Skip to comments.'Cyclops'-like remains found on Crete
Posted on 02/01/2003 11:07:21 AM PST by vannroxEdited on 04/29/2004 2:02:01 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
IRAKLIO, Greece (AP) -- Researchers on the southern Greek island of Crete have unearthed the fossilized tusk, teeth and bones of a Deinotherium Gigantisimum, a fearsome elephant-like creature that might have given rise to ancient legends of one-eyed cyclops monsters.
(Excerpt) Read more at asia.cnn.com ...
I can't find an online photo of the cyclops skull crafted by the artist Robert Williams in the 1960s.
There is an article on it in this retrospective book of his career:
The pictures you posted show clearly that a bunch of people,--[Researchers on the southern Greek island of Crete have unearthed the fossilized tusk, teeth and bones of a Deinotherium Gigantisimum, a fearsome elephant-like creature that might have given rise to ancient legends of one-eyed cyclops monsters]-- who have never seen an elephant and have no knowledge, whatsoever, about anatomy, find an eye in the nose.
Someone in the group, presumably the reporter, saw the skull and said to herself, "That almost looks like an eye socket!---Cyclops...what a story!"
This is a "perceptual" hoax.
The First Fossil Hunters:
Greek and Roman Times
by Adrienne Mayor
Fossil Legends of the First Americans
by Adrienne Mayor
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The GGG Digest -- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)
Greek Myths: Not Necessariliy Mythical
by John Noble Wilford
July 4, 2000
In the Selincourt translation, the note for this passage is that no one has any idea what Herodotus describes.The Histories (Book II)"I went once to a certain place in Arabia, almost exactly opposite the city of Buto, to make inquiries concerning the winged serpents. On my arrival I saw the back-bones and ribs of serpents in such numbers as it is impossible to describe: of the ribs there were a multitude of heaps, some great, some small, some middle-sized. The place where the bones lie is at the entrance of a narrow gorge between steep mountains, which there open upon a spacious plain communicating with the great plain of Egypt. The story goes that with the spring the winged snakes come flying from Arabia towards Egypt, but are met in this gorge by the birds called ibises, who forbid their entrance and destroy them all. The Arabians assert, and the Egyptians also admit, that it is on account of the service thus rendered that the Egyptians hold the ibis in so much reverence."
tr by G Rawlinson
I was particularly fascinated by the discoveries of the Soviet archaeologist Sergei Rudenko. In the 1940s, Rudenko excavated several fifth-century B.C. tombs near Pazyryk on the northern slopes of the Altai Mountains, in the old Issedonian territory visited by Aristeas. Besides many gold artifacts including griffins, Rudenko was astonished to find some mummified nomads preserved in the permafrost for 2,500 years... Decades later, in 1993 and 1995, Russian archaeologists unearthed two more tattooed mummies of the same era near Pazyryk... These tattooed images closely matched the earliest literary records and the bronze Greek griffins from Samos. The conclusion was clear: These nomadic people had known the griffin lore collected by Aristeas!The key to being a successful nomad is to keep moving. These losers were so slow they actually mummified. ;')
I thought the Griffin lore originated with the steppe people...of note were the Schythians(sp).
Around the same time that Aeschylus was writing... Herodotus was visiting the westernmost of the far-flung Scythians, just beyond the Black Sea. He had read Aristeas's poem, and he interviewed Black Sea Scythians about the lives of their nomadic brethren who lived much farther to the east. Remarking that some of his information had passed through a chain of seven translators stretching eastward to the Altai Mountains, Herodotus transcribed demonstrably authentic ancient vocabulary from Issedonia. His descriptions are the oldest comprehensive picture we have of the lifestyle, languages, and legends of the steppe nomads, and many of the cultural features he described in his Histories (ca. 430 B.C.) continue to be confirmed by artifacts excavated from Saka-Scythian graves... Linguistic analysis of the nomads' Indo-Iranian vocabulary, otherwise unknown to the Greeks, confirms that Herodotus had access to genuine information from Central Asia... As an explorer and sympathetic listener who believed that legends preserved traces of real history, Herodotus was assiduous in ferreting out facts, oral traditions, and local opinions. He invited his readers to consider alternative versions of events, often adding his own comments.Issedonians were the gold miners who found the fossils they interpreted as "griffins". Another example of Herodotus' reporting skills and technique -- discussion of the source of the out-of-season Nile flood pattern led him to give three then-current (rimshot!) explanations of the phenomenon, one of which was the correct one (which he says is least likely of all!), then offers one of his own which is a howler.
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