Recognizing the Transmission of Knowledge in Antiquity
The fervent and ongoing academic debate as to the origins of Classical Civilization is not apt to end any time soon. For more than two centuries, it has been routinely taught and commonly accepted that the Greeks of antiquity were the innovators of philosophy, mathematics, architecture, the arts and sciences, and anything else associated with the establishment of Classical (Western) Civilization. However, as stated in Martin Bernal’s Black Athena Vol. I: The Fabrication of Greece 1785 - 1985, this “Aryan Model” of Greek history was indeed “developed only during the first half of the nineteenth century” (1). Furthermore, Bernal states that “no one before 1600 seriously questioned either the belief that Greek civilization and philosophy derived from Egypt, or that the chief ways in which they had been transmitted were through Egyptian colonizations of Greece and later Greek study in Egypt” (121). That acceptance of Egyptian to Greek Transmission of knowledge is what Bernal refers to as the “Ancient Model” of Greek history. This is not merely conjecture but a matter of historical record, as many of the great and renowned ancient Greek masters of the arts, sciences, and philosophy, indicate in their works that they studied these subjects in Egypt, under the tutelage of its scholars and priests. Homer, who was “seen by the Ancient Greeks as a cultural ‘founding father” (Bernal 178), left an abundance of references to Egyptians (and others of African descent), as well as “praise of the vast wealth and cultural superiority of the civilization of the Egypt” (179). Yet, many Western scholars remain unequivocally opposed to the notion of an Egyptian to Greek transmission of knowledge, i.e., African to European. As Chancellor Williams states in his exclusively Afrocentrist work, The Destruction Of Black Civilization: Great Issues Of A Race,From 4500 B.C. To 2000 A.D., “[Western scholars] are not ignorant of the true history of the blacks, including their achievements as builders of one of the first great civilizations on this earth … They simply ignore and refuse to publish any facts of African history” (35-36). And even when said achievements are undeniably rooted in Egypt, they are often stripped of blackness. St. Clair Drake’s Black Folk Here And There discusses this tendency of certain conservative anthropologists to use narrowly defined racial definitions in order to avoid assigning the classification of “negroid” to the earliest innovators of civilization (156). Nevertheless, there have been many research developments that should allow academia a clear and true perspective of ancient Egypt’s role in the formation of civilization. Still, none of the preceding argument is meant to imply that the Greeks of antiquity did not actively participate in the development of what has come to be known as Western Civilization. It is, however, an assertion that they were not the originators of such. Herein, the first of the ancient Greek poets, Homer, along with Bernal, Drake, Williams, and various other sources, illuminates an all too little recognized aspect of our civilized beginnings. That being the fact that many of the elements that make up the foundation of Western Civilization, and which are attributed to the Greek intellect and imagination, were in fact taught to the Greeks by the Blacks of ancient Egypt.
Though highly contested, the revision of longtime conventional tenets of traditional scholarship in regard to the origin of Western Civilization is apt to be a tedious process. Bernal’s notably scholarly effort to guide academia to what he refers to as the “Revised Ancient Model,”1 though met with fevered derision by some self-serving scholars, has surely assisted greatly in turning the tide of history’s fabrication. Black Athena seems to have garnered more attention from the worlds of traditional scholarship and the mainstream press than all of the works of Afrocentric scholars combined. “Given the wealth of Afrocentric literature it would seem logical that the Eurocentric “resisters” review these works, and point out the weaknesses … But, instead [they] simply mention text written by Afrocentric scholars and then attack Black Athena” (Winters). Still, it is certainly a miraculous achievement that Bernal’s work serves to draw academia and the public’s attention to the often disregarded work of Afrocentrist scholars—much of which is not only scholarly but painstakingly researched and objective. Meanwhile, in the words of Thomas Kuhn: “Almost always the men who achieve the fundamental inventions of a new paradigm have either been very young or very new to the field whose paradigm they change”2 (qtd. in Bernal 1).
