Pakistan earthquake, Tectonic Setting, Geological Instability, Regional Seismicity, Earthquake activity and major faults, Seismic risk, Recent earthquakes, Future earthquakes, Lessons learned - Dr. George Pararas-Carayannis

Tsunami, Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Volcanic Eruptions, Climate Change and other Natural and Man-Made Hazards and Disasters - Disaster Archaeology, Other Miscellaneous Writings



Amanda Laoupi

Centre for the Assessment of Natural Hazards and Proactive Planning

(National Technical University of Athens)(NTUA), GREECE

Presented at the  International Symposium on SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - IN HOMERIC EPICS, 27-30 August 2006, Ancient Olympia, Greece


Hephaestos belongs to the guardian-gods or 'creators' of the Universe and functions as a pivotal force among the 'proto-hellenic' deities. This paper focuses, firstly, on the strong relationship between Hephaestos and the Pelasgian substratum of circum-Mediterranean region. The Pelasgian nuclei of prehistoric Attica remained active through the dual worship of Athena & Hephaestos and the close connection of the Athenian city-state with the island of Lemnos even in Classical Era.

Furthermore, Kabeiroi, these primordial and mysterious daemons of NE Aegean, were introduced by the Pelasgians of the 12th cent. B.C., when removed from Boeotia to Samothrace, Imbros & Lemnos. According to a second ancient tradition, they were children of Hephaestos and the daughter of sea-god Proteas. All the same, another striking complication arises. The Kabeirian Mysteries were yearly celebrated and related to the element of fire. They lasted for nine (9) days, as a remembrance of the nine year period during which Hephaestos remained at the bottom of the sea..
This is the second axis of investigation. Although today, Vulcan is a name given to the near-Earth asteroid 2212, modern thought thinks of Hephaestos as a symbol of earthen fires and related geological phenomena produced by volcanic activity. But Hephaestos' cult embraces challenging elements that require astronomical interpretation. Various ancient traditions include thought-provoking details :

a) Lemnian labyrinth was famous in antiquity. Apart from being viewed as a symbol of our planetary system or as an astronomical map, labyrinth is also mystically connected to the protection of tsunami, a serious side-effect of impact episodes.
b) Ancient writers said that Lemnian earth was characterized by some special features which are present in impact cases and extraterrestrial - induced destruction levels all over the world.

c) Pandora, one of the most fabulous works of the technician god was made by earth, water and .. divine fire. Even more, Pandora's box used to compile all the positive and negative parameters of Life. When some invisible forces are released, then destruction strikes humanity. Respectively, impacts have always been seen both as curse and blessing for life on Earth. Metallurgy changed the evolution of human history. Floods, epidemics and other disasters caused by extraterrestrial invaders did also.

d) Hephaestos fell from Heaven, either on land (in the latitude of NE Aegean) , or into the deep sea (a submarine impact), where he remained invisible working in his workshop. Scientific research has shown that both arguments function logically. Furthermore, impact cases can trigger increased volcanic activity, as the geo-archive of our planet has already revealed.
e) If the Homeric Iliad is deciphered from the standpoint of Archaeoastronomy, Hephaestos is also related to the meteor swarm of Perseides. Finally, god's deformity and his reappearance in the latitude of Eastern Mediterranean may include the element of periodicity (? comet).

In fact, a great deal of information acquired from Iliad seems to refer to the extended catastrophe of the beginning of 2nd millennium B.C. Consequently, Hephaestos may function as a symbolic archetype of past impact events, being one of the pivotal figures within the gnostical system of the Pelasgians during the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. Phaethon's ride, the famous fall of Troy and the 12th cent. catastrophes were added later, forming another mythological 'layer' of information in the palimpsest of ancient astronomical knowledge in the circum-Mediterranean region.

KEYWORDS: Pelasgian substratum, labyrinth, impact episodes, Lemnian earth, Lemnian disasters, Persides' meteor swarm


Dreams and myths bury the most intense memories under the conscious mind by suppressing and controlling anxiety. Various cultural personalities are characterized by different archetypes and phenotypes. That's why we encounter several identical kernels in the expression of the catastrophic events (e.g. the symbols of comets) along with many different stories about them. The use of common symbols make the social system operating correctly. The heroes and the gods are known by many epithets that describe their traits. And.. "the gods in Homer are great gods, because one thunderstorm does not make a great god, nor does one volcano.." . Human tragedies in the past gave birth to great myths .
[20] Let us follow the path of Hephaistos.

