Cygnus vs Orion at Giza - A Response to Robert Bauval Queries by Andrew Collins
Author Andrew Collins
at Giza in January 2007, checking pyramid heights
Since February Robert Bauval, co-author with Adrian Gilbert of THE ORION MYSTERY, has attacked the Cygnus-Giza correlation proposed in Andrew Collins's most recent book THE CYGNUS MYSTERY. This has come by way of postings on the Graham Hancock message board, the premier forum of the ancient mysteries subject (along with the Hall of Maat, which has also debated the Cygnus-Giza correlation). For some two weeks Andrew meticulously answered all queries thrown at him by Robert and his supporters of the Orion Correlation theory. In just one week the first thread attracted over 270 postings and was discontinued since it had become too long and cluttered. Others started immediately, and since the last week in February there have been many hundreds of new postings on the Cygnus vs Orion debate.
However, Andrew had to discontinue the debate as he and his wife Sue moved house from Essex to the West Country, which through a series of unfortunate circumstances meant that he was offline for nearly a month. In Andrew's absence Robert Bauval ran rings around the Cygnus-Giza debate, stating that it was now as dead as a swan in the water.
Nothing can be further from the truth, for Andrew has now had a chance to read and respond to all queries posed by Robert, and these he intended answering on the Graham Hancock message board. Unfortunately, the moderator deemed that it was too long and that Andrew should still address all individual points made by posters in his absence. Since this would take far too long, and many topics are duplicated, he has decided that the full response will instead appear here on the Andrew Collins website.
Sunset at Giza, January 2007. Pic credit: Andrew Collins.
Post to Robert Bauval on 02 April 2007.
I have now had a chance to read through all of Robert's postings in my absence, and instead of addressing them individually on the existing threads, I have taken the liberty of cut and pasting them, and answering each one in turn within a lengthy post offered as a new thread.
Robert's posts are cited with date, time and title. His words are in Roman whilst mine are in Bold Italic. I feel I have suitably answered all his current queries, and hopefully have redressed the balance between Orion and Cygnus at Giza.
Please take time to read each one in turn.
The The Cygnus Mystery? - Part II thread was again getting very cluttered and confusing. I took the liberty of opening this new one.
The whole edifice of the Cygnus/Giza correlation theory is supported by the assumption that the Falcon-headed man, called Dwn-nwy, seen on the AE astronomical drawing of the northern sky is a representation of Cygnus. Andrew Collins made this assumption based on the work of G.A. Wainwright (1940) and Z. Zaba (1953), both of whom proposed the Dwn-nwy = Cygnus hypothesis. So if this hypothesis is shown to be wrong, then the Cygnus/Giza correlation edifice collapses.
AC: The 'assumption' was based also on the work of brilliant Italian metrologist, mathematician and science historian Livio Stecchini, see
He made enormous contributions to our understanding of ancient Egyptian cosmology and geometry.
The 'assumption' is also supported quite independently by the French astronomer and Egyptologist Jean-Philippe Lauer, whose work on the significance of dwn-nwy as Cygnus was inspired by that Zaba, a brilliant Czech Egyptologist and astronomer.
The reason all these great minds concluded that dwn-nwy was Cygnus is the obvious interplay in the northern night sky between the stars of Cygnus and Ursa Major (the Egyptian ox or ox thigh constellation), displayed by the pole, spear or rope often shown in representations of the northern sky group. This was seen as a symbol of the meridian expressed when certain stars from both constellations (opinions varied regarding which ones) lined up on or very near true north. Although this method of drawing the meridian line was not perfect enough to align the Great Pyramid, it is likely to have been symbolic of the ascension line between earth and the northern group of stars, a concept repeatedly expressed in the Pyramid Texts. It is also linked in to the motivations behind the Stretching of the Cord ceremony whereby the meridian line was established by the king and a priestess dressed the goddess Sheshat using a specific measuring instrument.
I agree with Wainwright, Zaba, Stecchini and Lauer that this dual sparring partnership between the two stars groups is crucial in understanding ancient Egyptian concept of both determining true north (whether symbolic or otherwise) and ascension via the sky pole marking the north-south meridian line.
RB: Here below are the links to the relevant posting that present evidence that the Dwn-nwy = Cygnus cannot be right. It isn't just my own conclusion that demonstrate this, but also the conclusions of two of the most respected professional archaeoastronomers in the business specialised in ancient Egyptian astronomy. If we accepts such conclusions (and there are very good reasons indeed why we should), then all the discussions on the previous two threads here on the GHMB become irrelevant. For without the Dwn-nwy = Cygnus assumption, there is absolutely no basis for a Cygnus/Giza correlation theory.
AC: I contest your opinion that dwn-nwy is not Cygnus, of this we are clear. However, should dwn-nwy not prove to be Cygnus (which will not be the case, in my opinion), then any relationship between the placement, heights, alignments or descriptions of the Giza Pyramids and the Cygnus stars would still require suitable explanation. The formal identity of dwn-nwy does not decide the fate of the Cygnus-Giza correlation, nor make Orion the winner.
RB: As it is well know, however, I am not one who accepts an argument by authority. Yet in this present case I arrived at the same conclusion before becoming aware of those made by Belmonte and Locher. The way the conclusions are arrived is based on astronomical logic and proper interpretation of the AE drawings, as can be seen in the links below.
AC: The 'proper interpretation' of ancient Egyptian astronomical paintings is a matter of conjecture, and having read considerably the rather dry papers of a number of modern archaeoastronomers working in the field of Egyptology, I would take the more inspired opinions of brilliantly minded individuals such as Wainwright, Zaba, Stecchini, and Lauer over and above those of Belmonte and Locher any day (as much I might respect their work).
RB: I have difficulty in seeing how Andrew Collins can bypass this fundamental obstacle. I have much respect and collegial affection for Andrew, but I am afraid that he has based his primary assumption on too shaky grounds.
AC: That is your opinion. My own theories are based on hundreds of hours of careful consideration of all available sources, from the oldest to the most modern, and the view that they are forged on 'shaky ground' is entirely yours.
Citizen Attorney wrote:
> whatever that falcon head person is,
the fact remains the
Not so. Many triad of stars can be made to line up with the Giza triad. Without a proper context, a line up doesn't mean anything at all.
Here, in Andrew Collins's own words, is the basis of the Cygnus/Giza correlation:
"Thus if dwn-'nwy is Cygnus and Sokar is dwn-'nwy then there is every reason to look for evidence of Cygnus at Giza."
AC: Yes, if dwn-nwy is Cygnus and ideally Sokar (see below) then there is every reason to look for evidence of Cygnus at Giza. However, this is not how it happened. The Cygnus-Giza correlation came separately from my work on dwn-nwy as Cygnus. It was first noticed away from the research for 'The Cygnus Mystery' by my colleague Rodney Hale, and since November we have been refining the whole theory quite independently of my discussions on dwn-nwy. This material is so important that it will only be revealed after all angles, coordinates and measurements have been checked again on site. Yet I can assure you that it will leave very little doubt whatsoever that Cygnus was involved in the placement and appearance of the Giza Pyramids, regardless of what asterism its stars formed in the Pyramid Age.
I have looked at the so-called Mace Man on the round zodiac of Denderah identified to Cygnus by Andrew Collins. In this zodiac Mace Man is somewhere behind the Hippopotamus figure. This hippopotamus figure in turn lies between Mace Man and the Thigh. Knowing the hippopotamus as Draco and the Thigh as the Plough (in Ursa Major), the the position of Mace Man relative to these two constellations could, indeed, be that of Cygnus. There is a goose below Mace Man which, according to French astronomer Aubourg, could be the constellation of Aquila, the Eagle.
However, the identification of Mace Man to the falcon-headed god Dwn-nwy that Andrew makes cannot work here. Andrew writes:
"mace man occupies the position elsewhere taken by dwn-'nwy, the falcon-headed god of the northern group of constellations, who is noticeably absent from the round zodiac. This is despite the fact that dwn-'nwy appears on the temple's rectangular zodiac -Dendera E - where, in similar to mace man, he is to be found between Capricorn and Sagittarius."
Mace Man definitely does not occupy the position taken elsewhere by Dwn-nwy. In the round zodiac of Dendera Mace Man is squarely behind the hippopotamus, whereas in all representations of Dwn-nwy he is shown either behind the Thigh and/or facing the hippopotamus.
AC: This is distorting the fact that dwn-nwy when shown among the northern group of constellations is depicted either opposite Ursa Major and adjacent to Draco as the hippo-croc hybrid. The three constellations have a clear relationship together, as celestial sparring partners, a concept recognized in other parts of the world, such as in Olmec astronomy where Cygnus and Ursa Major work together as a star clock, in Maya where Cygnus and Ursa Major work together for the same reason, and in the astronomy of the Hopewell mound building peoples of North America, where Cygnus and Ursa Major were also used together as a star calendar.
Although these instances are from the opposite continent, there is every reason to conclude that these same relationships existed ancient Egyptian astronomy (see below). Indeed, the relationship between Cygnus as the falcon-headed dwn-nwy and Draco as the hippo or croc I strongly suspect was behind the celestial conflict between Horus and Set, an eternal struggle that in the post dynastic period was transformed into the Christian conflict between St Michael and the devil, or St George (the Arabic al-khidr) and the dragon.
RB: In the rectangular zodiac of Dendera Dwn-nwy is shown behind the Thigh, and facing the hippopotamus, which is clearly not the same as placing of Mace Man on the round Zodiac where the latter is BEHIND the hippopotamus. In other words, Mace Man cannot be Dwn-wny.
AC: Simply because the creators of the Dendera round zodiac chose to reverse their hippo, or any other asterism, does not demonstrate that dwn-nwy was not Cygnus. This is simply ridiculous.
As I said, mace man occupies the position of dwn-nwy as shown in depictions of the northern group of constellations, and the fact that a falcon-headed individual appears at exactly the same position in the Dendera rectangular zodiac cannot be ignored. This is surely dwn-nwy, showing that both mace man and the falcon-headed deity both occupy the position of Cygnus. This greatly increases the chances that dwn-nwy is Cygnus. The fact that on the rectangular zodiac is a second falcon-headed individual, this one standing on a goose, like mace man in the round zodiac, is yet another clue. You might suggest that the two falcon-headed individuals are different, but I strongly suspect that this was simply a repetition based on the fact that the Dendera zodiacs were created not from one but from a series of much older source maps. Some of these will even have come from other cult centres with differing beliefs regarding what star groups represented which gods and goddesses.
