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ON ANCIENT GEOGRAPHY.
I would wish to call the attention of the readers of the Classical Journal to the description several ancient writers have given of countries situated in the west, and to which it does not seem possible to assign a place within the boundaries of the old world.
1. Homer, whose knowledge of Geography is allowed to liave been accurate, makes a division of the Æthiopians, whom he denominates žrxetos dvipus, placing one part under the rising, and the other under the setting Sun. Odyss. Imo. Lib. This passage is examined by Strabo (Lib. Imo.) who states the opinions of several writers, and who thinks himself that this division' was occasioned by the Red Sea. Yet as the poet places one division of the Æthiopians as far westward as the other was eastward, such a description does not appear applicable to any of the inhabitants of Africa, when we consider its situation with respect to Greece.
2. Virgil describes a remote people, Æneid. vi. line 795, in these words:
jacet extra sidern Tellus
Axem humero torquet, stellis ardentibus aptum. On this passage the following note occurs in the Variorum Edition : “ Proferet imperium ultra tellurem si qua habitatur (namque de hoc ambigebant veteres) extra sidera majora et planetas, qui intra Tropicos decurrunt, ultra την κεκαυμένην nempe αντάξονα nobis, Sed quid dicemus de Atlante ; qui uterque juxta Zodiacum șitus, imo citra æquatorem ? Vel igitur poeta in honorem Augusti sedem Atlanti assignat nota remotiorem usque ad Æthiopas, quos VOL. VIII, CI. JI,
M. Petronius Romanorum Dux subegit: ubi Herodoto, Pomponio et Plinio sunt. Atlantis populi. Vel respexit ad Insulam Atlantis, cujus meminit Plato in Timæo, et alii, novum scilicet orbem, a Columbo repertum Anno salutis 1592. Quem tamen scivisse magis illos, quam novisse scribit Lipsius, &c. &c.”
3. The following passage in the Timæus of Plato is frequently referred to. I give the Latin Version, as the original is easily accessible : « Insulam autem in ore maris adituque ad eas angustias quas vos Herculis Columnas vocatis, extitisse. Illam vero insulam Lybia et Asia majorem atque ampliorem; ex quâ ad alias insulas facilis esset trajectus, ex insulis vero illis ad eam quoque continentem quæ e regione sita est, et in illo quidem mari quod proprio et peculiari nomine Pontus nuncupatur.” Plato relates farther, that this island was covered with the sea in the space of a single night, in consequence of a great earthquakes
, and that the sea being filled with mud was no longer navigable.--We shall see hereafter how to account for what he says of the submersion of this land, but at present it must be observed, that all this is related as the substance of information communicated to Solon when he was in Egypt.
4. In the Book De Mirabil. Auscult.* attributed to Aristotle, we find the following passage : “ Extra Columnas Herculis, aiunt in Mari a Carthaginiensibus insulám fertilem desertamque inventam; ut quæ tam sylvarum copia quam fluminibus navigationi idoneis abundet, cum reliquis fructibus floreat vehementer, distans a continente plurium dierum itinere : in qua cum Carthaginienses quidam ob soli fertilitatem connubia agitare ac habitare coepissent, ferunt, præsides, ne quis deinceps insulam ingrederetur, pana capitis interdixisse, incolasque ejecisse ne coitione (si habitare istic pergerent) facta, insulæ principatum consequerentur, et Carthaginienses ea felicitatis parte privarent."
5. Diodorus Siculus, Lib. v. « Africam versus permagna quædam insula in vasto oceani pelago jacet complurium navigatione dierum ,a Lybia in occasum declinans. Solum ibi frugiferum, cujus magna pars in montes assurgit, nec exigua in campos sese expandit; amnes enim per illam navigabiles decurrunt a quibus humectatur
Olim, propter remotiorem a reliquo terrarum orbe situm incognita fuit; sed hac tandem occasione reperta, Phænices a vetustissimis inde temporibus frequenter crebras mercaturæ gratia navigationes instituerunt
.. investigata ultra Columnaš ora, cum Africæ littora legerent, ventorum procellis ad longinquos in oceanum tractus sunt abrepti. Per multos tandem dies vi tempestatis ad Insulam, de qua jam dictum, appulerunt. Naturamque ejus et felicitatem à se primitus cognitam in aliorum deinde noticiam perduxerunt. Ideo Tyrrheni maris imperium adepti, coloniam co destinarunt; sed Carthaginienses illis obstite
runt. Simul enim metuebant, ne plurimi civium suorum, bonitate insulæ allecti, eo commigrarent. Simul enim contra subitos fortunæ casus, si exitiosum Respublica Carthaginiensium forte damnum acciperet, refugium sibi paratum esse volebant.”
From these last quoted passages, we learn that the Carthagi. nians, who were acquainted with this transatlantic country, wished to conceal its situation, not only from a fear that their citizens would emigrate thither on account of the superior advantages of the climate, &c. but also that they might secure a safe retreat in the event of an unsuccessful war. And this may lead us to account for the idea that this country was lost in the ocean; for those, who sought for it, not being able to discover it from the imperfect state of navigation, imagined it lost, and those, who wished its situation to be concealed, did not contradict them.
A further testimony to the existence of land at a great distance from the western coast of Africa, may be seen in Pliny, Nat. Hist. ch. xxxi.- And for the opinion of modern writers on the subject of this paper, I refer to Erasmus Smidius Diss. de America, at the end of his edition of Pindar, to the note of Perizonius on Ælian, Var. His. . Lib. iii. *18. Bochart Geo. Sacra, and Huet on the Commerce of the Ancients.
What I have adduced from the ancient writers, is for the purpose of showing that it is probable they had some knowledge of the situation of America: the two following references will show that there actually was some intercourse between the eastern and western world: Abram. Ortelius Theatrum Orbis, “Sunt qui hanc continentem (Americam scil.) a Platone sub nomine Atlantis descriptam, opinentur; inquitque Marinæus Siculus in Chronico suo Hispaniæ, hic nunimum antiquum' Augusti Cæsaris effigie insignitum in aurifodinis inventum esse, missumque in rei veritatem summo Pontifici per D. Johannem Rufum Archiepiscopum Consentinum." ' In Basnage's History of the Jews, we are told that the Spaniards found in one of the Azores, à tomb with a Jewish inscription. See Book vii. ch. xxxiii.
If all that has been adduced be deemed sufficient proof that there existed among the ancients a tradition of a transatlantic continent, we can easily account for the following passage in Seneca's Medea:
orbes, nec sit terris
Ultima Thule. But if it be contended that no such tradition did exist, and that all the references to Atlantic Islands are grounded on Fables, then we“ must be surprised into a belief that this passage in Seneca
was something more than a poetical fancy; and that heaven had indeed revealed to one favored Spaniard, what it had decreed ini due time to accomplish by another.” See Bp. Hurd, on Prophecy, Sermon iv.
In the Memoires of the French National Institute for 1806, there is an account of a Map, preserved in St. Mark's Library at Venice, made by Andrew Bianco, in the year 1436, which delineates the situation of a large island in the Atlantic, named Antillia. A Plate of this Map is given, and it is adduced as a proof that the Atlantic Ocean had been traversed before Columbus passed it. D-_- Ireland.
NOTICE OF ANIMADVERSIONES IN HYMNOS HOMERICOS
cum Prolegomenis de cujusque Consilio, Partibus, Ætate, auctore Aug. Matthiæ, Lipsiæ, pp. 462. Octavo. 1800.
LATTHIÆ informs us in the Preface, that of the three “Pari.
, “ sienses Codices,” which Coray has collated, only two had been examined by Ruhnken, and that “in his Tribus Codicibus etiam plures lectiones non contemnendæ repertæ sunt, a Ruhnkenio omissæ.” Matthiæ has, in these animadversions, availed himself of the aid, which is supplied by them to settle the text of these Hymns. Mitscherlich himself collated, and gave to Matthiæ a most careful collation of the “Codex Moscoviensis," after he had renounced his intention of editing the Homeric Hymns. Ruhnken had promised to furnish Matthiæ with such Notes, as he had prepared after the example of the Hymnus in Cererem, and the Epistola critica, published by him, or happened to have amongst his other MSS., and therefore Matthiæ applied to Wyttenbach, to whose care the books, and the other property, of Ruhnken had been intrusted on his death. Wyttenbach examined the MSS. of Ruhnken, and forwarded whatever he found on this subject to Matthiæ, who has inserted them in their proper places, but regrets that they are few in number. We shall, but on another occasion, be at the pains of collecting them together, and shall lay them before our readers. Matthiæ says 'that, as he had seen the Latin Version of the Homeric