Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Age of the Earth and the Evidence of Human Occupation

Alice C. Linsley

Students often ask questions that pertain to things they have heard about the Bible or read in the Bible. Over the years I have collected commonly asked questions and provided answers from the perspective of Biblical Anthropology.

In this article, I want to focus on three questions: the age of the Earth, the time that humans have been on Earth, and how we are to understand the biblical figure of Adam.

1. How old is the Earth?

Many churches cling to Young Earth Creationism which imagines the Earth as being about 6,000 years old. I am a member of the American Scientific Affiliation, an organization of scientists who are Christians. I don't know of a single person in the ASA who believes the Earth is only 6,000 years old. All the scientific data indicates that the Earth is about 4.54 billion years.

The Bible also points to this reality. The longest period of history in the Bible is found between Genesis 1 and Genesis 12. This is also the most misunderstood section of Genesis. If the earth is 4.5 billion years, and the oldest human fossils are about 3.8 million years, we have a gap of millions of years between the first created humans and the Neolithic rulers listed in Genesis 4 and 5.

The Biblical material is self-explanatory. Eve, if taken as the first created female, was not the mother of Cain, the first ruler named in the Bible. If we read the text carefully, we find this: the woman gave birth to her first born son and declared kan-itti. In his excellent commentary on Genesis, E.A. Speiser notes that kan-itti shows close affinity to the Akkadian itti, as in itti šarrim, meaning "with the king." Akkadian was the language of the kingdom of the Kushite ruler Nimrod (Gen. 10).

Among the Oromo of Ethiopia and Somalia, itti is attached to names. Examples include Kaartuumitti, Finfinneetti and Dimashqitti. That itti is associated with Nilotic and Egyptian rulers is evident also in the name Nefertitti. Once we place the Biblical material in its proper cultural context, we understand that Cain's mother is declaring that she has gotten a king or ruler with God's help. This is the second Messianic reference in the Bible. The English word king is derived from the same root as Kain (Cain in English Bibles). Kain has many linguistic equivalents, including Qayan and Kahn, as in Genghis Kahn. All the words mean the same thing: king.

In the Bible, Kain stands as the archetype of the earthly ruler. In his epistle, Jude warns those who might abandon Christ that God punishes those who are against Him. Jude uses three men as examples: Cain the ruler, Balaam the prophet, and Korah the priest. These are the three sacred offices among Abraham’s people, and by the time Jude wrote his epistle (c. 68 A.D.) Cain was well established as the archetype of the earthly ruler.

The flawed paradigm of Young Earth interpretation

In the Young Earth Creationist scheme, humans first appeared on the surface of the Earth about 4,000 years ago. This interpretation is based on a flawed understanding of the Genesis King Lists, which Bishop James Ussher used to calculate human existence from the time of Adam to Abraham. Ussher assumed that the "begats" in Genesis 4 and 5 represent the first people on earth. However, the Bible provides significant data to help us place these ancient rulers in the Neolithic period (4500-2800 BC). Fully human fossils predate this time period by many thousands of years.

Modern humans had already widely dispersed across the Earth before 80,000 years ago, long before the time of Noah (B.C. 2490-2415). Noah was a Proto-Saharan ruler whose reign coincided with the Old Kingdom, a time of great cultural and technological achievement in Egypt. This places Noah and his sons in relatively recent history, not at the dawn of human existence. They ruled over Nilo-Saharan territories and their reigns coincided with the 7th and 8th Dynasties in Egypt.

First Intermediate Period
2475-2445 BC: 7th - 8th Dynasties Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth and Kush
2445–2160 BC: 9th -10th Dynasties Nimrod, Arpachshad, Salah, Eber and Peleg and Joktan

Middle Kingdom
2160-2000 BC: 11th Dynasty Nahor, Terah and Abraham
2000-1788 BC: 12th Dynasty Jacob, Esau, Joseph

The ancestors of modern humans (archaic humans) were mainly in Africa, which appears to be the point of origin of all humans.

2. How long have humans been on Earth?

Let us consider some of the evidence of human existence long before 4,000 years ago:

Mary Leakey and her team found these 3 million year human foot prints at Laetoli in Tanzania. Mary Leakey’s 1979 discoveries in Tanzania added to the evidence that humans walked the earth millions of years ago. Laetoli is about 25 miles south of Olduvai Gorge where Leakey discovered footprints of a man, woman and child created about 3.8 million years ago and preserved under falling ash from the nearby Sadiman volcano. The raised arch and rounded heel of the footprints showed that whoever left these footprints walked as humans today.

Human footprints dating to 1.5 million years have been found in Kenya. The report on the anatomy of these footprints states that these archaic humans walked like modern humans.

500,000 year old engraved sea shell with cross markings. This was found in Java, along with a polished shell that had been used as a cutting or scrapping tool.

This shell fossil is as old as the oldest stone tools found at the Kathu tool making complex in South Africa that date to 500,000 years. Here are samples of the extraordinarily large assemblage of hand-axes found at the Kathu site.

In 2012, a set of 44,000 year tools almost identical to tools used by the modern San people were recovered at Border Cave, a rock shelter in the Lebombo Mountains of South Africa.

This 77,000 year old red ocher stone with cross markings was found in the Blombos Cave of South Africa.

In 2008, a red ocher processing area was uncovered in the 100,000-year-old levels at Blombos Cave. Archaeologists also found two tool kits there. Counting devices have been found in this region also. They date between 43,000 and 80,000 years. 

There were tunnel mines 80,000 years ago in the Lebombo Mountains. This was the site of major mining operation. Stan Gooch reports:
"One of the largest sites evidenced the removal of a million kilos of ore. At another site half a million stone-digging tools were found, all showing considerable wear. All of the sites in fact produced thousands of tools and involved the removal of large quantities of ore; and while some were open quarries, others had true mining tunnels."
The world's oldest known mattress was unearthed in at the Sibudu Cave site in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The mattress consists of layers of reeds and rushes. Archaeologists found that bedding had accumulated in the cave over a period of 39,000 years, with the oldest mats dating to 77,000 years ago.

70,000 year old python stone carved into the side of a mountain in Botswana. The stone has over 300 indentations made by humans to give it the shape of a python.

The cave where this was discovered is extremely secluded and difficult to access, so archaeologists did not discover it until the 1990's. There are two paintings on one wall of the cave.

Here are samples of 270 engraved eggshells that were excavated at Diepkloof Rock Shelter in South Africa. They date to 60,000 years.

The so-called "Dufuna boat"  is a 8000-year old dugout found in the Sahara, in the region of Lake Chad. 

