Paradise Found, by William F. Warren, , at sacred-texts.com
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ANCIENT COSMOLOGY AND MYTHICAL GEOGRAPHY.
THE CRADLE OF THE RACE IN JAPANESE THOUGHT.
IN CHINESE THOUGHT.
IN EAST ARYAN OR HINDU THOUGHT.
IN IRANIAN OR OLD PERSIAN THOUGHT.
IN AKKADIAN, ASSYRIAN, AND BABYLONIAN THOUGHT.
IN ANCIENT EGYPTIAN THOUGHT.
IN ANCIENT GREEK THOUGHT.
All these things happened in the North; and afterward, when men were created, they were created in the North; but as the people multiplied they moved toward the South, the Earth growing larger also, and extending itself in the same direction.H. H. Bancroft, Native Races, vol. iii., p. 162.
Il y a donc beaucoup dapparence que les peuples du Nord, en descendant vers le Midi, y portent les emblêms relatifs au physique de leur climat; et ces emblêms sont devenus des fables, puis des personnages, puis des Dieux, dans des imaginations vives et prêtes à tout animer, comme celles des Orientaux.Jean Sylvain Bailly.
Not enough credit has been given to the ancient astronomers. For instance, Mere is no time within the scope of history when it was not known that the earth is a sphere, and that the direction DOWN at different points is toward the same point at the earth's centre. Current teaching in the text-books as to the knowledge of astronomy by the ancients is at fault. 1Simon Newcomb, LL. D.
Hic vertex nobis semper sublimis, at illum
Back of every mythological account of Paradise lies some conception of the world at large, and especially of the world of men. Rightly to understand and interpret the myths, we must first understand the world-conception to which they were adjusted. Unfortunately, the cosmology of the ancients has been totally misconceived by modern scholars. All our maps of "The World according to Homer" represent the earth as flat, and as surrounded by a level, flowing ocean stream. "There can be no doubt," says Bunbury, "that Homer, in common with all his successors down to the time of Hecatæus, believed the earth to be a plane of circular form." 2 As to the sky, we are generally taught that the early Greeks believed it to be a solid metallic vault. 3 Professor
[paragraph continues] F. A. Paley aids the imagination of his readers as follows: "We might familiarly illustrate the Hesiodic notion of the flat circular earth and the convex overarching sky by a circular plate with a hemispherical dish-cover of metal placed over it and. concealing it. Above the cover (which is supposed to rotate on an axis, πόλος) live the gods. Round the inner concavity is the path of the sun, giving light to the earth below." 1
That all writers upon Greek mythology, including even the latest, 2 should proceed upon the same assumptions as the professed Homeric interpreters and geographers building upon their foundations is only natural. And that the current conceptions of the cosmology of the ancient Greeks should profoundly affect current interpretations of the cosmological and geographical data of other ancient peoples is also precisely what the history and inner relationships of modern archæological studies would lead one to expect. It is not surprising, therefore, I that the earth of the Ancient Hebrews, Egyptians, Indo-Aryans, and other ancient peoples has been assumed to correspond to the supposed flat earth of the Greeks. 3
A protracted study of the subject has convinced the present writer that this modern assumption, as to the form of the Homeric earth is entirely baseless and misleading. He has, furthermore, satisfied himself that the Egyptians, Akkadians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Phnicians, Hebrews, Greeks, Iranians, Indo-Aryans, Chinese, Japanese,in fine, all the most ancient historic peoples,possessed in their earliest traceable periods a cosmology essentially identical, and one of a far more advanced type than has been attributed to them. The purpose of this chapter is to set forth and illustrate this oldest known conception of the universe and of its parts.
In ancient thought, the grand divisions of the world are four, to wit: the abode of the gods, the abode of living men, the abode of the dead, and, finally, the abode of demons. To locate these in right mutual relations, one must begin by representing to himself the earth as a sphere or spheroid, and as situated within, and concentric with, the starry sphere, each having its axis perpendicular, and its north pole at the top. The pole-star is thus in the true zenith, and the heavenly heights centring about it are the abode of the supreme god or gods. According to the same conception, the upper or northern hemisphere of the earth is the proper home of living men; the under or southern hemisphere of the earth, the abode of disembodied spirits and rulers of the dead; and, finally, the undermost region of all, that centring around the southern pole of the
heavens, the lowest hell. 1 The two hemispheres of the earth were furthermore conceived of as separated from each other by an equatorial ocean or oceanic current.
To illustrate this conception of the world, let the two circles of the diagram which constitutes the frontispiece of this work represent respectively the earth-sphere and the outermost of the revolving starry spheres. A is the north pole of the heavens, so placed as to be in the zenith. B is the south pole of the heavens in the nadir. The line A B is the axis of the apparent revolution of the starry heavens in a perpendicular position. C is the north pole of the earth; D its south pole; the line C D the axis of the earth in perpendicular position, and coincident with the corresponding portion of the axis of the starry heavens. The space 1 1 1 1 is the abode of the supreme god or gods; 2, Europe; 3, Asia; 4, Libya, or the known portion of Africa; 5 5 5, the ocean, or "ocean stream;" 6 6 6, the abode of disembodied spirits and rulers of the dead; 7 7 7 7, the lowest hell. 2
Now, to make this key a graphic illustration of Homeric cosmology, it is only necessary to write in place of 1 1 1 1 "Lofty Olympos;" in place of 5 5 5, "The Ocean Stream;" in place of 6 6 6, "House Of Aïdes" (Hades); and in place of 7 7 7 7, "Gloomy Tartaros." Imagine, then, the light as falling from the upper heavens,the lower terrestrial hemisphere, therefore, as forever in the shade; imagine the Tartarean abyss as filled with Stygian gloom and blackness,fit dungeon-house for dethroned gods and powers of evil; imagine the "men-illuminating" sun, the "well-tressed" moon, the "splendid" stars, silently wheeling round the central upright axis of the lighted hemispheres,and suddenly the confusions and supposed contradictions of classic cosmology disappear. We are in the very world in which immortal Homer lived and sang. 1 It is no longer an obscure crag in Thessaly, from which heaven-shaking Zeus proposes to suspend the whole earth and ocean. The eye measures for itself the nine days fall of Hesiod's brazen anvil from heaven to earth, from earth to Tartarus. The Hyperboreans are now a possibility. Now a descensus ad inferos can be made by voyagers in the black ship. Unnumbered commentators upon Homer have professed their despair of ever being able to harmonize the passages in which Hades is represented as "beyond the ocean" with those in which it is represented as "subterranean." Conceive of man's dwelling-place, of Hades, and the ocean, as in this key, and the notable difficulty instantaneously vanishes. Interpreters of the Odyssey have found it impossible to understand how the westward and northward
sailing voyager could suddenly be found in waters and amid islands unequivocally associated with the East. The present key explains it perfectly, showing what no one seems heretofore to have suspected, that the voyage of Odysseus is a poetical account of an imaginary circumnavigation of the mythical earth in the upper or northern hemisphere, including a trip to the southern or under hemisphere and a visit to the ὀμφαλὸς θαλάσσης, or North Pole.
In this cosmological conception the upright axis of the world is often poetically conceived of as a majestic pillar, supporting the heavens and furnishing the pivot on which they revolve. Euripides 1 and Aristotle 2 unmistakably identify the Pillar of Atlas with this world-axis. How interesting a feature this pillar became in ancient mythologies will be seen below in chapter third of this part, in chapter second of part six, and elsewhere in this volume.
Again, according to this view the highest part of the earth, its true summit, would of course be at the North Pole. And since the whole of the upper or northern hemisphere would in this case be conceived of as rising on all sides from the equatorial ocean toward that summit, nothing would be more natural than to view the entire upper half of the earth as itself a vast mountain, the mother and support of all lesser mountains. 3 Moreover, as the abode of the supreme God or gods was thought to be directly over this summit of the earth, it would be extremely easy for the imagination to carry the summit of so
stupendous a mountain into and far above the clouds, and even to extend it to such a height that the gods of heaven might be conceived of as having their abode upon its top. This is precisely what came to pass, and hence in the cosmology of the ancient Egyptians, Akkadians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Indians, Chinese, and others we find, under various names, but always easily recognizable, this Weltberg, or "Mountain of the World," situated at the North Pole of the earth, supporting or otherwise connecting with the city of the gods, and serving as the axis around which sun, moon, and stars revolve. Often we also find evidence that the under hemisphere was in like manner conceived of as an inverted mountain, antipodal to the mountain of the gods, and connecting at its apex with the abode of demons. 1 The adjoining figure may illustrate this conception of the earth,
A clear view of the first of these remarkable
[paragraph continues] World-Mountains is so essential to any right understanding of mythical geography and of the mythical terrestrial Paradise that a more extended examination of the subject seems a necessity.
Beginning with the Egyptians we may note this remarkable fact; that notwithstanding his sharing the common and mistaken modern assumption that the Egyptians conceived of the earth as flat, Brugsch, confessedly the foremost authority in ancient Egyptian geography, places the highest and most sacred part of the Egyptians earth at the North, making the land there to rise until in actual contact with heaven. He also places at the farthest southern extremity of the earth another lofty mountain, Ap-en-to or Tap-en-to, literally "the horn of the world." 1 Now, while several professed Egyptologists have recently come to the conviction that the earth of the Egyptians was a sphere, no one has brought out the fact that these two heights are two antipodal polar projections of the spherical earth, the upper or celestial one being the mount of the gods, and the lower or infernal one the mount of demons. Of the former the following passage in the "Book of Hades" may naturally be understood to speak:
Draw me [the nocturnal sun], infernal ones! . . .
Retreat towards the eastern heavens, toward the dwellings which support Sar, that mysterious mountain that spreads light among the gods [or, that I may spread light among the gods?], who receive me when I go forth from amongst you, from the retreat. 2
To the inverted infernal mountain seem to apply the expressions in chapter one hundred and fifty of the "Book of the Dead:"
"Oh, the very tall Hill in Hades! The heaven rests upon it. There is a snake or dragon upon it: Sati is his name," etc. 1
In another chapter of the same book a place is spoken of as "the inverted precinct," which place is Hades. 2 Moreover, the translator of another text, called the "Book of Hades," describes a "pendant mountain" as a curious feature in the vignette illustrations of the original. This can hardly be anything other than Ap-en-to, the inverted mountain of Hades. 3
The Akkadians, who antedated even the most ancient empires of the Tigro-Euphrates valley, had in like manner a "Mountain of the World," which was unlike all other mountains in that it was a support on which the heavens rested and around which they revolved. It was called Kharsak Kurra. It was so rich with gold and silver and precious stones as to be dazzling to the sight. An ancient Akkadian hymn respecting it uses this language:
O mighty mountain of Bel, Im-Kharsak, whose head rivals heaven, whose root is in the holy deep!
Among the mountains like a strong wild bull it lieth down.
Its horn like the brilliance of the sun is bright.
Like the star of heaven it is filled with sheen. 1
In another hymn, apparently of great antiquity, we find the goddess Istar addressed as "Queen of this Mountain of the World," which is further located and identified by its connection with "the axis of heaven," and with "the four rivers" of the Akkadian Paradise. 2
Lenormant places this mountain in the North (but sometimes incorrectly in the East or Northeast), and makes it the "lieu de lassemblée des dieux;" but when he locates the corresponding antipodal mountain of Hades in the West, instead of in the South, he seems to have gone entirely beyond the evidence. At least, Dr. Friedrich Delitzsch affirms that in the cuneiform literature thus far known he has discovered no trace of such a location. 1 But on this question of the site of these mountains more will be said in chapter sixth of the present division.
The Assyrians and Babylonians inherited the Akkadian conception. One of the titles of the supreme divinity of the Assyrians related to the sacred mount. An invocation to him opens thus: "Assur, the mighty god, who dwells in the temple of Kharsak Kurra." 2 An Assyrian hymn speaks of the
and the translator makes the expression refer to this "Assyrian Olympos." 3 Sayce finds in the following a plain reference to the same:
"I am lord of the steep mountains, which tremble whilst their summits reach to the firmament.
"The mountain of alabaster, lapis, and onyx, in my hand I possess it." 1
How current the idea must have been among the Babylonians is shown by the rhetorical use made of it by the prophet Isaiah. Rebuking the arrogance of the king of Babylon and pre-announcing to him his doom, the prophet beholds his fall as already accomplished, and in a passage of wonderful pictorial power and beauty exclaims, "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the North (or more correctly in the uttermost parts of the North, in the extreme northern regions), I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like (or equal to) the Most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to Sheol, to the sides (or regions) of the pit." 2
Since the publication of Gesenius's commentary on this passage and his excursus upon the "Götterberg im Norden" appended to it, no question has remained in the minds of scholars as to the character of the Har Moed, the "mount of the congregation," in the far-off North.
Among the Chinese we find a similar celestial mount, the mythical Kwen-lun. It is often called simply "The Pearl Mountain." On its top is Paradise, with a living fountain from which flow in opposite directions the four great rivers of the world. 3
[paragraph continues] Around it revolve the visible heavens; and the stars nearest to it, that is nearest to the Pole, are supposed to be the abodes of the inferior gods and genii. To this day, the Tauists speak of the first person of their trinity as residing in "the metropolis of Pearl Mountain," and in addressing him turn their faces to the northern sky. 1
A striking parallel to the Egyptian and Akkadian idea of two opposed polar mountains, an arctic and an antarctic,the one celestial and the other infernal,is found among the ancient inhabitants of India. The celestial mountain they called Su-Meru, the infernal one Ku-Meru. 2 In the Hindu Puranas the size and splendors of the former are presented in the wildest exaggerations of Oriental fancy. Its height, according to some accounts, is not less than eight hundred and forty thousand miles, its diameter at the summit three hundred and twenty thousand. Four enormous buttress mountains, situated at mutually opposite points of the horizon, surround it. One account makes the eastern side of Meru of the color of the ruby, its southern that of the lotus, its western that of gold, its northern that of coral. On its summit is the vast city of Brahma, fourteen thousand leagues in extent. 3 Around it, in the cardinal
points and the intermediate quarters, are situated the magnificent cities of Indra and the other regents of the spheres. The city of Brahma in the centre of the eight is surrounded by a moat of sweet flowing celestial waters, a kind of river of the water of life (Gangâ), which after encircling the city divides into four mighty rivers flowing towards four opposite points of the horizon, and descending into the equatorial ocean which engirdles the earth. 1
Sometimes Mount Meru is represented as planted so firmly and deeply in the globe that the antarctic or infernal mountain is only a projection of its lower end. Thus the Sûrya Siddhânta says: "A collection of manifold jewels, a mountain of gold, is Meru, passing through the middle of the earth-globe (bhu-gola), and protruding on either side. At its upper end are stationed along with Indra the gods and the Great Sages (maharishis); at its lower end, in like manner, the demons have their abode,each [class] the enemy of the other. Surrounding it on every side is fixed, next, this great ocean, like a girdle about the earth, separating the two hemispheres of the gods and of the demons."
Conceiving of Meru in this way, as a kind of core extending through the earth and projecting at each pole, one can easily understand the following passage, in which two pole-stars are spoken of instead of one: "In both [i.e., the two opposite] directions from Meru are two pole-stars fixed in the midst of the sky." As these mark the two opposite poles of
the heavens, it is correctly added that "to those who are situated in places of no latitude [i.e., on the equator] both these pole-stars have their place in the horizon." Farther on in the same treatise the common designation used for the northern hemisphere is the hemisphere of the gods, and for the southern the hemisphere of the asuras, or demons. 1
A picture of "the Earth of the Hindus," showing the exact position of Meru and its buttress-mounts, will be given below in chapter fourth of the present Part (p. 152).
That the cosmology of ancient India should have been retained and propagated in its main features by all the followers of Buddha was only natural. Accordingly, in their teachings our earth, and every other, has its Sumeru, around which everything centres. 2 Its top, according to the Nyâyânousâra Shaster, is four-square, and on it are situated the three and thirty (Trayastriñshas) heavens. Each face of the summit measures 80,000 yôjanas. Each of the four corners of the mountain-top has a peak seven hundred yôjanas high. These, of course, are simply the four buttress-mountains of the Hindu Meru lifted to the summit and made the culminating
peaks. They are ornamented, we are told, with the seven precious substances,gold, silver, lapis-lazuli, crystal, cornelian, coral, and ruby. One of the cities on the summit is called Sudarsana, or Belle-vue. It is 10,000 yôjanas in circuit. The storied gates are 1½ yôjanas high, and there are 1,000 of these gates, fully adorned. Each gate has 500 blue-clad celestial guards, fully armed. In its centre is a kind of inner city called the Golden City of King Sakra, whose pavilion is 1,000 yôjanas in circuit, and its floor is of pure gold, inlaid with every kind of gem. This royal residence has 500 gates, and on each of the four sides are 100 towers, within each of which there are 1,700 chambers, each of which chambers has within it seven Devîs, and each Devî is attended by seven handmaidens. All these Devîs are consorts of King Sakra, with whom he has intercourse in different forms and personations, according to his pleasure. The length and breadth of the thirty-three heavens is 60,000 yôjanas. They are surrounded by a sevenfold city wall, a sevenfold ornamental railing, a sevenfold row of tinkling curtains, and beyond these a sevenfold row of Talas-trees. All these encircle one another, and are of every color of the rainbow, intermingled and composed of every precious substance. Within, every sort of enjoyment and every enchanting pleasure is provided for the occupants.
Outside this wonderful city of the gods, there is on each of its four sides a park of ravishing beauty. In each park there is a sacred tower erected over personal relics of Buddha. Each park has also a magic lake, filled with water possessing eight peculiar excellences. Thus beauties are heaped upon beauties, splendors upon splendors, marvels upon
marvels, until in sheer despair the wearied and exhausted imagination abandons all further effort at definite mental representation. 1
It is worthy of note that, while most scholars have supposed the Sumeru of Buddhism to be simply a development of the Indian idea, Mr. Beal, a high authority, has, in one of his latest publications, claimed for it an independent and coördinate, if not primitive, character. 2 Other peculiarities in Buddhist cosmography, especially the detachment of Uttarakuru and of Jambu-dwîpa from Mount Meru,in both of which particulars the Buddhist cosmos differs from the Puranic,lend some apparent confirmation to this claim.
In ancient Iranian thought this same celestial mountain presents itself to the student. Its name is Harâ-berezaiti, the mythical Albordj, 3"the seat of the genii: around it revolve sun, moon, and stars; over it leads the path of the blessed to heaven." 4
The following description of it in one of the invocations of Rashnu in the Rashn Yasht forcibly reminds one of the Odyssean description of the heavenly Olympos: "Whether thou, O holy Rashnu, art on the Harâ-berezaiti, the bright mountain around which the many stars revolve, where come neither night nor darkness, no cold wind and no hot wind, no deathful sickness, no uncleanness made by the Daêvas, and the clouds cannot reach up to the Haraiti Bareza; we invoke, we bless Rashnu." 1
The following description is from Lenormant: "Like the Meru of the Indians, Harâ-berezaiti is the Pole, the centre of the world, the fixed point around which the sun and the planets perform their revolutions. Analogously to the Gangâ of the Brahmans, it possesses the celestial fountain Ardvî-Sûra, the mother of all terrestrial waters and the source of all good things. In the midst of the lake formed by the waters of the sacred source grows a single miraculous tree, similar to the Jambu of the Indian myth, or else two trees, corresponding exactly to those of the Biblical Gan-Eden. . . . There is the garden of Ahuramazda, like that of Brahma on Meru. Thence the waters descend toward the four cardinal points in four large streams, which symbolize the four horses attached to the car of the goddess of the sacred source, Ardvî-Sûra-Anâhita. These four horses recall the four animals placed at the source of the paradisaic rivers in the Indian conception." 2
The Hellenic and Roman myths concerning the "World-mountain" were numerous, but in later times not a little confused, as Ideler has learnedly shown. 1 By some, as for example Aristotle, it was identified with the Caucasus, and it was asserted that its height was so prodigious that after sunset its head was illuminated a third part of the night, and again a third part before the rising of the sun in the morning. This identification explains the later legend, according to which, in order to prove his rightful lordship of the world, Alexander the Great plucked "the shadowless lance" (the earth's axis) out of the topmost peak of the Taurus Mountains. 2 More commonly the mount is called Atlas, or the Atlantic mountain. Proclus, quoting Heraclitus, says of it, "Its magnitude is such that it touches the ether and casts a shadow of five thousand stadia in length. From the ninth hour of the day the sun is concealed by it, even to his perfect demersion under
the earth." 1 Strabo's account of it is full of the legendary features characteristic of an earthly Paradise. The olive-trees were of extraordinary excellence, and there were there seven varieties of refreshing wine. He informs us that the grape clusters were a cubit in length, and the vine-trunks sometimes so thick that two men could scarcely clasp round one of them. Herodotus describes the mountain as "very tapering and round; so lofty, moreover, that the top (they say) cannot be seen, the clouds never quitting it either summer or winter. The natives call this mountain 'The Pillar of Heaven,' and they themselves take their name from it, being called Atlantes. They are reported not to eat any living thing and never to have any dreams." 2 Equally strange is the story told by Maximus Tyrius, according to which the waves of the ocean at high water stopped short before the sacred mount, "standing up like a wall around its base, though unrestrained by any earthly barrier." "Nothing but the air and the sacred thicket prevent the water from reaching the mountain." According to other ancient legends, a river of milk descended from this marvelous height. Noticing such curious stories, Pliny well describes the mountain as fabulosissimum. 3
Everywhere, therefore, in the most ancient ethnic thought,in the Egyptian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Indian, Persian, Chinese, and Greek,everywhere is encountered this conception of what, looked at with respect to its base and magnitude, is called the "Mountain of the World," but looked at with respect to its glorious summit and its celestial inhabitants is styled the "Mountain of the Gods." We need not pursue the investigation further. Enough has been said to warrant the assertion of Dr. Samuel Beal: "It is plain that this idea of a lofty central primeval mountain belonged to the undivided human race." 1 Elsewhere the same learned sinologue has said, "I have no doubtI can have nonethat the idea of a central mountain, and of the rivers flowing from it, and the abode of the gods upon its summit, is a primitive myth derived from the earliest traditions of our race." 2
The ideas of the ancients respecting the Underworld, that is the southern hemisphere of the earth beyond the equatorial ocean, are sufficiently set forth in the writer's essay on "Homer's Abode of the Dead," printed in the Appendix of the present work. 3
In all these studies one important caution has too often been overlooked. In interpreting the cosmological and geographical references of ancient religious writings it should never be forgotten that the ideas expressed are often poetical and symbolical,
religious ideas, hallowed in sacred song and story. If, some thousands of years hence, one of Macaulay's archæologists of New Zealand were to try to ascertain and set forth the geographical knowledge of the Christian England of to-day by a study of a few fragments of English hymns of our period, critically examining every expression about a certain wonderful mountain, located sometimes on earth and sometimes in heaven, and bearing the varying name of "Sion" or "Zion;" then making a microscopical study of all the references to the strange river, which according to the same texts would seem to be variously represented as "dark," and as possessed of "stormy banks," and as "rolling between" the singer living in England and the abode of the dead located in Western Asia, and called "Canaan,"a river sometimes addressed and represented as so miraculously discriminating as to know for whom to divide itself, letting them cross over "dry shod,"surely, under such a process of interpretation, even the England of the nineteenth century would make in geographical science a very sorry showing. Or again, if some Schliemann of a far-off future were to excavate the site of one of the dozen American villages known by the name of "Eden," and, finding unequivocal monumental evidence that it was thus called, were thereupon to conclude and teach that the Americans of the date of that village believed its site to be the true site of the Eden of Sacred History, and that here the race of man originated, this would be a grave mistake, but it would be a mistake precisely similar to many an one which has been committed by our archæologists in interpreting and reconstructing the geography of the ancients.
In concluding this sketch of ancient cosmology one further question naturally and inevitably thrusts itself upon us. It is this: How are the rise and the so wide diffusion of this singular world-view to be explained? In other words, how came it to pass that the ancestors of the oldest historic races and peoples agreed to regard the North Pole as the true summit of the earth and the circumpolar sky as the true heaven? Why were Hades and the lowest hell adjusted to a south polar nadir? The one and sole satisfactory explanation is found in the hypothesis of a primitive north polar Eden. Studied from that standpoint, the appearances of the universe would be exactly adapted to produce this curious cosmological conception. Thus the very system of ancient thought respecting the world betrays the point of view from which the world was first contemplated. This, though an indirect evidence of the truth of our hypothesis, is for this very reason all the more convincing.
117:1 Lowell Lecture. Boston Daily Advertiser, Nov. 29, 1881.
117:2 E. H. Bunbury, History of Ancient Geography among the Greeks and Romans. London, 1879: vol. i., p. 79. Professor Bunbury was a leading contributor to Smith's Dictionary of Ancient Greek and Roman Geography. Compare Friedreich, Die Realien in der Ilias and Odysee. 1856, § 19. Buchholz, Die Homerische Realien. Leipsic, 1871: Bd. i., 48.
117:3 See Voss, Ukert, Bunbury, Buchholz, and the others.
118:1 The Epics of Hesiod, with an English Commentary. London, 1861: p. 172.
118:2 See, for example, Sir George W. Cox: An Introduction to the Science of Comparative Mythology and Folk-Lore. London and New York, 1881: p. 244. Decharme, Mythologie de la Grèce Antique. Paris, 1879: p. II.
118:3 It is true that Heinrich Zimmer remarks, "Die Anschauung die sich bei Griechen and Nordgermanen findet, dass die Erde eine Scheibe sei, um die sich das Meer schlingt, begegnet in den vedischen Samhitā nirgends." Altindisches Leben. Berlin, 1879: p. 359. But even he does not advance from this negative assertion to an exposition of the true Vedic cosmology. Compare M. Fontane: "Leur cosmographie p. 119 est embryonaire. La terre est pour lArya ronde et plate comme un disque. Le firmament védique, concave, vien se souder à la terre, circulairement, à lhorizon." Inde Védique. Paris, 1881: p. 94. With this agrees Bergaine, La Religion Védique. Paris, 1878: p. 1.
120:1 It is worthy of notice that the sight of portions of the south-polar heavens, especially the starless region known as the black Coal Sack, is to this day capable of suggesting the associations of the bottomless pit. Thus in a recent traveler's letter of the ordinary kind we read, Every clear evening we could see the Magellan Clouds, soft and fleece-like, floating airily among the far-off constellations. These mysterious bodies look like star-spray, or borrowed bits of the Milky Way. Then, too, our eyes would seek out, as by some strange fascination, those still more mysterious chambers of the South, the black Coal Sack, with its retreating depths of darkness, wherein no star shines. These irregular spaces, emptinesses, as it were, in the heavens, impress one with a sense of something uncanny, as though these were, indeed, the blackness of darkness forever.The Sunday School Times. Philadelphia, 1883: p. 581.
120:2 The reception accorded to the foregoing "True Key" is illustrated in the Appendix, Sect. III.
121:1 See cut in Appendix, Sect. VI.: "Homer's Abode of the Dead."
122:1 Peirithous, 597, 3-5, ed. Nauck.
122:2 De Anim. Motione, c. 3.
122:3 See Bundahish, chaps. viii., xii., etc.
123:1 Dans les conceptions de la cosmogonie mythique des Indiens on oppose au Sou-Merou le bon Merou, du Nord, un Kou-Merou mauvais et funeste, qui y fait exactement pendant et en est lantithèse. De même les Chaldéens opposaient à la divine et bienheureuse montagne de lOrient accadien garsag-babbarra = assyrien ad çit ami, une montagne funeste et ténébreuse . . . accadien, garsag-gigga = assyrien ad erib ami, située dans les parties basses de la terre."Lenormant, Origines de lHistoire, tom. ii. 1, p. 134.
124:1 Geographische Inschriften altægyptischer Denkmäler. Leipsic, 1858: vol. ii., p. 37.
124:2 Records of the Past, vol. x., p. 103. I understand this to refer to the (northward and southward) annual, and not to the diurnal, movement of the sun.
125:1 The mention of the starry serpent or dragon completes the parallelism between the North Polar and South Polar mountains. "Mr. Procter has remarked that when the North Pole Star was Alpha Draconis, the Southern was most probably the star Eta Hydri, and certain to have been in the constellation Hydra. . . . The encircling Serpent, the symbol of eternal going round, was figured at both Poles, the two centres of the total starry revolution." Massey, The Natural Genesis, vol. i., p. 345. In our discussion of the Pillar of Atlas we have spoken of the identity of Draco with the dragon which assisted the nymphs in watching the golden apples in the North Polar Gardens of the Hesperides. See Depuis, Origines des Constellations, p. 147. The same parallelism is alluded to in the following: "The hypocephalus in question is divided into four compartments, two of which are opposed to the two others as if to indicate the two celestial hemispheres; the upper one above the terrestrial world and the lower one below it." Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archæology, March 4, 1884. London, 1884: p. 126. See also Revue Archéologique. Paris, 1862: vi., p. 129.
125:2 Bunsen, Egypt's Place in Universal History, vol. v., p. 208.
125:3 Records of the Past, vol. x., p. 88. Two years after the above was written I met with the following: "The god advancing in a reversed position" (in a certain New Zealand legend) "is the sun in the Underworld. The image exactly accords with an Egyptian scene of the sun passing through Hades, where we see the twelve gods of the earth, or the lower domain of night, marching towards a mountain p. 126 turned upside down, and two typical personages are also turned upside down. This is an illustration of the passage of the sun through the Underworld. The reversed on the same monument are the dead. Thus the Osirified deceased, who has attained the second life, in the Ritual says exultingly, 'I do not walk upon my head.' The dead, as the Akhu, are the spirits, and the Atua [of the New Zealand legend] is a spirit who comes walking upside down." Massey, The Natural Genesis. London, 1883: vol. i., p. 529. (The italics are Massey's.) The passage is the more remarkable from the fact that Massey elsewhere states that the earth "was considered flat by the first myth-makers," who in his scheme appear to have been the Egyptians. Ibid., vol. i., p. 465.
126:1 Records of the Past. London, vol. xi., pp. 131, 132. Lenormant, Chaldæan Magic, p. 168. Lenormant's latest revised translation may be seen in Les Origines de lHistoire, tom. ii. I, pp. 127, 128.
126:2 George Smith, Assyrian Discoveries, pp. 392, 393. Mr. G. Massey p. 127 remarks, "In an Akkadian hymn to Ishtar, the goddess is addressed as the 'Queen of the Mountain of the World' and 'Queen of the land of the four rivers of Erech;' that is, as the goddess of the mythical Mount of the Pole and the four rivers of the four quarters, which arose in Paradise. The Mountain of the World was the Mount of the North." The Natural Genesis, vol. ii., p. 21.
127:1 Wo lag das Paradies? Leipsic, 1881: p. 121.
127:2 Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia. London: vol. i., pp. 44, 45. Translated by Mr. Sayce in Records of the Past, vol. xi., p. 5.
127:3 Records of the Past, vol. iii., p. 133.
128:1 Records of the Past, vol. iii., p. 126.
128:2 Isaiah xiv. 12-15.
128:3 Stollberg, Mémoires concernant les Chinois, t. i., p. 101, cited in Keerl, Lehre vom Paradies. Basle, 1861: p. 796.
129:1 Joseph Edkins, Religion in China. 2d ed., 1878: p. 151. The Ainos of Japan, although declared to be "ausserordentlich arm an Sagen," have nevertheless their corresponding mythical Gold-mountain, Kogane-yama. Dr. B. Scheube, Die Ainos. Yokohama, 1882: p. 24.
129:2 "Meru, in Sanskrit, signifies an axis or pivot." Wilford in Asiatic Researches. London, 1808: vol. viii., p. 285. The prefix "Su" signifies "beautiful."
129:3 In Brugsch's Astronomische Inschriften, p. 197, we read, "Es gab ein himmliches Ann or Ôn, Heliopolis, dessen östliche Lichtseite and westliche Lichtseite öfters erwähnt werden." Was this perhaps the p. 130 Vorbild and Egyptian counterpart of the city of Brahma, the city of Sakra, and all the other Asiatic Götterstädte in the celestial pole? It would be very interesting to know.
130:1 See Appendix, Sect. IV.: "The Earth of the Hindus."
131:1 Chapter xii., sections 45-74. On the origin and age of this treatise see the notes of the translator, Rev. Ebenezer Burgess, in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. vi. New Haven, 1860: pp. 140-480.
131:2 Its name, in Japanese, is written Sxi-meru; in Chinese, Si-mi-liu, or Siu-mi; in Tibetan, Rirap, or Ri-rap-hlumpo; in Mongolian (Kalmuck), Sümmer Sola, or Sjumer Sula; in Burmese, Miem-mo. C. F. Koeppen, Die Religion des Buddhas. Berlin, 1857: vol. i., p. 232. See, also, A. Bastian, Die Völker des östlichen Asiens, Bd. iii., S. 352, 353; vi., 567, 568, 578, 580, 587, 589, 590. Spence Hardy, Manual of Buddhism, pp. 1-35. The same, Legends of the Buddhists. London, 1866: pp. xxix., 42, 81, 101, 176, etc.
133:1 See Beal, Catena of Buddhist Scriptures, pp. 75-81.-Comp. Beal, Lectures on Buddhist Literature in China, pp. 146-159.
133:2 "I cannot doubt that the Buddhist myth about Sume or Sumeru is distinct from the later Brahmanical account of it, and allied with the universal belief in and adoration of the highest."Buddhist Literature in China. London, 1882: p. xv.
133:3 "Das erste Vorkommen des Namens im Zend ist im Gebet an Mithra (invoco, celebro supremum umbilicum aquarum, nach Duperrons Uebersetzung) welches E. Burnouf wortgetreuer übersetzt: 'Ich preise den hohen göttlichen Berggipfel, die Quelle der Wasser, und das Wasser des Ormuzd,' wo die Bezeichnung eine ganz allgemeine ist. Vom Adjectiv berezat, d. i. 'erhaben' in der Parsen Uebersetzung, stammt erst der 'Bordj,' d. i. der Erhabene. Als Berg aus dem die Wasser hervortreten, wird er im Zend 'Nafedrô' (Nabhi im Sanskrit.) d. i. 'der Nabel' genannt, als Erhohung welche Wasser giebt; und als Berg der das befruchtende Princip enthält zum Genius der Frauen erhoben."Ritter, Erdkunde, viii. 47.
133:4 Spiegel, Erânische Alterthumskunde. Leipsic, 1871: Bd. i., S. 463. The Venîdâd. Fargard xxi., et passim. See references in Index p. 134 to Pahlevi Texts, translated by E. W. West. Vol. v. of Sacred Books of the East. Also Haug, Religion of the Parsees. 2d ed., Boston, 1878: pp. 5, 190, 197, 203-205, 216, 255, 286, 316, 337, 361, 381, 387, 390.
134:1 Darmesteter, The Zend-Avesta, ii. 194.
134:2 "Ararat and Eden." The Contemporary Review, September, 1881, p. 135 Am. ed., p. 41. Compare the following: "LAlbordj des Perses correspond parfaitement au Merou des Hindous; de même que la tradition de ceux-ce divise la terre en sept Dwipas ou isles, de même les livres zends et pehlvis reconnaissent sept Keschvars ou contrées groupées également autour de la montagne sainte," etc.Religions de lAntiquité. Creuzer, trad. Guigniaut. Tom. I., pt. ii., p. 702, note.
135:1 On the Homeric and Hesiodic Olympos, see below, part sixth, chapter second.
135:2 "Auch in den Alexandersagen des Mittelalters ist die Erinnerung an das Naturcentrum im Nordpol erhalten, und zwar in merkwürdiger Uebereinstimmung der morgen- und abendländischer Dichter. In dem altenglischen Gedicht von Alisaunder (bei Jacobs und Uckert, S. 461) findet Alexander der Grosse auf dem höchsten Gipfel des Taurus eine schattenlose Lanze, von welcher geweissagt war, wer sie aus dem Boden reissen könne, werde Herr der Welt werden. Alexander aber riss sie heraus. Die Lanze ist ein Sinnbild der Weltachse. Sie weist vom höchsten Berge auf den Nordpol hin, und ist schattenlos weil von dort ursprünglich alles Licht ausging."Menzel, Die vorchristliche Unsterblichkeitslehre, Bd. i., S. 86.
136:1 See Taylor's Notes on Pausanias, vol. iii., p. 264.
136:2 Herodotus, Bk. iv. 184.
136:3 "When Cleanthes asserted that the earth was in the shape of a cone, this, in my opinion, is to be understood only of this mountain, called Meru in India. Anaximenes said that this column was plain and of stone: exactly like the Meru-pargwette of the inhabitants of Ceylon, according to Mr. Joinville in the seventh volume of the Asiatic Researches. This mountain, says he, is entirely of stone, 68,000 yôjanas high, and 10,000 in circumference from top to bottom. The divines of Tibet say it is square, and like an inverted pyramid. Some p. 137 of the followers of Buddha in India insist that it is like a drum, with a swell in the middle, like drums in India; and formerly in the West, Leucippus said the same thing."F. Wilford, in Asiatic Researches, vol. viii., p. 273.
137:1 Buddhist Literature in China, p. 147.
137:2 Ibid., p. xiv.
137:3 See Appendix, Sect. VI.