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"The transactions of this our city of Sais, are recorded in our sacred writings during a period of 8,000 years." -- PLATO: Timaeus.
"The Egyptians assert that from the reign of Heracles to that of Amasis, 17,000 years elapsed." -- HERODOTUS, lib. ii., c. 43.
"Can the theologian derive no light from the pure, primeval faith that glimmers from Egyptian hieroglyphics, to illustrate the immortality of the soul? Will not the historian deign to notice the prior origin of every art and science in Egypt, a thousand years before the Pelasgians studded the isles and capes of the Archipelago with their forts and temples?" -- GLIDDON.
HOW came Egypt by her knowledge? When broke the dawn of that civilization whose wondrous perfection is suggested by the bits and fragments supplied to us by the archaeologists? Alas! the lips of Memnon are silent, and no longer utter oracles; the Sphinx has become a greater riddle in her speechlessness than was the enigma propounded to OEdipus.
What Egypt taught to others she certainly did not acquire by the international exchange of ideas and discoveries with her Semitic neighbors, nor from them did she receive her stimulus. "The more we learn of the Egyptians," observes the writer of a recent article, "the more marvellous they seem!" From whom could she have learned her wondrous arts, the secrets of which died with her? She sent no agents throughout the world to learn what others knew; but to her the wise men of neighboring nations resorted for knowledge. Proudly secluding herself within her enchanted domain, the fair queen of the desert created wonders as if by the sway of a magic staff. "Nothing," remarks the same writer, whom we have elsewhere quoted, "proves that civilization and knowledge then rise and progress with her as in the case of other peoples, but everything seems to be referable, in the same perfection, to the earliest dates. That no nation knew as much as herself, is a fact demonstrated by history."
May we not assign as a reason for this remark the fact that until very recently nothing was known of Old India? That these two nations, India and Egypt, were akin? That they were the oldest in the group of nations; and that the Eastern Ethiopians -- the mighty builders -- had come from India as a matured people, bringing their civilization with
them, and colonizing the perhaps unoccupied Egyptian territory? But we defer a more complete elaboration of this theme for our second volume.(1)
"Mechanism," says Eusebe Salverte, "was carried by the ancients to a point of perfection that has never been attained in modern times. We would inquire if their inventions have been surpassed in our age? Certainly not; and at the present day, with all the means that the progress of science and modern discovery have placed in the hands of the mechanic, have we not been assailed by numerous difficulties in striving to place on a pedestal one of those monoliths that the Egyptians forty centuries ago erected in such numbers before their sacred edifices."
As far back as we can glance into history, to the reign of Menes, the most ancient of the kings that we know anything about, we find proofs that the Egyptians were far better acquainted with hydrostatics and hydraulic engineering than ourselves. The gigantic work of turning the course of the Nile -- or rather of its three principal branches -- and bringing it to Memphis, was accomplished during the reign of that monarch, who appears to us as distant in the abyss of time as a far-glimmering star in the heavenly vault. Says Wilkinson: "Menes took accurately the measure of the power which he had to oppose, and he constructed a dyke whose lofty mounds and enormous embankments turned the water eastward, and since that time the river is contained in its new bed." Herodotus has left us a poetical, but still accurate description of the lake Moeris, so called after the Pharaoh who caused this artificial sheet of water to be formed.
The historian has described this lake as measuring 450 miles in circumference, and 300 feet in depth. It was fed through artificial channels by the Nile, and made to store a portion of the annual overflow for the irrigation of the country, for many miles round. Its numerous floodgates, dams, locks, and convenient engines were constructed with the greatest skill. The Romans, at a far later period, got their notions on hydraulic constructions from the Egyptians, but our latest progress in the science of hydrostatics has demonstrated the fact of a great deficiency on their part in some branches of that knowledge. Thus, for instance, if they were acquainted with that which is called in hydrostatics the great law, they seem to have been less familiar with what our modern engineers know as water-tight joints. Their ignorance is sufficiently proved by their conveying the water through large level aqueducts, instead of doing it at a less expense by iron pipes beneath the surface. But the Egyptians evidently employed a far superior method in their channels and artificial water-works. Notwithstanding this, the modern engineers employed by
(1) See vol. ii., chap. 8.
Lesseps for the Suez Canal, who had learned from the ancient Romans all their art could teach them, deriving, in their turn, their knowledge from Egypt -- scoffed at the suggestion that they should seek a remedy for some imperfections in their work by studying the contents of the various Egyptian museums. Nevertheless, the engineers succeeded in giving to the banks of that "long and ugly ditch," as Professor Carpenter calls the Suez Canal, sufficient strength to make it a navigable water-way, instead of a mud-trap for vessels as it was at first.
The alluvial deposits of the Nile, during the past thirty centuries, have completely altered the area of the Delta, so that it is continually growing seaward, and adding to the territory of the Khedive. In ancient times, the principal mouth of the river was called Pelusian; and the canal cut by one of the kings -- the canal of Necho -- led from Suez to this branch. After the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra, at Actium, it was proposed that a portion of the fleet should pass through the canal to the Red Sea, which shows the depth of water that those early engineers had secured. Settlers in Colorado and Arizona have recently reclaimed large tracts of barren land by a system of irrigation; receiving from the journals of the day no little praise for their ingenuity. But, for a distance of 500 miles above Cairo, there stretches a strip of land reclaimed from the desert, and made, according to Professor Carpenter, "the most fertile on the face of the earth." He says, "for thousands of years these branch canals have conveyed fresh water from the Nile, to fertilize the land of this long narrow strip, as well as of the Delta." He describes "the net-work of canals over the Delta, which dates from an early period of the Egyptian monarchs."
The French province of Artois has given its name to the Artesian well, as though that form of engineering had been first applied in that district; but, if we consult the Chinese records, we find such wells to have been in common use ages before the Christian era.
If we now turn to architecture, we find displayed before our eyes, wonders which baffle all description. Referring to the temples of Philae, Abu Simbel, Dendera, Edfu, and Karnak, Professor Carpenter remarks that "these stupendous and beautiful erections . . . these gigantic pyramids and temples" have a "vastness and beauty" which are "still impressive after the lapse of thousands of years." He is amazed at "the admirable character of the workmanship; the stones in most cases being fitted together with astonishing nicety, so that a knife could hardly be thrust between the joints." He noticed in his amateur archaeological pilgrimage, another of those "curious coincidences" which his Holiness, the Pope, may feel some interest in learning. He is speaking of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, sculptured on the old monuments, and the
ancient belief in the immortality of the soul. "Now, it is most remarkable," says the professor, "to see that not only this belief, but the language in which it was expressed in the ancient Egyptian times, anticipated that of the Christian Revelation. For, in this Book of the Dead, there are used the very phrases we find in the New Testament, in connection with the day of judgment"; and he admits that this hierogram was "engraved, probably, 2,000 years before the time of Christ."
According to Bunsen, who is considered to have made the most exact calculations, the mass of masonry in the great Pyramid of Cheops measures 82,111,000 feet, and would weigh 6,316,000 tons. The immense numbers of squared stones show us the unparalleled skill of the Egyptian quarrymen. Speaking of the great pyramid, Kenrick says: "The joints are scarcely perceptible, not wider than the thickness of silver paper, and the cement is so tenacious, that fragments of the casing-stones still remain in their original position, notwithstanding the lapse of many centuries, and the violence by which they were detached." Who, of our modern architects and chemists, will rediscover the indestructible cement of the oldest Egyptian buildings?
"The skill of the ancients in quarrying," says Bunsen, "is displayed the most in the extracting of the huge blocks, out of which obelisks and colossal statues were hewn -- obelisks ninety feet high, and statues forty feet high, made out of one stone!" There are many such. They did not blast out the blocks for these monuments, but adopted the following scientific method: Instead of using huge iron wedges, which would have split the stone, they cut a small groove for the whole length of, perhaps, 100 feet, and inserted in it, close to each other, a great number of dry wooden wedges; after which they poured water into the groove, and the wedges swelling and bursting simultaneously, with a tremendous force, broke out the huge stone, as neatly as a diamond cuts a pane of glass.
Modern geographers and geologists have demonstrated that these monoliths were brought from a prodigious distance, and have been at a loss to conjecture how the transport was effected. Old manuscripts say that it was done by the help of portable rails. These rested upon inflated bags of hide, rendered indestructible by the same process as that used for preserving the mummies. These ingenious air-cushions prevented the rails from sinking in the deep sand. Manetho mentions them, and remarks that they were so well prepared that they would endure wear and tear for centuries.
The date of the hundreds of pyramids in the Valley of the Nile is impossible to fix by any of the rules of modern science; but Herodotus informs us that each successive king erected one to commemorate his
reign, and serve as his sepulchre. But, Herodotus did not tell all, although he knew that the real purpose of the pyramid was very different from that which he assigns to it. Were it not for his religious scruples, he might have added that, externally, it symbolized the creative principle of nature, and illustrated also the principles of geometry, mathematics, astrology, and astronomy. Internally, it was a majestic fane, in whose sombre recesses were performed the Mysteries, and whose walls had often witnessed the initiation-scenes of members of the royal family. The porphyry sarcophagus, which Professor Piazzi Smyth, Astronomer Royal of Scotland, degrades into a corn-bin, was the baptismal font, upon emerging from which, the neophyte was "born again," and became an adept.
Herodotus gives us, however, a just idea of the enormous labor expended in transporting one of these gigantic blocks of granite. It measured thirty-two feet in length, twenty-one feet in width, and twelve feet in height. Its weight he estimates to be rising 300 tons, and it occupied 2,000 men for three years to move it from Syene to the Delta, down the Nile. Gliddon, in his Ancient Egypt, quotes from Pliny a description of the arrangements for moving the obelisk erected at Alexandria by Ptolemaeus Philadelphus. A canal was dug from the Nile to the place where the obelisk lay. Two boats were floated under it; they were weighted with stones containing one cubic foot each, and the weight of the obelisk having been calculated by the engineers, the cargo of the boats was exactly proportioned to it, so that they should be sufficiently submerged to pass under the monolith as it lay across the canal. Then, the stones were gradually removed, the boats rose, lifted the obelisk, and it was floated down the river.
In the Egyptian section of the Dresden, or Berlin Museum, we forget which, is a drawing which represents a workman ascending an unfinished pyramid, with a basket of sand upon his back. This has suggested to certain Egyptologists the idea that the blocks of the pyramids were chemically manufactured in loco. Some modern engineers believe that Portland cement, a double silicate of lime and alumina, is the imperishable cement of the ancients. But, on the other hand, Professor Carpenter asserts that the pyramids, with the exception of their granite casing, is formed of what "geologists call nummulitic limestone. This is newer than the old chalk, and is made of the shells of animals called nummulites -- like little pieces of money about the size of a shilling." However this moot question may be decided, no one, from Herodotus and Pliny down to the last wandering engineer who has gazed upon these imperial monuments of long-crumbled dynasties, has been able to tell us how the gigantic masses were transported and set up in place. Bunsen concedes to
Egypt an antiquity of 20,000 years. But even in this matter we would be left to conjecture if we depended upon modern authorities. They can neither tell us for what the pyramids were constructed, under what dynasty the first was raised, nor the material of which they are built. All is conjecture with them.
Professor Smyth has given us by far the most accurate mathematical description of the great pyramid to be found in literature. But after showing the astronomical bearings of the structure, he so little appreciates ancient Egyptian thought that he actually maintains that the porphyry sarcophagus of the king's chamber is the unit of measure for the two most enlightened nations of the earth -- "England and America." One of the books of Hermes describes certain of the pyramids as standing upon the sea-shore, "the waves of which dashed in powerless fury against its base." This implies that the geographical features of the country have been changed, and may indicate that we must accord to these ancient "granaries," "magico-astrological observatories," and "royal sepulchres," an origin antedating the upheaval of the Sahara and other deserts. This would imply rather more of an antiquity than the poor few thousands of years, so generously accorded to them by Egyptologists.
Dr. Rebold, a French archeologist of some renown, gives his readers a glimpse of the culture which prevailed 5,000 (?) years B.C., by saying that there were at that time no less than "thirty or forty colleges of the priests who studied occult sciences and practical magic."
A writer in the National Quarterly Review (Vol. xxxii., No. lxiii., December, 1875) says that, "The recent excavations made among the ruins of Carthage have brought to light traces of a civilization, a refinement of art and luxury, which must even have outshone that of ancient Rome; and when the fiat went forth, Delenda est Carthago, the mistress of the world well knew that she was about to destroy a greater than herself, for, while one empire swayed the world by force of arms alone, the other was the last and most perfect representative of a race who had, for centuries before Rome was dreamed of, directed the civilization, the learning, and the intelligence of mankind." This Carthage is the one which, according to Appian, was standing as early as B.C. 1234, or fifty years before the taking of Troy, and not the one popularly supposed to have been built by Dido (Elissa or Astarte) four centuries later.
Here we have still another illustration of the truth of the doctrine of cycles. Draper's admissions as to the astronomical erudition of the ancient Egyptians are singularly supported by an interesting fact quoted by Mr. J. M. Peebles, from a lecture delivered in Philadelphia, by the late Professor O. M. Mitchell, the astronomer. Upon the coffin of a mummy, now in the British Museum, was delineated the zodiac with the
exact positions of the planets at the time of the autumnal equinox, in the year 1722 B.C. Professor Mitchell calculated the exact position of the heavenly bodies belonging to our solar system at the time indicated. "The result," says Mr. Peebles, "I give in his own words: 'To my astonishment . . . it was found that on the 7th of October, 1722 B.C., the moon and planets had occupied the exact points in the heavens marked upon the coffin in the British Museum.' "(1)
Professor John Fiske, in his onslaught on Dr. Draper's History of the Intellectual Development of Europe, sets his pen against the doctrine of cyclical progression, remarking that "we have never known the beginning or the end of an historic cycle, and have no inductive warrant for believing that we are now traversing one."(2) He chides the author of that eloquent and thoughtful work for the "odd disposition exhibited throughout his work, not only to refer the best part of Greek culture to an Egyptian source, but uniformly to exalt the non-European civilization at the expense of the European." We believe that this "odd disposition" might be directly sanctioned by the confessions of great Grecian historians themselves. Professor Fiske might, with profit, read Herodotus over again. The "Father of History" confesses more than once that Greece owes everything to Egypt. As to his assertion that the world has never known the beginning or the end of an historical cycle, we have but to cast a retrospective glance on the many glorious nations which have passed away, i.e., reached the end of their great national cycle. Compare the Egypt of that day, with its perfection of art, science, and religion, its glorious cities and monuments, and its swarming population, with the Egypt of to-day, peopled with strangers; its ruins the abode of bats and snakes, and a few Copts the sole surviving heirs to all this grandeur -- and see whether the cyclical theory does not reassert itself. Says Gliddon, who is now contradicted by Mr. Fiske: "Philologists, astronomers, chemists, painters, architects, physicians, must return to Egypt to learn the origin of language and writing; of the calendar and solar motion; of the art of cutting granite with a copper chisel, and of giving elasticity to a copper sword; of making glass with the variegated hues of the rainbow; of moving single blocks of polished syenite, nine hundred tons in weight, for any distance, by land and water; of building arches, rounded and pointed, with masonic precision unsurpassed at the present day, and antecedent by 2,000 years to the 'Cloaca Magna' of Rome; of sculpturing a Doric column 1,000 years before the Dorians are known in
(1) J. M. Peebles: "Around the World."
(2) John Fiske: "The North American Review," art. The Laws of History, July, 1869.
history; of fresco painting in imperishable colors; of practical knowledge in anatomy; and of time-defying pyramid-building."
"Every craftsman can behold, in Egyptian monuments, the progress of his art 4,000 years ago; and whether it be a wheelwright building a chariot, a shoemaker drawing his twine, a leather-cutter using the self-same form of knife of old as is considered the best form now, a weaver throwing the same hand-shuttle, a whitesmith using that identical form of blow-pipe but lately recognized to be the most efficient, the seal-engraver cutting, in hieroglyphics, such names as Schooho's, above 4,300 years ago -- all these, and many more astounding evidences of Egyptian priority, now require but a glance at the plates of Rossellini."
"Truly," exclaims Mr. Peebles, "these Ramsean temples and tombs were as much a marvel to the Grecian Herodotus as they are to us!"(1)
But, even then, the merciless hand of time had left its traces upon their structures, and some of them, whose very memory would be lost were it not for the Books of Hermes, had been swept away into the oblivion of the ages. King after king, and dynasty after dynasty had passed in a glittering pageant before the eyes of succeeding generations and their renown had filled the habitable globe. The same pall of forgetfulness had fallen upon them and their monuments alike, before the first of our historical authorities, Herodotus, preserved for posterity the remembrance of that wonder of the world, the great Labyrinth. The long-accepted Biblical chronology has so cramped the minds of not only the clergy, but even our scarce-unfettered scientists, that in treating of prehistoric remains in different parts of the world, a constant fear is manifested on their part to trespass beyond the period of 6,000 years, hitherto allowed by theology as the age of the world.
