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        Electricity: (The Ancient use of)

The use of electricity before the 20th century has been proven beyond refute by the numerous examples of 'batteries' found in the middle-east, dating from approx 250 BC. These are the earliest absolute proofs of the use of electricity, although they represent the result of objective experimentation at a time when there seems little or no purpose for it.

At present, there seems to be only one candidate for such a science, which is the electroplating of objects with fine layers of gold or silver. The earliest potential example of this art is from Sumeria, at about 2,000 BC, over a thousand years earlier than the discoveries of any batteries, offering more questions than answers over the presence of these electroplated objects.

 
 

 

 

 

   A Chronology of Ancient Electricians:

2,500 - 2,000 BC - The oldest example of the use of electricity is the Copper Vases, electroplated with silver were once to be found in the Baghdad museum. They had been excavated from Sumerian sites in southern Iraq. (9)

 

Ancient Egypt - Unconfirmed electroplated objects were reportedly found in Egypt by the 19th Century French Archaeologist August Mariette. Excavating in the area of the sphinx at Ghiza. Mariette came upon a number of artefacts at a depth of 60ft. In the 'Grand Dictionaire Universal du 19th Siecle', he describes the artefacts as "pieces of gold jewellery whose thinness, and lightness make one believe they had been produced by electroplating" (2)

The renowned astronomer Sir J. Norman Lockyer, who studied ancient Egyptian temples and tombs in depth, In his Dawn of Astronomy, in 1894, pointed out an enigma of the time—when he wrote:

"In all freshly-opened tombs there are no traces whatever of any kind of combustion having taken place, even in the inner-most recesses.  So strikingly evident is this that my friend M. Bouriant, while we were discussing this matter at Thebes, laughingly suggested the possibility that the electric light was known to the ancient Egyptians." 

 

Ancient India - In the Prince's Library of Ujjain in India, there is a well preserved document called the 'Agastya Samshita', which dates back to the first millennium BC. It contains a detailed description not only of how to construct an electric battery/cell, but also, how to utilize the battery to 'split' water into its constituent gasses. (2)

The text runs as follows:

“Place a well-cleaned copper plate in an earthenware vessel. Cover it first by copper sulfate and then moist sawdust. After that put a mercury-amalgamated-zinc sheet on top of an energy known by the twin name of Mitra-Varuna. Water will be split by this current into Pranavayu and Udanavayu. A chain of one hundred jars is said to give a very active and effective force.”

 

South America - Two 90ft Sq. Sheets of 'Mica' were found sandwiched between horizontal courses of a pyramid in Bolivia at Tiahuanaco early in the 20th century. One was broken up and sold to the electrics industry, the other remains in situ. (Mica is an insulator and was commonly used as a dielectric in capacitors up to recent times). The nearest source of Mica is hundreds of miles away in the Amazon basin.

 

600 - 580 BC - Thales of Miletus, Ionia, one of the "seven wise men of Greece" (the others being Solon, Chilo, Piccatus, Bias, Cleobolus and Periander), founder of the Ionic Philosophy, and from whose school came Socrates, is said to have been the first to observe the electricity developed by friction in amber. (3)

 

320 BC - A Ptolemaic inscription describes how wooden flagstaff's, 30m tall, were placed in front of temples and capped with a sheath of copper, and used to 'Cut the lightning from the sky'. (2)

 

China - 265-31 BC - An Aluminium 'Girdle' was recovered from the tomb of the Chinese general 'Chu', which is made from an alloy of 85% Aluminium, 10% Copper and 5% Manganese. The only known viable method of producing aluminium from Bauxite is in an electrolytic process, after Alumina (The Aluminium Chloride component of the ore) is dissolved in molten 'Cryolite', patented in the last century. (Note - The Baghdad batteries (above), are not sufficient for this process, as a substantial dynamo-generated current is required).

 

2nd Century AD - Pausanius wrote that the 'Temple of Minerva had a light that could burn for over a year'. (2)

 

Electric Cells (The 'Baghdad batteries') - (AD 225-640)

One of several substantiated archaeological discoveries which suggest an understanding of the properties of electricity over 2000 years ago. The discovery of contemporary electroplated jewellery in the same region lends to the theory that

Sadly these relics were lost to the world during the looting of the Baghdad Museum in 2003, during the invasion of Baghdad.

(More about the Baghdad Batteries)

 

354-430 AD - St. Augustine claimed that in an Egyptian temple dedicated to Isis (Venus), a lamp burned which neither wind nor water could extinguish. He said of it:

That in Egypt...“There was, and still is, a temple of Venus, in which a lamp burns so strongly in the open air that no storm or rain extinguishes it.”  He blamed the cause of this marvellous lamp, which was likely an arc light, on the miracles of the “black arts” performed by demons and men. (2)

 

13th Century AD - When the Sepulcher of Paris was opened near Rome in the early 1400's, it was found to be still lighted by a lantern, which had presumably been alight for over 2,000 yrs. (2)

 

13th Century AD - Eliphas Levi, in his 'Histoire de la Magie', records the story of a mysterious French Rabi named Jechiele, who was an advisor to Louis IX. Jechiele's contemporary's reported that he often astounded the King with his "Dazzling lamp that lighted itself". The lamp possessed no oil or wick, and Jechiele placed it in front of his house for all to see. Interestingly, another device he was reputed to have had was a door knocker that was ale to produce an electric shock. (2)

 

 

   Electricity in Ancient Greece:
 

The first written record concerning electricity, which is still extant today, is that of Theophrastus who was writing around 300 BC. Not only amber but also lyncurium had the power, when rubbed, of attracting straw, small pieces of stick, or even small bits of copper and iron. The lyncurium of Theophrastus is the tourmalin of today. Pliny in his writings mentions several times the attractiveness which amber possessed. (3)

Electric fish were used for medicinal purposes in Greek and Roman times for relieving headache and gout. Scribonius Largus wrote long ago, ‘For any sort of foot gout, when the pain comes on it is good to put a living black torpedo fish under his feet while standing on the beach, not dry but one on which the sea washes, until he feels that his whole foot and ankle are numb up to the knees.’ (1)

In ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome, electric eels were used to treat arthralgias, migraines, melancholy, and epilepsy. In 50 AD, Scribonius Largus reported treating headaches and gout with electric torpedo fish.

 

And Finally:

Christmas tree lights powered by an electric eel. (Refer to image at top of page..?)

 

 

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References:

1) http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v16/i2/battery.asp
2). Rene Noorbergen. Secrets of the Lost Races. 1977. New English Library.
3). Paul. F. Mottelay. Bibliographical History of Electricity and Magnetism. 1922. Charles Griffin and Co.
 

 

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