Saturday, July 31, 2021

Part 6 : Magicians of the Gods ...The Books of Thoth ... Baalbek

Magicians of the Gods

by Graham Hancock

Chapter 11 
The Books of Thoth

A quick summary. 

The Edfu Building Texts speak of the “Homeland of the Primeval Ones”—an island, the location of which is never specified—that was destroyed by an “enemy,” described as a “serpent,” “the Great Leaping One.” The “serpent’s” assault caused a flood that inundated this “primeval world of the gods,” killing the majority of its “divine” inhabitants. A few of them, however, escaped the disaster and fled the scene in boats to wander the earth. Their purpose in so doing was to identify suitable sites where they might set in motion a sacred design to bring about 

the resurrection of the former world of the gods … The re-creation of a destroyed world. 

And all of these events took place in the “early primeval age”—a very, very long time ago, so long ago that they would have passed beyond human remembering if great efforts had not been made to preserve them. “In our temples,” the Egyptian priests of Sais reportedly told Solon: 

we have preserved from earliest times a written record of any great or splendid achievement or notable event which has come to our ears.

This was the case, too, at Edfu where Reymond’s detailed study reveals that a vast and extensive archive once existed, from which the extracts were taken that the priests carved into the temple walls and that thus still survive. It is by following the trail of clues in these extracts, as we did in the last chapter, that we have arrived at the Great Sphinx, perhaps the very “lion which had the face of a man” that Horus was said in the Edfu texts to have transformed himself into. 

In this context, the reference in the Inventory Stela to Khufu having access to plans of the Sphinx, which he refers to when he “restores the statue,” is suggestive of the existence of an ancient archive of Giza—perhaps an archive dating back to the remote age when the site was founded by the “gods” with distinctive astronomical characteristics that would later allow the whole complex to be described as a “book which descended from the sky.” Does this “book” refer to the constellation of Leo as it appeared at dawn on the spring equinox in the epoch of 10,500 BC—a constellation that “descended from the sky” at Giza in the form of the Great Sphinx? And did the three belt stars of the constellation of Orion as they looked in that distant epoch “descend from the sky” at Giza in the form of the ground plans of the three great pyramids? 

We’ve seen that the Sphinx, or at any rate large parts of it, could very well have been carved in the epoch of 10,500 BC. The pyramids were certainly completed much later, but it’s my belief that they were built over pre-existing structures dating back to the time of the gods—gods whom the Edfu texts tell us quite explicitly were “capable of uniting with the sky.” 2 These pre-existing structures would, of course, have been hidden when they were replaced by the pyramids, 3 among them the original natural hill that anchors the whole plan and which was later incorporated into the structure of the Great Pyramid. 

Since the Edfu texts envisage the work of the gods as the re-creation in other lands of their lost world, and since the key feature of that lost homeland was “a primeval temple that was erected on a low mound,” 4 it becomes all the more likely they would have sought to reproduce these features at Giza. At any rate, no lesser authority than Professor I.E.S. Edwards, formerly Keeper of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum, was of the view that the natural hill, now incorporated within the Great Pyramid, was indeed the Great Primeval Mound that is referred to so often in Ancient Egyptian texts 5—a mound, we now understand, that drew its sanctity from its predecessor that had once stood in the lost world of the gods. That mound, Reymond tells us, formed “the original nucleus of the world of the gods in the primeval age,” 6 so it follows that the rocky mound at the heart of the Great Pyramid, and later the Great Pyramid itself, served the same function in the project to resurrect that lost world in Egypt. 

The Inventory Stela is by no means the only testimony to the existence of ancient plans connected with that project. We’ve seen in the Edfu texts how these plans were part of an archive believed to have been set down in writing by the wisdom god Thoth “according to the words of the Sages,” 7 so it is not surprising that the Ancient Egyptians of later times became obsessed with “the books of Thoth,” which they appear to have lost access to and which came to be regarded as the fount of all knowledge. A number of papyri have survived documenting searches for the books of Thoth, and these searches, not surprisingly, are always said to have taken place in the vicinity of Giza and the Memphite necropolis. 

There is, for example, the story of Setnau-Khaem-Uast, a son of Ramses II, one of the great pharaohs of the thirteenth century BC. Informed that a “book written by Thoth himself” lay concealed in an ancient tomb near Giza: 

Setnau went there with his brother and passed three days and nights seeking for the tomb … and on the third day they found it [and] … went down to the place where the book was. When the two brothers came into the tomb they found it to be brilliantly lit by the light which came forth from the book.

There seems to be a hint of an ancient technology here, reminiscent of Yima’s underground Vara, which “glowed with its own light,” or of the mysterious illumination of Noah’s Ark, described in Chapter Seven. What sound like the artifices of a lost technology are also mentioned in Arab traditions concerning Giza. The Egyptian historian Ibn Abd El Hakem believed that the pyramids were built as places of safekeeping for antediluvian knowledge, prominently including archives of books containing: 

The profound sciences, and the names of drugs and their uses and hurts, and the science of astrology, and arithmetic and geometry and medicine … and everything that is and shall be from the beginning to the end of time …9 

Hakem, who lived in the ninth century AD, could have known nothing of advanced metallurgy or plastics, yet he stated that among the treasures from the time before the flood that were hidden away in the bowels of the pyramids were: 

arms which did not rust, and glass which might be bent but not broken. 10 

He likewise described machines that guarded these antediluvian remnants including: 

an idol of black agate sitting upon a throne with a lance. His eyes were open and shining. When anyone looked upon him, he heard on one side of him a voice which took away his sense, so that he fell prostrate upon his face, and did not cease until he died. 11 

A second machine also took the form of a statue: 

He who looked toward it was drawn by the statue until he stuck to it, and could not be separated from it until such time as he died. 12 

Returning to the traditions of the Ancient Egyptians themselves, we have a text from the Westcar Papyrus, which dates to the Middle Kingdom, around 1650 BC, but was copied from an older document now lost. 13 The text makes reference to a “building called ‘Inventory,’” located in the sacred city that the Ancient Egyptians knew as Innu, that the Bible calls On, and that the Greeks later made famous under the name of Heliopolis—the “City of the Sun”—eleven miles northeast of Giza. According to the papyrus “a chest of flint” was stored in Heliopolis containing a mysterious document that Pharaoh Khufu himself is reported to have “spent much time searching for”—a document that recorded “the number of the secret chambers of the sanctuary of Thoth” which Khufu wished “to copy for his temple.” 14 

What are we dealing with here? 

I.E.S. Edwards points out that Heliopolis, the site of the “Inventory Building,” had been a center of astronomical science closely connected to Giza since time immemorial, and that the title of the high priest of that city was “Chief of the Astronomers.” 15 To this the Egyptologist F.W. Green adds that the “Inventory Building” appears to have been a “chart room” at Heliopolis “or perhaps a ‘drawing room’ where plans were made and stored.” 16 Similarly, Sir Alan H. Gardiner argues that “the room in question must have been an archive” and that Khufu “was seeking for details concerning the secret chambers of the primeval sanctuary of Thoth.” 17 

So once again we are confronted by a report that Khufu sought out and consulted ancient documents to guide his works at Giza—whether to restore the Sphinx to its original appearance, as we are told in the Inventory Stela, or to build his “temple” in the correct way, incorporating an ancient design as the Westcar Papyrus suggests. Such traditions, in my view, further strengthen the notion that whatever Khufu and the other pharaohs of the Fourth Dynasty were doing at Giza was more of the order of the fulfillment and completion of plans they had inherited from the time of the gods—antediluvian plans, in other words—than the implementation of some novel scheme of their own. They were, in short, playing their part in the resurrection of the former world of the gods. Moreover, the surface luminescence dating results reported in Chapter Ten, when taken together with the geological arguments about the age of the Sphinx and its temples, invite us to consider that this process had originated in the flood epoch of 10,500 BC, had then lain practically dormant for many millennia during which the ancient knowledge and archives were maintained by initiates in something like a monastery, and then got underway again perhaps as early as the fourth millennium BC with a gradual build-up to its completion and fulfillment in the epoch of 2500 BC. 

The existence of such a college of initiates is signaled clearly in the Edfu texts which speak of the long-term mission of: the Builder Gods, who fashioned in the primeval time, the Lords of the Light … the Ghosts, the Ancestors … who raised the seed for gods and men … the Senior Ones who came into being at the beginning, who illumined this land when they came forth unitedly. 18

The Edfu texts do not claim that these beings were immortal. After their deaths, we are told, the next generation “came to their graves to perform the funerary rights on their behalf” 19 and then took their places. In this way, through an unbroken chain of initiation and transmission of knowledge, the “Builder Gods,” the “Sages,” the “Ghosts,” the “Lords of the Light,” the “Shining Ones” described in the Edfu texts were able to renew themselves constantly, like the mythical phoenix—thus passing down to the future traditions and wisdoms stemming from a previous epoch of the earth. [ and the True God does it all by Spirit, no books required DC ]

Another name for these initiates, and an appropriate one given the importance of Horus at Edfu, was the Shemsu Hor, the “Followers of Horus.” 20 Under this name they were particularly closely associated with Heliopolis/Innu, the sacred city where the records of the secret chambers of the sanctuary of Thoth were kept. The reader will recall that at Edfu it was the Seven Sages who specified the plans and designs that were to be used for all future temples throughout the length and breadth of Egypt, so it is interesting that at Dendera, a little to the north of Edfu, inscriptions tell us that the “great plan” used by its architects was “recorded in ancient writings handed down from the Followers of Horus.” 21 Identical in all respects to the “Sages” and the “Builder Gods” these Followers of Horus were said to have carried with them a “knowledge of the divine origins” of Egypt 22 and of the divine purpose of this land, “which once was holy and wherein, alone, in reward for her devotion, the gods deigned to sojourn upon earth.” 23 [The True God does not play favorites DC ]

Stones fallen from heaven 
The nexus interlinking the Sages of the Edfu texts with Giza, Heliopolis and the Followers of Horus offers a number of clues that will enable us to take this inquiry forward. Among these, of the first importance, is the fact that Heliopolis, an uninteresting suburb of Cairo today, was once the site of the Temple of the Phoenix—known in Ancient Egypt as the Bennu bird—that famous symbol of resurrection and rebirth. 24 In this temple, often referred to as the “Mansion of the Phoenix,” was kept a mysterious object, long since lost to history, a “stone” called the Benben (a word closely linked etymologically to Bennu 25 ) said to have fallen from heaven and depicted as the seed, the sperm, of Ra-Atum, the Father of the Gods. In the Ancient Egyptian language the determinative of the word Benben, as one expert explains: 

shows a tapering, somewhat conical shape for the Benben stone which became stylized for use in architecture as a small pyramid, the pyramidion; covered in gold foil it was held aloft by the long shaft of the obelisk and shone in the rays of the sun, whom the obelisks glorified. 26 

Likewise the capstone of every pyramid was also referred to as its Benben 27—an example in excellent condition has survived from the pyramid of the Twelfth Dynasty Pharaoh Amenemhat III and can be seen in the Cairo Museum. 

