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Crystal Thielkien
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« Reply #135 on: April 01, 2009, 01:25:44 pm »

appearance of the paper made me curious. I glanced at it. 'Great heavens! Where did you get this paper?' She was perturbed. 'At my master's; he has lots of it. I tore this out of a notebook.' 'Here are ten francs. Go and get me the notebook.'

"A quarter of an hour later, she was back with it. By good luck it lacked only one page, the one with which she had been polishing my door. This manuscript, this notebook, have you any idea what it was? Merely the Voyage to Atlantis of the mythologist Denis de Milet, which is mentioned by Diodorus and the loss of which I had so often heard Berlioux deplore. 1

"This inestimable document contained numerous quotations from the Critias. It gave an abstract of the illustrious dialogue, the sole existing copy of which you held in your hands a little while ago. It established past controversy the location of the stronghold of the Atlantides, and demonstrated that this site, which is denied by science, was not submerged by the waves, as is supposed by the rare and timorous defenders of the Atlantide hypothesis. He called it the 'central Mazycian range.' You know there is no longer any doubt as to the identification


p. 135

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Crystal Thielkien
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« Reply #136 on: April 01, 2009, 01:26:00 pm »

of the Mazyces of Herodotus with the people of Imoschaoch, the Tuareg. But the manuscript of Denys unquestionably identifies the historical Mazyces with the Atlantides of the supposed legend.

"I learned, therefore, from Denys, not only that the central part of Atlantis, the cradle and home of the dynasty of Neptune, had not sunk in the disaster described by Plato as engulfing the rest of the Atlantide isle, but also that it corresponded to the Tuareg Ahaggar, and that, in this Ahaggar, at least in his time, the noble dynasty of Neptune was supposed to be still existent.

"The historians of Atlantis put the date of the cataclysm which destroyed all or part of that famous country at nine thousand years before Christ. If Denis de Milet, who wrote scarcely three thousand years ago, believed that in his time, the dynastic issue of Neptune was still ruling its dominion, you will understand that I thought immediately—what has lasted nine thousand years may last eleven thousand. From that instant I had only one aim: to find the possible descendants of the Atlantides, and, since I had many reasons for supposing them to be debased and ignorant of their original splendor, to inform them of their illustrious descent.

"You will easily understand that I imparted none of my intentions to my superiors at the University. To solicit their approval or even their permission, considering the attitude they had taken toward me,

p. 136

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Crystal Thielkien
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« Reply #137 on: April 01, 2009, 01:26:24 pm »

would have been almost certainly to invite confinement in a cell. So I raised what I could on my own account, and departed without trumpet or drum for Oran. On the first of October I reached In-Salah. Stretched at my ease beneath a palm tree, at the oasis, I took infinite pleasure in considering how, that very day, the principal of Mont-de-Marsan, beside himself, struggling to control twenty horrible urchins howling before the door of an empty class room, would be telegraphing wildly in all directions in search of his lost history professor."

M. Le Mesge stopped and looked at us to mark his satisfaction.

I admit that I forgot my dignity and I forgot the affectation he had steadily assumed of talking only to Morhange.

"You will pardon me, sir, if your discourse interests me more than I had anticipated. But you know very well that I lack the fundamental instruction necessary to understand you. You speak of the dynasty of Neptune. What is this dynasty, from which, I believe, you trace the descent of Antinea? What is her rôle in the story of Atlantis?"

M. Le Mesge smiled with condescension, meantime winking at Morhange with the eye nearest to him. Morhange was listening without expression, without a word, chin in hand, elbow on knee.

"Plato will answer for me, sir," said the Professor.

p. 137

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Crystal Thielkien
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« Reply #138 on: April 01, 2009, 01:26:41 pm »

And he added, with an accent of inexpressible pity:

"Is it really possible that you have never made the acquaintance of the introduction to the Critias?"

He placed on the table the book by which Morhange had been so strangely moved. He adjusted his spectacles and began to read. It seemed as if the magic of Plato vibrated through and transfigured this ridiculous little old man.

"'Having drawn by lot the different parts of the earth, the gods obtained, some a larger, and some, a smaller share. It was thus that Neptune, having received in the division the isle of Atlantis, came to place the children he had had by a mortal in one part of that isle. It was not far from the sea, a plain situated in the midst of the isle, the most beautiful, and, they say, the most fertile of plains. About fifty stades from that plain, in the middle of the isle, was a mountain. There dwelt one of those men who, in the very beginning, was born of the Earth, Evenor, with his wife, Leucippo. They had only one daughter, Clito. She was marriageable when her mother and father died, and Neptune, being enamored of her, married her. Neptune fortified the mountain where she dwelt by isolating it. He made alternate girdles of sea and land, the one smaller, the others greater, two of earth and three of water, and centered them round the isle in such a manner that they were at all parts equally distant! . . ."

