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Essays of an Americanist I. Ethnologic and Archæologic. II. Mythology and Folk Lore. III. Graphic Systems and Literature. IV. Linguistic.

Essays of an Americanist
I. Ethnologic and Archæologic. II. Mythology and Folk Lore.
III. Graphic Systems and Literature. IV. Linguistic.
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Title: Essays of an Americanist I. Ethnologic and Archæologic. II. Mythology and Folk Lore. III. Graphic Systems and Literature. IV. Linguistic.
Release Date: 2018-12-13
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Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
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Essays of an Americanist.

I. Ethnologic and Archæologic.
II. Mythology and Folk Lore.
III. Graphic Systems and Literature.
IV. Linguistic.
BY
DANIEL G. BRINTON. A. M., M. D.,
PROFESSOR OF AMERICAN ARCHÆOLOGY AND LINGUISTICS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, PRESIDENT OF THE NUMISMATIC AND ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY OF PHILADELPHIA, PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN FOLK-LORE SOCIETY, MEMBER OF THE AMERICAN ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY, THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, THE SOCIÉTÈ ROYALE DES ANTIQUAIRES DU NORD, THE SOCIÉTÈ AMÉRICAINE DE FRANCE, THE BERLINER ANTHROPOLOGISCHE GESELLSCHAFT, THE REAL ACADEMIA DE HISTORIA, MADRID, ETC., ETC.
PHILADELPHIA:
PORTER & COATES.
1890.
Copyright
By D. G. BRINTON.

iii

PREFACE.

The word “Essays” appears on the title of this book inthe sense in which old Montaigne employed it—attempts,endeavors. The articles which make up the volumehave been collected from many scattered sources, to which Ihave from time to time contributed them, for the definitepurpose of endeavoring to vindicate certain opinions aboutdebated subjects concerning the ancient population of theAmerican continent.

In a number of points, as for example in the antiquity ofman upon this continent, in the specific distinction of anAmerican race, in the generic similarity of its languages, inrecognizing its mythology as often abstract and symbolic, inthe phonetic character of some of its graphic methods, in believingthat its tribes possessed considerable poetic feeling,in maintaining the absolute autochthony of their culture—inthese and in many other points referred to in the followingpages I am at variance with most modern anthropologists;and these essays are to show more fully and connectedlythan could their separate publication, what are my groundsfor such opinions.

There is a prevailing tendency among ethnologists of to-dayivto underrate the psychology of savage life. This errorarises partly from an unwillingness to go beyond merelyphysical investigations, partly from judging of the ancientcondition of a tribe by that of its modern and degeneraterepresentatives, partly from inability to speak its tongue andto gain the real sense of its expressions, partly from preconceivedtheories as to what a savage might be expected toknow and feel. As against this error I have essayed to showthat among very rude tribes we find sentiments of a highcharacter, proving a mental nature of excellent capacity incertain directions.

Several of the Essays have not previously appeared inprint, and others have been substantially re-written, so as tobring them up to the latest researches in their special fields.Nevertheless, the reader will find a certain amount of repetitionin several of them, a defect which I hope is compensatedby the greater clearness which this repetition gives to thespecial subject discussed.

Philadelphia, February, 1890.

v

CONTENTS.

  PAGE
 
Preface iii, iv
 
Table of Contents v-xii
 
 
PART I.
 
ETHNOLOGIC AND ARCHÆOLOGIC.
 
Introductory 17–19
 
A Review of the Data for the Study of the Pre-historic Chronology of America 20–47
 
  Classification of Data. I. Legendary: of northern tribes; of Peruvians, Mexicans and Mayas; limited range. II. Monumental: pueblos of New Mexico; stone and brick structures of Mexico, Central America and Peru; ruins of Tiahuanaco; artificial shell heaps; the sambaquis of Brazil. III. Industrial: palæolithic implements; early polished stone implements; dissemination of cultivated food plants. IV. Linguistic: multitude and extension of linguistic stocks; tenacity of linguistic form; similarities of internal form; study of internal form. V. Physical: racial classifications; traits of the American type; permanence of the type. VI. Geologic: date of the glacial epochs in North and South America; the earliest Americans immigrants; lines of migrations. Importance of archæological studies.  
 
viOn Palæoliths, American and Other 48–55
 
  The cutting instrument as the standard of culture; the three “Ages” of Stone, Bronze and Iron; subdivisions of the Age of Stone into Palæolithic and Neolithic; a true “Palæolith”; subdivision of the Palæolithic period into the epochs of “simple” and “compound” implements; palæolithic finds along the Delaware river; the glacial period in America; earliest appearance of man in America.  
 
On the Alleged Mongolian Affinities of the American Race 56–66
 
  A practical question; Cuvier’s triple division of the human species; alleged Mongolian affinities in language; supposed affinities in culture; imagined physical resemblances, as color, cranial analogies, the oblique or “Mongoloid” eye, etc. Insufficiency of all these.  
 
The Probable Nationality of the “Mound-Builders.” 67–82
 
  Who were the “Mound-builders”? Known tribes as constructors of mounds, the Iroquois, Algonkins, Cherokees and Chahta-Muskoki family. Descriptions from De Soto’s expedition; from Huguenots in Florida; from French writers on Louisiana; great size of the southern mounds; probable builders of Ohio mounds.  
 
The Toltecs and their Fabulous Empire 83–100
 
  Statement of the question; the current opinion; the adverse opinion; Tula as an historic site; the Serpent-Hill; the Aztec legends about Tula; date of the desertion of Tula; meaning of the name Tula or Tollan; the mythical cyclus of Tula; birth of Huitzilopochtli; myth of Quetzalcoatl at Tula; his subjects, the Toltecs; purely fabulous narratives concerning them.  
 
viiPART II.
 
MYTHOLOGY AND FOLK-LORE.
 
Introductory 101–103
 
The Sacred Names in Quiche Mythology 104–129
 
  The Quiches of Guatemala, and their relationship; sources of information. Their Sacred Book, the Popol Vuh; its opening words; The name Hun-Ahpu-Vuch, the God of Light; Hun-Ahpu-Utiu; Nim-ak, the Great Hog; Nim-tzyiz; Tepeu; Gucumatz; Qux-cho and Qux-palo; Ah-raxa-lak and Ah-raxa-sel; Xpiyacoc and Xmucane, the primal pair; Cakulha; Huracan and Cabrakan; Chirakan, the god of the Storm and the Earthquake; Xbalanque and his journey to Xibalba, or the Descent into Hell.  
 
The Hero-God of the Algonkins as a Cheat and Liar 130–134
 
  Micmac story of Gluskap, the Liar; the Cree god, the Deceiver; Michabo and his tricks; psychological significance of such stories.  
 
The Journey of the Soul 135–147
 
  General belief in a soul; Egyptian theory of its fate; it sinks and rises with the sun; invocation to Osiris; symbols of the river, the boat, the dog, and the sacred numbers; recurrence of these symbols in Greek, Vedantic and Norse beliefs; the Aztec account of the soul’s journey to Paradise. Origin of these symbolic narratives from the apparent daily course of the Sun.  
 
The Sacred Symbols in America 148–162
 
  The four symbols of the Ta Ki, the Triskeles, the Svastika and the Cross; the prevalence of the Triskeles in the Old World; the meaning of the Ta Ki in Chinese philosophy; the Yin and Yang; the Svastika; origin illustrated from n picture-writing; the Copan stone; the earth-plain; the wheel-cross; winter-counts and year cycles; time-wheels and sun-motions; the Four Ages and Tree of Life.  
 
viiiThe Folk-Lore of Yucatan 163–180
 
  Mental activity of the Mayas; the diviners; the “field mass”; invocation to the rain-gods; fire-worship; prognostics; transformations of sorcerers; nagualism; a Maya witch story; the Balams; the Man of the Woods; stories of dwarfs and imps; female deceivers; fabulous birds and snakes.  
 
Folk-Lore of the Modern Lenape 181–192
 
  Source of information; reminiscences of the tribe; Messianic hopes; relics of the Stone Age; methods of hunting and fishing; utensils, boats and houses; the native games; the sweat-lodge; their canticos, and the derivation of the term; medical knowledge; cure for rattlesnake bites; native trephining; position of the Lenâpé as “grandfathers”; wampum belts; totemic divisions; peculiarities of the dialect; Lenâpé grammar.  
 
 
PART III.
 
GRAPHIC SYSTEMS AND LITERATURE.
 
Introductory 193–194
 
The Phonetic Elements in the Graphic Systems of the Mayas and Mexicans 195–212
 
  Material for the study; were the native hieroglyphs phonetic? Character and arrangement of phonetic symbols; the failure of Landa’s alphabet; phonetic signs in Maya MSS.; hieroglyph of the firmament; phonetic terminals; signs of cardinal points; Mexican phonetic elements; principle of the rebus; examples; the ikonomatic system.  
 
ixThe Ikonomatic Method of Phonetic Writing 213–229
 
  Thought-Writing and Sound-Writing; the ikonomatic method explained; illustrations
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