Paradise Found, by William F. Warren, , at sacred-texts.com
In the Centre of the Sea is the White Isle of great Zeus,
All that is beautiful and rare seems to come from the North.Herodotus.
When transactions are of such antiquity it is not wonderful if the history should trove obscure.Plutarch.
The writings that narrate these fables, not being delivered as inventions of the writers, but as things before believed and received, appear like a soft whisper from the traditions of more ancient nations, conveyed through the flutes of the Grecians.Bacon.
Respecting the origin of men there were among Greek writers, as Preller states, "very different opinions." Part of this diversity he ascribes to a difference in the natural environment of the first inhabitants: some, residing in the woody hills, would naturally think the first men came from these; others, inhabiting a valley, would more naturally think of their ancestors as having come out of the water. The Asiatic-Greek belief that the first of the human race were made out of trees he calls "quite peculiar." 1 What if it should be found that all these notions were merely fragments of an old, old faith, according to which man originated on the mountain of all mountains, by the source of all waters, and under the tree of all trees!
However this may be, it is certainly very interesting
to note that in the Greek myth of Meropia, or Meropis, Renan, Lenormant, and others recognize the old Asiatic Meru. They hold that "the sacred expression μέροπες ἄνθρωποι originally meant 'the men sprung from Meru.'" 1 Stephanus has the same rendering in his "Thesaurus."
In an advance chapter of his "Origines de lHistoire," Lenormant expressed himself on this point as follows: "I have stated above, in agreement with M. Renan, that the sacred expression μέροπες, as used among the Greeks to designate mankind, could not have originally been applied to them on account of their possessing the gift of articulate speech, as is pretended in the etymology of grammarians of late date, but as having proceeded from Meru. Such an explanation, the consequence of which is to carry back this name of the sacred mountain, the abode of the gods and the birth-place of mankind, to the most ancient period of Aryan unity, is corroborated, in a manner to my mind quite decisive, by the existence of myths which make the Meropes to be a special and autochthonic population, of a date far back in the most ancient times, who lead a life of innocence and happiness, marked by extraordinary longevity (a feature in common with the Indian legends concerning Uttara-Kuru), under the government of a king, Merops, who is sometimes represented as preserving them from the Deluge in the same way as the Yima of the Iranians, and assembling them around him to shelter them from the Flood, from which they alone escape. This myth is usually localized in the island of Kos, which receives the name of Meropêis, Meropis, or Meropê.
[paragraph continues] But the island of Siphnos is also reputed to have been called Meropia in virtue of a similar tradition, and Strabo speaks of a fabulous region of the name of Meropis, which was described by Theopompus, and which seems to have been placed near the country of the Hyperboreans. Merops is also given as a king of the Ethiopians; the most pious and most virtuous of men, the husband of Klymenê the mother of Phaëthon, and consequently anterior to the catastrophe of the conflagration of the universe, by which the first human race, that of the Golden Age, is often said to have been destroyed. Or else the same name is given to a prophet king of Rhyndakos, in Mysia, who also receives the very significant appellation of Makar, or Makareus, 'the happy.' All this shows that the paradisaic myth of the Meropes was not peculiar to the island of Kos, but was current elsewhere in the Greek world, and had undergone more than one localization there." 1
Plato's story of lost Atlantis, the island which the ocean-god Poseidon prepared for his son Atlas to rule over, is a fascinating picture of the antediluvian world. Whether originating in Egypt, as claimed by Plato, 2 or inherited as a part of the legendary wealth of the Hellenes, it is of special interest to us in the present discussion; and this for three reasons:
First, we have elsewhere shown that in oldest Greek thought Atlas belongs at the North Pole, and it is only reasonable to locate the kingdom of Atlas in the same locality.
Secondly, some authorities have unconsciously placed Atlantis in just this polar position by identifying its inhabitants with the "Hyperboreans." 1
Thirdly, Apollodorus and Theopompus expressly call the lost land Meropia, and its inhabitants Meropes; i.e., according to the above authorities, "issued from Meru." 2
The fabled country further resembles Eden in the difficulties which scholarship of every kind has found in giving it a location in harmony with all the data. These difficulties are so great that some learned writers have located it as far to the West as America, others as far to the East as in the Sea of Azof, or in Persia. Even of those who have sought a place for it in the mid-Atlantic, some have pushed it up and some down, until one of the latest writers says, "All hypotheses are permissible." 3 His illustrious
countryman, Monsieur J. S. Bailly, a century ago, came nearer the truth, when, in view of the perplexities attending all other locations, he correctly placed his lost Atlantis in the Paleo-Arctic Ocean.
Again, the antediluvian world was, of course, in the vicinity of lost Eden. But it is to be observed that in Hellenic tradition Deukalion is not a Greek, but an inhabitant of a country in the high North, a Scythian. Moreover the Scythians, as we know from Justin, were considered a very much more ancient people than the Greeks; indeed, as the very oldest in the world. 1 Moreover, Scythia, like polar Meru and Harâ-berezaiti, was conceived of as a lofty region from which all the rivers of the earth descend. 2 All of which obviously connects the antediluvian
[paragraph continues] Deukalion with the primitive country at the Arctic summit of the globe.
Finally, in Greek tradition, the first men lived under the beneficent rule of Kronos, father of Zeus, enjoying the blessedness of the Golden Age. But it is clear from Strabo and others that the seat of Kronos kingdom was in the farthest North. 1 Menzel begins his chapter on "The Isles of Kronos" with these words: "The oldest of the Greek gods, Kronos, we must conceive of as enthroned at the North Pole." 2
We have now interrogated not only natural and ethnological science, but also the history, the traditions and myths of the eldest nations of the world. Nowhere have we found our hypothesis inadmissible; everywhere has it found remarkable confirmatory evidence. The aggregate of this evidence coming from such unexpected and entirely different sources is very great. It is so convincing that an advocate might well be content to leave the argument at this point,at least until some advocate of a different location shall have made out a better case than any one has yet done. Before leaving the subject, however, we deem it wise to glance back to chapter second
of Part second, and inquire whether the various points there hypothetically set forth as of necessity "marked and memorable features" of a north polar Paradise, if such an one ever existed, are capable of any not yet alleged confirmation from the fields of history and science. The results of this inquiry will appear in the Part next following.
182:1 Griechische Mythologie, i., pp. 56, 57.
183:1 Lenormant, Origines, ii. 1, p. 56.
184:1 "Ararat and Eden." The Contemporary Review, Sept., 1881, Am. ed., p. 44. Compare Bryant, Analysis of Ancient Mythology. London, 1807: vol. v., pp. 75-92. Also Samuel Beal: "It can hardly be questioned that the Buddhist cosmic arrangement is allied with Greek tradition as embodied in Homer." Buddhist Literature in China. London, 1882: p. xv.
184:2 "But, O Socrates, you can easily invent Egyptians or anything else! "Phædrus, 275 B.
185:1 Lüken, Die Traditionen des Menschengeschlechtes, p. 73. Bryant, Analysis of Ancient Mythology, vol. v., p. 157: "Pindar manifestly makes them [the Hyperborean] the same as the Atlantians."
185:2 "It was a common practice with the Greeks to disguise their own ignorance of the purport of a foreign word by supplying a word of a similar sound and inventing a story to agree with it: thus Meru, or the North Pole, the supposed abode of the Devatas, being considered as the birth-place of the god, gave rise to the fable that Bacchus's second birth was from the thigh of Jupiter, because Meros, a Greek word approaching Meru in sound, signifies thigh in that language."J. D. Paterson, "Origin of the Hindu Religion," in Asiatic Researches. London, 1808: vol. viii., p. 51.
185:3 Reference is had to M. le Marquis de Nadaillac, who, being himself uncertain, says, "Que lAtlantide ait été située vers le Nord, que ses limites aient été reculées vers le Sud, il est difficile de rien préciser et tous les hypothèses sont permises." LAmérique Préhistorique. p. 186 Paris, 1883: p. 566. See Unger, Die versunkene Insel Atlantis. Vienna, 1860. Donnelly, Atlantis: the Antediluvian World. New York, 1882. A "conjectural map" is given in Bory de Saint Vincent, lHomme, Essai Zoölogique sur le genre humain. The Última Teoría sobre la Atlántída, by D. Pedro de Novo y Colson, appended to the author's Viajes Apócrifos de Juan de Fuca, Madrid, 1881, pp. 191-223, has no independent value, being based on the Studies of M. Gaffarel. An extended essay by E. F. Berlioux, is entitled "Les Atlantes: Histoire de lAtlantis et de lAtlas primitif," appearing in the just issued Annuaire de la Faculté de Lyon. Paris, 1884, Première Année, Fasc. i., pp. 1-170.
186:1 "Scytharum gentem semper habitam fuisse antiquissimam."
186:2 "The geographical indications of the great epic poem of the Mahâbhârata represent Meru rather as a vast and highly elevated region than as a distinct mountain, and make it supply all the rivers of the world with water. This system is pretty much in conformity with that which Justin has borrowed from Trogus Pompeius, and according to which Scythia, the country of the most ancient of mankind, without having, properly speaking, any mountains, is higher than the rest of the earth in such a way as to be the starting-point of all the rivers, editiorem omnibus terris esse, ut cuncta flumina ibi nata."Lenormant, The Contemporary Review, Sept., 1881 (Am. ed.), p. 40.
187:1 Pherecydes describes Kronos as dwelling in that part of heaven which is "nearest the earth," i.e., the northern. Strabo, vii., 143, places him in "the home of Boreas." It agrees herewith that Sanchoniathon, as preserved in the Greek version by Philo of Byblos, places the seat of his power "in the middle of the lands," . . . in "a place near springs and rivers, where henceforth the worship of heaven was established." Lenormant, Beginnings of History, p. 531. Compare infra, Part fifth, chapters fourth and fifth: "The Navel of the Earth," and "The Quadrifurcate River."
187:2 Unsterblichkeitslehre, i., p. 93.