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As the theology and mythology of the ancients land. As nature, in the ordinary course of her ope are almost inseparably connected, it will be imp is- rations, exhibited neither objects nor effects adesible for us to develope the latter, without often quate to the extent of their romantic imaginations, introducing some observations relating to the for- they naturally deviated into the fields of fiction and mer. We must therefore intreat the indulgence fable. Of consequence, the custom of detailing of our readers, if upon some occasions we should fabulous adventures originated in the east, and was hazard a few strictures on the names, characters, from thence transplanted into the western counadventures, and functions of such pagan divinities tries. as may have furnished materials for those fabulous As the allegorical taste of the eastern nations narrations which the nature of the subject may had sprung from their propensity to fable, and as lead us to discuss.
that propensity had in its turn originated from the With respect to fable, it may be observed in ge love of the marvellous; so did allegory in process neral, that it is a creature of the human imagina- of time contribute its influence towards multiply. tion, and derives its birth from that love of the ing tables and fiction almost in infinitum. The lamarvellous which is in a manner congenial to the tent import of the allegorical doctrines being in a soul of man. The appearances of nature which few ages lost and obliterated, what was originally a every day occur, objects, actions, and events, which moral or theological tenet assumed the air and succeed each other, by a kind of routine, are too fa- habit of a personal adventure. miliar, too obvious, and uninteresting, either to The propensity towards personification, almost gratify curiosity or to excite admiration. On the universal among the orientals, was another fruitful other hand, when the most common phenomena source of fable and allegory. That the people of in nature or life are new-modelled by the plastic the east were strongly inclined to personity inanipower of a warm imagination; when they are di- mate objects and abstract ideas, we imagine will versified, compounded, embel ished, or even are be readily granted, when it is considered, that in ranged and moulded into forms which seidom or the formation of language they have generally anperhaps never occur in the ordinary course of nexed the affection of sex to those objects. Hence things; novelty generates admiration, a passion the distinction of grammatical genders, which is always attended with delightful sensations. Here known to have originated in the eastern parts of then we imagine we have discovered the very the world. The practice of personifying virtues, source of fiction and fable. They originated from vices, religious and moral affections, was necesthat powerful propensity in our nature towards the sary to support that allegorical style which univer. new and surprising, animated by the delight with sally prevailed in those countries. This mode of which the contemplation of them is generally at- writing was in high reputation even in Europe tended.
some centuries ago; and to it we are indebted for Many circumstances contributed to extend and some of the most noble poetical compositions now establish the empire of fable. The legislator laid extant in our own language. Those productions, hold on this bias of human nature, and of course however, are but faint imitations of the original employed fable and fiction as the most effectual mode of writing still current among the eastern means to civilize a rude, unpolished world. The nations. The Europeans derived this species of philosopher, the theologist, the poet, the musician, composition from the Moorish inhabitants of Spain, each in his turn, made use of this vehicle to con- who imported it from Arabia, their original counvey his maxims and instructions to the savage try. tribes. They knew that truth, simple and un- The general use of hieroglyphics in the East adorned, is not possessed of charms powerful must have contributed largely towards extending enough to captivate the heart of man in his present the empire of mythology. As the import of the corrupt and degenerate state. This consideration, figures employed in this me:hod of delineating the which did indeed result from the character of their signs of ideas was in a great measure arbitrary, audience, naturally led them to employ fiction and mistakes must have been frequently committed in allegory. From this was derived the allegorical ascertaining the notions which they were at the taste of the ancients, and especially of the primary first intended to represent. When the developsages of the east.
