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what we shall hereafter distinguish by the name of the CURIOLOGIC
2. The second, and more artful method of contraction, was by putting the instrument of the thing, whether real or metaphorical, for the thing itself. Thus an eye, eminently placed, was designed to represent God's omniscience ;* an eye and sceptre, to represent a monarch ; † a sword, their cruel tyrant Ochus : and a ship and pilot,
of the universe. And this is what we shall call the
3. Their third, and still more artificial method of abridging picture writing, was, by making one thing to stand for, or represent another, where any quaint resemblance or analogy, in the representative, could be collected from their observations of nature, or their traditional superstitions. And this was their SYMBOLIC HIERO
Sometimes it was founded in their observations on the form, or on · the real or imaginary natures and qualities, of Beings. Thus the universe was designed by a serpent in a circle, whose variegated spots signified the stars ; ll and the sun-rise by the two eyes of the crocodile, because they seem to emerge from its head ; a widow who never admits a second mate, by a black pigeon ; one dead of a fever, contracted by the over great solar heat, by a blind scarabæus ;tt a client flying for relief to his patron, and finding none, by a sparrow and owl ; 11 a king inexorable, and estranged from his people, by an eagle ; 99 a man who exposes his children through poverty, by an hawk ; || & wife who hates her husband, or children who injure their mother, by a viper ; 1 one initiated into the mysteries, and so under the obliga. tion of secrecy, by a grashopper, *** which was thought to have no mouth.
Sometimes again, this kind of hieroglyphic was derived from the popular superstition. Thus he who had borne his misfortunes with courage, and had at length surmounted them, was signified by the hyæna,ttt because the skin of that animal, used as a defence in battle, was supposed to make the wearer fearless and invulnerable.
But it is not from analogy alone (the force of which will be seen more fully as we proceed), nor yet from the nature of the thing only (which in these enquiries is indeed the safest guide), that we conclude the hieroglyphics now described to be an improvement of an earlier picture-writing used by the Egyptians, and resembling that of the Americans. Ancient history records the fact. We are told, in
CLEMENS ALEXAND. Strom. lib. v. + PLUTARCH, Is. et Osir,
1 Idem, ibid.
JAMBLICHOS. See note P, at the end of this book. ! HORAPOLI.. Hierogl. lib. i. cap. 2. 9 Lib. i. cap. 68.
•• Lib. ii. cap. 32. ii. cap. 41.
11 Lib. ii. cap. 51. $S Lib. ii. cap. 56. Il Lib. ii. cap. 99. 11 Lib. ii. cap. 59 et 60.
««• Lib. ii, cap. 55.
ttt Lib. ii. cap. 72.
that exquisite fragment of Sanchoniatho, preserved by Eusebius, that “the God Taautus, having imitated Ouranus's art of picture-writing,* drew the portraits of the Gods Cronus, Dagon, and the rest, and delineated the sacred characters which formed the elements of this kind of writing: † for Cronus, particularly, he imagined these symbols of royalty, four eyes, two before, and two behind ; of which, two were closed in slumber; and on his shoulders four wings, two stretched out, as in the act of flight, and two contracted, as in repose. The first symbol signified that Cronus watched though he reposed, and reposed though he watched; the second symbol of the wings signified, in like manner, that even when stationed he flew about, and when flying, he yet remained stationed. To each of the other gods he gave two wings on their shoulders, I as the Satellites of Cronus in his excursions; who had likewise two wings on his head, to denote the two principles of the mind, reason and passion.” § Here we see that Ouranus practised a kind of picture-writing, which Taautus afterwards improved : Taautus, or Thoth, was the Egyptian Mercury ; on which name and family all the inventions of the various kinds of writing were very liberally bestowed: this, here mentioned, as the improvement of Taautus, being the very hieroglyphics above described : and that, as before practised by Ouranus, the same with the simple American paintings.
Such then was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic ; || and this the second mode of invention for recording men's actions and conceptions; not, as hath been hitherto thought, a device of choice for secrecy, but an expedient of necessity, for popular use.
But the obscurity which attended the scantiness of hieroglyphic characters, joined to the enormous bulk of picture volumes, set men upon contriving a third change in this kind of writing : of which the Chinese have given us a famous example.
