Dr. Nansen, speaking of the Ignerssuit (plural of Ignersuak, which means "great fire"), says that they are for the most part good spirits, inclined to help men. The entrance to their dwellings is on the sea-shore. According to the Eskimo legend, "The first earth which came into existence had neither seas nor mountains, but was quite smooth. When the One above was displeased with the people upon it, He destroyed the world. It burst open, and the people fell down into the rifts and became Ignerssuit and the water poured over everything."[A] The spirits here alluded to appear to be the same as those described by Mr. Boas as Uissuit in his monograph on the Central Eskimo. He describes them as "a strange people that live in the sea. They are dwarfs, and are frequently seen between Iglulik and Netchillik, where the Anganidjen live, an Innuit tribe whose women are in the habit of tracing rings around their eyes. There are men and women among the Uissuit, and they live in deep water, never coming to the surface. When the Innuit wish to see them, they go in their boats to a place where they cannot see the bottom, and try to catch them with hooks which they slowly move up and down. As soon as they get a bite they draw in the line. The Uissuit are thus drawn up; but no sooner do they approach the surface than they dive down headlong again, only their legs having emerged from the water. The Innuit have never succeeded in getting one out of the water."[A]
[Footnote A: Nansen, ut supra, p. 259.]
[Footnote A: American Bureau of Ethnology, vi. 612.]
8. Amongst habitations not coming under any of the above categories may be mentioned the moors and open places affected by the Cornish fairies, and lastly the curious residences of the Kirkonwaki or Church-folk of the Finns. "It is an article of faith with the Finns that there dwell under the altar in every church little misshapen beings which they call Kirkonwaki, i.e., Church-folk. When the wives of these little people have a difficult labour, they are relieved if a Christian woman visits them and lays her hand upon them. Such service is always rewarded by a gift of gold and silver."[A] These folk evidently correspond to the Kirkgrims of Scandinavian countries, and the traditions respecting both are probably referable to the practice of foundation sacrifices.
[Footnote A: Grimm ap. Keightley, p. 488.]
The subject of Pigmy races and fairy tales cannot be considered to have been in any sense fully treated without some consideration of a theory which, put forward by various writers and in connection with the legends of diverse countries, has recently been formulated by Mr. MacRitchie in a number of most interesting and suggestive books and papers. An early statement of this theory is to be found in a paper by Mr. J.F. Campbell, in which he stated, "It is somewhat remarkable that traditions still survive in the Highlands of Scotland which seem to be derived from the habits of Scotch tribes like the Lapps in our day. Stories are told in Sutherlandshire about a 'witch' who milked deer; a 'ghost' once became acquainted with a forester, and at his suggestion packed all her plenishing on a herd of deer, when forced to flit by another and a bigger 'ghost;' the green mounds in which 'fairies' are supposed to dwell closely resemble the outside of Lapp huts. The fairies themselves are not represented as airy creatures in gauze wings and spangles, but they appear in tradition as small cunning people, eating and drinking, living close at hand in their green mound, stealing children and cattle, milk and food, from their bigger neighbours. They are uncanny, but so are the Lapps. My own opinion is that these Scotch traditions relate to the tribes who made kitchen-middens and lake-dwellings in Scotland, and that they were allied to Lapps."[A] Such in essence is Mr. MacRitchie's theory, which has been so admirably summarised by Mr. Jacobs in the first of that series of fairy-tale books which has added a new joy to life, that I shall do myself the pleasure of quoting his statement in this place. He says: "Briefly put, Mr. MacRitchie's view is that the elves, trolls, and fairies represented in popular tradition are really the mound-dwellers, whose remains have been discovered in some abundance in the form of green hillocks, which have been artificially raised over a long and low passage leading to a central chamber open to the sky. Mr. MacRitchie shows that in several instances traditions about trolls or 'good people' have attached themselves to mounds which long afterwards, on investigation, turned out to be evidently the former residence of men of smaller build than the mortals of to-day. He goes on further to identify these with the Picts— fairies are called 'Pechs' in Scotland—and other early races, but with these ethnological equations we need not much concern ourselves. It is otherwise with the mound traditions and their relation, if not to fairy tales in general, to tales about fairies, trolls, elves, &c. These are very few in number, and generally bear the character of anecdotes. The fairies, &c., steal a child; they help a wanderer to a drink and then disappear into a green hill; they help cottagers with their work at night, but disappear if their presence is noticed; human midwives are asked to help fairy mothers; fairy maidens marry ordinary men, or girls marry and live with fairy husbands. All such things may have happened and bear no such a priori marks of impossibility as speaking animals, flying through the air, and similar incidents of the folk-tale pure and simple. If, as archaeologists tell us, there was once a race of men in Northern Europe very short and hairy, that dwelt in underground chambers artificially concealed by green hillocks, it does not seem unlikely that odd survivors of the race should have lived on after they had been conquered and nearly exterminated by Aryan invaders, and should occasionally have performed something like the pranks told of fairies and trolls."[B] In the same place, and also in another article,[C] the writer just quoted has applied this theory to the explanation of the story of "Childe Rowland."
[Footnote A: Journ. Ethnol. Soc., 1869-70, p. 325.]
[Footnote B: English Fairy Tales, p. 241.]
[Footnote C: Folk Lore, ii. 126.]
Mr. MacRitchie has, in another paper,[A] collected a number of instances of the use of the word Sith in connection with hillocks and tumuli, which are the resort of the fairies. Here also he discusses the possible connection of that word with that of Tshud, the title of the vanished supernatural inhabitants of the land amongst the Finns and other "Altaic" Turanian tribes of Russia, as in other places he has endeavoured to trace a connection between the Finns and the Feinne. Into these etymological questions I have no intention to enter, since I am not qualified to do so, nor is it necessary, as they have been fully dealt with by Mr. Nutt, whose opinion on this point is worthy of all attention.[B] But it may be permitted to me to inquire how far Mr. MacRitchie's views tally with the facts mentioned in the foregoing section. I shall therefore allude to a few points which appear to me to show that the origin of the belief in fairies cannot be settled in so simple a manner as has been suggested, but is a question of much greater complexity—one in which, as Mr. Tylor says, more than one mythic element combines to make up the whole.
[Footnote A: Journ. Roy. Soc. Antiq. Ireland, iii. 367.]
[Footnote A: Folk and Hero Tales from Argyleshire, p. 420.]
(1.) In the first place, then, it seems clear, so far as our present knowledge teaches us, that there never was a really Pigmy race inhabiting the northern parts of Scotland.
The scanty evidence which we have on this point, so far as it goes, proves the truth of this assertion. Mr. Carter Blake found in the Muckle Heog of the Island of Unst, one of the Shetlands, together with stone vessels, human interments of persons of considerable stature and of great muscular strength. Speaking of the Keiss skeletons, Professor Huxley says that the males are, the one somewhat above, and the other probably about the average stature; while the females are short, none exceeding five feet two inches or three inches in height.[A] And Dr. Garson, treating of the osteology of the ancient inhabitants of the Orkneys, says that the female skeleton which he examined was about five feet two inches in height, i.e., about the mean height of the existing races of England.[B] There is no evidence that Lapps and Eskimo ever visited these parts of the world; and if they did, as we have seen, their stature, though stunted, cannot fairly be described as pigmy. Even if we grant that the stature of the early races did not average more than five feet two inches, which, by the way, was the height of the great Napoleon, it is more than doubtful whether it fell so far short of that of succeeding races as to cause us to imagine that it gave rise to tales about a race of dwarfs.
[Footnote A: Laing, Prehistoric Remains of Caithness, p. 101.]
[Footnote B: Journ. Anthrop. Inst., xiii. 60.]
(2.) The mounds with which the tales of little people are associated have not, in many cases, been habitations, but were natural or sepulchral in their nature. It may, of course, be argued that the story having once arisen in connection with one kind of mound, may, by a process easy to understand, have been transferred to other hillocks similar in appearance, though diverse in nature. It is difficult to see, however, how this could have occurred in Yorkshire and other parts of England, where it is not argued that the stunted inhabitants of the North ever penetrated. It is still more difficult to explain how similar legends can have originated in America in connection with mounds, since there never were Pigmy races in that continent.
(3.) The rude and simple arrangements of the interior of these mound dwellings might have, in the process of time, become altered into the gorgeous halls, decked with gold and silver and precious stones, as we find them in the stories; they might even, though this is much more difficult to understand, have become possessed of the capacity for being raised upon red pillars. But there is one pitch to which, I think, they could never have attained, and that is the importance which they assume when they become the external covering of a large and extensive tract of underground country. Here we are brought face to face with a totally different explanation, to which I shall recur in due course.
(4.) The little people are not by any means associated entirely with mounds, as the foregoing section is largely intended to show. Their habitations may be in or amongst stones, in caves, under the water, in trees, or amongst the glades of a forest; they may dwell on mountains, on moors, or even under the altars of churches. We may freely grant that some of these habitations fall into line with Mr. MacRitchie's theory, but they are not all susceptible of such an explanation.
(5.) The association of giants and dwarfs in certain places, even the confusion of the two races, seems somewhat difficult of explanation by this theory. In Ireland the distinction between the two classes is sharper than in other places, since, as Sir William Wilde pointed out, whilst every green rath in that island is consecrated to the fairies or "good people," the remains attributed to the giants are of a different character and probably of a later date. In some places, however, a mound similar to those often connected with fairies is associated with a giant, as is the case at Sessay parish, near Thirsk,[A] and at Fyfield in Wiltshire. The chambered tumulus at Luckington is spoken of as the Giant's Caves, and that at Nempnet in Somersetshire as the Fairy's Toot. In Denmark, tumuli seem to be described indifferently as Zettestuer (Giants' Chambers) or Troldestuer (Fairies' Chambers).[B] In "Beowulf" a chambered tumulus is described, in the recesses of which were treasures watched over for three hundred years by a dragon. This barrow was of stone, and the work of giants.
Seah on enta geweorc, Looked on the giant's work, hu etha stan-bogan, how the stone arches, stapulinn-faeste, on pillars fast, ece eoreth-reced the eternal earth-house innan healde. held within.
[Footnote A: Folk Lore, i. 130.]
[Footnote B: Flint Chips, p. 412.]
