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Gilgamesh: Babylonian clay tablets older than the Bible

Gilgamesh: Babylonian clay tablets older than the Bible 86

For centuries, European students have been reading the ancient myths about Hercules and Odysseus , amazed at the exploits of the ancient heroes. Christians knew the story of the Old Testament strongman Samson, who tore lions to pieces with his bare hands. Artists wrote hundreds of canvases about these heroes, sculptors sculpted dozens of statues, but no one knew that both biblical and ancient heroes go back to the same character!

In 1849, British archaeologist Austin Henry Layard excavated the Middle East. He wanted to find evidence of the events described in the Old Testament. At that time, the Bible was believed to contain the oldest texts in the world. However, Layard’s excavations undermined this version. The stone tablets he found from the library of King Ashurbanipal in Nineveh turned out to be much older than the most ancient biblical texts.

The tablets were urgently copied and sent to England, where the best specialists of the British Museum took up the translation. It took many years, and the first more or less complete English version was ready only in 1870. The first to attract attention was the story of the global flood, which is very similar to the biblical one. In the tablets, the ancient immortal sage spoke of the flood to King Gilgamesh. The European scientific world has exploded, debating whether this event coincides with the biblical, and if so, whether it is possible to establish its date.

One of the tablets with the myths of Gilgamesh.
One of the tablets with the myths of Gilgamesh. Source:

Scientists tried to establish the time of the reign of Gilgamesh first. According to archaeological sources, it was possible to find out that such a king really existed. He ruled the city of Uruk in the 3rd millennium BC. In one of the texts found during excavations, it was possible to read that Gilgamesh built the walls of Uruk. This made it possible to somewhat narrow down the estimated years of life of the legendary king, but to establish them more accurately than “between 2800-2500 BC. e. ” failed.

Sumerian mythology: a bunch of heroes with creepy names

For non-historians, the myths about Gilgamesh are interesting. And not only because of the exciting adventures of the ancient king, but also because of his similarity with other famous heroes of antiquity. Gilgamesh was a two-thirds god and a terrible tyrant, actively practicing the right of the first night and driving people to meaningless work. The subjects of the cruel king prayed to all the gods for deliverance from such a ruler, and the heavenly rulers, after consulting, created a wild man Enkidu, “equal to Gilgamesh”. This mighty “Mowgli” lived in absolute harmony with nature. He had to be tamed with the help of the priestesses of the goddess of love, whom the savage did not attack. The tamed savage was explained that he must defeat the king and showed the way to Uruk.

The messenger of the gods arrived in the city and immediately grappled with Gilgamesh. After a long battle, the king won, but, recognizing the strength of his opponent, he invited him to become his friend and assistant. Suddenly, Enkidu agreed. To celebrate, the king offered to go to perform the feat – to kill the terrible demon Humbaba. The new friend was somewhat surprised at this turn of events, but nevertheless agreed.

Enkidu is a Sumerian sculpture.
Enkidu is a Sumerian sculpture. Source:

When Gilgamesh went to ask the blessings of his mother, the goddess Ninsun, she adopted Enkidu, making him the half-brother of the king himself. Having received their mother’s advice, Gilgamesh and Enkidu went to the forest where Humbaba lived. At the halt, the king had nightmares about rockfalls, terrible thunderstorms, wild bulls and giant fire-breathing birds. Enkidu optimistically interpreted them as predicting the coming success of the campaign.

Reaching the forest where Humbaba lived, the king was frightened when he saw a terrible giant, but Enkidu managed to restore his brother’s courage, and he rushed into battle. Even Gilgamesh’s strength was not enough to defeat the terrible demon. Then the god of justice and the sun, Shamash, watching what was happening, sent a hurricane to interfere with the huge Humbaba. When the king defeated the demon, he prayed for mercy, assuring him that he would become a loyal servant of Gilgamesh. Enkidu declared that he did not trust the demon and offered to finish him off, thereby strengthening his authority. And so they did.

The king, who returned with the head of a terrible monster, was honored as a hero. Even the goddess of love Ishtar became interested in Gilgamesh in every sense. But the king knew about her frivolity, so he immediately stopped all possible inclinations against him. The offended goddess went to her father, the supreme god Anu and begged him, sent the Heavenly Bull to Uruk, who set floods, trampled the fields and killed people. Gilgamesh and Enkidu defeated the monster, and without any divine help.

Gilgamesh fights the Heavenly Bull.  Sumerian bas-relief.
Gilgamesh fights the Heavenly Bull. Sumerian bas-relief. Source:

This overflowed the cup of heavenly patience, and the gods decided to kill Enkidu, who did not fulfill their will. The poor man immediately fell ill, and when he realized that the gods were to blame for this, he cursed them for 12 whole days. When Enkidu passed away, Gilgamesh was so grief-stricken that he refused to believe in his brother’s death until the first larva fell from the corpse’s nose.

The king arranged a funeral of the highest order. The whole city and the inhabitants of the surrounding villages were invited to the feast, the king himself shaved his head as a sign of mourning and prepared untold riches from his treasury to bury with Enkidu. For the grave, they even blocked the river, dug the grave at the bottom, buried it, and then let the water again so that the king’s brother would rest at the bottom, where no one could get to him.

After the death of his brother, the king realized that more than anything in the world he was afraid of his own death. Gilgamesh’s new goal was the search for immortality. For this, he decided to go to Utnapishtim, whom the gods granted immortality. On his way, he met lions, of which he made new clothes for himself, met two scorpion people, whom he persuaded to let him pass in peace, and walked a mountain path where the sun had never been. So he got to the ever-flowering Garden of the Gods.

Gilgamesh fights with lions.  Sumerian figurine.
Gilgamesh fights with lions. Sumerian figurine. Source: en.

To the wanderer’s surprise, Utnapishtim looked like an ordinary person. Gilgamesh tried to find out how he achieved immortality. The long-liver said that when the gods informed him of the flood and provided everything he needed to build the ark, he escaped with his family, workers and animals. As a reward for strictly following the instructions, when the flood ended, the gods granted him and his loved ones immortality. Gilgamesh continued to insist that there was still a secret of eternal life. Then the sage suggested that the hero try not to fall asleep for six days and seven nights: after all, sleep is a small death, but how he wants to overcome death if he cannot overcome sleep. Naturally, Gilgamesh did not cope with the test.

Before parting, the wife of Utnapishtim said that she had heard about a plant that does not give immortality, but can return youth once. Delighted, Gilgamesh set off on a new quest and even managed to find a magic flower. He did not use the plant right away, but decided to return to Uruk, study the miracle flower there and prepare an elixir of youth from it. On the way back, the king wanted to swim. While he was washing, the magic flower was eaten by a snake crawling by. She rejuvenated, shedding her skin, and crawled away. In frustrated feelings, Gilgamesh returned to his native Uruk, not knowing what to do next.

An endless story is a story whose end has not been found

This broke off the text that had been engraved on eleven stone tablets found by British archaeologists. Despite the fact that the twelfth also spoke of Gilgamesh, scholars believe that this is not a continuation of the epic, but a kind of “spin-off”: Gilgamesh again meets a living and healthy Enkidu. Together they travel to the afterlife to recover something stolen from the king. But because of the lost fragments, it is very difficult to understand which part of the story this fragment belongs to.

When the epic of Gilgamesh was translated and published in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it inspired many authors of a wide variety of genres – from fantasy to historical novels. The ancient character became the hero of anime and computer games. Even in Muslim countries, this story is very popular. For example, Saddam Hussein was a great lover of stories about the great king of the ancient Mesopotamia. Probably, the mustachioed tyrant of Iraq considered himself in some way the heir of Gilgamesh – the winner of everything.


Could the age of the “Cheops pyramid” be 237 thousand years old?

