Mythology; Old Myths, New Worlds

Introduction

1. The Myth before the Myth: the One Story

a. Reconstructing the Myth

Greek Tragedy

Roman Mythology/History

Finnish Mythology

Persian Mythology

English Mythology (1)

English Mythology (2)

Danish Mythology

Hamlet

b. Deconstructing the Myth

1. Background

2. History and Myth

3. Social Structure

a. The crews as microcosms of society

b. The Women

c. The Social Outcasts

d. Homosexuality and Lesbianism

e. Inter-Racial Relationships

4. Forms of Government

a. Democracies

b. Dictatorships

c. Utopias/Dystopias

d. Other Forms

5. Politics and International Relations

a. Overview

b. Treaties and Conventions

6. Law and Order through Space and Time

a. Traditional ways of settling legal disputes and reaching verdicts

b. About the contemporary legal system

c. Examples of contemporary Legal Dilemmas

Protection of Privacy

Genetic Engineering/Cloning

Freedom of Information

d. About the futuristic legal system

The Prime Directive

Time Travel and Time Machines

Birth Control

Genetic Engineering

The use of Telepathy and Telekinesis

Criminal Law

Nanotechnology

Cryonics

Definition and Rights of Intelligent Life

Laws of Robotics

Corporate Laws

The Internet and the Control of Information

Election Laws and Procedures

7. Technology

Summary

2. Myths based in reality

a. Lost Worlds

1. Lost Worlds and their characteristics

2. The Hollow Earth

Annex: So I made it to a Lost World

b. Lost Cities

Atlantis

El Dorado

Avalon

Shangri La

Tarn Vedra

c. King Arthur

d. The Bermuda Triangle

e. Tunguska

Annex: How to deal with an Impact Event

3. New Myths

 

 

Mythology; Old Myths, New Worlds

Introduction

Mythology can be defined, in short, as the ancient mans way (or desperate attempt, if you will) to make sense of the Universe, and it has always been a wealth of material for Science Fiction and Fantasy.

The Sci Fi writer can also use any mythology as a platform for discussing entirely different matters, which can create very interesting combinations of genres, as we are about to see,

The question is how can there be such similar stories in different and distant mythologies, supposedly belonging to cultures that never interacted? Even if we mange to filter out all local environmental and cultural influences, we are still left with an amazing phenomenon which has had researchers baffled for ages.

Except foe obvious cases of "plagiarism" which I will discuss later, in order to trace the origin of a myth, we need to be able to answer the following questions:

1. When - When was the myth born? What is the earliest event in the history of the culture, which is related to the myth, and can it be authenticated and documented?

2. Where - Where was the myth born? Is the geographical region clearly defined?

3. How - How did the myth travel from region to region? Is there s record of a cultural interaction, perhaps some sort of a "Great Migration", which might explain the appearance of a myth in seemingly unrelated geographical regions?

We have very similar creation and deluge myths all over the Ancient Middle East.

We know that Solon, the Greek Lawmaker, visited Egypt in the 6th Century BC, and brought back to Greece the story of Atlantis, the lost continent, which supposedly predated the visit to Egypt by some 9000 years.

In the writings of Julius Caesar, there is a clear (thought unsuccessful) attempt to "Romanize" Celtic mythology.

Roman Mythology is shamelessly stolen from Greek Mythology (and why were the Romans so willing to abandon their Etruscan heritage?)

The following is a list of most credited cult equivalencies between the respective systems:

And let's not forget that in all of the Pantheons, without exception, the Gods spend most of their time either in petty bickering or in mutual assassination attempts - that is, when they're not busy picking on us poor mortals...

Introduction

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

Biblical

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

Scandinavian/Nordic

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

Babylonian/ Acadian/Sumerian/Assyrian

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

Egyptian

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

Greek

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

Roman

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

Chinese

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

Persian

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

Inca

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

Toltec

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

Aztec

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

Kiche (Quich) (Maya)

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

Hindu

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

Japanese

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

The Big Bang

1. The Creation/the Gods

a. The Pantheons: Shame and Scandal in the Family

b. In the Beginning... The creation of the World

1. Chaos Vs. "Nothing"

2. The Order of Creation: Light from Darkness, Order from Chaos; the Trial and Error

3. The Gods create Man out of boredom...

4. Creation from the remains of an ancient Giant

5. The Expulsion from Heaven/the City of the Gods; One of the Gods is banished because of a sin or a mutiny

6. The Deluge (or another major natural catastrophe)

2. The "Twilight of the Gods"; Demy-Gods and Heroes

3. The Age of Man

The End of the World

1. The Myth before the Myth: the One Story

a. Reconstructing the Myth

In order to demonstrate of one the possible ways to reconstruct "the Original Myth" and to the answer the questions posed in the introduction, we'll use the story of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, which we know well from Shakespeare's play, and we will try to reconstruct its journey through history and mythology. I chose this story because it is relatively easy to retrace the long way (or at least part of it) it has traveled until Shakespeare gave the contemporary form as we know it today.

A large part of the geographical- environmental-lingual context is also quite clear. So are we just talking about a "non- original idea", or is it a case of plagiarism? You be the judges

The analysis is mostly based on the Hamlet's Mill: an Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, published in 1977 and available online here.

The criteria analyzed are:

1. The text

2. The Origin

3. The historical setting

4. The two brothers

5. The prince/son/nephew/grandson

6. The mother

7. The sister/daugh/lover/princess

8. The betrayal

9. The madness

10. The vengeance

11. Comments

Greek Tragedy

1. The Source

Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles

2. The origins

4th-5th century BC

3. The historical setting

 

 

4. The two brothers

 

 

5. The prince/son/nephew/grandson

 

 

6. The mother

 

 

7. The sister/daughter/lover/princess

 

 

8. The betrayal

 

 

9. The madness

 

 

10. The vengeance

 

 

11. Comments

Two basic principles:

  1. Those who the Gods wish to destroy, first they strike with madness;

2. The cause of the Tragic Heros downfall is his weakness - the sin of arrogance (Hubris) for which there is no atonement, and the Christianity it is one of the Seven Deadly Sins ("the Greek Tragedy version").

Roman Mythology/History

1. The Source

Livy, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Quintus Valerius Maximus, (minor differences between the versions)

2. The origins

Early 1st Century

3. The historical setting

500 BC

4. The two brothers

Servius Tullius (sixth king of Rome), Lucius Tarquinius (Step brother)

5. The prince/son/nephew/grandson

Lucius Junius Brutus (= The Brute), first proconsul of Rome

6. The mother

Tarquinia (Lucius Junius Brutuss mother)

 

7. The sister/daughter/lover/princess

One of Tarquiniuss sons rapes a noble woman, Lucretia, and before she commits suicide she tells her father and her brother, in Brutuss presence, which prompts Brutus to lead an uprising against Tarquinius.

8. The betrayal

Tarquinius kills Tulius and takes his crown

9. The madness

Brutus decides to feign madness in order to save himself (see the precedent of King David the in the court of Achish, King of Gath) and has no objection to being nicknamed Brutus ("the Brute");

"Wandering in the desert" as a vital stage in the process of becoming a Hero.

Tarquinius.sends two of his sons to the oracle in Delphi with Brutus (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern)

10. The vengeance

Brutus unveils Tarquinus true nature before the Roman people and they decide to ostracize him and exile him forever.

11. Comments

No involvement of Gods or higher powers or other supernatural elements (the Historical Version)

Finnish Mythology

1. The Source

The Kalevala

2. The origins

Ancient runes passed over from generation to generation. Editing and compiling began in the middle of the 17th Century. A finalized edition by Elias Lnnrot was published in 1835.

3. The historical setting

 

 

4. The two brothers

Kalervo and Untamo

5. The prince/son/nephew/grandson

Kullervo

6. The mother

Kalervos wife

7. The sister/daughter/lover/princess

While on the roads, Kullervo seduces a girl and then abandons her. When she finds out he was actually her brother, she commits suicide (Ophelia)

8. The betrayal

Untamo murders Kalrbo, takes his wife pregnant for his own, tries to kill his nephew; at the age of 3, Kullervo destroys his crib (and begins to exhibit supernatural powers)

9. The madness

Kullervo takes to the road;

Kullervo tires of his enslavement to Ilmarinen's wife. He kills her and eventually is driven crazy by his desire for vengeance and commits suicide (see Anakin Skywalker)

10. The vengeance

Kullervo kills Untamo

11. Comments

The story of Kullervo is an uncharacteristically realistic description of her destructive consequences of child abuse (The Realistic or Abused Child Version)

Persian Mythology

1. The Source

Firdausis Shahnameh (Book of Kings)

2. The origins

10th Century

3. The historical setting

Pagan period (before Zoroaster)

 

4. The two brothers

Afrasiab and Kai-Kaus

5. The prince/son/nephew/grandson

Kai-Khusraw

 

6. The mother

Farangis (daughter of Afrasiab)

7. The sister/daughter/lover/princess

Sudabeh (wife of Kai-Kaus); When she sees Siavash she falls in love with him and tricks into going to her private palace in order to visit his sisters. There she reveals her real intention to him and tries to seduce him. Siavash resists her and refuses to betray his father. Sudabeh, who is disappointed, tries to manipulate her husband and turn him against his son. Siavash decides to leave his fathers court for good and goes to Turan. After Siavash is assassinated in Turan, His mentor, mythological Hero Rostam, who blames Sudabeh for the incident, murders her.

8. The betrayal

Garsivaz (a jealous third brother) sets Afrasiab and Kai-Kaus against each other; Afrasiab kills his nephew Siavash (son of Kai-Kaus);

9. The madness

Kai-Khusraw

 

10. The vengeance

Kai-Khusraw kills Kai-Kaus

11. Comments

Firdausi places the story in a "mythological" period even though we are dealing with historical figures; According to him; the last Shah of Persia was Alexander the Great, and his death and the dissolution of his Empire by his successors mark the beginning of "History".

English Mythology (1)

1. The Source

 

 

2. The origins

10th Century

3. The historical setting

 

 

4. The two brothers

Sitric (Danish ruler of Northumbria) and Ethelstan

 

5. The prince/son/nephew/grandson

Anlaf Cuaran

 

6. The mother

Gormlaith, daughter of Irish King Murchadh; When Anlaf was killed at the battle of Tara, she married the man who killed him (Gertrude?)

7. The sister/daughter/lover/princess

 

 

8. The betrayal

Upon the death of Anlafs father in A.D. 926, Anlafs uncle, Ethelstan, seized control of Northumbria, forcing Anlaf to flee for his life. Anlaf spent part of his exile in Scotland, forged an alliance with the Scottish King, Constantin, and married his daughter.

9. The madness

Anlaf made a journey from England (Northumbria) into Scotland (and back);

10. The vengeance

Anlaf and Constantine fight a battle against Ethelstans army in Bronabur, but only 10 years later does he gain total control of Northumbria (and all the Danish Vikings in the British Isles).Within four years, however, Anlaf was driven out of Northumbria by a Viking ruler from Norway known as Eric Blood-Axe. 

11. Comments

The common element of the escape from Scotland to England and back

English Mythology (2)

1. The Source

The earliest version is Geoffrei Gaimar's L'Estoire des Engleis written around 1140.

The Lai d'Haveloc, written anonymously, follows shortly thereafter.

See Alexander Bell, ed., L'Estoire des Engleis by Geoffrei Gaimar (Oxford: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 1960)

See also, Alexander Bell, ed., Le Lai D'Haveloc and Gaimar's Haveloc Episode (Manchester: University of Manchester Press, 1925).

The only complete manuscript of Havelok appears in Bodleian MS Laud Misc. 108, dated c. 1300-25.

2. The origins

12th-13th Century

3. The historical setting

According to one version, Havelock is identified with Gunter, the Danish invader defeated by Alfred the Great (a real king who ruled in the 9th Century).

