Wydawca: Ignazio Burgio Kategoria: Humanistyka Język: angielski Rok wydania: 2017

Labyrinths: uncovered enigmas, unsolved mysteries ebook

Ignazio Burgio  

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Opis ebooka Labyrinths: uncovered enigmas, unsolved mysteries - Ignazio Burgio

The most mysterious symbol in history, the labyrinth, can be finally unveiled by archeoastronomy, the science that studies the astronomical knowledge of the ancients and their correlations with monuments, myths, symbols, and so on.The remains of ancient megalithic civilizations - in the British Isles, along the coasts of the Atlantic, in the Mediterranean, etc. - point out, for example, the solar nature of the "thread of Ariadne", that is, the first solar ray on the solstices that come in dolmen and burials as Newgrange to bring the dead back to life with a new reincarnation.As evidenced by new and most accurate dating of the oldest labyrinths engraved in the rocks of the megalithic regions of the Atlantic, the figure was used as a talisman by prehistoric miners, and symbolized with its volutes and its corridors both the sun and moon cicle during the year, both the circular temple plan such as Stonehenge, and “the bowels of Mother Earth”, the underground world of the deceased and deities of the afterlife.Heaven, Earth, Hell: the three worlds or plans of existence venerated by the ancients, and symbolically combined in many of their artistic and religious aspects, were also merged in the shape of the labyrinth. As also in the case of ancient Roman labyrinths surrounded by walls and towers designed not only to attract fortune by the souls of the ancestors in the Hades and the god of wealth Pluto (also a god of the subsoil), but to distance the danger of earthquakes, believed the wrath of the underground gods. During the founding of each city, its walls, whose doors were oriented to solstices, was in fact under the protection of the infernal deities through the same dance (the “Game of Troy”) that was performed during the funeral rites - also reproduced in the " Tragliatella jug ", which contains a famous labyrinth.This essay deals with several other issues related to the many enigmatic aspects of labyrinths on which many scholars continue to debate: the dating of Arctic labyrinths; the archeo-astronomical significance of the ancient dances of the labyrinth; the arrival of the labyrinth in India, Indonesia and America before Columbus; the astronomical orientation of the labyrinth of Amiens, France; the viking genesis of the great labyrinths in French cathedrals; the derivation of the Renaissance garden labyrinths from the May Tree Festival; labyrinths hidden, censored, eliminated, and even bombed; and much more. 

Opinie o ebooku Labyrinths: uncovered enigmas, unsolved mysteries - Ignazio Burgio

Fragment ebooka Labyrinths: uncovered enigmas, unsolved mysteries - Ignazio Burgio

Ignazio Burgio

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Index

WARNING

THE MYSTERY OF THE LABYRINTH

THE LIGHT OF THE REBIRTH

ROUTE TOWARD THE SUNSET

THE CIVILIZATION THAT CREATED THE MYTHS

THE ISLAND OF THE MINOTAUR

LABYRINTH, SYMBOL OF THE THREE WORLDS

THE FALSES, THE AUTHENTICS, THE MYSTERIES

THE CIRCLE AND THE SQUARE

THE WALKING OF THE PILGRIM

THE GARDEN OF EDEN AND THE GREAT WORK

A STORY THAT CONTINUES

APPENDIX. DANCES OF LABYRINTH AND ARCHEOASTRONOMY

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND OBSERVATIONS

PICTURES OF LABYRINTHS

WARNING

This essay is based on the most up-to-date discoveries and theories - not only by scholars but also by enthusiasts - about the large and complex argument of the labyrinths. I kept in great consideration the classical works of Paolo Santarcangeli - “Il libro dei labirinti”, Vallecchi, Italy - and Herman Kern - “Labirinti. Forme e interpretazioni”, Feltrinelli, Italy. But this essay got most of informations and conclusions by the latest discoveries of new labyrinths, specially in Italy, the redating of ancient labyrinths in Europe, and by new revolutionary studies of archeology and archeoastronomy. I found very useful the recent publication of G. Pavat, G. Marovelli, F. Consolandi, F. Ponzo, L. Pascucci, "In cammino… Fino all’ultimo labirinto”, Youcanprint, Italy, 2013, dedicated to medieval Italian labyrinths, and to Scandinavian and Baltic trojaborgar. This book therefore does not intend to be a complete catalog of all the labyrinths known in the world (for this need, refer to the encyclopedic works of Hermann Kern specially “Through the Labyrinths”, Prestel, Munich 2000), but an overview, in simple and divulgative language, of all mysteries and still unresolved questions about labyrinths throughout their history and evolution, as well as an attempt to give some plausible answer. Some chapters of this volume are based on my previous essay and articles that I have already published on the web, e. g. on the website www.ipercultura.com, although here are expanded and functionally related to other topics. I take this opportunity to thank the scholar Giancarlo Pavat for reporting me the existence of the labyrinth in the Polyphemus Cave and for providing me with photos and useful observations. I also thank Marisa Uberti, Enrico Pantalone, Angela Militi, Alberto Scuderi, Graziella Milazzo, Sergio Succu and Isabella Dalla Vecchia, for providing me with photos, papers, reports, and useful and valuable opinions. Last but no least, I also thank Jeff Saward – that I had the pleasure and honour to meet personally last year during a meeting at Ceccano (Frosinone, Italy) - for having made me available old articles in his magazine "Caerdroia" and for providing me with photos and useful informations. Photos of the Polyphemus Cave were taken by me, by my brother Giancarlo and by my nephew Riccardo. Photo of Alatri's labyrinth was given me by Community of Alatri (Frosinone, Italy). Photos of labyrinth in Scandinavian churches are of Giancarlo Pavat. Those of the labyrinths of Lucca and Pontremoli are of Isabella Dalla Vecchia. The images of the labyrinths of Cremona and Glencolumkille were taken by Marisa Uberti. The photos of Mogor-Pontevedra and Bolscioi Solovetsky labyrinths was given me by Jeff Saward (and are inside www.labyrinthos.net site web). Other images, generally obtained from Internet, are of public domain, as expressly stated in the documentation attached to them. Everything was done, in any case, so as not to infringe any copyright. All the books consulted in the Italian Edition are marked in Bibliography with the abbreviation “It. Ed.”. For the full compatibility of this ebook with the displays of the media, and to do not weigh the reading, notes, remarks and observations are all concentrated in the Bibliography section (I apologize for this with scholars and experts, but this essay is directed primarily to common readers). For the same reason, the images are at the end of the essay. The cover is an original composition of mine. The translation in English language is mine. A copy of this book - in paper format - is deposited at the Regional Library of the University of Catania, Italy. For reporting errors, misprints or simple observations – all welcome - the contact is: ignazio.burgio.author@gmail.com . Other contacts are available on social networks .
The author.
"...As many stories are told as mythologies exist, but in all the labyrinth seems to symbolize the path to be followed, in daily and seasonal cycles, in life, death and in rebirth. The expanding and contracting circuits mimic the path of the sun in its travels across the sky, a recognition of the perpetual rebirth of the sun each morning and every year and beyond this may exist a cosmology, an ancient understanding of the cycles of time, all safely concealed within the labyrinth, locked up in numbers and movements. …". Jeff Saward , The story of labyrinth, in: www.labyrinthos.net “ Presumibilmente questo è uno fra gli aspetti principali del labirinto, aspetto che finora non è stato investigato a sufficienza. A uno storico dell'astronomia interessato ciò potrebbe dischiudere prospettive che oggi si possono solo intuire”.("Presumedly this is one of the main aspects of the labyrinth, an aspect that has not yet been investigated sufficiently. To an interested astronomical historian, this could disclose prospects that today can only be guessed. ...") Hermann Kern ,Labirinti. Forme e interpretazioni. Feltrinelli, It. Ed. (p. 27, n. 69).

THE MYSTERY OF THE LABYRINTH

Sometimes if we do not look for mysteries, mysteries find us. In January 2015 I received a message from Rome by Giancarlo Pavat, a passionate expert of labyrinths, that I met personally less than two months before, during a prize for an archeoastronomical book of mine. He informed me that according to an old article, the oldest image of a labyrinth was painted on the ceiling of a cave in the country of Erice near Trapani. Because I lived in Sicily he asked me the courtesy to go there and to shoot some photos of that pictogram of which there were only a few pictures in low quality. Although it was discovered in 1986, in the Polyphemus Cave, and dated by archaeologists to 3000 B. C., that pictogram had been practically forgotten, and I did not even know its existence. For several reasons, I was able to go to Trapani only three months later, during a beautiful spring day, with my brother Giancarlo and my nephew Riccardo. Found the cave and the painting (or rather, the paintings) on the ceiling, we shot a lot of photos and made measurements in the most absolute tranquillity, because until then that place was practically unknown. And admiring with calm the panorama in front of the cave on the Tyrrhenian Sea, I realized, with compass in my hand, a peculiarity that I had suspected observing the coast line on the map: the cave was oriented towards the point of the sea horizon on which the sun set in the summer solstice. So on that particular day, the last solar rays had to illuminate the interior of the cave. Until then I was not an expert of ancient symbols, still less of labyrinths (still now I think I’m less than so many others on this argument). However, I had already read and studied a lot about the history of ancient religions and the archeology of the past. And above all, already for several years I was keen on archeoastronomy, the science that studies the astronomical knowledge of ancient peoples and the orientations of sacred areas and monuments with celestial bodies. So I was convinced that there was a close relationship between the archaic paintings on the ceiling of the cave and the sun. Probably the same genesis and the same original meaning of the labyrinth’s symbol could be linked to the solstice, a very important event among many ancient peoples. So I decided to return to that cave on June 21st. When I went there again three months later, on the day of the summer solstice, I was alone, and even the cave was devoid of visitors: completely at my disposal. Some doves that had found shelter in the cave, fled scared feeling that I was approaching. While the sun slowly descended toward the sea, I sat down waiting, thanking the Sicilian climate and the good luck that had given me a serene day and a totally cloudless horizon. Actually, what happened at sunset went beyond my most optimistic expectations. When the sun was already red and then low on the sea it was able to overcome a far promontory - and it only succeeds in the three days of the solstice! - the interior of the cave was dyed with an intense garnet red colour, giving the impression that the limestone walls had turned into live flesh! In those short minutes that allowed me the red sun, in spite of the emotion, I managed to take some excellent photos destined to go around the web to arouse curiosity and enthusiasm in so many passionate people, first of all in who had revealed me the existence of the paintings inside the cave. That same evening, once back to my hotel, reflecting in front of the extraordinary photos I had taken, I understood finally not only the true meaning of that archaic “labyrinth” - even though it is not a true labyrinth, as we’ll see later on - and of all ancient labyrinths, but also the genesis and the sense of so many other ancient symbols, with solar nature. I had found the key for interpreting the meaning of ancient symbols, just like the labyrinth. After returning to the cave also the next day to enjoy again that show that can only be admired on the summer solstice days, the same evening I sent photos both to the enthusiastic scholars with whom I was in contact, and to the sicilian archaeologist Alberto Scuderi, which in previous years had discovered many archeo-astronomical alignments in many megaliths of Western Sicily. Thanks to him, and to prof. Vito Alberto Polcaro, the solar orientation of the Poliphemus Cave was then measured and scientifically proved, and the same archeo-astronomical orientation was also found in the nearby Cave of the Horses, containing other solar symbols of the Early Bronze Age. The archaic labyrinth of the Poliphemus Cave so finally received the interest it deserved internationally (as in the recent Archeoastronomy Congress at Bath, England), and it also contributed to provide a new outlook about Sicilian and whole Mediterranean prehistory. But above all it has provided a valuable key for revealing the original and archaic significance of this symbol as well as its genesis. Few other symbols as the labyrinth have in fact attracted the attention of scholars since the ancient age, and the hypotheses about its meaning, only in the last century, have been the most numerous and the most varied. When archaeologist Arthur Evans brought to light the grandiose palace of Knossos in Crete on the beginning of the 20th century, he believed it was the legendary labyrinth described by ancient authors. What convinced him was not only the large number of rooms and areas that made up the building, but also the presence of Cretan double axes engraved on the walls, called labrys from Plutarch: so according to Evans, the meaning of labir-into had to be "the place of the cretan ax". Although other scholars of the last century (Hall, Karo, Becatti, Gallavotti, etc.) thought like him, others later scholars have actually correct this etymology, because the Greek archaic term labrys did not mean "ax" (which actually for the Greeks was pelekys and for Cretans wao), but it was a word derived from the Asian labra by which the Minoans of Crete called a kind of holy caves used especially - but not only - as a necropolis. Therefore, for Stoll, Hoeck, Hoefer and others, the labyrinths had nothing to do with the Minoan palaces, but instead, for Rouse, Diels, Muller, Guentert, and others were originally sacred caves, used as necropolis or on the contrary as places where Cretan women gave birth. For Cangiano de Azevedo, indeed, the concept of labyrinth as a sacred cave, long and winding, was not exclusive of Crete, but common to a large part of the Mediterranean peoples. Like Kerenyi, convinced that the labyrinth identified the underworld of Hades, these scholars relying on a rare Mycenaean tablet with Linear B text (XV sec. B. C.), rather related the word labyrinth to the term Dapyrinto, a sacred place, not best identified, but very important, governed by a female divinity, probably the goddess Ariadne. Still other scholars, like Bethe, Buedinger, Reichel, Kern, emphasized the close link between the labyrinth and the dances, such as the ghéranos, the koròs, the Trojan Game performed according to myth both by Theseus with the other youths after they avoid the Minotaur's mouths, and by the young troians knights led by the son of Aeneas, Ascanio, during the funeral of the old Anchise in Sicily. For Paul de Saint-Hilaire, instead, the term labyrinth in Greek meant "the dance of the captive fish in the fish-trap". In the seventies years of the last century, also the scholar Giovanni Pugliese Carratelli advanced the hypothesis that the labyrinth term derived from the ancient Oriental Luvian language, and was linked to the maritime routes to the Western Mediterranean and to the lands that were rich in metals. Actually so many heterogeneous interpretations derive also from the fact that all the fundamental elements that in Ancient age had to do with the idea of "labyrinth" - the simple word, the graphic figure, the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, the thread of Ariadne, the dances, etc. - were born and developed independently since very ancient times, at least from 3000 B. C., if not before. And only from the Greek-Mycenaean age began to integrate with each other. For being able to unravel this tangled skein, it is necessary to retrace the history of the genesis and evolution of the beliefs and cultures of the Mediterranean’s different peoples, from the early neolithic cultures up to the classical age: from the cult of the bull, and the solar religions of megalithic circles, to the myths of the afterlife originated in Sumerian civilization, to the genesis and real purpose of the Minotaur’s figure in Minoan civilization, and so on. As a "thread of Ariadne", the strictly chronological approach will allow us to fully enter in the minds of the ancients, and then we’ll can clearly see how the symbol of the labyrinth has to do with almost all the hypotheses proposed about its meaning. That is: with the ancient cults of death and rebirth that took place in the caves; with the archaic Goddess Mother Earth; with dances, on foot or on horseback, in honour of the dead and of the underworld’s gods; with the ancient maritime routes toward West; and, fundamentally, with the sun and the solstices, as evidenced by the Poliphemus Cave near Erice. It is therefore necessary to start from the ancient religion of the Great Goddess Mother Nature, and from the symbol that preceded the labyrinth, that is, the spiral.

