The Black African Origin of The Ancient Greeks Part Three
MYTH 73 —THE GREEK MYTHS: VOLUME 1
Abas, King of Argolis and grandson of Danaus, was so renowned a warrior that after he died rebels against the royal House could be put to flight by displaying his shield. He married Aglaia, to whose twin sons , Proteus and Acrisius he bequeathed his kingdom bidding them to rule altenately. ….
A bloody battle was fought……Proteus and Acrisius agreed to divide up the kingdom between them. Acrisus’s share was to be Argos and its environs, Proteus was to be Tiryns, The Heraeum, Midea And The Coast Of Argolis
Acrisius, married Aganippe, had no sons, but only the one daughter Danae whom (his brother) Proteus had seduced; and, when he (Acrisius), asked an oracle how to procure a male heir, was told: ‘You will have no sons, and your grandson must kill you.’
To forestall this fate Acrisius imprisoned Danae in a dungeon with brazen doors, guarded by savage dogs; but, despite these precautions, Zeus came upon her in a shower of gold, and she bore him a son named Perseus.
When Acrisius learned of (his daughter) Danae’s condition, he would not believe that Zeus was the father, and suspected his brother Proetus of having renewed his intimacy with her ; but, not daring to kill his own daughter, locked her and the infant Perseus in a wooden ark, which he cast into the sea.
This ark was washed towards the island of Seriphos, where a fisherman Dictys netted it, hauled it ashore, broke it open and found both Danae and Perseus still alive. He took them at once to his brother, King Polydectes, who reared Perseus in his own house.
Some years passed and Perseus, grown to manhood, defended Danae against Polydectes who, with his subjects’ support, had tried to force marriage upon her. â€¦â€¦..
‘Alas,’ answered Perseus, ‘I possess no horse, nor any gold to one. But if you intend to marry Hippodameia, and not my mother I will contrive to win whatever gift you name.’ He added rashly: ‘Even the Gorgon Medusa’s head, if need be.’
Athene overheard the conversation at Seriphos and, being a sworn enemy of Medusa’s, for whose frightful appearance she had herself been responsible, accompanied Perseus on his adventure…. then she warned him never to look at Medusa directly, but only at her reflection, and presented him with a brightly-polished shieldâ€¦â€¦
Hermes also helped Perseus, giving him an adamantine sickle with which to cut off Medusa’s head.
But Perseus still needed a pair of winged sandals, a magic wallet to contain the decapitated head, and the dark helmet of invisibility, which belonged to Hades….
h. Perseus then collected the sandals, wallet, and helmet from the nymphs, and flew westwards to the Land of the Hyperboreans, where he found the Gorgons asleep, among rain-worn shapes of men and wild beasts pertrified by Medusa. He fixed his eyes on the reflection in the shield, Athene guided his hand, and he cut off Medusa’s head with one stroke of the sickle; whereupon, to his surprise, the winged horse Pegasus, and the warrior Chrysaor grasping a golden falchion, sprang fully-grown from her dead body.
Hurriedly thrusting her head into his wallet he took flight.
i. At sunset, Perseus alighted near the palace of the Titan Atlas to whom, as a punishment for his inhospitality, he showed the Gorgon’s head and thus transformed him into a mountain; and on the following day turned eastward and flew across the Libyan desert.
j. Perseus paused for refreshment at Chemmis in Egypt where he is still worshipped, and then flew on. As he rounded the coast of Philistia to the north, he caught sight of a naked woman chained to a sea-cliff and instantly fell in love with her. This was Andromeda, daughter of Cepheus the Ethiopian King of Joppa, and Cassiopeia.
Cassiopeia boasted that both she and her daughter were more beautiful than the Nereids, who complained of this insult to their protector Poseidon. Poseidon sent a flood and a female sea-monster to devastate Philistia; and when Cepheus consulted the Oracle of Ammon, he was told that his only hope of deliverance lay in sacrificing Andromeda to the monster. His subjects had therefore obliged him to chain her to a rock naked except for certain jewels, and leave her to be devoured.
k. As Perseus flew towards Andromeda, he saw Cepheus and Cassiopeia watching anxiously from the shore near by, and alighted beside them for a hurried consultation. On condition tha”- if he rescued her, she should be his wife and return to Greece with him, Perseus took to the air again, grasped his sickle and, diving murderously from above beheaded the approaching monster,
which was deceived by his shadow on the sea.
Cepheus and Cassiopeia grudgingly welcomed him as their son in law and, on Andromeda’s insistence, the wedding took place; but the festivities were rudely interrupted when Agenor King Belus’ twin brother , entered at the head of an armed party claiming Andromeda for himself. He was doubtless summoned by Cassiopeia, since she and Cepheus at once broke faith with Perseus pleading that the promise of Andromeda’s hand had been forced from
them by circumstances, and that Agenor’s claim was the prior one.
In the ensuing fight, Perseus struck down many of his opponents but, being greatly outnumbered, was forced to snatch the Gorgon’s head from its bed of coral and turn the remaining two hundred of them to stone.”
Poseidon set the images of Cepheus and Cassiopeia among the stars – the latter, as a punishment for her treachery, is tied in a market- basket which, at some seasons of the year, turns upside-down, so that she looks ridiculous.
