Britain: Key to World History

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THIS VOLUME is a companion work to The Riddle of Prehistoric Britain in which I endeavoured to prove by evidence, gathered over a wide field from ancient and modern sources, that the British Isles were highly civilised from the earliest times, and, indeed, that Britain may be proudly enthroned as the true and original mother of civilisation. I claimed on evidence produced that the supposedly “lost island” or drowned “island-continent” given the name of “Atlantis” by Plato, was not a mere romance or myth without substance, as is generally believed, but, on the contrary, it was a serious epitome of the most stupendous natural catastrophe which has ever afflicted the human race, both because of the magnitude and the severity of that visitation. I sought, moreover, to prove that the Atlantean calamity was a variation in other words of the Flood of Noah, or, as the Greeks termed it, the Deluge of Deucalion. For this purpose evidence was derived from geographical, geological, astronomical, historical and legendary sources to the effect that this major catastrophe afflicted northern and western Europe, mainly the Scandinavian lands and beyond all the British Islands. I claimed, in fact, that the Atlantis Island was no other than the British Isles, which bear the scars of that catastrophe to this day, that Atlantis was not permanently submerged, or even much of it, tremendous though the ultimate effects were. These islands, I showed, were the true Hesperides or Happy Islands of yore, and are known to have been inhabited from the earliest Palaeolithic (or Old Stone) Age onwards, and were the original domicile of the sons of Adam, who were the Titans or Giants of classic fame, as well as being the Atlanteans of Plato.

My object, may I point out, was far greater than any mere academic effort, as some critics seemed to imagine, to identify Atlantis. The disaster to Atlantis was only indirectly my theme, for what matters is what lay and still lies behind these facts, as facts I claim they are, on the evidence. For if it were the Flood of the Scriptures it thereby brings into the orbit of Northern Europe the nations related to that event directly or indirectly, such as the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Israelites, Hellenes or Greeks, and many others. It cannot be isolated as such, for it challenges the long accepted beliefs and dogma that the Flood occurred in the Middle East the supposedly original Chaldea, as to which incidentally, in spite of most careful investigations even within recent, years, there exists not a tittle of solid geological or other evidence to support such a calamity in those regions. Inferentially if correct, it must undermine the long-accepted claims in relation to the lands we term Assyria, Egypt, and Palestine, and I fear necessarily disputes the accuracy of many modernist interpretations from inscribed stones or papyri.

In other words we have been misled in these matters. My sole aim is to get to the truth regarding the past as it bears in many striking ways upon the present.

But, let me say, if the further claims I advance in this work are sustained, it must logically signify that the segregation of Bible history as a thing apart from equivalent classic peoples has piled up completely false conceptions and valuations regarding the history of nations in past times. For example, I produce evidence to show that the Uranids of Crete, which Crete was accepted by the Greeks at least as the γετρις or motherland of the original race of mankind, were the equivalent of the people called Ur-of-the Chaldees in the Book of Genesis, and that they dwelt not in the Orient or Mediterranean, but in the British Isles.

If I prove correct in determining that such roads lead originally to that very ancient group of islands, the Shetland-Orkneys, which straddle both Scandinavia and Britain, and that these were largely shattered by a violent natural catastrophe, we begin to perceive that the Gnostics and Curetes of Crete, close kindred to the Chaldeans, were the sons of Seth or Sheth, the son of Adam from whom apparently Shet-land or Seth-land acquired its name, in the regions of Caledonia, again only a variation of Chaldea, whose sons are probably the most ancient existing race of civilised man.

The account of the last days of Atlantis is particularly valuable in research where we are told by Plato of a great war between the Atlanteans and their blood relations who crossed the sea to reach them, a war lasting thirteen years, and in the fourteenth year, when the Atlanteans were at the point of exhaustion, the city of Athens held out and defeated the enemy, but that all her warriors, like those opposed to her, were drowned. Leaving aside the statement that the original Athens held out and alone defeated the invaders it was, according to Plato, an Atlantean city, situated on that island, and thus, we must assume, the mother city of the later Athens in the Mediterranean Greece, like other early Hellenic sites. Can we, however, synchronise Plato with the Bible references to the Flood? The actual events of these dramatic thirteen years, culminating in the Great Catastrophe, is the main theme of this book.