The mounds have sometimes been made by giants and afterwards inhabited by dwarfs, as in the case of the Nine-hills, already alluded to. In others, they are at the same time inhabited by giants, dwarfs, and others, as in the story of the Dwarf's Banquet,[A] and still more markedly in the Wunderberg. "The celebrated Wunderberg, or Underberg, on the great moor near Salzburg, is the chief haunt of the Wild-women. The Wunderberg is said to be quite hollow, and supplied with stately palaces, churches, monasteries, gardens, and springs of gold and silver. Its inhabitants, beside the Wild-women, are little men, who have charge of the treasures it contains, and who at midnight repair to Salzburg to perform their devotions in the cathedral; giants, who used to come to the church of Groedich and exhort the people to lead a godly and pious life; and the great Emperor Charles V., with golden crown and sceptre, attended by knights and lords. His grey beard has twice encompassed the table at which he sits, and when it has the third time grown round it, the end of the world and the appearance of the Antichrist will take place."[B]
[Footnote A: Grimm ap. Keightley, 130.]
[Footnote B: Grimm ap. Keightley, 234.]
In the folk-tales of the Magyars we meet with a still more remarkable confusion between these two classes of beings. Some of the castles described in these stories are inhabited by giants, others by fairies. Again, the giants marry; their wives are fairies, so are their daughters. They had no male issue, as their race was doomed to extermination. They fall in love, and are fond of courting. Near Bikkfalva, in Haromszek, the people still point out the "Lover's Bench" on a rock where the amorous giant of Csigavar used to meet his sweetheart, the "fairy of Veczeltetoe."[A]
[Footnote A: Folk Tales of the Magyars, p. xxix.]
(6.) Tales of little people are to be found in countries where there never were any Pigmy races. Not to deal with other, and perhaps more debatable districts, we find an excellent example of this in North America. Besides the instances mentioned in the foregoing section, the following may be mentioned. Mr. Leland, speaking of the Un-a-games-suk, or Indian spirits of the rocks and streams, says that these beings enter far more largely, deeply, and socially into the life and faith of the Indians than elves or fairies ever did into those of the Aryan race.[A] In his Algonquin Legends the same author also alludes to small people.
[Footnote A: Memoirs, i. 34.]
Dr. Brinton tells me that the Micmacs have tales of similar Pigmies, whom they call Wigŭlădŭmooch, who tie people with cords during their sleep, &c. Mr. L.L. Frost, of Susanville, Lassen County, California, tells us how, when he requested an Indian to gather and bring in all the arrow-points he could find, the Indian declared them to be "no good," that they had been made by the lizards. Whereupon Mr. Frost drew from him the following lizard-story. "There was a time when the lizards were little men, and the arrow-points which are now found were shot by them at the grizzly bear. The bears could talk then, and would eat the little men whenever they could catch them. The arrows of the little men were so small that they would not kill the bears when shot into them, and only served to enrage them." The Indian could not tell how the little men became transformed into lizards.[A] Again, the Shoshones of California dread their infants being changed by Ninumbees or dwarfs.[B]
[Footnote A: Folk Lore Journal, vii. 24.]
[Footnote B: Hartland, ut supra, p. 351.]
Finally, every one has read about the Pukwudjies, "the envious little people, the fairies, the pigmies," in the pages of Longfellow's "Hiawatha."[A] It ought to be mentioned that Mr. Leland states that the red-capped, scanty-shirted elf of the Algonquins was obtained from the Norsemen; but if, as he says, the idea of little people has sunk so deeply into the Indian mind, it cannot in any large measure have been derived from this source.[B]
[Footnote A: xviii.]
[Footnote B: Etrusco Roman Remains, p. 162.]
(7.) The stunted races whom Mr. MacRitchie considers to have formed the subjects of the fairy legend have themselves tales of little people. This is true especially of the Eskimo, as will have been already noticed, a fact to which my attention was called by Mr. Hartland.
For the reasons just enumerated, I am unable to accept Mr. MacRitchie's theory as a complete explanation of the fairy question, but I am far from desirous of under-estimating the value and significance of his work. Mr. Tylor, as I have already mentioned, states, in a sentence which may yet serve as a motto for a work on the whole question of the origin of the fairy myth, that "various different facts have given rise to stories of giants and dwarfs, more than one mythic element perhaps combining to form a single legend—a result perplexing in the extreme to the mythological interpreter."[A] And I think it may be granted that Mr. MacRitchie has gone far to show that one of these mythic elements, one strand in the twisted cord of fairy mythology, is the half-forgotten memory of skulking aborigines, or, as Mr. Nutt well puts it, the "distorted recollections of alien and inimical races." But it is not the only one. It is far from being my intention to endeavour to deal exhaustively with the difficult question of the origin of fairy tales. Knowledge and the space permissible in an introduction such as this would alike fail me in such a task. It may, however, be permissible to mention a few points which seem to impress themselves upon one in making a study of the stories with which I have been dealing. In the first place, one can scarcely fail to notice how much in common there is between the tales of the little people and the accounts of that underground world, which, with so many races, is the habitation of the souls of the departed. Dr. Callaway has already drawn attention to this point in connection with the ancestor-worship of the Amazulu.[B] He says, "It may be worth while to note the curious coincidence of thought among the Amazulu regarding the Amatongo or Abapansi, and that of the Scotch and Irish regarding the fairies or 'good people.' For instance, the 'good people' of the Irish have assigned to them, in many respects the same motives and actions as the Amatongo. They call the living to join them, that is, by death; they cause disease which common doctors cannot understand nor cure; they have their feelings, interests, partialities, and antipathies, and contend with each other about the living. The common people call them their friends or people, which is equivalent to the term abakubo given to the Amatongo. They reveal themselves in the form of the dead, and it appears to be supposed that the dead become 'good people,' as the dead among the Amazulu become Amatongo; and in funeral processions of the 'good people' which some have professed to see, are recognised the forms of those who have just died, as Umkatshana saw his relatives amongst the Abapansi. The power of holding communion with the 'good people' is consequent on an illness, just as the power to divine amongst the natives of this country. So also in the Highland tales, a boy who had been carried away by the fairies, on his return to his own home speaks of them as 'our folks,' which is equivalent to abakwetu, applied to the Amatongo, and among the Highlands they are called the 'good people' and 'the folk.' They are also said to 'live underground,' and are therefore Abapansi or subterranean. They are also, like the Abapansi, called ancestors. Thus the Red Book of Clanranald is said not to have been dug up, but to have been found on the moss; it seemed as if the ancestors sent it." There are other points which make in the same direction. The soul is supposed by various races to be a little man, an idea which at once links the manes of the departed with Pigmy people. Thus Dr. Nansen tells us that amongst the Eskimo a man has many souls. The largest dwell in the larynx and in the left side, and are tiny men about the size of a sparrow. The other souls dwell in other parts of the body, and are the size of a finger-joint.[C] And the Macusi Indians[D] believe that although the body will decay, "the man in our eyes" will not die, but wander about; an idea which is met with even in Europe, and which perhaps gives us a clue to the conception of smallness in size of the shades of the dead. Again, the belief that the soul lives near the resting-place of its body is widespread, and at least comparable with, if not equivalent to, the idea that the little people of Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, and India live in the sepulchral mounds or cromlechs of those countries. Closely connected with this is the idea of the underground world, peopled by the souls of the departed like the Abapansi, the widespread nature of which idea is shown by Dr. Tylor. "To take one example, in which the more limited idea seems to have preceded the more extensive, the Finns,[E] who feared the ghost of the departed as unkind, harmful beings, fancied them dwelling with their bodies in the grave, or else, with what Castren thinks a later philosophy, assigned them their dwelling in the subterranean Tuonela. Tuonela was like this upper earth; the sun shone there, there was no lack of land and water, wood and field, tilth and meadow; there were bears and wolves, snakes and pike, but all things were of a hurtful, dismal kind; the woods dark and swarming with wild beasts, the water black, the cornfields bearing seed of snake's teeth; and there stern, pitiless old Tuoni, and his grim wife and son, with the hooked fingers with iron points, kept watch and ward over the dead lest they should escape."
[Footnote A: Primitive Culture, i. 388.]
[Footnote B: Religious System of the Amazulu, p. 226.]
[Footnote C: Nansen, ut supra, p. 227.]
[Footnote D: Tylor, ut supra, i. 431.]
[Footnote E: Tylor, ut supra, ii. 80.]
It is impossible not to see a connection between such conceptions as these and the underground habitations of the little people entered by the green mound which covered the bones of the dead. But the underground world was not only associated with the shades of the departed; it was in many parts of the world the place whence races had their origin, and here also we meet in at least one instance known to me with the conception of a little folk. A very widespread legend in Europe, and especially in Scandinavia, according to Dr. Nansen, tells how the underground or invisible people came into existence. "The Lord one day paid a visit to Eve as she was busy washing her children. All those who were not yet washed she hurriedly hid in cellars and corners and under big vessels, and presented the others to the Visitor. The Lord asked if these were all, and she answered 'Yes;' whereupon He replied, 'Then those which are dulde (hidden) shall remain hulde (concealed, invisible). And from them the huldre-folk are sprung."[A] There is also the widespread story of an origin underground, as amongst the Wasabe, a sub-gens of the Omahas, who believe that their ancestors were made under the earth and subsequently came to the surface.[B] There is a similar story amongst the Zūnis of Western New Mexico. In journeying to their present place of habitation, they passed through four worlds, all in the interior of this, the passage way from darkness to light being through a large reed. From the inner world they were led by the two little war-gods, Ah-ai-ū-ta and Mā-ā-sē-we, twin brothers, sons of the Sun, who were sent by the Sun to bring this people to his presence.[C] From these stories it would appear that the underground world, whether looked upon as the habitation of the dead or the place of origination of nations, is connected with the conception of little races and people. That it is thus responsible for some portion of the conception of fairies seems to me to be more than probable.
[Footnote A: Nansen, ut supra, p. 262.]
[Footnote B: Dorset, Omaha Sociology. American Bureau of Ethnology, iii. 211.]
[Footnote C: Stevenson, Religious Life of Zuni Child. American Bureau of Ethnology, v. 539.]
It is hardly necessary to allude to those spirits which animistic ideas have attached amongst other objects and places, to trees and wells. They are fully dealt with in Dr. Tylor's pages, and must not be forgotten in connection with the present question.
