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by Philip Coppens Most ancient civilisations created a centre for each city, but equally had a “national centre”, which acted as a “central centre”. Authors such as Jean Richer have argued that Greek city planning, i.e. the location where certain towns would be built, is partially linked with trying to maintain a “master plan”, incorporating this “central centre” from which other centres radiate. He believes that the Greeks were aware of a meridian, and that this was “centred” on Mount Olympos, the place where the gods were said to reside.
These concepts seem to go back to the origins of man and hence it should come as no surprise that they are present in Southern America, where the town of Cuczo was also identified as the “navel” of the entire Inca culture. The Jesuit Father Bernabe Cobo, in his book The History of the New World (1653), wrote about the ceques in Cuczo. These were lines on which wak’as – shrines – were placed and which were venerated by local people. Ceques have been described as sacred pathways. Cobo described how ceques radiated outwards from the Temple of the Sun at the centre of the old Inca capital. These were invisible lines, being only apparent in the alignments of the wak’as. The ceques radiated out between two lines at right angles, which divided the city into four and extended out into the Inca Empire. Each ceque was in the care of a family. Wak’as mostly took the form of stones, springs, hills, or stones on hills. Offerings were made, often in the form of human sacrifice, usually of small children. These ceremonies began in Cuczo and culminated in a sacrifice at specially designated sites often located near the summits of holy mountains. Such division in space is made by a meridian – an imaginary line running north-south, connecting the northern with the southern polar stars. Thus, the meridian divided of space in two halves. The creation of the meridian is literally placing a marker in space (Earth Surface) for time. Hence the creation of the meridian is the human intervention in bringing order to space and time… and in many respects, creating time – the basis of the calendar.
The “marker of time”, the meridian, was both the point of creation (place), as well as the New Year (time). The Egyptians added to this a link with the Nile, as the flooding of the Nile was linked with the start of the New Year. In Egypt, the river Nile generally runs from North to South and could therefore be considered to be a depiction of a “meridian” – a natural one.
The Nile, identified with the god Hapi, who was a characteristic of Osiris, might also have been interpreted with the Djed pillar and the Cosmic Tree. The Nile was literally the “spine” of Egypt: it was the backbone of communication; if the Nile would no longer be the prime method of communication, Egypt would literally become paralysed.
On a map, the Nile could be seen as the spinal cord, with the Delta somewhat resembling the brain – it takes imagination, but that is, after all, what is required for symbolism. The Nile had its mythological root on an island Suhail, which is linked with the star Canopus, which to the ancient Egyptians was the Southern polar star. From this site, it grew and than diversified, like a tree, around the Nile Delta. Again, seeing the Nile as a tree takes some imagination… Certain researchers, however, believe they have to go beyond this initial analysis and state that the Egyptians usd an artificial meridian in Egypt as well. This would mean that the ancient Egyptians had a methodology to measure their land accurately – and it is clear that Egyptologists have labelled this concept even more imaginary than any image of a tree or a backbone in the course of the river Nile.
The best-known example is the meridian defined by the Great Pyramid, identified by Livio Catullo Stecchini. This meridian bisected the Nile Delta (at 31 degrees 14 minutes East) and allegedly predated the building of the Great Pyramid. Stecchini built upon observations from Napoleon’s savants who observed, when they arrived in Egypt in 1798, that the Great Pyramid is situated at the exact apex of the Nile Delta such that an arc centred on the Great Pyramid defined the extent of the Delta, perfectly enclosing its outer perimeter. The northern promontory of the Delta is due North of the pyramid. Stecchini pointed out that the original name that was used by the ancient Egyptians for their country was To-Mera, “The Land that was Measured”. The hieroglyph for the mer phonetic used in this name is the picture of the hoe, or tilling instrument, supporting the intended reading of “measured”. Mer, of course, is also the name for a pyramid.
In 1882, Robert T. Ballard pointed out that this placement of the Great Pyramid would have allowed the residents of the Nile Delta to easily resurvey their fields every year after the annual flood using only a plumb-line, by sighting on the apex of the Great Pyramid. He further demonstrated that the combination of the three Gizeh pyramids would have improved this operation and provided more information than a single pyramid by itself could have.
The Egyptians were extremely concerned with determining exact boundaries and areas of land surface. The annual inundation of the Nile erased all boundary lines between fields. Herodotus, Plato, Diodorus, Strabo, Clemens of Alexandria, Iamblichus and others, ascribe the origin of geometry to changes which annually took place from the inundation, and to the consequent necessity of adjusting the claims of each person respecting the limits of the lands.
The imagery of the ancient Egyptians measuring their land after the annual deluge, from the primeval hill of Gizeh, using the plumb-line was a practical necessity that at the same time contained all the required symbolic ingredients, including the “plumb-line” in the sky, which is made by Sirius and Canopus, which in mythology was said to measure the depths of the Abyss – the annual inundation. We know that the constellation Argo, in which Canopus is the principle star, was the boat, and we know that the Nile was visualised as Eridanus. Is there a possibility that this myth was materialised on the Egyptian landscape? Wim Zitman, in his book Egypt: Image of Heaven (2005), believes that the answer is an affirmative yes. He argued that the “Celestial Boat” that shipped the souls to the Afterlife – also known as the Sokar-boat, as well as the Hnw and Hennu boat – had been outlined by the placements of the pyramids along the bank of the river Nile. In essence, connecting the pyramids from El Lahun to Abu Rawash created the outline of a boat, literally sitting on the river Nile. Coincidence? Zitman has created a substantial body of documentation to argue that it is not and goes into detailed analysis as to why the ancient Egyptians carefully planned the design and the location of the pyramids. Space was divided into two halves to create the meridian, but it seems that most cultures then halved space in the other direction. The end result is two lines intersecting at one point: the sign of the cross. The centre was a crossing, a singularity, where in most cultures we find the primeval hill, or the Mound of Creation. This was itself a point from which the gods were said to ascend, or sit – as in the case of Mount Olympos.
