I found this intersting article in the book: 'The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Unsolved Mysteries' by Colin & Damon Wilson.
It's just a popular, mystery book, therefore there are no references and such, so apologies for that in advance. I'd never heard of this book (the Oera Linda Book) before and found the tale very interesting.
I should also add that there is nothing racist in my interest in the article (there is mention of groups descending from Northern Europeans and stuff - the very meat and potatoes of today's PC racism hunters)
Anyway, here goes:
The Oera Linda Book
The Forgotten History of a Lost Continent
In 1876 there appeared in London a bewildering work entitled the Oera Linda Book and subtitled From a Manuscript of the Thirteenth Century. It was published by Trubner and Co., one of the most respectable names in publishing, so there could be no suggestion that it was a hoax. And the fact that the original text in Frisian (the language of Friesland, a part of northern Holland) was published opposite the English translation offered scholars the opportunity to check for themselves. Yet if the claims of the Oera Linda Book were true, then the history of the ancient world had to be completely rewritten. It suggested that in the third millennium BC, at about the time the Great Pyramid and the original Stonehenge were built, there was a great island continent in northern Europe that was inhabited by a highly civilized race. In 2193 BC this island was destroyed, like the legendary Atlantis, by some immense catastrophe. But enough of its inhabitants escaped to carry their civilization elsewhere - including ancient Egypt and Crete. In fact, the Oera Linda Book suggested that the legendary King Minos of Crete (creator of the Labyrinth) was a Frisian and that the same ancient civilization gave democracy to Athens.
All this seemed so extraordinary and so confusing that the first reaction of Dutch and German scholars was to suggest that the book was a forgery. Yet they seem to have agreed that it was not a modern forgery and that it was probably a century to a century and a half old. But that would date it roughly to the 1730s. And it is hard to imagine why anyone would have wanted to forge such a document in the 1730s. A century later, in the Romantic era, there would have been some point in creating this mysterious narrative with its marvelous hints of a golden age in the remote past. But it is virtually impossible to imagine why, in that rather dull era of Frederick the Great and the Prince of Orange-Nassau (dull, at any rate, from the literary point of view), anyone should have bothered. It is true that a famous forgery of "ancient" Gaelic poetry - the works of "Ossian", actually written by James MacPherson - became immensely popular in England and on the Continent in the 1760s; but if the Oera Linda Book was inspired by MacPherson's Ossian, why did the forger put it in a drawer and forget about it until 1848, when it finally saw the light of day?
According to its Introduction, written in 1871, the Oera Linda Book had been preserved in the Linden (or Linda) family from "time immemorial" and was written in a peculiar script that looked a little like Greek. It began with a letter from one "Liko oera Linda", dated AD 803, in which he begged his son to preserve the book "with body and soul", since it contained the history of their peoples. The manuscript was inherited by a certain C. Over de Linden - a modernized version of Oera Linda - in 1848, and a learned professor named Verwijs asked if he could look at it. He immediately recognized its language as ancient Fries, a form of Dutch. The manuscript examined by Verwijs had been copied in 1256 on paper manufactured from cotton and written in a black ink that did not contain iron (which eventually turns brown).
According to the Introduction (by Dr J. O. Ottema), the Oera Linda Book records the history of the people of a large island called Atland, which was roughly on the same latitude as the British Isles, in what is now the North Sea (in other words, off the coast of modern Holland). Dr Ottema seems to think that Atland is Plato's Atlantis, which most commentators have placed somewhere in the mid-Atlantic. But since Plato says only that it was "beyond the Pillars of Hercules" (what is now Gibraltar), Ottema could be correct.
According to the Oera Linda Book, Atland had an excellent climate and an abundance of food. And since its rulers were wise and deeply religious, it was a peaceful and contented land. Its legendary founder was a half-mythical woman named Frya - obviously a version of the Nordic Freya, the moon goddess, whose name means "a lady". (In the same way, frey means "a lord".) Its people worshiped one God, under the (to us) unpronounceable name of Wr-alda. Frya was one of three sisters, the other two being named Lyda and Finda. Lyda was dark-skinned and became the founder of the black races; Finda was yellow-skinned and became the founder of the yellow races. Frya was white.
All of this is obviously legend. But the Oera Linda Book then goes on to describe historical events.
In the year 2193 BC, a great catastrophe of some sort struck Atland, and it was overwhelmed by the sea. Logic suggests that the same catastrophe must have struck the British Isles, since they were so close; but if Atland was as low and flat as Holland, we can understand why it was submerged. (The Dogger Bank, where Atland would have been situated, is the shallowest area of the North Sea.)
According to Plato, Atlantis had been destroyed in a great catastrophe more than nine thousand years earlier. But one modern authority, Professor A. G. Galanopoulos, has argued that all the figures associated with Atlantis (which were recorded by Egyptian priests) were about ten times too great - for example, Plato says that the moat around the royal city was ten thousand stades (more than a thousand miles) long, which would make the royal city about three hundred times larger than Greater London or Los Angeles. If we divide nine thousand years by ten, we get nine hundred. The Egyptian priests told the Athenian lawgiver Solon about Atlantis around 600 BC, which would make the date for the destruction of Atlantis about 1500 BC (nine hundred years earlier). This is roughly the date of the explosion of the volcano of Santorini (north of Crete) that devastated most of the Mediterranean, and Galanopoulos argues that the island of Santorini was Atlantis. The only problem is that Plato placed Atlantis beyond the Pillars of Hercules - in which case, Atland is certainly a contender.
Another reason for the relative neglect of the Oera Linda Book is that its narrative seems so unfamiliar and its names are so strange; in this respect it resembles the Book of Mormon or that extraordinary work entitled Oahspe, which was "dictated" to an American medium named J. B. Newbrough at roughly the same time the Oera Linda Book was published. But these two documents claim some kind of "divine" origin, while the Oera Linda Book purports to be a historical document.
Nevertheless, the people mentioned in it are not pure invention. A later book speaks at length about a warrior named Friso, an officer of Alexander the Great (born 356 BC), who is described in other Nordic chronicles. (The Oera Linda Book also speaks at length of Alexander the Great.) These chronicles state that Friso came from India. The Oera Linda Book says that Friso was descended from a Frisian colony that settled in the Punjab about 1550 BC; moreover, the Greek geographer Strabo mentions this strange "Indian" tribe, referring to them by the name Germania. The Oera Linda Book even mentions Ulysses and recounts how he went in search of a sacred lamp - a priestess had foretold that if he could find it, he would become king of all Italy. After an unsuccessful attempt to buy the lamp from its priestess-custodian, the "Earth Mother" (using treasures looted from Troy), he sailed to a place named Walhallagara (which sounds oddly like Valhalla) and had a love affair with a priestess named Kalip (obviously Calypso), with whom he stayed for several years "to the scandal of all who knew it". From Kalip he obtained a sacred lamp of the kind he wanted, but it did him no good, for he was shipwrecked and had to be picked up, naked and destitute, by another ship.
This fragment of Greek history, tossed into the Oera Linda Book is interesting for two reasons. It dates this adventure of Ulysses about 1188, which is about fifty years later than modern archaeology would date the fall of Troy. But the Oera Linda Book could be correct. And it states that the nymph Calypso was actually a burgtmaagd (a word meaning "borough maid" - literally, a virgin priestess in charge of vestal virgins). This is consistent with the central claim of the Oera Linda Book: that after the "deluge", the Frisians sailed the globe and became the founders of Mediterranean civilization, as well as settling in India. It is obvious why scholars have ignored the book. To take it seriously would mean virtually rewriting ancient history. If, for example, we accept that Calypso's island, Walhallagara, was the island of Walcheren, in the North Sea (as the commentary on the Oera Linda Book claims it was), then Ulysses sailed right out of the Mediterranean. It is certainly simpler to accept Homer's version of the story.
After nearly a century of neglect, the Oera Linda Book was rediscovered by an English scholar named Robert Scrutton. In his fascinating book The Other Atlantis, Scrutton tells how, in 1967, he and his wife - a "sensitive" with strong psychometric powers* - were walking over Dartmoor when she experienced a terrifying vision of a flood: great green waves higher than the hills pouring across the land.
Eight years later he found legends of a great deluge in ancient poetry known as the Welsh Triads (which also speak of King Arthur). The Triads explain that long before the Kmry (the Welsh) came to Britain, there was a great flood that depopulated the entire island. One ship survived, and those who sailed in it settled in the "Summer Land" peninsula (which Scrutton identifies as the Crimea - still called Krym -in the Black Sea). These peoples decided to seek other lands, because their peninsula was subject to flooding. One portion went to Italy and the other across Germany and France and into Britain. (In fact, this account does not contradict the little we know about the mysterious people called the Celts, whose origin is unknown.) So the Kmry came back to Britain - probably around 600 BC - and brought their Druidic religion, which involved human sacrifice.
Scrutton went on to uncover many other legends concerning a great catastrophe in ancient Welsh poetry and in the Icelandic Eddas (where it was known as Ragnarok). It is worth mentioning that Ignatius Donnelly, whose book Atlantis: The Antediluvian World caused a sensation in 1882, went on to write another classic, Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Ice in the following year; in this volume he attempted to study catastrophe legends of the northern hemisphere and created a remarkable theory of continental drift that later proved to be totally accurate.
