domenica, Giugno 13, 2021
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THE CENTAURS

As a test of our progress we will now consider the history of the Lapithae and Centaurs, and examine their mythological or non-mythological weight by the just scales of geographical science, aided by the language of the first settlers.
The Centauroi, according to the earliest accounts, a race of men who inhabited the mountains and forests of Thessaly, “are described as leading a rude and savage life, occasionally carrying off the women of their neighbours, as covered with hair, and ranging over the mountains like animals, yet they were not altogether unacquainted with the useful arts, as in the case of Cheiron; in which passages they are called (Pheeres), that is (Theeres). Now in these earliest accounts, the Centaurs appear merely as a sort of gigantic, savage, animal-like beings, whereas, in later writers, they are described as monsters (hippo-centaurs), whose bodies were partly human and partly those of horses. The Centaurs are particularly celebrated in ancient story for the feast of Peirithous, the subject of which was extensively used by ancient poets and artists Cheiron, the wisest and most just of all the Centaurs was the instructor of Achilles, whose father Peleus, was a friend and relative of Cheiron. He lived on Mount Pelion, from which he, like the other Centaurs, was expelled by the Lapithse. His descendants in Magnesia, “the Cheironida,” were distinguished for their knowledge of medicine. All the most distinguished heroes of Grecian story, are, like Achilles, described as the pupils of Cheiron, in hunting, medicine, music, gymnastics, and the art of prophecy. It is not a little provoking to observe the unhappy tendency produced by Greek etymology. So completely, on this point, has it biased, nay paralyzed, mental energy, that the Greek Centaur, too bulky and too nondescript to be admitted within the portals of the temple of history, has not only been refused entrance, but his form reacting on the classical infidel, has given rise to a theory, in which the negation of existence forms the very life of history. The name of these Centaurs, is of course derived (…) from goading bulls; that is, these Centaurs were, as we should say, “Prickers,” — they went on horseback after strayed bulls, or they hunted wild bulls. One was seen by Pcriander, tyrant of Corinth.4 Pliny was particularly fortunate; he saw one embalmed in honey, this was an Egyptian Centaur, brought all the way to Rome. But it must have been also an historical Centaur; for this occurrence dates after the Olympiads, — nay, even so late as the reign of Claudius. The most inquisitive and judicious of the ancient antiquarians,” observes Mitford, €c appear to have been at a loss what to think of the Centaurs.” Strabo calls them, (…) a mode of expression implying uncertainty about them, while he gives them an epithet, for which no reason appears. Pindar1 describes the Centaur Cheiron as a most paradoxical being, which he has described in two words, (…) “ godlike wild beast.” For the perfect comprehension of the Centaurs, Cheiron, the Lapithae, and the “Oelos” of Pindar, it will be necessary to understand the settlements of eastern Thessaly. They are settlements founded by people of very different countries, and of different habits; this alone would be sufficient to account for the frequent wars between the Lapithae and the Centaurs. The mountain land of Olympus was, in common with the greater part of the eastern coast, peopled by the nations of the Punjab. They were emigrants from the banks of the river Ravee, not far from its junction with the Chenab. To the south, the mountain Ossa, though a colony from the Ooksha or Oxus, was occupied by the people of Oocha or Ooch. The reader cannot but be struck with the singular harmony subsisting between the old and the new settlements of the Thessalians, as shown by the maps accompanying this book; which mirror forth at once both {C Western Hellas” and the Singetic provinces in the original country. While the Pagasae, “the people of Pak,” have settled at Pagasae—the head of the Persian Gulf—the Tebhai, people of Tebhee, their immediate neighbours to the south, have occupied the same relative positions in their new city of “Thebe” The Mali-pai[1] or “Chiefs of Mooltan,” have taken up their abode at Mali-baia, “The town of the Malli chiefs” adjoining whom are the emigrants from Beeboo[2] who have fixed their new settlement on the Lake Baebois.
