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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 67

IV.—Miscellaneous. — Art. XLV.—Ancient Alphabets in Polynesia

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Art. XLV.—Ancient Alphabets in Polynesia.

Plate XX.

New Zealand possesses few relics of archæological interest, and fewer still remains of what may be considered as inscriptions. The pictures in the cave of the Weka Pass,* and other cave-paintings, are mere rude pictures, in which, apparently, there has been no effort to produce anything beyond mere representation, and not rising even to the rank of picture-writing. Further investigation and study of these drawings may evolve hidden meanings in some of the smaller marks, but at present there is no light on the subject. In other parts of the Pacific inhabited by the fair Polynesians there are many localities worthy of the study of the archæologist. The "Stonehenge" remains in the Tonga Islands; the pyramids of Tahiti; the wide paved platforms of the Marquesas; the great carved images of Easter Island; the stone temples of the Sandwich Islands: all these are full of interest. But the inscriptions are as yet undiscovered, or they have not as yet been brought to the knowledge of inquirers. Easter Island, with its well-known carved tablets of wood, marked with the incised forms of curious hieroglyphics, which have taxed the learning and ingenuity of many wise men fruitlessly, is the only place where anything like an alphabetical or hieroglyphical system of writing has come to light.

On Pitcairn Island is a rock-inscription in picture-writing. A copy can be found in "Te Ika a Maui." To its faithfulness I can testify, having received an original drawing of the inscription, similar in every way to that in "Te Ika;" and I was famished with additional particulars not mentioned by Mr. Taylor. The incisions are deeply cut into a very hard rock, of the kind generally known as the "French whin," situated near the base of a steep cliff, the foot of which is beaten by the sea,

* "Trans. N.Z. Inst.," vol. x., p. 52.

By the Rev. R. Taylor, edit. 1870, p. 702.

page 354 and the cliff is only descended at the risk of life. There seem to be no reasonable doubt as to the authenticity of the carving the symbols are common to the religions of the ancient world and are scarcely likely to have been sculptured in such a [unclear: pla] by Europeans, castaways or others, although there is [unclear: reason] suppose that subsidence of the island has taken place. [unclear: Lar] tanks or cisterns hewn out of the solid rock, and other [unclear: traces] long ago occupation, were found by the mutineers of the [unclear: Bow] in taking possession of Pitcairn. But there is nothing in [unclear: th] drawing which can be called aught but picture-writing [unclear: in] most primitive form.

Since no inscriptions are available, we may turn to [unclear: ancie] alphabets, and see if any trace of them exists in the [unclear: livi] record, i.e., the language of the people. The letters in [unclear: ancie] alphabets bear plain evidence of their picture-writing birth, [unclear: i] the names by which they are called. Thus A was not [unclear: called] but aleph, that is "the ox;" B was not called b but [unclear: be] "a house." The researches of antiquarians have demonstrated the theory that the art of writing began with the Egyptians passed from them to the Semitic nations (Hebrews, Arabs, etc., and was adopted from the Semites by the Aryan Greeks [unclear: a] Latins. Picture-writing preceded the alphabet, and the [unclear: hie] glyph was the mother of the letter. The Aryans nowhere [unclear: see] to have invented an alphabet for themselves; they always [unclear: to] over borrowed forms from peoples of earlier civilization: [unclear: th] "Ogham" writing of the Irish is comparatively a modern [unclear: scrip] and remained only locally known. It consisted of [unclear: strok] drawn on either side of a centre line, according to the [unclear: value] the letter represented, and is supposed to have been original copied from a tree-branch with leaves on each side. A [unclear: decisi] proof that the Greeks took over the names of the letters, as [unclear: we] as their forms, is that alpha, beta, etc., are [unclear: meaningless] Greek, but translatable in Hebrew : the alpha, our a, having still the old resemblance to the head of the ox [unclear: (aleph),] versed ∀.*

I propose to take three letters or signs, as examples of [unclear: the] others, and to show that if the Maoris (i.e., [unclear: Polynesians)]

* The derivation of the Sanscrit word lipi, "writing," as Dr. [unclear: Bur] ("South Indian Paleography") has pointed out, is not decisively known. [unclear: I] derivations from likh, "to scratch," or lip, "to smear," do not [unclear: saf] scholars: lipi has been best connected with the Achæmenian word [unclear: d] "writing, edict." As the first Sanscrit writing seems to have been [unclear: incis] as in the rock inscription of Asoka, I believe we have the first, or very [unclear: ea] form in the primitive and ancient Polynesian word, found in Maori as [unclear: r] "to cut;" and in compounds, maripi, "a knife;" koripi, "to [unclear: cut;"] Hawaiian, lipi, meaning "an axe," and "sharp"—cf. (Eng.) rip "[unclear: to] open, cut open;" (Middle Eng.) ripen, "to search into, probe;" [unclear: (S] and Norweg.) ripa, "to scratch"; (Danish) oprippe, "to rip up."—[unclear: Sk] "Etym. Dict.

page 355 not call letters by these names, they had similar names for the things by which these letters were known. In the ancient world there was far greater activity and intercommunication of peoples than is generally believed. The wide distribution of jade (greenstone) as ornaments, and of the tin necessary for the production of bronze, (both tin and jade being found in few places,) give proofs of widely extended travel and perhaps of commerce. The three letters in question are k, f, and t.

The Letter "K."

