Aryan T. H. H.

Photograph by Downey 1890

L. Huxley, Life and Letters

The Aryan Question and Pre-Historic Man (1890)

Collected Essays VII

[271] The rapid increase of natural knowledge, which is the chief characteristic of our age, is effected in various ways. The main army of science moves to the conquest of new worlds slowly and surely, nor ever cedes an inch of the territory gained. But the advance is covered and facilitated by the ceaseless activity of clouds of light troops provided with a weapon–always efficient, if not always an arm of precision–the scientific imagination. It is the business of these enfants perdus of science to make raids into the realm of ignorance wherever they see, or think they see, a chance; and cheerfully to accept defeat, or it may be annihilation, as the reward of error. Unfortunately, the public, which watches the progress of the campaign, too often mistakes a dashing incursion of the Uhlans for a forward movement of the main [272] body; fondly imagining that the strategic movement to the rear, which occasionally follows, indicates a battle lost by science. And it must be confessed that the error is too often justified by the effects of the irrepressible tendency which men of science share with all other sorts of men known to me, to be impatient of that most wholesome state of mind–suspended judgment; to assume the objective truth of speculations which from the nature of the evidence in their favour, can have no claim to be more than working hypotheses.

The history of the "Aryan question" affords a striking illustration of these general remarks.

About a century ago, Sir William Jones pointed out the close alliance of the chief European languages with Sanskrit and its derivative dialects now spoken in India. Brilliant and laborious philologists, in long succession, enlarged and strengthened this position, until the truth that Sanskrit, Zend, Armenian, Greek, Latin, Lithuanian, Slavonian, German, Celtic, and so on, stand to one another in the relation of descendants from a common stock, became firmly established, and thenceforward formed part of the permanent acquisitions of science. Moreover, the term "Aryan" is very generally, if not universally, accepted as a name for the group of languages thus allied. Hence, when one speaks of "Aryan languages," no hypothetical assumptions are in[273]volved. It is a matter of fact that such languages exist, that they present certain substantial and formal relations, and that convention sanctions the name applied to them. But the close connection of these widely differentiated languages remains altogether inexplicable, unless it is admitted that they are modifications of an original relatively undifferentiated tongue; just as the intimate affinities of the Romance languages–French, Italian, Spanish, and the rest–would be incomprehensible if there were no Latin. The original or "primitive Aryan" tongue, thus postulated, unfortunately no longer exists. It is a hypothetical entity, which corresponds with the "primitive stock" of generic and higher groups among plants and animals; and the acknowledgment of its former existence, and of the process of evolution which has brought about the present state of things philological, is forced upon us by deductive reasoning of similar cogency to that employed about things biological.

Thus, the former existence of a body of relatively uniform dialects, which may be called primitive Aryan, may be added to the stock of definitely acquired truths. But it is obvious that, in the absence of writing or of phonographs, the existence of a language implies that of speakers. If there were primitive Aryan dialects, there must have been primitive Aryan people who used them; and these people must have resided [274] somewhere or other on the earth's surface. Hence philology, without stepping beyond its legitimate bounds and keeping speculation within the limits of bare necessity, arrives, not only at the conceptions of Aryan languages and of a primitive Aryan language; but of a primitive Aryan people and of a primitive Aryan home, or country occupied by them.

But where was this home of the Aryans? When the labours of modern philologists began, Sanskrit was the most archaic of all the Aryan languages known to them. It appeared to present the qualifications required in the parental or primitive Aryan. Brilliant Uhlans made a charge at this opening. The scientific imagination seated the primitive Aryans in the valley of the Ganges; and showed, as in a vision, the successive columns, guided by enterprising Brahmins, which set out thence to people the regions of the western world with Greeks and Celts and Germans. But the progress of philology itself sufficed to show that this Balaclava charge, however magnificent, was not profitable warfare. The internal evidence of the Vedas proved that their composers had not reached the Ganges. On the other hand, the comparison of Zend with Sanskrit left no alternative open to the assumption that these languages were modifications of an original Indo-Iranian tongue, spoken by a people of whom the Aryans of India and those of Persia were offshoots, [275] and who could therefore be hardly lodged elsewhere than on the frontiers of both Persia and India–that is to say, somewhere in the region which is at present known under the names of Turkestan, Afghanistan, and Kafiristan. Thus far, it can hardly be doubted that we are well within the ground of which science has taken enduring possession. But the Uhlans were not content to remain within the lines of this surely-won position. For some reason, which is not quite clear to me, they thought fit to restrict the home of the primitive Aryans to a particular part of the region in question; to lodge them amidst the bleak heights of the long range of the Hindoo Koosh and on the inhospitable plateau of Pamir. From their hives in these secluded valleys and windswept wastes, successive swarms of Celts and Greco-Latins, Teutons and Slavs, were thrown off to settle, after long wanderings, in distant Europe. The Hindoo-Koosh-Pamir theory, once enunciated, gradually hardened into a sort of dogma; and there have not been wanting theorists, who laid down the routes of the successive bands of emigrants with as much confidence as if they had access to the records of the office of a primitive Aryan Quartermaster-General. It is really singular to observe the deference which has been shown, and is yet sometimes shown, to a speculation which can, at best, claim to be regarded as nothing better than a somewhat risky working hypothesis.

[276] Forty years ago, the credit of the Hindoo-Koosh-Pamir theory had risen almost to that of an axiom. The first person to instil doubt of its value into my mind was the late Robert Gordon Latham, a man of great learning and singular originality, whose attacks upon the Hindoo-Kooshite doctrine could scarcely have failed as completely as they did, if his great powers had been bestowed upon making his books not only worthy of being read, but readable. The impression left upon my mind, at that time, by various conversations about the "Sarmatian hypothesis," which my friend wished to substitute for the Hindoo-Koosh-Pamir speculation, was that the one and the other rested pretty much upon a like foundation of guesswork. That there was no sufficient reason for planting the primitive Aryans in the Hindoo Koosh, or in Pamir, seemed plain enough; but that there was little better ground, on the evidence then adduced, for settling them in the region at present occupied by Western Russia, or Podolia, appeared to me to be not less plain. The most I thought Latham proved was, that the Aryan people of Indo-Iranian speech were just as likely to have come from Europe, as the Aryan people of Greek, or Teutonic, or Celtic speech from Asia. Of late years, Latham's views, so long neglected, or mentioned merely as an example of insular eccentricity, have been taken up and advocated with much ability in Germany [277] as well as in this country–principally by philologists. Indeed, the glory of Hindoo-Koosh-Pamir seems altogether to have departed. Professor Max Müller, to whom Aryan philology owes so much, will not say more now, than that he holds by the conviction that the seat of the primitive Aryans was "somewhere in Asia." Dr. Schrader sums up in favour of European Russia; while Herr Penka would have us transplant the home of the primitive Aryans from Pamir in the far east to the Scandinavian peninsula in the far west.

I must refer those who desire to acquaint themselves with the philological arguments on which these conclusions are based to the recently published works of Dr. Schrader and Canon Taylor;1 and to Penka's "Die Herkunft der Arier," which, in spite of the strong spice of the Uhlan which runs through it, I have found extremely well worth study. I do not pretend to be able to look at the Aryan question under any but the biological aspect; to which I now turn.

