The origin of the science of symbols is lost in the distance of time, and seems to be connected with the cradle of humanity — the oldest religions were governed by it; the arts of design, architecture, statuary, and painting were born under its in?uence, and primitive writing was one of its applications.
Did symbols exist in spoken, before being translated into written, language? Were primitive words the source of symbols? Are the questions on which these researches are based.
The first men, in order to express abstract ideas, bor rowed images from surrounding nature; by a surprising intuition, they attached to each race and species of animals, to plants, and the elements, ideas of beauty or ugliness, of good or evil, of affection or hatred, of purity or uncleanness, of truth or error.