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This is a detail from the late Roman "Seasons Sarcophagus" (335 AD) at Dumbarton Oaks. In the center is a couple encircled by a Zodiac. On either side of the Zodiac are four angels symbolizing the four seasons. Below the couple are children collecting grapes. This marble sarcophagus is unfinished, with detail on only one surface.

I call this photo taken in April 2008:

"Seasons Sarcophagus."


In this detail from the Seasons Sarcophagus are the angels of winter and spring, a goat being milked, and vines being picked.

I call this photograph, taken at the same time:

"Seasons Sarcophagus - 2"

(May 2, 2008) My intuition suggests that this could also be a ritual object. Romans cremated their bodies, and this piece of marble is too large for an ash-filled urn. Maybe this was a bath, or an altar of some sort. Maybe a sacred vessel for a small tree, or garden ... (The "rite of spring".)

(May 4, 2008) On Roman cremation versus burial see: Ivana della Portella's "Subterranean Rome". The prevailing practice among pagan Romans during the empire was cremation with the ashes placed in small urns called "Columbariums".

"... Cremation was linked to ideas derived from neo-Platonism, according to which the soul could free itself through cremation of its "earthly prison" (the body), happy to join once more with the primary matter of its astral constitution."

Ivana della Portella, "Subterranean Rome" (1999) at 117.

(May 6, 2008): Compare with the "Triumph of Dionysus and the Seasons Sarcophagus" (270 AD) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City

(May 8, 2008): I also recently saw a seasons sarcophagus in the 1965 movie "Darling" - in the Italian princes' palace (I rented and saw Darling on May 7 - by a startling coincidence or what Jung would call "synchronicity"). In this movie the impression is clearly that of a bath. They were probably standard in late Roman aristocratic households.

(May 9, 2008) The marble of the Seasons Sarcophagus is probably from the same Phrygian (or Turkish) source as the Triumph of Dionysus Sarcophagus at the Met. My dream self projects "Trojan." Upper class Romans considered themselves to be descended from refugees from the fall of Troy. See: Virgil's Aeneid (19 BC). Also see: JPVD Balsdon's "Romans and Aliens" (1979):

"... Rome had no rich and colourful mythology like that possessed by every city of ancient Greece ... There was no time when divinities had been around the place, as in Greece, leaving fairy-story romances as well as colourful records of fornication, murder and other outrages, nothing really before the arrival of survivors from Troy; and the Trojan war was not myth but history. If Mars fathered Romulus and if the Dioscuri appeared in Rome with news of the battle of Lake Regillus, these were miraculous features of real history, mytho-historical.

JPVD Balsdon, Romans and Aliens (1979), at 2-3

(March 9, 2009) Both Romans and Greeks considered the Trojan war to have been a real event that occurred about 1190 BC in modern day Turkey. Is there a link between this event and the biblical Exodus from Egypt that is supposed to have occurred around 1250 BC?

(March 10, 2009) As for the function of this object - maybe it was a wine press - a Dionysian wine press. There is a small door carved on the left side of the marble that could have been used to drain the crushed grapes.

There is no lid on this piece of marble, which would be expected if it contained a body. Similar no-lid issues are found in other Roman "sarcophagi" - for example the recently acquired sarcophagus at the Getty Art museum "Sarcophagus representing a Dionysiac Vintage Festival" (290 - 300 AD), in Los Angeles, California.

This sarcophagus has a Lenos, or wine-press motif carved onto its side. Three children are stomping grapes inside the wine-press and a fourth child is draining away the juice on the left hand side of the press. (See: New York Times article.)

On the other hand, see a paper "Roman Sarcophagi" by Heather T. Awan on the Met web site supporting the marble-as-sarcophagus theory.

The rule seems to be - a Lenos is a marble wine-press and lacks a lid, but also, starting in the 2nd century AD, Romans began using marble sarcophagi: see for example a Getty museum sarcophagus for a child complete with a lid and explicit text on the lid describing it's function: "Sarcophagus with Scenes of Bacchus." (210 - 220 AD).

However, even this is problematic - the lid reads:

"To the soul of the deceased. For Maconiana Severiana, the sweetest daughter, Marcus Sempronius Faustinianus, vir clarissimus [holding a senatorial rank], and Praecilia Severiana, clarissima femina [from a senatorial family], her parents [had this made]."

My original intuition would be that this is a Lenos or wine-press dedicated to the soul of Maconiana Severiana and not a sarcophagus.


(April 17, 2011) There is a parallel to the Roman Sarcophagus iconography with medieval alchemy: i.e. - the "alchemical bath". This is a stage in the transformation of lead to gold that features a union of King and Queen in a bath that is sometimes associated with a coffin or tomb.

C.G. Jung sees alchemy as a concrete or literal analogy to what is really an internal psychological process of transformation. (In ancient Egypt, Isis impregnates herself with seed from the lead coffin of Osiris and gives birth to Horus.)


(March 26, 2009) There is an African link to the Dionysus myth. According to the Greek historian Herodotus (484 BC - 425 BC), after his birth by Zeus and a mortal woman, Zeus sewed the infant Dionysus into his thigh and carried him away to "Nysa" in Ethiopia, beyond Egypt. This is probably where the Panther or Leopard iconography that is usually associated with Dionysus comes from.


(Sept. 20, 2010) For a more in-depth discussion of "Nysa" see: "Africa and Africans as seen by Classical Writers" by William Leo Hansberry, edited by Joseph E. Harris (1977). (Compiled from private papers amassed by professor Hansberry who taught at Howard University from 1922-1959.)

" ... Attention is called to Diodorus' assertion that the Egyptians held that Dionysus of the Greeks was the same as the Egyptian god Osiris, and that his worship was introduced into Greece in pre-Homeric times by Orpheus, Musaeus, and Melampodes after they had visited Egypt. Although it us impossible to verify the truth of this specific tradition, it is nevertheless true that comparative studies in Greek and Egyptian religions reveal that the older rites and worship associated with the god were remarkably alike in the two lands. In later Greek traditions Dionysus was looked upon as a son of Zeus and Semele as was said to have been born in Greece, but Diodorus informs us that ancient traditions affirmed that there were several gods by this name, and he cites the Egyptians and the Libyans as saying that the son of Zeus and Semele was one of the youngest and the most recent of the number.

The original Dionysus, according the Libyan tradition recorded by Diodorus, was the illegitimate son of Ammon, the king of a kingdom in inner Africa. Ammon, fearing the jealousy of his wife Rhea, concealed from her the birth of this son and secretly sent him away to the city of Nysa, which was in a country surrounded by a river and hence resembled an island. The legend gives that name of the all-embracing river as Triton, but since this was kind of a generic name applied to many rivers in early Greek geography, the name of it is of little assistance in identifying the area. There are, however, several other considerations which help in attempting to determine the probable region to which the legend refers. For while it is true that there are a number of ancient legends ascribing the name Nysa to places in many different parts of the world - Greece, Libya, Arabia, Babylonia, India, Egypt and Ethiopia - it is also true that most of the older legends locate the Nysa associated with Dionysus in or near Ethiopia. Diodorus records that the Egyptians said that Dionysus was brought up at Nysa, a town in Arabia near Egypt. Herodotus has two passages of the same import. In one he specifically states that tradition affirmed that Dionysus was "carried off to Nysa, above Egypt in Ethiopia"; and in the other he refers to "the long-lived Ethiopians who dwell above the sacred city of Nysa and have festivals in honor of Bacchus [Dionysus]."

In addition, the description of this island as preserved in the Libyan traditions recalls at once what must have been in very ancient times the natural conditions of the African region surrounded by the Nile and its tributaries, the Atbara and the Blue Nile, and which was the heart of old Ethiopia known to the classical geographers as "Island of Meroe." Diodorus quotes an ancient poet who located "the sacred Nysa" where Dionysus was reared as being the region "Where the streams of Egypt's Nile begins."

Dionysus, so tradition holds, first invaded Egypt and after installing as king Jupiter (Zeus), the youthful son of Rhea and Saturn, taught the Egyptians "all manner of planting, the use of the vine and how to keep and store up wine, and other fruits." Following this Dionysus made a world tour going as far as India; he taught the people there his improved arts of husbandry and agriculture and by these acts obliged all mankind to render him grateful remembrance and immortal honor. ..."

Africa and Africans as seen by Classical Writers, at 90- 91


(Feb 10, 2013) The principal pre-Christian Kikuyu deity was referred to as "Ngai mwene Nyaga" - "God, owner of the Ostriches", and his dwelling place was "Kirima kiri Nyaga"  Kirinyaga or Mount Kenya - "Mountain of the Ostriches" or "Mountain with Ostrich."  This is probably an ancient link to Osiris worship in east Africa.  See this discussion of chiefly Ostrich feather headgear in several  precolonial Kenya tribal societies.

There might also be yet-to-be discovered pyramids in the Kenyan Rift Valley. See these recent photos of "Delamere's Nose" or "The Sleeping Warrior" at Lake Elementaita.


(October 27, 2010) Modern - day Malawi used to be the British "Nyasaland Protectorate" (from 1894 to 1964). My intuition is the entire central African "highveld" is prime hunting ground for antiquities. From the Ruwenzori - the "mountains of the moon" in Uganda, down to the ruins of Zimbabwe.

There used to be a vogue for African "King Solomon's mines" in the 1940's and 50's Hollywood - a lot of mythology, but little publicly available scholarship.

The source of the mythology was Sir H. Rider Haggard's "King Solomon's Mines" published in 1885. The 1950 Hollywood version of "King Solomon's Mines" is a straightforward tour of eastern and central Africa; - a pleasurable safari through Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Belgian Congo; - but no ancient ruins and no antiquities besides a tub full of large uncut diamonds hidden in a Tutsi mountain cave. (Tutsi, who are on average over 6 feet tall, are probably related to the tribes of Southern Sudan, some of whom are also very tall.)


(Jan. 24, 2011) Also compare with Kenyan "highveld". There was a surprisingly large Afrikaner (Dutch South African) population on the Uasin Gishu plateau in western Kenya (Kalenjin, Luhya, Kisii and Maasai land) before independence (1963). According to Elspeth Huxley, an English Kenyan (and grand-niece of the 1st Duke of Westminster):

" ... [in 1931/33] I came back from Kakamega by way of Eldoret, then a little farmers' township with a single dusty main street flanked by squat tin-roofed shops and Indian dukas (small shops), and by battered-looking box body cars angle-parked under rows of blue-gum trees. It was the embryonic capital of the Uasin Gishu plateau. Here you heard more Dutch spoken than English - we called it Dutch but it was really Afrikaans.

... When I saw it twenty-five years later, the plateau had been transformed into a prosperous region of wheat and maize fields, fenced pastures carrying grade cattle (native Zebus crossed with pedigree European stock), flocks of sheep and plantations of black wattle trees, with roofs of farmsteads winking at you through trees that had grown up around them. Roads, telegraph wires, reservoirs stocked with fish and used by sailing clubs, all these had come into being in a remarkably short time and despite such setbacks as the First World War, the slump that followed it and then drought and locusts. The plateau and the Trans Nzoia beyond had become Kenya's major exporting area of wheat, maize, wool and wattle bark and one of the granaries of eastern Africa. Tractors crawled like beetles over the rolling plains, and the little scarred, heroic oxen, like the wild animals, had had their day ...

Elspeth Huxley, Out in the Midday Sun, My Kenya at 22 - 24 (1985)


(Feb. 4, 2011) For a vivid description of the Afrikaner "trek" into the Uasin Gishu in 1908 see chapter 25 of Elspeth Huxley's "The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood"(1959). In 1908 the Uasin Gishu plateau was host to vast herds of game and large tracts of dense old-growth forests.

As a historical curiosity, in 1903 the British empire offered the Uasin Gishu to the Zionist Theodor Herzl to create a Jewish homeland.


(August 11, 2011) In addition to the Uasin Gishu plateau, another place of interest on the western side of the Kenyan Rift Valley is the Maasai Mara game reserve; - the Kenyan portion of the Serengeti. This insight came to me on a recent re-viewing of the 1985 movie adaptation of Baroness Karen Blixen's book "Out of Africa" (1937).

While playing the commentary track to the DVD I was surprised to learn that the famous picnic scene on the cover of the DVD was not shot in the Ngong hills, near where Karen Blixen lived, but rather, further south in the Maasai Mara game reserve.

The video shot in the Maasai Mara is spectacular and garnered "Out of Africa" an Oscar Academy Award. It is also very strange. In some ways it reminds me of the National Mall here in Washington. It is both uncanny and familiar at the same time. ...


(Jan 25, 2012) Also see "Mountains of the Moon," a 1990 movie about Burton and Speke's search for the source of the Nile in the 1850's. This movie does not actually go to the Ruwenzori mountain range (the "Mountains of the Moon") but is more about a grueling trip from the Indian Ocean to Lake Tanganyika in central Africa. (It's probably mostly shot in Kenya. That's the impression I had when I first saw it in the early 1990's - and many of the actors names are Kenyan.)

As in "Out of Africa" the sunny and spectacular "royal hunting lodge" background scenery is strikingly independent from, and in contradiction to the content of the movie; which in "Mountains of the Moon" is death, slavery, violence etc.

Lake Tanganyika itself is still a sunny mystery - despite being the 2nd largest freshwater lake in the world and part of 4 countries - Tanzania, Zambia, Belgian Congo and Burundi. Prior to World War I, it was a German lake - which may be part of its' beguiling allure ...


(Feb. 20, 2012) For video of a small slice of Lake Tanganyika, see National Geographic's "Lake Tanganyika: Jewel of the Rift" (1996) shot by Victoria Stone and Mark Debble in the Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania. (10 minute YouTube sample.)

This is an underwater documentary featuring the lake's sunny crystal clear waters, as well as many species of cichlids, cichlid-eating birds that hunt underwater; and underwater snakes like water cobras and bird-devourng pythons and two kinds of catfish - an electric catfish that kills cichlids with 300 volts of electricity and another catfish that tricks cichlids into raising it's young; - also featured are two species of otters, crocodiles, crabs, a freshwater species of jellyfish and sardines! Lake Tanganyika is a full blown inland sea. ...


(June 19, 2014) Also of interest are two Rift Valley volcanos - Ol Doinyo Sabuk in Kenya and in Ol Doinyo Lengai  in Tanzania.

Ol Doinyo Sabuk

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Ol Doinyo Lengai 2

Ol Doinyo Lengai 3

Ol Doinyo Lengai 4

I was previously unaware of Ol Doinyo Sabuk even though it lies close to Thika where my parents are from. The name means "big mountain" in Maasai. One of the reasons Ol Doinyo Sabuk is so unknown is because during colonial times it was the private property of Sir William Northrup McMillian (1872 - 1925) , an American expatriate and hunting partner of President Teddy Roosevelt, who owned one of the largest ranches in the Kenya colony. Today the entire mountain lies within the Ol Doinyo Sabuk game reserve.

(July 4, 2014) Sir Northrup's father, William McMillan of St. Louis Missouri, chairman of the board of directors of the American Car and Foundry Company, made a large fortune manufacturing railroad freight cars. Even though an American, Northrup McMillan was able to accept a knighthood from the King of England because he was born British.

According to "Northrup: The life of William Northrup McMillan" by Judy Aldrick (2012), " ... In early 1918 he was promoted to major and recommended for a knighthood for "unusual services" and although an American, he accepted. The notice duly appeared in The London Gazette that Major McMillan was knighted by Letters Patent dated 6th February 1918. Later there was controversy about this acceptance of a British Knighthood, as American citizens do not usually accept knighthoods, or use the title "Sir." But Northrup became a substantive knight, open only to British subjects and made use of the title "Sir," as he had renounced his American citizenship at the beginning of the war and had now become British. He could do this because his parents William and Eliza were born in Canada, which was part of the British Empire, and did not become American citizens until 1874, two years after Northrup's birth. Technically, Northrup was born British." Northrup, at 176.

Facts on Sir Northrup are still elusive, but according to "Northrup", he was a close friend of Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia who gave him permission to hunt and explore along the Blue Nile. It was during preparations for one of these expeditions that he experienced the lush game country around Ol Doiyo Sabuk:

"... Northrup was entranced by the hunter's paradise he found. Jenssen tells us that Ol Donyo Sabuk, a small hump-shaped mountain, which was the only high ground in the surrounding plains, was at that time owned by five or six Englishmen. They had formed a syndicate to protect the game on it, particularly the buffalo. The mountain was covered in grass from top to bottom, but near the top and in all the valleys and ravines were dense forests, frequented by varieties of game and a herd of buffalo, the only herd existing in the neighborhood. From the top there were wonderful views across the surrounding countryside. Towards the north could be seen the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kenya. Due west the tin roofs of Nairobi glittered in the sun and to the south the magnificent Athi plains rolled out seemingly to infinity. The nearby river had hippos and plentiful amounts of fish and the picturesque waterfalls and running rivulets presented an  idyllic picture ... Northtup then acquired the mountain, Ol Donyo Sabuk, from the syndicate, bringing his total land ownership up to 20,000 acres causing Jenssen to comment dryly that Mr. McMillan now had his own game park. ... " Northrup at 98-102.

(July 17, 2014) Sir Northrup represented the Akamba district in the colonial Kenya Legislative Council, placing Ol Doinyo Sabuk in Kamba land, not Kikuyu land. However, it seems in the past the mountain was in Kikuyu land, and also had a secret core:

" ... During Bixby's visit Northrup told his guests of the legend attached to the Mountain, Ol Donyo Sabuk. Long ago the Kikuyu owned and occupied the mountain, but later the Akamba tribe took it from them. There was said to be an enormous cave under the mountain where the Kikuyu would take refuge whenever the Maasai or Akamba people threatened them. The cave was so large that they would drive all their goats and cattle into it and stay there until the danger was past. There was also supposed to be a spring of water inside the cave. Northrup said he had never managed to find this cave, but he believed that it the mountain was mined, diamonds, garnets and white sapphire would be found. ..." Northrup, at 204

[(July 17, 2014) A recent dream that I had sees something similar to this in Mount Longonot. - A Shangri-La type space in the core of the volcano; or a secret passage to another world.]


Ol Doinyo Lengai, the Maasai "mountain of god", resembles Sabuk. I was aware of it from previous reading. However, I was not aware that it is an active volcano that has erupted as recently as 2008 and 1968. It lies in a remote are of the Rift Valley in Tanzania, near the Kenya border.

Ol Doinyo Lengai 1966 eruption

Ol Doinyo Lengai 2008 eruption


(September 2, 2016) What Sir Northrup McMillian did, i.e. abandoning his American citizenship and accepting a British title was more common than is generally know in between 1890 and the 1930's. Gilded age fortunes protected themselves from enhanced American taxation (income tax and estate tax) by moving to England and other european countries. See for example: "To Marry an English Lord: Tales of Wealth and Marriage, Sex and Snobbery" by Gail MacColl (1989). This book has a list of more than 100 gilded age heiress' who essentially bought titles by marrying less wealthy but titled British gentlemen in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

However since the end of World War 2 enhanced taxation of large fortunes in Britain (up to 70% estate tax of assets over $4 million at one time) has forced many of these large estates into trusts.

Depending on the terms of the trust, many of the heirs of these fortunes can end up with little or no income from the trusts. The fiduciary duty of the trustees is to the estate not to any beneficiaries of the the trust. Essentially, trust funds are a diminution of the estate.

This explains a phenomenon that I have noticed: there is no American aristocracy. There used to be a well defined American aristocracy during the Gilded age, as is well documented by Gail MacColl in "To Marry an English Lord."

An example, is the end of "Summer." Summer used to be well defined for the American upper classes and to a large part was centered in the Adirondack mountains, in upstate New York. Georgia O'Keefe memorialized this in her Lake George paintings and the nude portraits that her mentor, the photographer Alfred Stieglitz took of her at Oaklawn the Stieglitz family summer "cottage" (gilded age mansion) on Lake George.

A similar thing has happened to the British aristocracy. See for example the disappearance of "Happy Valley" in the Aberdare Mountain range, Kenya (the Wanjohi valley, Nyandarua county), the center of the British upper classes in colonial Kenya.


(September 6, 2016) "Happy Valley" is almost universally confused with the Rift Valley. However, there is little comparison between the two places. "Happy Valley" lies deep in high altitude Kikuyu country on the eastern side of the Rift Valley. The Rift Valley is warm to hot and dry most of the year. The Wanjohi Valley, and the surrounding Aberdare mountains are warm to cold and wet most of the year; - the Aberdares are also nicknamed "Scotland with lions".

This is a common misconception and was even repeated in the movie adaptation of the book "White Mischief" (1984) by James Fox which is an investigation into the 1941 murder of Josslyn Hay, the "first subject of Scotland" the 22nd Earl of Errol in Kenya. The movie "White Mischief" (1988) is entirely shot in the Rift Valley and spends no time in the Aberdares.


(Sept. 6, 2016) When I was researching "Happy Valley" I came across something new to me - several high altitude lakes in the Mount Kenya area. This has traditionally been the birthplace of the Kikuyu tribe, but conflict with British settlers has alienated most Kikuyu's from this area. Most of the best land in Kikuyu land went directly from the estates of British aristocrats into protected parkland and conservation areas. This has been good for the land, but the people have been alienated from their roots.

Examples of forgotten Mount Kenya lakes are:

- Lake Alice

- Lake Alice - 2

- Lake Alice - 3

- Lake Michaelson

- Lake Michaelson - 2

- Lake Michaelson - 3

- Lake Michaelson - 4

- Lake Michaelson - 5

- The Temple and Lake Michaelson

- Lake Ellis

- Lake Rutundu

- Hall Tarns


- Mount Kenya

- Mount Kenya - 2

- Mount Kenya - 3

- Point Lenana, Mt. Kenya

(British explorers in the 1890's reported an all-white peak on Mt. Kenya. There is much less snow today).



(Sept. 7, 2016) According to the founding Kikuyu myth, the first man was created here. However, after that the Kikuyu were a ruled by women - the 9 clans of Mumbi. This matriarchy continued until the men staged a coup d'etat and took power after getting all the women in power pregnant at the same time.

This myth concurs with the myth of the lands of the "Queen of Sheba" - the Queen of the South who ruled the ancient Sabaeans.


" ... Under the collective name of Mumbi’s Tribe, women continued to be the heads of their family groups and clans for some generations. While holding superior and dominant positions in the community, women became domineering and ruthless fighters, practised polyandry and subjected men to capital punishment and all kinds of humiliation. Men were indignant at their treatment and planned to revolt. As the women were physically stronger than the men of that time, and also better fighters, it was decided that the best time for a successful revolt would be during the time when majority of women, especially their leaders were in pregnancy.

The men held a secret meeting and arranged a suitable date to execute their plan. They embarked on a campaign to induce the women leaders and a majority of their brave followers to have sexual intercourse with them. The women were unfortunately deceived by the flattery of the men, and blindly agreed to their inducements without knowing the wicked plan the men had made to overthrow the women. The men quietly waited for the result and after six moons elapsed, they clearly saw their plan had materialised. They organised into groups and finally carried out the revolt without much resistance.

Leadership was taken over by the men. They decided to change the name of the tribe as well as the names of the clans which were given under the matriarchal system, to new ones under the patriarchal system. They succeeded in changing the name of the tribe from Mumbi’s clan to Gikuyu’s clan. But when it came to changing of the clan names, the women were very infuriated and strongly decided against the change which they looked upon as a sign of ingratitude on the part of the men.

The men allowed the original clan names to remain unchanged and the nine clans in the Gikuyu tribe are still known under the names of the nine Gikuyu daughters who were founders of the Gikuyu clan system. ... " Kiboko Hachiyon, citing "Facing Mount Kenya" (1938) by Jomo Kenyatta.


(Sept. 7, 2016) There might also have been an Islamic phase to the Kikuyu. For example, until it was abolished by the British, Kikuyu women strongly supported female circumcision. The geographical distribution of this practice correlates with Islam. Very few Bantu tribes in central and southern Africa ever practiced female circumcision - or female genital mutilation (FGM) as it is more accurately called. FGM is designed to ensure female virginity before marriage and female fidelity within marriage. (FGM could also be a Kikuyu import from the Maasai. Maasai culture, and most Nilotic culture resembles Islam in this respect. )



(May 5, 2011) The key to unlocking the mysteries of central Africa, both ancient and modern, probably lie with a deeper understanding of the activities of the British East India Company or "John Company" (1599 - 1874). This insight came to me as I was watching Satyajit Ray's 1977 masterpiece "The Chess Players."

In this hilarious movie 2 pampered moslem Indian noblemen are too preoccupied with their chess tournaments to pay any attention to the aggressive territorial expansion of "John Company" in 1856 India.

"John Company" was a private corporation affiliated with the British crown that facilitated the growth of the British empire. It is probably the model for the super-wealthy CHOAM corporation in Frank Herberts' 1964 science fiction novel "Dune." In Dune, directorships in the CHOAM company are where real imperial power lies.


As far as real life is concerned, central Africa was probably a "John Company" fief controlled by Cecil Rhodes (1853 - 1902) - the entire central African highveld was probably the "House of Rhodes."

According to Wikipedia: " ... in 1889 Rhodes obtained a charter from the British Government for his British South Africa Company (BSAC) to rule, police and make new treaties and concessions from the Limpopo River [Northern border of South Africa] to the great lakes of Central Africa. " At his death in 1902, Rhodes had established a monopoly on the global diamond industry - up to 90% - through the de Beers company, that he founded.

Also, according to Wikipedia: " ... At his death he was considered one of the wealthiest men in the world. In his first will, of 1877, (before he had accumulated his wealth), Rhodes wanted to create a secret society that would bring the whole world under British rule. The exact wording from this will is:

To and for the establishment, promotion and development of a Secret Society, the true aim and object whereof shall be for the extension of British rule throughout the world, the perfecting of a system of emigration from the United Kingdom, and of colonisation by British subjects of all lands where the means of livelihood are attainable by energy, labour and enterprise, and especially the occupation by British settlers of the entire Continent of Africa, the Holy Land, the Valley of the Euphrates, the Islands of Cyprus and Candia, the whole of South America, the Islands of the Pacific not heretofore possessed by Great Britain, the whole of the Malay Archipelago, the seaboard of China and Japan, the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of the British Empire, the inauguration of a system of Colonial representation in the Imperial Parliament which may tend to weld together the disjointed members of the Empire and, finally, the foundation of so great a Power as to render wars impossible, and promote the best interests of humanity. ... "

Wikipedia (May 2011), Cecil Rhodes


For more information on "The British East India Company" see: "The men who ruled India," (1954) by Philip Mason. I've always been fascinated by the opening page of this book:

" ... Elizabeth by the Grace of God Queen of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, to all our Officers, Ministers and Subjects ... Greeting.

Pride rings in the formal words, you can hear the trumpets peal along the narrow city lanes. This is more than a charter of a company of merchants; it is a move in the war with Spain. Trade is the object; but Spain and Portugal claim a monopoly of the West Indies and the East and there will be no trade without fighting.

That much they must have known when they met on September 24, 1599, to petition the Queen for their charter. But just how much they were founding, not one of them could have guessed.

It was for the honour of this our realm of England, for navigation, trade, merchandise - and because it was what they liked to do. That was why the bold eyes of the Queen's captains and merchants roved East as well as West. They sought gold, fame and danger in every corner of the world they opened and devoured with such zest. They had been East already in ones and twos; they had found the Portuguese before them in India, the Dutch in the Spice Islands. Both treated the English as poachers. The Portuguese had the Pope's blessing; the Dutch had no blessing but the plain advantage of being first in the field.

The English were third in the field; they petitioned the Queen for the same backing as their rivals. But in 1599 there were hopes of peace with Spain; the Queen would not imperil the negotiations by licensing trespass in the East; she kept her hand on the jesses. Next year, 1600, the hope of peace died, and on the last day of the sixteenth century the Queen gave the company their charter. ... "

Philip Mason, The Men Who Ruled India (1954) at 1 - 2


(Feb. 9, 2011):

Snowscape after Guo Xi (Mountain and Lake in Winter)

To beat the heat

I humbly beg a swig of Yuan Shao's drink.

To cool things off

I visualize the skin of a white dragon.

Snow lies helter-skelter

on this five-foot length of silk.

As I put the brush aside,

my gauzy shirt hides goose bumps.

Li Yin

Qing Dynasty, China - from his painting "Snowscape after Guo Xi (Mountain and Lake in Winter)" (1702) at the Freer Gallery of Art.



(November 14, 2019) Further research in this field has to include the banking arm of the British empire which seems to have vanished from view but still exists as a family run enterprise: N M Rothschild & Sons:

According to Wikipedia :

" ... Nathan Mayer Rothschild first settled in Manchester, where he established a business in finance and textile trading. He later moved to London, founding N M Rothschild & Sons in 1811 at New Court, which is still the location of Rothschild & Co's headquarters today. Through this company, Nathan Mayer Rothschild made a fortune with his involvement in the Bonds Market.

According to historian Niall Ferguson, "For most of the nineteenth century, N M Rothschild was part of the biggest bank in the world which dominated the international bond market. For a contemporary equivalent, one has to imagine a merger between Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and probably Goldman Sachs too—as well, perhaps, as the International Monetary Fund, given the nineteenth-century Rothschild's role in stabilizing the finances of numerous governments."

During the early part of the 19th century, the Rothschild London bank took a leading part in managing and financing the subsidies that the British government transferred to its allies during the Napoleonic Wars. Through the creation of a network of agents, couriers and shippers, the bank was able to provide funds to the armies of the Duke of Wellington in Portugal and Spain. In 1818 the Rothschild bank arranged a £5 million loan to the Prussian government and the issuing of bonds for government loans. The providing of other innovative and complex financing for government projects formed a mainstay of the bank's business for the better part of the century. N M Rothschild & Sons' financial strength in the City of London became such that by 1825, the bank was able to supply enough coin to the Bank of England to enable it to avert a liquidity crisis.

Like most firms with global operations in the 19th century, Rothschild had links to slavery, even though the firm was instrumental in abolishing it by providing a £15m gilt issue necessary to pass the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833. The money provided by Rothschild was used to pay slave owners compensation for their slaves and the gilt issue was only fully redeemed in 2015. ...

Nathan Mayer's eldest son, Lionel de Rothschild (1808–1879) succeeded him as head of the London branch. Under Lionel the bank financed the British government's 1875 purchase of a controlling interest in the Suez Canal. Lionel also began to invest in railways as his uncle James had been doing in France. In 1869, Lionel's son, Alfred de Rothschild (1842–1918), became a director of the Bank of England, a post he held for 20 years. Alfred was one of those who represented the British Government at the 1892 International Monetary Conference in Brussels.

The Rothschild bank funded Cecil Rhodes in the development of the British South Africa Company and Leopold de Rothschild (1845–1917) administered Rhodes's estate after his death in 1902 and helped to set up the Rhodes Scholarship scheme at Oxford University. In 1873 de Rothschild Frères of Paris and N M Rothschild & Sons of London joined with other investors to acquire the Spanish government's money-losing Rio Tinto copper mines. The new owners restructured the company and turned it into a profitable business. By 1905, the Rothschild interest in Rio Tinto amounted to more than 30%. In 1887, the French and English Rothschild banking houses loaned money to, and invested in, the De Beers diamond mines in South Africa, becoming its largest shareholders." Wikipedia

Video: "The House Of Rothschild "


This is not just an African issue: many conspiracy theorists insist that this bank is the muscle behind the New York Federal Reserve though which it exerts power over the American economy


The origin of all this money is still up in the air - My first guess was a protective golem created in a Jewish Ghetto - but other possibilities include Templars. This kind of money management was a Templar thing in the 1300's

One statistic from this video that I have heard before in another context is that at the end of the 19th century N M Rothschild & Sons controlled 1/2 of the worlds wealth.

I heave heard this exact statistic being used to describe the extent of wealth controlled by what was once called "John Company or the British East India company at the end of its period in India.

Recent heads of this dynasty:

- Victor
- Guy
-Sir Evelyn

Next in line

- David





(Feb. 8, 2010) "Nysa" may also be a Greek version of the Coptic "pa nhsy" (the Negro.) See: "Coptic Egypt: History and Guide" by Jill Kamil (1987):

" ... In view of centuries of contact between Egyptians and Jews in Egypt, it is not surprising that some cultural diffusion is evident in the Old Testament. It can be seen in names such as Pinehas and Pashur which derive from the Egyptian pa nhsy (the Negro) and ps-Hr (part of Horus) ...

Coptic Egypt, at 23.

Greco-Roman black Africa is still an unexplored field - and it might extend south of Ethiopia into east and central Africa; as deep inland as the great lakes region of Rwanda, and into Kivu province in eastern Congo. Kivu, unlike the Congo rain-forest or jungle of myth, has a temperate, almost alpine climate; - a Swiss-like atmosphere, despite the unending horror stories coming out of it ...

(April 2, 2009) The immediate remnants of the Greco-Roman period in east African history would be Sabaean script and the coins of Axum (See page 43 of this site). But we can also trace a Roman presence in east Africa in other things: for example Maasai regalia: the red Toga, the sandals, the dagger, the shield, and the belt.

Ancient Egyptian traces in Maasai regalia would be the traditional elongated pierced ears and the beaded necklaces - both of which can be seen on King Tutankhamen's mask (1342-1323 BC).

Wine making is not usually associated with east Africa, but in ancient Egypt it was associated with the worship of Osiris. (The Greeks later came to identify Dionysus with the more ancient Osiris/Horus cult; i.e.: a death and resurrection cult. This is probably where the 2nd century AD Roman "sarcophagus" iconography comes from.)

I also think a study of Maasai language would provide ancient links to the Nile valley. (As a general statement, if one wants to get a modern day visual of what ancient Egyptians looked like, visit Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. - Ancient Egyptians were "Habesha.")


The God Abandons Antony.

When at the hour of midnight

an invisible choir is suddenly heard passing

with exquisite music, with voices -

Do not lament your fortune that at last subsides,

your life's work that has failed, your schemes that have proved illusions.

But like a man prepared, like a brave man,

bid farewell to her, to Alexandria who is departing.

Above all, do not delude yourself, do not say that it is a dream,

that your ear was mistaken.

Do not condescend to such empty hopes.

Like a man for long prepared, like a brave man,

like to the man who was worthy of such a city,

go to the window firmly,

and listen with emotion,

but not with the prayers and complaints of the coward

(Ah! supreme rapture!)

listen to the notes, to the exquisite instruments of the mystic choir,

and bid farewell to her, to Alexandria whom you are losing.

C.P. Cavafy.

" ... The local reference of this exquisite poem is to the omen that heralded the defeat of Mark Antony [by Octavian in 30 BC]. The poet is eminent amoung the contemporary writers of Greece; he and his translator, Mr George Valassopoulo, are both residents of Alexandria [Egypt]. [Cavafy died in 1933.]"

Alexandria: A History and a Guide, by E.M. Forster Introduction by Lawrence Durrell (1982) at 104

[Alexandria was first published in 1922]



© 2008 by Waweru Njenga. All rights reserved.

First posted: 5/1/2008

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