Any biologist who studies the history of the Aryan question, and, taking the philological facts on trust, regards it exclusively from the point of view of anthropology, will observe that, very early, the purely biological conception of "race" [278] illegitimately mixed itself up with the ideas derived from pure philology. It is quite proper to speak of Aryan "people," because, as we have seen, the existence of the language implies that of a people who speak it; it might be equally permissible to call Latin people all those who speak Romance dialects. But, just as the application of the term Latin "race" to the divers people who speak Romance languages, at the present day, is none the less absurd because it is common; so, it is quite possible, that it may be equally wrong to call the people who spoke the primitive Aryan dialects and inhabited the primitive home, the Aryan race. "Aryan" is properly a term of classification used in philology. "Race" is the name of a sub-division of one of those groups of living things which are called "species" in the technical language of Zoology and Botany; and the term connotes the possession of characters distinct from those of the other members of the species, which have a strong tendency to appear in the progeny of all members of the races. Such race-characters may be either bodily or mental, though in practice, the latter, as less easy of observation and definition, can rarely be taken into account. Language is rooted half in the bodily and half in the mental nature of man. The vocal sounds which form the raw materials of language could not be produced without a peculiar conformation of the organs of speech; the enuncia[279]tion of duly accented syllables would be impossible without the nicest co-ordination of the action of the muscles which move these organs; and such co-ordination depends on the mechanism of certain portions of the nervous system. It is therefore conceivable that the structure of this highly complex speaking apparatus should determine a man's linguistic potentiality; that is to say, should enable him to use a language of one class and not of another. It is further conceivable that a particular linguistic potentiality should be inherited and become as good a race mark as any other. As a matter of fact, it is not proven that the linguistic potentialities of all men are the same. It is affirmed, for example, that, in the United States, the enunciation and the timbre of the voice of an American-born negro, however thoroughly he may have learned English, can be readily distinguished from that of a white man. But, even admitting that differences may obtain among the various races of men, to this extent, I do not think that there is any good ground for the supposition that an infant of any race would be unable to learn, and to use with ease, the language of any other race of men among whom it might be brought up. History abundantly proves the transmission of languages from some races to others; and there is no evidence, that I know of, to show that any race is incapable of substituting a foreign idiom for its native tongue.

From these considerations it follows that com[280]munity of language is no proof of unity of race, is not even presumptive evidence of racial identity.2 All that it does prove is that, at some time or other, free and prolonged intercourse has taken place between the speakers of the same language. Philology, therefore, while it may have a perfect light to postulate the existence of a primitive Aryan "people," has no business to substitute "race" for "people." The speakers of primitive Aryan may have been a mixture of two or more races, just as are the speakers of English and of French, at the present time.

The older philological ethnologists felt the difficulty which arose out of their identification of linguistic with racial affinity, but were not dismayed by it. Strong in the prestige of their great discovery of the unity of the Aryan tongues, they were quite prepared to make the philological and the biological categories fit, by the exercise of a little pressure on that about which they knew less. And their judgment was often un[281]consciously warped by strong monogenistic proclivities, which, at bottom, however respectable and philanthropic their origin, had nothing to do with science. So the patent fact that men of Aryan speech presented widely diverse racial characters was explained away by maintaining that the physical differentiation was post-Aryan; to put it broadly, that the Aryans in Hindoo-Koosh-Pamir were truly of one race; but that, while one colony, subjected to the sweltering heat of the Gangetic plains, had fined down and darkened into the Bengalee, another had bleached and shot up, under the cool and misty skies of the north, into the semblance of Pomeranian Grenadiers; or of blue-eyed, fair-skinned, six-foot Scotch Highlanders. I do not know that any of the Uhlans who fought so vigorously under this flag are left now. I doubt if any one is prepared to say that he believes that the influence of external conditions, alone, accounts for the wide physical differences between Englishmen and Bengalese. So far as India is concerned, the internal evidence of the old literature sufficiently proves that the Aryan invaders were "white" men. It is hardly to be doubted that they intermixed with the dark Dravidian aborigines; and that the high-caste Hindoos are what they are in virtue of the Aryan blood which they have inherited,3 and of [282] the selective influence of their surroundings operating on the mixture.

The assumption that, as there must have been a primitive Aryan people, in the philological sense, so that people must have constituted a race in the biological sense, is pretty generally made in modern discussions of the Aryan problem. But whether the men of the primitive Aryan race were blonds or brunets, whether they had long or round heads, were tall or were short, are hotly debated questions, into the discussion of which considerations quite foreign to science are sometimes imported. The combination of swarthiness with stature above the average and a long skull, confer upon me the serene impartiality of a mongrel; and, having given this pledge of fair dealing, I proceed to state the case for the hypothesis I am inclined to adopt. In doing so, I am aware that I deliberately take the shilling of the recruiting sergeant of the Light Brigade, and I warn all and sundry that such is the case.

Looking at the discussions which have taken [283] place from a purely anthropological point of view, the first point which has struck me is that the problem is far more complicated and difficult than many of the disputants appear to imagine; and the second, that the data upon which we have to go are grievously insufficient in extent and in precision. Our historical records cover such an infinitesimally small extent of the past life of humanity, that we obtain little help from them. Even so late as 1500 B.C., northern Eurasia lies in historical darkness, except for such glimmer of light as may be thrown here and there by the literatures of Egypt and of Babylonia. Yet, at that time, it is probable that Sanskrit, Zend, and Greek, to say nothing of other Aryan tongues, had long been differentiated from primitive Aryan. Even a thousand years later, little enough accurate information is to be had about the racial characters of the European and Asiatic tribes known to the Greeks. We are thrown upon such resources as archæology and human palæontology have to offer, and notwithstanding the remarkable progress made of late years, they are still meagre. Nevertheless, it strikes me that, from the purely anthropological side, there is a good deal to be said in favour of the two propositions maintained by the new school of philologists; first, that the people who spoke "primitive Aryan" were a distinct and well-marked race of mankind; and, secondly, that [284] the area of the distribution of this race, in primæval times, lay in Europe, rather than in Asia.

For the last two thousand years, at least, the southern half of Scandinavia and the opposite or southern shores of the Baltic have been occupied by a race of mankind possessed of very definite characters. Typical specimens have tall and massive frames, fair complexions, blue eyes, and yellow or reddish hair–that is to say, they are pronounced blonds. Their skulls are long, in the sense that the breadth is usually less, often much less, than four-fifths of the length, and they are usually tolerably high. But in this last respect they vary. Men of this blond, long-headed race abound from eastern Prussia to northern Belgium; they are met with in northern France and are common in some parts of our own islands. The people of Teutonic speech, Goths, Saxons, Alemanni, and Franks, who poured forth out of the regions bordering the North Sea and the Baltic, to the destruction of the Roman Empire, were men of this race; and the accounts of the ancient historians of the incursions of the Gauls into Italy and Greece, between the fifth and the second centuries B.C., leave little doubt that their hordes were largely, if not wholly, composed of similar men. The contents of numerous interments in southern Scandinavia prove that, as far back as archæology takes us into the so-called neolithic age, the great majority of the inhabitants had the [285] same stature and cranial peculiarities as at present, though their bony fabric bears marks of somewhat greater ruggedness and savagery. There is no evidence that the country was occupied by men before the advent of these tall, blond long-heads. But there is proof of the presence, along with the latter, of a small percentage of people with broad skulls; skulls, that is, the breadth of which is more, often very much more, than four-fifths of the length.

At the present day, in whatever direction we travel inland from the continental area occupied by the blond long-heads, whether south-west, into central France; south, through the Walloon provinces of Belgium into eastern France; into Switzerland, South Germany, and the Tyrol; or south-east, into Poland and Russia; or north, into Finland and Lapland, broad-heads make their appearance, in force, among the long-heads. And, eventually, we find ourselves among people who are as regularly broad-headed as the Swedes and North Germans are long-headed. As a general rule, in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and South Germany, the increase in the proportion of broad skulls is accompanied by the appearance of a larger and larger proportion of men of brunet complexion and of a lower stature; until, in central France and thence eastwards, through the Cevennes and the Alps of Dauphiny, Savoy, and Piedmont, to the western plains of North Italy, the [286] tall blond long-heads4 practically disappear and are replaced by short brunet broad-heads. The ordinary Savoyard may be described in terms the converse of those which apply to the ordinary Swede. He is short, swarthy, dark-eyed, dark-haired, and his skull is very broad. Between the two extreme types, the one seated on the shores of the North Sea and the Baltic, and the other on those of the Mediterranean, there are all sorts of intermediate forms, in which breadth of skull may be found in tall and in short blond men, and in tall brunet men.

There is much reason to believe that the brunet broad-heads, now met with in central France and in the west central European highlands, have inhabited the same region, not only throughout the historical period, but long before it commenced; and it is probable that their area of occupation was formerly more extensive. For, if we leave [287] aside the comparatively late incursions of the Asiatic races, the centre of eruption of the invaders of the southern moiety of Europe has been situated in the north and west. In the case of the Teutonic inroads upon the Empire of Rome, it undoubtedly lay in the area now occupied by the blond long-heads; and, in that of the antecedent Gaulish invasions, the physical characters ascribed to the leading tribes point to the same conclusion. Whatever the causes which led to the breaking out of bounds of the blond long-heads, in mass, at particular epochs, the natural increase in numbers of a vigorous and fertile race must always have impelled them to press upon their neighbours, and thereby afford abundant occasions for intermixture. If, at any given pre-historic time, we suppose the lowlands verging on the Baltic and the North Sea to have been inhabited by pure blond long-heads, while the central highlands were occupied by pure brunet short-heads, the two would certainly meet and intermix in course of time, in spite of the vast belt of dense forest which extended, almost uninterruptedly, from the Carpathians to the Ardennes; and the result would be such an irregular gradation of the one type into the other as we do, in fact, meet with.

