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« on: September 09, 2010, 08:46:57 PM »

"STREPSIADES: Have you ever seen a beautiful, transparent stone at the druggists', with which you may kindle fire?

SOCRATES: You mean a crystal lens.

STREPSIADES: That's right. Well, now if I placed myself with this stone in the sun and a long way off from the clerk, while he was writing out the conviction, I could make all the wax, upon which the words were written, melt." -- Aristophanes, playwright, The Clouds, 419 B.C.

"Anaxagoras, Democritus, and their schools say that the milky way is the light of certain stars." -- Aristotle, philosopher, Meteorology, Book I, 350 B.C.

"Of the Galaxy or the Milky Way: It is a cloudy circle, which continually appears in the air, and by reason of the whiteness of its colors is called the galaxy, or the milky way. Some of the Pythagoreans say that, when Phaeton set the world on fire, a star falling from its own place in its circular passage through the region caused an inflammation. ... Democritus [said], that it is the splendor which ariseth from the coalition of many small bodies, which, being firmly united amongst themselves, do mutually enlighten one another." -- Plutarch, historian, On the Opinions of the Philosophers, Book III, 1st century

"He [Democritus] said that the ordered worlds are boundless and differ in size, and that in some there is neither sun nor moon, but that in others, both are greater than with us, and yet with others more in number. And that the intervals between the ordered worlds are unequal, here more and there less, and that some increase, others flourish and others decay, and here they come into being and there they are eclipsed. But that they are destroyed by colliding with one another. And that some ordered worlds are bare of animals and plants and all water." -- Hippolytus, priest, The Refutation of All Heresies, 2nd century

"He [Democritus] was a pupil of some of the Magi and Chaldaeans, whom Xerxes had left with his father as teachers, when he had been hospitably received by him, as Herodotus [Metrodorus] informs us; and from these men he, while still a boy, learned the principles of astronomy and theology." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, Life of Democritus, 3rd century

"... sight is made precise by the compass, rule, and telescope." -- Iamblichus, philosopher, Life of Pythagoras, 3rd century

"It is reported that Democritus the Abderite was wise, besides other things, in desiring to live unknown, and that he wholly endeavoured it. In pursuit whereof he travelled to many Countries; he went to the Chaldæans, and to Babylon, and to the Magi, and to the Indian Sophists. When the estate of his Father Damasippus was to be divided into three parts amongst the three Brothers, he took onely so much as might serve for his travel, and left the rest to his Brethren. For this Theophrastus commends him, that by travelling he had gained better things than Menelaus and Ulysses." -- Aelian, historian, Various History, Book IV, Chapter XX, 3rd century

"Greater things than these may be performed by refracted vision. For it is easy to see by the canons above mentioned that the greatest objects may appear exceedingly small, and the contrary, also that the most remote objects may appear just at hand, and the converse; for we can give such figures to transparent bodies, and dispose them in such order with respect to the eye and the objects, that the rays shall be refracted and bent towards any place we please, so that we shall see the object near at hand or at any distance under any angle we please. And thus from an incredible distance we may read the smallest letters, and may number the smallest particles of dust and sand, by reason of the greatness of the angle under which we see them. ... Thus also the sun, moon, and stars may be made to descend hither in appearance, and to be visible over the heads of our enemies, and many things of the like sort, which persons unacquainted with such things would refuse to believe." -- Roger Bacon, natural philosopher, Opus Majus, 1267

"[Roger Bacon] did perfectly understand all kinds of optic glasses, and knew likewise the method of combining them so as to compose some such instrument as our telescope." -- William Molyneux, natural philosopher, Dioptrica Nova, 1692

"If this steel mirror [the Pharos of Alexandria] did really exist we cannot refuse to the ancients the glory of the first invention [of the telescope], for this mirror can be only effected by as much as the light reflected by its surface was collected by another concave mirror placed at its focus, and in this consists the essence of the telescope and the merit of its construction." -- Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, historian, Natural History, 1749–88

"There is said to be distinct evidence that they [Babylonians] observed the four satellites of Jupiter, and strong reason to believe that they were acquainted likewise with the seven satellites of Saturn. ... strange as it may seem to us ... the Babylonians possessed optical instruments of the nature of telescopes, since it is impossible, even in the clear and vapor-less sky of Chaldaea, to discern the faint moons of that distant planet [Saturn] without lenses. A lens, it must be remembered, with a fair magnifying power, has been discovered amongst the Mesopotamian ruins." -- George Rawlinson, historian, The Seven Great Monarchies of the Eastern World, Volume 4: Babylon, 1862-67

