Ancient Greek Legend Seems to Describe a Place in Peru: Early Contact?
By Tara MacIsaac , Epoch Times
In the 8th century BC, the Greek poet Hesiod described in his Theogony a place at the end of the Earth where the gorgons dwell, where the god Atlas appears as a giant mountain, and where a great chasm contains treacherous seas.
Hesiod’s description seems to match the mysterious labyrinth ruins of Chavin de Huantar in the Peruvian Andes, according to Dr. Enrico Mattievich, a retired professor of physics from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in Brazil. Dr. Mattievich wrote a book titled “Journey to the Mythological Inferno,” in 2011 which suggests the Greek epic hero Odysseus’s journey to the underworld is set in South America.
Part of this book explores the similarities between Chavin de Huantar and Hesiod’s description. Not only do Hesiod’s geographical descriptions fit the site, local legends also match the Greek myth, and artifacts in the temple also seem to correspond.
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Hesiod wrote of the dwelling place of the gorgons: “… Grim and dank and loathed even by the gods—this chasm is so great that, once past the gates, one does not reach the bottom in a full year’s course, but is tossed about by stormy gales …”
Mattievich wonders if this describes the mouth of the Amazon River. Or, does it describe the length of the dangerous journey across the ocean to South America, followed by the trip up the Amazon to the gates of Pongo de Manseriche—a deep and narrow gorge that strangles the Marañon River. Dangerous whirlpools often form in the upper Marañon.
Hesiod wrote: “There also stands the gloomy House of Night, ghastly clouds shroud it in darkness. Before it [the House of Night] … [Atlas] stands erect.”
Chavin de Huantar is a palace in front of the high Andes. Is it the “House of Night”—the Gorgon’s abode? Is “Atlas” one of the mountains of the Andes?
Chavin de Huantar, Peru. (Martin St-Amant/Wikimedia Commons)
A sculpture of a horrifying deity in the middle of the labyrinth ruins of Chavin de Huantar is the Gorgon of myth, according to Mattievich.
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The “Gorgon” sculpture is portrayed as chained in the middle of the underground labyrinth, on a pillar about 15 feet (4.5 meters) tall. Surrounding the palace are grotesque stone heads, perhaps depicting the petrified witnesses of the Gorgon’s might.
The “Gorgon” sculpture in the Chavin de Huantar, as depicted on page 67 of Dr. Enrico Mattievich’s book, “Journey to the Mythological Inferno, America’s Discovery by the Ancient Greek.” (Courtesy of Enrico Mattievich)
Above the “Gorgon” is a small sacrifice room from which the victims’ blood poured into the mouth of the deity. Mattievich wrote of his experience visiting the site: “I faced the imposing stone pillar … I tried to imagine how horrible it must have been to see it covered with blood. If suffering and anguish could leave their marks on matter, that pillar would certainly contain all the lamentations of Hell.”
The sculpture resembles depictions of the Gorgon found in Europe, Mattievich said, citing others who have noted these similarities as well. For example, in 1926, anthropologist José Imbelloni compared the Chavin de Huantar sculpture to the 6th century Gorgon head at the sanctuary of Syracuse in Sicily. Imbelloni stopped short of saying the Peruvian sculpture was of Greek origin, but he did find the resemblance pushed the boundary of a belief that the people of Peru could have created such a similar statue by chance.
Gorgonian images from America and the Mediterranean
(1. Athens, 2. Colombia, 3. Sicily (Italy) and 4. Peru), as depicted on page 69 of Dr. Enrico Mattievich’s book, “Journey to the Mythological Inferno, America’s Discovery by the Ancient Greek.” (Courtesy of Enrico Mattievich)
The age of Chavin de Huantar is not precisely known. Mattievich explained that a tentative estimation could trace the oldest parts back to about 1300 B.C. The Chavin culture itself dates back to about 1600 B.C.
Local Myths Match Greek Legend?
A later Chavin myth about the god Huari is a Peruvian version of the Greek myth of Perseus, Mattievich said. The local people are said to have invited Huari to a feast, planning to trap and kill him there. Huari saw through the ploy, however, and turned them all to stone. The feast and the subsequent petrification is said to have occurred at the Chavin de Huantar.
In the corresponding Greek myth, Polydectes plotted against Perseus who stood in the way of his love. Polydectes held a banquet to which all guests were to bring gifts of horses. Perseus had no horse to give and said he would instead bring whatever Polydectes asked for. Polydectes took the opportunity to put Perseus in great danger by requesting the head of the Gorgon Medusa. Through a long course of events, Perseus succeeded in obtaining the head of the Gorgon and thus possessed the power to turn others to stone.
