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The question is often asked, “Of what practical utility can the knowledge that America was possibly the cradle of man's civilization be to mankind?” To some, of but little use truly; but
many there are who would be glad to know the origin of man's primitive traditions recorded in sacred books in the shape of myths or legends, and what were the incidents that served as basis on which has been raised the fabric of the various religions that have existed and do exist among men, have been and still are the cause of so many wars, dissensions, and persecutions. This knowledge would also serve to disclose the source whence emanated all those superstitions that have been and are so many obstacles in the way of man's physical, intellectual, and moral progress; and to free his mind from all such trammels, and make of him, what he claims to be, the most perfect work of creation on earth; also to make known the fact that Mayach—not India—is the true mother of nations.
Then, perhaps, will be awakened, in the mind of those in whose power it is to do it, a desire to save and preserve what remains of the mural inscriptions carved on the walls of the ruined palaces and temples of the Mayas, that are being torn to pieces by individuals commissioned by certain institutions in the United States and other places to obtain curios to adorn their museums, regardless of the fact that they are destroying the remaining pages of ancient American history with the reckless hand of ignorance, thus making themselves guilty of the crime of leze-history as well as of iconoclasm.
Perhaps also will be felt the necessity of recovering the libraries of the Maya sages (hidden about the beginning of the Christian era to save them from destruction at the hands of the devastating hordes that invaded their country in those
times), and to learn from their contents the wisdom of those ancient philosophers, of which that preserved in the books of the Brahmins is but the reflection. That wisdom was no doubt brought to India, and from there carried to Babylon and Egypt in very remote ages by those Maya adepts (Naacal
'the exalted ”), who, starting from the land of their birth as missionaries of religion and civilization, went to Burmah, where they became known as Nagas, established themselves in the Dekkan, whence they carried their civilizing work all over the earth.
At the request of friends, and to show that the reading of Maya inscriptions and books is no longer an unsolved enigma, and that those who give themselves as authorities on ancient Maya palæography are no longer justified in guessing at, or in forming theories as to the meaning of the Maya symbols or the contents of said writings, I have translated verbatim the legend accompanying the image, in stucco, of a human sacrifice that adorned the frieze of the celebrated temple of Kabul at Izamal,
This legend I have selected because it is written with hieratic Maya characters, that are likewise Egyptian.' Any one who can read hieratic Egyptian inscriptions will have no difficulty in translating said legend by the aid of a Maya dictionary, and thus finding irrefutable evidence: 1. That Mayas and Egyptians must have learned the art of writing from the same masters. Who were these? 2. That some of the ruined monuments of Yucatan are very ancient, much anterior to the Christian era, notwithstanding the opinion to the contrary of the self-styled authorities on Maya civilization. 3. That
See Le Plongeon's ancient Maya hieratic alphabet compared with the Egyptian hieratic alphabet, in Sacred Mysteries, Introduction, p. xii.
nothing now stands in the way of acquiring a perfect knowledge of the manners and customs, of the scientific attainments, religious and cosmogonic conceptions, of the history of the builders of the ruined temples and palaces of the Mayas.
May this work receive the same acceptance from students of American archæology and universal history as was vouchsafed to “Sacred Mysteries among the Mayas and the Quiches." It is written for the same purpose and in the same spirit.
AUGUSTUS LE PLONGEON, M.D.
New YORK, January, 1896.
ORIGIN OF THE NAME MAYACH.
The country known to-day as Yucatan, one of the states of the Mexican confederacy, may indeed be justly regarded by the ethnologist, the geologist, the naturalist, the philologist, the archæologist, and the historian as a most interesting field of study. Its area of seventy-three thousand square miles, covered with dense forests, is literally strewn with the ruins of
antique cities, majestic temples, stately palaces, the work of learned architects, now heaps of débris crumbling under the inexorable tooth of time and the impious hand of iconoclastic collectors of relics for museums. Among these the statues of priests and kings, mutilated and defaced by the action of the elements, the hand of time and that of man, lie prostrate in the dust. Walls covered with bas-reliefs, inscriptions and sculptures carved in marble, containing the panegyrics of rulers, the history of the nation, its cosmogonical traditions, the ancient religious rites and observances of its