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Ruins of an Ancient City
DISCOVERED NEAR PALENQUE,
IN THE KINGDOM OF GUATEMALA, IN SPANISH AMERICA:
FROM THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT REPORT
CAPTAIN DON ANTONIO DEL RIO:
TEATRO CRITICO AMERICANO;
A CRITICAL INVESTIGATION AND RESEARCH
The History of the Americans.
BY DOCTOR PAUL FELIX CABRERA,
OF THE CITY OF NEW GUATEMALA
PUBLISHED BY HENRY BERTHOUD,
NO. 65, REGENT'S QUADRANT, PICCADILLY:
AND SUTTABY, EVANCE AND FOX, STATIONER'S COURT.
[ vii ]
As attempts have so frequently been made to deceive the world by announcing and publishing the details of discoveries which were never effected, and the description of places, having no existence but in the writer's brain; the editor conceives himself imperiously called upon to offer some prefactory words, explanatory of the manner in which the literary documents, comprised in this volume, together with its pictorical embellishments, came into his possession.
The original manuscript of Captain Antonio del Rio's Report, together with the erudite investigation, written in consequence of that officer's researches, by Doctor Paul Felix Cabrera, were deposited in the archives of the city of new Guatemala, from whence they were obtained by a gentleman who was for many years a resident in that city, and are now open for public inspection at Mr. Berthoud's, the publisher of the present volume.
The peculiar apathy of the Spanish character, generally speaking, as far as relates to any vestiges of antiquity, may have been one of the causes which has hitherto prevented the publication of these extraordinary documents, concealed, as we may say, from an anxious and enquiring world, from the year 1787; the period of Captian del Rio's discoveries, and 1794
the epoch at which Doctor Cabrara produced his curious, and learned solution respecting the original population of America. Another motive, which may have equally operated with the Spanish government in concealing these important documents from publicity, may have originated in the jealousy entertained by that nation with regard to their possessions in Mexico, and, the consequent desire they entertained of burying in total oblivion, any circumstance that might conduce to awaken the curiosity, or excite the cupidity of more scientific and enterprizing nations; such indeed, has been, and is the secrecy still maintained upon this head; that, at the city of Mexico and even at new Guatemala, the existence of this ruined extensive place, is scarcely known, though, we may venture to affirm, that if, instead of the researches so repeatedly undertaken in lower and upper Egypt, a small portion of the same indefatigable proceedings had been resorted to in South America, an inexhaustible source would have presented itself to the admirers of remotest antiquity, and a copious mine of wealth have been opened to those adventurers, whose sole object was, the acquirement of riches. This silence, on the part of the Spanish authorities, would have, in all probability, continued, and these discoveries have remained hidden perhaps for ever; had it not been for the political revolution brought about in that country, the effects of which, having expanded the public mind, its prevailing influence has been extended to the functionaries of the government, so that state secrets and the long treasured documents in the public archives have been explored, through which means, the
original manuscripts, from whence these sheets are translated, were rescued from that oblivion to which they had so long been consigned.
In respect to the authenticity of the ensuing record, and the existence of the Palencian city, the writer begs leave to remark, that the distance from Palenque, in the district of Carmen province of Chiapa, to the ruins of the Palencian city is no more than fifteen miles; and if any further confirmation is required upon this head, on referring to Mr. Humboldt's travels in America, it will be found that this ruined city was known to that scientific gentleman, who not only makes mention of its existence, but has inserted an engraving from one of the pictorical illustrations of the present volume, being that which displays the kneeling figure, apparently in the act of supplication; in explaining which, however, Mr. Humboldt is altogether in error; if the solution of the subject, as given by Doctor Cabrera, is deemed conclusive. The leading motive that induced Mr. Humboldt to insert the plate in question, was, to show the estraordinary lineaments dissimilar to those of any other existing nation, or that have hitherto been found in the sculptored representations of the people of antiquity. If the learned gentleman of whom we are speaking, had not been at an immense distance from that part of the country where the ruins lay, there is no doubt but he would have visited these extraordinary remains, in which case the result of his acuteness must have proved highly valuable to the cause of science and the development of truth.
The editor, without assuming to himself any particular merit in publishing the translations of these manuscripts, cannot, however refrain from applauding his good fortune in being thus enabled to present a work to the public which must excite peculiar interest in many points of view; and, in order therefore that the narrative of Captain del Rio, and the disquisitions of Doctor Cabrera, might be scrupulously attended to, they have been rendered into English with every requisite attention to faithfulness in the translation, as may be verified by any gentleman conversant with the Spanish language, who shall deem it expedient to compare the subject matter of this volume with the original manuscripts in the hands of the publisher. On account of this particular attention to the documents in question, references will be found to drawings mentioned by Captain del Rio, which did not fall into the hands of the fortunate possessor of these details, while other designs are described, which do not appear to coincide precisely with any of the accompanying plates; to this the editor has only to remark that he has presented to the world every relic in his possession, from which he does not doubt but the sporit of inquiry will be most powerfully awakened, and that the happiest results must accrue to history, to science, and to literature in general.
It is to the labours of the antiquarian we must now look for a development of the hieroglyphic characters traced throughout this ruined city, as well as in the various other parts of the Mexican continent; which, when compared with the important discoveries effected of late years in Africa, Egypt, &c., from
thence perhaps may be demonstrated, beyond the possibility of doubt, that such a striking analogy exists between the vestiges of those nations as to draw this inference; that a connexion originally did exist between those people having been broken down by revolutions, of which no records are handed down; as well as by the tremendous and sweeping current of all destructive time.
On contemplating the subjoined plates, it will be found that the apron descending from the abdomen and covering mid-way down the thigh, as well as the ornaments affixed round the wrists, of those singular figures, are, in many respects, analogous to those parts of the Egyptian costume and ornament, nor is it less singular to observe the delineation of the physiognomies here traced, where the forehead and the nose are particularly predominent, together with thick and underhung lips, which traits are equally dissimilar to those of the present race of Mexicans, as are the black Egyptians of this day to the brick-dust coloured representations of antiquity.
From the style adopted by Doctor Cabrera the reader will immediately become impressed with an idea of his rigid adherence to the Catholic religion, and the reverential deference he uniformily bestows upon the Mosaic tradition, this subject, however, it is not the province of the writer to discuss, nor to venture any remarks upon a very prevalent hypothesis respecting the duration of the world, promulgated by Monsieur Dupiis, member of the national institute, and many other learned men in astronomy and the sciences, from having consulted the planisphere or zodiac of Denderah now at Paris, together with a multiplicity
of other records discovered on the soil of Egypt; the writer, on the contrary, has given Doctor Cabrera's solution precisely in his own words, without annexing any comment; thus leaving a further investigation respecting the feasibility of his proofs, or the influence of his religious prejudices, to the consideration of the learned enquirer, and the public at large. Upon one point, however, it is seemed essentially necessary to lay a stress, which is the representation of a Greek cross in the largest plate illustrative of the present work, from whence the casual observer might be prompted to infer, that the Palencian city flourished at a period subsequent to the christian era; whereas it is perfectly well known to all those conversant with the mythology of the ancients, that the figure of a cross constituted a leading symbol of their religious worship, for instance, the augural staff or wand of the Romans was an exact resemblance of a cross, being borne as the ensign of authority by the community of the augurs of Rome, where they were held in such high veneration, that, although guilty of flagrant crimes, they could not be deposed from their offices; and with the Egyptians the staff of Bootes or Osiris, is similar to the Crosier of Catholic bishops, which terminated at the top with a cross; to these might be added various other proofs, were it necessary to dwell more at large upon the subject.
In the progress of Doctor Cabrera's inquiry, the well informed and reflecting mind will no doubt experience feelings of the most poignant regret, on discovering that the religious fanaticism of the first conquerors of new Spain led them to
destroy all the records of history, which had been carefully preserved by the ancient Mexicans, in order, as they fallaciously imagined, to obliterate altogether the venerated traditions of paganism and the worship of their heathen divinities, whereby they thought to forward the grand cause of christinaity; however, very far from accomplishing the end they proposed, they only enveloped history in such a mazy labyrinth of doubt, that the most learned and experienced writers upon the subject have found it utterly impossible to solve the grand mystery of the origin of the Mexicans, the developement of which now appears to be effected: but, even supposing that any latent doubts should be entertained upon the subject after perusing the present volume, it is more than probable, the momentary and destructive ebullitions of bigotry and barbarism will be ultimately obliterated by patience and persevering industry, and that the ruins of the Palacian city will afford amble means for restoring the basis of the knowledge contained in those records, which were sacrificed at the shrine of Spanish superstition and Vandal ignorance. But even suppose we admit, for the sake of argument, that Doctor Cabrera's premises are wholly inconclusive; and it would be no easy task to refute every argument he adduces, it certainly cannot be denied that this most important discovery opens a new era in the field of historic speculation; and that the result, be it what it may, must materially alter hitherto accredited notions, by affording an irrefragable datum whereupon to ground some new hypothesis, instead of arguing from vague notions or mere surmises, unsupported even by the shadow of a proof.
[ 1 ]
In compliance with a resolution of his Majesty, communicated by his royal order, bearing date May 15th, 1786, relative to another examination of the ruins discovered in the vicinity of Palenque, in the province of Ciudad Real de Chiapa in New Spain, you was pleased, on the 20th of March last, to desire that I should proceed thither, in order to renew the operations directed by the different items comprised in the said order, and to exert all the industry and means in my power for the accomplishment of the intended object
I accepted this charge with the greater degree of satisfaction, as I thereby felt convinced of the honourable confidence you reposed in me for the execution of this task; and I therefore, lost no time in repairing to the spot, where I arrived on the 3rd of May, and on the 5th proceeded to the site of the ruined city, which is there called Casas de Piedras (stone houses). On
making my first essay, I experienced some of the difficulties attendant upon such an undertaking, in consequence of my being unable to discover the direction in which I ought to advance, owing to a fog so extremely dense, that it was impossible to distinguish each other at the distance of five paces; and whereby the principal building, surrounded by copse wood and trees of large dimensions, in full foliage and closely interwoven, was completely concealed from our view.
This first impediment occasioned my return to the village on the following day, with the intention of concerting with Don Joseph Alonzo de Calderon, deputy of the district, the necessary means of procuring as many Indians and persons speaking the Spanish language, as could be collected, for the purpose of effectually clearing these woody obstructions.
Accordingly an order was issued to the inhabitants of the town of Tumbala, requiring two hundred Indians who should be provided with axes and bill-hooks: none however, arrived until the 17th, and then only seventy-nine in number, furnished with twenty-eight axes, after which twenty more were obtained in the village, and with these supplies I again moved forward on the 18th to the stone houses. The operation of felling immediately commenced, and was completed on the 2nd instant, which was followed by a general conflagration, that soon enabled us to breathe a more pure and wholesome atmosphere, and to continue our operations with much greater facility.
I was convinced, that, in order to form some idea of the first inhabitants and of the antiquities connected with their establishments,
it would be indispensably necessary to make several excavations; and to this object I therefore directed my chief attention, as, by so doing, I was led to hope that I should find medals, inscriptions, or monuments that would throw some light upon my researches; and I therefore commenced this work without delay, notwithstanding the scarcity of proper implements, as the number was by this time reduced to seven iron crowbars and three pick-axes, a very small supply indeed for the accomplishments of so laborious an undertaking as these immense masses of stone ruins presented to the view in every direction. By dint of perseverance I effected all that was necessary to be done, so that ultimately there remained neither a window nor a doorway blocked up; a partition that was not thrown down, nor a room, corridor, court, tower, nor subterranean passage in which excavations were not effected from two to three yards (varas) in depth, for such the object of my mission and the research to which it was directed required, and the result of these labours proved as follows:
westerly direction unite with the great river Tulija, which bends its course towards the province of Tabasco; having passed Micol the ascent begins, and at half a league from thence the traveller crosses a little stream called Otolum, discharging its waters into the before-mentioned current: from this point heaps of ruins are discovered, which render the road very difficult for another half league, when you gain the height whereon the stone houses are situated, being fourteen in number, some more dilapidated than others, but still having many of their apartments perfectly discernible.
A rectangular area, three hundred yards in breadth by four hundred and fifty in length, presents a plain at the base of the highest mountain forming the ridge, and in the centre is situated the largest of these structures which has been as yet discovered: it stands on a mound twenty yards high, and is surrounded by the other edifices, namely: five to the northward, four to the southward, one to the south-west, and three to the eastward. In all directions the fragments of other fallen buildings are to be seen extending along the mountain, that stretches east and west, about three or four leagues either way, so that the whole range of this rioned town may be computed to extend between seven and eight leagues; but its breadth is by no means equal to its length, being little more than half a league wide at the point, where the ruins terminate, which is towards the river Micol, that winds round the base of the mountain, whence descend small streams that wash the foundation of the ruins on their banks, so that, were it not for the thick umbrageous foliage of the trees,
they would present to the view so many beautiful serpentine rivulets.
It might be inferred that this people had had some analogy to, and intercourse with the Romans, from a similarity in the choice of situation as well as from a subterranean stone aqueduct of great solidity and durability, which passes under the largest building.
I do not take upon myself to assert that these conquerors did actually land in this country; but there is reasonable ground for hazarding a conjecture that some inhabitants of that polished nation did visit these regions; and that, from such intercourse, the natives might have imbibed, during their stay, an idea of the arts, as a reward for their hospitality.
To the natural beauty of a charming locality may be added fertility of soil and a delightful climate, which without doubt, produced in great abundance almost every production necessary for a comfortable and tranquil life; this is apparent from such wild fruits as the sapotes, acquacates, camotes, yuca or cassava, and plantains, being now found in great plenty, which plainly demonstrate what would be their profusion and delicacy if improved by cultivation. The rivers abound with fish, consisting of the moharra, bebo, and turtle, as do the smaller streams with crabs, and the lesser species of shell fish. These circumstances, and the laborious workmanship of their edifices, constructed without the assistance of iron or other metals, for with these they seem to have been unacquainted, amply justify the belief that they enjoyed in a peaceful manner of living more real and
substantial felicity than all the concentrated luxury and refinement of the most polished cities at the present period can produce.
Equal advantages were afforded them for commerce and intercourse with their neighbours, undiminished by the expensive inconvenience of undertaking long and fatiguing journies by land; for the rivers running to the east, north, and west afforded them the benefits of traffic by means of navigation. The river Tulija opened a passage for trade into the province of Tabasco; the sea-coast of Catasaja and the river Chacamal falling into the great Usumasinta, presented a short and commodious route to the kingdom of Yucatan, with which, beyond all doubt, they carried on their principal commerce. This circumstance may be inferred from monuments and vestiges plainly demonstrating that these two nations differed in a very slight degree, either in their customs, religion, or knowledge; the firmest bonds of fraternal alliance and friendship by which they could be united, whereto we may add the uniformity and resemblance in their buildings, which I think, are proofs that tend still further to substantiate this position.
The Rev. Father Thomas de Soza, a franciscan friar of the convent of Merida, many years collector of alms destined for the holy house of Jerusalem, who, in pursuing the duties imposed upon him from his situation, had repeatedly traversed the province, fortunately happening to be at Palenque, favoured me with a circumstantial account of that country of which I shall now avail myself in his own words.
At the distance of twenty leagues from the city of Merida
southward, between the curacy called Mona y Ticul and the town of Nocacab, are the remains of some stone edifices; one very large building has withstood the ravages of time, and still exists in good preservation: the natives give it the name of Oxmutal. It stands on an eminence of twenty yards in height, and measures two hundred yards on each facade. The apartments, the exterior corridor, the pillars with figures in medio relievo, and decorated with serpents, lizards, etc. formed in stucco, beside which are statues of men with palms in their bands, in the act of beating drums and dancing, resemble in every respect those observable in the buildings of Palenque. Eight leagues distant from the same city to the northward are the ruined walls of several other houses, which increase in number as you advance in an easterly direction. In the vicinity of the river Lagartos, at a town called Mani, which is under the actual jurisdiction of the francisean friars, in the middle of the principal square, stands a pillory of a conical shape, built of stones, and to the southward rises a very ancient palace, resembling that at Palenque, which, according to tradition, was inhabited, upon the arrival of the Spanish conquerors, by a petty Indian sovereign called Htulrio, who resigned it to the franciscans for a residence while their new convent was building, after which it was used for several years as a public hospital. The erection of this palace was long anterior to the time of Htulrio, who replied to the inquiries of the fathers relative to the period of its construction, that he was totally ignorant of its origin, and only knew that it had been inhabited by his ancestors. From hence we may draw some
inference respecting the very remote antiquity of the Palencian edifices, buried for so many ages in the impenetrable thickets covering a mountain, and unknown to the historians of the new world, by whom no mention whatsoever is made of their existence. On the road from Merida to Bacalar there are also many other buildings both to the north and south, according to my informant's narrative, a description of which I conceive unnecessary, not only from being desirous of avoiding prolixity, but because the identity of the ancient inhabitants of Yucatan and Palenque, is, in my opinion, evidently proved by the strong analogy of their customs, buildings, and acquaintance with the arts, whereof such vestiges are discernible in those monuments which the current of time has not yet swept away.
In endeavoring to convey some idea of this country, I have deviated a little from the instructions contained in my commission, to which, perhaps, I ought to have strictly adhered; yet, as implicit obedience to those commands has only been infringed for the purpose of introducing a few remarks, not wholly divested of originality, they may, from their connexion with the present subject, influence your acquaintance with venerable antiquity, and in some respects tend to fix a date to these interesting remains.
Returning, therefore, to the original subject matter, it is requisite that a description of the situations should be followed by an examination of what it presents to our observation. The interior of the large building is in a style of architecture strongly resembling the gothic, and from its rude and massive construction
promises great durability. The entrance is on the eastern side, by a portico or corridor thirty-six varas or yards in length and three in breadth, supported by plain rectangular pillars, without either bases or pedestals, upon which there are square smooth stones of more than a foot in thickness forming an architrave, while on the exterior superficies are species of stucco shields, the designs of some of them accompanying this report, are numbered 1, 2, 3, while, over these stones, there is another plain rectangular block, five feet long and six broad, extending over two of the pillars. Medallions or compartments in stucco containing different devices of the same material, appear as decorations to the chambers (see fig. 3): and it is presumable, from the vestiges of the heads which can still be traced, that they were the busts of a series of kings or lords to whom the natives were subject. Between the medallions there is a range of windows like niches, passing from one end of the wall to the other; some of them are square, some in form of a Greek cross and others, which complete the cross, are square, being about two feet high and eight inches deep, as represented in figs. 4, 5, and 6. Beyond this corridor, there is a square court, entered by a flight of seven steps; the north side is entirely in ruins, but sufficient traces remain to show that it once had a chamber and corridor similar to those on the eastern side, and which, continued entirely along the several angles. The south side has four small chambers with no other ornament than one or two little windows, like those already described. The western side is correspondent to its opposite in all respects, but in the variety of expression
of the figures in stucco: these are much more rude and ridiculous than the others, and can only be attributed to the uncultivated Indian capacity. -- The device is a sort of grotesque mask with a crown and long beard like that of a goat, under this are two Greek crosses, the one delineated in the other, as appears in fig. 7.
It is by no means improbable that these fantastic forms, and others equally whimsical, were the delineations of some of their deities to whom they paid an idolatrous worship, consistent with their false belief and barbarous customs.
We know that the Romans pourtrayed Jupiter crowned with laurel, the visage presenting mature age, having a long beard and a terrible aspect; and a similar cast of countenance, in these representations, leads one to reflect on a sameness of manners and religion, as the particular traits in the two heads are alike, with the exception of those advantages conveyed to a bust by Roman sculpture the principles of which, this people could have obtained but imperfectly, although they might have imbibed some ideas from their conquerors, or from other intermediate nations; the common result of conquest in all ages.
Proceeding in the same direction there is another court similar in length to the last, but not so broad, having a passage round it that communicated with the opposite side; in this passage there are two chambers like those above mentioned, and an interior gallery looking on one side upon the court-yard, and commanding on the other a view of the open country. In this part of the edifice some pillars yet remain on which are the
relievos shown in figs. 8, 9 10 and 11, they apparently represent a mournful subject, alluding, no doubt, to the sacrifice of some wretched Indian, the destined victim of a sanguinary religion.
To convey a satisfactory idea of the stucco used in forming these, as well as the other medio relievos, and in order to afford a clear notion of the ability possessed by the ancient inhabitants in the art of sculpture, I have transported from this chamber the head of the sufferer, fig. 8 and the foot and leg of the executioner or sacrificer, fig. 11, which pieces are numbered 4 and 5, in order to distinguish them.