The hieroglyphic system of writing is of immense antiquity, of a time so remote as to be almost beyond our realization. As a script it was beginning to fall into disuse before Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt—that is, before the national birth of the Hebrew people. All the events which, occurring in. Palestine, have so affected the history of the world, took place since the hieroglyphic system of "verbal phonograms" passed away; it can scarcely be doubted that this early form of writing originated in Egypt, not later than 8,000 years ago. The Hieroglyphic passed into the Hieratic, and it was this form which was adopted by the Hebrews.

The k found in the hieroglyphs is called kaph, and is written as a cup or bowl (see Plate XX., fig. 1). In the Hieratic script, kaph is written as a hand, with bent or looped fingers (fig. 2); this form merged into the Jewish kaph. Kaph is usually held to mean "palm of the hand," or, more probably, as Böttcher suggests, "the bent hand." "The form of the Hieratic character in the Papyrus Prisse seems to be decidedly in favour of this explanation, as will be seen by placing the two figures side by side."* The Hebrew form (fig. 3) evidently represents the hand and fingers. The Semitic ki.e., kaph, "the hand," became the Greek k or kappa, early Moabite kaph (fig. 4), Nineveh kaph (fig. 5), Baal Lebanon kaph (fig. 6). The Baal Lebanon inscription was written on bronze fragments, which when discovered were broken up smaller by a peasant, in order that he might ascertain if they were made of gold. The inscription states that: "This vessel of good bronze was offered by a citizen of Carthage to Baal Lebanon, his Lord." The Pelasgic = k, but the Etruscan and Oscan as in fig. 7; the Messapian = fig. 8. These last show resemblance to the kappa of the Thera inscriptions. The island of Thera (Santorin) is said to have been the place where Cadmus invented the Greek letters. The island is a long-extinct volcano, but under its ashes inscriptions have been found upon the rocks, and these are supposed to be the oldest Greek inscriptions in the world. One of these (see fig. 9) reads κριτoφúλoν; not only is the kappa turned, but the writing

* "The Alphabet," Taylor, vol. i., p. 172.

page 356 is in the Semitic manner, from right to left. This kappa show how the k form was derived from the Egyptian Hieratic ([unclear: fig.] through the Hebrew kaph.

Egyptian words showing the connection between "hand" and "cup" (or bowl) are kaf, "the hollow of the hand;" kefa, "a [unclear: fist] kep, "the fist;" kep, to "seize, catch;" khep, "one hand;" [unclear: ka] "two hands;" kab, "libation, liquid;" kaf, "to seize; to [unclear: el] with the hand." If we now compare Polynesian, we shall [unclear: fi] the word "cup," and "hand," in its primitive shape and [unclear: sou] In New Zealand Maori, kapu* means "the hollow of the hand "curly," "to close the hand," "to drink out of the [unclear: hollos] the hand;" kapukapu, "to curl," as a wave; kapunga, [unclear: "f] palm of the hand;" kapuranga, "a handful;" kapo "to [unclear: sna] at," "to catch." This "hollow of the hand" is the [unclear: primit] "cup," the first bowl from which our early ancestors [unclear: dra] When the Maori chief was tapu, so that no vessel might [unclear: touch] lips, he held the hollow of his hand, turned upwards, [unclear: beneath] lip, and the slave poured the liquid into his master's [unclear: mou] So the Brahmin in India receives his drink, lest the brass [unclear: l] should touch his mouth and then be polluted by even [unclear: t] shadow of another.

It will, of course, be objected that, according to the [unclear: "] and dried" rule, no one should be allowed to compared Maori word with an Egyptian or Hebrew one: but [unclear: there] some words which I believe to be "world-words," and [unclear: whi] were of either very wide adoption or else the root-formation of ancient languages is as yet totally misunderstood. "Cup" one of these, (including the idea of "hand," and "concaved and with change of the p, through ph, into f and v, seems [unclear: al] universal. The Greek κúπϵλλoν, "a cup;" κúπη, "a [unclear: cavit] "cavern;" κνμβαλoνα, "a cymbal" (from its hollow [unclear: shape;] Sanscrit, khumba); the Latin cupa, "a tub;" cavea, "a [unclear: cavi], "a coop;" caverna, "a cavern;" "to make hollow;" [unclear: I] cupan, cupa, copan, copa, all = cup. Scottish cuppel, "a [unclear: s] tub;" Lithuanian kupka, "cup;" Breton kop, Polish [unclear: k] ancient Slav koupa, Servian kupa; all mean "cup." [unclear: Sea] navian kupa, "a round vase;" Danish kop, Swedish kopp, [unclear: Fre] coupe, Spanish kopa, Italian coppa, Icelandic koppr[unclear: =] Icelandic koppr also means "the eye-socket;" spé-koppan[unclear: ,] dimple in the cheek," kupa, "a bowl," haus-kupa, "the [unclear: sk] kupadr, "bowl-shaped;" Russian kopani, "a cistern;" kubu[unclear: ,] alembic," kopati, "to hollow out ground, to form a [unclear: tren] Sanscrit kambi, "a ladle or spoon;" kambu, "a shell;" [unclear: kup] "a small pot or pitcher; kûpa, "a well, cave, hollow;" [unclear: kûpa] bottle," "the navel;" kumbhi, "a pot, or jar." Assyrian [unclear: ka],

* The short a of kapu is better represented in English letters [unclear: by] than by käh-poo.

page 357 "a goblet," and kuppu "a cage" (i.e., coop).* Zend khumba, "a pot or jar;" Cymric cwm (for cwmb), "a valley or combe;" Anglo-Saxon cumb, "a measure of liquids;" Middle German kump, "a vase or cup."

These examples, from Central Asia to Iceland, show a field of vast extent covered by this word to the westward. Let us take up the Polynesian, and carry the same word thousands of miles to the eastward.

Samoan, 'apu, "a cup or dish made of a leaf." This is really kapu, as the apostrophe implies a lost k, and is heard as a slight catch or break in the voice; apulautalo, "a taro-leaf cup;" apo, "to cling to." Rarotongan kapu, "a cup;" Mangareva kapu, "a cup," "to enclose," "to contain;" Marquesan kapukopu, "to take up water with a cup;" Tahitian (also lost k) abu, "concave, or hollow," as abu rima, "the hollow of the hand;" abu mata, "the socket of the eye;" apuroro, "brain-cup," i.e., the human skull (compare Icelandic above quoted); apu, "the shell" of nuts, seeds, etc.; aapu (for kakapu), "to take up with the hand;" aabu, "the shell of nuts," etc.: "to hold out any cup or concave vessel to receive anything." Also, compare aipu, "a cup," "a cocoanut-shell used for a cup," with the Tongan ipu, "a cup," and the New Zealand Maori ipu, "a calabash." This last shows clearly an abraded form of the word. Hawaiian (lost k) apu. "a cup made of cocoanut-shell for drinking awa" (kava); apu, "a dish or cup of any material;" aapu, "to warp or bend," as a board in the sun, "a concave vessel;" hoo-aapu (causative and reduplicate = whaka-kakupu), "to tum the hollow of the hand upwards;" aibu, "a cup;" aipu, "a cup," "a cocoanut-shell used as a cup."

I do not think any other conclusion can be arrived at, in reference to these words, than that they radically imply : 1st, the curved hand; 2nd, anything curved or hollow; 3rd, a cup or container. This, as either kap, kup, kaf, or cav, from Iceland to Hawaii.

* See "Cuneiform Inscriptions," Schrader, pp. 199 and 292.

Massey's remark ("Book of Beginnings," vol. ii., p. 154) that the Egyptian fa, "the hand," is a worn-down form of kefa. kaf, or kep, "the hand," is doubtful, if we compare the Maori wha-wha, the Tahitian fa-fa, "to touch or feel with the hand." The Polynesian is too primitive (apparently) in construction to allow of kapu becoming fa-fa, and it is probable that these words are from separate roots, but common to both languages. Cuvier and Blumenbach are the authorities that the ancient Egyptians were members of the Caucasian race, and that their skulls are purely Asiatic. Baron Bunsen also lends the weight of his great name and learning to this belief. The Icelandic , to "touch, grasp, take hold," is also Polynesian,

The Letter "V."

Vau, a nail.

This is the name given to the Hebrew letter V, whence sprung our F and V and Y (W). In the sense of "nail" it does page 358 not seem to have been of wide distribution, and perhaps the uncertainty of its sound, vibrating from F and V into P [unclear: and] made it difficult for the first scribes of language to fix [unclear: it] fluctuations. Under the name of "digamma" it was used in [unclear: one] Greek dialect, and has proved useful in philology in showing how transitions of words have taken place, as, to use the [unclear: old] school-boy example, F o˜νoς (i.e., o˜νoς) into Latin vinum, wine, was a fancied resemblance to one gamma [unclear: superimposed] another, F, which led the grammarians to relinquish [unclear: the] name of Fαΰ for this letter. As the name of a nail, it does not seem to have been adopted by the Aryan nations (so far [unclear: as] can ascertain). Taylor gives the meaning of van as "a [unclear: peg] nail," but says, "rather, hook, as a hook fastened into [unclear: the] for holding clothes." Farrar* gives van, "a tent-peg or hook The tent-peg would seem the more probable origin [unclear: among] pastoral and probably a tent-dwelling people, as once the children of Abraham were.

The Polynesians seem to possess a word of nearly the same sound and signification. Maori whao, "a nail, any iron tool chisel;" whaowhao, "to carve wood;" kowhao, "a [unclear: hole;"] whao, "leakage in a canoe through the holes made for the [unclear: lasings] of the rauawa" (attached sides). Samoan fao, "a [unclear: woolde] peg or nail; any kind of gouge used in making the sinnet-[unclear: hole] in canoes; to punch holes in the side of a canoe;" faofao[unclear: ,] long shell, formerly used as a gouge in making the sinnet-[unclear: hol] for lashing together two planks of a canoe." Tahitian [unclear: fao,] nail or chisel;" "to make holes with a fao;" faoa, "a [unclear: stoi] adze;" haoa, "a hard stone, of which adzes were formal made;" "an adze" made of this stone. Hawaiian hao, the [unclear: na] of any hard substance, as iron, the horn of a beast, etc. strained tightly, hard; haoapuhi, (puhi, "an eel,") the name of stick used instead of a hook for catching eels; ohao, (for [unclear: koh] "to tie," as a rope or string.

The last word brings us to the consideration of the New Zealand Maori words: whao, "a nail," and whau, "to [unclear: tie;"] fastening with a peg, and fastening with a cord. Whau, [unclear: w] Samoan fau, "to tie together," and Tahitian fafau (redup.), [unclear: "] tie together," have sister words throughout Polynesia. [unclear: belie] that the notion held by one or two Maori linguists, that the [unclear: w] fau, used as a verb, "to tie," arose from the noun naming [unclear: the] tree fau, (whau, or whauwhi,) is incorrect, as the word [unclear: fa] applied to different species of trees the bark of which is [unclear: use] for cordage, or clothing. The Hibiscus tiliaceus, the [unclear: Brousson] papyrifera, a species of Urtica, etc., have this word fau [unclear: appli] to them in different islands, a fact which points out that [unclear: f] was used as a word meaning "to tie," or "fasten together before the dispersion of the Maori race in the Pacific.

