Images de page

between the two American Mediterraneans, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, represented in the Maya writings by a sign similar to our numerical 8.1 Diego de Cogolludo in his history of Yucatan informs us that up to A. D. 1517, when the Spaniards for the first time invaded that country, the land of the Mayas was still designated as "the great serpent" and "the tree." 2

The Maya colonists therefore called their new settlement on the banks of the Nile the "land of the serpent" and also the "land of the tree." The Egyptian hierogrammatists represented their country as a serpent with inflated breast, standing on a figure 8, under which is


a sieve, called Mayab in Maya; sometimes also as a serpent with inflated and wings, wearing a headidentical with that worn by of the magnates pictured in Chichen. They likewise symboltree believed to be the Persea,






the bas-reliefs at ized Egypt as a sacred to the goddess Athor, whose fruit in the sculptures resembles a human heart, which vividly recalls the on of the Mayas, that bears the alligator pear-the Laurus persea of Linnæus, so abundant in tropical America.


Can it be that all these are mere coincidences? If they be, then let us present more of them.

The river, spread as it was over the land, they designated as Hapimil, which in aftertimes was corrupted into Hapi


Aug. Le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries, p. 120, et passim.

[blocks in formation]


Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., p. 199.

Ibid., p. 200.

Ibid., p. 119.

mau. It is a word composed of two Maya primitives—ha, "water," and pim, "the thickness of flat surfaces; " hence the "thickness," the "depth of water." The desinence il is used as a suffix to nouns to denote usage, custom, or a thing having existed previously. This accords precisely with the signification given to the name Hapimau of the Nile, by Egyptian scholars, the " 'abyss of water."

[ocr errors]

Herodotus tells us that "anciently the whole of Egypt, with the exception of the nome of Thebes, was a marshy


The name Thebes, of the capital of Upper Egypt, was Taba among the natives. That word seems to be allied to the Maya vocable tepal, "to govern," "to reign," which, as a noun, is equivalent to "majesty," "king," the "head of the


As to Memphis, the capital of Lower Egypt, its sacred name, we are informed by M. Birch, was Hakaptah, which is a word composed of two Maya vocables-ha, "water," and kaptah, past participle of the verb kaapal, "to place in a hole." The name of the city would then signify that it was built in a hole made by water; very appropriate indeed, since we are told that King Menes, the founder of Memphis, having diverted the course of the Nile, built the city in the bed of the ancient channel in which it flowed.

The very name of King Menes may be a mere surname commemorative of his doings, since the Maya word men means "wise man," "legislator," "builder," "architect,"

every one of these epithets being applicable to him.

Although the limits of this book allow but little space to adduce more proofs of the Maya origin of the names of places Herodotus, lib. ii., iv.

-which would be, after all, but cumulative evidence, for which the reader is referred to my larger work, "The Monuments of Mayach and their Historical Teachings "—I cannot resist the temptation to mention the name of the Governing Spirit of the universe, that of the Creator, and of the deities that represented His attributes to Egyptian minds; also giving the Maya etymology of these names. In order that it cannot be argued that they are mere coincidences, I will next present the tableau of creation as it still exists on the east façade of the palace at Chichen, where we have soon to return and pursue our study of the Memorial Hall dedicated to Prince Coh by his sisterwife Queen Móo.

[ocr errors]

Chnoumis, or Noum, was said to be the "vivifying spirit,' the "cause of life in animals," the "father of all that has life;" therefore, the abundant source from which all things emanate. This is the exact meaning of the Maya particle num in composition with another word. Amen-num, or x-num, means the "architect," the "builder of all things ". a, contraction of ah, "the;" men, "architect," "builder,” "wise man," "legislator;" num, or x-num, “multiplicity,' "abundance of things.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Kneph was another name for X-noum, who was also called Amen-Kneph. Horapollo says: "The snake is the emblem of the spirit which pervades the universe."3 So also we learn from Eusebius, who tells us that the Egyptians called Kneph the "good genius," and represented him under the shape of a serpent. In the ancient monuments the god

Eusebius, Præp. et Demons. Evang., lib. iii., chap. xi., p. 215. Diodorus Siculus, Hist., lib. i. 12.

[blocks in formation]


Eusebius, Præp., Evang., lib. iii., chap. xi. Vigiers, Paris, 1628.

Amen-Kneph is often depicted either preceded or followed by an enormous serpent that envelops him within its huge folds. This is not the place to enter into speculations as to the reasons why the Egyptians selected the serpent as emblem of the deity. In another work I have explained the origin of serpent worship among the Mayas.' The name K-neph can be read Ka-neph, that may be a dialectical pronunciation of the Maya word Canhel, which means a serpent, a dragon. Later on we will see the serpent accompanying the statue of the Creator, in the tableau of creation at Chichen.

Pthah was the name of another attribute of the Divine Spirit, a different form of the creative power, said to be sprung from an egg produced from the mouth of Kneph. It therefore corresponds to Brahma, the ancestor of all beings, in the Hindoo cosmogony, to Mehen in that of the Mayas. Pthah, says Iamblicus, was the artisan; the "Lord of Truth," according to Porphyry. In the Maya language Thaah means the "worker," the "artisan."5 In the Maya sculptures, particularly on the trunk of the mastodon heads that adorn the most ancient buildings, the name is written Tza, "that which is necessary."6

Khem was the generative principle of nature, another attribute of the Creator. This god presided over generation, not only of man and all species of animals, but of the vegetable world also. Mr. Samuel Birch affirms that his name has been variously read Xem or Min.

Eusebius, Præp., Evang., lib. iii., chap. xi. Vigiers, Paris, 1628.

2 Aug. Le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries, p. 100, et passim, particularly in Monuments of Mayach and their Historical Teachings, chap. iii.

Horapollo, Hierogl., lib. i. 12.

Manava-Dharma-Sastra, lib. i., chap. i., Sloka 9.

'Pio Perez, Maya dictionary. Pedro Beltran, Arte del Idioma Maya. • Ibid.

In the Maya language hem-ba is the organs of generation in animals, xex is the sperm of man, and min the “grandmother on the father's side.” 1

Naturally this query will present itself to the mind of the reader as it has to that of the author: Supposing Maya colonists, coming from the east, reached the valley of the Nile, established themselves there, and developed that stupendous civilization of which Renan says: "For when one thinks of this civilization, at least six thousand five hundred years old from the present day; that it has had no known infancy; that this art, of which there remain innumerable monuments, has no archaic period; that the Egypt of Cheops and of Chephren is superior in a sense to all that followed-one is seized with giddiness. On est pris de vertige.'


[ocr errors]

Although mistaken in asserting that Egyptian art had no archaic period, he is right, however, in saying that its birthplace was a mystery for Egyptologists; for, to quote Rawlinson's own words, "In Egypt it is notorious that there is no indication of an early period of savagery or barbarism.

[ocr errors]

All authorities agree that, however far back we go, we find in Egypt no rude or uncivilized time out of which civilization is developed." 3 "The reasonable inference from these facts," says Osburn " (to our apprehension, we are free to confess, the only reasonable one), appears to be, that the first settlers in Egypt were a company of persons in a high state of civilization, but that through some strange anomaly in the history of man they had been deprived of a great part of the language and the entire written system which had formerly been the


'Pio Perez, Maya dictionary. Pedro Beltran, Art del Idioma Maya. 'Ernest Renan, Revue des deux Mondes, April, 1865.

Rawlinson, Origin of Nations, p. 13.

« PrécédentContinuer »