In this post dedicated to understanding why “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel is so captivating the science fiction and Michael Moorcock fan in me thought it time to take a closer look at a couple of theories that while “entertaining” can quite easily be debunked.
Being a reasonably open-minded person and having already, as a teenager, read a selection of legends, from ancient Hindu legends to the “Chariots of the Gods”, I’ve learnt that it’s always wise to cross-reference one source with another and much as the thought of Maths being the answer to some of the greatest feats undertaken by man may seem an anticlimax in comparison, the fact is, it’s true.
As a native Brit, I could willingly support my standpoint using Stonehenge as an example but let’s take the pyramids of Giza instead, although according to some ancient alien theorists there is a (Galactic) connection between Stonehenge and the Pyramids.
Ancient aliens theorists suggest that perhaps the Annunaki descended to earth and bestowed upon the ancients the necessary wisdom, knowledge and the technical ability to, not only, build the pyramids but also to conceive, calculate and construct them in such a way that not only do they look awe-inspiring, serve as resting places for Pharaohs but they act as astronomical beacons, interconnect with a network of civilizations thousands of miles apart, in the Americas, India and South-east Asia, and perhaps serve as portals, Wormholes, for visitors from other universes* but the fact is the Annunaki didn’t intervene in their construction. Some very astute and educated men did.
* NB. To be fair, I do like the “Wormhole” theory, possibly because I read so much about it in Michael Moorcock and other authors’ works but the fact is scientists and theoretical physicists have theorized on the possible existence of a Multiverse, reachable, for example via Time/Space wormholes, ever since Einstein first introduced his concept in 1935.
The Case of The Golden Ratio
Taking a break from all this Science Fiction & Fantasy I sat down one Sunday afternoon and watched a documentary about Athens and specifically the restoration of the Acropolis. While I will happily tour a museum, stare at the work of any Florentine Renaissance Painter or visit the Amphitheatre of El Jem in Tunisia I am not a romantic nostalgic of the 17th & 18th Century “Grand Tour” , nor am I an architect, an archaeologist, an academician, a mathematician or even overly interested in stone and mortar so what piqued my interest about this particular documentary?
The easy answer is I love antique History, well actually History in general but more than that I love antique stories with a twist, stories of epic battles, Heraclian labours, golden fleece and of course, wooden horses, Homer’s the Odyssey and the Iliad saw to that. But more than that I’m interested in engaging, inexplicable stories that need some thinking about to understand and, yes I see you coming with “Here we go, he’s twisting it back to the “Ancient Aliens” thing” but bear with me.
In circa 450 BC the ancient Greeks set about constructing the Parthenon, a building worthy of a goddess with a certain Pericles as “Project Manager” and like the Egyptians, the Greek architects used a technique that eluded architects, archaeologists, and academicians until a mathematician stumbled upon the answer when renovation of the Parthenon started some 30-40 years ago.
As with the Pyramids, the architects drawing the plans for the Parthenon used a calculus later made famous by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio and of course Leonardo da Vinci, to not only assure the precision of the construction but also assure the optical aspect of it, i.e. assuring the appearance of a perfect symmetry when in fact the top of the columns curve inwards.
And the technique used? The Golden Ratio! Explanation. According to one ancient Greek mathematician, the Golden Ratio is, and I quote “nothing more than a straight line that is said to have been cut in extreme and mean ratio when, as the whole line is to the greater segment, so is the greater to the lesser…” You can’t get much simpler than that.
But as I said, I’m no architect, archaeologist or academician and was more interested in literature than maths at school so what made this subject so interesting? It was the way in which everyone involved was amazed at the precision of the angles, curves and dimensions and how they must have kicked themselves, more than once, when the saw how ingenious the ancient Greeks needed to be to get the job done. Yes, it was hard labour but it would have been much harder and taken a lot longer to complete had they not used the Golden Ratio.
As with the Pyramids or Stonehenge, it wasn’t the Annunaki, the “Greys” or Nephilim giants who built these edifices and perhaps other sites, such as the ancient Bolivian ruins of Tiwanaku and PumaPunkus, but a group of inspired and erudite men, every bit as intelligent as we are today, with an abundance of material, and labour, but little time and no other data processing technology than a ruler, string, pens, geometry and perhaps an ancient calculator of some undocumented but completely human design.
Acknowledgments: I would like to thank all the sites I’ve linked to in this post for the wealth of information I could have got from Wikipedia but found more fun and more educational on their sites.