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American Indians have been telling the legend of the eruption of Mt. Mazama in Oregon the formed what is now Crater Lake National Park for 7,700 years, according to Logarithmic History.

A new paper claims that Australian Aborigines have kept alive the story of the formation of a few small volcanos in Budj Bim National Park near Melbourne for 37,000 years.

Australia is rather lacking in violent geology, so I guess even these small eruptions (so small that I can’t find a picture showing a recognizable volcano) might have made a lasting impression upon witnesses.

What other really old events stayed alive in human memory?

There are various theories that what is now the Black Sea was suddenly created by a flood from the Mediterranean Sea or from the Caspian Sea, inundating what had previously been nice low level land. Perhaps this hypothetical Black Sea Deluge is the origin of the stories of Noah’s Flood and/or Atlantis?

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  1. Ano says:

    True, Australia isn’t on the Pacific Rim of Fire, but still people died in the…

  2. Wait–if it predates development of writing, isn’t it prehistory? But then the title would need to be changed to ‘oldest prehistoric event that was passed down through continuous oral tradition as opposed to archaeological discovery’. But that is too long. Or do you really need writing to make it history or does oral tradition count? All I know is what I learned in 8th grade: writing=history.

    So that puts a bunch of things in a grey area. If oral tradition is OK, how accurate does the oral tradition have to be? I.e. did the Trojan war take place in history or prehistory? Is the Iliad accurate enough to consider it an oral tradition that makes it historic (not prehistoric)? Or is there too much mumbo jumbo tacked on about squabbling gods?

    I have also heard theories that the Great Flood story in Genesis and some other cultures may have originated from the sudden filling of the Black Sea ~8000 years ago, but that’s controversial.

    Anyway this is too hard to think about I need a nap.

    • Replies: @another anon
  3. Tony Tea says:

    The Oscars go on so long they feel like they predate history.

  4. Lagertha says:

    asteroid hitting Yucatan Peninsula….or asteroid hitting southern Arabic Peninsula.

  5. Lagertha says:

    ok, get it: Icelandic volcanoes acting up in 2016?

  6. Blankfein Wins Laughs With WASP Joke at UJA Wall Street Dinner

    “I was just re-upping my pledge,“ Blankfein opened, before delivering a joke about Dan Och that got the biggest laugh of the night.

    Seated next to each other on the dais at the New York Hilton Midtown, the two had apparently spent time catching up on their career moves — Blankfein departing Goldman Sachs and Och leaving his hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management to focus on his family office, Willoughby Capital.

    “I used to think of him by a firm with a different name, but now it’s Willoughby Capital,” Blankfein said. “So I think yet another Jew has changed his name trying to pass in a WASP-y world.”

    Lloyd Blankfein was the CEO of Goldman Sachs, from 2006 through 2018.

    Here’s a picture of him. With Ghislaine Maxwell (Epstein’s girlfriend and co-conspirator).

  7. Lot says:

    Yeah not buying the crater lake idea. Don’t you remember playing telephone as a kid? Injuns didn’t tell the same story for 7,700 years from father to son.

    More credible: the guy in 1865 who “recorded” the story actually made it up, or encountered an Indian who knew what a volcano does and took him for a ride.

    Possibly the first big historical event: the unification of Egypt around 3100BC. Going back more but vaguer: “Scorpion I ruled pre-dynastic Upper Egypt circa 3200BC.”

    • Agree: Futurethirdworlder
    • Replies: @Kyle
  8. Hail says: • Website

    The stories of Atlantis have a very long (implied) tradition. We have Plato citing Egyptian scholars of his time to the effect that Atlantis was a civilization vanished by then for millennia. The fall of Atlantis and dispersal of its survivors is dated to ca. 10,000 BC in Plato (and by Edgar Cayce, fwiw).

    Too bad we lost the library at Alexandria in its entirety:

    However, in 642 AD, when [Alexandria] was captured by Muslims, they burned all the books not related to Islam

    If we are taking Aborigines’ word for their story being x millennia old (attaching it to a dateable event x millennia old), how can we really exclude Atlantis as told by Plato via the pre-Islamic Egyptians?

  9. The Sahara was once green. Herodotus mentioned this, though it was long before his time.

  10. Anonymous[545] • Disclaimer says:

    Likely, it was the spread and dominance of organized religion which more or less erased ancient ‘folk memories’ passed on by oral tradition around the hearth.
    Of course it’s hard to tease out myth from legend, but likely in those old, old passed down tales, fragments of truth, real historical figures, and actual events were hidden.

    The effect of organized religion – in reality state control – was to crowd out and inhibit folkish traditions.

    • Replies: @HA
  11. Garlic says:

    There are theories about the time before the moon preserved in historical tradition.


  12. Long ago, four giant beings arrived in southeast Australia. Three strode out to other parts of the continent, but one crouched in place. His body transformed into a volcano called Budj Bim, and his teeth became the lava the volcano spat out.

    Yeah, human teeth sort of resemble volcanic lava coming out of a volcano during an eruption. Sounds legit.

    >Extinct volcano crater looks like an open mouth.
    >Rock outcroppings at the rim of the crater look like the teeth of the mouth.
    >Abos think “hey, that crater looks like an open mouth, see, those rocks even look like teeth”.
    >Abos make story about how mountain is a giant and the crater part is his mouth and the rock outcroppings are his teeth.
    >White scientist says that giant’s teeth in legends represent the red hot lava expelled from volcanoes during eruptions.
    >Ergo, the Abos witnessed the volcano erupting.

    • Agree: West Reanimator
  13. Anonymous[285] • Disclaimer says:

    Dragons. The idea that most of the different cultures on earth all invented the same creature to satisfy some psychological deficiency is insane. Especially since we put dragon bones in museums and call them dinosaurs.

    Humans and dragons walked the earth together.

  14. Would you consider cave paintings to be documentation of history?

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  15. Some say the book of Job is the oldest piece of literature extant. I think it was Velikovsky who claimed the narrative contained historical information concerning a global catastrophe.

    But he was just some old crank.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  16. Not really historical, but given what we know about the coexistence of modern Homo sapiens sapiens with other species of humanity (Neanderthals, Denisovans, the fossils of those little dudes they found in Indonesia) could it be possible that myths of elves, dwarfs, ogres, etc. are part of modern humanity’s memory of our extinct genetic cousins?

  17. It’s close between Emmett Till and redlining, but pretty sure it’s redlining.

    • Replies: @Ron Mexico
    , @Mr McKenna
  18. @Anonymous

    Arthur C. Clarke more or less raised that point in his seminal sci-fi work, “Childhood’s End”. I think women’s perennial sense of having been microaggressed by men – think toilet seats, etc. – may predate all other recorded events, though . . . perhaps even having a genomic marker. The Eve gene.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @Dave Pinsen
  19. @NJ Transit Commuter

    Not quite. Because those creatures are charming, sympathetic & the size of a mushroom.

  20. @Adolph Oliver Busch

    Job may be the one of the earliest pieces of literature, but not in the current edition.—not-merely-a-babylonian-jo/

    The Ludlul-Bel-Nimeqi is a Babylonian poem which chronicles the lament of a good man suffering undeservedly. Also known as `The Poem of the Righteous Sufferer’, the title translates as “I will praise the Lord of Wisdom”. In the poem, Tabu-utul-Bel, age 52, an official of the city of Nippur, cries out that he has been afflicted with various pains and injustices and, asserting his own righteous behavior, asks why the gods should allow him to suffer so. In this, the poem treats the age old question of `why do bad things happen to good people’ and the poem has thus been linked to the later Hebrew composition The Book of Job. No scholarly consensus exists on a date for the writing of Job (nor, for that matter, when the story related is supposed to have taken place) but many point to the 7th, 6th, or 4th centuries BCE as probable while Ludlul-Bel-Nimeqi dates to c. 1700 BCE. The Babylonian poem was probably inspired by the earlier Sumerian work, Man and His God (composed c. 2000 BCE) which, according to Samuel Noah Kramer, was written “for the purpose of prescribing the proper attitude and conduct for a victim of cruel and seemingly undeserved misfortune”

    • Replies: @Desiderius
  21. Anonymous[138] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    As Freeman Dyson points out global warming if true would make the Sahara green again.

    Better weather in Siberia, too

    • Replies: @Anonymouse
  22. @SimpleSong

    So that puts a bunch of things in a grey area. If oral tradition is OK, how accurate does the oral tradition have to be? I.e. did the Trojan war take place in history or prehistory? Is the Iliad accurate enough to consider it an oral tradition that makes it historic (not prehistoric)? Or is there too much mumbo jumbo tacked on about squabbling gods?

    Troy was real place, big city that was destroyed in big war. How much “historical truth” is in the story of this war descibed in Iliad?

    Compare The Song of the Nibelungs

    with actual history of the Hunnic wars.

    Compare mythical Etzel and historical Attila, mythical Dietrich of Bern and historical Theodoric the Great. The story of Troy and Trojan war from Iliad is going to be about as much accurate.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  23. @Anonymous

    Western dragons (evil fire breathing lizards), Chinese dragons (wise and good luck bringing water lizards) and African dragons (big snakes) are absolutely not the same.

  24. There’s also an aborigine story which seems to be about the formation of the Great Barrier Reef, ten thousand years ago:

    So even if the volcano story is implausible, the aborigines might still win this contest.

  25. Australian academics are notoriously prone to accept naively whatever contemporary Aborigines tell them about ancient Aborigines.

    A recent fraud in this line is a supposed work of history called Dark Emu, written by a white man who claims falsely to be part-Aboriginal. The scholarly left (if that is not an oxymoron), government institutions and all right-thinking people praise it as a work of genius. But it has been exposed as a combination of exaggeration, invention and fantasy, all presented as documented fact.

    I wouldn’t believe anything on the topic of ancient Aboriginal stories unless it was actually recorded at least 100 years ago – well before the wholesale corruption of scholarship by political activism.

    • Agree: Colin Wright
    • Replies: @silviosilver
    , @J James
    , @JRB
  26. @Garlic

    Lew has a taste for dissenting viewpoint that extends beyond solid journalism to the loony.

  27. @JohnnyWalker123

    Yeah, I’m sure a few token “WASPs” makes the world he lives in seem terribly annoying. I think 50% white is enough to qualify as “Lilly-white” in the NYTs. Greater than 60% white, therefore, is described as “overwhelmingly white”.

  28. @NJ Transit Commuter

    That’s the thesis of Danny Vendramini’s book, Them+Us. The universal folk tales of big, hairy, malevolent creatures that live in the forest and eat little children are our collective memory of Neanderthals.

    It’s an intriguing book.

  29. @Desiderius

    It goes back further to the famous Willie Lynch speech on the banks of the James.

  30. Polynikes says:

    Wouldn’t that date back to the thawing of the last ice age? Which is where I thought the great flood stories were thought to originate. I had read that there are those great flood stories in many, previously unconnected, cultures all across the globe, so therefore it is possible they all trace back to one global event/period.

    • Replies: @Magic Dirt Resident
    , @Hail
  31. @Hail

    Well, how much diversity power does Plato have and how much do the Aborigines have?


    • Agree: Hail
  32. slumber_j says:

    The notion that latter-day Wall St. is a WASPy world is about as rich as things get.

    • Agree: Hail
  33. @Anonymous

    Humans and dragons walked the earth together.

    Wrong. Dragons walked and flew, and humans ran the hell away as fast as they could!

  34. They say that the story of the great flood near the Red Sea was about Mother Gaia having her last menstrual cycle. She has been in menopause ever since, causing our current stable conditions in the tropopause.

    Some say that is just revisionist Herstory though.

  35. CPK says:

    Alternative theory: Early Genesis is based on the refilling of the Persian Gulf when sea levels rose at the end of the last Ice Age. The area would have been an extremely fertile river plain fed by the Tigris, Euphrates, Karun and Wadi-Al-Batin.

    Lost paradise, flood, conflicts between pastoralism and agriculture (Cain/Abel) — it’s not TOO much of a stretch. Biblical toponyms provide some support for this; e.g. there are references to “Kush” that can’t be the African kingdom of that name, but which make sense if it’s modern Khuzhestan (the area around the Karun river) in southwestern Iran.

    • Replies: @Dmon
  36. @Richard of Melbourne

    I had to read “Wild Cat Falling” in high school. I can’t remember whether I thought it was any good or not, but I can remember my heart sinking when I saw the author’s name – “Mudrooroo” – and being certain it was going to be worthless Abo crap. (As if there wren’t a thousand better English novels we could have been reading instead.)

    I was delighted to learn a few years later that the author had been exposed as a white with no Aboriginal ancestry. To have the peerless achievements of British civilization as part of your cultural inheritance and to swap it all out for a fakeass Abo identity? People like him may as well be a different species, as far as I’m concerned. And yet this attitude – if not the actual deceptive practice – is so damn common among Australian leftards!

    • Replies: @Gordo
  37. @Paul Mendez

    The problem I have with these explanations is that they seem to suggest that there’s no way humans would have invented trolls, ogres, what have you, simply through the imagination. But why? Surely they don’t think science fiction stories are derived from actual contact with space aliens.

    • Agree: Thea
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    , @Lars Porsena
  38. @Bardon Kaldian

    Sounds like almost exactly the present version. Don’t miss the sarcasm (pain, foreshadowing the Cross) in God’s voice when finally forced to answer Job. That’s no doubt in the original itself, since any father can readily recognize it.

  39. @silviosilver

    False dichotomy. There are no surviving tales of space aliens from antiquity, for instance. Imagination ex nihilo isn’t a thing. For mere men.

    • Replies: @Thea
    , @El Dato
  40. Thea says:

    It was when Nemesis last visited the solar system. The sun’s evil dwarf twin drove the dinosaurs to extinction.

  41. Many now believe that humans in the American northwest witnessed massive glacial flooding at the end of the ice age. Maybe not the earliest but damn cool.

    A related topic is that the fairies of Europe were real, but they died out as the industrial revolution and railroads brought them into contact with iron and steel

  42. Thea says:

    China has far fewer alien sightings reported than the West. What do aliens have against Chinese people?

  43. El Dato says:

    Well, Plato’s story is either apocryphal or he was reminiscing about the exploded Santorini.

    Late Bronze Age eruption, was a major catastrophic volcanic eruption with a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 6 or 7 and a dense-rock equivalent (DRE) of 60 km3 (14 cu mi), Dated to the mid-second millennium BCE, the eruption was one of the largest volcanic events on Earth in recorded history.

    That IS going to leave some marks, especially if the center of the Minoean civilization is wiped out.

    The *may* also burnt by Julius Caesar in ’48.

    It sadly declined thereafter and get really ripped by Romans in 297.

