Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Everything We Know about Father Jean Calmette's "Four Vedas" Being Sent to Paris' Bibliotheque Imperiale



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The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

At this point, Voltaire leaned toward India as the earliest human civilization (1756:1.30) and believed that the most ancient text of this civilization was called Vedam and contained a simple and pure monotheism. So he must have been elated when a reader of his 1756 Essai, Louis-Laurent de Federbe, Chevalier (later Comte) DE MAUDAVE (1725-77), wrote to him from India two or three years after publication of the Essai. Maudave had left in May 1757 for India and in 1758 participated in the capture of Fort St. David and the siege of Madras (Rocher 1984:77). While stationed in South India, Maudave had gotten hold of French translations from the Vedam and decided to write a letter to Voltaire. Having read the Japan chapter of the 1756 Essai, he knew how interested Voltaire was In finding documentation for ancient Indian monotheism through the Vedam. In the margin of a page of his Ezour-vedam manuscript (which he later passed on to Voltaire), Maudave scribbled next to two prayers to God: "Copy these prayers in the letter to M. de Voltaire" (p. 80).32 Though these prayers are nor found in the extant fragment of Maudave's letter, it is likely that Maudave included them in order to document the existence of pure monotheism in the Vedam. The second major point of Voltaire's 1756 Essai that Maudave addressed in his letter was the cult of the lingam.33 In his discussion, Maudave quoted the Ezour-vedam as textual witness and offered to send Voltaire a replica of a Linga and a copy of the Ezour-vedam (Rocher 1984:48).

Maudave's letter to Voltaire described the Ezour-vedam as a dialogue written by the author of the Vedas: "This Dialogue presupposes that Chumontou is the author of the Vedams, that he wrote them to countervail the empty superstitions that spread among men and, above all, to halt the unfortunate progress of idolatry" (p. 49). Maudave also specifically mentioned the author of the text's French translation: "Its author is Father Martin, the former Jesuit missionary at Pondichery" (p. 49). Since this missionary had died in Rome in 1716, Maudave must have thought that the translation from the Sanskrit original was about fifty years old. This missionary connection clearly disturbed Maudave. First of all, a strange agreement with Christian doctrine made Maudave suspicious about the quality of the translation. More than that, he let Voltaire know that his doubts were specifically connected with the tendency of the translator's Jesuit order to find traces of their own faith in just about every part of the world -- in Chinese books, in Mexico, and even among the savages of South America (p. 80)! Maudave [1757] had carefully studied the Jesuit letters including those of Calmette that announced the dispatch of the four Vedas to Paris and wrote the following about their content to Voltaire:

This body of the religion and regulations of the country is divided in four books. There is one at the Royal Library. The first contains the history of the gods. The second the dogmas. The third the morals. The fourth the civil and religious rites. They are written in this mysterious language which is here discussed and which is called the Samscrout.


What puzzled Maudave above all was that this information about the content of the Vedas was in total contradiction with what he saw in the Ezourvedam. He wrote to Voltaire that the Ezour-vedam was a dialogue between two Brahmes, one of whom "believes in the religion of the Indies" while the other "defends the unity of God" (p. 122r). Maudave thought "this dialogue assumes that Chumontou is the author of the Vedams and that he wrote them to remedy the vain superstitions that spread among men and above all to stop the unfortunate progress of idolatry" (p. 122r). The Chumontou of the Ezour-vedam was both a fierce critic of rites and seemed to be the author of the Vedams. Maudave observed, "Here there is a very manifest contradiction since one book of the Vedams contains all the religious rites of which the cult of God forms a part" …

Though Father Calmette had sent the Vedas in the 1730s to Paris in Telugu script (see Chapter 7), nobody could read them….

A new phase in the study of ancient Asian materials began in earnest at the end of the seventeenth century, around the time when Jean-Paul BIGNON (1662-1743) became president of the Academie des Sciences (1692), began his reform of the Academy of Sciences (1699), became director of the Journal des Savants, gave it its lasting form (1701), and reorganized Europe's largest library (the Royal Library in Paris that evolved into the Bibliotheque Nationale de France). It was Bignon who stacked the College Royal with instructors like Fourmont (Leung 2002:130); it was Bignon whom Father Bouvet wanted to get on board for his grand project of an academy in China (Collani 1989); it was Bignon who employed Huang, Freret, and Fourmont to catalog Chinese books at the library and to produce Chinese grammars and dictionaries; it was Bignon who ordered CalmeIte and Pons to find and send the Vedas and other ancient Indian texts to Paris (see Chapter 6); and it was Bignon who supported Fourmont's expensive project of carving over 100,000 Chinese characters in Paris (Leung 2002). The conversion of major libraries into state institutions open to the public, which Bignon oversaw, was a development with an immense impact on the production and dissemination of knowledge, including knowledge about the Orient. So was the promotion of scholarly journals like the Journal des Scavans (later renamed Journal des Savants) that featured reviews of books from all over Europe and fulfilled a central function in the pan-European "Republique des lettres"….

Since access to the Vedas was nearly impossible, most of the information about their content was pure fantasy. We have seen in the chapter on Holwell how easy it was to be misled by speculation. But a few missionaries (whose writings were mostly doomed to sleep in archives for several centuries) were in a position to consult vedic texts or question learned informants. The Jesuit Roberto DE NOBILI (1577-1656) obtained direct access to some Vedas from his teacher, a Telugu Brahmin called Shivadharma.

He wrote that the four traditional Vedas are "little more than disorderly congeries of various opinions bearing partly on divine, partly on human subjects, a jumble where religious and civil precepts are miscellaneously put together" (Rubies 2000:338). Having been told in 1608 that the fourth Veda was no longer extant, the missionary decided to proclaim himself "teacher of the fourth, lost Veda which deals with the question of salvation"
(Zupanov 1999:116). De Nobili apparently believed, like his contemporary Matteo Ricci in China, that though original pure monotheism had degenerated into idolatry, vestiges of the original religion survived and could serve to regenerate the ancient creed under the sign of the Cross. After his failed experiment with Buddhist robes (see Chapter I), Ricci adopted the dress of a Confucian scholar, asserted that the Chinese had anciently been pure monotheists, and proclaimed Christianity to be the fulfillment of the doctrines found in ancient Chinese texts. A few years later, Ricci's compatriot de Nobili presented himself in India as an ascetic "sannayasi from the North" and "restorer of 'a lost spiritual Veda'" (Rubies 2000:339) who hailed from faraway Rome where the Ur-tradition had been best preserved. In his Relafao annual for the year 1608, Fernao Guerreiro wrote on a similar line that he was studying Brahmin letters to present his Christian message as a restoration of the spiritual Veda, the true original religion of all countries, including India whose adulterated vestiges were the religions of Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva (p. 344).

For de Nobili, the word "Veda" signified the spiritual law revealed by God. He called himself a teacher of Satyavedam, that is, the true revealed law, who had studied philosophy and this very law in Rome. He maintained that his was exactly the same law that "by God's order had been taught in earlier times by Sannyasins" in India (Bachmann 1972:154). De Nobili thus had come to India to restore satyavedam and to bring back, as the title of his didactic Sanskrit poem says, "The Essence of True Revelation [satyavedam]" (Castets 1935:40). De Nobili's description of the traditional Indian Vedas clearly shows that he did not regard them as "genuine Vedas" or genuine divine revelations. That de Nobili was for a long time suspected of being the author of the Ezour-vedam is understandable because in that text Chumontou has fundamentally the same role as de Nobili: he exposes the degenerate accretions of the reigning clergy's "Veda," represented by the traditional Veda compiler Biache (Vyasa), in order to teach them about satyavedam, the divine Ur-revelation whose correct transmission he represents against the degenerate transmission in the Vedas of the Brahmins. This "genuine Veda" had once upon a time been brought to India, but subsequently the Indians had forgotten it and instituted the false Veda that is now religiously followed. The common aim of de Nobili and of Chumontou was the restoration of the true, most ancient divine revelation (Veda) and the denunciation of the false, degenerated Veda that the Brahmins now call their own….

After Abbe Jean-Paul Bignon had been nominated to the post of director of the Royal Library in 1719 and of the special library at the Louvre in 1720 (Leung 2002:130), he gave orders to acquire the Vedas. But this was easier said than done. In 1730 a young and linguistically gifted Jesuit by the name of Jean CALMETTE (1693-1740), who had joined the Jesuit India mission in 1726, wrote about the difficulties:

Those who for thirty years have written that the Vedam cannot be found were not completely wrong: there was not enough money to find them. Many people, missionaries, and laymen, have spent money for nothing and were left empty-handed when they thought they would get everything. Less than six years ago [in 1726] two missionaries, one in Bengal and the other one here [in Carnate], were duped. Mr. Didier, the royal engineer, gave sixty rupees for a book that was supposed to be the Vedam on the order of Father Pons, the superior of [the Jesuit mission of] Bengal. (Bach 1847:441)


But in the same letter Calmette announced that he was certain of having found the genuine Vedas:

The Vedams found here have clarified issues regarding other books. They had been considered so impossible to find that in Pondicherry many people could not believe that it was the genuine Vedam, and I was asked if I had thoroughly examined it. But the investigations I have made leave no doubt whatsoever; and I continue to examine them every day when scholars or young brahmins who learn the Vedam in the schools of the land come to see me and I make them recite it. I even recite together with them what I have learned from some text's beginning or from other places. It is the Vedam; there is no more doubt about this.


Calmette achieved this success thanks to a Brahmin who was a secret Christian, and in 1731 he reported having acquired all four Vedas, including the fourth that de Nobili had thought lost (p. 442). In 1732, Father le Gac mailed to Paris two Vedas written in Telugu letters on palm leaves, and the copying of the remaining two was ongoing.

From the early 1730s Father Calmette devoted himself intensively to the study of the Vedas and wrote on January 24, 1733:

Since the King has made the decision to form an Oriental library, Abbe Bignon has graced us with the honor of relying on us for research of Indian books. We are already benefiting much from this for the advancement of religion; having acquired by these means the essential books which are like the arsenal of paganism, we extract from it the weapons to combat the doctors of idolatry, and the weapons that hurt them the most are their own philosophy, their theology, and especially the four Vedam which contain the law of the brahmins and which India since time immemorial possesses and regards as the sacred book: the book whose authority is irrefragable and which derived from God himself. (Le Gobien 1781:13.394)…


Naturally, Calmette profited from the experience of other missionaries who had mastered difficult languages and were interested in antiquity, for example, Claude de Visdelou who resided in Pondicherry for three decades and was very familiar with missionary tactics and methods in China.8 But even more important, in 1733 a learned fellow Jesuit by the name of Jean-Francois PONS (1698-1751) had joined Calmette in the Carnate mission. Pons and Calmette came from the same town of Rodez in southern France, had both joined the Jesuit novitiate in Toulouse, were both sent to India, and were both studying Sanskrit. Pons had arrived in India two years prior to Calmette, in 1724, and spent his first four years in the Carnate region. It was Pons who had tried to buy a copy of the Veda for 60 rupees in 1726, only to find out that he had fallen victim to a scam. From 1728 to 1733, he was superior of the Bengal mission, and it is during this time that he studied Sanskrit. As superior in Chandernagor he became an important channel for the European discovery of India's literature. He spent on behalf of Abbe Bignon and the Royal Library in Paris a total of 1,779 rupees for researchers, copyists, and manuscripts in Sanskrit and Persian. They included the Mahabharata in 17 volumes, 24 volumes of Puranas, 31 volumes about philology, 22 volumes about history and mythology, 7 volumes about astronomy and astrology, and 8 volumes of poems, among other acquisitions (Castets 1935:47). …

Calmette's objective in studying the Vedas was not a translation of any part of them. That would definitely have been impossible after just a few years of study, even with the help of Pons. The language of these texts, particularly that of earlier Vedas, was a tough nut to crack even for learned Indians. In a letter dated September 16, 1737, Calmette wrote to Father Rene Joseph de Tournemine in Paris:

I think like you, reverend father, that it would have been appropriate to consult original texts of Indian religion with more care; but we did not have these books at hand until now, and for a long time they were considered impossible to find, especially the principal ones which are the four Vedan. It was only five or six years ago that, due to [the establishment of] an oriental library system for the King, I was asked to do research about Indian books that could form part of it. I then made discoveries that are important for [our] Religion, and among these I count the four Vedan or sacred books. But these books, which even the most able doctors only half understand and which a brahmin would not dare to explain to us for fear of a scandal in his caste, are written in a language for which Samscroutam [Sanskrit], the language of the learned, does not yet provide the key because they are written in a more ancient language. These books, I say, are in more than one way sealed for us. (Le Gobien 1781:14.6)


But Calmette tried his hand at composing some verses in Sanskrit and wrote on December 20, 1737, after a bout of fever that had hindered his study of Sanskrit: "I could not help composing a few verses in this language, in the style of controversy, to oppose them to those poured forth by the Indians" (Castets 1935:40). Calmette was inspired by de Nobili's writings that were stored at the Pondicherry mission and seems to have partly copied and rearranged de Nobili's Sattia Veda Sanghiragham (Essence of genuine revelation) (p. 40), whose title expresses exactly the idea that seems to have influenced Calmette so profoundly: the notion of a true Veda (satya veda)….

For Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo, the word "Veda" "does not signify exclusively a sacred book but implies in general as much as a sacred law, whether observed by Indians or other nations". Of course, Paulinus famously (and wrongly[???]) argued that "the Vedas" do not exist as a specific set of ancient Indian scriptures and that the Indians call many texts, even non-Indian ones, "Vedas." But modern southern Indian usage agrees with Paulinus's view about the word…

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The Absent Vedas, by Will Sweetman

By the end of 1728 Le Gac’s resistance had given way in the face of the resources and authority of Bignon and Le Noir. In his response to Bignon in January 1729, Le Gac expressed his confidence that he would be able to acquire the Vedas and, to a greater or lesser extent, the other works which had been requested. In August of the following year [1730], Calmette reported that he had obtained copies of the first two Vedas, which he calls “Rougvédam” and “Ejourvédam,” and two years later, in August 1732, he was able to add the “Samavédam” and the “Adarvanavédam.”91 [Calmette to Souciet, 26 Aug 1730, Fonds Brotier 89, f. 25v; Calmette to Souciet, 25 Aug 1732, Fonds Brotier 89, f. 35r. Further references to these two letters will be given in the text by year and folio. The works were sent to Europe in the early 1730s and remain in the BNF: Ṛgveda (Sanscrit 214); Sāmaveda (Sanscrit 310–12); Yajurveda (Sanscrit 313, 424); Artharvaveda (Sanscrit 177–79, but see below). For details of the contents of the manuscripts see Filliozat, Catalogue du fonds sanscrit, I & II. [Catalogue du fonds sanscrit, par Jean Filliozat, Author: Bibliotheque nationale (France). Departement des manuscrits, Publisher: Adrien Maisonneuve, Paris, Year Published:1941-, Call Number:016.4912 FRA] ]

-- Catalogue du fonds sanscrit, par Jean Filliozat, Author: Bibliotheque nationale (France). Departement des manuscrits, Publisher: Adrien Maisonneuve, Paris, Year Published: 1941, Volume I

-- Catalogue du fonds sanscrit, par Jean Filliozat, Author: Bibliotheque nationale (France). Departement des manuscrits, Publisher: Adrien Maisonneuve, Paris, Year Published: 1941, Volume II


In 1941 and 1970, Jean Filliozat (1906-1982) prepared and published the detailed catalogue for the beginning of the collection and gave for the manuscripts 1 to 462 a full record with the transcription of the incipit, explicit, scribe remarks, ends of the chapters, etc. This a "modele du genre" that has to be followed nowadays.

Image
214.
RGVEDA, astaka I-IV, padapatha. 1st part of ms. complete of which No. 1036 forms the second. Not accentuated.
ole 1a, margin: rgvedam modati (telinga first) vedam pratha-mastake prathamo dhyayah Small cross at the top of the margin
Debut, 1a 1. 1: crijagadicvaraya namah cubham astu avighnam astu crigurubhyo namah harih om agnim ile purah-hitam yajnasya devam
End from astaka, 1: ole 92a 1. 6 - 2: 189a - 3: 280a 1, 3 (the hymn 363 tvam agne havismanto ... is here the last of the 3rd ast. Instead of being the 1st of the 4th , the 4th begins with hymn 364: agna ojistham ...) - 4: 374a
End, 384a 1.4-5: ... aranyani ganma 32 harih om stuse nara (first words of astaka V) crijagadicvaraya namah
Used by Burnouf (who calls it telinga 1b), Commentary on the Yacna, Paris, 1833, Notes, pp. xxxi, xlix.
374 oles, plus 4 oles of guard at the beginning and 4 at the end (1st ole of guard: line in Telingas characters partially transcribed in Latin characters of the hand of Burnouf), 380 x 30 mm. 6 1. Bamboo corn. - Eer. telinga.
N.d. (1729 or 1730 A.D.). - Prov .: Ballapouram (Mysore). - Sending of Fr. Le Gac (Pondicherry) 1732. - Anc. dimensions: Cod. ind. XXXI; S. telinga 3.

Image
310.
1. Aranyageyasamapradipa (Aranyakagana).
2. Uhyagana.

Image
311.
Samaveda - Uhagana

Image
312.
Tandyabrahmana du Samaveda, pancika I-III = prapathaka 1-15.

Image
313.
Taittiriyasamhita I-V

Image
314.
Samaveda

Image
424.
1. Taittiriyasamhita, VI et VII (suite du no 313).
2. Taittiriyabrahmana, du debut a II, 7 inclus.

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177.
Atharvanarahasya-Tantraraja. Texte tantrique relatif au culte de Devi.

Image
178.
Atharvana, recueil de textes magiques, tantriques et relatifs au culte de Devi.
1. Compilation Tantrique
2. Devikavaca par Harihara.
3. Argalastotra.
4. Kilakastotra.
5. Markandeyapurana (adh. 81-93) - Devimahatmya.

Image
179.
Atharvana, mantracastra.

The Telugu or Telinga script (east of Deccan) and the Kannada script (west of Deccan) are different, as to calligraphic qualities especially. Both are typified by letters forms of circles and arcs and topped by a matra forming in V-shape; but this assumes a quite different form in each of the two structures. Besides, in the earliest Kannada, forms tended to curls and curving verticals, which turned progressively upward where the circle first lengthened and then closed into circles. This ornamental hand inherited the calligraphic peculiarities of the Hoysala inscriptions (12th century); it appeared in temple architecture with a particularly lively and complex ornamentation that suggests work in ivory. Kannada epigraphs have survived from the Katumba, Chalukya, Rastrakuta, and other reigns.

-- by the Times International Press

In both letters, Calmette refers to the Brahmins’ secrecy about the Vedas:

Ever since India has been known, it does not appear that the Europeans have been able to unearth this book which the Brames scruple to communicate and which they transcribe superstitiously in the woods or in remote places where they cannot be seen by any who are not of their caste.

I have at last recovered the four Vedas, of which the first is called Rougvédam, the second Ejourvédam, the third Samavédam, the fourth Adarvanavédam. The fourth is that which, so long as there have been missionaries in India, has been said to have been thrown into the sea by the Brahmins. Thus, that which the Brahmins have until now kept hidden more than the Jews have the books of Moses, that which they have communicated to no other nation of the world, not even to Indians if they are not of their caste, finally falls into our hands and the sea itself has given up its prey.


Calmette described how he had confirmed the authenticity of the texts he had purchased by having young Brahmins who were learning the Vedas recite them to him. In his letter he describes how both Gargam, his close colleague in the northern reaches of the Carnatic mission, and Jean-François Pons, a Jesuit collecting Sanskrit texts in Bengal, had been deceived into buying texts purporting to be Vedas. Nevertheless, while Calmette did obtain the Ṛg, Yajur, and Sāma Veda saṃhitās, his “Adarvana Vedam” is in fact an assortment of tantric and magical texts connected with goddess worship called Ātharvaṇatantrarāja and Ātharvaṇamantraśāstra.92 [Filliozat, Catalogue du fonds sanscrit, I, 25.]

Calmette twice states that money alone would not have sufficed to obtain the Veda. It was only thanks to “hidden Christians” among the Brahmins that he had been able to obtain copies of the Vedas.93 [One of these may have been Calmette’s convert Maṅgalagiri Ānanda, who later composed a summary of the Gospels in Telugu verse entitled Vedānta Rasayanam (Léon Besse, “Liste Alphabétique des Missionaires du Carnatic de la Compagnie de Jésus au XVIIIe siècle,” Revue Historique de l’Inde Française 2 [1917/18]: s.v. Calmette; see also C. P. Brown, “Notices of some Roman Catholic Books, existing in the Telugu Language,” The Madras Journal of Literature and Science [July 1840], 54–58).] Some of these works, like others sent by the Jesuits, were not so much copies of actual Indian texts as verbal abstracts of the texts recited by scholars and recorded, on paper not palm-leaves, by converts who adorned them with Christian symbols.96 [Colas and Colas-Chauhan, Manuscrits telugu.] ….

[T]he Jesuits had thus finally succeeded in obtaining for European libraries at least parts of the Vedas…


[T]he texts which had been obtained, although in Sanskrit, were mostly written in Telugu-Kannada script, and even someone who could read Vedic Sanskrit, and Devanāgarī script, would find them unintelligible without knowing Telugu-Kannada script. Pons, who had long experience of India and had sought copies of the Vedas in Bengal, described those collected by Calmette as “en arabe,” in a justly famous account of Hindu thought in a 1740 letter to Jean-Baptiste Du Halde.99 [Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, 26: 233.] This was sufficient to mislead even Caland into thinking this was a reference to an Arabic translation of the Vedas when what Pons presumably intended was the use of Telugu script. [???!!!]100 [Caland, Veda, 281.]...

In an appendix to their diary for 1734, published under all their names in the Hallesche Berichte, the Tranquebar missionaries gave a brief account of the Vedas. They report that despite their efforts to see the Vedas, they have been told that they are not written, but that boys (who can only be Brahmins) learn sections of them from a priest by repeating it constantly. The language in which they are recorded, which they call Grantha, is so old that no one can understand it without referring to the śāstra. Few learn the fourth part, because it consists of sorcery.109 [HB 39: 418.] ….

Three years later, in 1737, four of these missionaries announced that they had obtained a translation of the Yajur Veda.111 [Their letter is printed in HB 45: 1182–85. The translation of the text appeared in the next installment (HB 46: 1251–94).] They were very likely conscious of the Jesuits’ success in obtaining copies of the Vedas, announced in Calmette’s letter in the Lettres édifiantes et curieuses in 1734.112 [Although they do not here mention the Lettres édifiantes, they had cited an earlier reference in them to the Vedas in their 1734 diary.] The text had been translated for them by a Brahmin named Kṛṣṇa, after much persuasion. His reluctance alone provided assurance, they argued, this was indeed the “veritable Veda.” In fact, although Kṛṣṇa appears—like Nobili’s informant Śivadharma—to have been a Brahmin of the Taittirīya branch of the Yajur Veda, the text that was published in the Hallesche Berichte had, according to Albrecht Weber, “not the slightest thing to do with the Yajurveda,” instead representing “an encyclopedic and systematically ordered representation of the modern Brahmanical world and life-view.”113 [Albrecht Weber, “Ein angebliche Bearbeitung des Yajurveda,” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 7 (1853): 235–48, at 236.] …

Although catalogued, on the basis of the Jesuits’ descriptions of the texts, as soon as 1739,114 [Catalogus codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae. Paris 1739. Étienne Fourmont was likely responsible for the entries in the section “Codices Indici.”] [the Vedas] remained unread throughout the eighteenth century.115 [A fragment of the Vedas—a single hymn from the first maṇḍala of the Ṛg Veda (I, 89)—was collected in Surat by James Fraser in Khambayat in the 1730s (Bodleian Library, MSS. Fraser Sansk. 30). Fraser aspired to translate the Vedas but was aware he had only a fragment of them. He notes that the “Pourans and Shasters are glosses and comments on the Vedh” and of the Gītā he says “This book the Brahmins call The Marrow of the Vedh. It gives a Light into the most mysterious part of their religion, and explains the substance of the Vedh” (A Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Persic, Arabic, and Sanskerrit Languages [London, 1742], 37–39). On Fraser and his collections see Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Europe’s India: Words, Peoples, Empires, 1500–1800 (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 2017), 144–210.] One of the few who might have been able to read them was the Carmelite Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo. He knew both Sanskrit and the Tamil and Malayalam scripts, and may have recognized Telugu, even if he had not learned it. Paulinus saw them in late 1789, but in the chaos of the revolution was not permitted enough time to examine them closely.116 [Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo, Examen Historico-criticum Codicum Indicorum Bibliothecae Sacrae Congregationis de Propaganda Fide (Rome, 1792), 5.] ….

While the Ezour Vedam was being discussed by Voltaire and others, the Vedas sent by Calmette languished unread in the Bibliothèque Impériale. They were even excluded from the catalogue of Sanskrit manuscripts prepared by Alexander Hamilton and Louis-Mathieu Langlès in 1807, again because they were mostly not in Devanagari script.121 [Ângela Barreto Xavier and Iñes G. Županov, Catholic Orientalism: Portuguese Empire, Indian Knowledge (16th–18th Centuries) (New Delhi: Oxford Univ. Press, 2015), 302–3.]

By this time, other manuscripts of the Vedas had been obtained in India. In 1781–82 Antoine-Louis-Henri Polier, a Swiss Protestant who served in the English East India Company’s army until 1775, had had copies of the Vedas made for him at the court of Pratap Singh at Jaipur. 122 [On Polier, see Subrahmanyam, Europe’s India, 239–68.] Polier’s intermediary was a Portuguese physician, Don Pedro da Silva Leitão. A doctor named Pedro da Silva Leitão had been present at the court of Jai Singh in 1728 and played a part in the negotiations with the Portuguese regarding the exchange of scientific knowledge, personnel, and equipment. He was long-lived, but Polier’s friend may rather have been one of his descendants. Jai Singh had assembled a substantial collection of manuscripts from religious sites across India, and in the time of his successor Pratap Singh the library had contained the saṃhitās of all four Vedas in manuscripts dating from the last quarter of the seventeenth century.123 [G. N. Bahura, “Glimpses of Historical Information from Manuscripts in the Pothikhana of Jaipur,” in Cultural Heritage of Jaipur, ed. J. N. Asopa (Jodhpur: United Book Traders, 1982), 107. See also G. N. Bahura, ed., Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Maharaja of Jaipur Museum (Jaipur: Maharaja of Jaipur Museum, 1971).] ….

Polier records that he had sought copies of the Veda without success in Bengal, Awadh, and on the Coromandel coast, as well as in Agra, Delhi, and Lucknow and had found that even at Banaras “nothing could be obtained but various Shasters, w.ch are only Commentaries of the Baids”…

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Histoire de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres (1865), by Louis Ferdinand Alfred Maury

Anquetil did not limit himself to revealing to us, through his luminous dissertations, what had been the empire of the Achaemenids and the Sassanids, he also introduced us to India, which we did not know in the last century even more than Persia. Voltaire did not take the sanscrit, which was then called Sanscretan, for a book, and was he not duped by the forger who had composed Ezour-Vedam, and surprised the religion of Father Nobili? The Vedas themselves were so ignored that Father Paulinus of Saint-Barthélemy did not believe in their existence, and considered them mythical books.

We can say that the discoveries are in the air
and that when they occur, alongside their authors, a crowd of researchers met who had approached them and who would have been called upon to make them, if the discoverer had not been taken from the world before reaching his goal. Thus, at the same time as Anquetil du Perron lifted the veil which hid ancient India from us, Abbé Étienne Mignot, a learned theologian that the Academy had enrolled among its members, shed light in five memoirs published successively by his Collection, the history of Hindu doctrines. [He should not be confused with Father Vincent Mignot, Voltaire's nephew.] An independent mind, who had shaken off the yoke of the Sorbonne, Mignot sometimes succeeded, in spite of very incomplete documents, in unraveling the speculations of these ancient Indian thinkers whose boldness he loved, and which took a century of study to be known and understood.

Anquetil had only been able to advance on the threshold of Hindu literature, with the help of Persian translations; but on the other hand he had collected a prodigious number of information on India and the East, which he put to use and which have earned us works which have remained indispensable to the study of Asia.

***

For a History of the Catalogues of Indian Manuscripts in Paris, by Jérôme Petit

The records given by the Jesuit Fathers helped in the redaction of the general catalogue for the manuscripts kept in the Royal Library. This project was a strong wish of the Abbey Jean-Paul Bignon who wanted to follow the need of describing the collections at a time when the Scientists of the ‘Europe des Lumières’ were describing and organizing the species. In 1739 was published the first volume of the Catalogus Codicum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae dedicated to the oriental collections. It is a master piece in the field of library science. Etienne Fourmont had translated the brief records given by the Jesuits Fathers into Latin and gave some other bibliographical elements such as the material, paper or palm-leaves. Fourmont adopted the classification system given by Father Pons. In trying to make a concordance between the Jesuit lists and the Catalogus Codicum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae, it appears that the larger part of the catalogue, namely the ‘Books on Theology’ which contains 111 numbers on the 287 of the ‘Indian Codices’ described, gathers mostly all the manuscripts from South India, even the topics is far from ‘Thelogy’, as if the lack of classification had a direct impact on the cataloguing process. Despite these hesitations, very understandable due to the early date of publication, the Catalogus Codicum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae is very solid....

In 1807, Alexander Hamilton (1762-1824), after being enrolled in the East India Company, was obliged to stay in France after the break of the Traité d’Amiens which ensured the peace between France and England. He spent his time in describing the Sanskrit collection of the Imperial Library with the help of Langlès. The paradox is that the catalogue of Hamilton described less manuscripts than the Catalogus Codicum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae published seventy years before. The reason is that Hamilton described only the Sanskrit manuscripts in Devanagari and Bengali scripts. He did not treat the manuscripts from South India, in Tamil, Grantha, or Telugu scripts.

Hamilton had time to see all the manuscripts that he wanted to describe, but he gave a detailed description only for the texts he was interested in, like Purana or poetry. We can read this information after the manuscript number 23: “For the others manuscripts, we did not adopt any classification”. He also gave up the fundamental notion of material support. It is impossible to know in reading this catalogue if the manuscripts are written on paper or on palm-leaves while we had this information in the Catalogus Codicum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae. This catalogue is often seen as the first printed catalogue of Sanskrit manuscripts. It is indeed the first catalogue which is entirely dedicated to the Sanskrit manuscripts but we have seen how the Catalogus Codicum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae, which is the very first printed catalogue for Indian manuscripts, is stronger from the point of view of the library science....


In November 1833, François Guizot (1787-1874), one of the most influential Minister of Education of the century, asked librarians to give a catalogue of the manuscripts of all kinds that were in their care. It is in this climax that worked Claude Fauriel and Auguste Loiseleur-Deslonchamps. They gave bibliographical details for the manuscripts left aside by Alexander Hamilton or freshly arrived in the library. A particular attention was given to describe the manuscript and the text that it contains. Incipit and explicit are sometimes given in original script or in transcriptions, the material used is mentioned (paper or palm leaves), the date in samvat era, the name of the author, the subject, and some bibliographical information are also given when it was possible.

***

The Father Calmette and the Indianist Missionaries, by Father Julien Bach, of the Society of Jesus [Compagnie de Jesus], 1868 [Rough translation from French to English on Google books]

Translation from French Edition of Le Père Calmette Et Les Missionnaires Indianistes (Litterature)

If there is an interesting point of view in the history of the Society of Jesus, it is undoubtedly that of the Indian missions. Saint Francis Xavier, their wonderful founder, has had successors worthy of him, who continued his work, whose conquests on the paganism are recorded in a justly famous collection. One of our most distinguished Indianists, professor of Sanskrit at the College of France, M. Eugène Burnouf, once gave them a testimony which I am happy to be able to invoke at the beginning of this article. As I was talking to him about the missions in India, he suddenly got up with animation and showed me in his library the collection of Edifying & Curious Letters [Jesuit Accounts of the Americas, 1565-1896], saying: "There are men! They understood their mission."

This opinion of the Orientalist scholar is consistent with the impressions these letters left in the scholarly world. The conversion of idolaters, the establishment of the Catholic Church in the midst of an enemy civilization, such was the work with which the missionaries were charged, a difficult and thankless work that was necessary to undertake and accomplish by men of devotion and the sacrifice of heroes, such as the Catholic Church has given birth to thousands in all ages, and we can say that missionaries of India have not been below their task.

The deep roots that Christianity has grown in these climates, are known to us by the collection I mentioned just now, and if you judge they have produced fruit, and yet produce every day, read the letters of the new mission of Madurai recently published by the P. Jos. Bertrand, who, after having been superior of this mission, had the happy idea of revealing to Europe some of the works of which he was the witness or the actor. This work, added to the Annals of the Propagation of the Faith, showed once again how powerful the charity of missionaries had been for the transformation of India.

But these big-hearted men did not stop at working for the establishment of the Christian religion in India. They have again made, and, so to speak, playing with each other, numerous conquests for the advancement of human knowledge. It is through them that literary history, philology, and ethnography emerged from the swaddling clothes where routine held them tight. There were those who knew how to wrest from the Brahmins the secret of their language and their philosophy, and who dared to engage in a hand-to-hand struggle against them, as admirable from the literary point of view as from the religious point of view. Such was the P. Jean Calmette, prime Indianist, as will the view. A study of his work is not without importance: it is connected with the history of Brahminism and Eastern philology, and in this respect it deserves the attention of scholars, so rich a mine of Sanskrit literature, and if it finds there unexpected treasures, is it not interesting to research who was the Christopher Columbus of this new world? The account of his first investigations is certainly worthy of exciting our curiosity.

The Carnate was a French mission formed around 1703 on the model of the Portuguese mission of Maduré; the Jesuits had adopted there, since the initiative of Father de Nobili, the way of life of the Brahmins, in order to be in more intimate relation with the populations, without having to fear national antipathies. In Pondicherry was the central establishment. Advancing towards the north and inland, the missionaries had found a population that differed from that of Madurai as much as Indians can differ between them. The same idolatry, the same uses based on the distinction of castes, the same horror for the Pranguis but, instead of the Tamil language, it was the Telugu; instead of the government of the Naïques du Maduré, it was, since the capture of Visapour, the Mohammedan domination of the Grand Mogul; and we know that the Nawabs of India showed, in imitation of the court of Delhi, a great sympathy for the Christian missionaries.

It also appears that the Brahmins of this region were less fanatic and more educated than those of the Tamil country. In Ballapouram, in particular, there was a kind of academy, whose doctors willingly entered into contact with the Roman Brahmins. This is the theater where several Indian missionaries will be shown, and especially the one which is the subject of this article. Party Penmarck the beginning of 1726 the P. Calmette happened in the month of October in Pondicherry, and after several years of trials in various homes of the mission, he was sent to Ballapouram. Gifted with a great facility for languages, and a penetration of mind equal to his zeal, he soon saw all the advantage that a missionary could derive from knowledge of the Brahminic books, and he applied himself tirelessly to the study of Sanskrit, or Sanscrutan, as we said in the Carnate.

Several converted Brahmins were of great help to him for this. He conversed with them frequently, and he was thus able to make rapid progress, not only in their language, but also, a precious thing, in the true genius of Brahminism. As they took pleasure in transcribing various passages from the Vedas for him, he learned from memory some tirades; then, when he met Brahmins who were still pagan, he sold them out, and used them to object to them. Here is what he wrote in 1730: “Until now we had had little trade with this order of scholars; but since they realize that we hear their science books and their Sanscrutan language, they start to approach us, and as they have enlightenment and principles, they follow us better than the others in the dispute, and more readily agree with the truth."

The breach was made, but for the P. Calmette it was not enough. This missionary, desiring above all else the conversion of idolaters, knowing from experience how impossible it was to dispel the prejudices of the Indians without going back to the source of their beliefs, seeing on the other hand that the origin of most Brahminic superstitions was the abuse that the Vedas had made of primitive traditions, he first applied himself to drawing from them texts to fight the Brahmins with their own weapons. “Since their Vedam is in our hands, we have extracted texts suitable to convince them of the fundamental truths which ruin idolatry. Indeed the unity of God, the character of the true God, the salvation and reprobation are in the Vedam; but the truths which are to be found in this book are only spread there like gold spangles on heaps of sand: for the rest we find there the principle of all the Indian sects, and perhaps the details of all the errors which form their body of doctrine."

One of the first investigations of the fruits of P. Calmette was to have been sent to Paris a copy of the four Vedas, written about ____. Here is the occasion.

The King's Library was not yet very large, when Abbé Bignon was appointed curator in 1718, and this scholar brought there his own library, which was already very fine, and with it a great desire to enrich the royal establishment which he held and was entrusted. It was the time when we began to deal in France with the ancient religions of India and Persia. We spoke especially of certain sacred books, which went back, it was said, in the highest antiquity, and which deserved by their importance the attention of scientists.

Such curious works were worthy of the Royal Library, and Abbé Bignon, for this precious acquisition, believed that he had nothing better to do than to address himself to Father Souciet, librarian of the college Louis-le-Grand, in frequent correspondence with the missionaries of the East. The P. Souciet, zealous himself to this kind of research, sent an urgent request to Father Le Gac, superior of the residence of Pondicherry. The P. Le Gac replied first that to get an exact copy of the four Vedas would be a very difficult and perhaps an expensive affair; that he did not see too much of what use this copy could be in Paris, since there would be no scientist able to decipher it; that however he was going to take care of it seriously. If there was some hope of obtaining certified copies of the Vedas, it was through the medium of P. Calmette.

It was to him that indeed turned the P. Le Gac, and the deal was finalized, despite enormous difficulties. Here is what the P. Calmette said:


"Those who write that for thirty years the Vedam is not found are not entirely wrong: money was not sufficient for the find. It seems to me that we would never have had it, if we had not, among the Brahmins, hidden Christians who trade with them without being known to be Christians. It is to one of them that we owe this discovery, and there are two of them now who are busy researching the books and having them copied. If we came to know that it is for us, we would do serious business with them, especially on the subject of Vedam; it is an article that cannot be forgiven."

"On the thought so found, that many people would not agree in Pondicherry, whether it was the real Veda, and I was asked if I had considered, but the tests I made leave no doubt, and I still do every day when scholars or young Brahmins who learn the Vedam in the schools of the country come to see me, making them recite, and sometimes myself reciting with them, what I have learned from the beginning or elsewhere. This is the Veda, there is no doubt about that."


So, thanks to Father Calmette and several Christian Brahmins, the P. Le Gac could write in 1732 to Fr. Souciet:

"The four books that contain the Vedas are an expense of 35 to 40 pagodas (about 350 francs). I have already sent two for the Library of S.M.[The Royal Albert Library by H.M. The King (Bibliothèque Royale).]. We are working on transcribing the other two."


The copy of the four Vedas, sent to Paris the following year, was deposited in the Richelieu Library, department of manuscripts, where it is still found.

If the learned P. Calmette had done nothing else than to obtain, by dint of zeal and industry, this unexpected result, he would already deserve great praise. To have made a first breach in the great wall of the Brahmins, his name should be inscribed with honor at the head of the Indianists. Among the Romans, there was a special crown for the soldier who climbed the first ramparts of a besieged city; the work of Father Calmette is comparable to the taking of a citadel.

It must be confessed, that the P. Le Gac had predicted what happened: this package in the Royal Library was first perfectly useless, and soon the souvenir was cleared. Some of the manuscripts were curious enough to show several Vedas written on palm leaves in Telingas characters. But we did not know the origin, and no Indianist was tempted to use it. It is to these books that Voltaire's mischief could rightly apply:

"Sacred they are, because no one touches them."


However, the taste for oriental studies gained consistency at the beginning of this century, and this mysterious copy of the Vedas contributed perhaps as much to it as the other oriental manuscripts which had been acquired. In 1815 a chair of Sanskrit was erected in Paris in favor of Léonard de Chézy. This famous orientalist, true founder of the Sanskrit school in France, alludes to the copy of the Vedas, when he says, when speaking of the efforts he had been made obliged to do to learn the knowledge of Indian languages:

"The rich treasure of Indian manuscripts that I had constantly before my eyes, those long palm leaves, depositories of the highest thoughts of philosophy, and which, silent for so long, seemed to require an interpreter, excited more and more my curiosity."


So spoke the most laborious of our Indianists. We know that his works, together with those of his worthy successor, Eugène Burnouf, gave great importance to the study of Sanskrit, not only in Paris, but also in the provinces. Honor to Father Calmette, laborious promoter of this movement of minds.

His discovery of the Vedas, and the copies he obtained through the converted Brahmins, were only a prelude. Soon the knowledge he had acquired made him suspect that behind these penetralia of Sanskrit literature, other poems, and even, as he confidently announced, real treasures unknown to him could be found. He said when speaking of Darma shastra:


"If the gentlemen of the Royal Library continue to honor us with the care of finding books, I hope that we will discover riches worthy of Europe. It is not pure gold; it is like that which one draws from mines, where there is more earth than gold. But the glare that certain passages give makes us believe that there really is gold."


This is how he discovered, in addition to several shastras, Upa-Vedas, or commentaries on the Vedas, and Puranas, poems more extensive than the Iliad and which, like the Iliad among the Greeks, contain all the sources of mythology.

This zeal of investigation was shared by his colleagues, and soon the residence of Ballapouram also became a kind of academy, where the Jesuit missionaries, in perfecting the knowledge of the Brahminic books, drew from them weapons to fight the errors.

But not content with a philosophical war, and wanting to join his arguments another way entirely consistent with the genius of these peoples, the P. Calmette conceived a design that then no one else was capable of. We read in his correspondence that he also began to compose poems himself, like the Brahmins, to refute their fictions. Surprisingly, a poor religious man, without grammar, without dictionary, made, more than a century ago, enough progress in the language of the Vedas, to accomplish a work which the Indianists of India would scarcely dare to undertake today.

It is curious to see what such extraordinary poetic inspiration has produced. The one of these poems which obtained a certain celebrity by a circumstance of which we will speak later is called Ezour-Vedam.
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The Four Vedas, Excerpt from "Vedic Hinduism"
by S.W. Jamison and M. Witzel

1992

Only one version of the Rigveda is known to have survived into the modern era. Several different versions of the Sama Veda and the Atharva Veda are known, and many different versions of the Yajur Veda have been found in different parts of South Asia....

The Rigveda Samhita is the oldest extant Indic text. It is a collection of 1,028 Vedic Sanskrit hymns and 10,600 verses in all, organized into ten books (Sanskrit: mandalas). The hymns are dedicated to Rigvedic deities....

The Rigveda is structured based on clear principles. The Veda begins with a small book addressed to Agni, Indra, Soma and other gods, all arranged according to decreasing total number of hymns in each deity collection; for each deity series, the hymns progress from longer to shorter ones, but the number of hymns per book increases. Finally, the meter too is systematically arranged from jagati and tristubh to anustubh and gayatri as the text progresses.

The rituals became increasingly complex over time, and the king's association with them strengthened both the position of the Brahmans and the kings. The Rajasuya rituals, performed with the coronation of a king, "set in motion [...] cyclical regenerations of the universe." In terms of substance, the nature of hymns shift from praise of deities in early books to Nasadiya Sukta with questions such as, "what is the origin of the universe?, do even gods know the answer?", the virtue of Dāna (charity) in society, and other metaphysical issues in its hymns.…

The Samaveda Samhita consists of 1549 stanzas, taken almost entirely (except for 75 mantras) from the Rigveda….Just as in the Rigveda, the early sections of Samaveda typically begin with hymns to Agni and Indra but shift to the abstract. Their meters shift also in a descending order….In the Samaveda, some of the Rigvedic verses are repeated….