The true arena of this veiled yet historic event, as I endeavour to show, was the clash between nations known in the Scriptures, including Gog and Magog, in which the invasion and slavery of other Bible peoples in the British Isles was the aim of the invaders. It culminated in extraordinary events both in the celestial spaces and on this unhappy earth. The final celestial disaster itself, as I described fully in my previous work, was on such an immense and concentrated scale, and at the same time so irregular in its distribution, that certain parts were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable for a long period, while yet others escaped with only comparative sufferings. Among its permanent effects were a variation in the earth’s axis, a lengthening of the solar year and a consequent change in climate whereby many nations in the north were forced to emigrate to obtain the means of subsistence.

The myth of Phaeton describes how the ill-fated son of Helios, having stolen his father’s steeds, tried to drive the chariot of the sun, but they bolted, whereby they threatened the earth’s extinction, and Zeus, seeing the whole world was thus in imminent danger of destruction, hurled Phaeton into the river Eridanus in the country of the Cimmerians. The explanation of the myth, as Plato himself records it, was the declination of celestial bodies, actually, it would seem, a twin or tandem comet, which struck the earth in the Cimmerian lands. This disastrous event is recorded on certain prehistoric Scottish zodiacs as I showed in my previous work, in which the “chariot” of Phaeton is represented symbolically as wheels with a connecting axle, described by Scottish archæologists as “spectacles”, they being naturally innocent of the intention of these stones probably erected by the sons of Seth, or, say, Chaldeans, in the Caledonian lands.

The Cimmerians, in whose country this disaster happened, and where flowed the river Eridanus, converts the mythological into reality. They agree with the Cymry of Britain, the Cimbri of Scandinavian lands, the people known to classic poets as the Hyperboreans, dwellers beyond the north wind, the Galatai of Pausanias, the Gauls or Gaels, or Celts, always the tall, fair-haired and blue-eyed Men of the north. So Phaeton must compel us to understand the myth by making us look to the north of Europe, where he was thrown to earth. In a true revision of the prehistoric past the Mediterranean becomes only a very secondary settlement of the ruling races of mankind from the beginning.

Britain’s remote ancestors through many centuries erected an advanced civilization, built walled cities, with towns, villages, and ports, and sailed ocean-going ships, being a maritime people of great fame. They erected also chains of powerful fortresses some of which have survived the vicissitudes caused by man and the elements for well over three thousand years, laid long, straight roads, and constructed canals which transported goods from one end of Britain to the other. Her sons faced hazardous voyages, long before deep-sea soundings were undertaken, to the most distant parts of the earth, and established trading centres and commerce while their main search was ever for gold. They manufactured jewels employing gold, silver and bronze, besides precious stones. At an early date they mastered the science of how to manufacture bronze, designed weapons of warfare, and discovered the secret art of how to make and use fire-arms, otherwise “black magic.”

Solomon built up his wealth and made the Israelites in his age the dominating people by his knowledge of “magic,” an art described by Josephus in these words, “God also enabled him to learn that skill which expels demons, which is a skill useful and sanative to man.” Incidentally, Solomon was a Grand Master of prehistoric Freemasonry—a very ancient fraternity earlier known as the Cabiri gods — its origin often attributed to him, and some of the mystic ceremonies used in the Masonic cult are probably derived from his epoch, yet how many present-day Masons can understand the inner meaning of the two hollow pillars Jachin. and. Boaz, which they are so fond of symbolising?