"Some modern writers deny the fact that a great mirror was placed in the light-house of the Alexandrian port for the purpose of discovering vessels at a distance at sea. But the renowned [French historian] Buffon believed in it; for he honestly confesses that 'If the mirror really existed, as I firmly believe it did, to the ancients belong the honor of the invention of the telescope.'" -- Helena P. Blavatsky, theosophist, Isis Unveiled, 1877

"The credit of the discovery of the telescope has been a fruitful subject of discussion. Thus, because Democritus announced that the Milky Way is composed of vast multitudes of stars, it has been maintained that he could only have been led to form such an opinion from actual examination of the heavens with a telescope. Other passages from the Greek and Latin authors have similarly been cited to prove that the telescope was known to the ancients." -- Encyclopaedia Britannica 1888, 1893, & 1911

"The Chaldeans must have understood the manufacture of the telescope, for [Austen H.] Layard reported the discovery of a lens of power in the ruins of Babylon. Nero the emperor of Rome had optical glasses from the east." -- Drusilla D. Houston, historian, Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire, Chapter XIII: The Civilization of Babylonia, 1926

"Galileo always insisted that the ancients had telescopes." -- Ivan Van Sertima, historian, Blacks In Science: Ancient and Modern, The Lost Sciences of Africa: An Overview, 1983

"It is a short and simple step to place one lens in front of another to make a telescope, and the chances are it could have happened and many times." -- Hunter H. Adams III, archaeoastronomer, African Observers of the Universe: The Sirius Question, 1983

"I have discovered [sic] an avalanche of evidence proving the existence of a very remarkable ancient technology, one which is well and truly forbidden because it indicates that our ancestors were not idiots, and as we all know very well, if we ever admitted that, the illusion of progress would be seriously imperiled. The technology I have discovered [sic] is optical." -- Robert G. K. Temple, author, Forbidden Technology, 2009

"I call it consensus blindness. People agree not to see what they are convinced cannot exist. 'Everyone knows' that there was no optical technology in antiquity, so consequently when you come across it, staring you in the face, you go blind. End of conflict." -- Robert G. K. Temple, author, Forbidden Technology, 2009

"The ancients apparently used the telescope long before Pythagoras's time." -- Larry B. Radka, historian, Telescopes and the Ancients, 2010

Robert Temple: It started as I was having lunch one day with the science fiction writer, Arthur C Clarke. I told Arthur that I'd seen a very strange life-sized crystal skull, and he liked it so much he later made a film about it. And then in fact he used that as his logo for all his many TV films about mysterious things. And his friend said he knew a strange crystal object too. It wasn't a skull, but it was apparently an ancient lens, and I thought that was kind of strange because I didn't think there were ancient lenses. He said it was in the British Museum and he hadn't seen it, but he knew it was there, and he hoped to study it one day.

Well he died unfortunately, so I thought I'd better step into the breach and I studied it. And now it's resulted in this gigantic book.

Robyn Williams: The gigantic book is called The Crystal Sun, published here in June. Robert Temple became convinced that there must have been a telescope, and that the ancients knew how to use it. He's with Wendy Barnaby in London.

Robert Temple: Well we now know that it was used in this way because I found over 450 ancient lenses by the time I was through, and I'm still not through. These lenses were used for magnification and we know that that was going on at least by 3300BC. That's a long time ago. And they were used for starting fires by focusing the rays of the sun. They were also used for medical purposes. That is focusing the rays of the sun to cauterise wounds, and they were used for telescopes, rudimentary telescopes. Not only used for studying the moon and the stars, but for surveying. Optical surveying makes it possible to achieve great accuracy. And I think it's now pretty clear that this was the means by which the alignments of the pyramids Giza were achieved - by optical surveying techniques using these telescopes - the lenses of which I've found.

Wendy Barnaby: You've found lenses in statues, Egyptian statues. They have lenses for eyes. What sort of effect does that give?

