Images de page

poreal;" as, for instance, tac in uenel, "I want to sleep." Ixtal or Ixtac, or Ishtar, would therefore mean "she who wishes to satisfy a corporeal desire, inclination, or want." What name more appropriate for the goddess of love and lust! Moloch was another god of the Phoenicians, to whom offerings of human victims were made by enclosing them alive in a bronze statue representing him. This being heated to red heat, the bodies were consumed,' and were said, by the priests, to have served as food for the god who had devoured them.2

Moloch is another descriptive name composed of two Maya primitives-mol, to gather, and och or ooch, food, provisions, provender. Do not these sacrifices to Moloch of human victims burned alive vividly recall those made by the Itzaes of Peten to Hobo the destroyer, in which a human victim was burned alive amidst dances and songs? 3


Neighbors to the Phoenicians, on the north, were the powerful Khati, who dwelt in the valley of the Orontes. Their origin is still a matter of speculation for ethnologists, and so is also their name for philologists. They made themselves famous on account of their terrible wars with the Assyrians and the Egyptians. Placed between these two nations, they opposed either, and proved tenacious and redoubtable adversaries to both. All historians agree that the Khati, up to the time when they were vanquished by Rameses the Great, always placed obstacles in the way of conquest by these nations, and at all times sallied forth in battle array to meet them and prevent their passage through their territories. Was it from

'Leviticus, chap. xviii., verse 21.

John Kenrick, Phænicia, p. 317. Gustave Flaubert, Salambo, chap. xiii. Moloch the Devourer, Diodorus Siculus, lib. xx., cap. 14.

'Cogolludo, Hist. de Yucathan, lib. ix., cap. 14.

that fact that they were called Khati? Any Maya scholar will answer, No doubt of it; since kat is a Maya verb meaning "to place obstacles across a road" or "to sally forth to impede the passage of a road"-a name most in accordance with the customs of that warlike nation.

The Khati were not warriors only; they were likewise merchants, whose capital, Carchemish, situated at the confluence of the river Chebar and the Euphrates, vied in commercial importance with Tyre and Carthage. There met traders from India and other countries.

Carchemish, the great emporium, was, as its name indicates, the place where navigators and merchants from afar congregated. This name is composed of two Maya vocablescah, "city," and chemul, "navigator." Carchemish may well be a dialectical pronunciation of Cahchemul, the "port," the "place of navigators," hence of merchants.

Katish was the sacred city of the Khati, where they were wont to worship in a temple dedicated to Set, or Sut, their principal god. Set was the brother of Osiris, and his murderer. His name is a cognate word of ze (Maya), "to ill-treat with blows." In that place sacrifices were offered, and religious ceremonies particularly performed, as its name indicates. We have just said that cah is the Maya for "city" or "village." Tich is a peculiar ceremony practised by the Mayas from the remotest antiquity, and still observed by their descendants. It consists in making offerings, called u-kanilcol, "the crop is ripe," to the Yumil Kaax, the "lord of the fields," of the primitia of all crops before beginning the harvest. In another work I have described the ceremony.


'Pedro Beltran, Arte del Idioma Maya. Pio Perez, Maya dictionary. A. Le Plongeon, Monuments of Mayach, etc.


Cahtich, or Katish, is therefore an appropriate name for a sacred city where religious ceremonies are performed and offerings made to the gods.

The whole coast of Asia Minor on the Mediterranean was once inhabited by nations having their homonyms in the Western Continent. Prominent among these were the Carians, of unknown origin, but wide-spread fame. Herodotus,1 himself a Carian, says that the ancient Carians called themselves Leleges, a name akin to Leleth (Maya), "to dwell in rocky places." Well, Strabo tells us they had been the occupants of all Ionia and of the islands of the Ægean Sea, until driven from them by the Ionians and the Dorians, when they established themselves on the mainland. Thucydides calls them pirates, and asserts that King Minos expelled them from the Cyclades. Herodotus, bound to defend his countrymen from such an imputation, simply represents them as a warlike and seafaring people that, when requested, manned the ships of Minos. At that time they styled themselves "the most famous of all nations of the earth." 4 The dress of the Carian women consisted of a linen tunic which required no fastenings.5 From all antiquity this tunic was used by the Maya women, and is still by the aborigines of Yucatan, Peten, and other places in Central America. It is called uipil.


The name Kar, or Carian, certainly is identical with that of the warlike nation the Caras, whose name is still preserved in that of the Caribbean Sea, and of many cities and places in the northern parts of the South American continent, the

[blocks in formation]


p. 611.

Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, lib. i., 8. 'Herodotus, lib. i., 171.

• Ibid., lib. v., 87-88.

« PrécédentContinuer »