The relation of myth to history is very important indeed, but the influence of one on the other often goes counter to the interpretations of most debunkers. The famed nightingale from Eden that Columbus wrote lie heard when be landed on Watling Island is only one striking counterexample. But there are more. For instance, myth had influence on the geopolitics of great Eastern conquerors like Tamerlane and Mohammed.
These two men of action, and decisive action, were far from illiterate. They had the cultures of two languages at their disposal, Turkish and Persian, and their inquisitive minds liked to dwell on great plans of adventure toward the West. Yet although they were obsessed with the destruction of the Empire of Rum (Rome), it has been shown (von Hammer) that they had never so much as heard of Caesar and his great successors. Their historical information did not go beyond the “Romaunt of Alexander” in the Persian version.
One is back again with Gilgamesh as the prime source. The comparison is all in their favor. While the potentates of Europe were losing themselves in miserable quarrels, frittering away their possibilities, and even seeking an alliance with the Turk, only Pope Aeneas Sylvius, sick and dying, was finding the words for the occasion: “The barbarians have murdered the successor of Constantine together with his people, desecrated the temples of the Lord, overthrown the altars, thrown to the swine the relics of the martyrs, killed the priests, ravished their women and daughters, even the virgins consecrated to God; they have dragged along the camp the image of our crucified Savior, to the cry of ‘there goes the God of the Christians’ and have defiled it with filth and spit – and we seem to care for nothing.”
It was indeed the final tragedy of Christendom, vanquishing first West, then East. At that point only the conquering Sultan found the words for the occasion. “The ruler of the world” – writes Tursum Beg, his chronicler – moved up like a spirit, to the summit of Saint Sophia; he watched signs of the already coming decay, and formed elegaic thoughts: “The spider serves as watchman in the porticoes of the cupola of Khusrau. The owl sounds the last post in the palace of Afrasiyab. Such is the world, and it is doomed to come to an end”
– from HAMLET’S MILL: An essay on myth and the frame of time by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend.