THE DELUGE OF THE CHALDEANS.
WE have two versions of the Chaldean story–unequally developed, indeed, but exhibiting a remarkable agreement. The one most anciently known, and also the shorter, is that which Berosus took from the sacred books of Babylon, and introduced into the history that he wrote for the use of the Greeks. After speaking of the last nine antediluvian kings, the Chaldean priest continues thus.
“Obartès Elbaratutu being dead, his son Xisuthros (Khasisatra) reigned eighteen sares (64,800 years). It was under him that the Great Deluge took place, the history of which is told in the sacred documents as follows: Cronos (Ea) appeared to him in his sleep, and announced that on the fifteenth of the month of Daisios (the Assyrian month Sivan–a little before the summer solstice) all men should perish by a flood. He therefore commanded him to take the beginning, the middle, and the end of whatever was consigned to writing, and to bury it in the City of the Sun, at Sippara; then to build a vessel, and to enter it with his family and dearest friends; to place in this vessel provisions to eat and drink, and to cause animals, birds, and quadrupeds to enter it; lastly, to prepare everything, for navigation. And when Xisuthros inquired in what direction he should steer his bark, be was answered, ‘toward the gods,’ and enjoined to pray that good might come of it for men.
“Xisuthros obeyed, and constructed a vessel five stadia long and five broad; he collected all that had been prescribed to him, and embarked his wife, his children, and his intimate friends.
“The Deluge having come, and soon going down, Xisuthros
loosed some of the birds. These, finding no food nor place to alight on, returned to the ship. A few days later Xisuthros again let them free, but they returned again to the vessel, their feet fall of mud. Finally, loosed the third time, the birds came no more back. Then Xisuthros understood that the earth was bare. He made an opening in the roof of the ship, and saw that it had grounded on the top of a mountain. He then descended with his wife, his daughter, and his pilot, who worshipped the earth, raised an altar, and there sacrificed to the gods; at the same moment he vanished with those who accompanied him.
“Meanwhile those who had remained in the vessel, not seeing Xisutbros return, descended too, and began to seek him, calling him by his name. They saw Xisuthros no more; but a voice from heaven was heard commanding them piety toward the gods; that he, indeed, was receiving the reward of his piety in being carried away to dwell thenceforth in the midst of the gods, and that his wife, his daughter, and the pilot of the ship shared the same honor. The voice further said that they were to return to Babylon, and, conformably to the decrees of fate, disinter the writings buried at Sippara in order to transmit them to men. It added that the country in which they found themselves was Armenia. These, then, having heard the voice, sacrificed to the gods and returned on foot to Babylon. Of the vessel of Xisuthros, which had finally landed in Armenia, a portion is still to be found in the Gordyan Mountains in Armenia, and pilgrims bring thence asphalte that they have scraped from its fragments. It is used to keep off the influence of witchcraft. As to the companions of Xisuthros, they came to Babylon, disinterred the writings left at Sippara, founded numerous cities, built temples, and restored Babylon.”
“By the side of this version,” says Lenormant, “which, interesting though it be, is, after all, second-hand, we are now able to place an original Chaldeo-Babylonian edition, which the lamented George Smith was the first to decipher on the cuneiform tablets exhumed at Nineveh, and now in the British Museum. Here the narrative of the Deluge appears as an episode in the eleventh tablet, or eleventh chant of the great
epic of the town of Uruk. The hero of this poem, a kind of Hercules, whose name has not as yet been made out with certainty, being attacked by disease (a kind of leprosy), goes, with a view to its cure, to consult the patriarch saved from the Deluge, Khasisatra, in the distant land to which the gods have transported him, there to enjoy eternal felicity. He asks Khasisatra to reveal the secret of the events which led to his obtaining the privilege of immortality, and thus the patriarch is induced to relate the cataclysm.
“By a comparison of the three copies of the poem that the library of the palace of Nineveh contained, it has been possible to restore the narrative with hardly any breaks. These three copies were, by order of the King of Assyria, Asshurbanabal, made in the eighth century B.C., from a very ancient specimen in the sacerdotal library of the town of Uruk, founded by the monarchs of the first Chaldean empire. It is difficult precisely to fix the date of the original, copied by Assyrian scribes, but it certainly goes back to the ancient empire, seventeen centuries at least before our era, and even probably beyond; it was therefore much anterior to Moses, and nearly contemporaneous with Abraham. The variations presented by the three existing copies prove that the original was in the primitive mode of writing called the hieratic, a character which must have already become difficult to decipher in the eighth century B.C., as the copyists have differed as to the interpretation to be given to certain signs, and in other cases have simply reproduced exactly the forms of such as they did not understand. Finally, it results from a comparison of these variations, that the original, transcribed by order of Asshurbanabal, must itself have been a copy of some still more ancient manuscript, it, which the original text had already received interlinear comments. Some of the copyists have introduced these into their text, others have omitted them. With these preliminary observations, I proceed to give integrally the narrative ascribed ill the poem to Khasisatra:
“‘I will reveal to thee, O Izdhubar, the history of my preservation-and tell to thee the decision of the gods.
“‘The town of Shurippak, a town which thou knowest, is situated on the Euphrates–it was ancient, and in it [men did not honor] the gods. [I alone, I was] their servant, to the great gods–[The gods took counsel on the appeal of] Ann–[a deluge was proposed by] Bel–[and approved by Nabon, Nergal and] Adar.
“‘And the god [Ea], the immutable lord, repeated this command in a dream.–I listened to the decree of fate that he announced, and he said to me:–” Man of Shurippak, son of Ubaratutu–thou, build a vessel and finish it [quickly].–[By a deluge] I will destroy substance and life.–Cause thou to go up into the vessel the substance of all that has life.–The vessel thou shall build-600 cubits shall be the measure of its length–and 60 cubits the amount of its breadth and of its height. [Launch if] thus on the ocean, and cover it with a roof.”–I understood, and I said to Ea, my lord:–“The vessel] that thou commandest me to build thus–[when] I shall do it,–young and old [shall laugh at me.]”–[Ea opened his mouth and] spoke.–He said to me, his servant:–“[If they laugh at thee] thou shalt say to them:–[shall be punished] he who has insulted me, [for the protection of the gods] is over me.– . . . like to caverns . . . — . . . I will exercise my judgment on that which is on high and that which is below . . . .–. . . Close the vessel . . . — . . . At a given moment that I shall cause thee to know,–enter into it, and draw the door of the ship toward thee.–Within it, thy grains, thy furniture, thy provisions, thy riches, thy men-servants, and thy maid-servants, and thy young people–the cattle of the field, and the wild beasts of the plain that I will assemble-and that I will send thee, shall be kept behind thy door.”–Khasisatra opened his mouth and spoke;–he said to Ea, his lord:–“No one has made [such a] ship.–On the prow I will fix . . . –I shall see . . . and the vessel . . . –the vessel thou commandest me to build [thus]which in . . .”
“‘On the fifth day [the two sides of the bark] were raised.–In its covering fourteen in all were its rafters–fourteen in all did it count above.–I placed its roof, and I covered it.–I embarked in it on the sixth day; I divided its floors on the seventh;–I divided the interior compartments on the eighth.
[paragraph continues]I stopped up the chinks through which the water entered in;–I visited the chinks, and added what was wanting.–I poured on the exterior three times 3600 measures of asphalte,–and three times 3600 measures of asphalte within.–Three times 3600 men, porters, brought on their heads the chests of provisions.–I kept 3600 chests for the nourishment of my family,–and the mariners divided among themselves twice 3600 chests.–For [provisioning] I had oxen slain;–I instituted [rations] for each day.–In anticipation of the need of] drinks, of barrels, and of wine–[I collected in quantity] like to the waters of a river, [of provisions] in quantity like to the dust of the earth.-[To arrange them in] the chests I set my hand to.–. . . of the sun . . . the vessel was completed.– . . . strong and–I had carried above and below the furniture of the ship.–[This lading filled the two-thirds.]
‘All that I possessed I gathered together; all I possessed of silver I gathered together; all that I possessed of gold I gathered–all that I possessed of the substance of life of every kind I gathered together.–I made all ascend into the vessel; my servants, male and female,–the cattle of the fields, the wild beasts of the plains, and the sons of the people, I made them all ascend.
“‘Shamash (the sun) made the moment determined, and he announced it in these terms:–“In the evening I will cause it to rain abundantly from heaven; enter into the vessel and close the door.”–The fixed Moment had arrived, which he announced in these terms:–“In the evening I will cause it to rain abundantly from heaven.”–When the evening of that day arrived, I was afraid,–I entered into the vessel and shut my door.–In shutting the vessel, to Buzur-shadi-rabi, the pilot,–I confided this dwelling, with all that it contained.
“‘Mu-sheri-ina-namari–rose from the foundations of heaven in a black cloud;–Ramman thundered in the midst of the cloud,–and Nabon and Sharru marched before;–they marched, devastating the mountain and the plain;–Nergal the powerful dragged chastisements after him;–Adar advanced, overthrowing;–before him;–the archangels of the abyss brought destruction,–in their terrors they agitated the earth.–The inundation of Ramman swelled up to the sky,–and [the earth] became without lustre, was changed into a desert.