* "Language and Languages," p. 117.

page 359

Tau, The Letter "T."

I now approach by far the most interesting and difficult part of my paper.

The Semitic tau was written ×; the Aryan tau was written τ; both being forms of crossed lines. In writing on the subject of the tau, "the headless cross," I shall carefully avoid any (intended) allusion to "the cross" as a Christian symbol. The tau form of the cross was in use for untold centuries before the Christian era, and it is to this ancient form of the tau that I refer. I do not wish to touch on such perilous ground as the religious side of the question, and am only concerned with the philological and mythological bearings of the letter.

The variations of the letter appear as follows :—The forms, which extend over a vast geographical surface, and over thousands of years of time, differ very slightly. The English capital T is the old Hellenic τ (tau) and Ethiopian tawe; Moabite × tau, Nineveh τ and ×, Hebrew ×, Thammudite × and +, Sabean ×.

Everywhere in ancient Egyptian painting and sculpture do we find this sacred symbol, "the cross of Taht." It was the emblem of the new life into which Osiris led the souls of those who in life believed on him. In the opinion of many investigators this cross represents "reproduction," and is the emblem of Phallic worship : it is unnecessary, as it would be unprofitable, for me to open up that question here. A single quotation from a work, in which the wonderful industry of the author is not the least astonishing part, will suffice. "The most sacred cross of Egypt, that was carried in the hands of the gods, the Pharaoh, and the mummied dead, was the ankh (Pl. XX., fig. 12), 'the sign of life, the living; a covenant, an oath; a pair; to couple and duplicate.'"* How widely this sign of "the cross of the three quarters" was distributed, may be conceived when we consider by what diverse peoples it was adopted and cherished. From the Hebrew (who called his cross tau) to the Celt, in Britain of the West, all had adopted the emblem. "It is a fact, not less remarkable than well-attested, that the Druids in their groves were accustomed to select the most stately and beautiful tree as an emblem of the deity they adored, and, having cut off the side branches, they affixed two of the largest of them to the higher part of the trunk, in such a manner that these branches extended on each side like the arms of a man, and, together with the body, presented the appearance of a huge cross, and in the bark in several places inscribed the letter tau."

Since, then, it must be conceded that the Semitic and Aryan tau had a wide distribution, we will proceed to endeavour to

* "The Natural Genesis," Massey, vol. i., p. 423.

"Indian Antiquities," Maurice, vol. vi., p. 49,

page 360 ascertain if in any case it had the signification of cross or [unclear: let] in Polynesia.

The Polynesian word "tau" has many and differing [unclear: sig] cations. I will deal with those which bear upon the subject hand, leaving the other meanings awhile : feeling [unclear: confidents] if their genesis could be traced they would lead up to one [unclear: prin] fount of original meaning.

"Tattoo" is one of two Polynesian words adopted into English : the other word is "tapu" (such and such a [unclear: subject] tabooed). Tattoo, in the sense of punctured markings [unclear: of] skin, is a Tahitian word, derived from the writings of [unclear: C] but not so written by him. He writes it as "tattow," [unclear: th] giving very nearly the sound which in Polynesia we [unclear: write] tatau. Tatau, in the sense of tattooing, is not a New Zealand Maori word; the word ta is used instead; ta= "to tap, [unclear: str] to strike the tattooing chisel with a small mallet." It [unclear: sho] not be forgotten that there is another meaning in [unclear: English] "tattoo," viz., a drum-beat (etymology unknown). But the [unclear: i] of "striking a skin (drum-head) with a stick," is [unclear: comm] to both English and Polynesian meanings of "[unclear: tattoo."] word tau, without the duplicate syllable, (in ta-tau,) [unclear: has] following meaning in New Zealand :—Tau, "to alight, [unclear: to] upon" as a bird; taupua, "to rest, to support oneself;" [unclear: tarn] "an upright stick in the walls of a native house, [unclear: support] the small battens to which the reeds are fastened;" [unclear: tauteka,] brace, a prop;" tauware, "the thwart of a canoe." [unclear: Altho] these words may have some remote connection with the [unclear: ides] a cross-piece, there is nothing to guide one in any way to [unclear: s] conclusion. But in Hawaiian dialect (where the Maori t [unclear: chas] to k*) we get a glimpse of light. Hawaiian kau, "to [unclear: hang;"] hang up," "to suspend as an article out of the way;" "[unclear: to] cify," "to hang up as a criminal;" kau, "to light down upon as a bird, "to rest upon;" "to stretch over;" kaulua, "[unclear: to] two together," "to yoke together;" kaulai, "to hang [unclear: up."] this idea of resting—viz., to hang upon, to hold up, we [unclear: ret] to New Zealand Maori, and find tautinei, "to hold up or [unclear: supp] a sick person;" tautoko, "to prop up or support;" [unclear: tautou,] string or cluster;" tauhokai, "a stake in a river, to [unclear: which] is fastened." Most of the words, however, seem to [unclear: have] nection with tying. Let us return to the cross, and see [unclear: its] form. The primitive ankh (cross) was a loop of cords [unclear: with]

* It would perhaps be nearer the truth to say that the sound which write in New Zealand as t is in Hawaiian written k.

