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NOTE XVI. (Pages 132, 133.)
(7) This custom of carrying children astride the hip still prevails in Yucatan, as it does in India (" Buddaghosha Parables," translation by H. T. Rogers, R.E.) and other places where we find Maya customs and traditions.
(1) Landa, "Las Cosas de Yucatan " (p. 236): "El primer dia del año desta gente era siempre a xvi dias de nuestro mes de Julio, y primero de su mes de Popp."
Champollion Figeac, "Egypte " (p. 336): "Or pendant plus de trois mil ans avant l'ère chrétienne et quelques siècles après cette belle étoile (Sirius) s'est levée le même jour fixe en Egypte (parallèle moyen) un peu avant le soleil (lever héliatique) et ce jour a été le 20 Juillet de notre calendrier Julien."
Censorius, "De die Natali,” says that the canicula in Egypt regularly rises on the first of Thoth, that corresponded to the 20th of July, 1322 B.C.
Porphyry says "that the first day of the month Thoth and of the year are fixed in Egypt by the rising of Sothis, or Dogstar."
NOTE XVII. (Page 124.)
(2) During the reconstruction of the temple of Jerusalem, under the reign of Josiah, on a certain morning the High Priest Hilkiah, in the year 621 B.C., told Shapham, a scribe, that he had found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord. Shapham took the book and presented it to the king, who named a committee to go and consult the prophetess Huldah regarding the genuineness of the book. She, wise woman that she was, not wishing to make an enemy of Hilkiah, gave an evasive answer, that, however, satisfied the king, who, it seems, was not of a very critical turn of mind. The prevalent opinion at the beginning of the Christian era, regarding the authorship of the Pentateuch, was that Moses never wrote the book. (Clementine, Homily, II., § 51; Homily, VIII., § 42.)
NOTE XVIII. (Page 127.)
(1) Henry Grose, "Voyage in the East Indies" (chap. vii., p. 95): "Elephanta Island, near Bombay, contains cave temples so old that there is no tradition as to who made them. There are paintings round the cornices that, for the beauty and freshness of the coloring, not any particularity in the design, call the attention; which must have lasted for some thousands of years, on supposing it, as there is all reason to suppose it, contemporary with the building."
NOTE XIX. (Page 139.)
(1) The acceptance, by a young girl, of a fruit sent by her lover constituted betrothal among the ancient Mayas, as it does in our day among their descendants. In Yucatan, if a young man wishes to propose marriage to a girl, he sends by a friend, as a present, a fruit, a flower, or some sweetmeat. The acceptance of it is a sign that the proposal of the suitor is admitted. From that moment they are betrothed. The refusal of the present means that he is rejected. A similar custom exists in Japan. When a young lady expects a proposal of marriage, a flower-pot is placed in a convenient position on the window-sill. The lover plants a flower in it. If next morning the flower is watered, he can present himself to his lady-love, knowing that he is welcome. If, on the contrary, the flower has been uprooted and thrown on the sidewalk, he understands that he is not wanted.
In Egypt the eating of a quince by two young people, together, constituted betrothal. So also in Greece, where the custom was introduced from Egypt. In this custom we find a natural explanation of the first seven verses of the third chapter of Genesis, and why the serpent was said to have offered a fruit to the woman.
NOTE XX. (Pages 15, 155.)
(1) The Mayas held Fire to be the breath, the direct emanation of Ku, the Supreme Intelligence; its immediate agent through which all things were produced, and the whole creation kept alive. Therefore they worshipped it as deity itself. To it, in high places, they raised altars, on which a perpetual fire, rekindled once a year, was watched by priestesses whose special duty was to see that it never became extinguished. These were recruited from among the daughters of priests and nobles. They were called Zuhuy Kak, "Virgins of the Fire."1 At their head was a Lady Superior, whose title, Ix naacan-katun,2 meant "She who is forever exalted."
They procured the new fire either directly from the rays of the sun, or from the shock of two hard stones, or by rubbing two pieces of wood together.
Among the symbols sculptured on the mastodon trunks that, at a very remote period of Maya history, embellished the façades of all sacred and public edifices, these signs are occasionTaken collectively they read thunder," hence, "fire."
Far deeper, however, is their esoteric meaning. The interpretation of each individual sign reveals the fact that they form a cosmological pandect, or treatise, on the creation of the
'Cogolludo, Hist. de Yucathan, lib. iv., cap. ii., p. 177.
world. They thus afford us a glimpse of some of the scientific attainments of the learned Maya priesthood. Their knowledge they communicated in the mysterious recesses of the tem
ples, where the profane never penetrated, to initiates only. These were bound by the most solemn oaths never to make known the sacred mysteries there taught, except to those rightly entitled to receive them.
Science was then, as it is even to-day, the privilege of the few. In those remote ages the sacerdotal class and the nobility claimed it as their own; now it is that of the wealthy. True, in our times, knowledge is denied to none, provided the applicant can pay for it, and no one is under oath not to divulge what he has learned; but its acquirement is costly, and beyond reach of the majority.
The temples of the Maya sages are in ruins, slowly but surely crumbling to dust, gnawed by the relentless tooth of time; and, what is worse, recklessly destroyed by the iconoclastic hand of ignorance and avarice. Sanctuaries have become