In the great migration, induced largely by pre-knowledge of what was about to happen owing to celestial phenomena, judging from certain passages of Jeremiah, the Israelites in their Exodus were led through dark, arctic wastes, “where no man dwelt,” the Siberian lands. Many emigrants found their way to the shores of the Mediterranean, others went by the rivers Volga, Vistula, Dneiper and Dneister to the Crimea, onwards into Asia Minor and thence to the Middle East where we find in Irak what appear to be prehistoric Gothic inscriptions and occult designs as to which much might be said. In a totally different direction, across the North’ Atlantic, others made hazardous voyages and endured terrible privations in search of the sun, and settled finally in America, mostly in Mexico, ages before Columbus discovered that continent. Many again went south-west into France, Spain and Portugal, hugging the Atlantic, or migrating into North Africa.

The land we now call Egypt was colonised then or not much earlier as shown by astronomical evidence, and was originally peopled by fair Celts from the shores of Britain. This was the Exodus of the Aryans, some of whom returned later to their primeval homes, and about a century after, perhaps in some cases in less time, when earlier fears had been dissipated—for humanity rarely learns from the past—and the fertile British lands invited newcomers, these islands were again occupied by nations crossing the narrow seas, including especially those whom Geoffrey of Monmouth names the Trojans, and, our modern anthropologists, the Goidels.

Panic and a change of climate in the northern lands were the main inspiration which sent these peoples on their long and sad treks in search of new domiciles. The edifices and religion of Egypt speak eloquently of the instinct of terror as their guiding motive, as I also showed in my previous work. The famous Egyptian Book of the Dead, influenced completely by the epic of the Flood and composed in the name of Thoth (Hermes), in its ritual caused the souls of the dead to undergo a fanciful, final, gloomy pilgrimage to the sacred west, indeed, I contend, to the very scene of the former shambles in Western Scotland, to the legendary Amenta, identified as the tiny island of Staffa, near Iona, in the Hebrides, where the wandering spirits were supposed to be judged by Osiris, and were rewarded or consumed according to their lives on earth. Staffa lay in the very vortex of the greatest area of destruction at the time of the Flood—water being but one element concerned—and later became the Underworld of the Celts as it was of the Hellenes.

The Flood, to the world generally a vague and nebulous tradition, really conceals the most appalling visitation mankind has ever experienced, as he may experience again, and its ravages in the British Isles and Scandinavian lands may be retraced to some considerable extent by the effects of what geologists term the “Drift” Age. It was no mere ice drift. It was sudden and terribly swift and violent.

My present volume, as I mentioned, traces the course of the thirteen-years’ war to its origin and source and elucidates the main arena of that dramatic Conflict which stares us in the face in the Scriptures if we know where to seek for it. To be enabled to accomplish this it has necessitated the identification of the most important regions overrun by the invaders from the furthermost north and from the direction of the Baltic and Low Countries. Much attention has been directed to the lands of the west, mainly Somerset and Wiltshire, so important for various reasons, where I have claimed to identify sites known to readers of the Scriptures, some of which survive and flourish to this day. The complete annihilation of cities by man is not so easy as it may seem. Jerusalem was said to be destroyed stone by stone by Hadrian and yet it still exists as a most important capital!

In the arrangement I have found it advisable to devote the opening part to the consideration of Crete—the original Crete of Homer—because of its former great importance in the world of prehistory. The third section describes in detail the scene and action of the thirteen-years’ war and especially the part enacted in it by Jerusalem. When this is understood it will be apparent how advanced, wealthy, and highly civilised Britain was up to the Roman occupation, and thereby to reflect how sad it is that Roman ignorance, tyranny, and censorship have for long centuries presented an utterly false impression of the courage, genius, and enterprise of the various states of the island they so coveted, robbed and left in a condition of chaos.

One further important point needs to be emphasised. The history of the civilised world in the past had little or nothing in common with Asia or Africa, and to get to the truth we must raise the latitude of Europe to the lands mainly prominent, and even largely forget the Mediterranean Sea. The Aryan or white race, with fair or red hair and blue eyes, never had any racial connection with the Oriental peoples, the brown-skinned, dark-eyed, and dark-haired races. The law of Latitude forbids it, just as the northern Aryans who invaded India and settled there as rulers and princes, despite the rigid law of caste they formulated, in the course of a few generations became absorbed in the native population, as also happened in Mexico. Indeed, the world’s civilisation owes less than nothing to the Asiatic peoples. Even the Persians, who tyrannised for centuries over the West, through treachery and the use of “magic,” can really be traced to Russia and the Russians, their characteristics throughout the centuries scarcely if at all changed other than in name, and who in their decadence were overthrown and driven back to their oriental bounds by Alexander the Great.

Virile races do not die out without a trace. We are told by historians that the Thracians disappeared from their lands by the Hellespont and yet Herodotus says that they were the most powerful people in Europe who dissipated their strength by tribal quarrels. They did not disappear from Balkan lands, for they were never there. Transfer Pontus or the Euxine Sea, or the Hellespont, to where they really belonged geographically, namely the Baltic and Skagerrak, and you will find the ‘Thracians readily enough. They were the Scandinavians, and were apparently settled from primeval times also in Northern Scotland, close kindred of the Caledonians, who like them held wives in common, tattooed themselves, buried wives alive with their husbands, adored single combat, claimed descent from Hermes, worshipped Dionysus as their principal deity, raised mounds over the graves of their great chiefs and held funeral games, all of which were also the characteristics of Odin’s followers. It suffices to add that the country beyond their northern frontiers was uninhabitable by reason of the icy cold, for it lay under the Bear—the North Pole.

Take again the Trojans of classic fame. They were a very brave and fine nation, advanced in civilisation, who offered sacrifices to the dead of bowls of warm milk, goblets of wine, and also raised funeral mounds. Where do you find such mounds or barrows? All over the Scandinavian lands and in Denmark as in Britain, but never in the Near East. They shook hands with one another, and anyone who knows the East is aware that such was never an Oriental custom. How can we explain Virgil’s statement of King Priam, slain and mutilated by Pyrrhus, as he sat on his “sacred throne,” that he had been “proud monarch over so many countries and nations”? But this we can say. The Trojans, after the Great Catastrophe, settled in great numbers in Britain known as the Brigantes, whose history I trace, showing incidentally that Rome was founded by men of this very nation, and that they became the ruling people in Britain south of the Clyde and Forth. They never originated in Asia Minor, but as will be seen from Ascania, Denmark and the Low Countries, from the regions later known as Freesia.

The Macedonians? Well, Thracians, Cretans, Caledonians, and Macedonians were all of one kindred, and they can be tracked down to their habitat in Scotland and Scandinavia, having many areas in England as well. Illyria? Why does Jerusalem appear to have been regarded as in Illyria? It was not originally by the Adriatic Sea in the Mediterranean area. Transfer the Greek or Latin name to its British rendering, Siluria, and we begin to recognise how the history of the Hebrews—the Iberes of Britain—was so largely played out in this island. How few appreciate the true history of the risings of the Silures against the Romans, and who fought with such fatal gallantry in a succession of wars opposing them especially in the region south of the Forth, yet thus shall we be getting nearer to the truth. It will be apparent, in short, that Armageddon was the same event as the Great Catastrophe and that Jerusalem lay—and still stands a great and noble city—in Britain. If this sounds a stupendous claim to make it nevertheless fits in with the rest.

How many persons are aware that in A.D. 134, after Hadrian had defeated the Jews under Bar Cocheba, their proclaimed Messiah, and had captured their stronghold of Bathars, he caused Jerusalem to be utterly destroyed and the land devastated, with the result that it was full of graves, the markets with slaves, and towns given over to wolves and wild beasts? How many more realise that the site of Jerusalem was completely forgotten for over two hundred years until Constantine the Great caused it to be “discovered” for political motives in the present Palestine?

