ROBERT W. BROCKWAYTHE ROOTS OF NEW AGE
reality and the antiquity of Aegean Civilization.
Since then, Linear B script was discovered, and, when deciphered, was found to be Greek. (Linear A, which is another language altogether, has yet to be deciphered). As of now, however, a great deal is known about Aegean Civilization and, as more is learned, revisionism has occurred that has undermined the validity of the New Age cults based on the older theories.
During the late 1950s, Bibby, among others, presented a very exciting interpretation of Bronze Age Aegean Civilization which captured my imagination. I read Bibby’s Four Thousand Years Ago after having first read an article in Horizon, an American periodical of that time. According to Bibby, a reputable British archaeologist, the discovery of bronze somewhere in the Near East caused a cultural revolution of unprecedented dimensions. The uses of copper already had been discovered, but this metal has disadvantages in being soft, and therefore weak. Bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, is much stronger. While copper is abundant almost everywhere, tin is comparatively rare. Consequently, when a civilization based on bronze rose in the Aegean, expeditions were sent out to find tin deposits. These ranged from the shores of the Black Sea to the coasts of what are now France and Spain.
The Theory of the Mother-Goddess Religion
According to Bibby and others (basing their theories on Childe), the Aegean explorers were adherents of a mother-goddess religion, a monotheistic feminine cult, a universal religion which they introduced to the peoples whom they encountered on their mining expeditions. This religion was based on worship of mother goddesses, or, possibly, a single mother goddess. Sometimes she was identified as a deity ancestral to Artemis or Diana, important Olympian goddesses. (Some of the Aegian temple murals depict huge goddesses who hold tiny male deities in the palms of their hands. Others show such girls vaulting over the backs of bulls in feats that few Spanish matadors would dare today.)
During this same time, moreover, there was a lively overland trade between the Baltic and the Aegean by way of the Brenner Pass through the Alps. Cretan bronze daggers and axes were much prized by the people of the Baltic, who were whalers. Ambergris from whales was both portable and exceedingly valuable and was used to make purple dye for the fashionable clothing of Aegean royalty. Thanks to these expeditions and the trade which followed, there was a great economic prosperity in Europe, one of the first booms in economic history.
On the Island of Malta there are many labyrinthine tombs and huge mother-goddess statues. Bibby and others reasoned that this was a western “Holy Isle” of the Cretan Mother-Goddess religion, the center from which the faith was proselytized throughout the Western Mediterranean. From northern Spain, the mother-goddess religion was spread along the Atlantic seaboard of Europe by Iberian converts to Aegean culture and religion. They sailed in open skin boats very much like the Inuit umiaks (women’s boats). They made converts in Britanny, and their descendants erected great menhirs or standing stones