Egyptian Anfloga

The Seafarer Detective's
Pursuit of the Anfloga
through prehistory

back 13,000 years
do I exaggerate ?

Pushing through the darkness,
Still another mile.

Click for Roman Anfloga

"Much of the literature of translation is not about errors in translation; it is about errors in understanding the original."
E.Bruce Brooks.

Jewish Anfloga

"Get yourself prepared for judgement day"

william blake: a door of perception

Once it has finally filtered through to the Anglo-American Anglo-Saxonist that wearn means 'protection, cover', and that unwearn therefore means 'no protection, no cover', the rest of the poem's meaning follows, as the day the night. It further follows that unwearnum, which is unwearn in the dative case of attendant circumstance, strongly implies that the seafarer is in an unprotected state, and in need of cover.

Why is the seafarer concerned ? Because he is being approached by an oncoming event, the implications of which are unfathomable. Whatever else, this anfloga is certainly bringing death. It is the Death Bird. Also it YELLS, which would be exceedingly improbable behaviour in a "returning soul". It yells because it is a banshee, or a valkyrie. Valkyrie means death chooser: this compound word is closely related to wælweg, the death way. This bird, like death itself, is ambiguous: it is playing a dual role. Is death, or is it not, welcome ? What is our destination? This is why the seafarer seeks cover, protection and reassurance. What anfloga does NOT mean is "one-flier". With each successive day the utter fatuity of that asinine interpretation grows increasingly apparent. The seafarer poet has ceased to value what's left of his life. So has the suicide bomber. But the seafarer is old.

"Who has ever been able to explain" asked Robert Graves, "what theme is poetic and what is unpoetic, except by the effect that it has on the reader ?" The Theme, according to him, is death. To which he added that "perfect faithfulness to the Theme affects the reader of a poem with a strange feeling, between delight and horror…" This page finds itself addressing the themes treated in Bird, Sun, Ship, Sea, initially introduced in 1999, which I had almost forgotten, but which is now re-visited. Also recalled are two critics of incomprehensible idiocy, cloaked in anonymity.

"Get yourself prepared for judgement day" reduces the seafarer's message and meaning to six words.






Another Jewish headstone, with Anfloga

some restoration work

Picture 15. "A large defending bird is standing on the upper structure of the headstone whose name and date are illegible. (But not earlier than 1830). This is an eagle spreading its wings over the upper, rounded shape of the headstone, like the dome of the sky, with his head bent forward. This seems to mean God's protection of he who seeks shelter in Him. This symbol, which also appears above Holy Arks, originates in the Bible: He shall cover thee with his feathers and under his wings shalt thou trust. (Psalms. 91:4)." Well, you might as well trust Him, there's little point in anything else. Vultures consume corpses, conveniently. Sky burial.

Comment in blue by Miriam Gumpel. 30.12.1995. Click for her website..
Hm. I wonder. Rapture by Raptor, I suppose.

Suspected sky burial evidence is found at Göbekli Tepe, 13,500 years ago; and Stonehenge, 6,500 years ago. I'm not sure about Stonehenge, but Göbekli Tepe is definitely worth several second looks. Here are some excerpts from an article which appeared in Nexus Magazine, Volume 16, Number 4 (June-July 2009) and Darklore (Volume 4). See Philip Coppens on Göbekli Tepe .

"Bones of vultures have been found at Nevali Çori, Göbekli Tepe and Jerf el-Ahma ….. . A communal cave site, Shanidar, in the Upper Zagros Mountains of northern Iraq, contained a series of severed birds' wings covered with red ochre. These remains have been dated to c. 8870 BC. ….. it is known that, in the distant past, the people of this region placed the bodies of the dead on high constructions and let vultures eat their flesh. Depictions of such a Neolithic excarnation tower have been found on a mural in Çatal Höyük. At Göbekli Tepe the archaeologist Schmidt argues: '...the ancient hunters brought the corpses of relatives here, and installed them in the open niches by the stones. The corpses were then excarnated.' Not just vultures but wild animals seem to have taken part in this ritual. This may explain why so many animals are depicted on the T-pillars: perhaps the people who constructed these sites felt that 'something' of the dead lived on in animals."

The bird-god Anzu (or Im-dugud) as a lion-headed eagle. Zu or Anzu (from An 'heaven' and Zu 'to know' in the Sumerian language), ca. 2500 BC. Is the Anzu not an ancestor of the Anfloga ? The Anfloga brings closure to the poor, bare, forked animal, and the Anzu brings knowledge of heaven, whatever that may be.


Louvre. Some restorative symmetrification

Some Sources: Click for Starters
by Esteban ?

Esteban [who he ?] must also be acknowledged as someone who has given me a number of inspiring thoughts in connection with the Anglo-Saxon anfloga. Here is a select sample of what he has to say.

"Thus 'the divine storm-bird' of the ancient Accadian faith passed into the god Zu of the Semitic epoch. The 'divine storm-bird' was a ravenous bird of prey, of large size and sharp beak, who darted on its spoil and devoured the flesh. The Semitic Babylonians identified it with their Zu, partly because zu signified a 'stormy wind,' partly because a species of vulture was called by the same name." The ancestry of the anfloga.

S.N. Kramer, History begins at Sumer
H.C. Rawlinson, The Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia, 1886, iv. 123, 19.
A.H. Sayce, Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by the Religion of the Ancient Babylonians, 5th ed., London, 1898, pp. 293-5.
Perhaps see: F.A.M. Wiggermann, Mesopotamian Protective Spirits: The Ritual Texts, STYX&PP Publications, Groningen, 1992

Click here again for the Gumpel collection

"I have been obliged to content myself through life with saying what I mean in the plainest of plain language, than which, I suppose, there is no habit more ruinous to a man's prospects of advancement." T.H.Huxley, Autobiography, p 1, Lectures & Essays, 1931


commentaries: one, two, three [more than 60 other versions], four, five, six
annotation       essays & papers       main general index

Cambridge Old English Reader
Pound Note Four
Seafarer Fidelity: and Veracity
Seafarer Birds
Anfloga BC1          Anfloga BC2
more on unwearnum
back to meaning etc.
Howlett on Structure
Another Page
Site Version


"The greater the labour, the fewer the people who understand and appreciate it". Paul Valéry, 1871 - 1945.

© Charles Harrison-Wallace, 2015, 2018


The seafarer approaches heaven