The St. Michael Leyline

Saint Michael: It is said in the Bible that the name Michael (Mi-ka-el), originated when Lucifer (the fallen angel), compared himself with God, another angel stood before him and shouted “Who is like God?”which in Hebrew translates as ‘Mi-ka-el’, after which he became known as Michael. In the ‘Apocalypse’ by the apostle John, it was written that a dragon with seven crowned heads and horns, and a tail that swept aside the stars, threatened the virgin Mary and her newly born child. St. Michael and his angels fought the serpent from Satan and destroyed it.  Apep, the Seven-Headed Dragon of Egypt has been identified with Tiamat, the Great Dragon of Sumeria, slain by Marduk. This primordial goddess is also the prototype of the biblical monster Leviathan.

In France, it is said that St. Michael fought the devil (Satan, Lucifer) on Mont Dol in Brittany – which is part of an alignment with Mont St. Michel and d’Avranches. In England, tradition places the battle on Dragon Hill. St. Michael is said to have appeared to a 13 year old ‘Joan of Arc’ in 1419. The spring festival of St. Michael is on the 8th May. Mercury, ‘The messenger of the Gods’, is sometimes identified with St. Michael. 

Saint Michael’s Leyline: This is probably the most famous ley-line in the world. It runs across England from the tip of Cornwall to the Eastern tip of Norfolk on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, passing through the prehistoric sites of The Hurlers, Glastonbury Tor (St. Michael’s church), Avebury, Waulads Bank and numerous other significant sites either named after St. Michael or St. George, both dragon slaying saints. The line follows the path of the sun on the 8th of May (The spring festival of St. Michel) on an azimuth of around 242° (28° north of east). This day was celebrated in past times as ‘Beltane’, the beginning of summer, and a cross-quarter day, marking the midpoint in the Sun’s progress between the spring equinox and summer solstice. (click every picture :-)

St. Michael's Ley Line-2

Astronomical Alignments: The fact it took so long for us to realize that astronomy was in any way involved with megalithic culture is almost as surprising as the fact that it was ever forgotten. Although there has been a traditional resistance to this theory from the scientific establishment, we live in a time when it is finally accepted that many of the larger megalithic constructions were designed so as to be able to accurately identify celestial objects or measure their cycles. The clear link between megaliths and astronomy can also be said for megaliths and ley-lines, as they are often found to be prime ley-markers, and intersections of several ley-lines (i.e., Arbor-Low, Avebury, Stonehenge etc). One of the largest Leys in England, the so-called St. Michaels Ley, is aligned along the path of the sun on the 8th of May (The spring festival of St. Michael) and can therefore be considered astronomical. This line passes through several megalithic sites before it reaches Glastonbury, (artificially shaped to follow the direction of the ley), and then on to the Avebury/Silbury complex, both significant English landscape features.

Spirit ways and Death roads – (Funerary paths): Although there is little direct evidence for ‘religious’ worship in the modern sense of the word at megalithic sites, there is certainly evidence that funerary rites were involved at several important locations (some of which may be classed a secondary use). The burial of valuable goods alongside funerary remains, placing of remains inside stone chambers underground, and alignment of funerary structures or their inhabitants with the rising sun, all attest to the fact that funerary ley-markers were not placed according to purely ‘scientific’ criteria, although they may also have been added to existing pre-existing ley-lines. A number of rituals and traditions have been associated with the path taken by funerary parties. Traditionally known as ‘death roads’ (dood-wegen or geister-wege). The fact that ‘spirit paths’ are traditionally straight and seem to include the same ‘markers’ as ley lines significantly increases the argument for some of the leys having once served this function. Spirit lines are also invisible, and are viewed as ‘tracks’ or ‘paths’ for the movement of the spirits, which may explain why markers are often not visible from one location to another (an argument traditionally used against the existence of leys themselves).