But Athene afterwards placed Andromeda’s image in a more honourable constellation, because she had insisted on marry-ing Perseus, despite her parents’ ill faith.
The marks left by her chains are still pointed out on a cliff near Joppa;and the monster’s petrified bones were exhibited in the city itself until Marcus Aernilius Scaurus had them taken to Rome during his aedileship.
Perseus reigned in Tiryns and presently won back the other two parts of Proetus’s original kingdom. Perseus fortified Midea, and founded Mycenae.
NOTE ON TEXT — By Anu Mauro
There are a significant number of elements in the myth which connect it to Egypt and Ethiopic people. For one thing Perseus mother and father were apparently “Daanae” who in ancient myth have an African connection, making Perseus himself eligible for dark skin tones. Additionally the myth of Perseus is also linked to other Egypto Nubian myths like that of Set and Osiris.
NOTE ON TEXT — By Robert Graves
The myth of Danae, Perseus and the ark seems related to that of Isis Osiris, Set, and the Child Horus. In the earliest version, (of the myth) Proetus is Perseus’ father ( an Argive Osiris); Danae is his sister-wife, Isis; Perseus the child Horus; and Acrisius, the jealous Set who killed his twin Osiris and was taken vengeance on by Horus. The ark is the acacia-wood boat in which Isis and Horus searched the Delta for Osiris’s body.
NOTE ON TEXT — By Anu Mauro
Another notable African element relates to the battle with Medusa which takes place in Lybia where Perseus ‘creates’ the Atlas mountains (located in North West Africa) by turning the Titan Atlas into stone. Most of the action in the myth therefore seems to take place either on the North African Coast or along the nearby coast of Canaan before it moves on to Greece. Below Graves also provides a more geo-political version of the Medusa battle. — Anu Mauro
NOTE ON TEXT — By Robert Graves
As for the Gorgon Medusa, they say that she was a beautiful daughter of Phorcys, who had offended Athene, and led the Libyans of Lake Tritonis in battle. Perseus, coming from Argos with an army, was helped by Athene to assassinate Medusa. He cut off her head by night, and buried it under a mound of earth in the market place (back) at Argos. This mound lies close to the grave of Perseus’s daughter Gorgophone– Robert Graves
NOTE ON TEXT — By Anu Mauro
More Africa connections are revealed by the fact that Perseus stops in Egypt on his way home. Why? …..according to Herodotus to ‘visit the home of his mother’s people’ â€¦..then he takes a detour by way of the Palestine coast which is just a short boat ride from the Egyptian shore where hardly surprising for the timeâ€¦. an Ethiopian king and queen also ruleâ€¦. and the story continues from there.
NOTE ON TEXT — By Herodotus
” The common Greek tradition is that the Dorian kings as far back as Perseus the son of Danae are as they stand in the accepted Greek lists. ……If on the other hand we trace the ancestry of Danae, the daughter of Acrisius we find that the Dorian chieftains are genuine Egyptians. This is the accepted Greek version of the genealogy of the Spartan Royal house.” –Herodotus, –Privilidges of Spartan Kings Pg 406 Herodotus- the Historiess Penguin
All in all therefore, to even suggest that there are no Ethiopic strains to this Andromeda story is somewhat disingenuous. Such an attitude must be attributed to either deliberate attempts at obfuscation or worse….alarming ignorance among those who should know better.
Those who are putting forward the anti-ethiopic argument either have absolutely NO idea of the contents of the ancient literary classics. Or,they are engaging in yet another attempt to castrate old Chronos who by the way was known to be both a Titan as well as an Ethiop. It is Chronos who also came to be called Uranus. They need to understand that even the castration of Uranus has Ethiopic connections. .
Moreover the alleged castration is not necessarily metaphorical especially if as Robert Graves indicates it is very likely that:
” some of the victors in the battles for ancient Greece had originated in East Africa where, to this day, Galla warriors (of Ethiopia) carry a miniature sickle into battle to castrate their enemies; there are close affinities between East African religious rites and those of early Greece.”—Robert Graves
WHO IS ROBERT GRAVES?
Robert Graves was born in 1895 at Wimbledon, son of Alfred Perceval Graves, the Irish writer . He is probably best know for his top selling histroical novel ‘ I, Claudius.’ Graves translated Apuleius, Lucan and Suetonius for the Penguin Classics, and compiled the first modern dictionary of Greek mythology “The Greek Myths.” Among his sources for this document were the
ancient writers Ovid, Homer, Philostratus, Aeschylus, Apollodorus,
Herodotus, Euripides, Hesiod, Strabo, Plato, Sophocles and Virgil …just to name a few.
A 1965 bibliography credits him with 114 different books: but the total is now over 120. His historical novels include: “Claudius the God,” ” Sergeant Lamb of the Ninth,” “Count Belisorius,” “Wife to Mr Milton,” Proceed, The Golden Fleece, They Hanged My Saintly Billy, “The Isles of Unwisdom.” . His two most discussed non-fiction books are “The White Goddess,” which presents a new view of the poetic impulse, and The Nazarene Gospel Restored which is a re-examination of primitive Christianity. He was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford in 1961.
Best of luck.