    OTOH, the burning of whatever was left/had been reconstituted 600 years later by Muslims is disputed:

    I mean, Muslims like to collect too, no need to go all Martin Luther on the scrolls.

  44. I have heard the Younger Dryas event may have flooded the Med as well as the Black sea. As far as the global flood myth goes, there’s your ticket. When the glaciers melted around 10,000BC there really was a global flood of a size that caused the oceans to overflow and rise 50′, putting whole subcontinents under water. And all that water was inland and had to make it’s way out to sea, so even places far from the (new) coast would have seen massive flooding.

    Also Plato said his Atlantis myth happened 9,000 years before him, 9.4kBC so he pretty much nailed the factual, historical time of the global flood at the end of the ice age as the time of his myth.

    • Replies: @Cybele
  45. El Dato says:

    Dinosaurs are NOTHING like dragons.

    Here is a dragon:

    The idea that most of the different cultures on earth all invented the same creature to satisfy some psychological deficiency is insane.

    I dunno. They are the things in the dark that come after you. Pretty standard.

    Humans and dragons walked the earth together.

    Well, that’s impossible. However, proto-humans who looked like mice certainly wandered around the Big Beast’s droppings. Maybe there is some old pattern recognition that’s hardcoded-in? It would certainly explain why people don’t like spiders, which are not small relative to the mammal’s body.

  46. El Dato says:

    Imagination ex nihilo isn’t a thing.


    • Replies: @Desiderius
  47. Not all that long ago, about 1500 BC, but the eruption of Santorini was a definite event that roiled the ancient world and is embedded in various myths, and there is still steam rising from the site. It may well have caused the darkness and other plagues mentioned as the plagues of Egypt in the Bible as well as giving rise to the myth of Atlantis.

  48. @Paul Mendez

    One of my pet theories. Not just neaderthals but all of us. Giants and dwarves for instance, are completely real. Dwarves are real (midgets), and if you look at the world from the perspective of the dwarves that means giants are real too (midgets also pass on stories).

    And in a time of greater hominid diversity there was probably more isolation so a clan of hereditary midgets would be uniformly small and then one day they run into a clan with hereditary Marfan’s syndrome that are all 7′ tall.

    For sure the midget and the basketball player both go home sure that giants and gnomes are legit real. And with greater isolation a lot of weird genetic mutations could fix themselves in different small populations, even within H. Sapiens, you have the same as whatever dynamics allowed different hominid species.

    Not just the neaderthals but stuff like Floriensis too, H. Floriensis I think was rarely above 3′ tall, imagine being a full sized sailor and landing on that island, no one would believe you when you got home. And the ones who did would go there try to steal gold from them.

  49. Jack D says:

    There are also theories that maggots spontaneously generate from rotting meat and historical traditions that the earth sits on the back of a giant turtle. Some theories and traditions are just plain wrong. Their is ample geological evidence that the moon has been orbiting the earth for much much longer than man has been around. For longer than there has been life on earth period.

  50. Some think Greek legends of Hyperborea are cultural memories of the Indo-Aryan homeland

    • Replies: @S. Anonyia
  51. Jack D says:
    @another anon

    Exactly. I was going to say the same thing wrt Chinese vs Western dragons. When Westerners first saw the Chinese depictions of what the Chinese call a long, they gave it the same name as a Western mythical creature but they are two completely different things that are associated with diametrically opposed elements – fire vs water, evil vs good. Even the pictorial depictions are quite different – a Chinese dragon looks like a snake with short little lizard feet and no wings. A Western dragon usually has bat wings and muscular legs. They literally could not be more different – the only thing that they share is a name

    There is a long tradition, both in Europe and in China, of many other mythical creatures beside the dragon/long, many of which possess anatomies or attributes that are physically impossible, meaning that they never existed or could have existed. Some of them can be explained by people seeing things that they really did not see – a two horned animal viewed in profile may look like a unicorn. A horse with a rider in the distance may look like a centaur. Etc.

  52. dearieme says:

    There’s no sign in any part of Europe that there was any folklore about the neolithic and Bronze Age clearance of the wildwood that survived into the era of writing (so far as I know).

    The Irish annals that purport to be about the Bronze Age and pre-Christian Iron Age seem to be bogus, mere medieval inventions.

    The Indo-Europeans who invaded India seemed to preserve no stories about their ancestors’ time living on the Steppes of Russia.

    There is one Scottish folk tale that I’ve heard attributed to the Bronze Age. But I’ve also seen it attributed to the Dark Ages and to medieval times. My money is on the latter.

    Anyway, with the Abos and Injuns I’d start looking for genetic or archaeological evidence that the chaps who live there now are descended from the people who lived there at the time of the occurrences.

    Classic example: whoever it was who wrote the Old Testament yarns about Moses and Joshua clearly had no idea that at their purported times Palestine was ruled by Egypt, so that it wouldn’t be a refuge from Egyptian rule.

    • Replies: @strocky
  53. orionyx says:

    The skeleton of a dragon is etched into a rock somewhere in Namibia, and can be clearly seen from the air. I saw a picture once, but I’ve lost track of it and can’t find it. When you see it, you will recognize it as a dragon; but you will also recognize it as the imprint of a massive lightning bolt.
    I would be much obliged if anyone who has ever seen this picture can point me at it.

    • Replies: @Walnut
  54. Jack D says:

    the Black Sea was suddenly created by a flood from the Mediterranean Sea or from the Caspian Sea, inundating what had previously been nice low level land.

    This is not quite the theory. The theory is that there was already a large freshwater lake there but that the level of the Mediterranean (or Caspian) rose higher and turned the lake salty (and much larger).

    Now in modern times, the Salton Sea in California was created in a similar way, but as a result of a man made accident. In both cases, the emphasis is on “low level”. The surface of the Salton Sea is (currently) 236 feet BELOW sea level. Any time you have a low spot on earth like that, it’s going to fill up with water at various times (and to various depths and various levels of brackishness). Such lakes/seas tend to be shallow and flat bottomed and so a small change in depth can mean a big change in shoreline. Over a long (and sometimes even short) period of time, such areas fill up with water, then dry up, then get filled up again, etc.

    • Replies: @Woodsie
  55. The weird thing about Flood Myths is that they appear to be near universal and appear to have a a coherent structure: a flood comes out and washes away the wicked (who have sinned against a good but vengeful God).

    How did the same story become effectively universal in pre-history?

    The story of Noah may be part of the Abrahamic canon, but the legend of the Great Flood almost certainly has prebiblical origins, rooted in the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia. The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh dates back nearly 5,000 years and is thought to be perhaps the oldest written tale on the planet. In it, there is an account of the great sage Utnapishtim, who is warned of an imminent flood to be unleashed by wrathful gods. He builds a vast circular-shaped boat, reinforced with tar and pitch, that carries his relatives, grains and animals. After enduring days of storms, Utnapishtim, like Noah in Genesis, releases a bird in search of dry land.

    Yet tales of the Flood spring from many sources. Myriad ancient cultures have their own legends of watery cataclysm and salvation. According to Vedic lore, a fish tells the mythic Indian king Manu of a flood that will wipe out humanity; Manu then builds a ship to withstand the epic rains and is later led to a mountaintop by the same fish. An Aztec story sees a devout couple hide in the hollow of a vast tree with two ears of corn as divine storms drown the wicked of the land. Creation myths from Egypt to Scandinavia involve tidal floods of all sorts of substances — including the blood of deities — purging and remaking the earth.