Numerous theories have been put forward as to where the concept of the Benben came from, but the most compelling, in my view, is the work of my friend and colleague Robert Bauval that first appeared in the scholarly journal Discussions in Egyptology in 1989 under the title “Investigation on the Origins of the Benben Stone: Was it an Iron Meteorite?” Similar to many other cases of the worship of meteorites by ancient peoples, Robert argued: 

it is likely that the Benben stone once worshipped in the Mansion of the Phoenix was a meteorite. Its conical shape … is very suggestive of an oriented iron meteorite, possibly a mass within the 1–15 ton range. Such objects fallen from heaven were generally representative of “fallen stars” and likely provided the Egyptian clergy with a tangible star object, a “seed” of Ra-Atum. 28 

A linked possibility was considered by the Egyptologist R.T. Rundle Clark in 1949 in a paper entitled “The Origin of the Phoenix” for the University of Birmingham Historical Journal. He drew attention to the earliest surviving mention of the Bennu bird, which is found in the Pyramid Texts (Old Kingdom, Fifth and Sixth Dynasties) and reads as follows: 

Thou [the god Ra-Atum is addressed] did shine upon the Benben Stone in the House of the Bennu bird in Heliopolis. 29 

But curiously, the Benben stone, always shown in later texts as a geometrical pyramidion, 30 is depicted in the Pyramid Texts as a rough stone with slightly curved sides. “This is an important fact,” observed Rundle Clark, “since it shows that the pyramids were not exact copies of the original benben stone in Heliopolis … One can assume that the Benben stone became a pyramidion during the Old Empire, but whether influenced by the actual developed contour of the Fourth Dynasty pyramids cannot be determined. 31 

He went on to note something else that caught my attention: 

The form of the Benben stone in [the Pyramid Texts] is that of an omphalos or betyl, the umbilical stone which is so widespread in the early religion of Asia … It is a lesson of this text … that the Benben stone is a betyl-like object and that it is modified into a pyramidion by the Fourth Dynasty. 32 

What Rundle Clark did not appear to realize in his 1949 paper, and that strongly reinforces Robert Bauval’s later argument, is that betyls, wherever they were worshipped, were nothing more nor less than meteorites—although often they were stony rather than iron meteorites. I had occasion to investigate this issue in some depth in the 1980s when I was researching my book The Sign and The Seal with specific reference to the two tablets of the Ten Commandments said to be contained within the Ark of the Covenant. 33 

Biblical scholar Menahem Haran, author of the authoritative Temples and Temple Service in Ancient Israel, argues persuasively that “the Ark held not two tables of the law but … a meteorite from Mount Sinai.” 34 As such the ancient worship of the Ark and its contents fits in with a wider tradition, distributed across the whole of the Near and Middle East, of veneration of “stones that fell from heaven.” 35 

An example that has survived into the modern world is the special reverence accorded by Muslims to the sacred Black Stone built into a corner of the wall of the Kaaba in Mecca. Touched by every pilgrim making the Haj to the holy site, this stone was declared by the Prophet Muhammad to have fallen from heaven to earth where it was first given to Adam to absorb his sins after his expulsion from the Garden of Eden; later it was presented by the angel Gabriel to Abraham, the Hebrew Patriarch; finally it became the cornerstone of the Ka’aba—the “beating heart” of the Islamic world. 36 

Geologists attribute a meteoric origin to the Black Stone. 37 Likewise the betyls—sacred stones— that some pre-Islamic Arab tribes carried on their desert wanderings were meteorites, and a direct line of cultural transmission is recognized linking these betyls (which were often placed in portable shrines) with the Black Stone of the Kaaba and with the stone “tablets of the law” contained within the Ark. In Europe betyls were also known and were called lapis betilis, a name: 

stemming from Semitic origins and taken over at a late date by the Greeks and Romans for sacred stones that were assumed to possess a divine life, stones with a soul [that were used] for divers superstitions, for magic and for fortune-telling. They were meteoric stones fallen from the sky. 38 

With all this in mind, the special interest of Khufu in the “thunderbolt” mentioned in the Inventory Stela takes on a new significance. As the reader will recall, the inscription speaks of the “Lord of Heaven”—an epithet for Ra-Atum—“descending” on the Sphinx and inflicting the damage that Khufu would later repair according to the ancient “plans” to which he had access. For such a thunderbolt to be merely a lightning strike, as Selim Hassan suggests, makes no sense since the Inventory Stela tells us very clearly that Khufu visited the site “in order to see the thunderbolt.” 

In short, an object that had fallen from the sky, and that could reasonably be described as the result of the Lord of Heaven “descending” on the Sphinx, must still have been physically present there. A meteorite satisfies this context but it could not, of course, have been the Benben kept at Heliopolis— for the Mansion of the Phoenix and the Benben already existed in Khufu’s time. 39 The Pharaoh’s eagerness to “see the thunderbolt” does, however, testify to the special reverence that was accorded to this class of objects, and it is natural to wonder what specific event that reverence goes back to— and how far it goes back. 

Could it, for example, go back all the way to the time memorialized in the Edfu texts—the time when the island of the gods was destroyed in the cataclysmic flood caused by the assault of the “enemy serpent,” so evocatively described as the “Great Leaping One?” 

Before attempting to answer that question, let’s consider the Benben stone, and the Bennu bird with which it is associated, a little more closely. 

The flight of the Phoenix 
R.T. Rundle Clark, who made an in-depth study of the Bennu–Phoenix, reports that the Ancient Egyptians believed in a “vital essence”—Hike—that had been brought to their land: 

from a distant, magical source. The latter was “the Isle of Fire”—the place of everlasting light beyond the limits of the world, where the gods were born or revived and whence they were sent into the world. The Phoenix is the chief messenger from this inaccessible land of divinity. A Coffin Text makes the victorious soul say: “I came from the Isle of Fire, having filled my body with Hike, like that bird who [came and] filled the world with that which it had not known.” 40 

So the Phoenix came from far away, Rundle Clark concludes, “bringing the message of light and life to a world wrapped in the helplessness of primeval night. Its flight is the width of the world, ‘over oceans, seas and rivers,’ to land at last in Heliopolis, the symbolic center of the earth where it will announce a new age.” 41 

There is much in this summary that is evocative of the Edfu texts—the far-off island from which the gods are sent out, the return of the light after an episode of primeval darkness, and an arrival at Heliopolis where a new age is set in motion. Indeed the Phoenix might almost be said to symbolize the mission of those “gods” who fled their drowned homeland with a long-term plan to bring about the rebirth and renewal of the former world. [Did you consider that the reason for the flood, was because these 'gods' did not belong on Earth? ]

But the symbolic crossovers go deeper than this and become more complex. The Phoenix, remember, is closely associated not just with light but also with fire. Thus Lactantius writing in the fourth century AD tells us that the Phoenix: 

bathes in holy waters and feeds on living spray. After a thousand years … it builds a nest as a sepulcher, supplied with various rich juices and odors. As it sits on the nest its body grows hot enough to produce flames which in turn burn the body to ashes destined to produce a milky white worm; the latter falls asleep and then forms into an egg, eventually to sprout forth as a bird from the broken shell. After taking nourishment it rolls the ashes into a ball enclosed in myrrh and frankincense, which the new-born bird transports to an altar in the city of Heliopolis. 42 

This theme of fire and of regeneration and new life emerging from a fiery death, also crops up in ancient Iran where Yima built his Vara, and where the Phoenix was called the Simorgh. As folklorist E.V.A. Kenealy explains, the accounts of the Simorgh decisively establish: 

that the death and revival of the Phoenix exhibit the successive destruction and reproduction of the world, which many believed to be effected by the agency of a fiery deluge. 43 

Different lengthy periods—1000 years, 500 years, 540 years, 7006 years—are given for the life of the Phoenix before it dies in fire and then renews itself. 44 There is, however, a strong and very specific tradition, relayed, for example, by Solinus in the early third century AD, which sets the period of the Phoenix at what seems to be a completely arbitrary and bizarre number—12,954 years. 45 But further investigation reveals that “the period of the Phoenix’s return was thought to correspond to the Great Year” 46 and the “Great Year,” we already know, is an ancient concept linked to the Precession of the Equinoxes with its twelve “Great Months” (one for the sun’s passage through each house of the zodiac) of 2,160 years each—thus 12 x 2,160 = 25,920 years. That figure of 25,920 years is in turn, of course, very close to twice 12,954 years (2 x 12,954 = 25,908 years)—too close to be a coincidence, in my opinion, especially when we remember that Cicero in his Hortensius specifically linked the Great Year to the number 12,954. 47 [ I think the 12,954 years number is the number of years it takes before it[ the earth ] enters the debris field of what was once planet x DC ]