Could the age of the "Cheops pyramid" be 237 thousand years old? 91

Many of you have probably read the version that in the sizes and proportions of the Cheops pyramid, certain parameters of the Earth and secret knowledge of ancient civilizations are “encrypted”. Two or three centuries ago (including, for example, Isaac Newton), and many scientists of the XIX and XX centuries, still tried to decipher all these secrets. 

In particular, many have tried to determine the length, etc. “Sacred cubit” (“pyramidal cubit”) – measures of the length of the architects and builders of the pyramid, which supposedly was also the key to many of its secrets.

So, on the Internet you can find publications of modern popularizers, which assert, in particular, that the number obtained from dividing the length of the base of the Cheops pyramid by the length of this “pyramidal cubit” is very close to the average duration of the modern tropical year.

An interesting way of dating the age of the pyramid

The essence of this method is as follows: if the architects of the pyramid really encrypted in its proportions the duration of their year, then, given the slowing down of the Earth’s rotation, the age of the pyramid can be calculated. For example, if the length of the year at the time of the construction of the pyramid was 0.01 days less than in our time, then, knowing the rate of deceleration of the Earth’s rotation (1.8 milliseconds per 100 years), you can calculate when it was.

But don’t rush to the calculations! There are “pitfalls” (which, by the way, were not taken into account in this theory). 

The Earth not only slows down its rotation, but also increases in size

“Over time, the radius of the globe, surface area, and mass increase. And the larger the Earth becomes, the faster it grows. Empirically, according to various sources, an exponential law of the increase in the radius of the globe with time has been established. Currently, the Earth’s growth rate is at its maximum, and the Earth’s radius is increasing by at least 2 centimeters per year.”

VF Blinov – The Growing Earth: from planets to stars
Planet Earth is growing (picture from the above article)
Planet Earth is growing

It is also possible that tens or hundreds of thousands of years ago, the Earth’s radius increased faster than in our time (and could change even faster during the years of planetary catastrophes (like about 10 800 years ago BC).

Riddles of the “pyramidal elbow”: Isaac Newton and Khesi-Ra

But this means that the mysterious “pyramidal elbow” during the construction of the pyramid, if it was one ten-millionth part of the Earth’s radius (as many of its researchers believed), it was not from the current radius, but from the one that was many millennia (or even tens millennia), – during the construction of the pyramid. Some scientists understood this even in the 19th century. Thus, the well-known historian and educator James Bonwick (1811-1906) wrote in 1877 in his book:

“Isaac Newton wrote a work in Latin entitled” The sacred elbow of the Jews and the elbows of some peoples in which, according to the measurements of the greatest Egyptian pyramid, made by Mr. John Greaves, the ancient elbow of Memphis is established “, where, in particular, he noted that in the Ancient Egypt before the elbow length of 0.5 m, apparently, was preceded by another, longer length, which could be about 63.5 cm. “

And then James Bonwick writes about the book of the American scientific educator John Taylor “The Great Pyramid: Who Was It Built And For What Purpose?” (published in 1856), in particular:

“… Mr. Taylor confuses us with his assertion that the length of the (pyramidal) elbow before the Flood was 24.9 inches (63.25 cm), and after this catastrophe it began to be equal to 25 inches (63.5 cm .) and both the elbow, according to Mr. Taylor, were sent over … Mr. Taylor suggests that the Flood had on the world of such a devastating effect – although geologists and could not find at least one tangible evidence that a flood at all took place – that the diameter of the Earth has become smaller by almost 59.55 km in comparison with the antediluvian.”

Are there ancient Egyptian depictions of people with this mysterious “pyramidal elbow”? In addition to the chief priest of Heliopolis, the legendary Imhotep, another name is associated with the construction (or with the repair) of the pyramids under Cheops, perhaps less well-known, but no less great. 

Khesi-Ra, “the chief of doctors, the priest of Horus, the chief architect of the pharaoh, the Supreme chief of the ten of the South” – this is not a complete list of his regalia, known from the studies of his personal tomb, which has been preserved.

Khesi-Ra is considered by some, the main “designer” of the Great Pyramids (or, we add, the chief engineer for repair and restoration). Khesi-Ra knew the secrets of proportions, golden sections, according to which the pyramids were built.

The images on the panels-boards of Khesi-Ra (see figure below) represent a whole spectrum, a developed canon of golden sections – various measures that were used in the construction (or restoration) of the pyramids. These measures were associated not only with the golden sections, they also encrypted many of the knowledge of the priests of Upper and Lower Egypt.

The architect of the restoration of the pyramid under the Pharaoh Cheops Khesi-Ra with tools and a ruler - "elbow".  A cedar plaque depicting Hesi-Ra from his tomb (photo from the Wikipedia article "Hesyra", Author: Hesy-Ra_CG1426.jpg: User: GDK: James Edward Quibell († 5. Juni 1935) derivative work: JMCC1 (talk) - Hesy -Ra_CG1426.jpg, Public domain,
The architect of the restoration of the pyramid under the Pharaoh Cheops Khesi-Ra with tools and a ruler – “elbow”. A cedar plaque depicting Hesi-Ra from his tomb (photo from the Wikipedia article “Hesyra”, Author: Hesy-Ra_CG1426.jpg: User: GDK: James Edward Quibell († 5. Juni 1935) derivative work: JMCC1 (talk) – Hesy -Ra_CG1426.jpg, Public domain

But what was the length of the “pyramidal elbow” during the construction of the pyramids? So, a vicious circle? To calculate the length of the year of the construction time, encoded in the length of the pyramid base, you need to know the length of the “pyramidal cubit”, but this dina itself may depend on when the pyramid was erected!

Let’s take the bull by the horns!

And let’s proceed from the fact that the “pyramidal elbow” as a measure of length had to fit an integer number of times at least one (most likely in the “supporting”) base of the pyramid. In addition, most likely its length did not differ much from that which was accepted by many Egyptologists since the 19th century (and still) (in the book of James Bonwick, several more names are listed, except for Taylor). 

In general, the measure of length “cubit” in that century had not yet been forgotten in Europe: for example, in the physics textbook of 1831 (see the Wikipedia article “Elbow”), the lengths of the “cubit” are given in more than ten cities of Western Europe, and most of these ” cubits “has a length of 59 to 69 cm.

So, we are looking for a “pyramidal elbow” about 63 cm long, which fits an integer number of times into one of the four sides of the base of the pyramid. According to Wikipedia (article “Pyramid of Cheops”), their length is as follows: north – 230.253 m; south – 230.454 m; west – 230.357 m; east – 230.394 m. Note here also that the length of the lateral rib (initially): 230.33 m (according to calculations), according to the Wikipedia article “Pyramid of Cheops”.

It is logical to take the north side as the support one, and we will easily find that the 0.63083 m long “pyramidal elbow” fits along the length of the northern base … exactly 365 times! – A good start to storm this puzzle!

The next most important side of the pyramid is the eastern one. If only because the Sun and Sirius rise there (announcing the flood of the Nile). Then the average length of a year during the construction of the pyramid = 230.394 \ 0.63083 = 365.2235943.

What is the length of the tropical year in our century? In Wikipedia (in the article “Tropical Year”) we can see the following data (for 2000):

Between two March equinoxes: 365.242374 days

Between two June solstices: 365.241626 days

Between two September equinox% 365.242018 days

Between two December solstices: 365.242740 days

As you know, in Ancient Egypt, the New Year began in the summer (with the flooding of the Nile). Therefore, we must take the number in the second line (between the two June solstices), i.e. 365.241626 days.

The slowdown compared to the current average duration is 365.241626 minus 365.2235943 = 0.018031 days, or almost exactly 1558 seconds. Now remember that the rate of deceleration of the Earth’s rotation is 1.8 milliseconds per day every 100 years.

This means that every 100 years the duration of the tropical year increases by 0.0018 x 365.23 = 0.6574 seconds. Consequently, 1558 seconds run over 2369.94 centuries = 236,994 years … Well, by a round count, 237,000 years ago!

Conclusions and discussion of the result

So the Cheops pyramid was erected 237,000 years ago?

Note, however, that the accuracy of the proposed method depends very much on the accuracy of determining the initial lengths of the pyramid’s bases: with an average base length of about 230.36 meters, an error of 0.5 cm changes the result by about 100,000 years. In most sources, according to the sizes of the pyramids, they are indicated with an accuracy of a centimeter (in the Wikipedia article “Pyramid of Cheops” – up to a millimeter).

If we assume that the initial lengths are set with an accuracy of mm, then the error of our calculations would be about plus / minus 20,000 years, but rather we should focus on an error of 0.5 cm. So, with an accuracy of determining the initial base lengths of 0, 5 cm is more correct to say that the pyramid was erected within 137 – 337 thousand years ago. And this is provided that the deceleration of the Earth’s rotation throughout all these hundreds of thousands of years remained equal to about 1.8 ms / day per 100 years!

However, this is an interesting result. This period in the history of the Earth ( 137 – 337 thousand years ago ) is the emergence of the Cro-Magnons (and mitochondrial Eve) in South Africa, and then (about 100,000 years ago) their exit through the territory of present-day Egypt to Eurasia. In general, there is no doubt that the Cro-Magnons reached the territory of present-day Egypt from South Africa no later than the upper limit of the time of the pyramid erection, which we determined.

Pyramid of Cheops in the 19th century (photo from Wikipedia article "Pyramid of Cheops", Public domain,
Pyramid of Cheops in the 19th century (photo from Wikipedia article “Pyramid of Cheops”, Public domain

If we take into account our assumption that the Cro-Magnons were in fact the first Sumerians created by their masters (Anunnaki) to help in their work (mining in South Africa) – if we also take this into account, then we can put forward and version about the purpose of the creation of these pyramids, and that it was the Anunnaki who built them then.

But what can the western and southern bases of the pyramid show? I suppose that a calculation similar to the one carried out in the article on the western base will show the time of arrival of aliens on Earth (approximately 420,000 BC), and on the southern base (the longest, 230, 454 m), the calculation will show a certain boundary in the future, which the creators of the pyramid considered important for the Earth (for humanity, or for their stay here). 

Throughout its existence, the pyramid has probably been overhauled and restored several times (and maybe more often); last time in the third millennium BC, during the reign of Pharaoh Cheops.

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Archaeologists have discovered “unknown” constellations in an Egyptian temple

Archaeologists have discovered "unknown" constellations in an Egyptian temple 92
Previously unknown ancient Egyptian constellations found © Live Science

A team of scientists from Germany and Egypt, which carried out work in the ancient temple of Esna, found references to previously unknown ancient Egyptian constellations, but so far they cannot link them to existing ones.

In Egypt, archaeologists have discovered images of unknown constellations during the restoration of an ancient temple. This is reported by LiveScience.

Restoration work is being carried out in the 2,000-year-old temple by experts from Germany and Egypt. During the removal of soot and dust from the walls, drawings began to appear, with which the ancient Egyptians decorated the temple.

“The carvings and hieroglyphs look so vivid as if they were drawn yesterday. But we are not repainting anything, we are just removing the soot,” Christian Leitz says, professor of Egyptology at the University of Tübingen.

During the restoration, researchers cleaned up ancient carved scenes depicting constellations, including the Big Dipper and Orion. Scientists have also found previously unknown constellations, including a constellation called “Apedu n Ra” or “Geese of Ra”, which are the ancient Egyptian sun gods.

Archaeologists have discovered "unknown" constellations in an Egyptian temple 93

Mentioning these constellations, without depicting them, does not yet allow us to say which star clusters are in question.

The first modern description of a Greco-Roman temple in the city of Esna dates back to 1589, when it was visited by a Venetian merchant. The city of Esna, about 60 km south of the ancient capital of Luxor, used to have more temples. Two buildings were destroyed during the industrialization of Egypt, and the largest, the Temple of Esna, was used for storing cotton in the first half of the 19th century.

Archaeologists have discovered "unknown" constellations in an Egyptian temple 94

The sanctuary, which they decided to use as a warehouse, was prized for its location in the city center. Decades of desolation have left the temple dirty, covered in soot and bird droppings.

Archaeologists have discovered "unknown" constellations in an Egyptian temple 95

To date, only its vestibule remains from the temple. The large sandstone structure is supported by 24 columns, as well as 18 freestanding columns, decorated with paintings and carvings. It stretches 37 meters long, 20 meters wide and 15 meters high. But the remains of the temple are only a small fraction of its former size when it was built under the Roman emperor Claudius (reigned 41-54 AD). Scholars do not know what happened to the rest of the temple when a Venetian merchant visited it in the 16th century, little remained of the structure.

Archaeologists have discovered "unknown" constellations in an Egyptian temple 96

According to Leitz, the construction and decoration of the temple, including the astronomical drawings on the ceiling, could take about 200 years.

He notes that when the ancient Egyptians decorated the temple, they first drew with ink, creating sketches for carvers, and then colored the relief designs.

On the astronomical ceiling of the temple, many drawings have remained in ink, so they were found only during the restoration.

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A portrait of an alien? In Bulgaria, archaeologists have found a clay mask of an unusual shape

A portrait of an alien? In Bulgaria, archaeologists have found a clay mask of an unusual shape 97
Ancient mask resembles an alien (Photo: Bulgarian National Radio)

A prehistoric clay mask or figurine without a mouth dating back to the 5th millennium BC was found in the prehistoric settlement of Salt Pit in northeastern Bulgaria.

A whimsical mask or figurine without a mouth combines human and animal features and resembles an ” alien” from a science fiction movie, archaeologists are sure.

“ Many people compare him to … an alien in a space suit,” the Bulgarian National Radio said in a statement about the discovery.

A late Eneolithic mask was found on the Provadia-Solnitsata mound in northeastern Bulgaria, its shape is close to triangular. The front side protrudes forward and contains an image of a supposedly human face, while the back side is dented and rough in shape.

According to archaeologists, each of the two corners of the upper side of the prehistoric mask or figurine has a short protrusion, “probably stylized ears.” The figurine’s ears have small holes that were used to carry or hang the artifact.

“The artifact was most likely a status symbol hanging on a person’s chest. Interestingly, there is even a hint of mouth on the artifact. But the emphasis is on the eyes – their shape, size, and the vertical polished stripes underneath say much more,” the researchers said.

The head of the archaeological team, Professor Vasil Nikolov, told Bulgarian National Radio that there is no way to know for sure what exactly the 6,000-year-old clay mask or figurine might have been used for by prehistoric people.

Judging by the two holes in the stylized ears of the mouthless mask, it could be hanging on the wall or even being a potter’s vessel lid that could be raised or lowered with a string. According to him, the image on the mask of an ” alien” is a mixture of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic features and “is strongly associated with the masculine principle.”

Two furnaces from the Early Eneolithic ( Copper Age) were excavated at the mound of the Bazovets settlement in North-Eastern Bulgaria.

One of two prehistoric kilns dating back about 7,000 years, was first partially excavated in the 2019 archaeological season. However, during the last excavations of the Bazovets mound, it was completely exposed, and a second kiln from the same structure was discovered.

During the last excavations of the mound of the Bazovetsky settlement, 57 archaeological artifacts were discovered. These include items made of flint, animal bones, horns, and ceramics, including fragments of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines.

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