Заха́рия Си́тчин (in Russian)
Born July 11, 1920
Baku, Azerbaijan SSR
Died October 9, 2010 (aged 90)
New York City, U.S.
Citizenship United States
Education London School of Economics, University of London
Known for Ancient astronauts
Zecharia Sitchin (Azerbaijani: Zaxariya Sitçin; Russian: Заха́рия Си́тчин; July 11, 1920 – October 9, 2010) was an Azerbaijani-born American author of books proposing an explanation for human origins involving ancient astronauts. Sitchin attributed the creation of the ancient Sumerian culture to the Anunnaki, which he stated was a race of extraterrestrials from a planet beyond Neptune called Nibiru. He asserted that Sumerian mythology suggests that this hypothetical planet of Nibiru is in an elongated, 3,600-year-long elliptical orbit around the sun. Sitchin's books have sold millions of copies worldwide and have been translated into more than 25 languages.
Contents Early life
Sitchin was born in the Azerbaijan SSR, but was raised in Mandatory Palestine. He received a degree in economics from the University of London, and was an editor and journalist in Mandatory Palestine, before moving to New York in 1952. While working as an executive for a shipping company, he taught himself Sumerian cuneiform and visited several archaeological sites.
Ideas and works
According to Sitchin's interpretation of Mesopotamian iconography and symbolism, outlined in his 1976 book The 12th Planet and its sequels, there is an undiscovered planet beyond Neptune that follows a long, elliptical orbit, reaching the inner solar system roughly every 3,600 years. This planet is called Nibiru (although Jupiter was the planet associated with the god Marduk in Babylonian cosmology). According to Sitchin, Nibiru (whose name was replaced with MARDUK in original legends by the Babylonian ruler of the same name in an attempt to co-opt the creation for himself, leading to some confusion among readers) collided catastrophically with Tiamat (a goddess in the Babylonian creation myth the Enûma Eliš), which he considers to be another planet once located between Mars and Jupiter. This collision supposedly formed the planet Earth, the asteroid belt, and the comets. Sitchin states that when struck by one of planet Nibiru's moons, Tiamat split in two, and then on a second pass Nibiru itself struck the broken fragments and one half of Tiamat became the asteroid belt. The second half, struck again by one of Nibiru's moons, was pushed into a new orbit and became today's planet Earth.
According to Sitchin, Nibiru (called "the twelfth planet" because, Sitchin claimed, the Sumerians' gods-given conception of the Solar System counted all eight planets, plus Pluto, the Sun and the Moon) was the home of a technologically advanced human-like extraterrestrial race called the Anunnaki in Sumerian myth, who Sitchin states are called the Nephilim in Genesis. He wrote that they evolved after Nibiru entered the solar system, and they first arrived on Earth probably 450,000 years ago, looking for minerals, especially gold, which they found and mined in Africa. Sitchin states that these "gods" were the rank-and-file workers of the colonial expedition to Earth from planet Nibiru.
According to Sitchin, Enki (the Sumerian god of water and human culture) suggested that to relieve the Anunnaki, who had mutinied over their dissatisfaction with their working conditions, that primitive workers (Homo sapiens) be created by genetic engineering as slaves to replace them in the gold mines by crossing extraterrestrial genes with those of Homo erectus. According to Sitchin, ancient inscriptions report that the human civilization in Sumer, Mesopotamia, was set up under the guidance of these "gods", and human kingship was inaugurated to provide intermediaries between mankind and the Anunnaki (creating the "divine right of kings" doctrine). Sitchin believes that fallout from nuclear weapons, used during a war between factions of the extraterrestrials, is the "evil wind" described in the Lament for Ur that destroyed Ur around 2000 BC. Sitchin states the exact year is 2024 BC. Sitchin says that his research coincides with many biblical texts, and that biblical texts come originally from Sumerian writings.
Theatrical performance of ENKI based on the writings of Zecharia Sitchin.
Since the release of his first book The 12th Planet in 1976, now in its 45th printing, Sitchin has written seven other books as part of his Earth Chronicles series, as well as six other companion books, all of which are still in print as of 2012. Sitchin's books have sold millions of copies worldwide and have been published in more than 25 languages. New York Times reporter Corey Kilgannon has noted that despite academic dismissal of his work, Sitchin has "a devoted following of readers".
Critic Michael S. Heiser has called Sitchin "arguably the most important proponent of the ancient astronaut hypothesis over the last several decades". According to critic and author Jason Colavito, "Zecharia Sitchin is one of the most famous proponents of the ancient astronaut theory today, second only to the father of the theory, Erich von Däniken, in importance to true believers". Sitchin was a frequent guest on the Coast to Coast AM radio show, which in 2010 presented Sitchin with a lifetime achievement award.
According to some writers, Sitchin's ideas, along with those of Erich von Däniken may have influenced the beliefs of the religious sect of Raëlism, and writer Mark Pilkington sees the mythology of Japan's Pana Wave religious group as rooted in Sitchin's The 12th Planet and its sequels.
The 1994 movie Stargate, directed by Roland Emmerich, and the 2009 video game The Conduit drew some conceptual inspiration from Sitchin's ideas, while screenwriter Roberto Orci says the villains of the film Cowboys & Aliens were inspired by Sitchin's conceptualization of the Anunnaki as gold-mining aliens.
In 2000, Lorin Morgan-Richards' theatrical performance of ENKI, based on the writings of Zecharia Sitchin, premiered in Cleveland, Ohio under the choreography of Michael Medcalf.
In 2016, Kazem Finjan, the Iraqi Minister of Transport, claimed at a press conference that Sumerians had built and used an airport in the Dhi Qar Governorate to launch spaceships from 5000 years ago. He cited the work of Sitchin and others to support his assertion.
Criticism of Sitchin's work falls primarily into three categories: translations and interpretations of ancient texts, astronomical and scientific observations, and literalism of myth.