The figure of 540 years given in other sources for the period of the Phoenix also turns out to be derived from the Great Year as Giorgo de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend demonstrated in Hamlet’s Mill, their masterly study of precessional knowledge transmitted through myth. As we saw in Chapter Ten, the heartbeat of the precessional cycle is the number 72—the number of years required for one degree of precession. We then add 36 (half of 72) to the number 72 to get 108; next we half 108 to get 54 and, finally, multiply 54 by 10 to get 540. I went into all this in great detail in Fingerprints of the Gods twenty years ago and refer the reader to that book for a full exposition of these precessional numbers, 48 which are found in ancient myths and traditions from all around the world and which Santillana and von Dechend long ago demonstrated are proof of advanced astronomical knowledge in the deepest antiquity—knowledge that they attributed to some as yet unidentified and “almost unbelievable” ancestor civilization. 49 

What is particularly intriguing is how often ancient authorities connect the passage of the Great Year, which we now see to be linked to the period of the Phoenix, to a “world conflagration” and a “world flood”—not necessarily as the cause of those cataclysms, but as a timer that records and predicts them. 50 Confronted by such material, despite all the oddities and contradictions it has been weighed down with during the passage of several millennia, I am forcibly reminded of the Younger Dryas comet and the conflagration and global flood that it brought in its wake—the latter caused by the catastrophic collapse of large segments of the North American and northern European ice caps as they were hit by multiple large fragments, the former caused by superheated ejecta setting off forest fires across the minimum 50 million square kilometers (19.3 million square miles) of the earth’s surface that were directly affected. 

What goes around comes around 
Suppose you wished to pass a message to the future, and not just the near future but the very distant future? You would be unwise to entrust it to writing, because you could not be certain that any civilization 12,000 years from now would be able to decipher your script. Besides, even if the script could be deciphered, the written document on which you had placed your message might not survive the ravages of time. If you were really determined to be understood by some distant future generation, you might therefore do better to devise your message using gigantic architectural monuments that “time itself would fear”—monuments like the pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza—and to associate those monuments with a universal language such as the slow precessional changes in the sky that any astronomically literate culture would be able to read. 

Ideally, also, your message should be a simple one. 

We saw in Chapter Ten how the Giza-Heliopolis-Memphis area perfectly fits the bill as one of the new sacred domains that the Edfu texts tell us were established at various locations by the wandering “companies” of gods seeking to bring about the resurrection of the former world destroyed in the flood. It is, moreover, a domain that fully justifies the description of “a book descended from the sky.” And when we “read” that book, written in the “script” of precession with the “pen” of megalithic architecture, it compels us to look at the epoch of 10,500 BC—not an exact date, because the precessional “clock” gives indications that are too general to allow us to specify “seconds” or even “minutes,” but quite definitely to the epoch of 10,500 BC, i.e. about 12,500 years ago. The same general astronomical configurations that are symbolized on the ground by the great monuments of Giza would have held true for the best part of 500 years before 10,500 BC and for about 1000 years afterward. 

In other words, as we have seen, the “message” of the monuments exactly encapsulates the cataclysmic episode of the Younger Dryas which began suddenly and shockingly with the impacts of multiple fragments of a giant comet around 10,800 BC, i.e. around 12,800 years ago, and which ended equally suddenly—we do not yet know why—around 9600 BC, i.e. around 11,600 years ago. The most likely explanation is that the earth interacted again in 9600 BC with the debris stream of the same fragmenting comet that had caused the Younger Dryas to start in 10,800 BC. On the second occasion, however, the effects of the impacts were global warming rather than global cooling. 

With comets, as with the mythical Phoenix, what goes around comes around. 

Since they are in orbit, they return to our skies at cyclic intervals—some as short at 3.3 years (like Comet Encke for example), some longer than 4,000 years (such as Comet Hale-Bopp), some even running into tens of thousands of years. 

Like the mythical Phoenix, also, comets do literally undergo a process of “renewal”—indeed “rebirth”—on each appearance in our skies. This is because comet nuclei are usually inert and utterly dark while traveling through deep space, producing no characteristic glowing “coma” and sparkling “tail.” However, as a comet approaches the sun (and thus also the earth) the solar rays cause volatile materials buried in its interior to burst into boiling, seething activity, producing jets of gas—scientists call the process “outgassing”—and shedding millions of tons of exceptionally fine dust and debris to form the coma and tail. 

Last but not least, outgassing comets, like the Phoenix, do have the appearance of being consumed in flames. Moreover, the collision of large cometary fragments with the earth itself, as the scientists studying the Younger Dryas impact event of 12,800 years ago have so graphically indicated, can be expected to result in conflagrations on a continent-wide scale followed, if impacts occur on ice sheets, by global flooding.

It is possible, indeed highly probable, that we are not yet done with the comet that changed the face of the earth between 10,800 BC and 9600 BC. To be quite clear, as we will see in Chapter Nineteen, some suspect that “the return of the Phoenix” will take place in our own time—indeed by or before the year 2040—and there is a danger that one of the objects in its debris stream may be as much as 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) in diameter. A collision with such a large cometary fragment would, at the very least, mean the end of civilization as we know it, and perhaps even the end of all human life on this planet. Its consequences would be orders of magnitude more devastating than the Younger Dryas impacts 12,800 years ago that left us as a species with amnesia, obliged to begin again like children with no memory of what went before. 

Or rather with almost no memory. 

Because in our beginning again it seems we had the guidance, the leadership, the teachings, and the high wisdom of “the Sages,” “the Shining Ones”—those “Magicians of the Gods”—who had survived from antediluvian times and whose mission was to ensure that all was not after all lost. It doesn’t make sense that they would have gone to such great lengths to spell out the epoch of 10,500 BC at Giza just to say they were there. I suggest the science of their civilization was high enough for them to have understood exactly what had happened to the world and to predict when it would happen again. 

I think, in short, that their purpose may have been to send us a message. [the self elected elite, have not build all the underground bases for nothing. DC]

We will look more deeply into that message, and its implications, in later chapters, but first there is another trail of clues to follow, a trail that may lead us closer to the “Magicians” and their “magic.”

Part 5
Chapter 12
We land at Beirut’s International Airport in the late evening of July 9, 2014. The airport is named after former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, who was assassinated on February 14, 2005 when his motorcade drove past a Mitsubishi van parked outside the Saint George Hotel on the city’s fashionable Mediterranean seafront—known as the Corniche. The van contained a young male suicide bomber (or so the very fragmentary DNA evidence suggests) and an estimated 1,800 kilos (about 4,000 pounds) of TNT. Twenty-three people, among them Hariri, several of his bodyguards, and his close friend and former Minister of the Economy Bassel Fleihan, were killed. Those suspected of organizing the massacre include senior members of Hezbollah, the Shia militant and political group that controls the town of Baalbek in the Bekaa Valley, where there are certain intriguing ancient ruins that I’m determined to see on this research visit to Lebanon. Hezbollah itself blames Israel. In addition, some suspect that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria was directly involved. 1 [something else that valley is known for, drug trafficking, Lockerbie happened because of those traffickers DC ]

The Syrian border runs along the eastern edge of the Bekaa Valley and very close to Baalbek itself, which was hit by missiles in June 2013 and where there are repeated violent incidents. 2 With the horrendous Syrian civil war still in full swing, and huge numbers of refugees adding to the general state of chaos and instability, we’ve been advised to stay away. But I’ve wanted to see Baalbek for years and I feel all the more strongly drawn to the ruins there after what I’ve learned researching Ancient Egypt. 

There are, you see, a number of puzzling connections and I have these very much in mind, having been re-reading my notes on the flight, as Santha and I step down out of the plane onto the tarmac and make our way into the terminal building. The night air is warm but a refreshing breeze blows in off the Mediterranean, and I find myself looking forward to whatever adventures lie ahead. 

Our first encounter is with bureaucracy in the form of an immigration officer wearing a gray uniform over an open-necked shirt. He is young but he has a sallow, unhealthy complexion and an unshaved, suspicious look about him. Indeed, he is extremely suspicious, as he makes clear each time he glances up from my passport to glare at me before returning to his forensic examination of the pages. My passport contains 41 pages with space for visas and I travel frequently, so there are stamps from all over the world—Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, South Africa, India, the United States, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Turkey … The young officer studies each stamp minutely, slowly leafing through the pages from front to back, glaring at me, returning to the investigation, glaring at me again. Then when he has reached the very last page, he repeats the procedure, this time leafing through from back to front. 

I know what he’s looking for—a visa stamp for Israel, the presence of which will allow him to deny me entry. He won’t find one. Although my research has taken me to Israel several times, I’m always careful to get the entrance and exit stamps on a loose sheet of paper placed inside my passport, rather than on the passport itself. Besides, my last visit was in 1999 and I’ve changed my passport twice since then, so there’s nothing to be in the least bit concerned about. Even so, I have to admit I feel uncomfortable at this intense, sustained scrutiny. 

After going through the passport a third time, the officer gives me another hostile glare and asks: “Why you come to our country?” 

“Tourist,” I reply. I know from long experience that saying anything about researching a book can lead to all manner of additional problems and suspicions that are best avoided. 

He raises a skeptical eyebrow. “Tourist?” 

“Yes. Tourist.” 

“And you see what, in our country?” 

I’m ready for the question. “Beirut. The beautiful Corniche. I’ve heard there are some great restaurants. Then we’re going to Byblos and of course to Baalbek.” 

The eyebrow shoots up again. “Baalbek?” 

“Yes, of course! Wouldn’t miss it for anything.” This at least is true. “The temples. The big stones. I’ve heard it’s one of the wonders of the world.” 

Suddenly a smile. “Wonderful, yes! I am from Baalbek. My home town.” He stamps my passport with a flourish and scrawls something in handwriting over the visa. “Welcome to Lebanon,” he says. 

Now it’s Santha’s turn, but with the ice broken, the officer only flips through the pages of her passport once before stamping it and directing us onward into the baggage hall. 

Well of Souls 
On the drive in from the airport to our hotel we pass the place where Rafic Hariri was assassinated. The damage was long ago cleared away, of course, everything seems very chic and despite the late hour there are still a great many people, mostly young, mostly fashionably dressed, promenading along the Corniche overlooking the glittering waters of the Mediterranean, in which the street lights and the stars are pleasingly reflected. Amidst such a scene, it’s hard to imagine the violence this city has witnessed during the past forty years and my thoughts turn again to the reasons we’ve come here. 

While I’ve been researching Egypt, and the hints of an ancient civilizing mission after a global cataclysm described in the Edfu texts, I’ve found something odd that seems to suggest a possible link between the megalithic monuments of the Giza plateau and Lebanon. 

A few thousand years ago Lebanon formed the northern sector of the land the Bible refers to as Canaan, which also included the region covered, roughly, by modern Israel, the Palestinian Territories, western Jordan and southwestern Syria. What interests me is that both in Israel and in Lebanon there are mysterious megalithic structures on a scale that not only rival those of Giza, but seem to express the same underlying purpose to create something that would last—sacred mounds, holy places, that would withstand the test of time and that would continue to be venerated down the ages, even if the religions and cultures associated with them changed. 

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is one such place. Both orthodox archaeology and Biblical testimony put the construction of the first great edifices there back to the almost mythical time of King Solomon—that renowned magician among monarchs, who supposedly ruled in the tenth century BC. The structure known as Solomon’s Temple, the “First Temple” of the Jews, was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BC and rebuilt by Zerubbabel in the 520s BC. 3 A further ambitious restoration was undertaken by the Romanized Jewish monarch Herod the Great in the first century BC and completed around 20 BC. 4 Some ninety years after his death, Herod’s Temple in its turn was destroyed by the Romans, along with much of the city of Jerusalem, in 70 AD. 5 

What survived was the immense trapezoidal platform, known today as the Haram esh-Sharif, where stand the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, the third and fourth most sacred places in Islam. 6 We need not concern ourselves here with the recent history of this place, or how it came to be in Muslim hands, but the Dome of the Rock is so called because within it lies an enormous megalith, known to the Jews as the Shetiyah (literally the “Foundation”). When the Temple of Solomon was erected over this exact spot in the tenth century BC, the Shetiyah formed the floor of the Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant, that enigmatic object which I have investigated extensively in another book, stood upon it. 7 

The Shetiyah is not the only megalith in Jerusalem that dates back, potentially, to what the Edfu texts would call “the time of the gods.” Of course this huge natural rock has been in this place, at the summit of a primeval mound, rather similar to the natural hill now enclosed within the Great Pyramid of Giza, for an incalculable period. But at some point, perhaps at the date in the tenth century BC that archaeologists accept for Solomon’s Temple, perhaps later, perhaps much earlier, it was modified by human beings and there is now a hole cut through it which sheds a beam of light into the natural cave, also modified by human hands and evocatively known as the “Well of Souls,” that lies directly beneath it. 

I’ve been in the Well of Souls several times. If it doesn’t have the raw atmospheric power of the Subterranean Chamber beneath the Great Pyramid, it is only because local bad taste has allowed the Well to be tiled, carpeted, furnished and lit as a prayer room. But the way the great rock that covers it has been cut and shaped is highly reminiscent of patterns that are found on rock-hewn surfaces at Giza. My guess, in short, as at Giza with its underground chamber beneath a natural hill, is that the rock and the Well formed the original sacred shrine around which everything else on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount was built. 

What came next was a platform, solidly founded, of gigantic stones, to create the level, elevated surface upon which all later temples (and mosques) would be built. It is not my intention to explore the mysteries of Jerusalem here, but before moving on to Baalbek, the main focus of the present chapter, I will simply register surprise that the huge megalithic blocks which have been discovered in the so-called Hasmonean Tunnel lying to the north of, and directly extending, the famous Wailing Wall —blocks weighing in some cases more than 500 tons 8—have been so readily assumed to be Herod’s work. 

In the same way, the very similar gigantic megalithic blocks of Baalbek are assumed to be of relatively recent date—spanning the late first century BC to the second half of the first century AD— and to be the work of the Romans, with perhaps some early contribution by Herod himself. 9 But just as the history of the Giza plateau has been forced between narrow and restricting bounds so, too, with Baalbek. Parts of it may be much older than presently believed. 

What led me to consider this possibility at all—indeed the entire reason I’m in Beirut in July 2014 and about to take a run over to the Bekaa Valley, Hezbollah and the Syrian border—is the weird connection that I’ve found linking Giza with ancient Canaan, and with the ancient Semitic people known in the Bible as the Canaanites. 

The magician among the gods 
Selim Hassan (1887–1961) was what a real Egyptologist should be—passionate, erudite, deeply versed in his subject and open-minded. He was also a hands-on excavator and, in the 1930s, carried out the most thorough and detailed investigation of just about every major structure on the Giza Plateau. In the process, while excavating the Sphinx enclosure, he came across evidence of a Canaanite presence at Giza—indeed a long-term Canaanite settlement—which, for some reason, had been particularly focused on the Sphinx and its megalithic temples. “How these people came to settle in Egypt, and why and when they left, we have not, as yet, any written inscription to tell us,” Hassan admits. 10 That they were there from at least the Eighteenth Dynasty (1543 BC–1292 BC) is well attested, but the possibility cannot be ruled out that their stay in Egypt dates back long before that time. 

At any rate, numerous votive stele and other marks of respect to the Great Sphinx of Giza, inscribed and offered by members of this Canaanite community, have been found. We have seen already that the Sphinx was identified with the Egyptian god Horus, who could appear in many forms but most often as a falcon. Of interest, then, is the fact that the Sphinx in the Canaanite inscriptions is called Hurna, and sometimes Hauron. These are not Egyptian words at all, but instead are the names of a Canaanite falcon deity. 11 The reader will also recall from Chapter Ten that the Ancient Egyptians often called the Sphinx Hor-em-Akhet (“Horus in the Horizon”). It turns out that this name is directly linked with Hurna in a number of inscriptions, not only left by members of the Canaanite community that had settled near Giza, but also by the Ancient Egyptians themselves—for example, a plaque of Amenhotep II where the Pharaoh is referred to as “beloved of Hurna-Hor-em-Akhet.” 12 

Selim Hassan comments on “the assimilation of the names Hurna and Hor-em-Akhet” on Amenhotep’s plaque, which succinctly confirms the use of “the name of the god Hurna in Egypt and its association with Hor-em-Akhet and application to the Sphinx.” 13 Likewise a stela found at Giza reads: “Adoration to Hor-em-Akhet in his name of Hurna … Thou art the only one who will exist till eternity, while all people die.” 14 And a second Giza stela represents Hurna in the form of a falcon beside an inscription which reads: “O Hurna-Hor-em-Akhet, may he give favor and love…” 15 Christiane Zivie-Coche, Director of Religious Studies at the Ecole pratique des hautes études in Paris, adds that the variant Hauron was also frequently used in the same way: 

Hauron was so closely associated with Hor-em-Akhet, name of the Great Sphinx of Giza … that one addressed him indifferently as Hor-em-Akhet, Hauron, or Hauron-Hor-em-Akhet. 16 

What really caught my attention, however, and put me on the plane to Beirut, was a further observation from Zivie-Coche. “An epithet on a Sphinx statuette,” she reported: 

indicates that Hauron is originally from Lebanon. 17 

Intriguing, too, in light of the civilizing work of “Sages” and “Magicians,” of which there are so many traces in the Edfu texts and in the Mesopotamian inscriptions, is a baked clay tablet from the ancient city of Ugarit on the Mediterranean coast of what is now Syria, a little to the north of Byblos in Lebanon. Hauron is the subject of the tablet and, exactly like the Apkallu Sages of Mesopotamia, he is portrayed as a “conjurer” 18—indeed, notes Egyptologist Jacobus van Dijk, as: 

the magician among the gods …19 

With further echoes of the Apkallu, Hauron’s “magic” consists of what sounds to the modern ear like advanced scientific knowledge, in this case providing anti-venom, extracted “from among the shrubs of the tree of death” 20 that cured the victim of a deadly snakebite. The poison was neutralized, we read, so that it “became weak” and “flowed away like a stream.” 21 

And there is something else—something that points directly toward Baalbek with its mysterious megaliths—for not only was Hauron/Hurna worshipped at Giza and assimilated to the Sphinx and to the falcon Horus, but Baal, the Canaanite deity after whom Baalbek is named, 22 also had a cult in Egypt where he was associated with Set, the god of deserts and storms. 23 

Last but not least, there is the fact that Baalbek was renamed “Heliopolis”—Greek for “City of the Sun”—after Alexander the Great conquered the Levant and Syria in 332 BC. 24 The reader will recall from Chapter Eleven that Innu, the sacred city of the Ancient Egyptians, where stood the Temple of the Phoenix attended by the priesthood of Giza, was also called “Heliopolis” by the Greeks. They referred to it as such from at least the time of Herodotus in the fifth century BC, 25 and the Romans followed suit. Likewise Baalbek continued to be called “Heliopolis” throughout Roman times. 

Marching in Alexander’s footsteps, Pompey annexed the Levant and Syria in 64 BC and Roman power here reached its height in the first and second centuries AD, when a statue of “Jupiter the Most High and the Most Great of Heliopolis” stood in the courtyard of the great temple that the Romans built at Baalbek in honor of this god. 26 As well as its usual Roman attributes, the statue, which may be seen today in the Louvre Museum in Paris, displays a winged sun-disc on its chest—a possible reference, argues Friedrich Ragette, formerly Professor of Architecture at the American University of Beirut, “to the god of Egyptian Heliopolis.” 27 

It was not until the Arab conquests in the seventh century AD that the original Canaanite name “Baalbek” began to reappear in Levantine annals, and it was only then that the city’s Graeco-Roman designation as “Heliopolis” fell entirely out of use. 28 

Between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon ranges 
The morning after our late-night arrival in Beirut, Lebanese friends kindly join us at our hotel to drive us to Baalbek. Over coffee before we go, they tell us of our good fortune: there is a lull in the fighting in Syria, all is calm along the border, and they expect no trouble. 

Seen in daylight the Lebanese capital is almost as charming and beautiful as it was at midnight. One hundred and twenty thousand people were killed in this country during the terrible and protracted civil war between 1975 and 1990, but the city which was the focus of so much of the fighting seems to have put that ghastly episode behind it. Most of the bullet holes, shrapnel and blast wounds in the buildings have been repaired, there’s a lot of new construction going on and the atmosphere is one of optimism and vigorous enterprise. Yes, there is sadness in the air—it’s unavoidable after so much murder and mayhem—but the sense I get is of a nation recovering from its trauma, not wallowing in it, filled with bright, intelligent young people who are determined to move ahead. 

The traffic is heavy as we wind our way up the steep foothills of the Lebanon Mountains to the east of the capital. It’s only 86 kilometers (about 53 miles) to Baalbek but there are frequent military checkpoints, where we’re filtered through chicanes and inspected by attentive, heavily armed soldiers. Inevitably this slows us down. The views, however, get more and more spectacular with the Mediterranean gleaming behind us and the great, green, tree-strewn ridges of the Lebanon range rising ahead of us. The road wraps itself around multiple tight hairpin bends above vertiginous drops, the air becomes notably cooler and the landscape more barren. Then we’re over the top through the Dahar el Baydar pass at an altitude of 1,556 meters (5,100 feet) and motoring down the other side with the broad, intensively cultivated sweep of the Bekaa Valley opening out below us. We pass the edge of the urban sprawl of Zahle, famous for its Ksara Winery, and pretty soon we’re running through the Bekaa proper—although it is really a plateau rather than a valley since its average elevation is more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) above sea level. 

Bounded on the west by the Lebanon Mountains over which we’ve just driven, and on the east by the Anti-Lebanon range, the Bekaa is watered by two historic rivers—the Litani and the Orontes. When the Romans colonized the region two thousand years ago, this fertile plateau was one of their breadbaskets, exporting grain to feed the empire. Today a more lucrative crop, though largely hidden from view, is cannabis. In the interests of keeping local farmers happy, the authorities generally turn a blind eye. 

After another thirty or forty minutes of mainly level driving on a long, straight stretch of road with cultivated fields on either side, we enter the outskirts of Baalbek at the edge of the Anti-Lebanon foothills. It’s a shabby town of shops, offices and dilapidated low-rise apartment blocks, many festooned with the Hezbollah flag featuring an upraised arm at the end of which is a hand clenched into a fist around an AK-47 assault rifle. Hand, arm and Kalashnikov emerge from a line of calligraphy spelling out Hezbollah’s name—“Party of God.” Other lettering states “Then surely the party of Allah are they that shall be triumphant” and, separately, “the Islamic resistance in Lebanon.” The background color of the flags is a strident yellow, while the logo and calligraphy are picked out in green. 

Fashions and preferences in gods come and go, but the sacred landscape endures. On an eminence above the town we can clearly see the spectacular remains, the soaring columns, and the lofty pediments of the group of three Roman temples that bestowed such renown upon Baalbek in the ancient world. Dedicated, supposedly, to Jupiter, Bacchus and Venus, they were built on a scale larger and more imposing than almost any other Roman structures, including those in Rome itself. What really interests me, however, is the megalithic wall that surrounds the Temple of Jupiter on three sides, and in particular the three gigantic blocks, known as the Trilithon, that are embedded in it. Much that I’ve learned about the Trilithon in my prior research has led me to suspect that it may be older—far older—and dedicated to a far more enigmatic purpose than anything the Romans built here. 

Now’s my chance to find out. 

Centuries of darkness 
The mid-morning sun is beating down out of an absolutely cloudless clear blue sky and I’m sitting on a big limestone block roughly in the middle of what was once the Temple of Jupiter. I say “once” because there’s very little of this towering edifice left standing now, other than the six immense columns that rear skywards about the width of a football field behind me—the last six out of the total of fifty-four that originally demarcated the exterior of the vast rectangular structure. This site is so enormous, the complex of temples so colossal and at the same time so ruined that I’m finding it difficult to get my bearings. Also, I have to confess, the long echoing booms of distant artillery, punctuated by the rapid, stuttering coughs of heavy machine guns, and an occasional very loud explosion, are a little disconcerting. 

OK, I think, deliberately shutting my ears to the sounds that are, almost certainly, only the Lebanese military doing some practice firing, let’s figure out what we’ve got here. I glance over my shoulder and when I do I’m looking roughly southeast, through the six big columns which stand on the edge of the massive platform I’m in the midst of, across a sunken plaza, to the row of a dozen columns that line the northern perimeter of the smaller, but more intact and still very beautiful Temple of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. 

I’m not here to research or write about Roman architecture but still I’m impressed. Not only did the Romans have the sense of fun to dedicate a temple to wine and all its pleasures—reportedly joyous acts of sexual license regularly took place within—but also, let’s not beat around the bush here, these people really knew how to build! The columns themselves are extraordinary feats of megalithic architecture, and the Romans seem to have had no difficulty in hauling the ponderous blocks of the pediment, each weighing tens of tons—and in some cases hundreds of tons—up to the top of them. 

So let’s be clear about this, right from the start, because there is so much ignorant baloney talked on the subject: the Romans were incredibly accomplished builders and they were absolutely capable of moving and placing monstrously huge and heavy blocks of stone. If there’s an argument to be made for a lost civilization at Baalbek then it can’t be based on the block weights, or on naïve, ill-informed notions about what the Romans could or couldn’t do, because in the realm of building, the evidence all around me confirms they could do pretty much anything they chose to. 

One of the things they frequently did was build their temples on pre-existing sacred sites. Their objective was not to obliterate the indigenous gods and religions (as the Spanish sought to do in Mexico, for example, when they installed churches on the site of Aztec temples), but rather to associate the gods and religion of Rome in a positive way with what had gone before. The pre-Roman cults usually continued to flourish and the pre-Roman deities were honored and absorbed in a rich, creative and endlessly proliferating syncretism. But for those doing archaeological forensic work to try to establish exactly who was responsible for what, and when, this practice of overbuilding inevitably presents some challenges—particularly so, as is the case at Baalbek, when other later cultures, and the ravages of time, have also continuously modified the site. 

Toward the end of the Roman era bad things began to happen here. The turning point was Rome’s conversion, under the Emperor Constantine (AD 306–37), to the new fanatical, exclusivist religion of Christianity. The militants of that faith focused their beady eyes first on the Temple of Venus, described by the Christian chronicler Eusebius as “a school to learn sensual practices,” where initiates indulged “in all kinds of debauchery.” 29 Constantine gave orders that the temple should be destroyed completely (in the event it wasn’t). 30 Julian the Apostate (AD 361–3) detested Christianity and reinstated the old gods. Then Theodosius (AD 379–95) took the throne and the Christians were back in power with a vengeance. “Constantine the Great contented himself with closing the temples,” reports the Chronicon Paschale: 

but Theodosius destroyed them. He transformed into a Christian Church the temple of Heliopolis, that of Baal-Helios, the Great Sun-Baal, the celebrated Trilithon. 31 

Some hundreds of years later the Islamic era began. Around AD 664 Baalbek was besieged and captured by a Muslim army that converted the Temple of Jupiter and the Temple of Bacchus, immediately south of it, into a single large fortress. Various factions then held Baalbek and continued to fortify it (indeed, to this day, it is often still referred to in Arabic as the Kala’a, meaning the “fortress” 32 ). In the process, of course, the ancient temples suffered further destruction. In AD 902 the Karmates, a dissident Shia sect, besieged and captured Baalbek, slaughtering the defenders. The Fatimites seized it in AD 969. Four years later, a Muslim General named Zamithes arrived with a huge army and another devastating siege and massacre followed. 33 

A Greek-Christian army set Baalbek on fire in 996; by 1100 it was in the hands of the Seljuk, Tadj Eddolat Toutous. In 1134 it was besieged by Zinki, who “for three months hurled on its ramparts a storm of projectiles” using “fourteen catapults working day and night.” 34 

In 1158 Baalbek was struck by an earthquake of “unparalleled violence” that “destroyed the fortress and the temples.” Noureddin, the son of Zinki “hastened to Baalbek to repair the damage which the earthquake had done to the ramparts.” 35

In 1171 a force of captured European Crusaders who were being held prisoner in the fortress staged an uprising, in which they slaughtered the garrison and took possession of the citadel, but were soon slaughtered in their turn by a Muslim army that broke in through an underground passage. In 1176 the Crusaders were back. They attacked and pillaged Baalbek. Soon afterward, in 1203 there was another massive earthquake that caused further extensive damage. 36 

In 1260 the Tartar Sultan, Holako, besieged Baalbek, captured it and destroyed it. “Not even the fortifications were spared”—a folly that the Tartars came to regret when King Daher Bibars attacked them and expelled them. He gave orders that the fortress of Baalbek—which, let us not forget, was the site of the ancient temples—should immediately be rebuilt and its walls reconstructed. In 1318, however, nature took a hand again and a fearsome flood undermined the ramparts making several wide breaches. “The water rushed in with such force that it lifted a tower 12 meters [39 feet] square to a distance of 400 meters [1,312 feet].” 37 
Next came the Turko–Mongol conqueror, Timur. In 1491, after capturing the citadel and subduing all resistance there, he gave it up “to the rapacity of his soldiers who pillaged it ruthlessly.” By 1516, when Baalbek became part of the Ottoman empire, the fortress and its temples were “completely ruined.” 38 