M. le Mesge broke off his reading.

p. 138

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Crystal Thielkien
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« Reply #139 on: April 01, 2009, 01:26:54 pm »

"Does this arrangement recall nothing to you?" he queried.

"Morhange, Morhange!" I stammered. "You remember—our route yesterday, our abduction, the two corridors that we had to cross before arriving at this mountain? . . . The girdles of earth and of water? . . . Two tunnels, two enclosures of earth?"

"Ha! Ha!" chuckled M. Le Mesge.

He smiled as he looked at me. I understood that this smile meant: "Can he be less obtuse than I had supposed?"

As if with a mighty effort, Morhange broke the silence.

"I understand well enough, I understand. . . . The three girdles of water. . . . But then, you are supposing, sir,—an explanation the ingeniousness of which I do not contest—you are supposing the exact hypothesis of the Saharan sea!"

"I suppose it, and I can prove it," replied the irascible little old chap, banging his fist on the table. "I know well enough what Schirmer and the rest have advanced against it. I know it better than you do. I know all about it, sir. I can present all the proofs for your consideration. And in the meantime, this evening at dinner, you will no doubt enjoy some excellent fish. And you will tell me if these fish, caught in the lake that you can see from this window, seem to you fresh water fish.

"You must realize," he continued more calmly,

p. 139

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Crystal Thielkien
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« Reply #140 on: April 01, 2009, 01:27:14 pm »

p. 139

the mistake of those who, believing in Atlantis, have sought to explain the cataclysm in which they suppose the whole island to have sunk. Without exception, they have thought that it was swallowed up. Actually, there has not been an immersion. There has been an emersion. New lands have emerged from the Atlantic wave. The desert has replaced the sea, the sebkhas, the salt lakes, the Triton lakes, the sandy Syrtes are the desolate vestiges of the free sea water over which, in former days, the fleets swept with a fair wind towards the conquest of Attica. Sand swallows up civilization better than water. To-day there remains nothing of the beautiful isle that the sea and winds kept gay and verdant but this chalky mass. Nothing has endured in this rocky basin, cut off forever from the living world, but the marvelous oasis that you have at your feet, these red fruits, this cascade, this blue lake, sacred witnesses to the golden age that is gone. Last evening, in coming here, you had to cross the five enclosures: the three belts of water, dry forever; the two girdles of earth through which are hollowed the passages you traversed on camel back, where, formerly, the triremes floated. The only thing that, in this immense catastrophe, has preserved its likeness to its former state, is this mountain, the mountain where Neptune shut up his well-beloved Clito, the daughter of Evenor and Leucippe, the mother of Atlas, and the ancestress of Antinea, the sovereign

p. 140
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Crystal Thielkien
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« Reply #141 on: April 01, 2009, 01:27:28 pm »

under whose dominion you are about to enter forever."

"Sir," said Morhange with the most exquisite courtesy, "it would be only a natural anxiety which would urge us to inquire the reasons and the end of this dominion. But behold to what extent your revelation interests me; I defer this question of private interest. Of late, in two caverns, it has been my fortune to discover Tifinar inscriptions of this name, Antinea. My comrade is witness that I took it for a Greek name. I understand now, thanks to you and the divine Plato, that I need no longer feel surprised to hear a barbarian called by a Greek name. But I am no less perplexed as to the etymology of the word. Can you enlighten me?"

"I shall certainly not fail you there, sir," said M. Le Mesge. "I may tell you, too, that you are not the first to put to me that question. Most of the explorers that I have seen enter here in the past ten years have been attracted in the same way, intrigued by this Greek work reproduced in Tifinar. I have even arranged a fairly exact catalogue of these inscriptions and the caverns where they are to be met with. All, or almost all, are accompanied by this legend: Antinea. Here commences her domain. I myself have had repainted with ochre such as were beginning to be effaced. But, to return to what I was telling you before, none of the Europeans who have followed this epigraphic mystery here, have kept

p. 141

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Crystal Thielkien
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« Reply #142 on: April 01, 2009, 01:27:40 pm »

their anxiety to solve this etymology once they found themselves in Antinea's palace. They all become otherwise preoccupied. I might make many disclosures as to the little real importance which purely scientific interests possess even for scholars, and the quickness with which they sacrifice them to the most mundane considerations,—their own lives, for instance."

"Let us take that up another time, sir, if it is satisfactory to you," said Morhange, always admirably polite.

"This digression had only one point, sir: to show you that I do not count you among these unworthy scholars. You are really eager to know the origin of this name, Antinea, and that before knowing what kind of woman it belongs to and her motives for holding you and this gentleman as her prisoners."

I stared hard at the little old man. But he spoke with profound seriousness.

"So much the better for you, my boy," I thought. "Otherwise it wouldn't have taken me long to send you through the window to air your ironies at your ease. The law of gravity ought not to be topsy-turvy here at Ahaggar."

"You, no doubt, formulated several hypotheses when you first encountered the name, Antinea," continued M. Le Mesge, imperturbable under my fixed gaze, addressing himself to Morhange. "Would you object to repeating them to me?"

p. 142

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Crystal Thielkien
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« Reply #143 on: April 01, 2009, 01:27:53 pm »

"Not at all, sir," said Morhange.

And, very composedly, he enumerated the etymological suggestions I have given previously.

The little man with the cherry-colored shirt front rubbed his hands.

"Very good," he admitted with an accent of intense jubilation. "Amazingly good, at least for one with only the modicum of Greek that you possess. But it is all none the less false, super-false."

"It is because I suspected as much that I put my question to you," said Morhange blandly.

"I will not keep you longer in suspense," said M. Le Mesge. "The word, Antinea, is composed as follows: ti is nothing but a Tifinar addition to an essentially Greek name. Ti is the Berber feminine article. We have several examples of this combination. Take Tipasa, the North African town. The name means the whole, from ti and from ναπ. So, tinea signifies the new, from ti and from εα."

"And the prefix an?" queried Morhange.

"Is it possible, sir, that I have put myself to the trouble of talking to you for a solid hour about the Critias with such trifling effect? It is certain that the prefix an, alone, has no meaning. You will understand that it has one, when I tell you that we have here a very curious case of apocope. You must not read an; you must read atlan. Atl has been lost, by apocope; an has survived. To sum up, Antinea is composed in the following manner: τι-νεα—

p. 143

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Crystal Thielkien
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« Reply #144 on: April 01, 2009, 01:28:09 pm »

ἀτλ Ἀν. And its meaning, the new Atlantis, is dazzlingly apparent from this demonstration."

I looked at Morhange. His astonishment was without bounds. The Berber prefix ti had literally stunned him.

"Have you had occasion, sir, to verify this very ingenious etymology?" he was finally able to gasp out.

"You have only to glance over these few books," said M. Le Mesge disdainfully.

He opened successively five, ten, twenty cupboards. An enormous library was spread out to our view.

"Everything, everything—it is all here," murmured Morhange, with an astonishing inflection of terror and admiration.

"Everything that is worth consulting, at any rate," said M. Le Mesge. "All the great books, whose loss the so-called learned world deplores to-day."

"And how has it happened?"

"Sir, you distress me. I thought you familiar with certain events. You are forgetting, then, the passage where Pliny the Elder speaks of the library of Carthage and the treasures which were accumulated there? In 146, when that city fell under the blows of the knave, Scipio, the incredible collection of illiterates who bore the name of the Roman Senate had only the profoundest contempt for these riches. They presented them to the native kings. This is how

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Crystal Thielkien
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« Reply #145 on: April 01, 2009, 01:28:22 pm »

p. 144

[paragraph continues] Mantabal received this priceless heritage; it was transmitted to his son and grandson, Hiempsal, Juba I, Juba II, the husband of the admirable Cleopatra Selene, the daughter of the great Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Cleopatra Selene had a daughter who married an Atlantide king. This is how Antinea, the daughter of Neptune, counts among her ancestors the immortal queen of Egypt. That is how, by following the laws of inheritance, the remains of the library of Carthage, enriched by the remnants of the library of Alexandria, are actually before your eyes.

"Science fled from man. While he was building those monstrous Babels of pseudo-science in Berlin, London, Paris, Science was taking refuge in this desert corner of Ahaggar. They may well forge their hypotheses back there, based on the loss of the mysterious works of antiquity: these works are not lost. They are here. They are here: the Hebrew, the Chaldean, the Assyrian books. Here, the great Egyptian traditions which inspired Solon, Herodotus and Plato. Here, the Greek mythologists, the magicians of Roman Africa, the Indian mystics, all the treasures, in a word, for the lack of which contemporary dissertations are poor laughable things. Believe me, he is well avenged, the little universitarian whom they took for a madman, whom they defied. I have lived, I live, I shall live in a perpetual burst of laughter at their false and garbled erudition.

p. 145

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Crystal Thielkien
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« Reply #146 on: April 01, 2009, 01:28:36 pm »

And when I shall be dead, Error,—thanks to the jealous precaution of Neptune taken to isolate his well-beloved Clito from the rest of the world,—Error, I say, will continue to reign as sovereign mistress over their pitiful compositions."

"Sir," said Morhange in a grave voice, "you have just affirmed the influence of Egypt on the civilizations of the people here. For reasons which some day, perhaps, I shall have occasion to explain to you, I would like to have proof of that relationship."

"We need not wait for that, sir," said M. Le Mesge. Then, in my turn, I advanced.

"Two words, if you please, sir," I said brutally. "I will not hide from you that these historical discussions seem to me absolutely out of place. It is not my fault if you have had trouble with the University, and if you are not to-day at the College of France or elsewhere. For the moment, just one thing concerns me: to know just what this lady, Antinea, wants with us. My comrade would like to know her relation with ancient Egypt: very well. For my part, I desire above everything to know her relations with the government of Algeria and the Arabian Bureau."

M. Le Mesge gave a strident laugh.

"I am going to give you an answer that will satisfy you both," he replied.

And he added:

"Follow me. It is time that you should learn."


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Footnotes
134:1 How did the Voyage to Atlantis arrive at Dax? I have found, so far, only one credible hypothesis: it might have been discovered in Africa by the traveller, de Behagle, a member of the Roger-Ducos Society, who studied at the college of Dax, and later, on several occasions, visited the town. (Note by M. Leroux.)



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Crystal Thielkien
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« Reply #147 on: April 01, 2009, 01:28:52 pm »

p. 146

CHAPTER X
THE RED MARBLE HALL
We passed through an interminable series of stairs and corridors following M. Le Mesge.

"You lose all sense of direction in this labyrinth," I muttered to Morhange.

"Worse still, you will lose your head," answered my companion sotto voce. "This old fool is certainly very learned; but God knows what he is driving at. However, he has promised that we are soon to know."

M. Le Mesge had stopped before a heavy dark door, all incrusted with strange symbols. Turning the lock with difficulty, he opened it.

"Enter, gentlemen, I beg you," he said.

A gust of cold air struck us full in the face. The room we were entering was chill as a vault.

At first, the darkness allowed me to form no idea of its proportions. The lighting, purposely subdued, consisted of twelve enormous copper lamps, placed column-like upon the ground and burning with brilliant red flames. As we entered, the wind from the

p. 147
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« Reply #148 on: April 01, 2009, 01:29:03 pm »

corridor made the flames flicker, momentarily casting about us our own enlarged and misshapen shadows. Then the gust died down, and the flames, no longer flurried, again licked up the darkness with their motionless red tongues.

These twelve giant lamps (each one about ten feet high) were arranged in a kind of crown, the diameter of which must have been about fifty feet. In the center of this circle was a dark mass, all streaked with trembling red reflections. When I drew nearer, I saw it was a bubbling fountain. It was the freshness of this water which had maintained the temperature of which I have spoken.

Huge seats were cut in the central rock from which gushed the murmuring, shadowy fountain. They were heaped with silky cushions. Twelve incense burners, within the circle of red lamps, formed a second crown, half as large in diameter. Their smoke mounted toward the vault, invisible in the darkness, but their perfume, combined with the coolness and sound of the water, banished from the soul all other desire than to remain there forever.

M. Le Mesge made us sit down in the center of the hall, on the Cyclopean seats. He seated himself between us.

"In a few minutes," he said, "your eyes will grow accustomed to the obscurity."

I noticed that he spoke in a hushed voice, as if he were in church.

p. 148

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Crystal Thielkien
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« Reply #149 on: April 01, 2009, 01:29:16 pm »

Little by little, our eyes did indeed grow used to the red light. Only the lower part of the great hall was illuminated. The whole vault was drowned in shadow and its height was impossible to estimate. Vaguely, I could perceive overhead a great smooth gold chandelier, flecked, like everything else, with sombre red reflections. But there was no means of judging the length of the chain by which it hung from the dark ceiling.

The marble of the pavement was of so high a polish, that the great torches were reflected even there.

This room, I repeat, was round a perfect circle of which the fountain at our backs was the center.

We sat facing the curving walls. Before long, we began to be able to see them. They were of peculiar construction, divided into a series of niches, broken, ahead of us, by the door which had just opened to give us passage, behind us, by a second door, a still darker hole which I divined in the darkness when I turned around. From one door to the other, I counted sixty niches, making, in all, one hundred and twenty. Each was about ten feet high. Each contained a kind of case, larger above than below, closed only at the lower end. In all these cases, except two just opposite me, I thought I could discern a brilliant shape, a human shape certainly, something like a statue of very pale bronze. In the arc

p. 149

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