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1. An Alleged Primitive Black Race (Dravidian or Negritic).
The theory was advanced by Lenormant that lower Mesopotamia and southern Persia were once peopled by an ancient branch of the black-skinned Dravidians of India. This opinion has of late years been defended by De Quatrefages, Oppert, Lefévre, Schurtz, Schiaparelli, Conder and others.*
The only evidence which seems at all to support such a view is the presence in the Khanate of Celat of the Brahu tribe, who have been by some classed with the Dravidas or Mundas of India. They are certainly negroid, with swarthy complexions, flat noses, scanty beard, hair black and curly, cheek bones high and face broad. Their language has undoubted Dravidian elements, the words for "one " and "two," for example, and many others. But its grammar seems to me to be much more Aryan than Dravidian. The verbal subject is a separable pronominal prefix, the nouns have declensions, and the suffixes are no longer root-words. It is probable they are merely a hybridized outpost of the Dravidian stock. It is well to remember that they dwell on the affluents of the Indus, twelve hundred miles distant from the Euphrates, and there is no reason to suppose that they were ever nearer it.
The undersized negritic population which is found in the Andaman and other islands south of the Asiatic continent has been supposed, principally on the strength of some discoveries of negroid heads and portraitures at Susa by M. Dieulafoy, to have extended into Babylonia. But these sculptures belong to a comparatively late period, and if negritic-and their strong beards render such a supposition improbable-they are much more likely to have been of slaves or captives than of an old resident population. This would also explain the somewhat negroid traits of the modern Susians.
See De Quatrefages, The Pygmies, pp. 55, 56 (Eng. trans., N. York, 1895); Lefévre, Race and Language, p. 118; Schurtz Catechismus der Völkerkunde, p. 155; L. Schiaparelli, "Sull 'Etnografia della Persia antica anteriore alle Invasione ariane," in Atti della R. Accad. delle Scienze di Torino, 1888. The last-mentioned distinctly identifies the Brahu as the remnant of the primitive speech.
+"Synoptical Grammar and Vocabulary of the Brahoe Language," in Bellew, Travels from the Indus to the Euphrates. There are only three numerals in the language: 1, asit; 2, irat; 3, musit. The others are borrowed from the Persian. The first may be compared to the Sumerian ash, one. Mr. R. N. Cust, in his Languages of the East Indies, is doubtful about the Dravidian relationship.
The theory that the beard and hair are artificial of course destroys ethnic value of any kind for these figures.
The" Asiatic Ethiopians," mentioned by Herodotus and some other early Greek writers, were not negroid. They are described as having straight hair, and it has been shown by Georges Radet that some of them at least were Semites.*
2. An Alleged Primitive Hamitic (Cushite) Race.
By the "Hamitic" stock, ethnographers and linguists now mean those who speak dialects of the Berber languages of northern Africa and their affined tongues, the Galla, Somali, Danakil, etc., of eastern Africa. The "Cush" of the ancient Egyptians was largely peopled by Hamites, and the oldest inhabitants of Egypt itself were probably of Hamitic blood.
The idea of locating members of this stock on west Asian soil was no doubt first derived from the book of Genesis.† That respected authority states that Nimrod, the son of Cush and grandson of Ham, settled in the plain of Shinar and built the first cities of Babylonia. This statement was eagerly adopted by the early Assyriologists, notably by Sir Henry and Prof. George Rawlinson, by Lepsius, Loftus and others. The language of old Babylon was even identified with the modern Galla, and the passage of the Hamites or Cushites across the Red Sea, by way of Arabia to the Persian Gulf, was accurately traced!‡
Another band was supposed to have entered Palestine and to have left representatives in the light-complexioned Amorites of the highlands.
It must be acknowledged that later researches have accumulated no evidence in favor of these ancient legends. Except in
* See his extended discussion of the passages in the Révue Archéologique, Tome xxii (1893), p. 209, 87.
The genealogical list of peoples in Genesis x is often appealed to in support of theories in ethnography. That list has much interest politically, geographically and even historically; but cannot at all be accepted on questions of ethnic affiliations. Schrader, Hommel and Delitzsch have expressed the opinion that the "Cush" of Gen. x. 8, etc., refers to the Kashites of the lower Tigris, who will be discussed later. Fried. Delitzsch, Die Sprache der Kossäer, p. 61, note.
See Prof. Rawlinson in Smith's Dict. of the Bible, s. v. "Chaldeans;" and Sir Henry in the notes to his translation of Herodotus; W. K. Loftus, Travels in Chaldea and Susiana, pp. 69, 70, 95. Lepsius' views are severely criticised by Dr. W. Max Müller in his erudite work, Asien und Europa nach altegyptischen Inschriften (Leipzig, 1893), p. 343. The theory has recently been developed by M. Lombard in his "Description ethnographique de l'Asie Occidentale," in the Bull. de la Soc. d' Anthropologie of Paris, 1890, though his connotation of the term chamitique differs from that of Rawlinson.
PROC. AMER. PHILOS SOC. XXXIV. 147. J.
PRINTED MAY 9, 1895.
one or two possible instances in southern Arabia,* no example of a Hamitic dialect has been discovered in Asia; and Babylonian Semitic is as far from Galla as is ancient Arabic.
Principally because they are said to have been blonds, Prof. Sayce claims the Amorites as Libyans. But there are blonds in considerable numbers among the pure-blooded Arabs of the desert. Therefore this trait is not conclusive. Moreover, some of the ablest critics now believe that "Amorite" and "Canaanite" were merely ethnically synonymous terms applied to the same Semitic people.† At any rate, the Amorites, if non-Semitic, are much more likely to have been allied to the tribes north of them than to the African Libyans.
3. An Alleged "Turanian" (Sibiric or Sinitic) Race.
A favorite theory with many writers, notably Lenormant, Sayce, Conder, Isaac Taylor, etc., has been that the "Turanians" extended over western Asia and central and southern Europe in prehistoric times.‡
Who these Turanians were is not always clear. Prof. Sayce sometimes calls them "Ugro-Altaic," at others, "Ugro-Mongolian," by the former meaning collaterals of the Finns, Tartars and Turks (those whom I call Sibiric),§ and by the latter appar ently including the Chinese.
Apart from the alleged evidence from linguistic data, which I shall consider later, scarcely anything save assertions have been offered in favor of this opinion. Before the historic invasions of western Asia by the Sibiric tribes, there is no record of their presence in Persia or west of it. There are no remnants of a prehistoric occupation by them, no existing fragments of a primitive Sibiric tongue. The only groups of Mongols now in the limits of ancient Iran, to wit., the Hasarah and
*Notably the Ekhili or Mahri in the Hadramaut. See M. de Charency's study of this dialect in Actes de la Sociêtè Philologique, T. i, p. 31, 8qq. Dr. Glaser has recently obtained more material, but this has not yet been published.
+ The question is impartially stated in J. F. McCurdy, History, Prophecy and the Monuments, Vol. 1, pp. 406-103 (New York, 1894). Dr. W. Max Müller assigns strong reasons for considering the Amorites to have been pure Semites, Asien und Europa, pp. 230–234.
The evidence in favor of this theory is fully summed up by C. R. Conder in his article, "The Early Races of Western Asia," in the Jour. of the Anthropological Institute, 1890, p. 304, 8q., and in his Syrian Stone Lore (London, 1886).
§ See the classification of the Asian race which I adopt in my Races and Peoples; Lectures on the Science of Ethnography, p. 194 (New York, 1892).
the Aimak, between Herat and Cabul, and a few others, drifted there in the mighty inundation of Ghenghis Khan in the fourteenth century of our era.*
According to their own traditions, and the concurrent testimony of the oldest Chinese annals, the present Khanates of Khiva, Bokhara and Khokan, as well as eastern Turkistan, were inhabited in the most ancient tine by an Aryan population, which was conquered or expelled by the Mongol-Tartar race within the historic period.†
This is substantiated by the most recent researches with reference to the ethnic position of the ancient Asian Scythians who are located in that vicinity by the Greek geographers. They are shown to have been members of the Indo-European family.‡
It is even very doubtful that in the remote Avestan period of the history of eastern Iran the Aryans had to contend with Altaic or Mongolic hordes; for their enemies are represented as using war chariots, which were unknown to the Tartar horsemen.§ The so-called non-Aryans (anarya) probably were merely other tribes of Indo-European origin, of different culture and religion. The peculiar arrow release of the Mongolians and their characteristic bows are not depicted on the oldest monuments, nor were they familiar to the early western tribes of Asia.
Physically the protohistoric peoples of western Asia nowhere display clear traits of the well-marked type of the Sibiric stock. Judged either by the portraitures on the monuments or by the cranial remains in the oldest cemeteries, they were meso- or dolicho-cephalic, with straight eyes, oval or narrow faces, distinct nasal bridges, etc.
A persistent effort was made a few years ago by the Rev. C. J. Ball to prove that the language and blood of the southern
*H. Schurtz, Catechismus der Völkerkunde, p. 232.
+ W. Geiger, Civilization of the Eastern Iranians in Ancient Times, p. 18; Gregorjew, Bulletin of the Oriental Congress at St. Petersburg, 1876, p. 38.
Bertin in Jour. of the Anthrop. Inst., 1888, p. 109; Hovelacque, La Linguistique, p. 190, and others.
W. Geiger, u. s., who inclines, however, to a pre-Aryan hypothesis.
Geiger points this out clearly, and it is surprising that Schrader and Jevons (Prehistoric Antiquities of the Aryan People, London, 1890) fail to note that arya in the Avesta is a religious, not an ethnic, distinction.
See Prof. E. S. Morse's suggestive study on arrow releases as an ethnic trait in Essex Institute Bulletin, 1885.
Babylonians were distinctly Chinese.* His essays on this subject are striking examples of the misapplication of the principles of linguistic comparisons for ethnographic purposes. By the methods he adopts any two languages whatever can be shown to be related. He claims his view to be original; but eighteen years before he published it, the Rev. Joseph Edkins had. printed a volume to prove that the Chinese language had its origin in the Mesopotamian plain, because the Tower of Babel stood there, near which the "confusion of tongues " took place ! † Prof. A. Boltz has lately pushed the Sinitic theory to its extreme by discovering elements of Japanese in the tongues of old Babylonia.
These opinions scarcely merit serious refutation; the more so as the whole Turanian hypothesis has distinctly weakened of late years, several of its warmest defenders having gone over to the "Alarodian " theory, which I shall consider presently.
4. An Alleged" Ground Race" of Unknown Affinities.
It will be sufficient to mention the notion advanced by Bertin, that in prehistoric times western Asia was peopled by what he calls a "ground race," a variety of the human species of no particular language or physical type, which he imagines once spread over the whole earth and disappeared with the advance of the higher varieties. No evidence is offered for the existence of this fanciful creation of a scientific brain.
THE "STONE AGE " IN WESTERN ASIA.
The absence of a prehistoric, aboriginal people, of a different variety from the white race, resident in western Asia, appears confirmed by archæological investigations.
Up to the present time no sufficient proof of palæolithic sites within the area I am considering has been presented. §
* Ball's articles on the subject are in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archæology, 1889, and after.
+ Rev. Joseph Edkin, China's Place in Philology (London, 1871).
G. Bertin, "The Races of the Babylonian Empire," in the Jour. of the Anthrop. Soc., 1858, p. 104, 8qq.
G. de Mortillet, in his Préhistorique Antiquité de l'Homme, pp. 178, 288, 450, presents statements to the contrary. But the day is past when we assign a rough stone implement of "chelléen" form at once to palæolithic times. The stratigraphy is the test, and this has not been shown to justify such antiquity in Syrian caves.