The Antediluvian World 4

The Fountains of the Great Deep.–As Atlantis perished in a volcanic convulsion, it must have possessed volcanoes. This is rendered the more probable when we remember that the ridge of land of which it was a part, stretching from north to south, from Iceland to St. Helena, contains even now great volcanoes–as in Iceland, the Azores, the Canaries, etc.–and that the very sea-bed along the line of its original axis is, to this day, as we have shown, the scene of great volcanic disturbances.

If, then, the mountains of Atlantis contained volcanoes, of which the
peaks of the Azores are the surviving representatives, it is not
improbable that the convulsion which drowned it in the sea was
accompanied by great discharges of water. We have seen that such
discharges occurred in the island of Java, when four thousand people
perished. “Immense columns of hot water and boiling mud were thrown out”
of the volcano of Galung Gung; the water was projected from the mountain
“like a water-spout.” When a volcanic island was created near Sicily in
1831, it was accompanied by “a waterspout sixty feet high.”

In the island of Dominica, one of the islands constituting the Leeward
group of the West Indies, and nearest to the site of Atlantis, on the
4th of January, 1880, occurred a series of convulsions which reminds us
forcibly of the destruction of Plato’s island; and the similarity
extends to another particular: Dominica contains, like Atlantis, we are
told, numerous hot and sulphur springs. I abridge the account given by
the New York Herald of January 28th, 1880:

“A little after 11 o’clock A.M., soon after high-mass in the Roman
Catholic cathedral, and while divine service was still going on in the
Anglican and Wesleyan chapels, all the indications of an approaching
thunder-storm suddenly showed themselves; the atmosphere, which just
previously had been cool and pleasant–slight showers falling since
early morning–became at once nearly stifling hot; the rumbling of
distant thunder was heard, and the light-blue and fleecy white of the
sky turned into a heavy and lowering black. Soon the thunder-peals came
near and loud, the lightning flashes, of a blue and red color, more
frequent and vivid; and the rain, first with a few heavy drops,
commenced to pour as if the floodgates of heaven were open. In a moment
it darkened, as if night had come; a strong, nearly overpowering smell
of sulphur announced itself; and people who happened to be out in the
streets felt the rain-drops falling on their heads, backs, and shoulders
like showers of hailstones. The cause of this was to be noted by looking
at the spouts, from which the water was rushing like so many cataracts
of molten lead, while the gutters below ran swollen streams of thick
gray mud, looking like nothing ever seen in them before. In the mean
time the Roseau River had worked itself into a state of mad fury,
overflowing its banks, carrying down rocks and large trees, and
threatening destruction to the bridges over it and the houses in its
neighborhood. When the storm ceased–it lasted till twelve, mid-day–the
roofs and walls of the buildings in town, the street pavement, the
door-steps and back-yards were found covered with a deposit of volcanic
débris, holding together like clay, dark-gray in color, and in some
places more than an inch thick, with small, shining metallic particles
on the surface, which could be easily identified as iron pyrites.
Scraping up some of the stuff, it required only a slight examination to
determine its main constituents–sandstone and magnesia, the pyrites
being slightly mixed, and silver showing itself in even smaller
quantity. This is, in fact, the composition of the volcanic mud thrown
up by the soufrières at Watton Waven and in the Boiling Lake country,
and it is found in solution as well in the lake water. The Devil’s
Billiard-table, within half a mile of the Boiling Lake, is composed
wholly of this substance, which there assumes the character of stone in
formation. Inquiries instituted on Monday morning revealed the fact
that, except on the south-east, the mud shower had not extended beyond
the limits of the town. On the north-west, in the direction of Fond Colo
and Morne Daniel, nothing but pure rain-water had fallen, and neither
Loubière nor Pointe Michel had seen any signs of volcanic disturbance. .
. .

“But what happened at Pointe Mulâtre enables us to spot the locale of
the eruption. Pointe Mulâtre lies at the foot of the range of mountains
on the top of which the Boiling Lake frets and seethes. The only outlet
of the lake is a cascade which falls into one of the branches of the
Pointe Mulâtre River, the color and temperature of which, at one time
and another, shows the existence or otherwise of volcanic activity in
the lake-country. We may observe, en passant, that the fall of the water
from the lake is similar in appearance to the falls on the sides of
Roairama, in the interior of British Guiana; there, is no continuous
stream, but the water overleaps its basin like a kettle boiling over,
and comes down in detached cascades from the top. May there not be a
boiling lake on the unapproachable summit of Roairama? The phenomena
noted at Pointe Mulâtre on Sunday were similar to what we witnessed in
Roseau, but with every feature more strongly marked. The fall of mud was
heavier, covering all the fields; the atmospheric disturbance was
greater, and the change in the appearance of the running water about the
place more surprising. The Pointe Mulâtre River suddenly began to run
volcanic mud and water; then the mud predominated, and almost buried the
stream under its weight, and the odor of sulphur in the air became
positively oppressive. Soon the fish in the water–brochet, camoo, meye,
crocro, mullet, down to the eel, the crawfish, the loche, the tétar, and
the dormer–died, and were thrown on the banks. The mud carried down by
the river has formed a bank at the month which nearly dams up the
stream, and threatens to throw it back over the low-lying lands of the
Pointe Mulâtre estate. The reports from the Laudat section of the
Boiling Lake district are curious. The Bachelor and Admiral rivers, and
the numerous mineral springs which arise in that part of the island, are
all running a thick white flood, like cream milk. The face of the entire
country, from the Admiral River to the Solfatera Plain, has undergone
some portentous change, which the frightened peasants who bring the news
to Roseau seem unable clearly and connectedly to describe, and the
volcanic activity still continues.”

From this account it appears that the rain of water and mud came from a
boiling lake on the mountains; it must have risen to a great height,
“like a water-spout,” and then fallen in showers over the face of the
country. We are reminded, in this Boiling Lake of Dominica, of the Welsh
legend of the eruption of the Llyn-llion, “the Lake of Waves,” which
“inundated the whole country.” On the top of a mountain in the county of
Kerry, Ireland, called Mangerton, there is a deep lake known as
Poulle-i-feron, which signifies Hell-hole; it frequently overflows, and
rolls down the mountain in frightful torrents. On Slieve-donart, in the
territory of Mourne, in the county of Down, Ireland, a lake occupies the
mountain-top, and its overflowings help to form rivers.

If we suppose the destruction of Atlantis to have been, in like manner,
accompanied by a tremendous outpour of water from one or more of its
volcanoes, thrown to a great height, and deluging the land, we can
understand the description in the Chaldean legend of “the terrible
water-spout,” which even “the gods grew afraid of,” and which “rose to
the sky,” and which seems to have been one of the chief causes, together
with the earthquake, of the destruction of the country. And in this view
we are confirmed by the Aramæan legend of the Deluge, probably derived
at an earlier age from the Chaldean tradition. In it we are told, “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 ocean overflowed its banks.” The disturbance in Dominica
duplicates this description exactly: “In a moment” the water and mud
burst from the mountains, “the floodgates of heaven were opened,” and
“the river overflowed its banks.”

And here, again, we are reminded of the expression in Genesis, “the same
day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up” (chap. vii.,
11). That this does not refer to the rain is clear from the manner in
which it is stated: “The same day were all the fountains of the great
deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was
upon the earth,” etc. And when the work of destruction is finished, we
are told “the fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were
stopped.” This is a reminiscence by an inland people, living where such
tremendous volcanic disturbances were nearly unknown, of “the terrible
water-spout which “rose to the sky,” of the Chaldean legend, and of “the
enormous volumes of water issuing from the earth” of the Aramæan
tradition. The Hindoo legend of the Flood speaks of “the marine god
Hayagriva, who dwelt in the abyss,” who produced the cataclysm. This is
doubtless “the archangel of the abyss” spoken of in the Chaldean

The Mountains of the North.–We have in Plato the following reference to
the mountains of Atlantis:

“The whole country was described as being very lofty and precipitous on
the side of the sea. . . . The whole region of the island lies toward
the south, and is sheltered from the north. . . . The surrounding
mountains exceeded all that are to be seen now anywhere.”

These mountains were the present Azores. One has but to contemplate
their present elevation, and remember the depth to which they descend in
the ocean, to realize their tremendous altitude and the correctness of
the description given by Plato.

In the Hindoo legend we find the fish-god, who represents Poseidon,
father of Atlantis, helping Mann over “the Mountain of the North.” In
the Chaldean legend Khasisatra’s vessel is stopped by “the Mountain of
Nizir” until the sea goes down.

The Mud which Stopped Navigation.–We are told by Plato, “Atlantis
disappeared beneath the sea, and then that sea became inaccessible, so
that navigation on it ceased, on account of the quantity of mud which
the ingulfed island left in its place.” This is one of the points of
Plato’s story which provoked the incredulity and ridicule of the
ancient, and even of the modern, world. We find in the Chaldean legend
something of the same kind: Khasisatra says, “I looked at the sea
attentively, observing, and the whole of humanity had returned to mud.”
In the “Popol Vuh” we are told that a “resinous thickness descended from
heaven,” even as in Dominica the rain was full of “thick gray mud,”
accompanied by an “overpowering smell of sulphur.”

The explorations of the ship Challenger show that the whole of the
submerged ridge of which Atlantis is a part is to this day thickly
covered with volcanic débris.

We have but to remember the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which
were covered with such a mass of volcanic ashes from the eruption of
A.D. 79 that for seventeen centuries they remained buried at a depth of
from fifteen to thirty feet; a new population lived and labored above
them; an aqueduct was constructed over their heads; and it was only when
a farmer, in digging for a well, penetrated the roof of a house, that
they were once more brought to the light of day and the knowledge of

We have seen that, in 1783, the volcanic eruption in Iceland covered the
sea with pumice for a distance of one hundred and fifty miles, “and
ships were considerably impeded in their course.”

The eruption in the island of Sumbawa, in April, 1815, threw out such
masses of ashes as to darken the air. “The floating cinders to the west
of Sumatra formed, on the 12th of April, a mass two feet thick and
several miles in extent, through which ships with difficulty forced
their way.”

It thus appears that the very statement of Plato which has provoked the
ridicule of scholars is in itself one of the corroborating features of
his story. It is probable that the ships of the Atlanteans, when they
returned after the tempest to look for their country, found the sea
impassable from the masses of volcanic ashes and pumice. They returned
terrified to the shores of Europe; and the shock inflicted by the
destruction of Atlantis upon the civilization of the world probably led
to one of those retrograde periods in the history of our race in which
they lost all intercourse with the Western continent.

The Preservation of a Record.–There is a singular coincidence in the
stories of the Deluge in another particular.

The legends of the Phœnicians, preserved by Sanchoniathon, tell us that
Taautos, or Taut, was the inventor of the alphabet and of the art of

Now, we find in the Egyptian legends a passage of Manetho, in which
Thoth (or Hermes Trismegistus), before the Deluge, inscribed on stelæ,
or tablets, in hieroglyphics, or sacred characters, the principles of
all knowledge. After the Deluge the second Thoth translated the contents
of these stelæ into the vulgar tongue.

Josephus tells us that “The patriarch Seth, in order that wisdom and
astronomical knowledge should not perish, erected, in prevision of the
double destruction by fire and water predicted by Adam, two columns, one
of brick, the other of stone, on which this knowledge was engraved, and
which existed in the Siriadic country.”

In the Chaldean legends the god Ea ordered Khasisatra to inscribe the
divine learning, and the principles of all sciences, on tables of
terra-cotta, and bury them, before the Deluge, “in the City of the Sun
at Sippara.”

Berosus, in his version of the Chaldean flood, says:

“The deity, Chronos, appeared to him (Xisuthros) in a vision, and warned
him that, upon the 15th day of the month Dœsius, there would be a flood
by which mankind would be destroyed. He therefore enjoined him to write
a history of the beginning, procedure, and conclusion of all things, and
to bury it in the City of the Sun at Sippara, and to build a vessel,”

The Hindoo Bhâgavata-Purâna tells us that the fish-god, who warned
Satyravata of the coming of the Flood, directed him to place the sacred
Scriptures in a safe place, “in order to preserve them from Hayagriva, a
marine horse dwelling in the abyss.”

Are we to find the original of these legends in the following passage
from Plato’s history of Atlantis?

“Now, the relations of their governments to one another were regulated
by the injunctions of Poseidon, as the law had handed them down. These
were inscribed by the first then on a column of orichalcum, which was
situated in the middle of the island, at the Temple of Poseidon, whither
the people were gathered together. . . . They received and gave
judgments, and at daybreak they wrote down their sentences on a golden
tablet, and deposited them as memorials with their robes. There were
many special laws which the several kings had inscribed about the
temples.” (Critias, p. 120.)

A Succession of Disasters.–The Central American books, translated by De
Bourbourg, state that originally a part of the American continent
extended far into the Atlantic Ocean. This tradition is strikingly
confirmed by the explorations of the ship Challenger, which show that
the “Dolphin’s Ridge” was connected with the shore of South America
north of the mouth of the Amazon. The Central American books tell us
that this region of the continent was destroyed by a succession of
frightful convulsions, probably at long intervals apart; three of these
catastrophes are constantly mentioned, and sometimes there is reference
to one or two more.

“The land,” in these convulsions, “was shaken by frightful earthquakes,
and the waves of the sea combined with volcanic fires to overwhelm and
ingulf it. . . . Each convulsion swept away portions of the land until
the whole disappeared, leaving the line of coast as it now is. Most of
the inhabitants, overtaken amid their regular employments, were
destroyed; but some escaped in ships, and some fled for safety to the
summits of high mountains, or to portions of the land which for a time
escaped immediate destruction.” (Baldwin’s “Ancient America,” p. 176.)

This accords precisely with the teachings of geology. We know that the
land from which America and Europe were formed once covered nearly or
quite the whole space now occupied by the Atlantic between the
continents; and it is reasonable to believe that it went down piecemeal,
and that Atlantis was but the stump of the ancient continent, which at
last perished from the same causes and in the same way.

The fact that this tradition existed among the inhabitants of America is
proven by the existence of festivals, “especially one in the month
Izcalli, which were instituted to commemorate this frightful destruction
of land and people, and in which, say the sacred books, ‘princes and
people humbled themselves before the divinity, and besought him to
withhold a return of such terrible calamities.'”

Can we doubt the reality of events which we thus find confirmed by
religious ceremonies at Athens, in Syria, and on the shores of Central

And we find this succession of great destructions of the Atlantic
continent in the triads of Wales, where traditions are preserved of
“three terrible catastrophes.” We are told by the explorations of the
ship Challenger that the higher lands reach in the direction of the
British Islands; and the Celts had traditions that a part of their
country once extended far out into the Atlantic, and was subsequently

And the same succession of destructions is referred to in the Greek
legends, where a deluge of Ogyges–“the most ancient of the kings of
Bœotia or Attica, a quite mythical person, lost in the night of
ages”–preceded that of Deucalion.

We will find hereafter the most ancient hymns of the Aryans praying God
to hold the land firm. The people of Atlantis, having seen their country
thus destroyed, section by section, and judging that their own time must
inevitably come, must have lived under a great and perpetual terror,
which will go far to explain the origin of primeval religion, and the
hold which it took upon the minds of men; and this condition of things
may furnish us a solution of the legends which have come down to us of
their efforts to perpetuate their learning on pillars, and also an
explanation of that other legend of the Tower of Babel, which, as I will
show hereafter, was common to both continents, and in which they sought
to build a tower high enough to escape the Deluge.

All the legends of the preservation of a record prove that the united
voice of antiquity taught that the antediluvians had advanced so far in
civilization as to possess an alphabet and a system of writing; a
conclusion which, as we will see hereafter, finds confirmation in the
original identity of the alphabetical signs used in the old world and
the new.





Material civilization might be defined to be the result of a series of
inventions and discoveries, whereby man improves his condition, and
controls the forces of nature for his own advantage.

The savage man is a pitiable creature; as Menabosbu says, in the
Chippeway legends, he is pursued by a “perpetual hunger;” he is exposed
unprotected to the blasts of winter and the heats of summer. A great
terror sits upon his soul; for every manifestation of nature–the storm,
the wind, the thunder, the lightning, the cold, the heat–all are
threatening and dangerous demons. The seasons bring him neither
seed-time nor harvest; pinched with hunger, appeasing in part the
everlasting craving of his stomach with seeds, berries, and creeping
things, he sees the animals of the forest dash by him, and he has no
means to arrest their flight. He is powerless and miserable in the midst
of plenty. Every step toward civilization is a step of conquest over
nature. The invention of the bow and arrow was, in its time, a far
greater stride forward for the human race than the steam-engine or the
telegraph. The savage could now reach his game–his insatiable hunger
could be satisfied; the very eagle, “towering in its pride of place,”
was not beyond the reach of this new and wonderful weapon. The discovery
of fire and the art of cooking was another immense step forward. The
savage, having nothing but wooden vessels in which to cook, covered the
wood with clay; the day hardened in the fire. The savage gradually
learned that he could dispense with the wood, and thus pottery was
invented. Then some one (if we are to believe the Chippeway legends, on
the shores of Lake Superior) found fragments of the pure copper of that
region, beat them into shape, and the art of metallurgy was begun; iron
was first worked in the same way by shaping meteoric iron into

But it must not be supposed that these inventions followed one another
in rapid succession. Thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands, of years
intervened between each step; many savage races have not to this day
achieved some of these steps. Prof. Richard Owen says, “Unprepossessed
and sober experience teaches that arts, language, literature are of slow
growth, the results of gradual development.”

I shall undertake to show hereafter that nearly all the arts essential
to civilization which we possess date back to the time of
Atlantis–certainly to that ancient Egyptian civilization which was
coeval with, and an outgrowth from, Atlantis.

In six thousand years the world made no advance on the civilization
which it received from Atlantis.

Phœnicia, Egypt, Chaldea, India, Greece, and Rome passed the torch of
civilization from one to the other; but in all that lapse of time they
added nothing to the arts which existed at the earliest period of
Egyptian history. In architecture, sculpture, painting, engraving,
mining, metallurgy, navigation, pottery, glass-ware, the construction of
canals, roads, and aqueducts, the arts of Phœnicia and Egypt extended,
without material change or improvement, to a period but two or three
hundred years ago. The present age has entered upon a new era; it has
added a series of wonderful inventions to the Atlantean list; it has
subjugated steam and electricity to the uses of man. And its work has
but commenced: it will continue until it lifts man to a plane as much
higher than the present as the present is above the barbaric condition;
and in the future it will be said that between the birth of civilization
in Atlantis and the new civilization there stretches a period of many
thousands of years, during which mankind did not invent, but simply

Herodotus tells us (“Euterpe,” cxlii.) that, according to the
information he received from the Egyptian priests, their written history
dated back 11,340 years before his era, or nearly 14,000 years prior to
this time. They introduced him into a spacious temple, and showed him
the statues of 341 high-priests who had in turn succeeded each other;
and yet the age of Columbus possessed no arts, except that of printing
(which was ancient in China), which was not known to the Egyptians; and
the civilization of Egypt at its first appearance was of a higher order
than at any subsequent period of its history, thus testifying that it
drew its greatness from a fountain higher than itself. It was in its
early days that Egypt worshipped one only God; in the later ages this
simple and sublime belief was buried under the corruptions of
polytheism. The greatest pyramids were built by the Fourth Dynasty, and
so universal was education at that time among the people that the stones
with which they were built retain to this day the writing of the
workmen. The first king was Menes.

“At the epoch of Menes,” says Winchell, “the Egyptians were already a
civilized and numerous people. Manetho tells us that Athotis, the son of
this first king, Menes, built the palace at Memphis; that he was a
physician, and left anatomical books. All these statements imply that
even at this early period the Egyptians were in a high state of
civilization.” (Winchell’s “Preadamites,” p. 120.) “In the time of Menes
the Egyptians had long been architects, sculptors, painters,
mythologists, and theologians.” Professor Richard Owen says, “Egypt is
recorded to have been a civilized and governed community before the time
of Menes. The pastoral community of a group of nomad families, as
portrayed in the Pentateuch, may be admitted as an early step in
civilization. But how far in advance of this stage is a nation
administered by a kingly government, consisting of grades of society,
with divisions of labor, of which one kind, assigned to the priesthood,
was to record or chronicle the names and dynasties of the kings, the
duration and chief events of their reigns!” Ernest Renan points out that
“Egypt at the beginning appears mature, old, and entirely without
mythical and heroic ages, as if the country had never known youth. Its
civilization has no infancy, and its art no archaic period. The
civilization of the Old Monarchy did not begin with infancy. It was
already mature.”

We shall attempt to show that it matured in Atlantis, and that the
Egyptian people were unable to maintain it at the high standard at which
they had received it, as depicted in the pages of Plato. What king of
Assyria, or Greece, or Rome, or even of these modern nations, has ever
devoted himself to the study of medicine and the writing of medical
books for the benefit of mankind? Their mission has been to kill, not to
heal the people; yet here, at the very dawn of Mediterranean history, we
find the son of the first king of Egypt recorded “as a physician, and as
having left anatomical books.”

I hold it to be incontestable that, in some region of the earth,
primitive mankind must have existed during vast spaces of time, and
under most favorable circumstances, to create, invent, and discover
those arts and things which constitute civilization. When we have it
before our eyes that for six thousand years mankind in Europe, Asia, and
Africa, even when led by great nations, and illuminated by marvellous
minds, did not advance one inch beyond the arts of Egypt, we may
conceive what lapses, what aeons, of time it must have required to bring
savage man to that condition of refinement and civilization possessed by
Egypt when it first comes within the purview of history.

That illustrious Frenchman, H. A. Taine (” History of English
Literature,” p. 23), sees the unity of the Indo-European races manifest
in their languages, literature, and philosophies, and argues that these
pre-eminent traits are “the great marks of an original model,” and that
when we meet with them “fifteen, twenty, thirty centuries before our
era, in an Aryan, an Egyptian, a Chinese, they represent the work of a
great many ages, perhaps of several myriads of centuries. . . . Such is
the first and richest source of these master faculties from which
historical events take their rise; and one sees that if it be powerful
it is because this is no simple spring, but a kind of lake, a deep
reservoir, wherein other springs have, for a multitude of centuries,
discharged their several streams.” In other words, the capacity of the
Egyptian, Aryan, Chaldean, Chinese, Saxon, and Celt to maintain
civilization is simply the result of civilized training during “myriads
of centuries” in some original home of the race.

I cannot believe that the great inventions were duplicated
spontaneously, as some would have us believe, in different countries;
there is no truth in the theory that men pressed by necessity will
always hit upon the same invention to relieve their wants. If this were
so, all savages would have invented the boomerang; all savages would
possess pottery, bows and arrows, slings, tents, and canoes; in short,
all races would have risen to civilization, for certainly the comforts
of life are as agreeable to one people as another.

