Books

HAMLET’S MILL by Giorgio de Santillana & Hertha von Dechend

As many have noted, HAMLET’S MILL is not an easy read. It is written by scholars who are fluent in many languages (French, German, Latin and Greek) and because this was published in 1969, they don’t always translate remarks made in these languages into English.

As such, this book is really for dipping, NOT for reading from cover to cover, unless you happen to be looking for something specific (as I was.)

Having said all that, I found this book fascinating. What particularly struck me was how Ancient people envisioned the earth. If you ask most people nowadays what they mean by “the earth,” they will tell you about our spinning orb, with its ocean and mountains, its flora & fauna, its orbit around sun and moon.

But that is NOT what the Ancients meant by that term. They meant celestial happenings in the sky, which impacted their lives on earth. Sometimes these phenomena were real, such as comets and the precession of the North Pole. Sometimes these phenomena were symbolic, where gods were associated with planets and Saturn was the First King of the Golden Age.

The take-home message for me is that when encountering Ancient myths, we have to ask ourselves whether the geography of the myth really takes place down here on earth, or up in the heavens.

If you are interested in the origins of myth, and you wish to read something that has strong academic credentials behind it, then this book is for you. Five stars.

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