THEOSOPHY, Vol. 41, No. 11, September, 1953
(Pages 510-516; Size: 20K)
ANTECEDENT EGYPT(1)The race of Io, "the cow-horned maid," is simply the first pioneer race of the Æthiopians brought by her from the Indus to the Nile, which receives its name from the mother river of the colonists from India.ONE million years are allowed for our present root Race (Aryan); 850,000 years since the submersion of the last great island (part of the continent), the Ruta of the Fourth Race, or the Atlanteans; while Daitya, a small island inhabited by a mixed race, was destroyed about 270,000 years ago, during the glacial period, or thereabouts. The [elder] Egyptians are descendants of the Ruta Atlanteans. Egypt is far older than Europe as now traced on the map.
--The Secret Doctrine
Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson's declaration that "all the facts lead to the conclusion that the Egyptians had already made very great progress in the arts of civilization before the age of Menes" is very suggestive. It points to a great civilization in prehistoric times, and a still greater antiquity. The Schesoo-Hor (the servants of Horus) were a people who had settled in Egypt; and as M. G. Maspero affirms, it is to this prehistoric race that "belongs the honour of having founded the principal cities of Egypt, and established the most important sanctuaries." This was before the great Pyramidal epoch, and when Egypt had hardly arisen from the waters. Yet they "possessed the hieroglyphic form of writing special to the Egyptians, and must have been already considerably advanced in civilization." H. A. Taine shows that the civilizations of such archaic nations as the Egyptians and Aryans of India are the result of preceding civilizations during myriads of centuries. Professor R. Owen adds, "Egypt is recorded to having been a civilized and governed community before the time of Menes."
Herodotus was shown, by the priests of Egypt, the statues of their human kings and Pontiffs-piromis (the archi-prophets or Maha-Chohans of the temples) born one from the other (without the intervention of woman), who had reigned before Menes, their first human king. These statues, he says, were enormous colossi in wood, three hundred and forty-five in number, each of which had its name, history and annals. And they assured Herodotus that no historian could ever understand or write an account of these superhuman Kings, unless he had studied and learned the history of the three dynasties that preceded the human -- namely, the DYNASTIES OF THE GODS, that of demi-gods, and of the Heroes or giants. These "three dynasties" are the three races. The earliest Egyptians had been separated from the latest Atlanteans for ages upon ages; they had themselves descended from an alien race, and had settled in Egypt some 400,000 years before, but their Initiates had preserved all the records.
Concerning Aryan immigration to Egypt in the days of Menes, it is said: "Under the reign of Visvamitra, first King of the (Indian) Dynasty of Soma-Vanga, in consequence of a battle which lasted five days, Manu-Vina, heir of the ancient Kings, being abandoned by the Brahmans, emigrated with all his companions, passing through Arya, and the countries of Barria, till he came to the shores of Masra." (History of India, by Collouca-Batta.) Arya is Iran (Persia); Barria is Arabia, and Masra was the name of Cairo. Unquestionably this Manu-Vina and Menes, the first Egyptian King, are identical. The two nations -- India and Egypt -- were akin, and were the oldest in the group of nations. In our opinion, the Egyptians were the ancient Indians. Atlanto-Aryan tribes began to settle in Egypt, when the British Islands and France were not even in existence. Later tribes, with still more Aryan blood in them than their predecessors, arrived from the East, and conquered it from a people whose very name is lost to posterity, except in secret works. We are prepared to maintain that Egypt owes her civilization, commonwealth and arts -- especially the art of building, to pre-Vedic India, and that it was a colony of the dark-skinned Aryans, or those whom Homer and Herodotus term the Eastern Ethiopians, the inhabitants of Southern India -- who brought to it their ready-made civilization in the ante-chronological ages. The Eastern Ethiopians, the mighty builders, came from India as a matured people, bringing their civilization with them and colonizing a perhaps unoccupied territory. The human dynasty of the older Egyptians, beginning with Menes, had all the knowledge of the Atlanteans though there was no more Atlantean blood in their veins.
The Hierophants of Egypt generally styled themselves the "Sons of the Serpent God," or "Sons of the Dragon," during the Mysteries. In the world of Paganism, the counterpart of the Serpent is the second Hermes, the reincarnation of Hermes Trismegistus. Hermes is the constant companion and instructor of Osiris and Isis. Both build cities, civilize and instruct mankind in the arts. And here we may as well mention the works of Hermes Trismegistus. Who, or how many, have had the opportunity to read them as they were in the Egyptian sanctuaries? In his Egyptian Mysteries, Iamblichus attributes to Hermes 1,100 books and Seleucus reckons no less than 20,000 of his works before the period of Menes. Of such manuscripts as have descended to us, most are but Latin translations of Greek translations, made principally by the Neo-Platonists from the original books preserved by some Adepts. The 42 Sacred Books of the Egyptians mentioned by Clement of Alexandria as having existed in his time, were but a portion of the Books of Hermes. Of these, 36 contained the history of all human knowledge; the last six treated of anatomy, of pathology, of affections of the eye, instruments of surgery, and of medicines.
No subsequent people has been so proficient in geometry as the builders of the Pyramids. And all archaeologists now agree that the further back we go into history, the better and finer become the arts. In the temple of Dendera, which contained the renowned zodiacs, every one of the stones is covered with hieroglyphics; and the more ancient they are the more beautifully we find them chiseled. We can judge of the lofty civilizations reached in some periods of antiquity by the historical descriptions of the ages of the Ptolemies, yet in that epoch the arts and sciences were considered to be degenerating, and the secret of a number of the former had already been lost. In the excavations of Marietta Bey, at the root of the Pyramids, statues of wood and other relics have been exhumed, which show that long before the period of the first dynasties the Egyptians had attained to a refinement and perfection which is calculated to excite the wonder of even the most ardent admirers of Grecian art. Sir Gardner Wilkinson says that he "can trace no primitive mode of life, no barbarous customs, but a sort of stationary civilization from the most remote periods."
As far back as we can glance into history -- to the reign of Menes -- the most ancient of the kings that we know anything about, we find proofs that the Egyptians were far better acquainted with hydrostatics and hydraulic engineering than ourselves. The gigantic work of turning the course of the Nile and bringing it to Memphis was accomplished during the reign of that monarch. Says Wilkinson: "Menes took accurately the measure of the power he had to oppose, and he constructed a dyke whose lofty mounds and enormous embankments turned the water eastward, and since that time the river is contained in its new bed." The Romans, at a far later period, got their notions on hydraulic construction from the Egyptians. The Egyptians evidently employed a far superior method in their channels and artificial waterworks.
For a distance of 500 miles above Cairo, there stretches a strip of land reclaimed from the desert, and made, according to Professor Carpenter, "the most fertile on the face of the earth." He says: "For thousands of years these branch canals have conveyed fresh water from the Nile, to fertilize the land of this long narrow strip, as well as of the Delta." He describes "the network of canals over the Delta which dates from an early period of the Egyptian monarchs." In ancient times, the principal mouth of the river was called Pelusian; and the canal cut by one of the kings -- the canal of Necho -- led from Suez to this branch. After the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra, it was proposed that a portion of the fleet should pass through the canal to the Red Sea, which shows the depth of water that those early engineers had secured.
If modern masters are so much in advance of the old ones, why do they not restore to us the lost arts of our postdiluvian fathers? Why do they not give us the unfading colors of Luxor, the indestructible cement of the pyramids and of ancient aqueducts? Stevens, in his work on the East, asserts that he found railroads in Upper Egypt, whose grooves were coated with iron. We may remind our readers of the many hints to be found in the ancient histories as to a certain secret in the possession of the Egyptian priesthood, who could instantly communicate, during the celebration of the Mysteries, from one temple to another, even though the former were at Thebes and the latter at the other end of the country. The author of Pre-Adamite Man found good evidence, during his stay in Egypt, that "one of the Cleopatras sent news by wire to all the cities, from Heliopolis to Elephantine, on the Upper Nile."
The discovery is claimed by the ancient Egyptians, those sons of the Land of Chemistry (Chem -- whence the term alchemy and chemistry), of perpetually burning lamps. At least, they were the people who used these lamps far more than any other nation, on account of their religious doctrines. The astral soul of the mummy was believed to be lingering about the body for the whole space of three thousand years of the circle of necessity. Attached to it by a magnetic thread, which could be broken but by its own exertion, the Egyptians hoped that the ever-burning lamp, symbol of their incorruptible and immortal spirit, would at last decide the more material soul to part with its earthly dwelling, and unite forever with its divine SELF. Therefore lamps were hung in the sepulchres of the rich. Such lamps are often found in the subterranean caves of the dead, and Licetus has written a large folio to prove that in his time, whenever a sepulchre was opened, a burning lamp was found within the tomb, but was instantaneously extinguished on account of the desecration.
Says Glidden: "Philologists, astronomers, chemists, painters, architects, physicians, must return to Egypt to learn the origin of language and writing; of the calendar and solar motion; of the art of cutting granite with a copper chisel and of giving elasticity to a copper sword; of making glass with the variegated hues of the rainbow; of moving single blocks of polished syenite, nine hundred tons in weight, for any distance, by land or water; of building arches, rounded and pointed, with masonic precision unsurpassed at the present day; of sculpturing a Doric column 1,000 years before the Dorians are known in history; of fresco painting in imperishable colors; of practical knowledge in anatomy; and of time-defying pyramid building. Every craftsman can behold, in Egyptian monuments, the progress of his art 4,000 years ago [?]; and whether it be a wheelwright building a chariot, a shoemaker drawing his twine, a leather cutter using the selfsame form of knife of old as is considered the best form now, a weaver throwing the selfsame shuttle, a whitesmith using the identical form of blow pipe but lately recognized to be the most efficient, the seal-engraver cutting, in hieroglyphs, such names as Shooho's -- all these, and many more astounding evidences of Egyptian priority, now require but a glance at the plates of Rossellini."
