Before we begin today, I’d like to ask for your help. Last year I put out an edition of Cory’s Ancient Fragments, which has sold poorly because the printer I used was much more expensive than my current one. Also, in the last year I’ve learned a lot about bookmaking. So, I’m reformatting it for a paperback (and possibly) eBook release at a much lower price. In doing this, it got me thinking about Karl Müller’s Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum and its descendants, Felix Jacoby’s still-incomplete Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker and Robert Fowler’s Early Greek Mythography. These books have become such standard references for fragments of ancient texts that most scholars no longer cite the original texts from which the fragments are drawn—which is a pain the neck if you don’t happen to live near a library that stocks Fowler’s or Jacoby’s really expensive books.
Ancient astronaut theorists and alternative historians are forever going on about “ancient texts,” and at this point I’ve translated or collected enough of them, so I thought it would be useful to put together a sort of Fragments of the Extraterrestrial Historians to serve as a sourcebook for all the commonly-cited ancient texts used in ancient astronaut and alternative history claims. My thought would be that the book would present a passage with information about which types of alternative believers cited it and, possibly, brief critical commentary.
But there are so many ancient texts that I’d like your help figuring out what to include. I have a list of the big things that I know have to be in there:
If you have suggestions for other ancient texts, please let me know. This is going to take a while to compile, but I think it will be worth it to have a sourcebook of ready reference of the types of materials we see used over and over again.
Now, on to today’s topic.
After reviewing Ancient Aliens’ presentation of material on the Anunnaki, the Nephilim, Fallen Angels, and Satan, I noticed something that I’m not sure I’ve discussed before. Ancient astronaut theorists seem to focus primarily on male aliens descending to earth to engage in procreative acts with female humans. Similarly, the stereotypical UFO abduction narrative involves the extraterrestrials performing male-identified penetrative sexual acts, whether on male or female abductees. Where are the female aliens?
Sure, you can argue that the ancient astronaut pundits are simply building off of Genesis 6:1-4, in which the sons—and not the daughters—of God descend from the sky to mate with human beings; or that they are operating in an Apollo-era space context where astronauts are by definition male; or that they simply don’t think about women as active narrative participants. But this ignores vast swathes of ancient texts in which female divinities descend from heaven to have sexual relations with human males. These “theorists” have to actively reject female-focused narratives, and they seem to do so. Consider the following goddess-human pairings:
Obviously, this is only a partial list. This list doesn’t include the more ambiguous situation in Japan, where the emperor claims descent from a line of gradually less divine men who trace their roots back to Amaterasu, the sun goddess, via her grandson, who was apparently at least semi-human and fathered the imperial line with the semi-human daughter of the sea god.
Yet somehow Ancient Aliens is much less interested in the role of female divinities in creating these half-human lineages than they are of male divinities fathering patrilineal hierarchies of powerful male sons—exactly reproducing modern Western patriarchal social hierarchies where the male parent’s lineage is considered dominant. What a coincidence! I tried doing some Google searches for variation on Ancient Aliens, goddesses in general, and specific goddess names. I turned up very little, either in the official ancient astronaut materials or even on supporters’ websites. Why is that? Why do some ancient texts (featuring male gods) count more than others (featuring female goddesses)?
I did find several mentions of Ishtar, but most of these related to the Ishtar Gate, the name of the Babylonian portal on which a dragon-like monster is claimed to be an alien genetic experiment.
Otherwise, the program’s discussion of supernatural females tends to fall into three categories: monster (Medusa, Lilith), witch (Circe), and slut (women who are hot for aliens). This is especially confusing since the ancient religions that they raid to produce their narratives—which were not exactly feminist themselves—had a much broader range of women, from Artemis as huntress to Athena as warrior to the most archetypical of all, the various forms of the Great Mother.
It seems that under the spell of Genesis 6:1-4 and the Book of Enoch, ancient astronaut speculators have simply written off an entire gender and good chunk of their own evidence. Either this represents sloppy research (which is always a possibility), or it suggests that ancient astronautics is much more about finding supernatural justification for an idealized social structure than it is the search for “truth.” Or, I guess, aliens just hate women.
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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