To sum up, then, it appears as if the idea, so widely diffused, of little, invisible, or only sometimes visible, people, is of the most complex nature. From the darkness which shrouds it, however, it is possible to discern some rays of light. That the souls of the departed, and the underground world which they inhabit, are largely responsible for it, is, I hope, rendered probable by the facts which I have brought forward. That animistic ideas have played an important part in the evolution of the idea of fairy peoples, is not open to doubt. That to these conceptions were superadded many features really derived from the actions of aboriginal races hiding before the destroying might of their invaders, and this not merely in these islands, but in many parts of the world, has been, I think, demonstrated by the labours of the gentleman whose theory I have so often alluded to. But the point upon which it is desired to lay stress is that the features derived from aboriginal races are only one amongst many sources. Possibly they play an important part, but scarcely, I think, one so important as Mr. MacRitchie would have us believe.
A PHILOLOGICAL ESSAY
Concerning the PYGMIES, THE CYNOCEPHALI, THE SATYRS and SPHINGES OF THE ANCIENTS,
Wherein it will appear that they were all either APES or MONKEYS; and not MEN, as formerly pretended.
By Edward Tyson M.D.
A Philological Essay Concerning the PYGMIES OF THE ANCIENTS.
Having had the Opportunity of Dissecting this remarkable Creature, which not only in the outward shape of the Body, but likewise in the structure of many of the Inward Parts, so nearly resembles a Man, as plainly appears by the Anatomy I have here given of it, it suggested the Thought to me, whether this sort of Animal, might not give the Foundation to the Stories of the Pygmies and afford an occasion not only to the Poets, but Historians too, of inventing the many Fables and wonderful and merry Relations, that are transmitted down to us concerning them? I must confess, I could never before entertain any other Opinion about them, but that the whole was a Fiction: and as the first Account we have of them, was from a Poet, so that they were only a Creature of the Brain, produced by a warm and wanton Imagination, and that they never had any Existence or Habitation elsewhere.
In this Opinion I was the more confirmed, because the most diligent Enquiries of late into all the Parts of the inhabited World, could never discover any such Puny diminutive Race of Mankind. That they should be totally destroyed by the Cranes, their Enemies, and not a Straggler here and there left remaining, was a Fate, that even those Animals that are constantly preyed upon by others, never undergo. Nothing therefore appeared to me more Fabulous and Romantick, than their History, and the Relations about them, that Antiquity has delivered to us. And not only Strabo of old, but our greatest Men of Learning of late, have wholly exploded them, as a mere figment; invented only to amuse, and divert the Reader with the Comical Narration of their Atchievements, believing that there were never any such Creatures in Nature.
This opinion had so fully obtained with me, that I never thought it worth the Enquiry, how they came to invent such Extravagant Stories: Nor should I now, but upon the Occasion of Dissecting this Animal: For observing that 'tis call'd even to this day in the Indian or Malabar Language, Orang-Outang, i.e. a Man of the Woods, or Wild-men; and being brought from Africa, that part of the World, where the Pygmies are said to inhabit; and it's present Stature likewise tallying so well with that of the Pygmies of the Ancients; these Considerations put me upon the search, to inform my self farther about them, and to examine, whether I could meet with any thing that might illustrate their History. For I thought it strange, that if the whole was but a meer Fiction, that so many succeeding Generations should be so fond of preserving a Story, that had no Foundation at all in Nature; and that the Ancients should trouble themselves so much about them. If therefore I can make out in this Essay, that there were such Animals as Pygmies; and that they were not a Race of Men, but Apes; and can discover the Authors, who have forged all, or most of the idle Stories concerning them; and shew how the Cheat in after Ages has been carried on, by embalming the Bodies of Apes, then exposing them for the Men of the Country, from whence they brought them: If I can do this, I shall think my time not wholly lost, nor the trouble altogether useless, that I have had in this Enquiry.
My Design is not to justifie all the Relations that have been given of this Animal, even by Authors of reputed Credit; but, as far as I can, to distinguish Truth from Fable; and herein, if what I assert amounts to a Probability, 'tis all I pretend to. I shall accordingly endeavour to make it appear, that not only the Pygmies of the Ancients, but also the Cynocephali, and Satyrs and Sphinges were only Apes or Monkeys, not Men, as they have been represented. But the Story of the Pygmies being the greatest Imposture, I shall chiefly concern my self about them, and shall be more concise on the others, since they will not need so strict an Examination.
We will begin with the Poet Homer, who is generally owned as the first Inventor of the Fable of the Pygmies, if it be a Fable, and not a true Story, as I believe will appear in the Account I shall give of them. Now Homer only mentions them in a Simile, wherein he compares the Shouts that the Trojans made, when they were going to joyn Battle with the Graecians, to the great Noise of the Cranes, going to fight the Pygmies: he saith,[A]
[Greek: Ai t' epei oun cheimona phygon, kai athesphaton ombron Klangae tai ge petontai ep' okeanoio rhoaon 'Andrasi pygmaioisi phonon kai kaera pherousai.] i.e.
Quae simul ac fugere Imbres, Hyememque Nivalem Cum magno Oceani clangore ferantur ad undas Pygmaeis pugnamque Viris, caedesque ferentes.
[Footnote A: Homer. Iliad. lib. 3. ver. 4.]
Or as Helius Eobanus Hessus paraphrases the whole.[A]
Postquam sub Ducibus digesta per agmina stabant Quaeque fuis, Equitum turmae, Peditumque Cohortes, Obvia torquentes Danais vestigia Troes Ibant, sublato Campum clamore replentes: Non secus ac cuneata Gruum sublime volantum Agmina, dum fugiunt Imbres, ac frigora Brumae, Per Coelum matutino clangore feruntur, Oceanumque petunt, mortem exitiumque cruentum Irrita Pigmaeis moturis arma ferentes.
[Footnote A: Homeri Ilias Latino Carmine reddita ab Helio Eobano Hesso.]
By [Greek: andrasi pygmaioisi] therefore, which is the Passage upon which they have grounded all their fabulous Relations of the Pygmies, why may not Homer mean only Pygmies or Apes like Men. Such an Expression is very allowable in a Poet, and is elegant and significant, especially since there is so good a Foundation in Nature for him to use it, as we have already seen, in the Anatomy of the Orang-Outang. Nor is a Poet tied to that strictness of Expression, as an Historian or Philosopher; he has the liberty of pleasing the Reader's Phancy, by Pictures and Representations of his own. If there be a becoming likeness, 'tis all that he is accountable for. I might therefore here make the same Apology for him, as Strabo[A] do's on another account for his Geography, [Greek: ou gar kat' agnoian ton topikon legetai, all' haedonaes kai terpseos charin]. That he said it, not thro' Ignorance, but to please and delight: Or, as in another place he expresses himself,[B] [Greek: ou gar kat' agnoian taes istorias hypolaepteon genesthai touto, alla tragodias charin]. Homer did not make this slip thro' Ignorance of the true History, but for the Beauty of his Poem. So that tho' he calls them Men Pygmies, yet he may mean no more by it, than that they were like Men. As to his Purpose, 'twill serve altogether as well, whether this bloody Battle be fought between the Cranes and Pygmaean Men, or the Cranes and Apes, which from their Stature he calls Pygmies, and from their shape Men; provided that when the Cranes go to engage, they make a mighty terrible noise, and clang enough to fright these little Wights their mortal Enemies. To have called them only Apes, had been flat and low, and lessened the grandieur of the Battle. But this Periphrasis of them, [Greek: andres pygmaioi], raises the Reader's Phancy, and surprises him, and is more becoming the Language of an Heroic Poem.
[Footnote A: Strabo Geograph. lib. 1. p.m. 25.]
[Footnote B: Strabo ibid. p.m. 30.]
But how came the Cranes and Pygmies to fall out? What may be the Cause of this Mortal Feud, and constant War between them? For Brutes, like Men, don't war upon one another, to raise and encrease their Glory, or to enlarge their Empire. Unless I can acquit my self herein, and assign some probable Cause hereof, I may incur the same Censure as Strabo[A] passed on several of the Indian Historians, [Greek: enekainisan de kai taen 'Omaerikaen ton Pygmaion geranomachin trispithameis eipontes], for reviewing the Homerical Fight of the Cranes and Pygmies, which he looks upon only as a fiction of the Poet. But this had been very unbecoming Homer to take a Simile (which is designed for illustration) from what had no Foundation in Nature. His Betrachomyomachia, 'tis true, was a meer Invention, and never otherwise esteemed: But his Geranomachia hath all the likelyhood of a true Story. And therefore I shall enquire now what may be the just Occasion of this Quarrel.
[Footnote A: Strabo Geograph. lib. 2. p.m. 48.]
Athenaeus[A] out of Philochorus, and so likewise AElian[B], tell us a Story, That in the Nation of the Pygmies the Male-line failing, one Gerana was the Queen; a Woman of an admired Beauty, and whom the Citizens worshipped as a Goddess; but she became so vain and proud, as to prefer her own, before the Beauty of all the other Goddesses, at which they grew enraged; and to punish her for her Insolence, Athenaeus tells us that it was Diana, but AElian saith 'twas Juno that transformed her into a Crane, and made her an Enemy to the Pygmies that worshipped her before. But since they are not agreed which Goddess 'twas, I shall let this pass.
[Footnote A: Athenaei Deipnosoph. lib. 9 p.m. 393.]
[Footnote B: AElian. Hist. Animal. lib. 15. cap. 29.]
Pomponius Mela will have it, and I think some others, that these cruel Engagements use to happen, upon the Cranes coming to devour the Corn the Pygmies had sowed; and that at last they became so victorious, as not only to destroy their Corn, but them also: For he tells us,[A] Fuere interius Pygmaei, minutum genus, & quod pro satis frugibus contra Grues dimicando, defecit. This may seem a reasonable Cause of a Quarrel; but it not being certain that the Pygmies used to sow Corn, I will not insist on this neither.
[Footnote A: Pomp. Mela de situ Orbis, lib. 3. cap. 8.]
