The Book of Genesis begins with creation tales that are concise versions of much more detailed Sumerian texts. In these it consistently speaks of ‘the Adam,’ literally ‘the Earthling.’ But then it switches to the genealogy of a specific ancestor named Adam: ‘This is the book of the generations of Adam’ (Genesis 5:1). He had two sons at first, Cain and Abel. After Cain killed his brother, he was banished by Yahweh. ‘And Adam knew his wife again and she bore him a son and called his name Sheth.’ It is this line, the line of Sheth, that the Bible follows through a genealogy of patriarchs to Noah, the hero of the Deluge story. The tale then focuses on the Asian-African-European peoples.
But whatever happened to Cain and his line?
All we have in the Bible are a dozen verses. Yahweh punished Cain to become a nomad, ‘a fugitive and a vagabond on the Earth.’
And Cain went away from the presence of YahwehSeveral generations later, Lamech was born. He had two wives. Of one Jabal was born; ‘he was the father as such as dwell in tents and have cattle.’ Of the other, two sons were born. One, Jubal, ‘was the father of all such as play the lyre and pipe.’ The other son, Tubal-Kain, was ‘an artificer of gold and copper and iron.’
This meagre biblical information is somewhat augmented by the pseudepigraphical Book of Jubilees, believed to have been composed in the second century BC from earlier sources. Relating events to the passage of Jubilees, it states that ‘Cain took Awan his sister to be his wife and she bare him Enoch at the close of the fourth jubilee. And in the first year of the fifth week of the fifth jubilee, houses were built on Earth, and Cain built a city and called its name after the name of his son, Enoch.’
The naming of both a descendant of Adam through Sheth and through Cain as ‘Enoch’ (meaning ‘Founding’ or ‘Foundation’), as well as other similarities in descendants’ names have long puzzled Biblical scholars. Whatever the reason, it is evident that the sources on which the Bible’s editors had relied attributed to both Enochs - who were perhaps one and the same prehistoric person - extraordinary deeds. The Book of Jubilees states that Enoch ‘was the first among men that were born on Earth who learnt writing and knowledge and wisdom and who wrote down the signs of heaven according to their months in a book.’ According to the Book of Enoch, this patriarch was taught mathematics and knowledge of the planets and the calendar during his heavenly journey, and was shown the location of the ‘Seven Metal Mountains’ on Earth in the west.’
The pre-biblical Sumerian texts known as King Lists also relate the story of a pre-Deluvial ruler who was taught by the gods all manner of knowledge. His epithet-name was EN.ME.DUR.AN.KI - ‘Lord of the Knowledge of the Fountains of Heaven and Earth’ - and a very probable prototype of the biblical Enochs.
The peoples of central America have preserved in their native Nahuatl language tales of wandering, arrival at a final destination, settling marked by the building of a city; of a patriarch with two wives and two sons of whom tribal nations have evolved; of that became renowned for being a craftsman in metals - do they not read almost as the biblical tales? Even the Nahuatl stressing of the number seven is reflected in the biblical tales, for the seventh descendant through the line of Cain, Lamech, enigmatically proclaimed that ‘Seven-fold shall Cain be avenged, and Lamech seventy and seven.’
Are we, then, encountering in the traditions of the seven Nahuatl tribes echoes - olden memories - of the banished line of Cain and Enoch?
The Aztecs called their capital Tenochtitlán, the City of Tenoch, so naming it after their ancestor. Considering that in their dialect the Aztecs had prefixed many words with the T, Tenoch could have originally been Enoch if the prefixed T is dropped.
A Babylonian text based in the opinion of scholars on an earlier Sumerian text from the third millennium bc enigmatically relates a conflict, ending in murder, between an earth-tilling and a shepherding brother, just as the biblical Cain and Abel were. Doomed to ‘roam in sorrow,’ the offending leader, called Ka’in, migrated to the land of Dunnu and there ‘he built a city with twin towers.’
Twin towers atop the temple-pyramids were a hallmark of Aztec architecture. Did this commemorate the building of a ‘city with twin towers’ by Ka’in? And was Tenochtitlán, the ‘City of Tenoch,’ so named and built because Cain, millennia earlier, ‘built a city and called the city by his son’s name, Enoch’? Have we found in Mesoamerica the lost realm of Cain, the city named after Enoch? The possibility certainly offers plausible answers to the enigma of Man’s beginnings in these domains.
It may also shed light on two other enigmas - that of the ‘Mark of Cain’ and the hereditary trait common to all the Amerindians: the absence of facial hair. According to the biblical tale, after the Lord had banished Cain from the settled lands and decreed that he become a wandered in the East, Cain was concerned about being slain by vengeance seekers. So the Lord, to indicate that Cain was wandering under the Lord’s protection, ‘set a sign unto Cain, that any one finding him should not smite him.’ Although no one knows what this distinguishing ‘sign’ had been, it had been generally assumed that it was some kind of a tattoo on Cain’s forehead. But from the ensuing biblical narrative it appears that the matter of vengeance and the protection against it continued into the seventh generation and beyond. A tattoo on the forehead could not last that long or be transmittable from generation to generation. Only a genetic trait, transmitted hereditarily, can fit the biblical data.
And, in view of the particular genetic trait of the Amerindians - the absence of facial hair - one wonders whether it was this genetic change that was the ‘mark of Cain’ and his descendants. If this guess is correct, then Mesoamerica, as a focal point from which Amerindians spread north and south in the New World, was indeed the Lost Realm of Cain.