The Yajurveda Samhita consists of prose mantras. It is a compilation of ritual offering formulas that were said by a priest while an individual performed ritual actions such as those before the yajna fire.… The earliest and most ancient layer of Yajurveda samhita includes about 1,875 verses, that are distinct yet borrow and build upon the foundation of verses in Rigveda. Unlike the Samaveda which is almost entirely based on Rigveda mantras and structured as songs, the Yajurveda samhitas are in prose…

The Atharvaveda was not considered as a Veda in the Vedic era... It was compiled last… The Atharvaveda is sometimes called the "Veda of magical formulas"... The Samhita layer of the text likely represents a developing 2nd millennium BCE tradition of magico-religious rites to address superstitious anxiety, spells to remove maladies believed to be caused by demons, and herbs- and nature-derived potions as medicine.


-- Vedas, by Wikipedia

Let us begin with the key to the whole system, the four Vedas: Rg Veda, Såma Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda.

The oldest and most important in Vedic ritualism, as to later Indian religion, is the Rg Veda (hereafter also RV). This is a collection (Samhita) of rcs 'verses', forming hymns to be recited during ritual, praising various divinities. They were composed by a number of bards or bardic families, over a period of several hundred years, at the very least, as linguistic and stylistic evidence shows.8 [Possible between c. 1900 BC. and c. 1100 BCE, see above, n.1. This time frame includes only the period of possible immigration and settlement in Northern and North-West India; parts of the RV may have been composed already in Afghanistan (on the *Sarasvatī = Avest. Haraxaiti, etc.).] The ritual, as it appears in these hymns, is earlier and less developed than the "classical" one of the later texts, such as the Yajurveda Mantras and all of the Brahmanas. The Rg Veda has come down to us basically in only one9 [The other two about which we know something more than just their names are the Båskala and the Måndukeya schools, see Scheftelowitz, 1906.] extremely well preserved school, that of Śåkalya, who analyzed the traditional text towards the end of the Brahmana period, apparently in Eastern India (Videha, N. Bihar). His grammatical analysis, in form of a text without any euphonic combinations (sandhi) has been transmitted as the RV-Padapåtha.10 [Edited in Max Müller's RV (1849-74), and also several times in India as separate volumes.]

The standard editions of the Rg Veda are that of Max Müller 1849-1874, incorporating Sayana's medieval commentary (14th cent.),11  [Cf. now also the earlier commentaries of the RV, ed. Vishva Bandhu 1963-66.] and the more compact one of T. Aufrecht 1877.
The standard current translation is that of K. F. Geldner 1951 (written already in the Twenties), into German, which supersedes earlier ones such as that of H. Grassmann 1876-77. There is also an almost complete French translation by L. Renou 1955-69, and the first volume of a Russian translation by T. Ya. Elizarenkova has recently appeared (1989). Unfortunately there is no complete modern English translation, though there are unsatisfactory and outmoded ones by H. H. Wilson (1888) which largely depends on the medieval commentary of Sayana, and by R. T. H. Griffith (1889-92). There are also useful translations of selected hymns, such as that of W. D. O'Flaherty 1981a and Maurer 1986 which includes much of the preceding scholarship. An up-to-date, philologically sound translation of the entire text, incorporating the grammatical and semantic progress that has been made in recent decades, would be extremely welcome.

Other important tools for Rgvedic researches include the invaluable (if somewhat out of date) Wörterbuch of H. Grassmann 1872-75, which lists all the occurrences of all but the most common words in the RV, with definitions, grammatical identification, and contextual information
; the Prolegomena and the Noten of H. Oldenberg (1888 and 1909, 1912 respectively), one of the leading Western Indologists, E.V. Arnold's treatise on Vedic meter (1905), one of the first attempts to develop an internal chronology of the text, and also several of Bloomfield's reference works (Concordance, Repetitions, Variants, see below).

The Atharva Veda (AV) stands a little apart from the other three Vedas, as it does not treat the śrauta rituals, but contains magical (black and white) and healing spells, as well as two more large sections containing speculative hymns and materials dealing with some important domestic rituals such as marriage and death, with the vråtya (s. below), and with royal power.

There are two extant recensions of the AV, differing considerably from each other.
Currently the more usable one is that ordinarily known as the Śaunaka recension (AVŚ, ŚS). The standard edition is that of Roth and Whitney (1856, corrected repr. Lindenau 1924). For certain sections, however, the Bombay edition by Shankar Påndurang Pandit (1895-98) or the recent amalgamated edition by Vishva Bandhu (1960-64) has to be compared, notably in book 19-20. A nearly12 [It lacks only book 20 which almost completely has been taken over from the RV. Griffith 1895-96, however, includes a translation of this book and its difficult Kuntåpa hymns as well.] complete English translation of this text exists by W. D. Whitney (1905), as well as a partial translation by M. Bloomfield (1897) that remains valuable, and a popular one by Griffith (1895-96). Whitney (1881) also compiled a complete word list, arranged grammatically, but it lacks the semantic and contextual information given by Grassmann's Wörterbuch for the RV.

The other, the Paippalåda recension (AVP, PS), was until recently known only in a very corrupt manuscript from Kashmir, which was heroically, though not too successfully edited by L. C. Barret, in a series of articles (1905-1940), save for one book done by F. Edgerton (1914). On this basis, Raghu Vira (1936-41) published the text from Lahore as well. The discovery of a much better version preserved in Orissa will now allow the Paippalåda version to take its proper place in the Vedic canon. However, only books 1-4 have been edited (D.M. Bhattacharyya 1964, D. Bhattacharya 1970). The editing and publication of the AVP based on both versions is an eagerly awaited event in Vedic studies. For preliminary studies on the history of the school, the archetype of all PS manuscripts, and on the oral tradition of the Orissa Paippalådins, see Witzel, 1985a,b; on editing problems see Hoffmann 1968a and 1979; for the relationship between PS and AVŚ, see Insler, forthc.

The Såma Veda (SV) is the collection of chants, referred to as såmans or 'melodies'. To each melody a variety of different verses can be sung; these verses are almost entirely extracted from the Rg Veda. The standard edition of the SV is that of Benfey 1848 of the Kauthuma (and Rååyanīya) recension; see also Caland's 1907 edition of the Jaiminīya recension, which to some extent differs from the Kauthuma version in order and in content (cf. Parpola 1973). Because of its dependence on the RV, -- only 75 of its Mantras are not found in the RV -- an independent translation of this text is not particularly crucial. Nonetheless, several exist, e.g. that of Griffith 1893.

The Yajur Veda is a complex entity, consisting of several partly parallel texts, most of which mix mantras (i.e. veda-text-type) with prose commentary (brahmana-text-type). It is divided into two branches: the Black (Krsna) YV (BYV) and the White (Śukla) YV (the WYV). It is the Black YV that contains the mixture of text types; the White YV contains only mantras, with its Brahmana separate. Yet it is generally considered -- see e.g. Caland, 1931b, pp. 132-133, cf. 1990, p.XIV) -- that this separation is secondary, that the mantras of the WYV were abstracted from a text that would have looked more like the BYV.

The White Yajur Veda, or Våjasaneyi Samhita (VS), has two very similar recensions, the Mådhyamdina and the Kåva (VSK). The standard edition is that of A. Weber (1852), which includes the variants of VSK. A separate edition of the VSK has been prepared by D. Satavalekar 1983 and a new edition is in progress, prepared by the indefatigable B. R. Sharma (1988-). There is a rather unsatisfactory English translation by Griffith (1899). Its massive and important Brahmana is the Śatapatha Brahmana (ŚB), the 'Brahmana of the Hundred Paths' (after the number of its 'lessons'), also with two similar recensions, likewise Madhyamdina and Kåva (ŚBM and ŚBK), whose mutual relationship is rather complicated (Caland, 1926, pp. 103-108, 1990 p. XIV). The one ordinarily referred to is the Madhyamdina, edited by A. Weber (1855) and translated into English by Eggeling (1882-1900). The Kåva recension was edited by Caland and Raghu Vira (1926-1939). There is no translation of the ŚBK, but it differs little in content and phraseology from ŚBM.

The Black YV is more complex. It exists in three major versions, parallel in great part, but often differing from each other in both phraseology and points of doctrine: the Taittirīya Samhita (TS), the Maitråyaī Samhita (MS), and the Kåthaka Samhita (KS), the latter two often agreeing with each other against the (obviously younger) TS. (There is also a fragmentary, and, as based on a very narrow tradition, somewhat corrupt fourth version, the Kapisthala Samhita (KpS), very close to the KS.) The standard edition of the TS is Weber's (1871-2), of the MS von Schroeder's (1881-86), as also of the KS (1900-1910), while Raghu Vira edited the fragments of the KpS (1932). Mittwede's useful collections of suggested emendations to the MS (1986) and KS (1989) are important tools in understanding these sometimes corrupt texts, which are based (unlike TS which still is widely recited in South India) only on the traditions of Gujarat/N. Maharashtra and Kashmir. All these texts must have been preceded by an even earlier stage of brahmana style discussion, see Hoffmann 1969, apparently that of the lost Caraka school, cf. Witzel 1982, forthc. b.

Only the TS has been translated (into English, by Keith 1914).13  [Not always reliably, however; see the review by Caland 1924.] Since MS and KS are generally fuller and more archaic in appearance than TS, translations of these two texts are badly needed. The prose of the brahmana portion of these texts is the oldest expository prose in Sanskrit, and its treatment of the ritual and narration of myths therefore extremely archaic.

Though the prose portions of the Taittirīya Samhita serve as its primary brahmana, there also exists a Taittirīya Brahmana (TB) with additional commentary (and mantras), unfortunately an inferior text with no standard edition. There are the editions prepared at Calcutta (R. L. Mitra 1859), Ānandåśrama (V.Ś. Godbole et al. 1934), and the Mysore (Mahadeva Sastri and L. Srinivasacharya, 1908-13); the latter has some South Indian phonetic peculiarities. The TB has been partly translated (into English) in a series of articles by P. E. Dumont (1948-69). A late (c. Upanisad period) addition to the Brahmana is the fragmentary Vådhūla Brahmana (or Vådhūla Anvåkhyåna), which usually is wrongly called Vådhūla Sūtra.14 [See Witzel 1975: The text contains large sections of Brahmana style discussion, the so-called Anvåkhyånas, i.e. "additional Brahmanas" added to the older texts of the Taittirīya school. The Sūtra, though lying at Utrecht since the Twenties, had remained virtually untouched until the edition of the first chapter by Sparreboom 1989.] About two thirds of the fragments of this Brahmana text have been edited and translated into German by Caland 1923-1928. Neither the Maitråyanī Samhita nor the Kåthaka Samhita has a surviving separate text called a Brahmana, though a collection of fragments of the original Katha Brahmana, called Śatådhyåya Brahmana, is found in Kashmiri ritual handbooks and has been partially edited by von Schroeder (1898) and Surya Kanta (1943); cf. also Lokesh Chandra 1982, 1984.

The Rg Veda has two Brahmanas, the Aitareya Brahmana (AB) and the Kausītaki (or Śånkhåyana) Brahmana (KB), of which the Aitareya is the older and the more extensive. The AB was edited by Aufrecht (1879); the KB by Lindner (1887) and in its Kerala version by E.R.S. Sarma (1968). Both have been translated into English by Keith (1920).

The major Brahmanas of the Såmaveda are the Jaiminīya Brahmana (JB) and the Pañcavimśa Brahmana (PB, or Tåndya Mahåbrahmana). The JB is an immense, unfortunately corrupt, and very rich text, that has not yet been sufficiently worked on (see Ehlers 1988). Caland (1919) edited and translated significant portions of it (into German), and added many passages in an English rendering in his translation of the PB (1931b), as did, to a lesser extent, Oertel in a series of articles (1897-1909). Only in 1954 did a complete edition appear (that of Raghu Vira and Lokesh Chandra), unfortunately still riddled with misprints and corruptions.15 [A guide to the MSS has been given by W. Rau, 1988, and a useful compilation of emendations that have been proposed, by Ehlers 1989.] A carefully, and if possible critically edited version of the JB is greatly desirable.16 [E. R. Sreekrishna Sarma (Adyar, Madras) has begun a new edition in the early Eighties, based on new MSS from Kerala.] There are several recent partial translations, e.g. H. W. Bodewitz (1973, 1990) of the Agnihotra and Soma sections, accompanied by detailed philological though not particularly pioneering commentary. W. Doniger O'Flaherty (1985) has translated some of the narrative portions, however, mostly a recapitulation of those translated by Oertel and Caland, with a Freudian commentary.17 [17 And some basic misunderstandings of Indian sociology, (e.g. fear of the father in case of a måtula?!); the date assigned to JB (of 900 B.C.) is pure guesswork and definitely too early for the text as it stands now, especially for book 1,1-65. For further criticism see Bodewitz 1990:19-24.] Tsuchida (1979) and Schrapel (1970) have translated parts of book 2. A complete, philologically grounded translation of the JB, would contribute mightily to our understanding of middle Vedic religion, but it may be premature to desire one without an accurate text.

The Pañcavimśa Brahmana, which is available only in unsatisfactory uncritical editions, presents fewer difficulties, but also fewer rewards than the JB. For a preliminary critical reading of the text the old manuscript from Gujarat printed by Lokesh Chandra (1981) and Caland's remarks in his translation, referring to another old MS at Leiden,18 [18 One may use, for the time being, the notes on two old Leiden MSS from Gujarat in Caland's translation PB (1931) as well as the facsimile ed. by Lokesh Chandra 1981, the proper use of which is explained by W. Rau, 1985; cf. Caland 1990, p. XXX, n. 35.] are invaluable. The text has been translated and copiously annotated, with many valuable references to and partial translations of JB, by Caland (1931a). There are a number of other, minor "Brahmanas" attached to the SV, most of which rather belong to the category of the Sūtras. Most of them have been edited by B.R. Sharma.19 [Sadvimśa Brahmana, ed. B. R. Sharma 1967, transl. W. B. Bollée 1956. -- The other SV Brahmanas are in reality of Sūtra character: Såmavidhåna, Ārseya, Devatådhåya, Upanisad Brahmana (or Mantra-Br., a list of Grhya Mantras), Samhitopanisad- Br., Vamśa-Br.; most of them have recently been (re-)edited by B.R. Sharma, as are the Ksudra Sūtra and Maśaka Kalpa Sūtra, which are Śrauta Sūtras preceding the Låty. / Dråhy.ŚS. A good account of the literature of the SV has been given by Caland 1931a, updated by Parpola 1968; cf. also B.R. Sharma 1976.] The AV has a very late and inferior Brahmana, the Gopatha Brahmana (GB), critically edited by Caland's pupil D. Gaastra 1919. Its first part, in fact, presupposes the grammar of Pånini. However, this text which to a large degree quotes from other brahmana type texts, probably was nothing but an additional Brahmana (anubrahmana) of the Paippalåda school of the AV, which was, just like some other texts, incorporated into the Śaunaka school of Gujarat only during the Middle Ages (Witzel 1985a).

A collection of fragments of 'lost' Brahmanas found in various medieval commentaries has been compiled by Batakrishna Ghosh 1947.

Aranyakas are found under this name only in the tradition of the Rgveda
(Aitareya Ār., Kausītaki or Śånkhåyana Ār.), and Yajurveda (Taittirīya, Katha Ār.). The SV and AV have no text named in this way. However, the Jaiminīya Upanisad Brahmana may, in part, be regarded as the Ār. of this Veda,20 [See Witzel 1977:145 for further discussion of the relationship between the Paippalåda and Śaunaka schools.] and the Gopatha-Brahmana plays the same role for the AV.21 [There must have been another text, still known to Śamkara (c.700 CE), which began with sarvam pravidhya (cf. PS 12.19.5), see Witzel 1977:143sqq ] In addition, the first part of Kånda 14 of the Śatapatha-Brahmana, which deals with the Pravargya ritual (ŚB 14.1-3), may with good reason be called the Ār. of the Mådhyandina school of the White YV, for all three Ār. texts of the YV deal centrally with this ritual. Its performance and even its acquisition by learning is regarded as too dangerous to be carried out inside the village and has to be done "where the houses of the village cannot be seen any more."
A.B. Keith states that from 'clay chosen from a pit east of the Ahavaniya fire, to which a horse leads the way, a Mahavira pot is made, a span high, two spare pots, and various other utensiles. A stool of Munja grass is also made as a throne for the pot. The pot is heated, the milk of a cow and a goat is poured in. Finally, the hot drink is offered to the Asvins, and two Rauhina cakes are also offered in the morning to the day, in the evening to the night. At the outset of the ceremony the wife of the conductor is made to cover her head, but she joins with the rest at the close in the finale of the Saman which is sung. At the end the offering utensils are arranged so as to make up the semblance of a man, the three Mahavira vessels marking the head, and so on... The pot is covered with a golden plate, which can be nothing else than a symbol of fire or the sun, the pot glows, the milk, which in its whiteness is a sun symbol, boils with heat. The Yagya by drinking as usual a share of the milk thus gains power at the same time as the sun is strengthened'.[29]

S. Ketkat agrees, elaborating that at the Pravargya ceremony 'a cauldron [i.e. the Mahāvīra earthen pot] is made red-hot on the sacrificial fire, to represent symbolically the sun; in this cauldron milk is then boiled and offered to the Asvins. The whole celebration is regarded as a great mystery. At the end of it the sacrificial utensils are so arranged that they represent a man: the milk-pots are the head, on which a tuft of sacred grass represents the hair; two milking-pails represent the ears, two little gold leaves the eyes, two cups the heels, the flour sprinkled over the whole the marrow, a mixture of milk and honey the blood, and so on. The prayers and formulae naturally correspond with the mysterious ceremonies'....

Aitareya Brahmana
The Yagya went away from the gods (saying), 'I shall not be your food.' 'No', replied the gods, 'Verily thou shalt be our food.' The gods crushed it; it being taken apart was not sufficient for them. The gods said 'It will not be sufficient for us, being taken apart; come, let us gather together the Yagya.' (They replied) 'Be it so'. They gathered it together; having gathered it together they said to the Açvins, 'Do ye two heal it', the Açvins are the physicians of the gods, the Açvins the Adhvaryus; therefore the two Adhvaryus gather together the cauldron [Mahāvīra pot]. Having gathered it together they sau, 'O Brahman, we shall proceed with the Pravargya offering; O Hotṛ, do though recite.'

— Rigveda Brahmanas: The Aitareya And Kausitaki Brahmanas Of The Rigveda, translated by Arthur Berriedale Keith (1920), Aitareya Brahmana, Adhyaya IV, Verse 1 ('The Pravargya')...

Makha decapitated
The Gods Agni, Indra, Vayu, and Makha, desirous of glory, performed a sacrificial session. They said: 'The glory that will come to (one of) us, must be in common to (all of) us'. Of them it was Makha to whom the glory came. He took it and stepped forth. They tried to take it from him by force and hemmed him in. He stood there, leaning on his bow, but the end of the bow, springing upwards, cut off his head. This (head) became the pravargya; Makha, forsooth, is the Yagya; by holding the pravargya (ceremony), they put the head on the Yagya. — Pancavimsa Brahmana, translated by W. Caland (1931), Prapathaka VII (7), Adhyaya 5 ('The samans of the midday pavamana laud'), Verse 6

This seems to be made in reference to Indra slaying Makha as mentioned in the Taittiriya Samhita (3.2.4) of the Black Yajurveda....

Vishnu decapitated
Now he who is this Vishnu is the Yagya; and he who is this Yagya is yonder Âditya (the sun). But, indeed, Vishnu was unable to control that (love of) glory of his; and so even now not every one can control that (love of) glory of his. Taking his bow, together with three arrows, he stepped forth. He stood, resting his head on the end of the bow. Not daring to attack him, the gods sat themselves down all around him.

Then the ants said--these ants (vamrî), doubtless, were that (kind called) 'upadîkâ' -- 'What would ye give to him who should gnaw the bowstring?'--'We would give him the (constant) enjoyment of food, and he would find water even in the desert: so we would give him every enjoyment of food.' -- 'So be it,' they said.

Having gone nigh unto him, they gnawed his bowstring. When it was cut, the ends of the bow, springing asunder, cut off Vishnu's head. It fell with (the sound) 'ghriṅ'; and on falling it became yonder sun. And the rest (of the body) lay stretched out (with the top part) towards the east. And inasmuch as it fell with (the sound) 'ghriṅ,' therefrom the Gharma (was called); and inasmuch as he was stretched out (pra-vrig,), therefrom the Pravargya (took its name).

The gods spake, 'Verily, our great hero (mahân virah) has fallen:' therefrom the Mahâvîra pot (was named). And the vital sap which flowed from him they wiped up (sam-mrig) with their hands, whence the Samrâg.

— Satapatha Brahmana, translated by Julius Eggeling (1900), Kanda XIV, Adhyaya I, Brahmana I ('The Pravargya'), Verses 6-11

The above-quoted account from the Shatapatha Brahmana seems to be an altered and elaborated version of the same legend from the Panchavimsha Brahmana. The most notable changes are that Vishnu is present at the Yagya, and the bow-string snaps and decapitates Him this time as a result of ants gnawing at it. As mentioned before, the word 'Mahāvīra' can also be translated as 'great hero' and 'archer' (see above). As noted earlier, there is also a reference to Indra slaying Makha as mentioned in the Taittiriya Samhita (3.2.4) of the Black Yajurveda, from which this legend may be derived.

The legend given here is that 'the gods Agni, Indra, Soma, Makha, Vishnu, and the [Visvedevas], except the two Asvins, performed a sacrificial session', which was first attained by Vishnu, hence 'he became the most excellent of the gods'. Upadika ants then agreed with the other gods to gnaw at the bowstring of Vishnu while He rested his head on the Bow, in exchange for the boon to 'find water even in the desert' (as 'all food is water').

The Gharma (hot beverage offered as an oblation) is named after the sound of Vishnu's head hitting the ground (which 'on falling became yonder sun'), and 'inasmuch as he [Vishnu] stretched out (pra-vrig) on the ground, therefrom the Pravargya (took its name)'.

-- Pravargya, by Wikipedia

This points to the correct meaning of the designation Ār., from aranya "wilderness" which curiously still eludes most modern Sanskritists though it was established long ago by Oldenberg (1915-6).22 [See now Sprockhoff 1981, WZKS 25, 28.] This oversight also clouds the understanding of the type of text the Ār. constitute. They are not, as medieval Hindu tradition asserts, the texts of the third stage in life, the Vånaprastha, but deal, quite in the fashion of other Brahmana type texts, with a particular ritual. In the case of the RV it is the Mahåvrata day of the year long Gavåm Ayana and some other rituals.

Around this nucleus of dangerous and secret texts (Śankara and others call this sort of texts Rahasya) are clustered various additions to the canon: the RV schools add their Upanisads (see below) and even a brief Sūtra style addition (in AĀ 5, by Āśvalåyana); the Taitt. school, similarly, begins with one of the eight special Kåthaka Agnicayana rituals,23 [Interestingly a very late, quasi Puranic one, see Witzel 1972:180 n.12; 1977:152; the others are found in the last parts of Taittirīya Brahmana (TB 3.10-12).] adds two sections with death ritual as well as all of their Upanisads. As mentioned before, the White YV contains in its book 14 both the Ār. and its Upanisad, the Brhadåranyaka Up. However, the last sections of this Up. contain various "strange" materials not expected in an Upanisad. P. Thieme is the first to have correctly understood the structure of this text.24 [In his lecture at Kyoto on accepting the Kyoto Prize in 1989.] The sections dealing with the procreation of particular types of sons, etc. belong to the last instructions of a Veda teacher to his departing student, similar to those, it may be added, that TU 1.11 = KatŚiUp. 11 present in a normative fashion.25 [See above, n. 22, and cf. below, on Dharma Sūtra texts.] The last sections of BĀU thus are of Aranyaka type and provide a frame surrounding the Brhadåranyaka Upanisad. Its very name may signify this amalgamation: it is a Brhad-Aranyaka-Upanisad, a "large (text consisting of) the Aranyaka and the Upanisad" of the White YV, similarly to Båhv-rcyam "the text consisting of many rc", the RV.

The Āit. Ār. has been edited and translated by Keith 1909; the Kausītaki or Śånkhåyana Ār. by V. N. Apte 1922 and Bhim Dev 1980 and transl. by Keith 1908. The Taitt. Ār. was edited by Rajendralål Mitra 1864-72, Mahådeva Śåstrī and P.K. Rangåcharya 1900-02, and in the Ānandåśrama Series by K.V. Abhyankar et al. in an often incorrect newly set reprint 1967-69 of the earlier edition of 1897-98; book 2 of TĀ has been edited and translated into French by Malamoud 1977. The Katha Ār. has been edited and translated into German by Witzel 1974.
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Part 1 of 2

Chapter IV: The Structure of the Rgvedic Poems, Excerpt from A History of Indian literature: Vedic Literature (Samhitas and Brahmanas)
edited by Jan Gonda
Volume I, Fasc. 1
1975

The Rigveda is structured based on clear principles. The Veda begins with a small book addressed to Agni, Indra, Soma and other gods, all arranged according to decreasing total number of hymns in each deity collection; for each deity series, the hymns progress from longer to shorter ones, but the number of hymns per book increases. Finally, the meter too is systematically arranged from jagati [12 12 12 12 (syllables)] and tristubh [11 11 11 11 (syllables)] to anustubh [8 8 8 8 (syllables)] and gayatri [8 8 8 (syllables)] as the text progresses.

The rituals became increasingly complex over time, and the king's association with them strengthened both the position of the Brahmans and the kings. The Rajasuya rituals, performed with the coronation of a king, "set in motion [...] cyclical regenerations of the universe." In terms of substance, the nature of hymns shift from praise of deities in early books to Nasadiya Sukta with questions such as, "what is the origin of the universe?, do even gods know the answer?", the virtue of Dāna (charity) in society, and other metaphysical issues in its hymns.

-- Vedas, by Wikipedia


Chapter IV: The Structure of the Rgvedic Poems

1. Stanzas and metres


The 'hymns' (sukta) of the Rgveda consist of stanzas ranging in number from three1 [There are some fragments, e.g. 1, 99 (consisting of one stanza); perhaps also 10, 176 and some other short hymns.] to fifty-eight (9, 97), but usually not exceeding ten or twelve2 [For a certain predilection for eleven stanzas: OLDENBERG, in ZDMG 38, p. 456 (= K. S. p. 530).]. The stanzas of all Vedic metrical texts are almost always complete in themselves and are composed in some fifteen different metres, only seven of which are frequent3 [In this section all technical details, in part very complicated, must for reasons of space be omitted. For an introduction see A. A. MACDONELL, A Vedic grammar for students, Oxford 1916 (3-1953), p. 436. The only comprehensive work of greater compass is in some respects antiquated: E. V. ARNOLD, Vedic metre in its historical development, Cambridge 1905, 2-Delhi 1967. For some particulars see, inter alia, ARNOLD in KZ 37, p. 213; BLOOMFIELD, in JAOS 27, p. 72; Repetitions p. 523; H. N. RANDLE, in BSOAS 20, p. 459; V. K. RAJWADE, at IHQ 19, p. 147. For references to metrics in the Vedic texts: WEBER, I. S. VII, p. 1.]. Three of them, used in about four-fifths of all stanzas in the Rgveda-Samhita, are by far the commonest, viz. the anustubh stanza [8 8 8 8 (syllables)] , consisting of four 'feet'4 [Not to be confused with the feet of Greek metrics; pada (sometimes translated by 'verse') means 'quarter' (from the foot of a quadruped).] (pada) of eight syllables each5 [Pada etc. were already mentioned in the Nidanasutra. (WEBER, I. S. VIII, p. 115).]; the tristubh [11 11 11 11 (syllables)], consisting of four times eleven; and the jagati [12 12 12 12 (sylables)], composed of four times twelve syllables6 [The number of syllables is not always strictly observed. Stanzas may also contain more or fewer quarters than four; the well-known gayatri for instance consists of three padas of eight.]. Stanzas are sometimes formed by combining units of different length. From the point of view of syntax and contents a half-stanza (verse or line) is very often a distinct unit7 [J. GONDA, Syntax and verse structure in the Veda, IL 1958 (R. Turner Jubilee Vol.), p. 35; Syntaxis en versbouw voornamelijk in het Vedisch. Amsterdam Acad. 1960; The anustubh stanzas of the Rgveda, ALB 31-32, p. 14.]; that means that a large majority of the stanzas is essentially bipartite [made by two separate parties.]8 [For syntactic and stylistic aspects see p. 211ff. Like the formation of longer units by the accumulation of single lines, the line as an individual unit seems to have been widely normal in songs and poems which are not accompanied by a dance.]

In illustration of the processes adopted by the poets to construct stanzas from lines and quarters containing short, single, condensed statements an analysis of the first half of RV. 1, 10, chosen at random may be inserted here. Stanza 1, a and b9 [The quarters are indicated by letters.] constitute two sentences, stating that the eulogists praise Indra and start a hymn; cd are one sentence, which paraphrases the same idea in poetical imagery. Two telescoped subordinate clauses in 2a and b are continued by a main clause (2c); 2d is a short independent sentence. Stanza 3ab and cd constitute two sentences connected by "then." The line 4ab consists of four short sentences (imperatives) equally distributed over the quarters; cd are one sentence, the verb of which is likewise an imperative. Stanza 5 constitutes one compound sentence -- cd are subordinate -- both parts of which are of equal length. In 6 the first pada is a complete short sentence, supplemented by the syntactically incomplete second; a similar structure recurs in the second line. Occasionally two stanzas are syntactically connected by means of a particle ("for, because" etc.); instances of enjambment beyond a line are comparatively infrequent; beyond the stanza they are very rare and sometimes wrongly assumed10 [Cf 1.8, 1f. (one compound sentence); 7, 65, 2; 66, 4-5; 10-11; cf. 1, 10, 6f. Questions of syntactic and stylistic interest will be discussed in chapter V. -- In oral poetry of other peoples also a thought is rarely incomplete at the end of a line which is marked by a pause for breath.].

In studying Vedic verses scholars have too often had a bias in favour of the implicit assumption that they are the natural continuation of 'original Indo-European' verses which in their opinion were characterized, like those of the ancient Greeks, by a more or less fixed arrangement of long and short syllables11 [See e.g. A. MEILLET, in JA 1897, 2, p. 300; Les origines indo-europeennes des metres grecs, Paris 1923.]. However, the main principle governing Vedic metre is isosyllabism [syllables are of equal length]; the systematic alternation of short and long, or of stressed and weak syllables is an incompletely realized secondary characteristic. Such a fixed alternation is, moreover, in all metres more rigidly determined in the latter part of the unit than in the earlier part. So there is much to say for the supposition that in the Indo-Iranian period -- as is the case in the Avesta -- the principle was the number of syllables only12 [This is not to say that this versification was 'primitive'; compare e.g. also C. M. BOWRA, Primitive song. New York 1962. p. 87; even a 'bard' in the Yugoslav tradition might not be able to tell how many syllables there are between pauses (A. B. LORD. The singer of tales, Cambridge Mass. 1960. p. 32).]. In India the quantities tended to become more and more fixed13 [H. OLDENBERG, Zur Geschichte des Sloka, NG 1909, p. 219 (= K. S. p. 1188); Zur Geschichte des Tristubh, NG 1915 (1916), p. 490 (= K. S. p. 1216); ZDMG 37, p. 54 (= K. S. p. 441).]. The 'popular' and freer anustubh of the Atharvaveda-Samhita and the grhyasutras -- in which the process of fixing the quantities is in a more rudimentary state -- may be regarded as structurally and chronologically earlier than the more strictly regulated 'hieratic' octosyllabic verses [lines that have eight syllables.]14 [BLOOMFIELD, A.V.G. B., p. 41, but see also OLDENBERG, at ZDMG 54, p. 181 (= K. S. p. 85).] of the Rgveda which however did not fail to influence, in course of time, the 'popular' form of the metre. Very often a hymn of the Rgveda consists of stanzas in the same metre throughout. A typical divergence from this rule was then already to mark the conclusion of the poem with a stanza in a different metre15 [OLDENBERG, H.R.I, p. 140. See e.g. RV. 1, 64; 82; 90; 143; 158; 2, 8; 13; 5, 55; 59; 64; 65; 6, 8; 7, 104; 8, 78 etc. The tendency to conclude a series with a longer or 'heavier' end is well known also in other arts and among other peoples. In part of the cases the two last stanzas are in a different metre: 1, 51; 141; 157; 166; 5, 44; 8, 17; 10, 9; elsewhere the last and the third last: 1, 52; 182; the last and another stanza: 1, 85; 2, 23; or the second last one: 1, 179; 4, 50; or the first: 7, 41; 44; 8, 37; 92; another stanza 5, 36; 8, 48, 96; 10, 34.]. In the Atharvaveda the metres vary in the same hymn more than is customary in the Rgveda16 [Hymns with two or more different metres are RV. 1, 54; 84; 88; 89: 120; 3, 53; 4, 7; 7, 55; 8, 26; 30 etc. In many hymns two metres are used alternately: 1, 36; 39; 7. 74; 81; 8, 20; 27 etc. The hymns 5, 53 and 8, 46 are examples of a considerable degree of variation.]. It has not without reason been supposed that this variation was to a certain extent made a stylistic device17 [BLOOMFIELD, l.c. and in JAOS 17, p. 176; 21, p. 46.]. In 2, 24 the only stanza in a different metre (12) constitutes the culmination of the poet's address. In part of the cases -- especially those in which a hymn consists of two metrically different sets of stanzas18 [Cf. RV. 1, 50; 58; 2, 32; 7, 1; 34; 56; 9, 5. Cases are not lacking in which the metre changes more than once: 5, 51; 8, 89; 103, and compare 1, 91; 3, 52.] -- the alternation, or rather interruption of the continuity, may, especially when there is at the same place a break in the context or a change in the subjects dealt with19 [Cf. RV. 1, 101; 5, 27; 6, 71; 8, 42; 10, 32.], be made a serious argument in a discussion of the structure or genesis of the hymn. An unmistakable predilection for one and the same metrical form in the poems ascribed to the same poet or family of poets is indeed not absent20 [See e.g. 1, 65-70; 137-139 (with curious predilection for interrupted repetition of the type ... jatavedasam vipram na jatavedasam; cf. AiB. 5, 11, 1); 10, 1-9 (8); compare also the three hymns 7, 1; 34; 56 and see BERGAIGNE in JA 1889 (I = 8-13), p. 151.]; for instance, outside the Atri hymns of book V the anustubh hymns are very rare21 [There is, in the Veda, no narrative metre such as its successor, the epic sloka.].

In a considerable number of instances, recurrence of otherwise identical padas is accompanied by changes in the metre which are mostly effected by extensions or abbreviations22 [BLOOMFIELD, Repetitions, p. 523; BLOOMFIELD and EDGERTON. Variants, III, p. 22.]. There moreover exists a structural relationship between tristubh and jagati because in many cases lines composed in these metres are identical, except that they add or subtract a last syllable23 [BLOOMFIELD, o.c., p. 529; LANMAN, in JAOS 10, p. 535.]. The very extensive interchange between octosyllabic and long metre lines should not however tempt us to consider24 [With W. HASKELL, at PAOS 11 (1881), p. LX.] the latter to have originated from the former. The diction of the Vedic poets is so imitative and, at the same time, so free in all matters of form as to preclude, in most cases, any decision as to the chronological precedence of a definite metrical type. There is ample evidence that metre, style and contents of stanzas or groups of stanzas usually form a harmonious whole25 [See also BLOOMFIELD, A.V.G.B., p. 41.]. The comparatively rare dvipada viraj [a species of Gayatri consisting of two Padas only (12+8 or 10+10 syllables); inadequately represented in the translation by two decasyllabic iambic lines.] stanza -- two decasyllabic units which because of a rest in the middle consist of two pentads each -- is for instance very well adapted to the 'chopped' style, jumping thought and sudden transitions of the Agni hymns 1, 65-73; (1, 66, 3):

dadhara ksemam oko na ranvo
yavo na pakvo jeta jananam,

"Guarding peace and rest, pleasant like one's home
(Is) ripe like barley, victor of peoples."


The complex and emphatic phraseology of the Vayu hymn 1, 134 and its many repetitions at the ends of the successive padas are in harmony with the complicated atyasti [four Padas of seventeen syllables each.] strophes [combining two verses, viz. a Brhati (four Padas ( 8 + 8 + 12 + 8) containing 36 syllables in the stanza) or Kakup (a metre of three Padas consisting of eight, twelve, and eight syllables respectively) followed by a Satobrhati (a metre whose even Padas contain eight syllables each, and the uneven twelve: 12+8+12+8=40).] (12, 12, 8; 8, 8; 12, 8) of which it consists26 [Cf. e.g. also 1, 139; 9, 111; ARNOLD, o.c., p. 237; RENOU, E.V.P. II, p. 33; 42 etc.]:

(3) vayur yunkte rohita vayur aruna
vayu rathe ajira dhuri volhave
vahistha dhuri volhave ...

"Vayu (Wind) yokes the two chestnut horses, Wind the two tawny ones,
Vayu puts to the chariot the two agile (ones) in the yoke to draw.
The best (draught-horses,) in the yoke to draw ... "


It is perhaps no accident that the Vedic wedding hymns are prevailingly in anustubhs, the funeral stanzas in tristubhs27 [RV. 10, 85; AV. 14 or against RV. 10, 14-18; AV. 18.].

Since the verses are largely flexible and adaptable to the different themes28 [See also p. 227 etc.], a change of mood or subject is not infrequently marked by a change of metrical form. In this connection it is worth noticing that already some of the Rgvedic poets not only had a sensitiveness to the metrical structure of their productions29 [Cf. 1, 186, 4; 8, 12, 10: 10, 114, 9; 130, 3.] and were acquainted with some technical terms30 [See e.g. 1, 164. 23ff.; 2, 43, 1; 10, 14, 16. Compare also 10, 90, 9 mentioning the creation of metres and melodies.], but also attributed a wonderful creative power to them: "by means of the jagati stanza and melody the Creator placed the river in the heavens"[!!!] (1, 164, 25). They moreover made an attempt to attribute them to, or co-ordinate them with, definite deities: the viraj is said to belong to the double deity Mitra-Varuna, the tristubh to Indra, the jagati to the Visve Devas31 [RV. 10, 130, 4f.; cf. 10, 124, 9.]. These tendencies became more pronounced in the Atharvaveda -- where a larger number of technical terms appears to be known32 [AV. 8, 9, 14; 20; 10, 25; 11, 7, 8; 12, 3, 10; 19, 21 etc.] -- to be developed into a more systematic whole by the authors of the brahmanas and aranyakas33 [RENOU, in JA 250 (1962), p. 173.]. As far as they are attached to the Rgveda their works are perhaps in a third of all their speculative passages more or less concerned with the metres which are systematically co-ordinated, not only with the gods, but also with other important concepts, such as the social classes, animals, parts of the body, the provinces and quarters of the universe34 [Cf. e.g. TS. 1, 7, 5, 4; SB. 1, 2, 5, 6; 1, 3, 2, 16; 1,4, 1, 34; 1, 7, 2, 13ff.; 10, 3, 2, 1ff. For a survey see SIDDHESWAR VARMA, in Proc. 16 AJOC II, p. 10.]. The gayatri, symbolizing the social order of the brahmins, is Agni's metre35 [E.g. TS. 2, 2, 5, 5.], the tristubh, the heroic metre par excellence, is Indra's and co-ordinated with nobility36 [Haug, Ai. B. I, p. 76.]. The metres become deities themselves37 [This great significance of the metres and metrical speech in general depends largely on the number of the syllables of which they consist and the belief that objects and concepts are closely connected with another by their numerical values and proportions. Df, e.g. AiB. 1, 1, 7. (See also p. 373).], instruments of creation, and are even raised higher than the gods38 [SB. 1, 8, 2, 14; 8, 2, 2, 8; cf. 8, 2, 3, 9. Elsewhere they are associates of the gods, e.g. AiB. 4, 5, 2.].[!!!]

Why was he named HaBaKkuK? Because it is written, "At this season when the time cometh round, thou shalt be embracing (HoBeKeth) a son" (II Kings IV, 16), and he-Habakkuk-was the son of the Shunammite. He received indeed two embracings, one from his mother and one from Elisha, as it is written, "and he put his mouth upon his mouth" (Ibid. 34)' In the Book of King Solomon I have found the following: He (Elisha) traced on him the mystic appellation, consisting of seventy-two names. For the alphabetical letters that his father had at first engraved on him had flown off when the child died; but when Elisha embraced him he engraved on him anew all those letters of the seventy-two names. Now the number of those letters amounts to two hundred and sixteen, and they were all engraved by the breath of Elisha on the child so as to put again into him the breath of life through the power of the letters of the seventy-two names. And Elisha named him Habakkuk, a name of double significance, alluding in its sound to the twofold embracing, as already explained, and in its numerical value (H.B.K.V.K. =8.2.100.6.100) to two hundred and sixteen, the number of the letters of the Sacred Name. By the words his spirit was restored to him and by the letters his bodily parts were reconstituted. Therefore the child was named Habakkuk, and it was he who said: "O Lord, I have heard the report of thee, and I am afraid" (Habak. III, 2). that is to say, I have heard what happened to me, that I tasted of the other world, and am afraid....

The following is another explanation of the words: "These are the generations of heaven and earth." The expression "these are" here corresponds to the same expression in the text: "these are thy gods, O Israel" (Ex. XXXII, 4). When these shall be exterminated, it will be as if God had made heaven and earth on that day; hence it is written, "on the day that God makes heaven and earth". At that time God will reveal Himself with the Shekinah and the world will be renewed, as it is written, "for as the new earth and the new heaven, etc." (Is. LXVI, 22). At that time "the Lord shall cause to spring from the ground every pleasant tree, etc.", but before these are exterminated the rain of the Torah will not descend, and Israel, who are compared to herbs and trees, cannot shoot up, as is hinted in the words: "no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field, etc." (Gen. II, 5), because "there was no man", i.e. Israel were not in the Temple, "to till the ground" with sacrifices. According to another explanation, the words "no shrub of the field was yet in the earth" refer to the first Messiah, and the words "no herb of the field had yet sprung up" refer to the second Messiah. Why had they not shot forth? Because Moses was not there to serve the Shekinah -- Moses, of whom it is written, "and there was no man to till the ground". This is also hinted at in the verse "the sceptre shall not depart from Judah nor the ruler's staff from between his feet", "the sceptre" referring to the Messiah of the house of Judah, and "the staff" to the Messiah of the house of Joseph. "Until Shiloh cometh": this is Moses, the numerical value of the two names Shiloh and Moses being the same. It is also possible to refer the "herbs of the field" to the righteous or to the students of the Torah ....

GET THEE FORTH. R. Simeon said: 'What is the reason that the first communion which God held with Abraham commenced with the words "Get thee forth" (lech lecha)? It is that the numerical value of the letters of the words lech lecha is a hundred, and hence they contained a hint to him that he would beget a son at the age of a hundred. See now, whatever God does upon the earth has some inner and recondite purpose....

God here blessed Abraham because he was on a par with the whole world, as it is written: "These are the generations of the heaven and the earth when they were created" (Gen. II, 4), where the term behibaream (when they were created), by a transposition of letters, appears as beabraham (in Abraham). The numerical value of the letters of yihyah (will become) is thirty, which points to the traditional dictum that the Holy One provides for the world thirty righteous men in each generation in the same manner as He did for the generation of Abraham. R. Eleazar supported this from the verse: "He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the three" (II Sam. XXIII, 23). 'The thirty', he said, 'refers to the thirty righteous whom the Holy One has provided for the world without intermission; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada of whom it is written "He was the most honourable of the thirty" was one of them. "But he attained not to the three": i.e. he was not equal to those other three [1] on whom the world subsists, neither being counted among them nor being deemed worthy to....

R. Hiya said: 'It has been established that when Isaac was bound on the altar he was thirty-seven years old, and immediately after Sarah died, as it is written, "And Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her." Whence did he come? He came from Mount Moriah, after his binding of Isaac. These thirty-seven years from Isaac's birth to the time of his being bound were thus the real life of Sarah, as indicated in the expression "and the life of Sarah was (vayihyu)", the word VYHYV having the numerical value of thirty-seven.'...

AND HE SAID: BEHOLD, I HAVE HEARD THAT THERE IS CORN IN EGYPT. GET YOU DOWN (redu) THITHER. It has already been pointed out that the numerical value of the term redu (RDV =210) amounts to the number of years Israel was in Egypt....

AND HE SAID: I AM GOD, THE GOD OF THY FATHER ... I WILL GO DOWN WITH THEE INTO EGYPT. This is an indication that the Shekinah accompanied him into exile; and wherever Israel were exiled the Shekinah followed them also into exile. Observe that Joseph sent his father six wagons, [3] an allusion to which is found in the "six covered wagons" presented by the princes to Moses (Num. VII, 3). According to another view, the number was sixty; but the two views are not contradictory. For, indeed, it is first written: "in the wagons which Joseph sent" (Gen. XLV, 27), and afterwards, "which Pharaoh sent" (Ibid. XLVI, 5), so that the truth is that those which Joseph sent were of the proper number, which had a recondite significance, but the larger number which Pharaoh sent had no such numerical symbolism...

An allusion to the "mighty hand" with which God smote the Egyptians, the word "lad having the same numerical value as yad (hand)....

Therefore it has been said that man should always imagine that the fate of the whole world depends upon him. Now he who emanates from the side of Michael is called "firstborn". Michael's grade is white silver, and therefore the redemption of the firstborn is silver: five sel 'as, according to the numerical value of the letter he in Abraham. Should such a man be successful in the study of the Torah, then a letter yod is added to him, which symbolizes holiness: for with the numerical value of yod -- namely ten -- the firstborn of cattle had to be redeemed. And when a man shall have reached this degree of holiness, then the words "Israel is holy to the Lord" (Jer. II, 3) can indeed be applied to him....

But now let us return to our former subject, namely to the supernal garment which the Holy One spreads over the soul as an armour of protection so that she should not be delivered to a "strange nation". "And if he hath betrothed her unto his son, he shall act towards her according to the rights of daughters." 'Associates,' said the old man, 'When ye shall draw nigh unto that rock upon which the whole world is sustained (R. Simeon), then shall ye tell him to remember the day of snow whereon beans were sown of fifty-two kinds and colours, [Alluding to a discussion on the word be" (understanding), the numerical value of which is fifty-two.] and having recalled that day to his mind, recall also the fact that on it we read the above verse: which, when ye have awakened in him the memory thereof, he will then unravel for you himself.'...

Therefore we proclaim loudly: "Hear, O Israel; prepare thyself, for thy Husband has come to receive thee." And also we say: "The Lord our God, the Lord is one", which signifies that the two are united as one, in a perfect and glorious union, without any flaw of separation to mar it. As soon as the Israelites say, "The Lord is One", to arouse the six aspects, these six unite each with each and ascend in one ardour of love and desire. The symbol of this is the letter Vau (because its numerical value is six) when it stands alone without being joined to any other letter. Then the Matrona makes herself ready with joy, and adorns herself with delight, and Her attendants accompany Her, and in hushed silence She encounters her Spouse; and Her handmaids proclaim, "Blessed be the Name of the Glory of His Kingdom for ever and ever."...

'The Sabbath service continues with the prayer: "The soul of all living shall bless thy name, O Lord our God." The Companions have made some true observations on this prayer. But the real truth is that on Sabbath it is incumbent on us to mention that soul which emanates from "the Life of Worlds" (Yesod). And since this soul belongs to Him from whom all blessings proceed and in whom they are present, who wills to water and to bless that which is below, she is given permission to bless this Place. Thus the souls which fly forth from this "Living One" on the entrance of Sabbath do actually bless that Place in order to communicate blessings to the world below which is called the "Lower Name" (Malkuth). At the same time, the region whence those souls emanate blesses the Name from above, and so it receives blessings from below and from above, and is completed in all aspects. During other days she receives blessings from those souls which bless her from below; but on the Sabbath she receives blessings from those supernal souls which bless her with forty-five words according to the numerical value of the word Mah (What?) From the words "the soul of all living" to "the God of the first and last ages" there are forty-five words; from the words "were our mouths filled with song as the sea" to the words "and with us" are very nearly fifty words, corresponding to the Mi (numerical value = fifty). From here on follow other praises which resolve themselves in the number one hundred, the completion of all (to "the great God") and form one chariot. Thus this hymn of praise and all the words contained in it are numerical symbols of the perfection of the Sabbath, and the perfection attained through it, according to the Divine purpose. Blessed is that people that has learnt how to conduct a service of praise in well-pleasing fashion!...

Then began he to expound the words, "The commandment is a lamp." 'This', he said, 'refers to the Mishnah in the same way as the "Torah and the commandment" (Ex. XXIV, 12) mean the Written and the Oral Law respectively. And why is the Mishnah called a "lamp"? Because when she receives the two hundred and forty-eight organs from the Two Arms, she opens her two arms in order to gather them into her embrace, and so her two arms encompass them and the whole is called "lamp". "The Torah is a light" which kindles that lamp from the side of primordial light, which is of the Right Hand, because the Torah was given from the Right Hand (Deut. XXXIII, 2), although the Left was included in it to attain perfect harmony. This light is included in the two hundred and seven worlds which are concealed in the region of that light, and is spread throughout all of them. These worlds are under the hidden supernal Throne. There are three hundred and ten of them: two hundred and seven belong to the Right Hand and one hundred and three to the Left Hand. These are the worlds which are always prepared by the Holy One for the righteous, and from them spread treasures of precious things, which are stored away for the delight of the righteous in the world to come. Concerning them it is written: "That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures" (Prov. VIII, 21). "Eye hath not seen ... what he shall do to those that wait for him" (Isa. LXIV, 3). Yesh, substance, indicates the three hundred and ten worlds (numerical value of Yesh) which are stored away under the world to come. The two hundred and seven (numerical value of 'or, light), which are of the Right Hand, are called "the primordial light", as the Left is also called "light", but not "primordial". The primordial light is destined to produce issue for the world to come. And not only in the world to come, but even now every day; for this world would not be able to exist at all if it were not for this light, as it is written, "For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever" (Ps. LXXXIX, 3). It was this light that the Holy One sowed in the Garden of Eden, and through the agency of the Righteous, who is the Gardener of the Garden, He set it in rows; and He took it and sowed it as the seed of truth in rows in the Garden, where it grew, multiplied, and brought forth fruit which has nourished the world, as it is written: "A light sown to the righteous" (Ps. XCVII, 11)....

THE HOOKS OF THE PILLARS AND THEIR FILLETS SHALL BE OF SILVER. Said R. Isaac: 'I presume that the "hooks of the pillars" symbolize all those who are attached to the supernal unifying pillars, [58] and that all those who are below depend on them. What is the significance of the word vavim (hooks; also the letter vau, the numerical value of which is six)? Six within six (vv), all united and nourished by the Spine which is set over them. And we have learnt in the Book of the Hidden Mystery (Sifra di-zeniutha) this dictum: "Hooks above, hooks below (six above, six below), all comprehended in one meaning and one name, having one and the same significance."...

'AND HE MADE IT A MOLTEN CALF. We are told that it weighed one hundred and twenty-five hundredweight (this figure being the numerical equivalent of the word massekah, "molten"); how, then, could he have taken them all from "their hands"? Could such a heavy weight possibly be lifted and held by human hands? The fact is, however, that they held in their hands only so much as filled them, and this portion represented the whole. It is written: "And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it"....

Now the injunction "to fear the Name" is accomplished by means of the hymns and songs that King David chanted, and of the sacrifices ordained by the Torah. For it behoves man to be filled thereby with fear of his Master, for those hymns belong to a region called "Fear" (yir'ah), and all the Hallelujahs are emblematic of the fear of the Holy One, [Because the word Hallelujah has the same numerical value as Elohim, signifying the attribute of Justice.] blessed be He; it thus behoves man to attune his mind to a spirit of awe in the recital of those hymns....

R. Eleazar then continued: 'It is written, "And he brought me thither, and behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate" (Ezek. XL, 3). Ezekiel saw in this prophetical vision a "man", but not "a man clothed in linen" (Dan. X, 5). For it is only when the angel is on an errand of severity that he is called "a man clothed in linen". Otherwise, he assumes various guises, appears in various attire conformably to the message he bears at the time being. Now, in the present vision "his appearance was like the appearance of brass", that is, he was clothed in the raiment formed of the "mountains of brass", and the "measuring reed" that he had in his hand was not the "Obscure Lamp" of the hidden and treasured-up light, but it was formed out of a solidified part, as it were, of the residue of light left by the "Obscure Lamp", what time that light mounted up to the heights and became engraven within the scintillating and undisclosed brightness. The "measuring reed", therefore, is used for measuring the dimensions of the lower sphere. Now, there is a "measuring reed" and a "measuring line". All the measurements of Ezekiel were by the measuring reed, whereas in the work of the Tabernacle all was measured by the measuring line. This is also used for the measuring of the dimensions of this world after the pattern of the "cord" (employed in Ezekiel's Temple), inasmuch as in the process of its extension a knot was formed at every cubit length, which length became the standard measure for the purpose, called ammah (cubit). That "measuring line" thus bears the name of "cubit"; and that explains the wording, "The length of each curtain was eight and twenty by the cubit (ba-amah), and the breadth of each curtain four by the cubit" (Ex. XXXVI, 9), the singular, " cubit", pointing to the fact that it was the cubit which measured on every side. Now this was a projection from the Supernal Lamp, the lower measurement being the counterpart of the higher. The miniature lower measurement embraces a thousand and five hundred facets, each facet expanding into twelve thousand cubits. Thus one cubit moved along, growing into a "measuring line", each cubit in its turn being newly revealed; and so it resulted in a length of eight-and-twenty "by the cubit" and a breadth of four "by the cubit". Hence the one cubit covered thirty-two spaces, symbolic of the thirty-two "Paths of Wisdom" that emanate from the supernal regions. Now the length (of the curtains) was formed into four sections of seven cubits each, the number seven expressing here the central mystical idea; similarly the thirty-two Paths are embraced within the seven, in their mystical symbolism of the Divine Name. So far in regard to this measurement, which was of a higher degree of holiness; for, indeed, there was another measured substance that was designed to be a covering to this, the external comprising the number thirty-four; whilst the internal was of the number thirty-two, and, moreover, being of a higher degree of holiness, it contained the sacred colours enumerated in the passage, "of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet". The same lesson is indicated in the words. "I went down into the garden of nuts" (8.S. VI, 11). For, as the nut has a shell surrounding and protecting the kernel inside, so it is with everything sacred: the sacred principle occupies the interior, whilst the "other side" encircles it on the exterior. This is the inward meaning of "the wicked doth surround the righteous" (Habakkuk I, 4). The same is indicated in the very name EGVZ (nut). [The numerical value of EGVZ. (1+3+6+7)=17. Similarly, HT (sin) (9+8=17; and TVB (the good) (9+6+2)=17.] Observe that the exterior, the more it is enlarged the more worthless it becomes. As a mnemonic we have the sacrifices of the Feast of Tabernacles, the number of which goes on diminishing with the increase of days. We thus find the same here. Of the inner curtain it is written: "And thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains" (Ex. XXVI, I); whereas for the outer ones the number was "eleven curtains" (Ibid. 7). Furthermore, of the outer curtains it says, "The length of each curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits" (Ibid. 8), the two numbers amounting together to thirty-four, a number symbolic of the lowest depth of poverty; [Since 34 is the numerical value of DaL (D=4, L=30), signifying the lowest extreme of poverty.] whereas the corresponding number in the ten curtains was thirty-two, a smaller number, but symbolizing the sublime mystery of the Faith, or the Divine Name. The lower is thus the higher, and the higher the lower. The former constitutes the interior, the latter the exterior. Now the same "measuring-line" went on expanding and thus measured the boards, concerning which it is written: "And he made the boards for the tabernacle of acacia-wood, standing up" (Ibid. XXXVI, 20). These symbolized the Seraphim, as indicated by the description "standing up", which is paralleled in "Seraphim were standing up" (Isa. VI, 2). Now, here it is written, "Ten cubits shall be the length of a board" (Ex. XXVI, 16), and not "ten by the cubit". This is because the boards represented the three triads with a single one hovering high above them. The number eleven and a half has its recondite significance in that the boards symbolized a striving upwards, but not yet reaching to the degree of the Ophanim, [33] the half being expressive of incompleteness. This concerns the mystery of the Holy Chariot, for the twenty boards divide themselves into ten on this side and ten on the other, denoting a reaching out to the height of the sublime Seraphim. Then there is a further ascent in the holy region, denoted by the "middle bar" (Ibid. XXVI, 28). There is also an inward significance in the twenty boards in that they embrace the number 230. [i.e. Twenty times the length of each plus twenty times the breadth of each: (20 x 10) + (20x 1-1/2) = 230. The number 230 is the numerical value of certain sacred names.] The value of each prescribed measure has here its proper meaning. The curtains of the Tabernacle mentioned before stand for sublime mysteries, namely, the mystery of heaven, regarding which Scripture says: "Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain" (Ps. CIV, 2). Now, of the two sets of curtains, the one expresses one aspect of the mystery whilst the other expresses another aspect of the same mystery. The whole is designed to teach us Wisdom in all its aspects and all its manifestations; and so that man may discern between good and evil, between what Wisdom teaches and what it rejects. The mystery of the basic measurement, as elsewhere laid down, embraces various objects. The Ark in its dimensions falls within the same recondite principle, in respect of what it received and what it possesses of its own. We thus read: "two cubits and a half was the length of it" (Ex. XXXVII, 1). The one cubit on either side tells us about the Ark being the recipient from this side and from that side; whilst the half cubit in the centre represents what it had possessed of its own; and the same is indicated by the cubit and a half of its breadth and a cubit and a half of its height: each cubit speaks of what accrued to it, and each half of what is possessed already. For there must needs be something for something else to rest on, and hence the existing half in every account. There is a further recondite significance in that the Ark was inlaid with gold inside and outside so as to have its dimensions formed after the archetypal plan. The table was similarly measured by this archetypal scale. The dimensions of the Ark, however, were not used elsewhere, for reasons revealed to the wise. Similarly, all the other works of the Tabernacle were measured by the same cubit, with the exception of the breastplate, which was measured by the span. Now observe this. The tunic embraced the mystery of the "six" (shesh) in that it symbolized the vesture designed for the setting right and investiture of all that comes within the "six" (directions of the world). So far the recondite significance of the "measuring-line". In the vision of Ezekiel, however, we find instead the "measuring-reed", for the reason that the House which he beheld was destined to remain forever in its place with the same walls, the same lines, the same entrances, the same doors, every part in accordance with prescribed measure. But in regard to the time to come, Scripture says: "And the side-chambers were broader as they wound higher and higher" (Ezek. XLI, 7). For immediately the building will be begun that "measuring-reed" will mount higher and higher in the length and in the breadth, so that the House will be extended on all sides, and no malign influence shall ever light on it. For at that time Severity will no more be found in the world; hence everything will remain firmly and immovably established, as Scripture says, "and [they will] be disquieted no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more", etc. (2 Sam. VII, 10). And observe that all these measurements prescribed for this world had for their object the establishment of this world after the pattern of the upper world, so that the two should be knit together into one mystery. At the destined time, when the Holy One, blessed be He, will bestir Himself to renew the world, all the world will be found to express one mystery, and the glory of the Almighty will then be over all, in fulfilment of the verse, "In that day shall the Lord be one, and his name one" (Zech. XIV, 9).'...

It is for this reason that in the command it says simply "saying" (amor), instead of the definite form "say" (imru), this being a reference to the hidden letters within the words of blessing. Again, the word AMoR has in its letters the numerical value of two hundred and forty-eight less one, equal to the number of the bodily members of man, excepting the one member on which all the rest depend. All these members thus receive the priestly blessing as expressed in the three verses.'...

He who constantly occupies himself with the Torah is compared by the Psalmist to "a tree planted by streams of water" (Ps. I, 3). Just as a tree has roots, bark, sap, branches, leaves, flowers and fruit, seven kinds in all, so the Torah has the literal meaning, the homiletical meaning, the mystery of wisdom, numerical values, hidden mysteries, still deeper mysteries, and the laws of fit and unfit, forbidden and permitted, and clean and unclean. From this point branches spread out in all directions, and to one who knows it in this way it is indeed like a tree, and if not he is not truly wise.

-- The Zohar, translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simon
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Jan 14, 2022 7:42 am

Part 2 of 2

Being believed to exert various forms of power and infiuence39 [See e.g. TS. 2, 2, 4, 8; SB. 1, 3, 4, 6; 1, 8, 2, 8; 4, 4, 3, 1.] they impart certain qualities or characteristics to their user40 [See e.g. TS. 3, 3, 7, 1f, ; 4. 4,12, 1ff.]; they moreover came to be closely associated with definite divisions of the ritual: the gayatri is at the morning service of the soma sacrifice allotted to Agni41 [See also BERGAIGNE, in JA 1889 (8-13), p. 134.] and the Vasus, the tristubh at the midday service to Indra and the Rudras, the jagati at the third pressing in the evening to the Visve Devas and the Adityas42 [AiB. 3, 13, 1; see BERGAIGNE, in JA 1889 (8-13), p. 13; 166, who was of the opinion that most Rgvedic hymns were composed for a soma sacrifice that was not essentially different from that described in the brahmanas and sutras.]. The tristubh, moreover, is the chief metre of the hotar, the gayatri and the pragatha43 [Pragathas are formed by combination of units of 8 and 12 syllables.] of the udgatar [The udgatar is the chanter of hymns set to melodies (sāman) drawn from the Samaveda. The udgatar, like the Hotar, chants the introductory, yajna and eulogistic verses. These three types of hymns are identified with the three kinds of vital breath Prana, Apana and Vyana in the body and the udgatar himself contemplates on the vital breath.] 44 [For details see OLDENBERG, in ZDMG 38, p. 439 (= K . S. p. 513).]. The Rgveda shows traces of this distinction between recitative and song; beside hymns in simple metres are found strophic effects made up of various combinations of series of eight and twelve syllables45 [Cf. P. D. CHANDRATRE, Longer metres in Rigveda, at Bulletin Chunilal Gandhi Vidyabhavan 14 (1969), p. 1.] intended for saman singing46 [E.g. 1, 127; 5, 87; 9, 111. After the observations made in chapter II the moot question as to what portions of the corpus were from the beginning intended to serve liturgical purposes and the problem of the character of ritual and liturgy in the early Rgvedic period must be left undiscussed here.].

2. Structure of the suktas

At first sight many Rgvedic hymns impress us as consisting of isolated, self- contained stanzas of restricted scope, each of which presents -- even without any perceptible inner connection -- a single aspect or a single situation1 [See e.g. OLDENBERG, Vedaforschung, p. 14.]. In some cases this impression is no doubt correct: many stanzas could be interchanged or even transferred to another sukta without detriment to the intelligibility of the context; there are, in our eyes, many interruptions2 [After dealing, in stanza 1, with the birth of the primeval horse the poet of 1, 163 proceeds to mention those gods who harness the animal etc. before saying (in stanza 3) that it is identical with other deities, a statement which we would have expected to follow immediately after stanza 1. For other interruptions see 1, 164, 12-14 (st. 13 continuing 12a; 14, 12 in general); 2, 27, 13-15; 3, 7, 5-7.]; there are disorderly and badly composed or otherwise structurally unsuccessful hymns3 [See e.g. 1, 139 (RENOU, E.V.P. IV, p. 31); 4, 55; 5, 43; 10, 77; 93. The repeated reference to Dabhiti in 2, 15, 9 (cf. 4) is incomprehensible.]. On closer investigation it however appears that in many cases unity in a hymn is more clearly observable than continuity, which is not infrequently difficult to trace because of a certain amount of repetition and the insertion of digressive material4 [Cf. NORMAN BROWN, in JAOS 88, p. 201.]. The elaboration of the theme, while contributing much to the unity of the hymn, was, as far as we are able to see, largely the task of the individual poet, who no doubt was acquainted with a great variety of models to choose from5 [Cf. LOMMEL. Gedichte. p. 23.]. A thorough examination will indeed often show that many times abrupt transitions find their explanation in a certain vivacity of expression6 [See e.g., RV. 1, 92, 6; 113, 16; 8, 48, 3; 11; 10, 31, 3.] and that an at first sight rather incoherent hymn constitutes a well-considered whole. In 1, 1 7 [Cf. NORMAN BROWN, in Congr. Vol. Gonda, p. 63.] Agni is invoked as the divine priest presiding over the sacrifice who is most lavish in bestowing treasures on his worshipper (st. 1). Lauded by sages of old as well as of today, he is adjured to bring the other gods to the sacrificial place (st. 2); through him the sacrificer can gain prosperity (st. 3). Only that sacrifice will be successful that is encompassed by Agni (4); he will, indeed, hear the prayer (5); that will come true (6). The final stanzas (7-9) express the allegiance of those speaking and implore Agni's benevolence.

A great number of Vedic suktas, indeed, are to a remarkable degree characterized by an obviously preconceived plan, by one chief underlying idea or the elaboration of one definite theme, which give them unity8 [In the second half of the mandala X there are many exceptions.]. Not infrequently the initial stanza contains an invitation, exposition or some reference to the main subject of the poem, the next stanza an explanation or elaboration of the theme. At the end some conclusion or recapitulation and a final prayer are very common. The more or less recapitulative recurrence to the theme (or the subject or situation of the initial stanza) brings about, in various cases, a certain relationship between the beginning and the final part of the poem9 [B. SCHLERATH, in Akten 24. Intern. Orient. Kongr., Munchen 1957 (1959). p. 532. Compare e.g. RV. 1, 6; 17; 35; 140; 145; 2, 16; 19; 24; 3, 32 and see also 2, 28; 7, 87; 10, 40.].

There are of course many possibilities of variation or complication; the eulogy may for instance pass into a long prayer, or into invocations and requests, alternating with a confirmation of the god's favour10 [See e.g. 2, 23; 27; 48.]. The invitation at the beginning is not infrequently followed by a prayer in one of the next stanzas11 [See 1, 5; 3, 40. Some hymns consist of one long invitation and a very short prayer (e.g. 3, 41). Compare also shorter hymns such as 1, 138.]. In the Asvin hymns (e.g. 1, 116-119) the introduction (invitations) is normally followed by a litany listing the gods' deeds in the same metre. The theme is not necessarily indicated in the first stanza12 [As e.g. also 10, 15, 1; 23, 1; 25, 1.]; it may follow the exordium13 [E.g. 4, 24, 2; 6, 9, 2; 10, 31, 3; 88, 3f.].

Very often the theme, though obviously viewed as a unit, is throughout the hymn broken into smaller parts, the poet selecting or emphasizing some aspect or incident, or dwelling, in varied wordings, on the same motives or episodes14 [See e.g. 5, 2; 30; 32; 6, 39; 7, 4. Compare also the beautiful and well arranged Usas hymn 1, 113. See HENRY, Les litteratures de l'Inde, Paris 1904, p. 29.].

The Rig Veda, Mandala 1, Hymn 113, Translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith

1. This light is come, amid all lights the fairest; born is the brilliant, far-extending brightness.
Night, sent away for Savitar's uprising, hath yielded up a birth-place for the Morning.
2. The Fair, the Bright is come with her white offspring; to her the Dark One hath resigned her dwelling.
Akin, immortal, following each other, changing their colours both the heavens move onward.
3. Common, unending is the Sisters' pathway; taught by the Gods, alternately they travel.
Fair-formed, of different hues and yet one-minded, Night and Dawn clash not, neither do they travel.
4. Bright leader of glad sounds, our eyes behold her; splendid in hue she hath unclosed the portals.
She, stirring up the world, hath shown us riches: Dawn hath awakened every living creature.
5. Rich Dawn, she sets afoot the coiled-up sleeper, one for enjoyment, one for wealth or worship,
Those who saw little for extended vision. All living creatures hath the Dawn awakened.
6. One to high sway, one to exalted glory, one to pursue his gain, and one his labour:
All to regard their different vocations, all moving creatures hath the Dawn awakened.
7. We see her there, the Child of Heaven apparent, the young Maid, flushing in her shining raiment.
Thou sovran Lady of all earthly treasure, flush on us here, auspicious Dawn, this morning.
8. She first of endless morns to come hereafter, follows the path of morns that have departed.
Dawn, at her rising, urges forth the living him who is dead she wakes not from his slumber.
9. As thou, Dawn, hast caused Agni to be kindled, and with the Sun's eye hast revealed creation.
And hast awakened men to offer worship, thou hast performed, for Gods, a noble service.
10. How long a time, and they shall be together,--Dawns that have shone and Dawns to shine hereafter?
She yearns for former Dawns with eager longing, and goes forth gladly shining with the others.
11. Gone are the men who in the days before us looked on the rising of the earlier Morning.
We, we the living, now behold her brightness and they come nigh who shall hereafter see her.
12. Foe-chaser, born of Law, the Law's protectress, joy-giver, waker of all pleasant voices,
Auspicious, bringing food for Gods' enjoyment, shine on us here, most bright, O Dawn, this morning.
13. From days eternal hath Dawn shone, the Goddess, and shows this light to-day, endowed with riches.
So will she shine on days to come immortal she moves on in her own strength, undecaying.
14. In the sky's borders hath she shone in splendour: the Goddess hath thrown off the veil of darkness.
Awakening the world with purple horses, on her well-harnessed chariot Dawn approaches.
15. Bringing all life-sustaining blessings with her, showing herself she sends forth brilliant lustre.
Last of the countless mornings that have vanished, first of bright morns to come hath Dawn arisen.
16. Arise! the breath, the life, again hath reached us: darkness hath passed away and light approacheth.
She for the Sun hath left a path to travel we have arrived where men prolong existence.
17. Singing the praises of refulgent Mornings with his hymn's web the priest, the poet rises.
Shine then to-day, rich Maid, on him who lauds thee, shine down on us the gift of life and offspring.
18. Dawns giving sons all heroes, kine and horses, shining upon the man who brings oblations,--
These let the Soma-presser gain when ending his glad songs louder than the voice of Vayu.
19. Mother of Gods, Aditi's form of glory, ensign of sacrifice, shine forth exalted.
Rise up, bestowing praise on our devotion all-bounteous, make us chief among the people.
20. Whatever splendid wealth the Dawns bring with them to bless the man who offers praise and worship,
Even that may Mitra, Varuna vouchsafe us, and Aditi and Sindhu, Earth and Heaven.


Minor themes, subsidiary to the larger themes, can assume various forms suitable to different situations. Or some motives or secondary themes combine or alternate with the main theme so as to form a varied whole: in 9, 61 eulogistic and precatory references to the process of Soma's purification succeed, in these passages in the middle of the hymn, to references to Indra's Vrtra combat in which he was assisted by Soma -- in st. 22 both themes combine -- , digressions on the draught's significance for man and other matter. So a hymn may expand and modify its theme as it proceeds15 [Compare also addresses and invitations such as 4, 4; 32.] and, although many poets show considerable skill in treating a subject without losing anything that is essential to them, they sometimes are, especially when the subject matter is complex, forced to leave the poem a fragment or torso or to resume the theme in another hymn16 [For 4, 24 see SIEG, Sagenstoffe, p. 90: for 1, 165; 169-171, GELDNER, RV. I. p. 249; for 4, 18, ibidem, I, p. 441. It is impossible to say if all hymns which may give modern readers the impression of fragments (e.g. 5, 66; 8, 58; 9, 58; 5, 48: RENOU, E.V.P. IV, p. 76) are really torsos.].

There is, in the elaboration of the themes and the distribution of the descriptive elements over the poems an unmistakable difference between hymns addressed to, for instance Agni, Usas, Maruts and other deities. The poems in praise of the Maruts17 [RENOU, E.V.P. X, p. 1.] are in these respects more varied, more precise and detailed. They, moreover, insist on definite characteristics of these gods. In using the term theme we should not forget that in many hymns -- and now we think first and foremost of the Soma hymns of mandala IX -- there is no question of any clear time-sequence or even of a thematic development proper. Many poems do not progress and their composition could in a sense be described as cyclical in that they usually recur to the same minor themes and make use of the same -- it is true somewhat varied -- images. The beautiful -- almost 'epic,' yet essentially eulogistic -- hymn 1, 32 states, in st. 2, 4, 5 that Indra slew Vrtra, inserting flashbacks in 3, 6, 11 and 12, and mentioning some details of the fight in 6 and 7, and its results in 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 etc., to return in the final stanzas to the varied statement that the god was triumphant.

There are instances of special skill in constructing transitions from one theme or aspect of a subject to another. After praising Agni in the stanzas 6-10 the poet of 4, 1 proceeds to relate the Pani myth (13- 17), but before doing so he dwells, in two stanzas, on the god's birth, adding that among those who were born at the same time were also the Angirases, "our human fathers" who (in 13) are said to have taken away the cows from the Panis18 [For transitions see also 2, 35, 10; 3, 31, 3; 7, 18, 21; 10, 56, 5.]. In the long Indra hymn 8, 4 an apostrophe to Pusan (st. 15-18), the god who guides the travelling eulogist, connects the hymn proper and the danastuti. A closer connection between two successive stanzas can be achieved, for instance by continuation of the same syntactic structure; by parallelism or close similarity in contents19 [Cf. e.g. 1, 164, 17f. (questions); 7, 66, 10f. (relative clauses); 7, 1, 8f.]. Occasionally, and especially in passages dedicated to a dual deity, a stanza is followed by its duplicate20 [E.g. 1, 108, 9f.; 8, 40, 10f. (RENOU, E.V.P. XIV, p. 129).].

On the other hand, the poet's technique made also possible short episodic references to a legendary event, interrupting a definite sequence of more or less coherent statements21 [E.g. 1, 19, 6 (GELDNER, Auswahl, II, p. 69); 6, 64, 7-9.]. Another practice is the insertion of a larger resume of a definite mythical event in a series of shorter allusions: the poet of 4, 33, whilst enumerating the various achievements of the Rbhus, needs two stanzas (6f.) for the most frequently mentioned exhibition of their skill, viz. their having made one cup into four22 [Cf. 4, 16, 9-12; 30, 8-11; 10, 17, 7-9. See also 1, 104; 5, 85, 3f.].

The structure of a confirmation of divine power may be illustrated by the Indra hymn 2, 12: st. 1-3 recall the great feats of the god -- the worlds trembled, he made firm the quaking earth, slew the serpent, released the waters --, 5-10 (after a transition in 4) his activities in the mundane sphere; 11-12 refer to legends; after a short recapitulation and transition (13) the poet states that the god, strengthened by the faithful worshipper, will help him (14f.). The essential traits of Visnu's character are, in 1, 154, presented in a still more condensed form23 [Compare also the typically Rudra hymn 2, 33, the Agni hymn 3, 1.]. Other hymns consist almost exclusively of an enumeration of the god's cosmic and legendary24 [Compare e.g. 2, 15 (the final stanza is a stereotyped request).] deeds, or of general statements of his power, alternating with epithets or injunctions to worship him25 [E.g. 2, 21; 3, 46; 47.].

RV. 1, 16 is an example of what may be described as a manifoldly varied invitation. In stanza 1 Indra's horses are requested to convey him to the sacrificial place; in 2 this request, clothed in other descriptive words, is repeated; in 3 it is stated that Indra is called upon in the morning, in 4 and 5 he is invited directly to be urged, in 6 and 7, to drink the soma; st. 8 states that the god (usually) comes; the final stanza is a prayer. RV. 2, 18 is more complicated: after informing the hearer, in figurative wording, that now, in the morning, the god is prepared to come (st. 1 f.), the poet, continuing the same imagery, proceeds to invite him (3), to address him (in 4-6) with three times repeated "come," varied with a climax -- "with two, twenty, eighty bay horses" --, and to be quite explicit in 7: "come to my hymn, to this sacrifice"; st. 8 is a prayer, 9 a stereotyped final stanza. RV. 8, 25, called a "type of a static hymn26 [RENOU, E.V.P. VII, p. 67. According to the anukramanika the dual deity is addressed in 1-9 and 13-24, the Visve Devas in 10-12.], invokes Varuna-and-Mitra in 1-9; 13; 17 and, between these addresses, Aditi and other gods in 10 (and 11), Visnu and Sindhu in 12; other deities in 14 (and 15), to refer again to the dual deity in the danastuti (st. 23).

Intelligibly enough, special or uncommon subjects may require deviations from the above patterns and tendencies. The cosmogonic hymns 10, 90; 121; 129 quite rationally start their expositions at the beginning of the evolution which they try to describe. The difficult and complicated hymn 1, 164 may be resolved into three closely linked divisions each of which purports to be a part of the poet's transcendental visions27 [NORMAN BROWN, in JAOS 88 (see above).]. RV. 10, 127 describes the phenomena. attending the approach of Night imploring the protection of this goddess. RV. 7, 104, which the poet "saw for the destruction of the demons"28 [Brhaddevata 6, 28.] and indeed essentially is a long exorcism, invoking the help of the dual deity Indra-Soma against demons and their adherents, the 'sorcerers,' includes a smaller passage (14-17) in which the poet clears himself from the charge of malpractices. The composition of the hymns addressed to the Visve Devas29 [See p. 102 and cf. RENOU, in Comm. Vol. Nobel, p. 178; RV. 1, 186; 6, 49; 50 etc.] is remarkable in that, generally speaking, each stanza is directed to a different deity, which is -- in 8, 29 even anonymously -- eulogized by means of appropriate characteristics and references. A structural principle which some Vedic passages have in common with the Avesta and therefore are regarded as inherited30 [Avesta, Yt. 12, 9-37; RV. 1, 108, 7; 8, 12, 16f.; 97, 4f.; see LOMMEL, at AO (L.), 10, p. 372.] consists in an enumeration of various abodes or places of residence of a deity: the well-known tendency to completeness lest the deity or demon addressed can excuse himself from coming and answering the prayer.

Although in hymns directed to the same deities the same topics tend to recur -- a certain monotony has, inter alia in the Soma hymns of mandala IX, more than once been noticed31 [E.g. MACDONELL, H.S.L., p. 65; RENOU, E.V.P. I, p. 46; ELIZARENKOVA, Rigveda, p. 37.] -- examples are far from rare in which two hymns which consist, for instance, chiefly of prayers and invitations addressed to the same gods, differ, also in their structure, on many points. Thus 7, 97 (Indra- Brhaspati) presents a greater variety of contents than 4, 49 (directed to the same dual deity); moreover, in the latter the deity is invoked in every stanza, whereas in the former the compound expressing the name does not occur32 [See GONDA, Dual deities, p. 322.]. Even the Apri hymns are not wholly stereotyped. On closer examination we can indeed subscribe to Macdonell's opinion: ''When we consider that nearly five hundred hymns of the Rgveda are addressed to two deities (Indra, Agni) alone, it is surprising that so many variations of the same theme should be possible." From a comparative survey of six successive hymns dedicated to Varuna-and-Mitra and traditionally ascribed to the same poet (7, 60-65) it appears that all of them begin with paying homage to the Sun (Surya), the 'eye' of the dual deity. In part of the hymns this homage expanded into a larger eulogy upon this divine luminary or a prayer for Surya's mediation. Whereas, in 63, the double deity recedes into the background, it is in the other hymns circumstantially praised. In 60 and 62 other gods, especially the Adityas, share in this praise. In 60 and 64 -- which is largely precatory -- the poet introduces prayers on behalf of king Sudas.

A comparison between a shorter and a longer hymn dedicated to the same deity33 [Cf. NORMAN BROWN, in NIA 2, p. 115.] and dealing with the same subject matter may show how in the latter this is elaborated and expanded with new ideas; 7, 102 (in gayatri metre, stanzas of 24 syllables):

(1) "Start singing to Parjanya, son of heaven, the bounteous!
He must get us pasturage!

(2) (He) who places the germ into the plants, the cows,
the mares, the women, Parjanya,

(3) In his mouth offer the oblation, the sweetest one.
That he will give us refreshment without check";


and in 7,101 (in tristubh metre, stanzas of 44 syllables):

(1) "Speak out the three voices preceded by light, which milk this sweetness-yielding udder. Making as his calf the germ of the plants, he, the bull, bellows as soon as (he is) born34 ["Speak": either the god, or more plausibly, Soma is addressed, the three voices being those which rise when the soma draught is pressed. "Udder": the soma-press and the rain cloud.].

(2) That he who increases plants, and waters, the god who rules the entire world, provide a triple refuge as our shelter, threefold light for our protection.

(3) In that he is now sterile and now gives birth, he makes himself what he wishes.

The mother accepts the juice of the father. By it the father increases and the son35 [Juice: the rain. The son: the vegetable kingdom; the mother is the earth. The rain first increases the plants, later it returns to the clouds, increasing the 'father.'[???]].

(4) He in whom all worlds (and their inhabitants) stand (firmly), (and) the three heavens, (from whom) the waters flow triply. On all sides the three vessels, pouring out, drip abundance of sweetness36 [Vessels: the clouds; sweetness: the rain, the terms alluding to the soma vessels and the soma.[???]].

(5) These words must lie in the heart of Parjanya, the autonomous king; that he will take delight in them. Rain, bringing refreshment, must be ours; the plants guarded by the god(s) (be) fruitful.

(6) He is the bull impregnating all female beings. In him is the soul of all that moves and stands. This manifestation of the universal Order must preserve me for a hundred autumns37 [I.e. years.]. Preserve us evermore (, O gods,) with fortune and well-being!"


Cases are not rare in which these structural tendencies are made obvious by essentially syntactic or stylistic means and processes. The unity of a hymn can, for instance, be more conspicuous if the same word recurs in the greater part of its stanzas38 [See e.g. 5, 63: 6, 26 (repeated address with "thou"): and cf. 1, 8, 8-10: 9, 3; 15; 37.]. In the Indra hymn 1, 7 the god is invoked or in different case forms mentioned by name, at the beginning of the stanzas 1-5 and 10 (the last) and after the caesura in 1, 2 and 9; the conclusion of this hymn is not marked by a different metre39 [See e.g. also 6, 72; 74: 7, 87 (Varuna).]. All stanzas of 10, 80 begin with a case form of the name Agni. Most stanzas of 1, 63 begin with "thou" (tvam). All stanzas of 10, 78, except the last (8), the prayer, consist of three or four similes; 2-5 are moreover syntactically similar.

The poets can also resort to grammatical means when they wish to distinguish between the present time, the actual past and the remote past, which, whether mythical or historical, they set almost always outside the normal temporal scheme40 [For grammatical particulars, J. GONDA, Old Indian, Leiden 1971, p. 129.]. Sometimes they transfer themselves mentally to the past introducing a divine speaker or addressing a mythical figure41 [E.g. 6, 20, 8; 31, 3.]. Shifts and differences in time are quite common42 [Cf. RENOU, E.V.P. II, p. 24.]. Often an author starts his poem in the mythical past to continue -- in a prayer, invitation or allusion to a recent event -- in the present43 [E.g. 1, 104, 7; 3, 1; 5, 30, 10.]. Or he returns to the present time of the first stanza44 [Cf. 1, 104: GELDNER, at ZDMG 71, p. 319.]. A mythical fact is also transferred to the present, said to take place, that is to be reiterated, in the present situation45 [E.g. 3, 5, 10; cf. also 1, 121 and places such as 2, 11, 19.]. This actuality of a mythical fact can however also lead to the reverse identification: at 5, 15, 5 the fire, that has been kindled while the poem is recited, is said to have assisted the legendary Atri46 [Cf. also 5, 45, 3; 6; 11; 6, 17, 3. For 1, 6 see A. VENKATASUBBHIAH, in ALB 28, p. 55.]. Or the mythical -- and legendary -- events are presented as actual, seen so to say from the point of view of those who witnessed them47 [E.g. 5, 40. 8f. and cf. 6, 18, 5: 13: 8, 73, 8: 6, 47: 8, 86.]. The long address inserted in 10, 22 (st. 4-14) contains mainly prayers which are also utilizable in the present.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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XXVII. A Supplement to the Essay on Indian Chronology
by the President (Sir William Jones)
Asiatic Researches, Volume 2
1788
Page 306-314

Our ingenious associate Mr. Samuel Davis (whom I name with respect and applause, and who will soon, I trust, convince M. Bailly that it is very possible for an European to translate and explain the Surya Siddhanta) ...

The Surya Siddhanta (lit. 'Sun Treatise') is a Sanskrit treatise in Indian astronomy in fourteen chapters. The Surya Siddhanta describes rules to calculate the motions of various planets and the moon relative to various constellations, and calculates the orbits of various astronomical bodies. The text is known from a 15th-century CE palm-leaf manuscript, and several newer manuscripts....

The second verse of the first chapter of the Surya Siddhanta attributes the words to an emissary of the solar deity of Hindu mythology, Surya, as recounted to an asura (a mythical being) called Maya at the end of Satya Yuga, the first golden age of Hindu mythology, around two million years ago.

The text asserts, according to Markanday and Srivatsava, that the earth is of a spherical shape. It treats Sun as stationary globe around which earth and other planets orbit, It calculates the earth's diameter to be 8,000 miles (modern: 7,928 miles), the diameter of the moon as 2,400 miles (actual ~2,160) and the distance between the moon and the earth to be 258,000 miles (now known to vary: 221,500–252,700 miles (356,500–406,700 kilometres). The text is known for some of earliest known discussion of sexagesimal fractions and trigonometric functions...

One of the evidence for the Surya Siddhanta being a living text is the work of medieval Indian scholar Utpala, who cites and then quotes ten verses from a version of Surya Siddhanta, but these ten verses are not found in any surviving manuscripts of the text....

The contents of the Surya Siddhanta is written in classical Indian poetry tradition, where complex ideas are expressed lyrically with a rhyming meter in the form of a terse shloka. This method of expressing and sharing knowledge made it easier to remember, recall, transmit and preserve knowledge. However, this method also meant secondary rules of interpretation, because numbers don't have rhyming synonyms. The creative approach adopted in the Surya Siddhanta was to use symbolic language with double meanings. For example, instead of one, the text uses a word that means moon because there is one moon. To the skilled reader, the word moon means the number one. The entire table of trigonometric functions, sine tables, steps to calculate complex orbits, predict eclipses and keep time are thus provided by the text in a poetic form. This cryptic approach offers greater flexibility for poetic construction...

The Surya Siddhanta thus consists of cryptic rules in Sanskrit verse. It is a compendium of astronomy that is easier to remember, transmit and use as reference or aid for the experienced, but does not aim to offer commentary, explanation or proof.


-- Surya Siddhanta, by Wikipedia

favoured me lately with a copy, taken by his Pandit, of the original passage, mentioned in his paper on the Astronomical Computations of the Hindus concerning the places of the colures in the time of Varaha, compared with their position in the age of a certain Muni, or ancient Indian philosopher; and the passage appears to afford evidence of two actual observations, which will ascertain the chronology of the Hindus, if not by rigorous demonstration, at least by a near approach to it.

The copy of the Varahisanhita, from which the three pages received by me had been transcribed, is unhappily so incorrect (if the transcript itself was not hastily made) that every line of it must be disfigured by some gross error; and my Pandit, who examined the passage carefully at his own house, gave it up as inexplicable; so that, if I had not studied the system of Sanscrit prosody, I should have laid it aside in despair: but though it was written as prose, without any sort of distinction or punctuation, yet, when I read it aloud, my ear caught, in some sentences, the cadence of verse, and of a particular metre, called Arya, which is regulated (not by the number of syllables, like other Indian measures, but) by the proportion of times or syllabic moments, in the four divisions of which every stanza consists. By numbering the moments and fixing their proportion, I was enabled to restore the text of Varaha, with the perfect assent of the learned Brahmen who attends me; and, with his assistance, I also corrected the comment, written by Bhattotpala
,...

Utpala or Bhaṭṭotpala (Bhaṭṭa-utpala) is the name of a 10th-century Indian commentator of Vārāha Mihira's Brihat Samhitā. Brihat Samhitā is a Samhitā text of Jyotiṣa (Indian astrology and astronomy). Samhitā is one of three branches of Jyotiṣa (Samhitā has many other meanings outside Jyotiṣa).

He is known for quoting six verses from Surya Siddhanta which are not found in its extant version. These six verses can be found in the 'Introduction' by S. Jain to the translation of Surya Siddhānta made by E. Burgess.

-- Utpala (astronomer), by Wikipedia

who, it seems, was a son of the author, together with three curious passages, which are cited in it. Another Pandit afterwards brought me a copy of the whole original work, which confirmed my conjectural emendations, except in two immaterial syllables, and except that the first of the six couplets in the text is quoted in the commentary from a different work, entitled Panchasiddhanttica, five of them were composed by Varaha himself; and the third chapter of his treatise begins with them.

Varāhamihira (c. 505 – c. 587), also called Varāha or Mihira, was an ancient Indian astrologer, astronomer, and polymath who lived in Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh, India)....

Varāhamihira's main work is the book Pañcasiddhāntikā (“Treatise on the Five Astronomical Canons”) dated c. 575 CE, which gives us information about older Indian texts which are now lost. The work is a treatise on mathematical astronomy and it summarises five earlier astronomical treatises by five authors, namely the Surya Siddhanta, Romaka Siddhanta, Paulisa Siddhanta, Vasishtha Siddhanta and Paitamaha Siddhanta. It is a compendium of Vedanga Jyotisha as well as Hellenistic astronomy (with Greek, Egyptian and Roman elements). Varahamihira was the first one to mention that the Ayanāṃśa, or the shifting of the equinox, is 50.32 arc seconds per year...

Another important contribution of Varahamihira is the encyclopedic Brihat-Samhita. Although the book is mostly about divination, it also includes a wide range of subjects other than divination. It covers wide-ranging subjects of human interest, including astronomy, planetary movements, eclipses, rainfall, clouds, architecture, growth of crops, manufacture of perfume, matrimony and domestic relations. The volume expounds on gemstone evaluation criterion found in the Garuda Purana, and elaborates on the sacred Nine Pearls from the same text. It contains 106 chapters and is known as the "great compilation".

-- Varāhamihira, by Wikipedia

Before I produce the original verses, it may be useful to give you an idea of the Arya measure,...
Āryā meter is a meter used in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Marathi verses. A verse in āryā metre is in four metrical lines called pādas. Unlike the majority of meters employed in classical Sanskrit, the āryā meter is based on the number of mātrās (morae) per pāda [In phonology, a mora is a basic timing unit of some spoken languages, equal to or shorter than a syllable. For example, a short syllable such as ba consists of one mora, while a long syllable such as baa consists of two; extra-long syllables with three moras are relatively rare. Such metrics is also referred to as syllable weight.]. A short syllable counts for one mātrā, and a long syllable (that is, one containing a long vowel, or a short vowel followed by two consonants) counts for two mātrās. It is believed that arya meter was taken from the gatha meter of Prakrit [Gāthā is a Sanskrit term for ‘song’ or ‘verse’, especially referring to any poetic metre which is used in legends, and is not part of the Vedas but peculiar to either Epic Sanskrit or to Prakrit...The stanzas of the Prakrit dialects of Ardhamagadhi, Sauraseni and Pāli are known as gathas as opposed to shlokas and sutras of Sanskrit and dohas of Apabhramsha. Most of the Jain and Buddhist texts written in Prakrit are composed of gathas (or verses/stanzas). Thus, gatha can mean any Prakrit and Pali verses in general, or specifically the arya meter of Sanskrit; versified portions of Pāli Canon (Tipitaka) of Theravāda Buddhism are also specifically called gathas.]. Arya metre is common in Jain Prakrit texts and hence considered as favourite metre of early authors of Jainism. The earlier form of the arya metre is called old gati, which occurs in a some very early Prakrit and Pàli texts.

The basic āryā verse has 12, 18, 12 and 15 mātrās in the first, second, third, and fourth pādas respectively. An example is the following from Kālidāsa's play Abhijñānaśākuntalam (c. 400 CE):
āparitoṣād viduṣāṃ
na sādhu manye prayogavijñānaṃ
balavadapi śikṣitānām
ātmany apratyayaṃ cetaḥ

– u u | – – | u u –
u – u | – – | u – u | – – | –
u u u u | u – u | – –
– – | – – | u | – – | –

"I do not consider skill in the representation of plays to be good (perfect) until (it causes) the satisfaction of the learned (audience); the mind of even those who are very well instructed has no confidence in itself."

The gīti meter has 12, 18, 12 and 18 mātrās in its four pādas respectively.... The upagīti meter has 12, 15, 12 and 15 mātrās in its four pādas respectively...The udgīti meter has 12, 15, 12 and 18 mātrās in its four pādas respectively...The āryāgīti meter has 12, 20, 12 and 20 mātrās in its four pādas respectively.

-- Arya metre, by Wikipedia

which will appear more distinctly in Latin than in any modern language of Europe:

Tigridas, apros, thoas, tyrannos, pessima monstra, venemur:
Dic hinnulus, dic lepus male quid egerint graminivori.


The couplet might be so arranged as to begin and end with the cadence of an hexameter and pentameter, six moments being interposed in the middle of the long, and seven in that of the short, hemistich:

Thoas, apros, tigridas nos venemur, pejoresque tyrannos:
Dic tibi cerva, lepus tibi dic male quid egerit herbivorus.


Since the Arya measure, however, may be almost infinitely varied, the couplet would have a form completely Roman, if the proportion of syllabic instants, in the long and short verses, were twenty-four to twenty, instead of thirty to twenty-seven:

Venor apros tigridasque, et, pessima monstra, tyrannos:
Cerva mali quid agunt herbivorusque lepus?


Image

I now exhibit the five stanzas of Varaha in European characters, with an etching of the two first, which are the most important, in the original Devanagari:
 
Asleshardhaddacshinamuttaramayanan raverdhanishthadyan.
Nunan cadachidasidyenoctan purva sastreshu,
Sampratamayanan savituh carcatacadyan mrigaditaschanyat:
Uctabhave vicritih pratyacshapericshanair vyactih.
Durasthachihnavedyadudaye stamaye piva sahasransoh,
Chhayapravesanirgamachihnairva mandale mahati.
Aprapya macaramarco vinivritto hanti saparan yamyan,
Carcatacamasanprapto vinivrittaschottaran saindrin.
Uttaramayanamatitya vyavrittah cshemasasya vriddhicarah,
Pracritisthaschapyevan vicritigatir bhayacridushnansuh.


Of the five couplets thus exhibited, the following translation is most scrupulously literal:
“Certainly the southern solstice was once in the middle of Aslesha; the northern in the first degree of Dhanishtha, by what is recorded in former Sastras. At present, one solstice is in the first degree of Carcata, and the other in the first of Macara* [We quote the following lines from the Third Volume of Asiatic Researches, Page 208 of the Original Work — "Note on Vol. II page 391.— By the President. —A desire of translating the couplets of Varahamihira with minute exactness, and of avoiding the Sanscrit word ayaha in an English phrase, has occasioned a little inaccuracy, or at least ambiguity, in the version of two very important lines, which may easily be corrected by twice reading advat in the fifth case for adyam in the first so that they may thus be translated word for word. “Certainly the southern road of the sun was, or began, once from the middle of Aslesha; the northern, from the first of Dhanishtha. At present the southern road of the sun begins from the first of Carcata, and the other from the first of Mriga, or Macar." -- Publisher, Popular Edition.]. That which is recorded not appearing, a change must have happened; and the proof arises from ocular demonstrations; that is, by observing the remote object and its marks at the rising or setting of the sun, or by the marks in a large graduated circle, of the shadow’s ingress and egress. The sun, by turning back without having reached Macara, destroys the south and the west; by turning back without having reached Carcata, the north and east. By returning when he has just passed the winter solstitial point, he makes wealth secure and grain abundant, since he moves thus according to nature; but the sun, by moving unnaturally, excites terror.”

Now the astronomers agree, that the 1st of January 1790, was in the year 4891 of the Caliyuga, or their fourth period; at the beginning of which, they say, the equinoctial points were in the first degrees of Mesha and Tula; but they are also of opinion, that the vernal equinox oscillates from the third of Mina to the twenty-seventh of Mesha, and back again in 7200 years, which they divide into four padas, and consequently that it moves in the two intermediate padas from the first to the twenty-seventh of Mesha and back again in 3600 years; the colure cutting their ecliptic in the first of Mesha, which coincides with the first of Aswini, at the beginning of every such oscillatory period. Varaha, surnamed Mihira, or the Sun, from his knowledge of astronomy, and usually distinguished by the title of Acharya, or teacher of the Veda, lived, confessedly, when the Caliyugii was far advanced; and, since by actual observation he found the solstitial points in the first degrees of Carcata and Macara, the equinoctial points were at the same time in the first of Mesha and Tula: he lived, therefore, in the year 3600 of the fourth Indian period, or 1291 years before the 1st of January that is, about the year 499 of our era. This date corresponds with the ayanansa, or precession, calculated by the rule of the Surya Siddhanta; for 19° 21' 54" would be the precession of the equinox in 1291 years, according to the Hindu computation of 54" annually, which gives us the origin of the Indian Zodiac nearly; but, by Newton's demonstrations, which agree as well with the phenomena as the varying density of our earth will admit, the equinox recedes about 50" every year, and has receded 17° 55' 50" since the time of Varaha; which gives us more nearly in our own sphere the first degree of Mesha in that of the Hindus. By the observation recorded in older Sastras, the equinox had gone back 23° 20'; or about 1680 years had intervened between the age of the Muni and that of the modern astronomer: the former observation, therefore, must have been made about 2971 years before the 1st of January 1790; that is, 1181 before Christ.

We come now to the commentary, which contains information of the greatest importance
. By former Sastras are meant, says Battotpala [Utpala], the books of Parasara and of other Munis;...
Parashara was a maharshi and the author of many ancient Indian texts. He is accredited as the author of the first Purana, the Vishnu Purana, before his son Vyasa wrote it in its present form. He was the grandson of Vasishtha, the son of Śakti Maharṣi....

When Parashara's father, Sakti Maharishi died after being devoured by the king Kalmashapada
[In Hindu mythology, Kalmashapada, also known as Saudasa, Mitrasaha, Amitrasaha and Kalmashanghri (Kalmasanghri), was a king of the Ikshvaku dynasty (the Solar dynasty), who was cursed to be a rakshasa (demon) by the sage Vashishtha. He is described as an ancestor of Rama, the avatar of the god Vishnu and the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana. Many texts narrate how Kalmashapada was cursed to die if he had intercourse with his queen, so he obtained a son from Vashishtha by niyoga, an ancient tradition whereby a husband can nominate another man to impregnate his wife.] along with Vashistha's other sons, Vashistha resorted to ending his life by suicide. Hence he jumped from Mount Meru but landed on soft cotton, he entered a forest fire only to remain unharmed, then he jumped into the ocean who saved him by casting him ashore. Then he jumped in the overflowing river Vipasa, which also left him ashore. Then he jumped into the river Haimavat, which fled in several directions from his fear and was named Satadru. Then when he returned to his asylum, he saw his daughter-in-law pregnant. When a son was born he acted as his father and hence forgot completely about destroying his life. Hence, the child was named Parashara which meant enlivener of the dead.

According to the Vedas, Brahma created Vasishtha, who, with his wife Arundhati, had a son named Śakti Mahariṣhi who sired Parashara. With Satyavati, Parashara is father of Vyasa. Vyāsa sired Dhritarashtra and Pandu through his deceased step brother's wives, Ambika and Ambalika and Vidura through a hand-maiden of Ambika and Ambalika. Vyāsa also sired Shuka through his wife, Jābāli's daughter Pinjalā. Thus Parashara was the biological great-grandfather of both the warring parties of the Mahābhārata, the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Parashara is used as a gotra [lineage] for the ancestors and their offsprings thereon.

-- Parashara, by Wikipedia

and he then cites from the Parasari Sanhita the following passage, which is in modulated prose, and in a style much resembling that of the Vedas:
Sravishtadyat paushnardhantan charah sisiro; vasantah
paushnardhat rohinyantan; saumyadyadas ieshardhantan grishmah;
praviidasleshardhat hastantan; chitradyat jyeshthardhantan
sarat; hemanto jyeshthardhat vaishn avantan.

"The season of Sisira is from the first of Dhanishtha to the middle of Revati; that of Vasanta from the middle of Revati to the end of Rohini; that of Grishma from the beginning of Mrigasiras to the middle of Aslesha; that of Versha from the middle of Aslesha to the end of Hasta; that of Sanad from the first of Chitra to the middle of Jyeshtha; that of Hemanta from the middle of Jyeshtha to the end of Sravana."

This account of the six Indian seasons, each of which is co-extensive with two signs, or four lunar stations and a half, places the solstitial points, as Varaha has asserted, in the first degree of Dhanishtha, and the middle, or 6°40', of Aslesha, while the equinoctial points were in the tenth degree of Bharani and 3°20' of Visacha; but in the time of Varaha, the solstitial colure passed through the 10th degree of Punarvasu and 3°20' of Uttarashara, while the equinoctial colure cut the Hindu ecliptic in the first of Aswini and 6°40' of Chitra, or the Yoga and only star of that mansion, which, by the way, is indubitably the Spike of the Virgin, from the known longitude of which all other points in the Indian Zodiac may be computed. It cannot escape notice, that Parasara does not use in this passage the phrase at present, which occurs in the text of Varaha; so that the places of the colures might have been ascertained before his time, and a considerable change might have happened in their true position without any change in the phrases by which the seasons were distinguished; as our popular language in astronomy remains unaltered, though the Zodiacal asterisms are now removed a whole sign from the places where they have left their names. It is manifest, nevertheless, that Parasara must have written within twelve centuries before the beginning of our era, and that single fact, as we shall presently show, leads to very momentous consequences in regard to the system of Indian history and literature.
Eudoxus of Cnidus (c. 408 – c. 355 BC) was an ancient Greek astronomer, mathematician, scholar, and student of Archytas and Plato. All of his works are lost, though some fragments are preserved in Hipparchus' commentary on Aratus's poem on astronomy...

The years of Eudoxus' birth and death are not fully known but the range may have been c. 408 – c. 355 BC, or c. 390 – c. 337 BC...

-- Eudoxus of Cnidus, by Wikipedia

On the comparison which might easily be made between the colures of Parasar and those ascribed by Eudoxus to Chiron, the supposed assistant and instructor of the Argonauts, I shall say very little; because the whole Argonautic story, (which neither was, according to Herodotus, nor, indeed, could have been originally Grecian) appears, even when stripped of its poetical and fabulous ornaments, extremely disputable; and whether it was founded on a league of the Helladian princes and states for the purpose of checking, on a favourable opportunity, the overgrown power of Egypt, or with a view to secure the commerce of the Euxine and appropriate the wealth of Colchis; or, as I am disposed to believe, on an emigration from Africa find Asia of that adventurous race, who had first been established in Chaldea; whatever, in short, gave rise to the fable, which the old poets have so richly embellished, and the old historians have so inconsiderately adopted, it seems to me very clear, even on the principles of Newton, and on the same authorities to which he refers, that the voyage of the Argonauts must have preceded the year in which his calculations led him to place it.[!!!]
Jason... was an ancient Greek mythological hero and leader of the Argonauts, whose quest for the Golden Fleece featured in Greek literature....

Pelias was the progeny of a union between their shared mother, Tyro ("high born Tyro"), the daughter of Salmoneus, and the sea god Poseidon.....

Aeson's wife Alcimede I had a newborn son named Jason... Fearing that Pelias would eventually notice and kill her son, Alcimede sent him away to be reared by the centaur Chiron....

Jason arrived in Iolcus, having lost one of his sandals in the river Anauros ("wintry Anauros") while helping an old woman (actually the goddess Hera in disguise) to cross.... Pelias replied, "To take my throne, which you shall, you must go on a quest to find the Golden Fleece." Jason readily accepted this condition....

The isle of Lemnos ... was inhabited by a race of women who had killed their husbands. The women had neglected their worship of Aphrodite, and as a punishment the goddess made the women so foul in stench that their husbands could not bear to be near them.

The men then took concubines from the Thracian mainland opposite, and the spurned women, angry at Aphrodite, killed all the male inhabitants while they slept. The king, Thoas, was saved by Hypsipyle, his daughter, who put him out to sea sealed in a chest from which he was later rescued....

After Lemnos the Argonauts landed among the Doliones, whose king Cyzicus treated them graciously. He told them about the land beyond Bear Mountain, but forgot to mention what lived there. What lived in the land beyond Bear Mountain were the Gegeines, which are a tribe of Earthborn giants with six arms and wore leather loincloths....

Soon Jason reached the court of Phineus of Salmydessus in Thrace. Zeus had sent the harpies to steal the food put out for Phineus each day. Jason took pity on the emaciated king and killed the Harpies when they returned...

The only way to reach Colchis was to sail through the Symplegades (Clashing Rocks), huge rock cliffs that came together and crushed anything that traveled between them....

Jason arrived in Colchis (modern Black Sea coast of Georgia) to claim the fleece as his own. It was owned by King Aeetes of Colchis. The fleece was given to him by Phrixus. Aeetes promised to give it to Jason only if he could perform three certain tasks.... However, Hera had persuaded Aphrodite to convince her son Eros to make Aeetes' daughter, Medea, fall in love with Jason. As a result, Medea aided Jason in his tasks.

First, Jason had to plow a field with fire-breathing oxen, the Khalkotauroi, that he had to yoke himself... Then, Jason sowed the teeth of a dragon into a field. The teeth sprouted into an army of warriors (spartoi)....

His last task was to overcome the sleepless dragon which guarded the Golden Fleece. Jason sprayed the dragon with a potion, given by Medea, distilled from herbs. The dragon fell asleep, and Jason was able to seize the Golden Fleece.

He then sailed away with Medea. Medea distracted her father, who chased them as they fled, by killing her brother Apsyrtus and throwing pieces of his body into the sea...

On the way back to Iolcus, Medea prophesied to Euphemus, the Argo's helmsman, that one day he would rule Cyrene. This came true through Battus, a descendant of Euphemus. Zeus, as punishment for the slaughter of Medea's own brother, sent a series of storms at the Argo and blew it off course. The Argo then spoke and said that they should seek purification with Circe, a nymph living on the island of Aeaea. After being cleansed, they continued their journey home.

Chiron had told Jason that without the aid of Orpheus, the Argonauts would never be able to pass the Sirens—the same Sirens encountered by Odysseus in Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. The Sirens lived on three small, rocky islands called Sirenum scopuli and sang beautiful songs that enticed sailors to come to them, which resulted in the crashing of their ship into the islands. When Orpheus heard their voices, he drew his lyre and played music that was more beautiful and louder, drowning out the Sirens' bewitching songs.

The Argo then came to the island of Crete, guarded by the bronze man, Talos. As the ship approached, Talos hurled huge stones at the ship, keeping it at bay. Talos had one blood vessel which went from his neck to his ankle, bound shut by only one bronze nail (as in metal casting by the lost wax method). Medea cast a spell on Talos to calm him; she removed the bronze nail and Talos bled to death....

In Corinth, Jason became engaged to marry Creusa (sometimes referred to as Glauce), a daughter of the King of Corinth... Infuriated with Jason for breaking his vow that he would be hers forever, Medea took her revenge by presenting to Creusa a cursed dress, as a wedding gift, that stuck to her body and burned her to death as soon as she put it on....

Then Medea killed the two boys that she bore to Jason... She fled to Athens in a chariot of dragons sent by her grandfather, the sun-god Helios....

As a result of breaking his vow to love Medea forever, Jason lost his favor with Hera and died lonely and unhappy. He was asleep under the stern of the rotting Argo when it fell on him, killing him instantly.

-- Jason [And the Argonauts and the Quest for the Golden Fleece, by Wikipedia

Nor shall I meddle with Sir Isaac Newton's astronomical argument for fixing the time of the Argonautic expedition (and of course the time of the fall of Troy, which was only one generation later), from the position of the solstitial and equinoctial points on the sphere which Chiron made for the use of the Argonauts. I am too little acquainted with the science of astronomy to speak pertinently on the subject. I shall only observe that Mr. Whiston does not agree with Dr. Shuckford concerning the grounds of the argument. 

"The fallacy of this argument (says Dr. Shuckford) cannot but appear very evident to any one that attends to it: for suppose we allow that Chiron did really place the solstices, as Sir Isaac Newton represents (though I should think it most probable that he did not so place them), yet it must be undeniably plain, that nothing can be certainly established from Chiron's position of them, unless it appears, that Chiron knew how to give them their true place.
"If indeed it could be known what was the true place of the solstitial points in Chiron's time, it might be known, by taking the distance of that place from the present position of them, how much time has elapsed from Chiron to our days.
 
But I answer, it cannot be accurately known from any schemes of Chiron what was the true place of the solstices in his days; because, though it is said that he calculated the then position of them, yet he was so inaccurate an astronomer, that his calculation might err four or five degrees from their true position."

Mr. Whiston (p. 991) writes thus:
"As to the first argument from the place of the two colures in Eudoxus from Chiron the Argonaut, preserved by Hipparchus of Bithynia, I readily allow its foundation to be true, that Eudoxus's sphere was the same with Chiron's, and that it was first made and showed Hercules and the rest of the Argonauts in order to guide them in their voyage to Colchis. And I take the discovery of this sure astronomical criterion of the true time of that Argonautic expedition (in the defect of eclipses) to be highly worthy the uncommon sagacity of the great Sir Isaac Newton, and in its own nature a chronological character truly inestimable. Nor need we, I think, any stronger argument in order to overturn Sir Isaac Newton's own Chronology, than this position of the colures at the time of that expedition, which its proposer has very kindly furnished us withal."

In p. 996:
I now proceed to Eudoxus's accurate description of the position of the two colures as they had been drawn on their celestial globes, ever since the days of Chiron, at the Argonautic expedition, and as Hipparchus has given us that description in the words of Eudoxus."

Again (p. 1002):
"Sir Isaac Newton betrays his consciousness how little Eudoxus's description of Chiron's colures agreed to his position of them, by pretending that these observations of the ancients were coarse and inaccurate. This is true if compared with the observations of the moderns which read to minutes; and, since, the application of telescopic sights to astronomic instruments, to ten or fewer seconds. But as to our present purpose this description in Eudoxus is very accurate, it both taking notice of every constellation, through which each of the coloures passed, that were visible in Greece; and hardly admitting of an error of half a degree in angular measures, or thirty-six years in time. Which is sufficiently exact."

How far Mr. Whiston has succeeded in his argumentation about the neck of the swan and the tail of the bear, &c. I must leave to others to consider. I shall only observe, with regard to the last paragraph cited from his discourse, that when Sir Isaac Newton calls the observations of the ancient astronomers coarse, he cannot well be understood to use that word but in a comparative sense, that sense in which Mr. Whiston admits it may be justly used. For otherwise Sir Isaac would not have inferred any thing as certain from those ancient observations. Now, in p. 95, after he has finished his argument from Chiron's sphere, he thus writes:
"Hesiod tells us, that sixty days after the winter solstice, the star Arcturus rose at sunset: and thence it follows, that Hesiod flourished about 100 years after the death of Solomon, or in the generation or age next after the Trojan war, as Hesiod himself declares.
 
From all these circumstances, grounded upon the coarse observations of the ancient astronomers, we may reckon it certain, that the Argonautic expedition was not earlier than the reign of Solomon: and if these astronomical arguments be added to the former arguments taken from the mean length of the reigns of kings according to the course of nature; from them all we may safety conclude, that the Argonautic expedition was after the death of Solomon, and most probably that it was about forty-three years after.
 
The Trojan war was one generation later than that expedition -- several captains of the Greeks in that war being sons of the Argonauts,"

&c.
 
By the last words here cited, I am brought round again to the point from whence I set out in this discourse, the fall of Troy...

-- Remarks on the History of the Seven Roman Kings, Occasioned by Sir Isaac Newton’s Objections to the Supposed Two Hundred and Forty-Four Years’ Duration of the Regal State of Rome, from The Roman History From the Building of Rome to the Ruin of the Commonwealth, Illustrated with Maps, by N. Hooke, Esq., 1823

Battus built Cyrene, says our great philosopher, on the site of Irasa, the city of Antaeus, in the year 633 before Christ; yet he soon afterwards calls Euripylus, with whom the Argonauts had a conference, king of Cyrene; and in both passages he cites Pindar, whom I acknowledge to have been the most learned, as well as the sublimest, of poets. Now, if I understand Pindar (which I will not assert, and I neither possess nor remember at present the Scholia, which I formerly perused) the fourth Pythian Ode begins with a short panegyric on Arcesilas of Cyrene; “Where,” says the bard, “the priestess, who sat near the golden eagles of Jove, prophesied of old, when Apollo was not absent from his mansion, that Battus, the colonizer of fruitful Lybia, having just left the sacred isle (Thera) should build a city excelling in cars, on the splendid breast of earth, and, with the seventeenth generation, should refer to himself the Therean prediction of Medea which that princess of the Colchians, that impetuous daughter of AEetes, breathed from her immortal mouth, and thus delivered to the half-divine mariners of the warrior Jason."
IV. FOR ARKESILAS OF KYRENE, WINNER IN THE CHARIOT-RACE.

Pindar has made this victory of Arkesilas, King of the Hellenic colony of Kyrene in Africa, an occasion for telling the story of Jason's expedition with the Argonauts. The ostensible reason for introducing the story is that Kyrene had been colonised from the island of Thera by the descendants of the Argonaut Euphemos, according to the prophecy of Medea related at the beginning of the ode. But Pindar had another reason. He wished to suggest an analogy between the relation of the Iolkian king Pelias to Jason and the relation of Arkesilas to his exiled kinsman Demophilos. Demophilos had been staying at Thebes, where Pindar wrote this ode, to be afterwards recited at Kyrene. It was written B.C. 466, when Pindar was fifty-six years of age, and is unsurpassed in his extant works, or indeed by anything of this kind in all poetry.

* * * * *

This day O Muse must thou tarry in a friend's house, the house of the king of Kyrene of goodly horses, that with Arkesilas at his triumph thou mayst swell the favourable gale of song, the due of Leto's children, and of Pytho. For at Pytho of old she who sitteth beside the eagles of Zeus—nor was Apollo absent then—the priestess, spake this oracle, that Battos should found a power in fruitful Libya, that straightway departing from the holy isle he might lay the foundations of a city of goodly chariots upon a white breast of the swelling earth, and might fulfil in the seventeenth generation the word of Medea spoken at Thera, which of old the passionate child of Aietes, queen of Colchians, breathed from immortal lips. For on this wise spake she to the warrior Jason's god-begotten crew: 'Hearken O sons of high-hearted mortals and of gods. Lo I say unto you that from this sea-lashed land the daughter of Epaphos shall sometime be planted with a root to bring forth cities that shall possess the minds of men, where Zeus Ammon's shrine is builded....

-- The Extant Odes of Pindar, by Pindar

From this introduction to the noblest and most animated of the Argonautic poems, it appears, that fifteen complete generations had intervened between the voyage of Jason and the emigration of Battus; so that, considering three generations as equal to an hundred or an hundred and twenty years, which Newton admits to be the Grecian mode of computing them, we must also place that voyage at least five or six hundred years before the time fixed by Newton himself, according to his own computation, for the building of Cyrene; that is, eleven or twelve hundred and thirty-three years before Christ: an age very near on a medium to that of Parasara. If the poet means afterwards to say, as I understand him, that Arcesilas, his contemporary, was the eighth in descent from Battus, we shall draw nearly the same conclusion, without having recourse to the unnatural reckoning of thirty-three or forty years to a generation; for Pindar was forty years old when the Persians, having crossed the Hellespont, were nobly resisted at Thermopylae, and gloriously defeated at Salamis. He was born, therefore, about the sixty-fifth Olympiad, or five hundred and twenty years before our era; so that, by allowing more naturally six or seven hundred years to twenty-three generations, we may at a medium place the voyage of Jason about one thousand one hundred and seventy years before our Saviour, or about forty-five years before the beginning of the Newtonian chronology.

The description of the old colures by Eudoxus, if we implicitly rely on his testimony and on that of Hipparchus, who was, indisputably, a great astronomer for the age in which he lived, affords, I allow, sufficient evidence of some rude observation about 937 years before the Christian epoch; and, if the cardinal points had receded from those colures 36° 29' 10" at the beginning of the year 1690, and 37° 52' 30" on the first of January in the present year, they must have gone back 3° 23' 20" between the observation implied by Parasar and that recorded by Eudoxus; or, in other words, 224 years must have elapsed between the two observations.

Image
-- [Sir William Jones] "According to my calculations ..."

But this disquisition having little relation to our principal subject, I proceed to the last couplets of our Indian astronomer Varaha Mihira, which, though merely astrological, and consequently absurd, will give occasion to remarks of no small importance. They imply, that when the solstices are not in the first degrees of Carcata and Macara, the motion of the sun is contrary to nature; and being caused, as the commentator intimates, by some utpata, or preternatural agency, must necessarily be productive of misfortune; and this vain idea seems to indicate a very superficial knowledge even of the system which Varatha undertook to explain, but he might have adopted it solely as a religious tenet, on the authority of Garga, a priest of eminent sanctity, who expresses the same wild notion in the following couplet:

Yada nivertate praptah sravishtamuttarayane,
Asleshan dacshine praptastadavidyanmahadbhayan.

“When the sun returns, not having reached Dhanishftha in the northern solstice, not having reached Aslesha in the southern, then let a man feel great apprehension of danger."


Parasara himself entertained a similar opinion, that any irregularity in the solstices would indicate approaching calamity: Yadaprapto vaishnavantam, says he, udanmarge prepadyate, dacshine aslesham va mahabhayaya, that is, “When, having reached the end of Sravana, in the northern path, or half of Aslesha in the southern, he still advances, it is a cause of great fear." This notion, possibly, had its rise before the regular precession of the cardinal points had been observed; but we may also remark that some of the lunar mansions were considered as inauspicious, and others as fortunate; thus Menu, the first Indian lawgiver, ordains, that certain rites shall be performed under the influence of a happy Nacshatra; and, where he forbids any female name to be taken from a constellation, the most learned commentator gives Ardra and Revati as examples of ill-omened names, appearing by design to skip over others that must first have occurred to him. Whether Dhanishtha and Aslesha were inauspicious or prosperous, I have not learned; but, whatever might be the ground of Varaha's astrological rule, we may collect from his astronomy, which was grounded on observation, that the solstice had receded at least 23° 20' between his time and that of Parasara; for, though he refers its position to the signs, instead of the lunar mansions, yet all the Pandits, with whom I have conversed on the subject, unanimously assert, that the first degrees of Mesha and Aswini are coincident. Since the two ancient sages name only the lunar asterisms, it is probable, that the solar division of the Zodiac into twelve signs was not generally used in their days; and we know from the comment of the Surya Siddhanta, that the lunar month, by which all religious ceremonies are still regulated, was in use before the solar. When M. Bailly asks, "Why the Hindus established the beginning of the precession, according to their ideas of it, in the year of Christ 499?” to which his calculations also had led him, we answer, because in that year the vernal equinox was found by observation in the origin of their ecliptic; and since they were of opinion that it must have had the same position in the first year of the Caliyuga, they were induced by their erroneous theory to fix the beginning of their fourth period 3600 years before the time of Varaha, and to account for Parasara's observation, by supposing an utpata, or prodigy.

To what purpose, it may be asked, have we ascertained the age of Munis? Who was Parasara? Who was Garga? With whom were they contemporary, or with whose age may theirs be compared? What light will these inquires throw on the history of India or of mankind? I am happy in being able to answer those questions with confidence and precision.

All the Brahmens agree, that only one Parasara is named in their sacred records;...

There are several texts which give reference to Parashara as an author/speaker. Modern scholars believe that there were many individuals who used this name throughout time whereas others assert that the same Parashara taught these various texts and the time of writing them varied. The actual sage himself never wrote the texts; the various texts attributed to him are given in reference to Parashara being the speaker to his student.

-- Parashara, by Wikipedia

that he composed the astronomical book before cited, and a law-tract, which is now in my possession; that he was the grandson of Vasishtha, another astronomer and legislator, whose works are still extent, and who was the preceptor of Rama, King of Ayodhya; that he was the father of Vyasa, by whom the Vedas were arranged in the form which they now bear, and whom Crishna himself names with exalted praise in the Gita; so that, by the admission of the Pandits themselves, we find only three generations between two of the Ramas, whom they consider as incarnate portons of the divinity; and Parasara might have lived till the beginning of the Caliyuga, which the mistaken doctrine of an oscillation in the cardinal points has compelled the Hindus to place 1920 years too early. This error, added to their fanciful arrangement of the four ages, has been the source of many absurdities; for they insist that Valmic, whom they cannot but allow to have been contemporary with Ramachandra, lived in the age of Vyasa who consulted him on the composition of the Mahabharat, and who was personally known to Balarama, the brother of Crishna. When a very learned Brahmen had repeated to me an agreeable story of a conversation between Valmic and Vyasa, I expressed my surprize at an interview between two bards, whose ages were separated by a period of 864,000 years; but he soon reconciled himself to so monstrous an anachronism, by observing that the longevity of the Munis was preternatural,...
I should think that the great mistake of the annalists who wrote of the first ages after the flood is not in allowing so many as 100 or 120 years to three reigns, but in not allowing more. [The fourteen first Egyptian kings of Thebes are said to have reigned 414 years, i.e., from A.M. 1772 to 2186, or till three years after the death of Abraham (who died at the age of 175), and though they lived in these times of longevity, yet they reigned but twenty-nine years some months a-piece; they are not made to reign so long as the fourteen Latin kings, after the fall of Troy, which is supposed to have happened A.M. 2820, 634 years after the last of the fourteen Egyptian kings.] They seem to have known nothing of the fact, that men's lives extended to so great a length, during some centuries after the flood, as they are represented to do in Scripture: for had they known this, surely they would never have made their accounts of kings' reigns in the earlier and later ages agree so well together.

-- Remarks on the History of the Seven Roman Kings, Occasioned by Sir Isaac Newton’s Objections to the Supposed Two Hundred and Forty-Four Years’ Duration of the Regal State of Rome, from The Roman History From the Building of Rome to the Ruin of the Commonwealth, Illustrated with Maps, by N. Hooke, Esq., 1823

and that no limit could be set to divine power. By the same recourse to miracles or to prophesy, he would have answered another objection equally fatal to his chronological system. It is agreed by all, that the lawyer Yagyawalcya was an attendant on the court of Janaca, whose daughter Sita was the constant but unfortunate wife of the great Rama, the hero of Valmic's poem; but that lawyer himself, at the very opening of his work, which now lies before me, names both Parasara and Vyasa among twenty authors, whose tracts form the body of original Indian law. By the way, since Vasishtha is more that once named in the Manavisahhita, we may be certain that the laws ascribed to Menu, in whatever age they might have been first promulgated, could not have received the form in which we now see them, above three thousand years ago. The age and functions of Garga lead to consequences yet more interesting: he was confessedly the purohita, or officiating priest, of Crishna himself, who, when only a herdsman’s boy at Mathura, revealed his divine character to Garga, by running to him with more than mortal benignity on his countenance, when the priest had invoked Narayan. His daughter was eminent for her piety and her learning, and the Brahmans admit, without considering the consequence of their admission, that she is thus addressed  in the Veda itself: Yata nrdhwan no va samopi, Gargi, esha adityo dyamurdhanan tapati, dya va bhumin tapati, bhumya subhran tapati, locan tapati, antarah tapatyanantaran tapati; or, “That Sun, O daughter of Garga, than which nothing is higher, to which nothing is equal, enlightens the summit of the sky; with the sky enlightens the earth; with the earth enlightens the lower worlds; enlightens the higher worlds, enlightens other worlds; it enlightens the breast, enlightens all besides the breast.” From these facts, which the Brahmans cannot deny, and from these concessions, which they unanimously makes, we may reasonably infer, that, if Vyasa was not the composer of the Vedas, he added at least something of his own to the scattered fragments of a more ancient work, or perhaps to the loose traditions which he had collected; but whatever be the comparative antiquity of the Hindu scriptures, we may safely conclude that the Mosaic and Indian chronologies are perfectly consistent; that Menu, son of Brahma, was the Adima, or first, created mortal, and consequently our Adam; that Menu, child of the Sun, was preserved with seven others, in a bahitra or capacious ark, from an universal deluge, and must therefore be our Noah; that Hiranyacasipu, the giant with a golden axe, and Vali or Bali, were impious and arrogant monarchs, and most probably our Nimrod and Belus; that the three Ramas, two of whom were invincible warriors, and the third not only valiant in war but the patron of agriculture and wine, which derives an epithet from his name, were different representations of the Grecian Bacchus, and either the Rama of scripture, or his colony personified, or the Sun first adored by his idolatrous family; that a considerable emigration from Chaldea into Greece, Italy, and India, happened about twelve centuries before the birth of our Saviour; that Sacya or Sisak, about two hundred years after Vyasa, either in person or by a colony from Egypt, imported into this country the mild heresy of the ancient Bauddhas; and that the dawn of true Indian history appears only three or four centuries before the Christian era, the preceding ages being clouded by allegory or fable.

As a specimen of that fabling and allegorizing spirit which has ever induced the Brahmens to disguise their whole system of history, philosophy, and religion, I produce a passage from the Bhagavat, which, however strange and ridiculous, is very curious in itself, and closely connected with the subject of this essay. It is taken from the fifth scandha, or section, which is written in modulated prose. “There are some,” says the Indian author, “ who, for the purpose of meditating intensely on the holy son of Vasudeva, imagine you celestial sphere to represent the figure of that aquatic animal which we call Sisumara; its head being turned downwards, and its body bent in a circle, they conceive Dhruva, or the pole-star, to be fixed on the point of its tail; on the middle part of the tail they see four stars, Prajapati, Agni, Indra, Dherma, and on its base to others, Dhatri and Vidatri: on its rump are the Septarshis, or seven stars of the Sacata, or wain; on its back the path of the Sun, called Ajavithi, or the Series of Kids; on its belly the Ganga of the sky: Punarvasu and Pusliya gleam respectively on its right and left haunches; Ardra and Aslesa on its right and left feet, or fins; Abhijit and Uttarashadha in its right and left nostrils; Sravana and Purvashadha in its right and left eyes; Dhanishtha and Mula on its right and left ears. Eight constellations, belonging to the summer solstice, Magha, Purvaphalguni, Uttaraphalguni, Hasta, Chitra, Swati, Visacha, Anuradha, may be conceived in the ribs of its left side; and as many asterisms, connected with the winter solstice, Mrigasiras, Rohini, Crittica, Bharani, Aswini, Revatli, Uttarabhadrapada, Purvabhadrapada, may be imagined on the ribs of its right side in an inverse order. Let Satabhisha and Jyeshtha be placed on its right and left shoulders. In its upper jaw is Agastya, in its lower Yama; in its mouth the planet Mangala; in its part of generation, Sanaischara; on its hump, Vrihaspati; in its breast, the Sun; in its heart, Narayan; in its front, the Moon; in its navel, Usanas; on its two nipples, the two Aswinas; in its ascending and descending breaths, Budha; on its throat Rahu; in all its limbs, Cetus, or comets; and in its hairs, or bristles, the whole multitude of stars." It is necessary to remark, that, although the sisumara be generally described as the sea-hog or porpoise, which we frequently have seen playing in the Ganges yet susmar, which seems derived from the Sanscrit, means in Persian a large lizard. The passage just exhibited may nevertheless relate to an animal of the cetaceous order, and possibly to the dolphin of the ancients.

It was the Ancient Greeks that originally gave us the word dolphin! ...Homer used it in both the Iliad and the Odyssey. According to this explanation, the ancient Greek word for dolphin is related to the word delphys (delphus) meaning ‘womb’. In fact, in ancient Greek, the word ‘delphus’ means both dolphin AND womb.

Womb? What on earth do dolphins have to do with wombs?...

I managed to find a variety of theories [on the Internet] about the relationship between a womb and a dolphin....

The first, that is the one that most dictionaries tend to favor is the relationship between the shape of a womb and the shape of a dolphin. That is, that a dolphin got its name by virtue of it resembling a womb. Maybe long long ago, an ancient Greek guy who was, for whatever reason, intimately familiar with the shape of internal organs, spied a dolphin frolicking in the waters and thought to himself “wow! That animal bears a striking resemblance to a uterus! I will tell all of my friends that and from now on this animal shall henceforth be known as ‘uterus’!”...

The second explanation is the relationship between the word dolphin and the idea that the word “dolphin/womb” was used to describe fraternal associations in human relationships. The word Adelphi means ‘of the same womb’ -– a reference to the idea that two brothers once shared their mother’s womb and hence a strong bond....

On a similar note, another explanation would consider the dolphins to be ‘our brothers of the sea’, an idea that dolphins and humans share a special bond. There is no doubt that the ancient Greeks had special affinity for the friendly dolphin; they appear in Greek art and mythology. Also, note that the temple of Delphi –- that most ancient of oracle -– is renamed after the dolphin because of the temple’s association with Apollo, a powerful Greek god who often took the form of a dolphin and who took control of the temple that now bears his nickname.

Lastly, there has been speculation that the Greeks called a dolphin a ‘womb fish’ for the simple reason that it was a kind of fish that had a womb, which is, of course, a uniquely mammalian organ. And also, that the reference to the womb is tied up with the idea that dolphins give birth to live young.

-- Where Does the Word "Dolphin" Come From?, by Dolphin Communication Project

Before I leave the sphere of the Hindus, I cannot help mentioning a singular fact in the Sanscrit language: Ricsha means a constellation and a bear, so that Maharesha may denote either a great bear or a great asterism. Etymologists may, perhaps, derive the Megas arctos of the Greeks from an Indian compound ill understood; but I will only observe, with the wild American, that a bear with a very long tail could never have occurred to the imagination of any one who had seen the animal. I may be permitted to add, on the subject of the Indian Zodiac, that, if I have erred in a former essay, where the longitude of the lunar mansions is computed from the first star in our constellation of the Ram, I have been led into error by the very learned and ingenious M. Bailly, who relied, I presume, on the authority of M. Le Gentil. The origin of the Hindu Zodiac, according to the Surya Siddhanta, must be nearly a 19° 21' 54", in our sphere, and the longitude of Chitra, or the Spike, must of course be 199° 21' 54" from the vernal equinox; but since it is difficult by that computation to arrange the twenty-seven mansions and their several stars as they are delineated and enumerated in the Retnamala, I must for the present suppose with M. Bailly, that the Zodiac of the Hindus had two origins, one constant and the other variable[???!!!]; and a farther inquiry into the subject must be reserved for a season of retirement and leisure.
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Part 1 of 3

Remarks on the History of the Seven Roman Kings, Occasioned by Sir Isaac Newton’s Objections to the Supposed Two Hundred and Forty-Four Years’ Duration of the Regal State of Rome, from The Roman History From the Building of Rome to the Ruin of the Commonwealth, Illustrated with Maps
by N. Hooke, Esq.
A New Edition in Six Volumes
Vol. I
1823

Remarks on the History of the Seven Roman Kings, Occasioned by Sir Isaac Newton’s Objections to the Supposed Two Hundred and Forty-Four Years’ Duration of the Regal State of Rome
  
It is commonly admitted, upon the authority of the ancient chronologers, that the fall of Troy was about 676 years before the expulsion of Tarquin the last king of Rome, who was indisputably expelled about the year before Christ 508. But Sir Isaac Newton has, by many arguments, made it probable, that those chronologers have placed the taking of Troy* [Mr. Whiston, p. 971 of Authent. Rec. part 2. seems confident that Troy was taken just 1270 years before the Christian era, which computation (he says) agrees with the chronology of the author of the Life of Homer, supposed to be Herodotus.] near 300 years farther back than they ought to have done: and one of his arguments is drawn from the too long space of time supposed to be filled up by the reigns of only twenty-one kings in succession (fourteen at Alba, and seven at Rome). For in no country, of which the historical and chronological accounts are certain, is it found, that the like number of kings in succession reigned near so long as 676 years. And because most of the seven Roman kings were untimely slain, and one deposed, he thinks it not reasonable to believe that their reigns took up half the 244 years allotted to them by the Roman historians. 
 