Now what seems most likely to me, is the account that Pliny out of Megasthenes, and Strabo from Onesicritus give us; and, provided I be not obliged to believe or justifie all that they say, I could rest satisfied in great part of their Relation: For Pliny[B] tells us, Veris tempore universo agmine ad mare descendere, & Ova, Pullosque earum Alitum consumere: That in the Spring-time the whole drove of the Pygmies go down to the Sea side, to devour the Cranes Eggs and their young Ones. So likewise Onesicritus,[B] [Greek: Pros de tous trispithamous polemon einai tais Geranois (hon kai Homaeron daeloun) kai tois Perdixin, ous chaenomegetheis einai; toutous d' eklegein auton ta oa, kai phtheirein; ekei gar ootokein tas Geranous; dioper maedamou maed' oa euriskesthai Geranon, maet' oun neottia;] i.e. That there is a fight between the Pygmies and the Cranes (as Homer relates) and the Partridges which are as big as Geese; for these Pygmies gather up their Eggs, and destroy them; the Cranes laying their Eggs there; and neither their Eggs, nor their Nests, being to be found any where else. 'Tis plain therefore from them, that the Quarrel is not out of any Antipathy the Pygmies have to the Cranes, but out of love to their own Bellies. But the Cranes finding their Nests to be robb'd, and their young Ones prey'd on by these Invaders, no wonder that they should so sharply engage them; and the least they could do, was to fight to the utmost so mortal an Enemy. Hence, no doubt, many a bloody Battle happens, with various success to the Combatants; sometimes with great slaughter of the long-necked Squadron; sometimes with great effusion of Pygmaean blood. And this may well enough, in a Poet's phancy, be magnified, and represented as a dreadful War; and no doubt of it, were one a Spectator of it, 'twould be diverting enough.
[Footnote A: Plinij. Hist. Nat. lib. 7. cap. 2. p.m. 13.]
[Footnote B: Strab. Geograph. lib. 15. pag. 489.]
——-Si videas hoc Gentibus in nostris, risu quatiere: sed illic, Quanquam eadem assidue spectantur Praelia, ridet Nemo, ubi tota cohors pede non est altior uno.[A]
[Footnote A: Juvenal. Satyr. 13 vers. 170.]
This Account therefore of these Campaigns renewed every year on this Provocation between the Cranes and the Pygmies, contains nothing but what a cautious Man may believe; and Homer's Simile in likening the great shouts of the Trojans to the Noise of the Cranes, and the Silence of the Greeks to that of the Pygmies, is very admirable and delightful. For Aristotle[B] tells us, That the Cranes, to avoid the hardships of the Winter, take a Flight out of Scythia to the Lakes about the Nile, where the Pygmies live, and where 'tis very likely the Cranes may lay their Eggs and breed, before they return. But these rude Pygmies making too bold with them, what could the Cranes do less for preserving their Off-spring than fight them; or at least by their mighty Noise, make a shew as if they would. This is but what we may observe in all other Birds. And thus far I think our Geranomachia or Pygmaeomachia looks like a true Story; and there is nothing in Homer about it, but what is credible. He only expresses himself, as a Poet should do; and if Readers will mistake his meaning, 'tis not his fault.
[Footnote B: Aristotle. Hist. Animal. lib. 8. cap. 15. Edit. Scalig.]
'Tis not therefore the Poet that is to be blamed, tho' they would father it all on him; but the fabulous Historians in after Ages, who have so odly drest up this Story by their fantastical Inventions, that there is no knowing the truth, till one hath pull'd off those Masks and Visages, wherewith they have disguised it. For tho' I can believe Homer, that there is a fight between the Cranes and Pygmies, yet I think I am no ways obliged to imagine, that when the Pygmies go to these Campaigns to fight the Cranes, that they ride upon Partridges, as Athenaeas from Basilis an Indian Historian tells us; for, saith he,[A] [Greek: Basilis de en toi deuteroi ton Indikon, oi mikroi, phaesin, andres oi tais Geranois diapolemountes Perdixin ochaemati chrontai;]. For presently afterwards he tells us from Menecles, that the Pygmies not only fight the Cranes, but the Partridges too, [Greek: Meneklaes de en protae taes synagogaes oi pygmaioi, phaesi, tois perdixi, kai tais Geranois polemousi]. This I could more readily agree to, because Onesicritus, as I have quoted him already confirms it; and gives us the same reason for this as for fighting the Cranes, because they rob their Nests. But whether these Partridges are as big as Geese, I leave as a Quaere.
[Footnote A: Athenaei Deipnesoph. lib. p. 9. m. 390.]
Megasthenes methinks in Pliny mounts the Pygmies for this expedition much better, for he sets them not on a Pegasus or Partridges, but on Rams and Goats: Fama est (saith Pliny[A]) insedentes Arietum Caprarumque dorsis, armatis sagittis, veris tempore universo agmine ad mare descendere. And Onesicritus in Strabo tells us, That a Crane has been often observed to fly from those parts with a brass Sword fixt in him, [Greek: pleistakis d' ekpiptein geranon chalkaen echousan akida apo ton ekeithen plaegmaton.][B] But whether the Pygmies do wear Swords, may be doubted. 'Tis true, Ctesias tells us,[C] That the King of India every fifth year sends fifty Thousand Swords, besides abundance of other Weapons, to the Nation of the Cynocephali, (a fort of Monkeys, as I shall shew) that live in those Countreys, but higher up in the Mountains: But he makes no mention of any such Presents to the poor Pygmies; tho' he assures us, that no less than three Thousand of these Pygmies are the Kings constant Guards: But withal tells us, that they are excellent Archers, and so perhaps by dispatching their Enemies at a distance, they may have no need of such Weapons to lye dangling by their sides. I may therefore be mistaken in rendering [Greek: akida] a Sword; it may be any other sharp pointed Instrument or Weapon, and upon second Thoughts, shall suppose it a sort of Arrow these cunning Archers use in these Engagements.
[Footnote A: Plinij. Nat. Hist. lib. 7. cap. 2. p. 13.]
[Footnote B: Strabo Geograph. lib. 15. p. 489.]
[Footnote C: Vide Photij. Biblioth.]
These, and a hundred such ridiculous Fables, have the Historians invented of the Pygmies, that I can't but be of Strabo's mind,[A] [Greek: Rhadion d' an tis Haesiodio, kai Homaeroi pisteuseien haeroologousi, kai tois tragikois poiaetais, hae Ktaesiai te kai Haerodotoi, kai Hellanikoi, kai allois toioutois;] i.e. That one may sooner believe Hesiod, and Homer, and the Tragick Poets speaking of their Hero's, than Ctesias and Herodotus and Hellanicus and such like. So ill an Opinion had Strabo of the Indian Historians in general, that he censures them all as fabulous;[B] [Greek: Hapantes men toinun hoi peri taes Indikaes grapsantes hos epi to poly pseudologoi gegonasi kath' hyperbolaen de Daeimachos; ta de deutera legei Megasthenaes, Onaesikritos te kai Nearchos, kai alloi toioutoi;] i.e. All who have wrote of India for the most part, are fabulous, but in the highest degree Daimachus; then Megasthenes, Onesicritus, and Nearchus, and such like. And as if it had been their greatest Ambition to excel herein, Strabo[C] brings in Theopompus, as bragging, [Greek: Hoti kai mythous en tais Historiais erei kreitton, ae hos Haerodotos, kai Ktaesias, kai Hellanikos, kai hoi ta Hindika syngrapsantes;] That he could foist in Fables into History, better than Herodotus and Ctesias and Hellanicus, and all that have wrote of India. The Satyrist therefore had reason to say,
——-Et quicquid Graecia mendax Audet in Historia.[D]
[Footnote A: Strabo Geograph. lib. 11. p.m. 350.]
[Footnote B: Strabo ibid. lib. 2. p.m. 48.]
[Footnote C: Strabo ibid. lib. 1 p.m. 29.]
[Footnote D: Juvenal. Satyr. X. vers. 174.]
Aristotle,[A] 'tis true, tells us, [Greek: Holos de ta men agria agriotera en tae Asia, andreiotera de panta ta en taei Europaei, polymorphotata de ta en taei libyaei; kai legetai de tis paroimia, hoti aei pherei ti libyae kainon;] i.e. That generally the Beasts are wilder in Asia, stronger in Europe, and of greater variety of shapes in Africa; for as the Proverb saith, Africa always produces something new. Pliny[B] indeed ascribes it to the Heat of the Climate, Animalium, Hominumque effigies monstriferas, circa extremitates ejus gigni, minime mirum, artifici ad formanda Corpora, effigiesque caelandas mobilitate ignea. But Nature never formed a whole Species of Monsters; and 'tis not the heat of the Country, but the warm and fertile Imagination of these Historians, that has been more productive of them, than Africa it self; as will farther appear by what I shall produce out of them, and particularly from the Relation that Ctesias makes of the Pygmies.
[Footnote A: Aristotle Hist. Animal, lib. 8. cap. 28.]
[Footnote B: Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. 6. cap. 30. p.m. 741.]
I am the more willing to instance in Ctesias, because he tells his Story roundly; he no ways minces it; his Invention is strong and fruitful; and that you may not in the least mistrust him, he pawns his word, that all that he writes, is certainly true: And so successful he has been, how Romantick soever his Stories may appear, that they have been handed down to us by a great many other Authors, and of Note too; tho' some at the same time have looked upon them as mere Fables. So that for the present, till I am better informed, and I am not over curious in it, I shall make Ctesias, and the other Indian Historians, the Inventors of the extravagant Relations we at present have of the Pygmies, and not old Homer. He calls them, 'tis true, from something of Resemblance of their shape, [Greek: andres]: But these Historians make them to speak the Indian Language; to use the same Laws; and to be so considerable a Nation, and so valiant, as that the King of India makes choice of them for his Corps de Guards; which utterly spoils Homer's Simile, in making them so little, as only to fight Cranes.
Ctesias's Account therefore of the Pygmies (as I find it in Photius's Bibliotheca,[A] and at the latter end of some Editions of Herodotus) is this:
[Footnote A: Photij. Bibliothec. Cod. 72. p.m. 145.]
