Page:Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx.djvu/35

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xv
PREFACE.

their researches in all branches of human knowledge (the power of steam and electricity not excepted). They depopulated the countries bathed by the waters of the Mediterranean; plunged the populations of Western Europe into ignorance, superstition, fanaticism; threw over them, as an intellectual mortuary pall, the black wave of barbarism that during the Middle Ages came nigh wiping out all traces of civilization — which was saved from total wreck by the followers of Mahomet, whose great mental and scientific attainments illumined that night of intellectual darkness as a brilliant meteor, too soon extinguished by those minions of the Church, the members of the Holy Inquisition established by Pope Lucius III. The inquisitors, imitating their worthy predecessors, the Metropolitans of Constantinople and the bishops of Alexandria, closed the academies and public schools of Cordoba, where Pope Sylvester II. and several other high dignitaries of the Church had been admitted as pupils and acquired, under the tuition of Moorish philosophers, knowledge of medicine, geography, rhetoric, chemistry, physics, mathematics, astronomy, and the other sciences contained in the thousands of precious volumes that formed the superb libraries which the inquisitors wantonly destroyed, alleging St. Paul's example.[1]

Abundant proofs of the intimate communications of the ancient Mayas with the civilized nations of Asia, Africa, and Europe are to be found among the remains of their ruined cities. Their peculiar architecture, embodying their cosmogonic and religious notions, is easily recognized in the ancient architectural monuments of India, Chaldea, Egypt, and Greece; in the great pyramid of Ghizeh, in the famed Parthenon of Athens. Although architecture is an unerring standard of the

  1. The Acts of the Apostles, chapter xix., verse 19.