RB: Indeed if the builders of the Dendera temple wanted to represent Dwn-nwy on the round zodiac, they easily could have done so, since they obviously put Dwn-nwy on the rectangular zodiac. It is true that Mace Man on the Dendera zodiac stands somewhere between Sagittarius and Capricorn, and that on the reactangular zodiac Dwn-nwy also are bracketed by Sagittarius and Capricorn. But that is no reason to equate Mace Man to Dwn-nwy.
AC: Actually, it is, Robert. Why not see this as pictorial evidence of dwn-nwy being Cygnus?
RB: It can be seen that also the hippopotamus and the Thigh are bracketed by Sagittarius and Capricorn, which is not the case in the actual sky.
As for the so-called 'second' falcon-headed man on the goose on the rectangular zodiac being Dwn-wny and Mace Man, I really cannot see the connection at all. At any rate, why would they put two representations of Dwn-nwy on the rectangular zodiac?
AC: As I have explained, repetitions caused by the use of differing source maps. Remember, this zodiac was created right at the very end of dynastic Egypt, when the entire priestly system was breaking down. Although Graeco-Egyptian priesthoods were attempting to remain truthful to their Egyptian ancestors, knowledge was now being lost at an incredible rate. Errors might easily have occurred, meaning that one asterism is inadvertently depicted in two or even three different forms.
RB: Or is it not Andrew, more likely, that is making a mistake in seeing three very different figures all representing Cygnus on the zodiacs?
AC: No, not at all.
According to Egyptologist Arielle P. Kozloff:
"...it should come as no surprise that the constellation we call Cygnus, the Swan, because of its undeniable resemblance to a flying, long-necked bird, appears to float towards the west in a lacuna between two arms of the Milky Way. Since there were no swans in ancient Egypt, the most likely identification for this constellation would have been either a goose or a duck or perhaps an ibis. The goose, in addition in reprsenting Geb, was the symbol of ancient Egyptian summer, the period following the sidereal New Year signalled by the heliacal rising of Sepdet. Thus the season when Cygnus (or Geb) flew through the sky in the arms of the Milky Way (or Nut) followed on the heels of the year's annual resurrection and rejuvenation..." (Hommages a Jean Leclant, vol. 4, 1994).
Actually, I am surprised but pleased that Robert posted this quotation, as it certainly shows that others are concluding that Cygnus played an important role in ancient Egyptian astronomy.
AC: Firstly, I need to correct Kozloff. There were swans in ancient Egypt, and a number of wooden swans, both whooper and mute, have been found inside tombs from the fifth dynasty onwards. What isn't known, however, is what they represented - whether they were merely heirlooms, decorations or had some religious function.
That Cygnus might well have been a goose in ancient Egyptian star lore is something I strongly suspect, and wrote extensively about in 'The Cygnus Mystery'. It is both gengen-wer, the cosmic goose, whose honk brings forth the universe in the form of an egg, and also it is Geb, the earth god's avatar or totemic form, which is also a form of the same cosmic goose. That both mace man and dwn-nwy stand on a goose in the Dendera zodiacs is not without significance here, and in my opinion mace man is Geb, especially as the mace with pear-shaped head is a symbol of earthly kingship.
Yet we must remember that different cult centres had different religions, and very likely different ideas about the nature of the stars. At Dendera or Heliopolis, centres for the cult of Geb, Cygnus might have been Geb or the goose. Yet in others Cygnus might have been a celestial falcon, or falcon-headed man. At still others it was an ibis, or some other bird of creation.
All of this strengthens my case for identifying mace man as both Cygnus, and by virtue of this dwn-nwy.
By the way, Geb's consort is Nut, or Nuit, the sky goddess, whom astronomer Dr Ronald Wells working in the field of Egyptology, sees as a personification of the Milky Way, with Cygnus as her vulva or womb. The goose of Geb is sometimes shown by her feet, as the god himself is prised away from their conjugation.
The problem with all these attempts at identifying an Egyptian avian god, whether a goose or a falcon, with the constellation Cygnus is that there is absolutely no direct evidence, textual or graphically, that confirms or even implies that the ancient Egyptians saw this constellation as a flying bird. Indeed there is no evidence that this constellation was known to them in any form.
AC: Robert, as you know, there is next to no textual evidence to show that any of the main characters in the northern group of constellations represent any specific constellation. The ox thigh constellation is only identified as the main stars of Ursa Major because it is shown with seven stars within it, making the familiar shape of the Plough, or Big Dipper. That Draco is the hippo-croc hybrid is certain, but there is no textual evidence to clarify this assertion. It is the same with other asterisms such as Ursa Major and even Leo, as you know only too well.
That no Egyptian text clearly identifies Cygnus with any particular sky figure is expected.
RB: The evidence used by Kozloff for Geb (goose) is, at best, circumstantial, and the same can be said for Andrew Collins for Gengen-Wer (goose) and Dwn-nwy (Falcon).
AC: Gengen-wer is the same as Geb's own cosmic goose, which also lays the cosmic egg of creation. As for dwn-nwy, the evidence from the Dendera zodiac alone is enough to add weight to conclusions of Wainwright, Zaba, Stecchini and Lauer.
RB: There were many gods and goddesses in ancient Egypt that were cosmic in character or origins and were avian deities or had avian symbolism such Re (Falcon), Horakhti (falcon), Sopdu (falcon), Montu (falcon), Sokar (falcon), Thoth (ibis), Benu (heron), Geb (goose), Gengen-Wer (goose) and Nekhbet (vulture). Also there were many others, although not avian, who were shown with large wings, such as Maat, Nut, Isis, and Nephtys. The Extended Library Hieroglyphic lists more than 300 hieroglyphic signs showing birds, mostly falcons in various forms, as well as Ibis, ducks, vultures, quails, herons, egrets, kites and geese. Such avian qualities or symbols do not make them star-deities, let alone the constellation Cygnus.
AC: Cygnus is universally seen as a bird of some kind. A magpie is China. A bird of paradise in the Pacific islands. A macaw in the Yucatan. An eagle and hawk in North America. A vulture in the Near East. A quail or eagle in Arabic sky lore. A swan or goose in Indo-European star lore, and a kite in Mesopotamian lore.
It seems unlikely then that Cygnus would not have functioned as a sky bird in ancient Egyptian star lore. More than this, it probably had various identities, including a falcon, ibis, and possibly even a crane, all depending on the cult centre and religion in question. Some of this is speculation of course, but I am in no doubt that Cygnus was seen in ancient Egypt as a bird associated both with the transmigration of the soul and also cosmic creation.
Why should ancient Egypt have been any different to cultures worldwide in ignoring one of the most beautiful and easy to find constellations of the night sky?
RB: What needs to be shown in the first instance is clear and unambiguous evidence that the ancient Egyptians saw a particular avian deity --in this case Geb or Gengen-Wer- with a star or constellation and, in the second instance, to show unambiguously that this star or constellation was identified to Cygnus.
AC: This, as I have said, is very difficult with any constellation, not just Cygnus. However, Geb's association with Nut, the sky-goddess, and the presence of the cosmic goose in pictures of her is surely evidence of the goose's celestial role.
RB: In the Pyramid Texts a stellar deity is
generally denoted with the 'five-pointed star' ideogram, as they did
for the star-god Sah (Orion), Mesekhtiu (Big Dipper/Ursa Major) or Sothis
AC: Stars are shown in the body of dwn-nwy, which I strongly believe to be Cygnus. The cosmic goose is surely in no need of stars to point out its stellar nature.
RB: Although it is possible that the sky-goddess Nut may also have represented the Milky Way, then it is also possible that her 'womb' may have been related to Cygnus. This constellation is located in the Milky Way where the latter splits into two elongated parts that look like 'legs', so it is entirely possible that this split was seen as her 'vulva'. But we rely entirely on Ron Wells speculationFor this.
AC: If Cygnus is the vulva of Nut in ancient Egyptian sky-lore, then we must consider that it was from her womb that the son, Horus, was seen to be reborn each day. Horus's form is the hawk or falcon, and dwn-nwy is directly connected with Horus, as an inscription noted by Wainwright clearly shows (see below).
Plus we must not forget that the sky-goddess herself had an avian form, for she is often shown with outstretched wings protecting the dead. These are probably those of a hawk or kite, the latter being the form of Cygnus in the sky religion of the Euphrates.
RB: But did the ancient Egyptians relate an avian god or goddess to Cygnus? And if so, which one? Whatever the answer, one thing we can be sure of: it's not the falcon-headed Dwn-nwy. As for the geese-gods Geb or Gengen-Wer, the evidence is, at best, very circumstantial and speculative.
AC: Cygnus is not dwn-nwy in your opinion, although this was the conclusion of Wainwright, Zaba, Stecchini and Lauer, as well as myself.
Andrew is not alone , there are others who have concluded that the mace man is related to Cygnus;
"Pabilsag is followed by a man holding a mace standing over a goose. The man and the goose are in the right location on the ceiling to represent the winter solstice. Daressy identified the bird as a swan and suggested a connection to Leda, which would link the figures to Cygnus. These figures are in the correct place to mark the star Deneb (alpha Cygnii), which was a star with long history of importance in Egypt. "http://home.maine.rr.com/imyunnut/Den.Round.html
AC: Amy, many thanks for pointing this out. This reference does appear in 'The Cygnus Mystery'. In my opinion, there is little doubt that the Dendera zodiac's mace man, and most likely his goose, represents both Geb and the Cygnus stars. Yet remember this might only have been the view of one particular cult centre, not necessarily others who might have seen the Cygnus stars as another deity or bird form, or both.
I, too, have concluded that the so-called mace man could be Cygnus.
This is what I wrote in an earlier post:
"I have looked at the so-called Mace Man on the round zodiac of Denderah identified to Cygnus by Andrew Collins. In this zodiac Mace Man is somewhere behind the Hippopotamus figure. This hippopotamus figure in turn lies between Mace Man and the Thigh. Knowing the hippopotamus as Draco and the Thigh as the Plough (in Ursa Major), the the position of Mace Man relative to these two constellations could, indeed, be that of Cygnus."
See here: http://www.grahamhancock.com/phorum/read.php?f=1&i=220596&t=220468
The issue is not whether mace man might be Cygnus, but whether mace man is one and the same with Dwn-wny. Clearly, from an astronomical analysis, they cannot be, as they are in quite different positions in the AE depictions. Mace man is BEHIND the hippopotamus, while Dwn-nwy is FACING the hippopotamus.
This is a pedantic argument, Robert, and answered elsewhere. The creators of the Dendera zodiacs came at the very end of dynastic history, and were fast losing the age-old plot. Their visual depiction of the hippo does not discount dwn-nwy as being Cygnus.