In the late 17th century racism “was greatly intensified by the increased colonization of North America, with its twin policies of extermination of the native Americans and enslavement of Africans” (Bernal 202). This genocide and enslavement of human beings was morally problematic for “[p]rotestant societies, in which equality of all men before God, and personal liberty, were central values [and] could be eased only by strong racism.” Slavery was justified by the legitimized dehumanization of Africans, as the slaughter of Native Americans was justified under the premise that they held no property rights to what was seen essentially as unsettled territory. English, American, and German thinkers—the so-called authorities of the day3 proposed philosophies that likened dark skin to mental and moral inferiority. The term “Aryan Model” as used by Bernal, clearly defines the carefully guarded traditional view of Greek culture, which is seen as a result of the mixture of Indo-European-speaking Hellenes and their indigenous subjects” (Bernal 2). This view of civilization in antiquity took a giant stride forward in the 19th century, becoming a “true science’ followed by steady, cumulative, scholarly progress” (7-8). Consequently, Eurocentric scholars regarding their field of historiography of the East Mediterranean as a true science, they hold fast to the notion that their work surpasses any other that has “gone before.” Outsiders who challenge their disciplines are expertly, routinely, and systematically discredited.
At the dawn of the 19th century, “Germans were convinced that they were the ‘intellectual instructors’ of mankind”, a belief shared—for the most part—by ‘progressive’ Europeans and Americans (Bernal 318). Germany’s University of Gottingen, founded in 1734 by England’s King George II, “may well be considered the embryo of all later, modern, diversified and professional universities” (215). Although “exclusive professionalism was the distinctive form of Gottingen scholarship, the chief unifying principle of its content was ethnicity and racism were its “chief unifying principle.” The combined use of race and ethnic origin were now an essential principle in explaining the history of ancient Egypt. One of the Gottingen’s founders, Kristophe August Heumann, in the first issue4 of his self-established journal, Acta Philosophorum, stated that “although the Egyptians were cultivated in many studies they were not ‘philosophical” (216). Thereby assigning primacy in philosophy to the Greek culture. According to Bernal, all successful challenges to the Aryan view of history “have remained within the bounds set in the 1820’s by the man who destroyed the Ancient Model, Karl Otfried Muller” (4). A Gottingen professor of ancient literature, Muller enthusiastically recommended study of Greek mythology; however, he argued against “recognizing any specific borrowings from the east.” Recognition of parallels between Egypt and Greece in “higher culture as a whole” posed an even greater threat. “Muller used the [then] new techniques of source criticism5 to discredit all ancient references to Egyptian colonizations” (Bernal 31). Similarly, ancient accounts of Egyptian tutelage of Greeks were attacked. In this systematic manner the Ancient Model was destroyed, replaced with the fallacy that the ancient Greeks were the originators of philosophy and civilization. Eurocentrist scholars now felt that “the stories of Egyptian colonization and civilizing of Greece violated ‘racial science’ as monstrously as the legends of sirens and centaurs broke the canons of natural science. Thus all were equally discredited and discarded”—along with those who proposed them (Bernal 8). In the time since, there has been more than a modicum of scholarly recognition that the ancient Egyptians did indeed posses a high-civilization. Nonetheless, the view has persisted that in spite of being “technically proficient they were not truly ‘civilized’ and the Greek respect for their culture was based on delusion” (225).
As previously mentioned, the Greeks of antiquity held the traditional belief that the formation of their culture was influenced by Egyptian colonization. Correspondingly, “according to an ancient tradition referred to by Homer, Amphion and Zethos were the first founders of [Greek] Thebes and that its other founder, Kadmos, arrived from the Near East long after their city had been destroyed” (Bernal 19). According to St. Clair Drake’s Black Folk Here And There, it was during this same period that Mentuhotep I, the first king (ca. 2150 BCE) of the 11th dynasty, marched his troops northward from Egypt’s Thebes expelling foreign invaders, and in the process re-unified the Southern and Northern provinces of Egypt (189). “This not only reunited Egypt but attacked the Levant6 and is known from archaeological evidence to have had wide-ranging contacts further afield, certainly including Crete and possibly the mainland” (Bernal18). Furthermore, the hawk and bull god was the divine patron of the Upper Egyptian black pharaohs of the 11th Dynasty, and similarly, evidence of the bull-cult—central to mythology about King Minos,7 appears on the walls of the Cretan palaces that were then being established. “It would therefore,” Bernal says, “seem plausible to suppose that the Cretan developments directly or indirectly reflected the rise of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom” (18). In the same vein, “[l]ike the Egyptian pyramids, the tomb of Amphion and Zethos was associated with the sun and, like them, the Greek Thebes had close associations with a sphinx. Furthermore, it was in some way linked to the zodiacal sign Taurus, and many scholars have drawn parallels between the Theban and Cretan bull-cults.” The implied relationships between the Greek and Egyptian Thebes certainly make a plausible argument for colonization. It must also be noted that Bernal indicates that this is the period in which Greek culture began to form—around 2100 BCE (18).
The ancient city of Athens, as legend has it, was founded by Kekrops, an “Egyptian from the city of Sais on the Western Delta. There was also recognition that Neit, the goddess of that city, was the same as Athena” (Bernal 107). Diodorus, the ancient Greek historian “devoted considerable space near the beginning of his [Library of History], to Saitian claims that Kekrops and other early Athenian kings had been Egyptians, and [of] a special relationship between Athens and Egypt” (111). Gottingen Professor, Karl Muller, attacked the legend of Kekrops, “and his supposed colonizations of Athens and the region Lake Kopais in Boiotia,” on the grounds that they were “attested late,” one of his conditions for dismissal (311). Nevertheless, ancient references to the legends of Egyptian colonizations and cross cultural influencing of Greece are simply too abundant to be so easily dismissed. “Furthermore, Isokrates and Plato both believed in the colonizations” (108).
In his poems, Homer makes many references to Egypt, as in The Iliad, when Achilles denies peace offerings from Agamemnon:
His gifts, I loathe his gifts …
I wouldn’t give a splinter for that man!
Not if he gave me ten time as much, twenty times over, all
he posses now, and all that could pour in from the world’s end—
not all the wealth that’s freighted into Orchomenos, even into Thebes,
Egyptian Thebes where the houses overflow with the greatest troves
Thebes with the hundred gates and through each gate battalions,
two hundred fighters surge to war with teams and chariots—(Bk. 9, 462-70).
Homer’s Iliad also contains 139 “references to Danaans [who] would have been instantly recognized by at least later Greeks as having come from Egypt” (Bernal 85). As legend would have it, Danaos, who ruled over Libya (from Egypt), was the son of the Egyptian King, Belus. Danaos, upon conflict with his twin brother, Aigyptos, fled to Argos with his fifty daughters, where he founded the city of Larisa, “with which he had many cultic [i.e. Egyptian] connections” (Bernal 76). Notably, “[t]he probable derivation of the place name Laris(s)a is from the Egyptian toponym R-3ht, ‘Entry into the Fertile lands’ … Furthermore, the Homeric epithet for two different Larisai was eribolax (deep-soiled) (76). Moreover, the “core meaning of the word [argo] was “brilliant’ or ‘silver’, [which] fits well with Inb hd [Egyptian toponym], ‘Silver Wall”, the most frequently used name for Memphis, the capital of Lower Egypt.” This historical and linguistic evidence make for a plausible connection between the Pelasgian Argos and Egypt.
Pelasgian was a term used by the ancient Greeks to designate the first of people who occupied Greece. In order to thoroughly explore the relationship of Egyptians in particular, and Africans in general, to the Argolis, it is necessary to turn to the research and writings of black scholars. George Wells Parker (1882-1931), an African American historical writer and political activist, used a combination of sources, “anthropological, archaeological, [and] historical” to show that an abundance of “blacks once lived in the Aegean” (qtd. In Winters). Also, using the Greek classics, he postulated “that the Pelasgians were of African descent.” According to Parker, it was black men rather than Indo-Europeans that were at the center of the origin stories of Pelasgians founding Grecian cities. He also stated that “the Grecian epics are epics of an African people.” Homer’s Iliad and its many references to Egypt and Ethiopia, as well gods who are rooted in African tradition would seem to lend plausible support to Parker’s argument. Though other Greek writers have described Pelasgians, they first made their appearance in the poems of Homer. Herodotus and Thucydides both indicated in their writings that Pelasgians were the majority of “the early population of Greece and the Aegean [but that] most of them were gradually assimilated by the Hellenes” (Bernal 78). It was the opinion of Herodotus, that this transformation had “taken place after the invasion by Danaos … around the middle of the 2nd millennium BC.” This cultural transformation is reflected in “[m]any of the Greek myths [which] are historical text [and] discuss the transition of Greece from a matriarchal society to a patriarchal Aryan society”—as in the tale of Theseus and the Amazons8 (Winters). Moreover, the Hellenes are believed to have adopted the language of the Pelasgians and the Egyptian-Danaans. “[L]inguistic evidence shows that there was a differentiation of Greece into East Greek and West Greek. The Blacks Greeks spoke East Greek (Achaioi or Achaean). West Greek was spoken by the Dorian or Aryans Greeks.” According to Dr. Anna Morpugo Davies, less than forty percent of the Greek language has an Indo-European etymology, the remainder being of unknown origin9 (qtd. in Winters). “The mixed nature of the Greek language results from the early settlement of the Aegean by Blacks.”