Rock paintings of boats, fishing and cattle are found around the Sahara and date to the Late Holocene (African Humid Period) when the Sahara was wet and able to sustain large herds and larger human populations. 

Human burial sites

Archaic human burial sites have been found around the world that date between 9,000 years and millions of years.

Based on fossil evidence, of which there is a great deal, humans appeared over 3.6 million years ago. Archaic human bones dating to millions of years have been found in many parts of Africa. Most recently, the Rising Star Expedition recovered the fossil remains of humans from a burial pit in South Africa. The 1500 bones and bone fragments represent at least 15 individuals. The adults were about 5 feet tall. There are many more human bones yet to be brought up and examined. There are numerous sets of bones from multiple individuals of different ages and sexes. The expedition leaders report that the bones/bodies were deposited over “some period of time.”

The bones of the 15 individuals were recovered from a chamber accessible through a narrow chute about a hundred yards from the entrance of the Rising Star Cave (Dinaledi). The cavern has only fine sediment and no evidence of water transport of material from any outside source.

Parts of the skeletons resemble modern human anatomy while other skeletal remains resemble the australopiths, like Lucy. In other words, this burial pit contained the remains of people who ranged in appearance about as much as modern humans.

These individuals show a range of anatomical features and yet were buried in the same place. Some of the features are robust like modern humans and others exhibit the smaller structure of Lucy and the australopiths. This amazing find raises serious doubt about the Darwinian theory that apes and humans share a common ancestor.

The australopiths controlled fire and had butchering tools. They were ritually buried alongside the anatomically more modern humans, called Homo naledi.

This find is being presented as a "new branch" of homo, called Homo naledi. These researchers do not consider Lucy and her kin to be fully human, though there is much evidence to suggest so. They hang a great deal on the size of brain cavity, though this is not an indicator of complexity of thought. In this view, H. naledi is slightly more human than the A. australopithecine and slightly less human than modern humans. Again this is based on the size of the brain cavity. That of H. naledi is less than half that of the average modern human skull, but proportional to the rest of the body.

The cave burial of so many archaic humans suggests these people practiced ritual burial. No stone tools, clothing or other artifacts have been found in this burial site. There are many more bones awaiting further excavation.

In 2000, Paul Sereno discovered what appears to have been an ancient cemetery. His team later unearthed 10,000 year old skeletons at Gobero in Niger. These were buried on the edge of a paleolake on the northwestern rim of the Chad Basin. The Gobero site is the earliest known cemetery in the Sahara and the skeletons found there indicated that some were at least 6 feet tall. 

Gobero skeleton (G3B8) measures 6 feet 6 inches
Photo Mike Hettwer, courtesy Project Exploration

At the time of the Gobero population (9700-4400 years ago), humans populations were living in Africa, Europe, Asia, and on many islands from Madagascar to the Philippines. There is no evidence that any of these peoples were wiped out by a worldwide flood.

Burial in red ocher

H.B.S. Cooke discovered the body of a small boy buried with a seashell pendant and covered in red ocher. The body is dated between 46,000 and 80,000.

The "Fox Lady" of Doini Vestonice, Czechoslovakia, who was buried 23,000 years ago, was covered in red ocher.

A 20,000 year old burial site in Bavaria reveals a thirty-year-old man entirely surrounded by a pile of mammoth tusks and submerged in red ocher powder.

A man buried 45,000 years ago at La Chapelle-aux-Saints in southern France, was packed in red ocher.

The "Red Lady" of Paviland in Wales was buried in red ocher about 20,000 years ago. Her skeletal remains and burial artifacts are encrusted with the red ore.

The use of red ochre in burial was widespread in prehistoric times. The red ore symbolized blood, the substance of life. The earliest humans regarded themselves as blood-beings. This is likely what stand behind the biblical expression "Life in in the blood." For Christians, the life-giving blood is that of Jesus Christ, shed on the Cross. He is a direct descendant of Adam, whose name is a reference to blood.

3. How are we to understand the biblical figure of Adam?

Adam is presented two ways in the Bible. As a historical person Adam is understood to be the progenitor (founding father) of Abraham's ancestral lines. These ancestors apparently had a distinctive red skin tone. They are in Haplogroup R1b and we have a great deal of scientific information about them.

The Biblical writers recognized that the people among them with red skin were of an ancestral line of extreme antiquity. Some of these people were rulers in Edom. These are listed in Genesis 36. Esau the Elder and Esau the Younger were among them. Esau is specifically described as being red in Genesis 26, and one of his descendants, King David, was likewise described as red or ruddy.

Jeff A. Benner, an expert on ancient Hebrew, explains:
We are all familiar with the name "Adam" as found in the book of Genesis, but what does it really mean? Let us begin by looking at its roots. This word/name is a child root derived from the parent דם meaning, "blood". By placing the letter א in front of the parent root, the child rootאדם is formed and is related in meaning to דם (blood).
By examing a few other words derived from the child root אדם we can see a common meaning in them all. The Hebrew word אדמה (adamah) is the feminine form of אדם meaning "ground" (see Genesis 2:7). The word/name אדום (Edom) means "red". Each of these words have the common meaning of "red". Dam is the "red" blood, adamah is the "red" ground, edom is the color "red" and adam is the "red" man. There is one other connection between "adam" and "adamah" as seen in Genesis 2:7 which states that "the adam" was formed out of the "adamah".
In the ancient Hebrew world, a person’s name was not simply an identifier but descriptive of one's character. As Adam was formed out of the ground, his name identifies his origins."

The ground in the area where the ancestors of Abraham lived has a reddish brown color. The words edom (Hebrew) and odum (Hausa), mean red-brown. Both words are derived from the root dam, a reference to the color of blood. Adam's color is that of the soil fro which the Creator made him.  He was formed from the red clay which washed down to the Upper Nile Valley from the Ethiopian highlands. These soils have a cambic B horizon. Chromic cambisols have a strong red brown color. This is the point of origin of the story of the forming of Adam from the earth.

The highest concentration of R1b in Africa is in the Lake Chad region, Noah's homeland
An estimated 70% of British men are in Haplogroup R1b .

Adam is also presented as a meta-historical figure in the writings of the Apostle Paul. The term "meta-historical" means outside of history, or beyond time, as with Plato's eternal Forms. Paul speaks of Adam, the first man, as a having correspondence to Jesus Christ, the second Adam, by whom the curse of death is overthrown. In 1 Corinthians 15:45, he writes, "So also it is written, 'The first man, Adam, became a living soul.' The last Adam became a life-giving spirit." Here Paul is speaking of Adam analogically, not historically.

