In Jacob Bryant’s New System, the eighteenth century scholar attempted to make the case that both the Argo of the Greek Jason myth and the chest in which the Egyptian god Osiris had been entombed were corruptions of Noah’s Ark. Bryant’s text is in green, and my notes are in black.
The Argo, however, that sacred ship, which was said to have been framed by divine wisdom, is to be found there; and was certainly no other than the ark. The Grecians supposed it to have been built at Pagasse in Thessaly, and thence navigated to Colchis. I shall hereafter shew the improbability of this story: and it is to be observed, that this very harbour, where it was supposed to have been constructed, was called the port of Deucalion. This alone would be a strong presumption, that in the history of the place there was a reference to the Deluge.
The Grecians placed every antient record to their own account: their country was the scene of every action. The people of Thessaly maintained that Deucalion was exposed to a flood in their district, and saved upon mount Athos: the people of Phocis make him to be driven to Parnassus: the Dorians in Sicily say he landed upon mount Aetna. Lastly, the natives of Epirus suppose him to have been of their country, and to have founded the antient temple of Dodona. In consequence of this they likewise have laid claim to his history.
In respect to the Argo, it was the same as the ship of Noah, of which the Baris of Egypt was a representation. It is called by Plutarch the ship of Osiris, who as I have mentioned, was exposed in an ark to avoid the fury of Typhon: “Having therefore privately taken the measure of Osiris’s body, and framed a curious ark, very finely beautified and just of the size of his body, he brought it to a certain banquet.”* The vessel in the celestial sphere, which the Grecians call the Argo, is a representation of the ship of Osiris, which out of reverence has been placed in the heavens. The original therefore of it must be looked for in Egypt. The very name of the Argo shews, what it alluded to; for Argus, as it should be truly expressed, signified precisely an ark, and was synonymous to Theba.
* Note: I have replaced Bryant’s quotation of a Greek line of Plutarch’s with an English translation.
We have no evidence of what early Egyptians saw in the sky, and the suggestion that Argo Navis was known to the Egyptians before the coming of the Greeks is speculative at best.
The question of the homology of “Argo” and “Ark” is another case of silliness. The word “ark” derives from the Old English earc, from the Latin arca, a box or chest. It has no direct connection to argos, the Greek word meaning “swift” or “shining” or “bright.” But even if it did, it is irrelevant: Noah’s “ark” is the English term for a boat that was known in Hebrew as teyvat, a word with no connection to either term whatsoever. This is the same linguistic word games modern ancient astronaut theorists have used to create false connections between ancient cultures, such as the claim that Jesus spoke Quiche Mayan while dying on the cross.
Nevertheless, all of this "evidence" for an Argo-Ark-Argo Navis connection reappears uncritically in Temple's Sirius Mystery (pp. 242-247, 1998 rev. edition), unchanged from when Bryant made it up 200 years earlier.
And as they were the Caphtorim, who made use of this term, to signify an holy vessel; we may presume that it was not unknown in Egypt, the region from whence they came. For this people were the children of Mizraim, as well as the native Egyptians, and their language must necessarily have been a dialect of that country. I have mentioned that many colonies went abroad under the title of Thebeans, or Arkites; and in consequence of this built cities called Theba.
In like manner there were many cities built of the name of Argos; particularly in Thessaly, Boeotia, Epirus, and Sicily: whence it is that in all these places there is some tradition of Deucalion, and the ark; however it may have been misapplied. The whole Peloponnesus was once called both Apia, and Argos. As there were many temples called both Theba and Argus in memory of the ark, they had priests, which were denominated accordingly.
But when Bryant wrote most of this was forgivable because he did not have access to modern archaeological findings, current linguistic etymologies, or any ancient texts outside the Hebraic and Greco-Roman traditions. Bryant had accidentally struck upon the fact that Mesopotamian and Indo-European mythologies share motifs, but lacking a sound theory to explain them, he ended up constructing a towering edifice of speculation built on foundations of quicksand. His assumption of Biblical primacy is no different than the assumption of alien intervention, and both theories are equally unsound.
Modern ancient astronaut theorists have access to the full range of modern scholarly findings and yet they choose to rely on the same methods and techniques that have failed so spectacularly for more than 300 years.