The Acropolis' Cyclopean Wall, Sages and Our Deeply Connected Past
The Athenian Acropolis. This rocky citadel sits alone, striking out imposingly against the backdrop of the dry, blue Mediterranean sky. Towering 490 feet (150 meters) over the modern cityscape, the outcrop spans a combined area of 7.4 acres, leaving more than enough space for the construction of some of the most iconic historical buildings left standing from the ancient world, including the cyclopean wall.
The earliest known habitation of the Acropolis, understood through the finding and subsequent carbon dating of artifacts, dates back to the Middle Neolithic era, some 10,000 years before present time. During the Mycenaean reign over Greece from around 1600 BC (covering vast areas of the modern-day Mediterranean), it is believed a palace, stylized by a megaron (a great hall of sorts) stood mightily on top, with evidence of this once grand and imposing stone building coming from the excavation of a limestone column base and several limestone steps.
This indicates a history of grand construction on the Acropolis over a thousand years before the now-idealized buildings like the Parthenon even existed.
This begs the question: just how far back do the construction phases go and what implications does this have on the origins of Acropolis’ inhabitants?
Acropolis as it stands imposingly above Athens today. ( Lambros Kazan / Adobe Stock)
Whether being burnt to the ground by the likes of the Persians in the 5th century BC, blown up by cannonball when audaciously being used as a gun-powder store during the Morean War in 1687, or even when being thrice besieged during the Greek War of Independence from 1821 - 1829, it is clear that the Acropolis has been thoroughly ravaged throughout the ages.
Accordingly, when interpreting how old the settlement on top of the Acropolis complex is, it must be understood that it has been subject to intense destruction and reconstruction on numerous occasions, for thousands of years.
Even in modern more peaceful times this mistreatment has been rampant. A 1906 report on excavations, which took place during the period of 1833 - 1896 sheds light on the poor and invasive archaeological work - especially notable examples of careless digging comes from 1885, where the Acropolis was continuously dug-up then refilled multiple times, resulting in major losses of valuable information regarding the sites prehistory.
Compounding this, we must not forget about the thriving corruption that surrounded the illegal possession and trade of ancient artifacts up until the Greek Antiquity Laws of 1932 and 1950. Whilst this law undoubtedly stopped a small percentage of artifacts from being sold off to private collectors or from being locked away deep in a museum storage unit to never to be seen again, the problem was, and still is, rampant.
As recently as 2015, Lieutenant Evgenios Monovasios of the Security Police Division of Attica told reporters that the number of ancient artifact thefts has increased as a result of the ongoing economic crisis in Greece.
With all of this in mind, it is not hard to imagine that throughout the estimated two-thousand years in which the Acropolis has been inhabited, the site has seen a few, if not many, ancient artifacts and evidence of previous construction phases either stolen, lost, misinterpreted, hidden or simply destroyed through malpractice, negligence or deliberate acts of ruination.
Due to all of these factors, it is hard to say exactly what is left from the original Acropolis inhabitants and how old these grand plans actually were. However, a clue may come in the form of something so robust, so well-built, it has been left standing through thick and thin to be marveled at today.
The American classical scholar Harry Thurston Peck in 1898 separated cyclopean architecture into four categories:
- Stones of various sizes with smaller stones filled in between them (often rough looking).
- Stones of unequal length but similar height.
- Rectangular stones of unequal height but similar length.
- Polygonal stones (often called polygonal masonry ) that feature many curved angles and interlocking faces.
(Any Category 2-4 stonework that fits flush, is smoothed down and has a high degree of precision and accuracy, is often also referred to as ashtar masonry).
Rather paradoxically, Category 2-4 ashtar masonry is often found at the bottom of cyclopean walls, suggesting by the nature of their placement, that they are the oldest parts. It is because of this that they are quite often misdated and attributed to the same period as the later, rougher Category 1 stonework.
Whilst The Mycenaeans, a civilization active between 1600 - 1100 BC are often credited for introducing cyclopean masonry throughout the Mediterranean, I believe they, in much the same vein as the Inca in Peru, simply adopted (and rather poorly imitated) a masonry style from a bygone era. This often results in a crude mismatch of Category 1’s and more precise ashtar masonry at the same site, even in the same wall. Good examples of this can be seen in the Lion Gate at Mycenae, Greece, or in Machu Picchu, Peru.
The Lion Gate, Mycenae, Greece: An example of a Category 1 cyclopean wall to the bottom right and a Category 2 ashtar wall in the center, very similar to what I observed in Machu Picchu. ( CC BY-SA 2.5 )
Examples of Category 4 cyclopean masonry can be seen tens of thousands of kilometers away in South America, at sites such as Peru’s Cuzco, Machu Picchu, and Ollantaytombo; or in the gusukus (un-dated stone walls) in the likes of Japan’s Okra or Shuri Castle; or in the mysterious Chufut-Kale site deep in the Crimean Mountains; or in Nimrod's Fortress in Mount Hermon, Israel. They are even found on the remote Ahu Vinapu in the Pacific Island of Rapa Nui (Easter Island).
I recently observed this phenomenon myself at Machu Picchu, Peru - a) shows the precise Category 4 masonry and b) shows the cruder Category 2 stone work - most likely an attempt at imitation. (Provided by the author from his upcoming book The Wise Ones)
This begs the question, if the Mycenaeans were in fact the ones who introduced it to the Mediterranean, why are cyclopean walls featured in all corners of the globe?
A Cyclopean wall is thought to have spanned 2493 feet (760 meters) in length around the Acropolis, reaching up to 32 feet (10 meters), and ranging from 11.5 - 19.6 feet (3.5 - 6 meters) in thickness. Snaking around the entire exposed outcrop, this is a truly masterful feat that kept many would-be invaders at bay over the years.
There is another great example of giant Category 2-3 ashtar masonry, only a stone’s throw from the Acropolis, on the Pnyx Hill, and researcher Hugh Newman displays this clearly in his video here:
So who exactly built these enigmatic walls? Well, that's the clincher, because as it turns out, not many people - in fact none at all - know the true answer.
Roman historian Pliny the Elder tells how Aristotle is credited with the name, who seemed to have chosen it for its humorous side rather than as a serious label. Of course, the father of Western philosophy named these walls after the cyclops - the mythical, giant, one-eyed creatures of ancient Greece, whom he believed must have been the only race responsible for moving such large stones in place.
In other words, nobody, at least during and after the age of Aristotle, knew for certain who were behind these vast and complex walls. Because of this, as mentioned before, they are often attributed to Mycenaean civilization. If you’re like me and left scratching your head wondering who was really behind these construction works, hold on, as their true origins may become clear when we look into a possible connection with a very enigmatic group of people seen throughout our prehistory.
Evidence of reconstruction phases in the Athenian Acropolis’ cyclopean wall. The older, much more precise Category 2 and 3 ashtar masonry to the right, with the latter, clearly rougher, Category 1 stonework, no doubt added after a routine destruction of the Acropolis. Notice the use of column drums in the wall, fitted above more Category 2 masonry - this is also present at other misinterpreted ancient sites, like Baalbek, Lebanon. ( YSMA / edited by author)
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Remarkably huge megalithic Category 2 and 3 ashtar masonry displayed on the Pnyx Hill, Athens. (George E. Koronaios / CC BY-SA 4.0 )
The Pediment and the Sage
An interesting 20th century discovery revealed intricately detailed pediments, found just south of the Parthenon, close to the cyclopean wall, widely believed by experts (but not known for certain) to be contemporary from the time of the Hekatompedon’s construction in the early 5th century BC, giving us a glimpse into this meekly documented time.
If I were to draw your attention to the right side of the western pediment, there is a half-human, half-serpent figure. The mainstream opinion on this is that it represents the three-bodied Daemon from Greek myth. Daemon’s are interesting in upon themselves. They were thought to be the original rulers of man under Cronus, having the ability to travel anywhere in the world and exhibiting great intelligence, and an astute ability to predict the future.
Triple-Bodied Monster on the west pediment of the Old Temple of Athena. (Ricardo André Frantz / CC BY-SA 3.0 )
What I find most interesting here is that these figures closely resemble the traditionally stylized description of the founding Athenian king known as Cecrops I.
Long thought to be a mythical character by modern academics, Cecrops I, was considered the forefather of Greek civilization. He introduced modes of higher culture through law and order and developed the means of reading and writing, and he is thought to have introduced marriage and civilized life. If you look closely at the appearance of the “Daemon” above, and then the image of Cecrops I below, the appearance is uncannily similar - especially notable in the prominence of the beard and the stylized woven headdress, along with the serpentine lower half.
King Cecrops of Athens, Athenian. The staff is a common symbol of civilization, found throughout the world. ( Public Domain )
Ancient historians certainly viewed Cecrops I as a real historical figure. The 5th century BC Greek historian Thucydides detailed how the region of Attica (encompassing Athens) was ruled “under Kekrops (Cecrops)...”, and the famous first historian Herodotus writing in the same period details of a time “when Kekrops was... [the Athenians] king [and] they were called Kekropidai” after this ruler.
You have probably heard about the accounts from other cultures across the world, where bearded figures with human-serpentine or human-fish symbology are frequently revered and worshipped as those great, often divine beings, thought to have spread the wisdom and knowledge of higher civilization among the primitive people.
The famous feathered serpent of Mesoamerica - Quetzalcoatl, the Chinese civilizing figure - Fu Xi, the many fish-like sages from the Mesopotamian and Vedic traditions - Oannes, Matsya and Manu, are all examples of a group of people researcher Graham Hancock popularly refers to as sages.
Could this pediment be meant to symbolize one of these sages? Could Cecrops I be considered one of these wise men? What implications does this have for the Acropolis and its cyclopean wall?