Orion and the St. Michael’s Ley, England: It is noticeable that the Hurlers triple circle were oriented towards Orion when they were built, they are also roughly orientated along the axis of the St. Michaels Ley. Curiously enough, another prehistoric site that sits on the St Michael’s Ley also has a relationship to Orion; The Dorchester ‘Big-rings’ are the remains of a Henge (and Cursus) with similar dimensions as the Stonehenge bank and ditches (366 MY Circumference). In Yorkshire, the Thornborough Henges were built with double the circumference to the Big Rings and were orientated towards Orion. By watching the setting of the stars and specifically one star in the belt of Orion it would have been possible to orientate an alignment from one hilltop to the next over considerable distances. Beacon fires could have further reinforced such an alignment. The star in question is Mintaka which would have reached its extinction point on the alignment, which has an approximate azimuth of 242° around 2800 BCE. 

In theory leylines were used as a navigation technique to move across the landscape. Early Britons would pick a place to start and then follow the paths based on line of sight to the next highest point, monument, or other unique geographical feature. In this way people were able to move across the country, slowly but surely.

Although these pathways likely had their predominant use as simply a way to get from Point A to Point B and back again, Alfred Watkins also played with the idea that the ley lines could be aligned not only with each other but in relation to the sunrise and sunset during the solstices. He based this thinking on the work of an astronomer named Norman Lockyer, who studied the alignment of other monuments across Europe like Stonehenge to uncover any potential astronomical relationships the physical structures might have. This study was crucial, if not particularly well known, for understanding the lives, rituals and technologies of early Europeans.

There is evidence of other track-ways in Britain including ones that connect a variety of castles, water sources, and churches. However, a common criticism of the ley line theory is that, given enough points on a map, straight lines can be drawn through each and every one of them in some semblance of ‘order.’ The density of archaeological sites in Britain doesn’t help in that regard, and definitely proving that ley lines have some astronomical and navigational value is difficult.

St-Michael's-Mount for web
St Michael's Mount
Carn Lês Boel, Cornwall

St. Michael’s Mount, in Cornish: Karrek Loos yn Koos, meaning ‘hoar rock in woodland’ is a small tidal island in Mount’s Bay, Cornwall. The island is a civil parish and is linked to the town of Marazion by a man-made causeway of granite setts, passable between mid-tide and low water. Its Cornish language name—literally, “the grey rock in a wood”—may represent a folk memory of a time before Mount’s Bay was flooded, indicating a description of the mount set in woodland. Remains of trees have been seen at low tides following storms on the beach at Perranuthnoe. Radiocarbon dating established the submerging of the hazel wood at about 1700 BC. Historically, St Michael’s Mount was a Cornish counterpart of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France, when it was given to the Benedictine religious order of Mont Saint-Michel by Edward the Confessor in the 11th century. 
It may have been the site of a monastery in the 8th – early 11th centuries. It was a priory of that abbey until the dissolution of the alien houses as a side-effect of the war in France by Henry V, when it was given to the Abbess and Convent of Syon at Isleworth, Middlesex in 1424. Thus ended its association with Mont St Michel and any connection with Looe Island (dedicated to the Archangel Michael). It was a destination for pilgrims, whose devotions were encouraged by an indulgence granted by Pope Gregory in the 11th century.

Carn Lês Boel: Cornish promontory forts, commonly known in Cornwall as cliff castles, are coastal equivalents of the hill forts and Cornish “rounds” found on Cornish hilltops and slopes. Similar coastal forts are found on the north–west European seaboard, in Normandy, Brittany and around the coastlines of the British Isles, especially in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Many are known in southwest England, particularly in Cornwall and its neighbouring county, Devon. Two have been identified immediately west of Cornwall, in the Isles of Scilly. Carn Lês Boel is such a promontory fort on the a coastal headland, isolated from the mainland by one stone, turf or earthen rampart (a univallate fort), or more than one (a multivallate fort).
Some promontory forts also have ditches, created by the excavation of material to form the rampart. A small and very exposed Iron Age promontory fort or Cliff Castle, a few recumbent stones marking a possible original entrance. To the north of the stones a flat-topped bank measuring 3 to 6 meters overall and 0.4 meters high, in a spectacular setting. There are no traces of settlement (hut circles, for example) within the defended area. This granite headland lies at the western end of England’s famous St. Michael Line. The cliff castle is on a headland on the rugged granite coast between Porthgwarra and Land’s End, on the southern side of Nanjizal or Mill Bay.

