DIVINE FIRES OF CREATION.
HOMERIC HEPHAESTOS AS A COMET / METEOR GOD
for the Assessment of Natural Hazards and Proactive Planning
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
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).
Pelasgian substratum, labyrinth, impact episodes, Lemnian earth,
Lemnian disasters, Persides' meteor swarm
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.
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 .  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 (http://cura.free.fr/decem/10kengil.html).
2. THE FALL
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
& 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 (http://www.circlon.com/HTML/darkmatter.html ; http:www.mythopedia.info/; http://physun.physics.mcmaster.ca/~pgs/dark-matter3.html ; http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2004/arch/041231predictions-rock-art.htm). 
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.
3. THE DIVINE
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
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,
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. 
PELASGIAN SUBSTRATUM: THE CIRCUM-MEDITERRANEAN NUCLEI
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 (http://www.athenapub.com/11labyr.htm). 
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'
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 (http://www.labyrinthos.net/centre.htm). "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
of Lemnos are thought to be related to the Etruscans of Italy
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.  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.
FESTIVITIES: THE KABEIRIAN MYSTERIES
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
(http://www.gla.ac.uk/archaeology/research/pgabstracts.html) . 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. 
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.  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).
& ATHENA: A CELESTIAL DUAL ARCHETYPE
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.
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).
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,
 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. 
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
Athena "she herself had no womb, for when she carried children,
it was in a basket". 
In the Orphic Hymns
(32.10 - 11) is clearly addressed by the
words: 'born both as male and female', 'agile and luminous' and
7. THE ARCHAEOASTRONOMICAL
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,  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. 
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.
 The Homeric Epics are a palimpsest
of archaeoastronomical knowledge, as they are built on layers
of information.  : "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. www.iap.ac.cn/html/qikan/aas/aas2004/
; http://www.space-frontier.org/Projects/TheWatch/Archives/20011104middleeast.html; http://www.unu.edu/env/govern/elnino/countryreports/inside/china/REFERENCES/REFERENCES_txt.html ). 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.  Finally,
during the years 1.900 - 1.800 B.C. the Harappan culture in the
Indus valley collapsed (http://www.grahamhancock.com/forum/BlackardA1.php)
The impact signal of the 4kyr B.P. event throughout land and
seas  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
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.  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 ( http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/releases/93/release_1993_0610.html; 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.
AND THEIR SYMBOLIC IMAGES
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
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
[ 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. 
Respectively, the swastika-like comet on the Han Dynasty silk
comet atlas was labeled a 'long tailed pheasant star' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_Dynasty_silk_
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. 
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. THE GEOARCHAEOLOGICAL
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, 
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. 
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,
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 (http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/bobk.html). 
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 (http:www.mythopedia.info/). 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 ,  'swamp gas' (usually called
that way even if it is generated from earthquake gas-issing fissures)
that cause asymmetric areas of destruction (Ion Nistor, http://www.tunguska101.org/hypothesis_uk.htm), or 'vacuum bomb' during high
altitude explosions  can be added to the catalogue
of impact phenomena. 
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
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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