Atlantis: The Antediluvian World/Part 5/Chapter 9
THE ANTIQUITY OF SOME OF OUR GREAT INVENTIONS.
It may seem like a flight of the imagination to suppose that the mariner's compass was known to the inhabitants of Atlantis. And yet, if my readers are satisfied that the Atlanteans were a highly civilized maritime people, carrying on commerce with regions as far apart as Peru and Syria, we must conclude that they possessed some means of tracing their course in the great seas they traversed; and accordingly, when we proceed to investigate this subject, we find that as far back as we may go in the study of the ancient races of the world, we find them possessed of a knowledge of the virtues of the magnetic stone, and in the habit of utilizing it. The people of Europe, rising a few centuries since out of a state of semi-barbarism, have been in the habit of claiming the invention of many things which they simply borrowed from the older nations. This was the case with the mariner's compass. It was believed for many years that it was first invented by an Italian named Amalfi, A.D. 1302. In that interesting work, Goodrich's "Life of Columbus," we find a curious history of the magnetic compass prior to that time, from which we collate the following points:
"In A.D. 868 it was employed by the Northmen." ("The Landnamabok," vol. i., chap. 2.) An Italian poem of A.D. 1190 refers to it as in use among the Italian sailors at that date. In the ancient language of the Hindoos, the Sanscrit—which has been a dead language for twenty-two hundred years—the magnet was called "the precious stone beloved of Iron." The Talmud speaks of it as "the stone of attraction;" and it is alluded to in the early Hebrew prayers as Kalamitah, the same name given it by the Greeks, from the reed upon which the compass floated. The Phœnicians were familiar with the use of the magnet. At the prow of their vessels stood the figure of a woman (Astarte) holding a cross in one hand and pointing the way with the other; the cross represented the compass, which was a magnetized needle, floating in water crosswise upon a piece of reed or wood. The cross became the coat of arms of the Phœnicians—not only, possibly, as we have shown, as a recollection of the four rivers of Atlantis, but because it represented the secret of their great sea-voyages, to which they owed their national greatness. The hyperborean magician, Abaras, carried "a guiding arrow," which Pythagoras gave him, "in order that it may be useful to him in all difficulties in his long journey." ("Herodotus," vol. iv., p. 36.)
The magnet was called the "Stone of Hercules." Hercules was the patron divinity of the Phœnicians. He was, as we have shown elsewhere, one of the gods of Atlantis—probably one of its great kings and navigators. The Atlanteans were, as Plato tells us, a maritime, commercial people, trading up the Mediterranean as far as Egypt and Syria, and across the Atlantic to "the whole opposite continent that surrounds the sea;" the Phœnicians, as their successors and descendants, and colonized on the shores of the Mediterranean, inherited their civilization and their maritime habits, and with these that invention without which their great voyages were impossible. From them the magnet passed to the Hindoos, and from them to the Chinese, who certainly possessed it at an early date. In the year 2700 B.C. the Emperor Wang-ti placed a magnetic figure with an extended arm, like the Astarte of the Phœnicians, on the front of carriages, the arm always turning and pointing to the south, which the Chinese regarded as the principal pole. (See Goodrich's "Columbus," p. 31, etc.) This illustration represents one of these chariots:
|chinese magnetic car.|
In the seventh century it was used by the navigators of the Baltic Sea and the German Ocean.
The ancient Egyptians called the loadstone the bone of Haroeri, and iron the bone of Typhon. Haroeri was the son of Osiris and grandson of Rhea, a goddess of the earth, a queen of Atlantis, and mother of Poseidon; Typhon was a wind-god and an evil genius, but also a son of Rhea, the earth goddess. Do we find in this curious designation of iron and loadstone as "bones of the descendants of the earth," an explanation of that otherwise inexplicable Greek legend about Deucalion "throwing the bones of the earth behind him, when instantly men rose from the ground, and the world was repeopled?" Does it mean that by means of the magnet he sailed, after the Flood, to the European colonies of Atlantis, already thickly inhabited?
A late writer, speaking upon the subject of the loadstone, tells us:
"Hercules, it was said, being once overpowered by the heat of the sun, drew his bow against that luminary; whereupon the god Phœbus, admiring his intrepidity, gave him a golden cup, with which he sailed over the ocean. This cup was the compass, which old writers have called Lapis Heracleus. Pisander says Oceanus lent him the cup, and Lucian says it was a sea-shell. Tradition affirms that the magnet originally was not on a pivot, but set to float on water in a cup. The old antiquarian is wildly theoretical on this point, and sees a compass in the Golden Fleece of Argos, in the oracular needle which Nero worshipped, and in everything else. Yet undoubtedly there are some curious facts connected with the matter. Osonius says that Gama and the Portuguese got the compass from some pirates at the Cape of Good Hope, A.D. 1260. M. Fauchet, the French antiquarian, finds it plainly alluded to in some old poem of Brittany belonging to the year A.D. 1180. Paulo Venetus brought it in the thirteenth century from China, where it was regarded as oracular. Genebrand says Melvius, a Neapolitan, brought it to Europe in A.D. 1303. Costa says Gama got it from Mohammedan seamen. But all nations with whom it was found associate it with regions where Heraclean myths prevailed. And one of the most curious facts is that the ancient Britons, as the Welsh do to-day, call a pilot llywydd (lode). Lodemanage, in Skinner's 'Etymology,' is the word for the price paid to a pilot. But whether this famous, and afterward deified, mariner (Hercules) had a compass or not, we can hardly regard the association of his name with so many Western monuments as accidental."
Hercules was, as we know, a god of Atlantis, and Oceanos, who lent the magnetic cup to Hercules, was the name by which the Greeks designated the Atlantic Ocean. And this may be the explanation of the recurrence of a cup in many antique paintings and statues. Hercules is often represented with a cup in his hand; we even find the cup upon the handle of the bronze dagger found in Denmark, and represented in the chapter on the Bronze Age, in this work. (See p. 254 ante.)
So "oracular" an object as this self-moving needle, always pointing to the north, would doubtless affect vividly the minds of the people, and appear in their works of art. When Hercules left the coast of Europe to sail to the island of Erythea in the Atlantic, in the remote west, we are told, in Greek mythology (Murray, p. 257), that he borrowed "the cup" of Helios, in (with) which "he was accustomed to sail every night." Here we seem to have a reference to the magnetic cup used in
|ancient coins of tyre.|
night sailing; and this is another proof that the use of the magnetic needle in sea-voyages was associated with the Atlantean gods.
Lucian tells us that a sea-shell often took the place of the cup, as a vessel in which to hold the water where the needle floated, and hence upon the ancient coins of Tyre we find a sea-shell represented.
Here, too, we have the Pillars of Hercules, supposed to have been placed at the mouth of the Mediterranean, and the tree of life or knowledge, with the serpent twined around it, which appears in Genesis; and in the combination of the two pillars and the serpent we have, it is said, the original source of our dollar mark .
Compare these Phœnician coins with the following representation of a copper coin, two inches in diameter and three lines thick, found nearly a century ago by Ordonez, at the city of Guatemala. "M. Dupaix noticed an indication of the use of the compass in the centre of one of the sides, the figures on the same side representing a kneeling, bearded, turbaned man between two fierce heads, perhaps of crocodiles, which appear to defend the entrance to a mountainous and wooded country. The reverse presents a serpent coiled around a fruit-tree, and an eagle on a hill." (Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. iv., p. 118.) The mountain leans to one side: it is a "culhuacan," or crooked mountain.
We find in Sanchoniathon's "Legends of the Phœnicians" that Ouranus, the first god of the people of Atlantis, "devised
|coin from central america.|
Bætulia, contriving stones that moved as having life, which were supposed to fall from heaven." These stones were probably magnetic loadstones; in other words, Ouranus, the first god of Atlantis, devised the mariner's compass.
I find in the "Report of United States Explorations for a Route for a Pacific Railroad" a description of a New Mexican Indian priest, who foretells the result of a proposed war by placing a piece of wood in a bowl of water, and causing it to turn to the right or left, or sink or rise, as he directs it. This is incomprehensible, unless the wood, like the ancient Chinese compass, contained a piece of magnetic iron hidden in it, which would be attracted or repulsed, or even drawn downward, by a piece of iron held in the hand of the priest, on the outside of the bowl. If so, this trick was a remembrance of the mariner's compass transmitted from age to age by the medicine men. The reclining statue of Chac-Mol, of Central America, holds a bowl or dish upon its breast.
Divination was the ars Etrusca. The Etruscans set their temples squarely with the cardinal points of the compass; so did the Egyptians, the Mexicans, and the Mound Builders of America. Could they have done this without the magnetic compass?
The Romans and the Persians called the line of the axis of the globe cardo, and it was to cardo the needle pointed. Now "Cardo was the name of the mountain on which the human race took refuge from the Deluge… the primitive geographic point for the countries which were the cradle of the human race." (Urquhart's "Pillars of Hercules," vol. i., p. 145.) From this comes our word "cardinal," as the cardinal points.
Navigation.—Navigation was not by any means in a rude state in the earliest times:
"In the wanderings of the heroes returning from Troy, Aristoricus makes Menelaus circumnavigate Africa more than 500 years before Neco sailed from Gadeira to India." ("Cosmos," vol. ii., p. 144.)
In the tomb of Rameses the Great is a representation of a naval combat between the Egyptians and some other people, supposed to be the Phœnicians, whose huge ships are propelled by sails." (Goodrich's "Columbus," p. 29.)
The proportions of the fastest sailing-vessels of the present day are about 300 feet long to 50 wide and 30 high; these were precisely the proportions of Noah's ark—300 cubits long, 50 broad, and 30 high.
"Hiero of Syracuse built, under the superintendence of Archimedes, a vessel which consumed in its construction the material for fifty galleys; it contained galleries, gardens, stables, fish-ponds, mills, baths, a temple of Venus, and an engine to throw stones three hundred pounds in weight, and arrows thirty-six feet long. The floors of this monstrous vessel were inlaid with scenes from Homer's 'Iliad.'" (Ibid., p. 30.)
The fleet of Sesostris consisted of four hundred ships; and when Semiramis invaded India she was opposed by four thousand vessels.
It is probable that in the earliest times the vessels were sheeted with metal. A Roman ship of the time of Trajan has been recovered from Lake Ricciole after 1300 years. The outside was covered with sheets of lead fastened with small copper nails. Even the use of iron chains in place of ropes for the anchors was known at an early period. Julius Cæsar tells us that the galleys of the Veneti were thus equipped. (Goodrich's "Columbus," p. 31.)
Gunpowder.—It is not impossible that even the invention of gunpowder may date back to Atlantis. It was certainly known in Europe long before the time of the German monk, Berthold Schwarz, who is commonly credited with the invention of it. It was employed in 1257 at the siege of Niebla, in Spain. It was described in an Arab treatise of the thirteenth century. In A.D. 811 the Emperor Leo employed fire-arms. "Greek-fire" is supposed to have been gunpowder mixed with resin or petroleum, and thrown in the form of fuses and explosive shells. It was introduced from Egypt A.D. 668. In A.D. 690 the Arabs used fire-arms against Mecca, bringing the knowledge of them from India. In A.D. 80 the Chinese obtained from India a knowledge of gunpowder. There is reason to believe that the Carthaginian (Phœnician) general, Hannibal, used gunpowder in breaking a way for his army over the Alps. The Romans, who were ignorant of its use, said that Hannibal made his way by making fires against the rocks, and pouring vinegar and water over the ashes. It is evident that fire and vinegar would have no effect on masses of the Alps great enough to arrest the march of an army. Dr. William Maginn has suggested that the wood was probably burnt by Hannibal to obtain charcoal; and the word which has been translated "vinegar" probably signified some preparation of nitre and sulphur, and that Hannibal made gunpowder and blew up the rocks. The same author suggests that the story of Hannibal breaking loose from the mountains where he was surrounded on all sides by the Romans, and in danger of starvation, by fastening firebrands to the horns of two thousand oxen, and sending them rushing at night among the terrified Romans, simply refers to the use of rockets. As Maginn well asks, how could Hannibal be in danger of starvation when he had two thousand oxen to spare for such an experiment? And why should the veteran Roman troops have been so terrified and panic-stricken by a lot of cattle with firebrands on their horns? At the battle of Lake Trasymene, between Hannibal and Flaminius, we have another curious piece of information which goes far to confirm the belief that Hannibal was familiar with the use of gunpowder. In the midst of the battle there was, say the Roman historians, an "earthquake;" the earth reeled under the feet of the soldiers, a tremendous crash was heard, a fog or smoke covered the scene, the earth broke open, and the rocks fell upon the heads of the Romans. This reads very much as if the Carthaginians had decoyed the Romans into a pass where they had already planted a mine, and had exploded it at the proper moment to throw them into a panic. Earthquakes do not cast rocks up in the air to fall on men's heads!
And that this is not all surmise is shown by the fact that a city of India, in the time of Alexander the Great, defended itself by the use of gunpowder: it was said to be a favorite of the gods, because thunder and lightning came from its walls to resist the attacks of its assailants.
As the Hebrews were a branch of the Phœnician race, it is not surprising that we find some things in their history which look very much like legends of gunpowder.
When Korah, Dathan, and Abiram led a rebellion against Moses, Moses separated the faithful from the unfaithful, and thereupon "the ground clave asunder that was under them: and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.… And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.… But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord." (Numb. xvi., 31–41.)
This looks very much as if Moses had blown up the rebels with gunpowder.
Roger Bacon, who himself rediscovered gunpowder, was of opinion that the event described in Judges vii., where Gideon captured the camp of the Midianites with the roar of trumpets, the crash caused by the breaking of innumerable pitchers, and the flash of a multitude of lanterns, had reference to the use of gunpowder; that the noise made by the breaking of the pitchers represented the detonation of an explosion, the flame of the lights the blaze, and the noise of the trumpets the thunder of the gunpowder. We can understand, in this wise, the results that followed; but we cannot otherwise understand how the breaking of pitchers, the flashing of lamps, and the clangor of trumpets would throw an army into panic, until "every man's sword was set against his fellow, and the host fled to Beth-shittah;" and this, too, without any attack upon the part of the Israelites, for "they stood every man in his place around the camp; and all the host ran and cried and fled."
If it was a miraculous interposition in behalf of the Jews, the Lord could have scared the Midianites out of their wits without the smashed pitchers and lanterns; and certain it is the pitchers and lanterns would not have done the work without a miraculous interposition.
Having traced the knowledge of gunpowder back to the most remote times, and to the different races which were descended from Atlantis, we are not surprised to find in the legends of Greek mythology events described which are only explicable by supposing that the Atianteans possessed the secret of this powerful explosive.
A rebellion sprang up in Atlantis (see Murray's "Manual of Mythology," p. 30) against Zeus; it is known in mythology as the "War of the Titans:"
"The struggle lasted many years, all the might which the Olympians could bring to bear being useless, until, on the advice of Gæa, Zeus set free the Kyklopes and the Hekatoncheires" (that is, brought the ships into play), "of whom the former fashioned thunder-bolts for him, while the latter advanced on his side with force equal to the shock of an earthquake. The earth trembled down to lowest Tartarus as Zeus now appeared with his terrible weapon and new allies. Old Chaos thought his hour had come, as from a continuous blaze of thunder-bolts the earth took fire, and the waters seethed in the sea. The rebels were partly slain or consumed, and partly hurled into deep chasms, with rocks and hills reeling after them."
Do not these words picture the explosion of a mine with a "force equal to the shock of an earthquake?"
We have already shown that the Kyklopes and Hekatoncheires were probably great war-ships, armed with some explosive material in the nature of gunpowder.
Zeus, the king of Atlantis, was known as "the thunderer," and was represented armed with thunder-bolts.
Some ancient nation must, in the most remote ages, have invented gunpowder; and is it unreasonable to attribute it to that "great original race" rather than to any one people of their posterity, who seem to have borrowed all the other arts from them; and who, during many thousands of years, did not add a single new invention to the list they received from Atlantis?
Iron.—We have seen that the Greek mythological legends asserted that before the submergence of the great race over whom their gods reigned there had been not only an Age of Bronze but an Age of Iron. This metal was known to the Egyptians in the earliest ages; fragments of iron have been found in the oldest pyramids. The Iron Age in Northern Europe far antedated intercourse with the Greeks or Romans. In the mounds of the Mississippi Valley, as I have shown, the remains of iron implements have been found. In the "Mercurio Peruano" (tom. i., p. 201, 1791) it is stated that "anciently the Peruvian sovereigns worked magnificent iron mines at Ancoriames, on the west shore of Lake Titicaca." "It is remarkable," says Molina, "that iron, which has been thought unknown to the ancient Americans, had particular names in some of their tongues." In official Peruvian it was called quillay, and in Chilian panilic. The Mound Builders fashioned implements out of meteoric iron. (Foster's "Prehistoric Races," p. 333.)
As we find this metal known to man in the earliest ages on both sides of the Atlantic, the presumption is very strong that it was borrowed by the nations, east and west, from Atlantis.
Paper.—The same argument holds good as to paper. The oldest Egyptian monuments contain pictures of the papyrus roll; while in Mexico, as I have shown, a beautiful paper was manufactured and formed into books shaped like our own. In Peru a paper was made of plantain leaves, and books were common in the earlier ages. Humboldt mentions books of hieroglyphical writings among the Panoes, which were "bundles of their paper resembling our volumes in quarto."
Silk Manufacture.—The manufacture of a woven fabric of great beauty out of the delicate fibre of the egg-cocoon of a worm could only have originated among a people who had attained the highest degree of civilization; it implies the art of weaving by delicate instruments, a dense population, a patient, skilful, artistic people, a sense of the beautiful, and a wealthy and luxurious class to purchase such costly fabrics.
We trace it back to the most remote ages. In the introduction to the "History of Hindostan," or rather of the Mohammedan Dynasties, by Mohammed Cassim, it is stated that in the year 3870 B.C. an Indian king sent various silk stuffs as a present to the King of Persia. The art of making silk was known in China more than two thousand six hundred years before the Christian era, at the time when we find them first possessed of civilization. The Phœnicians dealt in silks in the most remote past; they imported them from India and sold them along the shores of the Mediterranean. It is probable that the Egyptians understood and practised the art of manufacturing silk. It was woven in the island of Cos in the time of Aristotle. The "Babylonish garment" referred to in Joshua (chap. vii., 21), and for secreting which Achan lost his life, was probably a garment of silk; it was rated above silver and gold in value.
It is not a violent presumption to suppose that an art known to the Hindoos 3870 B.C., and to the Chinese and Phœnicians at the very beginning of their history—an art so curious, so extraordinary—may have dated back to Atlantean times.
Civil Government.—Mr. Baldwin shows ("Prehistoric Nations," p. 114) that the Cushites, the successors of the Atlanteans, whose very ancient empire extended from Spain to Syria, were the first to establish independent municipal republics, with the right of the people to govern themselves; and that this system was perpetuated in the great Phœnician communities; in "the fierce democracies" of ancient Greece; in the "village republics" of the African Berbers and the Hindoos; in the "free cities" of the Middle Ages in Europe; and in the independent governments of the Basques, which continued down to our own day. The Cushite state was an aggregation of municipalities, each possessing the right of self-government, but subject within prescribed limits to a general authority; in other words, it was precisely the form of government possessed to-day by the United States. It is a surprising thought that the perfection of modern government may be another perpetuation of Atlantean civilization.
Agriculture.—The Greek traditions of "the golden apples of the Hesperides" and "the golden fleece" point to Atlantis. The allusions to the golden apples indicate that tradition regarded the "Islands of the Blessed" in the Atlantic Ocean as a place of orchards. And when we turn to Egypt we find that in the remotest times many of our modern garden and field plants were there cultivated. When the Israelites murmured in the wilderness against Moses, they cried out (Numb., chap. xi., 4, 5), "Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic." The Egyptians also cultivated wheat, barley, oats, flax, hemp, etc. In fact, if we were to take away from civilized man the domestic animals, the cereals, and the field and garden vegetables possessed by the Egyptians at the very dawn of history, there would be very little left for the granaries or the tables of the world.
Astronomy.—The knowledge of the ancients as to astronomy was great and accurate. Callisthenes, who accompanied Alexander the Great to Babylon, sent to Aristotle a series of Chaldean astronomical observations which he found preserved there, recorded on tablets of baked clay, and extending back as far as 2234 B.C. Humboldt says, "The Chaldeans knew the mean motions of the moon with an exactness which induced the Greek astronomers to use their calculations for the foundation of a lunar theory." The Chaldeans knew the true nature of comets, and could foretell their reappearance. "A lens of considerable power was found in the ruins of Babylon; it was an inch and a half in diameter and nine-tenths of an inch thick." (Layard's "Nineveh and Babylon," pp. 16, 17.) Nero used optical glasses when he watched the fights of the gladiators; they are supposed to have come from Egypt and the East. Plutarch speaks of optical instruments used by Archimedes "to manifest to the eye the largeness of the sun." "There are actual astronomical calculations in existence, with calendars formed upon them, which eminent astronomers of England and France admit to be genuine and true, and which carry back the antiquity of the science of astronomy, together with the constellations, to within a few years of the Deluge, even on the longer chronology of the Septuagint." ("The Miracle in Stone," p. 142.) Josephus attributes the invention of the constellations to the family of the antediluvian Seth, the son of Adam, while Origen affirms that it was asserted in the Book of Enoch that in the time of that patriarch the constellations were already divided and named. The Greeks associated the origin of astronomy with Atlas and Hercules, Atlantean kings or heroes. The Egyptians regarded Taut (At?) or Thoth, or At-hotes, as the originator of both astronomy and the alphabet; doubtless he represented a civilized people, by whom their country was originally colonized. Bailly and others assert that astronomy "must have been established when the summer solstice was in the first degree of Virgo, and that the solar and lunar zodiacs were of similar antiquity, which would be about four thousand years before the Christian era. They suppose the originators to have lived in about the fortieth degree of north latitude, and to have been a highly-civilized people." It will be remembered that the fortieth degree of north latitude passed through Atlantis. Plato knew ("Dialogues, Phædo," 108) that the earth "is a body in the centre of the heavens" held in equipoise. He speaks of it as a "round body," a "globe;" he even understood that it revolved on its axis, and that these revolutions produced day and night. He says—"Dialogues, Timæus"—"The earth circling around the pole (which is extended through the universe) he made to be the artificer of night and day." All this Greek learning was probably drawn from the Egyptians.
Only among the Atlanteans in Europe and America do we find traditions preserved as to the origin of all the principal inventions which have raised man from a savage to a civilized condition. We can give in part the very names of the inventors.
Starting with the Chippeway legends, and following with the Bible and Phœnician records, we make a table like the appended:
|The Invention or Discovery.||The Race.||The Inventors.|
Phos, Phur, and Phlox.
We cannot consider all these evidences of the vast antiquity of the great inventions upon which our civilization mainly rests, including the art of writing, which, as I have shown, dates back far beyond the beginning of history; we cannot remember that the origin of all the great food-plants, such as wheat, oats, barley, rye, and maize, is lost in the remote past; and that all the domesticated animals, the horse, the ass, the ox, the sheep, the goat, and the hog had been reduced to subjection to man in ages long previous to written history, without having the conclusion forced upon us irresistibly that beyond Egypt and Greece, beyond Chaldea and China, there existed a mighty civilization, of which these states were but the broken fragments.