Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

vated members of the family. The Accadians of Babylonia fooked upon the Mountain of the East,” the present Mount Elwend, as the spot whereon the ark of the Chaldean Noah had rested, and as the cradle of their race ; but it is very possible that this was but the first centre and starting point of the extinct Chaldeo-Elamite branch, the original home of the whole family really lying far to the north-west among the slopes of the Altai range.

The Finno-Ugric or Uralic dialects are divided by Prince L-L. Bonaparte into four sub-families, the Chudic, the Permian, the Volgic, and the Uigur. The Chudic sub-family is again divided into two branches, one branch being the Finnic, comprising Finnish, Vepse, Vote and Karelian, Esthonian and Krevingian, and Livonian with the extinct dialect of Salis and the dialects of Kolken and Pisen, while the other branch is the Laponic, in which Lappic holds a solitary place. The Permian is spoken in the north-east of Russia, and includes Permian proper, Zyrianian, and Votiak. Volgic branches off into Cheremissian and Mordvinian (with its two dialects) on the Volga, and Uigur into Ostiak, Vogul and Magyár or Hungarian, once spoken on the banks of the Obi. The researches carried on of late years into the Uralic languages have not only demonstrated their close affinity and common origin, but also a system of equivalence of sounds similar to that known as Grimm's law. Thus Riedl has established the following table of consonantal permutations for the Magyár :k=kl =; }=j; g=g; g=d; t= = =k;j=gj, j=

nj; j = 0; 1=j=g; 1=n=r;t=d=l=t; d =2; 1=S; n=gi; m = p; av = 0; ev=ö; iv =ü.'

The same method of comparison which has been so successfully applied in the case of the Aryan tongues has also revealed to us the civilization and migrations of the primitive Uralic tribes, as well as their indebtedness to their Aryan neighbours. There was a time when the Finns had not yet penetrated to the snows of the far north, when they still bordered on Slavonic, Scandinavian, and German populations to whom they lent some words and from whom they borrowed more. Thus Thomsen has shown us that the Finnic raippa, “rope,” is the Old Norse reip, the Swedish rep; the Finnic laukka, “a leek,” the Old Norse laukr; the Finnic penkki, "a bench," the Swedish bänk; the Finnic nuotta, a net," the Old Norse not; the Finnic paita, "a shirt,” the Gothic paidha; the Finnic patja, "a mattress," the Gothic badi.?

Ahlqvist has followed in the same track and sketched the condition of the Finnic tribes when they first settled in Europe and learned the arts of agriculture and cattlebreeding from their neighbours, the Teutons and the

| So, according to Erman, in Kazan Tatar g becomes t in Yakute.

8 j (y)

t and s. b

2

[blocks in formation]

bju
iu, oe

ui
ui

je aimen

ubiun. See above, pp. 325-6.

3 “ Ueber den Einfluss der germanischen Sprachen auf die finnisch-lappischen" (transl. by Sievers, 1870).

Slavs. Before their contact with the latter, they were turf-cutters rather than agriculturists, numerous words existing in the various dialects which signify turf-cutting, but none of native origin which signify “a field.” The plough (aura for aatra) was borrowed, it would seem, from the Goths, and the only cereals which have native names are the barley (ohra, otra) and the turnip (negris). So, too, the words for "cattle” and “swine,” nauta and sika, come from the Norsk naut and sugge, while the name of the "horse," hepo or hevonen, is the Swedish häppa, the Danish hoppe; and that of the “sheep," lammas, the German lamm, our lamb. The names of the stallion, the mare, the cow, and the bull, on the other hand, are all of native derivation, and prove that these animals must have been known to the Finns before their contact with the Aryans. Like the other members of the Ural-Altaic family, the Finns were acquainted with metallurgy from an early period ; indeed they seem to have used iron long before any of the Aryan tribes. Meteoric iron was probably the first worked, and it is curious that the Accadian of Babylon prefixes the determinative of divinity to the name of the metal as if to point out its heavenly descent. The smiths of the ancient legends are all divine beings, and the adventures of the Finnish Wäinämöinen, the old limping smith of heaven and earth, and his friend Ilmarinnen, “the divine blacksmith,”' or the fall of the Greek Hephæstus from the sky, appear to symbolize the origin of the first

"

M. Fr. Lenormant has very happily compared Wäinämöinen with the Accadian Ea. See “ La Magie chez les Chaldéens," pp. 219-37.

specimens of the metal. The Finnic word for “copper," vaski, is identical with the Magyár vas, and shows that this metal must have been known to the ancestors of the Finns and Hungarians before their separation. The terms that denote "silver,” too, are native, though differing in the various dialects, but gold has received a German name in Finnic and a Persian name in Magyár. Since it seems to have been a possession of the undivided Ural-Altaic community, we may argue that a knowledge of it was lost by the Finns and Hungarians during their wanderings to the north and the west.

Much advance was made in civilization even after the Finns had parted from their Esthonian kindred. The Esthonians before their arrival in the region of the Baltic were but hunters and fishers, making neither butter nor cheese, though in possession of dogs, horses, and oxen. They first became acquainted with the sheep, goat, and pig when in the neighbourhood of the sea-coast. Here, too, wheat, rye, oats, pease, beans, and lentils were first grown. In an earlier age only barley and turnips had been sown on the clearing made by cutting down the trees and undergrowth for firewood. The huts of the people were built of branches laid against a tree or rock and covered with skins, with two openings, one for a door and the other to let out the smoke; their steam-baths (saun) were constructed simply of holes in the earth, and their clothes were made of skins, the hair being turned inside for the sake of warmth. The skins were stitched together by the mistress of the house with bone needles, the threads being formed from the fibres of a kind of nettle, and dyes were used to colour them. The husband employed

a

his time at home in making fish-hooks, hunting-gear, and the like ; the instruments being generally of stone, though copper and silver were likewise used. The iron axe was first known on the shores of the Baltic, where, too, the river-boats without sails were exchanged for stronger and more capacious ones. The reindeer, however, was still the chief means of locomotion, as it had been before the period of separation. From the first, too, the tribes had lived in communities, each under a war-leader (wanem), who was elected from time to time. Individual freedom was, however, highly prized, and the community accordingly did not exercise the despotic power it enjoyed among the primitive Aryans. There were neither judges nor laws, but family life was complete and well organized, slavery was unknown, and skins (especially those of the squirrel) formed the medium of exchange. Turning to the south, we find a similar state of society among the ancestors of the Magyárs, before they had yet left their kinsmen in the Ural mountains. They possessed houses and villages, but mainly lived by hunting and fishing. They had the dog and the horse, but apparently no cattle. They could braid, weave, and knit, and were acquainted with gold, silver, lead, zinc, and iron. Indeed, their goldsmiths and silversmiths were already of repute. Cobblers, furriers, turners, tailors, wheelwrights, harness and rope makers, with their tools and trades, all have Magyár names, and beer was drunk on holidays. Like the Turks, their numerals

, were based on a septimal system, and thirteen months,

Ahlqvist and Blumberg (“Sitzungsberichte der gelehrten estnischen Gesellschaft zu Dorpat,” 1876, p. 149).

1

« ÎnapoiContinuați »