 

4. The two brothers

Evil King Odulf/Edulf, brother of King Aschis (one of Arthur's knights)/ Birkabein and Godard

5. The prince/son/nephew/grandson

Havelock the Dane

6. The mother

 

 

7. The sister/daughter/lover/princess

Goldeboru, Havelok's future wife, orphaned when her father, the good King Athelwold dies, leaving her inadvertently in the hands of a wicked foster parent and protector, Godrich.

 

8. The betrayal

Havelok's father, King Birkabein, dies, he and his two sisters are left in the care of the treacherous usurper, Godard, who cuts the throats of the two young girls and threatens the life of Havelok. He hands the boy over to a fisherman, Grim, with instructions to kill him.Grim and his wife see a mysterious light coming from the boy's mouth while he sleeps, and a "kynmerk," the cross-shaped birthmark of a king on his shoulder, which convinces them of Havelok's divinely appointed royal status. Then, in a manner reminiscent of fairy tales, Grim fakes the child's death and then takes his whole family along with the boy to England. At this point, Godrich forcibly marries Goldeboru to Havelok, thinking he is a commoner.

9. The madness

The escape from Denmark to England (and the return)

10. The vengeance

 

 

11. Comments

Mytholelements the Identifying mark;

Havelock does is just and rewards those who helped him in times of trouble, and punishes only the evil (unlike Kullervo, for example).

This is the version that resembles the most the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, including elements of Snow White (the Fisherman), Cinderella (Havelocks education add raising)), and if that is not enough, Havelock and Goldeboru lived happily ever after, and gave birth to 15 children, all of whom became kings and queens (the fairy tales version).

Danish Mythology

1. The Source

Saxo Grammaticus Gesta Danorum

 

2. The origins

12th Century

3. The historical setting

 

 

4. The two brothers

Orvendil and Fengi

5. The prince/son/nephew/grandson

Amleth (Hamlet)

 

6. The mother

Orvendil marries King Rriks daughter, Geruth (Gertrude in Hamlet)

7. The sister/daughter/lover/princess

The woman hired to seduce Amleth but agreed to keep his secret

8. The betrayal

Orvendil defeats the King of Norway, which arouses the jealousy of his brother Fengi; Fengi murders Orvendil and takes his wife Geruth for his own.

9. The madness

Amlethos decides to feign madness order to expose his uncle's plot and resists all temptation to expose the pretense;

Amlethos is forced to flee to Britain;

Fengi sends two messengers with a letter to the King of the England, asking him to kill Amlethos, but in the messengers who end up getting killed (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern).

10. The vengeance

Amleth Kills Fengi

11. Comments

Saxo Grammaticus was certainly familiar with the classical tale of Lucius Junius Brutus as told by Livy, by Valerius Maximus, and by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (there is also a record of Maximuss book being checked out of the library and a request to return it), and he was also familiar with the biblical story of King David (The version based on ancient sources).

Note that while Hamlet dies in Shakespeare's version just after his uncle's death, in Saxo's version Amleth survives and begins ruling his kingdom, going on to other adventures.

Hamlet

1. The Source

Shakespeares Hamlet; Thomas Kyds Spanish Tragedy

2. The origins

15th-16th Century

3. The historical setting

 

 

4. The two brothers

Claudius and his brother (also named Hamlet)

5. The prince/son/nephew/grandson

Hamlet

6. The mother

Gertrude

7. The sister/daughter/lover/princess

Ophelia loses her mind and commits suicide

8. The betrayal

Claudius kills his brother and takes his wife; He tries to kill Hamlet as well

9. The madness

Hamlet feigns madness in order to expose the plot and capture the killer;

Hamlet escapes to England and Claudius sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern after him;


Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (see the fable of Yotam, Judges 9)

10. The vengeance

Hamlet kills Claudius

11. Comments

Hamlet is entirely Human (the psychological version)

b. Deconstructing the Myth

1. Background

2. History and Myth

3. Social Structure

Those who remember Time Trax, the TV show from the 1980', remember that one of its predictions was that in the not so distant future, white males would become an endangered minority in western society. Some claim that this prediction is already coming true in our time, though it may be a while before it reaches the highest levels of society.

Incidentally, it is interesting to note that most of the myths in my list were written before this prediction was made.

a. The crews as microcosms of society

 

 

b. The Women

 

 

c. The Social Outcasts

 

 

d. Homosexuality and Lesbianism

 

 

e. Inter-Racial Relationships

Mixed marriages (inter-national, inter-social, inter-racial) have always been considered a way to strengthen alliances between nations and societies. In most cases, the goal of such matches was political, and they were mostly non-discriminative because they were equally forced on both partners, none of whom was asked for their opinion, and they ended quite tragically (with death or divorce).

However, literature has many famous cases of inter-racial love stories starting from Moses and the Cushite woman he took (what was her name, by the way?), going on to King Solomon and the Pharaohs daughter (and lets not forget the Queen of Sheba), to Captain Smith and Pocahontas (the proud white officer and the beautiful native girl, who was originally a leaders daughter and a leader in her own right, until her tragic death at the age of only 22 from a white man's disease), and even Karl May wrote about the romance between Old Shatterhand and Nscho-tschi, Winnetou's sister, and we can also mention Shakespeares Othello and Desdemona and Porgy and Bess. In most of these examples, by the way, the man was considered as belonging to the higher class, the woman suffered a cruel fate, and nothing is known about the children of the mixed couples either because they did not have time to have children, or because the information was lost.

4. Forms of Government

Most Fantasy and Science Fiction writers who try to create new universes do not make any special effort to create an original form of government. or even a new one, for the universe they are creating (see Introduction to the Futuristic Legal System). Even when they do, their options are somewhat limited and are naturally based on the existing systems. Ar Fantasy writer, for example, will return to some version of the familiar Medieval- -feudal model (king, knights, nobles, wizards and sorcerers, etc.). A SF writer can choose between existing models of dictatorships (civilian, military, technological or corporate, or the description of a society that succeded in overcoming hunger, disease, poverty and war (seemingly utopian until the true face of the regime is exposed), or perhaps a total post - apocalyptic collapse of all systems (leading to anarchy or dystopy), and there are those who go for the big, inter-galactic empires (evil or not).

One thing is certain, every system of government, wherever its nature might be, thinks it is the best, the most just and benevolent, to a point that it must dominate all other systems of governments around it which are of course inferior, and even destroy them completely if the refuse to acknowledge its superiority. They are all mistaken, of course. And note how we never find out what happens after the rebels (who are also naturally good and just) succeed in overthrowing and replacing the evil government.

a. Democracies

 

 

b. Dictatorships

(Inter)Galactic Empires, whether or not headed by (evil) Emperors

c. Utopias/Dystopias

The difference between a Utopia and a Dystopia is usually in the eyes of the beholder, thought some Utopias can dictatorships and some Dystopias can be enlightened and democratic (See the Dispossessed by Ursula le Guinn).

d. Other Forms

1. Hives

One of the few attempts to invent a new kind of a social structure is the Hive society. What is a Hive Society?

The most common definition is a society of individuals, all working for a single purpose without any individualism, under the leadership of one Queen. But as we'll see, there are many variations on to this definition.

By the way, in nature, Hives exist only in the insect kingdom. Is that supposed to tell us something?

5. Politics and International Relations

The creators of the myths have always tried to incorporate into their plot lines some prominent social and political issues, such as society, international and global politics, diplomacy, laws of war, contract law, civil and criminal procedure, international law etc.

The universes that they presented seem to be many light years away from our known universe, but if we review the history of the past hundred years, from before the first world war until today (when there are already those who claim that we in the middle of the third world war), we will find that the similarity is greater than Roddenberry or Straczynski, for instance, would have us think.

Thought they operated in different times, they both based themselves on existing systems of concepts, values and structures (see the diagrams representing the general political structure both universes). It is impoto point out that just like in our world, the diagrams present temporary situations, and the names on each side of the triangles are triple can change and do so this without warning, also just like in our world

See Forms of Government and Futuristic Legal systems.

a. Overview

 

 

b. Treaties and Conventions

Interestingly (and unfortunately) enough, it hasn't occurred to any of the creators (or to anybody else) to publish a full written text of any of the above-mentioned Treaties and Agreements.

6. Law and Order through Space and Time

Just the way you build a new social system and a new regime, you sometimes a have to build a new legal system, especially while trying to build a universe in which all the old familiar system collapsed.

Surprisingly enough, Neither J. Michael Straczynski nor Gene Roddenberry or the heirs to his legacy (including the creators of Stargate) tried to construct an orderly futuristic legal system, each in his own universe. Instead they all chose to deal with issues of law and justice on a case to case basis. Are there any significant differences between the average modern legal system and the futuristic legal systems, either human or Alien, described in those shows and in others like them? For instance, how do you deal with problems of choice of law and jurisdiction? What are the most controversial legal issues? Since it is clear that our society will be required to deal with those issues in the future and provide legal solutions, just like we are dealing right now with issues such as privacy in the electronic age, cloning of humans and genetic enhancement of food, and since like always, technology is much faster than law, can we use some of the legal solutions already provided in Sci Fi?

a. Traditional ways of settling legal disputes and reaching verdicts

The Code of Hammurabi and the Laws of the old Testament

Hammurabi

1. If any one ensnares another, putting a ban upon him, but he can not prove it, then he that ensnared him shall be put to death.

The old Testament

 

 

Hammurabi

2. If any one brings an accusation against a man, and the accused goes to the river and leaps into the river, if he sinks in the river his accuser shall take possession of his house. But if the river proves that the accused is not guilty, and he escapes unhurt, then he who had brought the accusation shall be put to death, while he who leaped into the river shall take possession of the house that had belonged to his accuser.

The old Testament

 

 

Hammurabi

3. If any one brings an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if a capital offense is charged, be put to death.

The old Testament

Deuteronomy 19: 16-19:

If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother:

Hammurabi

4. If a Builder build a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.

The old Testament

 

 

Hammurabi

5. If a man give his child to a nurse and the child die in her hands, but the nurse unbeknown to the father and mother nurse another child, then they shall convict her of having nursed another child without the knowledge of the father and mother and her breasts shall be cut off.

The old Testament

 

 

Hammurabi

8. If any one steal cattle or sheep, or an ass, or a pig or a goat, if it belong to a god or to the court, the thief shall pay thirtyfold; if they belonged to a freed man of the king he shall pay tenfold; if the thief has nothing with which to pay he shall be put to death.

The old Testament

Exodus 22: 1:

If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.

Hammurabi

 

 

The old Testament

Exodus 22: 5:

If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, and shall put in his beast, and shall feed in another mans field; of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, shall he make restitution.

Hammurabi

130. If a man violate the wife (betrothed or child-wife) of another man, who has never known a man, and still lives in her father's house, and sleep with her and be surprised, this man shall be put to death, but the wife is blameless.

The old Testament

Deuteronomy 22: 25-26:

But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing

Hammurabi

 

 

 

The old Testament

Genesis16:9

And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.

Hammurabi

196. If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out. [An eye for an eye ]

The old Testament

Exodus 21: 24-25:

And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Hammurabi

197. If he break another man's bone, his bone shall be broken.

The old Testament

 

 

Hammurabi

198. If he put out the eye of a freed man, or break the bone of a freed man, he shall pay one gold mina.

The old Testament

 

 

Hammurabi

199. If he put out the eye of a man's slave, or break the bone of a man's slave, he shall pay one-half of its value.

The old Testament

Exodus 21: 26-27:

And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eyes sake. And if he smite out his manservants tooth, or his maidservants tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooths sake.

Hammurabi

202. If any one strike the body of a man higher in rank than he, he shall receive sixty blows with an ox-whip in public.

The old Testament

 

 

Hammurabi

203. If a free-born man strike the body of another free-born man or equal rank, he shall pay one gold mina

The old Testament

 

 

Hammurabi

204. If a freed man strike the body of another freed man, he shall pay ten shekels in money

The old Testament

 

 

King Solomon's Trial

Medieval Witchs Trials - Throw her in the water, if she drowns, she's innocent, if she doesn't, she's guilty and she will burn at the stakes (or hang);

Each party to the dispute will send a champion and we'll let them duke it out;

Let's kill all the lawyers; Self representation, or if you represent yourself you have a fool for a lawyer;

And is ignorance of the law a valid defense against prosecution?

b. About the contemporary legal system

The Judicial

Civil Law (Vs. Military Law)

Civil

Criminal

Civil-Administrative

c. Examples of contemporary Legal Dilemmas

 

 

Protection of Privacy

 

 

Genetic Engineering/Cloning

 

 

Freedom of Information

 

 

d. About the futuristic legal system

When a social process or a technological innovation reach a certain level of maturity or extremity, regulatory legislation is often required. Since legislation usually falls behind technology and ethics, as shown in the following illustration, when we reach the legislation stage, it unusually means that we are too late

(Image12e, mine)

So how will a futuristic legal system, if any, look like?

Formal Vs. informal;

Rights of the accused;

Choice of Law and Jurisdiction;

On the need for lawyers (and other officers of the court);

The Prime Directive

One of the most common scenarios in Sci Fi is of course the First Contact with a sentient Alien civilization. In some of the cases of the initiator is mankind, and in others it is the Alien civilization. Naturally, therefore, one of thmost common laws in Sci Fi is the law regulating such contacts and encounters, known as the Prime Directive.

This concept of the Prime Directive is based on the lessons of earlier historical encounters between "advanced" and "primitive" civilizations, lessons which were not always implemented. It states that there can be no interference with the internal affairs of other civilizations, consistent with the historical real world concept of Westphalian sovereignty, which is the principle of the sovereignty of states and the fundamental right of political self determination, of (legal) equality between states, and of non-intervention of one state in the internal affairs of another state.

The concept can also be used as a device for the exploration of interactions between "developed" and less advanced societies without giving the former the overwhelming advantage of easy access to and use of technology, and as a template for stories resembling those of real human societies and their interactions with less technologically advanced societies, such as the interaction between advanced cultures and indigenous peoples.

Acceptance of the Prime Directive wasn't entirely unanimous. There were those who viewed it d as a negative policy, because it prevents introduction of technology (especially medical technology), culture, and resources that may improve quality of life.

There is also a debate regarding the purpose of non-interference. Thought it can be seen as a way of preventing foreign contamination of native unique language and customs, the ends do not justify the means. One opinion was that no matter how well-intentioned, stepping in and effecting changes could have disastrous consequences. Another is the belief that evolution has a "plan" of sorts, driving species toward purposes. Interference would therefore be unnatural, in that it would go against what is supposed to happen to the species in question.

As we are about to see, in Sci Fi there are two main categories of Prime Directives - an overall ban on any kind of intervention, and a more specific ban on sharing advanced technology, and both come in many forms and variations.

Time Travel and Time Machines

As it turns out, Humanity is not the only species debating issues of legal limitations on the construction and use of time machines. So what is the legal solution to the problems of time travel? One possible solution is to establish some form of a time police

Birth Control

After an ecological, atomic or other holocaust, an extreme situation of under-population might occur. An opposite situation would be extreme over-population, which might require drastic birth control measures. Science Fiction has examples of exceptionally brutal laws, compared to which the one child law in China seems benevolent (even after experience has proven that it doesn't work) - which, by the way, did not prevent the government of Egypt from toying with the idea of a similar law in 2008

Genetic Engineering

Genetically Engineered Food

Cloning and Genetic Enhancement of Humans

The use of Telepathy and Telekinesis

 

 

Criminal Law

Who will be criminally responsible - the parasite or the host?

Nanotechnology

Today nanotechnology is still in a formative phase--not unlike the condition of computer science in the 1960s or biotechnology in the 1980s. Yet it is maturing rapidly. Between 1997 and 2005, investment in nanotech research and development by governments around the world soared from $432 million to about $4.1 billion, and corresponding industry investment exceeded that of governments by 2005. By 2015, products incorporating nanotech will contribute approximately $1 trillion to the global economy. About two million workers will be employed in nanotech industries, and three times that many will have supporting jobs.

Descriptions of nanotech typically characterize it purely in terms of the minute size of the physical features with which it is concerned--assemblies between the size of an atom and about 100 molecular diameters. That depiction makes it sound as though nanotech is merely looking to use infinitely smaller parts than conventional engineering. But at this scale, rearranging the atoms and molecules leads to new properties. One sees a transition between the fixed behavior of individual atoms and molecules and the adjustable behavior of collectives. Thus, nanotechnology might better be viewed as the application of quantum theory and other nano-specific phenomena to fundamentally control the properties and behavior of matter.

Over the next couple of decades, nanotech will evolve through four overlapping stages of industrial prototyping and early commercialization. The first one, which began after 2000, involves the development of passive nanostructures: materials with steady structures and functions often used as parts of a product. These can be as modest as the particles of zinc oxide in sunscreens, but they can also be reinforcing fibers in new composites or carbon nanotube wires in ultraminiaturized electronics.


Rearranging atoms leads to new properties.


The second stage, which began in 2005, focuses on active nanostructures that change their size, shape, conductivity or other properties during use. New drug-delivery particles could release therapeutic molecules in the body only after they reached their targeted diseased tissues. Electronic components such as transistors and amplifiers with adaptive functions could be reduced to single, complex molecules.

Starting around 2010, workers will cultivate expertise with systems of nanostructures, directing large numbers of intricate components to specified ends. One application could involve the guided self-assembly of nanoelectronic components into three-dimensional circuits and whole devices. Medicine could employ such systems to improve the tissue compatibility of implants, or to create scaffolds for tissue regeneration, or perhaps even to build artificial organs.

After 2015-2020, the field will expand to include molecular nanosystems--heterogeneous networks in which molecules and supramolecular structures serve as distinct devices. The proteins inside cells work together this way, but whereas biological systems are water-based and markedly temperature-sensitive, these molecular nanosystems will be able to operate in a far wider range of environments and should be much faster. Computers and robots could be reduced to extraordinarily small sizes. Medical applications might be as ambitious as new types of genetic therapies and antiaging treatments. New interfaces linking people directly to electronics could change telecommunications.

Over time, therefore, nanotechnology should benefit every industrial sector and health care field. It should also help the environment through more efficient use of resources and better methods of pollution control. Nanotech does, however, pose new challenges to risk governance as well. Internationally, more needs to be done to collect the scientific information needed to resolve the ambiguities and to install the proper regulatory oversight. Helping the public to perceive nanotech soberly in a big picture that retains human values and quality of life will also be essential for this powerful new discipline to live up to its astonishing potential.

By Mihail C. Roco

Cryonics

Can we start incorporating it into our health insurance plans?

Definition and Rights of Intelligent Life

Intelligent life in Sci Fi can be classified into several categories Organic and non-organic, artificial and natural, man made or alien, or every possible combination of the above. In any case, if and when we encounter such life forms, we will have to learn to communicate with them and live with them in peace Assuming, of course, we overcome our natural urge to destroy everything different from us (and of course, we ourselves don't get destroyed). If our treatment of animals is any indication, the more an animal is considered to bsentient, he is accorded a higher level of protection. Will that be the guiding principal in the future? And what will happen when those life forms are no longer content to be "a protected species"?

And will Descartes' definition of intelligence, Cogito Ergo Sum (I think, therefore I am) remain unchanged in the future?

Here is one attempt to define intelligent life, by Steven Savage:

I define intelligent life as follows - a life form that is able to process enough information, adapt by this learning, and pass the information on another member of its species. In short, life is that which has a large quantity of its behavior determined by acquired information that it is able to communicate to others. An intelligent creature can, merely by acquiring information, create new behaviors and ways of functioning as well as learn them from its fellows.

The three qualifications for sentience are intelligence, self-awareness and consciousness.

See:

The Turing test

The Voight-Kampff test

The Fermi Paradox

The Drake Equation

Computing Machinery and Intelligence by A. M. Turing

Laws of Robotics

General

In order to understand the importance of the Laws of Robotics, lets review briefly the laws governing situations of harming a human by a non-human (for our purposes, causing death, but also Grievous Bodily Harm). Who is to blame, if any, and with what? And who will bear the punishment? And is there a pattern here that we might be able to use in the future?

In order to understand the importance of the Laws of Robotics, lets review briefly the laws governing situations of harming a human by a non-human (for our purposes, causing death, but also Grievous Bodily Harm). Who is to blame, if any, and with what? And who will bear the punishment? And is there a pattern here that we might be able to use in the future?

Horse

The Governing Laws

Licensing of Animals

Charge with Murder?

For a murder indictment (and conviction) the following elements are required:

Means

Opportunity

Motive

Intent

Actual Punishment

If captured unharmed or not injured to a point requiring euthanasia, it shall not be harmed

Legal Responsibility

A civil or a criminal suit can be filed against the owner or the rider (if any)

Dog

The Governing Laws

Licensing of pets, leash, muzzle, vaccination

Charge with Murder?

No

Actual Punishment

The dog will most likely be put to sleep (especially if diagnosed with rabies)

Legal Responsibility

A civil or a criminal suit can be filed against the owner or the manufacturer (if any)

Vehicle

The Governing Laws

Driving

Charge with Murder?

No

Actual Punishment

Total Loss

Fix and reuse

Legal Responsibility

A civil or a criminal suit can be filed against the owner or the driver (And under certain circumstances against the manufacturer)

Robot

The Governing Laws

Laws of Robotics?

Manufacturer's warranty?

Charge with Murder?

How does the Law deal with a robot suspected of murder?

Actual Punishment

The robot will be decommissioned/restarted/upgraded/ destroyed

I, Robot

- Ya, I know, your three laws... Your perfect circle of protection.

- A robot can not harm a human being. The first law of Robotics.

-Ya, I know, I've seen your commercials. But doesn't the second law state that a robot has to obey any order given by a human being? What if it was given the order to kill?

- Impossible, it would conflict with the first law.

- Right, but the third law states that robot can defend itself.

- Yes, but only when that action does not conflict with the first or second laws.

-You know what they say...laws are made to be broken.

-No, not these laws, they're hard wired into every robot. A robot can no more commit murder than a human can walk on water.

My robots don't kill people, lieutenant Bergin. My attorneys have filed a brief with the DA, he assures me a robot cannot be charged with homicide. The brief confirms murder can only be committed when one human kills another. You, of all people, detective... You're not suggesting that this robot be treated as human. Are you? Now, granted... we can't rule out other robots' proximity to the death of Dr. Lanning. Having said that, it's a machine. It's the property of USR. At worst, that places this incident firmly within the realm of an industrial accident. As a matter of course... faulty machinery will be returned to USR for diagnostics then decommissioned.

Legal Responsibility

Can a civil or a criminal suit be filed against the owner or the manufacturer?

Corporate Laws

Introduction

The battle of the lone warrior against the Mega Corporation is a common feature of the Cyberpuk Genre. In this genre, industrial relations in the corporation are simple the employee is the property of the corporation or its indentured servant (not no mention its slave).

The source of the corporation's power is its control of a vital resource information, food or a medicine. The level of its evil is directly derived from the level of its control of the vital resource and its willingness to share it with the general public.

Two popular ways of destroying a corporation are undermining its control of the resource or killing the person in charge of it. In the first case, the result is usually anarchy (see "welcome to the human race") and it is unclear whether the liberated resources actually became freely available to the desperate masses. In the second case, at least for now, no corporation in the world will totally collapse if its CEO were removed (see Bill Gates). In Cyberpunk, the destruction of the corporation is the goal and the Hero couldn't care less about what happens if and when the corporation collapses.

In corporate law, the concept of lifting or piercing the corporate veil describes a legal decision where a shareholder or director of a corporation is held liable for the actions of the corporation despite the general principle that shareholders are immune from suits in contract or tort that otherwise would hold only the corporation liable. This is also referred as "disregarding the corporate entity". The phrase relies on the metaphor of a "veil" that represents the veneer of formalities and dignities that protect a corporation, which can be disregarded at will when the situation warrants looking beyond the "legal fiction" of a corporate person to the reality of other persons or entities that would otherwise be protected by the corporate fiction.

See: Payback

For more information click here.

 

The Internet and the Control of Information

 

 

Election Laws and Procedures

Political Parties as we know them today (regardless of the system of government) hardly exist in Sci-Fi and Fantasy, so we may assume that in the future, they will be a thing of the past. So what do you when you have to hold an election?

The Election of the Judges:

The Old Testament Judges were not Judges as we know them today. Their major role was to lead their people in times of crisis, and in times of peace they were mostly unnecessary, as we can see in some of the following examples:

Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, Judges 3-9

The Process

Chosen by God

Comments

 

Ehud the son of Gera, Judges 3-15

The Process

Chosen by God

Comments

 

Shamgar the son of Anath, Judges 3-31

The Process

And after him was...

Comments

 

Barak the son of Abinoam, Judges 4-6

The Process

Summoned by Deborah, prophetess and judge, the wife of Lapidoth (A civilian spiritual authority)

Comments

Deborah tells Barak that God ordered him to lead the people into battle. He consents but only if she will join him. She warns him that "I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman",

Gideon, son of Joash the Abiezrite, AKA Jerubbaal , Judges 6-11, 6-14

The Process

An Angel of God comes to his Father's home:

Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel

Comments

The only Judge who defies God and asks repeatedly for signs and portents as proof of his mission; The only Judge whose son tries to succeed him (and fails)

Jephthah the Gileadite ,The illegitimate son who was cast out by his brothers and became the leader of an outlaw gang , Judges 11-7, 12-1

The Process

Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon

Comments

God refuses to send a savior and the people decide to chose one - as prophesied by Isaiah: When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler (3-6)

Jephtha tries to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the dispute with the King of Ammon, but the King refuses. After the victory, Jephthah (the General) falls out of grace with the local "politicians" - how typical...

A few minor judges between Jephthah and Samson, known mainly for the number of their children, Judges 12, 6-15

The Process

 

Comments

 

Samson, Judges 13-1

The Process

 

Comments

The story of the miraculous birth of Samson, chosen to be the savior of Israel before he was even conceived. His parents even received a very specific set of instructions to be followed in order to make the prophecy come true, but he had wants and desires of his own...

b. The Election of King Saul:

(First book of Samuel, 10)

17. And Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh; 18. And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you: 19. And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands.20. And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. 21. When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found. 22. Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff. 23. And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. 24. And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king. 25. Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. 26. And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched. 27. But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.

7. Technology

 

Summary

 

 

For a presentation based on this chapter click here.

2. Myths based in reality

a. Lost Worlds

1. Lost Worlds and their characteristics

Descriptions of lost worlds are very popular in Science Fiction and Fantasy. They usually start with a scientist (or an explorer or a journalist) who finds an ancient manuscript referring to some lost world (on the Moon, under the sea, on land, in the center of the Earth, wherever) and decided to organize an expedition to find it, study it and prove its existence. 

Most quests are motivated by the strong desire of this fanatic believer to compensate for some deprivation or to prove himself to someone (preferably of the female persuasion), and the journey itself becomes the main point of the story, while the issue of the finding and the existence of "Lost World" takes a secondary or even marginal importance, for as we are about to see, a lost world is doomed to one fate - remaining lost. 

So what are the characteristics of a Lost World? 

1. It is very large (In the late 18th century there were still vast uncharted and completely isolated regions in the world. Usually there is someone who has a vested interest in keeping it that way. 

2. It has only one entrance and one exit (usually the same). 

3. There are unique species of plants and animals (not necessarily monstrous or large, but some are). The most common are cave bears, saber-tooth tigers, mammoths, mastodons and all kinds of dinosaurs (see "Crypozoology", or the study of ancient extinct animals, which is a legitimate branch of science). This is why the expedition usually includes a zoologist or a botanist (See Darwin). 

4. There are natives uncorrupted by modern society (finding such a tribe is the wildest dream of every anthropologist), some are "good" who help the expedition, and some are "bad" who try to destroy it. Alternatively, the natives can also be the result of a genetic experiment gone wrong (or not) 

5. A male member of the expedition falls in love with a beautiful female native and decides to stay behind/A female member of the expedition falls in love with a muscular and sturdy or smart male native and decides to stay behind (Did you noticed how in such scenarios, women always fall in love with men for their wisdom?) 

6. One member of the expedition reveals himself as a conniving plotter with ulterior motives of his own. 

7. The expedition's attempts to return with conclusive and irrefutable evidence for the existence of the lost world usually fail, because as I explained earlier, it remains lost. 

Read the article entitled "Back Lots of the Lost: The Implausibility of the Cliched 'Lost World'" by Paul T. Riddell for an interesting analysis of the Lost World myth.

 

 

2. The Hollow Earth

 

 

The "Lost World" myth is closely linked to other scientific theory which was popular in the late 18th century, known as the "Hollow Earth", as indicated by the large number of "lost worlds" found the center of the Earth. This idea probably has deep mythological roots (literally) - In most ancient mythologies, as we know, the underworld is located somewhere deep below ground. 

The originator of the idea was well-known astronomer Edmund Haley, who has already been credited with better ideas - see the comet named after him. In order to explain deviations of the magnetic compass readings, he described the Earth as built in a sphere inside a sphere, separated by a hollow shell, and among other things, claimed that the Northern Lights are caused by gas emitted from the space between the two sphere.

 

 

 

 

(Image 26e, source: http:// http://unmuseum.mus.pa.us/hollow.htm)

Click here for more about Edmund Haley and the Hollow Earth.  

There are many variations on the subject in the literature, with the number of internal suns and layers varying from version to version.  

Leonhard Euler, a Swiss mathematician, replaced the multiple spheres theory with a single hollow sphere which contained a sun 600 miles wide that provided heat and light for an advanced civilization that lived there. 

One of the most ardent supporters of hollow-earth was the American John Symmes, an ex-army officer and a business man. Symmes believed that the Earth was hollow and at the north and south poles there were entrances, 4,000 and 6,000 miles wide, respectively, that led to the interior. Symmes dedicated much of his life to advancing his theoand raising money to support an expedition to the North Pole for the purpose of exploring the inner earth. He was never successful, but after his death one of his followers, a newspapeeditor named Jeremiah Reynolds, helped influence the U.S. government to send an expedition to Antarctica in 1838. While the explorers found no hole there, they did bring back convincing evidence that Antarctica was not just a polar ice cap, but the Earth's seventh continent. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Image 27e, Source: http://unmuseum.mus.pa.us/hollow.htm) 

This inspired, among other things, three works by Edgar Allan Poe - "Message Found in a Bottle", "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket" and "Hans Pfaall". 

Later Scottish mathematician Sir John Leslie proposed there were two inner suns, named Pluto and Proserpine. This description apparently inspired Jules Vernes novel, discussed below.  

An early twentieth-century proponent of hollow Earth, William Reed, wrote Phantom of the Poles in 1906. He supported the idea of a hollow Earth, but without interior shells or an inner sun. The book discussed the following questions:

1.Why is the earth flattened at the poles?

2.Why have the poles never been reached?

3.Why does the sun not appear for so long in winter near the supposed poles?

4.Assuming that the earth is hollow, the interior should be warmer.

5. Does the compass refuse to work when drawing near the supposed poles?

6. Why are Meteors constantly falling near the supposed poles?

7. What causes the great quantities of dust constantly found in the Arctic Ocean?

8.What produces the Aurora Borealis?

9. Where are Icebergs formed? And how?

10.What causes tidal waves?

11.What causes colored snow in the Arctic region?

12.Why are the nights so long in the polar regions?

13.What causes the great ice-pressure in the Arctic Ocean during still tide and calm weather?

14.Why is the ice filled with rock, gravel, and sand?

When Admiral Peary claimed to have reached the North Pole on April 6, 1909, one of Reed's premises, that the poles cannot be reached, should have been invalidated. But Peary's claim was, in its day, and continues to be controversial.

On December 14, 1911, Roald Amundsen undisputedly reached the South Pole. Subsequent expeditions to and flights over both poles have conclusively demonstrated that there are no large holes there. 

In 1846 an extinct woolly mammoth frozen in ice in Siberia was discovered. Marshall Gardner saw this as evidence of a hollow earth. Gardner thought that mammoths and other extinct creatures wandered freely in the interior of the earth. This one had wandered outside by using the hole at the North Pole, then was frozen and carried to Siberia on an ice flow. He suggested that the mammoth was so well preserved because it had died recently.

 

Marshall Gardner subscribed to the single-sun-inside-the-earth theory. In A Journey to the Earth's Interior. (1913) he claimed that the Earth has only one exterior shell, about 1,300 Kilometers thick. An interior sun, about a 1000 Kilometers in diameter, illuminates the "world under" with eternal daylight. His theory was supported by the Inuit legends about an eternal summer. Gardner built a working model of the hollow Earth which patented (U.S. Patent 1,096,102).

 

At that time (1920), Edgar Rice Burroughs began to write his Pellucidar novels, also discussed below.

 

In the 1960' a more extremist version of the idea gained some publicity. According to which, the Hollow Earth is actually the origin of UFOs

 

That same decade a new theory about the hollow-earth appeared. It was the brainchild of Cyrus Read Teed. Teed proposed that the Earth was a hollow sphere and that people lived on the inside of it. In the center of the sphere was the sun, which was half dark and half light. As the sun turned it gave the appearance of a sunset and sunrise. The dense atmosphere in the center of the sphere prevented observers from looking up into the sky and seeing the other side of the world. Interestingly enough, Teed's theory was hard for 19th century mathematicians to disprove based on geometry alone, since the eof a sphere can be mapped onto the interior with little trouble. Teed changed his name to Koresh and founded what might today be called a cult. After buying a 300 acre tract in Florida, Koresh declared himself the messiah of a new religion. He died in 1908 without proving his ideas. 

(Image 29e, Source: http://unmuseum.mus.pa.us/hollow.htm) 

Rudy Rucker, a computer scientist and a very prolific Science Fiction and cyberpunk writer,replaced the inner sun, as an energy source, with an Einstein-Rosen bridge in his novel "The Hollow Earth" (and the story The Last Einstein-Rosen Bridge). He was also very much inspired by "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket" (E A Poe even features in the book).

And today? Needless to say, none of the expeditions going out to the Poles out since then has ever found "a Symms hole", but the idea is gaining some new momentum both on TV and in cinema, In the Movie the Core, in which scientists are also trying to reach the center of the Earth, though for entirely different reasons. Incidentally, the deepest drilling attempt by humans has reached a depth of 10 kilometers, and most of the knowledge we have about the structure of the Earth comes from an indirect analysis of seismic waves created during earthquakes.

 

Amazingly, in spite of the new studies about the structure of the Earth and vast scientific knowledge about its geophysical structure, people continue to believe the Hollow Earth theory, even though "acceptable" science treats it with disdain. For example, in 1998 Jan Lamprecht sought to challenge the conventional scientific models, and argued that the Earth, the Moon, Venus and Mars may well be hollow. In 2001, Nature magazine published an article by David Stevenson, an American physicist, who read Jules Verne and suggested the possibility of an unmanned journey to the center of the Earth. The idea appeared to be on the verge of Science Fiction. According to Stevenson, you can pour 100 million tons of iron into a narrow crack 300 meters deep. Under the enormous weight of iron, the crack would deepen downwards and seal itself from the top down because of the heat. A small research laboratory, floating over the crack, would measure temperature, pressure and matter composition for about a week, reaching the depth of 4,000 kilometers. According to this suggestion, the laboratory would also transmit measurement results using light earthquakes, to be recorded by extremely sensitive detectors on the surface. Stevenson believes that the implementation of this program would cost less than the American space program, and could provide answers to many questions about the structure of the Earth. 

(Image 30e, Source: http://www.gps.caltech.edu/faculty/stevenson/coremission/mission_to_core_(annot).pdf) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, the consensus among scientists is that this is the correct structure of the Earth:

(Image28e, Source: http://unmuseum.mus.pa.us/hollow.htm) 

 

Many writers have written about different kinds of lost worlds. Here are some notable examples analyzed according to the criteria mentioned above.

 

 

Henry Ryder Haggard (1856-1925)

 

The Lost World according to Henry Ryder Haggard (1856-1925), as portrayed in She, is located in Angel Falls, South America (Venezuela).

 

Henry Ryder Haggard preceded Edgar Rice Boroughs and inspired his Tarzan novels (and the "Cthulhu Mythos" stories by H. P. Lovecraft). He combined the Lost World idea and the Science Fiction genre.

The novel "She" was filmed in several versions, one of which in 1965 starring Ursula Andress (in an outfit reminiscent of her unforgettable rise from the water in Doctor No) an another directed by Israeli director Avi Nesher. In the Movies Aisha-She is portrayed as a female Tarzan (see "Sheena"), although she was not like that in the novels.

Other novels by Haggard were also filmed, and prominent among them are Alan Quatermain and King Solomons Mines (which was readapted as a TV niniseries starring the late Patrick Swayze), the hero of which was undoubtedly a source of inspiration for Indiana Jones. Incidentally, the character was also portrayed by Sean Connery in A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which was a not very successful.

Aisha, incidentally, is one of few example of a female leader in this genre of literature.

 

The members of the expedition are British archaeologist Holly, his valet and his handsome young friend Leo.

 

 

 

 

 

The Noble Savage

 

She

 

Fauna and Flora

 

 

 

 

 

Is there a scientific explanation?

 

 

 

Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)

 

The Lost World according to Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), as portrayed in the Lost World, is located in Africa.

 

The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, yes, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, is locates in Africa, an unknown territory at the time which fueled the imagination of many writers. This novel was filmed many times, both for cinema and television, with varying degrees of success and loyalty to the origin. A TV series by that name was also made.

 

The members of the expedition are Prof. Challlanger, Summerly and Lord John Rockston.

 

 

 

 

 

The Noble Savage

 

 

 

Fauna and Flora

 

 

 

 

 

Is there a scientific explanation?

 

 

 

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950)

 

The Lost World according to Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950), as portrayed in the Pellucidar Novels, is located in the Center of the Earth.

 

Edgar Rice Burroughs shall be remembered forever as the creator of Tarzan, originally designed as a glorification of the Noble Savage, a concept which was prevalent during the heyday of British Colonialism (like the Wild West stories of Karl May, Burroughss German contemporary). Incidentally, the first Tarzan Movie (a silent one), starring Elmo Lincoln, was made as early as in 1918, an indication of the great popularity of Burroughss works in early days of Cinema. The first talking Tarzan Movie was made in 1932, starring the unforgettable Johnny Weissmuller.

Burroughs dedicated seven books to Pellucidar. He believed in Edmund Haleys Hollow Earth theory, despite of the scientific evidence contradicting it. He believed the "Hollow Earth" could be reached through the "Symms Holes" which Ive already discussed in detail.

Incidentally, in one Tarzan story, the Ape Man travels to Pellucidar

 

The members of the expedition are mining heir David Innes and his inventor friend Abner Perry. Later protagonists include indigenous cave man Tanar and additional visitors from the surface world, notably Tarzan, Jason Gridley, and Frederich Wilhelm Eric von Mendeldorf und von Horst.

 

 

 

 

 

The Noble Savage

 

indigenous cave man Tanar

the Mahars, the master race of Pellucidar, who resemble Rhamphorhynchus.

The Sagoths. Ape-like servants of the Mahars.

The Ape Men are ape-like, black with prehensile tail, arboreal.

The Sabertooth Men are ape-like, black with prehensile tail, cannibals with dagger-like tusks.

The Brute-Men are peaceful gorilla-like farmers, sometimes called "Gorilla-Sheep" for the sheep-like appearance of their faces.

The Azarians, primitive man-eating giants.

The Ganaks, a race of horned bison men.

The Horibs, ferocious dinosaur-riding reptile men.

Two subterranean races are:-

The Coripies or buried people, short eyeless carrion eaters

The Gorbuses, cannibalistic albinos who are apparently resurrected surface-world murderers.

Fauna and Flora

 

A world of jungles in a dinosaur era of its own, crawling with saber-tooth tigers and mammoths. Its human inhabitants, belonging to the Stone Age, are enslaved by a race of reptiles, and its sun is the molten core of the earth.

 

 

 

Is there a scientific explanation?

 

 

 

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950)

 

The Lost World according to Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950), as portrayed in the Barsum Novels, is located in Mars.

 

For a long time humans have wanted to believe that there was (or is) life on Mars. Today many people see evidence of a monumental carved "face" on Mars, even though scientists say it is only a trick of light and shadow. A hundred years ago, when Percival Lowell first looked through a telescope at Mars, he "saw" an intricate system of life-sustaining canals. Thus was born one of the great scientific myths of the twentieth century.

Carl Sagan writes in Brocas Brain (Chapter 9, P.162): About this time a friend introduced me to the Mars novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I had not thought much about Mars before, but here, presented before me in the adventures of John Carter, was an inhabited extraterrestrial world breathtakingly fleshed out: ancient sea bottoms, great canal-pumping stations and a variety of beings, some of them exotic. There were, for example, the eight-legged beasts of burden, the thoats

Burroughs dedicated eleven books to the Martian world, No point in elaborating all are built according to the same formula.

 

The members of the expedition are Captain John Carter.

 

 

 

 

 

The Noble Savage

 

Princess Dejah Thoris

 

Fauna and Flora

 

A dying decaying World ruled by barbaric giants and filled with various monsters )banth).

 

 

 

Is there a scientific explanation?

 

 

 

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950)

 

The Lost World according to Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950), as portrayed in the Amtor Novels, is located in Venus.

 

When scientists early in the Twentieth Century looked at Venus and saw only clouds they concluded that the planet must be dripping wet. Another theory was that Venus was a younger version of Earth and was possibly in its own age of dinosaurs.

Ray Bradbury wrote a powerful story called "All Summer in a Day" and set on the dripping wet Venus. Science now knows that Venus is a very inhospitable place, but that doesn't make Bradbury's story any less powerful.

Amtorians believe their world is a flat disc, and if you travel to the rim you might freeze to death in the frozen wastes at the edge, and if you venture toward the center of the disc you could die from the heat.

 

The members of the expedition are Carson Napier.

 

 

 

 

 

The Noble Savage

 

 

 

Fauna and Flora

 

 

 

 

 

Is there a scientific explanation?

 

 

 

Michael Crichton (1942-2008)

 

The Lost World according to Michael Crichton (1942-2008), as portrayed in Jurassic Park, is located in Isla Nublar, where attempts to resurrect the Dinosaurs are being made.

 

In an amusement park for the rich, radical genetic experiments are conducted in order to resurrect the dinosaurs. Billionaire entrepreneur John Hammond (actor Richard Attenborough, who must have consulted his brother, naturalist David Attenborough, but obviously did not take his advice), wants to open an amusement park for the benefit of all mankind, in which the Jurassic era will be reconstructed to the very last detail (including some that never existed in the Jurassic era, but who cares about the small details).

 

The members of the expedition are a lawyer, two paleontologists, a chaos theorist-mathematician (Jeff Goldbloom), a big-game hunter, the entrepreneur John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) and his two grandchildren..

 

 

 

 

 

The Noble Savage

 

the Park's Team

 

Fauna and Flora

 

Dinosaurs

 

The evil get their comeuppance and the good (at least the ones who didn't get to sacrifice themselves for the greater good) survive.

 

Is there a scientific explanation?

 

The scientists (and also some who are not) deride the "mosquito in the amber" theory, and their rationale is simple enough even if you did find a viable DNA segment of a dinosaur, and overcame all the tremendous technical difficulties and managed to clone it, if that segment is incomplete and you combine it with DNA from other creature, even if eventually you do get something out of this, it will not be a dinosaur.

 

Michael Crichton (1942-2008)

 

The Lost World according to Michael Crichton (1942-2008), as portrayed in Time Line, is located in A Medieval French village.

 

 

 

The members of the expedition are a group of Scottish archaeologists, including a father and son.

 

 

 

 

 

The Noble Savage

 

The French Vs. the English (with the Scots in the middle)

Arnault, Claire and Marek

 

Fauna and Flora

 

 

 

Chris and Kate (=the Innocent) survive

 

Is there a scientific explanation?

 

A black hole opens to a French village in 1357, using a machine which operates on the Fax principle.

 

Jules Verne (1828-1905)

 

The Lost World according to Jules Verne (1828-1905), as portrayed in Journey to the Center of the Earth, is located in the center of the Earth.

 

Verne was well acquainted with the "Hollow Earth" theory of and believed in it, especially as presented by John Cleves Symmes, who was unable to find the openings at the poles, but his followers proved that Antarctica is a continent. In "The Adventures of Captain Hatteras", which was written at the same time as "Journey to the Center of the Earth", he also mentions the theory of Sir Humphrey Davy, a British chemist, who claimed that Earth's interior is cold and contains many spaces, and that volcanic phenomena are localized and the result of interaction between metals, air and water. Thought Davy did not claim that the Earth was hollow, according to his theory, a Journey to the Center of the Earth was entirely possible.

 

The members of the expedition are Professor Otto Liedenbrock, his young Nephew Axel and their Icelandic guide Hans..

 

 

 

Going down the volcano

 

The Noble Savage

 

 

 

Fauna and Flora

 

"I saw those huge elephants whose long,

flexible trunks were grouting and turning up the soil under the trees like a legion of serpents. I could hear the crashing noise of their long ivory tusks boring into the old decaying trunks. The boughs cracked, and the leaves torn away by cartloads went down the cavernous throats of the vast brutes"

"In stature he was at least twelve feet high. His head, huge and unshapely as a buffalo's, was half hidden in the thick and tangled growth of his unkempt hair. It most resembled the mane of the primitive elephant. In his hand he wielded with ease an enormous bough, a staff worthy of this shepherd of the geologic period"

 

The eruption of Mount Stromboli in Sicily.

 

Is there a scientific explanation?

 

"the condition of the terrestrial nucleus has given rise to various hypotheses among geologists; there is no proof at all for this internal heat; my opinion is that there is no such thing, it cannot be; besides we shall see for ourselves"

 

Greg Bear (1951-)

 

The Lost World according to Greg Bear (1951-), as portrayed in Dinosaur Summer, is located in the large plateau ("El Grande" or "Tepui Grande") in Venezuela, where dinosaurs still live.

 

The events of Arthur Conan Doyle's novel The Lost World actually occurred. Due to the capture and exhibition of dinosaurs, movie producers such as Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen never succeed, since the public's interest is instead captured by living dinosaurs. However, due to deaths caused by escaped dinosaurs and difficulty in obtaining new dinosaurs, the dinosaur circuses slowly die out.

 

The members of the expedition are:

Peter Belzoni, the teenage protagonist, Anthony's son.

Anthony Belzoni, a freelance reporter and Peter's father.

Vince Shelabarger, Dinosaur trainer and unofficial leader of the expedition.

Merian C. Cooper, Ernest Schoedsack, John Ford, Ray Harryhausen and Willis O'Brien, movie men looking for subject material on the plateau.

Lothar Gluck, the owner of the last dinosaur circus.

El Colonel (no real name given), a military man who opposes the expedition to the plateau..

 

 

 

 

 

The Noble Savage

 

 

 

Fauna and Flora

 

 

 

 

 

Is there a scientific explanation?

 

 

 

 

 

Annex: So I made it to a Lost World

Assuming I made it to a Lost World, wherever it may be, what kinds of animals can I expect to encounter there?

Dragon

Let's start with some trivial facts about dragons:

Except for the only common denominator for all dragons, breathing fire,

We have Chinese dragons of different colors (usually benign);

We have medieval European dragons, the kind St George fought and killed;


And we have fairy tale dragons like Puff the Magic Dragon;

Examples

Ann McCaffrey's dragon saga;

In Harry Potter, the elder Weasley sibling breeds pet dragons in Romania, and Hagrid gets in trouble trying to sneak one of them into Hogwarts;

Saphira, Eragon's talking Dragon;

According to Reign of Fire, dragons live in groups including only one dominant male and many females; The male flies around and fertilizes the eggs laid by the females. Incidentally, they are responsible for the extinction of the Dinosaurs;

In Dragon Heart, a dragon-slaying knight and a talking dragon (the voice of Sean Connery), the last of his kind, band together in order to save the kingdom from a corrupt ruler.

Dinosaur

Dinosaurs and humans have never coexisted on Earth. No living person has ever seen a real live dinosaur, because the dinosaurs became extinct long before the appearance of the earliest of Humans documented by science. Just so you'll know!

Examples

A Dinosaur Summer was written by Greg Bear under the inspiration of Arthur Conan Doyle's novel The Lost World, and takes place in an alternate history in which the events of the Lost World actually occurred.

The West of Eden Trilogy by Harry Harrison features an alternate word in which mankind and intelligent dinosaurs do coexist.

And speaking of dinosaurs, did you know that Michael Crichton (who passes away in 2008) had a newly discovered ankylosaur named for him (Crichtonsaurus bohlini)?

Unicorn

(Image 23e, Source unknown)

A legendary animal from European folklore that resembles a white horse with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead, and sometimes a goat's beard. First mentioned by the ancient Greeks, it became the most important imaginary animal of the Middle Ages and Renaissance when it was commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature, a symbol of purity and grace, which could only be captured by a virgin. In the encyclopedias its horn was said to have the power to render poisoned water potable and to heal sickness. Until the 19th century, belief in unicorns was widespread among historians, alchemists, writers, poets, naturalists, physicians, and theologians

Examples

"Legend"

"The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" (in the new Movie version, by the way, it is barely seen).

The Lady and the Unicorn" - Tracy Chevaliers novel describes the creation process of the famous tapestries featuring ladies and unicorns, where they are used as phallic symbols.

"Harry Potter" The Unicorn is depicted as an innocent animal whose blood gives wohever drinks it magical properties, but also curses their lives. Its color is snow white, its blood is like mercury, and it is very suspicious. Because of this suspicion it avoids humans, although it is easier for girls to get close to it, especially with an offering of sugar cubes (does this mean that Hermione and Ginny will be required to stay virgins forever?)

 

Basilisk

In European bestiaries and legends, a basilisk (from the Greek basilskos, "little ;" Latin Regulus) is a legendary reptile reputed to be king of serpents and said to have the power to cause death with a single glance.

Examples

According to the Naturalis Historia of Pliny the Elder, the basilisk of Cyrene is a small snake, "being not more than twelve fingers in length," that is so venomous that it leaves a wide trail of deadly venom in its wake, and its gaze is likewise lethal; its weakness is in the odour of the weasel, which, according to Pliny, was thrown into the basilisk's hole, recognizable because all the surrounding shrubs and grass had been scorched by its presence.

In Rowling's book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it is said that a basilisk is a green serpent that can grow up to fifty feet in length. It states that basilisks are believed to live for up to 900 years, and are only controllable by parselmouths. The book says that the basilisk was first created by Herpo the Foul, a wizard who hatched a chicken egg beneath a toad

The basilisk appears in the Bible in Isaiah 14:29 in the prophet's exhortation to the Philistines reading, "Do not rejoice, whole country of Philistia, because the rod that beat you has broken, since the serpent's stock can still produce a basilisk, and the offspring of that will be a flying dragon." The King James version of the Bible states "out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent."

In Psalm 91:13: "super aspidem et basiliscum calcabis conculcabis leonem et draconem" in the Latin Vulgate, literally "You will tread on the lion and the dragon,/the asp and the basilisk you will trample under foot," translated in the King James Version as: "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet".

The basilisk appears in the Latin Vulgate, though not most English translations, which gave rise to its inclusion in the subject in Early Medieval art of Christ treading on the beasts.

In William Shakespeare's Richard III, a widow, on hearing compliments on her eyes from her husband's brother and murderer, retorts that she wishes they were those of a basilisk, that she might kill him.

In Act II, Scene 4 of Shakespeare's Cymbeline, a character says about a ring, "It is a basilisk unto mine eye, Kills me to look on't."

Samuel Richardson wrote in Clarissa; or the history of a young lady: If my eyes would carry with them the execution which the eyes of the basilisk are said to do, I would make it my first business to see this creature.

Another famous reference to the basilisk is found in John Gays "The Beggar's Opera" (Act II, Air XXV).

Jonathan Swift alluded to the basilisk in a poem:

See how she rears her head,

And rolls about her dreadful eyes,

To drive all virtue out, or look it dead!

Twas sure this basilisk sent Temple thence

Alexander Pope also wrote that "The smiling infant in his hand shall take/ The crested basilisk and speckled snake (Messiah, lines 8182).

In the chapter XVI of The Zadig, Voltaire mentions a basilisk, "an Animal, that will not suffer itself to be touch'd by a Man".

Percy Bysshe Shelley alludes to the basilisk in his "Ode to Naples", and also in his poem "Queen Mab".

Charles Dickens uses the Basilisk to describe Mrs. Varden's eternally angry and hideous housemaid, Miggs, in Barnaby Rudge.

Leviathan

 

 

Examples

 

 

Behemoth

 

 

Examples

 

 

Ox

 

 

Examples

 

 

Sources:

 

 

b. Lost Cities

Atlantis

Atlantis is mentioned for the first time in the writings of Plato, mainly in two dialogues, Critias and Timeus. According to Plato, Solon, the great Athenian legislator, heard about Atlantis from a priest in Thebes while on a visit to Egypt at the beginning of the 6th century BC. It is very possible that Plato's descriptions of Atlantis were nothing but his method of presenting his philosophy of ideal government. There are those who dispute the very facts presented by Plato in his story, but this did not prevent thinkers, writers and many researchers (not all of them freaks and eccentrics) from suggesting all kinds of speculations regard the location of the lost continent, embarking on quests to look for it and even claiming that they have found it (or at least its remains).

The discovery of America created a wave of new theories relating to the location of Atlantis. Francis Bacon, for example, believed that Atlantis is America. Since then, two main modern theories relating to Atlantis have been formed. According to one, it is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, serving as bridge between America and Europe, and according to the other it lies somewhere in North Africa or in Northwest Africa

The first Theory

According to Plato

Plato, as I said earlier, mentioned Atlantis in two of his dialogues, but forgot to include the geographic indications of its location. Still, the details he does mention indicate that description is based on evidence from Egypt. In Timeus, the first source in which the name Atlantis is mentioned, Critias tells Socrates of the events that Solon heard about from the Egyptian priest. In Critias, or The Atlantian, Critias tells about the war between Athens and Atlantis which took place 9,000 years before, and describes Atlantis as the territory of Poseidon, God of the sea, and his descendants by a mortal woman. He also adds an accurate geographic, architectonic, artistic and social description of Atlantis, as designed by Poseidon.

Plato's description was controversial from moment it became public. Aristotle, Plato's disciple, was one of the first who doubted the description, and mainly the geographic location of the lost continent. Both Plutarch and Homer had versions of their own, and later historians (Marcellinus the Roman, Timogenes the Greek and Diodorus of Sicily continued to discuss the possible location of the lost continent.

According to Ignatius Donnelly

One of the pioneers of the first theory in the modern era was probably Ignatius Donnelly, who published in his book "Atlantis: the antediluvian world" in 1882 The book was very popular and had a great impact over all those who studied Atlantis. Donnelly was influenced, among other things, by studies which considered the Azores and the Canary Islands the remains of Atlantis, and the Maya descendants the survivors of Atlantis. According to Donnelly, Atlantis was the mother of all cultures of the world, and the origin of the Alphabet (among other things). He considered the sinking of Atlantis a historical fact, the details of which were blurred by myths and legends (including the Deluge). He studied many reports of earthquakes and islands rising from the sea and sinking again because of volcanic and geological activity in Pacific region, and found them in support of his theory. After Atlantis sank, contact between East and West was lost since mud, lava and debris made the sea in the area impassable, and so Atlantis sank not only into sea, but also into oblivion.

According to Lewis Spence

Spence's researches into the mythology and culture of the New World, together with his examination of the cultures of western Europe and north-west Africa, led him almost inevitably to the question of Atlantis. During the 1920s he published a series of books which sought to rescue the topic from the occultists who had more or less brought it into disrepute. These works, amongst which were The Problem of Atlantis (1924) and History of Atlantis (1927), continued the line of research inaugurated by Ignatius Donnelly and looked at the lost island as a Bronze Age civilization, that formed a cultural link with the New World, which he invoked through examples he found of striking parallels between the early civilizations of the Old and New Worlds: the historian of science George Sarton remarked, in reviewing Spence's Introduction to Mythology in 1921, "P. Smith [Spence?], it may be recalled, is the chief supporter of the pan-Egyptian theory; he finds traces of Egyptian influence everywhere, even in America". Spence's erudition and the width of his reading, his industry and imagination were all impressive; yet the conclusions he reached, avoiding peer-reviewed journals have been almost universally rejected by mainstream scholarship. His popularizations met stiff criticism in professional journals, but his continued appeal among theory hobbyists is summed up by a reviewer of The Problem of Atlantis (1924) in The Geographical Journal: "Mr. Spence is an industrious writer, and, even if he fails to convince, has done service in marshalling the evidence and has produced an entertaining volume which is well worth reading." Nevertheless, he seems to have had some influence upon the ideas of controversial author Immanuel Velikovsky, and as his books have come into the public domain, they have been successfully reprinted and some have been scanned for the Internet, for the enjoyment of new generations willing to suspend critical disbelief.

According to Edgar Cayce

Edgar Cayce (1945-1877) was considered a psychic, a prophet and a seer (but also a charlatan and illusionist, if you believe renowned "Psychic Buster James Randi, who among other things contributed a lot to the destruction to of Uri Gellers career). He started out in a wandering hypnotism show, and during his lifetime he made thousands of prophecies and predictions on a variety of subjects. Between the years 1924-1944 he spoke a lot about Atlantis. Cayces Atlantis, or Poseida (with all the implications) was the birthplace of civilization, superior and equipped with all the technologies we can recognize from Sci Fi literature (some of which exist today). According to Cayce, the reason for the destruction of Atlantis was the abuse of those technologies, which was interpreted as a vision of the future and even a warning against abuse of technology in our days ours. Incidentally, Cayces Atlantis sank into the ocean right in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle.

Cayce predicted, among other things that in 1968 or 1969 parts of Poseida will rise again from the sea. Indeed, a series of archeological discoveries made in 1968 in Bimini (the Bahamas) was interpreted as proof that the prediction, which goes to show that you don't have to be a Sci Fi writer in order to invent a myth.

The Second Theory

As mentioned above, according to another theory, Atlantis was not an island in the sea, but a land mass in a part of Africa which was once covered with water. Most supporters of this theory rely on climate change in Africa. For example, studies have found that the Sahara was the bottom of an ancient sea which dried out. Archaeologist Carla Sage claims that it is highly probable that this was the location of the lost continent was, and she is not the only one who believes in this theory.

Many other theories place Atlantis in different Island areas, such as Santorini, Arthur C. Clark's the site of choice. Clark's reason for supporting the Santorini theory is that the memory of the Santorini catastrophe is fresher among Mediterranean peoples (just like the memory of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 is fresher than that of its predecessor, which happened in1886).

The search for Atlantis provided a lot of material for literature and cinema, starting from Jules Verne's Captain Nemo (who claimed to have come from Atlantis, although he was probably an Indian aristocrat who rebelled against the British Empire) up to the latest example, "Atlantis the Lost Empire".

According to Stargate Atlantis, by the way, Atlantis is the lost city of the Ancients, located in the Pegasus Galaxy...

So I'm organizing an expedition to find Atlantis. Where exactly should I start?

The Bermuda Triangle

Bimini

Bolivia

Etc' etc'...

El Dorado

El Dorado is the name of a Muisca tribal chief who covered himself with gold dust and, as an initiation rite, dived into a highland lake.

Later it became the name of a legendary "Lost City of Gold" that has fascinated and so far eluded explorers since the days of the Spanish Conquistadors. Though many have searched for years on end to find this city of gold, no evidence of such a place has been found.

Imagined as a place, El Dorado became a kingdom, an empire, and the city of this legendary golden king.

In pursuit of the legend, Francisco Orellana (see the Crystal Scull?) and Gonzalo Pizarro departed from Quito in 1541 in a famous and disastrous expedition towards the Amazon Basin, as a result of which Orellana became the first person known to navigate the Amazon River all the way to its mouth.

Sir Walter Raleigh, who resumed the search in 1595, described El Dorado as a city on Lake Parime far up the Orinoco River in Guyana. In literature, frequent allusion is made to the legend, perhaps the best-known references being those in Milton's Paradise Lost (Book xi. 408-411) and in Voltaire's Candide (chs. 18, 19). "Eldorado" was the title and subject of a four-stanza poem by Edgar Allan Poe. This city on the lake was marked on English and other maps until its existence was disproved by Alexander von Humboldt during his Latin-America expedition (17991804).

Avalon

Geoffrey of Monmouth called it in Latin Insula Avallonis in the Historia. In the later Vita Merlini he called it Insula Pomorum the "isle of apples".

Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea

Geoffrey's description of the island indicates a sea voyage was needed to get there.

According to Gerald of Wales, just after King Henry II's reign, the new abbot of Glastonbury, Henry de Sully, commissioned a search of the abbey grounds. At a depth of 5 m (16 feet) the monks discovered a massive treetrunk coffin and a leaden cross bearing the inscription: Hic jacet sepultus inclitus rex Arthurus in insula Avalonia. ("Here lies renowned King Arthur in the island of Avalon")

Shangri La

Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world. In the novel Lost Horizon, the people who live at Shangri-La are almost immortal, living years beyond the normal lifespan and only very slowly aging in appearance. The word also evokes the imagery of exoticism of the Orient. In the ancient Tibetan scriptures, existence of seven such places is mentioned as Nghe-Beyul Khimpalung.[1] Khembalung is one of several beyuls ("hidden lands" similar to Shangri-La) believed to have been created by Padmasambhava in the 8th century as idyllic, sacred places of refuge for Buddhists during times of strife (Reinhard 1978).

Shangri-La is often used in a similar context to "Garden of Eden", to represent a paradise hidden from modern man. It is sometimes used as an analogy for a lifelong quest or something elusive that is much sought. For a man who spends his life obsessively looking for a cure to a disease, such a cure could be said to be that man's "Shangri-La". It also might be used to represent perfection that is sought by man in the form of love, happiness, or Utopian ideals. It may be used in this context alongside other mythical and famous examples of somewhat similar metaphors such as The Holy Grail, El Dorado and The Fountain of Youth.

Tarn Vedra

According to Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, Tarn Vedra was the capital of the old Systems Commonwealth and the headquarters for many of the Commonwealth's administrative bodies, including the High Guard, All Systems University and Ministry of Public Welfare. Since it was cut off from the Slipstream during the Nietzschean Uprising, all attempts to find it again have failed and the fate of city and its inhabitants remains a complete mystery. Of course that did not stop Captain Dylan Hunt from embarking on a quest to find it.

c. King Arthur

Sir Geoffrey of Monmouth, who tried to write the History of Britain from the 11th century BC, is considered the most reliable source of King Arthur myths. His historical accuracy is controversial, to say the least, but he is the one who turned Arthur from a myth to an historical hero in his Historia Regnum Britannie (History of the Kings of Britain), first published around 1138

Geoffrey pilfered a few Welsh myths and dubious history of a real chieftain named Arthur who lived in Wales in the sixth century, but basically invented this entire story out of his head, then passed it off as a true history of Britain. This was one of the most successful deceits in history. For hundreds of years Europeans believed this self-aggrandizing fib, which elevated Britons to the same high pedigree as the Romans or the Greeks. Even today British monarchs are held to standards invented by this imaginative cultural engineer. Geoffrey invented Avalon (Latin for "place with apples"), the sword Caliburn (from the Welsh Caladfwlch, which means "hard lightning"), Morgan LeFay (French for "The Faerie"), Merlin and Guenvere (from the Welsh Gwenhwyfar, meaning "unfaithful," the root of the modern "Jennifer"). He also converted the Welsh hero Medraut into the evil villain Mordred. In later versions Perceval was replaced with Galahad as the Grail-finder, Arthur's knights were made counterparts of Christ's Apostles and it was implied that King Arthur might be the second coming of Christ. The most significant change was making the character of Morgan LeFay, from a happy, benevolent healer to a miserable, adulterous dark sorceress who knowingly slept with her own brother.

Since the myth of King Arthur is well known and well documented, I have nothing much to add, so I'll settle for a short review. Yes, there was a king (I can not guarantee that his real name was Arthur, but that's OK, nobody else can) who lived in England in the 9th century BC., and with the help of his loyal knights, united all the lands of the knights and the noblemen into one kingdom, he sat them around the Round Table and sent them on the quest to find the Holy Grail, a known myth in its own right (revived, among other things by Dan Brown's the Da Vinci Code (a book Daniel Jackson has undoubtedly read)

The story begins as young Arthur, born as a prince, is forced to live as simple valet, fearing King Vortigren. He heard the legend of the magic sword lodged in the stone, known as Excalibur, and how the person who pulls it out of the stone will be the King of England. Many have tried and failed, and amazingly enough, only Arthur succeeded, apparently with the intervention of Merlin the magician, the confidant of King Uther Pendragon (or according to one version, Bran). Incidentally, it isnt clear why Merlin chose the young and inexperienced Arthur. Arthur began to gather all the knights and noblemen who roamed the land, and gradually managed to unite all of them. Upon his death, Arthur was carried to the mysterious island of Avalon (the origin of the name is probably Unwin, the Celtic Underworld, or Insula Avallonis", the "Island of Apples" or paradise), where he sits and waits until he is called upon to rule Britain again.

And if this story sounds familiar, you must know the Campbellian model of the mythological hero

So where does the myth end and reality begins the? You be the judge. The fact is that England remains united to this very day

Arthur became the hero of many legends, and terms such as Excalibur, Avalon, the Round Table, the Lady of the Lake, and names such as Merlin, Guinevere, Lancelot, Galahad, Percival ("the Fisher King") etc' are still used by writers and poets, and not just in Sci Fi.

For more click here.

Another different version of the King Arthur myth was unfolded during the ninth season of Stargate SG-1, opening the season in the first two episodes and closing it in the last three episodes, with one more reference in the middle of the season.

Vala Mal Duran, one of the Inter-Galactic Ten Most Wanted, asks for Daniel's help in deciphering an inscription that could lead to a treasure. What Daniel deciphers is a partial list of the Ancients who left Earth during the evacuation of Atlantis. Among them is Merdin, AKA Merlin, and so two myths, the myth of Atlantis and the myth of King Arthur, are combined...

Thus spake Daniel...

 On Merlin:

"Merlin was an Ancient"

AVALON (1)

Arthur was then carried off in a barge by Merlin, saying he was headed for the veil of Avalon which according to legend was a magical place where the dead would meet. Now at the time some said Arthur never actually died but would in fact one day return. From what we know about the ancients it is possible that Avalon helped Arthur a mortal ascend...

CAMELOT

ANTONIUS: well many believe he was a wizard of darkness, he may have tried to do good but...there was always potential for great mischief in his heart... thankfully...he has neither been seen nor heard of since Arthur's departure...the library where he practiced his strange arts remains sealed to this day...

CRUSADE

CATRER: Merlin was working on a weapon to fight the Ori...

MITCHELL: ...he enchanted that Queen who bore Arthur

(Does he suggest that Merlin was actually Arthur's father?)

On Arthur's grave:

"Arthur's grave, located in mysterious Avalon, is actually in a hollow hill below Glastonbury, the official burial site."

AVALON (1)

In 1191 the monks at Glastonbury abbey claimed to find the grave of king Arthur, on the stone burial was an inlay lead cross with the inscription "Hic iacet sepvltvs inclytvs rex artvrivs in insvla avalonia" here lies the famous king Arthur buried on the isle of Avalon. The claim was not taken seriously until 1278 when Henry II ordered the grave to be exhumed, now Glastonbury a small town about 125 miles west of London has been a pilgrimage for believers since...

Certain Celtic legends says that Glastonbury tore the hill overlooking the town is actually hollow and that contained within it is the underworld Avalon...

On the "sword in the stone":

AVALON (1)

JACKSON: well...King Arthur once pulled a sword from the stone as proof of his righteousness and r

MITCHELL: 'Excalibur'.

JACKSON: actually that's a common misconception. See 'Excalibur' was forged by the lady of the lake at Avalon but it wasn't given to King Arthur till after the sword he pulled from the stone was broken in battle.

By the way, the only one who tries to pull the sword out of the stone is Mitchell, in the first episode of the season he fails, in the second he succeeds, and is accepted as a Knight of the Round Table...

On the Knights of the Round Table:

AVALON (1)

Merlin's hologram has the following greeting for our heroes:

Welcome. Ye Knights of the Round Table. Men of honor. Followers of the path of righteousness. Only those with wealth of knowledge and truth of spirit shall be given access to the underworld, the storehouse of riches of ambrosias Coriolanus. Prove ye worthy and all shall be revealed.

On Arthur as a real historical figure:

"Arthur is actually Ambrosius Coriolanus" (the correct name, by the way, is Ambrosius Aurelianus).

AVALON (1)

"That's incredible. Certain scholars have speculated that ambrosias and Arthur are one in the same but... that would mean he was 74 years old at the Battle of Mount Badon. Its actually quite fascinating see ambrosias was the son of the emperor con(stantine)

Many researchers, such as Gildas,do identify Arthur with Ambrosius Aurelianus; others, such as Sir Geoffrey of Monmouth, identify him with Uther Pendragon, a composite figure based on the two sons of King Constantine, who initiated the construction of Stonehenge; Others say he was the son of the same Uther Pendragon. Confusing, isn't it?"

 

On Camelot:

CAMELOT

"Welcome to Camelot, past and the future home of King Arthur and his round table."

On King Arthur's death (and ascension)

CAMELOT

MEURIK: I...I assume you know the history of the battle of Camlann?

JACKSON: Of cours...where Arthur was mortally wounded by Mordred.

MEURIK: Arthur...? Mortally wounded?

ANTONIUS: Arthur defeated the battle of Camlann, after which he and his fellow Knights set off to find the San Greal.

JACKSON: That's the Holy Grail...

On Avalon:

AVALON (2)

"the Alterraians named their new home Avalon and that they built many astriaporta"

On Arthur's quest for the 13 Sacred Objects in the netherworld:

"Arthur has won his bloody victory at Lugg Vale and the kingdoms are finally united. Mordred's throne is safe, Guinevere is to bear Arthur a child and Lancelot is to marry Ceinwyn. After one last battle against the Saxons, Arthur will rule a peaceful, orderly land.

But, unlike Merlin, Arthur has forgotten the Gods, who thrive on chaos. Merlin, weaver of charms, knows that if the Gods are to be restored, he must bring together Britain's thirteen sacred objects. Derfel, the stalwart of Arthur's shield wall, is drawn into Merlin's intrigues and Arthur's plans are thrown into turmoil..."

This is a quote from Bernard Cornwell's Enemy of God (powerful Warlord Chronicles, Vol. 2). I'm not sure whether it's based on the official Arthurian Myth or the author's imagination; at least there is no mention of it either in Bulfinch's Mythology or in sir Geoffrey of Monmouth's version of the myth.

ARTHUR'S MANTLE

JACKSON: I've been going over some of the texts we recovered in Glastonbury...

LANDRY: And?

JACKSON: Well...a lot of them seem to make oblique references to Arthurian legend... for instance the word...anawen...which shows up several times...which I believe is a variation on annwn...the Celtic underworld where King Arthur journeyed in search of thirteen sacred objects. One of which...was a cloak...

MITCHELL: What the picture of the guy with the big Blowing robes?

JACKSON: Said to render the wearer invisible... it was call the mantle of Arthur and was kept at Bardsey Island by none other than our good friend Merdin, whom we know better as...

LANDRY: Merlin.

JACKSON: Exactly

On the Mantle:

ARTHUR'S MANTLE

Uh-it-It makes sense, sir. Medieval historians could well have attributed the powers of the device to a cloak simply because they didn't understand it...and they could have credited its recovery to Arthur, out of deference to the king who was in power at the time. Now given what we know now, it seems much more likely that it was Merlin who actually built the device.

On the Holy Grail:

CAMELOT

... no the notion that the grail was a cup or chalice particularly the one used by Christ at the last supper was...was uh late addition to the myth... see on rare accounts its described variously as a dish or platter...or in the case Von Eschenbach in outer Middle East influenced chroniclers as a stone that fell from the Heavens...

Here is a full list of the sacred objects (according to the Lords of Avalon by Kinley MacGregor):

1. Excalibur - Sword created by the fey for good. The one who wields it cannot be killed, nor can he bleed so long as he holds the scabbard that sheaths it.

2. Hamper of Garanhir - Created in order to feed the Pendragon's army while at war. Put in food for one and out will appear food for one hundred

3. Horn of Bran - Given as a companion for the hamper, this horn is a never-ending cup that will provide wine and water for any to drink from it.

4. Saddle of Morrigan - A gift to the Penmerlin from the goddess Morrigan, this will enable a person to go instantly wherever they desire. It was created so that the Pendragon would be able to oversee his kingdom with ease. No distance or time is too great. It can move a person from one continent to another or from one time period to another.

5. Halter of Epona - Given by the goddess Epona, the halter, if hung on a bedpost at night will grant the one who possesses it whatever horse he desires in the morning.

6. Loom of Caswallan - A gift from the war-god, any cloth produced from this loom will be stronger than any armor forged by a mortal's hand. No mortal weapon will ever be able to penetrate the cloth.

7. Round Table - Table of power that was created by the Penmerlin. When all people are seated and the objects are in place, it is the ultimate in power. Whoever rules the table, rules the earth.

8. Stone of Taranis - A gift from the god of thunder. Should a knight sharpen his sword with this stone, it will coat the blade with a poison so potent that even a tiny scratch from the blade will bring instant death.

9. Mantle of Arthur - A gift from the PenMerlin, this will enable the wearer to become invisible to everyone around him or her.

10. Orb of Sirona - Created by the goddess of astronomy, this will enable the person who holds it in their hand to see clearly on even the darkest night.

11. Shield of Dagda - Whoever holds the shield of Dagda will be possessed of superhuman strength and so long as the shield is held in place, they cannot be wounded.

12. Caliburn - A sword of the fey, this is the evil sword that balances out Excalibur. It is said that this one sword carries even more power and that it can destroy the other sacred objects.

13. Holy Grail - No one is quite sure what it is or where it came from. It is the greatest object of all for it cans bring the dead back to life.

In 2004, a new Movie adaptation of the King Arthur myth came out, attempting to disconnect the story from its mythological context and focus on the historical and factual aspects. To tell the truth, the reviews were less than favorable, precisely because any such attempt, in such myth, is doomed to failure from the start.

And on a trivial note, don't tell me you haven't noticed the striking resemblance between the image of Merlin the Magician as portrayed in the myth and the images of other famous magicians and wizards, such as Gandalf (the White or the Gray - "Lord of the Rings"), Dumbledore ("Harry Potter") and in contrast, Obi-Wan (the old, "Star Wars"). Needless to say, the resemblance is no coincidence. Also note the striking resemblance between Galadriel ("Lord of the Rings") and "the Lady of the Lake".

d. The Bermuda Triangle

(Image 25e, Map of the Bermuda Triangle, from the Wikpedia Encyclopedia)

img border="0" src="artimages/image25e.jpg" width="300" height="273">

The boundaries of the Bermuda Triangle cover the Straits of Florida, the Bahamas and the entire Caribbean Island area and the Atlantic east to the Azores. The more familiar triangular boundary in most written works has as its points somewhere on the Atlantic coast of Miami; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the mid-Atlantic island of Bermuda, with most of the accidents concentrated along the southern boundary around the Bahamas and the Florida Straits. The name originated in Vincent Gaddis's article "The Deadly Bermuda Triangle", published in the February 1964 issue of Argosy.

The area is one of the most heavily traveled shipping lanes in the world, with ships crossing through it daily for ports in the Americas, Europe, and the Caribbean Islands. Cruise ships are also plentiful, and pleasure craft regularly go back and forth between Florida and the islands. It is also a heavily flown route for commercial and private aircraft heading towards Florida, the Caribbean, and South America from points north.

The origins of the Bermuda Triangle legend are in the 15th century, the heyday of the trade between Spain and what was then called "the New World". The peak of the trade season, between June and October, is also the peak of the hurricane season in the Atlantic. Heavily laden ships caught in the Bermuda Triangle during this season got out by the skin of their teeth ,or not at all, usually because the Captains did not know how to prepare for the storms (or, better yey, avoid them). As early as 1492, Christopher Columbuss ship reported compass malfunctions and a flaming fireball crashing into the sea while crossing the Triangle. Those reports couldnt be corroborated.

But when professional and experienced pilots (also hdebatable) started disappearing in the area with their planes, that was a different story, and people begat to claim that this could be a coincidence. Thus the myth gained momentum while many scholars have begun (again, not all just freaks or members of the lunatic fringe) try to find a solution to the mystery. The fact that some of the disappearances could never be satisfactorily explained away contributed to the enhancement of the mystery. U.S. Coast Guard, however, maintains that for a heavily trafficked area such as the Triangle, the number of accidents and strange events is well within the average ... So who should we to believe?

For a detailed list of disappearances and Strange Occurrences in the Bermuda Triangle click here. For a list of current researches and researchers click here. Charles Berlitz, author of various books on anomalous phenomena, lists several theories attributing the losses in the Triangle to anomalous or unexplained forces, and his books book remain required reading for all who are interested

Generally speaking, it can be said that researchers are looking for the answer in three directions:

At Sea

One explanation pins the blame on leftover technology from the mythical lost continent of Atlantis. Sometimes connected to the Atlantis story is the submerged rock formation known as the Bimini Road off the island of Bimini in the Bahamas, which is in the Triangle by some definitions. Followers of the purported psychic Edgar Cayce take his prediction that evidence of Atlantis would be found in 1968 as referring to the discovery of the Bimini Road. Believers describe the formation as a road, wall, or other structure, though geologists consider it to be of natural origin.

On Land

From Plato to Baalbek

In the Air

(i.e. in outer space)

One theory is that those responsible for the strange events in the Bermuda Triangle are extraterrestrial forces, or in other words - Aliens (what, don't they have anything better to do than pick on unsuspecting seafarers?) That is, of course, a very popular theory which inspired many science fiction Movies. Even an episode of the X-Files ("All Things") was devoted to it, and it was incorporated in the conspiracy theory underlying the entire show.

The "Bermuda Triangle" and an area in the Pacific Ocean have long been associated with missing aircrafts, watercrafts and people. Anything caught in this yet unexplainable phenomenon, vanishes forever. Where do they go? According to one school of thought, they are "trapped in-between time dimensions" with "no way out". These disappearances are accidental and not intentional. The victims were just in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

The "Bermuda Triangle" is one of two portals, used by the "human-like" Aliens, to travel from their planet to ours. The Bermuda Triangle is not actually a triangle. When it is "in-phase," it is constantly in motion and in intensity (between one to one and a half mile wide). The disappearances occur when caught in the center or within the first two outward radiating rings.

The occurrence takes place 25 times a year and lasts for 28 minutes, for the "Bermuda Triangle. For the Pacific Triangle, it takes place only 3 times a year. The Bermuda and the Pacific Triangles are linked to other triangles that exist throughout the universe. The technology of the "human-like" Aliens enables them to use time compression, solar power and the ability to reduce friction for traveling across vast distances. It takes them approximately 24 hours to travel from their planet to Earth.

These "time holes" can be described as an "accordion in motion." When the "time hole" is compressed, the craft enters one end and when the "time hole" expands itself, the craft is at the opposite end, exiting one "time hole" and entering another. The "human-like" Aliens know exactly which "time hole" is compressed, at any given time.

For more click here.

And on a trivial note, this idea was used by Steven Spielberg for his science fiction film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which features the lost Flight 19 aircrews as alien abductees.

e. Tunguska

An impact event is the collision of a large meteorite, asteroid, comet, or other celestial object with the Earth or another planet. Throughout recorded history, hundreds of minor impact events (and exploding bolides) have been reported, with some occurrences causing deaths, injuries, property damage or other significant localized consequences. An impact event in an ocean or sea may create a tsunami (a giant wave), which can cause destruction both at sea and on land along the coast.

Such an impact event, which played a major part in the X-Files conspiracy theory, occurred on the morning of June 30, 1908, when a mysterious explosion occurred in the skies over Tunguska, Siberia. It was caused by the impact and breakup of a large meteorite, at an altitude roughly six kilometers in the atmosphere.

The study of the blast was delayed by the outbreak of WWI, and it was resumed only in the 1920's. Only when it became possible to resume the research using more modern scientific tools, questions such as the dimensions of the object that exploded over Tunguska, its speed, the power of the blast, etc', were discussed. Keeping in mind that the extinction of the dinosaurs is sometimes attributed to a meteor strike, is it possible, for example, that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was also caused by a meteor impact? And do such astronomical events give rise to beliefs in a divine rage, beliefs which are handed down from generation to generation?

Incidentally, it is amazing that although the story is relatively fresh (less than a century), and the event has already been well documented and researched (although no photographs), no satisfactory answer was found to the question of what really happened at Tunguska on the morning of June 30th 1908. A black hole, perhaps? Or maybe anti-matter? Or a Comet? Perhaps an Alien nuclear spaceship crashed there? Or perhaps nobody really cares? My bet is that as time goes on, the facts will sink deeper and deeper under the shroud of mystery, and in a few hundred years no one will believe that the incident actually happened. And there you have a myth

Annex: How to deal with an Impact Event

The Threat

The threat is detected

The Warming

An attempt to warn (usually in vein)

The Confrontation

Disputes and confrontations to warn or tot to warn, to blast or not to blast, and if yes, how

The Action

The Hero(s) set(s) out to eliminate the threat (self sacrifice)

Notes

 If you observe a meteor/meteorite/comet approaching Earth and you want to try to blow it up hoping that the majority of the debris will burn out in the atmosphere, consider yourselves warned! Some scientists believe that one big impact on Earth is better than many smaller impacts in the atmosphere, because the Earth is a better shock absorber.

For a list of examples click here or on one of the following links:

 

2012
Cosmic Shock
Fire in the Sky, a
Armageddon
Day After Tomorrow
Supernova (MS)
Impact
Sunshine

3. New Myths

 

Man as an explorere: Gene Roddenberry and the worlds of Star Trek

From the Classic to the Fantastic: the worlds of Tolkien

Psycho-history and Robotics: the worlds of Isaac Asimov

How ecological concerns resulted in a Science Fiction saga: Frank Herbert and the Dune Universe

The Space Western:: Lucas and Spielberg and the Star Wars Saga

Is it possible to learn from the mistakes of the future? Michael J. Strazinsky and the Babylon 5 Universe

The Universes of Stargate

The Wachowski Brothers and the Matrix

War and Peace: Orson Scott Card and the Ender Universe

It's magic: JK Rowling and the two worlds of Harry Potter

The Futuristic Western: Stephen King and The Dark Tower

Susan Collins and the Dystopic world of The Hunger Games