A DIFFERENT STORY. From the beginning.

PART II: IMPACT

6.     IMPACT

 The Iliad recounted, colourfully, that the destruction of Ilium (Troy) was caused by ‘celestial gods’ who rained down flaming arrows until the Earth ran red with blood … until finally a giant thunderbolt plunged from the sky and buried its brilliance in the wood. Mighty Zeus struck earthly Anchises a terrible blow from which he limped forevermore.

More prosaically, in 1993 eminent astrophysicist Professor Fred Hoyle considered the problem of the abruptness and magnitude of climatic changes at the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary about 12,000 years ago and concluded the only logical explanation was a massive source of external energy which could only have come from the impact of a large comet-asteroid. [1]

The ruin of Troy was caused by the impact of an asteroid, causing hemispheric devastation.

The asteroid impact came on the morning of what we now call Wednesday 13th of March, in about 10,000 BC.

 The Golden Age ended with a bang, not a whimper. Milton’s paradise, where Earth rotated upright in eternal spring, was lost when the external forces of ‘angels’ turned askance the polar axis by twice ten degrees and more.  Then summer, autumn, winter did appear and spring was but one season of the year. In Greek mythology poor earthly Anchises was struck in the side by a celestial thunderbolt and now limps around his eccentric path.[2]

Where Greek mythologists and Classical authors recounted these seminal events in vivid poetic imagery our modern palaeontologists obfuscate with what they disingenuously call an ‘abrupt transition’ at the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary, about 12,000 years ago. That is to say a ‘boundary’ – a distinct line – between the prior epoch of millions of years of the Ice Age, to the current, very recent situation. Our present state of a skewed, wobbling, eccentric Earth is only about 12,000 years old – a geological instant, the mere blink of an evolutionary eye. We are still tilted off-centre, wobbling and eccentric because, only 12,000 years ago, we were struck in the side by a massive bolt from the blue. The giant iron sword of Excalibur was thrust into the isle of man from which it could never be removed.

Classical authors were unambiguous. A great glowing stone descended with doom … a star shot from heaven drawing a bright trail of light … buried its brilliance in the wood … ‘Asterius’, starry son of Cometes – a chimaeric fire-breathing horned-headed bull, covered in black hair and foaming saliva – plunged upon the fair land until Troy was uprooted … overmastered with wounds it uttered one last groan and fell in ruin … the gods in anger overturned the magnificence … conflagration ran around the mountain tops announcing the taking and capsizing of Troy. [3]

Likewise the oral tradition of Celtic folklore spoke of the giant Dillus Varvawc with blood red hair and beard who took a scorching wild boar and cast him down into a deep pit – the largest in the world – and there was the highest wind there ever was in the world, and a great smoke arose in the south. Cuchculainn, ‘a fearsome and multiform creature … one eye protruded … foam poured from his jaws … with a roar like a lion … light blazed above his head … his hair tangled like a red thorn bush. He projected a perpendicular jet of dusky blood … taller, thicker, longer than the mast of a great ship … which scattered to the four cardinal points a magic mist of gloom resembling a smoky pall.’[4]

Virgil’s Aeneas looked back on mother Earth, cleft by the doom of the celestial sword … over the raging waters of Chaos and volcanic fury of Phlegethon … of the dark seas and gloomy forest of Styx … so foul were the vapours billowing forth from its dark jaws, rising to the vault of the sky… the chieftains of Troy, offspring of old, a race most fair … fallen in war, overwhelmed and engulfed … were much wept for.

The impact site was in the dark seas of Styx, which of course was far, far away at the very ends of the Earth; elsewhere known as Eridanus, that is Erid-anus, a hole in the end of the earth – a cleft of doom, a deep pit, a crater.

The impact timing was etched in collective memory.

It was about 10,000 BC because that is when modern palaeontology places the abrupt boundary change from the prior Ice Age to the current era. That corresponds to Solon’s account of ‘the flood’ (in Plato’s Timaeus) which calculates to about 9600 BC; and to Herodotus’s historical record of the 341 generations of Egyptian priests going back to the ‘First Time’, which calculates (at average lifespan) to about 11,000 years ago. [5]

It was in the month of March – or what we now call March – simply ‘Mars’ in French, ‘Marzo’ in Italian and Spanish, ‘Marz’ in German. Named for the red-warrior planet Mars who was the culprit who threw the last stone. When Homer’s King Priam wept for his dead sons, he lamented ‘Ares (Mars) killed them’. Oddly enough, modern science now tells us that 97% of ordinary stony meteorites came from the Mars or the asteroids, concluding meekly, ‘just how these meteorites came from Mars remains unclear, but meteoricists are quite sure they did.’ [6] Just as Priam knew they did.  Though it wasn’t just stones – the Greek literature recorded Mercury as ‘iron-hearted’, and in the battles of Ilium Achilles threw a missile of fused iron … ‘five long years this lump will last, no need to go up to town for want of iron’. Homer was particular to specify that the trunk of the mountain ash (the Earth axis) was ‘hacked all about with steel and fast-glancing axes, till [it was] gradually overmastered’.