As crucifixion is not known to have been a Polynesian [unclear: punish] this meaning of kau may perhaps be explained by the fact that in [unclear: H] the sacrifice, whether man, hog, or fruit, was "hung up" on the [unclear: tree] was to be used in building a heiau (temple). This sacrifice was [unclear: called] kalehua.

page 361 ends crossing each other, "the ankh tie." Wright* has a rare English word, taw, "to twist or entangle," "to tie." (Obsolete words are invaluable to the student.) In Maori, tau means "the string of a garment," "a loop or thong on the handle of a weapon," "a loop forming the handle of a basket;" tatau, "to tie;" tautau, "to tie in bunches," "a string," "a cluster;" taukaea, "thread used for fastening a fish-hook to a line;" taura, "a rope or cord," etc. In this sense of tying, we find in other Polynesian dialects : Hawaiian, kaukau, "to set or fix a snare for birds;" kaula, "a rope;" kauhilo, "to fasten with a rope the sticks of a building, while in the course of erection," etc.: Tahitian, taura, "a rope, cord, lace, or thread;" tauete, "a noose or loop fastened to a mast to fix the sail to:" Samoan, tau "to be anchored;" tauama, "the name of a rope in a sailing canoe;" taufatu, "to tie on a stone as a weight to a fishhook;" taufoe, "to tie a fishing-line to a paddle," etc. These instances are a few of many hundreds of similar words. But as the Tahitian tatau (tattoo) is the Maori ta, other meanings of ta may be considered. Ta, in New Zealand Maori, means "to net," "to make the meshes of a net"—that is to say, to entwine threads by crossing, this crossing having the ankh tie. The Egyptian tat is the cross sign; crossing, tying, and knotting are synonymous. Ta, in Egyptian, means "a tie, a knot;" "to tatt."
Has all this any bearing on the alphabet in Polynesia? Yes, if this letter T was understood in its primitive sense by the Polynesians as a cross. But it meant something more. Did they ever know it as a letter? Somewhat may be inferred from the following evidence : In Maori, tatau (which is our Tahitian friend "to tattoo,") means "to count," "to repeat one by one;" but in Hawaii the corresponding word, kakau, means "to write," "to make letters," "to write upon," "to print or paint upon kapa" (native cloth, i.e., tapa), as in former times,

* "Dictionary of Obsolete and Provincial English."

Compare the German tau, "tow," "cable-rope." (Kluge, in his "Etymologisches Wörterbuch,") as being connected with our English tow, "to drag." But if so, we have the Maori verb to, "to drag," "to haul," as a canoe, in a very ancient incantation used on the landing of the Maoris in New Zealand from Hawaiki:—

"Toia Tainui ki te moana,
Na wai e to?"
"Drag Tainui (canoe) to the ocean!
Who shall drag her?"

"The tapa is often printed with colours in patterns. Tin's is performed in a mode similar to that used in Europe before the introduction of copper rollers. Instead of engraved blocks, they form tablets (about as thick as binders' boards) of pieces of large cocoanut leaves, by sewing them together. One side of this tablet is kept smooth and even, and upon this cocoanut fibres are sewn so as to form the required pattern, which is, of course, raised upon the surface of the tablet. These tablets are wet [unclear: wi] piece of cloth well soaked in the dye, after which the tapa, which [unclear: for] purpose is well bleached and beautifully white, is laid down upon [unclear: them] pressed into close contact. The dye is made from herbs, etc., of [unclear: var] colours."—Wilkes' "U.S. Exploring Expedition," p. 112.

Compare English taw-maker, the "person who, in weaving, works [unclear: flo] into his work."—Wright's "Dict. Obs. and Prov. Words."

page 362 "to put down for remembrance," "to describe," "to mark out "to designate," "a writing;" kakau-kaha, "to print, paint mark on the skin;" kau, "to put down," as words on [unclear: pap] "to fix the boundaries of a land or country," "to dot," "give publicity to a thing," "to rehearse in the hearing of another that he may learn;" (cf. Maori, tauira, "a pattern," "copy" "teacher," "pupil;") kaukau, "to take counsel," "to [unclear: rev] in one's mind." Tahitian, tatau,* "to count," "to number ihotatau, "reckoning up of descent," "genealogy." [unclear: Sam] tau, "to count," "that which is right and proper;" tau'ese, count wrongly;" taufau, "to teach a pigeon." Marquesan, [unclear: tat] "to reckon," "count." The general idea to be gathered from them all is to mark or dot (tattoo) for counting, or for [unclear: mak] signs or emblems by which one thing could be known from another. That the word should stand for "teaching; learning fixing boundaries; giving publicity," etc., awakens [unclear: sen] thought.

"Nature," reporting a meeting of the British Association (last but one), says that Mr. Haliburton, when speaking [unclear: on] subject of the tau, affirmed that the natives of the [unclear: Qu] Charlotte Islands, one of the most isolated groups in the [unclear: Pa] (near the American coast), used this symbol "on large [unclear: she] of copper, to which they assigned a high value, and each which they called a tau." Here, then, we have evidence of as writing, and as a medium of exchange. But the [unclear: most] clusive evidence of the value of tau as in counting, [unclear: in] meaning "ten," and its exchange use, is in the consideration a totally different word, the explanation coming from [unclear: far-] Madagascar. The Malagasy contains many Malay and [unclear: so] Polynesian words : among them the equivalent for the [unclear: Ma] hoko, "to barter."

Hoko, in Maori, has two distinct meanings: one [unclear: is] barter," now used in modern speech as "to buy or to [unclear: sell;"] other meaning, when hoko is used as a prefix to [unclear: nume] signifying ten times the subjoined numeral. Toru=[unclear: th]

* When the Roman officers numbered their soldiers after an engagers they wrote a tau, τ, against the names of the living.

Tekau, the Maori word for "ten," if equivalent to the cross sign, [unclear: sh] a form of crossing by the clasping of the ten fingers, or two arms. [unclear: T] the Roman ×, the decern ("ten"), is only the Asiatic form of tau, and it [unclear: be] found that tekau (worn down) was the "tek" of δϵκα, deg, teg, etc "ten."

page 363 hokotoru=thirty; whitu = seven, hokowhitu= seventy, etc. If we look in Malagasy for this word, we shall find that h is represented by v, as Maori hoe, "to paddle, to row"= Malagasy voy, "the act of rowing;" Maori hua, "fruit" = Malagasy voa, etc. Looking, then, for the Malagasy equivalent of Maori hoko, "to barter," we find vokovoko, "a cross, the figure of an ×." This, then, was the medium of buying and selling, the tau; and the Maori prefix hoko, "raising the number ten times," was used Because the hoko or voko currency was marked with a tau, "×," or ten. With this meaning of sale, ten, and ×, must be compared the Tongan faka-tau, "to barter, buy, or sell" (whaka or faka = causative prefix). The word tau, in its meaning of "a year," may be explained in connection with "ten" as in Tagal, Mangarevan, and other Pacific dialects, in which tau means a year divided into ten months.

Was this sign, this means of communication, merely the net-crossing, the cord-crossing, or the real tat cross? It would appear that the tau was used in Polynesia, certainly in religious ceremonial and connection. The New Zealand word tauira, given in Williams's "Dictionary" as "counterpart," (and so "teacher, pattern, pupil, copy,") means in Maori mythology much more than this. Constantly in the ancient invocations and poetry we find the tauira alluded to as some sacred being or beings. In Dr. Shortland's "Maori Religion and Mythology," he translates Tauira as "a person who is being instructed by a priest, or by the spirit of a parent or ancestor" (p. 108); but in his translation of the "Piki ake Tawhaki" poem, (p. 24) he leaves the tauira to signify one of the (untranslatable) heavenly personages to whom Tawhaki was ascending: "to your Ariki, to your Tapairu, to your Pukenga, to your Whananga, to your Tauira." Also, tau-tohito means "an adept," and taumaha "a thank-offering' (White). It is to the other Polynesian islands, where far more elaborate systems of ceremonial and worship were observed than among the simple New Zealanders, that we must look for the religious signification of tau. In Hawaiian kau (tau), "to light down upon," as a bird; "to light down upon," as the Spirit or Divine influence upon one (Lorrin Andrews). Hence, probably: kaula, "a prophet," one who predicts future events; kaukau, "a heap of stones made into a rude altar;" kauila (see Maori tauira, quoted above), "to offer sacrifice at the close of a kapu (tapu);" kaumaha (see Maori, above), "to offer in sacrifice, to kill a victim in sacrifice, to offer a victim on the altar." Samoan taula, "the priest of an aitu (deity);" taulaga, "a sacred offering;" tauto, "an oath, to take an oath." Tongan tautau, "an offering to the god of the weather." Marquesan (dialect drops r) taua (for taura), "a priest." But most important of all is Tahitian, where tauhâ (ha= four) means "the four stars called the Crosier (Southern Cross);" and taumaha, (in Maori, a page 364 "thank-offering,") not only "a portion of food offered to gods or spirits of the dead," (the Latin "manes,") [unclear: but] these "stars of the Southern Cross." In the Maori [unclear: constetions], the "Pointers" of the Southern Cross* are [unclear: called] taura, generally supposed to mean "cable" (from taura, [unclear: ro] as the cable of the stellar figure called "the canoe of [unclear: Tam] reti;" but as taula means "an anchor" in Tongan, [unclear: and] "an anchor" in Marquesan, it is probable that the South Cross is the tau, the tau-hâ (four-cross), or taura. It [unclear: may] be that Massey has solved the problem of the connection between tatau "to mark," (tattoo,) and its connection with the cross the passages treating of the rite of "young-man-making." pubescent one had crossed and become established in [unclear: his] hood; hence he was tattooed with the cross, as the [unclear: sig] foundation. This is the Egyptian tat (the cross, or [unclear: phallus),] tattu is the region of establishing for ever, in the [unclear: eschatalog] phase : the place where the tat cross was erected when the [unclear: e] Horus had crossed and been united with his masculine [unclear: fore] virile soul, and the two had become one in tattu (eternal).

The point may well be raised: What was the character [unclear: of] "tatau" among Polynesians formerly? Tattooing seems have been general, in greater or less degree : the [unclear: Hawaiians] New Zealanders being the two great sections of the [unclear: family] whom the face was tattooed as well as parts of the [unclear: body.] New Zealand, the curves of the modern tattooing ("the [unclear: tatto] of Mataora") are said by Mr. White (whose knowledge [unclear: of] ancient Maori is very great), to have superseded a [unclear: difle] fashion for marking called "the mokokuri"—from the [unclear: descrip] given to Mr. White by the old priests I drew the picture form the frontispiece of his new work "The Ancient History [unclear: of] Maori." It can be seen by this (see Plate XX.) that a [unclear: pec] system of marking existed: horizontal and vertical lines [unclear: arra] in sets of threes. This certainly seems to be more like [unclear: some] of writing than the decorative flowing curves of modern [unclear: "]. Let us consider the next figure, that of another Polynesian Bowditch Islander, drawn from a sketch in Wilkes' U.S. [unclear: Eing] Expedition record. Here the lines are replaced by [unclear: a] heads; and, although I do not pretend to discern any [unclear: an] between these marks and the arrow-headed (or the [unclear: cuneif] writing of the Asiatics, I may remind my readers that in [unclear: S] dinavia, in the Runic system of writing, the letter answering the Greek tau was called tyr, and written as an arrow-[unclear: h]

* α and β Centauri.

The feast of the cross was solemnized by the ancient Persians [unclear: (aing] to Dupuis) a few days after the entrance (crossing) into the [unclear: Zo] sign of Aries, at which time the Southern Cross was visible at night "Nat. Gen.," vol. ii., p. 337.

See "Book of Beginnings," p. 437.

page 365 (our "broad arrow"). This may be mere coincidence : on the other hand it may be a real link connecting tau, τ, the cross-letter, with the Polynesian ta-tau, "to write, paint, puncture, dot, count, describe, and worship," especially as the Scandinavian tyr or tir was worshipped as a divinity.* To those who would remind me that printing is modem, I would say that the first writing of Asia was the printed (stamped) arrowhead of the cuneiform script, on clay cylinders.

In Maori, the word used for "cross" is ripeka; its meanings, plying across one another," "to lay across," "to mark with a cross," "to crucify." The root is (apparently) peka, "a branch," "to branch," (a branch, whether of a tree or of a river,) "to turn aside;" pekanga, "a branch road." As the Egyptian pekh, "to divide," pekkha, "division," and peka, "a gap," seem to coincide with this, we may also consider if the Teutonic beck, "a stream," has not the same derivation as Maori peka, "a branch stream." Close to English and England is the Breton pech, "a division." Skeat (our greatest authority on English Etymology) says of this word beck: "Root unknown." Again the Hawaiian comes forward with a well-preserved ancient meaning : Pea (the Hawaiians lose k = peka,) means "to make a cross," "to set up timbers in the form of a cross," "a cross, or timbers put crosswise," thus : ×, formerly placed before the temples as a sign of kapu (taboo). Mr. Andrews ("Haw. Diet.") then gives this most valuable example of the use of the word: "e kau pea, 'to place in the form of across.'" In this sentence (e tau peka), tau, used as a verb, is placed with peka; and I think the × (the Asiatic tau), placed in front of the temples as a sign of taboo, quite conclusive as to the sign being considered a sacred one.

A gentleman whose name carries weight as an expert in the Melanesian languages, the Rev. Lorimer Fison, informed me that he considered kau was the radical part of the Maori word rakau, "a tree," "timber"—wood generally—its compounds in Fijian, etc., leading him to this conclusion. A close study of the Polynesian dialects convinces me of its possibility, the interchange of k and t being much more common than is generally supposed; not only between Hawaiian and the other dialects, this being regular and seldom departed from; nor as in Samoan, where it is a modern innovation, but even within the New Zealand Maori language itself: makuru and maturuturu, whakiwhaki and whatiwhati, etc. Thus, it is possible that tau "to float, to rest," may be connected with kau "to swim." If that be the case, and that kau may mean wood, it

* I do not know it tir, the "arrow-head" letter of Scandinavia, is connected with the Persian tir, "an arrow;" but, if so, it is probably represented among the Maoris (who do not know the bow and arrow) by tiri, "to throw one after the other," "to throw one by one."

page 366 would explain many Maori compounds of kau, such as [unclear: ka] kaurimarima, kauahi, etc., terms for sticks used in producing by friction. The Egyptian for wood is khau. But if kan [unclear: c] sponds to tau, then this cross set up, to which such [unclear: sacred] was ascribed, is the child of the old Tree-worship, [unclear: wherein] own Teutonic ancestors, as well as the men of eastern [unclear: la] delighted. The Maori Tiki, the carved and sacred [unclear: post,] thus a deity of the Tree. A Mangaian myth [unclear: concerning] great Maui and his brothers relates: "At the earnest [unclear: solition] of Maui they consented to follow him. Accordingly went to the old post of their dwelling, and said as before—

"O pillar! open! open up!
That we may all enter and descend to the nether world."

At these words the wonderful pillar at once opened, [unclear: and] four descended. Maui showed them all the wonders of spirit-world," etc.* The spirit-world was Avaiki, the New Zealand Hawaiki. It was through the pillar, the sacred [unclear: Tree,] Kau or Tau, that entry to that wonderful unknown laud [unclear: of] shadows could be made with safety. I do not know if [unclear: thes] any connection between the Maori tahu, "to kindle" ([unclear: pass] tahuna) and tau, but the sister word to tahuna (passive [unclear: form] tahu, "let it be kindled,") is the Hawaiian kahuna, "a [unclear: p] or person who offers sacrifices." To whom were the [unclear: sacri] offered? Probably in ancient times this "kindling" [unclear: of] sacred fire was in honour of the Sun, the Lord of Fire, [unclear: the] whose power was first recognised by men, and who has [unclear: b] worshipped at some time in every place.

Whatever kau may mean outside Polynesia [unclear: proper,] certain that rakau is, with slight variations, the true [unclear: Polynes] word—Samoan la'au, Hawaiian laau, Tongan akau, [unclear: Tahi] raau, etc. The compound there is kau and ra, and Ra [unclear: is,] Polynesian word for the Sun, as it is the Egyptian, [unclear: and] ancient Celtic. La means "a day" in Gaelic, Irish, [unclear: Egypt] and Maori. "La, the Druidical name of God, obsolete Gaelic but retained in the best Gaelic dictionaries." Sanscrit, ra means "fire, heat, warmth" (Monier [unclear: Willian] When men—the dwellers in caves, the savage hunters of [unclear: sa] beasts—had through the great discovery of fire-kindling [unclear: m] their first step towards civilization, learnt to cook food, to [unclear: cl] forests, to make canoes, surely their first dawn of worship wj be veneration for this spirit of the Sun-fire Ra dwelling in wood, whence it could be evoked by friction. Almost all great deities of the ancient world were but solar impersonation Osiris, Horus, Baal, Samas, Thammuz, Hercules, [unclear: Phaeth]

* "Myths and Songs of the South Pacific," Gill, p. 70.

Tahu, in Tahiti the name generally employed for "sorcery."

"Gaelic Etymology," Mackay.

page 367 Mithra, Agni,—all were Sun, beat, warmth, lire. Taht was a lunar deity: by him men first began to count and reckon time (as in the Polynesian tatau, "to count, to write"), for the counting time by moons is the first natural division. Of Taht it is said : "Ra created him a beautiful light to show the name of his evil enemy. . . . Thou art my abode, the god of my abode; behold thou shalt be called Taht, the Abode of Ra."* And every meaning of the Polynesian ra or la finds common meaning in the Aryan languages. Thus ra or la means not only "sun," but "a sail:" in Danish raa means "the yard of the sail;" and in Scottish, ra means "the sail-yard." The name of the great Maori kite in the shape of a hawk (presented by Sir George Grey to the Wellington Museum) is Ra. In Egypt the sun was represented with a hawk's head:

"Oh! thou great god in the east of heaven!
Thou proceedest to the bark of the sun as a divine hawk of time."

This sun-god was not only worshipped, but worshipped in a peculiar manner: everywhere with sacred (i.e., new-kindled) fire. Among the Latins we come across the passage concerning the "new fire made in the secret temple."§ So in India, Agni (fire) is called "the child of Dyu (the sky), the son of strength (i.e., produced by the strong rubbing of wood), the light of the sacrifice." "They worshipped Agni with logs of wood, with praise." In the Zend Avesta, the sacred book of the ancient Persians: "Oh Spenta Armaiti, this man do I deliver unto thee: this man deliver back to me against the day of resurrection; deliver him back as one who knows his Gathas, who knows the Yasna and the revealed law; a wise and clever man, who is the Word incarnate. Then shalt thou call his name Fire-creature, Fire-seed, Fire-offspring, Fire-land, or any name wherein there is fire."** Men approached the tree, the bearer of the "fire-seed," with awe and devotion; the tree itself they worshipped as a god and as the gift of a god. Surely the imagination of man never conceived a more mysteriously awful and majestic figure than that of the Scandinavian Odin hanging on the Life Tree. In the words of the Rev. Sir G. Cox,†† we read : "The Kosmos so called into existence is called the 'Bearer of God'—a phrase which finds its explanation in the World Tree

* Records of the Past," vol. vi., p. 111.

Compare the Maori ra-whiti, the east.

"Book of the Dead," Birch, cxxxi.

§ "Adde quod arcana fieri novus ignis in æde Dicitur, et vires flamma refecta capit."—Ovid, in Fasti.

"Rig Veda Sanhita," mandala i., sukta 165: Max Müller.


** "Vendidad," fargard xviii.: M.M.

†† "Mythology of the Aryan Nations," p. 371.

page 368 Yggdrasil, on which Odin himself hangs, like the [unclear: Helene] drites of the Cretan legend—

"I know that I hung, on a wind-swept tree
Nine whole nights, with a spear wounded,
And to Odin offered myself to myself,
On that tree of which no one knows
From what root it springs."*

It may be urged that I have before stated my conviction kau and taura were both cattle-words. My opinion [unclear: is] changed (nay, rather strengthened); but the consideration this subject would cause this paper to be of objectionable [unclear: len] and it must be left for the present. I will only notice [unclear: these] points briefly. Taylor, in "The Alphabet," when speaking the Hebrew letters, says: "Tau, the last of the letters, [unclear: is] 'sign' or 'cross' used for marking the ownership of [unclear: beasts] Ezekiel ix. 4). The early form of the letter is + or [unclear: ×,] would be the easiest and most natural mark for such a [unclear: purp] It has been stated that from consideration of some other [unclear: A] forms the Latin taurus, a bull, and taura, a cow, are [unclear: w], which have lost a prefixed s, the corresponding word in [unclear: Eng] (from Teutonic sources) being steer: this is made [unclear: dou] perhaps, by Greek ταΰρoς, ancient Slavonic touru, [unclear: Rus] turu, Irish tor. But if we allow that formerly ταΰ;ρoς [unclear: posse] a prefixed sigma, we get στανρóς, a cross!

The cross of life and the tree of life were transferable [unclear: ima] The Buddhist cross was a tree of life, which [unclear: brought] flowers and leaves, as did the worshipped Asherah, "tree," "grove") of the Assyrians. When they were, [unclear: whether] Europe or in Asia, approaching the shrine to offer the "a made fire," it was with the sacred fire-cross that they [unclear: drew] the offering of flame—with the holy Swastika cross. If [unclear: the] everywhere (as × and τ) represented the cross, then [unclear: rever] and deification of this form of the tree or wood would be [unclear: spee] granted by the minds of simple men; and the place [unclear: where] stood become holy, as its presence made sacred the temple the island of Hawaii.

* "Odin's Rune Song," Thorpe's trans, of "Sœmunds Edda," p. 34