The Antediluvian World
Ignatius Donnelly

Part 8 out of 8

domestic animals were the same as our own, except one fowl adopted from
America. In the past ten thousand years we have added one bird to their
list of domesticated animals! They raised wheat and wool, and spun and
wove as we do, except that we have added some mechanical contrivances to
produce the same results. Their metals are ours. Even iron, the triumph,
as we had supposed, of more modern times, they had already discovered.
And it must not be forgotten that Greek mythology tells us that the
god-like race who dwelt on Olympus, that great island "in the midst of
the Atlantic," in the remote west, wrought in iron; and we find the
remains of an iron sword and meteoric iron weapons in the mounds of the
Mississippi Valley, while the name of the metal is found in the ancient
languages of Peru and Chili, and the Incas worked in iron on the shores
of Lake Titicaca.

A still further evidence of the civilization of this ancient race is
found in the fact that, before the dispersion from their original home,
the Aryans had reached such a degree of development that they possessed
a regularly organized religion: they worshipped God, they believed in an
evil spirit, they believed in a heaven for the just. All this
presupposes temples, priests, sacrifices, and an orderly state of

We have seen that Greek mythology is really a history of the kings and
queens of Atlantis.

When we turn to that other branch of the great Aryan family, the
Hindoos, we find that their gods are also the kings of Atlantis. The
Hindoo god Varuna is conceded to be the Greek god Uranos, who was the
founder of the royal family of Atlantis.

In the Veda we find a hymn to "King Varuna," in which occurs this

"This earth, too, belongs to Varuna, the king, and this wide sky, with
its ends far apart. The two seas are Varuna's loins; he is contained
also in this drop of water."

Again in the Veda we find another hymn to King Varuna:

"He who knows the place of the birds that fly through the sky; who on
the waters knows the ships. He, the upholder of order, who knows the
twelve months with the offspring of each, and knows the month that is
engendered afterward."

This verse would seem to furnish additional proof that the Vedas were
written by a maritime people; and in the allusion to the twelve months
we are reminded of the Peruvians, who also divided the year into twelve
parts of thirty days each, and afterward added six days to complete the
year. The Egyptians and Mexicans also had intercalary days for the same

But, above all, it must be remembered that the Greeks, an Aryan race, in
their mythological traditions, show the closest relationship to
Atlantis. At-tika and At-hens are reminiscences of Ad, and we are told
that Poseidon, god and founder of Atlantis, founded Athens. We find in
the "Eleusinian mysteries" an Atlantean institution; their influence
during the whole period of Greek history down to the coming of
Christianity was extraordinary; and even then this masonry of
Pre-Christian days, in which kings and emperors begged to be initiated,
was, it is claimed, continued to our own times in our own Freemasons,
who trace their descent back to "a Dionysiac fraternity which originated
in Attika." And just as we have seen the Saturnalian festivities of
Italy descending from Atlantean harvest-feasts, so these Eleusinian
mysteries can be traced back to Plato's island. Poseidon was at the base
of them; the first hierophant, Eumolpus, was "a son of Poseidon," and
all the ceremonies were associated with seed-time and harvest, and with
Demeter or Ceres, an Atlantean goddess, daughter of Chronos, who first
taught the Greeks to use the plough and to plant barley. And, as the
"Carnival" is a survival of the "Saturnalia," so Masonry is a survival
of the Eleusinian mysteries. The roots of the institutions of to-day
reach back to the Miocene Age.

We have seen that Zeus, the king of Atlantis, whose tomb was shown at
Crete, was transformed into the Greek god Zeus; and in like manner we
find him reappearing among the Hindoos as Dyaus. He is called
"Dyaus-pitar," or God the Father, as among the Greeks we have
"Zeus-pater," which became among the Romans "Jupiter."

The strongest connection, however, with the Atlantean system is shown in
the case of the Hindoo god Deva-Nahusha.

We have seen in the chapter on Greek mythology that Dionysos was a son
of Zeus and grandson of Poseidon, being thus identified with Atlantis.
"When he arrived at manhood," said the Greeks, "he set out on a journey
through all known countries, even into the remotest parts of India,
instructing the people, as be proceeded, how to tend the vine, and how
to practise many other arts of peace, besides teaching them the value of
just and honorable dealings. He was praised everywhere as the greatest
benefactor of mankind." (Murray's "Mythology," p. 119.)

In other words, be represented the great Atlantean civilization,
reaching into "the remotest parts of India," and "to all parts of the
known world," from America to Asia. In consequence of the connection of
this king with the vine, he was converted in later times into the
dissolute god Bacchus. But everywhere the traditions concerning him
refer us back to Atlantis. "All the legends of Egypt, India, Asia Minor,
and the older Greeks describe him as a king very great during his life,
and deified after death. . . . Amon, king of Arabia or Ethiopia, married
Rhea, sister of Chronos, who reigned over Italy, Sicily, and certain
countries of Northern Africa." Dionysos, according to the Egyptians, was
the son of Amon by the beautiful Amalthea. Chronos and Amon had a
prolonged war; Dionysos defeated Chronos and captured his capital,
dethroned him, and put his son Zeus in his place; Zeus reigned nobly,
and won a great fame. Dionysos succeeded his father Amon, and "became
the greatest of sovereigns. He extended his sway in all the neighboring
countries, and completed the conquest of India. . . . He gave much
attention to the Cushite colonies in Egypt, greatly increasing their
strength, intelligence, and prosperity." (Baldwin's "Prehistoric
Nations," p. 283.)

When we turn to the Hindoo we still find this Atlantean king.

In the Sanscrit books we find reference to a god called Deva-Nahusha,
who has been identified by scholars with Dionysos. He is connected "with
the oldest history and mythology in the world." He is said to have been
a contemporary with Indra, king of Meru, who was also deified, and who
appears in the Veda as a principal form of representation of the Supreme

"The warmest colors of imagination are used in portraying the greatness
of Deva-Nahusha. For a time he had sovereign control of affairs in Meru;
he conquered the seven dwipas, and led his armies through all the known
countries of the world; by means of matchless wisdom and miraculous
heroism he made his empire universal." (Ibid., p. 287.)

Here we see that the great god Indra, chief god of the Hindoos, was
formerly king of Meru, and that Deva-Nahusha (De(va)nushas--De-onyshas)
had also been king of Meru; and we must remember that Theopompus tell us
that the island of Atlantis was inhabited by the "Meropes;" and
Lenormant has reached the conclusion that the first people of the
ancient world were "the men of Mero."

We can well believe, when we see traces of the same civilization
extending from Peru and Lake Superior to Armenia and the frontiers of
China, that this Atlantean kingdom was indeed "universal," and extended
through all the "known countries of the world."

"We can see in the legends that Pururavas, Nahusha, and others had no
connection with Sanscrit history. They are referred to ages very long
anterior to the Sanscrit immigration, and must have been great
personages celebrated in the traditions of the natives or Dasyus. . . .
Pururavas was a king of great renown, who ruled over thirteen islands of
the ocean, altogether surrounded by inhuman (or superhuman) personages;
he engaged in a contest with Brahmans, and perished. Nahusha, mentioned
by Maull, and in many legends, as famous for hostility to the Brahmans,
lived at the time when Indra ruled on earth. He was a very great king,
who ruled with justice a mighty empire, and attained the sovereignty of
three worlds." (Europe, Africa, and America?) "Being intoxicated with
pride, he was arrogant to Brahmans, compelled them to bear his
palanquin, and even dared to touch one of them with his foot" (kicked
him?), "whereupon be was transformed into a serpent." (Baldwin's
"Prehistoric Nations," p. 291.)

The Egyptians placed Dionysos (Osiris) at the close of the period of
their history which was assigned to the gods, that is, toward the close
of the great empire of Atlantis.

When we remember that the hymns of the "Rig-Veda" are admitted to date
back to a vast antiquity, and are written in a language that had ceased
to be a living tongue thousands of years ago, we can almost fancy those
hymns preserve some part of the songs of praise uttered of old upon the
island of Atlantis. Many of them seem to belong to sun-worship, and
might have been sung with propriety upon the high places of Peru:

"In the beginning there arose the golden child. He was the one born Lord
of all that is. He established the earth and the sky. Who is the god to
whom we shall offer sacrifice?

"He who gives life; He who gives strength; whose command all the bright
gods" (the stars?) "revere; whose light is immortality; whose shadow is
death. . . . He who through his power is the one God of the breathing
and awakening world. He who governs all, man and beast. He whose
greatness these snowy mountains, whose greatness the sea proclaims, with
the distant river. He through whom the sky is bright and the earth firm.
. . . He who measured out the light in the air... Wherever the mighty
water-clouds went, where they placed the seed and lit the fire, thence
arose He who is the sole life of the bright gods. . . . He to whom
heaven and earth, standing firm by His will, look up, trembling
inwardly. . . . May he not destroy us; He, the creator of the earth; He,
the righteous, who created heaven. He also created the bright and mighty

This is plainly a hymn to the sun, or to a god whose most glorious
representative was the sun. It is the hymn of a people near the sea; it
was not written by a people living in the heart of Asia. It was the hymn
of a people living in a volcanic country, who call upon their god to
keep the earth "firm" and not to destroy them. It was sung at daybreak,
as the sun rolled up the sky over an "awakening world."

The fire (Agni) upon the altar was regarded as a messenger rising from
the earth to the sun:

"Youngest of the gods, their messenger, their invoker. . . . For thou, O
sage, goest wisely between these two creations (heaven and earth, God
and man) like a friendly messenger between two hamlets."

The dawn of the day (Ushas), part of the sun-worship, became also a god:

"She shines upon us like a young wife, rousing every living being to go
to his work. When the fire had to be kindled by man, she made the light
by striking down the darkness."

As the Egyptians and the Greeks looked to a happy abode (an under-world)
in the west, beyond the waters, so the Aryan's paradise was the other
side of some body of water. In the Veda (vii. 56, 24) we find a prayer
to the Maruts, the storm-gods: "O, Maruts, may there be to us a strong
son, who is a living ruler of men; through whom we may cross the waters
on our way to the happy abode." This happy abode is described as "where
King Vaivasvata reigns; where the secret place of heaven is; where the
mighty waters are . . . where there is food and rejoicing . . . where
there is happiness and delight; where joy and pleasure reside."
(Rig-Veda ix. 113, 7.) This is the paradise beyond the seas; the
Elysion; the Elysian Fields of the Greek and the Egyptian, located upon
an island in the Atlantic which was destroyed by water. One great chain
of tradition binds together these widely separated races.

"The religion of the Veda knows no idols," says Max Müller; "the worship
of idols in India is a secondary formation, a degradation of the more
primitive worship of ideal gods."

It was pure sun-worship, such as prevailed in Peru on the arrival of the
Spaniards. It accords with Plato's description of the religion of

"The Dolphin's Ridge," at the bottom of the Atlantic, or the high land
revealed by the soundings taken by the ship Challenger, is, as will be
seen, of a three-pronged form--one prong pointing toward the west coast
of Ireland, another connecting with the north-east coast of South
America, and a third near or on the west coast of Africa. It does not
follow that the island of Atlantis, at any time while inhabited by
civilized people, actually reached these coasts; there is a strong
probability that races of men may have found their way there from the
three continents of Europe, America, and Africa; or the great continent
which once filled the whole bed of the present Atlantic Ocean, and from
whose débris geology tells us the Old and New Worlds were constructed,
may have been the scene of the development, during immense periods of
time, of diverse races of men, occupying different zones of climate.

There are many indications that there were three races of men dwelling
on Atlantis. Noah, according to Genesis, had three sons--Shem, Ham, and
Japheth--who represented three different races of men of different
colors. The Greek legends tell us of the rebellions inaugurated at
different times in Olympus. One of these was a rebellion of the Giants,
"a race of beings sprung from the blood of Uranos," the great original
progenitor of the stock. "Their king or leader was Porphyrion, their
most powerful champion Alkyoneus." Their mother was the earth: this
probably meant that they represented the common people of a darker line.
They made a desperate struggle for supremacy, but were conquered by
Zeus. There were also two rebellions of the Titans. The Titans seem to
have had a government of their own, and the names of twelve of their
kings are given in the Greek mythology (see Murray, p. 27). They also
were of "the blood of Uranos," the Adam of the people. We read, in fact,
that Uranos married Gæa (the earth), and had three families: 1, the
Titans; 2, the Hekatoncheires; and 3, the Kyklopes. We should conclude
that the last two were maritime peoples, and I have shown that their
mythical characteristics were probably derived from the appearance of
their ships. Here we have, I think, a reference to the three races: 1,
the red or sunburnt men, like the Egyptians, the Phœnicians, the
Basques, and the Berber and Cushite stocks; 2, the sons of Shem,
possibly the yellow or Turanian race; and 3, the whiter men, the Aryans,
the Greeks, Kelts, Goths, Slavs, etc. If this view is correct, then we
may suppose that colonies of the pale-faced stock may have been sent out
from Atlantis to the northern coasts of Europe at different and perhaps
widely separated periods of time, from some of which the Aryan families
of Europe proceeded; hence the legend, which is found among them, that
they were once forced to dwell in a country where the summers were only
two months long.

From the earliest times two grand divisions are recognized in the Aryan
family: "to the east those who specially called themselves Arians, whose
descendants inhabited Persia, India, etc.; to the west, the Yavana, or
the Young Ones, who first emigrated westward, and from whom have
descended the various nations that have populated Europe. This is the
name (Javan) found in the tenth chapter of Genesis." (Lenormant and
Chevallier, "Ancient History of the East," vol. ii., p. 2.) But surely
those who "first emigrated westward," the earliest to leave the parent
stock, could not be the "Young Ones;" they would be rather the elder
brothers. But if we can suppose the Bactrian population to have left
Atlantis at an early date, and the Greeks, Latins, and Celts to have
left it at a later period, then they would indeed be the "Young Ones" of
the family, following on the heels of the earlier migrations, and herein
we would find the explanation of the resemblance between the Latin and
Celtic tongues. Lenormant says the name of Erin (Ireland) is derived
from Aryan; and yet we have seen this island populated and named Erin by
races distinctly. connected with Spain, Iberia, Africa, and Atlantis.

There is another reason for supposing that the Aryan nations came from

We find all Europe, except a small corner of Spain and a strip along the
Arctic Circle, occupied by nations recognized as Aryan; but when we turn
to Asia, there is but a corner of it, and that corner in the part
nearest Europe, occupied by the Aryans. All the rest of that great
continent has been filled from immemorial ages by non-Aryan races. There
are seven branches of the Aryan family: 1. Germanic or Teutonic; 2.
Slavo-Lithuanic; 3. Celtic; 4. Italic; 5. Greek; 6. Iranian or Persian;
7. Sanscritic or Indian; and of these seven branches five dwell on the
soil of Europe, and the other two are intrusive races in Asia from the
direction of Europe. The Aryans in Europe have dwelt there apparently
since the close of the Stone Age, if not before it, while the movements
of the Aryans in Asia are within the Historical Period, and they appear
as intrusive stocks, forming a high caste amid a vast population of a
different race. The Vedas are supposed to date back to 2000 B.C., while
there is every reason to believe that the Celt inhabited Western Europe
5000 B.C. If the Aryan race had originated in the heart of Asia, why
would not its ramifications have extended into Siberia, China, and
Japan, and all over Asia? And if the Aryans moved at a comparatively
recent date into Europe from Bactria, where are the populations that
then inhabited Europe--the men of the ages of stone and bronze? We
should expect to find the western coasts of Europe filled with them,
just as the eastern coasts of Asia and India are filled with Turanian
populations. On the contrary, we know that the Aryans descended upon
India from the Punjab, which lies to the north-west of that region; and
that their traditions represent that they came there from the west, to
wit, from the direction of Europe and Atlantis.



The farther we go back in time toward the era of Atlantis, the more the
evidences multiply that we are approaching the presence of a great,
wise, civilized race. For instance, we find the Egyptians, Ethiopians,
and Israelites, from the earliest ages, refusing to eat the flesh of
swine. The Western nations departed from this rule, and in these modern
days we are beginning to realize the dangers of this article of food, on
account of the trichina contained in it; and when we turn to the Talmud,
we are told that it was forbidden to the Jews, "because of a small
insect which infests it."

The Egyptians, the Ethiopians, the Phœnicians, the Hebrews, and others
of the ancient races, practised circumcision. It was probably resorted
to in Atlantean days, and imposed as a religious duty, to arrest one of
the most dreadful scourges of the human race-a scourge which continued
to decimate the people of America, arrested their growth, and paralyzed
their civilization. Circumcision stamped out the disease in Atlantis; we
read of one Atlantean king, the Greek god Ouranos, who, in a time of
plague, compelled his whole army and the armies of his allies to undergo
the rite. The colonies that went out to Europe carried the practice but
not the disease out of which it originated with them; and it was not
until Columbus reopened communication with the infected people of the
West India Islands that the scourge crossed the Atlantic and "turned
Europe," as one has expressed it, "into a charnal-house."

Life-insurance statistics show, nowadays, that the average life and
health of the Hebrew is much greater than that of other men; and he owes
this to the retention of practices and beliefs imposed ten thousand
years ago by the great, wise race of Atlantis.

Let us now, with all the facts before us, gleaned from various sources,
reconstruct, as near as may be, the condition of the antediluvians.

They dwelt upon a great island, near which were other smaller islands,
probably east and west of them, forming stepping-stones, as it were,
toward Europe and Africa in one direction, and the West India Islands
and America in the other. There were volcanic mountains upon the main
island, rising to a height of fifteen hundred feet, with their tops
covered with perpetual snow. Below these were elevated table-lands, upon
which were the royal establishments. Below these, again, was "the great
plain of Atlantis." There were four rivers flowing north, south, east,
and west from a central point. The climate was like that of the Azores,
mild and pleasant; the soil volcanic and fertile, and suitable at its
different elevations for the growth of the productions of the tropical
and temperate zones.

The people represented at least two different races: a dark brown
reddish race, akin to the Central Americans, the Berbers and the
Egyptians; and a white race, like the Greeks, Goths, Celts, and
Scandinavians. Various battles and struggles followed between the
different peoples for supremacy. The darker race seems to have been,
physically, a smaller race, with small hands; the lighter-colored race
was much larger--hence the legends of the Titans and Giants. The
Guanches of the Canary Islands were men of very great stature. As the
works of the Bronze Age represent a small-handed race, and as the races
who possessed the ships and gunpowder joined in the war against the
Giants, we might conclude that the dark races were the more civilized,
that they were the metal-workers and navigators.

The fact that the same opinions and customs exist on both sides of the
ocean implies identity of origin; it might be argued that the fact that
the explanation of many customs existing on both hemispheres is to be
found only in America, implies that the primeval stock existed in
America, the emigrating portion of the population carrying away the
custom, but forgetting the reason for it. The fact that domestic cattle
and the great cereals, wheat, oats, barley, and rye, are found in Europe
and not in America, would imply that after population moved to Atlantis
from America civilization was developed in Atlantis, and that in the
later ages communication was closer and more constant between Atlantis
and Europe than between Atlantis and America. In the case of the bulky
domestic animals, it would be more difficult to transport them, in the
open vessels of that day, from Atlantis across the wider expanse of sea
to America, than it would be to carry them by way of the now submerged
islands in front of the Mediterranean Sea to the coast of Spain. It may
be, too, that the climate of Spain and Italy was better adapted to the
growth of wheat, barley, oats and rye, than maize; while the drier
atmosphere of America was better suited to the latter plant Even now
comparatively little wheat or barley is raised in Central America,
Mexico, or Peru, and none on the low coasts of those countries; while a
smaller quantity of maize, proportionately, is grown in Italy, Spain,
and the rest of Western Europe, the rainy climate being unsuited to it.
We have seen (p. 60, ante) that there is reason to believe that maize
was known in a remote period in the drier regions of the Egyptians and

As science has been able to reconstruct the history of the migrations of
the Aryan race, by the words that exist or fail to appear in the kindred
branches of that tongue, so the time will come when a careful comparison
of words, customs, opinions, arts existing on the opposite sides of the
Atlantic will furnish an approximate sketch of Atlantean history.

The people had attained a high position as agriculturists. The presence
of the plough in Egypt and Peru implies that they possessed that
implement. And as the horns and ox-head of Baal show the esteem in which
cattle were held among them, we may suppose that they had passed the
stage in which the plough was drawn by men, as in Peru and Egypt in
ancient times, and in Sweden during the Historical Period, and that it
was drawn by oxen or horses. They first domesticated the horse, hence
the association of Poseidon or Neptune, a sea-god, with horses; hence
the race-courses for horses described by Plato. They possessed sheep,
and manufactured woollen goods; they also had goats, dogs, and swine.
They raised cotton and made cotton goods; they probably cultivated
maize, wheat, oats, barley, rye, tobacco, hemp, and flax, and possibly
potatoes; they built aqueducts and practised irrigation; they were
architects, sculptors, and engravers; they possessed an alphabet; they
worked in tin, copper, bronze, silver, gold, and iron.

