Friday, April 30, 2010

King Setnakht and the Trojan Wars

Among the many articles on my defunct Geocities website was the one equating the 20th Dynasty pharaoh, Userkhaure Setnakht, with the legendary Proteios of the Greeks, the one who gave sanctuary to the beauteous Helen of Troy and her lover, Paris, in Egypt. Thanks to the Internet "Wayback Machine" an older version of my paper [before I changed it somewhat] still survives.

I think the date ca. 1185 BCE is still good for King Setnakht and the advent of the 20th Dynasty--and a good datum for the Trojan Wars, as well. According to Manetho, the Egyptian historian of the Late Period, those rulers of the twilight years of the 19th Dynasty also reigned about the time of these wars. Unfortunately he rather garbled their names, even assuming Akhenre Siptah [prenomen vocalized "Alkandia" due to a "tapped r", a phenomenon that caused Usermaatre to sound like "Ozymandias] was a feminine name "Alkandra", and rendered this short-lived puppet pharaoh a wife of King Polybos. Polybos, meaning "rich in cattle" in Greek was a misinterpretation of the combination of "wsr" or "rich" in Egyptian and "kAw", which does mean "cattle"--but not in a prenomen such as "Userkaure Setepenre"--that of Setnakht, where "xAw" stands for "manifestations" and "wsr" has the connotation of "great".

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Trials of Father Lucien Galtier

I am happy to announce that my latest book, "Lucien Galtier-Pioneer Priest" has finally been published and is for sale at and Barnes & Noble. This is the general description: "In the spring of 1840, a riverboat stopped at Fort Snelling in the Minnesota Territory, dropping off a Frenchman named Lucien Galtier. No one expected the young priest in this small settlement of fur traders, farmers, and whiskey sellers. The local Indian tribes were involved in a bloody feud, the fort commander was battling the purveyors of drink and, in the midst of this strife, an inexperienced Catholic clergyman attempted to establish a congregation and build a place of worship. In this remote region, the sound of a church bell had never been heard. This is the first biography of Father Galtier, the story of his struggle to survive physically and spiritually in the frontier towns of the Mississippi. It begins in the future city of St. Paul, the place with which Lucien Galtier will always be associated as it was he who provided its name."

Lucien Galtier did, indeed, begin his missionary career in Minnesota, but he also served in Keokuk, Iowa and Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Life was rough and even corrupt and dissolute, drinking, gambling, and also prostitution being quite common in these Midwestern towns of the 19th Century. Survival was especially difficult for a poor, lonely priest whose bishop seldom payed him his salary in a timely manner. But Galtier was a man whose "head sat on his shoulders like that of a military chieftain" and he took nothing lying down, thought nothing of telling off his own superior. For this French priest there was only one God, in His trinity, and the bishop didn't even come a close second.