As the following remarks, offered in support of Sir Isaac Newton's conclusion, may happen to fall under the inspection of several persons who have not perused that great man's chronological work, it may to such perhaps be agreeable, if the remarks be introduced by some of his fundamental reasons for questioning the truth of the received chronology of ancient kingdoms in general, and of the Roman kingdom in particular.
 
'All nations, before they began to keep exact accounts of time, have been prone to raise their antiquities; and this humour has been promoted by the contentions between nations about their originals.
 
'Herodotus tells us, that the priests of Egypt reckoned from the reign of Menes to that of Sethon [He is supposed to be Mizraim the son of Cham, and grandson of Noah, and to have founded a kingdom in Egypt, A.M. 1772.—Ant. Chr. 2232. ], who put Senacherib to flight  [†: Missing FN], 341 generations of men, and as many priests of Vulcan, and as many kings of Egypt; and that 300 generations make 10,000 years; for, saith Herodotus, three generations of men make 100 years: and the remaining forty and one generations 1340 years: and so the whole time from the reign of Menes to that of Sethon was 11,340 years. And by this way of reckoning, and allotting longer reigns to the gods of Egypt than to the kings which followed them, Herodotus tells us from the priests of Egypt, that from Pan to Amosis were 15,000 years, and from Hercules to Amosis 17,000.
  
'So also the Chaldeans boasted of their antiquity; for Callisthenes, the disciple of Aristotle, sent astronomical observations from Babylon to Greece, said to be of 1903 years' standing before the times of Alexander the Great. And the Chaldeans boasted farther, that they had observed the stars 473,000; and there were others who made the kingdoms of Assyria, Media, and Damascus, much older than the truth.
  
'Some of the Greeks called the times before the reign of Ogyges unknown, [Section: According to the old chronology, the flood of Ogyges happened 1796 years before the Christian era: but according to Sir I. N. little more than 1100 years. Short Chron. p. 10. 'In the beginning of that [the Persian] monarchy, Acusilaus made Phoroneus as old as Ogyges and his flood, and that flood 1020 older than the first Olympiad; which is above 680 years older than the truth.' Chron. of the Greeks, p. 45.] because they had no history of them; those between his flood and the beginning [‡: Missing FN] of the Olympiads fabulous, because their history was much mixed with poetical fables; and those after the beginning of the Olympiads historical, because their history was free from such fables. The fabulous ages wanted a good chronology, and so also did the historical, for the first sixty or seventy Olympiads.
 
'The Europeans had no chronology before the times of the Persian empire, and whatsoever chronology they now have of ancienter times hath been framed since by reasoning and conjecture.
 
'Plutarch tells us, that the philosophers anciently delivered their opinions in verse, as Orpheus, Hesiod, Parmenidcs, Xenophanes, Eropedocles, Thales.
 
'Solon wrote in verse, and all the seven wise men were addicted to poetry, as
Anaximenes affirmed. [||: Missing FN.]
 
'Till those days the Greeks wrote only in verse, and while they did so, there could be no chronology, nor any other history than such as was mixed with poetical fancies.
 
'Pliny, in reckoning up the inventors of things, tells us, that Pherecydes Scyrius taught to compose discourses in prose in the reign of Cyrus; and Cadmus Milesius to write history. And in another place he saith, that Cadmus Milesius was the first that wrote in prose.
 
'Josephus tells us, that Cadmus Milesius and Acusilaus were but a little before the expedition of the Persians against the Greeks: and Suidas calls Acusilaus a most ancient historian, and saith that he wrote genealogies out of tables of brass, which his father, as was reported, found in a corner of his house. Who hid them there may be doubted: for the Greeks had no public table or inscription older than the laws of Draco.
 
'Pherecydes Atheniensis, in the reign of Darius Hystaspis, or soon after, wrote of the antiquities and ancient genealogies of the Athenians in ten books; and was one of the first European writers of this kind, and one of the best; whence he had the name of Genealogus, and by Dionysius Halicarnassensis is said to be second to none of the genealogers.
 
'Epimenides (not the philosopher, but) an historian, wrote also of ancient genealogies: and
 
'Hellanicus (who was twelve years older than Herodotus) digested his history by the ages or successions of the priestesses of Juno Argiva. Others digested theirs by those of the archons of Athens, or kings of the Lacedemonians.
 
'Hippias the Elean published a breviary of the Olympiads, supported by no certain arguments, as Plutarch tells us:* [ ] he lived in the 105th Olympiad, [cross:     ]  and * was derided by Plato for his ignorance. This breviary seems to have contained nothing more than a short account of the victors in every Olympiad.
 
‘Then Ephorus the disciple of Isocrates formed a chronological history of Greece,* [ ]  beginning with the return of the Heraclides into Peloponnesus, and ending with the siege of Porinthus in the twentieth year of Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, that is, eleven years before the fall of the Persian empire: but he digested things by generations, and the reckoning by the Olympiads, [Sir I.N. says the same in the introduction to his short Chronicle, and adds there these words, 'Nor does it appear that the reigns of kings were yet set down by numbers of years.'] or by any other era, was not yet in use among the Greeks.
 
‘The Arundelian marbles were composed sixty years after the death of Alexander the Great [An. 4. Olymp. 128.], and yet mention not the Olympiads, nor any other standing era, but reckon backwards from the time then present.
 
'But chronology was now reduced to a reckoning by years; and, in the next Olympiad,
 
‘Timaeas Siculus improved it: for he wrote a history, in several books, down to his own times according to the Olympiads; comparing the Ephori, the kings of Sparta, the archons of Athens, and the priestesses of Argos, with the Olympic victors, so as to make the Olympiads and the genealogies and successions of kings and priestesses, and the poetical histories, suit one another, according to the best of his judgment; and, where he left off, Polybius began, and carried on the history.
 
'Eratosthenes wrote above 100 years after the death of Alexander the Great. He was followed by Apollodorus, and these two have been followed ever since by chronologers.
 
‘But how uncertain their chronology is, and how doubtful it was reputed by the Greeks of those times, may be understood by these passages of Plutarch. “Some reckon Lycurgus,” saith he, “contemporary to Iphitus, and to have been his companion in ordering the Olympic festivals, amongst whom was Aristotle the philosopher; arguing from the Olympic disc, [N.B. In p. 58. Sir I.N. shows the fallacy of this argument. Iphitus, says he, did not restore all the Olympic games. He restored indeed the racing in the first Olympiad, Coroebus being victor. In the 14th Olympiad, the double stadium was added, Hypaenus being victor. And in the 18th Olympiad, the quinquertium and wrestling were added, Lampus and Erybatus, two Spartans, being victors; and the disc was one of the games of the quinquertium.] which had the name of Lycurgus upon it. Others supputing the times by the kings of Lacedemon, as Eratosthenes and Apollodorus, affirm that he was not a few years older than the first Olympiad.” He began to flourish in the 17th or 18th Olympiad, and at length Aristotle made him as old as the first Olympiad; and so did Epaminondas, as he is cited by Aelian and Plutarch: and then Eratosthenes, Apollodorus, and their followers, made him above 100 years older.'
 
[Mr. Winston accuses Sir I. Newton of not informing his readers how very difficult a thing it is to tell the age of Lycurgus; nor that Plutarch himself declares, “how every thing about Lycurgus is disputed; and, above all the rest, the time when he lived.” I cannot see any good ground for this quarrel with Sir I. N.; but I wonder that Mr. Whiston or any body should build much upon the authority of chronological canons, the framera of which were so destitute of authentic records as to be reduced to conjectures concerning the time when Lycurgus lived, than whose legislature there is not a more memorable event in the history of Greece. And it ought to be observed, that the uncertainty with regard to Lycurgus must be attended with a like uncertainty as to the times of the kings in the line of Procles; Lycurgus having been tutor to his nephew Charilaus the seventh king of that race. And it is remarkable that the chronologers have not pretended to know the number of years which each of those kings reigned, though they have marked the length of the several reigns of the kings in the line of Eurysthenes down to Polydorus the tenth king.]
 
In another place Plutarch tells us: 'The congress of Solon with Croesus some think they can confute by chronology. But a history so illustrious, and verified by so many witnesses, and which is more, so agreeable to the manners of Solon, and worthy of the greatness of his mind and of his wisdom, I cannot persuade myself to reject because of some chronological canons, as they call them, which hundreds of authors correcting, have not yet been able to constitute any thing certain, in which they could agree amongst themselves, about repugnances.
 
'Diodorus, in the beginning of his history, tells us, that be did not divine, by any certain space, the times preceding the Trojan war, because he had no certain foundation to rely upon: but from the Trojan war, according to the reckoning of Apollodorus, whom he followed, there were eighty years to the return of the Heraclides into Peloponnesus; and that from that period to the first Olympiad, there were 328 years, computing the times from the kings of the Lacedemonians. Apollodorus followed Eratosthenes, and both of them followed Thucydides in reckoning eighty years from the Trojan war to the return of the Heraclides: but in reckoning 328 years from that return to the first Olympiad, Diodorus tells us, that the times were computed from the kings of the Lacedemonians; and Plutarch tells us, that Apollodorus, Eratosthenes, and others, followed that computation: and since this reckoning is still received by chronologers, and was gathered by computing the times from the kings of the Lacedemonians, that is from their number, let us re-examine that computation.
 
'The Egyptians reckoned the reigns of kings equipollent to generations of men, and three generations to 100 years, as above; so did the Greeks and Latins, and accordingly they have made their kings reign one with another thirty and three years a-piece, and above.
'For they make the seven kings of Rome, who preceded the consuls, to have reigned 244 years, which is thirty-five years a-piece:
 
'And the first twelve kings of Sicyon, AEgialeus, Europs, &c. to have reigned 529 years, which is forty-four years a-piece:
 
'And the first eight kings of Argos, Inachus, Phoroneus, &c. to have reigned 371 years, which is above forty-six years a-piece:
 
'And between the return of the Heraclides into Peloponnesus, and the end of the first Messenian war, the ten kings of Sparta in one race,
1. Eurysthenes,  
2. Agis,  
3. Echestratus,  
4. Labotas,
 5. Doryagus,
6. Agesilaus, 
7. Archelaus, 
8, Teleclus, 
9. Alcamenes, and 
10. Polydorus;
 
the nine in the other race,* [1. Procles, 2. Sous, 3. Eurypon, 4. Prytanis, 5. Eunomus, 6. Polydectes, 7. Charilaus, 8. Nicander, 9. Theopompus.]  the ten kings of Messene. [1. Cresphontes, 2. Epytus, 3. Glaucus, 4. Isthmus, 5. Dotadas, 6. Sibotas, 7. Phintas, 8. Antiochus, 9. Euphaes. 10. Aristodemus.] and the nine of Arcadia, [1. Cypselus, 2. Olaus, 3. Buchalion, 4. Phialus, 5. Simus, 6. Pompus, 7. AEgineta, 8. Polymnestor, 9. AEchmis.] according to chronologers, took up 379 years: which is thirty-eight years a-piece to the ten kings, and forty-two years a-piece to the nine. And the five kings [following Polydorus] of the race of Eurysthenes, between the end of the first Messenian war, and the beginning of the reign of Darius Hystaspis; Eurycrates, Anaxander, Eurycrates II., Leon, Anaxandrides, reigned 202 years, which is above forty years a-piece.
 
‘Thus the Greek chronologers, who follow Timaes and Eratosthenes, have made the kings of their several cities, who lived before the times of the Persian empire, to reign about thirty-five or forty years a-piece, one with another; which is a length so much beyond the course of nature as is not to be credited. For by the ordinary course of nature, kings reign, one with another, about eighteen or twenty years a-piece: and if in some instances they reign, one with another, five or six years longer, in others they reign as much shorter: eighteen or twenty years is a medium.
 
'So the eighteen kings of Judah who succeeded Solomon reigned 390 years, which is one with another twenty-two years a-piece.
 
‘The fifteen kings of Israel after Solomon reigned 259 years, which is seventeen years and a quarter a-piece
 
‘The eighteen kings of Babylon; Nabonassar, &c. reigned 209 years, which is eleven years and two-thirds a-piece.
 
'The ten kings of Persia; Cyrus, Cambyses, &c. reigned 208 years, which is almost twenty-one years a-piece.
 
'The sixteen successors of Alexander the Great, and of his brother and son in Syria; Seleucus, Antiochus Soter, &c. reigned 244 years after the breaking of that monarchy into various kingdoms, which is fifteen years and a quarter a-piece.
 
'The eleven kings of Egypt; Ptolemaeus Lagi, &c. reigned 276 years, counted from the same period, which is twenty-five years a-piece.
 
'The eight in Macedonia; Cassander, &c. reigned 138 years, which is seventeen years and a quarter a-piece.
 
‘The thirty kings of England; William the Conqueror, William Rufus, &c. reigned 648 years, which is twenty-one years and a half a-piece.
 
'The first twenty-four kings of France; Pharamundus, &c. reigned 458 years, which is nineteen years a-piece.
 
‘The next twenty-four kings of France, Ludovicus Balbus, &c. 451 years, which is eighteen years and three quarters a-piece.
 
'The next fifteen, Philip Valesius, &c. 315 years, which is twenty-one years a-piece.  
 
'And all the sixty-three kings of France, 1224 years, which is nineteen years and a half a piece.
 
'Generations from father to son may be reckoned, one with another, at about thirty-three or thirty-four years a-piece, or about three generations to 100 years: but if the reckoning proceed by the eldest sons, they are shorter, so that three of them may be reckoned at about seventy-five or eighty years; and the reigns of kings are still shorter, because kings are succeeded not only by their eldest sons, but sometimes by their brothers, and sometimes they are slain or deposed; and succeeded by others of an equal or greater age, especially in elective or turbulent kingdoms.
 
‘In the later ages, since chronology hath been exact, there is scarce an instance to be found of ten kings reigning any where in continual succession above 260 years; but Timaeus and his followers, and I think also some of his predecessors, after the example of the Egyptians, have taken the reigns of kings for generations, and reckoned three generations to 100, and sometimes to 120 years; and founded the technical chronology of the Greeks upon this way of reckoning. Let the reckoning be reduced to the course of nature, by putting the reigns of kings one with another, at about eighteen or twenty years a-piece: and the ten kings of Sparta by one race, the nine by another race, the ten kings of Messene, and the nine of Arcadia, above-mentioned, between the return of the Heraclides into Peloponnesus, and the end of the first Messenian war, will scarce take up above 180 or 190 years: whereas, according to chronologers, they took up 379 years.
 
'Cnronologers have [not only] lengthened the time, between the return of the Heraclides into Peloponnesus and the first Messenian war—they have also lengthened the time between that war and the Persian empire.
 
'For in the race of the Spartan kings, descended from Eurysthenes; after Polydorus reigned these kings:
11. Eurycrates,  
12. Anaxander,
13. Eurycrates II.  
14. Leon,
15. Anaxandrides, 
16. Cleomenes,
17. Leonides, &c.
 
‘And in the other race descended from Procles; after Theopompus [the ninth long] reigned these, Anaxandrides, Archidemus, Anaxileus, Leutychides, Hippocratides, Ariston, Demaratus, Leutychides II. &c. according to Herodotus. These kings reigned till the sixth year of Xerxes, in which Leonidas was slain by the Persians at Thermopylae; and Leutychides IL soon after, flying from Sparta to Tegea, died there.
 
‘The seven reigns of the kings of Sparta, which follow Polydorus. being added to the ten reigns above-mentioned, which began with that of Eurysthenes, make up seventeen reigns of kings between the return of the Heraclides into Peloponnesus and the sixth year of Xerxes: and the eight reigns following Theopompus, being added to the nine reigns above-mentioned, which began with that of Procles, made up also seventeen reigns, and these seventeen reigns, at twenty years a-piece one with another, amount unto 340 years. Count these 340 years upwards from the sixth year of Xerxes, and one or two years more for the war of the Heraclides, and the reign of Aristodemus, the father of Eurysthenes and Procles; and they will place the return of the Heraclides into Peloponnesus 159 years after the death of Solomon, and forty-six years before the first Olympiad,* [ ] in which Coroebus was victor. But the followers of Timaeus have placed this return 280 years earlier.* [ ] Now this being the computation upon which the Greeks, as you have heard from Diodorus and Plutarch, have founded the chronology of their kingdoms, which were ancienter than the Persian empire; that chronology is to be rectified by shortening the times which preceded the death of Cyrus, in the proportion of almost two to one; for the times which follow the death of Cyrus are not much amiss.'
 
[The truth of Sir I. N.'s computation with regard to the reigns of the seventeen kings of Sparta, of whom Leonidas was the last, seems to be well supported by the space of time filled up by the reigns of the thirteen kings (of the same line) who reigned in succession after Leonidas.
 
Leonidas was slain in the year before Christ, 480.
 
Cleomenes, the last of the thirteen kings who reigned after him, being expelled Peloponnesus, killed himself in Egypt (as Petavius hath shown [‡ Missing FN.]), in 219 before Christ.
 
The years between the deaths of these two kings are 261, so that the thirteen kings in succession from Leonidas reigned but about twenty years a-piece one with another.]
 
'As for the chronology of the Latins, that is still more uncertain [than the chronology of the Greeks]. Plutarch represents great uncertainties in the originals of Rome, [§: Missing FN.] and so doth Servius [||: Missing FN.] The old records of the Latins were burnt by the Gauls 120 years after the Regifuge, and sixty-four years before the death of Alexander the Great: [ ¶: Missing FN.] and Quintus Fabius Pictor, the oldest historian of the Latins, lived 100 years later than that king, and took almost all things
 
[concerning tne originals of Rome] from Diocles Peparethius, a Greek,
 
‘When the Romans conquered the Carthaginians, the archives of Carthage came into their hands. And thence Appian, in his History of the Punic Wars, tells in round numbers that Carthage stood 700 years; and Solinus adds the odd number of  years [thirty-seven] in these words, “Adrymeto atque Carthagini author est a Tyro populus. Urbem istam, ut Cato in oratione senatoria autumat, cum rex Hiarbas rerum in Libya potiretur, Elissa mulier extruxit, domo Phoenix, et Carthadam dixit, quod Phoenicum ore exprimit civitatem novam; mox sermone verso Carthago dicto est, quae post annos septingentos triginta septem exciditur quam fuerat extructa.”
 
'Elissa was Dido, and Carthage was destroyed in the consulship of Lentulus and Mummius, in the year of the Julian period 4568; from whence count backward 737 years, [*: Missing FN.] and the eucaenia or dedication of the city will fall upon the sixteenth year of Pygmalion the brother of Dido, and king of Tyre. She fled in the seventh year of Pygmalion, but the era of the city began with its encaenia.
 
'Now Virgil and his scholiast Servius, who might have some things from the archives of Tyre and Cyprus, as well as from those of Carthage, relate that Teucer came from the war of Troy to Cyprus, in the days of Dido, a little before the reign of her brother Pygmalion; and in conjunction with her father, seized Cyprus, and ejected Cinyras: and the marbles say, that Teucer came to Cyprus seven years after the destruction of Troy, and built Salamis; and Apollodorus, that Cinyras married Metharme the daughter of Pygmalion, and built Paphos. Therefore, if the Romans, in the days of Augustus, followed not altogether the artificial chronology of Eratosthenes, but had those things from the records of Carthage, Cyprus, or Tyre; the arrival of Teucer at Cyprus will be in the reign of the predecessor of Pygmalion, and by consequence the destruction of Troy, about seventy-six years later than the death of Solomon.
 
'Dionysius Halicarnassensis tells us that in the time of the Trojan war Latinus was king of the Aborigines in Italy, and that in the sixteenth age after that war Romulus built Rome. By ages he means reigns of kings; for after Latinus he names sixteen kings of the Latins, the last of which was Numitor, in whose days Romulus built Rome: for Romulus was contemporary to Numitor, and after him Dionysius and others reckon six kings more over Rome, to the beginning of the consuls. Now these twenty and two reigns, at about eighteen years to a reign one with another, for so many of these kings were slain, took up 396 years; which counted back from the consulship of Junius Brutus and Valerius Publicola, the two first consuls, place the Trojan war about seventy-eight years after the death of Solomon.
  
'When the Greeks and Latins were forming their technical chronology, there were great disputes about the antiquity of Rome; the Greeks made it much older than the Olympiads: some of them said it was built by AEneas; others, by Romus, the son or grandson of AEneas; others, by Romus, the son or grandson of Latinus, king of the Aborigines; others, by Romus, the son of Ulysses, or of Ascanius, or of Italus: and some of the Latins at first fell in with the opinion of the Greeks, saying that it was built by Romulus the son or grandson of AEneas. Timaeus Siculus represented it built by Romulus the grandson of AEneas, above 100 years before the Olympiads, and so did Naevius the poet, who was twenty years older than Ennius, and served in the first Punic war, and wrote the history of that war.
 
'Hitherto nothing certain was agreed upon, but about 140 or 150 years after the death of Alexander the Great, they began to say that Rome was built a second time by Romulus, in the fifteenth age after the destruction of Troy: by ages they meant reigns of the kings of the Latins at Alba, and reckoned the first fourteen reigns at about 432 years, and the following reigns of the seven kings of Rome at 344 years, both which numbers made up the time of about 676 years from the taking of Troy, according to these chronologers; but are much too long for the course of nature: and by this reckoning they placed the building of Rome upon the sixth or seventh Olympiad; Varro* [If this be not an error of the press, yet doubtless Sir Isaac Newton meant to write Cato, not Varro. Varro placed the foundation of Rome in the third year of the 6th Olympiad [Ant. Chr. 753], Cato in the first year of the 7th [Ant. Chr. 751). These two writers agreed in giving 244 years to the regal state of Rome, but, as they fixed the aera of the city by reckoning backward, and counted the years of the republic by the annual magistracies, and as Varro, in this way of counting, gave to the republic two years more than Cato; he of course placed the building of Rome two years farther back than Cato had done. There were three dictatorships, to each of which Varro allotted a whole year, which dictatorships Cato had considered as only superseding so many consulships, and therefore reckoned each consulship and the dictatorship that superseded it as filling but one year. And this would have made Varro's reckoning, upon the whole, exceed Cato's by three years; but Varro, by placing in one and the same year the third decemvirate and the succeeding consulship, to which magistracies Cato allotted distinct years, the reckoning of Varro, upon the whole, exceeded that of Cato by two years only. The Capitoline marbles, with regard to the three dictatorships and the third decemvirate, reckon like Varro; but as they give only 243 years to the regal state of Rome, their chronology upon the whole has a year less than Varro's, and a year more than Cato's. See notes Sur Chron. Grecque-Rom. selon D. Hal. by the French translator of Dionysius, p. 34.] placed it on the first year of the seventh Olympiad, and was therein generally followed by the Romans; but this can scarce be reconciled to the course of nature: for I do not meet with any instance in all history, since chronology was certain, wherein seven kings, most of whom were slain, reigned 244 years in continual succession.
 
‘The fourteen reigns of the kings of the Latins, at twenty years a-piece one with another, amount unto 280 years, and these years counted from the taking of Troy end in the 38th Olympiad: and the reigns of the seven kings of Rome, four or five of them being slain, and one deposed, may at a moderate reckoning amount to fifteen or sixteen years a-piece one with another: let them be reckoned at seventeen years a-piece, and they will amount unto 119 years; which, being counted backwards from the Regifuge, And also in the 38th Olympiad: and by these two reckonings Rome was built in the 38th Olympiad, or thereabout.
 
'The 280 years and the 119 years together make up 399 years; and the same number of years arises by counting the twenty and one reigns at nineteen years a-piece; and this being the whole time between the taking of Troy and the Regifuge, let these years be counted backward from the Regifuge An. 1. Olymp. 68. [*: Missing FN.]  and they will place the taking of Troy about seventy-four years after the death of Solomon.' [Which death of Solomon Sir Isaac Newton places 979 years before the Christian aera; so that the fall of Troy, soon after which AEneas began his voyages, will be about 905 years before that aera; and as Sir Isaac makes the flight of Dido from Tyre to be Ant. Chr. 892. there were, according to this computation, but about thirteen years between these two last-mentioned events.]

  
Mr. Whiston, in his treatise entitled a Confutation of Sir Isaac Newton's Chronology, observes, (p. 987.) that
 
“In England we have had nine successive reigns at almost thirty years a-piece, from Henry I. to Edward III.
 
“And twelve at almost twenty-eight years a-piece, from William the Conqueror to Richard II.
 
“And the French have had six reigns together at almost forty years a-piece, from Robert to Philip II.
 
“And eight reigns at above thirty-five years a-piece, from Robert to Louis IX.
 
“'And ten reigns at almost thirty-three years a-piece, from Robert to Philip IV. all inclusive, as these tables will show.
 
Kings of England.
 
1. William the Conqueror: 21
2.  William Rufus: 13
3. Henry I: 35
4. Stephen: 19
5. Henry II: 35
6. Richard I: 11
7. John: 17
8. Henry III: 56
9. Edward I: 34
10. Edward II: 19
11. Edward III: 51
12. Richard II: 22
_______
Total: 12)333 (27-3/4
 
Kings of France.
 
1. Rupert or Robert: 45
2. Henry I: 28
3. Philip I: 48
4. Lewis VI: 29
5. Lewis VII: 43
6. Philip II: 43
7. Lewis VIII: 3
8. Lewis IX: 55
9. Philip III: 15
10. Philip IV: 29
_______
Total: 10) 327 (32-1/4

  
From these examples Mr. Whiston infers, that we ought not to reject or alter the series of the reigns of the twelve kings of Macedonia, from Caranus, of the Heraclidae, to Archelaus, which twelve reigns take up 415 years. 12) 415 (34-1/2. Nor the series of the reigns of the eight last of the Latin kings, from Amulius to Tarquin the Proud, which takes up 286 years. 8) 286 (35-1/4. Which reigns of Macedonian and Latin kings, he observes, are of all he had before marked (in several series of ancient long reigns) the longest in proportion, because they began after human life was reduced to its present standard.
 
Now I think it must be granted, that the examples which Mr. Whiston has produced of long reigns in succession, both in England and in France, would be sufficient to make it credible, that the seven kings of Rome reigned as long as they are reported to have done, if there were no objection to this report, but its being uncommon to find, in authentic and undisputed history, seven kings reigning, in succession, thirty-five years a-piece one with another. But here it may be proper to consider,
 
I. That we have no better authority for the long reigns of the seven kings of Rome than for the long reigns of the fourteen kings of Alba, their predecessors; and there is no instance, since chronology was certain, of twenty-one kings in succession reigning near thirty-two years a-piece, one with another, as the twenty-one kings in question are represented to have done.
 
Mr. Whiston, as we see above, has given us ten kings of France in succession, who reigned 327 years, or thirty-two years and three-quarters a-piece. 
 
I think he has stretched the reign of Robert ten or eleven years beyond its true length. But, letting that pass, if to these ten kings we add the five that preceded them, and the six that followed them, to make the number twenty-one, we shall find that the twenty-one kings reigned but about twenty-one years a-piece one with another.
 
For Raoul, the first of the twenty-one, began to reign An. Dom. 923, and Jean II. the last of the twenty-one, died in 1363, the whole space 440 years.
 
If to the ten kings we add the eleven that preceded them, the reigns of the twenty-one will be still shorter.
 
Indeed, if to the ten we add the eleven that followed them, the twenty-one reigns amount to near twenty-four years a-piece one with another. But this is far short of thirty-two years a-piece, to which the twenty-one reigns of the Latin kings amount, within a trifle, according to Bishop Lloyd's tables, cited by Mr. Whiston.
 
So likewise, though we have had in England twelve successive reigns at almost twenty-eight years a-piece, from William the Conqueror to Richard II. yet, if to those twelve we add the nine reigns which followed that of Richard II. we shall find that the twenty-one kings did not reign quite twenty-three years a-piece one with another.
 
II. It may be farther observed, that the old chronology, which makes the reigns of twenty-one Latin kings fill up a space of time so much longer than the reigns of the same number of kings of any country have ever done since chronology was certain, does in like manner make the reigns of every series of kings of the most ancient kingdoms exceed, in duration, what the common course of nature, as known by true history, admits; which universal excess affords a probable argument, that the old chronology was wholly artificial, and not founded on authentic records or monuments.
 
When I say every series of kings, it might perhaps be expected that I should except the long successions of kings in Egypt (from the time of Mizraim the son of Ham), to which numerous kings short reigns are assigned by the old chronology:* [Mr. Whiston, in p. 975, makes the following observation: “Manetho, when he speaks of the several dynasties of Egypt, or of the several succession of collateral kingdoms, mentions the principal successions as extending to 113 generations in 3555 years: and implies, that the first sixteen, which were chiefly before the deluge, were more than equal to the other ninety-seven: those sixteen containing no fewer than 1985 years; and the ninety-seven no more than 1570 years: the former allowing to each generation or succession 124 years: as the duration of human life before the deluge well admitted; and (the Chaldean succession at Babylon in Abydenus and Berosus equally admitted also) while the latter allows but a little above sixteen years to such a succession, till the days of Alexander the Great: which last small number might yet well agree to those latter ages of the kingdom of Egypt, which might be subject to great disturbances and changes of government all along.”] but I consider those series of Egyptian monarchs as fabulous. For indeed the short reigns, assigned to them, are alone almost a demonstrative proof, that the greater number of the kings, in those series, never existed, or at least not in line of succession; as I shall show hereafter.
 
III. That most of the seven kings of Rome being slain, and one deposed, there arises hence a great improbability of their reigning thirty-five years a-piece, one with another.
 
IV. And lastly, that in the accounts given us of those seven kings, there are some particulars by which the historians discover the uncertainty of their chronology, and some that seem entirely to refute it, as the following remarks will show.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 2 of 3
 
ROMULUS. 
 
The historians give thirty seven or thirty-eight years to the reign of Romulus, yet if they had not expressly affirmed that he reigned so long, we should never have imagined from any thing they relate of his life and death that his government was of near so long a duration: we should rather have concluded, from what they themselves have written concerning him, that he reigned little more than seventeen years.
 
I. Plutarch having related how Romulus took Fidenae, and sent thither a Roman colony on the ides of April, goes on to tell us, that shortly after a plague broke out, and that before the plague ceased the Camerini invaded the Roman territory; that Romulus without delay marched against them, defeated them, took Camerium, their city, transplanted half its inhabitants to Rome, and on the kalends of August sent from Rome double the number of Roman citizens to Camerium: so greatly (adds Plutarch) was the number of his citizens increased in sixteen years' time from the building of the city.
 
The same author proceeds immediately to relate, that the Veientes, alarmed at this increase of the Roman power, made Fidenae the pretence for beginning a war with Rome. They demanded Fidenae back as a city belonging to them; and their demand being scornfully rejected, they took the field, dividing their forces into two bodies: one attacked the Roman army of Fidenae with success; the other marched against Romulus, and was defeated by him. One battle more put an end to the war: Romulus obtained a decisive victory, for which he triumphed on the ides of October.
 
Not only Plutarch, but Livy and Dionysius make Fidenae the pretence for the war undertaken by the Veientes; and they speak of this war as begun presently after the reduction of that town by the Romans. It is not therefore without good reason that Pighius places the king's triumph over the Veientes in his seventeenth year.
 
II. It appears from Dionysius, Livy, and Plutarch, that the victory over the Veientes was the last military exploit of Romulus's life.
 
Dionysius having related the particulars of the war with Veii, the decisive victory gained by Romulus, and his triumph on that occasion, concludes with words to this effect: “These are the most memorable wars of Romulus; an untimely death, when he was in the bloom of his military glory, hindered him from subduing any of the other neighbouring nations.”* [[x], p. 144.]
 
Livy, when he has spoken of the same war, goes on much in the same manner with Dionysius: [Haec ferme Romulo regnante domi militiaeque gesta. 1.1. c. 15.] “These were almost all the achievements at home and abroad during the reign of Romulus;” and then speaks of his death. And,
 
Plutarch says expressly, that this war [with the Veientes] was the last war that Romulus ever waged. [[x], Vit. Rom. p. 33.]
 
If then these two points be granted, that Romulus's war with Veii was his last war, and that this was finished About the seventeenth year of Rome, it will follow, that the twenty last years of his reign, if he reigned thirty-seven, were years of peace. But is it probable that a prince of so active and enterprising a spirit should pass twenty years in peace with all his neighbours? Or if the Romans, when they sent an offer of the kingdom to Numa, had of thirty-seven years (the whole period since the birth of their state) been the last twenty in peace, how could he, with any propriety or truth, in his answer to the deputies, speak of the Romans as a people of a restless spirit, ever in war, and insatiably eager of conquest? Plutarch tells us, that the Romans, when Numa ascended the throne, were become hard as iron by war; and that this prince thought religion the only means to soften such stubborn minds, and moderate their martial fury: and Livy calls them animos militia efferatos. There is nothing in any of the historians to favour the supposition of Rome's continuing twenty years in peace in Romulus's time, except this only, that they fix his death to the thirty-seventh year of the city, and make his wars end about the seventeenth.
 
III. May it not be fairly collected from all the three historians beforementioned, that Romulus's victory over the Veientes was not only the last military exploit of his life, but an exploit which did not long precede his death? It has been already observed, that Dionysius and Livy pass immediately from the conclusion of the Veientan war to the king's assassination. Plutarch does the same; and it is farther to be remarked, that Plutarch and Dionysius make the affront which Romulus put upon the senators, when, without consulting them, he restored to the Veientes fifty hostages (which they had given him to secure the performance of their engagements by the treaty of peace) to be one of the chief provocations which incited the senators to murder him. And this offence is mentioned as a thing recent at the time of his death: “his sudden disappearing soon after this (says Plutarch) brought the senate under suspicion and calumny.'' And the same historian mentions another recent offence given the senate; that the king by his sole authority shared among the soldiers the lands acquired by the war. It is not indeed said at what time the king gave the senators these provocations, but we cannot easily suppose it to have been a great while after the war; and it will be very hard to suppose that it was twenty years after.
 
Plutarch is, I think, the only ancient writer who speaks of Romulus's moderation in not possessing himself of the kingdom of Alba, upon the death of his grandfather Numitor, to which kingdom he supposes Romulus to have had a right of inheritance. Now supposing Romulus to have been heir apparent to his grandfather, and yet never to have possessed Alba, it is much more probable that the grandfather outlived the grandson, than that the grandson declined a succession to which he had an hereditary right. This imagination which Plutarch had of the politic moderation of Romulus (for it was to regain the good-will of his people) seems wholly founded on the supposition that he reigned thirty-seven years, in which case he probably outlived his grandfather: but if Romulus reigned but seventeen years, his grandfather may very well be supposed to have outlived him; for, according to Plutarch himself, Romulus was but seventeen years old when he began to reign.
 
NUMA.
Pythagoras, one of the most famous and controversial ancient Greek philosophers, lived from ca. 570 to ca. 490 BCE. He spent his early years on the island of Samos, off the coast of modern Turkey. At the age of forty, however, he emigrated to the city of Croton in southern Italy and most of his philosophical activity occurred there. Pythagoras wrote nothing, nor were there any detailed accounts of his thought written by contemporaries. By the first centuries BCE, moreover, it became fashionable to present Pythagoras in a largely unhistorical fashion as a semi-divine figure, who originated all that was true in the Greek philosophical tradition, including many of Plato's and Aristotle's mature ideas. A number of treatises were forged in the name of Pythagoras and other Pythagoreans in order to support this view.

The Pythagorean question, then, is how to get behind this false glorification of Pythagoras in order to determine what the historical Pythagoras actually thought and did. In order to obtain an accurate appreciation of Pythagoras' achievement, it is important to rely on the earliest evidence before the distortions of the later tradition arose. The popular modern image of Pythagoras is that of a master mathematician and scientist. The early evidence shows, however, that, while Pythagoras was famous in his own day and even 150 years later in the time of Plato and Aristotle, it was not mathematics or science upon which his fame rested. Pythagoras was famous (1) as an expert on the fate of the soul after death, who thought that the soul was immortal and went through a series of reincarnations; (2) as an expert on religious ritual; (3) as a wonder-worker who had a thigh of gold and who could be two places at the same time; (4) as the founder of a strict way of life that emphasized dietary restrictions, religious ritual and rigorous self discipline.

It remains controversial whether he also engaged in the rational cosmology that is typical of the Presocratic philosopher/scientists and whether he was in any sense a mathematician. The early evidence suggests, however, that Pythagoras presented a cosmos that was structured according to moral principles and significant numerical relationships and may have been akin to conceptions of the cosmos found in Platonic myths, such as those at the end of the Phaedo and Republic. In such a cosmos, the planets were seen as instruments of divine vengeance (“the hounds of Persephone”), the sun and moon are the isles of the blessed where we may go, if we live a good life, while thunder functioned to frighten the souls being punished in Tartarus. The heavenly bodies also appear to have moved in accordance with the mathematical ratios that govern the concordant musical intervals in order to produce a music of the heavens, which in the later tradition developed into “the harmony of the spheres.” It is doubtful that Pythagoras himself thought in terms of spheres, and the mathematics of the movements of the heavens was not worked out in detail. There is evidence that he valued relationships between numbers such as those embodied in the so-called Pythagorean theorem, though it is not likely that he proved the theorem.

Pythagoras' cosmos was developed in a more scientific and mathematical direction by his successors in the Pythagorean tradition, Philolaus and Archytas. Pythagoras succeeded in promulgating a new more optimistic view of the fate of the soul after death and in founding a way of life that was attractive for its rigor and discipline and that drew to him numerous devoted followers.

-- Pythagoras, by Carl Huffman, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
 
There are several considerations which make it seem very improbable that Numa reigned forty-three years. His reign is by all represented as a reign of uninterrupted peace; and the sole object of his government, to turn the minds of his subjects wholly from war to agriculture and other honest occupations, and to religious exercises. His people look upon him as the wisest man and best king in the world, and revere him as their common father. Nevertheless, this very people, of whom not a man fit to bear arms had ever drawn a sword, are, after forty-three years' habit of industry and devotion, brought at once, as soon as Numa is dead, totally to neglect his religious institutions, pick quarrels with their neighbours, and go to fighting as readily as if war had been their constant and only trade. Has this any appearance of probability? Is it not natural to believe rather that Numa's reign did not last above fifteen or sixteen years, and that the army which Tullus Hostilius led into the field consisted chiefly of Romulus's soldiers, who had been early inured to robbery and plundering, and whom Numa's discipline had not cured of their first habits and dispositions?
 
But as to Numa, there is another difficulty, with which Livy, Dionysius, and Plutarch, were much embarrassed, and which will be wholly removed by Sir Isaac Newton's calculations.
 
All those three historians take notice of a tradition which had universally prevailed among the Romans, that Numa was instructed by Pythagoras, the Samian philosopher. This tradition they all reject; and they imagine it had no foundation but the conformity between the tenets of Pythagoras and those of Numa. At the same time, they have no argument against the truth of the fact but what they draw from the received chronology of the regal state of Rome.* [Plutarch speaks of some writers who (probably to get rid of the difficulty arising from this old tradition, compared with the received chronology of the kings of Rome) imagined, that a certain Pythagoras, a Spartan, who gained the prize at the races in the 16th Olympiad, might be Numa's instructor. Dionysius likewise mentions this racer, but declares that he knows of no good author, Greek or Roman, who speaks of him as conversing with Numa.]
 
“Pythagoras (says Dionysius) was posterior to Numa, not a few years, but four entire generations,” i.e. four reigns of kings: for (as he goes on) “Numa began his reign in the middle of the 16th Olympiad, and Pythagoras taught in Italy after the 50th Olympiad,* [Cicero says,* [Tusc. Qu. 1. I, c. 16. Ibid. 1.4. c. I.] that Pythagoras came into Italy in the reign of Tarquin the Proud; and that he was in Italy when Brutus freed Rome from tyranny, i.e. 206 years after the beginning of Numa's reign, and in the 68th Olympiad. He supposes, that posterity being ignorant of the remote times ["cum states et tempora ignorarent propter vetustatem" [Google translate: when he states that the times were not known because of their antiquity]], and comparing the wisdom of Numa with that of Pythagoras, imagined, from that comparison, the king to have been a disciple of the philosopher. Now on this I observe, 1. That whatever reasons Cicero might have to place the coming of Pythagoras into Italy in the reign of Tarquin the Proud, it is plain, that Livy, Dionysius, and Pliny, thought the orator in a mistake, and had no deference to his authority in this particular. ["The most accurate chronology (says Mr. Stanley) teacheth (as Mr. Selden observes) that Pythagoras flourished betwixt the 50th and 52d Olympiad." p. 350.] 2. I observe, that Cicero supposes his countrymen, when they first entertained the notion of Numa's being instructed by Pythagoras, to have been extremely ignorant of the times of their kings, and particularly of the time when Numa lived. For, as to the time of Pythagoras, Cicero, who believed that he was still living in Italy in the first year of the republic, could hardly suppose that the Romans made a mistake of 200 years in their reckoning; and especially after their conquest of that country where Pythagoras had resided. Yet the notion of his being contemporary with Numa prevailed after that conquest. It would seem, therefore, that the chronology of the regal state of Rome was invented and framed long after the opinion concerning the intercourse between Numa and Pythagoras had been entertained; and if so, that the chronology ought rather to be rejected on account of the tradition, than the tradition rejected on account of the chronology, especially as the latter is not agreeable to the common course of nature, with regard to the reigns of kings; and the former is entirely consistent with it.] [x] [in the fourth year of which Olympiad he places the accession of Servius Tullius, [When Dionysius places the accession of Servius to the throne in the 50th Olympiad, he goes upon the supposition, that Servius reigned forty-four years. But I shall presently endeavour to show, that it is probable he did not reign above twenty years, nor come to the throne till about the 56th Olympiad, and yet that Pythagoras might be then living at Crotona, though he had been Numa's instructor.] the fifth king from Numa. The whole number of years between Numa's accession and that of Servius Tullius is 157.]
 
Now taking it for granted that Dionysius means to say that Pythagoras began to teach in Italy soon after the 50th Olympiad, and that he is right in this particular, a strong presumption will arise, from the constant tradition of his intercourse with Numa, that this king did not begin to reign in the 16th Olympiad, but much later.
 
According to Sir Isaac Newton's computations, Rome was not built till about the 38th Olympiad; on which supposition, if we allow about seventeen years for the reign of Romulus, Numa's accession to the throne will have been about the middle of the 42d Olympiad. And if this computation be just, there will have been but about thirty-four years (not 137) between the accession of Numa to the throne and the arrival of Pythagoras in Italy, even supposing that Pythagoras did not come into Italy till the 51st Olympiad; which however is not asserted by Dionysius
 
“St. Austin (says Mr. Bayle) would easily have believed that Numa was a disciple of Pythagoras; for he says that Thales lived during the reign of Romulus. Now we know that Thales and Pherecydes were contemporary, and that Pythagoras was a disciple of Pherecydes; and some pretend that Thales was so too. [*: Missing FN.] It is certain, at least, that Pythagoras and Anaximander, a disciple of Thales, lived at the same time.”
 
