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1. That the Hebrew roots being comprised in the fewest number of letters, the Hebrew is the most simple, and therefore perhaps the oldest of these languages; an opinion which we risk on this sole ground of probability, and in defiance of many strong, opposing circumstances, that may well induce hesitation.
2. That the oldest alphabetical written character would be the simplest, and composed of varieties of position of strąit lines. Thus the Elean inscription is one of the oldest forms of Greek character. Hence the Ogham Betbluisnion, and the inscription on the stone found in County Clare, are of the most ancient date. Next are the arrow character of Persepolis, the Babel bricks, and the virgular Ogham. But none of these seem calculated for more than sententious, and brief compositions, and are by no means adapted to long and continuous historical narrative.
3. None of these alphabets are constructed with such skill as to claim an origin from the parent language, from whence the Sanscrit has been formed or derived; the Sanscrit being undoubtedly the language of a long existing and polished people, too far advanced to use the Ogham character.
On the 10th and 11th chapters of Genesis : on the opinions of the author, of D'Herbelot, of St. Jerom. (pp. 38-45) 11 Genesis. “ And it came to pass, that as they TRAVELLED FROM THE EAST, “they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there." Hence, Mount Ararat could not be properly placed between the Caspian and the Black Sea, but must have been some elevated region to the East of Babylon; somewhere in Bactriana, (part of Scythia, according to Justin, lib. ii. ch. 1, $3.) probably near to the Oxus and Iaxartes, according to Mr. Higgins; or the eastern end of the great chain of Caucasus toward the Imaus or Himalaya. There is no proof that Babylon was Babel; or any likelihood that a whole people would adopt a name recording their own confusion and disgrace.
Ararat from the Hebrew Er-ird, mountain of descent: or in the Samaritan Errt, or Arrt. A friend suggests, that in the Irish or Gaelic, Er means upon and ird, high or height. In Sanscrit, Himmaleh means the Mountains of the Moon.
Confusion of tongues or languages: is this, says Mr. Huddlestone, any thing more than a strong oriental metaphor, for discordance and dissension among the people?
Of Baillie's hypothesis, supported by Sir Wm. Drummond. (p. 45.) We have already said so much of Mr. Baillie, his opinions, and the uncandid statement of Sir Wm. Jones, approved of course by the Rev. M. Maurice, that we shall add little to what has been urged in the preliminary part of our review of VOL. IV.NO. 7.
Mr. Higgins' work. But the following passage from so learned a man as Sir Wm. Drummond, and whose reverence for the Bible is so unexceptionable, is worth citing. (Drummond on the Zodiacs, p. 36.) “ The fact, however, is certain, that at some remote period there were mathematicians and astronomers who knew that the sun is the centre of our planetary system, and that the earth, itself a planet, revolves round the central fire ; who calculated, or, like ourselves, attempted to calculate the return of comets, and who knew that these bodies move in elliptic orbits immensely elongated, having the sun in one of their foci ; who indicated the number of the solar years contained in the great cycle, by multiplying a period (variously called in the Zend, the Sanscrit, and the Chinese, ven, van, and phen) of 180 years by another period of 144 years; who reckoned the sun's distance from the earth at 800,000,000 of Olympic stadia, and who must, therefore, have taken the parallax of that luminary by a method not only more perfect than that said to have been invented by Hipparchus, but little inferior in exactness to that now in use among the moderns; who could scarcely have made a mere guess, when they fixed the moon's distance from its primary planet at fifty-nine semidiameters of the earth; who had measured the circumference of our globe with so much exactness, that their calculation only differed a few feet from that made by our modern geometricians; who held that the moon and the other planets were worlds like our own, and that the moon was diversified by mountains, valleys, and seas; who asserted, there was yet a planet which revolved round the sun beyond the orbit of Saturn; who reckoned the planets to be sixteen in number ; who reckoned the length of the tropical year within three minutes of the true time, nor indeed were they wrong at all if a tradition mentioned by Plutarch be correct." May I be permitted, Sir William, to ask you, (says our author) of what nation do you think these astronomers were? Do you suppose they were the Indians who forgot their formulæ, the Egyptians or the Chaldeans who fixed the year at three hundred and sixty days, or the Greeks who laughed at the stories of the comets being planets ? Search where you will, you must go to Baillie's nation between 40° and 50° of N. latitude; and that great man, the successor of Galileo, Bacon, and Worcester, in spite of prejudice, must at last have justice done to him.