Whether or not modern historians accept the legend of Danaos’ invasion of Argos as fact, it is evident that the ancients did. A fragment from a lost play by Euripides, says that “Danaos … on coming to Argos took up his abode in the city of Inachos and throughout Greece [Hellas] he laid down the law that all people hitherto named Pelasgians were to be known as Danaans” (Bernal 79). In addition, Herodotus was of the belief that the Egyptian Danaids had taught the Pelasgians “the worship of the gods” (79). Considering all of this it would seem that there was a tremendous integration of cultures occurring in the Aegean, just as it is apparent that Egyptian culture was influential over all. For those who doubt the validity and actual antiquity of Herodotus’ references, as well as reverence, to and of Egypt, there is in existence “a fragment from a lost [Greek] epic, the Danais [ca.750 B.C.E.], which describes the daughters of Danaos arming themselves by the banks of the Nile” (86). This early reference indicates that the legend of Danaos does indeed “go back to epic times.” The great Greek tragedian, Aischylos’ The Suppliants, was also based on the mythical legend of Danaos, but about his fifty daughter’s flight from Egypt and their arrival in Argos. Furthermore, in the play “the Danaids are explicitly described as ‘black” (90). Not surprisingly, there have been “persistent [modern day] attempts to diminish the Egyptian aspects of the play” (89). Chancellor Williams is not mistaken when he remarks that almost all challenges to the veracity of ancient historians sources “concern, directly or indirectly, the role of Blacks in history” (362).
“And since Egypt is where history places the origin of the gods … we shall begin our history with events connected to Egypt” (Bernal 111). This is the manner in which Diodorus begins his Library of History, and likewise, it serves well herein to introduce the origin of mythology, as its earliest connection is to Egypt. According to Herodotus’ Histories: “The names of nearly all the gods came from Egypt [and] have been know in Egypt from the beginning of time” (99). It is clear that the writings of these ancient Greek historians stand in direct opposition to Professor Karl Otfried Muller’s reluctance to recognize parallels between Greek and Egyptian mythology. Herodotus, also states that “the art of divination [was] brought into Greece, with little change, [as well as] the worship of Dionysus … borrowed by the Greeks from Egypt.” Furthermore, he says that the daughters of Danaos brought the mysterious rites of Demeter—called Thesmophoria10 by the Greeks—from Egypt, and taught its ceremony to the Pelasgian women (98). The writings of the ancients are extremely clear, consistent, and mostly unanimous in this regard, and being so, it is more than astonishing that Muller was able to successfully block any part of academia from not only recognizing, but acknowledging, the parallels between Greek and Egyptian mythology. In Homer’s TheIliad, Achilles’ mother, the goddess Thetis reassures him that she will implore the great god Zeus to rain down deadly vengeance upon the Achaean fleets in order to restore the honor that he has been deprived by Agamemnon—that is when the gods return.
Only yesterday Zeus went off to the ocean river
to feast with the Aetheopians,11 loyal, lordly men,
and all the gods went with him, But in twelve days
the father returns to Olympus. Then, for your sake,
up I go to the bronze floor, the royal house of Zeus (Bk. 1, 504-8).
These lines speak volumes of the high regard that the ancient Greeks held for the spiritual nature of Africans, i.e., Egyptians and Aethiopians. “To the Greeks and Romans, the Ethiopians meant the people of the whole continent of Africa who had been kissed by the sun, so they turned black” (Uganda). Interestingly, many black scholars believe that Homer’s poems are recycled African folk tales as passed down from the oral tradition, and that he was merely the first one to actually write them down. This is a seemingly plausible assertion, as “Homer is said to have spent seven years in Africa” (Asante), and the number of allusions in The Iliad to places and people that are decidedly African in nature are many. Keita Maghan, says: “Homer makes specific reference to Africa, Africans, and by inference Greek genealogy in relation to Africa … In TheIliad, the Achaians – the Greeks of Mycenae – continuously refer to themselves as ‘Danaans.” Recycled or not, Homer’s poems do exhibit the influence of Egyptian culture.
