Historical Reprints History Old and New World Civilizations

Old and New World Civilizations

Old and New World Civilizations
Catalog # SKU3407
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 3.00 lbs
Author Name Zelia Nuttall
ISBN 10: 1610337670
ISBN 13: 9781610337670


Old and New
World Civilizations

A Comparative Research Based
on a Study of the
Ancient Mexican Religious,
Sociological, and Calendrical Systems.

Zelia Nuttall

The author of this volume explains in her preface how she came to be led beyond her special field of research into a comparative study of the early civilizations of the Old World; and how she traced the origin of the swastika, in Mexico, to an astronomical source and, in all countries alike, found its use as a sacred symbol accompanied by evidences of a certain phase of culture based on pole-star worship, and the recognition of the fixed laws of nature, which found expression in the ideal of celestial kingdoms or states organized on a set numerical plan and regulated by the apparent revolutions of circumpolar constellations.

12 point font



One evening, in February, 1898, I left my desk and, stepping to the window, looked out at Polaris and the circumpolar region of the sky, with a newly awakened and eager interest.

For thirteen years I had been studying and collecting material with the hope of obtaining some understanding of the calendar, religion and cosmogony of the ancient Mexicans, but had hitherto purposely refrained from formulating or expressing any conclusions on the latter subjects having felt unable to extract a clear and satisfactory understanding of the native beliefs from the chaotic mass of accumulated data under which they lay like the ruin of an ancient temple. Though frequently discouraged, I had, however, never ceased to pursue my research and to note carefully the slightest indication or suggestion which might prove of ultimate value. Becoming utterly absorbed in the collection of such notes, I found no time to publish anything during the past four years, though realizing, with regret, that those interested in my work might be disappointed at my delay in issuing the papers announced, in 1894, as speedily forthcoming. Slowly but steadily, however, I was gaining ground. Various excursions along new lines of research increased my experience and, in crossing and re-crossing the field of ancient Mexico, I frequently had occasion to observe certain familiar landmarks, from a new point of view, and illuminated by rays of fresh light proceeding from recently acquired sources.

It was remarkable how often facts, which had seemed so hopelessly complicated, finally appeared to be quite simple and comprehensible. This was noticeably the case with the Aztec deities which, for years, had seemed to me as numberless. After closely studying their respective symbols, attributes and names, during several consecutive months, and subjecting them to a final minute analysis, I found that their number dwindled in a remarkable way and also verified the truth of the statement made by the anonymous author of the Biblioteca Nazionale manuscript which I was editing, that the Mexicans painted one and the same god under a different aspect "with different colours," according to the various names they gave him in each instance.

It was particularly interesting to find that, in assuming that certain names designated different native deities, the early Spanish writers had committed a mistake as great as though someone, reading the litany of the Virgin in a Catholic prayer-book, for the first time, inferred that it was a series of invocations addressed to distinct divinities, amongst whom figured the "morning star," a "mirror of justice," and a "mystical rose," etc. An examination of the texts of several native prayers preserved, established that the Mexicans addressed their prayers to a supreme Creator and ruler, whom they termed "invisible, incomprehensible and impalpable," and revered as "the father and mother of all."

Some of their so-called idols were, after all, either attempts to represent in objective form, the attributes of the divine power, the forces of nature, the elements, etc., or rebus figures. As these "gods" or "idols" are enumerated farther on and are exhaustively treated in my commentary of the Biblioteca Nazionale manuscript, now in press, it suffices for my present purpose merely to mention here that the most mysterious figure of Mexican cosmogony, Tezcatlipoca, whose symbolical name literally means "shining mirror," proved to be identical with Mictlantecuhtli, the lord of the underworld, whose title may also be interpreted as "the ruler or regent of the North," since Mictlampa is the name of this cardinal point.

680 pages - 7 x 8½ softcover
ISBN-10: 1610337670
ISBN-13: 9781610337670