Continuing the weekly serialization of
Damian Beeson Bullen’s
THE CHISPER EFFECT
In which a number of the world’s greatest mysteries are finally solved
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It has long been acknowledged that one of the Earth’s most fertile islands lies off the eastern coast of Canada, whose first European settlers adorned with the most honorable name of Nova Scotia. The population remains vigorously proud of its Old World roots, indefinitely perpetuating the linguistic, athletic & literary heritage that sailed to its shores across the vast Atlantic from the herring-heavy sea-ports of Scotland. Especially vibrant among the communities of Cape Breton is a love of traditional Scottish music; from a tender Burnsian ballad to the swirling bewitchery of a fiddle-driven ceilidh. These snippets of Caledonian culture have helped to carve the spirit of the hardy Nova Scotian, who gazes fondly across the ocean stream, through the remote ruggedness of the mountain wilds, yon the serene beauty of the still-watered lochs, to the gargoyle-hewn city of Edinburgh, where beats the pulsing heart of the Scottish diaspora. When asked of their ancient kindred, most Nova Scotians are aware of Bonnie Prince Charlie, Robert the Bruce & William Wallace. Certain scholarly sorts will remember Kenneth MacAlpine, the great Scottish king who defeated & absorbed the Picts, creating the united nation that we moderns know as Scotland. A few enlightened sorts will recall the name of Fergus Mor, the leader of the Ulster Scots who crossed the Irish Sea to found the Kingdom of Dalriada, c.500AD. There will also be a cluster of Nova Scotian historians who have made notice of the references in classical literature to the Scotti, that tribe of Irish sea-pirates who harassed the British coastline during the days of the Roman Empire. In our deeper history, the Scots are lost to posterity, but for one obscure account, contained in the writings of a good number of medieval chroniclers, which states as fact these following cardinal points;
- The Scots were named after an Egyptian princess called Scota
- Scota married a Greek warrior called Gaythelos
- They were driven from Egypt with many followers & eventually settled in Ireland.
My own interest in the topic began in the summer of 2011, while reading through a large & impressive hardback book by the Edinburgh-based artist Robert Powell. The text of one chapter, called by the intriguingly enticing, & virtually impossible to pronounce, ‘Polypanokatohypnopseudoscotichronicon’ was supplied by a certain Gregor Sloss, where one passage in particular caught my eye;
According to information collected some years ago from an elderly goatherd in the village of Krioneri, half-way up a mountain & in the middle of nowhere in the middle of Crete, the princess who founded Scotland was actually a Minoan, & the proof of this is that many Scots have dark hair
This is the first time, I believe, that the idea of Princess Scota being Minoan was ever muted in print. There was clearly a factochisp in play somewhere, & I began to wonder why Scota was considered a princess of both Egypt AND Minoa.
Centered on the fabulous palaces of Bronze Age Crete, Minoan culture flourished from c.2000 BC to c.1450BC, a period which saw the building of beautiful palaces, the creation of exquisite works of art & the invention of one of the world’s first alphabets – Linear A. It can be safely said that Minoan Crete is the cradle of European culture, whose capital was the magnificent palace at Knossos, in the north of the island. It was here that a 19th century archeologist, Sir Arthur Evans, discovered the very labyrinthine palatial complex of rooms that had been mythologized as the prison of the half-man, half-bull Minotaur. Previous to this great endeavor in the dust, academic consensus had regarded the legend as unprovable fancy… yet the truth in the tale was literally dug out of the ground. As for the veracity of Princess Scota, it was a faint rustic remembrance of her Cretan heritage, maintained over two & a half millennia, that proved to be an inextinguishable light into the past. I eventually tracked down Mr. Sloss in Edinburgh, a charming intellectual who told me the tale of that morning when he stumbled across the vital clue to unraveling the origin of the Scots:
In 2009, while hiking through the orange-dotted Cretan countryside, I came across a village of about a hundred people called Krioneri, situated well off the tourist trail. Near the entrance to the village stood an old farmhouse, whose garden was full of blooming flowers & ripening vegetables. It was also home to one of those annoying Greek dogs who bark ferociously at strangers, whose incessant yelping brought its old owner out of the house to see what was going on. Noticing that I was a tourist, he asked me in reasonable English where I was headed. After replying that I was simply exploring the area he promptly, & very excitedly, invited me in for a drink.
