« ForrigeFortsæt »
We perceive then how liable to ert must any one be who in. cautiously takes up etymology for ethnographic purposes. Such investigators, when they tell us that this people was pressed back or exterminated by that people, are judging on quite insufficient data. Nomade races, indeed, who find the pasturage of last year occupied by strangers, are obliged to seek subsistence elsewhere ; but it is different with people who live in towns and villages, and lead a settled life. Very instructive on this head is the history of the Irish nation, against whom was carried on a more destructive war—the contest being more unequal—than ever was waged by any ancient people. Despite the most stringent laws, and the great dissimilarity of the languages, the two peoples intermarried and mixed. Sometimes a chief when beaten, with perhaps a few of his immediate followers, left the country, but the people remained. And it is easy to see how out of an event of this kind a story of deportation may have arisen.
No portion of language has been less investigated than that of the names of persons and places, and none is so difficult. With proper respect for the efforts of persons who have already occupied themselves with such subjects, but with a higher respect for scientific truth, I must say that ethnography, based on this department of language, is not a case for that particular kind of blind-man's buff, mis-called etymology. The satisfactory “etymons” supposed to decide everything, are nowhere more deceptive than in those
Whilst crude theories, imperfect research-which is generally worse than no research-and absurd conjectures, only tempt the credulity of the reader.
Besides the classification and distribution of peoples, which may properly be termed ethnography,_and which forms the first part of our subject,—the attention of ethnologists has been to a great extent engrossed with the causes of the diversities of mankind, and with the problem on which these causes so much depend : can the consanguinity of the human family be affirmed ? From this portion of the inquiry have proceeded many of the ethnographic terms now in use. Few if any of these are unobjectionable, yet they are here used under the limitations now or afterwards specified. The
term race* will be applied with reference to any language really or presumptively unmixed. The Scandinavian race or the Norse race will be intelligible on its own side of the German ocean, but in Britain it becomes an element of a people. The latter term will be used where the process of mixture or absorption is known to have been going on. The Cumbrian people, or the English people, will hold good, where race there is none. Nation will only be applied in reference to that feeling of nationality which shall be explained in a subsequent chapter. The other terms that may present themselves, being less abused than the above, will be found generally intelligible.
• Race, though it presupposes the original unity of mankind, has been of late years used by clap-trap writers, as if there were such a thing as superiority of race so created by nature, and not the result of circumstances. This paradox is as untenable as it is foolish; and so far from being connected with science, flourishes best in the absence of all science.
In every system of migrations, the first comers have been the rudest; in other words, civilisation is but a chain; each link of which drags after it another. The perception of this fact has led many to the belief, that perhaps of no country have we any knowledge of the aborigines. On the contrary, it is probable that even the rudest people has left enduring traces, wherever its occupation has been permanent; though these are not always easily discovered, and when found, not easily recognised.
According to the oldest historical accounts, and the observations of modern times, the earliest immigrants of Europe seem to have come in two streams, one along the large rivers and inland seas of the north, the other by the coasts of the Mediterranean. At the present day, we find on the southern stream remnants of three races that cannot be connected with each other, nor with any other known people: the Basques, or descendants of the Iberians, the Etruscans, whose language only exists. on monuments, the Albanese or Arnauts, the probable descendants of the Illyrians. The Pelasgian language and people is but a name. In the north of Europe, very widely spread, lay the Tartars, or more correctly the Tatárs. Descendants of these tribes are the Finns of Finnland and other districts, the Lapps, the Esthonians, and the Livonians. The Finns, doubtless the most widely spread in central Europe, are described by Tacitus as extremely wild and poor. They lived by their bows, and for want of iron, made arrows with bone points. We have reason to believe that the four races enumerated, were the first inhabitants of Europe.
The imperfect notices of ancient times that have come down to us, are yet sufficient to show that the subsequent migratory tribes of Europe followed in the tracks of those who had gone before. It seems to be the destiny of one people to pioneer and make roads for another. Thus we find the Celts in contact with the Iberians, the Latins with the Etruscans. Whence came the earlier races is a question involved in the deepest mystery—the Tatárs excepted, who most probably migrated from the north of Asia. But not so with the succeeding immigrants who poured into Europe for at least two thousand years, all of whom are clearly traceable to Asia, and belong to the great family of nations known as the IndoEuropean.
Between the northern slope of the Himalaya and the Caspian Sea, is supposed with much probability to have been the native soil of the Indo-European stock. From that diverging point, like swarms from a hive, went the races (so-called) who colonised Persia, as well as the northern parts of India, and who came westward into Europe in four great divisions: the Celtic, the Greek-Latin, the Gothic, and the Slavic. Probably the Caspian divided them, and from thence some tribes took the northern route, others the southern. At least in the languages collectively are observable two distinct influences; and each of the great divisions is again divisible into two; the first into Hiberno-Celtic and Cambro-Celtic, the second into Greek and Latin, the third into Scandinavian and Germanic, the fourth into Lithuanian and Slavic.
Besides the historical accounts of ancient Europe, another source of important information has of late years been opened up, by a systematic examination of the graves that belong to heathen times.
Sepulchral tumuli are spread over all the western and northern parts of Europe, and over many extensive regions in northern Asia, as far eastward at least as the river Yenisei. They contain the remains of races either long ago extinct, or of such as have so far changed their abodes and manner of living, that the ancestors can no longer be recognised in their descendants."* But only in
• Natural History of Man, by Dr. J. C. Prichard.
Denmark have they been so investigated as to be available for science. According to the latest and best description,* the graves are now classed in three periods or ages, the Stone, the Bronze, and the Iron, and named from the prevailing kind of antiquities found therein. The latest of these periods, the Iron age, does not belong to this part of our subject, but some mention shall be made of it in a subsequent chapter.
During the first or Stone age, the grave was constructed of large stones smoothened carefully inside, forming a chamber round which the earth was raised in an artificial hillock. The base of the “hill” was enclosed with a stone circle executed with remarkable industry, and frequently in districts where, at the present day, blocks of stone are not to be found. Sometimes the enclosure was oval, and contained two or three chambers; and even when the graves of this kind had but one chamber, it was placed very near one end. The "
giants' chambers,” probably so called from the enormous labour bestowed on their construction, belong evidently to this period. They are found in large artificial hills, and in conspicuous places, and are all provided with long entrances made, like the chambers, of lazge stones smoothened inside. When the clay 'or gravel with which they are filled up, is cleared away, a man may stand erect within.
All the graves of this period, when opened for the first time, have been found to contain the bones of one or more unburnt corpses, together with arrow-points, lances, knives and axes of flint, bone utensils, ornaments of amber or bone, and vessels of clay filled with loose earth. That these were not urns, and never contained ashes, is evident; they were most probably the receptacles of the viaticum, or food for the last journey. Even in the entrances of the giants' chambers, corpses are found, which favours the view that these were family or clan burial-places.
The graves of the second, or Bronze age, have neither massive enclosures nor chambers, but consist in the rule of small stone chests, covered with a pile of stones, and over that with clay, so
• Dänemarks Vorzeit, von J. Worsaae. German Ed.