A period in time in which the Earth was Moonless is probably one of the most remote recollections of mankind. But those days are remembered, they were indeed recorded, and by some of the same scholars that we appreciate today for their contributions to our historical record.
Democritus and Anaxagoras taught that there was a time when the Earth was without the Moon.
Democritus, born about 460 BC, was one of the two founders of ancient atomist theory. He elaborated a system originated by his teacher Leucippus into a materialist account of the natural world. The atomists held that there are smallest indivisible bodies from which everything else is composed, and that these move about in an infinite void. This sounds much like an early version of our understanding of atoms.
Democritus’ theory of perception depends on the claim that eidôla or images, thin layers of atoms, are constantly sloughed off from the surfaces of macroscopic bodies and carried through the air. These films of atoms shrink and expand; only those that shrink sufficiently can enter the eye. It is the impact of these on our sense organs that enables us to perceive. Visible properties of macroscopic objects, like their size and shape, are conveyed to us by these films, which tend to be distorted as they pass through greater distances in the air, since they are subject to more collisions with air atoms. (DK 68A135; Baldes 1975). Which sounds suspiciously like a very early version of the “holographic Universe” theory.
Anaxagoras, born about 500 BC, was a Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. Born in Clazomenae at a time when Asia Minor was under the control of the Persian Empire, Anaxagoras came to Athens.
I read in an article on Wakipedia that he believed in a flat Earth. I doubt this very much.
In some of the images of him that have survived, he is shown with a global Earth in his hands as he points at it and explains something to his nearby students. Here is one example of that:
In addition to making false statements about early scientists who did not believe in the same deities or gods that the ruling powers did, their writings and evidence were systematically put to the torch by one group or another who, secure in their own beliefs, did not permit the intrusion of conflicting opinion. I’ve often thought it curious that one or another group will, on the one hand, rush to assure us that their beliefs are not only the true and correct one, but sweet and good in the bargain, and yet they run just as quickly to destroy the opinions of others. If it is so true, good, and sweet, would it not be able to stand upon its own merits? But pre-Christian Greek and Roman authorities did not believe in allowing any competition.
Anaxagoras deduced a correct explanation for eclipses and described the Sun as a fiery mass larger than the Peloponnese, as well as attempting to explain rainbows and meteors. His observations of the celestial bodies and the fall of meteorites led him to form new theories of the universal order, and to prediction of the impact of meteorites. According to Pliny he was credited with predicting the fall of the meteorite in 467 BC. He also said that the Moon had mountains and believed that it was inhabited. Some of his works have been lost to us, perhaps because of his denial of the existence of a solar or lunar deity.
To sum up, both of these men seem to represent intelligent scientists in a very early age, and yet both wrote that there was a time in which the Earth did not have a moon. And that time was within the period of human existence.
Aristotle, was born about 384 BC, and his writings cover many subjects including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics, meteorology, geology and government. The poet Dante called him “the master of those who know”.
Aristotle wrote that Arcadia in Greece, before being inhabited by the Hellenes, had a population of Pelasgians, and that these aborigines occupied the land already before there was a moon in the sky above the Earth; for this reason they were called Proselenes. This word has its Greek etymology in pro, meaning “before in time or position” and Selene meaning “moon”, after the archaic Greek lunar goddess of the same name.
Apollonius of Rhodes, born about 290 BC, was an ancient Greek author, best known for the Argonautica, an epic poem about Jason and the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. However his other poems were historical non-mythical reports concerned the beginnings or foundations of cities, such as Alexandria and Cnidus. He had access to all of the knowledge of the world of his day, when he served as a scholar and librarian at the Library of Alexandria. In his writings he too mentioned the time “when not all the orbs were yet in the heavens, before the Danai and Deukalion races came into existence, and only the Arcadians lived, of whom it is said that they dwelt on mountains and fed on acorns, before there was a moon.” The mention of mountains and acorns places them in the time of the hunter-gatherers; or very early in the history of man.
Plutarch was a Greek born about 46 AD who later changed his citizenship to Roman.
Plutarch studied mathematics and philosophy in Athens under Ammonius from 66 to 67 AD. In addition to his duties as a priest of the Delphic temple, Plutarch was also a magistrate at Chaeronea and he represented his home town on various missions to foreign countries during his early adult years. Plutarch’s “Life of Alexander”, written as a parallel to his books on Julius Caesar, is one of only five extant tertiary sources on the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great. It includes anecdotes and descriptions of events that appear in no other source
Plutarch wrote in “The Roman Questions”: “There were Arcadians of Evander’s following, the so-called pre-Lunar people.”
Ovid, a Roman poet who was born circa 43 BC, similarly wrote: “The Arcadians are said to have possessed their land before the birth of Jove, and the folk is older than the Moon.”
Hippolytus refers to a legend that “Arcadia brought forth Pelasgus, of greater antiquity than the moon.”
Lucian in his “Astrology” says that “the Arcadians affirm in their folly that they are older than the moon.” So here we have an author reporting what the Arcadians affirmed, but calling it a folly, without any evidence to support that skeptical attitude. This is also something that we see in some of our modern skeptics.
Censorinus also alludes to the time in the past when there was no moon in the sky.
But let’s not forget the Old Testament mentions of the time before there was a Moon in the sky.
Some allusions to the time before there was a Moon may be found also in the Book of Job 25:5 where the grandeur of the Lord who “Makes peace in the heights” is praised and the time is mentioned “before [there was] a moon and it did not shine.”
Another confirmation is found in the Book of Psalms 72:5, where we find: “Thou wast feared since [the time of] the sun and before [the time of] the moon, a generation of generations.” A “generation of generations” means a very long time. It’s like the biblical term myriad of years – meaning more than are easily countable. Of course, some may counter this Psalm with the text of the first chapter of Genesis, but then they would still need to account for Job 25:5.
The memory of a world without a moon lives in oral tradition among the Native South Americans. The Indians of the Bogota highlands in the eastern Cordilleras of Colombia relate some of their tribal reminiscences to the time before there was a moon. “In the earliest times, when the moon was not yet in the heavens,” say the tribesmen of Chibchas.
There are currently three modern theories of the origin of the moon:
1) The Moon originated at the same time as the Earth, being formed substantially from the same material, aggregating and solidifying.
2) The Moon was formed not in the vicinity of the Earth, but in a different part of the solar system, and was later captured by the Earth.
3) The Moon was originally a portion of the terrestrial crust and was torn out, leaving behind the bed of the Pacific.
All three theories claim the presence of the Moon on an orbit around the Earth for billions of years. Mythology may supply each of these views with some support (Genesis I for the first view; the birth of Aphrodite from the sea for the third view; Aphrodite’s origin in the disruption of Uranus, and also the violence of Sin—the Babylonian Moon—seems to support the second view).
But it is very difficult to explain how our Moon could have been in orbit around the Earth for billions of years and yet humans around the world, and some of them the respected scientists of their day, still record a period when there was no Moon circling the Earth. Unless human memory indeed stretches back a billion years or more.
Since mankind on both sides of the Atlantic preserved the memory of a time when the Earth was without the Moon, the first hypothesis, namely, of the Moon originating simultaneously with the Earth and in its vicinity, is to be excluded, leaving the other two hypotheses to compete between themselves.
We have seen that the traditions of diverse peoples offer corroborative testimony to the effect that in a very early age, but still in the memory of mankind, no moon accompanied the Earth. Since human beings already peopled the Earth, it is improbable that the Moon sprang from it: there must have existed a solid lithosphere, not a liquid earth.
I don’t claim to know the origin of the Moon, but I find it more probable that the Moon was captured by the Earth. Such an event would have occurred as a catastrophe. If the Moon’s formation took place away from the Earth, its composition may be quite different. The fact that some scientists claim they are working with rocks from the surface of the Moon, and that they can be dated to a time prior to the creation of the Earth rocks, seems to rule out the Moon’s formation from pieces of the Earth itself.
There is no evidence to suggest whether the Moon was a planet, a satellite of another planet, or a comet at the time of its capture by the Earth. Whatever atmosphere it may have had was pulled away by the Earth, by other contacting bodies, or dissipated in some other way.
Since the time the Moon began to accompany the Earth, it underwent the influence of contacts with comets and planets that passed near the Earth in subsequent ages. The mass of the Moon being less than that of the Earth, the Moon must have suffered greater disturbances in cosmic contacts. During these contacts the Moon was not carried away: this is due to the fact that no astral body more powerful than the Earth came sufficiently close to the Moon to take it away from the Earth for good; but in the contacts that took place the Moon was removed repeatedly from one orbit to another.
The variations in the position of the Moon can be read in the variations in the length of the month.
Calendars from as far back as the Sumerians record a year of 360 days, with no adjustment needed to bring it in line with our current 365 and change. The length of the month repeatedly changed in subsequent catastrophic events — and for this there exists a large amount of supporting evidence. In these later occurrences the Moon played a passive role, and Zeus in the Iliad advised it (Aphrodite) to stay out of the battle in which Athene and Ares (Venus and Mars) were the main contestants.
And what can we learn about the future of our Moon? If it was not always with us in the past, will it always continue nearby in the far future? We have only speculations to that event, but they are interesting:
The Merseburg Incantations or Merseburg Charms (German: die Merseburger Zaubersprüche) are two medieval magic spells, charms or incantations, written in Old High German. They are the only known examples of Germanic pagan belief preserved in this language. They were discovered in 1841 by Georg Waitz, who found them in a theological manuscript from Fulda, written in the 9th or 10th century, although there remains some speculation about the date of the charms themselves. The manuscript (Cod. 136 f. 85a) is stored in the library of the cathedral chapter of Merseburg, hence the name. Let’s examine a few slices from it:
(31–36) When the Mighty King issues His summons, all humans must attend and account for their actions on earth.
“But many men of God (gotmann-) believe that in that battle Elias will be wounded. Elias’s blood drips onto the earth, then mountains will burst into flame, trees will no longer stand, waters will dry up, the moon will fall, the sky will smoulder, middle-earth (mittilagart) will burn.”
Your thoughts and comments are appreciated. Could there have been a time during the age of man when the Earth had no Moon?
And if the Moon was either towed into place or driven there, and indeed the moon is inhabited deep below, as our earliest Greek scholars informed us, why have they never shown themselves?