Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Experts: They Ain't Always Correct!

Western Historians tend to fix their gazes on modern exploration of the world starting with Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal around A.D. 1450. In this way they keep the excitement and prestige of "firsts" in the "family", if you will. Thus we are told that the world was believed to be flat until a very late date, that mariners rarely left the coast for fear of sailing over the edge of the world, that more ancient peoples left no evidence - or damned little! - behind to show they had been there before, and in general completely ignore or belittle evidence that shows much earlier traces of exploration around the world.

North America, though rich in myths and legends of very early explorers, is considered unsullied until Christopher Columbus in A.D. 1492, when he arrived off the waters of the Bahamas, and later landed on an island he named San Salvador. As for the Viking discoveries in North America history has decided that they colonized, unsuccessfully, Greenland, and a small place on the coast of Newfoundland called L'Anse aux Meadows. Nothing else was found, nothing lasted, and the Vikings left the settlement of L'Anse aux Meadows after a few years, never to return.

As for tales of Norse (Viking) runes found in many places in North America, these are regarded as fakes, best left to the tellers of tall tales. But though some are probably fakes, many are probably not and have never been disproved. Some runes are even reputed to have been found in South America.

Where am I going with this? Hang in there, Folks. There's a method to this, if I can ever make it back!

Chinese Treasure ships plyed the Pacific and the South Pacific for many years, and explored much of Africa before the Portugese. It is claimed that they may have found the west coast of the Americas years before the voyages of Columbus. In Rhode Island there is a stone tower of unknown origin. Alternately claimed as being built by Vikings or by the Chinese treasure fleet of Admiral Cheng Ho in the early 1400s. However the tower is probaly not Chinese, but "constructed in the style of Norman Romanisk architecture inspired from the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem". In any event it likely predates Columbus by a few centuries.

It is said that the Irish managed to cross the Atlantic and reach North America in their small boats - whether by design or by misadventure, who can say. St. Brendan, a real historical figure, was said to have done this in the Fifth Century, although the legend itself is supposedly an amalgamation of stories of other monks. And did so in an ox-hide boat called, today, a currach. As seen in the above link, the voyage has been re-enacted.

My friend Patrick, at Born Again Redneck, has posted about an archaeological find that ssays "Homeric Epics not just legend," as Patrick titles his post. He quotes from the article:
British history sleuths say they have uncovered new geological evidence to solve one of the great riddles of ancient Greece - pinpointing the ancient island of Ithaca, home of Homer's legendary hero Odysseus.


Finding Ithaca could rival the discovery of ancient Troy on the Turkish coast in the 1870s.
This is interesting, whether you follow such things or not. After all Homer's epic has been considered fantasy, bad history, and generally bounced around by the "experts", and the makers of Epic Motion Pictures. Troy, of course, was known to be a myth by all the experts. Well, all of them until Heinrich Schliemann announced to the world, in A.D. 1874 that he had found the Gold of Priam. His site for Troy? An empty hill in Turkey, Hissarlik. Later excavations all seemed to bolster his claims that this was Anciemnt Troy, site of the fabled city destroyed in the Trojan War.

But even with all the archaeological evidence that has been uncovered there, there is still no evidence of the kind of war beign fought there as described by Homer. And once again, the "experts" may well be all wet. The Troy of Homer: "Troy—also called Ilium, Ilion, or Ilios—is a Phrygian city in northwestern Asia Minor in the region called the Troad." And Homer being a Greek, well we know that the Troad must be somewhere near. Except ...

Dutch writer Iman Jacob Wilkens, intrigued for many years by Homer's tale, sought to figure out the reality of Homer's epic, and in doing so came to an entirely different conclusion than the "experts".
Troy and the Trojan War location has been found and the battlefield completely reconstructed from the scattered but very detailed information given in Homer's Iliad.

Troy in England, however unbelievable, is fully explained in this amazing work which provides in depth information and evidence of all kinds including geographic and linguistic evidence as well as countless archaeological finds.

The war was not waged by Greeks and not caused by the abduction of Helen. The real reason was access to tin in Britain, a precious metal which was essential for the production of bronze, a key war material of the time.
Since Ancient times, the British Isles were called the Tin Isles. The Phoenicians kept the secret for many generations, as they had one of the greatest monopolies in history in the tin mines of Britain.

By Roman times, the tin trade was a Roman monopoly (Joseph of Arimathea was, according to British, and early Christian, legend, a Supervisor of Tin Mines in Britain for the Romans), so there certainly is reason to buy the tin mine theory. Now I don't know that I accept the theory hook, line, and sinker. But I know that "experts" on history are wrong so often, and sometimes so completely, that this theory is not something I would toss out. In fact I ordered the book from the local library collective so I can read a copy (Hillsborough County across the Bay has 6 copies, and I put a hold on one - I like the way you can do that!) and decide for myself.

The "experts" should be taken with a grain of salt. When it comes to history, in which I have a passing interest, the "experts" have been so free and easy with supposed facts, creating immense theories out of cotton candy that dissolve under scrutiny, that they are despoiling the academic landscape for all of us.

More to come later. Hey, I'm just getting wound up!


camojack said...

Aw, quit livin' in the past.
(Ducks and runs away)

benning said...

You're gonna get such a smack! LOL