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Open letter to science editors





To the Editor of KRONOS:

My comments in KRONOS VI:4 to the bombardment of criticism of my article on Sothic dating in KRONOS VI:1 have brought forth further criticism from Prof. Lynn E. Rose and "speculative discussion" from Dr. Shane H. Mage. A few more comments seem in order in the hope, probably vain, that I can persuade them of the possible correctness of my position.

Let us begin with Dr. Mage's remarks. He questions my use of the verb "shown" in reference to the Senmut and Ramesseum astronomical ceilings. Of course these ceilings were not for "show". The calendar was surely important in the after life or it would not appear on a tomb or temple ceiling but that variety in depiction meant a change in the celestial order is an unproved proposition. On these two ceilings see paragraphs secs. 220-225 in my Calendars where the great differences in composition are gone into.

With regard to the introduction of the civil calendar Mage takes the line that it was "radically new" and its introduction "was obviously a major (literally epochal) event with crucial religious and social implications". Nothing of the sort! The new calendar was but a simplification of the existing lunar calendar and running concurrently with it. All religious events would still be determined by the lunar calendar and its averaged counterpart would be only a convenience in reckoning for scribes. Gradually the civil calendar would grow in importance and use, even for religion, but it could be as long as two centuries before the divergence between the lunar year, governed by the rising of Sirius, and its civil partner became apparent. Again I urge consultation with my chapter on the civil calendar in Calendars.

While offering no refutation of the evidence for the 365-day civil year in the Fifth Dynasty, Mage uses the phrase "if valid" with reference to the epagomena's antiquity. The belief that the 365-day year did not exist as such throughout the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms and down to the Ptolemies, despite the evidence, can only be characterized as wishful thinking. The same phrase must be applied to Mage's attempt to associate Isis with Venus. He ignores the fact that the final t in 3s.t is the feminine ending, unpronounced (as in Isis) and not possibly present in Istar or Astarte.

Now to Prof. Rose who has responded to my charges of his nit-picking with charges of my muddling. In his summing-up paragraph of my various muddles he does, to be sure, say "if" I have made all these muddles I have done little to inspire confidence in my pronouncements on other matters. Is he not quite sure that I have indeed muddled?

I do plead guilty to muddling the definition of arcus visionis and the apparent motion of Sirius but I repeat that definitions and applications are quite different and if the latter are correct that is what is important and I am sure Rose would agree. It is flattering, but incorrect, to be termed by him "the world's leading authority on Egyptian astronomy". That has to be my colleague O. Neugebauer, who indeed has corrected me in the past on arcus visionis. I claim only to have some knowledge of Egyptian calendars. But what of my other muddles?

Let us inquire first into Rose's criticism of my handling of Samuel and the Canopus Decree. He states that "Samuel puts the accession on Dios 25 Macedonian = January 29 Julian, -245, which is Choiak 8 Egyptian; the '7' is an error". Now Samuel says nothing at all about a Julian date, simply that Dios 25 is Choiak 7. The correspondence between the Macedonian and Egyptian calendars is to be found in the 25-year cycle table on p.59 of Samuel's Ptolemaic Chronology. In year 11 of the cycle (Samuel, p. 60, Julian, -246/45) Dios begins on Hathor 13 and the equation Dios 25 = Choiak 7 is indeed correct. Rose goes astray in introducing the Julian calendar into the Macedonian-Egyptian date. Julian days run from midnight to midnight, while the Macedonian day began with the sunset before midnight and the Egyptian day began with the sunrise before the Macedonian sunset and the Julian midnight. It is true that modern scholars prefer to equate daylight hours (as does Rose in KRONOS VI:4, p. 31) with the Julian calendar, but the Egyptian scribes had their own system.

Next Rose claims "that Samuel doesn't even try to show that Dystros 24 Macedonian fell on Pachons 4 Egyptian". Samuel, of course, didn't think it necessary to point out that, in the same cycle year 11, Dystros I fell on Pharmouthi 11, so that Dystros 24 did indeed coincide with Pachons 4. Perhaps he should have done so, for Rose's benefit, as well as point out that no intercalary month could have been involved, since these were biennial and under Euergetes they occurred in his even years. (Samuel, p. 75).

Rose talks about Samuel's "possible scenario" for this date, twice termed hypothetical by Samuel himself. But isn't that exactly what any scholar does? He constructs a hypothesis and tests it against the evidence. So did Samuel and at the time he convinced me, and apparently Rose as well, to some degree, judging from his remarks in KRONOS VII:1, p. 94. Samuel has in part recanted and he now believes that the beginning of the regnal year under Philadelphus must now be left open "with much of the evidence pointing to a period between Dystros 24 to 26 and the 24th explaining the most evidence" (Greek and Roman Chronology, p. 148).

However, whether the regnal year began on Dystros 24 or 26, so long as the Macedonian pattern of an intercalary month every two years continued under Euergetes, and there is no evidence to the contrary, in his year 9 the late days of Dystros in Choiak would still precede II smw (Payni) 1, the date of prt Spdt, and this event would have occurred before the date of the Canopus Decree, and this even Rose admits was quite likely. That the text of the Decree, in my opinion, confirms this is to Rose, however, "another error". To him the text seems "to refer to some future time". I persist in my conclusion.

With that let us turn to Censorinus. Rose's position is that "the (calculated) heliacal rising of Sirius seems to have fallen on July 20 Julian both for many years before and also for many years after +139". Thoth 1 fell on July 20 in +136-139, and so despite his use of "seems" he throws out my conclusion that Thoth 1 and the rising of Sirius fell on July 20 in +139 and on July 19 in +140-142. This forces him, of course, to the conclusion that Censorinus didn't know what he was talking about and so took the last year of the quadriennium as his date and not the first. When I referred to Censorinus, however, I mentioned as well the support for his position to be found in the coins of Antoninus Pius (KRONOS VI: 1, p. 59, n. 15). Rose apparently didn't bother to examine that evidence. Had he done so he would have found that coins bearing a phoenix and the legend AIwN date to both year 2 and year 6. As Borchardt pointed out this is exactly what we might expect, a coin marking the first year of the quadriennium +139-142 and another marking the end of the noteworthy period in the following year.

Given this quadriennium, however, I get into trouble, according to Rose, by using a "constant four-year cycle back to the Canopus Decree" and so subjecting my readers to a "false and tortuous trail". But I only assumed a constant four year cycle and it was no shock to me whatever when it became necessary to have a triennium somewhere along the way to account for the epagomenal days already being over in the Decree. Rose does not mention the calculation of Ingham which resulted in a Sothic cycle between -1314 and +139 of 1453 years, so that there must have been seven triennia over these years, with one of them surely to be expected between Canopus and Censorinus. With that the defense rests.

Richard A. Parker

Professor Emeritus/Brown

Prof. Lynn E. Rose Replies:

I will discuss Professor Parker's comments in the order in which he made them.

My criticisms of Parker in KRONOS VI:4 were followed by a statement that "if Parker makes a muddle of" the five matters that I enumerated, "then he has done little to inspire our confidence in his authoritative pronouncements regarding other matters". This argument form is known as modus ponens: p; if p then q; therefore, q. I had already asserted p; my subsequent assertion of "if p then q" was not a retraction of p, as Parker seems to suggest, but was rather a way of arguing for q. I would still argue for q, but one of the five muddles upon which I based that argument has turned out to be a muddle made by me, and will indeed be retracted below. There is no shortage of Parker's own muddles to cite in support of q, however; the "Surrejoinder" contains several new ones.

I do not agree with Parker's view that correct applications are more important than definitional and conceptual issues, if that is what he meant. Where there is conceptual confusion, correct applications are at best lucky. And how do we determine that the applications are correct, if our concepts and definitions are garbled?

Since Parker feels that I am "incorrect" in calling him "the world's leading authority on Egyptian astronomy", l will not try to debate the matter; but neither will l accept Neugebauer in that role. It is overly modest of the co-author of the monumental Egyptian Astronomical Texts to "claim only to have some knowledge of Egyptian calendars". To a great extent, calendars are astronomical.

Parker quotes my statement that "Samuel puts the accession [of Ptolemy III Euergetes I] on Dios 25 Macedonian = January 29 Julian, -245, which is Choiak 8 Egyptian; the '7' is an error". Parker claims that "Samuel says nothing at all about a Julian date". This is a rather surprising remark, for Samuel does frequently refer to Julian dates, and on page 168 Samuel does give "January 29" as the date of the "accession of Euergetes I". Both Parker and Samuel are misusing the 25-year cycle table when they come up with "7". All that that table shows us is that Dios 25 began at sunset on Choiak 7, which I have not denied. The question is not, however, when a certain date began, but, rather, which dates are to be equated? Dios 25 began at the sunset that occurred on Choiak 7 and on January 28, but the only natural way of equating dates of these three calendars is Dios 25 = Choiak 8 = January 29. Of course, if Philadelphus died before sunrise, that would still be on Choiak 7, and if he died before midnight, that would still be on January 28. But we do not know what time he died on Dios 25, and it is not a matter of assigning a date to what could be treated as a timed, instantaneous event. All we can do is situate Dios 25 in terms of its approximate equivalents in other calendars, namely, Choiak 8 and January 29. When it is this sort of approximate equivalence that is involved, the only sensible course is to equate the dates that have their daylight hours in common. When Parker says that "the Egyptian day began with the sunrise before the Macedonian sunset and the Julian midnight", he is in error, since it is the next Egyptian day that is equivalent to the Macedonian and Julian days that begin at those points. An overlap of about eighteen hours between equated Julian and Egyptian dates is better than an overlap of only about six hours! (By the way, when Parker spoke of -237 in KRONOS VI: 1, page 64, and equated Tybi 17 with March 7 and Payni 1 with July 19, he was using the common daylight hours that he now wishes to repudiate.)

Equating dates is one thing. Specifying the date upon which another date began is something else. It is for the latter purpose that the 25-year cycle table was designed, and to apply that table to the former situation is inappropriate. Even Samuel recognizes this, sometimes. His own tables on pages 161-169 are so designed that "any Macedonian date can be conveniently converted into a Julian date" (page 74); these tables "give the Julian date with which the Macedonian date coincided during the daylight hours" (page 162). With regard to page 95, both Samuel and Parker forgot that while Dios 25 began on Choiak 7, the equivalence is between Dios 25 and Choiak 8.

I did realize that Samuel obtained his Dystros 24 = Pachons 4 in -245 from the 25-year cycle table. That is not the point. The point is that we do not know whether Dystros 24 was determined under Euergetes I by means of the table or by some other means. The reason that Samuel does not "point out that no intercalary month could have been involved" is that he believes that one could have been involved, namely, an intercalary Peritios that immediately preceded the Dystros! (See Samuel's Ptolemaic Chronology, pages 95, 98, and 105.)

Parker supports his own statement that the intercalations "were biennial and under Euergetes they occurred in his even years" by citing page 75 of Samuel. What we actually find on page 75 is that there are three intercalary months known from the reign of Euergetes (which lasted nearly twenty-five years and presumably had more than just three intercalary months). Those three are indeed from even years, according to Samuel's best guesses: there is a Hyperberetaios in year 4, a Panemos in year 16, and a Peritios in year 20. How reliable are they for Parker's purposes? Not very. Samuel indicates in a footnote that Skeat thought that the Peritios was really from year 19, and in another footnote Samuel admits that the Panemos may not even belong to the reign of Euergetes! (As already noted, Parker overlooks the fact that Samuel hypothesizes an intercalary Peritios in year I, which is an odd year.)

Parker should have paid more attention to this sentence from page 75: "The existence of three different intercalary months during Euergetes' reign shows that the regularity of the calendar under Philadelphus is lacking for his successor." (Philadelphus seems to have been using only one intercalary month: Peritios. Thus the Hyperberetaios in year 4 of Euergetes is also a sign of non-regularity, despite the fact that it falls in an even year.) The Canopus Decree itself shows the interest under Euergetes in calendar reform, and it is not surprising that little if any attention should have been given under Euergetes to the 25-year cycle table. (Besides, people who were concerned about intercalating one day every four years to keep in step with the seasons would very likely have recognized the gross inaccuracy of intercalating an entire month every two years, something that should have been done, on the average, only about every 2.7 years.) Parker seems oblivious to the fact that Samuel does not find evidence that the fairly careful adherence to the 25-year cycle table under Philadelphus was continued under Euergetes. What Samuel does do, on that same page 75, is to contrast "the regularity of the calendar under Philadelphus" with "the confusion" under Euergetes. This hardly supports the kind of continuity that Parker is looking for. Furthermore, Samuel repeatedly explains that we do not know whether the table was used under Euergetes 1, except perhaps at Tebtunis, where there are some indications that it may have remained in use, though the evidence is sketchy. (See pages 97-105 of Samuel, especially pages 97-98.)

Parker's next paragraph confuses two different theses: that the regnal year of Euergetes I began on Dystros 24, and that the Dystros 24 that began year 2 was equivalent to Pachons 4. I did at first accept the former claim, though Samuel, and I, and apparently Parker as well have now had second thoughts. But I have never accepted the latter claim (about Pachons 4). Even Samuel offered it as merely "hypothetical". Parker's effort to pass off any scholarly inquiry as similarly "hypothetical" is rather disingenuous. Samuel did not label all of his other remarks as "hypothetical". I continue to think that Samuel meant what he said.

I never claimed that Payni I preceded Dystros 24 in -238; all I claimed was that the matter is not definitely settled. Parker's original claim that Dystros 24 "certainly" preceded Payni 1 has now been watered down to a somewhat "hypothetical" claim that "the late days of Dystros" would precede Payni 1, "so long as the Macedonian pattern of an intercalary month every two years continued under Euergetes, and there is no evidence to the contrary". Yet we have already seen that, according to Samuel's evidence, the fairly consistent pattern that was observed under Philadelphus was not "continued under Euergetes". My remark that it is "highly probable" that Dystros 24 preceded Payni 1 in -238 is not even relevant to the issue here. The issue is whether Parker is justified in saying that this "certainly" happened. (By the way, if all scholarship is "hypothetical", what business does Parker have using words like "certainly"?)

Let us now turn to the past tense in the Canopus Decree. If in June of 1984 I endorse Carl Sagan for President, and declare that "future generations will remember that Carl Sagan was elected President in 1984", would Parker take that "was" as proof that Sagan had already been elected at the time I spoke? I think not. The situation with the Canopus Decree is comparable. Again, l do not deny that Dystros 24 preceded Payni 1 in -238; I only deny that anyone has proved either that it "certainly" did or that the Canopus Decree settles the matter.

By the way, Parker's quotation from me "seems to refer to some future time" is not quite verbatim. I do not mind, since the change in wording does not distort my position. But I do want to call attention to the matter, in case Parker should ever discover any similar slips by me or by Velikovsky.

My use of "seems" in speaking of the heliacal rising of Sirius on July 20 reflected my uncertainty about just when it first rose on that date, and also about just when it would move on to July 21. The coins of Antoninus Pius are interesting (I have seen photographs of them), but they are hardly decisive, and we should be guided more by the astronomical circumstances. Antoninus Pius was not the only emperor to put a phoenix on his coins or to boast that his reign marked a new era, even a new golden age. The coins in question do not even mention Sirius. It seems to me that those sources that do mention Sirius have greater weight.

Nevertheless, my latest review of the heliacal risings of Sirius has uncovered an error in my previous work. (This error of mine has no effect on any of Velikovsky's theories.) Up to now, I had thought that the heliacal rising of Sirius occurred on Payni I Egyptian = July 19 Julian throughout the quadrennium that included the Canopus Decree and had moved to July 20 Julian sometime during the next several centuries. But now I find that there was not enough time for such a complete transition to have taken place by the quadrennium of + 136 to + 139. Probably only the last year of that quadrennium would by that time have featured a heliacal rising on July 20. The other years of that quadrennium, and the first three years of the next quadrennium, would in that case still have the heliacal rising of Sirius on July 19. Thus Parker and others were probably correct in saying that the first heliacal rising of Sirius on Thoth 1 Egyptian was on July 20 Julian, +139, and that Sirius rose heliacally on Thoth I Egyptian = July 19 Julian in +140, +141, and +142. (The phoenix-"Aion" coins of Antoninus Pius, issued in the second and sixth years of his reign, do not provide any decisive evidence in themselves, but if it can be determined on other grounds that his second year marked the first time that the heliacal rising of Sirius was on Thoth 1, and his sixth year the first time that it was on Thoth 2, then the coins do take on a new significance.)

Accordingly, I retract the remarks about July 20 made on page 31 of my "Calendars" paper (see KRONOS VI:4), together with theses 59, 65, 67, 69, 80, and 81, all of which involve this July 20 retrocalculation for the entire quadrennium from +136 to +139, and I apologize both to Censorinus and to Professor Parker. On this point, at least, Parker's hope that we might acknowledge the "possible correctness" of his position has not been entirely "vain".

I must also retract my remarks on page 31 and in thesis 5 about how far back the heliacal rising of Sirius was on July 19 Julian. The last heliacal rising on a July 18 Julian (which, by the way, would have to have been in a Julian leap year) may have been as late as the second or even the first century before this era, even though the time when all four (retrocalculated) heliacal risings in an Egyptian Julian quadrennium fell on July 18 Julian would have been sometime in the first half of the first millennium before this era. (It should be noted that such decisions about the heliacal risings of Sirius in +139 or at the time of the Canopus Decree still provide no adequate foundation for the usual uniformitarian claims about "Sothic periods" in Egyptian history. Those claims rest upon uniformitarian presumption. In particular, there is no proof that Sirius rose heliacally on Thoth 1 at any time in the fourteenth century before this era.)

I did indeed take Parker to be serious about his assumption of "a constant four-year cycle back to the Canopus Decree" from +139. If he already knew from Ingham that that assumption was false, it is difficult to see what clarification was to be achieved by laying down such an assumption. Nevertheless, I now take him at his word that he was never committed to his assumption, and that it was more in the nature of an unstated reductio ad absurdum. (Perhaps he should have used the subjunctive.)

It is true that I did not mention the dates from Ingham's paper; I was and still am puzzled by the bizarre methodology of that paper. Ingham starts with the arbitrary date of -4226 (which I presume comes from Borchardt, although we are not told this), and then calculates forward, first to +141, and next, with an improved treatment of arcus visionis, to +136. But the state of affairs in -4226 should be a conclusion, not a premiss. Wouldn't it be more instructive to calculate backwards from +1900 or +1950 than to calculate forward from -4226?

Parker says that "Rose does not mention the calculation of Ingham which resulted in a Sothic cycle between -1314 and +139 of 1453 years". Indeed I would not want to base my case upon Ingham, for the very reasons just given. But let us look at Parker's "-1314 and +139". Where did these dates come from? It turns out that this is another error by Parker, a bit of "wishful thinking" on his own part that I had not even noticed until now. Parker's "Surrejoinder" takes these dates from Parker's own "Addendum I" to his "Sothic Dating" paper. But in the "Illahun" section of that paper, the dates are given as "- 1312" and "+141", which are the actual dates that Ingham gave. How did Ingham's dates become modified in such a way as to coincide so neatly with Parker's own views about + 139? Even though I have now come over to the view that the heliacal rising of Sirius probably was in +139, I cannot see that the date of + 139 finds any useful support either in Ingham or in the pseudo-lngham that we get from Parker. Retrocalculations must proceed backwards as the term itself suggests from the known present to the relatively unknown past. There is no sense basing them on a more remote past that is entirely unknown. What, after all, do we have in the way of records about what Sirius was doing in -4226? Ingham's paper well illustrates why I insisted earlier that conceptual clarity is at least as important as specific application. It also well illustrates the warning to computer programmers: "garbage in, garbage out".

Another error in Parker's treatment of Ingham that I had not noticed until now is Parker's claim (KRONOS VI:1, page 65) that Ingham's retrocalculations show that there would have been one triennium between the Canopus Decree and +139. Parker seems to have forgotten that the seven triennia called for by Ingham in the Sothic cycle that is alleged to have ended in +139 would be squeezed slightly toward the later part of that cycle. In any case, there would be two triennia and possibly even three triennia between the Canopus Decree and +139. This suggests that the heliacal risings of -240 and -236, and perhaps those of -239 and -235, would have fallen on July 18 Julian. Parker, however, clearly thought that the sixth epagomenal day required by the Canopus Decree would have been in year 10. My thesis 47 also specified year 10. But the Canopus Decree does not say that the very next epagomenal days should be six, and we were not entitled to assume this. For if the heliacal risings of -240 and -236, and perhaps those of -239 and -235, were on July 18 Julian, then the task of keeping the heliacal risings on Payni 1 Egyptian would mean that the intercalation called for by the Canopus Decree would have been in year 11 or even in year 12, not in year 10. In that case, we were both wrong.

I might note in conclusion that not a single one of the mistakes by Parker or by me that have come to light in our exchanges is to be found in the Supplement to Peoples of the Sea. Velikovsky managed to discuss all of these subjects there without falling into any of the traps that snared Parker and me.

* * *

Dr. Shane H. Mage Replies:

Professor Parker's reply to my previous comments fails, I fear, to offer more in the way of rebuttal than mere reassertions of his previous contentions. If it is an "unproved proposition" that the difference between the Senmut and Ramesseum ceilings reflects a change in the celestial order, it is equally unproved that it has no astronomical significance.* Likewise, Parker is as unable as anyone else to determine when the final t in the feminine ending ceased to be pronounced in spoken Egyptian. Nor does he say anything to add plausibility to his contentions that the civil calendar was merely a simplified "averaged counterpart" of a pre-existing lunar calendar, and that it would have taken some two centuries for the Egyptians to become aware of its inaccuracy, even though the very notion of a lunar "year" could only arise as an averaged counterpart to the primordially obvious Tropical Year (determined by the solstices), and even though I had already pointed out that a single decade, rather than two centuries, would suffice to establish the true length of the Tropical Year.

[*But see M. Lowery, "Some Notes on Senmut's Ceiling" and M. Reade, "Senmut and Phaeton" in SISR II:1 (Autumn 1977), pp. 7-18. LMG]

What then, given the plainly inconclusive state of our present discussion, can be concluded about its topic the possibility of establishing a correct chronology of Egyptian History on the basis of Sothic Dating?

For Sothic Dating to be logically valid, two essential premises have to be shown to be true: (1) that the Egyptians maintained a 360+5 day calendar throughout virtually their entire history with no interruption whatsoever; and (2) that for the same era the Tropical and Sidereal years underwent no change, however transitory, from their present values of almost exactly 365 1/4 days. Our present discussion, dealing as it does exclusively with the first of these propositions, is quite properly confined to evidence deriving from ancient Egyptian sources. We should, however, not forget for a moment that Velikovsky's argument against proposition (2) is based predominantly on evidence from non-Egyptian sources in Part II, Chapter 8 of Worlds In Collision, of some 30 pages devoted to this topic, barely 2 rely on Egyptian materials.

Unfortunately, though it is precisely proposition (I) that is in question, Parker, while seeking to persuade us of the "possible correctness" of his position, seems to exclude the very possibility of its incorrectness when he asserts that: "The belief that the 365-day year did not exist as such throughout the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms and down to the Ptolemies, despite the evidence, can only be characterized as wishful thinking." But this evidence, a mere handful of references to the epagomena including none from the crucial epoch between the 15th and 7th centuries BCE, is quite inadequate as proof for the absolute continuity of a 360+5 day calendar over some 20 centuries, even if all its instances were unquestionably valid. With ancient Egyptian inscriptions, however, such certainty is scarcely to be found. There are too many possible sources of error: scribal errors of composition, mistakes in inscription, modern mistakes in copying, and perhaps most serious of all possible systematic errors in translation of a very dead language with no external means of verification. Such systematic errors are all the more to be feared on this precise topic inasmuch as millennial continuity of the 360+5 day Egyptian calendar was already a universally accepted dogma long before Champollion.

As an illustration of the possible doubt attaching to early references to the epagomena, consider one of the richest sources of such references to be found in Breasted's Records of Ancient Egypt, the XIIth Dynasty inscription known as "The Contracts of Hepzefi", one of a group called by Breasted "The Inscriptions of Siut". This is what Breasted (I, 179) says about the original source of these references:

"First copied by the expedition of Napoleon, they were almost wholly neglected till late in the last century, having in the interim been frightfully mutilated (serving as a stone quarry!) .... The language of these texts is exceedingly obscure and difficult; these hinderances, together with the very fragmentary state of the texts, often make translation quite impossible."

Or consider another earlier reference, the Vth Dynasty "Will of Nefonekh" which features a table of months containing the phrase "Five Intercalary Days" at the top of the table together with Month 1. Here Breasted (I, 99) has this to say about his source:

"from Fraser, with useful restorations and corrections by Sethe."

But, even adhering to the methodological ground-rule of accepting Egyptian translations en bloc, there are yet other reasons to be found in Breasted for doubt as to the continuous presence of the epagomena. Thus a search for specific dates prior to the 7th century BCE reveals a total of some 83 dated events (in the form regnal year month-season day), but not a single one of these dates is epagomenal! The probability of this data set, on the hypothesis of total calendrical continuity, is .9863^83 or approximately .32; that is, more than two chances in three that the hypothesis is incorrect. Of course this is still far more than the probability required to refute the hypothesis definitively, but it certainly suggests that the probabilities are not in favor of Parker's thesis.

Much worse yet for this hypothesis, there is to be found in Breasted one text which, if valid, flatly refutes the entire system of Sothic Dating. I refer to the culmination of an extremely high and destructive Nile flood recorded under the eighth century BCE Pharaoh Osorkon Il: "the flood came on, in this whole land .... this land was in its power like the sea .... All the temples of Thebes were like marshes" (IV, 743). The date given is Third year, First month of the Second season, Twelfth day. If Sothic Dating were valid, the flood would not even have begun until well after the date given, and its peak not reached until months later. Thus Breasted's puzzled comment: "This calendar date for the high level of inundation does not at all correspond to the place of the calendar in the seasons."

To save Sothic Dating, the orthodox Egyptologists must at least be able to invalidate Breasted's reading of the Osorkon II inscription. Until that is done, we can only conclude that the corpus of translated Egyptian writings, taken as a whole without selective rejections or acceptances, provides no basis for claiming the continuous existence of a 360+5 day Civil Year, but does contain evidence directly contradicting that hypothesis. Therefore I am able to concede Prof. Parker only this much: given the uncertainty attaching to all translations from ancient Egyptian texts we cannot on strictly Egyptological grounds reject the possible correctness of his position, although even on that basis this possibility seems exceedingly small. Nevertheless, even this possibility vanishes in light of the overwhelming non-Egyptian evidence for world-wide calendrical changes and the fact that all plausible synchronisms between Egyptian and non-Egyptian history are grossly inconsistent with the system of Sothic Dating.


To the Editor of KRONOS :

In Section 7 (p. 34) of his "Child of Saturn", Part II, KRONOS VII:2, Dwardu Cardona kindly offers to replace my error with his "truth":

"Artur Isenberg believed that Kartikeya represented 'certain aspects of the planet Venus'.... Like Velikovsky, Isenberg supplied no evidence. The truth [sic] of the matter, however, is that Kartikeya is one of the Sanskrit names of the planet Mars" (emphasis in the original).

The only primary source (i.e., work by an Indologist) cited by Mr. Cardona in support of his proclamation of the "truth of the matter" is V. S. Apte's The Student's English-Sanskrit Dictionary (U.K., 1920), a work to which I do not have ready access at the moment. I do, however, possess the same author's The Student's Sanskrit-English Dictionary, first published (in Poona) in 1890, my own copy being a 1959 reissue published by Motilal Dass (Delhi). The entry under "Kartikeya", lengthy though it is, contains the word "Mars" only a single time - in the following sentence quoted verbatim in its entirety:

"Kartikeya is the Mars or god of war of the Indian mythology" (p. 145, last column, lines 3 and 4 of the entry under "Kartikeya").

Note that Apte does not state that Kartikeya is Mars, even less that it is a Sanskrit name of the planet Mars: he does say that Kartikeya is "the Mars" and, lest that reference be misunderstood, adds "or god of war" etc., much as one might refer to "XYZ as the Columbus of 19th Century explorers", i.e., for the sake of a meaningful comparison based on certain similarities rather than of the assertion of a total identity.

Mr. Cardona will need better evidence before he can replace my possible error with his "truth of the matter". Indeed, l shall be truly grateful to him if he could cite any instance of the word "Kartikeya" being used as a common (or even not so common) synonym for the planet Mars in any and more especially any classical - Sanskrit sources.

I should not be greatly upset if it were proved that Kartikeya is both the planet Mars and the ancient Hindu god of war. After all, I only referred to the matter en passant, in a footnote, stating (rather mildly, I thought) that "I am inclined to believe ....", not that such a belief was a settled matter of conviction with me. I did not feel called upon to supply any evidence for so mildly worded a remark, the less so since I did clearly state my awareness that "Kartikeya is regarded by some as 'the (Hindu) god of war and (of) the planet Mars' ", citing as my source John Dowson's A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion (London, 1879, pp. 86-87). (For what it may be worth to Mr. Cardona, I am still inclined to believe what I stated in the above-mentioned footnote to my KRONOS article "Devi and Venus".)

Allow me to state, in conclusion, that I should not like it to be thought that my failure to comment upon other passages of Mr. Cardona's interesting article necessarily betokens agreement with all the other views expressed therein by him: caveat lector!

Artur Isenberg

Jerusalem, Israel

Dwardu Cardona Replies:

Artur Isenberg's expertise in Hindu lore is to be applauded. He scored well when he supplied the only valid identification of Venus from the legion of deities that compose the Hindu pantheon,(1) as also when he rediscovered Velikovsky's "lost source" re Vishnu's birth from Shiva.(2) Where Velikovsky failed, on both counts, he succeeded. I cannot, however, accept his other identification of Kartikeya as the same planet.

It is true that Isenberg only referred to the latter identification "en passant, in a footnote".(3) Nevertheless, not only was the identification offered, he has now restated that he is "still inclined to believe" in it (his emphasis). By the same token, my criticism still stands.

It is quite obvious from the referred footnote that Isenberg was influenced by the fact that Kartikeya is presented as the son of Shiva(4) whom, after Velikovsky, he accepted as a personification of Jupiter. Since Venus is supposed to have been ejected from Jupiter, the idea of Kartikeya having been Venus must have seemed a logical assumption. But that Shiva personified Saturn, rather than Jupiter, I have also indicated.(5) In fact, an uncommon name for Shiva seems to have been Shani.(6) That Shani was and still is the Hindu name of the planet Saturn(7) I am sure even Isenberg will accept.

In Hindu mythology, different sources offer different genealogies. Thus, Kartikeya is also spoken of as a son of Agni.(8) That Agni, like Shiva, was a personification of Saturn I have also documented.(9) If Kartikeya was truly Venus, as the son of Saturn he would then fit in with the major claim made in my paper. But where is the evidence that Kartikeya ever stood for Venus?

In his footnote on Kartikeya, Isenberg stressed the fact that this deity "was explicitly begotten to cope with a celestial crisis, to lead the devas into battle riding on a peacock".(10) This was meant as a comparison with what he called the "cometary aspect of the Devi" who sallied forth with "peacock-feathered flags", "peacock-plumes", and a "peacock's tail" for her banner.(11) While it is true that, "in Grimm's Teutonic Mythology, Vol. II, the peacock is termed a comet-symbol",(12) the same exotic bird is also renowned as the vahaman, or mount, of Brahma.(13) Are we to believe from this that Brahma/Saturn was also once a comet?

In fact, having already demonstrated that the Mahadevi must have stood for Saturn before she ever became linked with Venus,(14) can't we see that her peacock vahaman, the same as that of Brahma, was a Saturnian rather than a Venerian emblem?

Kartikeya's association with the peacock could have been due to Mars' close conjunction with the Saturnian rings (15) which, when seen in inverted crescent, would have truly exhibited similarities with that vahaman's fanned out tail.

In his rebuttal, Isenberg took exception to the evidence I presented. Not being familiar with the source I cited, he attempted to fault my affirmation by citing an entirely different one. The fact that both our sources are by the same author is immaterial. Isenberg has all the right in the world to prefer his but he cannot, on the strength of it, negate mine.

I do not contest that his source presents Kartikeya merely as "the Mars or god of war of the Indian mythology".(16) It does not change the fact that the source I cited has it differently.

For one thing, Apte's entry in Isenberg's source is found under the heading "Kartikeya". The evidence I cited is listed directly under that of "Mars". There the entry reads:

"Mars: Mangala, Bhauma, Bhu-mahi-suta; Lohita, Rudhira, Kuja, Lohitanga; 2. Kumara, Kartikeya, Guha, Skanda, Shaktidhara, Shadanana, Mahasena, Sharajanman, Senani, Agnibhu, Vishakha, Shanmatura."(17)

It will be noticed that the series of names beginning with Kumara are presented as a second, and perhaps secondary, group. Nowhere in this particular work does Apte differentiate between the two series. It might therefore be argued that, whereas the first group might indicate actual names of the planet Mars, the second, following the numeral "2", might have been meant to indicate only names of the war god. As I will soon show, this is not so. But even had it been, Isenberg should have wondered why Kartikeya was chosen as "the Mars....of the Indian mythology" in lieu of Indra who was a much more formidable god of war.

I would again like to point out that my identification of Kartikeya, and his aliases, as the planet Mars never rested exclusively on Apte. Isenberg, who seems to be familiar with my writings, should have noted that I had earlier offered the same equation on the basis of comparative mythology.(18) I have, since then, repeated that comparison,(19) and it is this:

In Babylonian astronomy, Mars is the sole planetary representative of the Pleiades.(20) In Hinduism, it is Kartikeya who is associated with this star group. In fact, it was in honor of the Pleiades which in Sanskrit are rendered Krittika that this god took the name Kartikeya.(21)

The above may have not been enough evidence for Isenberg even though it is more than he presented - so he has challenged me to find the name Kartikeya used as a synonym for the planet Mars in an actual Sanskrit source. And may I ask Isenberg if he has ever found the name Devi or Mahadevi used as a synonym for the planet Venus in any such source or has anyone ever been able to find the name Athene so used in any work of the classical Greeks?

But I will meet Isenberg's challenge. Even he can find the name Kartikeya so used, and he can find it in the same work from which he unearthed Velikovsky's "lost source" - namely the Linga Purana. I quote from chapter sixty of that tome:

"It is cited that the planet Mars is Skanda (Kartikeya) the commander-in-chief of the army of Devas."(22)

And that is the truth of the matter.

As for his statement that he does not necessarily agree "with all the other views" I expressed in my article what can I say? Rather than warning my readers to beware (caveat lector!), he would do much better to come up with some valid arguments: pro bono publico.


1. A. Isenberg, "Devi and Venus," KRONOS II:1 (August 1976), pp. 89-103.
2. D. Cardona, "Vishnu Born of Shiva," KRONOS VII:3 (Spring 1982), p. 16.
3. A. Isenberg, op. cit., p. 99.
4. J. Herbert, "Hindu Mythology," in "India: The Eternal Cycle," Larousse World Mythology (London, 1972), p. 237.
5. D. Cardona, "Child of Saturn," Part II, KRONOS VII:2 (Winter 1982), pp. 29-33.
6. V. S. Apte, The Student's English-Sanskrit Dictionary (U.K., 1920), p. 907. (NOTE: This datum, which was brought to my attention by Roger Ashton, is here offered for what it is worth since neither Ashton nor this writer has yet been able to trace it to an original Sanskrit source. It must not, however, be assumed that the identification of Shiva as Saturn rests on this somewhat vague evidence.)
7. Bhargava 's Standard Illustrated Dictionary of the Hindi Language (India, 1960), p. 1017.
8. Veronica Ions, Indian Mythology (London, 1967), p. 84.
9. D. Cardona, op. cit., pp. 36-37.
10. A. Isenberg, loc. cit.
11. Ibid., pp.99-100.
12. Cited in Ibid.
13. H. de Wilman Grabowska, "Brahmanic Mythology," Asiatic Mythology (N.Y., 1972), pp. 116, 117.
14. D. Cardona, op. cit., Part III, KRONOS VII:3 (Spring 1982), pp. 8-11.
15. Idem, "Indra," KRONOS VII:3 (Spring 1982), p. 20.
16. V. S. Apte, The Student's Sanskrit-English Dictionary (India, 1890/1959), p. 145.
17. Idem (see note No. 6), entry under "Mars". (NOTE: I am, once again, indebted to Roger Ashton for the transcription of these names.)
18. D. Cardona, "The Mystery of the Pleiades," KRONOS III:4 (Summer 1978), p. 31.
19. Idem, "Indra" (see note No. 15).
20. P. F. Gossmann, Planetarium Babylonicum (Rome, 1950), p. 279.
21. V. Ions, op. cit, p, 87.
22. Linga Purana, I:60:2.


To the Editor of KRONOS:

Marilyn Ferguson [KRONOS VII:1] suggests that reality consists of frequencies, but if "there are no things" and no time, frequencies of what? She says brains may interpret these frequencies, but since brains are a part of reality, they too are frequencies. So frequencies interpret frequencies, although there is nothing to vibrate. Are brains also interpretations of frequencies, that they seem concrete organizations of matter able to accept frequencies from elsewhere and interpret them? Then who interprets certain frequencies in order to get the illusion that there are brains "there"? And so on, ad infinitum.

The hologram interpretation of memory is a promising step, but to revise our view of the world is a mistake. The weakest part of the scheme is the attempt to demolish our notions of time and space. A timeless universe cannot give an illusion of time, because the feeding (or "unfolding") of data to the brains in itself requires time. A spaceless universe cannot have both brains and a "dimension" outside of the brains (implying locations), and it cannot have more than one brain; and in fact, it cannot have one brain unless there are no parts to a brain and no dimensions to it. If the world is not really "there", then neither are people. People are just as much a part of the world we envisage as houses and automobiles, which may be what Bohm and Pribram have in mind as "the world". Some of their predecessors in Berkelian-type philosophies are willing to retain time but consider distances (space) merely a difference in time between one state (say, at home) and another (say, at the office), but we are left with the problem of finding a distinction between the stimuli to our senses, and something spatial is the only conceivable distinction that allows consistent cause-effect sequences.

That the description given us of the hologram world is at present inadequate is easily seen by noticing how words implying space and time enter into it regularly. The word "dimension" refers to space, yet we are told of a "dimension transcending time and space". By analogies we are introduced to a world that is in essence a blur yet denied the satisfaction of assuming that there are "things" there to blur. The word "universe" has among its essential characteristics a size different from the size of an occupant of it, yet size is characteristic of a "tangible, visible, audible world" and should not be allowed into our conceptualization, leaving us without anything that can contain anything else (concepts belonging to space).

Throughout the article one gets the impression that events are happening in the timeless reality - "the brain may focus reality", "we have been looking at nature through lenses", "our brains mathematically construct 'hard' reality" but this implies that there is change, and if change does not require time, what does require time? In effect, "time" is merely another word for "change". The process of writing an article to persuade us that time is an illusion is a confession that readers are to be changed from a previous state (ignorance) to a later one (wisdom), thus demonstrating hope relying on time's reality. These matters cannot be merely the selection by a deity of what impressions to give us in what order, because the very selection requires a time order.

Ferguson says that Pribram came to the conclusion that the outside world is a hologram in order to answer the question, "Where is the entity that uses the brain?" In the first place, one who understands the nature of meaning should not have to ask the question. (He is confusing association data with sensory data. One does not sense himself thinking; he associates the idea of thinking with those thoughts that are introspectively considered.) In the second place, it is far from clear how the notion that the world is a hologram can answer the question.

Ferguson's phrase, "the interaction of mind and body", shows that she objectifies mind, not knowing what the word means. She contrasts our "environment" with reality, saying that we now "see the unnatural aspects of our environment", evidently condemning either our brains or her deity for "unfolding" matter, space, and time upon us. Pribram extols paradox and contradiction as the essence of the real reality, and this is what Ferguson describes as having "explanatory power" that "enriches and enlarges many disciplines". Talk about throwing out the baby with the bath water! They seek to put aside the only concepts with which we can understand anything, the concepts every infant must learn in order to adjust to life.

However, the urge to mysticism, the urge to be one with the rest of reality, is a search for nirvana, quite in tune with the times.

Harry E.

Manhattan, IL

Dr. Karl H. Pribram Replies: I'm afraid that by the time my views were reprinted in KRONOS, considerable misunderstanding was possible. I certainly have never said that the outside world is a hologram, only that we must recognize the fact that there is a holographic like order as well as the ordinarily perceived one. To say the world is only a hologram is like saying that the desk in front of me does not exist, only a set of quarks and hadrons.

Once this misunderstanding is cleared up, then you can see that I also would not say that the universe is timeless and spaceless. It is only that one order which describes that universe has holographic-like properties. It is represented by the implicate order of David Bohm and the "E" side of the Einstein equation E = mc2. I hope this clears things up.

Karl H. Pribram
Neuropsychology Laboratories
Stanford University
Stanford, California

C. Leroy Ellenberger Comments: Marilyn Ferguson replied to questions similar to Mr. Mongold's in the August 1978 Human Behavior. One of her points was that "time and space are seen as relevant on a secondary level, but transcended on another level, the way two dimensionality is transcended by a cube or a sphere. Events not bound by our normal notion of time and space would include quantum events - which are not 'points on the world line'. "However, this type of response does not adequately meet Mr. Mongold's objections.

In his interview in the February 1979 Psychology Today, Karl Pribram elaborated on the relationship between a hologram and reality more meaningfully.

".... That is, the physical universe and our brains have in common an order of reality that is similar in organization to holograms.... Don't misunderstand. The world of appearances is certainly a real world. But it is not the only order of reality. Both physics and biology tell us that. We directly perceive only one order. Yet we know from other sources that the world is round. The fact that in the world of appearances it seems flat doesn't contradict the other reality, its roundness.... The same holds for holographic reality. It isn't that the world of appearances is wrong; it isn't that there aren't objects out there, at one level of reality. It's that if you penetrate through and look at the universe with a nonlens system, in this case a holographic system, you arrive at a different view, a different reality.... You see, we don't know how to talk in anything but space-time coordinates. But when I do a frequency analysis of an EEG, neither of my coordinates displays time or space. One axis deals with the spectrum, the other with power, or the amount of activity in its density at each node in the spectrum.... In the frequency domain, time and space become collapsed. In a sense, everything is happening all at once, synchronously. But one can read out what is happening into a variety of coordinates of which space and time are the most helpful in bringing us into the ordinary domain of appearances." [pp. 83-84]

These points are reiterated with further insights in Pribram's interview for the October 1982 OMNI which follows:

".... The world is not a hologram; only one aspect, one order, is holographic. But the holographic principle is working everywhere, and descriptions of spiritual experiences sound holographic. The holographic domain is holistic in a different sense from the Gestalt use of the word. In Gestalt, the whole is greater than, and different from, the sum of its parts, whereas in a hologram, every part is distributed in the whole, and the whole is enfolded in its parts. David Bohm.... has derived the same idea from quantum physics, and it leads to a scientific understanding of the spiritual aspects of man's experience. For the first time in three hundred years science is admitting spiritual values into its explorations. That's terribly important. If you deny the spiritual part of man's nature, you end up with atomic bombs, a technocracy devoid of humanity." [pp. 172, 174]

When asked whether the mind and the brain are one and the same, Pribram's answer provided further illumination:

"I've always felt that dualism is okay in the ordinary image-object domain the domain in which the eye constructs images and the brain operates on the sensory image to make objects and so on. Dualism's fine for the Newtonian domain, especially if you've got to talk. Language is comprised of subjects, verbs, and objects - subject and object, dualism all the way through.

But it doesn't apply to the holographic, enfolded order. There is no space and time, no causality, no matter and no mind. Everything is enfolded. There are no boundaries, and so you can have neither mind nor brain. Actually, there is only potential - perhaps potential energy that can be converted into work in the ordinary space-time domain...." [p. 174]

Our perception of reality, or nature, and our place in it determine - in large measure - not only what we can do, but what we as humankind ought to do. It is to be hoped that the insights gained from the holographic theory will lead to constructive, beneficial behavior.

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