During the vast period of their duration, as peace and agriculture
caused their population to increase to overflowing, they spread out in
colonies east and west to the ends of the earth. This was not the work
of a few years, but of many centuries; and the relations between these
colonies may have been something like the relation between the different
colonies that in a later age were established by the Phœnicians, the
Greeks, and the Romans; there was an intermingling with the more ancient
races, the autochthones of the different lands where they settled; and
the same crossing of stocks, which we know to have been continued all
through the Historical Period, must have been going on for thousands of
years, whereby new races and new dialects were formed; and the result of
all this has been that the smaller races of antiquity have grown larger,
while all the complexions shade into each other, so that we can pass
from the whitest to the darkest by insensible degrees.

In some respects the Atlanteans exhibited conditions similar to those of
the British Islands: there were the same, and even greater, race
differences in the population; the same plantation of colonies in
Europe, Asia, and America; the same carrying of civilization to the ends
of the earth. We have seen colonies from Great Britain going out in the
third and fifth centuries to settle on the shores of France, in
Brittany, representing one of the nationalities and languages of the
mother-country--a race Atlantean in origin. In the same way we may
suppose Hamitic emigrations to have gone out from Atlantis to Syria,
Egypt, and the Barbary States. If we could imagine Highland Scotch,
Welsh, Cornish, and Irish populations emigrating en masse from England
in later times, and carrying to their new lands the civilization of
England, with peculiar languages not English, we would have a state of
things probably more like the migrations which took place from Atlantis.
England, with a civilization Atlantean in origin, peopled by races from
the same source, is repeating in these modern times the empire of Zeus
and Chronos; and, just as we have seen Troy, Egypt, and Greece warring
against the parent race, so in later days we have seen Brittany and the
United States separating themselves from England, the race
characteristics remaining after the governmental connection had ceased.

In religion the Atlanteans had reached all the great thoughts which
underlie our modern creeds. They had attained to the conception of one
universal, omnipotent, great First Cause. We find the worship of this
One God in Peru and in early Egypt. They looked upon the sun as the
mighty emblem, type, and instrumentality of this One God. Such a
conception could only have come with civilization. It is not until these
later days that science has realized the utter dependence of all earthly
life upon the sun's rays:

"All applications of animal power may be regarded as derived directly or
indirectly from the static chemical power of the vegetable substance by
which the various organisms and their capabilities are sustained; and
this power, in turn, from the kinetic action of the sun's rays.

"Winds and ocean currents, hailstorms and rain, sliding glaciers,
flowing rivers, and falling cascades are the direct offspring of solar
heat. All our machinery, therefore, whether driven by the windmill or
the water-wheel, by horse-power or by steam--all the results of
electrical and electro-magnetic changes--our telegraphs, our clocks, and
our watches, all are wound up primarily by the sun.

"The sun is the great source of energy in almost all terrestrial
phenomena. From the meteorological to the geographical, from the
geological to the biological, in the expenditure and conversion of
molecular movements, derived from the sun's rays, must be sought the
motive power of all this infinitely varied phantasmagoria."

But the people of Atlantis had gone farther; they believed that the soul
of man was immortal, and that he would live again in his material body;
in other words, they believed in "the resurrection of the body and the
life everlasting." They accordingly embalmed their dead.

The Duke of Argyll ("The Unity of Nature") says:

"We have found in the most ancient records of the Aryan language proof
that the indications of religious thought are higher, simpler, and purer
as we go back in time, until at last, in the very oldest compositions of
human speech which have come down to us, we find the Divine Being spoken
of in the sublime language which forms the opening of the Lord's Prayer.
The date in absolute chronology of the oldest Vedic literature does not
seem to be known. Professor Max Müller, however, considers that it may
possibly take us back 5000 years. . . . All we can see with certainty is
that the earliest inventions of mankind are the most wonderful that the
race has ever made. . . . The first use of fire, and the discovery of
the methods by which it can be kindled; the domestication of wild
animals; and, above all, the processes by which the various cereals were
first developed out of some wild grasses-these are all discoveries with
which, in ingenuity and in importance, no subsequent discoveries may
compare. They are all unknown to history--all lost in the light of an
effulgent dawn."

