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Specialization of Weapons.
the Egyptian monuments and on the sculptures of Chorsabad, Nineveh, and Babylon. But the Old Testament explains why these ancient civilized nations adhered to the old weapons of the chase. The victory gained by the Philistines over King Saul was attributed to their body of archers, and David, although the best slingsman of his nation, made the children of Judah practise archery again in order to neutralize their disadvantage, and from this time forward the art was not neglected. Again, the wars which were then waged in Western Asia centred principally round cities; but as the walls of cities were already flanked by towers, a missile like the arrow, effective from a distance, was indispensable for covering both the siege works and the besiegers themselves. Even in the Roman order of battle we find a body of archers with special duties in the fight, although the real weapons of the legions were only the sword and the javelin.60 It was mentioned above, that the Fiji islanders still use bows and arrows in the sieges of fortified villages, as well as in the defence of their stockades. But in all these cases it is no longer the same implement as the weapon of the herdsman, indeed we might almost say it has become a scientific instrument. The monuments of the old biblical nations all show the warriors in array. The division of labour has already begun, and war is carried on either by a trained militia or by a caste, not with the implements of daily labour, but with specialized weapons. But when war is systematically practised, the nature of the locality exercises less and less influence over the choice of weapons; in modern civilized nations it is scarcely traceable. Even now, however, the people of the Cossack steppes or the Hungarian pusztas are incapable of excelling as sharpshooters, nor are mountaineers fit material for light cavalry.
V.-BOATS AND NAVIGATION.
ALTHOUGH the nautical powers of nations are among the last to reach maturity, they yet produce the most important results on the history of human society, for, however highly we estimate the creations of any people in the sphere of arts, however highly we
60 Mommsen, History of Rome.
value its scientific knowledge or its religious institutions, yet when we consider merely the physical history of our world, we see that the work of a single bold and persevering navigator surpasses all others in its effects. When we speak of a strange world of nature and of strange countries on our globe, we do so in allusion to the strange plants and the strange animals peculiar to them. But if there had been no geographical obstacles to the spread of animals and plants, all climatic zones would have exhibited the same forms of animated life. The seas have been the most effectual barriers, yet the seamen who connected the Old and the New World removed them, and thus deprived America of the character of a separate region. Since its discovery, America has been invaded not only by Europeans, but at the same time by all the cultivated plants and domestic animals of Europe-by wheat, rye, oats, and barley, by cattle, horses, and sheep; and these vegetable and animal immigrants have proved so powerful that in a short time they have changed the aspect of whole regions, and even altered the climate by converting the wooded wilderness into sunny, arable land. This adds interest to the inquiry as to whether America might not have been discovered from some other part of our world, or whether the Americans themselves might not have discovered the Old World; and also what conditions in that hemisphere favoured such a chance. As these questions can be answered only by the help of historical comparison, we must turn to those regions in which seafaring nations have reached the highest development. The great rivers of the Old World have not encouraged nautical dexterity in the inhabitants of their shores, and the same may be said of America. Looking at the map of the valleys of the Mississippi, the Amazon, or the La Plata, we are impressed with the idea of an incalculable capability for civilization; we seem to see their waters covered with laden vessels and their densely peopled banks studded with towns; yet the history of our own country tells us that it was not until the days of the Romans that rivers became a requisite for the foundation of cities, and that it is only since the employment of steam that they have acquired their present value as a means of communication. It is true that in ancient times great works of civilization were caused by the presence of rivers, as by the Nile and the
Rivers and Inland Seas.
twin rivers of Mesopotamia, but in both instances they mainly served for the irrigation of plains in dry countries. A favourable rainy season would have compensated for the Euphrates and the Tigris, and formed a substitute even for the waters of the Nile, though not for its mud. But the aborigines of America were by no means in a condition in which their vast network of rivers could have served to spread civilization. Broad and deep rivers are rather barriers and impediments in the first beginnings of society, as, for example, even in Cæsar's day the Rhine quite separated the Celts and the Teutons. The smaller and more tranquil currents are more fitted for the hunter in his bark canoe, and for the fisherman who has only to poison their waters in order to obtain his prey. It is for these reasons that no advance in the civilization of the wild tribes of the Mississippi district warns us of our approach towards its waters, while the neighbourhood of the Amazon is only slightly better.
This is the case also with the great chain of inland seas in North America, for the hunting tribes inhabiting their shores were in no way superior to the rest; nor need we look for nautical skill on other inland waters. In Asia, neither the Lakes Balkash, Baikal, or Aral, nor even the Caspian Sea, influenced the inhabitants of their shores to seamanship. On Alpine lakes, except where better lines have been introduced by English amateurs, we might till lately have found, and indeed we still find, boats of the most inferior and unsuitable build which have resisted all improvement during thousands of years. It is not on rivers or inland seas that we must look for the nations which connect country with country but on coasts. The words of the Eleusinian mysteries, "To the sea, ye Myste!" apply with unusual force to the history of civilization.
Among the nations conspicuous in antiquity for their nautical enterprises were the Phoenicians and the inhabitants of the south coast of Arabia. Profitable transmarine products are the strongest inducements to the first attempts to abandon the shore. Cyprus, the Copper Island," attracted the Phoenicians in this way; the Arabians were tempted by the neighbouring coasts of Africa. The coasts of Syria, and of Yemen, Hadhramaut, and Oman in Arabia, extend in a more or less straight line. Beyond the narrow
strip of coast the land rises, and from this elevation stretches the so-called deserts. On coasts such as these not only is the water generally the quickest, and often the sole means of communication between inhabited places, but the land and sea winds are so regular as to ensure an easy passage. As the population of the narrow coast-line becomes more dense, fishing must contribute more and more to subsistence, and if it be not sufficient some portion of the increased population must roam beyond the sea. It was thus that the Phoenicians passed over to Cyprus, from Cyprus to Crete, from Crete to Carthage, to Spain, and even to Senegal. In this way also the inhabitants of Southern Arabia sailed along the east coast of Africa now called Ajan, but known to the Greeks as Azania, and probably in ancient times reached Kilva at the entrance of the Mozambique Channel. From shipowners from Aden, Claudius Ptolemæus derived his knowledge not of these coasts only, but also of the great Nile lakes which then, as now, were visited by Arabian merchants from what is now Zanzibar. Arabian colonies subsequently spread from Hadhramaut and Oman to the shore of Africa as far as Sofala, a distance to a coasting vessel equal to that from a Phoenician port to the Columns of Hercules.2
If in the New World we seek coasts of similar formation, with a narrow strip of shore, backed by rising mountains, and with comparatively dense populations, we can find the Phoenicians of America only on the western coast of South America, from the boundary of Chili northwards, to the shore of Ecuador. It is well known that the greater portion of these shores never receive a drop of rain; but during the wet season mists prevail, producing a transient growth of plants on the sands and shifting dunes. It is only on the banks of the small coast streamlets, which rush down the sides of the Cordilleras, that agriculture is capable of supporting the population. Here we should expect to find that fishery and coast navigation had been developed. Unfortunately, there are no islands near the mainland to entice the natives to sea, for the Galapogos Islands are at a greater distance from the
1 Ptolemæus, Geogr, lib. i. cap. 17.
Primitive Sea Traffic.
nearest point of land than Cape St. Vincent is from Madeira. Nor is there any evidence that these were visited in ancient times, and our nearer acquaintance with them dates only from the fourteenth century. The shores of the former Inca-Peruvian kingdom are moreover destitute of trunks of trees fit to be hollowed out into canoes.
Yet along this very coast there existed a sea traffic, of a kind occurring only in few other places in the New World prior to its discovery. When Pizarro, sailing in 1526 from Panama, under the guidance of the pilot Bartolomeo Ruiz, reached the Bay of San Mateo on the shore of the present Ecuador, to the north-east of Cape San Francisco, traders of Inca-Peru fell into his hands, who were conveying jewellery and cloth of llama wool from Tumbez. Their vessel was a mere raft, on which a coasting voyage of about four hundred miles had been accomplished. No want of skill or ingenuity, but the absence of timber fit for shipbuilding,3 compelled the inhabitants of the coast to construct such clumsy vessels, with which, however, they even now undertake voyages of eight hundred miles, from Guayaquil to Lima (Callao). The natives of the desert of Atacama, where trees are yet more scarce, do not use even rafts for fishing, but employ a pole with an inflated skin.4 The raft from Tumbez, seized by the Spaniards, was moved by a sail and steered by a helm. At the time of the discovery, sails were very rarely employed by the aborigines of America,5 so that such an advance on the part of the Peruvians ranks among the highest nautical achievements of the New World.
In the Old World it is not only on coasts, such as those of Syria and Southern Arabia, that we find sea-going people. Norway, beyond all other countries, has bred the most daring seamen, who in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries, while yet unacquainted with the mariner's compass, made their way to Iceland,
3 D'Orbigny, L'Homme américain.
J. J. von Tschudi, Reisen durch Südamerika. du Monde.
Lesson, Voyage autour
5 Prescott, usually so accurate, terms (Conquest of Peru) the Peruvian sailors' raft, "the only instance of this higher kind of navigation among the American Indians." We shall see with what justice.