On the south-east, east, and north-east, throughout what was once the kingdom of Poland, and in Finland the preponderance of broad-heads goes along with a wide prevalence of blond complexion [288] and of good stature. In the extreme north, on the other hand, marked broad-headedness is combined with low stature, swarthiness, and more or less strongly mongolian features, in the Lapps. And it is to be observed that this type prevails increasingly to the eastward, among the central Asiatic populations.

The population of the British Islands, at the present time, offers the two extremes of the tall blond and the short brunet types. The tall blond long-heads resemble those of the continent; but our short brunet race is long-headed. Brunet broad-heads, such as those met with in the central European highlands, do not exist among us. This absence of any considerable number of distinctly broad-headed people (say with the cephalic index above 81 or 82) in the modern population of the United Kingdom is the more remarkable, since the investigations of the late Dr. Thurnam, and others, proved the existence of a large proportion of tall broad-heads among the people interred in British tumuli of the neolithic age. It would seem that these broad-skulled immigrants have been absorbed by an older long-skulled population; just as, in South Germany, the long-headed Alemanni have been absorbed by the older broad-heads. The short brunet long-heads are not peculiar to our islands. On the contrary, they abound in western France and in Spain, while they predominate in Sardinia, Corsica, [289] and South Italy, and, it may be, occupied a much larger area in ancient times.

Thus, in the region which has been under consideration, there are evidences of the existence of four races of men–(1) blond long-heads of tall stature, (2) brunet broad-heads of short stature, (3) mongoloid brunet broad-heads of short stature, (4) brunet long-heads of short stature. The regions in which these races appear with least admixture are–(l) Scandinavia, North Germany, and parts of the British Islands; (2) central France, the central European highlands, and Piedmont; (3) Arctic and eastern Europe, central Asia; (4) the western parts of the British Islands and of France; Spain, South Italy. And the inhabitants of the localities which lie between these foci present the intermediate gradations, such as short blond long-heads, and tall brunet short-heads and long-heads which might be expected to result from their intermixture. The evidence at present extant is consistent with the supposition that the blond long-heads, the brunet broad-heads, and the brunet long-heads have existed in Europe throughout historic times, and very far back into pre-historic times. There is no proof of any migration of Asiatics into Europe, west of the basin of the Dnieper, down to the time of Attila. On the contrary, the first great movements of the European population of which there is any conclusive evidence is that series of Gaulish invasions [290] of the east and south, which ultimately extended from North Italy as far as Galatia in Asia Minor.

It is now time to consider the relations between the phenomena of racial distribution, as thus defined, and those of the distribution of languages. The blond long-heads of Europe speak, or have spoken, Lithuanian, Teutonic, or Celtic dialects, and they are not known to have ever used any but these Aryan languages. A large proportion of the brunet broad-heads once spoke the Ligurian and the Rhætic dialects, which are believed to have been non-Aryan. But, when the Romans made acquaintance with Transalpine Gaul, the inhabitants of that country between the Garonne and the Seine (Cæsar's Celtica) seem, at any rate for the most part, to have spoken Celtic dialects. The brunet long-heads of Spain and of France appear to have used a non-Aryan language, that Euskarian which still lives on the shores of the Bay of Biscay. In Britain there is no certain knowledge of their use of any but Celtic tongues. What they spoke in the Mediterranean islands and in South Italy does not appear.

The blond broad-heads of Poland and West Russia form part of a people who, when they first made their appearance in history, occupied the marshy plains imperfectly drained by the Vistula, on the west, the Duna, on the north, and the Dnieper and Bug, on the south. They were [291] known to their neighbours as Wends, and among themselves as Serbs and Slavs. The Slavonic languages spoken by these people are said to be most closely allied to that of the Lithuanians, who lay upon their northern border. The Slavs resemble the South Germans in the predominance of broad-heads among them, while stature and complexion vary from the, often tall, blonds who prevail in Poland and great Russia to the, often short, brunets common elsewhere. There is certainly nothing in the history of the Slav people to interfere with the supposition that, from very early times, they have been a mixed race. For their country lies between that of the tall blond long-heads on the north, that of the short brunet broad-heads of the European type on the west, and that of the short brunet broad-heads of the Asiatic type on the east: and, throughout their history, they have either thrust themselves among their neighbours, or have been overrun and trampled down by them. Gauls and Goths have traversed their country, on their way to the east and south: Finno-tataric people, on their way to the west, have not only done the like, but have held them in subjection for centuries. On the other hand, there have been times when their western frontier advanced beyond the Elbe; indeed, it is asserted that they have sent colonies to Holland and even as far as southern England. A large part of eastern Germany; Bohemia, [292] Moravia, Hungary; the lower valley of the Danube and the Balkan peninsula, have been largely or completely Slavonised; and the Slavonic rule and language, which once had trouble to hold their own in West Russia and Little Russia, have now extended their sway over all the Finno-tataric populations of Great Russia; while they are advancing, among those of central Asia, up to the frontiers of India on the south and to the Pacific on the extreme east. Thus it is hardly possible that fewer than three races should have contributed to the formation of the Slavonic people; namely, the blond long-heads, the European brunet broad-heads, and the Asiatic brunet broad-heads. And, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it is certainly permissible to suppose that it is the first race which has furnished the blond complexion and the stature observable in so many, especially of the northern Slavs, and that the brunet complexion and the broad skulls must be attributed to the other two. But, if that supposition is permissible, then the Aryan form and substance of the Slavonic languages may also be fairly supposed to have proceeded from the blond long-heads. They could not have come from the Asiatic brunet broad-heads, who all speak non-Aryan languages; and the presumption is against their coming from the brunet broad-heads of the central European highlands, among whom an apparently non-Aryan [293] language was largely spoken, even in historical times.

In the same way, the tall blond tribes among the Fins may be accounted for as the product of admixture. The great majority of the Finno-tataric people are brunet broad-heads of the Asiatic type. But that the Fins proper have long been in contact with Aryans is evidenced by the many words borrowed from Aryan which their language contains. Hence there has been abundant opportunity for the mixture of races; and for the transference to some of the Fins of more or fewer of the physical characters of the Aryans and vice versa. On any hypothesis, the frontier between Aryan and Finno-tataric people must have extended across west-central Asia for a very long period; and, at any point of this frontier, it has been possible that mixed races of blond Fins or of brunet Aryans should be formed.

So much for the European people who now speak Celtic, or Teutonic, or Slavonian, or Lithuanian tongues; or who are known to have spoken them, before the supersession of so many of the early native dialects by the Romance modifications of the language of Rome. With respect to the original speakers of Greek and Latin, the unravelling of the tangled ethnology of the Balkan peninsula and the ordering of the chaos of that of Italy are enterprises upon which I do not propose [294] to enter. In regard to the first, however, there are a few tolerably satisfactory data. The ancient Thracians were proverbially blue-eyed and fair-haired. Tall blonds were common among the ancient Greeks, who were a long-headed people and the Sphakiots of Crete, probably the purest representatives of the old Hellenes in existence, are tall and blond. But considering that Greek colonization was taking place on a great scale in the eighth century B.C., and that, centuries earlier and later, the restless Hellene had been fighting trading, plundering and kidnapping, on both sides of the Ægean, and perhaps as far as the shores of Syria and of Egypt, it is probable that, even at the dawn of history, the maritime Greeks were a very mixed race. On the other hand, the Dorians may well have preserved the original type; and their famous migration may be the earliest known example of those movements of the Aryan race which were, in later times, to change the face of Europe. Analogy perhaps justifies a guess, that those ethnological shadows, the Pelasgi, may have been an earlier mixed population, like that of Western Gaul and of Britain before the Teutonic invasion. At any rate, the tall blond long-heads are so well represented in the oldest history of the Balkan peninsula, that they may be credited with the Aryan languages spoken there. And it may; be that the tradition which peopled Phrygia with Thracians represents a real move[295]ment of the Aryan race into Asia Minor, such as that which in after years carried the Gauls thither.

