Monday, July 29, 2013

Tartessos-Tarshish-Scheria-Atlantis/ Peacocks

I have been reading Willy Ley's new book, Lands Beyond. Actually, it's a book from the 1950s era co-authored with de Camp, but I prefer to hear Ley's voice in my head, and it's a new book to me. And for the publication date stills has a very "recent news" feel, which is impressive.

Anyway, it says more about the Bibical Tarshish and the historical Tartessos than I was aware of.
I had thought that perhaps the book would deteriorate into self-indulgent fantasy when speaking about mysteries like Atlantis, and I am releived it doesn't.

One of the large ideas put forth is that the Bibical Tarshish and historical Tartessos, long thought one and the same, might also be the city of Scheria from the Odessey and (the inspiration for?) the Atlantis of Plato. This four-way misidentification sounds worth looking into!

Sadly, Tarshish doesn't seem to have a wide consensus on identification, only a slim majority of scholarly opinion. Scheria and Atlantis would be much further remove from scholarly confidence.

While I think the hypotheses of the Indian coast and Britian are rather silly, I am prepared to consider Minoan Crete and Tarsus (of Bibical Paul's birthplace in modern Turkey) and Carthage as good candidates.

Today I also looked up some bits of evidence that come from the Bible's description of Tarshish, or rather it's exports.
I had not known of the green peacock (or jungle peafowl) before (, although I did know of the Congo peacock (which is not closely related). I also did not know that the peacock is a central symbol in Japan, Babylon, and Persia, all places it is not native ( I also did not know the peacock was widely eaten in ancient times, nor did I know the peacock is kosher food (