The Leprachauns of Palestine

According to Robert Graves (Greek Myths 1:2), the earliest inhabitants of Argos were the Pelasgians, who reached the Greek peninsula from Kena'an about 3500 BCE. 

Argos is the province of Argolis in the Peloponnesus peninsula, according to some historians, though an Argos also existed in Scythia, and another Argos in the territory of the Pheacii, who dwelt near the Cyclopes, in the north of Thrace where Bulgaria and Romania now lie: we shall see why this is significant later on, when we explore the arrival of the Tuatha de Dannan (pronounced Thoo-a day Du-nonin Eireland, via Denmark, from Greece, driven out of Argos when the Phoenicians invaded and captured the shrine of Io (Yah).

Cretans colonised Argos circa 1750 BCE (Jason's "Argo" sailed around 1225 BCE). Europa went from Phoenicia to Crete in 1400 BCE. The shrine of Io at Argos was Danaan until the Phoenicians captured it - prior to this, it had been the religious capital of the Peleponnese since its foundation by Cretans in 1750 BCE.

Strabo quotes Euripides (2:4) as recording that the Pelasgians adopted the name Danaans in honour of their leader DanausHomer interchanges this name with Achaeans and Argives for the Greeks throughout the "Iliad". The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus claimed that Danaus was a Pelasgian of the family of the Arimii, whose true name had been Armais (Ap.I.15), a name connected etymologically with Mount Chermon, where the tribe of Dan lived after their expulsion from the Mediterranean coast; and it is interesting that the Milesians who conquered Eireland were divided between the Eremon and the Eber, which may well be a language variant of the Arimii and the Habiru or Hebrews. Can we then identify these aboriginal refugees from Kena'an (Canaan) with the leprechauns of Eireland?

Herodotus tells us that King Belus, who ruled at Chemmis in Thebes, was the twin-brother of Agenor; the Phoenicians pronounced it Achnor or Chnas, and he appears in the Tanach as Kena'an. Apollodorus (3.1.1), Hyginus (Fabulae 178 and 19), and Pausanias (V.25.7) all confirm this link between Agenor and Kena'an. His wife was Anchinoe, daughter of Nilus, and their twin children were Aegyptus and Danaus. Danaus was sent to rule Lybia, and had fifty daughters known as the Danaids. When Belus died, the twins quarrelled over his inheritance; Danaus fled and settled in the Peloponnese, dedicating a temple to Athene at Rhodos, building the citadel of Argos (this is disputed by Pausanias who says Argos was already there, but named Phoronicum, after the god Phoroneus who many identify with Ephron the Hittite, from whom Av-Raham bought the Cave of Machpelah), and bringing the Mysteries of Demeter, or the Thesmophoria, to Greece. Danaus was finally murdered by Lynceus, he of the extraordinary long-sightedness who served as look-out on the coincidentally-named Argo for Jason.

Belus is of course a variant name for Ba'al or Bel, which might suggest that the Danaans of Kena'an were themselves Ba'al-worshippers. If this were so, we would find evidence of sun-worship in the tribal myths of Dan – I will speak at length about Shimshon (Samson) in a moment - as well as evidence of Ba'al's moon-goddess wife, known to the Kena'anim as Anat, a form of the Mesopotamian Ishtar and the Assyrian Astarte, and etymologically a variant of the Libyan Nethe and the Greek Athene. And so indeed we do; her shrine was at Beit Anatot (Yirme-Yahu's - Jeremiah's - birthplace, incidentally), the Bethany of the Christian Bible. 

The fifty Danaids were a college of priestesses dedicated to the Pelasgian moon-goddess Danae, the same moon-goddess by another local name. To the Sumerians she was Dam-kina. To the Romans she became Diana, and her central shrine was at Ephesus, the very place where, in the 3rd century CE, the Christian patriarchs established the cult of the mother-goddess Mary. Danae was the great-grand-daughter of Danaus. Her Kena'ani equivalent was Dinah, Ya'akov's (Jacob's) only daughter; she who was raped by the sons of Shechem and revenged by Shim'on and Levi. Danae was also raped, by her uncle Proteus. Incidentally, Danae's fate was to be locked in a wooden ark and cast into the sea with her baby child – an equivalent not of Mosheh, but of Perseus.

The bull-leaper of Knossos

The thirteenth chapter of the Book of Judges begins with the statement that the Beney Yisra-El were delivered into the hands of the Pelishtim (Philistines) for forty years, the Pelishtim being Phoenicians who had fled Crete when the Temple of Knossos was destroyed; in other words, a people of the same ethnic root as the Pelasgian Danaans. At that time a man named Mano'ach, from the tribe of Dan in TSAR'AH (צרעה), had a wife who was barren. The motif is common to the Tanach, and gives us an ancient echo of the fertility-cults that surrounded the moon-goddess: Sarah, Rivkah (Rebecca) and Rachel, as Chanah (Hannah) later, were all barren, but YHVH (or actually the goddess, Yah, the sister of Ephron-Phoroneus; only the Rabbis have removed the goddess from their patriarchal cult) likewise enabled them to conceive. On the Pelasgian principal, we must reinstate the moon-and-fertility goddess, either Dinah or Danae or Anat, or later Mary, and thank her, not YHVH, for the gift of fertility.

