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John T. Short

The North Americans of Antiquity
(NYC: Harpers & Bros., 1879)
  • Title Page
  • Preface
  • Contents

  • excerpt 1  pp. 144-145
  • excerpt 2  pp. 203-209

  • Transcriber's Comments

  • Mormons, Mastodons and Mound-Builders








    N E W   Y O R K


    [ vii ]

    P R E F A C E.

    THE growing interest in the origin, migrations and life of the races of American Antiquity has led me to believe that the subjects considered in these pages would meet with the favorable attention of the public and of the specialist in this field. With such a conviction I present this volume, realizing the difficulties which attend any efforts to elucidate such dark problems. Yet I cannot conceal my satisfaction that the age of North American Antiquity is not all darkness, but on the contrary is rapidly growing radiant with light, while a host of patient searchers for its truths roll up the obscuring curtain. The recent discoveries by Geo. Smith, Cesnola, and Schliemann naturally cause us to turn with national pride to the rich antiquarian fields in our own land. Very satisfactory results have been obtained within a few years in the exploration of Mound-works and the Cliff-dwellings of the West. A just view of the civilization of the builders of these remains, however, requires that it be considered in connection with the traditional history and civilization of the ancient races of Mexico and Central America, so marked was the influence of the ancient peoples of this continent upon each other.

    viii                                                 PREFACE.                                               

    Regarding this to be important, I have endeavored to present a comprehensive view of the civilization of the Mound-builders, Cliff-dwellers, and Pueblos, and to bring to the attention of the reader the traditional history and architectural remains of the Mayas of Yucatan and the Nahuas of Mexico. Only the probable origin and the most remote period of the growth of these latter peoples could receive attention within the limits prescribed for this work, since it is my design that this volume shall serve as a manual of information relating to the earliest period of North-American Antiquity, and as an introduction to Ancient American History. My material relating to the Mound-builders has been drawn almost entirely from the Smithsonian Reports, the Proceedings of scientific societies, and private memoirs. Still it is but justice to one honored co-laborer in the same field, Col. J. W. Foster, to say that his excellent work, The Prehistoric Races of the U. S., has been of great service in our investigation of this subject. Although his sources of information have been, with few exceptions, before me, my appreciation of his work is attested by my constant reference to it. Nevertheless, the wonderful advances which have been made in Mound exploration since the issue of the Pre-Historic Races, called for a fresh treatment of the subject.

    On the Mayas and Nahuas the following manuscript works in the possession of the Congressional Library at Washington were consulted, and yielded valuable material:

    Las Casas: Historia Apologetica de las Indias occidentales, 4 vols. folio.

    Las Casas: Historia de Indias, 4 vols. folio

    Panes (D. Diego): Fragmentos de Historia de Nueba Espana, folio.

                                                    PREFACE.                                                ix

    Echevarria y Veitia Historia del origen de gentes que poblaron la America Septentrional, 1755, 3 vols. folio (about one-fourth of the work is published in Kingsborough's Mex. Antiq., vol. viii).

    Escalante in Teniente (Jose Cortes): Memoria sobre las Provincias del Norte de Nueva España 1799, folio.

    Duran (Diego): Historia Antigua de Nueva España 1585, 3 vols. folio (part of the work has been published in Mexico).

    These, together with the large number of printed books relating to America in the Congressional Library added to works in my possession, afforded all ample field for research.

    I must express my appreciation of the courteous attentions of the accomplished Librarian of Congress, the Hon. A. R. Spofford, who together with his assistants did everything possible to facilitate my investigations. To the uniform and friendly interest which Mr. Spofford has manifested in my work, its successful completion is largely due. The substantial assistance which I received from the lamented Professor Joseph Henry -- the record of whose kindly offices to his fellowmen can never be written -- was invaluable to me. Besides placing the latest material at my disposal, he generously furnished most of the engravings in this work relating to the Mound-builders. Dr. Charles Rau, also of the Smithsonian Institution, has placed me under obligations for valued services. To Professor F. V. Hayden and to the painstaking offices of Mr. James Stevenson of the U. S. Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories, I am indebted for the engravings as well as the sources of information relating to the Cliff-dwellers. The Hon. J. R. Bartlett, of Providence, R. I., with equal generosity has conferred like favors. Prof. F. W. Putnam, of the Peabody Museum of American

    x                                                 PREFACE.                                               

    Archaeology and Ethnology at Cambridge, Mass., and his courteous assistants, Mr. Carr and Miss Smith, have provided me with valuable engravings and reports. Robert Clarke, Esq., and Mr. E. Gest, of Cincinnati, have also sent me engravings, and the former in particular has conferred frequent favors. Professor Ph. Valentini, of Albion, N. Y., with rare liberality, contributed interesting material relating to the Nahua Calendar. To Mr. Stephen Salisbury, Jr., of Worcester, Mass., Dr. R. J. Farquharson, of the Davenport Academy of Sciences, Rev. S. D. Peet, editor of the American Antiquarian, Cleveland, O., and to A. J. Conant, Esq., of St. Louis, Mo., I am indebted for the interest they have manifested, and for the material which they have brought to my attention.

    Señor Orozco y Berra, of the City of Mexico, the distinguished author of the Geografia de las lenguas Mexicanas, has from time to time freely made important suggestions concerning some of the problems under consideration. To my friend the Rev. John W. Butler, of the City of Mexico, whose intelligent efforts in my behalf have been unremitting, I have special reason to be thankful. To all these generous friends I must be permitted here to express my deep sense of gratitude for their favors.

    However, this pleasant task would be but half performed were I to omit the recognition of the unselfish friendship of the justly eminent author of the Native Races of the Pacific States. Mr. Hubert Howe Bancroft, whose rare erudition and breadth of thought are only surpassed by his magnanimity of nature and manliness of spirit, with a liberality which has scarce a parallel in authorship, sent me the majority of the engravings illustrative of the Maya and Nahua architecture and sculpture, used in the fourth volume of the Native Races. To this I may add the no less valuable encouragement which he so heartily gave during

                                                    PREFACE.                                                xi

    the progress of my work. Although some of my investigations were prosecuted before the publication of the Native Races, and though all of Mr. Bancroft's sources relating to subjects which have received our mutual attention were before me and underwent a critical examination at my hands, it is but fair to state that the assistance which I derived from the Native Races has been of incalculable service in the preparation of this volume. If in any place I have omitted to render full credit to Mr. Bancroft, and to that imperishable monument of learning and industry, his great work, the omission has been due to inadvertence rather than intention. My obligations to Mr. Bancroft can never be discharged, nor can the kind attentions of Mr. Henry L. Oak, of the Bancroft Library, San Francisco, be forgotten.

    Still my examination of the sources has not always led me to the same conclusions as were reached by the author of the Native Races. This may be owing to our different standpoints of observation, or possibly to an inappreciable bias in my own mind. It is, however, but justice to myself to say that this work has been prosecuted to its completion with the spirit of inquiry rather than of advocacy, and is the embodiment of an honest search for the truth.

                                 THE  AUTHOR.

    COLUMBUS, O., November, 1879.


    [ xiii-xviii ]

    C O N T E N T S.

    (under construction)


    [ 131 ]


    (pages 131-143 under construction)


    144                                    BOOK  OF  MORMON.                                   

    notes and references, its masterly and novel discoveries of analogies, though many of them are imaginary, is to us, after prolonged examination, as much of a riddle as the great and improbable theory which it seeks to establish. 1 Closely allied to the theory of the ten lost tribes, is the claim set forth in that pretentious fraud, the Book of Mormon, which attributes the colonization of North America, soon after the confusion of tongues, to a people called Jaredites, who, by divine guidance, reached our shores in eight vessels, and developed a high state of civilization on our soil. These first colonists, however, became extinct about six centuries B. C., because of their social sins. The Jaredites were followed by a second colony, this time of Israelites, who left Jerusalem in the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, King of Juda. They reached the Indian Ocean by following the shores of the Red Sea, where they built a vessel which bore them across the Pacific to the western coast of South America. Having arrived in the new land of promise, they separated into two parties, called Nephites and Lamanites respectively, after their leaders. They grew to be great nations and colonized North America also. Religious strife sprang up between the two nations because of the wickedness of the Lamanites; the Nephites, however, adhered to their religious traditions and the worship of the true God. Christ appeared in the new World and by his ministrations converted many of both peoples to Him. But towards the close of the fourth century of our era, both Lamanites and Nephites backslid in faith and became involved in a war with each other which resulted in the extermination of the latter people. The numerous tumuli scattered over the face of the country cover the remains of the hundreds of thousands of warriors who fell in their deadly strife. Mormon and his son Morani, the last of the Nephites who escaped by concealment, deposited by divine command the annals of their ancestors, the Book of Mormon written on tablets, in the hill of Cumorah, Ontario County, New York, in the vicinity of which the last battle of these relentless enemies took place. 2 The

    1 Mexican Antiquities, London, 1831-48, 9 vols. imperial folio.

    2 The tablets remained in their place of concealment until discovered by

                              PHOENICIANS  AND  CARTHAGINIANS.                        145

    claim, of course, merits mention only on the ground of its romantic character, and not on the supposition for a moment that it contains a grain of truth. The Phoenician and Carthaginian colonization of this continent has been much discussed and credited by a larger number of Americanists than any other theory, except that which refers the original population to those parts of Asia adjacent to Alaska. This claim is based on the maritime achievements of that nation of navigators. The three-year voyages of Hiram and Solomon's fleet to Ophir and Tarshish, has often been made to do service for this theory. Ophir has most frequently been placed by its advocates in Hayti or Peru. 1 Such speculations, however, are incapable of proof, and are scarcely deserving of sober consideration The theory itself is one of the few that command respectful attention, since tradition, history, and many facts in natural science, seem to point to its probability. 2 Mr. Bancroft refers at some length to the voyage of Hanno, a Carthaginian navigator, whose exploits beyond the pillars of Hercules, with a fleet of sixty ships and thirty thousand men, is recorded in his Periplus. 3 With true critical insight, Mr. Bancroft rejects the opinion that Hanno reached America, and thinks he only coasted along the shores of Africa. 4 The only tradition preserved by the Americans is that of the mysterious Votan, whom some have sought to assign to a Phoenician nativity. 5 Of late years the theory of the Phoenician colonization has failed to receive its share of support from new writers. This is owing probably to the fact that the labors of Mr. George Jones, embodied in his

    Joseph Smith, September 22, 1827. Mr. Bancroft, Native Races, p. 97 et seq. (from which we draw the above), has translated a full account of this wonderful claim from Bertrand's Memoirs, pp. 32 et seq.

    1 Pineda's De Rebus Solomonis, but especially Horn's De Origine Gentium Americanarum.

    2 Some of these features will. receive attention in a following chapter.

    3 Hudson's Geographiae Veteri, Scriptores Graeci Minores, 1698-1712, 8vo, and Rev. Thos. Falconer's Voyage of Hanno, translated, etc., Oxford, 1797, 8vo.

    4 Native Races, p. 66.

    5 Chap. V.; see Tradition and Literature. 10

    146                                           GEORGE  JONES.                                       

    (pages 146-201 not yet transcribed)


    202                                             CONCLUSIONS.                                            

    Antiquities. That the American population is of old world origin there can be little doubt; but from whence it came, and to what particular people or peoples it owes its birth, is quite another question. 1 That view seems open to least objections which maintains that the Western Continent received its population at a comparatively early period in the history of the race, before the peoples of Western Europe and Eastern Asia had assumed their present national characteristics or fully developed their religious and social customs. 2

    Phil. and Ant., pp. 175 et seq. Crowe, The Gospel in Central America, p. 61, Bradford, American Antiquities, in chapter xii, gives his reasons for declaring the Americans to have been a "primitive and cultivated branch of the human family." Mayer (Brantz) in Mexico as it Was, p. 260 expresses his agreement with the opinion entertained by Bradford. Carver, in Travels through the Interior Parts of North America, repeats the opinion of Charlevoix, that the Americans are of old world origin Taylor,, Anahuac, London, 1861, p. l04, says: "On the whole, the most probable view of the origin of the Mexican tribes seems to be the one ordinarily held, that they really came from the old world, bringing with them several legends, evidently the same as the histories recorded in the book of Genesis."

    1 La teoria de la diversidad espeeifiea de razas es tan intenible, que sin mas decir podemos, dejar esta cuestion, la cual ultimamente, en especial en Norte-America, ha eseitado alguna controversia Quedanos, pues, un origen primordial para toda la raza humana y entonces la cuestion es, saber de que tronco 6 familia del antiguo continente se poblo el naevo, o bien vice-versa, que tambien es possible, aunque improbable, que del que llamamos nuevo se haya poblado el viego continente." -- Ezequiel Uricoechea in Soc. Mex. Bol. 2d. ep. iv, 1854, p. 128. "For my own part I have long been convinced of the consanguinity between the brachycephala of America and those of Asia and the Pacific islands, and that this characteristic type may be traced uninterruptedly through the long chain of tribes inhabiting the west coast of the American Continent from Behring Straits to Cape Horn." -- Retzius, Smithsonian Report, 1859, p. 267.

    2 "The era of their existence as a distinct and isolated race must probably be dated as far back as that time which separated into nations the inhabitants of the old world, and gave to each branch of the human family its primitive language and individuality." -- J. C. Prichard's Natural History of Man, p. 356. London, 1845.


    [ 203 ]



    Ancient Civilization of Tabasco and Chiapas -- The Tradition of Votan -- The First Emigrants to America -- City of Nachan -- The Votanic Document -- Ordonez -- Brasseur and Cabrera on the Tzendal Document -- The Empire of the Chanes- -- The Oldest Civilization -- The Earliest Home of the Mayas -- The Quiches -- Their Origin Tradition -- The Quiche Cosmogony -- The Creation of Maya -- The Quiche Migration -- Tulan -- Mt. Hacavitz -- Human Sacrifices instituted -- -Four Tulans -- Association of the Mayas and Nahuas -- Heroic Period of the Quiches -- Xibalba and its Downfall -- Exploits of the Quiche Chieftains -- War of the Sects -- Xibalba and Palenque the same -- Mayas of Yucatan and their Traditions -- Culture Heroes -- Zamna and Cukulcan -- Christ Myth.

    THE most ancient civilization on this continent, judging from the combined testimony of tradition, records, and architectural remains, was that which grew up under the favorable climate and geographical surroundings which the Central American Region southward of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec afforded. The great Maya family with its numerous branches, each in time developing its own dialect if not its own peculiar language, at an early date fixed itself in the fertile valley of the River Usumasinta, and produced a civilization which was old and ripe when the Toltecs came in contact with it. Here in this picturesque valley region in Tabasco and Chiapas we may look for the cradle of American civilization. Under the shadow of the magnificent and mysterious ruins of Palenque a people grew to power who spread into Guatemala and Honduras, northward toward Anahuac and southward into Yucatan, and for a period of probably twenty-five centuries exercised a sway which, at one time, excited the envy and fear of its neighbors. We are fully

    204                                   THE  TRADITION  OF  VOTAN.                               

    aware of the uncertainty which attaches itself to tradition in general, and of the caution with which it should be accepted in treating of the foundations of history; but still, with reference to the origin and growth of old world nations, nothing better offers itself in many instances than suspicious legends. The histories of the Egyptians, the Trojans, the Greeks, and of even ancient Rome rests on no surer footing. It is certain that while the legendary history of any nation may be confused, exaggerated, and besides full of breaks, still there are some main and fundamental facts out of which it has grown, and this we think is especially true of the new world traditions. Clavigero says: "The Chiapanese have been the first peoplers of the new world, if we give credit to their traditions. They say that Votan, the grandson of that respectable old man who built the great ark to save himself and family from the deluge, and one of those who undertook the building of that lofty edifice which was to reach up to heaven, went by express command of the Lord to people that land. They say also that the first people came from the quarter of the north, and that when they arrived at Soconusco, they separated, some going to inhabit the country of Nicaragua and others remaining in Chiapas." 1 The tradition of Votan, the founder of the Maya culture, though somewhat warped, probably by having passed through priestly hands, is nevertheless one of the most valuable pieces of information which we have concerning the ancient Americans. Without it our knowledge of the origin of the Mayas would be a hopeless blank, and the ruins of Palenque would be more a mystery than ever. According to this tradition, Votan came from the East, from Valum Chivim, by the way of Valum Votan, from across the sea, by divine command, to apportion the land of the new continent to seven families which he brought with him. It appears that he had been preceded in America by two others named Igh and Imox, if the researches of the Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg can be relied upon. In the Tzendal calendar, Votan's name appears as that of the third day, while Igh and Imox are