Likewise, in Romans 5:14, Paul speaks of Adam analogically, that is, as one who provides a pattern: "Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the One to come."

Related reading: Evidence of an Old Earth; Was Noah Mesopotamian or Proto-Saharan?; When the Sahara Was Wet; Genesis on Human Origins; Facebook Conversation About Creationism; Biblical Anthropologists Discuss Darwin; Lakeside Cemeteries in the Sahara: 5000 Years of Holocene Population and Environmental Change; The Genesis King Lists; Fully Human From the Beginning

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Giving God

Job said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

Naomi holds her grandson Obed, the grandfather of King David

Alice C. Linsley

There is an aspect to the story of Job that is often overlooked: his experience of God as a giver. It is not readily apparent since the sufferings of Job speak of one loss after the other. However, the end of Job's story tells the truth about God: Job's God gives and takes away, and gives again, and again, and again. 

Job is the male counterpart of Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law, who had a similar experience of God. She lost her husband and then both her sons. In her old age she was without anyone to provide for her. Yet God had given her a worthy daughter-in-law and through Ruth, Naomi's sorrow and bitterness ("call me Mara") was turned to joy as she held her grandson Obed.

Likewise, Job's latter days were better than the former days because the Lord "restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold." (Job 42:10)

The Giving God

From long before Abraham's time, the God who gives was associated with the Sun. He was sometimes portrayed as riding the sun as a chariot, or as sailing in a solar boat.  He was sometimes portrayed as a bull calf with the sun cradled between his horns.

This Giving God was also associated with the constellation of Leo. The bull was often shown in ancient European images between two lions, just as the Sun was shown between two lions among the ancient Nilotes (as seen on the masthead of this blog). The Giving God was called Horus among the Saharo-Nilotes and the Kushite Saka called him Hromi Daba, the "Giving God."

Hromi Daba was also known by the names Crom Dubh and Grom Div. His association with the Sun is seen on the Triglav Stone (below) from Istria which shows the Giving God haloed by the Sun. This Giving God was also understood to be a Trinity. Triglav refers to trinity or triune. My friend Goran Pavlovic has written about this stone at his blog Old European Culture.

The Immutability of the Giving God

Just as the Sun does not change its course, so the Giving God does not change. This is what is expressed in James 1:17 - "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."

There is no other God like this Good Giver who gives and takes away and gives again and again; who restores what has been lost, and shines His light on all equally.

This understanding of God as the Good Giver who does not change represents a radical critique of the nature religion associated with false gods. He is not associated with rain and thunder or with fire or ice. I Kings 19:11-16 expresses this distinction.

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

Then the Lord told Elijah what he was to do in preparation for the day when the whirlwind would catch him up to the Lord in heaven. (II Kings 2:1)

There is a great hymn that speaks of this theme:

Jesus shall reign where'er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

Where Christ displays His healing power,
Death and the curse are known no more:
In Him the tribes of Adam boast
More blessings than their father lost.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The High Places

Artist rendering of an Iron Age oppidum
Alice C. Linsley

The iconoclastic Deuteronomist Historian makes a great fuss about the "high places" of ancient Palestine. These are represented as places of cultic debauchery and idolatry. Indeed the high places of the archaic world - long before the time of the Deuteronomist - were fortified mounds, which in Hebrew are called "ophel" (Hebrew עֹ֫פֶל).

For security, early human populations lived on sheltered elevated sites or fortified mounds. The root of the word ophel is OP and pertains to a complex of interrelated ideas: seeing (optic); armed guards (opiltes); walled towns (oppida), and sun shrines (O'piru) served by a caste of priests known in the ancient world as Ha'piru, Ha'biru (Hebrew) and 'Apiru.

Votive offerings at the sun shrines were called tama or tamata. This is related to an even more ancient word for fortified mounds: tamana. This place name (toponym) has been found in 188 countries and five continents. Over 1 million examples worldwide include Tamana-Irik, a village Gaulim in Papua New Guinea, Tamana Island in Micronesia, and the Tamana [ancient part] of the village of Palanka in Hungary.

Many Tamana antedate the high places of Susa, Körös-Tisza, the Indus Valley, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China. The term Tamana means Stronghold in the Manding language of Africa, the Magyar language of Hungary, and the Dravidian languages spoken in India. Dr. Clyde Winters believes that the peoples who built the earliest Tamana belonged to an ancient confederation called Maa. Members of the Maa Confederation included the Magyar, ancient Egyptians, Elamites, Manding, Dravidians, and ancient Afro-Asiatic peoples. Winters believes that this explains the genetic and linguistic connections between these peoples. Dr Vámos Toth Bátor believes that these widely dispersed Tamana peoples were Proto-Saharans.

The phylogenetic tree of Haplogroup R1b

DNA studies confirm that the Neolithic R1b cattle-herding peoples had already dispersed across Africa, the Levant, Anatolia, and the Black Sea area by 20,000 year ago. R1b is the most common haplogroup in Western Europe, reaching over 80% of the population in Ireland, the Scottish Highlands, western Wales, the Atlantic fringe of France, the Basque country and Catalonia. It is also common in Anatolia and around the Caucasus, in parts of Russia and in Central and South Asia. Besides the Atlantic and North Sea coast of Europe, hotspots include the Po valley in north-central Italy (over 70%), Armenia (35%), the Bashkirs of the Urals region of Russia (50%), Turkmenistan (over 35%), the Hazara people of Afghanistan (35%), the Uyghurs of North-West China (20%) and the Newars of Nepal (11%). R1b-V88, a subclade specific to sub-Saharan Africa, is found in 60 to 95% of men in northern Cameroon.

The three main branches of R1b1 - R1b1a, R1b1b, R1b1c - are Middle Eastern. The southern branch, R1b1c (V88), is found mostly in the Levant and Africa. The northern branch, R1b1a (P297), seems to have originated around the Caucasus, eastern Anatolia or northern Mesopotamia. R1b1b (M335) has been found primarily in Anatolia and may be the genetic marker of the Saka.

The Hindu text Matsya Purana claims that the Saka (called “Scythians” by the Greeks) ruled the ancient world for 7000 years. Another text, Mahabharata, designates “Sakadvipa” as the “land of the Sakas” in northern India. Assyrian documents speak of the Saka presence between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the time of Sargon (722-705 B.C.)

The ancient Kar

Kar is another word for a sheltered or fortified site with shrine priests. Karnak on the Nile and Carnak in Brittany are examples. In Dravidian car means "sheltered together" and kari refers to a river. In Manding kara means "to assemble."

Since the Kar were places of burnt offerings, the term is often associated with charcoal and soot. The Turkish kara means "black." In Magyar korom refers to soot, as does the Korean word kurim. Among the Nilotic Luo kar specifies a place with boundaries.

The kars of the archaic world were mainly circular. Ki-kar refers to a circle, as in Exodus 25:11: ki-kar za-hav ta-hor, meaning "circle of pure gold." In the Anchor Bible Commentary on Genesis, E.A. Speiser recognizes that kikar refers to a circle.

Many tamana have been identified in the Carpathian mountain range. The range is called Karpaty in Czech, Polish, and Slovak, and Карпати in Ukrainian, Carpați in Romanian, Karpaten in German, Kárpátok in Hungarian, Karpati in Serbian, and Карпати in Bulgarian. In Albanian karpë means "rock."

Paleolithic Tamana

The oldest elevated settlements were near water sources. The oldest ophel in Jerusalem is near the Gihon Spring. Similar sites include Deir Tasi in Egypt; Jarmo in Iraq, and Tell Hassuna in Iraq. Of particular interest is the Paleolithic population that lived near the ravine or wadi known as Wadi-en-Natuf near Jerusalem. The Natufian population employed micro-flints, weapons, stone tools, and primitive agriculture. Artistic expressions included rock drawings and wall paintings, and they were sea travelers between 12,000 and 10,000 B.C. There are about 40 Paleolithic sites in the hills surrounding Jerusalem, many of them near Bethlehem.

Evidence of human habitation in the area of Bethlehem between 100,000-10,000 BC) is well-attested along the north side of Wadi Khareitun where there are three caves: Iraq al-Ahmar, Umm Qal’a, and Umm Qatafa. These caves were homes in a wooded landscape overlooking a river. At Umm Qatafa archaeologists have found the earliest evidence of the domestic use of fire in Palestine.

Neolithic Tamana

Surrounding Jerusalem, there are about 28 Neolithic sites that fit the same description: elevated and near water.

The top of mount Üetliberg, near Zurich, was a Neolithic fortified area with a height of 2690 feet above sea level. It was surrounded by a system of earth walls. Some 60,000 artifacts have been found here, the oldest dating to about 4000 BC.

Iron Age Oppida

Iron Age high places are even more abundant, especially in ancient Gaul. The oppida of Gaul stand on the top of steep hills. Bibracte, on the summit of Mont Beuvray, is an example. It was the capital of the Celtic Aedui and an important opidda in Gaul. The material culture of the Aedui corresponded to the La Tène culture (800 BC- 50 BC).

A famous high place in Armenia is Erebuni Fortress, also known as Arin Berd (Armenian: Արին Բերդ; meaning the "Fortress of Blood"). It was founded in 782 BC by the Urartian King Argishti I (ruled 785–753 BC) in Yerevan, Armenia. Built on top of a hill overlooking the Arax River, it served as a military stronghold to protect the kingdom's northern borders.

A fresco of Erebuni Fortress (8th Century BC)

Dye used in the Erebuni frescos is composed of copper obtained from Armenian stone, which had been used in Mesopotamia since the 3rd millennium BC.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Was Noah Mesopotamian or Proto-Saharan?

Dick Fischer's 2015 ASA Presentation in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Hello, Alice

One of the talks at the ASA conference held in steamy Tulsa last month was mine: “Historical Adam: Identifying the Time, Place and Cultural Setting of the First Man in Biblical History.” I recorded it in a studio and put it on YouTube. Your comments would be greatly appreciated, and I would be glad to answer any questions. Also feel free to forward this link to whomever you feel might benefit.

I hope to be able to contribute to your blog. This has been a pursuit of mine since 1984. My article suggesting Adam was injected into the human race was published in the Washington Post in 1986. Over the years I have researched Genesis within the context of the ancient Near East in the Library of Congress. I think the evidence I have unearthed is solid. My book, Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham came out in 2008 and I am working now on a second edition. I would need some time to track down some of your evidences. I think Adam in Eridu fits all I know, but I am open to other ideas.

Yours faithfully,

~Dick Fischer

Hello, Dick.

I have no doubt that your research is solid. However, you seem to be overlooking some significant anthropological data found in Genesis and Exodus about the Kushites and the Proto-Saharan cattle-herding ancestors of Abraham. That evidence suggests very strongly that Genesis 1-12 has a Nilo-Saharan layer that has been ignored.

Er is Ir in Hebrew and means city, as in Ir David - City of David. Er-Idu means City of the Idu (Ido), suggesting city of Red Rulers. There is another Eridu in Nigeria, usually spelled Eredo in English. This site is protected by a 70-foot high barrier wall that runs for about 100 miles. It was first discovered about 18 years ago by the British archaeologist Patrick Darling. Replication of names usually means people of that place have established a new territorial center, just as colonists from England named the colonies "New England."

In Biblical Anthropology, the study of place names (toponymy) is one way to track migrations and dispersions. For example, there is a Meroe in Nubia and a Meroe on the Orontes in Turkey. Same people, different time. In Turkey they were called "Saka" and the Saka were Kushites. Likewise, there is a Karnak on the Nile and a Karnak/Carnak in Brittany. These are also the work of peoples whose point of origin was the Nile. These peoples are in Haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA).

The Akkadian name Dûr-gurgurri (Bad-tibiri) means Wall of Copper Smiths or Fortress of Smiths. The Akkadian prefix Dûr- means "fortress of" as in Dûr-Sharrukin, “Sargon’s fortress.” According to the Sumerian King List, Dûr-gurgurri was the second city to "exercise kingship" in Sumer, following Eridu (City of Idu).

Similarities between the biblical Adam, Noah and the Flood, and creation and flood stories of Mesopotamia can be explained by the dispersion of Paleolithic and Neolithic populations across the archaic world which extended from the Upper Nile to the Indus River Valley.

Further, all the evidence point to Messianic expectation originating among Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors. And we have two Messianic prophesies in Genesis before we even get to chapter 5. The first is Genesis 3:15 concerning the Woman who brings forth the Seed, and the second is Genesis 4:1, when Cain's mother declares "Qaniti" which refers to a ruler in Proto-Hebrew), Cain's mother declares, "Ka-niti (Qaniti); I have gotten a man, as has YHWH." This is a Messianic reference. Kaniti (Qaniti) is a reference to king, as Kandake is a reference to queen. Further, the iti or itti suffix appears with royalty of the Nile Valley. Queen Nefertiti is an example.

I look forward to further conversation.

Best wishes,


Hi Alice:

You give me a lot to think about and I have to consider it alongside all that I already know. There is a definite shift from Genesis 10 to 11. Chapter eleven presents a new thought and your assessment makes sense. Genesis 2-10 could have been written by any one of Noah's descendants. Mizraim makes sense to me and I suggested his line as a possibility but he was not present at Babylon where the tower was built so Genesis 11 could have been written by someone in the line of Arphaxad, possibly Abraham.

The "Erido" you mentioned was built in 800–1000 AD. I don't see a connection.

You wrote: "Similarities between the biblical Adam, Noah and the Flood, and creation and flood stories of Mesopotamia can be explained by the dispersion of Paleolithic and Neolithic populations across the archaic world which extended from the Upper Nile to the Indus River Valley."

Paleolithic Period predates all of Genesis 2-11 unless you tamper with the genealogies in Genesis, Chronicles and Luke and explain away all the Neolithic trappings attributed to Cain's descendants.

Essentially, I don't have to do anything to the Genesis text except retranslate it which can be found on my website (Revised King James Version) and everything fits with archaeological findings, pottery remains, and the written history of the Akkadians and Sumerians.

Hi, Dick.

Adam is presented in 2 ways in the Bible: as the progenitor of Abraham's ancestors (historical) and as the symbolic first created man (metahistorical). In the first case, Adam's existence would still be older than the time of Cain and Seth (Neolithic). There is a gap of time between Genesis 4:1 and Genesis 4:17. Cain is not the biological son of Adam. Cain is the first listed historical ruler of the ancestry of Abraham. Cain/Kayan/Kahn means king, and in Jude's epistle (c. 68 AD) Cain was solidly established as the archetype of an earthly ruler, along with Balaam the prophet and Korah the priest. These were the three most sacred offices among Abraham’s people and they were often filled by people corrupted by the world.

In the second case (metahistorical), Adam would have been a "special creation" that appeared on earth about 4 million years ago, likely in the region of the Omo Valley. Fully human from the beginning, though anatomically archaic.

The so-called genealogies of Genesis are actually king lists, and very old. Kinship analysis has demonstrated these to be authentic. They reveal a distinctive marriage and ascendancy pattern that is associated with the Horite Ha'biru (Hebrew). The rulers had two wives. The cousin wife was the second wife and she named her first born son after her father. This is called the cousin bride's naming prerogative and this feature makes it possible to trace Jesus' ancestry back to the Horite ruler-priests.

Nekhen is one of the oldest known Horite shrines. Located on Nile in ancient times, the original shrine there dates to about 3800 BC.

Ultimately, Genesis isn't about human origins really. It is about the etiology of Messianic Expectation among Abraham's proto-Saharan cattle-herding ancestors.

Best wishes,


Hi Alice:

Again, you give me much to think about. I tend to follow Occam's razor, the simplest explanation is likely correct.

Yours faithfully,

~Dick Fischer


Do we want simple or true? Reductionism - which I realize you are not guilty of - has been a problem in the understanding of Genesis. In Biblical Anthropology, we do not have a simple picture. We are doing soundings using the data of Scripture to reconstruct a more accurate picture of early man and the origin of biblical Faith. Biblical Anthropology as a science is pushing back the curtain to provide a better understanding of the antecedents of Messianic Expectation.

To understand this research it is helpful to have some background in Anthropology.

I am familiar with Occam's Razor, having taught Philosophy for 12 years. The simplest explanation is indeed what the data of Scripture gives us - that Abraham was a descendant of the rulers listed in Genesis 4, 5. 10 and 11, and that these ruling lines practiced endogamy. So that Abraham is a descendant of Kain, Seth, Ham, Shem, Kush and Nimrod, and ethnically a Kushite. This picture aligns with findings in anthropology, linguistics, archaeology, climate studies, DNA studies, and migration studies. That said, the huge bulk of evidence that supports this is not easy to sort through. I've been gathering it for over 35 years.

Best wishes,

Alice C. Linsley

Hi, Alice
Here is a quickie tour through the Hall of Human Origins at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. I'm your guide.

The data of Scripture will not be a factor in constructing a picture of early man. I am interested in the DNA picture. What can you send me?

Yours faithfully,

~Dick Fischer


Here you go:

DNA, Genetics and Archaic Humans
Haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA)
Genesis and Molecular Genealogy
Hunter-Gatherer Study Inconclusive
Tut's Father Married His Cousin
Ethiopian DNA Study Ignores Significant Data
A Kindling of Ancient Memory
Abraham: Descendant of Both Shem and Ham
Migrations Out of Africa
Denisovan Populations
Chromosome Profile of 64% of European Men
Genetic Risks in Cousin Marriage
Genetic Adam Never Knew Genetic Eve
Genesis and Molecular Genealogy
DNA Confirms Mixed Ancestry of Jews
Mitochondrial Eve
Genesis and Genetics
Sub-Saharan DNA of Modern Jews
DNA Research Confirms Kushite Migration
Overview of Human Origins
A Flawed Paradigm
Is Scientific Dating of Fossils Reliable?
Genesis on Human Origins
The Making of Man
Denisovan Finds Create a Stir
Overview of Human Origins
Genesis: Is It Really About Human Origins?
Q and A on Creation vs Evolution
Genesis and Genetics

Of a more current nature:
80,000 Year African Ancestor of Chinese Men
Solving the Ainu Mystery
Abraham's Ainu Ancestors
The Nile-Japan Ainu Connection
A Kindling of Ancient Memory
Genetic Evidence for Two Founding Populations of the Americas
First People at Genetic Center
Making Sense of Genesis 10
From the Nile to the Philippines: Tracing the Gurjars
Who Were the Kushites?
Kushites in Mindanao
Kushite Diversity and Unity
The Kushite-Kushan Connection
The Kushite Marriage Pattern Drove Kushite Expansion
Kushite Kings and the Kingdom of God
Moses' Kushite Wife
Kushite Wives
The Migration of Abraham's Kushite Ancestors

Hi, Alice

Here is a little I can add to your theory. According to Jubilees the wives of the sons of Noah were non-Semitic, probably Sumerian. Descendants of brothers Ham and Shem would have common DNA elements. The Kushites or Kassites originally settled in western Iran, however, due to it being a precarious place sandwiched between the warring Elamites, Assyrians and Babylonians some or maybe all relocated to northeastern Africa. The original location apparently was unknown to Josephus who ventured that the Gihon was the Nile. The relocated Cushites named that section of the Nile "Gihon" after the river in their Iranian homeland. Thus it is that the KJV translators inserted "Ethiopia" for Cush.

