Atlantis, the Antediluvian World, by Ignatius Donnelly, , at sacred-texts.com
WHAT proofs have we that the Egyptians were a colony from Atlantis?
1. They claimed descent from "the twelve great gods," which must have meant the twelve gods of Atlantis, to wit, Poseidon and Cleito and their ten sons.
2. According to the traditions of the Phnicians, the Egyptians derived their civilization from them; and as the Egyptians far antedated the rise of the Phnician nations proper, this must have meant that Egypt derived its civilization from the same country to which the Phnicians owed their own origin. The Phnician legends show that Misor, from whom, the Egyptians were descended, was the child of the Phnician gods Amynus and Magus. Misor gave birth to Taaut, the god of letters, the inventor of the alphabet, and Taaut became Thoth, the god of history of the Egyptians. Sanchoniathon tells us that "Chronos (king of Atlantis) visited the South, and gave all Egypt to the god Taaut, that it might be his kingdom." "Misor" is probably the king "Mestor" named by Plato.
3. According to the Bible, the Egyptians were descendants of Ham, who was one of the three sons of Noah who escaped from the Deluge, to wit, the destruction of Atlantis.
4. The great similarity between the Egyptian civilization and that of the American nations.
5. The fact that the Egyptians claimed to be red men.
6. The religion of Egypt was pre-eminently sun-worship, and Ra was the sun-god of Egypt, Rama, the sun of the Hindoos,
[paragraph continues] Rana, a god of the Toltecs, Raymi, the great festival of the sun of the Peruvians, and Rayam, a god of Yemen.
7. The presence of pyramids in Egypt and America.
8. The Egyptians were the only people of antiquity who were well-informed as to the history of Atlantis. The Egyptians were never a maritime people, and the Atlanteans must have brought that knowledge to them. They were not likely to send ships to Atlantis.
9. We find another proof of the descent of the Egyptians from Atlantis in their belief as to the "under-world." This land of the dead was situated in the West--hence the tombs were all placed, whenever possible, on the west bank of the Nile. The constant cry of the mourners as the funeral procession moved forward was, "To the west; to the west." This under-world was beyond the water, hence the funeral procession always crossed a body of water. "Where the tombs were, as in most cases, on the west bank of the Nile, the Nile was crossed; where they were on the eastern shore the procession passed over a sacred lake." (R. S. Poole, Contemporary Review, August, 1881, p. 17.) In the procession was "a sacred ark of the sun."
All this is very plain: the under-world in the West, the land of the dead, was Atlantis, the drowned world, the world beneath the horizon, beneath the sea, to which the peasants of Brittany looked from Cape Raz, the most western cape projecting into the Atlantic. It was only to be reached from Egypt by crossing the water, and it was associated with the ark, the emblem of Atlantis in all lands.
The soul of the dead man was supposed to journey to the under-world by "a water progress" (Ibid., p. 18), his destination was the Elysian Fields, where mighty corn grew, and where he was expected to cultivate the earth; "this task was of supreme importance." (Ibid., p. 19.) The Elysian Fields were the "Elysion" of the Greeks, the abode of the blessed, which we have seen was an island in the remote west." The Egyptian
belief referred to a real country; they described its cities, mountains, and rivers; one of the latter was called Uranes, a name which reminds us of the Atlantean god Uranos. In connection with all this we must not forget that Plato described Atlantis as "that sacred island lying beneath the sun." Everywhere in the ancient world we find the minds of men looking to the west for the land of the dead. Poole says, "How then can we account for this strong conviction? Surely it must be a survival of an ancient belief which flowed in the very veins of the race." (Contemporary Review, 1881, p. 19.) It was based on an universal tradition that under "an immense ocean," in "the far west," there was an "under-world," a world comprising millions of the dead, a mighty race, that had been suddenly swallowed up in the greatest catastrophe known to man since he had inhabited the globe.
10. There is no evidence that the civilization of Egypt was developed in Egypt itself; it must have been transported there from some other country. To use the words of a recent writer in Blackwood,
"Till lately it was believed that the use of the papyrus for writing was introduced about the time of Alexander the Great; then Lepsius found the hieroglyphic sign of the papyrus-roll on monuments of the twelfth dynasty; afterward be found the same sign on monuments of the fourth dynasty, which is getting back pretty close to Menes, the protomonarch; and, indeed, little doubt is entertained that the art of writing on papyrus was understood as early as the days of Menes himself. The fruits of investigation in this, as m many other subjects, are truly most marvellous. Instead of exhibiting the rise and progress of any branches of knowledge, they tend to prove that nothing had any rise or progress, but that everything is referable to the very earliest dates. The experience of the Egyptologist must teach him to reverse the observation of Topsy, and to '`spect that nothing growed,' but that as soon as men were planted on the banks of the Nile they were already the cleverest men that ever lived, endowed with more knowledge and more power than their successors for centuries and centuries could
attain to. Their system of writing, also, is found to have been complete from the very first. . . .
"But what are we to think when the antiquary, grubbing in the dust and silt of five thousand years ago to discover some traces of infant effort--some rude specimens of the ages of Magog and Mizraim, in which we may admire the germ that has since developed into a wonderful art--breaks his shins against an article so perfect that it equals if it does not excel the supreme stretch of modern ability? How shall we support the theory if it come to our knowledge that, before Noah was cold in his grave, his descendants were adepts in construction and in the fine arts, and that their achievements were for magnitude such as, if we possess the requisite skill, we never attempt to emulate? . . .
"As we have not yet discovered any trace of the rude, savage Egypt, but have seen her in her very earliest manifestations already skilful, erudite, and strong, it is impossible to determine the order of her inventions. Light may yet be thrown upon her rise and progress, but our deepest researches have hitherto shown her to us as only the mother of a most accomplished race. How they came by their knowledge is matter for speculation; that they possessed it is matter of fact. We never find them without the ability to organize labor, or shrinking from the very boldest efforts in digging canals and irrigating, in quarrying rock, in building, and in sculpture."
The explanation is simple: the waters of the Atlantic now flow over the country where all this magnificence and power were developed by slow stages from the rude beginnings of barbarism.
And how mighty must have been the parent nation of which this Egypt was a colony!
Egypt was the magnificent, the golden bridge, ten thousand years long, glorious with temples and pyramids, illuminated and illustrated by the most complete and continuous records of human history, along which the civilization of Atlantis, in a great procession of kings and priests, philosophers and astronomers, artists and artisans, streamed forward to Greece, to Rome, to Europe, to America. As far back in the ages as the
eye can penetrate, even where the perspective dwindles almost to a point, we can still see the swarming multitudes, possessed of all the arts of the highest civilization, pressing forward from out that other and greater empire of which even this wonderworking Nile-land is but a faint and imperfect copy.
Look at the record of Egyptian greatness as preserved in her works: The pyramids, still in their ruins, are the marvel of mankind. The river Nile was diverted from its course by monstrous embankments to make a place for the city of Memphis. The artificial lake of Mris was created as a reservoir for the waters of the Nile: it was four hundred and fifty miles in circumference and three hundred and fifty feet deep, with subterranean channels, flood-gates, locks, and dams, by which the wilderness was redeemed from sterility. Look at the magnificent mason-work of this ancient people! Mr. Kenrick, speaking of the casing of the Great Pyramid, says, "The joints are scarcely perceptible, and not wider than the thickness of silver-paper, and the cement so tenacious that fragments of the casing-stones still remain in their original position, notwithstanding the lapse of so many centuries, and the violence by which they were detached." Look at the ruins of the Labyrinth, which aroused the astonishment of Herodotus; it had three thousand chambers, half of them above ground and half below--a combination of courts, chambers, colonnades, statues, and pyramids. Look at the Temple of Karnac, covering a square each side of which is eighteen hundred feet. Says a recent writer, "Travellers one and all appear to have been unable to find words to express the feelings with which these sublime remains inspired them. They have been astounded and overcome by the magnificence and the prodigality of workmanship here to be admired. Courts, halls, gate-ways, pillars, obelisks, monolithic figures, sculptures, rows of sphinxes, are massed in such profusion that the sight is too much for modern comprehension." Denon says, "It is hardly possible to believe, after having seen it, in the reality of the existence of so many buildings
collected on a single point--in their dimensions, in the resolute perseverance which their construction required, and in the incalculable expense of so much magnificence." And again, "It is necessary that the reader should fancy what is before him to be a dream, as he who views the objects themselves occasionally yields to the doubt whether he be perfectly awake." There were lakes and mountains within the periphery of the sanctuary. "The cathedral of Notre Dame at Paris could be set inside one of the halls of Karnac, and not touch the walls! . . . The whole valley and delta of the Nile, from the Catacombs to the sea, was covered with temples, palaces, tombs, pyramids, and pillars." Every stone was covered with inscriptions.
The state of society in the early days of Egypt approximated very closely to our modern civilization. Religion consisted in the worship of one God and the practice of virtue; forty-two commandments prescribed the duties of men to themselves, their neighbors, their country, and the Deity; a heaven awaited the good and a hell the vicious; there was a judgment-day when the hearts of men were weighed:
"He is sifting out the hearts of men
Before his judgment-seat."
Monogamy was the strict rule; not even the kings, in the early days, were allowed to have more than one wife. The wife's rights of separate property and her dower were protected by law; she was "the lady of the house;" she could "buy, sell, and trade on her own account;" in case of divorce her dowry was to be repaid to her, with interest at a high rate. The marriage-ceremony embraced an oath not to contract any other matrimonial alliance. The wife's status was as high in the earliest days of Egypt as it is now in the most civilized nations of Europe or America.
Slavery was permitted, but the slaves were treated with the greatest humanity. In the confessions, buried with the dead,
the soul is made to declare that "I have not incriminated the slave to his master," There was also a clause in the commandments "which protected the laboring man against the exaction of more than his day's labor." They were merciful to the captives made in war; no picture represents torture inflicted upon them; while the representation of a sea-fight shows them saving their drowning enemies. Reginald Stuart Poole says (Contemporary Review, August, 1881, p. 43):
"When we consider the high ideal of the Egyptians, as proved by their portrayals of a just life, the principles they laid down as the basis of ethics, the elevation of women among them, their humanity in war, we must admit that their moral place ranks very high among the nations of antiquity.
"The true comparison of Egyptian life is with that of modern nations. This is far too difficult a task to be here undertaken. Enough has been said, however, to show that we need not think that in all respects they were far behind us."
Then look at the proficiency in art of this ancient people.
They were the first mathematicians of the Old World. Those Greeks whom we regard as the fathers of mathematics were simply pupils of Egypt. They were the first land-surveyors. They were the first astronomers, calculating eclipses, and watching the periods of planets and constellations. They knew the rotundity of the earth, which it was supposed Columbus had discovered!
"The signs of the zodiac were certainly in use among the Egyptians 1722 years before Christ. One of the learned men of our day, who for fifty years labored to decipher the hieroglyphics of the ancients, found upon a mummy-case in the British Museum a delineation of the signs of the zodiac, and the position of the planets; the date to which they pointed was the autumnal equinox of the year 1722 B.C. Professor Mitchell, to whom the fact was communicated, employed his assistants to ascertain the exact position of the heavenly bodies belonging to our solar system on the equinox of that year. This was done, and a diagram furnished by parties ignorant of his object, which showed that on the 7th of October, 1722 B.C.
the moon and planets occupied the exact point in the heavens marked upon the coffin in the British Museum." (Goodrich's "Columbus," p. 22.)
They had clocks and dials for measuring time. They possessed gold and silver money. They were the first agriculturists of the Old World, raising all the cereals, cattle, horses, sheep, etc. They manufactured linen of so fine a quality that in the days of King Amasis (600 years B.C.) a single thread of a garment was composed of three hundred and sixty-five minor threads. They worked in gold, silver, copper, bronze, and iron; they tempered iron to the hardness of steel. They were the first chemists. The word "chemistry" comes from chemi, and chemi means Egypt. They manufactured glass and all kinds of pottery; they made boats out of earthenware; and, precisely as we are now making railroad car-wheels of paper, they manufactured vessels of paper. Their dentists filled teeth with gold; their farmers hatched poultry by artificial beat. They were the first musicians; they possessed guitars, single and double pipes, cymbals, drums, lyres, harps, flutes, the sambric, ashur, etc.; they had even castanets, such as are now used in Spain. In medicine and surgery they had reached such a degree of perfection that several hundred years B.C. the operation for the removal of cataract from the eye was performed among them; one of the most delicate and difficult feats of surgery, only attempted by us in the most recent times. "The papyrus of Berlin" states that it was discovered, rolled up in a case, under the feet of an Anubis in the town of Sekhem, in the days of Tet (or Thoth), after whose death it was transmitted to King Sent, and was then restored to the feet of the statue. King Sent belonged to the second dynasty, which flourished 4751 B.C., and the papyrus was old in his day. This papyrus is a medical treatise; there are in it no incantations or charms; but it deals in reasonable remedies, draughts, unguents and injections. The later medical papyri contain a great deal of magic and incantations.
"Great and splendid as are the things which we know about oldest Egypt, she is made a thousand times more sublime by our uncertainty as to the limits of her accomplishments. She presents not a great, definite idea, which, though hard to receive, is, when once acquired, comprehensible and clear. Under the soil of the modern country are hid away thousands and thousands of relics which may astonish the world for ages to come, and change continually its conception of what Egypt was. The effect of research seems to be to prove the objects of it to be much older than we thought them to be--some things thought to be wholly modern having been proved to be repetitions of things Egyptian, and other things known to have been Egyptian being by every advance in knowledge carried back more and more toward the very beginning of things. She shakes our most rooted ideas concerning the world's history; she has not ceased to be a puzzle and a lure: there is a spell over her still."
Renan says, "It has no archaic epoch." Osborn says, "It bursts upon us at once in the flower of its highest perfection." Seiss says ("A, Miracle in Stone," p. 40), "It suddenly takes its place in the world in all its matchless magnificence, without father, without mother, and as clean apart from all evolution as if it had dropped from the unknown heavens." It had dropped from Atlantis.
Rawlinson says ("Origin of Nations," p. 13):
"Now, in Egypt, it is notorious that there is no indication of any early period of savagery or barbarism. All the authorities agree that, however far back we go, we find in Egypt no rude or uncivilized time out of which civilization is developed. Menes, the first king, changes the course of the Nile, makes a great reservoir, and builds the temple of Phthah at Memphis. . . . We see no barbarous customs, not even the habit, so slowly abandoned by all people, of wearing arms when not on military service."
Tylor says (" Anthropology," p. 192):
"Among the ancient cultured nations of Egypt and Assyria handicrafts had already come to a stage which could only have
been reached by thousands of years of progress. In museums still may be examined the work of their joiners, stone-cutters, goldsmiths, wonderful in skill and finish, and in putting to shame the modern artificer. . . . To see gold jewellery of the highest order, the student should examine that of the ancients, such as the Egyptian, Greek, and Etruscan."
The carpenters' and masons' tools of the ancient Egyptians were almost identical with those used among us to-day.
There is a plate showing an Aztec priestess in Delafield's "Antiquities of America," p. 61, which presents a head-dress strikingly Egyptian. In the celebrated "tablet of the cross," at Palenque, we see a cross with a bird perched upon it, to which (or to the cross) two priests are offering sacrifice. In Mr. Stephens's representation from the Vocal Memnon we find almost the same thing, the difference being that, instead of an ornamented Latin cross, we have a crux commissa, and instead of one bird there are two, not on the cross, but immediately above it. In both cases the hieroglyphics, though the characters are of course different, are disposed upon the stone in much the same manner. (Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. v., p. 61.)
Even the obelisks of Egypt have their counterpart in America.
Quoting from Molina ("History of Chili," tom. i., p. 169), McCullough writes, "Between the hills of Mendoza and La Punta is a pillar of stone one hundred and fifty feet high, and twelve feet in diameter." ("Researches," pp. 171, 172.) The columns of Copan stand detached and solitary, so do the obelisks of Egypt; both are square or four-sided, and covered with sculpture. (Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. v., p. 60.)
In a letter by Jomard, quoted by Delafield, we read,
"I have recognized in your memoir on the division of time among the Mexican nations, compared with those of Asia, some very striking analogies between the Toltec characters and institutions observed on the banks of the Nile. Among these
analogies there is one which is worthy of attention--it is the use of the vague year of three hundred and sixty-five days, composed of equal months, and of five complementary days, equally employed at Thebes and Mexico--a distance of three thousand leagues. . . . In reality, the intercalation of the Mexicans being thirteen days on each cycle of fifty-two years, comes to the same thing as that of the Julian calendar, which is one day in four years; and consequently supposes the duration of the year to be three hundred and sixty-five days six hours. Now such was the length of the year among the Egyptians--they intercalated an entire year of three hundred and seventy-five days every one thousand four hundred and sixty years. ... The fact of the intercalation (by the Mexicans) of thirteen days every cycle that is, the use of a year of three hundred and sixty-five days and a quarter--is a proof that it was borrowed from the Egyptians, or that they had a common origin." ("Antiquities of America," pp. 52, 53.)
The Mexican century began on the 26th of February, and the 26th of February was celebrated from the time of Nabonassor, 747 B.C., because the Egyptian priests, conformably to their astronomical observations, had fixed the beginning of the month Toth, and the commencement of their year, at noon on that day. The five intercalated days to make up the three hundred and sixty-five days were called by the Mexicans Nemontemi, or useless, and on them they transacted no business; while the Egyptians, during that epoch, celebrated the festival of the birth of their gods, as attested by Plutarch and others.
It will be conceded that a considerable degree of astronomical knowledge must have been necessary to reach the conclusion that the true year consisted of three hundred and sixty-five days and six hours (modern science has demonstrated that it consists of three hundred and sixty-five days and five hours, less ten seconds); and a high degree of civilization was requisite to insist that the year must be brought around, by the intercalation of a certain number of days in a certain period of time, to its true relation to the seasons. Both were the outgrowth of a vast, ancient civilization of the highest order,
which transmitted some part of its astronomical knowledge to its colonies through their respective priesthoods.
Can we, in the presence of such facts, doubt the statements of the Egyptian priests to Solon, as to the glory and greatness of Atlantis, its monuments, its sculpture, its laws, its religion, its civilization?
In Egypt we have the oldest of the Old World children of Atlantis; in her magnificence we have a testimony to the development attained by the parent country; by that country whose kings were the gods of succeeding nations, and whose kingdom extended to the uttermost ends of the earth.
The Egyptian historian, Manetho, referred to a period of thirteen thousand nine hundred years as "the reign of the gods," and placed this period at the very beginning of Egyptian history. These thirteen thousand nine hundred years were probably a recollection of Atlantis. Such a lapse of time, vast as it may appear, is but as a day compared with some of our recognized geological epochs.