The ultimate impact object was made of metal – the great iron sword of Excalibur.

It was on the 13th day, in the middle (Ides) of the month – ever since ingrained in human psyche as the unluckiest, most ill-fated day and number. Of course, later immortalised in Shakespeare’s phrase – Beware the Ides of March!

The particular day was a Wednesday – or what we now call Wednesday – Anglicised from Wodensday, named for the Norse god Woden (or Odin) which was a characterisation of planet Mercury that bumped into Mars causing him to throw stones. Northern Europeans named the ill-fated day after Woden, Odin or Wuotan; while Southern Latins directly blamed Mercury calling Wednesday Mercredi (Fr), Mercoledi (It) or Miercoles (Sp).

The timing was probably in the early morning, local time. Probably … because Hebrew literature records that there was a great earthquake, the Earth staggered like a drunken man and turneth upside down … and the sun stood still and did not go back down for a whole day. [7] If the sun did not go back down for a whole day in the Middle East then it must have been afternoon local time there when the event occurred – which corresponds to early morning at the impact site, in mid-Pacific.

Incidentally, the Hebrews were not the only ones to feel the Earth move. The Greeks explicitly recorded that the gods reversed the laws of nature which hitherto had been immutable … and caused Helios (the sun) … to wrest his chariot about and turn his horses’ heads toward dawn … for the first and last time, the sun set in the east. The celestial demon was the overturner. The gods in anger overturned the magnificence [of Ilium] … conflagration ran around the mountain tops announcing the taking and capsizing of Troy. As the mortal sphere shifted on his shoulders, Atlas shrugged and stood on his head.

Similarly, in ancient Egypt their warrior god Set was a red-haired iron-hearted devil, literally meaning ‘the reverser’ or ‘the inverter’. The stellar map of the constellations from the temple of Dendera – now in the Louvre – was found in situ with its orientation inverted. Throughout the oldest Egyptian texts – the originals (before translation) said the sun rose on the right, in the West. The words for ‘right’ and ‘West’ were the same. It was not an isolated mistake or copying error. The prominent English Egyptologist Dr Raymond Faulkner at University College London in his definitive modern translations footnoted the problem as an ‘incomprehensible blunder’, which he blithely ‘corrected’. [8]

So the ancients knew, through the agency of the oral tradition of folklore, that their island home – Ilium, the isle of man in the ocean of space – was impacted by Asterius (an asteroid), starry son of Cometes (a comet). The sky fell. In Greek mythology, it was Homer’s Cassandra who warned the King; while in western folklore it was Henny Penny (Chicken Little) who ran to the King crying ‘the sky is falling, the sky is falling!. We deride them now for overblown feminine hysteria but we should be thankful that the timely warning allowed Aeneas to escape … in order that his guiltless race might not die off, seedless and unseen.

For popularised story-telling the impact object was animated in the guise of a fire-breathing chimaeric monster – the raging bull (Minotaur), the hairy black swine (early Greek Demeter; Celtic Twrch Trwyth), or the writhing dragon (Typhon or Boreas). But underneath the cartoon imagery, the fatal object was explicitly an iron-hearted asteroid/meteorite (the iron sword of Excalibur), which plunged into a crater hole (Erid-anus) at Styx, at the very ends of the Earth (from a Eurocentric view).

Throughout the Iliad mortal men, ‘noble men’, were portrayed as hapless, helpless, guiltless – as their fate was decided and sealed by the planetary gods. After impact Homer’s imagery was dominated by fire, flood, death and darkness. Night drew her dark veil over the deep.

But Aeneas had been forewarned and he sailed away to safety, specifically to the West. He sailed away in about 10,000 BC but his sons did not show up in Mesopotamia until about 6-5000 BC – so where did he go to in the meantime?

[1] Hoyle, 1993. 2nd Anshen Transdisciplinary Lecture: The Origin of the Universe and the Origin of Religion.

[2] Milton, Paradise Lost; Ovid, Metamorphoses; Graves, Greek Myths

[3] Greek Myths; Homer, The Iliad; Virgil, The Aeneid; Aeschylus, The Agamemnon.

[4] Kilhwch and Olwen (or) Twrch Trwyth; Rolleston, Celtic Myths and Legends.

[5] Herodotus, The Histories

[6] Dodd, Thunderstones and Shooting Stars

[7] Isaiah 24, Jasher

[8] Budge, Legends of the Egyptian Gods; The Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts, (Faulkner trans)

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