The Fundamental Principles of Old and New World Civilizations Part 40
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I revert again here to the following landmarks, which may perhaps furnish a useful "working hypothesis" for future investigation. In Mexico the pyramids of Cholula and of Teotihuacan seem to render testimony of the, possibly consecutive, establishment of ideal states amongst tribes "capable of subjection" by Toltecas, or "Master-Builders," who, according to their method, used the building of a great structure, requiring time and united labor, as a means of organizing a new community or colony. It may be that the period of their completion coincided with the establishment of the Calendar system, beginning with the number one.
In my Preliminary Note on the Ancient Mexican Calendar System (Stockholm 1894), I demonstrated how, by reconstructing the Calendar cycles, it was possible to determine exactly when the native system was adopted.
According to my demonstration, which has now stood unchallenged for six years, a fresh year cycle began in 1507 A.D., with the year sign II Acatl and the day 2 c.i.p.actli. For a cycle to be a.s.sociated with the number two it is obvious that it must have been preceded by a cycle ruled by number one, therefore it may be safely inferred that the cycle II Acatl that commenced in 1507 followed a cyclical period of 413=5220=1840 years (p.
32). Accordingly the date when the Mexican system was inst.i.tuted in the form which existed at the time of the Conquest, may be fixed as corresponding to the year 467 of our era.
Considering that the Calendar system was, however, but one part of the machinery of government, was inseparable from the organization of tribes, cla.s.ses and individuals, and that its inst.i.tution signified the foundation of a state, it is remarkable to ascertain that, but 137 years previously, Constantine, in A.D. 330, had inst.i.tuted the empire of New Rome, on precisely the same numerical basis as that of the Mexican Calendar, and divided it into 4 parts or prefectures, each subdivided into 13, yielding a total of 52 prefectures. Moreover, as far back as the inst.i.tution of the Kleisthenean democracy, the Greeks had been familiar with an extremely intricate and close union of calendar and government system, such as existed in Babylonia-a.s.syria and, as I have shown, in ancient Mexico.
It is certainly suggestive that the period of 137 years, which elapsed between the establishment of New Rome on a partly revived and partly amended or remodelled plan, and the foundation of the great democracy of ancient Mexico at the date inferred, is unparalleled in the history of mankind for religious persecutions, carried on in Egypt, Greece and Rome, following upon three centuries marked by the growth and spread of Christianity and the persecution of its followers, the destruction of Jerusalem and the persecution of the Jews. It was in A.D. 379 that Theodosius, the Greek, proclaimed Christianity the religion of his empire and inst.i.tuted a relentless persecution of the Arians and followers of the ancient Egyptian religion.
Under Arcadius, Emperor of the East (A.D. 395), the Anthromorphites, who affirmed that G.o.d was of human form, destroyed the greater number of their opponents. Under Marcia.n.u.s (A.D. 451), Silco invaded Egypt with his Nubian followers and the Council of Chalcedon condemned the Monophysite doctrine of Eutyches. Later, under Justinian (A.D. 527), the Monophysites separated from the Melchites and chose their own patriarch, being afterwards called Copts.
It is impossible to close one's eyes to the fact that, during this period of persecution and ma.s.sacre, imminent peril of death must have forced many a band of the priests and followers of the ancient Egyptian and other religions to seek safety in flight. The events which took place in Egypt between A.D. 379 and 451, culminating in Silco's invasion, must unquestionably have been deeply felt by the descendants of the ancient Phnician, Carthaginian and Grecian exiles, fugitives and mercenaries who, during countless centuries, had founded colonies along the Libyan coast, and pushed migration further westward along the coast line. Migrations from these regions would doubtless have resulted in the remarkable combination of archaic star, fire-drill and socket wors.h.i.+p found in Yucatan and Mexico, existing alongside of a highly developed and perfected philosophical scheme of social organization identical, in principle, with that which, in the Old World, const.i.tuted an ideal which was the result of centuries of experience and active intellectual life.
The present investigation, in which I have collected more material than it has been possible to present in this publication, brings out facts tending to show that, originally, both hemispheres were peopled from the North, and that, in antiquity, at intervals, an extremely limited intercourse was kept up between the Old and New Worlds. The obvious fact that navigation must have been seriously impeded by the interregnum of Polaris, lasting for many centuries, would explain a prolonged isolation of America anterior to the Christian era. Whereas the equatorial currents facilitated the voyage to America, the same favorable conditions did not accompany navigation in the same lat.i.tudes in a reverse direction, and this suggests the probability that few who set out for "the hidden land," ever returned to the port whence they sailed. Investigation seems to reveal that influences, emanating from the most ancient centres of Old World civilization, reached sundered regions of America at different times, and that they could have been carried there by a seafaring and building race such as the Minyans, the Magas, the Phnicians or their descendants.
If such were the case it would be reasonable to expect that, in America, traces of words a.s.sociated with the archaic set of ideas would be found, and the same method of writing. Let us now refer with prudent reservations as to the possibility of their being accidental, to the striking resemblances which undoubtedly exist between certain names for G.o.d, Heaven, North, Middle, etc., in the languages of the most ancient civilizations of the Old World and the Maya and Nahuatl. For convenient reference and without detailed comment, these words are presented as Appendix III.
Too much importance must not, of course, be given to these linguistic a.n.a.logies; at the same time we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that these broken fragments of language, traceable to India, Babylonia-a.s.syria, Egypt and Greece, are found, in America, clinging tenaciously to a set of cosmical ideas and a scheme of organization identical in both hemispheres.
It has been surprising to me, for instance, to learn, by carefully collecting facts, that whereas Professor Sayce tells us that the supreme G.o.d of the Phnicians was named Yeud or Ekhad, the supreme G.o.d of the Mexican Chichimecs (literally, Red race) was named Youalli-Ehecatl, which signifies, literally, night-air or wind. I likewise ascertained that, whereas the word yau or yu signifies the source or origin in Chinese, is linked to a character forming a cross and is h.o.m.ogeneous with Yaou Sing, a star in Ursa Major, described as "revolving," the Mexican name for the pole-star G.o.d was Yaual or Yohual Tecuhtli, the lord of the circle or of the night.
Again there is a remarkable similarity between the Mexican yaualli=circle and the verb yoli or yuli=to resuscitate or vivify; the Chinese ui=to turn around, and the Scandinavian yul, yeul or yol = wheel, also the festival of the winter solstice, when nature seemed to resuscitate. Whereas the significance of the above Mexican, Chinese and Scandinavian names, is clear, no meaning has, to my knowledge, been attached to the Semitic name for the supreme G.o.d, which, as Professor Sayce informs us, was p.r.o.nounced Yahu or Yaho or Yahve (see Appendix, list I).
Other striking resemblances are found between the names for handicraftsman and master-builder in widely distant countries. Thus, in Phrygia, we have the Daktuloi, the builders who erected monuments decorated with cross-symbols arranged so as to form a geometrical design, such as represented in fig. 72, 2. In Oaxaca the Toltecatl=builders and handicraftsmen, erected the walled temple and cruciform structures at Mitla, and decorated them with geometrical designs.
Reliable authorities teach us that "the Hitt.i.tes were the northern minyan or menyan=measurers, a building race" (Hewitt); that Aha-Mena, the first historical ruler of Egypt, was a builder; that the name of Amun, the G.o.d of the Ammonites, signified "the builder." Dictionaries reveal that, in America, Maya-speaking people designated a master builder or handicraftsman as ah-men, or menyah which, in Nahuatl, became amanteca. In Yucatan the name for North was Aman or Xaman; the building race of civilizers seems to have been a.s.sociated with that region, which the Arabians named Shamaliyy. In the Babylonian-a.s.syrian Shamash, the Sanscrit Brahman and the Egyptian Amen-ra, we seem to have but different forms of the same word, which recurs in the Akkadian-Sumerian Sama, or an=the revolving heaven (see Appendix, list).
It is to philologists that I refer the question whether the resemblances, in sound and meaning, of certain words I have found a.s.sociated, in widely sundered countries, with the universal cosmical set of ideas, are merely accidental or whether they furnish indication of a remote common origin or of contact at a later period. It will interest me particularly to learn their opinion as to the oldest forms of the words; and whether there is really no clue to the meaning of the Hebrew Yahu and the Phnician Yeud-Ekhad. One is tempted to inquire whether the Chichimecan Youalli-Ehecatl was not the same and whether this and other a.n.a.logies do not const.i.tute evidence tending to establish that Mexico was a Phnician colony in which during centuries of isolation the archaic forms and meanings of Phnician words were preserved.
It is my hope that these lists will be carefully examined and explained by competent authorities, to whose judgment they are respectfully submitted.
Whether they will be accounted for in one way or another, these lists will be found to establish the existence of striking resemblances which, by themselves, might not carry weight, but which unquestionably gain in significance when found in conjunction with cosmical conceptions, social organization, forms of architecture and cross-symbolism, which appear universal.
A few words here concerning the undoubted general resemblances that exist between the Chinese and j.a.panese, and Central American methods of organization-resemblances which even extend to certain words directly traceable to Western Asiatic influence in the case of the Eastern Asiatic civilizations. The existence of marked differences between the Chinese and Maya-Mexican numerical systems and determination of elements, appears to exclude the possibility that dominating Asiatic influences could have reached America _via_ China and j.a.pan after the still existing, crystallized forms of government and calendar had been established in the latter countries. As far as I can judge, the great antiquity attributed, by Chinese historians, to the establishment of the governmental and cyclical schemes, still in use, appears extremely doubtful. Referring the question to Sinologists, I venture to ask whether it does not seem probable that the present Chinese scheme dates from the lifetime of Lao-tze, in the sixth century B.C., a period marked, as I have pointed out, by the growth of Ionian philosophy, one feature of which was the invention of numerical schemes applied to "divine polities" and ideal forms of government. Future investigation may, perhaps, prove that "the powerful mental ferment" alluded to by Huxley, as spreading between the eighth and ninth centuries B.C., over the whole of the area comprised between the aegean and North Hindustan, was caused by the growth and diffusion of plans of ideal states, which would naturally suggest and lead to the formation of bands of enthusiasts, who would set out in search of districts where they could carry out their principles and ideals.
Personally, I am strongly inclined to a.s.sign the origin of the Chinese and the Mexican schemes, which are identical in principle, to the same source, and to believe that they were carried in opposite directions, at different periods, by seafarers and colonists, animated by the same purpose.
Favorably established in distant regions, both grew and flourished during centuries, const.i.tuting a.n.a.logous examples of an immense, submissive, native population living under a highly perfected, artificial, numerical, scheme of religious government, preserved intact and enforced by a ruling caste, who possessed superior knowledge and claimed divine descent.
It is, of course, to Chinese and j.a.panese scholars and to archaeologists, some of whom const.i.tute the able staff of the Jesup Expedition, who are investigating the question of Asiatic contact, that I look for further information and enlightenment as to prehistoric contact between China and America.(157)
The foregoing investigation seems to have shown that in all countries alike, at one period or other, the cross-symbol or swastika expressed absolutely the same meaning. Primarily the record of a year, which suggested the division of the heaven into four parts, it had come to signify the establishment of communal life on a basis of fixed law, order and harmony. Like the number four itself which, in Pythagorean philosophy, is identified with wisdom and justice "because it is the first square number, the product of equals," the cruciform symbols have been the emblems of justice, equality and brotherhood.
From the dawn of human history, the cross, therefore, appears to have expressed a plan as simple as it was n.o.ble and great, which consisted in peaceably uniting men, on principles of good-will, peace, equity, equality and mutual help, of inst.i.tuting and organizing communal life, and of regulating its activity in accord with the immutable laws which govern the movements of celestial bodies, causing the circ.u.mpolar constellations to a.s.sume opposite positions, forming the sign of the cross, and marking seasons, days and years, all testifying to the existence of a single, all-ruling, all-pervading, stable and eternal central power, who thus controlled not only the heavens but, by a human representative, the earthly kingdom, laid out on the celestial plan.
Considering that no less an authority than St. Augustine has a.s.serted "that which is now called the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and in fact was with the human race from the beginning," it is permissible to ask whether the above scheme does not strikingly substantiate his dictum, afford a deep view under the surface of acc.u.mulated dogma and a perception of the mighty principle that has been at work from the beginning of all things and was understood by many at that time when "the people that sat in darkness saw great light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light sprang up."...
"From that time Jesus began to preach and say, 'Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand' " (Matthew IV, 16, 17). Adopting the cross as the emblem of his earthly mission he said: "If any man will come after me, let him take up his cross and follow me." By the words: "I bear in my body the mark of the Lord Jesus," St. Paul designates the recognized "mark" to have been the quadruplicate cross of the Saviour, who charged his apostles to preach, saying: "the kingdom of heaven is at hand" and promised them that "ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matthew XIX, 28). The mother of Zebedee's children came unto him asking that her sons might sit "the one on thy right hand and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom" (Matthew XX, 20). Repeatedly, the Teacher, referring to children, said "of such is the kingdom of heaven," or "Except ye be converted and become as little children ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." St. Paul and his followers were designated as "those that have turned the world upside down ... doing contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus" (Acts XVII, 6 and 7).
It is well known that the early Christian church was persecuted because, from the first, it preached a total regeneration of human society and its reestablishment of a basis of peace and good-will, social equality, absolute justice, mutual aid, respect and sympathy, unselfish, disinterested subservience of the individual to the interest of the community.
It was for the sublime principle of a religious democracy and the regeneration of human society that, in an age of tyranny, oppression and bloodshed, the early Christian martyrs laid down their lives. The foundations of religious orders were as many attempts to realize the Christian ideal, and to this day the Roman Catholic Church, whose clergy and religious orders unquestionably afford a splendid living example of devotion to a common cause, self-abnegation, obedience and humility, clings to the ideal of a state in which temporal power is wielded by a hierarchy raised to rulers.h.i.+p from all ranks, merely by virtue of personal, moral and intellectual qualities. Throughout the Christian church the ideal of religious democracy prevails. Each day it is prayed for in the words "Thy kingdom come," by those taught to look forward to the promise of the time when "former things are pa.s.sed away and a holy Jerusalem shall descend out of heaven from G.o.d, lying four-square, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels and names written thereon which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel ... and the wall of the city had twelve foundations and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb,.... And I saw no temple therein, for the Lord G.o.d Almighty and the Lamb are the temple in it ... but the throne of G.o.d and of the Lamb shall be in it.... And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of G.o.d and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it and on either side of the river was there a tree of life, which bore twelve manner of fruits and yielded her fruit every month ..." (Revelation, chaps. XXI and XXII).
It appears significant, in the light of the present investigation, that the birth of Christianity, as well as the revival of pagan systems of philosophy, embodying principles for the organization of religious brotherhoods and ideal democracies, should coincide with the spread of the great tidings that a star had been seen by the Magi, or "wise men of the East, who came _from the east_ to Jerusalem." Occurring, as it did, after "the interregnum as regards pole-stars," during which nomadic tribes and seafarers had vainly sought the fixed star which had guided their forefathers, the appearance of a brilliant pole-star must have seemed doubly significant and revived, among pagan philosophers, the ideal of an earthly kingdom ruled by Heaven. The advent, at this time, of the Messiah who, with his twelve disciples, announced that the kingdom of heaven was nigh and taught that G.o.d was to be wors.h.i.+pped in the Spirit only, must indeed have appeared particularly impressive and well-timed.
Faithfully clinging to the ideal of a regenerated religious democracy, the early Christian church maintained itself through centuries of persecution and is slowly advancing, amidst almost overwhelming and innumerable difficulties, towards its realization.
Returning to Mexico we find that its civilization at the time of the Conquest was precisely what might be expected if a small body of men of superior wisdom and experience, such as was possessed by a remnant of Graeco-Egyptian philosophers, had embarked in s.h.i.+ps manned by the descendants of Phnician seafarers, and found refuge in the "land of the West," amongst simple, docile people, existing in large numbers, who, treated "as little children and instructed with love and gentleness, willingly submitted themselves to the guidance of their teachers." A single, short-lived generation of these would have amply sufficed for the establishment of the governmental system and calendar, the firm inst.i.tution of a "celestial kingdom," and the spread of knowledge of the technique of various arts and industries deemed most useful to the natives. On the other hand, the foreign element, whose aims were chiefly ideal, could have left little or no impression upon the evolution of the native race, its art and industry, which doubtlessly followed its original independent line of development.
It is remarkable how the echo of great events in Old World history seem to have reached the Western hemisphere. In the Old World the eleventh and twelfth centuries were marked by a revival of religious enthusiasm, by the Crusades, the persecution of infidels by the Christian world and by a general stirring amongst oriental people, the descendants of the ancient pole-star wors.h.i.+ppers.
Historical records and traditions accord in stating that in about the eleventh and twelfth centuries of our era, the civilizations of Mexico, Yucatan and Central America underwent a great period of warfare, pestilence and famine, leading to the disintegration of the great ancient centres, to numberless migrations, and to an a.s.sumption of dominion in Mexico by a fierce warrior-race who increased the number of human sacrifices. It seems significant that it is to this troublous period in the history of ancient America that the advent of the Incas in Peru is a.s.signed by native tradition, which also records the existence of more ancient centres of civilization situated around the t.i.ticaca lake. The foundation of the Inca empire is a.s.signed to as late as about 1200 A.D.
(see p. 148, note 1), and all who compare Plato's scheme for the reestablishment of the holy polity of the Magnetes, and the description of the Peruvian "Four in One" state, must admit that the latter const.i.tutes the most perfect example known, of a community based on those numerical principles which were considered most perfect by Plato. At a first glance one might be tempted to conclude that the foreign civilizers of Peru, the Incas, were acquainted with Plato's twelve-fold scheme and deliberately established or reestablished a "divine polity" accordingly, naming it the "Four in One" and inst.i.tuting the wors.h.i.+p of a supreme divinity designated as "Earth, Air, Fire and Water in One," in consonance with the cosmical theory said to have been first formulated by Empedocles about B.C. 444, and adopted by Plato. Reflection shows, however, that no such conclusion is justifiable until competent authorities have thoroughly investigated and satisfactorily established how far the ideas of Empedocles and Plato were original and how far they incorporated older philosophical ideas, such as were preserved by the Egyptian priesthood or had been disseminated by the Phnicians.(158) Nevertheless it is an undeniable fact that the Inca colony const.i.tutes a most valuable object-lesson of a "cosmical state" founded on precisely the numerical scheme and principles of organization advocated by Plato. Reflection shows, moreover, that such a polity could only have been established and maintained itself during centuries, in a land free from enemies and amongst docile people "apt for subjection."
A significant result of a critical comparison of the celestial kingdoms of Peru and Mexico is the perception that, in the former, as in Egypt, a hereditary sovereignty was exercised by male and female sacerdotal rulers of a "divine line of descent." On the other hand we find, in Mexico, a state of affairs in exact accordance with Montezuma's account of the behavior of his predecessors towards the lord who had led them and presided over the foundation of the Mexican empire. During his absence they, his va.s.sals, established democratical principles and when he returned, having intermarried with women of the country and founded new cities, they refused to recognize his authority and let him depart. From Montezuma himself we learn that, although they thus emanc.i.p.ated themselves from their former lord, they continued to regard themselves as dependent and owing allegiance to the mother-city whence they had come. Until the time of the Conquest, however, they were governed by rulers whom they elected, and who had risen in rank merely by virtue of their moral and intellectual distinction.
It is indeed deeply suggestive and impressive to realize that, in antiquity as in modern times, the American Continent seems to have been sought, as a place of refuge, by men whose ideals have been state inst.i.tutions founded on democratic principles. The ancient polities of Mexico and Peru and, what is more, the archaic Pueblos of to-day, alike furnish examples of conditions, such as undoubtedly existed in Mediterranean countries in ancient times and inspired Greek statesmen and philosophers to plan ideal polities, and must have preceded the creation of the Jewish and early Christian spiritualized ideal of a New Jerusalem, pervaded throughout by the Divine Spirit. In conclusion, there are a few points which I recommend to the consideration of students. Different writers have, as Prescott summarizes, with certainty discerned in the highest American civilizations, a Semitic or an Egyptian or an Asiatic origin.
This remarkable combination of features, distinctively characteristic of the said civilizations, actually existed amongst the Phnicians who, as Professor Sayce relates, were allied to the Semitic race, were affected by contact with their cousins the Arameans or Syrians, penetrated to the coast of India, derived their art from Babylonia, Egypt, and later from a.s.syria, and "knew how to combine together the elements it had received and to return them, modified and improved, to the countries from which they had been borrowed." In the case of India and China it is an established and accepted truth that an active communication existed between these countries and Asia Minor, which was carried on by a race of seafarers and colonists. When it is realized that, through them, distant regions became known and accessible, and that at one time in the history of Greek philosophy, for instance, statesmen, philosophers and mathematicians alike rivalled each other in planning ideal states, based on the identical principle: the harmonizing of human life with Nature's laws; it seems but rational to infer that, at different times, bands of enthusiasts, adopting one numerical scheme in preference to another, and led perhaps by its inventor or disciples, set out in search of distant countries where they could undisturbedly establish "celestial kingdoms"
according to their ideal plan. To such an enterprise as this I venture to a.s.sign the establishment of the celestial kingdom of China, drawing attention to Biot's statement, cited on p. 298, that year cycles (_i. e._ the sociological and chronological system since in use) were introduced there from India, after the Christian era. This being the case, contrary to the claims of a much greater antiquity by Chinese scholars, the present form of the "celestial kingdom" appears to date from the arrival in China, from Persia, of Semitic emigrants, during the first century of our era (see p. 303), and to have undergone a certain re-modelling in the first half of the sixth century, after the arrival of a band of Syrian Christians (p. 304).
Pointing out that these dates would make it appear as though the cyclical systems of India and Eastern Asia had been formulated under the direct or indirect influence of Greek philosophy, I observe that the date of their introduction and establishment a.s.signs them to approximately the same period which produced the numerical scheme adopted by Constantine, Maya and Mexican calendrical and chronological scheme. At the period when Constantine established New Rome and inst.i.tuted four divisions of the empire, each divided into thirteen yielding a total of fifty-two prefectures, there lived in Byzantium a philosopher and rhetorician (315-390 A.D.) whose name was Themistius and who filled the office of prefect of Constantinople. It is well known that the attempt thus to organize the empire proved fruitless and that the proclamation of Christianity as the religion of his empire by Theodosius I (379 A.D.) inaugurated a prolonged persecution of pagan religion and philosophy (see p. 530).
Is it inadmissible to consider at least the possibility that, disappointed and driven from their land, some of those who clung to the ancient ideal, and were acquainted with the perfected scheme of state organization inst.i.tuted by Constantine during the lifetime of Themistius, carried it at a later period, to the "hidden land" of the West and established it there, where it was preserved intact until the time of the Spanish Conquest? Is it by accident only that one of the names of the capital of ancient Mexico, as preserved in the writings of Cortes and Bernal Diaz is Temist.i.tan, literally "land of Temis," the Nahuatl language not furnis.h.i.+ng any meaning to the latter word? Can it be that, just as the word Teotl, resembling Theos, is found on Mexican soil, employed with the same meaning as in Greek, the name Temist.i.tan means "the land of established law, order and justice" dedicated to the Greek Themis, just as New Rome was dedicated to Sofia=Wisdom? Or did some sort of connection exist between the name of the Mexican capital, the system on which it was established and the philosopher Themistius?
Is it by chance merely that the state calendar of Temist.i.tan was based on 413=52 divisions, and that Themistius of Byzantium, a member of that school of philosophy which had evolved numberless plans and numerical schemes for ideal states, should have held one of the 413=52 prefectures during Constantine's reign? In order to make the most rapid advance towards a solution of the great problem of the origin of American civilizations, I venture to suggest that Orientalists and Americanists should combine and freshly study it from opposite points of view. One side might be taken by those who incline to admit the possibility that a few Phnician traders discovered the American continent in ancient times and that, subsequently, those to whom they imparted their discovery and their successors, the daring Greek navigators, conveyed thither, at intervals, bands of refugees or enthusiasts who braved danger and death, in the hope of reaching the blessed land where, free from persecution, they could found ideal democracies or divine polities.
Besides studying and adding to the numberless similarities which have been cited by so many different authorities and to which I have added a modest contribution, let them produce evidence showing the improbability that the identical forms of cult, religion, social organization, calendar cycles and numerical schemes should have been independently evolved two or more times by distinct races. On the other hand, let those who hold the view that American civilization was purely autochthonous, advance grounds for the supposition that it developed a school of philosophical speculation and that America produced its Empedocles and its Plato. Let them also formulate the psychical law which caused the American race to formulate the four elements, recognized as such by the philosophers of India and Greece, and not the five of Chinese philosophy; and to evolve numerical schemes applied to social organization, identical with those current in India, Western Asia and the Mediterranean countries, but different from that employed in China and j.a.pan. It will also be inc.u.mbent upon them not only to disprove American traditions, which record the introduction of a higher civilization and plans of social organization by strangers, but also to demonstrate that, although in ancient times, Phnician traders carried on an active traffic with Britain, daring the perils of the Bay of Biscay, they could not possibly have ventured across the southern Atlantic, even in the most favorable seasons. It has remained a source of sincere regret to me that circ.u.mstances prevented my attending the Orientalist Congress which met at Rome, in October, 1899, under the presidency of the ill.u.s.trious Count Angelo de Gubernatis, to whom credit is due for having first suggested and planned that a section of the Congress should devote itself to the discussion of prehistoric contact or connection between the Old and New Worlds.
With an apology for my non-attendance and consequent failure to aid in organizing the section and carrying out a plan which met with my enthusiastic approval, I venture to submit the present investigation to the President and officers of the Orientalist Congress with the earnest hope that it may contain material and suggestions for fruitful discussions during the next Congress held, and that these may be carried on in a section devoted to the consideration of facts relating to prehistoric America and its relation to the Old World.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION.
In the preceding pages the view is advanced that the ancient cross-symbol or swastika was first used by man, presumably in circ.u.mpolar regions, as a record of the opposite positions a.s.sumed, by circ.u.mpolar constellations, in performing their nocturnal and annual circuit around Polaris. Employed as a year sign in the first case, the cross or swastika later became the symbol of the Four Quarters, of quadruplicate division and of a stable central power whose rule extended in four directions and controlled the entire Heaven.
At some remote period of antiquity man developed the idea of social organization and, in India, ancient Egypt and Babylonia-a.s.syria, actual proofs exist that the earliest cities and states were divided into four quarters, a division involving the distribution of the population into four tribes under a central chief. Wherever this division was carried out, it represented an attempt to harmonize human society and the establishment of the ideal of a religious democracy, founded on principles of law, order, justice, peace and good will. The pyramid, a primitive form of which consisted of four stories, and cruciform sacred structures, may be regarded as monuments commemorating a cosmical and territorial organization into four parts. The more extended conception of seven directions in s.p.a.ce, consisting of the Above and Below, or Heaven and Earth, the Four Quarters and the sacred Middle, the synopsis of all, was also evolved. In the confederations of India and Iran, and Arabia, in the seven-storied towers of Babylonia, and in the division of the Egyptians into seven cla.s.ses, we find the earliest traces of a practical application of this numerical division.
The ancient historical records of Egypt and Greece reveal that, in the earliest polities, the population was divided into groups consisting of a fixed number of individuals, officially represented by chieftains, or officers of the state, and that, in consequence, a state formed a unit, const.i.tuted according to a mathematical scheme, which was also applied to the regulation of time. Each officer of the state held office for a fixed term, in a prescribed order of rotation. The year was divided into a fixed number of seasons, marked by the positions of a circ.u.mpolar constellation, and this therefore appeared to regulate not only the cycle of time but the governmental rotation of office and the entire activity of the community.
Starting from a common basis of quadruplicate division in different countries, a great variety of const.i.tutions of state was independently invented by statesmen and philosophers, who devised cycles produced by different combinations of numbers and signs, the object being to regulate time and communal life in imitation of the law, order and harmony existing in the motion of the stars and under the guidance of a supreme ruler, the earthly representative of Polaris.
The origin of these ideas and governmental scheme, in the Old World, is a.s.signed by competent authorities to a northern race which had discovered the art of fire-making and evolved a religious cult and ritual suggested by it, in a.s.sociation with pole-star wors.h.i.+p. Their civilization is supposed to have been developed by contact with a southern race, in Phrygia, and to have been carried at a remote period by their seafaring descendants to India, Asia Minor, Egypt and beyond the pillars of Hercules, to European countries, situated on the Atlantic.
The present investigation brings into prominence the fact that, just as the older Andean art closely resembles that of the early Mediterranean, an observation first made by Prof. F. W. Putnam,(159) so the fundamental principles, numerical scheme and plan of the state founded by the foreign Incas in Peru, resembled those formulated by Plato in his description of an ideal state.
It is a remarkable fact, on which the writer lays utmost stress, that, whereas there is a marked difference between the Chinese and the Mexican and Peruvian divisions of the elements and numerical cycles, the American systems exactly agree with those propounded by Greek philosophers and said to have reached them from more ancient centres of culture, presumably through the Phnicians. On the other hand, there undoubtedly exist remarkable a.n.a.logies between the Chinese and Hindu and Mexican sociological, chronological, cyclical systems, their principles being precisely the same. These close a.n.a.logies as well as the marked divergences which have been noted can only be satisfactorily accounted for by the a.s.sumption that each of these countries derived their civilization from the same source. Over and over again different writers have pointed out undeniable a.n.a.logies and resemblances between the highest forms of American civilization and that of China, India, Asia Minor, the Mediterranean and Western European countries. At the same time modern research has shown that the seafarers, whom we shall conveniently designate as the Phnicians, acted as the intermediaries of ancient Old World civilization and formulated a culture which incorporated and formed a curious compound of elements drawn from different countries and people.
While investigation, moreover, reveals that the conquest of Phnicia and intermittent periods of warfare and persecution directed against the religion and democratic principles of its people, must have furnished the most powerful incentive for them to extend their voyages of discovery and seek distant lands where colonies might be established. It is obvious that, if safe places of refuge were found, their existence would remain a secret and that, in course of time, a complete isolation of distant colonies would result.
Considering that it would be premature to formulate a final conclusion on a subject which demands so much more investigation, I merely observe here that, as far as I can see, the conditions which existed and survive amongst the aborigines of America would be fully accounted for by the a.s.sumption that they received certain elements of culture and civilization from Mediterranean seafarers who, at widely separated, critical periods of Old World history, may have transported refugees and would-be colonists or founders of ideal republics and "divine polities" to different parts of the hidden or divine land of "the West," the existence of which was known by tradition to the Egyptian priesthood.
Under such circ.u.mstances it is apparent how the American Continent could have become an isolated area of preservation where archaic and primitive forms of civilization, religious cult, symbolism and industries, drawn at different epochs, from various, more or less important centres or from the outposts of Old World culture, would be handed down, transformed through the active and increasing influence of the native elements. The latter must always have been markedly predominant since it must be a.s.sumed, if at all, that the number of individuals who reached America, and the subsequent duration of their lives, must have been extremely limited. What is more, as Montezuma related that the colonists, from whom he descended, married native women, it is obvious that, from the outset, foreign and native influences were combined.
The Fundamental Principles of Old and New World Civilizations Part 40
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The Fundamental Principles of Old and New World Civilizations Part 40 summary
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