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able to connect it provisionally with the Arabic Hiya, which is at once 'life' and 'serpent,' since, according to the best authority, there are strong grounds for connecting Hea or Hoa with the serpent of the Scripture, and the paradisiacal traditions of the tree of knowledge and the tree of life.”1
Will it be argued that this widespread symbol of the Creator is but a natural consequence of the working of various cultivated minds, pondering over this same subject and reaching identical conclusions? We must not lose sight of the fact, before answering this question in the affirmative, that in Mayach alone the name of the serpent can, and the numerous meanings of the word, form a pandect. Is it not, then, probable, that the Mayas, having conceived the idea from the geographical outlines of their country, which figures a serpent with inflated breast, spread the notion among the other nations with which they had intimate relation, in whose territories they established colonies?
There is much to be said, that is interesting, on the red color as symbol, and its use as mark of nobility of race among all civilized nations of antiquity, in Asia, Polynesia, Africa, and America. The subject seems directly connected with the object of our present investigations, since we are told by Mr. Piazzi Smyth, the well-known Egyptologist, that the great Egyptian Sphinx was originally painted red. Judging from the royal standards represented in fresco paintings in Prince Coh's Memorial Hall; from the tint prevalent on the façades of the palaces of the Mayas, and that of the floors in castles Such is the knowledge of the majority of the great scholars whose works are accepted as authority on historical questions. In this case Canon Rawlinson, in his biased ignorance, has been teaching a greater truth than he imagined.
But let it be said to his credit-he has not done it on purpose, for he did not dream of it.
and temples, red was the distinctive color of nobles and warriors. It was in early times the symbol of nobility among the Egyptians, who styled themselves Rot-en-ne-Rôme, a name having the same meaning as kar or cara in the language of the Caras of the West Indies and northern coast of South America, and that of those Carians, once the terror of the inhabitants of the littoral of the Mediterranean, and who finally established themselves on the western coast of Asia Minor; that is, of men par excellence, of "brave men. Was it because their ancestors came from the country of the red men in the West, that in their paintings they invariably painted their skin a reddish brown, as did the Mayas? From remote antiquity to our day, among all nations civilized or savage, red has been and is typical of courage, war, contention; and, by contrast, of prayer and supplication.
That the red color in the "Lands of the West" was the distinctive mark of warriors and of power, there can be no doubt. All the chroniclers of the time of the Spanish conquest tell us that where the hosts of natives opposed the invaders and confronted them in battle array, their faces and bodies were painted red. To this day the North American Indians, particularly when on the warpath, daub their faces and bodies with red paint.
Plinius 2 speaks of Camillus painting his face and body red, before entering Rome, on returning victorious after the expulsion of the Gauls from Italy by the troops under his command. It was customary for Roman soldiers to paint their bodies red in token of their bravery. The same author also
Cogolludo, Hist. de Yucathan, lib. i., chap. ii., p. 6; lib. ii., chap. vi., p. 77, et passim.
* Plinius, Historia Nat., xxxiii. 7.
says that one of the first acts of the censors on entering upon their duties was to paint the face of Jupiter with minium, such being the practice on every high festival day.
In Egypt, the god Set, the enemy of Horus, was styled "the very valiant." He was painted red. At Ombos he was worshipped as the evil principle of nature, under the name of Nubti, a word for which the Maya affords this very natural etymon nup, "adversary;" ti, "for." He was the chief god of the warlike Khati.
The possession of land and wealth has always been the privilege of the strongest and the most daring; of the warriors, who, wrongly or rightly, possessed themselves of the property of the conquered, and appropriated it to their own use. In the distribution of spoils, the chiefs never failed to set apart for themselves the largest share. At first, these chiefs were elective. They were chosen on account of their superior physical strength and their prowess in battle. Having acquired wealth, they paid men to fight under their leadership. To insure their power and authority, even over their own followers, they contracted alliances with other leaders, so that they might help each other in case of necessity. Thus they formed a privileged class, the Nobility, that by and by claimed to be of a nature superior to that of other men. They justified that claim by close obedience to the law of selection. Red, color of the blood shed on the battle-field, became the distinctive color of "nobility of race," of "brave and valiant man," of par excellence; "therefore, emblematic of power,
All historians say that red in Egypt was the symbol of nobil
ity of race.
Landa' says it was customary with the aborigines
'Landa, Las Cosas de Yucatan, pp. 117–185.
of Yucatan, both male and female, to adorn themselves with red paint. According to Du Chaillu,' the Fans of equatorial Africa, who have so many customs strangely identical with those of the ancient Mayas-even that of filing their front teeth like a saw-paint themselves red, men and women.
Herodotus asserts that the Maxyes (Mayas ?), a people dwelling to the westward of Lake Triton, in Libya, daubed themselves with vermilion.
Molina, in his vocabulary of the Mexican tongue, at the word Tlapilli, explains that whilst its primary meaning is "to paint in red color," it also signifies "noble," "ancient," and that Tlapilli eztli implies, metaphorically, nobility of blood and family.
Garcilasso de la Vega, Cieza de Leon, Acosta,5 and other writers on Peruvian customs and manners, inform us that the fringe and tassel of the Llantu, royal headdress of the Yncas, were made of fine crimson wool.
Mr. William Ellis asserts that the Areois of Tahiti, in certain religious ceremonies, painted their faces red; that “the ceremony of inauguration, answering to coronation among other nations, consisted in girding the king with the Maro Uru, or sacred girdle of red feathers, which identified him with the gods.
The prophet Ezekiel mentions the figures of red men pictured
1 Du Chaillu, Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa, pp. 94, 104-107, et passim.
'Herodotus, Hist., lib. iv. 19.
Garcilasso de la Vega, Commentarios Reales, part i., lib. i., cap. 22; lib. vi., cap. 28.
Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 114.
Acosta, Historia de las Indias Occidentales, lib. iv.,
William Ellis, Polynesian Researches, vol. i., p. 180.
on the walls of the edifices at Babylon, similar to the human figures found on those of the tombs in Hindostan and Etruria. In Egypt, the god Atum, emblem of the setting sun, was painted red. The Egyptians regarded him as the creator of all things visible and invisible. Were we not told of it by the writers on Egyptian manners and customs, we would learn it from the meaning of the name in the Maya language-AhTum; literally, "he of the new things." Here again red is symbolical of power-might.
According to Sir Gardner Wilkinson,' Egyptologists are not positive as to the manner in which the name written with the initial letters A and T should be read. It is sometimes interpreted T-Mu. The paintings in the tombs where he is represented in a boat in company with Athor, Thoth, and Ma, the goddess of truth,2 show that he filled an important office in the regions of Amenti.
If we accept T-Mu as the correct reading of the hieroglyphs that form his name, then that god must have been the personification of that continent which disappeared under the waves of the ocean, mentioned by Plato and other Greek writers as Atlantis. The Mayas also called it Ti-Mu, the country of Mu, a name that the Greeks knew equally well, as we will see later on. Do we find here the explanation of why the Egyptians figured Atum in a boat, holding an office in the West, and painted him red, the color of the inhabitants of the countries with which they were most familiar, and of which they kept the most perfect remembrance?
The same motive may have influenced the Hindoo philosoSir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., chap. xiii., p. 178.
2 These names are Maya words expressive of the attributes imputed to these gods by the Egyptians.