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When, by their increasing numbers and their superior civilization, the descendants of the emigrants that came from the banks of the Euphrates had become the dominating power in the valley of the Nile, they sent colonists to the land of Kanaan. These, following the coast of the Mediterranean, advanced as far north as Mount Taurus in Asia Minor; and as they progressed they founded settlements, that in time became great and important cities, the sites of mighty nations whose history forms for us, at present, the ancient history of the world.
The names of these cities and nations will be the unerring guide which will lead us on the road followed by these Mayaspeaking colonists, that, starting from Egypt, carried their civilization along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, northward; then, eastward, back again to the banks of the Euphrates in Mesopotamia.
On leaving Egypt they had to traverse the sandy desert that forms the Isthmus of Suez, and is the northern limit, the end, of the Sinai peninsula. We have already said that the Mayas generally gave names to objects and places by onomatopæia; that is, according to sounds produced by these objects, or the ideas suggested by their most predominant characteristic. What, then, more natural than to call this stretch of desert Xul, “the end”?-a word that became afterward Shur in the mouth of people using the letter R in their alphabet."
Advancing northward, they no doubt were struck by the fertility of the country, and therefore called it Kanaan. The etymology of this name is still an unsolved puzzle for philologists, who do not agree as to its meaning. Some say it means “lowlands;" others contend it signifies “merchants; ” others, " again, affirm that the name was given to the land by the Phoenicians, on account of the surprising productiveness of its soil. According to Maya the latter are right, since in that language Kanaan is the word for "abundance."
In after years, when the Phænicians became such a mighty maritime power as to render them redoubtable to their neighbors, the Egyptians called Phænicia Zahi, a Maya word the meaning of which (“ full of menace,” “to be feared”) is certainly most expressive of their opinion of the might of the Tyrian merchant princes. Perhaps the treatment of the Rephaim, the aboriginal inhabitants, by the Phænicians, who called them the “manes of the dead," and destroyed them when they took possession of their country, suggested the The Egyptians designated them as Sati ;* that is,
4 zati (in Maya), the “lost,” the “ ruined ” ones.
· The Maya X is equivalent to the Greek x or the English sh.
Anciently there was a town in Yucatan called Zahi, the ruins of which still exist a few miles to the southwest of those of the great city of Uxmal.
• Genesis, chap. xiv., verse 5 ; xv. 20.
• Chablas's translation of Les Papyrus Hiératiques de Berlin. (Chalons, 1863.)
The word Rephaim is another enigma for philologists. They pretend, although they do not affirm it positively, that it means “giants.” 1 The Maya, however, tells us it simply signifies" inhabitants of the lowlands,” which is the purport of the name Canaan, according to some philologists. Rephaim seems to be composed of three Maya primitives—leb, ha, im-leb, to “Cover;" ha, “water;" im, contraction of
" imix, “bosom," “basin;" therefore, literally, “the basin
, covered by water,” hence the “ lowlands.' We read in the ethnic table of Genesis, “ Canaan begat
2 Tzidon his firstborn,” which means that Tzidon was probably the earliest settlement founded by the Maya-speaking colonists from Egypt; when, according to the book of Nabathæan agriculture, compiled in the early ages of the Christian era, it seems that the Phænicians were expelled from Babylon in consequence of a quarrel with the Cushite monarch then reigning—an event which probably occurred about the time of Abram, when a migration set in motion from the banks of the Euphrates to the shores of the Mediterranean.
They had therefore been in close relation with the Ethiopians of the coast of the Erythræan Sea and the Chaldeans of Babylonia. Then, even if they used also Maya words in giving names to the countries they conquered and the cities they founded, it could be easily accounted for; as also the similarity of their alphabetical characters with those carved on the walls of the temples and palaces of Mayach, where we see portraits of bearded men of unmistakable Phænician types, discovered by the author in 1875. Tzidon-Rabbah is one of the epithets given in the Bible to the old capital of Phænicia, and is trans