Exodus West

Then there is the matter of the pyramids: they are not a thing of Egypt. Egypt merely has the dry climate of sand that keeps them visible, most of the time. Sometimes explorers stumble on buried ones, too: to read Egyptian histories and to count the 188 pyramids currently known leaves one with the feeling that over half of Egypt's signature landmarks are still buried somewhere.

That is not all: other climes are not so kind to old structures as the dry dust of Egypt. On the other side of the Mediterranean, rain wears things down, mud and dirt drifts to cover them; grass and thorns and trees slither in to obscure them. Even a pyramid of great size is eventually nothing but a hill of curious shape; and there are enough of those from nature herself that few will go to examine what remains within.

So in Bosnia: a valley of three pyramids, older and grander than those of Cheops, lost for five millennia.

So in Tuscan Italy: a monastery-mountain where cellars echo hollowly, and rumors linger of men who went down, and were swallowed by the earth of the four-sided mountain.

So in the hills behind Carthage, which rise like a regular chain of teeth, seven incisors reaching for the throat of the skies, the ruins of old Carthage at the center of the circle their quarter-turn indicates; but age and wind has made their clay into a cement two hundred feet thick, and no-one can go inside, no matter how Carthaginian legends extol the pleasure-palaces of the Underground God.

So in the furthest extremity of the Mediterranean: the conical twin peaks which separate that safe sea from Atlantean storms --- the Pillars of Heracles, or the mountaineous Rock of Gibraltar on the north side, and Moroccan Jebel Musa in the south.

And here our considerations take a turn towards the bizarre. Curiously enough, Jebel Musa means "the mountain of Moses". But the desert of Sinai does not lead to Gibraltar! Then again, there is something sublimely ridiculous in the people of Israel spending forty years going in circles round the smallness of Sinai, within spitting distance of their presumably still furious Egyptian overlords. What if the Exodus went west and not east --- what if the years of wandering were done in the desert of Sahara, and not Sinai? It is a terrifying "coincidence" that the Arabic name for the ambiguous Mount Sinai, where Moses got the Law from God, is... Jebel Musa, the mountain of Moses, the same as the southern ward of Gibraltar.

Considering this, one recalls the at the time ludicrous theory of Matthew Walbanger, and shudders. He maintained that the identification of the place of Israelite bondage with Egypt was an error, a mistake of later scribes who were ignorant of geography, and unsure of why the country of oppression and woe was not named. They looked across a desert toward west: they saw Egypt and took the name, though the desert they supposed, Sinai, was much too small for the timeframe, and the place, Egypt, a much too new actor on the stage to be guilty of the crimes. Walbanger's theory was that the Israelites were former slaves of Atlantis. Their departure was a part of a much greater cataclysm; one so immense that its chroniclers simply could not utter its whole immensity. It were not the pharaoh and his men that were drowned as they ran after the Israelites; it was the whole continent of Atlantis that sunk, with all its slave-built cities, all its soft indolent lords and its primeval golden pyramids. All that escaped was a chosen people, former slaves, that found refuge at the southern peak of Gibraltar, where the waters finally stopped following them. There they sat and wailed and celebrated; and there their leader went to the heights and came down with a law, and a serpent-staff to strike down the Atlantean Golden Calf some still wished to worship.

One can almost hear Moses's roar: "You fools! That damned animal is overthrown --- the unclean worship of it drowned an entire world, and you still wish to shame yourselves and your children in front of it? Cast the thing into a furnace or into the sea; be rid of it! It did not save Atlantis; worship thee rather Yahweh, the god of our forefathers, who was lord before our exile, and shall be lord again!"

Then the Chosen Ones resumed their incredible trek, forty slow, painful, loyal years in a vast torturous arc east and south, through the edges of Sahara and the heart of nomad country, passing the foul Atlantean colony of Giza by its south side, crossing the Nile at its shallow headwaters, passing to the empty quarters of Arabia... and then, after unimaginable hardships and losses, into the fertile Promised Land their ancestors had departed so long ago: the twelve tribes that survived Atlantis.

last updated: (Mar 14 2011)