The Bhootias appear to have gained a firm footing in north-western Thessaly, in the immediate vicinity of their old neighbors, the Birgoos. Both these appear respectively as “Botticei” and “Briges.” In the time of Achilles, however, a portion of this Tartar tribe was running a victorious career. At this period, they occupied the plain on either side of the Peneus, having descended from their old settlements in Macedonia (amongst the Magas or Moguls). That the Bottioei made these southern settlements is clear; for their name, which has fortunately been preserved in their native language, is precise upon this point. That name is in the language of Thibet— L’hopatai, the, (Lapithai) or the people of Boutan[3]. The further progress southwards of this martial race was opposed by a band of warriors as daring and as resolute as themselves. Both their equestrian fame, the whole scope of their habits and history, and the people by whom they are surrounded, mark these warriors decisively. They, whom the Greeks wrote down as “Kentaur-oi[4]” wandering habits described by the Greek logographers. But there is yet another point of view in which these Kentauroi may be considered, immediately and powerfully illustrating their history. “Har,” or “Haro” (whence the Greek Heros, “a Hero” signifies “war,” and “the god of war” and is a well known Rajpoot appellation of that deity; Kand-Har, therefore, is “The country of Har” or the “ Haro” tribe, just as we have seen the Perrhihseans use the title of the warlike Cartikeya.
To the classical student, the term Haro is of as great an interest as to the Englishman. The term (C Herds” occurs in Homer about one hundred and ten times, and is applied not only to the prime chiefs but to inferior warriors. The classical scholar will now see the propriety of this general, as well as specific application. It is in no spirit of etymological trifling that I assure the reader, that the far-famed “Hurrah,” of his native country, is the war-cry of his forefather, the Rajpoot of Britain, for he was long the denizen of this island. His shout was “Haro! Haro!” (Hurrah! Hurrah!) Hark to the spirit-stirring strains of Wordsworth, so descriptive of this Oriental warrior. It is the Druid who speaks—

“Then seize the spear, and mount the scythed wheel,
Lash the proud steed, and whirl the flaming steel—
Sweep through the thickest host and scorn to fly,
Arise! arise! for this it is to die.
Thus ’neath his vaulted cave the Druid sire
Lit the rapt soul, and fed the martial firc[5].’’

I believe these Cand-Hars, from every surrounding evidence in Eastern Thessaly, to have been the great Rajpoot tribe of the Catti, or Cathei, one of the Thirty-six Royal tribes of Rajasthan; every circumstance connected with the history of the Lapithce and Centaurs goes to prove this. I believe the Cand-Hars to have been settlers (from near the modern Candaliar) upon the confluence of the great streams of the Punjab; and I speak of this tribe as synonymous with the Catti. Colonel Tod observes., writing of the Catti all the genealogists, both of Rajasthan and Saurashtra, concur in assigning it a place among the royal races of India. It is one of the most important tribes of Western India, and one which has effected the change of the name from Surashta to Cattiwar. Of all its inhabitants, the Catti retains most originality: his religion, his manners, and his looks, all are decidedly Scythic. He occupied in the time of Alexander that nook of the Punjab, near the confluent five streams. It was against these that Alexander marched in person, when he nearly lost his life, and where he left such a signal memorial of his vengeance. The Catti can be traced from these scenes to his present haunts. He still adores the sun; scorns the peaceful arts, and is much less contented with the tranquil subsistence of industry than the precarious earnings of his former predatory pursuits. A character possessed of more energy than the Catti does not exist. His size is considerably larger than common, often exceeding six feet. He is sometimes seen with light hair and blue coloured eyes. His frame is athletic and bony, and particularly adapted to his mode of life. The reader will bear in mind the numerous settlements already pointed out in Eastern Thessaly; by far the greater proportion from the very neighborhood where the Catti were found in the time of Alexanders invasion.
To the settlements from Mooltan, Beeboo, Tebbee, Pak, Ooch, respectively Meliboea, Boebeis, Theboe, Pegasoe, and Ossa, I would add one more—namely, “Pherae,” situated near the southern shore of Lake Boebeis. These, and many more cities, which I see before me, are all in the vicinity of the Catti. Here, then, is the explanation of the “ Pheeres” of Homer—translated “wild beasts.” But its application is still more distinct. “Peer[6],” the old settlement in the Punjab[7], is as much amongst its fellow-towns of that region as Pheeree is among its Thessalian cities. In fact, both these towns, the “Pherse” of Thessaly, and the Peer of the Punjab, were so denominated from an old Persian wrord signifying a “venerable elder or saint[8];” and not a few towns of the Punjab are so named to this day. Among these, Peer-te, or “Saints,” were many well-grounded in the useful arts and sciences. These Peer-te were teachers of medicine, astronomy, music, and other accomplishments, which they communicated to young Rajpoots, such as Achilles, whose “Dolo-pes,” or “Chiefs of Dola[9],” lived both in Thessaly and the Punjab, in the immediate neighborhood of the towns just noticed. The town of Dola, however, is a mere fragmentary exponent of the still older and original settlement of these Dolopians, or Chiefs of the Dola Mountains, in the Himalaya range, which have been already noticed. Cheiron was the most accomplished divine and leech of his time. He was truly called a “Peer” (Pheer-Theios), or “godlike Saint[10].” Like many divines of the present day, he was much in request as a superior tutor, though, like Bishop Beck in the days of the first Edward, he appears to have been equally well skilled in the martial arts.
“Cheiron,” so called from being one of the “Kairan[11],” a “people of Cashmir” a province situated in the immediate neighborhood of the Bhutias on the north (Phthiotis), and the Dola (Dolopes) on the south, was one of that class, called at the present day in Rajpootana, a “Charon[12].” The connection, therefore, between the Catti of Rajpootana and the Charon, and thus between Cheiron and the Centaurs, which latter I shall further identify with the Catti—will become apparent. And here again, I would remark, in no invidious spirit, on the effect of Greek etymology upon the best compendium of Hellenic mythology that has appeared. The author, Mr. Keiglitley, in speaking of this race, says: — “The most celebrated of the Centaurs was Cheiron, the son of Kronos, by the nymph Philyra. He is called by Homer the most upright of the Centaurs? He reared Jason, his son Mideios, Heracles, Asclepius, and Achilles, and was famous for his skill in surgery, which he taught the two last heroes.” He then observes, in a note, the name of Cheiron plainly comes from c Cheir? the hand.” This is certainly one of the best explanations of the term that can possibly be given, upon merely Greek etymological principles; but, like those vocabula imagined to be Greek, though in reality Sanscrit, that I have already pointed out, will be found to be as wide of the mark as the “Hekaton Cheires ” of Hesiod, who when he was penning the term, imagined it to be very good Greek; and such it undoubtedly was, though at the expense of the sound sense contained in the Sanscrit words of homogeneous sound[13]. I make these remarks in no captious spirit; far otherwise; for the excellent manual above noticed will always deservedly maintain its high position, as the exponent of what Greeks thought, and wrote upon, and believed in. The true history, however, lying beneath these ingenious reveries of the Hellenic world, will, however, most assuredly no longer be concealed. But, to return to the Catti, as described by Col. Tod, cc The arms of the Catti consist of a sword, shield, and spear.” And now for the origin of the partially equine figure of the Centaur. “They are all horsemen, and are wonderfully particular in the breed of that animal. Mares are usually preferred. A Cattf’s mare is one of his family; she lives under the same roof, by which means she is familiarized, and is obedient to his voice in all situations. A Catti is seldom seen but walking and galloping his beast. He is so averse to walk on foot, that he rides to the field where he means to labour, and is prepared either to join a plundering party, or resist attack. The Cattis originally inhabited the country on the borders of the river Indus, and their migration thence can be traced, by tradition, with tolerable accuracy. They acknowledged no law but the sword; and no employment so honourable as a life of plunder. A Catti could collect, in the short period of three days, seven or eight hundred cavalry of his own caste, capable of undertaking the most hazardous and fatiguing expeditions; and their attachment to a roving life and habits of plunder was such, that no danger, however great, could overcome what might be considered as inherent in their disposition.” Now, observe the singular harmony of the Catti and Centaur customs of carrying off the women of their respective neighborhoods. “A Catti to become a husband must become a ravisher: he must attack, with his friends and followers, the village where his betrothed resides} and carry her off by force. In ancient times this was no less a trial of strength than of courage: stones and clubs were used, without reserve, both to force and repel; and the disappointed lover was not unfrequently compelled to retire, covered with bruises, and wait for a more favourable occasion” Remark, again, the position and mirror-like reflection in the name and characteristics of Cheiron and Charon. A Catti mil do nothing without consulting his wife, and a Charon, and he is in general guided by their advice. The most barbarous Coolies, Cattis or Rajpoots, hold sacred the persons of the Charons, The Bhats are the Bards[14] of the Rajpoot and Catti: they keep the genealogical table, or f Vunah Wallah of the family, and repeat their praises. Their duty is hereditary, for which they have gifts of lands, and other privileges. The Bhats are more immediately with the Rajpoots, and the Charons with the Cattis[15] Such was the position of Cheiron, with respect to Achilles, the “Dolapos,” or “Chief of Dola[16].” The same sacred regard for the person and the presence of the Charon was shown in the case of Cheiron. The reader will recollect that the Centaurs when defeated by Heri-cul-es[17], fled for safety to Cheiron, hoping that the hero would desist in his presence. Such then was the influence and sacred character of the “Peer Theios,” (…) or “Holy Saint” — such the barbarous marriage customs of the Centauroi and Cand-Haroi, and such continued the equestrian fame of the Cattis of the Punjab, and of Thessaly. Hence sprang the noble stock of that splendid cavalry that earned such brilliant renown in the campaigns of Epaminondas. I will now show the actual presence of the Catti in Hellas. He is to be found in a position which will indicate the correctness of my previous remarks. The reader is already aware of the transfer of the people of the Behoot, i, e, “Baihooti,” in the Punjab, to Baeotia, “ Boiotia,” in Hellas. Let him remember that the former country of streams, was the very cradle of these Catti, of whom we have been speaking. Now will he see them again in Boeotia—they are the Cathae-Ran[18], or Cathi-chiefs of Mt. Cithe-ron, There is also another important settlement of this people, in Thessaly, contiguous to the scene of their respective conflicts: it is Su-Catt-‘vusa[19]” (S ‘Catt’ usa), written by the Greeks, “S Cot-ussa,” “Great Catti town.” In Hesiod’s “History of Greece[20],” this tribe will be found to play an important part, under the politic management of the great Jaina, pontiff of Olympus. One more settlement I shall point out, in the vicinity of “Xynias Lake,” or “Cashmir Lake,” a little to the north of the “Othrys,” —I t is that of the “Catti-men[21],” appearing as “Cati-mena” on the map of Greece. The Catti are thus again brought into connection with the Dolopians, or Dola-Chiefs, and the Othrys or Himalavans, and the Xynians or Cashmirians. Again is Teebhee (Thebse), one of their prime towns: the chief river bears the name of these Aswa-Chiefs, or Aso-pos (Aswapos[22]) —and they are settled in the immediate neighborhood of Mount Parnes, i,e. the Parnes of Attica, or the Attac-Bar’nes. The Attac to this day retains the ancient name of Attac Baranes, showing its ancient connection with the holy city of Benares. Hence the ec Mount Parnes; in Attica, as a boundary between that province and Baeotia. Of this the reader will be satisfied, by a reference to the old settlements of Attica and Boeotia, in the Punjab.

NOTES

[1] The Malli of the Greek historians: from Mali and Pa, a chief. The following is the Greek system of corruption. The name of the town was Moola, Greek plural Mooloi, written by thorn Mallei. (See Bule vi. Appendix.) The present name is identical, the tan being merely the addition of Phan “land” as Mooi-tan, Mooi-land,—so Pole land (Poland). It is not impossible that the Mooloi may have been settlers from the Moola Pass.
[2] Beeboo Triggur, lat. 30” 28’, long. 71° 40’. Baiboo, Lat. Baeboo, derivative form from Beeboo.
[3] “In Hindustani, Tibet is called Bhotant, and a Tubetan, Bhootia. This country (Boutan) is but a part of the vast territory of Tubet. In Tubetan, the Boutan of the English is called L’hopato, and in Hindoo- stanee, Laltopivala.”—Asiat. Journ., vol. xv. 294. C! Account of Tibet,” Klaproth.—De Billy.—(The Mongols write Tubet.) Again:— “The term Bhote is applied by the Hindoos not only to the country named Bootan by Europeans, but also to the tract extending along, and immediately adjoining, both sides of the Himalaya; in which sense it is a very extensive region, occupying the whole mountainous space from Cashmir to China.” —Hamit. A. Ind. Gaz., vol. i. p 270. (See Rule xix. Appendix.)
[4] At this stage of our history it may not be unmstructive to remark the darkness with which the Greeks have succeeded in beclouding one of the shrewdedst intellects of modern Europe. I allude to Buttman. “It theiris the opinion of Buttman,” observes Keiglitley, (Mythology;, vol. ii. p 22,) ei that the Centaurs and the Lapithm are two purely poetic names, used to designate two opposite races of men; the former, the rude, horse-riding tribes, which tradition records to have been spread over the north of Greece; the latter, the more civilised race, which founded towns, and gradually drove their wild neighbors back to the mountains. He therefore thinks the exposition of Centaurs or Airpiercers (from Icentein teen aurari) not an improbable one, for that very idea is suggested by the figure of a Cossack leaning forward with his protruded lance, as he gallops along. But he regards the idea of the Centaurs, having been in its original, simply Kentor, as much more probable. Lapiths may,” he thinks, “have signified Stone-Persuaclers (from Zetas peithein), a poetic appellation for the e builders of towns.’ Such is the etymological inheritance bequeathed to Europe by the Crocks!”
[5] Wordsworth’s Druids. Cambridge Prize Poem, 1827
[6] Now called “Peer Buksh.” 2 Lat. 29° 21′, long. 70° 35′.
[7] Lot. 29° 21’, long. 70° 35’.
[8] The application of Peer to Mahomedan saints is of comparative antiquity; the original application to the saints of the Northern India runs up to a distant age.
[9] See Dola, lat. 31°, long. 73° 10’.
[10] This is the unfortunate paradox of &r]p ®eios,“ a godlike beast.”
[11] Kira, Cashmirians. Kiran, Persian plural, derivative from Kairan.
[12] “The Charon, (ch as in chief) is a term used to signify a panegyrist of the gods, a herald or bard ; derived from the verb ‘Mr,’ to diffuse (fame.)” —Wilson’s Suns Lex. On general phonetic principles the h and ch are frequently commutable; as curus, chère. Sans, chira hira a parrot. — See Bopp on this principle.
[13] The history of the Hekatoncheires will bo duly noticed.
[14] Sarcitis, the Latin form, is merely a corruption for Bhdt-us.
[15] Coleman’s Myth. 283.
[16] Vide the position of Dola in the Punjab and in Eastern Thessaly.
[17] “Heracles,” the Greek form, is a singularly clipping style; as usual the short “GO “is cut out. The Roman forms are generally purer.
[18] Ran, plural of Rao, a king or chief. (See Rule xv. Appendix). Catti, written also Cathei, Cathai, (the Lat. Cathse,) is the regular derivative from Cathi. Arrian has the name Cathir. The Persian plural will be “Cathiran.”
[19] Su (…), well, or “High Caste,” Catti and Vim, “a dwelling.” See rule for ethclipsis of the Sanscrit “oo ” or “u.” (Rulei Appendix)
[20] See chapter so named.
[21] Manu and Menu is as plain in English as in Sanscrit, being the comprehensive term for man. Man-u was the great legislator and saint, the son of Brahma, and thus the ancestor and praenomen of “ Man.”
[22] Asua, a horse; and Pos, a chief. The short vowels a-e-o-u have but one power, and the visargah of the Sanscrit is the terminative “s” of the Greek and Latin.

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