AC: This matter of Cygnus being a 'long way' from the other key constellations in the often depicted north group is old, and was first voiced by ancient Egyptian astronomical heavyweights Otto Neugebauer and Richard Parker in their 'Egyptian Astronomical Texts' (3 Volumes, 1960-1969), commenting on Wainwright's theories regarding the relationship between dwn-nwy as Cygnus and the ox-thigh as Ursa Major. However, this dismissal does not hold, as firstly Cygnus is right next to Draco. Indeed, the stars in one of its wings were used in ancient cultures to find the north ecliptic pole within Draco (according to my good friend Crichton Miller). Moreover, I have already explained how Cygnus's role in ancient Egyptian cosmology was coupled to its relationship with Ursa Major, with which it was linked via a rope, pole or spear seen as a sky-pole, or meridian line, when lined up vertical on the northern horizon.
Creating a star map where all the constellations were in their exact spatial positions would have meant an enormous map, with a lot of gaps, and it is extremely likely that all important constellations were drawn close together for artistic and aesthetic purposes alone. Surely, Neugebauer and Parker could have come to this conclusion, saving us all the modern thinking which harks back to these two's comments in their multi-volume work on ancient Egyptian astronomy.
Let me again try to explain the logic and the astronomy that was required to identify the figure of the falcon-headed man Dwn-nwy and also 'mace man' in the actual sky.
If Dwn-nwy is a constellation or stellar asterism at all, then he must be located in the right spatial relation he has with the two other known AE constellations with which he is always associated, namely the THIGH (Mesekhtiu) and the HIPPOPOTAMUS (Ruart) --these are our modern PLOUGH (Big Dipper) and DRACO.
The astronomer Juan Belmonte, whom Andrew Collins uses as one of his main sources, places Dwn-wny in the correct spatial position. This has been demonstrated in this posting: http://www.grahamhancock.com/phorum/read.php?f=1&i=220455&t=220146
AC: I do not use Juan Belmonte as one of my 'main sources' in 'The Cygnus Mystery'. I quote, without prejudice, his work on determining true north using key stars, and cite his comments on the similar work of Kate Spence. In fact, I have no opinion on his findings, and prefer to conclude that, as Wainwright, Zaba, Stecchini and Lauer argued, the stars of Cygnus were involved in this process.
RB: There are also the conclusions by the Swiss astronomer Kurt Locher, a highly respected authority in ancient Egyptian constellations. Locher offers a slightly different spatial relation for Dwn-nwy than Belmonte. Furthermore Locher connects Cygnus to the crocodile that is at the back of the Hippopotamus, which is in a complete opposite place than Dwn-nwy
AC: The crocodile?? This makes no sense whatsoever, especially as the main croc appears either as part of the hippo as Draco or on the hippo's back (another croc sometimes appears in the northern group on the left-hand side of the greater scene).
The crocodile is a totem of Set, or his son Sebek, and is closely associated with Draco, not Cygnus.
RB: The slight variation between Belmonte and Locher is due to the difficulty in using mythological figures to define the exact position of stars and constellations. Nonetheless these two specialised scholars are clear that Dwn-nwy must be positioned in the vicinity of the Plough, either behind it or somewhere above it --which are both a long way from Cygnus.
AC: Once again, we go back to the often quoted Neugebauer and Parker argument that Cygnus is too far away to be included next to Draco and Ursa Major in these sky maps. Cygnus is next door to Draco!!! Ursa Major is its sparring partner around the celestial pole!! Simply laying a sky-map over the ancient Egyptian asterisms is not going to help you identify their respective constellations. This is futile.
RB: I myself arrived at somewhat the same
conclusion as Belmonte, see here:
The depictions below show the spatial relation between Dwn-nwy, the Thigh (the Plough) and the Hippopotamus (Draco) (image 1). It is very clear that Dwn-nwy is not behind the hippopotamus, unlike 'mace man' who is clearly behind the hippopotamus on the round Dendera Zodiac (image 2). We all agree that 'Mace man' roughly fits the spatial position of Cygnus, which is behind Draco (image 3). Common sense and astronomical fact brings us to the inevitable conclusion that Dwn-nwy cannot be 'mace man'. And so if 'mace man' is equated to Cygnus, then it follows that Dwn-nwy cannot be Cygnus.
AC: Back with the Dendera zodiac. As I have previously explained, there is every reason to conclude that mace man (Geb and his goose) occupy the position reserved for dwn-nwy on depictions of the northern group of constellations in ancient Egyptian sky-lore.
Personally, I would take Wainwright, Zaba, Stecchini and Lauer's opinions over those of their modern day successors any time.
It's all in good fun.
I have seen Dr. Greg Little's press release of 8th March 2007 on I-Newswire.com where he reports on the status of the so-called 'debate' between the author Andrew Collins and myself. Notwithstanding the erroneous conclusions that Dr. Little draws from this on-going debate, I wish to clarify what really this on-going debate is all about and, more importantly, what has emerged from it.
The objective of the on-going debate is, quite simply, to ascertain whether the Cygnus stars/Giza pyramids correlation theory proposed by Andrew Collins stands the rigour of scholarly scrutiny and tests. Andrew Collins's theory is entirely based on the crucial assumption the figure of a falcon-headed man, called invariably Dwn-nwy An or Anu, and seen on many astronomical drawings in ancient Egyptian tombs and temples represents the constellation of Cygnus, the celestial swan of the Greeks. So it stand to reason that any investigation on Collins's theory must begin here. If this assumption is correct, then the investigation can move on. But if it wrong, then the theory collapses. To put it more poetic terms, if the swan is found dead in the water, then there is no Cygnus theory.
As far as I know, before the early 1930s no mention of Dwn-wny being Cygnus is made in Egyptology. In 1932, however, the British Egyptologist Gerald A. Wainwright examined the three central mythological figures on the ancient Egyptian astronomical drawings of the northern sky, a bull's thigh, a hippopotamus and a falcon-headed man holding a spear. So far only two figures had been identified as being constellations with any degree of certainty: the bull's thigh (called Mesekhtiu) with our Big Dipper (Plough) in Ursa Major; and the hippopotamus (called Ruart) with our Draco constellation (or perhaps only part of Draco). Wainwright proposed that the third figure, the falcon-headed man (called Dwn-nwy) was the constellation of Cygnus. In 1953 the Czech Egyptologist Zbynek Zaba backed Wainwright's idea. He was followed in 1960 by the French Egyptologist Jean-Philippe Lauer, and later in the late 1960s by the Italian mathematician Livio Stecchini. Andrew Collins readily accepts the conclusion of these four scholars and furthermore rests his entire theory on this conclusion. It was a risky position to take but a very understandable one, considering the reputations and calibre of these scholars.
AC: So far, so good. This is an accurate assessment of dwn-nwy's identification.
RB: But here comes trouble. In 1985 the Swiss astronomer Kurt Locher of the Astronomy Institute of the University of Berne, and today a very highly respected scholar of ancient Egyptian constellations, identified Dwn-nwy in manner that completely contradicted Wainwright's original assumption.
AC: Created by false assumptions as I have already explained, following the misguided statements of Neugebauer and Parker in their three-volume 'Egyptian Astronomical Texts'.
RB: Based on the careful examination of the spatial position of Dwn-nwy in the drawings found in the tombs of Rameses III, Rameses VI, Rameses IX, Seti I and Senmut, Locher concluded that Dawn-nwy corresponds to an asterism made up of stars of Ursa Major and Draco, which are some 60° angular distance from Cygnus!
AC: Cygnus is next to Draco!! As I have explained earlier, the superimposition of modern sky-maps on to the ancient Egyptian northern group of constellations does not work.
Draco as hippo-croc hybrid, Ursa Major as ox thigh and Cygnus as falcon-headed man, have a special relationship together and this is what is being shown again and again. Moreover, we have the evidence from the Dendera zodiac that mace man, now identified by yourself, Robert, as likely to be Cygnus, replaces dwn-nwy on the round zodiac, but when it comes to the rectangular zodiac, the familiar falcon-headed man is in its place. Clear evidence, in my opinion, that dwn-nwy is Cygnus, and this is quite separate to the work of Wainwright, Zaba, Stecchini and Lauer.
RB: As for Cygnus itself Locher proposed that it was, along with other stars from the constellation of Cepheus, represented by a crocodile figure often seen on the back of the hippopotamus, positioned a long way from Dawn-nwy.
AC: I am sorry. This, to me, is completely nonsensical, since both the hippo and the croc are forms of Set, probably derived from different cult centres. In Graeco-Egyptian times, the hippo was often dropped in favour of the croc, which was shown in opposition to a falcon-headed individual, or a bird, identified as a crane or heron. In my opinion, this, as I have mentioned in 'The Cygnus Mystery', expresses the relationship between Cygnus and Draco as the bird and the serpent/dragon/croc.
RB: Also in 1985, the Yale Egyptologist Virginia Trimble proposes that Dwn-nwy could be Ursa Minor, a constellation that is some 40° angular distance away from Cygnus!
AC: I am aware of modern views on dwn-nwy, which all cite Neugebauer and Parker from their three-volume magnum opus 'Egyptian Astronomical Texts stating that dwn-nwy can't be Cygnus, which is rubbish. It doesn't prove anything. They just didn't agree with what a brilliant and inspired mind like Gerald Wainwright had come up with in connection with the ancient Egyptians' manner of determining true north.
I strongly suggest that readers of these posts actually read the sources I cite regarding dwn-nwy's role as Cygnus, particularly the works of Wainwright, who was a genius. His work on Letopolis as the place of the priest of the sacred adze has inspired many chapters in your works, Robert, as has his work on the relationship between meteorites and Egypt's sky religion. See:
Wainwright, G A, 'Iron in Egypt', JEA
18 (1931), pp. 3-15.
RB: There was worse to come. In 2003 the Spanish astronomer Juan Antonio Belmonte, a highly accredited world authority on ancient Egyptian astronomy (especially by Andrew Collins himself) demonstrated that Dwn-nwy corresponded to a larger asterism formed by stars from Ursa Major, Leo Minor, Canes Venatici and Lynx.
Again, I state that Belmonte is not seen as special by me. In 'The Cygnus Mystery' I merely quoted his work on determining true north using key stars in the northern sky, and his objections to Kate Spence's ideas on the same subject.