THE LIGHT OF THE REBIRTH

The Great Mother Goddess. Catal Huyuk is an ancient town in central Turkey close to the present city of Konya, near a large lake now dewatered, and a volcano - today extinct - with a double peak, the Hasan Dag, which however until to the 2nd millennium B. C. was still active. There, during some excavation’s campaigns between 1961 and 1965, British archaeologist James Mellaart brought to light the ruins of an ancient prehistoric city dating at least to the 7th millennium B. C. Between five thousand and seven thousand people had to live during its period of maximum flourishing. The prosperity and richness of this town were not only linked to the first forms of farming and breeding, but also to the working and export of the oxidian, a volcanic material similar to the glass extracted obviously from the foothills of the nearby Hasan Dag. Mellaart and the other archaeologists were surprised by the sophisticated architectural level of the settlement, very high for those so remote times. Although the edifices of this prehistoric "metropolis" were only made of wood and bricks of dry mud, the houses had only one access point, an hole in the ceiling accessible by wooden stairs. In every house, the interior was generally clean and well cared, and also provided with some amenities: there were stoves or fireplaces for heating, and even ovens to bake bread. The walls were also kept carefully and plastered. Just on many walls, Mellaart discovered several types of frescoes that provided precious informations about the life of this sophisticated stone age metropolis. Some representations are simply decorative, with geometric or abstract motifs. But others depict men, animals, and landscapes, such as the image of the double volcanic summit of Hasan Dag in eruption. Basing himself mainly on frescoes, Mellaart realized that the inhabitants of this Anatolian town followed a religious cult that was probably an evolution of previous prehistoric cults already practiced in the caves of the glacial age, like the cult of the Great Mother Earth. He found many representations of paintings and baked-clay statuettes with a female prosperous figure and with pronounced sexual attributes. They have an aspect similar to the so-called Palaeolithic Venuses, bone-engraved female statuettes found in very ancient prehistoric sites. In the samples from Catal-Huyuk (and kept at the Museum of Ankara) the goddess sometimes appears in the act of giving birth, not only children, but in some cases even bulls. Other times she appears on a throne side by side with two leopards.These representations allowed to identify her as an anthropomorphic deity, a lady of natural fertility, a true Mother Nature. Another statuary group, of blue and brown limestone, depicts two great mothers with a child (or baby girl), a sign that the Goddess Mother Nature was also considered a protectress of infancy as well as fertility and births. Apparently there was also a male deity, always linked to the sexual and reproductive sphere, because the archeologists also found statuettes of a man with erect penis, a kind of Roman Priapus in Neolithic version. Many of these paintings or baked-clay statuettes were found by archaeologists in those which, according to Mellaart's reconstructions, had to be true temples: rooms in which red colour dominate, with baked-clay or even true bull's heads hanged in the walls. Even the altars and some low columns in the rooms have in their sides some bull’s horns. On the walls, among paintings of bulls, the Great Mother Nature was in the act of giving birth a bull with horns. Some of these temples also had leopards depicted as bas-reliefs, individually or opposite each other. It is very likely that in these religious rooms would perform ceremonies relating to the most important phases of the simple life of the inhabitants: firstly the birth, perhaps some adolescent rites of initiation, and the marriages. But funeral rituals also had a fundamental part. In some of these temples Mellart found on the walls images of a macabre ritual. The dead were exposed in the open air where they were defleshed to the bones by vultures, or rather, by griffons ( Gyps fulvus), birds of prey with a wingspan of nearly three meters that still live nearby Catal-Huyuk and feed on carcasses. But these birds devour only the meat, leaving intact the bones, including the skull. As it was discovered digging under the floor of the houses, the so "cleaned" bones of the dead were then buried by relatives inside their homes, with a peculiarity: women and children were privileged. According to the scholars, all this ritual would attest the faith of the inhabitants in a survival after death. And the fact that especially skeletons of women and children were found beneath the floor of the dwellings, would denotes the privileged position, both cultural and spiritual as well as social, that the women in particular had to enjoy in Catal-Huyuk, because they were able to procreate. But not only in Catal-Huyuk had to be so, but also in all other regions of Anatolia and the Middle-East, because the costum to bury the dead under the floor of their homes was also common in many other places. Genesis of a symbol. Actually, all these religious aspects of a cult that can only be reconstructed from what has been found - the writing did not exist yet - had to be closely linked in a magical-symbolic form to the agricultural activity, cereal cultivation and breeding of livestock. And the key to fully understand not only the religion of the Great Mother Nature, but - as we’ll see - many artistic, mythological, architectural and even archeoastronomical expressions of all the later civilizations of the ancient world, is a symbol used among the decorations found in Catal-Huyuk: the spiral. James Mellaart also found a bakery-clay mould with the reproduction of a negative spiral. Anticipating for several millennia the Chineses, the ingenious inhabitants of the Anatolian city apparently invented the printing, because they devised a