Herodotus found the Labyrinth already in ruins; but nevertheless his admiration for the genius of its builders knew no bounds. He regarded it as far more marvellous than the pyramids themselves, and, as an eye-witness, minutely describes it. The French and Prussian savants, as well as other Egyptologists, agree as to the emplacement, and identified its noble ruins. Moreover, they confirm the account given of it by the old historian. Herodotus says that he found therein 3,000 chambers; half subterranean and the other half above-ground. "The upper chambers," he says, "I myself passed through and examined in detail. In the underground ones (which may exist till now, for all the archaeologists know), the keepers of the building would not let me in, for they contain the sepulchres of the kings who built the Labyrinth, and also those of the sacred crocodiles. The upper chambers I saw and examined with
(1) M. Peebles: "Around the World."
my own eyes, and found them to excel all other human productions." In Rawlinson's translation, Herodotus is made to say: "The passages through the houses and the varied windings of the paths across the courts, excited in me infinite admiration as I passed from the courts into the chambers, and from thence into colonnades, and from colonnades into other houses, and again into courts unseen before. The roof was throughout of stone like the walls, and both were exquisitely carved all over with figures. Every court was surrounded with a colonnade, which was built of white stones, sculptured most exquisitely. At the corner of the Labyrinth stands a pyramid forty fathoms high, with large figures engraved on it, and it is entered by a vast subterranean passage."
If such was the Labyrinth, when viewed by Herodotus, what, in such a case, was ancient Thebes, the city destroyed far earlier than the period of Psammeticus, who himself reigned 530 years after the destruction of Troy? We find that in his time Memphis was the capital, while of the glorious Thebes there remained but ruins. Now, if we, who are enabled to form our estimate only by the ruins of what was already ruins so many ages before our era -- are stupefied in their contemplation, what must have been the general aspect of Thebes in the days of its glory? Karnak -- temple, palace, ruins, or whatsoever the archaeologists may term it -- is now its only representative. But solitary and alone as it stands, fit emblem of majestic empire, as if forgotten by time in the onward march of the centuries, it testifies to the art and skill of the ancients. He must be indeed devoid of the spiritual perception of genius, who fails to feel as well as to see the intellectual grandeur of the race that planned and built it.
Champollion, who passed almost his entire life in the exploration of archaeological remains, gives vent to his emotions in the following descriptions of Karnak: "The ground covered by the mass of remaining buildings is square; and each side measures 1,800 feet. One is astounded and overcome by the grandeur of the sublime remnants, the prodigality and magnificence of workmanship to be seen everywhere." "No people of ancient or modern times has conceived the art of architecture upon a scale so sublime, so grandiose as it existed among the ancient Egyptians; and the imagination, which in Europe soars far above our porticos, arrests itself and falls powerless at the foot of the hundred and forty columns of the hypostyle of Karnak! In one of its halls, the Cathedral of Notre Dame might stand and not touch the ceiling, but be considered as a small ornament in the centre of the hall."
A writer in a number of an English periodical, of 1870, evidently speaking with the authority of a traveller who describes what he has seen, expresses himself as follows: "Courts, halls, gateways, pillars,
obelisks, monolithic figures, sculptures, long rows of sphinxes, are found in such profusion at Karnak, that the sight is too much for modem comprehension."
Says Denon, the French traveller: "It is hardly possible to believe, after seeing it, in the reality of the existence of so many buildings collected together on a single point, in their dimensions, in the resolute perseverance which their construction required, and in the incalculable expenses of so much magnificence! It is necessary that the reader should fancy what is before him to be a dream, as he who views the objects themselves occasionally yields to the doubt whether he be perfectly awake. . . . There are lakes and mountains within the periphery of the sanctuary. These two edifices are selected as examples from a list next to inexhaustible. The whole valley and delta of the Nile, from the cataracts to the sea, was covered with temples, palaces, tombs, pyramids, obelisks, and pillars. The execution of the sculptures is beyond praise. The mechanical perfection with which artists wrought in granite, serpentine, breccia, and basalt, is wonderful, according to all the experts . . . animals and plants look as good as natural, and artificial objects are beautifully sculptured; battles by sea and land, and scenes of domestic life are to be found in all their bas-reliefs."
"The monuments," says an English author, "which there strike the traveller, fill his mind with great ideas. At the sight of the colossuses and superb obelisks, which seem to surpass the limits of human nature, he cannot help exclaiming, 'This was the work of man,' and this sentiment seems to ennoble his existence."(1)
In his turn, Dr. Richardson, speaking of the Temple of Dendera, says: "The female figures are so extremely well executed, that they do all but speak; they have a mildness of feature and expression that never was surpassed."
Every one of these stones is covered with hieroglyphics, and the more ancient they are, the more beautifully we find them chiselled. Does not this furnish a new proof that history got its first glimpse of the ancients when the arts were already fast degenerating among them? The obelisks have their inscriptions cut two inches, and sometimes more, in depth, and they are cut with the highest degree of perfection. Some idea may be formed of their depth, from the fact that the Arabs, for a small fee, will climb sometimes to the very top of an obelisk, by inserting their toes and fingers in the excavations of the hieroglyphics. That all of these works, in which solidity rivals the beauty of their execution, were done before the days of the Exodus, there remains no historical doubt whatever. (All
(1) Savary: "Letters on Egypt," vol. ii., p. 67. London, 1786.
the archaeologists now agree in saying that, the further back we go in history, the better and finer become these arts.) These views clash again with the individual opinion of Mr. Fiske, who would have us believe that "the sculptures upon these monuments (of Egypt, Hindustan, and Assyria), moreover, betoken a very undeveloped condition of the artistic faculties."(1) Nay, the learned gentleman goes farther. Joining his voice in the opposition against the claims of learning -- which belongs by right to the sacerdotal castes of antiquity -- to that of Lewis, he contemptuously remarks that "the extravagant theory of a profound science possessed by the Egyptian priesthood from a remote antiquity, and imparted to itinerant Greek philosophers, has been utterly destroyed (?) by Sir G. C. Lewis(2) . . . while, with regard to Egypt and Hindustan, as well as Assyria, it may be said that the colossal monuments which have adorned these countries since prehistoric times, bear witness to the former prevalence of a barbaric despotism, totally incompatible with social nobility, and, therefore, with well-sustained progress."(3)
A curious argument, indeed. If the size and grandeur of public monuments are to serve to our posterity as a standard by which to approximately estimate the "progress of civilization" attained by their builders, it may be prudent, perhaps, for America, so proud of her alleged progress and freedom, to dwarf her buildings at once to one story. Otherwise, according to Professor Fiske's theory, the archaeologists of A.D. 3877 will be applying to the "Ancient America" of 1877, the rule of Lewis -- and say the ancient United States "may be considered as a great latifundium, or plantation, cultivated by the entire population, as the king's (president's) slaves." Is it because the white-skinned Aryan races were never born "builders," like the Eastern AEthiopians, or dark-skinned Caucasians,(4) and, therefore, never able to compete with the latter in such colossal structures, that we must jump at the conclusion that these grandiose temples and pyramids could only have been erected under the whip of a merciless despot? Strange logic! It would really seem more prudent to hold to the "rigorous canons of criticism" laid down by Lewis and Grote, and honestly confess at once, that we really know little about these ancient nations, and that, except so far as purely hypothetical speculations go, unless we study in the same direction as the ancient priests did, we have as little chance in the future. We only know what they allowed the uninitiated to know, but the little we do learn of
(1) John Fiske: "North American Review," art. The Laws of History, July, 1869.
(2) Sir G. C. Lewis: "Astronomy of the Ancients."
(3) J. Fiske: "North American Review," art. The Laws of History.
(4) We shall attempt to demonstrate in Vol. II., chapter viii., that the ancient AEthiopians were never a Hamitic race.
them by deduction, ought to be sufficient to assure us that, even in the nineteenth century, with all our claims to supremacy in arts and sciences, we are totally unable, we will not say to build anything like the monuments of Egypt, Hindustan, or Assyria, but even to rediscover the least of the ancient "lost arts." Besides, Sir Gardner Wilkinson gives forcible expression to this view of the exhumed treasures of old, by adding that, "he can trace no primitive mode of life, no barbarous customs, but a sort of stationary civilization from the most remote periods." Thus far, archaeology disagrees with geology, which affirms that the further they trace the remains of men, the more barbarous they find them. It is doubtful if geology has even yet exhausted the field of research afforded her in the caves, and the views of geologists, which are based upon present experience, may be radically modified, when they come to discover the remains of the ancestors of the people whom they now style the cave-dwellers.
What better illustrates the theory of cycles than the following fact? Nearly 700 years B.C., in the schools of Thales and Pythagoras was taught the doctrine of the true motion of the earth, its form, and the whole heliocentric system. And in 317 A.D., we find Lactantius, the preceptor of Crispus Caesar, son of Constantine the Great, teaching his pupil that the earth was a plane surrounded by the sky, which is composed of fire and water, and warning him against the heretical doctrine of the earth's globular form!
Whenever, in the pride of some new discovery, we throw a look into the past, we find, to our dismay, certain vestiges which indicate the possibility, if not certainty, that the alleged discovery was not totally unknown to the ancients.
It is generally asserted that neither the early inhabitants of the Mosaic times, nor even the more civilized nations of the Ptolemaic period were acquainted with electricity. If we remain undisturbed in this opinion, it is not for lack of proofs to the contrary. We may disdain to search for a profounder meaning in some characteristic sentences of Servius, and other writers; we cannot so obliterate them but that, at some future day, that meaning will appear to us in all its significant truths. "The first inhabitants of the earth," says he, "never carried fire to their altars, but by their prayers they brought down the heavenly fire."(1) "Prometheus discovered and revealed to man the art of bringing down lightning; and by the method which he taught to them, they brought down fire from the region above."
If, after pondering these words, we are still willing to attribute them to
(1) Servius: "Virgil," Eclog. vi., v. 42.
the phraseology of mythological fables, we may turn to the days of Numa, the king-philosopher, so renowned for his esoteric learning, and find ourselves more embarrassed to deal with his case. We can neither accuse him of ignorance, superstition, nor credulity; for, if history can be believed at all, he was intently bent on destroying polytheism and idol-worship. He had so well dissuaded the Romans from idolatry that for nearly two centuries neither statues nor images appeared in their temples. On the other hand old historians tell us that the knowledge which Numa possessed in natural physics was remarkable. Tradition says that he was initiated by the priests of the Etruscan divinities, and instructed by them in the secret of forcing Jupiter, the Thunderer, to descend upon earth.(1) Ovid shows that Jupiter Elicius began to be worshipped by the Romans from that time. Salverte is of the opinion that before Franklin discovered his refined electricity, Numa had experimented with it most successfully, and that Tullus Hostilius was the first victim of the dangerous "heavenly guest" recorded in history. Titus Livy and Pliny narrate that this prince, having found in the Books of Numa, instructions on the secret sacrifices offered to Jupiter Elicius, made a mistake, and, in consequence of it, "he was struck by lightning and consumed in his own palace."(2)
Salverte remarks that Pliny, in the exposition of Numa's scientific secrets, "makes use of expressions which seem to indicate two distinct processes"; the one obtained thunder (impetrare), the other forced it to lightning (cogere).(3) "Guided by Numa's book," says Lucius, quoted by Pliny, "Tullus undertook to invoke the aid of Jupiter. . . . But having performed the rite imperfectly, he perished, struck by thunder."(4) Tracing back the knowledge of thunder and lightning possessed by the Etruscan priests, we find that Tarchon, the founder of the theurgism of the former, desiring to preserve his house from lightning, surrounded it by a hedge of the white bryony,(5) a climbing plant which has the property of averting thunderbolts. Tarchon the theurgist was much anterior to the siege of Troy. The pointed metallic lightning-rod, for which we are seemingly indebted to Franklin, is probably a rediscovery after all. There are many medals which seem to strongly indicate that the principle was anciently known. The temple of Juno had its roof covered with a quantity of pointed blades of swords.(6)
(1) Ovid: "Fast.," lib. iii., v. 285-346.
(2) "Titus Livius," lib. i., cap. xxxi.
(3) Pliny: "Hist. Nat.," lib. ii., cap. liii.
(4) Lucius: "Piso"; Pliny: "Hist. Nat.," lib. xxviii., c. ii.
(5) "Columella," lib. x., vers. 346, etc.
(6) See "Notice sur les Travaux de l'Academie du Gard," part i., pp. 304-314, by la Boissiere.
If we possess but little proof of the ancients having had any clear notions as to all the effects of electricity, there is very strong evidence, at all events, of their having been perfectly acquainted with electricity itself. "Ben David," says the author of The Occult Sciences, "has asserted that Moses possessed some knowledge of the phenomena of electricity." Professor Hirt, of Berlin, is of this opinion. Michaelis, remarks -- firstly: "that there is no indication that lightning ever struck the temple of Jerusalem, during a thousand years. Secondly, that according to Josephus,(1) a forest of points . . . of gold, and very sharp, covered the roof of the temple. Thirdly, that this roof communicated with the caverns in the hill upon which the temple was situated, by means of pipes in connection with the gilding which covered all the exterior of the building; in consequence of which the points would act as conductors."(2)
Ammianus Marcellinus, a famous historian of the fourth century, a writer generally esteemed for the fairness and correctness of his statements, tells that "The magi, preserved perpetually in their furnaces fire that they miraculously got from heaven."(3) There is a sentence in the Hindu Oupnek-hat, which runs thus: "To know fire, the sun, the moon, and lightning, is three-fourths of the science of God."(4)
Finally, Salverte shows that in the days of Ktesias, "India was acquainted with the use of conductors of lightning." This historian plainly states that "iron placed at the bottom of a fountain . . . and made in the form of a sword, with the point upward, possessed, as soon as it was thus fixed in the ground, the property of averting storms and lightnings."(5) What can be plainer?
Some modern writers deny the fact that a great mirror was placed in the light-house of the Alexandrian port, for the purpose of discovering vessels at a distance at sea. But the renowned Buffon believed in it; for he honestly confesses that "If the mirror really existed, as I firmly believe it did, to the ancients belong the honor of the invention of the telescope."(6)
Stevens, in his work on the East, asserts that he found railroads in Upper Egypt whose grooves were coated with iron. Canova, Powers, and other celebrated sculptors of our modern age deem it an honor to be compared with Pheidias of old, and strict truth would, perhaps, hesitate at such a flattery.
(1) "Bell. Jud. adv. Roman," lib. v., cap. xiv.
(2) "Magasin Scientifique de Goethingen," 3me. annie, 5me. cahier.
(3) "Ammian. Marcel.," lib. xxiii., cap. vi.
(4) "Oupnek-hat," Brahman xi.
(5) "Ktesias, in India ap. Photum.," Bibl. Cod. lxxii.
(6) Buffon: "Histoire Naturelle des Mineraux," 6me Mem., art. ii.
Professor Jowett discredits the story of the Atlantis, in the Timaeus; and the records of 8,000 and 9,000 years appear to him an ancient swindle. But Bunsen remarks: "There is nothing improbable in itself in reminiscences and records of great events in Egypt 9,000 years B.C., for . . . the Origines of Egypt go back to the ninth millennium before Christ."(1) Then how about the primitive Cyclopean fortresses of ancient Greece? Can the walls of Tiryns, about which, according to archaeological accounts, "even among the ancients it was reported to have been the work of the Cyclops,"(2) be deemed posterior to the pyramids? Masses of rock, some equal to a cube of six feet, and the smallest of which, Pausanias says, could never be moved by a yoke of oxen, laid up in walls of solid masonry twenty-five feet thick and over forty feet high, still believed to be the work of men of the races known to our history!
Wilkinson's researches have brought to light the fact that many inventions of what we term modern, and upon which we plume ourselves, were perfected by the ancient Egyptians. The newly-discovered papyrus of Ebers, the German archaeologist, proves that neither our modern chignons, skin-beautifying pearl powders, nor eaux dentifrices were secrets to them. More than one modern physician -- even among those who advertise themselves as having "made a speciality of nervous disorders" -- may find his advantage in consulting the Medical Books of Hermes, which contain prescriptions of real therapeutic value.
The Egyptians, as we have seen, excelled in all arts. They made paper so excellent in quality as to be time-proof. "They took out the pith of the papyrus," says our anonymous writer, previously mentioned, "dissected and opened the fibre, and flattening it by a process known to them, made it as thin as our foolscap paper, but far more durable. . . . They sometimes cut it into strips and glued it together; many of such written documents are yet in existence." The papyrus found in the tomb of the queen's mummy, and another one found in the sarcophagus of the "Chambre de la Reine," at Ghizeh, present the appearance of the finest glossy white muslin, while it possesses the durability of the best calf-parchment. "For a long time the savants believed the papyrus to have been introduced by Alexander the Great -- as they erroneously imagined a good many more things -- but Lepsius found rolls of papyri in tombs and monuments of the twelfth dynasty; sculptured pictures of papyri were found later, on monuments of the fourth dynasty, and now it is proved that the art of writing was known and used as early as the days of Menes, the protomonarch"; and thus it was finally discovered
(1) "Egypt's Place in Universal History," vol. iv., p. 462.
(2) "Archaeologia," vol. xv., p. 320.
that the art and their system of writing were perfect and complete from the very first.
It is to Champollion that we owe the first interpretation of their weird writing; and, but for his life-long labor, we would till now remain uninformed as to the meaning of all these pictured letters, and the ancients would still be considered ignorant by the moderns whom they so greatly excelled in some arts and sciences. "He was the first to find out what wondrous tale the Egyptians had to tell, for one who could read their endless manuscripts and records. They left them on every spot and object capable of receiving characters. . . . They engraved, and chiselled, and sculptured them on monuments; they traced them on furniture, rocks, stones, walls, coffins, and tombs, as on the papyrus. . . . The pictures of their daily lives, in their smallest details, are being now unravelled before our dazzled eyes in the most wondrous way. . . . Nothing, of what we know, seems to have been overlooked by the ancient Egyptians. . . . The history of 'Sesostris' shows us how well he and his people were versed in the art and practice of war. . . . The pictures show how formidable they were when encountered in battle. They constructed war-engines. . . . Horner says that through each of the 100 gates of Thebes issued 200 men with horses and chariots; the latter were magnificently constructed, and very light in comparison with our modern heavy, clumsy, and uncomfortable artillery wagons." Kenrick describes them in the following terms: "In short, as all the essential principles which regulate the construction and draught of carriages are exemplified in the war-chariots of the Pharaohs, so there is nothing which modern taste and luxury have devised for their decoration to which we do not find a prototype in the monuments of the eighteenth dynasty." Springs -- metallic springs -- have been found in them, and, notwithstanding Wilkinson's superficial investigation in that direction, and description of these in his studies, we find proofs that such were used to prevent the jolting in the chariots in their too rapid course. The bas-reliefs show us certain melees and battles in which we can find and trace their uses and customs to the smallest details. The heavily-armed men fought in coats of mail, the infantry had quilted tunics and felt helmets, with metallic coverings to protect them the better. Muratori, the modern Italian inventor who, some ten years ago, introduced his "impenetrable cuirasse," has but followed in his invention what he could make out of the ancient method which suggested to him the idea. The process of rendering such objects as card-board, felt, and other tissues, impenetrable to the cuts and thrusts of any sharp weapon, is now numbered among the lost arts. Muratori succeeded but imperfectly in preparing such felt cuirasses, and, notwithstanding the boasted achievements of modern chemistry
he could derive from it no preparation adequate to effect his object, and failed.
To what perfection chemistry had reached in ancient times, may be inferred from a fact mentioned by Virey. In his dissertations, he shows that Asclepiadotus, a general of Mithradates, reproduced chemically the deleterious exhalations of the sacred grotto. These vapors, like those of Curnae, threw the Pythoness into the mantic frenzy.
Egyptians used bows, double-edged swords and daggers, javelins, spears, and pikes. The light troops were armed with darts and slings; charioteers wielded maces and battle-axes; in siege-operations they were perfect. "The assailants," says the anonymous writer, "advanced, forming a narrow and long line, the point being protected by a triple-sided, impenetrable engine pushed before them on a kind of roller, by an invisible squad of men. They had covered underground passages with trap-doors, scaling ladders, and the art of escalade and military strategy was carried by them to perfection. . . . The battering ram was familiar to them as other things; being such experts in quarrying they knew how to set a mine to a wall and bring it down." The same writer remarks, that it is a great deal safer for us to mention what the Egyptians did than what they did not know, for every day brings some new discovery of their wonderful knowledge; "and if," he adds, "we were to find out that they used Armstrong guns, this fact would not be much more astonishing than many of the facts brought out to light already."
The proof that they were proficient in mathematical sciences, lies in the fact that those ancient mathematicians whom we honor as the fathers of geometry went to Egypt to be instructed. Says Professor Smyth, as quoted by Mr. Peebles, "the geometrical knowledge of the pyramid-builders began where Euclid's ended." Before Greece came into existence, the arts, with the Egyptians, were ripe and old. Land-measuring, an art resting on geometry, the Egyptians certainly knew well, as, according to the Bible, Joshua, after conquering the Holy Land, had skill enough to divide it. And how could a people so skilled in natural philosophy as the Egyptians were, not be proportionately skilled in psychology and spiritual philosophy? The temple was the nursery of the highest civilization, and it alone possessed that higher knowledge of magic which was in itself the quintessence of natural philosophy. The occult powers of nature were taught in the greatest secrecy and the most wonderful cures were performed during the performing of the Mysteries. Herodotus acknowledges(1) that the Greeks learned all they knew, including the sacred services of the temple, from the Egyptians, and because of that,
(1) Lib. ii., c. 50.
their principal temples were consecrated to Egyptian divinities. Melampus, the famous healer and soothsayer of Argos, had to use his medicines "after the manner of the Egyptians," from whom he had gained his knowledge, whenever he desired his cure to be thoroughly effective. He healed Iphiclus of his impotency and debility by the rust of iron, according to the directions of Mantis, his magnetic sleeper, or oracle. Sprengel gives many wonderful instances of such magical cures in his History of Medicine (see p. 119).
Diodorus, in his work on the Egyptians (lib. i.), says that Isis has deserved immortality, for all nations of the earth bear witness to the power of this goddess to cure diseases by her influence. "This is proved," he says, "not by fable as among the Greeks, but by authentic facts." Galen records several remedial means which were preserved in the healing wards of the temples. He mentions also a universal medicine which in his time was called Isis.(1)
The doctrines of several Greek philosophers, who had been instructed in Egypt, demonstrates their profound learning. Orpheus, who, according to Artapanus, was a disciple of Moyses (Moses),(2) Pythagoras, Herodotus, and Plato owe their philosophy to the same temples in which the wise Solon was instructed by the priests. "Antiklides relates," says Pliny, "that the letters were invented in Egypt by a person whose name was Menon, fifteen years before Phoroneus the most ancient king of Greece."(2) Jablonski proves that the heliocentric system, as well as the earth's sphericity, were known by the priests of Egypt from immemorial ages. "This theory," he adds, "Pythagoras took from the Egyptians, who had it from the Brachmans of India."(3) Fenelon, the illustrious Archbishop of Cambray, in his Lives of the Ancient Philosophers, credits Pythagoras with this knowledge, and says that besides teaching his disciples that as the earth was round there were antipodes, since it was inhabited everywhere, the great mathematician was the first to discover that the morning and evening star was the same. If we now consider that Pythagoras lived in about the 16th Olympiad, over 700 years B.C., and taught this fact at such an early period, we must believe that it was known by others before him. The works of Aristotle, Laertius, and several others in which Pythagoras is mentioned, demonstrate that he had learned from the Egyptians about the obliquity of the ecliptic, the starry composition of the milky way, and the borrowed light of the moon.
(1) Galen: "De Composit. Medec.," lib. v.
(2) "Ancient Fragments": see chapter on the Early Kings of Egypt.
(3) "Pliny," lib. vii., c. 56.
(4) Jablonski: "Pantheon AEgypti.," ii., Proleg. 10.
Wilkinson, corroborated later by others, says that the Egyptians divided time, knew the true length of the year, and the precession of the equinoxes. By recording the rising and setting of the stars, they understood the particular influences which proceed from the positions and conjunctions of all heavenly bodies, and therefore their priests, prophesying as accurately as our modern astronomers, meteorological changes, could, en plus, astrologize through astral motions. Though the sober and eloquent Cicero may be partially right in his indignation against the exaggerations of the Babylonian priests, who "assert that they have preserved upon monuments observations extending back during an interval of 470,000 years,"(1) still, the period at which astronomy had arrived at its perfection with the ancients is beyond the reach of modern calculation.
A writer in one of our scientific journals observes "that every science in its growth passes through three stages: First, we have the stage of observation, when facts are collected and registered by many minds in many places. Next, we have the stage of generalization, when these carefully verified facts are arranged methodically, generalized systematically, and classified logically, so as to deduce and elucidate from them the laws that regulate their rule and order. Lastly, we have the stage of prophecy, when these laws are so applied that events can be predicted to occur with unerring accuracy." If several thousand years B.C., Chinese and Chaldean astronomers predicted eclipses -- the latter, whether by the cycle of Saros, or other means, matters not -- the fact remains the same. They had reached the last and highest stage of astronomical science -- they prophesied. If they could, in the year 1722 B.C., delineate the zodiac with the exact positions of the planets at the time of the autumnal equinox, and so unerringly as Professor Mitchell, the astronomer, proved, then they knew the laws that regulate "carefully-verified facts" to perfection, and applied them with as much certainty as our modern astronomers. Moreover, astronomy is said to be in our century "the only science which has thoroughly reached the last stage . . . other sciences are yet in various stages of growth; electricity, in some branches, has reached the third stage, but in many branches is still in its infantine period."(2) This we know, on the exasperating confessions of men of science themselves, and we can entertain no doubt as to this sad reality in the nineteenth century, as we belong ourselves to it. Not so in relation to the men who lived in the days of the glory of Chaldaea, Assyria, and Babylon. Of the stages they reached in other sciences we know nothing, except that in astronomy they stood equal with us, for they had also reached the third and last stage. In his lecture on the
(1) Cicero: "De Divinatione."
(2) "Telegraphic Journal," art. Scientific Prophecy.
Lost Arts, Wendell Phillips very artistically describes the situation. "We seem to imagine," says he, "that whether knowledge will die with us or not, it certainly began with us. . . . We have a pitying estimate, a tender pity for the narrowness, ignorance, and darkness of the bygone ages." To illustrate our own idea with the closing sentence of the favorite lecturer, we may as well confess that we undertook this chapter, which in one sense interrupts our narrative, to inquire of our men of science, whether they are sure that they are boasting "on the right line."
Thus we read of a people, who, according to some learned writers,(1) had just emerged from the bronze age into the succeeding age of iron. "If Chaldea, Assyria, and Babylon presented stupendous and venerable antiquities reaching far back into the night of time, Persia was not without her wonders of a later date. The pillared halls of Persepolis were filled with miracles of art -- carvings, sculptures, enamels, alabaster libraries, obelisks, sphinxes, colossal bulls. Ecbatana, in Media, the cool summer retreat of the Persian kings, was defended by seven encircling walls of hewn and polished blocks, the interior ones in succession of increasing height, and of different colors, in astrological accordance with the seven planets. The palace was roofed with silver tiles; its beams were plated with gold. At midnight, in its halls, the sun was rivalled by many a row of naphtha cressets. A paradise, that luxury of the monarchs of the East, was planted in the midst of the city. The Persian empire was truly the garden of the world. . . . In Babylon there still remained its walls, once more than sixty miles in compass and, after the ravages of three centuries and three conquerors, still more than eighty feet in height; there were still the ruins of the temple of the cloud-encompassed Bel; on its top was planted the observatory wherein the weird Chaldean astronomers had held nocturnal communion with the stars; still there were vestiges of the two palaces with their hanging gardens, in which were trees growing in mid-air, and the wreck of the hydraulic machinery that had supplied them from the river. Into the artificial lake, with its vast apparatus of aqueducts and sluices, the melted snows of the Armenian mountains found their way and were confined in their course through the city by the embankments of the Euphrates. Most wonderful of all, perhaps, was the tunnel under the river-bed."(2)
(1) Professor Albrecht Muller: "The First Traces of Man in Europe." Says the author: "And this bronze age reaches to and overlaps the beginning of the historic period in some countries, and so includes the great epochs of the Assyrian and Egyptian Empires, B.C. circa 1500, and the earlier eras of the next succeeding age of iron."
(2) "Conflict between Religion and Science," chap. i.
In his First Traces of Man in Europe, Albrecht Muller proposes a name descriptive of the age in which we live, and suggests that "the age of paper" is perhaps as good as any that can be discussed. We do not agree with the learned professor. Our firm opinion is, that succeeding generations will term ours, at best, the age of brass; at worst, that of albata or of oroide.
The thought of the present-day commentator and critic as to the ancient learning, is limited to and runs round the exoterism of the temples; his insight is either unwilling or unable to penetrate into the solemn adyta of old, where the hierophant instructed the neophyte to regard the public worship in its true light. No ancient sage would have taught that man is the king of creation, and that the starry heaven and our mother earth were created for his sake. He, who doubts the assertion, may turn to the Magical and Philosophical Precepts of Zoroaster, and find its corroboration in the following:(1)
"Direct not thy mind to the vast measures of the earth;
For the plant of truth is not upon ground.
Nor measure the measures of the sun, collecting rules,
For he is carried by the eternal will of the Father, not for your sake,
Dismiss the impetuous course of the moon;
For she runs always by work of necessity.
The progression of the stars was not generated for your sake."
A rather strange teaching to come from those who are universally believed to have worshipped the sun, and moon, and the starry host, as gods. The sublime profundity of the Magian precepts being beyond the reach of modern materialistic thought, the Chaldean philosophers are accused, together with the ignorant masses, of Sabianism and sun-worship.
There was a vast difference between the true worship taught to those who showed themselves worthy, and the state religions. The magians are accused of all kinds of superstition, but this is what a Chaldean Oracle says:
"The wide aerial flight of birds is not true,
Nor the dissections of the entrails of victims; they are all mere toys,
The basis of mercenary fraud; flee from these
If you would open the sacred paradise of piety
Where virtue, wisdom, and equity, are assembled."(2)
Surely, it is not those who warn people against "mercenary fraud" who can be accused of it; and if they accomplished acts which seem
(1) Psellus: "Chaldean Oracles," 4, cxliv.
(2) Psellus: "Zoroast. Oracles," 4.
miraculous, who can with fairness presume to deny that it was done merely because they possessed a knowledge of natural philosophy and psychological science to a degree unknown to our schools?
What did they not know? It is a well-demonstrated fact that the true meridian was correctly ascertained before the first pyramid was built. They had clocks and dials to measure time; their cubit was the established unit of linear measure, being 1,707 feet of English measure; according to Herodotus the unit of weight was also known; as money, they had gold and silver rings valued by weight; they had the decimal and duodecimal modes of calculation from the earliest times, and were proficient in algebra. "How could they otherwise," says an unknown author, "bring into operation such immense mechanical powers, if they had not thoroughly understood the philosophy of what we term the mechanical powers?"
The art of making linen and fine fabrics is also proved to have been one of their branches of knowledge, for the Bible speaks of it. Joseph was presented by Pharaoh with a vesture of fine linen, a golden chain, and many more things. The linen of Egypt was famous throughout the world. The mummies are all wrapped in it and the linen is beautifully preserved. Pliny speaks of a certain garment sent 600 years B.C., by King Amasis to Lindus, every single thread of which was composed of 360 minor threads twisted together. Herodotus gives us (book i.), in his account of Isis and the Mysteries performed in her honor, an idea of the beauty and "admirable softness of the linen worn by the priests." The latter wore shoes made of papyrus and garments of fine linen, because this goddess first taught the use of it; and thus, besides being called Isiaci, or priests of Isis, they were also known as Linigera, or the "linen-wearing." This linen was spun and dyed in those brilliant and gorgeous colors, the secret of which is likewise now among the lost arts. On the mummies we often find the most beautiful embroidery and bead-work ornamenting their shirts; several of such can be seen in the museum of Bulak (Cairo), and are unsurpassable in beauty; the designs are exquisite, and the labor seems immense. The elaborate and so much vaunted Gobelins tapestry, is but a gross production when compared with some of the embroidery of the ancient Egyptians. We have but to refer to Exodus to discover how skilful was the workmanship of the Israelitish pupils of the Egyptians upon their tabernacle and sacred ark. The sacerdotal vestments, with their decorations of "pomegranates and golden bells," and the thummim, or jewelled breastplate of the high priest, are described by Josephus as being of unparalleled beauty and of wonderful workmanship; and yet we find beyond doubt that the Jews adopted their rites and ceremonies, and even the special dress of their Levites,
from the Egyptians. Clemens Alexandrinus acknowledges it very reluctantly, and so does Origen and other Fathers of the Church, some of whom, as a matter of course, attribute the coincidence to a clever trick of Satan in anticipation of events. Proctor, the astronomer, says in one of his books, "The remarkable breastplate worn by the Jewish high priest was derived directly from the Egyptians." The word thummim itself is evidently of Egyptian origin, borrowed by Moses, like the rest; for further on the same page, Mr. Proctor says that, "In the often-repeated picture of judgment the deceased Egyptian is seen conducted by the god Horus (?), while Anubis places on one of the balances a vase supposed to contain his good actions, and in the other is the emblem of truth, a representation of Thmei, the goddess of truth, which was also worn on the judicial breastplate." Wilkinson, in his Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, shows that the Hebrew thummim is a plural form of the word Thmei."(1)
All the ornamental arts seem to have been known to the Egyptians. Their jewelry of gold, silver, and precious stones are beautifully wrought; so was the cutting, polishing, and setting of them executed by their lapidaries in the finest style. The finger-ring of an Egyptian mummy -- if we remember aright -- was pronounced the most artistic piece of jewelry in the London Exhibition of 1851. Their imitation of precious stones in glass is far above anything done at the present day; and the emerald may be said to have been imitated to perfection.
In Pompeii, says Wendell Phillips, they discovered a room full of glass; there was ground-glass, window-glass, cut-glass, and colored-glass of every variety. Catholic priests who broke into China 200 years ago, were shown a glass, transparent and colorless, which was filled with liquor made by the Chinese, and which appeared to be colorless like water. "This liquor was poured into the glass, and then looking through, it seemed to be filled with fishes. They turned it out and repeated the experiment and again it was filled with fishes." In Rome they show a bit of glass, a transparent glass, which they light up so as to show you that there is nothing concealed, but in the centre of the glass is a drop of colored glass, perhaps as large as a pea, mottled like a duck, and which even a miniature pencil could not do more perfectly. "It is manifest that this drop of liquid glass must have been poured, because there is no joint. This must have been done by a greater heat than the annealing process, because that process shows breaks." In relation to their wonderful art of imitating precious stones, the lecturer speaks of the "celebrated vase of the Genoa Cathedral," which was
(1) Proctor: "Saturn and the Sabbath of the Jews," p. 309.
considered for long centuries "a solid emerald." "The Roman Catholic legend of it was that it was one of the treasures that the Queen of Sheba gave to Solomon, and that it was the identical cup out of which the Saviour drank at the Last Supper." Subsequently it was found not to be an emerald, but an imitation; and when Napoleon brought it to Paris and gave it to the Institute, the scientists were obliged to confess that it was not a stone, and that they could not tell what it was.
Further, speaking of the skill of the ancients in metal works, the same lecturer narrates that "when the English plundered the Summer Palace of the Emperor of China, the European artists were surprised at seeing the curiously-wrought metal vessels of every kind, far exceeding all the boasted skill of the workmen of Europe." African tribes in the interior of the country gave travellers better razors than they had. "George Thompson told me," he adds, "he saw a man in Calcutta throw a handful of floss silk into the air, and a Hindu sever it into pieces with his sabre of native steel." He concludes by the apt remark that "the steel is the greatest triumph of metallurgy, and metallurgy is the glory of chemistry." So with the ancient Egyptians and Semitic races. They dug gold and separated it with the utmost skill. Copper, lead, and iron were found in abundance near the Red Sea.
In a lecture delivered in 1873, on the Cave-Men of Devonshire, Mr. W. Pengelly, F.R.S., stated on the authority of some Egyptologists that the first iron used in Egypt was meteoric iron, as the earliest mention of this metal is found in an Egyptian document, in which it is called the "stone from heaven." This would imply the idea that the only iron which was in use in days of old was meteorite. This may have been the case at the commencement of the period embraced in our present geological explorations, but till we can compute with at least approximate accuracy the age of our excavated relics, who can tell but that we are making a blunder of possibly several hundred thousand years? The injudiciousness of dogmatizing upon what the ancient Chaldeans and Egyptians did not know about mining and metallurgy is at least partially shown by the discoveries of Colonel Howard Vyse. Moreover, many of such precious stones as are only found at a great depth in mines are mentioned in Homer and the Hebrew Scriptures. Have scientists ascertained the precise time when mining-shafts were first sunk by mankind? According to Dr. A. C. Hamlin, in India, the arts of the goldsmith and lapidary have been practiced from an "unknown antiquity." That the Egyptians either knew from the remotest ages how to temper steel, or possessed something still better and more perfect than the implement necessary in our days for chiselling, is an alternative from which the archeologists cannot escape. How else could they have produced such artistic chiselling, or
wrought such sculpture as they did? The critics may take their choice of either; according to them, steel tools of the most exquisite temper, or some other means of cutting sienite, granite, and basalt; which, in the latter case, must be added to the long catalogue of lost arts.
Professor Albrecht Muller says: "We may ascribe the introduction of bronze manufacture into Europe to a great race immigrant from Asia some 6,000 years ago, called Aryas or Aryans. . . . Civilization of the East preceded that of the West by many centuries. . . . There are many proofs that a considerable degree of culture existed at its very beginning. Bronze was yet in use, but iron as well. Pottery was not only shaped on the lathe, but burned a good red. Manufactures in glass, gold, and silver, are found for the first time. In lonely mountain places are yet found dross, and the remains of iron-furnaces. . . . To be sure, this dross is sometimes ascribed to volcanic action, but it is met with where volcanoes never could have existed."
But it is in the process of preparing mummies that the skill of this wonderful people is exemplified in the highest degree. None but those who have made special study of the subject, can estimate the amount of skill, patience, and knowledge exacted for the accomplishment of this indestructible work, which occupied several months. Both chemistry and surgery were called into requisition. The mummies, if left in the dry climate of Egypt, seem to be practicably imperishable; and even when removed after a repose of several thousand years, show no signs of change. "The body," says the anonymous writer, "was filled with myrrh, cassia, and other gums, and after that, saturated with natron. . . . Then followed the marvellous swathing of the embalmed body, so artistically executed, that professional modern bandagists are lost in admiration at its excellency." Says Dr. Grandville: " . . . there is not a single form of bandage known to modern surgery, of which far better and cleverer examples are not seen in the swathings of the Egyptian mummies. The strips of linen are found without one single joint, extending to 1,000 yards in length." Rossellini, in Kenrick's Ancient Egypt, gives a similar testimony to the wonderful variety and skill with which the bandages have been applied and interlaced. There was not a fracture in the human body that could not be repaired successfully by the sacerdotal physician of those remote days.
Who but well remembers the excitement produced some twenty-five years ago by the discovery of anaesthesia? The nitrous oxide gas, sulphuric and chloric ether, chloroform, "laughing gas," besides various other combinations of these, were welcomed as so many heavenly blessings to the suffering portion of humanity. Poor Dr. Horace Wells, of Hartford, in 1844, was the discoverer, and Drs. Morton and Jackson
reaped the honors and benefits in 1846, as is usual in such cases. The anaesthetics were proclaimed "the greatest discovery ever made." And, though the famous Letheon of Morton and Jackson (a compound of sulphuric ether), the chloroform of Sir James Y. Simpson, and the nitrous oxide gas, introduced by Colton, in 1843, and by Dunham and Smith, were occasionally checked by fatal cases, it still did not prevent these gentlemen from being considered public benefactors. The patients successfully put to sleep sometimes awoke no more; what matters that, so long as others were relieved? Physicians assure us that accidents are now but rarely apprehended. Perhaps it is because the beneficent anaesthetic agents are so parsimoniously applied as to fail in their effects one-half of the time, leaving the sufferer paralyzed for a few seconds in his external movements, but feeling the pain as acutely as ever. On the whole, however, chloroform and laughing gas are beneficent discoveries. But, are they the first anesthetics ever discovered, strictly speaking? Dioscorides speaks of the stone of Memphis (lapis Memphiticus), and describes it as a small pebble -- round, polished, and very sparkling. When ground into powder, and applied as an ointment to that part of the body on which the surgeon was about to operate, either with his scalpel or fire, it preserved that part, and only that part from any pain of the operation. In the meantime, it was perfectly harmless to the constitution of the patient, who retained his consciousness throughout, in no way dangerous from its effects, and acted so long as it was kept on the affected part. When taken in a mixture of wine or water, all feeling of suffering was perfectly deadened.(1) Pliny gives also a full description of it.(2)
From time immemorial, the Brahmans have had in their possession secrets quite as valuable. The widow, bent on the self-sacrifice of concremation, called Sahamaranya, has no dread of suffering the least pain, for the fiercest flames will consume her, without one pang of agony being experienced by her. The holy plants which crown her brow, as she is conducted in ceremony to the funeral pile; the sacred root culled at the midnight hour on the spot where the Ganges and the Yumna mingle their waters; and the process of anointing the body of the self-appointed victim with ghee and sacred oils, after she has bathed in all her clothes and finery, are so many magical anaesthetics. Supported by those she is going to part with in body, she walks thrice around her fiery couch, and, after bidding them farewell, is cast on the dead body of her husband, and leaves this world without a single moment of suffering. "The semi-fluid," says a missionary writer, an eye-witness of several such
(1) Dioscorides: "[Peri Hules Iatrikes]" lib. v., cap. clviii.
(2) Pliny: "Histoire Naturelle," lib. xxxviii., cap. vii.
ceremonies -- "the ghee, is poured upon the pile; it is instantly inflamed, and the drugged widow dies quickly of suffocation before the fire reaches her body."(1)
No such thing, if the sacred ceremony is only conducted strictly after the prescribed rites. The widows are never drugged in the sense we are accustomed to understand the word. Only precautionary measures are taken against a useless physical martyrdom -- the atrocious agony of burning. Her mind is as free and clear as ever, and even more so. Firmly believing in the promises of a future life, her whole mind is absorbed in the contemplation of the approaching bliss -- the beatitude of "freedom," which she is about to attain. She generally dies with the smile of heavenly rapture on her countenance; and if some one is to suffer at the hour of retribution, it is not the earnest devotee of her faith, but the crafty Brahmans who know well enough that no such ferocious rite was ever prescribed.(2) As to the victim, after having been consumed, she becomes a sati -- transcendent purity -- and is canonized after death.
Egypt is the birthplace and the cradle of chemistry. Kenrick shows the root of the word to be chemi or chem, which was the name of the country (Psalms cv. 27). The chemistry of colors seems to have been thoroughly well known in that country. Facts are facts. Where among our painters are we to search for the artist who can decorate our walls with imperishable colors? Ages after our pigmy buildings will have crumbled into dust, and the cities enclosing them will themselves have become shapeless heaps of brick and mortar, with forgotten names -- long after that will the halls of Karnak and Luxor (El-Uxor) be still standing; and the gorgeous mural paintings of the latter will doubtless be as bright and vivid 4,000 years hence, as they were 4,000 years ago, and are to-day. "Embalming and fresco-painting," says our author, "was not a chance discovery with the Egyptians, but brought out from definitions and maxims like any induction of Faraday."
Our modern Italians boast of their Etruscan vases and paintings; the
(1) Le P. Paulin de St. Barthelemi: "Voyage aux Indes Orientales," vol. i., p. 358.
(2) Max Muller, Professor Wilson, and H. J. Bushby, with several other Sanscrit students, prove that "Oriental scholars, both native and European, have shown that the rite of widow-burning was not only unsanctionable but imperatively forbidden by the earliest and most authoritative Hindu Scriptures" ("Widow-burning," p. 21). See Max Muller's "Comparative Mythology." "Professor Wilson," says Max Muller, "was the first to point out the falsification of the text and the change of 'yonim agre' into 'yonim agne' (womb of fire). . . . According to the hymns of the 'Rig-Veda,' and the Vaidic ceremonial contained in the 'Grihya-Sutras,' the wife accompanies the corpse of the husband to the funeral pile, but she is there addressed with a verse taken from the 'Rig-Veda,' and ordered to leave her husband, and to return to the world of the living" ("Comparative Mythology," p. 35).
decorative borders found on Greek vases provoke the admiration of the lovers of antiquity, and are ascribed to the Greeks, while in fact "they were but copies from the Egyptian vases." Their figures can be found any day on the walls of a tomb of the age of Amunoph I., a period at which Greece was not even in existence.
Where, in our age, can we point to anything comparable to the rock-temples of Ipsambul in Lower Nubia? There may be seen sitting figures seventy feet high, carved out of the living rock. The torso of the statue of Rameses II., at Thebes, measures sixty feet around the shoulders, and elsewhere in proportion. Beside such titanic sculpture our own seems that of pigmies. Iron was known to the Egyptians at least long before the construction of the first pyramid, which is over 20,000 years ago, according to Bunsen. The proof of this had remained hidden for many thousands of years in the pyramid of Cheops, until Colonel Howard Vyse found it in the shape of a piece of iron, in one of the joints, where it had evidently been placed at the time this pyramid was first built. Egyptologists adduce many indications that the ancients were perfectly well acquainted with metallurgy in prehistoric times. "To this day we can find at Sinai large heaps of scoriae, produced by smelting."(1) Metallurgy and chemistry, as practiced in those days, were known as alchemy, and were at the bottom of prehistoric magic. Moreover, Moses proved his knowledge of alchemical chemistry by pulverizing the golden calf, and strewing the powder upon the water.
If now we turn to navigation, we will find ourselves able to prove, on good authorities, that Necho II. fitted out a fleet on the Red Sea and despatched it for exploration. The fleet was absent above two years and instead of returning through the Straits of Babelmandeb, as was wont, sailed back through the Straits of Gibraltar. Herodotus was not at all swift to concede to the Egyptians a maritime achievement so vast as this. They had, he says, been spreading the report that "returning homewards, they had the sunrise on their right hands; a thing which to me is incredible." "And yet," remarks the author of the heretofore-mentioned article, "this incredible assertion is now proved incontestable, as may well be understood by any one who has doubled the Cape of Good Hope." Thus it is proved that the most ancient of these people performed a feat which was attributed to Columbus many ages later. They say they anchored twice on their way; sowed corn, reaped it and, sailing away, steered in triumph through the Pillars of Hercules and eastward along the Mediterranean. "There was a people," he adds,
(1) Hence the story that Moses fabricated there the serpent or seraph of brass which the Israelites worshipped till the reign of Hezekiah.
"much more deserving of the term 'veteres' than the Romans and Greeks. The Greeks, young in their knowledge, sounded a trumpet before these and called upon all the world to admire their ability. Old Egypt, grown gray in her wisdom, was so secure of her acquirements that she did not invite admiration and cared no more for the opinion of the flippant Greek than we do to-day for that of a Feejee islander."
"O Solon, Solon," said the oldest Egyptian priest to that sage. "You Greeks are ever childish, having no ancient opinion, no discipline of any long standing!" And very much surprised, indeed, was the great Solon, when he was told by the priests of Egypt that so many gods and goddesses of the Grecian Pantheon were but the disguised gods of Egypt. Truly spoke Zonaras: "All these things came to us from Chaldea to Egypt; and from thence were derived to the Greeks."
Sir David Brewster gives a glowing description of several automata; and the eighteenth century takes pride in that masterpiece of mechanical art, the "flute-player of Vaucanson." The little we can glean of positive information on that subject, from ancient writers, warrants the belief that the learned mechanicians in the days of Archimedes, and some of them much anterior to the great Syracusan, were in no wise more ignorant or less ingenious than our modern inventors. Archytas, a native of Tarentum, in Italy, the instructor of Plato, a philosopher distinguished for his mathematical achievements and wonderful discoveries in practical mechanics, constructed a wooden dove. It must have been an extraordinarily ingenious mechanism, as it flew, fluttered its wings, and sustained itself for a considerable time in the air. This skilful man, who lived 400 years B.C., invented besides the wooden dove, the screw, the crane, and various hydraulic machines.(1)
Egypt pressed her own grapes and made wine. Nothing remarkable in that, so far, but she brewed her own beer, and in great quantity -- our Egyptologist goes on to say. The Ebers manuscript proves now, beyond doubt, that the Egyptians used beer 2,000 years B.C. Their beer must have been strong and excellent -- like everything they did. Glass was manufactured in all its varieties. In many of the Egyptian sculptures we find scenes of glass-blowing and bottles; occasionally, during archaeological researches, glasses and glassware are found, and very beautiful they seem to have been. Sir Gardner Wilkinson says that the Egyptians cut, ground, and engraved glass, and possessed the art of introducing gold between the two surfaces of the substance. They imitated with glass, pearls, emeralds, and all the precious stones to a great perfection.
(1) A. Gell: "Noet. Attic.," lib. x., cap. xiii.
Likewise, the most ancient Egyptians cultivated the musical arts, and understood well the effect of musical harmony and its influence on the human spirit. We can find on the oldest sculptures and carvings scenes in which musicians play on various instruments. Music was used in the Healing Department of the temples for the cure of nervous disorders. We discover on many monuments men playing in bands in concert; the leader beating time by clapping his hands. Thus far we can prove that they understood the laws of harmony. They had their sacred music, domestic and military. The lyre, harp, and flute were used for the sacred concerts; for festive occasions they had the guitar, the single and double pipes, and castanets; for troops, and during military service, they had trumpets, tambourines, drums, and cymbals. Various kinds of harps were invented by them, such as the lyre, sambuc, ashur; some of these had upward of twenty strings. The superiority of the Egyptian lyre over the Grecian is an admitted fact. The material out of which were made such instruments was often of very costly and rare wood, and they were beautifully carved; they imported it sometimes from very distant countries; some were painted, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, and ornamented with colored leather. They used catgut for strings as we do. Pythagoras learned music in Egypt and made a regular science of it in Italy. But the Egyptians were generally considered in antiquity as the best music-teachers in Greece. They understood thoroughly well how to extract harmonious sounds out of an instrument by adding strings to it, as well as the multiplication of notes by shortening the strings upon its neck; which knowledge shows a great progress in the musical art. Speaking of harps, in a tomb at Thebes, Bruce remarks that, "they overturn all the accounts hitherto given of the earliest state of music and musical instruments in the East, and are altogether, in their form, ornaments and compass, an incontestable proof, stronger than a thousand Greek quotations, that geometry, drawing, mechanics, and music were at the greatest perfection when these instruments were made; and that the period from which we date the invention of these arts was only the beginning of the era of their restoration."
On the walls of the palace of Amenoph II. at Thebes, the king is represented as playing chess with the queen. This monarch reigned long before the Trojan war. In India the game is known to have been played at least 5,000 years ago.
As to their knowledge in medicine, now that one of the lost Books of Hermes has been found and translated by Ebers, the Egyptians can speak for themselves. That they understood about the circulation of the blood, appears certain from the healing manipulations of the priests, who knew how to draw blood downward, stop its circulation for awhile, etc. A
more careful study of their bas-reliefs representing scenes taking place in the healing hall of various temples will easily demonstrate it. They had their dentists and oculists, and no doctor was allowed to practice more than one specialty; which certainly warrants the belief that they lost fewer patients in those days than our physicians do now. It is also asserted by some authorities that the Egyptians were the first people in the world who introduced trial by jury; although we doubt this ourselves.
But the Egyptians were not the only people of remote epochs whose achievements place them in so commanding a position before the view of posterity. Besides others whose history is at present shut in behind the mists of antiquity -- such as the prehistoric races of the two Americas, of Crete, of the Troad, of the Lacustrians, of the submerged continent of the fabled Atlantis, now classed with myths -- the deeds of the Phoenicians stamp them with almost the character of demi-gods.
The writer in the National Quarterly Review, previously quoted, says that the Phoenicians were the earliest navigators of the world, founded most of the colonies of the Mediterranean, and voyaged to whatever other regions were inhabited. They visited the Arctic regions, whence they brought accounts of eternal days without a night, which Homer has preserved for us in the Odyssey. From the British Isles they imported tin into Africa, and Spain was a favorite site for their colonies. The description of Charybdis so completely answers to the maelstrom that, as this writer says: "It is difficult to imagine it to have had any other prototype." Their explorations, it seems, extended in every direction, their sails whitening the Indian Ocean, as well as the Norwegian fiords. Different writers have accorded to them the settlement of remote localities; while the entire southern coast of the Mediterranean was occupied by their cities. A large portion of the African territory is asserted to have been peopled by the races expelled by Joshua and the children of Israel. At the time when Procopius wrote, columns stood in Mauritania Tingitana, which bore the inscription, in Phoenician characters, "We are those who fled before the brigand Joshua, the son of Nun or Nave."
Some suppose these hardy navigators of Arctic and Antarctic waters have been the progenitors of the races which built the temples and palaces of Palenque and Uxmal, of Copan and Arica.(1) Brasseur de Bourbourg gives us much information about the manners and customs, architecture and arts, and especially of the magic and magicians of the ancient Mexicans. He tells us that Votan, their fabulous hero and the greatest
(1) Such is not our opinion. They were probably built by the Atlanteans.
of their magicians, returning from a long voyage, visited King Solomon at the time of the building of the temple. This Votan appears to be identical with the dreaded Quetzo-Cohuatl who appears in all the Mexican legends; and curiously enough these legends bear a striking resemblance, insomuch as they relate to the voyages and exploits of the Hittim, with the Hebrew Bible accounts of the Hivites, the descendants of Heth, son of Chanaan. The record tells us that Votan "furnished to Solomon the most valuable particulars as to the men, animals, and plants, the gold and precious woods of the Occident," but refused point-blank to afford any clew to the route he sailed, or the manner of reaching the mysterious continent. Solomon himself gives an account of this interview in his History of the Wonders of the Universe, the chief Votan figuring under the allegory of the Navigating Serpent. Stephens, indulging in the anticipation "that a key surer than that of the Rosetta-stone will be discovered," by which the American hieroglyphs may be read,(1) says that the descendants of the Caciques and the Aztec subjects are believed to survive still in the inaccessible fastnesses of the Cordilleras "wildernesses, which have never yet been penetrated by a white man, . . . living as their fathers did, erecting the same buildings . . . with ornaments of sculpture and plastered; large courts, and lofty towers with high ranges of steps, and still carving on tablets of stone the same mysterious hieroglyphics." He adds, "I turn to that vast and unknown region, untraversed by a single road, wherein fancy pictures that mysterious city seen from the topmost range of the Cordilleras of unconquered, unvisited, and unsought aboriginal inhabitants."
Apart from the fact that this mysterious city has been seen from a great distance by daring travellers, there is no intrinsic improbability of its existence, for who can tell what became of the primitive people who fled before the rapacious brigands of Cortez and Pizarro? Dr. Tschuddi, in his work on Peru, tells us of an Indian legend that a train of 10,000 llamas, laden with gold to complete the unfortunate Inca's ransom, was arrested in the Andes by the tidings of his death, and the enormous treasure was so effectually concealed that not a trace of it has ever been found. He, as well as Prescott and other writers, informs us that the Indians to this day preserve their ancient traditions and sacerdotal caste, and obey implicitly the orders of rulers chosen among themselves, while at the same time nominally Catholics and actually subject to the Peruvian authorities. Magical ceremonies practiced by their forefathers still prevail among them, and magical phenomena occur. So persistent are they in their loyalty to the past, that it seems impossible
(1) "Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan," vol. ii., p. 457.
but that they should be in relations with some central source of authority which constantly supports and strengthens their faith, keeping it alive. May it not be that the sources of this undying faith lie in this mysterious city, with which they are in secret communication? Or must we think that all of the above is again but a "curious coincidence"?
The story of this mysterious city was told to Stephens by a Spanish Padre, in 1838-9. The priest swore to him that he had seen it with his own eyes, and gave Stephens the following details, which the traveller firmly believed to be true. "The Padre of the little village near the ruins of Santa Cruz del Quiche, had heard of the unknown city at the village of Chajul. . . . He was then young, and climbed with much labor to the naked summit of the topmost ridge of the sierra of the Cordillera. When arrived at a height of ten or twelve thousand feet, he looked over an immense plain extending to Yucatan and the Gulf of Mexico, and saw, at a great distance, a large city spread over a great space, and with turrets white and glittering in the sun. Tradition says that no white man has ever reached this city; that the inhabitants speak the Maya language, know that strangers have conquered their whole land, and murder any white man who attempts to enter their territory. . . . They have no coin; no horses, cattle, mules, or other domestic animals except fowls, and the cocks they keep underground to prevent their crowing being heard."
Nearly the same was given us personally about twenty years ago, by an old native priest, whom we met in Peru, and with whom we happened to have business relations. He had passed all his life vainly trying to conceal his hatred toward the conquerors -- "brigands," he termed them; and, as he confessed, kept friends with them and the Catholic religion for the sake of his people, but he was as truly a sun-worshipper in his heart as ever he was. He had travelled in his capacity of a converted native missionary, and had been at Santa Cruz, and, as he solemnly affirmed, had been also to see some of his people by a "subterranean passage" leading into the mysterious city. We believe his account; for a man who is about to die, will rarely stop to invent idle stories; and this one we have found corroborated in Stephen's Travels. Besides, we know of two other cities utterly unknown to European travellers; not that the inhabitants particularly desire to hide themselves; for people from Buddhistic countries come occasionally to visit them. But their towns are not set down on the European or Asiatic maps; and, on account of the too zealous and enterprising Christian missionaries, and perhaps for more mysterious reasons of their own, the few natives of other countries who are aware of the existence of these two cities never mention them. Nature has provided strange nooks and hiding-places for her favorites; and
unfortunately it is but far away from so-called civilized countries that man is free to worship the Deity in the way that his fathers did.
Even the erudite and sober Max Muller is somehow unable to get rid of coincidences. To him they come in the shape of the most unexpected discoveries. These Mexicans, for instance, whose obscure origin, according to the laws of probability, has no connection with the Aryans of India, nevertheless, like the Hindus, represent an eclipse of the moon as "the moon being devoured by a dragon."(1) And though Professor Muller admits that an historical intercourse between the two people was suspected by Alexander von Humboldt, and he himself considers it possible, still the occurrence of such a fact he adds, "need not be the result of any historical intercourse. As we have stated above, the origin of the aborigines of America is a very vexed question for those interested in tracing out the affiliation and migrations of peoples." Notwithstanding the labor of Brasseur de Bourbourg, and his elaborate translation of the famous Popol-Vuh, alleged to be written by Ixtlilxochitl, after weighing its contents, the antiquarian remains as much in the dark as ever. We have read the Popol-Vuh in its original translation, and the review of the same by Max Muller, and out of the former find shining a light of such brightness, that it is no wonder that the matter-of-fact, skeptical scientists should be blinded by it. But so far as an author can be judged by his writings, Professor Max Muller is no unfair skeptic; and, moreover, very little of importance escapes his attention. How is it then that a man of such immense and rare erudition, accustomed as he is to embrace at one eagle glance the traditions, religious customs, and superstitions of a people, detecting the slightest similarity, and taking in the smallest details, failed to give any importance or perhaps even suspect what the humble author of the present volume, who has neither scientific training nor erudition, to any extent, apprehended at first view? Fallacious and unwarranted as to many may seem this remark, it appears to us that science loses more than she gains by neglecting the ancient and even mediaeval esoteric literature, or rather what remains of it. To one who devotes himself to such study many a coincidence is transformed into a natural result of demonstrable antecedent causes. We think we can see how it is that Professor Muller confesses that "now and then . . . one imagines one sees certain periods and landmarks, but in the next page all is chaos again."(2) May it not be barely possible that this chaos is intensified by the fact that most of the scientists, directing the whole of their attention to history, skip that which they treat as "vague, contradictory,
(1) Max Muller: "Chips from a German Workshop," vol. ii., p. 269.
(2) Max Muller: "Popol-Vuh," p. 327.
miraculous, absurd." Notwithstanding the feeling that there was "a groundwork of noble conceptions which has been covered and distorted by an aftergrowth of fantastic nonsense," Professor Muller cannot help comparing this nonsense to the tales of the Arabian Nights.
Far be from us the ridiculous pretension of criticising a scientist so worthy of admiration for his learning as Max Muller. But we cannot help saying that even among the fantastic nonsense of the Arabian Nights' Entertainments anything would be worthy of attention, if it should help toward the evolving of some historical truth. Homer's Odyssey surpasses in fantastic nonsense all the tales of the Arabian Nights combined; and notwithstanding that, many of his myths are now proved to be something else besides the creation of the old poet's fancy. The Laestrygonians, who devoured the companions of Ulysses, are traced to the huge cannibal(1) race, said in primitive days to inhabit the caves of Norway. Geology verified through her discoveries some of the assertions of Homer, supposed for so many ages to have been but poetical hallucinations. The perpetual daylight enjoyed by this race of Laestrygonians indicates that they were inhabitants of the North Cape, where, during the whole summer, there is perpetual daylight. The Norwegian fiords are perfectly described by Homer in his Odyssey, x. 110; and the gigantic stature of the Laestrygonians is demonstrated by human bones of unusual size found in caves situated near this region, and which the geologists suppose to have belonged to a race extinct long before the Aryan immigration. Charybdis, as we have seen, has been recognized in the maelstrom; and the Wandering Rocks(2) in the enormous icebergs of the Arctic seas.
If the consecutive attempts at the creation of man described in the Quiche Cosmogony suggests no comparison with some Apocrypha, with the Jewish sacred books, and the kabalistic theories of creation, it is indeed strange. Even the Book of Jasher, condemned as a gross forgery of the twelfth century, may furnish more than one clew to trace a relation between the population of Ur of the Kasdeans, where Magism flourished before the days of Abraham, and those of Central and North America. The divine beings, "brought down to the level of human nature," performed no feats or tricks more strange or incredible than the miraculous performances of Moses and of Pharaoh's magicians, while many of these are exactly similar in their nature. And when, moreover, in addition to this latter fact, we find so great a resemblance between certain kabalistic terms common to both hemispheres, there must be something else than mere accident to account for the circumstance. Many
(1) Why not to the sacrifices of men in ancient worship?
(2) "Odyssey," xii. 71.
of such feats have clearly a common parentage. The story of the two brothers of Central America, who, before starting on their journey to Xibalba, "plant each a cane in the middle of their grandmother's house, that she may know by its flourishing or withering whether they are alive or dead,"(1) finds its analogy in the beliefs of many other countries. In the Popular Tales and Traditions, by Sacharoff (Russia), one can find a similar narrative, and trace this belief in various other legends. And yet these fairy tales were current in Russia many centuries before America was discovered.
In recognizing in the gods of Stonehenge the divinities of Delphos and Babylon, one need feel little surprised. Bel and the Dragon, Apollo and Python, Osiris and Typhon, are all one under many names, and have travelled far and wide. The Both-al of Ireland points directly to its first parent, the Batylos of the Greeks and the Beth-el of Chanaan. "History," says H. de la Villemarque, "which took no notes at those distant ages, can plead ignorance, but the science of languages affirms. Philology, with a daily-increasing probability, has again linked together the chain hardly broken between the Orient and the Occident."(2)
No more remarkable is the discovery of a like resemblance between the Oriental myths and ancient Russian tales and traditions, for it is entirely natural to look for a similarity between the beliefs of the Semitic and Aryan families. But when we discover an almost perfect identity between the character of Zarevna Militrissa, with a moon in her forehead, who is in constant danger of being devoured by Zmey Gorenetch (the Serpent or Dragon), who plays such a prominent part in all popular Russian tales, and similar characters in the Mexican legends -- extending to the minutest details -- we may well pause and ask ourselves whether there be not here more than a simple coincidence.
This tradition of the Dragon and the Sun -- occasionally replaced by the Moon -- has awakened echoes in the remotest parts of the world. It may be accounted for with perfect readiness by the once universal heliolatrous religion. There was a time when Asia, Europe, Africa, and America were covered with the temples sacred to the sun and the dragons. The priests assumed the names of their deities, and thus the tradition of these spread like a net-work all over the globe: "Bel and the Dragon being uniformly coupled together, and the priest of the Ophite religion as uniformly assuming the name of his god."(3) But still,
(1) "Chips from a German Workshop," p. 268.
(2) Villemarque, Member of the Institute. Vol. lx.; "Collect et Nouvelle Serie," 24, p. 570, 1863; "Poesie des Cloitres Celtiques."
(3) "Archaeol.," vol. xxv., p. 220. London.
"if the original conception is natural and intelligible . . . and its occurrence need not be the result of any historical intercourse," as Professor Muller tells us, the details are so strikingly similar that we cannot feel satisfied that the riddle is entirely solved. The origin of this universal symbolical worship being concealed in the night of time, we would have far more chance to arrive at the truth by tracing these traditions to their very source. And where is this source? Kircher places the origin of the Ophite and heliolatrous worship, the shape of conical monuments and the obelisks, with the Egyptian Hermes Trismegistus.(1) Where, then, except in Hermetic books, are we to seek for the desired information? Is it likely that modern authors can know more, or as much, of ancient myths and cults as the men who taught them to their contemporaries? Clearly two things are necessary: first, to find the missing books of Hermes; and second, the key by which to understand them, for reading is not sufficient. Failing in this, our savants are abandoned to unfruitful speculations, as for a like reason geographers waste their energies in a vain quest of the sources of the Nile. Truly the land of Egypt is another abode of mystery!
Without stopping to discuss whether Hermes was the "Prince of post-diluvian magic," as des Mousseaux calls him, or the antediluvian, which is much more likely, one thing is certain: The authenticity, reliability, and usefulness of the Books of Hermes -- or rather of what remains of the thirty-six works attributed to the Egyptian magician -- are fully recognized by Champollion, junior, and corroborated by Champollion-Figeac, who mentions it. Now, if by carefully looking over the kabalistical works, which are all derived from that universal storehouse of esoteric knowledge, we find the fac-similes of many so-called miracles wrought by magical art, equally reproduced by the Quiches; and if even in the fragments left of the original Popol-Vuh, there is sufficient evidence that the religious customs of the Mexicans, Peruvians, and other American races are nearly identical with those of the ancient Phoenicians, Babylonians, and Egyptians; and if, moreover, we discover that many of their religious terms have etymologically the same origin; how are we to avoid believing that they are the descendants of those whose forefathers "fled before the brigand, Joshua, the son of Nun?" "Nunez de la Vega says that Nin, or Imos, of the Tzendales, was the Ninus of the Babylonians."(1)
It is possible that, so far, it may be a coincidence; as the identification of one with the other rests but upon a poor argument. "But it is known," adds de Bourbourg, "that this prince, and according to
(1) "Archaeol.," vol. xxv., p. 292. London.
(2) Brasseur de Bourbourg: "Cartas," p. 52.
others, his father, Bel, or Baal, received, like the Nin of the Tzendales the homages of his subjects under the shape of a serpent." The latter assertion, besides being fantastic, is nowhere corroborated in the Babylonian records. It is very true that the Phoenicians represented the sun under the image of a dragon; but so did all the other people who symbolized their sun-gods. Belus, the first king of the Assyrian dynasty was, according to Castor, and Eusebius who quotes him, deified, i.e., he was ranked among the gods "after his death" only. Thus, neither himself nor his son, Ninus, or Nin, could have received their subjects under the shape of a serpent, whatever the Tzendales did. Bel, according to Christians, is Baal; and Baal is the Devil, since the Bible prophets began so designating every deity of their neighbors; therefore Belus, Ninus, and the Mexican Nin are serpents and devils; and, as the Devil, or father of evil, is one under many forms, therefore, under whatever name the serpent appears, it is the Devil. Strange logic! Why not say that Ninus the Assyrian, represented as husband and victim of the ambitious Semiramis, was high priest as well as king of his country? That as such he wore on his tiara the sacred emblems of the dragon and the sun? Moreover, as the priest generally assumed the name of his god, Ninus was said to receive his subject as the representative of this serpent-god. The idea is preeminently Roman Catholic and amounts to very little, as all their inventions do. If Nunez de la Vega was so anxious to establish an affiliation between the Mexicans and the biblical sun- and serpent-worshippers, why did he not show another and a better similarity between them without tracing in the Ninevites and the Tzendales the hoof and horn of the Christian Devil?
And to begin with, he might have pointed to the Chronicles of Fuentes, of the kingdom of Guatemala, and to the Manuscript of Don Juan Torres, the grandson of the last king of the Quiches. This document, which is said to have been in the possession of the lieutenant-general appointed by Pedro de Alvarado, states that the Toltecas themselves descended from the house of Israel, who were released by Moses, and who, after crossing the Red Sea, fell into idolatry. After that, having separated themselves from their companions, and under the guidance of a chief named Tanub, they set out wandering, and from one continent to another they came to a place named the Seven Caverns, in the Kingdom of Mexico, where they founded the famous town of Tula, etc.(1)
If this statement has never obtained more credit than it has, it is simply due to the fact that it passed through the hands of Father Francis Vasques, historian of the Order of San Francis, and this circumstance,
(1) See Stephens: "Travels in Central America," etc.
to use the expression employed by des Mousseaux in connection with the work of the poor, unfrocked Abbe Huc, "is not calculated to strengthen our confidence." But there is another point as important, if not more so, as it seems to have escaped falsification by the zealous Catholic padres, and rests chiefly on Indian tradition. A famous Toltecan king, whose name is mixed up in the weird legends of Utatlan, the ruined capital of the great Indian kingdom, bore the biblical appellation of Balam Acan; the first name being preeminently Chaldean, and reminding one immediately of Balaam and his human-voiced ass. Besides the statement of Lord Kingsborough, who found such a striking similarity between the language of the Aztecs (the mother tongue) and the Hebrew, many of the figures on the bas-reliefs of Palenque and idols in terra cotta, exhumed in Santa Cruz del Quiche, have on their heads bandelets with a square protuberance on them, in front of the forehead, very similar to the phylacteries worn by the Hebrew Pharisees of old, while at prayers, and even by devotees of the present day, particularly the Jews of Poland and Russia. But as this may be but a fancy of ours, after all, we will not insist on the details.
Upon the testimony of the ancients, corroborated by modern discoveries, we know that there were numerous catacombs in Egypt and Chaldea, some of them of a very vast extent. The most renowned of them were the subterranean crypts of Thebes and Memphis. The former, beginning on the western side of the Nile, extended toward the Libyan desert, and were known as the Serpent's catacombs, or passages. It was there that were performed the sacred mysteries of the kuklos anagkes, the "Unavoidable Cycle," more generally known as the "circle of necessity"; the inexorable doom imposed upon every soul after the bodily death, and when it had been judged in the Amenthian region.
In de Bourbourg's book, Votan, the Mexican demi-god, in narrating his expedition, describes a subterranean passage, which ran underground, and terminated at the root of the heavens, adding that this passage was a snake's hole, "un agujero de culebra"; and that he was admitted to it because he was himself "a son of the snakes," or a serpent.(1)
This is, indeed, very suggestive; for his description of the snake's hole is that of the ancient Egyptian crypt, as above mentioned. The hierophants, moreover, of Egypt, as of Babylon, generally styled themselves the "Sons of the Serpent-god," or "Sons of the Dragon"; not because -- as des Mousseaux would have his readers believe -- they were the progeny of Satan-incubus, the old serpent of Eden, but because, in the Mysteries, the serpent was the symbol of WISDOM and immortality.
(1) "Cartas," 53, 7-62.
"The Assyrian priest bore always the name of his god," says Movers.(1) The Druids of the Celto-Britannic regions also called themselves snakes. "I am a Serpent, I am a Druid!" they exclaimed. The Egyptian Karnak is twin-brother to the Carnac of Bretagne, the latter Carnac meaning the serpent's mount. The Dracontia once covered the surface of the globe, and these temples were sacred to the dragon, only because it was the symbol of the sun, which, in its turn, was the symbol of the highest god -- the Phoenician Elon or Elion, whom Abraham recognized as El Elion.(2) Besides the surname of serpents, they were called the "builders," the "architects"; for the immense grandeur of their temples and monuments was such, that even now the pulverized remains of them "frighten the mathematical calculations of our modern engineers," says Taliesin.(3)
De Bourbourg hints that the chiefs of the name of Votan, the Quetzo-Cohuatl, or serpent deity of the Mexicans, are the descendants of Ham and Canaan. "I am Hivim," they say. "Being a Hivim, I am of the great race of the Dragon (snake). I am a snake myself, for I am a Hivim."(4) And des Mousseaux, rejoicing because he believes himself fairly on the serpent's, or rather, devil's trail, hurries to explain: "According to the most learned commentators of our sacred books, the Chivim or Hivim, or Hevites, descend from Heth, son of Canaan, son of Ham . . . the accursed!"(4)(1)
But modern research has demonstrated, on unimpeachable evidence, that the whole genealogical table of the tenth chapter of Genesis refers to imaginary heroes, and that the closing verses of the ninth are little better than a bit of Chaldean allegory of Sisuthrus and the mythical flood, compiled and arranged to fit the Noachian frame. But, suppose the descendants of these Canaanites, "the accursed," were to resent for once the unmerited outrage? It would be an easy matter for them to reverse the tables, and answer to this fling, based on a fable, by a fact proved by archaeologists and symbologists -- namely, that Seth, Adam's third son, and the forefather of all Israel, the ancestor of Noah, and the progenitor of the "chosen people," is but Hermes, the god of wisdom, called also Thoth, Tat, Seth, Set, and Sat-an; and that he was, furthermore, when viewed under his bad aspect, Typhon, the Egyptian Satan, who was also Set. For the Jewish people, whose well-educated men, no more than Philo, or Josephus, the historian, regard their Mosaic books
(1) "Die Phonizier," 70.
(2) See Sanchoniaton in "Eusebius," Pr. Ev. 36; Genesis xiv.
(3) "Archaeological Society of the Antiquaries of London," vol. xxv., p. 220.
(4) "Cartas," 51.
(5) "Hauts Phenomenes de la Magie," 50.
as otherwise than an allegory, such a discovery amounts to but little. But for Christians, who, like des Mousseaux, very unwisely accept the Bible narratives as literal history, the case stands very different.
As far as affiliation goes, we agree with this pious writer; and we feel every day as certain that some of the peoples of Central America will be traced back to the Phoenicians and the Mosaic Israelites, as we do that the latter will be proved to have as persistently stuck to the same idolatry -- if idolatry there is -- of the sun and serpent-worship, as the Mexicans. There is evidence -- biblical evidence -- that two of Jacob's sons, Levi and Dan, as well as Judah, married Canaanite women, and followed the worship of their wives. Of course, every Christian will protest, but the proof may be found even in the translated Bible, pruned as it now stands. The dying Jacob thus describes his sons: "Dan," says he, "shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse-heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. . . . I have waited for thy salvation, 0 Lord!" Of Simeon and Levi, the patriarch (or Israel) remarks that they ". . . are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly."(1) Now, in the original, the words "their secret," read -- their SOD.(2) And Sod was the name for the great Mysteries of Baal, Adonis, and Bacchus who were all sun-gods and had serpents for symbols. The kabalists explain the allegory of the fiery serpents by saying, that this was the name given to the tribe of Levi, to all the Levites in short, and that Moses was the chief of the Sodales.(3) And here is the moment to prove our statements.
Moses is mentioned by several old historians as an Egyptian priest; Manetho says he was a hierophant of Hieropolis, and a priest of the sun-god Osiris, and that his name was Osarsiph. Those moderns, who accept it as a fact that he "was learned in all the wisdom" of the Egyptians, must also submit to the right interpretation of the word wisdom, which was throughout the world known as a synonym of initiation
(1) Genesis xlix.
(2) Dunlap, in his introduction to "SOD, the Mysteries of Adonis," explains the word "Sod," as Arcanum; religious mystery on the authority of Shindler's "Penteglott" (1201). "The SECRET of the Lord is with them that fear Him," says Psalm xxv, 14. This is a mistranslation of the Christians, for it ought to read "Sod Ihoh (the mysteries of Iohoh) are for those who fear Him" (Dunlap: "Mysteries of Adonis," xi.). "Al (El) is terrible in the great Sod of the Kedeshim (the priests, the holy, the Initiated), Psalm lxxxix. 7" (Ibid.).
(4) "The members of the priest-colleges were called Sodales," says Freund's "Latin Lexicon" (iv. 448). "SODALITIES were constituted in the Idaean Mysteries of the MIGHTY MOTHER," writes Cicero ("De Senectute," 13); Dunlap: "Mysteries of Adonis."
into the secret mysteries of the Magi. Did the idea never strike the reader of the Bible, that an alien born and brought up in a foreign country could not and would not possibly have been admitted -- we will not say to the final initiation, the grandest mystery of all, but even to share the knowledge of the minor priesthood, those who belonged to the lesser mysteries? In Genesis xliii. 32, we read, that no Egyptian could seat himself to eat bread with the brothers of Joseph, "for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians." But that the Egyptians ate "with him (Joseph) by themselves." The above proves two things: 1, that Joseph, whatever he was in his heart, had, in appearance at least, changed his religion, married the daughter of a priest of the "idolatrous" nation, and become himself an Egyptian; otherwise, the natives would not have eaten bread with him. And 2, that subsequently Moses, if not an Egyptian by birth, became one through being admitted into the priesthood, and thus was a SODALE. As an induction, the narrative of the "brazen serpent" (the Caduceus of Mercury or Asclepios, the son of the sun-god Apollo-Python) becomes logical and natural. We must bear in mind that Pharaoh's daughter, who saved Moses and adopted him, is called by Josephus Thermuthis; and the latter, according to Wilkinson, is the name of the asp sacred to Isis;(1) moreover, Moses is said to descend from the tribe of Levi. We will explain the kabalistic ideas as to the books of Moses and the great prophet himself more fully in Volume II.
If Brasseur de Bourbourg and the Chevalier des Mousseaux, had so much at heart to trace the identity of the Mexicans with the Canaanites, they might have found far better and weightier proofs than by showing both the "accursed" descendants of Ham. For instance, they might have pointed to the Nargal, the Chaldean and Assyrian chief of the Magi (Rab-Mag) and the Nagal, the chief sorcerer of the Mexican Indians. Both derive their names from Nergal-Sarezer, the Assyrian god, and both have the same faculties, or powers to have an attendant daemon with whom they identify themselves completely. The Chaldean and Assyrian Nargal kept his daemon, in the shape of some animal considered sacred, inside the temple; the Indian Nagal keeps his wherever he can -- in the neighboring lake, or wood, or in the house, under the shape of a house-hold animal.(2)
We find the Catholic World, newspaper, in a recent number, bitterly complaining that the old Pagan element of the aboriginal inhabitants of America does not seem to be utterly dead in the United States. Even
(1) See Wilkinson: "Ancient Egyptians," vol. v., p. 65.
(2) Brasseur de Bourbourg: "Mexique," pp. 135-574.
where tribes have been for long years under the care of Christian teachers, heathen rites are practiced in secret, and crypto-paganism, or nagualism, flourishes now, as in the days of Montezuma. It says: "Nagualism and voodoo-worship" -- as it calls these two strange sects -- "are direct devil-worship. A report addressed to the Cortes in 1812, by Don Pedro Baptista Pino, says: 'All the pueblos have their artufas -- so the natives call subterranean rooms with only a single door, where they assemble to perform their feasts, and hold meetings. These are impenetrable temples . . . and the doors are always closed on the Spaniards.
" 'All these pueblos, in spite of the sway which religion has had over them, cannot forget a part of the beliefs which have been transmitted to them, and which they are careful to transmit to their descendants. Hence come the adoration they render the sun and moon, and other heavenly bodies, the respect they entertain for fire, etc.
" 'The pueblo chiefs seem to be at the same time priests; they perform various simple rites, by which the power of the sun and of Montezuma is recognized, as well as the power (according to some accounts) of the Great Snake, to whom, by order of Montezuma, they are to look for life. They also officiate in certain ceremonies with which they pray for rain. There are painted representations of the Great Snake, together with that of a misshapen, red-haired man, declared to stand for Montezuma. Of this last there was also, in the year 1845, in the pueblo of Laguna, a rude effigy or idol, intended, apparently, to represent only the head of the deity.' "(1)
The perfect identity of the rites, ceremonies, traditions, and even the names of the deities, among the Mexicans and ancient Babylonians and Egyptians, are a sufficient proof of South America being peopled by a colony which mysteriously found its way across the Atlantic. When? at what period? History is silent on that point; but those who consider that there is no tradition, sanctified by ages, without a certain sediment of truth at the bottom of it, believe in the Atlantis-legend. There are, scattered throughout the world, a handful of thoughtful and solitary students, who pass their lives in obscurity, far from the rumors of the world, studying the great problems of the physical and spiritual universes. They have their secret records in which are preserved the fruits of the scholastic labors of the long line of recluses whose successors they are. The knowledge of their early ancestors, the sages of India, Babylonia, Nineveh, and the imperial Thebes; the legends and traditions commented upon by the masters of Solon, Pythagoras, and Plato, in the
(1) "Catholic World," N. Y., January, 1877: Article Nagualism, Voodooism, etc.
marble halls of Heliopolis and Sais; traditions which, in their days, already seemed to hardly glimmer from behind the foggy curtain of the past; -- all this, and much more, is recorded on indestructible parchment, and passed with jealous care from one adept to another. These men believe the story of the Atlantis to be no fable, but maintain that at different epochs of the past huge islands, and even continents, existed where now there is but a wild waste of waters. In those submerged temples and libraries the archaeologist would find, could he but explore them, the materials for filling all the gaps that now exist in what we imagine is history. They say that at a remote epoch a traveller could traverse what is now the Atlantic Ocean, almost the entire distance by land, crossing in boats from one island to another, where narrow straits then existed.
Our suspicion as to the relationship of the cis-Atlantic and trans-Atlantic races is strengthened upon reading about the wonders wrought by Quetzo-Cohuatl, the Mexican magician. His wand must be closely-related to the traditional sapphire-stick of Moses, the stick which bloomed in the garden of Raguel-Jethro, his father-in-law, and upon which was engraved the ineffable name. The "four men" described as the real four ancestors of the human race, "who were neither begotten by the gods, nor born of woman," but whose "creation was a wonder wrought by the Creator," and who were made after three attempts at manufacturing men had failed, equally present some striking points of similarity with the esoteric explanations of the Hermetists;(1) they also undeniably recall the four sons of God of the Egyptian theogony. Moreover, as any one may infer, the resemblance of this myth to the narrative related in Genesis, will be apparent to even a superficial observer. These four ancestors "could reason and speak, their sight was unlimited, and they knew all things at once."(2) When "they had rendered thanks to their Creator for their existence, the gods were frightened, and they breathed a cloud over the eyes of men that they might see a certain distance only, and not be like the gods themselves." This bears directly upon the sentence in Genesis, "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life," etc. Then, again, "While they were asleep God gave them wives," etc.
(1) In "Hesiod," Zeus creates his third race of men out of ash-trees. In "Popol-Vuh," we are told the third race of men is created out of the tree "tzite," and women are made from the marrow of a reed which was called "sibac." This also is a strange coincidence.
(2) "Popol-Vuh," reviewed by Max Muller.
We disclaim the least intention to disrespectfully suggest ideas to those who are so wise as to need no hint. But we must bear in mind that authentic treatises upon ancient magic of the Chaldean and Egyptian lore are not scattered about in public libraries, and at auction sales. That such exist is nevertheless a fact for many students of the arcane philosophy. Is it not of the greatest importance for every antiquarian to be acquainted at least superficially with their contents? "The four ancestors of the race," adds Max Muller, "seem to have had a long life, and when at last they came to die, they disappeared in a mysterious manner, and left to their sons what is called the hidden majesty, which was never to be opened by human hands. What it was we do not know."
If there is no relationship between this hidden majesty and the hidden glory of the Chaldean Kabala, which we are told was left behind him by Enoch when he was translated in such a mysterious way, then we must discredit all circumstantial evidence. But is it not barely possible that these "four ancestors" of the Quiche race typify in their esoteric sense the four successive progenitors of men, mentioned in Genesis i., ii., and vi.? In the first chapter, the first man is bi-sexual -- "male and female created he them" -- and answers to the hermaphrodite deities of the subsequent mythologies; the second, Adam, made out of "the dust of the ground" and uni-sexual and answering to the "sons of God" of chapter vi.; the third, the giants, or nephilim, who are only hinted at in the Bible, but fully explained elsewhere; the fourth, the parents of men "whose daughters were fair."
Taking the admitted facts that the Mexicans had their magicians from the remote periods; that the same remark applies to all the ancient religions of the world; that a strong resemblance prevails not only in the forms of their ceremonial worship, but also in the very names used to designate certain magical implements; and finally that all other clews, in accordance with scientific deductions, have failed (some because swallowed up in the bottomless pit of coincidences), why should we not turn to the great authorities upon magic, and see whether, under this "aftergrowth of fantastic nonsense," there may not be a deep substratum of truth? Here we are not willing to be misunderstood. We do not send the scientists to the Kabala and the Hermetic books to study magic, but to the authorities on magic to discover materials for history and science. We have no idea of incurring the wrathful denunciations of the Academicians, by an indiscretion like that of poor des Mousseaux, when he tried to force them to read his demonological Memoire and investigate the Devil.
The History of Bernal Diaz de Castilla, a follower of Cortez, gives us some idea of the extraordinary refinement and intelligence of the
people whom they conquered; but the descriptions are too long to be inserted here. Suffice it to say, that the Aztecs appeared in more than one way to have resembled the ancient Egyptians in civilization and refinement. Among both peoples magic or the arcane natural philosophy was cultivated to the highest degree. Add to this that Greece, the "later cradle of the arts and sciences," and India, cradle of religions, were and are still devoted to its study and practice -- and who shall venture to discredit its dignity as a study, and its profundity as a science?
There never was, nor can there be more than one universal religion; for there can be but one truth concerning God. Like an immense chain whose upper end, the alpha, remains invisibly emanating from a Deity -- in statu abscondito with every primitive theology -- it encircles our globe in every direction; it leaves not even the darkest corner unvisited, before the other end, the omega, turns back on its way to be again received where it first emanated. On this divine chain was strung the exoteric symbology of every people. Their variety of form is powerless to affect their substance, and under their diverse ideal types of the universe of matter, symbolizing its vivifying principles, the uncorrupted immaterial image of the spirit of being guiding them is the same.
So far as human intellect can go in the ideal interpretation of the spiritual universe, its laws and powers, the last word was pronounced ages since; and, if the ideas of Plato can be simplified for the sake of easier comprehension, the spirit of their substance can neither be altered, nor removed without material damage to the truth. Let human brains submit themselves to torture for thousands of years to come; let theology perplex faith and mime it with the enforcing of incomprehensible dogmas in metaphysics; and science strengthen skepticism, by pulling down the tottering remains of spiritual intuition in mankind, with her demonstrations of its fallibility, eternal truth can never be destroyed. We find its last possible expression in our human language in the Persian Logos, the Honover, or the living manifested Word of God. The Zoroastrian Enoch-Verihe is identical with the Jewish "I am"; and the "Great Spirit" of the poor, untutored Indian, is the manifested Brahma of the Hindu philosopher. One of the latter, Tcharaka, a Hindu physician, who is said to have lived 5,000 years B.C., in his treatise on the origin of things, called Usa, thus beautifully expresses himself: "Our Earth is, like all the luminous bodies that surround us, one of the atoms of the immense Whole of which we show a slight conception by terming it -- the Infinite."
"There is but one light, and there is but one darkness," says a Siamese proverb. Daemon est Deus inversus, the Devil is the shadow of God, states the universal kabalistic axiom. Could light exist but for
primeval darkness? And did not the brilliant, sunny universe first stretch its infant arms from the swaddling bands of dark and dreary chaos? If the Christian "fulness of Him that filleth all in all" is a revelation, then we must admit that, if there is a devil, he must be included in this fulness, and be a part of that which "filleth all in all." From time immemorial the justification of the Deity, and His separation from the existing evil was attempted, and the object was reached by the old Oriental philosophy in the foundation of the theodike; but their metaphysical views on the fallen spirit, have never been disfigured by the creation of an anthropomorphic personality of the Devil as was done subsequently by the leading lights of Christian theology. A personal fiend, who opposes the Deity, and impedes progress on its way to perfection, is to be sought only on earth amid humanity, not in heaven.
Thus is it that all the religious monuments of old, in whatever land or under whatever climate, are the expression of the same identical thoughts, the key to which is in the esoteric doctrine. It would be vain, without studying the latter, to seek to unriddle the mysteries enshrouded for centuries in the temples and ruins of Egypt and Assyria, or those of Central America, British Columbia, and the Nagkon-Wat of Cambodia. If each of these was built by a different nation; and neither nation had had intercourse with the others for ages, it is also certain that all were planned and built under the direct supervision of the priests. And the clergy of every nation, though practicing rites and ceremonies which may have differed externally, had evidently been initiated into the same traditional mysteries which were taught all over the world.
In order to institute a better comparison between the specimens of prehistoric architecture to be found at the most opposite points of the globe, we have but to point to the grandiose Hindu ruins of Ellora in the Dekkan, the Mexican Chichen-Itza, in Yucatan, and the still grander ruins of Copan, in Guatemala. They present such features of resemblance that it seems impossible to escape the conviction that they were built by peoples moved by the same religious ideas, and that had reached an equal level of highest civilization in arts and sciences.
There is not, perhaps, on the face of the whole globe, a more imposing mass of ruins than Nagkon-Wat, the wonder and puzzle of European archeologists who venture into Siam. And when we say ruins, the expression is hardly correct; for nowhere are there buildings of such tremendous antiquity to be found in a better state of preservation than Nagkon-Wat, and the ruins of Angkorthom, the great temple.
Hidden far away in the province of Siamrap -- eastern Siam -- in the midst of a most luxuriant tropical vegetation, surrounded by almost impenetrable forests of palms, cocoa-trees, and betel-nut, "the general ap-
pearance of the wonderful temple is beautiful and romantic, as well as impressive and grand," says Mr. Vincent, a recent traveller.(1) "We whose good fortune it is to live in the nineteenth century, are accustomed to boast of the perfection and preeminence of our modern civilization; of the grandeur of our attainments in science, art, literature, and what not, as compared with those whom we call ancients; but still we are compelled to admit that they have far excelled our recent endeavors in many things, and notably in the fine arts of painting, architecture, and sculpture. We were but just looking upon a most wonderful example of the two latter, for in style and beauty of architecture, solidity of construction, and magnificent and elaborate carving and sculpture, the Great Nagkon-Wat has no superior, certainly no rival standing at the present day. The first view of the ruins is overwhelming."
Thus the opinion of another traveller is added to that of many preceding ones, including archeologists and other competent critics, who have believed that the ruins of the past Egyptian splendor deserve no higher eulogium than Nagkon-Wat.
According to our plan, we will allow more impartial critics than ourselves to describe the place, since, in a work professedly devoted to a vindication of the ancients, the testimony of so enthusiastic an advocate as the present writer may be questioned. We have, nevertheless, seen Nagkon-Wat under exceptionally favorable circumstances, and can, therefore, certify to the general correctness of Mr. Vincent's description. He says:
"We entered upon an immense causeway, the stairs of which were flanked with six huge griffins, each carved from a single block of stone. The causeway is . . . 725 feet in length, and is paved with stones each of which measures four feet in length by two in breadth. On either side of it are artificial lakes fed by springs, and each covering about five acres of ground. . . . The outer wall of Nagkon-Wat (the city of monasteries) is half a mile square, with gateways . . . which are handsomely carved with figures of gods and dragons. The foundations are ten feet in height. . . . The entire edifice, including the roof, is of stone, but without cement, and so closely fitting are the joints as even now to be scarcely discernible. . . . The shape of the building is oblong, being 796 feet in length, and 588 in width, while the highest central pagoda rises some 250 odd feet above the ground, and four others, at the angles of the court, are each about 150 feet in height."
The above underscored lines are suggestive to travellers who have remarked and admired the same wonderful mason-work in the Egyptian
(1) Frank Vincent, Jun.: "The Land of the White Elephant," p. 209.
remains. If the same workmen did not lay the courses in both countries we must at least think that the secret of this matchless wall-building was equally known to the architects of every land.
"Passing, we ascend a platform . . . and enter the temple itself through a columned portico, the facade of which is beautifully carved in basso-relievo with ancient mythological subjects. From this doorway, on either side, runs a corridor with a double row of columns, cut -- base and capital -- from single blocks, with a double, oval-shaped roof, covered with carving and consecutive sculptures upon the outer wall. This gallery of sculptures, which forms the exterior of the temple, consists of over half a mile of continuous pictures, cut in basso-relievo upon sandstone slabs six feet in width, and represents subjects taken from Hindu mythology, from the Ramayana -- the Sanscrit epic poem of India, with its 25,000 verses describing the exploits of the god Rama, and the son of the King of Oudh. The contests of the King of Ceylon, and Hanouma,(1) the monkey-god, are graphically represented. There is no keystone used in the arch of this corridor. On the walls are sculptured the immense number of 100,000 separate figures. One picture from the Ramayana . . . occupies 240 feet of the wall. . . . In the Nagkon-Wat as many as 1,532 solid columns have been counted, and among the entire ruins of Angkor . . . the immense number of 6,000, almost all of them hewn from single blocks and artistically carved. . . .
"But who built Nagkon-Wat? and when was it built? Learned men have attempted to form opinions from studies of its construction, and especially ornamentation," and have failed. "Native Cambodian his-
(1) The Hanouma is over three feet tall, and black as a coal. The Ramayana, giving the biography of this sacred monkey, relates that Hanouma was formerly a powerful chieftain, who being the greatest friend of Rama, helped him to find his wife, Sitha, who had been carried off to Ceylon by Ravana, the mighty king of the giants. After numerous adventures Hanouma was caught by the latter, while visiting the city of the giant as Rama's spy. For this crime Ravana had the poor Hanouma's tail oiled and set on fire, and it was in extinguishing it that the monkey-god became so black in the face that neither himself nor his posterity could ever get rid of the color. If we have to believe Hindu legends this same Hanouma was the progenitor of the Europeans; a tradition which, though strictly Darwinian, hence, scientific, is by no means flattering to us. The legend states that for services rendered, Rama, the hero and demi-god, gave in marriage to the monkey-warriors of his army the daughters of the giants of Ceylon -- the Rakshasas -- and granted them, moreover, as a dowry, all western parts of the world. Repairing thence, the monkeys and their giant-wives lived happily and had a number of descendants. The latter are the present Europeans. Dravidian words are found in Western Europe, indicating that there was an original unity of race and language between the populations. May it not be a hint that the traditions are akin, of elfin and kobold races in Europe, and monkeys, actually cognate with them in Hindustan?
torians," adds Vincent, "reckon 2,400 from the building of the temple. . . . I asked one of them how long Nagkon-Wat had been built. . . . 'None can tell when. . . . I do not know; it must have either sprung up from the ground or been built by giants, or perhaps by the angels' . . . was the answer."
When Stephens asked the native Indians "Who built Copan? . . . what nation traced the hieroglyphic designs, sculptured these elegant figures and carvings, these emblematical designs?" the dull answer he received was "Quien sabe?" -- who knows! "All is mystery; dark, impenetrable mystery," writes Stephens. "In Egypt, the colossal skeletons of gigantic temples stand in all the nakedness of desolation. Here, an immense forest shrouded the ruins, hiding them from sight."(1)
But there are perhaps many circumstances, trifling for archaeologists unacquainted with the "idle and fanciful" legends of old, hence overlooked; otherwise the discovery might have sent them on a new train of thought. One is the invariable presence in the Egyptian, Mexican, and Siamese ruined temples, of the monkey. The Egyptian cynocephalus assumes the same postures as the Hindu and Siamese Hanouma; and among the sculptured fragments of Copan, Stephens found the remains of colossal apes or baboons, "strongly resembling in outline and appearance the four monstrous animals which once stood in front, attached to the base of the obelisk of Luxor, now in Paris,(2) and which, under the name of the cynocephali, were worshipped at Thebes." In almost every Buddhist temple there are idols of huge monkeys kept, and some people have in their houses white monkeys on purpose "to keep bad spirits away."
"Was civilization," writes Louis de Carne,(3) "in the complex meaning we give that word, in keeping among the ancient Cambodians with what such prodigies of architecture seem to indicate? The age of Pheidias was that of Sophocles, Socrates, and Plato; Michael Angelo and Raphael succeeded Dante. There are luminous epochs during which the human mind, developing itself in every direction, triumphs in all, and creates masterpieces which spring from the same inspiration." "Nagkon-Wat," concludes Vincent, "must be ascribed to other than ancient Cambodians. But to whom? . . . There exist no credible traditions; all is absurd fable or legend."
The latter sentence has become of late a sort of cant phrase in the mouths of travellers and archaeologists. When they have found that
(1) "Incidents of Travels in Central America, etc.," vol. i., p. 105.
(2) They stand no more, for the obelisk alone was removed to Paris.
(3) See "The Land of the White Elephant," p. 221.
no clew is attainable unless it can be found in popular legends, they turn away discouraged, and a final verdict is withheld. At the same time Vincent quotes a writer who remarks that these ruins "are as imposing as the ruins of Thebes, or Memphis, but more mysterious." Mouhot thinks they were erected "by some ancient Michael Angelo," and adds that Nagkon-Wat "is grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome." Furthermore Mouhot ascribes the building again to some of the lost tribes of Israel, and is corroborated in that opinion by Miche, the French Bishop of Cambodia, who confesses that he is struck "by the Hebrew character of the faces of many of the savage Stiens." Henri Mouhot believes that, "without exaggeration, the oldest parts of Angkor may be fixed at more than 2,000 years ago." This, then, in comparison with the pyramids, would make them quite modern; the date is the more incredible, because the pictures on the walls may be proved to belong to those archaic ages when Poseidon and the Kabeiri were worshipped throughout the continent. Had Nagkon-Wat been built, as Dr. Adolf Bastian(1) will have it, "for the reception of the learned patriarch, Buddhagosa, who brought the holy books of the Trai-Pidok from Ceylon; or, as Bishop Pallegoix, who "refers the erection of this edifice to the reign of Phra Pathum Suriving," when "the sacred books of the Buddhists were brought from Ceylon, and Buddhism became the religion of the Cambodians," how is it possible to account for the following?
"We see in this same temple carved images of Buddha, four, and even thirty-two-armed, and two and sixteen-headed gods, the Indian Vishnu, gods with wings, Burmese heads, Hindu figures, and Ceylon mythology. . . . You see warriors riding upon elephants and in chariots, foot soldiers with shield and spear, boats, tigers, griffins . . . serpents, fishes, crocodiles, bullocks . . . soldiers of immense physical development, with helmets, and some people with beards -- probably Moors. The figures," adds Mr. Vincent, "stand somewhat like those on the great Egyptian monuments, the side partly turned toward the front . . . and I noticed, besides, five horsemen, armed with spear and sword, riding abreast, like those seen upon the Assyrian tablets in the British Museum."(2)
For our part, we may add, that there are on the walls several repetitions of Dagon, the man-fish of the Babylonians, and of the Kabeirian gods of Samothrace. This may have escaped the notice of the few archaeologists who examined the place; but upon stricter inspection they will be found there, as well as the reputed father of the Kabeiri -- Vulcan, with his bolts and implements, having near him a king with a sceptre in
(1) The President of the Royal Geographical Society of Berlin.
(2) "The Land of the White Elephant," p. 215.
his hand, which is the counterpart of that of Cheronaea, or the "sceptre of Agamemnon," so-called, said to have been presented to him by the lame god of Lemnos. In another place we find Vulcan, recognizable by his hammer and pincers, but under the shape of a monkey, as usually represented by the Egyptians.
Now, if Nagkon-Wat is essentially a Buddhist temple, how comes it to have on its walls basso-relievos of completely an Assyrian character; and Kabeirian gods which, though universally worshipped as the most ancient of the Asiatic mystery-gods, had already been abandoned 200 years B.C., and the Samothracian mysteries themselves completely altered? Whence the popular tradition concerning the Prince of Roma among the Cambodians, a personage mentioned by all the native historians, who attribute to him the foundation of the temple? Is it not barely possible that even the Ramayana, itself, the famous epic poem, is but the original of Homer's Iliad, as it was suggested some years ago? The beautiful Paris, carrying off Helen, looks very much like Ravana, king of the giants, eloping with Sita, Rama's wife? The Trojan war is a counterpart of the Ramayana war; moreover, Herodotus assures us that the Trojan heroes and gods date in Greece only from the days of the Iliad. In such a case even Hanouma, the monkey-god, would be but Vulcan in disguise; the more so that the Cambodian tradition makes the founder of Angkor come from Roma, which they place at the western end of the world, and that the Hindu Roma also apportions the west to the descendants of Hanouma.
Hypothetical as the suggestion may now seem, it is worthy of consideration, if even for the sake of being refuted. The Abbe Jaquenet, a Catholic missionary in Cochin China, ever ready to connect the least glimmer of historical light with that of Christian revelation, writes, "Whether we consider the commercial relations of the Jews . . . when, in the height of their power, the combined fleets of Hiram and Solomon went to seek the treasures of Ophir, or whether we come lower down, to the dispersion of the ten tribes who, instead of returning from captivity, set out from the banks of the Euphrates, and reached the shores of the ocean . . . the shining of the light of revelation in the far East is not the less incontestable."
It looks certainly "incontestable" enough if we reverse the position and admit that all the light that ever shone on the Israelites came to them from this "far East," passing first through the Chaldeans and Egyptians. The first thing to settle, is to find out who were the Israelites themselves; and that is the most vital question. Many historians seem to claim, with good reason, that the Jews were similar or identical with the ancient Phoenicians, but the Phoenicians were beyond any doubt an
AEthiopian race; moreover, the present race of Punjaub are hybridized with the Asiatic AEthiopians. Herodotus traces the Hebrews to the Persian Gulf; and south of that place were the Himyarites (the Arabians); beyond, the early Chaldeans and Susinians, the great builders. This seems to establish pretty well their AEthiopian affinity. Megasthenes says that the Jews were an Indian sect called Kalani, and their theology resembled that of the Indians. Other authors also suspect that the colonized Jews or the Judeans were the Yadus from Afghanistan -- the old India.(1) Eusebius tells us that "the AEthiopians came from the river Indus and settled near Egypt." More research may show that the Tamil Hindus, who are accused by the missionaries of worshipping the Devil -- Kutti-Sattan -- only honor, after all, Seth or Satan, worshipped by the biblical Hittites.
But if the Jews were in the twilight of history the Phoenicians, the latter may be traced themselves to the nations who used the old Sanscrit language. Carthage was a Phoenician city, hence its name; for Tyre was equally Kartha. In the Bible the words Kir, Kirjath are frequently found. Their tutelar god was styled Mel-Kartha (Mel, Baal), or tutelar lord of the city. In Sanscrit a city or communal was a cul and its lord was Heri.(2) Her-culeus is therefore the translation of Melkarth and Sanscrit in origin. Moreover all the Cyclopean races were Phoenicians. In the Odyssey the Kuklopes (Cyclops) are the Libyan shepherds; and Herodotus describes them as miners and great builders. They are the ancient Titans or giants, who in Hesiod forge bolts for Zeus. They are the biblical Zamzummim from the land of the giants, the Anakim.
Now it is easy to see that the excavators of Ellora, the builders of the old Pagodas, the architects of Copan and of the ruins of Central America, those of Nagkon-Wat, and those of the Egyptian remains were, if not of the same race, at least of the same religion -- the one taught in the oldest Mysteries. Besides, the figures on the walls of Angkor are purely archaic, and have nothing to do with the images and idols of Buddha, who may be of a far later origin. "What gives a peculiar interest to this section," says Dr. Bastian, "is the fact that the artist has represented the different nationalities in all their distinctive characteristic features, from the flat-nosed savage in the tasselled garb of the Pnom and the short-haired Lao, to the straight-nosed Rajaput, with sword and shield, and the bearded
(1) The Phoenician Dido is the feminine of David . Under the name of Astarte, she led the Phoenician colonies, and her image was on the prow of their ships. But David and Saul are names belonging to Afghanistan also.
(2) (Prof. A. Wilder.) This archaeologist says: "I regard the AEthiopian, Cushite and Hamitic races as the building and artistic race who worshipped Baal (Siva), or Bel -- made temples, grottos, pyramids, and used a language of peculiar type. Rawlinson derives that language from the Turanians in Hindustan."
Moor, giving a catalogue of nationalities, like another column of Trajan, in the predominant physical conformation of each race. On the whole, there is such a prevalence of Hellenic cast in features and profiles, as well as in the elegant attitude of the horsemen, that one might suppose Xenocrates of old, after finishing his labors in Bombay, had made an excursion to the East."
Therefore, if we allow the tribes of Israel to have had a hand in the building of Nagkon-Wat, it cannot be as the tribes numbered and sent from the wilderness of Paran in search of the land of Canaan, but as their earlier ancestors, which amounts to the rejection of such tribes, as the casting of a reflection of the Mosaic revelation. And where is the outside historical evidence that such tribes were ever heard of at all, before the compilation of the Old Testament by Ezra? There are archaeologists who strongly regard the twelve tribes as utterly mythical,(1) for there never was a tribe of Simeon, and that of Levi was a caste. There still remains the same problem to solve -- whether the Judaeans had ever been in Palestine before Cyrus. From the sons of Jacob, who had all married Canaanites, except Joseph, whose wife was the daughter of an Egyptian Priest of the Sun, down to the legendary Book of Judges there was an acknowledged general intermarrying between the said tribes and the idolatrous races: "And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites; and they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods," says the third chapter of Judges, " . . . and the children of Israel forgat their God and served Baalim, and the groves." This Baal was Moloch, M'lch Karta, or Hercules. He was worshipped wherever the Phoenicians went. How could the Israelites possibly keep together as tribes, while, on the authority of the Bible itself, whole populations were from year to year uprooted violently by Assyrian and other conquerors? "So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day. And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel" (2 Kings, xvii. 23, 24).
If the language of Palestine became in time Semitic, it is because of Assyrian influence; for Phoenicia had become a dependency as early as the days of Hiram, and the Phoenicians evidently changed their language from Hamitic to Semitic. Assyria was "the land of Nimrod" (from Nimr, spotted), and Nimrod was Bacchus, with his spotted leopard-skin. This leopard-skin is a sacred appendage of the "Mysteries"; it was used
(1) Prof. A. Wilder among others.
in the Eleusinian as well as in the Egyptian Mysteries; it is found sculptured on the basso-relievos of Central American ruins, covering the backs of the sacrificers; it is mentioned in the earliest speculations of the Brahmans on the meaning of their sacrificial prayers, the Aytareya Brahmanam.(1) It is used in the Agnishtoma, the initiation rites of the Soma Mystery. When the neophyte is "to be born again," he is covered with a leopard-skin, out of which he emerges as from his mother's womb. The Kabeiri were also Assyrian gods. They had different names; in the common language they were known as Jupiter and Bacchus, and sometimes as Achiochersus, Aschieros, Achiochersa, and Cadmillus; and even the true number of these deities was uncertain with the people. They had other names in the "sacred language," known but to the hierophants and priests; and "it was not lawful to mention them." How is it then that we find them reproduced in their Samothracian "postures" on the walls of Nagkon-Wat? How is it again that we find them pronounced -- albeit slightly disfigured -- as known in that same sacred language, by the populations of Siam, Thibet, and India?
The name Kabeiri may be a derivation from Abir, great; , Ebir, an astrologer, or , Chabir, an associate; and they were worshipped at Hebron, the city of the Anakes -- the giants. The name Abraham, according to Dr. Wilder, has "a very Kabeirian look." The word Heber, or Gheber may be the etymological root of the Hebrews, as applied to Nimrod and the Bible-giants of the sixth chapter of Genesis, but we must seek for their origin far earlier than the days of Moses. The name Phoenician affords its own proof. They are called [Phoinikes] by Manetho, or Ph' Anakes, which shows that the Anakes or Anakim of Canaan, with whom the people of Israel, if not identical in race, had, by intermarriage, become entirely absorbed, were the Phoenicians, or the problematical Hyk-sos, as Manetho has it, and whom Josephus once declared were the direct ancestors of the Israelites. Therefore, it is in this jumble of contradictory opinions, authorities, and historical olla podrida that we must look for a solution of the mystery. So long as the origin of the Hyk-sos is not positively settled we can know nothing certain of the Israelitish people who, either wittingly or otherwise, have mixed up their chronology and origin in such an inextricable tangle. But if the Hyk-sos can be proved to have been the Pali-Shepherds of the Indus, who partially removed to the East, and came over from the nomadic Aryan tribes of India, then, perhaps, it would account for the biblical myths being so mixed up with the Aryan and Asiatic Mystery-gods. As Dunlap says: "The Hebrews came out of Egypt among
(1) See Martin Haug's translation: "The Aytareya Brahmanam."
the Canaanites; they need not be traced beyond the Exodus. That is their historical beginning. It was very easy to cover up this remote event by the recital of mythical traditions, and to prefix to it an account of their origin in which the gods (patriarchs) should figure as their ancestors." But it is not their historical beginning which is the most vital question for the world of science and theology. It is their religious beginning. And if we can trace it through the Hyk-sos -- Phoenicians, the AEthiopian builders and the Chaldeans -- whether it is to the Hindus that the latter owe their learning, or the Brahmans who owe it to the Chaldeans, we have the means in hand to trace every so-called revealed dogmatical assertion in the Bible to its origin, which we have to search for in the twilight of history, and before the separation of the Aryan and Semitic families. And how can we do it better or more surely than through means afforded us by archaeology? Picture-writing can be destroyed, but if it survives it cannot lie; and, if we find the same myths, ideas, and secret symbols on monuments all over the world; and if, moreover, these monuments can be shown to antedate the twelve "chosen" tribes, then we can unerringly show that instead of being a direct divine revelation, it was but an incomplete recollection or tradition among a tribe which had been identified and mixed up for centuries before the apparition of Abraham, with all the three great world-families; namely, the Aryan, Semitic, and Turanian nations, if so they must be called.
The Teraphim of Abram's father, Terah, the "maker of images," were the Kabeiri gods, and we see them worshipped by Micah, by the Danites, and others.(1) Teraphim were identical with the seraphim, and these were serpent-images, the origin of which is in the Sanscrit sarpa (the serpent), a symbol sacred to all the deities as a symbol of immortality. Kiyun, or the god Kivan, worshipped by the Hebrews in the wilderness, is Siva, the Hindu,(2) as well as Saturn.(3) The Greek story shows that Dardanus, the Arcadian, having received them as a dowry, carried them to Samothrace, and from thence to Troy; and they were worshipped far before the days of glory of Tyre or Sidon, though the former had been built 2760 B.C. From where did Dardanus derive them?
It is an easy matter to assign an age to ruins on merely the external evidence of probabilities; it is more difficult to prove it. Meanwhile the rock-works of Ruad, Perytus, Marathos, resemble those of Petra, Baalbek,
(1) Judges xvii-xviii., etc.
(2) The Zendic H is S in India. Thus Hapta is Sapta; Hindu is Sindhaya. (A. Wilder.) " . . . the S continually softens to H from Greece to Calcutta, from the Caucasus to Egypt," says Dunlap. Therefore the letters K, H, and S are interchangeable.
(3) Guignant: "Op. cit.," vol. i., p. 167.
and other AEthiopian works, even externally. On the other hand the assertions of certain archaeologists who find no resemblance between the temples of Central America and those of Egypt and Siam, leave the symbologist, acquainted with the secret language of picture-writing, perfectly unconcerned. He sees the landmarks of one and the same doctrine on all of these monuments, and reads their history and affiliation in signs imperceptible to the uninitiated scientist. There are traditions also; and one of these speaks of the last of the king-initiates -- (who were but rarely admitted to the higher orders of the Eastern Brotherhoods), who reigned in 1670. This king of Siam was the one so ridiculed by the French ambassador, de la Loubere, as a lunatic who had been searching all his life for the philosopher's stone.
One of such mysterious landmarks is found in the peculiar structure of certain arches in the temples. The author of the Land of the White Elephant remarks as curious, "the absence of the keystone in the arches of the building, and the undecipherable inscriptions." In the ruins of Santa Cruz del Quiche an arched corridor was found by Stephens, equally without a keystone. Describing the desolate ruins of Palenque, and remarking that the arches of the corridors were all built on this model, and the ceilings in this form, he supposes that "the builders were evidently ignorant of the principles of the arch, and the support was made by stones lapping over as they rose; as at Ocosingo, and among Cyclopean remains in Greece and Italy."(1) In other buildings, though they belong to the same group, the traveller found the missing keystone, which is a sufficient proof that its omission elsewhere was premeditated.
May we not look for the solution of the mystery in the Masonic manual? The keystone has an esoteric meaning which ought to be, if it is not, well appreciated by high Masons. The most important subterranean building mentioned in the description of the origin of Freemasonry, is the one built by Enoch. The patriarch is led by the Deity, whom he sees in a vision, into the nine vaults. After that, with the assistance of his son, Methuselah, he constructs in the land of Canaan, "in the bowels of the mountain," nine apartments on the models that were shown to him in the vision. Each was roofed with an arch, and the apex of each formed a keystone, having inscribed on it the mirific characters. Each of the latter, furthermore, represented one of the nine names, traced in characters emblematical of the attributes by which the Deity was, according to ancient Freemasonry, known to the antediluvian brethren. Then Enoch constructed two deltas of the purest gold, and tracing two of the mysterious characters on each, he placed one of them in the deepest arch, and
(1) "Incidents of Travel in Central America, etc."
the other entrusted to Methuselah, communicating to him, at the same time, other important secrets now lost to Freemasonry.
And so, among these arcane secrets, now lost to their modern successors, may be found also the fact that the keystones were used in the arches only in certain portions of the temples devoted to special purposes. Another similarity presented by the architectural remains of the religious monuments of every country can be found in the identity of parts, courses, and measurements. All these buildings belong to the age of Hermes Trismegistus, and however comparatively modern or ancient the temple may seem, their mathematical proportions are found to correspond with the Egyptian religious edifices. There is a similar disposition of court-yards, adyta, passages, and steps; hence, despite any dissimilarity in architectural style, it is a warrantable inference that like religious rites were celebrated in all. Says Dr. Stukely, concerning Stonehenge: "This structure was not erected upon any Roman measure, and this is demonstrated by the great number of fractions which the measurement of each part, according to European scales, gives. On the contrary the figures become even, as soon as we apply to it the measurement of the ancient cubit, which was common to the Hebrew children of Shem, as well as to the Phoenicians and Egyptians, children of Ham (?), and imitators of the monuments of unhewn and oracular stones."
The presence of the artificial lakes, and their peculiar disposition on the consecrated grounds, is also a fact of great importance. The lakes inside the precincts of Karnak, and those enclosed in the grounds of Nagkon-Wat, and around the temples in the Mexican Copan and Santa Cruz del Quiche, will be found to present the same peculiarities. Besides possessing other significances the whole area was laid out with reference to cyclic calculations. In the Druidical structures the same sacred and mysterious numbers will be found. The circle of stones generally consists of either twelve, or twenty-one, or thirty-six. In these circles the centre place belongs to Assar, Azon, or the god in the circle, by whatever other name he might have been known. The thirteen Mexican serpent-gods bear a distant relationship to the thirteen stones of the Druidical ruins. The (Tau), and the astronomical cross of Egypt are conspicuous in several apertures of the remains of Palenque. In one of the basso-relievos of the Palace of Palenque, on the west side, sculptured on a hieroglyphic, right under the seated figure, is a Tau. The standing figure, which leans over the first one, is in the act of covering its head with the left hand with the veil of initiation; while it extends its right with the index and middle finger pointing to heaven. The position is precisely that of a Christian bishop giving his blessing, or the one in which Jesus is often represented while at the Last Supper. Even the Hindu
elephant-headed god of wisdom (or magic learning), Ganesha, may be found among the stucco figures of the Mexican ruins.
What explanation can the archaeologists, philologists -- in short, the chosen host of Academicians -- give us? None whatever. At best they have but hypotheses, every one of which is likely to be pulled down by its successor -- a pseudo-truth, perhaps, like the first. The keys to the biblical miracles of old, and to the phenomena of modern days; the problems of psychology, physiology, and the many "missing links" which have so perplexed scientists of late, are all in the hands of secret fraternities. This mystery must be unveiled some day. But till then dark skepticism will constantly interpose its threatening, ugly shadow between God's truths and the spiritual vision of mankind; and many are those who, infected by the mortal epidemic of our century -- hopeless materialism -- will remain in doubt and mortal agony as to whether, when man dies, he will live again, although the question has been solved by long bygone generations of sages. The answers are there. They may be found on the time-worn granite pages of cave-temples, on sphinxes, propylons, and obelisks. They have stood there for untold ages, and neither the rude assault of time, nor the still ruder assault of Christian hands, have succeeded in obliterating their records. All covered with the problems which were solved -- who can tell? perhaps by the archaic forefathers of their builders -- the solution follows each question; and this the Christian could not appropriate, for, except the initiates, no one has understood the mystic writing. The key was in the keeping of those who knew how to commune with the invisible Presence, and who had received, from the lips of mother Nature herself, her grand truths. And so stand these monuments like mute forgotten sentinels on the threshold of that unseen world, whose gates are thrown open but to a few elect.
Defying the hand of Time, the vain inquiry of profane science, the insults of the revealed religions, they will disclose their riddles to none but the legatees of those by whom they were entrusted with the MYSTERY. The cold, stony lips of the once vocal Memnon, and of these hardy sphinxes, keep their secrets well. Who will unseal them? Who of our modern, materialistic dwarfs and unbelieving Sadducees will dare to lift the VEIL OF ISIS?