ment of these arbitrary signs happened to be atThough almost every nation on the face of the tended with uncommon difficulty, the expounders globe, however removed from the centre of popula- were obliged to have recourse to conjecture. tion, however savage and averse from cultivation, Those conjectural expositions were for the most has fabricated and adopted its own system of my- part tinctured with that bias towards the marvelthology; the Orientals, however, have distin- lous which universally prevailed among the primiguished themselvis in a peculiar manner, by the tive men. This we find is the case even at this boldness, the inconsistency, and the extravagance day, when moderns attempt to develop the purof their mythology. The genial warmth of those port of emblematical figures, preserved on ancient happy clim the fertility of the soil, which af- medals, intaglios, &c. forded every necessary, every conveniency, and The wise men of the East delighted in obscure often every luxury of life, without depressing their enigmatical sentences. They seem to have disspirits by laborious exertions; the face of nature dained every sentiment obvious to vulgar appreperpetually blooming around them, the skies smil- hension. The words of the wise, and their dark ing with uninterrupted serenity; all contributed to sayings, often occurred in the most ancient reinspire the orientals with a glow of fancy and a vi- cords both sacred and profane. The sages of angour of imagination rarely to be met with in less tiquity used to vie with each other for the prize of happy regions. Hence every object was swelled superior wisdom, by propounding riddles, and dark beyond its natural dimensions. Nothing was great and mysterious questions, as subjects of investigaor little in moderation, but every sentiment was tion. The contest between Solomon and Hiram, heightened with incredible hyperbole. The mag- and that between Amasis king of Egypt and Polynificent, the sublime, the vast, the enormous, the crates tyrant of Samos, are universally known marvellous, first sprung up, and were brought to As the import of those enigmatical propositions maturity, in those native regions of fable and fairys was often absolutely lost, in ages wber the art of writing was little known, and still less practised, the primary chaos. To be convinced of the truth nothing remained but fancy and conjecture, of this assertion, we need only look into Sanchowhich always verged towards the regions of fable. viathon's Cosmogony, Euseb. Præp. Evang. I. This then, we think, was another source of my- 1. sub init, and Diodorus Sic. 1. 1. From this we thology.
suppose it will follow, that the first race of fables The pagan priests, especially in Egypt, were pro- owed their birth to the erroneous opinions of the bably the first who reduced mythology to a kind formation of the universe. of system. The sacerdotal tribe, among that peo- Having now endeavoured to point out the origin ple, were the grand depositaries of learning, as well of mythology, or fabulous traditions, we shall as of religion. That order of men monopolised all proceed to lay before our readers a brief detail of the arts and sciences. They seemed to have forin- the mythology of the most respectable nations of ed a conspiracy among themselves, to preclude the antiquity, following the natural order of their silaity from all the avenues of intellectual improve- tuation. ment. This plan was adopted with a view to keep According to the Chinese accounts, rohe or the laity in subjection, and to enhance their own Fohi laid the foundation of that empire about 4000 importance. To accomplish this end, they con- years ago. This emperor, according to the Chitrived to perform all the ministrations of their re- nese, was conceived in a miraculous manner. ligion in an unknown tongue, and to cover them His mother, say they, one day as she was walking with a thick veil of fable and allegory. The in a desert place, was surrounded by a rainbow; language of Ethiopia became their sacred dialect, and, being impregnated by this meteor, was in and hieroglyphics their sacred character. Egypt, due time delivered of that celebrated legislator. of course, became a kind of fairyland, where all This personage, like the Athenian Cecrops, was was jugglery, magic, and enchantment. The ini- half a man and half a serpent. His intellectual tiated alone were admitted to the knowledge of the powers were truly hyperbolical. In one day he occult mystical exhibitions, which, in their hands, discovered 50 different species of poisonous herbs. constituted the essence of their religion. From He taught his countrymen the whole art of agrithese the vulgar and profane were prohibited by culture in the space of a very few years. He inthe most rigorous penalties. The Egyptians, and structed them how to sow five different sorts of indeed all the ancients without exception, deemed grain. He invented boats and nets for fishing, the the mysteries of religion too sacred and solemn to art of fabricating porcelain, the managenient of be communicated to the herd of mankind, naked silk-worms, the manufacturing of silk, &c. In a and unreserved; a mode by which they imagined word, that wonderful personage was inspired by those sacred and sublime oracles would have been Heaven with knowledge, which qualificd him for defied and degraded. Procul, o procul este profani composing that incomparable body of laws which -Odi profunum vulgus el arceo. Egypt was the are even at this day the wonder of the world. land of graven images; allegory and mythology Our readers will admit, that this whole detail is were the veil which concealed religion from the fabulous and chimerical. The most learned part eyes of the vulgar; fable was the ground-work of of them will readily observe, that the Chinese, in that impenetrable covering,
ascribing the invention of all the useful arts to la the earliest and most unpolished state of so- their Fohi, are perfectly agreed with almost all the ciety we cannot suppose fable to have existed other nations of antiquity. The Indians ascribe among men. Fables are always tales of other every invention to Budha, or Vishnou, or Foe; times, but at this period other times did not reach the Persians to Zerdusht or Zoroastres ; the Chal. far enough backward to afford those fruits of the deans to their man of the sea, whom they call imagination sufficient time to arrive at maturity. Oannes; the Egyptians to Thoth or Thyoch; the Fable requires a considerable space of time tu ac- Phænicians to Melicerta ; the Greeks to the faquire credibility, and to rise into reputation. Ac- mily of the Titans; and the Scandinavians to cordingly, we find that both the Chinese and Odin ; &c. Egyptians, the two most ancient nations wbose About 551 years before the Christian æra, apannais have reached our times, were altogether peared the famous Chinese philosopher Con-fu-tse, unacquainted with fabulous details in the most or Confucius. Concerning the birth of this prince early and least improved periods of their respec- of philosophers, the Chinese have propagated the tive inonarchies. It bas been shown almost to a following legendary tale. His mother walking in demonstration, by a variety of learned men, that a solitary place was impregnated by the vivitying both the one and the other people, during some influence of the Heavens. The babe, thus procenturies after the general deluge, retained and duced, spake and reasoned as soon as it was born. practised the primitive Noachic religion, in Confucius, however, wrought no miracles, perwhich fable and fancy could find no place; all formed no romantic exploits, but lived an austere was genuine unsophisticated truth.
ascetic life, taught and inculcated the doctrines As soon as the authentic tradition concerning of pure morality, and died, remarkable only for the origin of the universe was either in a good superior wisdom, religious, moral, and political. measure lost, or at least adulterated by the in- About the year of Christ 601, flourished the ventions of men, fable and fiction began to pre- sectary Laokiun. His mother carried himn 30 years tail. The Egyptian Thoth or Thyoth, or Mer- in her womb, and was at last delivered of him cury Trismegistus, and Mochus the Phænician, under a plum-tree.' This philosopher was the undertook to account for the formation and ar- Epicurus of the Chinese. His disciples, who were rangement of the universe, upon principles purely denominated Pao-sse, i. e. heavenly doctors, were mechanical. Here fable began to usurp the place the first wlio corrupted the religion of the Chinese. of genuine historical truth. Accordingly, we They were addicted to magic, and introduced the find that all the historians of antiquity, who have worship of good and bad dæmons. Their doctrine undertaken to give a general detail of the affairs was embraced by a long succession of emperors. of the world, have ushered in their narration One of these princes, called You-ti, had been die with a fabulous cosmogony. Here imagination prived by death of a favourite mistress, whom he Tanged unconfined over the boundless extent of loved with the most extravagant passion. The emperor, by the magical skill of one of these doc. tures.-Afterwards Brimha joined his efficient tors, obtained an interview with his deceased mis- power with Bishon and Rulder; and by their tress, a circumstance which riveted the whole united exertions they produced ten men, whose order in the affection and esteem of the deluded general appellation is Munies, that is, the inprince. Here our readers will observe the exact spired. The same being, according to another counterpart of the fable of Eurydice, so famous in mythology, produced four other persons, as imathe mythology of the Greeks and Romans. That ginary as the former ; one from his breast, one such a system of religious principles must have from his back, one from his lip, and one from his abounded with mythological adventures is highly heart. These children were denominated Bangs; probable ; but as the missionaries, to whom we the import of which word we cannot pretend are chiefly indebted for our information relating to to determine. According to another tradition, the religion of the Chinese, have not taken the Brimha produced the Bramins from his mouth, pains to record them, we find it impossible to to pray, to read, to instruct; the Chiltern from gratify the curiosity of our readers on that head. his arms, to draw the bow, to fight, to govern;
The worship of the idol Fo, or Foe, was trans- the Bice from his belly or thighs, to nourish, to planted from India into China about the 56th year provide the necessaries of life by agriculture and of the Christian æra, upon the following occasion. commerce; the Sodor from his feet, for subjecOne of the doctors of the Fao-sse had promised tion, to serve, to labour, to travel. The reader a prince of the family of Tchou, and brother of will see at once, in these allegorical persons, the the emperor Ming-ti, to make him enter into com- four casts or septs into which the Hindu nations munion with the spirits. At his solicitation an have, time immemorial, been divided. These are ambassador was dispatched into India, in order to some of their most celebrated mythological traenquire where the true religion was to be found. ditions with relation to the origin of the uniThere had been a tradition, say the missionaries, verse. ever since the age of Confucius, that the true re- The Hindus have likewise some mythological ligion was to be found in the west.— The ambas- opinions which seem to relate to the general sador_stopt short in India ; and finding that the deluge. They tell us, that desiring the preser. god Foe was in high reputation in that coun- vation of herds and of brahmans, of genii and of try, he collected several images of that deity virtuous men, of vedas of law, and of precious painted on chintz, and with it 42 chapters of the things, the Lord of the universe assumes many canonical books of the Hindus, which, together bodily shapes; but though he pervades, like the with the images, he laid on a white elephant, and air, a variety of beings, yet he is himself unvaried, transported into his native country. At the same since he has no quality in him subject to change. time he imported from the same quarter the doce At the close of the last calpa, there was a general trine of the transmigration of souls, which is firmly destruction, occasioned by the sleep of Brahme, believed in China to this day. The doctrine and whence his creatures in different worlds were worship of Foe, thus introduced, made a most drowned in a vast ocean. Brahme being inclined rapid progress all over China, Japan, Siam, &c. to slumber after a lapse of so many ages, the The priests of Foe are called among the Siamese, strong dæmon Hayagri-va came near him, and Talopoins ; by the Tartars, Lamas, by the Chi- stole the vedas which had flowed from his lips. nese, Ho-chang; and by the people of Japan, When Heri, the preserver of the universe, disBonzes. By this last appellation they are generally covered this deed of the prince of Dainavas, he known in Europe.
took the shape of a minute fish called Sap-hari. An infinitude of fable was invented and propa- After various transformations, and an enormous gated by the disciples of Foe, concerning the life increase of size in each of them, the Lord of the and adventures of their master. If the earlier universel oving the righteous man, who had ages of the Chinese history are barren of mytho- still adhered to him under all these various shapes, logical incidents, the later periods, after the in- and intending to preserve him from the sea of detroduction of the worship of Foe, furnish an in-struction caused by the depravity of the age, thus exhaustible store of miracles, monsters, fables, told him how he was to act : "In seven days intrigues, exploits, and adventures, of the most from the present time, O thou tamer of enemies ! villanous complexion. Indeed, most of them are the three worlds will be plunged in an ocean of so absurd, so ridiculous, and at the same time so death; but in the midst of the destroying waves impious and profane, that we are convinced our a large vessel sent by me for thy use shall stand readers will easily dispense with a detail from before thee." The remaining part of the mythowhich they could reap neither entertainment nor logy.so nearly resembles the Mosaic history of instruction. Such as may find themselves dis- Noah and the general deluge, that the former posed to rake into this abominable puddle we may be a strong confirmation of the truth of the must refer to the reverend fathers Du Halde, later. To dry up the waters of the deluge, the Couplet, Amiot, Kircher, and other members of power of the Deity descends in the form of a the propaganda, in whose writings they will find boar, the symbol of strength, to draw up and wherewithal to satisfy, and even to surfeit, their support on its tusks the whole earth, which had appetite.
