Author: Zecharia Sitchin
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|C4 Ratings...out of||10|
Not that I buy into them, but pseudo-documentaries like the kind often played on The History Channel are a guilty pleasure of mine. Sitchin’s books (there are many) were mentioned in one I’ve been watching recently called “Ancient Aliens.” That show’s title pretty much sums up Sitchin’s thesis: aliens used to live on earth, and live amongst humans as gods.
Sitchin’s clearly a smart guy. He reads multiple languages (including Sumerian), and has spent a lot of time studying ancient artifacts. His basic supposition is that if Homer’s Troy (long thought by scholars to be a mythical place, until its excavation around the turn of the 20th century) can transcend myth, there’s no reason to outright discredit the rest of his rendition as untrue just because we don’t believe it. Hence there were really gods and demigods involved in the politics of men.
Based upon Sumerian legends of “sky people” called Anunaki, legends from which he inferences robots and rocket ships, Sitchin takes his literalist line of logic surrounding Troy one step further and asserts that the gods were aliens. It’s all pretty ridiculous of course, but what follows is some interesting, and often exciting, quasi-science. (I ought to point out, as batty as all this sounds, that if you were to reductively sum up the “plot” of pretty much any of the world’s major religions into a single sentence, it would probably sound equally as ludicrous.)
The book is broken into sections, with the ancient objects targeted for his various trips to the the Mediterranean and Middle East (a carving of a rocketship, a statue with an “airtank,” Sumerian characters charved into an unrecognized bronze smelting ruin in Greece) used as thematic dividers. More than once he roots a premise on what he believes is a mistranslation, such as the Hebrew “Elohim” for God, which he asserts is actually plural–and referring to alien “gods.” If Indian Jones were an aging, paunchy Jewish man prone to excitability and content to walking tours rather than whip-swinging through temples and tombs, he’d resemble Zecharia Sitchin.
Still, Sitchin does bring up a lot of interesting comparisions between ancient cultures that existed oceans apart. Sitchin draws lines between the Maya, the Egyptians, the Sumerians, the Greeks, the Olmecs. Of course, when you approach such a topic looking for such comparisons, they’re not hard to find. Things like a certain style of tongue on certain idols indicate, to Sitchin, a relationship between the gorgons of Greek mythology and a Mayan god-beast. This connection could mean that Medusa’s family could have traveled freely across the ocean, or it could touch on some archetypal imagery used by ancient humans, or it could just be coincidence.
Sitchin does this over and over: he points out an interesting connection, poses an interesting question, jumps three steps ahead of himself and calls it “irrefutable” proof that the ancient alien Anunnaki once co-inhabited the planet with us. He even claims that the smoking guns are being shadily hidden away, or possible destroyed, by museums. Assertions like that push the book too far into paranoid conspiracy theory for my taste. Moreover, you can’t just pick and choose myths to “prove” true–the sun isn’t pulled by a chariot, and why would an advanced civilization capable of intergalactic travel fight primitive wars with arrows and build space stations out of rock?
That’s not really a criticism, though–it’s not like I went into this believing it anything other than hooey–because it’s fun. Sitchin ties most of his conclusions to a single place, the one he believes was the Anunnaki “Mission Control Center”: Jerusalem’s Temple on the Mount.
Was this Holy of Holies, the former home of the Ark of Covenant, also a launching pad for an ancient rocket ship? Probably not. But the enthusiasm with which Sitchin relates his (admittedly pretty ballsy) sneaking into a prohibited inner sanctum of one of the most sacred places on Earth makes me wish, just a little, that he had stumbled upon a bunch of aliens playing canasta around the Ark of the Covenant.
I really liked this book. Take it for what it is: a man who looks at statues and convinces himself they are wearing spacesuits, then enthusiastically shares his “discovery” with you. It’s mindrot, but it’s fun mindrot.
Similar Reads: I’ve never read anything like this. Watch “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel (and Netflix streaming) for a taste.