Yours faithfully,

~Dick Fischer


There are problems with this, however.

First, Jubilees is not an authority for Christians. I look at sources such as Jubilees and the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud, but I do not credit them as being as authoritative as the divinely superintended canonical books. As a Biblical Anthropologist, I rely primarily on data from Genesis and other canonical books. My rule is the Bible first, and the Bible last.

Second, the Divine Name YHWH has an original Nubian context and it appears to have been carried from there to Edom and Judea.

Third, the theory that the Kushites originated in the Black Sea area doesn't align with Genesis or the evidence of the Kushite dispersion out of Africa. There is evidence of backflow, however. The anthropological evidence suggests that the Kassites of the Zagros Mountains are likely related to the Nilotic Luo. Though the Luo share many culture traits with the biblical Kushites, they were a different people. The Zagros Mountains (Luristan) was the place where the ancestors of the Luo and the Elamites had contact with each other. My Ugandan and Kenyan Luo informants tell me that their ancestors migrated first to Mesopotamia after Noah's flood which took place on mega lake Chad. They were kingdom builders, like Nimrod, Noah's great grandson. Some continued on to the Zagros Mountains where they left traces of their ways among the Lur (who I studied while I lived in Iran in the 1970's). The Lurs have elevated frequency of YDNA Haplogroup R1b (especially of subclade R1bla2a-L23 - still being studied). R1bla2a is from the part of Africa where the ancient rulers of the Bible lived in the regions of the Nile Valley, Chad, Cameroon and Sudan.

Historical Noah lived in the region of Lake Chad. His descendants dispersed widely across the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion. Bor-Nu/No, in the region of Lake Chad means "Land of Noah" and this is the single place on Earth that claims to be Noah's homeland. He was a Proto-Saharan ruler.

There is still so much to learn! I feel as if I have only begun to scratch the surface.

Best wishes,


Hi Alice:

I don't see that you recognize extra Noahic populations. You say. "the Luo share many culture traits with the biblical Kushites, they were a different people." There were "different people" all over the globe. In Africa, Australia, North and South America, China, people entirely unrelated to the Adamite population were in residence. If you don't recognize that fact nothing you do will make any sense. Noah's flood in Africa makes no sense at all. Read the parallel legends - all are centered in Mesopotamia. Layers of "water-laid" clay were found in the central cities of Mesopotamia. Every one I know recognizes a Mesopotamian flood. Nobody puts the flood in Africa. Alice, you at least have to recognize the basics before you venture into speculative territory.


Hi, Dick

Why do you think that? There were human populations in many parts of the world before Noah, during Noah's time, and after Noah's time. Sudan had human populations 70,000 years ago.

You said you believe in the simplest explanation as the most likely. The R1b cattle-herding Proto-Saharans are Abraham's ancestors, and Cain, Seth, Noah, Ham and Shem are among them. That is what Genesis relates and that is what the data supports.

The Mesopotamian accounts have parallels in Nilotic mythology and the Nilotic mythologies fit the binary worldview of Scripture more closely. Further, Messianic Expectation originated among those cattle-herding ancestors, not in Mesopotamia.

Here is a bit more about what I do as a Biblical Anthropologist: Something Older.

Best wishes,


Related reading: Ignoring Anthropologically Significant Data; The Origin of Circumcision; Where Did Animal Sacrifice Originate?; Biblical Anthropologists Discuss Darwin; Biblical Anthropology and the Question of Common Ancestry; Boats and Cows of the Proto-Saharans; The High Places

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Jerusalem Pilgrimage

Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem from Psalm 122:6-8

May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
Prosperity within your palaces.
For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, "Peace be within you."

Long before there was Jerusalem, there was a natural spring called Gihon. This spring sustained the life of humans and herds for countless generations. The presence of humans in the hills of Jerusalem is evident from archaeological finds. The earliest evidence points to a million years of human and animal movement through this region. Chalcolithic remains include bits of pottery found near the Spring and depressions which are believed to have been used to grind grain or press oil from olives.

Gihon Spring, the only source of water for the city, emerges in the Kidron Valley, across from the Mount of Olives. The Spring emerged in a cave on the eastern slope of the City of David above the Kidron Valley. The water flowed into the valley below, watering the terraced agricultural land on the slope of Zion. This area is called the "King's Garden" in II Kings 25:4; Jeremiah 52:7; and Nehemiah 3:15.

The shafts and most of the tunnels that allow access to the water were natural karstic fissures in the rock that the excavators took advantage of when cutting passages from the city to the spring.

To protect the access to the Gihon Spring a fortress was built. This Spring Citadel has 23-foot-thick walls comprised of stone blocks up to ten feet wide, and represents the largest Chalcolithic fortress discovered thus far in Israel.

Jebus or Yebu (2220-1250 BC)

Jerusalem under the Jebusites

Stepped structure of the ancient Jebusite Wall

View from the area of the Jebusite fortress looking down to the Kidron Valley near the source of the Gihon Springs.

The main water source of the original City of David (Ir David) was the Gihon Spring located at the base of the eastern slope of the city in the Kidron Valley.

A 3,500 year fortress has been found that guarded the entrance to the Gihon Spring.

The Gihon Spring provided water year round by gushing forth several times a day. This water naturally flowed into the Kidron Valley. In the earliest days of Jerusalem’s occupation, reservoirs where built to collect the water from the Gihon Springs. Three systems were eventually designed to use this water: Warren's Shaft, Siloam Channel (Tunnel), an Hezekiah's Tunnel.

Hezekiah's Tunnel

Hezekiah’s Tunnel is the most recent water work, cut during the reign of King Hezekiah at end of 8th century BC. This is described in a paleo-Hebrew inscription, cut into the rock near the exit:

"…breakthrough and this was the account of the breakthrough. While the laborers were still working with their picks, each toward the other, and while there were still three cubits to be broken through, the voice of each was heard calling to the other, because there was a zdh [crack?] in the rock to the south and to the north. And at the moment of the breakthrough, the laborers struck each toward the other, pick against pick. Then the water flowed from the spring to the pool for 1,200 cubits. And the height of the rock above the heads of the laborers was 100 cubits."

II Kings 20:20, we read how Hezekiah "...made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city…" and again in II Chronicles 32:30: "This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David."

Hezekiah’s Tunnel is about 2 feet wide and 5 feet high at the entrance near the Gihon Springs, as seen in this photo. Notice the fresh water still moving through this tunnel as it has for 2,700 years.

