it was made painfully clear that the Egyptian civilisation was “primitive” when compared to the cultural and specifically philosophical achievements of the Greeks.
Egypt: origin of the Greek culture
For centuries, scholars have identified the Greek culture as the source of the western civilisation. But what if the Greek culture itself was a legacy – a colony – of the ancient Egyptians?
Richard Poe in “Black Spark, White Fire” argues that the assumption that the ancient Egyptians did not sail across the Mediterranean Sea is a carefully constructed scientific myth. Evidence that the ancient Egyptians did just that is similar to the volume of evidence that the Phoenicians and Minoans sailed that sea. Scientists willingly accept those cultures’ seafaring capability, yet illogically limit the ancient Egyptians’ capability to do the same.
The same veil of ignorance is maintained when it comes to philosophy. Both Plato and Pythagoras, identified as icons of Greek philosophy, stated that they and other great Greek philosophers had studied and learned that knowledge in Egypt. Many had studied many years at Egyptian schools, to return to Greece as the “first philosophers”.
Thales of Milete
Iamblichus wrote that Thales of Milete had to make it clear to Pythagoras that the latter had to go to Memphis, in Egypt, to study. Thales added that it were the Egyptian priests that were a veritable source of knowledge and information. Thales stated this at a time when he himself was Greece’s most famous and applauded philosopher, even though it would be his protégé Pythagoras who is currently best remembered as the “first philosopher”.
Though many will look towards the story of Atlantis and its Egyptian source, it is actually Plato’s philosophy that is the best example of this anomaly. Plato stated that many souls of the deceased reincarnated, both in animals and humans. This concept was unknown in Greece, where it was believed that death signalled the end; only an “underworld” lay behind the veil of death. It were the Egyptians who believed that death was only a passing, the soul continuing to exist beyond that event.
Greek myths take the evidence further. They clearly state that the first “Greeks” were Egyptians, who had colonised the Greek isles and mainland. Diodorus Siculus wrote that Kekrops originated from Egypt and founded Athens as a colony of the Egyptian town of Sais. The goddess Athena was in truth the Egyptian Neith, matron of the city of Sais. Two Greek families, the Eumolpidae and the Ceryces, were said to descend from Egyptian priests. The two families were tasked with the rituals of the goddess Athena. They stated: “and their offerings and their old ceremonies were practiced by the people of Athens in the same manner as it was held with the ancient Egyptians. [These two families] are the only Greeks who swear to Isis and they resemble both facially and in mannerisms the Egyptians.”
Apart from Athens, Dodona was another Egyptian idea. Herodotus wrote that the Greeks knew and stated that the Mysteries of Dodona originated in Egypt. On his travels in Egypt, the priests told him that two priestesses were abducted by the Phoenicians. One of these victims was said to have founded the sanctuary of Dodona. Herodotus thus stated that both in Greece and in Egypt, he heard repeatedly how the Greek civilisation was a child of the Nile. How do scholars approach this conundrum? Herodotus was duly given the reputation of being a “liar” – a worse fate than Plato suffered, who is only labelled as having “imagined an ideal world” when he spoke of Atlantis.
Still, it is said that the Mysteries of Demeter in Eleusis were also of Egyptian origin. They were traced back to Erechteus, who was said to have created the Mysteries at Eleusis as a copy of the Mysteries of Isis and Osiris. But, once again, scholars argued that the Greeks were wrong. After all, was it not known that all myths and legends were not based in reality, but in flights of fancy?
Who created the “veil of ignorance” that guards over the separation of ancient Greece and Egypt as a scientific Iron Curtain? The answer is to be found at the end of the 19th century, and the racial situation of that era. The central question is what race the ancient Egyptians were. The relationship between blacks and white Europeans was a powerful social issue in the United States and Great Britain; in 1879, Britain ruled one quarter of the world. It was at this time that scholars began to awaken to the realisation that the Egyptians possessed a powerful culture; it was at this time that Greece was identified as the cradle of western civilisation. It were largely white scholars who would do anything to make sure that blacks would find no place in history… after all, it could lead to serious social consequences. Blacks surely could never be at the roots of that wonderful Greek civilisation? That “had” to be erroneous. It was simply impossible…
This attitude is the opposite of the Greek attitude, however difficult it is to believe, after more than a century of brainwashing about ancient Greek thinking. The Greeks had no problem in stating their knowledge originated from an African origin; nowhere do they make references to “white deities” or “white leaders” amongst the black culture that gave them their philosophy.
The facts are vastly different and radically speak against any such revisionist thinking. The Greek city of Thebes was founded by two brothers, Amphion and Zethos. They were claimed to be the sons of Zeus, with a mortal, known as Antiope. It was a typically Egyptian concept for the king to state that he was born of god. This was purely symbolic – but it should be realised that it was symbolic for the ancient Greeks also.
This article originally appeared in Frontier Magazine 5.3 (May-June 1999) and has been slightly adapted.