"Solomon's Sky" will be available in November, 2014, in Amazon's Kindle format in full color, at $4.95 per copy,
and a few weeks later also as paperback with about 420 pages 8.5" x 11", black and white interior, at $19.95 each, and
with full color interior, at $
Front cover and Frontispiece,
book description, editorial review, author bio, reader reviews
To pre-order your copy please send me an email to hpaleff at phaistosgame dot com.
ISBN 978-0-9724646-4-2 Paperback,
527 pages 8.5 x 11", B&W interior:
ISBN 978-0-9724646-7-3 for Paperback full color interior
ISBN 978-0-9724646-3-5 E-book
in full color, ready for download:
Formats: Kindle, epub, pdf
Publisher: Recovered Science Press
The front and back covers shown below in full size are those of the upcoming paperback edition that combines parts 1 and 2 of this story into one volume. Since e-books have no back cover, the image shown below as back cover is featured in these as a frontispiece on the first inside page.
Front cover :
The sky chart and gameboard on the cover is formed by joining end to end the two paths from the front and back of the Phaistos Disk, and then folding this restored sequence with two U-turns, as on the Disk, to make a square mini-labyrinth. This unlocks the original path where some signs appear to circle a common pole.
The frontispiece shows these same signs projected on a chart of the actual northern night sky generated by SkyMap 4.0. These “Cretan constellations” organize the circumpolar stars into simple figures that are easier to find and remember than our arbitrary modern constellation lines. Their realistic arrangement on this reconstructed gameboard path confirms that this perfect ordering of these signs is unlikely to have happened by chance.
Outline of the Contents:
Part 1: The Phaistos Disk as path for a board game, its Ancient Egyptian siblings Snake Game and Senet, its direct descendant the still popular spiral Game of the Goose, and the striking parallels of its "Philistine sun head" path of fields with the much later life and death and third-day resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Part 2: The astronomical and calendrical cycles embedded in its path,
its role as a sky chart and labyrinth mandala of heaven, and
its similarities with the layout of King Solomon’s Temple precinct, plus the Chess Knight's move from this board that makes it an early ancestor of Chess.
Book description by Mark Edwards, indieiq at gmail dot com, October 2, 2012
Nr.1 bestselling co-author of “Catch Your Death” and “Killing Cupid”
Solomon's Sky by Peter Aleff
An ancient enigma, solved at last!
The Phaistos Disk was discovered in 1908 on the site of a Minoan palace in Crete, after being buried by an earthquake thousands of years ago, during the Bronze Age. Just under six inches in diameter, the Disk was in remarkably good condition and stamped on both sides with a spiraling sequence of mysterious symbols.
Archaeologists and many others were immediately gripped about the meaning of these unknown pictographs and the reason why this unique Disk had been created. They puzzled ever since about its origins and purpose and about the secrets that are likely to lie behind its pretty but perplexing pictures. Making it one of the most compelling mysteries of archaeology, they put forward many theories. Theories that have one thing in common:
They are wrong.
The majority of those who have attempted to make sense of this ancient mystery have focused on trying to read it as writing. These attempts, as ancient history expert Peter Aleff proves with surgical precision, were all misguided. For the signs on the Phaistos Disk are not a script. Their true purpose is far more surprising.
Now, in Solomon’s Sky, Aleff finally shows the simple concepts behind the “code of the Phaistos Disk” and the role of those pictographs. They were markings for the fields of a board game closely related to other board games of that time. Step by step, he lets you discover surprising and exciting results that link the Disk to both Ancient Egypt and our modern days.
The Ancient Egyptians enjoyed board games and imbued them with religious meaning. Two of their most popular games were Senet and Snake Game, which both took the player on his journey through life, death and rebirth. Fast forward several thousand years to Renaissance Italy where an allegedly new board game, The Game of the Goose, entered the written record and began its centuries of still continuing popularity.
And all these three board games are connected to the Phaistos Disk.
In Solomon’s Sky, Aleff tells us how. Using solid evidence, he reveals that the Phaistos Disk is in fact a model for a game board with startlingly close relations to these games of Ancient Egypt and to the Game of the Goose. He explains all in a clear, easy-to-follow narrative complemented by a large number of illustrations. This story will fascinate anyone who enjoys the unraveling of an intriguing mystery -- whether you are a history buff, an archaeologist or simply someone who loves a good puzzle. I, for one, found this book both entertaining and very educational.
Just as the correct key easily opens a hard-to-pick lock, the rational approach used in this book easily unlocks the wealth of information on the Phaistos Disk, a famous archaeological puzzle from Bronze Age Crete. The key to the simple pictures in the path of fields on that Disk is the recognition that they were not writing signs, as most of its many "translators" had assumed. It turns out instead that those pictures were the symbolic marks for the fields of a board game that closely resembled the ancient Egyptian board games Senet and Snake Game. Its clear parallels with those better-known games allow us to reliably reconstruct the familiar events described by those pictures along the path on that Disk and so to unlock its easily verifiable and externally confirmed nature and meanings.
This new approach also reveals the function of the reconstructed gameboard as a labyrinth sky chart that reflected clear images of prominent northern constellations rotating around the celestial pole, as well as the monthly race between light and darkness on the face of the moon and several other calendrical and astronomical cycles. The path through this labyrinth also displays some of the major mythological events at the basis of the ancient Egyptian religion. The depiction of these events along the continuous sequence of fields from the Disk adds coherence and clarifications to some accounts about these myths that were until now only known as separate fragments.
Moreover, this sky chart was so ingeniously designed and astronomically advanced for its time that it appears to have been, around the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean and possibly beyond, the major model for visually representing the then dominant cosmology in the interchangeably round and square forms common for labyrinths. This role may explain some striking parallels between its round version and the megalithic stone rings of Rogem Hiri in the Golan Heights. Even more echoes appear to be preserved from the square labyrinth sky chart in the layout of the square temple precinct which King Solomon built to reflect the sky on earth.
About the author:
Peter Aleff's interest in religions seems to come from a gene pool that includes four successive generations of protestant pastors and distinguished theologians descended from Huguenot heretics who had been exiled for their faith, and his tendency to question them echoes an ancestral rebel knight and Hussite general who got beheaded for his opposition to corrupt authorities. On the other hand, his pragmatic side may stem, at least in part, from a continuous string of five nose-to-the-grindstone millers who each married the baker's daughter, keeping the family business vertically integrated with those captive customers.
Possibly influenced by this baggage, he started inquiring about history and mythology even before he learned to read, and he has continued ever since. He studied history and philosophy as well as some mathematics and the dismal science of economics at the University of Basel in Switzerland. Then he decided to earn a living and took technical courses at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers in Paris, France, to begin a career in engineering and managing manufacturing companies. He worked first in France and then in several American states where he was awarded four U.S. patents for some of his inventions, plus one in Mexico.
The premature birth of his son David and his familiarity with the effects of light used in industrial processes led him to research the causes of the baby-blinding epidemic retinopathy of prematurity and to publish two peer-reviewed clinical papers on how to prevent this major cause of childhood blindness, as well as the website http://retinopathyofprematurity.org with more information about this topic.
In his free time, he researched in particular the history and meanings of board games and wrote in 1982 the rough but essentially complete draft outline of the present story about the Phaistos Disk under the title "The Labyrinth Game". He also re-created that ancient game for the modern fans of http://gamepuzzles.com. Over the next three decades, during a busy work life but in anticipation of some day finding the time to compile and publish this fascinating story, he collected relevant books and articles and notes to flesh out the context and ramifications of the long hidden information found on the Disk. Here he pulled it all together in this book for your surprise and delight.
Reader reviews of complete book: Average rating «««««
based on 3 reviews
Reader reviews of Part 1 alone: Average rating «««««
based on 2 reviews
Review by Victoria Shockley, www.linkedin.com/in/victoriashockley
Writing/Editing Intern at North Carolina State University College of Engineering and Editor at Wandering in the Words Press, September 22, 2012
Solomon's Sky by Peter Aleff
This enjoyable book reminded me how fascinating history can be
An engaging solution to the mystery surrounding an ancient artifact, Solomon's Sky presents the key to the riddle of the famous Phaistos Disk, a round clay tablet that has baffled archaeologists and many others for over a century. The Disk, which dates back to the Bronze Age, was found on the southern coast of the Mediterranean island of Crete, and its markings have been interpreted in a number of different, sometimes comical ways. Most of its would-be decipherers believed that the symbols are a form of writing, typically in some rare form of Greek but also a long list of other languages such as Basque or Slavic. This led them to “read” the Disk variously as a calendar, a sacred hymn and kitchen recipe, a sex manual, or an astronomical document, and much more.
However, among all of the proposals for the meaning and purpose of this ancient object, historian and author Peter Aleff's idea makes the most sense: that its symbols are actually markings for an ancient game board. His interpretation is well-researched, every source is cited with a link or page numbers to back up his claims, and there are numerous endnotes. The many photographs, maps, and other images provide visual aids that complement the information he's describing, which I found particularly helpful in understanding some of the more complex aspects of the story.
Although I enjoy mysteries and riddles, I wouldn't consider myself a history buff. However, the way Mr. Aleff explains the background behind the ancient Disk and the various translation efforts over the years immediately grabbed my attention and made me want to keep reading. His style is easy to follow, and his writing is clear and precise. I easily recognized many of the historical references to places and ancient civilizations, and the ones I was unfamiliar with were readily accessible through Google searches. For this reason, I think Solomon's Sky can appeal not only to people enthusiastic about history and/or archaeology, but also to those like me who have only lightly delved into those fields. Mr. Aleff's slightly sarcastic humor is a pleasant surprise, given that the historical basis of the story may make one expect something much dryer.
Solomon's Sky is definitely an enjoyable book, and also very informative. Before reading it, I had been completely unaware of the existence of the Phaistos Disk or the mystery that has surrounded it ever since its discovery. I had never heard of the ancient game of Senet or the Snake Game, or even its modern descendant the Game of the Goose, (and of course, I had no idea of their parallels with the Disk). Learning about these ancient connections and mysteries in Solomon's Sky has opened a window to the past for me and reminded me how fascinating history can be.
Review by T. Preschersof, September 10, 2012
Solomon's Sky by Peter Aleff
A well supported solution for a real-world mystery
There’s nothing like a good mystery. In Solomon’s Sky we are presented with a “whatizit” artifact, the archeological analog to an Agatha Christie “whodunit”. The “whatizit” is the Phaistos Disk -- a baked disk of fine clay intricately and densely inscribed on both sides with a segmented coiled track of pictographs -- the function and/or purpose of which has been subject to conflicting conjectures since its 1908 discovery in palace ruins near Phaistos in Crete. In Solomon’s Sky Peter Aleff advances a strongly supported theory that the Phaistos Disk is a game board descended from—or perhaps co-extant with—the ancient Egyptian game of Senet which combined symbolic representations of observed calendrical astronomical and seasonal passage with the gauntlet of potential pitfalls facing the deceased soul on its postmortem route to immortality. The author further postulates that the ancient Phaistos/Senet board may—after millennia of social, political and religious peregrinations—have survived to us in the extant Royal Game of the Goose and a variety of other “chase/race” board games.
Solomon’s Sky is profusely illustrated with photographs and drawings and supported by voluminous and expansive citations to antiquary and historical references as well as contemporaneous sources. In advancing the premise of Solomon’s Sky, author Aleff emphasizes and draws extensively upon Crete’s proximity to Egyptian, Hellenic and Levantine cultures, as well as the geographically more removed cultures of Mesopotamia and Indus Valley, to furnish artifactual, photographically illustrative and primary documentary material to support his arguments. As a further boon, the author supplements his well developed and supported theories with a wealth of well-reasoned conjectures linking the Phaistos Disk with a plethora of pre-BCE luni-solar religious cults, practices and archeological sites in the modern Middle East.
Review by Phil Bolos, Author of "Fiend: The Manifestation", July 4, 2012
Solomon's Sky By: Peter Aleff
A must read for anyone interested in spectacular discoveries and solutions to ancient riddles
A strange object is discovered in the ruins of a palace at Phaistos on the island of Crete. It is a double-sided disc that is securely dated by the debris from the earthquake that buried it over 3,600 years ago but that also seems as much out of tune as a modern outboard motor would be on an ancient Minoan sailing ship. Questions begin to swirl: Where did it come from? Who made it? When was it made? What is its purpose? Some believe it is a calendar, others think it is a primitive form of writing, while still others believe it is a hymn dedicated to an ancient deity. Now, a new theory is brought to light by historian and author Peter Aleff in his work, Solomon's Sky. Through extensive research, Aleff proves that the Phaistos Disc is a model for a game board which evolved from multiple cultures around the Mediterranean Sea.
Solomon's Sky is an ideal read for history buffs, problem solvers, and lovers of detective stories. Aleff's content is well researched and he presents facts from reputable sources before taking the reader on the next step of the journey towards understanding. The language used is very descriptive and is accompanied by detailed images and excellent photographs. Aleff uses a logical flow which introduces new topics and questions, and then goes on to answer each one in exquisite detail. Of particular value is Aleff's multi-cultural approach which highlights Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman, and Cretan contributions to the development of the game board and his connections between ancient mythologies and modern religion. With an easy to follow style and a splash of humor, Aleff makes Solomon's Sky a must read for anyone interested in spectacular discoveries and solutions to ancient riddles.
The following two reviews were written about Part 1 only which was published briefly in 2003, before the advent of e-book readers, as the e-book "The Religious Board Game on the Phaistos Disk". The current edition updates that earlier Part 1 and adds the previously unpublished Part 2 with its chapters 7 through 12 and the Appendices.
Review by Candida Martinelli, Reviewer
e-Book Reviews Weekly, November 1, 2003
An entertaining solution of an ancient riddle
This 381-page e-book, available in PDF and HTML, presents a new interpretation of the symbols on a Bronze Age ceramic disk found on the isle of Crete: the Disk of Phaistos. The author of this e-book is an amateur social scientist and historian who has come up with an entertaining, well-documented and extremely convincing explanation for the Disk and it's markings. Amazingly, but less so after you've read the book, the symbols are the markings of an ancient game board, recognizable in the modern games of Backgammon, Chess, and most directly, the children's Game of the Goose.
The e-book is designed to scroll down your screen and is formatted for easy on-screen reading. Footnotes appear in the left column of the sections, to document the many sources. Photographs and drawings are used liberally to illustrate the author's points. The e-book is scrupulously edited, and you are allowed to print one copy for your personal use.
This is an e-book full of fascinating history. It's an entertaining e-book to be savored by history enthusiasts. It's a mystery story in which the reader can piece together the many clues along a pleasant journey, presided over by an erudite and good-humored guide. The author's dry humor is especially entertaining when discussing previous attempts to interpret the Disk.
This e-book is also a fascinating read. Especially fascinating are the mythological links between the pagan Sun-god and Christian Son of God, the part about ancient portable board games doubling as pocket calendars, and the section that discusses how the ancients hoped games would teach their young how to accept setbacks as a normal course of life, to be endured and, if possible, overcome in order to build strong and healthy characters. But equally fascinating is that a love of games is inherent to all human cultures, and that it is often popular culture, not high culture, that endures.
Reading this e-book is an experience akin to being seated at a dinner party next to an amusing amateur of arcane subjects, skilled in the art of storytelling. The e-book is not solely a discussion of game boards. It encompasses ancient astronomy, archaeo-linguistics, archaeology, semiotics, ancient philosophy, religious beliefs and mythologies. While the historical references may not all be familiar to the hobbyist, the devoted educational channel viewer or popular science magazine reader, enough are familiar to ring bells and blow whistles, making you feel a part of a fascinating historical discovery.
To learn more about the reviewer, go to
Candida Martinelli's Site at
Reviewer: Andy Weisberg from Richfield, MN USA, http://www.speaktomenow.com/
July 26, 2003
The Best Interpretation of the Phaistos Disk to date...
This is by far and away the best interpretation and application of the possible meaning of the symbols on the Cretan disk that has baffled layman and specialist alike for a century. If you don't know about the Phaistos Disk, check it out... it's a great mystery. Peter Aleff has done an incredible job of applying a variety of research methods and drawing from dozens of disciplines to make the case for the Disk being a type of ancient board game, heavily influenced by the Egyptian game of Senet, and possibly one of the forerunners of all board games we know today. With plenty of direct examples, referenced texts, and illustrations, I believe he has the most convincing theory of all, and in many ways it makes the most sense.
Having studied the disk for 7 years and tried to assimilate all the available information I could understand, (much is available only in other languages), I truly feel that Mr. Aleff has done an amazing job of pulling together diverse sources and concepts and created a fully plausible theory, and then gone one step further: he has re-created the game as he envisions it and has collaborated with Kadon Enterprises, Inc. to produce a beautiful board-game representation!... While at times the narrative is jumpy, he is condensing a vast amount of information into a very brief e-book, and it's more than acceptable. It also promotes a more careful study of what seem to be a simple set of ideas at first.
I have communicated with Mr. Aleff directly on several occasions, asking him questions on his ideas and pressing for details, and he has always been especially accessible, eloquent and helpful. If you have any interest in any of the subjects of archaeology, astro-archaeology, games and game boards, ancient astronomy/ astrology, labyrinths, mythology and comparative religion, the history of ritual, orbital mechanics and mathematics... or all of the above, get this e-book. And get the game board. You'll find yourself anxiously waiting for Volume 2.
Read also the series of articles "The Phaistos Disk: A New Approach" by Victoria Shockley and Peter Aleff, published in the quarterly online journal "Popular Archaeology" and reposted here at the links below:
Part 1: The case for the Phaistos Disk as an ancient game board,
Part 2: The reconstructed ancient labyrinth gameboard and its chart of the northern sky. 3/5/2013,
Part 3: The race between the light and dark sides of the moon on the Phaistos gameboard. 6/1/2013,
Part 4: Eclipses and lunar standstill cycles on the Disk,
Part 5: Created 1600 years BCE, the Phaistos Disk records parallels to the life of Jesus 12/1/2013
Part 6: The Labyrinth sky chart as a Model for the layout of Solomon's Temple
Part 7: The evolution of the game on the Labyrinth board into Chess
A more detailed elaboration from one of the chapters in "Solomon's Sky" is meanwhile available as a free-standing Kindle Select booklet under the title "Riddle Rings of Rogem Hiri Reflect the Sky's own Numbers" at amazon.com.
Continue to the Introduction and outline of the book, or delve directly into the first scroll and start reading the spell-binding mystery story of the Phaistos Disk.
And please answer our poll question about the frequent highlighting throughout the text. Thank you.