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Atid Again, V. 443 At illi
Ocius incubuerre omnes, pariterque laborem
Appolonius Rhodius, in allusion to certain prehistoric opifices ferri vel stanni (workers in iron and tin), and especially to Vulcan, if I remember rightly, who were accustomed to go early in the morning to their laborious brazier's forges and anvils, has these words :—O fiev St etg Xakiceiova Kcu aicfiovag npt Be&jcet. Apropos of the mythic Vulcan—can the term be derived from ow, a breathing out, or W, augmentative power, and alcan, tin or metal? Walcan, or Valcan? as one of the early apprentices in the Chalybian or Cimmerian craft?
The Phoenicians and Pelasgi claim a passing remark. The former (according to Sanchoniathon, who flourished about 1440 B.c, as preserved by Eusebius), began to colonize in the time of the Hebrew judges, about 1400 years B.c. Their first in-sea settlement was Cyprus; Rhodes, also, is alleged to have been, but without reliable proof, another. I claim it on perfectly similar grounds of identification, as a more ancient Cimmerian colony. Let it remain for the present 'sub judice lis ;' and let the Phoenicians pass on into Greece, Sicily, Sardinia, Spain, and Ynys Prydain—to dispense the blessings of commercial interchange.
The term Pelasgi, according to Keightley, "is another, and probably an older, form of Pelargi, which would come from ireXw, to be, or to be engaged on, and apyoe or aypoe, ager, land." I shall make no comment upon the probability of this forced interpretation. I, on the other hand, derive it, in accordance with its inward and outward bearings of interpretation, from pil-io, to pare, to peel, to strip, from its root pel, a moving body, a ball, a skin or thin rind of anything; and usawg, having husks, shells, or pods :—hence pel usawg, Pel-asg-i, and the Cimbric verb, diflisgo, to decorticate. This natural derivation is in perfect harmony with the (to some) very unpalatable "theory of the poets and philosophers, that their forefathers, the Pelasgi, had been at one time wandering acorn-husk-pod-eating savages ;" till they had, on the maritime confines of Aigswn and the Beisfor, in prehistoric times, been indoctrinated into a better, a wider sphere of social life, by their intercourse "with 'the parent instructors of all around' les Cimmerians, les habitents primitifs de la Caucase et de l'Asie Mineur."
In the distant precyclic horizon, I seem, with my inmost soul, to catch a glimpse of one of these 'nations primitives etcivilisees,' in the AtOwirnae of Homer, who in the circumscribed knowledge of the age, "speaks of two divisions of them, one dwelling near the rising of the sun, the other near the setting,—both having 'imbronzed visages!' from their proximity to that luminary, and both leading a blissful existence, because living amid a flood of light; and, as a natural concomitant of a blissful existence, blameless, pure, and free from any kind of moral defilement." Now, in our hearts and consciences, to what people or race of peoples can this florid scholiastic eastern description apply? Stand for a moment on the central or upper divisions of the Aigwm, and, turning your back to the isles, you will of necessity, as Homer did, turn your eyes towards Codiad yr haul (the rising of the sun)—the native lands of the Cimmerii.