That Pythagoras was contemporary with Thales is no less certain, if Thales outlived Pherecydes, to whom Pythagoras was a disciple. And that Thales outlived Pherecydes is manifest from a letter which Pherecydes, upon his death-bed, wrote to Thales.
 
It is generally admitted that Thales was born in the first year of tne 35th Olympiad. This opinion is adopted by Petavius, Mr. Bayle, and Mr. Stanley; and Sir Isaac Newton seems to follow it, when he supposes, “that Thales in the 41st Olympiad applied himself to astronomical studies, and predicted eclipses, being then a young man” [about twenty-eight years of age].
 
If then Sir Isaac Newton be right in placing the foundation of Rome about the 38th Olympiad, St. Austin will not have erred in thinking that Thales was contemporary with Romulus, though Mr. Bayle seems to smile at the bishop's notion.
 
The ancient writers are of different opinions concerning the times of Pythagoras's birth, and of his going into Egypt and into Italy, and of his death. But it seems to be universally agreed that he was contemporary with Thales and the rest of the seven wise men, who all flourished between the 40th and 55th Olympiads.
 
And, if we may believe Pliny, Pythagoras could not be much younger than Thales. For Pliny says, that “Pythagoras observed the nature of the star Venus about the 42d Olympiad, year of Rome 142,” ["Both these numbers (says Father Harduin, in his notes on Pliny) must be gross corruptions, or Pliny must have grievously blundered, graviter hallucinatum. [Google translate: severely hallucinations]" Why so?' Because Laertius says, that Pythagoras was in the 60th Olympiad, Clemens Alexandrinus and Tatian in the 62d Olympiad, and Eusebius writes, that he died in the 70th Olympiad: and Dionys. Halic. says, that Pythagoras flourished after the 50th Olympiad; he seems, indeed, to speak without precision and at large," i.e., he does not say how long after. I must here observe, that F. Harduin would have us understand the passage in Dionysius to mean certainly, that Pythagoras did not begin to flourish till after the 50th Olympiad. But this is not the clear import of the historian's words. He says nothing of the time when Pythagoras began to flourish, but says, that he was posterior to Numa four entire generations [or four reigns of kings], and that he lived or taught [there are two readings] in Italy after the 50th Olympiad, that is, so late as after that Olympiad, so late as in the reign of the fifth king from Numa. He does not say at what time the philosopher came into Italy, and began to teach there. This might be long before the both Olympiad: but it was enough for Dionysius's purpose, that Pythagoras was living after the 50th Olympiad: for if so, and if Numa came to the throne in the 16th Olympiad, the king could not have been a disciple of the philosopher, which was all that Dionysius wanted to make out. His affirming that Pythagoras taught in Italy after the 50th Olympiad does in no wise clash with the passage above-cited from Pliny. But as to Pliny's blundering, why may not Laertius, Clemens, Tatian, and Eusebius, be as easily supposed to blunder as he? It is not improbable, that they all four took Cicero for their guide, who, in the opinion of Livy and Dionysius, did grossly blunder with regard to the point in question. And as to the corruption of Pliny's text by transcribers; since there are two eras made use of, and the numbers in both ways of reckoning coincide in one and the same year, there is little ground to suppose a corruption, unless it can be shown, that Pliny has elsewhere said something that is repugnant to what is expressed in the passage before us; but the annotator having produced nothing of this sort, one may naturally conclude that he met with nothing in his author to the purpose. Indeed, there is in Pliny one passage, which, as Sir Isaac Newton has happened (not according to his usual exactness) to translate it, seems not to square with Pythagoras's making astronomical observations in the 42d Olympiad. Sir Isaac Newton's words are these: "Pliny, in reckoning up the inventors of things, tells us, that Pherecydes Scyrius taught to compose discourses in prose in the reign of Cyrus." Now Cyrus did not found the Persian monarchy till the fourth year of the 62d Olympiad: and if Pythagoras was old enough in the 42d Olympiad to observe the nature of the star Venus, we must suppose that his master Pherecydes was born as early at least as the 32d Olympiad, in which case he must have been 120 years old at the beginning of the Persian monarchy. But Pliny does not say, that Pherecydes taught to compose discourses in prose in the reign of Cyrus, Cyro rege regnante, but in the time, the age of Cyrus, Cyri regis actate; (1. 7. c. 26.) and Cyrus was born in the second year of the 45th Olympiad, and was sixty-three years old when he came to the empire. So that supposing Pherecydes born so early as about the 32d Olympiad, he was but fifty-two or fifty-three years old at the birth of Cyrus; and if he taught prose writing in any part of Cyrus's life, the objection is removed. Farther: that Pherecydes did not teach in the 62d Olympiad is evident; because he died before Thales, who died in the 58th Olympiad, as is generally agreed. There is another passage in Pliny, which, with regard to the point in question, deserves to be remarked. In 1. 36. c. 9. he speaks of an Egyptian obelisk that was made by King Semneserteus, in whose reign (he says) Pythagoras was in Egypt. "Is autem obeliscus excisus est a rege Semneserteo, quo regnante Pythagoras in AEgypto fuit." F. Harduin, possessed with the opinion, that Pythagoras flourished not so early as Pliny represents him in 1.2. c. 8. and, therefore, that Pliny blundered in that part of his work, supposes that he is right here, when he says that the philosopher was in Egypt in the reign of King Semneserteus. But who is King Semneserteus? According to F. Harduin, Pliny can mean no other than Psamminitus, the successor of Amasis. And why must Pliny, by Semneserteus, mean the successor of Amasis? Because Laertius and Tzetzet say, that Pythagoras went into Egypt in the reign of Amasis [who reigned long, and died about the beginning of the 64th Olympiad]. So we are to understand, that Pliny knew this, and means to say, that Pythagoras was still in Egypt when Psamminitus came to the throne. Now I observe, 1. That Cambyses was preparing to invade Egypt before Amasis died, and in six months after his death dispossessed his successor Psamminitus, who therefore, it is highly probable, had no leisure to attend to the making obelisks. 2. That it seems somewhat extraordinary, that Pliny should take occasion, from the mention of Psamminitus, who can hardly be said to have reigned at all, to speak of his reign, as the time when Pythagoras was in Egypt. If Pliny had believed that Pythagoras went into Egypt in the reign of Amasis, and during that reign continued there many years, as he is represented by other writers to have done, it is natural to think he would have taken occasion, rather from the mention of Amasis than from the mention of his successor, a half-year king, to speak of Pythagoras being in Egypt. I rather conclude, therefore, that, by Semneserteus, Pliny means Psammitichus, who courted the Greeks, and encouraged strangers to settle in his country, and was the first king of Egypt who did so. He reigned long, and died in the third year of the 40th Olympiad. Pythagoras, who is said to have gone very young into Egypt, may have studied there some years in the latter part of this king's reign; and this will suit with what Pliny says of his observing the nature of the star Venus in the 42d Olympiad. N.B. When Sir Isaac Newton places the building of Rome about the 38th Olympiad, it is by a reckoning backward from the Regifuge (which was about the first year of the 68th Olympiad), and by allowing to the seven kings seventeen years a-piece, one with another. Nevertheless, as four or five of these kings were slain, and one deposed, he thinks that, at a moderate reckoning, the seven reigns may be computed at fifteen or sixteen years a-piece. Now, computing them at fifteen years a-piece, we shall bring down the building of Rome to the 41st Olympiad, and, of course, the accession of Numa (allowing to Romulus seventeen years) to the 45th Olympiad; and on this supposition Pythagoras may have been in Italy early enough to be Numa's instructor, before his accession to the throne.] [i.e. the 42d of Rome according to the reckoning of Cato.]
 
Now, as I observed before, it was in this very Olympiad that Numa came to the throne, according to Sir Isaac Newton's computations, if we allow but seventeen years to the reign of Romulus.
 
Livy agrees with Dionysius as to the time of Pythagoras being in Italy, and makes use of the same argument against the old tradition. “It is manifest (says he) that Pythagoras in the time of Servius Tullius kept a school of young students in the remotest coast of Italy, in the neighbourhood of Metapontum, Heraclea, and Crotona.” Be it so. It may nevertheless be true that Pythagoras was contemporary with Numa. For if the reigns of Tullus Hostilius, Ancus Martius, and Tarquinius Priscus, were very short, as from many particulars in the history there is great reason to believe they were, Pythagoras, who is said to have lived to the ages of eighty, ninety, ninety-nine, and a hundred and four, may very well have been contemporary with both Numa and Servius Tullius.
 
When Livy adds, “that the school kept by Pythagoras was above 100 years after Numa,* [It is to be observed, that Livy affects no exactness in his reckoning. When he says above 100 years after, if he counts from the death of Numa to the accession of Servius, the space of time is but ninety-four years: if he counts from the beginning of Numa's reign to the accession of Servius, the years are 137, by the old chronology.] centum amplius post annos,” it is to conform himself to the received chronology of the kings of Rome; of which chronology I shall presently show, that in his own mind he made little account, notwithstanding any thing he says. And indeed, if one considers the reasons which he gives, why Pythagoras, supposing him contemporary with Numa, could not be his instructor, they must incline one to think that the historian is not serious in his opposing the common tradition. “How (says he) could the fame of Pythagoras reach from the south-east coast of Italy, where Pythagoras kept school, into Sabinia? By an intercourse in what language could Pythagoras excite in Numa a desire of learning? Under what protection could the one pass to the other through so many nations of different languages and manners? I am rather of opinion, therefore, that Numa's mind was naturally virtuous, and was improved, not so much by science acquired from abroad, as by the severe doctrines and discipline of the ancient Sabines.”
 
As to the want of a common language in which the king and the philosopher might converse, it is to be observed, that Livy, when he relates (after the prior historians) the discovery of Numa's books under ground, does not object to that part of the story which said that seven of those books were written in Greek, but to what Valerius Antias adds, namely, that those Greek books contained the doctrines of Pythagoras. In this (says Livy) Valerius suited his faith to the common opinion, that Numa was a disciple of Pythagoras; a lie which has an appearance of truth: “Vulgatae opinioni qui creditur Pythagorae auditorum fuisse Numam mendacio probabili accommodata fide. [Google translate: The opinion of the Vulgate, who is believed to have been the hearers of Pythagoras, was based on a false belief that Numa was probable.]”
 
That this lie, if it be a lie, has an appearance of truth, must doubtless be admitted on account of the constancy of the tradition concerning the intercourse between Numa and Pythagoras, and on account of the undisputed conformity of the king's tenets with those of the philosopher. And there is one particular which gives this pretended lie so great an appearance of truth, that I should think we may admit it for a truth without being over credulous.
 
By Livy's report, Numa's books were discovered under ground in the consulship of Cornelius Cethegus and Baebius Tamphilus, which, according to the common reckoning, was in the year of Rome 571, or 573. Plutarch and Pliny place this discovery in the same consulship, and Pliny reckons 535 years from the beginning of Numa’s reign to this discovery of his books, which reckoning places the latter in 573 of Rome, supposing Numa's reign to begin with the 39th of the city.
 
It being certain, as was before observed, that Numa's tenets resembled those of Pythagoras, they must without question have been contrary to the religion which had been long established by law, at Rome, when his books were found; and accordingly these were, by order of the senate, burnt as heterodox: so Livy informs us; but at the same time tells us, that, before they were burnt, they had been read by so many persons, that they were in a manner public. Now, though Livy cites no authority on this occasion but Valerius Antias, we learn from Pliny, that the historians Lucius Piso Censorius and Cassius Hemina (who adhered to the old tradition) reported that Numa's books contained the tenets of Pythagoras. And these authorities are very considerable in this case: because Piso being a tribune of the people in the consulship of Manilius and Censorinus, about thirty-three years after finding the books; and Cassius Hemina flourishing in the consulship of Cornelius Lentulus and Mummius Achaicus, about thirty-seven years after the same discovery; those two historians were near enough to the time of the discovery to have very good means of informing themselves, concerning the contents of the books, from some of the many persons who had perused them.
 
Ovid in his 15th book of Metamorphoses represents Numa as instructed by Pythagoras, which shows at least that this was still the popular and prevailing opinion in the time of Augustus.
 
The aim of all that has been said on the subject of Pythagoras is to show, that Sir Isaac Newton's computations, which bring down Numa to the time of Pythagoras, have the support of traditional and historical facts.
 
TULLUS HOSTILIUS. 
 
To this third king of Rome the historians allot a reign of thirty-two years, and he is represented to us as a prince of a more fierce, restless, enterprising spirit than even Romulus, and as seeking every where pretences for war: “Ferocior etiam Romulo fuit: turn aetas viresque, tum avita quoque gloria animum stimulabat—undique materiam excitandi belli quaerebat.” [Google translate: He was even more ferocious to Romulus: both his age and his strength, and also his ancestral glory, spurred his mind on him—he sought on every side the occasion of stirring up the war.] Yet the reduction and demolition of Alba in the beginning of his reign, and one victory which he soon after obtained over the Sabines, are the whole sum of his military exploits.
 
Not long after his victory he is seized with some lingering distemper, his spirit sinks, he falls into superstition, and is killed by Jupiter for not performing a sacrifice in due form [that is to say, is privately murdered by Ancus Martius, who succeeded him].
 
If Livy, after this account of him, had not told us that he reigned thirty-two years, we should hardly have imagined that he reigned two.
 
ANCUS MARTIUS.
 
THOUGH more action be ascribed to this king, whose character is both martial and pacific, than to his predecessor, it does not seem that all his performances could require a fourth part of the twenty-four years that are given to his reign.
 
This remark, however, and that made on the history of Tullus Hostilius, are not offered as sufficient proofs that these kings did not reign thirty-two and twenty-four years respectively, but only as probable arguments, which in conjunction with others will have a degree of force. And thus much at least is certain, that the reigns of these two kings may have been very short, notwithstanding any achievements ascribed to them.
 
TARQUINIUS PRISCUS.
 
THE historians represent the elder Tarquin as very rich when he comes first from Hetruria to Rome, as very prosperous in war after his ascending the throne, and as having a taste for magnificence. This taste, and his ability to gratify it, carry him to design and begin several great works. He does not live to finish these, nor even to make any considerable progress in them, which affords some ground to conjecture that he did not reign thirty-eight years. But without laying any greater stress on this argument than it will bear, I proceed to another of more force with regard to the present purpose.
 
Whether this fifth king of Rome was the father or the grandfather of Tarquinius Superbus, the seventh king, is a question considered, and with full confidence determined by Dionysius. He decides, contrary to the report of Fabius, and all the other prior historians (except L. Piso), that Priscus was the grandfather of Superbus, and he imputes the supposed error of the historians from whom he differs to their not being aware of the absurdities in which their opinion involved them.
 
Those absurdities he thus exposes:
 
It is agreed that Priscus with his wife Tanaquil came to Rome in the time of Ancus Martius.
 
Gellius places the arrival of Priscus in the first year of King Ancus; Licinius in the eighth: but both agree, that he was employed as general of the horse to Ancus, in the ninth year of his reign: the arrival therefore of Priscus at Rome could not be later than the eighth of Ancus.
 
As Priscus, before he came to Rome, had aspired to dignities and high offices in his own country, he was doubtless twenty-five years old when he arrived; and as, after his arrival, Ancus reigned seventeen years and Priscus thirty-eight, Priscus was eighty when he died.
 
Tanaquil was probably five years younger than her husband, consequently seventy-five at the time of his death.
 
She cannot be supposed to have borne children after the age of fifty. [Mr. Bayle observes, that Dionysius, by making Brutus to be the son of Tarquinia, a daughter of Tanaquil, has fallen into one of the absurdities he imputes to those who differ from him concerning the birth of Tarquin the Proud; for by his own way of reasoning it will appear, that Tanaquil must have been fifty-four when she bore that daughter.]
 
Aruns, the brother of Superbus, was two years younger than he; consequently, if Superbus was the son of Tanaquil, she could not be more than forty-eight when she bore him. And if so, Superbus must have been at least twenty-seven when his father died, his mother being then seventy-five.
 
But if Superbus was twenty-seven when his father Priscus died, then, as Servius Tullius the successor of Priscus reigned forty-four years, Superbus must have been seventy-one at the time of his own accession to the throne: and as he reigned twenty-five years, he must have been ninety-six at the time of his dethronement. And as, after his dethronement, he maintained a war against the Romans fourteen years, he must have lived to the age of 110.
 
Now (says Dionysius) would Tanaquil (the wife of Priscus), had she been the mother of Superbus, have placed a stranger on the throne preferably to her own son, if her own son had been of an age to govern? A stranger, who was but three years older than her son? (For Servius Tullius was then but thirty.) Or would Superbus, a man of so much spirit, have quietly suffered it?
 
Can we believe that Superbus was seventy-one years old, when with so much strength and vigour he seized Servius Tullius by the waist, hurried him in his arms through the senate-house, and cast him headlong from the top of' the steps at the entrance of it?
 
Or is it credible that he was ninety-six years of age, when at the head of an army he performed all the functions of a general, as it is agreed he did, in the siege of Ardea, at the time of his dethronement?
 
Or, since it is agreed that Superbus after his dethronement maintained a war against the Romans fourteen years, and was in every action of that war, can it be admitted that he was ninety-six when that war commenced? Could he possibly keep the field till he was 110?
 
These things, says Dionysius, are incredible: and hence he concludes, that the second Tarquin was the grandson, and not the son of the first.
 
But, notwithstanding all the force of this reasoning, we do not find that Plutarch was convinced by it. He only tells us, that Superbus was either the son or grandson of Priscus, without declaring for either opinion.
 
And Livy, who, being no stranger to the reasons which determined Dionysius, says the matter is not clear, yet declares that he adheres to the opinion, that Superbus was the son of Priscus. [Hic L. Tarquinius Prisci Tarquinii regis filius, neposne fuerit, parum liquet: pluribus tamen auctoribus filium ediderim. L. i. c. 46.]
 
Now which way can we account for Livy's rejecting the conclusion in Dionysius's argument, but by supposing that he did not believe what he himself, as well as Dionysius, relates, namely, that Priscus reigned thirty-eight years, Servius Tullius forty-four, and Tarquin the Proud twenty-five? Indeed, as Livy does not say in what year of King Ancus Martius Priscus arrived at Rome, it is possible he might, in his own mind, place that arrival some years later than Dionysius (following Licinius) has done; in which case Superbus need not have been twenty-seven years old when his father died. Yet, since Livy represents Priscus so great a favourite of Ancus as to be by him left guardian of his children, the historian could not but allow a considerable time for Priscus to ingratiate himself with the king to that degree. Let us suppose, that Priscus came to Rome about six years only before the death of Ancus, the consequences will be, that Superbus was at least seventeen when he lost his father, eighty-six when dethroned, and near 100 at the battle of the Regillus, in which battle (according to Livy) he rode briskly up to attack the Roman general hand to hand.
 
“Is it not astonishing (says Mr. Bayle) that, considering the absurdities which attend the supposition that Superbus was the son of Priscus, Dionysius could find but one writer who makes him the grandson? This writer was Lucius Piso, whose opinion Dionysius has adopted. Livy had not the same discernment: he has chosen to follow the crowd of authorities, and thereby loaded himself with a heap of difficulties that dishonour his memory.” Artie. Tanaquil. (F.)
 
This charge upon Livy of wanting discernment I apprehend to be entirely groundless. Supposing him to believe that the Roman chronology was true, he could not but be aware of the insuperable objections to his opinion concerning the birth of Superbus. But I take the case to be this. That Superbus was the son of Priscus is a simple fact, which could easily be preserved by tradition; much more easily than the ages of successive kings, or the number of years they reigned. Tradition universally supported that simple fact, and there was nothing to bring the truth of it in question, but such reasonings as Dionysius has employed, founded on the received but uncertain chronology of the regal state of Rome. Livy believed the fact, and did not believe the chronology; yet knowing that it would be unpopular and offensive, should he, in his history, lower the antiquity of the Roman state explicitly and expressly, he has avoided that, and, at the same time, by declaring for the opinion, that Superbus was the son of Priscus, has discovered to his attentive readers his disbelief of the chronology commonly received. [Virgil seems to have acted the like part in making AEneas and Dido contemporary. Without giving offence, he has covertly insinuated, that the reckonings of the chronologers were very erroneous. Mr. Rollin (Hist. Anc. vol. i. p. 238, 242.) seems to admit that Carthage was built by Dido 883 years before the Christian era, and 300 years after the fall of Troy, and the voyage of AEneas: and he supposes Virgil to have known himself guilty of a great anachronism, in bringing AEneas and Dido together; yet, with many others, he excuses the poet by the doctrine of poetic licence, "it being (he says) a great beauty in the Aeneid, to represent the implacable enmity between Rome and Carthage as taking its rise in the remotest origin of the two states." But in reality, is Virgil more excusable than a modern poet would be, who should imagine a war between Constantine the first Christian emperor, and Mahomet the founder of the Mussulman religion? Would any body pardon such a licence on account of any beauties whatsoever? Surely reason will carry us to believe, that Virgil knew he was not guilty of any considerable anachronism with regard to AEneas and Dido. The Jesuits Catrou and Rouille, who likewise take for granted, that AEneas and Dido lived at a great distance of time from each other, and that Virgil knew it, yet observe, that none of the critics who were contemporary with Virgil, or who lived after him, till Macrobius's time [in the end of the fourth century], ever charged him with any anachronism. And they farther observe, that Cedrenus and several other historians have brought AEneas and Dido under the same roof.]
 
Nor is it only by relating facts, inconsistent with the truth of the common chronology, that he discovers his disregard to it, but by one of his reckonings. For in 1. 1. c. 40. he speaks of the thirty-eighth year of Tarquinius Priscus as being almost 100 years after the reign of Romulus, though by the common chronology it was 137 years after Romulus's death.
 
It is remarkable, that Livy does not tell us how long any one of the Roman kings lived; nor does he mention the lengths either of the lives or reigns of the fourteen Latin kings who preceded them.
 
With regard to several of the kings of Rome, I should conjecture, that the first annalists, who pretended to fix the number of years which each of them reigned, did, either through mistake or design, give the lengths of their lives for the lengths of their reigns. What has been already remarked concerning Romulus and Tullus Hostilius affords some ground for this conjecture; and the history of Servius Tullius seems to favour it with regard to him; or at least to furnish a very good argument for shortening the duration of his government.
 
SERVIUS TULLIUS.
 
DIONYSIUS tells us in the very beginning of his history of Servius's reign (and he plainly speaks of the beginning of this prince's reign), that the patricians being much dissatisfied to find that Servius having taken the reins of government into his hands only as a regent, intended to hold them as a king, came to this resolution; that the very first time he assembled the senate, they would oblige him to lay down the fasces and all the other ensigns of royalty, and would choose inter-kings, in order to proceed to a legal election of a successor to Tarquin: that Servius being apprised of their design, applied himself to gain the people to support him; and that, to this end, having assembled the people, he promised, among other benefits, to ease them with regard to the public taxes, by assessing every one in proportion to his substance, it being unreasonable (as he said) that the poor should contribute equally with the rich to the expenses of the state. Servius, in consequence of his promise, when they had chosen him king, and he had made some previous regulations, instituted the census, dividing the citizens into classes and centuries, &c. by which institution the burden of the taxes was thrown all upon the great and the rich.
 
As the senate obstinately refused to confirm the people's choice of Servius to be king, and as Servius depended wholly on the people's affections for the preservation of his authority, is it reasonable to suppose, that he put twenty-four years' distance between so important a promise and the performance? Now if the census, which was to be renewed every five years, and to be always closed by a lustrum, was instituted in the beginning of Servius Tullius's reign, how came it to pass that there were no more than four lustra during the forty-four years of this prince's administration? That this was the number of lustra in Servius's time, Pighius (p. 48.) says, may be collected from the Capitoline marbles; and we also have Val. Maximus's authority for it, b. 4. Would Servius neglect the observance of his own institution? An institution that was his masterpiece of policy, and his chief glory? To have four lustra in his reign required strictly but sixteen years, the first lustrum being at the time of the institution; and should we suppose that he was killed just before a new census should have been taken, still the four lustra could demand but twenty years. And this therefore is as long a space of time as can reasonably be allowed for his reign.
 
It must be confessed, that Livy, in his account of Servius Tullius, differs considerably from Dionysius, and, upon the whole, is more consistent, and more worthy of credit. [The ingenious author of The Dissertation on the Uncertainty of the Roman History [M. de Beaufort] has, with great judgment, compared the differing accounts given by the two historians of Servius's reign; and has clearly shown, that Livy's is the more credible, not only with regard to the disposition of the senate towards the king at the time of his accession, but with regard to that plan of republican government, which the king had formed some time before he died. Dionysius would have us believe, that the senators combined with Tarquin the Proud to destroy Servius, because this latter intended to change the government into a democracy. Now it is manifest from the king's own establishments, that he preferred aristocratical government to democratical. And therefore what Livy reports is highly credible, that the meditated change regarded only the monarchy. "Id ipsum tam mite ac tam moderatum imperium, tamen, quia unius esset, deponere eum in animo habuisse quidam auctores sunt. [Google translate: Some authors state that this very mild and moderate government, however, because he was the only one, had intended to depose him.]" (l.1. c. 48.) The same historian relates, that when two annual consuls were first created to govern the state, this creation was according to the plan of Servius Tullius. "Duo consules inde comitiis centuriatis a praefecto urbis ex commentariis Servii Tullii creati sunt. [Google translate: Two consuls were then elected in the election of centuries by the prefect of the city according to the commentaries of Servius Tullius.]" (l.1. c. 60.) What was it then that induced the senators to side with Tarquin, since Servius's new plan of government was so favourable to their ambition? Livy has answered this question. They were dissatisfied with the division which the king had made of the public lands among the people. For though he did not think it expedient that the lower sort should govern, yet he thought it reasonable they should live free, and be made easy in their inferiority; whereas it was the constant policy of the nobles of Rome to keep the commons in indigence, and of course in a slavish dependence. Tarquin seized the favourable opportunity of the senate's fit of anger, suddenly to perpetrate the murder of Servius and seat himself on the throne. Yet we find, that the usurper, when he had got power in his hands, and when the anger of the senate against Servius was subsided, would not trust to their good-will to support him in possession: he would not put his crown to the hazard of an election. He did not seek to be elected king by the senate more than by the people. Supported by foreign troops, he deprived both orders of their privileges, cruelly oppressed the nobles, but soothed the plebeians (as more to be dreaded on account of their greater strength) by his liberalities, and by sharing; among them the rich spoils acquired in war. See Hist. b. 2. c. 7. § iii. The nobles languished after that liberty and authority of which Servius had given them a taste; and the shocking atrocious deed of Sextus Tarquinius, which awakened the people, and made them thoroughly feel the slavery they were in, furnished the nobles with an opportunity of drawing them at once into measures for recovering the common freedom. This seems to be the true state of things with regard to Tarquin and the revolution. And the quick settlement of the new government without any opposition, sufficiently indicates, that Brutus and his associates went upon a plan already formed, and to which the chief men of the plebeians were no strangers, namely, that of Servius Tullius.] The Latin historian reports, that Servius took the crown with the consent of the fathers. And if we consider, that, by the institution of the census, and the centuriate comitia, the king threw all the power of the general assemblies into the hands of the nobles, it is not very probable that the nobles were his enemies. It seems more probable, that when he possessed himself of the throne, he did it in concert with the senators, and that he engaged them to support him by letting them into the secret of his intentions.
 
Be this as it will, it was absolutely necessary that Servius, in order to a quiet possession, should conciliate to him by some speedy measures both senate and people. And this we find he did by his new regulation of the government, pleasing the ambition of the nobles, and relieving the indigence of the plebeians. His situation, I say, required that his measures to gain the hearts of his subjects should be speedy; and therefore it is not to be questioned, but his institution of the census, and his division of the citizens into classes and centuries, &c. were in the beginning of his reign. And if so, I ask again, how came it to pass, that there were no more than four lustra in forty-four years? It is against all reason to suppose, that the king neglected an institution of his own invention, and which, giving satisfaction to both orders in the state, gained him their esteem and affection, and established his authority.
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Part 3 of 3
 
TARQUINIUS SUPERBUS. 
 
As to the twenty-five years which this king is said to have reigned, I shall only observe, that if his reign was really of that length (which does not seem improbable, since he began and finished the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, and the famous common sewers), it aids the argument against the long reign of Servius Tullius. For if Servius reigned forty-four years, and Superbus twenty-five, the latter, let him be the grandson of Priscus, as Dionysius will have it, could not be far from ninety years of age at the battle near the lake Regillus, fourteen years after his dethronement, since he was some years old at the death of Priscus: and, accordingly, the Greek historian gives him that age, and infers from it, that Gellius and Licinius (whom Livy has followed) and all the other historians, who say that Superbus fought on horseback in that battle, are not to be credited, because a man ninety years old could not fight on horseback. Now surely the juster way of reasoning would have been this: Tradition and history, uncontradicted, tell us that Superbus fought on horseback in the battle near the Regillus; therefore he could not be then ninety years of age: but, according to the common chronology, which gives forty-four years to the reign of Servius Tullius, and twenty-five to that of Superbus, the latter was ninety years old at that battle; consequently the common chronology is false.
 
It appears, that Dionysius (a critic by profession) had laid it down as a fundamental principle, that the received chronology of the regal state of Rome was true and exact; and therefore, let a fact be never so well attested, he rejects it, if he cannot make it square with that chronology.
 
Tradition and history said, that Superbus was the son of Priscus; that Superbus fought on horseback at the battle of Regillus; that Collatinus (the husband of Lucretia) was the son of Egerius (nephew of the elder Tarquin). No, says Dionysius, none of these things can be true; for they are not consistent with the long reigns of the kings. He produces no authority against the facts; nor does he know who was the father of Superbus, or the father of Collatinus; but he reasons from the received chronology, and concludes, contrary to all historical testimony, that Superbus was not the son, but the grandson of Priscus; that he did not fight on horseback at the abovementioned battle; and that Collatinus was not the son, but the grandson of Egerius.
 
Livy, on the other hand, though he durst not openly contradict the received chronology, seems to have been fully persuaded, that it was not so well vouched as many historical facts, that were incompatible with it. He therefore adheres to the facts, and leaves it to such notable critics as Dionysius to reconcile them with the chronology as well as they can.

 
As I have ventured thus far in an attempt to support Sir Isaac Newton's opinion concerning the duration of the regal state of Rome, it seems fit, that before I quit the subject I should take some notice of what the learned Dr. Shuckford has said in answer to Sir Isaac Newton's arguments, and in defence of the old chronology.
 
In the preface to the second volume of his Sacred and Profane History of the World connected, he writes thus:  
“Our great and learned author remarks, that the seven kings of Rome who preceded the consuls reigned one with another thirty-five years a-piece. I am sensible that it may be observed, that the reigns of these kings not falling within the times I am to treat of, I am not concerned to vindicate the accounts that are given of them; but I would not entirely omit mentioning them, because the lengths of their reigns may be thought an undeniable instance of the inaccuracy of the ancient computations, more especially because these kings were all more modern than the times of David; for supposing Rome to be built by Romulus, A.M. 3256 [Usher's Annals], we must begin Romulus's reign 300 years after the death of David, and the lives of men in these times being reduced to what has been esteemed the common standard ever since, it may perhaps be expected, that the reigns of those kings should not be longer, one with another, than the reigns of our kings of England, from William the Conqueror; or of the kings of France, from Pharamond; or of any other series of kings mentioned by our illustrious author: but here I would observe, that these seven kings of Rome were not descendants of one another. Plutarch remarks of these kings, that not one of them left his crown to his son. Two of them, namely, Ancus Martius and Tarquinius Superbus, were descendants from the sons of former kings, but the other five were of different families.
 
“The successors of Romulus were elected to the crown, and the Roman people did not confine their choice even to their own country, but chose such as were most likely to promote the public good. It is evident, therefore, that the lengths of these kings' reigns ought not to be estimated according to the common measure of successive monarchs, &c,
 
“I might remark farther, that there were interregna between the reigns of several of them.—Each of these interregna might perhaps take up some years. The historians allot no space of time to these interregna, but it is known to be no unusual thing for writers to begin the reign of a succeeding king from the death of his predecessor, though he did not immediately succeed to his crown.”
 
We see here that the learned writer, to get rid of the objection, drawn from the course of nature against the long reigns of the seven Roman kings, suggests two considerations by which we may account for them.
 
I. He observes that the Roman kings were elected. Very true; but it is likewise true that reigns will naturally be shorter in elective monarchies than in hereditary. And I observe, that this circumstance of election serves our learned writer to account for short reigns when he has occasion so to do. For when he would account for the short reigns of the first kings of Egypt, he has recourse to election.
“The first twelve kings of the Egyptian kingdoms, according to Sir John Marsham's tables, did not reign full so long” [as the first twelve kings of Assyria, i.e. not full forty years a-piece]. “But it must be remembered, that in the first times the kings of Egypt were frequently elected; and so, many times, sons did not succeed their fathers.''
 
According to Sir John Marsham's tables, the first twelve kings of no one of the Egyptian kingdoms reigned thirty-four years a-piece one with another. And yet these Egyptian kings are supposed to have reigned when men lived to the ages of 400, 300, 200. But, as the learned writer supposes that the Romans were induced by the circumstances of their affairs to elect men who were in the prime of life to be their kings, which accounts for the great length of their reigns; so, doubtless, he supposes that the Egyptians, on account of the circumstances of their affairs, elected old men to be their kings, men of about 300, 200, or 180 years old; by which supposition the whole difficulty arising from the short reigns of the first kings of Egypt is removed.
 
I must here observe, that the learned writer thinks it very reasonable to believe that the eight first kings of Edom, who reigned between the times of Moses and Saul, might reign above forty-eight years a-piece, one with another [as they are represented to have done], “because it suits very well with the length of men's lives in those times.” Now in those times the lives of men were not half so long as in the times of the first Egyptian kings, who by the tables did not reign thirty-four years a-piece, one with another. And the difficulty which arises from the comparison will not be solved by the supposed election of the Egyptian kings to the throne; because it is pretty evident that the eight first kings of Edom were elected, not one of them being the son or brother of his predecessor.

 
To return to the kings of Rome: the learned writer observes,
 
II. That, “between the reigns of several of the Roman kings there were interregna, and that each of these interregna might perhaps take up some years, and that the historians allot no space of time to these interregna.”

Now Livy tells us expressly, that the interregnum which followed the death of Romulus was of one year, [Annuum intervallum regni fuit [Google translate: There was an annual period in the kingdom.] L. 1. c. 17.] and the reason he gives for its being then terminated was the jealousy of the people, who apprehended an intention in the senate to reduce the government to an aristocracy; a reason which would naturally operate with like force in all future interregna.
 
Upon the death of Numa, the same historian relates that there was an interregnum, [Numae morte ad interregnum res rediit. Inde Tullum Hostilium—regem populus jussit [Google translate: By the death of Numa, the matter returned to an interregnum. Then the people ordered Tullus Hostilius—king.]. c. 22.] and that then Tullus Hostilius was chosen king, but says nothing to make us think that the interregnum lasted longer than was necessary for the ceremony of the election.
 
After the death of Tullus Hostilius it would seem by Livy's words, [Mortuo Tullo, res, ut institutum jam inde ab initio erat, ad patres redierat: hique interregem nominaverant. Quo comitia habente, Ancum Martium regem populus creavit [Google translate: Upon the death of Tullus, the matter had returned to the senate, as it had been established from the beginning, and these had named an interrex. When the election was held, the people created Ancus, king of Mars.]. c. 32.] that there was but one interrex before a successor to the crown was chosen.
 
After the death of Ancus Martius we are told by the same historian, [Jam filii [Anci] prope puberem aetatem erant. Eo magis Tarquinius instare, ut quam primum comitia regi creando fierent. Quibus indictis, sub tempus pueros venatum ablegavit [Google translate: Now the sons of Anci were almost immature. Tarquinius urged him the more, that the elections should be held as soon as possible for the election of a king. When this was announced, he sent away the boys to hunt at the time.]. c. 35.] that Tarquin, who was left guardian to the sons of Ancus, brought on the election of a successor with all expedition, and got himself chosen king.
 
After the death of Tarquin there was no interregnum. Nor after the death of Servius Tullius.
 
N.B. The learned writer takes no notice that most of the seven kings of Rome were slain, and one deposed.
 
As the learned writer, though the Roman kings did not fall within the times he was to treat of, judged it proper nevertheless to take notice of what Sir Isaac Newton has remarked concerning those kings, “Because the lengths of their reigns might be thought an undeniable instance of the inaccuracy of the ancient computations,” perhaps I may be excused, if, for a like prudential reason, I take notice of some things which the learned writer has said in support of the ancient computations, with regard to the kingdoms of Egypt, Sicyon, and Argos. For though these computations may be true, and that concerning the duration of the regal state of Rome be nevertheless false; yet, if it appears that the former cannot be supported with any show of argument, this will certainly go a great way towards discrediting the latter, as it will give ground to suspect that the profane chronology regarding the most ancient times has been all conjectural and technical. 
“The catalogues of kings (says Dr. Shuckford) which our great and learned author produces to confirm his opinion, are all of Inter date, some of them many ages later than the times of David.
 
“It cannot be inferred from these reigns of kings mentioned by Sir Isaac Newton, that kings did not reign, one with another, a much longer space of time in the ages which I am concerned with, in which men generally lived to a much greater age, than in the times out of which Sir Isaac Newton has taken the catalogues of kings which he has produced.
 
“From Abraham down almost to David men lived, according to the Scripture accounts of the lengths of their lives, to I think at a medium above 100 years, exceeding that time very much in the times near Abraham, and seldom falling short of it until within a generation or two of David; but in David's time the length of human life was, at a medium, but seventy years: now any one that considers this difference must see that the lengths of kings' reigns, as well as of generations, must be considerably effected by it. Successions in both must come on slower in the early ages according to the greater length of men's lives.
 
“I am sensible I could produce many catalogues of successions from father to son to confirm what I have offered; but since there is one which takes in almost the whole compass of the times which I am concerned in, and which has all the weight that the authority of the sacred writers can give it, and which will bring the point in question to a clear and indisputable conclusion, I shall for brevity's sake omit all others, and offer only that to the reader's farther examination. From Abraham to David (including both Abraham and David) were fourteen generations: now from Abraham's birth, A.M. 2008, [*: Missing FN.], to David's death, about A.M. 2986, [†:Missing FN.] are 978 years; so that generations in these times took up one with another near seventy years a-piece, i.e., they were above double the length which Sir Isaac Newton computes them, and which they were (I believe) after the times of David. We must therefore suppose the reigns of kings in these ancient times to be longer than his computation in the same proportion, and, if so, we must calculate them at above forty years a-piece one with another; and so the profane historians have recorded them to be: for, according to the lists we have from Castor of the ancient kings of Sicyon and Argos, the first twelve kings of Sicyon reigned more than forty-four years a-piece one with another, and the first eight kings of Argos something above forty-six, as our great author has remarked.
 
“But the reigns of the first twelve kings of Sicyon extended from A.M. 1920 to A.M. 2450, [By this reckoning the reigns of the twelve kings took up 530 years. But Dr. Shuckford, vol. ii. p. 41, gives only thirty-eight years a-piece to the first six kings, the whole time 228 years: so that the second six must have reigned above fifty years a-piece one with another, the whole time 302 years.] so that they began eighty-eight years before the birth of Abraham, and ended in the times of Moses.
 
“And the reigns of the first eight kings of Argos began A.M. 2154, ended A.M. 2525, so that they reached from the latter end of Abraham's life to a few years after the exit of the Israelites out of Egypt.
 
“And let any one form a just computation of the length of men's lives in these times, and it will in no wise appear unreasonable to imagine that the reigns of kings were of this length in these days.
 
“I might observe, that the ancient accounts of the kings of different kingdoms in these times agree to one another, as well as our great author's more modern catalogues,”

&c.
 
I. We see here, that the learned writer would have it granted him, and reasons all along upon the supposition that it will be granted him, that the first-named kings of Sicyon and Argos in the old catalogues reigned in the times he is concerned with, that is, in the times of longevity: and he seems not to be aware that this is begging§ [Mr. Whiston has made the same petitio principii [Google translate: begging.].] the very question in dispute, and that while he begs the question he furnishes reasons to reject his petition. He very justly advances, “that the difference there has been in the common length of human life, in the different ages of the world, must have had a considerable effect upon the length of both reigns and generations; both which must be longer or shorter in this or that age, in some measure, according to what is the common standard of the length of men's lives in the age they belong to.” But this undoubted truth furnishes an argument irresistible against the long reigns of the kings in the catalogues abovementioned.
 
Sir Isaac Newton has never said, that twelve kings of Sicyon, of whom the first began to reign in A.M. 1920 (Ant. Chr. 2084), might not reign forty-four years a-piece one with another; or that eight kings of Argos, of whom the first began to reign A.M. 2154 (Ant. Chr. 1850), might not reign forty-six years a-piece: but all his reasonings tend to prove, that the kingdoms, said to have commenced at those periods, did not then commence; that AEgialeus did not begin to reign in A.M. 1920, nor Inachus in 2154, but many centuries after those dates, and in the times of short life.

 
As to AEgialeus, Sir Isaac Newton has sufficiently shown by authorities, that he was the son of Inachus and brother of Phoroneus, who is counted the second king of Argos: the beginning of which kingdom was consequently prior to that of Sicyon. And he has likewise shown it to be highly probable that Apis, the fourth king of Sicyon, and Epopeus, the seventeenth king in the catalogue, were one and the same person, and that the twelve kings inserted between those two names were imaginary. The judicious Mr. Stanyan, in his Grecian History, seems much disposed to adopt this opinion. And even Mr. Whiston confesses (p. 983) that “the series of kings of Sicyon is more suspected by the learned than almost any that pretends to be very ancient; and that there are not wanting some plausible arguments against it.”
 
I shall therefore take no farther notice of the Sicyonian kings, but apply Sir Isaac Newton's method of reasoning from the course of nature to the succession of kings at Argos, of whom the eight first are said to have reigned above forty-six years a-piece one with another.
 
It is held by some learned men, that the life of man became reduced to the present standard in the time of Moses; others defer it to within a generation or two of David.
 
Moses, at eighty years of age, came out of Egypt in the year Ant Chr. 1491.
 
David died, at about seventy years of age, A.M. 2986, Ant Chr. 1018. He was therefore born about Ant. Chr. 1087.
 
The time between the Exodus and the birth of David is 404 years.
 
Let us take the middle number 202, and add it to 1087, and this will carry us back to Ant. Chr. 1289.
 
During these 1289 years, preceding the Christian era, we are authorized by Sir Isaac's catalogues to compute (when there is no certainty) the reigns of any considerable number of kings in succession at about twenty years a-piece one with another.

 
Let us then accept Sir Isaac's allowance of 340 years (instead of 622) for the reigns of the seventeen kings, ending with Leonidas, who was slain in the year Ant. Chr. 480.
 
If to these 480 years we add the 340, this will carry us back to the year 820 Ant. Chr. the time of the return of the Heraclides into Peloponnesus, and the beginning of the reign of Eurysthenes, the first of the seventeen kings of Sparta of that race.
 
It is generally admitted, that the beginning of the reign of Eurysthenes (who ejected Tisamenus, [N.B. Tisamenus was king of Argos, Mycenae, and Sparta, when the Heraclides dethroned him.] the son of Orestes and grandson of Agamemnon) was eighty years after the fall of Troy. These 80 years being added to the 820, we are got to the year 900 before Christ, the year when Troy was taken.
 
Agamemnon, king of Mycenae (who was slain just upon his return from Troy), is given us for the nineteenth king in succession from Inachus, the first king of Argos (Perseus, the fifteenth king of Argos, having removed the regal seat from Argos to Mycenae).
 