Worldly Wise Men
Throughout Mesopotamia, India and Meso and South America, these civilizing founders are all recorded to have appeared at various points in our deep prehistory. Rather coincidentally, these are all places that also feature cyclopean-fashioned walls. Could the tale of Cecrops be another small part of the missing link between these various ancient sites and their true architects?
Another clue may come from the Greek geographer Strabo, who claimed the etymology of Cecrops is not of Greek origin, and both the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus and the playwright Aristophanes detail how the sage-king was accompanied by a band of followers, immigrating from Sais, in none other than Egypt...
Temple using polygonal masonry technique. Qasr el-Sagha, el-Fayyum, Libyan desert, Egypt. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )
It is just another strand of jolly happenstance that Herodotus among others believe Sais to be the burial site of another mysterious civilizing figure, one who is also connected to the largest megalithic mysteries on Earth, the Great Pyramid of Giza . Of course, I am referring to none other than the Egyptian deity Osiris.
Could the tales of Osiris and Cecrops be linked? What could this spell for the true origins of the cyclopean walls throughout the Mediterranean and the genesis of the Acropolis?
Considering Egypt is also home to Category 2-4 ashtar masonry, situated only 1,000 kilometers away to the south of Athens, is it too hard to speculate that like so many of the misinterpreted ancient sites across the world, the Acropolis and its earliest stages of development may have once belonged to a mysterious civilization, one that has links to the times of Egyptian Zep Tepi and Osiris?
The connections ranging from North Africa to the Mediterranean, from the Middle East to the South Pacific, are certainly in existence, and being systematically uncovered to reveal a civilization, or at least a chain of civilizations, that spread out its complex style of construction work all over the world, a style which later feeble attempts tried so hard but failed so miserably to replicate.
There is certainly a clear connection between all of these sage figures, and with it comes an ever-strengthening possibility that we have mis-aligned these great feats of engineering and architecture with the wrong civilizations, from the wrong time periods and believing them to have been created for the wrong purpose. Could these mysterious sages have even once called the Acropolis, with its utterly grandiose cyclopean wall, their home, maybe even their observatory?
Additionally, my upcoming ebook - The Wise Ones: How Human History Has Been Shaped by Sages - takes a deep dive into this peculiar group, looking to unravel their potential helping hand in history, from the deepest recesses to more contemporary times. I go into the history surrounding Cecrops I, along with all the other enigmatic sages, in great depth there, so be sure to check it out if that’s something you’re interested in.
Category 4 Cyclopean wall at G3 , Egypt (Lee Anderson / grahamhancock.com)
What Can We take Away From This?
Of course this is all major speculation, but it’s always good to think of all possibilities, especially when there is substantial evidence to support different interpretations of long-held mainstream beliefs .
Like some have speculated for many years, the connection between not only the foundation myth, but the architecture, which adorns many ancient, still mysterious sites from across the world is beginning to shift the collective view on many things, and in this article, I hope to have raised the following questions:
- Could the Acropolis in Athens be another misidentified key, in understanding just how deeply the ancient people were connected to one another?
- Were there enigmatic groups of people, sages if you will, who travelled around spreading lost knowledge , like seen here with the impressive, but hard-to-emulate construction methods - especially the Categories 2-4 (ashtar) cyclopean walls?
There are many more questions raised than answered. I see this as useful rather than fruitless. We must question everything; question the mainstream beliefs, question the dogmatic framework that has been held in place for so long, question what we are taught in schools. Why?
Because, frankly, in the words of the singer Protoje:
“Information you think on your own,
Or else you are a slave to the things that you know”.
Top image: The Acropolis Athens (where the cyclopean wall can be found) during sunset. Source: sea and sun / Adobe stock
By Freddie Levy
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Thanks for the suggestion, I am quite on that feeling too.
Check out the polygonal acropolis of central Italy, with the city of Alatri representing the most impressive one. There are so very many polygonal, megalithic walls all over the region, which were attributed to the Iron age civilizations of Italy and to the late Roman Repubblic...but if you go after the subject, looking for storiographical proof and for those provided by disciplins other than archeology, this iron age attribution just doesn’t fit.
If you have never heard about this and if are interested in this, just ask for and I’ll be happy to teel you everything that I know. I have been travelling around these spots and studying it (not really in depth, but still something I got to learn) so I feel I can help out.
Exactly as George said.
I guess it would really depend on which word was used first, Cyclops or Cecrops in ancient Greek. My feeling is that Cecrops is derived from a much more ancient term, with a host of translations from ancient sources claiming it alluded to duality, a theme which runs through many ancient and extinct civilizations - most definitely something considered by ancient minds.
Cyclops may have been a later adoption of the origonal "kerkos" (if we assume the etyomology of Cecrops started before Cylops).
Another interesting notion is that with "kerkos" translating roughly as "tail", this is iconography found depicted in carvings and sculptures all over the world, from the MIddle East, to India, the America's, Pacific and beyond.
If Cecrops' reign could get pinned down to an exact date, this may indicate the earliest stages (the most advanced) of these great Cycloppean walls? Just how far back could this be?