Scrutton's research led him to rediscover the Oera Linda Book and to become absorbed in its strange yet credible account of ancient history. The first question he asked himself was: what was the precise nature of the catastrophe that destroyed Atland and depopulated Britain? In The Other Atlantis (1977) he suggests that it was a giant meteor or asteroid that struck the earth somewhere in the region of the North Pole; the force of the explosion had the effect of tilting the earth's axis into a more upright position, so lands that had formerly had long, hot summers now developed arctic conditions. The Greeks have their legends of the Hyperboreans, a people who live in idyllic conditions in the far north, and Scrutton identifies these with the Atlanders.
This projectile, Scrutton suggests, produced the crater known as the Arctic Ocean - which, he claims, would look like one of the enormous craters of the moon if its water was drained away. Many stones and rocks that modern scientists believe were moved by glaciers were actually, Scrutton suggests, hurled by the explosion. But this part of his theory is open to a simple objection. The opening section of the Oera Linda Book says that during the whole summer before the flood "the sun had been hid behind the clouds, as if unwilling to look upon the earth". There was perpetual calm, and "a damp mist hung like a wet sail over the houses and marshes". Then, "in the midst of this stillness, the earth began to tremble as if she was dying. The mountains opened to vomit forth fire and flames".
That seems clearly to be a description of a volcanic catastrophe of the kind that is supposed to have destroyed Atlantis, not a tidal wave caused by a meteor. Does this mean that the meteor theory must be abandoned? Not necessarily. A meteor that struck in the region of the North Pole would certainly have produced a tidal wave, but if the polar cap itself was covered with ice, it may not have been great enough to cause a tidal wave that would submerge Britain and Atland. But the volcanic activity that would almost certainly follow such an impact could produce a mighty tidal wave, like the one caused by the explosion of Santorini (and later of Krakatoa).
Scrutton also mentions a description in the Finnish epic the Kalevala of a time when the sun vanished from the sky and the world became frozen and barren, and quotes a modern introduction that places this at a period when the Magyars (Hungarians) and the Finns were still united - at least three thousand years ago.
Scrutton believes that the "maps of the ancient sea kings" described by Professor Charles Hapgood confirm his view of the catastrophe that destroyed Atland. Once again, there is an objection. Core samples taken in Queen Maud Land (in the Antarctic) show that the last time the South Pole was unfrozen was around 4000 BC So the great maritime civilization that Hapgood believes was responsible for the "ancient maps" must have flourished before then.
This, of course, does not rule out a catastrophe some two thousand years later - perhaps the civilization of Atland lasted for two thousand years, like that of the Egyptians. But if Hapgood is correct, and his great maritime civilization existed more than six thousand years ago and then was either forgotten or destroyed in a great catastrophe, it certainly becomes difficult to reconcile the two theories.
There is, however, one way of reconciling them that is no bolder - or more absurd - than the theories themselves. Hapgood believed that the ancient maps were evidence of a worldwide maritime civilization that existed long before Alexander the Great. Let us, then, posit the existence of such a civilization that began sometime after the last great ice age - say, around 10,000 BC. Six thousand years later this civilization is highly developed in the Antarctic and in Atland. In other parts of the world - like the Middle East - it is less highly developed, although there are already cities, and the plow has been developed. For unknown reasons - no one knows what causes ice ages - the cold returns, and the Antarctic civilization freezes up, so its peoples are forced to go elsewhere - notably to Egypt. The Atland civilization, being in more temperate latitudes, is not affected. Then, in 2192 BC, comes the "great catastrophe" that tilted the earth's axis. Now, like the inhabitants of the South Pole, the Atlanders are also forced to move - and of course they move south, to regions that have not been affected by the great catastrophe - like India and the Mediterranean. If this scenario is correct, then both Hapgood and Scrutton could be right.
One thing seems clear: that the ancient maps prove the existence of a great maritime civilization that flourished before Alexander the Great. Like the maps, the Oera Linda Book also points to the existence of such a civilization. Even if the Oera Linda Book proved to be a forgery, the evidence of the maps would be unaffected. But at the present time, there is no evidence that it is a forgery. In this case, it deserves to be reprinted in a modern edition and carefully studied by historians - as well as read by the general public for its fascinating tales of murder and battle. If it proves to be genuine, the Oera Linda Book could revolutionize our view of world history.
Any more info... is it a load of dingo's kidneys?
|The Oera Linda Book - very long||3334||Mercury Rapids||27-May-02 13:54|
|Re: The Oera Linda Book - very long||440||kaos||27-May-02 14:13|
|Re: The Oera Linda Book - very long||362||Mercury Rapids||27-May-02 14:18|
|Re: The Oera Linda Book - very long||417||Jeff van Hout||27-May-02 22:37|
|Re: The Oera Linda Book - very long||323||enjoyer||27-May-02 23:30|