Page:Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx.djvu/32

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xii
PREFACE.

learned concerning them from a stranger he met at Carthage returning from the transatlantic countries.

That the Western Continent was visited by Carthaginians a few years before the inditing of Plato's "Atlantis," the portraits of men with long beards and Phœnician features, discovered by me in 1875, sculptured on the columns and antæ of the castle at Chicħen, bear witness. Diodorus Siculus attributes the discovery of the Western Continent to the Phœnicians, and describes it as "a country where the landscape is varied by very lofty mountains, and the temperature is always soft and equable." Procopius, alluding to it, says it is several thousand stadia from Ogygia, and encloses the whole sea, into which a multitude of rivers, descending from the highlands, discharge their waters. Theopompus, of Quio, speaking of its magnitude, says: "Compared with it, our world is but a small island;" and Cicero, mentioning it, makes use of nearly the same words: "Omnis enin terræ quæ colitur a vobis parva quædam est insula." Aristotle in his work, "De Mirabile Auscultatio," giving an account of it, represents it "as a very large and fertile country, well watered by abundant streams;" and he refers to a decree enacted by the Senate of Carthage toward the year 509 B.C., intended to stem the current of emigration that had set toward the Western Lands, as they feared it might prove detrimental to the prosperity of their city. The belief in the former existence of extensive lands in the middle of the Atlantic, and their submergence in consequence of seismic convulsions, existed among scientists even as far down as the fifth century of the Christian era. Proclus, one of the greatest scholars of antiquity, who during thirty-five years was at the head of the Neo-Platonic school of Athens, and was learned in all the sciences known in his days, in his "Com-