Giorgio Tsoukalos: Atlantis Was a Flying Island, Aliens Brought Robots and Airplanes to Greece
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from our friend Giorgio Tsoukalos, but the online iKypros.com published a Greek-language profile of the Ancient Aliens star yesterday, apparently reprinted from the Greek Espresso tabloid newspaper, and it contains a few gems. Since it’s written in Greek, a few translations of the relevant and interesting sections are in order, starting with the first paragraph, which is a doozy:
His hairstyle choices ... may seem strange, but they have perhaps played a role in his international recognition as one of the most famous proponents of the theory that the heavenly beings mentioned in all religions were nothing more than visitors from outer space! (ellipses in original)
(All translations in this blog post are my own.)
The article, written by Manos Tsagkarakis (as I transliterate his name), describes Tsoukalos as “the star with the weird hairdo” but is nevertheless thrilled that he is of Greek decent.
The reporter gives Tsoukalos’s birthdate as March 14, 1978, which I’m happy to have since Tsoukalos’s age has been reported differently in other sources. It describes his childhood in Switzerland, his fluency in multiple languages (English, French, German, Greek, and Italian), as well as his introduction to the sport of bodybuilding at the age of 13. The profile says that Tsoukalos organized major bodybuilding events, such as Mr. Olympia, while still a teenager, since it claims he was doing this while also earning his bachelor’s degree in sports communication from Ithaca College. He graduated from IC in 1998, at the age of twenty.
(Disclosure: I graduated from IC in 2003, but Tsoukalos had graduated before I started college. I met him only once while I was in school, in 2002, when I interviewed him for a class project.)
Tsoukalos told Tsagkarakis that he has conducted in-person investigations of ancient sites in 54 countries, from which, of course, he has turned up no physical evidence of ancient astronauts. “I believe that aliens inspired earth’s massive monuments, but they did not build them! Perhaps they may have built only Puma Punku in Bolivia,” he said. The reporter then trusts Tsoukalos to provide “factual” information about Puma Punku and falsely reports that Puma Punku is 12,000 years old (with an exclamation point after the date, no less). Puma Punku is believed to have been built in the centuries before 1000 CE, and the earlier date is based on the incorrect work of Arthur Posnansky, who assumed that nearby Tiahuanaco had been laid out in 15,000 BCE to track the position of the sun in that year.
Tsoukalos told Tsagkarakis that human beings worshiped the aliens as gods and that the Greek gods were not just aliens but super-scientists: “The gods of mythology were space travelers who created genetically-engineered creatures such as the Cyclopes and Centaurs, robots like Talos, and traveled with flying machines,” he said.
He didn’t use qualifications that time, and these are actually testable claims! Let’s see, do we have any skeletons of Cyclopes or Centaurs? No, we don’t. There isn’t a shred of evidence that either creature ever actually existed. Being fluent in German, he is of course aware of the century-old claim by Othenio Abel in 1914 that the Cyclopes were inspired by fossil elephant skulls.
Do we have evidence of robots like Talos? Well, the Greeks and Romans were masters of clockwork masterpieces—the Byzantine emperors had one of the most impressive clockwork “robot” displays in history, by all accounts—but there isn’t even good evidence that Talos was a robot. As Arthur B. Cook demonstrated a century ago, the oldest references to Talos heavily imply that he originated as the Cretan sun god, not as a robot. Only later was the Minoan figure thought to be the last survivor of the Age of Bronze, and still later a man made of bronze, as Apollonius describes him in the Hellenistic Argonautica (4.1639-1693; parallel to the Orphic Argonautica 1358-1360 and Apollodorus (1.9.26).
I’ve described this at length in an earlier blog post, but the highlights are that the “ancient texts” state that Talos was a living creature, that he had a father, and that he had children. Therefore, he was either not a robot or the ancient texts are wrong, in which case we have no evidence to use.
