Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Exodus Lost

Exodus LostExodus Lost by S.C. Compton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When the Spaniards arrived in the New World, the Aztecs treated them like returning gods, mistaking them for Quetzalcoatl and handing over their empire. In Exodus Lost, S C Compton asks why.

In my younger days, I loved bits of possible history like this book so it was a no brainer when it popped up on my FreeBooksy email a couple weeks ago.

In Exodus Lost, S.C. Compton builds a convincing case that people from the Middle East visited the Olmecs and their descendants in what are now Central and South America. For instance, both cultures used the same laborious process to make purple dye from sea snails. Both the Quetzalcoatl and the Egyptian Pharaohs use the feathered serpent as a symbol. Throw in shared alphabetic characters and commonalities in language and mythology and it's off to the races.

But wait! There's more! Tobacco and cocaine, both substances native to the New World, has been found in Egyptian Mummies. Both the Egyptians and Mezoamericans used a calendar with the same amount of days. Both had dog headed gods of the Underworld. And architectural similarities! And similar religious practices!

Compton postulates that Quetzalcoatl was Egyptian and that both the Hyksos and the Nubians visited the new world in antiquity and does a pretty convincing job, in my opinion. There were so many similarities that I had a hard time discounting what he was saying as mere coincidence. Since Thor Heyerdahl crossed the Atlantic in the 1970's on a boat made of reeds, how hard is it to believe that other cultures did the same thing?

There are some lengthy digressions in the book but they eventually tie back into the main topic. There was probably more Hyksos talk than was necessary and there was a lot of things linking some Old Testament events to real world history but I found those fairly interesting. There's a meteor crater beneath the Indian Ocean miles across that Compton theorizes shot so much water vapor into the stratosphere that it caused the Bibical Flood, which I found intriguing.

One tidbit I learned that's not integral to the book but I found interesting/horrifying was that the Olmecs practiced penile bloodletting as part of religious ceremonies! That's not even the worst part. The worst part is that the chosen technique, using a stingray's barb, was hard to remove without extreme pain so it was easier just to push it all the way through and pull it out the other side. Try forgetting that image.

Four out of five stars. If you're interested in outside influences on Mezoamerican culture, I would highly recommend giving this a shot.

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