Page images

may from hence be enabled to solve the enigma concerning Atlas, who is said to have supported the heavens upon his shoulders. This took its rise from some verses in Homer, which have been strangely misconstrued. The passage is in the Odyssey; where the poet is speaking of Calypso, who is said to be the daughter of Atlas, oncoopavos, a person of deep and recondite knowledge:

Ατλαντος θυγατηρ ολοοφρονος, όστε θαλασσης
Πασης βενθεα σιδες, έχει δε τε ΚΙΟΝΑΣ αυτος
Μακρας, αι Γαιαν τε και Ουρανον αμφις έχεσιν.

It is to be observed, that when the antients speak of the feats of Hercules, we are to understand the Herculeans; under the name of Cadmus is meant the Cadmians; under that of Atlas, the Atlantians. With this allowance how plain are the words of Homer! The Atlantians settled in Phrygia and Mauritania; and, like the Colchians, were of the family of Ham. They had great experience in sea affairs : and the poet tells us, that they knew all the soundings in the great deep.

[ocr errors]

* Homer. Odyss. I. 2, v. 52.

"The Atlantians were styled Ouçariens, or sons of heaven. The head of the family was supposed to be the brother of Saturn. Diodorus. L. 3. p. 193.

Εχει δε τε Κιονός αυτός
Μακρας, αι Γαιην τε και Ουρανον αμφις εχεσιν.

They had also long pillars, or obelisks, which referred to the sea; and upon which was delineated the whole system both of heaven and earth; ou pis, ell around, both on the front of the obelisk, and on the other sides. Kuoves Koops were certainly maps, and histories of the universe; in the knowledge of which the Atlantians seem to have instructed their brethren the Herculeans. The Grecians, in their accounts, by putting one person for a people, have rendered the history obscute; which otherwise would be very intelligible. There is a passage in Eusebius, which may be rendered very plain, and to the purpose, if we make use of the clue above. mentioned. 9 Ηροδοτος δε λέγει τον Ηρακλεα μαντιν και φισιαον γενόμενον παρα Ατλαντος τε Βαρβαρα τα

τε Φρυγος διαδεχεσθαι τας τε Κσσμα Κιονας. This may be para

. phrased in the following manner; and with such latitude will be found perfectly consonant to the truth. The Herculeans were a people much given to divination, and to the study of nature. Great part of their knowledge they are thought to have kad transmitted to them from those Atlantians,

Euseb. 'Isogows ouvæywyn. p. 374. c. 2.

who settled in Phrygia, especially the history of the earth and heavens; for all such knowledge the Atlantians had of old consigned to pillars and obelisks in that country: and from them it was derived to the Herculeans, or Heraclide, of Greece. The Atlantians were esteemed by the Grecians as barbarous: but they were in reality of the same family. Their chief ancestor was the father of the Peleiade, or Ionin; of whom I shall hereafter have much to say: and was the supposed brother of Saturn. The Hellenes, though they did not

. always allow it, were undoubtedly of his race. This may be proved from Diodorus Siculus, who gives this curious history of the Peleiadæ, his offspring. Ταυτας δε μιγεισας τους ευφυεκατoις Ηρωσι και Θεους αρχηγες καταςηναι τα πλεισε γενες των ανθρωπων, τεκεσας τες δι' αρετην Θεας και Ηρωας ονομασθεντας,Παραπλησεως δε και τας αλλας Ατλαντιδας γεννησαι παιδας επιφανεις, ων τες μεν εθνων, τες δε πολεων γενεσθαι κτισας: διοπερ και μονον παρ' ενιoις των Βαρβαρων, αλλα και παρα

“Ελλησι της πλεισες των αρχαιοτατων Ηρωων εις ταυτας αναφερειν το γενος. These daughters of Atlas, by their connections and marriages with the inost illustrious heroes, and divinities, may be looked up to as the heads of most families upon earth. And froin them proceeded all those, who upon account of



[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

their eminence vere in aftertimes esteemed Gods and Heroes. And having

And having spoken of Maia, and her offspring, the author proceeds to tell us, that the other Atlantides in like manner gave birth to a most noble race : some of whom were the founders of nations, and others the builders of cities : insomuch that most of the more antient heroes, not only of those abroad, who were esteemed Barbar, but even of the Helladians, claimed their ancestry from them. And they received not only their ancestry, but their knowledge also, te zoole8 tloves; all the celestial and terrestrial phenomena, which had been entrusted to the sacred pillars of the Atlantes, αι γαιην τε και ερανον αμφις εχεσιν, which ,

, contained descriptions both of the heavens, and the earth. From Phrygia they came at last to Hellas, where they were introduced by Anaximander, who is said,

Η Εσδιναι πρωτον γεογραφικού Tivara, to have been the first who introduced å geographical chart: or, as Laertius expresses it, "Γης και Θαλαττης περιμετρον, the circumference of the terraqueous globe delineated.

Though the origin of maps may be deduced from Egypt, yet they were not the native Egyptians, by whom they were first constructed. De

"Strabo. I. 1. p. 13.
" Diog. Laert. Anaximander.

lineations of this nature were the contrivance of the Cuthites, or Shepherds. They were, among other titles, styled Saïtæ ; and from them both astronomy and geometry were introduced in those parts. They, with immense labour, drained the lower provinces; erected stupendous buildings; and raised towers at the mouths of the river, which were opportunely situated for navigation. For, though the Mizraim were not addicted to commerce, yet it was followed by other families besides the Cuthites, who occupied the lower provinces towards the sea. The towers which were there raised served for lighthouses, and were, at the same time, temples, denominated from some title of the Deity, such as Canoph, Caneph, Cneph; also Perses, Proteus, Phanes, and Canobus. They were on both accounts much resorted to by mariners, and enriched with offerings. Here were deposited charts of the coast, and of the navigation of the Nile, which were engraved on pillars, and in aftertimes sketched out upon the Nilotic Papyrus. There is likewise reason to think that they were sometimes delineated upon walls. This leads me to take notice of a passage from Pherecydes Syrus, which seems to allude to something of this nature : though, I believe, in his short detail that he has misrepresented the author from whom he copied. He is said, by Theopom

« PreviousContinue »