The difficulties in the way of a probable identification of the people among whom the various dialects of the Latin group developed themselves, with any race traceable in Italy in historical times, are very great. In addition to the Italic "aborigines" northern Italy was peopled by Ligurian brunet broad-heads; with Gauls, probably, to a large extent, blond long-heads; with Illyrians, about whom nothing is known. Besides these, there were those perplexing people the Etruscans, who seem to have been, originally, brunet long-heads. South Italy and Sicily present a contingent of "Sikels," Phœnicians and Greeks; while over all, in comparatively modern times, follows a wash of Teutonic blood. The Latin dialects arose, no one knows how, among the tribes of Central Italy, encompassed on all sides by people of the most various physical characters, who were gradually absorbed into the eternally widening maw of Rome, and there, by dint of using the same speech, became the first example of that wonderful ethnological hotch-potch miscalled the Latin race. The only trustworthy guide here is archæological investigation. A great advance will have been made when the race characters of the pre-historic people of the terremare (who are identified by [296] Helbig5 with the primitive Umbrians) become fully known.

I cannot learn that the ancient literatures of India and of Persia give any definite information about the complexion of the Indo-Iranians, beyond conveying the impression that they were what we vaguely call white men. But it is important to note that tall blond people make their appearance sporadically among the Tadjiks of Persia and of Turkestan; that the Siah-posh and Galtchas of the mountainous barrier between Turkestan and India are such; and that the same characters obtain largely among the Kurds on the western frontier of Persia, at the present day. The Kurds and the Galtchas are generally broad-headed, the others are long-headed. These people and the ancient Alans thus form a series of stepping-stones between the blond Aryans of Europe and those of Asia, standing up amidst the flood of Finno-tataric people which has inundated the rest of the interval between the sources of the Dnieper and those of the Oxus. If only more was known about the Sarmatians and the Scythians of the oldest historians, it is not improbable, I think, that we should discover that, even in historical times, the area occupied by the blond long-heads [297] of Aryan speech has been, at least temporarily, continuous from the shores of the North Sea to central Asia.

Suppose it to be admitted, as a fair working hypothesis, that the blond long-heads once extended without a break over this vast area, and that all the Aryan tongues have been developed out of their original speech, the question respecting the home of the race when the various families of Aryan speech were in the condition of inceptive dialects remains open. For all that, at first, appears to the contrary, it may have been in the west, or in the east, or anywhere between the two. In seeking for a solution of this obscure problem, it is an important preliminary to grasp the truth that the Aryan race must be much older than the primitive Aryan speech. It is not to be seriously imagined that the latter sprang suddenly into existence, by the act of a jealous Deity, apparently unaware of the strength of man's native tendency towards confusion of speech. But if all the diverse languages of men were not brought suddenly into existence, in order to frustrate the plans of the audacious bricklayers of the plain of Shinar; if this professedly historical statement is only another "type," and primitive Aryan, like all other languages, was built up by a secular process of development, the blond long-heads, among whom it grew into shape, must for [298] ages have been, philologically speaking, non-Aryans, or perhaps one should say "pro-Aryans." I suppose it may be safely assumed that Sanskrit and Zend and Greek were fully differentiated in the year 1500 B.C. If so, how much further back must the existence of the primitive Aryan, from which these proceeded, be dated? And how much further yet, that real juventus mundi (so far as man is concerned) when primitive Aryan was in course of formation? And how much further still, the differentiation of the nascent Aryan blond long-head race from the primitive stock of mankind?

If any one maintains that the blond long-headed people, among whom, by the hypothesis, the primitive Aryan language was generated may have formed a separate race as far back as the pleistocene epoch, when the first unquestionable records of man make their appearance, I do not see that he goes beyond possibility–though, of course, that is a very different thing from proving his case. But, if the blond long-heads are thus ancient, the problem of their primitive seat puts on an altogether new aspect. Speculation must take into account climatal and geographical conditions widely different from those which obtain in northern Eurasia at the present day. During much of the vast length of the Pleistocene period, it would seem that men could no more have lived either in Britain north of the Thames, or in [299] Scandinavia, or in northern Germany, or in northern Russia, than they can live now in the interior of Greenland, seeing that the land was covered by a great ice sheet like that which at present shrouds the latter country. At that epoch, the blond long-heads cannot reasonably be supposed to have occupied the regions in which we meet with them in the oldest times of which history has kept a record.

But even if we are content to assume a vastly less antiquity for the Aryan race; if we only make the assumption, for which there is considerable positive warranty, that it has existed in Europe ever since the end of the Pleistocene period–when the fauna and flora assumed approximately their present condition and the state of things called Recent by geologists set in–we have to reckon with a distribution of land and water, not only very different from that which at present obtains in northern Eurasia, but of such a nature that it can hardly fail to have exerted a great influence on the development and the distribution of the races of mankind. (See page 250, note 2 [16].)

At the present time, four great separate bodies of water, the Black Sea, the Caspian, the Sea of Aral, and Lake Balkash, occupy the southern end of the vast plains which extend from the Arctic Sea to the highlands of the Balkan peninsula, of Asia Minor, of Persia, of Afghanistan, and of the high plateaus of central Asia, as far as the Altai. [300] They lie for the most part between the parallels of 40° and 50° N. and are separated by wide stretches of barren and salt-laden wastes. The surface of Balkash is 514 feet, that of the Aral 158 feet above the Mediterranean, that of the Caspian eighty-five feet below it. The Black Sea is in free communication with the Mediterranean by the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles; but the others, in historical times, have been, at most, temporarily connected with it and with one another, by relatively insignificant channels. This state of things, however, is comparatively modern. At no very distant period, the land of Asia Minor was continuous with that of Europe, across the present site of the Bosphorus, forming a barrier several hundred feet high, which dammed up the waters of the Black Sea. A vast extent of eastern Europe and of western central Asia thus became a huge reservoir, the lowest part of the lip of which was probably situated somewhat more than 200 feet above the sea level, along the present southern watershed of the Obi, which flows into the Arctic Ocean. Into this basin, the largest rivers of Europe, such as the Danube and the Volga, and what were then great rivers of Asia, the Oxus and Jaxartes, with all the intermediate affluents, poured their waters. In addition, it received the overflow of Lake Balkash, then much larger; and probably, that of the inland sea of Mongolia. At that time, the level of the Sea of Aral stood at [301] least 60 feet higher than it does at present.6 Instead of the separate Black, Caspian, and Aral seas, there was one vast Ponto-Aralian Mediterranean, which must have been prolonged into arms and fiords along the lower valleys of the Danube, the Volga (in the course of which Caspian shells are now found as far as the Kuma), the Ural, and the other affluent rivers–while it seems to have sent its overflow, northward, through the present basin of the Obi. At the same time, there is reason to believe that the northern coast of Asia, which everywhere shows signs of recent slow upheaval, was situated far to the south of its present position. The consequences of this state of things have an extremely important bearing on the question under discussion. In the first place, an insular climate must be substituted for the present extremely continental climate of west central Eurasia. That is an important fact in many ways. For example, the present eastern climatal limitations of the beech could not have existed, and if primitive Aryan goes back thus far, the arguments based upon the occurrence of its name in some Aryan languages and not in others lose their force. In the second place, the European and the Asiatic moieties of the great Eurasiatic [302] plains were cut off from one another by the Ponto-Aralian Mediterranean and its prolongations. In the third place, direct access to Asia Minor, to the Caucasus, to the Persian highlands, and to Afghanistan, from the European moiety was completely barred; while the tribes of eastern central Asia were equally shut out from Persia and from India by huge mountain ranges and table lands. Thus, if the blond long-head race existed so far back as the epoch in which the Ponto-Aralian Mediterranean had its full extension, space for its development, under the most favourable conditions, and free from any serious intrusion of foreign elements from Asia, was presented in northern and eastern Europe.

