Apollo

The Megas Aeon Podcast #14 – James From Pandira’s Box & Unconquerable Gnosis

Welcome to Season 2 of the Megas Aeon Podcast #14! In this episode, I interview James from Pandiras Box and former co-host of Aeon Arcanum. We cover everything from Mithra, the Apollo Cult on Vatican Hill (The Roman Catholic Church), Constantine, the competing Orthodox and Gnostic Christologies, Anatoly Fomenko and the white-washing of history, Jerusalem and the State of Israel, the curious case of Simon the Magician, the Gospel of Judas, and much, much more! He is also the author of his article: Unconquerable: How the Early Roman Catholic Church Usurped the Cult of Apollo on Vatican Hill.

You can also see his work on the House of Cards Blog: https://houseofcardsbook.wordpress.com/

Outro Music: Strange WAYNE – Ragnarok

St. Apollonius Magus: The Case of Apollonius’ Identity Crisis

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Apollonius of Tyana (a city south of Turkey) was considered among the most remarkable of a slew of magician messiahs and daemonic philosophers in the area of Asia Minor. His life, unfortunately, has been written by believers in his pretensions as we have no secular record of him, much like how there is no reliable secular record of Jesus Christ existing. Outside the gospels, there are only four early historical references to Jesus. They are found in the works of the Jewish historian, Josephus, the Roman historians, Tacitus and Suetonius, and in the letters of Pliny the Younger, a Roman governor of Bithynia. But together, they cover little more than half of a page of a modern book! And even in these records, their mentions of Jesus are questionable at best for many reasons. (We will get to this in another post).

In any case, the Apollonius of the biographer Philostratus is a heathen savior, who claimed a commission from heaven to teach a pure and reformed religion, and in attesting his authority, he went about healing the sick, raising dead men back to life, casting out devils, and prophesying future events which came afterwards to pass. Sounds familiar?

However, the accounts of Apollonius were written well after he is supposed to have lived by a man named Flavius Philostratus (170 – 245 A.D.). This is long after the first New Testament was written (being Marcion’s Apostolikon). It is said that Philostratus is the only source for the accounts of Apollonius where the Bible is multi-sourced. In other words, we have different writers writing about Jesus. The authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul the Apostle, etc., are different writers who’s epistles were gathered by the Church and assembled into the Bible. One possible mention of Apollonius outside Philostratus is in Pseudo-Justin Martyr (meaning there’s no evidence that Justin wrote it and was written by someone else) specifically mentions Apollonius, when he tells us that Apollonius talismans were potent magical tools, indicating his belief in them in Answers to the Orthodox:

How is it that the talismans of Apollonius have power over certain members of creation, for they prevent, as we see, the fury of the waves, the violence of the winds, and the attacks of wild beasts. And whilst Our Lord’s miracles are preserved by tradition alone, those of Apollonius are most numerous, and actually manifested in present facts, so as to lead astray all beholders?

Pseudo-Justin illustrates the problem in a work containing a dialogue between a theologian and a Christian: the Christian is concerned about the popularity and spread of Apollonius’s talismans. He wonders how to explain their magical powers and wonders why God allows them. The theologian dispels his doubts saying that there is nothing evil about those objects because they were produced by Apollonius who was an expert in the powers governing nature and in the cosmic sympathies and antipathies…and that is why they did not contradict God’s wisdom ruling the world. But, this is hardly a convincing evidence for Apollonius. The Epicurean philosopher, Celsus never mentions or cites anything related to Apollonius either even in his long-winded refutation of Christianity, when he mentions various miracle workers and preachers who visit cities and army camps proclaiming themselves as “sons of God”.

These are accustomed to say, each for himself, ‘I am God; I am the Son of God; or, I am the Divine Spirit; I have come because the world is perishing, and you, O men, are perishing for your iniquities. But I wish to save you, and you shall see me returning again with heavenly power. Blessed is he who now does me homage. On all the rest I will send down eternal fire, both on cities and on countries. And those who know not the punishments which await them shall repent and grieve in vain; while those who are faithful to me I will preserve eternally.’

Philostratus was commissioned by an empress to write a biography of Apollonius in order to dedicate a temple to him. It is not likely that the gospels borrowed from Apollonius. It is most probably the other way around, especially since Philostratus had a motive to satisfy the empress who had commissioned him to write a biography of the man for whom a temple had been constructed. And this is coming from a guy who thinks Paul and the Johannite Jesus are merely extensions or masks of Simon Magus!

It must be said that the Philostratus seems to have no knowledge of the Gospels, in his account of Apollonius. Philostratus recounts Apollonius’ adventures in India and Rome, and encounters with several Roman emperors. According to Eusebius in Against Hierocles. II, “Apollonius was a priest in Aegae of Cilicia of Asclepius, the lover of mankind, worked any number of miracles…” However, Philostratus himself was “a man of letters and a sophist full of passion for Greek Romance and for studies in rhetoric…hardly interested in the historical Apollonius” (Maria Dzielska, Apollonius of Tyana, 14). So we are left to distrust the historical accuracy of Philostratus’ account.

Yet still, Philostratus’ work may be reflective of the everyday culture concerning Greek and Syriac religious life. Philostratus tells us in the Life of Apollonius, that Apollonius was a pious man, vigorously devoted to God and to the spiritual life, and one who accepted all creeds as diverse expressions of one universal religion. Some pagans were compelled to respond to the miracles attributed to Jesus Christ by using Apollonius as Christianity gained power, like Hierocles. In a letter to his brother (44), Apollonius writes:

“All men, so I believe, belong to the family of God and are of one nature; everyone experiences the same emotions, regardless of the place or condition of a person’s birth, whether he is a barbarian or a Greek, so long as he is a human being.”

Apollonius also repudiated the idea of animal sacrifice and was a strict vegetarian. The only fitting sacrifice for God according to Apollonius, was “man’s best reason” (G.R.S. Mead, Apollonius of Tyana, p. 153). Unlike other magicians, Apollonius simply relied on his own innate divinity to perform miracles and not on incantations, prayers, sacrifices or spells. The interesting fact about Apollonius is the extensive recognition which he obtained, and the case with which his pretensions found acceptance in the existing condition of the popular mind. Out of the legends of him little can be gathered except for a sketch of his history. He was born four years before the Christian era in Tyana, a city of Cappadocia. His parents sent him to be educated at Tarsus in Cilicia, a place of considerable wealth and repute, and he must have been about beginning his studies there when St. Paul as a little boy was first running about the streets. The life in Tarsus was too luxurious for Apollonius’ ascetic and philosophical aspirations.

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So he became a recluse at the temple of Aesculapius at Aegae. Aesculapius, of course, was the snake god of healing and therefore the most practical and useful of the heathen gods. Apollonius’s devotion to Aesculapius meant that he studied medicine and even sympathetic magic. The philosophers who studied at Aegae were also said to be Neo-Pythagoreans. In the Gospel of John, chapter 5, Jesus heals a blind man, at the pools of Bethesda, which is basically like an Aesclepion, a healing center.

Raymond W. Bernard writes in Apollonius the Nazarene: Mystery Man of the Bible:

Finding the morals of Tarsus distasteful, Apollonius resolved to take up quarters at Aegae, which possessed a temple of Aesculpius, the priests of which were philosophers of the Pythagorean school. So famous were they for their power as healers that people came to their temple from all over Greece, from Syria and even from Alexandria to consult them. The priests of this healing temple of Aegae cured disease by vegetarian diet, hydrotherapy, fasting and magnetic healing (“laying on of the hands,” which art, Apollonius acquired from them). They were heirs of an ancient oral therapeutic tradition which came from the Orphic mysteries, the secret of which was jealously guarded by the disciple who received it. By these priests, Apollonius was initiated; and it was not long before he excelled his masters.

It is said on the death of his father, he divided his property among the poor, and after five years of retirement he traveled as far as India in search of knowledge. He spoke with the Brahmins there, and came home with some enlightened ideas, and with some skill in the arts of juggling. With this knowledge, he began a career as a teacher in the Roman Empire. He preached his new religion, and he worked miracles to induce people to believe in him. He was at Rome in Nero’s time, when Simon Magus and St. Peter were said to be there debating and performing magical feats of strength in their contests. Perhaps there was a confusion between Apollonius with Simon Magus, or Simon Magus with Apollonius.

Not only is there a confusion with Apollonius and Simon Magus, there is also many parallels with St. Paul as well. For starters, many consider Paul (Pol) to be an abbreviation for Apollonius. Both Paul and Apollonius were at said to be at Tarsus at the same time as boys, although Apollonius was at Ephesus and Rome at exactly the same time that Paul was (yet, strangely, Apollonius’s biographer makes no mention of him, though Paul in his epistles, speaks of Apollos having been at Ephesus [Acts 18:24] with him). Also it is significant that “Paul” is a fictitious name, or at least a title. There is more reason to identify the character of Apollonius with Paul than Saul, who led a dissipated life, while Apollonius, even in youth, lived as a pious ascetic. But, before we get ahead of ourselves, it is likely that Apollonius influenced the picture that Acts of the Apostles gives us of Paul and even Apollo, rather than his epistles and letters as they both are engaged in various miracles and magical happenings. Apollos from Paul’s epistles could also very well be an abbreviated form of Apollonius:

“…It has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,‘ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Has Christ been divided?” I Corinthians 1:11-12.

“For when one says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ and another, ‘I belong to Apollos,’ are you not merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” I Corinthians 3:4-6.

Some scholars like Simone Petrement theorizes that Hebrews was written by Apollos (Apollonius) and not Paul. Martin Luther was said to suggest the same thing because the author does not identify himself as Paul like Paul would do often in his epistles and it is steeped in Hellenistic thought. In Hebrews 6:1-2, the author writes:

“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”

Passages like this indicates that the believer must graduate past such elementary teachings and move to the mysteries of God, only revealed to those who are mature in their faith in Christ. According to Damis of Ninevah, he claimed that to be a disciple of Apollonius and claimed he was also a neo-Pythagorean philosopher who flourished in the last half of the first century who also wrote extensively on astrology. However, it is rather odd that nothing is said on the matter of Apollonius being learned in mathematics since any good Pythagorean philosopher would be very learned on the subject. There are letters that were claimed to by Apollonius (like the one quoted above), but many of them were very likely forgeries by unknown sources. However, they paint a consistent picture that portrays him as a miracle man of magic and mystery.

Similarly, Dutch radical New Testament critics viewed Paul’s letters as reworked forgeries taken from earlier Marcionite and even Simonian variant writings. While this is likely the case, there is still some evidence that Paul himself existed, according to secular sources like Josephus who considers the magician “Atomus” (meaning small, like the Latin “parvalus”) and Simon as the same person. Josephus mentions Atomus as being involved with the procurator Felix, King Agrippa II and his sister Drusilla, where Felix has Simon convince Drusilla to marry him instead of the man she was engaged to. In other words, Paul is simply a nickname or title that Simon used or was given to him by his enemies.

The mythicist scholar, Acharya S/D.M. Murdock also notes many of these parallels between Paul and Apollonius:

…there are striking correlations between the lives of Apollonius and the apostle Paul, who, like Jesus, strangely finds no place in contemporary history, despite claims to his having made quite a ruckus in a populated and well documented part of the world. It appears that the stories of both Jesus and Paul were in part fabricated from that of Apollonius. The opposite is also possible, although, in this author’s studied opinion, unlikely. It also may be that both Apollonius and Jesus were historical figures who did and said everything they are reported to have done and said, in which case we would be dishonest in accepting one without the other, both representing “God on Earth.”

She even has a neat table graph comparing the lives of Apollonius, Paul and Jesus Christ. Philostratus in his romantic biography of Apollonius, he tells us that Apollonius visited the Indians, whom he calls Brahmans, from whom he learnt much of their divine wisdom. He also visited the wise men of Ethiopia, whom he calls Gymni, because they pass all their life naked and never wear clothes even in the most trying weather. But he thought that the wise men of India were far superior to the Ethiopians in their intelligence and practices. Indeed, Apollonius was portrayed as a maintaining a strict vegetarian and was also a pacifist. He taught harmlessness to all living beings and repudiated the idea of animal sacrifice so common in Vedic as well as Jewish and Babylonian practices, much like the Buddha and Mani as well.

This is different than the war-lord Jesus of Matthew who says, “Think not that I come to send peace on earth.” “I come not to send peace but a sword”, etc. This version of Jesus also reiterates that he came to send fire on earth, and strife, to make divided households, fathers against sons, mothers against daughters, and under the new regime of Jesus, “a man’s foes shall be those of his own household.” Desiderius Erasmus claimed that the church was born in blood, grew in blood, and succeeded in blood, and will end in blood. This was of course, the way of the militant Church, who forced its way through mass executions at the point of the sword.

This is what enabled the brutal murder of the Neoplatonist Hypatia by Christian monks soon after the Council of Nicaea, by order of Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, who was sainted after this, and the ensuing massacred of the Manichaeans, as well as the Cathars and purported witches burnt at the stake in the Inquisition. Not to mention the torture and execution of the Knights Templars by the hands of King Philip of France, while enabled by Pope Clement in 1307. One must also wipe the blood of infidels and heretics from the pages of the Quran just to find the apparently peaceful ones or ones that condone the murder of the innocent as well. I better stop now before my blood boils over…

Another author makes some very salient observations regarding the eastern influence on the lore associated with Jesus through the Acts of Thomas, when Thomas travels to India to evangelize and even in Paul’s epistles:

Apollonius is responsible for bringing the stories of Krishna to the West, he brought back to Rome the teachings of Krishna who Greeks called “Christos“. Many believe that a certain Bishop Marcion discovered the writings of Apollonius in Asia Minor (Turkey) a century later and translated them into Greek and Latin, producing  the first compiled “Christian” Bible. Sossianus Hierocles claimed, it was library of Apollonius’  that was plagiarized in producing the New Testament. Hierocles, a governor in Bithynia and later Lower-Egypt, {reign of Diocletian 245-315 AD} and an enemy of the Christians verbally attacked Christianity.

As per Eusebius of Caesarea. “Hierocles tried to weaken the importance of Christ’s miracles without however denying them, and wanted to show that Apollonius had performed some of equal importance and even more important ones.” Eusebius replied with a treatise that he wrote Against The Thesis Of Hierocles on Apollonius of Tyana. Eusebius recognized that Apollonius was a very wise man worthy of admiration; admitted everything that was told about his holiness and his teachings, but rejected many of the miracles that were assigned to him, dismissing them outright or assigning them as either  magic or to the work of demons.

Hierocles also states in his writings that  “Jesus was the leader of a band of highway robbers numbering more than 900 men” 

Luke 22:36 : “But now he that hath a purse, let him take it and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword let him sell his garments and buy one.”

and“You proclaim Jesus a god on account of a few prodigies recorded by their evangelists, yet we have writers of more education than yours and with more care for truth, who relate solid judgment, do not make him a god on account of them, only regard him as a man found pleasing to the gods.”

I am less convinced that Marcion knowingly rewrote the account of Apollonius, since Philastrus’ account comes much later after Marcion and his writings (like the Gospel of the Lord, Antithesis, etc), and even the later Christian Gospels, which are themselves are late second century writings. Some theorize that Marcion’s gospel was actually split later into Luke and Acts of the Apostles with various Orthodox interpolations. Marcion is also said to have much earlier versions of Paul’s writings as well. It seems to me that Apollonius is actually following in the footsteps of Jesus and Simon-Paul, and not the other way around. Yet still, Apollonius himself seems to share with a long line of miracle workers and magicians. In the Myth of the Magus (page 72), E.M. Butler writes:

The temptation of Zoroaster; the contests between Moses and Pharaoh and ‘Dionysos’ and Pentheus; the splendor of Solomon, the purity of Pythagoras, the defense of Apollonius, the crucifixion and the katabasis of Christ; these outstanding features of ancient legend justify the title given to his part of the book: “The Golden Age of Magic’; and may reconcile those who feel offended at finding Christ among the magians of old. For magic in those days partook of the nature of the divine. All the great gods were magicians; and all the great magicians were believed to be divinely inspired. The Christ of the Apocrypha and of the Gospels was no exception to this rule.

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According to Philistratus, Apollonius is said by legend to be the son of Proteus, a shape shifting God found in the writings of Homer. This connection to Proteus hints him as “how versatile he was, and for ever changing his form” …or identity. This may relate to the doctrine of Docetism but that is more of speculation on my part. Philastrus tells us in the Life of Apollonius about Proteus, who is referenced as a “god of Egypt”, which is, in itself, a reference to the Egyptian King found in Helen of Euripides (another variation of the sea god):

Apollonius’ home, then, was Tyana, a Greek city amidst a population of Cappadocians. His father was of the same name [i.e. Apollonius], and the family descended from the first settlers. It excelled in wealth the surrounding families, though the district is a rich one.

To his mother, just before he was born, there came an apparition of Proteus, who changes his form so much in Homer,[4] in the guise of an Egyptian demon. She was in no way frightened, but asked him what sort of child she would bear. And he answered: “Myself.”

“And who are you?” she asked.

“Proteus,” answered he, “the god of Egypt.”

Well, I need hardly explain to readers of the poets the quality of Proteus and his reputation as regards wisdom; how versatile he was, and for ever changing his form, and defying capture, and how he had a reputation of knowing both past and future. And we must bear Proteus in mind all the more, when my advancing story shows its hero to have been more of a prophet than Proteus, and to have triumphed over many difficulties and dangers in the moment when they beset him most closely.

There much more going on with Proteus. I will allow C.G Jung to explain further who exactly this god was in The Gnostic Jung (page 87):

Hippolytus quotes Homer as follows: “This place is frequented by the Old Man of the Sea, immortal Proteus the Egyptian…who always tells the truth…” Homer then continues: “…who owes allegiance to Poseidon and knows the sea in all its depths.” Proteus is evidently a personification of the unconscious: it is difficult to “catch this mysterious old being…he might see me first, or know I am there and keep away.” One must seize him quickly and hold him fast, in order to force him to speak. Through he lives in the sea, he comes to the lonely shore at the sacred noon-tide hour, like an amphibian, and lies down to sleep among his seals. …

From Proteus the wandering hero learns how he may make his way homewards “over the fish-giving sea,” and thus the Old Man proves to be a psychopomp. “But,” the text goes on, “he spins round himself and changes his shape.” He have behaves, therefore, like a revolving image that cannot be grasped. What he says is sooth,”; he is a “soothsayer.” So it is not for nothing that the Naasenes say that “knowledge of the compete man is deep indeed and hard to comprehend.”

Another figure associated with Apollonius was Hermes. Accordingly, Proteus was also said to have been the messenger or servant of Poseidon, the patron deity of Plato’s Atlantis. Although Greek and Latin sources do not connect Apollonius with Hermes, Arabic Hermetic literature does. Apollonius is called “Balínús” in Arabic, and is depicted as the discoverer and representative of Hermes’ teachings. In the Arabic teacher Bahá’u’lláh’s Lawh-i-Hikmat (Tablet of Wisdom), he states:

“It was this man of wisdom [Balínús] who became informed of the mysteries of creation and discerned the subtleties which lie enshrined in the Hermetic writings.”

The earliest surviving translation of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes is in an Arabic book known as the Book of Balinas the Wise on Causes, written around 650 C.E. According to legend, Apollonius was also said to have found and even written the text, The Emerald Tablets of Hermes from the mummified corpse of old Hermes himself. I wrote my interpretation here on the text, as well as a more in-depth one in an upcoming paper on the divine imagination and alchemy that will be published in a journal soon, hopefully.

Anyway, these are just some of my notes and observations pertaining to the life of Apollonius, and hope to have shed some light on him and cleared up any confusion about this figure. Did Apollonius even exist? Probably, yes. Was Apollonius the chief inspiration behind Paul of the early epistles and Jesus of the Gospels? Not likely. Did Apollonius inspire the Paul of Acts of the Apostles? More than likely, yes. Is Apollos inspired by Apollonius then? Sure, why not? Apollonius conforms to a general pattern of ancient magicians and miracle workers in which writers like Morton Smith took great notice of, especially in his seminal Jesus, the Magician. In a following post, we will explore Neoplatonism, and look at the theurgy, magic and miracles attributed to Iamblichus, Proclus and Porphyry, among others. Until next time!

The Simon Sancus Conondrum

The controversy surrounding the trinity of Simon-Paul, Simon-Peter (Dositheos) and Simon-Jesus, is not a new one and has been addressed by other scholars, although not exactly in the same angle, I’ve been looking at for a while now. However, scant attention, outside of a few scholars, are given to another controversy associated with Simon Magus and that is the Semo Sancus statue that Simon was confused for by the Church theologian and semi-heretic Justin Martyr. Furthermore, the magical act of animating statues was a popular feat among ancient magicians and theurgists. One question does come up in my mind: Does this have anything to do with the Semo Sancus statue associated with Simon Magus?

