Category Archives: Book

The Land of Punt in Infographics

A research by Dhani Irwanto

The Land of Punt was a trading partner of Egypt. It was known for producing and exporting gold, incense, aromatic resins, cinnamon, ebony, ivory and animals. The region is known from ancient Egyptian records of trade expeditions to it. The Egyptians were continuously in trading relationship with the Puntites, as recorded in their history from the 4th to the 26th Dynasties (27th to 6th centuries BC). The most famous Egyptian expedition to Punt, and the one from which we derive most of our information is the one conducted by 18th-Dynasty Queen Hatshepsut (1473 – 1458 BC) and recorded in the splendidly detailed reliefs on the walls of her mortuary temple at Deir El-Bahari, Egypt.

The exact location of the Land of Punt is unknown, and through the years it has been cited as part of Arabia, the Horn of Africa, present-day Somalia, the Sudan or Eritrea. The debate goes on as to where Punt was located, with scholars and historians on every side offering plausible supports for their claims.

After gathering converging evidence, the author makes a hypothesis that the Land of Punt is located in Sumatra, Indonesia.

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Anjir System: An Atlantis Legacy Canal System for Flood Regulation in Flat Areas

A research by Dhani Irwanto

When the Dutch first visited the flat areas in Central Kalimantan, they were amazed by the canal system that already existed in the area. Unlike the Dutch system, namely the Polder System, the Anjir System in Central and South Kalimantan is unique. This system consists of channels, namely:

  1. River – Natural channel, flowing from upstream to downstream
  2. Traverse canal – Known as Anjir/Antasan, which is a canal that connects two points on the adjacent rivers at the same elevation. The flow is bidirectional depending on which river discharge is greater.
  3. Secondary canal – Known as Handil/Tatah, which is a channel connected to the traverse canal, sometimes connecting the two. The flow is bidirectional.
  4. Tertiary canal – Known as Saka, which is a canal that connects the land to the secondary canal. The flow is bidirectional.

The rivers, traverse canals and secondary canals are also used for transportation. The tertiary canals are also used as irrigation channels where when the water is high the water flows into the land and when the water is low it is used to remove toxins from the land.

This canal system is in accordance with what Plato wrote about the canal system contained in the Atlantis Plain (in Critias 118c, 118d, 118e):

  1. Traverse canal – Anjir/Antasan
  2. Inland canal (secondary canal) – Handil/Tatah
  3. Irrigation canal (tertiary canal) – Saka

When there is a flood from one of the rivers, or during high tide, the water spreads into this canal system so that inundation of the land by flooding or high tide can be overcome.

This canal system looks different when compared to the canal system in Jakarta, which was designed by the Dutch as the Polder System. Jakarta does not have a system consisting of canals like the Anjir System. The West and the East Flood Canals are not traverse canals because they flow only in one direction.

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Coffee and Its Mysterious Origin

A research by Dhani Irwanto

Historic Distribution of Coffea Arabica
(Source: Specialty Coffee Association of America)

The earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the 15th century, in Yemen’s Sufi monasteries. Al-Jaziri (1587) reported that one Sheikh Jamal-al-Din al-Dhabhani, mufti of Aden, was the first to adopt the use of coffee (circa 1454). He traces the spread of coffee from Arabia Felix (the present day Yemen) northward to Mecca and Medina, and then to the larger cities of Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad and Constantinople.

Yemen is recognized as the world’s first commercial coffee producer and the land of coffee’s discovery, but the origin of coffee in this southern part of Arabian Peninsula is mere speculation. Nothing was actually written about the origins of coffee until the 16th century, but by this time the truth seems to have been lost. There are many tales, which are often cited with great authority, saying that coffee was originated in Ethiopia, but with no factual evidence. The tales did not appear in writing until 1671, more than two centuries after the first known use of coffee.

Archaeological excavations in 1998 in the Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, situated close to Dubai on the coast of the Arabian Gulf, have revealed coffee beans in soil layers dated to the early 12th century, pushing back the date at which coffee is believed to have first been drunk and traded by 250 years. Imported Chinese and Islamic pottery sherds were found in the same layers as well as wheat, barley, olive, watermelon and chickpea seeds. The beans themselves owe their preservation to the fact that they were carbonized through roasting. It is quite obvious that the crop had already become a tradable commodity in the early 12th century.

So far there is no comprehensive and global genetic study in regard of the origin of coffee. The existing studies fail to prove in which part of the world coffee was originated.

Coffee in Indonesia

Indonesia is the fourth-largest producer of coffee in the world today, after Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia. Commercial coffee cultivation in Indonesia began in the late 1600s and early 1700s, in the early Dutch colonial period. Nevertheless, the Dutch was not the one who introduced coffee in Indonesia. Historical records reveal that there have been uses of coffee in Indonesia before the Dutch implemented the coffee cultivation system (“cultuurstelsel”).

Coffee beans are among the contents in a ‘peripih’ (a stone container located at the base of a temple) of the 9th-century Plaosan temple compound in Java, together with rice, corn and Job’s tears seeds (Sumijati Atmosudiro et al 2008 and Central Java BPCB). It reveals that coffee was an important crop in the area in the 9th century.

Coffee is mentioned in an inscription written on a copper plate in Kawi (Classical Javanese) language, found in Surabaya dated to 856 AD, as reported by Norbert Pieter Berg in “Historical-statistical Notes on the Production and Consumption of Coffee” in 1880. It is stated that coffee beans was known as “wiji kawa” (meaning “the kawa seed”).

Coffee was a type of banquet for guests during the Majapahit Empire (1293 to circa 1527) as reported by Constantinus Alting Mees in “De Kroniek Van Koetai” in 1935. It is said that when the king of Kutai visited the Majapahit palace, a beverage called “kahwa” is served in an evening banquet, which is later known that it is coffee.

Coffee had been extensively cultivated in western Sumatra before the Dutch came to implement the coffee cultivation system in the area, as reported by William Marsden in “The History of Sumatra” in 1784. The people did not use the berry but the leaves to be brewed with water in a tradition called “coffee leaf drinking”, which is still being continued today. This tradition is also reported by Eduard Douwes Dekker (Multatuli) in “Max Havelaar” in 1860.

200 – 300 year old coffee trees were discovered in the south of the Sulawesi Island in 1920, that is before the Dutch introduced the coffee there in the 1830s (Antony Wild 2019 in the Srilankan “Sunday Times”).

The Name

The word “coffee” entered the English language in 1582 via the Dutch “koffie”, borrowed from the Ottoman Turkish “kahve”, in turn borrowed from the Arabic “qahwah”. The origin of the Arabic word “qahwah” is unknown and the etymologies have all been disputed. The name is not used for the berry or plant (the products of the region), which are known in Arabic as “bunn”. So, “qahwah” is apparently not an original Arabic word. There is a suggestion that it came from the name of the Kaffa Kingdom in Ethiopia, but it is debated because there is no historical record and could be the opposite way.

Referring to the “coffee leaf drinking” tradition in Sumatra, where they did not have knowledge about the use of coffee beans as a beverage, this tradition can be considered older than that practiced by the Arabs. Currently there is an assumption that this tradition was due to the Dutch era of forced cultivation that all coffee products had to be handed over to the Dutch so that they could only use the leaves. However, this assumption is rejected by some historians because of no factual evidence.

The local name for the berry or plant is “kawa” or “kawoa”. People suggest that it came from the Arabic “qahwah”, but seeing that their tradition of using the plant is older it could be the opposite way. The Arabs had been exploring Sumatra since the 7th century or earlier. Their main goal was to find exotic produce, such as camphor, incense and spices, to sell at a high price when brought home. Among those, coffee could be one of them.

Coffee was known as “kawa” in the Classical Javanese or “kahwa” in the era of Majapahit Empire. Thus it can be assumed that “kawa”, “kawoa” or “kahwa” is a Classical Javanese or Malay word. The Arabs later wrote it as “qahwah”.

In conclusion, the opportunity for scientists to conduct research on the origin of coffee is still widely open.

Great Flood and the Repopulation of Man

A research by Dhani Irwanto

The overwhelming consistency among legends and myths of flood and the repopulation of man found in distant parts of the Earth indicates they were derived from a common origin. Oral transcription has changed the details through time, adding local geography and cultural aspects. However, the core of each story is supposedly preserved and shared as a common theme and similar characters.

Many flood stories have overwhelming similarities with the Noah’s Ark in the Book of Genesis flood narrative. They are frequently linked by common elements including the flood hero, warning of the coming flood, the construction of a boat in advance, the storage of seeds and animals, the inclusion of family, and the release of birds or other animals to determine if the water level had subsided. The stories are closely parallel to the story of the creation: a cycle of creation, un-creation and re-creation, in which the flood plays a pivotal role.

Eridu Genesis

In the Sumerian Eridu Genesis, Ziusudra is recorded as the survivor of the god-sent flood. The story survives on a cuneiform tablet from the 17th century BCE, of which only the lower third survives. The Eridu Genesis begins with the creation of man, but continues with the establishment of kingship and a list of cities. Then comes the list of antediluvian rulers, which confirms the pattern again, and the supreme god Enlil’s decision to destroy mankind.

Ziusudra is a king of Suruppak and a seer, who witnesses the gods’ council and decision in a vision, and understands that something terrible is about to happen. When the gods had decided to destroy humanity with a flood, the god Enki (lord of the underworld sea of fresh water, the Akkadian Ea), who did not agree with the decree, revealed it to Ziusudra, a man well known for his humility and obedience. Ziusudra did as Enki commanded and built a huge boat. The story continues with a description of the flood, which lasts seven days and nights. Then Utu (Sun) appears and Ziusudra opens a window, prostrates himself, and sacrifices an ox and a sheep. After the flood is apparently over, Ziusudra leaving the ark and prostrating himself before An (Sky) and Enlil (Lordbreath). The end of the story is a speech by Enki, and the apotheosis of Ziusudra, who is given immortality in the mythological country of Dilmun, in the far east, where the sun rises.

The younger Epic of Atrahasis and the Epic of Gilgamesh, written in Babylonian, change many details. They continue to refer to Suruppak as the city of the hero of the flood story. The Sumerian name of the hero, Ziusudra, has been changed into Atrahasis in the Epic of Atrahasis and Utnapishtim in the Epic of Gilgamesh. In the late version of The Instructions of Shuruppak and the youngest Babylonian version by Berossus, the origal name of Ziusudra return. In the Sumerian king list recension, Ziusudra, or Zin-Suddu of Shuruppak is recorded as having reigned as both king and gudug priest for 10 years.

Epic of Atrahasis

Atrahasis is the protagonist of an 18th-century BCE Akkadian/Babylonian epic of the great flood sent by the gods to destroy human life recorded in various versions on clay tablets. Only the good man, Atrahasis (translates as “exceedingly wise”) was warned of the impending deluge by the god Ea who instructed him to build an ark to save himself. Atrahasis heeded the words of the god, loaded two of every kind of animal into the ark, and so preserved human and animal life on Earth.

The epic begins by explaining how the lesser gods tired of their labors on the canals and farms and instigated a rebellion. Enlil (the god of the sky and earth), wanted to punish these gods, but Ea (the god of the waters, the Sumerian Enki), argued that humans should be created to do the work instead. The womb goddess, Mami, was appointed to create humankind by mixing clay with the blood of a slain junior god Geshtu. However, human overpopulation soon became a problem. Enlil sent various disasters to diminish humankind, but Ea persistently foiled his plans. Finally, Enlil determined to send a flood to kill all humans, and Ea warned the faithful Atrahasis of the plan. Atrahasis then built a boat and saved his family and animals. Enlil was furious at Ea for ruining his plan, but they agreed to devise a new way to control human population. Mami arranged that one out of every three children born would die, and certain priestesses would be celibate.

Epic of Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient Mesopotamian odyssey recorded on clay tablets in the Akkadian language about Gilgamesh, the king of the Mesopotamian city-state Uruk. In the epic, the flood hero is named Utnapishtim, and considered as the closest to the biblical story of Noah.

Overcome with the death of his friend Enkidu, Gilgamesh sets out on a series of journeys to search for his ancestor Utnapishtim (Ziusudra in the Sumerian Eridu Genesis) who lives at the mouth of the rivers and has been given eternal life. Utnapishtim counsels Gilgamesh to abandon his search for immortality but tells him about a plant that can make him young again. Gilgamesh obtains the plant from the bottom of the sea in Nisir (Dilmun in the Sumerian Eridu Genesis) but a serpent steals it, and Gilgamesh returns home to the city of Uruk having abandoned hope of either immortality or renewed youth.

In the epic, Utnapishtim is tasked by Enki (Akkadian Ea) to abandon his worldly possessions and create a giant ship to be called The Preserver of Life. The design of the ship was supposedly drawn on the ground by Enki, and the frame of the ark, which was made in five days, was 60 meters (200 feet) in length, width and height, with a floor-space of one acre. The ark interior had 7 floors, each floor divided into 9 sections, finishing the ark fully on the seventh day. The entrance to the ship was sealed once everyone had boarded the ship.

He was also tasked with bringing his wife, family, and relatives along with the craftsmen of his village, baby animals and grains. The oncoming flood would wipe out all animals and humans that were not on the ship. After twelve days on the water, Utnapishtim opened the hatch of his ship to look around and saw the slopes of Mount Nisir, where he rested his ship for seven days. On the seventh day, he sent a dove out to see if the water had receded, and the dove could find nothing but water, so it returned. Then he sent out a swallow, and just as before, it returned, having found nothing. Finally, Utnapishtim sent out a raven, and the raven saw that the waters had receded, so it circled around, but did not return. Utnapishtim then set all the animals free, and made a sacrifice to the gods.

The gods came, and because he had preserved the seed of man while remaining loyal and trusting of his gods, Utnapishtim and his wife were given immortality, as well as a place among the heavenly gods.

Book of Kolbrin

The Book of Kolbrin is a collection of eleven books, six Egyptian and five Celtic, preserved by the Celtics in Great Britain. A similar story to the epic of Gilgamesh, the Egyptian version, is found in the book. The flood hero is named Sisuda (Ziusudra in the Sumerian Eridu Genesis).

The people of those times spurned all spiritual things and men lived only for pleasure, caring little for the good of mankind or the future of the people. Lewdness and lies were upon the tongues of all men and brother could not deal justly with brother. The princes and governors were corrupt and proper tribute was not paid, the statues were held up to scorn. The lives of men were ruled by their desires and they spent their days in gluttony, drunkedness, fornication, dancing and singing to instruments of music. The land was unattended, for men dissipated their strength in unproductive lusts and pleasures. Women lacked shame, for many would cast their glances after one man. Men fought among themselves and even slew one another because of their lusts for worthless women, while the chaste women were not sought.

In Ardis there were wise men filled with the inner wisdom, who read The Book of Heaven with understanding and knew the signs. They went to Sharepik, then called Sarapesh, and said to Sisuda, the King, that the shadow of doom approaches and the hour of doom is at hand. Because Sisuda has not mingled with the wicked, he is set apart and shall not perish, so his seeds may be preserved. Therefore a great ship was laid down under the leadership of Hanok, son of Hogaretur, for Sisuda, from whose treasury came payment for the building of the vessel. It was built on the Lake of Namos, close by the river of gold, where it divides. The great ship was 300 cubits (160 meters, 500 feet) in length, 50 cubits (26 meters, 86 feet) in width and had three storeys. Each storey was divided in twain, so that there were six floors below and one above, and they were divided across with seven partitions. Great stones were hung from ropes.

They carried the seed of all living things; grain was laid up in baskets and many cattle and sheep were slain for meat. They also took all kinds of beasts of the field and wild beasts, birds and fowls, all things that crawl, and also gold and silver, metals and stones. People of the plains mocked the builders of the great ship.

On the appointed day, they who were to go with the great ship departed, the people entered the great ship and closed the hatch, making it secure. The king had entered and with him those of his blood, in all fourteen. The ship was lifted by the mighty surge of waters and hurled among the debris, but it was not dashed upon the mountainside because of the place where it was built. In the seething waters and howling gales all buildings were destroyed, trees were uprooted and mountains cast down. All the people not saved within the ship were swallowed up in the midst of raging confusion, and their wickedness and corruption was purged away from the face of the Earth. The swelling waters swept up to the mountain tops and filled the valleys. They did not rise like water poured into a bowl, but came in great surging torrents. The great flood remained seven days, diminishing day by day as the waters drained away to their places. After many days the great ship came to rest upon Kardo, in the mountains of Ashtar, against Nishim in The Land of God.

Babyloniaca

The Babyloniaca (hereafter, “History of Babylonia”) is three books written by Berossus intended to correct Greek misconceptions about Babylon, which was probably written some time around 290 – 278 BCE and dedicated to Antiochus I Soter of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. Berossus is a priest of Marduk in Babylon, on whom Alexander relied heavily for information on Mesopotamia.

Known from the second book of Babyloniaca, Xisuthros (Ξισουθρος) is a Hellenization of Sumerian Ziusudra. Among the interesting features of this version of the flood myth, are the identification, through interpretatio graeca (interpretation by means of Greek models), of the Sumerian god Enki with the Greek god Cronus, the father of Zeus; and the assertion that the reed boat constructed by Xisuthros survived, at least until Berossus’ day, in the Corcyrean Mountains of Armenia. Xisuthros was listed as a king, the son of one Ardates, and to have reigned 18 years.

Cronus appeared to Xisuthrus in a dream and revealed that on the fifteenth of the month Daisios mankind would be destroyed by a great flood. He then ordered him to bury together all the tablets, the first, the middle and the last, and hide them in Sippar, the city of the sun. Then he was to build a boat and board it with his family and best friends. He was to provision it with food and drink and also to take on board wild animals and birds an all four-footed animals. Then when all was prepared, he was to make ready to sail. If asked where he was going, he was to reply, “to the gods, to pray that all good things will come to man”. He did not stop working until the ship was built. Its length was 5 stadia (925 meters, 3,000 feet) and its breadth 2 stadia (370 meters, 1,200 feet). He boarded the finished ship, equipped for everything as he had been commanded, with his wife, children and closest friends.

After the waters of the Great Flood had come and quickly left, Xisuthrus freed several birds. They found neither food nor a place to rest, and they returned to the ship. After a few days, he again set free some other birds, and they too came back to the ship, but they returned with claws covered with mud. Then later for a third time he set free some other birds, but they did not return to the ship. Then Xisuthrus knew that the earth had once again appeared.

He broke open a seam on a side of the ship and saw that the ship had come to rest on a mountain. He disembarked, accompanied by his wife and his daughter together with the steersman. He prostrated himself in worship to the earth and set up an altar and sacrificed to the gods. After this, he disappeared together with those who had left the ship with him. Those who remained on the ship and had not gone out with Xisuthrus, when he and those with him had disembarked, searched for him and called out for him by name all about. But Xisuthrus from then on was seen no more, and then the sound of voice that came from the air gave the instruction that it was their duty to honor the gods and that Xisuthrus, because of the great honor he had shown the gods, had gone to the dwelling place of the gods and that his wife and daughter and the steersman had enjoyed the same honor.

The voice then instructed them to return to the city of Sippar, as it was fated for them to do, to dig up the tablets that were buried there and to turn them over to mankind. The place where they had come to rest was the land of Armenia (the Babylonian Urartu, from which the Biblical name Ararat is derived). After they understood all this, they sacrificed to the gods there and went on foot to Babylonia.

Book of Genesis

Noah’s Ark is the vessel in the Book of Genesis flood narrative (Genesis chapters 6 – 9) by which god spares Noah, his family and a remnant of all the world’s animals from the flood. The narrative indicates that god intended to return the Earth to its pre-creation state of watery chaos by flooding the Earth because of humanity’s misdeeds and then remake it using the microcosm of Noah’s Ark.

In the Book of Genesis’ story, the descendants of Adam and Eve had become evil and wicked, and god was sorry he had ever created mankind. He decided the only thing to do was destroy them all and start over. But there was one man, Noah, who was obedient to god and found god’s favor. God told Noah to build a big boat, called an ark, and he told Noah exactly how to do it. The ark was to be 300 cubits (137 meters, 450 feet) in length, 50 cubits (23 meters, 75 feet) in width and 30 cubits (14 meters, 45 feet) in height. It was to have three internal divisions, be divided into rooms, have a door in the side and a sohar, which may be either a roof or a skylight.

Noah was to find one male and one female of every kind of animal and bird and take them into the ark. He also had to take food for all those animals. It took Noah 120 years to build the ark and find all the animals to put in it, but Noah obeyed god and did just as he was told.

God told Noah to go into the ark with his wife, his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, and their wives. It started to rain, then lasted without stop for 40 days and nights. The water got so deep that even the mountains were covered. Every living creature on earth died in the flood. But the ark floated on top of the flood waters and the people and animals in the ark were safe. The story goes on to describe the ark being afloat for 150 days and then coming to rest on the Mountains of Ararat and the subsequent receding of the waters.

For well over a century scholars have recognized that the biblical story of Noah’s ark is based on older Mesopotamian models. In the oldest story, the hero is Ziusudra and this version was inscribed about 1600 BCE in the Sumerian city of Nippur. In Babylonian versions his name is Atrahasis, but the flood is a river flood, the ark is in the form of a cube and has seven decks with nine compartments on each level. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the flood hero is Utnapishtim, and considered as the closest to the biblical story of Noah. In the early centuries BCE, Syrian had a tradition of the ark landing at Mount Judi, where according to Josephus the remains of the ark were still shown in the 1st century BCE.

Quran

The Noah’s Ark story is repeated, with variations, in the Quran, where the ark appears as Safina Nuh (Arabic: سفينة نوح‎‎). Nuh is recognized in Islam as a prophet and apostle of the god Allah.

God commanded Nuh to construct the ark within Allah’s sight and under his guidance. As commanded, Nuh set upon the task of building the ark with the help of the small group of believers. When the ark was completed, Nuh took with him his family and the believers, and a pair of every creature that was found on the land around him.

The flood waters began to rise. Believers who had so far suffered at the hands of the chiefs and idol worshippers found themselves safe in Nuh’s ark. The unbelievers who had ignored Allah’s guidance were in a grievous state. Amongst the unbelievers was Nuh’s own son, and he too was desperately trying to save himself from the flood waters. Nuh’s ark with all aboard was sailing safely on the waters and rested on Mount Judi.

Metamorphoses

The Metamorphoses (hereafter: “Books of Transformations”) is a Latin narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid, considered his magnum opus (masterpiece). Ovid begins by addressing the gods and asking them to inspire his work, which opens with the creation of the world and continues on to the present day, and is about the transformation of bodies. After this short prayer, Ovid describes the birth of the world.

He then begins his tale of transformations by describing how the creator separated earth from heaven, sea from land, and lighter air from heavier air. He then made beings to inhabit these new spaces: gods and stars filled the heavens, fish the seas, beasts the land, and birds the air. Man was created to rule the world. Four ages followed. The age of gold was a time of trust, moral goodness, and fruitfulness. In the age of silver, people had to work for a living. The age of bronze saw the first wars, but some semblance of morality persisted. In the age of iron, however, nothing is sacred. Even family ties lead to bloodshed.

This is followed by an attempt by the giants to seize the heavens, at which the wrathful Jove (Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Zeus) sends a great flood which destroys all living things except one pious couple, Deucalion and Pyrrha, because of their piety. This couple repopulates the earth by obeying the commands of the gods and throwing rocks behind them, which are transformed into a new, hearty breed of people.

Fabulae

The Fabulae (meaning “stories”) is a summary by Gaius Julius Hyginus, a first-century CE author from Roman Spain who collected ancient myths.

When the cataclysm called the Flood or Deluge occurred, all the human race perished except Deucalion and Pyrrha, who fled to Mount Etna, which is said to be the highest mountain in Sicily. When they could not live on account of loneliness, they begged Jupiter either to give men, or to afflict them with a similar disaster. Then Jupiter bade them cast stones behind them; those Deucalion threw he ordered to become men, and those Pyrrha threw, to be women. Because of this they are called laos (“people”), for stone in Greek is called las.

Bibliotheca

The Bibliotheca (hereinafer: “The Library”) was traditionally attributed to Apollodorus of Athens, a 2nd-century BCE Greek author, but it cannot be his because it cites authors who wrote centuries later.

Prometheus had a son Deucalion. He reigning in the regions about Phthia, married Pyrrha, the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora, the first woman fashioned by the gods. When Zeus would destroy the men of the Bronze Age, Deucalion by the advice of Prometheus constructed a chest, and having stored it with provisions he embarked in it with Pyrrha. But Zeus by pouring heavy rain from heaven flooded the greater part of Greece, so that all men were destroyed, except a few who fled to the high mountains in the neighborhood. It was then that the mountains in Thessaly parted, and that all the world outside the Isthmus and Peloponnese was overwhelmed. But Deucalion, floating in the chest over the sea for nine days and as many nights, drifted to Parnassus, and there. When the rain ceased, he landed and sacrificed to Zeus, the god of Escape.

Zeus sent Hermes to him and allowed him to choose what he would, and he chose to get men. At the bidding of Zeus he took up stones and threw them over his head, the stones which Deucalion threw became men, and the stones which Pyrrha threw became women. Hence people were called metaphorically people (laos) from laas (“stone”).

Deucalion had children by Pyrrha, first Hellen, whose father some say was Zeus, and second Amphictyon, who reigned over Attica after Cranaus; and third a daughter Protogenia, who became the mother of Aethlius by Zeus.

The Lithuanian

From his heavenly window, the supreme god Pramzimas saw nothing but war and injustice among mankind. He sent two giants, Wandu and Wejas (water and wind), to destroy earth. After twenty days and nights, little was left. Pramzimas looked to see the progress. He happened to be eating nuts at the time, and he threw down the shells. One happened to land on the peak of the tallest mountain, where some people and animals had sought refuge. Everybody climbed in and survived the flood floating in the nutshell. God’s wrath abated, he ordered the wind and water to abate. The people dispersed, except for Manuu, an elderly couple who stayed where they landed. To comfort them, the god sent the rainbow and advised them to jump over the bones of the earth nine times. They did so, and up sprang nine other couples, from which the nine Lithuanian tribes descended.

Vedas

In the Vedas, the sacred literature of Hinduism in India, Manu in the Indian mythology is the archetypal man, or the first man. He appears as the performer of the first sacrifice. In later texts, he is also known as the first king, and most rulers of medieval India traced their mystical genealogy back to him, that begin with each cyclic kalpa (aeon) when the universe is born anew, either through his son (the solar line) or his daughter (the lunar line). He is also the legendary author of an important Sanskrit law code, the Manusmriti (“Laws of Manu”). In this code, Manu is used as a prefix, but refers to the first Manu – Svayambhuva, the spiritual son of Brahma and the main character of the flood story.

Manu Svayambhuva is described as a virtuous individual. The Satapatha Brahmana recounts him as an ancient holy man who, by penances and prayers, had won the favor of the lord of heaven. The god appears to Manu in the form of a little fish whilst he was performing his ablutions in a pond. Manu kept the fish, which grew so quickly that its body occupied the entire ocean in a matter of days. It was then that the god revealed his identity to Manu, told him about the flood that would destroy the whole of humanity, and the way to save them. The fish instructed Manu to build a boat and fill it with animals and seeds to repopulate the earth.

He therefore built a boat, as the fish advised. When the flood (pralaya) came, he tied this boat to the fish’s horn and was safely steered to a resting place on a mountaintop. When the flood receded, Manu, the sole human survivor, performed a sacrifice, pouring oblations of butter and sour milk into the waters. After a year there was born from the waters a woman who announced herself as “the daughter of Manu”. These two then became the ancestors of a new human race to replenish the Earth.

In the Mahabharata, the fish is identified with the god Brahma, while in the Puranas, including the Bhagavata Purana and the Matsya Purana, it is Matsya, the fish incarnation of the god Vishnu. Manu was said to have three sons before the flood – Charma, Sharma and Yapeti, in close resemblance with Noah who also had three sons – Ham, Shem and Japheth. After the flood he had fifty other sons on Earth. In the story, the destruction of the world is treated as part of the natural order of things, rather than as a divine punishment. However, the deluge is through divine intervention similar to the Near East flood story. The god, in the form of a little fish, saves Manu by warning him that a flood would destroy the whole of humanity and then he build a boat. Manu was perched on a mountaintop (Malaya Mountains as written in the Matsya Purana), performed a sacrifice, pouring oblations, went to the foothills and started to perform tapasya (meditation), almost similar to the Near East flood story.

The name Manu is cognate with the Indo-European “man” and has an etymological connection with the Sanskrit verb man (“to think”). The Sanskrit manava or manush (“human”), means “of Manu” or “children of Manu”.

The Chingpaw

The Chingpaw people is a Tibeto-Burman ethnic group inhabiting upper Burma and the north Burma-Chinese frontier region, especially the Irrawaddy drainage above Myitkyina known as “the Triangle” and the Hukawng valley. The flood hero is named Pawpaw Nan-chaung.

When the deluge came, Pawpaw Nan-chaung and his sister Chang-hko saved themselves in a large boat. They took with them nine cocks and nine needles. When the storm and rain had passed, they each day threw out one cock and one needle to see whether the waters were falling. On the ninth day, they finally heard the cock crow and the needle strike bottom. They left their boat, wandered about, and came to a cave home of two nats or elves. The elves bade them stay and make themselves useful, which they did.

Soon the sister gave birth, and the old elfin woman minded the baby while its parents were away at work. The old woman, who was a witch, disliked the infant’s squalling, and one day took it to a place where nine roads met, cut it to pieces, and scattered its blood and body about. She carried some of the tidbits back to the cave, made it into a curry, and tricked the mother into eating it. When the mother learned this, she fled to the crossroads and cried to the Great Spirit to return her child and avenge its death. The Great Spirit told her he could not restore her baby, but he would make her mother of all nations of men. Then, from each road, people of different nations sprang up from the fragments of the murdered baby.

The Bataks

The Bataks are a number of ethnic groups predominantly found in North Sumatera, Indonesia.

Debata, the Creator, sent a flood to destroy every living thing when the Earth grew old and dirty. The last pair of humans took refuge on the highest mountain, and the flood had already reached their knees, when Debata repented his decision to destroy mankind. He tied a clod of earth to a thread and lowered it. The last pair stepped onto it and were saved. As the couple and their descendants multiplied, the clod increased in size, becoming the Earth we inhabit today.

The Dayaks

The Dayaks are the native people of Kalimantan in Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. It is a loose term for over 200 riverine and hill-dwelling ethnic subgroups, located principally in the interior of Kalimantan. The flood hero is named Bunu as told in the Ngaju Dayak folklore.

In the Panaturan, the sacred folklore of the Ngaju Dayak inhabiting the southern Kalimantan region, the first human who descended to this world is named Maharaja (the “Great King”) Bunu. At first he lived in a divine world at Lewu Nindan Tarung with his triplets namely Maharaja Sangiang and Maharaja Sangen. The triplets are the children of Manyamei Tunggul Garing Janjahunan Laut and his wife Kameloh Putak Bulau Janjulen Karangan, the first humans that were created by Ranying Mahatala Langit, the supreme god.

Maharaja Bunu was descended to Pantai Danum Kalunen (this world) using a ship namely Palangka Bulau Lambayung Nyahu or simply Palangka, on Samatuan Hill, from where his descendants were spread out to fill the earth. According to Panaturan, the hill is located between Kahayan Rotot and Kahayan Katining in Central Kalimantan region. The Palangka was loaded with supplies necessaries for life, such as farming and hunting tools, weapon making tools, rice seeds, fruit and plants seedlings, as well as livestock breeds. Palangkaraya (the “Greater Palangka”) is now the name of the capital city of Central Kalimantan Province.

The Hawaiian

The Hawaiian inhabit Hawaii islands, the northernmost island group in Polynesia, in the central Pacific Ocean. The flood hero is named Nuu.

The people had turned to evil, so the gods punished their sin with a flood. The gods commanded Nuu to build an ark, and carry on it his wife, three sons, and males and females of all breathing things. Waters came and covered the earth. They subsided to leave the ark on a mountain overlooking a beautiful valley. The gods entered the ark and told Nuu to go forth with all the life it carried. In gratitude for his deliverance, Nuu offered a sacrifice of pig, coconuts and awa to the moon, which he thought was the god Kane. Kane descended on a rainbow to reproach Nuu for his mistake but left the rainbow as a perpetual sign of his forgiveness. After the flood, these people repopulated the islands.

The Sahtú

The Sahtú are a first people of the Athabaskan-speaking ethnolinguistic group living in the vicinity of Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada. The flood hero is named Kunyan.

Kunyan (“Wise Man”), foreseeing the possibility of a flood, built a great raft, joining the logs with ropes made from roots. He told other people, but they laughed at him and said they would climb trees in the event of a flood. Then came a great flood, with water gushing from all sides, rising higher than the trees and drowning all people but Kunyan and his family on his raft.

As he floated, he gathered pairs of all animals and birds he met with. The earth disappeared under the waters, and for a long time no one thought to look for it. Then the musk-rat dived into the water looking for the bottom, but he could not find it. He dived a second time and smelled the earth but did not reach it. Next beaver dived. He reappeared unconscious but holding a little mud. Kunyan placed the mud on the water and breathed on it, making it grow. He continued breathing on it, making it larger and larger.

He put a fox on the island, but it ran around the island in just a day. Six times the fox ran around the island, by the seventh time, the land was as large as it was before the flood, and the animals disembarked, followed by Kunyan with his wife (who was also his sister) and son. They re-peopled the land. But the flood waters were still too high, and to lower them, the bittern swallowed them all. Now there was too little water. Plover, pretending sympathy at the bittern’s swollen stomach, passed his hand over it, but suddenly scratched it. The waters flowed out into the rivers and lakes.

The Mesoamericans

A large number of Mesoamerican flood myths have been documented in written form or passed down through oral tradition. Some clearly have Christian influences, but others are believed by scholars to represent native flood myths of pre-Columbian origin.

In the Mesoamerican myths, a variety of reasons are given for the occurrence of the flood: either the world was simply very old and needed to be renewed; the humans had neglected their duty to adore the gods; or they were punished for a transgression (cannibalism, for example). The flood was but one of several destructions of the creation – usually the first of three or four cataclysmic events, although there is some evidence that the Aztecs considered the flood to be the fourth. Recorded among the Nahua (Aztec), peoples tell that there were no survivors of the flood and creation had to start from scratch, while other accounts relate that current humans are descended from a small number of survivors. In some accounts the survivors transgress against the gods by lighting a fire and consequently are turned into animals.

In the Mayan mythology as expressed in the Popol Vuh, the creator gods attempted to create creatures who would worship them three times before finally succeeding in creating a race of humans that would pay proper homage to their creators. The three previous creations were destroyed. The third race of humans carved from wood were destroyed by a flood, mauled by wild animals and smashed by their own tools and utensils.

The myths documented among the Tlapanec and the Huaxtecs has a man and his dog as the sole survivors of the deluge, but the man finds out that the dog takes the shape of a woman during the day when he is away. The man and the dogwoman then repopulate the Earth.

The myths found among the Aztec and the Totonac peoples relates how a human couple survive by hiding in a hollow vessel and start to cook a fish when the water subsides. When the smoke reaches the heavens the gods become angry and punish them by turning them into dogs or monkeys, depending on the version.

Names Association

It is highly probable that the biblical Noah and the Indian flood hero Manu  were the same individual. Manu, like Noah, is said to have built an ark in which eight people were saved. Manu and Noah were both the father of all post-flood mankind. The Noah Flood story in the Book of Genesis matches the Epic of Gilgamesh flood myth so closely that few doubt that it derives from a Mesopotamian account.

The word Manu is related to the Germanic Mannus, the founder of the West Germanic peoples, mentioned by the Roman historian Tacitus in his book Germania. Mannu is also the name of the Lithuanian Noah. The same name may even be reflected in the Egyptian Menes (founder of the first dynasty of Egypt) and Minos (founder and first king of Crete). Minos was also said in Greek mythology to be the son of Zeus and ruler of the sea. Anu appears in Sumerian as the god of the firmament, and the rainbow was called “the great bow of Anu”, which seems a clear reference to Noah. In Egyptian mythology Nu was the god of waters who sent an inundation to destroy mankind. In southern Kalimantan folklore, Bunu is the first man who inhabited the region. In the Hawaiian myth, Anuu is the flood hero and the first man in the islands.

The Sanskrit form manush, Indonesian manusia, Swedish manniska, Gothic manna and English “man” are closely related, meaning “human being”. The aboriginals of Japan are called Ainu, a word which also means “man”.

In the Sioux language, minne means “water”. In the Assiniboine language, minnetoba means “water prairie”. However, this word may also have been derived from the Cree and Ojibiva-Saulteaux languages, which meant “the place of the Great Spirit”. Manitou (“the Great Spirit”) was the chief god among Algonquins. The name of Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, comes from the Nahuatl managuac, which means “surrounded by ponds”. The ancient Javanese banu and the Dayak Barito banyu mean “water”. There is Ino, a sea-goddess in Greek mythology, and the Greek word naiade, meaning “river nymph”. Further, Baruna in the Indonesian archipelago which given the title of the Water God, is the ruler of the seas and oceans.

The original Sanskrit word for “ship” is nau. This root has developed even in English into such words as “navy”, “nautical”, “nausea”, and so on. In Norse mythology, Njord was the god of ships, living at Noatun, the harbor of ships. In this language, the syllable noa is related to the Icelandic nor, meaning “ship”.

Thus, Noah and the waters of the great Flood are not only recalled in the ancient traditions of all nations, but their names have also become incorporated in many and varied ways into the very languages of his descendants. The trails are tenuous and often almost obliterated, so that some of the inferred connections are speculative and possibly mistaken, but the correlations are too numerous to be only coincidental, thus adding yet one more evidence for the historicity of the Great Flood.

The original account of Plato’s Atlantis is Neserser

A research by Dhani Irwanto

Plato writes that Solon, while wrote his poem, enquired into the meaning and knowledge of the names and had translated them into their own language; when copying them out again translated them into Greek. Thus, the names include Poseidon, Heracles, Atlas, Athens, Egypt, Libya, Tyrrhenia and Europe are translated names which the originals were kept by Critias.

In the mythology of the Egyptians, the island and the lake of Neserser or Nesisi, “the island and the lake of flames” where Osiris[1] and Thoth[2] came from, is often mentioned in their myths. As described in the Papyrus of Nu (in the Book of Dead), the myth tells that Osiris has his throne on the island of Neserser in the center of six or seven concentric circles with a gate at each and its all in the “lake” of Neserser. The concentric circles were built for Ra by the dwellers of the lake. Thoth had his lands around the lake and he visited Osiris on the island. There was a great flood in the lake of Neserser and somehow these circles of Ra became hidden.

As written in many tomb texts from the Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Periods, in the concepts of the divinities and the deceased, the Neserser island is a heaven-like place, a place where judgement is passed and the deceased is reborn equipped with a status (god or common being). The Hetep-fields is a kind of paradise under the supervision of the god Hetep with whom the deceased identifies himself, and where he leads the happy life reserved for the privileged (Englund in Demarée 1983). In the concept, Osiris, Horus[3] and Thoth were given the status of gods or ancestral divinities. 

The description of Neserser is parallel to the story of Atlantis. Six or seven concentric circles were built for Ra on the island of Neserser, conforming to the Atlantis’ four circles of lands (including the central land) and three circles of water, built by Poseidon. Either Osiris or Atlas have their thrones on the central lands. The lake of Neserser is conforming to the almost closed sea around the Atlantis capital island. Plato describes the sea as a water with a mouth to the outer sea, thus arbitrarily can be called a lake. As described above, the author make a hypothesis that the sea is the ancient Java Sea (Irwanto, 2015). There was a great flood in the lake of Neserser which devastated the island of Neserser, and then it was hidden. This is also parallel to the descriptions about the destruction of Atlantis.

Read also: Nusasura: The Atlantis Island?


[1] Osiris was an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld, and the dead, but more appropriately as the god of transition, resurrection, and regeneration. He was classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh’s beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and holding a symbolic crook and flail.

[2] Thoth or Djehuti was one of the deities of the Egyptian pantheon associated with the arbitration of godly disputes, the arts of magic, the system of writing, the development of science, and the judgment of the dead, often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis or an ape, animals sacred to him.

[3] Horus is one of the most significant ancient Egyptian deities, the son of Isis and Osiris, and he plays a key role in the Osiris myth as Osiris’ heir and the rival to Set, the murderer of Osiris.

The Land of Ophir is in Sumatera

A research by Dhani Irwanto

The renowned maritime skills of the Phoenicians amazed King Solomon (973 – 33 BCE) that he asked the King of Tyre to send him Phoenician carpenters and veteran sailors to join his fleet to the Land of Ophir in 945 BCE (Kings 1:9-26). There is no exact certainty though about the location of the Land of Ophir. The geographical location of Ophir is described in exactly the same way as the Land of Punt. Both countries lie “far away, to the south-east”; the ships set sail from a port on the Red Sea and the round voyage lasts three years. The goods brought from Ophir are more or less the same as those the Egyptians brought from Punt and their other ports. King Solomon received a cargo of gold, silver, “algum wood”, precious stones, ivory, apes and peacocks every three years.

In pre-Islamic literature, Ophir is mentioned in the three pre-Islamic Arabic and Ethiopic sources: The Kitab-al- Magall, the Cave of Treasure, and the Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan. The Kitab al-Magall states that in the days of Reu, a king of Saba (Sheba) named “Pharoah” annexed Ophir and Havilah to his kingdom, and “built Ophir with stones of gold, for the stones of its mountains are pure gold”. The existence of the biblical Eldorado of the Land of Ophir (I Kings 10:11, II Chronicles 9:21) is believed to be the final destination of the Lost Tribes of Israel. In Genesis 10 (the Table of Nations) is said to be the name of one of the sons of Joktan. Joktan or Yoktan was the second of the two sons of Eber, the great grandson of Shem – the son of Noah.

Onycha is one of the components of the consecrated Ketoret (incense) which appears in the Torah Book of Exodus (Exodus 30:34-36) and was used in the Jerusalem’s Solomon Temple. The internationally renowned Bible scholar Bochart stated, at one point in his research, that onycha was actually benzoin, a gum-resin from the Styrax sp (Abrahams 1979), which is likely imported from Sumatera. Styrax benzoin was available via import to the biblical lands during the Old Testament era.

A passage may be cited from Josephus in his Antiquity of the Jews (93/94 CE) in speaking of the pilots furnished to Solomon by Hiram of Tyre. Solomon gave his command that they should go along with his stewards to the land that previously called Ophir, but then the Aurea Chersonesus identified by the author as a region in western Sumatera named Tanjungemas renowned in the ancient times for its gold mines, to fetch gold. From this he makes a definite statement, that Ophir and the Aurea Chersonesus are one. The 16th to 17th century maps mention Mount Ophir, which is the present-day Mount Talamau, located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Tanjungemas. The name Ophir was still in use until the Dutch colonial era to name a district which is now in the Pasaman Regency, West Sumatera Province. These are other evidence that Ophir is located in Sumatera.

The author concludes that the location of the Land of Ophir is the same as the Land of Punt or in the adjacent areas. Both locations concerned the Egyptian and Near Eastern kings because of their richness of precious metals, wood, precious stones, fragrances, animals and forest products. As the Land of Punt is the ancestral land of the Egyptians, the same thing can be applied to the Land of Ophir. The memories recorded in the Egyptian and biblical documentations are allegedly sourced from the Land of Punt, or the Land of Ophir, which is Sumatera.

Sumatera was known in the ancient time for producing gold, cinnamon, incense, camphor, spices and woods. Among those things, its flourishing gold mining industry is the most renowned so that Sumatera was referred to as Aurea Chersonesus, Chryse Insula, Aurea Insula, Suvarnabhumi, Suvarnadvipa, Ophir and Punt.

In the early centuries CE, Indians and Westerners called Southeast Asia the “Land of Gold”, and it was not long thereafter that the region became known for its pepper and the products of its rainforests, first aromatic woods and resins, and then the finest and rarest of spices. Terms of “Silk Route”, “Gold Route”, “Incense Route”, “Ivory Route”, “Cinnamon Route” and “Spice Route” among others were created referring to routes to East and Southeast Asia. From the 7th to the 10th centuries Arabs and Chinese thought of Southeast Asia’s gold, as well as the spices that created it; by the 15th century sailors from ports on the Atlantic, at the opposite side of the hemisphere, would sail into unknown oceans in order to find these Spice Islands. They all knew that Southeast Asia was the spice capital of the world. From roughly 1000 CE until the nineteenth-century ‘industrial age’, all world trade was more or less governed by the ebb and flow of spices in and out of Southeast Asia.

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The Phoenicians

A research by Dhani Irwanto

The Phoenicians was an ancient civilization composed of independent city-states which lay along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea stretching through what is now Syria, Lebanon and northern Israel, though some colonies later reached the Western Mediterranean and even the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the most famous being Carthage. All were fiercely independent, rival cities and, unlike the neighboring inland states, the Phoenicians represented a confederation of maritime traders rather than a defined country. Phoenician city-states began to take form ca 3200 BCE and were firmly established by ca 2750 BCE. Phoenicia thrived as a maritime trader and manufacturing center from ca 1500 – 330 BCE and was highly regarded for their skill in ship-building, glass-making, the production of dyes and an impressive level of skill in the manufacture of luxury and common goods. As Egyptian and Near Eastern documents record, the Late Bronze Age (ca 1600 – 1200 BCE) was a time of economic prosperity for these trading centers. With the decline of Egyptian influence about 1200 BCE, the cities were freed from foreign domination. The ultimate collapse of Egyptian power in the region occurred about 1175 BCE at the hands of the Sea Peoples, of whom the best known are the Philistines. By the late 8th century BCE, the Phoenicians, alongside the Greeks, had founded trading posts around the entire Mediterranean. Sea traders from Phoenicia and Carthage (a Phoenician colony traditionally founded in 814 BCE) even ventured beyond the Strait of Gibraltar as far as Britain in search of tin.

Figure 1 – Trade routes of the Phoenicians

For more than a thousand years, the Phoenicians sailed under different flags in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. The first recorded appearance of the Phoenicians in the Indian Ocean is connected with the establishment of the port of Ezion-Geber in 950 BCE. It is also possible for them to sail by their own trading expeditions since they knew about the benefits of sailing to the Far East. There is no doubt they were capable of crossing vast oceans using currents and winds.

The Phoenicians were famed in Classical Greece and Rome as “traders in purple”, referring to their monopoly on the precious purple dye of the murex snail, used, among other things, for royal clothing, and for the spread of their alphabet. The trade of precious commodity also involved precious gems, where rubies and diamonds were first cut and polished in India (Greater India, including Southeast Asia). The most credible scholars knew that the Phoenicians were very secretive with the sources of their trading empire. The source of the materials and the recipe for the preparation of the dye solution are still in mystery.

The main natural resources of the Phoenician cities in the eastern Mediterranean were the prized cedars of Lebanon. Phoenician artisans were skilled in wood, ivory, and metalworking, as well as textile production. The Phoenicians used the cedar of Lebanon for building commercial and military ships, as well as houses, palaces and temples. There is no evidence of ancient cedar forests in Lebanon; the current cedar trees could very well have been transplanted from elsewhere during ancient times. Other than that, the stories of tin credibly involve the Phoenician. The mystery still remains as to where the Phoenicians truly arose from, certainly not from the Mediterranean region because there is no story about it. There is no history of Indian sailors trading on the open seas; for they were better known as brokers or middlemen for the sake of logistics. The secretive of the Phoenicians makes unanswered question from where the Phoenicians arose.

The oldest attested form of the name Phoenicia is the Mycenaean po-ni-ki-jo. Po-ni-ki, ultimately borrowed from Ancient Egyptian fnḫw (fenkhu) meaning “Asiatics, Semites”. Herodotus’ account (written ca 440 BCE) refers to the myths of Io and Europa (History, I:1):

According to the Persians best informed in history, the Phoenicians began the quarrel. These people, who had formerly dwelt on the shores of the Erythraean Sea, having migrated to the Mediterranean and settled in the parts which they now inhabit, began at once, they say, to adventure on long voyages, freighting their vessels with the wares of Egypt and Assyria …”

The Indian Ocean was formerly named the Erythraean Sea (Herodotus, Dicaearchus, Eratosthenes, Posidonius and Strabo), where the Phoenicians formerly dwelt and need long voyages to migrate to the Mediterranean. Implicit in this account is that the Phoenicians were originated from the “East” or “Asiatic” at the shore of the Indian Ocean.

Velikovsky (2006) relates the name Phoenicia to pontifex, which means “high priest”. The word “pontiff” is not of Latin origin. It is not derived from “pons”, but probably from “Punt”. When it is said that Hatshepsut, after visiting Punt, built a “punt” for the god Amon, this means a sacred place of worship. By erecting a “punt” in Egypt, Hatshepsut also introduced the institution of the high priest, copying the service of the temple in Jerusalem, built on a Phoenician model.

Solomon’s alliance with Hiram, the king of the Phoenicians, explains the strong Phoenician influence in the life of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. This influence is stressed in the scriptures in the story of the erection of the temple, built with the help of Hiram, who provided Solomon with building material and with the chief craftsman, a man of Hebrew-Phoenician origin (I Kings 7:13-14). Also the common expedition to Ophir and the peaceful transfer of territory from the domain of one king to that of the other (I Kings 9:11) might have brought it about that the whole of Palestine at that time was called Phoenicia. It is very likely that the Egyptian expeditions to the Land of Punt at the later period were also by the help of the Phoenicians.

Perhaps the most significant contribution of the Phoenicians was an alphabetic writing system that became the root of the Western alphabets. Linguistic and alphabet studies of the Rejangese culture conducted by among others Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (1817), J Park Harrison (1896), EEEG Schroder (1927) and MA Jaspen (1983) show some correlations to the ancient Phoenician and Egyptian. The author makes comparisons among the three main groups of the southern Sumateran scripts: Rencong (or Ancung) in Kerinci, Rejang in Bengkulu and Lampung in southern Sumatera, and the Proto-Egyptian and Proto-Sinaitic (Old Phoenician) as shown in Table 1 (Irwanto 2015). Also shown the Brahmin-influenced scripts, Ugarit and the modern Latin.

Table 1 – Ancient Phoenician-Nusantara-Indian alphabet correspondences

As we can see from the comparison, the Lampung, Rejang and Rencong closely resemble the Phoenician’s Proto-Sinaitic rather than the Indian’s Brahmi. These three regions of Sumatera were very little influenced by Indian culture in the past. The Phoenician alphabet was derived from Egyptian hieroglyphics and became one of the most widely used writing systems, spread by Phoenician merchants across the Mediterranean world, where it evolved and was assimilated by many other cultures.

Jones-Gregorio in 1994 made a study for his thesis about Egyptian and West Semitic words in the Rejangese culture base on Jaspen’s Rejang dictionary. He concludes that many of the Rejangese words seem to be unquestionably ancient Egyptian and Phoenician.

From the genetic studies, most of the descendant lineages of haplogroup K2, also known as K-M526, are located today in Southeast Asia and Oceania (Karafet et al 2014). Ancient members of haplogroup K2, M70, dispersed across the Mediterranean world. They traveled west along the coast of North Africa and also along Mediterranean coastline of southern Europe. These movements suggest an intriguing possibility that the M70 marker may have been carried by the Phoenicians (Spencer Wells 2007).

The origins of the Egyptians as well as the Phoenicians are probably the Land of Punt, viz Sumatera. We could speculate that the Egyptians were the earlier Puntites and the Phoenicians the later. During the Late Period much of Egyptian trade was in the hands of the Phoenicians and Greeks. A long history of contacts with the Egyptians made the Puntites (or the Sumaterans) learned from the Egyptians how to voyage and to trade luxurious goods of their products. It is natural that the producers always keen to sell their products directly to the costumers to gain their own profit. They allegedly had a cooperation with the Buginese in Sulawesi to build the ship. Buginese traders were frequently visited Bengkulu and Enggano Island in the ancient times for the trading of supreme quality coconuts (Helfrich 1891). The Rejangese alphabet is also related to the Buginese. The Buginese has the pinisi ship – phonetically in close resemblance with the name “Phoenicia” – which has been proven tough to sail the vast oceans.

The abundance of wood with high quality in Sumatera could probably facilitate them to build more sophisticated ships than those of the Egyptians. The source of goods to trade, ie murex snail, incense, precious gems and cedar wood among others are typical of the Southeast Asian origins. Perhaps, these Puntites who had managed to do this trade were then called the Phoenicians, from the roots “Punt”, “Pwene” or “pinisi”. To have the monopoly of the Asian traded goods in the Mediterranean, the Phoenicians kept the secrecy of the sources until in the 18th century the Dutch and the British managed to explore the resources in great amount. The Indian Ocean coastal people of Sumatera as well as the Buginese are renowned for their proficiency in trade. Their legends and songs also tell stories about oversea trading (merantau, “to wander about”). The Buginese along with the Barito Dayak in Kalimantan are traced to have relationships to the Malagasy in the antiquity.

Also, a long history of contacts with the Egyptians made the Puntites learn hieroglyphic writing, but then developed it further to become an alphabetic script. The Lampung, Rejang, Rencong and Bugis alphabets are the legacies of this script as has been discussed above.

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Pyramids Building

A research by Dhani Irwanto

A pyramid is a structure whose outer surfaces are triangular and converge to a single point at the top, making the shape roughly a pyramid in the geometric sense. A step pyramid is an architectural structure that uses flat platforms, or steps, receding from the ground up, to achieve a completed shape similar to a geometric pyramid. Step pyramids are structures which characterized several cultures throughout history, in several locations throughout the world. These pyramids are typically large and made of several layers of stone.

As well as menhirs, stone tables, and stone statues, Austronesian megalithic culture in the archipelago also featured earth-and-stone step pyramid structure, referred to as punden berundak, regarded as one of the characteristics of the original culture of the archipelago. These structures have been found and spread throughout the archipelago as far as Polynesia. Most of them are found in the island of Java. Gunungpadang is the biggest and the oldest earth-and-stone step pyramid structure dated ca 25,000 years ago or older (Natawidjaja 2013). The Sukuh and Cetho temples in Central Java (dates are debated) show the Austronesian indigenous elements of step pyramid that somewhat resemble the Mesoamerican pyramids. The huge Borobudur temple is the largest Buddhist temple in the world, which allegedly built on the previous earth-and-stone step pyramid. The construction of stone pyramids was based on the native belief that mountains and other high places are the abode of the spirits of the ancestors, or the most ideal pilgrimage places to worship them. They feel the need for pilgrimages, in addition to worship, in a belief that the ancestral spirits can solve their everyday life problems.

Spread of step pyramids in Southeast Asia

The earth-and-stone step pyramids were normally built on natural or manmade mounds, hills or hillsides. As the civilizations were developing, they built larger pyramids so that more stones were required. The majority of the weight are closer to the ground and material higher up on the pyramid will be pushing down from above. The stones could pose problems on the strength of the earth to hold the weight – a case that has been observed at Borobudur temple. Therefore, pyramids with heavier stone weight pushing on the earth fill are observed to have less earth fill or even without it. This design allowed early civilizations to create stable monumental structures. Dry stones were used in the construction where minimum human work are required.

Pyramids have been built by civilizations in many parts of the world. For thousands of years, the largest structures on Earth were pyramids. They spread from Egypt to America, that emerged separately from one another by oceans who supposedly never discovered each other’s existence. There are no firmly established connections between the different civilizations that built them, but their similarities show that they sprang from a common origin. In South and Southeast Asia, architectural elements were added on the terraced plinths of the pyramids, including multiple tower shrines. They gradually transformed into temples that mostly influenced by the Hindu and Buddhist architecture. Some of the temples retain their pyramidal form, such as Gangaikondachola-puram, Thanjavur, Airavatesvara and Srirangam temples in India; Prasat Thom temple in Cambodia; and Borobudur, Sukuh and Cetho temples in Indonesia. Balinese puras are also in the form of earth-and-stone step pyramids, that are vigorously fantastical, with gilt paint and colored glass.

Development of pyramid building

In Mesopotamia, the Sumerians, Babylonians, Elamites, Akkadians and Assyrians built the earliest pyramidal structures, called ziggurats, began near the end of the Early Dynastic Period. They were constructed of sun-dried mud-brick so that little remains of them. The ziggurat was a pyramidal structure with a flat top, built in receding tiers upon a rectangular, oval or square platform. They probably had shrines at the top with the access would have been by a series of ramps on one side of the ziggurat or by a spiral ramp from base to summit.

The Egyptian pyramids are huge structures built of brick or stone, shaped as a reference to the rays of the sun. They began building pyramids after 2700 BCE until about 1700 BCE. The first pyramid was built during the Third Dynasty by king Djoser and his architect Imhotep, as a step pyramid by stacking six mastabas (rectangular, flat-roofed ancient Egyptian tomb). The largest pyramids are the pyramids at Giza (2575 – 2150 BCE).

In Mesoamerica, such as the Aztecs, Maya, Purépechans, Teotihuacans and Toltec built pyramids from around 1000 BCE up until the time of the Spanish conquest in the early 16th century. The Mesoamerican pyramids were usually stepped, with temples on top, more similar to the Mesopotamian ziggurat. These are usually made out of stone and mortar but some of the earliest may have been made out of clay. The largest pyramid by volume is the pyramid of Cholula in Mexico.

Other civilizations also built pyramid-shaped structures in the past. There are many square flat-topped mound tombs in China, most of which are ancient mausoleums and burial mounds built to house the remains of several early emperors of China and their imperial relatives. Many native American societies of ancient North America built large pyramidal earth structures known as platform mounds. Andean cultures in Peru had used pyramids in various architectural structures. The Nubian in Sudan built steep-angled pyramids at three sites to serve as tombs for the kings and queens of Napata and Meroë. The Igbo culture in Nigeria built three clay or mud pyramids structures. Two pyramid-like structures are found in Greece, one at Hellenikon and the other at Ligourio. A Greek traveler and geographer Pausanias (2nd century CE) mentions two buildings resembling pyramids in Greece, but neither of these still survive. In the district of Chacona, Spain, six rectangular pyramid-shaped, terraced structures, referred to as the Pyramids of Güímar, are found.

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Copyright © Dhani Irwanto, 2019. All rights reserved.

Nusasura: The Atlantis Island?

<Bahasa Indonesia>

A research by Dhani Irwanto, 1 June 2018

In 2017, I visited an island in the middle of the Java Sea, namely the Bawean Island, to deliver a presentation about the island’s connection with Atlantis. I spent a few days there, wandering around the tiny island to observe and talk to every resident I met. There is an interesting thing that I got when talking with them. Some people told a legend about the existence of a mysterious island located on the north of the island, in the middle of the Java Sea, which is now drowned. They also told about the frequent occurrence of fishing boats or vessels that ran aground or lost when sailing near the mysterious island.

After returning from the island, I thought about opening up the old maps composed by geographers from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. After I observed, many maps show the existence of an island located in the northeast of the Bawean Island, with various names such as Nusasua, Nisasira, Nusasira and Nisaira (see attached maps). Then I interpreted the names into Nusasura in the Austronesian language group. Is Nusasura the Island of Atlantis?

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In a research published in 2015, I undertook a hypothesis of the island of Atlantis, where there is the capital city of the kingdom of Atlantis, that is located on the northeast of the Bawean Island. The island is now drowned and overgrown by a coral reef named Gosong Gia or Annie Florence Reef. This coral reef was mapped in detail using multi-beam echosounder some time ago. From the pattern of the coral reef, the structure of the city and its dimensions narrated by Plato can still be seen. The location of the coral reef is more or less the same as the Nusasura shown on the above maps. Please note that the authors of the maps were informed by European sailors who sailed in the Java Sea. The sailors obtained the information about the islands in the Java Sea from the local residents or sailors, who probably also told of the mysterious island and then it was described by the European sailors.

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Gosong Gia 05

Furthermore, I also observed the ancient records contained in Egypt. From here I obtained a word that sounds like Nusasura, Neserser. In the mythology of the Ancient Egyptians, the island and the lake of Neserser, “the island and the lake of flames” (in the volcanic region) where Osiris and Thoth came from, is often mentioned in their myths. As described in the Papyrus of Nu (in the Book of Dead), the myth tells that Osiris has his throne on the island of Neserser in the center of six or seven concentric circles with a gate at each and they are all in the “lake” of Neserser. The concentric circles were built for Ra by the dwellers of the lake. Thoth had his lands around the lake and he visited Osiris on the island. There was a great flood in the lake of Neserser and somehow these circles of Ra became hidden.

As written in many tomb texts from the Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Periods in the Ancient Egypt, in the concepts of the divinities and the deceased, the Neserser island is a heaven-like place, a place where judgement is passed and the deceased is reborn equipped with a status (god or common being). The Hetep-fields is a kind of paradise under the supervision of the god Hetep with whom the deceased identifies himself, and where he leads the happy life reserved for the privileged. In the concept, Osiris, Horus and Thoth were given the status of gods or ancestral divinities.

The description of Neserser is resemblant to the story of Atlantis.

  • Six or seven concentric circles were built for Ra on the island of Neserser, conforming to the Atlantis’ four circles of lands (including the central land) and three circles of water, built by the god Poseidon.
  • Either Osiris or Atlas have their thrones on the central lands.
  • The lake of Neserser is conforming to the almost closed sea around the Atlantis capital island. Plato describes the sea as a water with a mouth to the outer sea, thus arbitrarily can be called a lake. As described above, I made a hypothesis in 2015 that the sea is the ancient Java Sea where it had only one outlet.
  • There was a great flood in the lake of Neserser which devastated the island of Neserser, and then it was hidden. This is also in conformity with the descriptions about the destruction of Atlantis.

Again, a sound-like word of Nusasura, Nisir, is also found on the Mesopotamian clay tablets, the name of a sea where Gilgamesh sets out on a series of journeys to search for his ancestor Utnapishtim that has been given eternal life. In 2016, I made a hypothesis that the Epic of Gilgamesh fit the conditions in Indonesia, from the descriptions such as full of noisy birds and cicadas, and monkeys scream and yell in the trees.

Nusasura could have come from the words “nusa” and “asura”, meaning the island of the Asuras. Asuras (also known as Suras and Asuryas) in the dharmic mythology are a class of divine beings or power-seeking deities. Asuras are described as powerful superhuman demigods with good or bad qualities. The good Asuras are called Adityas and are led by Baruna, while the malevolent ones are called Danavas and are led by Vritra. In later Vedic and post-Vedic texts, the benevolent gods are called Devas, while malevolent Asuras compete against these Devas and are considered “enemy of the gods”. In the above Atlantis hypothesis, I made an analogy of the god Baruna with Poseidon, the founder of Atlantis.

The term Asura is linguistically related to the Ahuras of Indo-Iranian people and pre-Zoroastrianism era. In both religions, Ahura, Vouruna and Daeva of pre-Zoroastrianism (Asura, Baruna and Deva of Dharmism) are found, but their roles are on opposite sides. That is, Ahura evolves to represent the good in pre-Zoroastrianism, while Asura evolves to represent the bad in Vedic religion, while Daeva evolves to represent the bad in pre-Zoroastrianism, while Deva evolves to represent the good in Vedic religion. This contrasting roles have led some scholars to deduce that there may have been wars in proto-Indo-European communities, and their gods and demons evolved to reflect their differences. In the Atlantis context, there was a war between Atlantis and “the Athens” (a borrowed name). The Asuras/Ahuras could be analogous to the Atlantean while the Devas/Daevas were “the Athenian”.

Please notice also the linguistic resemblance between Asura and Osiris in the above ancient records of Egypt. Osiris or Atlas have their thrones on the central lands. Note that Osiris was originally the god of water and vegetation. Therefore we can speculate that Asura, Osiris and Atlas are the same person. The name Atlantis was derived from Atlas, Neserser from Osiris and therefore Nusasura from Asura.

Phonetically, Asura is similar to Ashur, the chief god of the Assyrian pantheon, god of military prowess and empire, and namesake of the Assyrian Empire. Some scholars have claimed that Ashur was represented as the winged sun that appears frequently in Assyrian iconography. One variation contain a winged disc with horns, enclosing four circles revolving round a middle circle. The Zoroastrian’s Ahura also have similar representation. From the characters he owns, that are powerful, mighty and has the symbol of solar disc, Ashur could be the association of Asura in the Mesopotamian culture. The circles inside the disc have similar configuration with the land-and-water circles of Atlantis.

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Copyright © Dhani Irwanto, 2018. All rights reserved.