I’ve managed to fall behind on work today, so in lieu of a lengthy blog post, I’m going to recommend that anyone who hasn’t done so click over to Aaron Adair’s blog and read his wonderful discussion of how the massive trilithon stones—among the largest ever moved by humans—at Baalbek were moved into place under the Romans. The most important takeaway is that archaeology and engineering can explain all of the individual aspects of the trilithon, so there is no need to posit a supernatural or paranormal cause to explain the massive stones as a whole.
To Adair’s analysis, I would just add one more point: Zecharia Sitchin was not the originator of the claim that Baalbek served as an extraterrestrial spaceport. That honor goes to Matest M. Agrest, a Soviet mathematician, who first proposed in 1959 that the trilithon at Baalbek had been created by extraterrestrials as a launch pad for their rockets. Agrest also claimed that the events of the Book of Genesis, particularly the devastation of Sodom and Gomorrah, were the result of alien intervention and nuclear warfare.
Agrest combined euhemerism with official Soviet atheism to explain mythology and religion as distorted memories of aliens. As I discussed before, this was part of a concerted effort by the Soviets to undermine Christianity by providing an atheistic alternative. Such works were inspired by 1950s European ancient astronaut and ufology texts, themselves inspired by Theosophy.
Agrest’s work caught the attention of Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, who included a brief reference to him in Morning of the Magicians (1960) as their warrant for fabricating quotations from the Mahabharata as evidence of nuclear warfare. (I can’t read Russian, so I don’t know if Agrest was the original source for the fabricated Mahabharata text, but I can’t find any reference to him citing it, so I’d suppose not.) The pair translated Agrest’s work into French and ran it in Planète magazine. In Britain, New Scientist ran an article praising Agrest’s ideas as a powerful explanatory theory for understanding ancient history. Due to such sources, Erich von Däniken picked up Agrest’s ideas, and Zecharia Sitchin concurred.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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