been sunk beneath the ocean. Again, the same The Hindus, like the other nations of the power is represented as a tortoise sustaining the East, for a long time retained the worship of the globe, which had been convulsed by the violent true God. At length, however, idolatry broke assaults of dæmons, while the gods charmed the in, and, like an impetuous torrent, overwhelmed sea, with the mountain Mandar, and forced it to the country. First of all, the genuine history of disgorge the sacred things and animals, together the origin of the universe was either utterly lost, with the water of life which it had swallowed. or disguised under a variety of fictions and al- All these stories, we think, relate to the same legories. We are told that Brimha, the supreme event, shadowed by a moral, a metaphysical, and divinity of the Hindus, after three several efforts, an astronomical allegory; and all three seem con. at last succeeded in creating four persons, whom nected with the hieroglyphical sculptures of the he appointed to rule over all the inferior crea- old Egyptians.
The Hindus divide the duration of the world his disciples propagated, was the metempsychosio into four Yugs or Jugs, or Jogues, each consist- or transmigration of souls. This doctrine, some ing of a prodigious number of years. In each of imagine, has given rise to the multitude of idols those periods, the age and stature of the human reverenced in every country where the worship race have been gradual diminished; and in each of Fo is established. Quadrupeds, birds, reptiles, of thern mankind has gradually declined in virtue and the vilest animals, had temples erected for and piety, as well as in age and stature. The them ; because, say they, the soul of the god, in present period they call the Collæ, i.e. the cor- his numerous transmigrations, may have, at one rupe Jogue', which they say is to last 400,000 time or other, inhabited their bodies. years of which near 5000 years are already past. Both the doctrine of transmigration and of the In the last part of the preceding Jogue, which worship of animals seems, however, to have been they call the Dwa paar, the age of man was con- imported from Egypt into India. If the intertracted into 1000 years, as in the present it is course between these two countries was begun at confined to 100. From this proportional dimi- $0 early a period as some very late writers have nution of the length of the human life, our readers endeavoured to prove, such a supposition is by will probably infer, that the two last Jogues bear no means improbable. The doctrine of the transa pretty near resemblance to the Mosaic history migration of souls was early established among of the age of the antediluvian and postdiluvian the Egyptians. It was, indeed, the only idea they patriarchs; and that the two first are imaginary formed of the soul's immortality. The worship periods prior to the creation of the world, like of animals among them seems to have been still those of the Chinese, Chaldeans, and Egyp- more ancient. If such an intercourse did actually tians.
exist, we may naturally suppose that colonies According to the mythology of the Hindus, of Egyptian priests found their way into India, the system of the world is subject to various dis- as they did afterwards into Asia Minor, Italy, and solutions and resuscitations. At the conclusion Greece. That colonies of Egyptians did actually of the Coliæ Jogue, say they, a grand revolution penetrate into that country, and se tle there, will take place, when the solar system will be many centuries before the Nativity, is a fact that consumed by fire, and all the elements reduced to cannot be called in question, for reasons which their original constituent atoms. Upon the back the bounds prescribed us on this article will not of these revolutions, Brimha, the supreme deity allow us to enumerate. We shall only observe, of the Hindus, is sometimes represented as a new- that from the hieroglyphical representations of bora infant, with his toe in his mouth, floating on the Egyptian deities seem to have originated a camala or water flower, sometimes only on a those monstrous idols which from time immeleaf of that plant, on the surface of the vast abyss. morial have been worshipped in India, China, At other times he is figured as coming forth of a Japan, Siam, and even in the remotest parts of winding shell; and again as blowing up the inun.
Asiatic Tartary. dane foam with a pipe at his mouth. Some of Foe is often called Budha, Budda, and some. these emblematical figures and attitudes, our times Vishnou; perhaps, indeed, he may be dislearned readers will probably observe, nearly tinguished by many other names, according to resemble those of the ancient Egyptians.