Perseus holds the head of Medusa in an 1801 sculpture by Antonio Canova. (Wikimedia Commons)
Featured image: Chavin de Huantar ruins in Peru, where one researcher says the mythical home of the ancient Greek Gorgon may have been. (Sharon odb/Wikimedia Commons)
The article ‘ Ancient Greek Legend Seems to Describe a Place in Peru: Early Contact ?’ was originally published on The Epoch Times and has been republished with permission.
This is NOT the only Greek connection that has been made in the Americas. Check out the National Geographic article in the link below from 2010 and PLEASE read the comments. Horace Butler, author of "When Rocks Cry Out", has made some incredible discoveries in his more than 10 years of research that show the Greek, Egyptian and biblical histories took place here, in the Americas. Having read this article, does these ideas seem that far-fetched? I encourage you all to at least take a look for yourselves. There is a mountain (no pun intended) of evidence to support the theory that has been presented here.
I once jumped on interesting stories like this, half expecting new evidence to emerge, but then I see the byline "Epoch Times" and reject it out of hand.
That "newspaper" is nothing more than a vehicle for Chinese cultists to spread their message. The stories are poorly researched and the conclusions they derive are as whacked out as what the Weekly World News used to promote. "Bigfoot Ate My Baby", "Flying Saucers Healed My Blindness" and other headlines at least expose their comedic value before people read them. But the Epoch Times editors and writers seem to believe practically anything with not a glimmer of disbelief or irony.
And the "academia.eu" site which is the sole source for information on this article is a site which allows anyone to publish anything under the guise of being a scholarly website. I know, I have a subscription and people have said they enjoy my papers. The fact is, I have never published anything on that site, ever. It's merely a diversion that gives me a bit of a chuckle at times.
Like von Daniken, the authors of these articles on "academia.eu" and Epoch Times often look for similarities in artifacts and instantly believe that either aliens were responsible of there was contact between distant cultures in times past where there was none. Ignoring sometimes hundreds of years of research, they create a new story which brings them fame and sometimes fortune out of things which real scholars are already familiar with. It also sells papers and advertising space.
That Phoenicians (people from the land of Canaan, aka "Israel") may have widely circulated their stories, seems possible. Perseus was supposed to have come to Greece from Joppa (where he married an Ethiopian princess), the capitol of the Danites (Perseus himself was considered to be a Danaan). The stories of such a far flung seafaring race may indeed have reached vastly distant shores (Peru is only barely within my imagination.). Hesiod certainly used stories from this Levantine group. However, the Idea that descriptions of Peru were available to, and were used by, Hesiod in composing his "Theogony" is, in my view, far-fetched to say the least. In other words there may be (with a very low probability) traces of motifs, shared from a common source, with both Greece and Peru. But imagining direct contact between Greece and Peru simply isn't supported by the coincidences produced in this article.
The Perseus cycle of myths already has strong associations with Phoenicia (like the sea serpent at Joppa, as in the story of Jonah) and Egypt (like the Watchtower of Perseus at Pelusium, and the similarities with Moses). I still favor the equation of Mount Atlas with Mount Sinai. Don't forget that Atlas is supposed to be the brother of Prometheus (almost certainly from an Eastern source, the Caucasus), who is also suspiciously Sinai like in his motifs (the creator of Man who is "bound" to the mount that is approached by Io, the Earthly wife of god, freed from her captivity, during the course of her wanderings lead by the serpent stick carrying messenger of god.). Atlas is obviously an Adam who is condemned to keeping separate "Heaven and Earth" for sins committed, in regard to the tree of his ancient garden. And the mount (Sinai) is the intended remedy.
Hesiod's phrase, "ghastly clouds shroud it in darkness" describes Sinai as well as (if not better than) the Andes; "and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain" (Exodus 26:16).
More and more evidence accumulates to show that ancient people traveled a lot more than archaeologists and anthropologists have believed.
Many of the ancient Mediterranean people had sailing cultures. The ship found in the Egyptian tomb of Khugu measured 43.6 meters long, or 143 feet, a very big sailing ship.
Some giant catastrophe, or series of catastrophes, brought much of this to an end.
The former amateur, but brilliant, archaeologist Henriette Mertz has written several interesting books about ancient voyages, including a very interesting one about the Odyssey called The Wine Dark Sea, in which she argues the ship arrive in North America and did a circular voyage up the gulf stream and back to the pillars of Hercules.