Graham Hancock's Magicians of the Gods (Updated)

{three paragraphs at the end of the review have been added}

{also see my blog on the Edinburgh University interpretation of Gobekli Tepe Pillar 43/Vulture Stone}

I've been doing some more reading in the book. See Greg's post:

On page 183 (of the new paperback edition) Hancock mentions one of the surviving fragments of the Temple of Edfu (Egypt) texts that declares that "the Sound Eye fell" as a result of the appearance of "the Great Leaping One" (i.e., the cometary dragon).

Hancock admits to being at a loss to interpret the significance of the "Sound Eye" and suggests that it might be some kind of "artificial illumination". However, in other Egyptian mythology, the Sound Eye was the good/strong eye of Atum, which formed after his first eye became weak/defective. In my own book, I demonstrate that these two eyes were the two suns of our early solar system, one of which became a brown dwarf and the other the main-sequence star we know today.

If the original failed star of our solar system is still part of the solar system, then it very well may be the cause of Precession and still playing the role of the "Devil" by spawning comets from the inner Oort Cloud.

According to they Myth of Apophis, the first eye of Atum had already fallen long ago. However, the Edfu statement that the second ("sound") eye of Atum also failed, at least for a time, is extremely significant. Robert Schoch concludes that the sun's output was reduced during the Younger Dryas. That is of course possible, yet it may have only seemed that way, because of a "nuclear winter" and ultimate return to Ice Age conditions brought on by the comet impacts.

The Earth was coming out of an Ice Age. The Younger Dryas event only postponed the inevitable. Still, it is strange that civilization took much longer to recover from whatever happened at the end of the Younger Dryas Period than it did from what caused the Younger Dryas Period to begin with! Hancock thinks that the same comet was responsible for both events, and speculates that it primarily struck the ice sheets of the Northern Hemisphere at the beginning of the Younger Dryas, but primarily impacted the oceans around 1,200 years later. Regardless, we do know that the ice sheets broke up/retreated quite rapidly, which led to something called "glacial rebound." This is the obvious phenomenon that would have caused islands (such as along the mid-Atlantic Ridge, the world's biggest mountain range) to "sink" into the Sea (rather than be inundated by a literal Flood).

At issue is whether the "Great Flood" event of the Bible reflects the beginning of the Younger Dryas, the end of the Younger Dryas, or actually is a composite of both. Hancock himself doesn't seem to even try to differentiate between myths/traditions that relate to one as opposed to the other. Perhaps it is no longer possible to do so, but I think it would have been worth an attempt by Hancock. (This is one area in which Hancock does exhibit complete restraint. He doesn't offer any opinion at all as to the whereabouts of Atlantis or the earlier "pay-lands.") For example, might the original "pay-lands" of the primordial gods have been one and the same as Mu and/or Lemuria (of SE Asia/the Pacific) and/or Sundaland/Sunda Shelf (which Hancock does mention). During the Younger Dryas, were the successors/survivors of the gods then forced to abandon that cultural center and regroup in Atlantis? Was the Zep Tepi ("First Time" of the Gods) really associated with the Younger Dryas, as Hancock concludes, or more properly belonging to the period before the first cataclysm? Is the Biblical destruction of the "Tower of Babel" to be associated with the first attempt to build the Great Pyramid of Giza during the Younger Dryas? Was this epic piece of engineering nearing completion when it was "cast down" by another catastrophe? In other words, was the Great Pyramid construction initiated between two distinct but different flooding events?
(The above is the most visited page on my entire web site!)

A similar question involves Gobekli Tepe. Was it founded only after the Younger Dryas had ended, or is there evidence of construction during the Younger Dryas. Obviously excavation is still on-going, but it will be interesting to see what can be determined. In later times, the royal family was continually building great monuments only to destroy them. The Temple of Jerusalem is perhaps the most famous example. The deliberate burial of Gobekli Tepe appears to have been done in that same spirit. It's almost an admission that nothing is permanent on this Earth (or perhaps in the Heavens). One must always be prepared to start anew.

Precession was obviously of great importance to the ancient astronomers. A "precessional clock" would by definition need a zero hour (12 o'clock) position. Perhaps, we are now living at the end of a precessional cycle as the ancients would have defined it. (I don't think that the case has been entirely proven based upon the discussion in Hancock's book, which relies heavily on the work of a single researcher and interpretation of animal figures on a pillar. It's an interesting theory, nonetheless.) However, to also conclude (as Hancock does) that an end/start time of a precessional cycle (chosen for reasons of accuracy) must also accompany a catastrophe is illogical. Any such occurrence would be purely coincidental.

Another issue I have with the book is Hancock's attack on Zecharia Sitchin, which is executed along the lines of how Academics do such things. It seems quite out-of-character for Hancock given that he has generally been highly supportive of his fellow alternative researchers. Hancock engages in what seems to be a totally irrelevant argument on why the name Nephilim/Nefilim cannot denote (or even connote) "fallen," although the sources are quite clear that they were the by-product of a fallen race, if not a fallen race themselves. Hancock does not stop to consider the possibility that the Bible is both condemning and praising our forebears in the same history! (Hancock also does not stop to consider that it may have been the Neanderthals that "sinned" with those who were at that time coming "out of Africa." In any event, Neanderthals as we know payed the ultimate price of extinction. Only their "evil/renowned" mixed offspring survived.) The motivation for attacking Sitchin is not made clear and therefore comes across as disingenuous. I can only guess that Hancock now prefers the theory that knowledge of astronomy (and other sciences/"pure religion") originally came from the spirit/dream world rather than imparted to mankind by "ancient astronauts." I don't see why it has to be either one or the other.

In conclusion, Magicians of the Gods is an excellent survey of contemporary alternative archaeology, geology, astronomy/cosmology and anthropology. It is unfortunately marred by a number of illogical and unnecessary inferences made by the author from the broad survey he has performed.