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Is this a mere coincidence? By no means.
There can be no doubt that the Akkadian or Chaldean tongue contained many Maya words. The limits of this work do not allow me to adduce all the proofs I could bring forward to fully establish their intimate relationship. A few more must suffice for the present.
Let us take, for instance, the last words, according to Matthew and Mark,' spoken by Jesus on the cross, when a sponge saturated with posca? was put to his lips: “ Eli, Eli, lamah sabachthani."
No wonder those who stood near him could not understand what he said. To this day the translators of the Gospels do not know the meaning of these words, and make him, who they pretend is the God of the universe, play before mankind a sorry and pitiful rôle, I will not say for a god, but for a
IIe spoke pure Maya. He did not complain that God had forsaken him when he said to the charitable individual who tried to allay the pangs of the intolerable thirst he suffered in consequence of the hardships he had endured, and the torture of the chastisement inflicted on him: “Hele, Hele, lamah zabac ta ni ;” that is, “Now, now, I am fainting; darkness covers my face;” or, in John's words, “It is finished.” 3
1 Matthew, chap. xxvii., verse 46. Mark, chap. xv., verse 34.
2 Posca was the ordinary beverage of Roman soldiers, which they were obliged to carry with them in all their expeditions, among which were the executions of criminals. Our authorities on this matter are Spartianus (Life of Hadrian, 2 10) and Vulcatius Gallicanus (Life of Aridius Cassius, 25). This posca was a very cooling drink, very agreeable in hot climates, as the writer can certify, having frequently used it in his expeditions among the ruined cities of the Mayas. It is made of vinegar and water, sweetened with sugar or honey, a kind of oximel.
3 John, chap. xix., verse 30.
Again, in the legend of the creation, as reported by Berosus, according to Eusebius 1 the Chaldeans believed that a woman ruled over all the monstrous beasts which inhabited the waters at the beginning of all things. Her name was Thalatth. The Greeks translated it Thalassa, and applied it to the sea itself. Ask modern philologists what is the etymology of that word. They will answer, It is lost. I say, No—it is not lost! Ask again any Maya scholar the meaning of the word thallac. He will tell you it denotes “a thing without steadiness,” like the sea.
Again, when confidence in legal divination became shaken by the progress of philosophical incredulity, and the observation of auguries was well nigh reduced to a simple matter of form, Chaldean magicians, whose fame was universal and dated from very remote antiquity, flocked to Rome, and were welcomed by the Romans of all classes and both sexes. Their influence soon became so great as to excite the superstitious fears of the emperors, prætors, and others high in authority.
a consequence, they were forbidden under heavy penalties, even that of death, to exercise their science. In the year 721 of Rome, under the triumvirate of Octavius, Antonius, and Lepidus, they were expelled from the city. They then scattered in the provinces—in Gaul, Spain, Germany, Brittany, etc.
Messrs. Lenormant and Chevalier, in their “Ancient History of the East,” 6 inform us that when these conjurers exor
Eusebius, Chroni., can, i. 2, pp. 11-12.
Cicero, De Natura Deorum, 11, 3.
* Heineccius, Elements of Roman Jurisprudence, vol. i., Tabul viii., art. 25, p. 496.
• Dion Cassius, xlix., 43, p. 756. Tacitus, Annal., 11-32.
cised evil spirits they cried, “Tilka, hilka! Besha, besha!” which they render, “Go away, go away! evil one, evil one!”
These authors little suspected, when they wrote those words, that they were giving a correct translation of the Maya vocables ilil ka xaxbe, forming part of a language still spoken by thousands of human beings.
In order to understand properly the meaning of the exorcism, we must read it, as all ancient Maya writings should be read, from right to left, thus: xabe, xabe ! kail ! kail! The Maya X is the equivalent of the English sh.
Xabe is evidently a corruption of the Maya verb xaxbe, “to be put aside,” “ to make room for one to pass. Ká or kaá means “ something bitter,” “ sediment.” Ka in Egyptian was “spirit,” “genius,” equivalent to the Maya ku, “god.” Il is a contraction of the Maya adjective ilil, “ vicious,” a “forbidden thing,” corresponding exactly to the English “ill," and having the same meaning.' The literal rendering of these words would therefore be, “ Aside, aside! evil spirit, evil spirit !” as given by Messrs. Lenormant and Chevalier.
J. Collin de Plancy, in his “Dictionnaire Infernal,” under the title “Magic Words," tells us that magicians taught that the fatal consequences of the bite of a mad dog could be averted by repeating hax pax max. The learned author of the dictionary deprecates the ignorant superstition of people who believe in such nonsense; and he himself, through his ignorance of the American Maya language, fails to comprehend the great scientific importance of those words that to him are meaningless.
1 Pio Perez, Maya dictionary, and also ancient Maya dictionary MS. in Brown Library, Providence, R. I.