“Why should we forget that, ages before the prow of the adventurous Genoese clove the Western waters, the Phoenician vessels had circumnavigated the globe, and spread civilization in regions now silent and deserted?
What archeologist will dare assert that the same hand which planned the Pyramids of Egypt, Karnak, and the thousand ruins now crumbling to oblivion on the sand banks of the Nile, did not erect the monumental Nagkon-Wat of Cambodia? or trace the hieroglyphics on the obelisks and doors of the deserted Indian village, newly discovered in British Columbia by Lord Dufferin? or those on the ruins of Palenque and Uxmal, of Central America?
Do not the relics we treasure in our museums – last mementos of the long “lost arts” – speak loudly in favor of ancient civilization? And do they not prove, over and over again, that nations and continents that have passed away have buried along with them arts and sciences, which neither the first crucible ever heated in a mediaeval cloister, nor the last cracked by a modern chemist have revived, nor will – at least, in the present century.
“They were not without some knowledge of optics”, Professor Draper magnanimously concedes to the ancients; others positively deny to them even that little. “The convex lens found at Nimrod shows that they were not unacquainted with magnifying instruments.”
Indeed? If they were not, all the classical authors must have lied. For, when Cicero tells us that he had seen the entire Iliad written on skin of such a miniature size that it could easily be rolled up inside a nut-shell, and Pliny asserts that Nero had a ring with a small glass in it, through which he watched the performance of the gladiators at a distance – could audacity go farther?
Truly, when we are told that Mauritius could see from the promontory of Sicily over the entire sea to the coast of Africa, with an instrument called nauscopite, we must either think that all these witnesses lied, or that the ancients were more than slightly acquainted with optics and magnifying glasses.”
H. P. Blavatsky