the ancient shepherds were so studious and sagacious, how does it happen that the modern ones are so stupid, ignorant, and inattentive? And it is a fact that the Arabs of the desert know not so many as six constellations, and understand not a word of astronomy.

** It appears that by the word genius, the ancients denoted a quality, a generative power; for the following words, which are all of one family, convey this meaning: generare, genos, genesis, genus, gens.

“As the state of society had already introduced a regular hierarchy of ranks, employments and conditions, men, continuing to reason by comparison, carried their new notions into their theology, and formed a complicated system of divinities by gradation of rank, in which the sun, as first god,* was a military chief or a political king: the moon was his wife and queen; the planets were servants, bearers of commands, messengers; and the multitude of stars were a nation, an army of heroes, genii, whose office was to govern the world under the orders of their chiefs. All the individuals had names, functions, attributes, drawn from their relations and influences; and even sexes, from the gender of their appellations.**

* The Sabeans, ancient and modern, says Maimonides, acknowledge a principal God, the maker and inhabitant of heaven; but on account of his great distance they conceive him to be inaccessible; and in imitation of the conduct of people towards their kings, they employ as mediators with him, the planets and their angels, whom they call princes and potentates, and whom they suppose to reside in those luminous bodies as in palaces or tabernacles, etc. More-Nebuchim.

** According as the gender of the object was in the language of the nation masculine or feminine, the Divinity who bore its name was male or female. Thus the Cappadocians called the moon God, and the sun Goddess: a circumstance which gives to the same beings a perpetual variety in ancient mythology.

“And as the social state had introduced certain usages and ceremonies, religion, keeping pace with the social state, adopted similar ones; these ceremonies, at first simple and private, became public and solemn; the offerings became rich and more numerous, and the rites more methodical; they assigned certain places for the assemblies, and began to have chapels and temples; they instituted officers to administer them, and these became priests and pontiffs: they established liturgies, and sanctified certain days, and religion became a civil act, a political tie.

“But in this arrangement, religion did not change its first principles; the idea of God was always that of physical beings, operating good or evil, that is, impressing sensations of pleasure or pain: the dogma was the knowledge of their laws, or their manner of acting; virtue and sin, the observance or infraction of these laws; and morality, in its native simplicity, was the judicious practice of whatever contributes to the preservation of existence, the well-being of one’s self and his fellow creatures.*

* We may add, says Plutarch, that these Egyptian priests always regarded the preservation of health as a point of the first importance, and as indispensably necessary to the practice of piety and the service of the gods. See his account of Isis and Osiris, towards the end.

“Should it be asked at what epoch this system took its birth, we shall answer on the testimony of the monuments of astronomy itself; that its principles appear with certainty to have been established about seventeen thousand years ago,* and if it be asked to what people it is to be attributed, we shall answer that the same monuments, supported by unanimous traditions, attribute it to the first tribes of Egypt; and when reason finds in that country all the circumstances which could lead to such a system; when it finds there a zone of sky, bordering on the tropic, equally free from the rains of the equator and the fogs of the North;** when it finds there a central point of the sphere of the ancients, a salubrious climate, a great, but manageable river, a soil fertile without art or labor, inundated without morbid exhalations, and placed between two seas which communicate with the richest countries, it conceives that the inhabitant of the Nile, addicted to agriculture from the nature of his soil, to geometry from the annual necessity of measuring his lands, to commerce from the facility of communications, to astronomy from the state of his sky, always open to observation, must have been the first to pass from the savage to the social state; and consequently to attain the physical and moral sciences necessary to civilized life.

* The historical orator follows here the opinion of M. Dupuis, who, in his learned memoirs concerning the Origin of the Constellations and Origin of all Worship, has assigned many plausible reasons to prove that Libra was formerly the sign of the vernal, and Aries of the autumnal equinox; that is, that since the origin of the actual astronomical system, the precession of the equinoxes has carried forward by seven signs the primitive order of the zodiac. Now estimating the precession at about seventy years and a half to a degree, that is, 2,115 years to each sign; and observing that Aries was in its fifteenth degree, 1,447 years before Christ, it follows that the first degree of Libra could not have coincided with the vernal equinox more lately than 15,194 years before Christ; now, if you add 1790 years since Christ, it appears that 16,984 years have elapsed since the origin of the Zodiac. The vernal equinox coincided with the first degree of Aries, 2,504 years before Christ, and with the first degree of Taurus 4,619 years before Christ. Now it is to be observed, that the worship of the Bull is the principal article in the theological creed of the Egyptians, Persians, Japanese, etc.; from whence it clearly follows, that some general revolution took place among these nations at that time. The chronology of five or six thousand years in Genesis is little agreeable to this hypothesis; but as the book of Genesis cannot claim to be considered as a history farther back than Abraham, we are at liberty to make what arrangements we please in the eternity that preceded. See on this subject the analysis of Genesis, in the first volume of New Researches on Ancient History; see also Origin of Constellatians, by Dupuis, 1781; the Origin of Worship, in 3 vols. 1794, and the Chronological Zodiac, 1806.

** M. Balli, in placing the first astronomers at Selingenakoy, near the Bailkal paid no attention to this twofold circumstance: it equally argues against their being placed at Axoum on account of the rains, and the Zimb fly of which Mr. Bruce speaks.

“It was, then, on the borders of the upper Nile, among a black race of men, that was organized the complicated system of the worship of the stars, considered in relation to the productions of the earth and the labors of agriculture; and this first worship, characterized by their adoration under their own forms and natural attributes, was a simple proceeding of the human mind. But in a short time, the multiplicity of the objects of their relations, and their reciprocal influence, having complicated the ideas, and the signs that represented them, there followed a confusion as singular in its cause as pernicious in its effects.

III. Third system. Worship of Symbols, or Idolatry.
“As soon as this agricultural people began to observe the stars with attention, they found it necessary to individualize or group them; and to assign to each a proper name, in order to understand each other in their designation. A great difficulty must have presented itself in this business: First, the heavenly bodies, similar in form, offered no distinguishing characteristics by which to denominate them; and, secondly, the language in its infancy and poverty, had no expressions for so many new and metaphysical ideas. Necessity, the usual stimulus of genius, surmounted everything. Having remarked that in the annual revolution, the renewal and periodical appearance of terrestrial productions were constantly associated with the rising and setting of certain stars, and to their position as relative to the sun, the fundamental term of all comparison, the mind by a natural operation connected in thought these terrestrial and celestial objects, which were connected in fact; and applying to them a common sign, it gave to the stars, and their groups, the names of the terrestrial objects to which they answered.*
* “The ancients,” says Maimonides, “directing all their attention to agriculture, gave names to the stars derived from their occupation during the year.” More Neb. pars 3.

“Thus the Ethopian of Thebes named stars of inundation, or Aquarius, those stars under which the Nile began to overflow;* stars of the ox or the bull, those under which they began to plow; stars of the lion, those under which that animal, driven from the desert by thirst, appeared on the banks of the Nile; stars of the sheaf, or of the harvest virgin, those of the reaping season; stars of the lamb, stars of the two kids, those under which these precious animals were brought forth: and thus was resolved the first part of the difficulty.
* This must have been June.

“Moreover, man having remarked in the beings which surrounded him certain qualities distinctive and proper to each species, and having thence derived a name by which to designate them, he found in the same source an ingenious mode of generalizing his ideas; and transferring the name already invented to every thing which bore any resemblance or analogy, he enriched his language with a perpetual round of metaphors.

“Thus the same Ethiopian having observed that the return of the inundation always corresponded with the rising of a beautiful star which appeared towards the source of the Nile, and seemed to warn the husbandman against the coming waters, he compared this action to that of the animal who, by his barking, gives notice of danger, and he called this star the dog, the barker (Sirius). In the same manner he named the stars of the crab, those where the sun, having arrived at the tropic, retreated by a slow retrograde motion like the crab or cancer. He named stars of the wild goat, or Capricorn, those where the sun, having reached the highest point in his annuary tract, rests at the summit of the horary gnomon, and imitates the goat, who delights to climb the summit of the rocks. He named stars of the balance, or libra, those where the days and nights, being equal, seemed in equilibrium, like that instrument; and stars of the scorpion, those where certain periodical winds bring vapors, burning like the venom of the scorpion. In the same manner he called by the name of rings and serpents the figured traces of the orbits of the stars and the planets, and such was the general mode of naming all the stars and even the planets, taken by groups or as individuals, according to their relations with husbandry and terrestrial objects, and according to the analogies which each nation found between them and the objects of its particular soil and climate.*
* The ancients had verbs from the substantives crab, goat, tortoise, as the French have at present the verbs serpenter, coquetter. The history of all languages is nearly the same.
“From this it appeared that abject and terrestrial beings became associated with the superior and powerful inhabitants of heaven; and this association became stronger every day by the mechanism of language and the constitution of the human mind. Men would say by a natural metaphor: The bull spreads over the earth the germs of fecundity (in spring) he restores vegetation and plenty: the lamb (or ram) delivers the skies from the maleficent powers of winter; he saves the world from the serpent (emblem of the humid season) and restores the empire of goodness (summer, joyful season): the scorpion pours out his poison on the earth, and scatters diseases and death. The same of all similar effects.
“This language, understood by every one, was attended at first with no inconvenience; but in the course of time, when the calendar had been regulated, the people, who had no longer any need of observing the heavens, lost sight of the original meaning of these expressions; and the allegories remaining in common use became a fatal stumbling block to the understanding and to reason. Habituated to associate to the symbols the ideas of their archetypes, the mind at last confounded them: then the same animals, whom fancy had transported to the skies, returned again to the earth; but being thus returned, clothed in the livery of the stars, they claimed the stellary attributes, and imposed on their own authors. Then it was that the people, believing that they saw their gods among them, could pray to them with more convenience: they demanded from the ram of their flock the influences which might be expected from the heavenly ram; they prayed the scorpion not to pour out his venom upon nature; they revered the crab of the sea, the scarabeus of the mud, the fish of the river; and by a series of corrupt but inseparable analogies, they lost themselves in a labyrinth of well connected absurdities.
“Such was the origin of that ancient whimsical worship of the animals; such is the train of ideas by which the character of the divinity became common to the vilest of brutes, and by which was formed that theological system, extremely comprehensive, complicated, and learned, which, rising on the borders of the Nile, propagated from country to country by commerce, war, and conquest, overspread the whole of the ancient world; and which, modified by time, circumstances and prejudices, is still seen entire among a hundred nations, and remains as the essential and secret basis of the theology of those even who despise and reject it.”
Some murmurs at these words being heard from various groups: “Yes!” continued the orator, “hence arose, for instance, among you, nations of Africa, the adoration of your fetiches, plants, animals, pebbles, pieces of wood, before which your ancestors would not have had the folly to bow, if they had not seen in them talismans endowed with the virtue of the stars.*

* The ancient astrologers, says the most learned of the Jews (Maimonides), having sacredly assigned to each planet a color, an animal, a tree, a metal, a fruit, a plant, formed from them all a figure or representation of the star, taking care to select for the purpose a proper moment, a fortunate day, such as the conjunction of the star, or some other favorable aspect. They conceived that by their magic ceremonies they could introduce into those figures or idols the influences of the superior beings after which they were modeled. These were the idols that the Chaldean-Sabeans adored; and in the performance of their worship they were obliged to be dressed in the proper color. The astrologers, by their practices, thus introduced idolatry, desirous of being regarded as the dispensers of the favors of heaven; and as agriculture was the sole employment of the ancients, they succeeded in persuading them that the rain and other blessings of the seasons were at their disposal. Thus the whole art of agriculture was exercised by rules of astrology, and the priests made talismans or charms which were to drive away locusts, flies, etc. See Maimonides, More Nebuchim, pars 3, c. 29.

“Finally, a third cause of confusion was the civil organization of ancient states. When the people began to apply themselves to agriculture, the formation of a rural calendar, requiring a continued series of astronomical observations, it became necessary to appoint certain individuals charged with the functions of watching the appearance and disappearance of certain stars, to foretell the return of the inundation, of certain winds, of the rainy season, the proper time to sow every kind of grain. These men, on account of their service, were exempt from common labor, and the society provided for their maintenance. With this provision, and wholly employed in their observations, they soon became acquainted with the great phenomena of nature, and even learned to penetrate the secret of many of her operations. They discovered the movement of the stars and planets, the coincidence of their phases and returns with the productions of the earth and the action of vegetation; the medicinal and nutritive properties of plants and fruits; the action of the elements, and their reciprocal affinities. Now, as there was no other method of communicating the knowledge of these discoveries but the laborious one of oral instruction, they transmitted it only to their relations and friends, it followed therefore that all science and instruction were confined to a few families, who, arrogating it to themselves as an exclusive privilege, assumed a professional distinction, a corporation spirit, fatal to the public welfare. This continued succession of the same researches and the same labors, hastened, it is true, the progress of knowledge; but by the mystery which accompanied it, the people were daily plunged in deeper shades, and became more superstitious and more enslaved. Seeing their fellow mortals produce certain phenomena, announce, as at pleasure, eclipses and comets, heal diseases, and handle venomous serpents, they thought them in alliance with celestial powers; and, to obtain the blessings and avert the evils which they expected from above, they took them for mediators and interpreters; and thus became established in the bosom of every state sacrilegious corporations of hypocritical and deceitful men, who centered all powers in themselves; and the priests, being at once astronomers, theologians, naturalists, physicians, magicians, interpreters of the gods, oracles of men, and rivals of kings, or their accomplices, established, under the name of religion, an empire of mystery and a monopoly of instruction, which to this day have ruined every nation. . . .”

“On the other hand, the astrological and geological priests told such stories and made such descriptions of their heavens, as accorded perfectly well with these fictions. Having, in their metaphorical language, called the equinoxes and solstices the gates of heaven, the entrance of the seasons, they explained these terrestrial phenomena by saying, that through the gate of horn (first the bull, afterwards the ram) and through the gate of Cancer, descended the vivifying fires which give life to vegetation in the spring, and the aqueous spirits which bring, at the solstice, the inundation of the Nile; that through the gate of ivory (Libra, formerly Sagittarius, or the bowman) and that of Capricorn, or the urn, the emanations or influences of the heavens returned to their source, and reascended to their origin; and the Milky Way, which passed through the gates of the solstices, seemed to be placed there to serve them as a road or vehicle.* Besides, in their atlas, the celestial scene presented a river (the Nile, designated by the windings of the hydra), a boat, (the ship Argo) and the dog Sirius, both relative to this river, whose inundation they foretold. These circumstances, added to the preceding, and still further explaining them, increased their probability, and to arrive at Tartarus or Elysium, souls were obliged to cross the rivers Styx and Acheron in the boat of the ferryman Charon, and to pass through the gates of horn or ivory, guarded by the dog Cerberus. Finally, these inventions were applied to a civil use, and thence received a further consistency.

Written by Tseday

September 14, 2008 at 4:53 pm


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The Ruins of Empires and the Law of Nature
By C.F. Volney (1890) 


Having recently purchased a set of stereotyped plates of Volney’s Ruins, with a view of reprinting the same, I found, on examination, that they were considerably worn by the many editions that had been printed from them and that they greatly needed both repairs and corrections. A careful estimate showed that the amount necessary for this purpose would go far towards reproducing this standard work in modern type and in an improved form. After due reflection this course was at length decided upon, and all the more readily, as by discarding the old plates and resetting the entire work, the publisher was enabled to greatly enhance its value, by inserting the translator’s preface as it appeared in the original edition, and also to restore many notes and other valuable material which had been carelessly omitted in the American reprint.

An example of an important omission of this kind may be found on the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth pages of this volume, which may be appropriately referred to, in this connection. It is there stated, in describing the ancient kingdom of Ethiopia, and the ruins of Thebes, her opulent metropolis, that “There a people, now forgotten, discovered, while others were yet barbarians, the elements of the arts and sciences. A race of men, now rejected from society for their sable skin and frizzled hair, founded on the study of the laws of nature, those civil and religious systems which still govern the universe.”

A voluminous note, in which standard authorities are cited, seems to prove that this statement is substantially correct, and that we are in reality indebted to the ancient Ethiopians, to the fervid imagination of the persecuted and despised negro, for the various religious systems now so highly revered by the different branches of both the Semitic and Aryan races. This fact, which is so frequently referred to in Mr. Volney’s writings, may perhaps solve the question as to the origin of all religions, and may even suggest a solution to the secret so long concealed beneath the flat nose, thick lips, and negro features of the Egyptian Sphinx. It may also confirm the statement of Dioderus, that “the Ethiopians conceive themselves as the inventors of divine worship, of festivals, of solemn assemblies, of sacrifices, and of every other religious practice.”

That an imaginative and superstitious race of black men should have invented and founded, in the dim obscurity of past ages, a system of religious belief that still enthralls the minds and clouds the intellects of the leading representatives of modern theology,–that still clings to the thoughts, and tinges with its potential influence the literature and faith of the civilized and cultured nations of Europe and America, is indeed a strange illustration of the mad caprice of destiny, of the insignificant and apparently trivial causes that oft produce the most grave and momentous results.



* Africa.

** The Mediterranean.

*** Of what real good has been the commerce of India to the mass of the people? On the contrary, how great the evil occasioned by the superstition of this country having been added the general superstition!

O Genius, said I, interrupting him, the sight of a mortal reaches not to objects at such a distance. He touched my eyes, and immediately they became piercing as those of an eagle; nevertheless the rivers still appeared like waving lines, the mountains winding furrows, and the cities little compartments like the squares of a chess-board.

And the Genius proceeded to enumerate and point out the objects to me: Those piles of ruins, said he, which you see in that narrow valley watered by the Nile, are the remains of opulent cities, the pride of the ancient kingdom of Ethiopia.* Behold the wrecks of her metropolis, of Thebes with her hundred palaces,** the parent of cities, and monument of the caprice of destiny. There a people, now forgotten, discovered, while others were yet barbarians, the elements of the arts and sciences. A race of men now rejected from society for their sable skin and frizzled hair, founded on the study of the laws of nature, those civil and religious systems which still govern the universe. Lower down, those dusky points are the pyramids whose masses have astonished you. Beyond that, the coast, hemmed in between the sea and a narrow ridge of mountains, was the habitation of the Phoenicians. These were the famous cities of Tyre, of Sidon, of Ascalon, of Gaza, and of Berytus. That thread of water with no outlet, is the river Jordan; and those naked rocks were once the theatre of events that have resounded throughout the world. Behold that desert of Horeb, and that Mount Sinai; where, by means beyond vulgar reach, a genius, profound and bold, established institutions which have weighed on the whole human race. On that dry shore which borders it, you perceive no longer any trace of splendor; yet there was an emporium of riches. There were those famous Ports of Idumea, whence the fleets of Phoenicia and Judea, coasting the Arabian peninsula, went into the Persian gulf, to seek there the pearls of Hevila, the gold of Saba and of Ophir. Yes, there on that coast of Oman and of Barhain was the seat of that commerce of luxuries, which, by its movements and revolutions, fixed the destinies of ancient nations.*** Thither came the spices and precious stones of Ceylon, the shawls of Cassimere, the diamonds of Golconda, the amber of Maldivia, the musk of Thibet, the aloes of Cochin, the apes and peacocks of the continent of India, the incense of Hadramaut, the myrrh, the silver, the gold dust and ivory of Africa; thence passing, sometimes by the Red Sea on the vessels of Egypt and Syria, these luxuries nourished successively the wealth of Thebes, of Sidon, of Memphis and of Jerusalem; sometimes, ascending the Tygris and Euphrates, they awakened the activity of the Assyrians, Medes, Chaldeans, and Persians; and that wealth, according to the use or abuse of it, raised or reversed by turns their domination. Hence sprung the magnificence of Persepolis, whose columns you still perceive; of Ecbatana, whose sevenfold wall is destroyed; of Babylon,**** now leveled with the earth; of Nineveh, of which scarce the name remains; of Thapsacus, of Anatho, of Gerra, and of desolated Palmyra. O names for ever glorious! fields of renown! countries of never-dying memory! what sublime lessons doth your aspect offer! what profound truths are written on the surface of your soil! remembrances of times past, return into my mind! places, witnesses of the life of man in so many different ages, retrace for me the revolutions of his fortune! say, what were their springs and secret causes! say, from what sources he derived success and disgrace! unveil to himself the causes of his evils! correct him by the spectacle of his errors! teach him the wisdom which belongeth to him, and let the experience of past ages become a means of instruction, and a germ of happiness to present and future generations.