‘They broke . . . of the surface of the earth like . . .;–
[paragraph continues][they destroyed] the living beings of the surface of the earth.–The terrible [Deluge] on men swelled up to [heaven].The brother no longer saw his brother; men no longer knew each other. In heaven–the gods became afraid of the water-spout, and–sought a refuge; they mounted up to the heaven of Anu.–The gods were stretched out motionless, pressing one against another like dogs.–Ishtar wailed like a child, the great goddess pronounced her discourse:–“Here is humanity returned into mud, and–this is the misfortune that I have announced in the presence of the gods.–So I announced the misfortune in the presence of the gods,–for the evil I announced the terrible [chastisement] of men who are mine.–I am the mother who gave birth to men, and–like to the race of fishes, there they are filling the sea;–and the gods, by reason of that–which the archangels of the abyss are doing, weep with me.”–The gods on their seats were seated in tears,–and they held their lips closed, [revolving] future things.
“‘Six days and as many nights passed; the wind, the water-spout, and the diluvian rain were in all their strength. At the approach of the seventh day the diluvian rain grew weaker, the terrible water-spout-which had assailed after the fashion of an earthquake–grew calm, the sea inclined to dry up, and the wind and the water-spout came to an end. I looked at the sea, attentively observing–and the whole of humanity had returned to mud; like unto sea-weeds the corpses floated. I opened the window, and the light smote on my face. I was seized with sadness; I sat down and I wept;-and my tears came over my face.
“‘I looked at the regions bounding the sea: toward the twelve points of the horizon; not any continent.–The vessel was borne above the land of Nizir,–the mountain of Nizir arrested the vessel, and did not permit it to pass over.–A day and a second day the mountain of Nizir arrested the vessel, and did not permit it to pass over;–the third and fourth day the mountain of Nizir arrested the vessel, and did not permit it to pass over;–the fifth and sixth day the mountain of Nizir arrested the vessel, and did not permit it to pass over. At the approach of the seventh day, I sent out and loosed a dove. The dove went, turned, and–found no place to light on, and it came back. I sent out and loosed a swallow; the swallow went, turned, and–found no place to light on, and it came
back. I sent out and loosed a raven; the raven went and saw the corpses on the waters; it ate, rested, turned, and came not back.
“‘1 then sent out (what was in the vessel) toward the four winds, and I offered a sacrifice. I raised the pile of my burnt-offering on the peak of the mountain; seven by seven I disposed the measured vases,–and beneath I spread rushes, cedar, and juniper-wood. The gods were seized with the desire of it–the gods were seized with a benevolent desire of it;–and the gods assembled like flies above the master of the sacrifice. From afar, in approaching, the great goddess raised the great zones that Anu has made for their glory (the gods). These gods, luminous crystal before me, I will never leave them; in that day I prayed that I might never leave them. “Let the gods come to my sacrificial pile!–but never may Bel come to my sacrificial pile! for he did not master himself, and he has made the water-spout for the Deluge, and he has numbered my men for the pit.”
“‘From far, in drawing near, Bel–saw the vessel, and Bel stopped;–he was filled with anger against the gods and the celestial archangels:–
“‘”No one shall come out alive! No man shall be preserved from the abyss!”–Adar opened his mouth and said; he said to the warrior Bel:–“What other than Ea should have formed this resolution?–for Ea possesses knowledge, and [he foresees] all.”–Ea opened his mouth and spake; he said to the warrior Bel:–“O thou, herald of the gods, warrior,–as thou didst not master thyself, thou hast made the water-spout of the Deluge.–Let the sinner carry the weight of his sins, the blasphemer the weight of his blasphemy.–Please thyself with this good pleasure, and it shall never be infringed; faith in it never [shall be violated].–Instead of thy making a new deluge, let lions appear and reduce the number of men;–instead of thy making a new deluge, let hyenas appear and reduce the number of men;–instead of thy making a new deluge, let there be famine, and let the earth be [devastated];–instead of thy making a new deluge, let Dibbara appear, and let men be [mown down]. I have not revealed the decision of the great gods;–it is Khasisatra who interpreted a dream and comprehended what the gods had decided.”
“‘Then, when his resolve was arrested, Bel entered into the
vessel.–He took my hand and made me rise.–He made my wife rise, and made her place herself at my side-.-He turned around us and stopped short; he approached our group.–“Until now Khasisatra has made part of perishable humanity;–but lo, now Khasisatra and his wife are going to be carried away to live like the gods,–and Khasisatra will reside afar at the mouth of the rivers.”–They carried me away, and established me in a remote place at the mouth of the streams.’
“This narrative,” says Lenormant, “follows with great exactness the same course as that, or, rather, as those of Genesis; and the analogies are, on both sides, striking.”
When we consider these two forms of the same legend, we see many points wherein the story points directly to Atlantis.
1. In the first place, Berosus tells us that the god who gave warning of the coming of the Deluge was Chronos. Chronos, it is well known, was the same as Saturn. Saturn was an ancient king of Italy, who, far anterior to the founding of Rome, introduced civilization from some other country to the Italians. He established industry and social order, filled the land with plenty, and created the golden age of Italy. He was suddenly removed to the abodes of the gods. His name is connected, in the mythological legends, with “a great Saturnian continent” in the Atlantic Ocean, and a great kingdom which, in the remote ages, embraced Northern Africa and the European coast of the Mediterranean as far as the peninsula of Italy, and “certain islands in the sea;” agreeing, in this respect, with the story of Plato as to the dominions of Atlantis. The Romans called the Atlantic Ocean “Chronium Mare,” the Sea of Chronos, thus identifying Chronos with that ocean. The pillars of Hercules were also called by the ancients “the pillars of Chronos.”
Here, then, we have convincing testimony that the country referred to in the Chaldean legends was the land of Chronos, or Saturn–the ocean world, the dominion of Atlantis.
2. Hea or Ea, the god of the Nineveh tablets, was a fish-god:
he was represented in the Chaldean monuments as half man and half fish; he was described as the god, not of the rivers and seas, but of “the abyss”–to wit, the ocean. He it was who was said to have brought civilization and letters to the ancestors of the Assyrians. He clearly represented an ancient, maritime, civilized nation; he came from the ocean, and was associated with some land and people that had been destroyed by rain and inundations. The fact that the scene of the Deluge is located on the Euphrates proves nothing, for we will see hereafter that almost every nation had its especial mountain on which, according to its traditions, the ark rested; just as every Greek tribe had its own particular mountain of Olympos. The god Bel of the legend was the Baal of the Phœnicians, who, as we shall show, were of Atlantean origin. Bel, or Baal, was worshipped on the western and northern coasts of Europe, and gave his name to the Baltic, the Great and Little Belt, Balesbaugen, Balestranden, etc.; and to many localities, in the British Islands, as, for instance, Belan and the Baal hills in Yorkshire.
3. In those respects wherein the Chaldean legend, evidently the older form of the tradition, differs from the Biblical record, we see that in each instance we approach nearer to Atlantis. The account given in Genesis is the form of the tradition that would be natural to an inland people. Although there is an allusion to “the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep” (about which I shall speak more fully hereafter), the principal destruction seems to have been accomplished by rain; hence the greater period allowed for the Deluge, to give time enough for the rain to fall, and subsequently drain off from the land. A people dwelling in the midst of a continent could not conceive the possibility of a whole world sinking beneath the sea; they therefore supposed the destruction to have been, caused by a continuous down-pour of rain for forty days and forty nights.
In the Chaldean legend, on the contrary, the rain lasted but
seven days; and we see that the writer had a glimpse of the fact that the destruction occurred in the midst of or near the sea. The ark of Genesis (têbâh) was simply a chest, a coffer, a big box, such as might be imagined by an inland people. The ark of the Chaldeans was a veritable ship; it had a prow, a helm, and a pilot, and men to manage it; and it navigated “the sea.”
4. The Chaldean legend represents not a mere rain-storm, but a tremendous cataclysm. There was rain, it is true, but there was also thunder, lightning, earthquakes, wind, a water-spout, and a devastation of mountain and land by the war of the elements. All the dreadful forces of nature were fighting together over the doomed land: “the archangel of the abyss brought destruction,” “the water rose to the sky,” “the brother no longer saw his brother; men no longer knew each other;” the men “filled the sea like fishes;” the sea was filled with mud, and “the corpses floated like sea-weed.” When the storm abated the land had totally disappeared-there was no longer “any continent.” Does not all this accord with “that dreadful day and night” described by Plato?
5. In the original it appears that Izdhubar, when he started to find the deified Khasisatra, travelled first, for nine days’ journey, to the sea; then secured the services of a boatman, and, entering a ship, sailed for fifteen days before finding the Chaldean Noah. This would show that Khasisatra dwelt in a far country, one only attainable by crossing the water; and this, too, seems like a reminiscence of the real site of Atlantis. The sea which a sailing-vessel required fifteen days to cross must have been a very large body of water; in fact, an ocean.
THE DELUGE LEGENDS OF OTHER NATIONS.
A COLLECTION of the Deluge legends of other nations will throw light upon the Biblical and Chaldean records of that great event.
The author of the treatise “On the Syrian Goddess” acquaints us with the diluvian tradition of the Arameans, directly derived from that of Chaldea, as it was narrated in the celebrated Sanctuary of Hierapolis, or Bambyce.
“The generality of people,” be says, “tells us that the founder of the temple was Deucalion Sisythes–that Deucalion in whose time the great inundation occurred. I have also heard the account given by the Greeks themselves of Deucalion; the myth runs thus: The actual race of men is not the first, for there was a previous one, all the members of which perished. We belong to a second race, descended from Deucalion, and multiplied in the course of time. As to the former men, they are said to have been full of insolence and pride, committing many crimes, disregarding their oath, neglecting the rights of hospitality, unsparing to suppliants; accordingly, they were punished by an immense disaster. All on a sudden enormous volumes of water issued from the earth, and rains of extraordinary abundance began to fall; the rivers left their beds, and the sea overflowed its shores; the whole earth was covered with water, and all men perished. Deucalion alone, because of his virtue and piety, was preserved alive to give birth to a new race. This is how he was saved: He placed himself, his children, and his wives in a great coffer that he had, in which pigs, horses, lions, serpents, and all other terrestrial animals came to seek refuge with him. He received them all; and while they
were in the coffer Zeus inspired them with reciprocal amity, which prevented their devouring one another. In this manner, shut up within one single coffer, they floated as long as the waters remained in force. Such is the account given by the Greeks of Deucalion.
“But to this, which they equally tell, the people of Hierapolis add a marvellous narrative: That in their country a great chasm opened, into which all the waters of the Deluge poured. Then Deucalion raised an altar, and dedicated a temple to Hera (Atargatis) close to this very chasm. I have seen it; it is very narrow, and situated under the temple. Whether it was once large, and has now shrunk, I do not know; but I have seen it, and it is quite small. In memory of the event the following is the rite accomplished: Twice a year sea-water is brought to the temple. This is not only done by the priests, but numerous pilgrims come from the whole of Syria and Arabia, and even from beyond the Euphrates, bringing water. It is poured out in the temple and goes into the cleft, which, narrow as it is, swallows up a considerable quantity. This is said to be in virtue of a religious law instituted by Deucalion to preserve the memory of the catastrophe, and of the benefits that he received from the gods. Such is the ancient tradition of the temple.”
“It appears to me difficult,” says Lenormant, “not to recognize an echo of fables popular in all Semitic countries about this chasm of Hierapolis, and the part it played in the Deluge, in the enigmatic expressions of the Koran respecting the oven (tannur) which began to bubble and disgorge water all around at the commencement of the Deluge. We know that this tannur has been the occasion of most grotesque imaginings of Mussulman commentators, who had lost the tradition of the story to which Mohammed made allusion. And, moreover, the Koran formally states that the waters of the Deluge were absorbed in the bosom of the earth.”
Here the Xisuthros of Berosus becomes Deucalion-Sisythes. The animals are not collected together by Deucalion, as in the case of Noah and Khasisatra, but they crowded into the vessel of their own accord, driven by the terror with which the storm
had inspired them; as in great calamities the creatures of the forest have been known to seek refuge in the houses of men.
India affords us art account of the Deluge which, by its poverty, strikingly contrasts with that of the Bible and the Chaldeans. Its most simple and ancient form is found in the Çatapatha Brâhmana of the Rig-Veda. It has been translated for the first time by Max Müller.
“One morning water for washing was brought to Manu, and when he had washed himself a fish remained in his hands, and it addressed these words to him: ‘Protect me, and I will save thee.’ ‘From what wilt thou save me?’ ‘A deluge will sweep all creatures away; it is from that I will save thee.’ ‘How shall I protect thee?’ The fish replied, ‘While we are small we run great dangers, for fish swallow fish. Keep me at first in a vase; when I become too large for it, dig a basin to put me into. When I shall have grown still more, throw me into the ocean; then I shall be preserved from destruction.’ Soon it grew a large fish. It said to Manu, ‘The very year I shall have reached my full growth the Deluge will happen. Then build a vessel and worship me. When the waters rise, enter the vessel, and I will save thee.’
“After keeping him thus, Manu carried the fish to the sea. In the year indicated Manu built a vessel and worshipped the fish. And when the Deluge came he entered the vessel. Then the fish came swimming up to him, and Manu fastened the cable of the ship to the horn of the fish, by which means the latter made it pass over the Mountain of the North. The fish said, ‘I have saved thee; fasten the vessel to a tree, that the water may not sweep it away while thou art on the mountain; and in proportion as the waters decrease thou shalt descend.’ Manu descended with the waters, and this is what is called the descent of Manu on the Mountain of the North. The Deluge had carried away all creatures, and Manu remained alone.”
There is another form of the Hindoo legend in the Purânas. Lenormant says:
“We must also ‘remark that in the Purânas it is no longer Manu Vaivasata that the divine fish saves from the Deluge, but a different personage, the King of the Dâstas–i. e., fishers
[paragraph continues]–Satyravata,’ the man who loves justice and truth,’ strikingly corresponding to the Chaldean Khasisatra. Nor is the Puranic version of the Legend of the Deluge to be despised, though it be of recent date, and full of fantastic and often puerile details. In certain aspects it is less Aryanized than that of Brâhmana or than the Mahâbhârata; and, above all, it gives some circumstances omitted in these earlier versions, which must yet have belonged to the original foundation, since they appear in the Babylonian legend; a circumstance preserved, no doubt, by the oral tradition–popular, and not Brahmanic–with which the Purânas are so deeply imbued. This has already been observed by Pictet, who lays due stress on the following passage of the Bhâgavata-Purâna: ‘In seven days,’ said Vishnu to Satyravata, ‘the three worlds shall be submerged.’ There is nothing like this in the Brâhmana nor the Mahâbhârata, but in Genesis the Lord says to Noah, ‘Yet seven days and I will cause it to rain upon the earth;’ and a little farther we read, ‘After seven days the waters of the flood were upon the earth.’. . . Nor must we pay less attention to the directions given by the fish-god to Satyravata for the placing of the sacred Scriptures in a safe place, in order to preserve them from Hayagriva, a marine horse dwelling in the abyss. . . . We recognize in it, under an Indian garb, the very tradition of the interment of the sacred writings at Sippara by Khasisatra, such as we have seen it in the fragment of Berosus.”
The references to “the three worlds” and the “fish-god” in these legends point to Atlantis. The “three worlds” probably refers to the great empire of Atlantis, described by Plato, to wit, the western continent, America, the eastern continent, Europe and Africa, considered as one, and the island of Atlantis. As we have seen, Poseidon, the founder of the civilization of Atlantis, is identical with Neptune, who is always represented riding a dolphin, bearing a trident, or three-pronged symbol, in his hand, emblematical probably of the triple kingdom. He is thus a sea-god, or fish-god, and be comes to save the representative of his country.
And we have also a new and singular form of the legend in the following. Lenormant says:
“Among the Iranians, in the sacred books containing the fundamental Zoroastrian doctrines, and dating very far back, we meet with a tradition which must assuredly be looked upon as a variety of that of the Deluge, though possessing a special character, and diverging in some essential particulars from those we have been examining. It relates how Yima, who, in the original and primitive conception, was the father of the human race, was warned by Ahuramazda, the good deity, of the earth being about to be devastated by a flood. The god ordered Yima to construct a refuge, a square garden, vara, protected by an enclosure, and to cause the germs of men, beasts, and plants to enter it, in order to escape annihilation. Accordingly, when the inundation occurred, the garden of Yima, with all that it contained, was alone spared, and the message of safety was brought thither by the bird Karshipta, the envoy of Ahuramazda.” (“Vendûdid,” vol. ii., p. 46.)
This clearly signifies that, prior to the destruction of Atlantis, a colony had been sent out to some neighboring country. These emigrants built a walled town, and brought to it the grains and domestic animals of the mother country; and when the island of Atlantis sunk in the ocean, a messenger brought the terrible tidings to them in a ship.
“The Greeks had two principal legends as to the cataclysm by which primitive humanity was destroyed. The first was connected with the name of Ogyges, the most ancient of the kings of Bœotia or Attica–a quite mythical personage, lost in the night of ages, his very name seemingly derived from one signifying deluge in Aryan idioms, in Sanscrit Angha. It is said that in his time the whole land was covered by a flood, whose waters reached the sky, and from which he, together with some companions, escaped in a vessel.
“The second tradition is the Thessalian legend of Deucalion. Zeus having worked to destroy the men of the age of bronze, with whose crimes be was wroth, Deucalion, by the advice of Prometheus, his father, constructed a coffer, in which he took refuge with his wife, Pyrrha. The Deluge came; the chest, or coffer, floated at the mercy of the waves for nine days and nine nights, and was finally stranded on Mount Parnassus. Deucalion and Pyrrha leave it, offer sacrifice, and,
according to the command of Zeus, repeople the world by throwing behind them ‘the bones of the earth’–namely, stones, which change into men. This Deluge of Deucalion is, in Grecian tradition, what most resembles a universal deluge. Many authors affirm that it extended to the whole earth, and that the whole human race perished. At Athens, in memory of the event, and to appease the manes of its victims, a ceremony called Hydrophoria was observed, having so close a resemblance to that in use at Hierapolis, in Syria, that we can hardly fail to look upon it as a Syro-Phœnician importation, and the result of an assimilation established in remote antiquity between the Deluge of Deucalion and that of Khasisatra, as described by the author of the treatise ‘On the Syrian Goddess.’ Close to the temple of the Olympian Zeus a fissure in the soil was shown, in length but one cubit, through which it was said the waters of the Deluge had been swallowed tip. Thus,, every year, on the third day of the festival of the Anthestéria, a day of mourning consecrated to the dead–that is, on the thirteenth of the month of Anthestérion, toward the beginning of March–it was customary, as at Bambyce, to pour water into the fissure, together with flour mixed with honey, poured also into the trench dug to the west of the tomb, in the funeral sacrifices of the Athenians.”
In this legend, also, there are passages which point to Atlantis. We will see hereafter that the Greek god Zeus was one of the kings of Atlantis. “The men of the age of bronze” indicates the civilization of the doomed people; they were the great metallurgists of their day, who, as we will see, were probably the source of the great number of implements and weapons of bronze found all over Europe. Here, also, while no length of time is assigned to the duration of the storm, we find that the ark floated but nine days and nights. Noah was one year and ten days in the ark, Khasisatra was not half that time, while Deucalion was afloat only nine days.
At Megara, in Greece, it was the eponym of the city, Megaros, son of Zeus and one of the nymphs, Sithnides, who, warned by the cry of cranes of the imminence of the danger of the coming flood, took refuge on Mount Geranien. Again, there
was the Thessalian Cerambos, who was said to have escaped the flood by rising into the air on wings given him by the nymphs; and it was Perirrhoos, son of Eolus, that Zeus Naios had preserved at Dodona. For the inhabitants of the Isle of Cos the hero of the Deluge was Merops, son of Hyas, who there assembled under his rule the remnant of humanity preserved with him. The traditions of Rhodes only supposed the Telchines, those of Crete Sasion, to have escaped the cataclysm. In Samothracia the same character was attributed to Saon, said to be the son of Zeus or of Hermes.
It will be observed that in all these legends the name of Zeus, King of Atlantis, reappears. It would appear probable that many parties had escaped from the catastrophe, and had landed at the different points named in the traditions; or else that colonies had already been established by the Atlanteans at those places. It would appear impossible that a maritime people could be totally destroyed; doubtless many were on shipboard in the harbors, and others going and coming on distant voyages.
“The invasion of the East,” says Baldwin (‘Prehistoric Nations,’ p. 396), “to which the story of Atlantis refers, seems to have given rise to the Panathenæ, the oldest, greatest, and most splendid festivals in honor of Athena celebrated in Attica. These festivals are said to have been established by Erichthonis in the most ancient times remembered by the historical traditions of Athens. Boeckh says of them, in his ‘Commentary on Plato:’
“‘In the greater Panathenæ there was carried in procession a peplum of Minerva, representing the war with the giants and the victory of the gods of Olympus. In the lesser Panathenæ they carried another peplum (covered with symbolic devices), which showed how the Athenians, supported by Minerva, had the advantage in the war with the Atlantes.’ A scholia quoted from Proclus by Humboldt and Boeckh says: ‘The historians who speak of the islands of the exterior sea
tell us that in their time there were seven islands consecrated, to Proserpine, and three others of immense extent, of which the first was consecrated to Pluto, the second to Ammon, and the third to Neptune. The inhabitants of the latter had preserved a recollection (transmitted to them by their ancestors) of the island of Atlantis, which was extremely large, and for a long time held sway over all the islands of the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantis was also consecrated to Neptune.”‘ (See Humboldt’s “Histoire de la Géographie du Nouveau Continent,” vol. i.)
No one can read these legends and doubt that the Flood watt an historical reality. It is impossible that in two different places in the Old World, remote from each other, religious ceremonies should have been established and perpetuated from age to age in memory of an event which never occurred. We have seen that at Athens and at Hierapolis, in Syria, pilgrims came from a distance to appease the god of the earthquake, by pouring offerings into fissures of the earth said to have been made at the time Atlantis was destroyed.
More than this, we know from Plato’s history that the Athenians long preserved in their books the memory of a victory won over the Atlanteans in the early ages, and celebrated it by national festivals, with processions and religious ceremonies.
It is too much to ask us to believe that Biblical history, Chaldean, Iranian, and Greek legends signify nothing, and that even religious pilgrimages and national festivities were based upon a myth.
I would call attention to the farther fact that in the Deluge legend of the Isle of Cos the hero of the affair was Merops. Now we have seen that, according to Theopompus, one of the names of the people of Atlantis was “Meropes.”
But we have not reached the end of our Flood legends. The Persian Magi possessed a tradition in which the waters issued from the oven of an old woman. Mohammed borrowed this story, and in the Koran he refers to the Deluge as coming from an oven. “All men were drowned save Noah and his family; and then God said, ‘O earth, swallow up thy waters;
and thou, O heaven, withhold thy rain;’ and immediately the waters abated.”
In the bardic poems of Wales we have a tradition of the Deluge which, although recent, under the concise forms of the triads, is still deserving of attention. As usual, the legend is localized in the country, and the Deluge counts among three terrible catastrophes of the island of Prydian, or Britain, the other two consisting of devastation by fire and by drought.
“The first of these events,” it is said, “was the eruption of Llyn-llion, or ‘the lake of waves,’ and the inundation (bawdd) of the whole country, by which all mankind was drowned with the exception of Dwyfam and Dwyfach, who saved themselves in a vessel without rigging, and it was by them that the island of Prydian was repeopled.”
Pictet here observes:
“Although the triads in their actual form hardly date farther than the thirteenth or fourteenth century, some of them are undoubtedly connected with very ancient traditions, and nothing here points to a borrowing from Genesis.
“But it is not so, perhaps, with another triad, speaking of the vessel Nefyddnaf-Neifion, which at the time of the overflow of Llyon-llion, bore a pair of all living creatures, and rather too much resembles the ark of Noah. The very name of the patriarch may have suggested this triple epithet, obscure as to its meaning, but evidently formed on the principle of Cymric alliteration. In the same triad we have the enigmatic story of the horned oxen (ychain banog) of Hu the mighty, who drew out of Llyon-llion the avanc (beaver or crocodile?), in order that the lake should not overflow. The meaning of these enigmas could only be hoped from deciphering the chaos of barbaric monuments of the Welsh middle age; but meanwhile we cannot doubt that the Cymri possessed an indigenous tradition of the Deluge.”
We also find a vestige of the same tradition in the Scandinavian Ealda. Here the story is combined with a cosmogonic myth. The three sons of Borr–Othin, Wili, and We–grandsons of Buri, the first man, slay Ymir, the father of the Hrimthursar,
or ice giants, and his body serves them for the construction of the world. Blood flows from his wounds in such abundance that all the race of giants is drowned in it except Bergelmir, who saves himself, with his wife, in a boat, and reproduces the race.
In the Edda of Sœmund, “The Vala’s Prophecy” (stz. 48-56, p. 9), we seem to catch traditional glimpses of a terrible catastrophe, which reminds us of the Chaldean legend:
“Then trembles Yggdrasil’s ash yet standing, groans that ancient tree, and the Jötun Loki is loosed. The shadows groan on the ways of Hel (the goddess of death), until the fire of Surt has consumed the tree. Hyrm steers from the east, the waters rise, the mundane snake is coiled in jötun-rage. The worm beats the water and the eagle screams; the pale of beak tears carcasses; (the ship) Naglfar is loosed. Surt from the south comes with flickering flame; shines from his sword the Valgod’s sun. The stony hills are dashed together, the giantesses totter; men tread the path of Hel, and heaven is cloven. The sun darkens, earth in ocean sinks, fall from heaven the bright stars, fire’s breath assails the all-nourishing, towering fire plays against heaven itself.”
Egypt does not contain a single allusion to the Flood. Lenormant says:
“While the tradition of the Deluge holds so considerable a place in the legendary memories of all branches of the Aryan race, the monuments and original texts of Egypt, with their many cosmogonic speculations, have not afforded one, even distant, allusion to this cataclysm. When the Greeks told the Egyptian priests of the Deluge of Deucalion, their reply was that they had been preserved from it as well as from the conflagration produced by Phaëthon; they even added that the Hellenes were childish in attaching so much importance to that event, as there had been several other local catastrophes resembling it. According to a passage in Manetho, much suspected, however, of being an interpolation, Thoth, or Hermes Trismegistus, had himself, before the cataclysm, inscribed on stelæ, in hieroglyphical and sacred language, the principles of all knowledge. After it the second Thoth translated into the
vulgar tongue the contents of these stelæ. This would be the only Egyptian mention of the Deluge, the same Manetho not speaking of it in what remains to us of his ‘Dynasties,’ his only complete authentic work. The silence of all other myths of the Pharaonic religion on this head render it very likely that the above is merely a foreign tradition, recently introduced, and no doubt of Asiatic and Chaldean origin.”
To my mind the explanation of this singular omission is very plain. The Egyptians had preserved in their annals the precise history of the destruction of Atlantis, out of which the Flood legends grew; and, as they told the Greeks, there had been no universal flood, but only local catastrophes. Possessing the real history of the local catastrophe which destroyed Atlantis, they did not indulge in any myths about a universal deluge covering the mountain-tops of all the world. They had no Ararat in their neighborhood.
THE WORLD, ACCORDING TO COSMOS
quarter of the world in which Atlantis was situated.
There was a quaint old monk named Cosmos, who, about one thousand years ago, published a book, “Topographia Christiana,” accompanied by a map, in which he gives his view of the world as it was then understood. It was a body surrounded by water, and resting on nothing. “The earth,” says Cosmos, “presses downward, but the igneous parts tend upward,” and between the conflicting forces the earth hangs suspended,, like Mohammed’s coffin in the old story. The accompanying illustration
(page 95) represents the earth surrounded by the ocean, and beyond this ocean was “the land where men dwelt before the Deluge.”
He then gives us a more accurate map, in detail, of the known world of his day.
I copy this map, not to show how much more we know than poor Cosmos, but because be taught that all around this habitable world there was yet another world, adhering closely on all sides to the circumscribing walls of heaven. “Upon the eastern side of this transmarine land he judges man was created; and that there the paradise of gladness was located,
such as here on the eastern edge is described, where it received our first parents, driven out of Paradise to that extreme point of land on the sea-shore. Hence, upon the coming of the Deluge, Noah and his sons were borne by the ark to the earth we now inhabit. The four rivers he supposes to be gushing up the spouts of Paradise.” They are depicted on the above map: O is the Mediterranean Sea; P, the Arabian Gulf; L, the Caspian Sea; Q, the Tigris; M, the river Pison; “and J, the land where men dwelt before the Flood.”
It will be observed that, while he locates Paradise in the east, he places the scene of the Deluge in the west; and he supposes that Noah came from the scene of the Deluge to Europe.
This shows that the traditions in the time of Cosmos looked to the west as the place of the Deluge, and that after the Deluge Noah came to the shores of the Mediterranean. The fact, too, that there was land in the west beyond the ocean is recognized by Cosmos, and is probably a dim echo from Atlantean times.
The following rude cut, from Cosmos, represents the high mountain in the north behind which the sun hid himself at night, thus producing the alternations of day and night. His solar majesty is just getting behind the mountain, while Luna looks calmly on at the operation. The mountain is as crooked as Culhuacan, the crooked mountain of Atzlan described by the Aztecs.
THE DELUGE LEGENDS OF AMERICA.
“IT is a very remarkable fact,” says Alfred Maury, “that we find in America traditions of the Deluge coming infinitely nearer to that of the Bible and the Chaldean religion than among any people of the Old World. It is difficult to suppose that the emigration that certainly took place from Asia into North America by the Kourile and Aleutian Islands, and still does so in our day, should have brought in these memories, since no trace is found of them among those Mongol or Siberian populations which were fused with the natives of the New World. . . . The attempts that have been made to trace the origin of Mexican civilization to Asia have not as vet led to any sufficiently conclusive facts. Besides, had Buddhism, which we doubt, made its way into America, it could not have introduced a myth not found in its own scriptures. The cause of these similarities between the diluvian traditions of the nations of the New World and that of the Bible remains therefore unexplained.”
The cause of these similarities can be easily explained: the legends of the Flood did not pass into America by way of the Aleutian Islands, or through the Buddhists of Asia, but were derived from an actual knowledge of Atlantis possessed by the people of America.
Atlantis and the western continent had from an immemorial age held intercourse with each other: the great nations of America were simply colonies from Atlantis, sharing in its civilization, language, religion, and blood. From Mexico to the peninsula of Yucatan, from the shores of Brazil to the heights of Bolivia and Peru, from the Gulf of Mexico to the head-waters of the Mississippi River, the colonies of Atlantis
extended; and therefore it is not strange to find, as Alfred Maury says, American traditions of the Deluge coming nearer to that of the Bible and the Chaldean record than those of any people of the Old World.
“The most important among the American traditions are the Mexican, for they appear to have been definitively fixed by symbolic and mnemonic paintings before any contact with Europeans. According to these documents, the Noah of the Mexican cataclysm was Coxcox, called by certain peoples Teocipactli or Tezpi. He had saved himself, together with his wife Xochiquetzal, in a bark, or, according to other traditions, on a raft made of cypress-wood (Cupressus disticha). Paintings retracing the deluge of Coxcox have been discovered among the Aztecs, Miztecs, Zapotecs, Tlascaltecs, and Mechoacaneses. The tradition of the latter is still more strikingly in conformity with the story as we have it in Genesis, and in Chaldean sources. It tells how Tezpi embarked in a spacious vessel with his wife, his children, and several animals, and grain, whose preservation was essential to the subsistence of the human race. When the great god Tezcatlipoca decreed that the waters should retire, Tezpi sent a vulture from the bark. The bird, feeding on the carcasses with which the earth was laden, did not return. Tezpi sent out other birds, of which the humming-bird only came back with a leafy branch in its beak. Then Tezpi, seeing that the country began to vegetate, left his bark on the mountain of Colhuacan.
“The document, however, that gives the most valuable information,” says Lenormant, “as to the cosmogony of the Mexicans is one known as ‘Codex Vaticanus,’ from the library where it is preserved. It consists of four symbolic pictures, representing the four ages of the world preceding the actual one. They were copied at Chobula from a manuscript anterior to the conquest, and accompanied by the explanatory commentary of Pedro de los Rios, a Dominican monk, who, in 1566, less than fifty years after the arrival of Cortez, devoted himself to the research of indigenous traditions as being necessary to his missionary work.”
There were, according to this document, four ages of the world. The first was an age of giants (the great mammalia?)
who were destroyed by famine; the second age ended in a conflagration; the third age was an age of monkeys.
“Then comes the fourth age, Atonatiuh, ‘Sun of Water,’ whose number is 10 X 400 + 8, or 4008. It ends by a great inundation, a veritable deluge. All mankind are changed into fish, with the exception of one man and his wife, who save themselves in a bark made of the trunk of a cypress-tree. The picture represents Matlalcueye, goddess of waters, and consort of Tlaloc, god of rain, as darting down toward earth. Coxcox and Xochiquetzal, the two human beings preserved, are seen seated on a tree-trunk and floating in the midst of the waters. This flood is represented as the last cataclysm that devastates the earth.”
The learned Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg translates from the Aztec language of the “Codex Chimalpopoca” the following Flood legend:
“This is the sun called Nahui-atl, ‘4 water.’ Now the water was tranquil for forty years, plus twelve, and men lived for the third and fourth times. When the sun Nahui-atl came there had passed away four hundred years, plus two ages, plus seventy-six years. Then all mankind was lost and drowned, and found themselves changed into fish. The sky came nearer the water. In a single day all was lost, and the day Nahui-xochitl, ‘4 flower,’ destroyed all our flesh.
“And that year was that of cé-calli, ‘1 house,’ and the day Nahui-atl all was lost. Even the mountains sunk into the water, and the water remained tranquil for fifty-two springs.
“Now at the end of the year the god Titlacahuan had warned Nata and his spouse Nena, saying, ‘Make no more wine of Agave, but begin to hollow out a great cypress, and you will enter into it when in the month Tozontli the water approaches the sky.’
“Then they entered in, and when the god had closed the door, he said, ‘Thou shalt eat but one ear of maize, and thy wife one also.’
“But as soon as they had finished they went out, and the water remained calm, for the wood no longer moved, and, on opening it, they began to see fish.
“Then they lit a fire, by rubbing together pieces of wood, and they roasted fish.
The gods Citlallinicué and Citlalatonac, instantly looking down said: ‘Divine Lord, what is that fire that is making there? Why do they thus smoke the sky?’ At once Titlacahuan-Tezcatlipoca descended. He began to chide, saying, ‘Who has made this fire here?’ And, seizing hold of the fish, he shaped their loins and heads, and they were transformed into dogs (chichime).”
Here we note a remarkable approximation to Plato’s account of the destruction of Atlantis. “In one day and one fatal night,” says Plato, “there came mighty earthquakes and inundations that ingulfed that warlike people.” “In a single day all was lost,” says the Aztec legend. And, instead of a rainfall of forty days and forty nights, as represented in the Bible, here we see “in a single day. . . even the mountains sunk into the water;” not only the land on which the people dwelt who were turned into fish, but the very mountains of that land sunk into the water. Does not this describe the fate of Atlantis? In the Chaldean legend “the great goddess Ishtar wailed like a child,” saying, “I am the mother who gave birth to men, and, like to the race of fishes, they are filling the sea.”
In the account in Genesis, Noah “builded an altar unto the Lord, and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savor; and the Lord said in his heart, ‘I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake.'” In the Chaldean legend we are told that Khasisatra also offered a sacrifice, a burnt offering, “and the gods assembled like flies above the master of the sacrifice.” But Bel came in a high state of indignation, just as the Aztec god did, and was about to finish the work of the Deluge, when the great god Ea took ”pity in his heart and interfered to save the remnant of mankind.
These resemblances cannot be accidental; neither can they be the interpolations of Christian missionaries, for it will be observed the Aztec legends differ from the Bible in points
where they resemble on the one hand Plato’s record, and on the other the Chaldean legend.
The name of the hero of the Aztec story, Nata, pronounced with the broad sound of the a, is not far from the name of Noah or Noe. The Deluge of Genesis is a Phœnician, Semitic, or Hebraic legend, and yet, strange to say, the name of Noah, which occurs in it, bears no appropriate meaning in those tongues, but is derived from Aryan sources; its fundamental root is Na, to which in all the Aryan language is attached the meaning of water–νάειν, to flow; νᾶμα, water; Nympha, Neptunus, water deities. (Lenormant and Chevallier, “Anc. Hist. of the East,” vol. i., p. 15.) We find the root Na repeated in the name of this Central American Noah, Na-ta, and probably in the word “Na-hui-atl”–the age of water.
But still more striking analogies exist between the Chaldean legend and the story of the Deluge as told in the “Popul Vuh” (the Sacred Book) of the Central Americans:
“Then the waters were agitated by the will of the Heart of Heaven (Hurakan), and a great inundation came upon the heads of these creatures. . . . They were ingulfed, and a resinous thickness descended from heaven; . . . the face of the earth was obscured, and a heavy darkening rain commenced-rain by day and rain by night. . . . There was beard a great noise above their heads, as if produced by fire. Then were men seen running, pushing each other, filled with despair; they wished to climb upon their houses, and the houses, tumbling down, fell to the ground; they wished to climb upon the trees, and the trees shook them off; they wished to enter into the grottoes (eaves), and the grottoes closed themselves before them. . . . Water and fire contributed to the universal ruin at the time of the last great cataclysm which preceded the fourth creation.”
Observe the similarities here to the Chaldean legend. There is the same graphic description of a terrible event. The “black cloud” is referred to in both instances; also the dreadful noises. the rising water, the earthquake rocking the trees, overthrowing the houses, and crushing even the mountain caverns;
[paragraph continues]“the men running and pushing each other, filled with despair,” says the “Popul Vuh;” “the brother no longer saw his brother,” says the Assyrian legend.
And here I may note that this word hurakan–the spirit of the abyss, the god of storm, the hurricane–is very suggestive, and testifies to an early intercourse between the opposite shores of the Atlantic. We find in Spanish the word huracan; in Portuguese, furacan; in French,ouragan; in German, Danish, and Swedish, orcan–all of them signifying a storm; while in Latin furo, or furio, means to rage. And are not the old Swedish hurra, to be driven along; our own word hurried; the Icelandic word hurra, to be rattled over frozen ground, all derived from the same root from which the god of the abyss, Hurakan, obtained his name? The last thing a people forgets is the name of their god; we retain to this day, in the names of the days of the week, the designations of four Scandinavian gods and one Roman deity.
It seems to me certain the above are simply two versions of the same event; that while ships from Atlantis carried terrified passengers to tell the story of the dreadful catastrophe to the people of the Mediterranean shores, other ships, flying from the tempest, bore similar awful tidings to the civilized races around the Gulf of Mexico.
The native Mexican historian, Ixtlilxochitl, gave this as the Toltec legend of the Flood:
“It is found in the histories of the Toltecs that this age and first world, as they call it, lasted 1716 years; that men were destroyed by tremendous rains and lightning from the sky, and even all the land, without the exception of anything, and the highest mountains, were covered up and submerged in water fifteen cubits (caxtolmolatli); and here they added other fables of how men came to multiply from the few who escaped from this destruction in a “toptlipetlocali;” that this word nearly signifies a close chest; and how, after men had multiplied, they erected a very high “zacuali,” which is to-day a tower of great height, in order to take refuge in it should the
second world (age) be destroyed. Presently their languages were confused, and, not being able to understand each other, they went to different parts of the earth.
“The Toltecs, consisting of seven friends, with their wives, who understood the same language, came to these parts, having first passed great land and seas, having lived in caves, and having endured great hardships in order to reach this land; . . . they wandered 104 years through different parts of the world before they reached Hue Hue Tlapalan, which was in Ce Tecpatl, 520 years after the Flood.” (“Ixtlilxochitl Relaciones,” in Kingsborough’s “Mex. Ant.,” vol. ix., pp. 321, 322.)
It will of course be said that this account, in those particulars where it agrees with the Bible, was derived from the teachings of the Spanish priests; but it must be remembered that Ixtlilxochitl was an Indian, a native of Tezeuco, a son of the queen, and that his “Relaciones” were drawn from the archives of his family and the ancient writings of his nation: he had no motive to falsify documents that were probably in the hands of hundreds at that time.
Here we see that the depth of the water over the earth, “fifteen cubits,” given in the Toltec legend, is precisely the same as that named in the Bible: “fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail.” (Gen., chap. vii., 20.)
In the two curious picture-histories of the Aztecs preserved in the Boturini collection, and published by Gamelli Careri
and others, there is a record of their migrations from their original location through various parts of the North American continent until their arrival in Mexico. In both cases their starting-point is an island, from which they pass in a boat; and the island contains in one case a mountain, and in the other a high temple in the midst thereof. These things seem to be reminiscences of their origin in Atlantis.
In each case we see the crooked mountain of the Aztec legends, the Calhuacan, looking not unlike the bent mountain of the monk, Cosmos.
In the legends of the Chibchas of Bogota we seem to have distinct reminiscences of Atlantis. Bochica was their leading divinity. During two thousand years he employed himself in elevating his subjects. He lived in the sun, while his wife Chia occupied the moon. This would appear to be an allusion to the worship of the sun and moon. Beneath Bochica in their mythology was Chibchacum. In an angry mood he brought a deluge on the people of the table-land. Bochica punished him for this act, and obliged him ever after, like Atlas, to bear the burden of the earth on his back. Occasionally be shifts the earth from one shoulder to another, and this causes earthquakes!
Here we have allusions to an ancient people who, during thousands of years, were elevated in the scale of civilization, and were destroyed by a deluge; and with this is associated an Atlantean god bearing the world on his back. We find even the rainbow appearing in connection with this legend. When Bochica appeared in answer to prayer to quell the deluge he is seated on a rainbow. He opened a breach in the earth at Tequendama, through which the waters of the flood escaped, precisely as we have seen them disappearing through the crevice in the earth near Bambyce, in Greece.
The Toltecs traced their migrations back to a starting-point called “Aztlan,” or “Atlan.” This could be no other than, Atlantis. (Bancroft’s “Native Races,” vol. v., p. 221.) “The
original home of the Nahuatlacas was Aztlan, the location of which has been the subject of much discussion. The causes that led to their exodus from that country can only be conjectured; but they may be supposed to have been driven out by their enemies, for Aztlan is described as a land too fair and beautiful to be left willingly in the mere hope of finding a better.” (Bancroft’s “Native Races,” vol. v., p. .306.) The Aztecs also claimed to have come originally from Aztlan. (Ibid., p. 321.) Their very name, Aztecs, was derived from Aztlan. (Ibid., vol. ii., p. 125). They were Atlanteans.
The “Popul Vuh” tells us that after the migration from Aztlan three sons of the King of the Quiches, upon the death of their father, “determined to go as their fathers had ordered to the East, on the shores of the sea whence their fathers had come, to receive the royalty, ‘bidding adieu to their brothers and friends, and promising to return.’ Doubtless they passed over the sea when they went to the East to receive the royalty. Now this is the name of the lord, of the monarch of the people of the East where they went. And when they arrived before the lord Nacxit, the name of the great lord, the only judge, whose power was without limit, behold he granted them the sign of royalty and all that represents it . . . and the insignia of royalty . . . all the things, in fact, which they brought on their return, and which they went to receive from the other side of the sea–the art of painting from Tulan, a system of writing, they said, for the things recorded in their histories.” (Bancroft’s “Native Races,” vol. v., p. 553 “Popul Vuh,” p. 294.)
This legend not only points to the East as the place of origin of these races, but also proves that this land of the East, this Aztlan, this Atlantis, exercised dominion over the colonies in Central America, and furnished them with the essentials of civilization. How completely does this agree with the statement of Plato that the kings of Atlantis held dominion over parts of “the great opposite continent!”
Professor Valentini (“Maya Archæol.,” p. 23) describes an Aztec picture in the work of Gemelli (“Il giro del mondo,” vol. vi.) of the migration of the Aztecs from Aztlan:
“Out of a sheet of water there projects the peak of a mountain; on it stands a tree, and on the tree a bird spreads its wings. At the foot of the mountain-peak there comes out of the water the heads of a man and a woman. The one wears on his head the symbol of his name, Coxcox, a pheasant. The other head bears that of a hand with a bouquet (xochitl, a flower, and quetzal, shining in green gold). In the foreground is a boat, out of which a naked man stretches out his hand imploringly to heaven. Now turn to the sculpture in the Flood tablet (on the great Calendar stone). There you will find represented the Flood, and with great emphasis, by the accumulation of all those symbols with which the ancient Mexicans conveyed the idea of water: a tub of standing water, drops springing out–not two, as heretofore in the symbol for Atl, water–but four drops; the picture for moisture, a snail; above, a crocodile, the king of
the rivers. In the midst of these symbols you notice the profile of a man with a fillet, and a smaller one of a woman. There can be doubt these are the Mexican Noah, Coxcox, and his wife, Xochiquetzal; and at the same time it is evident (the Calendar stone, we know, was made in A.D., 1478) that the story of them, and the pictures representing the story, have not been invented by the Catholic clergy, but really existed among these nations long before the Conquest.”
The above figure represents the Flood tablet on the great Calendar stone.
When we turn to the uncivilized Indians of America, while we still find legends referring to the Deluge, they are, with one exception, in such garbled and uncouth forms that we can only see glimpses of the truth shining through a mass of fable.
The following tradition was current among the Indians of the Great Lakes:
“In former times the father of the Indian tribes dwelt toward the rising sun. Having been warned in a dream that a deluge was coming upon the earth, be built a raft, on which be saved himself, with his family and all the animals. He floated thus for several months. The animals, who at that time spoke, loudly complained and murmured against him. At last a new earth appeared, on which he landed with all the animals, who from that time lost the power of speech, as a punishment for their murmurs against their deliverer.”
According to Father Charlevoix, the tribes of Canada and the valley of the Mississippi relate in their rude legends that all mankind was destroyed by a flood, and that the Good Spirit, to repeople the earth, had changed animals into men. It is to J. S. Kohl we owe our acquaintance with the version of the Chippeways–full of grotesque and perplexing touches–in which the man saved from the Deluge is called Menaboshu. To know if the earth be drying, he sends a bird, the diver, out of his bark; then becomes the restorer of the human race and the founder of existing society.
A clergyman who visited the Indians north-west of the Ohio in 1764 met, at a treaty, a party of Indians from the west of the Mississippi.
“They informed him that one of their most ancient traditions was that, a great while ago, they had a common father, who lived toward the rising of the sun, and governed the whole world; that all the white people’s heads were under his feet; that he had twelve sons, by whom he administered the government; that the twelve sons behaved very bad, and tyrannized over the people, abusing their power; that the Great Spirit, being thus angry with them, suffered the white people to introduce spirituous liquors among them, made them drunk, stole the special gift of the Great Spirit from them, and by this means usurped power over them; and ever since the Indians’ heads were under the white people’s feet.” (Boudinot’s “Star in the West,” p. 111.)
Here we note that they looked “toward the rising sun”–toward Atlantis–for the original home of their race; that this
region governed “the whole world;” that it contained white people, who were at first a subject race, but who subsequently rebelled, and acquired dominion over the darker races. We will see reason hereafter to conclude that Atlantis had a composite population, and that the rebellion of the Titans in Greek mythology was the rising up of a subject population.
In 1836 C. S. Rafinesque published in Philadelphia, Pa., a work called “The American Nations,” in which he gives the historical songs or chants of the Lenni-Lenapi, or Delaware Indians, the tribe that originally dwelt along, the Delaware River. After describing a time “when there was nothing but sea-water on top of the land,” and the creation of sun, moon, stars, earth, and man, the legend depicts the Golden Age and the Fall in these words: “All were willingly pleased, all were easy-thinking, and all were well-happified. But after a while a snake-priest,Powako, brings on earth secretly the snake-worship (Initako) of the god of the snakes, Wakon. And there came wickedness, crime, and unhappiness. And bad weather was coming, distemper was coming, with death was coming. All this happened very long ago, at the first land, Netamaki, beyond the great ocean Kitahikau.” Then follows the Song of the Flood:
“There was, long ago, a powerful snake, Maskanako, when the men had become bad beings, Makowini. This strong snake had become the foe of the Jins, and they became troubled, hating each other. Both were fighting, both were, spoiling, both were never peaceful. And they were fighting, least man Mattapewi with dead-keeper Nihaulowit. And the strong snake readily resolved to destroy or fight the beings or the men. The dark snake he brought, the monster (Amanyam) he brought, snake-rushing water he brought (it). Much water is rushing, much go to hills, much penetrate, much destroying. Meanwhile at Tula (this is the same Tula referred to in the Central American legends), at THAT ISLAND, Nana-Bush (the great hare Nana) becomes the ancestor of beings and men. Being born creeping, he is ready to move and dwell at Tula. The beings and men all go forth from the flood creeping in shallow water or
swimming afloat, asking which is the way to the turtle-back, Tula-pin. But there are many monsters in the way, and some men were devoured by them. But the daughter of a spirit helped them in a boat, saying, ‘Come, come;’ they were coming and were helped. The name of the boat or raft is Mokol. . . . Water running off, it is drying; in the plains and the mountains, at the path of the cave, elsewhere went the powerful action or motion.” Then follows Song 3, describing the condition of mankind after the Flood. Like the Aryans, they moved into a cold country: “It freezes was there; it snows was there; it is cold was there.” They move to a milder region to hunt cattle; they divided their forces into tillers and hunters. “The good and the holy were the hunters;” they spread themselves north, south, east, and west.” Meantime all the snakes were afraid in their huts, and the Snake-priest Nakopowa said to all, ‘Let us go.’ Eastwardly they go forth at Snakeland (Akhokink), and they went away earnestly grieving.” Afterward the fathers of the Delawares, who “were always boating and navigating,” find that the Snake-people have taken possession of a fine country; and they collect together the people from north, south, east, and west, and attempt “to pass over the waters of the frozen sea to possess that land.” They seem to travel in the dark of an Arctic winter until they come to a gap of open sea. They can go no farther; but some tarry at Firland, while the rest return to where they started from, “the old turtle land.”
Here we find that the land that was destroyed was the “first land;” that it was an island “beyond the great ocean.” In all early age the people were happy and peaceful; they became wicked; “snake worship” was introduced, and was associated, as in Genesis, with the “fall of man;” Nana-Bush became the ancestor of the new race; his name reminds us of the Toltec Nata and the Hebrew Noah. After the flood came a dispersing of the people, and a separation into hunters and tillers of the soil.
Among the Mandan Indians we not only find flood legends, but, more remarkable still, we find an image of the ark preserved from generation to generation, and a religious ceremony performed
which refers plainly to the destruction of Atlantis, and to the arrival of one of those who escaped from the Flood, bringing the dreadful tidings of the disaster. It must be remembered, as we will show hereafter, that many of these Mandan Indians were white men, with hazel, gray, and blue eyes, and all shades of color of the hair from black to pure white; that they dwelt in houses in fortified towns, and manufactured earthen-ware pots in which they could boil water–an art unknown to the ordinary Indians, who boiled water by putting heated stones into it.
I quote the very interesting account of George Catlin, who visited the Mandans nearly fifty years ago, lately republished in London in the “North American Indians,” a very curious and valuable work. He says (vol. i., p. 88):
“In the centre of the village is an open space, or public square, 150 feet in diameter and circular in form, which is used for all public games and festivals, shows and exhibitions. The lodges around this open space front in, with their doors toward. the centre; and in the middle of this stands an object of great religious veneration, on account of the importance it has in connection with the annual religious ceremonies. This object is in the form of a large hogshead, some eight or ten feet high, made of planks and hoops, containing within it some of their choicest mysteries or medicines. They call it the ‘Big Canoe.'”
This is a representation of the ark; the ancient Jews venerated a similar image, and some of the ancient Greek States followed in processions a model of the ark of Deucalion. But it is indeed surprising to find this practice perpetuated, even to our own times, by a race of Indians in the heart of America. On page 158 of the first volume of the same work Catlin describes the great annual mysteries and religious ceremonials of which this image of the ark was the centre. He says:
“On the day set apart for the commencement of the ceremonies a solitary figure is seen approaching the village.
“During the deafening din and confusion within the pickets
of the village the figure discovered on the prairie continued to approach with a dignified step, and in a right line toward the village; all eyes were upon him, and he at length made his appearance within the pickets, and proceeded toward the centre of the village, where all the chiefs and braves stood ready to receive him, which they did in a cordial manner by shaking hands, recognizing him as an old acquaintance, and pronouncing his name, Nu-mohk-muck-a-nah (the first or only man). The body of this strange personage, which was chiefly naked, was painted with white clay, so as to resemble at a distance a white man. He enters the medicine lodge, and goes through certain mysterious ceremonies.
“During the whole of this day Nu-mohk-muck-a-nah (the first or only man) travelled through the village, stopping in front of each man’s lodge, and crying until the owner of the lodge came out and asked who he was, and what was the matter? To which be replied by narrating the sad catastrophe which had happened on the earth’s surface by the overflowing of the waters, saying that ‘he was the only person saved from the universal calamity; that he landed his big canoe on a high mountain in the west, where he now resides; that be has come to open the medicine lodge, which must needs receive a present of an edged tool from the owner of every wigwam, that it may be sacrificed to the water; for,’ he says, ‘if this is not done there will be another flood, and no one will be saved, as it was with such tools that the big canoe was made.’
“Having visited every lodge in the village during the day, and having received such a present from each as a hatchet, a knife, etc. (which is undoubtedly always prepared ready for the occasion), be places them in the medicine lodge; and, on the last day of the ceremony, they are thrown into a deep place in the river–‘sacrificed to the Spirit of the Waters.”‘
Among the sacred articles kept in the great medicine lodge are four sacks of water, called Eeh-teeh-ka, sewed together, each of them in the form of a tortoise lying on its back, with a bunch of eagle feathers attached to its tail. “These four tortoises,” they told me, “contained the waters from the four quarters of the world–that those waters had been contained therein ever since the settling down of the waters,” “I did
not,” says Catlin, who knew nothing of an Atlantis theory, “think it best to advance anything against such a ridiculous belief.” Catlin tried to purchase one of these water-sacks, but could not obtain it for any price; he was told they were “a society property.”
He then describes a dance by twelve men around the ark: “They arrange themselves according to the four cardinal points; two are painted perfectly black, two are vermilion color, some were painted partially white. They dance a dance called ‘Bel-lohck-na-pie,'” with horns on their heads, like those used in Europe as symbolical of Bel, or Baal.
Could anything be more evident than the connection of these ceremonies with the destruction of Atlantis? Here we have the image of the ark; here we have a white man coming with the news that “the waters had overflowed the land,” and that all the people were destroyed except himself; here we have the sacrifice to appease the spirit that caused the Flood, just as we find the Flood terminating, in the Hebrew, Chaldean, and Central American legends, with a sacrifice. Here, too, we have the image of the tortoise, which we find in other flood legends of the Indians, and which is a very natural symbol for an island. As one of our own poets has expressed it,
Lay the island of St. Thomas;
Like a great green turtle slumbered
On the sea which it encumbered.”
But this is not all. The Mandans were evidently of the race
of Atlantis. They have another singular legend, which we find in the account of Lewis and Clarke:
“Their belief in a future state is connected with this theory of their origin: The whole nation resided in one large village, underground, near a subterranean lake. A grape-vine extended its roots down to their habitation, and gave them a view of the light. Some of the most adventurous climbed up the vine, and were delighted with the sight of the earth, which they found covered with buffalo, and rich with every kind of fruit. Returning with the grapes they had gathered, their countrymen were so pleased with the taste of them that the whole nation resolved to leave their dull residence for the charms of the upper region. Men, women, and children ascended by means of the vine, but, when about half the nation had reached the surface of the earth, a corpulent woman, who was clambering up the vine, broke it with her weight, and closed upon herself and the rest of the nation the light of the sun.”
This curious tradition means. that the present nation dwelt in a large settlement underground, that is, beyond the land, in the sea; the sea being represented by “the subterranean lake.” At one time the people had free intercourse between this “large village” and the American continent, and they founded extensive colonies on this continent; whereupon some mishap cut them off from the mother country. This explanation is confirmed by the fact that in the legends of the Iowa Indians, who were a branch of the Dakotas, or Sioux Indians, and relatives of the Mandans (according to Major James W. Lynd), “all the tribes of Indians were formerly one, and all dwelt together on an island, or at least across a large water toward the east or sunrise. They crossed this water in skin canoes, or by swimming; but they know not how long they were in crossing, or whether the water was salt or fresh.” While the Dakotas, according to Major Lynd, who lived among them for nine years, possessed legends of “huge skiffs, in which the Dakotas of old floated for weeks, finally gaining dry land”–a reminiscence of ships and long sea-voyages.
The Mandans celebrated their great religious festival above described in the season when the willow is first in leaf, and a dove is mixed up in the ceremonies; and they further relate a legend that “the world was once a great tortoise, borne on the waters, and covered with earth, and that when one day, in digging the soil, a tribe of white men, who had made holes in the earth to a great depth digging for badgers, at length pierced the shell of the tortoise, it sank, and the water covering it drowned all men with the exception of one, who saved himself in a boat; and when the earth re-emerged, sent out a dove, who returned with a branch of willow in its beak.”
The holes dug to find badgers were a savage’s recollection of mining operations; and when the great disaster came, and the island sunk in the sea amid volcanic convulsions, doubtless men said it was due to the deep mines, which had opened the way to the central fires. But the recurrence of “white men” as the miners, and of a white man as “the last and only man,” and the presence of white blood in the veins of the people, all point to the same conclusion–that the Mandans were colonists from Atlantis.
And here I might add that Catlin found the following singular resemblances between the Mandan tongue and the Welsh:
|No; or there is not.||Megosh.||Nagoes.||Nagosh.|
|The Great Spirit.||Maho Peneta.||Mawr
Major Lynd found the following resemblances between the Dakota tongue and the languages of the Old World:
COMPARISON OF DAKOTA, OR SIOUX, WITH OTHER LANGUAGES.
|Latin.||English.||Saxon||Sanscrit.||German.||Danish.||Sioux.||Other Languages.||Primary Signification.|
|See, seen||Seon||Sehen||Sigt||Sin||Appearing, visible.|
|Weapon||Wepn||Wapen||Vaapen||Wipe||Sioux dimin. Wipena|
|Cor||Core||Co||Gr., Kear||Centre, heart|
|Reed, weed, wood.|
|Hot, brave, daring.|
|to bind (a link).|
According to Major Lynd, the Dakotas, or Sioux, belonged to the same race as the Mandans; hence the interest which .attaches to these verbal similarities.
“Among the Iroquois there is a tradition that the sea and waters infringed upon the land, so that all human life was destroyed. The Chickasaws assert that the world was once destroyed by water, but that one family was saved, and two animals of every kind. The Sioux say there was a time when there was no dry land, and all men had disappeared from existence.” (See Lynd’s “MS. History of the Dakotas,” Library of Historical Society of Minnesota.)
“The Okanagaus have a god, Skyappe, and also one called Chacha, who appear to be endowed with omniscience; but their principal divinity is their great mythical ruler and heroine, Scomalt. Long ago, when the sun was no bigger than a star, this strong medicine-woman ruled over what appears to have now become a lost island. At last the peace of the island was destroyed by war, and the noise of battle was heard, with which Scomalt was exceeding wroth, whereupon she rose up in her might and drove her rebellious subjects to one end of the island, and broke off the piece of land on which they were huddled and pushed it out to sea, to drift whither it would. This floating island was tossed to and fro and buffeted by the winds till all but two died. A man and woman escaped in a canoe, and arrived on the main-land; and from these the Okanagaus are descended.” (Bancroft’s “Native Races,” vol. iii., p. 149.)
Here we have the Flood legend clearly connected with a lost island.
The Nicaraguans believed “that ages ago the world was destroyed by a flood, in which the most part of mankind perished. Afterward theteotes, or gods, restored the earth as at the beginning.” (Ibid., p. 75.) The wild Apaches, “wild from their natal hour,” have a legend that “the first days of the world were happy and peaceful days;” then came a great flood, from which Montezuma and the coyote alone escaped. Montezuma became then very wicked, and attempted to build a house that would reach to heaven, but the Great
Spirit destroyed it with thunderbolts. (Bancroft’s “Native Races,” vol. iii., p. 76.)
The Pimas, an Indian tribe allied to the Papagos, have a peculiar flood legend. The son of the Creator was called Szeu-kha (Ze-us?). An eagle prophesied the deluge to the prophet of the people three times in succession, but his warning was despised; “then in the twinkling of an eye there came a peal of thunder and an awful crash, and a green mound of water reared itself over the plain. It seemed to stand upright for a second, then, cut incessantly by the lightning, goaded on like a great beast, it flung itself upon the prophet’s hut. When the morning broke there was nothing to be seen alive but one man–if indeed be were a man; Szeu-kha, the son of the Creator, had saved himself by floating on a ball of gum or resin.” This instantaneous catastrophe reminds one forcibly of the destruction of Atlantis. Szeu-kha killed the eagle, restored its victims to life, and repeopled the earth with them, as Deucalion repeopled the earth with the stones.