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nation which cultivated them with intelligence and success. Fohi is said to have been the instructor of the Chinese. He was therefore, probably, a foreigner, and brought his knowledge from a refined and scientific nation.
The date of the foundation of Persepolis, by Djemschid, is fixed by M. Bailly 3209 years before the Christian era. The city is recorded to have been founded on the day of the sun's entry into the constellation of the Ram. A people in their infant state, uniting themselves into society, cannot be supposed to be astronomers, or to mark the foundation of their city by the stars. Djemschid was certainly the leader of a colony of a polished people who took possession of a new country, and established there the arts and sciences which they had long cultivated at home. Djemschid was a stranger in Persia, as Fohi was in China.
The commencement of the Babylonian empire is involved in obscurity. We know, however, that the king of a people, at that time named Chaldeans, took Babylon 2500 years before the Christian era. The Chaldeans were an enlightened people, and, incorporating themselves completely with the conquered nation, assumed their name of Babylonians, as the Tartars, after the conquest of China, termed themselves Chinese. The priests, however, the depositaries of the sciences, kept their ancient appellation of Chaldeans, which thence became synonymous with soothsayers, or wise men. It is certain that the Chaldeans understood the revolution of comets, which was unknown to Hipparchus, to Ptolemy, and even to all the mo
dern world down to the days of Tycho Brahe. Nay, Cassini himself in his youth believed comets to be nothing else than meteors. Is it not natural to conclude, that those Chaldeans who brought this high degree of knowledge to Babylon, were the remains of a most ancient and most enlightened people?
The bramins of India believe in the unity of God, and in the immortality of the soul; but along with these sublime tenets, which pre-suppose an enlightened and reflecting period of society, they hold a variety of the most contemptible and childish doctrines. They derive the former, we must presume, from wise instructors; the latter have been the result of their own ignorance. We discern in all the fables of their theology the remains of an ancient and a pure system of religious opinions, which has been corrupted by a superstitious and degraded people.
M. Bailly then reasons from the circumstance of certain singular customs and extraordinary traditions prevailing in different nations, that they must have derived them from a common source. The custom of libation to the gods was common with the Tartars and Chinese, as well as with the Greeks and Romans. All the ancient nations had feasts of the same nature with the saturnalia. The tradition of the deluge is signally diffused, and is commemorated among many nations by different religious institutions. The Egyptians held that Mercury had engraven the principles of the sciences upon brazen columns, which resisted the effects of the deluge. The Chinese have the history of Peyrun, a peculiar
favourite of the gods, who was preserved in a boat from the general inundation. The Indians have a similar tradition. Vishnou, one of their gods, under the form of a fish, conducted the vessel which saved a remnant of the human species. The same tradition is to be found in the Edda of the Scandinavians; only their deluge, instead of water, is formed by the blood of a giant. The tradition of the golden age, M. Bailly, with an elegant stretch of fancy, supposes to have arisen from the natural regrets expressed by the first colonies of this ancient people, when they recalled to remembrance the happy territory of their nativity, and painted it in the most flattering colours to their children. The fable of the giants attacking heaven is extremely general. The Indians and Siamese have it, as well as the Greeks. The tradition of the Atlantis, a lost continent, is current among the Chinese, and among all the Asiatic nations. Plato did not invent the story, but gave it as an old tradition among the Greeks. The doctrine of the metempsychosis was part of the religion of the Egyptians, of the Bramins, and of the Persians; and the worship of the grand lama, the priest of the god Fo, in Tartary and in China, is founded upon it. Kæmpfer* shows, that the Amida, or Xaca, of the Japanese, the Fo of the Chinese, the Butta of the Indians, the Badhum of the Isle of Ceylon, the Sommona-kodom of Siam, the Sommona-rhutana of Pegu, are all one and the same personage; a deity, whose sect the same author compares to
* Hist. Gén. des Voyages, tom. xl. 265.
the plant termed the Indian fig, which multiplies itself by the ends of the branches becoming roots. But what constitutes the strongest resemblance, and is, indeed, the point of union of all these different religions is, that they are all founded on one very profound, though erroneous, doctrine of the two principles, an universal soul pervading all nature, and inert matter upon which this soul exerts its influence. Bailly concludes justly, “ A conformity in a true doctrine is not a convincing proof of a mutual understanding or concert; but a conformity in a false doctrine amounts to something very near such a proof."
M. Bailly then proceeds to point out many remarkable coincidences in matters respecting the sciences in all those nations we have mentioned. The Egyptians, Chaldeans, Indians, Persians, and Chinese, all placed their temples, and other public buildings, fronting exactly to the east; the buildings themselves standing due east and west. The worship of fire, or of the sun, has been the original worship of that ancient people from whom they borrowed their arts and sciences; and the temples were so placed, that the first rays of the sun might penetrate into the sanctuary. We formerly remarked the exact position of the pyramids of Egypt, with respect to the cardinal points of the horizon, and thence argued that that people must have made a very considerable advancement in astronomy before they were able thus accurately to regulate the position of those great structures. The same argument must be applied to those other nations we have mentioned, who must all have either made the same progress
in the science of astronomy, or have been taught a certain rule by that more ancient nation, whom M. Bailly supposes to have been the common instructor of the whole of them.
In like manner, the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Indians, and Chinese, had all the same period of sixty years for regulating their chronology. Whether this number of years was chosen arbitrarily, or there was some reason for pitching upon it, still the coincidence is an additional proof of the general conformity. The same nations divided the circle into three hundred and sixty degrees, and the zodiac into twelve parts. The week was universally divided into seven days; and, what is almost astonishing, the Chinese, the Indians, and the Egyptians, designated these days by the names of the planets, ranged precisely in the same order, which order is entirely an arbitrary one, and not dependent either on their magnitudes or distances from the sun. Chance could not have produced such wonderful coincidences.
Bailly, in his " Ancient Astronomy," has shown that the long measures of the ancients had all one common origin. He has proved that the circumference of the earth, as given by Ptolemy at 180,000 stadia, and by Possidonius at 240,000 stadia; that two others, one cited by Cleomedes at 300,000, and the other by Aristotle at 400,000 stadia; together with a computation made by a Persian author, which brings the circumference of the earth to 8000 parasangæ-are all one and the same measurement, only counted by stadia of different dimensions and by parasangæ. He has