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Title: Essays of an Americanist - I. Ethnologic and Archæologic. II. Mythology and Folk Lore. - III. Graphic Systems and Literature. IV. Linguistic.
Author: Brinton, Daniel G. (Daniel Garrison)
Language: English
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                       Essays of an Americanist.

                    I. ETHNOLOGIC AND ARCHÆOLOGIC.
                   II. MYTHOLOGY AND FOLK LORE.
                   IV. LINGUISTIC.

                     DANIEL G. BRINTON. A. M., M. D.,

                       HISTORIA, MADRID, ETC., ETC.

                             PORTER & COATES.

                           BY D. G. BRINTON.



The word “Essays” appears on the title of this book in the sense in
which old Montaigne employed it—attempts, endeavors. The articles which
make up the volume have been collected from many scattered sources, to
which I have from time to time contributed them, for the definite
purpose of endeavoring to vindicate certain opinions about debated
subjects concerning the ancient population of the American continent.

In a number of points, as for example in the antiquity of man upon this
continent, in the specific distinction of an American race, in the
generic similarity of its languages, in recognizing its mythology as
often abstract and symbolic, in the phonetic character of some of its
graphic methods, in believing that its tribes possessed considerable
poetic feeling, in maintaining the absolute autochthony of their
culture—in these and in many other points referred to in the following
pages I am at variance with most modern anthropologists; and these
essays are to show more fully and connectedly than could their separate
publication, what are my grounds for such opinions.

There is a prevailing tendency among ethnologists of to-day to underrate
the psychology of savage life. This error arises partly from an
unwillingness to go beyond merely physical investigations, partly from
judging of the ancient condition of a tribe by that of its modern and
degenerate representatives, partly from inability to speak its tongue
and to gain the real sense of its expressions, partly from preconceived
theories as to what a savage might be expected to know and feel. As
against this error I have essayed to show that among very rude tribes we
find sentiments of a high character, proving a mental nature of
excellent capacity in certain directions.

Several of the Essays have not previously appeared in print, and others
have been substantially re-written, so as to bring them up to the latest
researches in their special fields. Nevertheless, the reader will find a
certain amount of repetition in several of them, a defect which I hope
is compensated by the greater clearness which this repetition gives to
the special subject discussed.

_Philadelphia, February, 1890._



 PREFACE                                                         iii, iv

 TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                 v-xii

                                 PART I.

                       ETHNOLOGIC AND ARCHÆOLOGIC.

 INTRODUCTORY                                                      17–19

   CHRONOLOGY OF AMERICA                                           20–47

     Classification of Data. I. _Legendary_: of northern tribes;
     of Peruvians, Mexicans and Mayas; limited range. II.
     _Monumental_: pueblos of New Mexico; stone and brick
     structures of Mexico, Central America and Peru; ruins of
     Tiahuanaco; artificial shell heaps; the _sambaquis_ of
     Brazil. III. _Industrial_: palæolithic implements; early
     polished stone implements; dissemination of cultivated food
     plants. IV. _Linguistic_: multitude and extension of
     linguistic stocks; tenacity of linguistic form;
     similarities of internal form; study of internal form. V.
     _Physical_: racial classifications; traits of the American
     type; permanence of the type. VI. _Geologic_: date of the
     glacial epochs in North and South America; the earliest
     Americans immigrants; lines of migrations. Importance of
     archæological studies.

 ON PALÆOLITHS, AMERICAN AND OTHER                                 48–55

     The cutting instrument as the standard of culture; the
     three “Ages” of Stone, Bronze and Iron; subdivisions of the
     Age of Stone into Palæolithic and Neolithic; a true
     “Palæolith”; subdivision of the Palæolithic period into the
     epochs of “simple” and “compound” implements; palæolithic
     finds along the Delaware river; the glacial period in
     America; earliest appearance of man in America.


     A practical question; Cuvier’s triple division of the human
     species; alleged Mongolian affinities in language; supposed
     affinities in culture; imagined physical resemblances, as
     color, cranial analogies, the oblique or “Mongoloid” eye,
     etc. Insufficiency of all these.


     Who were the “Mound-builders”? Known tribes as constructors
     of mounds, the Iroquois, Algonkins, Cherokees and
     Chahta-Muskoki family. Descriptions from De Soto’s
     expedition; from Huguenots in Florida; from French writers
     on Louisiana; great size of the southern mounds; probable
     builders of Ohio mounds.

 THE TOLTECS AND THEIR FABULOUS EMPIRE                            83–100

     Statement of the question; the current opinion; the adverse
     opinion; Tula as an historic site; the Serpent-Hill; the
     Aztec legends about Tula; date of the desertion of Tula;
     meaning of the name Tula or Tollan; the mythical cyclus of
     Tula; birth of Huitzilopochtli; myth of Quetzalcoatl at
     Tula; his subjects, the Toltecs; purely fabulous narratives
     concerning them.

                                PART II.

                        MYTHOLOGY AND FOLK-LORE.

 INTRODUCTORY                                                    101–103

 THE SACRED NAMES IN QUICHE MYTHOLOGY                            104–129

     The Quiches of Guatemala, and their relationship; sources
     of information. Their Sacred Book, the _Popol Vuh_; its
     opening words; The name Hun-Ahpu-Vuch, the God of Light;
     Hun-Ahpu-Utiu; Nim-ak, the Great Hog; Nim-tzyiz; Tepeu;
     Gucumatz; Qux-cho and Qux-palo; Ah-raxa-lak and
     Ah-raxa-sel; Xpiyacoc and Xmucane, the primal pair;
     Cakulha; Huracan and Cabrakan; Chirakan, the god of the
     Storm and the Earthquake; Xbalanque and his journey to
     Xibalba, or the Descent into Hell.


     Micmac story of Gluskap, the Liar; the Cree god, the
     Deceiver; Michabo and his tricks; psychological
     significance of such stories.

 THE JOURNEY OF THE SOUL                                         135–147

     General belief in a soul; Egyptian theory of its fate; it
     sinks and rises with the sun; invocation to Osiris; symbols
     of the river, the boat, the dog, and the sacred numbers;
     recurrence of these symbols in Greek, Vedantic and Norse
     beliefs; the Aztec account of the soul’s journey to
     Paradise. Origin of these symbolic narratives from the
     apparent daily course of the Sun.

 THE SACRED SYMBOLS IN AMERICA                                   148–162

     The four symbols of the Ta Ki, the Triskeles, the Svastika
     and the Cross; the prevalence of the Triskeles in the Old
     World; the meaning of the Ta Ki in Chinese philosophy; the
     Yin and Yang; the Svastika; origin illustrated from n
     picture-writing; the Copan stone; the earth-plain; the
     wheel-cross; winter-counts and year cycles; time-wheels and
     sun-motions; the Four Ages and Tree of Life.

 THE FOLK-LORE OF YUCATAN                                        163–180

     Mental activity of the Mayas; the diviners; the “field
     mass”; invocation to the rain-gods; fire-worship;
     prognostics; transformations of sorcerers; nagualism; a
     Maya witch story; the Balams; the Man of the Woods; stories
     of dwarfs and imps; female deceivers; fabulous birds and

 FOLK-LORE OF THE MODERN LENAPE                                  181–192

     Source of information; reminiscences of the tribe;
     Messianic hopes; relics of the Stone Age; methods of
     hunting and fishing; utensils, boats and houses; the native
     games; the sweat-lodge; their canticos, and the derivation
     of the term; medical knowledge; cure for rattlesnake bites;
     native trephining; position of the Lenâpé as
     “grandfathers”; wampum belts; totemic divisions;
     peculiarities of the dialect; Lenâpé grammar.

                                PART III.


 INTRODUCTORY                                                    193–194

   MEXICANS                                                      195–212

     Material for the study; were the native hieroglyphs
     phonetic? Character and arrangement of phonetic symbols;
     the failure of Landa’s alphabet; phonetic signs in Maya
     MSS.; hieroglyph of the firmament; phonetic terminals;
     signs of cardinal points; Mexican phonetic elements;
     principle of the rebus; examples; the ikonomatic system.

 THE IKONOMATIC METHOD OF PHONETIC WRITING                       213–229

     Thought-Writing and Sound-Writing; the ikonomatic method
     explained; illustrations from Egyptian inscriptions; from
     the canting arms in heraldry; from the Mexican
     picture-writing; values of position and colors;
     determinatives and ideograms in Aztec MSS.; further
     illustrations from Maya hieroglyphs; Chipeway pictography.


     1. Introductory—Phoneticism in Maya and Aztec writing. 2.
     Descriptions by Spanish writers; by Peter Martyr; by Las
     Casas; by Alonso Ponce; by Lizana; by Aguilar; by Buena
     Ventura; by Cogolludo; by Soto-Mayor; by Landa; facsimile
     of Landa’s alphabet; critiques on it; conclusions. 3.
     References from native sources; Maya words for “writing,”
     “book,” “calendar,” etc.; a prophecy of Ahkul Chel
     translated. 4. The existing Codices; the Dresden Codex; the
     Codex Peresianus; the Codex Troano; the Codex Cortesianus;
     the mural paintings and inscriptions.

 THE BOOKS OF CHILAN BALAM                                       255–273

     High civilization of ancient Mayas; destruction of their
     literature; modern Books of Chilan Balam; signification of
     this name; contents of the Books; specimen of the
     prophecies; linguistic value; opinion of Pio Perez; length
     of the Maya year-cycles; hieroglyphs of the months and
     days; the 13 _ahau katuns_; medical contents of the books.

 ON THE “STONE OF THE GIANTS.”                                   274–283

     Location of the Stone near Orizaba; its figures; refer to a
     date in February, 1502; translation of the hieroglyphs, and
     identification of the date as that of the death of the
     Emperor Ahuitzotzin; the stone a sepulchral tablet.

 NATIVE AMERICAN POETRY                                          284–304

     Nature of poetry; principle of repetition; Eskimo nith
     songs; other Eskimo songs; a Pawnee song; Kioway love
     songs; a Chipeway serenade; Aztec love songs; war-songs of
     the Otomis; of the Aztecs; of the Qquichuas; prophetic
     chants of the Mayas. Faculty of poetry universal.

                                PART IV.


 INTRODUCTORY                                                    305–307


     Indian geographic names; language a guide to ethnology;
     reveals the growth of arts and the psychologic processes of
     a people; illustration from the Lenâpé tongue; structure of
     language best studied in savage tongues; rank of American
     tongues; characteristic traits; pronominal forms; idea of
     personality; polysynthesis; incorporation; holophrasis;
     origin of these; lucidity of American tongues; their
     vocabularies; power of expressing abstract ideas;


     What led Humboldt toward the American tongues; progress of
     his studies; fundamental doctrine of his philosophy of
     language; his theory of the evolution of languages; opinion
     on American languages; his criterion of the relative
     perfection of languages; not abundance of forms, nor verbal
     richness; American tongues not degenerations; Humboldt’s
     classification of languages; psychological origin of
     Incorporation in language; its shortcomings; in simple
     sentences; in compound sentences; absence of true formal
     elements; the nature of the American verb.


     Study of the human species on the geographic system; have
     American languages any common trait? Duponceau’s theory of
     polysynthesis; Humboldt on Polysynthesis and Incorporation;
     Francis Lieber on Holophrasis; Prof. Steinthal on the
     incorporative plan; Lucien Adam’s criticism of it; Prof.
     Müller’s inadequate statement; Major Powell’s omission to
     consider it; definitions of polysynthesis, incorporation
     and holophrasis; illustrations; critical application of the
     theory to the Othomi language; to the Bri-bri language; to
     the Tupi-Guarani dialects; to the Mutsun; conclusions;
     addendum; critique by M. Adam on this essay.

   TONGUES                                                       390–409

     The _Homo alalus_ or speechless man, a romance; linguistic
     stocks; the phonetic elements significant; examples; but
     not of same significance in different stocks; notion of
     _self_ and _other_; pronouns a late development;
     alternating consonants and permutable vowels; examples;
     phoneticism inadequate; difficulties thus created;
     counter-sense in language; notion of Being and Not-Being;
     incorporation; sentence-words; no dependent clauses; no
     tenses; no adjectives; no numerals; notion of Animate and
     Inanimate; classificatory particles; primitive man a


     Significance of love-words; various origins. I. Algonkin
     love-words; various senses; highest forms. II. Nahuatl
     love-words; poverty of the tongue; made up by terminations;
     words for friendship. III. Maya love-words; singular
     derivations; the Huasteca dialect; the Cakchiquel dialect;
     comparisons. IV. Qquichua love-words; abundant; various
     meanings. V. Tupi-Guarani love-words; meaning of.

   CENTRAL AMERICA                                               433–451

     Metrical standards a criterion of progress; those of the
     Mayas; of the Cakchiquels; of the Mexicans or Aztecs; of
     the Mound-Builders of Ohio. Conclusions.

 THE CURIOUS HOAX OF THE TAENSA LANGUAGE                         452–467

     How it began; the deception exposed; absurdities of the
     invention; a wonderful calendar; a yet more wonderful
     marriage-song; a second Psalmanazar; rejoinder of the
     editor; reply to that; final verdict.

 INDEX OF AUTHORS AND AUTHORITIES                                469–474

 INDEX OF SUBJECTS                                               475–489

                                PART I.

                      ETHNOLOGIC AND ARCHÆOLOGIC.


Ever since America was discovered, the question about it which has
excited the most general interest has been, Whence came its inhabitants?
The inquiry, Who are the American Indians? has been the theme of many a
ponderous folio and labored dissertation, with answers nearly as various
as the number of debaters.

Few or none of them have reflected on the unphilosophical character of
the inquiry as thus crudely put. Take a precisely analogous question,
and this will be apparent—Whence came the African Negroes? All will
reply—From Africa, of course. Originally? Yes, originally; they
constitute the African or Negro sub-species of Man.

The answer in the case of the American Indians is entirely
parallel—their origin is American; the racial type was created and fixed
on the American continent; they constitute as true and distinct a
sub-species as do the African or the White Race.

Each of the great continental areas moulded the plastic, primitive man
into a conformation of body and mind peculiar to itself, in some special
harmony with its own geographic features, thus producing a race or
sub-species, subtly correlated in a thousand ways to its environment,
but never forfeiting its claim to humanity, never failing in its
parallel and progressive development with all other varieties of the

America was no exception to this rule, and it is time to dismiss as
trivial all attempts to connect the American race genealogically with
any other, or to trace the typical culture of this continent to the
historic forms of the Old World. My early studies inclined me to these
opinions, and they have been constantly strengthened by further
research. Yet they are not popularly accepted; the very latest writer of
competence on the pre-history of America says, “It is now generally held
that the earliest population (of the continent) was intruded upon by
other races, coming either from Asia or from the Pacific Islands, from
whom were descended the various tribes which have occupied the soil down
to the present time.”[1]

It is true that this opinion is that generally held, and for this reason
I have selected for reprinting some articles intended to show that it is
utterly fallacious—devoid of any respectable foundation.

The first two papers treat of the archæologic material, and its value
for ascertaining the pre-historic life of the American race; the third,
on its pretended affinities to Asiatic peoples. These are followed by
two papers respectively on the Toltecs and Mound-Builders, setting
aright, I hope, the position of these semi-mythical shapes in the
culture-history of North America, maintaining that for neither do we
have to call in as explanation migrations from Asia, Europe, Oceanica or
Africa, as has so often been attempted.


Early in this century the doubt was expressed by Alexander von
Humboldt[3] whether it is philosophical to inquire into the origin of
any of the human races or sub-species. Although he expressed this doubt
with particular reference to the American race, I believe I am right in
assuming that the hesitancy he felt in pushing inquiry so far should now
diminish in view of new methods of research and a wider range of
observations. We may not, in fact we shall not, be able to trace the
American or any other sub-species directly back to its origin in place
or time; but by reviewing all the data which have been offered in
solution of such a problem, we may perceptibly narrow the question, and
also estimate the relative value of the means proposed. It is to such a
review, applied to the American race, that I now invite your attention.

The data upon which theories of the antiquity, the genealogy and the
affinities of this race have been constructed are varied. For
convenience of treatment I shall class them under six heads. They are:

I. _Legendary_, including the traditions of the native tribes and their
own statements of their history.

II. _Monumental_, where we have to do with those structures whose age or
character seems to throw light on the question.

III. _Industrial_, under which heading we may inquire as to the origin
of both the useful and the decorative arts in the New World.

IV. _Linguistic_, broaching the immense and important questions as to
the diversity and affinities of languages.

V. _Physical_, which takes into consideration the anatomic and
morphologic peculiarities of the American race; and finally,

VI. _Geologic_, where its position in the geologic horizons is to be
determined, and the influence upon it of the physical geography of the

_Legendary._ Turning to the first of these, the legendary data, I
confess to a feeling of surprise that learned scholars should still hold
to the opinion that the native tribes, even some of the most savage of
them, retain to this day traditions which they had brought from their
supposed Asiatic homes. Thus the missionaries, Bishop Henry Faraud and
the Abbé Emile Petitot, both entirely familiar with the Cree and the
Athapaskan languages and lore, insist that the myths and legends of
these tribes bear such strong resemblances to the Semitic traditions
that both must have had a common origin.[4] No one can deny the
resemblance; but the scientific student of mythology discovers such
identities too frequently, and at points too remote, to ask any other
explanation for them than the common nature of the human mind.

The question has been often raised how long a savage tribe, ignorant of
writing, is likely to retain the memory of past deeds. From a great many
examples in America and elsewhere, it is probable that the lapse of five
generations, or say two centuries, completely obliterates all
recollection of historic occurrences. Of course, there are certain
events of continuous influence which may be retained in memory
longer—for example, the federation of prominent tribes; and perhaps a
genealogy may run back farther. My friend, Dr. Franz Boas, informs me
that some tribes on Vancouver’s Island pretend to preserve their
genealogies for twelve or fifteen generations back; but he adds that the
remoter names are clearly of mythical purport.

It appears obvious that all efforts to establish a pre-historic
chronology by means of the legends of savage tribes, are and must be

The case is not much better with those semi-civilized American nations,
the Mayas and Nahuas, who possessed a partially phonetic alphabet, or
with the Quichuas, who preserved their records by the ingenious device
of the quipu. Manco Capac, the alleged founder of the Peruvian state,
floats before us as a vague and mythical figure, though he is placed in
time not earlier than the date when Leif, the son of Erik, anchored his
war-ship on the Nova Scotian coast.[5] Historians are agreed that the
long lists of Incas in the pages of Montesinos, extending about two
thousand years anterior to the Conquest, are spurious, due to the
imagination or the easy credulity of that writer.

The annals of Mexico fare no better before the fire of criticism. It is
extremely doubtful that their earliest reminiscences refer to any event
outside the narrow valley parcelled out between the petty states of
Tenochtitlan, Tezcuco, and Tlacopan.[6] The only fact that bears out the
long and mysterious journey from the land of the Seven Caves,
Chicomoztoc, in the distant northwest, by the great water, is that the
learned and indefatigable Buschmann has conclusively shown that the four
languages of Sonora and all the dialects of the Shoshonian family reveal
marks of continued and deep impressions of the Nahuatl tongue.[7] But
the chronicles of Mexico proper contain no fixed date prior to that of
the founding of the city of Tenochtitlan, in the year 1325 of our era.

I am aware that there are still some writers who maintain that both the
Mexican and the Maya astronomic cycles assume a commencement for their
records centuries, even thousands of years, before the beginning of our
era. These opinions, however, have not obtained the assent of other
students. We are too ignorant both of the astronomy and the methods of
writing of these nations to admit such claims; and the facts advanced
are capable of quite other interpretation.

It is, on the whole, rare for the American tribes to declare themselves
autochthonous. The Mayas, on the peninsula of Yucatan, stated that their
earliest ancestors came there from beyond the seas, some from the far
east, others from the west. So the Toltecs, under Quetzalcoatl, were
fabled to have entered Mexico from beyond the Eastern Ocean. The Creeks
and Choctaws pointed to the west, the Algonkins generally to the east,
as their primal home.[8] These legends are chiefly mythical, not much
truer than those of other tribes who claimed to have climbed up from
some under-world. Sifting them all, we shall find in them little to
enlighten us as to the pre-historic chronology of the tribes, though
they may furnish interesting vistas in comparative mythology.

That in which we may expect the legends of tribes to be of most avail is
their later history, the record of their wars, migrations and social
development within a few generations. The spirit of the uncivilized man
is, however, very careless of the past. We have means of testing the
exactness of such traditions in some instances, and the result is rarely
such as to inspire confidence in verbal records. Those of you who were
present at the last meeting will remember how diversely two able
students of Iroquois tradition estimated its value. Even when remarkable
events are not forgotten, the dates of their occurrence are generally
vague. The inference, therefore, is that very few data, dependent on
legendary evidence alone, can be accepted.

_Monumental._ When we turn to the monumental data, to the architecture
and structural relics of the ancient Americans, we naturally think first
of the imposing stone-built fortresses of Peru, the massive pyramids and
temples of Yucatan and Mexico, and the vast brick-piles of the Pueblo

It is doubtful if any of these notable monuments supply pre-historic
dates of excessive antiquity. The pueblos, both those now occupied and
the vastly greater number whose ruins lie scattered over the valleys and
mesas of New Mexico and Arizona, were constructed by the ancestors of
the tribes who still inhabit that region, and this at no distant day.
Though we cannot assign exact dates to the development of this peculiar
civilization, there are abundant reasons, drawn from language, physical
geography and the character of the architecture, to include all these
structures within the period since the commencement of our era.[9]

There is every reason to suppose that the same is true of all the stone
and brick edifices of Mexico and Central America. The majority of them
were occupied at the period of the Conquest; others were in process of
building; and of others the record of the date of their construction was
clearly in memory and was not distant. Thus, the famous temple of
Huitzilopochtli at Tenochtitlan, and the spacious palace—or, if you
prefer the word, “communal house”—of the ruler of Tezcuco, had been
completed within the lifetime of many who met the Spaniards. To be sure,
even then there were once famous cities fallen to ruin and sunk to
oblivion in the tropical forests. Such was Palenque, which could not
have failed to attract the attention of Cortes had it been inhabited.
Such also was T’Ho, on the site of the present city of Mérida, Yucatan,
where the earliest explorers found lofty stone mounds and temples
covered with a forest as heavy as the primitive growth around it.[10]
But tradition and the present condition of such of these old cities as
have been examined, unite in the probability that they do not antedate
the Conquest more than a few centuries.

In the opinion of some observers, the enigmatical ruins on the plain of
Tiahuanaco, a few leagues from the shore of Lake Titicaca, in Peru,
carry us far, very far, beyond any such modern date. “Even the memory of
their builders,” says one of the more recent visitors to these
marvellous relics, General Bartolomé Mitre, “even their memory was lost
thousands of years before the discovery of America.”[11]

Such a statement is neither more nor less than a confession of
ignorance. We have not discovered the period nor the people concerned in
the ruins of Tiahuanaco. It must be remembered that they are not the
remains of a populous city, but merely the foundations and beginnings of
some vast religious edifice which was left incomplete, probably owing to
the death of the projector or to unforeseen difficulties. If this is
borne in mind, much of the obscurity about the origin, the purpose and
the position of these structures will be removed. They do not justify a
claim to an age of thousands of years before the Conquest; hundreds will
suffice. Nor is it necessary to assent to the opinion advanced by
General Mitre, and supported by some other archæologists, that the most
ancient monuments in America are those of most perfect construction,
and, therefore, that in this continent there has been, in civilization,
not progress but failure, not advance but retrogression.

The uncertainty which rests over the age of the structures at Tiahuanaco
is scarcely greater than that which still shrouds the origin of the
mounds and earthworks of the Ohio and Upper Mississippi valleys. Yet I
venture to say that the opinion is steadily gaining ground that these
interesting memorials of vanished nations are not older than the
mediæval period of European history. The condition of the arts which
they reveal indicates a date that we must place among the more recent in
American chronology. The simple fact that tobacco and maize were
cultivated plants is evidence enough for this.[12]

There is, however, a class of monuments of much greater antiquity than
any I have mentioned. These are the artificial shell-heaps which are
found along the shores of both oceans and of many rivers in both North
and South America. They correspond to the kitchen-middens of European

In several parts of the continent they have been examined by competent
observers and the question of their date approximately ascertained. I
need not say this differs widely, for these refuse heaps of ancient
villages or stations were of course begun at wide intervals.

Long ago I called attention to the singular size and antiquity of those
I found in Florida and along the Tennessee River;[13] and the later
researches of Professor Jeffries Wyman would, in his opinion, measure
the age of some of the former by tens of thousands of years.[14]

Further to the south, in Costa Rica, Dr. Earl Flint has examined the
extensive artificial shell deposits which are found along the shores of
that republic. They are many feet in height, covered by a dense forest
of primeval appearance, and are undoubtedly of human origin.

In Brazil such shell-heaps are called _sambaquis_, and they are of
frequent occurrence along the bays and inlets of the coast. Some of them
are of extraordinary dimensions, rising occasionally to more than a
hundred feet in height. The lower layers have been consolidated into a
firm, stony breccia of shells and bones, while the surface stratum, from
six to ten feet thick, is composed of sand and vegetable loam supporting
a growth of the largest trees. Yet even the lowest layers of this
breccia, or shell-conglomerate, yield tokens of human industry, as stone
axes, flint arrow-heads, chisels, and fragments of very rude pottery, as
well as human bones, sometimes split to extract the marrow. The shells
are by no means all of modern type. Many are of species now wholly
extinct, or extinct in the locality. This fact alone carries us back to
an antiquity which probably should be counted by thousands of years
before our era.

At that remote period not only did a fishing and hunting race dwell
along the Brazilian coast, but this race was fairly advanced on the path
to culture; it was acquainted with pottery, with compound implements,
and with the polishing of stone. We further know that this race was not
that which occupied the land when the whites discovered it; for the
human skulls disinterred from the sambaquis are, craniologically, almost
diametrically opposite those of the Botocudos and the Tupis. Yet if we
can trust the researches of Dr. Lund in the caverns of Brazil, the
oldest skulls in these deposits, found in immediate connection with the
bones of extinct mammalia, belonged to the ancestors of these tribes.
Markedly dolichocephalic, they present an entire contrast to the
brachycephalic type from the sambaquis.[15]

This class of monuments, therefore, supply us data which prove man’s
existence in America in what some call the “diluvial,” others the
“quaternary,” and others again the “pleistocene” epoch—that
characterized by the presence of some extinct species.

_Industrial._ Let us now turn to the industrial activity of the American
race, and see whether it will furnish us other data concerning the
pre-historic life of the New World. We may reasonably look in this
direction for aid, since it is now universally conceded that at no time
did man spring into being fully armed and equipped for the struggle for
existence, but everywhere followed the same path of painful effort from
absolute ignorance and utter feebleness to knowledge and power. At
first, his only weapons or tools were such as he possessed in common
with the anthropoid apes: to wit, an unshapen stone and a broken stick.
Little by little, he learned to fit his stone to his hand and to chip it
to an edge, and with this he could sharpen the end of his stick, thus
providing himself with a spear and an axe.

It was long before he learned to shape and adjust the stone to the end
of the stick, and to hurl this by means of a cord attached to a second
and elastic stick—in other words, a bow; still longer before he
discovered the art of fashioning clay into vessels and of polishing and
boring stones. These simple arts are landmarks in the progress of the
race: the latter divides the history of culture into the palæolithic or
rough stone period, and the neolithic or polished stone period; while
the shaping of a stone for attachment to a handle or shaft marks the
difference between the epoch of compound implements and the earlier
epoch of simple implements, both included in the older or palæolithic
age.[16] With these principles as guides, we may ask how far back on
this scale do the industrial relics in America carry us?

I have spoken of the great antiquity of some of the American
shell-heaps, how they carry us back to the diluvial epoch, and that of
numerous extinct species. Yet it is generally true that in the oldest
hitherto examined in Brazil, Guiana, Costa Rica and Florida, fragments
of pottery, of polished stone, and compound implements, occur even in
the lowest strata.[17] Venerable though they are, they supply no date
older than what in Europe we should call the neolithic period. The
arrow-heads which have been exhumed from the loess of the ancient
lake-beds of Nebraska, the net-sinkers and celts which have been
recovered from the auriferous gravels of California, prove by their form
and finish that the tribes who fashioned them had already taken long
strides beyond the culture of the earlier palæolithic age. The same is
true, though in a less degree, of the chipped stones and bones which
Ameghino exhumed from the lacrustine deposits of the Pampas, although he
proves that these relics were the products of tribes contemporary with
the extinct glyptodon and mylodon, as well as the fossil horse and dog.
In the very oldest station which he examined, there appears to have been
found a quartz arrow-head; yet he argues that this station dated from
the pliocene division of the tertiary, long anterior to the austral
glacial epoch.[18] This leaves another such open conflict between
geology and the history of culture, as Professor Rau has already pointed
out as existing in Californian archæology.

There is, however, one station in America which has furnished an ample
line of specimens, and among them not one, so far as I know, indicating
a knowledge of compound implements. This is that of the “Trenton
gravels,” New Jersey. There we appear to be in face of a stage of
culture as primitive as that of the stations of Chelles and St. Acheul
in France, absolutely without pottery, without polished stone, without
compound implements.[19]

Assuming that these post-glacial gravels about Trenton supply one of the
earliest authentic starting points in the history of culture on this
continent, the later developments of industry will furnish a number of
other data. This first date was long before the extinction of the native
American horse, the elephant, the mammoth, and other animals important
to early man. There is nothing unlikely therefore in the reported
discoveries of his pointed flints or his bones in place along with the
remains of these quadrupeds.

Not only the form but the material of implements supplies us data. If
man in his earliest stage was, as some maintain, quite migratory, it is
certain that he did not carry his stone implements with him, nor did he
obtain by barter or capture those of other tribes. All the oldest
implements are manufactured from the rocks of the locality. When,
therefore, we find a weapon of a material not obtainable in the
vicinity, we have a sure indication that it belongs to a period of
development considerably later than the earliest. When the obsidian of
the Yellowstone Park is found in Ohio, when the black slate of
Vancouver’s Island is exhumed in Delaware, it is obvious we must assume
for such extensive transits a very noticeable æsthetic and commercial

I can but touch in the lightest manner on the data offered by the vast
realm of industrial activity. The return it offers is abundant, but the
harvesting delicate. In the dissemination of certain kinds of arts,
certain inventions, certain decorative designs and æsthetic conceptions
from one tribe to another, we have a most valuable means of tracing the
pre-historic intercourse of nations: but we must sedulously discriminate
such borrowing from the synchronous and similar development of
independent culture under like conditions.

In one department of industry we shall be largely free from this danger,
that is, in the extension of agriculture. One of America’s ablest
ethnologists, Dr. Charles Pickering, as the result of a lifetime devoted
to his science, finally settled upon the extension of cultivated plants
as the safest guide in the labyrinth of pre-historic migrations. Its
value is easily seen in America when we reflect that the two tropical
plants, maize and tobacco, extended their area in most remote times from
their limited local habitat about the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to the
north as far as the St. Lawrence river and to the south quite to the
Archipelago of Chiloe. Their presence is easily traced by the stone or
earthen-ware implements required for their use. How many ages it must
have required for these plants to have thus extended their domain, amid
hostile and savage tribes, through five thousand miles of space! The
squash, the bean, the potato and the mandioca, are native food-plants
offering in a less degree similar material for tracing ancient commerce
and migration. Humboldt and others have claimed as much for the banana
(_Musa paradisiaca_), but the recent researches of Dr. Karl von den
Steinen have removed that valued fruit from the list of native American
plants. Both species of banana (_M. paradisiaca_ and _M. sapientium_)
were undoubtedly introduced into the New World after the discovery.[20]
Indeed, summing up the reply to an inquiry which has often been
addressed to the industrial evolution of the indigenes of our continent,
I should say that they did not borrow a single art or invention nor a
single cultivated plant from any part of the Old World previous to the
arrival of Columbus. What they had was their own, developed from their
own soil, the outgrowth of their own lives and needs.

_Linguistic._ This individuality of the race is still more strongly
expressed in their languages. You are all aware that it is upon
linguistic data almost exclusively that American ethnology has been and
must be based. The study of the native tongues becomes therefore of
transcendent importance in the pre-historic chronology of the Continent.
But to obtain its best results, this study must be conducted in a much
more thorough manner than has hitherto been the custom.

In America we are confronted with an astonishing multiplicity of
linguistic stocks. They have been placed at about eighty in North and
one hundred in South America. It is stated that there are that many
radically diverse in elements and structure. To appreciate the vista in
time that this fact opens to our thoughts, we must recognize the
tenacity of life manifested by these tongues. Some of them have scores
of dialects, spoken by tribes wandering over the widest areas. Take the
Athapascan or Tinné, for example, found in its greatest purity amid the
tribes who dwell on the Arctic sea, and along the Mackenzie river, in
British America, but which is also the tongue of the Apaches who carried
it almost to the valley of Mexico. The Algonkin was spoken from Hudson
Bay to the Savannah river and from Newfoundland to the Rocky Mountains.
The Guarani of the Rio de la Plata underlies dialects which were current
as far north as Florida.

How, then, in spite of such tenacity of American languages, have so many
stocks come into existence? This was the question which my predecessor
in this chair last year undertook to answer. His suggestions appear to
me extremely valuable, and only in one point do I widely differ from
him, and that is, in the length of time required for these numerous
tongues to originate, to sever into dialects and to be carried to
distant regions.[21] According to the able linguist, Dr. Stoll, the
difference which is presented between the Cakchiquel and Maya dialects
could not have arisen in less than two thousand years;[22] and any one
who has carefully compared the earliest grammars of an American tongue
with its present condition will acknowledge that the changes are
surprisingly few. To me the exceeding diversity of languages in America
and the many dialects into which these have split, are cogent proofs of
the vast antiquity of the race, an antiquity stretching back tens of
thousands of years. Nothing less can explain these multitudinous forms
of speech.

Underlying all these varied forms of expression, however, I think future
investigation will demonstrate some curious identities of internal form,
traits almost or entirely peculiar to American languages, and never
quite absent from any of them.

Such was the opinion of the two earliest philosophical investigators of
these tongues, P. S. Duponceau and Wilhelm von Humboldt. They called
these traits _polysynthesis_ and _incorporation_, and it was proposed to
apply the term _incorporative_ as a distinguishing adjective to all
American languages. Of late years this opinion has been earnestly
combatted by M. Lucien Adam and others; but my own studies have led me
to adopt the views of the older analysts against these modern critics. I
do not think that the student can compare any two stocks on the
continent without being impressed with the resemblance of their
expression of the relations of Being, through the incorporative plan.

Along with this identity of plan, there coëxists the utmost independence
of expression. An American language is usually perfectly transparent.
Nothing is easier than to reduce it to its ultimate elements, its
fundamental radicals. These are few in numbers and interjectional in
character. The Athapascan, the Algonkin, whose wide extension I have
referred to, have been reduced to half a dozen particles or sounds
expressive of the simplest conceptions.[23] Upon these, by combination,
repetition, imitation and other such processes, the astonishing
structure of the tongue has been erected, every portion of it displaying
the mechanism of its origin. It is this transparency which renders these
tongues so attractive to the philosophic student of human expression,
and so valuable to him who would obtain from them the record of the
progress of the nation.

A thorough study of such a language would embrace its material, its
formal and its psychologic contents. Its material elements include the
peculiarities of its vocabulary: for example, its numerals and the
system they indicate, its words for weights and measures, for color and
direction, for relations of consanguinity and affinity, for articles of
use and ornament, for social and domestic conditions, and the like.

Few studies of American languages go beyond this material or
lexicographic limit; but in truth these are merely the externalities of
a tongue, and have nothing to do with linguistic science proper. This
concerns itself with the forms of the language, with the relation of
parts of speech to each other and to the sentence, and with the
historical development of the grammatical categories. Beyond this,
again, is the determination of the psychical character of the tribe
through the forms instinctively adopted for the expression of its
thoughts, and reciprocally the reaction exerted by these forms on the
later intellectual growth of those who were taught them as their only
means of articulate expression.

These are data of the highest value in the study of prehistoric time;
but so far as America is concerned, I could name very few scholars who
have pursued this promising line of research.

_Physical._ Much more attention has been paid to the physical than the
linguistic data of the native Americans, but it may freely be said, with
not more satisfactory results. This failure is partly owing to the
preconceived notions which still govern the study of ethnology. Linnæus
offered the cautious division of the human species into races named from
the five great geographical areas it inhabited; Blumenbach pointed out
that this roughly corresponded with the division into five colors, the
white, black, yellow, brown and red races, occupying respectively
Europe, Africa, Asia, Polynesia and America. Unfortunately, Cuvier chose
to simplify this scheme, by merging the brown and red races, the
Polynesian or Malayan and the American, into the yellow or Mongolian.
The latest writers of the French school, and I am sorry to add various
Americans, servilely follow this groundless rejection of the older
scheme, and speak of Malayans and Americans alike as Mongolians or
Mongoloids. Neither in language nor ethnic anatomy is there any more
resemblance than between whites and Mongolians.

It is gratifying to see that the more accurate German investigators
decidedly reject the blunder of Cuvier, and declare that the American
race is as independent as any other of those named. Thus Dr. Paul
Ehrenreich, who has lately published an admirable monograph on the
Botocudos of Brazil, a tribe often quoted for its so-called “Mongoloid”
aspect, declares that any such assertion must be contradicted in
positive terms. Both in osteology and anatomy, in formation of the hair
and shape of the skull, the differences are marked, permanent and

What is true of the Botocudos is not less so of the other American
tribes which are claimed to present Mongolian traits. Such assertions
are based on the superficial observations of travellers, most of whom do
not know the first principles of ethnic anatomy. This is sufficiently
shown by the importance they attach to the oblique eye, a slight
malformation of the skin of scarcely any weight.[24]

The anatomy and physiology of the various American tribes present,
indeed, great diversity, and yet, beneath it all is a really remarkable
fixedness of type. We observe this diversity in the shape of the skull,
which may be, as among the Botocudos, strictly dolichocephalic, while
the Araucanians are brachycephalic; the nasal index varies more than in
the extremest members of the white race; the tint of the skin may be a
dark brown with an under-color of red, or of so light a hue that a blush
is easily perceptible. The beard is usually absent, but D’Orbigny
visited a tribe who wore it full and long.[25] The height varies from an
average of six feet four inches for adult males in Patagonia to less
than five feet among the Warraus of Guiana; and so it is with all the
other traits of the race. There is not one which is not subject to
extensive variation.

On the other hand, these variations are not greater than can be adduced
in various members of the white or black race. In spite of them all,
there is a wonderful family likeness among tribes of American origin. No
observer well acquainted with the type would err in taking it for
another. Darwin says that the Fuegians so closely resemble the Botocudos
that they seem members of the same tribe. I have seen Arawacks from
Guiana who in the northwest would have passed for Sioux.

In spite of the total dissimilarity of climate and other physical
surroundings, the tribes of the tropics differ no more from those near
the Arctic circle than they do among themselves. This is a striking
lesson how independent of environment are the essential characteristics
of a race, and it is a sweeping refutation of those theories which make
such characteristics dependent upon external agencies.

A still more remarkable fact has been demonstrated by Professor J.
Kollmann of Bâle: to wit, that the essential physical identity of the
American race is as extended in time as it is in space. This accurate
student has analyzed the cranioscopic formulas of the most ancient
American skulls, those from the alleged tertiary deposits of the Pampas,
those from the caverns of Lagoa Santa in Brazil, that obtained from Rock
Bluff, Illinois, the celebrated Calaveras skull from California, and one
from Pontemelo in Buenos Ayres of geologic antiquity. His results are
most interesting. These very ancient remains prove that in all important
craniologic indicia the earliest Americans, those who were
contemporaries of the fossil horse and other long since extinct
quadrupeds, possessed the same racial character as the natives of the
present day, with similar skulls and a like physiognomy.[26] We reach
therefore the momentous conclusion that the American race throughout the
whole continent, and from its earliest appearance in time, is and has
been _one_, as distinct in type as any other race, and from its
isolation probably the purest of all in its racial traits. This is a
fact of the first order in establishing its prehistoric chronology.

_Geologic._ I have left the geologic data to the last, as it is these
which carry us with reasonable safety to the remotest periods. No one
who examines the evidence will now deny that man lived in both North and
South America during and after the glacial epochs, and that he was the
contemporary of many species of animals now extinct. As you are aware,
the attempt has several times been made to fix the date for the final
retrocession of the glaciers of North America. The estimates have varied
from about 12,000 years ago up to 50,000, with a majority in favor of
about 35,000 years.

There have also been various discoveries which are said to place the
human species in America previous to the appearance of the glaciers.
Some remains of man’s industry or of his skeleton have been reported
from interglacial, others from tertiary deposits.[27] Unfortunately,
these finds have not always been sufficient, or not of a character to
convince the archæologist. I have before adverted to the impossibility,
for instance, of an archæologist accepting the discovery of a
finely-polished stone implement in a tertiary gravel, except as an
intrusive deposit. It is a violent anachronism, which is without a
parallel in other countries. Even the discovery of a compound implement,
as a stemmed arrowhead, in strata of tertiary date, is, with our present
knowledge, quite out of the question.

Although there are well recognized signs of glacial action in South
America, it is not certain that the glacial epoch coincided in time in
the two continents. That there was a reasonable approximation is
probable from the appearance of later deposits. We may suppose therefore
that the habitable area of the New World was notably less at that
period, and that the existing tribes were confined to a much narrower
space. This would force them into closer relations, and tend powerfully
to the production of that uniformity of type to which I have before

We might also expect to discover in the tropical regions of America more
frequent evidence of the primitive Americans than in either temperate
zone. This has not been the case, probably because the geologic deposits
of the tropics have been less investigated. Throughout the West Indies
there is an entire absence of palæolithic remains. Those islands were
first peopled by tribes in the polished stone stage of culture. In the
valley of Mexico human remains have been disinterred from a volcanic
deposit of supposed tertiary age, and you have all heard of those human
footprints which Dr. Earl Flint has unearthed in Nicaragua. These are
found under layers of compact volcanic tufas, separated by strata of
sand and vegetable loam. There can be no doubt of their human origin or
of their great antiquity; but no geologist need be informed of the
difficulty of assigning an age to volcanic strata, especially in a
tropical country, subject to earthquakes, subsidence and floods.[28]

It would not be in accordance with my present purpose to examine the
numerous alleged finds of human remains in the strata of the tertiary
and quaternary. All such furnish data for the pre-historic chronology of
America, and should be carefully scrutinized by him who would obtain
further light upon that chronology. I must hasten to some other
considerations which touch the remote events to which I am now alluding.

Since a comparison of the fauna of South America and Africa, and a
survey of the sea-bottom between those continents, have dispelled the
dream of the ancient Atlantis, and relegated that land connection at
least to the eocene period of the tertiary, no one can suppose the
American man to have migrated from Africa or southwestern Europe. For
other and equally solid reasons, no immigration of Polynesians can be
assumed. Yet zoölogists, perfectly willing to derive man from an
anthropoid, and polygenists to the utmost, hesitate to consider man an
autochthon in the New World. There is too wide a gap between the highest
monkeys and the human species in this continent.[29] Discoveries of
fossil apes might bridge this, but none such has been reported.

If we accept the theory that man as a species spread from one primal
centre, and in the higher plasticity of his early life separated into
well defined races, which became unalterably fixed not much later than
the close of the glacial epoch—and this theory appears to be that now
most agreeable to anthropologists—then the earliest Americans made their
advent on this continent as immigrants. This is our first fact in their
pre-historic chronology; but before we can assign it an accurate
position on the scale of geologic time, we must await more complete
discoveries than we now have at our command.

We must also wait until our friends the geologists have come to some
better understanding among themselves as to what took place in the
pleistocene age. You have heard me talking freely about the glacial
epoch and its extension in America; but geologists are by no means of
one mind as to this extension, and a respectable minority of them, led
by Sir J. William Dawson, deny the existence or even possibility of any
continental glacier. What others point out as a terminal moraine they
explain to be “nothing but the southern limit of the ice-drift of a
period of submergence.”[30]

It is clear that when we speak about the migration of the Americans at a
time when the polar half of each continent was either covered with a
glacier thousands of feet thick, or submerged to that depth beneath an
arctic sea, we have to do with geographical conditions totally unlike
those of to-day. I call attention to this obvious fact because it has
not been obvious to all writers.

In your archæological reading you will rarely come across a prettier
piece of theoretical history than Mr. Lewis A. Morgan’s description of
the gradual peopling of the two Americas by tracing the lines of easiest
subsistence. He begins at the fishy rivers of the northwest coast, and
follows the original colony which he assumes landed at that point, all
the way to Patagonia and Florida.[31] But how baseless becomes this
vision when we consider the geography of America as it is shown by
geology to have been at a period contemporary with the earliest remains
of man! We know to a certainty that the human race had already spread
far and wide over both its continental areas before Mr. Morgan’s lines
of easiest nutrition had come into existence.

Properly employed, a study of those geologic features of a country which
determine its geography will prove of vast advantage in ascertaining the
events of pre-historic time. These features undoubtedly fixed the lines
of migration and of early commerce. Man in his wanderings has always
been guided by the course of rivers, the trend of mountain chains, the
direction of ocean currents, the position of deserts, passes and swamps.
The railroad of to-day follows the trail of the primitive man, and the
rivers have ever been the natural highways of nations. The theories of
Morgan therefore remain true as theories; only in their application he
fell into an error which was natural enough to the science of twenty
years ago. Perhaps when twenty years more shall have elapsed, the
post-tertiary geology of our continent will have been so clearly defined
that the geography of its different epochs will be known sufficiently to
trace these lines of migration at the various epochs of man’s residence
in the western world, from his first arrival.

I have now set before you, in a superficial manner it is true, the
various sources from which we may derive aid in establishing the
pre-historic chronology of America. I have also endeavored, to a limited
extent, to express myself as to the relative value of these sources.
None of them can be neglected, and it will be only from an exhaustive
study of them all that we can expect to solve the numerous knotty
problems, and lift the veil which hangs so darkly on all that concerns
the existence of the American race before the sixteenth century.

We are merely beginning the enormous labor which is before us; we have
yet to discover the methods by which we can analyze fruitfully the facts
we already know. But I look forward with the utmost confidence to a rich
return from such investigations. The day is coming, and that rapidly,
when the pre-historic life of man in both the New and the Old World will
be revealed to us in a thousand unexpected details. We have but to turn
backward about thirty years to reach a time when the science of
pre-historic archæology was unknown, and its early gropings were jeered
at as absurdities. Already it has established for itself a position in
the first rank of the sciences which have to do with the highest of
problems. It has cast a light upon the pathway of the human race from
the time that man first deserved his name down to the commencement of
recorded history. Its conquests are but beginning. Year by year masses
of new facts are brought to knowledge from unexpected quarters, current
errors are corrected, and novel methods of exploration devised.

As Americans by adoption, it should be our first interest and duty to
study the Americans by race, in both their present and past development.
The task is long and the opportunity is fleeting. A century more, and
the anthropologist will scarcely find a native of pure blood; the tribes
and languages of to-day will have been extinguished or corrupted. Nor
will the archæologist be in better case. Every day the progress of
civilization, ruthless of the monuments of barbarism, is destroying the
feeble vestiges of the ancient race; mounds are levelled, embankments
disappear, the stones of temples are built into factories, the holy
places desecrated. We have assembled here to aid in recovering something
from this wreck of a race and its monuments: let me urge upon you all
the need of prompt action and earnest work, inasmuch as the
opportunities we enjoy will never again present themselves in such


There has been much talk in scientific circles lately about Palæoliths,
and much misunderstanding about them. Let me try to explain in a few
words what they are, what they tell, and what mistakes people make about

Since man first appeared on this planet, his history has been a slow
progress from the most rudimentary arts up to those which he now
possesses. We know this, because in a given locality those remains of
his art which are found undisturbed in strata geologically the oldest
are always the rudest. The exceptions to this rule are in appearance
only, as for instance when a given locality was not occupied by men
until they had already acquired considerable knowledge of arts, or when
a cultivated nation was overrun by a barbarous one.

The general line of advance I have indicated shows, wherever we can
trace it, many similarities—similarities not necessarily dependent on an
ancient intercourse, but simply because primitive man felt everywhere
the same wants, and satisfied them in pretty much the same manner. He
felt the need of defence and attack, and everywhere a stick and a stone
offered themselves as the handiest and most effective weapons; he used
both wherever he was, and adapted them to like shapes.

In casting about for some standard wherewith to measure the long
progress from this simple beginning to the present day, antiquaries have
hit upon a very excellent one—the choice of a material employed at any
given epoch for obtaining a cutting edge—for manufacturing _l’instrument
tranchant_. Man conquers nature as he does his enemy—by cutting her
down. The world at present uses iron, or its next product steel, for
that purpose; before it came into vogue many nations employed bronze;
but in the earliest periods of man’s history, and to-day in some savage
tribes, stone was the substance almost exclusively wrought for this
purpose. These distinctions divide the progress of man into the three
great periods; the Age of Iron, the Age of Bronze, and the Age of Stone.

Do not make the mistake of supposing that the remains of human art
reveal this sequence in every locality; I have already hinted that this
is not the case. And do not make that other mistake of supposing that
all three are found in chronologic sequence over the whole world. On the
contrary, they are synchronous even to-day, as there are now tribes in
Brazil in the Age of Stone and nations in Asia in the Age of Bronze. The
word “Age” in this connection does not mean a definite period of time,
but a recognized condition of art.

In Western Europe, however, where these terms originated, the three Ages
were chronologic. Previous to about two thousand years before the
Christian era, all the nations in that region employed stone exclusively
to manufacture their cutting implements; later, bronze was preferred for
the same purpose; and still later, iron. I say “preferred,” for do not
imagine that the implement of stone or of bronze was straightway
discarded when the better material was learned. We know that stone
battle-axes were used in Ireland and Germany down to the tenth century,
and bronze was employed by Romans and Egyptians long after they became
acquainted with iron.

Each of these three Ages has various subdivisions. Those of the Age of
Stone are particularly important. They are two, based upon the manner in
which the stone was brought to an edge. All the specimens in
geologically the oldest deposits have been brought to an edge by a
process of chipping off small pieces, so as to produce a sharp line or
crest on a part or the whole of the border of the stone. This artificial
process leaves such peculiar traces that a practiced eye cannot confound
it with any accidental chipping which natural means effect.

The later deposits of the Age of Stone show that the early workmen had
acquired another manner of dressing their material; they rubbed one
stone against another, thus grinding it down to a sharp polished edge.

These two methods give the names to the two periods of the Age of Stone,
the Period of Chipped Stone and the Period of Polished Stone. Do not
suppose, however, that the workmen in polished stone forgot the art of
chipping stone. On the contrary, they continued it side by side with
their new learning, and you will find on the sites of their workshops
plenty of stone implements in form and technical production like the
chipped implements of the older period.

We know that the polished or ground-stone implements came into use later
than the earliest chipped implements, for in the oldest beds the latter
are found exclusively. Hence the time when they were used exclusively is
called the older stone implement period or the Palæolithic period;
while, the time when both chipped and polished stones were used, metals
were yet unknown, is named the newer stone implement period, or the
Neolithic period. A true “Palæolith” is a typical chipped stone
implement, the position of which when found leads us to believe that it
was manufactured in the older of these periods.

We are not entirely dependent on its position to decide its antiquity.
The kind of stone it is, the amount of weather-wearing or _patine_ it
shows, certain characteristics of shape and size, the indication that
the chipping was done in a peculiar manner, all these aid the skilled
observer in pronouncing definitely as to whether it is a true Palæolith.

Nor is position always a guarantee of antiquity. A genuine Palæolith may
have been washed into newer strata, or be exposed by natural agencies on
the surface of the ground, and in such cases it may not be possible to
distinguish it from the products of Neolithic industry. A recent product
of art may have sunk or been buried in an ancient stratum, and thus
become what is termed an “intrusive deposit.”

The Palæolithic period itself is advantageously subdivided further into
two Epochs, an earlier one in which men made “simple” implements only,
and a later one in which they manufactured “compound” implements as
well. I was the first to point out this distinction, and as I have found
it really useful, and as others have also expressed to me the value
which it has been to them in this line of research, I will explain it
further.[33] A “compound” implement is one composed of several parts
adapted to each other, as the bow and the arrow, the spear with its
shaft and blade, or the axe with its head and helve and the means of
fastening the one to the other. These were not early acquisitions.
During long ages man contented himself with such tools or weapons as he
could frame of a single piece of wood or stone, simply holding it in his
hand. When he found he could increase its effectiveness by fitting it to
a handle, the discovery marked an era in his culture.

He may indeed in his rudest ages have lashed a stone to the end of his
club, or have inserted a spall of flint in the split end of a stick; but
these are not compound implements in the proper sense of the term. The
expression means an art-product which clearly shows that it was but one
part of a mechanical apparatus. The arrow-head with its stem, barbs and
body, the stone axe with its grooves or drilled perforation for the
handle, are incomplete in themselves, they disclose a preconceived plan
for the adjustment of parts which man in his earliest and rudest
condition does not seem to have possessed. The most ancient strata in
which the remains of human art have been found, either in Europe or
America, yield “simple” implements only; “compound” implements are a
conquest of his inventive faculty at a later date.

So far as America is concerned it is probable that the oldest remains of
man yet discovered on the northern continent have been those exhumed in
the valley of the Delaware River, in the states of Pennsylvania, New
Jersey and Delaware. According to the most careful geological observers
that large deposit of gravel covering about five thousand acres on both
banks of the river below Trenton is a post-glacial deposit not less than
twelve or fifteen thousand years old. Imbedded in this at various depths
a large number of true palæoliths have been discovered by Dr. C. C.
Abbott, Professor F. A. Putnam, myself and others. Every one of them so
far as I am aware belongs to the class of “simple” implements, not an
arrowhead nor grooved axe nor stemmed scraper having been reported.

Another deposit of gravel further down the Delaware River is much older:
The best authorities in such matters believe that it was deposited, not
after the recession of the great glacier which once covered Canada and
the northern portion of the United States, but while that tremendous
phenomena was at its height, and when all the streams of the central
United States were periodically choked with vast masses of ice and snow.
In this, which is called the Columbian gravel, chipped stone implements
have been found by Mr. Cresson, all of the “simple” variety, and at such
depths as to preclude the theory of an intrusive deposit. These
discoveries carry the age of the appearance of man in the Delaware
valley back to a date which is possibly over a hundred thousand years

The great glacier left its mass of boulders, pebbles and broken stone,
which it pushed before it, or carried with it, in a long line of
so-called “moraines,” extending, roughly speaking, from New York to St.
Louis. In this mass, at its edges where the great wash from the melting
ice poured down, palæoliths have been found in undisturbed position,
proving that also there man had struggled with the inclemency of the
ice-age, and, poorly provided as he was, had come out victorious. Here
too all the implements he left are of the “simple” type, indicating at
once the vast antiquity of the period and the presence of a race
substantially the same as that to the east at the same date.

No tribe has been known to history which was confined to the knowledge
of “simple” implements, or which manufactured stone implements
exclusively in the Palæolithic forms. Wherever, therefore, these are
found without the admixture of artificially ground or polished stones we
may be sure we face the remains of a time whose antiquity cannot be
measured by any chronology applied to the historic records of humanity.

This enables us in a measure to define the limits of the region known to
the human race at this, its earliest epoch; with our present deficient
knowledge we can do so only partially and by exclusion. It is safe to
state that in Europe Palæolithic man did not occupy the central alpine
area of Switzerland and its surroundings, nor the plains of Russia, nor
any part of the Scandinavian peninsula, Scotland, Ireland, nor Iceland.
In North America he had no habitations north of the forty-first parallel
of latitude except perhaps close to the shores of the two great
oceans;[34] it is not probable that his foot pressed the soil of any of
the West Indian Islands; but when the great Austral Glacier was in its
recession depositing the fertile loam of the pampas of Buenos Ayres
human beings with their rude Palæoliths were following up the retreating
line of ice, as in the Northern Hemisphere. Ages uncounted and
uncountable have passed since then, but man has left indestructible
evidences that even in that early morn of his existence he had explored
and conquered that continent which a late generation has chosen to call
“the New World.”


Were the question I am about to discuss one of merely theoretical
bearings, I should not approach it; but the widespread belief that the
American tribes are genealogically connected with the Mongolians is
constantly directing and coloring the studies of many Americanists, very
much as did at one time the belief that the red men are the present
representatives of the ten lost tribes of Israel. It is practically
worth while, therefore, to examine the grounds on which the American
race is classed by these anthropologists as a branch of the Mongolian,
and to inquire whether the ancient culture of America betrayed any
positive signs of Mongolian influence.

You will permit me to avoid the discussion as to what constitutes races
in anthropology. To me they are zoölogical sub-species, marked by fixed
and correlated characteristics, impressed so firmly that they have
suffered no appreciable alteration within the historic period either
through time or environment. In this sense, Blumenbach, in the last
century, recognized five races, corresponding to the five great
land-areas of the globe, and to their characteristic faunal and floral
centres. This division was an eminently scientific one, and still
remains the most in accord with anatomical and linguistic research.
About twenty years after the appearance of Blumenbach’s work, however,
the eminent naturalist Cuvier published his great work on “The Animal
Kingdom,” in which he rejected Blumenbach’s classification, and proposed
one dividing the human species into three races,—the white or Caucasian,
the black or Ethiopian, and the yellow or Mongolian. In the latter he
included the Malays and the American Indians.

This triple division has been very popular in France, and to some extent
in other countries. It is not, and it was not in its inception, a
scientific deduction from observed facts, but was a sort of _a priori_
hypothesis based on the physiological theories of Bichat, and at a later
day derived support from the philosophic dreams of Auguste Comte.
Bichat, for instance, had recognized three fundamental physiological
systems in man—the vegetative or visceral, the osso-muscular, and the
cerebro-spinal. The anthropologists, in turn, considered it a happy
thought to divide the human species into three races, each of which
should show the predominance of one or other of these systems. Thus the
black race was to show the predominance of the vegetative system; the
yellow race, the osso-muscular system; the white race, the nervous
system.[36] As Bichat had not discovered any more physiological systems,
so there could be no more human races on the earth: and thus the sacred
triplets of the Comtian philosophy could be vindicated.

How little value attaches to any such generalizations you will readily
perceive, and you will be prepared, with me, to dismiss them all, and to
turn to the facts of the case, inquiring whether there are any traits of
the red race which justify their being called “Mongolian” or

Such affinities have been asserted to exist in language, in culture, and
in physical peculiarities, and I shall take these up _seriatim_ for

First, as to language.

The great Mongolian stock is divided into the southern branch, speaking
monosyllabic, isolating languages, and the northern branch, whose
dialects are polysyllabic and agglutinating. The latter are sometimes
called Turanian or Ural-Altaic; and as they are geographically
contiguous to the Eskimo, and almost to the Athabascans, we might
reasonably expect the linguistic kinship, if any exists, to be shown in
this branch of Mongol speech. Is such the case? Not in the least. To
prove it, I think it enough to quote the positive statement of the best
European authority on the Ural-Altaic languages, Dr. Heinrich Winkler.
He emphatically says, that, in the present state of linguistic science,
not only is there no connection apparent between any Ural-Altaic and any
American language, but that such connection is shown to be highly
improbable. The evidence is all the other way.[37]

I need not, therefore, delay over this part of my subject, but will
proceed to inquire whether there are any American affinities to the
monosyllabic, isolating languages of Asia.

There is one prominent example, which has often been put forward, of a
supposed monosyllabic American language; and its relationship to the
Chinese has frequently been asserted—a relationship, it has been said,
extending both to its vocabulary and its grammar. This is the Otomi,
spoken in and near the valley of Mexico. It requires, however, but a
brief analysis of the Otomi to see that it is not a monosyllabic
language in the linguistic sense, and that in its sentence-building it
is incorporative and polysynthetic, like the great majority of American
tongues, and totally unlike the Chinese. I may refer to my own published
study of the Otomi, and to that of the Count de Charencey, as proving
what I say.[38]

Some have thought that the Maya of Yucatan has in its vocabulary a
certain number of Chinese elements; but all these can readily be
explained on the doctrine of coincidences. The Mexican antiquary Mendoza
has marshalled far more coincidences of like character and equal worth
to show that the Nahuatl is an Aryan dialect descended from the
Sanscrit.[39] In fine, any, even the remotest, linguistic connection
between American and Mongolian languages has yet to be shown; and any
linguist who considers the radically diverse genius of the two groups of
tongues will not expect to find such relationship.

I shall not detain you long with arguments touching supposed Mongolian
elements of culture in ancient America. Any one at all intimately
conversant with the progress of American archæology in the last twenty
years must see how rapidly has grown the conviction that American
culture was homebred, to the manor born: that it was wholly indigenous
and had borrowed nothing—nothing, from either Europe, Asia, or Africa.
The peculiarities of native American culture are typical, and extend
throughout the continent. Mr. Lewis Morgan was perfectly right in the
general outline of his theory to this effect, though, like all persons
enamored of a theory, he carried it too far.

This typical, racial American culture is as far as possible, in spirit
and form, from the Mongolian. Compare the rich theology of Mexico or
Peru with the barren myths of China. The theory of governments, the
method of house-construction, the position of woman, the art of war,[40]
are all equally diverse, equally un-Mongolian. It is useless to bring up
single art-products or devices, such as the calendar, and lay stress on
certain similarities. The doctrine of the parallelism of human
development explains far more satisfactorily all these coincidences. The
sooner that Americanists generally, and especially those in Europe,
recognize the absolute autochthony of native American culture, the more
valuable will their studies become.

It is no longer in season to quote the opinions of Alexander von
Humboldt and his contemporaries on this subject, as I see is done in
some recent works. The science of archæology has virtually come into
being since they wrote, and we now know that the development of human
culture is governed by laws with which they were unacquainted.
Civilization sprang up in certain centres in both continents, widely
remote from each other; but, as the conditions of its origin were
everywhere the same, its early products were much alike.

It is evident from what I have said, that the asserted Mongolian or
Mongoloid connection of the American race finds no support either from
linguistics or the history of culture. If anywhere, it must be in
physical resemblances. In fact, it has been mainly from these that the
arguments have been drawn. Let us examine them.

Cuvier, who, as I have said, is responsible for the confusion of the
American with the Mongolian race, based his racial scheme on the color
of the skin, and included the American within the limits of the yellow
race. Cuvier had seen very few pure Mongolians, and perhaps no
pure-blooded Americans; otherwise he would not have maintained that the
hue of the latter is yellow. Certainly it is not. You may call it
reddish, or coppery, or cinnamon, or burnt sugar, but you cannot call it
yellow. Some individuals or small tribes may approach the peculiar dusky
olive of the Chinaman, but so do some of the European peoples of Aryan
descent; and there are not wanting anthropologists who maintain that the
Aryans are also Mongoloid. The one position is just as defensible as the
other on the ground of color.

Several of the most prominent classifications of mankind are based upon
the character of the hair; the three great divisions being, as you know,
into the straight, the curly, and the woolly haired varieties. These
external features of the hair depend upon the form of the individual
hairs as seen in cross-section. The nearer this approaches a circle, the
straighter is the hair. It is true that both Mongolians and Americans
belong to the straight haired varieties; but of the two, the American
has the straighter hair, that whose cross-section comes nearer to a
perfect circle. So that by all the rules of terminology and logic, if we
are to call either branch a variation from the other, we should say that
the Mongol is a variety of the American race, and call it “Americanoid,”
instead of _vice versa_.

The color of the hair of the two races is, moreover, distinctly
different. Although superficially both seem black, yet, observed
carefully by reflected light, it is seen that the ground-tone of the
Mongolian is bluish, while that of the American is reddish.

Of positive cranial characteristics of the red race, I call attention to
the interparietal bone (the _os Incæ_), which is found in its extreme
development in the American, in its greatest rarity among the
Mongolians; also to the form of the glabella, found most prominent in
American crania, least prominent in Altaic or northern Mongoloid crania;
and the peculiar American characteristics of the occipital bone,
flattened externally, and internally presenting in nearly forty per
cent. of cases the “Aymarian depression,” as it has been termed, instead
of the internal occipital protuberance.[41]

The shape of the skull has been made another ground of race-distinction;
and, although we have learned of late years that its value was greatly
over-estimated by the earlier craniologists, we have also learned that
in the average, and throughout large numbers of peoples, it is a very
persistent characteristic, and one potently indicative of descent or
relationship. Now, of all the peoples of the world, the Mongols,
especially the Turanian branch, are the most brachycephalic; they have
the roundest heads; and it is in a high degree noteworthy that precisely
the American nation dwelling nearest to these, having undoubted contact
with them for unnumbered generations, are long-headed, or
dolichocephalic, in a marked degree. I mean the Eskimo, and I cannot but
be surprised that such an eminent anthropologist as Virchow,[42] in
spite of this anatomical fact, and in defiance of the linguistic
evidence, should have repeated the assertion that the Eskimo are of
Mongolian descent.

Throughout the American continent generally, the natives were not
markedly brachycephalic. This was abundantly illustrated more than
twenty years ago by the late Prof. James Aitkins Meigs, in his
“Observations on the Cranial Forms of the American Aborigines.” They
certainly, in this respect, show no greater Mongoloid affinities than do
their white successors on the soil of the United States.

If color, hair, and crania are thus shown to present such feeble
similarities, what is it that has given rise to a notion of the
Mongoloid origin of the American Indian? Is it the so-called Mongolian
eye, the oblique eye, with a seeming droop at its inner canthus? Yes, a
good deal has been made of this by certain writers, especially by
travellers who are not anatomists. The distinguished ethnologist
Topinard says the Chinese are very often found without it, and I can
confirm this opinion by those I have seen in this country. It is,
indeed, a slight deformity, affecting the skin of the eyebrow only, and
is not at all infrequent in the white race. Surgeons know it under the
name _epicanthus_, and, as with us it is considered a disfigurement, it
is usually removed in infancy by a slight operation. In a few American
tribes it is rather prevalent, but in most of the pure Indians I have
seen, no trace of it was visible. It certainly does not rank as a racial

The nasal index has been recommended by some anatomists as one of the
most persistent and trustworthy of racial indications. The Mongolian
origin of the red race derives faint support from this quarter. From the
measurements given in the last edition of Topinard’s work[44] the
Mongolian index is 80, while that of the Eskimo and tribes of the United
States and Canada, as far as observed, is 70, that of the average
Parisian of to-day being 69 (omitting fractions). According to this
test, the American is much closer to the white than to the yellow race.

Most of the writers (for instance, Avé-Lallemant, St. Hilaire, Peschel,
and Virchow) who have argued for the Mongoloid character of the
Americans, have quoted some one tribe which, it is asserted, shows
marked Chinese traits. This has especially been said of the natives of
three localities,—the Eskimo, the tribes of the North Pacific coast, and
the Botocudos of Brazil. So far as the last-mentioned are concerned, the
Botocudos, any such similarity has been categorically denied by the
latest and most scientific traveller who has visited them, Dr. Paul
Ehrenreich. It is enough if I refer you to his paper in the _Zeitschrift
für Ethnologie_ for 1887, where he dismisses, I should say once for all,
the notion of any such resemblance existing. I have already pointed out
that the Eskimo are totally un-Mongolian in cranial shape, in nasal
index, and in linguistic character. They do possess in some instances a
general physiognomical similarity, and this is all; and this is not
worth much, as against the dissimilarities mentioned. The same is true
of the differences and similarities of some tribes of the north-west
coast. In estimating the value of resemblances observed in this part of
our continent, we should remember that we have sufficient evidence to
believe that for many generations some slight intercourse has been going
on between the adjacent mainlands and islands of the two continents in
the regions of their nearest proximity. The same train of events led to
a blending of the negro and the white races along the shores of the Red
Sea; but any one who recognizes the distinction of races at all—and I am
aware that certain eccentric anthropologists do not—will not, on that
account, claim that the white race is negroid. With just as little
reason, it seems to me, has it been argued that the native Americans as
a race are Mongoloid.[45]

An acute philosophical writer has stated that the superficial observer
is apt to be impressed with the similarities of objects; while the
profounder student finds his attention more profitably attracted to
their differences. By this maxim we may explain this theory of the
affinities of the American race as well as many another which has been


  [The following Essay is reprinted without alteration. It appeared in
  the _American Antiquarian_ for October, 1881, and has a certain
  degree of historic value as illustrating the progress of archæologic
  study in the United States. It is, I believe, the first reasoned
  argument that the constructors of the mounds of the Ohio Valley were
  the ancestors of tribes known and resident not remote from the sites
  of these ancient works. Though this opinion has not yet been fully
  accepted, the tendency of later studies is unquestionably in its

The question, Who were the Mound-builders? is one that still remains
open in American archæology. Among the most recent expressions of
opinion I may quote Prof. John T. Short, who thinks that one or two
thousand years may have elapsed since they deserted the Ohio valley, and
probably eight hundred since they finally retired from the Gulf
coast.[46] Mr. J. P. MacLean continues to believe them to have been
somehow related to the “Toltecs.”[47] Dr. J. W. Foster, making a
tremendous leap, connects them with a tribe “who, in times far remote,
flourished in Brazil,” and adds: “a broad chasm is to be spanned before
we can link the Mound-builders to the North American Indians. They were
essentially different in their form of government, their habits and
their daily pursuits. The latter were never known to erect structures
which should survive the lapse of a generation.”[48]

On the other hand, we have the recent utterance of so able an
ethnologist as Major J. W. Powell to the effect that, “With regard to
the mounds so widely scattered between the two oceans, it may be said
that mound-building tribes were known in the early history of discovery
of this continent, and that the vestiges of art discovered do not excel
in any respect the arts of the Indian tribes known to history. There is,
therefore, no reason for us to search for an extralimital origin through
lost tribes for the arts discovered in the mounds of North America.”[49]

Between opinions so discrepant the student in archæology may well be at
a loss, and it will therefore be worth while to inquire just how far the
tribes who inhabited the Mississippi valley and the Atlantic slope at
the time of the discovery were accustomed to heap up mounds, excavate
trenches, or in other ways leave upon the soil permanent marks of their

Beginning with the warlike northern invaders, the Iroquois, it clearly
appears that they were accustomed to construct burial mounds. Colden
states that the corpse was placed in a large round hole and that “they
then raise the Earth in a round Hill over it.”[50] Further particulars
are given by Lafitau: the grave was lined with bark, and the body roofed
in with bark and branches in the shape of an arch, which was then
covered with earth and stones so as to form an _agger_ or _tumulus_.[51]
In these instances the mound was erected over a single corpse; but it
was also the custom among the Hurons and Iroquois, as we are informed by
Charlevoix, to collect the bones of their dead every ten years, and
inter them in one mass together.[52] The slain in a battle were also
collected into one place and a large mound heaped over them, as is
stated by Mr. Paul Kane,[53] and that such was an ancient custom of the
Iroquois tribes, is further shown by a tradition handed down from the
last century, according to which the Iroquois believed that the Ohio
mounds were the memorials of a war which in ancient times they waged
with the Cherokees.[54] Mr. E. G. Squier, who carefully examined many of
the earthworks in the country of the ancient Iroquois, was inclined at
first to suppose the remains he found there were parts of “a system of
defence extending from the source of the Allegheny and Susquehanna in
New York, diagonally across the country through central and northern
Ohio to the Wabash,” and hence drew the inference that “the pressure of
hostilities [upon the mound-builders] was from the north-east.”[55] This
opinion has been repeated by some recent writers; but Mr. Squier himself
substantially retracted it in a later work, and reached the conviction
that whatever ancient remains there are in Western New York and
Pennsylvania are to be attributed to the later Indian tribes and not to
the Mound-builders.[56]

The neighbors of the Iroquois, the various Algonkin tribes, were
occasionally constructors of mounds. In comparatively recent times we
have a description of a “victory mound” raised by the Chippeways after a
successful encounter with the Sioux. The women and children threw up the
adjacent surface soil into a heap about five feet high and eight or ten
feet in diameter, upon which a pole was erected, and to it tufts of
grass were hung, one for each scalp taken.[57]

Robert Beverly, in his _History of Virginia_, first published in 1705,
describes some curious constructions by the tribes there located. He
tells us that they erected “pyramids and columns” of stone, which they
painted and decorated with wampum, and paid them a sort of worship. They
also constructed stone altars on which to offer sacrifices.[58] This
adoration of stones and masses of rocks—or rather of the genius which
was supposed to reside in them—prevailed also in Massachusetts and other
Algonkin localities, and easily led to erecting such piles.[59]

Another occasion for mound-building among the Virginian Indians was to
celebrate or make a memorial of a solemn treaty. On such an occasion
they performed the time honored ceremony of “burying the hatchet,” a
tomahawk being literally put in the ground, “and they raise a pile of
stones over it, as the Jews did over the body of Absalom.”[60]

I am not aware of any evidence that the Cherokees were mound-builders:
but they appreciated the conveniences of such structures, and in one of
their villages William Bartram found their council house situated on a
large mound. He adds: “But it may be proper to observe that this mount
on which the rotunda stands is of a much ancienter date than the
building, and perhaps was raised for another purpose.”[61] Lieutenant
Timberlake is about our best early authority on the Cherokees, and I
believe he nowhere mentions that they built upon mounds of artificial
construction. Adair, however, states that they were accustomed to heap
up and add to piles of loose stones in memory of a departed chief, or as
monuments of important events.[62]

The tribes who inhabited what we now call the Gulf States, embracing the
region between the eastern border of Texas and the Atlantic Ocean south
of the Savannah River, belonged, with few and small exceptions, to the
great Chahta-Muskokee family, embracing the tribes known as Choctaws,
Chikasaws, Muskokees or Creeks, Seminoles, Allibamons, Natchez and
others. The languages of all these have numerous and unmistakable
affinities, the Choctaw or Chahta presenting probably the most archaic
form. It is among them, if anywhere within our limits, that we must look
for the descendants of the mysterious “Mound-builders.” No other tribes
can approach them in claims for this distinction. Their own traditions,
it is true, do not point to a migration from the north, but from the
west; nor do they contain any reference to the construction of the great
works in question; but these people seem to have been a building race,
and to have reared tumuli not contemptible in comparison even with the
mightiest of the Ohio Valley.

The first explorer who has left us an account of his journey in this
region was Cabeza de Vaca, who accompanied the exposition of Pamfilo de
Narvaez in 1527. He, however, kept close to the coast for fear of losing
his way, and saw for the most part only the inferior fishing tribes.
These he describes as generally in a miserable condition. Their huts
were of mats erected on piles of oyster shells (the shell heaps now so
frequent along the southern coast). Yet he mentions that in one part,
which I judge to be somewhere in Louisiana, the natives were accustomed
to erect their dwellings on steep hills and around their base _to dig a
ditch_, as a means of defence.[63]

Our next authorities are very important. They are the narrators of
Captain Hernando de Soto’s famous and ill starred expedition. Of this we
have the brief account of Biedma, the longer story of “the gentleman of
Elvas,” a Portuguese soldier of fortune, intelligent and clear-headed,
and the poetical and brilliant composition of Garcilasso de la Vega. In
all of these we find the southern tribes described as constructing
artificial mounds, using earthworks for defence, excavating ditches and
canals, etc. I quote the following passage in illustration:

“The town and the house of the Cacique Ossachile are like those of the
other caciques in Florida. * * * The Indians try to place their villages
on elevated sites; but inasmuch as in Florida there are not many sites
of this kind where they can conveniently build, they erect elevations
themselves in the following manner: They select the spot and carry there
a quantity of earth which they form into a kind of platform two or three
pikes in height, the summit of which is large enough to give room for
twelve, fifteen or twenty houses, to lodge the cacique and his
attendants. At the foot of this elevation they mark out a square place
according to the size of the village, around which the leading men have
their houses. * * * To ascend the elevation they have a straight passage
way from bottom to top, fifteen or twenty feet wide. Here steps are made
by massive beams, and others are planted firmly in the ground to serve
as walls. On all other sides of the platform, the sides are cut

Later on La Vega describes the village of Capaha:

“This village is situated on a small hill, and it has about five hundred
good houses, surrounded with a ditch ten or twelve cubits (brazas) deep,
and a width of fifty paces in most places, in others forty. The ditch is
filled with water from a canal which has been cut from the town to
Chicagua. The canal is three leagues in length, at least a pike in
depth, and so wide that two large boats could easily ascend or descend
it, side by side. The ditch which is filled with water from this canal
surrounds the town except in one spot, which is closed by heavy beams
planted in the earth.”[65]

Biedma remarks in one passage, speaking of the provinces of Ycasqui and
Pacaha: “The caciques of this region were accustomed to erect near the
house where they lived very high mounds (_tertres très-elevèes_), and
there were some who placed their houses on the top of these mounds.”[66]

I cannot state precisely where these provinces and towns were situated;
the successful tracing of De Soto’s journey has never yet been
accomplished, but remains as an interesting problem for future
antiquaries to solve. One thing I think is certain; that until he
crossed the Mississippi he at no time was outside the limits of the wide
spread Chahta-Muskokee tribes. The proper names preserved, and the
courses and distances given, both confirm this opinion. We find them
therefore in his time accustomed to erect lofty mounds, terraces and
platforms, and to protect their villages by extensive circumvallations.
I shall proceed to inquire whether such statements are supported by
later writers.

Our next authorities in point of time are the French Huguenots, who
undertook to make a settlement on the St. John River near where St.
Augustine now stands in Florida. The short and sad history of this
colony is familiar to all. The colonists have, however, left us some
interesting descriptions of the aborigines. In the neighborhood of St.
Augustine these belonged to the Timuquana tribe, specimens of whose
language have been preserved to us, but which, according to the careful
analysis recently published by Mr. A. S. Gatschet,[67] has no
relationship with the Chahta-Muskokee, nor, for that matter, with any
other known tongue. Throughout the rest of the peninsula a Muskokee
dialect probably prevailed.

The “Portuguese gentleman” tells us that at the very spot where De Soto
landed, generally supposed to be somewhere about Tampa Bay, at a town
called Ucita, the house of the chief “stood near the shore upon a very
high mound made by hand for strength.” Such mounds are also spoken of by
the Huguenot explorers. They served as the site of the chieftain’s house
in the villages, and from them led a broad, smooth road through the
village to the water.[68] These descriptions correspond closely to those
of the remains which the botanists, John and William Bartram, discovered
and reported about a century ago.

It would also appear that the natives of the peninsula erected mounds
over their dead, as memorials. Thus the artist Le Moyne de Morgues,
writes: “Defuncto aliquo rege ejus proviciæ, magna solemnitate
sepelitur, et ejus tumulo crater, e quo bibere solebat, imponitur,
defixis circum ipsum tumulum multis sagittis.”[69] The picture he gives
of the “tumulus” does not represent it as more than three or four feet
in height; so that if this was intended as an accurate representation,
the structure scarcely rises to the dignity of a mound.

After the destruction of the Huguenot colony in 1565, the Spanish
priests at once went to work to plant their missions. The Jesuit fathers
established themselves at various points south of the Savannah River,
but their narratives, which have been preserved in full in a historic
work of great rarity, describe the natives as broken up into small
clans, waging constant wars, leading vagrant lives, and without fixed
habitations.[70] Of these same tribes, however, Richard Blomes, an
English traveler, who visited them about a century later, says that they
erected piles or pyramids of stones, on the occasion of a successful
conflict, or when they founded a new village, for the purpose of keeping
the fact in long remembrance.[71] About the same time another English
traveler, by name Bristock, claimed to have visited the interior of the
country and to have found in “Apalacha” a half-civilized nation, who
constructed stone walls and had a developed sun worship; but in a
discussion of the authenticity of his alleged narrative I have elsewhere
shown that it cannot be relied upon, and is largely a fabrication.[72] A
correct estimate of the constructive powers of the Creeks is given by
the botanist, William Bartram, who visited them twice in the latter half
of the last century. He found they had “chunk yards” surrounded by low
walls of earth, at one end of which, sometimes on a moderate artificial
elevation, was the chief’s dwelling and at the other end the public
council house.[73] His descriptions resemble so closely those in La Vega
that evidently the latter was describing the same objects on a larger
scale—or from magnified reports.

Within the present century the Seminoles of Florida are said to have
retained the custom of collecting the slain after a battle and interring
them in one large mound. The writer on whose authority I state this,
adds that he “observed on the road from St. Augustine to Tomaka, one
mound which must have covered two acres of ground,”[74] but this must
surely have been a communal burial mound.

Passing to the tribes nearer the Mississippi, most of them of Choctaw
affiliation, we find considerable testimony in the French writers to
their use of mounds. Thus M. de la Harpe says: “The cabins of the
Yasous, Courous, Offogoula and Ouspie are dispersed over the country on
mounds of earth made with their own hands.”[75] The Natchez were mostly
of Choctaw lineage. In one of their villages Dumont notes that the cabin
of the chief was elevated on a mound.[76] Father Le Petit, a missionary
who labored among them, gives the particulars that the residence of the
great chief or “Brother of the Sun,” as he was called, was erected on a
mound (_butte_) of earth carried for that purpose. When the chief died,
the house was destroyed, and the same mound was not used as the site of
the mansion of his successor, but was left vacant and a new one was
constructed.[77] This interesting fact goes to explain the great number
of mounds in some localities; and it also teaches us the important truth
that we cannot form any correct estimate of the date when a
mound-building tribe left a locality by counting the rings in trees,
etc., because long before they departed, certain tumuli or earthworks
may have been deserted and tabooed from superstitious notions, just as
many were among the Natchez.

We have the size of the Natchez mounds given approximately by M. Le Page
du Pratz. He observes that the one on which was the house of the Great
Sun was “about eight feet high and twenty feet over on the surface.”[78]
He adds that their temple, in which the perpetual fire was kept burning,
was on a mound about the same height.

The custom of communal burial has been adverted to. At the time of the
discovery it appears to have prevailed in most of the tribes from the
Great Lakes to the Gulf. The bones of each phratry or gens—the former,
probably—were collected every eight or ten years and conveyed to the
spot where they were to be finally interred. A mound was raised over
them which gradually increased in size with each additional interment.
The particulars of this method of burial have often been described, and
it is enough that I refer to a few authorities in the note.[79] Indeed
it has not been pretended that such mounds necessarily date back to a
race anterior to that which occupied the soil at the advent of the white

I have not included in the above survey the important Dakota stock who
once occupied an extended territory on the upper Mississippi and its
affluents, and scattered clans of whom were resident on the Atlantic
Coast in Virginia and Carolina. But, in fact, I have nowhere found that
they erected earthworks of any pretentions whatever.

From what I have collected, therefore, it would appear that the only
resident Indians at the time of the discovery who showed any evidence of
mound-building comparable to that found in the Ohio valley were the
Chahta-Muskokees. I believe that the evidence is sufficient to justify
us in accepting this race as the constructors of all those extensive
mounds, terraces, platforms, artificial lakes and circumvallations which
are scattered over the Gulf States, Georgia and Florida. The earliest
explorers distinctly state that such were used and constructed by these
nations in the sixteenth century, and probably had been for many
generations. Such too, is the opinion arrived at by Col. C. C. Jones,
than whom no one is more competent to speak with authority on this
point. Referring to the earthworks found in Georgia he writes: “We do
not concur in the opinion so often expressed that the mound-builders
were a race distinct from and superior in art, government, and religion,
to the Southern Indians of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.”

It is a Baconian rule which holds good in every department of science
that the simplest explanation of a given fact or series of facts should
always be accepted; therefore if we can point out a well known race of
Indians who, at the time of the discovery, raised mounds and other
earthworks, not wholly dissimilar in character and not much inferior in
size to those in the Ohio valley, and who resided not very far away from
that region and directly in the line which the Mound-Builders are
believed by all to have followed in their emigration, then this rule
constrains us to accept for the present this race as the most probable
descendants of the Mound Tribes, and seek no further for Toltecs,
Asiatics or Brazilians. All these conditions are filled by the Chahta

It is true, as I have already said, that the traditions of their own
origin do not point to the north but rather to the west or northwest;
but in one of these traditions it is noticeable that they claim their
origin to have been from a large artificial mound, the celebrated _Nanih
Waiya_, the Sloping Hill, an immense pile in the valley of the Big Black
River;[81] and it may be that this is a vague reminiscence of their
remote migration from their majestic works in the north.

The size of the southern mounds is often worthy of the descendants of
those who raised the vast piles in the northern valleys. Thus one in the
Etowah Valley, Georgia, has a cubical capacity of 1,000,000, cubic
feet.[82] The Messier Mound, near the Chatahoochee River, contains about
700,000 cubic feet.[83] Wholly artificial mounds 50 to 70 feet in
height, with base areas of about 200 by 400 feet, are by no means
unusual in the river valleys of the Gulf States.

With these figures we may compare the dimensions of the northern mounds.
The massive one near Miamisburg, Ohio, 68 feet high, has been calculated
to contain 311,350 cubic feet—about half the size of the Messier Mound.
At Clark’s Works, Ohio, the embankments and mounds together contain
about 3,000,000 cubic feet;[84] but as the embankment is three miles
long, most of this is not in the mounds themselves. Greater than any of
these is the truncated pyramid at Cahokia, Illinois, which has an
altitude of 90 feet and a base area of 700 by 500 feet. It is, however,
doubtful whether this is wholly an artificial construction. Professor
Spencer Smith has shown that the once famous “big mound” of St. Louis
was largely a natural formation; and he expresses the opinion that many
of the mounds in Missouri and Illinois, popularly supposed to be
artificial constructions, are wholly, or in great part, of geologic
origin.[85] There is apparently therefore no such great difference
between the earth structures of the Chahta tribes, and those left us by
the more northern mound-builders, that we need suppose for the latter
any material superiority in culture over the former when first they
became known to the whites; nor is there any improbability in assuming
that the Mound-builders of the Ohio were in fact the progenitors of the
Chahta tribes, and were driven south probably about three or four
hundred years before the discovery. Such is the conviction to which the
above reasoning leads us.

