Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/169

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161
PALENQUE AND THE PHANTOM CITY.

tions of the French naturalist, Morelet, upon the ruins and the people who once occupied them: "The analogy can no longer be denied between these ruins and the monuments of Mexico, which tradition attributes to the Toltecs. These comparisons show the action and preponderance of a common race over the whole territory lying between Cape Catoche (Yucatan) and the Mexican table-land. . . . . We find that the Toltecs, in the middle of the seventh century, were in possession of Anahuac, where civilization probably developed itself. Later they abandoned this region and emigrated in a southeasterly direction,—that is to say, into the provinces of Oaxaca and Chiapas. It is easy enough, therefore, to arrive at the conclusion that Palenque was founded at this time (?), and was consequently contemporaneous with Mitla (in Oaxaca). Says Herrera: While the inhabitants of Mayapan (Yucatan) lived in peace and prosperity, there arrived from the south, from the heights of Lacandon, a large number of people, originally from Chiapas, who, after having wandered forty years in the wilderness, finally settled ten leagues from Mayapan, at the base of the mountains, where they built magnificent edifices and conformed to the customs of the country. . . . . If the undisputed analogy be considered which exists between the ancient monuments of Mexico and the ruins of Palenque, and between the latter and those of Yucatan, and if we consider also the geographical position of these ruins, spread over the line of Toltec emigration, and bearing evidence of antiquity, the more marked because they are less distant from the point of departure,—if all these be considered, it will doubtless be granted that these different works were from the hands of the same people who successively built Tula, Mitla, Palenque, Mayapan, and all the edifices now in ruins on this peninsula."

Perhaps it will seem to later investigators more in accordance with discoveries, recent and in the past, to ascribe to Palenque the honor of being the original starting-place of the Toltecs. We should then read, as cities built in the order named, Palenque, Mayapan, Mitla, Tula, &c.; and we should also infer a greater antiquity than the above-cited writer assumes, and hold that, though the first intimation of the Toltecs is as moving from