    1 Hist. Ant. del Messico (Eng. trans., 1807), vol. i.

                                          THE  CITY  OF  NACHAN.                                    205

    the first and second respectively. If, as is supposed, the names represent the true succession of the Maya chiefs, there is some ground for the Abbe's view. 1 The doubtful portions of the tradition which may be interpolations are the ambiguous assertions that he saw the Tower of Babel, and was present at the building of Solomon's temple. Probably the remains only of the former structure may be referred to.

    With these contradictions we have nothing to do, as they do not in any way affect the subsequent history of the Votanites, or interfere with the probability of their old world origin. To attempt to designate the point from which Votan started or the means by which he reached the new world, would be the height of folly. Votan is said to have made four journeys to the land of his nativity. His achievements in the new world were, however, as great as those of any of the heroes of antiquity. His great city was named "Nachan," (city of the serpents), from his own race, which was named Chan, a serpent. This Nachan is unquestionably identified with Palenque. The date of his journey is placed at 1000 years B. C. 2 The kingdom of the serpents

    1 "Quoique Votan soit le veritable fondateur de la civilisation et de ltempire des Quiches, le Codex Chima popoca, attribue neanmoins la fondation de l'empire a son Igh ou Ik, appele par les Mexicains Ehecatl ou Cipactonac, parceque ce prinee viot le premir amener une eolonie sur le continent americain. Cipatonac est eompose de Cipactli, et de Tonacayo. Le premier vient, de ce un Ipan, sur ou au-dessus, et tlactli, qui est le eorps humain, e'est-a-dire, Un homme superieur aux autres hommes, ou encore de notre race, toutes choses qui conviennent parfaitement au pere de la race des chanes. Tonacayo, veut dire notre chair ou le corps humain, le mot tout entier Cipactonac ayant la significacion suivante: 'Celui qui est sorti du premier de notre race.' Ehecatl est en mexicain l'air, ou le souffle, Igh ou Ik, en langua maya et tzendale. Dans les calendriers d'Oxaca, Soconusco, Chiappas et d'Yucatan, il suit immediatemet le nom de Nin, Imos ou Imox, comme celui d'Ehecatl suit dans le mexicain celui de Cipactli." -- Brasseur de Bourbourg, Cartas, note, p. 71. He then proceeds to sustain his conelusions by citing analogies between the name and its signifieance among the Egyptians.

    2 Chimalpopoca, MS, Brasseur de Bourbourg, Popol Vuh., p. lxxxviii; see also Memorias para la Historia del Antiguo, Reyno de Guatemala, por Franc. de Paula Gareia Pelaez (Guatemala, 1851). Pelaez states that Votan founded the ancient Culhuacan, now known as Palenque, in the year 3000 of the world and in the tenth century B. C.

    206                         THE VOTANIC DOCUMENT -- ORDOÑEZ.                      

    flourished so rapidly that Votan founded three tributary monarchies whose capitals were Tulan, Mayapan, and Chiquimula. 1 The former is supposed to have been situated about two leagues east of the town of Ococingo; Mayapan is well-known to have been the capital of Yucatan, and Chiqimula is thought to have been Copan in Honduras. 2 One of the great works of this hero was the excavation of a tunnel or 'snake hole' from Zuqui to Tzequil. He also deposited a great treasure at Huehuetan, in Soconusco, which he left under the vigilant care of a guard, directed by one of the most honorable women of the land. Finally, he wrote a book in which he recorded his deeds and offered proof of his being a Chane (or serpent). This ancient document, which is claimed to have been written by one of Votan's descendants, of the eighth or ninth generation and not by himself, 3 was in the Tzendal language, a dialect or branch of the Maya, spoken in Chiapas and around Palenque. Its history is, however, quite checkered, and the information which it contained comes very indirectly. For generations the Votanic document was scrupulously guarded by the people of Tacoaloya, in Soconusco, but was finally discovered by Francisco Nuñez de la Vega, Bishop of Chiapas. In the preamble of his Constituciones, § XXX, 4 he claims to have read this document, but it is probable that only a copy, still in the Tzendal language but written in Latin characters, had come into his possession. 5 He fails to give any definite information from the document except the most general statements with reference to Votan's place in the calendar, and his having seen the Tower of Babel, at which each people was given a new language. He states that he could have made more revelations of the history of Votan from this

    1 Brasseur de Bourbourg, Popol Vuh., p. lxxxx, on the authority of Ordo&ntilds;ez.

    2 Bancroft's Native Races, vol. v, p. 159.

    3 Ordoñez, Brasseur de Bourbourg, p. lxxxvii.

    4 Constituciones Diocesanes del Oibispado de Chiappas. Rome, 1702.

    5 Bancroft's Native Races, vol. v, p. 160: "It is not altogether improbable that a genuine Maya document similar to the Manuscript Troano or Dresden Codex, preserved from early times, may have found a native interpreter at the time of the Conquest, and have escaped in its disguise of Spanish letters the destruction which overtook its companions."

                                            NUNEZ DE LA VEGA.                                      207

    document but for bringing up the old idolatry of the people and perpetuating it. With the zeal of a true Vandal, the bishop committed the dangerous documents, together with the treasure which he claims Votan to have buried in the dark-house, to the flames in 1691. There seems to have been other copies, however, of this remarkable manuscript, for about the close of the eighteenth century, Dr. Paul Felix Cabrera was shown a document in the possession of Don Ramon de Ordoñez y Aguiar, a resident of Ciudad Real in Chiapas, which purported to be the Votanic memoir.1 Ordoñez, at the time, was engaged upon the composition of his work on the "History of the Heaven and Earth." 2 It appears that Cabrera was admitted to the confidence of Ordoñez, and availed himself of a few facts communicated to him by the latter, which he supplemented by drawing from his imagination for the rest of his account. 3 Brasseur de Bourbourg accuses Cabrera of seriously misrepresenting Ordoñez and of warping his account. 4 The following, which is Cabrera's account

    1 "The memoir in his possession consists of five or six folios of common quarto paper, written in ordinary characters in the Tzendal language, an evidcnt proof of its having been copied from the original in hieroglyphics, shortly after the Conquest. At the top of the first leaf, the two continents are painted in different colors, in two small squares, placed parallel to each other in the angles; the one representing Europe, Asia and Africa is marked with two large SS upon the upper arms of two bars drawn from the opposite angles of each square, forming the point of union in the centre; that which indicates America has two SS placed horizontally on the bars, but I am not certain whether upon the upper or lower bars, but I believe upon the latter. When speaking of the places he had visited on the old continent, he marks them on the margin of each chapter with an upright S and those of America with a horizontal S. Between these squares stands the title of his history: 'Proof that I am Culebra (a Snake),' which title he proves in the body of the work by saying that he is Culebra because he is Chivim." -- Cabrera, Teatro Critico Amer., pp. 33-4

    2 Title of Ordofiez in brief: Historia de la Creacion del Cielo y de la Tierra, Conforme al Sistema de la Gentilidad Americana.

    3 See his Teatro Oritico Americo, p. 32 et seq., in Rio's Description of the Ruins of an American City. London, 1822, quarto.

    4 "Mais il y dl-figura completement l'ouvrage d'Ordoñez qu'il no connaissait pas assez et anquel il ajouta des opinions extremement hasardees. D. Ramon se plaignit amerement de ce plagiat et des fausses idees que Cabrera donnait de son travail, obtint contre lui un jugement, ou le plagiaire fut condamne par le tribunal, de l'audience royale de Guatemal, le 30 Juin, 1794. Mais Cabrera,

    208              BRASSEUR AND CABRERA ON TZENDAL DOCUMENT.            

    may be of interest to the reader: "He (Votan) states that he conducted seven families from Valum Votan to this continent and assigned lands to them; that he is the third of the Votans; that having determined to travel until he arrived at the root of Heaven, in order to discover his relations, the Culebras, and make himself known to them, he made four voyages to Chivim (which he expressed by repeating four times from Valum Votan to Valum Chivim, from Valum Chivim to Valum Votan); that he arrived in Spain, and that he went to Rome; that he saw the great house of God building; that he went by the road which his brethren, the Culebras, had bored; that he marked it, and that he passed by the houses of the thirteen Culebras. He relates that in returning from one of his voyages he found seven other families of the Tzequil nation who had joined the first inhabitants, and recognized in them the same origin as his own, that is, of the Culebras. He speaks of the place where they built the first town, which, from its founders, received the name of Tzequil; he affirms the having taught them refinement of manners in the use of the table, table-cloth, dishes, basins, cups, and napkins; they taught him the knowledge of God and of his worship; his first ideas of a king and of obedience to Him; that he was chosen captain of all those united families." It is not necessary for us to point out the hand of the interpolator in this account; it is sufficiently apparent. However, its obnoxious prominence need not destroy our faith in the general facts of the account. The interpretation of the document we submit to the reader with the simple reminder that the symbol of life and power among the Central Americans and Mexicans has ever been a serpent, a fact which may have derived its significance from the meaning of the name of the Votanites together with the power attained by Palenque. 1 Votan's followers were called

    tout en pillant les idees du savant antiquaire, n'en rendait pas moins justico a son talent et a son merite." -- Brasseur de Bourbourg on Ordoñez MS. Cartas, p. 8.

    1 The explanation given by Cabrera is as follows: "Let us suppose then, with Calmet and other authors whom he quotes, that some of the Hivites who were descendants from Heth, son of Canaan, were settled on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and known from the most remote parts under the name of

                           KINGDOM OF THE CHANES OR SERPENTS.                    209

    Tzequites by their predecessors, probably by the descendants of Igh and Imox, the signification of which term is 'men with petticoats.' The Tzendal traditions refer always to the city of Nachan as the capital of the kingdom of the Chanes or Serpents, and the most significant feature of the traditional names of this people is the fact that the name Culhua, applied by the Nahua nations and especially by the Toltecs to a powerful people who had preceded them at the south, is the exact equivalent of Chanes; the same is true of Culhuacan. 1 The Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg obtained a copy of the fragmentary MS. of Ordoñez, which he informs us was written in two separate parts in quarto, at different times. The first or mythological part exists in a copy owned by the Abbe 2 The second or historical part, if ever written, has never reached the light, and from the description

    Hivim or Givim, from which region they were expelled, some years before the departure of the Hebrews from Egypt, by the Caphtorims or Philistines, who, according to some writers, were colonists from Cappadocia, others considering them to be from Cyprus, and more probably, according to a third opinion, from Crete, now Candia; that to strengthen their native country Egypt, and to protect themselves from all assault, they built five large cities, viz.: Accaron, Azotus, Ascalon, and Gaza (fifth wanting in account), from whence they made frequent sallies upon the Canaanite towns and all their surrounding neighbors (except the Egyptians, whom they always respected), and carried on many wars in the posterior ages against the Hebrews. The Scriptures (Deuteronomy chap. ii, verse 23, and Joshua, chap. xiii, verse 4) inform us of the expulsion of the Hivites (Givim) by the Caphtorims, from which it appears that the latter drove out the former, who inhabited the countries from Azzah to Gaza. Many others were settled in the vicinity of the mountains of Eval and Azzah, among whom were reckoned the Sichemites and the Gabaonites; the latter by stratagem made alliance with Joshua, or submitted to him. Lastly, others had their dwellings about the skirts of Mount Hermon, beyond Jordan to the eastward of Canaan (Joshua, chap. ii, verse 3). Of these last were Cadmus and his wife Hermione or Hermonia, both memorable in sacred as well as profane history, as their exploits occasioned their being exalted to the rank of deities, while in regard to their metamorphosis into snakes (Culebras) mentioned by Ovid, Metam., lib. 3, their being Hivites may have given rise to this fabulous transmutation, the name in the Phoenician language implying a snake, which the ancient Hebrew writers suppose to have been given from this people being accustomed to live in caves under ground like snakes." -- Cabrera, Teatro Critico, pp. 47-8. On p. 95 he reaches the conclusion that the Votanites were Carthaginians.

    1 Bancroft's Native Races, vol. v, p. 163.

    2 Cartas, p. 12. 14

    (the remainder of this text has not been transcribed)



    The Votan Legend

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