Returning by the south side, the tower, delineated in fig. 12, presents itself to notice: its height is sixteen yards, and to the four existing stories of the building was, perhaps added a fifth with a cupola, which, in all probability, it once possessed; although these piles diminish in size and are without ornament, as by the drawing will appear, yet the design of them is singular and very ingenious. This tower has a well imitated artificial entrance, as was clearly proved by making an horizontal excavation of more than three yards which I wished to carry quite through the edifice, but was forced to desist from the operation, as the stones and earth slipped down in large quantities from the pressure of the solid body A B C, that passes through the centre. This, upon inspection, proved to be an interior tower quite plain, with windows fronting the former and gives light to the steps, by which you are enabled to ascend to its summit, from whence it appears obvious that the entrance must have been on the north side, though I did not proceed to
identify the fact, being unwilling to lose time in removing the accumulated heaps of rubbish, sand, and small stones by which it is concealed. Behind the four chambers already mentioned, there are two others of larger dimensions, very well ornamented in the rude Indian style, and which appear to have been used as oratories. Among the embellishments are some enamelled stuccos, (see figs. 13 and 14); the Grecian heads represent sacred objects to which they addressed their devotions and made their offerings, probably consisting of strings of jewels, as the attitudes of the statues placed on the sides denote. Beyond these oratories, and extending from north to south, there are two apartments each twenty-seven yards long by little more than three broad; they contain nothing worthy of notice, excepting a stone of an elliptical form, embedded in the wall, about a yard above the pavement, the height of which is one yard and a quarter, and the breadth one yard.
(a). -- Fig. 15 exhibits what seems to have been one of their gods, sitting sideways on an animal as delineated in the sketch; to judge from the way in which the ancients used to indicate the same subject, this may be supposed to represent a river god.
Father Jacito Garrido, a dominican friar, a native of Hueste in Spain, who visited this provinee in 1638, where he taught theology, and was well versed in the Hebrew, Greek and Latin languages together with three of the native dialects, as well as arithmetic, cosmography and music, has left a Latin manuseript, in which he states it as his opinion, that the northern parts of America had been discovered by the Greeks, English
and other nations; a supposition he deduces from the variety of their idioms, as well as some monuments existing in the village of Ocojingo, situated twenty-four leagues from Palenque; but as his narrative affords no circumstance worthy of attention respecting these ruins, I have in consequence refrained from inserting any extracts. If, instead of his mere conjectures, this reverend writer had endeavored to define the period when these alleged strangers arrived, the duration of their stay, and their final departure from the southern regions, we might perhaps, from knowing their customs and religion, have been put into possession of some clue whereby a solution of this problem might have been effected.
(b). -- But to resume my narrative: below the elliptical stone above described, there is a plain rectangular block more than two yards long by one yard and four inches broad and seven inches thick, placed upon four feet in form of a table, with a figure in bas-relief in the attitude of supporting it. Fig. 16 represents one of these feet, and no. 6 is the original which I dispatch, in order that the bas-relief may be the more easily understood, as well as to give a specimen of the progress of the natives in this branch of sculpture, so very prevalent on all the stones, although displaying no variety of subject or difference either in the quality or style of the execution.
Should government, at any time, judge it expedient to have any of these specimens deposited in the royal cabinet, the removal may be effected without more expense than that of transporting them from Cadiz to Madrid, because the Indians
will undertake the charge of embarking them on board the king's lighter, in the roads of Catajasa, only six leagues distant from Palenque, in which they may be conveyed by the lake Jerminos or by the district of Carmen, to Vera Cruz or Campeachey, and thence transported on board the first of his Majesty's ships, sailing from either of these ports for Europe.
The well known protection which our beneficent and beloved Monarch displays respecting every thing that relates to arts and ancient history, warrants a belief that this removal would be effected, were any gentleman animated enough to represent to his Majesty, through the medium of his zealous and enlightened minister of the Indies, how greatly the glory of the Spanish arms would be exalted, and what credit would accrue to the national refinement, so superior to the notions of the Indians, in becoming possessed of these truly interesting and valuable remnants of the remotest antiquity.
Fig. 17 exhibits characters or symbols that adorn the edges of the table; they must have had a determinate signification in the language of the original natives, as they are frequently found on stones and stuccos, though their use, value and meaning are altogether unknown.
At the extremity of the last mentioned apartment, and on a level with the pavement, there is an aperture like a hatchway, two yards long and more than one broad, leading to a subterranean passage by a flight of steps, which at a regular distance forms flats or landings, each having its respective door-way, ornamented in the front after the manner described in fig. 18.
Fig. 19 represents another entrance into the subterranean avenue by a different way from the first, and to these may be added a third into the same passage, but which is now actually buried beneath heaps of rubbish. In another of the many openings leading to this under ground passage, my regard was attracted by the stone, No. 7, which I broke off from the left hand side of the first step, this I have brought away, in order that the various devices of its bas-relief may be more accurately investigated: it is however, as well as the preceding No. 6, reduced one half in size to facilitate the transport, and a copy of this is also given in fig. 20. On reaching the second door, artificial light was necessary to continue the descent into this gloomy abode, which was by a very gentle declivity. It has a turning at right angles, and, at the end of the side passage there is another door communicating with a chamber sixty-four yards long, and almost as large as those already described; beyond this room there is still another, similar in every respect, and having light admitted into it by some windows commanding a corridor fronting the south, and leading to the exterior of the edifice. Neither bas-reliefs nor any other embellishments were found in these places; nor did they present to notice any object, excepting some plain stones two yards and a half long, by one yard and a quarter broad, arranged horizontally upon four square stands of masonry, rising about half a yard above the ground. These I consider to have been receptacles for sleeping, and this a place for retirement during the night; a belief in which I am still more confirmed from the circumstance of the large
stones being partitioned off in the form of alcoves. Here all the doors and separations terminated, and as nothing but stones and earth were discovered by digging, I determined on proceeding to one of the buildings, situated on an eminence to the south of about forty yards in height. This edifice forming a parallelogram, resembled the first in its style of architecture, it has square pillars, an exterior gallery, and a saloon twenty yards long by three and a half broad, embellished with a frontispiece on which are described female figures with children in their arms, all of the natural size, executed in stucco medio-reliefs: these representations are without heads, as pourtrayed in figs. 21 and 22. Some whimsical designs, serving as ornaments to the corners of the house, I brought away; they are numbered 8, 9, and 10, but all knowledge respecting them is concealed from us, owing to no traditionary information or written documents being preserved, explanatory of their real meaning, and the manner in which the inhabitants used such devices for the conveyance of their thoughts.
In the inner wall of the gallery, and on each side of the door leading into the saloon, there are three stones measuring three yards in height and being upwards of one broad, all of them covered with the hieroglyphics in bas-relief, recently mentioned the whole of this gallery and saloon being paved. Leaving this structure, and passing by the ruins of many others, or perhaps what is more probable, of many buildings accessory to this principal edifice, the declivity conducts to a little valley, or open space, whereby the approach to another house in this
direction (southerly) is rendered practicable, you arrive at the entrance by an ascent where it is found to have a gallery and a saloon similar to that last described, and at the door of this saloon, a stucco ornament, (fig. 23), displays by its allegory the superstition of the founders.
Eastward of this structure are three small eminences forming a triangle, upon each of which is a square building eighteen yards long by eleven broad, of the same architecture as the former, but having along thin roofings, several super structures about three yards high, resembling turrets, covered with different ornaments and devices in stucco. In the interior of the first of these three mansions, at the end of a gallery almost entirely dilapidated, is a saloon having a small chamber at each extremity, while in the centre of the saloon stands an oratory rather more than three yards square, presenting on each side of the entrance a perpendicular stone, whereon is pourtrayed the image of a man in bas-relief, as in figs. 24 and 25. Upon entering, I found the entire front of the oratory occupied by three stones joined together, upon which the objects described in fig. 26, are allegorically represented. The outward decoration is confined to a sort of moulding finished with small stucco bricks, on which are bas-reliefs, nos. 11 and 12, being specimens of the devices; the pavement of the oratory is quite smooth, and eight inches thick, which it was necessary to perforate in order to make an excavation. Having proceeded in this labour at about half a yard deep, I found a small round earthen vessel, about a foot in diameter, fitted horizontally with a mixture of
lime to another of the same quality and dimensions; these were removed, and the digging being continued, a quarter of a yard beneath we discovered a circular stone, of rather larger diameter than the first articles, and on removing this from its position, a cylindrical cavity presented itself, about a foot wide and the third of a foot deep, containing a flint lance, two small conical pyramids, with the figure of a heart in dark crystallized stone, (which is very common in this kingdom, and known by the name of challa); there were also two small earthen jars or ewers with covers containing small stones and a ball of vermilion, which, as well as the other articles, I transmit to you, being numbered 13, 14, 15, and 16. The situation of the subterranean depository coincides with the centre of the oratory, and in each of the inner angles, near the entrance, is a cavity like the one before described, where the little jars numbered 17 and 18 were also buried.
It is unnecessary to dilate more on the subjects represented by the bas-reliefs on the three stones, or on the situation of the articles found in this place; they convey to the mind an idea that it was in this spot they venerated, as sacred objects, the remains of their greatest heroes, to whom they erected trophies, recording the particular distinctions they had merited from their country, by their services or the victories obtained over its enemies, while the inscriptions on the tablets were intended to eternise their names; for to this object, the characters, as well as the bas-reliefs around them, evidently refer.
The other two edifices are of similar architecture, and divided internally in the same manner as the one above described,
varying only in the allegorical subjects of the bas-reliefs on the stones.
On gaining the second oratory, its entrance presented the two delineations of men copied in figs. 27 and 28, while the front exhibited the three stones displayed in fig. 29. Having proceeded to excavate at this spot, I discovered the flint lance, two conical pyramids, the representation of a heart, and two earthen jars, being the objects numbered 19, 20, 21, and 22.
Fig. 30 and the last of this collection, shows the interior front of the third oratory, formed like the others, of three stones of similar size; and, if due attention be given to the bas-reliefs thereon represented, the conclusion drawn from thence must be, that the ancient inhabitants of these structures lived in extreme darkness, for, in their fabulous superstitions, we seem to view the idolatry of the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans, and other primitive nations most strongly pourtrayed. On this account it may reasonably be conjectured, that some one of these nations pursued their conquests even to this country, where it is probable they only remained long enough to enable the Indian tribes to imitate their ideas, and adopt, in a rude and awkward manner, such arts as their invaders thought fit to inculcate.
I omit any description of the buildings situated to the northward, as they are now nearly destroyed, and afford neither reliefs nor other ornaments, and only vary in their style, similar to those described in the south; it therefore merely remains for me to take notice of the few articles discovered from digging in various parts of this ground, as well as at the edifice in the south
west direction. In architecture this structure does not differ from the others: its divisions consist of a corridor and a saloon without decorations or bas-reliefs. In digging, an earthen vase was found, but broken in pieces, which contained some small pieces of challa in the shape of lancets, or thin blades of razors, which were probably used by these uncivilized people for the same purpose as the latter articles are now applied to by Europeans; these instruments and small fragments of the vessel in which they were deposited, I submit for your inspection and examination, being numbered 23 and 24.
No. 25 is an earthen pot, containing a number of small bones, grinders, molares, and teeth taken from the same excavation.
No. 26 and those that follow denote the quality of the lime, mortar, and burnt bricks employed by the inhabitants; it may be inferred that they used the latter very sparingly, as only those which I brought away for mature examination, were to be found among the ruins -- they will tend to give full satisfaction, and illustrate the points contained in the last royal mandate, which occasioned a second examination of this ruined city; during which, no circumstance worthy of notice, has been omitted, neither have I spared any exertion that could give effect, either to the research or the narrative which I now terminate.
I confess, Sir, that the well known zeal of your Excellency for his Majesty's service, your activity and punctuality in
carrying into effect his royal commands, your profound knowledge and good taste in the subjects which this commission embraces, and which your Excellency has had the goodness to entrust to my care, have been the most powerful incentives to give energy to my application, my industry and my perseverance in fulfilling these various operations, which I have pursued without regard either to labour or fatigue. My endeavour has uniformly been scrupulously and diligently to obey the orders confided in me, as a recompense for which my sole desire is to merit your approbation, in having conformed to the instructions of the King, and the ideas of his enlightened minister.
ANTONIO DEL RIO.
Palenque, June 24, 1787.
A M E R I C A N O,
A CRITICAL INVESTIGATION AND RESEARCH
THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICANS;
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The injudicious and total destruction of the annals and records of the American nations, has not only proved a most serious loss to history, but very prejudicial to that religion, whose progress, it was supposed, would thereby have been accelerated: such unexpected effects are sometimes produced by the very limited connexion between the understanding and the policy of men, to whom it is natural to err, even in designs the best conceived, both as to their means and object; in addition to which, they are too frequently the result of prejudice or of ignorance.
Religion, which has always been the leading object of attention with civilized nations, is invariably connected with their history; neither can the one fail in affording instruction as regards the other. If the history of a nation deserves to be
destroyed and blotted out from the memory of man, merely because it is the record of superstition, idolatries, and other errors, regugnant to true religion, then the sacred books, that are the foundation of our holy catholic faith, would not have been exampted from the fatal misfortune which produced the destruction of the American Records.
The Hebrews, who were chosen by God, from among all nations, to be the depositories of his true religion and worship, were not less inclined to idolatry, than were the American nations; for the sacred text informs us of their frequent lapses from the divine ordinances, and of the various punishments inflicted by the Almighty for the purpose of correcting and bringing them back to the path of truth, but it does not conceal from us the idolatrous errors into which they were precipitated.
We no where read of, nor has it ever been asserted of the apostles, who with their inspired voices, desseminated the mysteries of the catholic religion throughout the world, and who endevoured to esterminate idolatry, even by the sacrifice of their lives, that they destroyed the histories of the Pagan nations in whose hearts they implanted the true faith; even the holy fathers and doctors of the church neglect to have them compiled with the minute descriptions of the many supertitious errors to which they were addicted.
The fate of the American histories immediately brought into action the pens of many learned men, natives as well as
Spaniards, and roused the attention of Phillip the second and of the first viceroys of Mexico, to replace, as far as possible, so deplorable a loss (note 1). Their exertions do not prove if any essential service, as the histories which they produced embrace only a few of the latter ages; neither do they appear to have employed much research in discovering the origin of the Americans. At subsequent periods, however, many men of superior attainments undertook to write on this subject (note 2). But what has proved the result? Notwithstanding all their zeal and application, after undertaking much and having essayed through many different channels an investigation of how, and from whence the first inhabitants of America came, yet, to the present period, no hypothesis has been advanced, that is sufficiently probable, to satisfy a mind sincerely and cautiously desirious of arriving at the truth. This is the conclusion drawn by that illustrious benedictine, Fray Benito Geronymo Feyjoo, in the twenty-fifth discourse of the fifth vol. of his Teatro Critico, where he says: "After long study and attentive examination of so many, and such various opinions, I find no one, having the necessary appearance of truth to satisfy a prudent judgment, and many that do not possess even the merit of probability."
A research enveloped in so much obscurity, led the celebrated Guiseppo Antonio Constantini to declare, that whatsoever may be advanced upon the subject, does not pass beyond the limit of mere opinion, as we have neither histories, manuscripts, nor traditions of the Americans; the greater part of whom, he says, when they were discovered, were ignorant
and uncultivated, and that the suppositions given by many writers are subject to inscrutable difficulties (note 3).
Francisco Xavier Clavigero, a modern American author, has said -- "that the history of the primitive population of Anahuac is so obscure and so much involved in fable as to render it not merely a most difficult matter for solution, but totally impossible to come at the truth" (note 4).
The darkness of this historical question opened the road to an attack upon the impregnable rock of religion. About the middle of the last century, Isaac Peyrere erected his system of the Preadamites which he founded upon the more philsophical than historical one, of the deluge, invented by Thomas Burnet in his sacred Theology of the Earth (note 6) denying, on the one hand, the universality of the flood upon the earth, in opposition to the irrefragable sense of the scriptures, and the uniform belief of the church, pretends, on the contrary with the synogogue, that all the human race are not the descendants of Adam and Eve, and consequently denies original sin and the principle of our holy catholic religion; producing the population of America as the chief support of this hypothesis, and the ignorance that exists as to the source of its origin. Assuming the fact, that there is no communication between the two continents by land, and not without traversing immense seas, he infers that, anterior to the invention of the mariner's compass, men could not pass over either from Europe, Asia, or Africa; therefore, as it is clear that America was peopled before the time of that invention, he infers therefore, that its inhabitants
are not the descendants, from those of the old continent; and therefore not indebted to Adam and Eve for their origin, but to others of the human race both male and female, whom God had created at a much earlier period, and placed in these southern regions.
Innovation is not to be tolerated in religion; for, being sole, holy and eternal, it is, as it has been, and as it will be to the end of time, immutable; new doctrines may be admitted in philosophical matters, but even many of these become dangerous and detrimental to religion from the influence which they may acquire. Thus, for instance, the systematic novelties of Descartes and other modern philosophers, which, in the beginning, appeared to be neither morally good nor positively bad, by time and the force of inference, went the length, not only of overturning the spirituality and the immortality of the soul, and making it material and corruptible; but even proceeded so far as to destroy religion itself so completely, as to fall into the still greater impiety of atheism: the system of Burnet gave rise to the heretical one of the Preadamites; and there are many others of a similar stamp abounding in this inconsistent age of ours, which advances such bold pretensions and calls itself the most enlightened.
Although the Almighty subjected nature to certain laws, he has, notwithstanding, reserved to himself a more supreme dominion over her, and has, from time to time, been pleased to give the most resplendent demonstrations of his omnipotent arm, in acts and incidents stupendous in themselves, and even
superior to those very laws. In such cases it is better to believe his works miraculous, than endeavor to make an ostentatious display of our talents by the cunning invention of new systems, in attrubuting them to natural causes (note 7). On this account, Burnet will always be reprehensible for the singularity of his system, as will many other modern philosophers, for the notions they have disseminated; but, that of Peyrere, must ever be condemned for its heretical principles: Feyjoo, father Garcia, and his illustrator, mentioned by Constantini, Clavigero, and all who have written from the commencement of this century on the origin of the Americans, are alike open to the censure of being careless investigators, in having passed over the indubitable memorials on the first inhabitants of America written by the bishop of Chiapa, don Francisco Nunez de la Vega in his Diocesan Constitution, printed at Rome in 1702.
Among the many small historical works that fell into the hands of this illustrious prelate, who was not more zealous for the glory of God, than he was mistaken in the interpretations he apploes to many of them, and particularly, when he attributes the whole of them to superstition; instances one that was written by Votan, of whom he speaks as follows in no. 34, section 30, of the preface to his Constitutions: "Votan is the third gentile placed in the calendar, he wrote an historical tract in the Indian idiom, wherein he mentions, by name, the people with whom, and places where, he had been; up to the present time theree has existed a family of Votans in Teopizca. He says also that he is lord of the Tapanahuasec (note 8);
that he saw the great house (meaning the tower of Babel), which was built by the order of his grand-father Noe (Noah), from the earth to the sky; that he is the first man whom God sent hither to divide and portion out these Indian lands; and that, at the place where he saw the great house, a different lanhuage was given to each nation."
This illustrious prelate could have communicated a much greater portion of information relative to Votan and to many other of the primitive inhabitants, whose historical works, he assures us, were in his own possession; but feeling some scruples, on account of the mischievous use the Indians made of their histories in the superstition of nagualism (note 9), he thought it proper to withhold it for the reasons assigned in no. 36, section 32 of his preface. "Although," says he, "in these tracts and papers there are many other things touching primitive paganism, they are not mentioned in this epitome, least, by being brought into notice, they should be the means of confirming more strongly an idolatrous superstition. I have made this digression, that it may be observed in the Notices of the Indians (the word idols is here used which seems to be an error of the press), and the substance of the primitive errors, in which they were instructed by their ancestors."
It is to be regretted that the place is unknown where these precious documents of history were deposited; but still more is it to be lamanted, that the great treasure should have been destroyed: this treasure, according to the Indian tradition, was
placed by Votan himself, as a proof of his origin and a memorial for future ages, in the casa lobrega, (house of darkness) that he had built in a breath, that is, in the space of a few breathings, a metaphorical expression intended to imply the very short space of time employed in its construction. He committed this deposit to a distinguished female, and a certain number of plebian Indians appointed annually for the purpose of its safe custody. His mandate was scrupulously observed for many ages by the people of Tacoaloya, in the province of Soconusco, where it was guarded with extraordinary care, until being discovered by the prelate before mentioned, he obtained and destroyed it. Let me give his own words from no. 34, section 30 of his preface -- "This treasure consisted of some large earthen vases of one piece, and closed with covers of the same material, on which were represented in stone, the figures of the ancient Indian pagans, whose names are in the calendar, with some calchihuites, which are solid hard stones, of a green colour and other superstitious figures. -- These were taken from a cave by the Indian lady herself, and the Tapienes or guardian of them, and given up; when they were publicly burnt in the square at Hueguetan, on our visits to that province in 1691."
It is possible that Votan's historical tract alluded to by Nunez de la Vega, or another similar to it, may be the one which is now in the possession of Don Ramon de Ordonez y Aguiar, a native of Ciudad Real; he is a man of extraordinary genius, and engaged at this time, in composing a work, the title
of which I have seen being as follows, Historia del Cielo y de la Tierra; that will not only embrace the original population of America, but trace its progress from Chaldea immediately after the confusion of tongues; its mystical and moral theology, its mythology and most important events. His literary acquirements, his application to, and study of the subject, for more than thirty years, his skill in the Tzendal language, in which idiom the tract just spoken of is written, and the many excellent authors he has collected, lead us to anticipate a work, so perfect in its kind, as will completely astonish the world.
To the important information of Nunez de la Vega, I will add the no less valuable notices communicated to me by Don Ramon Ordonez y Aguiar. The memoir in his possession consists of five or six folios of common quarto paper, written in ordinary characters in the Tzendal language, an evident proof of its having been copied from the original in hieroglyphics, shortly after the conquest.
At the top of the first leaf, the two continents are painted in different colours, in two small squares, placed parallel to each other in the angles: the one representing Europe, Asia, and Africa, is marked with two large SS; upon the upper arms of two bars drawn from the opposite angles of each square, forming the point of union in the centre; that which indicates America has two SS placed horizontally on the bars, but I am not certain whether upon the upper or lower bars, but I believe upon the latter. When speaking of the places he had visited on the old continent, he marks them on the margin of each
chapter, with an upright S, and those of America with a horizontal S. Between these squares stand the title of his history. "Proof that I am Culebra" (a snake), which title he proves in the body of his work, by saying that he is Culebra, because he is Chivim. He states that he conducted seven families from Valum Votan to this continent and assigned lands to them; that he is the third of the Votans; that, having determined to travel until he arrived at the root of heaven, in order to discover his relations the Culebras, and make himself known to them, he made four voyages to Chivim (which is expressed by repeating four times from Valum Votan to Valum Chivim, from Valum Chivim to Valum Votan); that he arrived in Spain, and that he went to Rome; that he saw the great house of God building; that he went by the road which his brethren the Culebras had bored; that he marked it, and that he passed by the houses of the thirteen Culebras.
He relates, that, in returning from one of his voyages, he found seven other families of the Tzequil nation, who had joined the first inhabitants, and recognized in them the same origin as his own, that is, of the Culebras. He speaks of the place where they built their first town, which, from its founders, received the name of Tzequil; he affirms the having taught them refinement of manners in the use of the table, table cloth, dishes, basins, cups and napkins; that, in return for these, they taught him the knowledge of God and of his worship; his first ideas of a king and obedience to him; and that he was chosen captain of all these united families.
It would be of great importance to have this memoir literally translated; for although it is written in a laconic and figurative style, it would lead to a more ample interpretation and illustration of history, both divine and human; indeed, such a translation may be considered requisite to the gratification of the public, and, on another account, because a great number of persons are likely to produce more accurate observations and discoveries than an indivudual is able to achieve; but, as the proprietor of this fragment espreessed himself to me, we must be satisfied, for the present, with the little that has been accomplished, (considering the difficulty of understanding the sentences and situations of the p;aces mentioned), towards construing it, insufficient as it is, to clear up the historical obscurity which has hitherto fatigued the greatest talents of the world to no good purpose.
Let us now follow the progress of this celebrated chief of the first inhabitants of the American continent, let us examine his narrative carefully, and observe if it agrees with the histories and antient traditions of the writers of both hemispheres, and compare it with some of the few monuments and documents furnished by Antonio del Rio, captain of artillery, who was sent in consequence of an order from his Majesty Charles the third, dated March 15th 1786, by his Excellency don Joseph Estacheria, captain general of Gautemala, to examine the ruins of a city of very great extent and antiquity, the name of which is unknown, that was discovered in the vicinity of Palenque, district of Carmen, in the province of Chiapa where he found
magnificent edifaces, temples, towers, aqueducts, statues, hieroglyphics and unknown characters, that have withstood the raveges of time and a succession of ages, and of which he made many plans and drawings.
Among the figures which this officer copied, are two that represent Votan on both continents, and an historical event, the memory of which he was desirous of transmitting to future ages.
The first figure displays Votan adorned with many hieroglyphics, the meaning of some of them I will explain, unless my humble abilities mislead me. -- The hero has a symbolical figure twined round his right arm; this is significative of his voyages to the old continent. The square, with a bird painted in the centre, indicates Valum Votan: whence he commenced his travels; and it is an Island, because among antiquarians it is unanimously agreed, that a bird is the symbol of navigation; for only by the means of navigation could his voyages be undertaken; the remainder of the figure shews the course taken to reach Valum Chivim.
The figure, with the bird in the middle, resembles the one I stated as descriptive of his maritime route to the other old continent; but the bird being figured in an opposite direction, denotes his return to Valum Votan. He holds in his left hand a sceptre, from the top of which issues the symbol of the wind, such as Clavigero in his second vol. states it to have been represented by the Americans. Dependant from the right hand is a double band, but to avoid repetition, I shall reserve the meaning of this until I explain the second figure, as well as that of the
deity at his feet, in the act of supplicating to be taken to America, in order to be there known and adored.
The second figure shews Votan returned to America; the deity, before seen kneeling at his feet, is here placed on a seat covered with hieroglyphics; Votan, with his right hand, is presenting him a sceptre armed with a knife of the ytzli stone, known here under the name of chay: it is a species of black quartz, but it is sometimes found of other colours, it is vitreous, semi diaphanous and infusible; the natives armed with their lances and arrows with this instead of iron which was unknown to them, they frequently formed swords of the same by placing it in a piece of wood split lengthways; and also used it to make knives employed in their sanguinary sacrifices: by this act Votan shews the deity to be a principal one to whom sacrifices were offered. Votan has in his turban the emblem of the air, and a bird with its beak in an opposite direction to his face, to signify his sailing from that side of the world to this. From his left hand hang the two bands spoken of in the first figure, but they are here more distinct than in that; the lower band shews the line of his descent on the old continent, and the upper one exhibits his American progenitors. The three human hearts shew, that he who holds the band, is Votan, and the third of his race, as he represents himself to be in his historical account. To comprehend this more clearly, it must be observed, that the word Votan in Tzendal language, means heart; Nunez de la Vega, speaking of this hero of antiquity in no. 34, section 30, says: "This Votan is much venerated by all the Indians, and in one province they look upon him as the heart of the people.
By comparing Votan's narrative on the subject of his voyages to, and returns from, the old continent, and of his being the third of the race; with the duplicate effiges of him which Captain del Rio found sculptured on stones, in one of the temples at the unknown city, that we will, for the present, designate as the Palencian; we shall have a very conclusive proof of its truth, and this one will be corroborated by so many others, that we shall be forced to acknowledge this history of the origin of the Americans, excels those of the Greeks, the Romans, and the most celebrated nations of the world, and even worthy of being compared with that of the Hebrews themselves.
If we accompany this renowned hero and writer of antiquity, I do not hesitate to assert, that he will leave us fully satisfied with his veracity on the important point of the American population, and whence it proceeded; thereby putting an end to the conjectural assumptions of modern authors, by enforcing a belief of testimonies so ancient and venerable, and confirming a discovery made in our own times, which will cause the despised authorities of the ancients to be received, and smooth those difficulties, hitherto produced by the readiness of writers, to escape from the real obscurity of the subject, by starting [sic - stating?] brilliant ideas instead of seriously discussing facts.
Before we proceed, it is necessary to identify the deity who has been already described in one place, in the act of supplication, and in another, as seated on the throne of the altar, and receiving the symbol of homage and adoration from that hand whence he had before implored favour.
The mitre or cap, with the bull's horns, which this idol
bears on its head in both figures, removes all soubts as to his being the celebrated Osiris of the Egyptians, who, according to Diodorus Siculus, is the same as Mesraim or Menes, son of Cham and heir to the kingdom of Egypt, known to the Greeks and Romans, and worshipped by them as Dionysius or Bacchus; adopted also by other nations under different names, and particularly by the Phoenicians, all firmly believing in him, and that, in every place and under what name soever he was the active power of nature, viz: the good spirit, good fortune, and the bestower of all virtue, prosperity and joy. On the other hand, his enemy Typhon was believed to be the evil principle, the general cause of misfortunes and vices; whom, according to Plutarch, neither order nor reason, affections nor family, light nor health could restrain; for this cause whatever preturbed or disfigured nature, even to the very eclipses, was attributed to him.
The great aptness of Osiris in the invention of the arts necessary to social life; his justice in settling disputes between individuals, his prudence in transmitting to his children the inheritance that had descended to him from his father; finally, his strength and courage in destroying ferocious beasts, obtained for him the confidence and love of his subjects, or rather, of his family, as it is probable that all the Egyptians were either his brothers or nephews, over whom he had no other right than that which was conferred by primogenitureship. This people has always continued firm in the belief of being indebted to him for the art of cultivating the ground, of grinding corn, of making and
baking bread, of cultivating the vine, flax, hemp, and the aromatic peculiar to Egypt, and of preparing the wool of animals, for the clothing of men.
The gratitude due to him for discoveries so numerous and so useful, was accompanied by the effections of his people; but, not content with making them happy, he sought to extend his humanity to the most remote nations, who, living like the beasts of the forest, were unacquainted with the benefits of social life.
With this information, he left the government of his kingdom in charge of his equally humane and virtuous sister and wife Isis, and attended by a large army,in which there were a great number of musicians and dancers of both sexes, he departed; not with the intention of conquering kingdoms, but impelled by the desire of subduing the hearts of men, by instructing them in the same arts, he had taught his own subjects, thinking, most reasonably, that it would be more glorious to succeed by persuasive means in drawing mankind from the rude and wandering mode of life they had hitherto led, than by force, to attempt bringing them to that gentleness of manners, consistent with the true character of humanity.
His indefatigable zeal and incessant love towards the human race, his heroic object of rendering them happy without a thought of depriving them of their liberty, begat a veneration so profound, that it quickly proceeded to the excess of paying divine honours to a man who only sought to imitate the author of nature in his natural goodness.
A reign so fraught with general felicity well deserved to be
eternized; but it was shortened by an enemy rendered more terrible and dangerous, because unsuspected, and allied by the closest ties of consanguinity. This enemy was Typhon, his own brother, a wretch excited by the fierce spirit of envy, who contrived schemes to obscure the fame of him he could not imitate; and, being assisted by his compeers, he conspired against his brother's life, and repeated the atrocious crime of Cain. In the absence of Mesraim, Typhon secretly formed a party, and, accompanied by twenty six traitors, assassinated him on his return. -- Villainy so atrocious, could not be long concealed by the shallow contrivance of spreading a report, that the king had been devoured by a crocodile or hypopotamus. -- It was soon ascertained that his body had been cut into as many pieces as there were conspirators; Typhon supposed that, dividing the body of Menes among his accomplices, would inflame them against the memory of the prince, and, as he was ambitious as well as cruel, he expected to be able to engage them, as a consequence of their barbarity, in support of his usurpation of the crown.
Impious and inhuman Typhon, may thy memory be accursed with interminable hatred, for daring to stain thy murderous hands, with the blood of thy brother and thy king, thus leaving to posterity the execrable example, of a two fold crime so horrible; thy ambition caused a polished people to tear asunder the most sacred bonds, to precipitate themselves into the greatest atrocities, to tarnish the glory of their ancestors, and to disgrace their nation!
As soon as Isis was informed of Typhon's barbarity, inflamed
with rage, and assisted by her eldest son Orus, known to the Greeks by the name of Apollo, she avenged the death of her husband. With a powerful army of her faithful subjects, who, no less incensed than herself at the melancholy fate of their beloved monarch, and equally eager to take vengeance; she went in pursuit of the murderer, fought a sanguinary battle, defeated, took him prisoner, and then put him to death with the most guilty of his rebellious partizans.
Not satisfied by this punishing the infamous brotherm Isis resolved to gives proofs of piety and affection for her husband, and collected the dispersed portions of his mutilated body, to honour them with obsequies of so good a king. Only one part of the corpse was deficient, and this had been thrown into the Nile, because none of the conspirators would carry it away. -- Isis greatly lamented this lost portion, and therefore resolved that more respect and veneration should be paid to it than to nay other: for this purpose she pretended to have found it, and, to celebrate the recovery, ordered that all the women should carry its effigy suspended from their necks (note 10). This effigy, deemed impure by us in modern times, was greatly honored by the antients, and, by some nations, even now continues to be venerated. The Bramins of India carry it in solemn procession at certain festivals, and present it to be kissed by the people, who believe that they are paying devotion to the author of nature, by honoring the symbol of fecundity, which they Greeks named Phallo, and the festivals in honor of the same, Phallophorides, see Descartes at these words.
As Osiris had taught men the art of tillage, the priests
chose the ox, as a symbol of agriculture, to represent this defied prince; the cow was chosen as the type of Isis who was raised to a divinity after her death; and this symbolized ox and cow they called Apis. Hence it is that Osiris was represented with a mitre from which issue two horns, as spoken of in the figures just described. Sometimes a twisted or crooked stick was placed in his left hand, and a sort of strap or thong with three ends in his right, this strap may be observed below the knees of the first figure, and with the distinction of the three ends in the right hand of the second.
Diodorus Siculus, lib. 1, has left us a description of Osiris found upon ancient monuments, which shews what the people, who adopted his worship, thought of him -- viz. "Saturn, the youngest of all the gods, was my father; I am the king Osiris, who, followed by a powerful army, overran all the earth, from the arid sands of India to the frosts of the bear; and, from the source of the Ister, to the shores of the ocean, so that my inventions and my benefits were carried into every region."
The superstition of the antients was not satisfied by perpetuating the fame of Isis and Osiris, but it was also necessary to conciliate the infamous Typhon, known in fabulous history under the name of Python, which is only an inversion of the same letters; to the former they offered sacrifices to obtain favors, as they did to the latter to escape injuries.
In the present day Osiris is recognized by the people of Upper Tartary and in China as the god of heaven, and the dispenser of good; and Typhon as the god of the earth and inflictor
of evils; he is worshipped under the form of an idol cloathed with skins and called Natogai. The belief in beneficent and malignant deities was common with the Americans during their idolatry. In Typhon they even now fear the devil; but he does not, at present, possess the power of seizing those who speak ill of him. In my mythological fable, that is chiefly founded upon the events of Egyptian history, the victory of Apollo over Typhon is well known: it is feigned that the latter, overwhelmed by shame and rage, fled from his conqueror; and wandering through the deserts, under the form of a serpent, was at last destroyed by a thunderbolt.
The Egyptians conceived so much animosity and aversion to the domestic enemy of their country, that, because Typhon had red hair, they could not suffer any one whose head was distinguished by that obnoxious colour to remain alive. An unfortunate stranger, with the proscribed chevelure, happening to arrive in the country shortly after the death of Osiris, encountered the fury of the people, who dragged him to the sepulchre of the king and immediately immolated him to his manes.
The following is a drawing from the figure which Captain del Rio found in the temple before mentioned, and describing this event as do several other figures of Bacchantes sculptured on the walls, which are detailed in his report. It reoresents a priest performing the initiatory purification of the victim, who is placed on the tomb of Orisis, which is decorated with many Phalli connected. In this temple, the same gentleman discovered the figure of Isis which accompanies his memior. It has on its head
a cap similar to that of Osiris, and holds with both hands a twisted stick adorned with flowers, having at one end, a human head, the symbol of royal authority in the administration of justice, and of the duties of sovereigns, both political and civil, in providing for the happiness of the subject, by giving encouragement and promoting religion, arts and sciences in their dominions. The male figure, with a sceptre in his hand, is Mercury, whom Osiris left as chief counsellor and minister to Isis during his absence. This Mercury was the celebrated Athotis or Copt of the Egyptians, second son of Isis and Osiris; a prince of extraordinary prudence and ability, known among the Greeks as Thot or Thaut, Theutat by the ancient Celts, and Mercury by the Latins. He founded the city and kingdom of Thebes in that part of Egypt which fell to his share on the monarchy being divided between his brothers and himself, after the death of their father. Mercury was the inventor or restorer of the art of writing by sacred hieroglyphics, the knowledge of which was confined to the priesthood alone, under pain of capital punishment in the case of revealing the same; he also invented the common method, in a different character, for the use of the people. Didorus Siculus, on the book before cited, has preserved the valuable inscription of Osiris, mentioned by him, and another of Isis in the following terms: "I am Isis, queen of this country, I had Mercury as my chief minister: no one was able to resist the execution of my commands. I am the eldest daughter of Saturn, the youngest of all the gods, sister and wife of Osiris, the king, and mother of king Orus."
The abbate de Castres, in the fourth vol. of his Mythological
Dictionary of Pagan Ages, speaks of a large copper plate called the Isiac table, found at Rome, in 1525, on which were engraved many Egyptian gods, and in particular many figures of Isis with various symbols. It was purchased by cardinal Bembo, and afterwards passed into the duke of Mantua's possession, after whose death it was splendidly engraved in its full size, by Eneas Vico of Parma. The plate is divided into three horizontal bands which are occupied by Egyptian deities and a great number of hieroglyphics that Pignorio, in his Mesa Isiaca, and father Kircher, in his Oedipus Aegeyptiacus, have explained, and, I doubt not, but their expositions may serve to interpret the Egyptian figures and deities of the Palencian city and more particularly the hieroglyphics.
Although the figure of Votan is not found among these, yet, having the fabulous history of Isis and Osiris fully delineated, (without adverting to many other ultramarine subjects found by del Rio, that will, of themselves, afford matter for many conclusive proofs), there is a very powerful argument to remove doubts about the existence of a maritime communication between the two continents in the very remotest ages of antiquity; but, finding the duplicate figures of Votan in the attitudes we have described, and combining the Indian tradition, that Nunez de la Vega found verified by his discovery at the casa lobrega, with the small portion of information this illustrious prelate has communicated, and with the little added thereto by the presbyter Ordonez, these are conclusive proofs in favor of Votan; the truth of his voyages to the old continent, and of his being the first populator of the new world.
I repeat, let us confidently follow this ingenious historian, and examine what he means by Culebra, and what proofs he gives of being Culebra. His words are, "I am Culebra, because I am Chivim:" this, at first sight, appears a very short and inconclusive argument, but with a little study, admits of a clear and convincing explanation.
Among the few writers I have consulted, in order to comprehend Votan, the benedictine Calmet, in his Commentaries on the Old Testament, has cleared the way for me, and saved much trouble in this work, as, by diligent study and unwearied industry, he has collected whatever the most esteemed ancient authors have produced, in my opinion as most probable.
Let us suppose then, with Calmet and other authors whom he quotes, that some of the Hivites, who were descendants from Heth, son of Canaan, were settled on the shores of the Mediterranean sea, and known from the most remote periods under the name of Hivim or Givim, from which region they were expelled, some years before the departure of the Hebrews from Egypt, by the Caphtorims or Philistines, who, according to some writers, were colonists from Cappadocia, others conceiving them to be from Cyprus, and, more probably, according to a third opinion from Crete, now Candia; that, to strengthen their native country Egypt, and to protect themselves from all assault, they built five strong cities, viz. Accaron, Azotus, [Ashdod], Ascalon and Gaza, from whence they made frequent sallies upon the Canaanite towns and all their surrounding neighbours, (except the Egyptians, whom they always respected,) and carried on many wars in the posterior ages against the Hebrews (note 11).
The scriptures, Deuteronomy chap. 2, verse 23, and Joshua, chap. 13, verse 4 inform us of the expulsion of the Hivites, (Givim) by the Caphtorims, from which it appears that the latter, drove out the former, who inhabited the countries from Azzah to Gaza. Many others were settled in the vicinity of the mountains of Eval and Azzah, among whom were reckoned the Sichemites and the Gabaonites; the latter, by stratagem, made alliance with Joshua, or submitted to him; lastly, others had their dwellings about the skirts of mount Hermon beyond Jordan, and to the eastward of Canaan. Joshua, chap. 11, 3. Of these last were Cadmus and his wife Hermione or Hermonia, both memorable in sacred as well as profane history, as their exploits occasioned their being exalted to the rank of deities, while in regard to their metamorphosis into snakes, (culebras) mentioned by Ovid, Metam. lib. 3, their being Hivites may have given rise to this fabulous transmutation, the name in the Phoenician language implying a snake, which the ancient Hebrew writers suppose to have been given from this people being accustomed to live in caves under ground like snakes (note 12).
Cadmus, in the opinion of Suidas, was the son of Agenor or Ogyges, who, according to Calmet, is the giant Og, king of Basan, (situated at the foot of mount Hermon) who was vanquished and slain with all his family and followers by Moses when he entered into the land of promise, about the year of the world 2253, which agrees with 1451 of the vulgar era, and 1447 before Christ. -- We are told of his immense stature in Deuteronomy, 3, 11, by the enormous size of his iron bedstead, the length of which is described in cubits, viz. 9 by 4. In the time of Moses,
sojourning in the wilderness. Cadmus accompanied by his sister Cilix, his mother Telephassa and a numerous company of his friends who were desirous of sharing his fortunes, quitted his father at the entreaty of his sister Europa, to take revenge upon Jupiter, who had transformed himself into a white bull and carried her away: some mythologists, however, suppose that the ship in which she was transported had the figure of a white bull at its prow, and in this manner the fable originated; but the most probable conjecture is, that he abandoned his country from a reasonable dread of the sentence promulgated by the Almighty for the total destruction of the children of Canaan, of which the Hebrew people was destined to be the instrument; and this fear might have been increased by the dreadful plague of hornets that preceded the Hebrew invasion (note 13).
The first enterprise undertaken by Cadmus was the conquest of the Sidonians, (the descendants of Sidonius, eldest son of Canaan,) and the foundation of the kingdom of Tyre in that part of the country, bounded on the west by the Mediterranean sea, and by the Red Sea on the east; a situation most convenient for extending the great commerce that has rendered this people so celebrated in history, both sacred and profane. The establishment of this kingdom is fixed by Calmet, anno mundi 2549, or 1455 before Christ, and which year, he says, corresponds with the 37th of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness: about the same period Cilix founded the kingdom of Cilicia, on the confines of Tyre, and on the same coast of the Mediterranean.
Cadmus was not satisfied with this conquest, but recollecting
the success of Cecrops, an Egyptian prince, who, eight years before, had subjugated that part of Greece where he founded the kingdom of Athens, and considering Greece, well peopled as it was, an object worthy of his ambition, and the conquest of it within his power, he directed his views toward Boeotia; not at all intimidated by the circumstance of its being then governed by the valiant Draco, a son or a descendant of Mars. "The commencement of this enterprise was commensurate with his wishes; his progress was brilliant; but the termination disastrous; as it happens in small monarchies when the chiefs, prompted by ambition and covetousness, mutually seek each other's destruction, and finally become the victims of the most powerful." Calmet, lib. 1, cap. 8.
Cadmus founded the city of Thebes. situated near mount Parnassus, the capital of his empire, and fortified it with a citadel' which he called Cadmea' after his own name.
The epoch of the foundation of Thebes is ascertained from one of the Parian marbles, (now called the Arundel marbles, because the earl of Arundel, an English nobleman, at a very great expense, transported them to his own country) to have been in the sixty-fourth year of the Attican era, indubitably coinciding with 3195 of the Julian, and 1519 before the Christian era; at which period, Moses was with his father-in-law Jethro, in the land of Midian (note 14).
Greece was indebted to Cadmus for the art of writing, the cultivation of the vine, the consecration of images, the rights of sanctuary so scrupulously respected by antiquity, and the use of
arms offensive and defensive; he was the first warrior who armed his soldiers with helmets of copper, and he taught the extraction of this metal from the mineral containing it, and which, up to the present day, has retained the name of Cadmia. His disastrous end did not prevent the superstition of the times from celebrating his worth, his talents, and his valour, by placing him among the demi-gods. The fable says, that his soldiers, having been killed by a serpent near a fountain, whither they went to fetch water, (alluding to a battle that he lost against Draco,) he avenged their death by killing their destroyer, from which he pulled out the teeth, and sowing them, by the advice of Minerva, they produced a plentiful harvest of armed men, so warlike, and so fiery in their tempers, that, upon a slight disagreement arising between them, they fought and killed each other, excepting five only, by whom this part of Greece was afterwards peopled. This is not a proper place to discuss the meaning of the fable: unseasonable erudition seldom fails to weary the reader, and leads his attention from the principal subject under consideration; Homer and many other grave authors have transgressed by such a display; it is, nevertheless, undeniable, that this fable is one of the greatest supporters of history; I cannot, however, forbear remarking, that the Phoenician words expressive of a copper helmet were so ambiguous as to signify also a man armed for war, a serpent's teeth, and the number five. The invention of such a fable, its being fostered and propagated, either by the priests of the deified personage, or the princes, his descendants and successors, might have occasioned
the first and true meaning of the words to be forgotten; while their own interest or convenience may have engrafted the deception on the minds of the vulgar, who, from ignorance and simplicity, are always prone to credit portentous novelties, more particularly, when they tend to identify the characters of their beloved princes with their national glory; and especially when their religion is concerned.
It is also necessary to observe, that the names of Cadmus and Hermione are not proper to these persons: Hermione was so called from being born a Hivite among those who dwelt near mount Hermon: while Cadmus signifies an eastern man, or one who comes from the country situated towards the east; but this denomination was not indiscriminately given to all Orientals, as Calmet together with other authors quoted by him, believes; but it properly belonged to the Hivites near mount Hermon, who were known as Kadmonites or Cedmonites, from the Hebrew word kedem, which, according to the interpretation of the rabbi Jonathan, Genesis, chap. 15, verse 19, means east; and Calmet also places them in this situation. Paraphrastres of Jerusalem, in glossing the word Heveum, chap. 10, verse 17, of Genesis, is, in my opinion, more correct in rendering it Tripolitanum, meaning to insinuate, as Calmet says, that "the Hebrews removed themselves to Africa, into the kingdom of Tripoli," or to speak more accurately, to Tripoli of Syria, a town in the kingdom of Tyre, which was anciently called Chivim. Under this supposition, when Votan says he is Culebra, because he is Chivim, he clearly shews, that he is a Hivite originally of Tripoli in Syria
which he calls Valum Chivim, where he landed in his voyages to the old continent.
Here then we have his assertion, I am Culebra, because I am Chivim, proved true, by a demonstration as evident, as if he had said, I am a Hivite, native of Tripoli in Syria, which is Valum Chivim, the port of my voyages to the old continent, and belonging to a nation famous for having produced such a hero as Cadmus, who, by his valour and exploits was worthy of being changed into a Culebra, (snake,) and placed among the gods; whose worship, for the glory of my nation and race I teach to the seven families of the Tezquiles, that I found, on returning from one of my voyages, united to the seven families, inhabitants of the American continent, whom I conducted from Valum Votan, and distributed lands among them.
Should a scrupulous reader not feel conviction from this interpretation, the brass medal, of which two specimens were found, one of them now in the possession of Don Ramon Ordonez, the other, which was my own, I presented to the King, with two copies of this work by the hands of the President, on the 2d of June, 1794, will remove every doubt on this head, (the drawing is in all respects the same as the original, except being rather enlarged,) and fully authenticate the rest of what Votan relates in his history, as well as demonstrate that the American tradition as to his origin and his expulsion from the kingdom of Amaguemecan, which was his first disaster on this continent, applies to him; while the narrative and the medal, assisted by some portions of information from
Captain del Rio, will elucidate a few historical fragments which have been related by writers of the greatest authority, but are considered apocryphal by the most esteemed modern authors.
The medal is a concise history of the primitive population of this part of North America, and of the expulsion of the Chichemecas from Amaguemecan the capital of which indubitably was the Palencian city, hitherto sought for in vain, either to the northward of Mexico, or in the north of Asia. This history, comprised in so small a compass, is the best panegyric that can be given upon the sublime genius of its inventors, of whose descendants, at the time of the conquest, it was a matter of doubt whether they possessed rationality or not. -- On one side, the first seven families to whom Votan distributed lands are symbolized by seven trees; one of them is withered, manifestly indicating the extinction of the family it represented; at its root, there is a shrub of a different species, demonstrative of a new family supplying its place. -- The largest tree is a cieba, wild cotton, placed in the midst of the others, and overshadowing them with its branches; it has a snake, Culebra, twined round its trunk, shewing the Hivite, the origin of all these seven families; and the principal posterity of Cadmus in one of them; it also exposes the mistake of Nunez de la Vega, in applying the symbol of the cieba to Ninus (note 17), and more strongly than ever establishes the derivation of Votan and the seven families he conducted hither from the Culebras. The signification of the withered tree, the shrub at its foot, and the bird on
the top, I shall give when I speak of the idol Huitzlopochtli. -- The reverse of the medal shews other seven trees, with an Indian kneeling, the hands joined, the countenance sorrowful, the eyes cast down, in the act of invoking divine help in the serious tribulation that afflicts him: this distress is typified by a crocodile on each side, with open mouth, as if intent on devouring him. -- These devices doubtless imply the seven families of the Tzequiles, whom Votan says he found on his return from Valum Chivim. -- Although it may not be an easy matter to assign a reason why each tree is expressive of each family in particular, it is incontrovertible, that the Mexican nation had the Opuntia or Nopal, (two of them), as its peculiar device therefore, the others might, in the same manner, have belonged to other tribes now unknown. An eagle, with a snake in its beak and claws, on the Nopal is also confirmatory of Votan's having recognised in the Tzequiles the same origin from the Culebras as his own; and strengthens the Mexican tradition, of his having been driven from Amaguemecan.
Clavigero, in his ancient history of Mexico, vol. I, book 2, speaks of this kingdom, and the arrival of the Chichemecas at the city before mentioned, which he calls the country of Anahuac and interprets the name to mean "the place of the waters:" he says their native country and principal city was named Amaguemecan, a word implying the same meaning as Anahuac, where, according to their own account, many kings of their nation had reigned. Torquemada says, he found, from the Mexican written and oral histories, that there had existed three kings of Amaguemecan.
The traditions alluded to by Torquemada receive some confirmation from Captain del Rio's Report, in which he says he found in the corridor of a building, (called by him the great house, casa grande, in the Palencian city), three crowned human heads, cut in stone; and connected with the same, by a line proceeding from the hinder part, there were figures representing different subjects. -- In this manner, the antients used to describe their sovereigns; and, in still more remote periods, their deities. -- It is known beyond the possibility of doubt, that, in the early ages of paganism, the idols were represented by symbols or symbolical figures only; until, in the course of time, painting and the sculpture of human figures were introduced, and afterwards greatly improved by Daedalus of Crete. -- Thus, formerly, a trident was the synonymy of Neptune, until the improved art of designation placed a human head before it; a shield or a club indicated Hercules; a sword or a shield, Mars; so that each deity or demi-god was known by his appropriate symbol.
The Mexicans followed this method to express the names of their kings, and transmit the remembrance of them to posterity, and, in so doing, they used the same means of description that they had been taught by their ancestors from the old continent. Clavigero has given, in his second volume, portraits of the nine monarchs who occupied the Mexican throne. The first was Acamapitzin, represented by a crowned head, to the posterior part of which, joined by a line, is the device of a hand grasping some reeds, because the name Acamapitzin signifies "one who has reeds in his hand." -- The second was Huitzilihuith, who had for his device the small bird called chupaflores, or chupamiel
(the humming bird), with one of its feathers in its beak; Huitzilihuith meaning a chupaflore's feather. The third, Chimalpopoca, had a shield emitting smoke; his name by interpretation, is "a smoking shield." The fourth, Itzcoate, a snake armed with small lances, the itzli stone; the name implying "snake armed with itzli," -- and in like manner for the others.
Another important monument, still more clearly elucidating the Mexican tradition and Torquemada's story of the kings of Amaguemecan, is the tower discovered by del Rio in the court-yard of the great temple: it consists of three stories or floors, which was beyond a doubt the sepulchre of the three kings. He found the entrances to the tower stopped up, and having ordered some of them to be opened, was surprised to see the interior filled with loose sandy earth, but knew not from what cause, being unacquainted with the practices of the Americans; and he was still more surprised on finding an interior wall connected with that of the exterior. The supposition to be drawn from such a circumstance, is, that for the purpose of raising the third story, for the sepulchre of the last king, the directors of the work, found it necessary to give a more extended circuit to the building, and therefore devised the expedient of strengthening it by an outward wall, and perhaps with the intention of continuing other stories as cemeteries for future kings, until the whole should have attained a very considerable altitude.
In the small turrets on the top of the tower, Rio found two stones imbedded in the walls: on these were sculptured two female figures with extended arms, each supporting an infant;
this circumstance appears to point out the burial places of two queens, or two young princesses, or perhaps of both. Of these figures he took drawings, but they are imperfect, as the faces had disappeared beneath the mouldering touch of time.
Combining then the tradition of the Mexicans, as related by all writers on their history, respecting their kingdom of Amaguemecan, of there having been three Chichemecan kings; of their expulsion from thence, as mentioned by Torquemada and confirmed by del Rio's account of the three crowned heads, accompanied by devices similar to those used by the Mexicans to represent their sovereigns; the tower divided into three portions, in each of which was deposited the body of a king: keeping also under consideration Votan's history, and that, so ingeniously shown by the medal; all these circumstances united tend to demonstrate, by evidence as clear as evidence can prove, that the kingdom of Amaguemecan was situated in the present province of Chiapa; and that all the writers, who have embraced the opinion that it existed in the north of America, or in Asia, have continued in error. -- They may have been misled by discovering in some accounts, that the Chichemecas and other tribes came from the northward to possess themselves of the kingdom of the Tultecas, which had been nearly depopulated by the plague; they appear however to have overlooked the information they might have acquired, or perhaps did acquire, that the earliest inhabitants of America came from the eastward; that they proceeded from the eastern part to the northward, and again descended thence; or, more probably, from carelessness of research than from
a total want of information, which, how slender soever it might have been, their curiosity should have prompted them to examine thoroughly.
Of this historical fact, Herman Cortes obtained intelligence from the Emperor Moetezuma himself, almost immediately after his arrival: the information was confirmed in a most solemn manner when Moetezuma and the nobles of his empire assembled to swear homage to the monarch of Spain, Charles V; Cortes however supposing Moetezuma was mistaken, paid no attention to his account: he was himself deceived, and continuing in this belief, has been the cause of succeeding writers perpetuating the error, if I may be permitted to speak so decisively. -- In order however to fix the reader's attention to what I have here asserted, I shall introduce, literally, the two discourses of Moetezuma, as Cortes communicated them to his Majesty Charles V, in his first letter, dated October 30, 1520. -- This, with several other letters, notes and documents, was reprinted at Mexico in 1770, by order of Don Francisco Antonio Lorenzana, at that time Archbishop of Mexico, afterwards Archbishop of Toledo, and subsequently raised to the dignity of a Cardinal.
"It is," said Moetezuma to Cortes, "now many days since our historians have informed us, that neither my ancestors, nor myself, nor any of the people who now inhabit this country, are natives of it; we are strangers, and came hither from very distant parts; they also tell us, that a Lord to whom all were vassals, brought our race to this land, and returned to his native place. That after a long time, he came here again and
found that those whom he had left were married to the women of the country, had large families, and had built towns in which they dwelt. He wished to take them away, but they would not consent to accompany him, nor permit him to remain here as their chief; therefore he went away. That we have always been assured his descendants would return to conquer our country, and reduce us again to his obedience. You say you come from the part where the sun rises, we believe and hold to be true the things which you tell us of this great Lord or King who sent you hither; that he is our natural Lord, particularly as you say that it is very many days since he has had notice of us. Be therefore sure we will obey you, and take you for our Lord in the place of the good Lord of whom you tell us. In this there shall be neither failure nor deception; therefore, command according to your will in all the country, that is, in every part I have under my dominions; your will shall be obeyed and done; all that we have is subject to whatever you may please to command. You are therefore in your own country, in your own house; rejoice and rest from the fatigues of your journey, and the wars you have been engaged in." He continued to say many other things, which I omit as being irrelevant.
In another discourse, Moetezuma said to the chiefs and Caciques, whom he had convoked in the presence of Cortes and himself: -- "My brothers and friends, you already know that your grand-fathers, your fathers, and yourselves, have been and are the vassals of my ancestors and myself; by them and by me you have always been honoured and well treated; you
have uniformly performed every thing that good and loyal subjects are bound to do for their natural Lords. I believe also, you have heard from your predecessors, that we are not natives of this country; that they came from a far distant land; that they were brought hither by a Lord who left them here, and to whom all were subject. A long time after, this Lord came again, and found that our grand-fathers had married with the women of this country, had settled and peopled it with a numerous posterity, and would not accompany him back to his country, or receive him here, as the chief of this. He then went away, saying he would return with, or send such a power as should overcome them, and reduce them to his service. You well know we have always expected him, and according to the things. which the Captain has told us, of the King who sent him to us, and from the part he says he comes from, I think it certain, and you cannot fail to be of the same opinion, that this is no other than the chief we look for, particularly, as he declares that, in the place he comes from, they have been informed about us. As our predecessors did not do what they ought to have done by their chief, let us do it, and let us give thanks to our gods that, in our time has come to pass the event which has been so long expected. As all this is manifest to all of you, much do I entreat you to obey this great king henceforward as you have hitherto obeyed and esteemed me as your lawful Sovereign, for he is your natural Lord, and in his place I beseech you to obey this his great Captain."
He proceeded by desiring that such tributes and services as
had usually been paid to and performed for him, should in future be transferred to Cortes, as the representative of their King; saying, that he would himself pay contributions to him, and serve him in whatsoever he should command
The assembled chiefs confirmed the tradition, and replied, "that they had always considered him as their Lord, and were bound to perform whatever he should command them, and, for this reason, as well as for the one he had just given them, they were content to do it." (Let this expression, they were content, &c., be noted.) All this, says Cortes passed before a notary who reduced it to the form of a public act, and I required it to be testified as such in the presence of many Spaniards.
Cortes, wishing to keep Moetezuma in the error which he supposed him to have fallen into, says in his first letter: -- "I replied to all he had said in the way most suitable to myself, especially, by making him believe your Majesty to be the chief whom they have so long expected."
It is surprising that the unvarying tradition of the first occupiers of America having come from the east, should not have been examined or attended to by Cortes, and that it should have been unobserved by subsequent writers, and by the introduction of the following notes into the republication of Moetezuma's discourses, is not less astonishing. "The Mexicans, by tradition, came from the northern parts of the province of Quivira, and the particular places of their habitations are known with certainty; this affords an evident proof that the conquest of
the Mexican empire was achieved by the Tultecas, or people of Tula which was the capital. This was an erroneous belief of the Indians, because they came from the north; but, had they proceeded from the peninsula of Yucatan it might with truth be said that they came from the east, with respect to Mexico. In the whole of this discourse, Cortes obviously took advantage of the erroneous notions of the Indians."
The natives were not mistaken, but Cortes was in error from disregarding their traditions, which, to say the least, he ought to have kept in recollection and carefully examined when a little industry would most unquestionably have satisfied him; but, as it was known on the other hand, that the Mexicans and other nations, occupying the desolated kingdom of the Tultecas, descended from the northern regions, he took no pains to search out from whence and in what manner they came. This negligence of Cortes, occasioned the error in authors who wrote after him; and it arose principally from their not having attended to the tradition of the few existing testimonies of the Tultecas, Chiapanecos, and Yucataneses, and the few historical fragments produced by writers of the greatest authority on the other continent, who have been similarly condemned, by the most celebrated modern authors.
The Indians carefully preserved the remembrance of their origin, and of their ancestor's early progress from the voluntary or the forced abandonment of Palestine on the ingress of the Hebrews; but these incidents have been, in my opinion, erroneously interpreted by authors. -- I will here introduce what
the advocate Joseph Antonio Constantini advances on this subject. In the second volume of his Critical Letters, in that entitled On the Origin of the Americans, he says: "We are indebted to Gemelli for some valuable information which he obtained, during his residence in Mexico, from Don Carlos de Siguenza y Gonzora, into whose possession it came, as being testamentary executor of Don Juan de Alva, a lineal descendant from the king of Tezcuco who received it from his ancestors: this is, therefore, the most authentic document which Gemelli procured, and he has carefully preserved it in his sixth volume by a plate. This engraving displays a table or itinerary, on which are delineated the voyages of their progenitors who peopled Mexico; it consists of different circles, divided into a hundred and four signs, signifying 104 years, which they say their forefathers spent in their several domiciles before they reached the lake of Mexico; there are numerous and various representations of mountains, trees, plants, heads of men, animals, birds, feathers, leaves, stones, and other objects descriptive of their different habitations, and the accidents they met with, but which at present cannot be understood."
This itinerary I have never had an opportunity of seeing, although very desirous of obtaining that advantage, nor the book which Botturini says was written by the celebrated Mexican astronomer Huematzin and called by him Teomoxtli: the divine book; wherein, by means of certain figures, he shews the origin of the Indians, their dispersion after the separation of nations
subsequent to the confusion of tongues, their wanderings, their first settlement in America, and the foundation of the kingdom of Tula, (which, I suspect from the mistakes of writers is not that of Amaguemecan), and their progress down to his time, these incidents appear to be the same as those which happened to the Canaanites generally, and to the Hivites in particular, along the whole coast of Africa, until their passing into America and arrival at the lake of Mexico. The hundred and four years of domicile described by him were in Africa, and not for the space of one year each, but of many years, according to the exigence of circumstances in the progress of population; for it is evident the peopling of the earth after the general dispersion of the human race, advanced but slowly, as colonies could not be settled without surmounting great difficulties in clearing the ground from trees and thickets which covered it in every part. This was boring the ground, in the meaning of Votan, when he says, he went by the road that his ancestors the Culebras had formerly bored.
Calmet, in his dissertation on the country to which the Canaanites retired when they were expelled by Joshua, concurs in affirming this to be true.
This enlightened writer, after relating various opinions which he proves to be ill-founded, says, the one most generally received, most consonant with truth, and also conformable to the Gemarra Hierosolemitana, is that which supposes the Canaanites went into Africa. He adds that Procopius, lib. 2, cap. 10, of the Vandalic War, says they first fled into Egypt,
where they encreased in number, and then pursued their course to the remotest regions of Africa; they built many cities, spread themselves over the adjacent countries, occupying nearly all the tract that extends to the columns of Hercules, and retained their ancient language, although in some degree corrupted. To support this opinion, he adduces a monument erected by this nation, which was found in the city of Tangier: it consisted of two columns of white marble, with this inscription in Phoenician characters: "We are the children of those who fled from the robber Jesus, the son of Nave, and here found a safe retreat" (note 18).
These columns may very possibly be the marks that Votan says he left behind him on the road that his ancestors had bored; but they were considered Apocryphal by Feyjoo, from the expression of the inscription, that, Jesus or Joshua was the son of Nave, whereas it is stated in the scriptures, that he was the son of Nun; it seems therefore to have escaped Feyjoo's recollection, that Joshua is indiscriminately called the son of Nave or of Nun in different places of Holy Writ.
Although we cannot fix to a certain epoch the time of the Canaanites occupying the coasts of Africa, inasmuch as it did not take place at one period, but gradually, as they found themselves oppressed by the Hebrew wars; and because many of the Hivites, as we have already said, abandoned their dwellings before Joshua entered Palestine (note 19). There is no doubt that all these colonies existed prior to the Trojan war, because Greeks returning from thence found that every part of the coast of
Africa where they landed had been already peopled by the Phoenicians. On this point the Greek and Latin writers agree, according to the testimony of Bochart in his work entitled Canaan; and of Hornius, on the origin of the people of America. Lib. 2, cap. 3, 4: quoted by Calmet.
The era of the Trojan war is fixed at two hundred and forty years after the death of Joshua. Taking this for granted, and comparing the epoch when the aforesaid colonies were established in Africa, with that which I shall presently shew concerning the foundation of the first colony in America by the grand-father of Votan, it will clearly appear, that, each of the hundred and four signs in the itinerary of Gemelli does not correspond with a residence of one year, but of many.
This itinerary, supposed by many historians as appertaining to Asia, or the northern parts of America, has been the means of augmenting our historical difficulties so much, that we encounter nothing but confusion, doubts and queries: this will be seen by referring to the works of Clavigero, Torquemada and all others who have treated on this subject. It nevertheless confirms the narrative of Votan, and the suppositions I have ventured to make as will hereafter appear.
As it has been already proved that Valum Chivim, where Votan landed in his four voyages to the old continent, is Tripoli in Syria; it is now requisite to examine what was the situation of Valum Votan, from whence he took his departure.
In order to discuss this important question, which will have the effect of drawing from the depths of obscurity and uncertainty
into which time and revolutions upon the old continent, have plunged those historical records that remained in ancient traditions; we shall derive sufficient assistance from Calmet in his dissertations before mentioned, relative to the country in which the Canaanites, when expelled by Joshua and the Judges, his successors took refuge, as also from the excellence of the Hebrew history.
This celebrated writer recites the opinions of the most classic authors on the discovery of America, and the origin of its inhabitants, to which, however, he does not always assent, and among them produces that of Hornius, who, supported by the authority of Strabo, affirms, as certain, that voyages from Africa and Spain into the Atlantic ocean were, both frequent and celebrated, adding from Strabo, that Eudoxius sailing from the Arabian gulf to Ethiopia and India found the prow of a ship that had been wrecked, which, from having the head of a horse carved on it, he knew belonged to a Phoenician bark, and some Gaditani merchants declared it to have been a fishing vessel: Laertius relates nearly the same circumstance. Hornius says (continues Calmet,) that, in very remote ages, three voyages were made to America, the first by the Atlantes, or descendants of Atlas, who gave his name to the Ocean and the islands Atlantides; this name Plato appears to have learned from the Egyptian priests, the general Custodes of antiquity. The second voyage, mentioned by Hornius, is given on the authority of Diodorus Siculus, lib. 5, cap. 19, where he says: The Phoenicians having passed the columns of Hercules, and being impelled by the violence of the
wind, abandoned themselves to its fury, and after experiencing many tempests, were thrown upon an island in the Atlantic ocean, distant many days navigation to the westward of the coast of Lybia; which island, possessing a fertile soil, had navigable rivers, and there were large buildings upon it. The report of this discovery soon spread among the Carthagenians and Romans[;] the former being harassed by the wars of the latter, and the people of Mauritania; sent a colony to that island with great secrecy, that, in the event of being overcome by their enemies, they might possess a place of safe retreat (note 20).
In another place, Calmet introduces this passage of Diodorus more in detail, saying, that the Phoenicians having returned from the island, so highly extolled its beauty and opulence as to inspire the Romans with a desire of making themselves masters of it and settling a colony there. This perplexed the Carthagenians, who began to fear their countrymen would be enamoured of a fertility so much praised, and abandon their native soil to settle there. They viewed it, on the other hand, as a safe refuge in the event of any unforeseen calamity, or, if their Republic in Africa should fall, to which, as being masters of the sea, they could easily retire to secure themselves and families, more especially as the region was unknown to other nations (note 21). Aristotle, continues Calmet, in his book of wonderful things, speaking of this island, says, the Magistrates of Carthage having observed that many of their citizens who had undertaken the voyage thither, had not returned, prohibited, under the penalty of capital punishment, any further
emigration, and ordered those who had remained there to return to their country, fearing, that as soon as the affair should be known, other nations would endeavour to establish there a peaceable commerce (note 22).
The other voyage in the Atlantic spoken of by Calmet was anterior to the preceding, and is that attributed to Hercules, who is the supposed author of the Gaditanian columns, and whom Galleo ranks as contemporary with Moses, and chief of the Canaanites who left Palestine on the invasion of Joshua: this hero had the surname Magusanus, derived from the Chaldean word Gouz, signifying to scratch, and by metaphor to pass, from which root, ships and fords of rivers are called Megizze in the Chaldaic idiom; of his sea voyages, there existed a vestige in the town of West Cappell in the island of Walcheren; it was the painting of a ship and her captain, who was represented at an advanced age, the forepart of his head bald, and his face tanned by the sun; he was worshipped as a deity at a temple in the same town, and sacrifices, according to the Phoenician rites, were offered to him (note 23). There were many other heroes of this name; but no writer has decided whether to Magusanus or one of his descendants, or whether to a Phoenician distinguished by the same appellation, we are to attribute the navigation of the Atlantic. Certain, however, it is, that Diodorus speaks of a Hercules who sailed round the world, and who founded the city of Lecta in Septimania; but no writer has pointed out its situation (note 24).
With how much reason was the prize awarded to that young
prince of the royal house of David who maintained, when disputing in the congress of wise men assembled by king Ahasuerus, that truth is the most irresistible gift that can be bestowed; for the power of the most absolute monarch, the stimulating effects of the most generous wine, or the transcendent charms of the most bewitching beauty, is not sufficiently strong to subdue it.
The coincidence in the memorials of the writers of the old continent, whom I have just mentioned, with the tradition, as introduced in Moetezuma's two discourses, that the Mexicans came originally from the east; with the narrative of Votan, with the incidents commemorated by the medal, with the report of Captain del Rio, and with the figures of the ultramarine deities Isis and Osiris sketched by him in the temple of the Palencian city, form altogether such an irrefragable body of evidence as it is almost impossible to discredit. The revolution of ages has been the parent of an error among modern writers, and even rendered the truths of the more classic ancients problematical, because the latter have not been studied with sufficient care by their successors; but time itself now steps in to vindicate their credit, and becomes an incontrovertible evidence of the veracity of these slighted and discredited narratives.
To connect the various incidents I have adduced, it will now be necessary to examine the periods of the events narrated, and inquire in which of the voyages, already mentioned, the population of America had its beginning; and in what part, and at what time, the ancestors of Votan colonised it, and who these ancestors were.
The first voyage was that of Atlas. Atlas was the son of Japetus brother to Saturn, and cousin to Jupiter, who, in the war which the latter waged against his father Saturn and his uncles the Titans, made himself master of the frontiers of Africa; Atlas and Jupiter were therefore contemporaries: the reign of the latter is supposed by many ancient historians to have been coeval with that of Belus king of Assyria; but this supposition determines nothing with certainty, on account of the difficulty which exists in attempting to ascertain the precise epoch when the Assyrian empire commenced. The Abbe Lenglet, after much research, decides it to have been one thousand eight hundred years prior to the christian era. See his work, 8vo. edit. tom II, chap. 12.
It will be pertinent to our enquiry, to introduce a brief sketch of Jupiter's genealogy from the detailed account of him in the above named part of the Abbe's work.
The descendants of Magog, the second son of Japetus, formed at the earliest periods the Dacian, Celtic, and Scythian nations, and subsequently the Tartars and the Moguls; they remained but a short time in the country where they settled after the general dispersion; but iverrunning [Armenia], they occupied the best and most fertile parts of the country, as Strabo informs us, lib. 2: Sacae optimam Armeniae partem occuparunt. Not content with this excellent location, their restless disposition and warlike spirit, keeping them unsettled, they spread over the western part of Asia, then called Asia-minor, and now Anatolia, they then took possession of Cappadocia, and pursuing their course along the shores of the Euxine, now the Black Sea, built
73the city of Acmonia, in that part bounded by the rivers Thermodon and Ivis; they afterwards built another in Phrygia, which they also named after Acmon the son of Menes, whom Stephanus Byzantinus, in his explanation of the word Acmonia, affirms to have been their chief in the first invasion. Acmon met a violent death by his eager pursuit after wild beasts, and was placed among the gods to eternize his moral, political and military virtues; he was worshipped as a supreme being, under the appellation of the most high; woods were consecrated to him, and sacrifices celebrated in honour of him, as we are told by Sanchoniathon in Eusebius, lib. de Preparatione evangelica Uranius, that his eldest son, was the brother and husband of Titeca from whom sprang the Titans so well known in history for their extraordinary strength and prowess (note 25). Utanius succeeded his father in the empire which he greatly extended, and even excelled him in his virtues and valour. His attachment to the science of astronomy and his continually studying the movements, revolutions and influence of the heavenly bodies, obtained for him the surname of Coelus, while Titeca received that of Terra; their descendants availed themselves of these appellations, concealed their origin, being in common with all mortals, and taking advantage of circumstances, caused themselves to be acknowledged, and obeyed by the people, who feared them under the high sounding title of the sons of heaven and earth.
The sons of Uranius were Titanus, Oceanus, Hypericon, Japetus or Japhetus the father of Atlas, and Saturnus the youngest of all. Uranius discovering that his sons were
conspiring to rebel against him, caused them all to be seized, except Oceanus who refused to join his brothers in the revolt, but Saturnus, encouraged and aided by his mother Titeca, set them at liberty, and they, in gratitude, placed him on the throne, by dispossessing their father, who died a few years after, borne down by age and sorrow.
Saturn, according to Diodorus, lib. 3, married his sister Rhea, but fearing the imprecations his father had fulminated against him, and the prediction, that one of his children should treat him in the manner he had used his father, he caused all his offspring to be incarcerated as soon as they were born, but they were educated in a manner suitable to their rank; which gave rise to the fable of his having devoured them.
Rhea exasperated by her husband's cruelty, was dexterious enough to rescue her youngest son Jupiter, and had him eduacted secretly by the Curetes in the island of Crete. The Curetes were descended from a brother of Uranius to whom he confided the government of Crete, which had just been subdued. This Governor, at his death, left ten sons who were called Curetes, and became celebrated from the order of priesthood which they exercised on mount Ida for many ages.
The Titans, mortified that Saturn should reign alone to their exclusion, revolted several times and ultimately succeeded in getting both him and Rhea into their power; but, as soon as Jupiter got intelligence of his parents captivity, he speedily equipped a force and hastening from Crete to their assistance; having obtained a complete victory over the insurgents, he set
them at liberty, replaced them on the throne, and then returned to Crete.
The suspicion of Saturn encreased as he advanced in years, so that he every day grew more fearful of his father's meance, as the oracle which he had consulted, advised him to be upon his guard in respect of his youngest son, he plotted against Jupiter's life, who, more by stratagem than force, contrived to defeat many of the machinations by which his existence was menaced, and continued to treat his father with filial respect; till at length he was forced, in self-defence to come to an open rapture with him, after a sanguinary contest compelled him, with such of the Titans as escaped with their lives, to retreat into Italy. Saturn found an asylum with Janus king of Latium, but not thinking himself secure as Jupiter continued in pursuit, and extended his conquests to the extremities of Spain, he retired to Sicily, where he soon died oppressed by misery and old age. History tells us, that the place of his sepulchre was long remembered; and venerated by his subjects for many ages.
Jupiter lived an hundred and twenty years, and reigned after the defeat of the Totans sixty-two years with great glory: he died in Crete where his sepulchre remained for centuries near Gnosus, one of the principal cities, and had honours paid to it. His heroism raised him to the highest pitch of admiration; he was not only exalted over all mortals but elevated to the dignity of a god, considered superior to all those who had preceded him, and extolled as the father and king of all the deities.
Neither from Atlas then, nor from any of his posterity could
Votan derive his origin, for this reason, among many others, that I omit in order to avoid fatiguing the reader, that the Atlantides were not of the race of the Culebras.
Votan's family must, therefore, be sought for among some of the maritime heroes of succeeding ages. It could not have been from any one of the Phoenicians in the second voyage that has been described, since they found large houses on the island, consequently it must have been peopled long before their arrival, and if we examine attentively the time at which this voyage could have been made, it will appear to be long subsequent to the periods of which Votan speaks in his history. At the time Diodorus alludes to, the Republic of Carthage was in the zenith of its splendour, for it was then able to intercept the expedition sent against the island by the Romans, with the intention of establishing their dominion in the same. This epoch must have been a little prior to the first Punic War; the commencement of the kingdom of Amaguemecan was at some period during the progress of that contest; this kingdom was not however of long continuance, and its ruin gave rise to that of Tula. This hypothesis we shall now proceed to elucidate.
The Romans were engaged in three very destructive conflicts with the Carthaginians: the first commenced two hundred and sixty-five years before the christian era, and lasted twenty-three. Historians have not related what caused the interruption of that friendship which the two Republics had so often professed for each other; but it is certain that about three hundred and seven years before Christ, under the Consolate of
Quintus Martius and Quintus Fabius Tremulus, the Romans entered, for the second time, into an alliance with the Carthaginians; this coincides, according to Varo's computation, with the four hundred and forty-eight years after the building of Rome.
Some historians, it is true, attribute the breach between these rival Republics to a stroke of policy, for it is usual with the powerful to dignify the abominable vices of covetousness by giving to it this virtuous appelation. They say that the war between Pyrrhus and the Romans being terminated, the former was driven from his kingdom of Macedonia by Brennus king of the Guals, (others say that Brennus was only general of the Gauls under the king), and retired to the Italian states, where, with a view to idemnify himself for the losses he had just sustained, he once more declared war against the Romans; but the latter being victorious, and making themselves masters of all Italy, soon turned their attention towards Carthage, a power that could then impede them in their vast projects (note 26).
The Roman war against Pyrrhus was declared four hundred and seventy-three years after the foundation of Rome, or two hundred and eighty-two years before Christ, under the consulate of Lucius Emilius Barbulus, and Quintus Mancius Philipus, and lasted six years, for, in the year four hundred and seventy-nine, Marcus Curius Dentatus, and Lucius Cornelius Lentus, being Consuls, Pyrrhus was again defeated and compelled to abandon Italy to the conquerors (note 27). Historians have observed, that it is the characteristic of barbarous nations alone, to wage war upon, and invade the territories of their neighbours, without a just cause, or, at least offering some good
pretence for the same, in order to disguise their depraved wishes from the public eye. Is it then credible that a Republic so ambitious of glory as that of Rome, should have declared hostilities against Carthage without alledging some cause, either real or imaginary, after having long kept up a friendly understanding with her? There is in consequence every reason to believe that the obstructions, which the Carthaginians opposed to the convoy that Diodorus affirms the Romams attempted sending to the newly discovered island with the intent of colonizing the same, may have been deemed a sufficient inticement for such belligerent operations.
The second Punic war began two hundred and eighteen years before Christ and lasted seventeen years. The severity which the Romans had displayed towards the Carthaginians in the treaty of peace, inflamed the minds of the latter with a desire of revenge and reprisal. The Romans lost four battles that would have anninilated any other power; but, during their greatest distress, Italy furnished them with the resources by her councils which they could not derive from their arms, to rescue them from the almost inevitable gulph of ruin. The Romans scarcely able to defend their own walls, nevertheless found means to carry the war, even to the gates of Carthage. Scipio was dispatched into Spain which he subdued, rather by the prudent advice of Lelius, than by belligerent measures, and immediately passing into Africa, raised the glory of the Republic so as to command the admiration of the world, by granting peace to its vanquished and powerless rival (note 28).
The third Punic war commenced one hundred and forty-seven
years before Christ and terminated with the Carthaginian Empire six years afterwards. During the preceding wars, although the Carthaginians were conquered, they were neither subjugated nor enslaved, their resentful spirits still plotted against the Romans while they waited for a favourable opportunity to compass revenge; the latter therefore, considering they could not be free from future inquietude while Carthage existed, determined upon her ruin, and Carthage was, in consequence, destroyed (note 29).
From the different epochs of the Punic wars, we may certainly perceive that they were ulterior to the time at which Votan says he undertook his voyages to the old continent, and much more recent than the period when the first American colony was settled by the grand-father of Votan, as well as many ages posterior to the foundation of the kingdom of Amaguemecan, which, as I have before observed, are the points we must now consider.
We will therefore commence by enquiring who was Votan's grand-father? Sallust, quoted by Calmet, in his commentary on the Jugurthine war, states in the history of the kingdom of Numidia, written in the Punic language, that he had read an African tradition of the arrival in that country of Hercules Tyrius or Lybius, with an army of Medes, Persians, and Armenians; these soldiers married Lybian women, and their language imperceptibly degenerating from its original purity; in process of time they lost the name of Medes and Armenians, and at last, by an astonishing corruption of these words, were called Maurucii or Moors.
Hornicus, in his commentary upon this passage of Sallust, relying on the authority of Pausanias, says, that the true name of this Hercules was Macerim, which he supposes to be derived from the Phoenician, or Hebrew word mechoer, meaning wise, desirous of knowledge, or investigator.
Sallust, from not being well informed in the affairs of the Canaanites, may very probably have confounded the names of the Arabians, Syrians or Amorites, conducted by Hercules; so that the Armenians the Amorites, may have b een the Maurucii, or Madianites the Medes, and the Pheresians the Persians.
The opinion, says Calmet, of such authors as conceive that the major part of the Canaanites, after being driven from Palestine, occupied the coast of Africa, is neither new nor doubtful; it is confirmed by ancient names, such as Ardanes, Pona Leptis, Utica, Tangier and others, which are all of Phoenician origin; and in the time of Saint-Augustine these people still retained some record of having originally been Canaanites; for, he says, in his exposition of Saint-Paul's epistle to the Romans, when interrogating the country people concerning their origin, they replied in the Punic tongue, that they were Canaanites (note 30). To this we may add, that modern critics acknowledge an affinity between the Punic and Canaanite languages; that the places mentioned have Phoenician appellations; the name of Carthage is Phoenician, and so for instance is that of the Canary islands, so called from their inhabitants having been Canaanites, and giving this name generally, (note 31), while Hornius speaking of Gomera, one of these islands, supposes it to have
been peopled by the Amorites. More credit must be ascribed to Votan, who makes the people of the same race as himself, viz.: of the Culebras, and consequently Hivites; these Islands, are thirteen in number, and it can scarcely be doubted that they are the thirteen houses of the Culebras which he speaks of having visited in his voyages: it is also as little to be disputed that in these islands, as well as throughout all the coast, the race of Canaan was found to be mixed with the Hivites.
The bird noticed in the Itinerary by Gemelli, shews the course which the Hivites took in their route to these islands; but the arm of the sea observed by Torquemada in all the paintings of the same document, is not, and indeed cannot be, the Rio Colorada (red river) as Clavigero and other authors have imagined, whose waters fall into the bay of California, which is the most considerable of all those northward of Mexico from whence it is pretended those nations came who first peopled the continent, as it evidently represents that part of the Atlantic, between the Canaries and America. See Torquemada and Clavigero in their second volumes.
All that has been advanced will prove Hercules Tyrius to have been a different person from Magusanus, and subsequent to him; the latter, as Lenglet understands, was Ethens, a contemporary of Moses and the former a Hivite, from being a Tyrian; it has equally been proved that the Hivites founded the kingdom of Tyre, and what Sallust relates convinces us, in all its circumstances, that the irruption of this Hercules was many ages after that of Magusanus.
Votan declares himself to be the third of the Votans, Sallust affirms that the soldiers of Hercules Tyrius and their wives spoke the African language, but sensibly degenerated from its ancient purity. Diodorus asserts that one Hercules navigated the whole circuit of the earth, and built the city of Alecta in Septimania. All these circumstances, in conjunction with what I have already stated, induce me, and will lead any erudite examiner to conclude, with every appearance of probability, that Hercules Tyrius was the progenitor of Votan, that Septimania is, beyond a doubt, the island Atlantis or Hispaniola, that the city of Alecta was Valum Votan, capital of the same island from whence Votan embarked his first colony to people the continent of America, and whither he departed for the countries on the old hemisphere.
I am confirmed in my selection of this island from among the many dispersed throughout the Atlantic, not only on account of its position and magnitude exceeding all the others, but also, from its fertility and numerous navigable rivers, and chiefly from its having been the island of the Olmeca nations. In the Mexican tradition, which has been adopted by many eminent authors, (Siguenza and Boturini among others), it was considered certain, that the Olmecas arrived at this island from the eastward, and crossed from thence to the continent. Boturini, however, is of opinion, that when the Olmecas were driven from their country, they proceeded to the Antilles Island, and thence to the southern part of America; this may have been the fact with part of that nation, when the kingdom of Amaguemecan was destroyed, without being repugnant to the idea that the portion of that race
which remained on Terra Firma may have penetrated further into the continent and shared in the adversities of the other nations expelled from the same kingdom. I refer the reader to what father Jumilla says on the subject in his "Orinoco Illustrated" respecting those nations that retained the tradition of their having left the island of Hispaniola in order to take possession of those countries.
If what has been adduced be combined with the points of history I have extracted from writers of both hemispheres, it will not be difficult to fix the epoch in which Hercules Tyrius lived, and founded the first town in America; that, in which his grandson Votan lived; of his voyages to the old continent; of his arrival there from America; of the Phoenician ship driven ashore by the tempest; of the transport of the Carthagenian colony to America; of the prohibitory decree inflicting capital punishment on any of their subjects who should proceed thither, and the recalling of such as had already emigrated; of the periods of the foundation and ruin of Amaguemecan; the circumstances which caused that event, and, as connected with it, the beginning of the kingdom of the Tultecas.
Admitting, then, that Votan was the third of his race, and supposing thirty years to be allowed for each generation; Hercules Tyrius will appear to have lived ninety years before Votan. This period is not so definitively fixed, but that the variation of thirty or forty years, more or less, may be admitted; "the error of a few years in the calculation of historical periods may be allowed, but the mistake of two or three centuries is not to be tolerated," says Dionysius Halicarnassus, and the Abbe Lenglet
conjectures, that by an age in chronology the space of thirty years is to be understood. Under such a supposition, the above period will correspond with three hundred and eighty-one years, a little more or less, before the christian era (note 32).
The epoch of Votan's voyage to the old continent may be decided with certainty, for, he says he was at Rome, and saw the great House of God building.
Consulting the annals of the Roman Republic, we find that in the four hundred and sixty-fourth year of the foundation of that city, and two hundred and ninety-one years before Christ, peace was granted to the Samnites after a sanguinary war of eight years, and an alliance founded between the two nations; in commemoration of which event, Publius Cornelius Rufinus, then Consul, ordered a magnificent temple to be built in honor of Romulus and Remus, the founders of the city, upon the side of the Curia, which had been the residence of the first of those two brothers, and where, after his death, the Senate used to assemble in order to deliberate on public affairs (note 33).
About this period, Rome and Carthage were in alliance for the second time, and the first war between them commenced forty-two years after this alliance, and twenty-six years after the arrival of Votan, consequently in the four hundred and forty-eighth year of the foundation of the city corresponding with three hundred and seven years before Christ, this second alliance was formed, and in the four hundred and ninetieth year of Rome and the two hundred and sixty-fifth year before Christ, the first Punic War began. There is but little doubt that the Romans and
the Carthaginians obtained their first knowledge of America from Votan himself, although it is probable, the latter soon after obtained a confirmation of his report from the mariners of the ship spoken of by Diodorus; or, that the seven Tzequiles whom Votan speaks of finding in one of his returns, were of this same people; nor is it less to be doubted, that the first colony sent to America by the Carthaginians, was previous to the first Punic War
This colony, united to the Tzequiles and reinforced by the Carthaginian mariners who fled from the miseries of war, remained in America, and almost immediately rendered itself master of the country by subduing the first inhabitants, and interrupted the order which the native people had, until that time observed, of being governed by two Captains elected by the priests, one from the family of Votan, the other from the Tzequiles, as related by Clavigero, lib. 1. To preserve harmony between them, the kingdom of Amaguemecan was established; and the perceptible migrations of the Carthaginians from their own country, occasioned the Senate's decree commanding them to return, as mentioned by Diodorus and confirmed by Moetezuma in his discourses with Cortes.
It is very credible that disobedience to this decree, the refusal to acknowledge fealty, the threat of the person sent to make known the decree, that he would either return with, or send a sufficient force to overpower and compel them to subjection, and the consternation excited in their minds by such a menace (for this alarm is implied in the Mexican tradition, and
was spoken of by Moetezuma to Cortes, when he says: "that those who were descended from him would return to conquer the country and reduce them to vassalage,") may have occasioned the downfall of Amaguemecan, because the original inhabitants, taking advantage of the general panic, which was probably increased by the death of Hamacatzin the last king, and the dissensions arising between his two sons Acheauhtzin and Xolotl respecting the succession, seriously thought of shaking off the yoke. For this purpose they formed secret meetings to concert measures for simultaneously commencing in all parts, operations against their oppressors, and they suddenly expelled them. Torquemada, Clavigero and others, mention these circumstances very confusedly, but, they had not access to information of which we are now in possession. This fact, supported as it is by traditions of the Mexicans and Tultecas of Amaguemecan, is confirmed by the suppliant posture of the Indian between the two crocodiles on the medal, a document sufficient in itself to perpetuate so great and memorable an event.
Again, there were no more than three kings of Amaguemecan (Torquem.: vol. 2). Ycoantzin, Moceloquichtzli, and Amacalzin; to the second, authors assign a reign of one hundred and fifty-six years, and to the third, one hundred and thirty-three years, but make no mention of the period the first reigned; these epochs are wholly beyond the [pale] of probability. By following however the rule laid down by Dionysius, Halicarnassus, and the note of Lenglet as better founded on experience, we shall have ninety years, little more or less, which assumes a much greater
appearance of truth; and, if this computation be adopted, it will shew that the dynasty was extinct shortly after the decree which caused this revolution, had been promulgated. If we have ascertained precisely the period when Votan was at Rome, it enables us to do the same in respect to other periods now under consideration, and, it is undeniable, that from fixed principles, consequences equally certain may be deduced.
To accomplish this, we must have recourse to the Mexican computation, collate it with ours, and compare it with the periods of certain events of American history and to the epochas assigned to them in their annals. The abbe Clavigero, in the sixth book of his second volume, treats, with great erudition, upon the system adopted by the Americans in reckoning their months, years, and centuries.
In computing centuries, years, and months, says the historian, the Mexicans and other nations used the same method as the ancient Tultecas The century consisted of fifty-two years, divided into four parts of thirteen years each; two centuries made an age of one hundred and four years, which was denominated Huchiretiliztli, a word meaning old age; to the end of the century they gave the name Toxihicnlolpia, which means the bond of our years, as it united two centuries to form one age. The years had four names, Tochtli (rabbit), Acatl, (reed), Teopatl, (flint) and Calli, (house) which, combined with different numbers, formed the century. The first year of the century was one rabbit, the second two reed, the third three flint, the fourth four house, the fifth five rabbit, thus continuing to the thirteenth, which was
thirteen rabbit, when the first period terminated. The second period commenced with one reed, and proceeded, two flint, three house, four rabbit, and finished with thirteen reed. The third period began with one flint, and ended with thirteen flint, the fourth began with one house, and finished the century with thirteen house; so that the names being four, and the numbers thirteen, there was no year that could be confounded with another.
The Mexican year, like ours, consisted of three hundred and sixty-five days, it contained eighteen months, and each month twenty days, making together three hundred and sixty days; they added to the last month five days, which were called Nemontemi, that is useless, because on those days they did nothing but pay and receive visits. The year one rabbit began on the 26th of February, but in every fourth year it advanced one intercalary day upon our bissextile year. In the last year of the century they began on the 14th of February, on account of the thirteen days interposed in the course of fifty-two years, but, when the century was completed they recommenced upon the 26th.
The same author says that he discovered in ancient writings and traditions, that the Tultecas being banished from Amaguemecan and its capital Huchicetlapalla, or Huehuetlapalan, commenced their pilgrimage in the year one flint; and that their settlement, at the foundation of their empire, was, in the year eight reed, and although he supposes these two events happened about the years five hundred and ninety-six, and six
hundred and sixty-seven of the christian era, he declares in a note, that the dates are not certain, but probable.
It is not very surprising, considering the want of some information which has recently been acquired, that although Torquemada and others found from the annals of the Tultecas that their pilgrimage lasted eight years, from the first flint, until the eighth reed, they should have confounded it with one hundred and four years or signs of Gemelli's Itinerary, which, as we have already seen, was in Africa; nor does it excite much astonishment that they have proceeded with so much uncertainty, and diverged into such a variety of opinions, without having been able to discover the true origin of the Tultecas and Chichimecas. It deserves notice, as strongly confirming Votan's correctness on the subject of the seven Tzequil families, whom the authors before named, discovered, that, during their pilgrimage, the people were subject to seven Captains or Chiefs whose names they have preserved, Zacatlebalcatzin, Evecatzin, Couatzin, Tzihualcoatl, Metzotzin and Tlapalmetzotzin, which are given with a trifling difference by Torquemada, who experienced so much difficulty in comprehending the Mexican tradition of their coming originally from the seven caves, that he confesses; "he felt great diffidence in endeavouring to unravel a perplexity, the solution of which so many had attempted and yet failed in developing;" yet all the obscurities would be cleared away by substituting the word houses for caves, and families for houses. The system of the Mexican century, divided as it is into four
names and thirteen numbers, does not admit of any one year being repeated under the same name and any one year being repeated under the same name and number during that century, yet this repetition does occur in different centuries. This repetition will perhaps occasion doubts as to the century in which any particular event may have happened, especially in referring to very remote times, therefore the connexion and combination of one event with another, is the only method of surmounting the difficulty, and exactly deciding upon the century to which it refers.
How are we to demonstrate the correctness of the following epochs? viz. Votan's arrival at Rome, in one of his voyages, in the year two hundred and ninety-one before Christ; the punic wars in two hundred and thirty-five, in two hundred and nineteen, and in one hundred and fifty before Christ, and the destruction of Carthage one hundred and forty-seven years before Christ. For these must prescribe the rule whereby to fix the Mexican century in which the pilgrimage of the Tultecas happened, and consequently the destruction of Amaguemecan and such other periods as may be required. Taking these as fixed data, and comparing the Mexican computation with our own, the year one flint, that in which the Toltecas were driven from Huchuetlapalan, the capital of Amaguemecan and began their pilgrimage will appear to be in one of their centuries which elapsed between Votan's appearance at Rome and the destruction of Carthage, for in this interval it must have happened; in one century it will
agree with two hundred and eighty-five, in another with two hundred and thirty-three, and in a third with one hundred and eighty-one years before Christ.
It is now our business to discover in which of these it actually did happen; which being discovered, and eight years added thereto, will give the precise period of the foundation of the Tultecan empire which arose from the ruins of Amaguemecan or Anahuac. It could not have been in the first period, for this would fall on the sixth year after Votan's arrival at Rome, nor in the second, for if ninety years, the duration of Amaguemecan, be added to two hundred and thirty-three, on which the year one flint falls, these added together would make three hundred and twenty-three years, and as Votan was at Rome in two hundred and ninety-one, the colony would thereby be dated thirty-two years before his arrival there; which is not satisfactory for many obvious reasons.
From hence it may be concluded that the true epoch of the fall of Amaguemecan and the consequent peregrination of the Tultecas or Chichimecas is, that in which the Mexican year one flint, corresponds with the year one hundred and eighty-one before Christ, because, if the ninety years assigned as the duration of Amaguemecan be added thereto, they will make two hundred and seventy-one. The result therefore is, that the date of the colony will be two hundred years after Votan's arrival, or six years before the first Punic war; the decree of the recall by the Carthagenians will appear to have been promulgated thirty-eight years before the second war commenced, thirty-one years before the third war
broke out, and thirty-four years before the destruction of Carthage.
The continual wars waged by Carthage during this interval, against the Romans and Numidians deprived it of any opportunity of avenging the affront of its rejected decree, and chastising the disobedience of its American subjects.
Boturini concurs with this epoch, he was well acquainted with the figures, symbols, characters, songs, and manuscripts of the Indian authors, and in the Tultecan history, he found that above a hundred years before Christ, they had observed in their ancient country Huehuetlapallan the excess of nearly six hours in the solar, over the civil year, which they regulated by adding an intercalary day to every fourth year.
Clavigero speaking of the idol Quetzalcoatl (a name signifying a snake covered with feathers) the god of the air, says, the Mexicans, believed this deity had been the chief priest of Tula, the capital of Tulteca, and that he was of a white complexion, tall and corpulent, with a broad forehead, large eyes, long black hair, and a thick beard; a man of austere and exemplary life clothed in long garments from a sense of modesty of a most gentle and prudent disposition, which showed itself in the laws he enacted for the good of the people; added to which, he was very expert in the arts of melting metals, and of polishing precious stones, which he taught the Tultecas.
Tescatlipoca, the god of providence, or more correctly speaking the providence of god, or god in our acceptation, being desirous of withdrawing Quetzalcoatl from Tula, appeared
to him under the form of an old man, stating it was the will of the gods that he should go to the kingdom of Tlapalla to obtain immortality; he then gave him a certain liquor to drink, which he had no sooner swallowed, than he felt so anxious a desire to repair thither, that he set out immediately, accompanied by many of his subjects. Passing by Cholula he was detained by the inhabitants, who conferred the government upon him, which he retained for twenty years; being still resolved upon continuing his journey to Tlapalla (which Clavigero supposes to be an imaginary place) and having proceeded as far as the province of Coatzacoalco he despatched four noble youths who attended him, to acquaint the Cholultecas, that he would afterwards return and render them happy.
Doctor Liguenza believes this Quetzalcoatl, was the apostle Saint Thomas, who preached the gospel to them, and he maintains this position with much learning in a work mentioned by Betaneourt, and doctor Eguiara in the Biblioteca Mexicana, among others, supports a similar opinion. This work was unfortunately lost through the negligence of his heirs, he therein drew a comparison between the name which Saint Thomas bore, viz. Didymus, signifying twin, and Quetzalcoatl, compounded of the words Quetzalli a precious stone, and Coatl twin[,] a precious twin.
This agrees admirably well with the time fixed in the narrative of Boturini, which mentions a regulation of the calendar to have taken place at Huehuetlapallan, upwards of an hundred years before the kingdom of Amaguemecan was destroyed. If this epoch be adopted, it will be obvious that
there was ample time for the kingdom of Tulteca to become well established after its foundation in the year eight reed, agreeing with one hundred and seventy-four years before Christ, so that it had already existed more than two hundred years before Saint Thomas announced the gospel to that people.
The kingdom of Tlapallan was not an imaginary one as Clavigero supposed, and the route taken by Quetzalcoatl from Cholula to Coatzacalco, in the absence of all other proofs, is sufficient to shew that it was not situated to the northward of Mexico, but to the south east.
Huehuetlapallan is a compound name of two words, Huehue, old, and Tlapallan, and it seems the Tultecas prefixed the adjective to distinguish it from three other places which they founded in the districts of their new kingdom, to perpetuate their attachment to their ancient country, and their grief at being expelled from the same; whence it arose that the place which formerly had the simple name of Tlapallan, was afterwards denominated Huehuetlapallan; at least so says Torquemada.
Such, without doubt, was the name which anciently distinguished the Palencian city, and this supposition is strengthened by a report, quoted by Clavigero and other authors, that the Mexicans were driven from their city of Axtlan, as were the Acolhuans from Teoacoluacan; for these people lived in different cities, each governed by its own chief or cacique, although subject to the sovereign of Amaguemecan, and like him, driven from their domains.
The origin of the Tulteca nation hitherto unknown, has now been proved; they were Chichimecas or Nagautlacas like the others, but so much exceeding them in stature, that there were some of gigantic size among them; they obtained the name of Tultecas from excelling in manufactures and arts, particularly that of working in gold and silver: Torquemada says, the word Tultecas means excellent artist; their language and method of reckoning time were similar to the Mexicans.
Not less clearly has it been ascertained that the founder of the Tultecan empire was Achcanhtzin, eldest son of Hamacatzin last king of Amaguemecan, from whom his brother Xoloth, chief of the remainder of the Chichemecas, separated. But Achcauhtzin must have died during their eight years wandering, for Torquemada affirms that Chalchuhtlanextzin, who was probably his son, was the first king of Tula known in history.
The difficulties that have excited so much discussion among writers as to the origin of these nations, the place whence they came, and the time of their migration, are now surmounted; the incongruities which have operated as a barrier against ascertaining the beginning of their history are reconciled, and the anachronisms which they occasioned are exposed and rectified.
Returning to the history of Votan and the seven families of the Tzequiles, which he found blended with the seven that he had brought from Hispaniola, and in which he recognised the Culebra origin, there remains but little more to say than that we are warranted in concluding, from the strongest evidence, they were Carthagenians. The illustrious Huet, bishop of Avranches,
in his Evangelical Demonstrations, Alexis Venegas in his work on the Variation of Books, and several other writers, after careful examination, accord with this opinion, supposing them to have been a colony of Tyrians, consequently Hivites; therefore the truth of Votan's narrative remains clearly substantiated by many conclusive evidences.
After bestowing some consideration upon the meaning of the word Tzequil, and confiding in the knowledge of, the before-mentioned don Ramon Ordonez, I shall assert that Tzequil, in the Zendal language, means an upper petticoat, (Enagua, Basquina) and the same word means Nahuatlacas in the Mexican idiom; at the present time the natives of Chiapa call the Mexicans Tzequiles. Don Ramon affirms that the town of Tzequil, founded by these seven families of which Votan speaks, is the suburb called the Mexican, and joins the city of Ciudad Real (but for this I will not vouch;) and that they were named Tzequils or Nahuatlacas, not only from having introduced the use of petticoats, for the greater propriety and decency of the women, but also, from having tolerated the sect or superstition of Nagualism. Votan alludes to this when he says, the Tzequiles gave him the first notions of a God and of his worship.
To conclude this discourse in the manner I propose, there still remains to investigate the origin of Huitzilopochtli, the tyrannical deity of the Mexicans, who is said to have destroyed so many hundred thousands of human victims during his empire over them, that they stood in need of arithmetical terms to enumerate them. For the better solution of this historical
problem, I will transcribe the description of this personage literally from Clavigero, vol. 2, book 6.
"Huitzilopochtli is a name composed of two words, Huitzilin, the beautiful bird we call Chupalflores, (the Humming bird,) and Opochtli, to the left; this name was given because the idol has feathers of the Humming bird placed on its left foot. Boturini, who understood but little of the Mexican idiom, derives this name from Huitziton, the chief of the Mexicans during their peregrination, and supposes the deity to represent this chief; this is a forced etymology, and the supposed identity is entirely unknown among the Mexicans, for they worshipped this god of war from time immemorial, before they commenced their wandering life under the guidance of Huitziton. Some say this divinity was a pure spirit, and others represent him as having been born of a woman, without a father, and relate the circumstance in this way. There lived, say they, at Contepec, a place not far distant from the ancient city of Tula, a woman called Coatlicue, mother of Centzonthuiznahui, and she devoted herself to the worship of the gods. One day, according to her custom, being employed in sweeping the temple, she saw a ball of different coloured feathers fall through the air to the ground; she took it up and put it in her bosom, intending to make use of the feathers to decorate the altar; but looking for them as soon as she had finished her employment, they were not to be found. This excited her surprise, and she was still more astonished on finding herself from that moment
pregnant, and the circumstance in due time became visible to her sons, who, although they did not suspect their mother's virtue, yet feared such a birth might bring disgrace upon them and determined to prevent it by parricide. This resolution was not taken with sufficient secrecy to prevent the mother's discovering it, who was bitterly afflicted at the thought of dying by the hands of her own children, when she suddenly heard a voice speaking to her, which said, Be not alarmed, my mother, for I will preserve your honour and my own; her cruel sons, however, were urged on by their sister Cotolzauhi, who was much more eager to accomplish the design than they were ready to perpetrate their meditated atrocity. Huitzilopochtli was at length born with a shield on his left arm, a dart in his right hand, and a plume of green feathers on his head; his countenance was of a bright blue colour, and his left leg, his thighs, and his arms were covered with feathers. The first moment of his existence was signalized by causing a snake of pine wood to appear before him, and he commanded one of his soldiers, named Tochnacolgni, to kill Cotolzauhi with it, because she had been the most culpable, whilst he attacked her brothers with so much fury, that, in spite of their strength, their arms, and their entreaties, he killed them, pillaged their houses, and presented the spoils to his mother. This event threw the people into such consternation that they called him Tetzohuitl (terror), Tetzauhteotl, (terrible god).
"This god having been protector of the Mexicans, led them,
according to their own account, during many years of their wandering life, and at last settled them in the place where they built the great city of Mexico. On his head was a beautiful plumage, shaped like a bird; on his neck a collar composed of ten figures of human hearts; in his right hand a staff in the form of a serpent; and in his left a shield on which were five balls of feathers disposed in the form of a cross."
This description of the manner and circumstances under which the Mexicans represented Huitzilopochtli; the human hearts round his neck; the signification of his compound name; the figure of the bird on his head; the feathers on his thighs and left leg, and the fable of his birth, being compared with the medal which represents the seven first families; the withered tree and the bird perched on the shrub springing from its root; with the figure of Votan having the three human hearts painted on the band which he holds in his hand, will readily point out that the extinct family designated by the withered tree is Votan's, that the mother [of] Huitzilopochtli is the widow of that first populator of America, and that Huitzilopochtli, the illegitimate issue of this hypocritical widow, undoubtedly wished, by adopting as his device the bird Huitzlin (humming bird,) to enroll himself among the family of Votan, although he had actually destroyed the last . members of it, and to take his illustrious appellations from the symbol of Votan (who had been his mother's husband,) that is, the hearts, rather than from the father who had begotten him, notwithstanding he was pretended to have been divine.
It must be observed, that Huitzilopochtli was worshipped by
all the Chichemecan and Nahuatlacan nations, not even excepting the Tultecas, with the same sanguinary rites as by the Mexicans, but it was under different names and figures, according to their peculiar languages; for example, by the Tultecas under the name of Tlaloc; by the Tlascaltecas or Teochichecmecas as Camaxtle; and by the Chiapanecos and Mixtecas as the heart of the people; the two last represented him by a little idol of emerald, about four fingers in length and two in breadth, on which was sculptured the figure of a bird surrounded by a little snake.
This idol was found by father Benito Fernandez, a zealous Dominican Missionary of Mixteca, on the lofty-mountain of Achianhtla, where it was worshipped by the natives; he refused three thousand dollars which were offered to him by some Spaniards who saw it, thinking it would be more conducive to the spiritual welfare of his new converts, to reduce it to dust, which he accordingly performed with great pomp in presence of the people. See Clavigero, 2d vol. of his history.
In speaking of the Tultecas, Clavigero says: that although they were idolaters, he did not know they offered human victims; but Torquemada relating the allegorical history of their destruction, says, an immense number of Tultecas being assembled to celebrate a festival to appease the anger of their gods when a famine and pestilence were raging in their country, after they had danced with a giant phantom that appeared among them, were next morning found dead and their hearts taken out; an evident proof of their having been sacrificed according to the rites of the country.
I have now ascertained the origin, if not of all the Americans, at least of those who inhabited the countries bordering on the gulph of Mexico and the adjacent islands; and I have cleared up such other points as I proposed to examine. From various accidents, since the introduction of the arts of navigation, it is probable that many other families besides those alluded to may have been conveyed to different parts of America and have formed settlements; the numerous dialects known in America, as well as their superstitious religion and rites of exotic origin, which they continued to practise and diffuse, will warrant such a supposition. At any rate, this present examination, and the traditions which have been regularly and generally preserved by all the nations, from one pole to the other, relative to the deluge, the confusion of languages, and the subsequent dispersion of the tribes are arguments sufficiently strong, if there were no others, to refute the impious doctrine of the Proeadamites as heretical, and without any foundation on fact.
That most troublesome of all the difficulties hitherto started by authors respecting the passage of animals to America, particularly of the ferocious kinds at enmity with man, even retaining in full force the plausible reasons so ingeniously urged, if not entirely removed, is nearly surmounted by the discovery and examination of Anian or Behring's straits' which are of no greater breadth than thirteen leagues from shore to shore, and where, by means of the ice, the two continents of Asia and America are connected; this would afford a practical route not only for animals but men, from whom it is possible to suppose that those
who inhabit the most northerly countries from the straits as far as Hudson's and Baffin's Bays, and from the Frozen Sea to California, New Mexico, and Canada to the southward, are descended.
On this subject we may consult the third and fourth volumes of the English Captain James Cook's Voyages, and Don Antonio Herrera's Decades to Spanish and foreign authors, who have written concerning the nations that inhabit the regions from California to the other side of New Mexico. We may also take under consideration the accounts given of the latest discoveries of the Spaniards along the northern coasts of America in the Pacific Ocean; the languages, manners, customs, rites and religion may be compared with those of the nations of Kamstchatka, Tshutski, Tungusi, Siberia, and adjacent territories. We may also examine the quadrupeds of both parts of the globe, at the same time bearing, in mind the singular hunting parties formed by the Asiatics, particularly by the Tartars of the vast empire of Genghis Khan, about the eleventh century of the christian era, in which wild beasts of all descriptions were driven together in general confusion. If we take the trouble to enter upon such examination, the possibility will occur to our minds, that the tenants of the forests, flying from this annual persecution which was ordained by law, may have passed, or at least some of them, by the glacial isthmus to America, and spread themselves over it, occupying those climates most propitious to their respective natures.
As a corollary to this little work, I will offer my opinion upon the system adopted by the American nations in their computation
of time, upon this proviso however, that when it shall appear my humble judgment is opposed to the opinions of many celebrated and estimable writers, in the progress of this discourse, it does not arise from a mere desire of contradiction, but from the necessity of dissenting from their ideas on account of the more recent information which has been obtained, and from a wish to place truth on its proper basis, that history may shine forth with that lustre which time has obscured; while the destruction of some records, the indistinctness of others, and the difficulty of comprehending the few that remain, has not only dimmed but almost entirely obscured.
All writers have been surprised at the ingenious method pursued by the Americans from a very remote period, without adopting the practices of any of the polished countries of the old continent as for example in the division of the months into twenty days, the years into eighteen months, and the centuries into fifty-two years; the duplication of the century to form an age of one hundred and four years, and the prudent collocation of the intercalary days. Failing in all their efforts to trace an imitation, they have been obliged to confess that this singular system, so far from being inferior to, does actually excel that of the most polished nations in the world: but, being unwilling to yield to the ancient Americans so much talent and discretion as were requisite for its arrangement, they have had recourse to Egypt, the cradle of sciences, and to Asia whence the Tultecas, its reputed authors, are said to have derived their origin. The utmost, however, that they have been able to discover, is, that on
the 26th of February, the Mexican century begins, which was celebrated from the time of Nabonassor, seven hundred and forty-seven years before Christ, because the Egyptian priests, conformably to their astronomical observations had fixed the beginning of their month Toth and the commencement of their year at noon on that day; this was verified by the Meridian of Alexandria, which was erected three centuries after that epoch.
Hence it has been contended there could exist no doubt of the conformity of the Mexican with the Egyptian calendar, for, although the latter assigned twelve months of thirty days each to the year, and added five days besides, in order that the circle of three hundred and sixty-five days should recommence from the same point; yet, notwithstanding the deviation from the Egyptian mode in the division of the months and days, they yet maintained that the Mexican method was conformable thereto, on account of the superadded five days; with this only difference, that upon these the Americans attended to no business, and therefore termed them Nemontemi or useless, whereas the Egyptians celebrated, during that epoch. the festival of the birth of their gods, as attested by Plutarch de Feide, and Osiride. Upon the other hand it is asserted, that though the Mexicans differed from the Egyptians by dividing their year into eighteen months, yet, as they called the month Mextli Moon, they must have formerly adopted the lunar month, agreeable to the Egyptian method of dividing the year into twelve months of thirty days; but to support this assertion, no attempt has been made to ascertain the cause why this method was laid aside.
The analogy between the Mexican and the Egyptian calendars is thus assumed to be undeniable. Besides what has been here introduced, the same is attempted to be proved in many other works which I pass over to avoid prolixity, and therefore only mention that they may be found in Boturini, in La Idea del Universo, by the Abbe Don Lorenza de Hervas, published in the Italian language, in Clavigero's dissertations, and in a letter addressed to him by Hervas; which he added to the end of his second volume.
The reason, according to my humble judgment, which induced the Mexicans to deviate from the Egyptian practice, and form a distinct system for themselves, could be no other than this, viz.: as they had constituted themselves a separate people and independent of the nations of the old continent, they determined to lay aside the Egyptian style, which was in common use with the Carthagenians, (from whom, be it remembered, they were descended and whose yoke they had shaken off), and other nations of the old hemisphere, and by reserving the original basis, from which indeed it was no easy matter to depart, in order to form a new system, analogous both to their origin and to the wandering life of their forefathers, during the hundred and four years or domiciles, before they came to occupy the American soil.
Having exhausted my small portion of talent in this little work, I am sensible there yet remain many and very serious difficulties to overcome; but, if the arguments I offer do not at present assume the force of evident demonstration, it will not be denied that they amount to probability, which approximates
thereto; and I may, at least, take credit to myself for having discovered a route by which we may ultimately arrive at the truth; in my opinion it is the only one. and, if not entirely new, is, at any rate, but little trodden by other writers. A search after monuments which doubtless still remain in the Palencian city, in Mayapan or Ocozingo and many other places in the province of Yucatan, and that of Chichen Ytza or Peten, which adjoins, as well as at various other places in the kingdom of Guatemala, will some time hence add to it that degree of certainty required at present, and repair the loss (which can never be sufficiently lamented), of the valuable histories of the American nation; a loss, as I have before mentioned, caused by an inconsiderate zeal that has not been less injurious to the republic of letters than prejudicial to the interests of true religion.
There is yet another circumstance, equally important with the monumnets already described, that may powerfully contribute so desirable an object and which I shall state in the following
APPENDIX.The indifference of many individuals, possessing precious relics that have, from time to time, fallen into their hands is, in my estimation, very reprehensible.
We have already seen, with grief, what was done by Nunez de la Vega with those which he obtained in the Casa Lobrega at Tlacoaloya; but without going so far back, or reverting to losses that are now beyond the power of remedy, I will confine myself
to some recent important discoveries which may be preserved, should they attract attention from the superior authorities.
Being very desirous of ascertaining the time when, and the place where, the two medals before described were found, I collected various reports which indeed agreed but little with each other; at last, I was assured by don Nicholas Ortiz de Letona, residing in the city of New Guatemala, that, in 1787, don Jose Antonio Colomo, curate of the town of Ostuncalco, in the jurisdiction of Questabtenango, informed him, that, having issued orders for digging at a certain place in his curacy where he had previously observed that something must have been buried, he found, about twelve feet below the surface of the ground, a small jar of fine clay, covered with a tile of the same material, containing two hundred different brass medals, and among them he recollects to have seen one similar to that represented in this work. Don Ramon Ordonez and the presbyter don Gabriel Chacon y Godoy related to me, that a few years back, the presbyter don Patricio Chinchilla, a native Indian, gave an account to the vicar of Saint Bartholomew de los Llanos, in the bishoprick of Chiapa, that he had discovered, in a cavern, many sacred vessels and utensils of silver, and repeatedly entreated him to go and take possession of them; but perceiving the vicar had not sufficient confidence in him to credit his report, he brought, as a proof of his veracity, a silver chalice: it was very broad at the foot and the cup shaped like an inverted pyramid; and on being compared with others of a similar make, preserved in the church, it is presumable it may be attributed to the times of the
Apostles: the Indian died soon after this circumstance, and the remainder of this treasure has not since been discovered. The chalice in question, as lam informed, was destined by the curate for an oratory on an estate of his own called Rosario. This discovery is of great importance, since it confirms the Mexican tradition before alluded to of the gospels having been made known in these countries by the Apostle Saint Thomas, who was worshipped under the from of the idol Quetzalcoatl.
The licentiate don Francisco Ortiz also informed me, that there is in the possession of the present curate of Saint Catharine of Yatahuacan, a little historical book of an Hebrew Indian nation, which may probably be that of Been, mentioned by Nunez de la Vega. Letters have been addressed to this person with a view to obtain a copy of the same as well as to the curate of Saint Bartholomew for the purpose of verifying the fact of the chalice; but as no replies have yet been received, it is supposed the letters did not reach their destination.
In the environs of this city, on the plain in the road leading to the town of Mixco, there are evident vestiges of the site of an extensive village; these consist of a vast number of fragments of earthen vessels dispersed in all directions, in numerous pyramidical mounds notorious for having been the sepulchres of distinguished personages, and in many rude statues of stone. One of the latter, which don Paul Tauriginii brought to this city, is now placed at the corner of his house; a second has been erected near a fountain called el Ojo de Agua, on
the estate named Incienso; and a third may be seen in an angle of a court yard in the town of Ciudad Vieja de Guatemala. In the inner court of the house on the Incieso estate, there is also a stone tablet supported upon feet, having hieroglyphics on the four corners of the superficies and on three of its edges; this must have been a table used in sacrifices.
On the same plain one Felix Consuegra, of this city, dug up a round flat stone about a yard in diameter and a quarter thick, on one of its superficies a deity is represented under the figure of a man in the'act of seating himself; pointing upwards with the fore finger of his right hand, and downwards with the fore finger of his left which is placed behind him; before him there is a bird with a crest like a cock and many hieroglyphics and unknown characters. This stone was beneath another very large one of a parallelagramatic form, which shews it to have been an altar for sacrifices.
Calmet relates that the Cuteans, a people who emigrated from Samaria, worshipped the goddess Nergel under the figure of a bird resembling a hen; and father Pezronio affirms in his chronological canon, that this emigration was from Persia and headed by Asarradon king of Assyria and Babylon, in the twenty-second year of the reign of Manasses, six hundred and seventy-six years before the christian era.
Don Juan de Letona, chief officer of the royal treasury, and don Pedro Garziaguirre engraver of the royal mint, have in their possession numerous historical medals.
There can be no doubt but many important relics might
now be discovered in the Palencian city, in Mayapam [sic - Mayapan?] and other places in the same kingdom, if careful researches were made; because this region was the first on the continent, where the polished nations, before described, founded their settlements. Many valuable documents might be found in the archives of the different bishopricks and in the libraries of convents; indeed in the Dominican convent of this city there are some learned manuscripts in six folio volumes, that were written by father Francisco Ximenes, relative to the conquest of this province, the progress of religion, and the apostolic fathers who desseminated Christianity. In the first volume he has given an history of the creation of the world as believed by the Indians of Chiapa, to ascertain this from the natives cost him a great deal of labour, for so he expresses himself. Such a document will add much to the fame of don Ramon Ordonez who, I am told, has introduced it into his work del Cielo y de la Tierra. There are also many records in the hands of curates, and of private individuals who do not consider them of much value, and probably they will be lost, unless they fall into the possession of those who know how to estimate the treasures of information which they contain. May not the historical works spoken of by Nunez de la Vega, (a Domicinn friar prior to his nomination to the bishoprick of Chiapa), which he has declared were in his possession, yet be found in the library of the Dominican convent of Ciudad Real, or in the archives of the bishoprick? It is possible.
All this, however, requires the powerful arm of his Majesty. Were the royal interposition successful, some of the original
works might be deposited in the royal cabinet; faithful copies of which, and of the hieroglyphics, figures and characters that might be discovered, duly authenticated by a public act, would, in my opinion, a most desirable acquisition to the university of this city. Such statues and stones as could be transported, might be placed in the halls and galleries of the university, where they would afford to the students of antiquity, excellent and authentic materials for discussing and reviving their forgotten merits; which could not fail of redounding to the honor of his Majesty and to the benefit of the public.
Although Calmet says the few monuments, as well as the hieroglyphics and characters, which have descended to us uninjured, can now be neither read nor understood, because the Greek language, introduced by the dominion of the Ptolemies, occasioned the Egyptian, (which very nearly resembled the Punic and Phoenician) to be forgotten; I am persuaded the Zendal, Mexican and American mother tongues, must have a great affinity to the Egyptian; and as it is undeniable that the languages of these nations have been preserved, they may be capable of affording some assistance in decyphering the hieroglyphics and different characters, particularly as the similitude between the Egyptian and the Punic is well known to the learned.
But, admitting there did exist a great difference between the Egyptian and Punic languages, yet it is probable the method of writing and understanding the hieroglyphics and characters might have been the same with both people, or, have had some resemblance. This is indeed the opinion of father Kircher who thinks,
as stated by Calmet himself, that the Egyptian hieroglyphics and characters are the same as the Phoenician or Cadmean, introduced by Cadmus into Boetia, with no other difference, than what I have before pointed out between the sacred and the vulgar. Lucan attributes the invention of the latter to the Phoenicians, in the following verses, lib. 3.
Mensuram rudibus vocem signare figuris.
Nondum flumineas, Memphis, contexere Biblos.
Noverat et saxis tantum, volucresque, ferosque,
Sculptaque servabant, Magicas, Animalia, linguas.
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From the year two hundred and ninety-one before Christ, when Votan was at Rome, to thirty-four years after the coming of our Saviour, in which he completed the work of our redemption by his agony and death. The eclipse, which happened at the crucifixion, as attested by the Holy Evangelists, was noted in the Mexican Calendar in the year seven Tochtli (Rabbit) as traced by Boturini and verified by Clavigero, when he fixed the time of the expulsion of the Chichemecas from Amaguemecan, and the beginning of their peregrination in first Tecpatl, (Flint) and the foundation of the kingdom of Tulteca in eight Acatl, (Reed) and other important periods.
[table not copied]
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S U P P L E M E N T.On reading the third voyage of Captain Cook, after I had finished this work, I found in the general introduction to the first volume, some reflections which accord so well with my own conjectures on the population of America, that they appear to me worthy of being introduced here. In page 59 of the Paris edition 1785, it is said: "The relative positions of Asia and America which Cook has laid down, and his survey of the narrow strait that divides the old from the New World, have thrown great light upon this important part of geography, and solved the difficult problem of the population of America by tribes destitute of the necessary means of undertaking long voyages." In page 80, "His third voyage has decided other
and more important points. He has discovered, or at least proved to demonstration the proximity of the two continents of Asia and America; therefore our latest navigators have rendered a service to religion by refuting an objection started by sceptics, against the population of different parts of the earth as related by Moses." Again in a note, "The incredulous have raised a multitude of objections that betray great ignorance; the author of "Recherches Philosophiques sur les Americains," thus expresses himself on this question. "This distance which Mr. Antermonio deemed so unimportant, is nearly eighty trench leagues, across a dangerous ocean, impossible to be traversed in canoes so bad and so fragile as Ysbrand describes the canoes of the Tungusians to be." Tom. I.
Had this writer known that the two continents are no more than thirteen leagues from each other instead of eighty, and that in that short space numerous intermediate islands are dispersed on each side, he would not have ventured to adopt this reasoning with so much confidence as he has done against Mr. Bell's System of the route by which the inhabitants first attained the shores of America. In a learned work composed by the illustrious Don Francis Jose Granados y Galvez, Bishop of Sonara, entitled Tardes Americanas (American Evenings), printed at Mexico, in 1778. which also fell into my hands after I had brought my work to a conclusion, I find the following remark. "Besides the seven caves from which the Chichemecas emerged to people the North or Land of Amaguemecan, there are some islands which they place on their maps towards the east,
mistaking them for those of the Tultecas which lie to the westward, the maps of the latter however do not represent countries, but families." This very valuable and conclusive information, although acquired at the termination of my researches, prompts me to amend the title of this essay which I had intended to call a new Attempt to solve the grand historical problem of the population of America; whereas I have denominated it; a Solution of the grand problem, and in so doing I sincerely trust the reader will not ascribe such alteration to an overstrained confidence in my own abilities.
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Note 1. -- Page 27.Don Antonio de Mendoza, the first viceroy of Mexico, ordered a collection of paintings to be executed amounting to sixty-three, which he caused to be explained by the learned natives, and their elucidations to be translated into the Spanish language for Charles V. The ship in which they were sent, was captured by a French privateer, and in consequence they fell into the hands of Fevet, geographer to the then king of France. From his heirs they were purchased by Hakluit, author of the voyages and Chaplain to the English Ambassador at the Court of France, who remitted them to England. The Spanish translation was rendered into English by one Lock, at the command of Sir Walter Raleigh, and published by Samuel Purchas, in the third volume of his Pilgrimages. It was reprinted in Paris, with the interpretation of Thevenot in the second volume of his Relation of Curious Voyages, but was defective, owing to his having mistaken the figures of the years in the copies of the paintings 11 and 12, and the copies of numbers 21 and 22, added to which, the major part of the figures of the tributary cities are deficient. Kircher reprinted a copy of Purchase's production in his Oedipus Aegyptiacus, which will be found extremely useful to the learned who may employ themselves in writing upon this subject.
The viceroy Don Luis Velasco, count of Benevento, employed Don Fernando Pimentel Yxtlilxochitl, son of Coanacotzin, the last king of Tezcuco; and Don Antonio de Tovar Cano Moetrzuma Yxtlilxochitl, descendants from the royal families of Mexico and Texcuco, to write whatsoever they were acquainted with relative to their respective nations. In consequence of this, some letters were produced on the genealogy of the kings of Acolhuacan or Tezcuco, and on some other points of the ancinet history of that kingdom, which were preserved in the Jesuit's College of Saints Peter and Paul in Mexico.
Don Fernando de Alba Yxtlilxochitl under the same auspices wrote many erudite works of great estimation, as he was profoundly versed in the antiquities of his nation, Acilhua or Tezcuco, from the kings of which he was a lineal descendant, viz: 1. The History of New Spain. 2. The History of Chichemeca. 3. An historical compendium of the kingdom of Tezcuco. 4. Some historical memoirs of the Tultecs and other nations of Anahuac; all which works were preserved in the library of the college before mentioned. It is probable that the last production treats of their coming from the old to the new continent; of their expulsion from their first settlement at the city of Palenque in the kingdom of Amaguemecan, and the cause thereof. This author was so cautious in what he wrote, that, to remove all suspicion of fiction
he caused a deed to be executed in legal form, authenticating his narrative with the historical paintings which he inherited from his ancestors.
Don Alfonso Zurita, a celebrated jurisconsult, corregidor of Mexico, after having made many researches by order of Phillip II, relative to the political Government of the Mexicans, wrote a compendious account of the chiefs who had governed in Mexico, with their distinctions, the laws, manners, and customs of the Mexicans, and of the tributes paid by them; the original of which in folio was eqyally preserved in the Jesuits' Library. In the same despository were also kept several other valuable manuscripts highly deserving of notice. 1. Annals of the kingdom of Azcapuzalco or Colhuacan; this must not be confused with Acolhuacan or Texcuco. 2. Four Works in the Mexican Language, by Don Domingo Saint Anton Munon Chimalpain, a Mexican noble, viz: a Mexican Chronicle of events from the year 1068 to 1597. 2. The history of the conquest of Mexico and other Provinces. 3. Historical commentaries from the year 1064 to 1521. And a Mexican Chronicle, written in Spanish, in the year 1598, by Don Fernando de Alvardo Texozomoc. In the Jesuits' College of Tepozotlan, there is a history of the voyage of the Aztecas to the country of Anahuac, written by Don Cristoval de Castillis, a nible Mestee Mexican. The title if this MS. shews it to be one of importance, as it very probably contains an account of the voyage of the Mexicans, who are the Aztecas, and of the primitive families of the Culebras (snakes), who I shall demonstrate were from the old continent to the new, with an account of the first empire they founded in America, its duration, its decay, and their expulsion from the first settlements of Anahuac.
Note 2. -- Page 27.Father Gregoria Garcia, a Dominican, was the first who printed the celebrated book, "On the Origin of the Americans," at Palencia in 1607. This work was augmented, with some very learned notes, by an anonymous author and reprinted at Madrid in 1720.
Don Cristoval Chaves Castellejo, in the year 1632 wrote a work, entitled "The Origin of the Indians, and their first Colonies in the kingdom of Anahuac.
Don Carlos de Siguenza y Gonzora, professor of mathematics in the university of Mexico (his native place), wrote many works of great eurdition, among which was an history of the kingdom of Cichemeca, wherein he introduced whatever he had been able to collect from manuscripts and paintings relative to the first colonies transplanted into America, and to events among the nations settled in Anahuac; to these was added a long and learned treatise upon the promulgation of the Gospels, by the apostle Saint Thomas, founded on the Indian traditions, and on the numerous crosses found in Mexico during its Paganism, and then the objects of their worship. All these manuscripts however, were unfortunately lost by the negligence of his heirs, and there now remain only some fragments of his works, in the writings of Benancourt and Victoria, his contemporaries, and in those of his friend Gemilli.
Lorenzo Boturini Benaducci, a Milanese gentleman, after much trouble in obtaining copies of the best manuscripts and paintings, printed at Mardid in the year 1746 the outline of a grand work, which I have been informed did not appear in consequence of his death. All the authors cited in this and the preceeding note, and many others, are mentioned by Clavigero in his
catalogue of writings on America, at the beginning of vol. 1 of his Ancient History of Mexico, printed in the Italian language at Cezenna in 1780.
Note 3. -- Page 28.Cartas Criticas, tom. II.
Note 4. -- Page 28.Tomo 1, libro 2. -- "L'istoria della primitiva popolazione di Anahuac, e per tal maniera oscurata e da tante favole invilluppata che, non che maleggevole, e anche affatto impossible il trovar il vero."
Note 5. -- Page 28.The abbe Lenglet in his method of studying history, vol. 1, chap. 9, quotes this system. Burnot supposes that the primitive earth being formed like an arched vault, was being split by the heat of the sun and fell in pieces to the bottom of the liquid element: that if the fall had been equal the whole globe would have been only one interrupted sea; that it did not fall at once, but large portions of it remaining inclined at their extremities in different directions, such large portions are the continents inhabited at the present period.
Note 6. -- Page 28.Praeadamitorum Systems, lib. 4, cap. 7, 8, 9, cited by Lenglet, tom. 1, cap. 3, Feyjoo at the place mentioned before.
Note 7. -- Page 30.Credendum potius miracula intercessiase signa necessaria fuerunt, quam scripture sacrae historiae narrationo fidem derrogandum, vel ejus verba in alienos sensus detorquenda, Natal. Alex. in Histor. Veter. Testsm. prima Mundi AEtate, dissert. 10, art. 4.
Note 8. -- Page 30.The Tapanahuasee is a hollow cylinder like a large drum, entirely of wood without skins at the ends. It is beaten on its longitudinal surface, where there are two long parallel hollows, a little distant from each other, and struck on the space between the hollows with sticks covered at the ends with Ule or elastic resin; that the sound produced may be softer. During their paganism the Indians used this instrument in their sacred dances. Even at the present day they employ it in the diversion of dancing called Tepanahuaste, or, as the Mexicans call it, the dance of Teponatxli.
Note 9. -- Page 31.The same Nunez de la Vega, in several places in his "Constitutions," but more particularly in his ninth Pastoral Letter, at number 4, gives an account of the sect or superstition of Nagualism, which was found to have taken deep root in his Bishoprick and extended over the kingdom of Mexico. "The Nagualists practice it by superstitious calendars, wherein are inserted the proper names of all the Naguals, of stars, the elements, birds, beasts, fishes, and reptiles; with observations upon the months and days, in order that Children, as soon as they are born may be dedicated to that, which in the Calendar corresponds with the day of their birth: this is preceded by some frantic ceremonies, and the express consent of parents, (which is an implocit pact between the infants and the Naguals that are to be given to them). Then appoint the Milpa or place, where, after the completion of seven years, they are brought into the presence of the Nagual to ratify the engagement; for this purpose they make them renounce god and his blessed mother, instructing them before hand not to be alarmed, or sign themselves with the cross; they are afterwards to embrace the Nagual affectionately, which by some diabolical art or another, appears very tame and fondly attached to them, although it may be a beast of a ferocious nature as a Lion, a Tiger, &c. They persuade the children, by their infernal cunning, that this Nagual is an angel, sent by God to watch over their fortunes, to protect, assist and accompany them; and that it must be invoked upon all occasions, business, or occurences, in which they may require its aid."
Note 10. -- Page 42.Plangebatur et apud Egyptios Osiris... [lengthy note in Latin regarding the lost member of Osiris, etc.]]
Note 11. -- Page 47.Calmut cap. 10, vers. 17 in Genes. Verb. Evarum Chivim, et in Diction. Bibliot. Verb. Cadmondi Heraei Jesus et in dissert. de Harbrmor. histor. prarestan. et de Regions in quam Cananei
pulsi a Josue sese receperunt, tom. 2, in Jos. de devirs. ration. scrobend. veter. tom. I, et mult. aliis in locis sparaim: see also Lenglet, tom. 1 et 2.
Note 12. -- Page 48.Quo in fabula narranlur de metamorphosi illorum in Angues dednctum est e nomine Hevaeorum quod Phoenicio sermone anguem sonat. Ideo vero gentibus illis Hevaeorum nonien indutum censent Hebraeii quod, anguium more sub terra et in cavernis habitarent, Calmet, Coiuin Genes. cap. 10, vers. 17.
Note 13. -- Page 49.Timorem meum immittam in praecursum tuum, et occidam ooinem populum ad quem ingredieris cunctorumque inimicorum tuorum coram te terga vertam Emittens Crabrones prius, qui fugabunt Hevaeum et Cananaeum, et Helaeum, antequam inlroeas. Exod. 23, 28, 29, vide etiam Deuter. 9, 3, 32, 22, et Sapien. 12, 8.
Note 14. -- Page 51.Calmet, from whom I have taken the chronology of the victory of Mises over Og, king of Basan, and the foundations of Tyre and Sidon, has erred in the date of the first; and this error I have noticed in two different impressions of his work. It is known that in settling the date of the victory, he made use of the shortest computation of the Hebrew text, which reckons 1656 years from the creation of the world to the deluge; and 797 years from the latter to the emigration of the Hebrews from Egypt; these added together make 2453 and this number should be substituted for 2253, which is given as the date of the victory. Such is undoubtedly an error of the amanuensis or the printer.
But to fix the date of the foundation of Tyre and Sidon, he has recourse to the longest computation of the Hebrew text, that agrees in the same period of 1656 years from the creation to the deluge, but makes the Hebrews' departure from Egypt 857 years after the deluge, these combined amount to 2549 which is the date he assigns; and such computation agrees with the thirty-six, instead of the thirty-seven years of the Hebrews sojourning on the wilderness.
Neither do the dates before Christ correspond. He places the death of Ig, in the year 1447, and the foundation of Tyre in 1455, eight years prior to that event; and this he does by fixing the foundation of Thebes, which was certainly in 1519 consequently sixrt four years elapsed between the building of the two cities. At this point Moses, so far from being with his father-in-law, in Madian, had been numbered with the dead many years, according to out own computation. Add to this that the major part of those writers who follow the calculations of the Hebrew text, fix the foundation of Thebes at the period of the departure of the Jews from Egypt; respecting the date of Thebes there can be no doubt, as it is authenticated by the Arundal marbles. These are the most percious of all the records of Antiquity, as they have become the basis of chronology, have enabled us to fix the periods of many remarkable events, and have been the main prop of history. The sacred volume, being intended to make converts to christianity, pays but little attention to chronology, and therefore seldom mentions the year or time of any event, which, for our instruction, is placed before us. Much more might be said in opposition
to Calmet, respecting these days, which I shall omit, as the inaccuracy is sufficiently obvious, and because I wish to avoid being more diffuse in notes than in my principal subject, but this appears to me to be a fit opportunity for introducing the eulogium of Lenglet, vol I, chap. 8.
"The Augustin father Calmet, who studied the holy scriptures most profoundly, has given to Catholics a work of as much accuracy in its nature as can be desired; in his labour, he never lost sight of the great difficulties of his subject which he has overcome in so learned a manner. His history of the old and new Testaments will serve as a guide in reading the holy scriptures, until he, or some other perosn following his steps, shall produce a more detailed work, that will excite a taste for the original."
Note 15. -- Page 51.Calmet ubi supra: Lenglet, tom. 2, chap. 11. Pomey. Panth. Schol. explan. de fab. de Castres, Diccion. Mitolog, or Pagan ages, etc. Cadmus and his wife Hermione died in the greatest misery in Illyricum, now Dalmatia and Sclavonia.
Note 16. -- Page 51.Ovid. Metam. lib. 3, Pomey, Banier. Carres. Schot. lib. Geraldi. Lord Herbert de Relig. Gentil. etc.
Note 17. -- Page 54.At the head of the calendar is placed the name of Ninus, in the Latin language, he was the son of Belus, grandson of Nimrod, great grandson of Cgus and the great great grandson of Cham; he gave fresh vigour to idolatry among the Bablylonians and the Cjaldeans. In modern calendars the latin name Ninus is corrupted into Himos; and more recently he is called Mox, but always holding the first place. The adulation of Ninus alludes to the Ceibs, a tree which they have in the squares of all their towns within sight of the Cabildo's house; under it they hold the asse,bly for electing Alcade's. They consider it as undeniable, that from the roots of this tree, they desive their lineage. No. 33, sect. 29.
Note 18. -- Page 66.Nos sumus qui Praedonem Jesum filium nave fugientes, in tutum recepti sumus. Proc. ibid.
Note 19. -- Page 66.Non ejiciam eas a facie tua, anno uno ne terra in solitudinem redigatur. Paulatim ezpellani cot conspectu tuo donee augearis et possideas terram. Exod. cap. 23, ver. 29, 30.
Note 20. -- Page 69.Altera navigatio ita discribitur Diodoro Siculo, lib. 5, cap. 19, ab Hornio, lib. 7, cap. 7. In remotissima aetate Phaenices transgressi Herculis Columnas ventis abrepti, his se pennittentes, post varias agitationes, tandem in insulam Oceani Atlantici plurium dierum navigatione a Lybia distantem occidentem versus jactatisunt, ubi ferax nacti solum, omnes naves et magnas axles reliquerunt aedificarunt. Ex his famainventae insulaeapud Carthaginenses et Tyrrenns quos Carthaginenses quum premerentur frequentibus irruptionibus TyrreDorum et aliorum populorum Mauritania, instructa classe, coloniam ad novam illam insulam deduxerant, re omni celata eo consilio, ut si quando affligerentur ab hostibus, tutum illic haberent effugium. Calm. de regione in quam, etc.
Note 21. -- Page 69.Apud Diodornm accuratius. -- Nonnulli Phcenices in eam irsulam de qua is aucior, veluti amplissima, et terrestri quodam Paradise loquitur, procellarum impetu adacti, quum deiude rediissent, ejus pulchritudinem et opulentiam, quam maxime praedicarunt; quare Tyrrenos, ejus desiderio captos eadem potiri eoque coloniam ducere conantes prohibuerunt Carthaginenses veriti, ne Carthaginensium plerique regiones ubertate illecti patria decederent, sibique in eadem insula domicilium constituerent. Eandem praeterea, veluti tutum perfugium respiciebant, ubi ipsos vel improvisa obrueret calamitas, vel eorum in Africa respublica corrueret. Etenim quum mari potirentur, quo magis regio caeteros latuisset, eo facilius putabant, uti illuc se suasque familias reciperent. Calm. in dissert. de Hebror: praestan:
Note 22. -- Page 70.De iis regionibus usurpatum est, quod perhibuit Aristoteles de quadam deserta insula citra Columnas Herculis amplitudine eximia, ingentibus quarumlibet arborum sylvis frequeutibus, et magnis fluminibus, a Gadibus plurium dierura itinere disjuncta, primores Carthaginis magistra -- Carthaginenses plurimos eo se conferre, nonnullos qui iude minime redirent, comperiisst in. ne qui in posterum illuc pergerent, utque extemplo illi degentes reverterentur, capilali paena sanxerunt veriti, ne alii populi, re percepta, in eadem insula imperium constituerent, et Carthaginis pacem atque commercium everterent. Calm. ubi supra.
Note 23. -- Page 70.Extat inscriptio Herculis Magusani in urbe West Cappel, Portu Zelandiae, in Insula Walcheren, quem Herculem D. Gallaeus coaevum Moysis facit «t ductorum eorum, qui Palestinam ab ingressu Josue deseruerunt, a quo ferunt positas columnas Gaditanas; referebat pictam imaginem Navis, veteris cujusdam Gubernatoris semicalva fronte sola adusta * * * Ritu Phaenicio colebatur ut numen in templo in eadem urbe West Cappel, nomen Magusanus derivatum
ex Chaldeo Gouz sonat ubscindcrc, et per Metamorphosin transire, et sic Navis ft vada fluminuni Chaldei vocant Megisse Calm. loc. cit.
Note 24. -- Page 70.Non est ergo locus ambigendi, Herculem Gaditanum sive aliquem, ex posteris, vel saltem, quempiam ex Phoenicibus, cui par esset cognomen, ultra Gaditanum fretum excurrisse, narrant ouini de Hercule totum ab illo orbis ambitum maritime itinere decursum; cui etiam Diodorus Alectam Septimtmiae urbem conditam tribuit. Calm. loc. cit.
Note 25. -- Page 73.Judith cap. 16, vers 6, 7, in Textu Graeco.
Note 26. -- Page 77.The Romans followed up their cinquests in Italy, and as soon as they saw themselves masters if that country directed their attention to exterior affairs. Their first views were bent towards the Carthaginians, as this was a power, which, from its proximity, had the means of incommoding them. Lenglet, tom. 1, chap. 7.
Note 27. -- Page 77.In the years 473 of Rome, and 282 years before Christ, Lucilius Emilius Barbula et Q. Mancius Phillipus, being Consuls, the Roman was against Pyrrhus commenced; and in the year 479 of Rome and 276 before Christ, when M. Curius Dentatus, the 2nd and Cornelius Lentulus, were consuls, Pyrrhus being beaten by the Romans, abandoned Italy. Lenglet, tom. 6, in the chron. tab.
Note 28. -- Page 78.The second Punic war broke out two hundred and eighteen years before Christ. the loss of four desperate battles must have proved fatal to any people but the Romans. They had, however a resource in their utmost danger, which was carrying the war into their enemy's country, to avert its consequent miseries from their own, as well as, to prevent the total loss of Italy. Scipio proceeded to Spain and subdued it, two hundred years before Christ; after which, he marched to Africa: and this war, whose duration was seventeen years, elevated the Romans to the pinnacle of their glost. Lenglet, loc. cit.
Note 29. -- Page 79.The third Punic war began one hundred and forty-seven years before Christ. The Romans were now convinced that they could not be free from future inquietudes, unless Carthage was destroyed. Lenglet.
Note 30. -- Page 80.Sententia Cananeos Africa pulsos dicens, non est nova, nee incerta, vetera nomina sum Phoenicia Ardanis Hippona Leptis, Utica. Tiugis, etc. sunt Phaemcia. Carthaginem * omitto quia aedificata post Salomonis aetatem sancti Augustini state in expositione Epistolae ad Roma-Interrogati rustic! nostri, quid sint Punice, respondent Canani. Calm. loc. cit.
Note 31. -- Page 80.Recentiores critici agnoscunt veteris linguae, punicae et Canane consensum. Calm. loc. cit.
Note 32. -- Page 84.In supputatione temporum siqnis paucis annis fallatur in vetusta historia, ferendum est, sed totis duabus, vel tribus aetatibus aberrare non pennittitur. Dion. Halicar. Antiq. Roman, lib. 7. The term age, or generation, ordinarily implies, in Chronology, the space of thirty years, Lenglet, tom. 1. chap. 4.
Note 33. -- Page 84.Pietro Rosini an Antiquarian, in his "Wandering Mercury," of the magnificence of Rome, combined with the chronological tables of Lenglet.
Appendix, Note 1.Rarissima autem ejusdem idiomatis (ab Egyptiis) monumenta, quae vel invitis barbaris saeculis inoffensa supersunt, a nemine legi valent aut explicari. Graecum idioma in Egyptum invectum a Ptolomeis linguam et veteres ejus regionis characteres sensim delevit Nemo est qui Punicos caracteres et earum regionum numnios explicet. Calm. in Dissert. de Haebr. hist. praestan: tome 2, in Josue's Dissert de varia Scrib. ratio. veter. tom. 1. Lenglet. tom 2.
* Carthage did not precede the fall of Troy more than fifty years, a little more than four hundred years after its foundation. Dido augmented it by a new colony and fortified a citadel, which she built after the first Olympiad; this corresponds with nine hundred and twenty-six years before Christ. Lenglet, tom. 1, chap. 7.
FIGURES FROM THE 1822 BOOK: