Page:Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx.djvu/101

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less a civilized people living under an organized government. Indeed, if any inference can be drawn from the epic legends it would be that, prior to the Aryan conquest, the Nâgá rajas were ruling powers, who had cultivated the arts of luxury to an extraordinary degree, and yet succeeded in maintaining a protracted struggle against the Aryan invaders." [tab]Like the Enghsh of to-day, the Mayas sent colonists all over the earth. These carried with them the language, the traditions, the architecture, astronomy,1 cosmogony, and other sciences — in a word, the civilization of their mother country. It is this civilization that furnishes us with the means of ascer- taining the rôle played by them in the universal history of the world. We find vestiges of it, and of their language, in all historical nations of antiquity in Asia, Africa, and Europe. They are still frequent in the countries where they flourished. [tab]It is easy to follow their tracks across the Pacific to India, by the imprints of their hands dipped in a red liquid and pressed against the walls of temples, caves, and other places looked upon as sacred, to implore the benison of the gods — also by their name, Maya, given to the banana tree, symbol of their country,2 whose broad leaf is yet a token of hospitality

[tab]1 H. T. Colebrooke, "Memoirs on the Sacred Books of India," Asiatic Researchies, vol. ii., pp. 369-476, says: "Maya is considered as the author of the Soúryor-Siddhanta, the most ancient treatise on astronomy in India. He is represented as receiving his science from a partial incarnation of the Sun." This work, on which all the Indian astronomy is founded, was discovered at Benares by Sir Robert Chambers. Mr. Samuel Davis partly translated it, particularly those sections which relate to the calculation of eclipses. It is a work of very great antiquity, since it is attributed to a Maya author whose astronomical rules show that he was well acquainted with trigonometry (Asiatic Researches, vol. ii., pp. 245-249), proving that abstruse sciences were cultivated in those remote ages, before the invasion of India by the Aryans. (See Appendix, note vi.) [tab]2 Codex Cortesianus, plates 7 and 8.