History of the world
Legend has it that in ancient times, gods walked the earth beside Man and waged great wars amongst themselves that shaped the face of the lands and seas. To end all wars, the earth was divided amongst them and great domains became ruled by mighty gods. To some was given the seas, others possessed the air, and to the best of them, control of the land. Great magic was their tool and Man was fearful of it as he was afraid of everything he did not understand.
Man did not know his place in this world and so the world stayed for thousands of years. The secrets of fire, science and eventually magic would be handed down to Man by the gods, but he was ignorant and afraid, and so would not use these gifts for many lifetimes. Eventually gods and giants disappeared from the sight of Man and lived only in tales that he would his children as the sat huddled around a fire. Some men spent a lifetime learning about magic while others described the basic principles of science and philosophy. They used both to explain the state of the world but continued to revere their ancient gods and use their names to explain anything that their limitedgrasp of science could not explain.
After an age of ignorance, Man crept out of the darkness and embraced the world of magic and science. He built grand cities and great works which he dedicated to his ancient gods. The greates of these cities was the legendary Atlantis. The greatest philosophers, scientists and sorcerers exercised the knowledge passed down by the gods and built the most advanced civilisation in the world.
The Fall of Atlantis
After millenia of fortune and prosperity, Atlantis fell. Some say their science and magic brought about a calamity they could not prevent. Others claim they were corrupt and a good and just god destroyed them for their iniquity. It is more likely that they suffered from a natural disaster and had years to leave their island paradise, which would explain how the legend lives on and the effect the Atlantean culture had on mankind.
When Atlantis fell, it was looted of its treasure and its knwoledge, and both were scattered to the four corners of the earth. Many of their magicians and scientists found their way to Egypt where they helped found a dynasty of kings. Perhaps the Egyptian Thoth, the Greek Hermes and the Roman Mercury are all based on these Atlantean survivors, who handed their advanced knowledge to a primitive society and helped them gain ascendancy over their neighbours.
Atlantis survives only in myth if it ever existed. Plato describes Atlantis in some detail, though modern thinkers still believe that Atlantis was no mor than a legend. It may well be a cipher for the origin of all knowledge, in other words the location of Eden. It has been suggested that the Bible relates to myth when it needs to. Perhaps the fall of Atlantis was during the Flood which covered the earth. The same Flood which destroyed a race of giants which walked the earth in those days alongside man.
Despite the lack of proof regarding Atlantis, there have been many people who have claimed that they are the holders of a secret lore which came from the sunken island. Even whn geographical evidence denies the possibility of a vast island-city in the Atlantic, some people still cling to the legend. The proof of Atlantis is as much a question of faith as it is a question of knowledge. If you believe it is there, then there is no need to look for it. If you know where it is, then there is no need to question its existence.
A Carpenter’s Son
During the reign of Herod the Great in a small desert backwater called Judea, a child was born who was to become the inspiration for the largest religious cult in the world a mere two thousand years later. This youth was remarkable in that he possessed knowledge and understanding of Scripture far beyond hismeagre years. During his travels as a mendicant preacher, he gained some notoriety for his skill with magic. People flocked to hear him talk and see his great works. Amongst the crowds were the sorcerers of the day. Their command of magic was considerable but even their greatest could not rival the works of this yougn upstart and thus they plotted against him.
In those days there were many cults who thrived on the ignorance and isolation of their followers and their intention was to usher in a golden age with themselves at the helm. They alone would be enlightened and they alone would control the earth. This upstart disagreed, preferring to spread the word of a universal enlightenment attainable by all. To add injury to insult, his cult was growing at a phenomenal rate and even foreigners, worhsippers of strange alien gods, came to hear him speak. At the height of his popularity, they sent their advocate to bargain with him for regency over the earth, but he refused.
As a result, their agents were sent out across the land, spreading word of how this man would throw off the yoke of Roman oppression and free them all. He knew that he could not combat them at this game. He was but one man and they were numerous. Thus through blackmail and magic, they were able to ahve him arrested and executed at the hands of the Romans. The people were demoralised but rallied behind his surviving followers. The Romans were now involved, but they could not grasp the complexity of the situation. As a result they did their best to quash what they saw as a civil uprising.
When it became clear that the situation was not as simple as they thought, they quickly realised that further action might provoke open hostilities with all sides of the community (as it would around half a century later). Thus they decided to concentrate their attention on the remaining ringleaders, a motley collection of agricultural workers, fishermen and former tax collectors. Their champion was to be Simon Magus, a foreign sorcerer of some skill. However, the resulting magical duel ended in Simon’s death and the cult went underground to avoid Roman retaliation.
During the next few centuries, the cult grew and its followers became well-versed in scripture and magic. The life of its founder and the travels of his understudies were to be documented in a great book which would be distributed across the world. their crowning victory was to come in the fourth century when they were able to capitalise on the misfortunes of the then-declining Roman empire to emerge from the shadows and present a solution to the Roman problems. Whilst the power and knowledge of the cult had grown, so too had its reputation (although at a high price, given the persecutions during Nero and Diocletian’s reigns). It only took a glimpse of this power to convince a Romano-British general, and the Church was established.
The other cults would languish willingly in relative obscurity. With the ascendancy of their former rivals, it was safer to remain obscure than risk extermination. The Middle Ages witnessed between these minor cults and Chrstianity, a war that neither won but which convinced both to strengthen their positions. A treaty saved a few from fighting among themselves but the end of that treaty is coming and all the wealth in the world is for the taking.
And for those cults who have forgotten their faith and their magic? It is expected that they will die out. Those who have magic often forget the power of one sorcerer pales alongside the power of a thousand human beings equipped with sword and flame. Then again, those with long memories and a broad perspective often point to the example of one charismatic individual who, despite humble origins, founded a tradition which has spanned two millennia.