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Jason Colavito writes:
The author of the month for June over at Graham Hancock’s website is artist Michael MacRae, who is promoting his 2014 book Sun Boat: The Odyssey Deciphered, which claims that Homer’s Odyssey is a coded discussion of a circumnavigation of the earth. This claim puts MacRae a bit beyond Henrietta Mertz, who merely claimed it told of a transatlantic voyage, but in good company with some nineteenth century theorists who thought that Jason and the Argonauts had sailed around the world to the extremities of the Arctic and to Peru. Anyway, MacRae’s claim is prima facie false to anyone who knows anything about the composition of the Odyssey, but we’ll take a look at his claims anyway.MacRae starts his article out poorly by claiming that he is following in the footsteps of Heinrich Schliemann, whom he claims used the Iliad to find Troy, Mycenae, and Knossos. Schliemann actually devised the Iliad story after the fact to cover up the fact that the location of Troy—known to the Greeks and Romans and suspected a century before his time—had been uncovered by accident by someone else. The site of Mycenae had never been lost, and Knossos was first excavated in the 1870s by Minos Kalokairinos. Schliemann visited the site but did not excavate, and Arthur Evans was the one to identify it with the Knossos of Greek myth.

MacRae Writes:
I did not state that Schliemann ‘found’ Troy, Mycenae and Knossos but rather that he surmised or identified them as the actual historical places mentioned by Homer. Previously, Mycenae, Troy and Knossos were thought to be purely mythical sites. In a manner similar to Schliemann’s ‘amateurish’ methodology, I have attempted to give global locations to the Homeric place-names occurring in The Odyssey.

Jason Colavito writes:
Despite this, MacRae claims that a boatload of Mycenaean Greeks sailed from Troy to the Red Sea, and from there to India and China. They then crossed the Pacific to Mexico before circumnavigating South America and crossing the Atlantic to return to Europe.

MacRae Writes:
I might mention that a canal connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea was in existence at the time of Odysseus.

Jason Colavito writes:
MacRae, though, isn’t content just to claim that the Odyssey betrays knowledge of other lands; he wants to make Odysseus into Quetzalcoatl! “I am proposing that Odysseus might well be the mysterious, bearded ‘Caucasian teacher’ who is omnipresent in both early Mesoamerican and South American legends.” It is probably worth restating that there is no “Caucasian” teacher in Mesoamerican or South American legends except, so far as scholarship can tell, where Catholic missionaries and Spanish conquistadors inserted white skin as part of a propaganda effort to identify indigenous gods with Catholic saints, as when Tunupa was identified with St. Thomas.

Moche statues c. 100-600 A.D. displaying bearded men. Note the Greek style wave pattern beneath one of Statues. The horned helmets are also reminiscent of those worn by the Sherden “ sea-peoples” of the Mediterranean c.1200 B.C.

MacRae Writes:
Pre-Columbian visitors from Europe.
You also disregard the arrival of any Pre-Columbian visitors from Europe despite Montezuma himself clearly alluding to such an event. In one of his letters back to Spain, dated 30th October 1520, Cortéz relays Montezuma’s momentous speech. The original letter was reprinted in the year 1770 by order of Don Francisco Antonio Lorenzana, Archbishop of Mexico.

Montezuma’s Speech

It is now many days since our historians have informed us that neither my ancestors nor myself, nor any of the people who now inhabit this country, are natives of it; we are strangers and came hither from very distant parts: they also tell us, that a lord to whom all were vassals brought our race to this land and returned to his native place. Also, that after a long time, he came here again and found that those whom he had left were married to the women of this land, had large families and had built towns in which they dwelt. He wished to take them away but they would not consent to accompany him, nor permit him to remain here again as their chief; therefore he went away. We have been assured his descendants would return to conquer our country and reduce us again to his obedience. You say you come from the part where the sun rises; we believe and hold to be true the things which you tell us of this great lord or king who sent you hither; that he is our natural lord, particularly as you say that it is very many days since he has had notice of us. Be therefore sure we will obey you and take you for our lord in the place of the good lord of whom you tell us. In this there shall be neither failure nor deception; therefore, command according to your will in all the country, that is, in every part I have under my dominions; your will shall be obeyed and done; all that we have is subject to whatever you may please to command. You are therefore in your own country, in your own house; rejoice and rest from the fatigues of your journey and the wars you have been engaged in.