[Greek: Hoti en mesae tae Indikae anthropoi eisi melanes, kai kalountai pygmaioi, tois allois homoglossoi Indois. mikroi de eisi lian; hoi makrotatoi auton paecheon duo, hoi de pleistoi, henos haemiseos paecheos, komaen de echousi makrotataen, mechri kai hepi ta gonata, kai eti katoteron, kai pogona megiston panton anthropon; epeidan oun ton pogona mega physosin, ouketi amphiennyntai ouden emation: alla tas trichas, tas men ek taes kephalaes, opisthen kathientai poly kato ton gonaton; tas de ek tou po gonos, emprosthen mechri podon elkomenas. Hepeita peripykasamenoi tas trichas peri apan to soma, zonnyntai, chromenoi autais anti himatiou, aidoion de mega echousin, hoste psauein ton sphyron auton, kai pachy. autoite simoi te kai aischroi. ta de probata auton, hos andres. kai hai boes kai hoi onoi, schedon hoson krioi? kai hoi hippoi auton kai hoi aemionoi, kai ta alla panta zoa, ouden maezo krion; hepontai de toi basilei ton Indon, touton ton pygmaion andres trischilioi. sphodra gar eisi toxotai; dikaiotatoi de eisi kai nomoisi chrontai osper kai hoi Indoi. Dagoous te kai alopekas thaereuousin, ou tois kysin, alla koraxi kai iktisi kai koronais kai aetois.]
Narrat praeter ista, in media India homines reperiri nigros, qui Pygmaei appellentur. Eadem hos, qua Inda reliqui, lingua uti, sed valde esse parvos, ut maximi duorum cubitorum, & plerique unius duntaxat cubiti cum dimidio altitudinem non excedant. Comam alere longissimam, ad ipsa usque genua demissam, atque etiam infra, cum barba longiore, quam, apud ullos hominum. Quae quidem ubi illis promissior esse caeperit, nulla deinceps veste uti: sed capillos multo infra genua a tergo demissos, barbamque praeter pectus ad pedes usque defluentem, per totum corpus in orbem constipare & cingere, atque ita pilos ipsis suos vestimenti loco esse. Veretrum illis esse crassum ac longum, quod ad ipsos quoque pedum malleolos pertingat. Pygmeos hosce simis esse naribus, & deformes. Ipsorum item oves agnorem nostrotum instar esse; boves & asinos, arietum fere magnitudine, equos item multosque & caetera jumenta omnia nihilo esse nostris arietibus majora. Tria horum Pygmaeorum millia Indorum regem in suo comitatu habere, quod sagittarij sint peritissimi. Summos esse justitiae cultores iisdemque quibus Indi reliqui, legibus parere. Venari quoque lepores vulpesque, non canibus, sed corvis, milvis, cornicibus, aquilis adhibitis.
In the middle of India (saith Ctesias) there are black Men, they are call'd Pygmies, using the same Language, as the other Indians; they are very little, the tallest of them being but two Cubits, and most of them but a Cubit and a half high. They have very long hair, reaching down to their Knees and lower; and a Beard larger than any Man's. After their Beards are grown long, they wear no Cloaths, but the Hair of their Head falls behind a great deal below their Hams; and that of their Beards before comes down to their Feet: then laying their Hair thick all about their Body, they afterwards gird themselves, making use of their Hair for Cloaths. They have a Penis so long, that it reaches to the Ancle, and the thickness is proportionable. They are flat nosed and ill favoured. Their Sheep are like Lambs; and their Oxen and Asses scarce as big as Rams; and their Horses and Mules, and all their other Cattle not bigger. Three thousand Men of these Pygmies do attend the King of India. They are good Archers; they are very just, and use the same Laws as the Indians do. They kill Hares and Foxes, not with Dogs, but with Ravens, Kites, Crows, and Eagles.'
Well, if they are so good Sports-men, as to kill Hares and Foxes with Ravens, Kites, Crows and Eagles, I can't see how I can bring off Homer, for making them fight the Cranes themselves. Why did they not fly their Eagles against them? these would make greater Slaughter and Execution, without hazarding themselves. The only excuse I have is, that Homer's Pygmies were real Apes like Men; but those of Ctesias were neither Men nor Pygmies; only a Creature begot in his own Brain, and to be found no where else.
Ctesias was Physician to Artaxerxes Mnemon as Diodorus Siculus[A] and Strabo[B] inform us. He was contemporary with Xenophon, a little later than Herodotus; and Helvicus in his Chronology places him three hundred eighty three years before Christ: He is an ancient Author, 'tis true, and it may be upon that score valued by some. We are beholden to him, not only for his Improvements on the Story of the Pygmies, but for his Remarks likewise on several other parts of Natural History; which for the most part are all of the same stamp, very wonderful and incredible; as his Mantichora, his Gryphins, the horrible Indian Worm, a Fountain of Liquid Gold, a Fountain of Honey, a Fountain whose Water will make a Man confess all that ever he did, a Root he calls [Greek: paraebon], that will attract Lambs and Birds, as the Loadstone does filings of Steel; and a great many other Wonders he tells us: all of which are copied from him by AElian, Pliny, Solinus, Mela, Philostratus, and others. And Photius concludes Ctesias's Account of India with this passage; [Greek: Tauta graphon kai mythologon Ktaesias. legei t' alaethestata graphein; epagon hos ta men autos idon graphei, ta de par auton mathon ton eidoton. polla de touton kai alla thaumasiotera paralipein, dia to mae doxai tois mae tauta theasamenois apista syngraphein;] i.e. These things (saith he) Ctesias writes and feigns, but he himself says all he has wrote is very true. Adding, that some things which he describes, he had seen himself; and the others he had learn'd from those that had seen them: That he had omitted a great many other things more wonderful, because he would not seem to those that have not seen them, to write incredibilities. But notwithstanding all this, Lucian[C] will not believe a word he saith; for he tells us that Ctesias has wrote of India, [Greek: A maete autos eide, maete allou eipontos aekousen], What he neither saw himself, nor ever heard from any Body else. And Aristotle tells us plainly, he is not fit to be believed: [Greek: En de taei Indikaei hos phaesi Ktaesias, ouk on axiopistos.][D] And the same opinion A. Gellius[E] seems to have of him, as he had likewise of several other old Greek Historians which happened to fall into his hands at Brundusium, in his return from Greece into Italy; he gives this Character of them and their performance: Erant autem isti omnes libri Graeci, miraculorum fabularumque pleni: res inauditae, incredulae, Scriptores veteres non parvae authoritatis, Aristeas Proconnesius, & Isagonus, & Nicaeensis, & Ctesias, & Onesicritus, & Polystephanus, & Hegesias. Not that I think all that Ctesias has wrote is fabulous; For tho' I cannot believe his speaking Pygmies, yet what he writes of the Bird he calls [Greek: Bittakos], that it would speak Greek and the Indian Language, no doubt is very true; and as H. Stephens[F] observes in his Apology for Ctesias, such a Relation would seem very surprising to one, that had never seen nor heard of a Parrot.
[Footnote A: Diodor. Siculi Bibliothec. lib. 2. p.m. 118.]
[Footnote B: Strabo Geograph. lib. 14. p. 451.]
[Footnote C: Lucian lib 1. verae Histor. p.m. 373.]
[Footnote D: Arist. Hist. Animal. lib. 8. cap. 28.]
[Footnote E: A. Gellij. Noctes. Attic. lib. 9. cap. 4.]
[Footnote F: Henr. Stephani de Ctesia Historico antiquissimo disquisitio, ad finem Herodoti.]
But this Story of Ctesias's speaking Pygmies, seems to be confirm'd by the Account that Nonnosus, the Emperour Justinian's Ambassador into AEthiopia, gives of his Travels. I will transcribe the Passage, as I find it in Photius,[A] and 'tis as follows:
[Footnote A: Photij. Bibliothec. cod. 3. p.m. 7.]
[Greek: Hoti apo taes pharsan pleonti toi Nonnosoi, epi taen eschataen ton naeson kataentaekoti toion de ti synebae, thauma kai akousai. enetuche gar tisi morphaen men kai idean echousin anthropinaen, brachytatois de to megethos, kai melasi taen chroan. hypo de trichon dedasysmenois dia pantos tou somatos. heiponto de tois andrasi kai gynaikes paraplaesiai kai paidaria eti brachytera, ton par autois andron. gymnoi de aesan hapantes; plaen dermati tini mikroi taen aido periekalypron, hoi probebaekotes homoios andres te kai gynaikes. agrion de ouden eped eiknynto oude anaemeron; alla kai phonaen eichon men anthropinaen, agnoston de pantapasi taen dialekton tois te perioikois hapasi, kai polloi pleon tois peri taen Nonnoson, diezon de ek thalattion ostreion, kai ichthyon, ton apo taes thalassaes eis taen naeson aporrhiptomenon; tharsos de eichon ouden. alla kai horontes tous kath' haemas anthropous hypeptaesan, hosper haemeis ta meiso ton thaerion.]
Naviganti a Pharsa Nonoso, & ad extremam usque insularum delato, tale quid occurrit, vel ipso auditu admirandum. Incidit enim in quosdam forma quidem & figura humana, sed brevissimos, & cutem nigros, totumque pilosos corpus. Sequebantur viros aequales foeminae, & pueri adhuc breviores. Nudi omnes agunt, pelle tantum brevi adultiores verenda tecti, viri pariter ac foeminae: agreste nihil, neque efferum quid prae se ferentes. Quin & vox illis humana, sed omnibus, etiam accolis, prorsus ignota lingua, multoque amplius Nonosi sociis. Vivunt marinis ostreis, & piscibus e mari ad insulam projectis. Audaces minime sunt, ut nostris conspectis hominibus, quemadmodum nos visa ingenti fera, metu perculsi fuerint.
'That Nonnosus sailing from Pharsa, when he came to the farthermost of the Islands, a thing, very strange to be heard of, happened to him; for he lighted on some (Animals) in shape and appearance like Men, but little of stature, and of a black colour, and thick covered with hair all over their Bodies. The Women, who were of the same stature, followed the Men: They were all naked, only the Elder of them, both Men and Women, covered their Privy Parts with a small Skin. They seemed not at all fierce or wild; they had a Humane Voice, but their Dialect was altogether unknown to every Body that lived about them; much more to those that were with Nonnosus. They liv'd upon Sea Oysters, and Fish that were cast out of the Sea, upon the Island. They had no Courage; for seeing our Men, they were frighted, as we are at the sight of the greatest wild Beast.'
[Greek: phonaen eichon men anthropinaen] I render here, they had a Humane Voice, not Speech: for had they spoke any Language, tho' their Dialect might be somewhat different, yet no doubt but some of the Neighbourhood would have understood something of it, and not have been such utter Strangers to it. Now 'twas observed of the Orang-Outang, that it's Voice was like the Humane, and it would make a Noise like a Child, but never was observed to speak, tho' it had the Organs of Speech exactly formed as they are in Man; and no Account that ever has been given of this Animal do's pretend that ever it did. I should rather agree to what Pliny[A] mentions, Quibusdam pro Sermone nutus motusque Membrorum est; and that they had no more a Speech than Ctesias his Cynocephali which could only bark, as the same Pliny[B] remarks; where he saith, In multis autem Montibus Genus Hominum Capitibus Caninis, ferarum pellibus velari, pro voce latratum edere, unguibus armatum venatu & Aucupio vesci, horum supra Centum viginti Millia fuisse prodente se Ctesias scribit. But in Photius I find, that Ctesias's Cynocephali did speak the Indian Language as well as the Pygmies. Those therefore in Nonnosus since they did not speak the Indian, I doubt, spoke no Language at all; or at least, no more than other Brutes do.
[Footnote A: Plinij Nat. Hist. lib. 6. cap. 30. p.m. 741.]
[Footnote B: Plinij. Nat. Hist. lib. 7. cap. 2. p.m. 11.]
Ctesias I find is the only Author that ever understood what Language 'twas that the Pygmies spake: For Herodotus[A] owns that they use a sort of Tongue like to no other, but screech like Bats. He saith, [Greek: Hoi Garamantes outoi tous troglodytas Aithiopas thaereuousi toisi tetrippoisi. Hoi gar Troglodytai aithiopes podas tachistoi anthropon panton eisi, ton hymeis peri logous apopheromenous akouomen. Siteontai de hoi Troglodytai ophis, kai Saurous, kai ta toiauta ton Herpeton. Glossan de oudemiaei allaei paromoiaen nenomikasi, alla tetrygasi kathaper hai nukterides;] i.e. These Garamantes hunt the Troglodyte AEthiopians in Chariots with four Horses. The Troglodyte AEthiopians are the swiftest of foot of all Men that ever he heard of by any Report. The Troglodytes eat Serpents and Lizards, and such sort of Reptiles. They use a Language like to no other Tongue, but screech like Bats.
[Footnote A: Herodot. in Melpomene. pag. 283.]
Now that the Pygmies are Troglodytes, or do live in Caves, is plain from Aristotle,[A] who saith, [Greek: Troglodytai de' eisi ton bion]. And so Philostratus,[B] [Greek: Tous de pygmaious oikein men hypogeious]. And methinks Le Compte's Relation concerning the wild or savage Man in Borneo, agrees so well with this, that I shall transcribe it: for he tells us,[C] That in Borneo this wild or savage Man is indued with extraordinary strength; and not withstanding he walks but upon two Legs, yet he is so swift of foot, that they have much ado to outrun him. People of Quality course him, as we do Stags here: and this sort of hunting is the King's usual divertisement. And Gassendus in the Life of Peiresky, tells us they commonly hunt them too in Angola in Africa, as I have already mentioned. So that very likely Herodotus's Troglodyte AEthiopians may be no other than our Orang-Outang or wild Man. And the rather, because I fancy their Language is much the same: for an Ape will chatter, and make a noise like a Bat, as his Troglodytes did: And they undergo to this day the same Fate of being hunted, as formerly the Troglodytes used to be by the Garamantes.
[Footnote A: Arist. Hist. Animal., lib. 8. cap. 15. p.m. 913.]
[Footnote B: Philostrat. in vita Appollon. Tyanaei, lib. 3. cap. 14. p.m. 152.]
[Footnote C: Lewis le Compte Memoirs and Observations on China, p.m. 510.]
Whether those [Greek: andras mikrous metrion elassonas andron] which the Nasamones met with (as Herodotus[A] relates) in their Travels to discover Libya, were the Pygmies; I will not determine: It seems that Nasamones neither understood their Language, nor they that of the Nasamones. However, they were so kind to the Nasamones as to be their Guides along the Lakes, and afterwards brought them to a City, [Greek: en taei pantas einai toisi agousi to megethos isous, chroma de melanas], i.e. in which all were of the same stature with the Guides, and black. Now since they were all little black Men, and their Language could not be understood, I do suspect they may be a Colony of the Pygmies: And that they were no farther Guides to the Nasamones, than that being frighted at the sight of them, they ran home, and the Nasamones followed them.
[Footnote A: Herodotus in Euterpe seu lib. 2. p.m. 102.]
I do not find therefore any good Authority, unless you will reckon Ctesias as such, that the Pygmies ever used a Language or Speech, any more than other Brutes of the same Species do among themselves, and that we know nothing of, whatever Democritus and Melampodes in Pliny,[A] or Apollonius Tyanaeus in Porphyry[B] might formerly have done. Had the Pygmies ever spoke any Language intelligible by Mankind, this might have furnished our Historians with notable Subjects for their Novels; and no doubt but we should have had plenty of them.
[Footnote A: Plinij Nat. Hist. lib. 10. cap. 49.]
[Footnote B: Porphyrius de Abstinentia, lib. 3. pag. m. 103.]
But Albertus Magnus, who was so lucky as to guess that the Pygmies were a sort of Apes; that he should afterwards make these Apes to speak, was very unfortunate, and spoiled all; and he do's it, methinks, so very awkwardly, that it is as difficult almost to understand his Language as his Apes; if the Reader has a mind to attempt it, he will find it in the Margin.[A]
[Footnote A: Si qui Homines sunt Silvestres, sicut Pygmeus, non secundum unam rationem nobiscum dicti sunt Homines, sed aliquod habent Hominis in quadam deliberatione & Loquela, &c. A little after adds, Voces quaedam (sc. Animalia) formant ad diversos conceptus quos habent, sicut Homo & Pygmaeus; & quaedam non faciunt hoc, sicut multitudo fere tota aliorum Animalium. Adhuc autem eorum quae ex ratione cogitativa formant voces, quaedam sunt succumbentia, quaedam autem non succumbentia. Dico autem succumbentia, a conceptu Animae cadentia & mota ad Naturae Instinctum, sicut Pygmeus, qui non, sequitur rationem Loquelae sed Naturae Instinctum; Homo autem non succumbit sed sequitur rationem. Albert. Magn. de Animal. lib. 1. cap. 3. p.m. 3.]
Had Albertus only asserted, that the Pygmies were a sort of Apes, his Opinion possibly might have obtained with less difficulty, unless he could have produced some Body that had heard them talk. But Ulysses Aldrovandus[A] is so far from believing his Ape Pygmies ever spoke, that he utterly denies, that there were ever any such Creatures in being, as the Pygmies, at all; or that they ever fought the Cranes. Cum itaque Pygmaeos (saith he) dari negemus, Grues etiam cum iis Bellum gerere, ut fabulantur, negabimus, & tam pertinaciter id negabimus, ut ne jurantibus credemus.
[Footnote A: Ulys. Aldrovandi Ornitholog. lib. 20. p.m. 344.]
I find a great many very Learned Men are of this Opinion: And in the first place, Strabo[A] is very positive; [Greek: Heorakos men gar oudeis exaegeitai ton pisteos axion andron;] i.e. No Man worthy of belief did ever see them. And upon all occasions he declares the same. So Julius Caesar Scaliger[B] makes them to be only a Fiction of the Ancients, At haec omnia (saith he) Antiquorum figmenta & merae Nugae, si exstarent, reperirentur. At cum universus Orbis nunc nobis cognitus sit, nullibi haec Naturae Excrementa reperiri certissimum est. And Isaac Casaubon[C] ridicules such as pretend to justifie them: Sic nostra aetate (saith he) non desunt, qui eandem de Pygmaeis lepidam fabellam renovent; ut qui etiam e Sacris Literis, si Deo placet, fidem illis conentur astruere. Legi etiam Bergei cujusdam Galli Scripta, qui se vidisse diceret. At non ego credulus illi, illi inquam Omnium Bipedum mendacissimo. I shall add one Authority more, and that is of Adrian Spigelius, who produces a Witness that had examined the very place, where the Pygmies were said to be; yet upon a diligent enquiry, he could neither find them, nor hear any tidings of them.[D] Spigelius therefore tells us, Hoc loco de Pygmaeis dicendum erat, qui [Greek: para pygonos] dicti a statura, quae ulnam non excedunt. Verum ego Poetarum fabulas esse crediderim, pro quibus tamen Aristoteles minime haberi vult, sed veram esse Historiam. 8. Hist. Animal. 12. asseverat. Ego quo minus hoc statuam, tum Authoritate primum Doctissimi Strabonis I. Geograph. coactus sum, tum potissimum nunc moveor, quod nostro tempore, quo nulla Mundi pars est, quam Nautarum Industria non perlustrarit, nihil tamen, unquam simile aut visum est, aut auditum. Accedit quod Franciscus Alvarez Lusitanus, qui ea ipsa loca peragravit, circa quae Aristoteles Pygmaeos esse scribit, nullibi tamen tam parvam Gentem a se conspectam tradidit, sed Populum esse Mediocris staturae, & AEthiopes tradit.
[Footnote A: Strabo Geograph. lib. 17. p.m. 565.]
[Footnote B: Jul. Caes. Scaliger. Comment. in Arist. Hist. Animal. lib. 8. sec. 126. p.m. 914.]
[Footnote C: Isaac Causabon Notae & Castigat. in lib. 1. Strabonis Geograph. p.m. 38.]
[Footnote D: Adrian. Spigelij de Corporis Humani fabrica, lib. 1. cap. 7. p.m. 15.]
I think my self therefore here obliged to make out, that there were such Creatures as Pygmies, before I determine what they were, since the very being of them is called in question, and utterly denied by so great Men, and by others too that might be here produced. Now in the doing this, Aristotle's Assertion of them is so very positive, that I think there needs not a greater or better Proof; and it is so remarkable a one, that I find the very Enemies to this Opinion at a loss, how to shift it off. To lessen it's Authority they have interpolated the Text, by foisting into the Translation what is not in the Original; or by not translating at all the most material passage, that makes against them; or by miserably glossing it, to make him speak what he never intended: Such unfair dealings plainly argue, that at any rate they are willing to get rid of a Proof, that otherwise they can neither deny, or answer.
Aristotle's Text is this, which I shall give with Theodorus Gaza's Translation: for discoursing of the Migration of Birds, according to the Season of the Year, from one Country to another, he saith:[A]
[Footnote A: Aristotel. Hist. Animal. lib. 8. cap. 12.]
[Greek: Meta men taen phthinoporinaen Isaemerian, ek tou Pontou kaiton psychron pheugonta ton epionta cheimona; meta de taen earinaen, ek ton therinon, eis tous topous tous psychrous, phoboumena ta kaumata; ta men, kai ek ton engus topon poioumena tas metabolas, ta de, kai ek ton eschaton hos eipein, hoion hai geranoi poiousi. Metaballousi gar ek ton Skythikon eis ta helae ta ano taes Aigyptou, othen ho Neilos rhei. Esti de ho topos outos peri on hoi pigmaioi katoikousin; ou gar esti touto mythos, all' esti kata taen alaetheian. Genos mikron men, hosper legetai, kai autoi kai hoi hippoi; Troglodytai d' eisi ton bion.]
Tam ab Autumnali AEquinoctio ex Ponto, Locisque frigidis fugiunt Hyemem futuram. A Verno autem ex tepida Regione ad frigidam sese conferunt, aestus metu futuri: & alia de locis vicinis discedunt, alia de ultimis, prope dixerim, ut Grues faciunt, quae ex Scythicis Campis ad Paludes AEgypto superiores, unde Nilus profluit, veniunt, quo in loco pugnare cum Pygmaeis dicuntur. Non enim id fabula est, sed certe, genus tum hominum, tum etiam Equorum pusillum (ut dicitur) est, deguntque in Cavernis, unde Nomen Troglodytae a subeundis Cavernis accepere.
In English 'tis thus: 'At the Autumnal AEquinox they go out of Pontus and the cold Countreys to avoid the Winter that is coming on. At the Vernal AEquinox they pass from hot Countreys into cold ones, for fear of the ensuing heat; some making their Migrations from nearer places; others from the most remote (as I may say) as the Cranes do: for they come out of Scythia to the Lakes above AEgypt, whence the Nile do's flow. This is the place, whereabout the Pygmies dwell: For this is no Fable, but a Truth. Both they and the Horses, as 'tis said, are a small kind. They are Troglodytes, or live in Caves.'
We may here observe how positive the Philosopher is, that there are Pygmies; he tells us where they dwell, and that 'tis no Fable, but a Truth. But Theodorus Gaza has been unjust in translating him, by foisting in, Quo in loco pugnare cum Pygmaeis dicuntur, whereas there is nothing in the Text that warrants it: As likewise, where he expresses the little Stature of the Pygmies and the Horses, there Gaza has rendered it, Sed certe Genus tum Hominum, tum etiam Equorum pusillum. Aristotle only saith, [Greek: Genos mikron men hosper legetai, kai autoi, kai hoi hippoi]. He neither makes his Pygmies Men, nor saith any thing of their fighting the Cranes; tho' here he had a fair occasion, discoursing of the Migration of the Cranes out of Scythia to the Lakes above AEgypt, where he tells us the Pygmies are. Cardan[A] therefore must certainly be out in his guess, that Aristotle only asserted the Pygmies out of Complement to his friend Homer; for surely then he would not have forgot their fight with the Cranes; upon which occasion only Homer mentions them.[B] I should rather think that Aristotle, being sensible of the many Fables that had been raised on this occasion, studiously avoided the mentioning this fight, that he might not give countenance to the Extravagant Relations that had been made of it.
[Footnote A: Cardan de Rerum varietate, lib. 8. cap. 40. p.m. 153.]
[Footnote B: Apparet ergo (saith Cardan) Pygmaeorum Historiam esse fabulosam, quod & Strabo sentit & nosira aetas, cum omnia nunc ferme orbis mirabilia innotuerint, declarat. Sed quod tantum Philosophum decepit, fuit Homeri Auctoritas non apud illium levis.]
But I wonder that neither Casaubon nor Duvall in their Editions of Aristotle's Works, should have taken notice of these Mistakes of Gaza, and corrected them. And Gesner, and Aldrovandus, and several other Learned Men, in quoting this place of Aristotle, do make use of this faulty Translation, which must necessarily lead them into Mistakes. Sam. Bochartus[A] tho' he gives Aristotle's Text in Greek, and adds a new Translation of it, he leaves out indeed the Cranes fighting with the Pygmies, yet makes them Men, which Aristotle do's not; and by anti-placing, ut aiunt, he renders Aristotle's Assertion more dubious; Neque enim (saith he in the Translation) id est fabula, sed revera, ut aiunt, Genus ibi parvum est tam Hominum quam Equorum. Julius Caesar Scaliger in translating this Text of Aristotle, omits both these Interpretations of Gaza; but on the other hand is no less to be blamed in not translating at all the most remarkable passage, and where the Philosopher seems to be so much in earnest; as, [Greek: ou gar esti touto mythos, all' esti kata taen alaetheian], this he leaves wholly out, without giving us his reason for it, if he had any: And Scaliger's[B] insinuation in his Comment, viz. Negat esse fabulam de his (sc. Pygmeis) Herodotus, at Philosophus semper moderatus & prudens etiam addidit, [Greek: hosper legetai], is not to be allowed. Nor can I assent to Sir Thomas Brown's[C] remark upon this place; Where indeed (saith he) Aristotle plays the Aristotle; that is, the wary and evading asserter; for tho' with non est fabula he seems at first to confirm it, yet at last he claps in, sicut aiunt, and shakes the belief he placed before upon it. And therefore Scaliger (saith he) hath not translated the first, perhaps supposing it surreptitious, or unworthy so great an Assertor. But had Scaliger known it to be surreptitious, no doubt but he would have remarked it; and then there had been some Colour for the Gloss. But 'tis unworthy to be believed of Aristotle, who was so wary and cautious, that he should in so short a passage, contradict himself: and after he had so positively affirmed the Truth of it, presently doubt it. His [Greek: hosper legetai] therefore must have a Reference to what follows, Pusillum genus, ut aiunt, ipsi atque etiam Equi, as Scaliger himself translates it.
[Footnote A: Bocharti Hierozoic. S. de Animalib. S. Script. part. Posterior. lib. 1. cap. 11. p.m. 76.]
[Footnote B: Scaliger. Comment. in Arist. Hist. Animal. lib. 8. p.m. 914.]
[Footnote C: Sir Thomas Brown's Pseudodoxia, or, Enquiries into Vulgar Errors, lib. 4. cap. 11.]
I do not here find Aristotle asserting or confirming any thing of the fabulous Narrations that had been made about the Pygmies. He does not say that they were [Greek: andres], or [Greek: anthropoi mikroi], or [Greek: melanes]; he only calls them [Greek: pygmaioi]. And discoursing of the Pygmies in a place, where he is only treating about Brutes, 'tis reasonable to think, that he looked upon them only as such. This is the place where the Pygmies are; this is no fable, saith Aristotle, as 'tis that they are a Dwarfish Race of Men; that they speak the Indian Language; that they are excellent Archers; that they are very Just; and abundance of other Things that are fabulously reported of them; and because he thought them Fables, he does not take the least notice of them, but only saith, This is no Fable, but a Truth, that about the Lakes of Nile such Animals, as are called Pygmies, do live. And, as if he had foreseen, that the abundance of Fables that Ctesias (whom he saith is not to be believed) and the Indian Historians had invented about them, would make the whole Story to appear as a Figment, and render it doubtful, whether there were ever such Creatures as Pygmies in Nature; he more zealously asserts the Being of them, and assures us, That this is no Fable, but a Truth.
I shall therefore now enquire what sort of Creatures these Pygmies were; and hope so to manage the Matter, as in a great measure, to abate the Passion these Great Men have had against them: for, no doubt, what has incensed them the most, was, the fabulous Historians making them a part of Mankind, and then inventing a hundred ridiculous Stories about them, which they would impose upon the World as real Truths. If therefore they have Satisfaction given them in these two Points, I do not see, but that the Business may be accommodated very fairly; and that they may be allowed to be Pygmies, tho' we do not make them Men.
For I am not of Gesner's mind, Sed veterum nullus (saith he[A]) aliter de Pygmaeis scripsit, quam Homunciones esse. Had they been a Race of Men, no doubt but Aristotle would have informed himself farther about them. Such a Curiosity could not but have excited his Inquisitive Genius, to a stricter Enquiry and Examination; and we might easily have expected from him a larger Account of them. But finding them, it may be, a sort of Apes, he only tells us, that in such a place these Pygmies live.
[Footnote A: Gesner. Histor. Quadruped. p.m. 885.]
Herodotus[A] plainly makes them Brutes: For reckoning up the Animals of Libya, he tells us, [Greek: Kai gar hoi ophies hoi hypermegathees, kai hoi leontes kata toutous eisi, kai hoi elephantes te kai arktoi, kai aspides te kai onoi hoi ta kerata echontes; kai hoi kynokephaloi (akephaloi) hoi en toisi staethesi tous ophthalmous echontes (hos dae legetai ge hypo libyon) kai agrioi andres, kai gynaikes agriai kai alla plaethei polla thaeria akatapseusta;] i.e. That there are here prodigious large Serpents, and Lions, and Elephants, and Bears, and Asps, and Asses that have horns, and Cynocephali, (in the Margin 'tis Acephali) that have Eyes in their Breast, (as is reported by the Libyans) and wild Men, and wild Women, and a great many other wild Beasts that are not fabulous. Tis evident therefore that Herodotus his [Greek: agrioi andres, kai gynaikes agriai] are only [Greek: thaeria] or wild Beasts: and tho' they are called [Greek: andres], they are no more Men than our Orang-Outang, or Homo Sylvestris, or wild Man, which has exactly the same Name, and I must confess I can't but think is the same Animal: and that the same Name has been continued down to us, from his Time, and it may be from Homer's.
[Footnote A: Herodot. Melpomene seu lib. 4. p.m. 285.]
So Philostratus speaking of AEthiopia and AEgypt, tells us,[A] [Greek: Boskousi de kai thaeria hoia ouch heterothi; kai anthropous melanas, ho mae allai aepeiroi. Pygmaion te en autais ethnae kai hylaktounton allo allaei.] i.e. Here are bred wild Beasts that are not in other places; and black Men, which no other Country affords: and amongst them is the Nation of the Pygmies, and the BARKERS, that is, the Cynocephali. For tho' Philostratus is pleased here only to call them Barkers, and to reckon them, as he does the Black Men and the Pygmies amongst the wild Beasts of those Countreys; yet Ctesias, from whom Philostratus has borrowed a great deal of his Natural History, stiles them Men, and makes them speak, and to perform most notable Feats in Merchandising. But not being in a merry Humour it may be now, before he was aware, he speaks Truth: For Caelius Rhodiginus's[B] Character of him is, Philostratus omnium qui unquam Historiam conscripserunt, mendacissimus.
[Footnote A: Philostratus in vita Apollon. Tyanaei, lib. 6. cap. 1. p.m. 258.]
[Footnote B: Caelij Rhodigini Lection. Antiq. lib. 17. cap. 13.]
Since the Pygmies therefore are some of the Brute Beasts that naturally breed in these Countries, and they are pleased to let us know as much, I can easily excuse them a Name. [Greek: Andres agrioi], or Orang-Outang, is alike to me; and I am better pleased with Homer's [Greek: andres pygmaioi], than if he had called [Greek: pithaekoi]. Had this been the only Instance where they had misapplied the Name of Man, methinks I could be so good natur'd, as in some measure to make an Apology for them. But finding them, so extravagantly loose, so wretchedly whimsical, in abusing the Dignity of Mankind, by giving the name of Man to such monstrous Productions of their idle Imaginations, as the Indian Historians have done, I do not wonder that wise Men have suspected all that comes out of their Mint, to be false and counterfeit.
Such are their [Greek: Amykteres] or [Greek: Arrines], that want Noses, and have only two holes above their Mouth; they eat all things, but they must be raw; they are short lived; the upper part of their Mouths is very prominent. The [Greek: Enotokeitai], whose Ears reach down to their Heels, on which they lye and sleep. The [Greek: Astomoi], that have no Mouths, a civil sort of People, that dwell about the Head of the Ganges; and live upon smelling to boil'd Meats and the Odours of Fruits and Flowers; they can bear no ill scent, and therefore can't live in a Camp. The [Greek: Monommatoi] or [Greek: Monophthalmoi], that have but one Eye, and that in the middle of their Foreheads: they have Dog's Ears; their Hair stands an end, but smooth on the Breasts. The [Greek: Sternophthalmoi], that have Eyes in their Breasts. The [Greek: Panai sphaenokephaloi] with Heads like Wedges. The [Greek: Makrokephaloi], with great Heads. The [Greek: hyperboreoi], who live a Thousand years. The [Greek: okypodes], so swift that they will out-run a Horse. The [Greek: opiothodaktyloi], that go with their Heels forward, and their Toes backwards. The [Greek: Makroskeleis], The [Greek: Steganopodes], The [Greek: Monoskeleis], who have one Leg, but will jump a great way, and are call'd Sciapodes, because when they lye on their Backs, with this Leg they can keep off the Sun from their Bodies.
Now Strabo[A] from whom I have collected the Description of these Monstrous sorts of Men, and they are mentioned too by Pliny, Solinus, Mela, Philostratus, and others; and Munster in his Cosmography[B] has given a figure of some of them; Strabo, I say, who was an Enemy to all such fabulous Relations, no doubt was prejudiced likewise against the Pygmies, because these Historians had made them a Puny Race of Men, and invented so many Romances about them. I can no ways therefore blame him for denying, that there were ever any such Men Pygmies; and do readily agree with him, that no Man ever saw them: and am so far from dissenting from those Great Men, who have denied them on this account, that I think they have all the reason in the World on their side. And to shew how ready I am to close with them in this Point, I will here examine the contrary Opinion, and what Reasons they give for the supporting it: For there have been some Moderns, as well as the Ancients, that have maintained that these Pygmies were real Men. And this they pretend to prove, both from Humane Authority and Divine.
[Footnote A: Strabo Geograph. lib. 15. p.m. 489. & lib. 2. p. 48. & alibi.]
[Footnote B: Munster Cosmograph. lib. 6. p. 1151.]
Now by Men Pygmies we are by no means to understand Dwarfs. In all Countries, and in all Ages, there has been now and then observed such Miniture of Mankind, or under-sized Men. Cardan[A] tells us he saw one carried about in a Parrot's Cage, that was but a Cubit high. Nicephorus[B] tells us, that in Theodosius the Emperour's time, there was one in AEgypt that was no bigger than a Partridge; yet what was to be admired, he was very Prudent, had a sweet clear Voice, and a generous Mind; and lived Twenty Years. So likewise a King of Portugal sent to a Duke of Savoy, when he married his Daughter to him, an AEthiopian Dwarf but three Palms high.[C] And Thevenot[D] tells us of the Present made by the King of the Abyssins, to the Grand Seignior, of several little black Slaves out of Nubia, and the Countries near AEthiopia, which being made Eunuchs, were to guard the Ladies of the Seraglio. And a great many such like Relations there are. But these being only Dwarfs, they must not be esteemed the Pygmies we are enquiring about, which are represented as a Nation, and the whole Race of them to be of the like stature. Dari tamen integras Pumilionum Gentes, tam falsum est, quam quod falsissimum, saith Harduin.[E]
[Footnote A: Cardan de subtilitate, lib. 11. p. 458.]
[Footnote B: Nicephor. Histor. Ecclesiiast. lib. 12. cap. 37.]
[Footnote C: Happelius in Relat. curiosis, No. 85. p. 677.]
[Footnote D: Thevenot. Voyage de Levant. lib. 2. c. 68.]
[Footnote E: Jo. Harduini Notae in Plinij Nat. Hist. lib. 6. cap. 22. p. 688.]
Neither likewise must it be granted, that tho' in some Climates there might be Men generally of less stature, than what are to be met with in other Countries, that they are presently Pygmies. Nature has not fixed the same standard to the growth of Mankind in all Places alike, no more than to Brutes or Plants. The Dimensions of them all, according to the Climate, may differ. If we consult the Original, viz. Homer that first mentioned the Pygmies, there are only these two Characteristics he gives of them. That they are [Greek: Pygmaioi] seu Cubitales; and that the Cranes did use to fight them. 'Tis true, as a Poet, he calls them [Greek: andres], which I have accounted for before. Now if there cannot be found such Men as are Cubitales, that the Cranes might probably fight with, notwithstanding all the Romances of the Indian Historians, I cannot think these Pygmies to be Men, but they must be some other Animals, or the whole must be a Fiction.
Having premised this, we will now enquire into their Assertion that maintain the Pygmies to be a Race of Men. Now because there have been Giants formerly, that have so much exceeded the usual Stature of Man, that there must be likewise Pygmies as defective in the other extream from this Standard, I think is no conclusive Argument, tho' made use of by some. Old Caspar Bartholine[A] tells us, that because J. Cassanius and others had wrote de Gygantibus, since no Body else had undertaken it, he would give us a Book de Pygmaeis; and since he makes it his design to prove the Existence of Pygmies, and that the Pygmies were Men, I must confess I expected great Matters from him.
[Footnote A: Caspar. Bartholin. Opusculum de Pygmaeis.]
But I do not find he has informed us of any thing more of them, than what Jo. Talentonius, a Professor formerly at Parma, had told us before in his Variarum & Reconditarum Rerum Thesaurus,[A] from whom he has borrowed most of this Tract. He has made it a little more formal indeed, by dividing it into Chapters; of which I will give you the Titles; and as I see occasion, some Remarks thereon: They will not be many, because I have prevented my self already. The first Chapter is, De Homuncionibus & Pumilionilus seu Nanis a Pygmaeis distinctis. The second Chapter, De Pygmaei nominibus & Etymologia. The third Chapter, Duplex esse Pygmaeorum Genus; & primum Genus aliquando dari. He means Dwarfs, that are no Pygmies at all. The fourth Chapter is, Alterum Genus, nempe Gentem Pygmaeorum esse, aut saltem aliquando fuisse Autoritatibus Humanis, fide tamen dignorum asseritur. 'Tis as I find it printed; and no doubt an Error in the printing. The Authorities he gives, are, Homer, Ctesias, Aristotle, Philostratus, Pliny, Juvenal, Oppian, Baptista Mantuan, St. Austin and his Scholiast. Ludovic. Vives, Jo. Laurentius Anania, Joh. Cassanius, Joh. Talentonius, Gellius, Pomp. Mela, and Olaus Magnus. I have taken notice of most of them already, as I shall of St. Austin and Ludovicus Vives by and by. Jo. Laurentius Anania[B] ex Mercatorum relatione tradit (saith Bartholine) eos (sc. Pygmaeos) in Septentrionali Thraciae Parte reperiri, (quae Scythiae est proxima) atque ibi cum Gruibus pugnare. And Joh. Cassanius[C] (as he is here quoted) saith, De Pygmaeis fabulosa quidem esse omnia, quae de iis narrari solent, aliquando existimavi. Verum cum videam non unum vel alterum, sed complures Classicos & probatos Autores de his Homunculis multa in eandem fere Sententiam tradidisse; eo adducor ut Pygmaeos fuisse inficiari non ausim. He next brings in Jo. Talentonius, to whom he is so much beholden, and quotes his Opinion, which is full and home, Constare arbitror (saith Talentonius)[D] debere concedi, Pygmaeos non solum olim fuisse, sed nunc etiam esse, & homines esse, nec parvitatem illis impedimenta esse quo minus sint & homines sint. But were there such Men Pygmies now in being, no doubt but we must have heard of them; some or other of our Saylors, in their Voyages, would have lighted on them. Tho' Aristotle is here quoted, yet he does not make them Men; So neither does Anania: And I must own, tho' Talentonius be of this Opinion, yet he takes notice of the faulty Translation of this Text of Aristotle by Gaza: and tho' the parvity or lowness of Stature, be no Impediment, because we have frequently seen such Dwarf-Men, yet we did never see a Nation of them: For then there would be no need of that Talmudical Precept which Job. Ludolphus[E] mentions, Nanus ne ducat Nanam, ne forte oriatur ex iis Digitalis (in Bechor. fol. 45).