In the course of it, I have said nothing about the condition of the arts
of the Mound-builders compared with that of the early southern Indians;
nor have I spoken of their supposed peculiar religious beliefs which a
recent writer thinks to point to “Toltec” connections;[86] nor have I
discussed the comparative craniology of the Mound-builders, upon which
some very remarkable hypotheses have been erected; nor do I think it
worth while to do so, for in the present state of anthropologic science,
all the facts of these kinds relating to the Mound-builders which we
have as yet learned, can have no appreciable weight to the investigator.

[Investigations conducted since the above Essay was printed require some
modifications in its statements. The researches of Professor Cyrus
Thomas render it likely that the Cherokees were also Mound-builders, and
that they occupied portions of Western Pennsylvania and Western Virginia
less than two centuries ago. (See also my work _The Lenâpè and their
Legends_, pp. 16–18. Philadelphia, 1885.) Probably the Ohio Valley
Mound-builders were the ancestors of some of the Cherokees as well as of
the Chahta-Muskoki tribes. Craniologic data from the Ohio mounds are
still too vague to permit inferences from them.]


In the first addition of my _Myths of the New World_[87] published in
1868, I asserted that the story of the city of Tula and its inhabitants,
the Toltecs, as currently related in ancient Mexican history, is a myth,
and not history. This opinion I have since repeated in various
publications,[88] but writers on pre-Columbian American civilization
have been very unwilling to give up their Toltecs, and lately M. Charnay
has composed a laborious monograph to defend them.[89]

Let me state the question squarely.

The orthodox opinion is that the Toltecs, coming from the north (-west
or -east), founded the city of Tula (about forty miles north of the
present city of Mexico) in the sixth century, A. D.; that their State
flourished for about five hundred years, until it numbered nearly four
millions of inhabitants, and extended its sway from ocean to ocean over
the whole of central Mexico;[90] that it reached a remarkably high stage
of culture in the arts; that in the tenth or eleventh century it was
almost totally destroyed by war and famine;[91] and that its fragments,
escaping in separate colonies, carried the civilization of Tula to the
south, to Tabasco (Palenque), Yucatan, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Quetzalcoatl, the last ruler of Tula, himself went to the south-east,
and reappears in Yucatan as the culture-hero Cukulkan, the traditional
founder of the Maya civilization.

This, I say, is the current opinion about the Toltecs. It is found in
the works of Ixtlilxochitl, Veitia, Clavigero, Prescott, Brasseur de
Bourbourg, Orozco y Berra, and scores of other reputable writers. The
dispersion of the Toltecs has been offered as the easy solution of the
origin of the civilization not only of Central America, but of New
Mexico and the Mississippi valley.[92]

The opinion that I oppose to this, and which I hope to establish in this
article, is as follows:

Tula was merely one of the towns built and occupied by that tribe of the
Nahuas known as _Azteca_ or _Mexica_, whose tribal god was
Huitzilopochtli, and who finally settled at Mexico-Tenochtitlan (the
present city of Mexico); its inhabitants were called Toltecs, but there
was never any such distinct tribe or nationality; they were merely the
ancestors of this branch of the Azteca, and when Tula was destroyed by
civil and foreign wars, these survivors removed to the valley of Mexico
and became merged with their kindred; they enjoyed no supremacy, either
in power or in the arts; and the Toltec “empire” is a baseless fable.
What gave them their singular fame in later legend was partly the
tendency of the human mind to glorify the “good old times” and to merge
ancestors into divinities, and especially the significance of the name
Tula, “the Place of the Sun,” leading to the confounding and
identification of a half-forgotten legend with the ever-living
light-and-darkness myth of the gods Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca.

To support this view, let us inquire what we know about Tula as an
historic site.

Its location is on one of the great ancient trails leading from the
north into the Valley of Mexico.[93] The ruins of the old town are upon
an elevation about 100 feet in height, whose summit presents a level
surface in the shape of an irregular triangle some 800 yards long, with
a central width of 300 yards, the apex to the south-east, where the face
of the hill is fortified by a rough stone wall.[94] It is a natural
hill, overlooking a small muddy creek, called the _Rio de Tula_.[95] Yet
this unpretending mound is the celebrated _Coatepetl_, Serpent-Mount, or
Snake-Hill, famous in Nahuatl legend, and the central figure in all the
wonderful stories about the Toltecs.[96] The remains of the artificial
tumuli and walls, which are abundantly scattered over the summit, show
that, like the pueblos of New Mexico, they were built of large sun-baked
bricks mingled with stones, rough or trimmed, and both walls and floors
were laid in a firm cement, which was usually painted of different
colors. Hence probably the name _Palpan_, “amid the colors,” which
tradition says was applied to these structures on the Coatepetl.[97] The
stone-work, represented by a few broken fragments, appears equal, but
not superior, to that of the Valley of Mexico. Both the free and the
attached column occur, and figure-carving was known, as a few
weather-beaten relics testify. The houses contained many rooms, on
different levels, and the roofs were flat. They were no doubt mostly
communal structures. At the foot of the Serpent-Hill is a level plain,
but little above the river, on which is the modern village with its

These geographical particulars are necessary to understand the ancient
legend, and with them in mind its real purport is evident.[98]

That legend is as follows: When the Azteca or Mexica—for these names
were applied to the same tribe[99]—left their early home in Aztlan—which
Ramirez locates in Lake Chalco in the Valley of Mexico, and Orozco y
Berra in Lake Chapallan in Michoacan[100]—they pursued their course for
some generations in harmony; but at a certain time, somewhere between
the eighth and the eleventh century of our era, they fell out and
separated. The legend refers to this as a dispute between the followers
of the tribal god Huitzilopochtli and those of his sister
Malinalxochitl. We may understand it to have been the separation of two
“totems.” The latter entered at once the Valley of Mexico, while the
followers of Huitzilopochtli passed on to the plain of Tula and settled
on the Coatepetl. Here, says the narrative, they constructed houses of
stones and of rushes, built a temple for the worship of Huitzilopochtli,
set up his image and those of the fifteen divinities (gentes?) who were
subject to him, and erected a large altar of sculptured stone and a
court for their ball play.[101] The level ground at the foot of the hill
they partly flooded by damming the river, and used the remainder for
planting their crops. After an indeterminate time they abandoned Tula
and the Coatepetl, driven out by civil strife and warlike neighbors, and
journeyed southward into the Valley of Mexico, there to found the famous
city of that name.

This is the simple narrative of Tulan, stripped of its contradictions,
metaphors and confusion, as handed down by those highest authorities the
Codex Ramirez, Tezozomoc and Father Duran.[102] It is a plain statement
that Tula and its Snake-Hill were merely one of the stations of the
Azteca in their migrations—an important station, indeed, with natural
strength, and one that they fortified with care, where for some
generations, probably, they maintained an independent existence, and
which the story-tellers of the tribe recalled with pride and

How long they occupied the site is uncertain.[103] Ixtlilxochitl gives a
list of eight successive rulers of the “Toltecs,” each of whom was
computed to reign at least fifty-two years, or one cycle; but it is
noteworthy that he states these rulers were not of “Toltec” blood, but
imposed upon them by the “Chichimecs.” This does not reflect creditably
on the supposed singular cultivation of the Toltecs. Probably the
warrior Aztecs subjected a number of neighboring tribes and imposed upon
them rulers.[104]

If we accept the date given by the _Codex Ramirez_ for the departure of
the Aztecs from the Coatepetl—A. D. 1168—then it is quite possible that
they might have controlled the site for a couple of centuries or longer,
and that the number of successive chieftains named by Ixtlilxochitl
should not be far wrong. The destructive battles of which he speaks as
preceding their departure—battles resulting in the slaughter of more
than five million souls—we may regard as the grossly overstated account
of some really desperate conflicts.

That the warriors of the Azteca, on leaving Tula, scattered over Mexico,
Yucatan and Central America, is directly contrary to the assertion of
the high authorities I have quoted, and also to most of the mythical
descriptions of the event, which declare they were all, or nearly all,

The above I claim to be the real history of Tula and its Serpent-Hill,
of the Toltecs and their dynasty. Now comes the question, if we accept
this view, how did this ancient town and its inhabitants come to have so
wide a celebrity, not merely in the myths of the Nahuas of Mexico, but
in the sacred stories of Yucatan and Guatemala as well—which was
unquestionably the case?

To explain this, I must have recourse to some of those curious
principles of language which have had such influence in building the
fabric of mythology. In such inquiries we have more to do with words
than with things, with names than with persons, with phrases than with

First about these names, Tula, Tollan, Toltec—what do they mean? They
are evidently from the same root. What idea did it convey?

We are first struck with the fact that the Tula I have been describing
was not the only one in the Nahuatl district of Mexico. There are other
Tulas and Tollans, one near Ococingo, another, now San Pedro Tula, in
the State of Mexico, one in Guerrero, San Antonio Tula in Potosi,[106]
etc. The name must have been one of common import. Herrera, who spells
it _Tulo_, by an error, is just as erroneous in his suggestion of a
meaning. He says it means “place of the tuna,” this being a term used
for the prickly pear.[107] But _tuna_ was not a Nahuatl word; it belongs
to the dialect of Haiti, and was introduced into Mexico by the
Spaniards. Therefore Herrera’s derivation must be ruled out.
Ixtlilxochitl pretends that the name Tollan was that of the first
chieftain of the Toltecs, and that they were named after him; but
elsewhere himself contradicts this assertion.[108] Most writers follow
the _Codex Ramirez_, and maintain that Tollan—of which Tula is but an
abbreviation—is from _tolin_, the Nahuatl word for rush, the kind of
which they made mats, and means “the place of rushes,” or where they

The respectable authority of Buschmann is in favor of this derivation;
but according to the analogy of the Nahuatl language, the “place of
rushes” should be _Toltitlan_ or _Tolinan_, and there are localities
with these names.[109]

Without doubt, I think, we must accept the derivation of Tollan given by
Tezozomoc, in his _Cronica Mexicana_. This writer, thoroughly familiar
with his native tongue, conveys to us its ancient form and real sense.
Speaking of the early Aztecs, he says: “They arrived at the spot called
Coatepec, on the borders of _Tonalan, the place of the sun_.”[110]

This name, Tonallan, is still not unusual in Mexico. Buschmann
enumerates four villages so called, besides a mining town,
_Tonatlan_.[111] “Place of the sun” is a literal rendering, and it would
be equally accurate to translate it “sunny-spot,” or “warm place,” or
“summer-place.” There is nothing very peculiar or distinctive about
these meanings. The warm, sunny plain at the foot of the Snake-Hill was
called, naturally enough, Tonallan, syncopated to Tollan, and thus to

But the literal meaning of Tollan—“Place of the Sun”—brought it in later
days into intimate connection with many a myth of light and of solar
divinities, until this ancient Aztec pueblo became apotheosized, its
inhabitants transformed into magicians and demigods, and the corn-fields
of Tula stand forth as fruitful plains of Paradise.

In the historic fragments to which I have alluded there is scant
reference to miraculous events, and the gods play no part in the sober
chronicle. But in the mythical cyclus we are at once translated into the
sphere of the supernal. The Snake-Hill Coatepetl becomes the Aztec
Olympus. On it dwells the great goddess “Our Mother amid the Serpents,”
_Coatlan Tonan_,[113] otherwise called “The Serpent-skirted,”
_Coatlicue_, with her children, The Myriad Sages, the _Centzon
Huitznahua_.[114] It was her duty to sweep the Snake-Hill every day,
that it might be kept clean for her children. One day while thus
engaged, a little bunch of feathers fell upon her, and she hid it under
her robe. It was the descent of the spirit, the divine Annunciation.
When the Myriad Sages saw that their mother was pregnant, they were
enraged, and set about to kill her. But the unborn babe spake from her
womb, and provided for her safety, until in due time he came forth armed
with a blue javelin, his flesh painted blue, and with a blue shield. His
left leg was thin and covered with the plumage of the humming-bird.
Hence the name was given to him “On the left, a humming-bird,”
Huitzilopochtli.[115] Four times around the Serpent-Mountain did he
drive the Myriad Sages, until nearly all had fallen dead before his
dart, and the remainder fled far to the south. Then all the Mexica chose
Huitzilopochtli for their god, and paid honors to the Serpent-Hill by
Tula as his birthplace.[116]

An equally ancient and authentic myth makes Huitzilopochtli one of four
brothers, born at one time of the uncreated, bi-sexual divinity, the God
of our Life, Tonacatecutli, who looms dimly at the head of the Aztec
Pantheon. His brothers were the black and white Tezcatlipoca and the
fair-skinned, bearded Quetzalcoatl. Yet a third myth places the
birthplace of Quetzalcoatl directly in Tula, and names his mother,
Chimalman, a virgin, divinely impregnated, like Coatlicue, by the
descending spirit of the Father of All.[117]

Tula was not only the birthplace, but the scene of the highest activity
of all these greatest divinities of the ancient Nahuas. Around the
Coatepetl and on the shores of the Tollanatl—“the Water of Tula”—as the
stream is called which laves the base of the hill, the mighty struggles
of the gods took place which form the themes of almost all Aztec
mythology. Tulan itself is no longer the hamlet of rush houses at the
foot of the Coatepec, surmounted by its pueblo of rough stone and baked
brick; it is a glorious city, founded and governed by Quetzalcoatl
himself, in his first avatar as Hueman, the strong-handed. “All its
structures were stately and gracious, abounding in ornaments. The walls
within were incrusted with precious stones or finished in beautiful
stucco, presenting the appearance of a rich mosaic. Most wonderful of
all was the temple of Quetzalcoatl. It had four chambers, one toward the
east finished in pure gold, another toward the west lined with turquoise
and emeralds, a third toward the south decorated with all manner of
delicate sea-shells, and a fourth toward the north resplendent with red
jasper and shells.”[118] The descriptions of other buildings, equally
wondrous, have been lovingly preserved by the ancient songs.[119] What a
grief that our worthy friend, M. Charnay, digging away in 1880 on the
Coatepec, at the head of a gang of forty-five men, as he tells us,[120]
unearthed no sign of these ancient glories, in which, for one, he fully
believed! But, alas! I fear that they are to be sought nowhere out of
the golden realm of fancy and mythical dreaming.

Nor, in that happy age, was the land unworthy such a glorious city.
Where now the neglected corn-patches surround the shabby huts of Tula,
in the good old time “the crops of maize never failed, and each ear was
as long as a man’s arm; the cotton burst its pods, not white only, but
spontaneously ready dyed to the hand in brilliant scarlet, green, blue
and yellow; the gourds were so large that they could not be clasped in
the arms; and birds of brilliant plumage nested on every tree!”

The subjects of Quetzalcoatl, the Toltecs, were not less marvelously
qualified. They knew the virtues of plants and could read the forecast
of the stars; they could trace the veins of metals in the mountains, and
discern the deposits of precious stones by the fine vapor which they
emit; they were orators, poets and magicians; so swift were they that
they could at once be in the place they wished to reach; as artisans
their skill was unmatched, and they were not subject to the attacks of

The failure and end of all this goodly time came about by a battle of
the gods, by a contest between Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli on the
one hand, and Quetzalcoatl on the other. Quetzalcoatl refused to make
the sacrifices of human beings as required by Huitzilopochtli, and the
latter, with Tezcatlipoca, set about the destruction of Tula and its
people. This was the chosen theme of the later Aztec bards. What the
siege of Troy was to the Grecian poets, the fall of Tula was to the
singers and story-tellers of Anahuac—an inexhaustible field for
imagination, for glorification, for lamentation. It was placed in the
remote past—according to Sahagun, perhaps the best authority, about the
year 319 before Christ.[121] All arts and sciences, all knowledge and
culture, were ascribed to this wonderful mythical people; and wherever
the natives were asked concerning the origin of ancient and unknown
structures, they would reply; “The Toltecs built them.”[122]

They fixedly believed that some day the immortal Quetzalcoatl would
appear in another avatar, and would bring again to the fields of Mexico
the exuberant fertility of Tula, the peace and happiness of his former
reign, and that the departed glories of the past should surround anew
the homes of his votaries.[123]

What I wish to point out in all this is the contrast between the dry and
scanty historic narrative which shows Tula with its Snake-Hill to have
been an early station of the Azteca, occupied in the eleventh and
twelfth century by one of their clans, and the monstrous myth of the
later priests and poets, which makes of it a birthplace and abode of the
gods, and its inhabitants the semi-divine conquerors and civilizers of
Mexico and Central America. For this latter fable there is not a vestige
of solid foundation. The references to Tula and the Toltecs in the
_Chronicles of the Mayas_ and the _Annals of the Kakchiquels_ are loans
from the later mythology of the Nahuas. It is high time for this talk
about the Toltecs as a mighty people, precursors of the Azteca, and
their instructors in the arts of civilization, to disappear from the
pages of history. The residents of ancient Tula, the Tolteca, were
nothing more than a sept of the Nahuas themselves, the ancestors of
those Mexica who built Tenochtitlan in 1325. This is stated as plainly
as can be in the Aztec records, and should now be conceded by all. The
mythical Tula, and all its rulers and inhabitants, are the baseless
dreams of poetic fancy, which we principally owe to the Tezcucan

                                PART II.

                        MYTHOLOGY AND FOLK-LORE.


Fashions in the study of mythology come and go with something like the
rapidity of change in costume feminine, subject to the autocracy of a
Parisian man-modiste. Myths have been held in turn to be of some deep
historical, or moral, or physical purport, and their content has been
sought through psychologic or philologic analysis. Just now, all these
methods are out of fashion. The newest theory is that myths generally
mean nothing at all; that they are merely funny or fearsome stories and
never were much more; and that at first they were not told of anybody in
particular nor about anything in particular.

As for philologic analysis, it is accused of failures and contradictory
results; the names which it makes its material are alleged not to have
belonged to the original story; and their etymology casts no more light
on the meaning or the source of the myth than if they were Smith or

According to this facile method, the secret of all mythology is an open
one, because there is no secret at all. No painful preliminary study of
language is necessary to the science, no laborious tracing of names
through their various dialectic forms and phonetic changes to their
first and original sense, for neither their earlier nor later sense is
to the purpose.

This new method goes still further. Some former mythologists had
supposed that even in the savage state man feels a sense of awe before
the mighty forces of nature and the terrible mysteries of life; that joy
in light and existence, dread of death and darkness, love of family and
country, are emotions so intimate, so native to the soul, as nowhere to
be absent—so potent as to find expressions in the highest imaginative
forms of thought and speech. Not so the latest teachers. They sneer at
the possibility of such inspiration even in the divine legends of
cultivated nations, and are ready to brand them all as but the later
growths of “myths, cruel, puerile and obscene, like the fancies of the
savage myth-makers from which they sprang.”[125]

Like other fashions, this latest will also pass away, because it is a
fashion only, and not grounded on the permanent, the verifiable facts of
human nature. Etymology is as yet far from an exact science, and
comparative mythologists in applying it have made many blunders: they
have often erred in asserting historical connections where none existed;
they have been slow in recognizing that primitive man works with very
limited materials, both physical and mental, and as everywhere he has
the same problems to solve, his physical and mental productions are
necessarily very similar. These are objections, not against the method,
but against the manner of its application.

Those who have studied savage races most intimately and with most
unbiased minds have never found their religious fancies merely “puerile
and obscene,” as some writers suppose, but significant and didactic.
Savage symbolism is rich and is expressed both in object and word; and
what appears cruelty, puerility or obscenity assumes a very different
aspect when regarded from the correct, the native, point of view, with a
full knowledge of the surroundings and the intentions of the myth-makers

In the sections which follow I have endeavored to illustrate these
opinions by some studies from American mythology. I have chosen a series
of unpromising names from the sacred books of the Quiches of Guatemala,
and endeavored to ascertain their exact definition and original purport.
I have taken up the most unfavorable aspect of the Algonkin hero-god,
and shown how parallel it is to the tendencies of the human mind
everywhere; in the Journey of the Soul, the striking analogies of
Egyptian, Aryan and Aztec myth have been brought together and an
explanation offered, which I believe will not be gainsaid by any
competent student of Egyptian symbolism. The Sacred Symbols found in all
continents are explained by a similar train of reasoning; while the
modern folk-lore of two tribes of semi-Christianized Indians of to-day
reveals some relics of the ancient usages.


  _Contents._—The Quiches of Guatemala, and their relationship—Their
  Sacred Book, the _Popol Vuh_—Its opening words—The name
  and Qux-palo—Ah-raxa-lak and Ah-raxa-sel—Xpiyacoc and
  Xmucane—Cakulha—Huracan—Chirakan—Xbalanque and his Journey to

Of the ancient races of America, those which approached the nearest to a
civilized condition spoke related dialects of a tongue, which from its
principal members has been called the “Maya-Quiche” linguistic stock.
Even to-day, it is estimated that about half a million persons use these
dialects. They are scattered over Yucatan, Guatemala and the adjacent
territory, and one branch formerly occupied the hot lowlands on the Gulf
of Mexico, north of Vera Cruz.

The so-called “metropolitan” dialects are those spoken relatively near
the city of Guatemala, and include the Cakchiquel, the Quiche, the
Pokonchi and the Tzutuhil. They are quite closely allied, and are
mutually intelligible, resembling each other about as much as did in
ancient Greece the Attic, Ionic and Doric dialects. These closely
related members of the Maya-Quiche family will be referred to under the
sub-title of the Quiche-Cakchiquel dialects.

The civilization of these people was such that they used various
mnemonic signs, approaching our alphabet, to record and recall their
mythology and history. Fragments, more or less complete, of these
traditions have been preserved. The most notable of them is the National
Legend of the Quiches of Guatemala, the so-called _Popol Vuh_. It was
written at an unknown date in the Quiche dialect, by a native who was
familiar with the ancient records. A Spanish translation of it was made
early in the last century by a Spanish priest, Father Francisco Ximenez,
and was first published at Vienna, 1857.[127] In 1861 the original text
was printed in Paris, with a French translation by the Abbé Brasseur (de
Bourbourg). This original covers about 175 octavo pages, and is
therefore highly important as a linguistic as well as an archæologic

Both these translations are open to censure. It needs but little study
to see that they are both strongly colored by the views which the
respective translators entertained of the purpose of the original.
Ximenez thought it was principally a satire of the devil on
Christianity, and a snare spread by him to entrap souls; Brasseur
believed it to be a history of the ancient wars of the Quiches, and
frequently carries his euhemerism so far as to distort the sense of the

What has added to the difficulty of correcting these erroneous
impressions is the extreme paucity of material for studying the Quiche.
A grammar written by Ximenez has indeed been published, but no
dictionary is available, if we except a brief “Vocabulary of the
Principal Roots” of these dialects by the same author, which is almost
useless for critical purposes.

It is not surprising, therefore, that some writers have regarded this
legend with suspicion, and have spoken of it as but little better than a
late romance concocted by a shrewd native, who borrowed many of his
incidents from Christian teachings. Such an opinion will pass away when
the original is accurately translated. To one familiar with native
American myths, this one bears undeniable marks of its aboriginal
origin. Its frequent obscurities and inanities, its generally low and
narrow range of thought and expression, its occasional loftiness of
both, its strange metaphors, and the prominence of strictly heathen
names and potencies, bring it into unmistakable relationship to the true
native myth. This especially holds good of the first two-thirds of it,
which are entirely mythological.

As a contribution to the study of this interesting monument, I shall
undertake to analyze some of the proper names of the divinities which
appear in its pages. The especial facilities that I have for doing so
are furnished by two MS. Vocabularies of the Cakchiquel dialect,
presented to the library of the American Philosophical Society by the
Governor of Guatemala in 1836. One of these was written in 1651, by
Father Thomas Coto, and was based on the previous work of Father
Francisco Varea. It is Spanish-Cakchiquel only, and the final pages,
together with a grammar and an essay on the native calendar, promised in
a body of the work, are unfortunately missing. What remains, however,
makes a folio volume of 972 double columned pages, and contains a mass
of information about the language. The second MS. is a copy of the
Cakchiquel-Spanish Vocabulary of Varea, made by Fray Francisco Ceron in
1699. It is a quarto of 493 pages. I have also in my possession copies
of the _Compendio de Nombres en Lengua Cakchiquel_, by P. F. Pantaleon
de Guzman (1704), and of the _Arte y Vocabulario de la Lengua
Cakchiquel_, by the R. P. F. Benito de Villacañas, composed about 1580.

Father Coto observes that the natives loved to tell long stories, and to
repeat chants, keeping time to them in their dances. These chants were
called _nugum tzih_, garlands of words, from _tzih_, word, and _nug_, to
fasten flowers into wreaths, to set in order a dance, to arrange the
heads of a discourse, etc. As preserved to us in the _Popol Vuh_, the
rhythmical form is mostly lost, but here and there one finds passages,
retained intact by memory no doubt, where a distinct balance in diction,
and an effort at harmony are noted.

The name _Popol Vuh_ given to this work is that applied by the natives
themselves. It is translated by Ximenez “libro del comun,” by Brasseur
“livre national.” The word _popol_ is applied to something held in
common ownership by a number; thus food belonging to a number is _popol
naim_; a task to be worked out by many, _popol zamah_; the native
council where the elders met to discuss public affairs was _popol tzih_,
the common speech or talk. The word _pop_ means the mat or rug of woven
rushes or bark on which the family or company sat, and from the
community of interests thus typified, the word came to mean anything in

_Vuh_ or _uuh_ is in Quiche and Cakchiquel the word for _paper_ and
_book_. It is an original term in these and connected dialects, the Maya
having _nooh_, a letter, writing; _uoch_, to write.

There is a school of writers who deprecate such researches as I am about
to make. They are of opinion that the appellations of the native gods
were derived from trivial or accidental circumstances, and had no
recondite or symbolic meaning. In fact, this assertion has been made
with reference to the very names which I am about to discuss.

I do not share this opinion. Many of the sacred names among the American
tribes I feel sure had occult and metaphorical significance. This is
proved by the profound researches of Cushing among the Zuñis; of Dorsey
among the Dakotas; and others. But to reach this hidden purport, one
must study all the ideas which the name connotes, especially those which
are archaic.

I begin with the mysterious opening words of the _Popol Vuh_. They
introduce us at once to the mighty and manifold divinity who is the
source and cause of all things, and to the original couple, male and
female, who in their persons and their powers typify the sexual and
reproductive principles of organic life. These words are as follows:

  “Here begins the record of what happened in old times in the land of
  the Quiches.

  “Here will we begin and set forth the story of past time, the outset
  and starting point of all that took place in the city of Quiche, in
  the dwelling of the Quiche people.

  “Here we shall bring to knowledge the explanation and the disclosure
  of the Disappearance and the Reappearance through the might of the
  builders and creators, the bearers of children and the begetters of
  children, whose names are Hun-ahpu-vuch, Hun-ahpu-utiu,
  Zaki-nima-tzyiz, Tepeu, Gucumatz, u Qux-cho, u Qux-palo,
  Ah-raxa-lak, Ah-raxa-tzel.

  “And along with these it is sung and related of the
  grandmother-grandfather, whose name is Xpiyacoc and Xmucane, the
  Concealer and Protector; two-fold grandmother and two-fold
  grandfather are they called in the legends of the Quiches.”[128]

It will be here observed that the declaration of the attributes of the
highest divinity sets forth distinctly sexual ideas, and, as was often
the case in Grecian, Egyptian and Oriental mythology, this divinity is
represented as embracing the powers and functions of both sexes in his
own person; and it is curious that both here and in the second
paragraph, the _female_ attributes are named _first_.

First in the specific names of divinity given is _Hun-ahpu-vuch_. To
derive any appropriate signification for this has baffled students of
this mythology. _Hun_ is the numeral _one_, but which also, as in most
tongues, has the other meanings of first, foremost, self, unique, most
prominent, “the one,” etc. _Ah pu_ is derived both by Ximenez and
Brasseur from the prefix _ah_, which is used to signify knowledge or
possession of, or control over, mastership or skill in, origin from or
practice in that to which it is prefixed; and _ub_, or _pub_, the
_sarbacana_ or blowpipe, which these Indians used to employ as a weapon
in war and the chase. _Ah pu_, therefore, they take to mean, He who uses
the sarbacane, a hunter. _Vuch_, the last member of this compound name,
is understood by both to mean the opossum.

In accordance with these derivations the name is translated “an opossum

Such a name bears little meaning in this relation; little relevancy to
the nature and functions of deity; and if a more appropriate and not
less plausible composition could be suggested, it would have intrinsic
claims for adoption. There is such a composition, and it is this: The
derivation of Ahpu from _ah-pub_ is not only unnecessary but hardly
defensible. In Cakchiquel the sarbacane is _pub_, but in Quiche the
initial _p_ is dropped, as can be seen in many passages of the _Popol
Vuh_. The true composition of this word I take to be _ah-puz_, for _puz_
has a signification associated with the mysteries of religion; it
expressed the divine power which the native priests and prophets claimed
to have received from the gods, and the essentially supernatural
attributes of divinity itself. It was the word which at first the
natives applied to the power of forgiving sins claimed by the Catholic
missionaries; but as it was associated with so many heathen notions, the
clergy decided to drop it altogether from religious language, and to
leave it the meaning of necromancy and unholy power. Thus Coto gives it
as the Cakchiquel word for _magic_ or _necromancy_.[129]

The word _puz_ is used in various passages of the _Popol Vuh_ to express
the supernatural power of the gods and priests; but probably by the time
that Ximenez wrote, it had, in the current dialect of his parish, lost
its highest signification, and hence it did not suggest itself to him as
the true derivation of the name I am discussing.

The third term, _Vuch_ or _Vugh_, was chosen according to Ximenez
because this animal is notoriously cunning, “_por su astucia_.” This may
be correct, and we may have here a reminiscence of an animal myth. But
the word has several other significations which should be considered. It
was the name of a sacred dance; it expressed the trembling in the ague
chill; the warmth of water; and the darkness which comes before the

Of these various meanings one is tempted to take the last, and connect
Hun-ahpu-vuch with the auroral gods, the forerunners of the light, like
the “Kichigouai, those who make the day,” of Algonkin mythology.

There is a curious passage in the _Popol Vuh_ which is in support of
such an opinion. It occurs at a certain period of the history of the
mythical hero Hunahpu. The text reads:

 “Are cut ta chi r’ah zakiric,       “And now it was about to become

 “Chi zaktarin,                      And the dawn came,

 “U xecah ca xaquinuchic.            The day opened.

 “Ama x-u ch’ux ri Vuch?             ‘Is the _Vuch_ about to be?’

 “Ve, x-cha ri mama.                 Yes, answered the old man.

 “Ta chi xaquinic;                   Then he spread apart his legs;

 “Quate ta chi gekumar chic;         Again the darkness appeared;

 “Cahmul xaquin ri mama.             Four times the old man spread his

 “Ca xaquin-Vuch,” ca cha vinak      “Now the opossum (_Vuch_) spreads
   vacamic.                            his legs,” say the people yet
                                       (meaning that the day

As the same word _Vuch_ meant both the opossum and the atmospheric
change which in that climate precedes the dawn, the text may be
translated either way, and the homophony would give rise to a double
meaning of the name. This homophony contains, indeed, rich material for
the development of an animal myth, identifying the _Vuch_ with the God
of Light, just as the similarity of the Algonkin _waubisch_, the dawn,
and _waubos_, the rabbit, gave occasion to a whole cycle of curious
myths in which the Great Hare or the Mighty Rabbit figures as the
Creator of the world, the Day Maker, and the chief God of the widely
spread Algonkin tribes.[131]

In the second name, _Hun-ahpu-utiu_, the last member _utiu_ means the
coyote, the native wolf, an animal which plays an important symbolic
part in the cosmogonical myths of Californian, Mexican and Central
American tribes. It appears generally to represent the night, and I
would render the esoteric sense of the two names by “Master of the
Night,” and “Master of the Approaching Dawn.”

The same concealed sense seems to lurk in the next name,
_Zaki-nima-tzyiz_, literally, “The Great White Pisote,” the pisote being
the proboscidian known as _Nasua narica_, L.

These names are repeated in a later passage of the _Popol Vuh_ (p. 20).

  “Make known your name, Hun-ahpu-vuch, Hun-ahpu-utiu, twofold bearer
  of children, twofold begetter of children, Nim-ak, Nim-tzyiz, master
  of the emerald, etc.”

The name _Nim-ak_ is elsewhere given _Zaki-nim-ak_. The former means
“Great Hog,” the latter “White, Great Hog.” Brasseur translates _ak_ as
wild boar (_sanglier_), but it is the common name for the native hog,
without distinction of sex. In a later passage,[132] we are informed
that it was the name of an old man with white hair, and that
Zaki-nima-tzyiz was the name of an old woman, his wife, all bent and
doubled up with age, but both beings of marvelous magic power. Thus we
find here an almost unique example of the deification of the hog; for
once, this useful animal, generally despised in mythology and
anathematized in religion, is given the highest pedestal in the

Perhaps we should understand these and nearly all similar brute gods to
be relics of a primitive form of totemic worship, such as was found in
vigor among some of the northern tribes. Various other indications of
this can be discovered among the branches of the Maya family. The
Cakchiquels were called “the people of the bat” (_zoq’_), that animal
being their national sign or token, and also the symbol of their
god.[133] The _tucur_ owl, _chan_ or _cumatz_ serpent, _balam_ tiger,
and _geh_ deer, are other animals whose names are applied to prominent
families or tribes in these nearly related myths.

The priests and rulers also assumed frequently the names of animals, and
some pretended to be able to transform themselves into them at will.
Thus it is said of Gucumatz Cotuha, fifth king of the Quiches, that he
transformed himself into an eagle, into a tiger, into a serpent, and
into coagulated blood.[134] In their dances and other sacred ceremonies
they used hideous masks, carved, painted and ornamented to represent the
heads of eagles, tigers, etc. These were called _coh_, as _cohbal ruvi
cot_, the mask of an eagle; _cohbal ruvi balam_, the mask of a tiger,
etc. In Maya the same word is found, _koh_, and in the Codex Troano, one
of few original Maya manuscripts we have left, these masks are easily
distinguished on the heads of many of the persons represented. Recent
observers tell us that in the more remote parishes in Central America
these brute-faced masks are still worn by the Indians who dance in
accompanying the processions of the Church![135] Even yet, every
new-born child among the Quiches is solemnly named after some beast by
the native “medicine man” before he is baptized by the padre.[136]

This brings me to a name which has very curious meanings, to wit,
_Tepeu_. It is the ordinary word in these dialects for lord, ruler,
chief or king. Its form in Cakchiquel is _Tepex_, in Maya _Tepal_, and
it is probably from the adjective root _tep_, filled up, supplied in
abundance, satisfied. In Quiche and Cakchiquel it is used synonymously
with _galel_ or _gagal_ and _ahau_, as a translation of Señor or
Cacique. But it has another definite meaning, and that is, the disease
_syphilis_; and what is not less curious, this meaning extends also in a
measure to _gagal_ and _ahau_.

This extraordinary collocation of ideas did not escape the notice of
Ximenez, and he undertakes to explain it by suggestion that as syphilis
arises from cohabitation with many different women, and this is a
privilege only of the great and powerful, so the name came to be applied
to the chiefs and nobles, and to their god.[137]

Of course, syphilis has no such origin; but if the Indians thought it
had, and considered it a proof of extraordinary genetic power, it would
be a plausible supposition that they applied this term to their divinity
as being the type of the fecundating principle. But the original sense
of the adjective _tep_ does not seem to bear this out, and it would
rather appear that the employment of the word as the name of the disease
was a later and secondary sense. Such is the opinion of Father Coto, who
says that the term was applied jestingly to those suffering from
syphilitic sores, because, like a chieftain or a noble, they did no
work, but had to sit still with their hands in their laps, as it were,
waiting to get well.[138]

The same strange connection occurs in other American mythologies. Thus
in the Aztec tongue _nanahuatl_ means a person suffering from syphilis;
it is also, in a myth preserved by Sahagun, the name of the Sun-God, and
it is related of him that as a sacrifice, before becoming the sun, he
threw into the sacrificial flames, not precious gifts, as the custom
was, but the scabs from his sores.[139] So also Caracaracol, a prominent
figure in Haytian mythology, is represented as suffering from sores or

The name _Gucumatz_ is correctly stated by Ximenez to be capable of two
derivations. The first takes it from _gugum_, a feather; _tin gugumah_,
I embroider or cover with feathers. The second derivation is from _gug_,
feather, and _cumatz_, the generic name for serpent. The first of these
is that which the writer of the _Popol Vuh_ preferred, as appears from
his expression; “They are folded in the feathers (_gug_), the green
ones; therefore their name is Gugumatz; very wise indeed are they” (p.
6). The brilliant plumage of the tropical birds was constantly used by
these tribes as an ornament for their clothing and their idols, and the
possession of many of these exquisite feathers was a matter of pride.

The names _u Qux cho, Qux palo_, mean “the Heart of the Lake, the Heart
of the Sea.” To them may be added _u Qux_ _cah_, “the Heart of the Sky,”
and _u Qux uleu_, “the Heart of the Earth,” found elsewhere in the
_Popol Vuh_, and applied to divinity. The literal sense of the word
heart was, however, not that which was intended; in those dialects this
word had a much richer metaphorical meaning than in our tongue; in them
it stood for all the psychical powers, the memory, will and reasoning
faculties, the life, the spirit, the soul.[140]

It would be more correct, therefore, to render these names the “spirit”
or “soul” of the lake, etc., than the “heart.” They represent broadly
the doctrine of “animism” as held by these people, and generally by man
in his early stages of religious development. They indicate also a dimly
understood sense of the unity of spirit or energy in the different
manifestations of organic and inorganic existence.

This was not peculiar to the tribes under consideration. The heart was
very generally looked upon, not only as the seat of life, but as the
source of the feelings, intellect and passions, the very soul
itself.[141] Hence, in sacrificing victims it was torn out and offered
to the god as representing the immaterial part of the individual, that
which survived the death of the body.

The two names _Ah-raxa-lak_ and _Ah-raxa-sel_ literally mean, “He of the
green dish,” “He of the green cup.” Thus Ximenez gives them, and adds
that forms of speech with _rax_ signify things of beauty, fit for kings
and lords, as are brightly colored cups and dishes.

_Rax_ is the name of the colors blue and green, which it is said by many
writers cannot be distinguished apart by these Indians; or at least that
they have no word to express the difference. _Rax_, by extension, means
new, strong, rough, violent, etc.[142] Coming immediately after the
names “Soul of the Lake,” “Soul of the Sea,” it is possible that the
“blue plate” is the azure surface of the tropical sea.

In the second paragraph I have quoted, the narrator introduces us to
“the ancestress (_iyom_), the ancestor (_mamom_), by name Xpiyacoc,
Xmucane.” These were prominent figures in Quiche mythology; they were
the embodiments of the paternal and maternal powers of organic life;
they were invoked elsewhere in the _Popol Vuh_ to favor the germination
of seeds, and the creation of mankind; they are addressed as “ancestress
of the sun, ancestress of the light.” The old man, Xpiyacoc, is spoken
of as the master of divination by the _tzite_, or sacred beans; the old
woman, Xmucane, as she who could forecast days and seasons (_ahgih_);
they were the parents of those mighty ones “whose name was Ahpu,”
masters of magic.[143] From this ancient couple, Ximenez tells us the
native magicians and medicine men of his day claimed to draw their
inspiration, and they were especially consulted touching the birth of
infants, in which they were still called upon to assist in spite of the
efforts of the padres. It is clear throughout that they represented
mainly the peculiar functions of the two sexes.

Their names perhaps belonged to an archaic dialect, and the Quiches
either could not or would not explain them. All that Ximenez says is
that Xmucane means _tomb_ or _grave_, deriving it from the verb _tin
muk_, I bury.

In most or all of the languages of this stock the root _muk_ or _muc_
means to cover or cover up. In Maya the passive form of the verbal noun
is _mucaan_, of which the _Diccionario de Motul_[144] gives the
translation “something covered or buried,” the second meaning arising
naturally from the custom of covering the dead body with earth, and
indicated that the mortuary rites among them were by means of interment;
as, indeed, we are definitely informed by Bishop Landa.[145] The
feminine prefix and the terminal euphonic _e_ give precisely
_X-mucaan-e_, meaning “She who is covered up,” or buried.

But while etymologically satisfactory, the appropriateness of this
derivation is not at once apparent. Can it have reference to the seed
covered by the soil, the child buried in the womb, the egg hidden in the
nest, etc., and thus typify one of the principles or phases of
reproduction? For there is no doubt, but that it is in the category of
divinities presiding over reproduction this deity belongs. Not only is
she called “primal mother of the sun and the light,”[146] but it is she
who cooks the pounded maize from which the first of men were formed.

Both names may be interpreted with appropriateness to the sphere and
functions of their supposed powers, from radicals common to the Maya and
Quiche dialects. _Xmucane_ may be composed of the feminine prefix _x_
(the same in sound and meaning as the English pronominal adjective _she_
in such terms as _she-bear_, _she-cat_): and _mukanil_, vigor, force,

_Xpiyacoc_ is not so easy of solution, but I believe it to be a
derivative from the root _xib_, the male, whence _xipbil_,
masculinity,[147] and _oc_ or _ococ_, to enter, to accouple in the act
of generation.[148]

We can readily see, with these meanings hidden in them, the subtler
sense of which the natives had probably lost, that these names would be
difficult of satisfactory explanation to the missionaries, and that they
would be left by them as of undetermined origin.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The second fragment of Quiche mythology which I shall analyze is one
that relates to the Gods of the Storm. These are introduced as the three
manifestations of _Qux-cha_, the Soul of the Sky, and collectively
“their name is Hurakan:”

  “Cakulha Hurakan is the first; Chipi-cakulha is the second; the
  third is Raxa-cakulha; and these three are the Soul of the Sky.”

Elsewhere we read:

  “Speak therefore our name, honor your mother, your father; call ye
  upon Hurakan, Chipi-cakulha, Raxa-cakulha, Soul of the Earth, Soul
  of the Sky, Creator, Maker, Her who brings forth, Him who begets;
  speak, call upon us, salute us.”[149]

_Cakulha_ (Cakchiquel, _cokolhay_) is the ordinary word for the
lightning; Raxa-cakulha, is rendered by Coto as “the flash of the
lightning” (_el resplandor del rayo_); Chipi-cakulha is stated by
Brasseur to mean “le sillonnement de l’eclair;” _chip_ is used to
designate the latest, youngest or least of children, or fingers, etc.,
and the expression therefore is “the track of the lightning.”

There remains the name Hurakan, and it is confessedly difficult.
Brasseur says that no explanation of it can be found in the Quiche or
Cakchiqùel dictionaries, and that it must have been brought from the
Antilles, where it was the name applied to the terrible tornado of the
West Indian latitudes, and, borrowed from the Haytians by early
navigators, has under the forms _ouragan_, _huracan_, _hurricane_,
passed into European languages. I am convinced, however, that the word
Hurakan belongs in its etymology to the Maya group of dialects, and must
be analyzed by them.

One such etymology is indeed offered by Ximenez, but an absurd one. He
supposed the word was compounded of _hun_, one; _ru_ his; and _rakan_,
foot, and translates it “of one foot.” This has very properly been

On collating the proper names in the _Popol Vuh_ there are several of
them which are evidently allied to Hurakan. Thus we have _Cabrakan_, who
is represented as the god of the earthquake, he who shakes the solid
earth in his might and topples over the lofty mountains. His name is the
common word for earthquake in these dialects. Again, one of the titles
of Xmucane is _Chirakan Xmucane_.

The terminal _rakan_ in these names is a word used to express greatness
in size, height or bigness. Many examples are found in Coto’s

For a person tall in stature he gives the expression _togam rakan_: for
large in body, the Cakchiqùel is _naht rakan_, and for gigantic, or a
giant, _hu rakan_.

This idea of strength and might is of course very appropriate to the
deity who presides over the appalling forces of the tropical
thunderstorm, who flashes the lightning and hurls the thunderbolt.

It is also germane to the conception of the earthquake god. The first
syllable, _cab_, means twice, or two, or second; and apparently has
reference to _hun_, one or first, in _hurakan_. As the thunderstorm was
the most terrifying display of power, so next in order came the

The name _Chirakan_ as applied to Xmucane may have many meanings; _chi_
in all these dialects means primarily _mouth_; but it has a vast number
of secondary meanings, as in all languages. Thus, according to Coto, it
is currently used to designate the mouth of a jar, the crater of a
volcano, the eye of a needle, the door of a house, a window, a gate to a
field, in fact, almost any opening whatever. I suspect that as here used
as part of the name of the mythical mother of the race and the
representation of the female principle, it is to be understood as
referring to the _ostium vaginæ_, from which, as from an immeasurable
_vagina gentium_, all animate life was believed to have drawn its

If the derivation of Hurakan here presented is correct, we can hardly
refuse to explain the word as it occurs elsewhere with the same meaning
as an evidence of the early influence of the Maya race on other tribes.
It would appear to have been through the Caribs that it was carried to
the West India islands, where it was first heard by the European
navigators. Thus the _Dictionaire Galibi_ (Paris, 1743,) gives for
“diable,” _iroucan_, _jeroucan_, _hyorokan_, precisely as Coto gives the
Cakchiquel equivalent of “diablo” as _hurakan_. This god was said by the
Caribs to have torn the islands of the West Indian archipelago from the
mainland, and to have heaped up the sand hills and bluffs along the
shores.[151] As an associate or “captain” of the hurricane, they spoke
of a huge bird who makes the winds, by name _Savacon_, in the middle
syllable of which it is possible we may recognize the bird _vaku_, which
the Quiches spoke of as the messenger of Hurakan.

                  *       *       *       *       *

I now pass to the myth of the descent of the hero-god, Xbalanque, into
the underworld, Xibalba, his victory over the inhabitants, and
triumphant return to the realm of light. The exploits of this demigod
are the principal theme of the earlier portion of the _Popol Vuh_.

It was the vague similarity of this myth to the narrative of the descent
of Christ into hell, and his ascent into heaven, to which we owe the
earliest reference to these religious beliefs of the Guatemalan tribes;
and it is a gratifying proof of their genuine antiquity that we have
this reference. Our authority is the Bishop of Chiapas, Bartolome de las
Casas, with other contemporary writers. The Bishop writes that the
natives of Guatemala alleged that Xbalanque was born at Utlatlan, the
ancient Quiche capital, and having governed it a certain time with
success, went down to hell to fight the devils. Having conquered them,
he returned to the upper world, but the Quiches refused to receive him,
so he passed on into another province.[152]

As related in the _Popol Vuh_, the myth runs thus:

The divine pair, Xpiyacoc and Xmucane had as sons Hunhun-Ahpu and
Vukub-Hun-Ahpu (Each-one-a-Magician and Seven-times-a-Magician). They
were invited to visit Xibalba, the Underworld, by its lords, Hun-Came
and Vukub-Came (One-Death and Seven-Deaths), and accepting the
invitation, were treacherously murdered. The head of Hunhun-Ahpu was cut
off and suspended on a tree. A maiden, by name Xquiq, (Blood,) passed
that way, and looking at the tree, longed for its fruit; then the head
of Hunhun-Ahpu cast forth spittle into the outstretched palm of the
maiden, and forthwith she became pregnant. Angered at her condition, her
father set about to slay her, but she escaped to the upper world and
there brought forth the twins Hun-Ahpu and Xbalanque. They grew in
strength, and performed various deeds of prowess, which are related at
length in the _Popol Vuh_, and were at last invited by the lords of the
Underworld to visit them. It was the intention of the rulers of this
dark land that the youths should meet the same fate as their father and
uncle. But, prepared by warnings, and skilled in magic power, Xbalanque
and his brother foiled the murderous designs of the lords of Xibalba;
pretending to be burned, and their ashes cast into the river, they rose
from its waves unharmed, and by a stratagem slew Hun-Came and
Vukub-Came. Then the inhabitants of the Underworld were terrified and
fled, and Hun-Ahpu and Xbalanque released the prisoners and restored to
life those who had been slain. The latter rose to the sky to become its
countless stars, while Hunhun-Ahpu and Vukub-Hun-Ahpu ascended to dwell
the one in the sun, the other in the moon.

The portion of the legend which narrates the return of Xbalanque to the
upper world, and what befell him there, as referred to in the myth
preserved by Las Casas, is not preserved in the _Popol Vuh_.

The faint resemblance which the early missionaries noticed in this
religious tradition to that of Christ would not lead any one who has at
all closely studied mythology to assume that this is an echo of
Christian teachings. Both in America and the Orient the myths of the
hero god, born of a virgin, and that of the descent into Hades, are
among the most common. Their explanation rests on the universality and
prominence of the processes of nature which are typified under these
narratives. It is unscientific to attempt to derive one from the other,
and it is not less so to endeavor to invest them with the character of
history, as has been done in this instance by the Abbé Brasseur and
various other writers.

The Abbé maintained that Xibalba was the name of an ancient State in the
valley of the Usumasinta in Tabasco, the capital of which was
Palenque.[153] He inclined to the belief that the original form was
_tzibalba_, which would mean _painted mole_, in the Tzendal dialect and
might have reference to a custom of painting the face. This far-fetched
derivation is unnecessary. The word _Xibalba_, (Cakchiquel _Xibalbay_,
Maya _Xibalba_, _Xabalba_, or _Xubalba_) was the common term throughout
the Maya stock of languages to denote the abode of the spirits of the
dead, or Hades, which with them was held to be under the surface of the
earth, and not, as the Mexicans often supposed, in the far north. Hence
the Cakchiquels used as synonymous with it the expression “the centre or
heart of the earth.”[154]

After the conquest the word was and is in common use in Guatemalan
dialects to mean _hell_, and in Maya for _the devil_. Cogolludo states
that it was the original Maya term for the Evil Spirit, and that it
means “He who disappears, or vanishes.”[155] He evidently derived it
from the Maya verb, _xibil_, and I believe this derivation is correct;
but the signification he gives is incomplete. The original sense of the
word was “to melt,” hence “to disappear.”[156] This became connected
with the idea of disappearance in death, and of ghosts and specters.

It is interesting to note how the mental processes of these secluded and
semi-barbarous tribes led them to the same association of ideas which
our greatest dramatist expresses in Hamlet’s soliloquy:

             “O, that this too, too solid flesh would melt,
             Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew;”

and which Cicero records in the phrase _dissolutio naturæ_, in the sense
of death.[157]

The natural terror and fright with which death and ghosts are everywhere
regarded, and especially, as Landa remarks, by this people, explain how
this secondary meaning became predominant in the word. The termination
_ba_ means in the Guatemalan dialects, where, whence, whither, _bey_, a
path or road; _Xibilbay_ thus signifies, in the locative sense, “the
place where they (_i. e._ the dead) disappear,” the Hades, the Invisible
Realm, which was supposed to be under the ground.

It was a common belief among many tribes in America, that their earliest
ancestors emerged from a world which underlies this one on which we
live, and in ancient Cakchiquel legend, the same or a similar notion
seems to have prevailed.

The name of the hero-god _Xbalanque_ is explained by the Abbé Brasseur
as a compound of the diminutive prefix _x_, _balam_, a tiger, and the
plural termination _que_.[158] Like so many of his derivations, this is
quite incorrect. There is no plural termination _que_, either in the
Quiche or in any related dialect; and the signification “tiger” (jaguar,
_Felix unca_ Lin. in Mexican _ocelotl_), which he assigns to the word
_balam_, is only one of several which belong to it.

The name is compounded of the prefix, either feminine or diminutive,
_x_; _balam_, or, as given by Guzman, _balan_;[159] and _queh_, deer.
This is the composition given by Ximenez, who translates it literally as
“a diminutive form of tiger and deer.”[160]

The name _balam_, was also that of a class of warriors: of a
congregation of priests or diviners; and of one of the inferior orders
of deities. In composition it was applied to a spotted butterfly, as it
is in our tongue to the “tiger-lily;” to the king-bee; to certain
rapacious birds of prey, etc.

None of the significations concerns us here; but we do see our way when
we learn that both _balam_ and _queh_ are names of days in the
Quiche-Cakchiquel calendar. The former stood for the twelfth, the latter
for the seventh in their week of twenty days.[161] Each of the days was
sacred to a particular divinity, but owing to the inadequate material
preserved for the study of the ancient calendars of Guatemala, we are
much in the dark as to the relationship of these divinities.

Suffice it to say that the hero-god whose name is thus compounded of two
signs in the calendar, who is born of a virgin, who performs many
surprising feats of prowess on the earth, who descends into the world of
darkness and sets free the sun, moon and stars to perform their daily
and nightly journeys through the heavens, presents in these and other
traits such numerous resemblances to the Divinity of Light, reappearing
in so many American myths, the Day-maker of the northern hunting tribes,
that I do not hesitate to identify the narrative of Xbalanque and his
deeds as one of the presentations of this widespread, this well-nigh
universal myth—guarding my words by the distinct statement, however,
that the identity may be solely a psychological, not a historical one.


In the pleasant volume which Mr. Charles G. Leland has written on the
surviving aboriginal folk-lore of New England,[163] the chief divinity
of the Micmacs and Penobscots appears under what seems at first the
outrageously incongruous name of _Gluskap, the Liar!_ This is the
translation of the name as given by the Rev. S. T. Rand, late missionary
among the Micmacs, and the best authority on that language. From a
comparison of the radicals of the name in related dialects of the
Algonkin stock, I should say that a more strictly literal rendering
would be “word-breaker,” or “deceiver with words.” In the Penobscot
dialect the word is divided thus,—_Glus-Gahbé_, where the component
parts are more distinctly visible.[164]

The explanation of this epithet, as quoted from native sources by Mr.
Leland, is that he was called the liar because “when he left earth, like
King Arthur, for fairy land, he promised to return, and has never done

It is true that the Algonkian Hero-God, like all the American
culture-heroes, Ioskeha, Quetzalcoatl, Zamna, Bochica, Viracocha, and
the rest, disappeared in some mysterious way, promising again to visit
his people, and has long delayed his coming. But it was not for that
reason that he was called the “deceiver in words.” Had Mr. Leland made
himself acquainted with Algonkin mythology in general, he would have
found that this is but one of several, to our thinking, opprobrious
names they applied to their highest divinity, their national hero, and
the reputed saviour and benefactor of their race.

The Crees, living northwest of the Micmacs, call this divine personage,
whom, as Father Lacombe tells us, they regard as “The principal deity
and the founder of these nations,” by the name _Wisakketjâk_, which
means “the trickster,” “the deceiver.”[165] The Chipeways apply to him a
similar term, _Nenaboj_, or as it is usually written, _Nanabojoo_, and
_Nanaboshoo_, “the Cheat,” perhaps allied to _Nanabanisi_, he is

This is the same deity that reappears under the names _Manabozho_,
_Michabo_, and _Messou_, among the Chipeway tribes; as _Napiw_ among the
Blackfeet; and as _Wetucks_ among the New England Indians where he is
mentioned by Roger Williams as “A man that wrought great miracles among
them, with some kind of broken resemblance to the Sonne of God.”[167]

These appellations have various significations. The last mentioned is
apparently from _ock_ or _ogh_, father, with the prefix _wit_, which
conveys the sense “in common” or “general.” Hence it would be “the
common father.”

_Michabo_, constantly translated by writers “the Great Hare,” as if
derived from _michi_, great, and _wabos_, hare, is really a verbal form
from _michi_ and _wabi_, white, and should be translated, “the Great
White One.” The reference is to the white light of the dawn, he, like
most of the other American hero-gods, being an impersonation of the

The name _Wisakketjâk_, though entirely Algonkin in aspect, offers
serious etymological difficulties, so unmanageable indeed that one of
the best authorities, M. Cuoq, abandons the attempt.[168] Its most
apparent root is _wisak_, which conveys the sense of annoyance, hurt or
bitterness, and the name would thus seem to be applied to one who causes
these disagreeable sensations.

In all the pure and ancient Algonkin cosmogonical legends, this divinity
creates the world by his magic powers, peoples it with game and animals,
places man upon it, teaches his favorite people the arts of the chase,
and gives them the corn and beans. His work is disturbed by enemies of
various kinds, sometimes his own brothers, sometimes by a formidable
serpent and his minions.

These myths, when analyzed through the proper names they contain, and
compared with those of the better known mythologies of the old world,
show plainly that their original purport was to recount, under
metaphorical language, on the one hand the unceasing struggle of day
with night, light with darkness, and on the other, that no less
important conflict which is ever waging between the storm and sunshine,
the winter and summer, the rain and the clear sky.

Writers whose knowledge of religions was confined to that of the Semitic
race, as represented in our Bible, have maintained that the story of
Michabo’s battles with the serpent, who is certainly represented as a
master of magic and subtlety, and hence dangerous to the human race,
must have come from contact with the missionaries. A careful study of
the myth will dispel all doubts on this point. Years ago, Mr. E. G.
Squier showed that this legend was unquestionably of aboriginal source;
but he failed to perceive its significance.[169] The serpent, typical of
the sinuous lightning, symbolizes the storm, the rains and the water.

But to return to the class of names with which we began. The struggles
of Michabo with these various powerful enemies I have just named,
constitute the principal theme of the countless tales which are told of
him by the native story-tellers, only a small part of which, and those
much disfigured, came under the notice of Mr. Leland, among the long
civilized eastern tribes. Mr. Schoolcraft frequently refers to these
“innumerable tales of personal achievement, sagacity, endurance, miracle
and trick which place him in almost every scene of deep interest which
can be imagined.”[170] These words express the spirit of the greater
number of these legends. Michabo does not conquer his enemies by brute
force, nor by superior strength, but by craft and ruses, by transforming
himself into unsuspected shapes, by cunning and strategy. He thus comes
to be represented as the arch-deceiver; but in a good sense, as his
enemies on whom he practices these wiles are also those of the human
race, and he exercises his powers with a benevolent intention.

Thus it comes to pass that this highest divinity of these nations, their
chief god and culture-hero, bears in familiar narrative the surprising
titles, “the liar,” “the cheat,” and “the deceiver.”

It would be an interesting literary and psychological study to compare
this form of the Michabo myth with some in the old world, which closely
resemble it in what artists call _motive_. I would name particularly the
story of the “wily Ulysses” of the Greeks, the “transformations of Ebu
Seid of Serug” and the like in Arabic, and the famous tale of Reynard
the Fox in medieval literature. The same spirit breathes in all of them;
all minister to the delight with which the mind contemplates mere
physical strength beaten in the struggle with intelligence. They are all
peans sung for the victory of mind over matter. In none of them is there
much nicety about the means used to accomplish the ends. Deceit by word
and action is the general resource of the heroes. They all act on the
Italian maxim:

                   “O per fortuna, o per ingano,
                   Il vencer sempre e laudabil cosa.”

                     THE JOURNEY OF THE SOUL.[171]

I am about to invite your attention to one of the many curious results
of comparative mythology. This science, which is still in its infancy,
may be regarded by some of you, as it is by the world at large, as one
of little practical importance, and quite remote from the interests of
daily life and thought. But some of the results it attains are so
startling, and throw such a singular light on various familiar customs
and popular beliefs, that the time is not far off when it will be
recognized as one of the most potent solvents in the crucible of

The point to which I shall address myself to-night is the opinion
entertained by three ancient nations, very wide apart in space, time and
blood, concerning the journey of the soul when it leaves the body.

These nations are the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Aryans, and the
Aztecs or Nahua of Central Mexico.

All these people believed, with equal faith, in the existence of a soul
or spirit in man, and in its continuing life after the death of the
body. How they came by this belief does not concern my present thesis;
that they held it in unquestioning faith none can deny who has studied
even superficially their surviving monuments. They supposed this assumed
after-life was continued under varying conditions in some other locality
than this present world, and that it required a journey of some length
for the disembodied spirit to reach its destined abode. It is the events
which were supposed to take place on this journey, and the goals to
which it led, that I am about to narrate. It will be seen that there are
several curious similarities in the opinions of these widely diverse
peoples, which can only be explained by the supposition that they based
their theories of the soul’s journey and goal on some analogy familiar
to them all.

I begin with the Egyptian theory. It appears in its most complete form
in the sepulchral records of the New Kingdom, after the long period of
anarchy of the Shepherd Kings had passed, and when under the 18th, 19th
and 20th dynasties, Egypt may be said to have risen to the very pinnacle
of her greatness.

The collection of the sacred funerary texts into the famous ritual known
as “The Book of the Dead,” dates from this time. Many of its chapters
are, indeed, very much older; but Egyptian religion, which was not
stationary, but constantly progressive toward higher intellectual forms
and purer ethical standards, can best be judged as it was in this
period, that of the Theban dynasties of the New Kingdom. To assign a
date, we may say in round numbers, two thousand years before the
Christian era.

From that invaluable document, therefore, the “Book of the Dead,” we
learn what this ancient people expected to happen to the soul when it
left the body. Of the millions of mummies which were zealously prepared
in those ages, none was complete unless it had folded with it one or a
number of chapters of this holy book, the formulas in which were
safeguards and passwords to the spirit on its perilous journey.

The general statement is that the soul on leaving the corpse passes
toward the West, where it descends into the divine inferior region
called Amenti, over which presides Osiris, “chief of chiefs divine,” who
represents the Sun-god in his absence, in other words the sun at night,
the sun which has sunk in the west and stays somewhere all night.

In this place of darkness the soul undergoes its various tests. The
deeds done in the flesh, the words spoken in life, the thoughts of the
heart, are brought up against it by different accusers, who appear in
the form of monsters of the deep. As the sun has to combat the darkness
of the night and to overcome it before it can again rise, so the soul
has to combat the record of its sins, and conquer the frightful images
which represent them. This was to be done in the Egyptian, as in almost
all religions, by the power of magic formulas, in other words by
prayers, and the invocation of holy names.

Having succeeded, the soul saw the nightly constellations and the
heavenly stars, and reached the great celestial river, whose name was
Nun. This was the self-created, primordial element. From its green
depths all created things, even the gods themselves, took their origin.
It is called in the texts, “father of all gods.” From it rose Ra, the
Sun-god, in his brightness. In its dark depths lies bound in chains of
iron the serpent Refref, the symbol of evil, otherwise called Apap. But,
though bound, this monster endeavors to seize each soul that crosses the
river. The fortunate soul repels the serpent by blows and incantations
which destroy its power, but the unfortunate one is swallowed up and

This danger passed, the soul reaches the farther strand, and rises from
the waters, as Horus, who represents the sun at dawn, rises from the
eastern waves. This is the purpose of all the rites and prayers—to have
the soul, as the expression is, “rise at day” or “rise in the daytime.”
In other words, to rise as the sun and with the sun, or, to use again
the constant formula of the “Book of the Dead,” to “enter the boat of
the Sun;” for the Sun was supposed to sail through celestial and
translucent waters on its grand journey from horizon to zenith and
zenith to horizon. Starting at dawn as the child Horus, son of the slain
and lost Osiris, the orb of light became at midday the mighty Ra, and as
evening approached, was transformed into Khep-Ra or Harmachis, again to
become Osiris when it had sunk beneath the western verge.

So strict and absolute was the analogy supposed by the Egyptians to
exist between the course of the sun and the destiny of the soul, that
every soul was said to become Osiris at the moment of death, and in the
copies of the “Book of the Dead,” enclosed in a mummy, the proper name
of the defunct is always preceded by the name “Osiris,” as we might say
“Osiris Rameses” or “Osiris Sesostris.”

To illustrate further what I have said, I will translate a few passages
from the most recent and correct version of the “Book of the Dead,” that
published at Paris a few months ago, and made by Prof. Paul Pierret, of
the Egyptian Museum of the Louvre.

The following is an extract from the first chapter of this Ritual:

“O ye who open the roads! O ye who make smooth the paths to the souls in
the abode of Osiris! Make smooth the paths, open the roads to Osiris
Such-a-one that he may enter, by the aid of this chapter, into the abode
of Osiris; that he may enter with zeal and emerge with joy; that this
Osiris Such-a-one be not repulsed, nor miss his way, that he may enter
as he wishes and leave when he wills. Let his words be made true and his
orders executed in the abode of Osiris.

“This Osiris Such-a-one is journeying toward the west with good fortune.
When weighed in the balance he is found to be without sin; of numerous
mouths, none has condemned him; his soul stands erect before Osiris; out
of his mouth when on earth no impurity proceeded.”

(Here the soul speaks:)

“I place myself before the master of the gods; I reach the divine abode;
I raise myself as a living god; I shine among the gods of heaven; I am
become as one of you, O ye gods. I witness the progress of the holy
stars. I cross the river Nun. I am not far removed from the fellowship
of the gods. I eat of the food of the gods. I sit among them. I am
invoked as a divine being; I hear the prayers offered to me; I enter the
boat of the sun; my soul is not far from its lord. Hail to thee, Osiris!
Grant that I sail joyously to the west, that I be received by the lords
of the west; that they say to me, ‘Adoration, adoration and peace be
thine;’ and that they prepare a place for me near to the chief of chiefs

Through the rhetoric of this mystic rhapsody we see that the soul goes
to the abode of Osiris, is judged and tested as to its merits, and if
approved crosses in safety the river Nun and becomes as one of the gods
themselves; a companion of Osiris and Ra.

Such, in broad outline, was the orthodox Egyptian doctrine. There was a
vast amount of accessory matter and mysticism added to this simple
statement, but the foundation is always the same.

To one or two points I will call attention for later reference in this

In the 13th Chapter of the “Book of the Dead,” the defunct is supposed
to repeat the following formula:

“I arrive as a hawk, I depart as a phenix. I am the God of the morning.
I have finished the journey and worshipped the sun in the lower world.
Heavily braided is the hair of Osiris. I am one of the dogs of Horus. I
have finished the journey and worshipped Osiris.”

The reference to the hair of Osiris and the transformation of the soul
into a dog, are incidents to which I shall refer in another connection.

Another interesting fact is the frequent recurrence of the numbers four
and eight in the Egyptian theories of the spiritual world. In the 16th
Chapter of the “Book of the Dead,” it is prescribed that four pictures
as set forth should be painted on the sarcophagus, in order that the
soul may pass through the four apertures of the sky. The chapter
identifies these with the cardinal points from which blow the four
winds. In chapter 17, which is one of the oldest texts in the book,
reference is made to the eight gods of Hermapolis; elsewhere the number
is mentioned. This illustrates the easy transfer of the plan of
terrestrial geography to that of the spiritual world.

Passing now to the mythology of the Aryan nations, we find that the
three great cycles of its poetry, the Indian, the Greek, and the Norse,
agree closely in their opinions of the destination of the soul.

After death, according to their belief, the soul descended into a world
below the surface of the earth. The Greeks called it the realm of Hades,
from the name of its ruler, otherwise known as Pluto. The latter name
signifies the wealthy, because sooner or later all the children of men
and all their possessions come under his power. The meaning of Hades is
unknown, as its derivation from _æidos_, unseen, is now generally
doubted by the best Greek scholars.

The entrance to this realm was supposed to be guarded by two dogs, the
more famous of which, Cerberus in Greek, is in the Vedas spoken of by
the same name, Carvara. The soul must pacify these dogs and pass them
without injury if it would enjoy the delights that lay beyond. Within
the gates stretched a broad desert through which flowed the river
Acheron, which in later myths came to have various branches, the Styx,
Lethe, Polyphegmon, etc. This was to be crossed in the boat of Charon,
the silent ferryman, who spake no word but exacted of each ghost a toll.

The dark river crossed, the spirit appeared before the judges, and by
them its future fate was decided. An adverse decision condemned it to
wander lonely in the darkness, but a favorable verdict authorized its
entrance into the happy fields of Elysium. This joyous abode was in the
far west, in that land beyond the shining waters and the purple sunset
sea, where the orb of light goes to rest himself at night. Its light is
eternal, its joys perennial, its happiness perfect.

With little difference, this faith was shared by ancient Indians and
ancient Norsemen. The latter often buried with the dead a canoe or boat,
destined to convey the soul across the waves to the happy land beyond.

Even the ancient Kelt of Cornwall or Brittany had this same myth of the
Islands of the Blessed, lying somewhere far out in the Western Sea. What
to the Greek was the Garden of the Hesperides with its fruit of golden
quinces, was to the Kelt the Isle of Avalon, with its orchards of

Thither was conveyed the noble Arthur when slain on the field of
Lyoness. He was borne away in a royal boat by the fairy women of the
strand. There Ogier the Dane, worn by the wars of a hundred years, was
carried by his divine godmother to be restored to youth and strength,
and to return again to wield his battle-axe under the Oriflamme of

Wherever we turn, whether in the most ancient chants of the Vedas, in
the graceful forms of the Greek religious fancy, in the gaunt and weird
imaginings of the Norse poets, or in the complex but brilliant pictures
of mediæval romance, we find the same distinct plan of this journey of
the soul.

I pass now to the New World, almost to the antipodes of India, and take
up the doctrines of the Aztecs. We have sufficiently ample accounts of
their notions, preserved by various early writers, especially by Father
Sahagun, who took down the words of the priests in their own tongue, and
at a date when their knowledge was not dimmed or distorted by Christian
teaching. Something may also be learned from Tezozomoc, a native
chronicler, and others.

From these it appear that the Aztecs held that after death the souls of
all people pass downward into the under-world, to the place called
_Mictlan_. This is translated by the missionaries as “hell” or
“inferno,” but by derivation it means simply “the place of the slain,”
from an active verb meaning “to kill.”

To explain this further, I add that in all primitive American tribes,
there is no notion of natural death. No man “dies,” he is always
“killed.” Death as a necessary incident in the course of nature is
entirely unknown to them. When a person dies by disease, they suppose he
has been killed by some sorcery, or some unknown venomous creature.

The journey to Mictlan was long and perilous. The soul first passed
through a narrow defile between two mountains which touched each other,
where it was liable to be crushed; it then reached a path by which lay
in wait a serpent; next was a spot where a huge green lizard whose name
was “The Flower of Heat,” was concealed. After this, eight deserts
stretched their wild wastes, and beyond these, eight steep hills reared
their toilsome sides into the region of snow. Over their summits blew a
wind so keen that it was called “The Wind of Knives.” Much did the poor
soul suffer, exposed to this bitter cold, unless many coats of cotton
and other clothing were burnt upon his tomb for use at this lofty pass.

These hills descended, the shivering ghost reached the river called “By
the Nine Waters.” It was broad, and deep, and swift. Little chance had
the soul of crossing its dark current, was the aid for this purpose
forgotten during life, or by the mourners. This aid was a dog, of the
species trained by the Aztecs and held in high esteem by them.

But the dog must be of a particular color; white would not answer, else
he would say, when brought to the brink, “As for me, I am already
washed.” Black would fail as much, for the animal would say, “I am too
black myself to help another wash.” The only color was red, and for this
reason great numbers of reddish curs were fostered by the Aztecs, and
one was sacrificed at each funeral. Clinging to it, the soul crossed the
river and reached the further brink in safety, being purged and cleansed
in the transit of all that would make it unfit for the worlds beyond.

These worlds were threefold. One was called “The nine Abodes of the
Dead,” where the ordinary mass of mankind were said to go and forever
abide. The second was paradise, Tlalocan, the dwelling-place of the
Tlalocs, the gods of fertility and rain. It was full of roses and
fruits. No pain was there, and no sorrow. Scorching heat and cold were
alike unknown. Green fields, rippling brooks, balmy airs and perpetual
joy, filled the immortal days of the happy souls in Tlalocan. Those who
were destined for its Elysian years were divinely designated by the
diseases or accidents of which they died. These were of singular
variety. All struck by lightning or wounded, the leprous, the gouty, the
dropsical, and what at first sight seems curious, all those who died of
the forms of venereal diseases, were believed to pass directly to this

The third and highest reward was reserved for the brave who died upon
the field of battle, or, as captives, perished by the malice of public
enemies, and for women who died in childbirth. These went to the sun in
the sky, and dwelt up in the bright heavens. After four years they
returned to earth, and under the form of bright-plumaged singing birds
rejoiced the hearts of men, and were again spectators of human life.

In this Aztec doctrine the ruler of the underworld is spoken of as
_Mictlantecutli_, which the obtuse missionaries persistently render as
the devil.

The name means simply “Lord of the Abode of the Slain,” or of the dead.
In several of myths he is brought into close relation with the Aztec
national hero-god, Quetzalcoatl.

Like Osiris, Quetzalcoatl was said to be absent, to have gone away to
the home of the sun, that home where the sun rests at night. More
specifically, this was said to be under the earth, and it was spoken of
as a place of delights, like Tlalocan. Its name was _Cincalco_, which
means the House of Abundance; for no want, no dearth, no hunger and no
suffering, were known there. With him dwelt the souls of his disciples
and the Toltecs, his people, and at some day or other he and they would
return to claim the land and to restore it to its pristine state of

The thoughts in these faiths which I have described are the same. In
each of them the supposed history of the destiny of the soul follows
that of the sun and the stars. In all of them the spirits are believed
to descend into or under the surface of the earth, and then, after a
certain lapse of time, some fortunate ones are released to rise like the
orbs of light into the heavens above.

Striking analogies exist among them all. The river which in each flows
through the underworld, is nothing else than the great world-stream
which in the primitive geography of every nation is believed to surround
the habitable land, and beyond which the sun sinks at night. To reach
the abode of the sun in the west this river must be crossed.

The numbers 4 and 8 which occur in the Egyptian and Aztec geography of
the underworld, are relics of the sacredness attached to the cardinal

The ruler of the realm of shadows is not a malevolent being. Osiris,
Hades or Pluto, Mictlantecutli, Quetzalcoatl, all originally represented
the sun in its absence, and none of them in any way corresponds to the
mediæval or modern notion of the devil. As Osiris, who is unquestionably
the departed Sun-god, was represented with heavy and braided hair, so
his Aztec correlative was also named _Tzontemoc_, which means, he of the
abundant falling hair. In each case the analogy was to the long slanting
rays of the setting sun.

The role of the dog in these myths is a curious one. He appears as a
guardian and preserver. Even Cerberus is good to the good soul. It has
been argued by the eminent Sanscrit antiquary Rajendalala, in his late
volume on the Indo-Aryans, that this is a reminiscence of an ancient
custom of throwing the dead bodies to the dogs to be consumed, rather
than have them decay. This to me is not a very satisfactory explanation,
but I have none other to offer in its place, and I therefore merely call
attention to this singular similarity of notions.

Though I have confined my comparison to these three ancient nations, you
would err widely if you imagine that it is for lack of material to
extend it. I could easily summon numberless other analogies from
classic, from Persian, from Turanian, from Semitic sources, to show that
these notions were almost universal to the race of man.

They carried themselves into early Christian teachings, and to-day the
wording of this ancient Sun-myth is repeated in most of the churches of
Christendom. We have but to mention the “river of death” which is
supposed to limit human life; we have but to look at the phraseology of
the Nicene Symbol, where it is said that Christ “descended into hell
(Hades),” and after three days rose from the dead and ascended into
heaven, to see how persistently the old ideas have retained their sway
over the religious sentiments and expressions of man.

                  THE SACRED SYMBOLS IN AMERICA.[172]

What I am about to say is, to a certain degree, polemical. My intention
is to combat the opinions of those writers who, like Dr. Hamy, M.
Beauvois and many others,[173] assert that because certain well-known
Oriental symbols, as the Ta Ki, the Triskeles, the Svastika and the
Cross, are found among the American aborigines, they are evidence of
Mongolian, Buddhistic, Christian or Aryan immigrations, previous to the
discovery by Columbus; and I shall also try to show that the position is
erroneous of those who, like William H. Holmes, of the Bureau of
Ethnology, maintain that “it is impossible to give a satisfactory
explanation of the religious significance of the cross as a religious
symbol in America.”[174]

In opposition to both these views I propose to show that the primary
significance of all these widely extended symbols is quite clear; and
that they can be shown to have arisen from certain fixed relations of
man to his environment, the same everywhere, and hence suggesting the
same graphic representations among tribes most divergent in location and
race; and, therefore, that such symbols are of little value in tracing
ethnic affinities or the currents of civilization; but of much import in
investigating the expressions of the religious feelings.

Their wide prevalence in the Old World is familiar to all students. The
three legs diverging from one centre, which is now the well-known arms
of the Isle of Man, is the ancient _Triquetrum_, or, as Olshausen more
properly terms it, the _Triskeles_,[175] seen on the oldest Sicilian
coins and on those of Lycia, in Asia Minor, struck more than five
hundred years before the beginning of our era. Yet, such is the
persistence of symbolic forms, the traveler in the latter region still
finds it recurring on the modern felt wraps used by the native
inhabitants.[176] As a decorative motive, or perhaps with a deeper
significance, it is repeatedly found on ancient Slavic and Teutonic
vases, disinterred from mounds of the bronze age, or earlier, in Central
and Northern Europe. Frequently the figure is simply that of three
straight or curved lines springing from a central point and surrounded
by a circle, as:


  FIG. 1.


  FIG. 2.

In the latter we have the precise form of the Chinese Ta Ki, a symbolic
figure which plays a prominent part in the mystical writing, the
divination and the decorative art of China.[177]

As it is this symbol which, according to Dr. Hamy, the distinguished
ethnologist and Director of the Museum of the Trocadero, Paris,
indicates the preaching of Buddhistic doctrines in America, it merits
close attention.

The Ta Ki, expressed by the signs:


  FIG. 3.

is properly translated, “The Great Uniter” (_ta_, great; _ki_, to join
together, to make one, to unite); as in modern Chinese philosophy,
expressed in Platonic language, the One is distinguished from the Many,
and is regarded as the basis of the numerical system. But as the Chinese
believe in the mystic powers of numbers, and as that which reduces all
multiplicity to unity naturally controls or is the summit of all things,
therefore the Ta Ki expresses the completest and highest creative force.

In Chinese philosophy, the Universe is made up of opposites, heaven and
earth, light and darkness, day and night, land and water, concave and
convex, male and female, etc., the highest terms for which are _Yin_ and
_Yang_. These are held to be brought into fructifying union by Ta Ki.
Abstractly, the latter would be regarded as the synthesis of the two
universal antitheses which make up all phenomena.[178]

The symbolic representation of Yin and Yang is a circle divided by two
arcs with opposite centres, while the symbol of Ta Ki adds a third arc
from above uniting these two.


  FIG. 4.


  FIG. 5.

It is possible that these symbols are of late origin, devised to express
the ideas above named. One Chinese scholar (Mr. S. Culin) tells me that
it is doubtful if they occur earlier than the twelfth century, A. D.,
and that they were probably introduced for purposes of divination. In
this case, I believe that they were introduced from the South, and that
they originally had another and concrete significance, as I shall
explain later.

Others consider these symbols as essentially Mongolian. The Ta Ki or
Triskeles is to them the Mongolian, while the Svastika is the ethnic
Aryan symbol. Such writers suspect Indo-European immigration where they
discover the latter, Chinese immigration were they find the former

The Svastika, I need hardly say, is the hooked cross or gammated cross,
usually represented as follows:


  FIG. 6.

the four arms of equal length, the hook usually pointing from left to
right. In this form it occurs in India and on very early (neolithic)
Greco-Italic and Iberian remains. So much has been written upon the
Svastika, however, that I need not enter upon its archæological

Its primary significance has been variously explained. Some have
regarded it as a graphic representation of the lightning, others as of
the two fire-sticks used in obtaining fire by friction, and so on.

Whatever its significance, we are safe in considering it a form of the
Cross, and in its special form obtaining its symbolic or sacred
association from this origin.

The widely-spread mystic purport of the Cross symbol has long been
matter of comment. Undoubtedly in many parts of America the natives
regarded it with reverence anterior to the arrival of Europeans; as in
the Old World it was long a sacred symbol before it became the
distinctive emblem of Christianity.

As in previous writings I have brought together the evidence of the
veneration in which it was held in America, I shall not repeat the
references here.

I believe we may go a step further and regard all three of these
symbols, the Ta Ki or Triskeles, the Svastika, and the Cross as
originally the same in signification, or, at least, closely allied in
meaning. I believe, further, that this can be shown from the relics of
ancient American art so clearly that no one, free from prejudice, and
whose mind is open to conviction, will deny its correctness.

My theory is that all of the symbols are graphic representations of the
movements of the sun with reference to the figure of the earth, as
understood by primitive man everywhere, and hence that these symbols are
found in various parts of the globe without necessarily implying any
historic connections of the peoples using them.

This explanation of them is not entirely new. It has previously been
partly suggested by Professors Worsaae and Virchow; but the
demonstration I shall offer has not heretofore been submitted to the
scientific world, and its material is novel.

Beginning with the Ta Ki, we find its primary elements in the symbolic
picture-writing of the North American Indians. In that of the Ojibways,
for example, we have the following three characters:


  FIG. 7.


  FIG. 8.


  FIG. 9.

Of these, the Fig. 7 represents the sunrise; Fig. 9, sunset; Fig. 8,
noonday. The last-mentioned is the full day at its height.[179] Where,
in rock-writing or scratching on wood, the curve could not conveniently
be used, straight lines would be adopted:


  FIG. 10.

thus giving the ordinary form of the Triskeles. But the identical form
of the Ta Ki is found in the calendar scroll attached to the
Codex-Poinsett, an unpublished original Mexican MS., on agave paper, in
the library of the American Philosophical Society. A line from this
scroll is as follows:


  FIG. 11.

Here each circle means a day, and those with the Triskeles, culminating

Another form of representing days is seen in the Vatican Mexican Codex,
published in Kingsborough’s _Mexico_, Vol. iii:


  FIG. 12.

This is not far from the figure on the stone at Copan, described in Dr.
Hamy’s paper, where the design is as follows:


  FIG. 13.

This does not resemble the Ta Ki, as Dr. Hamy supposes, but rather the
Yin-Yang; yet differs from this in having a central circle (apparently a
cup-shaped depression). This central circular figure, whether a boss or
nave, or a cup-shaped pit, has been explained by Worsaae as a
conventionalized form of the sun, and in this he is borne out by
primitive American art, as we shall see. The twenty elevations which
surround the stone, corresponding in number to the twenty days of the
Maya month, indicate at once that we have here to do with a monument
relating to the calendar.

Turning now to the development of this class of figures in primitive
American art, I give first the simplest representations of the sun, such
as those painted on buffalo skins by the Indians of the Plains, and
scratched on the surface of rocks. The examples are selected from many
of the kind published by Col. Garrick Mallery.[181]


  FIG. 14.

The design is merely a rude device of the human face, with four rays
proceeding from it at right angles. These four rays represent, according
to the unanimous interpretation of the Indians, the four directions
defined by the apparent motions of the sun, the East and West, the North
and South. By these directions all travel and all alignments of
buildings, corpses, etc., were defined; and hence the earth was regarded
as four-sided or four-cornered; or, when it was expressed as a circle,
in accordance with the appearance of the visible horizon, the four radia
were drawn as impinging on its four sides:


  FIG. 15.


  FIG. 16.

Fig. 15 is a design on a vase from Maraja, Brazil, and is of common
occurrence on the pottery of that region.[182] Fig. 16 represents the
circle of the visible horizon, or the earth-plain, with the four winds
rushing into it when summoned by a magician. It is a figure from the
Meday Magic of the Ojibways.[183] Dr. Ferraz de Macedo has claimed that
such devices as Fig. 16 “show Chinese or Egyptian inspiration.”[184] It
is certainly unnecessary to accept this alternative when both the origin
and significance of the symbol are so plain in native American art.

When the symbol of the sun and the four directions was inscribed within
the circle of the visible horizon, we obtain the figure representing the
motions pf the sun with reference to the earth, as in:


  FIG. 17.

This is what German archæologists call the wheel-cross, _Radkreuz_,
distinguished, as Worsaae pointed out, by the presence of the central
boss, cup or nave, from the ring-cross, _Ringkreuz_, Fig. 18:


  FIG. 18.


  FIG. 19.

in which, also, the arms of the cross do not reach to the circumference
of the wheel. Worsaae very justly laid much stress on the presence of
the central boss or cup, and correctly explained it as indicative of the
sun; but both he and Virchow, who followed him in this explanation, are,
I think, in error in supposing that the circle or wheel represents the
rolling sun, _die rollende Sonne_. My proof of this is that this same
figure was a familiar symbol, with the signification stated, in tribes
who did not know the mechanical device of the wheel, and could have had,
therefore, no notion of such an analogy as the rolling wheel of the

When applied to time, the symbol of the circle in primitive art referred
to the return of the seasons, not to an idea of motion in space. This is
very plainly seen both in art and language. In the year-counts or
winter-counts of the American tribes, the years were very generally
signified by circles arranged in rows or spirals. Fig. 20 shows the
Dakota winter-count, as depicted on their buffalo robes.[186]


  FIG. 20.

This count is to be read from right to left, because it is written from
left to right, and hence the year last recorded is at the end of the

Precisely similar series of circles occur on the Aztec and Maya codices,
with the same signification. Moreover, the year-cycles of both these
nations were represented by a circle on the border of which the years
were inscribed. In Maya this was called _uazlazon katun_, the turning
about again, or revolution of the katuns.[187]

The Aztec figure of the year-cycle is so instructive that I give a
sketch of its principal elements (Fig. 21), as portrayed in the atlas to
Duran’s History of Mexico.[188]


  FIG. 21.

In this remarkable figure we observe the development and primary
signification of those world-wide symbols, the square, the cross, the
wheel, the circle, and the svastika. The last-mentioned is seen in the
elements of the broken circle, which are:


  FIG. 22.

These, conventionalized into rectilinear figures for scratching on stone
or wood, became:


  FIG. 23.

In the Mexican time-wheel, the years are to be read from right to left,
as in the Dakota winter-counts; each of the quarter circles represents
thirteen years; and these, also, are to be read from right to left,
beginning with the top of the figure, which is the East, and proceeding
to the North, South and West, as indicated.

The full analysis of this suggestive and authentic astronomical figure
will reveal the secret of most of the rich symbolism and mythology of
the American nations. It is easy to see how from it was derived the
Nahuatl doctrine of the _nahua ollin_, or Four Motions of the Sun, with
its accessories of the Four Ages of the world. The Tree of Life, so
constantly recurring as a design in Maya and Mexican art, is but another
outgrowth of the same symbolic expression for the same ideas.

That we find the same figurative symbolism in China, India, Lycia,
Assyria and the valley of the Nile, and on ancient urns from Etruria,
Iberia, Gallia, Sicilia and Scythia, needs not surprise us, and ought
not to prompt us to assert any historic connection on this account
between the early development of man in the New and Old World. The path
of culture is narrow, especially in its early stages, and men everywhere
have trodden unconsciously in each other’s footsteps in advancing from
the darkness of barbarism to the light of civilization.

                     THE FOLK-LORE OF YUCATAN.[189]

Yucatan presents a strange spectacle to the ethnologist. The native
race, which in nearly every other part of the American continent has
disappeared before the white invaders or else become their acknowledged
inferior, has there gained the upper hand. The native language has
ousted the Spanish to that extent that whole villages of whites speak
Maya only, and the fortunes of war in the last generation have sided so
much with the native braves that they have regained undisputed
possession of by far the larger part of the peninsula.

Is there to be recognized in this a revival of that inherent energy
which prompted their ancestors to the construction of the most
remarkable specimens of native architecture on the continent, and to the
development of a ripe social and political fabric?

It can scarcely be doubted; but, however that may be, such
considerations cannot fail to excite our interest in all that relates to
a race of such plucky persistence.

As throwing a side-light on their mental constitution, their
superstitions and folk-lore merit attention. I happen to have some
material on this which has never been published, and some more which has
only appeared in mediums quite inaccessible even to diligent students.
Of the former are a manuscript by the Licentiate Zetina of Tabasco, a
native of Tihosuco, and some notes on the subject by Don Jose Maria
Lopez, of Merida, and the late Dr. Carl Hermann Berendt; while of the
latter a report by Don Bartholomé Granado de Baeza, _cura_ of Yaxcabá,
written in 1813, and an article of later date by the learned cura,
Estanislao Carrillo, are particularly noteworthy.[190] From these
sources I have gathered what I here present, arranging and studying the
facts they give with the aid of several dictionaries of the tongue in my

These Mayas, as the natives called themselves, were converted at the
epoch of the conquest (about 1550) to Christianity in that summary way
which the Spaniards delighted in. If they would not be baptized they
were hanged or drowned; and, once baptized, they were flogged if they
did not attend mass, and burned if they slid back to idol-worship. They
were kept in the densest ignorance, for fear they should learn enough to
doubt. Their alleged Christianity was therefore their ancient heathenism
under a new name, and brought neither spiritual enlightenment nor
intellectual progress. As a recent and able historian of Yucatan has
said, “the only difference was that the natives were changed from pagan
idolaters to Christian idolaters.”[191]

To this day the belief in sorcerers, witchcraft and magic is as strong
as it ever was, and in various instances the very same rites are
observed as those which we know from early authors obtained before the

The diviner is called _h’men_, a male personal form of the verb _men_,
to understand, to do. He is one who knows, and who accomplishes. His
main instrument is the _zaztun_, “the clear stone” (_zaz_, clear,
transparent; _tun_, stone). This is a quartz crystal or other
translucent stone, which has been duly sanctified by burning before it
gum copal as an incense, and by the solemn recital of certain magic
formulas in an archaic dialect passed down from the wise ancients. It is
thus endowed with the power of reflecting the past and future, and the
soothsayer gazes into its clear depths and sees where lost articles may
be recovered, learns what is happening to the absent, and by whose
witchery sickness and disaster have come upon those who call in his
skill. There is scarcely a village in Yucatan without one of these
wondrous stones.

The wise men have also great influence over the growing crops, and in
this direction their chiefest power is exercised. By a strange mixture
of Christian and pagan superstition, they are called in to celebrate the
_misa milpera_, the “field mass” (_misa_, Spanish, “mass”; _milpera_, a
word of Aztec derivation, from _milpa_, “cornfield”). In the native
tongue this is called the _tich_, which means the offering or sacrifice.
It is a distinct survival of a rite mentioned by Diego de Landa, one of
the earliest bishops of the diocese of Yucatan.[192]

The ceremony is as follows: On a sort of altar constructed of sticks of
equal length the native priest places a fowl, and, having thrown on its
beak some of the fermented liquor of the country, the _pitarrilla_, he
kills it, and his assistants cook and serve it with certain maize cakes
of large size and special preparation. When the feast is ready, the
priest approaches the table, dips a branch of green leaves into a jar of
_pitarrilla_, and asperges the four cardinal points, at the same time
calling on the three persons of the Christian Trinity, and the sacred
four of his own ancient religion, the _Pah ah tun_. These mysterious
beings were before the conquest and to this day remain in the native
belief the gods of rain, and hence of fertility. They are identical with
the winds, and the four cardinal points from which they blow. To each is
sacred a particular color, and in modern times each has been identified
with a saint in the Catholic calendar. Thus Father Baeza tells us that
the red Pahahtun is placed at the East, and is known as Saint Dominic;
to the North the white one, who is Saint Gabriel; the black, toward the
West, is Saint James; the yellow is toward the South, and is a female,
called in the Maya tongue _X’Kanleox_, “the yellow goddess,” and bears
the Christian name of Mary Magdalen.

The name _Pahahtun_ is of difficult derivation, but it probably means
“stone, or pillar, set up or erected,” and this tallies quite exactly
with a long description of the ancient rites connected with the worship
of these important divinities in the old times. There are some
discrepancies in the colors assigned the different points of the
compass, but this appears to have varied considerably among the Central
American nations, though many of them united in having some such
symbolism. A curious study of it has been made by the well-known
archæologist, the Count de Charencey.[193]

The invocation to these four points of the compass in its modern form
was fortunately obtained and preserved in the original tongue by that
indefatigable student, the late Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg, while on a
visit to the plantation of Xcanchakan, in the interior of Yucatan.[194]
The translation of it runs as follows:—

“At the rising of the Sun, Lord of the East, my word goes forth to the
four corners of the heaven, to the four corners of the earth, in the
name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

“When the clouds rise in the east, when he comes who sets in order the
thirteen forms of the clouds, the yellow lord of the hurricane, the hope
of the lords to come, he who rules the preparation of the divine liquor,
he who loves the guardian spirits of the fields, then I pray to him for
his precious favor; for I trust all in the hands of God the Father, God
the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.”

Such is an example of the strange mixture of heathen and Christian
superstition which has been the outcome of three centuries of so-called
Christian instruction!

There still continue to be relics of an ancient form of fire-worship
which once prevailed commonly throughout the peninsula. The missionaries
refer to it as “the festival of fire,”[195] but the exact rites
performed were so carefully concealed that we have no description of
them. That they are not yet out of date is apparent from a copy of a
native calendar for 1841–2, obtained by Mr. Stephens when in Yucatan. In
it the days are marked as lucky or unlucky, and against certain ones
such entries are made as “now the burner lights his fire,” “the burner
gives his fire scope,” “the burner takes his fire,” “the burner puts out
his fire.” This burner, _ah toc_, is the modern representative of the
ancient priest of the fire, and we find a few obscure references to an
important rite, the _tupp kak_, extinction of the fire, which was kept
up long after the conquest, and probably is still celebrated in the
remoter villages. The sacred fire in ancient Maya land is said to have
been guarded by chosen virgins, and it appears in some way to have been
identified with the force which gives life to the animal and vegetable

Another of the modern ceremonies which is imbued with the old notion,
common to them as to all primitive people, of a soul with material
wants, is that called “the feast of the food of the soul.” Small cakes
are made of the flesh of hens and pounded maize, and are baked in an
underground oven. Of these as many are placed on the altar of the church
as the person making the offering has deceased relatives for whose
well-being he is solicitous. These cakes are called _hanal pixan_, “the
food of the soul.” Evidently they are intended to represent the
nourishment destined for the soul on its journey through the shadowy
lands of death.

Along with these there are many minor superstitions connected especially
with the growth of crops and fruits. Thus it is widely believed that the
fruit known as the white zapote (_Sapota achras_, in Maya, _choch_) will
not ripen of itself. One must tap it lightly several times as it
approaches maturity, repeating the formula:

                  _Hoken, chechè; ocen, takan_:
                  Depart, greenness: enter, ripeness.

The owl is looked upon as an uncanny bird, presaging death or disease,
if it alights on or even flies over a house. Another bird, the _cox_, a
species of pheasant, is said to predict the approach of high northerly
winds, when it calls loudly and frequently in the woods; though this,
according to one writer, is not so much a superstition as an observation
of nature, and is usually correct.

A singular ceremony is at times performed to prevent the death of those
who are sick. The dread being who in mediæval symbolism was represented
by a skeleton, is known to the Mayas as _Yum Cimil_, Lord of Death. He
is supposed to lurk around a house where a person is ill, ready to enter
and carry off his life when opportunity offers. He is, however, willing
to accept something in lieu thereof, and to bring about this result the
natives perform the rite called _kex_, or “barter.” They hang jars and
nets containing food and drink on the trees around the house, repeating
certain invocations, and they believe that often the Lord of Death will
be satisfied with these, and thus allow the invalid to recover.

Those diviners to whom I have alluded are familiarly known as _Tat Ich_,
Daddy Face, and _Tata Polin_, Daddy Head, a reference, I suspect, to a
once familiar name of a chief divinity, _Kin ich_, the face (or eye) of
the day, _i. e._ the Sun.

A power universally ascribed to these magicians is that of transforming
themselves into beasts. Were it not for so many examples of delusions in
enlightened lands, it would be difficult to explain the unquestioning
belief which prevails on this subject throughout Central America. Father
Baeza relates that one of these old sorcerers declared in a dying
confession that he had repeatedly changed himself into various wild
beasts. The English priest, Thomas Gage, who had a cure in Guatemala
about 1630, tells with all seriousness a number of such instances. Even
in our own days the learned Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg is not entirely
satisfied that animal magnetism, ventriloquism, and such trickery, can
explain the mysteries of _nagualism_, as the Central American system of
the black arts is termed. He is not certain that we ought to exclude the
assistance of the invisible diabolic agencies![196]

The sacred books of the Quiches, a tribe living in Guatemala related to
the Mayas, ascribe this power to one of their most celebrated kings. As
an illustration the passage is worth quoting:

“Truly this Gucumatz became a wonderful king. Every seven days he
ascended to the sky, and every seven days he followed the path to the
abode of the dead; every seven days he put on the nature of a serpent
and he became truly a serpent; every seven days he put on the nature of
an eagle and again of a tiger, and he became truly an eagle and a tiger;
every seven days also he put on the nature of coagulated blood, and then
he was nothing else but coagulated blood.”[197]

Men and women alike might possess this magic power. This is shown in a
curious little native story heard by Dr. Berendt in the wilds of Yucatan
from a Maya woman, who told it to prove the value of _salt_ as a
counter-charm to the machinations of these mysterious beings. The doctor
wrote it down with scrupulous fidelity, and added a verbal translation.
As it has never been published, and as it is at once an interesting bit
of authentic folk-lore and a valuable example of the Maya language, I
give it here in the original tongue with a literal, interlinear

                           A MAYA WITCH STORY.

   Huntu hxib tsoocubel yetel huntul xchup; ma tu yoheltah uaix
     A man married with a woman; not did he know (her) as

 uay. Hunpe kin tu yalahti: “Huche capel mut tabb.” Tu
 a witch. One day he said to her: “Mix two measures (of) salt.” She

 huchah paibe, ca tu katah: “Baax tial tech?” Hunpel akab
 mix’d (them) first, then she asked: “Why this (wishest) thou?” One night

 pixaan hxibe ca tu yilah u hokol u yatan. Ca tu chaah u mazcabe
 woke the man and he saw go out his wife. Then he took his axe

 ca tu mucul thulbelah tu pach ti kax. Ca kuchioob ti chichan
 and secretly followed behind (her) to the wood. When they arrived at a

 chakan, yau u zazil uh, ca tu mucuba hxib tu booy nohoch
 meadow, there being a bright moon, then hid himself the man in the shade
    of a great

 yaxche. Ca tu pucah u nok xchup tu pach, uaan xmabuc tu
 seiba tree. Then threw her garments the woman behind (her), standing
    naked in the

 tan uh: ca tu sipah u yothel, ca culhi chembac. Ca
 face of the moon: then she stripped off her skin, and remained mere
    bones. Then

 naci ti caan. Ca emi tucaten, ca tu yalahi: “Zazaba
 she rose to the sky. When she came down again, then she said to him:
    “Wouldst thou

 xtac caan?” Hemac ma uchuc u nacal tucaten, tumen tu thootal
 reach to the sky?” But not could she ascend again, because of the

 (of) salt.

To the Maya, the woods, the air, and the darkness are filled with
mysterious beings who are ever ready to do him injury or service, but
generally injury, as the greater number of these creations of his fancy
are malevolent sprites.

Of those which are well disposed, the most familiar are the _Balams_
(Maya, _Hbalamob_, masculine plural form of _balam_). This word is the
common name of the American tiger, and as a title of distinction was
applied to a class of priests and to kings. The modern notions of the
Balams are revealed to us by the Licentiate Zetina of Tihosuco, in his
manuscripts to which I have previously referred.

He tells us that these beings are supposed to be certain very ancient
men who take charge of and guard the towns. One stands north of the
town, a second south, a third east, and the fourth to the west. They are
usually not visible during the day, and if one does see them it is a
sign of approaching illness, which suggests that it is the disordered
vision of some impending tropical fever which may occasionally lead to
the belief in their apparition.

At night the Balams are awake and vigilant, and prevent many an accident
from befalling the village, such as violent rains, tornadoes, and
pestilential diseases. They summon each other by a loud, shrill whistle;
and, though without wings, they fly through the air with the swiftness
of a bird. Occasionally they have desperate conflicts with the evil
powers who would assail the town. The signs of these nocturnal struggles
are seen the next day in trees broken down and uprooted, the ground torn
up, and large stones split and thrown around.

Another of their duties is to protect the corn-fields or _milpas_. It
seems probable, from comparing the authorities before me, that the
Balams in this capacity are identical with the _Pa ahtuns_, whom I have
referred to above, and that both are lineal descendants of those
agricultural deities of the ancient Mayas, the _Chac_ or _Bacab_, which
are described by Bishop Landa and others. No Indian on the peninsula
neglects to propitiate the Balam with a suitable offering at the time of
corn-planting. Were he so negligent as to forget it, the crop would
wither for lack of rain or otherwise be ruined.

An instance of this is told by Señor Zetina. An Indian near Tihosuco had
paid no attention to the usual offering, perhaps being infected with
evil modern skeptical views. His crop grew fairly; and as the ears were
about ripening he visited his field to examine them. As he approached he
saw with some dismay a tall man among the stalks with a large basket
over his shoulders, in which he threw the ripening ears as fast as he
could pluck them. The Indian saluted him hesitatingly. The stranger
replied, “I am here gathering in that which I sent.” Resting from his
work, he drew from his pocket an immense cigar, and, taking out a flint
and steel, began to strike a light. But the sparks he struck were
flashes of lightning, and the sound of his blows was terrible
thunderclaps which shook the very earth. The poor Indian fell to the
ground unconscious with fright; and when he came to himself a hail-storm
had destroyed his corn, and as soon as he reached home he himself was
seized with a fever which nigh cost him his life.

The Balams are great smokers, and it is a general belief among the
Indians that the shooting stars are nothing else than the stumps of the
huge cigars thrown down the sky by these giant beings.

Sometimes they carry off children for purposes of their own. When Dr.
Berendt was exploring the east coast of Yucatan he was told of such an
occurrence on the Island of San Pedro, north of Belize. A little boy of
four years wandered to some cacao bushes not more than fifty yards from
the house, and there all trace of him was lost. There was no sign of
wolf or tiger, no footprint of kidnapper. They sought him the whole day
in vain, and then gave up the search, for they knew what had
happened—the Balam had taken him!

The Balams have also the reputation of inculcating a respect for the
proprieties of life. Zetina tells this story which he heard among his
native friends: One day an Indian and his wife went to their corn-patch
to gather ears. The man left the field to get some water, and his wife
threw off the gown she wore lest it should be torn, and was naked.
Suddenly she heard some one call to her in a loud voice, _Pixe avito,
xnoh cizin_, which Zetina translates literally into Spanish, _Tapa ta
culo, gran diablo!_ At the same time she received two smart blows with a
cane. She turned and beheld a tall man with a long beard, and a gown
which reached to his feet. This was the Balam. He gave her two more
smart blows on the part of the person to which he had referred, and then
disappeared; but the marks of the four blows remained as long as she

It is vain to attempt to persuade the Indian that such notions are false
and cannot be facts. He will not try to reason with you. He contents
himself with a patient gesture and the despairing exclamation, _Bix ma
hahal?_ “How can it be otherwise than true?” (_Bix_, how, _ma_, not,
_hahal_, true.)

These Balams are in fact the gods of the cardinal points and of the
winds and rains which proceed from them, and are thus a survival of some
of the central figures of the ancient mythology. The wind still holds
its pre-eminence as a supernatural occurrence in the native mind. One
day Dr. Berendt was traveling with some natives through the forests when
the sound of a tropical tornado was heard approaching with its
formidable roar through the trees. In awe-struck accents one of his
guides said, “_He catal nohoch yikal nohoch tat_: Here comes the mighty
wind of the Great Father.” But it is only in an unguarded moment that in
the presence of a white man the Indian betrays his beliefs, and no
questioning could elicit further information. A hint is supplied by
Señor Zetina. He mentions that the whistling of the wind is called, or
attributed to, _tat acmo_, words which mean Father Strong-bird. This
suggests many analogies from the mythologies of other races; for the
notion of the primeval bird, at once lord of the winds and father of the
race, is found in numerous American tribes, and is distinctly contained
in the metaphors of the first chapter of Genesis.

The _balam_, as I have said, is esteemed a kindly and protective being;
he is affectionately referred to as _yum balam_, Father Balam. He is
said to have a human form, that of an old man with a long beard and
ample flowing robes. But there are other gigantic spectres of terrible
aspect and truculent humor. One of these is so tall that a man cannot
reach his knees. He stalks into the towns at midnight, and planting his
feet like a huge Colossus, one on each side of the roadway, he seizes
some incautious passer-by and breaks his legs with his teeth, or
conquers him with a sudden faintness. The name of this terror of late
walkers is Giant Grab, _Ua ua pach_.

Another is the _Che Vinic_, the Man of the Woods, called by the Spanish
population the Salonge. He is a huge fellow without bones or joints. For
that reason if he lies down he cannot rise without extreme difficulty;
hence he sleeps leaning against a tree. His feet are reversed, the heels
in front, the toes behind. He is larger and stronger than a bull, and
his color is red. In his long arms he carries a stick the size of a
tree-trunk. He is on the watch for those who stray through the woods,
and, if he can, will seize and devour them. But a ready-witted man has
always a means of escape. All he has to do is to pluck a green branch
from a tree, and waving it before him, begin a lively dance. This
invariably throws the Wood Man into convulsions of mirth. He laughs and
laughs until he falls to the ground, and once down, having no joints, he
cannot rise, and the hunter can proceed leisurely on his journey. It is
singular, says Dr. Berendt, how widely distributed is the belief in this
strange fancy. It recurs in precisely the same form in Yucatan, in
Peten, in Tabasco, around Palenque, etc.

Another ugly customer is the _Culcalkin_. This word means “the priest
without a neck,” and the hobgoblin so named is described as a being with
head cut off even with the shoulders, who wanders around the villages at
night, frightening men and children.

In contrast to the giants are the dwarfs and imps which are ready in
their malicious ways to sour the pleasures of life. The most common of
these are the _h’lox_, or more fully, _h’loxkatob_, which means “the
strong clay images.”[198] They are, indeed, believed to be the actual
idols and figures in clay which are found about the old temples and
tombs, and hence an Indian breaks these in pieces whenever he finds
them, to the great detriment of archæological research. They only appear
after sunset, and then in the shape of a child of three or four years,
or sometimes not over a span in height, naked except wearing a large
hat. They are swift of foot, and can run backwards as fast as forwards.
Among other pranks, they throw stones at the dogs and cause them to
howl. Their touch produces sickness, especially chills and fever. It is
best, therefore, not to attempt to catch them.

Of similar malevolent disposition is the _Chan Pal_, Little Boy, who
lurks in the woods and is alleged to bring the small-pox into the

Others are merely teasing in character, and not positively harmful. Thus
there is the _X bolon thoroch_ who lives in the house with the family,
and repeats at night the various sounds of domestic labor which have
been made during the day. The word _thoroch_ is applied to the sound
caused by the native spindle revolving in its shaft; _bolon_ is “nine,”
a number used to express the superlative degree in certain phrases;
while the initial _X_ shows that the imp is of the feminine gender. The
name therefore signifies “the female imp who magnifies the sound of the
spindle.” Other such household imps are the _Bokol h’otoch_,
Stir-the-House, who creeps under the floors and makes a noise like
beating a cake to scare the inmates; the _Yancopek_, Pitcher-Imp, who
crawls into jars and jugs; and the _Way cot_, Witch-bird, who lurks on
or behind walls and drops stones on passers by.

The female sex is further represented in the Maya folk-lore by a
personage who has a curious similarity to legendary ladies of the old
world, sirens, mermaids, the Lorelei, and others. She is called _X
tabai_, the (female) Deceiver. Her home is under shady bowers in the
forests, and there the ardent hunter suddenly espies her, clothed, and
combing with a large comb (_x ache_) her long and beautiful hair. As he
approaches she turns and flees, but not with discouraging haste, rather
in such a manner and with such backward glances as to invite pursuit. He
soon overtakes her, but just as he clasps her beauteous form in his
strong embrace, her body changes into a thorny bush, and her feet become
claws like those of a wild fowl. Tom and bleeding he turns sadly
homeward, and soon succumbs to an attack of fever with delirium.

Another very similar creature is _X Thoh Chaltun_, Miss
Pound-the-Stones. She slily waits around the villages, and when she sees
some attractive youth she awakes his attention by tapping on the stones,
or in default of these on an empty jar which she carries for the
purpose. Does the foolish youth respond to the seductive invitation, she
coyly moves to the woods, where the amorous pursuer meets like
disappointment and a similar sad fate as the victim of the _X tabai_.

As may be supposed, many superstitions cling around the animal world.
Each species of brute has its king, who rules and protects it. Even the
timid native hare may thus assert its rights. An Indian told Dr. Berendt
that once upon a time a hunter with two dogs followed a hare into a
cave. There he found a large hole, leading under the earth. He
descended, and came to the town of the hares. They seized him and his
dogs, and brought him before the king, and it was no easy matter for him
to get off by dint of protests and promises.

There are also tales of the Straw Bird or Phantom Bird. The hunter
unexpectedly sees a handsome bird on a branch before him. He fires and
misses. He repeats his shot in vain. After a while it falls of itself,
and proves to be nothing but a colored feather. Then he knows that he
has been fooled by the _Zohol chich_.

An object of much dread is the Black Tail, _Ekoneil_, an imaginary snake
with a black, broad, and forked tail. He glides into houses at night
where a nursing mother is asleep; and, covering her nostrils with his
tail, sucks the milk from her breasts.

These are probably but a small portion of the superstitions of the
modern Mayas. They are too reticent to speak of these subjects other
than by accident to the white man. He is quite certain either to
ridicule or to reprove such confidences. But what is above collected is
a moderately complete, and certainly, as far as it goes, an accurate
notion of their folk-lore.

                  FOLK-LORE OF THE MODERN LENAPE.[199]

In August 1886, and September 1887, I had many conversations with the
Rev. Albert Seqaqknind Anthony, an educated Delaware Indian, then
assistant missionary to the Six Nations, in Ontario, Canada. Our
immediate business was the revision of the “Lenâpé-English Dictionary,”
which has since been published by the Historical Society of
Pennsylvania; but in the intervals of that rather arduous and dry labor,
we sought recreation in broader subjects of thought, and our discourse
often fell on the ancient traditions, folk-lore, and customs of the
Lenâpé, now fast disappearing.

Mr. Anthony was on his father’s side a Delaware, or Lenâpé, of the Minsi
tribe, while his grandmother was a Shawnee. He himself was born on the
Ontario Reservation, and up to his thirteenth year spoke nothing but
pure Lenâpé. His memory carries him back to the fourth decade of this

One of his earliest reminiscences was of the last surviving emigrant
from the native home of his ancestors in Eastern Pennsylvania—a
venerable squaw (_ochquèu_, woman, hen), supposed to be a hundred years
old. At the time her parents left the mountains between the Lehigh and
Susquehanna rivers, she was “old enough to carry a pack”—twelve years,
probably. This must have been about 1760, as after the French War (1755)
the natives rapidly deserted that region.

I was surprised to find how correctly the old men of the tribe had
preserved and handed down reminiscences of their former homes along the
Delaware River. The flat marshy “Neck,” south of Philadelphia, between
the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, was pointed out to me by Mr. Anthony
(who had never seen it before) as the spot where the tribe preferred to
gather the rushes with which they manufactured rugs and mats. He
recognized various trees, not seen in Canada, by the descriptions he had
heard of them.

Such narratives formed the themes of many a long tale by the winter fire
in the olden time. Like most Indians, the Lenâpé are, or rather
were—for, alas! the good old customs are nearly all gone—inexhaustible
_raconteurs_. They had not only semi-historic traditions, but numberless
fanciful tales of spirits and sprites, giants and dwarfs, with their
kith and kin. Such tales were called _tomoacan_, which means “tales for
leisure hours.” They relate the deeds of potent necromancers, and their
power over the _machtanha_, “those who are bewitched.”

It greatly interested me to learn that several of these tales referred
distinctly to the culture-hero of the tribe, that ancient man who taught
them the arts of life, and on his disappearance—these heroes do not
die—promised to return at some future day, and restore his favorite
people to power and happiness. This Messianic hope was often the central
idea in American native religions, as witness the worship of
Quetzalcoatl in Mexico, of Kukulcan in Yucatan, of Viracocha in Peru.
Mr. Anthony assured me that it was perfectly familiar to the old
Delawares, and added that in his opinion their very name, _Lenâpé_,
conveys an esoteric meaning, to wit, “the man comes,” with reference to
the second advent of their culture-hero.[200] This is singular
confirmation of the fragmentary myths collected by the Swedish engineer
Lindstrom in 1650, and by the Moravian Bishop Ettwein about a century
later. These I have collected in “The Lenâpé and their Legends”
(Philadelphia, 1885), and have discussed the general subject at such
length in my “American Hero-Myths” (Philadelphia, 1882) that the reader
will probably be satisfied to escape further expansion of it here.

Only in traditions does the “Stone Age” survive among the Delawares. In
Mr. Anthony’s youth, the bow-and-arrow was still occasionally in use for
hunting; but he had never seen employed arrow-points of stone. They were
either of deer’s horns or of sharpened bones. The name for the compound
instrument “bow-and-arrow” is _manhtaht_, the first _a_ being nasal; and
from this word, Mr. Anthony states, is derived the name _Manhattan_,
properly _manahah tank_, “the place where they gather the wood to make
bows.” The bow-string is _tschipan_: the arrow, _allunth_. The generic
name for stone weapon is still familiar, _achsinhican_, and the word
from which we derive “tomahawk,” _t’mahican_, is strictly applied to a
stone hatchet. War-clubs were of several varieties, called _apech'lit_
and _mehitíqueth_, which were different from an ordinary stick or cane,
_alauwan_. Though the war-whoop is heard no more, its name remains,
_kowa'mo_, and tradition still recalls their ancient contests with the
Iroquois, their cruel and hated enemies, to whom they applied the
opprobrious epithet _mengwe_ (that is, _glans penis_).

Hunting is scarcely worth the name any longer on the Canadian
reservations. The debated question as to whether the Lenâpé knew the
buffalo attracted me. Mr. Anthony assured me that they did. It was
called _sisiliti_, which he explained as “the animal that drops its
excrement when in motion,” walking or running; though he added that
another possible derivation is from _siselamen_, to butt against, from
which comes _sisejahen_, to break in pieces by butting.

In former times a favorite method of hunting in the autumn was for a
large number of hunters to form a line and drive the game before them.
This was called _p’mochlapen_. This answered well for deer, but now
little is left save the muskrat, _chuaskquis_, the ground-hog,
_monachgen_, the white rabbit, _wapachtques_, the weasel,
_mani'tohumisch_, and the little chipmunk, _pochqwapiith_ (literally,
“he sits upright on something”). For such small game, it is scarcely
worth while running the risk of the bite of the blow-adder,
_pethbotalwe_, and the much-feared “bloody-mouthed lizard,” _mokdomus_;
though I suspect both are more terrible in tale than in fact.

In fishing, they appear to have known not only the brush-net and the
spear, but the hook-and-line as well. The line, _wendamakan_, was
twisted from the strands of the wild hemp, _achhallap_, or of the
milk-weed, _pichtokenna_; and the hook was armed with a bait,
_awauchkon_, which might be _wecheeso_, the ground-worm, literally, “he
who extends and retracts himself,” or the _waukchelachees_, grasshopper,
literally, “one that hops.” This corresponds with what the old Swedish
traveler, Peter Kalm, relates in the first half of the last century. He
describes the native hooks as made of bone or of the spur of a fowl.

They still gather for food the _ptukquim_, walnut, literally, “round
nut;” the _quinokquim_, butternut, literally, “oblong nut;” and various
berries, as the _lechlochhilleth_, the red raspberry, literally, “the
berry that falls to pieces.”

Among utensils of ancient date and aboriginal invention seem to have
been wooden dishes or bowls, _wollakanes_, made from the elm-tree,
_wollakanahungi_; wooden mortars, in which corn was pounded,
_taquachhakan_; and _peyind_, cups with handles. The art of pottery,
which they once possessed, has been entirely lost.

Although now resident inland, they remember the manufacture and use of
canoes, _amochol_. Some were of birch bark, _wiqua_, and were called
_wiqua-amochol_; others were dugouts, for which they preferred the
American sycamore, distinctively named canoe-wood, _amochol-he_.

The ordinary word for house is still _wikwam_, wigwam, while a brush-hut
is called _pimoakan_. I was particular to inquire if, as far as now
known, the Lenâpé ever occupied communal houses, as did the Iroquois.
Mr. Anthony assured me that this was never the custom of his nation, so
far as any recollection or tradition goes. Every family had its own
lodge. I called his attention to the discovery in ancient village sites
in New Jersey of two or three fire-places in a row, and too close to
belong to different lodges. This has been adduced by Dr. C. C. Abbott as
evidence of communal dwellings. He replied that these were the sites of
the village council-houses; he himself could remember some with two or
three fires; but their only permanent occupants were the head chief with
his wives and children.

Though most of the national games are no longer known to the rising
generation, in my informant’s boyhood they still figured conspicuously
by the native firesides, where now “progressive euchre” and the like
hold sway. One such was _qua'quallis_. In this a hollow bone is attached
by a string to a pointed stick. The stick is held the hand, and the bone
is thrown up by a rapid movement, and the game is to catch the bone,
while in motion, on the pointed end of the stick. It was a gambling
game, often played by adults.

A very popular sport was with a hoop, _tautmusq_, and spear or arrow,
_allunth_. The players arranged themselves in two parallel lines, some
forty feet apart, each one armed with a reed spear. A hoop was then
rolled rapidly at an equal distance between the lines. Each player
hurled his spear at it, the object being to stop the hoop by casting the
spear within its rim. When stopped, the shaft must lie within the hoop,
or the shot did not count.

A third game, occasionally seen, is _maumun'di_. This is played with
twelve flat bones, usually those of a deer, and a bowl of wood,
constructed for the purpose. One side of each bone is white; the other,
colored. They are placed in the bowl, thrown into the air, and caught as
they descend. Those with the white side uppermost are the winning
pieces. Bets usually accompany this game, and it had, in the old days, a
place in the native religious rites; probably as a means of telling

The Delawares on the Ontario Reservation have long since been converted
to Christianity, and there is little trace left of their former pagan
practices. If they remain anywhere, it is in their medical rites. I
inquired particularly if there are any remnants of the curious adoration
of the sacred twelve stones, described by Zeisberger a century and a
quarter ago. I found that the custom of the “sweat-lodge,” a small hut
built for taking sweat-baths, still prevails. The steam is generated by
pouring water on hot stones. This is done by the “medicine-man,” who is
known as _quechksa'pict_. He brings in one stone after another, and
pours water upon it until it ceases “to sing;” and invariably he uses
precisely _twelve_ stones.

Probably some of the more benighted still seek to insure the success of
their crops by offering food to the _m’sink_. This is a false face, or
mask, rudely cut from wood to represent the human visage, with a large
mouth. The victuals are pushed into the mouth, and the genius is
supposed to be thus fed.

Our word _cantico_, applied to a jollification, and by some
etymologists, naturally enough, traced to the Latin _cantare_, in
reality is derived from the Lenâpé _gentkehn_, to sing and dance at the
same time. This was their most usual religious ceremony, and to this day
_gendtoma_ means “to begin religious services,” either Christian or
heathen; and _gendtowen_ signifies “to be a worshipper.” These dances
were often connected with sacred feasts, toward which each participant
contributed a portion of food. To express such a communal religious
banquet they used the term _w’chindin_, and for inviting to one,
_wingindin_; and they were clearly distinguished from an ordinary meal
in common, an eating together, _tachquipuin_ or _tachquipoagan_.

My informant fully believes that there is yet much medical knowledge
held secretly by the old men and women. He has known persons bitten by
the rattlesnake who were promptly and painlessly cured by a specific
known to these native practitioners. It is from the vegetable _materia
medica_, and is taken internally. They also have some surgical skill. It
was interesting to learn that an operation similar to _trephining_ has
been practiced among the Lenâpé time out of mind for severe headaches.
The scalp on or near the vertex is laid open by a crucial incision, and
the bone is scraped. This perhaps explains those trepanned skulls which
have been disinterred in Peru and other parts of America.

The national legends have mostly faded out, but the Lenâpé perfectly
remember that they are the “grandfather” of all the Algonkin tribes, and
the fact is still recognized by the Chipeways and some others, whose
orators employ the term _numoh'homus_, “my grandfather,” in their formal
addresses to the Lenâpé. The old men still relate with pride that, in
the good old times, before any white man had landed on their shores,
“the Lenâpé had a string of white wampum beads, _wapakeekq’_, which
stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and on this white road their
envoys travelled from one great ocean to the other, safe from attack.”

There are still a few among them who pretend to some knowledge of the
art of reading the wampum belts. The beads themselves are called
_keekq’_; a belt handed forth at a treaty is _nochkunduwoagan_,
literally, “an answering;” and after the treaty has been ratified the
belt is called _aptunwoagan_, the covenant.

The tribal and totemic divisions are barely remembered, and the ancient
prohibitions about endogamous marriage have fallen completely into
desuetude. Mr. Anthony’s term for totem, or sub-tribe, is _w’aloch'ke_;
as, _tulpenaloch'ke_, the Turtle totem. The name _Minsi_, he believes,
is an abbreviation of _minachsinink_, the place of broken stones,
referring to the mountains north of the Lehigh river, where his
ancestors had their homes. The _Wonalacht'go_ of the early historians he
identifies with the Nanticokes, and translates it “people following the
waves;” that is, living near the ocean.

The chieftaincy of the tribe is still, in theory, hereditary in one
family, and in the female line. The ordinary term _sakima_, sachem, is
not in use among the Minsi, who call their chief _kikay_, or
_kitschikikay_ (_kitschi_, great; _kikay_, old, or old man: the
_elderman_, or alderman, of the Saxons).

Some peculiarities of the language deserve to be noted.

The German alphabet, employed by the Moravians to reduce it to writing,
answered so well that the Moravian missionary, Rev. Mr. Hartmann, at
present in charge of the New Fairfield Reservation, Ontario, who does
not understand a word of Delaware, told me he had read the books printed
in the native tongue to his congregation, and they understood him
perfectly. But I soon detected two or three sounds which had escaped
Zeisberger and his followers. There is a soft _th_ which the German ear
could not catch, and a _kth_ which was equally difficult, both of
frequent occurrence. There is also a slight breathing between the
possessives _n’_, my, _k’_, thy, _w’_, his, and the names of the things
possessed, which the missionaries sometimes disregarded, and sometimes
wrote as a full vowel. But after a little practice I had rarely any
difficulty in pronouncing the words in an intelligible manner. This I
was obliged to do with the whole dictionary, for although Mr. Anthony
speaks his language with perfect ease, he does not read or write it, and
has no acquaintance with German or its alphabet.

On one point I cross-examined him carefully. It is well-known to
linguists that in Algonkin grammar the verb undergoes a vowel change of
a peculiar character, which usually throws the sentence into an
indefinite or dubitative form. This is a very marked trait, recognized
early by the missionary Eliot and others, and the omission of all
reference to it by Zeisberger in his Grammar of the Lenâpé has been
commented on as a serious oversight. Well, after all my questions, and
after explaining the point fully to Mr. Anthony, he insisted that no
such change takes place in Delaware verbs. I read to him the forms in
Zeisberger’s Grammar which are supposed to indicate it, but he explained
them all by other reasons, mere irregularities or erroneous expressions.

The intricacies of the Lenâpé verb have never yet been solved, and it is
now doubtful if they ever will be, for the language is fast changing and
disappearing, at least in both reservations in Canada, and also among
the representatives of the tribe at their settlement in Kansas. It is
not now, and Mr. Anthony assured me that, so far as he knew, it never
was, a custom for parents to correct their children in speaking the
language. Probably this is true of most uncivilized tribes. The children
of such learn their exceedingly complicated languages with a facility
and accuracy which is surprising to the cultivated mind. I can say from
experience, that no child learns to speak pure English without incessant
correction from parents and teachers.

The general result of my conversations with Mr. Anthony on the grammar
of his language led me to estimate at a lower value the knowledge of it
displayed in the works of Zeisberger, Ettwein, and Heckewelder. The
first and last named no doubt spoke it fluently in some fashion; but
they had not the power to analyze it, nor to detect its finer shades of
meaning, nor to appreciate many refinements in its word-building, nor to
catch many of its semi-notes.

To give an example:—

Heckewelder gave Duponceau a compound which has often been quoted as a
striking instance of verbal synthesis. It is _kuligatschis_, and is
analyzed by Duponceau thus: _k_, possessive pronoun, second person
singular; _uli_, abbreviation of _wulit_, pretty; _gat_, last syllable
of _wichgat_, foot or paw; _chis_, diminutive termination; in all, “thy
pretty little paw.” Now, there is no such word in Lenâpé as _wichgat_.
“His foot” is _w’uchsüt_, where the initial _w_ is the possessive, and
does not belong in the word for foot. But in all likelihood this was not
in the compound heard by Heckewelder. What he heard was
_k’wulinachkgis_, from, _k_, possessive; _wulit_, pretty; _nachk_, hand,
or paw of an animal; _gis_, diminutive termination. He lost the peculiar
whistled _w_ and the nasalized _n_, sounds unknown to Germans.
Duponceau’s statement that _gat_ is the last syllable of the word for
foot is totally erroneous. I am convinced that much of the excessive
synthesis, so called, in the Lenâpé arises from a lack of appreciation
on the part of the whites of delicate phonetic elements. If I had heard
many more of Mr. Anthony’s analyses of compounds, I believe I should
have reached the conclusion that synthesis in Lenâpé means little beyond
juxtaposition with euphonic elision.

                               PART III.



The intellectual development of a nation attains its fullest expression
in language, oral or written. This “divine art” as Plato calls it,
claims therefore from the student of man in the aggregate a prolonged
attention and the most painstaking analysis. Too frequently one hears
among anthropologists the claims of linguistics decried, and the many
blunders and over-hasty generalizations of philologists quoted as good
reasons for the neglect or distrust of their branch.

The real reason of this attitude I believe to be not so much the
mistakes of the linguists, as a strong aversion which I have noticed in
many distinguished teachers of physical science to the study of language
and the philosophy of expression. The subject is difficult and
distasteful to them. Having no aptitude for it, nor real acquaintance
with it, they condemn it as of small value and of doubtful results. I
have never known a scientific man who was really a well-read philologist
who thus under-estimated the position of linguistics in the scheme of
anthropology; but I have known many who, not having such thorough
knowledge, depreciated its value in others.

The third and fourth parts of this volume are devoted to language, the
third as it appears especially in its written forms, the fourth
particularly to the profounder questions of linguistic philosophy. Here
again I shall be found in opposition to the majority who have written on
these subjects. The claim I make for the largely phonetic character of
the Mexican and Maya hieroglyphs is not generally accepted; and the
poetical spirit which I argue exists in many productions of the
aboriginal muse will not be favored by those who deny the higher
sentiments of humanity to uncivilized man.

I have endeavored by frequent illustration, and reference to the best
sources of information, to put the reader in the position to judge for
himself; and I shall feel highly gratified if he is prompted to such
investigations by what I may say, whether his final conclusions agree
with mine or not.


All who have read the wonderful story of the Spanish conquest of Mexico
and Central America will remember that the European invaders came upon
various nations who were well acquainted with some method of writing,
who were skilled in the manufacture of parchment and paper, and who
filled thousands of volumes formed of these materials with the records
of their history, the theories of their sciences, and the traditions of
their theologies. Aiming at greater permanence than these perishable
materials would offer, they also inscribed on plinths of stone, on slabs
of hard wood, and on terra cotta tablets, the designs and figures which
in the system they adopted served to convey the ideas they wished to
transmit to posterity.

In spite of the deliberate and wholesale destruction of these records at
the conquest, and their complete neglect for centuries afterwards, there
still remain enough, were they collected, to form a respectably large
_Corpus Inscriptionum Americanarum_. Within the present century many
Mexican and Maya MSS. have for the first time been published, and the
inscriptions on the temples of southern Mexico and Yucatan have been
brought to the tables of students by photography and casts, methods
which permit no doubt as to their faithfulness.

Nor have there been lacking diligent students who have availed
themselves of these facilities to search for the lost key to these
mysterious records. It is a pleasure to mention the names of Thomas and
Holden in the United States, of De Rosny, Aubin and de Charencey in
France, of Förstemann, Seler and Schellhas in Germany, of Ramirez and
Orozco in Mexico. But it must frankly be confessed that the results
obtained have been inadequate and unsatisfactory. We have not yet passed
the threshold of investigation.

The question which forces itself upon our attention as demanding a reply
at the very outset, is whether the Aztec and Maya systems of writing
were or were not, in whole or in part, _phonetic_ systems? Did they
appeal, in the first instance, to the _meaning_ of the word, or to the
_sound_ of the word? If to the latter—if, in other words, they were
phonetic, or even partially phonetic—then it is vain to attempt any
interpretation of these records without a preliminary study of the
languages of the nations who were the writers. These languages must
moreover be studied in the form in which they were spoken at the period
of the conquest, and the course of native thought as expressed in the
primitive grammatical structure must be understood and taken into
account. I hasten to add that we have abundant materials for such

This essential preliminary question, as to the extent of the phonetic
element in the Mexican and Maya systems of writing, is that which I
propose to put at present, and to answer it, so far as may be. Hitherto,
the greatest diversity of opinion about it has prevailed. Some able
writers, such as Valentini and Holden, have questioned the existence of
any phonetic elements; but most have been willing to concede that there
are such present, though their quantity and quality are by no means
clearly defined.

We may assume that both systems under consideration are partly
ideographic. Every system of phonetic writing introduces ideograms to
some extent, our own among the number. The question is, to what extent?

But before we are prepared to answer this question about the extent of
the phonetic element, we must seek to ascertain its character. We are
all aware that a phonetic symbol may express the sound either of a whole
word of several syllables, or of a single syllable, or of a simple
acoustic element. Again, a single phonetic symbol may express several
quite diverse sounds, as is familiarly exemplified in the first letter
of the English alphabet, which represents three very different sounds;
and, on the other hand, we may find three, four or more symbols, no wise
alike in form or origin, bearing one and the same phonetic value, a fact
especially familiar to Egyptologists.

We must further bear in mind that the arrangement to the eye of phonetic
symbols is altogether arbitrary. Because a prefix is pronounced first in
the order of time and a suffix last, it by no means follows that the
order in space of their corresponding symbols shall bear any analogous
relation. The idea awakened by the sound of the word is a whole, and
one; and so that this sound is represented, the disposition of its
component parts is, philosophically speaking, indifferent. When it is
remembered that in most American languages, and notably in the Mexican
or Nahuatl, there is a tendency to consolidate each phrase into a single
word, the importance of this consideration is greatly increased.

As the position of the phonetic parts of the phrase-word may thus be
disregarded, yet more indifferent is the order of sequence of the
symbols. There is no _a priori_ reason why this should be from left to
right as in English, or from right to left as in Hebrew; alternately, as
in the Boustrophedon of the Greek; or from top to bottom, as in Chinese.

In such an examination as the present one, we must rid our minds of the
expectation of finding the phonetic elements in some familiar form, and
simply ask whether they are to be found in any form.

We are not without a trustworthy guide in this quest. It is agreed among
those who have most carefully studied the subject that there is but one
path by which the human mind could have originally proceeded from
picture-writing or thought-writing to phonetic or sound-writing. This
was through the existence of homophones and homoiophones in a language,
of words with the same or similar sounds, but with diverse
significations. The deliberate analysis of a language back to its
phonetic elements, and the construction upon those of a series of
symbols, as was accomplished for the Cherokee by the half-breed
Sequoyah, has ever been the product of culture, not a process of
primitive evolution.

In this primitive process the sounds which were most frequently
repeated, or were otherwise most prominent to the ear, would be those
first represented by a figure; and the same figure would come to be
employed as an equivalent for this sound and others closely akin to it,
even when they had other connections and bore other significations.
Hence affixes, suffixes, and monosyllabic words, are those to which we
must look as offering the earliest evidences of a connection of figure
with sound.

According to the theory here very briefly indicated, I shall examine the
Maya and Nahuatl systems of writing, to ascertain if they present any
phonetic elements, and of what nature these are.

Turning first to the Maya, I may in passing refer to the disappointment
which resulted from the publication of Landa’s alphabet by the Abbé
Brasseur in 1864. Here was what seemed a complete phonetic alphabet,
which should at once unlock the mysteries of the inscriptions on the
temples of Yucatan and Chiapas, and enable us to interpret the script of
the Dresden and other Codices. Experience proved the utter fallacy of
any such hope. His work is no key to the Maya script; but it does
indicate that the Maya scribes were able to assign a character to a
sound, even a sound so meaningless as that of a single letter.

The failure of the Landa alphabet left many scholars total skeptics as
to the phonetic values of any of the Maya characters. To name a
conspicuous and recent example, Prof. Leon de Rosny, in his edition of
the Codex Cortesianus, published in 1883, appends a Vocabulary of the
hieratic signs as far as known; but does not include among them any
phonetic signs other than Landa’s.

But if we turn to the most recent and closest students of these records,
we find among them a consensus of opinion that a certain degree, though
a small degree, of phoneticism must be accepted. Thus our own able
representative in this branch, Prof. Cyrus Thomas, announced in 1882, in
his _Study of the MS. Troano_,[202] that several of the day and month
characters are, beyond doubt, occasionally phonetic.

Prof. Förstemann, of Dresden, whose work on the Dresden Codex has
appeared quite recently, announces his conclusion that the Maya script
is essentially ideographic;[203] but immediately adds that the numerous
small figures attached to the main sign are to be considered phonetic,
and no matter in what local relation they may stand to this sign, they
are to be regarded either as prefixes or suffixes of the word. He does
not attempt to work out their possible meaning, but, as he says, leaves
that to the future.

Almost identical is the conclusion of Dr. Schellhas, whose essay on the
Dresden Codex[204] is a most meritorious study. His final decision is in
these words: “The Maya writing is ideographic in principle, and probably
avails itself, in order to complete its ideographic hieroglyphs, of a
number of fixed phonetic signs.”


  FIG. 1.—The Maya Hieroglyph of the Firmament.

Some of these signs have been so carefully scrutinized that their
phonetic value may be considered to have been determined with reasonable
certainty. An interesting example is shown in Fig. 1, for the analysis
of which we are indebted to Dr. Schellhas. The quadrilateral figure at
the top represents the firmament. One of the squares into which it is
divided portrays the sky in the day time, the other, the starry sky at
night. Beneath each are white and black objects, signifying the clouds,
from which falling rain is indicated by long zigzag lines. Between the
clouds on the left of the figure is the well-known ideogram of the sun,
on the right that of the moon. In the Maya language the sun is called
_kin_, the moon _u_, and these figures are found elsewhere, not
indicating these celestial bodies, but merely the phonetic values, the
one of the syllable _kin_, the other of the letter _u_. The two signs
given in Landa’s alphabet for the letter _u_ are really one, separated
in transcription, and a variant of the figure for the moon with the wavy
line beneath it. The word _u_ in Maya is the possessive adjective of the
third person, and as such is employed in conjugating verbs, the Maya
verbal being really a possessive.

A very common terminal syllable in Maya is _il_. It is called by
grammarians “the determinative ending,” and is employed to indicate the
genitive and ablative relations. Dr. Schellhas considers that this is
represented by the signs affixed to the main hieroglyphs shown on Fig.


  FIG. 2.—Maya Phonetic Terminals.

The upper figure he reads _kinil_, the lower _cim-il_. The two signs are
the title to a picture in the Codex Troano representing a storm with
destruction of human life. The two words _kin-il cim-il_ maybe
translated “At the time of the killing.” The syllable _cim_ is expressed
in several variants in the Codices, examples of two of which, from the
Dresden Codex, are presented in Fig. 3.


  FIG. 3.—Maya Phonetic Terminals.

The signs for the four cardinal points appear to be expressed
phonetically. They are represented in Figs. 4 and 5. The words are for
North, _xaman_, East, _lakin_, South, _nohil_, West, _chikin_. Of these
the syllable _kin_ appears in _lakin_ and _chikin_, and is represented
as above described. The word for North has not been analyzed; that for
South has been translated by Prof. Londe Rosny as _ma ya_, the word _ma_
meaning hands or arms, the lower as either a fruit or the masculine
sign, in either case the phonetic value being alone intended. Both the
name and the etymology are, however, doubtful, resting upon late and
imperfect authorities.

By pursuing the plan here indicated, that is, by assuming that a figure
whose representative value is known, has also a merely phonetic value in
other combinations, a certain number of phonetic elements of the Maya
tongue have been identified. Prof. Cyrus Thomas, in an article published
in one of our prominent journals, states that he has “interpreted
satisfactorily to himself twelve or fifteen compound characters which
appear to be phonetic.”[206]


  FIGS. 4 and 5.—Signs of the Cardinal Points in Maya.

It is obvious, however, that small progress has been made in this
direction compared to the labor expended. By far the greater number of
the fixed symbols of the Maya are yet undeciphered. It is acknowledged
by all recent students that they cannot be representative, as they recur
too frequently. To explain them, there is but one sure course, and that
is, by a close analysis of the Maya language to get at the relations of
ideas in the native mind as expressed in their own phonetic system.

When we turn to the Mexican system of writing, much more definite and
extensive information as to its phonetic elements awaits us. It is
possible that at bottom it has really no higher phonetic character, but
several facts have combined to give us a better understanding of its
structure. In the first place, more examples of it have been preserved,
some of these with more or less accurate translations. Again, the
earlier writers, those whom we look upon as our historical authorities,
have been more explicit and ample in their description of Mexican native
literature than of that of Yucatan. Finally, and most important, the
Mexican language, the Nahuatl, was studied at an early date, and with
surprising thoroughness, by the Catholic priests. Within a generation
after the conquest they had completed a quite accurate analysis of its
grammatical structure, and had printed a Nahuatl-Spanish dictionary
containing more words than are to be found in any English dictionary for
a century later.

These intelligent missionaries acquainted themselves with the principles
of the Mexican script, and to a limited extent made use of it in their
religious instructions, as did also the Spanish scriveners in their
legal documents in transactions with the natives. They found the native
phonetic writing partly syllabic and partly alphabetic; and it was easy
for the priests to devise a wholly alphabetic script on the same plan.
An interesting example of this is preserved in the work of Valades,
entitled _Rhetorica Christiana_, written about 1570. Familiar objects
are represented, chiefly of European introduction. Each has the phonetic
value only of the first letter of its Nahuatl name. The plan is
extremely simple, and indeed the forms and names of the Hebrew letters
seem to indicate that they arose in the same way. Applying it to
English, we should spell the word _cat_ by a picture of a chair, of an
axe, and of a table, each of these being the recognized symbol of its
first phonetic element or initial letter. Often any one of several
objects whose names begin with the same letter could be used, at choice.
This is also illustrated in Valades’ alphabet, where, for instance, the
letter _E_ is represented by four different objects.

As I have observed, the native genius had not arrived at a complete
analysis of the phonetic elements of the language; but it was distinctly
progressing in that direction. Of the five vowels and fourteen
consonants which make up the Nahuatl alphabet, three vowels certainly,
and probably three consonants, had reached the stage where they were
often expressed as simple letters by the method above described. The
vowels were _a_, for which the sign was _atl_, water; _e_ represented by
a bean, _etl_; and _o_ by a footprint, or path, _otli_; the consonants
were _p_, represented either by a flag, _pan_, or a mat, _petl_; _t_, by
a stone, _tetl_, or lips, _tentli_; and _z_, by a lancet, _zo_. These
are, however, exceptions. Most of the Nahuatl phonetics were syllabic,
sometimes one, sometimes two syllables of the name of the object being
employed. When the whole name of an object or most of it was used as a
phonetic value, the script remains truly phonetic, but becomes of the
nature of a rebus, and this is the character of most of the phonetic
Mexican writing.

Every one is familiar with the principle of the rebus. It is where a
phrase is represented by pictures of objects whose names bear some
resemblance in sound to the words employed. A stock example is that of
the gallant who to testify his devotion to the lady of his heart, whose
name was Rose Hill, had embroidered on his gown the pictures of a rose,
a hill, an eye, a loaf of bread, and a well, which was to be
interpreted, “Rose Hill I love well.”

In medieval heraldry this system was in extensive use. Armorial bearings
were selected, the names of the elements of which expressed that of the
family who bore them. Thus Pope Adrian IV, whose name was Nicolas
Breakespeare, carried the device of a spear with a broken shaft; the
Boltons of England wear arms representing a cask or _tun_ pierced by a
cross-bow shaft or _bolt_; etc. Such arms were called _canting_ arms,
the term being derived from the Latin _cantare_, to sing or chant, the
arms themselves chanting or announcing the family surname.

We have, so far as I am aware, no scientific term to express this manner
of phonetic writing, and I propose for it therefore the adjective
_ikonomatic_, from the Greek _eikon_, a figure or image, and _onoma_
(genitive, _onomatos_) name,—a writing by means of the names of the
figures or images represented. The corresponding noun would be
_ikonomatography_. It differs radically from picture-writing
(_Bilderschrift_,) for although it is composed of pictures, these were
used solely with reference to the sound of their names, not their
objective significance.


  FIG. 6.—Mexican Phonetic Hieroglyphics of the name of Montezuma.

The Mexicans, in their phonetic writing, were never far removed from
this ikonomatic stage of development. They combined, however, with it
certain clearly defined monosyllabic signs, and the separate alphabetic
elements which I have already noted. An examination of the MSS. proves
that there was no special disposition of the parts of a word. In other
words, they might be arranged from right to left or from left to right,
from below upwards or from above downwards; or the one may be placed
within the other. It will easily be seen that this greatly increases the
difficulty of deciphering these figures.

As illustrations of the phoneticism of Mexican writing I show two
compounds, quoted by M. Aubin in his well-known essay on the subject.
The first is a proper noun, that of the emperor Montezuma (Fig. 6). It
should be read from right to left. The picture at the right represents a
mouse trap, in Nahuatl, _montli_, with the phonetic value _mo_, or
_mon_; the head of the eagle has the value _quauh_, from _quauhtli_; it
is transfixed with a lancet, _zo_; and surmounted with a hand, _maitl_,
whose phonetic value is _ma_; and these values combined give


  FIG. 7.—Mexican Phonetic Hieroglyphics of the name of a Serpent.

The second example is a common noun, the name of a serpent
_tecuhtlacozauhqui_ (Fig. 7). It is also read from right to left; the
head with the peculiar band and frontal ornament is that of one of the
noble class, _tecuhtli_; at the base of the left figure is a familiar
sign for _tla_, and represents two teeth, _tlantli_; they are surmounted
by a jar, _comitl_ with the value _co_; and this in turn is pierced by a
lancet, which here has only its alphabetic value _z_. The remainder of
the word was not expressed in the writing, the above signs being deemed
sufficient to convey the idea to the reader.

In presenting these examples I do not bring forward anything new. They
are from an essay which has been in print nearly forty years.[207] Many
other examples are to be seen in the great work of Lord Kingsborough,
and later in publications in the city of Mexico. The learned Ramirez
undertook a dictionary of Nahuatl hieroglyphics which has in part been
published; Orozco y Berra in his “History of Ancient Mexico” gathered a
great many facts illustrative of the phonetic character of the Mexican
script; and within a year Dr. Peñafiel has issued a quarto of
considerable size giving ancient local Mexican names with their phonetic

With these aids at command, why has not our progress in the
interpretation of the ancient records on stone and paper been more
rapid? Why do we stand now almost at the same point as in 1850?

There can be but one answer, and that will immediately suggest itself
from the nature of the phoneticism in the Mexican writing. What I have
called the _ikonomatic_ system of writing can be elucidated only by one
who has a wide command of the vocabulary of the language. Consider, for
a moment, the difficulty which we experience, with all our knowledge of
our native tongue, in solving one of the rebuses which appear in the
puzzle columns of periodicals for children; or in interpreting the
canting arms in armorial bearings. Not only must we recall the various
names of the objects represented, and select from them such as the sense
of the context requires, but we must make allowance for extensive
omissions, as in one of the examples above quoted (Fig. 7), and for mere
similarities of sound, often quite remote, as well as for the
abbreviations and conventionalisms of practiced scribes, familiar with
their subject and with this method of writing the sounds of their

Such difficulties as these can only be overcome by long-continued
application to the tongues themselves, and by acquainting one’s self
intimately with the forms, the methods, and the variations of this truly
puzzling graphic system. Every identification is solving an enigma; but
once solved, each illustrates the method, confirms its accuracy, and
facilitates the learner’s progress, and at the same time stimulates him
with the joyous sense of difficulties conquered, and with the vision of
discovered truth illuminating his onward path.

Although, as I have stated, the general principles of this method were
pointed out forty years ago, the prevailing ignorance of the Nahuatl
language has prevented any one from successfully deciphering the Mexican
script. This ignorance has had even a worse effect. Men who did not know
a dozen words of Nahuatl, who were unable to construe a single sentence
in the language, have taken upon themselves to condemn Aubin’s
explanations as visionary and untrue, and to deny wholly the phonetic
elements of the Mexican writing. Lacking the essential condition of
testing the accuracy of the statement, they have presumed blankly to
condemn it!


All methods of recording ideas have been divided into two classes,
Thought Writing and Sound Writing.

The first, simplest and oldest is Thought Writing. This in turn is
subdivided into two forms, Ikonographic and Symbolic Writing. The former
is also known as Imitative, Representative or Picture Writing. The
object to be held in memory is represented by its picture, drawn with
such skill, or lack of skill, as the writer may possess. In Symbolic
Writing, a single characteristic part or trait serves to represent the
whole object; thus, the track of an animal will stand for the animal
itself; a representation of the peculiar round impression of the wolf’s
foot, or the three-lined track of the wild turkey, being amply
sufficient to designate these creatures. Even the rudest savages
practice both these forms of writing, and make use of them to scratch on
rocks, and paint on bark and hides, the record of their deeds.

It will be observed that Thought Writing has no reference to spoken
language; neither the picture of a wolf, nor the representation of his
footprint, conveys the slightest notion of the sound of the word _wolf_.
How was the enormous leap made from the thought to the sound—in other
words, from an ideographic to a phonetic method of writing?

This question has received considerable attention from scholars with
reference to the development of the two most important alphabets of the
world, the Egyptian and the Chinese. Both these began as simple picture
writing, and both progressed to almost complete phoneticism. In both
cases, however, the earliest steps are lost, and can be retraced only by
indications remaining after a high degree of phonetic power had been
reached. On the other hand, in the Mexican and probably in the Maya
hieroglyphics, we find a method of writing which is intermediate between
the two great classes I have mentioned, and which illustrates in a
striking manner the phases through which both the Egyptian and Semitic
alphabets passed somewhat before the dawn of history.

To this method, which stands midway between the ikonographic and the
alphabetic methods of writing, I have given the name _ikonomatic_,
derived from the Greek εικων-ονος, an image, a figure; ονομα-ατος, a
name. That which the figure or picture refers to is not the object
represented, but the _name_ of that object—a _sound_, not a _thing_. But
it does not refer to that sound as the name of the object, but precisely
the contrary—it is the sound of the name of some other object or idea.
Many ideas have no objective representation, and others are much more
simply expressed by the use of figures whose names are familiar and of
similar sound. Thus, to give a simple example, the infinitive “to hide”
could be written by a figure 2, and the picture of a skin or hide. It is
this plan on which those familiar puzzles are constructed which are
called _rebuses_, and none other than this which served to bridge over
the wide gap between Thought and Sound writing. It is, however, not
correct to say that it is a writing by _things_, “_rebus_;” but it is by
the _names_ of things, and hence I have coined the word _ikonomatic_, to
express this clearly.

I shall select several illustrations from two widely diverse sources,
the one the hieroglyphs of Egypt, the other the heraldry of the Middle
Ages, and from these more familiar fields obtain some hints of service
in unraveling the intricacies of the Mexican and Maya scrolls.

The general principle which underlies “ikonomatic writing” is the
presence in a language of words of different meaning but with the same
or similar sounds; that is, of _homophonous_ words. The figure which
represents one of these is used phonetically to signify the other. There
are homophones in all languages; but they abound in some more than in
others. For obvious reasons, they are more abundant in languages which
tend toward monosyllabism, such as the Chinese and the Maya, and in a
less degree the ancient Coptic. In these it is no uncommon occurrence to
find four or five quite different meanings to the same word; that is,
the same sound has served as the radical for that many different names
of diverse objects. The picture of any of these objects would, to the
speaker of the language, recall a sound which would have all these
significations, and could be employed indifferently for any of them.
This circle of meanings would be still more widely extended when mere
similarity, not strict identity, was aimed at.

Such was plainly the origin of phoneticism in the Egyptian hieroglyphic
inscriptions. Take the word _nefer_. Its most common concrete
signification was “a lute,” and in the picture writing proper the lute
is represented by its figure. But _nefer_ had several other
significations in Coptic. It meant, a _colt_, a _conscript soldier_, a
_door_, and the adjective _good_. The picture of the lute therefore was
used to signify every one of these.

It will be observed that this is an example of a pure ikonograph—the
picture is that of the object in full, a lute; but precisely in the same
way the second class of figures in picture writing, those which are
wholly symbolic, may be employed. This, too, finds ample illustration in
the Egyptian hieroglyphics. Instead of the picture of a house, the
figure of a square was employed, with one side incomplete. Phonetically,
this conveyed the sound _per_, which means _house_, and several other

It will readily be seen that where a figure represents a number of
homophonous words, considerable confusion may result from the difficulty
of ascertaining which of these is intended. To meet this, we find both
in Egyptian and Chinese writing series of signs which are written but
not pronounced, called “determinatives.” These indicate the class to
which a word has reference. They are ideographic, and of fixed meaning.
Thus, after the word _nefer_, when used for conscript, the determinative
is the picture of a man, etc.[210]

There is little doubt but that all the Egyptian syllabic and alphabetic
writing was derived from this early phase, where the governing principle
was that of the rebus. At the date of the earliest inscriptions, most of
the phonetics were monosyllabic; but in several instances, as _nefer_,
above given, _neter_, which represents a banner, and by homophony, a
god, and others, the full disyllabic name was preserved to the latest
times. The monosyllabic signs were derived from the initial and the
accented syllables of the homophones; and the alphabet, so-called, but
never recognized as such, by the Egyptians, either from monoliteral
words, or from initial sounds. At no period of ancient Egyptian history
was one sound constantly represented by one sign. In the so-called
Egyptian alphabet, there are four quite different signs for the _M_,
four for the _T_, three for the _N_, and so on. This is obviously owing
to the independent derivation of these phonetic elements from different
figures employed ikonomatically.

There are other peculiarities in the Egyptian script, which are to be
explained by the same historic reason. For instance, certain phonetic
signs can be used only in definite combinations; others must be assigned
fixed positions, as at the beginning or at the end of a group; and, in
other cases, two or more different signs, with the same phonetic value,
follow one another, the scribe thinking that if the reader was not
acquainted with one, he would be with the other. I note these
peculiarities, because they may be expected to recur in other systems of
ikonomatic writing, and may serve as hints in interpreting them.

Evidently, one of the earliest stimuli to the development of phonetics
was the wish to record proper names, which in themselves had no definite
signification, such as those drawn from a foreign language, or those
which had lost through time their original sense. In savage conditions
every proper name is significant; but in conditions of social life, as
developed as that of the Egyptians of the earlier dynasties, and as that
of the Mayas and Mexicans in the New World, there are found many names
without meaning in the current tongue. These could not be represented by
any mode of picture writing. To be recorded at all, they must be written
phonetically; and to accomplish this the most obvious plan was to select
objects whose names had a similar sound, and by portraying the latter,
represent to the ear the former. The Greek names, _Alexander_ and
_Alexandria_, occurring on the Rosetta Stone, were wholly meaningless to
the Egyptian ear; but their scribes succeeded in expressing them very
nearly by a series of signs which in origin are rebuses.

This inception of the ikonomatic method, in the effort to express
phonetically proper names, is admirably illustrated in mediæval
heraldry. Very early in the history of armorial bearings, we find a
class of scutal devices called in Latin _arma cantantia_, in English
_canting arms_, in French _armes parlantes_. The English term _canting_
is from the Latin _cantare_, in its later sense of _chanting_ or
_announcing_. Armorial bearings of this character present charges, the
names of which resemble more or less closely in sound the proper names
of the family who carry them.

Some writers on heraldry have asserted that bearings of this character
should be considered as what are known as _assumptive arms_, those which
have been _assumed_ by families, without just title. Excellent
authorities, however, such as Woodham and Lower, have shown that these
devices were frequent in the remotest ages of heraldry.[211] For
instance, in the earliest English Roll of Arms extant, recorded in the
reign of the third Henry, about the year 1240, nine such charges occur,
and still more in the Rolls of the time of Edward the Second. They are
also abundant in the heraldry of Spain, of Italy and of Sweden; and
analogous examples have been adduced from ancient Rome. In fact, the
plan is so obvious that instances could be quoted from every quarter of
the globe. In later centuries, such punning allusions to proper names
became unpopular in heraldry, and are now considered in bad taste.

To illustrate their character, I will mention a few which are of ancient
date. The well-known English family of _Dobells_ carry a _hart passant_,
and three bells _argent_, thus expressing very accurately their name,
_doe-bells_. The equally ancient family of Boltons carry a device
representing a cask or _tun_, transfixed by a cross-bow or _bolt_. Few
canting arms, however, are so perfect as these. The Swinburnes, who are
among those mentioned on the Roll of 1240, already referred to, bear
three boar-heads, symbolical of _swine_; the Boleynes carry three bulls’
heads, which reminds us of Cardinal Wolsey’s pronunciation of the name
in Shakespeare’s Henry VIII, _Bullen_:

           “Anne Bullen? No; I’ll no Anne Bullens for him;
           There’s more in’t than fair visage.—Bullen!
           No, we’ll no Bullens.”—_King Henry VIII, Act III._

Not rarely the antiquity of such bearings is evidenced by the loss of
the allusion in the current language, and recourse must be had to
ancient and obsolete words to appreciate it. The English Harrisons
display in their shield a hedge-hog, which is to be explained by the
French _hérisson_, and testifies to their Norman origin. The Sykes of
the north of England show a fountain in their shield, whose significance
is first ascertained on learning that in the Northumbrian dialect _syke_
means a flowing spring or stream. The celebrated _fleurs-de-lys_ of the
royal house of France are traced back to the first Louis, whose name was
pronounced _Loys_, and from the similarity of this to the common name of
the flower, the latter was adopted as the charge on his shield.

Hundreds of such examples could be adduced, and the task of examining
and analyzing them would not be an altogether vain one, as the
principles upon which they were applied are the same which control the
development of ikonomatic writing wherever we find it. But I pass from
the consideration of these facts of general knowledge to the less known
and much misunderstood forms of this writing which are presented in
American archæology.

These are best exemplified in the so-called Mexican picture writing. For
many years scholars have been divided in opinion whether this was purely
ikonographic or partly phonetic. About forty years ago M. Aubin wrote an
essay maintaining that it is chiefly phonetic, and laid down rules for
its interpretation on this theory. But neither he nor any who undertook
to apply his teachings succeeded in offering any acceptable renderings
of the Aztec Codices. I am persuaded, however, that the cause of this
failure lay, not in the theory of Aubin, but in the two facts, first,
that not one of the students who approached this subject was well
grounded in the Nahuatl language; and, secondly, that the principles of
the interpretation of ikonomatic writing have never been carefully
defined, and are extremely difficult, ambiguous and obscure, enough so
to discourage any one not specially gifted in the solution of enigmas.
At first, every identification is as puzzling as the effort to decipher
an artificial rebus.

There are, indeed, some able scholars who still deny that any such
phoneticism is to be found in Mexican pictography. To convince such of
their error, and to illustrate the methods employed by these native
American scribes, I will present and analyze several typical examples
from Aztec manuscripts.

Beginning with proper names drawn from other languages, we find that the
Nahuas had a number of such, which, of course, had no meaning in their
own tongue. One of their documents speaks of the town of the Huastecas,
called by that tribe _Tamuch_, which means in their tongue “near the
scorpions,” and by the Aztecs, in imitation, _Tamuoc_.[212] As the
Huasteca is a Maya dialect, totally distinct from the Nahuatl, this word
had no sense to the ears of the Aztecs. To convey its sound, they
portrayed a man holding in his hands a measuring stick, and in the act
of measuring. Now, in Nahuatl, the verb “to measure” is _tamachina_; the
measuring stick is _octocatl_; and to make the latter plainer, several
foot-prints, _xoctli_, are painted upon the measuring stick, giving an
example of the repetition of the sound, such as we have already seen was
common among the Egyptian scribes.


  FIG. 1.—Tamuoc.


  FIG. 2.—Mapachtepec.

In another class of proper names, in their own tongue, although they had
a meaning in the Nahuatl, the scribe preferred to express them by
ikonomatic instead of ikonographic devices. Thus, _Mapachtepec_, means
literally, “badger hill,” or “badger town,” but in place of depicting a
badger, the native writer made a drawing of a hand grasping a bunch of
Spanish moss, the _Tillandsia usneoides_. The hand or arm in Nahuatl is
_maitl_, the moss _pachtli_; and taking the first syllables of these two
words we obtain _ma pach_: the word _tepec_, locative form of _tepetl_,
hill or village, is expressed by the usual conventional ideographic or
determinative sign.

In other names, the relative _positions_ of the objects are significant,
reminding us of the rebus of a well-known town in Massachusetts,
celebrated for its educational institutions:


which is to be read, “Andover, Massachusetts;” so in the Aztec scrolls,
we have _itzmiquilpan_ represented by an obsidian knife, _itztli_, and
an edible plant, _quilitl_, which are placed above or over (_pan_), the
sign for cultivated land, _milli_, thus giving all the elements of the
name, the last syllable by position only.


  FIG. 3.—Itzmiquilpan.

In one respect I believe the ikonomatic writing of the Mexicans is
peculiar; that is, in the phonetic value which it assigns to _colors_.
Like the Egyptian, it is polychromatic, but, so far as I know, the
Egyptian polychromes never had a phonetic value; they were, in a general
way, used by that people as determinatives, from some supposed
similarity of hue; thus green indicates a vegetable substance or bronze,
yellow, certain woods and some animals, and so on. In heraldry the
colors are very important and have well-defined significations, but very
seldom, if ever, phonetic ones. Quite the contrary is the case with the
Mexican script. It presents abundant instances where the color of the
object as portrayed is an integral phonetic element of the sound
designed to be conveyed.

To quote examples, the Nahuatl word for yellow is _cuztic_ or _coztic_,
and when the hieroglyphics express phonetically such proper names as
_Acozpa_, _Cozamaloapan_, _Cozhuipilcan_, etc., the monosyllable _coz_
is expressed solely by the yellow color which the scribe lays upon his
picture. Again, the name _Xiuhuacan_, “the place of grass,” is
represented by a circle colored pale blue, _xiuhtic_. The name of this
tint supplies the phonetic desired. The name of the village _Tlapan_ is
conveyed by a circle, whose interior is painted red, _tlapalli_,
containing the mark of a human foot-print. Such examples are sufficient
to prove that in undertaking to decipher the Mexican writing we must
regard the color as well as the figure, and be prepared to allow to each
a definite phonetic value.


  FIG. 4.—Acozpa. (A yellow center surrounded by water drops, _atl_,


  FIG. 5.—Tlamapa.

It must not be understood that all the Aztec writing is made up of
phonetic symbols. This is far from being the case. We discover among the
hundreds of curious figures which it presents, determinatives, as in the
Egyptian inscriptions, and numerous ideograms. Sometimes the ideogram is
associated with the phonetic symbol, acting as a sort of determinative
to the latter. An interesting example of this is given at the beginning
of the “Manuscrito Hieratico,” recently published by the Spanish
government.[213] It is the more valuable as an example, as the picture
writing is translated into Nahuatl and written in Spanish characters.
The date of the document, 1526, leaves no doubt that it is in the same
style as the ancient Codices. The page is headed with the picture of a
church edifice; underneath is the outline of a human arm, and the legend
in Nahuatl is:

                  _In Altepetl y Santa Cruz Tlamapa._

These words mean, “the town of Santa Cruz Tlamapa.” The name “_tlamapa_”
means “on the hill-side,” and doubtless originally referred to the
position in which the village was situated. But the prefix “_tlama_”
usually signifies, “to do something with the arms or hands,” derived
from _maitl_, hand or arm. Hence, the figure of the extended arm gives
this disyllable, _tlama_, which was sufficient to recall the name of the

The Aztecs by no means confined the ikonomatic system to proper names.
They composed in it words, sentences, and treatises on various subjects.
In proportion as it is applied to these connected and lengthy
compositions, its processes become more recondite, curious and difficult
of interpretation. Without a knowledge of the spoken language
considerably more than rudimentary, it would be hopeless for the student
to attempt to solve the enigmas which he meets at every step. Yet every
well-directed effort will convince him that he is on the right track,
and he will constantly be cheered and stimulated to further endeavor by
the victories he will win day by day.

The analogy which is presented in so many particulars between Mexican
and Maya civilization would lead us to infer that the Maya writing, of
which we have a number of examples well preserved, should be unlocked by
the same key which has been successfully applied to the Aztec Codices.
The latest writers on the Maya manuscripts, while agreeing that they are
in part, at least, in phonetic characters, consider them mostly
ideographic. But it is to be noted that not one of these writers had any
practical acquaintance with the sounds of the Maya language, and
scarcely any with its vocabulary. From this it is evident that even were
these codices in ikonomatic writing, such investigators could make very
little progress in deciphering them, and might readily come to the
conclusion that the figures are not phonetic in any sense. Precisely the
same position was taken by a number of students of Egyptian antiquity
long after the announcement of the discovery of Champollion; and even
within a few years works have been printed denying all phoneticism to
the Nilotic inscriptions.

What induces me to believe that much of the Maya script is of the nature
of the Mexican is the endeavor, undertaken for a very different purpose,
of Professor Valentini to explain the origin of the so-called Maya
alphabet, preserved by Bishop Landa, and printed in the editions of his
celebrated “Description of Yucatan.”[214] Professor Valentini shows by
arguments and illustrations, which I think are in the main correct, that
when the natives were asked to represent the sounds of the Spanish
letters in their method of writing, they selected objects to depict,
whose names, or initial sounds, or first syllables, were the same, or
akin, to the sounds of the Spanish vowel or consonant heard by them.
Sometimes they would give several words, with their corresponding
pictures, for the same sound; just as I have shown was the custom of the
ancient Egyptians. Thus, for the sound _b_ they drew a foot-print, which
in their tongue was called _be_; for the sound _a_ an obsidian knife, in
Maya, _ach_, etc. Valentini thinks also that the letter _e_ was
delineated by black spots, in Maya _eek_, meaning black, which, if
proved by further research, would show that the Mayas, like the
Mexicans, attributed phonetic values to the colors they employed in
their painted scrolls.

Outside of the two nations mentioned, the natives of the American
continent made little advance toward a phonetic system. We have no
positive evidence that even the cultivated Tarascas and Zapotecs had
anything better than ikonographs; and of the Quiches and Cakchiquels,
both near relatives of the Mayas, we only know that they had a written
literature of considerable extent, but of the plan by which it was
preserved we have only obscure hints. Next to these we should probably
place the Chipeway pictography, as preserved on their _meda_ sticks,
bark records, and _adjidjiatig_ or grave-posts. I have examined a number
of specimens of these, but have failed to find any evidence that the
characters refer to sounds in the language; however, I might not
consider it improbable that further researches might disclose some germs
of the ikonomatic method of writing even in these primitive examples of
the desire of the human intellect to perpetuate its acquisitions, and
hand them down to generations yet unborn.



One of the ablest living ethnologists has classified the means of
recording knowledge under two general headings—Thought-writing and
Sound-writing.[216] The former is again divided into two forms, the
first and earliest of which is by pictures, the second by

The superiority of picture-writing over the mere depicting of an
occurrence is that it analyzes the thought and expresses separately its
component parts, whereas the picture presents it as a whole. The
representations familiar among the North American Indians are usually
only pictures, while most of the records of the Aztec communities are in

The genealogical development of Sound-writing begins by the substitution
of the sign of one idea for that of another whose sound is nearly or
quite the same. Such was the early graphic system of Egypt, and such
substantially to-day is that of the Chinese. Above stands syllabic
writing, this as that of the Japanese, and the semi-syllabic signs of
the old Semitic alphabet; while, as the perfected result of these
various attempts, we reach at last the invention of a true alphabet, in
which a definite figure corresponds to a definite elementary sound.

It is a primary question in American archæology, How far did the most
cultivated nations of the western continent ascend this scale of graphic
development? This question is as yet unanswered. All agree, however,
that the highest evolution took place among the Nahuatl-speaking tribes
of Mexico and the Maya race of Yucatan.

I do not go too far in saying that it is proved that the Aztecs used to
a certain extent a phonetic system of writing, one in which the figures
refer not to the thought, but to the sound of the thought as expressed
in spoken language. This has been demonstrated by the researches of M.
Aubin, and, of late, by the studies of Señor Orozco y Berra.[217]

Two evolutionary steps can be distinguished in the Aztec writing. In the
earlier the plan is that of the rebus in combination with ideograms,
which latter are nothing more than the elements of picture-writing.
Examples of this plan are the familiar “tribute rolls” and the names of
towns and kings, as shown in several of the codices published by Lord
Kingsborough. The second step is where a conventional image is employed
to represent the sound of its first syllable. This advances actually to
the level of the syllabic alphabet; but it is doubtful if there are any
Aztec records entirely, or even largely, in this form of writing. They
had only reached the commencement of its development.

The graphic system of the Mayas of Yucatan was very different from that
of the Aztecs. No one at all familiar with the two could fail at once to
distinguish between the manuscripts of the two nations. They are plainly
independent developments.

We know much more about the ancient civilization of Mexico than of
Yucatan; we have many more Aztec than Maya manuscripts, and hence we are
more at a loss to speak with positiveness about the Maya system of
writing than about the Mexican. We must depend on the brief and
unsatisfactory statements of the early Spanish writers, and on what
little modern research has accomplished, for means to form a correct
opinion; and there is at present a justifiable discrepancy of opinion
about it among those who have given the subject most attention.

                 _2.—Descriptions by Spanish Writers._

The earliest exploration of the coast of Yucatan was that of Francisco
Hernandez de Cordova, in 1517. The year following a second expedition,
under Juan de Grijalva, visited a number of points between the island of
Cozumel and the Bahia de Terminos.

Several accounts of Grijalva’s voyage have been preserved, but they make
no distinct reference to the method of writing they found in use. Some
native books were obtained, however, probably from the Mayas, and were
sent to Spain, where they were seen by the historian Peter Martyr. He
describes them in general terms, and compares the characters in which
they were written to the Egyptian hieroglyphics, some of which he had
seen in Rome. He supposes that they contain the laws and ceremonies of
the people, astronomical calculations, the deeds of their kings, and
other events of their history. He also speaks in commendation of the
neatness of their general appearance, the skill with which the drawing
and painting were carried out. He further mentions that the natives used
this method of writing or drawing in the affairs of common life.[218]

Although Yucatan became thus early known to the Spaniards, it was not
until 1541 that a permanent settlement was effected, in which year
Francisco de Montejo, the younger, advanced into the central province of
Ceh Pech, and established a city on the site of the ancient town called
_Ichcanziho_, which means “the five (temples) of many oracles (or
serpents),” to which he gave the name _Mérida_, on account of the
magnificent ancient edifices he found there.

Previous to this date, however, in 1534, Father Jacobo de Testera, with
four other missionaries, proceeded from Tabasco up the west coast to the
neighborhood of the Bay of Campeachy. They were received amicably by the
natives, and instructed them in the articles of the Christian faith.
They also obtained from the chiefs a submission to the King of Spain;
and I mention this early missionary expedition for the fact stated that
each chief signed this act of submission “with a certain mark, like an
autograph.” This document was subsequently taken to Spain by the
celebrated Bishop Las Casas.[219] It is clear from the account that some
definite form of signature was at that time in use among the chiefs.

It might be objected that these signatures were nothing more than rude
totem marks, such as were found even among the hunting tribes of the
Northern Mississippi Valley. But Las Casas himself, in whose possession
the documents were, here comes to our aid to refute this opinion. He was
familiar with the picture-writing of Mexico, and recognized in the
hieroglyphics of the Mayas something different and superior. He says
expressly that these had inscriptions, writings, in certain characters,
the like of which were found nowhere else.[220]

One of the early visitors to Yucatan after the conquest was the Pope’s
commissary-general, Father Alonzo Ponce, who was there in 1588. Many
natives who had grown to adult years in heathenism must have been living
then. He makes the following interesting observation:

“The natives of Yucatan are, among all the inhabitants of New Spain,
especially deserving of praise for three things: First, that before the
Spaniards came they made use of characters and letters, with which they
wrote out their histories, their ceremonies, the order of sacrifices to
their idols, and their calendars, in books made of bark of a certain
tree. These were on very long strips, a quarter or a third (of a yard)
in width, doubled and folded, so that they resembled a bound book in
quarto, a little larger or smaller. These letters and characters were
understood only by the priests of the idols (who in that language are
called Ahkins) and a few principal natives. Afterwards some of our
friars learned to understand and read them, and even wrote them.”[221]

The interesting fact here stated, that some of the early missionaries
not only learned to read these characters, but employed them to instruct
the Indians, has been authenticated by a recent discovery of a
devotional work written in this way.

The earliest historian of Yucatan is Fr. Bernardo de Lizana.[222] But I
do not know of a single complete copy of his work, and only one
imperfect copy, which is, or was, in the city of Mexico, from which the
Abbé Brasseur (de Bourbourg) copied and republished a few chapters.
Lizana was himself not much of an antiquary, but he had in his hands the
manuscripts left by Father Alonso de Solana, who came to Yucatan in
1565, and remained there til his death, in 1599. Solana was an able man,
acquiring thoroughly the Maya tongue, and left in his writings many
notes on the antiquities of the country.[223] Therefore we may put
considerable confidence in what Lizana writes on these matters.

The reference which I find in his work to the Maya writings is as

“The most celebrated and revered sanctuary in this land, and that to
which they resorted from all parts, was this town and temples of
Ytzamal, as they are now called; and that it was founded in most ancient
times, and that it is still known who did found it, will be set forth in
the next chapter.

“III. The history and the authorities which we can cite are certain
ancient characters, scarcely understood by many, and explained by some
old Indians, sons of the priests of their gods, who alone knew how to
read and expound them, and who were believed in and revered as much as
the gods themselves, etc.[224]”

We have here the positive statement that these hieroglyphic inscriptions
were used by the priests for recording their national history, and that
by means of them they preserved the recollection of events which took
place in a very remote past.

Another valuable early witness, who testifies to the same effect, is the
Dr. Don Pedro Sanchez de Aguilar, who was _cura_ of Valladolid, in
Yucatan, in 1596, and, later, dean of the chapter of the cathedral at
Merida. His book, too, is extremely scarce, and I have never seen a
copy; but I have copious extracts from it, made by the late Dr. C.
Hermann Berendt from a copy in Yucatan. Aguilar writes of the Mayas:

“They had books made from the bark of trees, coated with a white and
durable varnish. They were ten or twelve yards long, and were gathered
together in folds, like a palm leaf. On these they painted in colors the
reckoning of their years, wars, pestilences, hurricanes, inundations,
famines, and other events. From one of these books, which I myself took
from some of these idolaters, I saw and learned that to one pestilence
they gave the name _Mayacimil_, and to another _Ocnakuchil_, which mean
‘sudden deaths’ and ‘times when the crows enter the houses to eat the
corpses.’ And the inundation they called _Hunyecil_, the submersion of

The writer leaves it uncertain whether he learned these words directly
from the characters of the book or through the explanations of some

It has sometimes been said that the early Spanish writers drew a broad
line between the picture-writing that they found in America and an
alphabetic script. This may be true of other parts, but is not so of
Yucatan. These signs, or some of them, are repeatedly referred to as
“letters,” _letras_.

This is pointedly the case with Father Gabriel de San Buenaventura, a
French Franciscan who served in Yucatan about 1670–'80. He published one
of the earliest grammars of the language, and also composed a dictionary
in three large volumes, which was not printed. Father Beltran de Santa
Rosa quotes from it an interesting tradition preserved by Buenaventura,
that among the inventions of the mythical hero-god of the natives,
_Itzamna_ or _Kinich ahau_, was that of “the letters of the Maya
language,” with which letters they wrote their books.[226] Itzamna, of
course, dates back to a misty antiquity, but the legend is of value, as
showing that the characters used by the natives did, in the opinion of
the early missionaries, deserve the name of _letters_.

Father Diego Lopez Cogolludo is the best-known historian of Yucatan. He
lived about the middle of the seventeenth century, and says himself that
at that time there was little more to be learned about the antiquities
of the race. He adds, therefore, substantially nothing to our knowledge
of the subject, although he repeats, with positiveness, the statement
that the natives “had characters by which they could understand each
other in writing, such as those yet seen in great numbers on the ruins
of their buildings.”[227]

This is not very full. Yet we know to a certainty that there were
quantities of these manuscripts in use in Yucatan for a generation after
Cogolludo wrote. To be sure, those in the Christianized districts had
been destroyed, wherever the priests could lay their hands on them; but
in the southern part of the peninsula, on the islands of Lake Peten and
adjoining territory, the powerful chief, Canek, ruled a large
independent tribe of Itzas. They had removed from the northern provinces
of the peninsula somewhere about 1450, probably in consequence of the
wars which followed the dissolution of the confederacy whose capital was
the ancient city of Mayapan.

Their language was pure Maya, and they had brought with them in their
migration, as one of their greatest treasures, the sacred books which
contained their ancient history, their calendar and ritual, and the
prophecies of their future fate. In the year 1697 they were attacked by
the Spaniards, under General Don Martin de Ursua; their capital, on the
island of Flores, in Lake Peten, taken by storm; great numbers of them
slaughtered or driven into the lake to drown, and the twenty-one temples
which were on the island razed to the ground.

A minute and trustworthy account of these events has been given by Don
Juan de Villagutierre Soto-Mayor, in the course of which occur several
references to the sacred books, which he calls _Analtés_.

The king Canek, he tells us, in reading in his _Analtés_, had found
notices of the northern provinces of Yucatan and of the fact that his
predecessors had come thence, and had communicated these narratives to
his chiefs.[228]

These books are described as showing “certain characters and figures,
painted on certain barks of trees, each leaf or tablet about a quarter
(of a yard) wide, and of the thickness of a piece of eight, folded at
one edge and the other in the manner of a screen, called by them

When the island of Flores was captured these books were found stored in
the house of the king Canek, containing the account of all that had
happened to the tribe.[230] What disposition was made of them we are not

I have reserved until now a discussion of the description of the Maya
writing presented in the well-known work of Diego de Landa, the second
bishop of Yucatan. Landa arrived in the province in August, 1549, and
died in April, 1579, having passed most of the intervening thirty years
there in the discharge of his religious duties. He became well
acquainted with the language, which, for that matter, is a comparatively
easy one, and though harsh, illiberal, and bitterly fanatic, he paid a
certain amount of attention to the arts, religion, and history of the
ancient inhabitants.

The notes that he made were copied after his death and reached Spain,
where they are now preserved in the library of the Royal Academy of
History, Madrid. In 1864 they were published at Paris, with a French
translation, by the Abbé Brasseur (de Bourbourg).

Of all writers Landa comes the nearest telling us how the Mayas used
their system of writing; but, unfortunately, he also is so superficial
and obscure that his words have given rise to very erroneous theories.
His description runs as follows:

“This people also used certain characters or letters, with which they
wrote in their books their ancient matters and their sciences, and with
them (_i. e._, with their characters or letters), and figures (_i. e._,
drawings or pictures), and some signs in the figures, they understood
their matters, and could explain them and teach them. We found great
numbers in these letters, but as they contained nothing that did not
savor of superstition and lies of the devil, we burnt them all, at which
the natives grieved most keenly and were greatly pained.

“I will give here an _a_, _b_, _c_, as their clumsiness does not allow
more, because they use one character for all the aspirations of the
letters, and for marking the parts another, and thus it could go on _in
infinitum_, as may be seen in the following example. _Le_ means a noose
and to hunt with one; to write in their characters, after we had made
them understand that there are two letters, they wrote it with three,
giving to the aspiration of the _l_ the vowel _é_, which it carries
before it; and in this they are not wrong so to use it, if they wish to,
in their curious manner. After this they add to the end the compound

I need not pursue the quotation. The above words show clearly that the
natives did not in their method of writing analyze a word to its
primitive phonetic elements. “This,” said the bishop, “we had to do for
them.” Therefore they did not have an alphabet in the sense of the word
as we use it.

On the other hand, it is equally clear, from his words and examples,
that they had figures which represented sounds, and that they combined
these and added a determinative or an ideogram to represent words or


  FIG. 1.—Fac Simile of Landa’s Manuscript.

The alphabet which he inserts has been engraved and printed several
times, but nowhere with the fidelity desirable for so important a
monument in American archæology. For that reason I insert a photographic
reproduction of it from the original MS. in the library of the Academia
de la Historia of Madrid.

A comparison of this with the alphabet as given in Brasseur’s edition of
Landa discloses several variations of importance. Thus the Abbé places
the first form of the letter _C_ horizontally instead of upright. Again
in the MS., the two figures for the letter _U_ stand, the first at the
end of one line, the second at the beginning of the next. From their
strong analogy with the sign of the sky at night, I am of opinion that
they belong together as members of one composite sign, not separately as
Brasseur gives them.

Both in it and in the inscriptions, manuscripts, and paintings the forms
of the letters are rounded, and a row of them presents the outlines of a
number of pebbles cut in two. Hence the system of writing has been
called “calculiform,” from _calculus_, a pebble. The expression has been
criticised, but I agree with Dr. Förstemann in thinking it a very
appropriate one. It was suggested, I believe, by the Abbé Brasseur (de

This alphabet of course, can not be used as the Latin _a_, _b_, _c_. It
is surprising that any scholar should have ever thought so. It would be
an exception, even a contradiction, to the history of the evolution of
human intelligence, to find such an alphabet among nations of the stage
of cultivation of the Mayas or Aztecs.

The severest criticism which Landa’s figures have met has been from Dr.
Phillip J. J. Valentini. He discovered that many of the sounds of the
Spanish alphabet were represented by signs or pictures of objects whose
names in the Maya begin with that sound. Thus he supposes that Landa
asked an Indian to write in the native character the Spanish letter _a_,
and the Indian drew an obsidian knife, which, says Dr. Valentini, is in
the Maya _ach_; in other words, it begins with the vowel _a_. So for the
sound _ki_, the Indian gave the sign of the day named _kinich_.

Such is Dr. Valentini’s theory of the formation of Landa’s alphabet; and
not satisfied with lashing with considerable sharpness those who have
endeavored by its aid to decipher the manuscripts and mural
inscriptions, he goes so far as to term it “a Spanish fabrication.”

I shall not enter into a close examination of Dr. Valentini’s supposed
identification of these figures. It is evident that it has been done by
running over the Maya dictionary to find some word beginning with the
letter under criticism, the figurative representation of which word
might bear some resemblance to Landa’s letter. When the Maya fails, such
a word is sought for in the Kiche or other dialect of the stock; and the
resemblances of the pictures to the supposed originals are sometimes
greatly strained.

But I pass by these dubious methods of criticism, as well as several
lexicographic objections which might be raised. I believe, indeed, that
Dr. Valentini is not wrong in a number of his identifications. But the
conclusion I draw is a different one. Instead of proving that this is
picture-writing, it indicates that the Mayas used the second or higher
grade of phonetic syllabic writing, which, as I have before observed,
has been shown by M. Aubin to have been developed to some extent by the
Aztecs in some of their histories and connected compositions (see above,
page 231). Therefore the importance and authenticity of Landa’s alphabet
are, I think, vindicated by this attempt to treat it as a

Landa also gives some interesting details about their books. He writes:

“The sciences that they taught were the reckoning of the years, months,
and days, the feasts and ceremonies, the administration of their
sacraments, the fatal days and seasons, their methods of divination and
prophecies, events about to happen, remedies for diseases, their ancient
history, together with the art of reading and writing their books with
characters which were written, and pictures which represented the things

“They wrote their books on a large sheet doubled into folds, which was
afterwards inclosed between two boards, which they decorated handsomely.
They were written from side to side in columns, as they were folded.
They manufactured this paper from the root of a tree and gave it a white
surface on which one could write. Some of the principal nobles
cultivated these sciences out of a taste for them, and although they did
not make public use of them, as did the priests, yet they were the more
highly esteemed for this knowledge.”[233]

From the above extracts from Spanish writers we may infer that—

1. The Maya graphic system was recognized from the first to be distinct
from the Mexican.

2. It was a hieroglyphic system, known only to the priests and a few

3. It was employed for a variety of purposes, prominent among which was
the preservation of their history and calendar.

4. It was a composite system, containing pictures (_figuras_), ideograms
(_caracteres_), and phonetic signs (_letras_).

                  _3.—References from Native Sources._

We might reasonably expect that the Maya language should contain terms
relating to their books and writings which would throw light on their
methods. So, no doubt, it did. But it was a part of the narrow and
crushing policy of the missionaries not only to destroy everything that
related to the times of heathendom, but even to drop all words which
referred to ancient usages. Hence the dictionaries are more sterile in
this respect than we might have supposed.

The verb “to write” is _dzib_, which like the Greek γράφειν, meant also
to draw and to paint. From this are derived the terms _dziban_,
something written; _dzibal_, a signature, etc.

Another word, meaning to write, or to paint in black, is _zabac_. As a
noun, this was in ancient times applied to a black fluid extracted from
the _zabacche_, a species of tree, and used for dyeing and painting. In
the sense of “to write,” _zabac_ is no longer found in the language, and
instead of its old meaning, it now refers to ordinary ink.

The word for letter or character is _uooh_. This is a primitive root
found with the same or a closely allied meaning in other branches of
this linguistic stock, as, for instance, in the Kiché and Cakchiquel. As
a verb, pret. _uooth_, fut. _uooté_, it also means to form letters, to
write; and from the passive form, _uoohal_, we have the participial
noun, _uoohan_, something written, a manuscript.

The ordinary word for book, paper, or letter, is _huun_, in which the
aspirate is almost mute, and is dropped in the forms denoting
possession, as _u uun_, my book, _yuunil Dios_, the book of God, _il_
being the so-called “determinative” ending. It occurs to me as not
unlikely that _uun_, book, is a syncopated form of _uoohan_, something
written, given above. To read a book is _xochun_, literally to _count_ a

According to Villagutierre Soto-Mayor, the name of the sacred books of
the Itzas was _analté_. In the printed _Diccionario de la Lengua Maya_,
by Don Juan Pio Perez, this is spelled _anahté_, which seems to be a
later form.

The term is not found in several early Maya dictionaries in my
possession, of dates previous to 1700. The Abbé Brasseur indeed, in a
note to Landa, explains it to mean “a book of wood,” but it can have no
such signification. Perhaps it should read _hunilté_, this being
composed of _hunil_, the “determinative” form of _huun_, a book, and the
termination _té_, which added to nouns, gives them a specific sense, _e.
g._ _amayté_, a square figure, from _amay_, an angle; _tzucublé_, a
province, from _tzuc_, a portion separated from the rest. It would mean
especially the sacred or national books.

The particular class of books which were occupied with the calendar and
the ritual were called _tzolanté_, which is a participial noun from the
verb _tzol_, passive _tzolal_, to set in order, to arrange, with the
suffix _té_. By these books were set in order and arranged the various
festivals and fasts.

When the conquest was an accomplished fact and the priests had got the
upper hand, the natives did not dare use their ancient characters. They
exposed themselves to the suspicion of heresy and the risk of being
burnt alive, as more than once happened. But their strong passion for
literature remained, and they gratified it as far as they dared by
writing in their own tongue with the Spanish alphabet volumes whose
contents are very similar to those described by Landa.

A number of these are still in existence, and offer an interesting field
for antiquarian and linguistic study. Although, as I say, they are no
longer in the Maya letters, they contain quite a number of ideograms, as
the signs of the days and the months, and occasional cartouches and
paintings, which show that they were made to resemble the ancient
manuscripts as closely as possible.

They also contain not infrequent references to the “writing” of the
ancients, and what are alleged to be extracts from the old records,
chiefly of a mystic character. The same terms are employed in speaking
of the ancient graphic system as of the present one. Thus in one of
them, known as “The Book of Chilan Balam of Chumayel,” occurs this
phrase: _Bay dzibanil tumenel Evangelistas yetel profeta Balam_—“as it
was written by the Evangelists, and also by the prophet Balam,” this
Balam being one of their own celebrated ancient seers.

Among the predictions preserved from a time anterior to the Conquest,
there are occasional references to their books and their contents. I
quote, as an example, a short prophecy attributed to Ahkul Chel, “priest
of the idols.” It is found in several of the oldest Maya manuscripts,
and is in all probability authentic, as it contains nothing which would
lead us to suppose that it was one of the “pious frauds” of the

 “_Enhi cibte katune yume, maixtan à naaté;
 Uatac u talel, mac bin ca ɔabac tu coɔ pop;
 Katune yume bin uluc, holom uil tucal ya;
 Tali ti xaman, tali ti chikine; ahkinob uil yane yume;
 Mac to ahkin, mac to ahbobat, bin alic u than uoohe;
 Yhcil Bolon Ahau, maixtan à naaté?_”

 “The lord of the cycle has been written down, but ye will not
 “He has come, who will give the enrolling of the years;
 “The lord of the cycle will arrive, he will come on account of his love;
 “He came from the north, from the west. There are priests, there are
 “But what priest, what prophet, shall explain the words of the books,
 “In the Ninth Ahau, which ye will not understand?”[234]

From this designedly obscure chant we perceive that the ancient priests
inscribed their predictions in books, which were afterward explained to
the people. The expression _bin alic u than uoohe_—literally, “he will
speak the words of the letters”—seems to point to a phonetic writing,
but as it may be used in a figurative sense, I shall not lay stress on

                       _4.—The Existing Codices._

The word _Codex_ ought to be confined, in American archæology, to
manuscripts in the original writing of the natives. Some writers have
spoken of the “Codex Chimalpopoca,” the “Codex Zumarraga,” and the
“Codex Perez,” which are nothing more than manuscripts either in the
native or Spanish tongues written with the Latin alphabet.

Of the Maya Codices known, only four have been published, which I will
mention in the order of their appearance.

_The Dresden Codex._—This is an important Maya manuscript preserved in
the Royal Library at Dresden. How or when it came to Europe is not
known. It was obtained from some unknown person in Vienna in 1739.

This Codex corresponds in size, appearance, and manner of folding to the
descriptions of the Maya books which I have presented above from Spanish
sources. It has thirty-nine leaves, thirty-five of which are colored and
inscribed on both sides, and four on one side only, so that there are
only seventy-four pages of matter. The total length of the sheet is 3.5
meters, and the height of each page is 0.295 meter, the width 0.085

The first publication of any portion of this Codex was by Alexander von
Humboldt, who had five pages of it copied for his work, _Vues des
Cordillères et Monumens des Peuples Indigenes de l’Amérique_, issued at
Paris in 1813 (not 1810, as the title-page has it). It was next very
carefully copied in full by the Italian artist, Agostino Aglio, for the
third volume of Lord Kingsborough’s great work on _Mexican Antiquities_,
the first volume of which appeared in 1831.

From Kingsborough’s work a few pages of the Codex have been from time to
time republished in other books, which call for no special mention; and
two pages were copied from the original in Wuttke’s _Geschichte der
Schrift_, Leipzig, 1872.

Finally, in 1880, the whole was very admirably chromo-photographed by A.
Naumaun’s establishment at Leipzig, to the number of fifty copies, forty
of which were placed on sale. It is the first work which was ever
published in chromo-photography, and has, therefore, a high scientific
as well as antiquarian interest.

The editor was Dr. E. Förstemann, aulic counselor and librarian-in-chief
of the Royal Library. He wrote an introduction (17 pp. 4to.) giving a
history of the manuscript, and bibliographical and other notes upon it
of much value. One opinion he defends must not be passed by in silence.
It is that the Dresden Codex is not one, but parts of two original
manuscripts written by different hands.

It appears that it has always been in two unequal fragments, which all
previous writers have attributed to an accidental injury to the
original. Dr. Förstemann gives a number of reasons for believing that
this is not the correct explanation, but that we have here portions of
two different books, having general similarity but also many points of

This separation led to an erroneous (or perhaps erroneous) sequence of
the pages in Kingsborough’s edition. The artist Aglio took first one
fragment and copied both sides, and then proceeded to the next one; and
it is not certain that in either case he begins with the first page in
the original order of the book.

_The Codex Peresianus_, or _Codex Mexicanus, No. II_, of the
_Bibliothèque Nationale_ of Paris.—This fragment—for it is unfortunately
nothing more—was discovered in 1859 by Prof. Leon de Rosny among a mass
of old papers in the National Library. It consists of eleven leaves,
twenty-two pages, each 9 inches long and 5¼ inches wide. The writing is
very much defaced, but was evidently of a highly artistic character,
probably the most so of any manuscript known. It unquestionably belongs
to the Maya manuscripts.

Its origin is unknown. The papers in which it was wrapped bore the name
“Perez,” in a Spanish hand of the seventeenth century, and hence the
name “Peresianus” was given it. By order of the Minister of Public
Instruction, ten photographic copies of this Codex, without reduction,
were prepared for the use of scholars. None of them were placed on sale,
and so far as I know the only one which has found its way to the United
States is that in my own library. An ordinary lithographic reproduction
was given in the _Archives paléographiques de l’Orient et de
l’Amérique_, tome I. (Paris, 1869–'71).

_The Codex Tro_, or _Troano_.—The publication of this valuable Codex we
owe to the enthusiasm of the Abbé Brasseur (de Bourbourg). On his return
from Yucatan in 1864 he visited Madrid, and found this Manuscript in the
possession of Don Juan de Tro y Ortolano, professor of paleography, and
himself a descendent of Hernan Cortes. The abbé named it _Troano_, as a
compound of the two names of its owner; but later writers often content
themselves by referring to it simply as the _Codex Tro_.

It consists of thirty-five leaves and seventy pages, each of which is
larger than a page of the Dresden Codex, but less than one of the _Codex
Peresianus_. It was published by chromo-lithography at Paris, in 1869,
prefaced by a study on the graphic system of the Mayas by the abbé, and
an attempt at a translation. The reproduction, which was carried out
under the efficient care of M. Leonce Angrand, is extremely accurate.

_The Codex Cortesianus._—This Codex, published at Paris, 1883, under the
editorship of Professor Leon de Rosny, presents the closest analogy to
the Codex Troano, of which, indeed, it probably formed a part. It has
forty-two leaves, closely written in the calculiform character. There is
no evidence that it was brought to Spain by Cortes, but from a tradition
to that effect, it has received its name.

All four of these codices were written on paper manufactured from the
leaves of the maguey plant, such as that in common use in Mexico. In
Maya the maguey is called _ci_, the varieties being distinguished by
various prefixes. It grows luxuriantly in most parts of Yucatan, and
although the favorite tipple of the ancient inhabitants was mead, they
were not unacquainted with the intoxicating _pulque_, the liquor from
the maguey, if we can judge from their word for a drunkard, _ci-vinic_
(_vinic_==man). The old writers were probably in error when they spoke
of the books being made of the barks of trees; or, at least, they were
not all of that material.

The above-mentioned Manuscripts are the only ones which have been
published. I shall not enumerate those which are said to exist in
private hands. So long as they are withheld from the examination of
scientific men they can add nothing to the general stock of knowledge,
and as statements about them are not verifiable, it is useless to make

In addition to the Manuscripts, we have the mural paintings and
inscriptions found at Palenque, Copan, Chichen Itza, and various ruined
cities within the boundaries of the Maya-speaking races. There is no
mistaking these inscriptions. They are unquestionably of the same
character as the Manuscripts, although it is also easy to perceive
variations, which are partly owing to the necessary differences in
technique between painting and sculpture: partly, no doubt, to the
separation of age and time.

Photographs and “squeezes” have reproduced many of these inscriptions
with entire fidelity. We can also depend upon the accurate pencil of
Catherwood, whose delineations have never been equalled. But the
pictures of Waldeck and some other travelers do not deserve any
confidence, and should not be quoted in a discussion of the subject.

                    THE BOOKS OF CHILAN BALAM.[236]

Civilization in ancient America rose to its highest level among the
Mayas of Yucatan. Not to speak of the architectural monuments which
still remain to attest this, we have the evidence of the earliest
missionaries to the fact that they alone, of all the natives of the New
World, possess a literature written in “letters and characters,”
preserved in volumes neatly bound, the paper manufactured from the
material derived from fibrous plants, and sized with a durable white

A few of these books still remain, preserved to us by accident in the
great European libraries; but most of them were destroyed by the monks.
Their contents were found to relate chiefly to the pagan ritual, to
traditions of the heathen times, to astrological superstitions, and the
like. Hence, they were considered deleterious, and were burned wherever

This annihilation of their sacred books affected the natives most
keenly, as we are pointedly informed by Bishop Landa, himself one of the
most ruthless of Vandals in this respect.[238] But already some of the
more intelligent had learned the Spanish alphabet, and the missionaries
had added a sufficient number of signs to it to express with tolerable
accuracy the phonetics of the Maya tongue. Relying on their memories,
and no doubt aided by some manuscripts secretly preserved, many natives
set to work to write out in this new alphabet the contents of their
ancient records. Much was added which had been brought in by the
Europeans, and much omitted which had become unintelligible or obsolete
since the Conquest; while, of course, the different writers, varying in
skill and knowledge, produced works of very various merit.

Nevertheless, each of these books bore the same name. In whatever
village it was written, or by whatever hand, it always was, and to-day
still is, called “The Book of Chilan Balam.” To distinguish them apart,
the name of the village where a copy was found or written, is added.
Probably, in the last century, almost every village had one, which was
treasured with superstitious veneration. But the opposition of the
_padres_ to this kind of literature, the decay of ancient sympathies,
and especially the long war of races, which since 1847 has desolated so
much of the peninsula, have destroyed most of them. There remain,
however, either portions or descriptions of not less than sixteen of
these curious records. They are known from the names of the villages
respectively as the Book of Chilan Balam of Nabula, of Chumayel, of
Káua, of Mani, of Oxkutzcab, of Ixil, of Tihosuco, of Tixcocob, etc.,
these being the names of various native towns in the peninsula.

When I add that not a single one of these has ever been printed, or even
entirely translated into any European tongue, it will be evident to
every archæologist and linguist what a rich and unexplored mine of
information about this interesting people they may present. It is my
intention in this article merely to touch upon a few salient points to
illustrate this, leaving a thorough discussion of their origin and
contents to the future editor who will bring them to the knowledge of
the learned world.

Turning first to the meaning of the name “_Chilan Balam_,” it is not
difficult to find its derivation. “_Chilan_,” says Bishop Landa, the
second bishop of Yucatan, whose description of the native customs is an
invaluable source to us, “was the name of their priests, whose duty it
was to teach the sciences, to appoint holy days, to treat the sick, to
offer sacrifices, and especially to utter the oracles of the gods. They
were so highly honored by the people that usually they were carried on
litters on the shoulders of the devotees.”[239] Strictly speaking, in
Maya “_chilan_” means “interpreter,” “mouth-piece,” from “_chij_,” “the
mouth,” and in this ordinary sense frequently occurs in other writings.
The word, “_balam_”—literally, “tiger,”—was also applied to a class of
priests, and is still in use among the natives of Yucatan as the
designation of the protective spirits of fields and towns, as I have
shown at length in a previous study of the word as it occurs in the
native myths of Guatemala.[240] “_Chilan Balam_,” therefore, is not a
proper name, but a title, and in ancient times designated the priest who
announced the will of the gods and explained the sacred oracles. This
accounts for the universality of the name and the sacredness of its

The dates of the books which have come down to us are various. One of
them, “The Book of Chilan Balam of Mani,” was undoubtedly composed not
later than 1595, as is proved by internal evidence. Various passages in
the works of Landa, Lizana, Sanchez Aguilar and Cogolludo—all early
historians of Yucatan—prove that many of these native manuscripts
existed in the sixteenth century. Several rescripts date from the
seventeenth century,—most from the latter half of the eighteenth.

The names of the writers are generally not given, probably because the
books, as we have them, are all copies of older manuscripts, with merely
the occasional addition of current items of note by the copyist; as, for
instance, a malignant epidemic which prevailed in the peninsula in 1673
is mentioned as a present occurrence by the copyist of “The Book of
Chilan Balam of Nabula.”

I come now to the contents of these curious works. What they contain may
conveniently be classified under four headings:

 Astrological and prophetic matters;
 Ancient chronology and history;
 Medical recipes and directions;
 Later history and Christian teachings.

The last-mentioned consist of translations of the “_Doctrina_,” Bible
stories, narratives of events after the Conquest, etc., which I shall
dismiss as of least interest.

The astrology appears partly to be reminiscences of that of their
ancient heathendom, partly that borrowed from the European almanacs of
the century 1550–1650. These, as is well known, were crammed with
predictions and divinations. A careful analysis, based on a comparison
with the Spanish almanacs of that time, would doubtless reveal how much
was taken from them, and it would be fair to presume that the remainder
was a survival of ancient native theories.

But there are not wanting actual prophecies of a much more striking
character. These were attributed to the ancient priests and to a date
long preceding the advent of Christianity. Some of them have been
printed in translations in the “_Historias_” of Lizana and Cogolludo,
and of some the originals were published by the late Abbé Brasseur de
Bourbourg, in the second volume of the reports of the “_Mission
Scientificque au Mexique et dans l’ Amérique Centrale_.” Their
authenticity has been met with considerable skepticism by Waitz and
others, particularly as they seem to predict the arrival of the
Christians from the East and the introduction of the worship of the

It appears to me that this incredulity is uncalled for. It is known that
at the close of each of their larger divisions of time (the so-called
“_katuns_,”) a “_chilan_,” or inspired diviner, uttered a prediction of
the character of the year or epoch which was about to begin. Like other
would-be prophets, he had doubtless learned that it is wiser to predict
evil than good, inasmuch as the probabilities of evil in this worried
world of ours outweigh those of good; and when the evil comes his words
are remembered to his credit, while if, perchance, his gloomy forecasts
are not realized, no one will bear him a grudge that he has been at
fault. The temper of this people was, moreover, gloomy, and it suited
them to hear of threatened danger and destruction by foreign foes. But,
alas! for them. The worst that the boding words of the oracle foretold
was as nothing to the dire event which overtook them—the destruction of
their nation, their temples and their freedom, ’neath the iron heel of
the Spanish conqueror. As the wise Gœthe says:

                   “_Seltsam ist Prophetenlied,
                   Doch mehr seltsam was geschieht._”

As to the supposed reference to the cross and its worship, it may be
remarked that the native word translated “cross” by the missionaries,
simply means “a piece of wood set upright,” and may well have had a
different and special signification in the old days.

By way of a specimen of these prophecies, I quote one from “The Book of
Chilan Balam of Chumayel,” saying at once that for the translation I
have depended upon a comparison of the Spanish version of Lizana, who
was blindly prejudiced, and that in French of the Abbé Brasseur de
Bourbourg, who knew next to nothing about Maya, with the original. It
will be easily understood, therefore, that it is rather a paraphrase
than a literal rendering. The original is in short, aphoristic
sentences, and was, no doubt, chanted with a rude rhythm:

             “What time the sun shall brightest shine,
             Tearful will be the eyes of the king.
             Four ages yet shall be inscribed,
             Then shall come the holy priest, the holy god.
             With grief I speak what now I see.
             Watch well the road, ye dwellers of Itza.
             The master of the earth shall come to us.
             Thus prophesies Nahau Pech, the seer,
             In the days of the fourth age,
             At the time of its beginning.”

Such are the obscure and ominous words of the ancient oracle. If the
date is authentic, it would be about 1480—the “fourth age” in the Maya
system of computing time being a period of either twenty or twenty-four
years at the close of the fifteenth century.

It is, however, of little importance whether these are accurate copies
of the ancient prophecies; they remain, at least, faithful imitations of
them, composed in the same spirit and form which the native priests were
wont to employ. A number are given much longer than the above, and
containing various curious references to ancient usages.

Another value they have in common with all the rest of the text of these
books, and it is one which will be properly appreciated by any student
of languages. They are, by common consent of all competent authorities,
the genuine productions of native minds, cast in the idiomatic forms of
the native tongue by those born to its use. No matter how fluent a
foreigner becomes in a language not his own, he can never use it as does
one who has been familiar with it from childhood. This general maxim is
ten-fold true when we apply it to a European learning an American
language. The flow of thought, as exhibited in these two linguistic
families, is in such different directions that no amount of practice can
render one equally accurate in both. Hence the importance of studying a
tongue as it is employed by natives; and hence the very high estimate I
place on these “Books of Chilan Balam” as linguistic material—an
estimate much increased by the great rarity of independent compositions
in their own tongues by members of the native races of this continent.

I now approach what I consider the peculiar value of these records,
apart from the linguistic mould in which they are cast; and that is the
light they throw upon the chronological system and ancient history of
the Mayas. To a limited extent, this has already been brought before the
public. The late Don Pio Perez gave to Mr. Stephens, when in Yucatan, an
essay on the method of computing time among the ancient Mayas, and also
a brief synopsis of Maya history, apparently going back to the third or
fourth century of the Christian era. Both were published by Mr. Stephens
in the appendix to his “Travels in Yucatan,” and have appeared
repeatedly since in English, Spanish and French.[241] They have, up to
the present, constituted almost our sole sources of information on these
interesting points. Don Pio Perez was rather vague as to whence he
derived his knowledge. He refers to “ancient manuscripts,” “old
authorities,” and the like; but, as the Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg
justly complains, he rarely quotes their words, and gives no
descriptions as to what they were or how he gained access to them.[242]
In fact, the whole of Señor Perez’s information was derived from these
“Books of Chilan Balam;” and without wishing at all to detract from his
reputation as an antiquary and a Maya scholar, I am obliged to say that
he has dealt with them as scholars so often do with their authorities;
that is, having framed his theories, he quoted what he found in their
favor and neglected to refer to what he observed was against them.

Thus, it is a cardinal question in Yucatecan archæology as to whether
the epoch or age by which the great cycle (the _ahau katun_,) was
reckoned, embraced twenty or twenty-four years. Contrary to all the
Spanish authorities, Perez declared for twenty-four years, supporting
himself by “the manuscripts.” It is true there are three of the “Books
of Chilan Balam”—those of Mani, Káua and Oxkutzcab,—which are distinctly
in favor of twenty-four years; but, on the other hand, there are four or
five others which are clearly for the period of twenty years, and of
these Don Perez said nothing, although copies of more than one of them
were in his library. So of the epochs, or _katuns_, of Maya history;
there are three or more copies in these books which he does not seem to
have compared with the one he furnished Stephens. His labor will have to
be repeated according to the methods of modern criticism, and with the
additional material obtained since he wrote.

Another valuable feature in these records is the hints they furnish of
the hieroglyphic system of the Mayas. Almost our only authority
heretofore has been the essay of Landa. It has suffered somewhat in
credit because we had no means of verifying his statements and comparing
the characters he gives. Dr. Valentini has even gone so far as to attack
some of his assertions as “fabrications.” This is an amount of
skepticism which exceeds both justice and probability.

The chronological portions of the “Books of Chilan Balam” are partly
written with the ancient signs of the days, months and epochs, and they
furnish us, also, delineations of the “wheels” which the natives used
for computing time. The former are so important to the student of Maya
hieroglyphics, that I have added photographic reproductions of them to
this paper, giving also representations of those of Landa for
comparison. It will be observed that the signs of the days are
distinctly similar in the majority of cases, but that those of the
months are hardly alike.

The hieroglyphs of the days taken from the “_Codex Troano_,” an ancient
Maya book written before the Conquest, probably about 1400, are also
added to illustrate the variations which occurred in the hands of
different scribes. Those from the “Books of Chilan Balam” are copied
from a manuscript known to Maya scholars as the “_Codice Perez_,” of
undoubted authenticity and antiquity.[243]

The result of the comparison I thus institute is a triumphant refutation
of the doubts and slurs which have been cast on Bishop Landa’s work, and
vindicate for it a very high degree of accuracy.

The hieroglyphics for the months are quite complicated, and in the
“Books of Chilan Balam” are rudely drawn; but, for all that, two or
three of them are evidently identical with those in the calendar
preserved by Landa. Some years ago, Professor de Rosny expressed himself
in great doubt as to the fidelity in the tracing of these hieroglyphs of
the months, principally because he could not find them in the two
codices at his command.[244] As he observes, they are _composite_ signs,
and this goes to explain the discrepancy; for it may be regarded as
established that the Maya script permitted the use of several signs for
the same sound, and the sculptor or scribe was not obliged to represent
the same word always by the same figure.


  FIG. 1.—Signs of the Months, from the Book of Chilan Balam of


  FIG. 2.—Signs of the Months, as given by Bishop Landa.

In close relation to chronology is the system of numeration and
arithmetical signs. These are discussed with considerable fulness,
especially in the “Book of Chilan Balam of Káua.” The numerals are
represented by exactly the same figures as we find in the Maya
manuscripts of the libraries of Dresden, Pesth, Paris and Madrid; that
is, by points or dots up to five, and the fives by single straight
lines, which may be indiscriminately drawn vertically or horizontally.
The same book contains a table of multiplication in Spanish and Maya,
which settles some disputed points in the use of the vigesimal system by
the Mayas.

A curious chapter in several of the books, especially those of Káua and
Mani, is that on the thirteen _ahau katuns_, or epochs, of the greater
cycle of the Mayas. This cycle embraced thirteen periods, which, as I
have before remarked, are computed by some at twenty years each, by
others at twenty-four years each. Each of these _katuns_ was presided
over by a chief or king, that being the meaning of the word _ahau_. The
books above mentioned give both the name and the portrait, drawn and
colored by the rude hand of the native artist, of each of these kings,
and they suggest several interesting analogies.

They are, in the first place, identical, with one exception, with those
on an ancient native painting, an engraving of which is given by Father
Cogolludo in his “History of Yucatan,” and explained by him as the
representation of an occurrence which took place after the Spaniards
arrived in the peninsula. Evidently, the native in whose hands the
worthy father found it, fearing that he partook of the fanaticism which
had led the missionaries to the destruction of so many records of their
nation, deceived him as to its purport, and gave him an explanation
which imparted to the scroll the character of a harmless history.

The one exception is the last or thirteenth chief. Cogolludo appends to
this the name of an Indian who probably did fall a victim to his
friendship to the Spaniards. This name, as a sort of guarantee for the
rest of his story, the native scribe inserted in place of the genuine
one. The peculiarity of the figure is that it has an arrow or dagger
driven into its eye. Not only is this mentioned by Cogolludo’s
informant, but it is represented in the paintings in both the “Books of
Chilan Balam” above noted, and also, by a fortunate coincidence, in one
of the calendar pages of the “_Codex Troano_,” plate xxiii., in a
remarkable cartouche, which, from a wholly independent course of
reasoning, was some time since identified by the well-known antiquary,
Professor Cyrus Thomas, of Illinois, as a cartouche of one of the _ahau
katuns_, and probably of the last of them. It gives me much pleasure to
add such conclusive proof of the sagacity of his supposition.[245]




  The first column on the right is from Landa. The second is from the
    “_Codex Troano_.” The remaining four are from the Book of Chilan
    Balam of Káua.

There is other evidence to show that the engraving in Cogolludo is a
relic of the purest ancient Maya symbolism—one of the most interesting
which have been preserved to us; but to enter upon its explanation in
this connection would be too far from my present topic.

A favorite theme with the writers of the “Books of Chilan Balam” was the
cure of diseases. Bishop Landa explains the “_chilanes_” as “sorcerers
and doctors,” and adds that one of their prominent duties was to
diagnose diseases and point out their appropriate remedies.[246] As we
might expect, therefore, considerable prominence is given to the
description of symptoms and suggestions for their alleviation. Bleeding
and the administration of preparations of native plants are the usual
prescriptions; but there are others which have probably been borrowed
from some domestic medicine-book of European origin.

The late Don Pio Perez gave a great deal of attention to collecting
these native recipes, and his manuscripts were carefully examined by Dr.
Berendt, who combined all the necessary knowledge, botanical, linguistic
and medical, and who has left a large manuscript, entitled “_Recetarios
de Indios_,” which presents the subject fully. He considers the
scientific value of these remedies to be next to nothing, and the
language in which they are recorded to be distinctly inferior to that of
the remainder of the “Books of Chilan Balam.” Hence, he believes that
this portion of the ancient records was supplanted some time in the last
century by medical notions introduced from European sources. Such, in
fact, is the statement of the copyists of the books themselves, as these
recipes, etc., are sometimes found in a separate volume, entitled “The
Book of the Jew,”—_El Libro del Judio_. Who this alleged Jewish
physician was, who left so widespread and durable a renown among the
Yucatecan natives, none of the archæologists has been able to find

The language and style of most of these books are aphoristic, elliptical
and obscure. The Maya language has naturally undergone considerable
alteration since they were written; therefore, even to competent readers
of ordinary Maya, they are not readily intelligible. Fortunately,
however, there are in existence excellent dictionaries, which, were they
published, would be sufficient for this purpose.

                   ON THE “STONE OF THE GIANTS.”[248]

At the last meeting of this Society, a photograph was received of the
_Piedra de los Gigantes_, or “Stone of the Giants,” now situated at
Escamela, near the city of Orizaba, Mexico. It was obligingly forwarded
by the Mexican antiquary, Father Damaso Sotomayor, and was referred by
the Society to me for a possible interpretation of the figures

The sender accompanied the envoy with a copy of a newspaper published in
Orizaba, entitled _El Siglo que Acaba_, which contained a lengthy
interpretation of the figure by Father Sotomayor in accordance with the
principles laid down in his recently published work on the decipherment
of Aztec hieroglyphics.[249] The Father sees in the inscribed figures a
mystical allusion to the coming of Christ to the Gentiles, and to the
occurrences supposed in Hebrew myth to have taken place in the Garden of
Eden. As I cannot agree in the remotest with his hypothesis, I shall say
nothing further about it, but proceed to give what I consider the true
significance of the inscribed figures.

I should preface my remarks by mentioning that this stone is not a
recent discovery in Mexican archæology. It was examined by Captain
Dupaix in the year 1808, and is figured in the illustrations to his
voluminous narrative.[250] The figure he gives is however so erroneous
that it yields but a faint idea of the real character and meaning of the
drawing. It omits the ornament on the breast, and also the lines along
the right of the giant’s face, which as I shall show are distinctive
traits. It gives him a girdle where none is delineated, and the relative
size and proportions of all the three figures are quite distorted.
Dupaix informs us, however, of several particulars which the Rev.
Sotomayor omitted to state. From the former’s description we learn that
the stone, or rather rock, on which the inscription is found is roughly
triangular in shape, presenting a nearly straight border of thirty feet
on each side. It is hard and uniform in texture, and of a dark color.
The length or height of the principal figure is twenty-seven feet, and
the incised lines which designate the various objects are deeply and
clearly cut. In the present position of the stone, which is the same as
that stated by Captain Dupaix, the head of the principal figure, called
“the giant,” lies toward the east, while the right hand is extended
toward the north and the left toward the west. It is open to doubt
whether this disposition was accidental or intentional, as there is
reason to believe that the stone is not now in its original position, or
not in that for which it was intended.

Along the base of the stone, which is in thickness some five feet, at
the feet of the giant, there are a series of figures inscribed which are
now almost obliterated; at least the photographs sent the Society give
no clear idea of them, and the cuts of Dupaix are plainly for the most
part fanciful. Their presence there, however, proves that the block was
not intended to have been set up on edge, or inserted vertically into a
wall, as either of these arrangements would have obscured these

I now approach the decipherment of the inscriptions. Any one versed in
the signs of the Mexican calendar will at once perceive that it contains
the date of a certain year and day. On the left of the giant is seen a
rabbit surrounded with ten circular depressions. These depressions are
the well-known Aztec marks for numerals, and the rabbit represents one
of the four astronomic signs by which they adjusted their chronologic
cycle of fifty-two years. The three others were a house, a reed, and a
flint. Each one of these recurred thirteen times in their cycle, making,
as I have said, a term of fifty-two years in all. A year was designated
by one of the four names with its appropriate number; as “3 house,” “12
flint,” “4 reed,” etc., the sequence being regularly preserved.

The days were arranged in zones or weeks of twenty, the different series
being numbered, and also named from a sequence of eighteen astronomical
signs called “wind,” “lizard,” “snake,” “deer,” etc. The five days
lacking to complete the 365 were intercalated. A second or ritual system
had thirteen weeks of twenty days each; but as thirteen times twenty
makes only two hundred and sixty, in this computation there remained 105
days to be named and numbered. Their device to accomplish this was
simple: they merely recommenced the numbering and naming of the weeks
for this remainder, adding a third series of appellations drawn from a
list of nine signs, called “rulers of the night.” At the close of the
solar year they recommenced as at the beginning of the previous

With these facts in our mind, we can approach our task with confidence.
The stone bears a carefully dated record, with the year and day clearly
set forth. The year is represented to the left of the figure, and is
that numbered “ten” under the sign of the rabbit, in Nahuatl, _xihuitl
matlacth tochtli_; the day of the year is numbered “one” under the sign
of the fish, _ce cipactli_.

These precise dates recurred once, and only once, every fifty-two years;
and had recurred only once between the year of our era 1450 and the
Spanish conquest of Mexico in 1519–20. We may begin our investigations
with that one epoch, as from other circumstances, such as local
tradition[253] and the character of the work, it is not likely that the
inscription was previous to the middle of the fifteenth century. Within
the period named, the year “10 rabbit” of the Aztec calendar
corresponded with the year 1502 of the Gregorian calendar. It is more
difficult to fix the day, as the mathematical problems relating to the
Aztec diurnal reckonings are extremely complicated, and have not yet
been satisfactorily worked out; but it is, I think, safe to say, that
according to both the most probable computations the day “one fish”—_ce
cipactli_—occurred in the first month of the year 1502, which month
coincided in whole or in part with our February.

Such is the date on the inscription. Now, what is intimated to have
occurred on that date? The clue to this is furnished by the figure of
the giant.

On looking at it closely we perceive that it represents an ogre of
horrid mien with a death-head grin and formidable teeth, his hair wild
and long, the locks falling down upon the neck; and suspended on the
breast as an ornament is the bone of a human lower jaw with its incisor
teeth. The left leg is thrown forward as in the act of walking, and the
arms are uplifted, the hands open, and the fingers extended, as at the
moment of seizing the prey or the victim. The lines about the umbilicus
represent the knot of the girdle which supported the _maxtli_ or


  FIG. 1. The Stone of the Giants.

There is no doubt as to which personage of the Aztec pantheon this
fear-inspiring figure represents; it is _Tzontemoc Mictlantecutli_, “the
Lord of the Realm of the Dead, He of the Falling Hair,” the dread god of
death and the dead.[254] His distinctive marks are there, the
death-head, the falling hair, the jaw bone, the terrible aspect, the
giant size.

There can be no question but that the _Piedra de los Gigantes_
establishes a date of death; that it is a necrological tablet, a
mortuary monument, and from its size and workmanship, that it was
intended as a memorial of the decease of some very important personage
in ancient Mexico.

Provided with these deductions from the stone itself, let us turn to the
records of old Mexico and see if they corroborate the opinion stated.
Fortunately we possess several of these venerable documents, chronicles
of the empire before Cortes destroyed it, written in the hieroglyphs
which the inventive genius of the natives had devised. Taking two of
these chronicles, the one known as the _Codex Telleriano-Remensis_, the
other as the _Codex Vaticanus_,[255] and turning to the year numbered
“ten” under the sign of the rabbit, I find that both present the same
record, which I copy in the following figure.


  FIG. 2. Extract from the Vatican Codex.

You will observe the sign of the year, the rabbit, shown merely by his
head for brevity. The ten dots which give its number are beside it.
Immediately beneath is a curious quadruped with what are intended as
water-drops dripping from him. The animal is the hedge-hog and the
figure is to be construed _iconomatically_, that is, it must be read as
a rebus through the medium of the Nahuatl language. In that language
water is _atl_, in composition _a_, and hedge-hog is _uitzotl_. Combine
these and you get _ahuitzotl_, or, with the reverential termination,
_ahuitzotzin_. This was the name of the ruler or emperor, if you allow
the word, of ancient Mexico before the accession to the throne of that
Montezuma whom the Spanish _conquistador_ Cortes put to death. His
hieroglyph, as I have described it, is well known in Mexican

Returning to the page from the chronicle, we observe that the hieroglyph
of Ahuitzotzin is placed immediately over a corpse swathed in its mummy
cloths, as was the custom of interment with the highest classes in
Mexico. This signifies that the death of Ahuitzotzin took place in that
year. Adjacent to it is the figure of his successor, his name
iconomatically represented by the head-dress of the nobles; the
_tecuhtli_, giving the middle syllables of “Mo-_tecuh_-zoma.”[257]
Beneath is also the figure of the new ruler, with the outlines of a
flower and a house, which would be translated by the iconomatic system
_xochicalli_ or _xochicalco_; but the significance of these does not
concern us here.

This page of the Codices gives us therefore a record of a death in the
year “10 _tochtli_”—1502—of the utmost importance. No previous ruler had
brought ancient Mexico to such a height of glory and power. “In his
reign,” says Orozco y Berra, “Mexico reached its utmost extension.
Tributes were levied in all directions, and fabulous riches poured into
the capital city.”[258] The death of the ruler was therefore an event of
the profoundest national significance. We may well believe that it would
be commemorated by some artistic work commensurate with its importance;
and this I claim was the purpose of the _Piedra de los Gigantes_ of

But we may add further and convincing testimony to this interpretation.
The day of the month _ce cipactli_, 1 Fish, is engraved to the right of
the figure as connected with the event commemorated. Now, although I
have not found in the records the exact day of Ahuitzotzin’s death, I do
find that the native historian Ixtlilxochitl assigns this very day, _ce
cipactli_, 1 Fish, as that of the accession of Montezuma;[259] and
another native historian, Chimalpahin, states distinctly that this took
place “immediately” after the death of his predecessor on the
throne.[260] It may possibly have been on the very day of Ahuitzotzin’s
decease, as still another native writer, Tezozomoc, informs us that this
was not sudden, but the slow result of a wound on the head.[261]

It is indeed remarkable that we should find the precise dates, the year
and the day of the year, depicted on this stone, and also recorded by
various native writers, as connected with the demise of the emperor
Ahuitzotzin. These coincidences are of such a nature that they leave no
doubt that _La Piedra de los Gigantes_ of Escamela is a necrologic
tablet commemorating the death of the emperor Ahuitzotzin some time in
February, 1502.

                      NATIVE AMERICAN POETRY.[262]

In our modern civilization we are apt to consider that a taste for
poetry is a mark of high culture, something which belongs exclusively to
trained mental fibre and educated perceptions. It causes us, therefore,
some surprise when we study the psychology of savage tribes, to find
them almost everywhere passionate lovers of verse and measure, of music
and song. This fact, well established by the researches of ethnology,
was recognized by more than one keen thinker before ethnology was born.
In the last century that erratic genius, Hamann, known in German
literature as “the magician of the north,” penned the memorable words,
“Poetry is the common mother-tongue of the human race,” and insisted
that to attain its noblest flights, “we must return to the infancy of
the race, and to the simplicity of a childlike faith,” a dictum warmly
espoused by the philosophic Herder and by the enthusiasm of the young
Gœthe. Later on, that profoundest of psychologists, Wilhelm von
Humboldt, reflecting on the problems presented by the origin of
languages, expressed his conviction that man as a zoological species is
a singing animal, like many birds; that his vocal organs turn to song as
their appropriate function with a like spontaneity as his mind turns to
thought or his eyes to the light.

If we inquire into the psychological principle which makes rhythm
agreeable to the ear, we shall find that this principle is that of
_repetition_. I could carry the analysis still further, and demonstrate
to you that the physiological principle of all pleasure is expressed in
the formula—“maximum action with minimum effort;” and that the nerves of
audition are most successfully acted upon in accordance with this law by
limited repetitions with harmonious intervals. All metres, all rhythm,
all forms of alliteration and assonance, are but varied applications of
the principle of harmonious repetition; and the poet, as a poet, as an
artist, must be rated, and practically always is rated, by the skill
with which he employs the resources of repetition. Lofty thoughts,
beautiful metaphors, delicate allusions, these are his extraneous aids,
and by no means his exclusive property; but the form is his own, be it
quantity, rhyme, alliteration or accent.

I have felt it necessary to state very briefly these general principles,
in order to place in its proper light that form of poetry which is most
prevalent among the native tribes of America. You will not find among
them any developed examples of either rhyme or alliteration; their
dialects do not admit of fixed vocalic quantity, like the Latin; even
accent and assonance, which are the more imperfect resources of the
poetic art, are generally absent. What, then, in a literary analysis,
constitutes their poetic form?

I answer, _repetition_ in its simplest expressions. These are two. The
same verse may be repeated over and over again; or the wording of the
verses may be changed, but each may be accompanied by a burden or
refrain, which is repeated by the singer or the chorus. These are the
two fundamental characteristics of aboriginal poetry, and are found
everywhere on the American continent. The refrain is usually
interjectional and meaningless; and the verses are often repeated
without alteration, four or five times over.

We may, if we choose, begin our survey of the continent with its extreme
northernmost inhabitants, the Eskimo, whose abode is along the
inhospitable shores of the Arctic sea. One might think that the eternal
snows which surround them, the vast glaciers which chill the air for
miles beyond their limits, would also freeze out and kill all fire of
poesy. Quite the contrary. I doubt if throughout the American continent
I could quote you a more thoroughly poetic people, one taking a greater
delight in song, than these same boreal, blubber-eating, ice-bound
Eskimo. Their great delight is in long tales of magic and adventure, and
in improvisation. An Eskimo hunter, with a ready power to string
together verse after verse of their peculiar poetry, soon extends his
fame beyond the confines of his native village, and becomes known for
many a league up and down the shore. Often in the long winter nights,
genuine tourneys of song are organized between the champions of
villages, not unlike those which took place in fair Provence in the
palmy days of _la gaye science_. More than this, I have been assured by
Dr. Franz Boas, who recently passed two years among the Eskimo of
Baffin’s Land, living with them as one of them, that it is nothing
uncommon for downright hostile feelings, personal grudges, to be settled
by the opponents meeting on a fixed occasion and singing satirical and
abusive songs at each other. He who comes out best, raising the most
laughter at his antagonist’s expense, is considered to have conquered,
and his enemy accepts the defeat. These controversial songs have been
called by the Danish writers “nith songs,” from the word _nith_, which
is also old English, and means cursing and contention.

The distinguished traveler, Dr. Heinrich Rink, who has passed nineteen
winters in Greenland, has furnished me the originals, with translations,
of several of these nith songs.

As an example, I will read you one which took place between two rivals,
_Savdlat_ and _Pulangit-Sissok_. Savdlat lived to the north,
Pulangit-Sissok to the south. To appreciate the satire, you must know
that an Eskimo gentleman prides himself chiefly on two points: first,
that he speaks his own tongue with precisely the right accent, which, I
need not say, he considers to be the accent of his own village, wherever
that may be; and secondly, that he is a skillful boatman.

Savdlat begins the poetic duel in these words:



       The South shore, O yes, the South shore, I know it;
       Once I lived there and met Pulangit-Sissok,
       A fat fellow who lived on halibut; O yes, I know him.
       Those South-shore folk can’t talk;
       They don’t know how to pronounce our language;
       Truly they are dull fellows;
       They don’t even talk alike;
       Some have one accent, some another;
       Nobody can understand them;
       They can scarcely understand each other.


       O yes, Savdlat and I are old acquaintances;
       He wished me extremely well at times;
       Once I know he wished I was the best boatman on the shore;
       It was a rough day, and I in mercy took his boat in tow;
       Ha! ha! Savdlat, thou didst cry most pitiful;
       Thou wast awfully afeared;
       In truth, thou wast nearly upset;
       And hadst to keep hold of my boat strings,
       And give me part of thy load.
       O yes, Savdlat and I are old acquaintances.

A similar humorous strain is very marked in most of the Eskimo songs.
Indeed, I know no other tribe in America where the genuine fun-loving
spirit bubbles forth so freely. In Mexico and Central America, in the
midst of beautiful scenery and where the flowery earth basks in the lap
of an eternal spring, the tone of most of the songs is sad and
lugubrious; or, if humorous, with a satirical, bitter, unhealthy humor,
a _Schadenfreude_, which is far from wholesome merriment. Dr. Berendt,
who spent seventeen years in studying the languages of Central America,
has pointedly called attention to the great predominance of words in
them expressing painful, over those expressing pleasurable emotions. It
teaches us how little the happiness of man depends upon his environment,
that the merriest of the American nations is found precisely where
according to our usual notions almost every cheering and enlivening
element is withdrawn from life, where darkness, cold, and destitution
have undisputed rule.

But I will not continue with such generalizations, attractive though
they are. Let me relieve their dryness by a little Eskimo song, the full
Eskimo text of which you will find printed in Dr. Rink’s work entitled
“Tales of the Eskimo.” As usual, each line is followed by an
interjectional burden, which I shall repeat only in part. The song is

                THE SONG OF KUK-OOK, THE BAD BOY.

            This is the song of Kuk-ook, the bad boy.
            I am going to run away from home, hayah,
            In a great big boat, hayah,
            To hunt for a sweet little girl, hayah;
            I shall get her some beads, hayah;
            The kind that look like boiled ones, hayah;
            Then after a while, hayah,
            I shall come back home, hayah,
            I shall call all my relations together, hayah,
            And shall give them all a good thrashing, hayah;
            Then I shall go and get married, hayah,
            I shall marry two girls at once, hayah;
            One of the sweet little darlings, hayah,
            I shall dress in spotted seal-skins, hayah,
            And the other dear little pet, hayah,
            Shall wear skins of the hooded seal only, hayah.

But you must not derive the idea from these specimens that the Eskimos
are triflers and jesters only. Some of their poetical productions reveal
a true and deep appreciation of the marvellous, the impressive, and the
beautiful scenes which their land and climate present. Prominent
features in their tales and chants are the flashing, variegated aurora,
whose shooting streamers they fable to be the souls of departed heroes;
the milky way, gleaming in the still Arctic night, which they regard as
the bridge by which the souls of the good and brave mount to the place
of joy; the vast, glittering, soundless snowfields; and the mighty,
crashing glacier, splintering from his shoreward cliffs the ice
mountains which float down to the great ocean.

As an instance of this appreciation of natural scenery I shall read you
a song obtained by Dr. Rink, at the small trading station of Arsut on
the southern coast of Greenland, near Frederickshaab. Close to Arsut
stands Mt. Koonak, whose precipitous sides rise fully four thousand feet
above the billows of the Atlantic which dash against its foot. It is the
play of the clouds about the mountain which inspires the poet:

                    MOUNT KOONAK: A SONG OF ARSUT.

            I look toward the south, to great Mount Koonak,
            To great Mount Koonak, there to the south;
            I watch the clouds that gather round him;
            I contemplate their shining brightness;
            They spread abroad upon great Koonak;
            They climb up his seaward flanks;
            See how they shift and change;
            Watch them there to the south;
            How the one makes beautiful the other;
            How they mount his southern slopes,
            Hiding him from the stormy sea,
            Each lending beauty to the other.

No doubt there were and are many historical or traditional songs among
the natives; but I should have little hope of deriving from them much
information of a really historical character. Their references to
occurrences are very vague, and rather in the form of suggestion than
narration. The auditors are supposed to be familiar with the story, and
a single name or prominent word is enough to recall it to their minds.

I may illustrate this by a short Pawnee song sent me by Mr. Dunbar,
whose intimate acquaintance with the language and customs of that tribe
lends entire authority to all he writes about them.

About 1820 the Pawnees captured a young girl from their enemies the
Paducas, and according to custom, prepared to burn her alive. On the
appointed day she was fastened to the stake, and the village gathered
around in order to commence the tortures which were to precede her
death. At that moment a young Pawnee brave, by name _Pitale-Sharu_,
whose heart had been touched with pity and perhaps with love, dashed
madly into the ring with two fleet horses. In a moment with his ready
knife he had slit the thongs which fastened the girl to the stake, had
thrown her on one horse, himself on the other, and was speeding away on
the prairie toward her father’s village. The Pawnees were literally
stricken dumb. They retired silently to their cabins, and when, three
days later, Pitale-Sharu returned to the village, no man challenged his
action. All regarded it as an act of divine inspiration, even to inquire
about which would be sacrilege. This act is remembered to this day in
the tribe, and commemorated in the following song:

                      A PAWNEE COMMEMORATIVE SONG.

                          Well, he foretold this,
                          Well, he foretold this,
                          Yes, he foretold this;
                            I, Pitale-Sharu,
                          Am arrived here.
                          Well, he foretold this,
                          Yes, he foretold this,
                            I, Pitale Sharu,
                          Am arrived here.

One of the Pawnee war-songs has a curious metaphysical turn. It is one
which is sung when a warrior undertakes to perform some particularly
daring individual exploit, which may well cost him his life. The words
seem to call upon the gods to decide whether this mortal life is only an
illusion, or a divine truth under the guidance of divine intelligence.

                         PAWNEE WAR-SONG.

                     Let us see, is this real,
                     Let us see, is this real,
                     Let us see, is this real,
                     Let us see, is this real,
                     This life I am living?
                     Ye gods, who dwell everywhere,
                     Let us see, is this real,
                     This life I am living?

The so-called Indian medicine-songs cannot be understood without a
thorough insight into the habits and superstitions of these peoples, and
it would only fatigue you were I to repeat them to you.

I prefer to turn to some of the less esoteric productions of the native
muse, to some of its expressions of those emotions which are common to
mankind everywhere, and which everywhere seek their expression in meter
and rhythm.

A recent German traveler, Mr. Theodore Baker, furnishes me with a couple
of simple, unpretending but genuinely aboriginal songs which he heard
among the Kioway Indians. One is a


                   Young men there are in plenty,
                     But I love only one;
                   Him I’ve not seen for long,
                     Though he is my only son.

                   When he comes, I’ll haste to meet him,
                     I think of him all night;
                   He too will be glad to see me,
                     His eyes will gleam with delight.

The second example from the Kioways is a song of true love in the
ordinary sense. Such are rare among the North American Indians anywhere.
Most of their chants in relation to the other sex are erotic, not
emotional; and this holds equally true of those which in some tribes on
certain occasions are addressed by the women to the men. The one I give
you from the Kioway is not open to this censure

                         A KIOWAY LOVE-SONG.

                 I sat and wept on the hill-side,
                   I wept till the darkness fell
                 I wept for a maiden afar off
                   A maiden who loves me well

                 The moons are passing, and some moon
                   I shall see my home long-lost,
                 And of all the greetings that meet me,
                   My maiden’s will gladden me most.

A specimen of a characteristic Chipeway love-song is given in one of the
works of the late Henry R. Schoolcraft. It was chanted by the lover, at
night, in front of the dwelling of the girl he would captivate. The song
is in four verses, and it will be noticed that each verse approaches
nearer and nearer the final request. It should be understood that each
verse was to be repeated several times, so as to give the fair one an
opportunity to express her approval or disapproval by some of those
signs which belong to the freemasonry of love the world over. If the
sign was negative and repelling, the singer abruptly ceased his chant
and retired, concealed by the darkness of the night; but if he was
encouraged, or heard without rebuke, he continued, in hope that at the
close of the song timid fingers would partially draw aside the curtain
which closes the lodge door, and that his prayer would be granted.

The serenade runs as follows:


               I would walk into somebody’s dwelling,
               Into somebody’s dwelling would I walk.

               Into _thy_ darkened dwelling, my beloved,
               Some night would I walk, would I walk.

               Some night at this season, my beloved,
               Into thy darkened dwelling would I walk.

               On this very night, my beloved,
               Into thy darkened dwelling would I walk.

While dealing with these amatory effusions, I will add one or two from
another part of the map, from the tribes who make their home in our
sister republic, Mexico. You are aware that there are many tribes there
barely tinged with European culture or religion. They retain the
ancestral tongues and modes of thought. The sword and whip of the
Spaniard compelled an external obedience to church and state, but the
deference to either was reluctant, and in the minimum degree.
Consequently, there also the field for research is rich and practically
uncultivated. To employ a native metaphor, frequent in the Aztec poets,
I will cause you to smell the fragrance of a few of the flowers I have
gathered from those meads.

My late friend, Dr. Berendt, personally known, I doubt not, to some
present, obtained a curious Aztec love-song from the lips of an Indian
girl in the Sierra of Tamaulipas. It is particularly noticeable from the
strange, mystical conceit it contains that to the person who truly
loves, the mere bodily presence or absence of the beloved object is
unimportant, nay, not even noticed. The literal translation of this song
is as follows:

              I know not whether thou hast been absent:
              I lie down with thee, I rise up with thee,
              In my dreams thou art with me.
                If my ear drops tremble in my ears,
                I know it is thou moving within my heart.

This rough rendering has been put into metrical form as follows:

                   A MODERN AZTEC LOVE-SONG.

           I knew it not that thou hadst absent been,
             So full thy presence all my soul had left;
           By night, by day, in quiet or changing scene,
             ’Tis thee alone I see, sense of all else bereft.
           And when the tinkling pendants sway and ring,
           ’Tis thou who in my heart dost move and sing.

In another love-song in the same language I have met a conceit which I
distinctly remember to have read in some old English poet, that of a
lover who complains that his heart has been gathered in along with her
flowers by a maiden picking roses.

The literal translation of this song reads thus:

                     On a certain mountain side,
                     Where they pluck flowers,
                       I saw a pretty maiden,
                     Who plucked from me my heart.
                       Whither thou goest,
                       There go I.

As a metrical expansion of this couplet the following has been

                            AZTEC LOVE-SONG.

                    Do you know that mountain side
                      Where they gather roses?
                    There I strolled one eventide
                      In the garden closes.
                    Soon I met a lovely maid
                      Fairer than all fancies,
                    Quick she gathered in my heart
                      With her buds and pansies,
                    But take heed, my pretty may,
                      In reaping and in sowing,
                    Once with thee, I’ll ever stay,
                      And go where thou art going.

Perhaps the refinement of some of these sentiments may excite
skepticism. It is a favorite doctrine among a certain class of writers
that delicacy of sexual feeling is quite unknown among savage tribes,
that, indeed, the universal law is that mere bestiality prevails, more
or less kept in bounds by superstition and tribal law. I am well
acquainted with this theory of several popular philosophers, and do not
in the least accept it. Any such dogmatic assertion is unscientific.
Delicacy of sentiment bears no sort of constant relation to culture.
Every man present knows this. He can name among his acquaintances men of
unusual culture who are coarse voluptuaries, and others of the humblest
education who have the delicacy of a refined woman. So it is with
families, and so it is with tribes. I have illustrated this lately by an
analysis of the words meaning “to love” in all its senses in five
leading American linguistic stocks, and have shown by the irrefragable
proof of language how much they differ in this respect, and how much
also the same tribe may differ from itself at various periods of its
growth. As the result of this and similar studies I may assure you that
there is no occasion for questioning the existence of highly delicate
sentiments among some of the American tribes.

As I found the Mexican love poems the most delicate, so I have found
their war songs the most stirring. We have a number of specimens written
down in the native tongue shortly after the conquest. They have never
been translated or published, but I will give you a rendering of one in
my possession which, from intrinsic evidence, was written about 1510. I
say _written_ advisedly, for the nation who sang these songs possessed a
phonetic alphabet, and wrote many volumes of poems by its aid. Their
historian, Bernardino de Sahagun, especially mentions that the works
used for the instruction of youth in their schools contained “poems
written in antique characters.”

The first of my selections is supposed to be addressed by the poet to
certain friends of his who were unwilling to go to war.

                       A WAR-SONG OF THE OTOMIS.

  1. It grieves me, dear friends, that you walk not with me in spirit,
  that I have not your company in the scenes of joy and pleasure, that
  never more in union do we seek the same paths.

  2. Do you really see me, dear friends? Will no God take the
  blindness from your eyes? What is life on earth? Can the dead
  return? No, they live far within the heavens, in a place of joy.

  3. The joy of the Lord, the Giver of Life, is where the warriors
  sing, and the smoke of the war-fire rises up; where the flowers of
  the shields spread abroad their leaves; where deeds of valor shake
  the earth; where the fatal flowers of death cover the fields.

  4. The battle is there, the beginning of the battle is there, in the
  open fields, where the smoke of the war-fire winds around and curls
  upward from the fatal war flowers which adorn you, ye friends and
  warriors of the Chichimecs.

  5. Let not my soul dread that open field; I earnestly desire the
  beginning of the slaughter, my soul longs for the murderous fray.

  6. O you who stand there in the battle, I earnestly desire the
  beginning of the slaughter, my soul longs for the murderous fray.

  7. The war-cloud rises upward, it rises into the blue sky where
  dwells the Giver of Life; in it blossom forth the flowers of prowess
  and valor, beneath it, in the battle field, the children ripen to

  8. Rejoice with me, dear friends, and do ye rejoice, ye children,
  going forth to the open field of battle; let us rejoice and revel
  amid these shields, flowers of the murderous fray.

The song which I have just read, like most which I bring before you, has
no name of author. The poet has passed to an eternal oblivion, though
his work remains. More fortunate is the composer of the next one I shall
read you. It is a poem by an Aztec prince and bard who bore the sonorous
appellation, _Tetlapan Quetzanitzin_. I can tell you little about him.
At the time Cortes entered the City of Mexico, Tetlapan Quetzanitzin was
ruler of one of its suburbs, Tlacopan or Tacuba. At the interview when
the daring Spaniard seized upon the person of Montezuma and made him a
captive, this Tetlapan was one of the attendants of the Aztec monarch,
and it is recorded of him that he made his escape and disappeared. I
have found no mention of his subsequent adventures.

This war-song is one of two of his poems which have survived the wreck
of the ancient literature. It is highly metaphorical. You might at first
think it a drinking song; but the drunkenness it refers to is the
intoxication of battle, the _Berserkerwuth_ of the Norse Vikings; the
flowers which he sings are the war-shields with their gay ornaments; and
the fertile plains which he lauds are those which are watered with the
blood of heroes. Finally, I should tell you that the white wine he
speaks of was a sacred beverage among the Mexicans, set forth at certain
solemn festivals. Like the rest of their wine, it was manufactured from
the maguey.


  1. Why did it grieve you, O friends, why did it pain you, that you
  were drunk with the wine? Arise from your stupor, O friends, come
  hither and sing; let us seek for homes in some flowery land; forget
  your drunkenness.

  2. The precept is old that one should quaff the strong white wine in
  the moment of difficulty, as when one enters the battle-plain, when
  he goes forth to the place of shattered stones, where the precious
  stones are splintered, the emeralds, the turquoises, the youths, the
  children. Therefore, friends and brothers, quaff now the flowing
  white wine.

  3. Let us drink together amid the flowers, let us build our houses
  among the flowers, where the fragrant blossoms cast abroad their
  odors as a fountain its waters, where the breath of the dew-laden
  flowers makes sweet the air; there it is that nobility and strength
  will make glorious our houses, there the flowers of war bloom over a
  fertile land.

  4. O friends, do you not hear me? Let us go, let us go, let us pour
  forth the white wine, the strong wine of battle; let us drink the
  wine which is as sweet as the dew of roses, let it intoxicate our
  souls, let our souls be steeped in its delights, let them be
  enriched as in some opulent place, some fertile land. Why does it
  trouble you? Come with me, and listen to my song.

Alongside of these specimens from Mexico, I put a war-song of the
Peruvians. It is from the drama of _Ollanta_, a production dating from
shortly before the conquest, and one of the most interesting monuments
of American native literature. The hero, Ollanta, a warrior of renown
but of humble parentage, had, on the strength of his successes against
the enemy, applied for the hand of the Inca’s daughter, and had been
rejected with scorn. All his loyalty and allegiance turns to hatred, and
he sings his war-song against his native country and its ruler in these

                 A WAR-SONG OF OLLANTA.

             O Cuzco, beautiful city,
             Henceforward I shall be thy enemy.
             I shall break the walls of thy bosom,
             I shall tear out thy heart
             And fling it to the vultures.
             Thy cruel king shall witness
             My thousands of warriors,
             Armed and led by me,
             Gather, like a cloud of curses,
             Against thy citadel.
             The sky shall be red with thy burning,
             Bloody shall thy couch be,
             And thy king shall perish with thee.
             Gasping in death, with my hand on his throat,
             We shall see if again he will say:
             “Thou art unworthy of my daughter,
             Never shall she be thine.”

A variety of poetic production of frequent occurrence among the
aborigines is the prophetic. You are aware that it is by no means
peculiar to them; the oracle at Delphi, the sibylline leaves in the
Capitol, the words of the Hebrew seers, even the forecasts of
Nostradamus, were usually cast in poetic form. The effort to lift the
veil of futurity is one ineradicable from the human breast, and faith in
its possibility is universal. Those prophets who are wise, those augurs
who pass the wink to each other, favor great obscurity and ambiguity in
their communications, or else express themselves in such commonplaces as
that man is mortal; that all beauty fadeth; that power is transitory,
and the like. We find both kinds flourished in ancient America. You may
remember that Montezuma in his first interview with Cortes told the
Spanish invader that the arrival of a white and bearded conqueror from
the East had long been predicted by Mexican soothsayers. Similar
prophecies were current in Yucatan, in Peru, and in other portions of
the continent. They are all easily explained, and there is no occasion
either to question the fact, or to seek for them any supernatural
inspiration. It would lead me away from my theme to enter into a
discussion of their meaning, but I should like to read you two brief
examples of them. Both are from the Maya language of Yucatan, and I have
no doubt both antedate the conquest. The first, according to an
expression in the poem itself, was composed in the year 1469. It was the
prediction of a Maya priest at the close of the indiction or cycle which
terminated in that year of our chronology.


          Ye men of Itzá, hearken to the tidings,
          Listen to the forecaste of this cycle’s end;
          Four have been the ages of the world’s progressing.
          Now the fourth is ending, and its end is near.
          A mighty lord is coming, see you give him honor;
          A potent lord approaches, to whom all must bow;
          I, the prophet, warn you, keep in mind my boding,
          Men of Itzá, mark it, and await your lord.

The second example of these mystic chants which I shall give you is from
a curious native production called, “The Book of Chilan Balam,” a
repertory of wild imaginings and scraps of ancient and modern magical
lore, which is the very Bible of the Maya Indians. Although I have a
copy of it, I have been unable to translate any large portion of it, and
my correspondents in Yucatan, though some of them speak Maya as readily
as Spanish, find the expressions too archaic and obscure to be
intelligible. This particular song is that of the priest and soothsayer
Chilan, from whom the sacred book takes its name. There is every reason
to believe that it dates from the fifteenth century.

                    RECITAL OF THE PRIEST CHILAN.

        Eat, eat, while there is bread,
        Drink, drink, while there is water;
        A day comes when dust shall darken the air,
        When a blight shall wither the land,
        When a cloud shall arise,
        When a mountain shall be lifted up,
        When a strong man shall seize the city,
        When ruin shall fall upon all things,
        When the tender leaf shall be destroyed,
        When eyes shall be closed in death;
        When there shall be three signs on a tree,
        Father, son and grandson hanging dead on the same tree;
        When the battle flag shall be raised,
        And the people scattered abroad in the forests.

Such poems properly belong to the mythologic class. This class was fully
represented in the productions of the primitive bards, but chiefly owing
to the prejudices of the early missionaries, the examples remaining are

I could continue to bring before you specimens of this quaint and
ancient lore. My garner is by no means emptied. But probably I have said
enough for my purpose. You see that the study of the aboriginal poetry
of our continent opens up an unexpectedly rich field for investigation.
It throws a new light not only on the folk songs of other nations, but
on the general history of the growth of the poetic faculty. More than
this, it elevates our opinion of the nations whom we are accustomed to
call by the terms savage and barbarous. We are taught that in much which
we are inclined to claim as our special prerogatives, they too have an
interest. In the most precious possessions of the race, in its
aspirations for the infinite and the forever true, they also have a
share. They likewise partake, and in no mean degree, of that sweetest
heritage of man, the glorious gift of song, “the vision and the faculty

                                PART IV.



The processes, psychical and logical, which lie at the basis and modify
the forms of articulate speech, have yet to be defined and classified in
a manner to secure the general acceptance of scholars. While these
processes are operative and recognizable in all languages, it has ever
seemed to me that they are more apparent and transparent in the
unwritten tongues of savage tribes. As the stream is more diaphanous
near its source, as the problem of organic life is more readily studied
in the lowest groups of animals and vegetables, by such analogies we are
prompted to select the uncultured speech of the rudest of our race to
discover the laws of growth in human expression.

Though such laws are not precisely the same throughout space and time,
they unquestionably partake of the same uniformity as we note in other
natural phenomena, and no language has yet been reported which stands
alone in its formation.

Perhaps the general laws under which languages should be grouped have
already been defined as closely as the subject permits. The labors of
Wilhelm von Humboldt, as expanded by Professor Steinthal, would appear
to present the most comprehensive and satisfactory classification yet
attempted. Such is the conclusion to which my own studies of the subject
have led me, and in the first three essays of this Part, I have set
forth in considerable detail the application of this opinion to the
languages of America. Especially in the second essay, I have attempted
to popularize a profounder philosophic analysis of these tongues than
has heretofore appeared in works on the subject.

The essay on “The Earliest Form of Human Speech” offers a series of
inferences drawn from the study of American tongues as to the general
characteristics of the articulate utterances of the species when it
first became possessed—by some slow evolutionary process—of the power of
conveying ideas by intelligible sounds. It is an application of facts
drawn from a limited number of languages to the linguistic status of the
whole species at an indeterminately remote period, but is, I think, a
fair use of the materials offered.

The analysis of words for the affections is the theme of the essay on
“The Conception of Love in some American Languages.” It is an example of
the use to which linguistics may be put in the science of racial
psychology; while the essay on the words for linear measures in certain
tongues illustrates what knowledge as to the condition of a nation’s
arts may be obtained by a scrutiny of its lexicon.

The next essay, on the curious hoax perpetrated on some European and
American linguists by the manufacture of a novel American tongue by some
French students, is an instance, not wholly unprecedented, of misplaced
ingenuity on the one side, and easy credulity on the other. It belongs
among the “curiosities of literature.”

Professional linguists will probably consider the most important
generalization debated in this Part that of the identity or diversity of
the agglutinative and incorporative processes of tongues. These two
processes are considered as forms of but one by most of the present
French school; but I have maintained their radical distinction,
following the German writers above mentioned; and I have further
insisted that the incorporative plan is that especially prominent in
American languages.


  _Contents._—Indian geographic names—Language a guide to
  ethnology—Reveals the growth of arts and the psychologic processes
  of a people—Illustration from the Lenâpe tongue—Structure of
  language best studied in savage tongues—Rank of American
  tongues—Characteristic traits; pronominal forms; idea of
  personality; polysynthesis; incorporation; holophrasis; origin of
  these—Lucidity of American tongues; their vocabularies; power of
  expressing abstract ideas—Conclusion.

I appear before you this evening to enter a plea for one of the most
neglected branches of learning, for a study usually considered
hopelessly dry and unproductive—that of American aboriginal languages.

It might be thought that such a topic, in America and among Americans,
would attract a reasonably large number of students. The interest which
attaches to our native soil and to the homes of our ancestors might be
supposed to extend to the languages of those nations who for uncounted
generations possessed the land which we have occupied relatively so
short a time.

This supposition would seem the more reasonable in view of the fact that
in one sense these languages have not died out among us. True, they are
no longer media of intercourse, but they survive in thousands of
geographical names all over our land. In the state of Connecticut alone
there are over six hundred, and even more in Pennsylvania.

Certainly it would be a most legitimate anxiety which should direct
itself to the preservation of the correct forms and precise meanings of
these numerous and peculiarly national designations. One would think
that this alone would not fail to excite something more than a languid
curiosity in American linguistics, at least in our institutions of
learning and societies for historical research.

That this subject has received so slight attention I attribute to the
comparatively recent understanding of the value of the study of
languages in general, and more particularly to the fact that no one, so
far as I know, has set forth the purposes for which we should
investigate these tongues, and the results which we expect to reach by
means of them. This it is my present purpose to attempt, so far as it
can be accomplished in the scope of an evening address.

The time has not long passed when the only good reasons for studying a
language were held to be either that we might thereby acquaint ourselves
with its literature; or that certain business, trading, or political
interests might be subserved; or that the nation speaking it might be
made acquainted with the blessings of civilization and Christianity.
These were all good and sufficient reasons, but I cannot adduce any one
of them in support of my plea to-night: for the languages I shall speak
of have no literature; all transactions with their people can be carried
on as well or better in European tongues; and, in fact, many of these
peoples are no longer in existence—they have died out or amalgamated
with others. What I have to argue for is the study of the dead languages
of extinct and barbarous tribes.

You will readily see that my arguments must be drawn from other
considerations than those of immediate utility. I must seek them in the
broader fields of ethnology and philosophy; I must appeal to your
interest in man as a race, as a member of a common species, as
possessing in all his families and tribes the same mind, the same soul.
Language is almost our only clue to discover the kinship of those
countless scattered hordes who roamed the forests of this broad
continent. Their traditions are vague or lost, written records they had
none, their customs and arts are misleading, their religions
misunderstood; their languages alone remain to testify to a oneness of
blood often seemingly repudiated by an internecine hostility.

I am well aware of the limits which a wise caution assigns to the
employment of linguistics in ethnology, and I am only too familiar with
the many foolish, unscientific attempts to employ it with reference to
the American race. But in spite of all this, I repeat that it is the
surest and almost our only means to trace the ancient connection and
migrations of nations in America.

Through its aid alone we have reached a positive knowledge that most of
the area of South America, including the whole of the West Indies, was
occupied by three great families of nations, not one of which had formed
any important settlement on the northern continent. By similar evidence
we know that the tribe which greeted Penn, when he landed on the site of
this city where I now speak, was a member of the one vast family—the
great Algonkin stock—whose various clans extended from the palmetto
swamps of Carolina to the snow-clad hills of Labrador, and from the
easternmost cape of Newfoundland to the peaks of the Rocky Mountains,
over 20° of latitude and 50° of longitude. We also know that the general
trend of migration in the northern continent has been from north to
south, and that this is true not only of the more savage tribes, as the
Algonkins, Iroquois, and Athapascas, but also of those who, in the
favored southern lands, approached a form of civilization, the Aztecs,
the Mayas, and the Quiches. These and many minor ethnologic facts have
already been obtained by the study of American languages.

But such external information is only a small part of what they are
capable of disclosing. We can turn them, like the reflector of a
microscope, on the secret and hidden mysteries of the aboriginal man,
and discover his inmost motives, his impulses, his concealed hopes and
fears, those that gave rise to his customs and laws, his schemes of
social life, his superstitions and his religions.

Personal names, family names, titles, forms of salutation, methods of
address, terms of endearment, respect, and reproach, words expressing
the emotions, these are what infallibly reveal the daily social family
life of a community, and the way in which its members regard one
another. They are precisely as correct when applied to the investigation
of the American race as elsewhere, and they are the more valuable just
there, because his deep-seated distrust of the white invaders—for which,
let us acknowledge, he had abundant cause—led the Indian to practice
concealment and equivocation on these personal topics.

In no other way can the history of the development of his arts be
reached. You are doubtless aware that diligent students of the Aryan
languages have succeeded in faithfully depicting the arts and habits of
that ancient community in which the common ancestors of Greek and Roman,
Persian and Dane, Brahmin and Irishman, dwelt together as of one blood
and one speech. This has been done by ascertaining what household words
are common to all these tongues, and therefore must have been in use
among the primeval horde from which they are all descended. The method
is conclusive, and yields positive results. There is no reason why it
should not be addressed to American languages, and we may be sure that
it would be most fruitful. How valuable it would be to take even a few
words, as maize, tobacco, pipe, bow, arrow, and the like, each
representing a widespread art or custom, and trace their derivations and
affinities through the languages of the whole continent! We may be sure
that striking and unexpected results would be obtained.

These languages also offer an entertaining field to the psychologist.

On account of their transparency, as I may call it, the clearness with
which they retain the primitive forms of their radicals, they allow us
to trace out the growth of words, and thus reveal the operations of the
native mind by a series of witnesses whose testimony cannot be
questioned. Often curious associations of ideas are thus disclosed, very
instructive to the student of mankind. Many illustrations of this could
be given, but I do not wish to assail your ears by a host of unknown
sounds, so I shall content myself with one, and that taken from the
language of the Lenāpé, or Delaware Indians.

I shall endeavor to trace out one single radical in that language, and
show you how many, and how strangely diverse ideas were built up upon

The radical which I select is the personal pronoun of the first person,
_I_, Latin _Ego_. In Delaware this is a single syllable, a slight nasal,
_Nē_, or _Ni_.

Let me premise by informing you that this is both a personal and a
possessive pronoun; it means both _I_ and _mine_. It is both singular
and plural, both _I_ and _we_, _mine_ and _our_.

The changes of the application of this root are made by adding suffixes
to it.

I begin with _ni'hillan_, literally, “mine, it is so,” or “she, it, is
truly mine,” the accent being on the first syllable, _ni'_, mine. But
the common meaning of this verb in Delaware is more significant of
ownership than this tame expression. It is an active, animate verb, and
means, “I beat, or strike, somebody.” To the rude minds of the framers
of that tongue, ownership meant the right to beat what one owned.

We might hope this sense was confined to the lower animals; but not so.
Change the accent from the first to the second syllable, _ni'hillan_, to
_nihil'lan_, and you have the animate active verb with an intensive
force, which signifies “to beat to death,” “to kill some person;” and
from this, by another suffix, you have _nihil'lowen_, to murder, and
_nihil'lowet_, murderer. The bad sense of the root is here pushed to its

But the root also developed in a nobler direction. Add to _ni'hillan_
the termination _ape_, which means a male, and you have _nihillape_,
literally, “I, it is true, a man,” which, as an adjective, means free,
independent, one’s own master, “I am my own man.” From this are derived
the noun, _nihillapewit_, a freeman; the verb _nihillapewin_, to be
free; and the abstract, _nihillasowagan_, freedom, liberty,
independence. These are glorious words; but I can go even farther. From
this same theme is derived the verb _nihillape-wheu_, to set free, to
liberate, to redeem; and from this the missionaries framed the word
_nihillape-whoalid_, the Redeemer, the Saviour.

Here is an unexpected antithesis, the words for a murderer and the
Saviour both from one root! It illustrates how strange is the
concatenation of human thoughts.

These are by no means all the derivatives from the root _ni_, I.

When reduplicated as _nĕnĕ_, it has a plural and strengthened form, like
“our own.” With a pardonable and well-nigh universal weakness, which we
share with them, the nation who spoke the language believed themselves
the first created of mortals and the most favored by the Creator. Hence
whatever they designated as “ours” was both older and better than others
of its kind. Hence _nenni_ came to mean ancient, primordial, indigenous,
and as such it is a frequent prefix in the Delaware language. Again, as
they considered themselves the first and only true men, others being
barbarians, enemies, or strangers, _nenno_ was understood to be one of
us, a man like ourselves, of our nation.

In their different dialects the sounds of _n_, _l_, and _r_ were
alternated, so that while Thomas Campanius, who translated the Catechism
into Delaware about 1645, wrote that word _rhennus_, later writers have
given it _lenno_, and translate it “man.” This is the word which we find
in the name Lenni Lenape, which, by its derivation, means “we, we men.”
The antecedent _lenni_ is superfluous. The proper name of the Delaware
nation was and still is _Len âpé_, “we men,” or “our men,” and those
critics who have maintained that this was a misnomer, introduced by Mr.
Heckewelder, have been mistaken in their facts.[264]

I have not done with the root _nē_. I might go on and show you how it is
at the base of the demonstrative pronouns, this, that, those, in
Delaware; how it is the radical of the words for thinking, reflecting,
and meditating; how it also gives rise to words expressing similarity
and identity; how it means to be foremost, to stand ahead of others; and
finally, how it signifies to come to me, to unify or congregate
together. But doubtless I have trespassed on your ears long enough with
unfamiliar words.

Such suggestions as these will give you some idea of the value of
American languages to American ethnology. But I should be doing
injustice to my subject were I to confine my arguments in favor of their
study to this horizon. If they are essential to a comprehension of the
red race, not less so are they to the science of linguistics in general.
This science deals not with languages, but with _language_. It looks at
the idiom of a nation, not as a dry catalogue of words and grammatical
rules, but as the living expression of the thinking power of man, as the
highest manifestation of that spiritual energy which has lifted him from
the level of the brute, the complete definition of which, in its origin
and evolution, is the loftiest aim of universal history. As the
intention of all speech is the expression of thought, and as the final
purpose of all thinking is the discovery of truth, so the ideal of
language, the point toward which it strives, is the absolute form for
the realization of intellectual function.

In this high quest no tongue can be overlooked, none can be left out of
account. One is just as important as another. Gœthe once said that he
who knows but one language knows none; we may extend the apothegm, and
say that so long as there is a single language on the globe not
understood and analyzed, the science of language will be incomplete and
illusory. It has often proved the case that the investigation of a
single, narrow, obscure dialect has changed the most important theories
of history. What has done more than anything else to overthrow, or, at
least, seriously to shake, the time-honored notion that the White Race
first came from Central Asia? It was the study of the Lithuanian dialect
on the Baltic Sea, a language of peasants, without literature or
culture, but which displays forms more archaic than the Sanscrit. What
has led to a complete change of views as to the prehistoric population
of Southern Europe? The study of the Basque, a language unknown out of a
few secluded valleys in the Pyrenees.

There are many reasons why unwritten languages, like those of America,
are more interesting, more promising in results, to the student of
linguistics, than those which for generations have been cast in the
conventional moulds of written speech.

Their structure is more direct, simple, transparent; they reveal more
clearly the laws of the linguistic powers in their daily exercise; they
are less tied down to hereditary formulæ and meaningless repetitions.

Would we explain the complicated structure of highly-organized tongues
like our own, would we learn the laws which have assigned to it its
material and formal elements, we must turn to the naïve speech of
savages, there to see in their nakedness those processes which are too
obscure in our own.

If the much-debated question of the origin of language engages us, we
must seek its solution in the simple radicals of savage idioms; and if
we wish to institute a comparison between the relative powers of
languages, we can by no means omit them from our list. They offer to us
the raw material, the essential and indispensable requisites of
articulate communication.

As the structure of a language reflects in a measure, and as, on the
other hand, it in a measure controls and directs the mental workings of
those who speak it, the student of psychology must occupy himself with
the speech of the most illiterate races in order to understand their
theory of things, their notions of what is about them. They teach him
the undisturbed evolution of the untrained mind.

As the biologist in pursuit of that marvellous something which we call
“the vital principle” turns from the complex organisms of the higher
animals and plants to life in its simplest expression in microbes and
single cells, so in the future will the linguist find that he is nearest
the solution of the most weighty problems of his science when he directs
his attention to the least cultivated languages.

Convinced as I am of the correctness of this analogy, I venture to
predict that in the future the analysis of the American languages will
be regarded as one of the most important fields in linguistic study, and
will modify most materially the findings of that science. And I make
this prediction the more confidently, as I am supported in it by the
great authority of Wilhelm von Humboldt, who for twenty years devoted
himself to their investigation.

As I am advocating so warmly that more attention should be devoted to
these languages, it is but fair that you should require me to say
something descriptive about them, to explain some of their peculiarities
of structure. To do this properly I should require not the fag end of
one lecture, but a whole course of lectures. Yet perhaps I can say
enough now to show you how much there is in them worth studying.

Before I turn to this, however, I should like to combat a prejudice
which I fear you may entertain. It is that same ancient prejudice which
led the old Greeks to call all those who did not speak their sonorous
idioms _barbarians_; for that word meant nothing more nor less than
babblers (βαλβαλοι), people who spoke an unintelligible tongue. Modern
civilized nations hold that prejudice yet, in the sense that each
insists that his own language is the best one extant, the highest in the
scale, and that wherein others differ from it in structure they are

So unfortunately placed is this prejudice with reference to my subject,
that in the very volume issued by our government at Washington to
encourage the study of the Indian languages, there is a long essay to
prove that English is the noblest, most perfect language in the world,
while all the native languages are, in comparison, of a very low grade

The essayist draws his arguments chiefly from the absence of inflections
in English. Yet many of the profoundest linguists of this century have
maintained that a fully inflected language, like the Greek or Latin, is
for that very reason ahead of all others. We may suspect that when a
writer lauds his native tongue at the expense of others, he is
influenced by a prejudice in its favor and an absence of facility in the

Those best acquainted with American tongues praise them most highly for
flexibility, accuracy, and resources of expression. They place some of
them above any Aryan language. But what is this to those who do not know
them? To him who cannot bend the bow of Ulysses it naturally seems a
useless and awkward weapon.

I do not ask you to accept this opinion either; but I do ask that you
rid your minds of bias, and that you do not condemn a tongue because it
differs widely from that which you speak.

American tongues do, indeed, differ very widely from those familiar to
Aryan ears. Not that they are all alike in structure. That was a hasty
generalization, dating from a time when they were less known. Yet the
great majority of them have certain characteristics in common,
sufficient to place them in a linguistic class by themselves. I shall
name and explain some of these.

As of the first importance I would mention the prominence they assign to
pronouns and pronominal forms. Indeed, an eminent linguist has been so
impressed with this feature that he has proposed to classify them
distinctively as “pronominal languages.” They have many classes of
pronouns, sometimes as many as eighteen, which is more than twice as
many as the Greek. There is often no distinction between a noun and a
verb other than the pronoun which governs it. That is, if a word is
employed with one form of the pronoun it becomes a noun, if with another
pronoun, it becomes a verb.

We have something of the same kind in English. In the phrase, “I love,”
love is a verb; but in “my love,” it is a noun. It is noteworthy that
this treatment of words as either nouns or verbs, as we please to employ
them, was carried further by Shakespeare than by any other English
writer. He seemed to divine in such a trait of language vast resources
for varied and pointed expression. If I may venture a suggestion as to
how it does confer peculiar strength to expressions, it is that it
brings into especial prominence the idea of Personality; it directs all
subjects of discourse by the notion of an individual, a living, personal
unit. This imparts vividness to narratives, and directness and life to

Of these pronouns, that of the first person is usually the most
developed. From it, in many dialects, are derived the demonstratives and
relatives, which in Aryan languages were taken from the third person.
This prominence of the _Ego_, this confidence in self, is a trait of the
race as well as of their speech. It forms part of that savage
independence of character which prevented them coalescing into great
nations, and led them to prefer death to servitude.

Another characteristic, which at one time was supposed to be universal
on this continent, is what Mr. Peter Du Ponceau named _polysynthesis_.
He meant by this a power of running several words into one, dropping
parts of them and retaining only the significant syllables. Long
descriptive names of all objects of civilized life new to the Indians
were thus coined with the greatest ease. Some of these are curious
enough. The Pavant Indians call a school house by one word, which means
“a stopping-place where sorcery is practiced;” their notion of
book-learning being that it belongs to the uncanny arts. The Delaware
word for horse means “the four-footed animal which carries on his back.”

This method of coining words is, however, by no means universal in
American languages. It prevails in most of those in British America and
the United States, in Aztec and various South American idioms; but in
others, as the dialects found in Yucatan and Guatemala, and in the Tupi
of Brazil, the Otomi of Mexico, and the Klamath of the Pacific coast, it
is scarcely or not at all present.

Another trait, however, which was confounded with this by Mr. Du
Ponceau, but really belongs in a different category of grammatical
structure, is truly distinctive of the languages of the continent, and I
am not sure that any one of them has been shown to be wholly devoid of
it. This is what is called _incorporation_. It includes in the verb, or
in the verbal expression, the object and manner of the action.

This is effected by making the subject of the verb an inseparable
prefix, and by inserting between it and the verb itself, or sometimes
directly in the latter, between its syllables, the object, direct or
remote, and the particles indicating mode. The time or tense particles,
on the other hand, will be placed at one end of this compound, either as
prefixes or suffixes, thus placing the whole expression strictly within
the limits of a verbal form of speech.

Both the above characteristics, I mean Polysynthesis and Incorporation,
are unconscious efforts to carry out a certain theory of speech which
has aptly enough been termed _holophrasis_, or the putting the whole of
a phrase into a single word. This is the aim of each of them, though
each endeavors to accomplish it by different means. Incorporation
confines itself exclusively to verbal forms, while polysynthesis
embraces both nouns and verbs.

Suppose we carry the analysis further, and see if we can obtain an
answer to the query,—Why did this effort at blending forms of speech
obtain so widely? Such an inquiry will indicate how valuable to
linguistic search would prove the study of this group of languages.

I think there is no doubt but that it points unmistakably to that very
ancient, to that primordial period of human utterance when men had not
yet learned to connect words into sentences, when their utmost efforts
at articulate speech did not go beyond single words, which, aided by
gestures and signs, served to convey their limited intellectual
converse. Such single vocables did not belong to any particular part of
speech. There was no grammar to that antique tongue. Its disconnected
exclamations mean whole sentences in themselves.

A large part of the human race, notably, but not exclusively, the
aborigines of this continent, continued the tradition of this mode of
expression in the structure of their tongues, long after the union of
thought and sound in audible speech had been brought to a high degree of

Although I thus regard one of the most prominent peculiarities of
American languages as a survival from an exceedingly low stage of human
development, it by no means follows that this is an evidence of their

The Chinese, who made no effort to combine the primitive vocables into
one, but range them nakedly side by side, succeeded no better than the
American Indians; and there is not much beyond assertion to prove that
the Aryans, who, through their inflections, marked the relation of each
word in the sentence by numerous tags of case, gender, number, etc., got
any nearer the ideal perfection of language.

If we apply what is certainly a very fair test, to wit: the uses to
which a language is and can be put, I cannot see that a well-developed
American tongue, such as the Aztec or the Algonkin, in any way falls
short of, say French or English.

It is true that in many of these tongues there is no distinction made
between expressions, which with us are carefully separated, and are so
in thought. Thus, in the Tupi of Brazil and elsewhere, there is but one
word for the three expressions, “his father,” “he is a father,” and “he
has a father;” in many, the simple form of the verb may convey three
different ideas, as in Ute, where the word for “he seizes” means also
“the seizer,” and as a descriptive noun, “a bear,” the animal which

This has been charged against these languages as a lack of
“differentiation.” Grammatically, this is so; but the same charge
applies with almost equal force to the English language, where the same
word may belong to any of four, five, even six parts of speech,
dependent entirely on the connection in which it is used.

As a set-off, the American languages avoid confusions of expression
which prevail in European tongues.

Thus in none of these latter, when I say “the love of God,” “l’amour de
Dieu,” “amor Dei,” can you understand what I mean. You do not know
whether I intend the love which we have or should have toward God, or
God’s love toward us. Yet in the Mexican language (and many other
American tongues) these two quite opposite ideas are so clearly
distinguished that, as Father Carochi warns the readers of his _Mexican
Grammar_, to confound them would not merely be a grievous solecism in
speech, but a formidable heresy as well.

Another example. What can you make out of this sentence, which is
strictly correct by English grammar: “John told Robert’s son that he
must help him?” You can make nothing out of it. It may have any one of
six different meanings, depending on the persons referred to by the
pronouns “he” and “him.” No such lamentable confusion could occur in any
American tongue known to me. The Chippeway, for instance, has three
pronouns of the third person, which designate the near and the remote
antecedents with the most lucid accuracy.

There is another point that I must mention in this connection, because I
find that it has almost always been overlooked or misunderstood by
critics of these languages. These have been free in condemning the
synthetic forms of construction. But they seem to be ignorant that their
use is largely optional. Thus, in Mexican, one can arrange the same
sentence in an analytic or a synthetic form, and this is also the case,
in a less degree, in the Algonkin. By this means a remarkable richness
is added to the language. The higher the grade of synthesis employed,
the more striking, elevated, and pointed becomes the expression. In
common life long compounds are rare, while in the native Mexican poetry
each line is often but one word.

Turning now from the structure of these languages to their vocabularies,
I must correct a widespread notion that they are scanty in extent and
deficient in the means to express lofty or abstract ideas.

Of course, there are many tracts of thought and learning familiar to us
now which were utterly unknown to the American aborigines, and not less
so to our own forefathers a few centuries ago. It would be very unfair
to compare the dictionary of an Indian language with the last edition of
Webster’s Unabridged. But take the English dictionaries of the latter
half of the sixteenth century, before Spenser and Shakespeare wrote, and
compare them with the Mexican vocabulary of Molina, which contains about
13,000 words, or with the Maya vocabulary of the convent of Motul, which
presents over 20,000, both prepared at that date, and your procedure
will be just, and you will find it not disadvantageous to the American
side of the question.

The deficiency in abstract terms is generally true of these languages.
They did not have them, because they had no use for them—and the more
blessed was their condition. European languages have been loaded with
several thousand such by metaphysics and mysticism, and it has required
many generations to discover that they are empty windbags, full of sound
and signifying nothing.

Yet it is well known to students that the power of forming abstracts is
possessed in a remarkable degree by many native languages. The most
recondite formulæ of dogmatic religion, such as the definition of the
Trinity and the difference between consubstantiation and
transubstantiation, have been translated into many of them without
introducing foreign words, and in entire conformity with their
grammatical structure. Indeed, Dr. Augustin de la Rosa, of the
University of Guadalajara, says the Mexican is peculiarly adapted to
render these metaphysical subtleties.

I have been astonished that some writers should bring up the primary
meaning of a word in an American language in order to infer the
coarseness of its secondary meaning. This is a strangely unfair
proceeding, and could be directed with equal effect against our own
tongues. Thus, I read lately a traveler who spoke hardly of an Indian
tribe because their word for “to love” was a derivative from that
meaning “to buy,” and thence “to prize.” But what did the Latin _amare_,
and the English _to love_, first mean? Carnally living together is what
they first meant, and this is not a nobler derivation than that of the
Indian. Even yet, when the most polished of European nations, that one
which most exalts _la grande passion_, does not distinguish in language
between loving their wives and liking their dinners, but uses the same
word for both emotions, it is scarcely wise for us to indulge in much
latitude of inference from such etymologies.

Such is the general character of American languages, and such are the
reasons why they should be preserved and studied. The field is vast and
demands many laborers to reap all the fruit that it promises. It is
believed at present that there are about two hundred wholly independent
stocks of languages among the aborigines of this continent. They vary
most widely in vocabulary, and seemingly scarcely less so in grammar.

Besides this, each of these stocks is subdivided into dialects, each
distinguished by its own series of phonetic changes, and its own new
words. What an opportunity is thus offered for the study of the natural
evolution of language, unfettered by the petrifying art of writing!

This is the case which I present to you, and for which I earnestly
solicit your consideration. And that I may add weight to my appeal, I
close by quoting the words of one of America’s most distinguished
scientists, Professor William Dwight Whitney, of Yale College, who
writes to this effect:

“The study of American languages is the most fruitful and the most
important branch of American Archæology.”


  _Contents._—What led Humboldt toward the American tongues—Progress
  of his studies—Fundamental doctrine of his philosophy of
  language—His theory of the evolution of languages—Opinion on
  American languages—His criterion of the relative perfection of
  languages—Not abundance of forms—Nor verbal richness—American
  tongues not degenerations—Humboldt’s classification of
  languages—Psychological origin of Incorporation in language—Its
  shortcomings—In simple sentences—In compound sentences—Absence of
  true formal elements—The nature of the American verb.

The foundations of the Philosophy of Language were laid by Wilhelm von
Humboldt (born June 22, 1767, died April 8, 1835). The principles he
advocated have frequently been misunderstood, and some of them have been
modified, or even controverted, by more extended research; but a careful
survey of the tendencies of modern thought in this field will show that
the philosophic scheme of the nature and growth of languages which he
set forth, is gradually reasserting its sway after having been neglected
and denied through the preponderance of the so-called “naturalistic”
school during the last quarter of a century.

The time seems ripe, therefore, to bring the general principles of his
philosophy to the knowledge of American scholars, as applied by himself
to the analysis of American languages.

These languages occupied Humboldt’s attention earnestly and for many
years. He was first led to their study by his brother Alexander, who
presented him with the large linguistic collection amassed during his
travels in South and North America.

While Prussian Minister in Rome (1802–8) Wilhelm ransacked the library
of the _Collegio Romano_ for rare or unpublished works on American
tongues; he obtained from the ex-Jesuit Forneri all the information the
latter could give about the Yurari, a tongue spoken on the Meta river,
New Granada;[267] and he secured accurate copies of all the manuscript
material on these idioms left by the diligent collector and linguist,
the Abbé Hervas.

A few years later, in 1812, we find him writing to his friend Baron
Alexander von Rennenkampff, then in St. Petersburg: “I have selected the
American languages as the special subject of my investigations. They
have the closest relationship of any with the tongues of north-eastern
Asia; and I beg you therefore to obtain for me all the dictionaries and
grammars of the latter which you can.”[268]

It is probable from this extract that Humboldt was then studying these
languages from that limited, ethnographic point of view, from which he
wrote his essay on the Basque tongue, the announcement of which
appeared, indeed, in that year, 1812, although the work itself was not
issued until 1821.

Ten years more of study and reflection taught him a far loftier flight.
He came to look upon each language as an organism, all its parts bearing
harmonious relations to each other, standing in a definite connection
with the intellectual and emotional development of the nation speaking
it. Each language again bears the relation to language in general that
the species does to the genus, or the genus to the order, and by a
comprehensive process of analysis he hoped to arrive at those
fundamental laws of articulate speech which form the Philosophy of
Language, and which, as they are also the laws of human thought, at a
certain point coincide, he believed, with those of the Philosophy of

In the completion of this vast scheme, he continued to attach the utmost
importance to the American languages.

His illustrations were constantly drawn from them, and they were ever
the subject of his earnest studies. He prized them as in certain
respects the most valuable of all to the philosophic student of human

Thus, in 1826, he announced before the Berlin Academy that he was
preparing an exhaustive work on the “Organism of Language,” for which he
had selected the American languages exclusively, as best suited for this
purpose. “The languages of a great continent,” he writes, “peopled by
numerous nationalities, probably never subject to foreign influence,
offer for this branch of linguistic study specially favorable material.
There are in America as many as thirty little known languages for which
we have means of study, each of which is like a new natural species,
besides many others whose data are less ample.”[269]

In his memoir, read two years later, “On the Origin of Grammatic Forms,
and their Influence on the Development of Ideas,” he chose most of his
examples from the idioms of the New World;[270] and the year following,
he read the monograph on the Verb in American languages, which I refer
to on a later page.

In a subsequent communication, he announced his special study of this
group as still in preparation. It was, however, never completed. His
earnest desire to reach the fundamental laws of language led him into a
long series of investigations into the systems of recorded speech,
phonetic hieroglyphics and alphabetic writing, on which he read memoirs
of great acuteness.

In one of these he again mentions his studies of the American tongues,
and takes occasion to vindicate them from the current charge of being of
a low grade in the linguistic scale. “It is certainly unjust,” he
writes, “to call the American languages rude or savage, although their
structure is widely different from those perfectly formed.”[271]

In 1828, there is a published letter from him making an appointment with
the Abbé Thavenet, missionary to the Canadian Algonkins, then in Paris,
“to enjoy the pleasure of conversing with him on his interesting studies
of the Algonkin language.”[272] And a private letter tells us that in
1831 he applied himself with new zeal to mastering the intricacies of
Mexican grammar.[273]

All these years he was working to complete the researches which led him
to the far-reaching generalization which is at the basis of his
linguistic philosophy.

Let me state in a few words what this philosophy teaches.

It aims to establish as a fundamental truth that _the_ _diversity of
structure in languages is both the necessary antecedent and the
necessary consequent of the evolution of the human mind_.[274]

In the establishment of this thesis he begins with a subtle analysis of
the nature of speech in general, and then proceeds to define the
reciprocal influences which thought exerts upon it, and it upon thought.

It will readily be seen that a corollary of this theorem is that the
Science of Language is and must be the most instructive, the
indispensable guide in the study of the mental evolution of the human
race. Humboldt recognized this fully. He taught that in its highest
sense the philosophy of language is one with the philosophy of history.
The science of language misses its purpose unless it seeks its chief end
in explaining the intellectual growth of the race.[275]

Each separate tongue is “a thought-world in tones” established between
the minds of those who speak it and the objective world without.[276]
Each mirrors in itself the spirit of the nation to which it belongs. But
it has also an earlier and independent origin; it is the product of the
conceptions of antecedent generations, and thus exerts a formative and
directive influence on the national mind, an influence not slight, but
more potent than that which the national mind exerts upon it.[277]

He fully recognized a progress, an organic growth, in human speech. This
growth may be from two sources, one the cultivation of a tongue within
the nation by enriching its vocabulary, separating and classifying its
elements, fixing its expressions, and thus adapting it to wider uses;
the second, by forcible amalgamation with another tongue.

The latter exerts always a more profound and often a more beneficial
influence. The organism of both tongues may be destroyed, but the
dissolvent force is also an organic and vital one, and from the ruins of
both constructs a speech of grander plans and with wider views. “The
seemingly aimless and confused interminglings of primitive tribes sowed
the seed for the flowers of speech and song which flourished in
centuries long posterior.”

The immediate causes of the improvement of a language through forcible
admixture with another, are: that it is obliged to drop all unnecessary
accessory elements in a proposition; that the relations of ideas must be
expressed by conventional and not significant syllables; and that the
limitations of thought imposed by the genius of the language are
violently broken down, and the mind is thus given wider play for its

Such influences, however, do not act in accordance with fixed laws of
growth. There are no such laws which are of universal application. The
development of the Mongolian or Aryan tongues is not at all that of the
American. The goal is one and the same, but the paths to it are
infinite. For this reason each group or class of languages must be
studied by itself, and its own peculiar developmental laws be
ascertained by searching its history.[278]

With reference to the growth of American languages, it was Humboldt’s
view that they manifest the utmost refractoriness both to external
influences and to internal modifications. They reveal a marvellous
tenacity of traditional words and forms, not only in dialects, but even
in particular classes of the community, men having different expressions
from women, the old from the young, the higher from the lower classes.
These are maintained with scrupulous exactitude through generations, and
three centuries of daily commingling with the white race have scarcely
altered their grammar or phonetics.

Nor is this referable to the contrast between an Aryan and an American
language. The same immiscibility is shown between themselves. “Even
where many radically different languages are located closely together,
as in Mexico, I have not found a single example where one exercised a
constructive or formative influence on the other. But it is by the
encounter of great and contrasted differences that languages gain
strength, riches, and completeness. Only thus are the perceptive powers,
the imagination and the feelings impelled to enrich and extend the means
of expression, which, if left to the labors of the understanding alone,
are liable to be but meagre and arid.”[279]

Humboldt’s one criterion of a language was its tendency to _quicken and
stimulate mental action_. He maintained that this is secured just in
proportion as the grammatical structure favors clear definition of the
individual idea apart from its relations; in other words, as it
separates the material from the inflectional elements of speech. Clear
thinking, he argued, means progressive thinking. Therefore he assigned a
lower position both to those tongues which inseparably connect the idea
with its relations, as most American languages, and to those which, like
the Chinese and in a less degree the modern English, have scarcely any
formal elements at all, but depend upon the position of words
(placement) to signify their relations. But he warns us that it is of
importance to recognize fully “that grammatical principles dwell rather
in the mind of the speaker than in the material and mechanism of his
language,” and that the power of expressing ideas in any tongue depends
much more on the intellectual capacity of the speaker than the structure
of the tongue itself.

He censures the common error (common now as it was in his day) that the
abundance and regularity of forms in a language is a mark of excellence.
This very multiplicity, this excessive superfluity, is a burden and a
drawback, and obscures the integration of the thought by attaching to it
a quantity of needless qualifications. Thus, in the language of the
Abipones, the pronoun is different as the person spoken of is conceived
as present, absent, sitting, walking, lying or running—all quite
unnecessary specifications.[280]

In some languages much appears as form which, on close scrutiny, is
nothing of the kind.

This misunderstanding has reigned almost universally in the treatment of
American tongues. The grammars which have been written upon them proceed
generally on the principles of Latin, and apply a series of grammatical
names to the forms explained, entirely inappropriate to them, and
misleading. Our first duty in taking up such a grammar as, for instance,
that of an American language, is to dismiss the whole of the arrangement
of the “parts of speech,” and by an analysis of words and phrases, to
ascertain by what collocation of elements they express logical,
significant relations.[281]

For example, in the Carib tongue, the grammars give _aveiridaco_ as the
second person singular, subjunctive imperfect, “if thou wert.” Analyze
this, and we discover that _a_ is the possessive pronoun “thy;” _veiri_
is “to be” or “being” (in a place); and _daco_ is a particle of definite
time. Hence, the literal rendering is “on the day of thy being.” The
so-called imperfect subjunctive turns out to be a verbal noun with a
preposition. In many American languages the hypothetical supposition
expressed in the Latin subjunctive is indicated by the same

Again, the infinitive, in its classical sense, is unknown in most,
probably in all, American languages. In the Tupi of Brazil and
frequently elsewhere it is simply a noun; _caru_ is both “to eat” and
“food;” _che caru ai-pota_, “I wish to eat,” literally “my food I wish.”

Many writers continue to maintain that a criterion of a language is its
lexicographic richness—the number of words it possesses. Even recently,
Prof. Max Müller has applied such a test to American languages, and,
finding that one of the Fuegian dialects is reported to have nearly
thirty thousand words, he maintains that this is a proof that these
savages are a degenerate remnant of some much more highly developed
ancestry. Founding his opinion largely on similar facts, Alexander von
Humboldt applied the expression to the American nations that they are
“des débris échappés à un naufrage commun.”

Such, however, was not the opinion of his brother Wilhelm. He sounded
the depths of linguistic philosophy far more deeply than to accept mere
abundance of words as proof of richness in a language. Many savage
languages have twenty words signifying to eat particular things, but no
word meaning “to eat” in general; the Eskimo language has different
words for fishing for each kind of fish, but no word “to fish,” in a
general sense. Such apparent richness is, in fact, actual poverty.

Humboldt taught that the quality, not merely the quantity, of words was
the decisive measure of verbal wealth. Such quality depends on the
relations of concrete words, on the one hand, to primitive objective
perceptions at their root, and, on the other, to the abstract general
ideas of which they are particular representatives; and besides this, on
the relations which the spoken word, the articulate sound, bears to the
philosophic laws of the formation of language in general.[282]

In his letter to Abel-Remusat he discusses the theory that the American
languages point to a once higher condition of civilization, and are the
corrupted idioms of deteriorated races. He denies that there is
linguistic evidence of any such theory. These languages, he says,
possess a remarkable regularity of structure, and very few anomalies.
Their grammar does not present any visible traces of corrupting

Humboldt’s classification of languages was based on the relation of the
word to the sentence, which, expressed in logic, would mean the relation
of the simple idea to the proposition. He taught that the plans on which
languages combine words into sentences are a basic character of their
structure, and divide them into classes as distinct and as decisive of
their future, as those of vertebrate and invertebrate animals in natural

These plans are four in number:

1. By Isolation.

The words are placed in juxtaposition, without change. Their relations
are expressed by their location only (placement). The typical example of
this is the Chinese.

2. By Agglutination.

The sentence is formed by suffixing to the word expressive of the main
idea a number of others, more or less altered, expressing the relations.
Examples of this are the Eskimo of North America, and the Northern
Asiatic dialects.

3. By Incorporation.

The leading word of the sentence is divided, and the accessory words
either included in it or attached to it with abbreviated forms, so that
the whole sentence assumes the form and sound of one word.

4. By Inflection.

Each word of the sentence indicates by its own form the character and
relation to the main proposition of the idea it represents. Sanscrit,
Greek and Latin are familiar examples of inflected tongues.

It is possible to suppose that all four of these forms were developed
from some primitive condition of utterance unknown to us, just as
naturalists believe that all organic species were developed out of a
homogeneous protoplasmic mass; but it is as hard to see how any one of
them _in its present form_ could pass over into another, as to
understand how a radiate could change into a mollusk.

Of the four plans mentioned, Incorporation is that characteristic of,
_though not confined to_, American tongues.

The psychological origin of this plan is explained rather curiously by
Humboldt, as the result of an _exaltation of the imaginative over the
intellectual elements of mind_. By this method, the linguistic faculty
strives to present to the understanding the whole thought in the most
compact form possible, thus to facilitate its comprehension; and this it
does, because a thought presented in one word is more vivid and
stimulating to the imagination, more individual and picturesque, than
when narrated in a number of words.[284]

Incorporation may appear in a higher or a lower grade, but its intention
is everywhere the effort to convey in one word the whole proposition.
The verb, as that part of speech which especially conveys the synthetic
action of the mental operation, is that which is selected as the stem of
this word-sentence; all the other parts are subordinate accessories,
devoid of syntactic value.

The higher grade of incorporation includes both subject, object and verb
in one word, and if for any reason the object is not included, the
scheme of the sentence is still maintained in the verb, and the object
is placed outside, as in apposition, without case ending, and under a
form different from its original and simple one.

This will readily be understood from the following examples from the
Mexican language.

The sentence _ni-naca-qua_ is one word, and means “I, flesh, eat.” If it
is desired to express the object independently, the expression becomes
_ni-c-qua-in-nacatl_, “I it eat, the flesh.” The termination _tl_ does
not belong to the root of the noun, but is added to show that it is in
an external and, as it were, unnatural position. Both the direct and
remote object can thus be incorporated, and if they are not, but
separately appended, the scheme of the sentence is still preserved; as
_ni-te-tla-maca_, literally, “I, to somebody, something, give.” How
closely these accessories are incorporated is illustrated by the fact
that the tense-augments are not added to the stem, but to the whole
word; _o-ni-c-temaca-e_, where the _o_ is the prefix of the perfect.

In these languages, every element in the sentence which is not
incorporated in the verb has, in fact, no syntax at all. The verbal
exhausts all the formal portion of the language. The relations of the
other words are intimated by their position. Thus _ni-tlaçotlaz-nequia_,
I wished to love, is literally, “I, I shall love, I wished.” _Tlaçotlaz_
is the first person singular of the future; _ni-nequia_, I wished; which
is divided, and the future form inserted. The same expression may stand
thus: _ni-c-nequia-tlaço-tlaz_, where the _c_ is an intercalated
relative pronoun, and the literal rendering is, “I it wished, I shall

In the Lule language the construction with an infinitive is simply that
the two verbs follow each other in the same person, as _caic tucuec_, “I
am accustomed to eat,” literally, “I am accustomed, I eat.”

None of these devices fulfils all the uses of the infinitive, and hence
they are all inferior to it.

In languages which lack formal elements, the deficiency must be supplied
by the mind. Words are merely placed in juxtaposition, and their
relationship guessed at. Thus, when a language constructs its cases
merely by prefixing prepositions to the unaltered noun, there is no
grammatical form; in the Mbaya language _e-tiboa_ is translated “through
me,” but it is really “I, through;” _l’emani_, is rendered “he wishes,”
but it is strictly, “he, wish.”

In such languages the same collocation of words often corresponds to
quite different meanings, as the precise relation of the thoughts is not
defined by any formal elements. This is well illustrated in the Tupi
tongue. The word _uba_ is “father;” with the pronoun of the third person
prefixed it is _tuba_, literally “he, father.” This may mean either “his
father,” or “he is a father,” or “he has a father,” just as the sense of
the rest of the sentence requires.

Certainly a language which thus leaves confounded together ideas so
distinct as these, is inferior to one which discriminates them; and this
is why the formal elements of a tongue are so important to intellectual
growth. The Tupis may be an energetic and skillful people, but with
their language they can never take a position as masters in the realm of

The absence of the passive in most American tongues is supplied by
similar inadequate collocations of words. In Huasteca, for example,
_nana tanin tahjal_, is translated “I am treated by him;” actually it
is, “I, me, treats he.” This is not a passive, but simply the idea of
the Ego connected with the idea of another acting upon it.

This is vastly below the level of inflected speech; for it cannot be too
strenuously maintained that the grammatical relations of spoken language
are the more perfect and favorable to intellectual growth, the more
closely they correspond to the logical relations of thought.

Sometimes what appears as inflection turns out on examination to be
merely adjunction. Thus in the Mbaya tongue there are such verbal forms
as _daladi_, thou wilt throw, _nilabuite_, he has spun, where the _d_ is
the sign of the future, and the _n_ of the perfect. These look like
inflections; but in fact, _d_ is simply a relic of _quide_, hereafter,
later, and _n_ stands in the same relation to _quine_, which means “and

To become true formal elements, all such adjuncts must have completely
lost their independent signification; because if they retain it, their
material content requires qualification and relation just as any other

A few American languages may have reached this stage. In the Mexican
there are the terminals _ya_ or _a_ in the imperfect, the augment _o_ in
the preterit and others in the future. In the Tamanaca the present ends
in _a_, the preterit in _e_, the future in _c_. “There is nothing in
either of these tongues to show that these tense-signs have independent
meaning, and therefore there is no reason why they should not be classed
with those of the Greek and Sanscrit as true inflectional

The theory of Incorporation, it will be noted, is to express the whole
proposition, as nearly as possible, in one word; and what part of it
cannot be thus expressed, is left without any syntax whatever. Not only
does this apply to individual words in a sentence, but it extends to the
various clauses of a compound sentence, such as in Aryan languages show
their relation to the leading clauses by means of prepositions,
conjunctions and relative pronouns.

When the methods are analyzed by which the major and minor clauses are
assigned their respective values in these tongues, it is very plain what
difficulties of expression the system of Incorporation involves. Few of
them have any true connecting word of either of the three classes above
mentioned. They depend on scarcely veiled material words, simply placed
in juxtaposition.

It is probable that the prepositions and conjunctions of all languages
were at first significant words, and the degree to which they have lost
their primary significations and have become purely formal elements
expressing relation, is one of the measures of the grammatical evolution
of a tongue. In most American idioms their origin from substantives is
readily recognizable. Frequently these substantives refer to parts of
the body, and this, in passing, suggests the antiquity of this class of
words and their value in comparison.

In Maya _tan_ means in, toward, among; but it is also the breast or
front of the body. The Mexican has three classes of prepositions—the
first, whose origin from a substantive cannot be detected; the second,
where an unknown and a known element are combined; the third, where the
substantive is perfectly clear. An example of the last mentioned is
_itic_, in, compounded of _ite_, belly, and the locative particle _c_;
the phrase _ilhuicatl itic_, in heaven, is literally “in the belly of
heaven.” Precisely the same is the Cakchiquel _pamcah_, literally,
“belly, heaven”==in heaven. In Mexican, _notepotzco_ is “behind me,”
literally, “my back, at;” this corresponds again to the Cakchiquel
_chuih_, behind me, from _chi_, at, _u_, my, _vih_, shoulder-blades. The
Mixteca prepositions present the crude nature of their origin without
disguise, _chisi huahi_, belly, house—that is, in front of the house;
_sata huahi_, back, house—behind the house.

The conjunctions are equally transparent. “And” in Maya is _yetel_, in
Mexican _ihuan_. One would suppose that such an indispensable connective
would long since have been worn down to an insoluble entity. On the
contrary, both these words retain their perfect material meaning.
_Yetel_ is a compound of _y_, his, _et_, companion, and _el_, the
definite termination of nouns. _Ihuan_ is the possessive, _i_, and
_huan_, associate companion, used also as a termination to form a
certain class of plurals.

The deficiency in true conjunctions and relative pronouns is met in many
American languages by a reversal of the plan of expression with us. The
relative clause becomes the principal one. There is a certain logical
justice in this; for if we reflect, it will appear evident that the
major proposition is in our construction presented as one of the
conditions of the minor. “I shall drown, if I fall in the water,” means
that, of the various results of my falling in the water, one of them
will be that I shall drown. “I follow the road which you described,”
means that you described a road, and one of the results of this act of
yours was that I follow it.

This explains the plan of constructing compound sentences in Qquichua.
Instead of saying “I shall follow the road which you describe,” the
construction is, “You describe, this road I shall follow;” and instead
of “I shall drown if I fall in the water,” it would be, “I fall in the
water, I shall drown.”

The Mexican language introduces the relative clause by the word _in_,
which is an article and demonstrative pronoun, or, if the proposition is
a conditional one, by _intla_, which really signifies “within this,” and
conveys the sense that the major is included within the conditions of
the minor clause. The Cakchiquel conditional particle is _vue_, if,
which appears to be simply the particle of affirmation “yes,” employed
to give extension to the minor clause, which, as a rule, is placed

Or a conventional arrangement of words may be adopted which will convey
the idea of certain dependent clauses, as those expressing similitude,
as is often the case in Mexican.

About 1822 Humboldt read a memoir before the Berlin Academy on “The
American Verb,” which remained unpublished either in German or English
until I translated and printed it in the Proceedings of the American
Philosophical Society in 1885. At its close he sums up his results, and
this summary will form an appropriate conclusion to the present review
of his labors in the field of American linguistics:

  “If we reflect on the structure of the various verbal forms here
  analyzed, certain general conclusions are reached, which are
  calculated to throw light upon the whole organism of these

  “The leading and governing part of speech in them is the Pronoun;
  every subject of discourse is connected with the idea of

  “Noun and Verb are not separated; they first become so through the
  pronoun attached to them.

  “The employment of the Pronoun is two-fold, one applying to the
  Noun, the other to the Verb. Both, however, convey the idea of
  belonging to a person—in the noun appearing as Possession, in the
  verb as Energy. But it is on this point, on whether these ideas are
  confused and obscure, or whether they are defined and clear, that
  the grammatical perfection of a language depends. The just
  discrimination of the kinds of pronouns is therefore conclusive, and
  in this respect we must yield the decided pre-eminence to the

  “It follows that the speaker must constantly make up his verbs,
  instead of using those already on hand; and also that the structure
  of the verb must be identical throughout the language, that there
  must be only one conjugation, and that the verbs, except a few
  irregular ones, can possess no peculiarities.

  “This is different in the Greek, Latin and ancient Indian. In these
  tongues many verbs must be studied separately, as they have numerous
  exceptions, phonetic changes, deficiencies, etc., and in other
  respects carry with them a marked individuality.

  “The difference between these cultivated and those rude languages is
  chiefly merely one of time, and of the more or less fortunate
  mixture of dialects; though it certainly also depends in a measure
  on the original mental powers of the nations.

  “Those whose languages we have here analyzed are, in speaking,
  constantly putting together elementary parts; they connect nothing
  firmly, because they follow the changing requirements of the moment,
  joining together only what these requirements demand, and often
  leave connected through habit that which clear thinking would
  necessarily divide.

  “Hence no just division of words can arise, such as is demanded by
  accurate and appropriate thought, which requires that each word must
  have a fixed and certain content and a defined grammatical form, and
  as is also demanded by the highest phonetic laws.

  “Nations richly endowed in mind and sense will have an instinct for
  such correct divisions; the incessant moving to and fro of
  elementary parts of speech will be distasteful to them; they will
  seek true individuality in the words they use; therefore they will
  connect them firmly, they will not accumulate too much in one, and
  they will only leave that connected which is so in thought, and not
  merely in usage or habit.”


  _Contents._—Study of the human species on the geographic
  system—Have American languages any common trait?—Duponceau’s
  theory of polysynthesis—Humboldt on Polysynthesis and
  Incorporation—Francis Lieber on Holophrasis—Prof. Steinthal on
  the incorporative plan—Lucien Adam’s criticism of it—Prof.
  Müller’s inadequate statement—Major Powell’s omission to
  consider it—Definitions of polysynthesis, incorporation and
  holophrasis—Illustrations—Critical application of the theory to
  the Othomi language—To the Bri-bri language—To the Tupi-Guarani
  dialects—To the Mutsun—Conclusions—Addendum: critique by M. Adam
  on this essay.

As the careful study of the position of man toward his surroundings
advances, it becomes more and more evident that like other members of
the higher fauna, he bears many and close correlations to the
geographical area he inhabits. Hence the present tendency of
anthropology is to return to the classification proposed by Linnæus,
which, in a broad way, subdivides the human species with reference to
the continental areas mainly inhabited by it in the earliest historic
times. This is found to accord with color, and to give five sub-species
or races, the White or European, the Black or African, the Yellow or
Mongolian (Asiatic), the Brown or Malayan (Oceanic), and the Red or
American Races.

No ethnologist nowadays will seek to establish fixed and absolute lines
between these. They shade into one another in all their peculiarities,
and no one has traits entirely unknown in the others. Yet, in the mass,
the characteristics of each are prominent, permanent and unmistakable;
and to deny them on account of occasional exceptions is to betray an
inability to estimate the relative value of scientific facts.

Does this racial similarity extend to language? On the surface,
apparently not. Only one of the races named—the Malayan—is monoglottic.
All the others seem to speak tongues with no genetic relationship, at
least none indicated by etymology. The profounder study of language,
however, leads to a different conclusion—to one which, as cautiously
expressed by a recent writer, teaches that “every large, connected,
terrestrial area developed only one, or scarcely more than one,
fundamental linguistic type, and this with such marked individuality
that rarely did any of its languages depart from the general

This similarity is not to be looked for in likeness between words, but
in the inner structural development of tongues. To ascertain and
estimate such identities is a far more delicate undertaking than to
compare columns of words in vocabularies; but it is proportionately more

Nor should we expect it to be absolute. The example of the Basque in a
pure white nation in Western Europe warns us that there are exceptions
which, though they may find a historic explanation, forbid us all
dogmatic assertion. They are so few, however, that I quote Dr. Winkler’s
words as the correct expression of the latest linguistic science, and I
wish that some investigator would make it the motto of his study of
American tongues.

The task—no light one—which such an investigator would have, would be,
first to ascertain what structural traits form the ground plan or plans
(if there are more than one) of the languages of the New World. Upon
this ground-plan he would find very different edifices have been
erected, which, nevertheless, can be classified into groups, each group
marked by traits common to every member of it. These traits and groups
he must carefully define. Then would come the separate question as to
whether this community of traits has a genetic explanation or not. If
the decision were affirmative, we might expect conclusions that would
carry us much further than etymological comparisons, and might form a
scientific basis for the classification of American nations.

Possibly some one or two features might be discovered which though not
peculiar to American tongues, nor fully present in every one of them,
yet would extend an influence over them all, and impart to them in the
aggregate a certain aspect which could fairly be called distinctive.
Such features are claimed to have been found in the grammatic processes
of _polysynthesis_ and _incorporation_.

Peter Stephen Duponceau, at one time President of the American
Philosophical Society, was the first to assert that there was a
prevailing unity of grammatic schemes in American tongues. His first
published utterance was in 1819, when he distinguished, though not with
desirable lucidity, between the two varieties of synthetic construction,
the one (incorporation) applicable to verbal forms of expression, the
other (polysynthesis) to nominal expressions. His words are—

“A _polysynthetic_ or _syntactic_ construction of language is that in
which the greatest number of ideas are comprised in the least number of
words. This is done principally in two ways. 1. By a mode of compounding
locutions which is not confined to joining two words together, as in
Greek, or varying the inflection or termination of a radical word as in
most European languages, but by interweaving together the most
significant sounds or syllables of each simple word, so as to form a
compound that will awaken in the mind at once all the ideas singly
expressed by the words from which they are taken. 2. By an analogous
combination [of] the various parts of speech, particularly by means of
the verb, so that its various forms and inflections will express not
only the principal action, but the greatest possible number of the moral
ideas and physical objects connected with it, and will combine itself to
the greatest extent with those conceptions which are the subject of
other parts of speech, and in other languages require to be expressed by
separate and distinct words. Such I take to be the general character of
the Indian languages.”[288]

Duponceau’s opinion found an able supporter in Wilhelm von Humboldt,
who, as already shown, placed the American languages among those acting
on the incorporative plan—_das Einverleibungssystem_. The spirit of this
system he defines to be, “to impress the unity of the sentence on the
understanding by treating it, not as a whole composed of various words,
but as one word.” A perfect type of incorporation will group all the
elements of the sentence in and around the verbal, as this alone is the
bond of union between the several ideas. The designation of time and
manner, that is, the tense and mode signs, will include both the object
and subject of the verb, thus subordinating them to the notion of
action. It is “an indispensable basis” of this system that there should
be a difference in the form of words when incorporated and when not.
This applies in a measure to nouns and verbals, but especially to
pronouns, and Humboldt names it as “the characteristic tendency” of
American languages, and one directly drawn from their incorporative
plan, that the personal pronouns, both subjective and objective, used in
connection with the verbs, are of a different form from the independent
personal pronouns, either greatly abbreviated or from wholly different
roots. Outside of the verbal thus formed as the central point of the
sentence, there is no syntax, no inflections, no declension of nouns or

Humboldt was far from saying that the incorporative system was
exclusively seen in American languages, any more than that of isolation
in Chinese, or flexion in Aryan speech. On the contrary, he distinctly
states that every language he had examined shows traces of all three
plans; but the preponderance of one plan over the other is so marked and
so distinctive that they afford us the best means known for the
morphological classification of languages, especially as these traits
arise from psychological operations widely diverse, and of no small
influence on the development of the intellect.

Dr. Francis Lieber, in an essay on “The Plan of Thought in American
Languages,”[290] objected to the terms _polysynthesis_ and
_incorporation_ that “they begin at the wrong end; for these names
indicate that that which has been separated is put together, as if man
began with analysis, whereas he ends with it.” He therefore proposed the
noun _holophrasis_ with its adjective _holophrastic_, not as a
substitute for the terms he criticised, but to express the meaning or
purpose of these processes, which is, to convey the whole of a sentence
or proposition in one word. Polysynthesis, he explains, indicates a
purely etymological process, holophrasis “refers to the meaning of the
word considered in a philosophical point of view.”

If we regard incorporation and polysynthesis as structural processes of
language aiming to accomplish a certain theoretical form of speech, then
it will be convenient to have this word _holophrasis_ to designate this
theoretical form, which is, in short, the expression of the whole
proposition in a single word.

The eminent linguist Professor H. Steinthal, has developed the theory of
incorporation more fully than any other writer. He expresses himself
without reserve of the opinion that all American languages are
constructed on this same plan, more or less developed.

I need not make long quotations from a work so well-known as his
_Charakteristik der hauptsächlichsten Typen des Sprachbaues_, one
section of which, about thirty pages in length, is devoted to a
searching and admirable presentation of the characteristics of the
incorporative plan as shown in American languages. But I may give with
brevity what he regards as the most striking features of this plan.
These are especially three:—

1. The construction of words by a mixed system of derivation and new

2. The objective relation is treated as a species of possession; and

3. The possessive relation is regarded as the leading and substantial
one, and controls the form of expression.

The first of these corresponds to what I should call _polysynthesis_;
the others to _incorporation_ in the limited sense of the term.

Some special studies on this subject have been published by M. Lucien
Adam, and he claims for them that they have refuted and overturned the
thesis of Duponceau, Humboldt, and Steinthal, to the effect that there
is a process called _incorporative_ or _polysynthetic_, which can be
traced in all American languages, and though not in all points confined
to them, may fairly and profitably be taken as characteristic of them,
and indicative of the psychological processes which underlie them. This
opinion M. Adam speaks of as a “stereotyped phrase which is absolutely

So rude an iconoclasm as this must attract our careful consideration.
Let us ask what M. Adam understands by the terms _polysynthesis_ and
_incorporation_. To our surprise, we shall find that in two works
published in the same year, he advances definitions by no means
identical. Thus, in his “Examination of Sixteen American Languages,” he
says, “_Polysynthesis_ consists essentially in the affixing of
subordinate personal pronouns to the noun, the preposition and the
verb.” In his “Study of Six Languages,” he writes: “By _polysynthesis_ I
understand the expression in one word of the relations of cause and
effect, or of subject and object.”[292]

Certainly these two definitions are not convertible, and we are almost
constrained to suspect that the writer who gives them was not clear in
his own mind as to the nature of the process. At any rate, they differ
widely from the plan or method set forth by Humboldt and Steinthal as
characteristic of American languages. M. Adam in showing that
polysynthesis in his understanding of the term is not confined to or
characteristic of American tongues, missed the point, and fell into an
_ignoratio elenchi_.

Equally narrow is his definition of incorporation. He writes, “When the
object is intercalated between the subject and the verbal theme, there
is _incorporation_.” If this is to be understood as an explanation of
the German expression, _Einverleibung_, then it has been pared down
until nothing but the stem is left.

As to Dr. Lieber’s suggestion of _holophrastic_ as an adjective
expressing the plan of thought at the basis of polysynthesis and
incorporation, M. Adam summarily dismisses it as “a pedantic
succedaneum” to our linguistic vocabulary.

I cannot acknowledge that the propositions so carefully worked up by
Humboldt and Steinthal have been refuted by M. Adam; I must say, indeed,
that the jejune significance he attaches to the incorporative process
seems to show that he did not grasp it as a structural motive in
language, and a wide-reaching psychologic process.

Professor Friedrich Müller, whose studies of American languages are
among the most extended and profitable of the present time, has not
given to this peculiar feature the attention we might reasonably expect.
Indeed, there appears in the standard treatise on the science of
language which he has published, almost the same vagueness as to the
nature of incorporation which I have pointed out in the writings of M.
Adam. Thus, on one page he defines incorporating languages as those
which “do away with the distinction between the word and the sentence;”
while on another he explains incorporation as “the including of the
object within the body of the verb.”[293] He calls it “a peculiarity of
most American languages, but not of all.” That the structural process of
incorporation is by no means exhausted by the reception of the object
within the body of the verb, even that this is not requisite to
incorporation, I shall endeavor to show.

Finally, I may close this brief review of the history of these doctrines
with a reference to the fact that neither of them appears anywhere
mentioned in the official “Introduction to the Study of Indian
Languages,” issued by the United States Bureau of Ethnology! How the
author of that work, Major J. W. Powell, Director of the Bureau, could
have written a treatise on the study of American languages, and have not
a word to say about these doctrines, the most salient and characteristic
features of the group, is to me as inexplicable as it is extraordinary.
He certainly could not have supposed that Duponceau’s theory was
completely dead and laid to rest, for Steinthal, the most eminent
philosophic linguist of the age, still teaches in Berlin, and teaches
what I have already quoted from him about these traits. What is more,
Major Powell does not even refer to this structural plan, nor include it
in what he terms the “grammatic processes” which he explains.[294] This
is indeed the play of “Hamlet” with the part of Hamlet omitted!

I believe that for the scientific study of language, and especially of
American languages, it will be profitable to restore and clearly to
differentiate the distinction between polysynthesis and incorporation,
dimly perceived by Duponceau and expressed by him in the words already
quoted. With these may be retained the neologism of Lieber,
_holophrasis_, and the three defined as follows:

_Polysynthesis_ is a method of word-building, applicable either to
nominals or verbals, which not only employs juxtaposition with
aphæresis, syncope, apocope, etc., but also words, forms of words and
significant phonetic elements which have no separate existence apart
from such compounds. This latter peculiarity marks it off altogether
from the processes of agglutination and collocation.

_Incorporation_, _Einverleibung_, is a structural process confined to
verbals, by which the nominal or pronominal elements of the proposition
are subordinated to the verbal elements, either in form or position; in
the former case having no independent existence in the language in the
form required by the verb, and in the latter case being included within
the specific verbal signs of tense and mood. In a fully incorporative
language the verbal exhausts the syntax of the grammar, all other parts
of speech remaining in isolation and without structural connection.

_Holophrasis_ does not refer to structural peculiarities of language,
but to the psychologic impulse which lies at the root of polysynthesis
and incorporation. It is the same in both instances—the effort to
express the whole proposition in one word. This in turn is instigated by
the stronger stimulus which the imagination receives from an idea
conveyed in one word rather than in many.

A few illustrations will aid in impressing these definitions on the

As _polysynthetic_ elements, we have the inseparable possessive pronouns
which in many languages are attached to the names of the parts of the
human body and to the words for near relatives; also the so-called
“generic formatives,” particles which are prefixed, suffixed, or
inserted to indicate to what class or material objects belong; also the
“numeral terminations” affixed to the ordinal numbers to indicate the
nature of the objects counted; the negative, diminutive and
amplificative particles which convey certain conceptions of a general
character, and so on. These are constantly used in word-building, but
are generally not words themselves, having no independent status in the
language. They may be single letters, or even merely vowel-changes and
consonantal substitutions; but they have well-defined significance.

In _incorporation_ the object may be united to the verbal theme either
as a prefix, suffix or infix; or, as in Nahuatl, etc., a pronominal
representative of it may be thus attached to the verb, while the object
itself is placed in isolated apposition.

The subject is usually a pronoun inseparably connected, or at least
included within the tense-sign; to this the nominal subject stands in
apposition. Both subjective and objective pronouns are apt to have a
different form from either the independent personals or possessives, and
this difference of form may be accepted as _a priori_ evidence of the
incorporative plan of structure—though there are other possible origins
for it. The tense and mode signs are generally separable, and,
especially in the compound tense, are seen to apply not only to the verb
itself, but to the whole scope of its action, the tense sign for
instance preceding the subject.

Some further observations will set these peculiarities in a yet clearer

Although in polysynthesis we speak of prefixes, suffixes, and
juxtaposition, we are not to understand these terms as the same as in
connection with the Aryan or with the agglutinative languages. In
polysynthetic tongues they are not intended to form words, but
sentences; not to express an idea, but a proposition. This is a
fundamental logical distinction between the two classes of languages.

With certain prefixes, as those indicating possession, the form of the
word itself alters, as in Mexican, _amatl_, book, _no_, mine, but
_namauh_, my book. In a similar manner suffixes or postpositions affect
the form of the words to which they are added.

As the holophrastic method makes no provision for the syntax of the
sentence outside of the expression of action (_i. e._, the verbal and
what it embraces), nouns and adjectives are not declined. The “cases”
which appear in many grammars of American languages are usually
indications of space or direction, or of possession, and not
case-endings in the sense of Aryan grammar.

A further consequence of the same method is the absence of true relative
pronouns, of copulative conjunctions, and generally of the machinery of
dependent clauses. The devices to introduce subordinate propositions I
have referred to in a previous essay (above, p. 346).

As the effort to speak in sentences rather than in words entails
constant variation in these word-sentences, there arise both an enormous
increase in verbal forms and a multiplication of expressions for ideas
closely allied. This is the cause of the apparently endless conjugations
of many such tongues, and also of the exuberance of their vocabularies
in words of closely similar signification. It is an ancient error—which,
however, I find repeated in the official “Introduction to the Study of
Indian Languages,” issued by our Bureau of Ethnology—that the primitive
condition of languages is one “where few ideas are expressed by few
words.” On the contrary, languages structurally at the bottom of the
scale have an enormous and useless excess of words. The savage tribes of
the plains will call a color by three or four different words as it
appears on different objects. The Eskimo has about twenty words for
fishing, depending on the nature of the fish pursued. All this arises
from the “holophrastic” plan of thought.

It will be seen from these explanations that the definition of
Incorporation as given by M. Lucien Adam (quoted above) is erroneous,
and that of Professor Müller is inadequate. The former reduces it to a
mere matter of position or placement; the latter either does not
distinguish it from polysynthesis, or limits it to only one of its
several expressions.

In fact, Incorporation may take place with any one of the six possible
modifications of the grammatical formula, “subject + verb + object.” It
is quite indifferent to its theory which of these comes first, which
last; although the most usual formula is either,

                      subject + object + verb, or,
                      object + subject + verb;

the verb being understood to be the verbal theme only—not its tense and
mode signs. Where either of the above arrangements occurs, we may
consider it to be an indication of the incorporative tendency; but as
mere position is insufficient evidence, incorporation may be present in
other arrangements of the elements of the proposition.

As a fair example of polysynthesis in nouns, we may select the word for
“cross” in the Cree. The Indians render it by “praying-stick” or “holy
wood,” and their word for “our praying-sticks” (crosses) is:


This is analyzed as follows:

_n't'_, possessive pronoun, ½ person plural.

_ayami_, something relating to religion.

_he_, indicative termination of the foregoing.

_w_, a connective.

_âttik_, suffix indicating wooden or of wood.

_u_, a connective.

_m_, sign of possession.

_i_, a connective.

_nân_, termination of ⅓ person plural.

_ak_, termination of animate plural (the cross is spoken of as animate
by a figure of speech).

Not a single one of the above elements can be employed as an independent
word. They are all only the raw material to weave into and make up

As a characteristic specimen of incorporation we may select this Nahuatl


                  I have given something to somebody:

which is analyzed as follows:

           _o_, augment of the preterit, a tense sign.
           _ni_, pronoun, subject, 1st person.
           _c_, “semi-pronoun,” object, 3d person.
           _te_, “inanimate semi-pronoun,” object, 3d person.
           _maca_, theme of the verb, “to give.”
           _c_, suffix of the preterit, a tense sign.

Here it will be observed that between the tense-signs, which are
logically the essential limitations of the action, are included both the
agent and the near and remote objects of the action.

In the modifications of meaning they undergo, American verbal themes may
be divided into two great classes, either as they express these
modifications (1) by suffixes to an unchanging radical, or (2) by
internal changes of their radical.

The last mentioned are most characteristic of synthetic tongues. In all
pure dialects of the Algonkin the vowel of the verbal root undergoes a
peculiar change called “flattening” when the proposition passes from the
“positive” to the “suppositive” mood.[295] The same principle is
strikingly illustrated in the Choctaw language, as the following example
will show:[296]

   _takchi_, to tie (active, definite).
   _takchi_, to be tying (active, distinctive).
   _tak'chi_, to _tie_ (active, emphatic).
   _taiakchi_, to tie tightly (active, intensive).
   _tahakchi_, to keep tying (active, frequentative).
   _tahkchi_, to tie at once (active, immediate).
   _tullakchi_, to be tied (passive, definite).
   _tallakchi_, to be the one tied (passive, distinctive), etc., etc.

This example is, however, left far behind by the Qquichua of Peru, which
by a series of so-called “verbal particles” affixed to the verbal theme
confers an almost endless variety of modification on its verbs. Thus
Anchorena in his Grammar gives the form and shades of meaning of 675
modifications of the verb _munay_, to love.[297]

These verbal particles are not other words, as adverbs, etc., qualifying
the meaning of the verb and merely added to it, but have no independent
existence in the language. Von Tschudi, whose admirable analysis of this
interesting tongue cannot be too highly praised, explains them as
“verbal roots which never reached independent development, or fragments
handed down from some earlier epoch of the evolution of the
language.”[298] They are therefore true synthetic elements in the sense
of Duponceau’s definition, and not at all examples of collocation or

While the genius of American languages is such that they permit and many
of them favor the formation of long compounds which express the whole of
a sentence in one word, this is by no means necessary. Most of the
examples of words of ten, twenty or more syllables are not genuine
native words, but novelties manufactured by the missionaries. In
ordinary intercourse such compounds are not in use, and the speech is
comparatively simple.

Of two of the most synthetic languages, the Algonkin and the Nahuatl, we
have express testimony from experts that they can be employed in simple
or compound forms, as the speaker prefers. The Abbé Lacombe observes
that in Cree “sometimes one can employ very long words to express a
whole phrase, although the same ideas can be easily rendered by
periphrasis.”[299] In the syllabus of the lectures on the Nahuatl by
Prof. Agustin de la Rosa, of the University of Guadalaxara, I note that
he explains when the Nahuatl is to be employed in a synthetic, and when
in an analytic form.[300]

I shall now proceed to examine those American tongues which have been
authoritatively declared to be exceptions to the general rules of
American grammar, as being devoid of the incorporative and polysynthetic

                            THE OTHOMI.[301]

As I have said, the Othomi was the stumbling block of Mr. Duponceau, and
led him to abandon his theory of polysynthesis as a characteristic of
American tongues. Although in his earlier writings he expressly names it
as one of the illustrations supporting his theory, later in life the
information he derived from Señor Emmanuel Naxera led him to regard it
as an isolating and monosyllabic language, quite on a par with the
Chinese. He expressed this change of view in the frankest manner, and
since that time writers have spoken of the Othomi as a marked exception
in structure to the general rules of synthesis in American tongues. This
continues to be the case even in the latest writings, as, for instance,
in the recently published _Anthropologie du Mexique_, of Dr. Hamy.[302]

Let us examine the grounds of this opinion.

The Othomis are an ancient and extended family, who from the remotest
traditional epochs occupied the central valleys and mountains of Mexico
north of the Aztecs and Tezcucans. Their language, called by themselves
_nhiân_ _hiû_, the fixed or current speech[303] (_nhiân_, speech, _hiû_,
stable, fixed), presents extraordinary phonetic difficulties on account
of its nasals, gutturals and explosives.

It is one of a group of related dialects which may be arranged as

                      { The Othomi.
                      { The Mazahua.
                      { The Pame and its dialects.
                      { The Meco or Jonaz.

It was the opinion of M. Charencey, that another member of this group
was the Pirinda or Matlazinca; a position combatted by Señor Pimentel,
who acknowledges some common property in words, but considers them
merely borrowed.[304]

Naxera made the statement that the Mazahua is monosyllabic, an error in
which his copyists have obediently followed him; but Pimentel pointedly
contradicts this assertion and shows that it is a mistake, both for the
Mazahua and for the Pame and its dialects.[305]

We may begin our study of the language with an examination of the

                         TENSE-SIGNS IN OTHOMI.

                             PRESENT TENSE.

                1. I wish,                _di nee_.
                2. Thou wishest,          _gui nee_.
                3. He wishes,             _y nee_.

                              PAST AORIST.

                1. I wished,              _da nee_.
                2. Thou wished,           _ga nee_.
                3. He wished,             _bi nee_.


                1. I have wished,         _xta nee_.
                2. Thou hast wished,      _xca nee_.
                3. He has wished,         _xpi nee_.


                1. I had wished,          _xta nee hma_.
                2. Thou hadst wished,     _xca nee hma_.
                3. He had wished,         _xpi nee hma_.

                             FIRST FUTURE.

                1. I shall wish,          _ga nee_.
                2. Thou wilt wish,        _gui nee_.
                3. He will wish,          _da nee_.

                             SECOND FUTURE.

                1. I shall have wished,   _gua xta nee_.
                2. Thou wilt have wished, _gua xca nee_.
                3. He will have wished,   _gua xpi nee_.

The pronouns here employed are neither the ordinary personals nor
possessives (though the Othomi admits of a possessive conjugation), but
are verbal pronouns, strictly analogous to those found in various other
American languages. The radicals are:

                             I,      _d_—.
                             Thou,   _g_—.
                             He, it, _b_—.

In the present, the first and second are prefixed to what is really the
simple concrete form of the verb, _y-nee_. In the past tenses the
personal signs are variously united with particles denoting past time or
the past, as _a_, the end, to finish, _ma_ and _hma_, yesterday, and the
prefix _x_, which is very noteworthy as being precisely the same in
sound and use which we find in the Cakchiquel past and future tenses. It
is pronounced _sh_ (as in _sh_ove) and precedes the whole verbal,
including subject, object, and theme; while in the pluperfect, the
second sign of past time _hma_ is a suffix to the collective expression.

The future third person is given by Neve as _da_, but by Perez as _di_,
which latter is apparently from the future particle _ni_ given by Neve.
In the second future, the distinctive particle _gua_ precedes the whole
verbal, thus inclosing the subject with the theme in the tense-sign,
strictly according to the principles of the incorporative conjugation.

This incorporative character is still more marked in the objective
conjugations, or “transitions.” The object, indeed, follows the verb,
but is not only incorporated with it, but in the compound tense is
included within the double tense signs.

Thus, I find in Perez’s Catechism,

                       _di_    _ûn-ba_  _magetzi_,
                      He will give-them  heaven.

In this sentence, _di_ is the personal pronoun combined with the future
sign; and the verb is _ûn-ni_, to give to another, which is compounded
with the personal _ba_, them, drops its final syllable, forming a true

In the phrase,

                   _xpi_   _ûn-ba_  _hma_ _magetzi_,
                   he had give them (had)  heaven,

both subject and object, the latter inclosed in a synthesis with the
radical of the theme, the former phonetically altered and coalesced with
a tense particle, are included in the double tense-sign, _x-hma_. This
is as real an example of incorporation as can be found in any American

Ordinary synthesis of words, other than verbs, is by no means rare in
Othomi. Simple juxtaposition, which Naxera states to be the rule, is not
all universal. Such a statement by him leads us to suspect that he had
only that elementary knowledge of the tongue which Neve refers to in a
forcible passage in his _Reglas_. He writes: “A good share of the
difficulty of this tongue lies in its custom of syncope; and because the
tyros who make use of it do not syncopate it, their compositions are so
rough and lacking in harmony to the ears of the natives that the latter
count their talk as no better than that of horse-jockeys, as we would

The extent of this syncopation is occasionally to such a degree that
only a fragment of the original word is retained. As:

                   The charcoal-vendor, _na māthiâ_.

Here _na_ is a demonstrative particle like the Aztec _in_, and _māthiâ_
is a compound _pà_, to sell, and _thêhñâ_, charcoal.

The expression,

                     _y mahny oqha_, he loves God,

is to be analyzed,

                       _y_ _mâhdî_ _nuny_ _oqha_;
                       he   loves   him    God;

where we perceive not only synthesis, but the object standing in
apposition to the pronoun representing it which is incorporated with the

So: _yot-gua_, light here; from _yotti_, to light, _nugua_, here.

These examples from many given in Neve’s work seem to me to prove beyond
cavil that the Othomi exhibits, when properly spoken, precisely the same
theories of incorporation and polysynthesis as the other American
languages, although undoubtedly its more monosyllabic character and the
extreme complexity of its phonetics do not permit of a development of
these peculiarities to the same degree as many.

Nor am I alone in this opinion. It has already been announced by the
Count de Charencey, as the result of his comparison of this tongue with
the Mazahua and Pirinda. “The Othomi,” he writes, “has all the
appearance of a language which was at first incorporative, and which,
worn down by attrition and linguistic decay, has at length come to
simulate a language of juxtaposition.”[307]

Some other peculiarities of the language, though not directly bearing on
the question, point in the same direction. A certain class of compound
verbs are said by Neve to have a possessive declension. Thus, of the two
words _puengui_, he draws, and _hiâ_, breath, is formed the verb
_buehiâ_, which is conjugated by using the verb in the indefinite third
person and inserting the possessives _ma_, _ni_, _na_, my, thy, his;

                     _ybuemahia_, I breathe.
                     _ybuenihia_, thou breathest.
                     _ybuenahia_, he breathes.[308]

Literally this would be “it-is-drawing, my breath,” etc.

In the Mazahua dialects there is a remarkable change in the objective
conjugations (transitions) where the whole form of the verb appears to
alter. In this language _ti_ = I; _ki_ or _khe_ = thou.

                   I give, _ti une_.
                   I give thee, _ti dakke_.
                   He will give us, _ti yakme_.[309]

The last example is not fully explained by my authorities; but it shows
the verbal change.

Something like this occurs in the Pame dialects. They reveal a manifest
indifference to the integrity of the theme, characteristic of
polysynthetic languages. Thus, our only authority on the Pame, Father
Juan Guadalupe Soriano, gives the preterit forms of the verb “to aid:”

                       _Ku pait_, I aided.
                       _Ki gait_, thou aidedest.
                       _Ku mait_, he aided.

So, of “to burn:”

_Knu aum_, I burned.

_Kuddu du taum_, they burned.[310]

A large number of such changes run through the conjugation. Pimentel
calls them phonetic changes, but they are certainly, in some instances,
true syntheses.

All these traits of the Othomi and its related dialects serve to place
them unquestionably within the general plan of structure of American

                         THE BRI-BRI LANGUAGE.

The late Mr. Wm. M. Gabb, who was the first to furnish any satisfactory
information about it and its allied dialects in Costa Rica, introduces
the Bri-Bri language, spoken in the highlands of that State, by quoting
the words of Alexander von Humboldt to the effect that “a multiplicity
of tenses characterizes the rudest American languages.” On this, Mr.
Gabb comments: “This certainly does not apply to the Costa Rican family,
which is equally remarkable for the simplicity of its inflections.”[311]

This statement, offered with such confidence, has been accepted and
passed on without close examination by several unusually careful
linguists. Thus Professor Friedrich Müller, in his brief description of
the Bri-Bri (taken exclusively from Gabb’s work), inserts the
observation—“The simple structure of this idiom is sufficient to
contradict the theories generally received about American
languages.”[312] And M. Lucien Adam has lately instanced its verbs as
notable examples of inflectional simplicity.[313] The study of this
group of tongues becomes, therefore, of peculiar importance to my
present topic.

Since Mr. Gabb published his memoir, some independent material,
grammatical as well as lexicographical, has been furnished by the Rt.
Rev. B. A. Thiel, Bishop of Costa Rica,[314] and I have obtained, in
addition, several MS. vocabularies and notes on the language prepared by
Prof. P. J. J. Valentini and others.

The stock is divided into three groups of related dialects, as follows:—

I. The Brunka, Bronka or Boruca, now in southwestern Costa Rica, but
believed by Gabb to have been the earliest of the stock to occupy the
soil, and to have been crowded out by later arrivals.

II. The Tiribi and Terraba, principally on the head-waters of the Rio
Telorio and south of the mountains.

III. The Bri-Bri and Cabecar on the head-waters of the Rio Tiliri. The
Biceitas (Vizeitas) or Cachis, near the mouth of the same stream, are
off-shoots of the Bri-Bris; so also are the small tribes at Orosi and
Tucurrique, who were removed to those localities by the Spaniards.

The Bri-Bri and Cabecar, although dialects of the same original speech,
are not sufficiently alike to be mutually intelligible. The Cabecars
occupied the land before the Bri-Bris, but were conquered and are now
subject to them. It is probable that their dialect is more archaic.

The Bri-Bri is a language of extreme poverty, and as spoken at present
is plainly corrupt. Gabb estimates the whole number of words it contains
as probably not exceeding fifteen hundred. Some of these, though Gabb
thinks not very many, are borrowed from the Spanish; but it is
significant, that among them is the pronoun “that,” the Spanish _ese_.

Let us now examine the Bri-Bri verb, said to be so singularly simple. We
are at once struck by Mr. Gabb’s remark (just after he has been speaking
of their unparalleled simplicity) that the inflections he gives “have
been verified with as much care as the difficulties of the case would
admit.” Evidently, then, there were difficulties. What they are, becomes
apparent when we attempt to analyze the forms of the eighteen brief
paradigms which he gives.

The personal pronouns are

                     _je_, I.       _sa_, we.
                     _be_, thou.    _ha_, you.
                     _ye_, he, etc. _ye-pa_, they.

These are both nominative and objective, personal and, with the suffix
_cha_, possessives.

The tenses are usually, not always, indicated by suffixes to the theme;
but these vary, and no rule is given for them, nor is it stated whether
the same theme can be used with them all. Thus,

             To burn, _ĭ-norka_,  present, _i-nyor-ket-ke_.
             To cook, _i-lu’_.       “     _ĭ-luk_.
             To start, _i-be-te_.    “     _i-be-te_.

Here are three forms for the present, not explained. Are they three
conjugations, or do they express three shades of meaning, like the three
English presents? I suspect the latter, for under _ikiana_, to want,
Gabb remarks that the form in _-etke_, means “he _wants_ you,” _i. e._,
is emphatic.

The past aorist has two terminations, one in _-na_, and one in _-e_,
about the uses and meanings of which we are left equally in the dark.

The future is utterly inexplicable. Even Prof. Müller, just after his
note calling attention to the “great simplicity” of the tongue, is
obliged to give up this tense with the observation, “the structural laws
regulating the formation of the future are still in obscurity!” Was it
not somewhat premature to dwell on the simplicity of a tongue whose
simplest tenses he acknowledges himself unable to analyze?

The futures of some verbs will reveal the difficulties of this tense:—

            To burn, _i-nyor-ka_; future, _i-nyor-wane-ka_.
            To cook, _i-lu’_;        ”    _i-lu’_.
            To start, _i-bete_;      ”    _i-bete_.
            To want, _i-ki-ana_;     ”    _i-kie_.
            To count, _ishtaung_;    ”    _mia shta’we_.

In the last example _mia_ is the future of the verb _imia_, to go, and
is used as an auxiliary.

The explanation I have to suggest for these varying forms is, either
that they represent in fact that very “multiplicity of tense-formations”
which Humboldt alluded to, and which were too subtle to be apprehended
by Mr. Gabb within the time he devoted to the study of the language; or
that they are in modern Bri-Bri, which I have shown is noticeably
corrupted, survivals of these formations, but are now largely
disregarded by the natives themselves.

Signs of the incorporative plan are not wanting in the tongue. Thus in
the objective conjugation not only is the object placed between subject
and verb, but the latter may undergo visible synthetic changes. Thus:

                        _Je be sueng._
                        I thee see.
                        _Ke je be wai su-na._
                        Not I thee (?) see-did.

In the latter sentence _na_ is the sign of the past aorist, and the verb
in synthesis with it drops its last syllable. The _wai_ Gabb could not
explain. It will be noticed that the negative precedes the whole verbal
form, thus indicating that it is treated as a collective idea

Prepositions always appear as suffixes to nouns, which, in composition,
may suffer elision. This is strictly similar to the Nahuatl and other
synthetic tongues.

Other examples of developed synthesis are not uncommon, as—

          away, _imibak_, from _imia_ to go, _jebak_, already.
          very hot, _palina_, from _ba_ + _ilinia_.

The opinion that the Bri-Bri is at present a considerably corrupted and
worn-down dialect of a group of originally highly synthetic tongues is
borne out by an examination of the scanty materials we have of its
nearest relations.

Thus in the Terraba we find the same superfluous richness of pronominal
forms which occurs in many South American tongues, one indicating that
the person is sitting, another that he is standing, a third that he is

The Brunka has several distinct forms in the present tense:

           I eat, _cha adeh_, and _atqui chan_ (_atqui_ = I).

Although Bishop Thiel supplies a number of verbal forms from this
dialect, the plan of their construction is not obvious. This is seen
from a comparison of the present and perfect tenses in various words.
The pronouns are—

                             ⅓ {_atqui_, I.
                               (_ique_, he.

For instance:

                        BRUNKA VERBAL FORMS.

                  To kill (radical, _ai_).
              Present, I kill, _cha atqui i aíra_.
              Perfect, he has killed, _iang i aíc_.

                  To die (radical, _cojt_).
              Present, I die, _cójo drah_.
              Perfect, he has died, _cojt crah_.

                  To hear (radical, _dój_).
              Present, I hear, _aari dój ograh_.
              Perfect, I have heard, _aqui dój crah_.

                  To forget.
              Present, I forget, _asqui chita uringera_.
              Perfect, I have forgotten, _ochita uringea_.

These examples are sufficient to show that the Brunka conjugations are
neither regular nor simple, and such is the emphatic statement of Bishop
Thiel, both of it and all these allied dialects. In his introduction he
states that he is not yet ready to offer a grammar of these tongues,
though well supplied with lexicographical materials, and that “_their
verbs are especially difficult_.”[316]

The Cabecar dialect, in which he gives several native funeral poems,
without translations, is apparently more complicated than the Bri-Bri.
The words of the songs are long and seem much syncopated.

                       THE TUPI-GUARANI DIALECTS.

Several writers of the highest position have asserted that these
dialects, spoken over so large a portion of the territory of Brazil, are
neither polysynthetic nor incorporative. Thus the late Prof. Charles F.
Hartt in his “Notes on the Lingoa Geral or Modern Tupi,” expressed
himself: “Unlike the North American Indian tongues, the languages of the
Tupi-Guarani family are not polysynthetic in structure.”[317] With
scarcely less positiveness Professor Fredrich Müller writes: “The
objective conjugation of the Tupi-Guarani does not show the
incorporation usually seen in American languages, but rather a mere

It is, I acknowledge, somewhat hazardous to venture an opinion contrary
to such excellent authorities. But I must say, that while, no doubt, the
Tupi in its structure differs widely from the Algonkin or Nahuatl, it
yet seems to present unmistakable signs of an incorporative and
polysynthetic character, such as would be difficult to parallel outside
of America.

I am encouraged to maintain this by the recent example of the erudite
Dr. Amaro Cavalcanti, himself well and practically versed in the spoken
Tupi of to-day, who has issued a learned treatise to prove that “the
Brazilian dialects present undoubtedly all the supposed characteristics
of an agglutinative language, and belong to the same group as the
numerous other dialects or tongues of America.”[319] Dr. Cavalcanti does
not, indeed, distinguish so clearly between agglutinative and
incorporative languages as I should wish, but the trend of his work is
altogether parallel to the arguments I am about to advance.

Fortunately, we do not suffer from a lack of materials to study the
Tupi, ancient and modern. There are plenty of dictionaries, grammars and
texts in it, and even an “Ollendorff’s Method,” for those who prefer
that intellectual (!) system.[320]

All recent writers agree that the modern Tupi has been materially
changed by long contact with the whites. The traders and missionaries
have exerted a disintegrating effect on its ancient forms, to some of
which I shall have occasion to refer.

_O Selvagem i Curso da Lingua Geral._ By Dr. Couto de Magalhaes (Rio de
Janeiro, 1876).

Turning our attention first to its synthetic character, one cannot but
be surprised after reading Prof. Hartt’s opinion above quoted to find
him a few pages later introducing us to the following example of
“word-building of a more than usually polysynthetic character.”[321]

               _akáyu_, head; _ayú_, bad.

               _akayayú_, crazy.

               _muakayayu_, to seduce (make crazy).

               _xayumuakayayú_, I make myself crazy, etc.

Such examples, however, are not rare, as may be seen by turning over the
leaves of Montoya’s _Tesoro de la Lengua Guarani_. The most noticeable
and most _American_ peculiarity of such compounds is that they are not
collocations of words, as are the agglutinative compounds of the
Ural-Altaic tongues, but of particles and phonetic elements which have
no separate life in the language.

Father Montoya calls special attention to this in the first words of his
_Advertencia_ to his _Tesoro_. He says:—“The foundation of this language
consists of particles which frequently have no meaning if taken alone;
but when compounded with the whole or parts of others (for they cut them
up a great deal in composition) they form significant expressions; for
this reason there are no independent verbs in the language, as they are
built up of these particles with nouns or pronouns. Thus, _ñemboé_ is
composed of the three particles _ñe_, _mo_, _e_. The _ñe_ is reciprocal;
_mo_ an active particle; _e_ indicates skill; and the whole means ‘to
exercise oneself,’ which we translate, ‘to learn,’ or ‘to teach,’
indeterminately; but with the personal sign added, _anemboe_, ‘I

This analysis, which Montoya carries much further, reminds us forcibly
of the extraordinarily acute analysis of the Cree (Algonkin) by Mr.
James Howse.[322] Undoubtedly the two tongues have been built up from
significant particles (not words) in the same manner.

Some of these particles convey a peculiar turn to the whole sentence,
difficult to express in our tongues. Thus the element _é_ attached to
the last syllable of a compound gives an oppositive sense to the whole
expression; for example, _ajur_, “I come” simply; but if the question
follows: “Who ordered you to come?” the answer might be, _ajuré_, “I
come of my own accord; nobody ordered me.”[323]

Cavalcanti observes that many of these formative elements which existed
in the old Tupi have now fallen out of use.[324] This is one of several
evidences of a change in structure in the language, a loss of its more
pliable and creative powers.

This synthesis is also displayed in the Tupi, as in the Cree, by the
inseparable union of certain nouns with pronouns. The latter are
constantly united with terms of consanguinity and generally with those
of members of the body, the form of the noun undergoing material
modifications. Thus:

      _tete_, body; _cete_, his body; _xerete_, my body.

      _tuba_, father; _oguba_, his father; _xerub_, my father.

      _mymbaba_, domestic animal; _gueymba_, his domestic animal.

      _tera_, name; _guera_, his name.

Postpositions are in a similar manner sometimes merged into the nouns or
pronouns which they limit. Thus: _tenonde_, before; _guenonde_, before

It appears to me that the substratum, the structural theory, of such a
tongue is decidedly polysynthetic and not agglutinative, still less

Let us now inquire whether there are any signs of the incorporative
process in Tupi.

We are at once struck with the peculiarity that there are two special
sets of pronouns used with verbals, one set subjective, and the other
objective, several of which _cannot be employed in any other
construction_.[325] This is almost diagnostic of the holophrastic method
of speech. The pronouns in such cases are evidently regarded by the
language-faculty as subordinate accessories to the verbal, and whether
they are phonetically merged in it or not is a secondary question.

The Tupi pronouns (confining myself to the singular number for the sake
of brevity) are as follows:

                                              Verbal affixes.
   Independent personals. Possessives.     Subject.       Object.
   _ixe_ or _xe_.         _se_ or _xe_. _a._            _xe._
   _inde_ or _ne_.        _ne_ or _re_. _re_, _yepe_.   _oro._
   _ae_ or _o_.           _ae_ or _i_.  _o._            _ae_ or _i_.

The verbal affixes are united to the theme with various phonetic
changes, and so intimately as to form one word. The grammars give such
example as:—

           _areco_, I hold;        _guereco_, they hold him.
           _ahenoi_, I call;       _xerenoi_, they call me.
           _ayaca_, I dispute him; _oroaca_, I dispute thee.

In the first person singular, the two pronominal forms _xe_ and _a_ are
usually merged in the synthesis _xa_; as _xamehen_, I love.

Another feature pointing to the incorporative plan is the location of
the object. The rule in the old language was to place the object in all
instances _before_ the verb, that is, between the verb and its subject
when the latter was other than a personal suffix. Dr. Cavalcanti says
that this is now in a measure changed, so that when the object is of the
third person it is placed after the verb, although in the first and
second persons the old rule still holds good.[326] Thus the ancient
Tupis would say:

                         _boia_ _aè_ _o-sou_,
                         snake  him  he-bites.

But in the modern tongue it is:

                          _boia_ _o-sou_  _aé_
                          snake  he-bites him.

With the other persons the rule is still for the object to precede and
to be attached to the theme:

                     _xeoroinca_, I thee kill.
                     _xepeinca_, I you kill.
                     _xeincayepe_, me killest thou.

Many highly complex verbal forms seem to me to illustrate a close
incorporative tendency. Let us analyze for instance the word,


which means “him whom I teach” or “that which I teach.” Its theme is the
verbal _mboe_, which in the extract I have above made from Montoya is
shown to be a synthesis of the three elementary particles _ñe_, _mo_,
and _e_; _xe_ is the possessive form of the personal pronoun, “my”; it
is followed by the participial expression _temi_ or _tembi_, which,
according to Montoya, is equivalent to “illud quod facio;” its terminal
vowel is syncopated with the relative _y_ or _i_, “him, it”; so the
separate parts of the expression are:—

               _xe_ + _tembi_ + _y_ + _ñe_ + _mo_ + _e_.

I shall not pursue the examination of the Tupi further. It were, of
course, easy to multiply examples. But I am willing to leave the case as
it stands, and to ask linguists whether, in view of the above, it was
not a premature judgment that pronounced it a tongue neither
polysynthetic nor incorporative.

                              THE MUTSUN.

This is also one of the languages which has been announced as “neither
polysynthetic nor incorporative,” and the construction of its verb as
“simple to the last degree.”[327]

We know the tongue only through the Grammar and Phrase-Book of Father de
la Cuesta, who acknowledges himself to be very imperfectly acquainted
with it.[328] With its associated dialects, it was spoken near the site
of the present city of San Francisco, California.

Looking first at the verb, its “extreme simplicity” is not so apparent
as the statements about it would lead us to expect.

In the first place, the naked verbal theme undergoes a variety of
changes by insertion and suffixes, like those of the Quiche and
Qquichua, which modify its meaning. Thus:

               _Ara_,   to give.
               _Arsa_,  to give to many, or to give much.
               _Arapu_, to give to oneself.
               _Arasi_, to order to give, etc., etc.


                     _Oio_,  to catch.
                     _Oiñi_, to come to catch.
                     _Oimu_, to catch another, etc.

The author enumerates thirty-one forms thus derived from each verb, some
conjugated like it, some irregularly. With regard to tenses, he gives
eight preterits and four futures; and it cannot be said that they are
formed simply by adding adverbs of time, as the theme itself takes a
different form in several of them, _aran_, _aras_, _aragts_, etc. In the
reflexive conjugation the pronoun follows the verb and is united with
it: As,

                       _aragneca_, I give myself,

where _ca_ is a suffixed form of _can_, I; _ne_ represents _nenissia_,
oneself; the _g_ is apparently a connective; and the theme is _ara_.
This is quite in the order of the polysynthetic theory and is also

Such syntheses are prominent in imperative forms. Thus from the
above-mentioned verb, _oio_, to catch, we have,

                   _oiomityuts_, Gather thou for me,

in which _mit_ is apparently the second person _men_, with a
postposition _tsa_, _mintsa_; while _yuts_ is a verbal fragment from
_yuyuts_, which the author explains to mean “to set about,” or “to get
done.” This imperative, therefore, is a verbal noun in synthesis with an
interjection, “get done with thy gathering.” It is a marked case of
polysynthesis. A number of such are found in the Mutsun phrases given,

               _Rugemitithsyuts cannis_, Give me arrows.

In this compound _cannis_, is for _can_ + _huas_, me + for; _yuts_ is
the imperative interjection for _yuyuts_; the remainder of the word is
not clear. The phrase is given elsewhere

                  _Rugemitit_, Give (thou) me arrows.

Without going further into this language, of which we know so little, it
will be evident that it is very far from simple, and that it is
certainly highly synthetic in various features.


The conclusions to which the above study leads may be briefly summarized
as follows:

1. The structural processes of incorporation and polysynthesis are much
more influential elements in the morphology of language than has been
conceded by some recent writers.

2. They are clearly apparent in a number of American languages where
their presence has been heretofore denied.

3. Although so long as we are without the means of examining all
American tongues, it will be premature to assert that these processes
prevail in all, nevertheless it is safe to say that their absence has
not been demonstrated in any of which we have sufficient and authentic
material on which to base a decision.

4. The opinion of Duponceau and Humboldt, therefore, that these
processes belong to the ground-plan of American languages, and are their
leading characteristics, must still be regarded as a correct


               _Critique by M. Lucien Adam on the above._

  Shortly after the above essay appeared in the _Proceedings_ of the
  American Philosophical Society, its arguments and conclusions were
  vigorously attacked by M. Lucien Adam in the _Revue de Linguistique
  et de Philologie Comparée_, Tome XIX (Paris, 1886). He begins by
  pointing out that examples of incorporation may be found in tongues
  of the Old World—which has never been denied (see above, pp. 353–4).
  Having acknowledged the incompleteness of his own definitions, he
  intimates that those I give are calculated rather to sustain my
  theory than to prove a linguistic trait. He then proceeds to lengthy
  and minute criticisms of the analyses I have made of the examples
  given under the several languages discussed. I am quite willing to
  concede that with the imperfect grammars and lexicons of these
  tongues so far published, I may have tripped at times in such
  analyses; but I am far from acknowledging that all those of M. Adam
  are correct, and I am quite certain that in some he is mistaken. The
  question, however, is one not possible to discuss in this place, and
  I must leave it; but I would refer the earnest student to the acute
  and learned article of M. Adam, which is much the most thorough yet
  written on the negative side of the debate.]


Archæologists tell us that the manufacturers of those rude stone
implements called palæoliths wandered up and down the world while a
period of something like two hundred thousand years was unrolling its
eventless centuries. Many believe that these early artisans had not the
power of articulate expression to convey their emotions or ideas; if
such they had, they were confined to inarticulate grunts and cries.

Haeckel proposed for the species at this period of its existence the
designation _Homo alalus_, speechless man. Anatomists have come forward
to show that the inferior maxillary bones disinterred in the caves of La
Naulette and Schipka are so formed that their original possessors could
not have had the power of articulation.[330] But the latest
investigators of this point have reached an opposite conclusion.[331] We
must, however, concede that the oral communication of men during that
long epoch was of a very rudimentary character; it is contrary to every
theory of intellectual evolution to suppose that they possessed a speech
approaching anything near even the lowest organized of the linguistic
stocks now in existence. By an attentive consideration of some of these
lowest stocks, can we not form a somewhat correct conception of what was
the character of the rudimentary utterances of the race? I think we can,
but, as I believe I am the first to attempt such a picture, I offer it
with becoming diffidence.

The physiological possibility that palæolithic man possessed a language
has, as I have said, been already vindicated; and that he was
intellectually capable of speech could, I think, scarcely be denied by
any one who will contemplate the conceptions of symmetry, the technical
skill, and the wise adaptation to use, manifested in some of the oldest
specimens of his art; as for example the axes disinterred from the
ancient strata of San Isidro, near Madrid, those found forty feet deep
in the post-glacial gravels near Trenton, New Jersey, or some of those
figured by De Mortillet as derived from the beds of the Somme in
France.[332] We have evidence that at that period man made use of fire;
that he raised shelters to protect himself from the weather; that he
possessed some means of navigating the streams; that he could
occasionally overcome powerful and ferocious beasts; that he already
paid some attention to ornamenting his person; that he lived in
communities; and that his migrations were extensive.[333] In view of all
this, is it not highly improbable that he was destitute of any vocal
powers of expressing his plans and desires? I maintain that we should
dismiss the _Homo alalus_, as a scientific romance which has served its

More than this, I believe that by a judicious study of existing
languages, especially those which have suffered little by admixture or
by distant removals, we can picture with reasonable fidelity the
character of the earliest tongues spoken by man, the speech of the
Palæolithic Age.

This primitive utterance was, of course, not the same everywhere. It
varied indefinitely. But for all that it is almost certain that in all
localities it proceeded on analogous lines of development, just as
languages have everywhere and at all times since. By studying simple and
isolated languages, those which have suffered least by contact with
others, or by alterations in conditions of culture, we can catch some
glimpses of the character of man’s earliest significant expression, the
“baby-talk of the race,” if I may use the expression. I have gleaned a
certain number of such traits in the field of American linguistics, and
present them to you as curiosities, which, like other curiosities, have
considerable significance to those who will master their full purport.

The question I am about to consider, is, you will observe, quite
different from that which concerns itself with the origin of _linguistic
stocks_. Many of these unquestionably arose long after man had acquired
well-developed languages, and when the cerebral convolutions whose
activity is manifested in articulate expression had acquired a high
grade of development through hereditary training. How such stocks may
have arisen has been lucidly set forth by my learned friend Mr. Horatio
Hale. He demonstrates by many examples that in the present cerebral
evolution of man, infants develop an articulate language with the same
natural facility that any other species of animal does the vocal
utterances peculiar to its kind.[334]

But in this essay I am contemplating man as he was before hundreds of
generations of speaking ancestors had evolved such cerebral powers.

I begin with some observations on the phonetic elements. These are no
other than what we call the alphabet, the simple sounds which combined
together make up the words of a language. In all European tongues, the
mere letters of the alphabet, by themselves, have no meaning and convey
no idea; furthermore, their value in a word is fixed; and, thirdly,
arranged in a word, they are sufficient to convey its sound and sense to
one acquainted with their values.

Judged by certain American examples, all three of these seemingly
fundamental characteristics of the phonetic elements were absent in
primitive speech, and have become stable only by a long process of
growth. We find tongues in which the primary sounds are themselves
significant, and yet at the same time are highly variable; and we find
many examples in which they are inadequate to convey the sense of the
articulate sound.

As exemplifying these peculiarities I take the Tinné or Athapascan,
spoken widely in British America, and of which the Apache and Navaho in
the United States are branches. You know that in English the vowels A,
E, I, O, U, and the consonants, as such, F, S, K, and the others, convey
to your mind no meaning, are not attached to any idea or train of ideas.
This is altogether different in the Tinné. We are informed by Bishop
Faraud,[335] a thorough master of that tongue, that its significant
radicals are the five primitive vowel sounds, A, E, I, O, U. Of these A
expresses matter, E existence, I force or energy, O existence doubtful,
and U existence absent, non-existence, negation or succession. These
vowels are “put in action,” as he phrases it, by single or double
consonants, “which have more or less value in proportion as the vowel is
more or less strong.” These consonantal sounds, as we learn at length
from the works on this language by Father Petitot, are also materially
significant. They are numerous, being sixty-three in all, and are
divided into nine different classes, each of which conveys a series of
related or associated ideas in the native mind.

Thus, the labials express the ideas of time and space, as age, length,
distance, and also whiteness, the last mentioned, perhaps, through
association with the white hair of age, or the endless snowfields of
their winter. The dentals express all that relates to force terminating,
hence uselessness, inanity, privation, smallness, feebleness; and also
greatness, elevation, the motor power. The nasals convey the general
notion of motion in repetition; hence, rotation, reduplication,
gravitation, and, by a singularly logical association, organic life. The
gutturals indicate motion in curves; hence, sinuousness, flexibility,
ebullition, roundness, and by a linear figure different from that which
underlies the Latin _rectitudo_, justness, correctness. The H, either as
an aspirate or an hiatus, introduces the ideas of command and
subjection, elevation and prostration, and the like.[336]

You will observe that in some of these cases the signification of a
sound includes both a notion and its opposite, as greatness and
smallness. This is an interesting feature, to which I shall refer later.

Turn now to another language, the Cree. Geographically it is contiguous
to the Tinné; but, says Bishop Faraud, who spoke them both fluently,
they resemble each other no more than the French does the Chinese.
Nevertheless, we discover this same peculiarity of materially
significant phonetic elements. Howse, in his _Cree Grammar_, observes
that the guttural K and the labial W constitute the essential part of
all intensive terms in that language, “whether the same be attributive,
formative, or personal accident.” Indeed, he maintains that the
articulate sounds of the Cree all express relative powers, feebleness or
force, independent of their position with reference to other sounds.

You may inquire whether in the different groups of American tongues the
same or a similar signification is attached to any one sound, or to the
sounds of any one organ. If it were so, it would give countenance to
those theories which maintain that there is some fixed relation between
sound and sense in the radicals of languages. I must reply that I have
found very little evidence for this theory; and yet some. For example,
the N sound expresses the notion of the _ego_, of myself-ness, in a
great many tongues, far apart geographically and linguistically. It is
found at the basis of the personal pronoun of the first person and of
the words for _man_ in numerous dialects in North and South America.
Again, the K sound is almost as widely associated with the ideas of
_otherness_, and is at the base of the personal pronoun of the second
person singular and of the expressions for superhuman personalities, the
divine existence.[337] It is essentially demonstrative in its power.

Again, in a long array of tongues in various parts of the world, the
subjective relation is expressed by the M sound, as has been pointed out
by Dr. Winkler; and other examples could be added. Many of these it is
impossible to attribute to derivation from a common source. Some writers
maintain that sounds have a subjective and fixed relation to ideas;
others call such coincidences “blind chance,” but these should remember
that chance itself means merely the action of laws not yet discovered.

You might suppose that this distinction, I mean that between _self_ and
_other_, between _I_, _thou_ and _he_, is fundamental, that speech could
not proceed without it. You would be mistaken. American languages
furnish conclusive evidence that for unnumbered generations mankind got
along well enough without any such discrimination. One and the same
monosyllable served for all three persons and both numbers. The meaning
of this monosyllable was undoubtedly “any living human being.” Only
after a long time did it become differentiated by the addition of
locative particles into the notions, “I—living human being,”
“Thou—living human being,” “He—living human being,” and so on. Even a
language spoken by so cultured a people as the ancient Peruvians bears
unmistakable traces of this process, as has been shown by Von Tschudi in
his admirable analysis of that tongue; and the language of the Baures of
Bolivia still presents examples of verbs conjugated without pronouns or
pronominal affixes.[338]

The extraordinary development of the pronouns in many American
languages—some have as many as eighteen different forms, as the person
is contemplated as standing, lying, in motion, at rest, alone, in
company, etc., etc.—this multiplicity of forms, I say, is proof to the
scientific linguist that these tongues have but recently developed this
grammatical category. Wherever we find overgrowth, the soil is new and
the crop rank.

In spite of the significance attached to the phonetic elements, they
are, in many American languages, singularly vague and fluctuating. If in
English we were to pronounce three words, _loll_, _nor_, _roll_,
indifferently as one or the other, you see what violence we should do to
the theory of our alphabet. Yet analogous examples are constant in many
American languages. Their consonants are “alternating,” in large groups,
their vowels “permutable.” M. Petitot calls this phenomenon “literal
affinity,” and shows that in the Tinné it takes place not only between
consonants of the same group, the labials for instance, but of different
groups, as labials with dentals, and dentals with nasals. These
differences are not merely dialectic; they are found in the same
village, the same family, the same person. They are not peculiar to the
Tinné; they recur in the Klamath. Dr. Behrendt was puzzled with them in
the Chapanec. “No other language,” he writes, “has left me in such doubt
as this one. The same person pronounces the same word differently; and
when his attention is called to it, will insist that it is the same.
Thus, for devil he will give _Tixambi_ and _Sisaimbui_; for hell,
_Nakupaju_ and _Nakapoti_.”[339] Speaking of the Guarani, Father Montoya
says: “There is in this language a constant changing of the letters, for
which no sufficient rules can be given.”[340] And Dr. Darapsky in his
recently published study of the Araucanian of Chile gives the following
equation of permutable letters in that tongue:


The laws of the conversion of sounds of the one organ into those of
another have not yet been discovered; but the above examples, which are
by no means isolated ones, serve to admonish us that the phonetic
elements of primitive speech probably had no fixedness.

There is another oddity about some of these consonantal sounds which I
may notice in passing. Some of them are not true elementary sounds; they
cannot stand alone, but must always have another consonant associated
with them. Thus, the labial _B_ is common in Guarani; but it must always
be preceded by an _M_. In Nahuatl the liquid _L_ is frequent; but it is
the initial of no word in that language. The Nahuas apparently could not
pronounce it, unless some other articulate sound preceded it.

Albornoz, in his _Grammar of the Chapanec Tongue_,[342] states that the
natives cannot pronounce an initial _B_, _G_, _Y_, or _D_, without
uttering an _N_ sound before it.

The third point in the phonology of these tongues to which I alluded is
the frequency with which the phonetic elements, as graphically
expressed, are inadequate to convey the idea. I may quote a remark by
Howse in his _Cree Grammar_, which is true probably of all primitive
speech, “Emphasis, accent and modifications of vocal expression; which
are inadequately expressed in writing, seem to constitute an essential,
perhaps the vital part of Indian language.” In such modifications I
include tone, accent, stress, vocal inflection, quantity and pause.
These are with much difficulty or not at all includable in a graphic
method, and yet are frequently significant. Take the pause or hiatus. I
have already mentioned that in Tinné it correlates a whole series of
ideas. M. Belcourt, in his Grammar of the Sauteux, an Algonkin dialect,
states that the pause may completely change the meaning of a word and
place it in another class; it is also essential in that language in the
formation of the tenses.[343] This is the case in the Guarani of South
America. Montoya illustrates it by the example: _Peru o’u_, Peter ate
it; but _Peru ou_, Peter came; quite another thing, you will

The stress laid on a vowel-sound often alters its meaning. In the
Sauteux, Belcourt points out that this constitutes the only distinction
between the first and second persons in participles. In the Nahuatl this
alone distinguishes many plural forms from their singulars; and many
similar examples could be cited.

With difficulties of this nature to encounter, a person accustomed to
the definite phonology of European tongues is naturally at a loss. The
Spanish scholar Uricoechea expresses this in relating his efforts to
learn the Chibcha of New Granada, a tongue also characterized by these
fluctuating phonetics. He visited the region where it is still spoken
with a grammar and phrase-book in his hand, and found to his
disappointment that they could not understand one word he said. He then
employed a native who spoke Spanish, and with him practiced some phrases
until he believed he had them perfect. Another disappointment—not one of
them was understood. He returned to his teacher and again repeated them;
but what was his dismay when not even his teacher recognized a single
word! After that Uricoechea gave up the attempt.[345]

Leaving now the domain of phonology and turning to that of lexicography,
I will point out to you a very curious phenomenon in primitive speech. I
have already alluded to it in quoting M. Petitot’s remark that in Tinné
a sound often means both a notion and its opposite; that, for instance,
the same word may express good and bad, and another both high and low.
To use M. Petitot’s own words, “a certain number of consonants have the
power of expressing a given order of ideas or things, and also the
contradictory of this order.” In Tinné, a great many words for opposite
ideas are the same or nearly the same, derived from the same significant
elements. Thus, _son_ good, _sona_ bad; _tezo_, sweet, _tezon_ bitter;
_ya_ immense, _ya_ very small; _inla_ one time, _inlasin_ every time;
and so on.

This union of opposite significations reappears in the ultimate radicals
of the Cree language. These, says Mr. Howse,[346] whose _Grammar_ I
again quote, express _Being_ in its positive and negative modes: “These
opposite modes are expressed by modifications of the same element,
furnishing two classes of terms widely different from each other in
signification.” In Cree the leading substantive radical is _eth_, which
originally meant both Being and Not-Being. In the present language _eth_
remains as the current positive, _ith_ as the current privative. _It_
means within, _ut_ without; and like parallelisms run through many
expressions, indicating that numerous series of opposite ideas are
developments from the same original sounds.

I have found a number of such examples in the Nahuatl of Mexico, and I
am persuaded that they are very usual in American tongues. Dr. Carl Abel
has pointed out many in the ancient Coptic, and I doubt not they were
characteristic of all primitive speech.

To explain their presence we must reflect on the nature of the human
mind, and the ascertained laws of thought. One of these fundamental and
necessary laws of thought, that usually called the second, was expressed
by the older logicians in the phrase _Omnis determinatio est negatio_,
and by their modern followers in the formula, “_A_ is not _not-A_;” in
other words, a quality, an idea, an element of knowledge, can rise into
cognition only by being limited by that which it is not. That by which
it is limited is known in logic as its privative. In a work published
some years ago I pointed out that this privative is not an independent
thought, as some have maintained, but that the positive and its
privative are really two aspects of the same thought.[347] This highly
important distinction explains how in primitive speech, before the idea
had risen into clear cognition, both it and its privative were expressed
by the same sound; and when it did rise into such cognition, and then
into expression, the original unity is exhibited by the identity of the
radical. Thus it happens that from such an unexpected quarter as an
analysis of Cree grammar do we obtain a confirmation of the starting
point of the logic of Hegel in his proposition that the identity of the
_Being_ and the _Not-being_ is the ultimate equation of thought.

The gradual development of grammar is strikingly illustrated in these
languages. Their most prominent trait is what is called _incorporation_.
Subject, verb, direct object and remote object, are all expressed in one
word. Some have claimed that there are American languages of which this
is not true; but I think I have shown in an essay published some time
ago,[348] that this opinion arises from our insufficient knowledge of
the alleged exceptions. At any rate, this incorporation was undoubtedly
a trait of primitive speech in America and elsewhere. Primitive man,
said Herder, was like a baby; he wanted to say all at once. He condensed
his whole sentence into a single word. Archdeacon Hunter, in his
_Lecture on the Cree Language_, gives as an example the scriptural
phrase, “I shall have you for my disciples,” which, in that tongue, is
expressed by one word.[349]

So far as I have been able to analyze these primitive sentence-words,
they always express _being in relation_; and hence they partake of the
nature of verbs rather than nouns. In this conclusion I am obliged to
differ with the eminent linguist Professor Steinthal, who, in his
profound exposition of the relations of psychology to grammar, maintains
that while the primitive sentence was a single word, that word was a
noun, a name.[350]

It is evident that the primitive man did not connect his sentences. One
followed the other disjointedly, unconnectedly. This is so plainly
marked in American tongues that the machinery for connecting sentences
is absent. This machinery consists properly of the relative pronoun and
the conjunction. You will be surprised to hear that there is no American
language, none that I know, which possesses either of these parts of
speech. That which does duty for the conjunction in the Maya and
Nahuatl, for instance, is a noun meaning associate or companion, with a
prefixed possessive.[351]

Equally foreign to primitive speech was any expression of _time_ in
connection with verbal forms; in other words, there was no such thing as
tenses. We are so accustomed to link actions to time, past, present, or
future, that it is a little difficult to understand how this accessory
can be omitted in intelligible discourse. It is perfectly evident,
however, from the study of many American tongues, that at one period of
their growth they possessed for a long interval only one tense, which
served indifferently for past, present, and future;[352] and even yet
most of them form the past and future by purely material means, as the
addition of an adverb of time, by accent, quantity or repetition, and in
others the tense relation is still unknown.[353]

In some tongues, the Omagua of the upper Orinoco for example, there is
no sort of connection between the verbal stem and its signs of tense,
mode or person. They have not even any fixed order. In such languages
there is no difference in sound between the words for “I marry,” and “my
wife;” “I eat,” and “my food;” between “Paul dies,” “Paul died,” “Paul
will die,” and “Paul is dead.”[354] Through such tongues we can
distinctly perceive a time when the verb had neither tense, mode, nor
person; when it was not even a verb nor yet a verbal, but an epicene
sound which could be adapted to any service of speech.

It is also evident that things were not thought of, or talked of, out of
their natural relations. There are still in most American tongues large
classes of words, such as the parts of the body and terms of kinship,
which cannot stand alone. They must always be accompanied by a pronoun
expressing relation.

Few American tongues have any adjectives, the Cree, for instance, not a
dozen in all. Prepositions are equally rare, and articles are not found.
These facts testify that what are called “the grammatical categories”
were wholly absent in the primitive speech of man.

So also were those adjectives which are called _numerals_. There are
American tongues which have no words for any numerals whatever. The
numerical concepts one, two, three, four, cannot be expressed in these
languages for lack of terms with any such meaning.[355] This was a great
puzzle to the missionaries when they undertook to expound to their
flocks the doctrine of the Trinity. They were in worse case even than
the missionary to an Oregon tribe, who, to convey the notion of _soul_
to his hearers, could find no word in their language nearer to it than
one which meant “the lower gut.”

A very interesting chapter in the study of these tongues is that which
reveals the evolution of specific distinctions, those inductive
generalizations under which primitive man classified the objects of the
universe about him. These distinctions were either grammatical or
logical, that is, either formal or material. That most widely seen in
America is a division of all existence into those which are considered
living and those considered not living. This constitutes the second
great generalization of the primitive mind, the first, as I have said,
having been that into Being and Not-being. The distinctions of Living
and Not-living gave rise to the _animate_ and _inanimate_ conjugations.
A grammatical sex distinction, which is the prevailing one in the
grammars of the Aryan tongues, does not exist in any American dialect
known to me.[356]

It is true that abstract general terms are absent or rare in the most
primitive tongues. On the other hand, we find in them a great many
classificatory particles. These correspond only remotely to anything
known in Aryan speech, and seem far more abstract than generic nouns. I
will illustrate what they are by an example taken from the Hidatsa, a
dialect of the Dakota.

The word for sled in that dialect is _midu-maidutsada_. The first part
of this compound, _midu_, means anything of wood or into which wood
enters. Fire is _midé_ because it is kept up with wood. With the
phonetic laxity which I have before noted, the first syllable _mi_ may
as correctly be pronounced _bi_ or _wi_. It is a common nominal prefix,
of vague significance, but seems to classify objects as distinctives.
_Ma_ designates objects whose immediate use is not expressed; _i_
denotes instrument or material; _du_, conveys that the cause of the
action is not specified; _tsa_ intimates the action is that of
separating; _da_, that this is done quickly (_tsa-da_, to slide).[357]

Thus by the juxtaposition of one classificatory particle after another,
seven in number, all of them logical universals, the savage makes up the
name of the specific object.

This system was probably the first adopted by man when he began to set
in order his perceptions within the categories of his understanding,
with the aim of giving them vocal expression. It is a plan which we find
most highly developed in the rudest languages, and therefore we may
reasonably believe that it characterized prehistoric speech.

The question has been put by psychological grammarians, which one of the
senses most helped man in the creation of language—or to express it in
modern scientific parlance, was primitive man a _visuaire_ or an
_auditaire_? Did he model his sounds after what he heard, or what he
saw? The former opinion has been the more popular, and has given rise to
the imitative or “onomatopoetic” theory of language. No doubt there is a
certain degree of truth in this, but the analysis of American tongues
leans decidedly toward classing primitive man among the _visuaires_. His
earliest significant sounds seem to have been expressive of motion and
rest, energy and its absence, space and direction, color and form, and
the like. A different opinion has been maintained by Darwin and by many
who have studied the problems presented by the origin of words from a
merely physical or physiological standpoint, but a careful investigation
shows that it was the sense of sight rather than of hearing which was
the prompter to vocal utterance. But the consideration of the source of
primitive significant sounds lies without the bounds of my present

It will be seen from these remarks that the primitive speech of man was
far more rudimentary than any language known to us. It had no
grammatical form; so fluctuating were its phonetics, and so much
depended on gesture, tone, and stress, that its words could not have
been reduced to writing, nor arranged in alphabetic sequence; these
words often signified logical contradictories, and which of the
antithetic meanings was intended could be guessed only from the accent
or sign; it possessed no prepositions nor conjunctions, no numerals, no
pronouns of any kind, no forms to express singular or plural, male or
female, past or present; the different vowel-sounds and the different
consonantal groups conveyed specific significance, and were of more
import than the syllables which they formed. The concept of time came
much later than that of space, and for a long while was absent.


“The words which denote love, describing a sentiment at once powerful
and delicate, reveal the inmost heart of those who created them. The
vital importance attached to this sentiment renders these beautiful
words especially adapted to point out the exceeding value of language as
a true autobiography of nations.”

This quotation is from an essay by a thoughtful writer, Dr. Carl Abel,
in which he has gathered from four languages, the Latin, English, Hebrew
and Russian, their expressions for this sweet emotion, and subjected
them to a careful analysis.[359] The perusal of his article has led me
to make some similar examinations of American languages; but with this
difference in method, that while Dr. Abel takes the languages named in
the fullness of their development and does not occupy himself with the
genesis of the terms of affection, I shall give more particular
attention to their history and derivation as furnishing illustrations of
the origin and growth of those altruistic sentiments which are revealed
in their strongest expression in the emotions of friendship and love.

Upon these sentiments are based those acts which unite man to man in
amicable fellowship and mutual interchange of kindly offices, thus
creating a nobler social compact than that which rests merely on
increased power of defence or aggression. These sentiments are those
which bind parent to child and child to parent, and thus supply the
foundation upon which the family in the true significance of the term
should rest. These are they which, directed toward the ruler or the
state, find expression in personal loyalty and patriotic devotion.
Surpassing all in fervor and potency, these sentiments, when exhibited
in love between the sexes, direct the greater part of the activity of
each individual life, mould the forms of the social relations, and
control the perpetuation of the species. Finally, in their last and
highest manifestations, these sentiments are those which have suggested
to the purest and clearest intellects both the most exalted intellectual
condition of man, and the most sublime definition of divinity.[360]
These are good reasons, therefore, why we should scan with more than
usual closeness the terms for the conception of love in the languages of

Another purpose which I shall have in view will be to illustrate by
these words the wonderful parallelism which everywhere presents itself
in the operations of the human mind, and to show how it is governed by
the same associations of ideas both in the new and the old worlds.

As a preparation for the latter object, let us take a glance at the
derivation of the principal words expressing love in the Aryan
languages. The most prominent of them may be traced back to one of two
ruling ideas, the one intimating a similarity or likeness between the
persons loving, the other a wish or desire. The former conveys the
notion that the feeling is mutual, the latter that it is stronger on one
side than on the other.

These diverse origins are well illustrated by the French _aimer_ and the
English _love_. _Aimer_, from the Latin _amare_, brings us to the Greek
αμα, ομος, both of which spring from the Sanscrit _som_; from which in
turn the Germans get their words _sammt_, along with, and _zusammen_,
together; while we obtain from this root almost without change our words
_similar_ and _same_. Etymologically, therefore, those who love are
alike; they are the _same_ in such respects that they are attracted to
one another, on the proverbial principle that “birds of a feather flock

Now turning to the word _love_, German _liebe_, Russian _lubov_,
_lubity_, we find that it leads us quite a different road. It is traced
back without any material change to the Sanscrit _lobha_, covetousness,
the ancient Coptic λἰβε, to want, to desire. In this origin we see the
passion portrayed as a yearning to possess the loved object; and in the
higher sense to enjoy the presence and sympathy of the beloved, to hold
sweet communion with him or her.

A class of ideas closely akin to this are conveyed in such words as
“attached to,” “attraction,” “affection,” and the like, which make use
of the figure of speech that the lover is fastened to, drawn toward, or
bound up with the beloved object. We often express this metaphor in full
in such phrases as “the bonds of friendship,” etc.

This third class of words, although in the history of language they are
frequently of later growth than the two former, probably express the
sentiment which underlies both these, and that is a dim, unconscious
sense of the unity which is revealed to man most perfectly in the purest
and highest love, which at its sublimest height does away with the
antagonism of independent personality, and blends the _I_ and the _thou_
in a oneness of existence.

Although in this, its completest expression, we must seek examples
solely between persons of opposite sex, it will be well to consider in
an examination like the present the love between men, which is called
friendship, that between parents and children, and that toward the gods,
the givers of all good things. The words conveying such sentiments will
illustrate many features of the religious and social life of the nations
using them.

                            I. THE ALGONKIN.

I begin with this group of dialects, once widely spread throughout the
St. Lawrence valley and the regions adjoining; and among them I select
especially the Cree and the Chipeway, partly because we know more about
them, and partly because they probably represent the common tongue in
its oldest and purest type. They are closely allied, the same roots
appearing in both with slight phonetic variations.

In both of them the ordinary words for love and friendship are derived
from the same monosyllabic root, _sak_. On this, according to the
inflectional laws of the dialects, are built up the terms for the love
of man to woman, a lover, love in the abstract, friend, friendship, and
the like. It is also occasionally used by the missionaries for the love
of man to God and of God to man.[361]

In the Chipeway this root has but one form, _sagi_; but in Cree it has
two, a weak and a strong form, _saki_ and _sakk_. The meaning of the
latter is more particularly to fasten to, to attach to. From it are
derived the words for string or cord, the verbs “to tie,” “to fasten,”
etc.; and also some of the coarsest words to express the sexual
relation.[362] Both these roots are traced back to the primary element
of the Algonkin language expressed by the letters _sak_ or _s—k_. This
conveys the generic notion of force or power exerted by one over
another,[363] and is apparently precisely identical with the fundamental
meaning of the Latin _afficio_, “to affect one in some manner by active
agency,”[364] from which word, I need hardly add, were derived
_affectus_ and _affectio_ and our “affection;” thus we at once meet with
an absolute parallelism in the working of the Aryan Italic and the
American Algonkin mind.

The Cree has several words which are confined to parental and filial
love and that which the gods have for men. These are built up on the
disyllabic radical _espi_ or _aspi_, which is an instrumental particle
signifying “by means of, with the aid of.”[365] Toward the gods, such
words refer to those who aid us; toward children those whom their
parents aid; and from children toward parents, again, those from whom
aid is received.

For love between men, friendship, the Cree employs some words from the
radical _sâki_; but more frequently those compounded with the root _wit_
or _witch_, which means “in company with,”[366] and is the precise
analogue of the syllable _com_ (Latin, _con_) in the English words
companion, comrade, compeer, confederate, etc.; it conveys the idea of
association in life and action, and that association a voluntary and
pleasure-giving one.

In the Chipeway there is a series of expressions for family love and
friendship which in their origin carry us back to the same psychological
process which developed the Latin _amare_ from the Sanscrit _sam_ (see
above). They may be illustrated by the melodious term, which in that
dialect means both friendship and relationship, _inawendawin_. This is
an abstract verbal noun from the theme _ni inawa_, I resemble him, which
is built up from the radicle _in_. This particle denotes a certain
prevailing way or manner, and appears both in Cree and Chipeway in a
variety of words.[367] The principle of similarity is thus fully
expressed as the basis of friendship. To see how apparent this is we
have but to remember the English, “I like him,” _i. e._, there is
something in him _like_ me.

The feebler sentiment of merely liking a person or thing is expressed in
the Chipeway by a derivative from the adjective _mino_, good, well, and
signifies that he or it seems good to me.[368]

The highest form of love, however, that which embraces all men and all
beings, that whose conception is conveyed in the Greek ἀγἀπη, we find
expressed in both the dialects by derivation from a root different from
any I have mentioned. It is in its dialectic forms _kis_, _keche_, or
_kiji_, and in its origin it is an intensive interjectional expression
of pleasure, indicative of what gives joy.[369] Concretely it signifies
what is completed, permanent, powerful, perfected, perfect. As
friendship and love yield the most exalted pleasure, from this root the
natives drew a fund of words to express fondness, attachment,
hospitality, charity; and from the same worthy source they selected that
adjective which they applied to the greatest and most benevolent

                            II. THE NAHUATL.

The Nahuatl, Mexican or Aztec language was spoken extensively throughout
Mexico and Central America, and every tribe who used it could boast of a
degree of culture considerably above that of any of the Algonkin
communities. Such being the case, it is rather surprising to note how
extremely poor in comparison is the Nahuatl in independent radicals
denoting love or affection. In fact, there is only one word in the
language which positively has this signification, and it, with its
derivatives, is called upon to express every variety of love, human and
divine, carnal and chaste, between men and between the sexes, and by
human beings toward inanimate things.

This word is _tlazótla_, he loves. It is no easy matter to trace its
history. By well known laws of Nahuatl etymology we know that the root
is _zo_. We have from this same root several other words of curiously
diverse meanings. Thus, _izo_, to bleed, to draw blood, either for
health, or, as was the custom of those nations, as a sacrifice before
idols; _izolini_, to grow old, to wear out, applied to garments;
_tlazoti_, to offer for sale at a high price; and _zozo_, to string
together, as the natives did flowers, peppers, beads, etc. Now, what
idea served as the common starting-point of all these expressions? The
answer is that we find it in the word _zo_ as applied to a sharp-pointed
instrument, a thorn, or a bone or stone awl, used in the earliest times
for puncturing or transfixing objects. From this came _zozo_, to
transfix with such an instrument, and string on a cord; _izoliui_, to be
full of holes, as if repeatedly punctured, and thus worn out; and _izo_,
to bleed, because that was done by puncturing the flesh with the thorns
of the maguey or sharp obsidian points.[371]

But how do we bring these into connection with the sentiment of love and
its verbal expression? We might indeed seek an illustration of the
transfer from classical mythology, and adduce the keen-pointed arrows of
Cupid, the darts of love, as pointing out the connection. But I fear
this would be crediting the ancient Nahuas with finer feelings than they
deserve. I gravely doubt that they felt the shafts of the tender passion
with any such susceptibility as to employ this metaphor. Much more
likely is it that _tlazótla_, to love, is derived directly from the noun
_tlazótl_, which means something strung with or fastened to another.
This brings us directly back to the sense of “attached to” in English,
and to that of the root _saki_ in Algonkin, the idea of being bound to
another by ties of emotion and affection.

But there is one feature in this derivation which tells seriously
against the national psychology of the Nahuas; this, their only word for
love, is not derived, as is the Algonkin, from the primary meaning of
the root, but from a secondary and later signification. This hints
ominously at the probability that the ancient tongue had for a long time
no word at all to express this, the highest and noblest emotion of the
human heart, and that consequently this emotion itself had not risen to
consciousness in the national mind.

But the omissions of the fathers were more than atoned for by the
efforts of their children. I know no more instructive instance in the
history of language to illustrate how original defects are amended in
periods of higher culture by the linguistic faculty, than this precise
point in the genesis of the Nahuatl tongue. The Nahuas, when they
approached the upper levels of emotional development, found their tongue
singularly poor in radicals conveying such conceptions. As the literal
and material portions of their speech offered them such inadequate means
of expression, they turned toward its tropical and formal portions, and
in those realms reached a degree of development in this direction which
far surpasses that in any other language known to me.

In the formal portion of the language they were not satisfied with one,
but adopted a variety of devices to this end. Thus: all verbs expressing
emotion may have an intensive termination suffixed, imparting to them
additional force; again, certain prefixes indicating civility, respect
and affection may be employed in the imperative and optative moods;
again, a higher synthetic construction may be employed in the sentence,
by which the idea expressed is emphasized, a device in constant use in
their poetry; and especially the strength of emotion is indicated by
suffixing a series of terminations expressing contempt, reverence or
love. The latter are wonderfully characteristic of Nahuatl speech. They
are not confined to verbs and nouns, but may be added to adjectives,
pronouns, participles, and even to adverbs and postpositions. Thus every
word in the sentence is made to carry its burden of affection to the ear
of the beloved object!

Add to these facilities the remarkable power of the Nahuatl to impart
tropical and figurative senses to words by the employment of rhetorical
resources, and to present them as one idea by means of the peculiarities
of its construction, and we shall not consider as overdrawn the
expression of Professor De la Rosa when he writes: “There can be no
question but that in the manifestation in words of the various emotions,
the Nahuatl finds no rival, not only among the languages of modern
Europe, but in the Greek itself.”[372]

The Nahuatl word for friendship is _icniuhtli_. This is a compound of
the preposition _ic_, with; the noun-ending _tli_; and the adverbial
_yuh_, or _noyuh_, which means “of the same kind.” The word, therefore,
has the same fundamental conception as the Latin _amicus_ and the Cree
_inawema_, but it was not developed into a verbal to express the
suffering of the passion itself.[373]

                             III. THE MAYA.

The whole peninsula of Yucatan was inhabited by the Mayas, and tribes
speaking related dialects of their tongue lived in Guatemala, Chipapas,
and on the Gulf Shore north of Vera Cruz. All these depended chiefly on
agriculture for subsistence, were builders of stone houses, and made use
of a system of written records. Their tongue, therefore, deserves
special consideration as that of a nation with strong natural tendencies
to development.

In turning to the word for love in the Maya vocabulary, we are at once
struck with the presence of a connected series of words expressing this
emotion, while at the same time they, or others closely akin to them and
from the same root, mean pain, injury, difficulty, suffering, wounds and
misery. Both are formed by the usual rules from the monosyllable

Were the ancient Mayas so sensitive to love’s wounds and the pangs of
passion as to derive their very words for suffering from the name of
this sentiment?

No; that solution is too unlikely for our acceptance. More probable is
it that we have here an illustration of the development of language from
interjectional cries. In fact, we may be said to have the proof of it,
for we discover that this monosyllable _ya_ is still retained in the
language as a verb, with the signification “to feel anything deeply,
whether as a pain or as a pleasure.”[375] Its derivatives were developed
with both meanings, and as love and friendship are the highest forms of
pleasure, the word _ya_ in its happier senses became confined to them.

It seems to have sufficed to express the conception in all its forms,
for the writers in the language apply it to the love of the sexes, to
that between parents and children, that among friends, also to that
which men feel toward God, and that which He is asserted to feel toward

The Mayas, therefore, were superior to the Nahuas in possessing a
radical word which expressed the joy of love; and they must be placed
above even the early Aryans in that this radical was in significance
purely psychical, referring strictly to a mental state, and neither to
similarity nor desire.

It is noteworthy that this interjectional root, although belonging to
the substructure of the language, does not appear with the meaning of
love in the dialects of the Maya stock. In them the words for this
sentiment are derived from other roots.

Thus among the Huastecas, residing on the Gulf of Mexico, north of Vera
Cruz, the word for love is _canezal_. It is employed for both human and
divine love, and also means anything precious and to be carefully
guarded as of advantage to the possessor.[377] There is no difficulty in
following its development when we turn to the Maya, which preserves the
most numerous ancient forms and meanings of any dialect of this stock.
In it we discover that the verb _can_ means “to affect another in some
way, to give another either by physical contact or example a virtue,
vice, disease or attribute.”[378] Here again we come upon the precise
correlative of the Latin _afficio_, from which proceeds our “affection,”

The Guatemalan tribes, the principal of which were and are the Quiches
and Cakchiquels, did not accept either _ya_ or _can_ as the root from
which to build their expressions for the sentiment of love. In both
these dialects the word for to love is _logoh_. It also means “to buy,”
and this has led a recent writer to hold up to ridicule the Spanish
missionaries who chose this word to express both human and divine love.
Dr. Stoll, the writer referred to, intimates that it had no other
meaning than “to buy” in the pure original tongue, and that the only
word for the passion is _ah_, to want, to desire.[379] In this he does
not display his usual accuracy, for we find _logoh_ used in the sense
“to like,” “to love,” in the _Annals of the Cakchiquels_, written by a
native who had grown to manhood before the Spaniards first entered his

That the verb _logoh_ means, both in origin and later use, “to buy,” as
well as “to love,” is undoubtedly true. Its root _logh_ is identical
with the Maya _loh_, which has the meanings “to exchange, to buy, to
redeem, to emancipate.” It was the word selected by the Franciscan
missionaries to express the redemption of the world by Christ, and was
applied to the redemption of captives and slaves. It might be suggested
that it bears a reference to “marriage by purchase;” but I think that
“to buy,” and “to love,” may be construed as developments of the same
idea of _prizing highly_. When we say that a person is _appreciated_, we
really say that he has had a proper price put upon him. The Latin
_carus_, which Cicero calls _ipsum verbum amoris_,[381] means costly in
price as well as beloved; and the tender English “dear” means quite as
often that the object is expensive to buy, as that we dote very much
upon it. Nor need we go outside of American languages for illustrations;
in Nahuatl _tlazóti_ means to offer for sale at a high price; and in
Huasteca _canel_, from the same root as _canezal_, to love, means
something precious in a pecuniary sense, as well as an object of the
affections. Other instances will present themselves when we come to
examine some of the South American tongues. But from what I have already
given, it is evident that there is nothing contradictory in the double
meaning of the verb _logoh_.

                           IV. THE QQUICHUA.

The ancient Peruvians who spoke the Qquichua language had organized a
system of government and a complex social fabric unsurpassed by any on
the continent. The numerous specimens of their arts which have been
preserved testify strongly to the licentiousness of their manners,
standing in this respect in marked contrast to the Aztecs, whose art was
pure. It must be regarded as distinctly in connection with this that we
find a similar contrast in their languages. We have seen that in the
Nahuatl there appears to have been no word with a primary signification
“to love” or any such conception. The Qquichua, on the contrary, is
probably the richest language on the continent, not only in separate
words denoting affection, but in modifications of these by imparting to
them delicate shades of meaning through the addition of particles. As an
evidence of the latter, it is enough to cite the fact that Dr.
Anchorena, in his grammar of the tongue, sets forth nearly six hundred
combinations of the word _munay_, to love![382]

The Qquichua is fortunate in other respects; it has some literature of
its own, and its structure has been carefully studied by competent
scholars; it is possible, therefore, to examine its locutions in a more
satisfactory manner than is the case with most American languages. Its
most celebrated literary monument is the drama of _Ollanta_, supposed to
have been composed about the time of the conquest. It has been
repeatedly edited and translated, most accurately by Pacheco
Zegarra.[383] His text may be considered as the standard of the pure
ancient tongue.

Of Qquichua words for the affections, that in widest use is the one
above quoted, _munay_. It is as universal in its application as its
English equivalent, being applied to filial and parental love as well as
to that of the sexes, to affection between persons of the same sex, and
to the love of God. No other word of the class has such a wide
significance. It ranges from an expression of the warmest emotion down
to that faint announcement of a preference which is conveyed in the
English, “I should prefer.”[384]

On looking for its earlier and concrete sense, we find that _munay_
expressed merely a sense of want, an appetite and the accompanying
desire of satisfying it, hence the will, or the wish, not subjectively,
but in the objective manifestation.[385] Therefore it is in origin
nearly equivalent to the earliest meaning of “love,” as seen in the
Sanscrit and the Coptic.

While _munay_ is thus to love on reasonable grounds and with definite
purpose, blind, unreasoning, absorbing passion is expressed by
_huaylluni_. This is nearly always confined to sexual love, and conveys
the idea of the sentiment showing itself in action by those sweet signs
and marks of devotion which are so highly prized by the loving heart.
The origin of this word indicates its sentient and spontaneous
character. Its radical is the interjection _huay_, which among that
people is an inarticulate cry of tenderness and affection.[386]

The verb _lluylluy_ means literally to be tender or soft, as fruit, or
the young of animals; and applied to the sentiments, to love with
tenderness, to have as a darling, to caress lovingly. It has less of
sexuality in it than the word last mentioned, and is applied by girls to
each other, and as a term of family fondness. It is on a parallel with
the English “dear,” “to hold dear,” etc.[387]

In the later compositions in Qquichua the favorite word for love is
_ccuyay_. Originally this expression meant to pity, and in this sense it
occurs in the drama of Ollanta; but also even there as a term signifying
the passion of love apart from any idea of compassion.[388] In the later
songs, those whose composition may be placed in this century, it is
preferred to _munay_ as the most appropriate term for the love between
the sexes.[389] From it also is derived the word for charity and

As _munay_ is considered to refer to natural affection felt within the
mind, _mayhuay_ is that ostentatious sentiment which displays itself in
words of tenderness and acts of endearment, but leaves it an open
question whether these are anything more than simulated signs of

This list is not exhaustive of the tender words in the Qquichua; but it
will serve to show that the tongue was rich in them, and that the
ancient Peruvians recognized many degrees and forms of this moving

What is also noteworthy is the presence in this language of the most
philosophical term for friendship in its widest sense that can be quoted
from any American language. It is _runaccuyay_, compounded of _ccuyani_,
mentioned above, and _runa_, man—the love of mankind. This compound,
however, does not occur in the Ollanta drama, and it may have been
manufactured by the missionaries. The usual term is _maciy_, which means
merely “associate,” or _kochomaciy_, a table-companion or _convive_.

                          V. THE TUPI-GUARANI.

The linguistic stock which has the widest extension in South America is
that which is represented in Southern Brazil by the Guarani, and in
Central and Northern by the Tupi or Lingoa Geral. The latter is spoken
along the Amazon and its tributaries for a distance of twenty-five
hundred miles. It is by no means identical with the Guarani, but the
near relationship of the two is unmistakable. The Guarani presents the
simpler and more primitive forms, and may be held to present the more
archaic type.

The word for love in the Guarani is _aihu_, in another form _haihu_, the
initial _h_ being dropped in composition. This expression is employed
for all the varieties of the sentiment, between men, between the sexes,
and for that which is regarded as divine.[391] For “a friend,” they have
no other term than one which means a visitor or guest; and from this
their expression for “friendship” is derived, which really means

Verbal combinations in Guarani are visually simple, and I do not think
we can be far wrong in looking upon _aihu_ as a union of the two primary
words _ai_ and _hu_. The former, _ai_, means self or the same; and the
latter, _hu_, is the verb to find, or, to be present.[393] “To love,” in
Guarani, therefore, would mean, “to find oneself in another,” or, less
metaphysically, “to discover in another a likeness to one’s self.” This
again is precisely the primary signification of the Latin _amare_; and
if the sentiment impressed in that way the barbarous ancient Aryans,
there is no reason why it would not have struck the Guaranis in the same

In the Tupi or Lingua Geral the word for love is evidently but a
dialectic variation of that in Guarani. It is given by some authors as
_çaiçu_, plainly a form of _haihu_; and by others as _çauçu_.[394] These
forms cannot be analyzed in the Tupi itself, which illustrates its more
modern type.

There are other dialects of this widespread stem, but it would not be
worth while to follow this expression further in its diverse forms. It
is interesting, however, to note that which appears in the Arawack,
spoken in Guiana. In that tongue to love is _kanisin_, in which the
radical is _ani_ or _ansi_. Now we find that _ani_ means “of a kind,”
peculiar to, belonging to, etc. Once more it is the notion of
similarity, of “birds of a feather,” which underlies the expression for
the conception of love.[395]


If, now, we review the ground we have gone over, and classify the
conception of love as revealed in the languages under discussion, we
find that their original modes of expression were as follows:

1. Inarticulate cries of emotion (Cree, Maya, Qquichua).

2. Assertions of sameness or similarity (Cree, Nahuatl, Tupi, Arawack).

3. Assertions of conjunction or union (Cree, Nahuatl, Maya).

4. Assertions of a wish, desire or longing (Cree, Cakchiquel, Qquichua,

These categories are not exhaustive of the words which I have brought
forward, but they include most of them, and probably were this
investigation extended to embrace numerous other tongues, we should find
that in them all the principal expressions for the sentiment of love are
drawn from one or other of these fundamental notions. A most instructive
fact is that these notions are those which underlie the majority of the
words for love in the great Aryan family of languages. They thus reveal
the parallel paths which the human mind everywhere pursued in giving
articulate expression to the passions and emotions of the soul. In this
sense there is a oneness in all languages, which speaks conclusively for
the oneness in the sentient and intellectual attributes of the species.

We may also investigate these categories, thus shown to be practically
universal, from another point of view. We may inquire which of them
comes the nearest to the correct expression of love in its highest
philosophic meaning. Was this meaning apprehended, however dimly, by man
in the very infancy of his speech-inventing faculty?

In another work, published some years ago, I have attempted a
philosophic analysis of the sentiment of love. Quoting from some of the
subtlest dissectors of human motive, I have shown that they pronounce
love to be “the volition of the end,” or “the resting in an object as an
end.” These rather obscure scholastic formulas I have attempted to
explain by the definition: “Love is the mental impression of rational
action whose end is in itself.”[396] As every end or purpose of action
implies the will or wish to that end, those expressions for love are
most truly philosophic which express the will, the desire, the yearning
after the object. The fourth, therefore, of the above categories is that
which presents the highest forms of expression of this conception. That
it also expresses lower forms is true, but this merely illustrates the
evolution of the human mind as expressed in language. Love is ever the
wish; but while in lower races and coarser natures this wish is for an
object which in turn is but a means to an end, for example, sensual
gratification, in the higher this object is the end itself, beyond which
the soul does not seek to go, in which it rests, and with which both
reason and emotion find the satisfaction of boundless activity without
incurring the danger of satiety.

                  OF MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA.[397]

Positive progress in constructive art can be accurately estimated by the
kind and perfection of the instruments of precision employed by the
artists. A correct theory of architecture or of sculpture must have as
its foundation a correct system of weights and measures, and recognized
units and standards of gravity and extension. Where these are not found,
all is guess-work, and a more or less haphazard rule-of-thumb.

In a study of the art-products of Mexico and Central America, it has
occurred to me that we may with advantage call linguistics to our aid,
and attempt to ascertain, by an analysis of the words for weights and
measures, what units, if any, were employed by those who constructed the
massive works in that region, which still remain for our astonishment.
The tongues I shall examine are the Maya of Yucatan, its related dialect
the Cakchiquel of Guatemala, and the Nahuatl or Aztec of Mexico. The
most striking monuments of art in North America are found in the
territories where these were spoken at the time of the Conquest. The
Cakchiquel may be considered to include the Quiche and the Tzutuhil,
both of which are closely associated to it as dialects of the same
mother tongue.

                               THE MAYAS.

The generic word in Maya for both measuring and weighing, and for
measures and weights, is at present _ppiz_, the radical sense of which
is “to put in order,” “to arrange definite limits.” Its apparent
similarity to the Spanish _pesar_, French _peser_, etc., seems
accidental, as it is in Maya the root of various words meaning battle,
to fight, etc., from the “order of battle,” observed on such occasions.
Any weight or measure is spoken of as _ppizib_, to measure land is
_ppiz-luum_, a foot measure _ppiz-oc_ etc. But I am quite certain that
the original scope of the word did not include weight, as there is no
evidence that the ancient Mayas knew anything about a system of
estimating quantity by gravity. If the word is not from the Spanish
_pesar_, it has extended its meaning since the conquest.

The Maya measures are derived directly, and almost exclusively, from the
human body, and largely from the hand and foot.

_Oc_, the foot; _chekoc_, the footstep, the print or length of the foot,
is a measure of length. Other forms of the same are _chekel_, _chekeb_,
_chekeb-oc_, etc.; and this abundance of synonyms would seem to show
that the measure of a foot was very familiar and frequent. The verb is
_chekoc_ (_tah_, _té_), as in the phrase:

                   _Chekoctè y-otoch Ku._
                   He measured by feet His house God.

_i. e._ He measured by feet the church. From this was distinguished—

_Xukab_, paces or strides, a word confined to the paces of man. The verb
is _Xukab_ (_tah_, _té_), to step off, to measure by paces.

Quite a series of measures were recognized from the ground (or, as some
say, from the point of the foot) to the upper portions of the body.

_Hun cal coy u-xul_ (one to the neck of the ankle its-end), extending
from the ground to the narrowest portion of the ankle.

_Hun ppuloc u-xul_ (one calf-of-the-leg its-end), from the ground to the
highest portion of the calf of the leg. The word _xul_ means end or
limit, and is used often adverbially, as in the phrase _uay u-xul_,
literally “here its end,” or “thus far” (Span. _hasta aqui_).

_Hun pixib_, the distance from the ground (or point of the toes) to the
knee-cap, from _piix_, the knee. Also called _hun hol piix_, from _hol_,
head, the knee-cap being called “the knee-head.”

_Hun hachabex_, one girdle, from the ground to the belt or girdle, to
which the skirt was fashioned (from _hach_, to tie, to fasten). The same
measure was called _hun theth_, the word _theth_ being applied to the
knot of the girdle.

_Hun tanam_, from the ground to the border of the true ribs; from
_tanam_, the liver. The _Diccionario de Motul_ gives the example, _hun
tanam in ual_, one _tanam_ (is) my corn, _i. e._, my corn reaches to my
chest. It adds that the measure is from the point of the foot to the

_Hun tzem_, a measure from the ground to a line drawn from one mamma to
the other.

_Hun cal u-xul_, one neck its-end, from the ground to the border (upper
or lower) of the neck.

_Hun chi_, from the mouth, _chi_, to the ground.

_Hun holom_, one head, from the top of the head to the ground. This is
also called _hun uallah_, one time the stature or height of a man, from
a root meaning “to draw to a point,” “to finish off.” The Spanish
writers say that one _uallah_ was equal to about three _varas_, and was
used as a square measure in meting corn fields.[398] The Spanish _vara_
differed as much as the English ell, and to the writer in question could
not have represented quite two feet. Elsewhere he defines the _vara_ as
half a _braza_ or fathom. (See below, _betan_.)

The hand in Maya is expressed by the word _kab_, which also means the
arm, and is more correctly therefore translated by the anatomical term
“upper extremity.” This is not an uncommon example in American tongues.
When it is necessary to define the hand specifically the Mayas say _u
cheel kab_, “the branch of the arm,” and for the fingers _u nii kab_,
“the points (literally, noses) of the arm” or upper extremity.

The shortest measurements known to them appear to have been
finger-breadths, which are expressed by the phrase _u nii kab_. The
thumb was called _u nā kab_, literally “the mother of the hand” or arm,
and as a measure of length the distance from the first joint to the end
of the nail was in use and designated by the same term.

With the hand open and the fingers extended, there were three different
measures or spans recognized by the Mayas.

1. The _nāb_, from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the middle finger.

2. The _oecnab_, or little _nāb_, from the tip of the thumb to the tip
of the index finger. This is the span yet most in use by the native
inhabitants of Yucatan (Dr. Berendt).

3. The _chi nāb_, or the _nāb_ which extends to the edge, from the tip
of the thumb to the tip of the little finger (Pio Perez).

The _kok_ was a hand measure formed by closing the fingers and extending
the thumb. Measuring from the outer border of the hand to the end of the
thumb, it would be about seven inches.

The _cuc_ or _noch cuc_ (_noch_ is a term applied to a bony prominence,
in this instance to the olecranon) was the cubit, and was measured from
the summit of the olecranon to the end of the fingers, about eighteen

The most important of the longer measures was the _zap_ or _zapal_. It
was the distance between the extremities of the extended arms, and is
usually put down at a fathom or six feet.

The half of it was called _betan_ or _pātan_, meaning “to the middle of
the chest.” Canes and cords were cut of the fixed length of the _zap_
and bore the name _xapalche_, _zap_sticks, as our _yard-stiçk_ (_che_ ==
stick), and _hilppiz_, measuring rods (_hil_, a species of cane, and
_ppiz_, to measure, _Dicc. Motul_).

On this as a unit, the customary land measure was based. It was the
_kaan_, one shorter, _hun kaan tah ox zapalche_, a _kaan_ of three
_zap_, and one longer, _hun kaan tah can zapalche_, a _kaan_ of four
_zap_. The former is stated to be thirty-six fathoms square, the latter
forty-eight fathoms square. Twenty _kaan_ made a _vinic_, man, that
amount of land being considered the area requisite to support one family
in maize.

The uncertainty about this measure is increased by the evident error of
Bishop Landa, or more probably his copyist, in making the _vinic_ equal
to 400 square feet, which even in the most favored soils would never
support a family. He probably said “400 feet square,” which in that
climate would be sufficient. The _kaan_ is said by Spanish writers to be
equal to the Mexican _mecate_, which contains 5184 square feet. I
acknowledge, however, that I have not reconciled all the statements
reported by authors about these land measures.

Greater measures of length are rarely mentioned. Journeys were measured
by _lub_, which the Spaniards translated “leagues,” but by derivation it
means “resting places,” and I have not ascertained that it had a fixed

The Mayas were given to the drawing of maps, and the towns had the
boundaries of their common lands laid out in definite lines. I have
manuscripts, some dated as early in 1542, which describe these town
lands. In most of them only the courses are given, but not the
distances. In one, a title to a domain in Acanceh, there are distances
given, but in a measure quite unknown to me, _sicina_, preceded by the
numeral and its termination indicating measures, _hulucppiz sicina_,
eleven sicinas.[399]

The maps indicate relative position only, and were evidently not
designed by a scale, or laid off in proportion to distance. The
distinguished Yucatecan antiquary, the Rev. Don Crescencio Carrillo, in
his essay on the cartography of the ancient Mayas,[400] apparently came
to the same conclusion, as he does not mention any method of

I do not know of any measurements undertaken in Yucatan to ascertain the
metrical standard employed by the ancient architects. It is true that
Dr. Augustus LePlongeon asserts positively that they knew and used _the
metric system_, and that the metre and its divisions are the only
dimensions that can be applied to the remains of the edifices.[401] But
apart from the eccentricity of this statement, I do not see from Dr.
LePlongeon’s own measurements that the metre is in any sense a common
divisor for them.

From the linguistic evidence, I incline to believe that the _oc_, the
foot, was their chief lineal unit. This name was also applied to the
seventh day of the series of twenty which made up the Maya month; and
there may be some connection between these facts and the frequent
recurrence of the number seven in the details of their edifices.[402]

                            THE CAKCHIQUELS.

The root-word for measuring length is, in Cakchiquel, _et_. Its
primitive meaning is, a sign, a mark, a characteristic. From this root
are derived the verbal _etah_, to measure length, to lay out a plan, to
define limits; _etal_, a sign, mark, limit; _etabal_, measuring field;
_etamah_, to know, _i. e._, to recognize the signs and characters of
things; _etamanizah_, to cause to know, to teach, to instruct, etc.

My authorities do not furnish evidence that the Cakchiquels used the
foot as the unit of measurement, differing in this from the Mayas. They
had, however, like the latter, a series of measurements from the ground
to certain points of the body, and they used a special terminal
particle, _bem_ (probably from _be_, to go), “up to” to indicate such
measurements, as _vexibem_, up to the girdle (_vex_, girdle, _i_,
connective, _bem_, up to, or “it goes to”).

These body measures, as far as I have found them named, are as follows:

_quequebem_, from the ground to the knee.

_ru-vach a_, from the ground to the middle of the thigh; literally “its
front, the thigh,” _ru_, its, _vach_, face, front, _a_, the muscles of
the thigh.

_vexibem_, from the ground to the girdle, _vex_.

_qaalqaxibem_, from the ground to the first true ribs.

_kulim_, from the ground to the neck (_kul_).

The more exact Cakchiquel measures were derived from the upper
extremity. The smallest was the finger breadth, and was spoken of as
one, two, three, four fingers, _han ca_, _cay ca_, _ox ca_, _cah ca_
(_ca_=finger). This was used in connection with the measure called
_tuvic_, the same that I have described as the Maya _kok_, obtained by
closing the hand and extending the thumb. They combined these in such
expressions as _ca tuvic raqin han ca_, two _tuvics_ with (plus) one
finger breadth.[403]

The span of the Cakchiquels was solely that obtained by extending the
thumb and fingers and including the space between the extremities of the
thumb and _middle_ finger. It was called _qutu_, from the radical _qut_,
which means to show, to make manifest, and is hence akin in meaning to
the root _et_, mentioned above.

The cubit, _chumay_, was measured from the point of the elbow to the
extremities of the fingers. We are expressly informed by Father Coto
that this was a customary building measure. “When they build their
houses they use this cubit to measure the length of the logs. They also
measure ropes in the same manner, and say, _Tin chumaih retaxic riqam_,
I lay out in cubits the rope with which I am to measure.”

The different measures drawn from the arms were:

_chumay_, from the elbow to the end of the fingers of the same hand.

_hahmehl_, from the elbow to the ends of the fingers of the opposite
hand, the arms being outstretched.

_telen_, from the point of the shoulder of one side to the ends of the
fingers of the outstretched arm on the other side.

_tzam telen_, from the point of the shoulder to the ends of the fingers
on the same side. _Tzam_ means nose, point, beak, etc.

_ru vach qux_, from the middle of the breast to the end of the
outstretched hand.

_hah_, from the tips of the fingers of one hand to those of the other,
the arms outstretched.

Another measure was from the point of the shoulder to the wrist.

The _hah_, or fathom, was one of the units of land measure, and the corn
fields and cacao plantations were surveyed and laid out with ropes,
_qam_, marked off in fathoms. The fields are described as of five ropes,
ten ropes, etc., but I have not found how many fathoms each rope

Another unit of land measure in frequent use was the _maaoh_. This was
the circumference of the human figure. A man stood erect, his feet
together, and both arms extended. The end of a rope was placed under his
feet and its slack passed over one hand, then on top of his head, then
over the other hand, and finally brought to touch the beginning. This
gives somewhat less than three times the height. This singular unit is
described by both Varea and Coto as in common use by the natives.

There were no accurate measures of long distances. As among the Mayas,
journeys were counted by resting places, called in Cakchiquel
_uxlanibal_, literally “breathing places,” from _uxla_, the breath,
itself, a derivative of the radical _ux_, to exist, to be, to live, the
breath being taken as the most evident sign of life.

There was originally no word in Cakchiquel meaning “to weigh,” as in a
balance, and therefore they adopted the Spanish _peso_, as _tin pesoih_,
I weigh. Nor, although they constructed stone walls of considerable
height, did they have any knowledge of the plumb line or plummet. The
name they gave it even shows that they had no idea what its use was, as
they called it “the piece of metal for fastening together,” supposing it
to be an aid in cementing the stone work, rather than in adjusting its

                              THE AZTECS.

In turning to the Mexicans or Aztecs, some interesting problems present
themselves. As far as I can judge by the Nahuatl language, measures
drawn from the upper extremity were of secondary importance, and were
not the bases of their metrical standards, and, as I shall show, this is
borne out by a series of proofs from other directions.

The fingers, _mapilli_, appear to have been customary measures. They are
mentioned in the early writers as one equal to an inch. The name
_mapilli_, is a synthesis of _maitl_, hand, and _pilli_, child,
offspring, addition, etc.

The span was called _miztetl_ or _miztitl_, a word of obvious
derivation, meaning “between the finger nails,” from _iztetl_, finger
nail. This span, however, was not like ours, from the extremity of the
thumb to the extremity of the little finger, nor yet like that of the
Cakchiquels, from the extremity of the thumb to that of the middle
finger, but like that now in use among the Mayas (see above), from the
extremity of the thumb to that of the index finger.[405]

There were four measures from the point of the elbow; one to the wrist
of the same arm, a second to the wrist of the opposite arm, a third to
the ends of the fingers of the same arm, and the fourth to the ends of
the fingers of the opposite arm, the arms always considered as extended
at right angles to the body. The terms for these are given somewhat
confusedly in my authorities, but I believe the following are correct.

1. From the elbow to the wrist of the same arm; _cemmat__zotzopatzli_,
“a little arm measure,” from _ce_, a, one, _ma_ from _maitl_, arm or
hand, _tzotzoca_, small, inferior, _patzoa_, to make small, to diminish.

2. From the elbow to the wrist of the opposite arm, _cemmitl_, an arrow,
a shaft, from _ce_, and _mitl_, arrow, this distance being the approved
length of an arrow. We may compare the old English expression, a
“cloth-yard shaft.”

3. From the elbow to the ends of the fingers of the same arm,
_cemmolicpitl_, one elbow, _ce_, one, _molicpitl_, elbow. This is the

4. From the elbow to the ends of the fingers of the opposite arm.

The following were the arm measures:

_Cemaçolli_, from the tip of the shoulder to the end of the hand (_ce_,
one, _maçoa_, to extend the arm).

_Cemmatl_, from the tip of the fingers of one hand to those of the
other. Although this word is apparently a synthesis of _ce_, one,
_maitl_, arm, and means “one arm,” it is uniformly rendered by the early
writers _una braza_, a fathom.

_Cenyollotli_, from the middle of the breast to the end of the fingers
(_ce_, one, _yollotl_, breast).

It is known that the Aztecs had a standard measure of length which they
employed in laying out grounds and constructing buildings. It was called
the _octacatl_, but neither the derivation of this word, nor the exact
length of the measure it represented, has been positively ascertained.
The first syllable, _oc_, it will be noticed, is the same as the Maya
word for foot, and in Nahuatl _xocopalli_ is “the sole of the foot.”
This was used as a measure by the decimal system, and there were in
Nahuatl two separate and apparently original words to express a measure
of ten foot-lengths. One was:

_Matlaxocpallatamachiualoni_, which formidable synthesis is analyzed as
follows: _matla_, from _matlactli_, ten, _xocpal_, from _xocpalli_,
foot-soles, _tamachiuia_, to measure (from _machiotl_, a sign or mark,
like the Cakchiquel _etal_) _l_, for _lo_, sign of the passive, _oni_, a
verbal termination “equivalent to the Latin _bilis_ or _dus_.”[406] Thus
the word means that which is measurable by ten foot-lengths.

The second word was _matlacyxitlatamachiualoni_.

The composition of this is similar to the former, except that in the
place of the perhaps foreign root _xoc_, foot, _yxitl_, foot, is used,
which seems to have been the proper Nahuatl term.

As these words prove that the foot-length was one of the standards of
the Aztecs, it remains to be seen whether they enlighten us as to the
_octacail_. I quote in connection an interesting passage by the native
historian, Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl in his _Historia Chichimeca_,
published in Lord Kingsborough’s great work on Mexico (Vol. ix., p.
242). Ixtlilxochitl is describing the vast communal dwelling built by
the Tezcucan chieftain Nezahualcoyotl, capable of accommodating over two
thousand persons. He writes: “These houses were in length from east to
west four hundred and eleven and a half [native] measures, which reduced
to our [Spanish] measures make twelve hundred and thirty-four and a half
yards (_varas_), and in breadth, from north to south three hundred and
twenty-six measures, which are nine hundred and seventy-eight yards.”

This passage has been analyzed by the learned antiquary, Señor Orozco y
Berra.[407] The native measure referred to by Ixtlilxochitl was that of
Tezcuco, which was identical with that of Mexico. The yard was the _vara
de Burgos_, which had been ordered to be adopted throughout the colony
by an ordinance of the viceroy Antonio de Mendoza. This vara was in
length 0.838 metre, and, as according to the chronicler, the native
measurement was just three times this (411½ x 3 = 1234½, and 326 x 3 =
978), it must have been 2.514 metre. This is equal in our measure to
9.842 feet, or, say, nine feet ten inches.

This would make the _octacatl_ identical with those long-named ten-foot
measures, which, as I have shown, were multiples of the length of the
foot, as is proved by an analysis of their component words.

This result is as interesting as it is new, since it demonstrates that
the metrical unit of ancient Mexico was the same as that of ancient
Rome—the length of the foot-print.

Some testimony of another kind may be brought to illustrate this point.

In 1864, the Mexican government appointed a commission to survey the
celebrated ruins of Teotihuacan, under the care of Don Ramon Almaraz. At
the suggestion of Señor Orozco, this able engineer ran a number of lines
of construction to determine what had been the metrical standard of the
builders. His decision was that it was “about” met. 0.8, or, say, 31½
inches.[408] This is very close to an even third of the _octacatl_, and
would thus be a common divisor of lengths laid off by it.

I may here turn aside from my immediate topic to compare these metrical
standards with that of the Mound-Builders of the Ohio valley.

In the _American Antiquarian_, April, 1881, Prof. W. J. McGee applied
Mr. Petrie’s arithmetical system of “inductive metrology” to a large
number of measurements of mounds and earthworks in Iowa, with the result
of ascertaining a common standard of 25.716 inches.

In 1883, Col. Charles Whittlesey, of Cleveland, analyzed eighty-seven
measurements of Ohio earthworks by the method of even divisors and
concluded that thirty inches was about the length, or was one of the
multiples, of their metrical standard.[409]

Moreover, fifty-seven per cent of all the lines were divisible without
remainder by ten feet. How much of this may have been owing to the
tendency of hurried measurers to average on fives and tens, I cannot
say; but leaving this out of the question, there is a probability that a
ten foot-length rule was used by the “mound-builders” to lay out their

It may not be out of place to add a suggestion here as to the
applicability of the methods of inductive metrology to American
monuments. The proportions given above by Ixtlilxochitl, it will be
noted, are strikingly irregular (411½, 326). Was this accident or
design? Very likely the latter, based upon some superstitious or
astrological motive. It is far from a solitary example. It recurs
everywhere in the remarkable ruins of Mitla. “Careful attention,” says
Mr. Louis H. Aymé, “has been paid to make the whole asymmetrical. * * *
This asymmetry of Mitla is not accidental, I am certain, but made
designedly. M. Desiré Charnay tells me he has observed the same thing at
Palenque.” These examples should be a warning against placing implicit
reliance on the mathematical procedures for obtaining the lineal
standards of these forgotten nations.[410]

Whatever the lineal standard of the Aztecs may have been, we have ample
evidence that it was widely recognized, very exact, and officially
defined and protected. In the great market of Mexico, to which thousands
flocked from the neighboring country (seventy thousand in a day, says
Cortes, but we can cut this down one-half in allowance for the
exaggeration of an enthusiast), there were regularly appointed
government officers to examine the measures used by the merchants and
compare them with the correct standard. Did they fall short, the
measures were broken and the merchant severely punished as an enemy to
the public weal.[411]

The road-measures of the Aztecs was by the stops of the carriers, as we
have seen was also the case in Guatemala. In Nahuatl these were called
_neceuilli_, resting places, or _netlatolli_, sitting places; and
distances were reckoned numerically by these, as one, two, three, etc.,
resting places. Although this seems a vague and inaccurate method, usage
had attached comparatively definite ideas of distance to these terms.
Father Duran tells us that along the highways there were posts or stones
erected with marks upon them showing how many of these stops there were
to the next market-towns—a sort of mile-stones, in fact. As the
competition between the various markets was very active, each set up its
own posts, giving its distance, and adding a curse on all who did not
attend, or were led away by the superior attractions of its rivals.[412]

So far as I have learned, the lineal measures above mentioned were those
applied to estimate superficies. In some of the plans of fields, etc.,
handed down, the size is marked by the native numerals on one side of
the plan, which are understood to indicate the square measure of the
included tract. The word in Nahuatl meaning to survey or measure lands
is _tlalpoa_, literally “to count land,” from _tlalli_ land, _poa_ to

The Aztecs were entirely ignorant of balances, scales or weights. Cortes
says distinctly that when he visited the great market of
Mexico-Tenochtitlan, he saw all articles sold by number and measure, and
nothing by weight.[413] The historian Herrera confirms this from other
authorities, and adds that when grass or hay was sold, it was estimated
by the length of a cord which could be passed around the bundle.[414]

The plumb-line must have been unknown to the Mexicans also. Their called
it _temetztepilolli_, “the piece of lead which is hung from on high,”
from _temetzli_, lead, and _piloa_, to fasten something high up. Lead
was not unknown to the Aztecs before the conquest. They collected it in
the Provinces of Tlachco and Itzmiquilpan, but did not esteem it of much
value, and their first knowledge of it as a plummet must have been when
they saw it in the hands of the Spaniards. Hence their knowledge of the
instrument itself could not have been earlier.

The conclusions to which the above facts tend are as follows:

1. In the Maya system of lineal measures, foot, hand, and body measures
were nearly equally prominent, but the foot unit was the customary

2. In the Cakchiquel system, hand and body measures were almost
exclusively used, and of these, those of the hand prevailed.

3. In the Aztec system, body measurements were unimportant, hand and arm
measures held a secondary position, while the foot measure was adopted
as the official and obligatory standard both in commerce and

4. The Aztec terms for their lineal standard being apparently of Maya
origin, suggest that their standard was derived from that nation.

5. Neither of the three nations was acquainted with a system of
estimation by weight, nor with the use of the plumb-line, nor with an
accurate measure of long distances.


One might think it a difficult task to manufacture a new language “from
the whole cloth;” but, in fact, it is no great labor. We have but to
remember that within the last dozen years more than a dozen
“world-languages” have been framed and offered for acceptance, and we at
once perceive that a moderate knowledge of tongues and some linguistic
ingenuity are all that is required.

It is an innocent amusement so long as no fraudulent use is made of the
manufactured product; but the temptation to play a practical joke, and
to palm off a deception on overeager linguists, is as great in languages
as it is in archæology—and every antiquary knows how suspiciously he has
to scrutinize each new specimen.

A curious hoax, which deceived some of the best linguists of Europe and
America, was perpetrated about a decade ago by two young French
seminarists, Jean Parisot and A. Dejouy. Interested by reading
Châteaubriand, and by various publications on American languages which
appeared in France about that time, they made up a short grammar and a
list of words of what they called the _Tansa_ language, from a name they
found in Châteaubriand’s _Voyage en Amerique_, and into this invented
tongue they translated the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, an Algonkin hymn
published in Paris, and other material.

At first, the two students pursued this occupation merely as an
amusement, but it soon occurred to them that more could be made of it;
so M. Parisot sent a batch of the alleged “fragments” of the “Tansa” to
the publishers, Maisonneuve et Cie, Paris, for publication. The
manuscripts were passed over to M. Julien Vinson, editor of the _Révue
de Linguistique_, who addressed the young author for further
particulars. M. Parisot replied that these pieces were copies of
originals obtained many years before by his grandfather, from what
source he knew not, and on the strength of this vague statement, they
duly appeared in the _Révue_.

Their publication attracted the attention of the eminent French
linguist, M. Lucien Adam, who had long occupied himself with American
tongues, and he entered into correspondence with M. Parisot. The
latter’s stock meanwhile had considerably increased. He and his friend
had published at Epinal, apparently privately, a small pamphlet, with an
introductory note in bad Spanish, containing a number of “songs” in the
“Taensa,” as they now called their language. They claimed in the note
that the songs had been obtained by a traveler in America, in the year
1827 or 1828, “in the Taensa town, on the banks of the Mississippi or
the Alabama”(!)[415]

With this abundant material at hand, young Parisot replied cheerfully to
M. Adam, and supplied that scientist with “copy” from the alleged
ancestral MSS. quite enough to fill a goodly volume of grammar, songs,
lexicon, and the various paraphernalia of a linguistic apparatus, all of
which eager M. Adam and his collaborator, Mr. A. S. Gatschet, the expert
linguist attached to our Bureau of Ethnology, received in good faith and
without a suspicion of the joker who victimized them; and what is more
singular, without having a doubt excited by the many and gross blunders
of the young seminarist.

Their joint work reached the United States in 1883, and for two years
was received both here and in Europe as a genuine production. My
attention was first attracted to it in 1883, and then I referred to it
as a “strange” production; but I did not give it a close examination
until the close of 1884. This examination led me to prepare the
following article, which was published in the _American Antiquarian_ for
March, 1885:


                         _A Deception Exposed._

The student of American languages is under many obligations to the
editors and publishers of the _Bibliothéque Linguistique Américaine_,
nine volumes of which have been issued by the firm of Maisonneuve et
Cie., Paris. Most of these contain valuable authentic original material,
from approved sources, and edited with judgment. The exception to this
rule is the volume last issued, which from its character deserves more
than a passing criticism.

This volume bears the following title: _Grammaire et Vocabulaire de la
Langue Taensa, avec Textes Traduits et Commentés par J. D. Haumonté,
Parisot, L. Adam_. Pp. 19, III. It contains what professes to be a
grammar of the Taensas Indians, who lived near the banks of the lower
Mississippi, in the parish of that name in Louisiana, when it was first
discovered, but who have long since become extinct. Following the
grammar are the “Texts,” a remarkable series of native songs in the
alleged Taensa tongue, with a French translation, accompanied by a
commentary and a vocabulary.

All this array has been received by scholars without question. It looks
so extremely scientific and satisfactory that no one has dared assail
its authenticity. Moreover, the book appears with an historical
introduction by Mr. Albert S. Gatschet, of our Bureau of Ethnology, and
one of the editors is M. Lucien Adam, a gentleman who stands at the head
of European Americanists. Mr. Gatschet, moreover, fully recognizes the
authenticity of the whole in his latest work, and up to the present I
know of no one who has doubted it, either in this country or in Europe.

It is, therefore, only after a great deal of consideration and
hesitation that I now give publicity to the opinion I have long
entertained, that a gross deception has been somewhere practiced in the
preparation of this book, and that it is not at all what it purports to
be. Let it be understood that I distinctly exculpate the gentlemen I
have named from any share in this; they can only be charged with the
venial error of allowing their enthusiasm for knowledge to get the
better of their critical acumen.

I shall proceed to give with as much brevity as possible the reasons
which have led me to reject the pretended character of this work.

And first I may note that both the history of the alleged original
manuscript and the method in which it has been presented are to the last
degree unsatisfactory. About the former, M. Haumonté tells us that among
the papers of his grandfather, who died as mayor of Plombères, in 1872,
he found a manuscript in Spanish, without date or name of author, and
that it is this manuscript “translated and arranged,” which is the work
before us. M. Adam adds that for his part he had revised this
translation and advised the omission of certain passages not “profitable
to science.” I have been informed by a private source that M. Adam was
not shown the original Spanish manuscript, although he asked to see it.
We are deprived therefore of any expert opinion as to the age of the
manuscript, or its authorship.

We naturally ask, how did this manuscript come to be in Spanish? No one
has been able to point out in the voluminous histories of the Spanish
Missions a single reference to any among the Taensas. Moreover, this
tribe was constantly under French observation from its first discovery
by La Salle in 1682, until its entire destruction and disappearance
about 1730–40, as is minutely recorded by Charlevoix, who even adds the
name of the planter who obtained the concession of their lands. With the
knowledge we have of the early Louisiana colony, it would have been next
to impossible for a Spanish monk to have lived with them long enough to
have acquired their language, and no mention to have been made of him in
the French accounts. That a Spaniard, not a monk, should have attempted
it, would have excited still more attention from national distrust.

This preliminary ground of skepticism is not removed by turning to the
grammar itself. As M. Adam remarks, the language is one “of extreme
simplicity,” such simplicity that it excites more than the feeling of
astonishment. How much liberty M. Haumonté allowed himself in his
translation he unfortunately does not inform us; but I suppose that he
scarcely went so far as to offer original opinions on the pronunciation
of a language which no man has heard spoken for more than a century. If
he did not, then the writer of the original manuscript must have been a
pretty good linguist for his day, since he explains the pronunciation of
the Taensa by the French, the English, the German, and the Spanish!! (p.
4). I suppose the references on p. 11, to the Nahuatl, Kechua and
Algonkin tongues are by the translator, though we are not so told; at
any rate, they are by some one who has given a certain amount of study
to American languages, and could get up one not wholly unlike them.
There is, however, just enough unlikeness to all others in the so-called
Taensa to make us accept it “with all reserves,” as the French say. That
an American language should have a distinctively grammatical gender,
that it should have a true relative pronoun, that its numeral system
should be based on the nine units in the extraordinarily simple manner
here proposed, that it should have three forms of the plural, that its
verbs should present the singular simplicity of these,—these traits are
indeed not impossible, but they are too unusual not to demand the best
of evidence.

But the evidence which leaves no doubt as to the hum-buggery in this
whole business is found in the so-called “Cancionero Taensa,” or Taensa
Poems. There are eleven of these, and according to M. Adam, “they give
us unexpected information about the manners, customs and social
condition of the Taensas.” If he had also added, still more unexpected
information about the physical geography of Louisiana, he would have
spoken yet more to the point. For instance, our botanists will be
charmed to learn that the sugar maple flourishes in the Louisiana
swamps, and that it furnished a favorite food of the natives. It is
repeatedly referred to (pp. 31, 34, 45, 67). They will also learn that
the sugar cane was raised by the Taensas, although the books say it was
introduced into Louisiana by the Jesuits in 1761 (p. 45). The potato and
rice, apples and bananas, were also familiar to them, and the white
birch and wild rice are described as flourishing around the bayous of
the lower Mississippi! It may be urged that these are all
mistranslations of misunderstood native words. To this I reply, what
sort of editing is that which not only could commit such unpardonable
blunders, but send them forth to the scientific world without a hint
that they do not pretend to be anything more than guesses?

But no such apology can be made. The author of this fabrication had not
taken the simplest precaution to make his statements coincide with
facts. How dense was his ignorance of the climate of Louisiana is
manifested in the pretended “Calendar of the Taensas,” which is printed
on p. 41 of his book. He tells us that their year began at the vernal
equinox and consisted of twelve or thirteen months named as follows:

            1. Moon of the sugar maples (April).
            2. Moon of flowers (May).
            3. Moon of strawberries (June).
            4. Moon of heat (July).
            5. Moon of fruits (August).
            6. Moon of the summer hunts (September).
            7. Moon of leaves, (falling leaves) (October).
            8. Moon of cold (November).
            9. Moon of whiteness (i. e. of snow) (December).
           10. Moon of fogs (January).
           11. Moon of winter hunts (February).
           12. Moon of birds (returning).        } (March).
           13. Moon of green (returning green).  }

How absurd on the face of it, such a calendar would be for the climate
of Tensas Parish, La., need not be urged. The wonder is that any
intelligent editor would pass it over without hesitation. The not
infrequent references to snow and ice might and ought to have put him on
his guard.

The text and vocabulary teem with such impossibilities; while the style
of the alleged original songs is utterly unlike that reported from any
other native tribe. It much more closely resembles the stilted and tumid
imitations of supposed savage simplicity, common enough among French
writers of the eighteenth century.

As a fair example of the nonsense of the whole, I will translate the
last song given in the book, that called

                           THE MARRIAGE SONG.

  1. The chief of the Chactas has come to the land of the warriors “I
  come.” “Thou comest.”

  2. Around his body is a beautiful garment, he wears large leggings,
  sandals, tablets of white wood, feathers behind his head and behind
  his shoulders, on his head the antlers of a deer, a heavy war club
  in his right hand.

  3. What is the wish of the great warrior who has come?

  4. He wishes to speak to the chief of the numerous and powerful

  5. Let the warrior enter the house of the old men. The chief is
  seated in the midst of the old men. He will certainly hear thee.
  Enter the house of the old men.

  6. Great chief, old man, I enter. Thou comest. Enter; bring him in.
  What wishes the foreign warrior? Speak, thou who hast come.

  7. Old men, ancient men, I am the chief of many men; at ten days’
  journey up the river there lies the land of poplars, the land of the
  wild rice, which belongs to the brave warriors, the brothers of the

  8. They said to me—since thou hast not chosen a bride, go to the
  Taensas our brothers, ask of them a bride; for the Chactas are
  strong; we will ask a bride of the Taensas.

  9. That is well; but speak, warrior, are the Chactas numerous?

  10. Count; they are six hundred, and I am stronger than ten.

  11. That is well; but speak, do they know how to hunt the buffalo
  and the deer? does the squirrel run in your great forests?

  12. The land of the wild rice has no great forests, but cows, stags
  and elks dwell in our land in great numbers.

  13. What plants grow in your country?

  14. Poplars, the slupe tree, the myrtle grow there, we have the
  sugar maple, ebony to make collars, the oak from which to make war
  clubs; our hills have magnolias whose shining leaves cover our

  15. That is well; the Taensas have neither the slupe tree nor the
  ebony, but they have the wax tree and the vine: has the land of the
  wild rice these also?

  16. The Taensas are strong and rich, the Chactas are strong also,
  they are the brothers of the Taensas.

  17. The Taensas love the brave Chactas, they will give you a bride;
  but say, dost thou come alone? dost thou bring bridal presents.

  18. Twenty warriors are with me, and _bulls drag a wain_.

  19. Let six, seven, twenty Taensa warriors go forth to meet those
  who come. For thee, we will let thee see the bride, she is my
  daughter, of me, the great chief; she is young; she is beautiful as
  the lily of the waters; she is straight as the white birch; her eyes
  are like unto the tears of gum that distil from the trees; she knows
  how to prepare the meats for the warriors and the sap of the sugar
  maple; she knows how to knit the fishing nets and keep in order the
  weapons of war—we will show thee the bride.

  20. The strangers have arrived, the bulls have dragged up the wain.
  The warrior offers his presents to the bride, paint for her eyes,
  fine woven stuff, scalps of enemies, collars, beautiful bracelets,
  rings for her feet, and swathing-bands for her first born.

  21. The father of the bride and the old man receive skins, horns of
  deer, solid bows and sharpened arrows.

  22. Now let the people repose during the night; at sunrise there
  shall be a feast; then you shall take the bride in marriage.

  And this is the song of the marriage.

The assurance which has offered this as a genuine composition of a
Louisiana Indian is only equalled by the docility with which it has been
accepted by Americanists. The marks of fraud upon it are like Falstaff’s
lies—“gross as a mountain, open, palpable.” The Choctaws are located ten
days’ journey up the Mississippi in the wild rice region about the
head-waters of the stream, whereas they were the immediate neighbors of
the real Taensas, and dwelt when first discovered in the middle and
southern parts of the present State of Mississippi. The sugar maple is
made to grow in the Louisiana swamps, the broad-leaved magnolia and the
ebony in Minnesota. The latter is described as the land of the myrtle,
and the former of the vine. The northern warrior brings feet-rings and
infant clothing as presents, while the southern bride knows all about
boiling maple sap, and is like a white birch. But the author’s knowledge
of aboriginal customs stands out most prominently when he has the
up-river chief come with an ox-cart and boast of his cows! After that
passage I need say nothing more. He is indeed ignorant who does not know
that not a single draft animal, and not one kept for its milk, was ever
found among the natives of the Mississippi valley.

I have made other notes tending in the same direction, but it is
scarcely necessary for me to proceed further. If the whole of this
pretended Taensa language has been fabricated, it would not be the first
time in literary history that such a fraud has been perpetrated. In the
last century, George Psalmanazar framed a grammar of a fictitious
language in Formosa, which had no existence whatever. So it seems to be
with the Taensa; not a scrap of it can be found elsewhere, not a trace
of any such tongue remains in Louisiana. What is more, all the old
writers distinctly deny that this tribe had any independent language. M.
De Montigny, who was among them in 1699, Father Gravier, who was also at
their towns, and Du Pratz, the historian, all say positively that the
Taensas spoke the Natchez language, and were part of the same people. We
have ample specimens of the Natchez, and it is nothing like this alleged
Taensa. Moreover, we have in old writers the names of the Taensa
villages furnished by the Taensas themselves, and they are nowise akin
to the matter of this grammar, but are of Chahta-Muskoki derivation.

What I have now said is I think sufficient to brand this grammar and its
associated texts as deceptions practiced on the scientific world. If it
concerns the editors and introducers of that work to discover who
practiced and is responsible for that deception, let the original
manuscript be produced and submitted to experts; if this is not done,
let the book be hereafter pilloried as an imposture.

                  *       *       *       *       *

As soon as I could obtain reprints of the above article I forwarded them
to M. Adam and others interested in American languages, and M. Adam at
once took measures to obtain from the now “Abbé” Parisot the original
MSS. That young ecclesiastic, however, professed entire ignorance of
their whereabouts; he had wholly forgotten what disposition he had made
of this portion of his grandfather’s papers! He also charged M. Adam
with having worked over (_remanié_) his material; and finally disclaimed
all responsibility concerning it.

In spite, however, of his very unsatisfactory statements, M. Adam
declined to recognize the fabrication of the tongue, and expressed
himself so at length in a brochure entitled, _Le Taensa a-t-il été forgé
de toutes Pièces? Réponse à M. Daniel G. Brinton_ (pp. 22, Maissonneuve
Frères et Ch. Leclerc, Paris, 1885). The argument which he made use of
will be seen from the following reply which I published in _The American
Antiquarian_, September, 1885:


The criticism on the Taensa Grammar published in the _American
Antiquarian_ last March has led to a reply from M. Lucien Adam, the
principal editor, under the following title: “_Le Taensa a-t-il-été
forgé de toutes Piéces?_” As the question at issue is one of material
importance to American archæology, I shall state M. Adam’s arguments in
defense of the Grammar.

It will be remembered that the criticism published last March closed
with an urgent call for the production of the original MS., which M.
Adam himself had never seen. To meet this, M. Adam as soon as
practicable applied to M. Parisot, who alleged that he had translated
the Grammar from the Spanish original, to produce that original. This M.
Parisot professed himself unable to do; although only two or three years
have elapsed, he cannot remember what he did with it, and he thinks it
possible that it is lost or destroyed! The investigations, however,
reveal two facts quite clearly: first, that the original MS., if there
was one, was not in Spanish as asserted, and was not in the handwriting
of M. Parisot’s grandfather, as was also asserted, as the latter was
certainly not the kind of man to occupy himself with any such document.
He kept a sort of boardinghouse, and the suggestion now is that one of
his temporary guests left this supposed MS. at his house. As its
existence is still in doubt, this uncertainty about its origin need not
further concern us.

The more important question is whether the language as presented in the
Grammar and texts bears internal evidence of authenticity or not.

M. Adam begins with the texts, the so-called poems. To my surprise, M.
Adam, so far as they pretend to be native productions, tosses them
overboard without the slightest compunction. “In my own mind,” he
writes, “I have always considered them the work of some disciple of the
Jesuit Fathers, who had taken a fancy to the Taensa poetry.” This
emphatic rejection of their aboriginal origin has led me to look over
the volume again, as it seemed to me that if such was the opinion of the
learned editor he should certainly have hinted it to his readers. Not
the slightest intimation of the kind can be found in its pages.

The original MS. having disappeared, and the texts having been ruled out
as at best the botch-work of some European, M. Adam takes his stand on
the Grammar and maintains its authenticity with earnestness.

I named in my criticism six points in the grammatical structure of the
alleged Taensa, specifying them as so extremely rare in American
languages, that it demanded the best evidence to suppose that they all
were present in this extraordinary tongue.

These points are discussed with much acuteness and fairness by M. Adam,
and his arguments within these limits are considered convincing by so
eminent an authority as Professor Friederich Müller, of Vienna, to whom
they were submitted, and whose letter concerning them he publishes. What
M. Adam does is to show that each of the peculiarities named finds a
parallel in other American tongues, or he claims that the point is not
properly taken. As I never denied the former, but merely called
attention to the rarity of such features, the question is, whether the
evidence is sufficient to suppose that several of them existed in this
tongue; while as to the correctness of my characterization of Taensa
Grammar, scholars will decide that for themselves.

It will be seen from the above that, even if some substructure will be
shown to have existed for this Taensa Grammar and texts (which,
individually, I still deny), it has been presented to the scientific
world under conditions which were far from adequate to the legitimate
demands of students.

M. Adam in the tone of his reply is very fair and uniformly courteous,
except in his last sentence, where he cannot resist the temptation to
have a fling at us for the supposed trait which Barnum and his compeers
have conferred upon us among those who do not know us. “Permettezmoi de
vous dire,” he writes, “que la France n’est point la terre classique du
_humbug_.” Has M. Adam forgotten that George Psalmanazar, he who in the
last century manufactured a language out of the whole cloth, grammar and
dictionary and all, was a Frenchman born and bred? And that if the
author of the Taensa volume has done the same, his only predecessor in
this peculiar industry is one of his own nation?

                  *       *       *       *       *

M. Adam continued his praiseworthy efforts to unearth the imaginary
originals of the Abbé Parisot’s hoax, but with the results one can
easily anticipate—they were not forthcoming.[416]

The discussion continued in a desultory manner for some time, and Mr.
Gatschet made the most strenuous efforts during his official journeys as
government linguist in the southwest and in the Indian territory to find
evidence showing that he had not been taken in by the ingenious French
seminarists; but his continued silence was evidence enough that none
such came to his ken.

In 1886 Professor Julien Vinson reviewed the question for the _Révue de
Linguistique_, and delivered what may be considered the final verdict in
the case. It is to the effect that the whole alleged language of the
Taensas,—grammar, vocabulary, prose and poetry—is a fabrication by a
couple of artful students to impose on the learned. I may close with the
Professor’s own closing words:

“Que restera-t-il du _taensa_? A mon avis, une mystification sans grande
portée et _much ado about nothing_.”


 Abbot, C. C., 27, 32, 53, 185.

 Abel-Remusat, 339.

 Abel, Carl, 402, 410.

 Adair, James, 71, 78.

 Adam, Lucien, 36, 355–7, 374, 379, 389, 405, 406, 453, _sq._

 Adler, C. J., 328, 329.

 Aglio, Agostino, 250.

 Aguilar, Pedro Sanchez de, 236.

 Albornoz, R. F., 399.

 Alcazar, Padre, 76.

 Almaraz, Ramon, 446.

 Ameghino, Fiorentino, 31.

 Anales de Chimalpahin, 283.

 Anales de Cuauhtitlan, 86, 90, 210, 283.

 Anales del Museo Nacional, 210, 439.

 Anchieta, Joseph de, 381, _sq._

 Anchorena, Jose D., 365, 425, 428.

 “Ancient Nahuatl Poems,” 97, 154.

 Ancona, Eligio, 258.

 Andrews, 414.

 Angrand, Leonce, 84, 253.

 Annals of the Kakchiquels, 100, 423.

 Anthony, A. S., 181–192.

 Archives paléographiques de l’Orient et de l’Amérique, 253.

 Aubin, J. M. A., 196, 209, 210, 212, 220, 231, 282.

 Avé Lallemant, Dr. R., 64.

 Aymé, Louis H., 448.

 Babbitt, Frances, 54.

 Baeza, Bart. G. de, 164, 166.

 Baker, Theodore, 293.

 Bandelier, A. F., 275, 278.

 Baraga, Frederic, 131, 364, 414.

 Bartram, John, 75.

 Bartram, William, 71, 76, 78.

 Beach, W. W., 45.

 Beauvois, E., 148.

 Belcourt, Pere, 399, 400.

 Berendt, C. H., 119, 164, 171, 175, 179, 237, 272, 288, 295, 398.

 Beverly, Robert, 70.

 Bibliothéque Linguistique Américaine, 454.

 Bichat, 57.

 Biedma, his narrative, 72, 74.

 Bienvenida, Lorenzo de, 26.

 Blomes, Richard, 76.

 Blumenbach, F. J., 38, 56, 57.

 Boas, Franz, 22, 64, 286.

 Books of the Jew, MS., 273.

 Boole, Professor, 402.

 Borde, M. de la, 123.

 Boturini, B., 116.

 Bourbourg, Brasseur de, _see_ Brasseur.

 Brasseur (de Bourbourg), C., 84, 105, 107, 120, 126, 128, 167, 170,
    199, 210, 227, 231, 243, 263, 282.

 Bristock, his fabulous narrative, 76.

 Buenaventura, Gabriel de San, 237, 249.

 Buschmann, J. C. E., 23, 92, 93.

 Byington, Cyrus, 364.

 Campanius, Thomas, 315.

 Cancionero, Americano, 453.

 Carochi, Horacio, 325, 418.

 Carrillo, Crescencio, 258, 265, 439.

 Carrillo, Estanislao, 164.

 Cartailhac, Emile de, 391.

 Casas, Bartolome de las, 124, 234.

 Catherwood, Frederick, 254.

 Cavalcanti, Amaro, 380–385, 430.

 Ceron, Francisco, 107.

 Champollion, 227.

 Charencey, H. de, 59, 84, 167, 196, 372.

 Charlevoix, P. F. X., 69, 456.

 Charnay, D., 83, 86, 89, 97, 448.

 Chateaubriand, 452.

 Chilan Balam, Book of, 248, 254 _sqq._, 303.

 Chimalpahin, D. F. de, 283.

 Chronicles of the Mayas, 99, 100.

 Cicero, M. T., 127, 424.

 Clavigero, F., 84.

 Codex Bolognensis, 158.

 Codex Chimalpopoca, 210, 221.

 Codex Cortesianus, 198, 253.

 Codex Dresdensis, 199, 200, 250, _sq._

 Codex Mexicanus, No. II., 252.

 Codex Peresianus, 252, 265.

 Codex Poinsett, 154.

 Codex Ramirez, the, 84, 89, 90, 91, 92.

 Codex Telleriano-Remensis, 280.

 Codex Troano, 114, 200, 202, 230, 253, 265.

 Codex Vaticanus, 155, 280.

 Codex Zumarraga, 250.

 Codice Perez, 265.

 Cogolludo, D. L., 127, 168, 235, 238, 268.

 Colden, C., 68.

 Coleccion de Documentos para la Historia de España, 235.

 Comte, Auguste, 57.

 Copway, George, 154.

 Cortes, H. de, 448, 449.

 Coto, Thomas, 106, 107, 110, 111 _sq._, 440 _sq._

 Cresson, H. T., 41, 53.

 Cuesta, Arroyo de la, 386–388.

 Culin, Stewart, 151.

 Cuoq, J. A., 132.

 Cushing, Frank, 108.

 Cuvier, G., 38, 57, 61.

 Darapsky, Dr., 398.

 Darwin, Charles, 39, 43, 408.

 Dawson, J. William, 44.

 Dawson, George M., 395.

 Dead, Book of the, 136–140.

 Dejouy, A., 452 _sq._

 Dias, 430.

 Diccionario Historico de Yucatan, 263.

 Diccionario Huasteca-Español, MS., 221.

 Diccionario Maya-Español de Motul, MS., _see_ Motul.

 Dictionaire Galibi, 123.

 Distel, Theodore, 330.

 D’Orbigny, Alcide, 39.

 Dorsey, J. O., 108.

 Dumont, M., 77, 78.

 Dumoutier, M., 150.

 Dunbar, John B., 291.

 Dupaix, Captain, 275, 276.

 Duponceau, P. S., 36, 94, 191, 321, 351, 389.

 Du Pratz, Le Page, 462.

 Duran, Diego, 88, 89, 99, 159, 449.

 Ehrenreich, Paul, 38, 65.

 Eliot, John, 190.

 El Siglo que Acaba, 274.

 Ettwein, J., 183, 191.

 Faraud, Henry, 21, 394, 395.

 Fernandez, Alonzo, 124.

 Finch, Prof., 70.

 Flint, Earl, 28, 42.

 Foley, Dr., 57.

 Forneri, R. P., 329.

 Förstemann, Dr. E., 200, 243, 251.

 Foster, J. W., 67.

 França, E. F., 430.

 Gabb, William M., 374–378.

 Gage, Thomas, 170.

 Gallatin, Albert, 88, 100.

 Garcia y Garcia, Ap. 165.

 Gatschet, A. S., 75, 454 sq.

 Gayangos, P. de, 449.

 Gœthe, J. W. von, 260, 284, 316.

 Granados y Galvez, I. J., 117.

 Gravier, P., 462.

 Guzman, Pantaleon de, 107, 128.

 Haeckel, E., 390.

 Hale, Horatio, 35, 393.

 Hamann, 284.

 Hamy, E. T., 148, 140, 210, 367.

 Harpe, M. de la, 77.

 Hartmann, W., 189.

 Hartt, Charles F., 380, 382.

 Haumonté, J. D., 455 _sq._

 Haynes, H. W., 18, 31.

 Heckewelder, John, 191, 315.

 Hegel, 403.

 Henry, V., 405, 467.

 Herder, 284, 403.

 Herrera, Antonio de, 89, 91, 92, 448, 450.

 Hervas, Abbé, 330.

 Hervé, Georges, 62.

 Holden, 196, 197.

 Holguin, R. P., 426, 428.

 Holmes, W. H., 148.

 Hovelacque, Abel, 62.

 Howse, James, 36, 383, 395, 399, 401, 414, 415.

 Humboldt, Alexander von, 20, 33, 60, 251, 338, 374, 377.

 Humboldt, Wilhelm von, 36, 284, 318, 328–348, 353, 405.

 Hunter, Archdeacon, 403.

 Iconographic Encyclopædia, The, 52.

 Ixtlilxochitl, F., 84, 87, 90, 92, 97, 283, 445.

 Jesuits, Relations des, 78.

 Jones, C. C., 79, 80.

 Kalm, Peter, 185.

 Kane, Paul, 69.

 Kingsborough, Lord, 84, 87, 90, 99, 155, 210, 221, 231, 251, 280, 445.

 Kollmann, J., 40.

 Lacombe, Al., 131, 364, 366, 414.

 Lafitau, J. F., 69.

 Landa, Diego de, 119, 127, 159, 166, 199, 227, 240 _sq._, 256, 257,
    265, 438.

 Lang, Andrew, 102.

 Leland, Charles G., 130, 133.

 LePlongeon, A., 439.

 Lieber, Francis, 355, 357.

 Lindstrom, 183.

 Linnæus, C., 38, 349.

 Lizana, Bernardo de, 235, 260, 261.

 Lower, M. A., 219.

 Lopez, J. M., 164.

 Luchan, von, 149.

 Lund, Dr., 29.

 Macedo, F. de, 148, 157, 159.

 MacLean, J. P., 67.

 Magalhaes, Dr. Couto de, 381, 430.

 Magio, R. P., 397.

 Mallery, Garrick, 156, 159.

 Manuscrito Hieratico, 225.

 Martyr, Peter, 233.

 Matthews, Washington, 62, 407.

 McGee, W. J., 447.

 Meigs, James A., 63.

 Mendoza, Gumesindo, 59.

 Michel, F., 21.

 Mitre, Bartolome, 26, 27.

 Molina, Alonso de, 93, 325, 418, 443.

 Montesinos, H., 23.

 Montigny, M. de, 462.

 Montoya, Ruiz de, 381–5, 398, 400, 429.

 Morgan, Lewis A., 44, 45, 60.

 Morgues, Le Moyne de, 75.

 Morse, E. G., 60.

 Mortillet, G. de, 390, 391.

 Motolinia, P., 85, 99.

 Motul, Diccionario de, MS., 119, 127, 177, 250, 325, 421 _sq._, 435

 Müller, Frederick, 230, 357, 374, 379, 380, 386, 465.

 Müller, Max, 338.

 Narvaez, Pamfilo de, 72.

 Naxera, Emanuel, 366, 371.

 Neve y Molina, Luis de, 366, 370, 371.

 Nikkanoche, Occola, his narrative, 77.

 Nogueira, D. C. Da., 381.

 Nostradamus, Michael, 301.

 Ollanta, Drama of, 300, 425 _sq._

 Olshausen, 149.

 Orozco y Berra, 23, 84, 87, 90, 95, 196, 210, 231, 277, 282, 446.

 Ossado, Ricardo, 273.

 Paredes, R. P., 420.

 Parisot, J., 452 _sq._

 Peñafiel, Antonio, 210.

 Perez, Francisco, 366, 370.

 Perez, Pio, 120, 263, 264, 272.

 Peschel, Oscar, 64.

 Petit, Pere C., 77.

 Petitot, Emile, 21, 58, 394, 398, 401.

 Petrie, Prof., 447.

 Piccolomini, Count, 367.

 Pickering, Charles, 33.

 Pickett, Thomas E., 82.

 Pierret, Paul, 138.

 Pimentel, Francisco, 368, 373.

 Platzmann, Julius, 58.

 Ponce, Alonzo, 234, 255.

 “Popol Vuh,” the, 105 _sq._, 171, 424.

 Powell, J. W., 68, 319, 358.

 Pratz, Le Page du, 78.

 Prescott, W. H., 84.

 Psalmanazar, George, 462, 466.

 Putnam, F. A., 53.

 Rada y Delgada, J. de D., 226, 227.

 Rajendalala, 146.

 Ramirez, J. F., 23, 88, 196, 210.

 Ramusio, 72, note.

 Rand, S. T., 130.

 Ranke, Dr., 64.

 Rau, Charles, 31.

 Recetarios de Indios, MS., 272.

 Reichelt, G. H., 430.

 Registro Yucateco, 164, 263.

 Rennenkampff, A. von, 330.

 Rink, Heinrich, 287, 289.

 Romans, Bernard, 78.

 Rosa, Agostin de la, 326, 366, 420.

 Rosny, Leon de, 196, 199, 226, 252, 253, 265.

 Ruiz de Montoya, Antonio, 381 _sq._

 Saint Hilaire, J. G. de, 164.

 Santa Rosa, Beltran de, 238.

 Sahagun, Bernardino de, 84, 86, 88, 93, 94, 97, 142, 280, 298.

 Saz, P., 122.

 Schasler, Max, 329.

 Schellhas, Dr., 196, 200, 202.

 Scherzer, Karl, 114.

 Schoolcraft, H. R., 69, 133, 294, 354.

 Schuhmann, T. S., 430.

 Schweinitz, E. de, 430.

 Seler, Ed., 196, 244.

 Sequoyah, 198.

 Shakespeare, W., 127, 219, 220, 320.

 Shea, John G., 386.

 Short, John T., 67.

 Siméon, Rémi, 94, 283.

 Smith, Spencer, 81.

 Solana, Alonso de, 235.

 Soriano, Juan G., 373.

 Sosa, F. de P., 164.

 Sotomayor, Damaso, 272, 277.

 Sotomayor, J. de Villagutierre de, 239, 247.

 Spinoza, B., 411.

 Squier, E. G., 69, 81, 133.

 Steinen, Karl von den, 34.

 Steinthal, H., 329, 355, 390, 403.

 Stephens, J. L., 164, 168, 263.

 Stoll, Dr. Otto, 35, 100, 109, 112, 122, 423.

 Storm, Gustav, 22.

 Strebel, M. H., 275.

 Sungimoto, K., 151.

 Tanner, John, 157.

 Tapia Zenteno, Carlos de, 423.

 Taylor, S., 70.

 Ten Kate, Dr. H. F. C., 66.

 Testera, Jacobo de, 233.

 Tetlapan Quetzanitzin, 299.

 Teza, E., 332.

 Tezozomoc, A., 23, 89, 93, 143, 283.

 Thavenet, Abbé, 332.

 Thiel, B. A., 375, 379.

 Thomas, Cyrus, 82, 106, 200, 204, 230, 269.

 Timberlake, Lieutenant, 71.

 Tolmie, W. F., 396.

 Topinard, Paul, 64.

 Torquemada, J. de, 94, 234.

 Tro y Ortolano, Juan de, 252.

 Tschudi, J. J. von, 365, 397, 404.

 Uricoechea, E., 400, 401.

 Vaca, Cabeza de, 72.

 Valades, D., 206.

 Valentini, P. J. J., 197, 227, 228, 243, 263, 375.

 Varea, Francisco, 106, 110, 129, 442.

 Vedas, the, 142.

 Vega, Garcilasso de la, 73, 77.

 Veitia, E., 84, 90, 97.

 Vico, R. P., 110.

 Villacañas, Benito de, 107.

 Villalpando, R. P., 250.

 Villagutierre Soto-Mayor, Juan de, 239, 247.

 Vinson, Julien, 453, 467.

 Virchow, Rudolph, 63, 64, 153, 158.

 Waitz, Theo., 260.

 Waldeck, Baron de, 254.

 Whitney, William D., 327.

 Whittlesey, Charles, 447.

 Williams, Roger, 131.

 Winkler, Heinrich, 58, 350, 351, 386, 399.

 Winsor, Justin, 18.

 Woodham, 219.

 Worsaae, J. J. A., 153, 158.

 Wuttke, Dr., 250, 252.

 Wyman, Jeffries, 28.

 Ximenez, Francisco, 105, 111, etc.

 Zegarra, G. Pacheco, 426.

 Zeisberger, D., 187, 189.

 Zetina, Lic., 164, 172, 175.

                           INDEX OF SUBJECTS.

 Abañeénga, language, 381.

 Abipones, language of, 336.

 Abundance, the house of, 145.

 Acheron, the river of Hades, 141.

 Acolhuacan, 86.

 Acozpa, hieroglyph of, 224.

 Adjectives, absence of, 405.

 Adjidjiatig, or grave posts of Chipeways, 228.

 Age of Iron, Bronze, and Stone, 49.

 Agglutination in language, 340, 361.

 Ahau katuns of Mayas, 264, 268, 269.

 Ahkul Chel, a Maya priest, 248.

 Ahpu, magicians, 118.

 Ah-raxa-lak, a sacred name, 117.

 Ah-raxa-sel, a sacred name, 117.

 Ahuitzotzin, Emperor of Mexico, 281–3.

 Akahal tribe, 423.

 Algonkin grammar, remarks on, 190, 364, 366.

 Algonkin language, extension of, 35;
   radicals of, 36, 332, 400;
   “love words” in, 413.

 Algonkins, hero-god of, 130–134.

 Algonkin stock, area of, 311.

 Algonkin tribes, their “grandfather,” 184;
   as mound-builders, 70;
   legendary origin of, 24.

 Alliteration, rare in primitive poetry, 285.

 Allibamons, 71.

 Alphabet, of Cherokees, 199;
   of Valades, 200;
   in early speech, 393;
   of Landa, 199, 240–245;
   of Chinese, etc., 214.

 Alternating consonants, 398.

 Amenti, the Egyptian Hades, 137.

 American languages, tenacity of, 35;
   diversity of, 35;
   traits of, 36;
   study of, 37, 308 _sq._

 American Indians, origin of, 17.

 Anahuac, 84.

 Analtés, sacred books of Itzas, 239, 247.

 Andover, a rebus of, 223.

 Animals, transformation into, 114, 170, 171.

 Animate and inanimate conjugations, 406.

 Animism, doctrine of, 117.

 Anthropoid apes, not found in

 America, 43.

 Anthropology, classification in, 349.

 Apaches, language of, 35, 394.

 Apalacha, fabulous description of, 76.

 Apap, god of evil, in Egypt, 137.

 Araucanian language, 398.

 Araucanians, skulls of, 39.

 Arawacks, tribe, 40;
   language, 430.

 Argillite implements, 41.

 Arithmetic of Mayas, 268.

 Arizona, ruins in, 25.

 Arrhenic gender, 406.

 Arrow, in Lenape, 183.

 Arrow heads, ancient forms of, 31.

 Arrow-release, the American, 60.

 Arsut, a song of, 290.

 Art, American, wholly indigenous, 60.

 Arthur, King, story of, 130, 142.

 Artificial shell-heaps, age of, 27.

 Aryan languages, the, 312, 323, 344, 358;
   dialects, alleged, in America, 59;
   nations, mythology of, 141.

 Assumptive arms, in heraldry, 219.

 Astrology, native Yucatecan, 259.

 Astronomic cycles of Mexicans and Mayas, 23.

 Asymmetry, intentional, 448.

 Athapascan language, the, 21, 58, 394;
   extension of the, 35;
   elements of, 36.

 Atecpanamochco, 86.

 Atlantis, the fabled, 43.

 Atoyac, the river, 86.

 Auroral gods, 111, 113.

 Autochthony of American culture, 60.

 Avalon, the Isle of, 142.

 Aymarian depression in American skulls, 62.

 Azteca _or_ Aztecs, 85, 87, 367.

 Aztec calendar explained, 276–9;
   codices, 221;
   love songs, 295–7;
   war songs, 298;
   year cycles of, 159, _see_ Nahuatl, Mexican.

 Aztlan, derivation of, 88.

 Bacab, Maya deities, 173.

 Baffin’s Land, natives of, 286.

 Balam, meaning of, 128, 258;
   the Maya prophet, 248.

 Balams, Maya deities, 172–176.

 Ball play in Mexico, 89.

 Banana, not an American plant, 33, 34.

 Basque language, the, 316, 351.

 Bat, as a totemic animal, 114.

 Baures, language of, 397.

 Beard in American Indians, 39.

 Being and Not-Being, in language, 401.

 Biceitas, tribe, 375.

 Bilderschrift, 207.

 Birds as winds, 123, 175;
   symbolism of, 169, 179.

 Bi-sexual divinities, 96, 109.

 Blackfeet, myths of, 131.

 Black-tail, a fabulous snake, 178.

 Blood, in myths, 114, 124.

 Blowpipe, use of, 109.

 Blue, as sacred color, 95, 118.

 Boat of the Sun, 138;
   of Charon, 141.

 Bokol h’otoch, a Maya imp, 178.

 Bones, collection of, 78.

 Book, Maya word for, 247.

 Books of Chilan Balam, 255 _sqq._

 Books of Mayas described, 232, 235, 237.

 Bolivia, tribes of, 397, 405.

 Boruca language, the, 375 _sq._

 Botocudos, traits of, 38, 39, 40, 65.

 Bow-and-arrow, modern use of, 31, 183.

 Brachycephalism in America, 63.

 Brazil, designs of pottery from, 157, 159;
   mound-builders from, 67;
   ethnology of, 38, 40;
 of, 380 _sq._, 428 _sq._;
   shell heaps in, 28.

 Bri-bri language, the, 374 _sq._

 Bronka _or_ Brunka language, 375 _sq._

 Bronze, Age of, 49, 50.

 Brush-net, use of, 184.

 Buenos Ayres, archæology of, 31, 40.

 Buffalo, Lenâpé name for, 184.

 Burial customs, 75, 77, 78, 119.

 Burial mounds in Florida, 75.

 Cabecar language, the, 375 _sq._

 Cabrakan, god of earthquakes, 121, 122.

 Cachis, tribe, 375.

 Cahokia, pyramid at, 81.

 Cakchiquels, totemic animals, 114;
   language, 35, 104, 106, 107, 345, 347, 370, 423;
   lineal measures of, 433, 439;
   writing of, 228.

 Cakulha-Hurakan, a Quiche god, 120, 121.

 Calaveras skull, the, 40.

 Calculiform writing explained, 243, 253.

 Calendar, mystic relations of, 99, 129;
   of Mexicans, 276–8;
   the Quiche-Cakchiquel, 129;
   of the Taensas, 469.

 California, languages of, 386;
   auriferous gravels of, 31;
   remains from, 40.

 Campeachy, Bay of, 233.

 Canals, ancient, in Florida, 73.

 Canek, chief of Itzas, 239.

 Cannibalism, unknown in Yucatan, 235.

 Canoes, manufacture of, 185.

 Cantico, meaning of, 187.

 Canting arms, in heraldry, 218.

 Capaha, the village of, 73.

 Caracaracol, a Haytian divinity, 116.

 Cardinal points, sacred characters, 154, 161, 166, 167, 172, 175;
   signs for in Maya, 203.

 Carib language, 331, 337.

 Caribs, mythology of, 123.

 Carvara, the dog, 141.

 Catarrhine monkeys not found in America, 43.

 Ceh Pech, a province of Yucatan, 233.

 Central America, poetry of, 288.

 Centzon Huitznahua, the, 94.

 Cerberus, the dog, 141, 146.

 Chiapas, dialects of, 420.

 Cincalco, in Aztec myth, 145.

 Civilization, centers of, 61.

 Chac, Maya deities, 173.

 Chahta-Muskokee family, the, 71, 79.

 Chahta tribes, the, 80, 81;
   _see_ Choctaws.

 Chan Pal, a Maya imp, 177.

 Chapallan, Lake, 88.

 Chapanec language, 398.

 Charon, the ferryman, 141.

 Chelles, objects from, 32.

 Cherokees, wars with Iroquois, 69;
   as mound-builders, 71, 82;
   alphabet, 198.

 Che Vinic, a Maya ogre, 176.

 Chibcha language, 400.

 Chicagua, a village, 73.

 Chichen Itza, 254, 302.

 Chichimecs, tribe, 90, 298.

 Chicomoztoc, land of, 23.

 Chikasaws, 71.

 Chilan, signification of, 258, 260, 272;
   prophecy of, 303.

 Chilan Balam, books of, 255.

 Chile, languages of, 398.

 Chimalman, the virgin, 96.

 Chinese, alphabet of, 214, 215;
   language, the, 323, 336;
   supposed presence in America, 59;
   philosophy and symbolism, 150, 151.

 Chipi-cakulha, a Quiche god, 120.

 Chipeways, build mounds, 70;
   myths of, 131.

 Chipeway pronouns, 324;
   pictography, 228.

 Chipeways, their “grandfather,” 188.

 Chipeway love song, 294;
   love words, 418.

 Chipped Stone, period of, 50.

 Chiquita language, 405.

 Chirakan Xmucane, a Quiche goddess, 122.

 Choctaws, 24, 71, 77, 461;
   _see_ Chahta.

 Choctaw language, the, 364.

 Chronological system of Mayas, 263.

 Chumayel, book of, 248, 257, 291.

 “Chunk yards” of the Creeks, 76.

 Clark’s Works, mounds at, 81.

 Classification of languages, 339.

 Coatepetl, the, 86, 89.

 Coatlan Tonan, an Aztec goddess, 94.

 Codices, the existing Maya, 250.

 Coatlicue, an Aztec goddess, 94, 95.

 Colhua, Colhuacan, 85.

 Color of American Indians, 39, 61.

 Colors in races of men, 38;
   phonetic value in hieroglyphs, 223;
   symbolism of, 166, 167.

 Columbian gravel, relics found in, 53.

 Communal burial, 78.

 Communal dwellings, 185, 445.

 Conjunctions, in American languages, 345, 404.

 Connecticut, Indian names in, 309.

 Consonants, alternating, 398;
   significance of, 394.

 Copan, calendar stone from, 155, 254.

 Coptic, ancient, 215, 402.

 Cordova, Hernandez de, his expedition, 232.

 Cortes, H., his conquest, 280, 282.

 Costa Rica, age of shell-heaps in, 28, 31;
   languages of, 374 _sq._

 Counter-sense in language, 401.

 Courous, tribe, 77.

 Coyote, as sacred animal, 112.

 Cozumel, island of, 232.

 Cranial characteristics of red race, 62, 63.

 Craniologic data from the mounds, 82.

 Cranioscopic formulas of American Indians, 40.

 Cree, language, 21, 363, 383, 395, 401, 403;
   love words in, 413.

 Crees, myths of, 131.

 Creeks, 24, 71, 76.

 Criteria of languages, 336.

 Cross, as a sacred symbol, 148 _sqq._

 Cubit, as a measure, 441.

 Cukulkan, 84.

 Culcalkin, a Maya ogre, 177.

 Culture-heroes, American, 130.

 Cycles, of Aztecs and Mayas, 159, 264.

 Dakotas, 79;
   winter counts of, 159;
   dialects, 407.

 Dawn, master of the, 113.

 Day-maker, the, 111, 129.

 Days, signs of, in Maya MSS., 270.

 Death, prognostics of, 169;
   lord of, 170;
   primitive notion of, 143;
   river of, 147.

 Deer, as totemic animal, 114, 128.

 Delaware, State, discoveries in, 32, 53.

 Delaware river, relics from, 41, 53.

 Delaware Indians, _see_ Lenâpé.

 Déné Dindjié, tribe, 21;
   language, 395.

 Dependent clauses, 404.

 Determinatives, their use in writing, 216.

 Devil, words for, 126.

 Diluvial epoch, human remains in, 29.

 Divination, by beans, 118;
   by thorns, 94;
   by stones, 165.

 Diviners, of Mayas, 165.

 Dogs, as sacred animals, 140, 141, 144, 146.

 Dresden, the Maya MS. at, 250.

 Dwarfs, fabulous, of Mayas, 177.

 Dyes used by the Mayas, 246.

 Earth, the heart of the, 126.

 Ego, phonetic element of, 396.

 Egyptian theory of the soul, 136–140;
   hieroglyphic origin of, 216;
   alphabet, 217.

 Eight, as sacred number, 140, 146.

 Ekoneil, a fabulous snake, 179.

 Elephant, the American, 32.

 Elysium, fields of, 141.

 Epicanthus, in America, 64.

 English language, the, 336.

 Epochs of the Palæolithic Period, 51.

 Escamela, inscribed stone at, 274.

 Eskimo, skulls of, 63;
   physical traits of, 65;
   songs of, 286–290;
   language, 58, 338, 340.

 Etowah valley, mound in, 80.

 Eye, oblique or Mongolian, in America, 63, 64.

 Fac-simile of Landa’s MS., 242.

 Father, the great, 175.

 Feathers, as symbolic ornaments, 116.

 Female line, hereditary, 189.

 Fire, earliest knowledge of, 391;
   festival of, among Mayas, 168.

 Fish, the, in Aztec calendar, 283.

 Fishing, ancient methods of, 184

 Fleur-de-lys, origin of, 220.

 Flores, island, capture of, 239.

 Florida, ancient mounds in, 73, 75, 77;
   shell heaps in, 28, 31;
   limonite skeletons from, 41.

 Folk-lore of Yucatan, 163;
   of Lenâpé, 181.

 Food-plants of native Americans, 33.

 Foot, as measure of length, 434 _sq._, 444.

 Four, as sacred number, 140, 146, 157.

 Four Ages of World, 161.

 Four hundred, meaning of, 94.

 Friendship, native words for, 420, 428.

 Fuegians, appearance of, 39;
   language, 338.

 Games, of Lenapé, 186.

 Generation, gods of, 120.

 Georgia, antiquities in, 80.

 Ghosts, superstitions about, 127.

 Giant bison, the American, 41, note.

 Giant Grab, 176;
   Stone of the, 274 _sq._

 Glacial age in North America, date of, 41, 44, 54;
   in South America, 42, 55.

 Gluskap the Liar, a Micmac hero, 130.

 Grammatic forms, origin of, 331.

 Grammatical categories, the, 405.

 Graphic systems, phonetic elements of, 195 _sq._

 Graphic system of Mayas, 245.

 Greek language, the, 344, 348.

 Green, as a color symbol, 118.

 Greenland, poetry from, 287–290.

 Grijalva, Juan de, his expedition, 232.

 Guadalajara, University of, 326.

 Guarani, language, 35, 380 _sq._, 398, 399, 400;
   love words in, 428.

 Guarayos, bearded Indians, 39, note.

 Guatemala, dialects in, 104;
   tribes of, 105, 420.

 Gucumatz, derivation of, 116;
   transformations of, 171.

 Gucumatz Cotuha, a king, 114.

 Guiana, shell-heaps in, 31;
   ethnology of, 39, 40.

 Gulf States, antiquities of, 72–80.

 Hades, derivation of, 141;
   descent to, 125–6.

 Hair, of American Indians, 62;
   of the Sun-god, 99, 140, 146;
   long, as symbol, 146, 280.

 Hare, the Great, 132.

 Harmachis, Egyptian divinity, 138.

 Hatchet, burying the, 71.

 Haiti, mythology of, 116, 121.

 “Heart of the Lake,” a sacred name, 116.

 Heart, as a symbol, 117.

 Hell, words for, 126, 127;
   descent to, 123–130.

 Hemenway Exploring Expedition, 25.

 Heraldry, methods of, 218, 219.

 Hermapolis, eight gods of, 140.

 Hesperides, garden of the, 142.

 Hidatsa language, 407.

 Hieroglyphs, Maya, 201, 265–7.

 Hog, the, as a god, 113.

 Holophrasis, explained, 322, 354 _sq._

 _Homo alalus_, the, 390–392.

 Homophones in languages, 198, 215, 216.

 Hooks, used in fishing, 184.

 Horus, the Egyptian, 138.

 Horse, Delaware word for, 321;
   fossil, in America, 31, 32, 42.

 Houses, of beams, 97;
   communal, 185.

 Huasteca language, the, 221, 331, 343;
   love words in, 422.

 Hueman, an Aztec hero-god, 96.

 Huguenots, settlement of, 74.

 Huitzilopochtli, an Aztec god, 85, 88;
   derivation of, 95;
   birth of, 96;
   temple of, 25.

 Huitznahua, Aztec divinities, 94, 95.

 Human species, divisions of, 38.

 Humor, among native Americans, 288.

 Hun-ahpu, birth of, 125.

 Hun-ahpu-utiu, derivation, 112.

 Hun-ahpu-vuch, derivation of, 109.

 Hun-came, a Quiche god, 124.

 Hunhun-ahpu, a Quiche god, 124.

 Hunting, ancient methods of, 184.

 Hunyecil, meaning of, 237.

 Hurakan, god of the storm, 120–123.

 Hurons, burial customs, 69.

 Hurricane, derivation of, 121, 122;
   lord of, 167.

 Ichcanziho, ancient name of Merida, 233.

 Ideograms in phonetic writing, 197;
   of Mayas, 248.

 Idols of Lenâpé, 187;
   of Itzas, 240;
   priest of, 248.

 Idols, superstitions concerning, 177.

 Ikonographic writing, 213.

 Ikonomatic method of phonetic writing, 86, 89, 207, 211, 213–229, 281.

 Illinois, archæology of, 40, 81.

 Implements, simple and compound, 30, 51, 52.

 Inca bone, the, 62.

 Incas of Peru, false lists of, 23.

 Incorporative character of American languages, 36.

 Incorporation, explained, 321, 340, 341, 352–357, 403.

 Indo-Aryans, myths of, 146.

 Industrial art in ancient America, 29.

 Ioskeha, Iroquois hero-god, 130.

 Iron, Age of, 49, 50.

 Iroquois, 24, 68, 69;
   Lenâpé name for, 184.

 Itza, town in Yucatan, 302.

 Ytzamal, temples of, 236.

 Itzamna, hero-god of Mayas, 238.

 Itzas, the tribe of, 239.

 Itzmiquilpan, hieroglyph of, 223.

 Jaguar, as sacred animal, 128.

 Japanese writing, 231.

 Jesuits, settlement near Savannah, 76.

 Jew, Book of the, 273.

 Jonaz language, the, 368.

 Katun, lord of the, 249;
   of Mayas, 260.

 Katuns, of Mayas, 159.

 Káua, Book of Chilan Balam of, 268.

 Kentucky, archæology of, 82.

 Khetsua language, _see_ Qquichua.

 Kiches, _see_ Quiches.

 Kichigouai, Algonkin divinities, 111.

 Kin Ich, a Maya deity, 170.

 Kinich-ahau, hero-god of Mayas, 238.

 Kioways, songs of, 293.

 Klamath language, the, 321, 398.

 Koonak, Mt., poem about, 290.

 Kitchen-middens, in America, 27.

 Labrador, natives of, 311.

 Lacandon, province of, 239.

 Lagoa Santa, skulls from, 40.

 La Naulette, jaw from, 390.

 Language, ethnologic value of, 193;
   origin of, 390.

 Languages discussed: _See tribal names._

 Laws of Thought, 402.

 Lead, known to Mexicans, 450.

 Leif Erikson, his voyage, 22.

 Left hand, as stronger, 95.

 Legends, value in savage tribes, 24.

 Lenâpé, Folk-lore of the, 181;
   derivation of, 183.

 Lenâpé dialect, pronunciation of, 189;
   grammar of, 190, 191, 313.

 Letters, single, significant, 394.

 Life, the Tree of, 161.

 Light, the mother of, 119;
   divinity of, 112, 129.

 Lightning, as a deity, 121, 133, 174.

 Lingoa Geral, of Brazil, 380.

 Limonite skeletons from Florida, 41.

 Lineal measures, American, 433 _sq._

 Linguistic stocks, number of in America, 34;
   origin of, 392.

 Lithuanian dialect, the, 316.

 Lorelei, an American, 178.

 Love, songs of, 293–7;
   conceptions of in American languages, 410 _sq._;
   definition of, 432.

 Lule language, the, 331, 342.

 Mbaya language, the, 331, 342, 343.

 Mackenzie River, tribes of, 35.

 Madrid, Maya MSS. at, 253.

 Maguey, the, a sacred plant, 88;
   paper, 253.

 Maize, origin and extension of, 33.

 Malayan race, the, 349.

 Malinalxochitl, an Aztec goddess, 88.

 Mammoth, remains of, 32.

 Manabozho, a Chipeway hero, 131, 133.

 Man, not developed in America, 43;
   oldest remains of, in America, 53;
   a singing animal, 284;
   subdivisions of, 348.

 Manco Capac, his date, 22.

 Mandioca, a native food-plant, 33.

 Manhattan, derivation of, 183.

 Mani, the Book of Chilan of, 264.

 Manuscripts in Maya characters, 250.

 Mapachtepec, hieroglyph of, 222.

 Maps of Mayas, 438.

 Markets, Mexican, 449.

 Marriage song, 460.

 Masks, used in rites, 114, 187.

 Mass, the field, 165.

 Maya language, the, 181, 345;
   love words in, 420;
   civilization, 84;
   witch story, 171;
   year-counts, 159;
   phonetic characters, 199,
   hieroglyphic system, 227, 228;

 Mayas, ancient, writings and records of, 230–254;
   earliest ancestors of, 24;
   the, traditions of, 22;
   conversion of, 164;
   folk-lore of, 162;
   burial customs of, 119;
   lineal measures of, 434;
   maps of, 438.

 Mayacimil, meaning of, 237.

 Mayapan, ancient city of, 239.

 Maya-Quiche linguistic stock, 104.

 Mazahua language, the, 368, 372 _sq._

 Meco language, the, 368.

 Meconetzin, a name of Quetzalcoatl, 88.

 Meday magic, figures in, 157.

 Meda sticks of Chipeways, 228.

 Medical practice among Delawares, 187.

 Medicines of the Mayas, 272.

 Medicine-songs, native, 292.

 Mengwe, name of Iroquois, meaning of, 184.

 Merida, ancient ruins at, 26, 233.

 Messier Mound, the, 80.

 Messianic hope, among natives, 183.

 Messou, _see_ Michabo.

 Meta river, tribes of, 329.

 Metrical standards, native, 446–8.

 Mexcalla, an island, 88.

 Mexi _or_ Mexica, 85, 87.

 Mexican phonetic writing, 205.

 Mexitl, an Aztec chief, 88.

 Mexico, ancient, 23, 84, 88, 282;
   human remains in, 42.

 Mexican grammar, 324, 341, 344, 346.
   _See_ Aztec, Nahuatl.

 Mexico-Tenochtitlan, 85.

 Micmacs, mythology of, 130.

 Michabo, a Chipeway deity, 131, 132–4.

 Michoacan, 88.

 Mictlan, the Aztec Hades, 143.

 Mictlantecutli, the Aztec Pluto, 145.

 Migration, lines of in America, 44, 45.

 Minsi tribe, 181;
   derivation of, 189.

 Mississippi, the, 74, 77.

 Mitla, ruins of, 448.

 Mixteca language, the, 331, 345.

 Mongolian affinities, alleged, of the American race, 56.

 Mongolian eye, the, in America, 63.

 Mongoloid traits in Americans, 38, 39, 56.

 Monosyllabism in languages, 215.

 Montejo, Francisco de, 233.

 Montezuma, his hieroglyphs, 208, 209, 282;
   his forebodings, 302.

 Montezuma, Rio de, 86.

 Months, hieroglyphs of, of Mayas, 265–7.

 Moon, origin of, 125.

 Moraines, the line of, in North America, 54.

 Moteuczomatzin, 283.

 Mound-Builders, their nationality, 67;
   their metrical standard, 447.

 Mounds in Ohio and Mississippi valleys, age of, 27.

 Mural paintings, of Mayas, 254.

 Muskokees, 71, 75.

 Mutsun language, 386 _sq._

 Mythology, interpretations of, 101.

 Nabula, the book of, 259.

 Nagualism, in Central America, 170.

 Nahua ollin, the, 161.

 Nahuatl hieroglyphs, dictionary of, 210;
   geographic names, 210;
   lineal measures, 444.

 Nahuatl language, 23, 59, 205, 363, 366, 399;
   love words in, 417.

 Nahuas, tribes of, 22, 85, 418.
   _See_ Aztecs, Mexicans.

 Names, bestowal of, 114.

 Nanabojoo, a Chipeway hero, 131.

 Nanahuatl, an Aztec divinity, 116.

 Nanih Waiya, the Sloping Hill, 80.

 Nanticokes, native name of, 189.

 Napiw, a Blackfoot hero, 131.

 Nasal index in American Indians, 39, 64.

 Natchez, 71, 77, 78, 463.

 Navaho language, 394.

 Nebraska, ancient lake-beds of, 31.

 Nenaboj, a Chipeway hero, 131.

 Neolithic period, the, 30, 51.

 New England Indians, 131.

 Newfoundland, natives of, 311.

 New Granada, tribes of, 330;
   languages, 400.

 New Jersey, archæology of, 32, 53.

 New Mexico, ruins in, 25.

 New York State, earthworks in, 69.

 Nezahualcoyotl, a chief, 445.

 Nicaragua, ancient human footprints in, 42.

 Night, master of the, 113.

 Nim-ak, meaning of, 113.

 Nine Waters, river of, 143.

 Nith songs of Eskimo, 287.

 Norsemen, myths of, 142.

 North Pacific coast, tribes of, 65.

 Northmen, voyages of, 22, note.

 Nova Scotia, discovered by Northmen, 22.

 Nun, the celestial river, 137, 139.

 Numbers, sacred or mystic, 99.
   _See_ Four, Seven, Twelve, etc.

 Numerals, deficiency of, 326.

 Numeration, Maya signs of, 268;
   words for, 406.

 Oblique eye as racial trait, 39, 63, 64.

 Obsidian found in Ohio, 32.

 Occipital bone in American skulls, 62.

 Ocelotl, _or_ jaguar, in myths, 128.

 Ocnakuchil, meaning of 237.

 Ogier the Dane, 142.

 Ohio, mounds in, 27, 67–81;
   obsidian in, 32.

 Ojibway picture writing, 153, 154.

 Offogoula, tribe, 77.

 Ollanta, drama of, 300.

 Omagua language, 405.

 Oriental symbols in America, 148 _sqq._

 Origin of language, 317.

 Orinoco, tribes of, 405.

 Orizaba, inscribed stone at, 274.

 Orosi, natives at, 375.

 Os Incæ, the, in Americans, 62.

 Osiris, the Egyptian god, 137–140.

 Otchipwe language, the, 364.

 Otherness, how expressed, 396.

 Otomis, _or_ Othomis, the tribe, 117;
   war songs, 298.

 Otomi language, the, 59, 366 _sq._

 Ouspie, tribe, 77.

 Owl, superstitions concerning, 114, 169.

 Pacaha, a province, 74.

 Paducas, tribe of, 291.

 Pah ah tun, Maya deities, 166, 173.

 Palæoliths, American and other, 48.

 Palæolithic period, the, 30, 51, 390.

 Palæolithic man, his habitat, 54;
   language, 390 _sq._

 Palenque, the ruins of, 26, 84, 126, 254, 448.

 Palpan, a place name, 87.

 Pame language, the, 368, 373.

 Pampas, lacrustine deposits of, 31;
   skulls from, 40.

 Papa, name of Quetzalcoatl, 99.

 Paper of Maya MSS., 253.

 Paradise, the Aztec, 144.

 Patagonians, height of, 39.

 Patine, as a sign of age, 51.

 Pavant Indians, the, 321.

 Pawnees, poetry of, 291–2.

 Pech, a Maya priest, 302.

 Pennsylvania, ancient works in, 70;
   Indian names in, 309;
   relics found in, 53.

 Penobscots, mythology of, 130.

 Personality, idea of in language, 320.

 Peru, ruined cities of, 26.

 Peruvians, language of, 397;
   songs of, 300.

 Peten, Lake, conquest of, 239.

 Petroglyph, near Orizaba, 274.

 Philosophy of language, 328.

 Phonetic elements, origin of, 393.

 Phonetics of Mexican and Maya writing, 195.

 Phoneticism in writing, origin of, 216.

 Picture writing, 213, 231;
   Ojibways, 153, 154, 228;
   of Mexicans, 221 _sq._

 Pirinda language, the, 368, 372.

 Pisote, the white, 113.

 Pleasure, physiological principle of, 285.

 Pleistocene epoch, human remains in, 29.

 Plumed serpents, house of, 97.

 Plummet, unknown in America, 442, 450.

 Pluto, the Greek god, 141.

 Poetry, native American, 284 _sq._

 Pokonchi dialect, the, 104, 112.

 Polished stone, period of, 50.

 Polychromatic hieroglyphs, 223.

 Polynesians, alleged migrations of, 18, 43.

 Polysynthesis, explained, 36, 321, 351 _sq._

 Pontemelo, ancient skull from, 40.

 Pop, name of a Maya month, 249.

 Popol Vuh, the, 105 _sq._

 Potato, the, its extension, 33.

 Pottery, designs on, 157, 159;
   of Lenâpé, 185.

 Pound-the-stones, Miss, 179.

 Prehistoric archæology, 392.

 Prepositions, in American languages, 345.

 Pronominal languages, 320.

 Pronouns, in American languages, 396–8.

 Proper names, in early times, 218.

 Prophecies of Mexicans and Mayas, 302.

 Pueblo Indians, 25, 87.

 Pulque, liquor made from, 254.

 Quetzalcoatl, 24, 84 _sq._;
   baths of, 86;
   absent, 145.

 Quiches, myths of, 104 _sq._, 124, 171;
   dialect of the, 104, 423;
   king of, 114;
   lineal measures of, 433;
   writing of, 228;
   sacred book of, 105 _sq._, 171.

 Qquichua language, the, 346, 365, 425;
   traditions, 22;
   love-words in, 425 _sq._

 Qux cah, a sacred name, 116.

 Qux cho, a sacred name, 116, 120.

 Qux palo, a sacred name, 116.

 Ra, the sun-god, 137, 140.

 Rabbit myths, 112, 132, 179, 276.

 Races of men, 348.

 Rain, the gods of, 175.

 “Rakan,” meaning of, 122.

 Rattlesnake bites, cure for, 188.

 “Rax,” in Quiche, meaning of, 118.

 Raxa-cakulha, a Quiche god, 120.

 Rebus, method of writing by, 211, 215, 219.

 Red, as sacred color, 144, 166, 176.

 Refref, serpent in Egyptian myth, 137.

 Relative pronouns, in American languages, 346.

 Religious sentiment, the, 432.

 Remedies, native, 272.

 Repetition, in poetry, 285.

 Reproductive principle, worship of, 119.

 Rhyme, unknown in native poetry, 285.

 Ring-cross, the, 158.

 Rio de Montezuma, 86.

 Rio de Tula, 86.

 Ritual of the dead, in Egypt, 139.

 Rituals of Mayas, 247.

 River, the celestial and infernal, 137–145.

 Rock Bluff, skulls from, 40.

 Rosetta stone, the, 218.

 St. Augustine, Florida, 74, 75, 77.

 St. John River, 74.

 St. Louis, “big mound” at, 81.

 San Isidro, stone relics from, 391.

 Sacred book of the Quiches, 105, 107.

 Saliva, in myths, 124.

 Salonge, an ogre, 176.

 Salt, magic power of, 171.

 Sanscrit language, the, 340, 344, 415;
   alleged affinity with Nahuatl, 57.

 Sambaquis, shell heaps in Brazil, 28, 29.

 Sarbacane, the, 109.

 Sauteux, language of, 400.

 Savacon, a Carib deity, 123.

 Schipka cave, bones from, 390.

 Sciences of the Mayas, 245.

 Seminoles, 71, 77.

 Semitic traditions, supposed in America, 21.

 Serpent, as sacred animal, 116, 132, 133.

 Serpent mount, the, 86.

 Serpent, fabulous, of Mayas, 179.

 Seven, as sacred number, 124, 129, 171, 439.

 Seven Caves, land of the, 23.

 Sex distinctions in grammar, 406.

 Shell-heaps, the age of, 27;
   in Florida, Tennessee, Costa Rica, Brazil, 28;
   in Gulf States, 72.

 Shooting stars, in myths, 174.

 Shoshonian family, languages of, 23.

 Signatures of natives, 234.

 Skin, color of, in American Indians, 39.

 Skull, shape of, in Americans, 63.

 Skulls, types of, in Brazil, 29.

 Sky, soul of the, 120.

 Snake-Hill, the, 86.

 Sodomy, not found in Yucatan, 235.

 Sonora, languages of, 23.

 Soto, Hernando de, his expedition, 72, 74.

 Soul, seat of, 117;
   food of the, 168;
   Journey of the, 135–145.

 Sound-writing, 213, 230.

 Span, as measure, 441.

 Speech, earliest form of, 390 _sq._

 Speechless man, 390–392.

 Spiral, development of the, 159, note.

 Spittle, as genetic fluid, 124.

 Squaw, word for, 181.

 Stars, origin of, 125.

 Stature of American Indians, 39.

 Stone, age of, its subdivisions, 50;
   survivals of, 183.

 Stone and brick edifices, 25.

 Stone of the Giants, 274 _sq._

 Stone implements, oldest specimens, 391.

 Stone, the clear, divination by, 165.

 Stones, adoration of, 40;
   column of, 70.

 Storm, Quiche gods of, 120.

 Straw bird, the, 179.

 Sun-god, Aztec myth of, 116;
   in Yucatan, 167.

 Sun, origin of, 125;
   worship in Egypt, 137–140;
   in America, 146;
   in picture writing, 156–8.

 Sun worship in Apalacha, 76;
   “brother of,” 77, 78;
   the mother of, 119;
   four motions of, 157, 161;
   worship, 170;
   place of the, 93;
   creation of, 95;
   rays of in symbolism, 146, 280.

 Svastika, the, as a symbol, 148 _sqq._

 Sweat lodge, of Lenâpé, 187.

 Syllabic writing, 231.

 Symbols, phonetic, 197;
   the sacred, in America, 149 _sqq._

 Symbolic writing, 213.

 Syncope in American languages, 371.

 Syphilis, sacred associations of, 115, 116, 144.

 Taensa language, the hoax of, 452 _sq._

 Ta Ki, a Chinese symbol, 148 _sqq._

 Tales, Indian, 182.

 Tamanaca language, the, 331.

 Tamaulipas, Sierra of, 295.

 Tampa Bay, mound at, 75.

 Tamuch, a Huasteca town, 221.

 Tarascas, a tribe, 228.

 Tat Acmo, a Maya deity, 175.

 Tata Polin, a Maya sprite, 170.

 Tat Ich, a Maya sprite, 170.

 Tennessee River, shell heaps on, 28.

 Tenochtitlan, 25, 85, 100.

 Tenochtitlan, state of, 23, 283.

 Teotihuacan, ruins of, 446.

 Tepeu, sacred name, meaning of, 115.

 Terminos, Bahia de, 232.

 Terraba language, the, 375 _sq._

 Tertiary, human remains in, 43.

 Tezcatlipoca, 85, 90;
   the black and white, 96;
   contests of, 98.

 Tezcuco, State of, 23, 25, 86, 445.

 Tezcucans, the, 367;
   philosophy of, 154.

 Thirteen, as sacred number, 161, 167.

 T’Ho, native name of Merida, 26.

 Thought-writing, 213, 230.

 Three-legged figures, 149.

 Thunder, in mythology, 174.

 Tiahuanaco, ruins near, 26.

 Tiger, as totemic animal, 114, 128.

 Time, idea of, absent, 404.

 Time-wheel, Mexican, 160, 161.

 Timuquana tribe, 75.

 Tin, use of, 86.

 Tinné language, 35, 394, 400.

 Tiribi language, the, 375 _sq._

 Titicaca, Lake, ruins near, 26.

 Tlacopan, State of, 23, 299.

 Tlalocan, the Aztec Paradise, 144.

 Tlalocs, Aztec rain-gods, 144.

 Tlamapa, hieroglyph of, 225.

 Tla-pallan, the place of colors, 87.

 Tlapan, hieroglyph of, 224.

 Tobacco, its origin and extension, 33.

 Tollan, 93.

 Tollanatl, the, 86, 96.

 Toltecs, supposed mound-builders, 67;
   their fabulous history, 24, 83–100;
   their mythical home, 145.

 Tomahawk, word for, 183.

 Tomaka, a town, 77.

 Tonacatecutli, an Aztec god, 96.

 Tonalan, the sunny place, 93.

 Topiltzin, king of Tula, 84.

 Totem marks, as autographs, 234.

 Totemic deities, 88, 113, 114;
   divisions of Lenâpé, 189.

 Tradition, permanence of, in savages, 22.

 Transitions in verbs, 370.

 Tree of Life, in Maya and Mexican art, 161.

 Trenton gravels, objects discovered in, 32, 53.

 Trepanned skulls from Peru, 188.

 Trephining, among the Lenâpé, 188.

 Tribute rolls of ancient Mexicans, 231.

 Triplicate constitution of things, 154.

 Triple division of the human race, 57.

 Triquetrum, as a symbol, 149 _sqq._

 Triskeles, a sacred symbol, 149 _sqq._

 Tucurrique, tribes at, 375.

 Tula, the story of, 83–100;
   derivation, 93.

 Tupi, the language, 323, 343, 380 _sq._, 400;
   love words in, 428.

 Turanian languages, 58.

 Turtle totem of Lenâpé, 189.

 Twins, the divine, 125.

 Twelve, as sacred number, 187.

 Tzendal dialect, 126.

 Tzontemoc, Aztec deity, 146.

 Tzontemoc mictlan tecutli, 278–9.

 Tzutuhil dialect, the, 104, 434.

 Ua ua pach, a Maya god, 176.

 Ucita, a town in Florida, 75.

 Underworld, the, in Quiche myth, 125;
   in other tribes, 128.

 Uniter, the Great, 150.

 Unwritten languages, study of, 305.

 Ural-Altaic languages, 58.

 Ursua, General, expedition of, 239.

 Usumasinta, river, 126.

 Ute language, the, 323.

 Utlatlan, a Quiche city, 124.

 Vaku, a Quiche god, 123.

 Valladolid, in Yucatan, 236.

 Vancouver’s Island, tribes on, 22;
   black slate from, 32.

 Vara, Spanish, length of, 436, 446.

 Verb, the American, 347, 405.

 Verb, in Algonkin grammar, 190.

 Vineland, its position, 22, note.

 Virginia, antiquities of, 70.

 Virginia, West, Cherokees in, 82.

 Virgin-mother, the myths of, 95, 96, 124, 125.

 Visuaires, primitive men were, 408.

 Vizeitas, tribe, 375.

 Vowels, permutable, 398;
   significance of, 394.

 Vuch, the opossum, etc., 111.

 Vukub-came, a Quiche god, 124.

 Vukub-hun-ahpu, a Quiche god, 124.

 Wampum, use among Lenapé, 188.

 Warraus, height of, 39.

 War clubs, 183.

 War Songs of Aztecs, 299 _sq._

 War-whoop, name for, 184.

 Way cot, a Maya imp, 178.

 Weighing, unknown in America, 434, 449.

 West, as abode of souls, 141–144.

 West Indies, no palæoliths in, 42, 55;
   native tribes of, 310.

 Wetucks, a hero-god, 131.

 Wheels, of Mayas, for computing time, 264.

 Wheel-cross, the, 158.

 White, as sacred color, 113, 132, 166, 186, 188.

 Wigwams of Lenâpé, 185.

 Winds, the gods of, 123, 175.

 Winter-counts, of Dakotas, 139.

 Wisakketjâk, a Cree hero, 131, 132.

 Wives, buying, 424.

 Wooden utensils of Lenâpé, 185.

 Woods, the Man of the, 176.

 Words, number of in American tongues, 325.

 Writing, different methods of, 213, 230.

 Xbalanque, the Quiche hero-god, 123–129.

 X bolon thoroch, a Maya imp, 178.

 X’Kanleox, a Maya goddess, 166.

 Xibalba, the Quiche Hades, 84, 123–129.

 Xipacoyan, a river, 86.

 Xmucane, a Quiche goddess, 118, 119, 122, 124.

 Xocotitlan, a place name, 93.

 Xochicalco, hieroglyph of, 282.

 Xpiyacoc, a Quiche deity, 118, 119, 124.

 Xquiq, the Virgin mother, 124.

 X tabai, a Maya sprite, 178.

 X Thoh Chaltun, a Maya sprite, 178.

 Yancopek, a Maya imp, 178.

 Yasous, tribe, 77.

 Ycasqui, a province, 74.

 Year counts, of natives, 159, 160.

 Yellow, symbolism of, 166, 167.

 Yin and Yang, 151.

 Yucatan, ancient, 302;
   folk-lore of, 163;
   dialects in, 104;
   civilization of, 84;
   ruins in, 26;
   legendary peopling of, 24.

 Yum cim-il, a Maya divinity, 169.

 Yurari, the language, 329.

 Zaki-nim-ak, name of a god, 113.

 Zaki-nima-tzyiz, 113.

 Zapote, superstition concerning, 169.

 Zapotecs, a Mexican tribe, 228.

 Zaztun, the, of Mayas, 165.

 Zohol chich, a phantom bird, 179.

 Zuñis, the, 108.


Footnote 1:

  Prof. H. W. Haynes, in _The Narrative and Critical History of
  America_, p. 329. Edited by Justin Winsor. Boston, 1889.

Footnote 2:

  This paper was my address as vice-president of the American
  Association for the Advancement of Science, before the Section of
  Anthropology, at the meeting in 1887. I have added the foot notes, and
  revised the text.

Footnote 3:

  _Vues des Cordillières, et Monumens des Peuples Indigènes de
  l’Amérique._ Introduction.

Footnote 4:

  See F. Michel, _Dix-huit Ans chez les Sauvages. Voyages et Missions de
  Mgr. Henry Faraud_ (Paris, 1866), and Emile Petitot, _Monographie des
  Dènè-Dindjié_? (Paris, 1876).

Footnote 5:

  Professor Gustav Storm has rendered it probable that the Vineland of
  the Northmen was not further south than Nova Scotia. See his _Studies
  on the Vineland Voyages_, in _Mems. de la Société Royale des
  Antiquaires du Nord._, 1888.

Footnote 6:

  Such was the opinion of the late José Fernando Ramirez, one of the
  most acute and learned of Mexican antiquaries. See his words in Orozco
  y Berra’s Introduction to the _Cronica_ of Tezozomoc, p. 213 (Mexico,

Footnote 7:

  _Die Spuren der Aztekischen Sprache in Nördlichen Mexiko_, etc.
  (Berlin, 1859.)

Footnote 8:

  I would refer the reader who cares to pursue this branch of the
  subject to my analysis of these stories in _The Myths of the New
  World_ (second ed., New York, 1876), and _American Hero-Myths_
  (Philadelphia, 1882).

Footnote 9:

  The results of the recent “Hemenway South-western Exploring
  Expedition” do not in the least invalidate this statement.

Footnote 10:

  A brief but most interesting description of these monuments is
  preserved in a letter to the Emperor Charles V. by the Friar Lorenzo
  de Bienvenida, written from Yucatan in 1548.

Footnote 11:

  _Las Ruinas de Tiahuanaco._ Por Bartolomé Mitre. (Buenos Ayres, 1879.)

Footnote 12:

  This assertion was attacked by Dr. C. C. Abbott, in an address before
  the American Association in 1888 (_Proceedings_, Vol. XXXVII, p. 308).
  But if we assume the mediæval period of European history to have begun
  with the fall of the Western Empire, I do not retire from my position.

Footnote 13:

  D. G. Brinton, _The Floridian Peninsula, its Literary History, Indian
  Tribes and Antiquities_, p. 177–181 (Philadelphia, 1859). The
  shell-heaps along the Tennessee River I described in the _Annual
  Report of the Smithsonian Institution_, for 1866, p. 356.

Footnote 14:

  His accounts were principally in the Fourth and Seventh _Reports of
  the Peabody Museum_.

Footnote 15:

  See the _Verhandlungen der Berliner Gesellschaft für Anthropologie_,
  1886, 1887, 1888.

Footnote 16:

  I have brought out the distinction between the epoch of simple
  implements and that of compound implements in an article which is
  reprinted in this collection. The expressions “early” and “late”
  applied to these epochs do not refer to absolute periods of time, but
  are relative to the progress of individual civilizations.

Footnote 17:

  Exceptions are some of the Floridian shell-heaps and a limited number

Footnote 18:

  Florentine Ameghino, _La Antiguedad del Hombre en el Plata_, Tomo II,
  p. 434, _et al._ (Buenos Ayres, 1881.) The bow and arrow, being a
  compound implement, nowhere belonged to the earliest stage of human
  culture. See also H. W. Haynes’ article, “The Bow and Arrow unknown to
  Palæolithic Man,” in _Proceedings of Boston Soc. Nat. History_, Vol.

Footnote 19:

  Dr. C. C. Abbott, the discoverer and principal explorer of these
  gravels, reported his discoveries in numerous papers, and especially
  in his work _Primitive Industry_, chap. xxxii.

Footnote 20:

  _Expedition durch Central-Brasilien_, pp. 310–314 (Leipzig, 1886).

Footnote 21:

  The reference is to Mr. Horatio Hale’s Address “On the Origin of
  Language and the Antiquity of Speaking Man.” See _Proc. of the Am.
  Assoc. for the Adv. of Science_, vol. xxxv., p. 239, sq.

Footnote 22:

  _Ethnographie der Republik Guatemala_, p. 157 (Zurich, 1884).

Footnote 23:

  See Howse, _Grammar of the Cree Language_, p. 143, sqq.

Footnote 24:

  This question is discussed in more detail in the next essay.

Footnote 25:

  _L’Homme Americain_, Tome I, p. 126. The tribe is the Guarayos, an
  offshoot of the Guaranis.

Footnote 26:

  _Zeitschrift für Ethnologie_, 1884, p. 181.

Footnote 27:

  Since this address was delivered Mr. H. T. Cresson has reported the
  finding of chipped implements made of argillite in a deposit of
  mid-glacial age on the banks of the Delaware River—_Proc. Boston Soc.
  Nat. Hist._ vol. xxiv; and portions of two skeletons completely
  converted into limonite have been exhibited at the Academy of Natural
  Sciences, Philadelphia, from a deposit in Florida, _below_ one
  containing the remains of the extinct giant bison.

Footnote 28:

  I have discussed this fully in a paper in the _Proceedings_ of the
  Amer. Philosoph. Soc. for 1887, entitled “On an Ancient Human
  Footprint from Nicaragua.”

Footnote 29:

  Man must have descended from the catarrhine division of the
  anthropoids, none of which occur in the New World. See Darwin, _The
  Descent of Man_, p. 153.

Footnote 30:

  Address at the British Association for the Adv. of Science, 1887.

Footnote 31:

  His article, which was first printed in the _North American Review_,
  1870, may be found in Beach’s _Indian Miscellany_, p. 158 (Albany,

Footnote 32:

  The subject of an address before the American Association for the
  Advancement of Science in 1888, with revision.

Footnote 33:

  The earliest publication I made on this subject was in an article on
  Pre-historic Archæology, contributed to _The Iconographic
  Encyclopædia_ (Vol. II, p. 28, Philadelphia, 1886).

Footnote 34:

  A possible exception may have been along the line of the Mississippi
  River, where a palæolithic workshop appears to have been discovered
  above St. Paul, by Miss Babbitt.

Footnote 35:

  This Paper was read before the American Association for the
  Advancement of Science, at its meeting in Cleveland, 1888.

Footnote 36:

  See Foley, _Des Trois Grandes Races Humaines_, Paris, 1881.

Footnote 37:

  _Uralaltaische Völker und Sprachen_, p. 167. I do not think that the
  verbal coincidences pointed out by Petitot in his _Monographie des
  Déné Dindjé_, and by Platzmann in his _Amerikanisch-Asiatische
  Etymologien_, merit serious consideration.

Footnote 38:

  Brinton, in _Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society_, for
  1885; Charencey, _Mélanges de Philologie et Palaéographie Américaine_,
  p. 80 (Paris, 1883). See also a later Essay in this volume.

Footnote 39:

  This example of misdirected erudition may be seen in the _Anales del
  Museo Nacional de Mexico_. Tomo I.

Footnote 40:

  Prof. Morse has also pointed out to me that the Mongolian
  arrow-release—one of the most characteristic of all releases—has been
  nowhere found on the American continent. This is an important fact,
  proving that neither as hunters nor conquerors did any stray Mongols
  leave a mark on American culture.

Footnote 41:

  Hovelacque et Hervé, _Anthropologie_, pp. 231, 234, 236; and on the
  Inca bone, see Dr. Washington Matthews in the _American
  Anthropologist_, vol. II., p. 337.

Footnote 42:

  In _Verhandlungen der Berliner Anthrop. Gesellschaft_, 1881–82.

Footnote 43:

  Dr. Franz Boas, whose accurate studies of the Indians of the Northwest
  coast are well known, informs me that he has rarely or never noted the
  oblique eye among them. Yet precisely on that coast we should look for
  it, if the Mongolian theory has any foundation. Dr. Ranke’s recent
  studies have proved the oblique eye to be merely an arrest of

Footnote 44:

  _Elements d’ Anthropologie_, p. 1003.

Footnote 45:

  When this paper appeared in _Science_ (September 14th, 1888), it led
  to a reply from Dr. H. F. C. Ten Kate, of Leyden, who had published
  various studies endeavoring to prove the Mongoloid character of the
  American race. His arguments, however, were merely a repetition of
  those which I believe I have refuted in the above article, and for
  that reason I do not include the discussion.

Footnote 46:

  _The North Americans of Antiquity_, p. 106, (1880.)

Footnote 47:

  _The Mound-Builders_, chap. xii, (Cinn., 1879.)

Footnote 48:

  _Pre-Historic Races of the United States of America_, pp. 388, 347,
  (Chicago, 1873.)

Footnote 49:

  _Transactions of the Anthropological Society of Washington, D. C._, p.
  116, (1881.)

Footnote 50:

  _History of the Five Nations_, Introduction, p. 16 (London, 1750).

Footnote 51:

  _Meurs des Sauvages Américains comparés aux Meurs du Premiers Temps_,
  chap. xiii.

Footnote 52:

  _Journal Historique_, p. 377.

Footnote 53:

  _Wanderings of an Artist among the Indians of North America_, p. 3
  (London, 1859).

Footnote 54:

  H. R. Schoolcraft, _Notes on the Iroquois_, pp. 162, 163, compare pp.
  66, 67.

Footnote 55:

  Squier and Davis, _Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley_, p.

Footnote 56:

  _Aboriginal Monuments of the State of New York_, p. 11.

Footnote 57:

  Mr. S. Taylor, _American Journal of Science_, vol. xliv, p. 22.

Footnote 58:

  _History of Virginia_, book ii, chap. iii, ch. viii.

Footnote 59:

  See a well-prepared article on this subject by Prof. Finch, in the
  _American Journal of Science_, vol. vii, p. 153.

Footnote 60:

  _History of Virginia_, bk. iii, chap. vii.

Footnote 61:

  _Travels_, p. 367 (Dublin, 1793).

Footnote 62:

  _History of the North American Indians_, p. 184. See note at end of
  this Essay.

Footnote 63:

  _Relatione que fece Alvaro Nurez, detto Capo di Vacca_, Ramusio,
  _Viaggi_, tom. iii, fol. 317, 323 (Venice, 1556.)

Footnote 64:

  La Vega, _Historia de la Florida_, Lib. ii, cap. xxii.

Footnote 65:

  Ibid, Lib. vi, cap. vi. See for other examples from this work: Lib.
  ii, cap. xxx, Lib. iv, cap. xi, Lib. v, cap. iii, etc.

Footnote 66:

  _Relation de ce qui arriva pendant le Voyage du Capitaine Soto_, p. 88
  (Ed. Ternaux Compans).

Footnote 67:

  _Proceedings_ of the American Philosophical Society, 1879–1880.

Footnote 68:

  _Histoire Notable de la Floride_, pp. 138, 164, etc.

Footnote 69:

  _Brevis Narratio_, in De Bry, _Peregrinationes in Americam_, Pars. ii,
  Tab. xl, (1591.)

Footnote 70:

  Alcazar, _Chrono-Historia de la Compania de Jesus en la Provincia de
  Toledo_, Tom. ii, Dec. iii, cap. vi, (Madrid, 1710.)

Footnote 71:

  _The Present State of His Majestie’s Isles and Territories in
  America_, p. 156, (London, 1667.)

Footnote 72:

  _The Floridian Peninsula_, p. 95, sqq. (Phila. 1859.)

Footnote 73:

  Bartram MSS., in the Library of the Pennsylvania Historical Society.

Footnote 74:

  _Narrative of Occola Nikkanoche, Prince of Econchatti_, by his
  Guardian, pp. 71–2, (London, 1841.)

Footnote 75:

  _Annals_, in Louisiana _Hist. Colls._, p. 196.

Footnote 76:

  _Memoires Historiques de la Louisiane_, Tome ii, p. 109.

Footnote 77:

  _Letters Edifiantes et Curieuses_, Tome. i, p. 261.

Footnote 78:

  _History of Louisiana_, vol. ii, p. 188, (Eng. Trans., London, 1763.)

Footnote 79:

  Adair, _History of the North American Indians_, pp. 184, 185:—William
  Bartram, _Travels_, p. 561: Dumont, _Memoires Historiques de la
  Louisiane_, Tome i, pp. 246, 264, et al.: Bernard Romans, _Natural and
  Civil History of Florida_, pp. 88–90, (a good account.)

  The _Relations des Jesuits_ describe the custom among the Northern

Footnote 80:

  _Antiquities of the Southern Indians_, particularly the Georgian
  Tribes, p. 135, (New York, 1873.)

Footnote 81:

  For particulars of this see my _Myths of the New World_, pp. 241–2,
  (New York, 1876.)

Footnote 82:

  C. C. Jones, _Monumental Remains of Georgia_, p. 32.

Footnote 83:

  Ibid., _Antiquities of the Southern Indians_, p. 169.

Footnote 84:

  Squier & Davis, _Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley_, p. 29.

Footnote 85:

  _Origin of the Big Mound of St. Louis, a paper read before the St.
  Louis Academy of Science._

Footnote 86:

  Thomas E. Pickett, _The Testimony of the Mounds: Considered with
  especial reference to the Pre-historic Archæology of Kentucky and the
  Adjoining States_, pp. 9, 28, (Maysville, 1876.)

Footnote 87:

  _Myths of the New World._ By D. G. Brinton, chap. vi. _passim_.

Footnote 88:

  Especially in _American Hero Myths, a study in the Native Religions of
  the Western Continent_, pp. 35, 64, 82, etc. (Philadelphia, 1882.)

Footnote 89:

  M. Charnay, in his essay, _La Civilisation Toltèque_, published in the
  _Revue d’ Ethnographie_, T. iv., p. 281, 1885, states his thesis as
  follows: “Je veux prouver l’existence du Toltèque que certains ont
  niée; je veux prouver que les civilisations Américaines ne sont qu’une
  seule et même civilisation; enfin, je veux prouver que cette
  civilisation est toltèque.” I consider each of these statements an
  utter error. In his _Anciennes Villes du Nouveau Monde_, M. Charnay
  has gone so far as to give a map showing the migrations of the ancient
  Toltecs. As a translation of this work, with this map, has recently
  been published in this country, it appears to me the more needful that
  the baseless character of the Toltec legend be distinctly stated.

Footnote 90:

  Ixtlilxochitl, in his _Relaciones Historicas_ (in Lord Kingsborough’s
  _Antiquities of Mexico_, Vol. ix., p. 333), says that during the reign
  of Topiltzin, last king of Tula, the Toltec sovereignty extended a
  thousand leagues from north to south and eight hundred from east to
  west; and in the wars that attended its downfall five million six
  hundred thousand persons were slain!!

Footnote 91:

  Sahagun (_Hist. de la Nueva España_, Lib. viii, cap. 5) places the
  destruction of Tula in the year 319 B. C.; Ixtlilxochitl (_Historia
  Chichimeca_, iii, cap. 4) brings it down to 969 A. D.; the _Codex
  Ramirez_ (p. 25) to 1168; and so on. There is an equal variation about
  the date of founding the city.

Footnote 92:

  Since writing the above I have received from the Comte de Charencey a
  reprint of his article on _Xibalba_, in which he sets forth the theory
  of the late M. L. Angrand, that all ancient American civilization was
  due to two “currents” of Toltecs, the western, straight-headed
  Toltecs, who entered Anahuac by land from the north-west, and the
  eastern, flat-headed Toltecs, who came by sea from Florida. It is to
  criticise such vague theorizing that I have written this paper.

Footnote 93:

  Motolinia, in his _Historia de los Indios de Nueva España_, p. 5,
  calls the locality “el puerto llamado Tollan,” the pass or gate called
  Tollan. Through it, he states, passed first the Colhua and later the
  Mexica, though he adds that some maintain these were the same people.
  In fact, Colhua is a form of a word which means “ancestors:” _colli_,
  forefather; _no-col-huan_, my forefathers; _Colhuacan_, “the place of
  the forefathers,” where they lived. In Aztec picture-writing this is
  represented by a hill with a bent top, on the “ikonomatic” system, the
  verb _coloa_, meaning to bend, to stoop. Those Mexica who said the
  Colhua proceeded them at Tula, simply meant that their own ancestors
  dwelt there. The _Anales de Cuauhtitlan_ (pp. 29, 33) distinctly
  states that what Toltecs survived the wars which drove them southward
  became merged in the Colhuas. As these wars largely arose from civil
  dissensions, the account no doubt is correct which states that others
  settled in Acolhuacan, on the eastern shore of the principal lake in
  the Valley of Mexico. The name means “Colhuacan by the water,” and was
  the State of which the capital was Tezcoco.

Footnote 94:

  This description is taken from the map of the location in M. Charnay’s
  _Anciennes Villes du Nouveau Monde_, p. 83. The measurements I have
  made from the map do not agree with those stated in the text of the
  book, but are, I take it, more accurate.

Footnote 95:

  Sometimes called the _Rio de Montezuma_, and also the _Tollanatl_,
  water of Tula. This stream plays a conspicuous part in the
  Quetzalcoatl myths. It appears to be the same as the river _Atoyac_ (=
  flowing or spreading water, _alt_, _toyaua_), or _Xipacoyan_ (= where
  precious stones are washed, from _xiuitl_, _paca_, _yan_), referred to
  by Sahagun, _Hist. de la Nueva España_, Lib. ix., cap. 29. In it were
  the celebrated “Baths of Quetzalcoatl,” called _Atecpanamochco_, “the
  water in the tin palace,” probably from being adorned with this metal
  (_Anales de Cuauhtitlan_).

Footnote 96:

  See the _Codez Ramirez_, p. 24. Why called Snake-Hill the legend says
  not. I need not recall how prominent an object is the serpent in Aztec
  mythology. The name is a compound of _coatl_, snake, and _tepetl_,
  hill or mountain, but which may also may mean town or city, as such
  were usually built on elevations. The form _Coatepec_ is this word
  with the postposition _c_, and means “at the snake-hill,” or, perhaps,
  “at Snake-town.”

Footnote 97:

  Or to one of them. The name is preserved by Ixtlilxochitl, _Relaciones
  Historicas_, in Kingsborough, _Mexico_, Vol. ix., p. 326. Its
  derivation is from _palli_, a color (root _pa_), and the postposition
  _pan_. It is noteworthy that this legend states that Quetzalcoatl in
  his avatar as _Ce Acatl_ was born in the Palpan, “House of Colors;”
  while the usual story was that he came from Tla-pallan, the place of
  colors. This indicates that the two accounts are versions of the same

Footnote 98:

   There are two ancient Codices extant, giving in picture-writing the
  migrations of the Mexi. They have been repeatedly published in part or
  in whole, with varying degrees of accuracy. Orozco y Berra gives their
  bibliography in his _Historia Antigua de Mexico_, Tom. iii. p. 61,
  note. These Codices differ widely, and seem contradictory, but Orozco
  y Berra has reconciled them by the happy suggestion that they refer to
  sequent and not synchronous events. There is, however, yet much to do
  before their full meaning is ascertained.

Footnote 99:

  The name Aztlan is that of a place and Mexitl that of a person, and
  from these are derived _Aztecatl_, plural, _Azteca_, and _Mexicatl_,
  pl. _Mexica_. The Azteca are said to have left Aztlan under the
  guidance of Mexitl (_Codex Ramirez_). The radicals of both words have
  now become somewhat obscured in the Nahuatl. My own opinion is that
  Father Duran (_Hist. de Nueva España_, Tom. i, p. 19) was right in
  translating Aztlan as “the place of whiteness,” _el lugar de
  blancura_, from the radical _iztac_, white. This may refer to the
  East, as the place of the dawn; but there is also a temptation to look
  upon Aztlan as a syncope of _a-izta-tlan_, = “by the salt water.”

  Mexicatl is a _nomen gentile_ derived from _Mexitl_, which was another
  name for the tribal god or early leader Huitzilopochtli, as is
  positively stated by Torquemada (_Monarquia Indiana_, Lib. viii, cap.
  xi). Sahagun explains Mexitl as a compound of _metl_, the maguey, and
  _citli_, which means “hare” and “grandmother” (_Hist. de Nueva
  España_, Lib. x. cap. 29). It is noteworthy that one of the names of
  Quetzalcoatl is _Meconetzin_, son of the maguey (Ixtlilxochitl, _Rel.
  Hist._, in Kingsborough, Vol. ix, p. 238). These two gods were
  originally brothers, though each had divers mythical ancestors.

Footnote 100:

  Orozco y Berra, _Historia Antigua de Mexico_, Tom. iii, cap. 4. But
  Albert Gallatin was the first to place Aztlan no further west than
  Michoacan (_Trans. American Ethnolog. Society_, Vol. ii, p. 202).
  Orozco thinks Aztlan was the small island called Mexcalla in Lake
  Chapallan, apparently because he thinks this name means “houses of the
  Mexi;” but it may also signify “where there is abundance of maguey
  leaves,” this delicacy being called _mexcalli_ in Nahuatl, and the
  terminal _a_ signifying location or abundance. (See Sahagun, _Historia
  de Nueva España_, Lib. vii, cap. 9.) At present, one of the smaller
  species of maguey is called _mexcalli_.

Footnote 101:

  It is quite likely that the stone image figured by Charnay, _Anciennes
  Villes du Nouveau Monde_, p. 72, and the stone ring used in the
  _tlachtli_, ball play, which he figures, p. 73, are those referred to
  in the historic legend.

Footnote 102:

  The _Codex Ramirez_, p. 24, a most excellent authority, is quite
  clear. The picture-writing—which is really phonetic, or, as I have
  termed it, _ikonomatic_—represents the Coatepetl by the sign of a hill
  (_tepetl_) inclosing a serpent (_coatl_). Tezozomoc, in his _Cronica
  Mexicana_, cap. 2, presents a more detailed but more confused account.
  Duran, _Historia de las Indias de Nueva España_, cap. 3, is worthy of
  comparison. The artificial inundation of the plain to which the
  accounts refer probably means that a ditch or moat was constructed to
  protect the foot of the hill. Herrera says: “Cercaron de agua el cerro
  llamado Coatepec.” _Decadas de Indias_, Dec. iii, Lib. ii, cap. 11.

Footnote 103:

  The _Annals of Cuauhtitlan_, a chronicle written in the Nahuatl
  language, gives 309 years from the founding to the destruction of
  Tula, but names a dynasty of only four rulers. Veitia puts the
  founding of Tula in the year 713 A. D. (_Historia de Nueva España_,
  cap. 23.) Let us suppose, with the laborious and critical Orozco y
  Berra (notes to the _Codex Ramirez_, p. 210) that the Mexi left Aztlan
  A. D. 648. These three dates would fit into a rational chronology,
  remembering that there is an acknowledged hiatus of a number of years
  about the eleventh and twelfth centuries in the Aztec records (Orozco
  y Berra, notes to _Codex Ramirez_, p. 213). The _Anales de
  Cuauhtitlan_ dates the founding of Tula _after_ that of Tlaxcallan,
  Huexotzinco and Cuauhtitlan (p. 29).

Footnote 104:

  As usual, Ixtlilxochitl contradicts himself in his lists of rulers.
  Those given in his _Historia Chichimeca_ are by no means the same as
  those enumerated in his _Relaciones Historicas_ (Kingsborough,
  _Mexico_, Vol. ix, contains all of Ixtlilxochitl’s writings). Entirely
  different from both is the list in the _Anales de Cuauhtitlan_. How
  completely euhemeristic Ixtlilxochitl is in his interpretations of
  Mexican mythology is shown by his speaking of the two leading Nahuatl
  divinities Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli as “certain bold warriors”
  (“ciertos caballeros muy valerosos.” _Relaciones Historicas_, in
  Kingsborough, Vol. ix, p. 326).

Footnote 105:

  See the note to page 84. But it is not at all likely that Tula was
  absolutely deserted. On the contrary, Herrera asserts that _after_ the
  foundation of Mexico and the adjacent cities (despues de la fundacion
  de Mexico i de toda la tierra) it reached its greatest celebrity for
  skilled workmen. _Decadas de Indias_, Dec. iii, Lib. ii, cap. 11. The
  general statement is that the sites on the Coatepetl and the adjacent
  meadows were unoccupied for a few years—the _Anales de Cuauhtitlan_
  says nine years—after the civil strife and massacre, and then were
  settled again. The _Historia de los Mexicanos por sus Pinturas_, cap.
  11, says, “y ansi fueron muertos todos los de Tula, que no quedó

Footnote 106:

  See Buschmann, _Ueber die Aztekischen Ortsnamen_, ss. 682, 788. Orozco
  y Berra, _Geografia de las Lenguas de Mejico_, pp. 248, 255.

Footnote 107:

  _Historia de las Indias Occidentales_, Dec. iii, Lib. ii, cap. II.

Footnote 108:

  _Relaciones Historicas_, in Kingsborough’s _Mexico_, Vol. ix, p. 392.
  Compare his _Historia Chichimeca_.

Footnote 109:

  Buschmann, _Ueber die Aztekischen Ortsnamen_, ss. 682, 797.

Footnote 110:

  _Cronica Mexicana_, cap. 1, “Partieron de alli y vinieron á la parte
  que llaman Coatepec, términos de Tonalan, lugar del sol.” In Nahuatl
  _tonallan_ usually means summer, sun-time. It is syncopated from
  _tonalli_ and _tlan_; the latter is the locative termination;
  _tonalli_ means warmth, _sunniness_, akin to _tonatiuh_, sun; but it
  also means soul, spirit, especially when combined with the possessive
  pronouns, as _totonal_, our soul, our immaterial essence. By a further
  syncope _tonallan_ was reduced to _Tollan_ or _Tullan_, and by the
  elision of the terminal semi-vowel, this again became Tula. This name
  may therefore mean “the place of souls,” an accessory signification
  which doubtless had its influence on the growth of the myths
  concerning the locality.

  It may be of some importance to note that Tula or Tollan was not at
  first the name of the town, but of the locality—that is, of the warm
  and fertile meadow-lands at the foot of the Coatepetl. The town was at
  first called Xocotitlan, the place of fruit, from _xocotl_, fruit,
  _ti_, connective, and _tlan_, locative ending. (See Sahagun, _Historia
  de Nueva España_, Lib. x, cap. 29, secs. 1 and 12.) This name was also
  applied to one of the quarters of the city of Mexico when conquered by
  Cortes, as we learn from the same authority.

Footnote 111:

  Buschmann, _Ueber die Aztekischen Ortsnamen_, ss. 794, 797, (Berlin,

Footnote 112:

  The verbal radical is _tona_, to warm (hazer calor, Molina,
  _Vocabulario de la Lengua Mexicana_, s. v.); from this root come many
  words signifying warmth, fertility, abundance, the sun, the east, the
  summer, the day, and others expressing the soul, the vital principle,
  etc. Siméon, _Dict. de la Langue Nahuatl_, s. v. _tonalli_. As in the
  Algonkin dialects the words for cold, night and death are from the
  same root, so in Nahuatl are those for warmth, day and life. (Comp.
  Duponceau, _Mémoire sur les Langues de l’Amérique du Nord_, p. 327,
  Paris, 1836.)

Footnote 113:

  _Coatlan, to-nan_, from _coatl_, serpent; _tlan_, among; _to-nan_, our
  mother. She was the goddess of flowers, and the florists paid her
  especial devotion (Sahagun, _Historia_, Lib. ii, cap. 22). A precinct
  of the city of Mexico was named after her, and also one of the
  edifices in the great temple of the city. Here captives were
  sacrificed to her and to the Huitznahua. (Ibid., Lib. ii. Appendix.
  See also Torquemada, _Monarquia Indiana_, Lib. x. cap. 12.)

Footnote 114:

  _Centzon Huitznahua_, “the Four Hundred Diviners with Thorns.” Four
  hundred, however, in Nahuatl means any indeterminate large number, and
  hence is properly translated myriad, legion. _Nahuatl_ means wise,
  skillful, a diviner, but is also the proper name of the
  Nahuatl-speaking tribes; and as the Nahuas derived their word for
  south from _huitzli_, a thorn, the Huitznahua may mean “the southern
  Nahuas.” Sahagun had this in his mind when he said the Huitznahua were
  goddesses who dwelt in the south (_Historia de Nueva España_, Lib.
  vii, cap. 5). The word is taken by Father Duran as the proper name of
  an individual, as we shall see in a later note.

Footnote 115:

  _Huitzilopochtli_, from _huitzilin_, humming-bird, _opochtli_, the
  left side or hand. This is the usual derivation; but I am quite sure
  that it is an error arising from the ikonomatic representation of the
  name. The name of his brother, Huitznahua, indicates strongly that the
  prefix of both names is identical. This, I doubt not, is from
  _huitz-tlan_, the south; _ilo_, is from _iloa_, to turn; this gives us
  the meaning “the left hand turned toward the south.” Orozco y Berra
  has pointed out that the Mexica regarded left-handed warriors as the
  more formidable (_Historia Antigua de Mexico_, Tom. i, p. 125). Along
  with this let it be remembered that the legend states that
  Huitzilopochtli was born in Tula, and insisted on leading the Mexica
  toward the south, the opposition to which by his brother led to the
  massacre and to the destruction of the town.

Footnote 116:

  This myth is recorded by Sahagun, _Historia de Nueva España_, Lib.
  iii, cap. 1, “On the Origin of the Gods.” It is preserved with some
  curious variations in the _Historia de los Mexicanos por sus
  Pinturas_, cap. 11. When the gods created the sun they also formed
  four hundred men and five women for him to eat. At the death of the
  women their robes were preserved, and when the people carried these to
  the Coatepec, the five women came again into being. One of these was
  Coatlicue, an untouched virgin, who after four years of fasting placed
  a bunch of white feathers in her bosom, and forthwith became pregnant.
  She brought forth Huitzilopochtli completely armed, who at once
  destroyed the Huitznahua. Father Duran translates all of this into
  plain history. His account is that when the Aztecs had occupied Tollan
  for some time, and had fortified the hill and cultivated the plain, a
  dissension arose. One party, followers of Huitzilopochtli, desired to
  move on; the other, headed by a chieftain, Huitznahua, insisted on
  remaining. The former attacked the latter at night, massacred them,
  destroyed the water-dams and buildings, and marched away (_Historia de
  las Indias de Nueva España_, Tom. i, pp. 25, 26). According to several
  accounts, Huitznahua was the brother of Huitzilopochtli. See my
  _American Hero Myths_, p. 81.

Footnote 117:

  I have discussed both these accounts in my _American Hero Myths_,
  chap. iii., and need not repeat the authorities here.

Footnote 118:

  The most highly-colored descriptions of the mythical Tula are to be
  found in the third and tenth book of Sahagun’s _Historia de Nueva
  España_, in the _Anales de Cuauhtitlan_, and in the various writings
  of Ixtlilxochitl. Later authors, such as Veitia, Torquemada, etc.,
  have copied from these. Ixtlilxochitl speaks of the “legions of
  fables” about Tulan and Quetzalcoatl which even in his day were still
  current (“otras trescientas fabulas que aun todavia corren.”
  _Relaciones Historicas_, in Kingsborough, _Mexico_, Vol. ix, p. 332).

Footnote 119:

  In the collection of _Ancient Nahuatl Poems_, which forms the seventh
  volume of my _Library of Aboriginal American Literature_, p. 104, I
  have printed the original text of one of the old songs recalling the
  glories of Tula, with its “house of beams,” _huapalcalli_, and its
  “house of plumed serpents,” _coatlaquetzalli_, attributed to

Footnote 120:

  _Les Anciennes Villes du Nouveau Monde_, p. 84 (Paris, 1885).

Footnote 121:

  _Historia de Nueva España_, Lib. viii, cap. 5.

Footnote 122:

  Father Duran relates, “Even to this day, when I ask the Indians, ‘Who
  created this pass in the mountains? Who opened this spring? Who
  discovered this cave? or, Who built this edifice?’ they reply, ‘The
  Toltecs, the disciples of Papa.’” _Historia de las Indias de Nueva
  España_, cap. 79. _Papa_, from _papachtic_, the bushy-haired was one
  of the names of Quetzalcoatl. But the earlier missionary, Father
  Motilinia, distinctly states that the Mexica invented their own arts,
  and owed nothing to any imaginary teachers, Toltecs or others. “Hay
  entre todos los Indios muchos oficios, y de todos dicen _que fueron
  inventores los Mexicanos_.” _Historia de los Indios de la Nueva
  España_, Tratado iii, cap. viii.

Footnote 123:

  Quetzalcoatl announced that his return should take place 5012 years
  after his final departure, as is mentioned by Ixtlilxochitl (in
  Kingsborough, _Mexico_, Vol. ix, p. 332). This number has probably
  some mystic relation to the calendar.

Footnote 124:

  _American Hero Myths_, p. 35. The only writer on ancient American
  history before me who has wholly rejected the Toltecs is, I believe,
  Albert Gallatin. In his able and critical study of the origin of
  American civilization (_Transactions of the American Ethnological
  Society_, Vol. i, p. 203) he dismissed them entirely from historical
  consideration with the words: “The tradition respecting the Toltecs
  ascends to so remote a date, and is so obscure and intermixed with
  mythological fables, that it is impossible to designate either the
  locality of their primitive abodes, the time when they first appeared
  in the vicinity of the Valley of Mexico, or whether they were preceded
  by nations speaking the same or different languages.” Had this
  well-grounded skepticism gained the ears of writers since 1845, when
  it was published, we should have been saved a vast amount of rubbish
  which has been heaped up under the name of history.

  Dr. Otto Stoll (_Guatemala; Reisen und Schilderungen_, ss, 408, 409,
  Leipzig, 1886) has joined in rejecting the ethnic existence of the
  Toltecs. As in later Nahuatl the word _toltecatl_ meant not only
  “resident of Tollan,” but also “artificer” and “trader,” Dr. Stoll
  thinks that the Central American legends which speak of “Toltecs”
  should be interpreted merely as referring to foreign mechanics or
  pedlers, and not to any particular nationality. I quite agree with
  this view.

Footnote 125:

  Andrew Lang, _Custom and Myth_, p. 28.

Footnote 126:

  Revised extracts from an article read before the American
  Philosophical Society in 1881.

Footnote 127:

  _Las Historias del Origen de los Indios de esta Provincia de
  Guatemala_. Por el R. P. F. Francisco Ximenez.

Footnote 128:

  See Dr. Otto Stoll, _Ethnographie der Republik Guatemala_, p. 118. I
  regret to differ from this able writer, whose studies of the Quiche
  und Cakchiquel are the most thorough yet made, and from whose version
  the above translation of the opening lines of the _Popol Vuh_ is

Footnote 129:

  In his _MS. Dictionary_ is the following entry:

  “PODER: _vtziniçabal_, vel _vtzintaçibal_; deste nombre usa la
  _Cartilla_ en el Credo para decir por obra vel poder del Spirito
  Santo. Al poder que tienen los Sacerdotes de perdonar pecados y dar
  sacramentos, se llaman, o an llamado, _puz_, _naual_. Asi el Ph. Varea
  en su _Diccionario_ y el Sancto Vico en la _Theologia Indorum_ usa en
  muchas partes destos vocablos en este sentido. Ya no estan tan en uso,
  pues entienden por el nombre _poder y vtzintaçibal_; y son vocablos
  que antiguamente aplicaban a sus idolos, y oy se procura que vayan
  olbidando todo aquello con que se les puede hacer memoria dellos.”

Footnote 130:

  Coto says, “_Vugh_; nota que esta mesmo nombre tiene un genero de
  baile en que con los pies dan bueltas a un palo; tambien signfica el
  temblor de cuerpo que da con la terciana, o la misma cission;
  significa asi mesmo quando quiere ya amanescer aquel ponerse escuro el
  cielo; tambien quando suele estar el agua del rio o laguna, por
  antiparastassis, caliente, al tal calorsillo llaman _Vugh_.”

Footnote 131:

  I have traced the growth of this myth in detail in _The Myths of the
  New World, a Treatise on the Symbolism and Mythology of the Red Race
  of America_, chap. vi, (New York, 1876.) Dr. Otto Stoll in his most
  recent discussion of the myth of Hunahpu does not urge the meaning
  “opossum hunter,” and remarks that in the Pokonchi dialect _henahpo_
  means “moon-man,” and “month,” referring therefore to a night-god.
  _Ethnologie der Indianer Stämme von Guatemala_, p. 32, (Leyden, 1889.)

Footnote 132:

  _Popol Vuh_, p. 40.

Footnote 133:

  _Ibid._ pp. 225, 249.

Footnote 134:

  _Ibid._ p. 314.

Footnote 135:

  _Die Indianer von Santa Catalina Istlavacan; ein Beitrag zur
  Culturgeschichte der Urbewohner Central Amerikas._ Von Dr. Karl
  Scherzer, p. 9 (Wien, 1856).

Footnote 136:

  _Ibid._, p. 11.

Footnote 137:

  _Escolios à las Historias del Origen de los Indios_, p. 157.

Footnote 138:

  To quote his words:

  “BUBAS: _galel_ vel _tepex_. * * Quando an pasado dicen _xin colah
  ahauarem_, id est, ya an dejado su señoria, porque el que las tiene se
  esta sentado, sin hacer cosa, como si fuese señor ó señora.

  “SEÑORA: _xogohau_; Señoria, _xogohauarem_. * * Deste nombre _xogohau_
  vsan metaphoricamente para decir que una muger moza tiene bubas;
  porque se esta sin hacer cosa, mano sobre mano, * * y quando a anado
  de la enfermedad, dicen, si es varón: _xucolah rahauarem achi rumal
  tepex. Tepex_ es la enfermedad de bubas.”

Footnote 139:

  Sahagun, _Historia de Nueva España_, Lib. vii, cap. 2. He translates
  _Nanahuatzih_, “el buboso,” Comp. Boturini, _Idea de una Nueua
  Historia de la America_, pp. 37, 38.

Footnote 140:

  The MS. Dictionary of Coto says, s. v. Corazon: “Attribuenle todos los
  affectos de las potencias, memoria y entendimiento y voluntad, * *
  unde _ahgux_, el cuidadoso, entendido, memorioso * *; toman este
  nombre _gux_ por el alma de la persona, y por el spirito vital de todo
  viviente, v. g. _xel ru gux Pedro_, murió Pedro, vel, salio el alma de
  Pedro, * * deste nombre _gux_ se forma el verbo _tin gux lah_, por
  pensar, cuidar, imaginar.”

Footnote 141:

  “De adonde,” remarks Granados y Galvez, “viene que mis Otomites, de
  una misma manera llaman à la alma que al corazon, aplicandoles à
  entrambos la voz _muy_.” _Tardes Americanas_, Tarde iv, p. 101.
  (Mexico, 1778.)

Footnote 142:

  Ximenez, _Gramatica de la Lengua Quiche_, p. 17.

Footnote 143:

  _Popol Vuh_, pp. 18, 20, 23, 69, etc.

Footnote 144:

  “Cosa que esta encubierta ó enterrada.” The _Diccionario de Motul_ is
  the most complete dictionary of the Maya ever made. It dates from
  about 1590 and has its name from the town of Motul, Yucatan, where it
  was written. The author is unknown. Only two copies of it are in
  existence, one, very carefully made, with numerous notes, by Dr.
  Berendt, is in my possession. It is a thick 4to of 1500 pages.

Footnote 145:

  _Relacion de las Cosas de Yucatan_, § XXXIII.

Footnote 146:

  “R’atit zih, r’atit zak,” _Popol Vuh_, pp. 18, 20.

Footnote 147:

  Especially the _membrum virile_, Pio Perez, _Diccionario de la Lengua
  Maya_, s. v.

Footnote 148:

  “Entrar, juntarse el macho con la hembra.” Brasseur, _Vocabulaire Maya
  vancais_, s. v.

Footnote 149:

  _Popol Vuh_, pp. 8, 14.

Footnote 150:

  I take the following entries from Coto’s _MSS._:

  “LARGA COSA: Lo ordinario es poner _rakan_ para significar la largura
  de palo, cordel, etc.

  “GIGANTE: _hu rapah rakan chi vinak, hu chogah rakan chi vanak_; este
  nombre se usa de todo animal que en su specie es mas alto que los
  otros. Meo. P^e Saz, serm. de circumsciss, dice del Gigante Golias:
  _tugotic rogoric rakan chiachi_ Gigante _Golias_.”

  Ignorant, apparently, of this meaning, Dr. Stoll continues in his
  latest work to interpret Hurakan “with one foot.” _Die Ethnologie der
  Indianer Stämme von Guatemala_, p. 31, (Leiden, 1889.) The chapter on
  mythology is the least satisfactory in this important work.

Footnote 151:

  De la Borde, _Relation de l’origine, etc., des Caraibes_, p. 7.
  (Paris, 1674.)

Footnote 152:

  Las Casas, _Historia Apologetica de las Indias Occidentales_, cap.
  cxxiv (Madrid edition): P. F. Alonzo Fernandez, _Historia
  Ecclesiastica de Nuestros Tiempos_, p. 137 (Toledo, 1611).

Footnote 153:

  _Dissertation sur les Mythes de l’Antiquité Americane_, § 8 (Paris,
  1861); see also his note to the _Popol Vuh_, p. 70.

Footnote 154:

  _Ch’u qux uleu_, “in its heart the earth.” (Coto, _Dicc._ s. v.)

  Coto adds that the ancient meaning of the word was a ghost or vision
  of a departed spirit—“antiguamente este nombre _Xibalbay_ significaba
  el demonio, vel los diffuntos ô visiones que se les aperescian, y asi
  decian, y aun algunos ay que lo dicen oy _xuqutzii xibalbay ri cetzam
  chi nu vach_, se me apereció el diffunto.”

Footnote 155:

  “El Demonio se llamaba _Xibilha_, que quiere decir el que se desparece
  ó desbanece.” _Historia de Yucatan_, Lib. iv, cap. vii. Cogolludo had
  lived in Yucatan twenty-one years when he was making the final
  revision of his History, and was moderately well acquainted with the
  Maya tongue.

Footnote 156:

  The _Diccionario de Motul_, MS., gives:

  “XIBIL, _xibi_, _xibic_: cundir como gota de aceita; esparcirse la
  comida en la digestion, y deshacerse la sal, nieve ô yelo, humo ô
  niebla. _Item:_ desparecerse una vision ô fantasma. _Item:_ temblar de
  miedo y espantarse.”

Footnote 157:

  _De Legibus_, Lib. ii, cap. 2.

Footnote 158:

  “Les petits Tigres,” _Mythes de l’Antiquité Americane_, § viii, _Popol
  Vuh_, p. 34, note.

Footnote 159:

  _Compendio de Nombres en Lengua Cakchiquel, MS._

Footnote 160:

  _Las Historias del Origen de los Indios_, p. 16.

Footnote 161:

  Father Varea, in his _Calepino de la Lengua Cakchiquel. MS._, gives
  the following entries:

  “BALAM: el tigre, _zakbalam_, tigre pequeño de su naturelezo; _gana
  balam_, el grande, tainbein sig^a un signo de los Indios. _Maceval gih
  P^o balam_, ô _Maria xbalam_. _Balam_ se llama el echizero.”

  “_Queh_: el venado. Sig^a un cierto dia; otras veces dos dias; otras
  veces es signo de trece, otras veces cinco ó seis dias á la quenta de
  los Indios: _xa hun queh vœ gih_, ô, _cay queh_, _voo queh_, _vahaki_,
  ó, _oxlahuh queh_.”

Footnote 162:

  Published in the _American Antiquarian_, for May, 1885.

Footnote 163:

  _The Algonquin Legends of New England_, (Boston, 1884.)

Footnote 164:

  The Micmac word _kĕlooskăbāwe_, means “he is a cheat,” probably one
  who cheats by lying. See Rand, _Micmac Dictionary_, s. v. A cheat.

Footnote 165:

  _Dictionnaire de la Langue des Cris_, sub. voce _Wisakketjâk_. “Homme
  fabuleux des différentes tribus du Nord, auquel elles attribuent une
  puissance surnaturelle, avec un grand nombre de ruses, de tours, et de
  folies. Il est regardé comme le principal génie et le fondateur de ces
  nations. Chez les Sauteux on l’appelle _Nenaboj_, chez les
  Pieds-Noirs, _Nâpiw_. _Wisakkeljakow_, C’est un fourbe, un trompeur.”

Footnote 166:

   Baraga, _Otchipwe Dictionary_.

Footnote 167:

  _Key into the language of America_, p. 24.

Footnote 168:

  _Lexique de la Langue Algonquine_, p. 443. (Montreal, 1886.)

Footnote 169:

  See his article in _The American Review_, for 1848, entitled
  “Manabozho and the Great Serpent, an Algonquin legend.”

Footnote 170:

  _Algic Researches_, Vol. 1, p. 134.

Footnote 171:

  An address delivered at the annual meeting of the Numismatic and
  Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia, and published in its
  _Proceedings_ for 1883.

Footnote 172:

  This paper was read before the American Philosophical Society in
  December, 1888, and was printed in its _Proceedings_.

Footnote 173:

  Dr. E. T. Hamy, _An Interpretation of one of the Copan Monuments_, in
  _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, February 1887; also,
  _Revue d’ Ethnographie_, 1886, p. 233; same author, _Le Svastika et la
  Roue Solaire en Amérique_, _Revue d’ Ethnographie_, 1885, p. 22. E.
  Beauvois, in _Annales de Philosophie Chretienne_, 1877, and in various
  later publications. Ferraz de Macedo, _Essai Critique sur les Ages
  Prehistorique de Bresil_, Lisbon, 1887, etc.

Footnote 174:

  See his article, “Art in Shell of the Ancient Americans,” _Second
  Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology_, p. 270.

Footnote 175:

  See his article in _Zeitschrift für Ethnologie_, 1886, p. 223.

Footnote 176:

  Von Luchan, in _Zeitschrift für Ethnologie_, 1886, p. 301.

Footnote 177:

  See Dumoutier, _Le Svastika et la Roue Solaire en Chine_, in _Revue d’
  Ethnologie_, 1885, pp. 333, _sq._

Footnote 178:

  I am indebted for some of these explanations to Mr. K. Sungimoto, an
  intelligent Japanese gentleman, well acquainted with Chinese, late
  resident in Philadelphia.

Footnote 179:

  George Copway, _Traditional History of the Ojibway Nation_, p. 134. It
  will be noted that in the sign for sunrise the straight line meets the
  curve at its _left_ extremity, and for sunset at its _right_. This
  results from the superstitious preference of facing the south rather
  than the north.

Footnote 180:

  The triplicate constitution of things is a prominent feature of the
  ancient Mexican philosophy, especially that of Tezcuco. The visible
  world was divided into three parts, the earth below, the heavens
  above, and man’s abode between them. The whole was represented by a
  circle divided into three parts, the upper part painted blue, the
  lower brown, the centre white (See Duran, _Historia_, Lam. 15^a, for
  an example). Each of these three parts was subdivided into three
  parts, so that when the Tezcucan king built a tower as a symbol of the
  universe, he called it “The Tower of Nine Stories” (see my _Ancient
  Nahuatl Poetry_, Introduction, p. 36).

Footnote 181:

  Mallery, _Pictography of the North American Indians_, in _Fourth
  Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology_, p. 239.

Footnote 182:

  _Captivity and Adventures of John Tanner_, pp. 359, 360.

Footnote 183:

  Dr. Ferraz de Macedo, _Essai Critique sur les Ages Prehistorique de
  Bresil_, p. 38 (Lisbonne, 1887).

Footnote 184:

  Op. cit., p. 38.

Footnote 185:

  See Worsaae, _Danish Arts_, and Virchow, in various numbers of the
  _Zeitschrift für Ethnologie_. The ring-cross is a common figure in
  American symbolism and decorative art. It frequently occurs on the
  shields depicted in the Bologna Codex, and the two codices of the
  Vatican (Kingsborough’s _Antiquities of Mexico_, Vols. ii. and iii).
  Dr. Ferraz de Macedo says that the most common decorative design on
  both ancient and modern native Brazilian pottery is the ring-cross in
  the form of a double spiral, as in Fig. 19 (_Essai Critique sur les
  Ages Prehistorique de Bresil_, p. 40). A very similar form will be
  found in the Bologna Codex, pl. xviii, in Kingsborough’s _Mexico_,
  Vol. ii.

Footnote 186:

  See Mallery, _Pictography of the North American Indians_, pp. 88, 89,
  128, etc.

Footnote 187:

  This name is given in Landa, _Relacion de las Cosas de Yucatan_, p.

Footnote 188:

  _Historia de la Nueva España_, Trat. III, cap. i.

Footnote 189:

  Printed originally in _The Folk-Lore Journal_, London, 1883.

Footnote 190:

  _Informe del Señor Cura de Yaxcabà_, Don Bartolomé del Granado Baeza,
  in the _Registro Yucateco_, tomo i, pp. 165 _et seq._

  The Rev. Estanislao Carrillo was cura of Ticul, where he died in 1846.
  He was a zealous archæologist, and is frequently mentioned by Mr.
  Stephens in his travels in Yucatan. He is deservedly included in the
  _Manual de Biografia Yucateca_ of Don Francisco de P. Sosa (Merida,
  1866). His article on the subject of the text appeared in the
  _Registro Yucateco_, tomo iv. p. 103.

Footnote 191:

  “De idolatras paganos que eran, solo se ha conseguido que se
  conviertan en idolatras cristianos.”—Apolinar Garcia y Garcia,
  _Historia de la Guerra de Castas en Yucatan_, Prologo, p. xxiv
  (Merida, 1865).

Footnote 192:

  Landa, _Relacion de las Cosas de Yucatan_, pp. 208 _et seq._ The work
  of Landa was first printed at Paris in 1864.

Footnote 193:

  Charencey, _Des Couleurs considérées comme Symboles des Points de
  l’Horizon chez les Peuples du Nouveau-Monde_, in the _Actes de la
  Sociétè Philologique_, tome vi (Octobre 1876).

Footnote 194:

  _Chrestomathie de Litérature Maya_, p. 101, in the second volume of
  the _Etudes sur le Système Graphique et la Langue des Mayas_ (Paris,

Footnote 195:

  “La fiesta de fuego, que hasta ahora en esta provincia se hacia.”—Fr.
  Diego Lopez Cogolludo, _Historia de Yucatan_, tomo i, p. 483 (3d ed.
  Merida, 1867).

Footnote 196:

  Thomas Gage, _A New Survey of the West Indiès_, pp. 377 _et seq._
  (London, 1699). The Abbé Brasseur is willing to consider these tales
  fictitious, “supposé qu’ils n’eussent eu, en realité, aucune
  communication avec les puissances du monde invisible,” about which,
  however, he is evidently not altogether sure.—_Voyage sur l’Isthme de
  Tehuantepec_, p. 175 (Paris, 1862).

Footnote 197:

  _Popol Vuh, le Livre Sacré des Quiches_, p. 315 (Paris, 1864).

Footnote 198:

  The derivation of this word is from _kat_, which in the _Diçcionario
  Maya-Español del Convento de Motul_, MS. of about 1580, is defined as
  “la tierra y barro de las olleras,” but which Perez in his modern Maya
  dictionary translates “ollas ô figuras de barro”; _ob_, is the plural
  termination; _lox_, is strong, or the strength of anything; _h’_ or
  _ah_, as it is often written, is the rough breathing which in Maya
  indicates the masculine gender.

Footnote 199:

  From the _Journal of American Folk-lore_, 1888.

Footnote 200:

  The form from which he derives it is _lenni-peu_.

Footnote 201:

  Read before the Anthropological Section of the American Association
  for the Advancement of Science, at Buffalo, August, 1886, and
  published in the _American Antiquarian_ in November of the same year.

Footnote 202:

  _Study or the MS. Troano_, p. 141.

Footnote 203:

  _Erläuterungen der Maya Hand-schrift_, etc., p. 2. (Dresden, 1886.)

Footnote 204:

  _Die Maya Hand-schrift der König._ _Bib. zu Dresden_, p. 77; (Berlin,

Footnote 205:

  _Die Maya Hand-schrift_, etc., p. 47.

Footnote 206:

  _American Antiquarian_, March, 1886.

Footnote 207:

  The first of M. Aubin’s Memoirs appeared in 1849, and was the result
  of studies begun in 1830. A new and enlarged edition has lately been
  edited by Dr. Hamy: _Mémoires sur la Peinture Didactique et l’Ecriture
  Figurative des Anciens Mexicains_. Par. J. M. A. Aubin (Paris 1885.)
  But Dr. Hamy has traveled very far beyond the limits of a sober
  appreciation of M. Aubin’s results when he writes: “Les recherches de
  M. Aubin ont réussi à resoudre presque toutes les difficultés que
  presentait la lecture des hieroglyphes nahuas.” (Introduction, p.
  viii.) He is also in error in supposing (in a note to same page) that
  Aubin’s theory is not well-known to Americanists. Brasseur popularized
  it in his introductions to his _Histoire du Mexique_. Aubin, in fact,
  guided by the Spanish writers of the 16th century and the annotators
  of the Codices, first clearly expressed the general principles of the
  phonetic picture writing; but his rules and identifications are
  entirely inadequate to its complete or even partial interpretation.

Footnote 208:

  Orozco y Berra, _Historia Antigua de Mexico_, (Mexico, 1880). The
  Atlas to this work contains a large number of proposed identifications
  of hieroglyphics. See also by the same writer, _Ensayo de Descifracion
  Geroglifica_ in the _Anales del Museo Nacional_, tom. II. Much of this
  is founded on Ramirez’s studies, who, however, by his own admission,
  knew little or nothing of the Nahuatl language (as he states in his
  introduction to the _Codex Chimalpopoca_ or _Anales de Quauhtitlan_).
  Dr. Peñafiel’s praiseworthy collection is entitled _Catalogo
  Alfabetico de los nombres de Lugares pertenecientes al Idioma Nahuatl,
  Estudio Jeroglifico_. (Mexico, 1885.)

Footnote 209:

  This paper was originally read before the American Philosophical
  Society in October, 1886, and was published in their _Proceedings_.

Footnote 210:

  The following elements occur in the old Egyptian writing:

              1. Ideographic.—(_a_) Pictures or ikonographs.
                               (_b_) Symbols.
                               (_c_) Determinatives.

                      2. Phonetic.—(_a_) Words.
                                    (_b_) Syllables.
                                    (_c_) Letters.

Footnote 211:

  See M. A. Lower, _Curiosities of Heraldry_, Chap. vi (London, 1845).
  An appropriate motto of one of these bearings was: “Non verbis sed
  _rebus_ loquimur.”

Footnote 212:

  _Tam_, near; _uch_, scorpion. _Diccionario Huasteca-Español_, MS., in
  my possession. This and most of the other instances quoted are to be
  found in Lord Kingsborough’s great work on Mexico, and also in Dr.
  Peñafiel’s _Catàlogo Alfabetico de los Nombres de Lugares
  pertenecientes al Idioma Nahuatl_ (Mexico, 1885).

Footnote 213:

  It is given in the appendix to the _Ensayo sobre la Interpretacion de
  la Escritura Hieratica de la America Central_, by De Rosny, translated
  by D. Juan de Dios de la Rada y Delgada (Madrid, 1884).

Footnote 214:

  Valentini’s Essay appeared in the _Proceedings of the American
  Antiquarian Society_, April, 1880. Landa’s work was originally
  published by the Abbé Brasseur (de Bourbourg) at Paris, 1864, and more
  accurately at Madrid, 1884, under the supervision of Don Juan de Dios
  de la Rada y Delgada.

Footnote 215:

  Originally published as an introduction to Dr. Cyrus Thomas’ _Study of
  the Manuscript Troano_, issued by the U. S. Geographical and
  Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region, Washington, 1882,
  (revised with additions for the present volume).

Footnote 216:

  Dr. Friedrich Müller, _Grundriss der Sprachwissenschaft_, Band i, pp.

Footnote 217:

  Aubin. _Mémoire sur la Peinture didactique et l’Écriture figurative
  des anciens Mexicains_, in the introduction to Brasseur (de
  Bourbourg)'s _Histoire des Nations civilisées du Mexique et de
  l’Amérique Centrale_, tom. i; Manuel Orozco y Berra _Ensayo de
  Descifracion geroglifica_, in the _Anales del Museo Nacional de
  México_, tom. i, ii.

Footnote 218:

  Peter Martyr, Decad. iv, cap. viii.

Footnote 219:

  “Se sujetaron de su propria voluntad al Señorio de los Reies de
  Castilla, recibiendo al Emperador, como Rei de España, por Señor
  supremo y universal, e hicieron ciertas señales, como Firmas; las
  quales, con testimonio de los Religiosos Franciscos, que alli estaban,
  llevó consigo el buen Obispo de Chiapa, Don Fr. Bartolomé de las
  Casas, amparo, y defensa de estos Indios, quando se fué á España.”
  Torquemada, _Monarquia Indiana_, lib. xix, cap. xiii.

Footnote 220:

  “Letreros de ciertos caracteres que en otra ninguna parte.” Las Casas,
  _Historia Apologetica de las Indias Occidentales_, cap. cxxiii.

Footnote 221:

  _Relacion Breve y Verdadera de Algunas Cosas de las muchas que
  sucedieron al Padre Fray Alonso Ponce, Commissario General, en las
  Provincias de la Nueva España_, in the _Coleccion de Documentos para
  la Historia de España_, tom. lviii, p. 392. The other traits he
  praises in the natives of Yucatan are their freedom from sodomy and
  cannibalism. (For the text see later, p. 255.)

Footnote 222:

  Bernardo de Lizana, _Historia de Yucatan. Devocionario de Nuestra
  Señora de Izamal, y Conquista Espiritual_, 8vo. Pinciæ (Valladolid),

Footnote 223:

  For these facts see Diego Lopez Cogolludo, _Historia de Yucatan_, lib.
  ix, cap. xv. Cogolludo adds that in his time (1650–'60) Solana’s MSS.
  could not be found; Lizana may have sent them to Spain.

Footnote 224:

  I add the original of the most important passage: “La historia y
  autores que podemos alegar son unos antiguos caracteres, mal
  entendidos de muchos, y glossados de unos indios antiguos, que son
  hijos de los sacerdotes de sus dioses, que son los que solo sabian
  leer y adivinar, y a quien creian y reverenciavan como á Dioses

Footnote 225:

  Pedro Sanchez de Aguilar, _Informe contra Idolorum cultores del
  Obispado de Yucatan_. 4to. Madrid, 1639, ff. 124.

Footnote 226:

  “El primero quo halló las letras de la lengua Maya é hizó el cómputo
  de los años, meses y edades, y lo enseño todo a los Indios de esta
  Provincia, fué un Indios llamado _Kinchahau_, y por otro nombre
  Tzamna.” Fr. Pedro Beltran de Santa Rosa Maria, _Arte del Idioma
  Maya_, p. 16 (2d ed., Mérida de Yucatan, 1859).

Footnote 227:

  Diego Lopez Cogolludo, _Historia de Yucatan_, lib. iv, cap. III. The
  original is: “No acostumbraban escribir los pleitos, aunque tenian
  caracteres con que se entendian, de que se ven muchos en las ruinas de
  los edificios.”

Footnote 228:

  “Porque lo leia su Rey en sus Analtehes, tenian Noticias de aquellas
  Provincias de Yucatan (que Analtehes, ò Historias, es una misma cosa)
  y de que sus Pasados avian salido de ellas.” _Historia de la Conquista
  de la Provincia de el Itza, Reduccion y Progressos de la de el
  Lacandon_, etc., (folio, Madrid, 1701) lib. vi, cap. iv.

Footnote 229:

  _Ibid._, lib. vii, cap. i.

Footnote 230:

  “Y en su casa tambien tenia de estos Idolos, y Mesa de Sacrificios, y
  los Analtehes, ò Historias de todo quanto los avia sucedido.” _Ibid._,
  lib. viii, cap. xiii.

Footnote 231:

  Diego de Landa, _Relacion de las Cosas de Yucatan_, pp. 316, 318,

Footnote 232:

  Dr. Valentini’s article was published in the _Proceedings of the
  American Antiquarian Society_, 1880. More recently Dr. Ed. Seler has
  condemned the Landa alphabet as “ein Versuch von Ladinos, von in die
  Spanische Wissenschaft eingeweihten Eingebornen in der Art, wie sie
  die Spanier ihre Lettern verwenden sahen, auch mit den Eingebornen
  geläufigen Bildern und Charaktern zu hantiren.” _Verhandlungen der
  Berliner anthropologischen Gesellschaft_, 1887, s. 227. I am far from
  adopting this sweeping statement, which I believe is contradicted by
  the whole tenor of Landa’s words and the testimony of other writers.

Footnote 233:

  Diego de Landa, _Relacion de las Cosas de Yucatan_, p. 44.

Footnote 234:

  I add a few notes on this text:

  _Enhi_ is the preterit of the irregular verb, _hal_, to be, pret.
  _enhi_, fut. _anac_. _Katun yum_, father or lord of the Katun or
  cycle. Each Katun was under the protection of a special deity or lord,
  who controlled the events which occurred in it. _Tu coɔ pop_, lit.,
  “for the rolling up of Pop,” which was the first month in the Maya
  year. _Holom_ is an archaic future from _hul_; this form in _om_ is
  mentioned by Buenaventura, _Arte de la Lengua Maya_, 1684, and is
  frequent in the sacred language, but does not occur elsewhere. _Tucal
  ya_, on account of his love; but _ya_ means also “suffering,” “wound,”
  and “strength,” and there is no clue which of these significations is
  meant. _Ahkinob_; the original has _lukinob_, which I suspect is an
  error; it would alter the phrase to mean “In that day there are
  fathers” or lords, the word _yum_, father, being constantly used for
  lord or ruler. The _ahkin_ was the priest; the _ahbobat_ was a diviner
  or prophet. The 9th Ahau Katun was the period of 20 years which began
  in 1541, according to most native authors, but according to Landa’s
  reckoning in the year 1561.

Footnote 235:

  In quoting and explaining Maya words and phrases in this article, I
  have in all instances followed the _Diccionario Maya-Español del
  Convento de Motul_ (Yucatan); a copy of which in manuscript (one of
  the only two in existence) is in my possession. It was composed about
  1580. The still older Maya dictionary of Father Villalpando, printed
  in Mexico in 1571, is yet in existence in one or two copies, but I
  have never seen it.

Footnote 236:

  Read before the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia, at
  its twenty-fourth annual meeting, January 5th, 1882, and published in
  _The Penn Monthly_.

Footnote 237:

  Of the numerous authorities which could be quoted on this point, I
  shall give the words of but one, Father Alonso Ponce, the Pope’s
  Commissary-General, who traveled through Yucatan in 1586, when many
  natives were still living who had been born before the Conquest
  (1541). Father Ponce had traveled through Mexico, and, of course, had
  learned about the Aztec picture writing, which he distinctly contrasts
  with the writing of the Mayas. Of the latter, he says: “_Son alabados
  de tres cosas entre todos los demas de la Nueva España, la una de que
  en su antiguedad tenian caracteres y letras, con que escribian sus
  historias y las ceremonias y orden de los sacrificios de sus idolos y
  su calendario, en libros hechos de corteza de cierto arbol, los cuales
  eran unas tiras muy largas de quarta ó tercia en ancho, que se
  doblaban y recogian, y venia á queder á manera de un libro
  encuardenado en cuartilla, poco mas ó menos. Estas letras y caracteres
  no las entendian, sino los sacerdotes de los idolos. (que en aquella
  lengua se llaman ‘ahkines,’) y algun indio principal. Despues las
  entendieron y supieron léer algunos frailes nuestros y aun las
  escribien._”—(“_Relacion Breve y Verdadera de Algunas Cosas de las
  Muchas que Sucedieron al Padre Fray Alonso Ponce, Comisario-General en
  las Provincias de la Nueva España_,” page 392). I know no other author
  who makes the interesting statement that these characters were
  actually used by the missionaries to impart instruction to the
  natives; but I have heard that an example of one such manuscript has
  been discovered, and is now in the hands of a well-known Americanist.

Footnote 238:

  “_Se les quemamos todos_,” he writes, “_lo qual á maravilla sentian y
  les dava pena_.”—“_Relacion de las Cosas de Yucatan_,” page 316.

Footnote 239:

  _Relacion de las Cosas de Yucatan_, page 160.

Footnote 240:

  See above, pp. 128 and 172. The terminal letter in both these
  words—“_chilan_,” “_balam_,”—may be either “_n_” or “_m_,” the change
  being one of dialect and local pronunciation. I have followed the
  older authorities in writing “_Chilan Balam_,” the modern preferring
  “_Chilam Balam_.” Señor Eligio Ancona, in his recently published
  _Historia de Yucatan_, (Vol. i., page 240, note, Merida, 1878), offers
  the absurd suggestion that the name “_balam_” was given to the native
  soothsayers by the early missionaries in ridicule, deriving it from
  the well-known personage in the Old Testament. It is surprising that
  Señor Ancona, writing in Merida, had never acquainted himself with the
  Perez manuscripts, nor with those in possession of Bishop Carrillo.
  Indeed, the most of his treatment of the ancient history of his
  country is disappointingly superficial.

Footnote 241:

  For example, in the _Registro Yucateco, Tome III: Diccionario
  Universal de Historia y Geografía, Tome VIII._ (Mexico, 1855);
  _Diccionario Historico de Yucatan, Tome I._ (Merida, 1866); in the
  appendix to Landa’s _Cosas de Yucatan_ (Paris, 1864), etc. The epochs,
  or _katuns_, of Maya history have been recently again analyzed by Dr.
  Felipe Valentini, in an essay in the German and English languages, the
  latter in the _Proceedings_ of the American Antiquarian Society, 1880.

Footnote 242:

  The Abbé’s criticism occurs in the note to page 406 of his edition of
  Landa’s _Cosas de Yucatan_.

Footnote 243:

  It is described at length by Don Crescencio Carrillo y Ancona, in his,
  ‘_Disertacion sobre la Historia de la Lengua Maya_’ (Merida, 1870).

Footnote 244:

  “_Je dois déclarer que l’examen dans tous leurs détails du ‘Codex
  Troano’ et du ‘Codex Peresianus’ m’invite de la façon la plus sérieuse
  à n’accepter ces signes, tout au moins au point de vue de l’exactitude
  de leur tracé, qu’ avec une certaine réserve._”—Leon de Rosny’s _Essai
  sur le Déchiffrement de l’Ecriture Hiératique de l’Amérique Centrale_,
  page 21 (Paris, 1876). By the “_Codex Peresianus_,” he does not mean
  the “_Codice Perez_,” but the Maya manuscript in the Bibliothêque
  Nationale. The identity of the names is confusing and unfortunate.

Footnote 245:

  “The Manuscript Troano,” published in _The American Naturalist_,
  August, 1881, page 640. This manuscript or codex was published in
  chrome-lithograph, Paris, 1879, by the French Government.

Footnote 246:

  “_Declarar las necesidades y sus remedios._”—_Relacion de las Cosas de
  Yucatan_, page 160. Like much of Landa’s Spanish, this use of the word
  “_necesidad_” is colloquial, and not classical.

Footnote 247:

  A _Medicina Domestica_, under the name of “Don Ricardo Ossado, (alias,
  _el Judio_,)” was published at Merida in 1834; but this appears to
  have been merely a bookseller’s device to aid the sale of the book by
  attributing it to the “great unknown.”

Footnote 248:

  Read before the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia in

Footnote 249:

  _Los Aztecas_, Mexico, 1888.

Footnote 250:

  Dupaix, _Antiquités Mexicaines_. 1st Exped., p. 7, Pl. vi, vii, fig.
  6, 7. At that time the flat surface of the rock was the floor of a
  cabin built upon it. At present the cabin has disappeared, Mr.
  Bandelier does not seem to have visited this stone when he was at
  Orizaba, although he refers to Dupaix’s explorations. _Report of an
  Archæological Tour in Mexico in 1881_, p. 26 (Boston, 1884). Nor does
  M. H. Strebel, though he also refers to it, give any fresh information
  about it. See his _Alt-Mexiko_, Band I, s. 30.

Footnote 251:

  One appears to be a gigantic full face; another an animal like a frog,
  with extended legs; two others are geometrical designs, the outlines
  of which have evidently been recently freshened with a steel
  implement. Future observers should be on their guard that this
  procedure shall not have mutilated the early workmanship.

Footnote 252:

  It is needless to expand this explanation of the Aztec Calendar; but
  it is worth while to warn the student of the subject that the problem
  is an intricate one and has never yet been satisfactorily solved,
  because the information presented is both incomplete and
  contradictory. I consider the most instructive discussion of the
  Calendar is that in Orozco y Berra, _Historia Antigua de Mexico_, Lib.
  iv., Cap. 1–6.

Footnote 253:

  Father Sotomayor, in the newspaper account above referred to, states
  that tradition assigned the inscription to the time of Cortes’ march
  to the City of Mexico; a date which he quite properly ridicules as
  impossible. The vicinity of Orizaba was, moreover, not a part of the
  Mexican State until some time after the middle of the 15th century.
  See Bandelier, _Archæological Tour in Mexico_, pp. 22, sqq.

Footnote 254:

  _Tzontemoc_, a compound of _tzontli_, hair, and _temoa_, to fall;
  _mictlan_, locative from _mictli_, to die; _tecutli_, lord, noble. For
  a description of this deity see Sahagun, _Historia de la Nueva
  España_, Lib. iii, Appendix, chap. I. I have elsewhere suggested that
  the falling hair had reference to the long slanting rays of the
  setting sun. See above, p. 146.

Footnote 255:

  Both are reproduced in Kingsborough’s _Mexican Antiquities_. But I
  would warn against the explanations in Spanish of the _Codex
  Telleriano-Remensis_. They are the work of some ignorant and careless
  clerk, who often applies the explanation of one plate and date to
  another, through sheer negligence.

Footnote 256:

  I would refer to an explanation of this system published by me in the
  _Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society_, for 1886.

Footnote 257:

  The phonetic significance of this symbol is well established. See
  Aubin in the Introduction to Brasseur, _Histoire des Nations
  Civilisées de la Mexique_, Tome I, p. lxix.

Footnote 258:

  _Historia Antigua de Mexico_, Tomo III, p. 426.

Footnote 259:

  Ixtlilxochitl, _Historia Chichimeca_, cap. 70. He errs in assigning it
  to the year 1503, as all the other narratives of importance are
  against him.

Footnote 260:

  _Annales de Chimalpahin_, p. 173 (Ed. Siméon, Paris, 1889). His words
  are “auh ça niman ihcuac oncan in hual motlatocalli in
  Moteuhcçomatzin,” which Siméon renders “Immédiatement apres,” etc.

Footnote 261:

  Tezozomoc, _Cronica Mexicana_, cap. 81. This writer adds that the
  emperor expected his approaching end, and made a number of
  preparations with regard to it. The _Anales de Cuauhtitlan_, p. 80,
  places the events of 10 _tochtli_ under the following year 11 _acatl_,
  and the reverse. It reads “murio el señor de Tenochtitlan,
  Ahuitzotzin, le sucedio immediatamente Moteuczomatzin.”

Footnote 262:

  Selections from an Address read before the Numismatic and Antiquarian
  Society of Philadelphia, in 1886.

Footnote 263:

  An Address delivered by request before the Historical Societies of
  Pennsylvania and New York, in 1885. It was printed in the
  _Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography_ for that year.

Footnote 264:

  For another derivation, see _ante_, p. 182.

Footnote 265:

  _Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages._ By J. W. Powell
  (second edition, Washington, 1880).

Footnote 266:

  This essay is extracted from a more general discussion of Humboldt’s
  linguistic philosophy which I read before the American Philosophical
  Society in 1885, and which was printed in their _Proceedings_ for that
  year. Humboldt’s great work was his Introduction to his essay on the
  Kawi language under the title: _Ueber die Verschiedenheit des
  menschlichen Sprachbaues und ihren Einfluss auf die geistige
  Entwickelung des Menschengeschlechts_. Prof. Adler translates this,
  “The Structural Differences of Human Speech and their Influence on the
  Intellectual Development of the Human Race.” The word _geistige_,
  however, includes emotional as well as intellectual things. Of the
  many commentators on this masterly production, I have used
  particularly the following:

  _Die Elemente der Philosophischen Sprachwissenschaft Wilhelm von
  Humboldt’s. In systematischer Entwicklung dargestellt und kritisch
  erläutert_, von Dr. Max Schasler, Berlin, 1847.

  _Die Sprachwissenschaft Wilhelm von Humboldt’s und die Hegel’sche
  Philosophie_, von Dr. H. Steinthal, Berlin, 1848. The same eminent
  linguist treats especially of Humboldt’s teachings in _Grammatik,
  Logik und Psychologic, ihre Principien und ihr Verhältniss zu
  einander_, pp. 123–135 (Berlin, 1855); in his well-known volume
  _Characteristik der Hauptsächlichsten Typen des Sprachbaues_, pp.
  20–70 (Berlin, 1860); in his oration _Ueber Wilhelm von Humboldt_
  (Berlin, 1883); and elsewhere.

  _Wilhelm von Humboldt’s Linguistical Studies._ By C. J. Adler, A. M.
  (New York, 1866). This is the only attempt beside my own, so far as I
  know, to present Humboldt’s philosophy of language to English readers.
  It is meritorious, but certainly in some passages Prof. Adler failed
  to catch Humboldt’s meaning.

Footnote 267:

  _Ueber die Verschiedenheit_, etc., Bd. vi, s. 271, note. I may say,
  once for all, that my references, unless otherwise stated, are to the
  edition of Humboldt’s _Gesammelte Werke_, edited by his brother,
  Berlin, 1841–1852.

Footnote 268:

  _Aus Wilhelm von Humboldt’s letzten Lebensjahren. Eine Mittheilung
  bisher unbekannter Briefe_, von Theodor Distel, p. 19 (Leipzig, 1883).

Footnote 269:

  From his memoir _Ueber das vergleichende Sprachstudium in Beziehung
  auf die verschiedenen Epochen der Sprachentwicklung_, Bd. iii, s. 249.

Footnote 270:

  He draws examples from the Carib, Lule, Tupi, Mbaya, Huasteca,
  Nahuatl, Tamanaca, Abipone, and Mixteca; _Ueber das Entstehen der
  grammatischen Formen, und ihren Einfluss auf die Ideenentwicklung_,
  Bd. iii, ss. 269–306.

Footnote 271:

  _Ueber die Buchstabenschrift und ihren Zusammenhang mit dem
  Sprachbau_, Bd. vi, s. 526.

Footnote 272:

  This letter is printed in the memoir of Prof. E. Teza, _Intorno agli
  Studi del Thavenet sulla Lingua Algonchina_, in the _Annali delle
  Universitá toscane_, Tomo xviii (Pisa, 1880).

Footnote 273:

  Compare Prof. Adler’s Essay, above mentioned, p. 11.

Footnote 274:

  This is found expressed nowhere else so clearly as at the beginning of
  § 13, where the author writes: “Der Zweck dieser Einleitung, die
  Sprachen, in der Verschiedenartigkeit ihres Baues, als die nothwendige
  Grundlage der Fortbildung des menschlichen Geistes darzustellen, und
  den wechselseitigen Einfluss des Einen auf das Andre zu erörtern, hat
  mich genöthigt, in die Natur der Sprache überhaupt einzugehen.” Bd.
  vi, s. 106.

Footnote 275:

  “Das Studium der verschiedenen Sprachen des Erdbodens verfehlt seine
  Bestimmung, wenn es nicht immer den Gang der geistigen Bildung im Auge
  behält, und darin seinen eigentlichen Zweck sucht.” _Ueber den
  Zusammenhang der Schrift mit der Sprache_, Bd. vi, s. 428.

Footnote 276:

  “Eine Gedankenwelt an Töne geheftet.” _Ueber die Buchstabenschrift und
  ihre Zusammenhang mit dem Sprachbau_, Bd. vi, s. 530.

Footnote 277:

  This cardinal point in Humboldt’s philosophy is very clearly set forth
  in his essay, _Ueber die Aufgabe des Geschichtschreibers_. Bd. i, s.
  23, and elsewhere.

Footnote 278:

  This reasoning is developed in the essay, _Ueber das Vergleichende
  Sprachstudium_, etc., _Gesammelte Werke_, Bd. iii, ss. 241–268; and
  see Ibid., s. 270.

Footnote 279:

  See the essay _Ueber die Buchstabenschrift und ihren Zusammenhang mit
  dem Sprachbau_, _Ges. Werke_, Bd. vi, ss. 551–2.

Footnote 280:

  _Ueber das Entstehen der grammatischen Formen_, etc., _Werke_, Bd.
  iii, s. 292.

Footnote 281:

  Speaking of such “imperfect” languages, he gives the following wise
  suggestion for their study: “Ihr einfaches Geheimniss, welches den Weg
  anzeigt, auf welchem man sie, mit gänzlicher Vergessenheit unserer
  Grammatik, immer zuerst zu enträthseln versuchen muss, ist, das in
  sich Bedeutende unmittelbar an einander zu reihen.” _Ueber das
  Vergleichende Sprachstudium_, etc., _Werke_, Bd. iii, s. 255; and for
  a practical illustration of his method, see the essay, _Ueber das
  Entstehen der grammatischen Formen_, etc., Bd. iii, s. 274.

Footnote 282:

  His teachings on this point, of which I give the barest outline, are
  developed in sections 12 and 13 of his Introduction, _Ueber die
  Verschiedenheit_, etc. Steinthal’s critical remarks on these sections
  (in his _Charakteristik der haupt. Typen des Sprachbaues_) seem to me
  unsatisfactory, and he even does not appear to grasp the chain of
  Humboldt’s reasoning.

Footnote 283:

  _Lettre à M. Abel-Remusat_, Werke, Bd. vii, s. 353.

Footnote 284:

  “Daher ist das Einschliessen in Ein Wort mehr Sache der
  Einbildungskraft, die Trennung mehr die des Verstandes.” _Ueber die
  Verschiedenheit_, etc., s. 327. Compare also, s. 326 and 166.

Footnote 285:

  “Der Mexikanischen kann man am Verbum, in welchem die Zeiten durch
  einzelne Endbuchstaben und zum Theil offenbar symbolisch bezeichnet
  werden, Flexionen und ein gewisses Streben nach Sanskritischer
  Worteinheit nicht absprechen.” _Ueber die Verschiedenheit_, etc.,
  _Werke_, Bd. vi, s. 176.

Footnote 286:

  Read before the American Philosophical Society in 1885, and revised
  from the _Proceedings_ of that year.

Footnote 287:

  “Diese thatsachen scheinen darauf hinzudeuten, dass jeder grössere in
  sich zusammenhängende ländercomplex nur einen oder doch nur ganz
  wenige sprachgrundtypen herausbildet, so eigenartig, dass selten eine
  spräche ganz aus dem allgemeinen rahmen heraustritt.” Dr. Heinrich
  Winkler, _Uralaltaische Völker und Sprachen_, s. 147 (Berlin, 1884).

Footnote 288:

  _Report of the Corresponding Secretary to the Committee, of his
  progress in the Investigation committed to him of the General
  Character and Forms of the Languages of the American Indians._ Read
  (12th Jan., 1819) in the _Transactions of the Historical and Literary
  Committee of the American Philosophical Society_. Vol. i, 1819, pp.
  xxx, xxxi.

Footnote 289:

  See _Ueber die Verschiedenheit_, etc., pp. 170–173, 325–6, etc.

Footnote 290:

  Published in H. R. Schoolcraft’s _History and Statistics of the Indian
  Tribes of the United States_. Vol. ii, pp. 346–349 (Washington, 1853).

Footnote 291:

  “Je suis donc autorisé à conclure qu’il faut tenir pour absolument
  fausse cette proposition devenue faute d’y avoir regardé de près, une
  sorte de clichè: que si les langues Américaines diffèrent entre elles
  par la lexique, elles possedent néanmoins en commun une seule et méme
  grammaire.” _Examen grammatical comparé de seize langues Américaines_,
  in the Compte-rendu of the Congrès international des Américanistes,
  1877, Tome ii, p. 242. As no one ever maintained the unity of American
  grammar outside of the _Einverleibungssystem_, it must be to this
  theory only that M. Adam alludes.

Footnote 292:

  _Etudes sur Six Langues Américaines_, p. 3 (Paris, 1878); and compare
  his _Examen Grammatical_ above quoted, p. 24, 243.

Footnote 293:

  _Grundriss der Sprachwissenschaft_, Von Dr. Friedrich Müller. Compare
  Bd. i., s. 68, und Bd. ii, s. 182.

Footnote 294:

  _Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages._ By J. W. Powell, p.
  55, Second edition. Washington, 1880.

Footnote 295:

  This obscure feature in Algonkin Grammar has not yet been
  satisfactorily explained. Compare Baraga, _Grammar of the Otchipwe
  Language_, p. 116 (Montreal, 1878), and A. Lacombe, _Grammaire de la
  Langue des Cris_, p. 155 (Montreal, 1874).

Footnote 296:

  See _Grammar of the Chòctaw Languages_. By the Rev. Cyrus Byington.
  Edited by D. G. Brinton, pp. 35, 36 (Philadelphia, 1870).

Footnote 297:

  _Gramática Quechua, ó del Idioma del Imperio de los Incas._ Por el Dr.
  José Dionisio Anchorena, pp. 163–177 (Lima, 1874).

Footnote 298:

  _Organismus der Khetsua Sprache._ Von J. J. von Tschudi, p. 368
  (Leipzig, 1884).

Footnote 299:

  “Ces exemples font comprendre combien quelquefois on peut rendre des
  mots tres longs, pour exprimer toute une phrase, quoiqu’ aussi on
  puisse facilement rendre les mêmes ideés par des périphrases.”
  Lacombe, _Grammaire de la Langue des Cris_, p. 11 (Montreal, 1874).

Footnote 300:

  “Se explicara la razon filosófica de los dos modos de usar las
  palabras en Mexicano, uno componiendo de varias palabras uno solo, y
  otro dejandolas separadas y enlazandolas solo por regimen.” From the
  programme of Prof. A. de la Rosa’s course in 1870.

Footnote 301:

  The original authorities I have consulted on the Othomi are:

  _Reglas de Orthographia, Diccionario, y Arte del Idioma Othomi._ By
  Luis de Neve y Molina (Mexico, 1767).

  _De Lingúa Othomitorum Dissertatio._ By Emmanuel Naxera (Philadelphia,

  _Catecismo en Lengua Otomi._ By Francisco Perez (Mexico, 1834).

Footnote 302:

  He speaks of the Othomi in these terms:—“Une langue aux allures toutes
  spéciales, fondamentalement distincte de toutes les langues qui se
  parlent aujourd’ hui sur le continent américain.” _Mission
  Scientifique au Mexique._ Pt. i. Anthropologie, p. 32 (Paris, 1884).
  This is the precise opinion, strongly expressed, that it is my object
  to controvert. Many other writers have maintained it. Thus Count
  Piccolomini in the _Prolegomena_ to his version of Neve’s Othomi
  Grammar says: “La loro lingua che con nessuna altra del mondo
  conosciuto ha la menoma analogia, è semplice. * * * La formazione del
  loro verbi, nomi ed altri derivati ha molta semplecitá,” etc.
  _Grammatica della Lingua Otomi_, p. 3 (Roma, 1841). This writer also
  offers an illustration of how imperfectly Duponceau’s theory of
  polysynthesis has been understood. Not only does Piccolomini deny it
  for the Otomi, but he denies that it is anything more than merely
  running several words together with some phonetic syncopation. See the
  _Annotationi_ at the close of his Othomi Grammar.

Footnote 303:

  This is the orthography of Neve. The terminal vowels are both nasals;
  _nhian_ is from the radical _hia_, to breathe, breath.

Footnote 304:

  See the “Comparacion del Othomi con el Mazahua y el Pirinda,” in the
  _Cuadro Descriptivo y Comparativo de las Lenguas Indigenas de Mexico_,
  por Francisco Pimentel. Tomo iii, pp. 431–445 (Mexico, 1875).

Footnote 305:

  See Pimentel, _Cuadro Descriptivo_, etc. Tomo iii, pp. 426 and 455.

Footnote 306:

  “Parte de la dificultad de este idioma consiste en la syncopa, pues el
  no syncopar los principiantes artistas, es causa de que sus periodos y
  oraciones sean tan rispidos, y faltos de harmonia, por cuyo motivo los
  nativos los murmuran, y tienen (como vulgarmente decimos), por
  quartreros.” _Reglas de Orthographia_, etc., p. 146.

Footnote 307:

  “L’Othomi nous a tout l’air d’une langue primitivement incorporante,
  et qui, parvenu au dernier degré d’usure et délabrement, a fini par
  prendre les allures d’un dialecte à juxtaposition.” _Melanges de
  Philologie et de Paléographie Américaine._ Par le Comte de Charencey,
  p. 80 (Paris, 1883).

Footnote 308:

  Neve, _Reglas_ etc., pp. 159, 160.

Footnote 309:

  Pimentel, _Cuadro Descriptivo_, Tom. iii, p. 424.

Footnote 310:

  Pimentel, _Cuadro Descriptivo_, Tomo iii, p. 462.

Footnote 311:

  Wm. M. Gabb, _On the Indian Tribes and Languages of Costa Rica_, in
  the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society for 1875, p.

Footnote 312:

  “Dessen einfacher Bau die über die Amerikanischen Sprachen im
  Allgemeinen verbreiteten Theorien zu widerlegen im Stande ist.”
  _Grundriss der Sprachwissenschaft_, ii Band, s. 318 (Wien, 1882).

Footnote 313:

  _Le Taensa a-t-il été forgé de toutes Piéces?_ Réponse à M. Daniel G.
  Brinton, Par Lucien Adam, p. 19 (Paris, Maisonneuve et Cie, 1885).

Footnote 314:

  _Apuntes Lexicograficos de las Lenguas y Dialectos de los Indios de
  Costa-Rica._ Por Bernardo Augusto Thiel, Obispo de Costa-Rica, (San
  José de Costa-Rica, 1882. Imprenta Nacional).

Footnote 315:

  Gabb, ubi supra, p. 539.

Footnote 316:

  “Especial dificultad ofrecen los verbos.” _Apuntes Lexicograficos_,
  etc. Introd. p. iv. This expression is conclusive as to the
  incorrectness of the opinion of M. Adam, and Prof. Müller above
  quoted, and shows how easily even justly eminent linguists may fall
  into error about tongues of which they have limited means of
  knowledge. The proper course in such a case is evidently to be
  cautious about venturing positive assertions.

Footnote 317:

  _Transactions of the American Philological Association_, 1872, p. 58.

Footnote 318:

  _Grundriss der Sprachwissenschaft_, Bd. ii, p. 387.

Footnote 319:

  _The Brazilian Language and its Agglutination._ By Amaro Cavalcanti,
  LL. B., etc., p. 5 (Rio Janeiro, 1883).

Footnote 320:

  The most valuable for linguistic researches are the following:

  _Arte de Grammatica da Lingua maís usada na Costa do Brazil._ By
  Joseph de Anchieta. This is the oldest authority, Anchieta having
  commenced as missionary to the Tupis in 1556.

  _Arte, Vocabulario y Tesoro de la Lengua Guarani, ó mas bien Tupi._ By
  Antonio Ruiz de Montoya. An admirable work representing the southern
  Tupi as it was in the first half of the seventeenth century.

  Both the above have been republished in recent years. Of modern
  writings I would particularly name:

  _Apontamentos sobre o Abañeénga tambem chamado Guarani on Tupi._ By
  Dr. B. C. D’A. Nogueira (Rio Janeiro, 1876).

Footnote 321:

  _Notes on the Lingoa Geral_, as above, p. 71.

Footnote 322:

  James Howse, _A Grammar of the Cree Language_ (London, 1844). A
  remarkable production which has never received the attention from
  linguists which it merits.

Footnote 323:

  Anchieta, _Arte de Grammatica_, etc., p. 75.

Footnote 324:

  _The Brazilian Language_, etc., pp. 48–9.

Footnote 325:

  See Anchieta, _Arte de Grammatica_, etc., p. 52.

Footnote 326:

  _The Brazilian Language_, etc., p. 111.

Footnote 327:

  “Kein polysynthesis und keine incorporation,” says Dr. Heinrich
  Winkler (_Uralaltaische Völker und Sprachen_, p. 149), who apparently
  has obtained all his knowledge of it from the two pages devoted to it
  by Professor Friedrich Müller, who introduces it as “äusserst
  einfach.” _Grundriss der Sprachwissenschaft_, Bd. ii, p. 257.

Footnote 328:

  _Grammatica Mutsun_; Por el R. P. F. F. Arroyo de la Cuesta; and
  _Vocabulario Mutsun_, by the same, both in Shea’s “Library of American

Footnote 329:

  Read before the American Philosophical Society in 1888, and published
  in their _Proceedings_ under the title “The Language of Palæolithic

Footnote 330:

  “L’homme chelleen n’ avait pas la parole,” Mortillet, _La
  Prehistorique Antiquité de l’ Homme_, p. 250 (Paris, 1883).

Footnote 331:

  See Dr. H. Steinthal, _Der Ursprung der Sprache_, s. 264, et seq.
  (Berlin, 1888), who rehearses the discussion of the point with
  sufficient fullness.

Footnote 332:

  See, for instance, Plate X of Mortillet, _Musée Préhistorique_:
  Cartailhac, _Ages Préhistoriques de l’ Espagne_, plate on p. 27.

Footnote 333:

  I have collected the evidence for this in an Essay on Prehistoric
  Archæology, in the _Iconographic Encyclopedia_, Vol. ii.

Footnote 334:

  See his address on “The Origin of Languages and the Antiquity of
  Speaking Man,” in the _Proceedings of the American Association for the
  Advancement of Science._ Vol. xxxv, p. 279.

Footnote 335:

  _Dix-huit Ans chez les Sauvages_, p. 85.

Footnote 336:

  Petitot, _Dictionnaire de la Langue Déné Dindjié_, Introduction.

Footnote 337:

  On the astonishingly wide distribution of the n and k sounds as
  primitive demonstratives, compare H. Winkler, _Uralaltaische Völker
  und Sprachen_, s. 86, 87, (Berlin, 1884). For other comparisons, see
  Tolmie and Dawson, _Vocabularies of Inds. of British Columbia_, p.

Footnote 338:

  “Es hat offenbar eine Zeit gegeben, in der _ka_ alleiniges Pron. pers.
  für alle drei Personen war, erst allmählig entwickelten sich _ño ka_,
  ego, _ka m_, tu, _ka y_, ille.” J. J. von Tschudi, _Organismus der
  Khetsua Sprache_, s. 184 (Leipzig, 1884). In the language of the
  Baures of Bolivia when the verb takes the negative termination
  _apico_, the pronominal signs are discarded; thus, _era_, to drink, a
  drink; _erapico_—I, thou, he, we, you, they, do not drink. Magio,
  _Arte de la Lengua de los Indios Baures_, p. 82 (Paris, 1880). This
  reveals a time when both affirmative and negative verbals dispensed
  with pronouns altogether.

Footnote 339:

  _Apuntes sobre la Lengua Chapaneca, MS._

Footnote 340:

  _Arte de la Lengua Guarani_, p. 93.

Footnote 341:

  _La Lengua Araucana_, p. 15 (_Santiago de Chile_, 1888).

Footnote 342:

  Albornoz, _Arte de la Langua Chapaneca_, p. 10.

Footnote 343:

  _Principes de la Langue des Sauvages appellés Sauteux._ Introd.

Footnote 344:

  _Arte de la Lengua Guarani, ó mas bien Tupi._ Por el P. Antonio Ruiz
  de Montoya, p. 100.

Footnote 345:

  _Grammatica de la Lengua Chibcha._ Introd.

Footnote 346:

  See Howse. _Grammar of the Cree Language_, pp. 16, 134, 135, 169, etc.

Footnote 347:

  _The Religious Sentiment; Its Source and Aim. A Contribution to the
  Science of Religion._ By D. G. Brinton, p. 31 (New York, 1876). The
  statement in the text can be algebraically demonstrated in the
  mathematical form of logic as set forth by Prof. Boole, thus: _A_=not
  (not-_A_); which, in its mathematical expression becomes, _x_=_x^2_.
  Whence by transposition and substitution we derive, _x^2_=1; in which
  equation 1=_A_. See Boole. _An Investigation into the Laws of Thought_
  (London, 1854).

Footnote 348:

  _On Polysynthesis and Incorporation_, in _Proceedings_ of the American
  Philosophical Society, 1885. (See the preceding essay.)

Footnote 349:

  _On the Grammatical Construction of the Cree Language_, p. 12 (London,

Footnote 350:

  Steinthal, _Gramatik, Logik und Psychologie_, s. 325.

Footnote 351:

  In Maya the conjunction “and” is rendered by _yetl_, a compound of the
  possessive pronoun, third person singular _y_, and _etl_, companion.
  The Nahuatl, _ihuan_, is precisely the same in composition.

Footnote 352:

  “Die meisten amerikanischen Sprachen haben die Eigenthümlichkeit, dass
  in der Regel die Haupttempora in Auwendung kommen und unter diesen
  besonders das Präsens, selbst wenn von einer bestimmten, besonders
  aber von einer unbestimmten Vergangenheit gesprochen wird.” J. J. von
  Tschudi, _Organismus der Khetsua Sprache_, s. 189. The same tense is
  also employed for future occurrences. What classical grammarians call
  “the historical present,” will illustrate this employment of a single
  tense for past and future time.

Footnote 353:

  The Chiquita of Bolivia is an extreme example. “La distinction du
  passé, du présent et du futur n’existe pas dans cette langue étrange.”
  _Arte y Vocabulario de la Lengua Chiquita_. Por. L. Adam, y V. Henry,
  p. x.

Footnote 354:

  _On the Verb in American Languages._ By Wilhelm von Humboldt.
  Translated by D. G. Brinton, in _Proceedings of the American
  Philosophical Society_, 1885.

Footnote 355:

  A striking example is the Chiquita of Bolivia. “No se puede en
  chiquito, ni contar dos, tres, cuatro, etc., ni decir segundo,
  tercero, etc.” _Arte y Vocabulario de la Lengua Chiquita_, p. 19
  (Paris, 1880).

Footnote 356:

  Those distinctions, apparently of sex, called by M. Lucien Adam
  _anthropic_ and _metanthropic_, _arrhenic_ and _metarrhenic_, found in
  certain American tongues, belong to the material, not the formal part
  of the language, and, strictly speaking, are distinctions not really
  based on sexual considerations. See Adam, _Du Genre dans les Diverses
  Langues_ (Paris, 1883).

Footnote 357:

  Washington Matthews, _Grammar and Dictionary of the Language of the
  Hidatsa_ (New York, 1873) In a letter received since the first
  publication of this essay, Dr. Matthews writes that the analysis in
  the text is quite correct.

Footnote 358:

  Extract from a paper read before the American Philosophical Society in

Footnote 359:

  _Linguistic Essays_, by Carl Abel, Ph. D. (London, 1882).

Footnote 360:

  I scarcely need say that I refer to the marvelous words of St. John: ὁ
  μη αγαπων. ουκ εγνω τον θεον, οτι ὁ θεος αγαπμ εστιν (1 John iv, 8);
  and to the _amor intellectualis_, the golden crown of the philosophy
  of Spinoza as developed in the last book of his _Ethica_.

Footnote 361:

  Chipeway: _nin sagiiwin_, I love; _sagiiwewin_, love; _saiagiiwed_, a

  Cree: _sâkihituwin_, friendship; _manitowi sâkihewewin_, the love of
  God. The words from the Chipeway are from Baraga’s _Otchipwe
  Dictionary_; those from the Cree from Lacombe’s _Dictionnaire de la
  langue des Cris_, except when otherwise noted.

Footnote 362:

  Chipeway: _sagibidjigan_, a string or cord.

  Cree: _sakkappitew_, he fastens, he ties; _sakkahigan_, a nail;
  _sakkistiwok_, coeunt, copulati sunt.

Footnote 363:

  See Joseph Howse, _Grammar of the Cree Language_, p. 165.

Footnote 364:

  See the remarks in Andrew’s _Latin Lexicon_, s. v.

Footnote 365:

  Cree: _espiteyimit kije-manito_, for the love of God;
  _espiteyimatijk_, for the love of the children.

Footnote 366:

  Cree: _ni wittjiwâgan_, my friend; _wi’chettuwin_, a confraternity, or

Footnote 367:

  Chipeway: _inawema_, I am his relative, or, his friend.

  Cree: _ijinákusiw_, he has such an appearance. This particle of
  similarity is considered by Howse to be “one of the four primary
  generic nouns” of the Algonkin language. _Grammar of the Cree
  Language_, p. 135.

Footnote 368:

  Chipeway: _nin minenima_, I like (him, her, it).

Footnote 369:

  See Howse, _Grammar of the Cree Lang._, p. 157. _Keche_ (_kees_) as an
  interjection of pleasure, he considers in antithesis to _ak_ (compare
  German _ach!_) as an interjection of pain, and cites abundant

Footnote 370:

  Chipeway: _nin kijewadis_, I am amicable, benevolent; _kijewadisiwin_,
  charity, benevolence, benignity, compassion; _kije manitowin_,
  God-head, divine nature.

  Cree: _kisatew_, he is devoted to (him, her); _kisew_, she loves (her
  children); _kisewatisiwin_, charity, the highest virtue; _kise
  manito_, “l’esprit charitable, Dieu,” and numerous others.

Footnote 371:

  The following words and meanings are from Carochi’s Grammar and
  Molina’s Dictionary of this tongue:

               _ço_, punzar, sangrar.
               _çoço_, ensartar, como flores, cuentas, etc.
               _çotica_, estar ensartada la cuenta, etc.
               _tlaçotl_, cosa ensartada.

  The original meaning of _zo_, a pointed tool or awl, is not given by
  Molina, but is repeatedly expressed in the phonetic picture-writing of
  the Aztecs.

Footnote 372:

  _Estudio de la Filosofia y Riqueza de la Lengua Mexicana._ Par Agostin
  de la Rosa, p. 78 (Guadalajara, 1877).

Footnote 373:

  There is another word in Nahuatl of similar derivation. It is _pohui_,
  to make much of a person, to like one. The root is _po_, which carries
  with it the idea of sameness, similarity or equality; as _itelpocapo_,
  a boy like himself. (Paredes, _Promptuario Manual Mexicano_, p. 140.)

Footnote 374:


   _ya_ or _yail_, love; pain, sickness, a wound; difficult, laborious.
   _yate_, to love.
   _yacunah_, to love.
   _yaili_, painfully, laboriously.
   _yalal_, to taste; to have relations with a woman.
   _yatzil_, love, charity; something difficult or painful.

Footnote 375:

  “_Ya_: sentir mucho una cosa.
  _yamab_: sin sentir [the _ma_ is the negative].”

    _Diccionario Maya-Español del Convento de Motul._ (MS. in my

Footnote 376:


           _yahtetabal cah tumen Dios_, we are loved by God.
           _u yacunah Dios toon_, the love of God to us.
           _yacunahil Dios_, the love with which God is loved.
           _mehenbit yacunah_, filial love.
           _bakil yacunah_, carnal love.

  All from the _Diccionario de Motul_ (MS.).

Footnote 377:


  _tatu canel ixallé_, my beloved wife.
  _ma a canezal a Dios_, dost thou love God?

    _Diccionario Huasteca-Español_, por Carlos de Tapia Zenteno (Mex.,

Footnote 378:

  A number of examples are given in the _Diccionario de Motul_ (MS.).

Footnote 379:

  “Der blosse Begriff derjenigen Liebe, welche das lateinische Zeitwort
  _amare_ ausdrückt, dem Cakchiquel Indianer fremd ist.” _Zur
  Ethnographie der Republik Guatemala._ Von Otto Stoll, M. D., p. 146
  (Zürich, 1884).

Footnote 380:

  _Xelogox ka chiri ruma Akahal vinak_, “they were loved by the Akahal
  men.” _Annals of the Cakchiquels_, p. 126 (Vol. VI of Brinton’s
  Library of Aboriginal American Literature). In the Quiche _Popol Vuh_
  the word has the same meaning, as (page 102):

                  _chi log u vach_, their beloved face.

  In fact, the word Dr. Stoll gives as that now usual among the
  Cakchiquels for “to love”—to desire, in the _Popol Vuh_ is applied to
  the price paid for wives (p. 304):

              _rahil pu mial_, the price of their daughters.

  This word may be a derivative from the Maya _ya_, above mentioned.

Footnote 381:

  _De Naturâ Deorum_, I, 44.

Footnote 382:

  _Gramática Quechua_, por Dr. J. D. Anchorena, pp. 163–177 (Lima,

Footnote 383:

  _Ollanta: Drame en vers Quechuas du Temps des Incas._ Traduit et
  commenté par Gavino Pacheco Zegarra (Paris, 1878).

Footnote 384:

  Thus, from the _Ollanta_:

  _Ollantaytan munar ccanqui_, thou lovest Ollanta! (line 277).
  _munacusccallay_, my well beloved! (the Inca to his daughter, line
  _munayman_, I should prefer (line 1606).

  Holguin, in his _Vocabulario de la Lengua Qquichua_, gives:

                      _Dios munay_, the love of God.
                      _munaricuy_, unchaste love.

Footnote 385:

  Holguin (u. s.) gives the definitions:

   _munana_, la voluntad que es potentia.
   _munay_, voluntad, el querer, el gusto, appetito ô amor que es acto.

Footnote 386:

  From the _Ollanta_:

                  _Huay ccoyailay, Huay mamallay,
                  Ay, huayllucusccay ccosallay._
                  Oh, my queen! Oh my mother!
                  Oh, my husband so beloved! (305, 306).

  These lines show both the word and its derivation.

Footnote 387:

  From the _Ollanta_:

           _ña llulluspa_, caress thee, are fond of thee (934).

Footnote 388:

  From the _Ollanta_:

                _ccuyaccuscallay_, my beloved one (1758).
                _ccuyaska_, compassionate (1765).

Footnote 389:

  See the Qquichua love songs, _harahui_ and _huaynu_, as they are
  called, given by Anchorena in his _Gramática Quechua_, pp. 131–135.

Footnote 390:

  See Holguin, _Vocabulario Qquichua_, s. v. _mayhuay_ and

Footnote 391:


           _Tupa nande raihu_, God loves us.
           _Tupa nande haihu_, the love which we have for God.
           _ahaihu_, I love her (him, it).

Footnote 392:

  _yecotiaha_, friend; compounded of _coti_, a dwelling, and _aha_, to
  go,—a goer to a dwelling, a visitor. This, and the other Guarani words
  given, are taken from Ruiz de Montoya’s _Tesoro de la Lengua Guarani_
  (ed. Vienna, 1876).

Footnote 393:

  Another possible derivation would be from _ahii_, desire, appetite
  (Spanish, _gana_); and _hu_, in the sense of being present. This would
  express a longing, a lust, like love (see above).

Footnote 394:

  I find _çaiçu_ given by Dr. Couto de Magalhaes in his _Cours da Lingoa
  Geral segundo Ollendorf_ (Rio de Janeiro, 1876); _saisu_ by Dr. Amaro
  Cavalcanti in _The Brazilian Language and its Agglutination_ (Rio
  Janeiro, 1883); _çauçub_ by Dias, _Diccionario da Lingua Tupy_
  (Leipzig, 1858), and by Dr. E. F. França in his _Chrestomathia da
  Lingua Brasilica_ (Leipzig, 1859).

Footnote 395:

  “_Ani_, es gehört, ist eigen; _ta ani_, nach seiner Art.”
  _Arawackisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch._ This dictionary, published
  anonymously at Paris, in 1882, in Tome viii of the _Bibliotheque
  Linguistique Américaine_, is the production of the Moravian
  Missionary, Rev. T. S. Schuhmann. See _The Literary Works of the
  Foreign Missionaries of the Moravian Church_. By the Rev. G. H.
  Reichelt. Translated and annotated by Bishop Edmund de Schweinitz, p.
  13 (Bethlehem, 1886).

Footnote 396:

  _The Religious Sentiment, its Source and Aim; a Contribution to the
  Science and Philosophy of Religion_, p. 60 (New York, 1876).

Footnote 397:

  From the _Proceedings_ of the American Philosophical Society for 1885.

Footnote 398:

  _Diccionario del Convento de Motul_, MS., s. v.

Footnote 399:

  _Acanceh Cheltun. Titulo de un solar y Monte in Acanceh_, 1767, MS.

Footnote 400:

  _Geografia Maya._ _Anales del Museo Nacional de Mexico_, Tomo ii, p.

Footnote 401:

  “The metre is the _only measure of dimension_ which agrees with that
  adopted by these most ancient artists and architects.”—Dr. LePlongeon.
  _Mayapan and Maya Inscriptions_, in _Proceedings_ of the American
  Antiquarian Society, April, 1881.

Footnote 402:

  “Nearly all the monuments of Yucatan bear evidence that the Mayas had
  a predilection for the number _seven_,” etc. LePlongeon, _Vestiges of
  the Mayas_, p. 63 (New York, 1881). Of course, this may have other
  symbolic meanings also.

Footnote 403:

  Coto, _Diccionario de la Lengua Cakchiquel_, MS.

Footnote 404:

  Coto, _Diccionario_, MS., s. v. “Ploma de albañil.”

Footnote 405:

  “Cuanto se mide con el pulgar y el indice.” Molina, _Vocabulario de la
  Lengua Mexicana_.

Footnote 406:

  Carochi, _Arte de la Lengua Mexicana_, p. 123.

Footnote 407:

  Orozco y Berra, _Historia Antigua de la Conquista de Mexico_, Tomo i,
  pp. 557–8, (Mexico, 1880).

Footnote 408:

  _Memoria de los Trabajos ejecutados por la comision scientifica de
  Pachuca en el año de 1861_, p. 357, quoted by Orozco. Almaraz’s words
  are not at all precise: “la unidad lineal, con pequeñas
  modificaciones, debió ser cosa de o, m 8, ó cuatro palmos

Footnote 409:

  _The Metrical Standard of the Mound-Builders._ Reduced by the Method
  of Even Divisors. By Col. Chas. Whittlesey (Cleveland, 1883).

Footnote 410:

  _Notes on Mitla_, in _Proceedings of the American Antiquarian
  Society_, April, 1882, p. 97.

Footnote 411:

  See Herrera, _Decadas de Indias_, Dec. ii, Lib. vii, cap. xvi, and
  Dec. iii, Lib. iv. cap. xvii. “Castigaban mucho alque falseaba
  medidas, diciendo que era enemigo de todos i ladron publico,” etc.

Footnote 412:

  “Habian terminos señalados de cuantas leguas habian de acudir á los
  mercados,” etc. Diego Duran, _Historia de la Nueva España_, Vol. ii,
  pp, 215, 217. Both the terms in the text are translated _legua_ in
  Molina’s Vocabulary, so that it is probable that the resting places
  were something near two and a half to three miles apart.

Footnote 413:

  “Todo lo venden por cuenta y medida, excepto que fasta agora no se ha
  visto vender cosa alguna por peso.” _Cartas y Relaciones de Hernan
  Cortes_, p. 105. (Ed. Gayangos.)

Footnote 414:

  “Tenian medida para todas las cosas; hasta la ierva, que era tanta,
  quanta se podia atar con una cuerda de una braza por un tomin.”
  Herrera, _Decadas de Indias_, Dec. ii, Lib. vii, cap. xvi. In another
  passage where this historian speaks of weights (Dec. iii, Lib. iv,
  cap. xvii), it is one of his not infrequent slips of the pen.

Footnote 415:

  A copy of this curious production called _Cancionero Americano_ is in
  the Library of the Bureau of Ethnology at Washington. The introductory
  note is as follows:

  “Esos cantos, escogidos en el año mil y ocho cientos veinte y siete, ó
  veinte y ocho, por un viagero en America, y despues hallados en sus
  papeles, no vinieron jamás, siquiera por lo que podemos saber,
  conocidos del publico sabio. Estos son los mismos cantos del Pueblo
  Taensa, para las orillas del Misisipi ó del Alabama, todos escritos en
  el dulce y pulido dialecto de aquel pueblo. Todos los amigos de la
  ciencia han de sentir el precio de esta pequeña colleccion.”

  It will be noticed that the Spanish is full of errors, as _esos_ for
  _estos_, _hallados_ for _encontrados_, _para las orillas_ for _por las
  orillas_; and _sentir el precio_ does not mean _appreciate_, as the
  author would say, but “regret the price.”

Footnote 416:

  The discussion elicited the following additional brochures from M.
  Adam: _Le Taensa n’a pas été forgé de toutes piecès. Lettre de M.
  Friedrich Müller á Lucien Adam_, pp. 4.

  _Dom Parisot ne produira pas le Manuscrit Taensa. Lettre á M. Victor
  Henry_, pp. 13.


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. P. 67, changed “has certain” to “has a certain”.
 2. P. 132, changed “Leixque de la Langue Algonquine” to “Lexique de la
      Langue Algonquine”.
 3. P. 172, changed ‘yalahi: Zazaba’ to ‘yalahi: “Zazaba’.
 4. P. 255, changed “qus se doblaban” to “que se doblaban”.
 5. P. 255, changed “de un libo encuardenado” to “de un libro
 6. P. 293, changed “A maiden who loves me we” to “A maiden who loves me
 7. P. 301, changed “allegiance turn to hatred” to “allegiance turns to
 8. P. 433, changed “these where spoken” to “these were spoken”.
 9. P. 452, removed footnote anchor from the end of “THE CURIOUS HOAX OF
      THE TAENSA LANGUAGE” as there was no corresponding footnote.
10. Silently corrected typographical errors and also variations in
11. Retained anachronistic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as
12. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Essays of an Americanist - I. Ethnologic and Archæologic. II. Mythology and Folk Lore. - III. Graphic Systems and Literature. IV. Linguistic." ***

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