The original is, Προ δε τούτων Θεός Τάαυτος μιμησάμενος τον Ουρανόν, which Vigerus thus translates, Taautus vero Deus cum jam ante coli imaginem effinrisset ; and Cumberland, “ But before these things the god Taautus baring formerly imitated or represented Ouranus : "- This is wrong, jiuno áuevos Tov Oúpavov signifies here, imitating the art, or practice, or example of Ouranus ; not painting his figure. PLUTARCH. De Fort. Aler. Ηρακλέα ΜΙ ΜΟΥΜΑΙ και Περσέα ζηλώ. + See pote Q, at the end of this book.
1 Conformably to this account, the Etruscans and Greeks occasionally gave wings to the Images of all their Deities. 8 Προ δε τούτων θεος Τάαυτος μιμησάμενος τον Ουρανών, των θεών όψεις, Κρόνου τε και Δαγώνος, και των λοιπών διετύπωσεν τους ιερούς των στοιχείων χαρακτήρας επενόησε δε και το Κρόνο παράσημα βασιλείας, όμματα τέσσαρα εκ των έμπροσθίων και των οπισθίων μερών δύο δε ήσυχη μύοντα, και επί των ώμων στερά τέσσαρα δύο μέν ως ιπτάμενα, δύο δε ως υφειμένα το δε σύμβολον ήν, επειδή Κρόνος κοιμώμενος έβλεπε, και εγρηγορώς εκοιμάτο και επί των στερων ομοίως, ότι αναπαυόμενος ίπτατο, και ιπτάμενος ανεπαύετο τοις δε λοιπους θεούς, δύο εκάστη στερώματα επί των ώμων, ώς ότι δή συνίσταντο τη Κρόνο. και αυτό δε σάλιν επί της κεφαλής, στερά δύο: έν επί του ηγεμονικωτάτου νου, και εν & tñs aloohoews.- Prop. Evang. lib. i.
Il See note R, at the end of this book.
We have just observed, that the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic was an improvement on a yet more ancient manner, resembling the rude picture-writing of the Mexicans ; and that it joined contracted and arbitrarily instituted marks to images. The CHINESE writing at length went still further ; it threw out the images, and retained only the marks; which they increased to a prodigious number. In this writing, every distinct idea has its proper mark; and is, like every real character, whether formed by analogy or institution, common to divers neighbouring nations, of different languages.* The shapes and figures of several of these marks, however now disguised, do yet betray their original to be from pictures and images; as the reader may perceive, by casting his eye on the specimen given us by Kircher : † for, that it is only a more contracted and refined hieroglyphic, we have the concurrent testimony of the best writers on the arts and manners of this famous people; who inform us how their present writing was deduced, through an earlier hieroglyphic, from the first simple way of painting the human conceptions. I
• “Pero lo que se escrive en elia, en todas las lengnas se entiende, porque aunque las Provincias no se entienden de palabra unaes a otras, mas por escrito si, porque las letras o figuras son unas mismas para todos, y significan lo mismo, mas no tinen el mismo nombre ni prolacion, porque como he dicho son para denotar cosas y no palabras, assi como en el exemplo de los numeros de guarismo que puse, se puede facilmente entender. De aqui tambien procede, que fiendo los Japones y Chinas, Naciones y lenguas tam differentes leen y entendien los unos las escrituras de los otros; y si hablas sen lo que leen, o escriven, poco ni mucbo no se entenderian. Estas pues son las letras y libros que usan los Chinos tan afamados en el mundo," &c.— Acosta, lib. vi. cap. 5. “ Les Caracteres de la Cochinchine, du Tongking, du Japon sont les mêmes que ceux de la Chine, et signifient les mêmes choses, sans toutefois que ces Peuples en parlant, s'expriment de la même sorte. Ainsi quoique les langues soint très-differentes, et qu'ils ne puissent pas s'entendre les uns les autres en parlant; ils s'entendent fort bien en s'ecrivant, et tous leurs Livres sont communs. Ces Caracteres sont en cela comme des Chiffres d'arithmetique : plusieurs Nations s'en servent: on leur donne differens noms; mais ils signifient par tout la même chose-l'on compte jusqu'à quatre vingt mille de ces Caracteres."--Du Halde, Descr. de l'Empire de la Chine, tom. ii. p. 226. fol. ed. † China Illustrata, p. 227, et Edipi Ægyptiaci Theatrum Hieroglyphie cum, p. 12. See plate V. 1 “Primò siquidem ex omnibus rebus mundialibus primos Sinas characteres suos construxisse, tum ex Chronicis ipsorum patet, tum ipsa characterum forma sat superque demonstrat; siquidem non secus ac Egyptii ex animalibus, volucribus, reptiltus, piscibus, herbis, arborumque ramis, funiculis, filis, punctis, circulis, similibusque characteres suos, aliâ tamen et aliâ ratione dispositos formabant. Posteriores verò Sina rerum experientia doctiores, cum magnam in tanta animalium plantarumque congerie confusionem viderent, characteres hujusmodi varie figuratos, certis punctorum linearumque ductibus æmulati, in breviorem methodum concinnârunt, quâ et in hunc usque diem utuntur.-Porro litteras Sinæ nulla ratione in Alphabeti morem, uti cæteris nationibus consuetum est, dispositas, neque voces ex literis et syllabis compositas habent, sed singuli characteres singulis vocibus et nominibus respondent; adeoque tot characteribus opus habent, quos res sunt, quas per conceptum mentis exponere volunt.”-KIRCHERI China Illustrata, p. 226. « Au lieu d'Alphabet ils se sont servis au commencement de leur Monarchie, de Hieroglyphes. Ils en peint au lieu d'ecrire; et par les images naturelles des choses qu'ils formoient sur le papier ils tâchoient d'exprimer et de communiquer aux autres leurs idées. Ainsi pour écrire un oiseau, ils en peignoient la figure ; et pour signifier un forest, ils representoient plusieurs arbres ; un cercle vouloit dire le Soleil, et un croissant la Lune. Cette maniere d'ecrire estoit non seulement imparfaite, mais encore très incommode.---Ainsi les Chinois changerent peu à peu leur ecriture, et composerent des figures plus simples, quoique moins naturelles," &c.-LE COMTE, Nouv. Memoires sur l'Etat Present de la Chine, Tome prem. p. 256, Amst. 1698, 12mo. “ Des le commencement de leur
But it may be worth our while to consider more particularly, the origine and introduction of these ARBITRARY MARKS ; the last advance of hieroglyphics towards alphabetic writing. We may observe that substances, and all visible objects, were at first very naturally expressed by the images of the things themselves; as moral modes and other ideal conceptions of the mind were more aptly represented by marks of arbitrary institution : for it required variety of knowledge, and quickness of fancy, to design these latter ideas by analogic or symbolic figures ; which therefore can be supposed no other than an after-thought of a people more than ordinary ingenious, as the Egyptians, and who, aiming to set a price upon their ingenuity, made their meaning mysterious and profound.
We shall see presently, that as all nations, in their ruder state, had hieroglyphic images or analogic or symbolic figures for marking things ; so had they likewise simple charaoters or notes of arbitrary institution, for mental conceptions. But, commonly, that sort only which they most cultivated, or for which they were principally famous, happened to be transmitted to posterity. Thus the Mexicans are remembered for their hieroglyphic paintings only; and the Peruvians for their knotted cords. But we are not therefore to conclude that the Mexican writing had no arbitrary marks,* or that the Peruvians had no hieroglyphic paintings.t Real characters of both kinds had, at different periods, been cultivated in China, if we may credit the concurrent relations of the Missionaries. In ancient Egypt
Monarchie, ils commaniquoient leurs idées, en formant sur le papier les images naturelles des choses qu'ils vouloient exprimer: ils peignoient, par exemple, un oiseau, des montagnes, des arbres, des lignes ondoyantes, pour exprimer des oiseaux, des montagnes, un forêt, et des rivieres. Cette maniere d'expliquer sa pensée étoit fort imparfaite, et demandoit plusieurs volumes pour exprimer assez peu des choses. D'ailleurs il y avoit une infinité d'objets, qui ne pouvoient être representez par la peinture.—C'est pourquoi insensiblement ils changerent leur ancienne maniere d'ecrire : ils composerent des figures plus simples, et en inventerent plusieurs autres, pour exprimer les objets, qui ne tombent point sous les sens. Mais ces caracteres plus modernes ne laissent pas d'être encore de vrais Hieroglifes. Premierement parce qu'ils sont composez de lettres simples, qui retiennent la même signification des caracteres primitifs : Autrefois, par exemple, ils representoient ainsi le Soleil par un cercle ® et l'appelloient Gé; ils le representent maintenant, par cette figure , qu'ils nomment pareillement Gé. Secondement, parce que l'institution des hommes a attaché à ces figures la même idée, que ces premiers Symboles presentoient naturellement, et qu'il n'y a aucune lettre Chinoise qui n'ait sa propre signification, lorsqu'on la joint avec d'autres. Tsai, par exemple, qui veut dire, malheur, calamité, est composé de la lettre mien, qui signifie maison, et de la lettre ho, qui signifie feu, parce que le plus grand malheur est de voir sa maison en fer. On peut juger par ce seul exemple, que les caracteres Chinois n'êtant pas des lettres simples, comme les nôtres, qui separement ne signifient rien, et n'ont de sens que quand elles sont jointes ensemble ; ce sont autant de Hieroglifes, qui forment des images, et qui expriment les pensées."-Du Halde, tom. ii. p. 227.
Joseph Acosta (as we see above) expressly says, that “the Mexicans represented those things, which had bodily shape, by their proper figures, and those which had none, by other significative characters : '_“las cosas que tenian figuras las ponian con sus proprias ymagines ; y para las cosas que no avia ymagen propria tenian otros caracteres significativos de aquello." † The same Acosta says expressly, that, besides their quippos or "strings” variously knotted and coloured, they had paintings like the Mexicans.-Lib. vi. cap. 8.
indeed, where hieroglyphic figures were so successfully cultivated as to give that general name to real characters, the use of marks by institution is more obscurely noticed. And for this, a reason will be assigned. Martinus Martinius, in his history of China, tells us,* they had two sorts of characters; the one, marks by institution, which had been substituted instead of knotted cords, once in use amongst them (as in Peru), but much more intricate than the Peruvian knots: their other characters were figures resembling the Egyptian hieroglyphics, and representing the things they were designed to express. Now as the Chinese improved in arts and empire, it is natural to suppose they would much increase their marks by institution. The growing number of these characters, the sciences to which they were applied, and their commodious and expeditious use, would tempt them even to change their analogic figures into marks by institution, till their whole writing became of this sort. It is now such : and that the change was produced in the manner here represented, we may collect from the words and scheme of Martinius on the other side.
But to all this it may be said, How then came it to pass, that Egypt, which had the same imperial fortune in a long flourishing dominion, should be so far from changing their analogic figures into arbitrary marks, that their arbitrary marks were almost lost and absorbed in analogic figures ? For such arbitrary marks they had, as we may collect from their monuments, where we find them intermixed with proper hieroglyphics; and from Apuleius, where we see them described in his account of the sacred book or ritual of the mysteries of Isis. “De opertis adyti profert quosdam libros, litteris ignorabilibus prænotatos : partim FIGURIS CUJUSCEMODI ANIMALIUM, concepti sermonis compendiosa verba suggerentes ; partim NODOSIS, ET IN MODUM ROTÆ TORTUOsis, capreolatimque condensis apicibus, a curiositate profanorum lectione munita :" the very same species of writing with that of the Chinese, described by Martinius, and almost in the same words : “Fobius characteres reperit, quos loco nodorum adhibuit ; sed ipsis nodis intricatiores."
Now this opposite progress in the issue of hieroglyphic writing, in Egypt and China, may, I think, be easily accounted for by the different genius of the two people. The Egyptians were extremely inventive; and, what is often a consequence of that humour (though here other things contributed to promote it), much given to secrecy and mysterious conveyance : while the Chinese are known to be the least inventive people upon earth ; and not much given to mystery. This difference in the genius of the two nations would make all the difference in the progress of hieroglyphic writing amongst them.
“Idem imperator (Fo-bi] Sinicos characteres reperit, quos loco nodorum adhibuit, sed ipsis nodis intricatiores.”—Sin. Hist. lib i.
† See plate VI.