Challenging the notion that civilization started in Greece, this uncompromising classic attempts to prove that the true authors of Greek philosophy were not Greeks but Egyptians. The text asserts that the praise and honor blindly given to the Greeks for centuries rightfully belong to the people of Africa, and argues that the theft of this great African legacy led to the erroneous world opinion that the African continent has made no contribution to civilization. Quoting such celebrated Greek scholars as Herodotus, Hippocrates, Aristotle, Thales, and Pythagoras, who admit to the influence of Egyptian studies in their work, this edition sheds new light on traditional philosophical and historical thought. Originally published in 1954, this book features a new introduction.
Review of George G. M. James, Stolen Legacy; By Femi Akomolafe
In this age of technological in-humanity, scientific atrocities, atomic mis-philosophy, nuclear mis-energy, we´re the survivals.
- Bob Marley
Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
- Ancient Egyptian saying, wrongly credited to the Christian bible.
Question: To what country do we owe our Civilization, Philosophy, the Arts and the Sciences?
Question: Who is the wisest man the world has ever seen?
Question: Name the world three greatest thinker of all times?
Answer: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle?
Question: Who is the world greatest mathematician of all times, the [person] who invented the theorem of the Square of the Hypotenuse?
Socrates: "(b. c. 470 BC, Athens -d. 399, Athens, ancient Athenian philosopher who directed philosophical thought toward analyses of the character and conduct of human life and who is remembered for his admonition to ´know thyself.´
Socrates wrote nothing. Information about his personality and doctrine is found chiefly in the Dialogues of Plato and the Memorabilia of Xenophon." The New Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 10, Micropaedia, 15th edition, p.929.
Plato: "(b. 428/427 BC, Athens, or Aegina, Greece-d. 348/347, Athens), ancient Greek philosopher, the second of the great trio of ancient Greeks - Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. He developed a wide-ranging system of philosophy that was strongly ethical, resting on, resting on a foundation of eternal Ideas or Forms that represented universals or absolutes. Platonism influenced currents of philosophy up to the 20th century." The New Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 9, Micropaedia, 15th edition, p.509
Aristotle: "Greek ARISTOTELES (b. 384 BC, Stagira, [or Stagirus, or Stageirus], Chalcidice, near Macedonia-d, 322, Chalcis, Euboea, Greece), ancient Greek philosopher, scientist and organizer of research, one of the two greatest intellectual figures produced by the Greeks (the other been Plato). He surveyed the whole field of human knowledge as it was known in the Mediterranean world in his day; and his writings long influenced Western and Muslim thought." The New Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 1, Micropaedia, 15th edition, p. 555
I have quoted from an encyclopedia, which is often defined as ´volumes containing collections of human knowledge.´ You don´t argue with an encyclopedia, do you?
I answer that, as Africans, we have no choice but to argue and to contest, vigorously, many of the distorted information contain in these encyclopedia and other books. We should hold no sacred any book which is based on historical falsification and racial prejudice, however hallowed, praised and expensive - Encyclopedia Britannica is certainly is.
You will be adjudged CORRECT and RIGHT if you give the above answers in an examination. But actually, none of the answers are TRUE. Based on what we know of history, they are FALSE.
The greatest crime Europe committed against the world is the intellectual theft of Africa´s heritage. Empires could be stolen, whole countries snatched and named after pirates rapists and swindlers. Palaces and monumental edifices destroyed could be rebuild. But when you steal a people´s cultural patrimony, and used it to enslaved and insult them, you have committed unforgivable acts that border on the sacrilege.
That Greece invented philosophy, the Arts and the Sciences is the only basis on which the arrogance of Europe stands. It is those things credited to the Greek that made every European believed himself superior to other peoplesraces. Conversely, it is the awe with which the other races view these grand ancient achievements, which made them cringe at the altar of supposed European superiority.
What course would the history of the world had taken if the European scholars[?] had not FALSELY claim for the Greeks what is certainly not theirs? Would the arrogance of Europeans not have been diminished if the truth about the contribution of Africa to human civilization have been correctly stated and interpreted? Would Africans have held themselves in such self-contempt if they have tried sooner to uncover the truth about their past? Would Africans be cringing at the altar of westernism if they know that almost every idea Europeans are using today was brazenly stolen from us? Would we be supplicating to a supposed son of an imaginary god if we knew that we gave RELIGION to the world?
Every European hold ´Greek Civilization´ as an inspiration. They go around the world with volumes upon volumes celebrating Greek this, Greek that. From their original abode in Europe to the real estate they stole from other people, they shouted on top-voice about how they single-handedly invented and sustained human civilization! Sororities are created at institutions of higher learning. ´Great thinkers´ waxed lyrical and sentimental about ´Greek Civilization.´ In the same vein, Africans are lamenting their singular historic ´un-achievement.´ Some even believe that theirs is a ´cursed-race.´
"The term Greek philosophy, to begin with is a misnomer, for there is no such philosophy in existence. The ancient Egyptians had developed a very complex religious system, called the Mysteries, which was also the first system of salvation." That was the opening statement from Stolen Legacy: Greek Philosophy is Stolen Egyptian Philosophy, by George G.M. James.
George James began his book by informing us that the Egyptian Mystery System was the oldest in the world and was ´also a Secret Order, and membership was gained by initiation and a pledge to secrecy. The teaching was graded and delivered orally to the Neophyte; and under these circumstances of secrecy, the Egyptians developed secret systems of writing and teaching, and forbade their Initiates from writing what they had learn.´ - p.1
The Egyptians have developed their systems and taught same to Initiates around the world long before the Greeks were allowed into the temples. It was only after the invasion of Alexander the Destructor (called the Great by western mythorians) when the temples and the libraries were plundered, that the Greek gained access to all the ancient books, on which Aristotle built his own school and his reputation as the wisest man that ever lived!
In the first chapter of his book, James masterfully destroyed the myth of a Greek philosophy. Pythagoras, the oldest of the so-called Greek-thinkers was a student in Egypt for several years. He was exiled when he started to teach what he had learned. Socrates was executed for teaching ´foreign ideas.´ Plato was sold into slavery. Aristotle was also exiled. What we are asked to believed by western scholars was that these ancient Greeks were persecuted in a society that is sufficiently advanced in philosophy.
On what basis do western scholars claim philosophy for Greece? Because the literature were written in Greece. As is still in existence unto today, most Orders prohibit their members from writing down what they learn. This explains why Socrates, as even the Encyclopedia Britannica admitted, did not commit anything to writing! The Babylonians and the Chaldeans, who also studied under the Egyptian Masters, also refused to publish those teachings. It is usurpers like Plato and Aristotle that brought into book forms all the secret teachings of Egyptian and claim authorship!
George James pointed out the absurdity of this stance. The Hebrew scriptures, called the Septuagint, the Gospels and the Epistles were also written in Greek, why are the Greek not claiming authorship of them? ´It is only the unwritten philosophy of the Egyptians translated into Greek that has met such an unhappy fate: a legacy stolen by the Greeks.´
This is not the only absurdities James pointed out in the book. Another instance: The number of books whose authorship is credited to Aristotle is simply impossible to be the work of one single man, even in our age when word-processing software makes writing a lot easier. We also have to keep in mind that Aristotle was purported to have been taught by Plato. Plato, as the books, show was a philosopher. Aristotle is still regarded as the greatest scientist of antiquity. The question thus beggared is how could Plato taught Aristotle what he didn´t know himself?
The truth of the matter was that Aristotle, aided by Alexander the Destroyer (some called him the Great), secured the books from the Egyptian Royal Libraries and Temples. ´In spite however of such great intellectual treasure, the death of Aristotle marked the death of philosophy among the Greeks, who did not seem to possess the natural abilities to advance these sciences.´ p. 3
´The aim of this book is to establish better race relations in the world, by revealing a fundamental truth concerning the contribution of the African Continent to civilization. It must be borne in mind that the first lesson in the Humanities is to make a people aware of their contribution to civilization; and the second lesson is to teach them about other civilizations. By this dissemination of the truth about the civilization of individual peoples, a better understanding among them, and a proper appraisal of each other should follow. This notion is based upon the notion of the Great Master Mind: Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.´ Consequently, the book is an attempt to show that the true authors of Greek philosophy were not the Greeks; but the people of North Africa, commonly called the Egyptians; and the praise and honor falsely given to the Greeks for centuries belong to the people of North Africa, and therefore to the African Continent. Consequently this theft of the African legacy by the Greeks led to the erroneous world opinion that the African Continent has made no contribution to civilization, and that its people are naturally backward. This is the misrepresentation that has become the basis of race prejudice, which has affected all people of color.