His name was Manoles – short for Emmanuel – & he brought out some delicious home-made wine in old water bottles. Like most Greeks, he had a decent command of English & our conversation began to roll easily. After pleasantries were exchanged he asked me of my marital status, & on replying I was single he told me of the many beautiful women that lived on the island of Crete & urged me to find one of my own. After this, the conversation swung to my origins, & on telling him I was Scottish he said, “You know of course how Scotland was founded?”
“Go on,” I replied.
“You are the Cretans of Britain & we are the Scots of Greece. Many years ago during the Minoan civilization, there were too many of us & a princess of Minoa went sailing with many Minoans – they travelled very far & founded new land – that is why many people in your country have dark hair, because of the princess!”
“That is amazing,” I told the old farmer, “In Scotland we have the same story, only the princess is Egyptian!”
“It is not amazing,” said Manoles with a wistful sigh, “but very sad! Everyone knows of the Vikings & the Pharaohs, but the Minoans have been forgotten… yet, I assure you the story I have told is true. I heard it from my father as he heard it from his – a tradition that has been in our family forever.”
Mr. Sloss described to me how struck he had been by stumbling upon an old man in the middle of nowhere who knew all about Princess Scota. To him, the odds of his Manoles having read the Scotichronicon of Walter Bower – in which the Scota legend is chiefly preserved – was a long shot too far. I concurred most heartily, & after thanking him for an interesting story, parted his pleasant company for the academic cloisters of the Scottish National Library. During my studies, I have been fortunate enough to have had my residence in & around the UNESCO city of literature, Edinburgh. Along with the British Library, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, the Cambridge Library & the National Library of Wales, ever since 1662 the National Library of Scotland has been given a copy of every book published in the United Kingdom. Submerging my studies among the many tangled legends of Princess Scota, my first port of call was the Scotichronicon mentioned by Mr. Sloss. In reality this book is actually a paraphrase & continuation of an earlier history of Scotland, the Chronica Gentis Scotorum (1385) by John of Fordun. His magnificent & erudite work formed Scotland’s first attempt to provide its people with a continuous story, synthesizing the scattered droplets of history into a single stream, & it is by diving headlong into Fordun’s telling of the legend, translated by the grand old erudite 19th century Scottish scholar WF Skene, that we obtain our first glimpse of Princess Scota.
In the third Age, in the days of Moses, a certain king of one of the countries of Greece, Neolus, or Heolaus, by name, had a son, beautiful in countenance, but wayward in spirit, called Gaythelos, to whom he allowed no authority in the kingdom. Roused to anger, and backed by a numerous band of youths, Gaythelos disturbed his father’s kingdom by many cruel misdeeds, and angered his father and his people by his insolence. He was, therefore, driven out by force from his native land, and sailed to Egypt, where, being distinguished by courage and daring, and being of royal birth, he married Scota, the daughter of Pharaoh. Another Chronicle says that, in those days, all Egypt was overrun by the Ethiopians, who, according to their usual custom, laid waste the country from the mountains to the town of Memphis and the Great Sea; so that Gaythelos, the son of Neolus, one of Pharaoh’s allies, was sent to his assistance with a large army; and the king gave him his only daughter in marriage, to seal the compact.
Although the marriage of Scota & Gaythelos was successful, the politics about their union were complex. It seems that Gaythelos was given the hand of the pharaoh’s daughter in return for his military assistance. Then, upon the death of the pharaoh, Gaythelos succeeded to the throne alongside his wife… an event which went down like a lead balloon among the Egyptians, with the Royal Couple soon being driven out of Egypt. John of Fordun records the story;
We read in another Chronicle — the remainder of the Egyptian people… being on their guard lest, once subject to the yoke of a foreign tyranny, they should not be able to shake it off again, gathered together their forces, and sent word to Gaythelos that, if he did not hasten, as much as possible, his departure from the kingdom, endless mischief would result to him and his without delay.
Another Chronicle says : — Gaythelos, therefore, assembled his retainers, and, with his wife Scota, quitted Egypt
Fordun gives the exile of Gaythelos & Scota a very precise date, stating, ‘seven hundred and sixty years before the building of Rome, in the year 1510 B.C.’ The exact same year is also marked out by a chronicle known as the Parian Marble, inscribed on a stele found on the island of Paros. Erected in 263 BC, among its entries we may read that 1247 years previously – i.e. 1510 BC - ‘A ship with fifty oars sailed from Egypt to Greece, and was called Pentecontorus, and the daughters of Danaus……’ At this point, the stele is too weathered to contain more information, but we do know the story of the daughters of Danaus from other sources. These describe him as the progenitor of fifty black-skinned daughters (see Aeschylus) who fled to Greece from Egypt, a legend which we may now see as a creochisp of the Egyptian women who sailed with Scota, & would eventually find a new home with her in Ireland. It is no coincidence that Irish mythology contains the Tuatha de Dannan – a godlike tribe said to be among the earliest settlers. Chispologically speaking, Danaus & Danaan are a positive match, & it seems that the Daughters of Danaus & the Tuatha are the bookends of the great migration of Scota, Gaythelos, & their conjoined people.
The date provided by John of Fordun also helps us solve one of the great modern conundrums of history & Egyptology. According to the Ebers Papyrus, in the ninth regnal year of Amenhotep I there was a helical rising of Sirius. If this astronomical reading was taken from Thebes, it would be dated to 1517 BC, which means Amenhotep would have taken the throne in 1526 BC. This is known as the Low Chronology. According to Manetho, Amenhotep I reigned 21 years, supported by the tomb biography of his magician which explicitly states he served his pharaoh for 21 years. This means that according to the Low Chronology, Amenhotep I would be alive both sides of 1510 BC, suggesting John of Fordun was wrong. However, if the reading was taken from Memphis, then the rising would have occurred in 1537 BC & Amenhotep would have taken the throne in 1546 BC. This is known as the High Chronology. The 13-year reign of his successor, Thutmose I, would then span the years 1525-1512 BC, strongly suggesting that he was the pharaoh which John of Fordun says was the father of Princess Scota. Thutmose was the third pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty as instigated by Ahmose I, whose dates we can now properly give thanks to the brilliant historical laser-focus of John of Fordun, who has finally helped settle the High-Low Chronology conundrum.
Ahmose I (1571-1546 B.C.)
Amenhotep I (1546-1525 B.C.)
Thutmose I (1525-1512 B.C.)
Thutmose II (1512-1498 B.C.)
That Thutmose I was Gaythelos’ father-in-law is evinced by deeper analysis of Fordun’s; ‘all Egypt was overrun by the Ethiopians, who, according to their usual custom, laid waste the country from the mountains to the town of Memphis and the Great Sea; so that Gaythelos, the son of Neolus, one of Pharaoh’s allies, was sent to his assistance with a large army.’ To classical historians such as Herodotus & Diodorus Siculus, Ethiopia was the territory immediately to the south of Egypt, i.e. Nubia. These battles between Gaythelos & the Ethiopians/Nubians connect to campaigns fought by Thutmose I in the early years of his reign. Inscriptions at the tomb of Ahmose, son of Ebana, tell us that in the second regnal year of Thutmose (1524 BC), the pharaoh traveled down the Nile & slew the Nubian king. Playing a prominent part in this & other successful expeditions would win Gaythelos much renown; so much so that the Pharaoh offered him his daughter’s hand in marriage. This leads our investigations to the now-ruined 3,500 year-old palace in the confines of Tell el-Dab’a, the site of ancient ‘Avaris.’ On excavating the ruins in the 1980s, Manfred Bietak unearthed an 18th Dynasty royal compound built by Ahmose I. The palace of Avaris was evidently used as a military base, one which could have housed Gaythelos & his ‘spirited band of youths.’ Alongside magazines, huge grain silos & the burials of both horses & soldiers, Bietak (ii) tells us; ‘we have evidence that troops were stationed here in the form of a series of bone, flint & bronze arrowheads & carefully prepared stone missiles found in the palace.’
In the ancient gardens adjoining the palace at Avaris, archeologists found a solid connection to the legend of Gaythelos as given by Manoles & Gregor Sloss. It is an extremely rare occurrence to find one of the famously beautiful wall paintings of the Minoans outside of Crete, but portions of one such fresco were clearly defined at Avaris. Possessing all the hallmarks of Minoan artistry, the fragments share the same techniques applied to paintings at Knossos, including the mixing of buon fresco and the painting of tempera upon a polished lime-plaster surface. Numerous Minoan motifs are recognizable at Avaris, such as bull-leaping, horses set at the flying gallop & majestic griffins. ‘The only real match for the wall-paintings,’ states Bietak (i), ‘comes on the walls of the mighty Minoan palace at Knossos whose half-rosette, triglyphic frieze matches the motifs at Avaris.’ The Knossian link seems certain, especially when the Avaris fragments depict similar scenes to Crete’s northern craggy mountains, while according to Bietak (i) the Avaris bull-leaping arena ‘can be identified with the western court at Knossos, since it was situated according to our representation at the edge of open landscape but connected with the palace.’
Modern scholars, ruminating on the existence of these Minoan frescoes, have tentatively approached the idea of an Egypto-Minoan royal match. V.A. Hankey mused upon the matter with, ‘one very attractive hypothesis that has suggested itself is that of a dynastic marriage.’ Bietak elaborates by stating the Griffin images on the paintings are; ‘especially appropriate to such a scenario. According to Reusch & Marinatos, griffins were primarily the protective companions of goddesses & queens. Just as a heraldric pair of griffins decorate the throne room at Knossos, so our large griffin could equally be from a queen’s throne room.’ The only record of a marriage between Greek & Egyptian royalty in the era of Ahmose I, or his descendants, is that of Gaythelos & Scota, who we may now place quite convincingly in the palace of Avaris. This takes a significant step towards validating the rustic lore of central Crete, which remembers Scota not as an Egyptian princess, but as a Minoan. The truth it seems is that she was Egyptian, but she married a Minoan. A solid link between Gaythelos & Crete is mentioned by the 17th century Irish historian, Geoffrey Keating:
That same night a serpent came upon Gaedheal (Gaythelos) as he was swimming, and wounded him so that he was at the point of death… His people told Niul to take the lad to Moses; and he took Gaedheal into the presence of Moses. Moses prayed to God, and applied the rod he held in his hand to the wound, and thus healed it. And Moses said that, in what place soever the stock of that youth would settle, there no serpent would ever have venom, and this is verified in Crete, an island in Greece, in which some of his posterity are.
It is by the other name of Avaris, Peru-nefer, or ‘House of Nefer’ – later rebuilt as Piramesse – which brings us neatly to the Egyptian name of Scota. This princess, the eponymous matriarch of all Scots, can be only one of the two daughters sired by Thutmose I; Neferubity or Hatshephut. Of all the royal princesses of that era, the mummy of Neferubity has never been found, while her sister was definitively buried in the Valley of the Kings. Logic dictates that the missing Neferubity must have been Scota. The first element of her native name – Nfrw – means ‘beauty,’ while the second element – Bity – represents Lower Egypt (the Nile Delta). The full translation of Neferubity would be ‘Beauty of Lower Egypt,’ exactly where the palatial abode at Avaris is situated. Very little is known about her, & she is mentioned only by the meagrest handful of finds. She is depicted as a child on the tomb of her royal tutor Paheri, at El-Kab, while in a cartouche at her sister Hatshepsut’s Deir-el-Bahari mortuary temple she is a toddler stood below her parents, & is crucially named as the ‘king’s daughter.’ That she is never depicted in Egypt as an adult sits complicitly with a marriage to Gaythelos in her youth, & an early political exile. Such an act by the Egyptian people was contrary to the matrilineal laws of pharaonic succession; on Thutmose’s death the throne should have gone to Neferubity – the eldest daughter of the ‘Great Royal Wife,’ Queen Ahmose-Nefertati. The throne was instead passed illegitimately to Neferubity’s half-brother, Akhepenere, who took the title Thutmose II. To validate this irregularity, Neferubity’s younger sister Hatshepsut would later marry Thutmose II, consolidating her half-brother’s usurpation of the throne.
