Изображения страниц

to the assumption that the three short vowels á, é, and 5 have all originated from an earlier i. I was, I believe, the first to protest against this assumption in 1874, and to give reasons for thinking that the single monotonous à of Sanskrit resulted from the coalescence of three distinct vowels. - The analogy of other languages goes to show that the tendency of time is to reduce the number of vocalic sounds possessed by a language, not the contrary. In place of the numerous vowels possessed by ancient Greek, modern Greek can now show only five, and cultivated English is rapidly merging its vowel sounds into the so-called “neutral ” o. Since my protest the matter has been worked out by Italian, German and French scholars, and we now know that it is the vocalic system of the European languages rather than of Sanskrit which most faithfully represents the oldest form of Indo-European speech. The result of the discovery, for discovery it must be called, has been a complete revolution in the study of Indo-European etymology, and still more of Indo-European grammar, and whereas ten years ago it was Sanskrit which was invoked to explain Greek, it is to Greek that the “new school ’’ now turns to explain Sanskrit. The comparative philologist necessarily cannot do without the help of both ; the greater the number of languages he has to compare the sounder will be his inductions; but the primacy which was once supposed to reside in Asia has been taken from her. It is Greek, and not Sanskrit, which has taught us what was the primitive vowel of the reduplicated syllable of the perfect and the augment of the aorist, and has thus narrowed the discussion into the origin of both. Until quite recently, however, the advocates of the Asiatic home of the IndoEuropean languages found a support in the position of the Armenian language. Armenian stands midway, as it were, between Persia and Europe, and it was imagined to have very close relations with the old language of Persia. But we now know that its Persian affinities are illusory, and that it must really be grouped with the languages of Europe. What is more, the decipherment of the cuneiform inscriptions of Van has cast a strong light on the date of its introduction into Armenia. These inscriptions are the records of kings whose capital was at Wan, and who

marched their armies in all directions during the ninth, eighth, and seventh centuries before our era. The latest date that can as yet be assigned to any of them is B. c. 640. At this time there were still no speakers of an Indo-European language in Armenia. The language of the inscriptions has no connection with those of the Indo European family, and the personal and local names occurring in the countries immediately surrounding the dominions of the Vannic kings, and so abundantly mentioned in their texts, are of the same linguistic character at the Wannic names themselves. The evidence of classical writers fully bears out the conclusions to be derived from the decipherment of the Vannic inscriptions. Herodotos” tells us that the Armenians were colonists from Phrygia, the Phrygians themselves having been a Thrakian tribe which had migrated into Asia. The same testimony was borne by Eudoxos, who further averred that the Armenian and Phrygian languages resembled one another. The tradition must have been recent in the time of Herodotos, and we shall probably not go far wrong if we assign the occupation of Armenia by the Phrygian tribes to the age of upheaval in Western Asia which was ushered in by the fall of the Assyrian Empire. Professor Fick has shown that the scanty fragments of the Phrygian language that have survived to us belong to the European branch of the Indo European family, and thus find their place by the side of Armenian. Instead, therefore, of forming a bridge between Orient and Occident Armenian represents the furthermost flow of IndoEuropean speech from West to East. And this flow belongs to a relatively late period. Apart from Armenian we can discover no traces of Indo-European occupation between Media and the Halys until the days when Iranian Ossetes settled in the Caucasus and the mountaineers of Kurdistan adopted Iranian dialects. I must reiterate here what I have said many years ago : if there is one fact which the Assyrian monuments make clear and indubitable, it is that up to the closing days of the Assyrian monarchy no Indo-European languages were spoken in the vast tract of civilized country which lay between Kurdistan and Western Asia Minor. South of the Caucasus they were unknown until the irruption of the Phrygians into Armenia. Among the multitudinous names of persons and localities belonging to this region which are recorded in the Assyrian inscriptions during a space of several centuries there is only one which bears upon it the Indo-European stamp. This is the name of the leader of the Kimmerians, a nomad tribe from the northeast which descended upon the frontiers of Assyria in the reign of Esar-haddon, and was driven by him into Asia Minor. The fact is made the more striking by the further fact that as soon as we clear the Kurdish ranges and enter Median territory, names of Indo European origin meet us thick and fast. We can draw but one conclusion from these facts. Whether the Indo-European languages of Europe migrated from Asia, or whether the converse were the case, the line of march must have been northward of the Caspian, through the inhospitable steppes of Tartary and over the snow covered heights of the Ural mountains. An ingenious argument has lately been put forward, which at first sight seems to tell in favor of the Asiatic origin of IndoEuropean speech. Dr. Penka has drawn attention to the fact that several of the European languages agree in possessing the same word for “eel,” and that whereas the eel abounds in the rivers and lakes of Scandinavia, it is unknown in those cold regions of Western Asia where, as we have seen, it has been proposed to place the cradle of the IndoEuropean family. But it is a curious fact that in Greek and Latin, and apparently also in Lithuanian, the word for “eel ” is a diminutive derived from a word which denotes a snake or snake-like creature. This, it has been urged, may be interpreted to mean that the primeval habitat of the Indo-European languages was one where the snake was known, but the eel was not. The argument, however, cannot be pressed. We all agree that the first speakers of the Indo-European languages lived on the land, not on the water, and that they were herdsmen rather than fishermen. Naturally, therefore, they would become acquainted with the snake before they became acquainted with the eel, however much it might abound in the

