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Alexander The Great and The Flying Shields

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posted on May, 28 2015 @ 10:57 PM


This is going to be as quick an OP as I can make it, as I don’t see the point in drawing it all out.

I had been involved in a thread wherein were discussed UFOs and nuclear power plants and Rendlesham Forest, and somehow the pseudo-historical reports of Alexander at The Siege of Tyre and “flying shields” came up, initially at the hands of esteemed member FireMoon. To be honest, he went straight for the diving equipment that Alexander allegedly used to try and chase one of these “shields” that had dove in to the Indus River.

The “flying shield” story, which I thought had been sourced from actual historiography, has always been very dear to my heart, as I am sure it has been for FireMoon. I have been stricken at times when considering “Alexander’s Shield’s and Constantine’s sighting of the Chi Rho over the sun, that we and our brains might interact somehow with our biosphere in way that, at times, sort of exteriorizes the communal emotional fervor of gathered human beings into some sort of apparition visible to all present.

I share that because after what I have learned I am once again disappointed that one of my pet theories has no basis in anything that has happened at all, at least not with Alexander The Great.

The basis for my personal exploration in to UFOs has become that the entire body of information can be seen as a bunch of writing, and that it should be treated as such. It’s stories, and like all stories, they have a source and can be broken back down to that source. Well, here we go again, follow along and see if you agree.

Despite the fact that Alexander croaked 324 years before the birth of Christ at the tender age of 32, the story we are working with here began with radio personality Frank Edwards in 1959. Okay, so keeping things short, you have to know about two things:


Frank Edwards (August 4, 1908 – June 23, 1967) was an American writer and broadcaster, and one of the pioneers in radio.

Late in his life, he became well known for a series of popular books about UFOs and other paranormal phenomena.

Frank Edwards

And also the nature of the…

Alexander Romance

An Alexander romance is any of several collections of legends concerning the mythical exploits of Alexander the Great. The earliest version is in Greek, dating to the 3rd century.

Several late manuscripts attribute the work to Alexander's court historian Callisthenes, but the historical figure died before Alexander and could not have written a full account of his life. The unknown author is still sometimes called Pseudo-Callisthenes.

Alexander Romance

Pseudo means Fakey-McFakester, like Frank E., but we’ll get back to that.

I’ve gotten stingy with the weird theories that I like best, so I had probably put off chasing down this Alexander-Shield thing because subconsciously I knew that it would tank right along with most of my pet woo. It did.

In my quest to discover what was up, I quickly came upon historian Yannis Deliyannis, a young man who seems to be French, and whom also seems to really like dismantling bull#. So I am going with him as my single source, as his material provided me with one-stop-shopping.

First, putting Frank and 1959 aside, we are going to jump ahead to 1966 and UFO buff Alberto Fenoglio. Fenoglio was the next person after Frank to write about Alexander and the shields, and he did it in an article that was published in the Italian UFO magazine Clypeus.

From Deliyannis, here is the pertinent portion of Fenoglio:

“One day suddenly there appeared over the Macedonian camp these "flying shields", as they had been called, which flew in triangular formation led by an exceedingly large one, the others were smaller by almost a half. In all there were five. The unknown chronicler narrates that they circled slowly over Tyre while thousands of warriors on both sides stood and watched them in astonishment.

Suddenly from the largest "shield" came a lightning-flash that struck the walls, these crumbled, other flashes followed and walls and towers dissolved, as if they had been built of mud, leaving the way open for the besiegers who poured like an avalanche through the breeches. The "flying shields" hovered over the city until it was completely stormed then they very swiftly disappeared aloft, soon melting into the blue sky."

-Sourced Below

Now mind you, Deliyannis, the historian that put this all together, had to mine that bit of Fenoglio from 1966 out of a UFO book written by W.R. Drake called Gods and Spacemen in Ancient Greece and Rome which had been published only one year later, in 1967. Keep that in mind as it will be important very shortly.

edit on 29-5-2015 by Bybyots because: . : .

posted on May, 28 2015 @ 10:59 PM
So, let’s look at that quote from Fenoglio. It’s a complete fabrication, entirely uncited, and Fenoglio had the gall to throw in a bit about how German historian Johann Gustav Droysen, who died some 80 years before Fenoglio wrote up his story for Clypeus, had left the detail about the shields out of his History of Alexander The Great (1833) intentionally because he believed it to be “a fantasy of the Macedonian soldiers.” So Fenoglio was psychic too.

And what we also have there is Fenoglio going back 80 or so years to invent out of Droysen a debunker to debunk. Good old writing, right?

Fenoglio, like Edwards, doesn’t offer any citations whatsoever for his confabulation. So, in trying to understand where Fenoglio might have gotten his inspiration from, aside from reading Edwards, Deliyannis goes back to the earliest source for Alexander that’s available, 1st century historian Quintus Curtius, this is what Yannis found:

Quintus Curtius:

Furthermore, they [the Tyrians] would heat bronze shields in a blazing fire, fill them with hot sand and boiling excrement and suddenly hurl them from the walls.

None of their deterrents aroused greater fear than this. The hot sand would make its way between the breastplate and the body; there was no way to shake it out and it would burn through whatever it touched.

The soldiers would throw away their weapons, tear off all their protective clothing and thus expose themselves to wounds without being able to retaliate.

(From Heckel, W. and Yardley, J. Alexander the Great : historical texts in translation, 2004, p. 1470

So, there we’ve got flying flaming shields and the Greeks running in a panic from them while dropping their gear. Please also notice that, for the sake of recognizing how stretched these stories can get, that the fragment of Quintus Curtius that Yannis cites had to be dug out of yet another book, this time from 2004.


posted on May, 28 2015 @ 11:01 PM
Okay, we are going to move on to Frank Edwards, and then we are going to land this albatross. Stay with me ATS, you are going to want to know what comes in the end.

You see, there is no reference to anything like what Edwards and then Fenoglio describe anywhere but in UFO journals and publications.
So we have to go back, along with Yannis, and try to piece together, from what historical sources are available, where Frank and Fenoglio got the nutty idea in the first place.

As Yannis simply puts it: there are only two sources from which our industrious pair of “UFOologists” could have gotten this story. Source #1 would be from classical historians, but we know without a doubt that that is not possible, because the story did not exist in their historiographies.

Source #2 would be from a group of folks known as Pseudo-Callisthenes, the folks responsible for the “Alexander Romances” mentioned above.

See, Iskanander had a personal historian, named Callisthenes. He died before Alexander did, and so could not have recorded the complete history of Alexander’s conquests. But that didn’t stop other writers from assuming the name and continuing the story.

A painting of Alexander with a rocket, courtesy of the imagination of very early 15th century German military engineer Konrad Kyeser. It also never happened.

The only possible source #2 for Edwards aside from his own noggin, would be the stories created by these Pseudo-Callisthenes. Please refer to the link above, if you have not already, to get a good understanding of how popular this form of Alexander-Fiction was for hundreds of years, even in the Arabic world.

Yannis notices that Edwards’ story includes the detail about Alexander’s war elephants, and so giving Edwards the full benefit of the doubt, and realizing that all he can possibly go with is the source #2 mentioned above, Yannis tries to find a document amongst those produced by the Pseudo-Callisthenes with which to vet Edwards’ tale.

Alexander didn’t start using war elephants until 331 BC, so any event like that penned by Edwards would have had to have taken place between 331-323 BC, This is what Yannis found:

This comes from the Epistola Alexandri ad Aristotelem or, The Letter of Alexander to Aristotle, which is thought to have been written in the 4th or 5th century AD and is known to be fake. It was meant to be a chronicle of Alexander’s adventures in India and the Far East. So let’s just take a small moment to wonder again at how all this writing gets so strung out.

The letter wasn’t even part of the original body of “work” known as the pseudo-Callisthenes. Nope, it was inserted later because of its popularity in the medieval world. So it’s like the literary snotty-nosed redheaded step-child of the pseudo-Callisthenes, but we are giving Edwards the benefit of the doubt, remember. I mean we could’ve quit already if it weren’t for the important bit that’s coming up. What’s the point of debunking Edwards’ fakery with a known fake? ‘Cause it’s interesting. Here, check it out:

Immediately after that the sky grew very black and dark, and from the dark sky there came burning fire. The fire fell to the earth like a burning torch, and the whole plain was burning from the fire's flame. Then men said that they thought it was the anger of the gods which had fallen upon us.

Then I ordered old clothing to be torn up and used as a protection against the fire. After that we had a quiet and peaceful night, once our difficulties assuaged.

(Orchard, Andy. Pride and Prodigies: Studies in the Monsters of the Beowulf Manuscript, Cambridge, 1995, p. 245)

I’m going to go ahead and just let Yannis Deliyannis himself (the man hisself) bring us on home for a landing.

“Unfortunately, this does not compare to Frank Edwards claim. And even if it was the case, the historiographical value of the documents belonging to the Romance of Alexander genre being more than doubtful, it wouldn't account for much in terms of historicity.

In any case, the absence of mention of such an event as the one described by Frank Edwards in any historiographical source must lead us to consider this case as extremely dubious. As a conclusion then, the bottom-line is that everything in these cases comes from unreliable and/or posterior sources with little to none historiographical value.

One might find it amusing however that, in a limited sense, the aforementioned ufo writers have somewhat become the spiritual continuators of the tradition of the Alexander Romance into our century, still adding marvelous events to it, as had done before them their medieval predecessors.”

-Yannis Deliyannis 2009

edit on 28-5-2015 by Bybyots because: . : .

posted on May, 28 2015 @ 11:05 PM
Okay, so here, finally, is the kicker: if you look around UFO sites and blogs and anything else in printed form having to do with this story, you will often discover that folks are insistent that Alexander had two “UFO” encounters. For instance, here’s one that insists that Alexander had two encounters, one in 329 BC and one in 323 BC.

UFOs of Alexander the Great.

At this point those numbers make me want to pull out my own hair, rend my clothing, and wail.

The reason for this “two-story” confusion is because of that book I mentioned that we should keep in mind earlier in this scree, Gods and Spacemen in Ancient Greece and Rome by W.R. Drake. He’s the guy responsible for starting the whole thing about it being 2 stories, and he went ahead and rolled with it like that only one year after Fenoglio.

See how this stuff just grows, and grows? We can speculate all day long, and it might be the only fun left in this mess to be had, over whether or not Fenoglio was cribbing from Edwards, and whether or not they were both availed of the fragments of Quintus Curtius, or fake Alexander Romances by some Pseudo-Callisthenes, but no matter how we slice it we aren’t going to get two authentic texts from nothing. ‘Cause there’s nothing to be had from nothing.

There are some other interesting anecdotal stories concerning the publication of books that have included this/these stories, and we can discuss them a little too if you all like.

But for the meantime: there ya go, ATS. I think that’s about the best we can do with it for the time being. I hope that you’ve enjoyed learning about this along with me, and I look forward to your comments.

Have a great weekend.

Much thanks to Yanni Deliyannis for his hard work on this.

Did Alexander the Great really see UFOs ?

edit on 28-5-2015 by Bybyots because: . : .

posted on May, 28 2015 @ 11:10 PM
This sort of well-written, well-researched thread is the reason I still visit ATS. Fantastic work, Bybyots!

posted on May, 28 2015 @ 11:12 PM
a reply to: Bybyots

Apparently trolls been trolling for centuries. I was so disheartened to read the last link you provided. I've seen it before, Phage was good enough to bring it to my attention some the ago.

posted on May, 28 2015 @ 11:19 PM
a reply to: Bybyots

It's late and I have work to do, so I just skimmed this since I was already aware of the Alexander's flying shields story starting with Frank Edwards but I wanted to add something about other examples of flying shields that aren't frauds and one that comes to mind is from the Annales Laurissenses:

Excerpted from historian Yannis Deliyannis' blog, Chronicom Mirabilium:

[776] [...] and the same day, while they [the Saxons] were preparing for another assault against the Christians who were living in the castle, the glory of God manifested itself above the church inside the fortress. Those who were watching in the square outside - many of which still live today - said that they saw something resembling two large flaming shields of reddish color moving above the church itself. [...] (Annales Laurissenses Maiores, in MGH SRG 6, p. 44)

Coincidentally, Deliyannis also had a blog post debunking the Alexander shields story here.

edit on 2015-5-28 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 28 2015 @ 11:23 PM
a reply to: Bybyots

i think somebody else maybe makeing sh@@ up. funny how that "rocket'' looks very similar to
Longinus's Spear of Destiny

i bet if you were to do a search of that time period you could find a whole butt load of spearheads that look very similar to the painting.

plus it is not that far off to think that someone would have painted a picture of Alexander holding the Spear of Destiny, seeing how he was conquering the world.

not saying that what the one source you used is wrong, and that it maybe just a myth. but that painting doesn't do it.

edit on 28-5-2015 by hounddoghowlie because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 28 2015 @ 11:42 PM
Well back in those days the city of Tyr was thought to be impregnable. When Alexander successfully sieged it, it just added to his list of undoable things that he did. What better story to weave tales around than a real success story? Caesar wept at a statue of Alexander when he reached the age of 32 and realized he did nothing by the same age Alexander died at. His mystique was great then as it is now.

posted on May, 29 2015 @ 12:25 AM
Amazing.. your original posts, the story, and your ability to write. There are a few words i don't recognize, but you write everything in almost layman's terms. Please tell me you are compensated for your writings. Thanks for educating me. Wow.... i'm impressed by your consistency. Never a dull thread from you.

posted on May, 29 2015 @ 12:38 AM
a reply to: southernplayalistic

Please tell me you are compensated for your writings.

I certainly am. By posts like yours.

Thanks for your kind words.

posted on May, 29 2015 @ 01:14 AM
a reply to: Bybyots

You deserve so much more.

Fun read here below, if you've not seen it already
Alexander III of Macedon

posted on May, 29 2015 @ 02:01 AM
a reply to: Bybyots

Very well-written and superbly easy to read...thanks.

You've snuck up behind one of the realities of ufological lore; the one where some media personalities create and perpetuate shaggy dog stories. Charles Berlitz managed to convince millions that we had a mysterious Bermuda Triangle and Von Daniken has had even more success with his ancient astronauts.

It's an interesting comparison between these pseudo-Calisthenes and 20th Century personalities within ufology. Rather than buoying up Alexander's fine reputation, they sought to validate UFO sightings by seeking them out in the historical record. Different focus and yet very similar thought processes.

You might like this quote from Conrad's Heart of Darkness:

The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not typical (if his propensity to spin yarns be excepted), and to him the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that sometimes are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine
link (pdf)

Doesn't it seem sort of fitting in this context? The UFO as an objective item has meaning applied to it and stories enveloped around it by people who probably mean well and believe too strongly. This is how so much mythology is created and probably reduces down to a form of manipulation and cultural sleight-of-hand.

See how this stuff just grows, and grows? We can speculate all day long, and it might be the only fun left in this mess to be had, over whether or not Fenoglio was cribbing from Edwards, and whether or not they were both availed of the fragments of Quintus Curtius, or fake Alexander Romances by some Pseudo-Callisthenes, but no matter how we slice it we aren’t going to get two authentic texts from nothing. ‘Cause there’s nothing to be had from nothing.

Right on!

posted on May, 29 2015 @ 04:59 AM
a reply to: Bybyots

Now you have to solve the mystery of Alexander flying to Heaven in a machine...

"I took counsel with my friends how I might fashion such a machine that I might ascend the heavens and see if they be the heavens which we behold. I made ready a machine wherein I might sit, and I caught gryphons and bound them with chains, and set before them rods and meat on the tops thereof, and they began to ascend to heaven.

Jean Wauquelin showing Alexander’s aerial voyage in a cage flown by griffins, from the Histoire du bon roy Alexandre, 1438.

Alexander the Great’s flight towards Heaven -in a chariot drawn by griffins. The details of the journey are, in themselves, quite extraordinary: instead of a stick & a carrot, Alexander encouraged his winged steeds with a pair of puppies spitted on two long sticks. He could make his craft dirigible by twirling the puppies - and the griffins would pursue them vigorously – but in vain!

Alexander's Flying Machine

edit on Kam531148vAmerica/ChicagoFriday2931 by Kantzveldt because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 29 2015 @ 07:49 AM
a reply to: Bybyots

Wow!!! Thanks so much for posting this!!! I have been looking for this Frank Edwards book for years now and couldn't remember the author's name or the title of the book. I read it years and years ago and used to own a copy, but I don't know what happened to it and a bunch of other prized possessions after the dust settled from my divorce and resulting exodus from my ancestral abode. Thanks! Just thanks!!! Now I'll read the rest of this wonderful thread.

posted on May, 29 2015 @ 10:27 AM
a reply to: Kantzveldt

Now you have to solve the mystery of Alexander flying to Heaven in a machine.

Let's suspend working on that for the sake of the gryphons. The world still needs them.

Thanks for being here, Kantzveldt.

posted on May, 29 2015 @ 11:21 AM
a reply to: Bybyots

Alright but i still think Ancient Aliens could dedicate an entire series to this, a Greek flying machine sourced from many places across Europe and the Near East, mankind's first physical venture into the Heavenly realms, Griffins must surely be a code word for alien technology, not sure about the puppies but perhaps a similar role to Laika, glad to see there's an example from a local church at Whalley, we needed to be in on this.

But if people find this difficult to believe perhaps the secret Macedonian submarine base of the Maldives might be more compelling, they had a great propulsion system.

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