Page images
PDF
EPUB

IV.

for it are very weak. The first is, because the Pelasgi CHAP. that went into Italy did use the Greek tongue, from their calling Agylla Cære, from xaipe, a word pronounced from one on the walls; and because the Arcades used only the Greek language in the Æolian dialect, which Evander carried with him into Italy, and from which most of the old Roman language was derived. But doth not Herodotus expressly say, that, after the mixture between the Greeks and Pelasgi, these by degrees lost their own proper language, and made use of the common Greek tongue? Yet afterwards, too, it is evident from Herodotus, in some places, as at Crotona, they did use a language different from the Greek. His other argument is, That the names of the eldest persons mentioned were originally Greek; but this is expressly denied by Strabo, who makes the contrary one of his strongest arguments, that the Barbarians did anciently inhabit Greece; and instanceth in Cecrops, Codrus, Æolus, Cothus, Drymas, Crimanus. Thus we have abundantly proved, against the common opinion, that Greece was not first peopled by the Hellens, or the posterity of Elisa, although these did afterwards come to the full possession of Greece.

It remains that we shew whence these Pelasgi came, XIII. and of whose posterity they were, and what the language was which was used by them. He that gave the name to this people, according to the Grecian fables, was one Pelasgus; which none will wonder at among them, whose constant custom it was (partly by reason of their ignorance of the true account of their names, and partly by their pride, that they might not seem ignorant of any thing,) when they met with any names of people, to find out some person near it, who was the founder of them. Thus Attica from Actæus,

[ocr errors]

III.

Hellen.

BOOK it being anciently called 'ATTIKỳ, and Cranæ from Cra

naus, Ægialea from Ægialeus, Mauritania from Maurus, Scythia from one Scythes, Galatæa from Galates, and thus in multitudes of other names. But from the name Pelasgi we may probably find out the true founder of the people, allowing that variation which is usually caused through the Greeks' melting the harsher words of the eastern languages into a sound fit for their more delicate palates; as is evident in the comparing the names of the prophets in Hebrew, with what they are in the Greek version. Thus the Pelasgi may with great probability be derived from aba, Pha

leg; for which we have the concurrent testimony of Grot. Not. two learned persons, Grotius and Salmasius, who are in lib. i. de Jure Bel." contented to mention it without bringing much evi&c.c. Z dence of reason for it. What they only touch at, we Salm. de

shall endeavour to make out more at large; which we shall do by removing the great presumptions against it, and laying down the probabilities for it. The great presumptions lying against it are; for that the isles of the nations fell to the posterity of Japhet, and that Phaley lived with Eber in Chaldæa. For the first, it must be acknowledged that the greatest part of the countries lying upon the ocean and Mediterranean were in the time when Moses wrote so inhabited; not that the habitations of the sons of Noah had their bounds and limits set them either by God or Noah, but that the posterity of Japhet did chiefly address themselves to those parts which lay towards Europe; but yet not so as to exclude any of the posterity of Sem, if their necessities for further room made it necessary for them to seek for habitations further abroad. For we can have no reason to think, that, because the chief of Sem's posterity did live together, therefore none of them went further off, which necessity would

IV.

), 21.

Paulun.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

put them upon because of their great increase; for we chaP. read of Phaleg and others, that, besides those in direct --_ line to Abraham, (whose genealogy it was Moses's great design to recount,) they begat many other sons Gen. xi. and daughters, which would make it necessary for 19, 21. them to seek their habitations further abroad. And that Phaleg and Ragau did so, we have the express testimony of Epiphanius, Panèk kai 'Payaữ citives éni tò Epipli. de της Ευρώπης κλίμα νενευκότες τα της Σκυθίας μέρει, και τοϊς Ερi Ac:. αυτών έτεσι προσεκρίθησαν, από της τού Θήρας ηλικίας, και επί-et Pas KELVA, E oữrep oi Opõkes yeyóvao, That from the age of

Therah, and thence forward, Phaleg and Ragau diverted towards the clime of Europe, to part of Scy: thia, and were joined with those nations from which the Thracians arose. Several things make this not so improbable as some have imagined it to be: for first, it is the constant acknowledgment of all sober inquirers into the original of the Greeks, that Greece was first peopled from Scythia; and indeed almost all the nations in Europe have come out of that country: besides, there is evidence of it even in the Grecian fables ; for Prometheus (from whom the Greeks derived themselves) is fancied by them to lie bound in Mount Caucasus, which must be supposed to be the country from whence he came. Again, it is evident already that the Hellens came not into Greece before it was peopled by the Pelasgi, and that these had different language and customs from one another. Now then in all probability, although the posterity of Elisa Inight come first down from Scythia into those parts, and seat themselves in Macedonia and Thessaly, where they had in probability more than room enough at first, and a country to their desire, they might be willing to permit the posterity of Phaleg to pass on further; for in those first plantations we cannot otherwise

STILLINGFLEET, VOL. II.

III.

we

· BOOK conceive, but that the last comers must be the furthest

goers, unless they had strength enough to drive the former inhabitants out of their seats, whereof they were already possessed, as the Scythians did afterwards, and so the Hellens. So then the posterity of Phaleg being forced to quit their own country, because of the multitude of inhabitants, must be supposed to take that course, where in probability they might find an empty seat fit for them to dwell in. Thence they come towards Europe; for they saw how the posterity of Sem did spread itself eastwards already, and Cham southwards, and coming to part of that vast country of Scythia which was both already taken up, and not so convenient an habitation for them, they draw downwards towards Thracia; and there the posterity of Thiras, from whom the Thracians came, had already possessed themselves. Passing further into Thessaly, they find that already planted by some of the posterity of Elisa, but as yet but scant and thin of inhabitants; therefore they disperse themselves up and down through some part of Epirus, most part of Ellas, and some pass into Peloponnesus, where they fix themselves chiefly upon Arcadia, and thence spread up and down by degrees towards the sea-side; for we cannot but think that the maritime parts were the last peopled, partly for fear of another deluge, partly for want of conveniency of navigation, most of their travels being by land, and partly, when navigation grew more in use, for fear of pirates, who drove a great trade upon the coasts of Greece in elder times, as is most evident from Thucydides in the beginning of his history. Thus we have a reasonable account given of the Pelasgi, their first coming into Greece, and how by degrees the Hellens came to possess their country, and what a fair pretence the Arcadians had to boast of the greatest

IV.

antiquity; their country being probably first peopled CHAP. by the Pelasgi of any part of the whole Chersonese, and the seat of the leader of the whole company whom they call Pelasgus, and the Scriptures Phaleg.

Having thus far cleared the antiquities of Greece as XIV. to the first planters of it, whom we have evidenced to have been the Pelasgi, and these derived from Peleg, it will be no great difficulty to resolve what language they brought along with them; which must be supposed to be the same with that used in the family from whence Peleg or Phaleg came, as to the substance of it, although it might admit as great variation of dialect from it as the Chaldee or Syriac doth. But this I will not only suppose, but offer these probabilities for the proof of it. The first is, the agreement of the ancient Greek language with the Hebrew, in many of its primitive words. And here we have a most rational and probable account given of it; which is, the Greeks mixing with the Pelasgi, and both coming to be one people, they must needs retain many of the old words used by the Pelasgi in their Greek language, which are evidently of an eastern extraction; the ground of which cannot with such probability be fetched from Cadmus and the Phænicians, because it is not so easy admission of a foreign language after the perfection of their own, unless by long tract of time, or great numbers overrunning the former people, neither of which can be so truly affirmed of Cadmus and his company; for they were soon driven out of Greece, he himself ending his days in Illyricum: neither was their spread so largé as that of the Pelasgi, who were before possessors of the country; and it is continually seen how impossible it is for any conquerors, as the Greeks were, to bring their own language so into a place, where some of the former people

« PreviousContinue »