Page:Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx.djvu/81

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liii
INTRODUCTION.

Let us resume our explanation. We have found that in remote times ma was the meaning of the character ma. Let us try to analyze its component parts in its relation to the name Mayach, and its origin as an alphabetic character. It is easy to see that it is composed of the geometrical figure geometrical figure flanked on each side by the symbol imix imix. Who can fail to see that this figure bears a striking resemblance to the Egyptian sign ma/M that Dr. Young translates ma,[1] and Mr. Champollion asserts to be simply the letter M?[2] By a strange coincidence, if coincidence there be, the meaning of the syllable ma is the same in Maya and Egyptian; that is, in both languages it signifies "earth," "place." "The word τοπος — 'place,' 'site,'" says Mr. Champollion, "of the Greek text of the Rosetta inscription is expressed in the hieroglyphic part of the tablet by an owl for M, and the extended arm for A, which gives the Coptic word μα (ma), 'site,' 'place.' "[3]

We see that in the Troano MS. the author represented the earth by the figure of an old man,[4] "the grandfather," mam ; hence, by apocope, ma, "earth," "site," "country," "place."

Ma, in the Maya, is also a particle used, as in the Greek language, in affirmation or negation according to its position before or after the verb. Another curious coincidence worthy of notice is that the sign of negation is absolutely the same for the Mayas as for the Egyptians, Egyptian nen. Bunsen [5] says that the latter called it nen. That word in Maya

  1. Dr. Young, "Egypt," Encyclopedia Britannica, Edinburgh edition, vol. iv.
  2. Champollion le jeune, Précis du Système hiéroglyphique. etc., p. 34.
  3. Ibid., p. 125.
  4. Troano MS., vol. i., Maya text, part ii., plates xxv.-xxvii., et passim.
  5. Bunsen, Egypt's Place in Universal History, Vocabulary word Nen.