The earliest era recorded in the Records of the Grand Historian is the age of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. The age of the Three Sovereigns dates back tens of thousands of years before the time of Sima Qian. The first of the Three Sovereigns was the Heavenly Sovereign (天皇) that ruled for 18,000 years. The second of the Three Sovereigns was the Earthly Sovereign (地皇) that ruled for 11,000 years. The third of the Three Sovereigns was the Human Sovereign (人皇) that ruled for 45,600 years. These Eras encompass 74,600 years, of rule from the sky, rule by creatures from the sky, and then rule by humans. As the age of the Three Sovereigns precedes the Age of the Five Emperors, which is believed to have started around 4,850 years ago, this would indicate that the Age of the Heavenly Sovereign began approximately 79,450 years ago, followed by the Earthly Sovereign approximately 61,450 years ago. This second date is remarkably similar to the beginning of the Era of Enmendurana in Sumerian history circa 61,900 years ago, whose name translates as the “Bond of Heaven and Earth”.(1)A. R. George (1992) Babylonian topographical texts, Page 261 Given the geographical distance between the accounts, and fact that the Sumerian kinglist had already been lost for more than a thousand years before the age of Sima Qian, it seems very unlikely that the stories of the Earthly Sovereign taking over from the Heavenly Sovereign, could be based on the Age of the Bond-of-Heaven-and-Earth. Nevertheless, the names seem consistent, and the beginning of the two ages are only around 0.005% different. The era of the Heavenly Sovereign began in many surviving accounts when Fu Xi (伏羲) descended from the sky. According to the 2,400 to 3,000 year old I Ching:
Fu Xi was credited with teaching humanity the fundamentals of civilization as well as the Cangjie system of writing Chinese characters. Like the Abgal of Sumeria, the Apām Napāt of the Ṛigveda and Avesta, Osiris from the ancient Egyptian religion, Matsya from the Indus Epics, and Suphanna Matcha from the Indonesian Rāmāyaṇa, Fu Xi was described as being an aquatic being, from a place in the sky. In Chinese mythology Fu Xi and later Nüwa lived in the Kunlun Mountains. These Kunlun Mountains are not the modern Kunlun Mountains in the Tibetan Plateau which were named after them, but mythical mountains from a lost land.(3)Lihui Yang, et al. (2005) Handbook of Chinese Mythology In Chinese mythology the Kunlun Mountains were described as the dwelling place of various gods and goddesses, together with marvelous plants and creatures. The geographical location of Kunlun’s location remain uncertain, however it has been theorized to be in a number of places including the Malay peninsula or Indonesia.(4)Byron E Shafer (1985) The New Cultural Politics In China the word Kunlun is also the ethnic name for the indigenous Negrito people, who are also the indigenous people of most of Southeast Asia, and were likely the indigenous peoples of the Sundaland Plateau during the last glacial maximum,(5)David Bulbeck, et al. (2006) “Races of Homo sapiens: if not in the southwest Pacific, then nowhere”, World Archaeology, Volume 38, Number 1, Page 109–132 when many of the mythic Asian stories were set.
Fu Xi was followed later by another amphibian from the sky called Nüwa (女娲).(6)劉煒/著 (2002) Chinese civilization in a new light, Page 142 While these two creatures are depicted the same in Chinese art, as aquatic dragon-people, and often referenced as either brother and sister, or as husband and wife, according to the Records of the Grand Historian, she arrived 18,000 years after Fu Xi. This is similar to the Egyptian stories of Osiris’ death and Isis subsequent search for him. Osiris and Isis were also depicted as eel-taled in some Egyptian art, and were also a couple described as either brother and sister or husband and wife. After Isis’ learned of Osiris’ death she decided to search for him, and it took so long that the sarcophagus he had been locked in, had floated hundreds of kilometers and drifted ashore, enough time had past to allow the shoreline to move outwards, and for a tree to grow around the coffin, which was then later cut down and used to build a temple. This chain of events might not have taken 18,000 years, but certainly took some time, nevertheless, when Isis opened the sarcophagus she was surprised to find Osiris dead. Following which she used some of his genetic material to impregnate herself with his child Horus, whom she married when he grew up. This bizarre ancient tail of strange aquatic creatures from the sky, does make sence if they had advanced technology. If the sarcophagus was designed to suspend death for a long time, such as cryogenics, it would explain Isis’ surprise that Osiris was dead, and could explain how she still managed to obtain DNA from the sarcophagus. Moreover, if she impregnated herself with a clone of Osiris, it would make some sense as to why they ended up married again.
Like Fu Xi, Nüwa is described as teaching humanity the basics of civilization, as if we’d lost it somehow in the intervening 18,000 years. This point in time, approximately 61,450 corresponds with the Sumerian story of King Enmendurana, and the fall of the capital city Larag, and the establishment of the new capital city of Zimbir. Akkadian stories relate that Emmeduranki (Enmendurana) was taken into the heavens by the gods and taught the secrets of heaven and of Earth.(7)Wilfred G. Lambert (1967) “Enmeduranki and Related Material,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies, Volume 21, Pages 126-138 This also appears to be the time when Homospaiens and Neanderthals began into breeding,(8)Qiaomei Fu, et al. (2014) “Genome sequence of a 45,000-year-old modern human from western Siberia,” Nature, Volume 514, Pages 445–449 even though they appear to have cohabited for many millennia by that point in time. A 2,200 year old Chinese text called the Huáinánzǐ (淮南子) that managed to survive the ‘Burning of Books and Burying of Scholars,’ describes the time of Nüwa’s intervention on the Earth as a time when great chaos was happening in the environment, due to a war between Gònggōng (共工) and Zhuānxū (颛顼). Gònggōng was an ancient Celestial Water Dragon depicted similar to Fu Xi and Nüwa, who caused great catastrophes on the Earth around 61,450 years ago, including great fires and floods. Zhuānxū was an ancient Human emperor who Nüwa made an agreement with, and helped to rebuild his civilization in the aftermath of the Gònggōng war. In this regard the story is consistent with the Sumerian and Akkadian story of Enmendurana (Emmeduranki), who rebuilt human civilization with the help of the aquatic Anunna after the devastating catastrophes that destroyed Larag.
The third of the Three Sovereigns listed in the Records of the Grand Historian was Shennong (神農), although other ancient sources list Zhurong (祝融), Suì Rén (燧人), Gònggōng (共工).(9)劉煒/著 (2002) Chinese civilization in a new light, Page 142 Shennong, Zhurong, and Suì Rén were all depicted as human kings, while Gònggōng was depicted as an aquatic dragon-person from the sky, like Fu Xi and Nüwa. Shennong was also known as the Emperor of the Five Grains (Wǔgǔxiāndì), is reported to have taught the ancient Chinese not only their practices of agriculture, but also the use of herbal drugs.(10)Anthony Christie (1968) Chinese Mythology, Page 87 Zhurong was the son of Zhuānxū the Human king that fought the war against Gònggōng. Suì Rén translates as Fire-Person or Fire-People, and is sometime represented as a king and sometimes as a people.
References [ + ]
|1.||⇑||A. R. George (1992) Babylonian topographical texts, Page 261|
|2.||⇑||Michael Nylan (2001) The Five "Confucian" Classics. Page 218|
|3.||⇑||Lihui Yang, et al. (2005) Handbook of Chinese Mythology|
|4.||⇑||Byron E Shafer (1985) The New Cultural Politics|
|5.||⇑||David Bulbeck, et al. (2006) “Races of Homo sapiens: if not in the southwest Pacific, then nowhere”, World Archaeology, Volume 38, Number 1, Page 109–132|
|6, 9.||⇑||劉煒/著 (2002) Chinese civilization in a new light, Page 142|
|7.||⇑||Wilfred G. Lambert (1967) “Enmeduranki and Related Material,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies, Volume 21, Pages 126-138|
|8.||⇑||Qiaomei Fu, et al. (2014) “Genome sequence of a 45,000-year-old modern human from western Siberia,” Nature, Volume 514, Pages 445–449|
|10.||⇑||Anthony Christie (1968) Chinese Mythology, Page 87|