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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightenment is hard work, but worth it if you are interest
Worth reading if you're interested in freemasonry, and how it effects us all.
First, it is a large book and quite heavy reading. Many different people, times, places, from 3000BC to present. It's a massive subject, and Bauval & Hancock have tried to tie together events right through, so its probably not surprising its so huge. I was pretty up on the subject already...
Published on 29 Jun 2004 by D. LIGHTBODY

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice try but ultimately doesn't deliver
Talisman is an epic journey that simultaneously tries to link together the dualist early religions of Ancient Egypt through to Freemasonry, with the architecture and design of certain cities today.
Hancock and Bauval start us off in Paris and I was fascinated by the derivation of the name - Par Isis ie near Isis. The book is chock full of such gems.
Next the...
Published 17 months ago by ChangeAndAchieve Books


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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightenment is hard work, but worth it if you are interest, 29 Jun 2004
By 
D. LIGHTBODY "davel22" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Talisman : Sacred Cities, Secret Faith (Hardcover)
Worth reading if you're interested in freemasonry, and how it effects us all.
First, it is a large book and quite heavy reading. Many different people, times, places, from 3000BC to present. It's a massive subject, and Bauval & Hancock have tried to tie together events right through, so its probably not surprising its so huge. I was pretty up on the subject already but still found it heavy going, and maybe because of the ease of Internet researching, it has a bit of a cut'n'paste feel about it.
I think there is a lot of info missed out, perhaps deliberately, to limit the subject.
Its also pretty much a summary of several other books such as those by Robert Lomas on the freemasons. Bauval does add some of his own new interpretations that seem accurate. The "Picatrix" text is also interesting.
So, all in all, I wasn't convinced of a direct link back to Gnostic Alexandria, but more a general survival of ideas of free thought through the dark ages of Christian suppression. I was however convinced that the secret societies were a direct result of repressive monarchs and religion, and that almost everyone of influence was connected to freemasonry in the 18-19th centuries.
On the subject of modern freemasonry, there is no doubt now about the direct influence on city plans, buildings, & policy, which continues today.
So, in summary, lots of good info if a bit selective, not Pseudo-History, but a difficult book to read
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating first half but loses its way, 30 Aug 2004
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This review is from: Talisman : Sacred Cities, Secret Faith (Hardcover)
The premise of Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock's book can be summarised as follows: Ancient Egyptian philosophy and thought has survived in various forms to the present day through Hermiticism, Gnostic Christianity, the Cathars, secret societies and freemasonary.
The first section of this very weighty work is devoted to forms of Christianity which competed with Catholicism from the first centuries AD to the middle ages. Hancock and Bauval make a convincing case that a continuum exists between Gnostic thought in early Christian Egypt and the Cathars of 12th / 13th Century Languedoc via sects in Armenia, Turkey and the Balkans.
And while other books about the Cathars have placed the Albigensian Crusade in a political context (French King stirs up trouble to extend France southwards), Hancock and Bauval present it as a clash of cultures, values and religion.
Talisman presents both a very detailed and a very accessible explanation of what the Cathars actually believed. For that reason alone I found the book worth buying. Had the authors stopped their narrative in the early 14th century then Talisman for me would have been a hands down winner.
Where it loses its way is in the second half of the book, where Hancock and Bauval try to explain how Hermetic thought carried on through the middle ages and rennaissance. The second half does however include some some fascinating nuggets of information, for example the obsession French revolutionary leaders had with ancient Egyptian religion and symbolism and how they wove it onto their 'Cult of the Supreme Being', which was to replace Christianity.
Unfortunately the final few chapters seem almost rushed as if the authors wanted to finish up and move onto other projects.
For example the last few chapter on the state of Israel and Islamic fundamentalism is pretty random and reads as if it was tacked on from another book altogether. This leaves the authors open to being mis-interpreted. Another reviewer has said that Bauval and Hancock claim some sort of masonic conspiracy was behind the creation of Israel. In no way do they believe a 'way out' and downright theory like this.
As Robert Bauval says in the official website of the book, what they do believe is that there is much to support the contention that radical Arab and Judeo-Christian fundamentalists may actually believe is such a conspiracy. A crucial and a very big difference, but one that would have been clearer had they spent more time expanding on it, rather than adding it in the final section of Talisman almost as an afterthought.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bauval's Bombshell, 29 Jun 2004
This review is from: Talisman : Sacred Cities, Secret Faith (Hardcover)
Review sent yeaterday with minor corrections.
review of Talisman by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval, Penguin/Michael Joseph
Talisman, by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval
Penguin/Michael Joseph, 20
Review by Colin Wilson
Three years ago I attended a conference in Cagliari, in Sardinia, where writers like Erich von Daniken and Alan Alford explained their latest researches into the origins of civilisation. But the most remarkable event of that weekend was a talk by Robert Bauval about the discoveries that were the basis of his work-in-progress, Talisman.
Bauval is a speaker of amazing vitality and enthusiasm, and even though he was the final speaker of a long day, and we were all thinking longingly about dinner and Sardinian wine, we forgot that as Bauval produced an amazing fireworks display of ideas. And when dusk began to fall in the courtyard the of the conference centre and the chairman suggested bringing the talk to a close, there was a groan from the audience. At which point, the conference organiser, Sylvano Salvatici, suggested that those who wanted to hear more should go to a hall upstairs, while those who wished to leave could do so. Virtually whole whole audience of three hundred or so trooped upstairs, where Bauval spent another ninety minutes completing his exposition.
Ever since then I have been waiting to read the book. And when it arrived a month ago, a vast tome of 562 pages, I settled down to it immediately.
It is certainly one of the most remarkable works published in the 21st century, and throws a totally new light on the history of the past 2,000 years.
What Bauval told us that day in Cagliari was this.
When a French mob overthrew the Bastille and inaugurated the French Revolution on July 14, 1789, someone suggested the extraordinary idea that the stones of the ruined fortress should be used to build a pyramid dedicated to the Egypian goddess Isis. This was never carried out, but a statue of Isis was placed there instead.
Why Isis? The answer is that the goddess is closely associated with Freemasonry, and Freemasonry has played a central role down the ages, to such an extent that it has influenced the design of cities like Florence, Paris and Washington. The most impressive part of Bauval's lecture described how, standing at the Arc de Triomphe, gazing down the Champs Elyseé , he realised that the design of the avenues of Paris is basically the same as that of Luxor and Karnak in Egypt, with the Louvre in the place of the great temple of Karnak. And to underline that point, the French premier Mitterand commissioned the glass pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre.
George Washington was also a Freemason, as was Roosevelt. The Masonic symbol of the eye in the pyramid is incorporated in the seal of the United States, as well as on the dollar bill.
But what has Isis got to do with the idea of liberty, equality and fraternity?
This is what Bauval and his fellow-author Graham Hancock set out to tell us, in an amazing quest that takes us down some fascinating byways of history.
The story begins with the legendary founder of magic, Hermes Trismegistos, whose most famous saying, inscribed on an emerald tablet, is 'As above, so below'. This is usually taken to mean that man, the 'microcosm', is created in the image of the Universe, the macrocosm. But, as Bauval showed in his bestselling first book The Orion Mystery, it has another meaning. The Egyptians believed that the kingdom of the sky, the realm of the god Osiris, is literally reflected on earth, where the Nile is the image of the band of the Milky Way. The pyramids, Bauval argues, were built to reflect on earth the stars of Orion's Belt, Orion being Osiris. That mysterious shaft that runs from the Kings Chamber of the Great Pyramid was built as a kind of telescope focused on the dog star Sirius, the star of Isis, and when the pharaoh's body was placed in the King's Chamber, the shaft also served as a kind of gun to fire his soul at Sirius, his true home.
The works of Hermes were the basis of a philosophy called Gnosticism. Gnosticism and the mystical religion of Isis continued to exist alongside Christianity, and when Cosimo de Medici had the sacred books of Hermes translated in Florence, it appeared once more, now as a secret rival to the Christianity of the Catholic Church (which here, as in Dan Brown's bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code, emerges as the villain of the piece). Talisman devotes some of its grimmest pages to the Church's suppression of Gnostic heretical sects like the Bogomils and Cathars.
The Knight Templars also play a central part in the story, and emerge as the founders of what we know as Freemasonry.
Oddly, Hancock and Bauval have decided to omit the story of the mystery of Rennes le Chateau and the Priory of Sion, no doubt because it has now been told so many times. Thus the Templars have to take on that central role of connecting ancient Egypt and Solomon's Temple to Freemasonry.
In Washington, the Pentagon and Washington monument are the proofs of the connection between Ancient Egypt and modern Freemasonry. And this, the authors suggest, explains Al Quaeda's attack of September 1lth, 2001.
It can be seen that this is a highly controversial book. It also shares with Hancock's Fingerprints of the Gods and Bauval's Orion Mystery their breathtaking sweep and bird's eye view of history. Talisman is the third step of the argument beyond these two books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice try but ultimately doesn't deliver, 20 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Talisman (Paperback)
Talisman is an epic journey that simultaneously tries to link together the dualist early religions of Ancient Egypt through to Freemasonry, with the architecture and design of certain cities today.
Hancock and Bauval start us off in Paris and I was fascinated by the derivation of the name - Par Isis ie near Isis. The book is chock full of such gems.
Next the authors try and fail in my opinion, to prove that the Cathars of Medieval France can be directly linked back through various heretical ideas to the Gnostics and further. This is where the book first starts to annoy me. The authors spend too much of this book telling us of the atrocities of the Catholic Inquisitions. The link between the Cathars-Knights Templar-Bogomils-Paulists-Gnostics is tenuous at best; Saying that just because something has not been disproved is not proof of its existence. Just because you can't prove that God doesn't exist doesn't prove He does exist.
I have given the book a three as there is much for the reader with an interest in the History of freemasonry and how the cities of Washington, Paris and London are designed as hermetic Talismans.
The final chapter brings us bang up to date describing why Jerusalem is so sought after.
However I think the book fails its objective of revealing a master game going on behind the scenes. It does however shed light rather interestingly on many smaller games that have been played out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what book the other reviewers have read, 31 Dec 2010
By 
R Parker (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Talisman : Sacred Cities, Secret Faith (Hardcover)
Despite what is written in the other reviews, no where in the book are the 'Protocols' mentioned. This isn't a book about evil masons conquering the world, what it does however, help to explain is how masonic symbols relate to the Temple of Solomon and Egyptian artifacts. The book covers a large amount of information from the Cathars, the Gnostics through to Hermetism and the Freemasons. At times it's interesting and thrilling reading and other times it began to bore me to tears. I would never take anything written by Hancock as 100% true, it's only one man's opinion. It does however, provide the interested reader with routes for further personal research into new areas.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting at times, but fanciful!, 26 April 2007
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This review is from: Talisman : Sacred Cities, Secret Faith (Hardcover)
Contrary to what another reviewer has stated, I should make it clear that nowhere in this book is there any mention whatsoever of the infamous work of fiction, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion". This other reviewer clearly has not read "Talisman", and it would appear that they gained their erroneous opinion from a misunderstanding of another previous review. The authors of this book do mention at one point that certain Islamic extremists believe, for some reason, that the Freemasons are helping the Zionist (i.e., pro-Israel) cause in the Middle Eastern region. Other than this largely irrelevant point, there is nothing even remotely connected with the Protocols in this work.

As for the real content of the book, it gives a brief overview of history in which the authors attempt to illustrate the connections between certain esoteric sects. The Gnostics and Hermetics of the Roman period are portrayed as having received some of their inspiration and ideas from Ancient Egypt, and the later Cathars and Bogomils of medieval Europe are theorised to have both been the inheritors of this Gnostic and Hermetic knowledge. A moderate case is set forth to support this basic thesis, including a comparative look at early Hermetic writings and the Egyptian "Book of the Dead", but it seems the authors did not spend enough time on their ideas to give them real justice, I feel.

There are a few minor errors in this book that I noticed, which implies there may be more. On page 377 it is stated that on "27 December 1789 Pope Clement XII signed the order for Cagliostro's arrest." This can hardly be correct, considering Pope Clement XII died in 1740! It is also stated on page 473 that Julius Caesar founded the world's first republic; yet the Roman Republic had effectively ended before Caesar even came to power. He introduced the Julian calendar in 46 BC, too, not 48 BC as stated in the book.

This is a fairly interesting book at times, but you will probably not find everything in here convincing. Particularly feeble is the idea that certain famous cities have been aligned intentionally in certain manners of esoteric significance; for instance, so that the sun and Sirius both align with Pennsylvania Avenue on 12 August - obviously just a coincidence, in my opinion. Certain buildings or their layouts are said to have been secretly copied from ancient ones; maybe the authors have keener eyes than I, but I fail to see any correspondence whatsoever between the layout of the Louvre Palace and the Luxor temple at Thebes.

Ultimately, though, this is worth reading, but do not expect it to astonish you with its arguments and evidences set forth.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy going, 21 Mar 2011
This review is from: Talisman : Sacred Cities, Secret Faith (Hardcover)
Very heavy going in places, but full of interesting facts and information if you can stay the course.
Particularly good for info on the masonic layouts of Paris and Washington and the connections between the
french revolution and its USA counterpart the War of independance. For London, you may be better reading Adrian Gilberts London the New Jerusalem, or London CIty of Revelation by C Street.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A level headed review, 24 Jun 2004
By 
MR A P DAWSON (Ash Vale, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Talisman : Sacred Cities, Secret Faith (Hardcover)
Fascinating subject, well researched and concisely written. This should appeal to those with OPEN MINDS ONLY who are not afraid to consider different interpretations of historical events. Hancock and Bauval are always going to be controversial,and long may they remain so!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars talisman, 7 July 2012
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This review is from: Talisman : Sacred Cities, Secret Faith (Hardcover)
Talisman : Sacred Cities, Secret Faith only part way through but, very readable. covers a part of history not taught at any school i went to. a stepping stone to further research on gnostics, bogomils, cathars etc. thumbs up from me.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book with no ending- or conclusions..., 4 Aug 2011
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This review is from: Talisman : Sacred Cities, Secret Faith (Hardcover)
There's a lot to argue about in this book according to what the reader knows or thinks he knows. The book is long and ponderous, but has some interesting passages, but at the end comes to no conclusions apart from asking the question regarding the possibility of a Jewish/Masonic conspiracy, or the idea that some people may think there's one (where maybe there isn't).
Putting aside all the minor nitpicked arguments I read the book as a history of the preservation of Hermetic Teaching/Ancient Wisdom as preserved and promoted by various cultures upto and including the Rosicrucians/Masons. Where most people are going to get lost is being able to believe that there can be any significance in the layout of certain cities and that in any case this is all superstitious nonsence not to be entertained in this so called modern age. NASA obviously believes in astrology- read Richard Hoagland's 'Dark Mission' (The secret history of NASA) It appears that many people in NASA are Masons.

The idea of a talisman is to attract certain forces/conditions/protection to the bearer and in this case we are talking about cities and the denizens of. In spite of the apparent 'rituals' we see certain prominent politians enacting we don't know how 'seriously' they take the various ideas and architectural construction of the past, including those in Paris and Washington.
I can't somehow see George H Bush subscribing to or understanding Rosicrucianism (an organisation teaching true occult knowledge/ancient wisdom) which I'm saying is totally different to Masonry. Aleister Crowley observed that Masonry was psuedo-occultism. Its pretty clear to me that some Masons have absolutely no clue of what it is they belong to...

As I see it the various Masonic inspired layout of certain cities are talismanic in effect that they attempt to harmonise and precurse the inevitable coming of an enlightened age where old erroneous and frankly diabolical religious ideas are done away with.
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Talisman : Sacred Cities, Secret Faith
Talisman : Sacred Cities, Secret Faith by Graham Hancock (Hardcover - 27 May 2004)
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