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Alien Visitation During Classical Antiquity

Updated: Mar 18, 2023

The Roman Epicurean poet Lucretius wrote: “Nothing in the universe is unique and alone and therefore in other regions there must be other earths inhabited by different tribes of men and breeds of beasts.”

Through history exists reports of what modern humans would call UFO’s, or unidentified flying objects. Without contextual historical information, it is challenging to find scientific explanations for such phenomena. Interestingly, there remains little serious scientific study of these historical events despite numerous books written on the subject. Today, most are familiar with the television program Ancient Aliens. Furthermore, this show has been roundly criticized for far-reaching hypotheses regarding off world visitations in the ancient world.

Earth was not always called Earth. This planet has gone by many names in the past, but in antiquity it was commonly known as Terra. Terra, from Latin, has been visited numerous times in the past by visitors from others off world. One only needs to view early folklore and mythology to observe the events. Today, much of the ancient lore has been relegated to the religious myth category, but what if these stories were not myths but facts? To be clear, Classical Antiquity roughly covers the time between the 8th century BCE and the 6th century CE. Within this time period there are many stories of visitations from beings not of this world. These beings have been called gods, spirits, and monsters.

Biblical Accounts

2 Kings 2, relates the story of Elisha and the prophet Elijah. Elijah and Elisha travelled alongside the Jordan River on their way home from Gilgal. Elijah possessed the ability to call forth rain and held power over bodies of water. Therefore, he was called upon by villages suffering from drought. Elijah would soon pass away, and Elisha asked to possess twice Elijah’s spirit. A chariot and horses of fire suddenly appeared out of the sky and divided the two men. Elijah stepped upon the chariot and in a whirlwind taken up into heaven and never seen again.


Another biblical account of off world visitation is the story of the prophet Ezekiel. He God appearing to him by the shores of the Chebar River in the sixth century BCE. Mysterious creatures accompanied god. These creatures had four wings and four faces. Additionally, they appeared in the air in the midst of clouds and fire. These creatures were accompanied by machines of unidentified purpose. The machines were wheels within wheels and had strange “eyes” all around the outside. The wheels or hoops flew around in the air. As Ezekiel watched, they landed for a moment on the ground and then flew into the air again. They shadowed the movements of the winged creatures. Then suddenly God appeared sitting upon a fiery throne.

Sky People of the Native Americans

Throughout the Native American tradition are stories of sky people. The Iroquois creation myth speaks of Sky people living in the Sky World. According to their legend, the world was not as it is known now. Once upon a time, it was a water world. Only animals and that could survive without land and creatures of the air inhabited the world.

Similarly, in the Blackfoot legends, the Above People, or Sky Beings, were the first creations of their god, Apistotoke. The Sun, Natosi, was the first sky being that was created. Blackfoot people well regards it. Another Sky Being is the moon goddess, Komorkis. Legend tells that The Above People live in their own land and possess their own society above the clouds. Is this simply a personification of the stars and planets or may these legends be taken at face value?

These are but two examples of Indigenous tradition. Additionally, Hopi tribes have made cave drawings of Kachinas (spirit beings). Scholars deems these drawings as a link between the origins of the Hopi and Zuni tribes with "star people".


Similar to the Indigenous tribes of the Americas, the people of India have similar traditions. According to the Vedas, the sky represents the realm of the gods and is their home. Hindu gods live in the higher regions of the sky while mortals live on earth. Mortals look to the gods for support. Asuras are depicted in Indian texts as potent superhuman demigods with positive or negative qualities. According to early Vedic literature, the positive Asuras are called Adityas. Varuna leads them. However, the nasty ones are called Danavas. Vritra leads the malevolent ones.

Indra, a hard-drinking, arrogant warrior who rides a solar chariot across the sky and brandishes a thunderbolt is the main god of the Vedas. He is regarded as a storm god he brings rain to fertilize India's parched soil. This bears a striking resemblance to the story of Elijah related earlier in this article.

In Hindu mythology, Vimana are the flying vehicles by which the gods and their avatars travel from place to place. The Ramayana, dating from the 5th or 4th century BCE, makes mention of these flying chariots. For example, Book 6 Canto CXXIII reads:

The Magic Car:

Is not the wondrous chariot mine, Named Pushpak, wrought by hands divine. This chariot, kept with utmost care, Will waft thee through the fields of air, And thou shalt light unwearied down In fair Ayodhyá's royal town.


Dragons, one of the earliest creatures to appear in the tales and legends of ancient China. Dragons are depicted as a giant and nimble beast living in either water sources or clouds. The Chinese dragon is particularly powerful. Additionally, legend relates that it is accompanied by lightning and thunder as it flies through the air. It is unclear when the legend of the dragon first appeared. Historians suggest a link with stories about rainbows being a 'serpent of the sky' which is seen after rain showers or at waterfalls. Although written accounts of dragons had not yet appeared, carved jade dragons were excavated at sites of the Hongshan culture dating to 4500-3000 BCE. There exists a famous myth about a dragon helping the ruler, Yu the Great (c. 2070 BCE). He was the founder of the Xia dynasty. A dragon and a turtle came to his aid in managing the floodwaters which devastated the kingdom. Additionally, they helped control the waters into a better irrigation system. Moreover, ancient Chinese farmers believed dragons brought needed rain and water to help their crops. Dragons were also believed to be responsible for other meteorological events. Such events included lightning, hailstorms, thunder, fierce winds, and tornadoes. This is interesting as the powers Elijah possessed also focused upon rain, water, and irrigation as well as the legend of Indra in Hindu mythology.

A Big Universe

The universe is infinite. There is a portion of the population that will never believe that there are other beings in the universe or that they visit Earth. Conversely, there is also a portion of the population that remains die hard believers that humans cannot be the only intelligent life. Like everything in the world, belief rests upon individual opinions. It can be argued that these tales are fanciful or bred from superstition. It can also be argued that what ancient humans saw and explained was simply a misidentification of something commonplace by modern standards. However, in an ancient world in which cultures everywhere share similar mythologies surely, there must rest a seed of truth.

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Works cited

Classical Antiquity. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2022, from

First People of America and Canada - turtle island. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2022, from

Forsythe, Gary (2012). Time in Roman Religion: One thousand years of religious history. Routledge.

Hale, Wash Edward (1999). Ásura in Early Vedic Religion. Motilal Barnarsidass. ISBN 978-8120800618.

Morton, D. (2000). [Review of the book Children of Ezekiel: Aliens, UFOs, the Crisis of Race, and the Advent of End Time]. Technology and Culture 41(1), 170-172. doi:10.1353/tech.2000.0027.

Native American Legends: Above people (sky-beings). (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2022, from

Rámáyan of Válmíki. Translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith. Retrieved 11 March 2014 – via

Stothers, R. (2007). Unidentified Flying Objects in Classical Antiquity. The Classical Journal, 103(1), 79–92.

The Creation Story. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2022, from

V, J. (n.d.). Symbolism of sky in Hinduism. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from

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