As one approaches the island of Naxos by boat, one sees the sharp outline of Mount Za against the sky behind the harbour and town of Naxos. If Crete could boast of Dikte and Ida for Zeus to inhabit, Naxos has gone one better with Mount Za, named after the god himself. But the island was famed in ancient times for its Bacchic revels: "... Bacchatam Naxum...", Vergil, Aeneid III: 125. Since Theseus in the story took Ariadne to Dia, as Naxos was earlier called, it is worth considering for a moment the island and its history.
It was said that one Boutes, son of Boreas, brought a band of Thracian men to what is now the island of Naxos. For their wives, he brought a band of Maenads from Thessaly.
Wherever there are references to Boreas, Hyperboreans, the ox or bull, it is worth asking whether the electrical god in some form or other is involved. In this instance, we may note that the name Boutes suggests, to a Greek, oxen [bous is an ox]. There are well known stories of links between the north, Delphi, Apollo, the Hyperboreans, and Delos. There is room for speculation that the Semitic word shemal, north, may indicate 'the god up there', or 'the sign of El', and that shemal, reversed, might be El ames, the sceptre of El. The story quoted by Ginsberg [Legends of the Jewish people] of the ox seen in the sky at the time of the Exodus is perhaps less well known.
Later, King Naxos brought Karians to Dia. The island of Dia then became the island of Naxos. The name Naxos, if written in the syllabic form familiar from Mycenean Greek, and influenced by the tendency of Semitic speakers to insert a 'shewa',[ an obscure unaccented sound between two consonants, and therefore between the two halves of a double consonant such as the ks of the x sound in Naxos], gives Nakasos. The final s is the ending of the nominative singular, and, as in Latin, has no significance in such a context. We are left with Nakaso.
The Greek anax is the usual word in Homer for a warrior leader, prince or chieftain. The Greek princes, men such as Agamemnon and Ajax, are generally described as being big men.
In the Old Testament we read of a giant called Anaq. His descendants were Anaqim, the Hebrew plural form of his name. Perhaps King Naxos was a man of more than usual size.
This may seem purely speculative, but there is still today on Naxos a huge stone statue of a kouros, a Greek youth, and the island of Delos, too, had gigantic statues of Apollo and Dionysus. The hair style of a kouros resembles the hood of a cobra.
The evidence for the existence of giants is partly literary, partly archaeological. The best known literary evidence is found in the Old Testament.
In Deuteronomy, chapter II, we read that there were Emims, great, many and tall, like the Anaqim. They were accounted giants, as were the Anaqim, but the Moabites called them Emims.
Later in the chapter, v. 19, there is a reference to the inhabitants of the land of Ammon: "That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims; A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anaqim; but the Lord destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead".
Deuteronomy III: 2f. tells of Og, king of Bashan, and of his iron bedstead. Joshua XII: 4 states that Og and other giants lived at Ashtaroth and Edrei. Ashtoreth and Astarte are names of an eastern equivalent of the goddess Aphrodite.
Joshua XI: 21f. refers to the destruction of the Anaqim. Only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod were any giants left.
The hint of ka in the place names [Gaza and Gath], the link with Aphrodite [Astarte], and the position on the coast towards Egypt, all point to intense radiation in that area as one of the possible causes. Edrei, the chief town of Og's kingdom, Bashan, suggests the Hebrew eder, garment, mantle, splendour, and heder, which means splendour. The Greek hedra is a seat; the Latin hedera is ivy. Hedra is often the seat of a god, an altar, a temple, the place where a weapon fixes itself. In the plural it means the quarters of the sky where omens appear.
Numbers XXI: 33ff. mentions the defeat of Og at Edrei. I Samuel XVII tells the story of David and the Philistine champion Goliath of Gath. Goliath's brother was killed in a battle in Gob [II Samuel XXI: 19], and in another battle, in Gath, one of the four giants killed there had twelve fingers and twelve toes. There was more than one Gath in Palestine. Perhaps the name Gath is ka and at, 'power of ka', or 'ka as source'.
England has remains of giants. For example, near Aspatria, in Cumbria, there were found in a grave the bones of a giant over seven feet tall.
The discovery at Amman of sarcophagi of great size gives some support to the statement in Deuteronomy III that Og, king of Bashan, was a giant. The fact that the Philistines on the coast of Palestine spoke a language that may have been Illyrian, and that Goliath of Gath was a man of unusual size, raises the question of the origin of the Philistines. The Etruscan link that begins to emerge takes us farther afield.
Two main explanations come to mind for the existence of giants. One is that Goliath and others in Palestine were the result of mutation caused by phenomena such as those described in the Bible in the books of Exodus and Joshua and elsewhere. The other is that they came from farther afield, in which case the electrical conditions associated with the north pole and the god Bor may have been responsible. Goliath and the other giants seem to have been exceptional; Philistines in general and northern immigrants were probably comparatively large rather than gigantic.
Naxos exported marble and emery. The latter compound is carborundum plus either magnetite or haematite. Magnetite and hematite are both ferric ores. The presence of emery in Naxos was attributed to Ares, god of war. Ferric compounds would be reddish. Red was associated with Ares and with military uniforms. An axe of Naxian emery was found at Calne in Wiltshire, U. K.
Delos is dominated by a hill, Mount Cynthos. Near the top of the hill is a cave which appears to have been a shrine. The pit next to the altar may be compared to the 'well' or bothros at Alalakh, and the shrine at Chamaizi in Crete. The aim would be to attract the god to the shrine.
Theseus left Naxos and sailed to Dia. He is said to have gone to the altar made of horn, and to have performed the Crane Dance.
It may be that the Kordax, a Cretan dance in which the performers used a rope to link themselves, reflects the thread of Ariadne used by Theseus in the Cretan labyrinth.
THE THREAD OF ARIADNE
The Greek lin-is flax, and thread. Could its derivation be El, and in-, presence of El?
The Egyptian ankh could be held and pointed at a person's nose in order to give him life. There may be a link here between the Egyptians and the Hebrews. The ankh, as an electrical symbol, was a device that could kill as well as give life.
What was the nature of the thread of Ariadne which was so useful to Theseus? One difficulty in the usual account is that the labyrinth was probably a dancing floor in the open air, and Theseus would have had no trouble in seeing where he was, and anyway there is the story of the crown of light.
Can the story conceal an electrical attack on the Minotaur, the fabulous creature said to have been the offspring of Pasiphae and the bull? The Minotaur was surely a priest, perhaps even a member of the royal family, disguised by a mask, horns and tail. The crane dance which Theseus took to Delos had harps for accompaniment. Harps have divine and astronomical significance; Hermes and Apollo were the divine harpists of the Greeks.
It has been suggested that the Crane Dance, imitating the movements of birds, symbolises the "sinuosities of the labyrinth". In the dance at Knosos described by Homer, the young men each carry a gilt sacrificial knife, Greek machaira.
The crane dance may have been associated with the 'Troy game', of which a maze was a feature. One could speculate that a maze or labyrinth might symbolise the winding course of a deity or monster in the sky, with an orbit coming closer to earth at each return. A labyrinth was the place of the double axe [the thunderbolt], and the climax of the wanderings would be a confrontation. In the sky, lightning strikes would be thought to result in the defeat, sparagmos [tearing to pieces], and absorption, 'eating', of the object resembling a bull, stag, or goat. The Etruscan vacl, banquet, is the most likely explanation of the Greek word basileus, king, the one who is banqueting. The ending -eus is the same as that of King Tereus, the hoopoe in the Birds of Aristophanes; he is the observing one. Greek tereo means I watch for something, I observe.
There is food for thought in some of the place names in Crete
and the Cyclades, for example Dia, the early name for Naxos
[the Pelasgians were dioi in Homer, usually translated as
'divine'], Chamaizi [earthwards], Arkalochori, Kaloritsa,
Psychro, Kamini, Kephala [the hill at Knosos], Sangria [in
Naxos, where there was a temple of Demeter], Patara, and
Skardana [on Delos]. The Latin sacer means holy. Ankh, sankh,
are 'life', 'bring to life'; Latin sancio, I sanctify, means 'I bring to
Ariadne was said to have had a tomb on the island of Naxos.
She was also said to have had a tomb on the island of Cyprus.
The latter may reflect the close relationship of Ariadne and