Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

upon this

tions, a winged serpent embracing the globe, and a serpent coiled round the mundane egg, were very favourite devices ; many places and people were denominated after the names of this creature; and many temples were founded to his honour. To this latter method of displaying their regard for him we must certainly ascribe the existence of Cecrops, which, as I have before observed, is only Ca-Cur-Ops, the temple of the supreme Serpent, or of the Providence which preserves, overrules, and cherishes all things; and which was more than ever discerned in the miraculous exemption of Noah and his family from the fate of the old world.

As I have considered Erechtheus in two different points of view, namely, as personating both the ark and the first sacred edifice which was reared for the celebration of its rites-point of view which, though different, are undeniably related very nearly to each other, and embrace the same subject—it is to be expected, that, if there be any justice in the observations I have made part of his history, there must also be two senses, equally related, in which Cecrops may be said to have been his son.

• And it is impossible to consider the nature of his character for one moment, without perceiving that this is the case. If Erechtheus were symbolical of the ark; and if the power, the wisdom, and goodness, which preserved that vessel while the waters of the food overspread the face of the earth, were typified in the serpent ; it will necessarily follow that when the memorial of that deliverance became the occasion of idolatry, and the ark was admitted to divine honours, the serpent also would in some measure partake of the same, and even claim the institution of peculiar rites. Hence it appears that a veneration for the ark would naturally give rise to the construction of ophite temples; and that, in a traditional sense, Cecrops was the son

of Erechtheus. I have already proved, in various parts of this volume, that a reverence for the renovators of mankind very early degenerated into gross idolatry; that their worship was solar, because they were compared to the sun--and arkite, because they had survived the general deluge; as also, that these latter rites were necessarily united, in some degree, with those of the serpent. The sum of all this information amounts to a belief, that the solar, the arkite, and ophite worship, were only the constituent parts of one grand idolatrous system, which had its commencement at Babel, and extended itself in process of time to every region of the habitable globe. Whatever different appearances this system may have assumed in various parts; however various the forms of those structures which have been consecrated for its support; and into whatever sects it may have been the means of dividing the Gentile world; it is nevertheless certain that in Chaldæa it was in its entire and most compounded state. The temple erected there would serve as a model for those constructed next, in point of time, in other places. It embraced the whole of this theological creed, and had separate apartments for the several rites connected with it. In short, its form has only been altered in different countries and at different times, according to the state of the architectural art, or that partiCRIT, Rey. Vol. 34. Feb. 1802.

L

[ocr errors]

cular branch of this idolatry which any people have embraced in preference to the rest. This suggests a reason why Cecrops was fabled to be the son of Erechtheus, considered in the second point of view—that is, as the first edifice raised in honour of the ark: for the dedication of the whole of this temple to the ark was prior to the appropriation of any part of it to the rites of the serpent; and it laid the plan for the foundation of Cecropian structures in after times.' P. 306.

We believe with our author, that all these different systems of idolatry originated from one quarter—that this quarter was Chaldæa, and that they were all in process of time blended and intermixed; and it is a curious circumstance, and tends much to corroborate, if it were necessary, the sacred scriptures, that upon the face of every language, as well as upon the face of every country, are impressed the most indubitable marks of the deluge-of terms derived from the witnesses of this miraculous event, or their immediate progeny; and which occupy; as it were, the very foreground of every dialect, and prove to every people its existence, and the different systems of idolatry by which it was shortly succeeded, and which, as’we have already observed, were those of the ark itself, the sun, and the serpent. The Ammonians, or Cuthites, appear to have had a variety of terms by which the ark was designated. Of these, one was Theb, consistently with the Hebrew root of similar elements 17217; hence, obviously, Thebes and the Thebaïs. A second was Ip, or Hip; hence gin, the water-horse, or means of water-carriage in Egypt; ITTOS (Hippos) in Greek, the horses or carriage of Neptune—and hence horses of every description ; schip and schiff, in Low Dutch and German; ship, and perhaps hip, the vehicle or carriage of the body, in English. Another denomination was Erech, Erecca, Arca; hence Erichthonius, Erechtheus, Ericus, Henrick, Henricus; (Agyos) Argos, Arcadia, ark, and arc, a crescent or segment of a circle. Men was an additional appellation; and hence Myx (Men) the month or Moon, probably at first in her crescent form ; Mona or lofty mountains in several regions--7312 77, Har-munah,

the mountain of the Moon,' in the prophet Amos *; Menu, Minos, and an infinitude of similar derivations. The inventor of the Men, ark or erech, was Noah, or, as he was denominated by the Chaldæans, Thoth. The appellation Noah furnishes us with Naus (Naus) a ship, Navis, Navire, Naviò, and a multitude of other derivations. From Thoth we obtain Erechtheus (Thoth of the erech or, ark); 505 (Theos) God, or Noah deified; Deus, or, as it is in the Spanish, Dios, Dio in Italian, Dieu in French, with a vast variety of others. But the erech or ark of Thoth was also denominated Bou, Bout, or Bud; hence Bousiris, or Busiris, Ombous, the city of the glorious Bous, Bout, or ark; which, according to the report of M. Ripaud, published since the return of Bonaparte from Egypt, has still some ruins remaining in this region * ;--and hence, conveyed in all probability by another ramification of the same people to this quarter of the world, the Indian deity Bút, Bud, or Boodh, similar to the Bæotus of Greece. The votaries of Boodh are far more numerous than those of Bramah; and it is a singular circumstance, that, while one of the chief kingdoms in which he is supremely worshipped should be derived from this very term, Boodan or Bootan, another, Thibet, should owe its origin to a word of similar import—Theb, as we have already observed, like Bou or Boud, having also among the Ammonians been an appellation of the ark. The Boodh of the Birmans, Booteans, and Thibetians, is by the Siamese pronounced Pood, and by the vulgar Poo; in consequence of which major Symes imagines he

* Chap. iv...

may be the same deity as the Foë of the Chinese t, who is said indeed, by Le Compte, to be sometimes called Poë or Po-hi-an idea not different from one which was long ago started, and ably supported by Whiston and many other cosmologists, that Foë or Fo-hi was no other than Noah in a state of deification ļ. The magnificent temple at Apollonopolis is to this hour denominated by the Copts Etfou, which is in reality Ait-Fou, or the temple of the supreme Fo;' and its ruins are still in existenceg. Major Symes remarks also, from Mr. Chambers, the striking resemblance, in consequence of the Tamulic termination

en, between Booden and the Woden of the Goths; observing, that every person who has conversed with the nations of India knows that Boodh is the dies Mercurii, the Wednesday or Woden's-day of all Hindu. There can be no doubt that from this source was derived the name for the supreme deity among the Siamese, which is Gautma; and it is by no means difficult therefore to refer to the same radical the Teutonic Got and the English God. The migrations of the Cuthites appear to have been in every direction. In our review of Mr. Turner's Embassy to the Teshoo Lama we have traced them most unquestionably over great part of Bootan and Thibet ; and endeavoured, by the application of Chaldæan radicals, to decipher several of the religious inscriptions on the public walls, the meaning of which he could not learn from the natives themselves I. The flood is commemorated in Egypt by sacrifices to the Nile—in India by-similar rites to the Ganges and Indus, and in China to the Yellow River *: the pyramidat figure of the temples and towers in the first country is preserved in the pagodas of the other two; and the genius of fire is as devoutly invoked at the vast porcelain manufacture, consisting of three thousand furnaces, at Kin-te-chim on the banks of the Chen-tan-chaung, as it ever was in Egypt or Hindustan. The Egyptian Demeter (Dea Mater) is traced almost by name in the Mah Deeooo, or supreme idol of Benares and Lucknow, whose temples rise in profusion in the vicinity of Rawanmarra. The Chinese, like the Chaldæans, admit of three heavens—the planetary, sidereal, and empyrean; and the character by which Tien, or the general term for heaven, is expressed, consisted formerly of three concentric crescent lines alone, and even in its modern shape does not essentially vary from this figure +: while the learned labours of M. de Guignes ought not to be forgotten, who attempted to prove that each of the two hundred and fourteen keys, or elements of the Chinese language, corresponded to Egyptian hieroglyphics, and were identified both by shape and signification.

* Rapport de la Comm. des Arts, au Prem. Consul Bonaparte, &c. + Embassy to the kingdom of Ava.

Theory of the Earth, b. ii. Rapport de la Comm. des Arts, au Premier Consul Bonaparte, &c. # Crit. Rev. Vol. 29, p. 260.

We have been tempted to throw out these additional hints, because the subject is curious and well worthy of pursuit. With many of them our author is perhaps already acquainted, and for the rest he will not be unthankful. Mr. Allwood however, though from much slighter premises, presses his system still farther, and imagines that both in the language and religious rites of the islands of the Pacific Ocean he traces an evident derivation from the Ammonian stock.

· The places consecrated' (says he) 'to these religious uses were termed Morai; and the Deity, who was supposed to be rendered propitious by this service, was called Eatooa." But do not these circumstances afford some slight presumption that most, if not the whole of the islands in this immense ocean, were peopled by a race which derived their extraction from Ham? His very name may be said to be retained, in some degree, in the generic appellation of those very places, which were perhaps originally dedicated to his more immediate worship. Morai seems to be only Am-Or-Ai abridged: and if this be the case, it will signify the place sacred to Hąm the Sun. Eatooa may be Ait, compounded with some other word, or probably with only a dialectic termination; and as such may imply that the God, who is invoked under this title, must either be the Sun, or some other being who is intimately connected with him.

• I have here spoken of what I conceive to have been the original designation of these terms; but it is probable that this has been long since lost among the natives. They have retained some resemblance to the sounds, while in the lapse of ages, and under the reign of a despotic barbarism, every vestige of their proper sense has disappeared. The Ammonian colonies, which traveled into various regions of the earth, were exceedingly numerous; they consisted of the offspring of many different families, each of which, as far as we can trace them in their religion, manners, and arts, has been found to have perpetuated, in some way or other, the name of their great ancestor Ham, as well as that of the patriarch from whom they are more immediately descended. Thus the descendents of Nimrod were denominated Nebridæ; those of Metzor or Misor, Mizraïm ; and those of Chus, Cuthim, Xpursoy yevos, &c. If I may be permitted in this place to hazard a conjecture respecting the origin of these islanders, who have, for so many ages, been unknown to the more civilised part of the world, I should say, that it is possible they may have derived their descent from Phut, the son of Ham. There is much less known with certainty concerning the lot which attended the posterity of this patriarch, than that which befęl the other branches of the same great family. They have never been particularly distinguished by the voice of history; but seem to have taken themselves away very early from that part of the world which was destined to be the theatre of all the great exploits of the first ages. They seem notwithstanding, prior to this time, to have been infected with the same idolatrous principles which spread themselves so diffusively over the terraqueous globe, and were probably concerned in the dispersion from Babel. Thus much is certain, that there are still the vestiges of some Ammonian rites observable among the people of whom I am speaking; such as their Morai, human sacrifices, and names of deities. It is impossible to say with certainty by what means they came to their present insular situations, so remote from any continent and from each other; yet it is plain that they must have proceeded from a stock common to them with the whole human race; and it is equally obvious, that in the name of their deity Phutaphaihe, whom the inhabitants of the Friendly Islands suppose to preside over the sea and its productions, we may discover the compound Phut-Apha; which implies, that Phut had at some time or other been deified among them under the emblem of fire, and, consistently with the theological principles which pre.. vailed in early times, had been worshipped as the Sun. P. 399.

* Staunton's Embassy, vol. iii. 8vo, chap. 3. + Hages on the Elementary Characters of the Chinese.

We have not time to investigate these etymologies, but cannot avoid adding to our author's observations on the celebrated cemetery of the southern islands, that there seems to be a resemblance too strong for accident, both in sound and appropriation to religious rites, between these Morai and the plantations of Mogeai (Moreai, olive-trees) with which the Academia at Athens was overshadowed, and where religious rites were originally paid to Academus its founder, who is expressly declared by Eupolis to have been a god, and is supposed by Mr. Bryant to have been Cadmus himself. These Mogeal (Moreai), er groves of olive-trees, were not held sacred in Attica alone,

« ElőzőTovább »