The child being born, he was dedicated to the Temple as a Nazirite (Judges 13:5), meaning "one who is consecrated". The sixth chapter of the Book of Numbers tells us that "when either man or woman shall clearly utter a vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to consecrate himself unto the Lord, he shall abstain from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar of wine, nor vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat fresh grapes or dried. All the days of his Naziriteship shall he eat nothing that is made of the grape vine, from the pressed grapes even to the grape-stone." 

What we should make of this, given the facts of Shimshon's life, I shall return to later, noting now only that there are rather too many contradictions for comfort. The Book of Numbers continues: "All the days of his vow of Naziriteship no razor shall come upon his head; until the days be fulfilled, in which he consecrates himself to the Lord, he shall be holy, he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow long". In Greek and other iconography, including the Celtic, the sun-hero is invariably depicted with long, golden locks, symbolic of the sun's rays. It is surely no coincidence that Samson in Yehudit is Shimshon (שמשן), the root being Shemesh (שמש), the sun. The Aramaic equivalent of Shemesh is Tammuz, the endlessly dying endlessly reborn son of the moon-goddess Inanna, equivalent to Egyptian Osher (Osiris), Assyrian Adonis, Greek Attis, Christian Jesus. Ezekiel tells us (8:14) that Tammuz was worshipped at the north gate of the Temple in Yeru-Shala'im as late as the time of the Babylonian exile, in the 6th century BCE, and he identifies this worship (8:16) with the sun cult. Tammuz's nativity in Yisra-El is identified with Bethlehem – Beth Lechem Ephratah is its full name, which means in Yehudit "the House of the Corn God of the Euphrates".

Why the north gate? Because the north is the "dark realm", the one quarter in which the sun never travels on his daily journey across the heavens. The Greek god of the north was Boreas, depicted iconographically as an oracular serpent, and always in the company of the moon-goddess – the story of the Garden of Eden reflects this pairing. The Egyptians called him Ophion. According to Herodotus, the Pelasgians claimed that their first ancestors were sewn from the teeth of Ophion – as their later descendant Jason would himself sew them, breeding them from the hydra by process of bifurcation. The north gate was Tammuz's gate when he went down into the Underworld, and winter came, and infertility; the women wept there for his loss, exactly as Mary and Martha did at Jesus' sepulchre (Luke 24), yearning for the rebirth of the world through his annual rebirth in the spring.

Nicolas Poussin: Venus Weeping for Adonis, 1626

The adventures of Shimshon (Judges 13-16) echo marvellously those of the Pelasgian sun-hero Herakles, as well as those of the Irish sun-hero Cúchulainn. His battle with the lion in the vineyard of Timnah; his eating of the honey from the lion's carcase; the thirty companions who surround him; the seven day feats; the riddles ("out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness"); the single-handed decimation of the town of Ashkelon; his catching of the three hundred foxes; his devastation by fire of the vineyards, olive groves and corn fields; his single-handed slaughter of the Pelishtim before his escape to the cave of Eytam; the fact that it took three thousand men of Yehudah to bind him and hand him over to the Pelishtim at Lechi (Lechi means a jaw-bone, and jaw-bones were commonly used as oracular devices by moon-priestesses), and the ease with which he divested himself even of those bonds; his slaughter of a thousand men with – that symbol again – the jawbone of an ass; the claim in the Book of Judges that he was a giant. These are not the tales of a Judge who ruled in Yisra-El for twenty years, let alone those of a Nazirite dedicated from birth to Temple service (and besides, the Solomonic Temple being still two hundred years away, to which Temple was it, pray, that he was dedicated?); but of a mighty hero, a Hercules in the Roman version, labouring in each of the twelve zodiacal months. And so he was. And his first wife, we are told, (14:1) was from among the Pelishtim, not the Banot Yisra-El.

The centrepiece of the Shimshon story is the tale of the woman whom he loved in the valley of Sorek, by name Delilah. The Pelishtim entice her to find his weakness, and to hand him over to them; she succeeds in learning the secret of his hair; it is shorn and he becomes blind and powerless, is bound to the pillars in the temple of Dagon in Azah (Gaza), where he pulls down the roof on all their heads and dies with his enemies. So much for the Biblical account.

In the aetiological myths – those legends created to explain the workings of the universe – there is invariably a tale of the sun-god and the moon-goddess, though very occasionally it is the sun-goddess and the moon-god. The sun rules by day, the moon by night; and like all married couples, they squabble, and fight, and both wish to predominate. So the sun by day pushes the moon into the shadows; so, at night, the moon creeps up on the sun, and takes away his power by dimming his rays: symbolically, metaphorically, the act of shaving his hair, his sunbeams. If Shimshon is the sun-hero, Delilah must be the moon-heroine. Can it be coincidence then, that the name Delilah (דְּלִילָה
) derives from the root Lailah (לַיְלָה), which means night? The DI prefix simply denotes that her name is being rendered in its Aramaic rather than its Yehudit form.

The tribe of Dan were amongst the earliest of those tribes who would later form the Confederation of the Beney Yisra-El; but when the Pelishtim acquired the Coast of Sharon and the Azah Strip, they moved, in part to La'ish, along the slopes of Mount Chermon, in part on ships, in search of a new home, which they found across the Phoenician trading empire that would soon enough be bifurcated into Greece and Troy. They who the Beney Yisra-El called Dan, the Greeks would call Danaans. They were, indeed, marvellous travellers. The epic of Danaus, which Homer recounts in the "Iliad", is the foundation legend of the city of Argos, one of the foremost Mycenaean cities of the Peloponnesus, and the principal antagonist in the wars against the Trojans. This epic history takes place in the land of Hellada, and in the regions of the lower Danube. Homer often calls the Greeks Danai, after the name of Danaus, who reigned over Hellada (or correctly Ellada), using the name as a generic description of all the Greeks. Dan in the Yehudit plural would be Danim.

The principal Danaan colonies were in central and eastern Europe, and in north Africa, the lands abutting the Black Sea to the north of Greece especially, and those easily obtained by sea-route across the Mediterranean. In Bulgaria, Danaus survives in the epic songs as Dan Ban, Dan Voivodul, Dan Voivodul Roman, and Dan Voivodul Valachiei, the latter meaning simply "Dan, the Romanian prince, the prince of Walachia". He is usually depicted riding a horse in readiness for departure (Sezatoarea, Falticeni, An. IV. p. 11. 15; Hasdeu, Etym. magn. Tom. IV, p. CLVI). His territories were the shore of the Black Sea, the banks of the Danube (to which he gave his name), and the surrounding mountains. The Bulgarian poems tell of his many daughters and their flight to Tera Romanesca. So, in a carol from Bulgaria it is said: "Is Voivode Dan thinking to flee to Tera Romanesca, or to plunder? His wife is brought from a foreign country, from near the Black Sea" – Atlantia, according to the Greeks.

In Romanian the family of Dan is regarded as its most ancient, alongside the Dragulescii, who came from Bessarabia; but it was Dan-Voda who reigned in Oltenia before the founding of the Romanian state by Negru-Voda. And according to the Archbishop of Strigon, Nicolae Olahus (Hungaria et Atila, Vindob. 1763, p. 55), the territory of Hungarian Dacia was originally inhabited by Dani, "but these, frightened by the arrival of the Huns, had migrated with their families and their men to the maritime lands of the north, which today are called Dania and Norvegia" (ibid p12).

To this claim that the Danaans gave their name to Denmark we can add similar claims made about Doncaster in England, and of course both rivers Don and Danube. The ancient Brythons – later Britons – who became the Cymru and founded Cumbria and the land that would later become known as Wales, likewise claim Pelasgian origins, and the Biblical references to Gomer and the Cimmerians (Genesis 10, 1 Chronicles 1:5 et al) both appear to complete the connection. 

According to the legends, the Jews first came to England long before it was called England, as traders at the time of King Hu-Ram of Tsur (Hiram of Tyre), in the days when King Shelomoh (Solomon) built the Temple in Yeru-Shala'im. They came to this land, which they called Cassiterides, a word that meant "Land's End", and not because it was the tip of the continent but because, to them, it was the most distant point of the known universe. They came to purchase lead and calamine and zinc from the quarries of Somerset, and especially tin out of the mines of Cornwall, which the Phoenician sailing ships took first to Tarshish, or Tartessus, on the coast of Spain, and thence to all ports on the Mediterranean. The name "Britain" probably derives from the trade, from "Brit Anach", which means a "tin-covenant" in the Yehudit of the Bible - in simple terms, a trading contract.

As to the Cymru or Cumbrians, Gomer is a son of Yaphet (Japheth, but elsewhere Yiphtach), the Greek Iapetus who sacrificed his daughter. Ezekiel (38:6) counts Gomer in the army of Gog Magog (Gog son of Gog, or Gog MacGog in Scottish), and identifies Gomer as a land of the extreme north associated with the Scythians. His brothers include Yavan, which is the Yehudit name for Greece; Tuval, whom the Greeks called Tabali or Tibareni: Anatolian tribesmen described by Herodotus as neighbours of the iron-working Chalybes; and Meshech, who were probably the Moschi, a tribe inhabiting the mountainous region between Armenia and Colchis, usually linked with the Tibareni. The Scythians almost certainly gave their name to the Scots, arriving like most of the early Celtic settlers of Britain from the Danaan colony in Tarshish. So too do the most ancient colonisers of Eireland claim Pelasgian origins, a people known in the Celtic tongue as the Tuatha de Danau or Danann, the worshippers of Danaus and Danae.

Their religion, the ancient Celtic religion, revolves around myths and legends remarkably reminiscent of both Greek and Yisra-Eli legends. The tales of Cúchulainn (pronouned Ku-kullin) the sun-hero in particular - slayer of the Herculean serpent from whom in ancient times was hatched the Orphic egg - which were absorbed by Christianity into the legends of St Patrick and others, in order to replace the "heathen" with the "true faith": the process by which "gods" became "fairies" and "religious myths" "fairy tales". Cinderella and the Sleeping Beauty, originally, were tales of Demeter and Persephone, the waxing moon phase of the cycle of the triple-goddess – anathema to Christianity and so reduced to children's story. Absorbed, reduced, in the Irish case, into the tales of what are called the leprechauns – leipreachán or luchorpán - pigmies, sprites, half-bodied or small-bodied creatures capable of any sort of mischief; whereas originally they were gods and legendary heroes, the Av-Rahams and Ya'akov of their people, the followers of Cúchulainn's father Lugh Llaw, the leader of the Tuatha de Danann - that name itself probably derives from the Celtic "luch-chromain", meaning "little stooping Lugh", because Lugh himself was not a giant, though a hero for all that; and much later on became both King Lear and Ned Ludd!

The priests of this ancient cult, the Druids, resemble in many ways the early Biblical prophets like Shmu-El (Samuel); and not surprisingly, because the word, which is properly Drawid or Derwid, is linked through that "common source" that also engendered Sanskrit, the word in both languages meaning "oak seer", or more helpfully, in paraphrase, the oracular prophet of the sacred oak-grove. The Dravidians were also, of course, a people, occupying much of southern India, and sharing, yet again, much of the aetiological belief system that we find across the Middle East. To understand what the Tuatha de Danann of Eireland originally believed, and how they practised it, and what that creature was whom Christianity reduced into a naughty dwarf, we need look no further than the Book of Genesis and the "Iliad" of Homer.

The Tuatha de Danann and their religion passed away long ago, in the wake of other conquests long before the arrival of Christianity, particularly that of the Milesians of Spain; but still alive in certain ways, residual in the legends of Nuada and the Firbolgs, of Lugh Llaw and the Dagda, of the Morrigan and Fergus; residual in the language too, where Mac, meaning "son of", is a softening of the Phoenician "Mag", as in the Biblical Gog Mag Og: Arabic sources give Yajuj and Majuj, and interestingly there are Chinese equivalents, such as Chin MaChin, though in their case Ma designates the birthplace rather than the birthfather, a variation often also used in Yehudit.

Absorbed into Christianity or reduced to fairy-tales, the ancient priests and priestesses of the sun-god and the moon-goddess, their prophets and their oracles, are now no more than "little people", leprechauns to be precise. But trace back to their origins and you will find that they were giants in Kena'an long before they became cartooned as "the little people" of Eire.



British legends corroborate the theories expounded above. One legend claims that Jacob's Pillow (Genesis 28:18), which had been used as one of the cornerstones of the Temple, was saved from the Babylonian destruction, and included with those treasures brought to England by Danite refugees. Among the refugees was also a princess of Yehudah, and the scribe and apocryphal prophet Baruch. The boat was heading for Cornwall, but ran aground off Eire. The Jewish princess married a local non-Jewish chieftain (such is still, alas, all-too-often the case today), and the Temple Stone became the Stone of Scone, the Coronation Stone used to anoint, among others, Macbeth, but now housed in Westminster Abbey. It was from this very marriage that the first royal house of Britain was established.

One further theory bears rumination here, that of the "lost" ten tribes. When Sennacherib conquered the northern kingdom of Israel in 720 BCE, the Israelites were taken into exile in the lands of Halah and Ha'or, in Scythia, whose native people were the Khumri. As has been observed already, these people later emigrated westwards, settling at last in the Hyperborean Islands, or Great Britain as we now think of it. By slight variation in dialect, Scythians became Scots, Khumri became Cymru or Cumbrians. Recent archaeology has now identified a third group, known as the Sacai, who settled in the marshlands of what is now Germany. They took their name originally from Isaac, and they became the Saxons.

Copyright © 2019 David Prashker

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