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Title: Vestiges of the Mayas - or, Facts Tending to Prove that Communications and Intimate - Relations Must Have Existed, in very Remote Times, Between - the Inhabitants of Mayab and Those of Asia and Africa
Author: Le Plongeon, Augustus, 1826-1908
Language: English
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Transcriber’s Note

A number of typographical errors have been maintained in this version
of this book. They have been marked with a [TN-#], which refers to a
description in the complete list found at the end of the text.

The following less-common characters are used in this version of the book.
If they do not display properly, please try changing your font.

  ☉  Sun symbol
  ā  a with macron
  ɔ  open o



  _Facts tending to prove that Communications and Intimate Relations
  must have existed, in very remote times, between the inhabitants of_






  Member of the American Antiquarian Society of Worcester, Mass., of the
  California Academy of Sciences, and several other Scientific Societies.
  Author of various Essays and Scientific Works.





Who deserves the thanks of the students of American Archæology more than
you, for the interest manifested in the explorations of the ruined
monuments of Central America, handiwork of the races that inhabited this
continent in remote ages, and the material help given by you to Foreign
and American explorers in that field of investigations?

Accept, then, my personal thanks, with the dedication of this small
Essay. It forms part of the result of many years’ study and hardships
among the ruined cities of the Incas, in Peru, and of the Mayas in

    Yours very respectfully,


NEW YORK, _December 15, 1881_.

  Entered according to an Act of Congress, in December, 1881,


  In the Office of the LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS in Washington, D.C.


Yucatan is the peninsula which divides the Gulf of Mexico from the
Caribbean Sea. It is comprised between the 17° 30´ and 21° 50´, of
latitude north, and the 88° and 91° of longitude west from the Greenwich

The whole peninsula is of fossiferous limestone formation. Elevated a
few feet only above the sea, on the coasts, it gradually raises toward
the interior, to a maximum height of above 70 feet. A bird’s-eye view,
from a lofty building, impresses the beholder with the idea that he is
looking on an immense sea of verdure, having the horizon for boundary;
without a hill, not even a hillock, to break the monotony of the
landscape. Here and there clusters of palm trees, or artificial mounds,
covered with shrubs, loom above the green dead-level as islets, over
that expanse of green foliage, affording a momentary relief to the eyes
growing tired of so much sameness.

About fifty miles from the northwestern coast begins a low, narrow range
of hills, whose highest point is not much above 500 feet. It traverses
the peninsula in a direction a little south from east, commencing a few
miles north from the ruined city of Uxmal, and terminating some distance
from the eastern coast, opposite to the magnificent bay of Ascension.

Lately I have noticed that some veins of red oxide of iron exist among
these hills--quarries of marble must also be found there; since the
sculptured ornaments that adorn the facade of all the monuments at Uxmal
are of that stone. To-day the inhabitants of Yucatan are even ignorant
of the existence of these minerals in their country, and ocher to paint,
and marble slabs to floor their houses, are imported from abroad. I
have also discovered veins of good lithographic stones that could be
worked at comparatively little expense.

The surface of the country is undulating; its stony waves recall
forcibly to the mind the heavy swell of mid-ocean. It seems as if, in
times long gone by, the soil was upheaved, _en masse_, from the bottom
of the sea, by volcanic forces. This upheaval must have taken place many
centuries ago, since isolated columns of _Katuns_ 1m. 50c. square,
erected at least 6,000 years ago, stand yet in the same perpendicular
position, as at the time when another stone was added to those already
piled up, to indicate a lapse of twenty years in the life of the nation.

It is, indeed, a remarkable fact, that whilst the surrounding
countries--Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba and the other West India Islands--are
frequently convulsed by earthquakes, the peninsula of Yucatan is
entirely free from these awe-inspiring convulsions of mother earth. This
immunity may be attributed, in my opinion, to the innumerable and
extensive caves with which the whole country is entirely honeycombed;
and the large number of immense natural wells, called Senotes, that are
to be found everywhere. These caves and senotes afford an outlet for the
escape of the gases generated in the superficial strata of the earth.
These, finding no resistance to their passage, follow, harmlessly, these
vents without producing on the surface any of those terrible commotions
that fill the heart of man and beast alike with fright and dismay.

Some of those caves are said to be very extensive--None, however, has
been thoroughly explored. I have visited a few, certainly extremely
beautiful, adorned as they are with brilliant stalactites depending from
their roofs, that seem as if supported by the stalagmites that must have
required ages to be formed gradually from the floor into the massive
columns, as we see them to-day.

In all the caves are to be found either inexhaustible springs of clear,
pure, cold water, or streams inhabited by shrimps and fishes. No one can
tell whence they come or where they go. All currents of water are
subterraneous. Not a river is to be found on the surface; not even the
smallest of streamlets, where the birds of the air, or the wild beasts
of the forests, can allay their thirst during the dry season. The
plants, if there are no chinks or crevices in the stony soil through
which their roots can penetrate and seek the life-sustaining fluid
below, wither and die. It is a curious sight that presented by the roots
of the trees, growing on the precipituous[TN-1] brinks of the _senotes_,
in their search for water. They go down and down, even a hundred feet,
until they reach the liquid surface, from where they suck up the fluid
to aliment the body of the tree. They seem like many cables and ropes
stretched all round the sides of the well; and, in fact, serves as such
to some of the most daring of the natives, to ascend or descend to enjoy
a refreshing bath.

These _senotes_ are immense circular holes, the diameter of which varies
from 50 to 500 feet, with perpendicular walls from 50 to 150 feet deep.
These holes might be supposed to have served as ducts for the
subterranean gases at the time of the upheaval of the country. Now they
generally contain water. In some, the current is easily noticeable; many
are completely dry; whilst others contain thermal mineral water,
emitting at times strong sulphurous odor and vapor.

Many strange stories are told by the aborigines concerning the
properties possessed by the water in certain senotes, and the strange
phenomena that takes place in others. In one, for example, you are
warned to approach the water walking backward, and to breathe very
softly, otherwise it becomes turbid and unfit for drinking until it has
settled and become clear again. In another you are told not to speak
above a whisper, for if any one raises the voice the tranquil surface of
the water immediately becomes agitated, and soon assumes the appearance
of boiling; even its level raises. These and many other things are told
in connection with the caves and senotes; and we find them mentioned in
the writings of the chroniclers and historians from the time of the
Spanish conquest.

No lakes exist on the surface, at least within the territories occupied
by the white men. Some small sheets of water, called aguadas, may be
found here and there, and are fed by the underground current; but they
are very rare. There are three or four near the ruins of the ancient
city of Mayapan: probably its inhabitants found in them an abundant
supply of water. Following all the same direction, they are, as some
suppose, no doubt with reason, the outbreaks of a subterranean stream
that comes also to the surface in the senote of _Mucuyché_. A mile or so
from Uxmal is another aguada; but judging from the great number of
artificial reservoirs, built on the terraces and in the courts of all
the monuments, it would seem as if the people there depended more on the
clouds for their provision of water than on the wells and senotes. Yet I
feel confident that one of these must exist under the building known as
the Governor’s house; having discovered in its immediate vicinity the
entrance--now closed--of a cave from which a cool current of air is
continually issuing; at times with great force.

I have been assured by Indians from the village of Chemax, who pretend
to know that part of the country well, that, at a distance of about
fifty miles from the city of Valladolid, the actual largest settlement
on the eastern frontier, in the territories occupied by the SANTA CRUZ
Indians, there exists, near the ruins of _Kaba_, two extensive sheets of
water, from where, in years gone by, the inhabitants of Valladolid
procured abundant supply of excellent fishes. These ruins of Kaba, said
to be very interesting, have never been visited by any foreigner; nor
are they likely to be for many years to come, on account of the imminent
danger of falling into the hands of those of Santa Cruz--that, since
1847, wage war to the knife against the Yucatecans.

On the coast, the sea penetrating in the lowlands have formed sloughs
and lakes, on the shores of which thickets of mangroves grow, with
tropical luxuriancy. Intermingling their crooked roots, they form such a
barrier as to make landing well nigh impossible. These small lakes,
subject to the ebb and flow of the tides, are the resort of innumerable
sea birds and water fowls of all sizes and descriptions; from the snipe
to the crane, and brightly colored flamingos, from the screeching sea
gulls to the serious looking pelican. They are attracted to these lakes
by the solitude of the forests of mangroves that afford them excellent
shelter, where to build their nests, and find protection from the storms
that, at certain season of the year, sweep with untold violence along
the coast: and because with ease they can procure an abundant supply of
food, these waters being inhabited by myriads of fishes, as they come to
bask on the surface which is seldom ruffled even when the tempest rages

Notwithstanding the want of superficial water, the air is always charged
with moisture; the consequence being a most equable temperature all the
year round, and an extreme luxuriance of all vegetation. The climate is
mild and comparatively healthy for a country situated within the
tropics, and bathed by the waters of the Mexican Gulf. This mildness and
healthiness may be attributed to the sea breezes that constantly pass
over the peninsula, carrying the malaria and noxious gases that have not
been absorbed by the forests, which cover the main portion of the land;
and to the great abundance of oxygen exuded by the plants in return.
This excessive moisture and the decomposition of dead vegetable matter
is the cause of the intermittent fevers that prevail in all parts of the
peninsula, where the yellow fever, under a mild form generally, is also
endemic. When it appears, as this year, in an epidemic form, the natives
themselves enjoy no immunity from its ravages, and fall victims to it as
well as unacclimated foreigners.

These epidemics, those of smallpox and other diseases that at times make
their appearance in Yucatan, generally present themselves after the
rainy season, particularly if the rains have been excessive. The country
being extremely flat, the drainage is necessarily very bad: and in
places like Merida, for example, where a crowding of population exists,
and the cleanliness of the streets is utterly disregarded by the proper
authorities, the decomposition of vegetable and animal matter is very
large; and the miasmas generated, being carried with the vapors arising
from the constant evaporation of stagnant waters, are the origin of
those scourges that decimate the inhabitants. Yucatan, isolated as it
is, its small territory nearly surrounded by water, ought to be, if the
laws of health were properly enforced, one of the most healthy countries
on the earth; where, as in the Island of Cozumel, people should only die
of old age or accident. The thermometer varies but little, averaging
about 80° _Far_. True, it rises in the months of July and August as high
as 96° in the shade, but it seldom falls below 65° in the month of
December. In the dry season, from January to June, the trees become
divested of their leaves, that fall more particularly in March and
April. Then the sun, returning from the south on its way to the north,
passes over the land and darts its scorching perpendicular rays on it,
causing every living creature to thirst for a drop of cool water; the
heat being increased by the burning of those parts of the forests that
have been cut down to prepare fields for cultivation.

In the portion of the peninsula, about one-third of it, that still
remains in possession of the white, the Santa Cruz Indians holding,
since 1847, the richest and most fertile, two-thirds, the soil is
entirely stony. The arable loam, a few inches in thickness, is the
result of the detriti of the stones, mixed with the remainder of the
decomposition of vegetable matter. In certain districts, towards the
eastern and southern parts of the State, patches of red clay form
excellent ground for the cultivation of the sugar cane and Yuca root.
From this an excellent starch is obtained in large quantities. Withal,
the soil is of astonishing fertility, and trees, even, are met with of
large size, whose roots run on the surface of the bare stone,
penetrating the chinks and crevices only in search of moisture. Often
times I have seen them growing from the center of slabs, the seed having
fallen in a hole that happened to be bored in them. In the month of May
the whole country seems parched and dry. Not a leaf, not a bud. The
branches and boughs are naked, and covered with a thick coating of gray
dust. Nothing to intercept the sight in the thicket but the bare trunks
and branches, with the withes entwining them. With the first days of
June come the first refreshing showers. As if a magic wand had been
waved over the land, the view changes--life springs everywhere. In the
short space of a few days the forests have resumed their holiday attire;
buds appear and the leaves shoot; the flowers bloom sending forth their
fragrance, that wafted by the breeze perfume the air far and near. The
birds sing their best songs of joy; the insects chirp their shrillest
notes; butterflies of gorgeous colors flutter in clouds in every
direction in search of the nectar contained in the cups of the
newly-opened blossom, and dispute it with the brilliant humming-birds.
All creation rejoices because a few tears of mother Nature have brought
joy and happiness to all living beings, from the smallest blade of grass
to the majestic palm; from the creeping worm to man, who proudly titles
himself the lord of creation.

Yucatan has no rich metallic mines, but its wealth of vegetable
productions is immense. Large forests of mahogany, cedar, zapotillo
trees cover vast extents of land in the eastern and southern portions of
the peninsula; whilst patches of logwood and mora, many miles in length,
grow near the coast. The wood is to-day cut down and exported by the
Indians of Santa Cruz through their agents at Belize. Coffee, vanilla,
tobacco, india-rubber, rosins of various kinds, copal in particular,
all of good quality, abound in the country, but are not cultivated on
account of its unsettled state; the Indians retaining possession of the
most fertile territories where these rich products are found.

The whites have been reduced to the culture of the Hennequen plant
(agave sisalensis) in order to subsist. It is the only article of
commerce that grows well on the stony soil to which they are now
confined. The filament obtained from the plant, and the objects
manufactured from it constitute the principal article of export; in fact
the only source of wealth of the Yucatecans. As the filament is now much
in demand for the fabrication of cordage in the United States and
Europe, many of the landowners have ceased to plant maize, although the
staple article of food in all classes, to convert their land into
hennequen fields. The plant thrives well on stony soil, requires no
water and but little care. The natural consequence of planting the whole
country with hennequen has been so great a deficiency in the maize crop,
that this year not enough was grown for the consumption, and people in
the northeastern district were beginning to suffer from the want of it,
when some merchants of Merida imported large quantities from New York.
They, of course, sold it at advanced prices, much to the detriment of
the poorer classes. Some sugar is also cultivated in the southern and
eastern districts, but not in sufficient quantities even for the
consumption; and not a little is imported from Habana.

The population of the country, about 250,000 souls all told, are mostly
Indians and mixed blood. In fact, very few families can be found of pure
Caucasian race. Notwithstanding the great admixture of different races,
a careful observer can readily distinguish yet four prominent ones, very
noticeable by their features, their stature, the conformation of their
body. The dwarfish race is certainly easily distinguishable from the
descendants of the giants that tradition says once upon a time existed
in the country, whose bones are yet found, and whose portraits are
painted on the walls of Chaacmol’s funeral chamber at Chichen-Itza. The
almond-eyed, flat-nosed Siamese race of Copan is not to be mistaken for
the long, big-nosed, flat-headed remnant of the Nahualt from Palenque,
who are said to have invaded the country some time at the beginning of
the Christian era; and whose advent among the Mayas, whose civilization
they appear to have destroyed, has been commemorated by calling the
_west_, the region whence they came, according to Landa, Cogolludo and
other historians, NOHNIAL, a word which means literally _big noses for
our daughters_; whilst the coming of the bearded men from the _east_,
better looking than those of the west, if we are to give credit to the
bas-relief where their portraits are to be seen, was called
CENIAL--_ornaments for our daughters_.

If we are to judge by the great number of ruined cities scattered
everywhere through the forests of the peninsula; by the architectural
beauty of the monuments still extant, the specimens of their artistic
attainments in drawing and sculpture which have reached us in the
bas-reliefs, statues and mural paintings of Uxmal and Chichen-Itza; by
their knowledge in mathematical and astronomical sciences, as manifested
in the construction of the gnomon found by me in the ruins of Mayapan;
by the complexity of the grammatical form and syntaxis of their
language, still spoken to-day by the majority of the inhabitants of
Yucatan; by their mode of expressing their thoughts on paper, made from
the bark of certain trees, with alphabetical and phonetical characters,
we must of necessity believe that, at some time or other, the country
was not only densely populated, but that the inhabitants had reached a
high degree of civilization. To-day we can conceive of very few of their
attainments by the scanty remains of their handiwork, as they have come
to us injured by the hand of time, and, more so yet, by that of man,
during the wars, the invasions, the social and religious convulsions
which have taken place among these people, as among all other nations.
Only the opening of the buildings which contain the libraries of their
learned men, and the reading of their works, could solve the mystery,
and cause us to know how much they had advanced in the discovery and
explanation of Nature’s arcana; how much they knew of mankind’s past
history, and of the nations with which they held intercourse. Let us
hope that the day may yet come when the Mexican government will grant to
me the requisite permission, in order that I may bring forth, from the
edifices where they are hidden, the precious volumes, without opposition
from the owners of the property where the monuments exist. Until then we
must content ourselves with the study of the inscriptions carved on the
walls, and becoming acquainted with the history of their builders, and
continue to conjecture what knowledge they possessed in order to be able
to rear such enduring structures, besides the art of designing the plans
and ornaments, and the manner of carving them on stone.

Let us place ourselves in the position of the archæologists of thousands
of years to come, examining the ruins of our great cities, finding still
on foot some of the stronger built palaces and public buildings, with
some rare specimens of the arts, sciences, industry of our days, the
minor edifices having disappeared, gnawed by the steely tooth of time,
together with the many products of our industry, the machines of all
kinds, creation of man’s ingenuity, and his powerful helpmates. What
would they know of the attainments and the progress in mechanics of our
days? Would they be able to form a complete idea of our civilization,
and of the knowledge of our scientific men, without the help of the
volumes contained in our public libraries, and maybe of some one able to
interpret them? Well, it seems to me that we stand in exactly the same
position concerning the civilization of those who have preceded us five
or ten thousand years ago on this continent, as these future
archæologists may stand regarding our civilization five or ten thousand
years hence.

It is a fact, recorded by all historians of the Conquest, that when for
the first time in 1517 the Spaniards came in sight of the lands called
by them Yucatan, they were surprised to see on the coast many monuments
well built of stone; and to find the country strewn with large cities
and beautiful monuments that recalled to their memory the best of Spain.
They were no less astonished to meet in the inhabitants, not naked
savages, but a civilized people, possessed of polite and pleasant
manners, dressed in white cotton habiliments, navigating large boats
propelled by sails, traveling on well constructed roads and causeways
that, in point of beauty and solidity, could compare advantageously with
similar Roman structures in Spain, Italy, England or France.

I will not describe here the majestic monuments raised by the Mayas.
Mrs. Le Plongeon, in her letters to the _New York World_, has given of
those of UXMAL, AKE and MAYAPAN, the only correct description ever
published. My object at present is to relate some of the curious facts
revealed to us by their weather-beaten and crumbling walls, and show how
erroneous is the opinion of some European scientists, who think it not
worth while to give a moment of their precious time to the study of
American archæology, because say they: _No relations have ever been
found to have existed between the monuments and civilizations of the
inhabitants of this continent and those of the old world_. On what
ground they hazard such an opinion it is difficult to surmise, since to
my knowledge the ancient ruined cities of Yucatan, until lately, have
never been thoroughly, much less scientifically, explored. The same is
true of the other monumental ruins of the whole of Central America.

When Mrs. Le Plongeon and myself landed at Progresso, in 1873, we
thought that because we had read the works of Stephens, Waldeck,
Norman, Fredeichstal; carefully examined the few photographic views made
by Mr. Charnay of some of the monuments, we knew all about them. Alas!
vain presumption! When in presence of the antique shrines and palaces of
the Mayas, we soon saw how mistaken we had been; how little those
writers had seen of the monuments they had pretended to describe: that
the work of studying them systematically was not even begun; and that
many years of close observation and patient labor would be necessary in
order to dispel the mysteries which hang over them, and to discover the
hidden meaning of their ornaments and inscriptions. To this difficult
task we resolved to dedicate our time, and to concentrate our efforts to
find a solution, if possible, to the enigma.

We began our work by taking photographs of all the monuments in their
_tout ensemble_, and in all their details, as much as practicable. Next,
we surveyed them carefully; made accurate plans of them in order to be
able to comprehend by the disposition of their different parts, for what
possible use they were erected; taking, as a starting point, that the
human mind and human inclinations and wants are the same in all times,
in all countries, in all races when civilized and cultured. We next
carefully examined what connection the ornaments bore to each other, and
tried to understand the meaning of the designs. At first the maze of
these designs seemed a very difficult riddle to solve. Yet, we believed
that if a human intelligence had devised it, another human intelligence
would certainly be able to unravel it. It was not, however, until we had
nearly completed the tracing and study of the mural paintings, still
extant in the funeral chamber of Chaacmol, or room built on the top of
the eastern wall of the gymnasium at Chichen-Itza, at its southern end,
that Stephens mistook for a shrine dedicated to the god of the players
at ball, that a glimmer of light began to dawn upon us. In tracing the
figure of Chaacmol in battle, I remarked that the shield worn by him
had painted on it round green spots, and was exactly like the ornaments
placed between tiger and tiger on the entablature of the same monument.
I naturally concluded that the monument had been raised to the memory of
the warrior bearing the shield; that the tigers represented his totem,
and that _Chaacmol_ or _Balam_ maya[TN-2] words for spotted tiger or
leopard, was his name. I then remembered that at about one hundred yards
in the thicket from the edifice, in an easterly direction, a few days
before, I had noticed the ruins of a remarkable mound of rather small
dimensions. It was ornamented with slabs engraved with the images of
spotted tigers, eating human hearts, forming magnificent bas-reliefs,
conserving yet traces of the colors in which it was formerly painted. I
repaired to the place. Doubts were no longer possible. The same round
dots, forming the spots of their skins, were present here as on the
shield of the warrior in battle, and that on the entablature of the
building. On examining carefully the ground around the mound, I soon
stumbled upon what seemed to be a half buried statue. On clearing the
_débris_ we found a statue in the round, representing a wounded tiger
reclining on his right side. Three holes in the back indicated the
places where he received his wounds. It was headless. A few feet
further, I found a human head with the eyes half closed, as those of a
dying person. When placed on the neck of the tiger it fitted exactly. I
propped it with sticks to keep it in place. So arranged, it recalled
vividly the Chaldean and Egyptian deities having heads of human beings
and bodies of animals. The next object that called my attention was
another slab on which was represented in bas-relief a dying warrior,
reclining on his back, the head was thrown entirely backwards. His left
arm was placed across his chest, the left hand resting on the right
shoulder, exactly in the same position which the Egyptians were wont, at
times, to give to the mummies of some of their eminent men. From his
mouth was seen escaping two thin, narrow flames--the spirit of the
dying man abandoning the body with the last warm breath.

These and many other sculptures caused me to suspect that this monument
had been the mausoleum raised to the memory of the warrior with the
shield covered with the round dots. Next to the slabs engraved with the
image of tigers was another, representing an _ara militaris_ (a bird of
the parrot specie, very large and of brilliant plumage of various
colors). I took it for the totem of his wife, MOÓ, _macaw_; and so it
proved to be when later I was able to interpret their ideographic
writings. _Kinich-Kakmó_ after her death obtained the honors of the
apotheosis; had temples raised to her memory, and was worshipped at
Izamal up to the time of the Spanish conquest, according to Landa,
Cogolludo and Lizana.

Satisfied that I had found the tomb of a great warrior among the Mayas,
I resolved to make an excavation, notwithstanding I had no tools or
implements proper for such work. After two months of hard toil, after
penetrating through three level floors painted with yellow ochre, at
last a large stone urn came in sight. It was opened in presence of
Colonel D. Daniel Traconis. It contained a small heap of grayish dust
over which lay the cover of a terra cotta pot, also painted yellow; a
few small ornaments of macre that crumbled to dust on being touched, and
a large ball of jade, with a hole pierced in the middle. This ball had
at one time been highly polished, but for some cause or other the polish
had disappeared from one side. Near, and lower than the urn, was
discovered the head of the colossal statue, to-day the best, or one of
the best pieces, in the National Museum of Mexico, having been carried
thither on board of the gunboat _Libertad_, without my consent, and
without any renumeration having even been offered by the Mexican
government for my labor, my time and the money spent in the discovery.
Close to the chest of the statue was another stone urn much larger than
the first. On being uncovered it was found to contain a large quantity
of reddish substance and some jade ornaments. On closely examining this
substance I pronounced it organic matter that had been subjected to a
very great heat in an open vessel. (A chemical analysis of some of it by
Professor Thompson, of Worcester, Mass., at the request of Mr. Stephen
Salisbury, Jr., confirmed my opinion). From the position of the urn I
made up my mind that its contents were the heart and viscera of the
personage represented by the statue; while the dust found in the first
urn must have been the residue of his brains.

Landa tells us that it was the custom, even at the time of the Spanish
conquest, when a person of eminence died to make images of stone, or
terra cotta or wood in the semblance of the deceased, whose ashes were
placed in a hollow made on the back of the head for the purpose. Feeling
sorry for having thus disturbed the remains of _Chaacmol_, so carefully
concealed by his friends and relatives many centuries ago; in order to
save them from further desecration, I burned the greater part reserving
only a small quantity for future analysis. This finding of the heart and
brains of that chieftain, afforded an explanation, if any was needed, of
one of the scenes more artistically portrayed in the mural paintings of
his funeral chamber. In this scene which is painted immediately over the
entrance of the chamber, where is also a life-size representation of his
corpse prepared for cremation, the dead warrior is pictured stretched on
the ground, his back resting on a large stone placed for the purpose of
raising the body and keeping open the cut made across it, under the
ribs, for the extraction of the heart and other parts it was customary
to preserve. These are seen in the hands of his children. At the feet of
the statue were found a number of beautiful arrowheads of flint and
chalcedony; also beads that formed part of his necklace. These, to-day
petrified, seemed to have been originally of bone or ivory. They were
wrought to figure shells of periwinkles. Surrounding the slab on which
the figure rests was a large quantity of dried blood. This fact might
lead us to suppose that slaves were sacrificed at his funeral, as
Herodotus tells us it was customary with the Scythians, and we know it
was with the Romans and other nations of the old world, and the Incas in
Peru. Yet not a bone or any other human remains were found in the

The statue forms a single piece with the slab on which it reclines, as
if about to rise on his elbows, the legs being drawn up so that the feet
rest flat on the slab. I consider this attitude given to the statues of
dead personages that I have discovered in Chichen, where they are still,
to be symbolical of their belief in reincarnation. They, in common with
the Egyptians, the Hindoos, and other nations of antiquity, held that
the spirit of man after being made to suffer for its shortcomings during
its mundane life, would enjoy happiness for a time proportionate to its
good deeds, then return to earth, animate the body and live again a
material existence. The Mayas, however, destroying the body by fire,
made statues in the semblance of the deceased, so that, being
indestructible the spirit might find and animate them on its return to
earth. The present aborigines have the same belief. Even to-day, they
never fail to prepare the _hanal pixan_, the food for the spirits, which
they place in secluded spots in the forests or fields, every year, in
the month of November. These statues also hold an urn between their
hands. This fact again recalls to the mind the Egpptian[TN-3] custom of
placing an urn in the coffins with the mummies, to indicate that the
spirit of the deceased had been judged and found righteous.

The ornament hanging on the breast of Chaacmol’s effigy, from a ribbon
tied with a peculiar knot behind his neck, is simply a badge of his
rank; the same is seen on the breast of many other personages in the
bas-reliefs and mural paintings. A similar mark of authority is yet in
usage in Burmah.

I have tarried so long on the description of my first important
discovery because I desired to explain the method followed by me in the
investigation of these monuments, to show that the result of our labors
are by no means the work of imagination--as some have been so kind a
_short_ time ago as to intimate--but of careful and patient analysis and
comparison; also, in order, from the start, to call your attention to
the similarity of certain customs in the funeral rites that the Mayas
seem to have possessed in common with other nations of the old world:
and lastly, because my friend, Dr. Jesus Sanchez, Professor of
Archæology in the National Museum of Mexico, ignoring altogether the
circumstances accompanying the discovery of the statue, has published in
the _Anales del Museo Nacional_, a long dissertation--full of erudition,
certainly--to prove that the statue discovered by me at Chichen-Itza,
was a representation of the _God of the natural production of the
earth_, and that the name given by me was altogether arbitrary; and,
also, because an article has appeared in the _North American Review_ for
October, 1880, signed by Mr. Charnay, in which the author, after
re-producing Mr. Sanchez’s writing, pronounces _ex cathedra_ and _de
perse_, but without assigning any reason for his opinion, that the
statue is the effigy of the _god of wine_--the Mexican Bacchus--without
telling us which of them, for there were two.

Having been obliged to abandon the statue in the forests--well wrapped
in oilcloth, and sheltered under a hut of palm leaves, constructed by
Mrs. Le Plongeon and myself--my men having been disarmed by order of
General Palomino, then commander-in-chief of the federal forces in
Yucatan, in consequence of a revolutionary movement against Dr.
Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada and in favor of General Diaz--I went to Uxmal
to continue my researches among its ruined temples and palaces. There I
took many photographs, surveyed the monuments, and, for the first time,
found the remnants of the phallic worship of the Nahualts. Its symbols
are not to be seen in Chichen--the city of the holy and learned men,
Itzaes--but are frequently met with in the northern parts of the
peninsula, and all the regions where the Nahualt influence predominated.

There can be no doubt that in very ancient times the same customs and
religious worship existed in Uxmal and Chichen, since these two cities
were founded by the same family, that of CAN (serpent), whose name is
written on all the monuments in both places. CAN and the members of his
family worshipped Deity under the symbol of the mastodon’s head. At
Chichen a tableau of said worship forms the ornament of the building,
designated in the work of Stephens, “Travels in Yucatan,” as IGLESIA;
being, in fact, the north wing of the palace and museum. This is the
reason why the mastodon’s head forms so prominent a feature in all the
ornaments of the edifices built by them. They also worshipped the sun
and fire, which they represented by the same hieroglyph used by the
Egyptians for the sun ☉. In this worship of the fire they resembled
the Chaldeans and Hindoos, but differed from the Egyptians, who had no
veneration for this element. They regarded it merely as an animal that
devoured all things within its reach, and died with all it had
swallowed, when replete and satisfied.

From certain inscriptions and pictures--in which the _Cans_ are
represented crawling on all fours like dogs--sculptured on the façade of
their house of worship, it would appear that their religion of the
mastodon was replaced by that of the reciprocal forces of nature,
imported in the country by the big-nosed invaders, the Nahualts coming
from the west. These destroyed Chichen, and established their capital at
_Uxmal_. There they erected in all the courts of the palaces, and on the
platforms of the temples the symbols of their religion, taking care,
however, not to interfere with the worship of the sun and fire, that
seems to have been the most popular.

Bancroft in his work, “_The Native Races of the Pacific States_,” Vol.
IV., page 277, remarks: “That the scarcity of idols among the Maya
antiquities must be regarded as extraordinary. That the people of
Yucatan were idolators there is no possible doubt, and in connection
with the magnificent shrines and temples erected by them, and rivalling
or excelling the grand obelisks of Copan, might naturally be sought for,
but in view of the facts it must be concluded that the Maya idols were
very small, and that such as escaped the fatal iconoclasms of the
Spanish ecclesiastics were buried by the natives as the only means of
preventing their desecration.”

That the people who inhabited the country at the time of the Spanish
conquest had a multiplicity of gods there can be no doubt. The primitive
form of worship, with time and by the effect of invasions from outside,
had disappeared, and been replaced by that of their great men and women,
who were deified and had temples raised to their memory, as we see, for
example, in the case of _Moo_,[TN-4] wife and sister of Chaacmol, whose
shrine was built on the high mound on the north side of the large square
in the city of Izamal. There pilgrims flocked from all parts of the
country to listen to the oracles delivered by the mouth of her priests;
and see the goddess come down from the clouds every day, at mid-day,
under the form of a resplendent macaw, and light the fire that was to
consume the offerings deposited on her altar; even at the time of the
conquest, according to the chroniclers, Chaacmol himself seems to have
become the god of war, that always appeared in the midst of the battle,
fighting on the side of his followers, surrounded with flames. Kukulcan,
“the culture” hero of the Mayas, the winged serpent, worshipped by the
Mexicans as the god Guetzalcoalt,[TN-5] and by the Quichés as Cucumatz,
if not the father himself of Chaacmol, CAN, at least one of his

The friends and followers of that prince may have worshipped him after
his death, and the following generations, seeing the representation of
his totems (serpent) covered with feathers, on the walls of his palaces,
and of the sanctuaries built by him to the deity, called him Kukulcan,
the winged serpent: when, in fact, the artists who carved his emblems on
the walls covered them with the cloaks he and all the men in authority
and the high priests wore on ceremonial occasions--feathered
vestments--as we learned from the study of mural paintings.

In the temples and palaces of the ancient Mayas I have never seen
anything that I could in truth take for idols. I have seen many symbols,
such as double-headed tigers, corresponding to the double-headed lions
of the Egyptians, emblems of the sun. I have seen the representation of
people kneeling in a peculiar manner, with their right hand resting on
the left shoulder--sign of respect among the Mayas as among the
inhabitants of Egypt--in the act of worshiping the mastodon head; but I
doubt if this can be said to be idol worship. _Can_ and his family were
probably monotheists. The masses of the people, however, may have placed
the different natural phenomena under the direct supervision of special
imaginary beings, prescribing to them the same duties that among the
Catholics are prescribed, or rather attributed, to some of the saints;
and may have tributed to them the sort of worship of _dulia_, tributed
to the saints--even made images that they imagined to represent such or
such deity, as they do to-day; but I have never found any. They
worshiped the divine essence, and called it KÚ.

In course of time this worship may have been replaced by idolatrous
rites, introduced by the barbarous or half civilized tribes which
invaded the country, and implanted among the inhabitants their religious
belief, their idolatrous superstitions and form of worship with their
symbols. The monuments of Uxmal afford ample evidence of that fact.

My studies, however, have nothing to do with the history of the country
posterior to the invasion of the Nahualts. These people appear to have
destroyed the high form of civilization existing at the time of their
advent; and tampered with the ornaments of the buildings in order to
introduce the symbols of the reciprocal forces of nature.

The language of the ancient Mayas, strange as it may appear, has
survived all the vicissitudes of time, wars, and political and religious
convulsions. It has, of course, somewhat degenerated by the mingling of
so many races in such a limited space as the peninsula of Yucatan is;
but it is yet the vernacular of the people. The Spaniards themselves,
who strived so hard to wipe out all vestiges of the ancient customs of
the aborigines, were unable to destroy it; nay, they were obliged to
learn it; and now many of their descendants have forgotten the mother
tongue of their sires, and speak Maya only.

In some localities in Central America it is still spoken in its pristine
purity, as, for example, by the _Chaacmules_, a tribe of bearded men, it
is said, who live in the vicinity of the unexplored ruins of the ancient
city of _Tekal_. It is a well-known fact that many tribes, as that of
the Itzaes, retreating before the Nahualt invaders, after the surrender
and destruction of their cities, sought refuge in the islands of the
lake _Peten_ of to-day, and called it _Petenitza_, the _islands of the
Itzaes_; or in the well nigh inaccessible valleys, defended by ranges of
towering mountains. There they live to-day, preserving the customs,
manners, language of their forefathers unaltered, in the tract of land
known to us as _Tierra de Guerra_. No white man has ever penetrated
their zealously guarded stronghold that lays between Guatemala, Tabasco,
Chiapas and Yucatan, the river _Uzumasinta_ watering part of their

The Maya language seems to be one of the oldest tongues spoken by man,
since it contains words and expressions of all, or nearly all, the known
polished languages on earth. The name _Maya_, with the same
signification everywhere it is met, is to be found scattered over the
different countries of what we term the Old World, as in Central

I beg to call your attention to the following facts. They may have no
significance. They may be mere coincidences, the strange freaks of
hazard, of no possible value in the opinion of some among the learned
men of our days. Just as the finding of English words and English
customs, as now exist among the most remote nations and heterogeneous
people and tribes of all races and colors, who do not even suspect the
existence of one another, may be regarded by the learned philologists
and ethonologists[TN-6] of two or three thousand years hence. These
will, perhaps, also pretend that _these coincidences_ are simply the
curious workings of the human mind--the efforts of men endeavoring to
express their thoughts in language, that being reduced to a certain
number of sounds, must, of necessity produce, if not the same, at least
very similar words to express the same idea--and that this similarity
does not prove that those who invented them had, at any time,
communication, unless, maybe, at the time of the building of the
hypothetical Tower of Babel. Then all the inhabitants of earth are said
to have bid each other a friendly good night, a certain evening, in a
universal tongue, to find next morning that everybody had gone stark mad
during the night: since each one, on meeting sixty-nine of his friends,
was greeted by every one in a different and unknown manner, according to
learned rabbins; and that he could no more understand what they said,
than they what he said[TN-7]

It is very difficult without the help of the books of the learned
priests of _Mayab_ to know positively why they gave that name to the
country known to-day as Yucatan. I can only surmise that they so called
it from the great absorbant[TN-8] quality of its stony soil, which, in
an incredibly short time, absorbs the water at the surface. This
percolating through the pores of the stone is afterward found filtered
clear and cool in the senotes and caves. _Mayab_, in the Maya language,
means a tammy, a sieve. From the name of the country, no doubt, the
Mayas took their name, as natural; and that name is found, as that of
the English to-day, all over the ancient civilized world.

When, on January 28, 1873, I had the honor of reading a paper before the
New York American Geographical Society--on the coincidences that exist
between the monuments, customs, religious rites, etc. of the prehistoric
inhabitants of America and those of Asia and Egypt--I pointed to the
fact that sun circles, dolmen and tumuli, similar to the megalithic
monuments of America, had been found to exist scattered through the
islands of the Pacific to Hindostan; over the plains of the peninsulas
at the south of Asia, through the deserts of Arabia, to the northern
parts of Africa; and that not only these rough monuments of a primitive
age, but those of a far more advanced civilization were also to be seen
in these same countries. Allow me to repeat now what I then said
regarding these strange facts: If we start from the American continent
and travel towards the setting sun we may be able to trace the route
followed by the mound builders to the plains of Asia and the valley of
the Nile. The mounds scattered through the valley of the Mississippi
seem to be the rude specimens of that kind of architecture. Then come
the more highly finished teocalis of Yucatan and Mexico and Peru; the
pyramidal mounds of _Maui_, one of the Sandwich Islands; those existing
in the Fejee and other islands of the Pacific; which, in China, we find
converted into the high, porcelain, gradated towers; and these again
converted into the more imposing temples of Cochin-China, Hindostan,
Ceylon--so grand, so stupendous in their wealth of ornamentation that
those of Chichen-Itza Uxmal, Palenque, admirable as they are, well nigh
dwindle into insignificance, as far as labor and imagination are
concerned, when compared with them. That they present the same
fundamental conception in their architecture is evident--a platform
rising over another platform, the one above being of lesser size than
the one below; the American monuments serving, as it were, as models for
the more elaborate and perfect, showing the advance of art and

The name Maya seems to have existed from the remotest times in the
meridional parts of Hindostan. Valmiki, in his epic poem, the Ramayana,
said to be written 1500 before the Christian era, in which he recounts
the wars and prowesses of RAMA in the recovery of his lost wife, the
beautiful SITA, speaking of the country inhabited by the Mayas,
describes it as abounding in mines of silver and gold, with precious
stones and lapiz lazuri:[TN-9] and bounded by the _Vindhya_ mountains on
one side, the _Prastravana_ range on the other and the sea on the third.
The emissaries of RAMA having entered by mistake within the Mayas
territories, learned that all foreigners were forbidden to penetrate
into them; and that those who were so imprudent as to violate this
prohibition, even through ignorance, seldom escaped being put to death.
(Strange[TN-10] to say, the same thing happens to-day to those who try to
penetrate into the territories of the _Santa Cruz_ Indians, or in the
valleys occupied by the _Lacandones_, _Itzaes_ and other tribes that
inhabit _La Tierra de Guerra_. The Yucatecans themselves do not like
foreigners to go, and less to settle, in their country--are consequently
opposed to immigration.

The emissaries of Rama, says the poet, met in the forest a woman who
told them: That in very remote ages a prince of the Davanas, a learned
magician, possessed of great power, whose name was _Maya_, established
himself in the country, and that he was the architect of the principal
of the Davanas: but having fallen in love with the nymph _Hemâ_, married
her; whereby he roused the jealousy of the god _Pourandura_, who
attacked and killed him with a thunderbolt. Now, it is worthy of notice,
that the word _Hem_ signifies in the Maya language to _cross with
ropes_; or according to Brasseur, _hidden mysteries_.

By a most rare coincidence we have the same identical story recorded in
the mural paintings of Chaacmol’s funeral chamber, and in the sculptures
of Chichsen[TN-11] and Uxmal. There we find that Chaacmol, the husband of
Moó[TN-12] is killed by his brother Aac, who stabbed him three times in
the back with his spear for jealousy. Aac was in love with his sister
Moó, but she married his brother Chaacmol from choice, and because the
law of the country prescribed that the younger brother should marry his
sister, making it a crime for the older brothers to marry her.

In another part of the _Ramayana_, MAYA is described as a powerful
_Asoura_, always thirsting for battles and full of arrogance and
pride--an enemy to Bāli, chief of one of the monkey tribes, by whom
he was finally vanquished. The celebrated Indianist, Mr. H. T.
Colebrooke, in a memoir on the sacred books of the Hindoos, published in
Vol. VIII of the “Asiatic Researches,” says: “The _Soûryasiddkântu_ (the
most ancient Indian treatise on astronomy), is not considered as written
by MAYA; but this personage is represented as receiving his science from
a partial incarnation of the sun.”

MAYA is also, according to the Rig-Veda, the goddess, by whom all things
are created by her union with Brahma. She is the cosmic egg, the golden
uterus, the _Hiramyagarbha_. We see an image of it, represented floating
amidst the water, in the sculptures that adorn the panel over the door
of the east facade of the monument, called by me palace and museum at
Chichen-Itza. Emile Burnouf, in his Sanscrit Dictionary, at the word
Maya, says: Maya, an architect of the _Datyas_; Maya (_mas._), magician,
prestidigitator; (_fem._) illusion, prestige; Maya, the magic virtue of
the gods, their power for producing all things; also the feminine or
producing energy of Brahma.

I will complete the list of these remarkable coincidences with a few
others regarding customs exactly similar in both countries. One of these
consists in carrying children astride on the hip in Yucatan as in India.
In Yucatan this custom is accompanied by a very interesting ceremony
called _hetzmec_. It is as follows: When a child reaches the age of four
months an invitation is sent to the friends and members of the family of
the parents to assemble at their house. Then in presence of all
assembled the legs of the child are opened, and he is placed astride
the hip of the _nailah_ or _hetzmec_ godmother; she in turn encircling
the little one with her arm, supports him in that position whilst she
walks five times round the house. During the time she is occupied in
that walk five eggs are placed in hot ashes, so that they may burst and
the five senses of the child be opened. By the manner in which they
burst and the time they require for bursting, they pretend to know if he
will be intelligent or not. During the ceremony they place in his tiny
hands the implement pertaining to the industry he is expected to
practice. The _nailah_ is henceforth considered as a second mother to
the child; who, when able to understand, is made to respect her: and she
is expected, in case of the mother’s death, to adopt and take care of
the child as if he were her own.

Now, I will call your attention to another strange and most remarkable
custom that was common to the inhabitants of _Mayab_, some tribes of the
aborigines of North America, and several of those that dwell in
Hindostan, and practice it even to-day. I refer to the printing of the
human hand, dipped in a red colored liquid, on the walls of certain
sacred edifices. Could not this custom, existing amongst nations so far
apart, unknown to each other, and for apparently the same purposes, be
considered as a link in the chain of evidence tending to prove that very
intimate relations and communications have existed anciently between
their ancestors? Might it not help the ethnologists to follow the
migrations of the human race from this western continent to the eastern
and southern shores of Asia, across the wastes of the Pacific Ocean? I
am told by unimpeachable witnesses that they have seen the red or bloody
hand in more than one of the temples of the South Sea islanders; and his
Excellency Fred. P. Barlee, Esq., the actual governor of British
Honduras, has assured me that he has examined this seemingly indelible
imprint of the red hand on some rocks in caves in Australia. There is
scarcely a monument in Yucatan that does not preserve the imprint of
the open upraised hand, dipped in red paint of some sort, perfectly
visible on its walls. I lately took tracings of two of these imprints
that exist in the back saloon of the main hall, in the governor’s house
at Uxmal, in order to calculate the height of the personage who thus
attested to those of his race, as I learned from one of my Indian
friends, who passes for a wizard, that the building was _in naá_, my
house. I may well say that the archway of the palace of the priests,
toward the court, was nearly covered with them. Yet I am not aware that
such symbol was ever used by the inhabitants of the countries bordering
on the shores of the Mediterranean or by the Assyrians, or that it ever
was discovered among the ruined temples or palaces of Egypt.

The meaning of the red hand used by the aborigines of some parts of
America has been, it is well known, a subject of discussion for learned
men and scientific societies. Its uses as a symbol remained for a long
time a matter of conjecture. It seems that Mr. Schoolcraft had truly
arrived at the knowledge of its veritable meaning. Effectively, in the
2d column of the 5th page of the _New York Herald_ for April 12, 1879,
in the account of the visit paid by Gen. Grant to Ram Singh, Maharajah
of Jeypoor, we read the description of an excursion to the town of
Amber. Speaking of the journey to the _home of an Indian king_, among
other things the writer says:--“We passed small temples, some of them
ruined, some others with offerings of grains, or fruits, or flowers,
some with priests and people at worship. On the walls of some of the
temples we saw the marks of the human hand as though it had been steeped
in blood and pressed against the white wall. We were told that it was
the custom, when seeking from the gods some benison to note the vow by
putting the hand into a liquid and printing it on the wall. This was to
remind the gods of the vow and prayer. And if it came to pass in the
shape of rain, or food, or health, or children, the joyous devotee
returned to the temple and made other offerings.” In Yucatan it seems to
have had the same meaning. That is to say: that the owners of the house
if private, or the priests, in the temples and public buildings, called
upon the edifices at the time of taking possession and using them for
the first time, the blessing of the Deity; and placed the hand’s
imprints on the walls to recall the vows and prayer: and also, as the
interpretation communicated to me by the Indians seems to suggest, as a
signet or mark of property--_in naá_, my house.

I need not speak of the similarity of many religious rites and beliefs
existing in Hindostan and among the inhabitants of _Mayab_. The worship
of the fire, of the phallus, of Deity under the symbol of the mastodon’s
head, recalling that of Ganeza, the god with an elephant’s head, hence
that of the elephant in Siam, Birmah[TN-13] and other places of the
Asiatic peninsula even in our day; and various other coincidences so
numerous and remarkable that many would not regard them as simple
coincidences. What to think, effectively, of the types of the personages
whose portraits are carved on the obelisks of Copan? Were they in Siam
instead of Honduras, who would doubt but they are Siameeses.[TN-14] What
to say of the figures of men and women sculptured on the walls of the
stupendous temples hewn, from the live rock, at Elephanta, so American
is their appearance and features? Who would not take them to be pure
aborigines if they were seen in Yucatan instead of Madras, Elephanta and
other places of India.

If now we abandon that country and, crossing the Himalaya’s range enter
Afghanistan, there again we find ourselves in a country inhabited by
Maya tribes; whose names, as those of many of their cities, are of pure
American-Maya origin. In the fourth column of the sixth page of the
London _Times_, weekly edition, of March 4, 1879, we read: “4,000 or
5,000 assembled on the opposite bank of the river _Kabul_, and it
appears that in that day or evening they attacked the Maya villages
situated on the north side of the river.”

He, the correspondent of the _Times_, tells us that Maya tribes form
still part of the population of Afghanistan. He also tells us that
_Kabul_ is the name of the river, on the banks of which their villages
are situated. But _Kabul_ is the name of an antique shrine in the city
of Izamal. Cogolludo, in the lib. IV., cap. VIII. of his History of
Yucatan, says: “They had another temple on another mound, on the west
side of the square, also dedicated to the same idol. They had there the
symbol of a hand, as souvenir. To that temple they carried their dead
and the sick. They called it _Kabul_, the working hand, and made there
great offerings.” Father Lizana says the same: so we have two witnesses
to the fact. _Kab_, in Maya means hand; and _Bul_ is to play at hazard.

Many of the names of places and towns of Afghanistan have not only a
meaning in the American-Maya language, but are actually the same as
those of places and villages in Yucatan to-day, for example:

The Valley of _Chenar_ would be the valley of the _well of the woman’s
children_--_chen_, well, and _al_, the woman’s children. The fertile
valley of _Kunar_ would be the valley of the _god of the ears of corn_;
or, more probably, the _nest of the ears of corn_: as KÚ, pronounced
short, means _God_, and _Kuu_, pronounced long, is nest. NAL, is the
_ears of corn_.

The correspondent of the London _Times_, in his letters, mentions the
names of some of the principal tribes, such as the _Kuki-Khel_, the
_Akakhel_, the _Khambhur Khel_, etc. The suffix Khel simply signifies
tribe, or clan. So similar to the Maya vocable _Kaan_, a tie, a rope;
hence a clan: a number of people held together by the tie of parentage.
Now, Kuki would be Kukil, or Kukum maya[TN-15] for feather, hence the
KUKI-KHEL would be the tribe of the feather.

AKA-KHEL in the same manner would be the tribe of the reservoir, or
pond. AKAL is the Maya name for the artificial reservoirs, or ponds in
which the ancient inhabitants of Mayab collected rain water for the time
of drought.

Similarly the KHAMBHUR KHEL is the tribe of the _pleasant_: _Kambul_ in
Maya. It is the name of several villages of Yucatan, as you may satisfy
yourself by examining the map.

We have also the ZAKA-KHEL, the tribe of the locust, ZAK. It is useless
to quote more for the present: enough to say that if you read the names
of the cities, valleys[TN-16] clans, roads even of Afghanistan to any of
the aborigines of Yucatan, they will immediately give you their meaning
in their own language. Before leaving the country of the Afghans, by the
KHIBER Pass--that is to say, the _road of the hawk_; HI, _hawk_, and
BEL, road--allow me to inform you that in examining their types, as
published in the London illustrated papers, and in _Harper’s Weekly_, I
easily recognized the same cast of features as those of the bearded men,
whose portraits we discovered in the bas-reliefs which adorn the antæ
and pillars of the castle, and queen’s box in the Tennis Court at

On our way to the coast of Asia Minor, and hence to Egypt, we may, in
following the Mayas’ footsteps, notice that a tribe of them, the learned
MAGI, with their Rabmag at their head, established themselves in
Babylon, where they became, indeed, a powerful and influential body.
Their chief they called _Rab-mag_--or LAB-MAC--the old person--LAB,
_old_--MAC, person; and their name Magi, meant learned men, magicians,
as that of Maya in India. I will directly speak more at length of
vestiges of the Mayas in Babylon, when explaining by means of the
_American Maya_, the meaning and probable etymology of the names of the
Chaldaic divinities. At present I am trying to follow the footprints of
the Mayas.

On the coast of Asia Minor we find a people of a roving and piratical
disposition, whose name was, from the remotest antiquity and for many
centuries, the terror of the populations dwelling on the shores of the
Mediterranean; whose origin was, and is yet unknown; who must have
spoken Maya, or some Maya dialect, since we find words of that
language, and with the same meaning inserted in that of the Greeks, who,
Herodotus tells us, used to laugh at the manner the _Carians_, or
_Caras_, or _Caribs_, spoke their tongue; whose women wore a white linen
dress that required no fastening, just as the Indian and Mestiza women
of Yucatan even to-day[TN-17]

To tell you that the name of the CARAS is found over a vast extension of
country in America, would be to repeat what the late and lamented
Brasseur de Bourbourg has shown in his most learned introduction to the
work of Landa, “Relacion de las cosas de Yucatan;” but this I may say,
that the description of the customs and mode of life of the people of
Yucatan, even at the time of the conquest, as written by Landa, seems to
be a mere verbatim plagiarism of the description of the customs and mode
of life of the Carians of Asia Minor by Herodotus.

If identical customs and manners, and the worship of the same divinities
under the same name, besides the traditions of a people pointing towards
a certain point of the globe as being the birth-place of their
ancestors, prove anything, then I must say that in Egypt also we meet
with the tracks of the Mayas, of whose name we again have a reminiscence
in that of the goddess Maia, the daughter of Atlantis, worshiped in
Greece. Here, at this end of the voyage, we seem to find an intimation
as to the place where the Mayas originated. We are told that Maya is
born from Atlantis; in other words, that the Mayas came from beyond the
Atlantic waters. Here, also, we find that Maia is called the mother of
the gods _Kubeles_. _Kú_, Maya _God_, _Bel_ the road, the way. Ku-bel,
the road, the origin of the gods as among the Hindostanees. These, we
have seen in the Rig Veda, called Mâyâ, the feminine energy--the
productive virtue of Brahma.

I do not pretend to present here anything but facts, resulting from my
study of the ancient monuments of Yucatan, and a comparative study of
the Maya language, in which the ancient inscriptions, I have been able
to decipher, are written. Let us see if those _facts_ are sustained by
others of a different character.

I will make a brief parallel between the architectural monuments of the
primitive Chaldeans, their mode of writing, their burial places, and
give you the etymology of the names of their divinities in the American
Maya language.

The origin of the primitive Chaldees is yet an unsettled matter among
learned men. Some professing one opinion, others another. All agree,
however, that they were strangers to the lower Mesopotamian valleys,
where they settled in very remote ages, their capital being, in the time
of Abraham, as we learn from Scriptures, _Ur_ or _Hur_. So named either
because its inhabitants were worshipers of the moon, or from the moon
itself--U in the Maya language--or perhaps also because the founders
being strangers and guests, as it were, in the country, it was called
the city of guests, HULA (Maya), _guest just arrived_.

Recent researches in the plains of lower Mesopotamia have revealed to us
their mode of building their sacred edifices, which is precisely
identical to that of the Mayas.

It consisted of mounds composed of superposed platforms, either square
or oblong, forming cones or pyramids, their angles at times, their faces
at others, facing exactly the cardinal points.

Their manner of construction was also the same, with the exception of
the materials employed--each people using those most at hand in their
respective countries--clay and bricks in Chaldea, stones in Yucatan. The
filling in of the buildings being of inferior materials, crude or
sun-dried bricks at Warka and Mugheir; of unhewn stones of all shapes
and sizes, in Uxmal and Chichen, faced with walls of hewn stones, many
feet in thickness throughout. Grand exterior staircases lead to the
summit, where was the shrine of the god, and temple.

In Yucatan these mounds are generally composed of seven superposed
platforms, the one above being smaller than that immediately below; the
temple or sanctuary containing invariably two chambers, the inner one,
the Sanctum Sanctorum, being the smallest.

In Babylon, the supposed tower of Babel--the _Birs-i-nimrud_--the temple
of the seven lights, was made of seven stages or platforms.

The roofs of these buildings in both countries were flat; the walls of
vast thickness; the chambers long and narrow, with outer doors opening
into them directly; the rooms ordinarily let into one another: squared
recesses were common in the rooms. Mr. Loftus is of opinion that the
chambers of the Chaldean buildings were usually arched with bricks, in
which opinion Mr. Taylor concurs. We know that the ceilings of the
chambers in all the monuments of Yucatan, without exception, form
triangular arches. To describe their construction I will quote from the
description by Herodotus, of some ceilings in Egyptian buildings and
Scythian tombs, that resemble that of the brick vaults found at Mugheir.
“The side walls slope outward as they ascend, the arch is formed by each
successive layer of brick from the point where the arch begins, a little
overlapping the last, till the two sides of the roof are brought so near
together, that the aperture may be closed by a single brick.”

Some of the sepulchers found in Yucatan are very similar to the jar
tombs common at Mugheir. These consist of two large open-mouthed jars,
united with bitumen after the body has been deposited in them, with the
usual accompaniments of dishes, vases and ornaments, having an air hole
bored at one extremity. Those found at Progreso were stone urns about
three feet square, cemented in pairs, mouth to mouth, and having also an
air hole bored in the bottom. Extensive mounds, made artificially of a
vast number of coffins, arranged side by side, divided by thin walls of
masonry crossing each other at right angles, to separate the coffins,
have been found in the lower plains of Chaldea--such as exist along the
coast of Peru, and in Yucatan. At Izamal many human remains, contained
in urns, have been found in the mounds.

“The ordinary dress of the common people among the Chaldeans,” says
Canon Rawlison, in his work, the Five Great Monarchies, “seems to have
consisted of a single garment, a short tunic tied round the waist, and
reaching thence to the knees. To this may sometimes have been added an
_abba_, or cloak, thrown over the shoulders; the material of the former
we may perhaps presume to have been linen.” The mural paintings at
Chichen show that the Mayas sometimes used the same costume; and that
dress is used to-day by the aborigines of Yucatan, and the inhabitants
of the _Tierra de Guerra_. They were also bare-footed, and wore on the
head a band of cloth, highly ornamented with mother-of-pearl instead of
camel’s hair, as the Chaldee. This band is to be seen in bas-relief at
Chichen-Itza, inthe[TN-18] mural paintings, and on the head of the statue
of Chaacmol. The higher classes wore a long robe extending from the neck
to the feet, sometimes adorned with a fringe; it appears not to have
been fastened to the waist, but kept in place by passing over one
shoulder, a slit or hole being made for the arm on one side of the dress
only. In some cases the upper part of the dress seems to have been
detached from the lower, and to form a sort of jacket which reached
about to the hips. We again see this identical dress portrayed in the
mural paintings. The same description of ornaments were affected by the
Chaldees and the Mayas--bracelets, earrings, armlets, anklets, made of
the materials they could procure.

The Mayas at times, as can be seen from the slab discovered by
Bresseur[TN-19] in Mayapan (an exact fac-simile of which cast, from a
mould made by myself, is now in the rooms of the American Antiquarian
Society at Worcester, Mass.), as the primitive Chaldee, in their
writings, made use of characters composed of straight lines only,
inclosed in square or oblong figures; as we see from the inscriptions in
what has been called hieratic form of writing found at Warka and
Mugheir and the slab from Mayapan and others.

The Chaldees are said to have made use of three kinds of characters that
Canon Rawlinson calls _letters proper_, _monograms_ and _determinative_.
The Maya also, as we see from the monumental inscriptions, employed
three kinds of characters--_letters proper_, _monograms_ and

It may be said of the religion of the Mayas, as I have had occasion to
remark, what the learned author of the Five Great Monarchies says of
that of the primitive Chaldees: “The religion of the Chaldeans, from the
very earliest times to which the monuments carry us back, was, in its
outward aspect, a polytheism of a very elaborate character. It is quite
possible that there may have been esoteric explanations, known to the
priests and the more learned; which, resolving the personages of the
Pantheon into the powers of nature, reconcile the apparent multiplicity
of Gods with monotheism.” I will now consider the names of the Chaldean
deities in their turn of rotation as given us by the author above
mentioned, and show you that the language of the American Mayas gives us
an etymology of the whole of them, quite in accordance with their
particular attributes.


The learned author places ‘_Ra_’ at the head of the Pantheon, stating
that the meaning of the word is simply _God_, or the God emphatically.
We know that _Ra_ was the Sun among the Egyptians, and that the
hieroglyph, a circle, representation of that God was the same in Babylon
as in Egypt. It formed an element in the native name of Babylon. Which
was _ka-ra_.

Now the Mayas called LA, that which has existed for ever, the truth _par
excellence_. As to the native name of Babylon it would simply be the
_city of the infinite truth_--_cah_, city; LA, eternal truth.


Ana, like Ra, is thought to have signified _God_ in the highest sense.
Its etymology seems to be problematic. His epithets mark priority and
antiquity; _the original chief_, the _father of the gods_, the _lord of
darkness or death_. The Maya gives us A, _thy_; NA, _mother_. At times
he was called DIS, and was the patron god of _Erech_, the great city of
the dead, the necropolis of Lower Babylonia. TIX, Maya is a cavity
formed in the earth. It seems to have given its name to the city of
_Niffer_, called _Calneh_ in the translation of the Septuagint, from
_kal-ana_, which is translated the “fort of Ana;” or according to the
Maya, the _prison of Ana_, KAL being prison, or the prison of thy


the supposed wife of Ana, has no peculiar characteristics. Her name is
only, says our author, the feminine form of the masculine, Ana. But the
Maya designates her as the companion of Ana; TA, with; _Anata_ with


seems to mean merely Lord. It is usually followed by a qualificative
adjunct, possessing great interest, NIPRU. To that name, which recalls
that of NEBROTH or _Nimrod_, the author gives a Syriac etymology; napar
(make to flee). His epithets are the _supreme_, _the father of the
gods_, the _procreator_.

The Maya gives us BIL, or _Bel_; the way, the road; hence the _origin_,
the father, the procreator. Also ENA, who is before; again the father,
the procreator.

As to the qualificative adjunct _nipru_. It would seem to be the Maya
_niblu_; _nib_, to thank; LU, the _Bagre_, a _silurus fish_. _Niblu_
would then be the _thanksgiving fish_. Strange to say, the high priest
at Uxmal and Chichen, elder brother of Chaacmol, first son of _Can_, the
founder of those cities, is CAY, the fish, whose effigy is my last
discovery in June, among the ruins of Uxmal. The bust is contained
within the jaws of a serpent, _Can_, and over it, is a beautiful
mastodon head, with the trunk inscribed with Egyptian characters, which
read TZAA, that which is necessary.


is the wife of _Bel-nipru_. But she is more than his mere female power.
She is a separate and important deity. Her common title is the _Great
Goddess_. In Chaldea her name was _Mulita_ or _Enuta_, both words
signifying the lady. Her favorite title was the _mother of the gods_,
the origin of the gods.

In Maya BEL is the road, the way; and TE means _here_. BELTÉ or BELTIS
would be I am the way, the origin.

_Mulita_ would correspond to MUL-TE, many here, _many in me_. I am the
mother of many. Her other name _Enuta_ seems to be (Maya) _Ena-te_,
signifies ENA, the first, before anybody, and TE here. ENATÉ, _I am here
before anybody_, I am the mother of the Gods.


The God Fish, the mystic animal, half man, half fish, which came up from
the Persian gulf to teach astronomy and letters to the first settlers on
the Euphrates and Tigris.

According to Berosus the civilization was brought to Mesopotamia by
_Oannes_ and six other beings, who, like himself, were half man, half
fish, and that they came from the Indian Ocean. We have already seen
that the Mayas of India were not only architects, but also astronomers;
and the symbolic figure of a being half man and half fish seems to
clearly indicate that those who brought civilization to the shores of
the Euphrates and Tigris came in boats.

Hoa-Ana, or Oannes, according to the Maya would mean, he who has his
residence or house on the water. HA, being water; _a_, thy; _ná_, house;
literally, _water thy house_. Canon Rawlison remarks in that
connection: “There are very strong grounds for connecting HEA or Hoa,
with the serpent of the Scripture, and the paradisaical traditions of
the tree of knowledge and the tree of life.” As the title of the god of
knowledge and science, _Oannes_, is the lord of the abyss, or of the
great deep, the intelligent fish, one of his emblems being the serpent,
CAN, which occupies so conspicuous a place among the symbols of the gods
on the black stones recording benefactions.


Is the wife of _Hoa_, and her name is thought to signify the chief lady.
But the Maya again gives us another meaning that seems to me more
appropriate. TAB-KIN would be the _rays of the sun_: the rays of the
light brought with civilization by her husband to benighted inhabitants
of Mesopotamia.


is the name of the moon deity; the etymology of it is quite uncertain.
Its titles, as Rawlison remarks, are somewhat vague. Yet it is
particularly designated as “_the bright_, _the shining_” the lord of the

Zin in Maya has also many significations. Zin is to stretch, to extend.
_Zinil_ is the extension of the whole of the universe. _Hurki_ would be
the Maya HULKIN--sun-stroked; he who receives directly the rays of the
sun. Hurki is also the god presiding over buildings and architecture; in
this connection he is called _Bel-Zuna_. The _lord of building_, the
_supporting architect_, the _strengthener of fortifications_. _Bel-Zuna_
would also signify the lord of the strong house. _Zuú_, Maya, close,
thick. _Na_, house: and the city where he had his great temple was _Ur_;
named after him. _U_, in Maya, signifies moon.


the Sun God, the _lord of fire_, the _ruler of the day_. He _who
illumines the expanse of heaven and earth_.

_Zamal_ (Maya) is the morning, the dawn of the day, and his symbols are
the same on the temples of Yucatan as on those of Chaldea, India and


the prince of the powers of the air, the lord of the whirlwind and the
tempest, the wielder of the thunderbolt, the lord of the air, he who
makes the tempest to rage. Hiba in Maya is to rub, to scour, to chafe as
does the tempest. As VUL he is represented with a flaming sword in his
hand. _Hul_ (Maya) an arrow. He is then the god of the atmosphere, who
gives rain.


the Chaldean Venus, of the etymology of whose name no satisfactory
account can be given, says the learned author, whose list I am following
and description quoting.

The Maya language, however, affords a very natural etymology. Her name
seems composed of _ix_, the feminine article, _she_; and of _tac_, or
_tal_, a verb that signifies to have a desire to satisfy a corporal want
or inclination. IXTAL would, therefore, be she who desires to satisfy a
corporal inclination. As to her other name, _Nana_, it simply means the
great mother, the very mother. If from the names of god and goddesses,
we pass to that of places, we will find that the Maya language also
furnishes a perfect etymology for them.

In the account of the creation of the world, according to the Chaldeans,
we find that a woman whose name in Chaldee is _Thalatth_, was said to
have ruled over the monstrous animals of strange forms, that were
generated and existed in darkness and water. The Greek called her
_Thalassa_ (the sea). But the Maya vocable _Thallac_, signifies a thing
without steadiness, like the sea.


The first king of the Chaldees was a great architect. To him are
ascribed the most archaic monuments of the plains of Lower Mesopotamia.
He is said to have conceived the plans of the Babylonian Temple. He
constructed his edifices of mud and bricks, with rectangular bases,
their angles fronting the cardinal points; receding stages, exterior
staircases, with shrines crowning the whole structure. In this
description of the primitive constructions of the Chaldeans, no one can
fail to recognize the Maya mode of building, and we see them not only in
Yucatan, but throughout Central America, Peru, even Hindoostan. The very
name _Urkuh_ seems composed of two Maya words HUK, to make everything,
and LUK, mud; he who makes everything of mud; so significative of his
building propensities and of the materials used by him.


The etymology of the name of that country, as well as that of Asshur,
the supreme god of the Assyrians, who never pronounced his name without
adding “Asshur is my lord,” is still an undecided matter amongst the
learned philologists of our days. Some contend that the country was
named after the god Asshur; others that the god Asshur received his name
from the place where he was worshiped. None agree, however, as to the
significative meaning of the name Asshur. In Assyrian and Hebrew
languages the name of the country and people is derived from that of the
god. That Asshur was the name of the deity, and that the country was
named after it, I have no doubt, since I find its etymology, so much
sought for by philologists, in the American Maya language. Effectively
the word _asshur_, sometimes written _ashur_, would be AXUL in Maya.

_A_, in that language, placed before a noun, is the possessive pronoun,
as the second person, thy or thine, and _xul_, means end, termination.
It is also the name of the sixth month of the Maya calendar. _Axul_
would therefore be _thy end_. Among all the nations which have
recognized the existence of a SUPREME BEING, Deity has been considered
as the beginning and end of all things, to which all aspire to be

A strange coincidence that may be without significance, but is not out
of place to mention here, is the fact that the early kings of Chaldea
are represented on the monuments as sovereigns over the _Kiprat-arbat_,
or FOUR RACES. While tradition tells us that the great lord of the
universe, king of the giants, whose capital was _Tiahuanaco_, the
magnificent ruins of which are still to be seen on the shores of the
lake of Titicaca, reigned over _Ttahuatyn-suyu_, the FOUR PROVINCES. In
the _Chou-King_ we read that in very remote times _China_ was called by
its inhabitants _Sse-yo_, THE FOUR PARTS OF THE EMPIRE. The
_Manava-Dharma-Sastra_, the _Ramayana_, and other sacred books of
Hindostan also inform us that the ancient Hindoos designated their
country as the FOUR MOUNTAINS, and from some of the monumental
inscriptions at Uxmal it would seem that, among other names, that place
was called the land of the _canchi_, or FOUR MOUTHS, that recalls
vividly the name of Chaldea _Arba-Lisun_, the FOUR TONGUES.

That the language of the Mayas was known in Chaldea in remote ages, but
became lost in the course of time, is evident from the Book of Daniel.
It seems that some of the learned men of Judea understood it still at
the beginning of the Christian era, as many to-day understand Greek,
Latin, Sanscrit, &c.; since, we are informed by the writers of the
Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark, that the last words of Jesus of
Nazareth expiring on the cross were uttered in it.

In the fifth chapter of the Book of Daniel, we read that the fingers of
the hand of a man were seen writing on the wall of the hall, where King
Belshazzar was banqueting, the words “Mene, mene, Tekel, upharsin,”
which could not be read by any of the wise men summoned by order of the
king. Daniel, however, being brought in, is said to have given as their
interpretation: _Numbered_, _numbered_, _weighed_, _dividing_, perhaps
with the help of the angel Gabriel, who is said by learned rabbins to be
the only individual of the angelic hosts who can speak Chaldean and
Syriac, and had once before assisted him in interpreting the dream of
King Nebuchadnezzar. Perhaps also, having been taught the learning of
the Chaldeans, he had studied the ancient Chaldee language, and was thus
enabled to read the fatidical words, which have the very same meaning in
the Maya language as he gave them. Effectively, _mene_ or _mane_,
_numbered_, would seem to correspond to the Maya verbs, MAN, to buy, to
purchase, hence to number, things being sold by the quantity--or MANEL,
to pass, to exceed. _Tekel_, weighed, would correspond to TEC, light.
To-day it is used in the sense of lightness in motion, brevity,
nimbleness: and _Upharsin_, dividing, seem allied to the words PPA, to
divide two things united; or _uppah_, to break, making a sharp sound; or
_paah_, to break edifices; or, again, PAALTAL, to break, to scatter the
inhabitants of a place.

As to the last words of Jesus of Nazareth, when expiring on the cross,
as reported by the Evangelists, _Eli, Eli_, according to St. Matthew,
and _Eloi, Eloi_, according to St. Mark, _lama sabachthani_, they are
pure Maya vocables; but have a very different meaning to that attributed
to them, and more in accordance with His character. By placing in the
mouth of the dying martyr these words: _My God, my God, why hast thou
forsaken me?_ they have done him an injustice, presenting him in his
last moments despairing and cowardly, traits so foreign to his life, to
his teachings, to the resignation shown by him during his trial, and to
the fortitude displayed by him in his last journey to Calvary; more than
all, so unbecoming, not to say absurd, being in glaring contradiction to
his role as God. If God himself, why complain that God has forsaken him?
He evidently did not speak Hebrew in dying, since his two mentioned
biographers inform us that the people around him did not understand what
he said, and supposed he was calling Elias to help him: _This man
calleth for Elias._

His bosom friend, who never abandoned him--who stood to the last at the
foot of the cross, with his mother and other friends and relatives, do
not report such unbefitting words as having been uttered by Jesus. He
simply says, that after recommending his mother to his care, he
complained of being thirsty, and that, as the sponge saturated with
vinegar was applied to his mouth, he merely said: IT IS FINISHED! and
_he bowed his head and gave up the ghost_. (St. John, chap. xix., v.

Well, this is exactly the meaning of the Maya words, HELO, HELO, LAMAH
ZABAC TA NI, literally: HELO, HELO, now, now; LAMAH, sinking; ZABAC,
black ink; TA, over; NI, nose; in our language: _Now, now I am sinking;
darkness covers my face!_ No weakness, no despair--He merely tells his
friends all is over. _It is finished!_ and expires.

Before leaving Asia Minor, in order to seek in Egypt the vestiges of the
Mayas, I will mention the fact that the names of some of the natives who
inhabited of old that part of the Asiatic continent, and many of those
of places and cities seem to be of American Maya origin. The Promised
Land, for example--that part of the coast of Phœnicia so famous for
the fertility of its soil, where the Hebrews, after journeying during
forty years in the desert, arrived at last, tired and exhausted from so
many hard-fought battles--was known as _Canaan_. This is a Maya word
that means to be tired, to be fatigued; and, if it is spelled _Kanaan_,
it then signifies abundance; both significations applying well to the

TYRE, the great emporium of the Phœnicians, called _Tzur_, probably
on account of being built on a rock, may also derive its name from the
Maya TZUC, a promontory, or a number of villages, _Tzucub_ being a

Again, we have the people called _Khati_ by the Egyptians. They formed a
great nation that inhabited the _Cæle-Syria_ and the valley of the
Orontes, where they have left, very interesting proofs of their passage
on earth, in large and populous cities whose ruins have been lately
discovered. Their origin is unknown, and is yet a problem to be solved.
They are celebrated on account of their wars against the Assyrians and
Egyptians, who call them the plague of Khati. Their name is frequently
mentioned in the Scriptures as Hittites. Placed on the road, between the
Assyrians and the Egyptians, by whom they were at last vanquished, they
placed well nigh insuperable _obstacles in the way_ of the conquests of
these two powerful nations, which found in them tenacious and fearful
adversaries. The Khati had not only made considerable improvements in
all military arts, but were also great and famed merchants; their
emporium _Carchemish_ had no less importance than Tyre or Carthage.
There, met merchants from all parts of the world; who brought thither
the products and manufactures of their respective countries, and were
wont to worship at the Sacred City, _Katish_ of the Khati. The etymology
of their name is also unknown. Some historians having pretended that
they were a Scythian tribe, derived it from Scythia; but I think that we
may find it very natural, as that of their principal cities, in the Maya

All admit that the Khati, until the time when they were vanquished by
Rameses the Great, as recorded on the walls of his palace at Thebes, the
_Memnonium_, always placed obstacles on the way of the Egyptians and
opposed them. According to the Maya, their name is significative of
these facts, since KAT or KATAH is a verb that means to place
impediments on the road, to come forth and obstruct the passage.

_Carchemish_ was their great emporium, where merchants from afar
congregated; it was consequently a city of merchants. CAH means a city,
and _Chemul_ is navigator. _Carchemish_ would then be _cah-chemul_, the
city of navigators, of merchants.

KATISH, their sacred city, would be the city where sacrifices are
offered. CAH, city, and TICH, a ceremony practiced by the ancient Mayas,
and still performed by their descendants all through Central America.
This sacrifice or ceremony consists in presenting to BALAM, the
_Yumil-Kaax_, the “Lord of the fields,” the _primitiæ_ of all their
fruits before beginning the harvest. Katish, or _cah-tich_ would then be
the city of the sacrifices--the holy city.

EGYPT is the country that in historical times has called, more than any
other, the attention of the students, of all nations and in all ages, on
account of the grandeur and beauty of its monuments; the peculiarity of
its inhabitants; their advanced civilization, their great attainments in
all branches of human knowledge and industry; and its important position
at the head of all other nations of antiquity. Egypt has been said to be
the source from which human knowledge began to flow over the old world:
yet no one knows for a certainty whence came the people that laid the
first foundations of that interesting nation. That they were not
autochthones is certain. Their learned priests pointed towards the
regions of the West as the birth-place of their ancestors, and
designated the country in which they lived, the East, as the _pure
land_, the _land of the sun_, of _light_, in contradistinction of the
country of the dead, of darkness--the Amenti, the West--where Osiris sat
as King, reigning judge, over the souls.

If in Hindostan, Afghanistan, Chaldea, Asia Minor, we have met with
vestiges of the Mayas, in Egypt we will find their traces everywhere.
Whatever may have been the name given to the valley watered by the Nile
by its primitive inhabitants, no one at present knows. The invaders that
came from the West called it CHEM: not on account of the black color of
the soil, as Plutarch pretends in his work, “_De Iside et Osiride_,” but
more likely because either they came to it in boats; or, quite probably,
because when they arrived the country was inundated, and the inhabitants
communicated by means of boats, causing the new comers to call it the
country of boats--CHEM (maya).[TN-20] The hieroglyph representing the
name of Egypt is composed of the character used for land, a cross
circumscribed by a circle, and of another, read K, which represent a
sieve, it is said, but that may likewise be the picture of a small boat.
The Assyrians designated Egypt under the names of MISIR or MISUR,
probably because the country is generally destitute of trees. These are
uprooted during the inundations, and then carried by the currents all
over the country; so that the farmers, in order to be able to plow the
soil, are obliged to clear it first from the dead trees. Now we have the
Maya verb MIZ--to _clean_, to _remove rubbish formed by the body of dead
trees_; whilst the verb MUSUR means to _cut the trees by the roots_. It
would seem that the name _Mizraim_ given to Egypt in the Scriptures also
might come from these words.

When the Western invaders reached the country it was probably covered by
the waters of the river, to which, we are told, they gave the name of
_Hapimú_. Its etymology seems to be yet undecided by the Egyptologists,
who agree, however, that its meaning is the _abyss of water_. The Maya
tells us that this name is composed of two words--HÁ, water, and PIMIL,
the thickness of flat things. _Hapimu_, or HAPIMIL, would then be the
thickness, the _abyss of water_.

We find that the prophets _Jeremiah_ (xlvi., 25,) and _Nahum_ (iii., 8,
10,) call THEBES, the capital of upper Egypt during the XVIII. dynasty:
NÓ or NÁ-AMUN, the mansion of Amun. _Ná_ signifies in Maya, house,
mansion, residence. But _Thebes_ is written in Egyptian hieroglyphs AP,
or APÉ, the meaning of which is the head, the capital; with the feminine
article T, that is always used as its prefix in hieroglyphic writings,
it becomes TAPÉ; which, according to Sir Gardner Wilkinson (“Manners and
Customs of the Ancient Egyptians,” _tom._ III., page 210, N. Y. Edition,
1878), was pronounced by the Egyptians _Taba_; and in the Menphitic
dialect Thaba, that the Greeks converted into Thebai, whence Thebes. The
Maya verb _Teppal_, signifies to reign, to govern, to order. On each
side of the mastodons’ heads, which form so prominent a feature in the
ornaments of the oldest edifices at Uxmal, Chichen-Itza and other parts,
the word _Dapas_; hence TABAS is written in ancient Egyptian characters,
and read, I presume, in old Maya, _head_. To-day the word is pronounced
THAB, and means _baldness_.

The identity of the names of deities worshiped by individuals, of their
religious rites and belief; that of the names of the places which they
inhabit; the similarity of their customs, of their dresses and manners;
the sameness of their scientific attainments and of the characters used
by them in expressing their language in writing, lead us naturally to
infer that they have had a common origin, or, at least, that their
forefathers were intimately connected. If we may apply this inference to
nations likewise, regardless of the distance that to-day separates the
countries where they live, I can then affirm that the Mayas and the
Egyptians are either of a common descent, or that very intimate
communication must have existed in remote ages between their ancestors.

Without entering here into a full detail of the customs and manners of
these people, I will make a rapid comparison between their religious
belief, their customs, manners, scientific attainments, and the
characters used by them in writing etc., sufficient to satisfy any
reasonable body that the strange coincidences that follow, cannot be
altogether accidental.

The SUN, RA, was the supreme god worshiped throughout the land of Egypt;
and its emblem was a disk or circle, at times surmounted by the serpent
Uræus. Egypt was frequently called the Land of the Sun. RA or LA
signifies in Maya that which exists, emphatically that which is--the

The sun was worshiped by the ancient Mayas; and the Indians to-day
preserve the dance used by their forefathers among the rites of the
adoration of that luminary, and perform it yet in certain epoch[TN-21]
of the year. The coat-of-arms of the city of Uxmal, sculptured on the
west façade of the sanctuary, attached to the masonic temple in that
city, teaches us that the place was called U LUUMIL KIN, _the land of
the sun_. This name forming the center of the escutcheon, is written
with a cross, circumscribed by a circle, that among the Egyptians is the
sign for land, region, surrounded by the rays of the sun.

Colors in Egypt, as in Mayab, seem to have had the same symbolical
meaning. The figure of _Amun_ was that of a man whose body was light
blue, like the Indian god Wishnu,[TN-22] and that of the god Nilus; as
if to indicate their peculiar exalted and heavenly nature; this color
being that of the pure, bright skies above. The blue color had exactly
the same significance in Mayab, according to Landa and Cogolludo, who
tell us that, even at the time of the Spanish conquest, the bodies of
those who were to be sacrificed to the gods were painted blue. The mural
paintings in the funeral chamber of Chaacmol, at Chichen, confirm this
assertion. There we see figures of men and women painted blue, some
marching to the sacrifice with their hands tied behind their backs.
After being thus painted they were venerated by the people, who regarded
them as sanctified. Blue in Egypt was always the color used at the

The Egyptians believed in the immortality of the soul; and that rewards
and punishments were adjudged by Osiris, the king of the Amenti, to the
souls according to their deeds during their mundane life. That the souls
after a period of three thousand years were to return to earth and
inhabit again their former earthly tenements. This was the reason why
they took so much pains to embalm the body.

The Mayas also believed in the immortality of the soul, as I have
already said. Their belief was that after the spirit had suffered during
a time proportioned to their misdeeds whilst on earth, and after having
enjoyed an amount of bliss corresponding to their good actions, they
were to return to earth and live again a material life. Accordingly, as
the body was corruptible, they made statues of stones, terra-cotta, or
wood, in the semblance of the deceased, whose ashes they deposited in a
hollow made for that purpose in the back of the head. Sometimes also in
stone urns, as in the case of Chaacmol. The spirits, on their return to
earth, were to find these statues, impart life to them, and use them as
body during their new existence.

I am not certain but that, as the Egyptians also, they were believers in
transmigration; and that this belief exists yet among the aborigines. I
have noticed that my Indians were unwilling to kill any animal whatever,
even the most noxious and dangerous, that inhabits the ruined monuments.
I have often told them to kill some venomous insect or serpent that may
have happened to be in our way. They invariably refused to do so, but
softly and carefully caused them to go. And when asked why they did not
kill them, declined to answer except by a knowing and mysterious smile,
as if afraid to let a stranger into their intimate beliefs inherited
from their ancestors: remembering, perhaps, the fearful treatment
inflicted by fanatical friars on their fathers to oblige them to forego
what they called the superstitions of their race--the idolatrous creed
of their forefathers.

I have had opportunity to discover that their faith in reincarnation, as
many other time-honored credences, still exists among them, unshaken,
notwithstanding the persecutions and tortures suffered by them at the
hands of ignorant and barbaric _Christians_ (?)

I will give two instances when that belief in reincarnation was plainly

The day that, after surmounting many difficulties, when my ropes and
cables, made of withes and the bark of the _habin_ tree, were finished
and adjusted to the capstan manufactured of hollow stones and trunks of
trees; and I had placed the ponderous statue of Chaacmol on rollers,
already in position to drag it up the inclined plane made from the
surface of the ground to a few feet above the bottom of the excavation;
my men, actuated by their superstitious fears on the one hand, and
their profound reverence for the memory of their ancestors on the other,
unwilling to see the effigy of one of the great men removed from where
their ancestors had placed it in ages gone by resolved to bury it, by
letting loose the hill of dry stones that formed the body of the
mausoleum, and were kept from falling in the hole by a framework of thin
trunks of trees tied with withes, and in order that it should not be
injured, to capsize it, placing the face downward. They had already
overturned it, when I interfered in time to prevent more mischief, and
even save some of them from certain death; since by cutting loose the
withes that keep the framework together, the sides of the excavation
were bound to fall in, and crush those at the bottom. I honestly think,
knowing their superstitious feelings and propensities, that they had
made up their mind to sacrifice their lives, in order to avoid what they
considered a desecration of the future tenement that the great warrior
and king was yet to inhabit, when time had arrived. In order to overcome
their scruples, and also to prove if my suspicions were correct, that,
as their forefathers and the Egyptians of old, they still believed in
reincarnation, I caused them to accompany me to the summit of the great
pyramid. There is a monument, that served as a castle when the city of
the holy men, the Itzaes, was at the height of its splendor. Every anta,
every pillar and column of this edifice is sculptured with portraits of
warriors and noblemen. Among these many with long beards, whose types
recall vividly to the mind the features of the Afghans.

On one of the antæ, at the entrance on the north side, is the portrait
of a warrior wearing a long, straight, pointed beard. The face, like
that of all the personages represented in the bas-reliefs, is in
profile. I placed my head against the stone so as to present the same
position of my face as that of UXAN, and called the attention of my
Indians to the similarity of his and my own features. They followed
every lineament of the faces with their fingers to the very point of the
beard, and soon uttered an exclamation of astonishment: “_Thou!_
_here!_” and slowly scanned again the features sculptured on the stone
and my own.

“_So, so,_” they said, “_thou too art one of our great men, who has been
disenchanted. Thou, too, wert a companion of the great Lord Chaacmol.
That is why thou didst know where he was hidden; and thou hast come to
disenchant him also. His time to live again on earth has then arrived._”

From that moment every word of mine was implicitly obeyed. They returned
to the excavation, and worked with such a good will, that they soon
brought up the ponderous statue to the surface.

A few days later some strange people made their appearance suddenly and
noiselessly in our midst. They emerged from the thicket one by one.
Colonel _Don_ Felipe Diaz, then commander of the troops covering the
eastern frontier, had sent me, a couple of days previous, a written
notice, that I still preserve in my power, that tracks of hostile
Indians had been discovered by his scouts, advising me to keep a sharp
look out, lest they should surprise us. Now, to be on the look out in
the midst of a thick, well-nigh impenetrable forest, is a rather
difficult thing to do, particularly with only a few men, and where there
is no road; yet all being a road for the enemy. Warning my men that
danger was near, and to keep their loaded rifles at hand, we continued
our work as usual, leaving the rest to destiny.

On seeing the strangers, my men rushed on their weapons, but noticing
that the visitors had no guns, but only their _machetes_, I gave orders
not to hurt them. At their head was a very old man: his hair was gray,
his eyes blue with age. He would not come near the statue, but stood at
a distance as if awe-struck, hat in hand, looking at it. After a long
time he broke out, speaking to his own people: “This, boys, is one of
the great men we speak to you about.” Then the young men came forward,
with great respect kneeled at the feet of the statue, and pressed their
lips against them.

Putting aside my own weapons, being consequently unarmed, I went to the
old man, and asked him to accompany me up to the castle, offering my arm
to ascend the 100 steep and crumbling stairs. I again placed my face
near that of my stone _Sosis_, and again the same scene was enacted as
with my own men, with this difference, that the strangers fell on their
knees before me, and, in turn, kissed my hand. The old man after a
while, eyeing me respectfully, but steadily, asked me: “Rememberest thou
what happened to thee whilst thou wert enchanted?” It was quite a
difficult question to answer, and yet retain my superior position, for I
did not know how many people might be hidden in the thicket. “Well,
father,” I asked him, “dreamest thou sometimes?” He nodded his head in
an affirmative manner. “And when thou awakest, dost thou remember
distinctly thy dreams?” “_Má_,” no! was the answer. “Well, father,” I
continued, “so it happened with me. I do not remember what took place
during the time I was enchanted.” This answer seemed to satisfy him. I
again gave him my hand to help him down the precipitous stairs, at the
foot of which we separated, wishing them God-speed, and warning them not
to go too near the villages on their way back to their homes, as people
were aware of their presence in the country. Whence they came, I ignore;
where they went, I don’t know.

Circumcision was a rite in usage among the Egyptians since very remote
times. The Mayas also practiced it, if we are to credit Fray Luis de
Urreta; yet Cogolludo affirms that in his days the Indians denied
observing such custom. The outward sign of utmost reverence seems to
have been identical amongst both the Mayas and the Egyptians. It
consisted in throwing the left arm across the chest, resting the left
hand on the right shoulder; or the right arm across the chest, the
right hand resting on the left shoulder. Sir Gardner Wilkinson, in his
work above quoted, reproduces various figures in that attitude; and Mr.
Champollion Figeac, in his book on Egypt, tells us that in some cases
even the mummies of certain eminent men were placed in their coffins
with the arms in that position. That this same mark of respect was in
use amongst the Mayas there can be no possible doubt. We see it in the
figures represented in the act of worshiping the mastodon’s head, on the
west façade of the monument that forms the north wing of the palace and
museum at Chichen-Itza. We see it repeatedly in the mural paintings in
Chaacmol’s funeral chamber; on the slabs sculptured with the
representation of a dying warrior, that adorned the mausoleum of that
chieftain. Cogolludo mentions it in his history of Yucatan, as being
common among the aborigines: and my own men have used it to show their
utmost respect to persons or objects they consider worthy of their
veneration. Among my collection of photographs are several plates in
which some of the men have assumed that position of the arms

_The sistrum_ was an instrument used by Egyptians and Mayas alike during
the performance of their religious rites and acts of worship. I have
seen it used lately by natives in Yucatan in the dance forming part of
the worship of the sun. The Egyptians enclosed the brains, entrails and
viscera of the deceased in funeral vases, called _canopas_, that were
placed in the tombs with the coffin. When I opened Chaacmol’s mausoleum
I found, as I have already said, two stone urns, the one near the head
containing the remains of brains, that near the chest those of the heart
and other viscera. This fact would tend to show again a similar custom
among the Mayas and Egyptians, who, besides, placed with the body an
empty vase--symbol that the deceased had been judged and found
righteous. This vase, held between the hands of the statue of Chaacmol,
is also found held in the same manner by many other statues of
different individuals. It was customary with the Egyptians to deposit in
the tombs the implements of the trade or profession of the deceased. So
also with the Mayas--if a priest, they placed books; if a warrior, his
weapons; if a mechanic, the tools of his art,[TN-23]

The Egyptians adorned the tombs of the rich--which generally consisted
of one or two chambers--with sculptures and paintings reciting the names
and the history of the life of the personage to whom the tomb belonged.
The mausoleum of Chaacmol, interiorly, was composed of three different
superposed apartments, with their floors of concrete well leveled,
polished and painted with yellow ochre; and exteriorly was adorned with
magnificent bas-reliefs, representing his totem and that of his
wife--dying warriors--the whole being surrounded by the image of a
feathered serpent--_Can_, his family name, whilst the walls of the two
apartments, or funeral chambers, in the monument raised to his memory,
were decorated with fresco paintings, representing not only Chaacmol’s
own life, but the manners, customs, mode of dressing of his
contemporaries; as those of the different nations with which they were
in communication: distinctly recognizable by their type, stature and
other peculiarities. The portraits of the great and eminent men of his
time are sculptured on the jambs and lintels of the doors, represented

In Egypt it was customary to paint the sculptures, either on stone or
wood, with bright colors--yellow, blue, red, green predominating. In
Mayab the same custom prevailed, and traces of these colors are still
easily discernible on the sculptures; whilst they are still very
brilliant on the beautiful and highly polished stucco of the walls in
the rooms of certain monuments at Chichen-Itza. The Maya artists seem to
have used mostly vegetable colors; yet they also employed ochres as
pigments, and cinnabar--we having found such metallic colors in
Chaacmol’s mausoleum. Mrs. Le Plongeon still preserves some in her
possession. From where they procured it is more than we can tell at

The wives and daughters of the Egyptian kings and noblemen considered it
an honor to assist in the temples and religious ceremonies: one of their
principal duties being to play the sistrum.

We find that in Yucatan, _Nicté_ (flower) the sister of _Chaacmol_,
assisted her elder brother, _Cay_, the pontiff, in the sanctuary, her
name being always associated with his in the inscriptions which adorn
the western façade of that edifice at Uxmal, as that of her sister,
_Mó_,[TN-24] is with Chaacmol’s in some of the monuments at Chichen.

Cogolludo, when speaking of the priestesses, _virgins of the sun_,
mentions a tradition that seems to refer to _Nicté_, stating that the
daughter of a king, who remained during all her life in the temple,
obtained after her death the honor of apotheosis, and was worshiped
under the name of _Zuhuy-Kak_ (the fire-virgin), and became the goddess
of the maidens, who were recommended to her care.

As in Egypt, the kings and heroes were worshiped in Mayab after their
death; temples and pyramids being raised to their memory. Cogolludo
pretends that the lower classes adored fishes, snakes, tigers and other
abject animals, “even the devil himself, which appeared to them in
horrible forms” (“Historia de Yucatan,” book IV., chap. vii.)

Judging from the sculptures and mural paintings, the higher classes in
_Mayab_ wore, in very remote ages, dresses of quite an elaborate
character. Their under garment consisted of short trowsers, reaching the
middle of the thighs. At times these trowsers were highly ornamented
with embroideries and fringes, as they formed their only article of
clothing when at home; over these they wore a kind of kilt, very similar
to that used by the inhabitants of the Highlands in Scotland. It was
fastened to the waist with wide ribbons, tied behind in a knot forming a
large bow, the ends of which reached to the ankles. Their shoulders
were covered with a tippet falling to the elbows, and fastened on the
chest by means of a brooch. Their feet were protected by sandals, kept
in place by ropes or ribbons, passing between the big toe and the next,
and between the third and fourth, then brought up so as to encircle the
ankles. They were tied in front, forming a bow on the instep. Some wore
leggings, others garters and anklets made of feathers, generally yellow;
sometimes, however, they may have been of gold. Their head gears were of
different kinds, according to their rank and dignity. Warriors seem to
have used wide bands, tied behind the head with two knots, as we see in
the statue of Chaacmol, and in the bas-reliefs that adorn the queen’s
chamber at Chichen. The king’s coiffure was a peaked cap, that seems to
have served as model for the _pschent_, that symbol of domination over
the lower Egypt; with this difference, however, that in Mayab the point
formed the front, and in Egypt the back.

The common people in Mayab, as in Egypt, were indeed little troubled by
their garments. These consisted merely of a simple girdle tied round the
loins, the ends falling before and behind to the middle of the thighs.
Sometimes they also used the short trowsers; and, when at work, wrapped
a piece of cloth round their loins, long enough to cover their legs to
the knees. This costume was completed by wearing a square cloth, tied on
one of the shoulders by two of its corners. It served as cloak. To-day
the natives of Yucatan wear the same dress, with but slight
modifications. While the aborigines of the _Tierra de Guerra_, who still
preserve the customs of their forefathers, untainted by foreign
admixture, use the same garments, of their own manufacture, that we see
represented in the bas-reliefs of Chichen and Uxmal, and in the mural
paintings of _Mayab_ and Egypt.

Divination by the inspection of the entrails of victims, and the study
of omens were considered by the Egyptians as important branches of
learning. The soothsayers formed a respected order of the priesthood.
From the mural paintings at Chichen, and from the works of the
chroniclers, we learn that the Mayas also had several manners of
consulting fate. One of the modes was by the inspection of the entrails
of victims; another by the manner of the cracking of the shell of a
turtle or armadillo by the action of fire, as among the Chinese. (In the
_Hong-fan_ or “the great and sublime doctrine,” one of the books of the
_Chou-king_, the ceremonies of _Pou_ and _Chi_ are described at length).
The Mayas had also their astrologers and prophets. Several prophecies,
purporting to have been made by their priests, concerning the preaching
of the Gospel among the people of Mayab, have reached us, preserved in
the works of Landa, Lizana, and Cogolludo. There we also read that, even
at the time of the Spanish conquest, they came from all parts of the
country, and congregated at the shrine of _Kinich-kakmo_, the deified
daughter of CAN, to listen to the oracles delivered by her through the
mouths of her priests and consult her on future events. By the
examination of the mural paintings, we know that _animal magnetism_ was
understood and practiced by the priests, who, themselves, seem to have
consulted clairvoyants.

The learned priests of Egypt are said to have made considerable progress
in astronomical sciences.

The _gnomon_, discovered by me in December, last year, in the ruined
city of Mayapan, would tend to prove that the learned men of Mayab were
not only close observers of the march of the celestial bodies and good
mathematicians; but that their attainments in astronomy were not
inferior to those of their brethren of Chaldea. Effectively the
construction of the gnomon shows that they had found the means of
calculating the latitude of places, that they knew the distance of the
solsticeal points from the equator; they had found that the greatest
angle of declination of the sun, 23° 27´, occurred when that luminary
reached the tropics where, during nearly three days, said angle of
declination does not vary, for which reason they said that the _sun_ had
arrived at his resting place.

The Egyptians, it is said, in very remote ages, divided the year by
lunations, as the Mayas, who divided their civil year into eighteen
months, of twenty days, that they called U--moon--to which they added
five supplementary days, that they considered unlucky. From an epoch so
ancient that it is referred to the fabulous time of their history, the
Egyptians adopted the solar year, dividing it into twelve months, of
thirty days, to which they added, at the end of the last month, called
_Mesoré_, five days, named _Epact_.

By a most remarkable coincidence, the Egyptians, as the Mayas,
considered these additive five days _unlucky_.

Besides this solar year they had a sideral or sothic year, composed of
365 days and 6 hours, which corresponds exactly to the Mayas[TN-25]
sacred year, that Landa tells us was also composed of 365 days and 6
hours; which they represented in the gnomon of Mayapan by the line that
joins the centers of the stela that forms it.

The Egyptians, in their computations, calculated by a system of _fives_
and _tens_; the Mayas by a system of _fives_ and _twenties_, to four
hundred. Their sacred number appears to have been 13 from the remotest
antiquity, but SEVEN seems to have been a _mystic number_ among them as
among the Hindoos, Aryans, Chaldeans, Egyptians, and other nations.

The Egyptians made use of a septenary system in the arrangement of the
grand gallery in the center of the great pyramid. Each side of the wall
is made of seven courses of finely polished stones, the one above
overlapping that below, thus forming the triangular ceiling common to
all the edifices in Yucatan. This gallery is said to be seven times the
height of the other passages, and, as all the rooms in Uxmal, Chichen
and other places in Mayab, it is seven-sided. Some authors pretend to
assume that this well marked septenary system has reference to the
_Pleiades_ or _Seven stars_. _Alcyone_, the central star of the group,
being, it is said, on the same meridian as the pyramid, when it was
constructed, and _Alpha_ of Draconis, the then pole star, at its lower

But if, as the Rev. Joseph A. Seiss and others pretend, the scientific
attainments required for the construction of such enduring monument
surpassed those of the learned men of Egypt, we must, of necessity,
believe that the architect who conceived the plan and carried out its
designs must have acquired his knowledge from an older people,
possessing greater learning than the priests of Memphis; unless we try
to persuade ourselves, as the reverend gentleman wishes us to, that the
great pyramid was built under the direct inspiration of the Almighty.

Nearly all the monuments of Yucatan bear evidence that the Mayas had a
predilection for number SEVEN. Since we find that their artificial
mounds were composed of seven superposed platforms; that the city of
Uxmal contained seven of these mounds; that the north side of the palace
of King CAN was adorned with seven turrets; that the entwined serpents,
his totem, which adorn the east façade of the west wing of this
building, have seven rattles; that the head-dress of kings and queens
were adorned with seven blue feathers; in a word, that the number SEVEN
prevails in all places and in everything where Maya influence has

It is a FACT, and one that may not be altogether devoid of significance,
that this number SEVEN seems to have been the mystic number of many of
the nations of antiquity. It has even reached our times as such, being
used as symbol[TN-26] by several of the secret societies existing among

If we look back through the vista of ages to the dawn of civilized life
in the countries known as the _old world_, we find this number SEVEN
among the Asiatic nations as well as in Egypt and Mayab. Effectively, in
Babylon, the celebrated temple of _the seven lights_ was made of _seven_
stages or platforms. In the hierarchy of Mazdeism, the _seven marouts_,
or genii of the winds, the _seven amschaspands_; then among the Aryans
and their descendants, the _seven horses_ that drew the chariot of the
sun, the _seven apris_ or shape of the flame, the _seven rays_ of Agni,
the _seven manons_ or criators of the Vedas; among the Hebrews, the
_seven days_ of the creation, the _seven lamps_ of the ark and of
Zacharias’s vision, the _seven branches_ of the golden candlestick, the
_seven days_ of the feast of the dedication of the temple of Solomon,
the _seven years_ of plenty, the _seven years_ of famine; in the
Christian dispensation, the _seven_ churches with the _seven_ angels at
their head, the _seven_ golden candlesticks, the _seven seals_ of the
book, the _seven_ trumpets of the angels, the _seven heads_ of the beast
that rose from the sea, the _seven vials_ full of the wrath of God, the
_seven_ last plagues of the Apocalypse; in the Greek mythology, the
_seven_ heads of the hydra, killed by Hercules, etc.

The origin of the prevalence of that number SEVEN amongst all the
nations of earth, even the most remote from each other, has never been
satisfactorily explained, each separate people giving it a different
interpretation, according to their belief and to the tenets of their
religious creeds. As far as the Mayas are concerned, I think to have
found that it originated with the _seven_ members of CAN’S family, who
were the founders of the principal cities of _Mayab_, and to each of
whom was dedicated a mound in Uxmal and a turret in their palace. Their
names, according to the inscriptions carved on the monuments raised by
them at Uxmal and Chichen, were--CAN (serpent) and [C]OZ (bat), his
wife, from whom were born CAY (fish), the pontiff; AAK (turtle), who
became the governor of Uxmal; CHAACMOL (leopard), the warrior, who
became the husband of his sister MOÓ (macaw), the Queen of _Chichen_,
worshiped after her death at Izamal; and NICTÉ (flower), the priestess
who, under the name of _Zuhuy-Kuk_, became the goddess of the maidens.

The Egyptians, in expressing their ideas in writing, used three
different kinds of characters--phonetic, ideographic and
symbolic--placed either in vertical columns or in horizontal lines, to
be read from right to left, from left to right, as indicated by the
position of the figures of men or animals. So, also, the Mayas in their
writings employed phonetic, symbolic and ideographic signs, combining
these often, forming monograms as we do to-day, placing them in such a
manner as best suited the arrangement of the ornamentation of the façade
of the edifices. At present we can only speak with certainty of the
monumental inscriptions, the books that fell in the hands of the
ecclesiastics at the time of the conquest having been destroyed. No
truly genuine written monuments of the Mayas are known to exist, except
those inclosed within the sealed apartments, where the priests and
learned men of MAYAB hid them from the _Nahualt_ or _Toltec_ invaders.

As the Egyptians, they wrote in vertical columns and horizontal lines,
to be read generally from right to left. The space of this small essay
does not allow me to enter in more details; they belong naturally to a
work of different nature. Let it therefore suffice, for the present
purpose, to state that the comparative study of the language of the
Mayas led us to suspect that, as it contains words belonging to nearly
all the known languages of antiquity, and with exactly the same meaning,
in their mode of writing might be found letters or characters or signs
used in those tongues. Studying with attention the photographs made by
us of the inscriptions of Uxmal and Chichen, we were not long in
discovering that our surmises were indeed correct. The inscriptions,
written in squares or parallelograms, that might well have served as
models for the ancient hieratic Chaldeans, of the time of King Uruck,
seem to contain ancient Chaldee, Egyptian and Etruscan characters,
together with others that seem to be purely Mayab.

Applying these known characters to the decipherment of the inscriptions,
giving them their accepted value, we soon found that the language in
which they are written is, in the main, the vernacular of the aborigines
of Yucatan and other parts of Central America to-day. Of course, the
original mother tongue having suffered some alterations, in consequence
of changes in customs induced by time, invasions, intercourse with other
nations, and the many other natural causes that are known to affect
man’s speech.

The Mayas and the Egyptians had many signs and characters identical;
possessing the same alphabetical and symbolical value in both nations.
Among the symbolical, I may cite a few: _water_, _country or region_,
_king_, _Lord_, _offerings_, _splendor_, the _various emblems of the
sun_ and many others. Among the alphabetical, a very large number of the
so-called Demotic, by Egyptologists, are found even in the inscription
of the _Akabɔib_ at Chichen; and not a few of the most ancient Egyptian
hieroglyphs in the mural inscriptions at Uxmal. In these I have been
able to discover the Egyptian characters corresponding to our own.

A a, B, C, CH or K, D, T, I, L, M, N, H, P, TZ, PP, U, OO, X, having the
same sound and value as in the Spanish language, with the exception of
the K, TZ, PP and X, which are pronounced in a way peculiar to the
Mayas. The inscriptions also contain these letters, A, I, X and PP
identical to the corresponding in the Etruscan alphabet. The finding of
the value of these characters has enabled me to decipher, among other
things, the names of the founders of the city of UXMAL; as that of the
city itself. This is written apparently in two different ways: whilst,
in fact, the sculptors have simply made use of two homophone signs,
notwithstanding dissimilar, of the letter M. As to the name of the
founders, not only are they written in alphabetical characters, but also
in ideographic, since they are accompanied in many instances by the
totems of the personages: e. g[TN-27] for AAK, which means turtle, is the
image of a turtle; for CAY (fish), the image of a fish; for Chaacmol
(leopard) the image of a leopard; and so on, precluding the possibility
of misinterpretation.

Having found that the language of the inscriptions was Maya, of course
I had no difficulty in giving to each letter its proper phonetic value,
since, as I have already said, Maya is still the vernacular of the

I consider that the few facts brought together will suffice at present
to show, if nothing else, a strange similarity in the workings of the
mind in these two nations. But if these remarkable coincidences are not
merely freaks of hazard, we will be compelled to admit that one people
must have learned it from the other. Then will naturally arise the
questions, Which the teacher? Which the pupil? The answer will not only
solve an ethnological problem, but decide the question of priority.

I will now briefly refer to the myth of Osiris, the son of _Seb and
Nut_, the brother of _Aroeris_, the elder _Horus_, of _Typho_, of
_Isis_, and of _Nephthis_, named also NIKÉ. The authors have given
numerous explanations, result of fancy; of the mythological history of
that god, famous throughout Egypt. They made him a personification of
the inundations of the NILE; ISIS, his wife and sister, that of the
irrigated portion of the land of Egypt; their sister, _Nephthis_, that
of the barren edge of the desert occasionally fertilized by the waters
of the Nile; his brother and murderer _Tipho_, that of the sea which
swallows up the _Nile_.

Leaving aside the mythical lores, with which the priests of all times
and all countries cajole the credulity of ignorant and superstitious
people, we find that among the traditions of the past, treasured in the
mysterious recesses of the temples, is a history of the life of Osiris
on Earth. Many wise men of our days have looked upon it as fabulous. I
am not ready to say whether it is or it is not; but this I can assert,
that, in many parts, it tallies marvelously with that of the culture
hero of the Mayas.

It will be said, no doubt, that this remarkable similarity is a mere
coincidence. But how are we to dispose of so many coincidences? What
conclusion, if any, are we to draw from this concourse of so many
strange similes?

In this case, I cannot do better than to quote, verbatim, from Sir
Gardner Wilkinson’s work, chap. xiii:

     “_Osiris_, having become King of Egypt, applied himself towards
     civilizing his countrymen, by turning them from their former
     barbarous course of life, teaching them, moreover, to cultivate and
     improve the fruits of the earth. * * * * * With the same good
     disposition, he afterwards traveled over the rest of the world,
     inducing the people everywhere to submit to his discipline, by the
     mildest persuasion.”

The rest of the story relates to the manner of his killing by his
brother Typho, the disposal of his remains, the search instituted by his
wife to recover the body, how it was stolen again from her by _Typho_,
who cut him to pieces, scattering them over the earth, of the final
defeat of Typho by Osiris’s son, Horus.

Reading the description, above quoted, of the endeavors of Osiris to
civilize the world, who would not imagine to be perusing the traditions
of the deeds of the culture heroes _Kukulean_[TN-28] and Quetzalcoatl of
the Mayas and of the Aztecs? Osiris was particularly worshiped at Philo,
where the history of his life is curiously illustrated in the sculptures
of a small retired chamber, lying nearly over the western adytum of the
temple, just as that of Chaacmol in the mural paintings of his funeral
chamber, the bas-reliefs of what once was his mausoleum, in those of the
queen’s chamber and of her box in the tennis court at Chichen.

     “The mysteries of Osiris were divided into the greater and less
     mysteries. Before admission into the former, it was necessary that
     the initiated should have passed through all the gradations of the
     latter. But to merit this great honor, much was expected of the
     candidate, and many even of the priesthood were unable to obtain
     it. Besides the proofs of a virtuous life, other recommendations
     were required, and to be admitted to all the grades of the higher
     mysteries was the greatest honor to which any one could aspire. It
     was from these that the mysteries of Eleusis were borrowed.”
     Wilkinson, chap. xiii.

In Mayab there also existed mysteries, as proved by symbols discovered
in the month of June last by myself in the monument generally called the
_Dwarf’s House_, at Uxmal. It seemed that the initiated had to pass
through different gradations to reach the highest or third; if we are to
judge by the number of rooms dedicated to their performance, and the
disposition of said rooms. The strangest part, perhaps, of this
discovery is the information it gives us that certain signs and symbols
were used by the affiliated, that are perfectly identical to those used
among the masons in their symbolical lodges. I have lately published in
_Harper’s Weekly_, a full description of the building, with plans of the
same, and drawings of the signs and symbols existing in it. These secret
societies exist still among the _Zuñis_ and other Pueblo Indians of New
Mexico, according to the relations of Mr. Frank H. Cushing, a gentleman
sent by the Smithsonian Institution to investigate their customs and
history. In order to comply with the mission intrusted to him, Mr.
Cushing has caused his adoption in the tribe of the Zuñis, whose
language he has learned, whose habits he has adopted. Among the other
remarkable things he has discovered is “the existence of twelve sacred
orders, with their priests and their secret rites as carefully guarded
as the secrets of freemasonry, an institution to which these orders have
a strange resemblance.” (From the New York _Times_.)

If from Egypt we pass to Nubia, we find that the peculiar battle ax of
the Mayas was also used by the warriors of that country; whilst many of
the customs of the inhabitants of equatorial Africa, as described by Mr.
DuChaillu[TN-29] in the relation of his voyage to the “Land of Ashango,”
so closely resemble those of the aborigines of Yucatan as to suggest
that intimate relations must have existed, in very remote ages, between
their ancestors; if the admixture of African blood, clearly discernible
still, among the natives of certain districts of the peninsula, did not
place that _fact_ without the peradventure of a doubt. We also see
figures in the mural paintings, at Chichen, with strongly marked African

We learned by the discovery of the statue of Chaacmol, and that of the
priestess found by me at the foot of the altar in front of the shrine
of _Ix-cuina_, the Maya Venus, situated at the south end of _Isla
Mugeres_, it was customary with persons of high rank to file their teeth
in sharp points like a saw. We read in the chronicles that this fashion
still prevailed after the Spanish conquest; and then by little and
little fell into disuse. Travelers tells us that it is yet in vogue
among many of the tribes in the interior of South America; particularly
those whose names seem to connect with the ancient Caribs or Carians.

Du Chaillu asserts that the Ashangos, those of Otamo, the Apossos, the
Fans, and many other tribes of equatorial Africa, consider it a mark of
beauty to file their front teeth in a sharp point. He presents the Fans
as confirmed cannibals. We are told, and the bas-reliefs on Chaacmol’s
mausoleum prove it, that the Mayas devoured the hearts of their fallen
enemies. It is said that, on certain grand occasions, after offering the
hearts of their victims to the idols, they abandoned the bodies to the
people, who feasted upon them. But it must be noticed that these
last-mentioned customs seemed to have been introduced in the country by
the Nahualts and Aztecs; since, as yet, we have found nothing in the
mural paintings to cause us to believe that the Mayas indulged in such
barbaric repasts, beyond the eating of their enemies’ hearts.

The Mayas were, and their descendants are still, confirmed believers in
witchcraft. In December, last year, being at the hacienda of
X-Kanchacan, where are situated the ruins of the ancient city of
Mayapan, a sick man was brought to me. He came most reluctantly, stating
that he knew what was the matter with him: that he was doomed to die
unless the spell was removed. He was emaciated, seemed to suffer from
malarial fever, then prevalent in the place, and from the presence of
tapeworm. I told him I could restore him to health if he would heed my
advice. The fellow stared at me for some time, trying to find out,
probably, if I was a stronger wizard than the _H-Men_ who had bewitched
him. He must have failed to discover on my face the proverbial
distinctive marks great sorcerers are said to possess; for, with an
incredulous grin, stretching his thin lips tighter over his teeth, he
simply replied: “No use--I am bewitched--there is no remedy for me.”

Mr. Du Chaillu, speaking of the superstitions of the inhabitants of
Equatorial Africa, says: “The greatest curse of the whole country is the
belief in sorcery or witchcraft. If the African is once possessed with
the belief that he is bewitched his whole nature seems to change. He
becomes suspicious of his dearest friends. He fancies himself sick, and
really often becomes sick through his fears. At least seventy-five per
cent of the deaths in all the tribes are murders for supposed sorcery.”
In that they differ from the natives of Yucatan, who respect wizards
because of their supposed supernatural powers.

From the most remote antiquity, as we learn from the writings of the
chroniclers, in all sacred ceremonies the Mayas used to make copious
libations with _Balché_. To-day the aborigines still use it in the
celebrations of their ancient rites. _Balché_ is a liquor made from the
bark of a tree called Balché, soaked in water, mixed with honey and left
to ferment. It is their beverage _par excellence_. The nectar drank by
the God of Greek Mythology.

Du Chaillu, speaking of the recovery to health of the King of _Mayo_lo,
a city in which he resided for some time, says: “Next day he was so much
elated with the improvement in his health that he got tipsy on a
fermented beverage which he had prepared two days before he had fallen
ill, and which he made by _mixing honey and water, and adding to it
pieces of bark of a certain tree_.” (Journey to Ashango Land, page 183.)

I will remark here that, by a strange _coincidence_, we not only find
that the inhabitants of Equatorial Africa have customs identical with
the MAYAS, but that the name of one of their cities MAYO_lo_, seems to
be a corruption of MAYAB.

The Africans make offerings upon the graves of their departed friends,
where they deposit furniture, dress and food--and sometimes slay slaves,
men and women, over the graves of kings and chieftains, with the belief
that their spirits join that of him in whose honor they have been

I have already said that it was customary with the Mayas to place in the
tombs part of the riches of the deceased and the implements of his trade
or profession; and that the great quantity of blood found scattered
round the slab on which the statue of Chaacmol is reclining would tend
to suggest that slaves were sacrificed at his funeral.

The Mayas of old were wont to abandon the house where a person had died.
Many still observe that same custom when they can afford to do so; for
they believe that the spirit of the departed hovers round it.

The Africans also abandon their houses, remove even the site of their
villages when death frequently occur;[TN-30] for, say they, the place is
no longer good; and they fear the spirits of those recently deceased.

Among the musical instruments used by the Mayas there were two kinds of
drums--the _Tunkul_ and the _Zacatan_. They are still used by the
aborigines in their religious festivals and dances.

The _Tunkul_ is a cylinder hollowed from the trunk of a tree, so as to
leave it about one inch in thickness all round. It is generally about
four feet in length. On one side two slits are cut, so as to leave
between them a strip of about four inches in width, to within six inches
from the ends; this strip is divided in the middle, across, so as to
form, as it were, tongues. It is by striking on those tongues with two
balls of india-rubber, attached to the end of sticks, that the
instrument is played. The volume of sound produced is so great that it
can be heard, is[TN-31] is said, at a distance of six miles in calm
weather. The _Zacatan_ is another sort of drum, also hollowed from the
trunk of a tree. This is opened at both ends. On one end a piece of
skin is tightly stretched. It is by beating on the skin with the hand,
the instrument being supported between the legs of the drummer, in a
slanting position, that it is played.

Du Chaillu, Stanley and other travelers in Africa tell us that, in case
of danger and to call the clans together, the big war drum is beaten,
and is heard many miles around. Du Chaillu asserts having seen one of
these _Ngoma_, formed of a hollow log, nine feet long, at Apono; and
describes a _Fan_ drum which corresponds to the _Zacatan_ of the Mayas
as follows: “The cylinder was about four feet long and ten inches in
diameter at one end, but only seven at the other. The wood was hollowed
out quite thin, and the skin stretched over tightly. To beat it the
drummer held it slantingly between his legs, and with two sticks
beats[TN-32] furiously upon the upper, which was the larger end of the

We have the counterpart of the fetish houses, containing the skulls of
the ancestors and some idol or other, seen by Du Chaillu, in African
towns, in the small huts constructed at the entrance of all the villages
in Yucatan. These huts or shrines contain invariably a crucifix; at
times the image of some saint, often a skull. The last probably to cause
the wayfarer to remember he has to die; and that, as he cannot carry
with him his worldly treasures on the other side of the grave, he had
better deposit some in the alms box firmly fastened at the foot of the
cross. Cogolludo informs us these little shrines were anciently
dedicated to the god of lovers, of histrions, of dancers, and an
infinity of small idols that were placed at the entrance of the
villages, roads and staircases of the temples and other parts.

Even the breed of African dogs seems to be the same as that of the
native dogs of Yucatan. Were I to describe these I could not make use of
more appropriate words than the following of Du Chaillu: “The pure bred
native dog is small, has long straight ears, long muzzle and long curly
tail; the hair is short and the color yellowish; the pure breed being
known by the clearness of his color. They are always lean, and are kept
very short of food by their owners. * * * Although they have quick ears;
I don’t think highly of their scent. They are good watch dogs.”

I could continue this list of similes, but methinks those already
mentioned as sufficient for the present purpose. I will therefore close
it by mentioning this strange belief that Du Chaillu asserts exists
among the African warriors: “_The charmed leopard’s skin worn about the
warrior’s middle is supposed to render that worthy spear-proof._”

Let us now take a brief retrospective glance at the FACTS mentioned in
the foregoing pages. They seem to teach us that, in ages so remote as to
be well nigh lost in the abyss of the past, the _Mayas_ were a great and
powerful nation, whose people had reached a high degree of civilization.
That it is impossible for us to form a correct idea of their
attainments, since only the most enduring monuments, built by them, have
reached us, resisting the disintegrating action of time and atmosphere.
That, as the English of to-day, they had colonies all over the earth;
for we find their name, their traditions, their customs and their
language scattered in many distant countries, among whose inhabitants
they apparently exercised considerable civilizing influence, since they
gave names to their gods, to their tribes, to their cities.

We cannot doubt that the colonists carried with them the old traditions
of the mother country, and the history of the founders of their
nationality; since we find them in the countries where they seem to have
established large settlements soon after leaving the land of their
birth. In course of time these traditions have become disfigured,
wrapped, as it were, in myths, creations of fanciful and untutored
imaginations, as in Hindostan: or devises of crafty priests, striving to
hide the truth from the ignorant mass of the people, fostering their
superstitions, in order to preserve unbounded and undisputed sway over
them, as in Egypt.

In Hindostan, for example, we find the Maya custom of carrying the
children astride on the hips of the nurses. That of recording the vow of
the devotees, or of imploring the blessings of deity by the imprint of
the hand, dipped in red liquid, stamped on the walls of the shrines and
palaces. The worship of the mastodon, still extant in India, Siam,
Burmah, as in the worship of _Ganeza_, the god of knowledge, with an
elephant head, degenerated in that of the elephant itself.

Still extant we find likewise the innate propensity of the Mayas to
exclude all foreigners from their country; even to put to death those
who enter their territories (as do, even to-day, those of Santa Cruz and
the inhabitants of the Tierra de Guerra) as the emissaries of Rama were
informed by the friend of the owner of the country, the widow of the
_great architect_, MAYA, whose name HEMA means in the Maya language “she
who places ropes across the roads to impede the passage.” Even the
history of the death of her husband MAYA, killed with a thunderbolt, by
the god _Pourandara_, whose jealousy was aroused by his love for her and
their marriage, recalls that of _Chaacmol_, the husband of _Moó_, killed
by their brother Aac, by being stabbed by him three times in the back
with a spear, through jealousy--for he also loved _Moó_.

Some Maya tribes, after a time, probably left their home at the South of
Hindostan and emigrated to Afghanistan, where their descendants still
live and have villages on the North banks of the river _Kabul_. They
left behind old traditions, that they may have considered as mere
fantasies of their poets, and other customs of their forefathers. Yet we
know so little about the ancient Afghans, or the Maya tribes living
among them, that it is impossible at present to say how much, if any,
they have preserved of the traditions of their race. All we know for a
certainty is that many of the names of their villages and tribes are
pure American-Maya words: that their types are very similar to the
features of the bearded men carved on the pillars of the castle, and on
the walls of other edifices at Chichen-Itza: while their warlike habits
recall those of the Mayas, who fought so bravely and tenaciously the
Spanish invaders.

Some of the Maya tribes, traveling towards the west and northwest,
reached probably the shores of Ethiopia; while others, entering the
Persian Gulf, landed near the embouchure of the Euphrates, and founded
their primitive capital at a short distance from it. They called it _Hur
(Hula) city of guests just arrived_--and according to Berosus gave
themselves the name of _Khaldi_; probably because they intrenched their
city: _Kal_ meaning intrenchment in the American-Maya language. We have
seen that the names of all the principal deities of the primitive
Chaldeans had a natural etymology in that tongue. Such strange
coincidences cannot be said to be altogether accidental. Particularly
when we consider that their learned men were designated as MAGI, (Mayas)
and their Chief _Rab-Mag_, meaning, in Maya, the _old man_; and were
great architects, mathematicians and astronomers. As again we know of
them but imperfectly, we cannot tell what traditions they had preserved
of the birthplace of their forefathers. But by the inscriptions on the
tablets or bricks, found at Mugheir and Warka, we know for a certainty
that, in the archaic writings, they formed their characters of straight
lines of uniform thickness; and inclosed their sentences in squares or
parallelograms, as did the founders of the ruined cities of Yucatan. And
from the signet cylinder of King Urukh, that their mode of dressing was
identical with that of many personages represented in the mural
paintings at Chichen-Itza.

We have traced the MAYAS again on the shores of Asia Minor, where the
CARIANS at last established themselves, after having spread terror among
the populations bordering on the Mediterranean. Their origin is unknown:
but their customs were so similar to those of the inhabitants of Yucatan
at the time even of the Spanish conquest--and their names CAR, _Carib_
or _Carians_, so extensively spread over the western continent, that we
might well surmise, that, navigators as they were, they came from those
parts of the world; particularly when we are told by the Greek poets and
historians, that the goddess MAIA was the daughter of _Atlantis_. We
have seen that the names of the khati, those of their cities, that of
Tyre, and finally that of Egypt, have their etymology in the Maya.

Considering the numerous coincidences already pointed out, and many more
I could bring forth, between the attainments and customs of the Mayas
and the Egyptians; in view also of the fact that the priests and learned
men of Egypt constantly pointed toward the WEST as the birthplace of
their ancestors, it would seem as if a colony, starting from Mayab, had
emigrated Eastward, and settled on the banks of the Nile; just as the
Chinese to-day, quitting their native land and traveling toward the
rising sun, establish themselves in America.

In Egypt again, as in Hindostan, we find the history of the children of
CAN, preserved among the secret traditions treasured up by the priests
in the dark recesses of their temples: the same story, even with all its
details. It is TYPHO who kills his brother OSIRIS, the husband of their
sister ISIS. Some of the names only have been changed when the members
of the royal family of CAN, the founder of the cities of Mayab, reaching
apotheosis, were presented to the people as gods, to be worshiped.

That the story of _Isis_ and _Osiris_ is a mythical account of CHAACMOL
and MOÓ, from all the circumstances connected with it, according to the
relations of the priests of Egypt that tally so closely with what we
learn in Chichen-Itza from the bas-reliefs, it seems impossible to

Effectively, _Osiris_ and _Isis_ are considered as king and queen of the
Amenti--the region of the West--the mansion of the dead, of the
ancestors. Whatever may be the etymology of the name of Osiris, it is a
_fact_, that in the sculptures he is often represented with a spotted
skin suspended near him, and Diodorus Siculus says: “That the skin is
usually represented without the head; but some instances where this is
introduced show it to be the _leopard’s_ or _panther’s_.” Again, the
name of Osiris as king of the West, of the Amenti, is always written, in
hieroglyphic characters, representing a crouching _leopard_ with an eye
above it. It is also well known that the priests of Osiris wore a
_leopard_ skin as their ceremonial dress.

Now, Chaacmol reigned with his sister Moó, at Chichen-Itza, in Mayab, in
the land of the West for Egypt. The name _Chaacmol_ means, in Maya, a
_Spotted_ tiger, a _leopard_; and he is represented as such in all his
totems in the sculptures on the monuments; his shield being made of the
skin of leopard, as seen in the mural paintings.

Osiris, in Egypt, is a myth. Chaacmol, in Mayab, a reality. A warrior
whose mausoleum I have opened; whose weapons and ornaments of jade are
in Mrs. Le Plongeon’s possession; whose heart I have found, and sent a
piece of it to be analysed by professor Thompson of Worcester, Mass.;
whose effigy, with his name inscribed on the tablets occupying the place
of the ears, forms now one of the most precious relics in the National
Museum of Mexico.

ISIS was the wife and sister of Osiris. As to the etymology of her name
the Maya affords it in I[C]IN--_the younger sister_. As Queen of the
Amenti, of the West, she also is represented in hieroglyphs by the same
characters as her husband--a _leopard, with an eye above_, and the sign
of the feminine gender an oval or egg. But as a goddess she is always
portrayed with wings; the vulture being dedicated to her; and, as it
were, her totem.

MOÓ the wife and sister of _Chaacmol_ was the Queen of Chichen. She is
represented on the Mausoleum of Chaacmol as a _Macaw_ (Moó in the Maya
language); also on the monuments at Uxmal: and the chroniclers tell us
that she was worshiped in Izamal under the name of _Kinich-Kakmó_;
reading from right to left the _fiery macaw with eyes like the sun_.

Their protecting spirit is a _Serpent_, the totem of their father CAN.
Another Egyptian divinity, _Apap_ or _Apop_, is represented under the
form of a gigantic serpent covered with wounds. Plutarch in his
treatise, _De Iside et Osiride_, tells us that he was enemy to the sun.

TYPHO was the brother of Osiris and Isis; for jealousy, and to usurp the
throne, he formed a conspiration and killed his brother. He is said to
represent in the Egyptian mythology, the sea, by some; by others, _the

AAK (turtle) was also the brother of Chaacmol and _Moó_. For jealousy,
and to usurp the throne, he killed his brother at treason with three
thrusts of his _spear_ in the back. Around the belt of his statue at
Uxmal used to be seen hanging the heads of his brothers CAY and
CHAACMOL, together with that of MOÓ; whilst his feet rested on their
flayed bodies. In the sculpture he is pictured surrounded by the _Sun_
as his protecting spirit. The escutcheon of Uxmal shows that he called
the place he governed the land of the Sun. In the bas-reliefs of the
Queen’s chamber at Chichen his followers are seen to render homage to
the _Sun_; others, the friends of MOÓ, to the _Serpent_. So, in Mayab as
in Egypt, the _Sun_ and _Serpent_ were inimical. In Egypt again this
enmity was a myth, in Mayab a reality.

AROERIS was the brother of Osiris, Isis and Typho. His business seems to
have been that of a peace-maker.

CAY was also the brother of _Chaacmol_, _Moó_ and _Aac_. He was the high
pontiff, and sided with Chaacmol and Moó in their troubles, as we learn
from the mural paintings, from his head and flayed body serving as
trophy to Aac as I have just said.

In June last, among the ruins of _Uxmal_, I discovered a magnificent
bust of this personage; and I believe I know the place where his remains
are concealed.

NEPHTHIS was the sister of Isis, Osiris, Typho, and Aroeris, and the
wife of Typho; but being in love with Osiris she managed to be taken to
his embraces, and she became pregnant. That intrigue having been
discovered by Isis, she adopted the child that Nephthis, fearing the
anger of her husband, had hidden, brought him up as her own under the
name of Anubis. Nephthis was also called NIKÉ by some.

NIC or NICTÉ was the sister of _Chaacmol_, _Moó_, _Aac_, and _Cay_, with
whose name I find always her name associated in the sculptures on the
monuments. Here the analogy between these personages would seem to
differ, still further study of the inscriptions may yet prove the
Egyptian version to contain some truth. _Nic_ or _Nicte_[TN-33] means
flower; a cast of her face, with a flower sculptured on one cheek,
exists among my collections.

We are told that three children were born to Isis and Osiris: Horus,
Macedo, and Harpocrates. Well, in the scene painted on the walls of
Chaacmol’s funeral chamber, in which the body of this warrior is
represented stretched on the ground, cut open under the ribs for the
extraction of the heart and visceras, he is seen surrounded by his wife,
his sister NIC, his mother _Zoɔ_, and four children.

I will close these similes by mentioning that _Thoth_ was reputed the
preceptor of Isis; and said to be the inventor of letters, of the art of
reckoning, geometry, astronomy, and is represented in the hieroglyphs
under the form of a baboon (cynocephalus). He is one of the most ancient
divinities among the Egyptians. He had also the office of scribe in the
lower regions, where he was engaged in noting down the actions of the
dead, and presenting or reading them to Osiris. One of the modes of
writing his name in hieroglyphs, transcribed in our common letters,
reads _Nukta_; a word most appropriate and suggestive of his attributes,
since, according to the Maya language, it would signify to understand,
to perceive, _Nuctah_: while his name Thoth, maya[TN-34] _thot_ means to
scatter flowers; hence knowledge. In the temple of death at Uxmal, at
the foot of the grand staircase that led to the sanctuary, at the top of
which I found a sacrificial altar, there were six cynocephali in a
sitting posture, as Thoth is represented by the Egyptians. They were
placed three in a row each side of the stairs. Between them was a
platform where a skeleton, in a kneeling posture, used to be. To-day the
cynocephali have been removed. They are in one of the yard[TN-35] of the
principal house at the Hacienda of Uxmal. The statue representing the
kneeling skeleton lays, much defaced, where it stood when that ancient
city was in its glory.

In the mural paintings at Chichen-Itza, we again find the baboon
(Cynocephalus) warning Moó of impending danger. She is pictured in her
home, which is situated in the midst of a garden, and over which is seen
the royal insignia. A basket, painted blue, full of bright oranges, is
symbolical of her domestic happiness. She is sitting at the door. Before
her is an individual pictured physically deformed, to show the ugliness
of his character and by the flatness of his skull, want of moral
qualities, (the[TN-36] proving that the learned men of Mayab understood
phrenology). He is in an persuasive attitude; for he has come to try to
seduce her in the name of another. She rejects his offer: and, with her
extended hand, protects the armadillo, on whose shell the high priest
read her destiny when yet a child. In a tree, just above the head of the
man, is an ape. His hand is open and outstretched, both in a warning and
threatening position. A serpent (_can_), her protecting spirit, is seen
at a short distance coiled, ready to spring in her defense. Near by is
another serpent, entwined round the trunk of a tree. He has wounded
about the head another animal, that, with its mouth open, its tongue
protruding, looks at its enemy over its shoulder. Blood is seen oozing
from its tongue and face. This picture forcibly recalls to the mind the
myth of the garden of Eden. For here we have the garden, the fruit, the
woman, the tempter.

As to the charmed _leopard_ skin worn by the African warriors to render
them invulnerable to spears, it would seem as if the manner in which
Chaacmol met his death, by being stabbed with a spear, had been known
to their ancestors; and that they, in their superstitious fancies, had
imagined that by wearing his totem, it would save them from being
wounded with the same kind of weapon used in killing him. Let us not
laugh at such a singular conceit among uncivilized tribes, for it still
prevails in Europe. On many of the French and German soldiers, killed
during the last German war, were found talismans composed of strips of
paper, parchment or cloth, on which were written supposed cabalistic
words or the name of some saint, that the wearer firmly believed to be
possessed of the power of making him invulnerable.

I am acquainted with many people--and not ignorant--who believe that by
wearing on their persons rosaries, made in Jerusalem and blessed by the
Pope, they enjoy immunity from thunderbolts, plagues, epidemics and
other misfortunes to which human flesh is heir.

That the Mayas were a race autochthon on this western continent and did
not receive their civilization from Asia or Africa, seems a rational
conclusion, to be deduced from the foregoing FACTS. If we had nothing
but their _name_ to prove it, it should be sufficient, since its
etymology is only to be found in the American Maya language.

They cannot be said to have been natives of Hindostan; since we are told
that, in very remote ages, _Maya_, a prince of the Davanas, established
himself there. We do not find the etymology of his name in any book
where mention is made of it. We are merely told that he was a wise
magician, a great architect, a learned astronomer, a powerful Asoura
(demon), thirsting for battles and bloodshed: or, according to the
Sanscrit, a Goddess, the mother of all beings that exist--gods and men.

Very little is known of the Mayas of Afghanistan, except that they call
themselves _Mayas_, and that the names of their tribes and cities are
words belonging to the American Maya language.

Who can give the etymology of the name _Magi_, the learned men amongst
the Chaldees. We only know that its meaning is the same as _Maya_ in
Hindostan: magician, astronomer, learned man. If we come to Greece,
where we find again the name _Maia_, it is mentioned as that of a
goddess, as in Hindostan, the mother of the gods: only we are told that
she was the daughter of Atlantis--born of Atlantis. But if we come to
the lands beyond the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, then we find a
country called MAYAB, on account of the porosity of its soil; that, as a
sieve (_Mayab_), absorbs the water in an incredibly short time. Its
inhabitants took its name from that of the country, and called
themselves _Mayas_. It is a fact worthy of notice, that in their
hieroglyphic writings the sign employed by the Egyptians to signify a
_Lord_, a _Master_, was the image of a sieve. Would not this seem to
indicate that the western invaders who subdued the primitive inhabitants
of the valley of the Nile, and became the lords and masters of the land,
were people from MAYAB; particularly if we consider that the usual
character used to write the name of Egypt was the sieve, together with
the sign of land?

We know that the _Mayas_ deified and paid divine honors to their eminent
men and women after their death. This worship of their heroes they
undoubtedly carried, with other customs, to the countries where they
emigrated; and, in due course of time, established it among their
inhabitants, who came to forget that MAYAB was a locality, converted it
in to a personalty: and as some of their gods came from it, Maya was
considered as the _Mother of the Gods_, as we see in Hindostan and

It would seem probable that the Mayas did not receive their civilization
from the inhabitants of the Asiatic peninsulas, for the religious lores
and customs they have in common are too few to justify this assertion.
They would simply tend to prove that relations had existed between them
at some epoch or other; and had interchanged some of their habits and
beliefs as it happens, between the civilized nations of our days. This
appears to be the true side of the question; for in the figures
sculptured on the obelisks of Copan the Asiatic type is plainly
discernible; whilst the features of the statues that adorn the
celebrated temples of Hindostan are, beyond all doubts, American.

The FACTS gathered from the monuments do not sustain the theory advanced
by many, that the inhabitants of tropical America received their
civilization from Egypt and Asia Minor. On the contrary. It is true that
I have shown that many of the customs and attainments of the Egyptians
were identical to those of the Mayas; but these had many religious rites
and habits unknown to the Egyptians; who, as we know, always pointed
towards the West as the birthplaces of their ancestors, and worshiped as
gods and goddesses personages who had lived, and whose remains are still
in MAYAB. Besides, the monuments themselves prove the respective
antiquity of the two nations.

According to the best authorities the most ancient monuments raised by
the Egyptians do not date further back than about 2,500 years B. C.
Well, in Aké, a city about twenty-five miles from Merida, there exists
still a monument sustaining thirty-six columns of _katuns_. Each of
these columns indicate a lapse of one hundred and sixty years in the
life of the nation. They then would show that 5,760 years has intervened
between the time when the first stone was placed on the east corner of
the uppermost of the three immense superposed platforms that compose the
structure, and the placing of the last capping stone on the top of the
thirty-sixth column. How long did that event occur before the Spanish
conquest it is impossible to surmise. Supposing, however, it did take
place at that time; this would give us a lapse of at least 6,100 years
since, among the rejoicings of the people this sacred monument being
finished, the first stone that was to serve as record of the age of the
nation, was laid by the high priest, where we see it to-day. I will
remark that the name AKÉ is one of the Egyptians’ divinities, the third
person of the triad of Esneh; always represented as a child, holding his
finger to his mouth. AKÉ also means a _reed_. To-day the meaning of the
word is lost in Yucatan.

Cogolludo, in his history of Yucatan, speaking of the manner in which
they computed time, says:

“They counted their ages and eras, which they inscribed in their books
every twenty years, in lustrums of four years. * * * When five of these
lustrums were completed, they called the lapse of twenty years _katun_,
which means to place a stone down upon another. * * * In certain sacred
buildings and in the houses of the priests every twenty years they place
a hewn stone upon those already there. When seven of these stones have
thus been piled one over the other began the _Ahau katun_. Then after
the first lustrum of four years they placed a small stone on the top of
the big one, commencing at the east corner; then after four years more
they placed another small stone on the west corner; then the next at the
north; and the fourth at the south. At the end of the twenty years they
put a big stone on the top of the small ones: and the column, thus
finished, indicated a lapse of one hundred and sixty years.”

There are other methods for determining the approximate age of the
monuments of Mayab:

1st. By means of their actual orientation; starting from the _fact_ that
their builders always placed either the faces or angles of the edifices
fronting the cardinal points.

2d. By determining the epoch when the mastodon became extinct. For,
since _Can_ or his ancestors adopted the head of that animal as symbol
of deity, it is evident they must have known it; hence, must have been
contemporary with it.

3d. By determining when, through some great cataclysm, the lands became
separated, and all communications between the inhabitants of _Mayab_ and
their colonies were consequently interrupted. If we are to credit what
Psenophis and Sonchis, priests of Heliopolis and Saïs, said to Solon
“that nine thousand years before, the visit to them of the Athenian
legislator, in consequence of great earthquakes and inundations, the
lands of the West disappeared in one day and a fatal night,” then we may
be able to form an idea of the antiquity of the ruined cities of America
and their builders.

Reader, I have brought before you, without comments, some of the FACTS,
that after ten years of research, the paintings on the walls of
_Chaacmol’s_ funeral chamber, the sculptured inscriptions carved on the
stones of the crumbling monuments of Yucatan, and a comparative study of
the vernacular of the aborigines of that country, have revealed to us. I
have no theory to offer. Many years of further patient investigations,
the full interpretation of the monumental inscriptions, and, above all,
the possession of the libraries of the learned men of _Mayab_, are the
_sine qua non_ to form an uncontrovertible one, free from the
speculations which invalidate all books published on the subject

If by reading these pages you have learned something new, your time has
not been lost; nor mine in writing them.

Transcriber’s Note

The following typographical errors have been maintained:

       Page Error
  TN-1   7  precipituous should read precipitous
  TN-2  17  maya should read Maya
  TN-3  20  Egpptian should read Egyptian
  TN-4  23  _Moo_ should read _Moó_
  TN-5  23  Guetzalcoalt should read Quetzalcoatl
  TN-6  26  ethonologists should read ethnologists
  TN-7  26  what he said should read what he said.
  TN-8  26  absorbant should read absorbent
  TN-9  28  lazuri: should read lazuli:
  TN-10 28  (Strange should read Strange
  TN-11 28  Chichsen should read Chichen
  TN-12 28  Moó should read Moó,
  TN-13 32  Birmah should read Burmah
  TN-14 32  Siameeses. should read Siameses.
  TN-15 33  maya should read Maya
  TN-16 34  valleys should read valleys,
  TN-17 35  even to-day should read even to-day.
  TN-18 38  inthe should read in the
  TN-19 38  Bresseur should read Brasseur
  TN-20 49  (maya) should read (Maya)
  TN-21 51  epoch should read epochs
  TN-22 52  Wishnu, should read Vishnu,
  TN-23 58  his art, should read his art.
  TN-24 59  _Mó_, should read _Moó_,
  TN-25 62  Mayas should read Mayas'
  TN-26 63  as symbol should read as a symbol
  TN-27 66  e. g should read e. g.
  TN-28 68  _Kukulean_ should read _Kukulcan_
  TN-29 69  DuChaillu should read Du Chaillu
  TN-30 72  death frequently occur; should read death frequently occurs;
            or deaths frequently occur;
  TN-31 72  is is should read it is
  TN-32 73  beats should read beat
  TN-33 80  _Nicte_ should read _Nicté_
  TN-34 80  maya should read Maya
  TN-35 81  yard should read yards
  TN-36 81  qualities, (the should read qualities (thus

The following words are inconsistently spelled and hyphenated:

  Aac / Aak
  Aké / Ake
  birth-place / birthplace
  façade / facade
  Há / Ha
  Hapimú / Hapimu
  Hemâ / Hema
  Kinich-Kakmó / Kinich-kakmo
  Ná / Na
  Rab-mag / Rabmag

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Vestiges of the Mayas - or, Facts Tending to Prove that Communications and Intimate - Relations Must Have Existed, in very Remote Times, Between - the Inhabitants of Mayab and Those of Asia and Africa" ***

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