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ART. I. --The Celtic Druids. By GODFREY HIGGINS, Esq.
F.S. A. of Skellow Grange, near Doncaster, Yorkshire. 4to.
The Introduction to this splendid and elaborate work, contains ninety-six pages and forty-five plates, admirably lithographed, giving a full description of the Druidical remains, (temples, cromlebs, fire-towers, Logan stones, &c.) at Stonehenge, Abury, and other places in England, Scotland and Ireland; in France, Germany, and Malabar; besides fourteen vignettes of a similar kind, conclusively shewing the similarity in the design and structure of these strange erections in widely distant places, and the probable similarity of the rites and ceremonies to which they were destined. In page liii. of this Introduction, Mr. Higgins speaks of the brass weapons of ancient nations; we suspect the brass is properly bronze; an alloy not of copper and zinc, but of copper and tin. The aurichalchum of Corinth might have been brass, but there is no certain evidence of the knowledge or use among the ancients of our modern alloy, so called. The ancient weapons were usually nine parts copper, and one part tin. Their specula were either of this last mentioned alloy, or with a larger proportion of tin, or of silver.
The work itself opens with some remarks on the necessity of Etymology, and a collection of alphabets disposed in separate columns. 1. The names of the Samaritan and Hebrew letters. 2. The Samaritan characters. VOL. IV.NO. 7.
3. The Chaldee characters. 4. Their respective powers of notation. 5. The Greek larger and smaller alphabet, with the same
powers of notation. 6. A description of the Cadmean letters. 7. The names of the Greek alphabetical characters. 8. The Celtic letters. 9. The names of the letters of the Irish alphabet. 10. The names of the trees designated by the Irish letters. In
this we have to remark, that L, Luis, the Quicken, means also the Leek. That S, Suil, which Mr. Higgins marks as unknown, means the Eye; and that T, Teine, which he
also marks as unknown, means Fire. On the next page are eleven other columns, as follow1, 2, 3. The Irish Bobiloth alphabet, the characters, letters
and denominations. 4, 5, 6. The Irish Bethluisnion alphabet, characters, letters and
denominations. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. The Etruscan alphabet, characters and powers.
Fig. 12. on the same page, characters found at Persepolis.
Fig. 13. The Callan inscription in Ogham characters, found in County Clare. (See also in corroboration, pages, 59, 60, 247, 248, 257, 264, 304, particularly the three last.)
On these, we have to remark, that the names, characters, and powers of notation of the Samaritan, Hebrew, Greek, and Cadmean, are too manifest to be mistaken. 2. That the names of the Irish letters have a similarity with the preceding also, too remarkable to be ascribed to mere accident. 3. That there is a general similarity in the form of the Irish Bethluisnion alphabet with the Etruscan. 4. That the general stile and appearance of this Etruscan character struck us, as very similar to the same in the plate of the Elean inscription, discovered by G. Gell, in 1813, of which Mr. Knight has given a translation and description in 13 Class. Journal, p. 113, deducible, we think, from the Umbrian or the Pelasgic stem of the Greek people, who were certainly the progenitors of the Etruscans. 5. That we could have wished to have had placed under the eye of the reader the plate of inscriptions on the Babel bricks, of which Sir Wm. Drummond has given a description in 5 Class. Journal, p. 127, to compare with the Ogham character. Ogbam, Hercules Ogmius of Lucian : Agham, sanscrit for secret. 6. We are also of opinion, it would have been well worth the while of Mr. Higgins to have enriched bois pages with a fac-simile of the Phænician alphabet and inscription at Malta, which Sir William Drummond has given, 5 Class. Jour. p. 54. 7. We could have wished also for an opportunity of comparing the two Phænician alphabets in the third plate of Professor Hamaker's Diatribe Philologicocritica, exhibiting the characters as they appear on the monuments brought to Europe by Humbert, and in the Borgian Inscription. (See vol. xxvi. Class. Jour. p. 381.) Were we to sketch an alphabetical genealogy, we should, for the present, commence with the Sanscrit, thence to the two dialects of Persia, the Pahlavi and the Zend, then the Phænician, Samaritan, Hebrew, Umbrian, the Pelasgic from Thessaly, from whence the ancient Tuscan of Etruria, differing from the Hellenic and other Greek dialects; all these latter combined being the parents of the Latin. But we have little doubt about the former existence of a more ancient language, anterior to and parent of the Sanscrit, and now entirely lost. How far the Celtic, the Irish, and the Welsh, are connected with this research, we shall see as we proceed. We remember, formerly, to have read in the old Monthly Magazine of about five and twenty years past, a list of two or three pages, not merely of words but of whole phrases, manifestly the same in sound and meaning in the Greek and the Welsh. We hesitate about Sir William Jones' opinion, that the Arabic is of a different race, as so many of the Hebrew radicals are traceable in that language.
In speaking of changes in language, p. 6, Mr. Higgins rejects entirely the Masoretic points, citing in favour of the same opinion, thirty of the first names in Hebrew literature.
We note this, because all our American teachers of Hebrew adopt the vowel points; which certainly are authority for the traditionary reading of the Hebrew language at the period when these vowel points were first used by the Masorets. But the vagueness of a language, consisting almost entirely of consonants, leaves such latitude of vowel substitution, that we cannot conceive any modern mode of reading the Hebrew language, superior in authority to the points as now used.
In page 40, the author proceeds to show that the Druids, both of Gaul and Britain, were acquainted with letters, and that in
* There is a curious and learned paper by Mr. Higgins in 33 Class. Journ. p. 123, on the similarity between the Phænician and the Hebrew; which connexion obtains, as we suspect, rather with the Samaritan than the Hebrew : for the latter may reasonably be suspected as contaminated by the Chaldee.
+ The author of a Vindication of the Celts against Mr. Pinkerton 1813, (in appen. dix, p. 57) gives a few instances out of twenty thousand Welsh words similar to the Greek. The tenses in both languages are formed from the auxiliaries Ew and Au
Cæsar's time they used the Greek characters in common. Celsus also opposed the antiquity of the Druids, and their wisdom in contrast to that of the Jews. Celsus was dead fifty years before Origen's reply to him. "A few years after that reply, so soon as Christianity became dominant, the works of Celsus were probibited under pain of death, and in consequence have long since been all destroyed. It is not an unimportant fact which we learn from this passage of Origen against Celsus, that the Druids were not only well known to the Roman philosophers, but that they were held up by them as examples of wisdom, and models for imitation on account of pre-eminent merit of some kind ; and the answer of Origem, from his guarded manner, seems to afford reasonable ground of suspicion that he did know that in their own far distant countries, the Druids had writings. This is not unfair to suspect of the man who actually embodied fraud into a system, practised it with the approbation of his fellows, and gave it the technical name of ECONOMIA, by which it has gone ever since." It appears strange to us that many of the ancient fathers should regard this system of literary deception as allowable. This was the case not only with Origen but with Chrysostom. (See Mosheim's Dissertations, pp. 195 to 205.) So, Eusebius in his Præparatio Evangelica, prefaces a short chapter thus ; οσι δεήσει ποτέ το ψεύδει αισι (αντι' ?) φαρμακι χρήσθαι επι ωφέλεια Tūv dróusvõ tã Toišeš Tor," how it may be lawful and fitting to use falsehood as a medicine; and for the benefit of those who want to be deceived." Timæus Locris and Plato, both gave into the same unjustifiable practice. (Mosheim Dissert. pp. 195, 156, 199.) The passage in Eusebius is in p. 356, Edit. Græc. Rob. Steph. Paris, 1544, and lib. xii. ch. 31, p. 607 of vol. i. edit. Franc. Vigeri. Paris, 1628.
Two ancient Alphabets. (p. 15.) The Pelasgic, Attic, Argive, Arcadian, Etruscan—and the Cadmean, Ionian, Phænician, or Eolian. The former, probably the Cecropian; for this latter was older than Cadmus. (Schmidt Palaiog. Soc. An. London, vol. i. p. 238.) These two alphabets had the same number of radical letters, sixteen; the same as in use among the old Latins, old Germans, Irish and British bards. The Irish, Greek and Hebrew letters are the same. Mr. Higgins refers in proof of this, to the inspection of his table of alphabets above mentioned. The letters have the same number, (the Cadmean sixteen,) the same arrangement, and nearly the same appellations. Mr. Higgins asks (after Mr. Huddleston) if the Irish Celts had culled or selected their alphabet from that of the Romans, as some persons have absurdly imagined, how or by what miracle could they have hit on the identical letters which Cadmus brought