In basic town planning, the two intersecting lines would often be two roads, one running (generally) north-south, the other east-west. This can still be seen inside the megalithic monument of Avebury, in England. This is a village, built inside an ancient henge structure, where four roads meet each other at an angle of roughly ninety degrees, forming a crossroads.
In Egypt, the cross was the sign for a city and it is well-known that cities normally came about along crossings of roads. We also know that Egypt was the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt; the division occurred, according to Stecchini, on the Gizeh Plateau. Each was thus divided into four sectors, mimicking the natural division of the land, into the Delta and the Nile, and the East and West bank of the river Nile. It makes the Gizeh plateau into the primeval hill, the hill that belonged to Atum, who made his ascent and descent to and from heaven there, as ancient Egyptian myths tell us. Is Stecchini right in adding a new dimension to ancient Egypt, claiming that it is likely that some form of geographical planning was practised by this ancient civilisation? In Greece, Pausanias speaks of the cult of Apollo coming from Tempe to Delphi. Zeus released two birds from the ends of the Earth. One bird was released from Tempe, the other from Prasiae and the two birds crossed at Delphi. Hence, Delphi became a “crossing”, where the two lines intersected. Jean Richer adds that the distance from Tempe to Dodona and Tempe to Delphi is equal, which underlines that the insertion of a meridian into the landscape was definitely within the capabilities of our forefathers.
The concept of birds can not merely be found in Delphi, but also at Heliopolis, in Egypt. Egyptologists agree that Heliopolis and the Gizeh plateau were the main centres of the creator god Atum. We need to remember the role of the Phoenix of Heliopolis, resting on the benben stone, the primordial hill. Stecchini stated that “usually on top of Sokar, as on top of any omphalos, there are portrayed two birds facing each other; in ancient iconography these two birds, usually doves, are a standard symbol for the stretching of meridians and parallels.” This was then interpreted to indicate that the Great Pyramid formed the centre of “matrix” of lines, similar to the modern grid created by the lines of longitude and latitude. According to Stecchini, the Gizeh plateau may have been the “prime primeval hill” of Egypt. But that is not all. Stecchini further claimed that a number of locations throughout the ancient world were located in exact geodetic relation to the longitude meridian of the Great Pyramid. Among these sites were: Nimrod, Sardi, Susa, Mycenae, Dodona and Delphi, as well as the Ka’aba at Mecca, and Mt. Gerizim, the original Jewish holy centre, before it was moved to Jerusalem in 980 BC. Another centre was the Persian capital Persepolis, which was located at 30º 00’ north latitude, and three units of exactly 7º 12’ east of the meridian of the Great Pyramid.
According to Stecchini, the reason for this 7º 12’ unit was that the Persian Empire of King Darius the Great was idealised as three geodetic squares of six degrees of latitude, stretching from thirty to 36 degrees North. Note that that latitude was the northern limit of the visibility of Canopus, Egypt’s southern polar star, with 30 degrees North not only the latitude of Persepolis, but also the Great Pyramid. At 33º north, the midpoint of this distance, six degrees of latitude is equal to 7º 12’ of longitude, thus making these regions true squares.
If Stecchini had known the importance of Canopus to the ancient Egyptians, he would have been able to argue his case with such fervour that potentially his findings would be taught in schoolbooks. Not only are there six degrees of latitude between Rhodes, the northern limit of Canopus and the Gizeh Plateau, there are a further – precise – six degrees between the Great Pyramid and the Southern boundary of Egypt, Elephantine, the First Cataract – which is where the island of Suhail, Canopus of the South, is located. I would suggest this “coincidence” is no coincidence at all, but reveals the detailed planning, based on the visibility of the star Canopus, of ancient Egypt. It would also address the oddity of why Upper Egypt had six degrees of latitude, and Lower Egypt only one – from Gizeh to the Mediterranean Sea. In Stecchini’s model, the area between 30 and 36 degrees would be seen as “Lower Egypt” – though more symbolically that practically. map graphic courtesy of Simon Miles Little is known of the early history of cartography, though clay tablets showing maps that date to ca. 2300 BC have been found in Babylonia. An important clue about prehistoric geography can be read in Apollonius of Rhodes, in The Voyage of Argo, where Argus informs Jason: “Now we are told that from this country [Egypt] a certain king set out… and made his way through the whole of Europe and Asia, founding many cities as he went… to this day Aea stands, with people in it descended from the very men whom that king settled there. Moreover they have preserved tablets of stone which their ancestors engraved with maps giving the outlines of the land and sea and the routes in all directions.”
This is powerful evidence that in ancient times, Egypt was seen as the prehistoric home of geography, that “ordered” Europe and Asia, in line with Stecchini’s finding. We can extend Stecchini’s grid further west, whereby we find that the Paris Meridian – officially an invention of the 17th century – actually turns out to fit perfectly in Stecchini’s “Pyramid Grid System”. Is it a coincidence that sites such as the French Carnac sit within this grid as well?
We are at the beginning of rediscovering a lost science, which other authors, such as Florence and Kenneth Wood in Homer’s Secret Iliad, are also rediscovering step by step. It is powerful evidence that our forefathers were much more knowledgeable than commonly believed and that they were able to accurately map the lands from western Europe to Asia. One important question is how… Extracted and adapted from The Canopus Revelation: Stargate of the Gods and the Ark of Osiris, with minor additions not found in the book.