AC: He can identify dwn-nwy with whatever stars he likes, but this does not necessarily make it right. Once again, he is continuing this lead began when Neugebauer and Parker in their three-volume 'Egyptian Astronomical Texts' dismissed Wainwright's identity of dwn-nwy as Cygnus through a single illogical deduction, based on Cygnus spatial distance from Ursa Major.
RB: All these stars are about 70° angular distance from Cygnus!
AC: Repeat again. Draco is next to Cygnus!!!!
RB: In 2007, after carefully examining the various ancient Egyptian astronomical drawings, I have to conclude that Belmonte's proposal is by far the most likely.
AC: In your opinion.
RB: So what it boils down to is that that the figure Dwn-nwy is definitely cannot be Cygnus but rather a stellar asterism closer to Ursa Major, that is some 40° to 70° angular distance away from Cygnus. In the nightly sky vault arching 180° above us, this is a long way indeed.
AC: In your opinion.
RB: Finally Dr. Little has made a big deal about the alleged better 'fit' that the 3-stars asterism has with the Giza pyramids. He has obviously not fully understood the mathematical analysis, which in fact prove otherwise.
AC: Your mathematical analysis has proven nothing. The simple fact is that visually, the Cygnus-Giza overlay fits better than that of Orion, regardless of now accurate you believe the ancient Egyptians were in transferring astronomical data on to the ground.
RB: The details of the mathematical analysis can be seen discussed here:
But the issue of how the Cygnus stars so well 'fit' the Giza layout is really a red herring now.
AC: Of course it's not. Just because in your opinion you have dismissed dwn-nwy as being Cygnus, does not change anything. There are many, many people out there who do accept that there is good grounds to accept dwn-nwy as Cygnus, and because of which the game is still on, and will be until some quite independent evidence comes to light to further our knowledge on the real identity of dwn-nwy. At the moment, everyone just has opinions, and this proves nothing.
RB: One can take dozens of 3-stars asterisms and find among them a good 'fit' for the Giza pyramids.
AC: This is just trying to muddy the waters. Cygnus is the greatest contender to Orion since the inception of the OCT in 1994, and any other contender now would be dismissed as a non starter. Orion now has its rival, of that anyone can see.
RB: This by itself proves nothing. It certainly doesn't for the Cygnus theory. Dwn-nwy is not Cygnus, period. This is where the theory starts and ends.
AC: In your opinion dwn-nwy is not Cygnus. In the minds of various modern archaeoastronomers working in the field of Egyptology, dwn-nwy is not Cygnus. But in the brilliant minds of Wainwright, Zaba, Stecchini and Lauer dwn-nwy was Cygnus, and I would rather go with their ideas any day.
RB: But at the end those who desperately want, for whatever their personal reasons, the Cygnus/Giza theory to stand, will huff and puff to blow this obstacle away. But it won't go away. Such things never do once they are exposed.
AC: Robert, the Cygnus-Giza correlation is not going away, nor will it ever.
The photo of Orion's Belt published in the 1994 book certainly looked like it fit perfectly over the three pyramids as they were shown in the book. But the photo of Orion was a time-lapse one that greatly increased the size of the stars.
AC: Whatever way you look at it, the Lowell Observatory pictures made the OCT visually impressive, which was not so when the stars in their true size were overlaid on a map of the Giza plateau.
In a 2000 documentary on BBC, astronomer Dr. Ed Krupp related, "In the back of my head I knew that something was wrong with these pictures. To make the map of the pyramids on the ground match the stars of Orion in the sky you have to turn Egypt upside down and if you don't want to do that then you've got to turn the sky upside down." Curiously, in the book this fact wasn't mentioned...
AC: Actually, I do not have a problem with the Orion stars appearing the way they appear to do on the plateau, even though the relative positions of the pyramids against the stars is not in the same relative arrangement, this when viewed from a hypothetical position north of the pyramids.
Since the 1994 publication of The Orion Mystery, Bauval concedes that the three stars of Orion's Belt don't match the pyramids perfectly. But does that really matter? .the idea or Orion had mass appeal and few people ever took the time to really look at the details of it.
The reason that the Orion Correlation Theory had 'mass appeal' is not only because of the visual correlation, but because these stars dovetail very well with the symbolic architecture and the religious beliefs of the pyramid builders. It was a long time well-known by Egyptologists and other scholars (incidentally also by Ed Krupp who wrote much about it) that a narrow shaft within the Great Pyramid was directed towards Orion's belt. It had also long been established that Orion was clearly mentioned in the Pyramid Texts as one of the afterlife destination for the kings. It had also long been established that the god of the afterworld, Osiris, with whom the dead kings were identified, was identified with Orion. All this gave the correct context that impressed the public.
AC: Wainwright questioned whether Osiris was Orion, showing that the god was spoken of separately to Sah in the Pyramid Texts. He suggested that Osiris was related to a star that followed Sah and Sirius (as Spdt), which could easily have been Canopus, which the Roman biographer Plutarch associated with Osiris.
then along came The Cygnus Mystery, not only threatening the idea that the three stars of Orion's Belt were the basis of the pyramids, but threatening the validity of the entire series of books touting the Orion idea turned out by Bauval and Hancock. It's become serious stuff.
Curiously, another person had independently discovered that Cygnus fit the three pyramids better than Orion and entered the debate by releasing his illustration of Cygnus as it fit the pyramids. A host of others who clearly had embraced the Orion idea also began posting.
AC: I think the obsession with extreme
accuracy rather resembles the old religious controversy which raged
at one time over the number of angels who could stand on a
It seems to me that the accuracy of the most modern methods of measurement is being used to decide the intention of the ancient Egyptians, Orion v. Cygnus, the result hanging on a few seconds of arc or metres. For this argument to be valid, the ancient Egyptians would have to have had access to just the same measuring accuracy. If they did not, then it would be a matter of chance or accident just where the peaks would have finished up, to within a few metres.
Bauval actually began his response to the Cygnus claim by expressing sympathy for the author of the new theory and then asserting that the Cygnus-Giza correspondence was flawed-wrong.
AC: In your opinion.
RB: There was no malice in my opening statement, as you seem to imply. In fact Collins thanked me for my praise of his character and work. I said that the Cygnus theory was flawed because, quite simply, it is, and it was better to state my position from the outset.
AC: In your opinion.
RB: The flaw is fatal, because it involved the basic assumption made by Andrew Collins on which the whole Cygnus/Giza theory rests upon. This assumption was that the falcon-headed man, Dwn-nwy, depicted on ancient Egyptian renditions of the northern sky, represented the constellation Cygnus. It does not.
AC: In your opinion. Wainwright, Zaba, Stecchini and Lauer thought otherwise, as do I, from the substantial evidence I have amounted in this respect.
RB: It is not I who says so, but three of the world leading experts on ancient Egyptian constellations. One of these experts is Dr. Juan A. Belmonte, used as a major source by Andrew Collins and of whom he wrote "Belmonte is one of the world's foremost authorities on AE astronomy, I am sure you would not deny this. He made mincemeat of Kate Spence's work, and justifiably so. His ideas on the Stretching of the Cord ceremony are nothing less than brilliant, and I would choose to go with his ideas before those of many others. We all have to chose our sources, and he is one of mine." (see http://www.grahamhancock.com/phorum/read.php?f=1&i=220389&t=220146
AC: As I have said, I have used Belmonte's work, and cite his ideas on the Stretching of the Cord ceremony, and his dismissal of Kate Spence's work. However, this does not mean that he is an archaeoastronomical genius whose word should not be questioned. There are many aspects of his work that I would argue against, including his identify of dwn-nwy.
Students of psychology should be urged to examine the debate, as there are numerous textbook examples of psychological processes and defense mechanisms at work. There is somewhat humorous saying that perhaps reflects what Bauval and his supporters intended to do with this debate, as evidenced by his written claim to be unbiased preceded by the written judgment that Collins' ideas were flawed: "We'll give you a fair trial and then we'll hang you."
Of course, Robert, you are right. The OCT has been around for 13 years, and the Cygnus-Giza correlation is a new boy on the block, and whether or not it stands the rigours of criticism over the next 13 years is a matter we should return to in the future. On the other hand, it is important also to point out that up until now the OCT has not had a rival. No other real candidates for a ground-sky relationship at Giza has been seriously considered by the ancient mysteries community. What this has meant is that Orion has been favoured in possible ground-sky correlations in other parts of the world, to the possible neglect of other key asterisms in the ancient mindset. This includes Cygnus, which I can easily demonstrate has played a crucial role in religious and cosmological ideas for at least 17,000 years, when Deneb and later Delta Cygni acted as pole stars for a period of 3,000 years. Such ideas were carried forward into the Neolithic of the Near East 11,000 years ago, then filtering in abstract form into mainstream religions and mythologies across the ancient world. If this is so, then why should the first Egyptians have ignored this major constellation, placed so prominently upon the northernmost part of the Milky Way, seen as a universal river or road to the sky-world?
RB: The long and short of the analysis involving a star-based theory for Giza is that one can make any triad of the 2500 or so stars visible fit the Giza layout if one brings them to the same scale. That you can fit three stars on the map of three pyramids does not mean anything on its own. What really matters is the context. I have looked very carefully into the claim by Andrew Collins that Dwn-nwy represents Cygnus and, basing myself on the recent work of the astronomers Kurt Locher and Juan Belmonte, this claim simply collapse under the rigour astronomical logic.
AC: To imply that my claims 'simply collapse under the rigour [of] astronomical logic' is nonsense, as these modern trends away from dwn-nwy being Cygnus are simply opinions and views, and not definitive answers. Why should they be more right than the likes of Wainwright, Zaba, Stecchini and Lauer?
RB: I have taken the trouble to post here on GHMB the results of my investigation in very great detail so that anyone can examine my procedures and findings, both regarding the accuracy of the alleged correlation as well as the astro-mythological context. I have used the best and latest sources of Egyptologcal and archaeoastronomical data, best survey data of Giza, and very reliable astronomy software tools. If there was a good basis for the Cygnus/Giza theory to work, I would recognise and endorse it. But the fact is that without the Dwn-nwy = Cygnus there is really no basis at all for a Cygnus/Giza correlation, even though the stars 'fit'. It really boils down to that.
AC: We too have used the best software, maps and mathematical calculations to establish and confirm the Cygnus-Giza correlation, and this works continues as I write. I had hoped to bring some of it to you sooner than later, but it is obvious that unless we double and triple check everything both mathematical and on the ground using extremely accurate surveying equipment, then we might be subject to severe criticism once more. Thus I will hold back for the time being. However, I can confidently say that I am now 99 percent sure that key stars in Cygnus, particularly Deneb and Sadr, played extremely important roles at Giza.
Dr Ronald Wells was inclined to conclude the same in connection with the Fifth Dynasty sun-temple of Userkaf at Abusir, south of Giza, and I am sure he is correct. He speculated that Deneb might have had some special place in the life of Userkaf, who, we must remember, was married to Khentkawes, Menkaure's daughter, whose rather enigmatic tomb is close to the site of Menkaure's valley temple.
What I am getting at here, is that if Userkaf was into Cygnus's stars, then this was very likely based on concepts of a sky religion inherited from the dynasty of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure, suggesting that they too shared an interest in Cygnus.
So simply by asserting that if dwn-nwy is not Cygnus, then the Giza-Cygnus correlation is dead as a swan in the water is rather misleading for the reader.
It should surely be a case that if Cygnus was important at Giza, we should review what we know about the sky religion of the ancient Egyptians to learn why they favoured this constellation so much.
Orion supporters have now asserted that no map, photo, survey, or illustration of the Giza complex is accurate and that only precise mathematical calculations of the relevant stars can be used. Nor is any computer astronomical program really accurate.
AC: This is simply not true. Maps are valuable and very accurate tools to evaluate landscape geometry. However, I do agree that all calculations have to be backed up with available data on the relative positions of the Giza Pyramids, and for this we have only Petrie, since Mark Lehner and company at the Giza Plateau Mapping have so far ignored requests to supply their raw data for public use.
However, be careful of Petrie. We have just found a major error in his calculations for the angles between the different pyramids. We have mathematically calculated that the angle between G2 and G3 is atan 13165.8/13931.6 = 43.3812 or 43 degrees 22 minutes and 52 seconds. This complies exactly with Petrie's quoted figures for G2 to G1 angle.
The angle between G3 and G3 has been calculated by us to be atan 9450.2/15170.4 = 31.9203 degrees or 31 degrees 55 minutes 13 seconds.
This is significantly different from Petrie's quoted angle for G3 to G2 of 34 degrees 10 minutes 11 seconds.
The 31 degrees 55 minutes 13 seconds angle of G3-G2 agrees very closely with a measurement taken from the Lehner grid map and thus is taken as the intended result.
If this is correct, then any theories that have used Petrie's angle of 34 degrees 10 minutes 11 seconds for G3-G2 are in error.
RB: The only survey data available if from Flinder Petrie, which has been recognised as being accurate to +- 0.01 meters. The latest mapping project by Mark Lehner, the Giza Plateau Mapping Project (GPMP), provides a grid map but no survey data.
So until the GPMP survey data is made available, we have to rely on the Petrie data.
AC: Agreed. In concert with the GPMP grid.
RB: At any rate, it is not expected that much difference will be found between the two surveys.
AC: Agreed. We have now compared Petrie against the GPMP grid in high res and the two correspond almost precisely, visually at least.
RB: The same goes for photographs of the stars which, in any case, are no use since the epoch that Andrew Collins bases his theory is, correctly, 2600 BC i.e. the accepted date for Giza (+- 150 years). Also plucking images of the stars from computer software programs, even when precessed to epoch 2600 BC, is unacceptable.
AC: It is not unacceptable, and nor was it back in 1994 when first you overlaid the Orion stars upon the three pyramids of Giza. It is a visual clue to check further to find out whether this is simply coincidence or meaningful.
RB: Here, like the Giza survey data, we need to know the spatial relationship between the three stars through their measured angular distance after precessing them to epoch 2600 BC and taking good care to allow for proper motion.
AC: Of course, and this is what is occurring now.
...It is only the third star that matters. The third star is the only one that determines if the three star pattern "fits." The results from all the analyses consistently show that the third (smallest) star of the upside down Orion actually does not fit onto the third pyramid at Giza-missing it entirely. In the simplest of terms: Orion's Belt does not match the Giza pyramids.
AC: Not according to the GPMP grid map, which shows that Mintaka does not fall even on the Third Pyramid, which makes it difficult to state without hesitation that a match was intended between Orion and the Giza Pyramids. This has always been one of the down sides of the OCT, and eventually prompted the rise of rival ideas on a ground-sky correlation at Giza, both using Orion and Cygnus.
On the other hand, results consistently show that the third star of Cygnus fits on the third pyramid, not perfectly, but only slightly off center-in 2600 B.C. Presently, Cygnus is a perfect fit. Cygnus clearly wins this issue.
RB: I repeat. The angular offset of the star
Gienah is 49 arcmin. to the southeast (thus more than 5 times greater
than the star Mintaka); and the survey offset is 47.3 meters, which
means Gienah all falls within the base of the third pyramid.
AC: Visually, Gienah is much closer to the apex of the Third Pyramid than Mintaka. However, repeating the same view that simply because Orion is smaller, and thus more difficult to convey on the ground, is not confirmation or proof of the OCT. Equally, it might be said that the ancient Egyptians, if they were reflecting the stars on the ground at Giza, chose to adopt a more easy target such as Cygnus.
Anyway, the whole idea of precision and accuracy within pyramid construction is a misnomer, since Petrie himself, although citing the accuracy of the builders of the Great Pyramid, also referenced the enormous errors they made in design and measurement within the monument. Must we always assume that the Pyramid Builders were god-like geniuses without the fallibility of less noble mortals?
Bauval has countered this find by strangely arguing that the ancient Egyptians did not have the capability to accurately measure the angles between the stars-that explains why the third pyramid was not placed properly to mimic the third star of Orion.
Indeed, one of the points in favour of an Orion's belt sighting by the ancient astronomer is that their measurements were within their accuracy level i.e. +-10 arcmin.; whereas for Cygnus they would have been more than 5 times outside their accuracy level i.e. 49 arcmin., which is unrealistically high for the accuracy we see elsewhere at Giza.
AC: Once again, we find ourselves back with the old axiom of the Pyramid Builders were so precise than only Orion can be right for a ground-sky correlation at Giza.
Conversely, Bauval also argues that the ancient Egyptians had the incredible technological ability to measure and perfectly target specific stars of Orion and other stars with the small shafts within the Great Pyramid. This is a contradiction (the ancient Egyptians were both primitive and advanced technologically) that has not gone unnoticed on the message board. However, the outcome of this portion of the debate is resolved: Cygnus actually fits onto all three pyramids, Orion simply does not.
I have assumed the same accuracy capabilities for the alignment of the shafts as well, which is +- 10 arcmin.
AC: The same argument again.
After Cygnus was clearly shown to fit the pyramids' layout, while Orion was not, Bauval raised the issue of how Collins accounts for the difference in size of the three pyramids. Bauval has earlier claimed that the "size" of the three pyramids reflects the relative visible size or brightness of each star of Orion's Belt, but this proposal had already been shown by astronomers to be badly flawed. What Bauval means by "size" has also been questioned by skeptics: is it height, volume, diameter, or all of these?
The three stars in Orion's belt clearly demonstrates that their apparent magnitudes mimic the apparent heights of the pyramids. The recorded magnitude of the three stars are Alnitak 1.71; Alnilam 1.68; and Mintaka 2.25. (in astronomy, the lower the magnitude value the brighter the star). The correspondence are Alnitak = G1; Alnilam = G2 and Mintaka = G3.
Now looking at the apparent magnitude of the three 'wing' stars of Cygnus, these are: Gienah at 2.46; Sadr 2.21; Delta Cygni 2.84. There is absolutely no correspondence with the three Giza pyramids. Indeed the star Delta Cygni which Andrew correlates to the G1, the largest pyramid, is in fact the least bright of the three stars.
Still, Collins responded to this challenge by releasing a startling new discovery he made while examining various alignments at Giza. Collins discovered a three star asterism at Giza involving the stars of Cygnus and the three pyramids. In brief, the three cross band stars of Cygnus were seen to set to the NW of Giza. But when this setting is viewed from the SE of the pyramids, the three Cygnus stars actually appear at the apex (top center) of each of the three pyramids. It is an astounding find that rather neatly explains the actual height, diameter, and volume of each pyramid. Cygnus also wins this round.
AC: I do not consider that the volume and mass of the Giza Pyramids in any way reflect the magnitude of the Cygnus wing stars. Why would they do that in the first place? It seems so unnecessary. What I will demonstrate at some points is that their apexes reflected the visual heights of the Cygnus wing stars in accordance with very precise trigonometry on the plateau, but this is something for the future.
Collins links Cygnus to Egyptian astronomy throught the Egyptian figures of Dwn-nwy and Sokar. It remains to be seen if the debate will resolve this issue. In truth, ancient Egyptian texts do not actually link the pyramids to Orion.
AC: No, we have not clearly established that the current trend away from dwn-nwy being Cygnus proves that this cannot have been the case. As I say, I would favour the findings of brilliant minds such as Wainwright, Zaba, Stecchini and Lauer over and above those of modern archaeoastronomers whose theories and papers are often dry and devoid of vision.
many "long-shots" have been taken with the Orion theory
Perhaps the greatest unintentional support for Cygnus as an important part of ancient Egyptian lore comes from astronomer Ed Krupp. In an article titled, "The Antiquity of Man," Krupp related, "Magical incantations inscribed on the interior walls of some Egyptian pyramids pinpoint the destiny of the pharaohs once buried within them. These prayers are known as the Pyramid Texts, and they tell us that the final destination of a dead king's soul was the sky. In particular, the pharaoh flew to the circumpolar stars. Neither rising nor setting, these stars migrate around the north celestial pole without ever slipping into the underworld below the horizon. To the Egyptians they were the 'undying' stars, and their immortality would naturally attract a soul in search of everlasting life. In ancient Egyptian belief these stars advanced as a celestial army, parading eternally around the hub of heaven and keeping the cosmos on course with the daily rotation of the sky."
AC: I have never implied that the Cygnus stars were circumpolar in Egypt during the epoch in question, c. 3000-2500 BC. What I do argue is that as dwn-nwy they were viewed as among the Imperishable Stars of the north group of constellations, which are those north of the Milky Way, or the line of the ecliptic, which Cygnus certainly is according to the Dendera zodiac at least. I have no wish to attempt to fit the Cygnus-Giza correlation into a framework of 9000 BC, preferring to stick with dateable evidence for the beginning of the reign of Khufu, who I believe was behind the construction of the Great Pyramid.
Orion, of course, is not a northern constellation.
AC: What direct textual evidence is there that the star in the circle representing the word 'duat' is synonymous with the term sah, which is interpreted by many as Orion? I cannot recall seeing this anywhere. Regarding the nature of the duat, may I quote from 'The Cygnus Mystery'
"In the duat's chthonic realm - thought to exist both underneath the earth, i.e. where the sun was seen to go during the night, and also in the complete darkness of space where no light can penetrate - the deceased had to successfully navigate a whole host of supernatural obstacles and combat its spectral denizens. Only when these had been mastered with the help of his attendants - who towed the 'night-barque' through the different hours - could the soul of the deceased be born anew. This was envisaged in the solar religion in terms of the sun-god switching in the pre-dawn light to the 'day-barque' in order that he might journey to the Imperishable Stars along the Winding Waterway. This was the Ancient Egyptian name for the Milky Way, which, through its identification with the mythical river known as the Eradinus, the Stream of Ocean, or River of Heaven, was seen as the celestial counterpart, or even an extension, of the River Nile."
Although Orion as sah was seen as a destination of the soul of the departed in death, in my opinion this belief was born out of a clearly earlier belief concerning the position of constellations on or close to the Milky Way, where the line of the ecliptic crossed. These two points, on opposites sides of the Milky Way, fell in the rough proximity of Sagittarius/Scorpio (where close to galactic centre) and Gemini, the latter of which is sufficiently close to Orion, which is placed close to the Milky Way, for it to have become an access point to the sky world in the pre-dawn light. However, the sky-world was not here, in the east, but in the north, the place of absolute darkness, where the Imperishable Stars are to be found. This is stated again and again in the Pyramid Texts, and was why all major pyramids, and many mastaba tombs, were aligned north and not east.
Once again, this is a universal concept going back to very ancient shamanic traditions which influenced the spread of cosmology and religion worldwide. The transmigration of the soul was very often seen to be reflected in the passage of migratory birds north towards breeding grounds, something present, although previously unexplored, in ancient Egyptian tradition.
Allow me again to quote from 'The Cygnus Mystery':
"Most significant of all, the duat-underworld, through which the sun passes, is linked directly with birds and the north, and was seen as a place where gods and men lived side by side. As James P. Allen states in Genesis in Egypt (1988), 'Like the sun, many of these beings are free to travel between the Duat and the world of daylight: Text 1A1 [of Seti's cenotaph] envisions some of them in the migratory birds that fly into Egypt from what were then unknown places to the north.' Moreover, it is from this same 'uniform darkness', this duat in the body of Nut, that the morning sun comes forth into the light of the pre-dawn sky."
One of the principal reasons why the Cygnus stars were originally identified with a bird of some sort is that this asterism was equated with the passage of the soul, and in ancient Egypt the 'ba', or soul, of the deceased took on the form of a bird. Which type varied, although it certainly included the goose and hawk or falcon.
In conclusion, I see no reason to assume that the star in the circle representing the symbol for the duat was purely meant to express the Orion constellation. It signified the passage through the tunnels of darkness to reach the light of the stars, where the soul would become an 'akh', a glorious or radiant spirit, shining as a star itself.
But the Egyptian idea in the soul moving to the northern heavens fits Cygnus perfectly and matches the layout of the pyramids. Cygnus was a circumpolar constellation in ancient times, with Deneb, the brightest star in Cygnus, actually once the pole star it had several other key elements matching Egyptian astronomical concepts.
AC: I have just explained now the stars of the Cygnus constellation became directly linked to the concept of the passage of the soul into the afterlife. Not only is it placed on the most northerly part of the Milky Way, where it bifurcates to form the Great Rift, seen as the vulva or womb of the Cosmic Mother, but the passage of soul birds north were thought to be heading in its direction. This was either via the Milky Way (the Winding Waterway) or the north-south meridian line, marked in ancient Egyptian art by the rope, pole or spear held by dwn-nwy and linked to Ursa Major as the ox thigh constellation.
As stated previously, Cygnus was the destination of the soul in some ancient cultures of the Middle East, among others it was linked with cosmic birth and creation. This, I believe, was also the case in ancient Egypt.
In the 2000 BBC documentary, Hancock stated, "We are looking at the vestiges of an ancient world-wide religious system, a sky ground religion. The essential thing that it had to do was to build architectural copies of groups of stars in the sky and we're looking at the vestiges of that system spread out around the world." While Hancock was referring to the Orion link to Giza and the temple of Angkor, the same theme is present in The Cygnus Mystery, but to an even greater extent-in far more locations around the world- than Orion.
AC: I agree that we should establish Cygnus's role in ancient Egyptian cosmology and religion before looking for answers elsewhere. However, it is as well to point out that the Cygnus stars are represented in ground-sky overlays at Cusco in Peru (after the work of Giulio Magli), at Newgrange in Ireland (after the work of Anthony Murphy and Richard Moore) and also at Great Circle, Ohio (after the work of Thaddeus M Cowan and myself). Thus there does exist a precedent for looking for similar ground-sky correlations also in other parts of the world.
Another of the major reasons that the Orion Mystery was embraced by so many people was because the book proposed the date of 10,450 BC as the "First Time" of Osiris. The date is related to Edgar Cayce's story of Atlantis and the start of the construction of the Great Pyramid. Cayce's story of Atlantis is integrally related to the construction of the Great Pyramid. According to Bauval and Hancock, the upper southern shaft of the Great Pyramid is thought to target the star Al-nitak in Orion around 2500 B.C. The 10,500 B.C. date comes from the fact that only then would the Giza Pyramids layout in relation to the Nile match the sky, close to when it reaches a perfect upright position when crossing the meridian. But the 45 degree angle of the upper southern shaft probably targets an area between the Orion stars Al-nitak and Alnilam, the middle belt star.
Finally I want to say that the two theories cannot be 'embraced' for Giza. It may seem a happy compromise to some, but it really doesn't work at all. All I can say with fairness to both theories is that both Andrew and I may be wrong, but both can't be right.
AC: I disagree. I believe that it can be worked out what role both Cygnus and Orion (and Leo - see below) played at Giza. As stated earlier, Orion is close enough to where the ecliptic crosses the Milky Way to make it a natural point of entry to the Milky Way as the Winding Waterway. Once here the solar barque would have made its passage to the sky-world, in the vicinity of the Imperishable Stars. If Dr Ronald Wells is correct, then the ancient Egyptians saw the Milky Way also as Nut the sky-goddess, whose womb and vulva were in the vicinity of the Cygnus stars. From here the new sun, the new Horus, was born anew, suggesting that this was also the destination of the soul.
Although we are dealing with concepts from more than one cult centre here, a picture emerges of Cygnus being important in the cyclic processes of the soul of the king as Horus as it incarnates and returns in death from whence it came.
I've also seen you use the word "cutting edge" to describe Locher and Belmonte. The recency of an archeoastronomical opinion shouldn't have any bearing on its validity.
Both Wainwright and Zaba were not astronomers, and in their days no astronomy software was available to precess the sky for realistic visual assements.
AC: In order to access his theories Wainwright employed the services of one Miss Williamson of the Department of Applied Mathematics, University College, London, who then spent considerable time properly calculating the positions of the various stars. Her map was published at the end of Wainwright's crucial paper:
Wainwright, G A, 'A Pair of Constellations', Studies Presented to F L Griffith, 1932a, pp. 373-83.
Zaba was a brilliant Czech astronomer working in the field of Egyptology, who aside from his work on Cygnus and the alignment of the Great Pyramid, was behind the discovery that precession was known to the ancient Egyptians. See Magli 'On the possible discovery of precessional effects in ancient astronomy' (arxiv.org/pdf/physics/0407108v1)
To even consider suggesting that Zaba was not an accomplished and very brilliant astronomer would be very foolhardy indeed.
To dismiss both Wainwright and Zaba's work as irrelevant and meaningless is even more foolhardy.
RB: I am not suggesting that they did not understand what they were doing or that they were careless in their analysis. But I feel that they did not look at the spatial relationship of the figures the way an astronomer would. Of course some would argue that spatial relationship between the three figures (Thigh, Hippo and Dwn-nwy) was not important to the ancient Egyptians. But that is clearly not so, as we can see, on the Senmut ceiling for example, that the spatial relationship between Sirius/Canis Major and Orion on the south sky is respected.
On the other hand, the indetifications of
Dwn-nwy by Belmonte (which I favour) is based on the logic of placing
the figure of Dwn-nwy in the correct spatial relationship to the Thigh
and the hippopotamus. Indeed, as you can see from the evolution of this
thread, I had arrived at the same conclusion as Belmonte independently.
AC: Even though you have come to the same conclusion, this does not make it right, or proven in any way. Belmonte's identification of dwn-nwy is spurred by Neugebauer and Parker's view on Wainwright's own theory on Cygnus being this sky-figure. As I have said, they concluded that Cygnus was too far away to have been dwn-nwy in its spatial position in the northern sky group as seen in the tomb of Senmut and elsewhere. However, we have to remember that if Cygnus was put in its correct place, then a lot of space would have been required, and so the sky figures were collected together into one frame. Moreover, we must not forget that the first known depiction of dwn-nwy and the ox thigh constellation together comes from a coffin of the ninth dynasty, on which the two are simply shown in the same register, suggesting that the relationship in later forms does not represent a specific spatial distance apart in the night sky.
I cannot understand why modern archaeoastronomers like Belmonte do not consider such facts in their assessment of the northern group of constellations in ancient Egyptian tradition.
In the various images we have so far seen of Dwn-nwy, the position of his spear or rod is pointed at the Thigh/Plough, except in one or two of the Ramesside drawings where Dwn-nwy is lying horizontally near the bottom of the drawing (the horizon?) and pointing not a rod but what appears to be a pole directly upwards; in these the pole may, perhaps, represent the north meridian line. Of course Dwn-wny is very much in the wrong place to be considered as Cygnus (which would be at the top left of the drawings).
AC: Here for the first time that I can see, Robert, you are accepting that the rod or pole held by dwn-nwy may perhaps be the meridian line, as proposed by Wainwright, Zaba, Stecchini and Lauer. If this is so, then you must also consider that the presence of this meridian line, which represents true north, linked two constellations, one in its upper meridian transit and the other at its lower meridian transit. The lower one would have to be circumpolar, otherwise it could not perform this role, thus Ursa Major is clearly identified as the ox thigh, and the upper one, i.e. dwn-nwy, would clearly not be need to be circumpolar. The relationship between Cygnus and Ursa Major, as Wainwright realized and wrote about in 1932, fits this relationship perfectly. If such a theory had not made sense then it would never have been explanded by Zaba in the 1950s, picked up on and expanded again by Stecchini and Lauer, both individuals with brilliant astronomical minds working in the field of Egyptology.