The Egyptians excelled in all the arts. They made paper so excellent in quality as to be time-proof. "They took out the pith of the papyrus," says an anonymous author, "dissected and opened the fibre, and, flattening it by a process known to them, made it as thin as our foolscap paper, but far more durable...." It is now known that the art of writing was known and used as early as the days of Menes, and thus it was finally discovered that the art and the system of writing were perfect and complete from the very first. The newly discovered papyrus of Ebers, the German archaeologist, proves that neither our modern chignons, skin-beautifying pearl powders, nor eaux dentifrices were secrets to them. More than one modern physician even among those who advertise themselves as having made a specialty of nervous disorders -- may find his advantage in consulting the Medical Books of Hermes, which contain prescriptions of real therapeutic value. The Egyptians understood about the circulation of the blood ... had their dentists and oculists, and no doctor was allowed to practice more than one specialty. Says Dr. Grandville: "There is not a single form of bandage known to modern surgery of which far better and cleverer examples are not seen in the swathings of the mummies. The strips of linen are found without one single joint, extending to 1,000 yards in length."
The art of making fine linen is also proved to have been one of their branches of knowledge. The linen of Egypt was famous throughout the world. Pliny speaks of a certain garment sent 600 B.C. by King Amasis to Lindus, every single thread of which was composed of 360 minor threads twisted together. The linen was spun and dyed in those brilliant and gorgeous colors, the secret of which is also now among the lost arts. On the mummies we find the most beautiful embroidery and bead-work. The elaborate and much vaunted Gobelins tapestry is but a gross production when compared with some of the embroidery of the ancient Egyptians. All the ornamental arts seem to have been known to them. Their jewelry of gold and silver, and precious stones are beautifully wrought; so was the cutting, polishing and setting of them executed by their lapidaries in the finest style. The finger ring of an Egyptian mummy was pronounced the most artistic piece of jewelry in the London exhibition of 1851. Their imitation of precious stones in glass is far above anything done now; and the emerald may be said to have been imitated to perfection. Dioscorides speaks of the stone of Memphis, and describes it as a small pebble. When ground to powder, and applied as an ointment to that part of the body on which the surgeon was about to operate, it preserved that part, and only that part from any pain during the operation.
The proof that they were proficient in the mathematical sciences, lies in the fact that those ancient mathematicians whom we honor as the fathers of geometry went to Egypt to be instructed. Says Professor Smyth: "The geometrical knowledge of the pyramid builders began where Euclid's ended." If we turn to architecture, we find displayed before our eyes wonders which baffle all description. Professor Carpenter is amazed at the admirable character of workmanship; the stones in most cases being fitted together with astonishing nicety, so that a knife could hardly be thrust between the joints. He also noticed that in the Book of the Dead, sculptured on the old monuments, were used the very phrases that we find in the New Testament.
It is also a well demonstrated fact that the true meridian was correctly ascertained before the first pyramid was built. They had clocks and dials to measure time; their cubit was the established unit of linear measure; according to Herodotus, the unit of weight was also known; as money, they had gold and silver rings valued by weight; they had the decimal and duodecimal modes of calculation from the earliest times, and were proficient in algebra. The pyramid of Cheops is built upon the measures of this decimal notation.
The most ancient Egyptians cultivated the musical arts, and understood well the effect of musical harmony and its influence on the human spirit. Music was used in the Healing Department of the temples for the cure of nervous disorders. We discover on many monuments men playing in bands in concert; the leader beating time by clapping his hands. The lyre, harp and flute were used for the sacred concerts; for festive occasions they had the guitar, the single and double pipes, and castanets; for troops, and during military service they had trumpets, tambourines, drums and cymbals. Various kinds of harps were invented by them, such as the lyre, sambuc, ashur; some of these had upward of twenty strings. The superiority of the Egyptian over the Grecian lyre is an admitted fact. They used catgut for strings as we do. Pythagoras learned music in Egypt, and made a regular science of it in Italy. The Egyptians were considered in antiquity the best music teachers in Greece.
The mind and soul of old Egypt, as of other ancient nations, are being reincarnated in the West. Who may estimate what the true greatness of the Americas, and of Old India, ages ahead, may be? Cycle upon cycle of rediscovery and perfection of old arts and sciences lie beyond for those "mighty builders," measures of which will appear and take needed form as one by one the points, corresponding in grandeur to the Old, are reached by New ascending races. We are assured by those who know that much is in store.
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