IN the Scandinavian mythology the chief god was Odin, the Woden, Wotan, or Wuotan of the Germans. He is represented with many of the attributes of the Greek god Zeus, and is supposed by some to be identical with him. He dwelt with the twelve Æsir, or gods, upon Asgard, the Norse Olympus, which arose out of Midgard, a land half-way between the regions of frost and fire (to wit, in a temperate climate). The Scandinavian Olympus was probably Atlantis. Odin is represented as a grave-looking elderly man with a long beard, carrying in his hand a spear, and accompanied by two dogs and two ravens. He was the father of poetry, and the inventor of Runic writing.
The Chiapenese of Central America (the people whose language we have seen furnishing such remarkable resemblances to Hebrew) claim to have been the first people of the New World. Clavigero tells us ("Hist. Antiq. del Messico," Eng. trans., 1807, vol. i.) that according to the traditions of the Chiapenese there was a Votan who was the grandson of the man who built the ark to save himself and family from the Deluge; he was one of those who undertook to build the tower that should reach to heaven., The Lord ordered him to people America. "He came from the East." He brought seven families with him. He had been preceded in America by two others, Igh and Imox. He built a great city in America called "Nachan," City of the Serpents (the serpent that tempted Eve was Nahash), from his own race, which was named Chan, a serpent. This Nachan is supposed to have been Palenque. The date of
his journey is placed in the legends in the year 3000 of the world, and in the tenth century B.C. He also founded three tributary monarchies, whose capitals were Tulan, Mayapan, and Chiquimala. He wrote a book containing a history of his deeds, and proofs that he belonged to the tribe of Chanes (serpents). He states that "he is the third of the Votans; that he conducted seven families from Valum-Votan to this continent, and assigned lands to them; that be determined to travel until he came to the root of heaven and found his relations, the Culebres, and made himself known to them; that he accordingly made four voyages to Chivim; that he arrived in Spain; that he went to Rome; that he saw the house of God building; that be went by the road which his brethren, the Culebres, had bored; that he marked it, and that he passed by the houses of the thirteen Culebres. He relates that, in returning from one of his voyages, he found seven other families of the Tzequil nation who had joined the first inhabitants, and recognized in them the same origin as his own, that is, of the Culebres; he speaks of the place where they built the first town, which from its founders received the name of Tzequil; he affirms that, having taught them the refinement of manners in the use of the table, table-cloths, dishes, basins, cups, and napkins, they taught him the knowledge of God and his worship; his first ideas of a king, and obedience to him; that he was chosen captain of all these united families."
It is probable that Spain and Rome are interpolations. Cabrera claims that the Votanites were Carthaginians. He thinks the Chivim of Votan were the Hivim, or Givim, who were descended of Heth, son of Canaan, Phnicians; they were the builders of Accaron, Azotus, Ascalon, and Gaza. The Scriptures refer to them as Hivites (Givim) in Deuteronomy (chap. ii., verse 32), and Joshua (chap. xiii., verse 4). He claims that Cadmus and his wife Hermione were of this stock; and according to Ovid they were metamorphosed into snakes (Culebres). The name Hivites in Phnician signifies a snake.
Votan may not, possibly, have passed into Europe; be may have travelled altogether in Africa. His singular allusion to "a way which the Culebres had bored" seems at first inexplicable; but Dr. Livingstone's last letters, published 8th November, 1869, in the "Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society," mention that "tribes live in underground houses in Rua. Some excavations are said to be thirty miles long, and have running rills in them; a whole district can stand a siege in them. The 'writings' therein, I have been told by some of the people, are drawings of animals, and not letters; otherwise I should have gone to see them. People very dark, well made, and outer angle of eyes slanting inward."
And Captain Grant, who accompanied Captain Speke in his famous exploration of the sources of the Nile, tells of a tunnel or subway under the river Kaoma, on the highway between Loowemba and Marunga, near Lake Tanganyika. His guide Manua describes it to him:
"I asked Manua if he had ever seen any country resembling it. His reply was, 'This country reminds me of what I saw in the country to the south of the Lake Tanganyika, when travelling with an Arab's caravan from Unjanyembeh. There is a river there called the Kaoma, running into the lake, the sides of which are similar in precipitousness to the rocks before us.' I then asked, 'Do the people cross this river in boats?' 'No; they have no boats; and even if they had, the people could not land, as the sides are too steep: they pass underneath the river by a natural tunnel, or subway.' He and all his party went through it on their way from Loowemba to Ooroongoo, and returned by it. He described its length as having taken them from sunrise till noon to pass through it, and so high that, if mounted upon camels, they could not touch the top. Tall reeds, the thickness of a walking-stick, grew inside, the road was strewed with white pebbles, and so wide--four hundred yards--that they could see their way tolerably well while passing through it. The rocks looked as if they had been planed by artificial means. Water never came through from the river overhead; it was procured by digging wells. Manua added that the people of Wambweh take shelter in this tunnel, and
live there with their families and cattle, when molested by the Watuta, a warlike race, descended from the Zooloo Kafirs.
But it is interesting to find in this book of Votan, however little reliance we may place in its dates or details, evidence that there was actual intercourse between the Old World and the New in remote ages.
"We have fixed the special attention of our readers upon this Votan, or Wodan, an American who appears of the same family with the Wods or Odins of the Goths and of the people of Celtic origin. Since, according to the learned researches of Sir William Jones, Odin and Buddha are probably the same person, it is curious to see the names of Bondvar, Wodansday, and Votan designating in India, Scandinavia, and in Mexico the day of a brief period." ("Vues des Cordilleras," p. 148, ed. 1810.)
There are many things to connect the mythology of the Gothic nations with Atlantis; they had, as we have seen, flood legends; their gods Krodo and Satar were the Chronos and Saturn of Atlantis; their Baal was the Bel of the Phnicians, who were closely connected with Poseidon and Atlas; and, as we shall see hereafter, their language has a distinct relationship with the tongues of the Arabians, Cushites, Chaldeans, and Phnicians.