The Canopus Revelation 

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The City of Alexandria and its link to Canopus

Philip Coppens

 

In 2004, I published “The Canopus Revelation”. The book argued that Canopus was the forgotten “star” of the Egyptian pantheon; that it was specifically linked with the dead Osiris; that it was the South Pole star for the Ancient Egyptians; and that together with Sirius, it measured the Depths of the Abyss.
Since its publication, the book has received an interesting, but not substantial following. I was particularly glad to see that the main thesis was worked into an article that appeared in a leading Egyptian newspaper some years ago. If the thesis is right, many things we know about Ancient Egyptian star lore need to be re-examined. Alas, Egyptian star lore is ill-understood by archaeologists and Egyptologists, who furthermore pay scant attention to it, while in more esoteric circles, there is a wide-held belief that Orion has been conclusively identified with the dead Osiris – a conclusion that in “The Canopus Revelation” is shown to be erroneous: Orion was linked with Horus, the divine offspring of Isis and Osiris. Until Otto Neugebauer bullied his own opinion onto the entire field, “Orion equals Osiris” was not considered to be the central tenet it is held to be now.
However, it was with some pleasure that I noticed that Canopus had several index entries in Graham Hancock & Robert Bauval’s “The Master Game” (2011). They mention that Canopus was the site where according to legend the ship carrying Paris and Helen, the two people at the center of the Trojan War, took refuge. The story is found in a poem of Stesichorus (632-553 BC) and relates that the “real Helen” was detained by Pharaoh Proteus, while a “phantom Helen” went on to Troy with Paris. In subsequent centuries, Greek writers built upon the theme. The authors point out that Helen of Troy was called “the patron goddess of sailors” – “presumably on account of her many nautical adventures”. It should be highlighted that Canopus, of course, was the pilot star of the constellation Argo, which had always been identified with the Argonauts – sailors – who accompanied Jason on his quest for the Golden Fleece.
Hancock and Bauval point out that the Egyptian goddess Isis was the protector of the port of Alexandria. In this capacity, Isis was known as Isis-Pharia, the protector of mariners. There was a temple dedicated to the goddess near the Pharos lighthouse and there was apparently even a statue of the goddess directly outside of it. The Pharos lighthouse was one of the wonders of the world, its light sometimes referenced as “the second Sun” – a term also used for the star Sirius. That we find Alexandria has a suburb known as Canopus, therefore, should not come as a surprise, as in star lore Sirius and Canopus worked together.

Alexander The Great

The authors then reveal an interesting aspect about how Alexander the Great designed the city that would carry his name to this very day. Based on the writings of the Roman author Arrian, it is known that Alexander placed his Agora – the central square – at the intersection of two main arteries. The north-south axis was known as the Soma, and the east-west axis was known as the Canopus Way. At both ends of the Canopus Way were gates; the west was identified with the Moon, the east with the Sun. At the intersection of the two roads was not only the Agora, but also a small Doric temple which eventually would become the mausoleum for the golden sarcophagus of Alexander himself.
This layout of Alexandria was confirmed by Mahmoud Bey, an astronomer, engineer and geographer who carried out the Alexandria mapping project in 1865, which was published in 1872. Bey also held several excavations and was able to establish that the Canopus Way was approximately 2300 metres long and that its axis was oriented to a point on the horizon, about 24 degrees north of east. It suggests that the Canopus Way was aligned to the sunrise and sunset – an altogether not fanciful conclusion as the eastern gate of this artery was known as the Gate of the Sun. The question is on what day precisely, as the alignment of the winter solstice at Alexandria is at 28 degrees. The likely date was around July 22 – the date symbolically associated with the Flooding of the Nile, which was placed under the influence of Isis. As I related in “The Canopus Revelation”, the Nile itself was an aspect of the God Osiris. It was Isis in her dual connection with Sirius and the Full Moon that was said to make the waters “rise” – an altogether sexual imagery, as she was able to raise Osiris’ phallus with magic, to give birth to Horus, conceived after Osiris’ death.
The conclusion therefore seems to be that the Canopus Way was aligned to the sun on July 22, at that time considered to be the Egyptian New Year and associated with the heliacal rising of Sirius (when Sirius rises together with the Sun). But let us note that the Gate of the Sun itself was based at Canopus!
It shows that Alexandria was designed according to a detailed plan, with specific importance to astronomical events, with special emphasis placed on Sirius, Canopus and the sun. It further underlines the importance of these stars, as detailed in “The Canopus Revelation”.