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nations whose language has now disappeared, with one small exception in Albania. This is the Skipetar, the language of the hill people, called Arnauts by the Turks and by us Albanians. Their language certainly belongs to the Indo-European family, but it stands quite alone and without relationship in the same degree to any of the other members. The third branch consists of the Italians, who formerly spoke the Umbrian, Latin, and Oscan dialects. Corssen is said to have succeeded in discovering that Etruscan was another old Italian language; but we are still anxiously looking for the publication of the evidence. The Romans raised. Latin into the language of their empire, whence arose Portuguese, Catalonian, Provençal, Northern French, and the Ladine and Romantsh dialects in the Swiss and Tyrolese Alps, as well as the Furlanian dialect greatly mixed with Celtic in Friuli and Venetia, and, lastly, Roumanian in Siebenburgen and sundry Hungarian principalities, as well as in Wallachia and Moldavia. The last branch of the South Europeans is represented by the Celts, who formerly inhabited the Alpine countries and South Germany, and in France drove back the Basques, and peopled the British Islands. They have almost everywhere been expelled or partly Romanized and partly Germanized. The Cymric dialect has been preserved only in Brittany and Wales, the extreme north and west of its ancient territory, and the people still speak Gaelic dialects in the western counties of Ireland, in the Isle of Man, and in Scotland."
The Indo-Europeans have the physical characters of the Mediterranean race in the fullest purity, the Hindoos only excepted: these latter have lost their purity of breed by intercourse with the Dravida. In Europe the shape of the skull varies from the medium form to those of great breadth. The height is always less, and often remarkably less, than the transverse section. Fair hair and blue eyes were very frequent among the North Europeans, even among the Gallic Celts, as they were described in ancient history, while their descendants, the French, afford evidence of the transient nature of these characters.
6 Pure Gaelic is now spoken only in the north-east corner of Scotland, while it is spoken mixed with English to the west of a line curved to the east, extending from the Moray Firth to the mouth of the Clyde. Murray, Transactions of the Philological Society. 1870-72.
To describe the intellectual advantages and the social development of the Indo-European nations is a task at which historians have long been labouring. Our task is only to inquire what favourable or unfavourable influences the nature of the place of abode, and of Europe in particular, has exercised on the early maturity of our civilization. Unfortunately, we can as yet only guess where to look for the primitive homes of the Indo-Europeans. every geographer must reject the old opinion that our forefathers descended from the highlands of Pamir. This district is still one of the least known regions of the world; and, at any rate, inhospitable plateaux, fit only for cattle-breeding, were ill-chosen as the primordial home of a high civilization and a cultured language.
The selection of Turkestan, and of Bactria in particular, is far more likely to meet the favour of students of Indian and Erânian languages. When the ancient vocabulary of the primordial Aryan age is restored by collecting the roots common to all the members, we at the same time obtain an outline of the social condition of these nations in the most ancient period. We thus learn that they already tilled the ground, ploughed it with oxen, used carriages with wheels, kept cattle for the production of milk, and ventured on a neighbouring sea in rowing-boats, but did not use sails. It is more than doubtful whether they smelted metals, especially as the name for bellows & is not derived from the primordial place of abode. As they were not there acquainted with the ass and the cat, both ancient domestic animals in Africa, they had not as yet interchanged any of the treasures of civilization with the Egyptians. The fact that they subsequently borrowed the name for camel from Semitic languages is decisive against Bactria. As they had the same terms for snow and winter, and the other seasons afterwards received different names, we may be certain that in ancient Arya there was an alternation of hot and cold months. In these primitive abodes dwelt bears, wolves, and otters, but there were neither lions nor tigers. By these indications we can accurately define the home of the Indo-Europeans. It lay eastward of Nestus, now Karasu, in Macedonia, which in
7 J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, part ii.
the time of Xerxes was the limit of the range of the European lion.9 It was also further north than Chuzistan, Irak Arabi, and even than Assyria, 10 where lions are still to be met with. It cannot have included the highlands of West Iran and the southern shores of the Caspian Sea, for tigers still wander in search of prey as far as those districts." Hence from all the facts here cited, every geographer will probably agree that the Indo-Europeans occupied both slopes of the Caucasus as well as the remarkable gorge of Dariel, and were in the habit of visiting either the Euxine or the Caspian Sea, or perhaps both. It is usually objected to this argument that, in the course of their migrations, the European families abandoned the territory of the lion and the tiger, and with the animals forgot their names also. But this requires stronger evidence, for the Maori have preserved the name for the domestic pig and the cocoa-nut, although neither existed in New Zealand. Had the ancient Aryans seen and fought against such magnificent animals in their own country, their names would certainly have been retained even though with an altered signification. The burden of proof lies with those who have selected Bactria as the most fitting home for the IndoEuropeans.
We have only now to inquire whether Europe, as a residence, did or did not conduce to accelerate the progress of civilization. The land and water are so intermingled in this quarter of the world, that even Strabo, who was so imperfectly acquainted with the neighbouring continents, praised Europe as being highly integrated (ovoxyμwv). In our continent, which is itself a peninsular prolongation of Asia, the outlines are again peninsular in shape, for in the South three projections of this sort encroach on the Mediterranean, and in the North, Scandinavia and the Cimbric peninsula almost come in contact, and it is still evident that even Great Britain, before the shallow Channel had been
Herodotus, lib. vii. cap. 125, 126.
10 On the range of the lion in Western Asia, comp. Layard, Nineveh and its Remains,
11 Carl Ritter, On the range of the lion in the Zeitschrift für Erdkunde, vol. i. of new series.
excavated by the sea, was also a projection from the main body. As a consequence of these numerous projections, gulfs of the sea everywhere penetrate the continent.
Straits caused by the approximation of mainland to mainland are as rare as they are important. Australia, the continent which possesses none, was therefore neglected longer than any other. The first inhabitants of America, in all probability, came across Behring's Straits. Europe has not only the Cattegat and the Sound, but forms with Africa and Asia the straits of Gibraltar, of Sicily, and of the Hellespont and Bosphorus, of which the two latter divide the Mediterranean into three separate basins. With each of these points are connected events which have changed the course of history. It was necessarily where Sicily is nearest to the coast of Africa that the greatest naval power of antiquity arose, for the two basins of the Mediterranean could be most efficiently controlled from that point, especially as, in old times, navigators never ventured to lose sight of land. At this spot Carthage rose, grew, and fell. The other strait takes its present name from Djebel-Tarik, the rock of Tarik, for Tarik there crossed over with the Arabs from Africa to Spain, an enterprise which would probably never have been attempted, owing to the low state of navigation in those times, had the two continents been separated by a broad channel instead of by narrow straits. The Arabs brought with them the riper knowledge of the East, and, in a measure, also the then forgotten learning of Grecian antiquity. With the Bosphorus and the Hellespont is connected the fall of Constantinople in 1453, which by a marvellous dispensation was destined to prove a blessing to future times; for, put to flight by the Osmanli, the Byzantines brought to medieval Europe the long lost literary treasures of the best Grecian period, and through them the Greek language became the common property of scholars, and the source of the new light of the sixteenth century. Even now these straits still threaten the inhabitants of Europe with new trials. In modern times a somewhat highly gifted people has gathered strength, and in the form of the Russian empire is ready to press forwards to the open ocean. Its shores are confined to those of two inland seas, which may be compared to two rooms of which other nations
possess the keys. In winter the Baltic freezes, and Sweden becomes united to the Danish islands, so that navigation is suspended. The Black Sea flows out through a double valley, so narrow that either point may be brought under a cross-fire of artillery. Any people of like strength would endeavour to make their way to a more open sea, and hence, whenever the captive impatiently shakes the bars of his geographical prison-house, the nations of the West tremble for their peace.
In consequence of its highly complex form, our part of the world possesses the greatest length of coast line in proportion to its superficial extent. Behm's new and beautiful chart of the distribution of population in Europe, has shown that with the exception of the Landes, the Maremma, and the "iron-bound" coast of Jutland, the number of inhabitants is relatively greater on the sea-shore than in the inland districts. This map also teaches us that every elevation of ground diminishes the density of population, or, as it were, loosens it. It is therefore very significant that, of all the quarters of the world, Europe has the lowest mean altitude. It is essential to all progress of culture that men should not be separated by great distances.
The advantageous coast line is further aided by meteorological advantages which could scarcely have been better arranged by professional experts. Owing to the deep indentation of the sea, all harsh contrasts are neutralized, and the warmth is so evenly distributed throughout the year that temperate summers succeed to moderate winters, and even in the south of Ireland, myrtles, laurels, camellias, and oranges live all the year in the open air. A hasty glance at atlases with isothermal lines will be quite sufficient to assure us that, of all parts of the world, Europe enjoys cooler summers and milder winters than any of the corresponding regions under the same latitudes. 12 The narrow peninsular form, and the direction of the great axis of our continent, is also very favourable to the equal distribution of moisture. When, as on the eastern shore of Australia, or the western shore of America, coasts extend from south to north, and the rain-bearing sea winds immediately deposit their moisture on the slopes of high moun
12 A. von Humboldt, Kleine Schriften, vol. i. p. 438.