* vii. 73. f According to Eustathios (in Dion. v. 694). * “Quasi officina gentium aut certe velut vagina nationum :” Jordanes, De Gelarum sive Gothorum origine, ed. Closs, c. 4.

rivers near them, and its resemblance to the snake would lend to it its name. In Keltic the eel is called “a water-snake,” and to this day a prejudice against eating it on the ground that it is a snake exists in Keltic districts. All we can infer from

the diminutives anguilla, Éyxe3vs, is that

the Italians and Greeks in the first instance gave the name to the fresh-water eel, and not to the huge conger. I cannot now enter fully into the reasons which have led me gradually to give up my old belief in the Asiatic origin of the Indo-European tongues, and to subscribe to the views of those who would refer them to a northern European birthplace. The argument is a complicated one, and is necessarily of a cumulative character. The individual links in the chain may not be strong, but collectively they afford that amount of probability which is all we can hope to attain in historical research. Those who wish to study them may do so in Dr. Penka’s work on the “Herkunft der Arier,” published in 1886. His hypothesis that Southern Scandinavia was the primitive “Aryan home” seems to me to have more in its favor than an other hypothesis on the subject which has as yet been put forward. It needs verification, it is true, but if it is sound the verification will not be long in coming. A more profound examination of Teutonic and Keltic mythology, a more exact knowledge of the words in the several Indo-European languages which are not of Indo-European origin, and the progress of archaeological discovery, will furnish the verification we need. Meanwhile, it must be allowed that the hypothesis has the countenance of history. Scandinavia, even before the sixth century, was characterized as “the manufactory of nations;”" and the voyages and settlements of the Norse Vikings offer a historical illustration of what the prehistoric migrations and settlements of the speakers of the Indo-European languages must have been. They differed from the latter only in being conducted by sea, whereas the prehistoric migrations followed the valleys of the great rivers. It was not until the age of the Roman Empire that the northern nations became acquainted with the sailing-boat; our Eng

lish sail is the Latin sagulum, “ the little cloak of the soldier,” borrowed by the Teutons along with its name, and used to propel their boats in imitation of the sails of the Roman vessels. The introduction of the sail allowed the inhabitants of the Scandinavian “hive” to push boldly out to sea, and ushered in the era of Saxon pirates and Danish invasions. Dr. Penka's arguments are partly anthropological, partly archaeological. He shows that the Kelts and Teutons of Roman antiquity were the tall, blue-eyed, fair haired, dolicho-cephalic race which is now being fast absorbed in Keltic lands by the older inhabitants of them. The typical Frenchman of to-day has but little in common with the typical Gaul of the age of Caesar. The typical Gaul was, in fact, as much a conqueror in Gallia as he was in Galatia, or, as modern researches have shown, as the typical Kelt was in Ireland. It seems to have been the same in Greece. Here, too, the golden-haired hero of art and song was a representative of the ruling class, of that military aristocracy which overthrew the early culture of the Peloponnese, and of whom tradition averred that it had come from the bleak North. Little trace of it now remains : it is rarely that the traveller can discover any longer the modern kinsfolk of the golden-haired Apollo or the blue-eyed Athéné. If we would still find the ancient blonde race of Northern Europe in its purity we must go to Scandinavia. Here the prevailing type of the population is still that of the broad-shouldered, long-headed blondes who served as models for the Dying Gladiator. And it is in Southern Scandinavia alone that the prehistoric tumuli and burying-grounds yield hardly any other skeletons than those of the same tall dolichocephalic race which still inhabits the country. Elsewhere such skeletons are either wanting or else mixed with the remains of other races. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that it was from Southern Scandinavia that those bands of hardy warriors originally emerged, who made their way southward and westward and even eastward, the Kelts of Galatia penetrating like the Phrygians before them into the heart of Asia Minor. The Norse migrations in later times were even more extensive, and what the Norse Vikings were able to achieve could have been achieved by their ancestors centuries before.

