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ing death is peculiar to sultry or warm regions. Chinese writers mention the poisoning of weapons as practised by a Tungus tribe in the third century A.D., and by the Mongols in the fifth century. 32 Even now it is practised by the bearded Aino 33 at Saghalia and the Kuriles; in Steller's time the Itelmes of Kamtshatka used monkshood (Aconitum napellus)34 for the same purpose, and even the inhabitants of the Aleutian Islands knew and used a poison for their darts.35

We read of these treacherous instruments of death in classical antiquity. Horace mentions them in his odes.36 Ovid accuses the Pontic nations in the vicinity of his place of exile of the practice of this crime.37 Pliny gives an antidote for poisoned wounds, and blames the depth to which human nature has descended in adding the effects of a serpent's bite to the sharpness of iron.38 Even the Celts of Gaul made occasional use of this expedient,39 as did the Saracens in the war of Granada in 1484.4°

This custom had therefore spread through every region of the world, with the exceptions of Australia and the Polynesian Islands, where bows and arrows do not exist. We have dwelt longer than usual on this subject, which we were the first to review, because the suppression of this crime affords one of the rare instances in which man's social instinct has not only raised the level of his morality, but has induced him to strive towards still further improvement; for the crude impulse of selfpreservation would certainly warrant the use of poisoned weapons. A passage in Homer shows that some nations even then began to be ashamed of such unworthy means of defence. Odysseus wants to purchase a deadly arrow-poison from Ilos at Ephyra, who, however, refuses it to him from fear of the eternal gods.42

32 Alex. Castrèn, Ethnol. Vorlesungen, p. 26.

33 Herr von Brandt, Berlin Anthropological Society's Transactions. 1872. 34 Kamtschatka. 1774.

35 Waitz, Anthropologie, vol. iii. p. 316.

37 Tristium, lib. iii. Eleg. x. v. 62.

36 Lib. i. 22.

38 Hist. nat. lib. xx. 81.

39 Forbiger, Handbuch der alten Geographie.

40 Hernando de Pulgar, Cronica. Valencia, 1780.

41 Ausland. On the Influence of Local Conditions on some Weapons. 1870. 42 Odyss. I. 260. Ephyra must be either in Epirus, or in some island of the Argolic bay.


The reason of this refusal suggests why poisoned arrows are used only in the tropics and their vicinity, for the barbarous races of those parts are not troubled about the wrath of the eternal gods.


Another projectile apparatus, the sling, can occur only where there are stones, which are not everywhere to be found. The Amazon and its huge tributaries pass at once from the slopes of the Cordilleras through a flat table-like plain, with a scarcely perceptible fall, throughout which no shingle is to be found, for a fathom of loam covers the finely triturated clay or marl.43 If all parts of the world had resembled these South American plains, mankind could never have advanced to the stone age, but must have remained at a stage of wood and horn. It is obvious that slings could not be used in the forest country of the Amazon. In North America we find slings only among the Eskimo. They are very common, on the contrary, in the South Sea Islands, among the inhabitants of the Marianne Islands,44 on the Samoa group,45 in Tahiti and the Sandwich Islands.46 The Papuans of the Fiji group and New Caledonia use them.47 On these islands the sling was also habitually used to knock cocoanuts down from the trees. It is less evident why the Guanches, the extinct inhabitants of the Canary islands, employed this weapon; it may be that they brought their slings from their earlier home in Northern Africa. The best slingers of classical times were also islanders, from the Balearic group.48 The sling does not occur in the Soudan, or only rarely, but it is very common among the nations of biblical history. Among the Hebrews the slingers of the tribe of Benjamin were famed for fighting with either hand, and could sling stones at a hair's breadth and not miss.49 It was by slinging a stone against a gigantic Philistine that the royal dynasty was founded in Judah. Stony pastures,

43 Ed. Pöppig, Chile, Peru und der Amazonenstrom.

44 Waitz, Anthropologie, vol. v. p. 30.

45 Fr. Müller, Reise der Fregatte Novara; Anthropologie, vol. iii. p. 39. 46 Heinr. Zimmermann, Reise um die Welt mit Capt. Cook. 1781.

47 F. Knoblauch. Ausland, 1866.

48 Forbiger, Handbuch der alten Geographie.

49 Judges xx. 15, 16.

such as extend throughout Palestine, provoke practice with the sling, especially as all shepherds are in the habit of throwing, partly for the defence of their animals, and partly to punish either their dogs or stray members of the flock. Adolph von Wrede saw formal practices in shooting at a mark, and throwing stones, among the Bedouins of Hadhramaut in Arabia.50 The sling has become a national and favourite weapon in South America. While the hunting tribes of the wooded plains to the east of the Andes are armed only with the bow, the sling is used both for the chase and for war in the land of the Incas, by the civilized Quichua and Aymara nations, on the treeless plateau of the Cordilleras called the Puna. All the nations of the South American Andes use the sling as far southwards as Cape Horn, where the Fuegians use it in hunting the llama or, rather, the guanaco. The Patagonians of the steppes in the south and west of the Argentine Republic are allied by race to the nations of the Andes. Here slings, and the art of using them, have reached their highest development. The stones, which are rounded and held by a leather band, are swung above the head. This is the origin of the bolas, a casting-line with balls.51 In the course of time the casting-line was even used without any stone; the Gauchos, or half-bred shepherds of the Argentines, still fling their lasso with such dexterity that they use it for defence in preference to a gun.52 The ordinary sling was superseded by the line and balls in ancient Egypt. In the hunting scenes depicted on the monuments, is a huntsman of the age of the Pharaohs whirling a line with balls round the hind legs of a buffalo.53 It need not be rashly inferred from this that the Patagonians are descended from the ancient Egyptians, or that Egyptians straying from the Phoenician fleet which sailed round. Africa under Pharaoh Nika had perhaps reached South America.

50 Wrede's Reisen im Hadhramaut.

51 On the use of the bolas among the Quichua nations in Peru, comp. Markham, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society vol. xv. Meeting of July 10th, 1871.

52 Von Tschudi, Reisen in Südamerika. That the lasso was employed by the allies in the war against the Paraguayans, comp. Ausland and Max von Versen, Reisen in America. Breslau, 1872.

53 Wilkinson, Ancient Egyptians, vol. iii., and in Lepsius' Monuments.

Effects of Agriculture on Weapons.

This is rather one of the innumerable instances in which the same implements have been independently invented by nations remote from and perfectly alien to one another.

As yet we have only traced the connection between the nature of certain regions and the weapons used in them; but we will now turn to a more important view of the subject. Just as comparative anatomy has raised the Latin proverb, that from the claw the lion may be known, into a scientific truth, so is ethnology able to infer accurately the grade of a nation's civilization from its arms. Density of population proportionate to space is the first essential of all high social conditions, for this alone admits of a division of labour. From the census and the extent of land occupied by the Redskins of the United States in 1825, it was calculated that hunting tribes require for their maintenance 1 square miles per head, whereas in a district in some ways not dissimilar, namely, in Belgium, 320 persons live in one square


mile. 54


Prosperous agriculture alone renders density of population possible. But a husbandman cannot wield arms which require constant practice and unusual dexterity. He will rather guard his body from the missiles of hunters by a covering of wadding, as in America, or with leather or metal. Moreover, abandoning that desultory fighting which has much in common with hunting, he and his fellows will combine into bands. In America we may see this innovation adopted by all civilized nations. The Mexicans and Yucatecs not only possessed defensive weapons, but also wielded the sword of the stone period, made of wood, and provided with a groove, into which separate sharp flakes of obsidian were inserted to form a blade. All the Nahuatl nations of Central America would have remained at a very low stage had they not found obsidian or iztli in the lava of their volcanoes. This mineral may be said to require but one dexterous stroke of the hammer to cause it to fly into knife blades, which are so sharp that long after the conquest the Spaniards allowed native barbers to shave them with such flakes. The Inca-Peruvians had wooden helmets, padded doublets, copper swords, battle-axes, spears, and

54 Sir John Lubbock, Prehistoric Times, p. 582.

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lances,55 as well as flags, which are the best evidence of the existence of a system of tactics even at that time.

These transitions must have required long periods. Nomadic tribes did not suddenly lay aside their hunting implements. Husbandmen and herdsmen fought in the Trojan war. Hence in the ranks of the Achaians only two or three experts carried bows and arrows; and in the Odyssey, when Penelope cunningly challenges her suitors to a shooting-match, it appears that they are no longer able to manage such an old-fashioned weapon. Similar changes are now observable in Africa. We find clubs, lances, and shields among all the cattle-breeding negroes on the White Nile, as well as among the Shillooks and Nuers,56 while we find bows and arrows among the Kitsh, Dshur, Moro, and Niamniam negroes, who still hunt. Schweinfurth found an exception among the remarkable Monbuttoos on the Uellé, who used shield and spear as well as bow and arrows, but he expressly adds that such a combination is very rare in negro countries. 57 The true Kaffirs, says Theophilus Hahn,57 never use the bow and arrow, but fight in companies of 600 to 1000 men. Chaka, the great king of the Zulus, even abolished the five or six casting spears of the old accoutrement, and substituted a short lance for thrusting, and long shields, under the protection of which his warriors charged their enemies, striking them in the body with the short weapon. The Hottentots and Bushmen, who are akin to each other, belong to a perfectly distinct family. The Hottentots are shepherds, the Bushmen hunters; with rare exceptions, the former no longer use the bow and arrow, which is the sole weapon of the Bushmen. The Celts of Gaul, and our own forefathers, had ceased to be archers in the time of Cæsar and Tacitus. 59

To say nothing of the Chinese, it might be urged as an objection to this view that innumerable archers are depicted on

55 Prescott, Conquest of Peru, vol. i. p. 67, et seq.

56 Petherick, Central Africa, vol. i. pp. 98, 120, 319.

57 Im Herzen von Afrika, vol. ii. p. 115.


58 Globus, vol. xx. 1871.

59 At least bows and arrows were only occasionally used by the Celts of Gaul. Strabo, Geogr. lib. iv. cap. 4.

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