For centuries the world has been misled about the original source of the Arts and Sciences; for centuries Socrates, Plato and Aristotle have been falsely idolized as models of intellectual greatness; and for centuries the African continent has been called the Dark Continent, because Europe coveted the honor of transmitting to the world, the Arts and Sciences.´ p.7
To leave no one in doubt about the cogency of his impressive arguments, chapter one (Greek Philosophy is Stolen Egyptian Philosophy) opens with an examination of the stories of the so- called ´Greek Philosophers. Pythagoras, after receiving his training in Egypt, went back to his native Samos and established an Order as was the custom in those days. Anaximander and Anaximenes, native, Parmenides, Zeno and Melissus were all native of Ionia and they taught nothing but Egyptian mysteries. Ditto, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Anaxagoras and Democritus. What we have to remember here is that Ionia was a colony of Egypt (readers are directed to Martin Bernal´s, Black Athena, published by Vintage, especially vol. I, ISBN 0 09 988780 0). At the apex of its glory, Egypt held sway over much of the known world. The Ionians would later become Persian subjects after the fall of Egypt, before they even became Greek citizens.
All of these Ionians did not claim for themselves the glory of philosophy or the sciences. The Persians and the Chaldeans were also introduced to the Ancient Mystery Systems, yet they did not claim authorship. It was the Athenians - Socrates, Plato and Aristotle who usurped this African legacy and thereby distorted the reality of human history. What is quite clear was that it was Athens that those who taught the mysteries were persecuted the most until Alexander´s time. We know with certainty that these philosophers were roundly persecuted by the Athenian Government for teaching foreign doctrines.
What is incredible about these ´Great Philosopher´ is the total lack of any knowledge about their early lives. The world is asked to believe that these men who possessed all the super-natural abilities attributed to them had no education, no training, philosophy, mathematics and the sciences just came to them! The only evidence adduced for this fraud was that the books were written by the Orders founded by the Athenian impostors. But as James repeatedly reminded us, the ancient Egyptians forbade their pupils from writing, and this injunction was obeyed by all but the Athenians. We have to excuse Socrates, whom James believed to be the only properly trained Initiate. Instead of divulging the secrets he had learned, he drank a poison. Both Plato and Aristotle fled. Yet they came back and claim the credits!
The crucial question of how Aristotle got all the books that bore his credit is easily answered by the simple historical fact that he went with his friend, Alexander, in the latter campaign and conquest. After Egypt was conquered and destroyed, the Royal Library and the Temples were looted by Aristotle. It was with these books that he established his own school and, aided by his pupils, Theophrastus, Andronicus of Rhodes and Eudemus, started to copy the books. These men were also credited with the authorship of several books, and it was them who formed the organization of ´The Learned study of Aristotle Writings.´ ´It would certainly appear that the object of the Learned Association was to beat Aristotle´s own drum and dance. It was Aristotle´s idea to compile a history of philosophy, and it was Aristotle´s school and its alumni that carried out the idea, we are told." (p.19)
Chapter II, ´So-Called Greek Philosophy was Alien to the Greeks And their Conditions of Life.´ Here James drew for us the conditions under which the Greeks were living at this period in history. According to the western mythorians, the period of ´Greek Philosophy´ was located 640-322 BC. ´The period of Greek philosophy (640-322 BC was a period of internal and external wars, and was therefore unsuitable for producing philosophers. History supports the fact that from the time of Thales to the time of Aristotle, The Greeks were victims of internal disunion, on the one hand, while on the other, they lived in constant fear of invasion from the Persians who were a common enemy to the city states.
. . . The obstacles against the origin and development of Greek philosophy, were not only the frequency of wars; and the constant defense against Persian aggression; but also the threat of extermination from the Athenian government, its worst enemy.´ pp. 21-26
Chapter three shows that the so-called ´greek Philosophy´ was just an offspring of the Egyptian Mystery System. All the arts, philosophy and religion, credited to the Greeks have been in existence in Egypt thousands of years before the Greeks were permitted to learn them. ´The earliest theory of salvation is the Egyptian theory. The Egyptian Mystery System has as its most important object, the deification of man, and taught that the soul of man if liberated from its bodily fetters, could enable him to become godlike and see the Gods in this life and attain the beatific vision and hold communion with the immortals.´ (Ancient Mysteries, C.H. Vail. P.32)
Close attention should be paid to the foregoing paragraph. What that simply means is that a system of beliefs that Africans evolved thousands of years ago, has been distorted and use to abuse the Africans today!
When Western mythorians roll out Aristotle, Plato and Socrates, they fail to tell their audience how these guys were persecuted by their own government. These ´philosophers´ were persecuted for the exactly the same reason - ´introducing strange divinities.´ Socrates charge sheet read, in part, ´Socrates commit a crime by not believing in the Gods of the city, and by introducing other new divinities. He also commit a crime by corrupting the youth.´ He was further accused of ´busying himself with investigating things beneath the earth and in the sky,a nd who makes the worse appear the better reason, and who teaches others the same thing.´ Whereas astronomy was part of the required study in the Egyptian schools, the Athenian government was persecuting its citizens for pursuing such studies. Who, now, is the father of what?
Chapter three further dealt with the Egyptian mystery systems and show its close correlation with what has been wrongly attributed to the Greeks. Even the structures of the Lodges are built to Egyptian standards.
The conquest of Alexander and the destruction of the Lodges and the libraries plus the edicts of Theodosius and Justinian suppressed the Egyptian mystery systems and the Greek philosophy schools alike, paving the way for christianity which is nothing but a badly mis-understood Egyptian religion.
In chapter four, we learn how the Greeks were allowed into Egypt where they have been banned for several years. ´Owing to the practice of piracy, in which the Ionians, and Garians were active, the Egyptians were forced to make immigration laws restricting the immigration of the Greeks and punishing their infringement by capital punishment, i.e, the sacrifice of the victim.´ - p.41. It was Egyptian king Amasis who lifted the restriction and allowed the Greeks to enter Egypt as mercenaries - they were not permitted to study until the persian invasion. And it was not until the Alexandrian conquest that they gained access to the libraries, most especially the Royal Library at Alexandria, which was converted into a Greek city.
Plato himself attested to the fact (in his Timaeus) that Greek aspirant to wisdom visited Egypt for initiation, and that the Egyptian priests refer to them as children in the mysteries.
It was Herodotus who informed us that Pythagoras was allowed into Egypt only after Polycrates (king of his native Samos and a friend of Amasis) gave him a letter of introduction. Even after that, he had to undergo several trials including circumcision which was compulsory - "Apud Aegyptios nullus aut geometrica studebat, aut astonomiae secreta remabatur, nisi circumcisione suscepta,´ (No one among the Egyptians, either studied geometry, or investigated the secrets of Astronomy, unless circumcision had been undertaken.)" - p.44. It was to Pythagoras that the world is giving credit for a theorem that the Egyptians most certainly used in building their pyramids!
Herodotus, Diogenes, Laertuis informed us that Democritus travelled to Egypt to receive instructions from the priests. Plato was also shown to have undergone similar pilgrimage.
In Chapter five through chapter seven, George James analyzed the doctrines of the so-called Greek philosophers and convincingly show their Egyptian origin. From pre-Socratic ´Philosophers´ like Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes and Pythagoras to Eleatic ´philosophers´ like Xenophanes, Parmenides, Zeno and Melissus, to the Ionian school of Heraclitus, Anaxagoras and Democritus, he showed that what history has attributed to these impostors were nothing but what they copied from the Egyptians.
In these, the most important chapters, James concluded that the Greeks were guilty of plagiarism of the highest order.
Chapter eight dealt with the Memphite Theology which ´is an inscription on a stone, now kept in the British Museum. It contains the theological, cosmological and philosophical views of the Egyptians. It has already been referred to in my treatment of Plato´s doctrines; but it must be repeated here to show its full importance as the basis of the entire field of Greek philosophy.´ p. 139. Here James show how portions of the philosophy of the Memphite Theology were assigned to the Greeks. This is a very important chapter as it throws enough light, not only on the whole argument of where the Greek got the ideas credited to them, but also about the true source of modern scientific knowledge.´
If the modern Nebular hypothesis credited to Laplace which holds that our present solar system was once a molten gaseous nebula is ever proven right, credit should go to the ancient Egyptians. Their cosmology is strikingly similar. They knew that the universe was created from fire. The Egyptian God Atum (Atom) together with his eight Created Gods that composed the Ennead or Godhead of nine, this correspond with our nine major planets. Atom, the sun God, was the Unmoved Mover, a doctrine which has been falsely attributed to Aristotle. Likewise, the injunction, ´Know Thyself,´ was wrongly attributed to Socrates. As James pointed out, it was an inscription found on every Egyptian Temple. The Cardinal virtues, justice, wisdom, temperance and courage which was falsely credited to Plato owed their origin to the Egyptian Masters.
We also learn the attributes of the Egyptian God Atum which is shared by modern ATOM: The similarity of names; the Egyptian God means self-created, everything and nothing, a combination of positive and negative principles:- all-inclusiveness and emptiness. Even beginner science students will recognized these as the properties of atoms.
In the concluding chapter nine, ´Social Reformation through the New Philosophy of African Redemption,´ James wrote: ´Now that it has been shown that philosophy, and the arts and sciences were bequeathed to civilization by the people of North Africa and not by the people of Greece; the pendulum of praise and honor is due to shift from the people of Greece to the people of the African continent who are the rightful heirs of such praise and honor.
This is going to mean a tremendous change in world opinion, and attitude, for all people and races who accept the new philosophy of African redemption, ie the truth that the Greeks were not the authors of Greek philosophy; but the people of North Africa; would change their opinion from one of disrespect to one of respect for the Black people throughout the world and treat them accordingly.
It is going to mean a most important change in the mentality of the Black people: a change from an inferiority complex, to the realization and consciousness of their equality with all the other great peoples of the world, who have built great civilizations. With this change in mentality of the Black and White people, great changes are also expected in their respective attitudes towards each other, and in society as a whole.´ p. 153.
James sketched for us a simple New Philosophy of Redemption which consists of the following proposition: ´The Greeks were not the authors of Greek Philosophy, but the Black people of North Africa, The Egyptians.´
He exhorted us to live up to this philosophy. ´Being liberated from inferiority complex by their New Philosophy of Redemption, which is destined to destroy the chain of false tradition which has incarcerated them, the Black people must face and interpret the world according to their new vision and philosophy. Throughout the centuries up to our modern times, world conditions have been influenced by two phenomena which has affected human relations:
1. - The giving of false praise to the Greeks: a conduct which appears to be an educational policy conducted by education institutions...
2. - The second phenomena is Missionary enterprise whereby Black people´s culture has been caricatured in literature and exhibitions, in such specimens as provoke disrespect and laughter. Let us not forget that the Roman Emperors Theodosius and Justinian were responsible for the abolition of the Egyptian Mysteries that is the culture system of the Black people, and also for the establishment of Christianity for its perpetual suppression.´ pp. 159-160.
The appendix presented a brief analysis and summary of the main arguments.
I have always stated in my writings that it is the ignorant African who is awed or inspired by things European. I have also pointed out that our history has been largely reconstructed. George James is among those who rescued humankind from the intellectual crimes perpetrated by European ideologists masquerading as scholars. The only justice we could do to George G.M. James and other valiant warriors of our race is not only to readstudy their works, but also to spread them. A wit once put it that, ´No one can humiliate you without your consent.´
This is very true for us as the most unjustly ridiculed people on earth. Throughout the face of the earth, we continue to be lampooned by those who were babies when we were grown-ups - building empires and inventing things. We continue to be derided by those who borrowed, stole and plagiarized ideas from us. All those we invited, out of good nature, into our homes are mocking us!
As Africans, we are humiliated and ridiculed because our history was stolen; our patrimony wrongly attributed to other people. Why do we continue to participate in our own humiliation? Is it because we are too impressed with titles and other appurtenances with which our oppressors continue to dazzle us? If Ph.D means a Doctor of Philosophy, isn´t it time Africans start to ask, ´Whose philosophy?´ Why are we filling our heads and minds with plagiarized doctrines that our fathers developed eons ago only to be rewarded with diplomas? Why are we selling ourselves short - our rich heritage for certificates? How many of our Ph.Ds know the Egyptian origin of most of what is credited to Greece? How many of them have read Stolen legacy? How many of those purporting to teach ´African history,´ have read this very important book?
If we continue to be ridiculed, it is just because we allowed ourselves to be ridiculed. Any African who studied his history will find an indescribable inner satisfaction. She walks tall, with confidence that she could hold herhis own against ANYONE in the world. No scholar, black or white or brown or yellow argues with the basic facts of history. It is only the psychedelic- intellectuals, those who reads nothing more serious than their television guides, who come to take cheap-shots on SCA.
Stolen Legacy is not a book anyone could argue with. Almost every single sentence, every single paragraph is duly attributed to verifiable sources. George James must have been fully aware of the burden he was carrying when he wrote his monumental work. His is a book that is easily read and understood even by LAYMEN, unlike the hogwash western mythorians are dishing out, suffused with brain- twisting grammatical pyrotechnics to hide their in-coherencies.
I know that some among us will find ANY excuse not to read books like ´Stolen Legacy,´ since it challenges them to seek further truth. Those who will not think twice before lapping anything with SHAKESPEARE on it, will find it too long - it certainly is not! This, however should not stop those who want to to go ahead and to seek further knowledge about their past. There is no reason for anyone to believe Femi or even James, everyone should find its own way to his own salvation. I ask not for believe, but the urge to STUDY. A people without a past, the saying goes, is like tree without roots.
No one, IMO, should be allowed to teach African history who has not read Stolen Legacy. No one should call himself educated who has not read Stolen Legacy. The next time anyone brandishes a Ph.D in your face, your question should be, ´Have you read Stolen Legacy?´
One bright morning when my work is over, I´ll fly away home.
- Bob Marley
Learned people around the world have marvelled at their knowledge but have failed to associate them with the world that we live in today. Is it because these Egyptians were black Africans, Pre Hyskos invaison. Instead they rave about the Romans, Greeks and how great they were. It is as if Egypt has not contributed to the western world.
Those of us who know different, both learned and self taught, are fully aware of the influence that Egypt has had on todays world. Just look at the format of Washington DC, Memphis or a dollar bill and you see a strong link.
All the author is trying to do is reclaim their accomplishments and point out the fact that the Greek philosophers, mathematicians were taught by these people.
This phrase, although attributed to Socrates, was found on many of the temples of learning throughout Egypt long before Socrates existed. This is a very important mantra for people of African descent.
I personally was in a state of shame of being from African ancestry during the 70´s as a young teenager. but upon spending 3 months in Africa at age 19, all that changed. Books such as this are critically important for US in order to debunk the distortions promulgated during this millennium against people of color, and in particular people of African descent. Regardless of what popular (white) culture´s response is to this type of discovery, the important thing for US is to study for ourselves who we are and what we have contributed to the development of the human race. Who cares what THEY think!!!! WE should be well aware of the extent to which THEY will go to remain the superior force on this planet (slavery, world war, historical distortions, genocide, cultural genocide, economic sanctions, etc..).
Books such as this and those written by Dr. Ben Jochannan, Cheick Anta Diop, Van Sertima, Bernal, Al-Mansour, and others, prompt US to re-evaluate everything WE were taught (programmed) to be true. The revelations exposed through the works of these writers, should be the foundation of learning for all of OUR subsequent generations.
What I find to be most interesting is the fact that since the works here prompt so much debate, why is it that we do not see not only some of the debate itself, but also some of the factual discoveries borne by the works of these authors on channels such as TLC, A&E, or Discovery. Since WE now have OUR own voice in the national broadcasting world, I think BET should pursue this area further so that more of our younger generation can gain knowledge in these areas. Black History should not be limited to one month, and should not be limited to the civil rights era especially when it spans thousands of years.
It is important that WE lift the veil of ignorance OURSELVES and really take a look at everything WE feel WE know to be true. One of my favorite misconceptions is that of certain aspects of the Bible. How many of you know that the 10 Commandments can be found within the 42 Negative Confessions of the Metu Neter, a holy book written long before Moses or the Bible.
WHAT HAVE WE BEEN TAUGHT, AND WHY?
Stolen Legacy is an excellent book to start questioning the current world order.