Ancient Aliens Debunked – Part 5

The Crucifixion
( Visoki Decani Monastery, Kosovo)

These are the images that started it all:

«Frescos throughout Europe … reveal the appearance of space ships in the skies including this painting of ‘The Crucifixion’ – painted in 1350. It seems to depict a small human looking man looking over his shoulder – at another UFO as if in pursuit – as he flies across the sky in what is clearly a space ship. »[1]

In 1964, the above images were “discovered” by art student Alexandar Paunovitch in a 16th-century fresco of the crucifixion of Christ, located on the wall of the Visoki Decani Monastery in Kosovo, Yugoslavia. The French magazine “Spoutnik” printed them, and they have been featured in many books and web pages ever since as “spaceships with a crew.”[2]

While a layperson might be completely mystified by these suggestive images, a Medieval art historian would only need to know that they were located in the upper corners of a depiction of Christ’s crucifixion …[2]

But this Crucifixion also follows the common iconographic model of the Middle Ages. The “Deposition from the Cross” of Benedetto Antelami, in the Dome of Parma in particular resembles the Crucifixion of Visoki Decani:[3]

Many crucifixion paintings and mosaics done in the Byzantine style show the same odd “objects” on either side of the cross. They are the Sun and the Moon, often represented with a human face or figure, turned to witness the Crucifixion, a common iconographic tradition in the art of the Middle Ages.[3]

«The sun and moon, one on each side of the cross, are a regular feature of Medieval crucifixion [paintings].

«They survived into the early Renaissance but are seldom seen after the 15th century. Their origin is very ancient. It was the custom to represent the Sun and Moon in images of the pagan sun gods of Persia and Greece, a practice that was carried over into Roman times on coins depicting the emperors.

« … [T]he sun is [sometimes represented as] simply a man’s bust with a radiant halo, the moon [as] a woman’s, with the crescent of Diana. Later they are reduced to two plain disks. The moon having a crescent within the circle, may be borne by angels. The sun appears on Christ’s right, the moon on his left.”»[4]

The Sun and Moon are depicted as anything from a flat disk to a hollow comet-tailed ball. The figures within vary from a simple face to elaborate depictions of Apollo and Diana in their chariots driving horses or oxen. The Sun and Moon are also featured on crucifixions painted by Dürer, Crivelli, Raphael, and Bramantino.[3]

The Sun and Moon, represented as human figures, are visible in many Byzantine-Orthodox sacred paintings.

Two ivories from the Museé de Cluny, Paris, the Sun and the Moon are on sides of the cross:

Often, the Sun and the Moon were represented as human characters driving wagons drawn by horses and by oxen:

A sculpture by Benedetto Antelami in the Dome of Parma, with the story of Barlaam and Josafat, where the Sun and the Moon appear to be “doubled” in the figures of the fighting Day and Night:

In the same Decani Monastery, in a lower level vault, there are other depictions of the “humanized” Sun and Moon:

Conclusion: In the Visoki Decani Crucifixion fresco there are no UFOs. The two objects near the cross are anthropomorphic symbols of the Sun and the Moon, represented in much the same way as they are in many other Byzantine Crucifixions.


* The information contained herein is based primarily on the work of Diego Cuoghi and the sources listed below:
1. The UFO Times
2. Diego Cuoghi, Italian art historian, Skeptic magazine, 2004 (1.7MB, PDF File)
3. Diego Cuoghi
4. James Hall, author of the Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols In Art

5 comments on “Ancient Aliens Debunked – Part 5

  1. The author of the fresco did a great job depicting human figures…why did he have trouble with the sun and the moon? He made them look like people flying inside air craft, plain and simple.

    • Did you even read the text? They are drawn that way for a reason – in a universal way common during that era of paintings. It’s not about what you want it to be, it’s about what they (the artists and people of that time) believed it symbolized.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to debunk these crackpot theories. I won’t say that I dislike such theories, even if the intent was to fool people. It is after all very entertaining. Don’t we all wish that we had a deeper and much more mysterious past?

    It is unfortunate however that not all people posses the same skills in reasoning and logic. Thus we have many credulous individuals believing in these kind of theories without even a second thought. More saddening still is that these people rarely seek out sites such as this that offer a counter argument.

    It is easy to think that beliefs in such things are innocuous. On a daily basis and in an ostensible sense this is somewhat true. The pernicious nature of such beliefs lies in their ability to eviscerate the filter of the mind. Without a sound sense of logic and reasoning, more and more beliefs are acquired without proper discrimination or scrutiny. This in turn leads to an endless cycle as the individual has no sound basis to discern truth from fiction.

    I know of one girl who actually abandoned Christianity (I am an atheist myself), instead choosing to believe in ancient aliens.

    It is scary that so many people lack basic reasoning and logic skills. To many, the concept of deductive and inductive reasoning or even sentential logic is completely foreign.

    I know of many people that believe in things such as ancient aliens and rubbish such as ‘The Secret’ which attempts to use pseudo science to baffle people with bullshit. What i often find ironic is that these same people usually have no idea about science, not even at the basic level of high school physics. Even concepts such as how electricity works seems to have evaded many of these people and these are university educated people!

    I don’t think that these people are any less intelligent than myself but rather, helpless victims indoctrinated with fanciful beliefs from an early age, consequently lacking the ability to make good decision about what to accept as truth.

    Sorry about the long reply. I can’t sleep so I thought I would write an epic rant :)

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