A black Athena?

 Image result for black athena

Part One:

Correcting the Timaeus



 Damien F. Mackey


The writings of Martin Gardiner Bernal (d. 2013), grandson of the famous Egyptologist, Sir Alan Gardiner, provide a far more realistic concept of the origins of ancient Greek civilisation and language, I think, than do the idealogically-driven text books.



Whoever actually wrote Plato’s dialogue entitled, Timaeus, had dimly perceived some ancient truths, albeit truths – even by then – wretchedly distorted.

I give here sections 21e – 23b of the dialogue, followed by some comments:


“In the Delta of Egypt”, said Critias, “where, at its head, the stream of the Nile parts in two, there is a certain district called the Saitic. The chief city in this district is Sais–the home of King Amasis,–the founder of which, they say, is a goddess whose Egyptian name is Neith, and in Greek, as they assert, Athena. These people profess to be great lovers of Athens and in a measure akin to our people here. And Solon said that when he travelled there he was held in great esteem amongst them; moreover, when he was questioning such of their priests


[22a] as were most versed in ancient lore about their early history, he discovered that neither he himself nor any other Greek knew anything at all, one might say, about such matters. And on one occasion, when he wished to draw them on to discourse on ancient history, he attempted to tell them the most ancient of our traditions, concerning Phoroneus, who was said to be the first man, and Niobe; and he went on to tell the legend about Deucalion and Pyrrha after the Flood, and how they survived it, and to give the genealogy of their descendants;


[22b] and by recounting the number of years occupied by the events mentioned he tried to calculate the periods of time. Whereupon one of the priests, a prodigiously old man, said, “O Solon, Solon, you Greeks are always children: there is not such a thing as an old Greek”. And on hearing this he asked, “What mean you by this saying?” And the priest replied, “You are young in soul, every one of you. For therein you possess not a single belief that is ancient and derived from old tradition, nor yet one science that is hoary with age.

[End of quote]


Firstly the general observation of the passage, which is quite true – and which accords with the primary theme of Martin Bernal’s controversial two-volume set:


Black Athena: Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, Volume I: The Fabrication of Ancient Greece, 1785-1985. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-1277-8.

Black Athena: Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, Volume II: The Archaeological and Documentary Evidence (1991)


that the far more ancient Egyptians had influenced the much later Greek civilisation: “… you Greeks are always children: there is not such a thing as an old Greek. …. You are young in soul, every one of you. For therein you possess not a single belief that is ancient and derived from old tradition, nor yet one science that is hoary with age”.

That “prodigiously old” Egyptian priest who is said to have uttered these words was dead accurate in his comments. But the Greek ‘childishness’ did not stop there. For, unfortunately for the writer of the Timaeus, the Greek knowledge of even their fairly ‘modern history’, the Golden Age of King Solomon, had become a complete fog, causing them to confuse this great and wise king of Israel with a non-existent ‘ghost’ of him, the so-called Athenian statesman, “Solon”. See my:


Solomon and Sheba




King Solomon, who travelled (and married) extensively, and who had an enormous cultural impact upon 18th dynasty Egyptian history, as Senenmut (Senmut), would have recalled far more about the history of ancient Egypt than had even the Egyptian priest sages of the time, he being the wisest of the wise: (I Kings 4:31): “He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite–wiser than Heman, Kalkol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations”.

Centuries after the Egypt-destroying Plagues and Exodus of the Israelites, Solomon was still able to write a most detailed account of it all in the Book of Wisdom (wrongly thought to have been Greek influenced). It was all completely lost, though, to the devastated Egyptians.

The real Solomon, who wrote (Wisdom 10:4): “When on [Cain’s] account the earth was flooded, Wisdom again saved it, piloting the righteous man [Noah] on frailest wood”, would hardly have confused the real hero of the Flood, Noah, and his wife, with the legendary Greek (Timaeus) pairing of “Deucalion and Pyrrha”. Whilst the Greek account was no doubt influenced by the original Genesis one, with which it bears some remarkable similarities, it also diverges dramatically from it in places. Thus, for instance, Deucalion and Pyrrha, completely alone after the flood, will throw bones over their shoulders which bones will become men (the ones thrown by Deucalion) and women (as thrown by Pyrrha).

The point that I am trying to make here is that, yes, Greece, a second-hand receiver of Egyptian culture and civilisation (Bernal would correctly include Phoenician), was actually a third-hand receiver of Hebrew culture and civilisation.

And that is where I would diverge from Bernal – {who had, in turn drawn much of his inspiration from the excellent professor Cyrus Gordon and Michael Astour} – who would give the first place in all of this to Egypt. See my:


Which Came First, the Chokmah or the Ankh?




American blues singer B.B. King had reckoned that, “If it wasn’t for bad luck … I wouldn’t have no luck at all!” And it might be similarly said that, if it wasn’t for Hebrew wisdom (chokmah), we may not have had many of the cultural features of Egypt and Mesopotamia. For, whilst invariably the conventional historians regard Israel as having been the recipient, rather than the instigator, the revised chronology tells quite another story. And it supports the statement of Jesus Christ that “Salvation [which is wholly civilising] is from the Jews”. [John 4:22]


And, from a largely history of ancient philosophy point of view, see also these articles of mine:


Re-Orienting to Zion the History of Ancient Philosophy


Church Fathers Were Right About Jewish Origins of Greek Philosophy


Hebrew Bible as an Inspiration for Ancient Greek Philosophy


As we are finding, too, the fanciful Greek and Roman mythologies had their origins in the real antediluvian histories of which the Book of Genesis provides only the barest of details. According to my revised estimation, these real histories would largely (perhaps not entirely) have come second-hand to Egypt, then third-hand, or worse, to Greece.

Thus the Greek goddess Athena, whom biblical aficionados would identify in her origins with the biblical Eve, or with Naamah, the wife of Ham – and possibly as having black skin, as Roy Schulz has suggested here http://www.book.dislib.info/b1-history/4036992-14-compiled-roy-schulz-social-studies-department-imperial-schools-pa.php


…. Jewish tradition does tell us who Ham married! HAM MARRIED NAAMAH, THE DAUGHTER OF LAMECH BY ZILLAH! (See Jameison, Faucett, and Brown Commentary). Zillah, remember was the first truly black woman in history! And, quite late in Lamech’s life, his black wife, Zillah, had a daughter named Naamah. Naamah became famous as a weaver of cloth — and this is who Ham married! Ham should not have married this beautiful and famous dark woman, a daughter of Lamech. But he could not resist her beauty and so he married her on impulse, against the wishes of others, particularly Noah.

Ancient sources tell us that, after their marriage, an agreement was made whereby Naamah could spend some time with her family and some time with her husband’s family. Remember that Noah had remained separate from the line of Cain — and he would insist on keeping his family separate, and so after Ham married this woman, a difficult situation had been created. A compromise was agreed upon whereby she could still spend time with her non-white relatives.

Naamah was a famous individual in the pre-Flood world. Her brother was Tubalcain, a great military leader, and she took on some of his war-like characteristics. The ancient Greeks, who applied to her the name Athena, pictured her brandishing a spear and regarded her as a goddess of war. She is said to have make a war on the giants during the lifetime of Tubalcain. She had an interesting variety of characteristics because she was also pictured as being a goddess of wisdom as well as of war, in addition to being especially famous as the goddess of weaving or womanly industry. In no connection is she ever pictured as a harlot of prostitution as was Venus of Aphrodite. This is the woman who Ham married. She is the one who carried the WAY OF CAIN THROUGH THE FLOOD! The line of Cain did not die with the Flood, as might easily be supposed! A descendant of Cain and Lamech lived on into the post-Flood world. It was none other than this Naamah to whom God calls our attention in Genesis 4:22. This is why her name is in the Bible! From Ham and Naamah came the Negroid stock after the Flood — the line of Cush (Gen. 10:6).

[End of quote]


had her Egyptian counterpart, according to Timaeus, in the goddess Neith: “… a goddess whose Egyptian name is Neith, and in Greek, as they assert, Athena”.

In her true origin, she may possibly have been black.




Part Two:

Bernal: Greeks Stole Their Ideas From Egypt




Bernal hypothesizes that the Greek god Pan is the counterpart of the Egyptian God Min.





One is on even broader ground, I think, in saying that the Greeks stole their ideas from a Hebrew-influenced Egypt. Apart from my philosophical articles referred to in Part One, one could also read, relevant to this Hebrew influence, my:


Hebrew Foundations of Pythagoras




Controversial scholar, Martin Bernal, proposed three different models of accepted history, as given below: https://controversialhistory.blogspot.com.au/2010/05/black-athena-debate.html


Black Athena Debate


Martin Bernal said that the Greek culture has been misrepresented as Indo-European in origin when in fact it is largely African or Semitic. His explanation for this which has been discussed is that history was revised in order to flush out the African contribution to Greek Culture. Bernal contends in the late 1700’s the anti-Semitic and anti-African sentiments of the time, resulted in those cultures being eliminated from establishment history. To prove his thesis Bernal defined three models of accepted history. Furthermore Bernal also legitimated his thesis by showing distinct links or borrowings of religion from the Egyptian civilization. Specifically he connected the Cretan Bull Cult of Minos and the Minotaur to origins in the Egyptian god Min who frequently required bovine sacrifices.

The Three Models of History Referred to By Martin Bernal

  1. Ancient Model


The Ancient model was the one that was held by the Greeks, citizens of the Mediterranean and Egyptians in ancient times up until about 1790. Essentially he contends that previous to the restructuring of history by German scholars in the late 18th century Greeks recognized their roots in Egypt. The Ancient Model is that previous to the Institution of The Aryan Model Greeks felt that their culture had its roots in Africa. Essentially this model holds that Greece was settled about 1500 B.C.E. by Egyptians and Phoenicians. The supposition is that Greeks directly borrowed their mathematics, governmental system, language, writing, philosophy, and religion directly from African and Semitic sources.

  1. Aryan Model


The Aryan Model had its genesis in Protestant North Germany between 1790 and 1830. At this time the new discipline of “Altertumswissenshaft” (Science of Antiquity) was born. The model is rooted in German nationalism and feelings of repugnance concerning the French Revolution. This model holds that Greece was settled by Indo-European stock. The focus of the new model was on the Greek ideal. The Greek ideal was reflective of German nationalism. The constant cultural borrowing and at times thievery of culture inherent to the Ancient Model were inconsistent with the assertions of the German intellectuals. In order to justify a German purity the Greek ideal was modified to show it an exemplar of sorts. By limiting the apparent influence of outside cultures and races in the Aryan Model neatly accomplished its goal. This model also gives faulty Aryan Invasion theory.

  1. New Ancient Model


Bernal says that the racism and Anti-Semitism that characterized The Aryan Model are increasingly unacceptable. He proposes that Greek culture in general was heavily influenced by Northern African (specifically Egypt) and Phoenician culture. He also allows for the Indo-european element in the form of periodic invasions. In essence he restores the image of ancient Greece as a culture that has its roots in Egypt but also shaped many of those cultural icons in a fashion that is distinctly Greek. He sees it as a midpoint between the Greek idea of interaction but not origin in Africa, and the racial purity and anti-African tendencies of the Aryan Model.


Naturally, Bernal’s controversial views have led to some fierce debate.

The article continues:

Not out of Africa Model

Martin Bernal’s book, Black Athena, provoked much discussion ranging from simple academic debates to heated disputes on Afrocentrism, racism and Euro-centrism in classical scholarship. The principal figures in this debate are Bernal himself and Mary Lefkowitz. Lefkowitz published a response to Bernal’s book entitled Not Out of Africa, which was nearly as controversial as the original. Later on, Lefkowitz also published Black Athena Revisited, a collection of responses to Black Athena. The scholarly world was fairly evenly split, in terms of being for or against the argument proposed in Bernal’s book and by many Afro centrists. However, they often disagreed about exactly how one side or the other was wrong. These are a few of the issues raised in the reactions to Black Athena and how scholars responded to them.

Essentially, the argument is that both advocates and opponents of Afrocentrism have used faulty techniques to prove their points. Bernal clearly accuses Lefkowitz of errors, and at the same time acknowledges that the Afro-centrists have made similar errors.


I would go further than the assertion below that “Plato, Aristotle and other major Greek philosophers “stole” their ideas from Egypt”, to argue that these supposedly major Greek thinkers were not real historical characters at all, but composites based upon biblical sages – in the same way that I have proposed (refer to Part One) that the supposed Athenian sage, Solon, was actually a poor Greek version of the flesh and blood sage of sages, King Solomon.

The article continues:

Origins of Ideas



Another interesting idea raised in the aftermath of Black Athena is that of the origins of ideas. This idea was first presented in G. James’ Stolen Legacy in which James proposes that Plato, Aristotle and other major Greek philosophers “stole” their ideas from Egypt. Lawrence Tritle mentions the Afro-centrists’ take on this concept in his review of Not Out of Africa: “[Afro-centrists] adhere to a diffusionist understanding of culture, that ideas are created or born in one place and radiate outward. The idea that cultures in different parts of the world could develop similar ideas independently and contemporaneously seems regarded as an unlikely occurrence: someone must have first ‘created’ the idea which was then ‘given’ to someone else”. Tritle says Lefkowitz asserts that ideas cannot actually be “stolen.”


Martin Bernal argues that Euro-centric archeologists in the 18th and 19th centuries failed to give credit to what he believes was the extensive influence that Egyptian and Near Eastern cultures had on classical Greek culture, specifically in the context of mythology.



Before we can examine the origins of the Cretan Bull cult, we must first go over the evidence which proves it existed in the first place. It is commonly accepted among archaeologists that a bull cult did exist in Crete and had rituals concerning fertility; a ritualistic practice consisted of young women “proving” their fertility by jumping over the horns of a charging bull. In addition, according to Bernal, “the use of explicitly bovine Egyptian religious symbols in Crete in the early 2nd millennium can be seen in the ‘horns of consecration’, a sacred motif used so frequently that its function sometimes seems merely decorative in Cretan palatial culture”.



Bernal hypothesizes that the Greek god Pan is the counterpart of the Egyptian God Min.

“The great god of flocks and shepherds among the Greeks, usually called a son of Hermes, was originally an Arcadian God; and Arcadia was always the principal seat of his worship. From the country his name and worship after wards spread over other parts of Greece; but at Athens his worship was not introduced till the time of the battle of Marathon. He is described as wandering among the mountains and valleys of Arcadia… Pan…was dreaded by travelers, to whom he sometimes appeared, and whom he startled with sudden awe or terror. Hence sudden fright, without any visible cause, was ascribed to Pan, and was called a Panic fear. In works of art Pan is represented as a sensual being, with horns, puck-nose, and goat’s feet, sometimes in the act of dancing, and sometimes playing on the syrinx.”

Bernal establishes early associations between Egypt and Crete, before the existence of the bull cult, by examining the ways in which Min and Pan could be connected.


Evidence that Bernal presents for this connection is as follows:


“Diodoros Sikeliotes, an ancient historian, named the gods of the Ethiopians of Meroe…as Isis, Pan, Heracles, and Zeus”. He says that the ancient geographer Strabo also confirmed that they worshiped Pan.


Min was associated with fertility and growth in Egypt, unlike his cult as a divinity of the desert. His dual aspects of a desert deity and fertility are a result of his worship having traveled from Punt to the Eastern Desert to Upper Egypt, and in Upper Egypt he became assimilated to the ancient fertility god of Koptos (which means Bull of his Mother). Thus, Min became associated with the bull through his assimilation with Koptos.



He explains that the god Min, whose token animal is the bull, became associated with the god Amon, whose token animal is the ram/goat, who then became associated with the god Pan, whose token animal is also the ram/goat. Bernal says that “Pan’s derivation from Min would seem to be confirmed, not only by his great phallus, his association with the fertility of stock and his living in the wilderness and the negroid blackness with which he, like his attendant satyrs, was often portrayed”. Thus, Min–Amon–Pan.


“[King Minos was]….king and legislator of Crete, and after death one of the judges of shades in Hades…He was the husband of Pasiphae. In order to avenge the wrong done to his son Androgeos at Athens, he made war against the Athenians, and compelled them to send to Crete every year, as a tribute, 7 youths and 7 maidens, to be devoured in the labyrinth by the Minotauros. The Minotaur was a monster, half man and half bull, and the offspring of the intercourse of Pasiphae with a bull.”

Furthermore, King Minos was the son of Europa and Zeus, a maiden who was kidnapped and seduced by Zeus when he assumed the form of a white bull.

Bernal’s evidence for Minos’ origin in Min is as follows:

Minos’ role as the judge of shades in the afterlife is consistent with the role of the Egyptian god Osiris, also the “judge of the dead man” (Bernal 170). Minos can be connected to Min through Osiris because of Osiris’ connection with Amon, who, by the 7th century B.C. , was “assimilated with Osiris”, and then, through Amon’s ‘fundamental affinity’ with Min, can be connected further to Min. Min and Amon “were associated at Thebes since the 11th Dynasty and by the New Kingdom. Amon and Re seem in many cults to have been fused with Min as a single massively endowed ithyphallic figure”. Thus, Minos–Osiris–Amon–Min.


The name “Mn” was used by “an important pharoah early in the 1st dynasty and in later times Mn was universally considered to be the founder of dynastic rule”. Diodoros, an ancient historian that Bernal cites elsewhere, connected the pharoah called Mn with King Minos by saying that “‘according to the tradition he claimed that Hermes had given the laws to him…just as the Greeks they say that Minos did in Crete…[Minos] saying that he had received his laws from Zeus…'” . Bernal states that the connection between King Minos and the Pharoah Mn can be taken further to associate, again, King Minos with the god Min by establishing a connection between the pharoah and the Egyptian god, stating that “there were occasions in Egypt when [Mn] and [Min] were worshipped together” . Thus, Minos–pharoah Mn–god Min.



As for the labyrinth of King Minos, Bernal makes a linguistic argument: he states that “from the earliest times, there has ben considerable confusion in Egyptian among the three biconsonantals mr, mn, and nm” All three sounds are associated with cattle, which is an obvious potential connection with the bull cult; in addition, the phonetic nm is also connected with the meaning of “winding wall” in Late Egyptian. Therefore, the biconsonantal nm is associated both with cattle and a “winding wall”. Here, then, is linguistic evidence that indicates Egypt as being the origin of King Minos’ labyrinth. Thus, mn–nm–labyrinth.


Other similarities between Minos and Min: Minos was renowned for his lechery, which is a trait of the god Min; Min had a white bull consecrated to him, and Minos’ wife Pasiphae was impregnated by a white bull; and finally, the depiction of the Minotaur as a man with a bull’s head can be compared to the manner in which the Egyptians portrayed their gods as having men’s bodies and the heads of animals.







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