very effective system to reproduce in series the designs on the fabrics produced by their women. Probably they "printed" the spiral even on their own skin, because how shows the frescoes found on the walls at Catal-Huyuk were also fashionable the tattoos (or more exactly, the decals). But for those ancient Anatolians what was the origin and the meaning of the spiral? Certainly it is one of the most instinctive signs of human psychology, and this is with no dubt one of most widespread symbols all over the world. Every little child with a marker for the first time in his hand, will draw also something similar to a spiral among many scribbless. Less obvious, however, it is to explain why this symbol had so importance and success not only in the context of Catal-Huyuk, but also among the megaliths of North-Europe, in the Maltese civilization, in the Minoic Crete, and in many other cultures of Mediterranean. To find it out, we must consider the cultivation methods of those ancient peasants. Catal-Huyuk’s farmers and all the first agricultural communities spread in the Middle East - the so-called "fertile crescent" - did not possess the plough, invented several millennia later by the Sumerians. Their tools, like their techniques, were rudimentary. For sowing, they had robust sticks and waited for the first autumn rains. As soon as the rain ceased, they swarm on the fields to take advantage of the damp ground and fill it with thousands of holes in which to insert the grain of wheat or barley. Considering that each farmer had to create hundreds of holes for several hours before the soil turned dried, the most practical way to make a sufficiently deep hole with the slightest effort was exactly what every bather still does when he plant his umbrella on beach: superficially inserts the pole in the sand and with a simple spiral movement manages to sink it easily a few tens of centimeters. In the magical-religious symbolism of those early Anatolian farmers, that spiral-shaped hole formed by the tip of the stick, inside which was thrown the seed, was equated to a fertilized female uterus, and the earth thus assumed the anthropomorphic appearance of a prolific mother goddes. A votive statuette of this great goddess found in Thrace has indeed engraved in her pubic triangle two spirals (Kerenyi, Nel labirinto, Boringhieri, It. Ed. p. 68). Every social and cultural manifestation was then inserted in a functional way inside the cosmic cycle of birth → reproduction → death → rebirth, in which every inhabitant lived. That people were born in the temple with the blessing of the goddess and under the protection of its leopards, while the horns and the heads of the bulls hanging on the walls, trophies of animals perhaps specially sacrificed, seemed a good wish for prosperity of the newborns and the whole community. Then they lived and get married under the shadow of the great goddess, expecting from her a large and strong offspring. When they left this world, however, the circle had somehow closed, and their body had to be returned to the Great Mother Nature: so the carrions-eating birds played their role. Probably the griffons flying in the sky were associated with the clouds that carried the precious rain, the "blood of Mother Earth", and therefore by the necrophagous birds, red human water had to be returned to the sky, so that it could pour it again into the sown fields. Finally, the dead's bones were buried, like wheat’s grain, under the floor of their homes, perhaps hoping for a reincarnation among their descendants, in a similar way to the cyclical rebirth of the beautiful season and the harvests. At Catal-Huyuk this way of life, for many aspects so acceptable and serene, lasted over a thousand years. Until disasters did not start. The Earth Goddess and the Sun God. On the basis of the sediment analyses taken by climatologists in different parts of the world, scholars found that between the 7th and 6th millennium B. C. a sudden climatic cooling occurred throughout the northern hemisphere of our planet, causing a severe drought in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. For four centuries, between 6200 and 5800 B. C. in a vast area corresponding to present-day Greece, Turkey, Siro-Palestinian coast and Mesopotamian lowland, no raining disturbances occurred, and drought reigned supreme. The fields became arids, lakes and rivers were reduced or completely drained, and also the woody vegetation disappeared from the plains in a few dry seasons. Noting that even the game had moved to the last wetlands, all the residents of small community, as well as of the larger towns of Anatolia and Palestine, had to resign themselves to leaving their homes to search for other more favourable places where to survive. The inhabitants of Catal-Huyuk very probably blamed their female deity, because during the excavations Mellaart found more of a mother goddess statuette with her head detached, perhaps in a gesture of rage. Residents of Catal-Huyuk and many of modern Turkey moved to the north where a huge freshwater lake was a real oasis on whose shores still flourished lush vegetation of fruit trees which also attracted numerous game. That huge lake was the Eusino, that is, the Black Sea before its connection to the Mediterranean through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles. There, around its shores, all the Anatolics fleeing from drought, began again to hunting, planting their cereals, breeding their herds and building new dwellings. And probably erected also new places of worship for their capricious goddess. However, some of them also began to move towards the European hinterland, following the Danube Valley, and there about 6000 B. C. built something that was still rudimentary, but destined to succeed in the next millennia. Near the village of Ohoden, not far from the city of Vratsa, in Bulgaria, archaeologist Georgi Ganetsovski and his colleagues found in 2010 a solar temple, the first of its kind in Europe, and perhaps in the world. Submerged by tons of ground, it consisted of a U-shaped underground embankment, the opening of which was facing eastwards, that is towards the sunrise on the equinoxes. Numerous clay disks were also found on the excavation site, which according to the same archaeologists would represent the sun. Maybe there the traditional cult of the Great Mother "got married" - the definition is not random - with a rising solar cult. Because at that time the sun seemed to reign in the sky, keeping away the precious clouds, it seemed appropriate that in a magical-symbolic form it would "join" harmoniously to the divinity of the Earth "fecundating" it with its rays on the first day of Spring. In the case of the solar temple that Anatolian pioneers built near the Danube, where now there is Ohoden, that first architectural experiment with linked religious worships was destined to have wide spreading thereafter. The conquest of Europe. As discovered by Walter Pittman and Bill Ryan, around 5600 B. C., the precarious land bridge separating Eusine Lake from the Marmara Sea collapsed, and the Mediterranean Sea invaded with unimaginable power, equal to two hundred Niagara Falls, the great basin of fresh water, creating in a short time the Black Sea. As suggested by the same authors in their book The flood written in the 90s, as a result of this catastrophe the Anatolian followers of the cult of the Great Mother Goddess and the Sun God had to search for other lands in which to settle. In fact, there would have been a real diaspora of people fleeing in all directions that carried with them little material baggage, but many cultural traditions and heritages, namely their agricultural, craftmade and artistic knowledge, their own language and of course their religion, that of the Great Goddess. While certainly many of the former residents in the ancient Lake Eusino remained in Anatolia fleeing towards the south plateaus, well safe from the advancing water flow, many refugees - most likely from European shores - headed north, and going up the Balkan Peninsula spread the agricultural techniques and their culture throughout Europe. In fact, most archaeologists and scholars agree that agriculture spread from the East in the interior of Europe by the migration of populations - notably through the Balkans - that do not missed to leave behind them surprising evidences. The so-called Vinca civilization, by the name of a locality 16 km from Belgrade, dates back with C14 to 5300 B. C., therefore a few centuries after the flood of the Black Sea, and has many architectural and cultural affinities with the Anatolian Catal-Huiuk: dwellings distributed on the sides of the streets to form a true city; places of worship ornamented with bull heads on the walls; female statuettes attesting the religion of the Great Goddess, and so on. Further north, at Gosek, a German village in Saxony, a solar observatory dating back to 4900 B. C. was found in 2003. When it was built, it consisted of a mound of ground, a moat, and two wooden palisades. Each structure was inside the other, forming a circle of 75 meters of diameter. The palisades were open by three series of gates, one facing north, and the other two respectively turned to south-east and south-west, perfectly aligned with dawn and sunset in the winter solstice. In other words, who was in the center of the monument on the first day of winter could see the sun rising and setting through the south-east and south-west gates. This spectacle can still be admired today, because after its discovery the astronomical site was rebuilt with a wooden palisade and open to the public on December 21, 2005. More than thousand years divide the Gosek solar temple from the Bulgarian solar observatory built by the Anatolians around 6000 B. C. Leaving the Danube and the Rhine, the descendants of those who fled from the waters of the Black Sea certainly built others temples that archeology has not yet discovered (other similar but latest temples have been discovered always in Germany). Religious culture and purposes are practically the same: to take the seasons into consideration, and to recognize the Sun God as the true heavenly sovereign, the only one capable of removing or sending rain clouds, and thus making fertile the Goddess of Earth. Astronomical civilizations. The new European settlers were favoured by the weather. From 5000 B. C. up to over 4000 B. C. the entire northern hemisphere of our planet lived a "torrid millennium" with higher average temperatures that led to a significant reduction of glaciers and polar caps (phase that climate historians call Warmezeit or "ipsothermic"). All this, besides the raising of the sea level, led also to a significant increase in rainfall. Then around 3800 B. C. the average temperatures dropped by a few tenths of a degree, but above all, a less humid and much dryer climate took place. In Europe and the Mediterranean even though the rainfalls did not disappear, they reduced and this fact compelled the farmer to pay more attention to the agricultural calendar and the seasonal cycles in order to maximize yields and to reduce the risk of poor harvests. Stone and wood archaeoastronomical structures were therefore erected in France, Great Britain, Ireland, and in the nearby islands with well-defined solar alignments to equinoxes and solstices to take into account their arrival and thus synchronize with them the agricultural work, from the sowing to the harvest. And inside the cyclical mentality and seasonal revival of nature it could not miss a coherent funeral culture linked to the remote Anatolic roots, "married" to the solar and astronomical cults of the Bulgarian solar temple of Ohoden, and of Gosek in Germany. At Isbister in the Orkney Islands, in 1958 the archaeologists found the so-called "Eagle's Tomb": it, immersed in a landscape full of megaliths and settlements of ancient time, is a collective tomb containing the remains of at least 342 individuals. The tomb dates back to 3000 B. C. and was used as a community cemetery for 150 years. The remains of the