“Early in the 5th, century BC the [Greek] poet Pindar wrote a Hymn toAmmon, which opened ‘Ammon King of Olympus” (Bernal 114). And by the 4th century one of Athens’ sacred triremes (warships), was dedicated to Ammon. Alexander the great, after his conquest of Egypt, was told by the “god’s great oracle” that he was “a son of Ammon” (115). Believing the oracle, Alexander claimed that the god was indeed his father. From that time on “Alexander’s coins portrayed him as a horned Ammon.” Thousands of years before, however, the god Amon (or Amun) was the head deity of ancient Egypt’s most complex system of theology. Cults of Amon were established by the Egyptians in ancient Nubia and Libya. Much later when the first pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty (ca. 1550 BCE), Ahmose I, finally succeeded in evacuating the invading Hyksos rulers from Egypt the glory was given to Amon. The Hyksos rule had been “the first time that conquering non-African aliens had worn the double crown12 and tried to influence the religious thought and practices of the Egyptians” (Drake). Upon liberation Thebes became the capital of Egypt, and Amon being their patron deity was glorified with the building and dedication of temples in his name. The new 18th Dynasty pharaohs ushered Egypt into a period of great prosperity (its greatest ever) and cultural advancement, including professional civil service, strengthened trade, and the building of monumental architectural structures that would not be equaled for thousands of years to come. Of course Amon was highly venerated and seen as the source of Egypt’s victory and advancement. This was the religious and cultural environment that drew Greeks to Egypt. Amon was first introduced to Greeks during their visits to Egypt, and in the Libyan Desert at the oracle of Amon. They understandably identified Amon—the head deity of the Egyptian pantheon of gods—with Zeus, and throughout the time of Alexander’s occupation of Egypt they continued to do so. Just as the Greeks had identified Amon with Zeus, the people in other parts of Egypt who had worshiped Ra (the sun god) since 2nd Dynasty Egypt (ca 2700 BCE) began to identify their main deity with Amon. Whereupon the two merged—hence, Amon-Ra. “According to Egyptian tradition Osiris was the son of Ra [and] with the rise of the cult of Amon in the 12th Dynasty [ca.1990 BCE] the two came together as Amon-Ra” (115). Still, many centuries later by the beginning of the late New Kingdom (ca. 11th century BCE) “there was seen to be a mystic union between Ra and Osiris”—the father and the son. Likewise, some 700 years later, Alexander came to envision himself as both Ammon and the son of Ammon—a syncretic divinity. Alexander’s ever expanding vision of himself as god king was surely influenced by ancient Egyptian religious traditions.
It was during the Old Kingdom—3rd millennium BCE, that Osiris developed into judge of the dead. Egyptians and Ethiopians, as well as other Africans and Middle Easterners worshiped him not only as a powerful god of the underworld, but in fertility rituals as well—a symbol of life and death. This is really quite amazing considering that he had previously been a “culture hero of Upper Egypt in the sacred land near the first cataract of the Nile. He was a god in a complex theological system” (Drake 166). The legends of Osiris are wide and varied, some portray him as a peacemaker and civilizer, while others speak of murderous, albeit righteous conquests. Greek historian, Plutarch (1st century CE) described the path that Osiris took in his campaign to civilize the world: “Osiris went, ‘by way of the Coast of Arabia into India where he built many cities.” Osiris then traveled with his armies “through the Hellespont into Europe. In Thrace he was said to have killed the king, who refused to adopt civilization.”13 Plutarch’s lofty account of this mythological Black Egyptian, who journeyed across the continents civilizing the barbarian masses, is another indication of the Greeks belief that civilization did indeed first emerge in Egypt.
What began as folktales were turned into legend by Egypt’s priests and scribes as an explanation for why Egyptians were civilized while other Africans still existed in a state of barbarism. Egyptians held the belief that “a god made himself incarnate, and that an immediate ancestor of the first pharaoh of Egypt was a being who possessed two natures, the one human and the other divine [i.e., Osiris]” (Drake 166). In human form he performed “good works”—much like Christ. He did as his “divine nature indicated to him, he abolished cannibalism, he improved the manners and morals of men, he taught them to live according to law, to worship the gods, and to practice the arts of agriculture.”14 Before undertaking his civilizing mission, Osiris and Isis, his wife and assistant, were identified with the fertility of the soil.15 Isis “taught men to prepare the grain which her husband had given them” (168). When Osiris set out on his travels to spread peace, law and order, and the worship of the gods, he left Isis to administer Egypt’s government, and according to Plutarch, she “performed the duties committed to her charge with great wisdom and prudence” (qtd. in Drake 169).
The influence of Egyptian religion on that of other cultures is undeniable. Osiris was a symbol of human resurrection thousands of years before Christ. The Egyptians had been obsessed with life after death for many centuries before other cultures conceived of such. “The late 15th century was a period of great Egyptian power … and one in which the mystery cults of Osiris and Isis seem to have been well establish in Egypt and the Levant” (Bernal 69). It is most probable “that the Eleusinian cult of Archaic Greece, was the descendent of an Egyptian foundation made more than 700 years earlier.” Egyptian faience16 plaques … dated to the reign of Ameophis III” were found beneath the corners of temples at Mycenae. By the 5th century, the Egyptian mother goddess Isis was worshiped in Athens, “not merely by resident Egyptians but by native Athenians” (Bernal 116). Furthermore, “by the 2nd century BC there was a temple of Isis near the Akropolis and Athens was officially encouraging its dependencies to take up Egyptian cults.” Paul Foucart, an authority on Egyptology, after conducting extensive research on Eleusis concluded that “the ancient tradition of Egyptian origin was irrefutable” (qtd. in Bernal 70). This was based on the parallels between the Egyptian Osiran mysteries, and the Greek Eleusinian mysteries. The Eleusis was undoubtedly concerned with “the search for immortality, and the paradoxical belief that this could be achieved only through dying. By way of the Mysteries one might experience a “symbolic death” and consequently be “born again’ as immortal.” This concept of human resurrection existed throughout the Middle East but was far unequaled in Egypt. “Thus the consensus of ancient writers was that Pythagoras, Orpheus, Sokrates, Plato and others concerned with the immortality of the soul had learned about it from Egypt” (71).
It would seem that in the face of such overwhelming evidence reaching out from antiquity, and after so much of the work that has been done by the likes of Bernal, Drake, Williams, and so many other great Afrocentrist scholars that anyone would be quite ashamed to cling to the current fabricated Aryan model of history. What are they protecting? Mary Lefkowitz, Professor Emerita of Classical Studies, at Wellesley College has just the answer: “Any attempt to question the authority of ancient Greek civilization is of direct concern even to people who ordinarily have little interest in the remote past. Since the founding of this country, ancient Greece has been intimately connected with the ideals of American democracy” (qtd. in Asante). In all actuality, Greece has been intimately connected to Egypt since the beginning of Greek history. According to Aristotle, the Egyptian “priests had invented the mathematikai technai (mathematical arts), which included, geometry, arithmetic and astronomy, which the Greeks were only beginning to posses” (qtd. in Bernal 108). Lefkowitz’s comment is more than ironic as she directly challenges the authority of not only ancient Greece but that of Aristotle. What is to be said of Western scholarship when professors of Classical Studies are unaware of the writings of the Classical Greek philosophers? Lefkowitz’ How “Afrocentrism” Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History, has received a great deal of support from the defenders of the Aryan Model of antiquity. “Not Out of Africa’ has been praised for its scholarship by everyone from historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. … to reviewers for the New York Times … and Trinity College … presented her an honorary doctorate in humane letters, citing her ‘deep concern for intellectual integrity in higher education” (qtd. in Ringle). When assigned by New Republic to review Black Athena, Lefkowitz said: “that quiet literally changed my life. Until then I had no notion how much craziness was out there.” This illustrates how the principles of ‘racial science’ and ‘source criticism’ established by Karl Otfried Muller in the 1820’s are still at work. Dr. Molefi Asnte states that “Lefkowitz’ work pales beside the research done by Cornell professor Martin Bernal” (Asante). With this degree derision, bias, and resistance to change it is sure to take quite some time for the debate surrounding antiquity to resolve itself. Lefkowitz says that “the larger issue is what such outlandish claims say about the process of analytical thinking” (qtd. in Ringle). She is speaking of the myths that afrocentrists are teaching in their classrooms, yet, the greatest myth is that history belongs to any one people.
