« AnteriorContinuar »
cans, and Galls, who were Pelasgians first, then Celts and Scythians: and hence Poflellus, in his Origines Rtrurio^ endeavours to prove, that the Latins received their letters from the Celts; but as to this point, I have made it clear already, that the first Pelasgians brought their letters with them into Italy; and that their offspring were not called Celts, till the Greek language was formed, and then it was that the writers in that language called them Kitooci; and afterwards the Latins, Celtæ.
Such testimonies as are produced through this work, must carry with them a strong persuasion, that letters and learning were ever among the Pelasgians (the Gomerians and Scythians); and that they propagated them wherever they went. Now, as some of the Pelafgians carried them into Italy, so did others into Spain. It is faid by several authors, that this kingdom was first inhabited by Tubal's progeny, who, with his brother Mejhech, were subject to Magog; and as these were the fathers of the Scythian race, all these, as well as the Gomerians, were the Pelasgians. Now, it is proved before, that these carried their learning and letters into Italy, and we do not want sufficient authority that they did so into Spain. Berofus affirms this, and so do his followers; and if what Hermannus Hugo quotes, in the fifty-third page of his book, De Prima Scribendi Origine, has any weight, it will incline us to believe, that the Miles ans not only were learned themselves, at their ingress into Spain, but found letters and learning among the offspring of their own ancestors, who had settled there in very early ages after the flood, whether their migrations were made by sea or land.
It It may be both ways; some think. that Spain and Italy were peopled sooner by land than by sea; but, I confess, I am of a contrary opinion. They built vessels very early, as soon as they had a number of hands to be employed in such services; nor can it be thought they were ignorant of such mechanic exercises, since there is the greatest reason to believe, that the knowledge of these kinds of things, as well as of the different kingdoms, were handed down to them from the antediluvian world.
Now, many things deserve credit, in the course of historical matters, from different circumstances: as, from a coincidence of facts, the necejfity of certain things, and improbability of the want of them, even though they are not mentioned. In Moses's account of the construction of the arky there is not a word of axes, faws, hatchets, ironwork, and the like; and yet, it would be very absurd to suppofe these instruments were not used in building a vessel, which took up so much time and labour before it was finished. In like manner, we are told of mechanical works performed so exceedingly small, that their parts could not be discerned with the naked eye: now can it be suppofed, that such minute pieces as Pliny describes, could be performed without very fine tools, and some kind oi.dioptric assistance to the human eye? And yet nothing of this is mentioned by him: to deny this, would be foolish; yet such absurdities as these appear in ancient Greek authors: who fancy such a one found out the use offire at a certaim time; as if it was not known, and in use, by mankind, from the creation: and so of corn, and many other things.
B b b But,
But, as the learned Univerfal History has it, vol. xviiL page 535, "they began betimes to navigate, or to coast "at least, not only the Mediterranean, Atlantic', and other c< seas; but even on the main ocean:" and, indeed, the Mediterranean was open to every part of the isles of Elishax Greece, and to thofe isles from the Northern parts, through the librarian Bosphorus, which they were all well acquainted with. Hence there can be no great wonder^ that there should be early colonies in Spain and Italy, by sea, from Greece.
The quotation from Hugo is introduced thus by him:
Sed revera tamen non ita leves funt rationes Annii Viteru bienjis, quibus ita de Gallis et Hifpanis loquitur in liM bello Xenoph. de æquivocatione temporum."
The quotation is as follows: " Quod circa initium u Nini fuerint literæ atque leges non solum Hifpanis, ve"rum etiam Gallis et Germanis, auctor est Berosus. Is *' in v. Antiq. sic dicit. anno iv. Nmi Germanos literis et "legibus format Tuifcon Gigas; Celtas vero Samothes, et w Celtiberos Tubal. Iberi igitur Samothes et Tuifcones, <c patres literarum inveniuntur ante Grœcos, plusquam "mille annis, ut Arijloteles in magico et Zenon vere asse"runt; et non Græci, ut Ephorus mendax, &c. Strabo, "qui Q&aviani tempore floruit, scribit in iv. libro Geow graphiæ Bœticce, quod asterebant Hifpani. Se habuisse "literas jam ante sex millia annorum Ibericorum, qui effiu ciunt duo millia solarium. Si vero ab OElaviano supputes "retro duo millia annorum, pervenies ad vigesimum annum. "Nini, &c. Quare consentiuut fere Berofus et traditio; •< Strabonis de Origine Literarum apud Hijpanos: quales 6 • "autem, "autem Hispanarum characteres essent, opinio mihi est, u quod quales et Sags et Tufci."
The people of Attica, according to Herodotus, were descendants of the Pelajgi, which is (hewn a little further t>n in this chapter; and they had the Pelasgic letters ia use, consisting only of the primary seventeen, which are also explained further on. And hence arofe a proverb among the Greeks, when any thing appeared very ancient, that it was done in Attic letters. Lilius Giraldus, in his first dialogue, de Poetis, has the following remarkable words upon this proverb; though, indeed, he doubts their antiquity in the first sentence, yet asserts the proverb, which most certainly must have arisen from their antiquity; because, in the fame paragraph, the alphabet of the later Ionians, the offspring of Deucalion s grandson, who were the Heleni, consisting of additional letters to twenty-four, is contrasted with thofe of the people of Attica. "Numquid vetustiores cæteris Atticorum literæ? "Minim e, inquam puto. Vetus tamen est Græcorum u proverbium ut Atticis literis aliquid factum affirmant, *f quod sit vetustiflime factum. SctibitValeriusHarfoct K< tion, id quod etiam aliqua ex parte Suidas, quod scriu bendi ratio apud Græcos per viginti quatuor literas sero "est ab lonibus reperta; Theopotnpus quoque xxv. Philip" 'ct pic arum, sœdera ait ad versus Bar bar os, non Atticis li** teris, fed lonicis fancita fuisse; quasi, ut puto, dicat "literis recentioribus."
This quotation strengthens every thing we have advanced against thofe who were of opinion that Cadmus s letters were the first in Greece \ as it strongly proves, that
B b b 2 the the original letters of the Pelasgians were the primary., and retained among some of their descendants the people of Attica', even at the time of this treaty with the Barbari who these Barbari were,. will appear a few pages further; but we must observe here, that the Helens who were one party in the fœdera, appear to have had twenty-four letters in their alphabet, in. which the agreement was written; and that they were of late inventionand that the numrber of the Attic letters was not so many, which would seem to be thofe of the Barbari, on the other part. So that the latter have always kept their primary letters with^out any addition, which indeed their language had no occasion for, nor has it to this day, where their descendants are unmixed, as will appear more fully in the sequel..
But, in order to prove that Homer himself could not be a stranger to the Pelasgian tongue, let us pay due attention to that prince of authors upon ancient matters, Diodorus Siculus. See Henry Stephens'* Greek edition, folio, printed in 1559, lib. iii. p. 140, who, in.his third book, towards the end, has these words, in terms very full and positive, in speaking of things relating to the birth-place of the great Dionyjius, which was claimed by several nations; "I will clearly declare, fays he, all that "the Libyan and Greek writers have delivered concerning "him, particularly one Dionysus, the author of a very an"cient history, who has treated of the tranfactions of that *' personage, as well as of the Amazons, Argonauts, wars "of Troy, with various other things, and also of all that *< the ancient poets and historians delivered concerning "them: he writes, that Linus was the first inventor of