[Contrary Books]
Catastrophism and Alternative Cosmologies

[from Kronos Vol 8 number 4, 1983]

THE COSMIC SERPENT by Victor Clube and Bill Napier


The Cosmic Serpent is a book about cosmic catastrophism, a subject which has become increasingly popular and respectable in scientific circles during recent years. It is also interdisciplinary, covering topics as diverse as astronomy, geology, evolution, mythology, archaeology, and ancient history. Whereas most modern authors of quasi-catastrophist theories limit themselves to a single event or a series of related events, in this their first book, Victor Clube and Bill Napier are putting forward an all-encompassing theory. Small wonder that its dust jacket boasts the words of Patrick Moore: "This is one of the most extraordinary books I have ever read."

Clube and Napier are accredited astronomers at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, and have many publications to their names. It is therefore not surprising to find that their book is strongly astronomy oriented. Their first two chapters make hard reading for the nonspecialist because they are replete with astronomical theory. But since the science of astronomy is currently in a state of flux, these preliminary chapters are most important. In them, the authors have succeeded in producing a thesis which will be compatible with theories of astronomy whichever way the fashion might go in years to come. From this astronomical springboard they are then able to launch into a discussion of catastrophes that have affected the Earth -- catastrophes caused by asteroids, meteors, and comets. Controversially, they propose that these catastrophes have taken place in geological, archaeological, and historical times.


Of course, a book like this could not have been written without repeated reference to the works of Immanuel Velikovsky, especially as the other ingredients of the book include:

1. evolution in the wake of catastrophic extinctions;

2. mythology as the true record of man's reaction to catastrophe, in particular, to comet- and meteor-borne catastrophe;

3. the Exodus event and the Flood of Noah as worldwide catastrophic events which were caused by comets -- within the memory of man;

4. a Revised Chronology for ancient Egypt.

A reader might think that this is eloquent testimony to the sustained vitality of Velikovsky's ideas, for the ingredients of this "most extraordinary" book contain most (but not all) of the major themes of Worlds in Collision, Ages in Chaos, and Earth in Upheaval. [1] However, the reader will be disappointed if he looks for the tribute that is due Velikovsky. Instead, Velikovsky's credit is limited to his having drawn attention to the parallels between the Exodus and the "Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage" (to give it its correct title) [2] and ". . . their implications so far as a catastrophic extra-terrestrial missile and ancient chronology were concerned". [3] Parts of the Ages in Chaos theses are also accepted, in particular the parallel Velikovsky drew between Hatshepsut and the Queen of Sheba. Beyond this they are niggardly in acknowledging their debt to Velikovsky. [3a]

Why is so little credit given to Velikovsky? The answer surely lies in Velikovsky's pursuit of "a quite impossible astronomical hypothesis to explain the catastrophic events". [4] And the part of the astronomical hypothesis found to be objectionable is the idea of the planet Venus (or, rather, what was to become the planet Venus) behaving as a giant comet. This is declared by Clube and Napier to be "wildly improbable" for "dynamical and many other [unspecified] reasons". [5]

In the Prologue to this work, which draws so heavily on Velikovsky's unique synthesis, one finds a bit of special pleading. The authors do not want to be tarred with the same brush that was used to blacken the name of Velikovsky. They do not like to admit it, but their thesis is vulnerable to the same sort of attack that led to the scientific community's rejecting Velikovsky in the 1950s. Clube and Napier ask for open-mindedness in assessing their book, pointing out that people have defended wrong ideas in the past -- and indeed the history of science is replete with such defenses -- while noting cryptically that "a disproof of Velikovskian logic can deprive ancient legends of their catastrophic message". [6] This reference is most curious. Not only does it contain the false notion that Velikovsky's logic has been disproved -- and they themselves use similar logic -- but it contains a grudging admission that Velikovsky was right to interpret ancient myth as he did. Now the authors are happy to acknowledge H. S. Bellamy in this field, a predecessor admitted by Velikovsky, but nowhere do we find reference by Clube and Napier to Bellamy being "wildly wrong" in his adherence to the Hörbiger Theory. Why? It is hardly likely that they find Bellamy's astronomical hypothesis realistic; hence one must conclude that their opposition to Velikovsky is symptomatic of the irrational nature of human thought.


It should be stated that The Cosmic Serpent is not a straight rewrite of Velikovsky's works. Not by a long way! The whole emphasis and the catastrophic scenario are sufficiently different for the authors to be able to call it their own theory, and to present it as novel. In essence, their theory boils down to very infrequent, but periodic, disturbances to the Solar System in its wanderings through the Galaxy on encountering "dusty" (i.e., debris-littered) regions. This is shown to be statistically probable and compatible with current theories of the Galaxy. On its last encounter with a dusty spiral arm of the Galaxy, in the Gould Belt ~10-12 million years ago, the Solar System would have acquired comets and meteors, causing irregular collision activity that has been declining ever since. On a notable previous encounter, at the Cretaceous-Tertiary divide, there was a massive asteroidal or cometary impact on Earth, with enormous consequences for all Earth's life forms.

As a matter of course most of the material acquired on encountering these debris-littered spiral arms will be thrown straight out of the Solar System, but there will be sufficient material, in the form of long-period comets and asteroids, to ensure subsequent havoc. This periodic havoc forms the basis for Earth's punctuated geological record, a record of recurrent world-wide catastrophes. In this respect the theory is extremely attractive -- even to supporters of Velikovsky -- for it can be shown that long-period comets can be deflected in their orbits by Jupiter and become short-period comets, and, ultimately, end up as asteroids, as is thought to be the likely fate of comet Encke.

In its own way this all-encompassing thesis embraces much modern work and most of the latest fashionable catastrophic literature. It salutes the Alvarez et al. theory on the asteroid/meteor impact at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, the work of Hsü et al. on a comet impact at the same boundary, and the tektite studies of Glass and Swart relating such falls to major geological hiatuses -- to name a few of the many. It also takes under its wing the unfashionable but meritorious work of Rene Gallant, whose Bombarded Earth (London 1964) has been largely ignored since publication.


The assumptions of Clube and Napier's theory are worth scrutinizing. One major assumption is that the spiral arms contain "dusty" material, or debris. There is currently no way of knowing exactly what is in these spiral arms. Because it is thought there are no large bodies, it is postulated that any matter there must be in small bodies. This assumption is not currently testable. The authors postulate comets there, and offer this theory of comet origin in preference to the currently fashionable, but equally unproven, Oort Cloud hypothesis. [7]

Following the theoretical discussion of comets in the spiral arms, we are told that comets characteristically have a diameter of "only a few kilometres". [8] Later it is disclosed that the asteroid Hephaistos, the comet Encke, and the [beta]-Taurid meteor stream have a probable common ancestry, being the disintegration products of an "erstwhile large comet, certainly in excess of 10 km diameter" [9] and that the large body was probably active a few thousand years ago. It is this large comet which they associate with Typhon, the comet that caused the Exodus event. [9a] Later again, discussing the same erstwhile large comet, the progenitor of Encke, they assume it to have been "about 20 km in diameter". [10] It would have been worthwhile for them to have presented a stronger case for the feasibility of a comet of 20 km diameter since this would be significantly larger than comet sizes are normally reckoned.

By and large, though, their astronomical theory looks good even if it rests on untestable assumptions. It is not without flaw, however. In calculating the weight of a water-ice object of I km diameter they give a value of 4 billion tons; [11] the true value ought to have been 500 million tons. [12] In their calculation they have carelessly confused radius with diameter, and then ignored the distinction between pound-mass and pound-force in their subsequent calculations. For credited astronomers, these are embarrassing mistakes.


There are some quite interesting facets to their geological scenario. They postulate rapid continental drift at around 10-100 million times the normal rate of drift. [13] This would be caused by the impact of a body of 10-20 km diameter, with cracks of 10-100 km appearing in the crust of the Earth within periods of a few thousand years. This is far short of Melvin A. Cook's model of rapid continental drift, [14] but it is certainly an interesting idea. There is also a good discussion of the evolutionary effects of many small impacts versus a single large one, [15] with the conclusion that a single large catastrophe has far more evolutionary impact than several small ones, which might, in fact, reduce the evolutionary rate rather than accelerate it. Some of the patter about mutations due to temporary removal of the protective ozone layer in the upper atmosphere and adaptive radiations ensuing from extinctions looked, however, a trifle glib. Some of the data showing sea level changes in various geological eras [16] and a table showing the relation between tektite falls and major geological hiatuses [17] are useful, but there is nothing dramatically new about these.

Unfortunately, in the field of geology they have repeated the mistakes of others. Following prevailing (and incorrect) ideas about the Pleistocene glaciations, they attribute these "Ice Ages" to deteriorating climate and a drop in mean global temperature. [18] They do not offer any evidence of such a fall in temperature. In passing they have overlooked the overwhelming evidence that as the ice encroached over North America there was no similar encroachment over northern Asia. This has been pointed out by many people, including Velikovsky, [19] and it is evidence that the recent "Ice Ages" were caused by a shifting of the poles [20] and by no other mechanism.

In discussing geomagnetic reversals, those dramatic inversions of Earth's polarity, they again settle for an unproven theory -- the "dynamo" theory -- as the origin of Earth's magnetic field. And this despite having to admit that the nature of the mechanism of generation of this dynamo field is "uncertain". [21] Their proposed mechanism for geomagnetic reversals involves the impact of an extra-terrestrial body with a slow but steady rotation of crust plus mantle on the assumed liquid core, the inversion being completed in about 1,000 years. With so much of the physics of this mechanism relying on assumptions and with the mechanism of generation of the "dynamo" field uncertain, the idea is seen to lack solidity.

One of the new tools of catastrophist geology is the sea-bed core, which has revealed anomalously high levels of rare elements, like iridium, at major geological boundaries associated with extinctions. This is taken as evidence for impacts of extra-terrestrial bodies. Thus, in a discussion of anomalous iridium levels found in sediments, they note that the 2.3 million year old Antarctic sediment had a high iridium content. This they found "disconcerting" for "there were no significant extinctions at that time". [22] Actually, this is untrue, for there is evidence of a massive faunal turnabout in the Americas at that time, [23] which makes the Antarctic core evidence far from disconcerting -- it is potentially very useful.


Sadly, in the field of mythology, Clube and Napier are unable to match the standard they set for their astronomy. Their effort, although plausible, is riddled with errors and misconceptions. Take, for instance, the section on Norse mythology. [24] In a series of unsupported and arbitrary-looking decisions, they equate the Tree of Life with the Fenrir wolf; Loki as "Zeus?"; Surt as Balder; but also as Apollo and Thoth. The latter is, according to them, "later" also Osiris. Osiris must have sorely troubled them, for in another place they equate him with "Zeus-Jupiter-Marduk-Athura [sic] Mazda". [25] This probably led them to equate Ptah of Memphis with Jupiter [26] when both Osiris and Ptah are more properly Saturn figures. [27] They move from one confusion to another. Zeus ("or Kronos") is also said by them to have been a "principal progenitor". They also add: "A time was certainly envisaged when the founder was alone in the cosmos." [28] This is certainly not true in the case of Zeus. A little careful research should have told them that. Moreover, they do not know the difference between "trilogy" and "trinity" when referring to the triad of Sun, Moon, and Venus of ancient Mesopotamia [29] -- further carelessness which slowly erodes the reader's confidence.

Their treatment of the Bible, alas, is no better. Psalm 18: 7-1 5 is quoted selectively as evidence of a pre-Flood disturbance. [30] This is particularly poor scholarship because the passage concerned is almost identical to another, in II Samuel 22, which tells of the same "hailstones and coals of fire" in the context of a disturbance which took place in the reign of King David. Quite where they got the notion that Psalm 18, a highly personalized Psalm of David, refers to the pre-Flood period is something of a mystery. What is more disturbing is the dogmatic way in which the assertion is made.(31)

The idea that there was a religious reform instigated by the prophet Amos, [32] on the other hand, can only have come from reading Velikovsky -- but again no credit was given. In their comparison between the Exodus account and the lamentations of Ipuwer they choose to concentrate on the stinking river, hail, thunderbolts, darkness, and the pillars of smoke and fire. [33] These they can explain in terms of their erstwhile large comet coming into the vicinity of Earth. The blood mentioned in the Exodus account and by Ipuwer is neither explored nor explained. This was undoubtedly a missed opportunity, because similar falls of "blood" are associated with the catastrophic aspects of Hathor in Egyptian accounts [34] and Inanna in Sumerian. [35] Are we to assume that they found these references to "blood" enigmatic?


Errors in the handling of mythology notwithstanding, their cosmological set-up for the era 2000-700 B.C. is worth examining. Although decrying Velikovsky for his having suggested that the planets Venus and Mars could have been in wandering orbits and have tangled with Earth, they have certainly been impressed with the evidence for "Venus" and "Mars" events. Using a bit of jiggery-pokery with numbers, they find "commensurabilities" between the orbits of comet Halley and Mars in a 684 year cycle, as also one of 56 years between comet Encke and Venus. There is no denying that cycles of 684 and 56 years were of some significance in ancient usage, so they postulate that the comets Halley and Encke, which would have exceeded the present brightness of Venus in this period, became irrevocably associated with the planets Mars and Venus at some "late" date. [36] This, they allege, deceived Velikovsky into "erroneous deductions" concerning the movements of Venus and Mars.

Like their astronomical scenario, this is seductive. But unfortunately it does not stand up to scrutiny. For, at each and every critical point where it appears that ancient myth has described Venus in terms of a comet, they dodge the issue. They note that Quetzlcoatl, the plumed or feathered serpent, was thought of in terms of a comet, yet "sometimes represents the Sun and sometimes, with his twin Xolotl, the planet Venus". [37] It is a pity they did not refer here to modern work by the calendar expert Floyd Lounsbury who has found that the Maya determined the times of rituals, war, and sacrifice by important points on the orbit of Venus. [38] In another place they note that Anahit, a Persian goddess, was "later identified with Venus, and is, according to Nyberg, best likened to a river and interpreted as the Milky Way. At the same time, he describes the great celestial god as one that might 'leave the region of the stars' and approach the Earth." [39] It does not occur to them to question this statement, and that, unlikely as it might seem to astronomers, consider that Venus did approach Earth. For it is widely accepted that Anahita, the goddess, is Venus. [40] It is also necessary for Clube and Napier to ignore the evidence of the so-called Venus Tablets of Ammizaduga, evidence of which they should have been familiar with through reading Worlds in Collision. In the Venus Tablets, Ninsianna moves in an erratic orbit. Attempts to show otherwise have been thoroughly refuted. [41] It would have been necessary for Clube and Napier to disagree with the "experts" over Ninsianna, and to declare that she is not the planet Venus (or Mars, for that matter). This is a highly significant omission on their part, and very damaging to their argument.

But let us, for the sake of argument, suppose for a while that they are right in their totally unsupported assertion that the attributes of a comet were given to Venus at some "late" date, i.e., one when the comet no longer threatened Earth and the comet mythology no longer had any meaning for contemporary folk. At one stage in their discussion they state: "Both objects [i.e., the planet Venus and the progenitor of comet Encke] would have the characteristics of being lost in sunlight at intervals, and being seen as morning and evening phenomena." [42] But on the Clube and Napier hypothesis, Venus ought to have been where it is now from time immemorial, so it always ought to have been the Morning and Evening Stars, the activities of the "proto-Encke" comet notwithstanding. Any reference to "the Morning Star" or "the Evening Star" in ancient literature should therefore refer to the planet Venus, there being no reason to assume confusion in the minds of ancient astronomers. From the Isin-Larsa period in Mesopotamia, which was contemporary with Egypt's Middle Kingdom, we have remarkable descriptions of Inanna (Ishtar) as both the Evening and Morning Stars. [43] This places Clube and Napier in serious trouble, for Mesopotamian texts from both earlier and later periods describe the catastrophic nature of Inanna/Ishtar, and they themselves attribute the later Exodus event as being due to the "proto-Encke" comet.

Other descriptions of Inanna, from texts of a similar epoch, and from earlier times, describe her vividly: "Of her flaring in the sky -- a pure torch"; as "the heavenly light, shining bright like the day"; as "the one revered in heaven and earth, crowned with great horns"; and as the "wild cow of Enlil". [44] These leave little doubt but that Venus appeared more splendid then than now. Indeed, some of these are cometary descriptions, as Clube and Napier seem to agree. Long before this epoch, on seals of the Uruk period, we have pictures of Inanna with the "streamer-with-gatepost" symbol [45] so typical of a comet.

Yet here is a paradox, one which Clube and Napier may well have been aware of, but were unable to draw the right conclusion. Right down from the time of Agade, [46] through the 1st Dynasty of Babylon (Hammurabi and successors), [47] to the time of Nebuchadnezzar I (12th century in conventional chronology), [48] and into the late Assyrian period, e.g., Shalmaneser III, [49] we also have Inanna/Ishtar depicted as an eight-pointed star. Poignantly, the eight-pointed star appears over a scene "making an offering" [50] and, more specifically, in many of these examples the text accompanying the scene states that the eight-pointed star is Inanna or Ishtar. [51] Now Clube and Napier do not posit that the ancients knew both the planet Venus and the erratic comet, progenitor of Encke, as Inanna/Ishtar at the same time - this would be disingenuous. Instead, they claim wishfully that the attributes of the comet were given to the planet Venus at some unspecified later date. Clearly, this idea is at variance with inscriptional and pictorial representations of Inanna/Ishtar/Venus throughout Mesopotamian history.

To follow this idea to its logical conclusion, let us explore the relationship between the comet Halley and the planet Mars that the authors have proposed. It involves the assumption that "Ares-MarsNergal-Verethragna-Herakles" was known as a comet before it was used as a label of the planet Mars. [52] Investigators may do their worst, but the present reviewer defies them to produce a single description or pictorial representation of Nergal that fits the cometary bill (as it does, for instance, for Inanna). These simply do not exist: the idea of Nergal as a comet is wishful thinking, and it seriously weakens the rest of their cosmological scenario.


On Velikovsky's handling of archaeological data, Clube and Napier wrote: "His later identifications contravened the usual stratigraphic sequence of events, however, and archaeologists have generally found them quite unacceptable." [53] Alas, for their own ventures into the field of archaeology, to say nothing of the stratigraphical record, are lamentable. Their most glaring mistakes in this area concern evidence for the Flood of Noah and the eruption of the Thera-Santorini volcano in the second millennium B.C.

Their archaeological evidence for the Flood of Noah was perhaps fated to doom, for as hard as generations of investigators have sought, convincing world-wide evidence for the same has still not come to light.* [* Of interest, however, is Byron C. Nelson's The Deluge Story in Stone (Minneapolis, 1931). -- LMG] Actually, their evidence is but a single piece, and out-of-date information at that. They have managed to dig out Woolley's discredited "flood" stratum at Ur in southern Mesopotamia as their indicator of a 2500 B.C. flood, [54] and from these foundations of sand they postulate an encounter with a very dense meteor stream as its cause.

Over Thera, Clube and Napier come into difficulties with stratigraphy, for they see the eruption of Thera as both a part of and a consequence of the world-wide disturbance that took place at the time of the Exodus. [55] If they had read their own references carefully they would have noticed that one of them [56] states quite clearly that the Thera eruption took place in the Late Minoan IA period. Not only that, but pottery of Late Minoan IA straddles the ash fall, and the disaster did not cause any alteration in the style of occupation. It would be timely to state here one of the most important fundamentals of interdisciplinary catastrophism, namely that major worldwide catastrophes cause hiatuses, breaks in occupation, et cetera and are notable because things like pottery styles are changed. Nothing of the sort happened as a result of the Thera eruption, confirming that it was little more than a big volcanic eruption with local effects, and formed no part of a world-wide event such as the Exodus was. Late Minoan IA continues with hardly a visible hiccup as a result of Thera. Again, careful perusal of the same reference [57] would have revealed that the Cretan destruction level occurs in Late Minoan IB. There would have been no need for them to try to tie in the Cretan destructions with Thera: [58] stratigraphy says they will not tie in.


In tying in Thera with the Exodus they have posed some new problems because Thera erupted in Late Minoan IA and this era correlates most strongly with the Egyptian New Kingdom. Velikovskians have no such headache over the Exodus. Velikovsky placed the Exodus at the end of the Middle Kingdom. Curiously, Velikovsky himself seems to have been deceived by Thera, accepting its (then) conventional date of ~1500 B.C. [59] Indeed, it is possible that Clube and Napier have again taken Velikovsky's lead in this or perhaps they derived the idea from Goedicke [60] -- there is no indication from the references. [61] Clube and Napier have to find a date during the New Kingdom for the Exodus, whilst at the same time accepting the Hatshepsut/Queen of Sheba parallel. They offer no indications how this is to be done, and this reviewer would venture that indeed it is quite impossible.

As to their chronology, they offer no specific synchronisms of their own to elucidate the problems of tying Biblical with Egyptian, or Egyptian with Mesopotamian, history. Their reasons for having a revised chronology at all are most questionable: it is to make things fit the uncalibrated radiocarbon date of ~ 1390 B.C. for Thera, [62] which approximates their calculated year, 1369 B.C., in which a heliacal rising of Sirius of some great significance took place on 26th Pharmuti of the Egyptian calendar. [63] Interestingly, this 1369 B.C., the proposed date of Exodus/Thera, does not coincide with the end of the Middle Kingdom in their chronology and we must assume that something else caused that since it is "near the end of the Middle Kingdom" [64] -- a hint that they must have seen that a problem existed.

Because their quarrel is with calibrated radiocarbon dates and the system of Egyptian calendars according to Parker, [65] they see no need for a revised scheme of things in Mesopotamia. So it is no surprise to see them quote the conventional date for Assuruballit I of Assyria, 1356 B.C. He would have begun his dynasty not long after the "Typhon catastrophe" which they date to 1369 B.C. [66] They seem totally oblivious to the fact that Assuruballit was an el-Amarna correspondent and a contemporary, therefore, of Amenhotep III and Akhnaton. Now it is elementary to state that these pharaohs are successors of Hatshepsut, who they agree is the Queen of Sheba and a contemporary of Solomon. On their scheme they should have seen that their proposed date of 1077 B.C. for Amenhotep I [67] is a flat contradiction if Assuruballit I lived around 1356 B.C.; here is a new "Assuruballit Problem" - how to make Amenhotep I live some 300 years after Amenhotep III!

Further, they contradict themselves in writing of a major error in conventional chronology which "makes all Old, Middle and New Kingdom dates before 512 B.C. too early by 468 years". [68] On the previous page their table of revised Egyptian chronology is not consistent with this simplified statement that one can blithely reduce, at a stroke, all Egyptian dates before 512 B.C. by 468 years. Equally inconsistent is their equation of the Syrian usurper Arza with the Ethiopian king Piankhy, [69] and their claim that the Hyksos and Hittites "may be one and the same" [70] is quite incredible. No, their chronological scheme is quite crazy, and it does not take a great deal of specialist knowledge to see this.


"The Cosmic Serpent, then, is a reconstruction of knowledge in several fields, an adventure in paradigm. There is something here to outrage everyone." These far-sighted words in the Prologue are perhaps the most apposite judgement of the book, and a lesson that one should not write a book of such ambitions in the spirit of "adventure". The adventure had already taken place in 1950 with the publication of Worlds in Collision; and had Clube and Napier put as much research and effort into archaeology, mythology, ancient history, et cetera as they obviously put into the astronomy there would have been no need to "adventure". They had a golden opportunity to make catastrophism into the prevailing paradigm of our time, not merely to make it seem respectable. That opportunity was missed.


1. As has been noted in a short, pithy letter to New Scientist (18 November 1982) by A.H.A. Parker. Appropriately enough, the letter appeared under the caption "Worlds in Collision".

2. Curiously, Clube and Napier do not seem to be aware of this correct title, instead calling it "Ipuwer Chronicle" (p. 256), "Ipuwer Papyrus", and "Admonitions of a Sage" (p. 238). It is also notable that they fail to list this important document amongst their references.

3. The Cosmic Serpent (London and N.Y., 1982), p. 256; hereafter, Serpent.

3a. [How coincidental is it that the uncredited translation (p. 220) from Rockenbach's De cometis is word for word identical to the translation Velikovsky made from the Latin for "The Comet Typhon" in Worlds in Collision? That such a translation is not as straightforward as "Veni, vidi, vici" is demonstrated by Carter Sutherland in Pensee V, pp. 33-34 and the letters from Rubbens and Fitton in Pensee VI, pp. 6465. - CLE]

4. Serpent, p. 256.

5. Ibid., p. 257

6. Ibid., p. 13.

7. F. B. Jueneman in Industrial Res. & Dev., October 1982, p. 17, writing of Serpent reminds us that: "Although there doesn't seem to be a shred of evidence for this Oort cloud of comets, Clube and Napier speculate that it is both depleted and replenished by a passing dark nebula with its gas and debris." His parting glance at the hypothesis of Clube and Napier is to quote the late John W. Campbell, Jr.: "Ifs piled ten deep can explain anything."

8. Serpent, p. 44.

9. Ibid., p. 151.

9a. [Note that, whereas Velikovsky maintained that the Exodus was caused by the near collision of an enormously massive comet, Clube and Napier advocate the close passage of an ordinary comet accompanied by the impact of at least one fragment accompanying it. While Velikovsky was not ignorant of fragments accompanying a primary, as with the barad (meteorites) at Beth-horon, it is ironic that, after he had to expend so much effort countering the false notion of critics that proto-Venus collided with or grazed Earth, now a rival hypothesis comes along advocating out-and-out cosmic bombardment of the Tunguska type and greater. -- CLE]

10. Serpent, p. 154.

11. Ibid., p. 76.

12. Pointed out by C. L. Ellenberger in private correspondence, 16 August 1982.

13. Serpent, p. 128.

14. M.A.Cook, Prehistory and Earth Models (London, 1966).

15. Serpent, p. 120.

16. Ibid., p. 125.

17. Ibid., p. 121.

18. Ibid., p. 123.

19 I. Velikovsky, Earth in Upheaval (N.Y. and London, 1955), "Greenland".

20. C. H. Hapgood, The Path of the Pole (Phila., 1970) and P. Warlow, The Reversing Earth (London, 1982).

21. Serpent, p. 126.

22. Ibid., p. 116.

23. The so-called Great American Interchange -- see G. G. Simpson, Splendid Isolation (New Haven, 1980). Jill Abery has indicated the correlation - see SIS Workshop 4:4 (1982), p. 11. 24. Serpent pp. 187-188.

25. Ibid., p. 270.

26. Ibid., p. 180.

27. See, for instance, Dwardu Cardona, " 'Let There Be Light' ", KRONOS III:3 (1978), pp. 34-55.

28. Serpent, p. 179.

29. Ibid., pp. 163-164.

30. Ibid., pp. 210-211.

31. Indeed, this is a general criticism of the book. Statements are made throughout the book which are not supported by a reference in the text, and many of them have to be accepted by the reader as an act of faith. Where references are given it is in a list of reading matter, and no page numbers relating to the specific issue are to be found.

32. Serpent, p. 165.

33. Ibid., pp. 218-222.

34. J. B. Pritchard (ed.), Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3rd ed. (Princeton, 1969),p. 11.

35. S. N. Kramer, The Sumerians (Chicago, 1963), p. 162.

36. Serpent, pp. 266, 285. This "late" confusion does not stop them, however, from quoting late sources like Lucretius and Plato extensively -- in support of the catastrophist interpretation of myth!

37. Ibid., p. 188.

38. New Scientist (8 October 1981), p. 101.

39. Serpent, p. 164.

40. E.g., P. Masson-Oursel and L. Morin in Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology (N.Y., 1968), p. 311.

41. L. E. Rose and R. C. Vaughan, "Analysis of the Babylonian Observations of Venus", KRONOS II:2 (1976), pp. 3-26; L. E. Rose, " 'Just Plainly Wrong': A Critique of Peter Huber", KRONOS III:2 (1977), pp. 102-112 and KRONOS IV:2 (1978), pp. 33-69; and L. E. Rose and R. C. Vaughan, "Ninsianna Update", KRONOS V:3 (1980), pp. 5154; Idem., KRONOS VIII:1 (1982), pp. 15-37.

42. Serpent, p. 257.

43. T. Jacobsen, The Treasures of Darkness (New Haven, 1978),pp. 138-139.

44. Ibid., p. 139.

45. J. B. Pritchard (ed.), The Ancient Near East in Pictures, Relating to the Old Testament, 2nd ed. (Princeton, 1974), p. 219.

46. Ibid, p. 222.

47. Ibid., p. 175.

48. Ibid., p. 176.

49. Ibid., pp. 120, 122.

50. Ibid., p. 206 on a seal from Assur, dated conventionally to the last quarter of the 2nd millennium B.C.

51. E.g., see Ibid., p. 176.

52. Serpent, p. 272.

53. Ibid., p. 257.

54. Ibid., pp. 209 ff. One is hard-pressed to find amongst the references where Clube and Napier have disinterred this "old hat" evidence. Besides the modern preference for Ur in the district of Haran in northern Mesopotamia as the site of the Ur of Abraham, it is nowadays quite clear that Woolley's flood stratum was freshwater, caused by inundation of the great river, and that it was not particularly widespread, even within the Persian Gulf.

55. Ibid., p. 255. Cf. L. M. Greenberg, "Atlantis", Pensee VI (1973-74), pp. 52-54, and the remarks by Isaacson in KRONOS I:2 (1975), pp. 93-96. 56. C. Doumas and L. Papazoglou, "Santorini tephra from Rhodes", Nature 287 (1980), pp. 322-324.

57. Ibid.

58. Serpent, pp. 254-255.

59. Velikovsky, "Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Comets".

60. H. Goedicke, Egypt and the Early History of Israel (Baltimore,1981) .

61. This is a recurring complaint; see note 54.

62. Serpent, p. 237. Despite their reservations over some of the assumptions underlying Carbon-14 dating, they see fit to accept uncalibrated Carbon-14 dates for the Thera ash.

63. Ibid., p. 238.

64. Ibid. (Cf. p. 252.)

65. R. A. Parker, The Calendars of Ancient Egypt (Chicago, 1950). Clube and Napier put up a good case for Parker's reconstruction lacking validity.

66. Serpent, p. 239.

67. Ibid., p. 236.

68. Ibid., p. 237.

69. Ibid., p. 235.

70. Ibid., p. 239. Again, there is no sign of any reference to texts on the Hittites and the Hyksos for the reader to refer to. [Clube and Napier may have arrived at their conclusion about the Hittites and Hyksos as a result of a typographical error in one of their sources. On p. 131 of The Egyptians by Cyril Aldred (the very first reference in the bibliography of The Cosmic Serpent), the city of Avaris is inadvertently referred to as "the Hittite capital" while only two lines later campaigns against the Hyksos are discussed. - LMG] Their system of references is most annoying to the present reviewer (see notes 2, 54, 61, etc. above). Sometimes the references seem inadequate: D. Goldsmith, Scientists Confront Velikovsky (Ithaca, 1977) is the sole source on the "discrediting" of Velikovsky. The response by KRONOS is nowhere mentioned. And, from the era of Pioneer and Voyager they hark back to 1962 for a reference book on Saturn -- that of A. F. O'D. Alexander, the chief merit of which is presumably the list of ancient citations of the planet. Notably, Clube and Napier then proceed to confuse Saturnian with Jovian gods.

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