    —- another ancient historical “event” could be the predation of archaic homo sapiens by Neanderthals. Danny Vendramini suggests a likeness of our former predator (Neanderthals) was encoded into the human genome during our evolutionary past.

    It is this innate ‘predator recognition’ module that is subliminally expressed in art, myths, movies and legends.

    eg Yetis, Big Foot, unstoppable bogeymen etc etc

    See images here:

  56. There are a number of flood myths that date back to around 10-12,000 BC when a supposed asteroid impacted various continental glaciers. I might be wrong on which glacier was destroyed but inundation would have wiped out many coastal civilizations as sea levels rose precipitously. Nanodiamonds are being discovered all over that indicate asteroidal impacts.

    Just found the wiki – Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis –

    Randal Carlson does a lot of work in the scablands of the US indicating that glacial dams breaking and flooding would have caused considerable flooding as well. Also worth noting the work of DE Santillana and Hamlet’s Mill about myths coding all kinds of information including natural disasters and astrological observations.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  57. Woodsie says:
    @Jack D

    The cataclysm that destroyed Atlantis and is remembered in Genesis was the melting of the ice caps, and it is the Black Sea which was flooded, the land bridge at Asia Minor breached by the suddenly enormous Mediterranean.
    Were advanced civilizations living on a green Sahara and in island nations at sea?
    The Flood is the beginning of time, no matter what may have come before.

  58. syonredux says:

    The stories of Atlantis have a very long (implied) tradition. We have Plato citing Egyptian scholars of his time to the effect that Atlantis was a civilization vanished by then for millennia

    There is no “Atlantis legend.” Plato made it up.

    • Disagree: Hail
  59. Art Deco says:

    See Rupert Furneaux. The legend of Atlantis corresponds satisfactorily to what is known of Minoan civilization.

  60. @Polynikes

    Atlantis was located on Antarctica. It “collapsed” when the ice age hit and they had to disperse into the rest of the world.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  61. syonredux says:
    @another anon

    RE: untangling actual historical events and personages from myth and legend,

    Obviously, it’s pretty damn tough. In most cases (THE ILIAD, the Pentateuch, etc), we simply lack the proper controls (literary sources written down at a time reasonably close to the events in question). Hence, we have to rely on a combination of archaeology plus intuition.Was a city sacked at roughly the proper time? Does a given individual appear to be based on a real person?

    The SONG OF THE NIBELUNGS, though, is a much easier job. It quite clearly grows out of accounts of the Fall of the Kingdom of the Burgundians in AD 436 and the death of Attila after his marriage to the Germanic princess Ildikó in AD 453.Note, though, how the narrative scrambles the actual chronology for the sake of a good story.In The Nibelungenleid, Kriemhild (the Ildikó-figure) marries Attila before the Fall of the Burgundians, and Flavius Aetius (the Roman who actually was responsible for the destruction of the Burgundian Kingdom) is nowhere to be seen.And Dietrich of Bern (aka Theodoric the Great) is inserted into the tale, despite the fact that Dietrich/Theodoric was born after Attila’s death ( Theodoric: 454 – August 30, 526)

    As for Siegfried, the narrative’s central hero, he is obviously pure myth. Someone simply decided to insert this legendary dragon-slayer into the story of the Nibelungs because it seemed like a good idea.

    As this shows, epics are stories, not histories.And story-tellers are interested in what makes a good story.So, take a real event (the fall of the Burgundians) and then toss in whatever will add spice to the tale: Attila! Siegfried! Dragons! People (e.g., Theodoric) who weren’t even alive yet! etc, etc,.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    , @Crawfurdmuir
  62. syonredux says:

    And, while we’re at it, let’s use the lessons learned from The Nibelungenlied and apply them to The Iliad and The Pentateuch.


    Historical kernel: The Sack of Troy (Troy VIIa, circa 1190 BC)

    Actual Historical Personages: ? Perhaps Paris, seeing as how the Hittite archives refer to an Alaksandu or Alaksandus (Paris is also called Alexander in The Iliad). Unfortunately, this possible prototype for Paris was a grown man circa 1280 BC (cf the treaty with Muwatalli II ), which indicates the kind of temporal scrambling that we saw in The Nibelungenlied (e.g., Theodoric being alive before he was born, the marriage of a Germanic princess occurring before the Fall of the Burgundians instead of after, etc).

    Other possibilities: Maybe Agamemnon? He seems like the kind of great King figure who might have been remembered in song, and Mycenae (his palace) was an important Mycenaean citadel.But that’s sheer speculation on my part.

    Clearly fictional: Achilles.Also Odysseus. Also Helen.Also, etc.


    Historical Kernel: ? Maybe the expulsion of the Hyksos?People have been toying around with this notion since Josephus. The problem, of course, is that the Hyksos were rulers of Egypt, not slaves. So, if this is the kernel, then it is a massively distorted folk memory with no historical value.Plus, the narrative of the conquest of Canaan bears no relationship to what the archaeologists have unearthed.

    Actual Historical Personages: ? Seemingly none.Tellingly, the Pharaoh is unnamed, a pretty good sign that he is a stock character and not modeled on a real person.

    Clearly Fictional: Pretty much everybody: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, etc. Frankly, we probably don’t encounter real people until we get to Samuel and Saul and the United Monarchy.And by real people I mean real people like King Arthur or Dietrich of Bern, the Germanic epic version of Theodoric the Great. In other words, legendary figures who are very loosely based on real people. So, if David lived, he probably bears little to no resemblance to the figure that we meet in Samuel and Kings.

  63. Whiskey says: • Website

    Atlantis was likely the Doggerland banks. Inhabited low lying fens and marshes in the North Sea between England and the Netherlands. Fell into the ocean after an undersea landslide. Around 12000 BC of so.

  64. Wency says:
    @another anon

    Have you ever seen those medieval drawings of elephants and rhinos? They’re way off to a comical degree but still have a few unmistakable similiarities to the real thing. You can figure out what they’re going for.

    Same thing with Chinese dragons. The thematic similarities are unmistakable, even if there are huge differences. And clearly the baseline dragon motif is more serpentine, as this was also the Western image of the dragon before the middle ages.

    So I think it’s entirely plausible that there is some common origin, if it’s some original set of shared legends, or just the human tendency towards ophidiophobia.

    • Replies: @Alice
  65. Hail says: • Website

    Plato’s dating of Atlantis to the period we now know as the End of the Ice Age, and therefore to one of the great re-orderings of Mankind upon the face of the Earth, is at least intriguing.

    There is no way Plato, or the Egyptians, or the specific caste that was thee keepers of the Alexandria library flame (extinguished by Islam), could have known about the Ice Age as we understand it, much less its dating. If they made it up, they randomly chose a date to assign to Atlantis that aligns with the end of the Ice Age.

    The wild theory of a 10,000 BC Atlantis has some possibly support but one must be pretty flexible. The recent backward-revisionism of the age of some of the pyramids is also sometimes talked about.

    • Replies: @Polynikes
    , @Lars Porsena
  66. Wilkey says:

    I suspect that the more boring your locale is, thanks to absence of large civilizations and the wars and other drama they cause, the more likely the major events will survive in oral history. The draining of much of ancient Lake Bonneville through the Red Rock Pass, about 15,000 years ago, is one that might have survived, but it probably happened just before any Indians arrived on the scene to witness it.

    OTOH, the Black Sea has an average depth of about 4,100 feet, so it seems unlikely that it would have been dry land. It seems possible that the story of Noah’s Ark has some basis in history (minus Noah, and the ark) but the creation of the Black Sea? Hmmm.

    • Replies: @segundo
  67. Alice says:

    I believe several noteworthy archaeologists have stated it was the eruption of a volcano at Santorini/Thera in about 1600 BC that they think is the myth of Atlantis told through the ages to Plato. Chinese records substantiate a global cooling and dim sun that cratered one of their dynasties at that time. radiocarbon dating if thr submerged Minoan site etc puts that as the time period, and so Plato may have been off by a zero.

    But the number of flood myths from Gilgamesh to Egyptian myth to greek and the Bible, coupled with study of Indo-European language puts the flood at 7000 BC i think..

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  68. Alice says:

    when I was recently studying some excellent Modern Scholar and Great courses tapes on Ancient Greece /archaeo6 of the Trojan war, etc. i heard a question that I wished i had been smart enough to ask: why did Agamemnon’e place have statues of lions? how did they know what lions looked like?

    The answer was lions and all sorts of other big game roamed around southern Europe, and yes, even lions! So they’d have lots of examples to form art from.

    So the story of Heracles going around and killing all these terrible monsters may be a metaphor for civilization forming, but it may also be the truth, exaggerated, by still true, just as the Trojan war really happened.

    And if lions, why not dragons? Why do multiple cultures have words for them if they didn’t exist? And why do multiple families have crests for their bravery in slaying dragons? they must have slayed something…

    • Replies: @I Have Scinde
  69. Don’t know about Noah, but there are inundated cities way out into the Black Sea north of Asia Minor. There are also human settlements under the English Channel. Skindivers been digging them up of late.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
  70. @Desiderius

    No way dude, those happened just last week.

  71. G. Poulin says:
    @Paul Mendez

    I suspect. a bit of old-fashioned projection was going on there. More likely, the Sapiens invaders murdered the relatively harmless Neanderthals (and even ate their children), then proceeded to demonize the Neanders who were no longer around to give their version of the story.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  72. @syonredux

    True! See “Lost Continents” by L. Sprague de Camp.

    • Agree: syonredux
    • Replies: @syonredux
  73. @The Alarmist

    Maybe not history, but art history? Why not?

  74. @another anon

    C’mon man, everyone knows that metallic dragons are the good ones and chromatic the evil.

    Next you’ll be telling me that Lord Gygax (PBUH) wasn’t Western. Sheesh.

  75. J James says:
    @Richard of Melbourne

    I agree appropriate scepticism is required here but I suggest at least look at the paper. To me it seems to follow credible academic standards in terms of acknowledging the issues with source material:
    “All the stories discussed below were collected from informants and written down following sustained European contact in 1788 and, while it is impossible to demonstrate a
    lack of recorder bias, this was a time when…”

    I think Dark Emu, while an interesting theory, was clearly a one sided piece of scholarship. It made a very strong claim and then looked only for evidence in favour of its thesis and not against. I’d say its part a definitional issue. He wanted to use the word ‘agriculture’, where as evidence really pointed to ‘land management’. As far as Pascoe’s aboriginality, the truth is hard to prove so you should be more cautious. He certainly has physical features that lend credence to his claim, unlike many of those ‘white aboriginals’ receiving grants who don’t even look the tiniest bit aboriginal.

  76. “Australia is rather lacking in violent geology”

    What is violent in Australia slithers and crawls over the earth. Example: the funnel web spider, a man-killer that conveniently makes its habitat in the Sydney suburbs. Backyard BBQs for Aussies can turn quickly sinister if the funnel web is in attack mode. And this spider has a long memory: it can track its intended prey across great distances.

  77. @Alice

    The Flood was a celestial event. The asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter is what remains of a planet that was destroyed in a galactic civil war between two advanced species: the Atlanteans who created humanity and their nemesis, the Reptilians, who created blacks. Also, Earth’s moon is artificial.

  78. Jack D says:
    @Joe Stalin

    The first clip is deceptive. The Phonautograph was a device that turned the wave forms of sound into a pen trace like a seismograph (the needle scratched away at soot covered paper). There was no way (at the time) of playing it back (meaning that the device was basically useless). Only using modern digital techniques does it become possible to reconstruct the sound from the paper tracing. So even though this sound was recorded in 1860, it was not played back until recently.

    Edison was the first (in 1877) to invent a device that could record sound AND PLAY IT BACK – in other words something that was actually useful.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  79. @Magic Dirt Resident

    Atlantis was a planet between Mars and Jupiter that was blown up eons ago during the war between the Atlanteans and the reptilian species that created blacks. The Antarctic event you describe was the destruction of the capital city of the Elder Things who came into conflict with the star-god Cthulhu and its Mi-go allies. This war turned Earth into a planetary haunted house.

    • Replies: @Servant of Gla'aki
  80. Svevlad says:

    If that Solutrean hypothesis is correct, then the flood myth comes from America, as the ice sheet collapsed, resulting in a continent-sized flash flood. After that, the original inhabitants scattered across the world, spreading the information

  81. HA says:

    “The effect of organized religion – in reality state control – was to crowd out and inhibit folkish traditions.”

    One man’s organized religion is another man’s folkish tradition. I’m not sure how one divides the two except to reinforce some pre-existing bias. Christianity, for example, came to be the dominant religion in the Roman Empire even before Constantine decided to stop prosecuting it — i.e. in those preceding centuries when “state control” consisted of dispossessing Christians of property and occasionally feeding them to lions.

    Moreover, Christianity is itself chock full of folkish traditions, some of them dating back to pre-Christian times. To the extent it crowded out and inhibited folkish traditions, it introduced a whole bunch of others — ask any Sicilian or Irishman about that. And Christianity is hardly anomalous in that respect. You’re going to try and tell me that Judaism has managed to “crowd out and inhibi” folkish traditions among, say, the Hasids?

    • Agree: Desiderius
  82. @Anonymous

    Why? Hotter is usually dryer, so wouldn’t make the desert green.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  83. strocky says:

    …that at their purported times Palestine was ruled by Egypt, so that it wouldn’t be a refuge from Egyptian rule.

    On the other hand, nowhere in Palestine corresponds to Mt. Sinai, so perhaps the Promised Land was elsewhere.
    The Canaanites may have been Giants, perhaps that’s why the hebrews were forbidden to intermarry with them?

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @Jack D
  84. @syonredux

    Plato made up philosophical short-stories featuring Socrates. For example, Plato made up the last words of Socrates at death in the Phaedo to fit the storyline of that dialogue. For an explanation of what Socrates’ last words mean, and why Plato invented them, see

  85. Kyle says:

    Stories with good plots tend to remain intact. Some of the details may get fuzzy but we more or less understand that Odysseus went on a grand adventure. Beowulf killed grendel. The hook man escaped from a mental hospital and spooked teenagers getting down to some hanky panky business in their cars.

  86. nymom says:
    @Paul Mendez

    There was reference in literature about Alexander the Great’s army coming upon creatures who some thought later might have been Neanderthals…

    They were given some food and water then went on their way…

  87. strocky says:

    Australia is rather lacking in violent geology, so I guess even these small eruptions (so small that I can’t find a picture showing a recognizable volcano)

    The Glasshouse Mountains in Queensland?
    These are just the cooled lava plugs left after the mountain exploded.
    The 37,000 years is the real issue. Is that proven beyond any doubt, or is it another example of Scientific Lies being accepted because Go Along to Get Along?

  88. @Bard of Bumperstickers

    I think Clarke was kind of embarrassed by that book in his later years.

  89. @SunBakedSuburb

    The Antarctic event you describe was the destruction of the capital city of the Elder Things who came into conflict with the star-god Cthulhu and its Mi-go allies.

    Imagine, thinking one could safely pollute the internet with this blasphemous revisionism, and just supposing one wouldn’t thus be endlessly tormented in one’s dreams!

  90. zimriel says:

    Peter James’s ‘The Sunken Kingdom’ still holds up, I think. Atlantis was the story of, literally, Atlas shrugging. This event meant earthquakes and tsunami. And it had to be important enough to the Aegean that it was remembered by Ionians in Athens.

    It wasn’t the Black Sea flood of the Neolithic; but I see that many comments are already hitting this theme.

    More likely: seismic events in Middle Bronze Age western Anatolia / Aegean. Santorini / Thera is also raised as a possibility but Peter James argued that the story belonged to Anatolia and dealt with Anatolian events. I’m not taking sides on that. I’m taking sides against the Black Sea Flood.

  91. syonredux says:
    @The Plutonium Kid

    Complete agreement. I read de Camp’s Lost Continents back in high school, and it cured me of various silly notions that I had about the historicity of Atlantis:

  92. Philip Neal says: • Website

    The distinguished field linguist RMW Dixon tells many stories of this kind about the depth of Aboriginal folk memory in his autobiographial memoir Searching for Aboriginal Languages: Memoirs of a Field Worker. For instance, the native Australians seemed to have plausible oral memories of the shape of the Queensland/NSW coast before sea levels rose, and of the marsupial megafauna and their extermination by man. Dixon spent years learning dying languages from difficult informants long before Aboriginals were fashionable, and it was certainly not a question of deliberate hoaxing or telling him what he wanted to hear. Stories of this kind deserve to be taken seriously.

    • Replies: @Philip Neal
  93. Philip Neal says: • Website
    @Philip Neal

    I forgot to say that the Aboriginals told him these stories in Aboriginal languages and he recorded them in writing.

  94. @alaska3636

    There are a number of flood myths that date back to around 10-12,000 BC when a supposed asteroid impacted various continental glaciers.

    True, but there was massive flooding of the lower Mississippi valley in the 1920’s, so I imagine there must also have been epic floods of the Nile and the Tigris/Euphrates at various times in history in the epicenter of the most ancient civilizations.

  95. @another anon

    There were giant komodo dragons 40,000 years ago – that could be it – the fire being their poisonous salavia.

  96. mobi says:

    Glacial Lake Agassiz in Central Canada, larger than the combined Great Lakes, drained ‘catastrophically’ to the sea (possibly in less than a single year), ~ 8200 years ago.

    Enough water to have raised global sea levels by as much as ~ 10 feet (high estimate), and virtually overnight, in historical terms.

    It’s been speculated to be the source of various flood legends around the world, incl. the Noah flood

  97. mobi says:

    The oral history of the Huron-Wendat people of Southern Ontario has their ancestors arriving ‘from the East, across the great salt lake and ice’

    Here’s a docu trying to tie them genetically to the ‘Solutrean Hypothesis’ (ie that the first North Americans were Solutreans from south-west Europe, 20 000 years ago, long before the Beringia crossing)

    Did the first North Americans cross the Atlantic on an ice bridge?

    In Ice Bridge, Professor Dennis Stanford from the Smithsonian Institution and Professor Bruce Bradley from the University of Exeter are on a mission. They are seeking to uncover evidence of an epic journey that the Solutrean people, from what is now France and Spain, may have taken across the Atlantic Ocean some 20,000 years ago over an ice bridge.

  98. Polynikes says:

    I would imagine that Atlantis (the stoty of) was just the most advanced city of its time. Probably on a coastline then submerged by the rising sea from the melting glaciers.

    The exaggerations attributed to it would just be your typical oral tradition embellishments that grow after a thousand years of storytelling. Nobody believes they were riding around in flying chariots, right?

  99. @JohnnyWalker123

    UJA? Wall Street? Goldman Sachs? I mean…you just can’t make it up!

    THIS—is rocket fuel for a future iSteve guided missile.

  100. anonymous[346] • Disclaimer says:
    @G. Poulin

    I suspect. a bit of old-fashioned projection was going on there. More likely, the Sapiens invaders murdered the relatively harmless Neanderthals ….

    Judging by the significant “intrusion” of Neanderthal DNA into modern (mongrelized) Sapiens, the Neanderthal menace was quite real.

    • Agree: Servant of Gla'aki
  101. @syonredux

    As for Siegfried, the narrative’s central hero, he is obviously pure myth. Someone simply decided to insert this legendary dragon-slayer into the story of the Nibelungs because it seemed like a good idea.

    Not necessarily “pure myth,” but drawn from another story.

    The prototype of the hero Siegfried was probably the Merovingian Sigebert I (535-575), king of Austrasia, as the prototype of Brunnhilde was Sigebert’s queen, Brunehaut (543-613). Brunehaut was born at Toledo, a daughter of the Visigothic king Athanagild. After Brunehaut had married Sigebert, her sister Galswintha was married to Sigebert’s brother Chilperic, king of Neustria.

    Chilperic subsequently took a mistress, Fredegonde, who in 568 induced him to murder Galswintha and make her his queen. Brunehaut’s anger at the killing of her sister encouraged Sigebert to go to war with his brother. Just as Sigebert had been proclaimed king at Vitry-en-Artois by Chilperic’s subjects, he was murdered with poisoned daggers by two assassins who had been hired by Fredegonde.

    Brunehaut subsequently served as regent for her son, grandsons, and great-grandson. War went on past Fredegonde’s death in 597. Fredegonde’s son Clotaire II persisted in fighting until Brunehaut was defeated in battle in 613. Clotaire had her executed by dismemberment – she was torn apart by four horses, and then burnt. At the end, Fredegonde had brought about the deaths of all possible successors to the crowns of Merovingian France other than her own descendants. She was the original wicked stepmother.

    Brunehaut is seen by some historians as the prototype of both Brunnhilde and of Gudrun/Kriemhild in the Ring of the Nibelung. There is a resemblance between many other historical personages of Merovingian France and characters in the Ring. The Nibelungen themselves are reminiscent of the Avars, against whom Sigebert had fought early in his reign. The Avars, interestingly enough, had a larg fortress called “The Ring,” which held many treasures plundered by the Avars during their past campaigns. It was finally captured by Pepin of Lombardy, one of Charlemagne’s sons, in 796.

    • Thanks: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @syonredux
  102. @Sir Barken Hyena

    Probably somewhere on the Central Russian steppe. It gets cold there….

  103. Dmon says:

    “Neanderthals, Bandits, and Farmers” by Colin Tudge. Very short, almost completely overlooked, but I think he nails the origin of agriculture on the nose. Prior to the ice melting, the 4 rivers you mention met in a delta area that would have been an extremely attractive place for early humans. They would have originally lived by hunting/gathering, but the area was so fertile (per the book) that they would have supplemented their diet with wild cereals. Over time, the cereals would have generally become somewhat domesticated, due to human selection for the “best” specimens, and the cereals would have proliferated, reducing the amount of wild land available to support game. Gradually, the humans would have become more and more dependent on the cereals. Indeed, the people with the most cereal in their diet would have had a population advantage on the straight meat-eaters, requiring them to consume even more cereals to maintain their growing numbers). When the ice melted, they had to retreat to higher, less fertile ground (expulsion from Eden) and by now, they would have become almost totally dependent on the cereal crops, which they would need to cultivate, as they were caught in a positive feedback cycle with respect to population increase. This tends to explain a few things, such as why cultures in widely separated parts of the world came up with agriculture more or less at the same time, and why anyone came up with agriculture at all, since at the outset, it would have been a much less healthy dietary plan. Seems like you may be familiar with the book.

    • Replies: @CPK
  104. @syonredux

    It is an artistic and inspirational concept – perhaps rooted in some truth, as many epics of floods may be rooted in the Mediterranean Sea’s changes, or as the Tuatha Dé Danann may be related to certain migrations and conquests; it is by no means historically rigorous stuff.

    • Replies: @Kibernetika
  105. JRB says:
    @Richard of Melbourne

    Agreed, this story about Aboriginals remembering a minor volcano eruption 37 thousand years ago is complete bullshit.

    • Replies: @ChrisZ
  106. Walnut says:

    There is a spectacular image at which might be the one you seek-
    it illustrates an article called Confronting the Dragon if you care to
    search! Thanks for the comment anyway, I only found this bc your comment intrigued me.

  107. @Reg Cæsar

    Given that the Eemian period was over 100,000 years ago, this would be the thread winner: oldest event described by a historian later confirmed by archaeology, handily beating out the dubious Budj Bim volcano stories (37,000 years ago) and crushing the relatively recent though ubiquitous cataclysm/flood stories (11,000 years ago), not to mention the pikerish Crater Lake story (7700 years ago).

  108. @Alice

    “As he [Xerxes] was proceeding by this way, lions attacked the camels which carried his provisions; for the lions used to come down regularly by night, leaving their own haunts, but they touched nothing else, neither beast of burden nor man, but killed the camels only: and I marvel what was the cause, and what was it that impelled the lions to abstain from all else and to attack the camels only, creatures which they had never seen before, and of which they had had no experience.

    Now there are in these parts both many lions and also wild oxen, those that have the very large horns which are often brought into Hellas: and the limit within which these lions are found is on the one side the river Nestos, which flows through Abdera, and on the other the Achelos, which flows through Acarnania; for neither do the East of the Nestos, in any part of Europe before you come to this, would you see a lion, nor again in the remaining part of the continent to the West of the Acheloos, but they are produced in the middle space between these rivers.”


    So, apparently some lions still existed in Greece even in the 5th century BC, 700 years after the “traditional” date of the Trojan war.

  109. ChrisZ says:

    Congrats JRB. You just won this comment thread.

  110. @Hail

    I am not so sure the ancient Greeks could not have had enough understanding of geology to approximately date the ice age, or some other method for roughly dating it. Many dozens of cultures had the global flood myth but as far as I know only the Greeks (Plato) ever attempted to put a numerical date on it.

    Either way though. An actual city called “Atlantis” (in what language anyway?) may have been a creative part of the myth, where it simply refers to any or all more relatively advanced civilizations that got destroyed by the historical event. Or there may have been an actual specific place the myth was describing (like Troy if you believe they found that).

    As for the pyramids, I believe the most quasi-credible argument is actually about the Sphinx and not the pyramids. I have no opinion on that whatsoever, and I’m not well versed in geology. It comes down to how you think sandstone is supposed to weather over 2,000 years.

    But, Gobekli Tepe is completely legit and dates to that period for sure. That is the smoking gun. There is no doubt more advanced civilizations existed around the end of the ice age and the flood. Gobekli Tepe is a late neolithic to early bronze age type of megalithic monument, like the pyramids and the stone henges. Those were both built around 2-4k BC by mainsream estimates, and similar things in other bronze age cultures. central American indians and southeast asians were building steppe pyramids around the same time. But Gobekli Tepe dates to apx. 10k BC. It’s essentially pre-paleolithic. It’s right around about antediluvian, just a bit post.

    It makes the entire paleolithic look like a dark age. But that’s assuming our view of the paleolithic is in anyway correct anyway. Up until 10 years ago Gobekli Tepe didn’t exist, so who knows what existed in the paleolithic that hasn’t been found yet or will be found.

    But assuming the mainstream view of the paleolithic period is correct, people are assumed to be basically intellectually at the level of capuchin monkeys. Almost nothing remains of organics that far back, so all the archaeological evidence is stone tools. A lot of paleolithic stone tools look like the types of tools that have been observed being used by capuchin monkeys and other primates. Paleolithic museums are full of artifacts that are rocks that look that lumpy rocks. IE seed smashers. You take a rock and you beat on a coconut with it and it becomes a tool. And then geologists can debate whether the unusual lumpiness of the rock could have been caused by natural weathering or whether it shows signs of tool use. That is the norm for thousands of years after somebody was making realistic style bas reliefs on monolithic stone obelisk-thingies at the end of the ice age.

    Of course, maybe a lot of those paleolithic rocks are just funny shaped rocks after all and they haven’t found much for real tools from that period, or maybe they have found real tools but they are so crappy because they’ve eroded over all that time that they’re barely distinguishable from rocks. But if the mainstream archaeologists are right and paleolithic man was capuchin monkey man then the period was a massively primitive dark age compared to Gobekli Tepe and Atlantis is for sure at least metaphorically true.

    • Thanks: Hail
    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
    , @Hail
  111. syonredux says:

    The prototype of the hero Siegfried was probably the Merovingian Sigebert I (535-575),

    Just another element tossed into the stew. The source is the purely mythical dragon-slayer.

    Brunehaut is seen by some historians as the prototype of both Brunnhilde and of Gudrun/Kriemhild in the Ring of the Nibelung.

    Another element in the stew.

    The Nibelungen themselves are reminiscent of the Avars, against whom Sigebert had fought early in his reign.

    On the other hand….

    The earliest probable surviving mention of the name [Nibelung] is in the Latin poem Waltharius, believed to have been composed around the year 920. In lines 555–6 of that poem Walter, seeing Guntharius (Gunther) and his men approaching says (in the Chronicon Novaliciense text, usually taken to be the oldest):

    Nōn assunt Avarēs hīc, sed Francī Nivilōnēs,
    cultōrēs regiōnis.

    The translation is: “These are not Avars, but Frankish Nivilons, inhabitants of the region.” The other texts have nebulones ‘worthless fellows’ instead of nivilones, a reasonable replacement for an obscure proper name. In medieval Latin names, b and v often interchange, so Nivilones is a reasonable Latinization of Germanic Nibilungos. This is the only text to connect the Nibelungs with Franks. Since Burgundy was conquered by the Franks in 534, Burgundians could loosely be considered Franks of a kind and confused with them. The name Nibelunc became a Frankish personal name in the 8th and 9th centuries, at least among the descendants of Childebrand I (who died in 752[1]). Yet, in this poem, the center of Gunther’s supposedly Frankish kingdom is the city of Worms on the Rhine.

  112. Gordo says:


    Y’all just gotta admire that.

  113. @Lars Porsena

    Dude, I think you are conflating Neolithic — post last ice-age where people had pottery and figurines and Clovis fluted arrow heads — with Paleolithic — everything earlier.öbekli_Tepe

    Still, it is a way-cool archelogical site.

  114. Hail says: • Website
    @Lars Porsena

    Gobekli Tepe is completely legit and dates to that period for sure. That is the smoking gun. There is no doubt more advanced civilizations existed around the end of the ice age

    Something else to consider while entertaining the 10,000 BC Atlantis idea:

    In the long history of archaeology, if the huge Gobekli Tepe complex, said to be up to 25 acres, was not discovered until 1994 (by Dr. Klaus Schmidt), and not really appreciated until the 2000s and especially 2010s (UN heritage site designation, 2018), imagine how hard it would be to reliably find/identify such a place submerged under the sea.

    Discovering such an impressive site, which they say dates to the 10th millennium BC, implies there must have been more going on.

    I am also reminded that only thirty Greek bronze statues survive, out of, it is said, tens of thousands created (based on reports on numbers of such bronzes at various locations recorded in surviving texts), a loss rate of up to ~99.9%.

    • Replies: @Servant of Gla'aki
  115. segundo says:

    We already know that the Black Sea was some sort of freshwater lake until the end of the Ice Age, at which point it was inundated. The main points of contention are when EXACTLY it happened and just how quickly. The effects of the inundation on surviving myths are another topic.

  116. dearieme says:

    Forbidding intermarriage is surely a common policy for religious cults.

    “nowhere in Palestine corresponds to Mt. Sinai”: OK so whoever wrote Exodus was ignorant not only of history but also geography.

  117. @Hail

    I am also reminded that only thirty Greek bronze statues survive, out of, it is said, tens of thousands created (based on reports on numbers of such bronzes at various locations recorded in surviving texts), a loss rate of up to ~99.9%

    A lot of them were deliberately melted down to create armaments, particularly in the war for Greek Independence.

  118. Jack D says:

    Wouldn’t Mt. Sinai be like in the Sinai Peninsula, not in Palestine?

    I hate to break this to you, but not everything in the Bible literally happened. The archaeological evidence shows largely indigenous origins of Israel in Canaan, not Egypt and there is no room in the timeline for an Exodus from Egypt or a 40-year pilgrimage through the Sinai wilderness. Just like there was no Garden of Eden and Noah did not sail around on an ark with two of every animal. Sorry.

    Whatever God did or did not promise to Moses on Mt. Sinai, the Israelites indisputably lived the Land of Canaan until the Bar Kochba rebellion and for that there is ample historical and archaeological evidence. Unless Jesus was somewhere else too? (No one ever called it Palestine until after the Romans crushed the Judeans).

    • Replies: @Hail
    , @I Have Scinde
  119. @Garlic

    The Apollo missions conclusively proved the Moon was formed by the Gia impactor event during the Hadean epoch. I’m surprised this isn’t mentioned more in the simple accountings of the Moon shot taught in High School history.

    By the mid 80s exogeologists had enough data from the Viking/Mariner missions etc to realize that Earth was geologically a very exotic and unusual planet, largely due to the Gia event. Apollo was vital in developing that understanding but you rarely see it mentioned. Not sure why.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  120. Hail says: • Website
    @Jack D

    Mt. Sinai… in the Sinai Peninsula

    Who knew: The historical/biblical Mount Sinai is disputed with eleven main contendors to the title, including the feature known as “Mount Sinai.”

    Six are on the Sinai Peninsula, two are within the borders of today’s Jordan, three are in northwestern Saudi Arabia.

    The most compelling of the non-Sindai candidates, with supporters in the 19th century up to the present, is “Jabal al-Lawz,” or Almond Mountain. If you google its location, in any case you see it’s a ways south of the Israel–Jordan–Saudi tri-border area and east of the Sinai Peninsula.

  121. @Autochthon

    Apologies for going OT, but Bill Bruford is my favorite drummer (I think that’s Bill and Tony Levin? The best-ever King Crimson rhythm section, IMHO.) The Adrian Belew, Bill Bruford, Tony Levin and Robert Fripp grouping is the sweet spot for me.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  122. @Jack D

    “The archaeological evidence shows largely indigenous origins of Israel in Canaan, not Egypt and there is no room in the timeline for an Exodus from Egypt or a 40-year pilgrimage through the Sinai wilderness.”

    Is that necessarily true? The Moses story supposedly occurs under the reign of Ramses the Builder, and his successor Merneptah has the famous stele celebrating a victory over the Israelite people, along with other Canaan-adjacent nations. To my knowledge, which I admit is nowhere near authoritative on the subject, the archaeological evidence for the Israelites does not become apparent until after Merneptah’s reign. So in theory, at least, I don’t believe an “Exodus” is refuted.

    Assuming I have my facts correct above, which I readily admit I might not, a counterargument would be that the simplest explanation is that the Israelites had Canaanite indigenous origins, and the Exodus story is simply a myth. I cannot really argue that, one way or the other.

  123. Jack D says:

    Theia not Gia. The Theia collision explains a lot but there are some holes in it. There is evidence that Venus suffered similar collisions but has no moons. Why did the debris from the collision coalesce into a moon and not remain as a ring like the rings of Saturn?

    In any case, the Theia collision supposedly occurred very early in the history of the solar system – maybe a BILLION years before any life formed on earth (which is a good thing as the collision would have killed everything anyway – just a 10 km diameter asteroid was enough to kill all the dinosaurs and Theia would have been as big as Mars – 6000 km diameter) so there couldn’t possibly be any human memory of the time before the moon existed.

    BUT, Theia may explain why (as far as we can tell) the Earth is the only planet with life on it (at least intelligent life that transmits radio signals into space). It’s quite possible that without Theia the conditions for life on Earth may never have evolved and most planetary systems are not going to have Theia-like collisions – Earth might have just hit the cosmic Powerball.

    • Replies: @GeologyAnon
  124. @Jack D

    Our impactor was much larger, for starters. And it was a very low velocity impact where we sort of smeared together and the Earth absorbed the metallic core of the impactor and lost a huge volume of light silicates (perhaps explaining the persistence of the Pacific Ocean Basin). It also gave us way more radionuclides in the core, which is why we still have active plates long after all other observed planets are tectonically dead. Quite different than the jovian rings and moons which where just captured by gravity and held in orbit.

    I would disagree on timing too: Earth is only 4.5 billion years old, and there are fairly convincing lines of evidence to suggest Archea inhabiting the planet only 300 million years after accreation. That plays into the Fermi paradox though: there has been life on Earth almost since it formed, but complex life only for the last ~10% of its life and intelligent life capable of radio transmission for some percentage too small to be worth calculating.

    One really weird “Is it causation or Correlation” in exogeology is the presence of hydrated cumulates in oceanic crust and the associated extremophile bacteria. We don’t see hydrated rock in any other basaltic provinces on other planets and we also never see bacteria there obviously.

  125. Anonymous[367] • Disclaimer says:

    The declaration of Arbroath (Scotland’s ‘declaration of independence’) contains the claim that the original homeland of the Scots (and the Gaelic peoples in general) is in Eastern Europe.

  126. CPK says:

    I did not know about the Tudge book, but I very much appreciate the reference! Double-checking, I think I was actually recalling an article about Juris Zarins in Smithsonian many years ago:

  127. @Kibernetika

    Nope. Only Chris Squire (R.I.P.) played bass on “Miracle of Life” (along with “Saving My Heart” and “Lift Me Up”). Levin indeed played bass on all the other tracks for Union in the studio – though not on tour. Bass was the only instrument not doubled for the Union tour (voice sort of was, as Rabin sang lead on several numbers, and of course Squire and Howe also contributed vocal harmonies to any number of them…).

    You’ve very good taste in music.

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