Still to this day the teachings of Western scholarship reverberate with the words and wisdom of the Greek poets, philosophers, historians, and other great minds of the Classical Era. It would seem that knowledge in itself was more important to these scholarly men than the source from whence it came. Surely the greater part of their intellect dictated—much as Socrates suggested nearly 2500 years ago, that in order to acquire knowledge one must first be aware of one’s own ignorance. Although Socrates may never have set foot in Egypt as he barely ever went outside of the Athens city limits, the wisdom and religion of Egypt were by then very much a part of Athenian culture. Filled with questions, and hungry for knowledge, truth, and a higher reality, they sought out the secrets of the priests of Egypt’s temples. What they found was immortality. For their souls do live on in all that is known to be good in Western Civilization. Socrates also believed that knowledge is a virtue and that honesty and integrity are integral to higher-being. That said, it is nothing less than horrifying that everything that Socrates, and all of the learned men who passed through Egypt’s learning centers are less than truly represented by modern Western scholarship, that is since truth is what they left behind. They left tradition, accurate accounts of what their world was like, how they had experienced it, and what had gone before. Nevertheless, for centuries certain so-called historians have made omission their mission. These self-deluded scholars are so entrenched in the Eurocentrism of their imaginations that they are unable to find room for acknowledgement of the full course of history. The ancient Greeks did study in Egypt, there were Africans that were conquerors, just as there have been many European conquerors, and the dawning of civilization did emerge in Egypt more than 2000 years before Homer. However, this omission has nothing to do with the Greeks of antiquity. Their works speak loud and clear of gratitude for where they gained the knowledge that sparked their intellect. The words of Chancellor Williams, renowned Afrocentrist historian, reflect that much appreciated gratitude back through time to the Greek masters who wrote of history as it was: “Having lost most of our own written records through destruction, endless displacement, and the gradual loss of African scribes, the black world owes a debt of everlasting thanks to those early Greek and Roman writers, but mostly Greek, who had included much of our ancient history with their own and passed it down through the centuries, we salute them!” (297). For the Greeks of antiquity did recognize that the foundation of their knowledge and civilization were taught and built by the Blacks of Ancient Egypt.
1 Bernal’s ‘Revised Ancient Model’ would place an earlier date on the Egyptian and Phoenician invasions, in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC, and it would allow for the Aryan Model’s hypothesis of invasions from the North by Indo-European speakers, sometime around the 4th or 3rd millennium BC.
2 Quote is attributed to Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
3 Philosophers John Locke and David Hume, and Benjamin Franklin.
4 Published in 1715.
5 Muller used various techniques to attack the authenticity of both contemporary scholars and ancient historians’ sources of antiquity: The “argument from silence”—from the point of antiquity, i.e. if it didn’t exist in the time of Homer, it must have been added at a late date. The lack of early attestation in itself was damning, however if Muller could postulate a strong contemporary reason for fabrication, the source would most likely be discredited. He also utilized dissection and analysis, maintaining that there was a general tendency in antiquity toward syncretism.
6 Traditionally the eastern Mediterranean at large.
7 Mythological King of Crete who became judge of the dead in Hades.
8 According to Professor Clyde Winters, the Amazons were Libyco-Nubians settled around the Black Sea. In other words women of African descent meshed in combat with Aryan-Greeks. wee nters, the Amazons wereLibyco-nubinsl, lordly meneity was
9 According to Chantraine’s Dictionneire Etymologique de la lanque Grecque, 52.2% of Greek words have an unknown etymology.
10 Thesmophoria was a festival held in honor of the goddesses Demeter and her daughter Persephone.
11The word Aethiopian was used by the early Greeks to describe all Africans, who had been kissed by the sun, and turned black.
12 Literally a double-crown, one white—a symbol of Memphis, “The White Walled City,” and the other red—a symbol of the Delta. They were combined to symbolize a unified Upper and Lower Egypt.
13 Not a direct quote from British Egyptologist E. A. W. Budge, but attributed to him by Drake.
14 The priests and scribes wove this legend from folktales as an explanation to why civilization had emerged in Egypt, while other Africans continued to exist in a state of barbarism.
15 Osiris, as a god of agriculture was believed to control the order of the seasons.
16 Earthenware decorated with opaque metallic glazes.