(By Manly P. Hall) - Many scholars were fully aware of the global form of the Earth in the time of Columbus, who, according to early historians, State documents, and his own son, was not an Italian of humble station and uneducated but was a Greek Prince with an excellent classical education. It was from a Greek port that he sailed on the celebrated voyage of discovery. He was accompanied by a mysterious stranger, which has suggested that Columbus was an agent of the society of unknown philosophers.
As stated earlier, there can be little doubt that the Greeks were aware of the existence of the American continent long before the beginning of the Christian era. If information is not general on that point, it is equally surprising how little is known about the man Christopher Columbus who is accredited with the discovery of the new world. The date of his birth is unrecorded, and twenty cities claim Columbus as a native. So many legends have sprung up about this strange man that it is difficult to distinguish fact from fancy.
In 1937 a little book was published, entitled, Christopher Columbus Was A Greek. According to its author, Spyros Cateras, the real name of Columbus was Prince Nikolaos Ypsilantis, and he came from the Greek Island of Chios. The statement is backed by quotations from numerous early historians and State documents.
The author of this little book has documented his opinions in a manner to bring joy to the critical reader. He mentions the following Greeks who navigated the Atlantic ocean in ancient times: Hercules, Odyssus, Colaeus, Pytheus, and Eratosthenes. He points out that the language of the ancient Mayas of the American continent contains many words of pure Greek belonging to the Homeric period, and, to quote the book: "Years ago, in the republic of Uruguay, South America, were discovered traces of the army of Alexander the Great, swords and thoras with the inscription 'PTOLEMEOS ALEXANDROY'!".
All modern research on the life of Columbus tends to prove that he was not a man of humble station, poor or uneducated, and the story of Queen Isabella and her jewels is rapidly becoming recognizable as fiction. Columbus is emerging as a man of impressive personality with marked abilities as a leader and organizer and an excellent classical education.
Like most Greeks of his time he admired the writings of Plato and the other classical philosophers; he had the Greek birthright of legend and tradition, and was mentally well suited for interpretation of classical lore. There is much to indicate that Columbus was inspired for his voyages by Plato's account of the lost Atlantis and the records of early navigation to the West. Furthermore, Europe was not without some knowledge of geography and in his day there were many scholars aware of the spherical form of the Earth.
A great trade with Asia had long passed over the caravan routes of the Near East, as the Arabs for the most part were a friendly people; but with the rise of the Turkish Empire to power most of these routes were closed to the infidel. When even the Crusades failed to keep clear the roads of commerce, it became ever more desirable to discover a western passage to the Orient. It was for this purpose that Columbus sailed, and not from an Italian or Spanish port, but from the Greek port of Mahon.
It is astonishing how difficult it is to ascertain the facts about the celebrated voyage of discovery and the life of one so prominent in history as Christopher Columbus; it appears that history entered into a conspiracy to conceal the truth. Possibly an elaborate misrepresentation was intentional, for certainly the confusion began before the death of Columbus. His own son refers to his father as a Greek. It has been suggested that Columbus changed his name because of religious or political pressure, but this is in the field of conjecture.
Then too, in browsing about among old records I have run across a dim figure involved in the life of Columbus, a strange man who seems to have served the explorer in die capacity of counselor. Nothing very tangible has as yet come to light, but it is hinted that this mysterious person accompanied Columbus on his first voyage. He was not included in the list of the mariners. He did not return, but remained in the West Indies; beyond this, no further mention is made of him.
This mysterious stranger is reminiscent of the black-robed man who guided the destiny of Mohammed. Were these obscure figures ambassadors of the "Secret Government"? - Columbus being one of the agents through which the society of unknown philosophers accomplished its purposes?
It is my opinion that he was such an agent. The signature of Columbus, composed of letters curiously arranged and combined with cabalistic designs, certainly conveys far more than is inherent in the signature of a private citizen.
The importance of Columbus in the larger scheme of things is to be estimated from his relationship to the pattern of his own time. Europe, passing from the obscuration of the medieval period, was coming into the light of the modern way of life; the motion of the Renaissance had spread like ever widening ripples over the surface of a stagnant pool. Printing had been discovered; the mental emancipation of man from the tyranny of ignorance, superstition, and fear was gradually being accomplished. The democratic ideal was beginning to assert itself over the tyranny of decadent aristocracy.
As the mental horizon broadened, the physical horizon extended also. The Crusades had broken up the structure of feudalism. Principalities were forming themselves into nations, and the tribal consciousness was disappearing from the theater of European politics. This progress was opposed at each step by vested interests. But the human mind was becoming aware of its own powers, in a motion of continuing irresistible force. A new world was necessary for a new idea. When it was necessary it was discovered. That which is needed is always near if man has the wit to find it.
Today we are again seeking for a new world. No longer do there remain undiscovered continents to serve us as laboratories for social experiments, so we are turning our attention to other kinds of worlds - worlds of thought, inner spheres which must yet be explored by daring navigators. Science in the last fifty years has discovered a new universe - the universe of the mind. The infant psychology has but to come of age for us to fully discover a new sphere for new exploration in the science of living.
The voyages of Columbus were followed by two centuries of enlarging our geographic knowledge of the Earth. Explorers who sailed the seven seas seeking wealth, brought home knowledge; it released human thought from its Mediterranean fixation and accomplished the still greater end of breaking the power of a Mediterranean theology and a Mediterranean way of life. Men began to think world thoughts, began to realize that while the whole Earth was one land divided into continents and oceans it still was a gigantic unity. Out of the global wanderings of stout sea captains in little wooden ships was developed our so-called global thinking of today.
The concept of a global world, at least in terms of geography, is now our common inheritance. After four hundred and fifty years we accept it without question, but mainly to toy with the belief that we will accomplish something in terms of ultimates if we can industrialize the entire planet. Our world is still too large for us to know how to use it. We have discovered much, but the greatest voyage still lies before us.
Our venture will be into that greater ocean that lies beyond the boundaries of the known. The new voyages will be made in laboratories, and the contrary currents will be the cosmic rays that move through the seas of universal ether.
This will require of each man that he make a long journey of discovery within himself, searching out the hidden places of his mind and heart. As Socrates so wisely observed, all mankind lives along the shore of an unknown land. This unexplored world abounds in wonders and is filled with riches beyond the wildest dreams of old Spanish conquistadores. In this land beyond the sea of doubt the wise men dwell together in shaded groves, and here, according to the old tradition, the scholar, the musician, the artist, and the poet - who makes the discoveries that science and philosophy must later prove - have already found the better way of life. Christopher Columbus sailed his little ships for a land which by the writings of ancient philosophers he knew existed. And each of us in the fulness of time will make our own voyage in search of a philosophically-charted better world - to follow the advice of Homer, to prepare our ships, unfurl our sails, and facing the unknown go forth upon the sea to find our own far distant native land.
SOURCE: The Secret Destiny of America by Manly Palmer Hall