the variety of dialects of the different nations But the vulgar religion of the ancient Hindus among which his worship was established. An was of a very different complexion, and opens a infinitude of fables was propagated by his dislarge field of mythological adventures. We have ciples concerning him after his death. They preobserved above, that the lo or Foe of the Chinese tended that their master was still alive ; that was imporied from India, and now we shall he had been already born 8000 times; and that gire a brief detail of the mythological origin of he had successively appeared under the higure of that divinity. We have no certain account of an ape, a lion, a dragon, an elephant, a boar, &c. the birth-place of this imaginary deity. His fol. These were called the incarnations of Vishnou. lowers relate, that he was born in one of the At length he was confounded wiih the supreme kingdoms of India near the line, and that bis God; and all the titles, attributes, operations, father was one of that country. His mother perfections and ensigns of the Most High were brought him into the world by the left side ; and ascribed to him. Sometimes he is called Amida, expired soon after the delivery. At the time of and represented with the head of a dog, and her conception, she dreamed that she had swal- worshipped as the guardian of mankind. He lowed a white elephant ; a circumstance which sometimes appears as a princely personage, isis sapposed to have given birth to the veneration suing from the mouth of a fish. “At other times, which the kings of India have always shown for he wears a lunette on his head, in which are seen a white animal of that species. As soon as he cities, mountains, towers, trees, in short, all that was born, he had strength enough to stand erect
the world contains. These transformacions are without assistance. He walked abroad at seven, evidently the children of allegorical or hieroglyand, pointing with one hand to the heavens, and phical enblems, and fsrm an exact counterpart with the orher to the earth, he cried out, “ in to the sya:bolical worship of the Egyptians. the heavens, and on the earth, there is no one The enormous mass of mythological traditions but me who deserves to be honoured.” At the which have in a manner deluged the vast conage of 30, he felt himself all on a sudden filled tinent of India would fill many volumes : we with the divinity; and now he was metamor- have selected the preceding articles as a specimen phosed into fo or Pagod, according to the ex- only, by which our readers may be qualitied to pression of the Hindus. He had no sooner de- judge of the rest. If they find therosive disposed to clared himself a divinity, than he thought of pro- induige their curiosity at grearer length, we must pagating his doctrine, and proving his divine remit them to Thevenot's and Hamilton's Tramission by miracles. The number of his dis- vels, to Mons. Aquetil in his Zond Avesta; Hal. çiples was immense; and they soon spread his bed's Introduction to his translation of the Code dogmas over all India, and even to the higher of Gentoo Laws ; Col. Dow's History of Hindosextremities of Asia.
tan; Grose's Voyage to the East Indies; Asiatic One of the principal doctrines which fo and Researches, vol. 1. and II.
The mythology of the Persians is, if possible, the other nations of the East, commences at z still more extravagant than that of the Hindus. period myriads of years prior to the æra of the It supposes the world to have been repeatedly Mosaic creation. Their cosmogony, exhibited destroyed, and repeopled by creatures of different by Berosus, who was a priest of Belus, and deeply formation, who were successively annihilated or versed in the antiquities of his country, is a piece banished for their disobedience to the Supreme of mythology of the most extravagant nature. Being. The monstrous griffin Sinergh tells the It has been copied by Eusebius (Chron. I. i. p. hero Caherman that she had already lived to see 5.); it is likewise to be found in Syncellus, copied the earth seven times filled with creatures, and from Alexander Polyhistor. According to this seven times a perfect void ; that before the crea- historian, there were at Babylon written records tion of Adam, this globe was inhabited by a race preserved with the greatest care, comprehending of beings called Peri and Dives, whose character a period of fifteen myriads of years. Those formed a perfect contrast. The Peri are described writings likewise contained a history of the heaas beautiful and benevolent; the Dives as de- vens and the sea, of the earth, and of the origin formed, malevolent, and mischievous, differing of mankind. “ In the beginning (says Berosus, from infernal demons only in this, that they are copying from Oannes, of whom we shall give a not as yet confined to the pit of hell. They are brief account below) there was nothing but for ever ranging over the world, to scatter dis- darkness and an abyss of water, wherein resided cord and misery among the sons of men. The most hideous beings produced from a twofold Peri nearly resemble the fairies of Europe ; and principle. Men appeared with two wings; some perhaps the Dives gave birth to the giants and with two and some with four faces. They had magicians of the middle ages. The Peri and one body, but two heads; the one of a man, the Dives wage incessant wars; and when the Dives other of a woman. Other human figures were to make any of the Peri prisoners, they shut them be seen, furnished with the legs and horns of up in iron cages, and hang them on the highest goats. Some had the feet of horses behind, but trees, to expose them to public view, and to the before were fashioned like men, resembling hipfury of every chilling blast.
pocentaurs." The remaining part of this myWhen the Peri are in danger of being over thology is much of the same complexion ; indeed powered by their foes, they solicit the assistance so extravagant, that we imagine our readers will of some mortal hero ; which produces a series of readily enough dispense with our translating the mythological adventures, highly ornamental to sequel. “Of all these (says the author) were the strains of the Persian bards, and which, at preserved delineations in the temple of Belus at the same time, furnishes an inexhaustible fund of Babylon. The person who was supposed to prethe most diversified machinery
side over them was called Omorea. This word, One of the most celebrated adventurers in the in the Chaldean language, is Thalath, which the mythology of Persia is Tahmurus, one of their Greeks call Sanacea, but it more properly immost ancient monarchs This prince performs a ports the moon. Matters being in this situation, variety of exploits, while he endeavours to re- their god (says Eusebius), the god (says Syncover the fairy Merjan. He attacks the Dive cellus) came and cut the woman asunder; and Demrush in his own cave; where, having van- out of one half of her he formed the earth, and quished the giant or demon, he finds vast piles of out of the other he made the heavens; and, at hoarded wealth : these he carries off with the the same time, he destroyed the monsters of the fair captive. The battles, labours, and adventures abyss.” This whole mythology is an allegorical of Rostan, another Persian worthy, who lived history copied from hieroglyphical represenmany ages after the former, are celebrated by the tations, the real purport of which could not be Persian bards with the same extravagance of hy- decyphered by the author. Such, in general, hyperbole with which the labours of Hercules were the consequences of the hieroglyphical have been sung by the poets of Greece and style of writing. Rome.
Oannes the great civilizer and legislator of the The adventures of the Persian heroes breathe Chaldeans, according to Apollodorus, who copied all the wildness of achievement recorded of the from Berosus, was an amphibious animal of a knights of Gothic romance. The doctrine of heterogeneous appearance. He was endowed with enchantments, transformations, &c. exhibited in reason, and a very uncommon acuteness of parts, both, is a characteristic symptom of one common His whole body resembled a fish. Under the bead original. Persia is the genuine classic ground of of a fish he had also another head, and feet below eastern mythology, and the source of the ideas of similar to those of a man, which were subjoined to chivalıy and romance; from which they were the tail of the fish. His voice and language were propagated to the regions of Scandinavia, and articulate and perfectly intelligible, and there was indeed to the remotest corners of Europe towards a figure of him still extant in the days of Berosus. the west.
He made his appearance in the Erythrean or Red Perhaps our readers may be of our opinion, Sea, where it borders upon Babylonia. This when we offer it as a conjecture, that the tales of monstrous being conversed with men by day; but the war of the Peri and Dives originated from a at night he plunged into the sea, and remained vague tradition concerning good and bad angels: concealed in the water till next morning. He nor is it, in our opinion, improbable, that the taught the Babylonians the use of letters and the fable of the wars between the gods and giants, so knowledge of all the arts and sciences. He infamous in the mythology of Greece and Italy, structed them in the methud of building houses, was imported into the former of these countries constructing temples, and all other edifices. He from the same quarter. For a more particular taught them to compite laws and religious cereaccount of the Persian mythology, our readers monies, and explained to them the principles of may consult Dr. Hyde de Relig. vet. Pers. Medor, mathematics, yeometry, and astronomy. In a &c. ; D'Herbelot's Bibl. Orient. and Mr. Richard- word, he communicated to them every thing son's Introduction to his Persian and Arabic necessary, useful, and ornamental: and so uniDictionary.
versal were his instructions, that not one single The mythology of the Chaldeans, like that of article bad ever been added to them since the