This tunnel was discovered by Edward Robinson in 1838 and was cleared by Montague Parker’s team during the years 1909-1911.

Ancient Tombs in Silwan

Looking south into the Kidron Valley from near the south east corner of the Temple Mount. The Arab town of Silwan is on the left (east) of the photo. This is where the tombs of important persons have been found.

The Silwan necropolis is the most important ancient cemetery in Israel, and is assumed to have been used by the highest-ranking officials residing in Jerusalem. Its tombs were cut between the 9th and 7th centuries BC. The tombs face David's city, the oldest part of Jerusalem.

Remnants of the Monolith of Silwan, a tomb dating to the time of Solomon's Temple. It was once thought to be the burial site of Solomon's Egyptian queen.


The gold medallion shown below is one of the prize finds of the "Ophel treasure" recovered during the 2013 excavations of Dr. Eilat Mazar in this area between the City of David (Zion) and the Temple Mount (Moriah). This area shows signs of human occupation from at least 3,500 BC.

Ophel (Hebrew עֹ֫פֶל) refers to a high place, an elevated site, or a fortified mound. The root of the word ophel is OP and pertains to a complex of interrelated ideas: seeing (optic); armed guards (opiltes); a walled town (oppida), and a sun shrine served by a caste of priests known in the ancient world as O'piru. Variants of O'piru include Ha'piru, Ha'biru (Hebrew) and 'Apiru.


The Acra was the Seleucid stronghold built in 186 BC against the south wall of Solomon’s Temple Mount on the Ophel. It was used between the years of 186-141 BC as a military post to control the city's population and to monitor activities at the Temple.

The Western Wall ("The Wailing Wall")

The portion of the Western Wall inside the black box is the portion that remains from the Temple Mount retaining walls built by Herod. The seven courses of stones inside the black box are all Herodian blocks.

Looking east at another cornerstone on the southwest corner of the Wall. The pavement and steps are original Herodian pavement placed here in the first century.

This is a Turkish wall and tower built by the Ottoman ruler Suleiman. Notice the outcropping of the bedrock under the tower.

Mount Moriah (Temple Mount)

Looking across the pavement built over Mount Moriah to create a level surface. This is the site of the ancient Temple Mount. The Dome of the Rock stands where Herod's Temple formerly stood.

David purchased a threshing floor from the Jebusite Araunah. It would have been located at a high elevation so that the wind could carry the chaff. It is believed it may have been on Mount Moriah.

Dome of the Rock

The Dome of the Spirits covers the exposed bedrock of Mount Moriah that some believe to be the bedrock that was inside the Holy of Holies.

Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives

Old olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane

Sunset looking back at Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher

The cross on the grey dome over Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Front facade of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher

The Tomb of the Virgin Mary

View looking down the steps to the Tomb of the Virgin Mary

The Church of the Sepulchre of Saint Mary was built over the burial site believed to be that of the Virgin Mary. The location of the Tomb of Mary is across the Kidron Valley from St Stephen’s Gate in the Old City walls of Jerusalem, just before Gethsemane, at the foot of Mount of Olives.

Floods in 1972 enabled excavations by the archaeologist Bellarmino Bagatti, who concluded that the place where Mary had been buried was clearly located in a cemetery used during the first century. The large crypt containing the empty tomb in the Church is all that remains of an early 5th-century church, making it one of the oldest nearly complete religious building in Jerusalem.

Related reading: Does Political Zionism Align with the Bible?; The City of Jerusalem by Col. C. R. Conder (1909)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Was Constantine a Saka Ruler?

Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea on the piety of Emperor Constantine

In this manner that spirit who is the hater of good, actuated by envy at the blessing enjoyed by the Church, continued to raise against her the stormy troubles of intestine discord, in the midst of a period of peace and joy. Meanwhile, however, the divinely-favored emperor did not slight the duties befitting him, but exhibited in his whole conduct a direct contrast to those atrocities of which the cruel tyrants had been lately guilty, and thus triumphed over every enemy that opposed him. For in the first place, the tyrants, being themselves alienated from the true God, had enforced by every compulsion the worship of false deities: Constantine convinced mankind by actions as well as words, that these had but an imaginary existence, and exhorted them to acknowledge the only true God. They had derided his Christ with words of blasphemy: he assumed that as his safeguard against which they directed their blasphemies, and gloried in the symbol of the Saviour's passion. They had persecuted and driven from house and home the servants of Christ: he recalled them every one, and restored them to their native homes. (Eusebius’ 4th century AD Life of Constantine, Book III)

Ancient Constantinople

The ancient city of Byzantium, later renamed “Constantinople,” was built around 657 BC on the European side of the Strait of Bosporus, the only entrance to the Black Sea. It was on the highest land of the deep inlet called “The Golden Horn” at the entrance to the Bosporus. The earliest evidence of human settlement first in this area dates to about 6600 BC and lasted for 1000 years before it was inundated by the rising sea level. Archaeological discoveries include Neolithic wattle and daub buildings with simple stone footings. The ancient residents placed mussel shells below their houses to provide permeability. Other artifacts include stone grain presses, spoons, needles and axes.

Graves have been discovered with fetal-position burials and typical R1b timber graves. The Neolithic discoveries were unearthed in Pendik, a section of modern Istanbul, and at Yenikapi, both on the European side of the Bosporus. The Yenikapı excavations led to the recovery of 35 thousand artifacts covering all periods from the Neolithic Period to the time of the Ottomon Empire. Additionally, the sea filling layers between the remains of the ancient Port of Theodosius and the Neolithic layer have provided a better understanding of the changes undergone by the Sea of Marmara in the last 10 thousand years.

Byzantium was a small city but it played an important role in history. The town was at the frontier between the Greek and the Persian empires, and in 478 BC the Greeks drove the Persians out of the city. The city came to play an important role in the spread of Christianity after 324 AD when Constantine the Great made it the capitol of his empire.

Constantine the Great

Constantine was born in Niš (pronounced Nish) on 27 February 273 AD. Nis is a very ancient city in southern Serbia. Its location made it a gateway between the East and the West. In ancient times, Nis was populated by Saka peoples. The Hindu text Matsya Purana claims that the Saka (called “Scythians” by the Greeks) ruled the ancient world for 7000 years. Another text, Mahabharata, designates “Sakadvipa” as the “land of the Sakas” in northern India. Assyrian documents speak of the Saka presence between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the time of Sargon (722-705 B.C.)

