Page:Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx.djvu/78

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

kan, also, to denote its geographical position. It will be noticed that this sign was omitted in the horizontal legend, as it should be, since kan is the word for "south; " but it has been replaced by ix ix (" north,") which sign has been incorporated with the sign, beb, bebthus northern part of country to show that this is the northern part of the tree — that is, of the country.

There remains to be explained what may be considered, in the present instance, the most important character of the tableau, Mayach since it is the original name given, in the most remote ages, to that part of the Maya Empire known on our maps as the peninsula of Yucatan. It reads, Mayach, the "land just sprung," the "primitive land," the "hard land." The symbol itself is an ideographic representation of the peninsula and its surroundings, as will be shown.

The reason that caused it to be adopted by the learned men of Mayach as symbol for the name of their country is indeed most interesting. It clearly explains its etymology, and also gives us a knowledge of the scope of their scientific attainments — among these their perfect understanding of the forces that produced the submersion of many lands, and the upheaval of the peninsula and other places; a thorough acquaintance with the geography of the continent wherein they dwelt, and of the lands adjacent in the ocean; that even of the ill-fated island mentioned by Plato,[1] its destruction by earthquakes, and the sad doom of its inhabitants that remained, an historical fact, preserved in the annals treasured in the Egyptian temples as well as in those of the Mayas. May we not assume that the identity of traditions indicates that at some epoch,

  1. Plato, Dialogues, "Timæus," ii., 517.