I think you should seriously reconsider you views regarding the identifty of dwn-nwy, for Cygnus fits better than any other constellation. Plus there seems every reason to conclude that if Cygnus was known in ancient Egyptian sky lore, then it would have been recognized as a bird associated in some way with the passage of the soul into the afterlife.
Here is an example from the Pyramid Texts of how the soul of the deceased takes the form of a falcon, as it journeys to become an akh, a Glorious Spirit, quite literally a star among the stars:
This Unas comes to you, O Nut,
The sky-goddess replies:
Pyramid Text, Utterance 245
I am certain that the celestial form of the falcon god in the northern skies was Cygnus, and that this was seen as the destination of the soul either via the Winding Waterway (the Milky Way) or the rope, ladder, pole, symbolising the meridian line.
How can we be sure that the figure Dwn-nwy in the various depictions is not a depiction of a concept involving Cygnus and the meridian rather than something to be taken as being literally positioned between the bull's thigh and the hippo?, It is rather an oddity with it's rod/pole as well as being depicted in various instances holding the meridian and not.
If we look towards the positioning of Dwn-nwy and the rod in the Senmut astronomical ceiling; the rod Dwn-nwy is holding coresponds with the leg of Ursa Major-(Phecda - Alula Borealis) while the foward hand-(Chi Ursae Majoris) and the back-(the "Alula cluster") with the garb of Dwn-nwy coresponding with Canes Venatici. In the Senmut arrangement the back of the rod would effectively be pointing directly at Leo while the front of the rod is pushed up to (within the Senmut depiction) the zenith.
If Dwn-nwy is symbolic of Cygnus why should he be positioned where he is in Senmut's Ceiling and why should he be pointing anything at the bull's thigh or at Leo? Perhaps it is that he is not pointing anything but rather that he is marking the rod of the bull's thigh as it points to Leo while also putting himself in the equation.
At the time; in 2600 B.C. , any keen observer of the night sky would've been aware that when Leo was at the zenith Cygnus would be aligned on the meridian beneath the northern horizon, and visa vis when Cygnus was at the Zenith Leo would be aligned on the meridian beneath the same. We have depictions of both Dwn-nwy marking the meridian and this Bull's rod, it only follows that something is being demonstrated by this difference .
"The Four-Fold Calendar of the
In his 1953 article on Egyptian astronomy, Zbynek Zaba comments on the antiquity of Dwn-nwy, the now-very popular Falcon-headed man figure that allegedly represents the constellation Cygnus. Zaba refers to Dwn'nwy in the Pyramid Texts and the hieroglyph that denotes him with his rod/straight line (Zaba uses the French words "la droite"). The impression I got from reading this is that it was the same image of Dwn-nwy seen on the New Kingdom astronomical ceilings i.e. the falcon-headed man with arms outstretched and holding a rod/spear/line ('la droite' of Zaba).
But that doesn't seem to be the case, as far as I can make out. But perhaps I'm wrong.
Here's the confusion: In Faulkner's translation of the PT, Dwn'nwy appears in lines 27, 28, 159, 254, 1098, 1613 and 2237. There are two hieroglyphs that represent Dwn'nwy in these lines, which are shown by Faulkner as being (1) a falcon bird (2) a falcon bird perched on a staff (I am not sure if one of these signs was also used for 1098 and 2237, as Faulkner does not specify this). So as far as I can make out, the flacon-headed man with the rod is not shown, as Zaba seems to asserts. Now Faulkner based his translation on the original texts by Kurte Sethe (1912). So checking with Sethe's hieroglyphic text, we can see the same two signs (1) a falcon bird (2) a falcon bird perched on a staff are there, but no falcon-headed man with arms outstretched and the rod.
Faulkner says that the reason for allocating these two falcon signs to denote Dwn'nwy rather than Horus is given in JEA 36, 9f. I do not have a copy of JEA 36, so I cannot check this reason. I do not doubt Faulkner's judgement in translating these signs, but it would be interesting to know why he made this decision. Does Kurte Sethe also allocate these two signs to Dwn'nwy?
Perhaps some hieroglyph and PT buffs here on GHMB can clarify this matter?...
"In the Pyramid Texts Dunanwi (Dwn'nwy) appears in several contexts, including that of the purification ritual in which the god represents the east in accompanying Thoth, Horus and Seth who together personify the four cardinal points (PT 27, etc.). From the end of the Old Kingdom, however, Duwanwi (Dwn'nwy) seems to have been assimilated with the falconiform god Nemty and is known only in that form thereafter." (The Complete Gods and Goddess of Ancient Egypt, p. 200).
Nemty was a twin, or variation, of Anty, a hawk god of Upper Egypt. Anty is generally depicted as a hawk crouched upon a lunar crescent moon, or in a boat, like the henu boat of Sokar. Indeed, in this role he became associated with other hawk-gods including Sokar. Nemty was sometimes shown as a falcon on a shield. Both deities are most probably different gods who became amalgamated at some time, and also became forms of Sokar, or vice versa.
I find also that in the Coffin Texts Nemty is described as managing Sokar in his henu boat. He is also seen as a ferryman who transports gods, particularly Re, which is again similar to the role of Sokar in his festivals.
These are additional links which I can now add to those which show a clear connection between dwn-nwy, Sokar and Giza.
However, attempting to remove dwn-nwy from the Pyramid Texts, thus invalidating his significance in the Pyramid Age, is thwart with problems. Dwn-nwy is a key figure in the northern group of constellations depicted in New Kingdom Egyptian astronomical ceilings and even earlier on coffins, and so he cannot be obliterated. Anyway, if as you point out the likes of modern archaeoastronomers such as Belmonte dismiss dwn-nwy as being Cygnus, then what does it matter whether or not dwn-nwy is in the Pyramid Texts?
For your information, Samuel Mercer's translation of the Pyramid Texts, although substituting Horus for dwn-nwy in some instances, does still retain the full name of dwn-nwy where it appear in full. For instance, line 254 deals with the soul of the deceased coming against the 'blue-eyed' Horus, and becoming as Geb 'at the head of his Ennead', interesting as we have already speculated that Cygnus might also be associated with Geb and his goose, gengen-wer.
By the way, Geb, the earth-god, whom you accept might with hi goose be Cygnus, as well as mace man on Dendera's round zodiac, can be equated with Sokar, another earth or chthonic god, via their dual roles as guardians of the cemetery. Their common root might well be the Memphite earth god Tanen, who is linked with the character called the Falcon in the Edfu Building Texts, which were considered to be of Memphite origin by E A E Reymond in her essential work 'The Mythical Origin of the Egyptian Temple (1969).
By the way, you keep referring to Zaba's 'article' about Cygnus and the orientation of the Great Pyramid. Robert, it is a book not an article, you should recall that, with full biographical details as follows:
Zába, Zbynek, L'Orientatation Astronomique dans l'Ancienne Égypte, Archiv Orientální Supplementa II, Ceskoslovenská akademie, Prague, 1953.
I obtained a copy after considerable difficulty from the British Library interloan service, photocopied the lot, and had most of it translated into English by Rodney Hale's daughter Catherine. It is an incredible read, and one which I would recommend as essential to all readers of Egyptology.
> Re: Wilkinson quote of Dwn-nwy representing the east.
In the Pyramid Texts, Dwn-nwy (according to Faulkner?) represents the cardinal direction of the EAST.
In PT lines 17, 27 & 28 the four gods Horus, Seth, Thoth and Dwn-nwy representing the four cardinal directions, with Dwn-nwy being cardinal EAST.
AC: Robert, I have just checked PT lines 17, 27 and 28 and can find no indication that dwn-nwy represents the east. I have looked at both Mercer and Faulkner and this is simply not the case. Please check this for yourself, as maybe I am missing something. Indeed, the only direction indicated in any of these three lines is 27e which speaks of 'Five pellets of natron of the North, Wadi Natrun'.
In PT line 159 Dwn-nwy is clearly the representative of the Eastern 'souls'.
AC: Actually, line 159 in Faulkner states: 'O dwn-nwy, go and proclaim to the eastern souls and their spirits: "This King comes indeed, an imperishable spirit. Whom he wishes to live will live; whom he wishes to die will die."'
This does not mean that dwn-nwy presides over the east, merely that he addresses the 'eastern souls'. This would be like a magister facing east and addressing the angel or spirit of the east, before turning to another direction to honour the spirit of their direction. Indeed, this is more or less confirmed by the reference in line 158 to the king before Re-atum, who is said to be 'lord of the four pillars', an allusion to either the cardinal points or to a heavenly enclosure orientated north-south, east-west. I acknowledge here that in line 157 Thoth addresses the 'western gods and their spirits', although immediately afterwards it states that the king 'comes indeed, an imperishable spirit, adorned with Anubis on the neck, who presides over the Western Height'. This implies that it is Anubis who is the god of the west, and not Thoth.
Yet in astronomical terms, Anubis is associated almost certainly with the ox thigh constellation, which is also the primary sacred adze of the sky. This is a northern constellation par excellence, and so why is Anubis associated with the west?
What I am saying here is that just because the Pyramid Texts state that a god has some affinity with a certain direction, does not mean that we must assume it to represent a constellation of the east or west.
AC: Actually, the fact that the king becomes an imperishable spirit in line 159 is itself a clue as to his presence here among the Imperishable Stars of the northern group of constellations. Moreover, as Faulkner makes clear in 'The king and the Star-religion in the Pyramid Texts, JNES 25, 1966, pp. 153-161, the principal destination of the deceased in the Pyramid Texts is the Imperishable Stars of the north, with much fewer references to Sah (your Orion) as a destination.
Moreover, we know from depictions of the northern group of constellations that dwn-nwy was a major constellation, attached by a rope, pole or spear to the ox thigh constellation, i.e. Ursa Major.
RB: As a matter of fact there is not indication in the PT, as far as I can see, that Dwn-nwy is a constellation or stellar god.
AC: The whole of the Pyramid Texts are about the soul of the deceased becoming a star at one with the Imperishable Stars. The sheer fact that dwn-nwy appears means that he is taking on the role of a god greeting or directing the dead to their final destination in the afterlife. Plus dwn-nwy, as I have already stated, appears as a key sky figure in the northern group of constellations, confirming his role in ancient Egypt's sky religion.
RB: Dwn-nwy may be a sky-god, but he seems associated only to the east and, more specifically, cardinal (due) east.
AC: This is not so from the lines of the Pyramid Texts that you cite. Dwn-nwy is merely a sky deity who greets the deceased, in similar with the various other gods and goddesses of the Pyramid Texts.
AC: Thank you for this information, although I feel it is attempting, once again, to divert interest away from the probable significance of Cygnus in ancient Egyptian astronomy.