In this state they were seen by the English architect Robert Wood in 1751, whose detailed drawings of the site show nine of the original fifty-four columns of the Temple of Jupiter still intact. Then in 1759 another fearsome earthquake struck, leaving only the six standing columns that I now sit in front of as I mull over the tumultuous history of this ancient sacred place. 39 

The question I’m asking myself is this—after so many cycles of construction, destruction and rebuilding, how much can archaeology really claim to know about the site? As Michael Alouf, the former Curator of Baalbek, confirms: 

Unfortunately this temple has suffered greatly through the ravages of time and the vandalism of the ignorant; its walls have been demolished, its columns overthrown and its foundations undermined. There only remain the six columns of the southern peristyle, four broken columns on their bases in the northern peristyle within the Arab fortifications, and the socles [plinths] of the peristyle of the façade. The Byzantine Emperors were the first who began to destroy the temple, using the building material thus obtained for the construction of [a] basilica. The Arabs followed their example, extracting from the walls and the foundations of the temple any blocks of stone likely to be useful in fortifying the weak spots of the ramparts. 40 

Undoubtedly the German Archaeological Institute, who have the concession for this site (as they have also for Göbekli Tepe in Turkey) are doing their best. In the process, however, they have revealed even more deeply confusing layers of complexity and have been obliged to overturn what was for a long while the mainstream consensus that the first builders at Baalbek were the Romans. 41 Far from it! Indeed, under the place where I’m sitting now, which was in the midst of the area that once formed the cella—the inner chamber—of the Temple of Jupiter, are the remains of a far more ancient sacred mound. Such mounds are known as “Tells” in this region, and archaeologists now admit that “Tell Baalbek” goes back at least 10,000 years 42—i.e. 8,000 or more years before the Romans arrived here! “A long sequence of Neolithic settlement layers … most probably the Pre-Pottery Neolithic,” 43 has been excavated, pushing the origins of Baalbek very close to the time when Göbekli Tepe flourished in nearby Turkey. 

Megalithic wall north 
The artillery fire is still going on in the background, but it’s one of those noises you tune out after a while. I get up off the warm comfortable block I’ve been sitting on and make my way a few dozen paces north, across what would have been the floor of the Temple of Jupiter, until I come to its northern edge (marked by a few broken columns, still upright on their plinths like the stubs of rotten teeth) set into a later—very makeshift and higgledy-piggledy—Arab fortification wall. Into the wall, at intervals, are built embrasures with loop holes through which defenders fired arrows down on their attackers. Peering north through one of these loopholes, I can just see the top of a truly massive row of megaliths perhaps (I’m guessing) 20 or 25 feet below me. I count nine of them and note that they’re separated from the base of the wall in which the embrasure is set by a horizontal distance of—another rough guess—35 feet. In the gap, which is overgrown with grass and bushes, are many fallen, broken blocks of stone. 

In order to get a better view of this strange megalithic wall I continue to walk westward along the northern margin of the Temple of Jupiter, until I get to another part of the Arab fortifications that were later added onto it, the so-called “Northwest Tower.” I can step out onto this—there’s a convenient terrace with a commanding view—and look back from it in an eastward direction along the huge megaliths, set out in a row below me, and down into the overgrown grassy gap that separates them from the wall of the temple platform

I’ll not try to explain yet what those megaliths are. There are enough confusing factors already! But we’ll return to them shortly when, hopefully, all will become clear. Meanwhile I exit the Arab tower, walk back into the huge rectangular space it leads off, where the Temple of Jupiter once stood, and cross it heading east until I come to the steps that once led up to the temple’s entrance. I descend the steps, then turn westward again into the sunken plaza, bounded by the platform of the Temple of Jupiter to the north and by the Temple of Bacchus to the south.

The transmission of knowledge 
Naturally I check out the wine god’s sanctuary. It’s beautiful, with a strong energy of its own, and I’m sure a lot of joy was celebrated here in antiquity. But there’s a more serious side, too, hinting that the Romans were the recipients of a stream of ancient knowledge and symbolism with its origins in the remotest antiquity—a stream, though divided into many channels, that continues to flow to this day. 

Freemasons who have studied the Temple of Bacchus point to a number of reliefs and designs here that are meaningful to them. For example, on the underside of a huge stone ceiling block, still balanced on the columns of the temple, appears the device known as the “Seal of Solomon”—a six pointed star inscribed within a circle. According to leading US Freemason Timothy Hogan, Grand Master of the Knights Templar Order, the figure in the center of the star is depicted “giving a sign that would be familiar to Entered Apprentices.” Another relief shows two figures “sitting side by side and making gestures that would have meaning to a Fellowcraft in Freemasonry.” 44 

It’s also noteworthy at the Temple of Bacchus, and indeed throughout Baalbek, how much evidence there is for the veneration of the god of wisdom whom the Romans called Mercury—the Greek Hermes—whom the Ancient Egyptians knew as Thoth and connected, as we saw in Chapter Nine, to the traditions of the Seven Sages. 45 Another curious link is that the cult of Mercury in its earliest forms involved the use of betyls, 46 discussed in Chapter Eleven, which were originally “stones fallen from heaven”—in other words, meteorites and thus often part of the debris stream of fragmenting comets. When we recall that the Black Stone of the Kaaba in Mecca is said to be a meteorite, it’s interesting that Baalbek in antiquity was the site of a famous oracle (the Roman Emperor Trajan reportedly held it in great esteem), and that it was “a black stone which answered questions.” 47 

Some scholars believe the Temple of Bacchus was jointly dedicated to Mercury, 48 but since I’m not in Baalbek to explore Roman architecture I won’t describe it further. It’s the Temple of Jupiter, and its tangled prehistoric past that really interests me—particularly its relationship through the platform on which it stands with the earlier constructions going back to the time of Göbekli Tepe. 

Again, sorting out the different phases is difficult and I’m determined not to be lured by the trap that so many “alternative” historians have fallen into—namely to conclude, when we see huge megaliths, that super-advanced, even “alien” technologies must have been involved in moving them and lifting them. As I’ve already said, I don’t dispute that the Romans could and did move enormous blocks of stone when they wanted to. Indeed, the evidence for that is all around me in the space between the Temple of Bacchus and the Temple of Jupiter, where heaps of carved and engraved blocks from the fallen pediments of both structures lie scattered. They are, without question, Roman, some of them weigh in the range of 100 tons or more, one weighs 360 tons, 49 and all of them were raised almost 70 feet (21 meters) above the ground—the height of the columns on which they were perched. 50 

I walk north through these ruins, back toward the Temple of Jupiter, looking up now at its six remaining giant columns, each one of them composed of three enormous blocks and each standing on a monolithic stone plinth almost 9 feet (2.7 meters) high. 51 You’d have to be a fool to argue that the Romans didn’t make and raise up those columns, or the pediments above them, because it’s completely obvious on stylistic grounds, and on the basis of comprehensive archaeological research, that they did. 

However, as noted earlier, the Romans were themselves both the inheritors and the transmitters of sometimes extremely archaic traditions and it may not be an accident that the Temple of Jupiter originally boasted fifty-four columns. The reader will recall the phenomenon of precession discussed in Chapters Ten and Eleven, and the mystery of “precessional numbers,” encoded in ancient myths and traditions from all around the world, which Professors Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend take as proof of advanced astronomical knowledge handed down from some as yet unidentified and “almost unbelievable” ancestor civilization. It so happens that 54 is one of the sequence of precessional numbers. It derives from 72, the number of years required for one degree of precessional motion. We then add 36 (half of 72) to 72 itself to get 108 and divide 108 by two to get 54. In their groundbreaking study Hamlet’s Mill, Santillana and von Dechend point to the avenues of statues at Angkor in Cambodia, “108 per avenue, 54 on each side,” as examples of deliberate precessional symbolism 52—so why not the fifty-four columns of the Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek as well? 

Megalithic wall south 
My eye tracks down from the top of the six remaining columns past their huge plinths, to the wall of moderate quarter-ton blocks that they surmount (forming the southern edge of the Temple of Jupiter) and down again to the base of that wall which in turn is flanked by a row of nine colossal megaliths that are each about 32 feet long, 13 feet high and 10 feet wide (9.5 meters by 4 meters by 3 meters). 53 These monster blocks weigh somewhere in the range of 400 tons each. A number of them, those furthest toward the west, have a nicely finished appearance, with the stone smoothed and polished and the upper half trimmed in to be narrower than the base. But others are rough, still showing the “boss,” the protective layer that masons leave on the surface to protect the ashlar from damage while it is being transported to the site. 54 

The quarry these blocks were brought from has been identified. It’s about 800 meters (half a mile) to the south. I don’t doubt that cutting and moving them would have been within the technical capacity of the Romans, the greatest and most ingenious builders of the historical antiquity. Still the question must be asked—are these blocks their work? Or someone else’s? The question must be asked, because the nine blocks I’m looking at now are part of the same stupendous, megalithic wall to which belong the nine equally gigantic blocks I saw earlier on the north side of the complex. That northern row of megaliths and this southern row of megaliths form the northern and southern “arms” of a single gigantic “U”-shaped wall that surrounds the Temple of Jupiter to the north, south and west with the base of the “U”—in which is set the fabled Trilithon that I’ve come here to see—oriented west. 

As usual with Baalbek, as though this were not complicated enough, there are further complications! These have been explored by Daniel Lohmann, an extremely thorough and really quite brilliant German architect and archaeologist, who has spent years excavating and closely examining this site and who, in February 2015, was gracious enough to engage in correspondence with me and to give me the benefit of his extensive knowledge. It’s his opinion, which I’ll go into in more depth in the next chapter, that the awe-inspiring U-shaped megalithic wall surrounding the Temple of Jupiter is one hundred percent Roman. 