Now supposing all these nineteen kings in succession to have really existed, [Mr. Stanyan mentions the following kings of Argos, as said to have reigned in succession. Inachus, Phoroneus, Apis, Argus, Criasus, Phorbas, Iasus, Crotopus. But as to Apis, he tells us (p. 19), it is not generally assented to, that there was such a king of Argos. And in p. 22, he has these words: "As Iasus is not generally reckoned in the number of these kings, so it is doubted whether Phorbas and his son Triopas ought not to be excluded, it being said that they fled from Argos to the island of Rhodes: and the same doubt has been raised concerning Crotopus, because he is likewise said to have left Argos, and to have built a new city for himself in Megaris." I observe that Sir Isaac Newton (p. 170), by placing the beginning of the reign of Phoroneus, the second king of Argos, about the twelfth of Samuel, or Ant. Chr. 1088, supposes that at least eight or nine of the kings in the Argive catalogue were fictitious. In p. 172, he has these words: "Acusilaus wrote, that Phoroneus was older than Ogyges, and that Ogyges flourished 1020 years before the first Olympiad.''—But Acusilaus was an Argive, and feigned these things in honour of his country.—Inachus might be as old as Ogyges, but Acusilaus and his followers made them 700 years older than the truth; and chronologers, to make out this reckoning, have lengthened the races of the kings of Argos and Sicyon, and changed several contemporary princes of Argos into successive kings, and inserted many feigned kings into the race of the kings of Sicyon." If Sir Isaac Newton had not cut off eight or nine of the kings of Argos, he could not have placed Phoroneus so late as 1088 by his own method of computation.] yet if we allow them but twenty years a-piece one with another (and there is no reason to allow them more, for we are not yet got to the times of longevity), the sum will be 380, which, being added to 900, carries us back to the year 1280 before Christ, about which time we have supposed the life of man to have been first reduced to the present standard. And this brings down the commencement of the kingdom of Argos 570 years later than where it is placed by the old chronology.
 
But as we have here supposed, what perhaps many persons will not grant, that the life of man was brought to the present standard 202 years before the birth of David, let us fix the date of this abbreviation of human life at only forty years before David's birth, and then it will be in the year before Christ 1127. This is, I think, as low a date as any body contends for; at least Dr. Shuckford will be content with it.
 
Of the nineteen kings it will require eleven, at about twenty years and a half a-piece, to carry us up from the death of Agamemnon (which, by the foregoing computation, happened about the year before Christ 900) to the fortieth year before David's birth, Ant. Chr. 1127: and consequently, if we will adhere to the pretended date of the commencement of the kingdom of Argos, viz. Ant. Chr. 1850 (or A.M. 2154), we must suppose the eight first kings to have reigned above ninety years a-piece one with another, and their reigns to have taken up 723 years; for this is the number that must be added to 1127 to make 1850.
 
But if the eight first kings of Argos reigned ninety years a-piece one with another, what the learned writer advances in the following passage concerning monuments, stone pillars, and incriptions, can have no foundation.
“As to our illustrious author's arguments from the length of reigns: I might have observed that it is introduced upon a supposition which can never be allowed, namely, that the ancient chronologers did not give us the several reigns of their kings as they took them from authentic records, but that they made the lengths of them by artificial computations, calculated according to what they thought the reigns of such a number of kings as they had to set down would at a medium one with another amount to: this certainly never was fact; but as Acusilaus, a most ancient historian mentioned by our most illustrious author, wrote his genealogies out of tables of brass, so it is by far most probable that all the other genealogists who have given us the lengths of lives or reigns of their kings or heroes, took their accounts either from monuments, stone pillars, or ancient incriptions, or from other antiquaries of unsuspected fidelity, who had faithfully examined such originals.”
 
To this I farther answer,
 
I. If these genealogists were so faithful and had such good vouchers, whence came “those repugnances in their chronological canons (mentioned by Plutarch) which hundreds of authors correcting have not been able to constitute any thing certain in which they could agree?” For instance, how came AEgialeus, king of Sicyon, to be, according to some chronologers, 234 years, and, according to others, above 500 years older than Phoroneus, king of Argos, when “Acusilaus, Anticlides, and Plato, accounted Phoroneus the oldest king in Greece; and Apollodorus tells us, AEgialeus was the brother of Phoroneus?”

II. Dr. Shuckford, in another part of his work, seems to admit that the ancients made use of an artificial chronology, as appears by the following passage, vol. i. p. 207.

1. “He [Sir John Marsham] observes from Diodorus, that Menes was succeeded by fifty-two kings, whose reigns altogether took up the space of above 1400 years. In all which time the Egyptians had done nothing worth the recording in history.

2. “He supposes these 1400 years to end at Sesostris; for Herodotus is express that the first illustrious actions were done in Egypt in the time of Sesostris; before Sesostris, says he, they had done nothing famous; and Diodorus says that Sesostris performed the most illustrious actions, far exceeding all before him.

3. “He supposes, with Josephus, that this Sesostris was Sesac, who besieged Jerusalem in the fifth year of Rehoboam king of Judah, about A.M. 3033.
“The only difficulty in this argumentation will be, that it places Menes, or Mizraim, above a century earlier than his true age; for if we reckon backward 1400 years, from the year before named [3033], in which Sesac besieged Jerusalem, we shall place Mizraim A.M. 1633, i.e. twenty-three years before the flood, and 139 years earlier than the true time of his reign, which began A.M. 1772; but this difficulty may be easily cleared: the number 1400 years is a mistake: Diodorus says expressly that there were but fifty-two kings from Menes to the time where Sesostris's reign is supposed to begin; ["According to Diodorus, Sesostris was about eighty successions after Menes or Mizraim. Diodorus must indeed have made a mistake in this computation, for from the death of Menes A.M. 1943 to Sesac about A.M. 3033 are but 1090 years, and fifty-five successions may very well carry us down thus far," &c. Pref. p. xxxi. vol. ii.] and according to Sir John Marsham's tables of the Theban kings, from Menes to Sesostris is but 1370 years, though we suppose Sesostris the fifty-fifth king from Menes, and even this number is too great, if, as Diodorus computes, there were fifty-two kings only.
 
“The ancients generally allowed about thirty-six years and a half to the reign of a king [when they made use of an artificial chronology], and therefore if we deduct three times thirty-six years and a half, or about 110 years from 1370 (the number of years between Menes and Sesostris, according to Sir John Marsham’s tables), I say, if we deduct three times thirty-six years and a half, or about 110 years (supposing those tables to have the names of three kings too many, the number of kings being, according to Diodorus, fifty-two, and not fifty-five), we shall then make the space of time between Menes and Sesostris about 1260 years; and so it really is according to the Hebrew chronology, Menes beginning his reign, as we before said, anno mundi 1772; and Sesostris or Sesac besieging Jerusalem in the fifth year of Rehoboam, anno mundi 3033.”
 
I cannot but observe here, that the learned writer, who in imitation of the ancients makes use of an artificial chronology, has in the present instance employed it somewhat unluckily; for supposing he might have allowed 110 years to three reigns in any other succession of ancient kings, he has no right to make that allowance here, where the reigns of the fifty-two kings filling only 1260 years, they could reign but about twenty-four years a-piece one with another. And indeed the shortness or these reigns furnishes a good argument against that catalogue of fifty-two kings (as well as Diodorus's eighty kings), and against the learned writer's opinion concerning the ancient chronologers, that they took their successions of kings, and the numbers of years which each of them reigned, from authentic records.
 
For is it not highly incredible that fifty-two Egyptian kings, beginning with Mizraim, and reaching through the times of longevity from A.M. 1772 to 3033, should reign but three or four years a-piece one with another longer than the like number of successive kings in modern kingdoms? A consideration that seems sufficient to overthrow all imaginary tables of brass, stone pillars, monuments, inscriptions, &c recording the succession of those fifty-two kings or fifty-five kings between Mizraim and Sesostris. [See in p. lii. the citation from Mr. Whiston.]
 
Or, if it be credible that the reigns of fifty-two kings of Egypt in succession from Mizraim took up but 1260 years, is it not improbable, that the reigns of thirty-nine kings in succession, from Inachus, took up 1370 years; [The nineteen kings ending with Agamemnon, the three between Agamemnon and Eurysthenes, and the seventeen beginning with Eurysthenes and ending with Leonidas, make up the thirty-nine. They reign from Ant. Chr. 1850 to Ant. Chr. 480.] that if the former kings reigned but about twenty-four years a-piece one with another, the latter should reign thirty-five; especially if we consider that the reign of Mizraim is supposed to have begun 382 years before the reign of Inachus, and but 116 after the flood?
 
Arphaxad was coeval with Mizraim. Now had Arphaxad established a kingdom A.M. 1772, and the crown had gone in lineal descent, it is probable there would not have been more than fifteen kings in 1260 years, i.e., from the beginning of Arphaxad's reign to the time of Sesostris, who was contemporary with Solomon. For from Arphaxad to Solomon (both included) there were but twenty-three generations: and, during the first nine generations, there would have been but three kings, Arphaxad, Salah, and Eber: for Eber outlived Abraham, the seventh in descent from him.
 
And it is to be observed, that these three reigns would have taken up 415 years (there being from A.M. 1772 to A.M. 2187, the year when Eber died, exactly that number), whereas in no series of Egyptian reigns in Sir John Marsham's tables do the twelve first take up more than 407 years.
 
And as to the fourteen generations, beginning with Isaac and ending with Solomon, it is probable they would not have furnished more than twelve kings: for while the life of man was shortening from 180 years to 70, fathers would frequently outlive their sons, and the reigns would be fewer than the generations.
 
But supposing a king for each of the fourteen generations from Isaac to Solomon (both included), the whole number of kings in 1260 years, from Arphaxad to Solomon, would have been but seventeen.
 
That the reigns of fifty-two kings in succession from Mizraim should take up no longer a space of time than twenty-three generations from Arphaxad, has surely at first sight an appearance of improbability. How far the difficulty may be solved by the suppositions of election, rebellion, and king-killing, I shall leave to the reader to consider.
 
But in the passage above cited (from pref. p. xix.) the learned writer, to support the credit of the old chronologers, observes farther, that “the ancient accounts of the kings of different kingdoms agree to one another as well as Sir Isaac Newton's more modern catalogues.”
 
Yes, in some instances, they agree so well, as by their agreement to discover their technical original. For the twenty-two first kings of Thebes, in Sir John Marsham's tables, take up but 676 years, and the twenty-one kings of Alba and Rome take up just the same number, though the first are supposed to have reigned in the times when men lived to the ages of 400, 300, 200, 120, and the other when the life of man was shortened to seventy years.

 
So, in the times of short life, the twelve kings of Macedonia, from Caranus to Archelaus, reign thirty-four years and a half a-piece. And the eight last of the Latin kings, from Amulius to Tarquin the Proud, reign thirty-five and three quarters.
 
And in the times of long life, the twelve first kings of Assyria reign about forty years a-piece one with another.
 
How can these things be made to square with that principle, laid down by the learned writer (pref. p. xv.) that “the difference there has been in the common length of human life, in the different ages of the world, must have had a considerable effect upon the length of reigns, which must be longer or shorter in this or that age in some measure, according to what is the common standard of the length of men's lives in the age they belong to?”
 
I should think that the great mistake of the annalists who wrote of the first ages after the flood is not in allowing so many as 100 or 120 years to three reigns, but in not allowing more. [The fourteen first Egyptian kings of Thebes are said to have reigned 414 years, i.e., from A.M. 1772 to 2186, or till three years after the death of Abraham (who died at the age of 175), and though they lived in these times of longevity, yet they reigned but twenty-nine years some months a-piece; they are not made to reign so long as the fourteen Latin kings, after the fall of Troy, which is supposed to have happened A.M. 2820, 634 years after the last of the fourteen Egyptian kings.] They seem to have known nothing of the fact, that men's lives extended to so great a length, during some centuries after the flood, as they are represented to do in Scripture: for had they known this, surely they would never have made their accounts of kings' reigns in the earlier and later ages agree so well together.
 
As to the long argumentation which the learned writer has employed in support of Ctesias's chronology of the Assyrian monarchs, against Sir Isaac Newton's objections, I shall not enter into any consideration of it; because to my apprehension the learned writer does not seem to be quite satisfied with it himself; nor to have a very advantageous opinion of Ctesias.
“We find (says he) from Scripture, that after Abraham's defeating his armies'' [the armies of Chederlaomer], “the Assyrian kings appear not to have had any dominion over the nations between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates: this indeed seems to confine the Assyrian empire within narrower bounds than can well agree with the accounts which the heathen writers give of it; but then it is remarkable, that these enlarged accounts come from hands comparatively modern. Diodorus informs us, that he took his from Ctesias; Ctesias might have the number of his ancient Assyrian kings from the Persian chronicles; but as all writers have agreed to ascribe no great actions to any of them, from after Ninus to Sardanapalus; so it appears most reasonable to imagine, that the Persian registries made but a very short mention of them” [probably none at all]; “for ancient registries afforded but little history, and therefore I suspect, that Ctesias's estimate of the ancient Assyrian grandeur was rather formed from what he knew to be true of the Persian empire, than taken from any authentic accounts of the ancient Assyrian.”
 
And Mr. Whiston says (p. 980), “I desire not to be misunderstood in this place, as if I believed all the strange stories of Ctesias [Ktesias] either as to the beginning or ending of this Assyrian kingdom. I do not depend upon such legendary relations. I have not here set down the several years which each of these kings [in all thirty-two from Belus to Sardanapalus out of Moses Chorenensis] reigned, because it must be acknowledged that the copies differ much about them: and I suspect several mistakes in those particular numbers of successions and of years, though the general sum of the years, within a little more than a century, is well attested by the ancients.”
The ancient Greeks, till even a comparatively late period in their history, possessed little, if any, real knowledge of India. It is indeed scarcely so much as mentioned by name in their greatest poets, whether epic, lyric, or dramatic. They must, however, have known of its existence as early as the heroic times, for we find from Homer that they used even then articles of Indian merchandize, which went among them by names of Indian origin, such as kassiteros, tin, and elephas, ivory. But their conception of it, as we gather from the same source, was vague in the extreme. They imagined it to be in Eastern Ethiopia which stretched away to the uttermost verge of the world, and which, like the Ethiopia of the West, was inhabited by a race of men whose visages were scorched black by the fierce rays of the sun. [Ktesias... who wrote somewhat later than Herodotos, frequently calls the Indians by the name of Ethiopians...]...

This explains why we find in Greek literature mention of peculiar or fabulous races, both of men and other animals, which existed apparently in duplicate, being represented sometimes as located in India, and sometimes in Ethiopia ...

Perhaps, as Dr. Robertson has observed, they disdained, through pride of their own superior enlightenment, to pay attention to the transactions of people whom they considered as barbarians, especially in countries far remote from their own. But, in whatever way the fact may be accounted for, India continued to be to the Greeks little better than a land of mystery and fable till the times of the Persian wars, when for the first time they became distinctly aware of its existence. The first historian who speaks clearly of it is Hekataios of Miletos (B.C. 549-486), and fuller accounts are preserved in Herodotos, and in the remains of Ktesias, who, having lived for some years in Persia as private physician to king Artaxerxes Mnemon, collected materials during his stay for a treatise on India, the first work on the subject written in the Greek language. ["The few particulars appropriate to India, and consistent with truth, obtained by Ctesias, are almost confined to something resembling a description of the cochineal plant, the fly, and the beautiful tint obtained from it, with a genuine picture of the monkey and the parrot; the two animals he had doubtless seen in Persia, and flowered cottons emblazoned with the glowing colours of the modern chintz were probably as much coveted by the fair Persians in the harems of Susa and Ecbatana as they still are by the ladies of our own country; ... but we are not bound to admit his fable of the Martichora, his pygmies, his men with the heads of dogs, and feet reversed, his griffins, and his four-footed birds as big as wolves." — Vincent.]

His descriptions were, unfortunately, vitiated by a large intermixture of fable....

Regarding the veracity of Megasthenes, and his value as a writer, Schwanbeck writes to this effect: --

"The ancient writers, whenever they judge of those who have written on Indian matters, are without doubt wont to reckon Megasthenes among those writers who are given to lying and least worthy of credit, and to rank him almost on a par with Ktesias.
...

-- Ancient India as Described by Megasthenes and Arrian; Being a Translation of the Fragments of the Indika of Megasthenes Collected by Dr. Schwanbeck, and of the First Part of the Indika of Arrian, by J.W. McCrindle, M.A., Principal of the Government College, Patna, Member of the General Council of the University of Edinburgh, Fellow of the University of Calcutta, With Introduction, Notes and Map of Ancient India, 1877
 
Nor shall I meddle with Sir Isaac Newton's astronomical argument for fixing the time of the Argonautic expedition (and of course the time of the fall of Troy, which was only one generation later), from the position of the solstitial and equinoctial points on the sphere which Chiron made for the use of the Argonauts. I am too little acquainted with the science of astronomy to speak pertinently on the subject. I shall only observe that Mr. Whiston does not agree with Dr. Shuckford concerning the grounds of the argument. 

"The fallacy of this argument (says Dr. Shuckford) cannot but appear very evident to any one that attends to it: for suppose we allow that Chiron did really place the solstices, as Sir Isaac Newton represents (though I should think it most probable that he did not so place them), yet it must be undeniably plain, that nothing can be certainly established from Chiron's position of them, unless it appears, that Chiron knew how to give them their true place.
"If indeed it could be known what was the true place of the solstitial points in Chiron's time, it might be known, by taking the distance of that place from the present position of them, how much time has elapsed from Chiron to our days.
 
But I answer, it cannot be accurately known from any schemes of Chiron what was the true place of the solstices in his days; because, though it is said that he calculated the then position of them, yet he was so inaccurate an astronomer, that his calculation might err four or five degrees from their true position."

Mr. Whiston (p. 991) writes thus:
"As to the first argument from the place of the two colures in Eudoxus from Chiron the Argonaut, preserved by Hipparchus of Bithynia, I readily allow its foundation to be true, that Eudoxus's sphere was the same with Chiron's, and that it was first made and showed Hercules and the rest of the Argonauts in order to guide them in their voyage to Colchis. And I take the discovery of this sure astronomical criterion of the true time of that Argonautic expedition (in the defect of eclipses) to be highly worthy the uncommon sagacity of the great Sir Isaac Newton, and in its own nature a chronological character truly inestimable. Nor need we, I think, any stronger argument in order to overturn Sir Isaac Newton's own Chronology, than this position of the colures at the time of that expedition, which its proposer has very kindly furnished us withal."

In p. 996:
I now proceed to Eudoxus's accurate description of the position of the two colures as they had been drawn on their celestial globes, ever since the days of Chiron, at the Argonautic expedition, and as Hipparchus has given us that description in the words of Eudoxus."

Again (p. 1002):
"Sir Isaac Newton betrays his consciousness how little Eudoxus's description of Chiron's colures agreed to his position of them, by pretending that these observations of the ancients were coarse and inaccurate. This is true if compared with the observations of the moderns which read to minutes; and, since, the application of telescopic sights to astronomic instruments, to ten or fewer seconds. But as to our present purpose this description in Eudoxus is very accurate, it both taking notice of every constellation, through which each of the coloures passed, that were visible in Greece; and hardly admitting of an error of half a degree in angular measures, or thirty-six years in time. Which is sufficiently exact."

How far Mr. Whiston has succeeded in his argumentation about the neck of the swan and the tail of the bear, &c. I must leave to others to consider. I shall only observe, with regard to the last paragraph cited from his discourse, that when Sir Isaac Newton calls the observations of the ancient astronomers coarse, he cannot well be understood to use that word but in a comparative sense, that sense in which Mr. Whiston admits it may be justly used. For otherwise Sir Isaac would not have inferred any thing as certain from those ancient observations. Now, in p. 95, after he has finished his argument from Chiron's sphere, he thus writes:
"Hesiod tells us, that sixty days after the winter solstice, the star Arcturus rose at sunset: and thence it follows, that Hesiod flourished about 100 years after the death of Solomon, or in the generation or age next after the Trojan war, as Hesiod himself declares.
 
From all these circumstances, grounded upon the coarse observations of the ancient astronomers, we may reckon it certain, that the Argonautic expedition was not earlier than the reign of Solomon: and if these astronomical arguments be added to the former arguments taken from the mean length of the reigns of kings according to the course of nature; from them all we may safety conclude, that the Argonautic expedition was after the death of Solomon, and most probably that it was about forty-three years after.
 
The Trojan war was one generation later than that expedition -- several captains of the Greeks in that war being sons of the Argonauts,"

&c.
 
By the last words here cited, I am brought round again to the point from whence I set out in this discourse, the fall of Troy: the time of which event, if it be rightly settled, or pretty near the truth, by Sir Isaac Newton, the received chronology of the regal state of Rome is totally discredited and overturned. For then the whole space of time, between the taking of Troy and the expulsion of Tarquin the Proud, will not have been about 400 years; and of these nobody, I imagine, will be inclined to give 244 to the seven kings of Rome, most of whom were slain, and but 156 to the fourteen Latin Kings their predecessors.
 
To the probable arguments brought by Sir Isaac for shortening the duration of the regal state, I have added another, taken from certain traditions which prevailed among the Romans, and of which the chronology, framed afterwards, was not able to destroy the belief, though the truth of those traditions was incompatible with the truth of that chronology.
 
And I have shown, that in the Roman story there are other particulars repugnant to the received chronology, but perfectly consistent with Sir Isaac Newton's computations.
 
Tradition and the earliest Roman historians said,
 
1. That Numa was contemporary with Pythagoras.
 
2. That Tarquin the Proud was the son of Tarquin the Elder.
 
3. That Tarquin the Proud was at the head of his army, and fought on horseback in his last battle with the Romans [about fourteen years after his expulsion].
 
4. That Collatinus, the husband of Lucretia, and created consul on the expulsion of Tarquin the Proud, was the son of Egerius, nephew of Tarquin the Elder.

 
Now all these facts are inconsistent with the old chronology; and for this reason, and this alone, Dionysius rejects them. Livy, aware of the inconsistency, adheres nevertheless to the three last of these facts, and speaks of the first in such a manner as to make one think he really believed that too. So that he seems to have had little faith in the received chronology, though he durst not openly and expressly contradict it.
 
On the other hand, all those facts are consistent with Sir Isaac Newton's computations, which shorten the reigns of the kings. And the same computations being admitted, we get rid of other difficulties.
 
1. We see plainly why the historians could give no account of any thing done by Romulus after the seventeenth year of his reign, while they tell us that he reigned thirty-seven years.
 
2. By shortening the duration of Numa's peaceful and religious reign, we can account for that martial disposition, which the Romans still retained, when Tullus Hostilius came to the throne.
 
3. If we shorten the reigns of Tullus Hostilius, Ancus Martius, and Tarquinius Priscus, we are at no loss for a reason why three such ambitious and active princes did so little.
 
4. By cutting off about twenty-four years of the forty-four given to the reign of Servius Tullius, we can explain how it came to pass that there were no more than four lustra in his time; which otherwise seems very difficult to be accounted for.
 
It surely cannot be denied, that there is a great coincidence of circumstances to support Sir Isaac Newton’s computations; and that his computations, if admitted, render credible many historical facts, which are incredible so long as we adhere to the old chronology.
 
A writer not less distinguished for his depth of thought, and logical exactness, than for his amiable benevolent fairness in argument, observes, “The evidence arising from various coincidences, which confirm and support each other, is that kind of evidence upon which most questions of difficulty in common practice are determined. – And that probable proofs, by being added, not only increase the evidence, but multiply it.”
 
Supposing it easy to show, that in the present argument (consisting of Sir Isaac Newton’s reasons, and those I have added to them), this or that particular thing, offered in proof, is liable to objection, and of little weight in itself; yet the united force of all the particulars, in one view, may perhaps be irresistible; and certainly the conclusion we make from a view of the particulars ought to be such as results from their united force. 
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Jason [And the Argonauts and the Quest for the Golden Fleece]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 1/17/21

"The season of Sisira is from the first of Dhanishtha to the middle of Revati; that of Vasanta from the middle of Revati to the end of Rohini; that of Grishma from the beginning of Mrigasiras to the middle of Aslesha; that of Versha from the middle of Aslesha to the end of Hasta; that of Sanad from the first of Chitra to the middle of Jyeshtha; that of Hemanta from the middle of Jyeshtha to the end of Sravana."

This account of the six Indian seasons, each of which is co-extensive with two signs, or four lunar stations and a half, places the solstitial points, as Varaha has asserted, in the first degree of Dhanishtha, and the middle, or 6°40', of Aslesha, while the equinoctial points were in the tenth degree of Bharani and 3°20' of Visacha; but in the time of Varaha, the solstitial colure passed through the 10th degree of Punarvasu and 3°20' of Uttarashara, while the equinoctial colure cut the Hindu ecliptic in the first of Aswini and 6°40' of Chitra, or the Yoga and only star of that mansion, which, by the way, is indubitably the Spike of the Virgin, from the known longitude of which all other points in the Indian Zodiac may be computed. It cannot escape notice, that Parasara does not use in this passage the phrase at present, which occurs in the text of Varaha; so that the places of the colures might have been ascertained before his time, and a considerable change might have happened in their true position without any change in the phrases by which the seasons were distinguished; as our popular language in astronomy remains unaltered, though the Zodiacal asterisms are now removed a whole sign from the places where they have left their names. It is manifest, nevertheless, that Parasara must have written within twelve centuries before the beginning of our era, and that single fact, as we shall presently show, leads to very momentous consequences in regard to the system of Indian history and literature.

On the comparison which might easily be made between the colures of Parasar and those ascribed by Eudoxus to Chiron, the supposed assistant and instructor of the Argonauts, I shall say very little; because the whole Argonautic story, (which neither was, according to Herodotus, nor, indeed, could have been originally Grecian) appears, even when stripped of its poetical and fabulous ornaments, extremely disputable; and whether it was founded on a league of the Helladian princes and states for the purpose of checking, on a favourable opportunity, the overgrown power of Egypt, or with a view to secure the commerce of the Euxine and appropriate the wealth of Colchis; or, as I am disposed to believe, on an emigration from Africa find Asia of that adventurous race, who had first been established in Chaldea; whatever, in short, gave rise to the fable, which the old poets have so richly embellished, and the old historians have so inconsiderately adopted, it seems to me very clear, even on the principles of Newton, and on the same authorities to which he refers, that the voyage of the Argonauts must have preceded the year in which his calculations led him to place it.[!!!]

-- XXVII. A Supplement to the Essay on Indian Chronology, by the President (Sir William Jones), Asiatic Researches, Volume 2, 1788

Nor shall I meddle with Sir Isaac Newton's astronomical argument for fixing the time of the Argonautic expedition (and of course the time of the fall of Troy, which was only one generation later), from the position of the solstitial and equinoctial points on the sphere which Chiron made for the use of the Argonauts. I am too little acquainted with the science of astronomy to speak pertinently on the subject. I shall only observe that Mr. Whiston does not agree with Dr. Shuckford concerning the grounds of the argument. 

"The fallacy of this argument (says Dr. Shuckford) cannot but appear very evident to any one that attends to it: for suppose we allow that Chiron did really place the solstices, as Sir Isaac Newton represents (though I should think it most probable that he did not so place them), yet it must be undeniably plain, that nothing can be certainly established from Chiron's position of them, unless it appears, that Chiron knew how to give them their true place.
"If indeed it could be known what was the true place of the solstitial points in Chiron's time, it might be known, by taking the distance of that place from the present position of them, how much time has elapsed from Chiron to our days.
 
But I answer, it cannot be accurately known from any schemes of Chiron what was the true place of the solstices in his days; because, though it is said that he calculated the then position of them, yet he was so inaccurate an astronomer, that his calculation might err four or five degrees from their true position."

Mr. Whiston (p. 991) writes thus:
"As to the first argument from the place of the two colures in Eudoxus from Chiron the Argonaut, preserved by Hipparchus of Bithynia, I readily allow its foundation to be true, that Eudoxus's sphere was the same with Chiron's, and that it was first made and showed Hercules and the rest of the Argonauts in order to guide them in their voyage to Colchis. And I take the discovery of this sure astronomical criterion of the true time of that Argonautic expedition (in the defect of eclipses) to be highly worthy the uncommon sagacity of the great Sir Isaac Newton, and in its own nature a chronological character truly inestimable. Nor need we, I think, any stronger argument in order to overturn Sir Isaac Newton's own Chronology, than this position of the colures at the time of that expedition, which its proposer has very kindly furnished us withal."

In p. 996:
I now proceed to Eudoxus's accurate description of the position of the two colures as they had been drawn on their celestial globes, ever since the days of Chiron, at the Argonautic expedition, and as Hipparchus has given us that description in the words of Eudoxus."

Again (p. 1002):
"Sir Isaac Newton betrays his consciousness how little Eudoxus's description of Chiron's colures agreed to his position of them, by pretending that these observations of the ancients were coarse and inaccurate. This is true if compared with the observations of the moderns which read to minutes; and, since, the application of telescopic sights to astronomic instruments, to ten or fewer seconds. But as to our present purpose this description in Eudoxus is very accurate, it both taking notice of every constellation, through which each of the coloures passed, that were visible in Greece; and hardly admitting of an error of half a degree in angular measures, or thirty-six years in time. Which is sufficiently exact."

How far Mr. Whiston has succeeded in his argumentation about the neck of the swan and the tail of the bear, &c. I must leave to others to consider. I shall only observe, with regard to the last paragraph cited from his discourse, that when Sir Isaac Newton calls the observations of the ancient astronomers coarse, he cannot well be understood to use that word but in a comparative sense, that sense in which Mr. Whiston admits it may be justly used. For otherwise Sir Isaac would not have inferred any thing as certain from those ancient observations. Now, in p. 95, after he has finished his argument from Chiron's sphere, he thus writes:
"Hesiod tells us, that sixty days after the winter solstice, the star Arcturus rose at sunset: and thence it follows, that Hesiod flourished about 100 years after the death of Solomon, or in the generation or age next after the Trojan war, as Hesiod himself declares.
 
From all these circumstances, grounded upon the coarse observations of the ancient astronomers, we may reckon it certain, that the Argonautic expedition was not earlier than the reign of Solomon: and if these astronomical arguments be added to the former arguments taken from the mean length of the reigns of kings according to the course of nature; from them all we may safety conclude, that the Argonautic expedition was after the death of Solomon, and most probably that it was about forty-three years after.
 
The Trojan war was one generation later than that expedition -- several captains of the Greeks in that war being sons of the Argonauts,"

&c.
 
By the last words here cited, I am brought round again to the point from whence I set out in this discourse, the fall of Troy...

-- Remarks on the History of the Seven Roman Kings, Occasioned by Sir Isaac Newton’s Objections to the Supposed Two Hundred and Forty-Four Years’ Duration of the Regal State of Rome, from The Roman History From the Building of Rome to the Ruin of the Commonwealth, Illustrated with Maps, by N. Hooke, Esq., 1823


Image
Jason on an antique fresco from Pompeii

Jason (/ˈdʒeɪsən/ JAY-sən; Greek: Ἰάσων, translit. Iásōn [i.ǎːsɔːn]) was an ancient Greek mythological hero and leader of the Argonauts, whose quest for the Golden Fleece featured in Greek literature. He was the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcos. He was married to the sorceress Medea. He was also the great-grandson of the messenger god Hermes, through his mother's side.

Jason appeared in various literary works in the classical world of Greece and Rome, including the epic poem Argonautica and the tragedy Medea. In the modern world, Jason has emerged as a character in various adaptations of his myths, such as the 1963 film Jason and the Argonauts and the 2000 TV miniseries of the same name.

Persecution by Pelias

Image
Pelias, king of Iolcos, stops on the steps of a temple as he recognises young Jason by his missing sandal; Roman fresco from Pompeii, 1st century AD.

Pelias (Aeson's half-brother) was power-hungry and sought to gain dominion over all of Thessaly. Pelias was the progeny of a union between their shared mother, Tyro ("high born Tyro"), the daughter of Salmoneus, and the sea god Poseidon. In a bitter feud, he overthrew Aeson (the rightful king), killing all the descendants of Aeson that he could. He spared his half-brother for unknown reasons.[1]

Aeson's wife Alcimede I had a newborn son named Jason whom she saved from Pelias by having female attendants cluster around the infant and cry as if he were still-born. Fearing that Pelias would eventually notice and kill her son, Alcimede sent him away to be reared by the centaur Chiron.[1] She claimed that she had been having an affair with him all along. Pelias, fearing that his ill-gotten kingship might be challenged, consulted an oracle, who warned him to beware of a man wearing only one sandal.

Many years later, Pelias was holding games in honor of Poseidon when the grown Jason arrived in Iolcus, having lost one of his sandals in the river Anauros ("wintry Anauros") while helping an old woman (actually the goddess Hera in disguise) to cross.[1] She blessed him, for she knew what Pelias had planned. When Jason entered Iolcus (present-day city of Volos), he was announced as a man wearing only one sandal. Jason, aware that he was the rightful king, so informed Pelias. Pelias replied, "To take my throne, which you shall, you must go on a quest to find the Golden Fleece." Jason readily accepted this condition.

The Argonauts and the Quest for the Golden Fleece

Jason assembled for his crew, a number of heroes, known as the Argonauts after their ship, the Argo.[1] The group of heroes included:[2]: 485 

• Acastus;
• Admetus;
• Argus, the eponymous builder of the Argo;
• Atalanta;
• Augeas;
• the winged Boreads, Zetes & Calaïs;
• the Dioscuri, Castor & Polydeuces;
• Euphemus;
• Heracles;
• Idas;
• Idmon, the seer;
• Lynceus;
• Meleager;
• Orpheus;
• Peleus;
• Philoctetes;
• Telamon; and
• Tiphys, the helmsman

The Isle of Lemnos

The isle of Lemnos is situated off the Western coast of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). The island was inhabited by a race of women who had killed their husbands. The women had neglected their worship of Aphrodite, and as a punishment the goddess made the women so foul in stench that their husbands could not bear to be near them.

The men then took concubines from the Thracian mainland opposite, and the spurned women, angry at Aphrodite, killed all the male inhabitants while they slept. The king, Thoas, was saved by Hypsipyle, his daughter, who put him out to sea sealed in a chest from which he was later rescued.
The women of Lemnos lived for a while without men, with Hypsipyle as their queen.

During the visit of the Argonauts the women mingled with the men creating a new "race" called Minyae. Jason fathered twins with the queen. Heracles pressured them to leave as he was disgusted by the antics of the Argonauts. He had not taken part, which is truly unusual considering the numerous affairs he had with other women.[note 1]

Cyzicus

After Lemnos the Argonauts landed among the Doliones, whose king Cyzicus treated them graciously. He told them about the land beyond Bear Mountain, but forgot to mention what lived there. What lived in the land beyond Bear Mountain were the Gegeines, which are a tribe of Earthborn giants with six arms and wore leather loincloths.

While most of the crew went into the forest to search for supplies, the Gegeines saw that few Argonauts were guarding the ship and raided it. Heracles was among those guarding the ship at the time and managed to kill most of them before Jason and the others returned. Once some of the other Gegeines were killed, Jason and the Argonauts set sail.

The Argonauts departed, losing their bearings and landing again at the same spot that night. In the darkness, the Doliones took them for enemies and they started fighting each other. The Argonauts killed many of the Doliones, among them the king Cyzicus. Cyzicus' wife killed herself. The Argonauts realized their horrible mistake when dawn came and held a funeral for him.

Phineus and the harpies

Soon Jason reached the court of Phineus of Salmydessus in Thrace. Zeus had sent the harpies to steal the food put out for Phineus each day. Jason took pity on the emaciated king and killed the Harpies when they returned; in other versions, Calais and Zetes chase the harpies away. In return for this favor, Phineus revealed to Jason the location of Colchis and how to pass the Symplegades, or The Clashing Rocks, and then they parted.

Image
Jason bringing Pelias the Golden Fleece, Apulian red-figure calyx krater, ca. 340 BC–330 BC, Louvre. The Symplegades

The only way to reach Colchis was to sail through the Symplegades (Clashing Rocks), huge rock cliffs that came together and crushed anything that traveled between them. Phineus told Jason to release a dove when they approached these islands, and if the dove made it through, to row with all their might. If the dove was crushed, he was doomed to fail. Jason released the dove as advised, which made it through, losing only a few tail feathers. Seeing this, they rowed strongly and made it through with minor damage at the extreme stern of the ship. From that time on, the clashing rocks were forever joined leaving free passage for others to pass.

The arrival in Colchis

Jason arrived in Colchis (modern Black Sea coast of Georgia) to claim the fleece as his own. It was owned by King Aeetes of Colchis. The fleece was given to him by Phrixus. Aeetes promised to give it to Jason only if he could perform three certain tasks. Presented with the tasks, Jason became discouraged and fell into depression. However, Hera had persuaded Aphrodite to convince her son Eros to make Aeetes' daughter, Medea, fall in love with Jason. As a result, Medea aided Jason in his tasks.[3]

First, Jason had to plow a field with fire-breathing oxen, the Khalkotauroi, that he had to yoke himself.
Medea provided an ointment that protected him from the oxen's flames. Then, Jason sowed the teeth of a dragon into a field. The teeth sprouted into an army of warriors (spartoi). Medea had previously warned Jason of this and told him how to defeat this foe.[3]

Before they attacked him, he threw a rock into the crowd. Unable to discover where the rock had come from, the soldiers attacked and defeated one another. His last task was to overcome the sleepless dragon which guarded the Golden Fleece. Jason sprayed the dragon with a potion, given by Medea, distilled from herbs. The dragon fell asleep, and Jason was able to seize the Golden Fleece.[3]

He then sailed away with Medea. Medea distracted her father, who chased them as they fled, by killing her brother Apsyrtus and throwing pieces of his body into the sea
; Aeetes stopped to gather them. In another version, Medea lured Apsyrtus into a trap. Jason killed him, chopped off his fingers and toes, and buried the corpse. In any case, Jason and Medea escaped.

The return journey

Image
Jason and Medea - as depicted by John William Waterhouse, 1907.

On the way back to Iolcus, Medea prophesied to Euphemus, the Argo's helmsman, that one day he would rule Cyrene. This came true through Battus, a descendant of Euphemus. Zeus, as punishment for the slaughter of Medea's own brother, sent a series of storms at the Argo and blew it off course. The Argo then spoke and said that they should seek purification with Circe, a nymph living on the island of Aeaea. After being cleansed, they continued their journey home.

Sirens

Chiron had told Jason that without the aid of Orpheus, the Argonauts would never be able to pass the Sirens—the same Sirens encountered by Odysseus in Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. The Sirens lived on three small, rocky islands called Sirenum scopuli and sang beautiful songs that enticed sailors to come to them, which resulted in the crashing of their ship into the islands. When Orpheus heard their voices, he drew his lyre and played music that was more beautiful and louder, drowning out the Sirens' bewitching songs.

Talos

The Argo then came to the island of Crete, guarded by the bronze man, Talos. As the ship approached, Talos hurled huge stones at the ship, keeping it at bay. Talos had one blood vessel which went from his neck to his ankle, bound shut by only one bronze nail (as in metal casting by the lost wax method). Medea cast a spell on Talos to calm him; she removed the bronze nail and Talos bled to death. The Argo was then able to sail on.

Jason returns

Image
Jason and the Snake

Thomas Bulfinch has an antecedent to the interaction of Medea and the daughters of Pelias. Jason, celebrating his return with the Golden Fleece, noted that his father was too aged and infirm to participate in the celebrations. He had seen and been served by Medea's magical powers. He asked Medea to take some years from his life and add them to the life of his father. She did so, but at no such cost to Jason's life. Medea withdrew the blood from Aeson's body and infused it with certain herbs; putting it back into his veins, returning vigor to him.[4] Pelias' daughters saw this and wanted the same service for their father.

Medea, using her sorcery, claimed to Pelias' daughters that she could make their father smooth and vigorous as a child by chopping him up into pieces and boiling the pieces in a cauldron of water and magical herbs. She demonstrated this remarkable feat with the oldest ram in the flock, which leapt out of the cauldron as a lamb. The girls, rather naively, sliced and diced their father and put him in the cauldron. Medea did not add the magical herbs, and Pelias was dead.[5] Pelias' son, Acastus, drove Jason and Medea into exile for the murder, and the couple settled in Corinth.

Treachery of Jason

In Corinth, Jason became engaged to marry Creusa (sometimes referred to as Glauce), a daughter of the King of Corinth, to strengthen his political ties. When Medea confronted Jason about the engagement and cited all the help she had given him, he retorted that it was not she that he should thank, but Aphrodite who made Medea fall in love with him. Infuriated with Jason for breaking his vow that he would be hers forever, Medea took her revenge by presenting to Creusa a cursed dress, as a wedding gift, that stuck to her body and burned her to death as soon as she put it on.[5]

Creusa's father, Creon, burned to death with his daughter as he tried to save her. Then Medea killed the two boys that she bore to Jason, fearing that they would be murdered or enslaved as a result of their mother's actions. When Jason came to know of this, Medea was already gone. She fled to Athens in a chariot of dragons sent by her grandfather, the sun-god Helios.[5]

Although Jason calls Medea most hateful to gods and men, the fact that the chariot is given to her by Helios indicates that she still has the gods on her side. As Bernard Knox points out, Medea's last scene with concluding appearances parallels that of a number of indisputably divine beings in other plays by Euripides. Just like these gods, Medea "interrupts and puts a stop to the violent action of the human being on the lower level, ... justifies her savage revenge on the grounds that she has been treated with disrespect and mockery, ... takes measures and gives orders for the burial of the dead, prophesies the future," and "announces the foundation of a cult."[6]

Later Jason and Peleus, father of the hero Achilles, attacked and defeated Acastus, reclaiming the throne of Iolcus for himself once more. Jason's son, Thessalus, then became king.

As a result of breaking his vow to love Medea forever, Jason lost his favor with Hera and died lonely and unhappy. He was asleep under the stern of the rotting Argo when it fell on him, killing him instantly.[7]

Family

Parentage


Image
Jason with the Golden Fleece by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Jason's father is invariably Aeson, but there is great variation as to his mother's name. According to various authors, she could be:

• Alcimede, daughter of Phylacus[8]
• Polymede,[9] or Polymele,[10] or Polypheme,[11] a daughter of Autolycus
• Amphinome[12]
• Theognete, daughter of Laodicus[11]
• Rhoeo[13]
• Arne or Scarphe[14]

Jason was also said to have had a younger brother Promachus.[15]

Children

Children by Medea:


• Alcimenes, murdered by Medea.
• Thessalus, twin of Alcimenes and king of Iolcus.
• Tisander, murdered by Medea
• Mermeros killed either by the Corinthians or by Medea
• Pheres, as above
• Eriopis, their only daughter
• Medus or Polyxenus, otherwise son of Aegeus
• Argus[16]
• seven sons and seven daughters[17]

Children by Hypsipyle:[18]

• Euneus, King of Lemnos and his twin
• Nebrophonus[19] or
• Deipylus[20] or
• Thoas[21]

In literature

Though some of the episodes of Jason's story draw on ancient material, the definitive telling, on which this account relies, is that of Apollonius of Rhodes in his epic poem Argonautica, written in Alexandria in the late 3rd century BC.

Another Argonautica was written by Gaius Valerius Flaccus in the late 1st century AD, eight books in length. The poem ends abruptly with the request of Medea to accompany Jason on his homeward voyage. It is unclear if part of the epic poem has been lost, or if it was never finished. A third version is the Argonautica Orphica, which emphasizes the role of Orpheus in the story.

Jason is briefly mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy in the poem Inferno. He appears in the Canto XVIII. In it, he is seen by Dante and his guide Virgil being punished in Hell's Eighth Circle (Bolgia 1) by being driven to march through the circle for all eternity while being whipped by devils. He is included among the panderers and seducers (possibly for his seduction and subsequent abandoning of Medea).

The story of Medea's revenge on Jason is told with devastating effect by Euripides in his tragedy Medea.

William Morris wrote an English epic poem, The Life and Death of Jason, published in 1867.

The mythical geography of the voyage of the Argonauts has been connected to specific geographic locations by Livio Stecchini[22] but his theories have not been widely adopted.

Popular culture

Main article: Jason in popular culture

Image
Jason portrayed by Todd Armstrong in Jason and the Argonauts (1963).

Jason appeared in the Hercules episode "Hercules and the Argonauts" voiced by William Shatner. He is shown to have been a student of Philoctetes and takes his advice to let Hercules travel with him.

In the series The Heroes of Olympus's first novel The Lost Hero, there was a reference to the mythical Jason when Jason Grace and his friends encounter Medea.

The BBC series Atlantis, which premiered in 2013, featured Jason as the protagonist.

See also

• Cape Jason
• Mermeros and Pheres
• Jason in popular culture

Explanatory notes

1. In Hercules, My Shipmate Robert Graves claims that Heracles fathered more children than anyone else of the crew.

References

Notes


1. Wood, Michael. "Jason and the Argonauts", In Search of Myths & Heroes, PBS
2. Powell, Barry B. (2015). Classical Myth. with translations by Herbert M. Howe (8th ed.). Boston: Pearson. ISBN 978-0-321-96704-6.
3. "Metamorphoses".
4. William Godwin (1876). "Lives of the Necromancers". p. 41.
5. Godwin 1876, p. 42.
6. B.M.W. Knox. Word and Action: Essays on the Ancient Theatre. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979, p. 303.
7. Euripides; Murray, Gilbert (1912). The Medea. Translated into English rhyming verse with explanatory notes by Gilbert Murray. Robarts - University of Toronto. New York Oxford University Press. pp. 77–78, 96.
8. Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.45 ff., 233 & 251 ff.; Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 1.297; Hyginus, Fabulae 3, 13 & 14
9. Apollodorus, 1.9.16; Tzetzes on Lycophron, Alexandra 175 & 872
10. Hesiod, Ehoiai fr. 38; Tzetzes, Chiliades 6.979; Scholia on Homer, Odyssey 12.69
11. Scholia on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.45
12. Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 4.50.2
13. Tzetzes, Chiliades 6.979
14. Tzetzes on Lycophron, Alexandra 872
15. Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 4.50.2; Apollodorus, 1.9.27
16. Smith, William (1870). "Medeia". A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology: Vol 2. p. 1004. Retrieved 6 December 2016. Her children are, according to some accounts, Mermerus, Pheres or Thessalus, Alcimenes and Tisander, and, according to others, she had seven sons and seven daughters, while others mention only two children, Medus (some call him Polyxemus) and Eriopis, or one son Argos.
17. Ptolemy Hephaestion, 2
18. Ovid, Heroides 6.119
19. Apollodorus, 1.9.17
20. Hyginus, Fabulae 15
21. Euripides, Hypsipyle (fragments)
22. The Voyage of the Argo

Bibliography

• Alain Moreau, Le Mythe de Jason et Médée. Le Va-nu-pied et la Sorcière. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, collection «Vérité des mythes», 2006 (ISBN 2-251-32440-2).
• Apollodorus, The Library with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. ISBN 0-674-99135-4. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.
• Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica translated by Robert Cooper Seaton (1853-1915), R. C. Loeb Classical Library Volume 001. London, William Heinemann Ltd, 1912. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
• Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica. George W. Mooney. London. Longmans, Green. 1912. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
• Bulfinch's Mythology, Medea and Aeson.
• Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History translated by Charles Henry Oldfather. Twelve volumes. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, Ltd. 1989. Vol. 3. Books 4.59–8. Online version at Bill Thayer's Web Site
• Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica. Vol 1-2. Immanel Bekker. Ludwig Dindorf. Friedrich Vogel. in aedibus B. G. Teubneri. Leipzig. 1888–1890. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
• Gaius Julius Hyginus, Fabulae from The Myths of Hyginus translated and edited by Mary Grant. University of Kansas Publications in Humanistic Studies. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
• Gaius Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica translated by Mozley, J H. Loeb Classical Library Volume 286. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1928. Online version at theio.com.
• Gaius Valerius Flaccus, Argonauticon. Otto Kramer. Leipzig. Teubner. 1913. Latin text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
• Hesiod, Catalogue of Women from Homeric Hymns, Epic Cycle, Homerica translated by Evelyn-White, H G. Loeb Classical Library Volume 57. London: William Heinemann, 1914. Online version at theio.com
• King, David. Finding Atlantis: A True Story of Genius, Madness, and an Extraordinary Quest for a Lost World. Harmony Books, New York, 1970. (Based on works of Olof Rudbeck 1630–1702.)
• Powell, B. The Voyage of the Argo. In Classical Myth. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Prentice Hall. 2001. pp. 477–489.
• Publius Ovidius Naso, The Epistles of Ovid. London. J. Nunn, Great-Queen-Street; R. Priestly, 143, High-Holborn; R. Lea, Greek-Street, Soho; and J. Rodwell, New-Bond-Street. 1813. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
• Publius Ovidius Naso, Metamorphoses translated by Brookes More (1859-1942). Boston, Cornhill Publishing Co. 1922. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
• Publius Ovidius Naso, Metamorphoses. Hugo Magnus. Gotha (Germany). Friedr. Andr. Perthes. 1892. Latin text available at the Perseus Digital Library.

External links

• Jason and the Argonauts, extensive site by Jason Colavito
• Timeless Myths – Argonauts, a summary of Jason and his Quest for the Golden Fleece
• Argonautica at Project Gutenberg
• The Story of Jason and the Argonauts Read the classic heroic myth, in modern English prose.
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I. Restoration of the Inscription, No. 2, on the Allahabad Column
by the Rev. W.H. Mill, D.D.
Principal of Bishop's College, Vice-President of the Asiatic Society, &c.
(Read at the Meeting of the 28th ultimo.)
Journal of the Asiatic Society, No. 30
June, 1834
p. 257-270.

One of the most important services rendered to the cause of oriental research of late years, is, perhaps, “the restoration and decyphering of the Allahabad inscription, No. 2,” achieved by Doctor Mill, and published in the Asiatic Journal of June, 1834. [I. Restoration of the Inscription, No. 2, on the Allahabad Column, by the Rev. W.H. Mill, D.D. Principal of Bishop's College, Vice-President of the Asiatic Society, &c. (Read at the Meeting of the 28th ultimo.), Journal of the Asiatic Society, No. 30, June, 1834, p. 257-270.]

In reference to this historical inscription, the learned Principal observes,
"Were there any regular chronological history of this part of Northern India, we could hardly fail in the circumstances of this inscription, even if it were without names, to determine the person and the age to which it belongs. We have here a prince who restores the fallen fortunes of a royal race that had been dispossessed and degraded by the kings of a hostile family — who removes this misfortune from himself and his kindred by means of an able guardian or minister, who contrives to raise armies in his cause; succeeding at last in spite of vigorous warlike opposition, including that of some haughty independent princesses, whose daughters, when vanquished, become the wives of the conqueror — who pushes his conquests on the east to Assam, as well as to Nepal and the more western countries — and performs many other magnificent and liberal exploits, constructing roads and bridges, encouraging commerce, &c. &c. -- in all which, allowing fully for oriental flattery and extravagance, we could scarcely expect to find more than one sovereign, to whom the whole would apply. But the inscription gives us the names also of the prince and his immediate progenitors: and in accordance with the above mentioned account, while we find his dethroned ancestors, his grandfather and great grandfather, designated only by the honorific epithet Maha-raja, which would characterize their royal descent and rights — the king himself (Samudragupta) and his father are distinguished by the title of Mahu-raja-Adhi-raja, which indicates actual sovereignty. And the last mentioned circumstance might lead some to conjecture, that the restoration of royalty in the house began with the father, named Chandragupta, whose exploits might be supposed to be related in the first part of the inscription, to add lustre to those of the son.

"Undoubtedly we should be strongly inclined, if it were possible, to identify the king thus named— though the name is far from being an uncommon one) with a celebrated prince so called, the only one in whom the Puranic and the Greek histories meet, the Chandragupta or Sandracoptus, to whom Seleucus Nicator sent the able ambassador, from whom Strabo, Arrian, and others derived the principal part of their information respecting India. This would fix the inscription to an age which its character (disused as it has been in India for much more than a thousand years), might seem to make sufficiently probable, viz. the third century before the Christian era. And a critic, who chose to maintain this identity, might find abundance of plausible arguments in the inscription: he might imagine he read there the restoration of the asserted genuine line of Nanda in the person of Chandragupta, and the destruction of the nine usurpers of his throne: and in what the inscription, line 16, tells of the guardian Giri-Kalkaraka-Svami, he might trace the exploits of Chandragupta's wily brahman counsellor Chanakya, so graphically described in the historical play called the Mudra-Raxasa [Rakshasa], in levying troops for his master, and counterplotting all the schemes of his adversaries able minister Raxasa [Rakshasa], until he recovered the throne: nay the assistance of that Raxasa [Rakshasa] himself, who from an enemy was turned to a faithful friend, might be supposed to be given with his name in line 10 of the inscription. And the discrepancy of all the other names besides these two, viz. of Chandragupta’s son, father, grandfather, and guardian minister, to none of whom do the known Puranic histories of that prince assign the several names of the inscription, might be overcome by the expedient — usual among historical and chronological theorists in similar cases, — of supposing several different names of the same persons.

"But there is a more serious objection to this hypothesis than any arising from the discrepancy of even so many names — and one which I cannot but think fatal to it. In the two great divisions of the Xattriya Rajas of India, the Chandragupta of the inscription is distinctly assigned to the Solar race — his son being styled child of the Sun. On the other hand, the celebrated founder of the Maurya dynasty, if reckoned at all among Xattiiyas, (being, like the family of the Nandas, of the inferior caste of Sudras, as the Greek accounts unite with the Puranas in respecting him,) would rather find his place among the high-born princes of Magadha whose throne he occupied, who were children of the moon: and so he is in fact enumerated, together with all the rest who reigned at Pataliputra or Patibothra, in the royal genealogies of the Hindus. It is not therefore among the descendants or successors of Curu, whether reigning (like those Magadha princes) at Patna, or at Delhi, that we must look for the subject of the Allahabad inscription; but if I mistake not, in a much nearer kingdom, that of Canyacubja or Canouje.”

Laudable as is the caution with which Dr. Mill abandons this important identification, the annals of Pali literature appear to afford several interesting notices, well worthy of his consideration, tending both to remove some of these doubts, and to aid in elucidating this valuable inscription. It will be found in the ensuing extracts from the commentary on the Mahawanso, that the Moriyan was a branch of the Sakyan dynasty, who were the descendants of Ixkswaku, of the solar line: though the name of Chandragupta’s father is not given in the particular work under consideration, to admit of its being compared with the inscription, it is specifically stated that he was the last sovereign of Moriya of that family, and lost his life with his kingdom: his queen, who was then pregnant, fled with her brothers to Pataliputta (where Chandragupta was born) to seek protection from their relations the Nandos, whose grandfather, Susunago, was the issue of a Lichchawi raja, by a "nagarasobhini,” — one of the Aspasias of Rajagaha: he married the daughter of the eldest of these maternal uncles, who were of the Lichchawi line: the issue of that princess would hence appropriately enough be termed “maternal grandson of Lichhawi and he and his son, the subject of this inscription, as the supreme monarchs of India could alone he entitled, of all the rajas whose names are inscribed, to the title Maha raja Adhi raja.” Dr. Mill thus translates the 26th line of the inscription.
"Of him who is also maternal grandson of Lichchawi, conceived in the great goddess-like Cumara-Dewi, the great king, the supreme monarch Samudra Gupta, illustrious for having filled the whole earth with the revenues arising from his universal conquest, (equal) to Indra, chief of the gods" —

If, under these multiplied coincidences and similarities, and this apparent removal of the Reverend Principal’s objections, the identity of Chandragupta may be considered to be established, Samudragupta would be the Bindusaro of Pali history, to whom, as one of the supreme monarchs of India, the designation would not be inappropriate. And indeed, in the Mahawanso, in describing the completion of the buddhistical edifices in the reign of his son and successor, Dhammasoko, a similar epithet is applied to his empire.
Sammuddapariyantan so Jambudipan samantato passi sabbe wiharecha nana, puja wibhusite.

"He saw (by the power of a miracle) all the wiharos, situated in every direction through the ocean-bound Jambudipo, resplendent with offerings."

-- The Mahawanso [Mahavamsa] in Roman Characters With the Translation Subjoined And an Introductory Essay on Pali Buddhistical Literature, In Two Volumes, Volume I, Containing the First Thirty Eight Chapters, by the Hon. George Turnour, Esq., Ceylon Civil Service, 1837

The March number of the Journal of the Asiatic Society contained the result of the Pandit Madhu Rao’s collation of the Allahabad Inscription, No. 2, with others in a similar character -- together with Captain Troyer’s English version and valuable remarks. The learned Pandit’s transcript exhibits such letters only of the pillar in Devanagari as were capable of tolerably certain identification with those found on monuments already deciphered, leaving frequent and often considerable intervals for the remaining letters: and the version, as was indeed unavoidable from such a text, presented still wider intervals. The translation of many of the clauses thus insulated was necessarily of a conjectural kind: and except in the valuable discovery of lines 25 and 26, where the Prince's genealogy occurred, contained nothing like a connected sentence.

A cursory inspection of the transcript and the version convinced me that, where so much was done, more might be certainly attained. To those acquainted with the art of deciphering unknown arbitrary characters in any known language, it is needless to remark that the clear possession of a key to two or three common letters, necessarily draws after it the discovery of all the rest: and that where the further progress of discovery is really barred, it is an infallible proof of some error in the previous assumption. No such error was suspected here (except in some comparatively inconsiderable instances, which may be seen by any one that will take the trouble of comparing the two transcripts together;) and therefore nothing could impede the progress to deciphering the inscription as far as it remained -- provided only the language in which it was written were sufficiently known to us.

Now that this language was the well-known classic Sanscrit -- the language of Menu's Institutes, the Puranas, the Kavyas, &c. admits of no reasonable doubt. The supposition of its being any older Sanscrit, resembling that of the Vedas, to the understanding of which a bhashya or gloss is all but indispensable, is rendered extremely improbable by the apparent date of the monuments on which inscriptions of the same character appear. The style of the Gya Inscription, so satisfactorily deciphered by Sir Charles Wilkins in the 1st volume of the Asiatic Researches; and the metre in which it is composed, the Sardula-vikridita, (which, like all other lyrical measures of that kind occurring in the Hindu drama and elsewhere, belongs to a period in the history of the language long posterior to that of the great sacred epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, by which the present classical Sanscrit was fixed,) would alone be sufficient to remove such a supposition.

With this conviction, I determined to subject the Allahabad Inscription to a close critical examination; discarding in the first instance all reference to other interpretations of the inscription itself, and proceeding only upon the indubitably deciphered letters of the above mentioned Gya Inscription, or rather of that portion of it, of which Lieutenant Burt has now given us a far better facsimile than what is contained in the Society's first volume. Applying this to his excellent copy of the Allahabad Pillar, though at first the limits of discovery appeared no wider, and indeed much narrower, than in what has already been presented to the Society, yet by carrying on the results of what was thus ascertained, whenever any glimpses of decided meaning appeared, to the investigation of characters before unknown, and testing the conjectures, thus made by other places — the usual result of such inquiries displayed itself. What was at first mere assumption turned to probability, and then to certainty: and such places as the juxta-position of the names of known countries in line 19, but above all, the short clause in line 27 on which the rest of the inscription hangs — (ravi-bhuvo bahur ayam ucchritas stambhas, "of this Sun-born king this lofty pillar is the arm") — occurring as they did to me not as the basis of conjecture, but as the unexpected results of inferences from other probable assumptions, — removed all possibility of doubt. And notwithstanding the turgid character of the composition, and the enormous length of the epithets affixed to this "child of the Sun," consisting often of more than 25 words, and fitting the whole line — the meaning is sufficiently connected and definite in this, which is the greatest part of the inscription; to remove all doubt of the accuracy with which Devanagari letters are assigned to the several characters* [In one instance I was assisted to the meaning of an ill-defined letter resembling a [x] in the accurate facsimile, — by the partial specimen of the inscriptions on the pillar given in the 7th Volume of the As. Res. (Plate xiv.) — which though very inferior in accuracy to Lieutenant Burt's, yet having been taken at a time when the pillar had not been so much defaced as at present, may be conceived to convey some characters more perfectly. The character was there [x] distinctly, and as this happily made sense of what was before unintelligible, its accuracy could not be questioned.]. In one only of the regal proper names, that of the king’s grandfather GHATOTKACHA, does my reading differ from Captain Troyer’s: and it is observable that this is also the name of a son of the Pandava hero Bhima Sena, brother of Yudhisthira and Arjuna in the Mahabharata, and might perhaps have given rise to the popular appellation of this pillar in Hindustan, "the Staff of Bhima Sen."

The test arising from definite and continuous meaning applies of course only to those parts where the inscription is itself complete, and clear of all considerable interruption, viz. all from the 14th to the 29th lines inclusive, (for the 30th is separate from the rest, and appears broken off like the earlier lines,) perhaps also the 2nd and 3rd, which, though short, seem to me to be very nearly complete. But even in the other lines, the words and the compounds are intelligible: and if we except the 1st, and the end of the 6th, lines (the first containing but nine insulated letters, and the last breaking off in the midst of a compound, leaving the preceding words in that compound uncertain as to their bearing) — the separate clauses may be pretty well traced, though their import in the sentence is lost. In all these, lacunae of various lengths occur in the pillar, which I have scrupulously filled up with precisely the same number of letters as are designated by Lieutenant Burt for the several intervals. It is not by any means intended to ascribe to these added† [These letters are distinguished in the transcript by a much smaller character.] letters of my own, (except when the interval is very small, as in line 24,) the same degree of accuracy which I should be disposed to claim for all, with one or two exceptions only, of the transcribed letters: for the most part they merely indicate the probable (and in some cases of very marked meaning, as in line 28, the certain) equivalents of the letters that formerly occupied the same spaces. Where lacunas occur at the end of a line, I had no such consideration to guide me: here, as in lines 18 and 26, it was merely my object to close the imperfect compound by as few letters as would serve the purpose of expressing the evident meaning. In the earlier lines, the idea of completing the sentence by such means was out of the question.

In these conjectural supplements, as well as for ascertaining the true transcript of letters in doubtful cases, the discovery of a lyric measure like that of the Gya Inscription, in which the succession of long and short syllables is determined by invariable rule, would have been a most valuable assistance. But not merely is such measure as this undiscoverable in the greater part of the inscription — but every rhythm whatever (including the freer measures of the Arya genus, or the loose Anustup of Valmiki) is equally absent from it — as an examination of all the complete lines from the 14th downward will evidently show* [The apparent rhyme observed by Lieut. Burt, is merely the genitive termination asye at the end of each huge compound epithet, agreeing with "the Sun- born King" above-mentioned.]. Some of the incomplete lines have indeed a deceitful resemblance to metre— the 4th line to the Sardula-vikridita, (the measure of the Gya Inscription,) and the 12th to a yet longer lyric measure of twenty-one syllables, called Srag-dhara: but in each of these cases perfect application of the prosodiacal rule is forbidden† [The name kavyam applied by the author himself in line 28 to his inscription, will apply to unmetrical poetry, as well as to that which has the advantage of prosody.] by some one or more syllables in the line, whose reading cannot be mistaken. The only genuine appearance of metre that the closest examination could detect is in the 8th and 9th lines, which are proved by the undeviating regularity of all the syllables, as far as they can be traced on the pillar, to form together a stanza of the measure called Mandakranta, (the same in which Calidasa’s beautiful poem, the Cloud Messenger, is composed,) one of very frequent occurrence in the lyric poetry of the Hindus. In this measure, each of the four padas or versicles which compose the stanza consists of two Spondees, a Proceleusmatic, and three Bacchii, having the caesura after the tenth syllable; thus;

- - - - u u u u u - ' - u - - u - -


Accordingly, in the additions necessary for these two lines, I have taken care not only to preserve the measure, but to expand them so as to complete the hemistich in each case. But this slight and solitary advance beyond the usual necessary addition of letters is made more to indicate the prosody of the preceding syllables, and to mark precisely the certain length of the line in these places, than with any pretence of supplying the very words that are effaced. The real termination of these lines, as of the fourth and others, if found, would clear up the obscurity that now necessarily attaches to all the early part of the inscription, and on which it would be now vain to offer any conjecture.

To the Devanagari transcript is annexed a close interlineary version, in the only language (one excepted) whose freedom of collocation and general analogy to Sanscrit made it available for the purpose— distinguishing always by brackets the version of the intercalated or added syllables, the necessity of which will thus be often apparent to the Western reader. I have now to subjoin a somewhat looser version in English— to which I would prefix merely the following brief analysis of the inscription.

LINE 1. Unintelligible, and most probably unconnected with what follows.

2, 3. Invocation in behalf of the sculptor and blackener of the letters of the inscription.

4-12. Various descriptions, at first dependent on the relatives yas, yasya (who and whose), but afterwards governed by the antecedent personal pronoun sa, (he,) all of which evidently relate to the same person, and that the king— but which, from the incompleteness of the lines, and the absence of verbs governing the principal substantives, cannot be traced in their conjunct meaning as one sentence, which it is evident they must have composed.

13-27. Panegyrical descriptions of the same king in the genitive case, (connected at first with the nominatives of line 13, but afterwards evidently with the Pillar-Arm at the conclusion,) viz. Samudra-Gupta, son of Chandra-Gupta, of the Solar race, all sufficiently perfect and intelligible.

28. Comparison of the king’s glory to the sacred water of the nethermost Ganges in the Mahabharata.

28, 29. Name and description of the self-satisfied author of this panegyric, (whose intellect, as he tells us himself, was utterly subverted by his intimacy with the great king, when he ventured on this composition,) concluding with a salutation to the Deity.

Then, after a very wide space, comes

30. A compliment, somewhat obscure and imperfect, to the author's immediate superior and patron.

Translation.

1. The jackal [left the b]ear in the forest. (Y).

2. This goodly s[ign] of one endued by nature with a mind of fire having been, for the conveyance of his commands, covered over with ink; may the ma[ker also] fixed [as the letters themselves by the durability and immortality of the monument he has raised, viz.]

3. The [king’s] dependant Vitka, having formed these [letters] for the love of the multiplied virtues of the son of the bow-armed Siva [viz. Ganesa patron of letters] enjoy in heaven, even in the city of Vrdhas [BRAHMA] himself, the royal glory of eminent poetical dignity!

4. He who while worthy of eulogy, yet by means of informers, whose character is much to be concealed, men whose hair is diminished by being often pulled, was entangled and impeded by the pride of men of obscure family, a hoary-headed counsellor being - - - - - - - - .

5. He who was distinguished in letters, even by the able ontologist Chaxan, called familiarly the talking Guru, with the honourable appellation of one in whom all [admirable qualities] are united.

6. By this [excellent Guru] resembling those [true sages] who are utterly alien from all delight in selfish worldly occupations, - - - - -

7. He, having been inflamed with warlike prowess, before whom prostration being made even by the enemies' forces, the conjoined battle strife of armies disappeared, - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

8. Whose mothers-in-law* [The great Rajas of India have frequently been polygamists— and in these cases, the father and mother of each wife, as well as those of the sole rightful queen, bear the honourable names of svasura and svasu (socer and socrus), i.e. father and mother-in-law. The mothers-in-law here appear to have been independent princesses, whose daughters were thus won in battle by Samudra Gupta, and seem to me undoubtedly those, whose homage to the conqueror is described as increased by their alliance and hope of royal offspring, in lines 18, 19, With respect to the grievous sin for which his repentance is recorded in line 12, the incompleteness of the line precludes all but the merest conjecture.— On the 6th and 7th lines it may be remarked that the heroic ages of India afford examples of Brahmanical military tutors to young Rajas,— who like Drona are said to have united great skill in war to eminent contemplative devotion.], formerly proud and addicted to high minded oppressions perpetually, having been by his own arm subdued with the sword of battle, [viz. Sanharica and the rest, - - (line 18.)] - -

9. By their passions, at first fiercely erect and tall as the stalks of green barley, at length bursting forth and ripening into affection through the abundant juices within, thus became penitent [in heart permanently from that time; and]

10. When, sprung from the bank of the [sacred ?] river, the strength of the arm of Raxasa and the rest, directing his arms, had even removed mountains, by the death of the formidable [rapid victor] Xanajit,— then he also

11. With assiduous offerings to the planetary deities — did in his own pleasure gardens, from which are gathered noble garlands of flowers woven as it were from the Sesbana grandiflora — [seek to propitiate the immortals].

12. But though the glories of greatness, of clemency, and of warlike prowess were in him blended into one, as [the several colours] in the pure white rays of the moon; yet was there at this time no [remis] sion of his past grievous offence.

13. Still not his was the path of those devoted to the present life, nor any dereliction of the wisdom and power which belongs to contemplative sages; nor was there any poetical censurer of him, whose gifts were without end.

14. Of him therefore, skilled in the due performance of the hundred libations of consecrated ghee to Brahma, who by the strength and power of his arm reduces his foes to bondage, and brandishes for the destruction of their hosts barbed darts and swords and lances* [Or "iron clubs." For the Sanscrit [x] bears both meanings.]; —

15. Of him whose salvation is in the guardian of waters [Varuna] the terrible Siva and Vishnu, surpassing the graces of the most adorned recited speech by the rising splendours of a name illustrious for the hundred wounds inflicted on the [rival] tribe by strokes of the flesh-devouring arrows of iron, as well as of weapons grasped by the hand and others; —

16. Of him, who after the royal insignia had been destroyed by the hand of the [hostile] monarch, as it were the tiger of the forest, the great lord of wild buffaloes, — yet having from the resources of his excellent guardian Giri-kahlaraka the gift of infantry and other soldiers— became by the mixture of this benevolent aid with the royal majesty that sprung from it, no longer unfortunate; —

17. Of him whose mind was next intent upon the capture of all the kings of the South and of the East, as well as of Dhananjaya, protector of the North country, springing from the race of the divine Ugrasena, splendid as the sun, and patron of Hastivarman — a bard equal to the blue sovereign [Siva?] himself;— who therefore is justly worshipped by his ministering lieges, as sole king of all the gods; —

18. Of him whose state might be propounded as an object of imitation, in respect of troops, chariots, and other [war-like apparatus] even to the divine Rudra, the wise Nagadatta, to Chandra [god of the moon] to Vahni [or Agni, lord of fire], to Ganesa, to Nriga, [brother of Ixvacu, of the solar race], to Nagasena, and to the unmoveable forces of the Nandis [Siva’s attendant gods]— and who moreover by Sanharica and all the rest [of the vanquished mothers-in-law] who have the accumulative incentive of the wish and prayer for a royal offspring, is approached with all just payment of tribute, with propitiatory gifts, and with reverent prostration; --

19. Of him who when his fame penetrated to the friendly province of Pines —to Camarupa [the present kingdom of Assam] — and to Nepal, did for the sake of procuring a shower of darts to pierce the princes even of the extreme west and other quarters, dispose his soldiers in ambush behind the stations of the cowherds of Madra — and is therefore celebrated by the poet whom this battle raised up [to commend the stratagem], as equal in the rapid destruction of his foes to the Lord Siva, or to Cama or Aruni, [the gods of love and fire— thus celebrated] also by Sanharica and all the rest [of the allied princesses]; —

20. Of him whose governments invariably strict— who moreover has the glory, a glory pervading the highest heaven, of largesses to destitute persons, invited by him in pursuance of the restitution of a royal race sprung from a kingdom which the [enemies] soldiers had subverted— who moreover imposed on the rank foliage of forests, on the lakes, and on the land, the chains [of clear roads and of bridges respectively]-— who on the earth has no equal as a car-borne warrior; —

21. Of him who bears a gentle and kind disposition, to be hailed by the inhabitants of all the islands of the ocean with pure constant worship of oblation and sacrifice — the materials of which spring from the revenues obtained by his wise assessment from the produce of cultivators firmly and devotedly subjected to him as was the bird Garuda to Vishnu, [a devotion testified] by the harmonious confluence of their loyal words and songs addressed to himself — who also without being addicted to works [alone, but spiritual science also, yet] bestows hundreds and thousands upon the affairs of heaven and of earth; --

22. Of him whose glory in war obliterates that of all other kings beside himself, by reason of the multitude of virtues, diverse in kind, embellished in hundreds of poems — from fear of whose [vigorous rule] dissensions never arise — who is alike pure from the stains of grief and of foolish laughter — who is in devotion unrivalled — and who having by his own arm subdued so many kings, has succeeded further in taming the so great fury and wrath [that such reverse naturally produces] by the continual intercourse and profit of the western commerce begun with the riches derived from that conquest; —

23. Of him who is pleased with long poems of victory closely following the battle-array formed by the king himself, whose disposition is that of the [Supreme Lord, the] Lord of the Poor; who is at the same time the slayer of elephants that smite in war — and is consecrated as the most excellent of learned kings by [Cuvera] giver of wealth, by Varuna, by Indra, and him who dwells in the mansions of death [Yama]; who is renowned for noble exploits to be heard to distant times, and sounded even to heaven; —

24. Of him by whom are well understood, the Gandharvas or celestial songsters, learned and of excellent wisdom; also the regent of the planet Mars; also [Balarama* [So I conjecture from the legend found in the Sri Bhagavat and elsewhere concerning Balarama, the 8th incarnation of Vishnu, having depressed all the eastern part of the earth. But perhaps the epithet may refer to the deities of the destroying elements Water or Fire.]] foe of the earth; also the preceptor of Indra himself, the lord of the thrice-blessed immortals [viz. Vrihaspati, regent of Jupiter]; also Tumbaru [the wise Gandharva], and Narada, and all the rest [of the ultra-deified sages] — who moreover is consecrated as the most excellent of kings by acts worthy of the poems of the great Rishi Vyannaca [or the foodless† [Perhaps a title of the great Valmiki, author of the Ramayana, who is said to have fasted ten thousand years! unless the terms of the inscription should be thought to require the name of some poet who has sung the exploits of Samudra-Gupta himself. ]], who is renowned for noble exploits to be heard to distant times, and sounded even to heaven; --

25. Of him whose mind is in time of affliction and distress, ever singly intent on the disposition and arrangement of charitable works; who is a god in the mansion of the world; the great grandson of the great king GUPTA, grandson of the great king GHATOTKACHA, son of the great king, the supreme monarch CHANDRA GUPTA; --

26. Of him who is also maternal grandson of Lichhavi, conceived in the great goddess-like Cumara-Devi, the great king, the supreme monarch Samudra Gupta, illustrious for having filled thee whole earth with the revenues arising from his universal conquest, [equal] to Indra chief of the gods; —

27. Of this child of the Sun, though clothed in hairy flesh, this lofty pillar is the arm, sustaining all his friends with powerful assistance both at home and in foreign travel; of him, [I say,] whose fame raised by gradual accumulation of materials to the most exalted eminence in the strength of the arm of his liberality, and the abundance of his sentences respecting the law of tranquil meditation, is extended in various directions.

28. And that [fame] purifies the three worlds; even as the [sacred stream given by Arjuna the hero] of the house of Pandu, [purified the dying] Bhishma, thus encircled within the noble bandage of the slotted hair of Siva [whence Ganges first sprung]. Such is the unequalled eulogy, the composition of him who serves the countenance of the great monarch, who by reason of the favour of continually going about in his presence is even infatuated in mind, —

29. The mature* [I am by no means satisfied with this rendering of [x] but I can find no better. The translation "culinary dwarf" had occurred to me: thus associating to the character of dwarf (in Sanscrit [x]) that attachment to good cheer, which is a standing characteristic of the half buffoon, half counsellor, called Viddshana in the Indian drama, and considered as a Brahmanical appendage to royalty. But the words scarcely bear out either interpretation -- nor is this association of the characters of dwarf and of royal attendant confirmed by any Indian example that I am aware of, however common in the fairy tales of Persia and the West.] dwarf — son of the great superintendant of penal justice Srava-bhuti, who is both in peace and war, the counsellor of the young king, the great superintendant [of penal justice] Hari Nana. Salutation to [God], the kind friend of all creatures.

30. But with whom, however devoted to the study of the Rig Veda, the best gift of the Supreme Sovereign, [can we compare] Tilabhatta, the great superintendant of penal justice, surrounded by his army [of inferior ministers of the law]?

Remarks on the above Inscription.

The style of laboured ornament affected in the public inscriptions of India is strongly contrasted with the severe simplicity of the same kind of composition in the monuments of other ancient nations; and the deciphering of the Allahabad pillar does not appear destined to remove in any degree this reproach from the national taste. With the criticism, however, of this inscription, as a literary work, we are little concerned: but only with light that it may help to throw on the history of the people for whom it wad written.

Were there any regular chronological history of this part of Northern India, we could hardly fail in the circumstances of this inscription, if it were without names, to determine the person and the age to which it belongs. We have here a prince who restores the fallen fortunes of a royal race that had been dispossessed and degraded by the kings a hostile family — who removes this misfortune from himself and his kindred by means of an able guardian or minister, who contrives to raise armies in his cause; succeeding at last in spite of vigorous warlike opposition, including that of some haughty independent princesses, whose daughters, when vanquished, become the wives of the conqueror— who pushes his conquests on the east to Assam, as well as to Nepal and the more western countries — and performs many other magnificent and liberal exploits, constructing roads and bridges, encouraging commerce, &c. &c. — in all which, allowing fully for oriental flattery and extravagance, we could scarcely expect to find more than one sovereign, to whom the whole would apply. But the inscription gives us the names also of the prince and his immediate progenitors: and in accordance with the above-mentioned account, while we find his dethroned ancestors, his grandfather and great-grandfather, designated only by the honorific epithet Maha-raja, which would characterize their royal descent and rights — the king himself (Samudragupta) and his father are distinguished  by the title of Maha-raja Adhirdja, which indicates actual sovereignty. And the last-mentioned circumstance might lead some to conjecture, that the restoration of royalty in the house began with the father, named Chandragupta, whose exploits might be supposed to be related in the first part of the inscription to add lustre to those of the son.

Undoubtedly we should be strongly inclined, if it were possible, to identify the king thus named — (though the name is far from being an uncommon one) with a celebrated prince so called, the only one in whom the Puranic and the Greek* [This identity, which after the researches of Schlegel (Indische Bibliothek), and Wilson (preface to the Mudra Raxasa in the 3rd volume of the Hindu Theatre); may be considered as established, has been questioned on very insufficient grounds by Professor Heeren in the last volume of his admirable Researches into the Politics, Intercourse, and Trade of, the Principal Nations of Antiquity. The Indian accounts vary as much from each other concerning Chandragupta as they do even the classical accounts of Sandracoptus.] histories meet, the Chandragupta or Sandracoptus, to whom Seleucus Nicator sent the able ambassador, from whom Srabo, Arrian and others derived the principal part of their information respecting India. This would fix the inscription to an age which its character (disused as it has been in India for much more than a thousand years), might seem to make sufficiently probable, -- viz, the third century before the Christian era. And a critic, who chose to maintain this identity, might find abundance of plausible arguments in the inscription: he might imagine he read there the restoration of the asserted genuine line of NANDA in the person of CHANDRAGUPTA, and the destruction of the nine usurpers of his throne: and in what the inscription, line 16, tells of the guardian Giri-Kahlaraka-Svami, he might trace the exploits of Chandragupta's wily Brahman counsellor Chanakya, so graphically described in the historical play called the Mudra-Raxasa, in levying troops for his master, and counterplotting all the schemes of his adversaries' able minister Raxasa, until he recovered the throne: nay the assistance of that Raxasa himself, who from an enemy was turned to a faithful friend, might be supposed to be given with his name in line 10 of the inscription. And the discrepancy of all the other names beside these two, viz. of Chandragupta's son, father, grandfather, and guardian minister, to none of whom do the known Puranic histories of that prince assign the several names of the inscription — might be overcome by the expedient usual among historical and chronological theorists in similar cases, — of supposing several different names of the same persons.

But there is a more serious objection to this hypothesis than any arising from the discrepancy of even so many names — and one which I cannot but think fatal to it. In the two great divisions of the Xattriya Rajas of India, the Chandragupta of the inscription is distinctly assigned to the Solar race — his son being styled child of the Sun. On the other hand, the celebrated founder of the Maurya dynasty, if reckoned at all among Xattriyas, (being, like the family of the Nandas, of the inferior caste of Sudras, as the Greek accounts unite with the Puranas in representing him,) would rather find his place among the high-born princes of Magadha whose throne he occupied, who were children of the Moon: and so he is in fact enumerated, together with all the rest who reigned at Pataliputra or Palibothra, in the royal genealogies of the Hindus. It is not therefore among the descendants or successors of Curu, whether reigning (like those Magadha princes) at Patna, or at Dehli, that we must look for the subject of the Allahabad inscription; but if I mistake not, in a much nearer kingdom, that of Canyacubja or Canouje. This is well known to have been the seat of an extensive empire on the Ganges, founded by a branch of the Solar family, after the decline of Ayodhya or Oude, the ancient capital of Rama and his ancestors. And this opinion is confirmed by the coins lately discovered at Canouje, in which we find characters exactly corresponding to those of our inscription — and the same prefix to the king's name on the reverse of the coin, viz. Maha-raja Adhiraja Sri. One of these, a gold coin, communicated to me by Mr. J. Prinsep, and exhibited in the last number Pl. IX. fig. 24, had struck me, before I saw the engraving, as seeming to bear on the obverse the name of GHATOTKACHA, (not, however the father of Chandragupta so named on the pillar, from whom the title of Adhiraja is withholden, as I before remarked -- but a reigning prince of the same name and family.) But another gold coin of the same class, in Plate I. fig. 19 of the XVIIth. volume of the As. Res. seems to me an undoubted coin of our Chandragupta* [No. 13 bears the cognate name of Sasigupta, and Nos. 5, 7, 12, 17, &c. contain names, more or less distinct, of others of the same dynasty. -- Mr. Prinsep, whose attention I called to those coins, thinks also that No. 12, which is in his possession, bears the name of our Samudragupta: and indeed the resemblance is sufficiently striking to authorize the belief.].

Unfortunately the catalogues of the children of the Sun, in the Hari-Vansa, the Bhagavat, and the Vansa-lata, as published by Dr. HAMILTON, are far from being so full and ample as those of the Lunar race, (to which the heroes both of the Mahabharata and the Sri Bhagavat belong:) and neither these, nor I believe the Vishnu and Kurma Puranas, extend their lists to the princes of this particular dynasty. From the first formation of this solar royalty at Canouje to its extinction in the person of Jaya Chandra, A. D. 1193, I know no authenticated name but that of Yasovarman, said in the Raja Tarangini to have been the patron of the dramatist Bhavabhuti, and to have been expelled from his kingdom by the Cashmirian conqueror Lilitaditta, about A.D. 720: — till we come to the last five, viz. the Rahtore princes, whose names from Chandradeva to Jayachandra, are known from inscriptions and coins, all in modern Devanagari, and posterior by several centuries to our inscription. (A.R. vols. 9, 15, 17). Until further lists be obtained, therefore, the apparent absence† [Unless indeed the mysterious isolated words at the end, [x] "on the Aran's bank or shore," should be thought to inclose a date. According to some numeral rules used amongst Hinda mathematicians, these words might denote 22: and this applied to the era of Vicramaditta, the usual era in those parts, would bring us to B.C. 34. But I need not observe how slippery such a conclusion must be.] of all date on this part of the column, must preclude any thing like exact determination of the time that elapsed between its hero Samudragupta and Yasovarman.

As far as it is possible to form a judgment on internal evidence concerning the age of so short a composition as this, from the enumeration of deities, or the traces of manners that may be discoverable in it, I should be inclined to think that it was written after the hero-worship, which the sacred epics first introduced, had begun decidedly to take place of the simple elementary adoration visible in the ancient hymns of the Vedas — yet before it had altogether its present shape, and apparently before the worship of the linga, and that of the sactis, the most impure parts of an impure system, had begun to attain the footing which they had in India at the period of the first Mahometan invasions. While the distinction of works and of spiritual science, as taught in the Upanishads, and pervading all the literature of the Hindus, is alluded to more than once in the inscription; — the Brahmans have that honor as spiritual superiors which we find assigned to them in the Ramayana and Mahabharata — not that excessive superiority and extravagant homage which in subsequent ages they claimed from princes: the Brahman here contributes to the honour of the king, not, as in some later inscriptions, the king to the honour of the Brahmans. But I cannot forbear from quoting at length the passage of the Mahabhrata to which allusion is made in line 28 — proving, that at the date of this inscription, the sacred epic of Vyasa was regarded and quoted in nearly the same manner as in later ages. The passage is from the 118th canto of the Bhishma-parva, describing that hero's death, surrounded by the chiefs of both the rival branches of the house of Curu: and is as follows;

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But Bhishma, O chief of the Bharatas, with firmness suppressing the sense of pain, while burning with the arrows that pierced him, and breathing hardly like a serpent — nor only with body inflamed, but with mind also maddened with the wounds of those sharp weapons, exclaimed only "Water!" when he saw the princes approaching. Then, O king, did those Xattriyas collect immediately from every quarter food of various kinds, and goblets of cold water upon seeing which the son of Santanu sadly exclaimed, "Not now can such ordinary human pleasures be tasted by me: for now cut off from mankind, I am stretched upon my arrowy* [The sara-sayya, or arrowy bed, was assumed as a voluntary penance in imitation of Bhishma by a singular devotee, who was living at Benares in the year 1792, a curious account of whose travels and adventures, together with a portrait of him stretched on his pointed bed, was given by Mr. Jonathan Duncan in the 5th volume of the Society’s Transactions. [In that account, p. 5, Bhskma Pitamamha, is merely the Indul mode ([x] for [x]) of writing "Bhishma the grandsire," or rather grand-uncle of the contending chiefs of the houses of Dhritarashtra and Pandu.] bed, and lie expecting the hour when the sun and moon shall be closed to me." But having spoken thus, O Bharata! chiding by his words the assembled chiefs, the son of Santanu added, “I would see Arjuna." Upon which, he of the mighty arm approaching with salutation his grand-uncle, and standing with hands joined and body bent forward, said, "What shall I do?" And the pious Bhishma, with pleasure beholding the great Pandava chief standing before him, answered, "My body burns, covered as I am with thy arrows, my vitals are racked, my mouth is dry: bring some water, Arjuna, to my tortured frame, for thou of the great bow art able to give me such streams as I require." The brave Arjuna thus addressed, having mounted his car, and fitted his bow-string, bent his strong bow called Gandiva, for the intended shot: and on hearing the twang of that bow-string, a sound as if bursting from the thunder-bolt of Indra -- all creatures trembled, even all those chiefs themselves. Then he, the best of charioteers, having wheeled his car in a reverential circle round Bhishma on his right, the prostrate son of Bharata, best of all hurlers of weapons — and having taken a flaming arrow, and breathed a magical sentence (mantra) over it, and fitted it to his bow -- the whole world looking on — did with that dart of thunder pierce the whole earth close on the right side of Bhishma — and thence sprung up a pure beauteous stream of cold water, like the nectar of the immortals, of divine scent and flavour: and with this cold stream did he powerfully refresh Bhishma, prince of the Curus, of god-like works and prowess. With this work of the prince Arjuna, as of a mighty transforming magician, the lords of the earth were seized with extreme astonishment, beholding it as a deed equally compassionate and transcending all human power.  
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