I’ll believe the flying machine claims when Tsoukalos’s trips to 54 countries uncover one. In the case of Greece, the most common assertion is that the Golden Ram who rescued Phrixus and Helle was an airplane. Erich von Däniken made the claim in Odyssey of the Gods (1999), but he was copying from Robert Charroux, who put it this way in The Mysteries of the Unknown (1972): “An important detail is that the golden fleece was that of a flying ram, traditionally identified with a flying machine used by Initiators. This particular relic, which no doubt was the wreck of an airship, was to be located in Georgia” (trans. Olga Sieveking). He, in turn, was echoing the Afrocentrist Drusilla Dunjee Houston, who made the same claim in 1926, attributing the Golden Fleece flying machine to a master race of Ethiopians.
That said, as I outlined in another earlier blog post, the oldest surviving references to the Golden Ram, vase paintings from the fifth century BCE, show the ram swimming, not flying, and both Diodorus (4.47) and pseudo-Eratosthenes (Catasterismi 19) endorsed the idea of a water passage (Diodorus assuming the Ram was a boat), as did most Latin authors, including Ovid, Seneca, and Valerius Flaccus.
Tsoukalos again repeated his claim that the island of Atlantis did not sink into the ocean but instead flew off in to the sky, something that no conceivable reading of Plato (Timaeus and Critias), Strabo (Geography 2.3), Marcellus (in Proclus On Timaeus 1.1), Pliny the Elder (Natural History 6.36), or any other ancient author to mention Atlantis could possibly support. Plato was unusually clear on this point, writing in Timaeus: “But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea” (trans. Benjamin Jowett).
The point, however, is that Tsoukalos knows the stories of centaurs and the Golden Fleece and Talos only from popular sources, not at the deep level needed to really understand the many variants and sort among them to find the truth. Is it any wonder that he prefers to discuss his fans, who wear t-shirts with his picture on them and use the phrase “Tsoukalicious” to describe him? It’s easier to be a personality than a scholar, to make wild claims than to defend them.
Oh, and ladies, Tsoukalos also wants you to know that “in his personal life” he isn’t all about aliens: “he prefers enjoying a good meal with close friends or watching a movie, listening to jazz and opera, and sailing and diving in the sea.”
1/21/2014 06:11:10 am
Jason, to be totally honest, I have more respect for Whitley
1/21/2014 06:18:42 am
1st comment here hath small typo...
1/21/2014 06:25:19 am
sorry about that!!! i do truly wish we
1/21/2014 06:39:55 am
pardon my second typo --- "it half EXPLAINS the pyramids"
1/21/2014 06:53:37 am
So, knowing that this must tie to some other wild theory - why does he believe Atlantis flew into the sky? Did it become Puma Punku or some other landmark?
1/21/2014 06:58:40 am
He conflated Atlantis with Greek stories about floating islands, and added in wholly fictitious material that has no textual warrant. I laid it out here: http://www.jasoncolavito.com/1/post/2011/09/ancient-aliens-and-atlantis-part-ii.html. You can also click my name to go to the link.
1/21/2014 07:52:51 am
OK, now I get it. I noticed on AA that he typically associates any mention of "fire and smoke" (e.g. dragons) to some alien aircraft. Evidently, space aliens still use fossil fuels and the internal combustion engine (which must be difficult in airless space).
1/21/2014 07:05:22 am
Am placing INTRADE betting dibs on GOBEKLI TEPE.
1/21/2014 06:55:32 am
Jason thinks Benjamin Jowett to be accurate and I agree!
Fantasy History Watcher
1/21/2014 07:16:15 am
The analogy is listening to David Bowie. Nothing is real and everything is surreal. This is getting off on fantasies.
1/21/2014 07:21:20 am
Hello I'm not-gunn and nowhere on this entry will I attempt to hijack it by mentioning KRS, runestone, and god. Regards. Not-gunn.
1/21/2014 08:27:10 am
"...skeptics point to a number of features of the inscription (on the KRS) that seem to indicate an origin far more recent than its fourteenth-century date stamp would imply. For example, the Swedish term 'ophagelse farth' found on the stone, meaning 'discovery', appears to be not just a mistake but an anachronism. The term has not been found on any other Norse document and could not date to before it was borrowed from the French in the sixteenth century. Intriguingly, however, and perhaps not coincidentally, the term was used frequently by a nineteenth-century historian and author, Gustav Storm, in articles he wrote for a Norwegian-language newspaper that was available in Minnesota. Perhaps a forger, conceivably Ohman, saw the term, assumed it was the correct form for a fourteenth-century runestone, and incorporated into his forgery." (Feder, 2011)
1/21/2014 09:06:26 am
I do admit i am guilty up above by talking about the KRS and a possible 1600s date in a posting i just did about the pyramids
1/21/2014 09:10:35 am
All right, you've all had your fun. None of this has anything to do with Giorgio Tsoukalos or ETs in Greece, so please refrain from discussing the KRS in response to this blog post.
Thanks, Jason. These people can be ruthless! A group answer would have been in order here, most likely, except that I don't hijack threads...I respond to further questions. I usually respond to further questions if the situation warrants it.
Discovery of America
1/22/2014 07:59:13 am
Boring formulated comments from a mythologist
1/21/2014 08:26:54 am
Seriously... either TALOS = APOLLO since both ARE sun~gods
1/21/2014 09:16:13 am
I am not terribly sire what your point is. Yes, monotheism, the belief in one god, 'implies a creator being in a grand way.' That is inherent by the very nature of only having one god. However, your example gods (Apollo, Jupiter, Zeus, etc.) are all gods from polytheistic belief systems. All religions have a creator of some sort, but many of those creators are not the heads of pantheons. Zeus was a descendent of Gaia, the earth, he did not create her/it.
1/23/2014 03:51:06 am
TALOS FOUR was a very distant planet in a really neat
The Other J.
1/21/2014 09:30:03 am
A city of advanced scientists and artists who live on a flying island? Is Tsoukalos sure he's getting this from Plato and not Jonathan Swift? Because his description also fits Laputa from Gulliver's Travels.
1/21/2014 11:29:22 am
I think GT is conflating the idea of Talos as a robot with the "deus ex machina" clockwork devices the Greeks were famous for using in their plays. Ancient special effects at their finest.
1/21/2014 12:20:30 pm
GT almost wants to place Sci-Fi cyborgs or androids inside
1/21/2014 05:59:22 pm
1/21/2014 01:49:20 pm
I think that Giorgio is just making this crap up as he gets more pooular. No, that is NOT a mis-spelling in my opinion. This AA bit has run out of new ideas and now has to just make up more crap to keep the TV series going long past its "sell by" date.
1/22/2014 07:39:32 pm
If you think that's awesome, I watched two episodes of Uncovering Aliens. Mike Bara tries to pretend he's the debunker by investigating rational explanations for the alleged UFO sightings. To make the image stick, he has one team member that believes aliens are here, walking the earth, among the human population. Another team member is allegedly ex-CIA, and claims he was abducted.
An Over-Educated Grunt
1/23/2014 01:08:15 am
I've noticed that most team-based fringe shows have a pretty standard three-person team, consisting of:
1/23/2014 07:32:28 am
i looked at a web*video of his just now...
1/23/2014 03:03:22 am
in Sasquatch hunting terms, BoBo Fay's intestinal gut
1/23/2014 03:15:41 am
1/23/2014 03:25:44 am
as you can see, by my many posts in this here thread,
1/23/2014 03:36:44 am
again a typo not eward
1/25/2014 07:14:05 am
1/25/2014 07:23:55 am
Testing comments here.
1/25/2014 09:09:10 am
Is that you Gunn? lol
2/23/2014 04:25:53 pm
I've lurked here for a while, but decided to test the waters on a post nobody will probably see due to the article's age. I love watching AA simply because for one solid hour my husband and I can laugh like mental patients, and he can do his "Crazy Hair" impression and talk about human/alien hybrids.
2/23/2014 10:22:33 pm
If only it were a joke! It's his official adjective.
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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