As I show in the following pages the Palestine of to-day fails to correspond in any way to the Old Testament or, come to that, of the New. A writer, Mr. H. D. Daunt, several years ago in a work entitled The Centre of Ancient Civilisation, denied that Palestine was the Biblical Holy Land for definite reasons. He claimed that (a) the assumption is based on Hebrew documents alone; (b) the account of the Israelites being made slaves and fleeing from the Egyptian Pharaoh, is not borne out by any other evidence, but the contrary – an exodus in the region of Sinai for forty years with 600,000 warriors is an impossible story;(d) Palestine, despite the accounts of its fertility and wealth, is perhaps the poorest land in West Asia apart from the deserts; (e) such a civilisation with its many cities must have left its traces in the records of the neighbouring countries, but “Palestine yields only the evidence derived from names that have been scattered industriously about the land in various later centuries”; (f) there is frequent mention by scribes, archives, etc., so the art of writing must have been well known; and, moreover, princes and scribes seem to have possessed strong literary proclivities, yet, “notwithstanding all this, not a single inscription has been found in Palestine which can be identified with the Hebrew kingdom”; (g) Jerusalem has failed to, produce any trace of David and Solomon, any tablet or inscription or even foundation memorial. It might be added that the city entirely fails to conform topographically with its full descriptions given by Josephus and Nehemiah.

The name of “Europe” was originally limited to a part of western England, and continental Europe was Asia. To study a map of Europe so late as at the height of the Roman Empire, as prepared from the conventional acceptation of ancient geography, is a pathetic vision of emptiness. Except for Southern Italy, Greece, and Asia Minor, it contains Celtica, a vast and vague region stretching from the Atlantic to Venetia, and above it, east of the Rhine, “Germania” stretches far to the east with a few vague names. Dacia, Moesia, and Thrace occupy the Balkan lands, and the Ister is interpreted as the Danube, whereas it should be the Rhine, similarly as the Halys River is placed in Asia Minor but was the later Alvis or Albis, now the Elbe. These are a few names chosen at haphazard.

If I am right in these statements the question may well be asked how it all came about. The answer lies probably in the fact that the historians of the past on whom we have to rely were mostly the Greeks, and more especially Herodotus. But these Greeks were themselves very circumscribed in their knowledge of the world. They were unacquainted with geography because foreign travel was not in their purview, and mostly they derived their knowledge from the Phoenicians whose purpose was by no means necessarily served by widening Greek knowledge. They wrote their history from records or traditions, but their geography was vague. I first realised such shortcomings when I attempted to trace the detailed march of Xerxes from Persia to Athens along accepted lines, but before long I realised that his history simply could not possibly fit in with modern conceptions, and compelled me to follow out fresh investigations with surprising results.

As far as Bible geography is concerned it appears that the main person responsible for its misinterpretation was Constantine the Great, who had definite motives for transferring the arena of Jewish history and that of Christ to another region altogether. He used Christianity as a valuable political asset, selected the East as his Empire, and with the aid of Eusebius, Jerome and others, invented the present Palestine. I cannot explore this very important and fascinating theme now, but hope to undertake it in the not very, distant future, in a life of that remarkable monarch who was born in York, in the Bedern. If this be correct the present-day Jews, who make a historical claim to Palestine, are utterly wide of the mark.

My aim throughout, as I hope the reader will appreciate, is to reconstruct the past history of the world in which it appears that Britain, or, more properly, the British Islands, played so prominent a part. But one cannot correctly report history unless the geography is also accurate, and so the position of countries and historic cities becomes of major importance. In my former book as in this I have seemingly taken great liberties with geography and I have to confess that in a subject so confusing and big, it is difficult to be always accurate. It means much research.

Plato’s famous Atlantis, as a matter of fact, knocks conventional geography, and all the history or traditions attached to it, sky-high. Ignatius Donnelly, in his work Atlantis, said truly that “the history of Atlantis is the key to Greek mythology,” as, indeed, is the case. Yet that mythology all points unhesitatingly to the earliest civilisation as occurring in the Atlantic regions and not at all in the Mediterranean or in Asia-Minor. Above all, the history of the Old Testament is the history of Atlantis. That these truths will be accepted is more than I would dare to believe. The world is misled to-day about the past and the truth lies at the bottom of a very deep well. I can only presume to be a humble pioneer, but hope that I may be able to hew a rough track which others may widen into a great artery for the enlightenment of future generations.

The Foreword to Britain – Key to World History [1948], by William Comyns Beaumont.
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