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learned concerning them from a stranger he met at Carthage returning from the transatlantic countries.
That the Western Continent was visited by Carthaginians a few years before the inditing of Plato's "Atlantis," the portraits of men with long beards and Phoenician features, discovered by me in 1875, sculptured on the columns and antæ of the castle at Chichen, bear witness. Diodorus Siculus attributes the discovery of the Western Continent to the Phoenicians, and describes it as "a country where the landscape is varied by very lofty mountains, and the temperature is always soft and equable." Procopius, alluding to it, says it is several thousand stadia from Ogygia, and encloses the whole sea, into which a multitude of rivers, descending from the highlands, discharge their waters. Theopompus, of Quio, speaking of its magnitude, says: "Compared with it, our world is but a small island;" and Cicero, mentioning it, makes use of nearly the same words: "Omnis enin terræ quæ colitur a vobis parva quædam est insula.” Aristotle in his work, "De Mirabile Auscultatio," giving an account of it, represents it "as a very large and fertile country, well watered by abundant streams;" and he refers to a decree enacted by the Senate of Carthage toward the year 509 B.C., intended to stem the current of emigration that had set toward the Western Lands, as they feared it might prove detrimental to the prosperity of their city. The belief in the former existence of extensive lands in the middle of the Atlantic, and their submergence in consequence of seismic convulsions, existed among scientists even as far down as the fifth century of the Christian era. Proclus, one of the greatest scholars of antiquity, who during thirty-five years was at the head of the Neo-Platonic school of Athens, and was learned in all the sciences known in his days, in his “Com
mentaries on Plato's Timæus," says: "The famous Atlantis exists no longer, but we can hardly doubt that it did once, for Marcellus, who wrote a history of Ethiopian affairs, says that such and so great an island once existed, and that it is evidenced by those who composed histories relative to the external sea, for they relate that in this time there were seven islands in the Atlantic sea sacred to Proserpine; and, besides these, three of immense magnitude, sacred to Pluto, Jupiter, and Neptune; and, besides this, the inhabitants of the last island (Poseidonis) preserve the memory of the prodigious magnitude of the Atlantic island as related by their ancestors, and of its governing for many periods all the islands in the Atlantic sea. From this isle one may pass to other large islands beyond, which are not far from the firm land near which is the true sea."
It is well to notice that, like all the Maya authors who have described the awful cataclysms that caused the submergence of the "Land of Mu," Proclus mentions the existence of ten countries or islands, as Plato did. Can this be a mere coincidence, or was it actual geographical knowledge on the part of these writers?
Inquiries are often made as to the causes that led to the interruption of the communications between the inhabitants of the Western Continent and the dwellers on the coasts of the Mediterranean, after they had been renewed by the Carthaginians.
It is evident that the mud spoken of by the Egyptian priests had settled in the course of centuries, and that the seaweeds mentioned by Hamilco had ceased to be a barrier sufficient to impede the passage, since Carthaginians reached the shores of Yucatan at least five hundred years before the Chris
tian era.1 These causes may be found in the destruction of Carthage, of its commerce and its ships, by the Romans under Publius Scipio. The Romans never were navigators. After the fall of Carthage, public attention being directed to their conquests in Northern Africa, in Western Asia, and in Greece; to their wars with the Teutons and the Cimbri; to their own civil dissensions and to the many other political events that preceded the decadence and disintegration of the Roman Empire; the maritime expeditions of the Phoenicians and of the Carthaginians their discoveries of distant and transatlantic countries became well-nigh forgotten. On the other hand, those hardy navigators kept their discoveries as secret as possible.
With the advent and ascendency of the Christian Church, the remembrance of the existence of such lands that still lingered among students, as that of the Egyptian and Greek civilizations, was utterly obliterated from the mind of the people.
If we are to believe Tertullian and other ecclesiastical writers, the Christians, during the first centuries of the Christian era, held in abhorrence all arts and sciences, which, like literature, they attributed to the Muses, and therefore regarded as artifices of the devil. They consequently destroyed all vestiges as well as all means of culture. They closed the academies of Athens, the schools of Alexandria; burned the libraries of the Serapion and other temples of learning, which contained the works of the philosophers and the records of
1 Juan de Torquemada, Monarquia Indiana, lib. iii., cap. 3. Lizana (Bernardo), Devocionario de nuestra Señora de Itzamal, etc., part 1, folio 5, published by Abbé Brasseur, in Landa's Las Cosas de Yucatan, pp. 349 et passim.
* Clement of Rome, First Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter viii., verse 12.
their researches in all branches of human knowledge (the power of steam and electricity not excepted). They depopulated the countries bathed by the waters of the Mediterranean; plunged the populations of Western Europe into ignorance, superstition, fanaticism; threw over them, as an intellectual mortuary pall, the black wave of barbarism that during the Middle Ages came nigh wiping out all traces of civilization— which was saved from total wreck by the followers of Mahomet, whose great mental and scientific attainments illumined that night of intellectual darkness as a brilliant meteor, too soon extinguished by those minions of the Church, the members of the Holy Inquisition established by Pope Lucius III. The inquisitors, imitating their worthy predecessors, the Metropolitans of Constantinople and the bishops of Alexandria, closed the academies and public schools of Cordoba, where Pope Sylvester II. and several other high dignitaries of the Church had been admitted as pupils and acquired, under the tuition of Moorish philosophers, knowledge of medicine, geography, rhetoric, chemistry, physics, mathematics, astronomy, and the other sciences contained in the thousands of precious volumes that formed the superb libraries which the inquisitors wantonly destroyed, alleging St. Paul's example.!
Abundant proofs of the intimate communications of the ancient Mayas with the civilized nations of Asia, Africa, and Europe are to be found among the remains of their ruined cities. Their peculiar architecture, embodying their cosmogonic and religious notions, is easily recognized in the ancient architectural monuments of India, Chaldea, Egypt, and Greece; in the great pyramid of Ghizeh, in the famed Parthenon of Athens. Although architecture is an unerring standard of the 'The Acts of the Apostles, chapter xix., verse 19.
degree of civilization reached by a people, and constitutes, therefore, an important factor in historical research; although it is as correct a test of race as is language, and more easily applied and understood, not being subject to changes, I have refrained from availing myself of it, in order not to increase the limits of the present work.
I reserve the teachings that may be gathered from the study of Maya monuments for a future occasion; restricting my observations now principally to the Memorial Hall at Chichen, dedicated to the manes of Prince Coh by his sisterwife Queen Móo; and to the mausoleum, erected by her order, to contain his effigy and his cremated remains. In the first she caused to be painted, on the walls of the funeral chamber, the principal events of his and her life, just as the Egyptian kings had the events of their own lives painted on the walls of their tombs.
Language is admitted to be a most accurate guide in tracing the family relation of various peoples, even when inhabiting countries separated by vast extents of land or water. In the present instance, Maya, still spoken by thousands of human beings, and in which the inscriptions sculptured on the walls of the temples and palaces in the ruined cities of Yucatan are written, as are also the few books of the ancient Maya sages that have come to our hands, will be the thread of Ariadne that will guide us in following the tracks of the colonists from Mayach in their peregrinations. In every locality where their name is found, there also we meet with their language, their religious and cosmogonic notions, their traditions, customs, architecture, and a host of other indications of their presence and permanency, and of the influence they have exerted on the civilization of the aboriginal inhabitants.