Talisman: Sacred Cities, Secret Faith

ISBN: 0385660642
ISBN 13: 9780385660648
By: Robert Bauval Graham Hancock

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Alternative History Ancient Knowledge Cultural Research Esotericism Non Fiction Occult Religion Secret Societies And Conspiracies Spiritual Research To Read

About this book

The bestselling authors of The Secret of the Sphinx relate the extraordinary account of a longstanding conspiracy at the heart of Western civilization, the visual evidence of which surrounds us all.A talisman is an object with “meaning.” It is a potent symbol or icon that can fire the imagination and emotions of men and women anywhere, any time. It can be a small amulet, a ring, a flag, a statue, a monument, and even a whole city. Think of a wedding ring. Think of the Statue of Liberty or the collapsing Twin Towers of New York, or the toppling statue of Saddam Hussein. Think of the Wailing Wall. Think of Jerusalem. . .Talisman is a roller-coaster intellectual journey through the back streets and rat runs of history to uncover the traces in architecture and monuments of a secret religion that has shaped the world. The story takes us from Heliopolis to Luxor, Alexandria, Toulouse, Florence, Rome, Paris, London, Washington DC, New York, and finally to the global pandemonium following September 11, 2001. It is a tale filled with romance and intrigue, heroism and faith, peopled by ancient Egyptian astronomer-priests, Christian Gnostics, Hermetic sages, learned Jews, Arab savants, Occitan counts, Cathar “perfects,” Knights Templar, Renaissance magi, Rosicrucian “invisibles,” Bavarian Illuminati, and Freemasons.Pivotal historical events and processes, not least the Renaissance, the birth of scientific rationalism, and the French and American Revolutions, are radically re-evaluated in the light of new investigative evidence presented for the first time in Talisman. Even the belief that the United States has a “global mission,” so obvious today, may ultimately prove to be less the result of a short-term reaction to terrorism than the inevitable working out of a covert plan originally set in motion almost 2000 years ago. With its eye-catching amazing revelations, extensive documentation, and all-encompassing theories, Talisman will ensure that its readers will never look at the world in the same way.From the Hardcover edition.

Reader's Thoughts


boring, unfinished


I actually gave up on this book. My main thought while reading was was "So what?" I just couldn't haul together enough interest to bother finishing it, so I have put it aside and may (or may not) come back to it another time.


Overall I really liked this book. There is so much information contains in it, that it takes a while to really *read* it and understand the sequence of events and epochs covered.I would recommend this to anyone interested in the history of the Roman Catholic Church's persecution of other religions that disagreed with its dogma (Gnostic, Christian as well as Pagan). Folks interested in secret societies (Templars, Freemasons, etc...) as well as those interested in the the reasons some cities/monuments were planned and plotted the way they have been will find this book enjoyable.


Exhaustive research and very intriguing but superficial when it comes to mystic elements and symbolism therein. A touch-point for deeper research on the sacred feminine and Sirius' significance in ancient and modern esoteric practices.


This is perhaps the most comprehensive book I have ever read on religious traditions and symbolism. More specifically, the book deals with alternative/shadow western religious followings, from the Egyptian Goddess, Isis, to Christian Gnostics to Christian Cathars of the Middle Ages to the Knights Templar who came out of Cathar traditions to Masonic Traditions in Europe and later in the United States. The book draws parallels to many religious symbols in cities across the western world, particularly obelisks in Alexandria, Egypt, Vatican City, Paris, New York and Washington, DC. No book could be a better source of information for novelist Dan Brown, and I would be surprised if he has not read or used Talisman to gather information for much of his writings.

Helén Szőke

Such a large convoluted subject covering so many different traditions cannot easily be covered in-depth and as such it is a well researched but superficial skimming of religious dogma.The sheer amount of research done for this must have been over-whelming at times. That said, it's a great tome for allowing the reader to discover, question and awaken a thirst to delve further into secret societies and such. I really enjoyed it but it could be a hard haul at times and in the end it didn't tell me enough .


Though the iconic Statue of Liberty is recognized by many, my decision to read this book rested more with several intriguing questions posed on the back cover. The historical significance of the statue had never previously occurred to me. The question that really hooked me was the one regarding Franklin Roosevelt's commissioning of the glowing pyramid on the one-dollar bill. I have never held a dollar bill, but have wondered about the curious symbolism on British currency.It is no understatement to say the breadth, depth, and volume of information presented, was at times overwhelming. With a reference section occupying nearly sixty pages, the authors appear to have taken pains to present this work in the light of other works.Encapsulating this substantial reading and learning experience into a succinct and meaningful review is proving a challenge. One of the many difficulties faced by the authors is illustrated by a passage appearing on page 287 -~~The Sacred Cities, Emergence of the invisibles - Before Freemasonry came out - "The origins of Freemasonry are veiled behind such a mass of legends and pseudo-history that the subject has become a nightmare for even the most dedicated of researchers. The problem lies in the fact that today Freemasons define themselves as a `society with secrets' whereas once, and no one actually knows for how long, they were a secret society that went to great lengths to be `invisible'. We've noted before that successful secret societies are by definition, hard to trace in the historical record. "~~Talisman explains how historic texts, events, and architecture, reveal compelling evidence of a belief system with ancient origins; that is identifiably manifest in contemporary life.There is a tendency throughout the book to present a line of reasoning based on an intricate web of historical events. It is my view that the authors conducted considerable research to support and develop their ideas. Whether or not, the conclusions drawn and presented from the research is accurate; is a matter of opinion. Though consistent effort is made to avoid voicing outright opinion; this is inevitable, because opinion does comes through; if not in direct statements; then in the general line of reasoning chosen. As a reader, I admired the author's consistent attempts to justify leading conclusions. I also appreciated the efforts of authors who appear to be deeply knowledgeable; to both educate and inform the readers in a wide range of topics that warrant considerable research and learning individually.It is no surprise the undertaking took twelve years to complete. Started in 1992 and completed in 2004; the finished article provides a rich source of learning and intrigue for the uninitiated. If you are asking "Uninitiated into what ? ", I would thank you for your question, and refer you to the respective co-author websites for an answer or answers.For my part as reviewer; may I draw your attention to key phrases at the start and end of the work.~At the start - Robert Bauval - "This unusually long period reflects not only the complex nature of the subject matter but also the strong and enduring working relationship and friendship that I have with my co-author Graham Hancock, a master of the trade par excellence. "At the end - "On 11 September 2001Al Qaeda struck its major direct blow against the `Crusaders'. It may not be the last ..."~OK - a number of unsettling facts have come to light since 9/11. Some of these facts are both 100% concrete, and impossible to dispute. Some of them may weaken the case against Al Qaeda. While the full truth, behind the events of 9/11 remain shrouded, and questions remain unanswered; justifiable conclusions may be equally elusive.Winston Churchill famously said "History is written by the victors". A discussion of "the philosophy of history" can be found in Wikipedia. Interestingly enough; a section detailing "History as propaganda"; paraphrases the quote, and also contains the phrase "par excellence".If there is any truth in Winston Churchill's quote, could there also be truth in another idea? One that claims "Manuscripts are written or dictated by authors with their own unique perspectives and agendas".Some readers may feel the validity of this book's final statement is questionable. It appears to directly reveal the sympathies and therefore bias of the author(s). Whether this statement enhances or detracts from the validity of the manuscript as a whole; is debatable.The reading experience was intermittently engaging and tawdry. That said; in light of the complex nature of the subject matter presented, the work is surprisingly accessible and readable. Overall I found the effort rewarding and informative. I have read work by other authors who are critical of Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock. I guess it is up to researchers of this genre to come to their own conclusions based on wider reading. Whatever the politics of the authors, I am deeply grateful for this introduction to a subject matter that is both complex; and significant in contemporary life today. Thank you for this work! Recommended reading!

John Holcomb

hings are not what they seem to be.

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