The Neoplatonists (a revival of Platonism, occurring in the third century A.D.) accepted the Twelve Gods as a legacy from Plato. Generally speaking, Vesta represents earth, Neptune water, Juno air, and Vulcan fire. So, Jupiter, Neptune and Vulcan belongs to the Creators of the universe, Vesta, Minerva and Mars to the Guards, Ceres, Juno and Diana to the Life-givers and Mercury, Venus and Apollo to the Uplifters. The creative and paternal gods make the universe, the life-givers give it life, uplifters harmonize it, and the guards preserve and protect it (


Crippled at birth, Hephaestos was thrown from Olympus (heaven )by Hera who was ashamed of his deformity
(Homer Iliad, XVIII.136; Quintus Smyrnaeus Fall of Troy , 2.549). Another version of Greek myths wants him to be casting from heaven by Zeus himself, when the former tried to help Hera. Then the 'cosmic invader' passed the ' magic threshold' (? the atmosphere of our planet), travelling 'all day long' before landing in Lemnos 'about sunset '. But most sources claim that Hephaestus landed in the sea near Lemnos, and was washed up on the shore, where he lay broken until rescued by the Nereids. Thetis and Eurynome (Iliad, XVIII.136 & 423- 432; Homeric Hymn 3 to Pythian Apollo, 310; Apollodorus, 1.3.11 ff.; Pausanias, 8.41.5). Secretly Hephaestus lived with these goddesses in their underwater caves for nine years. He lived in their "mykhos", a Greek word meaning both innermost place and the women's apartments of a house. This nine year hibernation holds a very strong symbolism reflecting a second womblike incubation that awoke his own creative energy. We must be very careful, though, because the word Eurynome was also used as an epithet of Artemis (Pausanias, 8.41.5)!
At this point we must make two crucial observations. The number nine, which was ritually repeated within the duration of the Kabeirian Mysteries covers probably an archaeoastronomical truth. One strong analogy is traced in the plasma model of the Plasma physicist Anthony ( ;; ; [42] He states that ca. in 4kya B.P., a giant plasma column was produced in the atmosphere of the Earth, so luminous that it was observed by human populations around the world . The early development of this column was transformed into a stack of 9 segments. During that episode, the magnetosphere of our planet was glowing as a semi-permanent aurora.


Among the most prominent divine works was Pandora, when Zeus wanted to make an evil thing for men as the price of fire. Earth, water and divine fire were the ingredients of this magic creation. Her name was Pandora, a woman's name, 'because all the gods who have their homes on Olympos had given her each a gift, to be a sorrow to men '
(Hesiod Works and Days, 60; Hyginus Astronomica, 2.15). But there is another striking information (Orpheus Argonautics , 972 - 977). Midea's mystical ritual invited the monstrous Hecate, this chthonic goddess, to appear from Hades agile and luminous, with her three heads and the face of iron. Her name among the chthonian deities was Pandora!

Another allegory of cosmic invasions is the symbol of the necklace. Dragon's pearls are a worldwide symbol of impacts. The god forged a cursed necklace of Harmonia as a gift for the girl at her marriage to Kadmos. The necklace was designed to curse her and all of her descendants, for Hephaistos had a grudge against this child born of Aphrodite's adulterous affair with Ares
(Apollodorus 3.25; Diodorus Siculus The Library of History, 4.66.3; Statius Thebaid, 2.265; Pausanias, 9.41.1; Hyginous (Fabulae, 148). Nonnos (Dionysiaca, 5.562), characterizes this necklace as curious, consisted of many colours, as 'breathing still of the furnace'. Later on (Dionysiaca, 5.88), the description of this masterpiece includes serpents with coiling shape that spit poison from either mouth and eagles, both alternative symbols of comets. The 'meteoritic' symbol of the eagle is also repeated in the metal work of Hephaistos concerning Prometheus' daily suffering , a repeated suffering of humankind by exo-terrestrial invaders (Hyginus Astronomica, 2.15).

The East-Asian dragons are almost invariably portrayed with a red sphere in their mouths, in front of their mouths, or ( in Javanese art) on top of their heads. This sphere is called by the Chinese 'huoh chuh', meaning the 'fire pearl' and also the 'meteorite'.. In Greek mythology, the giant Typhon had serpents for legs and a body all winged or feathered, the feathers usually representing the flames of fire. Its 100 heads emanated also destructive heat
(Hesiod Theogony, 820; Aeschylus Prometheus Bound, 356 & 371; Apollodorus, 1.6.3).

On the other hand, one of the three cities of Troy, described by Homer is referred to the period around 1.800 B.C., when the polar star Tuban (a Draco), according the phenomenon of the wobble of Earth's axis (Precession of the Equinoxes), gave its place in the heavens to the star b Ursus minor. The fall of that Troy was also symbolized by the retirement of the constellation Ursus major from the area of the celestial North Pole.


4.1. Minoan Crete and Lemnos : the Labyrinth

Homer (Odyssey, xix 172-178) calls Crete a land of many peoples (Achaeans, great-hearted native Cretans, Kydonians, Dorians and goodly Pelasgians). The most intriguing connection between Crete and other areas of Mediterranean (Egypt, Lemnos, Etruria) is the famous labyrinth (elaborate complex system of path and tunnels). Apart from a great number of scientific works worldwide trying to deciphering this symbol, one aspect seems fascinating. By the fifth century B.C., the city of Knossos began to mint coins , and the earliest shows the Minotaur on the obverse and a labyrinthine swastika with a star or sun motif in the center on the reverse. Over time, the swastika gave way to the maze pattern and a human or bovine head replaced the central star ( [35]

Pliny the Elder in his Natural History
(XXXVI. 13) speaks of a remarkable labyrinth in Lemnos, which has not been identified in modern times. Though called the Lemnian Labyrinth in this section, Pliny previously refers to this Labyrinth as the temple built by Theodorus at Samos (34.83, 35.19, 82 & 36.90). This misinterpretation, though, derives from the fact that Samos was the old name of Samothrace, as the Homeric tradition passed into the verses of Apollonius' Argonautics (1.923) and beyond (Diodorus, 3.55.8 ) Diodorus' narration (5.47.1 ff.) on the flood that affected the n.E. Aegean, Asia Minor and Black Sea. [47 & 48] The scientists date a major episode in 5.600 B.C. when the salt waters of Aegean spoured into the brackish watres of Black Sea ), correlates the island of Samothrace, the flood episode, the very ancient nuclei of Eastern Mediterranean cultural substratum and the fishermen' altars near the shores in an excellent and highly valuable framework of environmental information. In the ancient text, the flood is expressed by the term 'labros', a Homeric word that means the impetuous waters of the sea or the rivers!

Recent archeological, theological, and natural research, has, brought forward new hypotheses about the origins of the labyrinth, and that the forces of an ancient tsunami (seaquakes) may play a special part in labyrinth history. There are remarkable examples of the labyrinth shape from a whole range of ancient and disparate cultures ( "In its earliest use the labyrinth seems always to have been associated with death". [9, p. 10] Since ancient times, people have used labyrinths to invoke the mercy of the Gods in their dealings with the sea. At the shores of Iceland and the Baltic Sea, there are still many old labyrinths that were once used by fishing communities as indicators of the directions of the winds and as shrines to the old sea Goddesses which would protect the fishers in a safe return home. [51 & 52] Legends tell how labyrinths near lakes and sea sides have also been used as a place to guide the souls of the deceased to the hereafter. Moreover, the name of troy-town has been discovered for several locations in N. Europe. [21 & 56]

Labyrinths also appear in various countries throughout the world ( India, England, Scotland, and the Hebrides), as a form of spiritual protection against the 'evil eye'. This protective aspect was also reflected upon the planning of prehistoric cities, in order to offer tactical protection from military invasion, as in the case of Troy, which was constructed in a maze-like configuration.
[9 & 26, p. 413]

4.2 The Pelasgians and the Etruscans

Early settlers of Lemnos are thought to be related to the Etruscans of Italy ( ~tntr/lemstelea.html), as evidenced by the burial rites of the pre-6th-century B.C. and the inscriptions that archeologists have found on the island , with striking resemblance to those of the Etruscans (see the 6th century inscription on a funerary stele known as the Lemnos stele - Athens National Archaeological Museum).
The cult of Hephaistos was 'Pelasgian'. According to Herodotus
(6.140.1 ) the 'pre-Greek' population of the Lemnos island was Pelasgian, as the population of the Greek mainland before the flood of Deucalion (Thucydides , 1.3.2: the nation of the Pelasgians). The Etruscans, said by Herodotus (1.94) to be Anatolian Lydians arrived to Etruria before the Trojan War, were especial worshippers of Jupiter and lightning of all forms (at least 30)due to a very consistent lightning fear. Lightning prefers damp areas, underground waters, towers and hilltops, metallic substances and objects in the soil. In Etruscan mythology, Techulka, a smith-god and death- demon, clubbed his victims with a giant hammer, accompagnied by a winged demon figured with snakes. Recent investigations have shown that their bloodtype is similar to the Urartu people of Lake Van in N.E. Anatolia. [21] It is also noteworthy that Homer (Iliad, V.480 & X.429) mentions that the Pelasgians had once built a city, named Larissa, in the area of the Troad. For this reason, they stood for the Trojans during the Trojan War.


Among the mysteries that acquired Panhellenic fame were those of Kabeiroi in Samothrace. The Kabeiroi were also worshipped in Lemnos and Thebes, where the sanctuary is 8 km W. of Thebes ( . From what we know a non Greek element is revealed in this cult, to which the experts have attributed a Hittite origin. The Lemnian Kabeiroi are related to the worship of Hephaestus and the Thyrrenian (Etruscan?) past of the island. In Samothrace and Lemnos, the nine days ceremony , during which all the fires of the island were turned off, took place in a grove near the temple of Hephaistos (the word orgies from the Greek orgas = area with humidity, water and wood). The tribe called the Kabireides was thought to be fathered from Hephaistos and a Thracian nymph Kabeiro , daughter of the sea-god Proteus . Kadmos, Odysseus and Agamemnon were initiated to those (Apollonius, 1.917 ff.).

Hephaistos' twin sons the Kabeiroi fought beside Dionysos' in his War against the Indians. Twice during the battle, Hephaistos intervened to carry his sons to safety when the Indian River Hydaspes tried to drown them
(Nonnos, 24.77, 27.120 & 325, 29.193, 30.42 & 36.5, 36.129). The motif of firebearing Hephaistos who brings destruction 'with his blazing shower of deadly Lemnian flame' reminds us of : a) Gigantomachy when Hephaistos killed Mimas by throwing molten iron at him (Apollodorus, 1.37) or exhausted sank on the battlefield of Phlegra (Apollonius , 3.23), b) Hera and the Trojan river Skamandros and c) Phaethon and river Po / Eridanus. [7]

Within this conceptual framework, goddess Hera's symbolical substratum seems to be more related to the spirits of fire than to the moon purely, as the Woods claim.
[72] Hera 'of the Pelasgians' (Apollonius, 1.15) had other characteristics and was distinguished from the moon goddess Hera, also appeared in the Homeric Epics. During the Trojan War, Hera appealed to her own dear son to rescue Akhilleus from the River-God Skamandros by saying few very important words, perhaps one of the most clear arguments for Hephaistos' cometary connection (Homer Iliad, XXI.328).


Hesiod, as well as Roman sources, claims that Hera gave birth to Hephaestus parthenogenically, without Zeus' participation, since she was angry at him for birthing Athena from his own head without first procreating with her. Thus, Hesiod in Theogony
( 924-929) highlights the analogy between Athena and Hephaistos (Apollodorus, 1.19; Cicero, 3.22). The Roman equivalent of Athena (Minerva) was Hephaistos (Vulcan). The sequence of the Twelve Gods appears in the Rustic Calendar, in Manilius and at the Altar at Gabii. Aries and Libra had Athena-Minerva and Hephaestus-Vulcan as their guardian gods. Aries symbolizes the head from which Athena sprang.

In the same conceptual framework Hephaistos was treated as the creator of the asterisms, a creative force in the Universe
(Iliad I, 597 - 607) and the mythical fall on Lemnos as god's stay below the horizon, in the realm of Thetis (the asterism of Heridanus) wher he created the asterisms of the S. Hemisphere. [72] Although in the verses of Odyssey (xviii.283), the workshop of the god is on the island of Lemnos, in the Iliad (XVIII.369) this is located in the heavens. The asterism of Perseus is more probably connected with Hephaistos not because of its shape, but to its relationship with the meteor swarms of Perseides, visible from the 25th of July to the 4th of August..These flames are also described as burning the sky (Iliad V, 4 - 8).[72]

Athena is a mistress of disguise, as Homer constantly points out. Pallas Athena represented the proto-planet Venus (Typhon = the cometary tail of proto-Venus), in her cometary behavior,
[70] and was worshipped among the peoples of Mediterranean. [20 & 61] That Venus, later identified with the goddess Aphrodite and the planet Venus' dual appearance in the sky (evening = female and morning = male), was Aphrodite barbata (bearded), or the Cyprian goddess Aphrodite with a beard, a strong image of bisexuality (Pauly - Wissowa R.E.). Athena holds also her primordial androgynous image, as male, bearded serpents were found on a pediment of the Archaic Athenian Acropolis. [20] Planet Venus is symbolized by the 'crux ansata' (Egyptian ankh), a combined phallus and vulva. Consequently, as we can detect two Heras, two Athenas and two Hephaistos in the Epics, we can also find the two Aphrodites, the Ouranian / Selenian and the planetary Venus.
Athena "she herself had no womb, for when she carried children, it was in a basket".
[22] In the Orphic Hymns (32.10 - 11) is clearly addressed by the words: 'born both as male and female', 'agile and luminous' and 'draco'.


7.1 Hephaistos 2212

A statistically significant number of Earth-crossing asteroids are part of the Taurid Complex of interplanetary objects. There is also another group identified, which appears aligned with (2212) Hephaistos. In addition, these two complexes may have a common origin. [2, 3, 14, 58, 59, 60]

British astronomers Victor Clube and Bill Napier,
[12] built a strong argument, according to which the progenitor of comet Encke quite likely caused humanity a great deal of grief in the past. They list only one object, Hephaistos, as having once been part of the still active comet Encke. Hephaistos was discovered in 27 September 1978 (I.A.U.Circ. 3279) and is one of the largest Earth-orbit-crossing objects found so far. Its 9.5 km diameter (about the same as the hypothetical dinosaur slayer) is actually larger than comet Encke's estimated girth. This object has in an orbit very like that of the Taurids, but rotated through about 90_. Probably some thousands of years ago, it split from the giant comet whose debris now circulate along the Taurid track. [14] Hephaistos is a potential collision hazard, although not immediately so. It would strike the Earth at just over 30 kilometres / second, with an impact energy of about 100 million megatons! The giant comet breakup hypothesis is consistent with the available archaeostronomical, palaeoclimatic and geochemical evidence. The last Ice Age could have been caused by the progenitor of comet Encke , part of which was the Tunguska meteorite, an interstellar object. It is estimated that further debris from the zodiacal cloud will intersect earth during the period A.D. 2000-2400.

7.2 The three cities of Troy in the Homeric Epics

'The Fall of a city ' is a legendary symbol for a disaster in various cultures. [20] The Homeric Epics are a palimpsest of archaeoastronomical knowledge, as they are built on layers of information. [21] : "Homer describes at least one Trojan War"] At least three 'trojan cities' are involved in the Epics.

The latest,Troy VIIa, dated ca. at the beginning of the 12th cent. B.C. was a victim of celestial conflagration
(? Phaethon's myth; the name of Phaethon was also used as an epithet among the inhabitants of Kolchis, see Apollonius, 2. 253 - 254).The strong signal around the years 1159 B.C., recorded on tree rings and ice-cores all over the world, as well as the total solar eclipse on April 10th, 1178 B.C., visible in the geographical latitude of Eastern mediterranean and described in the verses of Odyssey (xx, 350 - 356), give a dating limit (ca. 1200 B.C.) for this event . [31 & 40] The Phaethon story implies that the disintegrating objects were traveling south of east.

The other, Troy VI, was under siege ca. in 1312 B.C., as new archaeoastronomical evidence of a total solar eclipse implies
[28 & 39] and Troy IIg was one of the scenes of 'Hephaistos' rage'.

That Troy was also the witness of multi-regional catastrophes and collapse dated to ca. 2.200 B.C. (Egyptian Old Kingdom, Harappan Culture, Canaanite settlements, Malta & Akkad), and to cultural revivals, migrations and social reorganizations during the period 2.000 - 1.800 B.C. The climatic upsets of the period 2.200 - 1.800 B.C. are interpreted within interdisciplinary studies (i.e. 200402/040216.pdf ;; ). Around 2.200 B.C., in S. Asia, the Indian monsoons that povide 80% of the Nile flow was deflected. At the same time, the famous historic flood of China was followed by aridification in 2.000 B.C. and the West China's cold event (2.000 - 1.500 B.C.). Similar phenomena of extended drought are registered near the sources of Nile, Tigris and Euphrates, Indus and Yellow rivers. The impact craters in Al Amarah marshes of Iraq are also dated to 2.000 B.C. [36] Finally, during the years 1.900 - 1.800 B.C. the Harappan culture in the Indus valley collapsed (
The impact signal of the 4kyr B.P. event throughout land and seas
[25] shows some characteristics: a) the co-occurrence in distant regions of flow-glass debris with similar petrographical and geochemical characteristics, and b) the distinctive heated soil surface, both identified the distal dispersion of an impact ejecta. The facies, petrography and geochemistry of the distinguishing features are compared from sedimentary records in soils, ancient habitations, lakes and deep-sea cores in various regions of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The best-preserved record of the ejecta dispersion (nearly intact signals) is observed in continental deposits at specific locations where the impact-related surface were rapidly buried.
On the other hand , Sanskrit literature of ancient and medieval India is rich in information about environmental sciences . Fiery celestial body fallen on Earth, earthquakes, rise of sea-level, draught of rivers, lakes and wells, destruction from heaven, severe famine are some of the implications related to the Pleiades . These disasters should have taken place in the north-western part of India (23.5_ N, 71.5_ E), where river Sarasvati joined the sea. The whole plain, now an arid area known as the Thar Desert, was once a very fertile plain traversed by this great river. In those days of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, the area was one of the richest places in the world.. Renowned scholars, planetarium softwares and astronomical calculations date the impact crater and the falling meteors around 1800 - 2200 B.C..
[29 & 64]

Finally, another archaeoastronomical information has been deciphered in the Iliad, offering to the scientists a strong argument on the chronological structure of the Homeric Epics.
[72] On March 5th, of the year 1953 B.C., a conjunction of 5 planets ( Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus & Mercury) with the new moon was visible in the geographical latitude of Greece. This information, hidden in the verses of Iliad (I, 493 - 494), was referred by the Chinese astronomers of that time. Modern researchers, Kevin Pang of JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and John Bangert of the Naval Observatory (; Sky and Telescope December 1993, Newsnotes 13 - 14) have discovered that the conjunction was visible in th night sky for some days, in fact, during the 26th of February their alignment was the most perfect ly observed for the last 6.000 years! In fact, Pang found a passage in a 1st century B.C. text of Hong Fan Zhuan, that says: "The Ancient Zhuanxu calendar (invented in about 2000 B.C.) began at dawn, in the beginning of spring, when the sun, new moon and five planets gathered in the constellation Yingshi (Pegasus)". This book was written by Liu Xiang who lived from 77 to 9 B.C.


Physically, Hephaestus was a muscular man with a thick neck and hairy chest who because of a shortened, lame leg (? lame = onefooted) and club foot (with feet facing backwards), supported himself with the aid of a crutch. Bearded, he most often dressed in a ragged sleeveless tunic and woolen hat. Most frequently, he was portrayed in art holding the tools of his trade, especially the blacksmith's hammer and tongs. Sometimes, he was surrounded by the Kabeiroi
(Herodotus, 3.37), the dwarflike blacksmith servants of the Mother Goddess who helped in his subterranean forge.
The characteristics attributed to him remind us of the coma when comets are hit by the solar wind. The description of an ancient Greek painting by Philostratus the Elder
(Imagines, 1.1), too, notices that Homer inspired the ancient artist in the scene of Skamandros and Hephaistos . And it is noteworthy that one of the two god's substances is characterized by speed, an attribute not consistent to his malformation. But the epithet lame in ancient Greek may also be interpreted as strong-armed and ambi-dextrous.

Phaethon's western parallel, Quetzalcoatl (the feathered serpent), according to the Annals of Quauhtitlan, immolated himself on the shores of the eastern sea, and from his ashes rose birds with shining feathers (symbols of warrior souls mounting to the sun), while his heart became the Morning Star. Tezcatlipoca, his antagonist defeating Quetzalcoatl in ball- play (a game directly symbolic of the movements of the heavenly orbs), cast him out of the land into the east, where he encountered the sun and was burned.( bobk/bobk.html). [ 4, vol. 3 p. 61; 31 & 32]

Another interesting aspect of this folk memory which might shed some light on why the rolling cross motif is linked to birds is the image of a one-legged fowl. This is also a characteristic of the Chinese divine pheasant which was closely associated with the fabulous, lame, raven-beak-nosed emperor, Yu, who could transform himself into this pheasant or a bear. One of Yu's enemies, the Owl, who invented thunder and lightening was also one-footed .
[5, pp. 118-121 & 150-151; 6, pp. 122-156]

A second aspect of comets which is evident in ancient lore involves shapeshifting. A comet is three dimensional and could appear as quite a different animal when viewed from a different angle (e.g. the fabled ability of Yu mentioned above to transform into a pheasant or bear). Our ancestors' stories speak of weakening gods and fantastic births, because comets can also change spontaneously; a gas emitting area could become dust, or a piece of the comet could break away, creating another comet, perhaps initially more flamboyant than its parent. In Chinese lore, Ts'ang Chieh, the four eyed legendary inventor of writing, was inspired to create written symbols from noticing the marks of birds' feet in the sand. His ancient style is known as 'bird foot-prints writing'.
[34, p. 31]

According to the Comet/bird hypothesis, when a comet approaches so close to Earth, the jets of gas streaming from it, bent by the comet's rotation, became visible, looking like a swastika. This observation is drawn from an ancient Chinese manuscript that shows comet tail varieties.
[49] Respectively, the swastika-like comet on the Han Dynasty silk comet atlas was labeled a 'long tailed pheasant star' ( comet_atlas#Comet-inspired_motifs).. So, many swastika and swastika-like motifs may have been representations of bird tracks, including many of those found by Schliemann in Troy. [30]

Symbolic bird tracks, even if they had not been recognized as such, appear on objects unearthed by Heinrich Schliemann from Hissarlik in Asia Minor.
[55, pp. 334-353] More than 700owl-faced idols and vases were also collected from the third city of Troy, as copies of the ancient Palladium, which was fabled to have fallen from heaven with joined feet.. And Glaux is the little owl, Athene noctua, emblem of old and new Athens, reminding us of the homeric 'owl-eyed Athena'.


9.1. Lemnian Earth and the destruction layers

The 'flame of Hephaistos' or his 'red breath' (characterized as purest flame) was a leit motif among ancients (Orphic Hymn 66 to Hephaestus; Homer Iliad, II.426, IX.467, XVII.88 & XXIII.33 and Odyssey xiv.71; Hesiod Theogony, 864; Aristophanes Birds, 436; Quintus Smyrnaeus, 13.170,13. 367 & 4.160; Suidas, s.v. 'Hephaistos').
Although ancient writers mention the Lemnian earth together with Keian, Cappadocian and Sinopic earths,
[43] all four being identified as red earths, Pliny's comment makes the difference. This earth (terra lemnia, rubricata or sigillata) resembles cinnabar ( 35.14), it had a pleasant taste, too, while Galen (13.246b) adds that "it differs from miltos because it doesn't leave a stain when handled". The same writer , during his visit to Hephaestias , analyzes the myth of Hephaistos and his relationship with Lemnos, saying that "the mythical hill, also known as Mosychlos, appeared to be burnt due to its color and from the fact that nothing grows on it". Belon, during his journey in the 16th cent., refers also to the yellow/white colors of the earth, equally explained by the presence of hydrothermally altered rocks. [44]

Consequently, hydrocarbon evolution due to past volcanic activity may be one explanation. Destruction layers with hydrocarbon presence and other characteristics mentioned above (like cinnabar, with sweet taste, loosing its power with the time passing over or being periodically recharged) may be another evidence of past celestial events (combustion residues, chemical fusion).

Troy IIg conflagration (first fall) produced an up to 6 m. bed of ashes and a layer of calcined debris up to 3 m. high. Experts on wild fires claim that there was never seen 'red ashes of wood in natural fires, because ash residue from the burning of a city is measured in inches, rather than feet'. The mysterious melted copper and lead which covered a large area, according to Schliemann, might have originally been deposits that contributed to the attractiveness of the site for lightning discharges. After Schliemann's observations on this destruction layer of the 'burnt city', the Cincinnati archaeologists, under the leadership of Carl Blegen, examined closely the ruins of the Burnt City-Level IIg by their code. The stratum of Troy IIg had an average thickness of more than 1 m.; it consisted mainly of ashes, charred matter, and burned debris. This deposit apparently extended uniformly over the entire site, eloquent evidence that the settlement perished in a vast conflagration from which no buildings escaped ruin.The catastrophe struck suddenly, without warning, giving the inhabitants little or no time to collect and save their most treasured belongings before they fled. Moreover, the Cincinnati team mentions several places of the greenish-yellow discoloration (? sulphur oxides). The calcinated debris of the old city was strong enough to become the foundation of the new city walls of Troy III.
[8, 19, 45, 53, 54, 55]

A cometary or planetary near-encounter results in falling of gases, hydrocarbons, burning pitch and stones Such events are unknown to modern experience but are indicated by ancient legends from many places and by various geological and biological phenomena.
[17, 18, 19, 20, 65]

9.2 Impact craters: submarine or terrestrial?

In 1927 Franz Xaver Kugler, a Jesuit scholar who had devoted over thirty years to the study of cuneiform astronomical texts, published an essay entitled 'The Sibylline Starwar and Phaethon In the Light of Natural History', asserting that a large impact event in the Mediterranean Sea inspired fire-from-above legends such as Phaethon's ride ( [31]

Apart from the terrestrial impact ctaters all over the world, one submarine feature deserves special mention. Burckle crater is located in the central Indian Ocean on the edge of a fracture zone at 30.87_ S. 61.36_ E. The whole setting infers to a Shoemaker - Levy type impact of a comet, the fragmentation of which also produced two other large impact centers, one in the N.W. Pacific and another in the C.E. Pasific. The scientific team who examines the case, trying to co--estimate various astronomical, geaarchaeological and mythological data and information, suggests a specific calendrical date of around May 10, 2807 B.C. Similar investigations correlate the major environmental and social uphevals of the past to crucial impact events.

Excessive influx of cometary debris (without impact events) may precipitate an enhanced zodiacal light, and provoke extreme aurora events caused by a disturbance of the geomagnetic field in our planet ( These spectacular instabilities in the plasma were remembered as dragons and waring gods. Of course, the phenomenon of an enhanced aurora may be triggered by an extreme solar weather, the passage through a gigantic molecular cloud or the disintegration of a giant comet in the inner solar system, event by a combination of these parameters. Such visual experiences reformed the psychological, sociological and artistic aspects of the myths.

Respectively, the scenario of conflagration is enriched by other natural phenomena related to cosmic invaders which cause a 'Tunguska type' event. Gas cloud ,
[15] 'swamp gas' (usually called that way even if it is generated from earthquake gas-issing fissures) that cause asymmetric areas of destruction (Ion Nistor,, or 'vacuum bomb' during high altitude explosions [37] can be added to the catalogue of impact phenomena. [21] Moreover, mega-lightning and fire-storm (due to interplanetary discharge or to bolide and lightning-fire shower?) could be considered as the main contributors to the destruction of Troy VIIa (Phaethon's ime). Ancient writers often refer to the catastrophes of prosperous cities, like Sodom and Gommorah, and Bolsena, the richest town in Toscany, by extreme thunderbolts. [21]


There is a -till recently neglected- agent which could destroy civilization and cause earthly turbulence, the exo-terrestrial encounters. Astronomical evidence indicates our ancestors viewed a much more active sky than we do. Particularly during the past twelve thousand years , such deliveries were not uncommon . Much evidence suggests that humanity witnessed, and was affected by, the break-up of a very large comet over this time period. Along with the two luminaries, the solar deities (e.g. Apollo, Hercules, Helios) and the moon goddesses (Aphrodite Ourania : Hecate - Hera - Artemis) which represented the female reproductive force, there was another sacred fire represented by cosmic 'invaders' (e.g. Typhoon, Hephaestos, Phaethon) or other phenomena (e.g. Sirius, Saturn, Jupiter).

In summary, the strong parallelisms of symbols, words, images and allegories in the worldwide knowledge indicate that the 'Greek' Hephaistos was derived from the Pelasgian religious circum-Mediterranean substratum, reflecting some major celestial events dated back to the beginning of 2nd millennium B.C. The Homeric Epics are a palimpsest of archaeoenvironmental knowledge, as they are built on layers of information. Florence and Kenneth Wood, Alfred de Grazia and NASA firt alledged that Vulcan may be connected to meteoritic phenomena. The present paper focuses on the argumentation of this statement by collecting data from the ancient writers, the worldwide iconography and the geoarchaeological, palaeoclimatic and archaeoastronomical evidence. Furthermore, the paper deals with the spatial and temporal itinerary of myth's elaboration.The psychological filtration is also taken under consideration when comes to matters of disaster dealing within the socio-cultural framework of ancient societies. To conclude, Disaster Archaeology finds a very powerful ally in the name of Catastrophist Mythology, which echoes real occurrences through various myths. The Homeric figure of Hephaistos and his puzzling mythical motif holds a prominent role in it.


I wish to express my deepest gratitude to my mental companions in Disaster research , Professors Alfred de Grazia (one of the worldwide leading personalities in Disaster Studies), George Ferentinos (Marine Geology & Physical Oceanography, University of Patras), Stavros Papamarinopoulos (Applied Geophysics, Patras University) and Effie Photos - Jones (Department of Archaeology, University of Glascow), who inspired me in various ways.


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