different countries, would establish the inference that they were held by all as the most learned and civilized people of those times. It is admitted as proved beyond controversy that the Aryans, the Hindoos, the Chaldees, the Greeks, in fact, every nation regarded as civilized from which we have received our knowledge of numbers, began their system of numeration by counting the fingers of their hands, and named each number accordingly. The Egyptians seem to have formed an exception. Bunsen has showed conclusively that their names for the cardinal numbers had no relation to each other, and the few whose etymon is suspected do not have reference to their notions of the cosmic evolution. It is, however, probable that they also took the five fingers of the hand as starting point for their numeration, since Tu or SB, name of the numerical five, is regarded as an original form of TT or Tot, the "hand." 1 It now remains to explain why the Mayas adopted the metre as standard of lineal measures. That they were acquainted with exact sciences there can be no doubt. They were mathematicians, astronomers, architects, navigators, geographers, etc. As well as the art they possessed the science of navigation, since they knew how to calculate longitudes and latitudes, as proved by the construction of the gnomon discovered by me at Mayapan. They were, therefore, familiar with plane and spherical trigonometry. They had computed the size of the earth, estimated the distance from pole to pole, calculated the length of the meridian. I have already mentioned the fact that in the construction of their sacred buildings they invariably embodied their cosmogonic and religious conceptions, particularly in their 1 Bunsen, Egypt's Place in the Universal History, vol. iv., pp. 105–106. pyramids. The several parts of these edifices were so arranged and proportioned as to agree with the ratio of the diameter to the circumference, 3.1415; the sum total of which, 2 x 7, was a numerical that, to the Maya initiates, as to all the occultists in other parts of the world, represented the "circumscribed world," the earth. The vertical section of the plans of these sacred buildings was always inscribed in a half circumference having a radius of 21 = 3 × 7 metres, whose diameter formed the ground line. Esoterically these buildings figured the earth; their height stood for the gods of the earth, represented numerically by number 1,065 = 21, number of the creators or prajapâtis, according to the "Mahabharata; " and that of the rays on each side of the cosmic egg in the creation tableau at Chichen.1 We have seen that it is likewise the numerical value of the letters composing the name of Jehovah. It is well to remark that the height of the principal pyramids in Yucatan is invariably twenty-one metres.3 In fixing a standard of lineal measures the Maya sages adopted a subdivision of the circle which was naturally divided into four hundred parts, in accordance with their cosmic conceptions, whilst the Egyptians selected a subdivision of the 1 Ubi supra, p. 76, illustration xxiii. 2 Ibid. Those of my readers who are desirous to know why the Maya architects always inscribed the vertical section of the plan of their pyramids within a circumference, I beg to refer to the work of my friend the late J. Ralston Skinner of Cincinnati, O., Source of Measures, at 55, "Effect of Putting a Pyramid in a Square " (p. 95), and to 8 82, "Pyramid Symbolization" (p. 159), published by the Robert Clarke Company of said city. Also to the remarkable work The Lost Solar System of the Ancients Discovered, by Mr. John Wilson, an English astronomer, vol. i., parts i. and ii., London edition of 1856. circle divided into three hundred and sixty parts, as modern scientists do; this subdivision representing the abstract circumference value of the celestial circle, being the mean between 355, number of the days of the lunar synodical year, and 365, the number of the days of the solar year. The Mayas chose the twenty-millionth part of one-half of the meridian-that is, the metre-instead of the ten-millionth part of the distance between the poles of the earth as did the Egyptians. 15 |