LET us pass to another speculation:
The reader is not constrained to accept my conclusions. They will, I trust, provoke further discussion, which may tend to prove or disprove them.
But I think I can see that many of these legends point to an island, east of America and west of Europe, that is to say in the Atlantic Ocean, as the scene where man, or at least our own portion of the human race, including the white, yellow, and brown races, survived the great cataclysm and renewed the civilization of the pro-glacial age and that from this center, in the course of ages, they spread east and west, until they reached the plains of Asia and the islands of the Pacific.
The negro race, it seems probable, may have separated from our own stock in pre-glacial times, and survived, in fragments, somewhere in the land of torrid heats, probably in some region on which the Drift did not fall.
We are told by Ovid that it was the tremendous heat of the comet-age that baked the negro black; in this Ovid doubtless spoke the opinion of antiquity. Whether or not that period of almost insufferable temperature produced any effect upon the color of that race I shall not undertake to say; nor shall I dare to assert that the white race was bleached to its present complexion by the long absence of the sun during the Age of Darkness.
It is true Professor Hartt tells us that there is a marked difference in the complexion of the Botocudo Indians who have lived in the forests of Brazil and those, of the same tribe, who have dwelt on its open prairies; and that those who have resided for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years in the dense forests of that tropical land are nearly white in complexion. If this be the case in a merely leaf-covered tract, what must have been the effect upon a race dwelling for a long time in the remote north, in the midst of a humid atmosphere, enveloped in constant clouds, and much of the time in almost total darkness?
There is no doubt that here and then were developed the rude, powerful, terrible "ice-giants" of the legends, out of whose ferocity, courage, vigor, and irresistible energy have been evolved the dominant races of the west of Europe--the land-grasping, conquering, colonizing races; the men of whom it was said by a Roman poet, in the Viking Age: "The sea is their school of war and the storm their friend they are sea-wolves that prey on the pillage of the world."
They are now taking possession of the globe.
Great races are the weeded-out survivors of great sufferings.
What are the proofs of my proposition that man survived on an Atlantic island?
In the first place we find Job referring to "the island of the innocent."
In chapter xxii, verse 29, Eliphaz, the Temanite, says
When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person."
Where shall he save him? The next verse (30) seems to tell
[1. "The Geology of Brazil," p. 589.]
"He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine [Job's] hands."
And, as I have shown, in Genesis it appears that, after the Age of Darkness, God separated the floods which overwhelmed the earth and made a firmament, a place of solidity, a refuge, (chap. i, vs. 6, 7,) "in the midst of the waters." A firm place in the midst of the waters is necessarily an island.
And the location of this Eden was westward from. Europe, for we read, (chap. iii, v. 24):
"So he drove out the man; and he placed at the EAST of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."
The man driven out of the Edenic land was, therefore, driven eastward of Eden, and the cherubims in the east of Eden faced him. The land where the Jews dwelt was eastward of paradise; in other words, paradise was west of them.
And, again, when Cain was driven out be too moved eastward; he "dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden," (chap. iv, verse 16.) There was, therefore, a constant movement of the human family eastward. The land of Nod may have been Od, Ad, Atlantis; and from Od may have come the name of Odin, the king, the god of Ragnarok.
In Ovid "the earth" is contradistinguished from the rest of the globe. It is an island-land, the civilized land, the land of the Tritons or water-deities, of Proteus, Ægeon, Doris, and Atlas. It is, in my view, Atlantis.
Ovid says, (book ii, fable 1, "The Metamorphoses")
"The sea circling around the encompassed earth. . . . The earth has upon it men and cities, and woods and wild beasts, and rivers, and nymphs and other deities of the
country." On this land is "the palace of the sun, raised high on stately columns, bright with radiant gold, and carbuncle that rivals the flames; polished ivory crests its highest top, and double folding doors shine with the brightness of silver."
In other words, the legend refers to the island-home of a civilized race, over which was a palace which reminds one of the great temple of Poseidon in Plato's story.
The Atlantic was sometimes called "the sea of ivory," in allusion, probably, to this ivory-covered temple of Ovid. Hence Croly sang:
Now on her hills of ivory
Lie giant-weed and ocean-slime,
Hiding from man and angel's eye
The land of crime."
And, again, Ovid says, after enumerating the different rivers and mountains and tracts of country that were on fire in the great conflagration, and once more distinguishing the pre-eminent earth from the rest of the world:
"However, the genial Earth, as she was surrounded with sea, amid the waters of the main," (the ocean,) "and the springs dried up on every side, lifted up her all-productive face," etc.
She cries out to the sovereign of the gods for mercy. She refers to the burdens of the crops she annually bears; the wounds of the crooked plow and the barrow, which she voluntarily endures; and she calls on mighty Jove to put an end to the conflagration. And he does so. The rest of the world has been scarred and seared with the fire, but he spares and saves this island-land, this agricultural, civilized land, this land of the Tritons and Atlas; this "island of the innocent" of Job. And when the terrible convulsion was over, and the
rash Phaëton dead and buried, Jove repairs, with especial care, "his own Arcadia."
It must not be forgotten that Phaëton was the son of Merops; and Theopompus tells us that the people who inhabited Atlantis were the Meropes, the people of Merou. And the Greek traditions show that the human race issued from Upa-Merou; and the Egyptians claim that their ancestors came from the Island of Mero; and among the Hindoos the land of the gods and the godlike men was Meru.
And here it is, we are told, where in deep caves, and from the seas, receding under the great heat, the human race, crying out for mercy, with uplifted and blistered hands, survived the cataclysm.
And Ovid informs us that this land, "with a mighty trembling, sank down a little" in the ocean, and the Gothic and Briton (Druid) legends tell us of a prolongation of Western Europe which went down at the same time.
In the Hindoo legends the great battle between Rama and Ravana, the sun and the comet, takes place on an island, the Island of Lanka, and Rama builds a stone bridge sixty miles long to reach the island.
In the Norse legends Asgard lies to the west of Europe; communication is maintained with it by the bridge Bifrost. Gylfe goes to visit Asgard, as Herodotus and Solon went to visit Egypt: the outside barbarian was curious to behold the great civilized land. There he asks many questions, as Herodotus and Solon did. He is told:
"The earth is round, and without it round about lies the deep ocean."
[1. "Atlantis," p. 171.
2. The Fooling of Gylfe--The Creation of the World--The Younger Edda.]
The earth is Ovid's earth; it is Asgard. It is an island, surrounded by the ocean:
"And along the outer strand of that sea they gave lands for the giant-races to dwell in; and against the attack of restless giants they built a burg within the sea and around the earth."
This proves that by "the earth" was not meant the whole globe; for here we see that around the outside margin of that ocean which encircled Asgard, the mother-country had given lands for colonies of the giant-races, the white, large, blue-eyed races of Northern and Western Europe, who were as "restless" and as troublesome then to their neighbors as they are now and will be to the end of time.
And as the Elder and Younger Edda claim that the Northmen were the giant races, and that their kings were of the blood of these Asas; and as the bronze-using people advanced, (it has been proved by their remains,) into Scandinavia from the southwest, it is clear that these legends do not refer to some mythical island in the Indian Seas, or to the Pacific Ocean, but to the Atlantic: the west coasts of Europe were "the outer strand" where these white colonies were established; the island was in the Atlantic; and, as there is no body of submerged land in that ocean with roots or ridges reaching out to the continents east and west, except the mass of which the Azores Islands constitute the mountain-tops, the conclusion is irresistible that here was Atlantis; here was Lanka; here was "the island of the innocent," here was Asgard.
And the Norse legends describe this "Asgard" as a land of temples and plowed fields, and a mighty civilized race.
And here it is that Ragnarok comes. It is from the
[1. Du Chaillu's "Land of the Midnight Sun," vol. i, pp. 343, 345, etc.]
people of Asgard that the wandering Gylfe learns all that he tells about Ragnarok, just as Solon learned from the priests of Sais the story of Atlantis. And it is here in Asgard that, as we have seen, "during Surt's fire two persons, called Lif and Lifthraser, a man and a woman, concealed themselves in Hodmimer's holt," and afterward repeopled the world.
We leave Europe and turn to India.
In the Bagaveda-Gita Krishna recalls to the memory of his disciple Ardjouna the legend as preserved in the sacred books of the Veda.
We are told:
"The earth was covered with flowers; the trees bent under their fruit; thousands of animals sported over the plains and in the air; white elephants roved unmolested under the shade of gigantic forests, and Brahma perceived that the time had come for the creation of man to inhabit this dwelling-place."
This is a description of the glorious world of the Tertiary Age, during which, as scientific researches have proved, the climate of the tropics extended to the Arctic Circle.
Brahma makes man, Adima, (Adam,) and he makes a companion for him, Héva, (Eve).
They are upon an island. Tradition localizes the legend by making this the Island of Ceylon.
"Adima and Héva lived for some time in perfect happiness--no suffering came to disturb their quietude; they had but to stretch forth their hands and pluck from surrounding trees the most delicious fruits--but to stoop and gather rice of the finest quality."
This is the same Golden Age represented in Genesis, when Adam and Eve, naked, but supremely happy, lived
[1. Jacolliet, "The Bible in India," p. 195.]
upon the fruits of the garden, and knew neither sorrow nor suffering, neither toil nor hunger.
But one day the evil-one came, as in the Bible legend the Prince of the Rakchasos (Raknaros--Ragnarok?) came, and broke up this paradise. Adima and Héva leave their island; they pass to a boundless country; they fall upon an evil time; "trees, flowers, fruits, birds, vanish in an instant, amid terrific clamor"; the Drift has come; they are in a world of trouble, sorrow, poverty, and toil.
And when we turn to America we find the legends looking, not westward, but eastward, to this same island-refuge of the race.
When the Navajos come out of the cave the white race goes east, and the red-men go west; so that the Navajos inhabit a country west of their original habitat, just as the Jews inhabit one east of it.
"Let me conclude," says the legend, "by telling how the Navajos came by the seed they now cultivate. All the wise men being one day assembled, a Turkey-Hen came flying from the direction of the morning star, and shook from her feathers an ear of blue corn into the midst of the company; and in subsequent visits brought all the other seeds they possess."
In the Peruvian legends the civilizers of the race came from the east, after the cave-life.
So that these people not only came from the east, but they maintained intercourse for some time afterward with the parent-land.
On page 174, ante, we learn that the Iroquois believed that when Joskeha renewed the world, after the great battle with Darkness, he learned from the great tortoise
[1. Jacolliet, "The Bible in India," p. 198.
2. Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. iii, p. 83.]
--always the image of an island--how to make fire, and taught the Indians the art. And in their legends the battle between the White One and the Dark One took place in the east near the great ocean.
Dr. Brinton says, speaking of the Great Hare, Manibozho:
"In the oldest accounts of the missionaries he was alleged to reside toward the east, and in the holy formula of the meda craft, when the winds are invoked to the medicine-lodge, the east is summoned in his name, the door opens in that direction, and there at the edge of the earth, where the sun rises, on the shore of the infinite ocean that surrounds the land, he has his house, and sends the luminaries forth on their daily journey."
That is to say, in the east, in the surrounding ocean of the east, to wit, in the Atlantic, this god, (or godlike race,) has his house, his habitation, upon a land surrounded by the ocean, to wit, an island; and there his power and his civilization are so great that he controls the movements of the sun, moon, and stars; that is to say, he fixes the measure of time by the movements of the sun and moon, and he has mapped out the heavenly bodies into constellations.
In the Miztec legend, (see page 214, ante,) we find the people praying to God to gather the waters together and enlarge the land, for they have only "a little garden" to inhabit in the waste of waters. This meant an island.
In the Arabian legends we have the scene of the catastrophe described as an island west of Arabia, and it requires two years and a half of travel to reach it. It is the land of bronze.
In the Hindoo legend of the battle between Rama, the
[1. Brinton's "Myths of the New World," p. 177.]
sun, and Ravana, the comet, the scene is laid on the Island of Lanka.
In the Tahoe legend the survivors of the civilized race take refuge in a cave, in a mountain on an island. They give the tradition a local habitation in Lake Tahoe.
The Tacullies say God first created an island.
In short, we may say that, wherever any of these legends refer to the locality where the disaster came and where man survived, the scene is placed upon an island, in the ocean, in the midst of the waters; and this island, wherever the points of the compass are indicated, lies to the west of Europe and to the east of America: it is, therefore, in the Atlantic Ocean; and the island, we shall see, is connected with these continents by long bridges or ridges of land.
This island was Atlantis. Ovid says it was the land of Neptune, Poseidon. It is Neptune who cries out for mercy. And it is associated with Atlas, the king or god of Atlantis.
Let us go a step further in the argument.