When the slow erosion of the passage of the Dardanelles drained the Ponto-Aralian waters into the Mediterranean, they must have everywhere fallen as near the level of the latter as the make of the country permitted, remaining, at first, connected by such straits as that of which the traces yet persist between the Black and the Caspian, the Caspian and the Aral Seas respectively. Then, the gradual elevation of the land of northern Siberia, bringing in its train a continental climate, with its dry air and intense summer heats, the loss by evaporation soon exceeded the greatly reduced supply of water, and Balkash, Aral, and Caspian gradually shrank to their present dimensions. In the course of this process, the broad [303] plains between the separated inland seas, as soon as they were laid bare, threw open easy routes to the Caucasus and to Turkestan, which might well be utilised by the blond long-heads moving eastward through the plains, contemporaneously left dry, south and east of the Ural chain. The same process of desiccation, however, would render the route from east central Asia westward as easily practicable; and, in the end, the Aryan stock might easily be cut in two, as we now find it to be, by the movement of the Mongoloid brunet broad-heads to the west.

Thus we arrive at what is practically Latham's Sarmatian hypothesis–if the term "Sarmatian" is stretched a little, so as to include the higher parts and a good deal of the northern slopes of Europe between the Ural and the German Ocean; an immense area of country, at least as large as that now included between the Black Sea, the Atlantic, the Baltic, and the Mediterranean.

If we imagine the blond long-head race to have been spread over this area, while the primitive Aryan language was in course of formation, its north-western and its southeastern tribes will have been 1,500, or more, miles apart. Thus, there will have been ample scope for linguistic differentiation; and, as adjacent tribes were probably influenced by the same causes, it is reasonable to suppose that, at any given region of the periphery the process of differentiation, whether brought [304] about by internal or external agencies, will have been analogous. Hence, it is permissible to imagine that, even before primitive Aryan had attained its full development, the course of that development had become somewhat different in different localities; and, in this sense, it may be quite true that one uniform primitive Aryan language never existed. The nascent mode of speech may very early have got a twist, so to speak, towards Lithuanian, Slavonian, Teutonic, or Celtic, in the north and west; towards Thracian and Greek, in the south-west; towards Armenian in the south; towards Indo-Iranian in the southeast. With the centrifugal movements of the several fractions of the race, these tendencies of peripheral groups would naturally become more and more intensified in proportion to their isolation. No doubt, in the centre and in other parts of the periphery of the Aryan region, other dialectic groups made their appearance; but whatever development they may have attained, these have failed to maintain themselves in the battle with the Finno-tataric tribes, or with the stronger among their own kith and kin.7

Thus I think that the most plausible hypothetical answers which can be given to the two questions which we put at starting are these. [305] There was and is an Aryan race–that is to say, the characteristic modes of speech, termed Aryan, were developed among the blond long-heads alone however much some of them may have been modified by the importation of non-Aryan elements. As to the "home" of the Aryan race, it was in Europe, and lay chiefly east of the central highlands and west of the Ural. From this region it spread west, along the coasts of the North Sea to our islands, where, probably, it met the brunet long-heads; to France, where it found both these and the brunet short-heads; to Switzerland and South Germany, where it impinged on the brunet short-heads; to Italy, where brunet short-heads seem to have abounded in the north and long-heads in the south; and to the Balkan peninsula, about the earliest inhabitants of which we know next to nothing. There are two ways to Asia Minor, the one over the Bosphorus and the other through the passes of the Caucasus, and the Aryans may well have utilised both. Finally, the south-eastern tribes probably spread themselves gradually over west Turkestan, and, after evolving the primitive Indo-Iranian dialect, eventually colonized Persia and Hindostan, where their speech developed into its final forms. On this hypothesis, the notion that the Celts and the Teutons migrated from about Pamir and the Hindoo-Koosh is as far from the truth as the supposition that the Indo-Iranians migrated from [306] Scandinavia. It supposes that the blond long-heads, in what may be called their nascent Aryan stage, that is before their dialects had taken on the full Aryan characteristics, were spread over a wide region which is, conventionally, European; but which, from the point of view of the physical geographer, is rather to be regarded as a continuation of Asia. Moreover, it is quite possible and even probable, that the blond long-heads may have arrived in Turkestan before their language had reached, or at any rate passed beyond, the stage of primitive Aryan; and that the whole process of differentiation into Indo-Iranian took place during the long ages of their residence in the basin of the Oxus. Thus, the question whether the seat of the primitive Aryans was in Europe, or in Asia, becomes very much a debate about geographical terminology.

The foregoing arguments in favour of Latham's "Sarmatian hypothesis" have been based upon data which lie within the ken of history or may be surely concluded by reasoning backwards from the present state of things. But, thanks to the investigations of the pre-historic archæologists and anthropologists during the last half-century, a vast mass of positive evidence respecting the distribution and the condition of mankind in the long interval between the dawn of history and the commencement of the recent epoch has been brought to light.

[307] During this period, there is evidence that men existed in all those regions of Europe which have yet been properly examined; and such of their bony remains as have been discovered exhibit no less diversity of stature and cranial conformation than at present. There are tall and short men; long-skulled and broad-skulled men; and it is probably safe to conclude that the present contrast of blonds and brunets existed among them when they were in the flesh. Moreover it has become clear that, everywhere, the oldest of these people were in the so-called neolithic stage of civilization. That is to say, they not merely used stone implements which were chipped into shape, but they also employed tools and weapons brought to an edge by grinding. At first they know little or nothing of the use of metals; they possess domestic animals and cultivated plants and live in houses of simple construction.

In some parts of Europe little advance seems to have been made, even down to historical times. But in Britain, France, Scandinavia, Germany, Western Russia, Switzerland, Austria, the plain of the Po, very probably also in the Balkan peninsula, culture gradually advanced until a relatively high degree of civilization was attained. The initial impulse in this course of progress appears to have been given by the discovery that metal is a better material for tools and weapons than stone. In the early days of pre-historic archæ[308]ology, Nilsson showed that, in the interments of the middle age, bronze largely took the place of stone, and that, only in the latest, was iron substituted for bronze. Thus arose the generalization of the occurrence of a regular succession of stages of culture, which were somewhat unfortunately denominated the "ages" of stone, bronze, and iron. For a long time after this order of succession in the same locality (which, it was sometimes forgotten, has nothing to do with chronological contemporaneity in different localities) was made out, the change from stone to bronze was ascribed to foreign, and, of course, Eastern influences. There were the ubiquitous Phœnician traders and the immigrant Aryans from the Hindoo-Koosh, ready to hand. But further investigation has proved8 for various parts of Europe and made it probable for others, that though the old order of succession is correct it is incomplete, and that a copper stage must be interpolated between the neolithic and the bronze stages. Bronze is an artificial product, the formation of which implies a knowledge of copper; and it is certain that copper was, at a very early period, smelted out of the native ores, by the people of central Europe who used it. When they learned that the hard[309]ness and toughness of their metal were immensely improved by alloying it with a small quantity of tin, they forsook copper for bronze, and gradually attained a wonderful skill in bronze work. Finally, some of the European people became acquainted with iron, and its superior qualities drove out bronze, as bronze had driven out stone, from use in the manufacture of implements and weapons of the best class. But the process of substitution of copper and bronze for stone was gradual, and, for common purposes, stone remained in use long after the introduction of metals.

The pile-dwellings of Switzerland have yielded an unbroken archæological record of these changes. Those of eastern Switzerland ceased to exist soon after the appearance of metals, but in those of the Lakes of Neuchatel and Bienne the history is continued through the stage of bronze to the beginning of that of iron. And in all this lone series of remains, which lay bare the minutest details of the life of the pile-dwellers, from the neolithic to the perfected bronze stage, there is no indication of any disturbance such as must have been caused by foreign invasion; and such as was produced by intruders, shortly after the iron stage was reached. Undoubtedly the constructors of the pile-dwellings must have received foreign influences through the channel of trade, and may have received them by the slow immigration of other races. Their amber, their jade, and their [310] tin show that they had commercial intercourse with somewhat distant regions. The amber, however, takes us no further than the Baltic; and it is now known that jade is to be had within the boundaries of Europe, while tin lay no further off than north Italy. An argument in favour of oriental influence has been based upon the characters of certain of the cultivated plants and domesticated animals. But even that argument does not necessarily take us beyond the limits of south-eastern Europe; and it needs reconsideration in view of the changes of physical geography and of climate to which I have drawn attention.