His case is that it was part of what was intended to become an immense podium—let us follow the logic of his argument and call it “Podium 2”—with which whoever commissioned the temple (and since there are zero contemporary records we don’t know who that was 55 ) wished to surround his “megalomaniac” masterpiece. 56 The upshot of Lohmann’s investigation is that within the U-shaped wall of Podium 2 are the remains of what he sees as an earlier building phase, which he refers to as “Podium 1.” 57 His investigations show the dimensions of Podium 1 to be 12 meters (39 feet) in height by 48 meters (157 feet)north to south, by 95 meters (312 feet) east to west, but, he admits, “the only certain clue” to its age “is that it pre-dates the Julio Claudian temple” 58 (i.e. the Temple of Jupiter which was built in the main by the Julio-Claudian dynasty, spanning the reigns of the Emperors Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero, 27 BC–AD 68). To cut a long story short, Lohmann argues that Podium 1 was the work of Herod the Great, the Roman client king who ruled Judea in the last decades of the first century BC. But there are no inscriptions or other documentary evidence that could settle the matter, so “the only source of information is the well-preserved structure itself,” 59 notably its stylistic features: 

such as the use of alternating rows of headers and stretchers, drafted-margin masonry and the reconstruction of the plan of this early structure. These elements reveal surprisingly close parallels to Herodian sanctuaries, and in particular the Temple at Jerusalem, not only in general appearance but in their precise proportions and measurements. These correspondences between the two building projects strongly suggest Herodian involvement … even though its precise nature remains to be determined. 60 

As we’ve seen, the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70, so Lohmann is obliged to base his argument on “the only surviving part of the Temple, the gigantic trapezoidal platform of the Haram-esh-Sharif.” 61 Nonetheless, the detailed comparisons he offers do, indeed, make an excellent case for “Herodian involvement” in Baalbek Podium 1. What remains to be settled, however, is how extensive this involvement was. To be specific, although Lohmann concedes that “Tell Baalbek … was continuously inhabited since the pre-pottery Neolithic period” 62—i.e. since the time of Göbekli Tepe—and although his whole argument is that the Julio-Claudian Emperors worked around Podium 1 at Baalbek when they started to build the massive and imposing U-shaped wall for Podium 2, he doesn’t consider the possibility that there might have been a “Podium 0,” which Herod in turn overbuilt. 

I can hardly blame him for that, since no mainstream archaeologist that I’m aware of is willing to consider the same possibility for Herod’s restoration of the Jerusalem Temple—particularly with reference to the huge megalithic blocks, discussed earlier, that now stand exposed by the Hasmonean Tunnel. Nevertheless it’s a possibility that shouldn’t be ignored at Baalbek, especially in the light of what Lohmann himself describes as the “great antiquity” of the site. 63 

And there’s another possibility as well, which I intend to consider. It concerns the megalithic U Shaped wall that forms the base and boundary of the feature Lohmann calls Podium 2. Suppose that U shaped wall isn’t Roman at all? Suppose it was already in place before, not after, Herod built Podium 1? Suppose, further, that the Tell that antedates Podium 1 by thousands of years was itself situated where it is because of the prior existence of the U-shaped megalithic wall? In other words, suppose the U-shaped wall with its immense megaliths was the very first work of architecture to be built on this site, perhaps enshrining some central feature, some primeval mound, in front of which the Tell later evolved over thousands of years, until the Herodian Temple was built on top of it, and then a little later overbuilt by the Temple of Jupiter? 

Having climbed a stairway set against the side of a monstrously large block—the scale of everything here is truly epic!—I make my way along the top of the row of 13-feet high, 400-ton megaliths that form the southern elevation of the U-shaped megalithic wall that Lohmann sees as part of the—never completed—Podium 2. I’m heading west now and I pass under the six standing columns, which seem less to loom than to take flight over me, so light and graceful do they appear despite their massive size. The wall they’re perched on rises to about twice my height; its upper edge—where the columns stand—marks the level of the floor of the Temple of Jupiter, where I’d sat earlier. The space between the wall and the edge of the 10-feet wide megaliths I’m walking on is an obstacle course of broken fragments of columns and ornate multi-ton chunks of the pediment they once supported. 

At the end of the long row of megaliths I’m confronted by a warren of towers, archways and tumbledown, medieval Arab fortifications. I thread my way through these—it’s all a bit bewildering! —climb a flight of stairs and take a right turn into a narrow alley at the western edge of the whole complex. I’m heading north now and the alley, which isn’t wide enough for two people to pass abreast, runs between the outer fortification wall on my left—part Roman, part Arab reconstruction— and a row of rough-hewn megalithic blocks on my right. I don’t know what to make of these blocks but a few months later, in correspondence we eventually engage in, Lohmann will tell me that they’re: part of a filling layer 

… that was intended to fill up space between the Herodian wall and the later megaliths which make up the exterior shell of the second, Julio-Claudian podium. They were intended to be invisible behind the shell, so they remained undressed, and with a rough surface. 64 

Whatever they are, these massive blocks are separated by little more than the width of my shoulders from the hybrid Roman wall extended by Arab fortifications to my left. The feeling is one of constriction, almost claustrophobia. After twenty paces, or so, however, the alley widens as the outer fortification wall, previously several courses thick suddenly reduces to a single course which, just ahead, has a large gap in it through which I peer down onto a grassy border, some 35 or 40 feet below, edged by the modern fence that surrounds the whole of the Baalbek complex. 

That’s when I realize for sure—I’d been half expecting it, but I wasn’t certain until this moment— that I’m standing on what I’ve come to Baalbek to see. It’s just over 64 feet long, more than 14 feet high, nearly 12 feet wide and weighs more than 800 tons. 65 

It’s the southernmost of the three famed megaliths of the Trilithon.

Next: And then Came the Deluge

Chapter 11 
1. Plato, Timaeus and Critias, Penguin Classics, op. cit., pp. 35–6.
2. E.A.E. Reymond, The Mythical Origin of the Egyptian Temple, op. cit., p. 285. 
3. This notion is already accepted by some Egyptologists who have “proposed that Predynastic and/or early dynastic material was cleared away in creating the pyramid platforms.” See Serena Love, “Stones, ancestors and pyramids: investigating the pre-pyramid landscape of Memphis,” in Miroslav Barta (Ed), The Old Kingdom Art and Archaeology, Proceedings of the Conference held in Prague, 31 May–4 June 2004, Czech Institute of Egyptology, Prague, 2006, p. 216. 
4. E.A.E. Reymond, The Mythical Origin of the Egyptian Temple, op. cit., p. 327. 
5. Letter to Robert Bauval dated 27 January 1993, cited in Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock, Keeper of Genesis, op. cit., p. 200 and note 11, p. 333. 
6. E.A.E. Reymond, The Mythical Origin of the Egyptian Temple, op. cit., p. 59. 
7. Ibid., p. 9. 
8. E.A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Magic, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., London, 1901, reprinted by Dover Publications Inc., New York, 1971, p. 143. 
9. Cited in John Greaves, Pyramidographia: Or a Description of the Pyramids in Egypt, George Badger, London, 1646, reprinted by Robert Lienhardt, Baltimore, p. 96. 
10. Ibid. 
11. Ibid. 
12. Ibid. 
13. I.E.S. Edwards, The Pyramids of Egypt, 1947 edition op. cit., p. 134. 
14. Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol. I, op. cit., pp. 218–19. 
15. I.E.S. Edwards, The Pyramids of Egypt, 1993 edition, op. cit., p. 286. 
16. F.W. Green, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. XVI, 1930, p. 33. 
17. Alan H. Gardiner, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. XI, 1925, pp. 2–5. 
18. E.A.E. Reymond, The Mythical Origin of the Egyptian Temple, op. cit., p. 77. 
19. Ibid., p. 112. 
20. See discussion in Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock, Keeper of Genesis, op. cit., pp. 13, 108, 192, 193–6. 
21. R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz, Sacred Science, Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont, 1988, p. 104. 
22. Ibid., p. 111. 
23. Sir Walter Scott (Ed. and Trans.), Hermetica, Shambhala, Boston, 1993, p. 343. 
24. See discussion in Sylvia Cranston (Ed.), Reincarnation: The Phoenix Fire Mystery, Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, 1998, p. 114ff. 
25. R.T. Rundle Clark, The Origin of the Phoenix, University of Birmingham HistoricalJournal (1949–1950), p. 17: “The Benben stone and the Bennu bird must have names derived from the same root bn or wbn. Both words are derivative, so we cannot say that one is an attribute of the other. The bird and the stone—if stone it is—are linked together.” 
26. Henri Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods, The University of Chicago Press, 1978, pp. 153–4. 
27. See, for example, E.A. Wallis Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, John Murray, London, 1920, reprinted by Dover Publications Inc., New York, 1978, Vol. I, p. 217. 
28. Robert Bauval, Discussions in Egyptology, Vol. 14, 1989. 
29. PT 1652, cited in R.T. Rundle Clark, The Origin of the Phoenix, op. cit., p. 14. 
30. E.A. Wallis Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 217. 
31. R.T. Rundle Clark, The Origin of the Phoenix, op. cit., p. 15. 
32. Ibid., p. 18. 
33. Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal: A Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant, William Heinemann Ltd., London, 1992, pp. 67–9. 
34. Menahem Haran, Temples and Temple Service in Ancient Israel, Clarendon Press, Oxford, reprinted by Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Indiana, 1985, p. 246. 
35. For a discussion see Emma Jung and Marie-Louise von Franz, The Grail Legend, Coventure, London, 1986, p. 148, footnote 28. 
36. Jennifer Westwood (Ed.), The Atlas of Mysterious Places, Guild Publishing, London, 1987, p. 74. 
37. Ibid. 
38. W.H. Roscher, Lexicon der griechischen und romischen Mythologie, 1884, cited in Emma Jung and Marie-Louise von Franz, The Grail Legend, op. cit., p. 148. 
39. See ibid., p. 14–16. 
40. R.T. Rundle Clark, Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt, Thames and Hudson, London, 1991, pp 246–7. 
41. Ibid. 
42. Summary of Lactantius from Elmer G. Suhr, “The Phoenix,” Folklore, Vol. 87, No. 1 (1976), p. 30. 
43. E.V.H. Kenealy cited in Sylvia Cranston (Ed.), The Phoenix Fire Mystery, op. cit., p. 18. 
44. R.T. Rundle Clark, The Origin of the Phoenix, op. cit., p. 1; Elmer G. Suhr, “The Phoenix,” op. cit., p. 31; R. Van den Broek, The Myth of the Phoenix According to Classical and Early Christian Traditions, E.J. Brill, 1972, pp. 68–72. 
45. R.T. Rundle Clark, The Origin of the Phoenix, op. cit., p. 1; Gerald Massey, The Natural Genesis, Vol. 2, Black Classic Press, Baltimore, 1998 (Reprint Edition) p. 340. 
46. M.R. Niehoff, “The Phoenix in Rabbinic Literature,” The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 89, No. 3 (Jul 1996), p. 252. 
47. R. Van den Broek, The Myth of the Phoenix According to Classical and Early Christian Traditions, op. cit., p. 73. 
8. See Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods, op. cit., Chapters 28 to 32. 
49. Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, Hamlet’s Mill, op. cit., p. 132. 
50. R. Van den Broek, The Myth of the Phoenix, op. cit., pp. 73–4. 

Chapter 12 
1. Exactly who was responsible for the murders has still not, at time of writing, been satisfactorily established. Five senior members of Hezbollah, the Shia militant and political group, have been indicted by a UN tribunal. Hezbollah itself blames Israel for the assassination. In addition there are suspicions that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria was directly involved. See for example and and and 
2. Including a raid by Israeli commandos in 2006—see: And see also: For the missile strike on Baalbek in June 2013 see:,7340,L4386949,00.html and 
3. For the history of Solomon’s Temple and subsequent constructions on the Temple Mount see Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal, op. cit., Chapter 14. 
4. Andreas J.M. Kropp and Daniel Lohmann, “‘Master, look at the size of those stones! Look at the size of those buildings.’ Analogies in Construction Techniques between the Temples of Heliopolis (Baalbek) and Jerusalem,” in Levant, Vol. 43, No. 1 (2011), Council for British Research in the Levant, 2011, p. 42–3. 
5. Dan Bahat, Carta’s Historical Atlas of Jerusalem, Carta, Jerusalem, 1989, p. 30. 
6. For a discussion see Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal, op. cit., Chapter Five, pp. 91–2. 
7. Ibid., p. 95. 
8. For video see: (from about 1 minute 30 seconds forward). For photographs, see: and 
9. Andreas J.M. Kropp and Daniel Lohmann, “Master, look at the size of those stones!,” op. cit. 
10. Selim Hassan, The Great Sphinx and its Secrets: Historical Studies in the Light of Recent Excavations (Excavations at Giza 1936–1937, Vol. VIII), Government Press, Cairo, p. 267. 
11. See, for example, ibid., pp. 264–6. 
12. Ibid. p. 49. 
13. Ibid. 
14. Ibid., p. 256. 
15. Ibid. 
16. Christiane Zivie-Coche, “Foreign Deities in Egypt,” in Jacco Dielman, Willeke Wendrich (Eds.), UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, Los Angeles, 2011, p. 5. NB: In the quotes passage Zivie-Coche uses Harmachis, the Graecianised form of the Ancient Egyptian Hor-em-Akhet but I have taken the liberty of rendering it simply as Hor-em-Akhet to avoid further confusing multiplication of names! 
17. Ibid., p. 6. 
18. N. Wyatt, Religious Texts from Ugarit, Sheffield Academic Press, 1998, p. 378ff. 
19. Jacobus Van Dijk, “The Canaanite God Hauron and his Cult in Egypt,” GM 107 (1989), p. 61. Paper presented at the Fourth International Congress of Egyptology, Munich, 26 Aug-1 Sept 1985. Pdf available here: 
20. N. Wyatt, Religious Texts from Ugarit, op. cit., p. 385. 
21. Ibid., p. 386. 
22. Nina Jidejian, Baalbek: Heliopolis, City of the Sun, Dar el-Machreq Publishers, Beirut, 1975, p. 5. See also Michael M. Alouf, History of Baalbek, American Press, Beirut, 1951, p. 38, and Friedrich Ragette, Baalbek, Chatto & Windus, London, 1980, p. 16. 
23. Christiane Zivie-Coche, “Foreign Deities in Egypt,” op. cit., pp. 2–4, and Figure 4. See also Selim Hassan, The Great Sphinx and its Secrets: Historical Studies in the Light of Recent Excavations (Excavations at Giza 1936–1937, Vol. VIII), op. cit., p. 278. 
24. Friedrich Ragette, Baalbek, op. cit., p. 16. 25. See David Grene (Trans.), Herodotus, The History, Book 2, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1987, p. 132ff. 
26. Friedrich Ragette, Baalbek, op. cit., p. 20. 
27. Ibid. 
28. Ibid., pp. 16–17, 72. 
29. Cited in Michael M. Alouf, History of Baalbek, op. cit., p. 65. 
30. Ibid. 
31. Cited in Ibid., p. 66. 
32. Friedrich Ragette, Baalbek, op. cit., p. 27. 
33. Michael M. Alouf, History of Baalbek, op. cit., pp. 69–70. 
34. Ibid., p. 71. 
35. Ibid. 
36. Ibid., pp. 71–2. 
37. Ibid., p. 73.
38. Ibid., p. 74. 
39. Dell Upton, “Starting from Baalbek: Noah, Solomon, Saladin, and the Fluidity of Architectural History,” Journal of the American Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 68, No. 4 (December 2009), p. 458. 
40. Michael M. Alouf, History of Baalbek, op. cit., p. 86. 
41. See Dell Upton, “Starting from Baalbek,” op. cit., pp. 459–60: “The sense that Baalbek was profoundly European, a product of the Roman culture upon which ‘the West’ was grounded, moved into the scholarly literature when the German archaeological excavations of the first years of the twentieth century gave us the Baalbek we know today.” 
42. See, for example, Margarete van Ess and Llaus Rheidt (Eds.), Baalbek-Heliopolis 10:000 Jahre Stadtgeschichte [BaalbekHeliopolis: 10,000 Year History of The City], Zabern Philipp Von GmbH, 2014. 
43. Margaret van Ess, “First Results of the Archaeological Cleaning of the Deep Trench in the Great Courtyard of the Jupiter Sanctuary,” in “Baalbek/Heliopolis: Results of Archaeological and Architectural Research 2002–5,” in Bulletin d’Archaeoligie et d’Architecture Libanaises (BAAL), Hors-Serie IV, Beirut, 2008, p. 113. See also Daniel Lohmann, “Giant Strides Toward Monumentality: The Architecture of the Jupiter Sanctuary in Baalbek/Heliopolis,” Bolletino Di Archeologia On Line, 2010, Volume special/Poster Session 2, p. 29: “Tell Balbek … was continuously inhabited since the pre-pottery Neolithic period.” 
44. Timothy Hogan, Entering the Chain of Union: An Exploration of Esoteric Traditions and What Unites Them, 2012, pp. 238–9, 242–5. 
45. For the cult of Mercury at Baalbek, see Nina Jidejian, Baalbek Heliopolis, op. cit., pp. 28, 29, 30, 33, 36, 37, 45, 54–5. For the Thoth-Hermes connection see Garth Fowden, The Egyptian Hermes, Cambridge University Press, 1987, and Patrick Boylan, Thoth: Hermes of Egypt, Ares Publishers, Chicago, 1987. 46. Nina Jidejian, Baalbek Heliopolis, op. cit., p. 54. 
47. Hartoune Kalayan, “Notes on the Heritage of Baalbek and the Beka’a,” op. cit., p. 53. 
48. Nina Jidejian, Baalbek Heliopolis, p. 30. 
49. A piece identified as a fragment from the north corner of the pediment of the Temple of Jupiter. I have seen the piece and do not dispute the weight of 360 tons given in Christian and Barbara Joy O’Brien, The Shining Ones, Dianthus Publishing Ltd., Cirencester, 2001, p. 272. 
50. Michael M. Alouf, History of Baalbek, op. cit., pp. 85–6. 
51. Ibid., p. 85.
52. Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, Hamlet’s Mill, op. cit., p. 162. 
53. Dimensions for length and height given by Daniel Lohmann in our later personal correspondence (email dated 8 Feb 2015) and see also Michael M. Alouf, History of Baalbek, op. cit., pp. 86–7 who gives the width and very slightly different dimensions for length and height. 
54. I am grateful to architect and archaeologist Daniel Lohmann for explaining these details to me in our later personal correspondence (email dated 8 February 2015). 
55. Dell Upton, “Starting from Baalbek,” op. cit: “Ancient written documentation is almost nonexistent, and most of what has survived was written centuries after the construction of these buildings. There is absolutely no evidence, for example, to tell us who commissioned, paid for, or designed any portion of the complex.” 
56. Daniel Lohmann describes the design and construction of the wall as “megalomaniac” in “Giant Strides Toward Monumentality,” op. cit., p. 28. 
57. Andreas J.M. Kropp and Daniel Lohmann, “Master look at the size of those stones!” op. cit., p. 38. 
58. Ibid., p. 39. 
59. Ibid. 
60. Ibid, p. 38. 
61. Ibid, p. 44. 
62. Daniel Lohmann, “Giant Strides Toward Monumentality,” op.cit., p. 29. 
63. Daniel Lohmann, “Master, look at the size of those stones!” op. cit., p. 39. 
64. Personal correspondence with Daniel Lohmann, email of 8 February 2015. 
65. Jean-Pierre Adam, “A propos du trilithon de Baalbek: Le transport et le mise en oeuvre des megaliths,” Syria, T. 54 Fasc 1.2 (1977) p. 52.


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