If Scota was originally an Egyptian Princess called Neferubity, then how came she by the name of Scota? The word springs from a Greek source, Skotos, which means moral or physical darkness. The latter is easily applied to a dark-skinned Neferubity, for ruling members of the 18th dynasty were portrayed, in the main, as black or dark brown, suggesting a Nubian origin. AH Gardiner states; ‘it is apparent from images of the Egyptians that they were dark-skinned. The facial features of the sphinx possess all the attributes of the African negro.’ Let us imagine for a moment a fair-skinned Minoan gazing upon a beautiful, dark-complexioned Egyptian princess. That they consciously remembered the exotic bride of Gaythelos as ‘skotos’ originates in a human instinct still rife with us today, for whether the liberal modern likes it or not, we all possess a basic, subconscious & tribalistic urge to acknowledge the colour of skin. ‘That is why many people in your country have dark hair,’ had said Manoles, ‘because of the princess!” Proof of Neferubity’s ‘nick-name’ lingered on into classical times, in a now-ruined Minoan settlement on the southern shores of Crete, facing Egypt. The site is known as Phaestus, where in classical times a temple was dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite, revered locally under the epithet Scotia. A few miles from Phaestos lie the ruins of Kommos, a coastal harbor settlement which must have served the Minoan noblemen of the area rather like the port of Ostia served ancient Rome. Its connection to Neferubity’s Egypt comes through a series of large civic structures, whose masonry echoes the massive building blocks of the pharaohs. There are also a number of pottery finds at Phaestus dated to the LM I period of archeology (Lesser Minoan 1), 1600-1500 BC. These heralded from countries such as Cyprus, Syria, Egypt & Palestine, which show Kommos very much part of the same trade network as that of Avaris. Bietak tells us, ‘archeological material from Tell el-Daba from the time of the early New Kingdom… amphorae & other vessels from Syria-Palestine continued to be imported in substantial quantities plus Cypriot imports.’
The basic idea is that the black skinned Neferubity would eventually be worshiped at Phaestus as Aphrodite Scotia. Worship of the goddess Aphrodite is late, post-dating the days of Neferubity by several centuries, & the etymology of her name is unknown. As or her name, ‘no explanation, has been offered,’ says Martin Bernal, ‘for the… suffix –dite.’ Through Chispology, however, Scota’s true Egyptian name proceeds in regal procession through the mists of history.
Heredotus tells us, ‘after a long lapse of time the names of the gods came to Greece from Egypt,’ & the Greek goddess of love being originally the ‘Beauty of Lower Egypt’ makes perfect sense. Between Egypt & ancient Greece, both physically & culturally, comes Minoan Crete, & we can observe in the names of gods & goddesses recorded in Linear A, on tablets found across Crete & beyond, how Mycynaean Greeks incorporated Minoan deities into their own pantheon.
Atana Potinija = Athena
Ereutija = Eileithyia
Posedaone = Poseidon
Pajawone = Paian was a classical epithet for Apollo
Are = Ares
Enuwarijo = Enyalios was a classical epithet for Ares.
A significant link between Aphrodite & Neferubity comes through the association of Aphrodite with an Egyptian snake-goddess called Wadjet, who was worship’d at an ancient city near Memphis given the name Aphroditopolis by the Greeks. Both Wadjet & Aphrodite were celebrated for their abilities to inspire fertility & love, & it is in the phallic nature of the snake that we may see the association between Wadjet, Aphrodite & sex. It is in the bringing of Wadjet-worship to Crete by Neferubity that we can discern the true origins of several mysterious statuettes discovered in Crete by Arthur Evans. In 1903 he came across two faïence figurines within the ‘Temple of Repositories’ at Knossos, who wore girdles identical to the one worn by Aphrodite as she embarked on a seduction of Zeus. On examining the irregular hieroglyphs carved on the base of one of his figurines, Evans declared them to have been engraved locally & suggested there had once been a cult to Wadjet on Crete. Other finds include a ritual snake tube with undulating handles & conical cup discovered at Kommos, another snakewoman idol found by the American archaeologist Harriet Boyd amid the ruins of the Minoan palace at Gournià, & fragments of several female figurines discovered by Federico Halbherr near Gortyna.
On coming to the island as the beautiful consort of Gaythelos, Neferubity would have imported & spread the worship of Wadjet throughout the island. A flamboyant figure, flowering with the vibrant fashions of Thebes, to the rustic Minoan she would have seemed divine. Her deification ran in the family, for the wings of popular acclaim had also lifted to the highest halls of Heaven her grandfather, Amenhotep I. In that same era, a certain pharaoh of Egypt called Seuserenre implanted the idea that he was divine in his own people by declaring himself to be ‘the Good God.’ His full name was Seuserenre Khyan, whose title as ‘Ruler of the Foreign Land’ has been found on seals all across the Near East, including an alabaster jar-lid discovered at Knossos. This gives Seuserenre a direct link to Crete, where another mortal king called Zeus had been deified in exactly the same period. I very much believe they were the same person, for ‘besides assuming the Egyptian throne-name, Seuserenre,’ writes William C Hayes, ‘Khyan concocted for himself the Horus name, ‘Embracer-of-regions,’ suggestive of world-wide domination.’ From Seuserenre’s name & status we are able to transchisper to the great god of Olympus with ease. Diodorus Siculus, for example, places Zeus on the throne of Egypt & gives him the title of ‘King of the Entire World,’ just as Seuserenre is described.
According to the third century BC Cyrenaic philosopher, Euhemerus, Zeus had been a majestic, but very mortal, law-giver who had been deified into the greatest god of the Hellenic pantheon. He is said to have been born on Crete – at Mount Ida – & also be buried on the island. ‘Later Cretan tradition,’ cites Sir Arthur Evans, ‘has persistently connected the tomb of Zeus with Mount Juktas, which rises as the most prominent height on the land side above the site of Knossos.’ According to Greek tradition, Zeus had a son called Epaphus, or Apis, which is a neat chispological match for Seuserenre’s successor in Egypt, Apepi. Furthermore, connected to pharaoh Apepi are two females who seem to have entered the Greek pantheon; his sister Tani, as attested on a door of a shrine in Avaris, & his daughter Herit. These names philochisp into Athena & Hera, two of the most prominent goddesses of Olympus. More proof that Zeus was Seuserenre comes in the ‘Fables’ of Gaius Julius Hyginus, in which Zeus ‘bade Epaphus, whom he begat by Io, fortify the towns in Egypt and rule there. First of all he founded Memphis, and then many others.’ This brings us full circle, for Epaphus was said to be the father of Danaus, whose daughters we have already associated with the exile of Scota. The date of their departure from Egypt, 1510 BC, fits perfectly into the epoch of Seuserenre, who ruled two generations before them at the turn of the 16th century BC.
Using Chispology, we have seen how the name Zeus is a transchisperal shortening of Seuserenre. Knowing such historical transmission is possible, we can now look at another mysterious Egyptian pharaoh called Sesostris, for ‘Seuse’ & ‘Seso’ are remarkably similar phonetically. Sesostris appears in the Histories of Herodotus, who is said to have led his armies into Asia, Africa & Europe. In the latter campaign he defeated the Thracians of northern Greece, which is an identical conflict to that fought by Zeus against the Titans, who also heralded from Thrace. Just as Zeus was the ‘King of the Entire World,’ & Seuserenre was ‘Embracer-of-regions,’ the Roman historian Strabo tells us that Sesostris also conquered the world. It is evident they are all the same man, & it is through The Chisper Effect that we have woven their individual strands into a single personage. In the same way, the romantic legend behind the exile of Scota & Gaythelos from Egypt left traces in different mythomemes, temples & in the very ground itself, whose scattered shards I hope to have herein reassembled into some kind of cohesive piece of Bronze Age pottery.
Next Wednesday, 15/11/17
THE ITHICA FRAGE