Sunday, July 31, 2011

Striking Evidence of Pre Columbian Contacts with the Americas

Striking Evidence of Pre Columbian Contacts with the Americas

   The worship of the cross by the natives, and its constant presence in all religious buildings and ceremonies, was the principal subject of their amazement; and indeed nowhere—not even in India and Egypt—was this symbol held in more profound veneration than amongst the primitive tribes of the American continents, while the meaning underlying its worship was identical. In the west, as in the east, the cross was the symbol of life—sometimes of life physical, more often of life eternal.

Distribution of the Swastika in the Ancient World.  The swastika was prevalent sun symbol with the Adena Hopewell mound builders.

      In like manner in both hemispheres the worship of the sun-disk or circle, and of the serpent, was universal, and more surprising still is the similarity of the word signifying "God" in the principal languages of east and west. Compare the Sanscrit "Dyaus" or "Dyaus-pitar," the Greek "Theos" and Zeus, the Latin "Deus" and "Jupiter," the Keltic "Dia" and "Ta," pronounced "Thyah" (seeming to bear affinity to the Egyptian Tau), the Jewish "Jah" or "Yah" and lastly the Mexican "Teo" or "Zeo."

                 Sun disc and serpent from a Hopewell Sioux burial mound in Chilicothe, Ohio

        Baptismal rites were practised by all nations. In Babylon and Egypt the candidates for initiation into the Mysteries were first baptized. Tertullian in his De Baptismo says that they were promised in consequence "regeneration and the pardon of all their perjuries." The Scandinavian nations practised baptism of new-born children; and when we turn to Mexico and Peru we find infant baptism there as a solemn ceremonial, consisting of water sprinkling, the sign of the cross, and prayers for the washing away of sin (see Humboldt's Mexican Researches and Prescott's Mexico).

       In addition to baptism, the tribes of Mexico, Central America and Peru resembled the nations of the old world in their rites of confession, absolution, fasting, and marriage before priests by joining hands. They had even a ceremony resembling the Eucharist, in which cakes marked with the Tau (an Egyptian[11] form of cross) were eaten, the people calling them the flesh of their God. These exactly resemble the sacred cakes of Egypt and other eastern nations. Like these nations too, the people of the new world had monastic orders, male and female, in which broken vows were punished with death. Like the Egyptians they embalmed their dead, they worshipped sun, moon, and planets, but over and above these adored a Deity "omnipresent, who knoweth all things ... invisible, incorporeal, one God of perfect perfection" (see Sahagun's Historia de Nueva Espâna, lib. vi.).

     They too had their virgin-mother goddess, "Our Lady" whose son, the "Lord of Light," was called the "Saviour," bearing an accurate correspondence to Isis, Beltis and the many other virgin-goddesses of the east with their divine sons.

      Their rites of sun and fire worship closely resembled those of the early Kelts of Britain and Ireland, and like the latter they claimed to be the "children of the sun." An ark or argha was one of the universal sacred symbols which we find alike in India, Chaldea, Assyria, Egypt, Greece and amongst the Keltic peoples. Lord Kingsborough in his Mexican Antiquities (vol. viii. p. 250) says: "As among the Jews the ark was a sort of portable temple in which the deity was supposed to be continually present, so among the Mexicans, the Cherokees and the Indians of Michoacan and Honduras, an ark was held in the highest veneration and was considered an object too sacred to be touched by any but the priests."

      As to religious architecture, we find on both sides of the Atlantic that one of the earliest sacred buildings is the pyramid. Doubtful as are the uses for which these structures were originally intended, one thing is clear, that they were closely connected with some religious idea or group of ideas. The identity of design in the pyramids of Egypt and those of Mexico and Central America is too striking to be a mere coincidence.[12] True some—the greater number—of the American pyramids are of the truncated or flattened form, yet according to Bancroft and others, many of those found in Yucatan, and notably those near Palenque, are pointed at the top in true Egyptian fashion, while on the other hand we have some of the Egyptian pyramids of the stepped and flattened type. Cholula has been compared to the groups of Dachour, Sakkara and the step pyramid of Médourn. Alike in orientation, in structure, and even in their internal galleries and chambers, these mysterious monuments of the east and of the west stand as witnesses to some common source whence their builders drew their plan.

     The vast remains of cities and temples in Mexico and Yucatan also strangely resemble those of Egypt, the ruins of Teotihuacan having frequently been compared to those of Karnak. The "false arch"—horizontal courses of stone, each slightly overlapping the other—is found to be identical in Central America, in the oldest buildings of Greece, and in Etruscan remains. The mound builders of both eastern and western continents formed similar tumuli over their dead, and laid the bodies in similar stone coffins. Both continents have their great serpent-mounds; compare that of Adams Co., Ohio, with the fine serpent-mound discovered in Argyleshire, or the less perfect specimen at Avebury in Wilts. The very carving and decoration of the temples of America, Egypt and India have much in common, while some of the mural decorations are absolutely identical.

     Fifth.—It only remains now to summarize some of the evidence obtainable from ancient writers, from early race traditions, and from archaic flood-legends.

       Aelian in his Varia Historia (lib. iii. ch. xviii.), states that Theopompus (400 b.c.) recorded an interview between the King of Phrygia and Silenus, in which the latter referred to the existence of a great continent beyond the Atlantic, larger than Asia, Europe and Libya together.[13]

      Proclus quotes an extract from an ancient writer who refers to the islands in the sea beyond the Pillars of Hercules (Straits of Gibraltar), and says that the inhabitants of one of these islands had a tradition from their ancestors of an extremely large island called Atlantis, which for a long time ruled over all the islands of the Atlantic Ocean.

       Marcellus speaks of seven islands in the Atlantic, and states that their inhabitants preserve the memory of a much greater island, Atlantis, "which had for a long time exercised dominion over the smaller ones."

       Diodorus Siculus relates that the Phœnicians discovered "a large island in the Atlantic Ocean beyond the Pillars of Hercules several days' sail from the coast of Africa."

        But the greatest authority on this subject is Plato. In the Timæus he refers to the island continent, while the Critias or Atlanticus is nothing less than a detailed account of the history, arts, manners and customs of the people. In the Timæus he refers to "a mighty warlike power, rushing from the Atlantic sea and spreading itself with hostile fury over all Europe and Asia. For at that time the Atlantic sea was navigable and had an island before that mouth which is called by you the Pillars of Hercules. But this island was greater than both Libya and all Asia together, and afforded an easy passage to other neighbouring islands, as it was likewise easy to pass from those islands to all the continents which border on this Atlantic sea."

      There is so much of value in the Critias that it is not easy to choose, but the following extract is given, as it bears on the material resources of the country: "They had likewise everything provided for them which both in a city and every other place is sought after as useful for the purposes of life. And they were supplied indeed with many things from foreign countries, on account of their extensive empire; but the island afforded them the greater part of everything of which they stood in need.[14] In the first place the island supplied them with such things as are dug out of mines in a solid state, and with such as are melted: and orichalcum, which is now but seldom mentioned, but then was much celebrated, was dug out of the earth in many parts of the island, and was considered as the most honourable of all metals except gold. Whatever, too, the woods afforded for builders the island produced in abundance. There were likewise sufficient pastures there for tame and savage animals; together with a prodigious number of elephants. For there were pastures for all such animals as are fed in lakes and rivers, on mountains and in plains. And in like manner there was sufficient aliment for the largest and most voracious kind of animals. Besides this, whatever of odoriferous the earth nourishes at present, whether roots, or grass, or wood, or juices, or gums, flowers or fruits—these the island produced and produced them well."

       The Gauls possessed traditions of Atlantis which were collected by the Roman historian, Timagenes, who lived in the first century, b.c. Three distinct peoples apparently dwelt in Gaul. First, the indigenous population (probably the remains of a Lemurian race), second, the invaders from the distant island of Atlantis, and third, the Aryan Gauls (see Pre-Adamites, p. 380).

       The Toltecs of Mexico traced themselves back to a starting-point called Atlan or Aztlan; the Aztecs also claimed to come from Aztlan (see Bancroft's Native Races, vol. v. pp. 221 and 321).

The Popul Vuh (p. 294) speaks of a visit paid by three sons of the King of the Quiches to a land "in the east on the shores of the sea whence their fathers had come," from which they brought back amongst other things "a system of writing" (see also Bancroft, vol. v. p. 553).

       Amongst the Indians of North America there is a very general legend that their forefathers came from a land "toward the[15] sun-rising." The Iowa and Dakota Indians, according to Major J. Lind, believed that "all the tribes of Indians were formerly one and dwelt together on an island ... towards the sunrise." They crossed the sea from thence "in huge skiffs in which the Dakotas of old floated for weeks, finally gaining dry land."

         The Central American books state that a part of the American continent extended far into the Atlantic Ocean, and that this region was destroyed by a series of frightful cataclysms at long intervals apart. Three of these are frequently referred to (see Baldwin's Ancient America, p. 176). It is a curious confirmation that the Kelts of Britain had a legend that part oftheir country once extended far into the Atlantic and was destroyed. Three catastrophes are mentioned in the Welsh traditions.

     Quetzalcoatl, the Mexican Deity, is said to have come from "the distant east." He is described as a white man with a flowing beard. (N.B.—The Indians of North and South America are beardless.) He originated letters and regulated the Mexican calendar. After having taught them many peaceful arts and lessons he sailed away to the east in a canoe of serpent skins (see Short's North Americans of Antiquity, pp. 268-271). The same story is told of Zamna, the author of civilization in Yucatan.

      The marvellous uniformity of the flood legends on all parts of the globe, alone remains to be dealt with. Whether these are some archaic versions of the story of the lost Atlantis and its submergence, or whether they are echoes of a great cosmic parable once taught and held in reverence in some common centre whence they have reverberated throughout the world, does not immediately concern us. Sufficient for our purpose is it to show the universal acceptation of these legends. It would be needless waste of time and space to go over these flood stories one by one. Suffice it to say, that in India,[16] Chaldea, Babylon, Media, Greece, Scandinavia, China, amongst the Jews and amongst the Keltic tribes of Britain, the legend is absolutely identical in all essentials. Now turn to the west and what do we find? The same story in its every detail preserved amongst the Mexicans (each tribe having its own version), the people of Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, and almost every tribe of North American Indians. It is puerile to suggest that mere coincidence can account for this fundamental identity.

     The following quotation from Le Plongeon's translation of the famous Troano MS., which may be seen in the British Museum, will appropriately bring this part of the subject to a close. The Troano MS. appears to have been written about 3,500 years ago, among the Mayas of Yucatan, and the following is its description of the catastrophe that submerged the island of Poseidonis:—"In the year 6 Kan, on the 11th Muluc in the month Zac, there occurred terrible earthquakes, which continued without interruption until the 13th Chuen. The country of the hills of mud, the land of Mu was sacrificed: being twice upheaved it suddenly disappeared during the night, the basin being continually shaken by volcanic forces. Being confined, these caused the land to sink and to rise several times and in various places. At last the surface gave way and ten countries were torn asunder and scattered. Unable to stand the force of the convulsions, they sank with their 64,000,000 of inhabitants 8060 years before the writing of this book."