After this, the next series of articles will explore the Hermetic side of things, delving further into the “divine twin” phenomena that is surprisingly common in ancient literature. There will also be some startling details concerning the Apollos and Apollo, Thoth, Hermes’ connections and the Emerald Tablets. This will all be full explored in False Gods, Divine Charlatans and Hermetic Hustlers.

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In Justin Martyr’s 1 Apology 26, he claims that the Roman ruler, Claudius Caesar built a statue in honor of Simon Magus because he was so impressed by his magical feats:

And, thirdly, because after Christ’s ascension into heaven the devils put forward certain men who said that they themselves were gods; and they were not only not persecuted by you, but even deemed worthy of honours. There was a Samaritan, Simon, a native of the village called Gitto, who in the reign of Claudius Cæsar, and in your royal city of Rome, did mighty acts of magic, by virtue of the art of the devils operating in him. He was considered a god, and as a god was honoured by you with a statue, which statue was erected on the river Tiber, between the two bridges, and bore this inscription, in the language of Rome:— Simoni Deo Sancto, To Simon the holy God. And almost all the Samaritans, and a few even of other nations, worship him, and acknowledge him as the first god; and a woman, Helena, who went about with him at that time, and had formerly been a prostitute, they say is the first idea generated by him.

However, it is said that in this instance, Simon was simply “confused” with another Roman god, Semo Sancus by Justin Martyr. Here is what I wrote in my commentary on the Great Declaration about this issue:

However, some scholars debate this point, claiming that Justin confused a statue dedicated to the Sabine divinity Semo Sancus with that of the historical Simon the Magician. Semo Sancus is an ancient Sabine deity for oaths, contracts, law, matrimony, and legal fidelity. In 1574, an altar dedicated to Semo Sancus was discovered on the island of the Tiber River with the following inscription Semoni Sanco Deo, which translates as “to Semon the Holy God.” This discovery led to the belief that Justin had made an observational mistake concerning what he thought was the idol of “Simon the Holy God” on the Tiber River.

There is a problem with this theory in that it assumes that the deity’s name is Semo. In Latin, semo or the plural semones derives from semi-homines or semi-humans. These are the dii medioxumi who were lower-level deities. The semones are the demigods of the Roman pagan pantheon. According to Marcus Porcius Cato, a Sanco is a spirit (daimon) and not a god (theos).

From the point of view of Roman paganism, it does not make sense to use a generic noun of semo for a demigod and then also the noun deos for a god. It would be like saying, “to the demigod holy god.” What is far more likely is that the Simon Magus, as a magician and adapter of local paganism, co-opted the Roman tradition of a semi-human god of law and covenant and identified himself as the semi-human god. This would conform to the description of Simon Magus in Acts 8:10 as being “this man who is the power of God.” So then, it was probably not Justin Martyr who was confused, but rather Simon Magus (and his followers) who confused his identity with the semi-human god of Rome.

The statue mentioned by Justin was finally discovered in 1574, and found to bear the inscription to Semo Sancus, the Sabine (and possibly, originally Persian) god of contracts. The full name of this god was Semo Sancus Dius Fidius. Another deity who was considered to be a god of contracts was Mithra, the mediator god of ancient Persia and figure-head of the Mithriac mysteries. Ilion---metopa

Mithra was the preserver of law and order and a god of war, described as riding his four-horsed golden chariot against the demons and their worshipers. This image and description brings to mind of that of Apollo, the chariot riding sun god who rescues the fragments of Dionysus, after he was torn to shreds by the jealous Titans. Mithra was also considered synonymous with Helios, a solar deity. The Orphic Hymn to Helios, otherwise known as the Mithras Liturgy tells us:

Be gracious to me, 0 Providence and Psyche, as I write these mysteries handed down for gain but for instruction; and for an only child I request immortality, O initiates of this our power (furthermore, it is necessary for you, O daughter, to take (480) the juices of herbs and spices, which will to you at the end of my holy treatise), which the great god Helios Mithras ordered to be revealed to me by his archangel, so that I alone may ascend into heaven as an inquirer (485) and behold the universe.

The Helios-Mithra imagery also happens to match closely with that of Cyril of Jerusalem’s description of Simon Magus riding a chariot, pulled by demonic powers, from his Catechetical Lectures:

Simon promised to rise aloft to heaven, and came riding in a demons’ chariot on the air.

Of course, Magus, is the singular version of “Magi”, which were the Persian Zoroastrians who ruled over the fire temples of ancient Iran. They too, like Simon, revered the divine fire and thought of it as the primitive origin of all things. Franz Cumont reports on the inner workings of the Mithriac mystery cults in the Mysteries of Mithra, which sounds curiously close with Catholicism:

The priest was the intermediary between God and man. His functions evidently included the administration of the sacraments and the celebration of the services. The inscriptions tell us that in addition he presided at the formal dedications, or at least represented the faithful one on such an occasion along with the Fathers; but this was the least portion only of the duties he had to perform; the religious service which fell to his lot appears to have been very exacting. He doubtless was compelled to see that a perpetual fire burned upon the altars. Three times a day, at dawn, at noon, and at dusk, he addressed a prayer to the Sun, turning in the morning toward the East, at noon toward the South, at evening toward the West.

Interestingly enough, Justin Martyr makes some peculiar statements regarding Mithra in Dialogue With Trypho (Chapter 70):

And when those who record the mysteries of Mithras say that he was begotten of a rock, and call the place where those who believe in him are initiated a cave…they have attempted likewise to imitate the whole of Isaiah’s words?…’he shall dwell in the lofty cave of the strong rock. Bread shall be given to him, and his water [shall be] sure…’

But when the Child was born in Bethlehem, since Joseph could not find a lodging in that village, he took up his quarters in a certain cave near the village; and while they were there Mary brought forth the Christ and placed Him in a manger, and here the Magi who came from Arabia found Him. I have repeated to you what Isaiah foretold about the sign which foreshadowed the cave…those who presided over the mysteries of Mithras were stirred up by the devil to say that in a place, called among them a cave, they were initiated by him (Trypho, Chapter 78).

It’s uncertain if Justin is merely confused or is deliberately lying. He claims the devil read Isaiah, and thus had the followers of Mithra claim that Mithra came from a cave. Justin’s reference to Isaiah 33:16 does not in any way point to the birth of Jesus in a cave (the passage in Isaiah never mentions a birth and has end time applications). Justin was apparently trying to claim that the followers of Mithra claimed a cave because of Isaiah but the scriptures prove otherwise. Despite Justin Martyr’s supposed opposition to the Mithriac mysteries, he seems to whole sale borrow their terminology and practices!

For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water…And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understandings… And this food is called among us Εύχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined.

For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished…Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn…

Such terminology such as “illumination” was a common stable in the Mithriac mysteries. From the same book, Franz Cumont tells us about this practice:

Mithraism {provided}…the promise of complete illumination, long withheld, fed the ardor of faith with the fascinating allurements of mystery…The gods were everywhere, and…the light that illuminated their paths, were the objects of their adoration.

It seems to me that Justin’s wholesale embrace of Mithriac terminology and praxis foreshadows the Catholic embrace of Mithra through Emperor Constanine (who’s mother also happened to be named Helena), but we will save that for another story.

Getting back to the main subject, it is usually said that Justin is to be blamed for the error of transforming the cult statue as devoted to “Simon the Holy God”. He does not, however, suggest that he has seen the statue himself, as he certainly would have said so if he had seen it. Indeed, he speaks of Rome throughout the First Apology as a distant, though respected, place, as of a city he had never yet visited. His later stay in Rome, where indeed he died; has made it easy for us to assume that the First Apology represents his knowledge at that stage of life. Of course this same text was addressed to Emperor Antoninus Pius and his sons in Rome, in the days when he was still an itinerant teacher in the Levant. This linking of Simon’s name with a statue also recurs in the evidence of lrenaeus, itself also perhaps from Justin. It is suggested that such an enthusiast might be a Samaritan, not arbitrarily, but in the light of what Justin goes on to say (I Apol. xxvi):

“Almost all the Samaritans, and even a few people of other races, confess this man as the First God, and go so far as to worship him.”

The statement that the Samaritans in question “worshiped” Simon is emphatic, though it may mean only that he was invoked in the course of theurgic operations, or that his statue was venerated with garlands or incense. Or in other words, the statue of Simon was used in animating statue rituals. This practice involves the consecration of a statue of a God. Often one would hollow it out and fill the whole with “sunthemata” i.e. herbs and ingredients related to the deity, and then perform a rite to consecrate it. The Chaldean Oracles lays out a animating statue ritual for a statue of Hekate:

But execute my statute, purifying it as I shall instruct you. Make a form from wild rue and decorate it with small animals, such as lizards which live about the house. Rub a mixture of myrrh, gum, and frankincense with these animals, and out in the clear air under the waxing moon, complete this (statue) yourself offering the following prayer.

The Greek Magical Papryi also have some similar rituals for animating statues. The practice of ritualized animation, also known as the “telestic art”, was a process the telestai (the one who is aimed) or initiate would externalize the quickening of the spirit process in a statue of a god. This does not mean that a statue literally moved and walked around. Of course, the Greek word telestike, quite literally means a process of “completion”, maturation or perfection which essentially was bringing purification to the soul into its most perfect or finished state in which it could rise into the celestial heights, and the cosmos, where the angels, gods, and other divine beings dwelt. The concept of “perfection” of course, is replete in the Paul’s epistles, the Gospels, as well as the Nag Hammadi Codices. In the Clementine Recognitions II, 9, Simon Magus himself brags about his magical prowess, and specifically names animating statues as one of his abilities:

For I am able to render myself invisible to those who wish to lay hold of me, and again to be visible when I am willing to be seen. If I wish to flee, I can dig through the mountains, and pass through rocks as if they were clay. If I should throw myself headlong from a lofty mountain, I should be born unhurt to the earth, as if I were held up; when bound, I can loose myself, and bind those who had bound me; being shut up in prison, I can make the barriers open of their own accord; I can render statues animated so that those who see suppose that they are men.

Justin’s confusion and that of other Church Fathers could be related to the fact that the Simonians themselves were responsible for this identification, since some of them worshiped Simon Magus as a diving being, often in the form of Zeus, as Kurt Rudolph pointed out in his book, Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism, pg. 295.

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A statue of Hekate or Hecate.

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Zeus, naturally.

Semo Sancus was also conflated with Hercules. Hercules was also said to be the son of Jupiter/Zeus. Here is what I also said about Hercules in the first part of my commentary of the Great Declaration:

Stephen Haar in his work, Simon Magus: The First Gnostic? notes that the Phoenician (notice the that connection again as associated with the city of Tyre where Simon found Helen in a brothel) sun-god Herakles (Hercules), like Simon was also conferred with the title of the “Standing One”. Even the name Simon could be traced to the oriental stem of Sem-Herakles, a deity also worshiped in Samaria.

