[Chapter Twenty: 1593—Marlowe, Samuel Daniel, and Wilton House]


Part III: The Golden Age


Chapter Twenty-One: 4375 BC—Orion in India


Dating the Rigveda

The Veda is the oldest of the books that we now possess,
and it is generally admitted "that for a study of man,
or if you like, for a study of Aryan humanity,
there is nothing in the world equal in importance with it."
B. G. Tilak, The Orion

Bál Gangádhar Tilak was, among other things, an early advocate of Indian independence and the founder of the newspaper Kesari. Like the Reverend Robert Taylor, he spent time in jail for his views, which were decidedly anti-British, only to be released through the intercession of Max Müller, editor of the 50-volume Sacred Books of the East. In 1893, 300 years after the supposed death of Christopher Marlowe, Tilak published a book entitled The Orion; or, Researches into the Antiquity of the Vedas, in which he dated the composition of the Rigveda to before 4000 BC based on the position of the vernal equinox in the constellation of Orion.

Tilak begins his argument by demonstrating that the Vedic year was sidereal, referring to the stars, and not tropical, relating to the seasons, and that it began with the vernal equinox and not the winter solstice as some have suggested. The nakshatras, or Indian lunar mansions, were divided into the Deva Nakshatras, those above the celestial equator, and the Yama Nakshatras, those below the celestial equator. He places the vernal equinox in Krittikâ, the first asterism listed in Chapter Nine, at the time that the Taittirîya Sanhitâ was written sometime near 2350 BC, building on the work of William D. Whitney. Tilak places the equinox in Mrigaçiras in Orion when the Vedas were written, based on the use of an alternate name, Âgrahâyana, meaning literally "commencing the year," and he places this alignment sometime near 4000 BC, changing it in a later book to 4500 after having read the work of Hermann Jacobi. Tilak describes the positions of the solstices and equinoxes among the nakshatras during this period as follows:

... We have, roughly speaking, the winter solstice quite near the asterism of Uttarâ Bhâdrapadâ, the vernal equinox between the head and right shoulder of Orion or about 3° east of Mrigashiras, the summer solstice at a distance of within 2° east of Uttarâ Phalgunî, and the autumnal equinox about 5° east of the asterism of Mûla.

One can follow these references more easily by referring to the table of asterisms in Chapter Nine.

The problem is that Mrigaçiras is called "the Antelope's Head," and Tilak questions how these three stars so closely packed could be seen to represent anything in particular, especially the head of an antelope. In accord with Richard Allen's statement that,

The early Hindus called [the Belt of Orion] Isus Trikāndā, the three-jointed Arrow; but the later [Hindus] transferred to it the nakshatra title, Mrigaçiras,

the latter meaning literally "antelope's head" according to Tilak, his solution is that the Antelope's Head, pierced by an arrow, is represented by all of the stars of Orion including α, which marked the junction with the next asterism, Ârdrá. This is almost certainly the same arrow that was fired from the Weapon of Ishtar, though the reader can see from the illustration in Chapter Eleven that the arrow has just left the bow in that constellation. That the two arrows are identical is confirmed by the fact, as pointed out by Robert Bauval in The Orion Mystery, that after Orion has risen but Sirius has not, the point on the horizon where Sirius will appear can be determined by projecting a line through the three stars of the belt.

Tilak's Representation of the Antelope in Orion (rotated 90°)

Tilak goes on to identify the elements of the legend of Rudra and Prajâpati with the stars around Orion, quoting from Whitney:

There is the whole story illustrated in the sky; the innocent and the lovely Rohinî (Aldebaran); the infamous Prajâpati (Orion) in full career after her, but laid sprawling by the three-jointed arrow (the belt of Orion), which shot from the hand of the near avenger (Sirius) is even now to be seen sticking in his body.

and he finds the two Dogs guarding the gate or the bridge that leads to the underworld on the other side of the river of the galaxy, a clear reference to the vernal equinox where the sun rose into the northern hemisphere of the sky. Tilak also identifies this region with the location of the battle between Indra and Vritra.

Of late, there has been much debate as to whether there was an Aryan invasion of India in about 1500 BC or whether Indian civilization, represented by Harappa and Mohenjo-daro and other cities on the Indus and the now extinct Sarasvati rivers, arose in India itself. As always, the confusion results from distortion of the timeline. Adopting Tilak's dating for the events described in the Rigveda, we see that the nomadic Aryans invaded India during the middle of the 5th millennium BC, finding an even more primitive civilization already there, perhaps the ancestors of the Dravidians, and then gradually advanced their own civilization, from which arose the Harappa culture around 3000 BC.

Dating the Precession based on De Santillana and Burgess

Constellation Indian Asterism Junction Star2 Right Ascension
(from α Virginis)3
Libra Viçákhá α Librae 329° 10'   14890 BC  
Virgo (Svâtî/Nishtyâ) (α Bootis) 342° 20' 14000 BC5 13945 BC  
Citrâ α Virginis 0° 0' 12500 12671
(Hasta) (δ Corvi) 9° 20'   11999  
Leo Uttara-Phalgunî β Leonis 23° 10' 108005 11002  
Pûrva-Phalgunî δ Leonis 33° 50'   10235  
Maghâ α Leonis 48° 50' 8800 9155  
Cancer       80005   838610
(Âçleshâ) (ε Hydrae) 69° 30'   7667  
Pushya γ,δ Cancri 72° 50' 7000 74278 745011
Gemini Punarvasu β Geminorum 86° 50' 65005 6419  
Orion Ârdrá α Orionis 114° 20' 45005,6 44396 437513
Mrigaçiras λ Orionis 119° 0' 4000 4103 390714
Rohinî α Tauri 132° 40' 3000 3118 294915
Krittikâ η Tauri 144° 40' 2200 2254 2230
Aries       18005   162813
Bharanî  35 Arietis 161° 30'   1043 1036
Açvinî1 β Arietis 172° 30'   251 BC 208 BC13
Pisces       AD 15   AD 516
Revatî δ Piscium 180° 10'   AD 289 AD 323

 1Sidharth (1999) has this nakshatra at the winter solstice ca 7300 BC.
The junction stars are from Allen (1963). The relative positions of these asterisms are based on the right ascension of the asterisms on page 321 of the Burgess translation of the Sûrya Siddhânta (1978).
 3After Burgess. Precision is to the nearest 10 minutes of arc, or ±6 years. These figures do not necessarily apply to the junction stars suggested by Allen, especially in the case of Viçákhá.
 4These dates are from the illustration on the endpaper of the 1st edition of Hamlet's Mill (1969), not reproduced in the paperback edition (1983) but found in Godwin (1993).
 5These years mark the transition from one solar constellation to the next according to the chart in de Santillana (1969).
 6Alison Moroney has this at ca 4420, based on planetarium software, in her Pathway to Atlantis of 1998, which, unfortunately, I have been unable to find, as well as at her website. She also places the construction of the great pyramid near that year, when α Orionis (Betelguese) aligned with the south shaft of the King's Chamber. More on this below.
 7These are roughly based on the right ascension of the junction star from the Burgess (1978) translation of the Sûrya Siddhânta, assuming a date for Spica (α Virginis) of 12671 using Meeus (1983) and the ancient value of 25,920 years for the entire precession.
 8Sidharth (1999) has δ Cancri ca 7300.  9Bond Event 8.  10Bond Event 7.  11Erdalen Event. A tree-ring radiocarbon event occurred at 7553.
8.2 Kiloyear Event.  13Tree ring minimum.  145.9 Kiloyear Event.  15Egyptian Deluge/Flood of Deucalion.  16Census in Judea. 

In his examination of The Song of Amergin and its relation to the supposedly Druidic tree-alphabet in The White Goddess, Robert Graves identifies the letter beth with the "stag of seven tines" mentioned in Amergin, thus reinforcing Tilak's identification of the antelope with Orion. As we saw in Chapter Nine, the Phoenician letter beth was derived from the upper portion of this same constellation. The calendar constructed by Graves, however, bears little resemblance to what one would expect if Orion marked the first month of spring at any time prior to the adoption of the Beth-Luis-Nion alphabet. Graves, in fact, has it as the first month of winter.

Graves' Goddess is a veritable compendium of data relating to the Orion stag, associated with dogs, as has already been noted. Graves is clearly consonant with Tilak when he goes so far as to call the dogs that chase the stag the "Hounds of Hell."


Indra and Vritra

Ignatius Donnelly refers to the 1876 American edition of Murray's Manual of Mythology:

Indra was the great god, the sun. He has a long and dreadful contest with Vritra, the "throttling snake." Indra is "the cloud compeller"; he "shatters the cloud with his bolt and releases the imprisoned waters"; that is to say, he slays the snake Vritra, the comet, and thereafter the rain pours down and extinguishes the flames which consume the world.

"He goes in search of the cattle, the clouds, which the evil powers have driven away."

Donnelly continues, quoting Murray directly, who, by now, is quoting from the H. H. Wilson translation of the Rigveda:

"He who fixed firm the moving earth; who tranquilized the incensed mountains; who spread the spacious firmament; who consolidated the heavens—he, men, is Indra.

"He who having destroyed Ahi (Vritra, Typhon,) set free the seven rivers, who recovered the cows, (the clouds,) detained by Bal; who generated fire in the clouds; who is invincible in battle—he, men, is Indra."

We all know by now the celestial identity of this "throttling snake," as did Donnelly, calling him Typhon, and we might begin to suspect that the appearance referred to is that of 4375 BC, marked by the tree-ring minimum brought on by the imprisonment of the waters by Vritra, by which is meant, one would suspect, a devastating drought. Indra kills Vritra by cutting off his head in the form of an antelope, thus linking him to the constellation of Orion. This may simply refer to the time when Vritra appeared, when the equinox was in Orion, or it may be linked to the actual position in the sky where Vritra was located.


The Great Pyramid and the Sphinx—Orion in Egypt

The Egyptians believed that the gods, indeed the 'wisdom god' Thoth himself,
had built the Giza pyramids during the golden age when gods lived on earth;
the idea was later imparted to the Greeks, who also said that Hermes,
the name they gave to Thoth, had built the pyramids.
Robert Bauval, The Orion Mystery

In 1983, observing the night sky from the desert outside of Riyadh, Robert Bauval realized that the alignment of the three major pyramids on the Giza plateau was an excellent approximation for that of the three stars of the "belt" of Orion. Later he calculated that the northern shaft of the King's Chamber aligned with the stars of that same "belt" at the time when the Great Pyramid of Khufu (or Cheops) was supposed to have been built, between 2566 and 2552 BC by the current reconstruction. The problem, beyond a general inability to conceive of such a project reaching completion in fourteen years or less, is that the stars of the belt are relatively minor and it is hard to understand why the ancient Egyptians would have held them in such esteem that they would have built a giant pyramid—one seventh of a mile square—around them, a situation that was clarified by Alison Moroney in 1998 with the publication of her Pathway to Atlantis.

Though her focus is astrological, whatever one thinks of the validity of such endeavors, Moroney calculated using astronomical software that the northern shaft of the King's Chamber pointed to the much more significant α Orionis (Betelgeuse) near the year 4420 BC in line with Tilak's dating of the composition of the Rigveda. As a single datum, this fact would be far from probative. There is, however, an actual physical indication that at least one of the gigantic objects at Giza is much older that the 4th Dynasty.

Wikipedia, a generally conservative, almost reactionary, online encyclopedia (note the cheap shot at Lubicz), has the following on what they call the "Water Erosion Hypothesis," as of November 29, 2014:

R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz, a French mystic and alternative Egyptologist, first claimed evidence of water erosion on the walls of the Sphinx enclosure in the 1950s. John Anthony West, an author and alternative Egyptologist, investigated Schwaller de Lubicz's ideas further and, in 1989, sought the opinion of Robert M. Schoch, a geologist and associate professor of natural science at the College of General Studies at Boston University.

From his investigation of the enclosure's geology, Schoch concluded the main type of weathering evident on the Sphinx enclosure walls was caused by prolonged and extensive rainfall. According to Schoch, the area has experienced a mean annual rainfall of approximately one inch (2.5 cm) since the Old Kingdom (c. 2686–2134 BC) such that, since Egypt's last period of significant rainfall ended between the late fourth and early 3rd millennium BC, the Sphinx's construction must date to the 6th millennium BC or 5th millennium BC.

This is in agreement with Moroney's date of 4420 for the construction of the Great Pyramid.

Schoch summarizes the evidence of erosion at the Sphinx in the appendix to his Voyages of the Pyramid Builders of 2003. His main argument is that the Sphinx shows little evidence of weathering by wind, except on the head, which is "above the level of the plateau." Below the head, where the surrounding limestone has been removed to build related structures in the area, a process that formed a depression that constantly fills with desert sand unless continually removed, the Sphinx shows evidence of erosion by rain, as do the temples built from the removed rock.

Based on subsurface weathering patterns, Schoch calculates that the Sphinx was carved from the bedrock between 4700 and 7000 BC. The problem, of course, as the good doctor himself points out, is that rainfall in the area was not constant over hundreds and thousands of years. In particular, he fails to take into account the flooding that occurred in the Nile Valley at the boundary between wet and dry periods, flooding that resulted from extraordinary levels of rainfall at the modern sources of the Nile circa 2949 BC. We can therefore be fairly confident that the actual time of the construction was near that of the alignment of the northern shaft of the King's Chamber in the Great Pyramid with Betelguese circa 4420.

Beyond the physical evidence, the very shape of the Sphinx, that of a lion (with a lion's head before being recarved by Khafre, according to Schoch) suggests a period when Leo marked the summer solstice—not the vernal equinox as suggested by authors like Graham Hancock—a period consonant with Betelguese at the equinox.

Turning to the Great Pyramid itself, as Schoch points out in his Pyramid Quest: Secrets of the Great Pyramid and the Dawn of Civilization,

Many of the Giza samples from the 1980s study are much older than the pharaohs who supposedly commissioned the monuments. If we take the radio carbon-14 [sic] dating at face value, the charcoal-tainted mortar at the top end of the margin of error in the upper coarse of the Great Pyramid was put into place over 1,400 years before Khufu became pharaoh.

This latter date (circa 3950) falls at the beginning of the 4th millennium BC, not quite as early as Moroney's date, but headed in the right direction.


[Chapter Twenty-Two—Gemini in Bosnia]


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