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brated for their wisdom and learning: and they were undoubtedly a most wonderful people; and had certainly all the learning that could arise from hieroglyphical representations. They had, I make no doubt, the knowledge of lines, by which geometrical problems must be illustrated : and they had the use of figures for numeration : but I imagine, that they were without letters for ages. Epigenes said that the Babylonians, who were great observers of the heavens, had accounts of those observations for seven hundred and twenty years, written upon plinths baked in the sun. 54 Epigenes apud Babylonios 720 annorum observationes siderum coctilibus laterculis inscriptas docet gravis auctor in primis. Qui minimum, Berosus et Critodemus, 490 annorum. Ex quo apparet æternus literarum usus. I can see no proof from hence of the eternity of letters, for which Pliny contends : nor, indeed, do I believe, that letters existed among them at the time of which he speaks. For if they had been so fortunate as to have had for so long a time these elements, they were too ingenious a people not to have used them to better purpose. The Babylonians had writing among them sooner than most
54 Plinii Hist. Nat. l. 7. p. 413. Some prefix M. or Mille to the other numbers, and make the sums 1720 and 1490.
nations of the earth : but the years taken notice of by Epigenes were antecedent to their having this knowledge : at which time they were ingenious, and wise above the rest of the sons of men; but had no pretensions to literature properly so called. For, as I have before mentioned, I cannot help forming a judgment of the learning of a people from the materials with which it is expedited, and carried on. And I should think that literature must have been very scanty, or none at all, where the means abovementioned were applied to. For it is impossible for people to receive any great benefit from letters, where they are obliged to go to a shard or an ss oyster-shell for information, and where knowledge is consigned to a pantile. As to the high antiquity assigned to letters by Pliny ; it is impossible to give any credence to that author, who from 720 years infers eternity, and speaks of those terms as synonymous.
55 Ostracismus, Petalismus, Liber, Folium, Tabella, Latercula.
From writing upon leaves and shells, came the terms Petal.smus and Ostracismus among the Greeks : from the bark of trees came Libri of the Latins.
I Took notice, when I was treating of the first apostasy, and rebellion upon earth, that it was a remarkable æra when ' Scythismus was said to have commenced. This vas attended with Hel. lenismus, which by some is brought after, but seems to have prevailed about the same time. What the purport is of these terms has never been satisfactorily explained. In respect to Scythismus, we may be thus far assured, that it is a term which relates to a people styled Scythæ; and they were the same from whom the region called Scythia had its name. There were several countries of this denomination : but what relation could the people have with Babylonia ? and how can we imagine that their history could precede the æra of dispersion, yet so it will appear?
As I am therefore about to treat of these nations, it will be proper to say something of the
learned Monsieur Pezron, whose notions upon this head are remarkable. He seems to have been the founder of a new system, in which he has had many followers; and all that science, which I suppose to have been derived to the western world from Babylonia and Egypt, they bring from the Sacæ, and Scythians of the north; making it take its rise beyond Media and Mount Imaüs, in the upper regions of Asia. We are particularly informed by Pezron, that there was a people in these parts, who in the first ages spread themselves over Bactria and Margiana; and proceeding by Armenia and Cappadocia, at last passed over into Europe. The whole of this continent they conquered, and held under the names of Gomarians, Cimmerians, Celts, and Scythæ. From hence he takes upon him to shew, that the Gaulish and Celtic nations were from the upper regions of Asia, and particularly from those countries which lay beyond the Bactrians and Medes. He takes notice, that there was in these parts a city named Comara, mentioned by Ptolemy and others; and, from the similitude which subsists between Comarians and Gomarians, the learned writer is induced to bring the sons of Gomer, by whom Europe is supposed in part to have been peopled, from the regions about Thebet and Tartary. As he proceeds methodically in the history of this people, I will lay before the reader