Jesus was considered synonymous with Aesculapius, the son of Apollo, in the Gospel of John and the The Gospel of Nicodemus, and even specifically named as such by Pilate in the later. A divinity described as overseeing oaths, contracts and loyalties sounds eerily similar to that of the Lawgiver Jehovah throughout the Old Testament. This Jewish deity makes a contract with Moses in Exodus by giving him the Ten Commandments written on his tablets, only moments later for Moses to literally break in half! To make things even more thornier, according to Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Hippolytus, statues of Simon and Helena were created in the likeness of Zeus/Jupiter and Athena/Minerva. Hippolytus tells us about the Simonians in Refutation of All Heresies (6,15):

And they have an image of Simon (fashioned) into the figure of Jupiter, and (an image) of Helen in the form of Minerva; and they pay adoration to these.” But they call the one Lord and the other Lady. And if any one amongst them, on seeing the images of either Simon or Helen, would call them by name, he is cast off, as being ignorant of the mysteries.

Compare this to what the Church Historian Eusebius would much later write in Church History 2: 13:

But they nevertheless have embraced again the superstitions of idols, which they seemed to have renounced; and they fall down before pictures and images of Simon himself and of the above-mentioned Helena who was with him; and they venture to worship them with incense and sacrifices and libations.

What could this all mean? As we already know, Simon had a “beloved” disciple and consort, a Phoenician sorceress called Helena, as they were both worshiped in the form of Zeus and Athena, which certainly appealed to the Greeks of their time as well. Helena’s connection with Sophia, the holy harlot, also goes without saying. The manner of Athena’s birth also shares great similarities with the Gnostic Barbelo, who is described as the co-eternal forethought of Godhead (Father) which begets the Nous (Son); it is the out-flowing of Noetic Power which fills/nurtures the Nous’ contemplation of the Father. Athena was also a Virgin and Mother, which all hearkens back to the Egyptian Isis. This is the Sethianized (Dosithean) version of the Simonian myth as seen with Helena being the “First Thought” or “Forethought” of Simon, the Nous or the “Universal Mind” i.e. the incarnation of the Father. This same being describes herself in the Trimorphic Protennoia:

I am the life of my Epinoia that dwells within every Power and every eternal movement, and (in) invisible Lights and within the Archons and Angels and Demons, and every soul dwelling in Tartaros, and (in) every material soul. I dwell in those who came to be. I move in everyone and I delve into them all. I walk uprightly, and those who sleep, I awaken. And I am the sight of those who dwell in sleep.

Notice how Protennoia describes as herself as being “within” the world-creating Archons, Angels, and Demons! This fits into the account as described by Simon Magus in the Great Declaration:

And to this manner did the fire assume both male and female forms, the one from above and the other from below, as each did mature unto perfect conformity with the Heavenly Power whose likeness and image they were. And when they appeared in the midst of the rushing water of the realm of becoming, the female Thought was set upon and defiled by the angels and lower powers who made this world of matter. And they used the fiery power within her to give life to their creations.

Simon Magus, despite his bizarre activities and magical practices, does not come across exactly like a charlatan. Rather, he operated like a Shaman. True, he did practice some necromancy and even said he had created a human being from thin air and a wandering soul in the Clementine literature. But these improbable tales were probably just plain advertising and increased business. And many people benefited from his healing. As I already mentioned, Semo was a Latin term for “semi-human” or “demi-god”, while Sancus meant “spirit” or daimon. A daimon, of course, was also considered to be synonymous with Platonic messenger gods like Eros and Phanes (which are both titles ascribed to basically the same being). Even Socrates equated himself as a daimonic philosopher. My paper, Eros, Orpheus and On the Origin of the World, goes into all of this in depth. The Greek historian Plutarch in On Isis and Osiris claims that daimons or daemons had a inconsistent and contradictory nature, much like humans, which is why philosophers were considered to have daemonic qualities.

XXV. “Do they, therefore, better, who believe the legends told about Typhon, Osiris, and Isis, not to refer to either gods or men, but to certain great Powers (dæmons), whom Plato, Pythagoras, Xenocrates, and Chrysippus (following the ancient theologians) assert to have been created far stronger than men, and greatly surpassing our nature in power, but yet having the divine part not entirely unmixed nor unalloyed, but combined with the nature of the soul and the senses of the body, susceptible of pleasure and pain, and all other emotions the result of these, that by their vicissitudes disturb, some in a greater, others in a less degree; for, in that case, as amongst men, so amongst dæmons, exist degrees of virtue and of vice. ‘

For the deeds of the Giants and Titans, sung of by the Greeks, certain atrocious actions of Saturn, the pitched battle between Python and Apollo, the flight of Bacchus, the wanderings of Ceres do not fall short in absurdity of the legends about Osiris and Typhon, and the others that one may hear told by mythologists to any amount—all the things that are shrouded in mystic ceremonies, and are presented by rites, being kept secret and out of sight from the vulgar, and have a shape similar to those mentioned of the Egyptians.”

The cult of Simon as First God is an enigma. It has been associated with Samaritan-Jewish concepts of God, especially in the Samaritan connection with Moses and YHWH but the title is hardly consistent with any sort of monotheism. Pagan parallels, such as with Samaritan-pagan syncretic cults are more promising. In the book, The Samaritans, by Alan David Crown, he writes:

Abu’l Fath’s account of Hadrian’s activities in Palestine certainly contains a number of legendary elements, but behind his story of Hadrian’s temple, there undoubtedly lies the fact that Hadrian erected on Mount Gerizim – not on the mountain next to it – a temple of Zeus (Jupiter). The remains of this temple erected on Mount Gerizim were excavated at Tell er-Ras by the Drew-McCormic expedition in the 1960’s, and it is presumable the temple to which reference is made in  a passage which has been preserved in the Bibliotheca of Photius, a Patriarch of Constantinople in the ninth century A.D.

Of course, Mount Gerizim is the same mountain which was considered sacred by the Samaritans. John 4:19-20 has the Samaritan woman at the well telling Jesus this:

The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”

Jesus responds swiftly to the Samaritan woman (who is likely Helena in disguise):

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

A syncretic mixture between gentile heathenism and Samaritan religion seemed to have been becoming more and more of a common feat in the ancient world as demonstrated above. There are also many hints of this in the Old Testament where Levite priests were even hired to perform rituals and rites based on the heathen gods, outside of Judaism and the worship of YHWH when times were tough. King Solomon was also said to have converted to heathen gods in 1 Kings. One last point on Justin Martyr is that at the end of the Second Apology, Justin admits his motives to destroy the Gnostics and Simonians by government sanction. He begs the Emperor Antoninus Pius to admit his apology into law against the Simonians. They wanted to tear down statues of gods merely because they believed the gods were images of Simon. His only purpose for composing the treatise (not actually an apology) was to convince the Emperor to kill Gnostics by law. He failed.

But the evil spirits were not satisfied with saying, before Christ’s appearance, that those who were said to be sons of Jupiter were born of him; but after He had appeared, and been born among men, and when they learned how He had been foretold by the prophets, and knew that He should be believed on and looked for by every nation, they again, as was said above, put forward other men, the Samaritans Simon and Menander, who did many mighty works by magic, and deceived many, and still keep them deceived.

For even among yourselves, as we said before, Simon was in the royal city Rome in the reign of Claudius Caesar, and so greatly astonished the sacred senate and people of the Romans, that he was considered a god, and honoured, like the others whom you honour as gods, with a statue. Wherefore we pray that the sacred senate and your people may, along with yourselves, be arbiters of this our memorial, in order that if any one be entangled by that man’s doctrines, he may learn the truth, and so be able to escape error; and as for the statue, if you please, destroy it. And I despised the wicked and deceitful doctrine of Simon of my own nation. And if you give this book your authority, we will expose him before all, that, if possible, they may be converted. For this end alone did we compose this treatise.

And our doctrines are not shameful, according to a sober judgment, but are indeed more lofty than all human philosophy; and if not so, they are at least unlike the doctrines of the Sotadists and Philaenidians, and Dancers, and Epicureans and such other teachings of the poets, which all are allowed to acquaint themselves with, both as acted and as written. And henceforth we shall be silent, having done as much as we could, and having added the prayer that all men everywhere may be counted worthy of the truth. And would that you also, in a manner becoming piety and philosophy, would for your own sakes judge justly!

Dangerous and Deceitful Docetic Doctrines

Even more interesting is that in Dialogue with Trypho (CXX.6), Justin Martyr claims that the Samaritans thought of Simon as a docetic, daimonic being, similar to how Paul viewed Jesus Christ as a spiritual being taking on the likeness of a man, in terms of Christus Victor atonement, i.e., that Christ defeated the powers by duping them into crucifying him:

For I gave no thought to any of my people, that is, the Samaritans, when I had a communication in writing with Caesar, but stated that they were wrong in trusting to the magician Simon of their own nation, who, they say, is God above all power, and authority, and power.

This description of Simon matches up perfectly with St. Paul’s “Christ Jesus” or spiritual savior who possessed him, like sort of a “walk-in”. Paul’s Christ was also above these powers, authorities and all might. Paul calls us to be, “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10). Paul says that the law of sin and death (the Torah) is in the body. Or rather, the flesh IS the law. This is how Simon Magus interpreted the Torah as well in the Great Declaration with each book representing different parts of the body as well as each sensation. Simon even equated the Garden of Eden with the womb and the fetus inside a pregnant woman. The Gnostics themselves believed that the spiritual seed was imprisoned into material bodies by the rulers. So if the flesh is the law, as Paul says, then it must logically follow that by Christ’s body being crucified, the law was crucified, too. This could further lead one to interpret, as Paul does, that the crucifixion wasn’t really a defeat at all, but a victory over the powers. In other words, Christ tricked the powers into crucifying the flesh, which nullified the law by getting them to destroy their own creation.

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That’s why the Second Treatise of Seth said that they crucified “their man,” not Christ. Christ tricked them into destroying their own creation, the prison of the material body. To use Paul’s logic again, no human being could overcome the law because they were constricted by material flesh. Therefore, as he writes in Romans 8, someone had to come in the semblance of flesh (phantasmal flesh) to condemn sin, which no human could do since they were bound to sin by the flesh. And by going to the cross, he crucified the law and sin through the form of the flesh. That’s the logic of Paul’s phantasmal docetism. The flesh is the law, and the flesh impedes righteous because it is predisposed to sin. So anything that has flesh cannot be save itself because it is enslaved to sin and the law. So in Paul’s mind, a savior had to come who wasn’t constricted by flesh so that he could save those who were. Yes, doceticism is found expressly in Paul. And this is how Marcion, the Gnostics and Simonians came up with their ideas on a docetic Christology – straight from Paul!

“But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. … For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Paul’s entire soteriology makes no sense without a docetic Christology. Flesh is what causes sin, and the law is what empowers sin. Since the flesh produces sin, it prevents fulfillment of the law. Therefore, something without flesh had to come and condemn sin, which annihilated the just requirement of the law. So all who believe on Christ are, in Paul’s mind, redeemed (literally purchased) out from the law by spiritually partaking in his crucifixion and destroying their own flesh. If Earl Doherty’s theory holds, the original Pauline Christ was never incarnate on earth. His crucifixion occurred exclusively in a spiritual dimension. So by that interpretation, the rulers would have crucified him themselves. Obviously, the later Paulinists and Gnostics believed that Christ actually did appear on earth and had an historical ministry, so in that case, the Roman authorities would have crucified him, at the behest of the Jews. But the spiritual rulers would have been operating behind them.

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The Concept of Our Great Power says something very similar, which is no surprise since the text itself is considered to be a late Simonian text:

Who is this? What is this? His word was abolished the law of the aeon. He is from the Logos of’ the power of life. And he was victorious over the command of the archons, and they were not able by their work to rule over him.

The crucifixion, for the author of Power, wasn’t the destruction of Jesus, but of the archons. It’s basically a continuation of the interpretation of the cross in Colossians (Jesus crucifying the law, rather than Jesus himself being crucified, i.e., Jesus is secretly the one in complete control behind the crucifixion). The crucifixion is the defeat of the powers and represents each individual’s triumph over their own fleshly impulses. The Basildean Second Treatise of the Great Seth also repeats these same themes of the descent of the Savior through the heavens, during which he assumes different forms in order not to be recognized by the angels.

And I subjected all their powers. For as I came downward, no one saw me. For I was altering my shapes, changing from form to form. And therefore, when I was at their gates, I assumed their likeness. For I passed them by quietly, and I was viewing the places, and I was not afraid nor ashamed, for I was undefiled. And I was speaking with them, mingling with them through those who are mine, and trampling on those who are harsh to them with zeal, and quenching the flame. And I was doing all these things because of my desire to accomplish what I desired by the will of the Father above.

Later in the same text, Christ mocks and laughs with great zeal at the Orthodox and Judaic (the Pharisee Caiaphas’s idea really) doctrine of vicarious redemption through suffering and blood sacrifice, for the sins of Israel and the world:

For my death, which they think happened, (happened) to them in their error and blindness, since they nailed their man unto their death. … But in doing these things, they condemn themselves. … And I subjected all their powers.

They nailed him to the tree, and they fixed him with four nails of brass. The veil of his temple he tore with his hands … for the souls which were in the sleep below were released. And they arose. They went about boldly, having shed zealous service of ignorance and unlearnedness beside the dead tombs, having put on the new man…” …They struck me with the reed; it was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. I was another upon Whom they placed the crown of thorns. But I was rejoicing in the height over all the wealth of the archons and the offspring of their error, of their empty glory. And I was laughing at their ignorance.

This other “Simon” is mentioned by Tertullian in Against All Heresies, and also claims was indeed crucified or sacrificed in Jesus’ stead. This is mirrored in the much later Koran, the Gospel of Barnabas and in Islamic beliefs of Jesus not dying on the cross.

Christ, moreover, he affirms to have been sent, not by this maker of the world, but by the above-named Abraxas; and to have come in a phantasm, and been destitute of the substance of flesh: that it was not He who suffered among the Jews, but that Simon was crucified in His stead: whence, again, there must be no believing on him who was crucified, lest one confess to having believed on Simon.

Clearly, as Simon of Cyrene, Simon Magus appears in the Nag Hammadi documents. Simon of Cyrene never actually existed, however. He, like most of the other Simons, was based upon hearsay about Simon Magus. I suspect that the author of Mark was aware of rumors that a certain Simon had been crucified with Christ, but in actuality, this was a misinterpretation of Paul’s (who, unbeknownst to Mark, was actually Simon Magus himself) crucifixion mysticism. Later Gnostics like Basilides, also being unaware of the origin of this Simonian legend, concocted myths about Simon of Cyrene being crucified in Jesus’s stead. However, the Concept of Our Great Power doesn’t think Simon was crucified instead of Jesus. Rather, the author is a monophysite docetist, like Paul, who believed that Jesus Christ was one person with a phantasmal body who actually underwent the crucifixion. Let’s compare the Second Treatise of the Great Seth with Ephesians 2:14:

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished the enmity in the flesh, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.

While the Second Treatise of Seth has many Pauline elements strewn throughout, it does warn against the idea of “dying with Christ”: “It is enslavement that we should die with Christ, with flawless and imperishable mind (at our bidding). This is a wonder not understood.” Indeed, it is not understood. The Gospel of Philip also tells us the shape-shifting nature of the docetic Jesus Christ:

Jesus took them all by stealth, for he did not appear as he was, but in the manner in which they would be able to see him. He appeared to them all. He appeared to the great as great. He appeared to the small as small. He appeared to the angels as an angel, and to men as a man. Because of this, his word hid itself from everyone. Some indeed saw him, thinking that they were seeing themselves, but when he appeared to his disciples in glory on the mount, he was not small. He became great, but he made the disciples great, that they might be able to see him in his greatness.

Next, The Ascension of Isaiah also shares numerous similarities with the scenarios described above, which according to Simone Petrement in A Separate God (page 319) was authored by a Simonian school, around Menander’s time (a disciple or son of Simon Magus). The Ascension of Isaiah (10: 8-13) tells us:

“Go out and descend through all the heavens. You shall descend through the firmament and through that world as far as the angel who (is) in Sheol, but you shall not go as far as Perdition. And you shall make your likeness like that of all who (are) in the five heavens, and you shall take care to make your form like that of the angels of the firmament and also (like that) of the angels who (are) in Sheol. And none of the angels of that world shall know that you (are) Lord with me of the seven heavens and of their angels.

And they shall not know that you (are) with me when with the voice of the heavens I summon you, and their angels and their lights, and when I lift up (my voice) to the sixth heaven, that you may judge and destroy the princes and the angels and the gods of that world, and the world which is ruled by them, for they have denied me and said, ‘We alone are, and there is no one besides us.’

Notice how the angelic rulers sentiments of being “alone, and there is no one besides us”, match almost verbatim from various statements made by Jehovah about himself being the “only God” in Isaiah of the Old Testament. His boasting, egoistical comments about himself become transferred to the world-ruling, world-creating angels. The “LORD God” becomes separated and decentralized into multiple powers in Ascension, in this case.

“Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.” Isaiah 44:8

All of this is echoed in Hippolytus who writes in Refutation of All Heresies (Book VI, Chapter XIV) on Simon’s doctrine:

But the angels and the powers below—who, he says, created the worldcaused the transference from one body to another of (Helen’s soul); and subsequently she stood on the roof of a house in Tyre, a city of Phœnicia, and on going down thither (Simon professed to have) found her. For he stated that, principally for the purpose of searching after this (woman), he had arrived (in Tyre), in order that he might rescue her from bondage. And after having thus redeemed her, he was in the habit of conducting her about with himself, alleging that this (girl) was the lost sheep, and affirming himself to be the Power above all things.

The same may be said of the disguise adopted by Simon as he descends to save Helena: he passes down through the powers and authorities and angels “transformed and made like” one of them, to appear among men in the guise of a man as proclaimed in the Great Declaration. This has an obvious kinship with later second-century Christological developments with the Gnostics. The resurrection account according St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 tells us that the dead in Christ, receive spiritual, docetic bodies, which is transformed or transmuted from the bodies of material flesh.

50This I declare, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality. 54 And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality, then the word that is written shall come about:

“Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

“Death is swallowed up in victory” is an amazingly deep phrase. On the Qabalistic Tree of Life, Victory or “Netzach” is the primary title of the sphere which rules over “strength” and “fortitude”. According to Paul, victory is also one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5-22-23:

22 In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Death, according to On the Origin of the World, is actually one of demonic Archons, created by Yaldabaoth because of his jealousy at Sabaoth (the archon or “Lord of Hosts” that repents to Sophia), which in turn creates his own demonic offspring! This is the Angel of Death, or the Destroying Angel of Exodus.

And having become wrathful, he engendered Death out of his death: and he (viz., Death) was established over the sixth heaven, <for> Sabaoth had been snatched up from there. And thus the number of the six authorities of chaos was achieved. Then Death, being androgynous, mingled with his (own) nature and begot seven androgynous offspring.

Simon, too, is depicted as a victorious supernatural being, who by stealth, slipped past the Archons, to find and rescue his consort, Helena, who is entrapped into brothel of prostitution, which is symbolic of the world of flesh.

After these things, when her body was exchanged by the angels and powers, she was exposed in the streets of Tyre in Phoenicia as an infant, taken up by a brothel master, and raised in a brother, where she knew no other life save that of degradation. But as the poet recounts the stratagem of the Achaians whereby they infiltrated the fastness of Troy inside a great toy horse, so did her yoke-mate Mind, the male, gain entry to the realm of her captors by appearing in the likeness of their creatures as a man. The angels who governed the world were corrupt by reason of their lust for power, and so I appeared to set things right, transforming myself and making myself like unto the dominions, principalities, and angels, so that I manifested myself as a man, though I was not really a man. And I seemed to suffer in Judea, although I did not really undergo it.

Later in the same text, Simon promises his followers this, which sounds like something Jesus Christ would say in the Gospels:

Thus I wrought the ransoming of the human race, recalling to myself the sparks of the latent fire which the angels used to order their creation, and this must issue in the dissolution of the world, but equally in the redemption of all who believe in me.

That Simon had a conspicuous female disciple from a converted prostitute might also be possible. However, the same charge is made against Mary Magdalene in the Gospels, as she too is accused of being a “prostitute” and is associated greatly in her lore. In Luke 7:38, Mary Magdalene washes Jesus’ feet in a very erotic manner, mirroring what Jesus would do for his own disciples in John:

As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

However, Mary Magdalene in Gnostic texts is depicted as being equal if not superior over the Apostles and was favored by the Savior through the act of initiation of the Divine Vision of the mysteries, as illustrated in the Gospel of Mary. Mary Magdalene was seen as sort of a female revealer, or initiator of the pagan mysteries. Perhaps this explicit language of Helena being a prostitute is merely symbolic of the state of the spirit that languishes in the human body.

Régnier_Penitent_Mary_Magdalene

Mary Magdalene looking all uppity with a skull.

It was pertinent for the Orthodox to be eschew charges of misogyny by deleting Mary Magdalene’s role altogether. It was also interesting to see how the Gnostics were often accused of the same attitude when it came to women and their views on the “destruction of the womb” (i.e. the deficiency of matter itself); however, looking at their gospels and texts, the constant harping on Divine Wisdom in feminine terms (even in her fallen state), the role of female revealers like Mary Magdalene, Norea, Helena, Marcelina, etc. are emphatically emphasized in the positive.

The Gnostics brought additional Gospels to the fore with Mary Magdalene among others. Her true importance is said to have been excluded from the Bible by Peter (and the Roman Catholic Church) who denied Christ three times and detested women, especially educated ones, seeing them as the gateway to the Devil, even denying they had souls. There is also no charge of immorality here in Justin Martyr and Ireneaeus’s accounts, still less of sexual rites.

The Simonians, however, are charged with “free love” and living “profligate” lives. It is only later in the Church Father, Epiphanius do we find accusations of sexual immorality and bizarre tales of drinking semen and menses as Eucharistic substances. Or worse–the eating of a fetus. Eusebius, also mentions something about how the Simonians were engaged in “shameful acts” and “unspeakable conduct”, apparently only relying on the slander of the previous Church Fathers. Is this the Simonian attempt to compete with Mary Magdalene or are both women, actually one and the same figure? Helen’s role as Simon’s first thought also matches up with Greek myth as mentioned earlier.

It also could reflect some kind of male-female syzygy-doctrine associated with Simon’s magical systems as reflected in the Great Declaration and mirrored through the later convoluted and intricately constructed Sethian and Valentinian aeonic systems. These models would eventually come to influence later medieval Kabbalistic diagrams of the Tree of Life. It is these magical systems in which Simon supposedly pursued in the aftermath with the the defeat from Peter in Acts, where he mistakenly regarded (and with good reason) Christian healings as magical and the gift of the Spirit as the mark of a higher grade of magic- if one can even make such a distinction.

The pursuit of these magical rites and techniques resulted with Claudius honoring him with a statue. Simon and his first Thought exist on a purely spiritual level, free from the trammels of the flesh until Helen is captured by rebellious angels who imprison her in a physical body in the material world which they have made. The metempsychosis of Helen and the references to Greek literature are among those, and are consistent with the syncretistic nature of the Samaritan cultural milieu and the Simonian schools at Antioch and Alexandria that would later rise from it. In essence, Simon was appealing to all peoples, of all nations, especially the gentile ones, in all three forms of his glory. Eusebius makes a very arresting statement in how Simon was worshiped.

Of whom there is one Simon, a Samaritan, whom we read of in the Acts of the Apostles, who said he was some Great Power. And among the rest of the things written in his volumes, he proclaimed as follows: “I am the Word of God; I am the glorious one, I the Paraclete, the Almighty, I the whole of God.” ix. Hieronymus (In Matthaeum, IV. xxiv. 5). Text: S. Eusebii Hieronymi Comment.; Migne Patrol. Grec., VII. col. 176.

Not only does this mirror Simon’s statements of himself being the Trinity in the Great Declaration, but it also mirrors greatly what Jesus commands of his disciples in Matthew 28:19-20:

Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

Stay tuned for the second part in False Gods, Divine Charlatans and Hermetic Hustlers, as Hermes will give his two cents on all of this. 

Unconquerable: How the Early Roman Catholic Church Usurped the Cult of Apollo on Vatican Hill

Hey, folks. This is an article written by my friend, James at PandirasBox. He’s been teasing me about this article, written for my site for some time now, and this is chock full of fascinating details and dot-connecting you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. So without further ado, is his newest illuminating article on various topics such Apollo worship being tied with Orthodox Christianity, Enoch, the myth of the Watchers/fallen angels, Greek mythology, the pagan origins of the Eucharist, and much, much, more! Enjoy the read.

Open your wallets and free your mind.

“For what is now called the Christian religion existed of old and was never absent from the beginning of the human race until Christ came in the flesh. Then true religion which already existed began to be called Christian.”  – Augustine, Retractions 1:13. (15)

Quadriga

Popes as Priests of Apollo

Many readers of the Aeon Eye will be familiar with Gnosticism, Platonism, Kabbalah, and Christianity but I wonder how many of you are aware of sources such as the Liber Pontificalis (or Book of the Popes) and the Chronography of 354/ Liberian catalogue. These sources tie in great to points that Alex and I have spoken on and our theories as well as things he has written about here. Not only is Asclepius prevalent in the Acts of Pilate/Gospel of Nicodemus and the Gospel of John but he is significant to the Apollo cult. Catholics or ex-Catholics may be familiar with the first seventeen Popes from Peter to Callistus. These Popes are given death dates a.k.a birth dates, many of which align with Pagan holidays significant to Apollo or his kindred gods. Many are named after demigods or gods from the Apollo cult as well.

The first significant name is Linus. In Greek mythology, he is the musical son of Apollo and muse Calliope. He is also the inventor of melody and rhythm who taught Orpheus and Heracles music. He supposedly wrote the myth of Dionysus and other Pelasgic legends in the city of Thebes (Greece or Egypt? who knows…). In the end he was Killed by Heracles with his own lyre after accusing him of being in error. The Vatican was known as a Temple of Apollo according to the Liber Pontificalis. (1) A tomb was found in 1615 by Torrigio inscribed with the letters LINVS, being the last five letters of a longer name such as Marcellinus or Paulinus. Possibly Aquilinus.

It is possible Marcellinus was the first Pope, but it is even more probable that this was the tomb of Linus, of the Apollo cult, in a shrine sacred to Apollo. To top it all off, Pope Linus is said to have died either on September 23 or 24. In the Handbook to life in ancient Rome by Lesley and Roy Adkins on page 286 it states the following, “September 23: Festival of Apollo.” This was followed on September 26 by the “Festival of Venus Genetrix.” The name Linus means “flax”. (3) I’m not sure of the significance of this meaning yet but I believe every detail is significant.

Cletus/ Cleitus means “glory” or “one who is chosen/ called”. Anencletus and Anacletus are other names given to him meaning “to be recalled” etc. Gnostics were known for being cast out, repenting and being let back in to the church in Rome only to fall away again. Cleitus is a name popular among the Trojan’s, and a famous mythological son of Aegyptus and Tyria. Keep in mind that the Greeks thought Aegyptos was a king of Egypt and it was in fact, the city of Memphis known to Manetho as Hut-ka-Ptah (“Enclosure of the spirit/soul of Ptah”) which in Greek becomes Ai-gy-ptos. (16) Alexander aka Alaksandu to the Luwian’s and Trojan’s was the mythological Paris of Troy.

Both Cleitus and Alexander were early Popes. Anencletus is said to have died on July 13, the Games of Apollo. The next Pope is Telesphorus meaning “to be perfected”, a popular theme in Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians. A church intimately linked to Polycarp of Smyrna, the imitator of Jesus’s passion as found in the Martyrdom of Polycarp. Marcion reported Polycarp’s martyrdom and was recalled like Cleitus. While in a sense Jesus imitates Moses who imitates Zeus and Cronos. (At the moment I’m watching Blade Runner and had to comment that the maker gets his eyes gouged like the Mountain in Game of Thrones season 4, episode 8). Telesphorus died the day between the Janus and Crossroads festivals significant to shepherds and farming.

Hyginus is another Pope. He beat Valentinus for the bishopric supposedly. His name means “healthy”, and he is yet another Pope who was named for a quality he possessed. That quality was not being “diseased” as in being “heretical”. Most early Popes seem to be renamed upon coronation for something they did. Anicetus means unconquerable and may have been an Apollo worshiper judging by his epithet he shares with Helios and Apollo. Soter means Savior and is significant to Zeus. Pope Victor even died during the festival of Sol and Luna (sun and moon).

The first Antipope, Hippolytus is named after “the unleasher of horses” in Greek myth, hence his martyrdom was caused by horses tearing him limb from limb. Artemis had Asclepius resurrect him after Aphrodite had him murdered. I guess this is Hippolytus’ admirers trying to insinuate that he was resurrected as well. He was a demigod of Latium, an early Roman settlement of the Trojan Aeneas. Virgins were important in his cult as was marriage. On a humorous side-note, Pope Zephyrinus meant “west wind” likely as an insult meaning “Rome’s flatulence”. These are just some insights from the Books of Popes and the Chronography of 354 (dedicated oddly enough to Valentinus.) Another interesting note on Zephyrinus is that he was spoken of by Origen and Tertullian in veiled insults as is obvious if you read the False decretals. A little give away that the writings of Origen and Tertullian are false too. (17)

Enoch Lithograph

The Sons of Lamech, Zeus as a Jew

In a Genesis Apocryphon, Lamech is said to have had a son who did not resemble anyone in his or his wifes family. This is found in 1 Enoch:

“I have begotten a strange son,” said Lamech, “…his nature is different and he is not like us, and his eyes are as the rays of the sun, and his countenance is glorious. And it seems to be that he is not sprung from me but from the Angels…”

Angel means messenger so it seems these Watchers were merely a type of man like say a Homo-sapien rather than a Cro Magnon. They were fallen “messengers”. Their message: man can become a god by technology. The same message the Orthodox hate to this day. As Clement of Alexandria taught, “God became a man so that man might become a God”.

Lamech had three sons like Noah did. Each taught mankind the arts of metal, music, farming, etc. Apollo was one of them. Cain and Seth probably have the same genealogy in reality. These sons were the Grigori/ Watchers/ Nephilim. The result of the rape of the Sabine women by the Latins. These stories were duplicated when retold in different languages with different spins and perspectives on the issue as well as different names in each respective language or dialect.

Jupiter

In Jewish tradition, Lamech dethroned and killed his ancestor Cain just as Zeus did Cronos. Tubalcain is Hephaestus or Saturn. He is also Azazel in the book of 1 Enoch. Here is an excerpt from David Rohl’s book Legend: the Genesis of Civilization, from the section titled “Enoch the Builder King”:

“The biblical name Irad (son of Enoch) is believed to derive from the Hebrew verb yarad which has the meaning ‘to descend’. The Mesopotamian tradition (through the SKL and the Creation Epic) is that the first city to be founded in Sumer was Eridu (modern Tell Abu Shahrain, once by the shores of the Persian Gulf). It was first suggested by Archibald Saycein 1885 that the city of Eridu bears the eponym of Irad- in other words that he was the eponymous founder of the city. This suggestion still finds support in more recent scholarly discussions of Genesis.

I have suggested that Adam’s (Sumerian) successors moved down- ‘descended’ from the Zagros mountains into the plain of Susiana. Is it possible therefore, that it was Irad, ‘the one who descended’, who led his people down into the pre-flood Sumer and that the first city, Eridu, was named after him? There is an important clue regarding the settlement of the lowlands in Genesis 4:17.

‘Cain had intercourse with his wife and she conceived and gave birth to Enoch. He was a city builder and gave the city the name of his son, Enoch.’

At first this statement seems quite straightforward: Cain founded a city and named it Enoch. But we have come to realize that translations of the Bible can be misleading. We need o go back to the original Hebrew to recognize that there is some confusion about who founded what here. As Robert Wilson has pointed out, the subject of the phrase ‘He was a city builder’ is by no means clear.

‘Normally one would expect the subject to be the most recently mentioned noun or pronoun, in this case the name Enoch. If this interpretation is accepted, then Enoch rather than Cain would be the city builder.’

The natural conclusion to draw from this reading of Genesis 4:17 is that the city built by Enoch was named after his son, Irad, and that this city was the first Sumerian city- Eridu- as originally proposed by Sayce. Indeed, the identification of the city builder as Enoch and not Cain had been suggested as long ago as 1883 by the German scholar, Karl Budde. But, of course, this reading of the passage is ‘undermined by the addition of the name Enoch at the end of the verse’. However, Wilson tellingly points out that the standard interpretation of Cain as the builder and his son Enoch as the eponym of the cit raises some serious difficulties.

(a) The clause wayhi boneh ir (‘he was a city builder’), if it follows the normal rules of syntax displayed in the rest of the Genesis 4 genealogy, must refer to Enoch and not Cain because the name Enoch immediately precedes the clause in question. Thus we have ‘…she conceived and gave birth to Enoch. He was a city builder…’- the sense here is obvious.

(b) Moreover, in Genesis 4:2, Cain is described as a tiller of the earth (Heb. obed adamah) – in other words a farmer. It would not follow the pattern of Genesis 4 to then assign him a second occupation as a city builder. This would also deprive Enoch of a proper role in the genealogy.

(c) There is no known ancient city which carries the eponym of Enoch, son of Cain- according to Wilson (but see below).

Wilson concludes that ‘It is therefore possible that the name Enoch at the end of 4:17 is a gloss’- that is to say an editorial addition or even a marginal note which was then, only later, placed into the main body of the text in the wrong place once the true meaning of the statement had been lost. Thus the original text would have been unambiguous.

‘Cain had intercourse with his wife and she conceived and gave birth to Enoch. He (Enoch was a city builder and gave the city the name of his son (Irad).’

This is all good knock-about stuff which makes a lot of sense and is supported by a number of experts including William Hallo and Donald Wiseman. However, Wilson has to admit that we are dealing with linguistic conjecture here. An alternative view might be that the names of the antediluvian patriarhs have been ‘invented’ from ancient Sumerian documents mentioning the first cities on earth. Thus Irad is created from the early city-name Uru-du(g) where Eri and Uru are variant dialect spellings of the word for ‘city’.

… So far I have not given you the name of Uruk as it appears in the Sumerian language. There you will find it written Unuk or Unug- perhaps the original Sumerian name of Enoch! This may explain the biblical scribe’s confusion. He added the name Enoch at the end of the city-building statement in Genesis because he knew that the mightiest city of Sumer was named after this great antediluvian patriarch. On the other hand, perhaps the marginal note ‘Enoch’ (proposed above) was the result of a scribe adding the name of the city which he thought was being referred to (i.e. Unuk) as a clarification. He may not have understood that Enoch had alos built Eridu, naming it after his son Irad.

We could even suggest further biblical links to the eponymous founders of the Sumerian cities. The city of Ur, excavated by Leonard Woolley, is transcribed logographically as uru. Unuki in Sumerian. The name became shortened or hypocorised to Urum in Akkadian and then simply Uru/ Ur in Semitic/ Hebrew. Ur means ‘city’ but the original Uru-Unuki might be understood as ‘City of Unuki’- in other words ‘City of Enoch’.

What is more, another patriarch may be identified with a Sumerian antediluvian city- Badtibira- which was the second political center (after Eridu) to which ‘kingship was handed down from heaven’.

Bad-tibira means ‘Settlement of the Metal Worker’. If we take the Hebrew consonants which make up the name Tubal we get t-b-l. We know that the soft consonant ‘I’ is often representative of ‘r’, thus we might get an original T-b-r which could, in turn, stem from the ancient Tibira. Interestingly enough the Semitic epithet ‘Cain’ in Tubal-Cain also means ‘smith’ which suggests that this epithet has been added as a clarification of a little-known Sumerian word by the Hebrew author of Genesis. So there are clues which suggest that Tubal-Cain and Badtibira are connected in some way. Perhaps we have here an original eponym ‘Settlement of Tubal’ or, in translation, ‘City of the Smith’.” (6) (pgs. 184-188)

Yet, Tubal-Cain the patriarch may actually be one of Noah’s sons, Noah being Lamech. With the story of Noah’s Dionysian drunkery being added later. If Cain is the metal worker and Tubal-Cain is a metal worker by extension then it is possible that Semjaza is Cain and that’s why Jesus is made to be recast by the Orthodox as saying that Jews are offspring of Satan aka Cain rather than the Demiurge.

Tubal

Herman Saini, in his book Satan Vs. God: A Brief History makes the argument that Hephaestus/ Saturn’s story is based on the story of Lamech’s son Tubal-Cain, offspring of Cain. He says:

“Hephaestus is called ‘the god of fire’; ‘god of metalworking’; the son of Zeus and Hera. Thus Hephaestus is the son of Zeus. However, he was not the son of Hera, but Demeter who was identified with Zillah. This is an attempt to corrupt the truth. Many myths compare Hephaestus to his sister Athena who was said to be of ‘sublime character’. Hephaestus in comparison was not of sublime character, thus implying that he was sexually immoral. Athena was considered to be the virgin goddess. Hephaestus and Athena are both mentioned as having taught men many luxurious arts. This means that they were inventors of luxuries such as jewelry, ornaments, textiles, clothing, beautiful metal fixtures for houses and palaces.

Myths also mention that with Athena Hephaestus taught men many crafts throughout the world. As a result men who before used to live in caves now live peacefully in their own homes throughout the year. These people were now employed by him in his works manufacturing household utensils, agricultural implements, weapons and many other useful products. This shows that Hephaestus with his father, brothers and sisters started the industrial revolution in the pre-Flood world, and employed people in their arts, crafts, construction and weapons industries.

The Roman Venus, who is the Greek Aphrodite was Hephaestus’ wife. All the myths mention her as unfaithful to Hephaestus. He was equally sexually immoral. Hephaestus was the god of fire, metalworking, building, and fine arts. He was the god of fire in the sense that he worked with fire to forge weapons, implements, utensils, jewelry and other arts and crafts out of metals. He was later identified with the Italian volcano god Adranus-Volcanus, hence as the god of volcanoes. The description of Hephaestus’ or Vulcan in the myths perfectly matches the Bible description of Tubalcain in Genesis 4:22 ‘…Tubalcain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron’. Hence Tubalcain is the Greek Hephaestus, or the Roman Vulcan.” (pg.248)

Attias_The_Untamed

Semjaza is thus Cain the metal worker and Azazel is actually Tubal-Cain. Hephaestus is further discussed by Manetho according to Eusebius:

“The first man (or god) in Egypt is Hephaestus, who is also renowned among the Egyptians as the discoverer of fire. His son, Helios (the Sun), was succeeded by Sôsis; then follow, in turn, Cronos, Osiris, Typhon, brother of Osiris, and lastly Horus, son of Osiris and Isis. These were the first to hold sway in Egypt. Thereafter, the kingship passed from one to another in unbroken succession down to Bydis through 13,900 years. The year I take, however, to be a lunar one, consisting, that is, of 30 days: what we now call a month the Egyptians used formerly to style a year.” (14)

“And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all coloring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways.” (pg.35 The Book of Enoch R.H. Charles translation).

Beccafumi_-_Fall_of_the_Rebel_Angels_-_Web_Gallery_of_Art

Apocalyptic Paranoia is Orthodox

The Orthodox fear of technological advancement cries out like Abel’s blood from the soil in this paragraph. This is the age old tension between Catholic Orthodox Apocalypse and technological advancement. The Gnostic revels in sci-fi while the Orthodox dogs shun it and cringe at the very mention of it. This is why they cannot accept the possibility of men becoming like gods. The Gnostic wants to transcend this hell hole by perfecting it and the Orthodox wants to stuff the Gnostic’s head into the water and drown him in the mundane limitations placed on him by a tyrannical dead man who called himself God and hold invisible hands in another dimension after death and sing kumbaya.

Not only are these characters likely created based on ancient city names but possibly are based on the chief deities of their cities, their archons or rulers in other words. The same can be said for early Popes being named after their attributes, it could just be what they were renamed. If Tubal-Cain is the son of Lamech and Hephaestus is Tubal-Cain then Apollo is his brother and Lamech is Zeus. Asclepius is a son of Apollo and taught the healing arts and had a daughter named Hygiea. Pope Hyginus being named after her or with her attributes in mind. Epidaurus was the cult center of Asclepius where the healing arts were taught. Galen and Hippocrates, as well as the Pneumatics and Methodics were doctors and medical schools in the traditions of Asclepius, the first physician. A practice considered by Jews as ‘magic’ just as the silver screen of Hollywood still called movie-magic today was once thought by Evangelicals to be a tool of the devil.

As Will Durant says in The Story of Civilization III: Caesar and Christ:

 “All sects assumed the possibility of magic. The Magi had disseminated their art through the East and had given a new name to old jugglery. The Mediterranean world was rich in magicians, miracle workers, oracles, astrologers, ascetic saints, and scientific interpreters of dreams. Every unusual occurrence was widely hailed as a divine portent of future events. Askesis, which the Greeks had used to denote the athletic training of the body, came now to mean the spiritual taming of the flesh; men scourged themselves, mutilated themselves, starved themselves, or bound themselves to one place with chains; some of them died through self-torture or self-denial.

In the Egyptian desert near Lake Mareotis a group of Jews and non-Jews, male and female, lived in solitary cells, avoided sexual relations, met on the Sabbath for common prayer, and called themselves Therapeutae, healers of the soul. Millions believed that the writings ascribed to Orpheus, Hermes, Pythagoras, the sibyls, etc., had been dictated or inspired by a god. Preachers claiming divine inspiration traveled from city to city, performing apparently miraculous cures. Alexander of Abonoteichus trained a serpent to hide its head under his arm and allow a half-human mask to be affixed to its tail; he announced that the serpent was the god Aesclepius come to earth as an oracle; and he amassed a fortune by interpretting the sounds made by the reeds inserted in the false head.”  (pg. 525-526)

Of course the Therapeutae were not Jews but Asclepius’ followers. Worship means to imitate. Also these people scourging themselves weren’t Pagans but Christians. The Orthodox believes the soul is flesh so any assault on the flesh is an assault on the soul much like damnatio memoriae posits. Chapter 9 in the Gospel of John is directly related to the God Aesculapius/Asclepius, who is directly mentioned by Pilate in the Acts of Pilate. On another interesting side note, there was a famous Calabrian scholar of Greek studies in Western Europe who died in 1366AD named Leontius Pilatus. He translated Euripides, Aristotle, and Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey into Latin and was the first professor of Greek in the west. Interestingly as well, Petrarch hated him for pretending to be Greek rather than an Italian.

St John the Apostle

The name Pilate was not uncommon by the 14th century, and it was a Greek name! The Gospel authors clearly thought it was a Roman name though. Hegesippus was still being read into the 11th century at Corbie Abbey, yet it supposedly went missing before Jerome’s time and was supposedly never seen again. Anyway, in the Gospel of John chapter 9, we’re introduced to the Pool of Bethesda near the Sheep Gate (keep in mind the sheep is sacred to Apollo and Asclepius, while the scapegoat ritual was original to the Osiris cult). Bethesda in Hebrew is said beth hesda meaning “house of mercy/ grace”. Yet it can mean shame or disgrace. Isn’t Hebrew a silly language? Everything can mean it’s opposite. Grace in healing but disgrace due to the presence of invalids. (See: Easton’s Bible dictionary and the Catholic Encyclopedia).

“Prior to archaeological digs, the Pool of Bethesda was identified with the modern so-called Fountain of the Virgin, in the Kidron Valley, not far from the Pool of Siloam, and alternately with the Birket Israel, a pool near the mouth of the valley which runs into the Kidron south of St. Stephen’s Gate. Others identified it with the twin pools then called the Souterrains (French for “Subterranean”), under the Convent of the Sisters of Zion; subsequent archaeological investigation of the area has determined these to actually be the Strouthion Pool. In digs conducted in the 19th century, Schick discovered a large tank situated about 100 feet north-west of St. Anne’s Church, which he contended was the Pool of Bethesda. Further archaeological excavation in the area, in 1964, discovered the remains of the Byzantine and Crusader churches, Hadrian’s Temple of Asclepius and Serapis, the small healing pools of the Asclepieion, the other of the two large pools, and the dam between them. It was discovered that the Byzantine construction was built in the very heart of Hadrian’s construction, and contained the healing pools.”

“The Johannine narrative (chapter 5) describes the porticos as being a place in which large numbers of infirm people were waiting, which corresponds well with the site’s 1st century AD use as an asclepieion. Some ancient biblical manuscripts argue that these people were waiting for the troubling of the water; a few such manuscripts also move the setting away from Roman rituals into something more appropriate to Judaism, by adding that an angel would occasionally stir the waters, which would then cure the first person to enter. Although the Vulgate does not include the troubling of the water or the ‘angel tradition’, these were present in many of the manuscripts used by early English translations of the Bible, who therefore included it in their translations. Modern textual scholarship views these extra details as unreliable and unlikely to have been part of the original text; many modern translations do not include the troubling of the water or the ‘angel tradition’, but leave the earlier numbering system, so that they skip from verse 3a straight to verse 5.

The biblical narrative continues by describing a Shabbat visit to the site by Jesus, during which he heals a man who has been bedridden for many years, and could not make his own way into the pool. Some scholars have suggested that the narrative is actually part of a deliberate polemic against the Asclepius cult, an antagonism possibly partly brought on by the fact that Asclepius was worshipped as Saviour (Greek: Soter), in reference to his healing attributes. The narrative uses the Greek phrase hygies genesthai, which is not used anywhere in the Synoptic Gospels, but appears frequently in ancient testimonies to the healing powers of Asclepius; the later narrative in the Gospel of John about Jesus washing Simon Peter’s feet at the Last Supper, similarly uses the Greek term, which is a special term for washing in an Asclepieion, rather than the Greek word used elsewhere in the Johannine text to describe washing – ”

Hippolytus Statue

(To quote Hippolytus, “there is nothing more frightening than a Gay Gnostic”, or was it, “all those Gay Gnostics make me tired”, I can’t quite recall which one he said. Or was it Clement of Alexandria who said that? Listen to me rambling.)

“Within the palace of Nero is the temple of Apollo, which is called St. Petronilla, in front of which is the basilica which is called Vatican…And there is another temple which was Nero’s wardrobe, which is now called St. Andrew. Next to it is the memorial of Caesar, that is the agulia, where his ashes rest honorably; and just as while he was alive the whole world was subjected to him, so now that he is dead it will lie beneath him til the end of time…The upper part at the apple, where he lies, is decorated with gold and precious stones. There it is written: “Caesar, you were once as great as the world/ But now you are closed inside a little space.” (18) (pg.34 from the Mirabilia urbis Romae of an unknown author of the 12th century).

The Omphalos associated with Apollo may have been akin to the giant acorn in St. Peter’s old basilica as portrayed in the Netflix show Borgia. Corinth and Pergamon (the seat of Satan in Revelation) were major cult sites to Apollo. In the Anatolian/Trojan culture Apollo is a bringer of light but also a punisher who sends plagues and has the power to heal their victims. In the book of 1 Samuel it says:

“The Philistines asked, ‘What guilt offering should we send to him?’ They replied, ‘Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers.”

So here we see Apollo working his plagues as YHWH. Sinope is said to be a daughter of Apollo. Marcion’s home town is named after her. She pledged to always remain a virgin just to spite Zeus presumably. This is why Marcion actually corrupted a virgin meaning his home town. Before him, the churches already had heretics, he was not the first, nor was he an early one as modern scholars like to claim.

An intriguing source on Greek myth is Palaephatus, a man who was skeptical of tall tales and gave his theory on what really happened and became the basis for the myth. Lucian and the Vatican mythographer, and Homer are key for stories of Apollo while Hesiod is not. Ovid’s Remedia Amoris criticizes suicide as a means to escape love, tells lovers not to procrastinate and be lazy in love, not to avoid their partners, not perform magic, not see their lovers unprepared, not take other lovers, and never be jealous. All of Ovid’s advice is put into the mouth of Apollo. No wonder Christians hated Gnostics, they were big time players and pimp daddies. He even adds that one should burn old letters and avoid their lover’s family.

In Homer’s Illiad book 1 it is said, “Apollo has plagued us because I would not take a ransom”, and also, “At last a seer in the fulness of his knowledge declared to us the oracles of Apollo”. It is the Lycian King Apollo who looks down on Troy from Pergamus. (Book 7).

A Eucharistic Solar Symbol.

Crucifixion - Sun/Moon

I offer these last three quotes simply as food for thought and welcome you back next time for Part 2, where I will go into more details on the Christian assimilation of Pagan thought as well as the Epicurean origin of the Eucharist.

Clement of Alexandria in the Stromata book 1 says,

“Of those, too, who at one time lived as men among the Egyptians, but were constituted gods by human opinion, were Hermes the Theban, and Asclepius of Memphis; Tireseus and Manto, again, at Thebes, as Euripides says. Helenus, too, and Laocoon, and OEnone, and Crenus in Ilium. For Crenus, one of the Heraclidae, is said to have been a noted prophet. Another was Jamus in Elis, from whom came the Jamidae; and Polyidus at Argos and Megara, who is mentioned by the tragedy. Why enumerate Telemus, who, being a prophet of the Cyclops, predicted to Polyphemus the events of Ulysses’ wandering; or Onomacritus at Athens; or Amphiaraus, who campaigned with the seven at Thebes, and is reported to be a generation older than the capture of Troy; or Theoclymenus in Cephalonia, or Telmisus in Caria, or Galeus in Sicily?

There are others, too, besides these: Idmon, who was with the Argonauts, Phemonoe of Delphi, Mopsus the son of Apollo and Manto in Pamphylia, and Amphilochus the son of Amphiaraus in Cilicia, Alcmaeon among the Acarnanians, Anias in Delos, Aristander of Telmessus, who was along with Alexander. Philochorus also relates in the first book of the work, On Divination, that Orpheus was a seer. And Theopompus, and Ephorus, and Timaeus, write of a seer called Orthagoras; as the Samian Pythocles in the fourth book of The Italics writes of Caius Julius Nepos.” (13)

Origen in his Contra Celsus 7.3 says:

“It is said of the Pythian priestess, whose oracle seems to have been the most celebrated, that when she sat down at the mouth of the Castalian cave, the prophetic Spirit of Apollo entered her private parts; and when she was filled with it, she gave utterance to responses which are regarded with awe as divine truths. Judge by this whether that spirit does not show its profane and impure nature, by choosing to enter the soul of the prophetess not through the more becoming medium of the bodily pores which are both open and invisible, but by means of what no modest man would ever see or speak of.”

Hippolytus in his Philosophumena 5.0 says:

“What is the doctrine of the Sethians, and that, purloining their theories from the wise men among the Greeks, they have patched together their own system out of shreds of opinion taken from Musaeus, and Linus, and Orpheus.”

Sources:

  1. Liber Pontificalis. http://archive.org/stream/bookofpopesliber00loom/bookofpopesliber00loom_djvu.txt
  2. Chronography of 354: Liberian catalogue of Popes. http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/chronography_of_354_13_bishops_of_rome.htmHandbook of Life in Ancient Rome. Adkins.
  3. Apostolic Fathers volume 1. Martyrdom of Polycarp. Ehrman.
  4. Genesis Apocryphon.
  5. Legend: the Genesis of Civilization. Rohl.
  6. The Story of Civilization III: Caesar and Christ. Durant.
  7. Satan Vs. God: a brief History. Saini.
  8. Easton’s Bible Dictionary.
  9. Gospel of John, Chapter 9.
  10. Acts of Pilate, Latin edition.
  11. St. Peter’s in the Vatican. Tronzo.
  12. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata book 1.
  13. “Book 1- Fr. 1 (from the Armenian Version of Eusebius, Chronica). Dynasties of Gods, Demigods, and Spirits of the Dead.” http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Manetho/History_of_Egypt/1*.html
  14. Retractions, Augustine of Hippo.
  15. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis_egypt
  16. False decretals, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf08.viii.iii.i.html
  17. Mirabilia urbis Romae