* In the new Encyclopedia 3rd vol. Antiquities is published a memoir, respecting the chronology of the twelve ages anterior to the passing of Xerxes into Greece, in which I conceive myself to have proved that upper Egypt formerly composed a distinct kingdom known to the Hebrews by the name of Kous and to which the appellation of Ethiopia was specially given. This kingdom preserved its independence to the time of Psammeticus; at which period, being united to the Lower Egypt, it lost its name of Ethiopia, which thenceforth was bestowed upon the nations of Nubia and upon the different tribes of blacks, including Thebes, their metropolis.

** The idea of a city with a hundred gates, in the common acceptation of the word, is so absurd, that I am astonished the equivoque has not before been felt.

It has ever been the custom of the East to call palaces and houses of the great by the name of gates, because the principal luxury of these buildings consists in the singular gate leading from the street into the court, at the farthest extremity of which the palace is situated. It is under the vestibule of this gate that conversation is held with passengers, and a sort of audience and hospitality given. All this was doubtless known to Homer; but poets make no commentaries, and readers love the marvellous.

This city of Thebes, now Lougsor, reduced to the condition of a miserable village, has left astonishing monuments of its magnificence. Particulars of this may be seen in the plates of Norden, in Pocock, and in the recent travels of Bruce. These monuments give credibility to all that Homer has related of its splendor, and lead us to infer its political power and external commerce.

Its geographical position was favorable to this twofold object. For, on one side, the valley of the Nile, singularly fertile, must have early occasioned a numerous population; and, on the other, the Red Sea, giving communication with Arabia and India, and the Nile with Abyssinia and the Mediterranean, Thebes was thus naturally allied to the richest countries on the globe; an alliance that procured it an activity so much the greater, as Lower Egypt, at first a swamp, was nearly, if not totally, uninhabited. But when at length this country had been drained by the canals and dikes which Sesostris constructed, population was introduced there, and wars arose which proved fatal to the power of Thebes. Commerce then took another route, and descended to the point of the Red Sea, to the canals of Sesostris (see Strabo), and wealth and activity were transferred to Memphis. This is manifestly what Diodorus means when he tells us (lib. i. sect. 2), that as soon as Memphis was established and made a wholesome and delicious abode, kings abandoned Thebes to fix themselves there. Thus Thebes continued to decline, and Memphis to flourish, till the time of Alexander, who, building Alexandria on the border of the sea, caused Memphis to fall in its turn; so that prosperity and power seem to have descended historically step by step along the Nile; whence it results, both physically and historically, that the existence of Thebes was prior to that of the other cities. The testimony of writers is very positive in this respect. “The Thebans,” says Diodorus, “consider themselves as the most ancient people of the earth, and assert, that with them originated philosophy and the science of the stars. Their situation, it is true, is infinitely favorable to astronomical observation, and they have a more accurate division of time into mouths and years than other nations” etc.

What Diodorus says of the Thebans, every author, and himself elsewhere, repeat of the Ethiopians, which tends more firmly to establish the identity of this place of which I have spoken. “The Ethiopians conceive themselves,” says he, lib. iii., “to be of greater antiquity than any other nation: and it is probable that, born under the sun’s path, its warmth may have ripened them earlier than other men. They suppose themselves also to be the inventors of divine worship, of festivals, of solemn assemblies, of sacrifices, and every other religious practice. They affirm that the Egyptians are one of their colonies, and that the Delta, which was formerly sea, became land by the conglomeration of the earth of the higher country which was washed down by the Nile. They have, like the Egyptians, two species of letters, hieroglyphics, and the alphabet; but among the Egyptians the first was known only to the priests, and by them transmitted from father to son, whereas both species were common among the Ethiopians.”

“The Ethiopians,” says Lucian, page 985, “were the first who invented the science of the stars, and gave names to the planets, not at random and without meaning, but descriptive of the qualities which they conceived them to possess; and it was from them that this art passed, still in an imperfect state, to the Egyptians.”

It would be easy to multiply citations upon this subject; from all which it follows, that we have the strongest reasons to believe that the country neighboring to the tropic was the cradle of the sciences, and of consequence that the first learned nation was a nation of Blacks; for it is incontrovertible, that, by the term Ethiopians, the ancients meant to represent a people of black complexion, thick lips, and woolly hair. I am therefore inclined to believe, that the inhabitants of Lower Egypt were originally a foreign colony imported from Syria and Arabia, a medley of different tribes of savages, originally shepherds and fishermen, who, by degrees formed themselves into a nation, and who, by nature and descent, were enemies of the Thebans, by whom they were no doubt despised and treated as barbarians.

Written by Tseday

September 14, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Posted in African History, Ethiopia

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The Book of Enoch

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Enoch was the great-grandfather of Noah. The Book of Enoch chapter 68:1 “And after that my great-grandfather Enoch gave me all the secrets in the book and in the parables which had been given to him, and he put them together for me in the words of the book of the parables.”

The Book of Enoch was extant centuries before the birth of Christ and yet is considered by many to be more Christian in its theology than Jewish. It was considered scripture by many early Christians. The earliest literature of the so-called “Church Fathers” is filled with references to this mysterious book. The early second century “Epistle of Barnabus” makes much use of the Book of Enoch. Second and Third Century “Church Fathers” like Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origin and Clement of Alexandria all make use of the Book of Enoch. Tertullian (160-230 C.E) even called the Book of Enoch “Holy Scripture”. The Ethiopic Church even added the Book of Enoch to its official canon. It was widely known and read the first three centuries after Christ. This and many other books became discredited after the Council of Laodicea. And being under ban of the authorities, afterwards it gradually passed out of circulation.

At about the time of the Protestant Reformation, there came to be a renewed interest in the Book of Enoch which had long since been lost to the modern world. By the late 1400’s rumors began to spread that somewhere a copy of the long lost Book of Enoch might still exist. During this time many books arose claiming to be the long lost book and were later found to be forgeries.

The return of the long lost Book of Enoch to the modern western world is credited to the famous explorer James Bruce, who in 1773 returned from six years in Abyssinia with three Ethiopic copies of the lost book. In 1821 Richard Laurence published the first English translation. The famous R.H. Charles edition was published in 1912. In the following years several portions of the Greek text surfaced. Then with the discovery of cave 4 of the Dead Sea Scrolls, seven fragmentary copies of the Aramaic text were discovered.

The book of Enoch, documentary made by History Channel: