Customer Reviews: Odyssey of the Gods: The History of Extraterrestrial Contact in Ancient Greece
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VINE VOICEon October 28, 2011
This is another entertaining, well-written, and informative book from Erich von Daniken. The usual elements of witty writing, intense research, lots of minutiae, logical analysis, and questioning of orthodoxy are all present. Somehow, von Daniken manages to cover the same underlying theme (the gods of ancient times were actually aliens from another planet or other planets) from a different and interesting perspective with each book.

These comments from my review of Twilight of the Gods apply also to Odyssey of the Gods:

His iconic book, Chariot of the Gods, not only fueled a counterculture but also became a hit in the main culture. Even after some three dozen books, Erich von Daniken continues to enrapt readers with his provocative thinking, irrefutable evidence, and clear logic. Plus some anomalies that have astute readers grimacing....

Whether his information and conclusions are correct is almost irrelevant to many readers (count me in that group). His books are always worth reading, because they are a pleasure to read. Even with so many books under his belt, von Daniken has written yet another jewel.

Now, for my comments that are specific to Odyssey of the Gods.

As usual, von Daniken takes his shots at archeologists, but in this book he seems to make an unusual effort to avoid going out on any limbs with those comments. I'd hate to be the archeologist in charge of debating the specific errors von Daniken brings up in this book, because I'd have to resort to illogic and lying to prevail. Normally, von Daniken leaves himself open to easy counterargument. He usually gives his opponents the opportunity to cast doubt on everything he says by summarily destroying individual points he brings up. This time, I didn't see that.

And, as usual, he does leave himself open to counterargument by his usual analysis through his mono-lens of "aliens were here." But, as with his other books, those counterarguments are hard to mount.

In Odyssey, the title of the book clues us in as to what his main reference will be. Yep, Homer's Odyssey. His analysis is thought-provoking, partly because it flies in the face of conventional wisdom (or lack thereof) and partly because it's logical.

von Daniken doesn't just stick to Homer. He also looks at Plato. Something interesting about Plato was his reference to a copper/gold alloy called orichalcum. A metallurgist is likely to tell you that Plato must have made this up because the technology to make that alloy simply did not exist at that time. I may be incorrect, but I believe that technology does not yet exist. So, how did this alloy get made? Or was Plato doing some serious reefer?

The answer may lie in von Daniken's discussion of some very old paper-thin gold alloy sheets found Ecuador, or in some other metallurgical oddities that von Daniken discusses. Some of these are quite extreme, and as I understand, beyond current capabilities to produce.

In addition to analyzing various aspects of the Odyssey and related works from the text, von Daniken looks some "coincidences" in the geography. Take, for example, his analysis of where the cities of ancient Greece and surrounding areas were in relation to each other. They form a network of spokes that are the same length. von Daniken believes these cities were sited for the purpose of aviation.

That might be easy to scoff at, except there's no way the people of those times could survey those distances over that terrain (hilly, mountainous, and no line of sight). In fact, this arrangement didn't become known to modern folks until after World War II. And why would the ancients bother to site these cities at precise distances and angles? von Daniken ventures why (aviation) and brings some other facts into his analysis to provide a convincing argument.

What I don't understand about this book is his significant digression into the subject of Atlantis. That seems like a topic for a different book. I don't really see that it belongs in this book, except as a separate chapter or appendix. This book wasn't about disproving theories A, B, and C about the location of Atlantis. Yet, he wove that into the book and I think it just did not fit into the text where it was. The effect was that I lost momentum as a reader. However, it wasn't boring--just out of place.

Throughout the book, you'll find black and white photos of fairly good quality. These are helpful. About halfway through, there's a series of pages containing color photographs. These also add to the book.

This book spans 191 pages of content. In addition, it has a short Preface, an index, and About the Author. It consists of seven chapters; six of those are numbered 1 - 6 and the seventh is simply titled "A Final Word About Atlantis."

Another extract from my review of Twilight of the Gods: Yes, von Daniken is controversial. That does make his books entertaining. But that isn't their only value. He also raises questions that are impossible to answer via our current "book of knowledge." His "alternative" explanation, namely extraterrestrials, becomes the only sensible explanation almost by default.

While von Daniken does not always get his facts right, there is a fact that is yet again proven by this book. The purchase of a von Daniken book is never a waste of money.
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Odyssey of the Gods by Erich von Daniken takes
a dispassionate look at Ancient Greece and
challenges our assumptions about how Western
Civilization evolved over the centuries. Could
there have been other-worldly interventions?

In Plato, one can read about the eradication
of whole countries and cities, so that small
groups survived in mountainous regions only.
These survivors preserved the art of pottery,
making clothing, simple weapons manufacture and
hunting/gathering. The use of metals was taught
to the survivors by the gods.

In the area of the "pyramids of Argolis" is the
"block house". This is a square structure built
of dressed stone beams. Parts of the construction
are very similar to gigantic walls as far away
as Peru. At both places, the stonework is not
composed of monoliths cut at a 90 degree angle.
The blocks are interjoined in a highly complex
fashion with many corners- secure against
earthquakes and violent earth movements.
Even the pyramids have a structure ;whereupon,
each of 3 sides is counterbalanced during
earthquakes so that the entire structure
has withstood the centuries.

The machine of Anticythera is now in the
Greek Museum in Athens. The metal parts
consist of pure bronze or copper-tin alloys
of varying compositions. There are small
amounts of gold, nickel, arsenic, sodium,
iron and antimony. The Greek letters gave
absolute proof that the instrument had an
astrological utility.

There were over 30 cogwheels of different
sizes interconnected with one another and
fastened to a copper plate by means of
small axles. The mechanism had differential
wheels which allowed star positions to be
read off on a scale with millimeter lines.
The mechanism allowed the moon's position
in relation to the sun and earth to be

On the Island of Malta , there are rail-like
tracks everywhere. Some of the tracks vanish
into the Mediterranean itself. Eighteen thousand
years ago, the surface of the Mediterranean was
one hundred fifteen feet lower than today.
In those days, the entrance to the underground
caves was on land. The water-level has risen

Plato writes about a special metal called
orichalcum which came from Poseidon and
was used exclusively on Atlantis. Orichalcum
glistened like gold, was thin as a wafer and
similar to gold. Metal sheets have been found
with a thin paper-like alloy of gold in the
highlands of Ecuador.

Erich von Daniken created Chariots of the Gods
which changed the way we look at mythology.
Now, he has conjured up marvelous facts,
monuments and rare metal wonders to challenge
how we view the evolution of Greece and its
considerable literature from Aristotle to
Plato and others.

Odyssey of the Gods is a wonderful story told
from the perspective of a writer and very
carefully constructed scientific facts woven
together to help explain the mysteries of
the centuries.


Both Chariots of the Gods and Odyssey
of the Gods are weak in providing the
reader with evidence of aliens.
These works would be more convincing if
they explained the linchpin between the
aliens and the unexplained physical phenomena
on the ground. One possible explanation is
that aliens navigate our solar system
routinely by entering from outside the three
known dimensions.

The practical problem would be to prove
the existence of another dimension and
re-create the entry/exit points.
Some have theorized that "black holes" represent
the entry and exit points.

Was there really extraterrestrial contact
in Ancient Greece? Readers can argue about
this aspect by pointing to strange artifacts
and engineering feats traced back to ancient
times. Once again, a linch-pin is needed between
the artifacts and the aliens.

Credits: First Published on Blogcritics
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on November 28, 2012
I was excited to receive this book and dove right in as soon as it arrived. I was surprised to find so much info on Atlantis and started reading midbook. It saved me from having to buy Plato's books to read up. I still will eventually, but if you want an overall review of Plato's discussion on Atlantis, this is the book to purchase.
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VINE VOICEon December 28, 2011
Erich Von Däniken's bestselling 1968 book 'Chariots of the Gods?' helped to popularize what is now known as the "ancient astronaut" theory. This theory was featured in the 1970s NBC documentary 'In Search Of Ancient Astronauts' and has even made it to Hollywood with the X-Files and the latest installment of the Indiana Jones movies. In short, the theory is that humanity, thousands of years ago, was visited by aliens who built gigantic structures such as the pyramids and Stonehenge and were mistaken for gods by our ancestors. They are the inspiration behind much of the ancient mythology around the world and the fantastic beasts included in many of those myths are actually the result of genetic experimentation.

Von Däniken looks at three tales of ancient Greece and applies his broader ideas to those tales. The three tales are: 1) Jason and the Argonauts; 2) The Iliad/The Odyssey; 3) Atlantis. A great of deal of time in this audiobook is spent simply reciting these stories (easily one-third of the audiobook) and then stopping from time to time to offer insight based on his theories and fitting them back into his larger theory by noting how some aspects of the stories are similar to other tales from other ancient cultures, such as the Assyrians, ancient India, ancient Israel and even the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas.

As one can imagine, Von Däniken offers an interesting perspective on these stories. All of the creatures and heroes are the result of alien/human crossbreeding or genetic manipulation. Von Däniken allows no room for exaggeration - every tale is taken at face value, especially if it has great detail. He asserts that unnecessary detail in a story makes it less likely to be fiction (because no one would waste their time in creating it), which prompted me to wonder if he had ever read anything about the immense amount of unpublished extra details that J.R.R. Tolkein created just to lay down the backstory for his tales of Middle Earth.

Nonetheless, I did not listen to Von Däniken's 'Odyssey of the Gods' to look for a fight. As a history teacher, I truly enjoy a multitude of perspectives on history. I really do not take his entire theory seriously but he does, up to a certain point, have a valid question: how did our ancestors build giant pyramids and cities and create entire mythologies when they were literally just a few generations from being unorganized farming villages? It is a giant leap to go from simple farmers to highly organized priesthoods, advanced mathematics and the ability to build with multi-ton stones hauled from far away quarries and right now history has only the vaguest of answers as to how this happened. Throw in historical quirks like the Piri Reis map and the geometric web pattern that he claims covers all of the holy sites of ancient Greece and you have some good reasons to at least give Von Däniken a chance to lay out his theory.

Von Däniken is featured in an audiobook-exclusive interview after the book. His rather strong Swiss-German accent does nothing to hide his enthusiasm and infectious nature - you just have to like him no matter what you think of his ideas. It is also obvious that the reader, William Dufris, strived to catch that aspect of his voice while reading the book. He did a remarkable job of reading the book and making it seem less like a textbook and more like an exceptionally well-presented seminar.
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on July 4, 2012
Again Daniken has authored an interesting book. The myths he writes about come from a time when people shared this earth with what Daniken and others believe to be gods that once lived here. His focus is the myths from Greece. The stories point to the fact that mankind has interacted with created beings similar to mankind. Daniken calls what the ancients thought were gods, extraterrestrials. The Christian scriptures would no doubt label these beings as the sons of god which in fact are the Fallen Angels that once lived and ruled on this planet . . . perhaps they still do. The book is not an easy read with all of included references.
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on September 21, 2012
I have read a lot of EvD books, and to be honest lately I feel they are just the same, yes it includes more of the central point but still a lot of repetitions and reference to other books. EvD continues being one of my top authors but I am keen him to produce something fresh.
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on July 28, 2013
I always enjoy Erich von Daniken books. He is a great researcher and story teller. He gets one thinking about the possibilities of ancient culture.
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on September 9, 2012
To read Daniken's books, you have to be aware that Daniken not only believes in aliens but propounds that an ancient race of aliens created humans. According to Daniken, our history is alive with proof if only we can shrug off centuries of teaching and see things in a new light.

I have read many of Daniken's books and have been a fan of his for years, but this is one book I just didn't enjoy. Much of the book is devoted to very lengthy interpretations of various Greek myths, such as Minotaurs and other fabled creatures and Jason and the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece. Really lengthy interpretations--pages and pages and pages. I lost interest after that first 'pages'.

What's really different about this book is that Daniken just tells in this book without really showing. His connections were unconvincing and not the careful work of the meticulous researcher he usually is. It felt more like a rough draft of some thoughts rather than a careful, finished examination of evidence.
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on November 7, 2011
In The Waking God Trilogy we claim that there is a 'god seed' within the human DNA. recently, science has told us that the genes that distinguish human from ape is in the 'junk DNA' that up to this point has been largely thought to be old stuff, sort of like an appendix, that held no real value regarding human evolution. Now we read more on Erich von Daniken who claims that the ancient Greek gods were aliens that lived and bred among us. Between von Daniken, the Waking God books, the History Channel shows on Ancient Aliens and even Tom Averna's book that claims that the 'gods' never left. you just can't help but wonder if 'something' is about to happen to humanity that will rock the very foundation of its existence. Will 2012 be the year when aliens return, the god seed in our genes finds spontaneous expression, and when our entire notion of who and what we are is revealed? Tic, tock!
Waking God Book III: The Second Coming of Humanity
The Once and Future Wizard: The Awakening (Volume 1)
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on October 11, 2011
Erich von Daniken's latest book, "Odyssey of The Gods," is an exploration of three Odysseys, Jason and the Argonauts, Odysseus, and the odyssey that modern man has embarked on to search for Atlantis. In typical Daniken style he interprets passages from the writings of Appolonius, Homer, Plato and many more classical writers as well as archeological findings and theories to prove his main thesis which is that ancient astronauts came to Earth and became the gods of legend. There was really nothing shocking or new disclosed in this book including the interesting section on Atlantis, but if you like Daniken, this book is probably worth a read. Still there is nothing that will really provoke much in the way of water cooler discussions.

Roughly the first third of the book is a series of quotes from the story of Jason sprinkled with the author's interpretation that the many mythical monsters and adventures could only be proof that the ancient gods built or taught man to build marvelous machines long before the modern age. The same is done in the next section on The Odyssey of Homer. Daniken then tries to tie this together with a final third section on Atlantis spending way too much time trying to disprove a theory that I believe to be of minor importance that Troy and Atlantis are one and the same. Most of the section on Atlantis is simply a quoting of the Critias dialogue by Plato. If you've never read this story, it is definitely worth the read, but if you have, this will all seem very redundant. Again not much new information here.

Daniken wraps it all up with a discussion of the Mayans and how they could be the descendants of Atlantis along with the Basques in Europe. Nothing new.

I am a firm believer that beings not from this planet came here and completely upset the evolutionary pattern of Earth and her inhabitants. But unlike Von Daniken and Zacharia Sitchin, I don't believe the gods just vanished or left the planet. I believe they are still here and they are us. You can find out more about this and get a fresh new approach to the whole story by reading "The Once and Future Wizard: The Awakening." The Once and Future Wizard: The Awakening (Volume 1) This is a work of fiction, but it presents some new and exciting theories regarding the origin of the gods and man on Earth.
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