The Hurlers. St Cleer
Burrow Mump

The Hurlers, in Cornish: An Hurlysi, is a group of three stone circles in the civil parish of St Cleer, Cornwall. The site is aprroxx 1 km west of the village of Minions on the eastern flank of Bodmin Moor, and approximately 6 km. north of Liskeard at grid reference SX 258 714. The name Hurlers derives from a legend, in which men were playing Cornish hurling on a Sunday and were magically transformed into stones as punishment. The Pipers are supposed to be the figures of two men who played tunes on a Sunday and suffered the same fate. According to another legend, it is impossible to accurately count the number of standing stones. 
The earliest mention of the Hurlers was by historian John Norden, who visited them around 1584. They were described by William Camden in his Britannia of 1586. In 1754 William Borlase published the first detailed description of the site. 
In 1967 Scottish engineer Alexander Thom suggested borderline case alignments at the Hurlers. He suggested two solar alignments of four stones with far uprights. He suggested two stone-to-site alignments with Vega and Arcturus and two other site-to-site alignments with Arcturus. Each stellar alignment was given with tabulated declinations at a date some time in between the range of 2100 to 1500 BC.

Burrow Mump is a hill and historic site overlooking Southlake Moor in the village of Burrowbridge within the English county of Somerset. Burrow Mump is also known as St Michael’s Borough or Tutteyate. Both words ‘burrow’ and ‘mump’ mean hill. The hill stands at a strategic location overlooking the point where the River Tone and the old course of the River Cary join the River Parrett. Although there is some evidence of Roman visitation, the first fortification of the site was the construction of a Norman motte. It has been called King Alfred’s Fort, however there is no proof of use by Alfred the Great. A medieval church was built on the hill in the 15th century. The current ruined church on top of the hill was built in 1793. 
In 1793, the church was rebuilt with a west tower, 3-bay nave and south porch, in squared and coursed lias with red brick and Hamstone dressings. The attempt at total rebuilding ended in failure to collect enough money, despite donations from William Pitt the Younger and Admiral Hood, and a church for the community was built instead at the foot of the hill (Burrowbridge) in 1838. In the mid 20th century the ruin on Burrow Mump underwent some repairs to the north west corner. The ruined church is one of the churches dedicated to St. Michael that falls on a ley line. Other connected St. Michaels on the ley line include churches built at Othery and Glastonbury Tor.

Avebury, Wiltshire
Glastonbury Tor, Wiltshire

Avebury is a Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles, around the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, in southwest England. One of the best known prehistoric sites in Britain, it contains the largest megalithic stone circle in the world. It is both a tourist attraction and a place of religious importance to contemporary pagans. 
Constructed over several hundred years in the Third Millennium BC, during the Neolithic, or New Stone Age, the monument comprises a large henge (a bank and a ditch) with a large outer stone circle and two separate smaller stone circles situated inside the centre of the monument. Its original purpose is unknown, although archaeologists believe that it was most likely used for some form of ritual or ceremony. The Avebury monument is a part of a larger prehistoric landscape containing several older monuments nearby, including West Kennet Long Barrow, Windmill Hill and Silbury Hill. 
By the Iron Age, the site had been effectively abandoned, with some evidence of human activity on the site during the Roman occupation. During the Early Middle Ages, a village first began to be built around the monument, eventually extending into it. In the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods, local people destroyed many of the standing stones around the henge, both for religious and practical reasons. 

Glastonbury Tor is a hill near Glastonbury in the English county of Somerset. The conical hill of clay and Blue Lias rises from the Somerset Levels. It was formed when surrounding softer deposits were eroded, leaving the hard cap of sandstone exposed. The slopes of the hill are terraced, but the method by which they were formed remains unexplained. Artefacts from human visitation have been found, dating from the Iron Age to Roman eras. 
Several buildings were constructed on the summit during the Saxon and early medieval periods; they have been interpreted as an early church and monks’ hermitage. The head of a wheel cross dating from the 10th or 11th century has been recovered. The original wooden church was destroyed by an earthquake in 1275, and the stone Church of St Michael built on the site in the 14th century. Its tower remains, although it has been restored and partially rebuilt several times. Archaeological excavations during the 20th century sought to clarify the background of the monument and church, but some aspects of their history remain unexplained. The Tor is mentioned in Celtic mythology, particularly in myths linked to King Arthur, and has a number of other enduring mythological and spiritual associations. 
The Celtic name of the Tor was Ynys Wydryn, or sometimes Ynys Gutrin, meaning ‘Isle of Glass.’ 

Waulud's Bank, Leagrave, Luton. UK
Oliver's Castle

Waulud’s Bank is a possible Neolithic henge in Leagrave, Luton dating from 3,000BC.  The Waulud’s Bank earthworks are in the North of Luton and are situated on the edge of Leagrave common, with Central Leagrave to the south east and Marsh Farm to the west. The River Lea runs alongside on the western side, its source located within the vicinity of the surrounding marsh. Archaeological excavations in 1953, 1971 and 1982 date the site to around 3000 BC, in the Neolithic period, although there was evidence of earlier mesolithic hunter/fisher activity in the immediate area. 
The enclosure consists of a bank and external ditch of around 7 hectares with a turf-revetted chalk and gravel bank faced by a wooden stockade. No entrances have been identified. Most external features have been destroyed by a 19th-century gravel quarry on the south, and the irresponsible dumping of tons of chalk and top-soil along the eastern side during building construction of Marsh Farm in the 1970s. The source of the River Lea is known as the ‘Five-Springs’ and lies in the north-west corner of Wauluds Bank. According to legend, the Celtic god Lug (or Lud or Lyg) presided over the springs. 
Lug is the Celtic god of light, and the name ‘Lea’ may be derived from this name. The town now known as Luton is named after this river which may mean the river of the god Lugus. 

Oliver’s Castle (or Roundway Down) is located just outside of Devizes in Wiltshire (UK). It is named after the Battle of Roundway fought by Oliver Cromwell in 1643. The landscape here is spectacular; rolling, undulating escarpments crowned with an ancient hill fort (earthwork). Oliver’s Castle has been a regular site for crop circle for many years. You can read more about Roundway Down here.

This circle was placed spectacularly in a field of oilseed rape right at the summit of the hill, it looked simply fantastic in the landscape. It’s a huge circle too measuring approximately 350ft in diameter. Twenty-seven small circles sit just inside the large outer ring. Oliver’s Castle is not a castle but a hill, situated on the edge of the North Wessex Downs. The steep-sided plateau makes a excellent defensive location. It was the site of an Iron Age hill fort dating back to about 600BC.

Oliver’s Castle is a strange name for a hill. People naturally assume that it is named after Oliver Cromwell but, in fact, he probably never went there. It did play a part in the Battle of Roundway Down during the English Civil War. Hundreds of Parliamentary Cavalry were killed falling down the steep slopes while attempting to escape the Royalist cavalry.

Bury St. Edmunds
Roystone Cave

Located in the heart of Bury St Edmunds, the abbey was once one of the richest and most powerful Benedictine monasteries in England. Its remains are extensive and include the complete 14th century Great Gate and Norman Tower, as well as the impressive ruins and altered west front of the immense church. 
The town was one of the royal boroughs of the Saxons. Sigebert, king of the East Angles, founded a monastery here about 633, which in 903 became the burial place of King Edmund, who was slain by the Danes in 869, and owed most of its early celebrity to the reputed miracles performed at the shrine of the martyr king. The town grew around Bury St Edmunds Abbey, a site of pilgrimage. By 925 the fame of St Edmund had spread far and wide, and the name of the town was changed to St Edmund’s Bury. 
The relics of the martyred Anglo-Saxon king St Edmund, whose remains were moved to this site in 903, and his shrine became a place of pilgrimage, the acquisition of such a notable relic made the monastery a place of pilgrimage as well as the recipient of numerous royal grants. The abbey itself was founded in 1020 and grew in power and wealth up until its suppression in 1539. St Edmunds Abbey in Bury was one of the richest and largest Benedictine monasteries in England.

Roystone Cave: Although the origin of the cave is unknown, the story of the rediscovery is very well known. In August 1742 a workman dug a hole in the Butter Market to build footings for a new bench for the patrons and traders. He discovered a buried millstone and dug around it to remove it. He found a shaft leading down into the chalk. 
It is thought that the sculptures were originally coloured, but little trace of this is visible now; in the mid 19th century, Joseph Beldam could still see the yellow dress of St Catherine and the red of the Holy Family. They are mostly religious images, such as the Crucifixion and various saints. St Lawrence is depicted holding the gridiron on which he was martyred. A crowned figure holding a wheel appears to be St Catherine, and a large figure with a staff and a child on his shoulder represents St Christopher. A figure with a drawn sword could be St Michael or possibly St George. Another possibly religious symbol is the depiction of a naked woman known as a Sheela na Gig. This figure is sometimes found on medieval churches so its inclusion with religious symbolism is not out of place. 
The uncertain antiquity of these sculptures adds to their interest and offers visitors a chance to speculate on their origins. There are a number of candle-holes,  directly beneath the sculptures.

Old St. Margaret’s Church was built between 1189 and 1250. It caught fire in 1865 and was left to perish over the years. The Parish Council purchased the Ruin from The Church of England Commissioners in 2008 for £1. 
A fire broke out in the church on Sunday 8 January 1865 when the stove became overheated and the building was all but demolished. The church was replaced by the existing church, also called St. Margaret’s, on the Lowestoft Road in Hopton-on-Sea. The old churchyard was officially closed in 1966 and only parts of the walls and tower remain today. Grave stones were re-sited and the area was left to grass over. 
The old St Margaret was out in the fields, and as so often in Norfolk the opportunity was taken to build a new church nearer to the centre of population. At the time, this was a tiny village of just 250 people, but the rise of the English seaside resort coupled with the industrial expansion of Yarmouth has meant that this parish now has several thousand of residents.

Old St. Margaret's Church

The Apollo & Michael Axis

Europe: In the late 1950’s Jean Richer publicized the existence of a main axis of sacred sites in Greece through Delphi, Athens, Delos, Camiros, Prasaias [Apollo’s Temple], the Temple of Artemis at Agra, Eleusis and other sites. The line links not only Temples and sanctuaries of the god Apollo but also sites earlier dedicated to the goddess Artemis / Diana. His brother Lucien followed this up in 1977 in an article entitled ‘The Saint Michael and Apollo axis’ in which he extended his brother’s line north-west where it passes through the holy island of Skellig Michael on the south-western coast of Ireland, after crossing several of the most important sites in Europe dedicated to St. Michael, the archangel. There are at least three legends concerning Apollo that seem to refer to this line.

  • One legend recalls how Abaris, a druidic British priest of Apollo, travelled on the god’s golden arrow from the British Isles to Greece to visit Pythagoras. ( Pythagoras is also said to have lived for a time on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land another site on this line).
  • Another legend describes the return of Apollo from the land of The Hyperboreans to Delphi in a chariot drawn by swans.
  • The third concerns what are known as the ‘Hyperborean Gifts.’ These, packed in straw, were sent from Hyperboreans (British?) to Delos as gifts ( tributes) to Apollo. ‘These first fruits, it is said, are hidden in wheaten straw, and no one knows what they are.’ – Pausanius

This alignment is said to extend (on a Mercatorial map), from Mont Carmel in Israel through Delos (dedicated to Apollo), Delphi, Corfu (Island of Artemis, sister of Apollo), Le Monte Gargano in Italy (primary European sanctuary of the Archangel, and place of several apparitions), La Sacra di San Michele in Piemont (Benedictine monastery at 1000m), Le Mont St. Michel of Normandie, Saint Mickael’s mount, (a peaked island surmounted by a church off the coast of Cornwall), and Skellig Michael, an island to the south-east of Ireland. The angle of axis is orientated SE-NW corresponding to the zodiacal axis of virgo-pisces. The archangel often appeared in Italy, in Rome near the castle which still bears the name ‘Holy angel’ and at Monte Gargano, a rocky peninsula on the Adriatic sea.

The Apollo & Michael Axis

What does it mean ? The Apollo & Michael Axis runs across Europe, from Skellig Michael in Ireland to Mt. Carmel in Israel, and  crosses paths with two other alignments: The St. Michael’s leyline in England and the Mont St. Michel alignment in France, both orientated at roughly the same angle (26° -28°), mirroring the larger alignment (along a north/south axis). It has already been noted that the St. Michael’s leyline in England does not follow an exact azimuth across the country, but meanders on occasion to include naturally high outcrops, a deviation of one or two degrees is to be expected, and this is exactly what we find here; perhaps better termed an ‘Axis of Coincidence.’

Both the French and the English leylines have clear signs of prehistoric activity along its path, such as the Hurlers, Glastonbury, Avebury, and Waulad’s Bank, and also ancient traditions of celebrating with fires on beacon-hills on may-day (St. Michael’s Day), all of which reinforce the idea of a ‘functional’ and operative alignment with prehistoric roots. Both alignments also include numerous churches and pilgrimage points dedicated to St. Michael a.k.a. Apollo, that were ‘reinforced’ throughout the middle-ages by the church. One suspects that an ancient tradition has been passed on either knowingly or unsuspectingly during the Pagan/Christian conversion of Europe.

Mount Carmel, Israel
Delos, Greece

Mount Carmel is a coastal mountain range in northern Israel stretching from the Mediterranean Sea towards the southeast. The range is a UNESCO biosphere reserve. A number of towns are situated there, most notably the city of Haifa, Israel’s third largest city, located on the northern slope. The name is presumed to be directly from the Hebrew language word Carmel (כַּרְמֶל), which means fresh or vineyard. 

As part of a 1929–1934 campaign, between 1930 and 1932, four caves and a number of rock shelters were excavated in the Carmel mountain range at el-Wad, el-Tabun, and Es Skhul. Neanderthal and early modern human remains were discovered, including the skeleton of a Neanderthal female, named Tabun I, which is regarded as one of the most important human fossils ever found. The excavation at el-Tabun produced the longest stratigraphic record in the region, spanning 600,000 or more years of human activity. The four caves and rock-shelters (Tabun, Jamal, el-Wad, and Skhul) together yield results from the Lower Paleolithic to the present day, representing roughly a million years of human evolution.

There are also several well-preserved burials of Neanderthals and Homo-sapiens and passage from nomadic hunter-gatherer groups to complex, sedentary agricultural societies. These emphasize the paramount significance of the Mount Carmel caves for the study of human evolution.

Delos (Δήλος) was one of the most sacred places of ancient Greece, and one of the most robust trade centers as well. The island undoubtedly owed its success to its superb location at the very center of the Aegean, allowing seafarers to meet it in the middle of their journey as they sailed from the major commercial centers of the Aegean–Athens, Miletos, Corinth, Macedonia, Thassos, Samos, Milos, Rhodes, and Crete, to name a few. Its importance also made it coveted by the most powerful maritime powers that strove for control of its harbors and sanctuary. 
There is evidence of habitation in the island that dates back to 3000 BCE, and of elevated importance during the Mycenaean period (1580-1200 BCE). Its reputation as a sacred island began attracting large numbers of devotees, and along with them trade flourished, transforming Delos into a robust commercial port for almost a thousand years after the 8th c. BCE.
Its claim as the birthplace of Apollo gave Delos a strong religious identity that lasted all the way until Byzantine times. In an era when religious festivals were economic engines, attracting thousands of pilgrims and generating healthy economic growth, Delos stood strong at the center of the wealthiest commercial centers and benefited greatly. 
Despite being wind-swept and almost barren of vegetation, it had several features that made it conducive to habitation (probably reached 25000 inhabitants by the early 1st century BCE).

Delphi, Greece
Corfu, Greece

Delphi is an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in a valley of Phocis. Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and it was a major site for the worship of the god Apollo. His sacred precinct in Delphi was a Panhellenic sanctuary, where every four years athletes from all over the Greek world competed in the Pythian Games. 
Delphi was revered throughout the Greek world as the site of the omphalos stone, the centre of the earth and the universe. In the inner hestia (“hearth”) of the Temple of Apollo, an eternal flame burned. After the battle of Plataea, the Greek cities extinguished their fires and brought new fire from the hearth of Greece, at Delphi; in the foundation stories of several Greek colonies, the founding colonists were first dedicated at Delphi. 
Delphi is located on a plateau on the slope of Mount Parnassus, next to the Sanctuary of Apollo, the site of the ancient Oracle. This semicircular spur is known as Phaedriades, and overlooks the Pleistos Valley. Southwest of Delphi, about 15 km away, is the harbor-city of Kirrha on the Corinthian Gulf. Occupation of the site at Delphi can be traced back to the Neolithic period with extensive occupation and use beginning in the Mycenaean period (1600–1100 BC). 

Corfu was not always an island. During the Paleolithic era, Corfu was part of Greece’s mainland; the geographical separation took place during the Neolithic era (10.000-8.000 BC) when the ice melted and the level of the sea rose creating an independent island. Traces from that era can be found in Sidari. On the northwest side of the island, in Kefali, Afionas and Ermones, archeological excavations uncovered few Bronze Age settlements from the 2nd century BC. 
Corfu has a long history through the ages. Corfu was named Corkyra, who was a naias nymph of the Argolis, daughter of the river Assopos. She was abducted by Poseidon, the god of sea, to the island and bore his son, Phaiax. Since then, the inhabitants of the island were called Phaecians, as mentioned by Homer. Another name of Corfu in the ancient times was Drepane, – which means scythe – because of its shape. 
According to Homer, Corfu was also named Scheria. The Phaecians had moved from Hyperia. King Nausithus surrounded the city with walls, built houses and temples in order to protect his people from the Cyclops, who plundered them. The name of Corfu is also related with Gorgyra or Gorgo, the monstrous Medusa, who was snake-haired and had the power to transform everyone looking at her into stone. 

Gargano, Italy
La Sacra di San Michele, Piermont, Italy

Some 12 to 4 million years ago, during the Late Miocene to Early Pliocene, a highly endemic vertebrate fauna evolved on what was then Gargano Island due to higher sea levels than today. Several of these animals were subject to island gigantism. The fossils are found in partially infilled paleokarst fissures across Monte Gargano.

Gargano is a historical and geographical sub-region in the province of Foggia, Apulia, southeast Italy, consisting of a wide isolated mountain massif made of highland and several peaks and forming the backbone of the Gargano Promontory projecting into the Adriatic Sea, the “spur” on the Italian “boot”. The Gargano peninsula is partly covered by the remains of an ancient forest, Foresta Umbra, the only remaining part in Italy of the ancient oak and beech forest that once covered much of Central Europe as well as the Apennine deciduous montane forest biome.

Saint Michael’s Cave, this is one of the holiest places in Italy and indeed throughout Christianity, located on the eastern coast of Italy close to Padre Pio’s shrine in San Giovanni Rotondo. It has been visited by countless popes and saints: Saint Francis of Assisi considered it to be so holy that he would not even enter it.