In connection with this question there is another important series of facts to be taken into consideration. When, in the seventeenth century, the Russians advanced beyond the Ural and began to occupy Siberia, they found that the majority of the natives used implements of stone and bone. Only a few possessed tools or weapons of iron, which had reached them by way of commerce; the Ostiaks and the Tartars of Tom, alone, extracted their iron from the ore. It was not until the invaders reached the Lena, in the far east, that they met with skilful smiths among the Jakuts9 who manufactured knives, axes, lances, battle-axes, and leather jerkins studded with iron; [311] and among the Tunguses and Lamuts, who had learned from the Jakuts.

But there is an older chapter of Siberian history which was closed in the seventeenth century, as that of the people of the pile-dwellings of Switzerland had ended when the Romans entered Helvetia. Multitudes of sepulchral tumuli, termed like those of European Russia, "kurgans," are scattered over the north Asiatic plains, and are especially agglomerated about the upper waters of the Jenisei. Some are modern, while others, extremely ancient, are attributed to a quasi-mythical people, the Tschudes. These Tschudish kurgans abound in copper and gold articles of use and luxury, but contain neither bronze nor iron. The Tschudes procured their copper and their gold from the metalliferous rocks of the Ural and the Altai; and their old shafts, adits, and rubbish heaps led the Russians to the rediscovery of the forgotten stores of wealth. The race to which the Tschudes belonged and the age of the works which testify to their former existence, are alike unknown. But seeing that a rumour of them appears to have reached Herodotus, while, on the other hand, the pile-dwelling civilization of Switzerland may perhaps come down as late as the fifth century B.C., the [312] possibility that a knowledge of the technical value of copper may have travelled from Siberia westward must not be overlooked. If the idea of turning metals to account must needs be Asiatic, it may be north Asiatic just as well as south Asiatic. In the total absence of trustworthy chronological and anthropological data, speculation may run wild.

The oldest civilizations for which we have an, even approximately, accurate chronology are those of the valleys of the Nile and of the Euphrates. Here, culture seems to have attained a degree of perfection, at least as high as that of the bronze stage, six thousand years ago. But before the intermediation of Etruscan, Phœnician, and Greek traders, there is no evidence that they exerted any serious influence upon Europe or northern Asia. As to the old civilization of Mesopotamia, what is to be said until something definite is known about the racial characters of its originators, the Accadians? As matters stand, they are just as likely to have been a group of the same race as the Egyptians, or the Dravidians, as anything else. And considering that their culture developed in the extreme south of the Euphrates valley, it is difficult to imagine that its influence could have spread to northern Eurasia except by the Phœnician (and Carian?) intermediation which was undoubtedly operative in comparatively late times.

[313] Are we then to bring down the discovery of the use of copper in Switzerland to, at earliest, 1500 B.C., and to put it down to Phœnician hints? But why copper? At that time the Phœnicians must have been familiar with the use of bronze. And if, on the other hand, the northern Eurasiatics had got as far as copper, by the help of their own ingenuity, why deny them the capacity to make the further step to bronze? Carry back the borrowing system as far as we may, in the end we must needs come to some man or men from whom the novel idea started, and who after many trials and errors gave it practical shape. And there really is no ground in the nature of things for supposing that such men of practical genius may not have turned up, independently, in more races than one.

The capacity of the population of Europe for independent progress while in the copper and early bronze stage–the "palæo-metallic" stage, as it might be called–appears to me to be demonstrated in a remarkable manner by the remains of their architecture. From the crannog to the elaborate pile-dwelling, and from the rudest enclosure to the complex fortification of the terramare, there is an advance which is obviously a native product. So with the sepulchral constructions; the stone cist, with or without a preservative or memorial cairn, grows into the chambered graves lodged in tumuli; into such [314] megalithic edifices as the dromic vaults of Maes How and New Grange; to culminate in the finished masonry of the tombs of Mycenæ, constructed on exactly the same plan. Can any one look at the varied series of forms which lie between the primitive five or six flat stones fitted together into a mere box, and such a building as Maes How, and yet imagine that the latter is the result of foreign tuition? But the men who built Maes How, without metal tools, could certainly have built the so-called "treasure-house" of Mycenæ, with them.

If these old men of the sea, the heights of Hindoo-Koosh-Pamir and the plain of Shinar, had been less firmly seated upon the shoulders of anthropologists, I think they would long since have seen that it is at least possible that the early civilization of Europe is of indigenous growth; and that, so far as the evidence at present accumulated goes, the neolithic culture may have attained its full development, copper may have gradually come into use, and bronze may have succeeded copper, without foreign intervention.

So far as I am aware, every raw material employed in Europe up to the palæo-metallic stage is to be found within the limits of Europe; and there is no proof that the old races of domesticated animals and plants could not have been developed within these limits. If any one chose to main[315]tain, that the use of bronze in Europe originated among the inhabitants of Etruria and radiated thence, along the already established lines of traffic to all parts of Europe, I do not see that his contention could be upset. It would be hard to prove either that the primitive Etruscans could not have discovered the way to manufacture bronze, or that they did not discover it and become a great mercantile people in consequence, before Phœnician commerce had reached the remote shores of the Tyrrhene Sea.

Can it be safely concluded that the palæo-metallic culture which we have been considering was the appanage of any one of the western Eurasiatic races rather than another? Did it arise and develop among the brunet or the blond long-heads, or among the brunet short-heads? I do not think there are any means of answering these questions, positively, at present. Schrader has pointed out that the state of culture of the primitive Aryans, deduced from philological data, closely corresponds with that which obtained among the pile-dwellers in the neolithic stage. But the resemblance of the early stages of civilisation among the most different and widely separated races of mankind, should warn us that archæology is no more a sure guide in questions of race than philology.

With respect to the osteological characters of [316] the people of the Swiss pile-dwellings information is as yet scanty. So far as the present evidence goes, they appear to have comprised both broad-heads and long-heads of moderate stature.10 In France, England, and Germany, both long and broad skulls are found in tumuli belonging to the neolithic stage. In some parts of England the long skulls, and in others the broad skulls, accompany the higher stature. In the Scandinavian peninsula, nine-tenths of the neolithic people are decided long-heads: in Denmark, there is a much larger proportion of broad-heads.

In view of all the facts known to me (which cannot be stated in greater detail in this place), I am disposed to think that the blond long-heads, the brunet long-heads, and the brunet broad-heads have existed on the continent of Europe throughout the Recent period: that only the former two at first inhabited our islands; but that a mixed race of tall broad-heads, like some of the Blackforesters of the present day, so excellently described by Ecker, migrated from the continent and formed that tall contingent of the population [317] which has been identified (rightly or wrongly) with the Belgæ by Thurnam and which seems to have subsequently lost itself among the predominant brunet and blond long-heads.

I do not think there is anything to warrant the conclusion that the palæo-metallic culture of Europe took its origin among the blond long-head (or supposed Aryan) race; or that the people of the Swiss pile-dwellings belonged to that race. The long-heads among them may just as likely have been brunets. In north-eastern Italy there is clear evidence of the superposition of at least four stages of culture, in which that of the copper and bronze using terramare people comes second; a stage marked by Etruscan domination occupies the third place; and that is followed by the stage which appertains to the Gauls, with their long swords and other characteristic iron work. In western Switzerland, on the other hand, at La Téne, and elsewhere, similar relics show that the Gauls followed upon the latest population of the pile-dwellings among whom traces of Etruscan influence (though not of dominion) are to be found. Helbig supposes the terramare people to have been Greco-Latin-speaking Pelasgi, and consequently Aryan. But we cannot suppose the people of the pile-dwellings of Switzerland to have been speakers of primitive Greco-Latin (if ever there was such a language). And if the Gauls were the first speakers of Celtic who got into Switzerland, [318] what Aryan language can the people of the pile-dwellings have spoken?11

As I have already mentioned, there is not the least doubt that man existed in north-western Europe during the Pleistocene or Quaternary epoch. It is not only certain that men were contemporaries of the mammoth, the hairy rhinoceros, the reindeer, the cave bear, and other great carnivora, in England and in France, but a great deal has been ascertained about the modes of life of our predecessors. They were savage hunters, who took advantage of such natural shelters as overhanging rocks and caves, and perhaps built themselves rough wigwams; but who had no domestic animals and have left no sign that they cultivated plants. In many localities there is evidence that a very considerable interval–the so-called hiatus– intervened between the time when the Quaternary or palæolithic men occupied particular caves and river basins and the accumulation of the debris left by their neolithic successors. And, in spite of all the warnings against negative evidence afforded by the history of geology, some have very positively asserted that this means a complete break between the Quater[319]nary and the Recent populations–that the Quaternary population followed the retreating ice northwards and left behind them a desert which remained unpeopled for ages. Other high authorities, on the contrary, have maintained that the races of men who now inhabit Europe may all be traced back to the Great Ice Age. When a conflict of opinion of this kind obtains among reasonable and instructed men, it is generally a safe conclusion that the evidence for neither view is worth much. Certainly that is the result of my own cogitations with regard to both the hiatus doctrine (in its extreme form) and its opposite–though I think the latter by much the more likely to turn out right. But I hesitate to adopt it on the evidence which has been obtained up to this time.