The Mceonian bard must have heard something of their manners and beliefs, either from some one of themselves, or from others who had seen them, otherwise he could not have depicted their name so emphatically,—which is of native growth (i.e. a term given to the nation by themselves), and would, in consonance with their principles of nomenclature, be derived from the primary aspects and productions of the country. Now listen, as Homer must have done, to the borrowed sound of Atdtonae, Aith-io-pas, or pis, and to its equivalent Cimmerian, Aeth-y-pys,—not be assured, from aiOio, to burn, and mtf/, an eye, which dazzled the eyes, reddened and imbronzed the visages of ancient and modern scholiasts,—but from Aeth, a prickly scrub, also gorse and furze, and y, of the, and pys, 'seeds not reaped, but gathered by the hand'—pulse, beans, peas, and so forth—in fine leguminous plants, answering to the real or imaginary classified appellation in certain lexicons, of Salvea Argentea, for I am at present unable to compare it; hence have we AiOw\p, a leguminous-planted country, in which these innocent, unwarlike, independent, luminous druids, of immemorial Colchis and its vicinity, reigned in a quasi paradisiacal, patriarchal bliss. Volcker is, I am proud to add, in favour of making the legend of the eastern ^Ethiopians to have arisen from an obscure acquaintance with the inhabitants of Colchis and the eastern seaboard of the Aigswn, centuries anterior to the Argonautic expedition to these very localities. The early Pelasgi, call them what you may, whether Argeians, Danaans, or Acheeans, during their commercial transactions with the Cimmerian ports of the Aigswn (Axin-us), the Beisfor (Bosporus), the Crimea (Cimmeria); with the harbour of the Caellabiaid (Xa\v/3oc), at or near Sinope, with the ports of Anarchia and Meini-cedyrn, in Colchis (Cylch); or, again, with Deffrobani, and other sea ports within the Allwysfor (Helles-pontus), down to, and along, the coasts of Aigwm (Mgesum), and the isles of the Cylchiad and Myrtaw (wyrto-um-mare). The Pelasgi, I repeat, must have picked up, in their primitive, unsophisticated condition, fragmental, or sectional portions, of the druidical religion; and adopted words, and occasionally a phrase or two, as did the Koman citizen of Tarsus two thousand years afterwards, more or less:— 'IIou ow n mvxnme?' 'Pa yna y coegedd?' (' Where is then the boasting?') Though these Pelasgi undoubtedly witnessed the Megalithic structures, we are not to suppose, from the stringent laws of the masonic and architectural body attached to the institute, that parties, strangers to its internal economy, would be allowed to dive and pry into the recondite plans and specifications of a corps so select and exclusive, much less learn the druidical rule to find the diameter of the column, to learn a certain pressure for lifting and transporting with ease, rapidity, and safety, the ponderous machines employed in their stupendous erections: yet we may be permitted to surmise that a nation so precocious, so talented and inventive as the Pelasgic race proved itself to be, in the lapse of ages, which utterly distanced mankind in the race of arts and sciences, did not let any opportunity fall to the ground, in acquiring a kind of rudimentary knowledge, a scientific, idea, so to speak, in the construction, if they did construct, without the supervision of the druids, the larrissse, or antique castles imputed to them by writers a thousand years and upwards after the events recorded by them had taken place. But the question (after the previous explanation) which we have to do with, and solve, is, not that the Pelasgi displayed at a very early period extraordinary symtoms of civilization, when properly put on the track of knowledge, but that, of the credit, to whomsoever it be due—whether partly to their own innate powers of invention and development, or partly to the then superior attainments of their druidical instructors—to be short, let a fair apportionment be given to each— the master and the pupil. But, in the name of justice and honour, I impugn before high heaven the right—the claim of a Cecrops from Sais, in upper Egypt; of a Danaaus from Chemnis, in the same country; or of Cadmus from Phoenicia, to ride on the shoulders of designing men, when off our guard, in the sick bedridden room of apathetic history; to jump the claims, monopolise, as well as audaciously arrogate to themselves, all the labours, the tools, the cranes, the arch—in fact, the golden mental toil of the past, upon a mere traditionary florish of the trumpet of fancy— the after-thought of subsequent centuries, amounting, when summed up, to the enormous gross figure of one thousand three hundred years, and more,—without one single guarantee of identity from either of them being endorsed by any cyclic or Homeric poem—almost our only truthful safeguard for these times, against such flagrant, gullible impostures.
The Pelasgi, however, managed, after a little manoeuvring peculiar to all races of invaders, to deprive the original settlers at Chalybos not only of the ore, but of the town and the district itself. These Chalybian ironfounders or craftsmen, were forced to retire elsewhere, some to the mountain fastnesses separating Pontus from Armenia, where they located themselves either as nomade tribes, or as workers of mineral ores; others joined their kinsmen in the inland and cultivated district or province of Galatia.
Other detached portions or tribes from Pontus had centuries before veered southward, for the establishment of new possessions, and founded several cities on the fertile plains, and cultivated banks of the rivers Halys and Sangarius in Galatia.
