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recollection of the universal deluge, which had been
common to all; and when, in the sequel, they wished to
bring their different traditions to one common epoch,
different events were supposed to have happened,
because dates quite uncertain, and perhaps entirely
incorrect, but each in its own colony regarded as
authentic, did not coincide with one another. Thus, in
the same way that the Hellenians had a deluge of
Deucalion, because they regarded him as their first
parent, the Autochtones of Attica had a deluge of
Ogyges, because it was from him that they derived
their origin. The Pelasgi of Arcadia had that which,
according to later authors, compelled Dardanus to
betake himself towards the Hellespont. (1) The isle of
Samothracia, one in which a succession of priests was
the earliest established, and also a more regular form
of worship and connected traditions, had also its
deluge, which was thought the most ancient of alI,(2)
and which they attributed to the rupture of the
Bosphorus and Hellespont. They preserved the idea of
some similar event in Asia Minor,(3) and in

opening, in the manner of a cascade, the small quantity of
water which could flow at one time through so confined an
opening, would not only be spread over the vast extent of the
Mediterranean, without causing a tide of a few fathoms, but
that the simple, natural inclination necessary for the flowing of
the waters, would have reduced to nothing the excess of height
above the banks of Attica.
For other particulars on this subject, see a note that I have
published at the head of the third volume of Ovid, in M.
Lemaire's collection.
(1) Dion. Halicar. Antiq. Rom. lib. i. cap. lxi.
(2) Diodor. Sicul. lib. v. cap. 47.
(3) Stephen of Byzantium Iconium; Zenodotus, Prov. cent.
vi. No. 10, and Suidas Nannacus.



Syria,(1) and eventually the Greeks gave the name of
Deucalion to the whole of them. (2)
But none of these traditions places this cataclysm
very remote; none of them is incapable of explanation,
either as to its date or any other circumstances, by the
changes which tradition must undergo, to which no
precise date has been assigned by any written


Those who are desirous of assigning a very remote
antiquity to the continents and the establishment of
nations, are compelled to have recourse to the Indians,
to the Chaldeans, and the Egyptians, three people who
in fact appear the most anciently civilized of the
Caucasian race; but three people singularly resembling
each other, not only in temperament, through the
climate and the nature of the soil which they inhabit,
but still more so in the political and religious
constitution which they had framed, but whose
testimony this very similarity of constitution must
render equally suspicious. (3)

(1) Lucian de Deâ Syrâ.
(2) Arnobus contra. Gent. lib. v. from 158, speaks of a rock
in Phrygia, whence he pretends that Deucalion and Pyrrha took
their stones.
(3) This similarity of institutions goes to so great an extent,
that it is quite natural to suppose that they had a common
origin. We must not forget that many ancient authors have
thought that the Egyptian institutions came from Ethiopia; and



With all three an hereditary caste was exclusively
charged with the care of religion, law, and science;
with all three, this caste hadits allegorical language
and its secret doctrines; to all three was reserved the
privilege of reading and explaining the sacred books in
which all the doctrines had been revealed by the gods
We may easily divine what history would become in
such hands; but without any great efforts of reason, we
may learn it. from the fact itself, in examining what
has occurred amongst the only one of the three nations
now existing, namely, the Indians.
In truth, they have no history remaining. Amidst the
voluminous records of mystic theology, or abstract
metaphysics, which the Brahmins are possessed of, and
which the indefatigable perseverance of English
industry has made known to us, there is nothing which
throws any light over the origin of the nation or the
changes of their society. They even pretend that their
religion forbids them to preserve the remembrance of
the present age, the age of misfortune.(1)
According to the Vedas, the first revealed works,
and the foundation of all the Hindoo religion, the
literature of this people, like that ofthe Greeks, began
by two epochs, the 'Ramaian' and the 'Mahabarat,' a
thousand times more marvellous than the 'Iliad' and
'Odyssey,' although we perceive in them some outlines
of a metaphysical nature, of the kind usually termed
sublime. The other poems, which,

Lyncellus, p. 151, positively says that the Ethiopians came
from the borders of the Indus in the time of King Amenophis.

(1) See Polier, Mythology of the Hindoos, vol, i, pp.



with these two, form the great body of the Pouranas,
are only romances or versified legends, written at
various periods, by various authors, and not less wild
in their fictions than the great works mentioned. It has
been thought that in some of these writings, deeds, or
the names of men somewhat resembling those
mentioned by the Greeks and Latins, may be traced;
and it is principally from the similarity of names that
M. Wilfort has endeavoured to derive from these
Pouranas a sort of concordance with our ancient
western chronology, — a concordance which unfolds,
at every line, the hypothetical nature of its foundation;
and which, besides, can only be admitted by entirely
rejecting the dates given by the Pouranas themselves.
The lists of kings which the pundits, or Indian
doctors, have pretended to compile from these
Pouranas, are only plain catalogues without details, or
decked with absurd ones, little short of the Chaldeans
or Egyptians; or those which were framed for the
nations of the north, by Trithemus and Saxo the
grammarian.(2) These lists are far from coinciding;
none of them supposes either a history, registers, or
records; their very foundation has probably no other
source than the fictitious work of the poets, from
whose compositions they may have derived their

(1) See the great work of M. Wilfort on the Chronology of
the Kings of Magadha and the Indian Emperors, and on the
epochs of Vicramaditjia (or Bikermadjit) and Salivahanna.
Mem. de Calcutta, tome ix. p. 82, 8vo. edit.
(2) Sir William Jones on Hindoo Chronology, Mem. de
Calcutta, vol. ii. p. 111; 8vo. edit. French translation, p. 164.
See also M. Wilfort on the same subject, ibid. vol. v. p. 241;
and the lists which he gives in his work mentioned above, vol.
ix. p. 116.



origin. One of the Indian pundits, who supplied M.
Wilfort with these, confessed that he filled up at his
pleasure, with imaginary names, the spaces that
occurred between celebrated kings;(1) and he added,
that his predecessors had done the same. If this be true
of the lists which the English now obtain, why should
it not be so with reference to those which Abou-Fazel
has given as extracts from the annals of Cachemere,(2)
and which, besides, though filled with fiction, only
refer to 4300 years back, of which more than 1200 are
filled with the names of princes, the extent of whose
reigns are not determined.
The very era whence the Indians now calculate their
years, beginning fifty-seven years before Christ, and
which bears the name of a prince called Vicrarhaditjia,
or Bickermadjit, bears it only by a kind of convention;
for we find, according to the synchronisms attributed
to Vicramaditjia, that there were three, and perhaps
eight or nine, princes of this name, who have all had
similar legends, and who have all been at war with a
prince called Saliwahanna; and what is more, they do
not accurately know if this fifty-seventh year before
Christ be that of the birth, the reign, or the death of
Vicramaditjia, whose name it bears. (3)
Again, the most authentic of the Indian records
contradict,, by intrinsic and very obvious characters,
the antiquity which these people attribute to them.

(1) Wilfort, Mem. de Calcutta, in 8vo. vol. ix. p. 133.
(2) In the Ayeen-Acbery, vol. ii. p. 138 of the English
translation. See also Heeren, Commerce of the Ancients, 1st
vol. part ii. page 329.
(3) See Bentley on the Hindoo Astronomical Systems, and
their Unison with History, Mem. de Calcutta, vol. viii. page
243 ofthe 8vo. edition.



Their Vedas or sacred books, revealed, as they say, by
Brahma himself, at the beginning of the world, and
arranged by Viasa (a name which only signifies a
collector) at the beginning of the present age; and — if
we may judge of them by the calendar which is
annexed, and to which they refer, as well as by the
position of the colours which this calendar points out,
— may go as far back as 3200 years. which would
closely approach the epoch of Moses.(1) Perhaps even
those who have faith in the assertion of
Megasthenes,(2) that in his times the Indians were
ignorant of the art of writing; those who will reflect
that none of the ancients have made mention of the
superb temples, the immense pagodas, those
remarkable monuments of the religion of the
Brahmins; those who know that the epochs of their
astronomical tables have been subsequently calculated,
and inaccurately done; and that their treatises on
astronomy are modern and antedated, will be inclined
to discredit still farther this pretended antiquity of the
Yet in the midst of all the Brahminical fables, there
occur points of coincidence with the historical
monuments in the more western nations, which must
astonish us. Thus their mythology determines the
successive deluges which the surface of the globe has
experienced, and is yet fated to experience; and it is
only from a period rather less than 5000 years that
they derive that which last occurred. (3) One of these
revolutions, which they

(1) See the Mem. of Mr. Colebrooke on the Vedas, Mem. de
Calcutta, vol. viii. of the 8vo. edition, p. 493.
(2) Megasthenes, apud Strabo, lib. xv. p. 709. Almel.
(3) That which produced the present age or cali-yug(the
earth's age) is made 4927 years or 3102 years before Christ.



in reality place much more remote, is described in
terms precisely corresponding with the Mosaic
M. Wilfort even assures us that in another event of
this mythology, a person figured very much resembling
Deucalion in origin, name, adventures, and even in the
name and adventures of his father. (2)
It is equally worthy of remark, that in these lists of
kings, barren and doubtful as they are, the Indians
place the commencement of their terrestrial sovereigns
(those of the race of the sun and moon) at an epoch
nearly the same as that which Ctesias, in a list of a
precisely similar kind, makes the commencement

(1825.) See Legentil, Voyage to India, v. i. p. 235. Bentley,
Mem. de Calcutta, v. 8. ed. 8vo. p. 212. According to the
Samaritan text, the deluge of Noah was only fifty-nine years
more remote.
(1) The person named Satyavrata plays the same part as
Noah, and saves himself with seven couples of holy persons.
See Sir William Jones, Mem. de Calcutta, v. i. P. 230, 8vo. ed.
and in the Bagvadam (or Bagvata) translated by de Fouché
d'Obsonville, p. 212.
(2) Cala Javana, or in the common language, cal-yun, to
whom his partisans may have given the epithet of divi, deo, or
god, having attacked Crishna, the Indian Apollo, at the head of
the northern nations (the Scythians, whence sprung Deucalion,
according to Lucian) was driven back with fire and water. His
father Garga, was called also Paramathesa (Prometheus;) and,
according to another legend, was devoured by the eagle Garuda.
These details were extracted by Wilfort (in his Mem. on Mount
Caucasus, Calcutta Memi v. 6. 8vo. edit. p. 507.) from the
sacred drama, called Hari-Vansa. M. Charles Ritter, in his
Vestibule of European History before Herodotus, concludes
that the fable of Deucalion was of foreign derivation, and
brought into Greece with the other legends of that part of the
Greek worship which had come from the north, and which had
preceded the Egyptian and Phœnician colonies. But if it be true



of his kings of Assyria, about 4000 years before the
present time.(1)
This wretched state of historical knowledge is to the
subjection of the people to an hereditary priesthood,
who enforced a worship monstrous in its external
form, and cruel in most of its precepts, and who alone
had the privilege of writing, of preserving, and
explaining the books. Any absurd tale, invented to give
fame to a shrine of pilgrimage, legends calculated to
inspire a deeper homage for their caste, was of more
importance to them than all the facts of authentic
history. With respect to the sciences, they might have
cultivated astronomy, which gave them a reputation as
astrologers; mechanics, which assisted them in
elevating monuments, signs of their power, and the
objects of the most superstitious veneration with the
people; geometry, the basis of astronomy as well as of
mechanics, and an important auxiliary to agriculture in
those vast alluvial plains which could only be made
salutary and fruitful by means of numerous canals;
they might encourage the mechanical or chemical arts
which nourish their commerce, and contributed to their
luxury and the splendour of their temples; but they
would look with dread on history, which would inform
mankind of their mutual relations.
What we observe in India, we might expect to find
in every country in which a priesthood,

that the constellations of the Indian sphere have also the
names of Grecian personages; that we have Andromeda under
the name of Antarmadia, Cepheus under that of Capiia, &c., we
may be tempted with M. Wilfort, to draw a different
conclusion. Unfortunately the records adduced by this writer
have been doubted by the learned.
(1) Bentley, Mem. de Calcutta, v. 8. p. 226. ed. 8vo. —



constituted like that of the Brahmins, established in
similar countries, assumed a similar control over, the
mass of the people. Thesame causes produce the same
results; and in fact, however we reflect on the
fragments of Egyptian and Chaldean traditions which
are left to us, we perceive that they were not more
historical than those of the Indians.
To judge of the nature of the chronicles which the
Egyptian priests pretended to possess, it is sufficient to
review the extracts which they have given themselves
at different times and to different persons.
Those of Sais, for instance, told Solon about 550
years before Christ, that Egypt, not being subject to
deluges, they had not only preserved their own annals,
but those of other people; that the city of Athens and
that of Sais were both built by Minerva, the former
9000 years before, the other only 8000; and to those
dates he added the well-known fable concerning the
Atlantis, and respecting the resistance which the
ancient Athenians opposed to their conquests, as well
as all the romantic accounts of the Atlantis;(1) in
which are to be found facts and genealogies similar to
those of all mythological romances.
A century later, about 450 years before Christ, the
priests of Memphis gave a different account to
Herodotus. (2) Menes, the first king of Egypt, as they
said, had built Memphis and confined the Nile with
banks, as if such operations could have been done by
the first king of any country. Since then they had had
330 other kings, down to Mœris, who reigned, as they
asserted, 900 years before the

(1) See Plato's Timæus and Critias.
(2) Euterpe, chap. xcix. et seq.



epoch in which this statement was made (1350 before
After these kings came Sesostris, who carried his
conquests even to Colchis;(1) and in all, there were to
Sethos 341 kings and 341 high priests, in 341
generations, during 11,340 years; and in this space, as
if to corroborate their genealogy, these priests asserted
that the sun had risen twice where he sets, without
effecting any change in their climate or the
productions of the country; and previously to them no
deity had appeared or reigned in Egypt.
To this improbability, which, in spite of all the
explanations which have been given, proves so gross an
ignorance of astronomy, they add concerning Sesostris,
Phero, Helenus, and Rhampsinitus, the kings who built
the pyramids, and an Ethiopian conquer or, named
Sabacos, tales equally preposterous.
The Theban priests did better; they pointed out to
Herodotus, and had previously shown to Hecateus, 345
wooden colossal figures representing 345 high priests,
who had succeeded father to son, all men, all born one
from the other, who had been preceded by gods. (2)
Other Egyptians told him that they had correct
registers, not only of the reign of men, but of that of
the gods. They reckoned 17,000 years from Hercules to
Amases, and 15,000 from Bacchus. Pan was even
earlier than Hercules. (3)
These people evidently mistook for history some

(1) Herodotus thought that he had detected similarities of
figure and colour between the Colchians; but it is infinitely
more probable that the black Coichians of whom he speaks,
were an indian colony attracted by the commerce anciently
established between India and Europe by the Oxus, the
Caspian, and the Phasis. See Ritter, Vestibule, chap. i.
(2) Euterpe, chap. cxliii. (3) Ibid. cxliv.

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