Perseus, Dan, and the Golden Calf of Dionysus
by John R. Salverda
The Walls of Mycenae
The Returns of the Perseids
The Walls of Mycenae
Greek Myths have attributed the building of the walls of Midea, Tiryns and Mycenae to Perseus and his sons fresh from the city of Joppa, on the Palestinian coast of the Mediterranean Sea, where the Ethiopians had ruled. Thus, perhaps the Grecian city called Midea owes it's name to the land of Midian in Southeastern Palestine, the resident Midianites are scripturally referred to as Cushites, who were in turn known to the Greeks as, "Ethiopians."
Let's talk history for a bit. The walls of Tiryns, Midea, and especially Mycenae have been discovered by archaeologists and are still there to be seen. They are considered to be contemporary with each other and have been dated to about 1425 BC by coordinating them with Egyptian chronology. There was, at the time that closely followed the building of those walls, a lively trade between Mycenae and Egypt. Pottery, of the same type and painting style as that which was produced in Mycenae, have been found all over Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt especially, we are told, in the short-lived Egyptian city of El-Amarna. Furthermore, within the walls of the Greek city of Mycenae, Egyptian items of the Eighteenth Dynasty were found, including a few things that even had the names of Amenhotep II (the son of Thutmose III) and of Amenhotep III inscribed upon them.
Now, I don't believe in the so called "dark ages of Greece" (a very dubious 500 year period of Greek history during which there is no evidence of any Greek history!'!) and so, I scoot the Mycenaean age and accordingly, the building of the walls of Mycenae forward about 500 years. Therefore I also move the contemporary Egyptian Pharaohs forward. I have Pharaoh Thutmose III living at about the same time that the Hebrew scriptures say that Pharaoh Shishak sacked the temple of Solomon, and make Queen Hatshepsut visit Punt in the days that the Hebrew scriptures say that the Queen of Sheba visited Phoenicia. This is in accordance with a reconstruction of ancient history as is outlined by the heretical historian Immanuel Velikovsky.
Thutmose III had after a siege, famously conquered the city of Joppa. (He also took Megiddo and the Philistine stronghold of Beth Shean.) But, without the dark ages of Greece, this must have been about 930 BC (if Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt was contemporary with the Mycenaean age as archaeological finds seem to prove). Many people, from the seaport of Joppa especially, would have had the opportunity to flee overseas during these turbulent times, (taking with them a new found urgency to build walls around their cities). The main enemy of Thutmose were called the "Mitanni," thus, if his siege of Joppa had anything to do with the Perseid emigration then perhaps the term, "Mitanni" was identical to the Scriptural, "Midianite," (also called "Ethiopian"). Thus strengthening my previously mentioned theory about the origin of the name of the Greek city, "Midea." I assume that these people took with them many of their stories, and that we can read them in Greek mythology.
In accordance with Velikovsky's reconstruction of ancient history, the Hebrew scriptures have Solomon walling all the cities of Phoenicia at about the same time that walls were also being built around the Mycenaean cities. They even include the detail that Jerusalem's building materials were brought in through the port of Joppa, at about the same time that the Greek myths tell us that people from Joppa went to Greece and walled their cities. And they make Joppa the capitol of tribal Dan at the same time that the Greek myths tell us that the Danaan descendants of Perseus were kings there (those who are called "Priests" in the Scriptures, Jethro, Jonathan and Phinehas, are referred to as "Kings" and "princes" in the Myths, Cepheus, Perses and Phineus).
According to the Hebrew scriptures, there was a group of masons and sailors, Hiram's Tyrians, who helped Solomon to build the stone works of Jerusalem, they also largely made up the navy of Solomon, and manned the ships that sailed out of Joppa to places like Tarshish. Similarly, in accordance with the Greek myth, the fortifications of the Argolian cities, so often attributed to the sons or Perseus, are even more often said to have been built by the Cyclopes. As Perseus had sailed out of Joppa to return to Argolis, it is logical to speculate that he went on a ship (or a fleet of ships) along with a group of masons who helped to build the walls of Midea, Tiryns and Mycenae. The ancient masons were called, in the myths, the Cyclopes. The following is a sample of ancient authors who attribute the building of the Danaan cities of Perseus to the Cyclopes; "Zeus, son of Kronos, was willing to honor the race of Danaus ... by relieving them from their hateful distress (the strife between Acrisius and Proetus). The Cyclopes came in their might and toiled to build a most beautiful wall for the famous city." (Bacchylides, Fragment 11) "Now it seems that Tiryns was used as a base of operations by Proetus, and was walled by him through the aid of the Cyclopes, ' And perhaps the caverns near Nauplia (in Argolis) and the works therein are named after them." (Strabo, Geography 8. 6. 11) "There still remain, however, parts of the city wall (of Mycenae), including the gate, upon which stand lions. These, too, are said to be the work of the Cyclopes, who made for Proetus the wall at Tiryns." (Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 16. 5) "Beside the sanctuary of Kephisos [at Argos] is a head of Medusa made of stone, which is said to be another of the works of the Cyclopes." (again Pausanias, Ibid 2. 20. 7) "Mycenae girt about with a garland of walls by the Cyclopean masons." (Nonnus, Dionysiaca 41. 263 ff)
Although one may be hard pressed to find an archaeologist who is willing to say that the Tyrian masons were identical to those Cyclopes of the Greek myths, there have been more than a few of those same archaeologists who have supposed that the Phoenicians must have been the builders of the various, wide spread, ruins of those same, so commonly called, "cyclopean" fortifications.
The Returns of the Perseids
Of course, the reader will realize that Moses, whether as Perseus or otherwise, never went to Argolis, he never even made it to the promised land let alone Joppa. However it is apparent that his story, along with intricate theological details, did make it to Greece and can be read even today in the myths and legends of the Greeks.
The return of Perseus to Argos is not the end of his story, there is still one more episode to be examined. (Danaus begat Lynceus begat Abas begat Acrisius begat Danae begat Perseus begat the sons of Perseus).
If we are to correlate Perseus with Moses then we can expect to find his opposition to the "calf god" included in the Greek myths about Perseus. Sure enough the last episode in the story of Perseus is indeed known as his war against the calf god (formerly called Zagreus, but by the time that this episode was added to the Perseus myth, approximately 860 BC. Zagreus was being called by his new name, "Dionysus").
The rites of the calf god were staunchly objected to by the Moses faction of the Hebrews at first, because they were polluted with Amazonian feminism and perverted with orgiastic abandon, however, they were eventually mitigated by the teachings of Balaam to the point where a watered down version of them did become accepted by 10/12ths of Israel. (The role of "Balaam" in this "mitigation" will become more evident when we study the Greek myths concerning the seer "Melampus.") The reason why many did not simply forsake the rites of the calf god all together, was apparently because it guaranteed fruitful fields. Back then a religion was a whole way of life. If nomadic herdsmen wanted to become city dwelling agriculturalists, then they had to give up a lot of their previously conceived religious notions, (tent rigging, navigation by astronomy, the way of the wells, herding, the supremacy of the Moon, judges, etc.) and they had to adopt religious practices that were previously considered distasteful (Masonry, planting and harvesting by astronomy, irrigation techniques, crop fertilization, the supremacy of the Sun, Kings, etc.).
The story of the introduction of the calf god was brought to Greece by several different groups of Hebrew expatriates, Cadmus brought the story to Thebes where its' King Pentheus opposed the calf god, the Aeolians of Orchomenus, who told the stories of Athamus and Sisyphus, also recalled how its' King Minyas resisted the calf god, and for the purposes of this article, the Danaans of Argos also reported the same tale. To quote Ovid, "Acrisius the son of Abas, of the Cadmean race, remained to banish Bacchus (Dionysus) from the walls of Argos, and to lift up hostile arms against that deity, who he denied was born to Jove." (Metamorphoses 4. 607 ff) Here Ovid calls Acrisius, the Danaan grandfather of Perseus, "of the Cadmean race" (a Phoenician), not only that but he was the kind of Phoenician who, at first rejected the calf god. Just as it was against the Danites and the other Israelites at the scourge of Baal Peor, (incidentally, we learn from Ginzberg's "Legends" that Peor was the name of the calf god) women intoxicated with wine were the throng and method of the calf god. "Perseus of the sickle was champion of the Argives; he fitted his feet into the flying shoes, and he lifted up the head of Medusa which no eyes may see. But Iobaccos (Dionysus) marshaled his women with flowing locks, and Satyri with horns. Wild for battle he was when he saw the winged champion (Perseus) coursing through the air." (Nonnus Dionysiaca 47.478) And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And the women called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baal of Peor (Numbers 25:1-3) "of the women who joined Dionysos in his expedition against Argos, and that Perseus, being victorious in the battle, put most of the women to the sword."(Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 20. 4) "The temple of Hera (in Argos) . . . before it is a grave of women. They were killed in a battle against the Argives under Perseus (Pausanias again, Ibid 2. 22. 1)
Of course, even though they at first resisted worshiping the calf god, the Danites did, a bit later in their history become reconciled to the calf god, and King Jeroboam had an Idol of it established at their capital city of Dan in northern Israel. Other Israelites, not necessarily Danites but of the northern ten tribes had another calf god idol set up at Bethel. "The Argives have other things worth seeing for instance . . . the temple of Dionysos. For they say that the god, having made war on Perseus, afterwards laid aside his enmity, and received great honors at the hands of the Argives, including this precinct set specially apart for himself." (Pausanias, Ibid 2. 23. 7) Here we can see as Pausanias reports that even though the great hero of the Danaan people, Perseus was at first violently opposed to the worship of the calf god, the Danaans did acquiesce and became reconciled to it and put up a temple to the calf god in their capitol city of Argos. These then were the same Danite people who went to Greece, populated Argolis, and brought with them these stories which we can now read in what has become known to us today as Greek mythology.
You've heard it said, that there's no extra-Biblical evidence to be found in the histories of the surrounding nations for the Exodus or the Solomonic Kingdom, and therefore, the Bible was simply contrived, artificially manufactured sometime in the third century. And yet I say unto you, perhaps you should not be looking in the "histories" of the nations for the activities of God. These things always get classified as "mythology," not history. This is a trick of classification. Archaeologists could unearth tomorrow the whole story of how God sent a hero, with miracles, to free his earthly wife from her bondage, how they wandered to the promised land and started a dynasty. And they could still say that there is no "historic" evidence, because they would call the evidence a "myth." It's a preconceived prejudice to denigrate mythological evidence. There are volumes of extra-Biblical evidence referring to, and thereby proving, that the Scriptural stories were in existence centuries before the final editing of the Scriptures took place. You just need to know where to look.
-John R. Salverda
For more articles by John R. Salverda on the Hebraic Connections of Greek Mythology, see:
"Helleno-Yishurin. The Hebrew Origin of Greek Legends"
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