" since mhtyw the bull, or ox, was seen by the Ancient Egyptians as a personification of Set, god of disorder and chaos (as was the hippo with a crocodile on its back, represented by the stars of Draco), then the falcon-headed god had to represent his mortal enemy, Horus, the son of Osiris. He avenges his father's brutal death at the hands of Set, who was Osiris's brother. Indeed, one inscription found alongside a depiction of the falcon-headed god reads, 'Horus who fights rebels', an allusion to the near mythical Followers of Set.' Thus the old foes were forever seen sparring around the northern celestial pole in a manner captured in both Ancient Egyptian art and myth."
Robert Bauval wrote:
> In his 1953 article on Egyptian astronomy,
Zbynek Zaba comments
Here what Zaba writes:
" en vertu de l'antiquite de Dwn-nwy (Textes des Pyramides) et de l'hieroglyphe qui le represente avec la droite."
(...in virtue of the antiquity of Dwn-nwy (Pyramid Texts) and the hieroglyph that represents with the rod)
antropomorphe avec tete de faucon et represente le plus souvant avec une ligne droite qui, joignant les extremites de ses deux bras etendus, se dirige invariablement dans la direction de Meshtyw ..
(...antropomorphic with the head of a falcon... and often represented with a straight rod which, joining the extremities of his two poutstretched arms, is invariably directed towards Meshtyw (the Thigh)...)
Lauer's 'ligne droite' and Zaba's 'la droite' clearly means the rod (spear or line) held by Dwn-nwy.
After an extensive search in the Pyramid Texts,
I was unable to find the hieroglyph sigh showing Dwn-nwy with arms outstretched
holding the rod. See here:
AC: I don't see what, if anything, this proves. Dwn-nwy does appear in the Pyramid Texts as cited by both Mercer and Faulkner in their respective English translations.
Over the last three weeks or so I have analysis the Cygnus/Giza theory from its two major aspects: (1) the accuracy of the 'fit' and (2) the astro-mythological context. Those who have followed the various threads (started 22 February) will hopefully agree that I have looked very carefully at these aspect --perhaps even in too much details, some may feel-- so that a clear picture of the many issues involved could be brought to light in order to be able to draw a conclusion.
Regarding the accuracy/'fit' of the 3-stars asterism (Delta Cygni, Sadr, Gienah) with the apexes of the 3-pyramids of Giza (G1, G2, G3), my opinion now is that the visual 'fit' is quite good. And even though I have expressed my concerns with the calculated 49 arcmin 'error' between the position of Gienah and apex G3, which I felt was too high when considering the accuracy capabilities of the ancient astronomers (+-10 arcmin), this objection is insufficent to alter the fact that when the precessed stars image is superimposed on the (GPMP grid) map of the pyramids, the 'fit' is precise enough. So from this 'fit' viepoint it was justified to theorise on a possible Cygnus/Giza correlation. But as Andrew Collins himself has remarked, finding three stars that 'fit' the apex of the three Giza pyramids proves nothing by itself. What really matters is whether there is a proper astro-mythological/religious context that supports the theory.
Regarding this 'context', I have looked into great detail at many of the relevant astronomical scenes on the so-called 'astronomical ceilings' and 'zodiacs' of the New Kingdom and later periods. I have also looked in great detail at the relevant passages in the Pyramid Texts, from the translation by Faulkner and also from the original hieroglyphic texts by Kurte Sethe. It is in this 'context' aspect of the analysis that, in my opinion, the Cygnus/Giza theory fails.
AC: In conclusion of your own assessment of the Cygnus-Giza correlation, I feel that it is fair from your own perspective, but actually provides a very distorted version of the facts at hand, as I have shown by responding to the various posts made by you on the GHMB in my absence. Indeed, it would seem at first that you have suitably 'made mincemeat' of the Cygnus-Giza correlation. However, nothing, as I have shown, can be further from the truth. You have dismissed dwn-nwy as being Cygnus, using selected evidence (just as I do to show dwn-nwy is Cygnus, of course), attempt to reduce or even neutralize dwn-nwy's role in the Pyramid Texts, removing his influence in the Pyramid Age, and dismiss as evidence the dual relationship between mace man (Geb) and dwn-nwy in the Dendera round zodiac, even though you do accept mace man as a possible representation of Cygnus (as do other key archaeoastronomers such as Eric Aubourg).
My absence, do to moving home, has then given you freedom to state clearly that the Cygnus-Giza correlation has now been suitably dismissed, even though this is clearly not the case. I have attempted to redress the balance in these responses, which I truly believe the reader will appreciate from a point of view of fair play.
I understand why you refuse to consider my opinions, since doing so would give credence to the Cygnus-Giza correlation.
What I can say is that, Robert, your criticisms, and those of others who have written in these threads, have sharpened my own knowledge of the Cygnus-Giza correlation for future purposes.
RB: Like any other theory, the Cygnus/Giza
theory is constructed on a series of major assumptions that follow a
critical path. If any one of these assumptions is wrong, then it follows
that the theory is invalidated.
Assumption (1) : The falcon-headed man, Dwn-nwy, on the New Kingdom astronomical ceilings represents the constellation Cygnus, and his spear/rod represents the north meridian.
AC: Correct. As shown here.
RB: Assumption (2): The Dwn-nwy = Cygnus can be projected to the Old Kingdom Pyramid Texts which mention the god Dwn-nwy.
AC: Correct. As shown here.
RB: Assumption (3): Dwn-nwy and the god Sokar are one and the same; therefore Sokar represents Cygnus. Sokar is the god of Rostau, ancient Giza, and thus Giza = Cygnus.
AC: Correct, and even you have given me further confirmation of this by alluding to the relationship between dwn-nwy and the falcon god Menty, who is strongly associated with Sokar, Lord of Rostau and patron of the Giza necropolis.
AC: In your opinion.
RB: Assumption (1) was completely based on the hypothesis of G.A. Wainwright (1932) and Z. Zaba (1953). Yet as K. Locher (1985) and J.A. Belmonte (2003) have shown, the figure of Dwn-nwy cannot be Cygnus.
AC: Wainwright, Zaba, Stecchini and Lauer say different, as do I. I have also stated very clearly why the likes of Locher and Belmonte cannot accept the work of their pioneers in the study of ancient Egyptian astronomy, based on original doubts by Neugebauer and Parker, which stemmed from their conclusion that Cygnus cannot have been represented here as the close spatial relationship of the northern group of constellations did not allow it. I say this compression of the constellations was merely for artistic reasons, and does not reflect a true perspective of the spatial relationship of the constellations involved.
RB: The above show beyong any doubt that Dawn-wny cannot be Cygnus. Cygnus is behind Hippo, whereas Dwn-nwy in all of the AE drawings is elsewhere, either adjacent to the Thigh or below it. In my view Belmonte has the better interpretation for Dwn-nwy.
AC: We know that the ancient Egyptians had been depicting dwn-nwy in association with the ox thigh constellation as far back as the Ninth Dynasty, as in shown on the tomb of Heni, and here they are not close at all. The ceiling painters of the New Kingdom were merely condensing what had already been drawn in relationship together for several hundred years, and arguably much longer.
RB: We now come to assumption (2). Notwithstanding that the analysis abruptly stops with assumption (1), we now see that there is another hurdle that the Cygnus/Giza theory fails to surmount. This, quite simply, is that in the Pyramid Texts clearly define Dwn-nwy as the god of cardinal EAST, and not the NORTH.
I have demonstrated earlier that this is simply not true.
AC: And I have demonstrated that what you say, Robert, regarding dwn-nwy's association exclusively with the east is also not so.
RB: The Dwn-nwy of the AE astronomical ceilings of the New Kingdom/Ptolemaic Period who is shown with the circumpolar constellation of the Big Dipper (Thigh) and Draco (Hippo) cannot be projected back to the Dwn-nwy of the Pyramid Texts. I could not find anything in the Pyramid Texts that identify Dawn-nwy with the circumpolar stars, let alone with Cygnus.
AC: I have confirmed that dwn-nwy is a sky deity of the Pyramid Texts, confirmed in the English translations of both Mercer and Faulkner.
RB: I really do not think there's much point moving to assumption (3). But as I've said in earlier posts, I know of no Egyptologists that has identified Dwn-nwy as being Sokar.
AC: You, Robert, have given me further evidence of this in your own words. The Menty link is very important indeed. Thank you for this. As I stated in 'The Cygnus Mystery':
"Sokar is usually depicted as a falcon-headed man either seated on a celestial throne or enshrouded as a mummy, signifying new life through astral flight. Livio Stecchini saw him as the god who presided over the establishment of the geographical limits of Upper and Lower Egypt, based on units of measure which showed that the Ancient Egyptians were aware of the latitude and longitude of the earth.
"Sokar was thus seen as extending his two wings to embrace, or cover, the geographical extent of Egypt. It was in this role that he gained the title 'great god with his two wings opened', which is so similar to dwn-'nwy's own title of 'he who unfolds two wings', that the two are surely one and the same . This relationship between the two falcon-headed deities is confirmed in the knowledge that both dwn-'nwy and Sokar might have featured in the 'Stretching of the Cord' ceremony, while in the Pyramid Texts both gods are identified with Osiris, lord of the dead, and thus with the deceased in their role as Osiris.
"In addition to this, Sokar, like Horus [a form of dwn-nwy], was god of artisans, craftsmen and blacksmiths. In the Pyramid Texts Sokar is linked specifically with bja, meteoric iron, a principal theme of the stellar religion, from which he fashions the bones of the deceased. One utterance speaks of him splitting open the bja shell of the sun-egg, inside which is the new-born king in the form of Horus the Younger, who rises to avenge the murder of his father Osiris. As we saw in the last chapter, meteoric iron was linked both with the adze used in the Opening of the Mouth ceremony, and through this with the cult centre of Letopolis.
"Sokar is additionally connected with the benben, a sacred egg-like stone symbolising cosmic creation, which might also have been of meteoric origin. This link between Sokar and the benben is found in the Pyramid Texts, which state that the egg-like stone 'is in the Mansion of Sokar'."
RB: As far as I am concerned, unless assumptions (1) and (2) are explained with much stronger evidence and arguments, then the Cygnus/Giza does not work.
AC: I have ably provided this evidence in the current post, which I do hope helps redress the balance between Cygnus and Orion at Giza. Please accept this as an attention of my future research into this area, and I would value other contributions towards reaching a verdict on a subject which I feel is now crucial to understanding the ground-sky relationship at Giza during the Pyramid Age.
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