Robert Temple: The forth and fifth dynasty statues of old kingdom Egypt which date from about 2500BC are really incredible. They're some of the finest cut and ground and polished crystal convex lenses you could ever find. The statues were made by painting a black dot at the back behind the eye, which served as the pupil. And the crystal lens then magnifies this in a way that slightly changes as you move around, so that the statue appears to be alive as it looks at you through its crystal eyes. Most alarming. There are many of these statues to be seen on display in the Cairo Museum in Egypt, and there's one very fine one in the Louvre in Paris. But I don't think any exist in Australia.

Wendy Barnaby: And nobody here actually looked at these statues and thought, ooh I wonder why that effect is with the eyes?

Robert Temple: It's amazing how people can look at things and not think anything at all. It seems to be quite common.

Wendy Barnaby: That's a very polite way of putting what you've been saying about archaeologists and people who haven't recognised what you've been finding.

Robert Temple: Well I hate to be rude about archaeologists because I have friends who are archaeologists and a lot of them are very fine folk, but they do tend to be a little bit narrow. They want to be left alone. They want to be allowed to dig - a bit like dogs who have favourite bones they're going after. And they want, if they're Egyptologists to be allowed to read their tests in peace please - no phone calls, no callers. And really they don't want to have to put larger pictures together, and they certainly don't want to have to learn anything new like astronomy or mathematics or optics. They really want to be left alone please.

Wendy Barnaby: So they think that there were no lenses really till AD?

Robert Temple: Well the conventional way of looking at this is to say that spectacles appeared in the 13th century, and the telescope appeared in the 17th century. If you were to go up to an archeologist and say did they have magnifying glasses in ancient times, or telescopes god forbid, he would probably feel inclined to faint or to scream or to look supercilious or something. But he would certainly say no. And the fact that I found over 450 ancient lenses is slightly embarrassing to this point of view, because it's kind of hard to ignore - 450 lenses - although it was successfully done until now.

Wendy Barnaby: And these lenses are just lying around in museums, are they?

Robert Temple: Yes, yes a lot of them are on public display, anybody can see them. And on the cover of my book Crystal Sun, there is a photo I took of a fragment of a Greek pot from the 5th century BC, which was excavated near the Acropolis in Athens; showing a Greek looking through a telescope. Well now this has been on public display for about 20 years in the Acropolis Museum in Athens. Millions of people have filed past it. Nobody has paid the slightest attention to it, and yet it's obviously a Greek looking through a telescope. What else can it be?

Wendy Barnaby: You've found light used in extraordinary ways in Egyptian temples, light offerings. Can you tell me about that?

Robert Temple: Yes I did. As a matter of fact when I was at Karnak in upper Egypt, my wife Olivia who's far more observant than I am because she's a painter, among her many other fine attributes, she spotted this because we were in the Shrine of Ramses III which has a roof on it. So it's an interior space which is a very fine thing indeed. And we noticed that the Pharoah was standing there making offering to the God Amon, holding an empty tray. And that on to this empty tray for only three minutes a day was projected a light offering, and I took a photograph of this and it's in the book.

The light offering showed the feather of Maat, as it's called in ancient Egyptian. And for those who don't know ancient Egyptian I'd better hasten to translate that it means cosmic order or truth or justice. And the feather of cosmic order which is what the Pharoah was meant to uphold in his job is being offered on this tray to the god. I thought that was pretty clever. And then we began to realise that the Egyptians must have been up to these tricks a lot, and we found about half a dozen examples of this kind of thing. We found the face of the god Horus illuminated once a year for 2 minutes at the winter solstice. Then there's a shaft of light that comes streaking into the chapel of Ptah at Karnak which for only 1 minute a day illuminates a carved eye

But the most important findings which I made is something so big that I don't know how anybody failed to notice it for 3500 years, which is the minimum period of time it's been there; is the winter solstice shadow that's on the great pyramid. Nobody saw it. Why? I took a photo of that, and it's very important because the second pyramid is placed in just such a way, and is just such a size that at sunset on the winter solstice it casts a shadow on the south side of the great pyramid which has exactly the same slope as the passages on the inside of the great pyramid.

We all think about building such a thing. How do you do it? And how do you get it aligned so precisely that it's accurate to one part in 7½ thousand. Obviously you can only do it with optical surveying instruments, so I was able to solve that little problem.
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« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2010, 01:44:41 AM »

Thanks BMP,

Great information and great links. I have always had an intense fascination with telescopes so I found this post especially interesting.


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