deceased were defleshed and bones neatly arranged along with the others. Among these, there were found also remains of examples of white eagle, a raptor with two meters of wingspan, very common one time ago in the Orkney. It was not possible to evidence that white eagles were "cleanser of the bones" (despite the scholar John W. Hedges is convinced), but the similarities with the corresponding rituals that were performed at Catal-Huyuk over 3000 years before, are at least surprising. Many north-European megalithic rows and circles have - as it well known - luminous effects on sunrise and sunset of equinoxes and solstices as, for example, at Maeshowe, near the same Isbister, or in the most famous location of Stonehenge. Or, much more meaningfully, in tombs like the great Newgrange mound in Ireland. Built around 3200 B. C. it was used as a sepulchre for several individuals, but certainly it served also for religious ceremonies. Still today at the dawn of the winter solstice, every December 21, a ray of sun penetrates through a window above the mound entrance and illuminates the interior of the monument. The window through which the sun penetrates (whose quartz shutters show signs of wear and then of a repeated use) is decorated with eight lozenges and spiral motifs. The same motif of the spiral is also engraved on the menhirs surrounding the mound, with so thick and repeated meanders to resemble almost true labyrinths. Symbolism is clear (on the basis of what we said from Catal-Huyuk to here): the spiral depicts the Great Mother Earth represented by the mound itself; the rays of the sun every winter solstice fecundate the goddess leading so to the rebirth not only the nature, but also - in the hope of the livings - the dead, just like the wheat grains buried underground. The rays of the sun, in the minds of the builders, symbolized the power of the brightest celestial divinity capable of illuminating the obscure world of the dead to arouse new life in them. It should be noted that the lozenges above the Newgrange’s window are eight because eight are the main directions along the horizon: four cardinal points, plus dawn (southeast, northeast) and sunset (southwest, northwest) in the days of winter and summer solstices. Not too far from Newgrange, Loughcrew's Cairn is also a long corridor tomb that ends with a megalithic boulder decorated with many symbols: crosses, sun-rays enclosed inside circles, geometric shapes similar to waves, and even those that would seem half-labyrinths. On the dawn of spring and autumn equinoxes, the sun rays go across the corridor and strike the bottom wall gradually illuminating the various symbols. The Cairn of Gavrinis, in northern France - another corridor burial mound - has many spiral carvings so elaborated to give the idea of labyrinths. There are also figures of axes, shields and bulls from long horns. Even there the solar rays penetrate during the winter solstice, as well as the moonlight when it is in its southernmost point. In the middle of its corridor a quartz stone seems to have been placed with the function of amplifying the sun and moon light. (cfr. R. Heinberg, I riti del solstizio, Ed. Mediterranee, It. Ed. p. 37). It was not only the sun to be "captured" on the solstices or equinoxes by the corridors or menhirs of megalithic complexes, but also the moon. In Stonehenge (built between 3000 and 1600 B. C.), the concentric circles of trilitic sarsen, bluestones and wooden poles (of which only the holes remain) were able to follow the lunar cycle with great precision not only during the course of the year but also in the entire 18-years cycle (18,61 with precision). During this time the points of rising and setting oscillate along the horizon over the years, allowing to also foresee eclipses (we used italics for the term oscillate for a very important reason as we’ll see later). With the construction of the archaeoastronomical complexes, not only with stones but even with ground or wood - therefore already since the time of Ohoden and Goseck - has its origin a spiritual concept of fundamental importance for the ancient religion, that is the union among the three worlds or planes of existence: the sky, seat of the sun god and the others deities; the surface of land and sea, home of humans and living nature; and the subsoil, seat of the underworld deities and the souls of the dead. The same monuments that intended to mirror in some way the celestial bodies or their movements - such as the Egyptian pyramids in the well-known theory of Robert Bauval - were meant by the ancient as a constant connection ("communion" would perhaps be the right term) among world of gods in Heaven, human world on Earth, and world of souls in the underground Hades. Without keeping in mind this concept it is impossible to reveal the meaning of so many ancient symbols and rituals. More than an archaeologist has pointed out that such expertise in the construction, positioning and perfect orientation of these monumental complexes, made with huge boulders in size and weight, presuppose sophisticated geometric, astronomical and architectural knowledges (most of the complexes are still standing after five thousand years or even more), as well as a perfect organization of builders, perhaps real professionals. Only a true priestly caste possessing all this knowledges as well as organizational and managerial resources and capabilities could be able to realize all these temples-observatories-calendars as we like to call them. In the 19th century a stone settlement of the same age of the megalithic complexes was found at Skara Brae in the Orkney Islands near Maeshowe and the Eagle's Tomb. Made up of just eight housing units, but well organized (they were also equipped with toilets and sewers, the first example in history), is considered by some scholars not a simple village, but a real "monastery" or "seminary" where priests-astronomers of the Orkney taught their disciples all the astronomical, architectural and religious secret knowledges (G. Magli, p. 37).

