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Africanist history revision re: The Black Athena and the pyramids: why haven't books changed?

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posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 01:55 PM
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I've just read that the dictators of Iran and Zimbabwe had a fruitful meeting, where they claimed that their actions are in defiance of neo-colonialism, and asserting their countries' independance.
I wonder if they debated about the question of who had the first civilization, Iran or Zimbabwe (named after the famed ruined city of "Great Zimbabwe").
I'm very much reminded here of Africanist history, such as "The Black Athena", which claims Greek civilization originted in Africa. I recall reading it and being quite convinced, although I subsequantly heard that it attributes learning to ancient Greece from the library at Alexandria, which other scholars pointed out - didn't exist, or wasn't even built at the time.
The "Black Athena" has gone from strength to strength, with both pro and anti collections having been published.
What is worse is the unsolved question: what race were the ancient Egyptians who built the pyramids?
en.wikipedia.org...
Some say it was Africans, like the West African type, others that they were Semites, and officially that despite some mixture they were mediteranean Europeans (and that "black Africa" is essentially sub-Saharan Africa).
We all come from Africa in any case, so I've never understood the issue based on contemporary racial politics.

I'm a primitivist Euro-African, so if blacks want the responsibility and horror of "civilization" they can have it. I'm not sure anymore they entirely want it though. Or is this why most scholars are happy to accept any current claim as true - even the Black Athena - but yet history hasn't been rewritten accordingly?

Perhaps the history books haven't changed in line with politically correct revisionism because it simple isn't true, and little of use to civilization came from sub-Saharan Africa at the time. However considering a stream towards functional primitavism in philosophy that seems to be a good thing?

[edit on 25-4-2010 by halfoldman]

[edit on 25-4-2010 by halfoldman]




posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 02:19 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 

Perhaps I could have named the thread: "Civilization is such a mixed blessing or curse that nobody REALLY wants to take the blame".
Well, there was a time not so long ago where people only saw it as "achievement" and everybody wanted it. What changed? Was it George W Bush? It went from sacred cow to hot potato.



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 02:32 PM
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I suppose the simplest answer to why the history books have not changed is because the Black Athena theory isn't true. There is no archaeological evidence to support it.



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 02:41 PM
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Originally posted by DoomsdayRex
I suppose the simplest answer to why the history books have not changed is because the Black Athena theory isn't true. There is no archaeological evidence to support it.


Yet.....
If what i think is correct, then i think we will have that evidence in the not too distant future.

The significance of Africa is about to be realized pretty soon.



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 02:43 PM
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reply to post by DoomsdayRex
 

Perhaps not "entirely true" would be more accurate. Some of it may indeed be true or hard to prove either way. To see it as a fraud is also denied, and anything that relies on such a huge confluence of evidence will have some of it challenged.


[edit on 25-4-2010 by halfoldman]



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 02:53 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 
Hiya Halfoldman. The question of colour regarding the Ancient Egyptians is one that people like to discuss. I tend to think that at the centre of these discussions is an uneducated incredulity that black guys could achieve so much for so long. Original depictions of Egyptians (tomb paintings etc) show a variety of skin colours. The Ptolamaic Dynasty maybe drifted towards a preference to a lighter skin...prior to then, skin colour doesn't seem to have been an issue in their society.

As for civilisation...'mixed blessing' is good enough for me. It's inevitable as soon as a village evolves into large towns and city states. For all the downsides of civilisation...alternatives hardly bear thinking about.



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 03:10 PM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 

My encredulity is more focused on how either whites or blacks have treated the topic, and how much ideological power they invest in it.
Meanwhile the depicted people are "brown" (at least most, and yes in a 5000 year history they did have Greek and Nubian dynasties). The people in Egypt today claim to be descendants of the pyramid-builders, and I guess it mirrors them?



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 03:18 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 
Yeah I can see that too. I don't give a rat's ass for skin colour when I'm studying history. It's all human achievement and testament to invention and intelligence.



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 03:20 PM
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hmmm always an interesting, yet controversial topic. I recently found an article about a tribe in Zimbabwe who are jewish, and have a history (along with dna) that raises rather interesting questions about the history or origins of civilisation.

Lost Jewish Tribe



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 03:23 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 




Don’t worry when the great "civilized" nations of the west have their great war, and all those nuclear bombs are set off you will be back into primitive society whether you like it or not, of course that is if you survive!



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 03:54 PM
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reply to post by deltaalphanovember
 

That is an interesting case. But now I hear it's somewhat disputed. Well, they certainly have Semitic DNA, but so does a lot of East Africa. Nevertheless, the Jewish authorities on such things seem happy with both DNA and customary evidence.
PS. It is also rumoured that the Ark of the Covenant may be in Southern Africa. Our Venda are an off-shoot of the Lemba.



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 04:03 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 


I hae never heard that about the Venda - I guess in the great scheme of things it does not make a difference. Religion is the one great problem we have in the world right now ... paedophile priests, suicidal imams, and homicidal ministers ...

Peace. That's all I want for my child.



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 04:10 PM
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reply to post by deltaalphanovember
 

I heard that the Venda carried a great "drum" from the coast of Tanzania to their current enclave. It was called "drum" because it made a huge noise. Like the Ark it was never allowed to touch the ground and had to be mainly kept in wood (some argue the Ark was somehow radioactive). Apparently the object was placed into a baobab tree where it remains hidden to this day.



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 08:12 PM
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I cannot speak from a "verified" point, I can just offer some thoughts on how or, more importantly perhaps, where civilization took off (not started, I think civilization is inherent in all humans).

First of all, let me define what I mean by "civilization". In the earliest stage, it is the technologies that make survival easier (like fishing equipment, better hunting weapons and clothes to overcome hard weather). In an intermediate stage, the housing of animals and, furthermore, animal husbandry, to improve and secure an important source of food (this does not mean one needs to be settled down in one place). In a middle-upper stage it is the settlement, permanent settlement and development of agriculture and the first villages/towns (with all the related paraphernalia like labor specialization, religion, weapon making). Finally, in the upper/advanced level we find the development of art and philosophy (NOT the kind of art we meet in cave drawings, art for the sake of art or to honor a leader or a God or to commemorate an important event).

Now, while we can be sure all humans outside Africa started as black people their color started changing at some point, affected by factors like sunlight exposure and/or availability, diet, lifestyle (if I may use this word) and an important one, time span between breaking out of Africa and the point in time we discuss each time (people 10,000 years after the out of Africa "jump" were, most probably, still black, everywhere. 20,000 years after it could be a different story in areas like northern Pakistan, for example, where the pigmentation would have faded considerably due to reduced sunlight, compared to Africa). So, timeline is important.

About where civilization could have started, there's an easy answer, maybe too easy - everywhere! Where it grew more? In places where humans were challenged the most (by the elements, by overpopulation, by competition with rival species like Neanderthal), more progress was made. In places like Africa, where food sources were as plentiful and climate was "easy" enough for humans there was no need for huge advancements, they did occur but not at the same rate or at the same "depth" as elsewhere (note that this is not saying Africans are dumb or anything of this sort, they just didn't need to "boil" their brains as much as, say, residents of the Siberian plain had, 35-40,000 years ago, simply to survive).

While some aspects of civilization are universal and we all carry them inside us, their manifestations throughout history occurred at different times in different places. Let's take weapons, for example. While the first humans reached Australia as far back as 60,000 years ago (estimated, not proven beyond any doubt, but adequately backed by circumstantial evidence), aboriginal weapon technology was not advanced beyond a certain point when Captain Cook found them (or "found them again", if we consider our mutual origin). On the other hand, we have early Europeans making better weapons around 35-40,000 years ago, a few millennia after they entered Europe. Why that is? A possible explanation is that while Australia was "open" for humans, open as in uncontested, Europe was occupied! The need to depose Neanderthals so we could fill in the void as top hogs lead to the development of better weapons.

So, when you ask, "where did it all begun?", define "it" and the answers may come easier than you originally thought.


[edit on 25-4-2010 by Maegnas]



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 09:07 PM
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reply to post by Maegnas
 

Nice post and grappling with big questions for us all!
But some problems: you say that more demanding habitats made for faster progress towards "civilization". Bushmen are still hunting parts of the Kalahari Desert now with neolithic bows and arrows, and the aborigines in the Gibson Desert remained similarly unaffected until the 1970s. Ditto for the arctic Inuit and the Amazonian tribes. Now those deserts and jungles are all challanging terrain, yet the cultures didn't alter them, instead they blended with the environment. Why did they survive, some would virtually unchanged until first contact?
They survived because they were isolated. Before the age of exploration most of the planet lived like that, but they were in the way of Western colonial settlement. Even the European tribes lived like that before Roman colonization.
The difference was animal muscle power - the Med and Middle East had the ox and horse. Not much use having a wheel without those beasts of burden. They freed up people to work metals and create city-state social systems. The only other successfully domesticated animal was the weaker Lama in South America. Tribes in New Guinea spend days planting crops of individual plants with human muscle power, and that takes ALL day. They've only had pigs for a few hundred years.
Europe was in luck because the crucial beasts of burden (and mobile sources of protein) were spread to them from close quarters in the mid-East. That is the crucial advantage the West had.

PS. OK India had the elephant (which must always be caught wild and cannot be bred in captivity like our domestic stock).



[edit on 25-4-2010 by halfoldman]



posted on Apr, 26 2010 @ 10:34 AM
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Books haven't changed because the "Black Athena" is simply wrong.

So... how do I know?

We have tens of thousands of skeletons of these people. There are distinct differences in the bones of the skull of the sub-Saharan people and the Mediterranean people.

Wikipedia has an article on it (completely NON-understandable unless you know human anatomy terms)
en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Apr, 26 2010 @ 12:36 PM
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And Byrd deflates another (pipe) dream!

Harte



posted on Apr, 27 2010 @ 07:52 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 


There's "challenging" and there's "crippling" environment out there. Deserts like the Kalahari and frozen worlds like the arctic are challenging by today's standards, they were "forbidding" millennia ago.

Take the early humans out of Africa, what do you have? Basically, a hairless ape, intelligent but physically not adapted to cope with climates like the Mediterranean one (especially during the winter). So, he will need some technology to overcome, that's clothes (no, I don't think the image of early humans sporting bear skins is correct, there;s evidence of needle use from around 40,000 years ago that suggests "tailoring" of clothes). Add to that the sparser food sources in such climates (if you take out the herds of animals like sheep and/or cattle you are left with little, compared to a tropical climate) which creates the need for a more steady supply of food. All these are pressing factors that drive civilization forward. In Africa most of those factors were not at play so there was no need for advancements in those "fields", at least not to the extent it was needed in colder areas (Europe, Mesopotamia, Central Asia, to name a few).

Another factor that creates this kind of pressure is overpopulation. While it was easier to "battle" this early on (simply, expand to another area while they are empty) it became a problem later on, a problem that led to the development of agriculture as a way to feed large populations with minimal effort - minimal when compared to hunter-gatherer techniques. Or, we have all missed the ancient fields of the sub-Saharan Africa? Maybe there were in the Horn of Africa, if climate and water availability permitted it, but I haven't heard of extensive agricultural practices before regular contacts with Mediterraneans (Egyptians at first, Greeks and Romans later).

I will need you to define the "age of exploration" please. If by that you mean 15th-16th century (500 years ago), then I must say that you have been mislead in believing that. America aside (the Vikings, that reached it 500 years before Chris did, didn't last long enough), Australia aside (not sure if the Chinese or Indians had discovered it and kept it a secret, let's say they didn't), the rest of the world had contacts, quite regular ones and quite early on. The Romans traded for silk with the Chinese, for ivory with the Indians (and Africa). The Greeks had also trading posts in the west coast of India as early as the 3rd century BC. Phoenician sailors had sailed all around the Mediterranean and most probably beyond that at times before the 10th century BC. There are Egyptian records for a circumnavigation of Africa chartered by a pharaoh (whose name escapes me right now, it sounded something like Nekhu) which was undertaken by Phoenician sailors. Alexander the Great's naval commander (Nearhos was it?) reached the Indian ocean (and possibly discovered the Maldives, if his records are correct about relative locations).

And those are the contacts we have proof for. There might have been earlier contacts, which may be implied by the level some of them were developed, but there is no undisputed proof. There was also a "hall of records" the mere existence of which showed how well big parts of the world were known, in detail, in ancient times - the Library in Alexandria. So, you don't need Columbus or De Gama to have extensive contacts with remote parts of the world (again, America and Australia aside, there is no indication that there were such contacts in truly ancient times).



posted on Apr, 27 2010 @ 08:04 PM
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Originally posted by Byrd
Books haven't changed because the "Black Athena" is simply wrong.

So... how do I know?

We have tens of thousands of skeletons of these people. There are distinct differences in the bones of the skull of the sub-Saharan people and the Mediterranean people.

Wikipedia has an article on it (completely NON-understandable unless you know human anatomy terms)
en.wikipedia.org...



Well, the Black Athena doesn't so much say that Africans actually colonized Greece. It argues that North African (Egyptian, Moorish) knowledge found its way to Greece and helped to found the peak of that civilization.



posted on Apr, 27 2010 @ 08:18 PM
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reply to post by Maegnas
 

The Mediterranean climate is a mild and sought after climate.
Archeological evidence proves that the Bushmen were living in deserts over 10 000 years ago. The Jahgan and Ona people (www.trivia-library.com...) lived mostly naked on the very sub-arctic tip of South America. The Aborigines in Australia lived in the most inhospitable deserts of Australia for millenia.
Still today, modern people cannot live there for long.
Futhermore I base my studies on: "Guns, Germs and Steel" en.wikipedia.org...

As for pre-Columbian and other pre-official history exploration - I agree entirely. The very similarities of ancient civilizations from China, India, Egypt and Central America are surely some kind of proof that contact was widespread at some stage.



[edit on 27-4-2010 by halfoldman]



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