Joaquín Arnal.

The Ancient ones of the Earth : being the history of the primitive alphabet online

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Sir William Stawell
*His Lordship the Catholic Bishop
The Very Reverend Dean Macartnky

Anderson, J. B. , Malop Street, Geelong

Allan, J. W., South Yarra
*Bu(lcl, A. H., Inspector General of Schools

Bleasdale, Rev. Dr., Catholic Cathedral . .

*Bickford, Rev. J,, Sydney
*Broadribb, K. E., St. Kilda

Bunney, B. F., St. Kilda
**Bonwick, J.

Biggs, A. B., Hobart Town

Bromby, Rev. Dr., Grammar School

Buzzard, T. M., Melbourne

Beauehamp, H., Melbourne

Batten, H., Richmond Grammar School

Blair, D., Windsor

Bertram, J., Malop Street, Geelong
*Browning, J., Elizabeth Street

Bindon, J. H., St. Kilda

Bay ley T. A., George-street

Binks, W. L., Geelong ... . ..

Beany, Dr. G.

Ballantyne, Rev. J.

Barnes, R., Union street, Geelong

Carroll, Mrs., Richmond

Connebee, Rev. R., Duuedin


Cairns, Rev. Dr. A., Eastern Hill

O'Connor, Murtough

M'Caul, Melbourne

Crouch, J., St. Kilda

Clarke, Rev. J., Sandhurst

Christie, J., Crown Lands Office

Coates, Mrs., Commerei:il Road, Prahran

Draper, Rev. D. J., St. Kilda

Dickson, S. C, Melbourne

Dobson, J., St. Kilda

Davis, Rev. J. D., Kew

Day, Rev. E., Castleraaine

Dickenson, C, Windsor

Evans, Dr., Richmond

Ellery, Robert J., Government Reserve

Fulton, Robert, St. Kilda
*Fraser, Alexander, St. Kilda

Fraser, H., St. Kilda

Eraser, A., St. Kilda

Fletcher, Rev. W. R., Sandhurst

Fulford, John

Flint, Wm. S., Invercargill

Flint, Ebenezer, Invercargill

Fitzgibbon, Edward, Town Hall

Fraser, W., Melbourne

Fitch, Mr., St. Kilda

Fawkner, Hon. J.P., Collingwood

Fawkner, W., Oriental Bank

Fergusson and Moore, Melbourne
*Glaister, Thomas, North Melbourne

O'Grady, M., Kew

Gilbertson, Rev. J., Kew

Gardener, P., St. Kilda
•Gosman, Rev. A., St. Kilda

Grant, Hon. J. M., Brighton

Griffiths, C, St. Kilda
**Heales, Hon. R., St. Kilda
*Higinbotham, Hon. F., Brighton
*Hearn, Professor, University




Hart, W. H., St. Kilda

Howitt, G., M.D., Melbourne
*Henty, Hon, S. G., Kew ...
*Hervey, Hon. M., St, Kilda.,.

Hicks, J., Prahran

Hamilton, Rev. Robt., Fitzroy
*Henty, J., Kew ...

Hendy, John
*Irving, Professor, University

Johnston, J. S., St. Kilda

Love, William, Kew

Lampriere, Dr., St. Kilda ...

Lee, G, W.

Lane, Rev. C, Belfast

Levitt, S. J., St. Kilda

Michie, Hon, A,, St. Kilda

Melbourne Public Library ...

Mackey, G., LLD., Temple Court ...
*McCoy, Professor, University
*Moir, Rev. C, St. Kilda ,..

Mackie, Rev. G., South Yarra

McCulloch, the Hon. J., Chief Secretary, St.

McKeane, Richmond

Moss, Rev. "W,, Prahran

Middleton, Rev. W., Windsor

Merrick, Mrs. , Ladies' College, Richmond
*Morrison, Alexander, Scotch College ...
•Mackenzie, John, St. Kilda ...

McMichael, Rev. J. C, Colling wood ...

Neale, Rev. P., Prahran

Noel, W, B., Commissioner, Kew

Oldham, J., St, Kilda

Pohlman, R. W,

Parliament Library

Poore, Rev. J. L,

Paterson, J., Windsor
•Peterson, W,, St, Kilda

Paul, Rev. A,, St, Kilda

Parkin, J., Oxford-street, CoUingwood



Kolfe, G., St. Kilda

Riiinsay, Rev. A. M., Melbourne

Ray, Robt.

Rintel, Rev. Moses, Nortli Melbourne

Smith, J. H., Model Scliools
»Seddon, Rev. D., St. Kilda

O'Shanassy, Hon. J., Hawthorn

Supreme Court Library, Melbourne
**Smith, Robt., St. Kilda

Smith, A. J., St. Kilda

Smith, Professor, Sydney University
**Sargood, F. T., St. Kilda

Symons, Rev. J. C, Carlton Gardens

Tankard, J., Melbourne. ...

Taylor, Rev. J., Melbourne

Towle, Dr., Geelong

Venables, H.,Warrnambool
*Wilson, Professor, University, Melbourne

Woolcott, R. R., Richmond
*Webb, Prout Tbos., Geelong

Whitney, J., St. Kilda

Wilkie, J., St. Kilda

Walker, J. F., Richmond

Woolley, M., Melbourne

Whitby, A. L., Kew

Wilson, E., Argus OfiSce

Wilson, R., St. Kilda




It is the object of the present work to direct the attention of
those who feel interested in the question — " Which was the
primitive alphabet of man? " — to a discovery made by the author
in the year 1848. Being an earnest student of subjects tending
to illustrate or authenticate the Holy Scriptures, he formed an
humble unit amongst the many thousands who flocked to the
British Museum to gaze upon the exhumed remains of a mighty
empire, inscribed with records written in a dumb Semitic charac-
ter, brought to light by Mr. Layard's excavations. It was then
he perceived the striking similarity between some of the early
Greek letters and the cuneiform characters as exhibited on the
Assyrian marbles. He obtained permission from the museum
authorities to copy the inscriptions, with a view to their eluci-
dation, and he then collected an alphabet of the earliest Greek
letters, principally from Eolian tablets, and by comparing these
with the cuneiform inscriptions he foun^ that all the various
gi'oups of characters, when dissected, were resolvable into the
nineteen letters exhibited in his first column of alphabets. {Vide
Plate VII.) Subsequent study and investigation have only tended
to confirm this first conviction. As soon as he had formed the
alphabet, he copied an inscription, and having some slight
knowledge of Greek, tried to make it speak in that language;
but he could only make out a few names, such as " Assaraoi,"


" Babiloi," and the name of the god " Bel." Thinking next that
it might be Hebrew, he apphed himself to get a knowledge of
that tongue; but scarcely had he mastered the Hebrew alphabet
when adverse circumstances compelled him to give up the study
of Hebrew, Greek, and the cuneiform writings, for the sterner
work of seeking his daily bread sixteen thousand miles from his
native land. Previously to his embarking for Australia in 1850,
he submitted the discovery to the Eev. W. B. Hollis, of Islington,
who expressed a quite favourable opinion of it, and kindly offered
to get it published in one of the quarterlies; but the hurry of
departure from England prevented the preparation of the manu-
script for publication. He landed in Jlelbourne in January,
1851, but the confusion of colonial life in those early gold days
put a stop to all literary pui-suits, and from that time until 1859
the papers remained upon the shelf. About that time, having
some leisure on hand, he directed his attention once more to the
subject, and not hearing of the publication of anything certain
by the great European philologists, — no literal or perfect trans-
lation of any one record, so as to make it quite incontrovertible,
having aj^peared, — he was induced to seek some means of making
known a discovery so important to the literary world. Since the
year 1859, he has been using every means in his power, under
very many difficulties, to make known the discovery. He adver-
tised several times in the principal paper, stating that he was
willing to communicate all the particulars to any person who
felt an interest in biblical studies, and who Avould take the
trouble of calling upon him. But the only answers he received
were from two Hebrew scholars who wanted employment. He
sent copies of the alphabet, with particulars, to various learned
societies and gentlemen in London, Dublin, and Paris, but he

PREFACE. xiii.

received only one answer, from IMr. Layard, who tells him that
the only plan is to publish the discovery to the world. Nothing,
then, remained for him but to bring it before the public in the
present shape; and in the following pages he has, he thinks,
clearly exhibited the scheme of the primitive alphabet, which is
shown to be extremely simple, feasible, and in strict analogy
with all the early alphabets both as to the number and the form
of the letters. He has only further to hope that this system, in
its application by the philologists of Europe, will be found to
be the long-wanted desideratum for rightly interpreting the most
ancient and interesting records of antiquity.

The author feels that the apparent abstruseness of the subject
may have the effect of repelling many readers who take up the
book merely to glance through it ; but even such readers would
find, he hopes, on a little closer examination, that the whole
book is quite intelligible to any person of average information.
The abstruseness lies rather in the/on?i than in the subject-matter.

He has only to add, by way of preface, that he ventures to
hope that the simple fact of a work of this nature, being pub-
lished in Melbourne, will have the effect of commending it to
the attention of many persons, both in the colony and in the
mother country, who take an interest in the creation of a local
colonial literature.


Note. — At the author's request I have read over the MS. of
the present work, and have made here and there some revisions
in the style ; but I have not thought myself at liberty to alter or
strike out any of the author's statements or arguments.



It has been truly said that "in books are preserved and
hoarded the treasures of wisdom and knowledge which the world
has accumulated ; and it is chiefly by the aid of these they are
handed down from one generation to another."* This observation
holds good according to the present idea of a hook; but in the ages
preceding the Christian era the expression would have been " in
rolls are preserved and hoarded," Sec. &c. The earliest of such
roUs, we are informed, were composed of goat or sheep skins sewed
together. Pliny teUs us that the ancients, before parchment roUs
came into use, -wrote upon the leaves of the pahn tree and the
inner bark of certain other trees. The Greek word 5

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Online LibraryJoaquín ArnalThe Ancient ones of the Earth : being the history of the primitive alphabet → online text (page 1 of 12)