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Journey to the Mythological Inferno is a Historical Non-Fiction Winners book. The author, Dr. Enrico Mattievich, is a retired professor of Physics who taught at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) for more than thirty years. In the book, Dr. Mattievich exposes his thesis about ancient contacts between Old World and America, based on Greek and Roman classical texts, leading to new ideas about America that many historians and geographers are reluctant to considered until now.
Some time ago, the writer and archaeologist Henriette Mertz suggested that the legendary voyage of Odysseus and his ship’s crew, after the Trojan War – narrated in Homer’s Odyssey – would be a trip across the Atlantic, from the Gibraltar Straits to North America(1). She also proposed that the Argonauts could have navigated down to the South Atlantic Ocean, passed the mouth of the Amazon River to Rio de la Plata, and, following it upstream, reached Bolivian Altiplano and Thiaguanaco(2). Dr. Christine Pellech also proposed that Odysseu’s voyage to the Kingdom of the Dead was a real trip to America (3).
Over five centuries ago, since Columbus set foot in America, scholars of the “New World” have been finding surprising parallels between myths, traditions, and rites of the people of America and those of the “Old World”. Specialists in prehistory and archaeology now have in their possession sufficient proof of prehistoric visits to America by ocean routes. Ceramic fragments found in Ecuador, beneath deep strata related to the Valdivia civilization, dated 3000 years B.C. and identified with the Jomon culture of Japan, are the most ancient proof of visits across the Pacific. One of those ceramic fragments had the unmistakable shape of a ship. Also in Ecuador, in the coastal site of La Tolita, skulls that have thin gold pieces in the mouth were found with other funeral remains at the circular mounds known as tolas. It has been overlooked that it was an ancient Greek custom to place a gold coin – known as obol – under the tongue of the deceased to pay for the passage on the Acheron, and that the Greek world “Tholos” is the name given to circular funerary monuments.
On the North Atlantic coast, various archaeological object and stone constructions were found together with inscriptions attributed to Celts, Phoenicians, and Libyan navigators, proving that adventurers and navigators had been crossing the Atlantic since some millennia ago. With the growth of Archaeology in the 19th century, the number of evidences was increased, mainly on botanic, artistic and linguistic areas. Recently, the discovery of cocaine in the mouth of Egyptian mummies, as well as tobacco chopped leaves along with other herbs, to prevents putrefaction, in the mummy of the great warrior pharaoh Ramses II, of the thirteen century B.C., constitute evidence in favor of ancient Greek-Phoenician contact with America. In spite of that, supporters of such early contacts could not counter the main objection of those who doubted these evidences: “Why, then, are there no indications of knowledge of America in the Old World literature?” In Journey to the Mythological Inferno, Dr. Mattievich puts an end to those objections by presenting the classical literature texts from the Old World that relate to the knowledge of America.
The Cadmus myth, written by Ovid, in his book Metamorphosis, where describes the discovery and battle of Cadmus and his Phoenician crew against an immense serpent “with a body as large as the one that separates the twin Bears” (that it’s as large as the circumpolar constellation of Draco), is, according to Dr. Mattievich, a myth immortalizing the heroic feat of the discovery and conquest of the Amazon River by the Phoenicians. The prehistoric presence of Phoenician navigators along the coast and rivers of Brazil, could be confirmed by hundreds of engraved inscriptions on rocks– called itacoatiaras – by natives of Brazil, where it’s often possible to recognize archaic Semitic and proto-Greek characters(4). The same name Brazil, according Professor Cyrus Gordon, comes from the vocable brzl, used by Canaanites to denote iron.
Prior to the publication of the book Viagem ao Inferno Mitológico in Portuguese, in Rio de Janeiro, 1992, Dr. Mattievich presented his preliminary finding in Lima (Peru) to the Peruvian archaeologists, in a conference at the National Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, on January 24, 1986. Less than three years after its publication, the book was presented at a lecture to the Pan-Macedonian Association of Melbourne, in Victoria, Australia, in January 8, 1995, which was followed by an extensive article published four days later in Neos Kosmos, Australia’s largest circulation newspaper in Greek language.
The news reported aroused the curiosity of the President of the Themistokles; Association of 5th High School Graduates of Piraeus, Mr. Antonis Nicolaras. Through Mr. Ioannis Neonakis, the Geece’s General Consul in Rio de Janeiro, Mr. Nicolaras proposed the publication of the book in Greece. The Greek language translation has been so well received that it is now on its fifth authorized printing, and some non authorized electronic versions.
The organizers of the first Greek edition, led by Mr. Nicolaras, prepared a three week long “Homeric Program”, beginning on October 6, 1995, with the book launching at the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club of Piraeus; followed by an evening gathering at the National Technical University of Athens, where Dr. Mattievich gave a lecture presenting his thesis of “America’s Discovery by Ancient Greeks”.
The thesis presented in Journey to the Mythological Inferno claims that the Greek and Roman myths related to the Under World, the House oh Hades, the Kingdom of the Deads or the Inferno, originated in South America, specifically in the Andean region of Peru, where the ruins of the Palace of Hades and Persephone, mentioned in Hesiod’s “Theogony” – written around 700 B.C. – still stand, known as Chavín de Huántar. This theory took form after his first visit to the archaeological site of Chavín de Huántar, in 1981.
The author interest in the archaeology of Chavín began when he realized that the labyrinthine structure of Chavín’s Palace could have been constructed for acoustic purposes, so as to simulate the “sound of the gods”. The thunderous sound, generated by hydraulic energy, along with the frightening appearance of the gods engraved in Chavin Palace, must have caused a terrifying effect.
Since 2008 a collaboration between the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustic (CCRMA) of Stanford University and the Archaeology/Anthropology group of the same University, start “The Chavín de Huántar Archaeological Acoustic Project”, whose purpose is to study the acoustic properties of Chavín de Huántar, which may eventually provides scientific proof to the hypothesis – “The Resounding Palace” – presented in Mattievich’s book.
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