« ZurückWeiter »
I am of opinion that the mariner's compass was known to the ancients, and never lost entirely, either in Europe or Asia, though unskilfully used ; and always continued to be known to the Chinese and Eastern nations, whence it was brought to Europe by Marco Polo; and from the Indian Seas about the same time, by Vasco de Gama. That this knowledge should have been possessed by the ancients, will not surprise any one who has seen the learned work of M. Duten, Sur les Decouvertes des Anciens attribuès aux Modernes. It is rather remarkable that he has overlooked this instance of the mariner's compass, which is certainly more striking than any he has noticed. There are so many circumstances named respecting the voyages of the ancients, which could not be undertaken without a compass, that when I consider them, and the different authors I have cited, I cannot entertain a doubt that it was known to them; and this removes many great and serious difficulties to the credibility of the historical accounts of the colonization of these western countries."
Telescopes and Gunpowder known to the Druids. (pp. 114-116.) Our author observes, (p. 109) what we entirely agree to, that in the fine arts, the Greeks were giants: in science, they were pigmies. They were elegant, eloquent, refined, polished: they were wordy, acute, disputatious, metaphysical. But in science, in real learning, in laborious and accurate investigation, they were an inferior people; and they were the most vain-glorious liars upon earth. They wilfully mistated, or foolishly confounded every thing ; they laughed at all knowledge which they did not know; they ridiculed the discoveries of the navigator Pytheas of Marseilles; they ridiculed their own ancestors, and the Pythagoreans for what they deemed their ignorant credulity relative to the climate, and other circumstances of the Hyperboreans and of Thule. They ridiculed the Pythagoreans for their doctrine that comets were planets which moved in hyperbolic curves, and approached as near to the sun as Mercury; they appear to have decreased in science as they improved in architecture and the fine arts. Every step we take, we perceive new proofs that the traveller Pythagoras had acquired and possessed a mass of knowledge vastly superior not merely to that of his own age, but to that of his successors; and nearly approaching that of the moderns. The more we investigate it, the more extensive we find it.
The Hyperboreans were Britons. (p. 116.) The Hyperboreans were a people to the North and West of Greece, both continental and insular. The insular were, in all probability, the Britons: we say in all probability, for it is in vain to seek for
accuracy among the conceited and ignorant Greek writersthat the Delphic oracle was Hyperborean, derived from the British Isles and druidical; and that the Dodonean Grove might have been the Dadanan of Ireland, is made out with great probability as to the first point, and plausibly as to the second. Pausanias not only states that the Oracles of Delphi were founded by the Hyperborean priests or prophets, but he mentions Olen as the first priest of Apollo. He gives the fragment of a Poem, composed by some woman of the name of Beo, who mentions the three Hyperboreans, Pagasis, Agyeus and Olen. Vallancey (Coll. Hib. vol. iii. p. 163) says that in the old Irish books the three ranks of Irish Druids are Bag-ois, Agh-ois, and 01lam. The last is said to have been the name of an expounder of the law of nature. Mr. Bryant, (An. Mythol. vol. iii. pp. 491-493) says the Hyperboreans sent not merely presents but Utounuara memorials, remembrances to Delos.
Hercules was a Celt. --Celtus was the son of Hercules and Celtina ; Latinus, the son of Hercules, and an Hyperborean woman. Bryant, ub. sup. Aristotle (Diog. Laert. de Vit. Phil. ch. 1.) says philosophy did not go from the Greeks to the Gauls, but it came from the Gauls to the Greeks. The Curetes and Cabiri, probably Hyperboreans; Pausan. and Apollodor : vid. Cumb. orig. gent. pp. 266, 267. The Curetes, Druids, vid. post. The Cimmerii and Cimmerian darkness; the latter, a notion arising from their western position, so that all their country was overshadowed and in the darkness of night, when the morning sun beamed on Eastern Asia. So the sun sets in the West. This is Mr. Davies' notion, ingenious at least, if not true.
Abaris. (p. 123.) Called Scythian by Suidas, but from the accounts of him by Hecateus in Diod. Sic. (lib. iii. ch. 11,) and by Porphyry in his Life of Pythagoras, and by Jamblichus, (lib. i. ch. 28,) he was undoubtedly an Hyperborean to the North of Gaul. Whether British or Irish, is not certain. Whether he was the same with the Irish Abbras of Vallancey, depends on the authenticity of the Irish books of that author. Most certainly, till we have some more accurate and authentic account of the ancient Irish records than Vallancey and O'Connor have given us, those records are of very disputable authority.
Abaris was (we think) a Druid ; a priest of Apollo. He travelled into Greece, and visited Pythagoras, . He travelled with bow, arrows and quiver , dressed in a plaił and pantalooas; (Himerius Orat. ad Ursicium in Photii Biblioth. cod. 243, edit. Rothomag. p. 1153, as cited by Toland, who gives the Greek passage, Misc. Works, vol. i. p. 181) a man of business, acute, prudent, inquiring, quicksighted, and of a friendly disposition.
All the favourers and panegyrists of the Druids, our author among the rest, seem almost to take it for granted, that Pythagoras was instructed by Abaris. To us, it appears equally probable that Abaris derived his knowledge from Pythagoras : the latter, we know had it to impart : the knowledge of Abaris is inferred only, from his being a Druid. But whether there was any knowledge mutually imparted, or if so, of what kind or to what extent, is all conjecture without evidence. Mr. Higgins, (p. 125) thinks the Druids were Pythagoreans. That they held some doctrines in common, as concerning the Deity, is highly probable, but the extent of their coincidence of opinion rests on conjecture.
The Cross common to Greeks, Egyptians and Indians. (p. 126.) This position is made out on sufficient evidence. I. H. S. (Jesus hominum Salvator, or Sanctissimus,) is shewn to be a Greek alteration of a Coptic enigmatical name of the Sun or Bacchus, designating the number 608. The letter Tau, in form a cross, is the mark alluded to in Ezek. ix. 4, and in Rev. vii. though not designated in our common translation. This is shewn from Jerom, to have been a cross. In the next section, (p. 130) it is clearly made out that the Druids adopted the cross Thau as a symbol in their religious ceremonies. Three Taus united at their feet, forms, to this day, the jewel of the royal arch among freemasons. So says our author. This may be so, but as we have not the honour of belonging to that ancient fraternity we cannot verify it, even if we dared, from our own knowledge.
* Will the reader forgive a speculation by one of the uninitiated ? In those dark times of the middle ages, when the Eastern and Saracenic, or Gothic arch, as it is ignorantly called, began to supercede the circular Saxon arch-when monarchs and great barons authenticated their documents and contracts by ensealing, because they knew not how to write-when all learning was confined to the clerical orders, so that legit ut clericus, absolved a malefactor from condign punishment—when printing did not yet exist-when manuscripts were scarce and dear-when the com. munication of knowledge must of course have been oral and traditional, banded down from one man of knowledge by verbal communication to another-in those days of mental darkness, a set of men arose and were gradually formed, by profession, architects; not possessed perhaps, of as much taste as the Greeks, but of far more knowledge and skill. It is to these men we owe the Cathedral of Strasburgh, the Minster of York, the Cathedrals of Westminster and Winchester, and the other most beautiful and magnificent structures of the same kind, characterized by the oxi arch, the slender duplicated column, the fretted roof, the minute, ornamental carving, striking by its massive profusion, “the storied window richly dight," the groined and lefty ceiling, the half obscure, the solemn, religious magnificence of the whole structure: lacking tranquilliy !". men, to whom un real skill and science, the Greeks were children. how, wus tie knowledge necessary to these stupendous erections to be communicated among persons who wrote no books, and who probably could not write at all? Ho:were workmen, particularly the architects or master ma. sons. to instruct or be instructed, but by oral intercourse at regular meetings, held under fixed regulations, and prevailing wherever this kind of architecture prevailed, all over Europe ! The knowledge must have been banded down from the old to the
Hence, to page 136, follow some observations on the Pentae teuch and the Mosaic Chronology; of which the dissonance, according to the Samaritan, Hebrew and Septuagint version are too well known to need any thing further being said. It was hardly possible, in such frequent copyings, to avoid numerical mistakes, which, however, do not alter, in any notable degree, the general complexion of the Bible chronology, which seems to accord sufficiently with the known history of what may be well called modern civilization.
The Druids admitted the creation of matter. (p. 137.) We see no proof of this. Who is there in the present day who does not agree, that the word translated create, in the beginning of Genesis, is also employed with the same meaning as to form, to shape, to fashion? The Druids were not Christians; nor does Mr. Higgins exhibit his authority for his assertion. The eternity of matter was an undisputed tenet of Pythagoras, and the oriental philosophers, as our author acknowledges. (See also the passage referred to by Mr. Higgins in Beausobre's Hist. de Manicheisme, Jib. v. ch. 4, p. 207,) who agrees with Maimonides in his More Nevochim, that not one of the ancient versions or Chaldee paraphrases of the Pentateuch, attach to the word Bara, the meaning of creation in the modern sense of the word.
When letters arrived in (reat-Britain. (p. 146.) The Phenicians traded to Great Britain somewhat earlier than 1100 years before Christ ? Mr. Higgins must forgive us for putting a quære to this assertion.
They brought, (or some other Eastern people brought) an alphabet of 16 or 17 letters. It is manifest, if at that time they had bad 22, they would have introduced 22.
The Pentateuch was written with 22 letters. We beg leave to annex a quære? Moses compiled the Pentateuch 1500 years before Christ; hence the Cadmean alphabet of 16 or 17 letters must have been anterior to the date of the Pentateuch of 22 letters? Another quære, Mr. Higgins, if you please.
The Irish had only 16 or 17 letters, and their system of alphabet was the same with the Greek and Phænician, as to the
young by oral tradition : mutual improvement must have compelled the formation of regular societies of these master builders, for we know that no trace exists of any other kind of communication between them. Freemasons were builders by profession; free of, and members of these societies, necessary for the mutual interchange of knowledge, and for the handing of it down from one generation to the next. The origin of Freemasonry, then, may be traced to about half a century after the Crusades. When writing and printing became common, the original intent of these societies became superceded by the improvements in all kinds of knowledge; and the original society of freemasons being no longer necessary for the communi. cation of their art, was continued as a social and charitable association.
letters. With some compunctions of conscience we are, upon the whole, inclined to admit this position. Hence, the Irish alphabet, consisting of only 16 or 17 letters, must have been anterior to the increase of the parent alphabet to 22, and therefore anterior to the Pentateuch, and therefore anterior to fifteen hundred years, A. C. As all this plausible reasoning depends on the date ascribed to our modern editions of the Pentateuch, and the period when the compiler or compilers lived, wherein 17 letters may have been rejected as inconvenient, and 22 afterwards adopted, the superstructure will totter on this uncertain basis. Hence, Britain was peopled either by Phænician traders or by a swarm from the Celtic hive, upwards of 1500 years before the Christian era. Nay, some addition must be made even to this date, to allow for the increase of the letters of the alphabet from 16 or 17 to 22. On our part, another note of doubt ? Sir William Drummond, in his Treatise on the Zodiacs of Esne and Dendera, adopts the Septuagint chronology, which makes the
age of the world 7210 years in the year 1820 of our common
Mr. Higgins promises to shew that the learning of the East came to Britain probably before the date of the flood, even according to the Septuagiut calculation ? nous verrons. In the mean time we will annex another quære.
On Festivals removed by the precession of the Equinox. (p. 149.) A very ingenious attempt to shew, (with the aid of the Rev. Mr. Maurice) that May-day was the festival of the sun entering into Taurus, which, as it must have been at least four thousand years before the Christian era, was probably a sacred festival from the very creation of the earth and of man, and originally intended as a memorial of that auspicious period and momentous event. Connected with this, is the worship of the Bull Apis, and the Bull of Japan breaking with his horn the mundane egg. We acknowledge the ingenuity without being convinced of the truth of this hypothesis. How or when did May-day degenerate into a Phallic festival, emblematical with its May-pole of the generative power of the Eastern mythology ?
Mr. Higgins has given many instances of, and authorities for the ancient prevalence of Tauric worship in various parts of the world, and particularly in England. He cites as additional authorities, Maurice's Ind. Antiq. Bryant's Heathen Mythology, Dupuis, and, in particular, Parkhurst's Heb. Lexicon, pp, 74 to 80, 351, and 401–403. April-day is the change of the festival of May-day, when by the precession of the Equinox, the sun would enter Aries instead of Taurus at the vernal Equinox; this could not have been later than 1800 years before Christ.