Civilization is not communicable to all; many savage tribes are
incapable of it. There are two great divisions of mankind, the civilized
and the savage; and, as we shall show, every civilized race in the world
has had something of civilization from the earliest ages; and as “all
roads lead to Rome,” so all the converging lines of civilization lead to
Atlantis. The abyss between the civilized man and the savage is simply
incalculable; it represents not alone a difference in arts and methods
of life, but in the mental constitution, the instincts, and the
predispositions of the soul. The child of the civilized races in his
sports manufactures water-wheels, wagons, and houses of cobs; the savage
boy amuses himself with bows and arrows: the one belongs to a building
and creating race; the other to a wild, hunting stock. This abyss
between savagery and civilization has never been passed by any nation
through its own original force, and without external influences, during
the Historic Period; those who were savages at the dawn of history are
savages still; barbarian slaves may have been taught something of the
arts of their masters, and conquered races have shared some of the
advantages possessed by their conquerors; but we will seek in vain for
any example of a savage people developing civilization of and among
themselves. I may be reminded of the Gauls, Goths, and Britons; but
these were not savages, they possessed written languages, poetry,
oratory, and history; they were controlled by religious ideas; they
believed in God and the immortality of the soul, and in a state of
rewards and punishments after death. Wherever the Romans came in contact
with Gauls, or Britons, or German tribes, they found them armed with
weapons of iron. The Scots, according to Tacitus, used chariots and iron
swords in the battle of the Grampians–“enormes gladii sine mucrone.”
The Celts of Gaul are stated by Diodorus Siculus to have used
iron-headed spears and coats-of-mail, and the Gauls who encountered the
Roman arms in B.C. 222 were armed with soft iron swords, as well as at
the time when Caesar conquered their country. Among the Gauls men would
lend money to be repaid in the next world, and, we need not add, that no
Christian people has yet reached that sublime height of faith; they
cultivated the ground, built houses and walled towns, wove cloth, and
employed wheeled vehicles; they possessed nearly all the cereals and
domestic animals we have, and they wrought in iron, bronze, and steel.
The Gauls had even invented a machine on wheels to cut their grain, thus
anticipating our reapers and mowers by two thousand years. The
difference between the civilization of the Romans under Julius Caesar
and the Gauls under Vercingetorix was a difference in degree and not in
kind. The Roman civilization was simply a development and perfection of
the civilization possessed by all the European populations; it was drawn
from the common fountain of Atlantis.

If we find on both sides of the Atlantic precisely the same arts,
sciences, religious beliefs, habits, customs, and traditions, it is
absurd to say that the peoples of the two continents arrived separately,
by precisely the same steps, at precisely the same ends. When we
consider the resemblance of the civilizations of the Mediterranean
nations to one another, no man is silly enough to pretend that Rome,
Greece, Egypt, Assyria, Phœnicia, each spontaneously and separately
invented the arts, sciences, habits, and opinions in which they agreed;
but we proceed to trace out the thread of descent or connection from one
to another. Why should a rule of interpretation prevail, as between the
two sides of the Atlantic, different from that which holds good as to
the two sides of the Mediterranean Sea? If, in the one case, similarity
of origin has unquestionably produced similarity of arts, customs, and
condition, why, in the other, should not similarity of arts, customs,
and condition prove similarity of origin? Is there any instance in the
world of two peoples, without knowledge of or intercourse with each
other, happening upon the same invention, whether that invention be an
arrow-head or a steam-engine? If it required of mankind a lapse of at
least six thousand years before it began anew the work of invention, and
took up the thread of original thought where Atlantis dropped it, what
probability is there of three or four separate nations all advancing at
the same speed to precisely the same arts and opinions? The proposition
is untenable.

If, then, we prove that, on both sides of the Atlantic, civilizations
were found substantially identical, we have demonstrated that they must
have descended one from the other, or have radiated from some common




Architecture.–Plato tells us that the Atlanteans possessed
architecture; that they built walls, temples, and palaces.

We need not add that this art was found in Egypt and all the civilized
countries of Europe, as well as in Peru, Mexico, and Central America.
Among both the Peruvians and Egyptians the walls receded inward, and the
doors were narrower at, the top than at the threshold.

The obelisks of Egypt, covered with hieroglyphics, are paralleled by the
round columns of Central America, and both are supposed to have
originated in Phallus-worship. “The usual symbol of the Phallus was an
erect stone, often in its rough state, sometimes sculptured.” (Squier,
“Serpent Symbol,” p. 49; Bancroft’s “Native Races,” vol. iii., p. 504.)
The worship of Priapus was found in Asia, Egypt, along the European
shore of the Mediterranean, and in the forests of Central America.

The mounds of Europe and Asia were made in the same way and for the same
purposes as those of America. Herodotus describes the burial of a
Scythian king; he says, “After this they set to work to raise a vast
mound above the grave, all of them vying with each other, and seeking to
make it as tall as possible.” “It must be confessed,” says Foster
(“Prehistoric Races,” p. 193), “that these Scythic burial rites have a
strong resemblance to those of the Mound Builders.” Homer describes the
erection of a great symmetrical mound over Achilles, also one over
Hector. Alexander the Great raised a great mound over his friend
Hephæstion, at a cost of more than a million dollars; and Semiramis
raised a similar mound over her husband. The pyramids of Egypt, Assyria,
and Phœnicia had their duplicates in Mexico and Central America.


The grave-cists made of stone of the American mounds are exactly like
the stone chests, or kistvaen for the dead, found in the British mounds.
(Fosters “Prehistoric Races,” p. 109.) Tumuli have been found in
Yorkshire enclosing wooden coffins, precisely as in the mounds of the
Mississippi Valley. (Ibid., p. 185.) The articles associated with the
dead are the same in both continents: arms, trinkets, food, clothes, and
funeral urns. In both the Mississippi Valley and among the Chaldeans
vases were constructed around the bones, the neck of the vase being too
small to permit the extraction of the skull. (Foster’s “Prehistoric
Races,” p. 200.)

The use of cement was known alike to the European and American nations.

The use of the arch was known on both sides of the Atlantic.

The manufacture of bricks was known in both the Old and New Worlds.

The style of ornamentation in architecture was much the same on both
hemispheres, as shown in the preceding designs, pages 137, 139.

Metallurgy.–The Atlanteans mined ores, and worked in metals; they used
copper, tin, bronze, gold, and silver, and probably iron.

The American nations possessed all these metals. The age of bronze, or
of copper combined with tin, was preceded in America, and nowhere else,
by a simpler age of copper; and, therefore, the working of metals
probably originated in America, or in some region to which it was
tributary. The Mexicans manufactured bronze, and the Incas mined iron
near Lake Titicaca; and the civilization of this latter region, as we
will show, probably dated back to Atlantean times. The Peruvians called
gold the tears of the sun: it was sacred to, the sun, as silver was to
the moon.

Sculpture.–The Atlanteans possessed this art; so did the American and
Mediterranean nations.

Dr. Arthur Schott (“Smith. Rep.,” 1869, p. 391), in describing the “Cara
Gigantesca,” or gigantic face, a monument of Yzamal, in Yucatan, says,
“Behind and on both sides, from under the mitre, a short veil falls upon
the shoulders, so as to protect the back of the head and the neck. This
particular appendage vividly calls to mind the same feature in the
symbolic adornments of Egyptian and Hindoo priests, and even those of
the Hebrew hierarchy.” Dr. Schott sees in the orbicular wheel-like
plates of this statue the wheel symbol of Kronos and Saturn; and, in
turn, it may be supposed that the wheel of Kronos was simply the cross
of Atlantis, surrounded by its encircling ring.

Painting.–This art was known on both sides of the Atlantic. The
paintings upon the walls of some of the temples of Central America
reveal a state of the art as high as that of Egypt.

Engraving.–Plato tells us that the Atlanteans engraved upon pillars.
The American nations also had this art in common with Egypt, Phœnicia,
and Assyria.

Agriculture.–The people of Atlantis were pre-eminently an agricultural
people; so were the civilized nations of America and the Egyptians. In
Egypt the king put his hand to the plough at an annual festival, thus
dignifying and consecrating the occupation of husbandry. In Peru
precisely the same custom prevailed. In both the plough was known; in
Egypt it was drawn by oxen, and in Peru by men. It was drawn by men in
the North of Europe down to a comparatively recent period.

Public Works.–The American nations built public works as great as or
greater than any known in Europe. The Peruvians had public roads, one
thousand five hundred to two thousand miles long, made so thoroughly as
to elicit the astonishment of the Spaniards. At every few miles taverns
or hotels were established for the accommodation of travellers. Humboldt
pronounced these Peruvian roads “among the most useful and stupendous
works ever executed by man.” They built aqueducts for purposes of
irrigation some of which were five hundred miles long. They constructed
magnificent bridges of stone, and had even invented suspension bridges
thousands of years before they were introduced into Europe. They had,
both in Peru and Mexico, a system of posts, by means of which news was
transmitted hundreds of miles in a day, precisely like those known among
the Persians in the time of Herodotus, and subsequently among the
Romans. Stones similar to mile-stones were placed along the roads in
Peru. (See Prescott’s “Peru,”)

Navigation.–Sailing vessels were known to the Peruvians and the Central
Americans. Columbus met, in 1502, at an island near Honduras, a party of
the Mayas in a large vessel, equipped with sails, and loaded with a
variety of textile fabrics of divers colors.


Manufactures.–The American nations manufactured woollen and cotton
goods; they made pottery as beautiful as the wares of Egypt; they
manufactured glass; they engraved gems and precious stones. The
Peruvians had such immense numbers of vessels and ornaments of gold that
the Inca paid with them a ransom for himself to Pizarro of the value of
fifteen million dollars.

Music.–It has been pointed out that there is great resemblance between
the five-toned music of the Highland Scotch and that of the Chinese and
other Eastern nations. (“Anthropology,” p. 292.)

Weapons.–The weapons of the New World were identically the same as
those of the Old World; they consisted of bows and arrows, spears,
darts, short swords, battle-axes, and slings; and both peoples used
shields or bucklers, and casques of wood or hide covered with metal. If
these weapons had been derived from separate sources of invention, one
country or the other would have possessed implements not known to the
other, like the blow-pipe, the boomerang, etc. Absolute identity in so
many weapons strongly argues identity of origin.

Religion.–The religion of the Atlanteans, as Plato tells us, was pure
and simple; they made no regular sacrifices but fruits and flowers; they
worshipped the sun.

In Peru a single deity was worshipped, and the sun, his most glorious
work, was honored as his representative. Quetzalcoatl, the founder of
the Aztecs, condemned all sacrifice but that of fruits and flowers. The
first religion of Egypt was pure and simple; its sacrifices were fruits
and flowers; temples were erected to the sun, Ra, throughout Egypt. In
Peru the great festival of the sun was called Ra-mi. The Phœnicians
worshipped Baal and Moloch; the one represented the beneficent, and the
other the injurious powers of the sun.

Religious Beliefs.–The Guanches of the Canary Islands, who were
probably a fragment of the old Atlantean population, believed in the
immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body, and preserved
their dead as mummies. The Egyptians believed in the immortality of the
soul and the resurrection of the body, and preserved the bodies of the
dead by embalming them. The Peruvians believed in the immortality of the
soul and the resurrection of the body, and they too preserved the bodies
of their dead by embalming them. “A few mummies in remarkable
preservation have been found among the Chinooks and Flatheads.”
(Schoolcraft, vol. v., p. 693.) The embalmment of the body was also
practised in Central America and among the Aztecs. The Aztecs, like the
Egyptians, mummified their dead by taking out the bowels and replacing
them with aromatic substances. (Dorman, “Origin Prim. Superst.,” p.
173.) The bodies of the kings of the Virginia Indians were preserved by
embalming. (Beverly, p. 47.)

Here are different races, separated by immense distances of land and
ocean, uniting in the same beliefs, and in the same practical and
logical application of those beliefs.

The use of confession and penance was known in the religious ceremonies
of some of the American nations. Baptism was a religious ceremony with
them, and the bodies of the dead were sprinkled with water.

Vestal virgins were found in organized communities on both sides of the
Atlantic; they were in each case pledged to celibacy, and devoted to
death if they violated their vows. In both hemispheres the recreant were
destroyed by being buried alive. The Peruvians, Mexicans, Central
Americans, Egyptians, Phœnicians, and Hebrews each had a powerful
hereditary priesthood.

The Phœnicians believed in an evil spirit called Zebub; the Peruvians
had a devil called Cupay. The Peruvians burnt incense in their temples.
The Peruvians, when they sacrificed animals, examined their entrails,
and from these prognosticated the future.

I need not add that all these nations preserved traditions of the
Deluge; and all of them possessed systems of writing.

The Egyptian priest of Sais told Solon that the myth of Phaëthon, the
son of Helios, having attempted to drive the chariot of the sun, and
thereby burning up the earth, referred to “a declination of the bodies
moving round the earth and in the heavens” (comets), which caused a
“great conflagration upon the earth,” from which those only escaped who
lived near rivers and seas. The “Codex Chimalpopoca”–a Nahua, Central
American record–tells us that the third era of the world, or “third
sun,” is called, Quia Tonatiuh, or sun of rain, “because in this age
there fell a rain of fire, all which existed burned, and there fell a
rain of gravel;” the rocks “boiled with tumult, and there also arose the
rocks of vermilion color.” In other words, the traditions of these
people go back to a great cataclysm of fire, when the earth possibly
encountered, as in the Egyptian story, one of “the bodies moving round
the earth and in the heavens;” they had also memories of “the Drift
Period,” and of the outburst of Plutonic rocks. If man has existed on
the earth as long as science asserts, he must have passed through many
of the great catastrophes which are written upon the face of the planet;
and it is very natural that in myths and legends he should preserve some
recollection of events so appalling and destructive.

Among the early Greeks Pan was the ancient god; his wife was Maia. The
Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg calls attention to the fact that Pan was
adored in all parts of Mexico and Central America; and at Panuco, or
Panca, literally Panopolis, the Spaniards found, upon their entrance
into Mexico, superb temples and images of Pan. (Brasseur’s Introduction
in Landa’s “Relacion.”) The names of both Pan and Maya enter extensively
into the Maya vocabulary, Maia being the same as Maya, the principal
name of the peninsula; and pan, added to Maya, makes the name of the
ancient capital Mayapan. In the Nahua language pan, or pani, signifies
“equality to that which is above,” and Pentecatl was the progenitor of
all beings. (“North Americans of Antiquity,” p. 467.)

The ancient Mexicans believed that the sun-god would destroy the world
in the last night of the fifty-second year, and that he would never come
back. They offered sacrifices to him at that time to propitiate him;
they extinguished all the fires in the kingdom; they broke all their
household furniture; they bung black masks before their faces; they
prayed and fasted; and on the evening of the last night they formed a
great procession to a neighboring mountain. A human being was sacrificed
exactly at midnight; a block of wood was laid at once on the body, and
fire was then produced by rapidly revolving another piece of wood upon
it; a spark was carried to a funeral pile, whose rising flame proclaimed
to the anxious people the promise of the god not to destroy the world
for another fifty-two years. Precisely the same custom obtained among
the nations of Asia Minor and other parts of the continent of Asia,
wherever sun-worship prevailed, at the periodical reproduction of the
sacred fire, but not with the same bloody rites as in Mexico.
(Valentini, “Maya Archaeology,” p. 21.)

To this day the Brahman of India “churns” his sacred fire out of a board
by boring into it with a stick; the Romans renewed their sacred fire in
the same way; and in Sweden even now a “need-fire is kindled in this
manner when cholera or other pestilence is about.” (Tylor’s
“Anthropology,” p. 262.)

A belief in ghosts is found on both continents. The American Indians
think that the spirits of the dead retain the form and features which
they wore while living; that there is a hell and a heaven; that hell is
below the earth, and heaven above the clouds; that the souls of the
wicked sometimes wander the face of the earth, appearing occasionally to
mortals. The story of Tantalus is found among the Chippewayans, who
believed that bad souls stand up to their chins in water in sight of the
spirit-land, which they can never enter. The dead passed to heaven
across a stream of water by means of a narrow and slippery bridge, from
which many were lost. The Zuñis set apart a day in each year which they
spent among the graves of their dead, communing with their spirits, and
bringing them presents–a kind of All-souls-day. (Dorman, “Prim.
Superst.,” p. 35.) The Stygian flood, and Scylla and Charybdis, are
found among the legends of the Caribs. (Ibid., p. 37.) Even the boat of
Charon reappears in the traditions of the Chippewayans.

The Oriental belief in the transmigration of souls is found in every
American tribe. The souls of men passed into animals or other men.
(Schoolcraft, vol. i., p. 33.) The souls of the wicked passed into toads
and wild beasts. (Dorman, “Prim. Superst.,” p. 50.)

Among both the Germans and the American Indians lycanthropy, or the
metamorphosis of men into wolves, was believed in. In British Columbia
the men-wolves have often been seen seated around a fire, with their
wolf-hides hung upon sticks to dry! The Irish legend of hunters pursuing
an animal which suddenly disappears, whereupon a human being appears in
its place is found among all the American tribes.

That timid and harmless animal, the hare, was, singularly enough, an
object of superstitious reverence and fear in Europe, Asia, and America.
The ancient Irish killed all the hares they found on May-day among their
cattle, believing them to be witches. Cæsar gives an account of the
horror in which this animal was held by the Britons. The Calmucks
regarded the rabbit with fear and reverence. Divine honors were paid to
the hare in Mexico. Wabasso was changed into a white rabbit, and
canonized in that form.

The white bull, Apis, of the Egyptians, reappears in the Sacred white
buffalo of the Dakotas, which was supposed to possess supernatural
power, and after death became a god. The white doe of European legend
had its representative in the white deer of the Housatonic Valley, whose
death brought misery to the tribe. The transmission of spirits by the
laying on of hands, and the exorcism of demons, were part of the
religion of the American tribes.

The witches of Scandinavia, who produced tempests by their incantations,
are duplicated in America. A Cree sorcerer sold three days of fair
weather for one pound of tobacco! The Indian sorcerers around Freshwater
Bay kept the winds in leather bags, and disposed of them as they pleased.

Among the American Indians it is believed that those who are insane or
epileptic are “possessed of devils.” (Tylor, “Prim. Cult.,” vol. ii.,
pp. 123-126.) Sickness is caused by evil spirits entering into the sick
person. (Eastman’s “Sioux.”) The spirits of animals are much feared, and
their departure out of the body of the invalid is a cause of
thanksgiving. Thus an Omaha, after an eructation, says, “Thank you,
animal.” (Dorman, “Prim. Superst.,” p. 55.) The confession of their sins
was with a view to satisfy the evil spirit and induce him to leave them.
(Ibid., p. 57.)

In both continents burnt-offerings were sacrificed to the gods. In both
continents the priests divined the future from the condition of the
internal organs of the man or animal sacrificed. (Ibid., pp. 214, 226.)
In both continents the future was revealed by the flight of birds and by
dreams. In Peru and Mexico there were colleges of augurs, as in Rome,
who practised divination by watching the movements and songs of birds.
(Ibid., p. 261.)

Animals were worshipped in Central America and on the banks of the Nile.
(Ibid., p. 259.)

The Ojibbeways believed that the barking of a fox was ominous of ill.
(Ibid., p. 225). The peasantry of Western Europe have the same belief as
to the howling of a dog.

The belief in satyrs, and other creatures half man and half animal,
survived in America. The Kickapoos are Darwinians. “They think their
ancestors had tails, and when they lost them the impudent fox sent every
morning to ask how their tails were, and the bear shook his fat sides at
the joke.” (Ibid., p. 232.) Among the natives of Brazil the father cut a
stick at the wedding of his daughter; “this was done to cut off the
tails of any future grandchildren.” (Tylor, vol. i., p. 384.)

Jove, with the thunder-bolts in his hand, is duplicated in the Mexican god of thunder, Mixcoatl, who is represented holding a bundle of arrows. “He rode upon a tornado, and scattered the lightnings.” (Dorman, “Prim. Superst.,” p. 98.)

Dionysus, or Bacchus, is represented by the Mexican god Texcatzoncatl, the god of wine. (Bancroft, vol. iii., p. 418.)

Atlas reappears in Chibchacum, the deity of the Chibchas; he bears the world on his shoulders, and when be shifts the burden from one shoulder to another severe earthquakes are produced. (Bollært, pp. 12, 13.)

Deucalion repeopling the world is repeated in Xololt, who, after the
destruction of the world, descended to Mictlan, the realm of the dead,
and brought thence a bone of the perished race. This, sprinkled with
blood, grew into a youth, the father of the present race. The Quiche
hero-gods, Hunaphu and Xblanque, died; their bodies were burnt, their
bones ground to powder and thrown into the waters, whereupon they
changed into handsome youths, with the same features as before. (Dorman,
“Prim. Superst.,” p. 193.)

Witches and warlocks, mermaids and mermen, are part of the mythology of the American tribes, as they were of the European races. (Ibid., p. 79.) The mermaid of the Ottawas was “woman to the waist and fair;” thence fish-like. (Ibid., p. 278.)

The snake-locks of Medusa are represented in the snake-locks of At-otarho, an ancient culture-hero of the Iroquois.

A belief in the incarnation of gods in men, and the physical translation
of heroes to heaven, is part of the mythology of the Hindoos and the
American races. Hiawatha, we are told, rose to heaven in the presence of
the multitude, and vanished from sight in the midst of sweet music.

The vocal statues and oracles of Egypt and Greece were duplicated in America. In Peru, in the valley of Rimac, there was an idol which answered questions and became famous as an oracle. (Dorman, “Prim. Superst.,” p. 124.)

The Peruvians believed that men were sometimes metamorphosed into stones.

The Oneidas claimed descent from a stone, as the Greeks from the stones
of Deucalion. (Ibid., p. 132.)

Witchcraft is an article of faith among all the American races. Among
the Illinois Indians “they made small images to represent those whose
days they have a mind to shorten, and which they stab to the heart,”
whereupon the person represented is expected to die. (Charlevoix, vol.
ii., p. 166.) The witches of Europe made figures of wax of their
enemies, and gradually melted them at the fire, and as they diminished
the victim was supposed to sicken and die.

A writer in the Popular Science Monthly (April, 1881, p. 828) points out
the fact that there is an absolute identity between the folk-lore of the
negroes on the plantations of the South and the myths and stories of
certain tribes of Indians in South America, as revealed by Mr. Herbert
Smith’s “Brazil, the Amazons, and the Coast.” (New York: Scribner,
1879.) Mr. Harris, the author of a work on the folk-lore of the negroes,
asks this question, “When did the negro or the North American Indian
come in contact with the tribes of South America?”

Customs.–Both peoples manufactured a fermented, intoxicating drink, the
one deriving it from barley, the other from maize. Both drank toasts.
Both had the institution of marriage, an important part of the ceremony
consisting in the joining of hands; both recognized divorce, and the
Peruvians and Mexicans established special courts to decide cases of
this kind. Both the Americans and Europeans erected arches, and had
triumphal processions for their victorious kings, and both strewed the
ground before them with leaves and flowers. Both celebrated important
events with bonfires and illuminations; both used banners, both invoked
blessings. The Phœnicians, Hebrews, and Egyptians practised
circumcision. Palacio relates that at Azori, in Honduras, the natives
circumcised boys before an idol called Icelca. (“Carta,” p. 84.) Lord
Kingsborough tells us the Central Americans used the same rite, and
McKenzie (quoted by Retzius) says he saw the ceremony performed by the
Chippeways. Both had bards and minstrels, who on great festivals sung
the deeds of kings and heroes. Both the Egyptians and the Peruvians held
agricultural fairs; both took a census of the people. Among both the
land was divided per capita among the people; in Judea a new division
was made every fifty years. The Peruvians renewed every year all the
fires of the kingdom from the Temple of the Sun, the new fire being
kindled from concave mirrors by the sun’s rays. The Romans under Numa
had precisely the same custom. The Peruvians had theatrical plays. They
chewed the leaves of the coca mixed with lime, as the Hindoo to-day
chews the leaves of the betel mixed with lime. Both the American and
European nations were divided into castes; both practised
planet-worship; both used scales and weights and mirrors. The Peruvians,
Egyptians, and Chaldeans divided the year into twelve months, and the
months into lesser divisions of weeks. Both inserted additional days, so
as to give the year three hundred and sixty-five days. The Mexicans
added five intercalary days; and the Egyptians, in the time of Amunoph
I., had already the same practice.

Humboldt, whose high authority cannot be questioned, by an elaborate
discussion (“Vues des Cordilleras,” p. 148 et. seq., ed. 1870), has
shown the relative likeness of the Nahua calendar to that of Asia. He
cites the fact that the Chinese, Japanese, Calmucks, Mongols, Mantchou,
and other hordes of Tartars have cycles of sixty years’ duration,
divided into five brief periods of twelve years each. The method of
citing a date by means of signs and numbers is quite similar with
Asiatics and Mexicans. He further shows satisfactorily that the majority
of the names of the twenty days employed by the Aztecs are those of a
zodiac used since the most remote antiquity among the peoples of Eastern

Cabera thinks he finds analogies between the Mexican and Egyptian
calendars. Adopting the view of several writers that the Mexican year
began on the 26th of February, he finds the date to correspond with the
beginning of the Egyptian year.

The American nations believed in four great primeval ages, as the Hindoo
does to this day.

“In the Greeks of Homer,” says Volney, “I find the customs, discourse,
and manners of the Iroquois, Delawares, and Miamis. The tragedies of
Sophocles and Euripides paint to me almost literally the sentiments of
the red men respecting necessity, fatality, the miseries of human life,
and the rigor of blind destiny.” (Volney’s “View of the United States.”)

The Mexicans represent an eclipse of the moon as the moon being devoured
by a dragon; and the Hindoos have precisely the same figure; and both
nations continued to use this expression long after they had discovered
the real meaning of an eclipse.

The Tartars believe that if they cut with an axe near a fire, or stick a
knife into a burning stick, or touch the fire with a knife, they will
“cut the top off the fire.” The Sioux Indians will not stick an awl or a
needle into a stick of wood on the fire, or chop on it with an axe or a

Cremation was extensively practised in the New World. The dead were
burnt, and their ashes collected and placed in vases and urns, as in
Europe. Wooden statues of the dead were made.

There is a very curious and apparently inexplicable custom, called the
“Couvade,” which extends from China to the Mississippi Valley; it
demands “that, when a child is born, the father must take to his bed,
while the mother attends to all the duties of the household.” Marco Polo
found the custom among the Chinese in the thirteenth century.

The widow tells Hudibras–

“Chineses thus are said To lie-in in their ladies’ stead.”

The practice remarked by Marco Polo continues to this day among the
hill-tribes of China. “The father of a new-born child, as soon as the
mother has become strong enough to leave her couch, gets into bed
himself, and there receives the congratulations Of his acquaintances.”
(Max Müller’s “Chips from a German Workshop,” vol. ii., p. 272.) Strabo
(vol. iii., pp. 4, 17) mentions that, among the Iberians of the North of
Spain, the women, after the birth of a child, tend their husbands,
putting them to bed instead of going themselves. The same custom existed
among the Basques only a few years ago. “In Biscay,” says M. F. Michel,
“the women rise immediately after childbirth and attend to the duties of
the household, while the husband goes to bed, taking the baby with him,
and thus receives the neighbors’ compliments.” The same custom was found
in France, and is said to exist to this day in some cantons of Béarn.
Diodorus Siculus tells us that among the Corsicans the wife was
neglected, and the husband put to bed and treated as the patient.
Apollonius Rhodius says that among the Tibereni, at the south of the
Black Sea, “when a child was born the father lay groaning, with his head
tied up, while the mother tended him with food and prepared his baths.”
The same absurd custom extends throughout the tribes of North and South
America. Among the Caribs in the West Indies (and the Caribs, Brasseur
de Bourbourg says, were the same as the ancient Carians of the
Mediterranean Sea) the man takes to his bed as soon as a child is born,
and kills no animals. And herein we find an explanation of a custom
otherwise inexplicable. Among the American Indians it is believed that,
if the father kills an animal during the infancy of the child, the
spirit of the animal will revenge itself by inflicting some disease upon
the helpless little one. “For six months the Carib father must not eat
birds or fish, for what ever animals he eats will impress their likeness
on the child, or produce disease by entering its body.” (Dorman, “Prim.
Superst.,” p. 58.) Among the Abipones the husband goes to bed, fasts a
number of days, “and you would think,” says Dobrizboffer, “that it was
he that had had the child.” The Brazilian father takes to his hammock
during and after the birth of the child, and for fifteen days eats no
meat and hunts no game. Among the Esquimaux the husbands forbear hunting
during the lying-in of their wives and for some time thereafter.

Here, then, we have a very extraordinary and unnatural custom, existing
to this day on both sides of the Atlantic, reaching back to a vast
antiquity, and finding its explanation only in the superstition of the
American races. A practice so absurd could scarcely have originated
separately in the two continents; its existence is a very strong proof
of unity of origin of the races on the opposite sides of the Atlantic;
and the fact that the custom and the reason for it are both found in
America, while the custom remains in Europe without the reason, would
imply that the American population was the older of the two.

The Indian practice of depositing weapons and food with the dead was universal in ancient Europe, and in German villages nowadays a needle and thread is placed in the coffin for the dead to mend their torn clothes with; “while all over Europe the dead man had a piece of money put in his hand to pay his way with.” (“Anthropology,” p. 347.)

The American Indian leaves food with the dead; the Russian peasant puts
crumbs of bread behind the saints’ pictures on the little iron shelf,
and believes that the souls of his forefathers creep in and out and eat
them. At the cemetery of Père-la-Chaise, Paris, on All-souls-day, they
“still put cakes and sweetmeats on the graves; and in Brittany the
peasants that night do not forget to make up the fire and leave the
fragments of the supper on the table for the souls of the dead.” (Ibid..
p. 351.)

The Indian prays to the spirits of his forefathers; the Chinese religion is largely “ancestor-worship;” and the rites paid to the dead ancestors, or lares, held the Roman family together.” (“Anthropology,” p. 351.)

We find the Indian practice of burying the dead in a sitting posture in
use among the Nasamonians, tribe of Libyans. Herodotus, speaking of the
wandering tribes of Northern Africa, says, “They bury their dead
according to the fashion of the Greeks. . . . They bury them sitting,
and are right careful, when the sick man is at the point of giving up
the ghost, to make him sit, and not let him die lying down.”

The dead bodies of the caciques of Bogota were protected from
desecration by diverting the course of a river and making the grave in
its bed, and then letting the stream return to its natural course.
Alaric, the leader of the Goths, was secretly buried in the same way.
(Dorman, “Prim. Superst.,” p. 195.)

Among the American tribes no man is permitted to marry a wife of the
same clan-name or totem as himself. In India a Brahman is not allowed to
marry a wife whose clan-name (her “cow-stall,” as they say) is the same
as his own; nor may a Chinaman take a wife of his own surname.
(“Anthropology,” p. 403.) “Throughout India the hill-tribes are divided
into septs or clans, and a man may not marry a woman belonging to his
own clan. The Calmucks of Tartary are divided into hordes, and a man may
not marry a girl of his own horde. The same custom prevails among the
Circassians and the Samoyeds of Siberia. The Ostyaks and Yakuts regard
it as a crime to marry a woman of the same family, or even of the same
name.” (Sir John Lubbock, “Smith. Rep.,” p. 347, 1869.)

Sutteeism–the burning of the widow upon the funeral-pile of the
husband–was extensively practised in America (West’s “Journal,” p.
141); as was also the practice of sacrificing warriors, servants, and
animals at the funeral of a great chief (Dorman, pp. 210-211.) Beautiful
girls were sacrificed to appease the anger of the gods, as among the
Mediterranean races. (Bancroft, vol. iii., p. 471.) Fathers offered up
their children for a like purpose, as among the Carthaginians.

The poisoned arrows of America had their representatives in Europe. Odysseus went to Ephyra for the man-slaying drug with which to smear his bronze-tipped arrows. (Tylor’s “Anthropology,” p. 237.)

“The bark canoe of America was not unknown in Asia and Africa” (Ibid.,
p. 254), while the skin canoes of our Indians and the Esquimaux were
found on the shores of the Thames and the Euphrates. In Peru and on the
Euphrates commerce was carried on upon rafts supported by inflated
skins. They are still used on the Tigris.

The Indian boils his meat by dropping red-hot stones into a water-vessel made of hide; and Linnæus found the Both land people brewing beer in this way–“and to this day the rude Carinthian boor drinks such stone-beer, as it is called.” (Ibid., p. 266.)

In the buffalo dance of the Mandan Indians the dancers covered their
heads with a mask made of the head and horns of the buffalo. To-day in
the temples of India, or among the lamas of Thibet, the priests dance
the demons out, or the new year in, arrayed in animal masks (Ibid., p.
297 ); and the “mummers” at Yule-tide, in England, are a survival of the
same custom. (Ibid., p. 298.) The North American dog and bear dances,
wherein the dancers acted the part of those animals, had their prototype
in the Greek dances at the festivals of Dionysia. (Ibid., p. 298.)

Tattooing was practised in both continents. Among the Indians it was
fetichistic in its origin; “every Indian had the image of an animal
tattooed on his breast or arm, to charm away evil spirits.” (Dorman,
“Prim. Superst.,” p. 156.) The sailors of Europe and America preserve to
this day a custom which was once universal among the ancient races.
Banners, flags, and armorial bearings are supposed to be survivals of
the old totemic tattooing. The Arab woman still tattoos her face, arms,
and ankles. The war-paint of the American savage reappeared in the woad
with which the ancient Briton stained his body; and Tylor suggests that
the painted stripes on the circus clown are a survival of a custom once
universal. (Tylor’s “Anthropology,” p. 327.)

In America, as in the Old World, the temples of worship were built over
the dead., (Dorman, “Prim. Superst.,” p. 178.) Says Prudentius, the
Roman bard, “there were as many temples of gods as sepulchres.”

The Etruscan belief that evil spirits strove for the possession of the
dead was found among the Mosquito Indians. (Bancroft, “Native Races,”
vol. i., p. 744.)

The belief in fairies, which forms so large a part of the folklore of
Western Europe, is found among the American races. The Ojibbeways see
thousands of fairies dancing in a sunbeam; during a rain myriads of them
bide in the flowers. When disturbed they disappear underground. They
have their dances, like the Irish fairies; and, like them, they kill the
domestic animals of those who offend them. The Dakotas also believe in
fairies. The Otoes located the “little people” in a mound at the mouth
of Whitestone River; they were eighteen inches high, with very large
heads; they were armed with bows and arrows, and killed those who
approached their residence. (See Dorman’s “Origin of Primitive
Superstitions,” p. 23.) “The Shoshone legends people the mountains of
Montana with little imps, called Nirumbees, two feet long, naked, and
with a tail.” They stole the children of the Indians, and left in their
stead the young of their own baneful race, who resembled the stolen
children so much that the mothers were deceived and suckled them,
whereupon they died. This greatly resembles the European belief in
“changelings.” (Ibid., p. 24.)

In both continents we find tree-worship. In Mexico and Central America
cypresses and palms were planted near the temples, generally in groups
of threes; they were tended with great care, and received offerings of
incense and gifts. The same custom prevailed among the Romans–the
cypress was dedicated to Pluto, and the palm to Victory.

Not only infant baptism by water was found both in the old Babylonian
religion and among the Mexicans, but an offering of cakes, which is
recorded by the prophet Jeremiah as part of the worship of the
Babylonian goddess-mother, “the Queen of Heaven,” was also found in the
ritual of the Aztecs. (“Builders of Babel,” p. 78.)

In Babylonia, China, and Mexico the caste at the bottom of the social
scale lived upon floating islands of reeds or rafts, covered with earth,
on the lakes and rivers.

In Peru and Babylonia marriages were made but once a year, at a public

Among the Romans, the Chinese, the Abyssinians, and the Indians of
Canada the singular custom prevails of lifting the bride over the
door-step of her husband’s home. (Sir John Lubbock, “Smith. Rep.,” 1869,
p. 352.)

“The bride-cake which so invariably accompanies a wedding among
ourselves, and which must always be cut by the bride, may be traced back
to the old Roman form of marriage by ‘conferreatio,’ or eating together.
So, also, among the Iroquois the bride and bridegroom used to partake
together of a cake of sagamite, which the bride always offered to her
husband.” (Ibid.)

Among many American tribes, notably in Brazil, the husband captured the
wife by main force, as the men of Benjamin carried off the daughters of
Shiloh at the feast, and as the Romans captured the Sabine women.
“Within a few generations the same old habit was kept up in Wales, where
the bridegroom and his friends, mounted and armed as for war, carried
off the bride; and in Ireland they used even to hurl spears at the
bride’s people, though at such a distance that no one was hurt, except
now and then by accident–as happened when one Lord Hoath lost an eye,
which mischance put an end to this curious relic of antiquity.” (Tylor’s
“Anthropology,” p. 409.)

Marriage in Mexico was performed by the priest. He exhorted them to
maintain peace and harmony, and tied the end of the man’s mantle to the
dress of the woman; he perfumed them, and placed on each a shawl on
which was painted a skeleton, “as a symbol that only death could now
separate them from one another.” (Dorman, “Prim. Superst.,” p. 379.)

The priesthood was thoroughly organized in Mexico and Peru. They were
prophets as well as priests. “They brought the newly-born infant into
the religious society; they directed their training and education; they
determined the entrance of the young men into the service of the state;
they consecrated marriage by their blessing; they comforted the sick and
assisted the dying.” (Ibid., p. 374.) There were five thousand priests
in the temples of Mexico. They confessed and absolved the sinners,
arranged the festivals, and managed the choirs in the churches. They
lived in conventual discipline, but were allowed to marry; they
practised flagellation and fasting, and prayed at regular hours. There
were great preachers and exhorters among them. There were also convents
into which females were admitted. The novice had her hair cut off and
took vows of celibacy; they lived holy and pious lives. (Ibid., pp. 375,
376.) The king was the high-priest of the religious orders. A new king
ascended the temple naked, except his girdle; he was sprinkled four
times with water which had been blessed; he was then clothed in a
mantle, and on his knees took an oath to maintain the ancient religion.
The priests then instructed him in his royal duties. (Ibid., p. 378.)
Besides the regular priesthood there were monks who were confined in
cloisters. (Ibid., p. 390.) Cortes says the Mexican priests were very
strict in the practice of honesty and chastity, and any deviation was
punished with death. They wore long white robes and burned incense.
(Dorman, “Prim. Superst.,” p. 379.) The first fruits of the earth were
devoted to the support of the priesthood. (Ibid., p. 383.) The priests
of the Isthmus were sworn to perpetual chastity.

The American doctors practised phlebotomy. They bled the sick man
because they believed the evil spirit which afflicted him would come
away with the blood. In Europe phlebotomy only continued to a late
period, but the original superstition out of which it arose, in this
case as in many others, was forgotten.

There is opportunity here for the philosopher to meditate upon the
perversity of human nature and the persistence of hereditary error. The
superstition of one age becomes the science of another; men were first
bled to withdraw the evil spirit, then to cure the disease; and a
practice whose origin is lost in the night of ages is continued into the
midst of civilization, and only overthrown after it has sent millions of
human beings to untimely graves. Dr. Sangrado could have found the
explanation of his profession only among the red men of America.

 The Antediluvian World 5

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