Archive for August 24, 2015

The Sea & Red Men in Africa



by, Harry Bourne,



Beginning this article feeds into something that has long taken my attention. This is the maritime history western parts or Atlantic-facing Europe but most especially that of the maritime Celts. However, on looking for information about what was happening on Atlantic coasts of west Africa, there seemed little to find to find and this triggered my series of papers on the maritime history of west Africa and related matters. They include three on the website hosted by Salim Khalaf.

The Phoenicians are probably the best known of any ancient non-African people to have reached Africa by sea. They are said to have had skin-tones variously described as copper, bronze or red. Various articles include those on the already noted, Who Were the Phoenicians by Nissim Ganor, Wikipedia entries on Canaan plus Phoenicia, etc. Between them, they probably provide most of the clues as to the geography plus sources of the Phoenicians.

On the site called Seafaring in Ancient India there are comparisons of Sanskrit Asura and the Semitic Assyria, Sanskrit Chola and Semitic Chaldaea, Sanskrit Pani and Semitic Phoenician, etc. One meaning of Sanskrit Asura is “those that are drunk” ad that as far away as the western province of Ireland called Connacht, it seems the Pre-Connachta name is Ol’Necmacht (in Irish)/ Nagnatae (in Latin) and it too may mean Drunkards. This would reinforce notions of Asura/Assyria as the name of a people/nation. The written form of the Sanskrit Pani seems close to the Poeni/Puni that is the earliest Latin label for the Phoenicians, but later used for the Phoenicians settled at Carthage (hence such terms as Phoenico/Punic, Punic, etc). Moreover, Puni seems to mean trader and whether seen as Phoenicians, Poeni or other spellings, they too were pre-eminently were traders.

Assyria being entirely Semitic and derived from the god-name of Assur with the related Semitic language of Hebrew giving a meaning for assur as happy, the etymology is purely Semitic owing nothing to Sanskrit. The earliest rise of the Cholas in eastern India at ca. 2300 before Common Era (= BCE = before c. 500 on common era/CE dates) is significant. However, it is far too late for the emergence from the Canaanite of the Phoenicians and the great Chola imperial expansion is very definitely totally far too late to be relevant for the antecedents of the Phoenicians.

If a word meaning drunks can be removed as showing the forebears of one Semitic people, a Sanskrit word meaning thieves as well as traders probably means it too should be removed as marking the ancestry of the Phoenicians. The word of Eskimos derives from a word in a language of neighbours who were a people of the severally named Native Americans, Redskins, American Indians, Amerindians Amerinds or just “Americans” in “The American Discovery of Europe” by Jack Forbes (2007). That Amerind language was Algonquin and in it, Eskimo apparently means thief and it is no surprise the Inuit want to be known by another name. The Pacific islands once named by the Spanish as the Ladrones (= Islands of Thieves) was unsurprisingly renamed by them as the Marianas when the Spaniards established a permanent colony there. So we may well regard it as unlikely that the Phoenicians would want their ancestors to have been called by a word meaning thieves.

For Herodotus (ca. 450 BCE Greek) that homeland was in that he apparently held was called what was called the Red Sea but is now called the Persian Gulf. What for Pliny (ca. 50 BCE Roman) was mainly the Sea of Azania stretching from Sudan to Mozambique has its northern part in what is now the Red Sea. However, telling against the Persian Gulf and Red Sea connection would be genetics placing the Phoenician antecedents in or near what was Anatolia but is now mainly most of Turkey. It is generally agreed the sequence from Canaanite to Phoenician occurred in the Canaan stretching from Anatolia/Turkey to Iraq with what became Phoenicia only a section of that part facing the east Mediterranean.

Flinders Petrie (the Making of Egypt 1939) is followed by David Rohl (in the Test of Time books) in looking for a group from the Persian Gulf. This group goes under the several names of the Square-boat People, Fon/Pon/Pun, the Eastern or Dynastic Race, Proto-Phoenicians, etc. These are among the efforts to regard Phoenicians as having been early non-Africans exploiting Zimbabwean gold via the Biblical mentions of such as Havilah, Sheba, Ophir, etc. A further argument on this came from messrs. Lacroix (Africa in Antiquity 1998) and Chami (The Unity of African Ancient History 2006). Routes north would connect this to Opone (= Hafun, Somalia) and Punt in north Somalia/Djibouti/Eritrea. The end of this Square-boat/Dynastic Race movement was the conquest of Egypt.

My comments are in Africa, Egypt & Prehistory (online) plus Egypt & the Sea in Antiquity (online). There the opinion followed is given that the Dynastic Race, the conquest of Egypt, the Proto-Phoenicians, etc, is wrong.

A more famous example of the Phoenicians in Africa comes from what is written by Herodotus. He wrote that the Egyptian Pharoah Necho/Necos sent a fleet crewed by Phoenicians to circumnavigate all Africa. It would be reinforced if more such roundings of Africa could be shown. Such Classical or Greco/Roman authors as Pliny, Martianus Capella, etc, held that Hanno of Carthage achieved this. Chami (ib.) felt this was shown by the Phoenico/Punic vessel that messrs. Cary and Warmington (The Ancient Explorers 1963) placed at Cape Delgado (Tanzania).

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Expanded Chapter from Yates’ Old Souls in a New World

“The Hopis’ Elder White Brother” (chapter from Old Souls in a New World, by Donald N. Yates, Panther’s Lodge Publishers, 2013)
Ever since publication of The Book of the Hopi in the 1960s the legends of the Hopi Indians of Arizona have been central to any discussion of diffusionism and the origins of North American Indians. In this, the first chapter of a new book about Greek, Egyptian and other Mediterranean cultural traits in the Cherokee Indians, it is suggested that the nucleus of the tribe we now know as the Hopi can be traced to Egypt, that the Hopi worldview contains elements of Hellenistic science and philosophy and that many of the religious terms used in their ceremonies are based on the ancient Egyptian language. The Hopis and the Cherokee, in other words, are related and share roots in the Old World of classical antiquity.


Expanded Chapter from Yates’ Old Souls in a New World

© Donald N. Yates 2005-2015


History is nothing but the soul’s old wardrobe.

Heinrich Heine

“All the lights in the House of the High Priests of American Anthropology are out; all the doors and windows are shut and securely fastened (they do not sleep with their windows open for fear that a new idea might fly in); we have rung the bell of Reason, we have banged on the door with Logic, we have thrown the gravel of Evidence against their windows; but the only sign of life in the house is an occasional snore of Dogma. We are very much afraid that no one is going to come down and let us into the warm, musty halls where the venerable old ideas are nailed to the walls.”

These biting words were penned by Harold Sterling Gladwin in Men out of Asia, the famous archeologist’s most popular non-technical work. Published in 1947, Gladwin’s book presented a maverick view of the peopling of the Americas, identifying five migrations of diverse races including Negrittoes and Austronesians to the New World. Heretically, he placed the first migration as early as 25,000 years ago and argued that the earliest colonists were Australoid.

The reaction of his colleagues in the anthropological establishment was stony silence, tinged with harumphs and pshaws of injured pride. Gladwin illustrated Men out of Asia with droll cartoons by Campbell Grant making fun of the sacred keepers of knowledge at the Peabody Museum at Harvard, Carnegie Foundation and Smithsonian Institution. In one, the dean of Southwest and Maya archeology Alfred V. Kidder is depicted as Dr. Phuddy Duddy sitting in academic robes atop a factory whistle sounding the alarm of illogical chronology. In another, a bespectacled Gladwin and his tweedy friend Professor Earnest Hooton of Harvard are shown in the academic doghouse “by request.”

The Establishment is still uncomfortable about Gladwin, who died in 1983 after a distinguished career of more than sixty years. Although willing to praise his meticulous fieldwork on the Hohokam at Snaketown and exacting methodologies developed at the research center he founded at Gila Pueblo outside Globe, Arizona, they do not know quite what to say about his conclusions and hypotheses, which grew more adamant toward the end of his life. The destroying angel of unorthodox theories, Stephen Williams of the Peabody Museum, can only think that Gladwin succumbed to his “whimsies” and grew soft-headed in his old age. “I have always regarded Men Out of Asia,” Williams loftily declares in Fantastic Archeology, “as a sort of spoof.”

Thomas Mills lived for many years on the Hopi Indian Reservation in Northern Arizona, where he and his mother opened and operated the Cultural Center at Second Mesa. A close friend was White Bear, the traditionalist who helped Frank Waters compile The Book of the Hopi in 1963. Mills was on familiar terms with other elders, kiva chiefs and artisans. In 2001, he wrote a little book of his own called The Truth. It was an attempt to reconcile some of the conflicting answers he had received from his sources.

How did a desert-dwelling, isolated people know of the earth’s spherical shape and rotation in space? What was the long journey in boats from across the sea they spoke of? And who were the Ant People they took refuge with after the destruction of the first, second and third worlds? Eventually, Mills felt he had some answers from Egyptian religion. He came to believe that the Hopi were Egyptians, old souls in Native America, charged with the task of praying for the safety of the world. The delicate balance of affairs in human destiny depended on a Hopi prayer feather or paho.

Paho seems to be an Egyptian word (pw). Embedded in Hopi customs and rituals are apparently many traces of ancient Old World civilizations. I thought of a time several years ago when Hopi elders David Mowa and Ronald Wadsworth came to give a talk at the university where I was teaching. I noticed David preferred to sleep on the floor in our guest room instead of the pullout bed. That was quite Indian, of course, but his act of leaving a crust of bread on the piano bench when he departed was not. This practice is rooted in the ancient Greek religious gesture of offering bread and milk to the household gods in a strange home.

Author Hamilton Tyler noted several Greek customs among the Pueblo Indians. The plinth-like figure of Masaw evokes the armless guardian statues or herms used by the Greeks as boundary markers. Hermes is both god of roads and boundaries and conductor of the dead to the underworld. “A number of students of Pueblo religion,” Tyler admitted, “have remarked that it was something like Greek religion.” Yet after uncovering astonishing analogies between the two religions, he concluded that “there is no actual connection between these two gods who lived centuries apart and on different sides of the globe.”

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