25,000 years ago - The Golden Age
So, in my opinion, during the previous Golden Age, we lived in city-states, and those who were not organized in such a way lived in small communities. They were cities that retained their independence, and formed a network; they were cities that showed their solidarity and supported one another in the purest Aquarian style. This happened during the last Aquarian Age, 25,000 years ago. At that time, we were still immersed in an ice age.
The vast majority of these city-states were located by the sea, for the following reasons:
As we found ourselves in an ice age, it was colder at higher latitudes and altitudes, whilst temperatures near the tropics and at sea level were very similar to the temperatures of the present time. Hence, the climate near the sea was much more agreeable.
In addition, the water level had remained relatively stable for thousands of years. Such stability has meant that the former coastline is still visible from satellite photos. In these photographs we can see a light-blue strip, located between the dark blue of the deep ocean and the contour of the current coastline. This band outlines the area that was not submerged during the more than 2 million years that the ice age is said to have lasted. Erosion by the sea during these 2 million years deepened the dark blue strip. Meanwhile, the limited erosion that occurred during the last 10-15,000 years means that the water that is covering the recently submerged lands is still quite shallow.
Thirdly, the sea represents an important food source.
Finally, the ocean permits mobility via wind energy, without needing to build special infrastructure, such as roads, and without needing the wheel.
20,000 Years Ago: Decline
However, living in the coastal zones caused the people to be much more at risk from any increase in sea-level. Besides, those who did not live on the coast lived in the large river valleys, which were also flooded due to the melting glaciers that fed those rivers. So, 20,000 years ago, when the last glacial maximum was reached, the ice started to melt and the sea level started to rise, the people of the time sensed a change and the brewing of something terrible.
The city-states of the time entered into decline. The population probably began to move, seeking new lands in higher areas. This created tensions that sparked the recurrence of military conflicts, which had been absent during the Golden Age. The city-states began to fight each other, and some regrouped to form nations in order to declare war on a third. The wise―those who led by example―ceased to rule, and more autocratic leaders began to emerge. They would pass on power to their lineage, but many of their descendants were not capable of ruling. At the end of the Era of decline, 5,000 years later, the political map of the world had changed completely. Atlantis seems to be one of the nations that emerged from the grouping of several of those city-states.
15,000 Years Ago: The Age of Flooding
Then, about 15,000 years ago, the Age of Flooding began. This caused an increase in climatic instability, the rapid thawing of the glaciers, and major seismic events. Periods of rapid melting, called water pulses, flooded the valleys and raised the sea levels in short periods of time, further submerging the coastal areas. Little was left of the former Golden Age. The few city-states located inland that had not been flooded by rivers were overwhelmed by refugees, so much so that they suffered a veritable human tsunami.
Indian legends tell us how Manu, accompanied by seven wise men, collected seed samples and took refuge in the high mountains of the Himalayas. Greek legends tell us how Deucalion and Pyrrha also managed to escape, to continue the Greek civilization elsewhere. The Incan legends explain how Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo were sent by Father Sun to rescue survivors of the flood from their hardship. The Bible speaks of Noah. Sumerian legends tell us of Ziusudra. Chinese legends speak of Yu the Great, son of Gun, who built dikes to protect against the overflowing rivers. Many are the stories that speak to us of such events, and from many cultures.
10,000 Years Ago: The Neolithic Revolution
The survivors took refuge wherever they could. Peace returned. The fourth Age began, which has been interpreted by historians as the Neolithic Revolution. Such a revolution would not have been possible were it not for the seeds and knowledge still preserved. That is to say, many crops reappeared suddenly, 10,000 years ago, without any noticeable evolutionary line from their wild to their cultivated types. A lot of knowledge, both artisanal and architectural, also resurfaced in the same way.
Meanwhile, in the Andes…
Some of the survivors took refuge in the high mountain chain of the Andes. Judging from the legends, they first established themselves in the area of Lake Titicaca, although their previous origin is not known. Perhaps they came from the strip of the South American coastline that had been submerged beneath the waves. Maybe they came from the Amazonian river flats, flooded by the melting of Andean glaciers. Or perhaps they hailed from more distant lands.
What seems certain is that they had retained some of the knowledge obtained during the previous Golden Age. As such, knowing that 10,000 years later the only lasting memory of them would be the rocks, they built places like Sacsayhuaman as a testimony to their existence.
During the following two millennia, the Andean region experienced the cyclical alternation and reversal of cultures. Some came, others went, by cycles of 500 year, which is the time span that rules the rise and decline of civilisations. However, aware as those cultures were of the law of alternation and reciprocity, rather than destroying the culture of the conquered, the victorious built on its foundations. Such behaviour is documented in the chronicles of Pedro Sarmiento of Gamboa, where he explains how the ninth Inca, Pachacutec, instead of suppressing and reinventing the history of conquered territories, respected and even enhanced it.
Thus, when we talk of the Incas, we may be referring to only those two dynasties and thirteen rulers who reigned during the eighth pachacuti (1500 BC – 1000 BC). But when we talk of the Incan or the Andean worldview, we need to refer to at least the 10,000 years of history that they produced, if not even further back. We need to go back to the time before the flood, to the last Golden Age, which may have begun 25,000 years ago.
Translated from Spanish by Sarah Watson
- An example of the aforementioned sudden evidence of knowledge is the city of Çatalhöyük, in the south of the Anatolia peninsula. ↑