Now the Kelts and Teutons of the Roman age spoke Indo European languages. It is more probable that the subject populations should have been compelled to learn the language of their conquerors than that the conquerors should have taken the trouble to learn the language of their serfs. We know at any rate that it was so in Ireland. Here the old “ Ivernian” population adopted the language of the small band of Keltic invaders that settled in its midst. It is only where the conquered possess a higher civilization than the conquerors, above all, where they have a literature and an organized form of religion, that Franks will adapt their tongues to Latin speech, or Manchus learn to speak Chinese. Moreover, in Southern Scandinavia, where we have archaeological evidence that the tall blonde race was scarcely at any time in close contact with other races, it is hardly possible for it to have borrowed its language from some other people. The Indo-European languages still spoken in the country must, it would seem, be descended from languages spo

ken there from the earliest period to which

the evidence of human occupation reaches back. The conclusion is obvious : Southern Scandinavia and the adjacent districts must be the first home and starting-point of the Western branch of the Indo-European family. If we turn to the Eastern branch, we find that the further East we go the fainter become the traces of the tall blonde race and the greater is the resemblance between the speakers of Indo-European languages and the native tribes. In the highlands of Persia, tall long-headed blondes with blue eyes can still be met with, but as we approach the hot plains of India, the type grows rarer and rarer until it ceases altogether. An Indo-European dialect must be spoken in India by a dark-skinned people before it can endure to the third and fourth generation. As we leave the frontiers of Europe behind us we lose sight of the race with which Dr. Penka's arguments would tend to connect the parentspeech of the Indo-European family. I cannot now follow him in the interesting comparison he draws between the social condition of the Southern Scandinavians as disclosed by the contents of the prehistoric “kitchen-middens,” and the social eondition of the speakers of the Indo-European parent-speech according to the sobered estimate of recent linguistic research. The resemblance is certainly very striking, though, on the other hand, it cannot be denied that archaeological science is still in its infancy, and that Dr. Penka too often assumes that a word common to the European languages belonged to the parent-speech, an assumption which will not, of course, be admitted by his opponents. What more nearly concerns us here, however, is the name we should give to the race or people who spoke the parentlanguage. We cannot call them IndoEuropeans; that would lead to endless ambiguities, while the term itself has already been appropriated in a linguistic sense. Dr. Penka has called them Aryans, and I can see no better title with which to endow them. The name is

short ; it has already been used in an ethnological as well as in a linguistic sense, and since our German friends have rejected it in its linguistic application, it is open to every one to confine it to a purely ethnological meaning. I know that the author has protested against such an application of the term ; but it is not the first time that a father has been robbed of his offspring, and he cannot object to the robbery when it is committed in the cause of science. For some time past the name of Aryan has been without a definition, while the first speakers of the Indo-European parent-speech have been vainly demanding a name ; and the priests of anthropology cannot do better than lead them to the font of science, and there baptize them with the name of Aryan.--Contemporary Review,

[blocks in formation]

WAR estimates increase and even in seagirt England conscription, or something like it, is proposed. With all our enlightenment, philanthropy and democracy, after William Penn, Cowper, and Wilberforce, after Voltaire and Rousseau, after Jeremy Bentham, the Manchester School and John Bright, and alas ! after nearly nineteen centuries of Christianity, we have war, still war, apparently on a larger scale than ever, taking away millions from the plough, devouring the harvests of industry, threatening again to fill the world with blood and havoc. The only question is through which of several craters, the Franco-German, the Panslavic, the AngloRussian, or the Austrian, the eruption will break out and the lava-torrent flow.

To the despairing secretaries of peacesocieties, by an address from one of whom the present paper has been suggested, it seems as if, in the substitution of reason for the sword, no advance had been made. This is not so. In the first place war instead of being normal has among civilized nations become occasional. The Assyrian or the Persian conqueror made war as a matter of course, and spent his summer in campaigning with his mighty men of valor as regularly as the servile portion of his population spent it in gathering in the

harvest. So did Timour and Genghis Khan. So did the heirs of Mahomet while their vigor lasted. So did the feudal lords, in whose lives the excitement of war was varied only by the excitement of the chase. So, it may almost be said, did the little city republics of Italy, though these learned in time to do their fighting with mercenaries. But now war is an extraordinary occurrence ; there must be a casus belli, and diplomacy must have been tried and failed. We have had long spells of peace. Between the Napoleonic War and the Crimean War there was so long a spell of peace that the world began to think that the hounds of war would never slip the leash again. In the second place the sentiment for peace grows. Charles the Fifth told a soldier impatient for war that he liked peace as little as the soldier himself, though policy forced him to keep the sword in the sheath at that time. Even

[blocks in formation]

In the third place fighting, whereas it used to be every man's duty and half of every man's character, at least among freemen, is now a special trade. The Servian constitution was a polity combined with a musterroll. The political upper class in Greece and Rome was the cavalry. The ridiculous ceremony of touching a turtle-fed mayor or an old professor of science with a sword and bidding him rise up a knight reminds us that all honor was once military, and that saving in the Church there was no other high career. Conscription may be said to be a relapse into the old state of things. A relapse it is ; but it is felt to be exceptional and the offspring of the present tension, while England still holds out against it, and America, even in the desperate crisis of the Civil War, resorted to it only in the qualified form of a draft with liberty of buying a substitute. In Europe the present spasm of militarism may be said to be in some measure not occasional only, but accidental. With all our historical philosophy and our general laws, there are still such things as accidents in history. There are at least events which turn the scale, and which we cannot distinguish from accidents. Had Gustavus Adolphus lived it is a moral certainty that he would have continued to conquer, and that the whole of Germany would have been wrested from Austria and Rome ; but a wreath of mist floats over the battlefield of Lutzen : Gustavus is separated from his men and falls, and half Germany remains Austrian and Roman. Disease carries off Cromwell before he had begun to decay, and when a few years more of him would have founded a Commonwealth, or more probably a Protestant and Constitutional dynasty, and torn all that followed from the book of fate. This system of vast standing armies, and the prevalence of the military spirit, are largely the offspring of the great wars caused by the military ambition of Napoleon, as the political convulsions of the last half century have been in no small measure the results of the struggle of the nations against him for their independence, which for the time produced a violent reaction in favor of the native dynasties. But Napoleon as a master of French legions was an accident. France swallowed Corsica in the year of his birth, and, like Eve when she swallowed the apple, “knew not eating death.” Corsica NEw SERIES.—Wol. L., No. 3.

was an island peopled of old by exiles and outlaws, an island of savagery, brigandage, and vendettas, out of the pale of moral civilization. Napoleon was an incomparable general, and a great administrator of the imperial and bureaucratic kind ; but in character he was a Corsican, and as completely outside moral civilization as any brigand of his isle. He had several thousand Turkish prisoners led out and butchered in cold blood simply to get rid of them ; he poisoned his own sick for the same purpose. Never did the most hideous carnage, or the worst horrors of war, draw from him a word of pity or compunction, while Marlborough, hardhearted as he was, after witnessing the slaughter of Malplaquet, prayed that he might never be in another battle. Lord Russell saw Napoleon at Elba, and he used to say that there was something very evil in Napoleon's eye, and that it flashed when his visitor spoke to him of the excitement of war. In other things this man was equally a moral savage. His passions were under no restraint of decency. He took a lady, as M. Taine tells us, from the dinner-table to his bedroom. When Wolney said something which displeased him, he gave him a kick which laid him up for days. For truth and honor he had no more regard than a Carib. A Corsican lust of war and rapine was and remained at the bottom of his character. Master of France and her armies this archbandit, by his personal barbarism, prolonged a series of wars which otherwise would have closed with the subsidence of the Revolution and the repulse of the allies. It is true that a policy of glory was up to a certain point adapted to the military vanity of France. But Madame de Rémusat tells us, in her Memoirs, that the heart of France went out no longer with the armies after Friedland ; and in 1814 Napoleon, on his way to Elba, was afraid to pass through the South of France because the people would have torn him. to pieces.

Some causes of war, so far as the civilized world is concerned, are numbered, with the past. We shall, have no more. wars for sheer plunder or rapine, like those of primeval tribes. We shall have no more migratory invasions, like those of the Goths and Vandals, the Tartars and the Avars. Setting aside Napoleon, we can hardly be said to have had of late wars. 22

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »