Sunday, July 12, 2009
Unquiet and insistent history
This has been a strange weekend, but that happens sometimes. I watched all of the Friday the 13th, the series, I received (Netflix skipped over the last disc) and One Night with the King with Luke Goss and Tiffany Dupont (excellent movie) and had to download the theme song, which I've been singing since last night. This morning I woke up at the usually early plumber's crack of dawn, checked email and then dove into Secrets of the Dead: Amazon Warrior Women and was instantly intrigued. I even quit multi-tasking. It's a great archaeological find and one that everyone with an interest in history, science and archaeology should see.
I just don't get the myopic misanthropes that have populated the sciences for generations (can't say centuries because this seems to be peculiarly modern in nature). Historians and scientists look at the past from a lofty pinnacle without ever once considering that what they call mythology and fiction are nothing less than the truth. Didn't Heinrich Schliemann burst that bubble when he used Homer's Iliad to find Troy? Evidently, the scientific and historic communities don't read their memos.
What arrogance to think that man has reached the zenith of human development and achievement with their technological marvels without considering what was written millennia ago -- a lot of millennia ago. The Sumerians knew more about the makeup of our solar system over 7000 years ago than NASA and its predecessors have discovered in the past fifty years. Although no one has been able to identify who Homer actually was or whether he was a construct, his stories have been handed down intact for thousands of years and everything he wrote appears to be true. And now the stories about the Amazons (Homer wrote about an Amazon warrior in the Iliad) are proving to be true and there is DNA evidence to show that their descendants continue to live a nomadic life. Guess Herodotus told more than fairy tales and confabulated facts after all. What's next? Is it possible Plato got it right when he wrote about Atlantis and the scientists tagged the wrong place in choose Thera for Atlantis by scaling everything down? Arrogance, plain and simple!
Historians and scientists discount anything that seems like a fairy tale and call it mythology when it may well be historical fact handed down, the names changes to fit the dialects and countries where the stories were carried. There are griots, living genealogies, throughout Africa who carry the names and wars and places of generations of history in oral tradition, and they're not just names, but the deeds and lives that connect to modern people. Alex Haley found that out for himself when he went looking for the origins of Kunta Kinte's tales of bolongs, family and a gold hunt that made it possible for his mother to wear a cow on her head. We may well find that the stories we call mythology are not prehistoric men creating tales out of the world around them to tell around the campfire in the night, but based in fact.
Modern men may have reached a zenith, but not the zenith. Civilizations and risen and succumbed to the weight of their own arrogance and decadence over and over throughout the history of this planet and just because we cannot find proof of their existence, doesn't mean they didn't exist. It could well be we are looking in the wrong place or these people lived such green lives that their remains are shrouded in the very makeup of this world.
One thing that intrigues me most about the PBS special is that no one mentioned the Siberian Ice Maiden. Her clothing and grave goods point to a women of wealth and position. She had a high peaked hat and was buried with six horses. Her clothing and her soft leather boots are very similar to those worn by the Amazons found in kurgans throughout the steppes in Eurasia. The fierce warrior women written about by Homer and Herodotus and ascribed to myth by historians did exist and the DNA and their own bodies and grave goods prove they were much taller than the norm 2500 years ago. What else might we find if we open our eyes and take off the academic blinders to embrace mythology and legends as truth?
There are several cults of warrior women throughout history, women who defied tradition and took up arms and fought against and side by side with men. They are not myth nor are they some feminine longing for control over one's life and the freedom to be more than chattel and property. They were real and now they are fact.
As for me, I am off on another bug hunt. I feel stories deep down bubbling toward the surface. They are a bare glimmer, but it won't be long before they step fully armed and realized into the light not like Athena from Zeus who had swallowed her pregnant Titan mother in order to prevent her birth because it was prophesied that any child born of Metis, Athena's Titan mother, would be greater than her father Zeus.