Such writ ings are few in number, and often comprise but fragments of the primitive cults. A much larger proportion is to be found in mural pictures and inscriptions, architectural carvings and symbolical embellishments and crumbling ruins. Of some of the old religions we were quite ignorant at the beginning of this century, but are now learning much from the results of excavations, the discovery of tile libraries, the decipherment of hieroglyphs. Sometimes a new find shocks our fixed ideas to their bases, or compels us to recast our chronologies and alter our beliefs. At this moment, for example, M. Le Plongeon, the French archaeologist, proclaims that he has found by deciphering the inscriptions in Yucatan that all the ancient schools of theM ysteries, including those of Eleusis, Samothrace, evenE gypt, were derived from the mother-school and fountain head in Mayax and the Quichi country: he even discovers in the simple Greek alphabet a dis tinct narrative of the destruction of A tlantis. Early in this century, books were written to prove the derivation of theS anskrit from the Hebrew; Hue and Gabet saw in the ritualistic observances ofT ibetan Buddhism a travesty of those of the Roman Catholic Church; Western orientalists have steadfastly laboured to minimize the dates of Indian civilisation and literature. Sometimes they have done this in the interest of Biblical chronology, sometimes, perhaps, to save theW est from the mortification of having its own brief historical cycle made to seem still briefer and less impressive by comparison with those of the ancient peoples.
(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don’t occur in the book.)
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