On a general diffusion of great knowledge formerly, he refers to the Transactions of the Archeolog. Soc. Ant. London, vol. vi. p. 319. For the ancient discovery of the principle of gravitation, and the form of the heavenly bodies, he refers to Strabo, lib. ij. p. 110, who says, 6. the earth and the heaven are both spherical, but their tendency is to the centre of gravity.” M. Duten's Origine des Decouvertes attribuès aux Modernes, is a very ingenious and a very learned work, but it goes but a little way back, comparatively.
Persia, India, and China, depositaries not inventors of Science. (p. 52).- Who the Celtawere, (52.) According to Cæsar, (De Bell. Gall. lib. i. initio.) Gaul was inhabited by the Belgæ, the Aquitani, and the Celtæ ; the latter were denominated Gauls by the Romans, and therefore were probably the most numerous of the three tribes. The Greeks called them Kehtoi. Callimachus, in his Hymn to Apollo, uses Galates and Celtæ as synonimous. Herodotus, Melp: $ 49, places them in the remotest west of Europe. According to Diod. Sic. lib. v. 932, the Celtæ occupied Massylia, part of the Alps, and the Pyrenees : and, he says, $ 24, that Galates ruled in Celtica, whence the name Galatia, Gallia, or Gaul. Herodotus says the river Ister takes its rise among the Celts, near the city Pyrene, Eut. $ 33. (See also Appian Exp. Alex. lib. i.)
The Celté were Gomerians. (p. 54.) This may be; but in our opinion their descent from Gomer rests too much on a fanciful etymology. Appian says they were Cymbri. So does Possidonius according to Strabo, lib. vii. Josephus says the Celtæ descended from Gomer. Josephus, (says Mr. Higgins,) is a very respectable authority to a fact of this kind. For our own part, we have very little respect for the authority of Josephus, for a fact of any kind, of which he was not eye witness.*
Nor do we pay much respect, on a question of this kind, to Eustathius of Antioch, Jerom, Isidore, or the Chronicle of Alexandria, or Theophilus of Antioch, or Joseph Goronides. Learned men have been too long in the habit of shutting their eyes to the credibility of history, and of regarding a writer, a thousand years after a fact, as good authority in support of it. This total ignorance of the rules of criticism in respect of historical evidence, has prostrated common sense in a thousand instances. It is not sufficient to prove an ancient fact, that an ancient author has asserted it: we ought to know what grounds he had for the assertion, and how he came by his knowledge; what bias he was under, if any; how near he lived to the date of the transaction ; what opportunities he enjoyed of consulting the sources of knowledge, and what is his general character for accuracy and veraeity. Neither do we assent to Mr. Higgins' summary of opinions respecting the Celts, (p. 56) although Pezron may bear him out.
In p.78, Mr. Higgins expresses a still stronger distrust of Josephus than we do.
The whole of the historical facts, stated in this chapter and section, are so disputable, that we hesitate to admit them.
Of the Umbri and Etruscans. (p.58.) The Umbri a race of Gauls. The Sabines, Umbri and Celtæ the same people : conquered by the Etruscans. Quere. In our opinion they were older than the Etruscans. The author thinks the Umbri were the first artificers of what we call the Etruscan pottery, and were a branch of a highly civilized people. All this may be so, but the evidence adduced is insufficient to prove it. According to Dionysius Halicarnassus, Tarquinius Priscus received from the Tyrrheni or Etruscans ensigns of royalty, such as had been borne by the Lydians and Persians. If so, we must admit the probability of their being Asiatics; and having but thirteen letters in their alphabet, they were a very early swarm from the Asiatic hive. In our opinion this may apply to their ancestors, the Pelasgoi, as well as the more ancient Umbri. Mr. Higgins then gives us a very curious table of the Celtic, Sanscrit and Latin languages, comprising sixty words of undoubted similarity, having the meaning, the sound and the spelling so nearly alike, as to leave little doubt of their common origin. Mr. Higgins says, these are some examples out of a great many. He thinks the Latin was not derived from the Greek, or the Greek from the Phænician, but all of them from some common parent language; wherein we agree with him.
Mr. Higgins and Dr. Jamieson (Hermes Scythicus) assume, that the Celtæ and Scythians were Gomerians, and the Celtæ first in order of time: hence they would be the parents of the earliest European languages, which came from the east through the Celts. Gomer, the eldest son of Japhet, (Japetus) whence the Gomerians, Cimmerians, Cumri, Cymri, the first race who peopled Europe, according to Jamieson. They occupied part of the territory which afterwards appertained to the Scythians. These Cymri, Cumerii, Kimbri, were Galatæ or Celtæ. All this savours too much of etymology for us.
Alpheus vient d'Equus; sans doute:
Il a bien change sur la route. Affinity between the Hebrew and Celtic. (p. 62.) In the Annual Register, (vol. xlvii. p. 887,) is an attempt to shew that the Hebrew and the Welsh are the same: and several whole verses are given from a Welsh bible which are actually Hebrew. Major Vallancey has shewn as we think, incontrovertibly, the Monologue in Plautus to be Irish ; and Bochart has shewn it to be Hebrew. O'Connor, in his Chronicles of Erin, authenticates Vallancey's version. We requested a friend to translate the Hebrew of Bochart into Samaritan, conceiving that a Phoenician passage required to be compared with the Samaritan as the more cognate dialect, but his written pronunciation of the Samaritan version, does not much resemble the Irish..
Affinity between the Greek, Sanscrit, and Celtic. (p. 64.) Hecatæus of Miletus says, the Barbarians inhabited Greece before the Ellenes. Of this we have no doubt. These Barbarians being Umbri and Pelasgoi; Celtæ: for the Curetes were Celts, and established the Olympic Games. (See Pezron's Antiquities of Nations, where he has collected a number of Latin and Greek words, certainly derived from the Celtic.) The Arundelian Marbles, and Lucian, say that Eumolpus, a Thracian, introduced the Eleusinian Mysteries. At the conclusion of these mysteries, the assembly was dismissed in these words,
ΚΟΓΞ ΟΜ ΠΑΞ, which were not understood by the Greeks. Mr. Wilcox has shewn that these same words are Sanscrit, and commonly used at the religious meetings and ceremonies of the Brahmins. Canscha Om Pachsd. (See Asiatic Transactions, vol. v. and Hesychius voc. xoyš quraz.) The Sanscrit letters, says Mr. Higgins, are, probably, older than Brahma, but whether older than the negro Buddha, is a doubt. This section contains other suggestions of the affinity between these languages, that are not void of foundation.
The Celtic was the first swarn from the parent hive. (67.) There is no proof of this : nor of the branches designated in this and the succeeding pages. They may have dwelt in or near Bactriana, and sent forth in process of time, emigrations to the other parts of the world ; but the suggestion is not made out by evidence, neither is there any proof that the Celtæ and Scythæ were the same people. In such a question as this, we cannot expect more than probability, but proofs to that extent, are necessary to satisfy reasonable inquiry. The Celts were notoriously fair complexioned, and light-haired of a yellow tinge. Does this agree with the Gauls or Scythæ ?
Of the Phænician Colonies in Ireland. (80.) We have as yet encountered no proof in our author, or in any other author, of Phænician Colonies in Ireland, save in the ancient Irish histories, whose authenticity is no where made out. quoted by Justus Lipsius from Aristotle, ( de admirand:) is much
* See Appendix to this Article.