According to some historians, in Roman times a military stronghold existed on the current location of the abbey, commanding the main road leading to Gaul from Italy. Later, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Lombards built a fortress here against the Frankish invasions.
Little is known of the early years of the abbey. The oldest extant account is that of a monk, William, who lived here in the late 11th century and wrote a Chronicon Coenobii Sancti Michaelis de Clusa. He sets the foundation of the abbey in 966, but, in another passage, the same monk maintains that the construction began under the pontificate of Sylvester II (999-1003).
What is certain is that what is now the crypt was built in the late 10th century, as attested by the Byzantine influence in the niches, columns and arches. According to tradition, this building was constructed by the hermit Saint Giovanni Vincenzo [3] at the behest of the archangel Michael to whom he was particularly devoted; and the building materials which the hermit had collected were transported miraculously to the top of the mountain. In addition, it is noted that the cult of St. Michael, the archangel who warred with Lucifer, typically bases its churches on pinnacles or hard to reach places, for example, Mont Saint-Michel in France.

Le Mont Saint Michel, Normandy, France
Saint Michael's Mount, Cornwall. UK

Le Mont-Saint-Michel is an island and mainland commune in Normandy, France. The island is located about one kilometer (0.6 miles) off the country’s northwestern coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches and is 7 hectares (17 acres) in area. The mainland part of the commune is 393 hectares (971 acres) in area so that the total surface of the commune is 400 hectares (988 acres).

The original site was founded by an Irish hermit, who gathered a following from the local community. Mont Saint-Michel was used in the sixth and seventh centuries as an Armorican stronghold of Gallo-Roman culture and power until it was ransacked by the Franks, thus ending the trans-channel culture that had stood since the departure of the Romans in 460. From roughly the fifth to the eighth century, Mont Saint-Michel belonged to the territory of Neustria and, in the early ninth century, was an important place in the marches of Neustria.

Before the construction of the first monastic establishment in the 8th century, the island was called Mont Tombe (Latin: tumba). According to a legend, the archangel Michael appeared in 708 to Aubert of Avranches, the bishop of Avranches, and instructed him to build a church on the rocky islet

St. Michael’s Mount, in Cornish: Karrek Loos yn Koos, meaning ‘hoar rock in woodland’ is a small tidal island in Mount’s Bay, Cornwall. The island is a civil parish and is linked to the town of Marazion by a man-made causeway of granite setts, passable between mid-tide and low water. Its Cornish language name—literally, “the grey rock in a wood”—may represent a folk memory of a time before Mount’s Bay was flooded, indicating a description of the mount set in woodland. Remains of trees have been seen at low tides following storms on the beach at Perranuthnoe. Radiocarbon dating established the submerging of the hazel wood at about 1700 BC. Historically, St Michael’s Mount was a Cornish counterpart of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France, when it was given to the Benedictine religious order of Mont Saint-Michel by Edward the Confessor in the 11th century. 
It may have been the site of a monastery in the 8th – early 11th centuries. It was a priory of that abbey until the dissolution of the alien houses as a side-effect of the war in France by Henry V, when it was given to the Abbess and Convent of Syon at Isleworth, Middlesex in 1424. Thus ended its association with Mont St Michel and any connection with Looe Island (dedicated to the Archangel Michael). 

Skellig Michael, Ireland

Except as an isolated location for temporary refuge, Skellig Michael was uninhabited before the founding of the Augustinian monastery and was used only for sanctuary and refuge. According to folklore, Ir, son of Míl Espáine, was buried on the island following a shipwreck c. 1400 BC. Although from a prehistoric legend, the event appears in the Irish annals as the earliest extant record of the island. Daire Domhain ‘King of the World’ is said to have stayed there c. 200 AD before attacking Fionn mac Cumhaill’s army in nearby Ventry.A text from the 8th or 9th century records that Duagh, King of West Munster, fled to “Scellecc” after a feud with the Kings of Cashel sometime in the 5th century, although the historicity of the event has not been established. The site had been dedicated to Saint Michael by at least 1044. However, this dedication may have occurred as early as 950, around which time a new church was added to the monastery and called Saint Michael’s Church. The monastery was continuously occupied until the late 12th or early 13th century.

© Cormael  2018 05/10

References and Special Thanks: