This morning my washing machine broke down, and it took half an hour for Home Depot to acknowledge my extended warranty because, as it turns out, they don’t provide a certificate documenting the warranty; instead, and unbeknownst to me, apparently the only proof was on the original purchase receipt, and not in the packet of documentation that came with the machine, or in the invoice or any other documentation, all of which I had in a thick file. Further, they couldn’t look me up in their system because they “forgot” to take my phone number at the time of purchase, which is the only way to review purchases “that old.” But it was all for naught because Home Depot only schedules repairs through Maytag, and Maytag doesn’t work weekends, holidays, or evenings. In short, I’ve been a bit pressed for time after spending the morning trying to wring out laundry and bail out the washing machine and then travel to Home Depot to get a new copy of the receipt. As it turns out, I have to have the receipt and not just the warranty number because Maytag is paranoid that someone might use another person’s warranty number, so they have to scan the receipt for proof at time of service, according to Home Depot.
Nevertheless, there is a great story for today. How could I resist this one? Over at the Rogue Classicist there is a post discussing the new book by an Italian mathematician which claims that the ancient Greeks discovered America. Aside from the normal claims that various imaginary islands in Greco-Roman literature really refer to America, the author, Lucio Russo, has a few main lines of evidence, all of which are, to be charitable, stupid. To mask this, Russo accuses historians and archaeologists of… wait for it… here it comes… close-minded dogmatism! He further claims that his work is of such genius that scholars cannot understand its arguments and therefore reject them.
The first piece of evidence I’ve dealt with before. The author claims that Roman art depicting items that look like pineapples is proof of contact across the ocean. He forgets that the pineapple was so named because of its resemblance to European pinecones, which are what we are looking at in ancient art. I wrote an entire post about them here.
The second piece of evidence is also a lie. Russo claims that Native Americans cannot grow beards; therefore, any mention or depiction of beards in pre-Columbian times is proof of European contact. This stereotype, very common in Europe, is the result of the romantic cowboy novels of Karl May, a German writer who had never met a Native American nor visited the West. His books were among Hitler’s favorites. Native Americans can grow facial hair.
The third piece of evidence is a little more complex. Russo cites the Mayan Popol Vuh, the creation epic, in which it states that four women were created in the east, at the edge of the sky, in a grassland. There they gave rise to many people who wandered through the grass in search of a homeland. “They did this for a long time, when they were in the grassland: black people, white people, people of many faces, many languages, uncertain, there at the edge of the sky” (trans. Dennis Tedlock). They then walked to Tulan Zuyua, a mythical mountain of seven caves. I’m sure it takes no genius to realize that Native peoples did not use eighteenth or nineteenth century scientific racism classifications. I’m not an expert in Maya mythology, but I imagine this refers to color symbolism rather than skin color, but even if it did refer to skin, Native peoples had enough variation in color that European explorers were quite taken by the many shades.
According to Russo, the reference to black and white people clearly implies that Europeans and Africans invaded Mexico in Greek times. He combines this with the slightly later passage in the Popol Vuh in which the black and white people cross from Tulan Zuyua to a new land by crossing a sea, also called a lake in other Maya sources. “They crossed over as if there were no sea. They just crossed over on some stones.” While Russo wants us to read this as an account of swift Greek boats cutting across the Atlantic, he neglects to note that the text specifically locates this event as occurring near Great Hollow, an entrance to the underworld that was decidedly in Mexico. Additionally, we know that this particular passage has some contamination from non-Maya sources since Tulan is a Nahuatl word meaning “place of rushes.” Finally, the Maya state clearly that all of the people involved in this story were Mayans.
Russo also incorrectly asserts that the Greeks were the only people to understand that the earth was round, a fact well-known to every educated person in the West from Classical Greece down to today. In fact, in Archaic Greece, the belief was that the earth was flat, as evidenced from passages in Homer, Hesiod, and Herodotus. Church Fathers like Ambrose and Jerome held for round earth, and scholars like the venerable Bede and Thomas Aquinas advocated its roundness. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
His final claim is that America vanished from ancient maps because Ptolemy misidentified the Fortunate Islands as the Canaries rather than Antilles, cutting 15 degrees of longitude from the earth and creating centuries of doubt about the shape of the earth and the ancients’ ability to navigate it. This, however, is second order speculation, building on earlier speculative assumptions that in circular fashion depend on a faith-based belief in pure and accurate original maps from which Ptolemy diverged.
9/22/2013 09:13:19 am
It seems to me that the Mayan tale in question bears a certain similarity to the Tower of Babel myth; it seems like it's trying to explain why there are different people with different languages, so even if it IS talking about lighter and darker skin tones, rather than some kind of symbolic dichotomy, it's still not referring to European racial stereotypes but to express the wide range of people who were...there? created? whatever the myth states.
3/14/2015 07:06:15 pm
The theory isn't completely ludicrous, Carthaginians sailed along the west African coast and not only do Greek historians talk about multiple historical figures sailing past the Gibraltar straits their colonies stretched as far as the straits. There are anomalies like finding coca leaves in Egyptian tombs also so I can't disregard the possibility. Though I'm more inclined to believe a crossing would have taken place at the west African - Brazil crossing and the Phoenicians as the most likely discovers of the Americas rather than the Greeks. Considering some Greek and Indian scholars claim contact with each other over a thousand years before Alexander's army invaded. I am inclined to reserve judgement rather than be arrogant and discount ancient historians completely
7/26/2015 11:20:53 pm
The Pheonix was brother of Europa ,so the phoenicians was Hellens ! see the family tree of Aegyptus ...
8/14/2017 04:32:57 pm
The reason why ancient Greeks and Indians claim to have contact before Alexander the great was the fact that Hellenic tribes are indo-european .
9/22/2013 11:28:41 am
I thought Lactantius found the round earth laughable. There has also been some arguments put forth that Augustine was a flat earther at heart.
9/22/2013 11:51:48 am
You're quite right. I should have said "Jerome" rather than "Lactantius." Lactantius did indeed find the round earth laughable. I will change it above. Thanks!
9/22/2013 11:53:03 am
Also, Ambrose is less ambiguous than Augustine, so I'll go with him instead, too.
9/22/2013 11:53:22 am
Oh Jason... Surely you must realize how serendipitous il professore's findings are for you? The Argo must have sailed to America. Perhaps Colchis means Mexico in an as-yet undiscovered Mayan dialect (gargle "Colchis" long enough and it does begin to sound distinctly Mayan). This could mean that the Phasis might have been the Mississippi, possibly a name given it by an earlier wave of Minoans, or maybe Phoenicians, or, failing these, Atlanteans. Could the Templars have used secret Ancient Greek sources to direct their own galleys across the Atlantic? The possibilities are endless...
9/22/2013 12:19:46 pm
You might be interested to know that Henrietta Mertz actually proposed that the Argonauts sailed to South America, that the Phasis was the Rio de la Plata, and that Colchis was Tiwanaku in Bolivia. David Childress, of course, repeated her silly claims wholesale. For our purposes, it's probably interesting to see that she equated Scylla and Charybdis with the Bay of Fundy, the same area where Frederick J. Pohl thought the Henry Sinclair supposedly hid the Ark of the Covenant and/or the Holy Grail, cloaking it as the volcanic lands of the Zeno Narrative!
9/22/2013 12:59:02 pm
Thanks, Jason. It saddens me that Frederick Pohl (whose SF was almost always so logical) should have been party to such speculation. I don't much care about the others.
9/22/2013 02:03:50 pm
Greece to Peru by way of Nova Scotia. Hell of a trip. It took Odysseus twenty years to get from Anatolia to Greece, by myth standards Jason woukda been out there for millenia.
9/22/2013 02:15:55 pm
Cordian--No wonder Pherecydes said Medea had to put Jason (rather than his father) in a cauldron and boil him to "rejuvenate" him!
3/14/2015 07:14:41 pm
It is just a theory, can you prove them wrong? you sound rather arrogant my friend. Unlikely based on our current knowledge yes but only an arrogant ego maniac can dismiss it entirely, any true scholar admits that there is just so much we don't know yet. In your infinite wisdom oh wise one tell us who built the mysterious cave cities in Turkey? scholars don't know but you seem to know everything.....
9/22/2013 02:43:19 pm
Tulan, or Tollan as it is usually spelled when talking about it as a general concept, is a place of fertility and creation (Sustenance Mountain emerges out of the reedy marshes). It is used to refer to a great holy and powerful city where others might travel, including for purposes of royal legitimation. The Tollan of the first millennium was clearly Teotihuacan, and indeed there are some Maya texts which refer to Teotihuacanos as ah puhob, men of the reeds. This isn't because Teotihuacan is particularly marshy, but because it is the center of civilization. The supposed later Toltec capital of Tula (I am skeptical of the concept of Toltecs, but that's way to involved to get into here) would be another Tollan, as would Tenochtitlan when it was the great power of Mesoamerica in the fifteenth century until the Spanish invasion.
The Other J.
9/23/2013 08:36:59 pm
As soon as I red the color significance, it made me think of Native American color symbolism, and I wondered if it was consistent from North America into Mesoamerica.
9/24/2013 03:24:09 pm
I don't think it is, but I honestly don't know off the top of my head. But you do find broad strands of memes and tropes across big areas in the New World, just as in the old. A number of Native American spirit ideas are spread a lot farther than one would expect, and there are some ties to Mesoamerica (which given that corn came up from Mexico and dramatically changed social structure in North America, isn't a big surprise). Remember also that there was regular trade between Mexico and the SW, apparently quite a bit of cacao was consumed in New Mexico.
3/14/2015 07:19:39 pm
If there was a crossing to the Americas it was Africa to Brazil not the North Atlantic which would make Bolivia more likely than Mexico and if the ships were so weak how did they withstand ramming another ship
9/22/2013 03:25:23 pm
Erik G, I'd just like to point out that Frederick J. Pohl is not the same person as the recently late, lamented SF author Frederik Pohl. I had to look that up because, like you, I could not believe him capable of such illogical thought.
9/22/2013 10:50:08 pm
Brendan -- Thank you. What a relief! I should have checked first -- I made an assumption that there couldn't have been two Frederick Pohls. Shoddy. No excuses. "Day Million" is one of my favorite SF tales. For a while there it felt tainted. No more. Thank you again.
9/22/2013 03:55:50 pm
Wait until the author shows you all that Scylla and Charybdis is actually a portal. A wormhole to the other side of the world! Hmm, maybe I should write a book...
9/28/2013 05:30:30 am
Actually, Jason. The stereotype that Native Americans have sparse body hair is NOT from a Nazi cowboy novelist (whom Hitler liked). It's from physical anthropology. (You need to be honest about that.) And you weren't. You acted like it was some crazy, lame-brained statement by a clown. In reality, physical anthropologists have written about "sparse Asian facial hair" for quite some time. Native Americans came from the Lake Baikal region of Siberia, so their body chemistry and body hair patterns are actually quite unambiguously Asiatic. (For instance, like Asians, Native Americans have powdery ear-wax, shovel-shaped incisors and Mongol spots as babies.) Their facial hair patterns are also quite Asiatic. Look at this tribe of Native Americans (none of whom shaved): http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/31/Native_American_Chiefs_1865.jpg
9/28/2013 05:50:32 am
Undoubtedly some Native Americans had less facial hair than Europeans, but that does not perforce mean that all did across time and space. Ely S. Parker, a Seneca born to two Seneca parents, had quite full facial hair, and he wore it in a mustache and a beard.
9/28/2013 06:38:39 am
Jason, no. I wasn't citing anthropology. I was citing "PHYSICAL anthropology". That's the field that concerns itself with population groups and their differences vis-a-vis skeletal morphology, DNA, hirsutism, etc.
9/28/2013 06:46:37 am
You realize that anthropology has several divisions, including biological (physical) anthropology, cultural anthropology, archaeology, etc.
9/28/2013 07:57:15 am
9/28/2013 08:00:43 am
Two things: The Olmec depicted many of their people with beards, but in circular reasoning because we "know" they didn't have beards, alternative writers say these depictions are therefore not the Olmec because they "never" showed themselves with beards!
9/28/2013 05:52:10 pm
Jason I've spent god knows how many hours try'n'o track down images of these bastardin' alleged pineapples/pinecones just so I can judge the buggers for meself as an artist then finally when I find the bleeders on Epoch Times then on rogueclassicism I get back in triumph only to find you'd provided a link to rogueclassicism anyway!
9/28/2013 11:45:08 pm
Which type of pine cone are you thinking of? They certainly don't look alike. Sure, the pictures don't look like American pine cones from your standard pine or fir. But have you looked at Pinus pinea, the common type of pine cone in the Pompeii area? They're a very good match for Roman and Greek art.
9/29/2013 04:41:53 am
The examples quoted by the author may be invalid, but there is a perfectly valid mechanism by which Old World - New World links could have occurred. The Phoenicians were the finest navigators of the era 300-600BC and wherever they went (eg Sardinia) they built characteristic harbours on spits of land which permitted docking whatever the state of the wind. Such a harbour has been found on the Azores. From the Azores it is an easy short voyage to central America with favourable winds and currents - but very hard to get back. It is very likely that the Phoenicians were the "bearded white gods" encountered by native American civilisations, who left promising to return. But they never made it back to Europe to bring news.
9/29/2013 05:42:56 am
There is no known ancient harbor in the Azores. The Azores were only discovered in the 1400s, and there is no evidence of Phoenicians in the Azores. The Native Americans cannot be shown to have had "bearded white god" myths until the Spanish invented them in the 1500s and 1600s.
10/17/2016 02:55:49 am
Long before the Phoenicians wich was also greek tribe (look the Hellenic mythological family tree ) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegyptus ,the Athenians went to America ,and also to Atlantis at least 11.000 years before today ....... according the Egyptian priest ,Manetho !
10/17/2016 03:03:37 am
< which was > Sorry , i'm not so good in english ,i'm self - learning man ....
1/16/2014 12:04:48 pm
Hallo jason its a lot of intersting things in your article but as always the truth have two options or more probably with the knowledge that we have we cant understand lot of things for the ancient civilizations but to exchange thoughts its a good step .My opinion its it may it happens a trip to south america from Mediterranean but of course to prove that its the difficult part for sure the ancients greeks knew about the oceans and of course they give the names that we still use and in our times .Scotland in greeks mean the land of darkness and in the museum of mykines they have found things from there from 2500 bc .so I bellieve cause of the human thirst of knowledge and adventure maybe some sailors traders they ve tried to reach something else and difficult as the subject that we discuss in your blog .r.Regards Michael .I want to apologise for my English probably its not perfect but I am trying on it.
7/14/2014 01:31:37 am
Many books have been written, for example Henrietta Mertz has proven without a doubt that the Greeks had been in the New World, long before Columbus. There is ample archealogical evidence also, but due to the zionists everything is covered up, and presented as hogwash.............
10/17/2016 02:39:44 am
8/12/2014 03:56:57 am
First sorry for the late comment, I came across the book by Russo, did a google search and this blog post came up.
9/19/2014 04:47:56 pm
Interesting I do believe that ancients were better at building ships and it was evident that the world was round. Just look at the statue of titan what shape is it?. Oldest 2nd cent B.C. Evidence that even at that time they knew the shape of the earth was round.
9/20/2014 03:12:21 am
The Greeks knew the Earth was round since the fifth century BCE. In the sixth century BCE, Anaximander an Ionian natural philosopher, was the first to suggest that the Earth is suspended in the void, and he thought that its shape was cylindrical. Later thinkers from the same "Presocratic" tradition, demonstrated it was spherical. In the "classical" period, in the works of Aristotle it is clearly stated that the Earth is round, and evidence is presented: for example that we first see the mast of an approaching ship, and that the shadow the Earth casts on the moon (what causes the "phases of the moon") is always circular. So by the time of Aristotle the Greeks already knew the shape of the Earth and presented evidence for it. By the Hellenistic period, in the third century BCE, Archimedes gave a "theoretical" explanation of the sphericity of Earth based on his "hydrostatic laws".
11/19/2014 11:13:26 am
It is impossible that it took Odysseus so many years to return to his homeland. on the island of Ithaki. There is this theory: After Troy he sailed to Giblartar and his fleet crossed the Atlantic. That is why it took him 20 years to return home. How do you explain the plethora of Male Ancient Greek names throughout Central America? Also the Amazones in Greek Mytholohy, the name originating from the Amazon river in South America.
7/26/2015 11:32:43 pm
Greek mythology ,and many ancient text ,speaks about America ! in the ancient greek text referring about how the greeks they were in America and that every 10 years they chancing the residens settlers men with new arrivals ! Even Hercules was there ,for several times .... (there was many Hercules) even in the mythology, Hercules went to America The Eleventh Labor: the (Golden Apples of the Hesperides) = orange from America !! Hesperia meens east ,where the sun goes down !
10/16/2016 06:55:12 pm
I think that Lucio Russo hypothesis that you relegate to the last lines is very convincing, I think you should try to read it more carefully.
10/17/2016 01:55:43 am
is nothing by chance ......https://www.google.gr/search?q=palacio+delas+grecas+picture&biw=1138&bih=608&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj04NqTk-HPAhXJVRQKHazNDvMQsAQIGQ
10/17/2016 03:37:22 am
If anybody wants to read through Russo arguments https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01275282/document
8/16/2017 01:43:40 pm
Hi NICK ! There is no such thing indoeuropean tribes or language ! Yes its maybe have similarity in the indian language with the greek but no indians came to greece ever ,exept the gypsys ,but thousand years later ! The indian myths speaking about the longbearded gods from west ! Contrary the greek mythology reffers about god Dionysus and Panas how they went east until india many times . Even the Triptolemus teach the art of agriculture and, from him, the rest of the world learned to plant and reap crops ! Also in Plato's book Timaeus ,the Egyptian priest said to Solon that the city of Athens estabilsed by goddess Athena 11600 years ago ,long before the Indian cities ... (see from paragraph 21'a until 25'e )
8/16/2017 01:59:05 pm
Also Nick ,if the greek language came from the indian language ,then Marcus Tillus Cicero wouldn't wrote that «TOTUM GRAECORUM EST» = everything comes from the greeks ! also « DEORUM LINGUA EST LINGUA GRAECORUM » = the language of the Gods,are the greek language
8/16/2017 03:10:49 pm
When i wrote gods and goddesses,i mean prehistorian scientists !!!
2/3/2018 04:36:58 am
There exists proof that Ancient Greeks discovered America.
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