In reference to these ever-recurring shiftings of localities, either by foreign interference, or by the tyranny of one tribe or nation over another for the mastery and ownership of the soil, or from a feeling of warlike display in striving after supreme command over the confederated races of certain districts, Strabo alludes to a certain aggressive and ambitious people called Tpiwveg (Triones), who were perpetually making onslaughts on all the neighbouring districts, and intimates that they were allied to the Cimmerians, either as distinct nations, speaking the same language, or branches of the same race, and that they frequently desolated the right banks of Pontus, Galatia, and the territories adjacent to them, sometimes by an attack on the Paphlagonians, and sometimes on the Phrygians.
"Oesau hirion y bu Assyriaid
Ages after this period, there must have been a considerable newly-imported admixture of Assyrian, Medish, Persian, and Grecian elements, commingled to a slight degree, possibly, with the antique Galatians and Phrygians, now scattered or absorbed in the concrete mass before us. These fractional ingredients of rival races would necessarily compete for supremacy and dominion over the Galatian boundaries of these central districts, till they ceased to give any uneasiness of the dominant powers now installed in regal pomp in the old Galatian capital of Gordium. Ot YaXarai, to every scholar, is a well-known acknowledged form for Gauloi, or Celts, who were called, by way of distinction, Ot Takarai -E.cirepioi: the one being a resident branch of the east, the other of the west. The ancient Achceans (i.e., those who traded with their kinsmen at Chalybos), according to Ceesar, called them indiscriminately TaXaOat or TaXarai. This name continued unimpaired up to the apostolic ages.
The TlafiiraXawi TaXarai Kai (bpvyioi were ever distinguished for their agility as horsemen and charioteers, in all the varied Asiatic struggles recorded in history, and also for the breeding of horses.
In the 'Geographie Historique Ancienne' are these memorable words: "Gordium au nord sur le Singarius se trouve la capitale des Anciens Rois du pays, dont l'un avait possede le char, que Ton conservait encore dans cette ville an temps d'Alexandre le Grand, et dont le timon etait attache par le fameux noeud Gordien."
On this passage I have a word or two to say about Gordium and its Gordian knot. Severer the analysis—clearer the evidence.
The Cimmerians of Galatia, like their kinsmen of Paphlagonia and Bythinia, were, it seems, pre-eminently expert in the manipulation of their fiery steeds, when harnessed to their chariots of war, or festive amusements. In this respect they did no more, I presume, than what all sensible practical charioteers, avaricious of glory and display, would do, in their brilliant domestic manoeuvres or martial exercises, when competing for the prize on the racestudding banks of the Sangarius to secure a certain victory— namely to pay a due regard to the state of the 'cludbawl y cerbyd' le timon du char de notre histiore, or the plain coach pole, and see it tightly fastened with 'a something.' Now, this puzzling something is what? Nothing, save the mark, but a Cimmerian, a Galatian well-made cort or gort, a rope, and tyn or dyn s. m., a pull, a stretch—tightness. Tie these roots—these Cimbric roots— these roots of llin (Xtvoy) or flax together, and you will have 'pigiad o gortyn-au,' a choice, a selection of ropes, thongs, or garters, whereby to poise and solve, mantol y gortyn, mantol y gardas, mantol y ddolen, (the balance of the knotty rope, garter, or loop,J— three distinct forms of juvenile pastimes in vogue among the Cimbri of the olden times ;—and equivalent to the game or sport, which, inter alios ludos gentis Cimmericse, the Pelasgi, at the Cimbric Sinope borrowed from the Cael-labiaid (Chalybians), and carried in triumph to Greece, under the acoustic sound of ipavTeKiyfiog possibly from the expression mantol y ddolen, with the varied interpretation of 'fluctuation of the noose, or trimming of the loop ' of the Cimbri; ' the pricking of the garter' of the English, and 'pricking the loop' of the Gwyddelod or Irish people.
'* Loop draws to loop, each country boasts its colour,
By means of the hints already pointed out, you will be able to untie the (Gordian) knot yourselves, which Alexander the Great, with all his victories over man and tongues, was unable to accomplish except with the sharp edge of his sword. After having disentangled the knot with my humble pen, I may with becoming modesty exclaim, in the emphatic language of Bichelieu " Verily the pen is mightier than the sword."
This Gordian knot therefore, somewhat unexpectedly, inter alia, proves its close knotty identity with the Galatian charioteers, who were almost within the course and range of accredited history.