« PrécédentContinuer »
XLII. Attitude of Respect among the Mayas. Statue of Prince
XLIII. Attitude of Respect among the Mayas. Columns of Ka-
XLIV. Fresco Painting in Funeral Chamber in Prince Coh's Me-
XLVI. Fresco Painting in Funeral Chamber in Prince Coh's Me-
XLVIII. Fresco Painting in Funeral Chamber in Prince Coh's Me-
L. Fresco Painting in Funeral Chamber in Prince Coh's Me-
LII. Queen Móo a Prisoner of War. Plate xvii., part ii., of
LIII. Account of the Destruction of the Land of Mu.
LIV. Account of the Destruction of the Land of Mu. Plate
LV. Calendar and an Account of the Destruction of the Land
LVIII. A Dying Warrior. Bas-relief from Prince Coh's Mauso
LIX. Leopard eating a Human Heart: Totem of Prince Coh.
LXII. A Dying Sphinx (a leopard with a human head) that was
LXIII. Javelin Head and Arrow Points, found with the Charred
LXIV. Egyptian Sphinx. Reproduced from a photograph by Mr.
LXVI. Portrait of Bishop Landa, second Bishop of Yucatan. From an oil painting in the Chapter Hall of the Cathedral at Merida; reproduced by permission of the present bishop
LXVII. Autograph of the Historian, Father Lopez de Cogolludo.
LXVIII, Mezzo-relievo in Stucco on the Frieze of the Temple of
LXX. Fresco Painting in the Funeral Chamber of Prince Coh's
LXXI. Part of Façade of the Sanctuary at Uxmal. Image of the Winged Cosmic Circle
LXXII. The Lord of the Yucatan Forests. From life LXXIII. Part of Façade of the Sanctuary at Uxmal. symbols carved on the trunk of the Mastodon
"To accept any authority as final, and to dispense with the necessity of independent investigation, is destructive of all progress."
(MAN by two Chelas.)
"What you have learned, verify by experience, otherwise learning is vain." (Indian Saying.)
In this work I offer no theory. In questions of history theories prove nothing. They are therefore out of place. I leave my readers to draw their own inferences from the facts presented for their consideration. Whatever be their conclusions is no concern of mine. One thing, however, is certain -neither their opinion nor mine will alter events that have happened in the dim past of which so little is known to-day. A record of many of these events has reached our times written, by those who took part in them, in a language still spoken by several thousands of human beings. There we may read part of man's history and follow the progress of his civilization.
The study-in situ-of the relics of the ancient Mayas has revealed such striking analogies between their language, their religious conceptions, their cosmogonic notions, their manners and customs, their traditions, their architecture, and the language, the religious conceptions, the cosmogonic notions, the manners and customs, the traditions, the architecture of the
ancient civilized nations of Asia, Africa, and Europe, of which we have any knowledge, that it has become evident, to my mind at least, that such similarities are not merely effects of hazard, but the result of intimate communications that must have existed between all of them; and that distance was no greater obstacle to their intercourse than it is to-day to that of the inhabitants of the various countries.
It has been, and still is, a favorite hypothesis, with certain students of ethnology, that the Western Continent, now known as America, received its human population, therefore its civilization, from Asia. True, there is a split in their ranks. They are not quite certain if the immigration in America came from Tartary across the Strait of Behring, or from Hindostan over the wastes of the Pacific Ocean. This, however, is of little consequence.
There are those who pretend, like Klaproth, that the cradle of humanity is to be found on the plateau of Pamir, between the high peaks of the Himalayan ranges, or like Messrs. Renan and Barthélémy Saint-Hilaire, who place it in the region of the Timæus, in the countries where the Bible says the "Garden of Eden" was situated; while others are equally certain man came from Lemuria, that submerged continent invented by P. L. Sclater, which Haeckel' believes was the birthplace of the primitive ape-man, and which they say now lies under the waves of the Indian Ocean. The truth of the matter is, that these opinions are mere conjectures, simple hypotheses, and their advocates know no more when and where man first appeared on earth than the new-born babe knows of his surroundings or how he came.
The learned wranglers on this shadowy and dim point
forget that all leading geologists now agree in the opinion that America is the oldest known continent on the face of the planet; that the fossil remains of human beings found in various parts of it, far distant from each other, prove that man lived there in times immemorial, and that we have not the slightest ray of light to illumine the darkness that surrounds the origin of those primeval men. Furthermore, it is now admitted by the generality of scientists, that man, far from descending from a single pair, located in a particular portion of the earth's surface, has appeared on every part of it where the biological conditions have been propitious to his development and maintenance; and that the production of the various species, with their distinct, well-marked anatomical and intellectual characteristics, was due to the difference of those biological conditions, and to the general forces calling forth animal life prevalent in the places where each particular species has appeared, and whose distinctive marks were adapted to its peculiar environments.
The Maya sages doubtless had reached similar conclusions, since they called their country Mayach; that is, "the land first emerged from the bosom of the deep," "the country of the shoot; " and the Egyptians, according to Herodotus, boasted that "their ancestors, in the 'Lands of the West,' were the oldest men on earth."
If the opinion of Lyell, Humphry, and a host of modern geologists, regarding the priority of America's antiquity, be correct, what right have we to gainsay the assertion of the Mayas and of the Egyptians in claiming likewise priority for their people and their country?
It is but natural to suppose that intelligence in man was developed on the oldest continent, among its most ancient