Friday, August 24, 2007

Hindus and Celts Commonality

Adapted from The Early Races of Scotland and Their Monuments By Forbes Leslie, page 451 onwards.


Common Element in Languages of Countries extending from the Himalayas to the Hebrides, and a remarkable similarity in Primitive Monuments over the same Extent—Primitive Monuments of India existed prior to the Rock-cut Temples—Circular Stone Fanes still commonly erected in India—Sacrifice of Goats and Cocks—The Number of Stones in the Circle had reference to the Numbers of those who were to partake of the Sacrifice— Stones similarly placed at Superstitions Ceremonies in Scotland— Bali and Baal—List of Monuments common to India and the Celtic Countries of Western Europe—Similar Monuments in Persia and Media; in Syria, Palestine, Phoenicia, Circassia, Troy, Malta, Goza, Tunis, Algeria and the North Coast of Africa, Italy, Spain, Lusitania, Gaul, Armoriea, the Channel Islands, Great Britain, and Ireland.

IT is only in very recent times that philologists have fully compared and finally traced striking relations and common elements in the language of nations extending from the remote Hebrides to the Himalaya mountains, and have proved the intimate connection of the Celtic with the Sanscrit. (Note 1) Evidence confirmatory of the latter fact could, if it were necessary, be developed to a much greater extent; if not (continued)

Note 1 particularly refer to the facts Notes, etc., of Professor Wilson; to made known by Bopp's Comparative Pritchard's Celtic Nations, by Latham ; Grammar, translated and edited by and to Latham Y. Descriptive Ethno- Professor Eastwick, and with theology.


in the structure of the languages, certainly in the identity of words that are expressive of the same meaning in Sanscrit and Celtic dialects. From the comparative rudeness of the Celtic it may be inferred that, if derived from a common origin with the Sanscrit, it must have separated from the parent stock at a very remote period, long prior to the age of the earliest Vedic hymns—viz. the Rigveda—vibich, there is reason to believe, cannot have existed less, but portions of which were promulgated more than three thousand years ago.

The object of the present and immediately succeeding chapters is to show that many of the primitive monuments, customs, superstitions, rites, sacrifices, and objects of worship of the races inhabiting the peninsula of India were similar to those of the Celtic tribes in France and Britain. In a less degree, perhaps because not so well known, analogous monuments and customs will be noticed as existing in intermediate countries.

The departure of the Celtic race from the land of their ancestors and the East, if they did so depart, and from where- ever it may have been that they proceeded, must have occurred at a very early and pre-historic period, when arts and civilisation were but faintly developed, and architecture was not only unknown in the region of their exodus, but also in the nations and countries through which they passed or on which they intruded ; for notwithstanding the cold and moist climate of North Britain and the exposed peninsulas of Armorica, the dwellings of the Celts were not formed of durable materials. Yet in the Cyclopean monuments of these countries (continued)

see proofs that the Celtic people could transport and raise masses of stone which in size were only surpassed by those in the ancient monuments of Egypt.

The disconnected links of a chain of Cyclopean monuments nearly similar in structure may be traced from Central and Western Asia, perhaps even from more remote countries, along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, particularly on the north coast of Africa ; from thence by Spain and Gaul to the extremities of the British Isles.

The notices of such monuments were collected before I became aware of Dr. Meyer's opinion regarding the routes by which the Celtic nations passed into Europe ; and the existence of these remains in the line mentioned certainly appears to be in some degree corroborative of his views,1 in so far as regards the principal and earliest migration and route pursued by the Celts in their progress to the extreme west of the then known world.

Dr. Meyer thinks that the Celtic nation passed from Asia to Europe by two principal routes, which it resumed at different epochs, and thus formed two great streams of migration, flowing as it were periodically.2 The one, in a south-western direction, proceeding through Syria and Egypt, thence along the northern coast of Africa, reached Europe at the Pillars of Hercules, and passing on through Spain to Gaul, then divided (continued)

Note 1. Other circumstances favouring the euce to the earliest recorded legend of opinion of Dr. lleyer are mentioned the monument at Stonehenge. in treating of the Lia-Fail, or " Stone

Note 2. Dr. Charles Meyer, in the Report of Destiny," now in the coronation- of the British Association for the Ad- i hair at Westminster ; and in refer- oancement of Science, 1847, p. 303.


itself into three branches—the northern of which terminated in Grunt Britain and Ireland, the southern in Italy, and the eastern, running along the Alps and the Danube, terminated near the Black Sea. The other great stream of Celtic migration, proceeding in a more direct line, reached Europe at its eastern limit, and passing through European Scythia, and thence partly through Scandinavia, partly along the Baltic, through Prussia, and through Northern Germany, reached Britain across the German Ocean. Of these two streams of migration, the former (viz. by the north coast of Africa), although the less direct, seems to be the more ancient, and to have reached the north-west of Europe several centuries before the other.

The following are a few details regarding the Cyclopean monuments of India, which are similar to those of the Celtic countries of Western Europe ; including notices of monuments of like construction in intermediate countries, particularly such as are in the line of migration indicated by Dr. Meyer as that by which the earliest Celtic emigrants reached Gaul and Britain.

The identity or very strong resemblance of ancient monuments, superstitions, and customs existing in countries geographically remote and historically unconnected, cannot be solely attributed to certain animal instincts implanted in mankind. In cases where the resemblance is undoubted and the peculiarities great, such coincidences may with more probability be referred to former communication between the nations in which they appear, although intercourse between (continued)


them, may be unknown to or unnoticed by history. By some writers the similar effects on isolated human communities by natural impulses said to be developed in certain phases of civilisation in the most distant countries and different climates have surely been overrated, and such coincidences may with probability be limited to exertions of intellect that but little surpass the instinct displayed not only by the higher order of unreasoning animals but even by members of the insect creation.

Architectural uniformity, although instinctive in the lower members of the animated creation, is certainly not an attribute of mankind. In the simple huts formed of stakes and rushes or of pickets and palm-leaves, in the underground houses the formation of which is attributed to pigmies, and in excavated cathedrals and Cyclopean structures, of which genii and giants get credit both for the design and execution, no two edifices are alike. This diversity of form in temples, dwellings, and monuments is common to all races and to all ages ; for as in ancient so also in modern times, and in the most civilised communities, as great a variety is observable in the fashion of the dwellings as in the features of their occupants. From the frail huts constructed by gipsies on a common to the palaces built for kings in the city, all are dissimilar, unless in some few situations where arbitrary power has enforced, in external appearance, an unnatural uniformity •which is dull and displeasing to the eye even in street architecture.

Columnar megalithic fanes, dolmens, kistvaens, and several (continued)


varieties of Cyclopean monuments found in Celtic and other countries have their peculiarities, and are not simple suggestions such as might be supposed to arise in the untutored minds of alien races. The square or the triangle are as likely as the circle or ellipse to present themselves as satisfactory forms in which to arrange the columnar masses meant to designate a sacred enclosure; and the dolmens are neither peculiarly simple in design nor easy of execution when we consider the great masses of rock of which they are frequently composed.

It will not be disputed that the primitive Cyclopean monuments of the Dekhan of India were erected prior to the arrival of the present dominant race—the Hindus—who intruded themselves and introduced the Sanscrit language. The onward progress of the Hindus to general dominion in the Indian peninsula has, however, been so gradual and insidious that it is impossible to fix with any approach to accuracy when these intruders overcame the former possessors of the elevated table-land in which these monuments are most abundant. It may even be doubted, and on good grounds has been disputed, whether the immediate predecessors of the Hindus—the race that speak the most cultivated languages of Southern India, as the Telinga, Tamul, Cauaresse, etc. —were the architects of the Cyclopean fanes and the occupants of the sepulchral tumuli of the Dekhan. They certainly do not appear to have been the aborigines, but to have supplanted an earlier people, as they were themselves overcome by the later migration of the Hindus from beyond the Yindhyan range of hills.