“There can perhaps be no more striking proof of the power and popularity of astrological beliefs than the influence which they have exercised over popular language. All modern idioms preserve traces of it, which we can no longer discern save with difficulty, survivals of vanished superstitions. Do we still remember, when we speak of a martial, jovial, or lunatic character, that it must have been formed by Mars, Jupiter, or the Moon…that it is one of these ‘astra’ which, if hostile, will cause me a disaster?” (Franz Cumont, Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans [London, 1912], p. 91).
Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus. Most of us are familiar with this old adage but very few, I suspect, are aware that such ideas originated during the prehistoric period. Already at the dawn of civilization, the great astral religions of Mesopotamia identified the planet Venus as the Queen of Heaven and Mars as the prototypical masculine heavenly power. Early Sumerian texts from over four thousand years ago celebrate a sacred “marriage” (hieros gamos) between the planet Venus and her youthful paramour Dumuzi (Mars) much as, many centuries later, Homer sang of the illicit sexual liaison between Aphrodite (Venus) and Ares. Even the great bard himself was beholden to such traditions—Shakespeare devoted his first major publication to the celebrated love affair between Venus and Adonis/Mars. Truth be told, the amorous adventures of Venus and Mars continue to resonate with us to this very day. How is it possible to explain the enduring appeal of these ageless traditions—not to mention their capacity to stir human emotion and inspire sublime works of art? As we document here, the archaic myth of Venus’s union with Mars commemorates extraordinary and decidedly catastrophic natural events as witnessed by ancient man the world over. Properly understood, the epochal planetary history encoded in ancient myth heralds a revolution in our understanding of the solar system’s recent history, not to mention the origins of human civilization and its most treasured institutions (religion, cosmology, drama, dance, music, sports, etc.).
The present web site offers a generous sampling of many of my published writings. Included are several chapters from Martian Metamorphoses: The Planet Mars in Ancient Myth and Religion and the companion volume The Many Faces of Venus: The Planet Venus in Ancient Myth and Religion. Also included are a number of recent, mostly-unpublished monographs on a variety of subjects:
Special thanks to Ian Tresman for his prodigious efforts and generosity in designing and hosting my website.
This site will be updated on a regular basis. Comments are welcome and will be addressed in a timely manner. (Last updated 5-22-2020) The author can be reached at email@example.com.
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