UFO Conjectures

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Not representations of UFO warfare!

Copyright 2019, InterAmerica, Inc.

I've written often, here and elsewhere, the past few years, that these two pictorials, often presented as replications of UFOs seen by citizens in the 1500s over Basel and Nuremberg, are nothing of the sort:
They are what we call today "Editorial Cartoons".

They are symbolic presentations of what was going on among the religious communities; that is, they were representations of the societal turmoil deriving from Luther's Reformation and the Catholic Church's Counter-Reformation.

That UFO enthusiasts and those who should know better keep inserting these pages into UFO lore is unadulterated ignorance of the context: the new passion of the times with printing, commu- nication, and the feverish tempo of religious rivalries.



  • I appreciate the spirit of your post, but I have to disagree: they are definitely _not_ "symbolic presentations of what was going on among the religious communities", the equivalent of "editorial cartoons".

    They are what we would call today "artist's impressions" that illustrate the text, which does in fact concern aerial phenomena witnessed over these cities on particular dates (14 April 1561 for Nuremberg and 27–28 July and 7 August 1566 for Basel).

    However stereotypical such representations were, these are hardly _reducible_ to merely _symbolic_ representations, however much their conventions are informed by Christian visionary iconography, e.g., the crosses in the Nuremberg illustration.

    I remember I once came across a very detailed translation and interpretation of the text of the Nuremberg broadsheet, I think, but I can't find it, again, offhand. Of two skeptical commentators, one uses Babelfish (puh-lease) and at least Colavito confesses to not reading German.

    Much more, of course, could be said.

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Sunday, September 08, 2019  

  • Sorry, Bryan...

    You are patently wrong here.

    The references to aerial phenomena are references to symbols of the heavenly aspects of the Churches at the time.

    I'll present iconographic depictions for the period.

    It's obvious that crosses and clerical belts, et cetera were not flying over Germany in the 1500s.

    If what is depicted by the artist represents what witnesses saw, either the observers are mad or the artist is.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, September 08, 2019  

  • How then do you account for 1. The generally accepted understanding that the pictures illustrate in however a conventional, stylized manner what the accompanying text recounts, and 2. that the events related by the text occur on specific dates?

    In light of these two indisputable facts, it seems difficult to maintain that they are "representations of the societal turmoil" of the day, as that would fail to connect the picture with the text and to account for the specificity of the dates of the reported events.

    I hardly dispute--I actually acknowledge--the illustrations' conventions are informed by Christian visionary iconography, e.g., the crosses in the Nuremberg illustration (let alone the sun with a face!), but unless you can account for the two objections I bring above, you'll have a hard time reducing the pictures to mere allegories, especially that from Basel: black and white spheres are not to my knowledge iconic in Christian allegorical pictures from the Reformation (though I could be wrong: it's a big field I with which I can hardly claim much acquaintance).

    At any rate, I await the analogous pictures you will bring to bear...

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Sunday, September 08, 2019  

  • This would be the time for you to use Derrida's deconstructive techniques (methodology).

    Treat the [German] context and the iconography a la Derrida and see what you derive.

    You're guessing that such UFO "warfare" actually took place, twice, in and around the same vicinity and it hasn't been included in historical documents, just the broadsheets shown?

    Your view is as crazy as that of the AA theorists, surprisingly.

    You have been dipping into your psychedelic stockpile tonight have you?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, September 08, 2019  

  • I've written an art historian I know to see if she can shed light on the conventions of illustration of the day, the way things were pictured, either as artists' illustrations (as I contend these are) or allegorical pictures (as you contend they are).

    But, re context: you have yet to respond to my challenge regarding the immediate context of these pictures, the unquestioned connection between the story and the illustration, and the specific dates of the respective reported events, both of which I maintain speak against how you understand these pictures (or at least how I understand you to understand these pictures!).

    That the pictures and even the text are woven out of the religious intertext (context) of the day, discursive, pictorial and iconographic, I readily admit: those were the threads at hand to weave these respective texts. It hardly follows however that I take these broadsheet pages at face value like some fan of Tsoukalos!

    I maintain only that the texts and pictures refer to specific events recorded according to the communicative codes (conventions, context) of the time and place; the pictures, therefore, are not, as I take you to contend, mere allegorical depictions of the agonistic times. I make no claims as to what in fact was witnessed or reported.

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Sunday, September 08, 2019  

  • Geez...

    You're either accepting the UFO warfare scenario or pressing for some other interpretation. Which is it?

    Are you looking for an explanation other than the editorial cartoon explanation I suggest?

    What do you think the pictures contend, if not cartoons or UFO warfare?

    You want to make me come up with a disputation other than that which I've suggested?

    Or do you want me to explain every church-related icon used?

    Damn it. Bryan. You write that the artists took witness testimony and provided drawings depicting that testimony, as the German text indicates.

    I'm saying that is as loopy as what Tsoukalos's cronies would come up with.

    What are the "specific events" you refer to that are being depicted? Tell us.

    You challenge me to provide context and I have: the consternation caused by the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation.

    Anyone reading the history of the period knows the context.

    You're just mucking around, for some obtuse reason.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, September 08, 2019  

  • Not mucking around.

    I neither accept the Tsoukalosesque interpretation nor the dismissal of the broadsheet as being merely allegorical in text and illustration.

    The more I look into the history of the genre of the editorial cartoon, the less persuasive that thesis becomes: it seems to originate in England two centuries after these broadsheets, though the case is probably more fine grained than that: https://www.illustrationhistory.org/genres/cartooning-political

    It's perfectly reasonable (however unsatisfying) to admit not to know just what is being reported. I leave that to the skeptics to debunk and the believers to fantasize.

    I fully agree however the broadsheets originate in a context of religious strife, and that the text and illustration (at least from Nuremberg) bear some traces of this context. The report and artist's impression employ the conventions of the time and place and betray the concerns of the time.

    You seem to think either one must accept the loopy Tsoukalos interpretation or dismiss the broadsheets as a kind of fiction (allegory), as if there's no third, more reasonable, term.

    At the very least, you have to account for the specificity of the dates of the stories. At least you've admitted the pictures seem to depict what the text relates.

    It's easy to interpret a passage of Dante's Commedia as allegory; much more difficult in these cases, which leaves an important question unasked: did broadsheets in Protestant Europe at this time and place trade in allegories? And if they did, how do those acknowledged allegories compare to these two?

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Sunday, September 08, 2019  

  • I contend that the example of an Editorial Cartoon was creatively prescient, spurred by the excitement that Gutenberg's "invention" generated.

    In journalistic evolution, the drawings are something special and unique, well ahead of their time, genius-like actually.

    There was no UFO warfare! There are no other explanations for the drawings, other than a depiction of what was happening in the social milieu, full-blown examples of a limited
    Weltanschauung, one applicable to the time and place (and circumstances), not the world as a whole.

    Any other interpretation is so far removed from possibility that to insist upon some other decipherment is sheer intellectual madness.

    That's it.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, September 08, 2019  

  • UFOs in Art:


    By Blogger Phil, at Monday, September 09, 2019  

  • 1. Sorry for going at this topic with such alacrity. You know I put in no few hours over the past few days on my post on the medieval Irish airships, carefully constructing an argument for my view on their significance, so I was and still am a little all geared up, and it's hard to witness your thesis stated as if the matter were obvious.

    2. You claim these illustrations are prescient: they're not. The illustrated broadsheet was de rigeur at the time in Protestant countries, especially as a means of propoganda. The "cartoon" too, much more complicated than our own, was hardly unknown, drawing (!) on the extant conventions of the "emblem" (I think it was called), a highly ornate allegorical illustration.

    3. You claim "the drawings are something special and unique". My art historian's first impression is that they look "like an illustration of an event. A lot of meteorological and celestial events were illustrated by artists, illustrators and scientists."

    4. I've state three times I agree: these broadsheets do not record a UFO battle. Nor do I offer any interpretation; I merely dismiss the Ancient Astronaut theoretical and skeptical.

    5. But let's turn this around: let's say these broadsheets concern "what was happening in the social milieu". What was THAT? I mean, it now becomes incumbent on you, unless you're going to be totally arbitrary, to explain what is recounted and depicted in a way that accounts for all the details of the text and the pictures. *To say they depict a war in heaven which reflects the religious wars is not enough.* That interpretation fails to account for the specific dates, for the lack of a specific side being taken (would the literate of the day need to be told there were religious wars and controversies?), for the lack of anything said about these conflicts (the editorial cartoon is often satirical, at least in our own time), etc.

    This, at the end of the day, is my point: you posit an interesting thesis, but the facts of the case, the details of the broadsheets, seem to contradict your claim: can you illuminate me? Can you at least, as I've asked repeatedly, come up with some warranted, persuasive explanation for the undeniable fact these broadsheets refer to specific dates?

    So you see, I'm taking you very seriously here; I want to be enlightened and persuaded, but merely repeating your claim accomplishes neither.

    But I get the impression I've already exhausted your patience and maybe your interest in the whole topic. "That's it." The cock crows, the east pales, and it's time for us ghosts to return to the underworld, mine known as the Skunkworks....I'll beg my keepers to secure my chains more securely.

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Monday, September 09, 2019  

  • Phil: what's your point? The site you cite doesn't even refer to the broadsheets in question...

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Monday, September 09, 2019  

  • I wasn't saying the illustrations were prescient, but the idea of using them to make a point about quasi-political events was a bit early, as a journalistic attribute.

    Why are you asking about the "specific dates"? It's about the ongoing Reformation and Counter-Reformation. You have the dates. It's not about a specific day, except for the day they were created.

    You seem to think they are about specific events on specific days? So, tell me what were those specific events? Not UFOs in battle. Nor Editorial illustration. What?

    All I'm insisting is that if you have a third possibility for the drawings, tell me what it is.

    It's not about UFO warfare. And not editorial cartooning. So what is it then?

    That's all.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 09, 2019  

  • I agree with you.

    I think it´s clear that we (here in the 21th century)see pretty much what we want to see in older illustrations or artworks. Däniken thought (or decided) he saw space suits and rockets in the native South-American art... (One day I´ll go through that stuff and present my own "ancient synthesizers" theory...It´s clear from the art that the ancient Incas or Aztecs had synthezisers...)

    (There are days when I wonder that maybe there´s really a UFO conspiracy -- that people like Däniken are there to make UFOs seem ridiculous and loony.)

    By Blogger Jerry Cornelius, at Monday, September 09, 2019  

  • For crying out loud:
    RR: "I contend that the example of an Editorial Cartoon was creatively _prescient_".
    Me: "The illustrated broadsheet was de rigeur at the time in Protestant countries" (i.e., it was not creatively prescient).
    RR: "I wasn't saying the illustrations were _prescient_"...

    At any rate: both broadsheets purport to report _anomalous atmospheric phenomena_ witnessed at particular times on particular days:

    Nuremberg: "In the morning of April 14, 1561, at daybreak, between 4 and 5 a.m., a dreadful apparition occurred on the sun, and then this was seen in Nuremberg in the city, before the gates and in the country – by many men and women..."

    Basel: "It happened in 1566 three times, on 27 and 28 of July, and on August 7, against the sunrise and sunset; we saw strange shapes in the sky above Basel....The next day, Sunday, the sun rose at about six o'clock...At the dawn of August 7..."

    The specificity of the dates and times is inconsistent with these stories' being about _events in general_ and, if, on the other hand, they are veiled, allegorical references to particular events, what are those events, at those places, at those times? And why are they left so mysterious?

    My point is, I say again (...): it's not incumbent upon me to offer an alternate interpretation; it's sufficient to point out the gaps and flaws of the one you offer. Simply, the facts of the broadsheets are not consistent with their being "editorializations" on then-current events.

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Monday, September 09, 2019  

  • At the end of the day, I agree with Hans Glazer, responsible for the Nuremberg broadsheet: "Whatever such signs mean, God alone knows..."

    Of course, that "God knows" has at least two meanings, and Glazer goes on to try to second-guess just what God might know!

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Monday, September 09, 2019  

  • http://sprezzatura.it/Arte/Arte_UFO_2_eng.htm

    Great Site, Phil!

    A site to which I contributed about twenty years ago.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Monday, September 09, 2019  

  • Bryan Sentes said...
    Phil: what's your point? The site you cite doesn't even refer to the broadsheets in question...

    Monday, September 09, 2019

    What's your point academic know it all?

    By Blogger Phil, at Monday, September 09, 2019  

  • Hey people,

    stop fighting and do something constructive, like insult me (I think I´ve got a rather thick skin).And anyway, I´ve got time, my next abduction is Thursday.

    (I know, I know, Rich, I promise, no more coffee or Twilight Zone reruns for me...)

    By Blogger Jerry Cornelius, at Monday, September 09, 2019  

  • Phil? Why the aggression?! None came from me: I sincerely asked why you shared the link without comment or explanation. I'm no mind reader (nor an academic (nor a know-it-all: if you read my comments with some attention, you'll see I'm always calling myself into question and remarking my limits and those of the positions I take) I teach at a Cegep in Quebec, though I have published some scholarly papers and delivered some at conferences).--Sheesh...

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Monday, September 09, 2019  

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