Scythians archers

The Beja, Kushite metal workers who inhabit the Red Sea Hills and the central desert of Egypt, are also called the Medjay. In Serbian Medja means border. Medjiana is the name of Constantine’s majestic palace outside Nis. Medijana means “on the border.” Constantine's name Medjiana for his estate signified his intention to attend to affairs of state at the border of his two realms: East and West. He often resided there and built various residences on his estate; one of them was probably built for his mother Helena.

Nis was named after the Nišava River, which flows through the city and which was named Navissos by the Celtic masters of the city in the 3rd century BC. The Nišava belongs to the Black Sea basin and its catchment area is in Bulgaria and in Serbia. The Nišava was a navigable river in ancient times. The Nišava Valley is part of the natural ancient road which connected Europe and Asia: the road follows the valleys of the Morava, the Nišava and the Marica and continued to ancient Byzantium (modern Istanbul).

Constantius’s two wives were Helena (the mother of Constantine) and Theodora. Theodora was the second wife and she was taken to forge a political alliance. Constantine’s two wives were Minerva and Fausta. Constantine married Fausta, his second wife, in 307, again for political reason. She was the daughter of Emperor Maximianus who insisted that Constantine marry Fausta. Unlike Helena, Fausta was not a Christian. She was reported to have been unfaithful to Constantine and falsely accused Minerva’s son Crispus of sexually molesting her. It is believed that Constantine arranged for her death in 326, shortly after he ordered the execution of his son Crispus. In the case of the first wives, there is no record of divorces, so it is possible that these rulers maintained two wives in separate households. This would be consistent with the marriage pattern of the Horite Saka rulers who settled in Southern Serbia.

Constantine, the first publically Christian emperor, came to power in 312 AD, upon the death of his father. He united the empire when he defeated Licinius at the Battle of Chrysopolis in 324 AD. Following the destruction of his naval forces Licinius evacuated the garrison of Byzantium. Constantine understood the strategic importance of the city of Byzantium and established the capital of his empire there in 324 AD. The next year (325) Emperor Constantine convened the First Council of Nicaea which resolved the controversy over the nature of the Son of God and his relationship to God the Father.

Constantine’s father was Constantius I (ruled 293-306 AD), who according to Eusebius's Life of Constantine, was himself a Christian, though he pretended to be a pagan while he ruled under Diocletian who was notorious for his persecution of Christians. His father’s faith was a great influence on Constantine’s conversion, according to Eusebius, who wrote:

Because of the wicked magical enchantments so diligently practiced by the tyrant [Maxentius, who was in control of Rome], Constantine was convinced that he needed more powerful aid than his military forces could give him, so he sought the help of God. He believed arms and soldiery less important than the help of the power of the invincible and unshakeable God. So he considered which god he could rely on for protection and help. It occurred to him that, of the many emperors who had preceded him, those who had put their hope in a multitude of gods and served them with sacrifices and offerings had been deceived by flattering predictions and oracles promising prosperity and come to a bad end, without one of their gods warning them of the impending wrath of heaven. On the other hand, the one who alone had condemned their error, honoring the one Supreme God throughout his whole life [i.e. his father], had found him to be the Savior and Protector of his empire. Reflecting on this…, he decided it would be great folly to join in the idle worship of those who were no gods, and to err from the truth after such convincing evidence. For this reason he felt bound to honor his father’s God alone.

Constantine’s mother was Helena. She took a deep interest in the holy places in Jerusalem and lived for a time in Palestine. She claimed to find the True Cross. Christians were granted freedom of religion after the Edict of Milan was signed by Constantine (Emperor of the West) and fellow “Serbian” Licinius (who controlled the Balkins) in February 313 AD. The next month, Licinius married Constantine's half-sister Constantia. The armies of both Constantine and Licinius fought under Christian banners. Constantine’s military standard consisted of a flag suspended from the crossbar of a cross to symbolize Christ’s crucifixion. Below is a coin of Constantine (c. AD 337) showing a depiction of his banner or labarum with the Chi-Rho symbol above and spearing a serpent below.

The spearing of the cosmic serpent (evil) is a theme of the ancient Kushites also. Here Horus, overshadowed by the sun, is seated on barge. Anubis, the jackal-headed totem of Horus, spears the great serpent.

Constantine's Christian labarum was made after his vision and subsequent dream. These also are described by Eusebius.

Constantine’s vision

Accordingly Constantine called on him with earnest prayer to reveal to him who he was, and stretch forth his right hand to help him in his present difficulties. And while he was thus praying with fervent entreaty, a most extraordinary sign appeared to him from heaven – something which it might have been hard to believe had the story been told by any other person. But since the victorious emperor himself long afterwards declared it to the writer of this history, when he was honored with his acquaintance and society, and confirmed his statement by an oath, who could hesitate to believe it, especially since other testimonies have established its truth? He said that about noon, when the day was already beginning to decline, he saw with his own eyes the sign of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and bearing the inscription, “By this symbol you will conquer.” He was struck with amazement by the sight, and his whole army witnessed the miracle.

Constantine’s dream

He said that he was unsure what this apparition could mean, but that while he continued to ponder, night suddenly came on. In his sleep, the Christ of God appeared to him with the same sign which he had seen in the heavens, and commanded him to make a likeness of that sign which he had seen in the heavens, and to use it as a safeguard in all engagements with his enemies.

Constantine's Reign

Constantine’s father, Constantius I, died in AD 306 during a stay in York. York was the capital of the Roman province of Britannia Inferior. His son Constantine the Great was proclaimed Emperor by the troops based in the fortress at York. There is a statue of Constantine in the center of York. Constantine ruled from 306-337 AD.

Byzantium became the capitol of Constantine’s empire. He intended that it be the “New Rome.” Economically revitalized, Constantinople became the cultural and economic center of the east. Emperor Constantine began the construction of a series of defensive stone walls around the city in 324 AD. Constantine's wall was reinforced with towers at regular distances, and was completed under his son Constantius II who ruled from 337–361 AD. These ramparts are considered the last great fortification system of antiquity. Special commemorative coins were issued in 330 to honor the founding of Constantinople as the capitol of the New Roman Empire. The city was protected by relics, and the figures of Roman deities were replaced or Christianized. Constantine built the Church of the Holy Apostles on the site of a temple that had been dedicated to Aphrodite.

Constantinople was one of the original patriarchal sees of the Church. The others were in Antioch, Alexandria, Rome, and Jerusalem. The five cities are called the “Pentarchy” in Church history and there was a conciliar and collegial relationship among these early patriarchs. Constantinople continued to be an important city of the Byzantine Empire until it was captured by the Ottoman Turks in 1453.