Page:Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx.djvu/68

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

fact, the same legend repeated, and so written for the better understanding of the map, and of the exact position of the various localities; that of the Mexican Gulf figured on the left, and of the ideographic or pictorial representation of the Caribbean Sea to the right of the tableau. In order to thoroughly comprehend the idea of the Maya author, it is indispensable to have a perfect knowledge of the contours of the seas and lands mentioned by him in this instance, even as they exist to-day. Of course, some slight changes since the epoch referred to by him have naturally taken place, and the outlines of the shores are somewhat altered, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico, as can be ascertained by consulting maps made by the Spaniards at the time of the conquest.

The adjoining map of Central America, the Antilles, and Gulf of Mexico, being copied from that published by the Bureau of Hydrography at Washington, may be regarded as accurate (Plate III.). On it I have traced, in dotted lines, figures that will enable any one to easily understand why the Maya author symbolized the Caribbean Sea as a deer, and the empire of Mayach as a tree, rooted in the southern continent, and having a single branch, horizontal and pointing to the right, that is, in an easterly direction.

A glance at the map of the "Drowned Valleys of the Antillean Lands" (Plate IV.), published by Professor J. W. Spencer, of Washington, in the "Bulletin of the Geological Society of America" for January, 1895, which is reproduced here with the author's permission, must convince any one that the ancient Maya geologists and geographers were not far behind their brother professors, in these sciences, of modern times, in their knowledge, at least, of those