No doubt, human bones and skulls of various types have been discovered in close proximity to Palæolithic implements and to skeletons of quaternary quadrupeds; no doubt, if the bones and skulls in question were not human, their contemporaneity would hardly have been questioned. But, since they are human, the demand for further evidence really need not be ascribed to mere conservative prejudice. Because the human biped differs from all other bipeds and quadrupeds, in the tendency to put his dead out of sight in various ways; commonly by burial. It is a habit worthy of all respect in itself, but generative of subtle traps and grievous pitfalls for the unwary [320] investigator of human palæontology. For it may easily happen, that the bones of him that "died o' Wednesday," may thus come to lie alongside the bones of animals that were extinct thousands of years before that Wednesday; and yet the interment may have been effected so many thousands of years ago that no outward sign betrays the difference in date. In all investigations of this kind, the most careful and critical study of the circumstances is needful if the results are to be accepted as perfectly trustworthy.

In the case of the remains found in a cave of the valley of the Neander, near Düsseldorf, half a century ago–the characters of which gave rise to a vast amount of discussion at that time and subsequently–the circumstances of the discovery were but vaguely known. The skeleton was met with in a deposit, the loess, which is known to be of quaternary age; there was no evidence to show how it came there. Consequently, not only was its exact age justly and properly declared to be a matter of doubt; but those who, on scientific or other grounds, were inclined to minimise its importance could put forth plausible speculations about its nature which do not look so well under the light thrown by a more advanced science of Anthropology. It could be and it was suggested that the Neanderthal skeleton was that of a strayed idiot; that the characters of the skull were the result of early synostosis or of late gout; and, [321] in fact, any stick was good enough to beat the dog withal.

As some writings of mine on the subject led to my occupation of a prominent position among the belaboured dogs of that day, I have taken a mild interest in watching the gradual rehabilitation of my old friend of the Neanderthal among normal men, which has been going on of late years. It has come to be generally admitted that his remarkable cranium is no more than a strongly-marked example of a type which occurs, not only among other prehistoric men, but is met with, sporadically, among the moderns; and that, after all, I was not so wrong as I ought to have been, when I indicated such points of similarity among the skulls found in our river-beds and among the native races of Australia.12 However, doubts still clung about the geological age of the various deposits in which skulls of the Neanderthal type were subsequently found; and it was not until the year 1886 that two highly-competent observers, Messrs. Fraipont and Lohest, the one an anatomist, the other a geologist, furnished us with evidence such as will bear severe criticism. At the mouth of a cave in the commune of Spy, in the Belgian province of Namur, Messrs. Fraipont and Lohest discovered two skeletons of the Neanderthal type; and the elaborate account of their investigations which they have published appears to me to leave [322] little room for doubt that the men of Spy fabricated the Paleolithic implements, and were the contemporaries of the characteristic quaternary quadrupeds, found with them. The anatomical characters of the skeletons bear out conclusions which are not flattering to the appearance of the owners. They were short of stature but powerfully built, with strong, curiously-curved, thighbones, the lower ends of which are so fashioned that they must have walked with a bend at the knees. Their long depressed skulls had very strong brow ridges; their lower jaws, of brutal depth and solidity, sloped away from the teeth downwards and backwards, in consequence of the absence of that especially characteristic feature of the higher type of man, the chin prominence. Thus these skulls are not only eminently "Neanderthaloid," but they supply the proof that the parts wanting in the original specimen harmonized in lowness of type with the rest.

After a very full discussion of the anatomical characters of these skulls, M. Fraipont says:

"To sum up, we consider ourselves to be in a position to say that, having regard merely to the anatomical structure of the man of Spy, he possessed a greater number of pithecoid characters than any other race of mankind."13

And after enumerating these he continues:

"The other and much more numerous characters of the skull, of [323] the trunk, and of the limbs seem to be all human. Between the man of Spy and an existing anthropoid ape there lies an abyss."

Now that is pleasant reading for me, because, in 1863, I committed myself to the assertion that the Neanderthal skull was "the most pithecoid of human crania yet discovered," yet that "in no sense can the Neanderthal bones be regarded as the remains of a human being intermediate between men and apes"14 and "that the fossil remains of Man hitherto discovered do not seem to me to take us appreciably nearer to that lower pithecoid form, by the modification of which he has, probably, become what he is."15

As the evidence stood seven and twenty years ago, in fact, it would have been imprudent to assume that the Neanderthal skull was anything but a case of sporadic reversion. But, in my anxiety not to overstate my case, I understated it. The Neanderthaloid race is "appreciably nearer," though the approximation is but slight. In the words of M. Fraipont:

"The distance which separates the man of Spy from the modern anthropoid ape is undoubtedly enormous; between the man of Spy and the Dryopithecus it is a little less. But we must be permitted to point out that if the man of the later quaternary age is the stock whence existing races have sprung, he has travelled a very great way.

From the data now obtained, it is permissible to believe that [324] we shall be able to pursue the ancestral type of men and the anthropoid apes still further, perhaps as far as the eocene and even beyond."16

These conclusions hold good whatever the age of the men of Spy; but they possess a peculiar interest if we admit, as I think on the evidence must be admitted, that these human fossils are of pleistocene age. For, after all due limitations, they give us some, however dim, insight into the rate of evolution of the human species, and indicate that it has not taken place at a much faster or slower pace than that of other mammalia. And if that is so, we are warranted in the supposition that the genus Homo, if not the species which the courtesy or the irony of naturalists has dubbed sapiens, was represented in pliocene, or even in miocene times. But I do not know by what osteological peculiarities it could be determined whether the pliocene, or miocene, man was sufficiently sapient to speak or not;17 and whether, or not, he answered to the definition "rational animal" in any higher sense than a dog or an ape does.

There is no reason to suppose that the genus [325] Homo was confined to Europe in the Pleistocene age; it is much more probable that this, like other mammalian genera of that period, was spread over a large extent of the surface of the globe. At that time, in fact, the climate of regions nearer the equator must have been far more favourable to the human species; and it is possible that, under such conditions, it may have attained a higher development than in the north. As to where the genus Homo originated, it is impossible to form even a probable guess. During the miocene epoch, one region of the present temperate zones would serve as well as another. The elder Agassiz long ago tried to prove that the well-marked areas of geographical distribution of mammals have their special kinds of men; and, though this doctrine cannot be made good to the extent which Agassiz maintained; yet the limitation of the Australian type to New Holland,18 the approximate restriction of the negro type to Ultra-Saharal Africa, and the peculiar character of the population of Central and South America, are facts which bear strongly in favour of the conclusion that the causes which have influenced the distribution of mammals in general, have powerfully affected that of man.

Let it be supposed that the human remains from the caves of the Neanderthal and of Spy [326] represent the race, or one of the races, of men who inhabited Europe in the quaternary epoch, can any connection be traced between it and existing races? That is to say, do any of them exhibit characters approximating those of the Spy men or other examples of the Neanderthaloid race? Put in the latter form, I think that the question may be safely answered in the affirmative. Skulls do occasionally approach the Neanderthaloid type, among both the brunet and the blond long-head races. For the former, I pointed out the resemblance, long ago, in some of the Irish river-bed skulls. For the latter, evidence of various kinds may be adduced; but I prefer to cite the authority of one of the most accomplished and cautious of living anthropologists. Professor Virchow was led, by historical considerations, to think that the Teutonic type, if it still remained pure and undefiled anywhere, should be discoverable among the Frisians, in their ancient island homes on the North German coast, remote from the great movements of nations. In their tall stature and blond complexion the Frisians fulfilled expectation; but their skulls differed in some respects from those of the neighbouring blond long-heads. The depression, or flattening (accompanied by a slight increase in breadth), which occurs occasionally among the latter, is regular and characteristic among the Frisians; and, in other respects, the Frisian skull unmistakably approaches the Nean[327]derthal and Spy type.19 The fact that this resemblance exists is of none the less importance because the proper interpretation of it is not yet clear. It may be taken to be a pretty sure indication of the physiological continuity of the blond long-heads with the Pleistocene Neanderthaloid men. But this continuity may have been brought about in two ways. The blond long-heads may exhibit one of the lines of evolution of the men of the Neanderthaloid type. Or, the Frisians may be the result of the admixture of the blond long-heads with Neanderthaloid men; whose remains have been found at Canstatt and at Gibraltar, as well as at Spy and in the valley of the Neander; and who, therefore, seem, at one time, to have occupied a considerable area in Western Europe. The same alternatives present themselves when Neanderthaloid characters appear in skulls of other races. If these characters belong to a stage in the development of the human species, antecedent to the differentiation of any of the existing races, we may expect to find them in the lowest of these races, all over the world, and in the early stages of all races. I have already referred to the remarkable similarity of the skulls of certain tribes of native Australians to the [328] Neanderthal skull; and I may add, that the wide differences in height between the skulls of different tribes of Australians afford a parallel to the differences in altitude between the skulls of the men of Spy and those of the grave rows of North Germany. Neanderthaloid features are to be met with, not only in ancient long skulls; those of the ancient broad-headed people entombed at Borreby in Denmark have been often noted.

Reckoned by centuries, the remoteness of the quaternary, or Pleistocene, age from our own is immense, and it is difficult to form an adequate notion of its duration. Undoubtedly there is an abysmal difference between the Neanderthaloid race and the comely living specimens of the blond long-heads with whom we are familiar. But the abyss of time between the period at which North Europe was first covered with ice, when savages pursued mammoths and scratched their portraits with sharp stones in central France, and the present day, ever widens as we learn more about the events which bridge it. And, if the differences between the Neanderthaloid men and ourselves could be divided into as many parts as that time contains centuries, the progress from part to part would probably be almost imperceptible.

1 Schrader, Prehistoric Antiquities of the Aryan Peoples. Translated by F. B. Jevons, M.A., 1890. Taylor, The Origin of the Aryans, 1890.

2 Canon Taylor (Origin of the Aryans, p. 31) states that "Cuno . . . was the first to insist on what is now looked on as an axiom in ethnology–that race is not co-extensive with language," in a work published in 1871. I may be permitted to quote a passage from a lecture delivered on the 9th of January, 1870, which brought me into a great deal of trouble. "Physical, mental, and moral peculiarities go with blood and not with language. In the United States the negroes have spoken English for generations; but no one on that ground would call them Englishmen, or expect them to differ physically, mentally or morally from other negroes "–Pall Mall Gazette, Jan. 10, 1870. But the "axiom in ethnology" had been implied if not enunciated, before my time; for example, by Desmoulins in 1826 (See above p. 215.)

3 I am unable to discover good grounds for the severity of the criticism, in the name of "the anthropologists," with which Professor Max Müller's assertion that the same blood runs in the veins of English soldiers "as in the veins of the dark Bengalese," and that there is "a legitimate relationship between Hindoo, Greek, and Teuton," has been visited. So far as I know anything about anthropology, I should say that these statements may be correct literally, and probably are so substantially. I do not know of any good reason for the physical differences between a high-caste Hindoo and a Dravidian, except the Aryan blood in the veins of the former; and the strength of the infusion is probably quite as great in some Hindoos as in some English soldiers.

4 I may plead the precedent of the good English words "block-head" and "thick-head" for "broad-head" and "long-head." but I cannot say that they are elegant. I might have employed the technical terms brachycephali and dolichocephali. But it cannot be said that they are much more graceful; and, moreover, they are sometimes employed in senses different from that which I have given in the definition of broad-heads and long-heads. The cephalic index is a number which expresses the relation of the breadth to the length of a skull, taking the latter as 100. Therefore "broad-heads" have the cephalic index above 80 and "long-heads" have it below 80. The physiological value of the difference is unknown; its morphological value depends upon the observed fact of the constancy of the occurrence of either long skulls or broad skulls among large bodies of mankind.

5 Die Italiker in der Poebene, 1879. See for much valuable information respecting the races of the Balkan and Italic peninsulæ, Zampa's essay, "Vergleichende Anthropolologische Ethnographie von Apulien," Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, xviii., 1886.

6 This is proved by the old shore-marks on the hill of Kashkanatao in the midst of the delta of the Oxus. Some authorities put the ancient level very much higher–200 feet or more (Keane, Asia, p. 408).

7 See the views of J. Schmidt (stated and discussed in Schrader and Jevons, pp. 63-67), with which those here set forth are substantially identical.

8 "Proved" is perhaps too strong a word. But the evidence set forth by Dr. Much (Die Kupferzeit in Europa, 1886) in favor of a copper stage of culture among the inhabitants of the pile-dwellings is very weighty.

9 Andree, Die Metalle bei den Naturvölkern (p. 114). It is interesting to note that the Jakuts have always been pastoral nomads, formerly shepherds, now horse-breeders, and that they continue to work their iron in the primitive fashion; as the argument that metallurgic skill implies settled agricultural life not unfrequently makes its appearance.

10 Professor Virchow has guardedly expressed the opinion that the oldest inhabitants of the Swiss pile-dwellings were broad-heads, and that later on (commencing before the bronze stage there was a gradual infusion of long-heads among them (Zeitshrift für Ethnologie. xvii., 1885). There is independent evidence of the existence of broad-heads in the Cevennes during the neolithic period, and I should be disposed to think that this opinion may well be correct; but the examination of the evidence on which it is, at present, based does not lead me to feel very confident about it.

11 See Dr. Munro's excellent work, The Lake Dwellings of Europe, for La Téne. Readers of Professor Rhys' recent articles (Scottish Review, 1890) may suggest that the pile dwelling people spoke the Gaedhelic form of Celtic, and the Gauls the Brythonic form.

12 See p. 202 of this volume.

13 Fraipont et Lohest. "La Race humaine de Néanderthal, ou de Canstatt, en Belgique," Archives de Biologie, 1886.

14 See p. 205 supra.

15 Ibid, p. 208.

16 "Where, then, must we look for primæval Man? Was the oldest Homo sapiens, pliocene or miocene, or yet more ancient? In still older strata do the fossilized bones of an Ape more anthropoid or a Man more pithecoid than any yet known await the researches of some unborn palæontologist? "–P. 208 supra..

17 I am perplexed by the importance attached by some to the presence or absence of the so-called "genial" elevations. Does any one suppose that the existence of the genio-hyo-glossus muscle which plays so large a part in the movements of the tongue depends on that of these elevations?

18 [Unless I am right in extending it to Hindostan and even further west.–1894.]

19 Virchow Beiträge zur physischen Anthropologie der Deutschen (Abh. der Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, 1876). See particularly p. 238 for the full recognition of the Neanderthaloid characters of Frisian skulls and of the ethnological significaince of the similarity.

Preface and Table of Contents to Volume VII, Man's Place in Nature, of Huxley's Collected Essays.

Previous article: On Some Fixed Points in British Ethnology [1871], pages 253-270.

Next volume, Volume VIII, Discourses: Biological & Geological, of Huxley's Collected Essays.



1.   THH Publications
2.   Victorian Commentary
3.   20th Century Commentary

1.   Letter Index
2.   Illustration Index

Gratitude and Permissions

C. Blinderman & D. Joyce
Clark University

§ 1. THH: His Mark
§ 2. Voyage of the Rattlesnake
§ 3. A Sort of Firm
§ 4. Darwin's Bulldog
§ 5. Hidden Bond: Evolution
§ 6. Frankensteinosaurus
§ 7. Bobbing Angels: Human Evolution
§ 8. Matter of Life: Protoplasm
§ 9. Medusa
§ 10. Liberal Education
§ 11. Scientific Education
§ 12. Unity in Diversity
§ 13. Agnosticism
§ 14. New Reformation
§ 15. Verbal Delusions: The Bible
§ 16. Miltonic Hypothesis: Genesis
§ 17. Extremely Wonderful Events: Resurrection and Demons
§ 18. Emancipation: Gender and Race
§ 19. Aryans et al.: Ethnology
§ 20. The Good of Mankind
§ 21.  Jungle Versus Garden