According to Dr. Enrico Mattievich, a retired professor of physics from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in Brazil, Hesiod’s description of a place matches the mysterious labyrinth ruins of Chavin de Huantar in the Peruvian Andes. Hesiod, the Greek poet, in the 8th century B.C. described a place at the end of the Earth where the gorgons dwell, where the god Atlas appears as a giant mountain, and where a great chasm contains treacherous seas, in his “Theogony”. Apparently, along with Hesiod’s geographical descriptions, local legends and artifacts in the temple also match the Greek myth.
Dr. Enrico Mattievich, wrote a book titled “Journey to the Mythological Inferno,” in 2011, indicating that the Greek epic hero Odysseus’s journey to the underworld is set in South America. Part of this book also explores the similarities between Hesiod’s description and Chavin de Huantar.
Hesiod wrote of the dwelling place of the gorgons: ” … Grim and dank and loathed even by the gods—this chasm is so great that, once past the gates, one does not reach the bottom in a full year’s course, but is tossed about by stormy gales …”
Dr. Enrico Mattievich apparently wonders if talks about the mouth of the Amazon River, or if it indicates the length of the dangerous journey across the ocean to South America, followed by the trip up the Amazon to the gates of Pongo de Manseriche, which is a deep and narrow gorge that strangles the Marañon River, and dangerous whirlpools form in the upper part of this river.
Hesiod also wrote “There also stands the gloomy House of Night, ghastly clouds shroud it in darkness. Before it [the House of Night] … [Atlas] stands erect.”
Is Chavin de Huantar – a palace in front of the high Andes, the “House of Night”, which is the Gorgon’s abode? and is Atlas, one of the Andes’ mountains? According to him, a sculpture of a horrifying deity in the middle of the labyrinth ruins of Chavin de Huantar is the Gorgon of myth.
Apparently, the “Gorgon” sculpture is portrayed on a pillar about 15 feet (4.5 meters) tall and chained in the middle of the underground labyrinth. Also, surrounding the palace are grotesque stone heads. Additionally, a small sacrifice room from which the victims’ blood is poured into the mouth of the deity, is above the Gorgon.
Mattievich claimed that the sculpture resembles depictions of the Gorgon found in Europe, citing others, such as the anthropologist José Imbelloni, who in 1926 compared the Chavin de Huantar sculpture to the 6th century Gorgon head at the sanctuary of Syracuse in Sicily. The Chavin culture dates back to about 1600 B.C., and age of Chavin de Huantar could be about 1300 B.C., according to Mattievich’s estimates.
Local Myths That Match Greek Legend
Mattievich claimed that a later Chavin myth about the god Huari is a Peruvian version of the Greek myth of Perseus. The local people are believed to have invited Huari to a feast, planning to trap and kill him there, but on getting to know about this, Huari turned them all to stone. All this was said to have occurred at the Chavin de Huantar.
In another corresponding Greek myth, Polydectes plotted against Perseus, and got him into a great danger by requesting the head of the Gorgon Medusa. Apparently, Perseus succeeded in obtaining the head of the Gorgon and thus possessed the power to turn others to stone.