ROUTE TOWARD THE SUNSET

Megalithic temples. A well-organized priestly caste similar to that of the Orkney Islands had to be behind the construction of many megalithic temples on the islands of Malta and Gozo. Here the elements of ancient Anatolian religion are even more evident in all the various artistic and architectural elements. The temples plan - at least in the best preserved ones: Ggigantija, Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, Tarxien - reproduces the prosperous forms of the great mother. The remains of a buxom goddess statue (the lower half) were also found in the Temple of Tarxien. Another recently discovered statuary group depicts two mother goddesses, one of which brings a smaller goddess in her lap: in short, it is a trinity, similar for style and symbolism to the three goddess group (possibly the three ages of female life) discovered by Mellaart at Catal-Huyuk. Inside the megalithic complexes of Tarxien and Hagar Qim, there were also found depictions of animals (the inevitable bulls, sows, etc.) and human beings, such as, in addition to the prosperous goddess, even men in prayer: all elements which qualify the imposing stone buildings as true temples. Carved on the walls of these sacred buildings there are also spirals. From the astronomical point of view, even the Maltese temples during their construction were perfectly oriented, usually at the dawn of the winter solstice (except for Tarxien, oriented towards the solsticial sunset, and Mnajdra facing east). On the dawn of December 21, the first ray of the rising sun penetrates the entrance of each temple until it reaches what the archaeologists suppose had to be an altar, so forming for a few minutes a play of light that perhaps originally illuminated a little statue of the goddess. In other words, even in Malta, megalithic temples represent the Great Mother Nature "fecundated" by the sun every winter solstice.