Jason Colavito writes:
The evidence MacRae provides is thin enough to be nonexistent. He claims, for example, that Odysseus must have visited Sri Lanka because the old name of that island is Heladiva, which sounds like the Hellenes, or Greeks. Sadly, in the Mycenaean era the Greeks were the Homeric Achaeans, probably the same as the Ahhiyawa mentioned by the Hittites and the Ekwesh of the Egyptians. Homer does mention the Hellenes and Panhellenes once each, but probably in a later interpolation. The Hellenes of his era were one group of Greeks, and they didn’t include the Ithacans, Odysseus’ people. At any rate, the name Heladiva can’t be shown to go back as far as the Mycenaean era, though its exact origin is unknown.

MacRae Writes:
Although Odysseus himself was an Achaean, I think his assembled crew was made up of various “sea-peoples” of the Mediterranean and may well have included Hellenes. I also identify Odysseus with the Greek Dionysus character who is reported to have visited India long before the time of Alexander the Great.

Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 2. 6-10 :
"Now the Hellenes disagree with the Indians, and the Indians among themselves, concerning this Dionysos [the wine-god worshipped in India]. For we declare that the Theban Dionysos made an expedition to India in the role of soldier and reveller, and we base our arguments, among other things, on the offering at Delphoi, which is preserved in the treasuries there. And it is a disc of Indian silver bearing the inscription: ‘Dionysos the son of Semele and of Zeus, from the men of India to the Apollon of Delphoi.’"

Jason Colavito writes:
The rest of his evidence is even shallower, resting on a willful misreading of the Odyssey’s westward progress as an eastward voyage. Homer (I use the conventional attribution here) specifically sent Odysseus west to contrast with the great epic whose episodes he ransacked and reconstructed for his own: The Argonautica, which was the great eastward adventure.

MacRae Writes:
I agree that Homer may have deliberately sent Odysseus westwards when clearly he should have sent him eastwards.

Jason Colavito writes:
Thus, moving eastward, MacRae equates the Cyclopes with Raja Bersiong (“the fanged king”), a Malaysian cannibal king (but not a Cyclops), best known from a 1968 movie, but first appearing in the Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa, an eighteenth century Malay history. It probably derives from the story of the cannibal demon king Kalmasapada, known from the medieval Javanese poem Kakawin Sutasoma. At any rate, the story cannot be shown to go back to the Mycenaean era.

MacRae Writes:
The legend of cannibal ogres who abide in caves are integral to the cultures of South East Asia and their origins can be traced back to the dawn of history. Located about 70 kilometres south of Odysseus’ proposed landing site, Gua Harimau (Tiger Cave) presents an excellent example of animistic practices c.3000 - 1000 B.C. Archaeological diggings at Gua Harimau have unearthed seven skeletons, numerous bronze axes and various articles of jewellry including bangles, chains and earrings. The bronze axes verify the existence of an early bronze tradition in Malaysia. Could these offerings have been left to appease a cave dwelling ogre?

Filipino Cyclops
Tribal folklore in the neighbouring Philippines recounts how one-eyed giants once roamed the plains of central and northern Mindanao. The most legendary of these ogres was Agyo, who is said to have fought against the first Spanish invaders. It is reported that Agyo’s skeletal remains were retained as objects of ritual worship within a sacred cave near Bukidon. There are also unconfirmed reports of giant skeletons in Siargao and Agusan. According to Artemio Barbaosa, chief of the National Museum’s anthropology department:
Tribal folklore, particularly in Mindanao, portrays the one-eyed giants as half men and half beasts with supernatural powers. Beliefs about giants (Kapre), as well as dwarfs (duwende), will always be alive in the hearts and minds of Filipinos.

Balinese Cyclops
On February 20th each year, the Balinese people celebrate the New Year Festival of Kunigan with a re-enactment of the battle fought against an oppressive giant called Sang Mayadenawa or Barong. Balinese legends tell of how their ancestors (the Aga) were once terrorized by a giant ogre who lived in a cave called Goa Gajah. The giant not only prevented them from performing their religious ceremonies but also demanded human sacrifice. To this day, the Balinese people periodically sacrifice one of every species of animal found on the island.
According to Balinese tradition, ‘fair-skinned’ Aryan warriors from India fought a great battle with this ogre and eventually they managed to kill it. Those Aryans who died fighting the giant are remembered as great heroes and their spirits continue to be venerated.

Jason Colavito writes:
MacRae then identifies the wind-god Aeolus with Chinese Emperor Zu Jia on the grounds that Aeolus held four winds and Zu Jia ruled over four territories.

MacRae Writes:
Furthermore, he was the father of twelve children (six boys and six girls) whom he caused to wed each other. It is said that certain ritual temples of the Shang period had twelve outer walls that represented the twelve new moons in a year (the twelve children of Aeolus?). When the Shang Emperor worshipped inside such a temple, he accordingly changed rooms, robes and rituals with the advent of each new moon.

Odysseus describes the Aeolian land as appearing to:

…float above the sea with steep cliffs rising sheer from the lapping waters and all about it a great wall of bronze.
This is an apt introduction to China’s Shang Dynasty as its artisans are now considered the finest exponents of bronze making in the ancient world.

Jason Colavito writes:
He next identifies that Laestrygonians with the Polynesians because Polynesians were cannibals and have “enormous, rotund bodies” that answer to the gigantic Laestrygonians. He also cites a paper by diffusionist James L Guthrie (with no citation that I can find anywhere—all of his work appears to be only in fringe magazines) that claims Polynesians, Mexicans, and Greeks share a common antigen, whatever that is supposed to mean.

MacRae Writes:
In his paper entitled Human Lymphocyte Antigens Pre-Columbiana, 2001, James L Guthrie informs us that:

Human lymphocyte antigens (HLAs) are part of the compatibility system, whose main function is to produce antibodies. They are proteins on white blood cells that play a role in tissue and organ transplantation similar to that of the more familiar blood groups in transfusion. HLA distributions differ among world populations to such a degree that careful typing and matching must be done at transplant centres in order to minimize adverse reactions. This diversity gives population geneticists a powerful tool for tracing ancient migrations, and, at present, HLA distributions are more informative in this regard than any other genetic system except DNA.

Antigen B*18
Guthrie’s extensive research material notes how one particular antigen called B*18, is indicative of a genetic link between Ancient Greeks and the natives of Mexico and Ecuador:
B*18 appears to be an ancient Caucasoid antigen, linking Basques, Berbers, Sardinians, Greeks, and Southern Europeans. It also went along the Asian coast, especially to Indonesia, then apparently to Ecuador and Mexico. The overall distribution suggests involvement of Mediterranean seafarers. In America, it appears above the 1% level only among the Nahua, Quechua, and eastern Maya, with traces among the Araucano, northwest Canadian Eskimos, and the Greenland Eskimo. I suggest it came to the Pacific coast by way of Indonesia.

Jason Colavito writes:
Following this, he claims that Circe’s Aeaea was in Central America. This doesn’t make a lot of sense since Homer’s Aeaea appears to be a purposeful reconstruction of the older Aea of the Argonautica, the dawn land (named for the Near Eastern dawn goddess Aya) where the sun rested at night. Homer’s Aeaea (a name that doubles Aea) is meant to parallel the original, but since the original was known as a land of the farthest East, Homer’s Aea is the West. Tellingly, Archaic Greek poets had trouble justifying this literary change and sometimes assigned Circe to Aea or Aeaea to the Black Sea. Based on this, he then speculates about how the Olmec worshiped white people as living gods because white people are awesome. He uses that standard fringe history claims about white gods of myth and “Caucasian” people in Olmec art. He also relies on the utterly unreliable Robert Graves (a favorite of Sirius Mystery author Robert Temple, despite his penchant for making up facts) to claim that the Aztec god Tlaloc was really Dionysus.

MacRae Writes:
Ancient maps show that a town, a promontory and a sea in Sri Lanka were named in honor of Dionysus. According to the island's mythology, Dionysus had arrived upon their shores ‘aboard a stone raft of snakes’. In Mexican folklore, the god Quetzalcoatl departs his realm aboard a remarkably similar ‘raft of snakes’. Both Sri Lankan and Mexican mythologies recount the deeds of the mysterious ‘Nagas’, a mischievous ‘snake-like’ people, gifted with arcane knowledge.

According to the late Dr Borhegyi , the mushroom cult had its origins along the Pacific Coast piedmont of Guatemala c.1000 B.C.

Jason Colavito writes:
MacRae calls Argentine diffusionist Dick Edgar Ibarra Grasso an archaeologist and uses him to support the notion that a carving found at Cerro Sechin in Peru depicts a Mycenaean ship. The carving, shown only in a badly reproduced drawing, looks like a stylized jawbone in the style of other “mutilated body” imagery from the site, or perhaps a stylized border. Without knowing anything about the picture, it’s impossible even to say if it is actually from its claimed location.

MacRae Writes:
Being well versed on the subject of the Odyssey you would be aware that when Odysseus departs Circe’s Aeaea, he orders his crew to place the mast into his ship. The image depicted at the Cerro Sechin temple looks far more like a Mycenaean penteconter with its portable mast lying alongside then it does a stylized jaw border as you claim.


And yes, I do regard Dick Edgar Ibarra Grasso as an archaeologist as the following link ratifies:



Jason Colavito writes:
He also asserts that the Greek Gorgon looks like the jaguar god of Chavin de Huantar.

MacRae Writes:
Incorrect, I never mentioned the jaguar god of Chavin de Huantar but rather compared the snake-haired and tusked Lanzon monument of Chavin du Huantar with the snake-haired and tusked gorgon, Medusa.

Jason Colavito writes:
But it gets insulting to the Peruvians when MacRae claims that the Greeks viewed them as occupants of the underworld (again borrowing from earlier fringe writers’ work) and that the Gorgon’s head vaguely alluded to in Odyssey 9 is actually a reference to Ecuadorian Natives’ head shrinking practices and thus Odysseus’ fear of having his head shrunk!

MacRae Writes:
Insulting? Are you stating that the ancient Peruvians did not revere the underworld (Uku Pacha) or that head shrinking was not once a ritual practice? Is it also insulting to say that the ancient Italians once sacrificed Christians in the Colosseum?

Jason Colavito writes:
Following F. A. Paley’s claim in “Pre-Homeric Legends of the Voyage of the Argonauts” in 1879, MacRae identifies the Wandering Rocks as icebergs and thus takes Odysseus to Antarctica. Unlike Paley, MacRae doesn’t imagine that the story traces back to the Argonauts but is firm set on holding to the literal truth of the Odyssey. To that end, he identifies the sun’s kingdom with Brazil on the basis of alleged Greek petroglyphs found in that country, which even if they were real (and they’re not) wouldn’t imply anything about the Mycenaean era, since the Mycenaeans didn’t use the Greek alphabet but rather Linear B.

MacRae Writes:
So, you have personally viewed every petroglyph ever found in Brazil and can verify that none of them resemble Linear B?

Jason Colavito writes:
The farther around the world MacRae goes, the dumber his claims get.
Understanding that the Taino believe the souls of the dead take the form of bats, he asks: “During his shipwreck ordeal, Odysseus described himself as clinging ‘like a bat’ to a symbolic fig tree (axis mundi?). Could this particular analogy have arisen from his experiences among the Taino?” In Odyssey 12, Odysseus clings “like a bat” to a fig tree growing over Charybdis to save himself from the whirlpool below, which is clearly meant to suggest how tightly he grabbed on, not that he was in the lands of the Taino!

MacRae Writes:


but I was carried aloft toward the fig tree, which I caught hold of and clung on to like a bat. I could not plant my feet anywhere so as to stand securely, for the roots were a long way off and the boughs that overshadowed the whole pool were too high, too vast and too far apart for me to reach them; so I hung patiently on, waiting till the pool should discharge my mast and raft again - and a very long while it seemed.

Odysseus states that he was carried aloft to a fig tree whose roots were a long way off. He hung there like a bat because he could not get any secure footing. The fig tree’s boughs were so vast and far apart that he could not reach them yet they overshadowed the entire whirling pool. How large and deep was that whirling pool? It was certainly large enough to keep his submerged mast and raft for a very long time. Being well versed with Homer’s poetry I thought you might have realized that the above excerpt is presented in symbolic allegory (i.e. the Taino’s cosmic world tree)

The Izapa stela 5 illustrates the world tree concept. Note the trees roots and how its boughs contain two "bird men" who appear to be hovering over water.

Other examples are found in Viking mythology where Odin hung from the World tree Yggdrasil for 9 long nights or the Lakota Sun dance in which the participants suspend themselves by hooks from a symbolic sacred tree pole.

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Subject Views Written By Posted
A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 1530 Jason Colavito 09-Jun-15 15:40
Re: A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 2305 Michael MacRae 10-Jun-15 07:53
Re: A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 519 Jason Colavito 10-Jun-15 15:26
Re: A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 921 Michael MacRae 12-Jun-15 07:23
Re: A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 437 Thunderbird 12-Jun-15 15:09
Re: A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 417 Michael MacRae 13-Jun-15 05:00
Re: A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 380 Jason Colavito 13-Jun-15 15:30
Re: A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 460 Michael MacRae 14-Jun-15 04:27
mammoths and mastodons 455 Skatha 14-Jun-15 07:24
Re: Mythology. ....stories 457 Thunderbird 13-Jun-15 18:17
Re: Mythology. ....stories 392 Skatha 14-Jun-15 01:38
Re: Mythology. ....stories 367 Michael MacRae 14-Jun-15 05:43
Re: Records vs Myth and Story 392 Thunderbird 14-Jun-15 16:42
Re: Records vs Myth and Story 420 Skatha 14-Jun-15 20:03
Re: myth symbol and languages 392 Thunderbird 14-Jun-15 21:17
Re: myth symbol and languages 332 Michael MacRae 16-Jun-15 06:21
Re: myth symbol and languages 381 Thunderbird 17-Jun-15 02:58
Re: myth symbol and languages 459 Michael MacRae 17-Jun-15 06:32
Re: Egypt and Atlantis 366 Thunderbird 13-Jun-15 20:42
Re: A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 417 Jason Colavito 12-Jun-15 23:22
Re: A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 419 Michael MacRae 14-Jun-15 05:33
Re: A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 380 Jason Colavito 16-Jun-15 20:04
Re: A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 549 Michael MacRae 18-Jun-15 00:18
Re: A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 397 Jason Colavito 19-Jun-15 01:47
Re: A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 471 Michael MacRae 20-Jun-15 09:29
Re: A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 431 Jason Colavito 21-Jun-15 18:50
Re: A Critique of Odysseus' Global Voyage 931 Michael MacRae 22-Jun-15 23:09

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