The Atlanteans possessed an established order of priests; their
religious worship was pure and simple. They lived under a kingly
government; they had their courts, their judges, their records, their
monuments covered with inscriptions, their mines, their founderies,
their workshops, their looms, their grist-mills, their boats and
sailing-vessels, their highways, aqueducts, wharves, docks, and canals.
They had processions, banners, and triumphal arches for their kings and
heroes; they built pyramids, temples, round-towers, and obelisks; they
practised religious ablutions; they knew the use of the magnet and of
gunpowder. In short, they were in the enjoyment of a civilization nearly
as high as our own, lacking only the printing-press, and those
inventions in which steam, electricity, and magnetism are used. We are
told that Deva-Nahusha visited his colonies in Farther India. An empire
which reached from the Andes to Hindostan, if not to China, must have
been magnificent indeed. In 'its markets must have met the maize of the
Mississippi Valley, the copper of Lake Superior, the gold and silver of
Peru and Mexico, the spices of India, the tin of Wales and Cornwall, the
bronze of Iberia, the amber of the Baltic, the wheat and barley of
Greece, Italy, and Switzerland.

It is not surprising that when this mighty nation sank beneath the
waves, in the midst of terrible convulsions, with all its millions of
people, the event left an everlasting impression upon the imagination of
mankind. Let us suppose that Great Britain should to-morrow meet with a
similar fate. What a wild consternation would fall upon her colonies and
upon the whole human family! The world might relapse into barbarism,
deep and almost universal. William the Conqueror, Richard Cœur de Lion,
Alfred the Great, Cromwell, and Victoria might survive only as the gods
or demons of later races; but the memory of the cataclysm in which the
centre of a universal empire instantaneously went down to death would
never be forgotten; it would survive in fragments, more or less
complete, in every land on earth; it would outlive the memory of a
thousand lesser convulsions of nature; it would survive dynasties,
nations, creeds, and languages; it would never be forgotten while man
continued to inhabit the face of the globe.

Science has but commenced its work of reconstructing the past and
rehabilitating the ancient peoples, and surely there is no study which
appeals more strongly to the imagination than that of this drowned
nation, the true antediluvians. They were the founders of nearly all our
arts and sciences; they were the parents of our fundamental beliefs;
they were the first civilizers, the first navigators, the first
merchants, the first colonizers of the earth; their civilization was old
when Egypt was young, and they had passed away thousands of years before
Babylon, Rome, or London were dreamed of. This lost people were our
ancestors, their blood flows in our veins; the words we use every day
were heard, in their primitive form, in their cities, courts, and
temples. Every line of race and thought, of blood and belief, leads back
to them.

Nor is it impossible that the nations of the earth may yet employ their
idle navies in bringing to the light of day some of the relies of this
buried people. Portions of the island lie but a few hundred fathoms
beneath the sea; and if expeditions have been sent out from time to time
in the past, to resurrect from the depths of the ocean sunken
treasure-ships with a few thousand doubloons bidden in their cabins, why
should not an attempt be made to reach the buried wonders of Atlantis? A
single engraved tablet dredged up from Plato's island would be worth
more to science, would more strike the imagination of mankind, than all
the gold of Peru, all the monuments of Egypt, and all the terra-cotta
fragments gathered from the great libraries of Chaldea.

May not the so-called "Phœnician coins" found on Corvo, one of the
Azores, be of Atlantean origin? Is it probable that that great race,
pre-eminent as a founder of colonies, could have visited those islands
within the Historical Period, and have left them unpeopled, as they were
when discovered by the Portuguese?

We are but beginning to understand the past: one hundred years ago the
world knew nothing of Pompeii or Herculaneum; nothing of the lingual tie
that binds together the Indo-European nations; nothing of the
significance of the vast volume of inscriptions upon the tombs and
temples of Egypt; nothing of the meaning of the arrow-headed
inscriptions of Babylon; nothing of the marvellous civilizations
revealed in the remains of Yucatan, Mexico, and Peru. We are on the
threshold. Scientific investigation is advancing with giant strides. Who
shall say that one hundred years from now the great museums of the world
may not be adorned with gems, statues, arms, and implements from
Atlantis, while the libraries of the world shall contain translations of
its inscriptions, throwing new light upon all the past history of the
human race, and all the great problems which now perplex the thinkers of
our day?



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