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R. Cr.AY, Sons, and Taylor, 



In times when subjects of education have multiplied, it 
may seem at first sight a hardship to lay on the already 
heavily-pressed student a new science. But it will be found 
that the real effect of Anthropology is rather to lighten 
than increase the strain of learning. In the mountains we 
see the bearers of heavy burdens contentedly shoulder a 
carrying-frame besides, because they find its weight more 
than compensated by the convenience of holding together 
and balancing their load. So it is with the science of 
Man and CiviHzation, which connects into a more manage- 
able whole the scattered subjects of an ordinary education. 
Much of the difficulty of learning and teaching Hes in the 
scholar's not seeing clearly what each science or art is for, 
what its place is among the purposes of life. If he knows 
something of its early history, and how it arose from the 
simpler wants and circumstances of mankind, he finds him- 
self better able to lay hold of it than when, as too often 
happens, he is called on to take up an abstruse subject not 
at the beginning but in the middle. When he has learnt 
something of man's rudest means of conversing by gestures 
and cries, and thence has been led to see how the higher 


devices of articulate speech are improvemeDts on such 
lower methods, he makes a fairer start in the science of 
language than if lie had fallen unprepared among the 
subtleties of grammar, which unexplained look like 
arbitrary rules framed to perplex rather than to inform. 
The dislike of so many beginners to geometry as ex- 
pounded by Euklid, the fact that not one out of three 
ever really understands what he is doing, is of all things 
due to the scholar not being shown first the practical 
common- sense starting point, where the old carpenters 
and builders began to make out the relations of dis- 
tances and spaces in their work. So the law-student 
plunges at once into the intricacies of legal systems 
which have grown u}) through the struggles, the reforms, 
and even the blunders of thousands of years , yet he 
might have made his way clearer by seeing how laws 
begin in their simplest forms, framed to meet the needs 
of savage and barbaric tribes. It is needless to make 
a list of all the branches of education in knowledge and 
art ; there is not one which may not be the easier and 
better learnt for knowing its history and place in the 
general science of Man. 

With this aim in view, the present volume is an in- 
troduction to Anthropology, rather than a summary of 
all it teaches. It does not deal with strictly technical 
matter, out of the reach of readers who have received, 
or are receiving, the ordinary higher English education. 
Thus, except to students trained in anatomy, the minute 
modern researches as to distinction of races by skull 
measurements and the like would be useless. Much care 


has been taken to make the chapters on the various 
branches of the science sound as far as they go, but 
the more advanced work must be left to special students. 
While the various departments of the science of Man 
are extremely multifarious, ranging from body to mind, 
from language to music, from fire-making to morals, they 
are all matters to whose nature and history every well- 
informed person ought to give some thought. It is much, 
however, for any single writer to venture to deal even in 
the most elementa.ry way with so immense a variety of 
subjects. In such a task I have the right to ask that 
errors and imperfections should be lightly judged. I 
could not have attempted it at all but for the help of 
friends eminent in various branches of the science, whom 
I have been able to consult on doubtful and difficult 
points. My acknowledgments are especially due to Pro- 
fessor Huxley and Ur. E. A. Freeman, Sir Henry Maine, 
Dr. Birch, Mr. Franks, Professor Flower, Major-General 
Pitt-Rivers, Professor Sayce, Dr. Beddoe, Dr. D. H. 
Tuke, Professor W. K. Douglas, Mr. Russell Martineau, 
Mr. R. Garnett, Mr. Henry Sweet, Mr. Rudler, and 
many other friends whom I can only thank unnamed. 
The illustrations of races are engraved from photographic 
portraits, many of them taken by the permission of 
Messrs. Dammann of Huddersfield from their valuable 
Albums of Ethnological Photographs. 

E. B. T. 

February, 1881. 




Man, Ancient and Modern i 

Antiquity of Man, i — Time required for Development of Races, i — of 
Languages, 7 — of Civilization, 13 — Traces of Man in the Stone 
Age, 25 — Later Period, 26 — Earlier Quaternary or Drift-Period, 29. 


Man and other Animals 35 

Vertebrate Animals, 35 — Succession and Descent of Species, 37 — 
Apes and Man, comparison of Structure, 38 — Hands and Feet, 42 
— Hair, 44 — Features, 44— Brain, 45 — Mind in Lower Animals and 
Man, 47. 


Races of Mankind 56 

Differences of Race, 56 — Stature and Proportions, 56 — Skull, 60 — 
Features, 62 — Colour, 66 — Hair, 71 — Constitution, 73 — Tempera, 
ment, 74 — Types of Races, 75 — Permanence, 80 — Mixture, 80 — 
Variation, 84 — Races of Mankind classified, 87. 




Language 114 

Sign-making, 1 14 — Gesture-language, 114 — Sound-gestures, 120 — 
Natural Language, 122 — Utterances of Animals, 122 — Emotional 
and Imitative Sounds in Language, ri24 — Change of Sound and 
Sense, 127 — Other expression of Sense by Sound, 128 — Children's 
Words, 128 — Articulate Language, its relation to Natural Lan- 
guage, 129 — Origin of Language, 130. 


Language [continued) 132 

Articulate Speech, 132 — Growth of Meanings, 133 — Abstract Words, 
135 — Real and Grammatical Words, 136 — Parts of Speech, I38 — 
Sentences, 139 — Analytic Language, 139 — Word Combination, 140 
— Synthetic Language, 141 — Affixes, 142 — Sound-change, 143 — 
Roots, 144 — Syntax, 146 — Government and Concord, 147 — Gender, 
149 — Development of Language, 150. 


Language and Race 152 

Adoption and loss of Language, 152— Ancestral Language, I53 — 
Families of Language, 155 — Aryan, 156 — Semitic, 159 — Egyptian, 
Berber, &c., 160 — Tatar or Turanian, 161 — South-Eapt Asian, 162 
— Malayo Polynesian, 163 — Dravidian, 164 — African, Bantu, Hot- 
tentot, 164 — American, 165 — Early Languages and Races, 165. 


Writing 167 

Picture-writing, 168 — Sound-pictures, 169 — Chinese Writing, 170 — 
Cuneiform Writmg, 17^ — Egyptian Writing, 173 — Alphabetic 
Writing, 175— Spelling, 178— Printing, 180. 




Arts of Life 1S2 

Developoieiit of Instnaments, 183— Club, Hammer, 1S4 — Stone-flal<e, 
185 — Hatchet, 188 — Sabre, Knife, 189 — Spear, Dagger, Sword, 190 
— Carpenter's Tools, 192 — Missiles, Javelin, 193 — Sling, Spear- 
thrower, 194 — Bow and Arrow, 195 — Blow tube, Gun, 196 — 
Mechanical Power, 197 — Wheel -Carriage, 198 — Hand-mill, 200 — 
Drill, Lathe, 202 — Screw, 203 — Water-mill, Wiid-mill, 204. 


Arts of Life {continued) 206 

Quest of wild food, 206 — Hunting, 207 — Trapping, 211 — Fishing, 212 
— Agriculture, 214 — Implements, 216 — Fields, 218 — Cattle, pastur- 
age, 219 — War, 221 — Weapons, 221 — Armour, 222 — Warfare of 
lower tribes, 223 — of higher nations, 225. 


Arts of Life {continued) 229 

Dwellings : — Caves, 229 — Huts, 230 — Tents, 231 — Houses, 231 — Stone 
and Brick Building, 232— Arch, 235 — Development of Archi- 
tecture, 235 — Dress : — Painting skin, 236 — Tattooing, 237 — De- 
formation of Skull, &c., 240— Ornaments, 241 — Clothing of Bark, 
Skin, &c., 244 — Mats, 246 — Spinning, Weaving, 246 — Sewing^ 
249 — Garments, 249 — Navigation : — Floats, 252 — Boats, 253 — 
Rafts, 255 — Outriggers, 255 — Paddles and Oars, 256— Sails, 256— 
Galleys andShip=, 257. 


Arts of Life {cemhided) 260 

Fire, 260— Cookery, 264— Bread, &c., 266— Liquors, 268— Fuel, 270 
—Lighting, 272— Vessels, 274— Pottery, 274— Glass, 276— Metals, 
277— Bronze and Iron Ages, 278 — Barter, 28l~Money, 2S2— 
Commerce, 285. 




Arts of Pleasure 287 

Poetry, 287— Verse and Metre, 288 — Alliteration and Rhyme, 289 — 
Poetic Metaphor, 289 — Speech, Melody, Harmony, 290 — Musical 
Instruments, 293 — Dancing, 296 — Drama, 298 — Sculpture and 
Painting, 300 — Ancient and Modern Art, 301 — Games, 305. 


Science 309 

Science, 309 — Counting and Arithmetic, 310 — Measuring and Weigh- 
ing, 316 — Geometry, 318 — Algebra, 322— Physics, 323 — Chemistry, 
328— Biology, 329 — Astronomy, 332 — Geography and Geology, 335 
— Methods of Reasoning, 336 — Magic, 338. 

The Spirit-World 342 

Religion of Lower Races, 342 — Souls, 343— Burial, 347 — Future Life, 
349 — Transmigration, 350 — Divine Ancestors, 351 — Demons, 352— 
Nature Spirits, 357 — Gods, 358 — Worship, 364 — Moral Influence, 

History and Mythology 373 

Tradition, 373— Poetry, 375 — Fact in Fiction, 377— Earliest Poems 
and Writings, 381 — Ancient Chronicle and History, 383 — Myths, 
387— Interpretation of Myths, 396 — Diffusion of Myths, 397. 

Society 401 

Social Stages, 401 — Family, 402 — Morals of Lower Races, 405— 
Public Opinion and Custom, 408 — Moral Progress, 410 — Ven- 
geance and Justice, 414 — War, 418— Property, 419 — Legal Cere- 
monies, 423— Family Power and Responsibility, 426— Patriarchal 
and Military Chiefs, 428— Nations, 432 — Social Ranks, 434 — 
Government, 436. 



1. Later Stone Age (neolithic) implements 27 

2. Earlier Stone Age (palaeolithic) flint picks or hatchets ... 29 

3. Sketch of mammoth from cave of La Madeleioe (Lartet and 

Christy) . . . .• 31 

4. Sketch of man and horse from cave (Lartet and Christy) . . 32 

5. Skeletons of apes and man (after Huxley) 39 

6. Hand and foot of chimpanzee and of man 42 

7. Brain of chimpanzee and of man 46 

8. Patagonian and Bushman 5^* 

9. Top view of skulls 61 

10. Side view of skulls 62 

11. a, Swaheli; b, Persian 63 

12. Female portraits 64 

13. African negro 65 

14. Section of negro skin, much magnified (after Kolliker) . . 66 

15. Sections of hair, highly magnified (after Pruner) 73 

16. Race or Population arranged by Stature (Galton's method) . 76 

17. Race or Population arranged by Stature (Quetelet's method) . 77 

18. Caribs 78 

19. (a) Head of Rameses II., Ancient Egypt, {b) Sheikh's son, 

Modern Egypt (after Ha^-tmann) 79 

20. Malay Mother and Half-caste Daughters 81 

21. Cafusa Woman 82 



22. Cairene S4 

23. Andaman Islanders 88 

24. Aheta (Negrito), Philippine Islands 93 

25. Melanesians . - 9^ 

26. South Australian (man) 92 

27. South Australian (woman) 9- 

28. Australian (Queensland) women 93 

29. Dravidian hill-man (after Fryer) 94 

30. Kalmuk (after Goldsmid) , . . 95 

31. Goldi (Amur) 96 

32. Siamese actressts 97 

33. Cochin-Chinese 98 

34. Coreans 99 

35. Finn (man) 100 

26. Finn (womaii) 100 

37.. Malays . . loi 

38. Malays , , . loi 

39. Dayaks 103 

40. Kiiigsmill Islander 104 

41. Colorado Indian (North America) rc6 

42. Colorado Indian (North America) 107 

43. Cauixana Indians (South America) icS 

44. Georgians no 

45. Swedes rii 

46. Gypsy 112 

47. Picture-writing, rock near I^ke Superior (after Schoolcraft) . 16S 

48. /'i7/tv- «cj/^r in Mexican picture-writing (after Aubin) . . . 169 

49. Chinese ancient pictures and later cursive forms (after 

Fndlicher) .,..,. ... . . 170 

50. Chinese compound chai-acters, pictures and sounds . . . . 171 

51. Egyptian hieroglyphic and hieratic characters compared with 

letters of Phoenician and later alphabets (after De Rouge) . 176 

52. Gunflint-maker's core and flakes (after Evans) . ... . . 1S5 

53. Stone Flakes r86- 

54. Later Stone Age (neolithic) implements 1-87 



55. Earlier Stone Age (palseolithic) flint picks or hatchets . . . 187 

56. Stone Axes, &c i83 

57. a, Egyptian battle-axe ; b, Egyptian falchion ; c, Asiatic 

sabre ; d, European sheath-knife ; e, Roman culter ; f, 

Hindu bill-hook 189 

58. a. Stone spear-head (Admiralty Is.); b, stone spear-head or 

dagger-blade (England) ; r, bronze spear-head (Denmark); 

</, bronze dagger ; ^, bronze leaf -shaped sword . . . . 191 

59. Australian spear thrown with spear-thrower (after Brough 

Smyth) 194 

60. Bows 196 

61. Ancient bullock- waggon, from the Antonine Column . . . 199 

62. Corn-crusher, Anglesey (after W. O. Stanley) 201 

63. Hebrides women grinding with the quern or hand-mill (after 

Pennant) 202 

64. a, Australian digging-stick ; b, Swedish wooden hack . . . 2 16 

65. Ancient Egyptian hoe and plough 217 

66. Natives of Lepers' Island (New Hebrides) 239 

67. Hand of Chinese ascetic 241 

68. Botocudo woman with lip- and ear-ornaments 242 

69. a, Australian winder for hand- twisted cord ; b, Egyptian 

woman spinning with the spindle 247 

70. Girl weaving. P>om an Aztec picture 248 

71. Ancient Nile-boat, from wall-painting, Thebes . . . . , 258 

72. Burhman drilling fire (after Chapman) 262 

73. Ancient Egyptian Potter's Wheel (Beni Hassan) .... 275 

74. Ancient Egyptian Glass-blowing (Beni Hassan) .... 277 

75. Development of the Harp , . 295 

76. Ancient Egyptian and Assyrian numeration 313 

77. Mode of calculation by counters and by figures on Abacus . 315 

78. Rudimentary practical Geometry 318 




Antiquity of Man, i — Time required for Development of Races, i — of 
Languages, 7 — of Civilization, 13 — Traces of Man in the Stone 
Age, 25 — Later Period, 26 — Earlier Quaternary or Drift-Period, 29. 

The student who seeks to understand how mankind came 
to be as they are, and to live as they do, ought first to 
know clearly whether men are new-comers on the earth, or 
old inhabitants. Did they appear with their various races 
and ways of life ready-made, or were these shaped by the 
long, slow growth of ages ? In order to answer this ques- 
tion, our first business will be to take a rapid survey of the 
varieties of men, their languages, their civilization, and their 
ancient relics, to see what proofs may thus be had of man's 
age in the world. The outline sketch thus drawn will also 
be useful as an introduction to the fuller examination of 
man and his ways of life in the chapters which follow. 

First, as to the varieties of mankind. Let us suppose 
ourselves standing at the docks in Liverpool or London, 
looking at groups of men of races most different from 

£ B 


our own. There is the familiar figure of the African 
negro, with skin so dark-brown as to be popularly called 
black, and black hair so naturally frizzed as to be called 
woolly. Nor are these the only points in which he is 
unlike us. Indeed, the white men who blacken their 
faces and friz their hair to look like negros make a very poor 
imitation, for the negro features are quite distinct ; we well 
know the flat nose, wide nostrils, thick protruding lips, and, 
when the face is seen in profile, the remarkable projecting 
jaws. A hatter would at once notice that the negro's head 
is narrower in proportion than the usual oval of the hats 
made for Englishmen. It would be possible to tell a negro 
from a white man even in the dark by the peculiar satiny 
feel of his skin, and the yet more peculiar smell which no 
one who has noticed it is ever likely to mistake. In the 
same docks, among the crews of Eastern steamers, we 
observe other well-marked types of man. The Coolie 
of South India (who is not of Hindu race, but belongs to 
the so-called hill-tribes,) is dark-brown of skin, with black, 
silky, wavy hair, and a face wide-nosed, heavy-jawed, fleshy- 
lipped. More familiar is the Chinese, whom the observer 
marks down by his less than European stature, his jaundice- 
yellow skin, and coarse, straight black hair; the special cha- 
racter of his features is neatly touched off on his native 
china-plates and paper-screens which show the snub nose, 
high cheek-bones, and that curious slanting set of the eyes 
which we can imitate by putting a finger near the outer 
corners of our own eyes and pushing upward. By com- 
paring such a set of races with our own countrymen, we are 
able to make out the utmost differences of complexion and 
feature among mankind. While doing so, it is plain that 
white men, as we agree to call ourselves, show at least two 
main race-types. Going on board a merchant-ship from 


Copenhagen, we find the crew mostly blue-eyed men of 
fair complexion and hair, a remarkable contrast to the 
Genoese vessel moored alongside, whose sailors show almost 
to a man swarthy complexions and lustrous black eyes and 
hair. These two types of man have been well described as 
the fair-whites and the dark-whites. 

It is only within modern timies that the distinctions among 
races have been worked out by scientific methods. Yet 
since early ages, race has attracted notice from its connexion 
with the political questions of countryman or foreigner, 
conqueror or conquered, freeman or slave, and in conse- 
quence its marks have been watched with jealous accuracy. 
Tn the Southern United States, till slavery was done away 
a few years ago, the traces of negro descent were noted 
with the utmost nicety. Not only were the mixed breeds 
regularly classed as mulattos, quadroons, and down to octa- 
roons, but even where the mixture was so slight that 
the untrained eye noticed nothing beyond a brunette 
complexion, the intruder who had ventured to sit down 
at a public dinner-table was called upon to show his hands, 
and the African taint detected by the dark tinge at the 
root of the finger-nails. 

Seeing how striking the broad distinctions of race are, 
it was to be expected that ancient inscriptions and figures 
should give some view of the races of man as they were 
at the beginning of historical times. It is so in Egypt, 
where the oldest writings of the world appear. More than 
4,000 years ago we begin to find figures of the Egyptians 
themselves, in features much the same as in later times. In 
the sixth dynasty, about 2,000 B.C., the celebrated inscrip- 
tion of Prince Una makes mention of the JVahsi, or negroes, 
who were levied and drilled by ten thousands for the Egyp- 
tian army. Under the twelfth dynasty, on the walls of the 

B 2 

j^ ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

tomb of Knumbetp, there is represented a procession of 
yimu, who are seen by their features to be of the race to 
which Syrians and Hebrews belonged. Especially the wall- 
paintings of the tombs of the kings at Thebes, of the nine- 
teenth dynasty, have preserved coloured portraits of the four 
great races distinguished by the Egyptians. These are the 
red-brown Egyptians themselves, the people of Palestine with 
their aquiline profile and brownish complexion, the flat-nosed, 
thick-lipped African negroes, and the fair-skinned Libyans. 
Thus mankind was already divided into well-marked races, 
distinguished by colour and features. It is surprising to 
notice how these old-v/orld types of man are still to be 
recognised. The Ethiopian of the ancient monuments can 
at this day be closely matched. Notwithstanding the many 
foreign invasions of Egypt, the mass of the village popula- 
tion is true-bred enough for men to be easily picked out as 
representatives of the times of the Pharaohs. Their por- 
traits have only to be drawn in the stiff style of the monu- 
ments, with the eye conventionally shown full-front in the 
profile face, and we have before us the very Egyptians as 
they depicted themselves in the old days when they held 
the Israelites in bondage. In the same way, the ancient 
Egyptian portraits of captives from Palestine, whether 
Syrians, Phoenicians, or Hebrews, show the strongly-marked 
Israelite type of features to be seen at this day in every city 
of Europe. Altogether, the evidence of ancient monu- 
ments, geography and history," goes to prove that the great 
race-divisions of mankind are of no recent growth, but 
were already settled before the beginning of the historical 
period. Since then their changes seem to have been 
comparatively slight, except in the forming of mixed races 
by intermar-riage. 

Hence it follows that the historic ag^es are to be looked 


on as but the modern period of man's life on earth. Be- 
hind them lies the prehistoric period, when the chief work 
was done of forming and spreading over the world the races 
of mankind. Though there is no scale to measure the 
length of this period by, there are substantial reasons for 
taking it as a long stretch of time. Looking at an ethno- 
logical map, coloured to show what race of men inhabits each 
region, it is plain at a glance that the world was not peopled 
, by mere chance scattering of nations, a white tribe here and 
a brown tribe there, with perhaps a black tribe in between. 
Far from this, whole races are spread over vast regions as 
though they grew there, and the peculiar type of the race 
seems more or less connected with the climate it lives in. 
Especially it is seen that the mass of black races belong 
to the equatorial regions in Africa and the Eastern Archi- 
pelago, the yellow race to Central and Southern Asia, the 
white race to temperate Asia and Europe. Some guess may 
even be made from the map which district was the primitive 
centre where each of these races took shape, and whence it 
spread far and wide. Now if, as some have thought, the 
Negros, Mongolians, Whites, and other races, were distinct 
species, each sprung from a separate origin in its own region, 
then the peopling of the globe might require only a moderate 
time, the races having only to spread each from its own 
birthplace. But the opinion of modern zoologists, whose 
study of the species and breeds of animals makes them the -/^ J 

best judges, is against this view of several origins of manj^^'^, ( 
for two principal reasons. First, that all tribes of men, from (P^'v^'^^ 
the blackest to the whitest, the most savage to the most "^ 
cultured, have such general likeness in the structure of their 
bodies and the working of their minds, as is easiest and 
best accounted for by their being descended from a common | 
ancestry, however distant. Second, that all the human races. 


notwithstanding their form and colour, appear capable of 
freely intermarrying and forming crossed races of every 
combination, such as the millions of mulattos and mestizos 
sprung in the New World from the mixture of Europeans, 
Africans, and native Americans; this again points to a 
common ancestry of all the races of man. We may accept 
the theory of the unity of mankind as best agreeing with 
ordinary experience and scientific research. As yet, how- 
ever, the means are very imperfect of judging what man's 
progenitors were like in body and mind, in times before the 
forefathers of the present Negros, and Tatars, and Austra- 
lians, had become separated into distinct stocks. Nor is it 
yet clear by what causes these stocks or races passed into 
their different types of skull and limbs, of complexion and 
hair. It cannot be at present made out how far the peculi- 
arities of single ancestors were inherited by their descendants 
a^d became stronger by in-breeding ; how far, when the 
weak and dull-witted tribes failed in the struggle for land and 
life, the stronger, braver, and abler tribes survived to leave 
their types stamped on the nations sprung from them ; how 
far whole migrating tribes underwent bodily alteration through 
change of climate, food, and habits, so that the peopling of 
the earth went on together with the growth of fresh races 
fitted for life in its various regions. Whatever share these 
causes and others yet more obscure may have had in varying 
the races of man, it must not be supposed that such differences 
as between an Englishman and a Gold Coast negro are due 
to slight variations of breed. On the contrary, they are of 
such zoological importance as to liave been compared with 
the differences between animals which naturalists reckon 
distinct species, as between the brown bear with its rounded 
forehead, and the polar bear with its whitish fur and long 
flattened skull. If then we are to go back in thought to a. 


time when the ancestors of the African, the Australian, the 
Mongol, and the Scandinavian, were as yet one undivided 
stock, the theory of their common descent must be so framed 
as to allow causes strong enough and time long enough 
to bring about changes far beyond any known to have 
taken place during historical ages. Looked at in this way, 
the black, brown, yellow, and white men whom we have 
supposed ourselves examining on the quays, are living re- 
cords of the remote past, every Chinese and Negro bearing 
in his face evidence of the antiquity of man. 

Next, what has language to tell of man's age on the 
earth? It appears that the distinct languages known 
number about a thousand. It is clear, however, at the 
first glance that these did not all spring up separately. 
There are groups of languages which show such close like- 
ness in their grammars and dictionaries as proves each 
group to be descended from one ancestral tongue. Such 
a group is called a family of languages, and one of the 
best known of such families may be taken as an example 
of their way of growth. In ancient times Latin (using the 
word in a rather wide sense) was the language of Rome and 
other Italian districts, and with the spread of the Roman 
empire it was carried far and wide, so as to oust the early 
languages of whole provinces. Undergoing in each land a 
different course of change, Latin gave rise to the Romance 
family of languages, of which Italian, Spanish, and French 
are well-known members. How these languages have come 
to differ after ages of separate life, we judge by seeing that 
sailors from Dieppe cannot make themselves understood in 
Malaga, nor does a knowledge of French enable us to read 
Dantd Yet the Romance languages keep the traces of 
their Roman origin plainly enough for Italian, Spanish', and 
French sentences to be taken and every word referred to 


something near it in classical Latin, which may be roughly 
treated as the original form. Familiar proverbs are here 
given as illustrations, with the warning to the reader that, 
for convenience' sake, the comparisons are not all carried 
out in precise grammatical form. 


E mef^lio un uovo oggi die una gallina domani. 

est 7neluis unuiu ovum hodie quid ntia gallina de ?7iane. 

i.e. Better is an egg to-day than a hen to-morrow. 

Chi va piano va sano, chi va sano va lontano. 
qui vadit planmn vadit sanum^ qui vadit sanum vadit longum. 
i.e. He who goes gently goes safe, he who goes safe goes far. 


Quien canta sus males espanta. 
quevi cantat suos malos expav{c7'e). 
i.e. He who sings frightens away his ills. 

Por la caile de despues se va a la casa de nunca. 
per illavi calle??i de de-ex-post se vadit ad illam casam de nunquain. 
i.e. By the street of by and by one goes to the house of never. 


Un tiens vaut mieux que deux tu 1' auras. 

unum teve valet melius qtiod duos tu ilium habere-habes. 
i,i\ One take-it is worth more than two thou-shalt-have-its. 

Parler de la corde dans la maison d' un pendu. 
^ parabola de illam chordam deintus illani mansio7iem de ziuum pend{o). 
i.e. (Never to) talk of a rope in the house of a hanged man. 

It is plain on the face of such sentences as these, that 
Italian, Spanish, and French are in fact transformed Latin, 
their words having been gradually altered as they descended, 
generation after generation, from the parent tongue. Now 


even if Latin were lost, philologists would still be able, by 
comparing the set of Romance languages, to infer that such 
a language must have existed to give rise to them all, though 
no doubt such a reconstruction of Latin would give but a 
meagre notion, either of its stock of words or its gram- 
matical inflexions. This kind of argument by which a lost 
parent-language is discovered from the likeness among its 
descendants, may be well seen in another set of European 
tongues. Let us suppose ourselves listening to a group of 
Dutch sailors; at first their talk may seem unintelligible, 
but after a while a sharp ear will catch the sound of well 
known words, and perhaps at last whole sentences like 
these: — Kom hier ! Wat zegt gij? Hoe is het weder? 
Het is een hevige storm^ ik be?i zeer koud. Is de maan op ? 
Ik weet iiiet. The spelling of these words, different from 
our mode, disguises their resemblance, but as spoken they 
come very near corresponding sentences in English, some- 
what old-fashioned or provincial, thus \—Co7ne here ! What 
say ye ? Mow is the weather ? It is a heavy storm, I be 
sore cold. Is the moon up ? I wit not. Now it stands 
to reason that no two languages could have come to be so 
like, unless both were descended from one parent tongue- 
The argument is really much like that as to the origin of 
the people themselves. As we say, these Dutch and English 
are beings so nearly alike that they must have descended 
from a common stock, so we say, these languages are so like 
that they must have been derived from a common language. 
Dutch and English are accordingly said to be closely 
related to one another, and the language of Friesland 
proves on examination to be another near relative. Thence 
it is inferred that a parent language or group of dialects, which 
may be called the original Low-Dutch, or Low-German, 
must once have been spoken, though it is not actually 


to be found, not happening to have been written down and 
so preserved. 

Now it is easy to see that as ages go on, and the languages 
of a family each take their separate course of change, it 
must become less and less possible to show their relation- 
ship by comparing whole sentences. Philologists have to 
depend on less perfect resemblances, but such are sufficient 
when not only words from the dictionary correspond in the 
two languages, but also these are worked up into actual 
speech by corresponding forms of grammar. Thus v/hen 
Sanskrit, the ancient language of the Brahmans in India, 
is compared with Greek and Latin, it appears that the 
Sanskrit verb da expresses the idea to give, and makes 
its present tense by reduplicating and adding a person-affix, 
so becoming dadami, nearly as Greek makes dido mi ; 
from the same root Sanskrit makes a future participle 
dasyamdnas, corresponding to Greek ddso?ne7ios, while 
Sanskrit ddiar matches Greek doter = gwQY. So where 
Latin has vox, vocis, vocem, 2'oces, vocum^ vocibus, Sanskrit 
has 7'dk, Tcicas, vacam, I'dcas, z'daim, vaghJiyas. When 
such thoroughgoing analogy as this is found to run 
through several languages, as Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin, 
no other explanation is possible but that an ancient parent 
language gave rise to them all, they having only varied off 
from it in different directions. In this way it is shown that 
not only are these particular languages related by descent, 
but that groups of ancient and modern languages in Asia 
and Europe, the Indian group, the Persian group, the 
Hellenic or Greek group, the Italic or Latin group, the 
Slavonic group to which Russian belongs, the Teutonic 
group which English is a member of, the Keltic group 
which Welsh is a member of, are all descendants of one 
common ancestral language, which is now theoretically 


called the Aryan, though practically its nature can only be 
made out in a vague way by comparing its descendant 
languages. Some of these have come down to us in forms 
which are extremely ancient, as antiquity goes in our limited 
chronology. The sacred books of India and Persia have 
preserved the Sanskrit and Zend languages, which by their 
structure show to the eye of the philologist an antiquity 
beyond that of the earliest Greek and Latin inscriptions and 
the old Persian cuneiform rock-writing of Darius. But 
the Aryan languages even in their oldest known states had 
already become so different that it was the greatest feat of 
modern philology to demonstrate that they had a common 
origin at all. The faint likeness by which Welsh still shows 
its relationship to Greek and German may give some idea 
of the time that may have elapsed since all three were 
developed off from the original Aryan tongue, which itself 
probably ceased to exist long before the historical period 

Among the languages of ancient nations, another great 
group holds a high place in the world's history. This is the 
Semitic family which includes the Hebrew and Phoenician, 
and the Assyrian deciphered from the wedge-characters 
of Nineveh. Arabic, the language of the Koran, is the 
great modern representative of the family, and the close- 
ness with which it matches Hebrew may be shown in 
familiar phrases. The Arab still salutes the stranger with 
saldm alaikum, "peace upon you," nearly as the ancient 
Hebrew would have said shalom Idchem, that is, " peace 
to you," and the often-heard Arabic exclamation bis- 
millah may be turned into Hebrew, as be-shhn hd-Elohim, 
"in the name of God." So the Hebrew names of per- 
sons mentioned in the Bible give the interpretation 
af many Arabic proper names, as where Ebed-77ielechi 

12 ANTHRCPOLOGY. [chap. 

" servant of the king," who took Jeremiah out of the 
dungeon, bore a name nearly like that of the khalif Abd- 
el-Melik, in Mohammedan history. But no one of these 
Semitic languages has any claim to be the original of 
the family, standing to the others as Latin does to Italian 
and French. All of them, Assyrian, Phoenician, Hebrew, 
Arabic, are sister-languages, pointing back to an earlier 
parent language which has long disappeared. The ancient 
Egyptian language of the hieroglyphics cannot be classed as 
a member of the Semitic family, though it shows points of 
resemblance which may indicate some remote connexion. 
There are also known to have existed before 2000 b.c. two 
important languages not belonging to either the Aryan or 
Semitic family ; these were the ancient Babylonian and the 
ancient Chinese. As for the languages of more outlying 
regions of the world, such as America, when they come 
into view they are found likewise to consist of many 
separate groups or families. 

This slight glimpse of the earliest known state of lan- 
guage in the world is enough to teach the interesting lesson 
that the main work of language-making was done in the 
ages before history. Going back as far as philology can 
take us, we find already existing a number of language- 
groups, differing in words and structure, and if they ever 
had any relationship with one another no longer showmg 
it by signs clear enough for our skill to make out. Of an 
original primitive language of mankind, the most patient 
research has found no traces. The oldest tgpes of language 
we can reach by working back from known languages show 
no signs of being primitive tongues of mankind. Indeed, 
it may be positively asserted that they are not such, but that 
ages of growth and decay have mostly obliterated the traces 
how each particular sound came to express its particular 


sense. Man, since the historical period, has done little in 
the way of absolute new creation of language, for the good 
reason that his wants were already supplied by the words 
he learnt from his fathers, and all he had to do when a new 
idea came to him was to work up old words into some 
new shape. Thus the study of languages gives much the 
same view of man's antiquity as has been already gained 
from the study of races. The philologist, asked how long 
he thinks mankind to have existed, answers that it must 
have been long enough for human speech to have grown 
from its earliest beginnings into elaborate languages, and 
for these in their turn to have developed into families spread 
far and wide over the world. This immense w^ork had 
been already accomplished in ages before the earliest in- 
scriptions of Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Phoenicia, Persia, 
Greece, for these show the great families of human speech 
already in full existence. 

Next, we have to look at culture or civilization, to see 
whether this also shows signs of man having lived and 
laboured in ages earlier than the earliest which historical 
records can tell of. For this purpose it is needful to under- 
stand what has been the general course of arts, knowledge, 
and institutions. It is a good old rule to work from the 
known to the unknown, and all intelligent people have 
much to tell from their own experience as to how civi- 
lization develops. The account which an old man can 
give of England as he remembers it in his schoolboy days, 
and of the inventions and improvements he has seen come 
in since, is in itself a valuable lesson. Thus, when start 
ing from London by express train to reach Edinburgh by 
dinner-time, he thinks of when it used to be fair ccach- 
travelling to get through in two days and nights. Catching 
sight of a signal-post on the line, he remembers how such 

14 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

semaphores (that is, sign-bearers) were then the best means 
of telegraphing, and stood waving their arms on the hills 
between London and Plymouth, signalling the Admiralty 
messages. Thinking of the electric telegraph which has 
superseded them, reminds him that this invention arose out of 
a discovery made in his youth as to the connexion between 
electricity and magnetism. This again suggests other 
modern scientific discoveries that have opened to us the 
secrets of the universe, such as the spectrum-analysis which 
now makes out with such precision the materials of the stars, 
which is just what our fathers were quite certain no man on 
earth ever could know. Our informant can tell us, too, 
how knowledge has not only increased, but is far more 
widely spread than formerly, when the thriving farmer's son 
could hardly get schooling practically so good as the 
labourer's son is now entitled to of right. He may then 
go on to explain to his hearers how, since his time, the laws 
of the land have been improved and better carried out, so 
that men are no longer hanged for stealing, that more is done 
to reform the criminal classes instead of merely punishing 
them, that life and property are safer than in old times. 
Last, but not least, he can show from his own recollection 
that people are morally a shade better than they were, 
that pubhc opinion demands a somewhat higher standard 
of conduct than in past generations, as may be seen in the 
sharper disapproval that now falls on cheats and drunkards. 
From such examples of the progress in civilization that has 
come in a single country and a single lifetime, it is clear 
that the world has not been standing still with us, but new 
arts, new thoughts, new institutions, new rules of life, have 
arisen or been developed out of the older state of things. 

Now this growth or development in civilization, so rapid 
in our own time, appears to have been going on more or 


less actively since the early ages of man. Proof of this 
comes to us in several different ways. History, so far as it 
reaches back, shows arts, sciences, and political institutions 
beginning in ruder states, and becoming in the course of 
ages more intelligent, more systematic, more perfectly 
arranged or organized, to answer their purposes. Not to 
give many instances of a fact so familiar, the history of 
parliamentary government begins with the old-world councils 
of the chiefs and tumultuous assemblies of the whole people. 
The history of medicine goes back to the times when epilepsy 
or " seizure " (Greek, epilepsis) was thought to be really the 
act of a demon seizing and convulsing the patient. But 
our object here is to get beyond such ordinary information 
of the history books, and to judge what stages civilization 
passed through in times yet earlier. Here one valuable 
aid is archaeology, which for instance shows us the stone 
hatchets and other rude instruments which belonged to early 
tribes of men, thus proving how low their state of arts was ; 
of this more will be said presently. Another useful guide 
is to be had from survivals in culture. Looking closely 
into the thoughts, arts, and habits of any nation, the student 
finds everywhere the remains of older states of things out 
of which they arose. To take a trivial example, if we want 
to know why so quaintly cut a garment as the evening dress- 
coat is worn, the explanation may be found thus. The 
cutting away at the waist had once the reasonable purpose 
of preventing the coat skirts from getting in the way in 
riding, while the pair of useless buttons behind the waist 
are also relics from the times when such buttons really 
served the purpose of fastening these skirts behind; the 
curiously cut collar keeps the now misplaced notches made to 
allow of its being worn turned up or down, the smart facings 
represent the old ordinary lining, and the sham cuffs now 

i6 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

made with a seam round the wrist are survivals from real 
cuffs when the sleeve used to be turned back. Thus it is 
seen that the present ceremonial dress-coat owes its pecu- 
liarities to being descended from the old-fashioned practical 
coat in which a man rode and worked. Or again, if one 
looks In modern English life for proof of the Norman Con- 
quest eight centuries ago, one may find it in the " Oh yes ! 
Oh yes /" of the town-crier, who all unknowingly keeps up 
the old French form of proclamation, " Oyez ! Oyez !'' that 
is, " Hear ye ! Hear ye ! " To what yet more distant periods 
of civilization such survivals may reach back, is well seen in 
an example from India. There, though people have for ages 
kindled fire for practical use with the flint and steel, yet 
the Brahmans, to make the sacred fire for the daily sacri- 
fice, still use the barbaric art of violently boring a pointed 
stick into another piece of wood till a spark comes. Asked 
why they thus waste their labour when they know better, 
they answer that they do it to get pure and holy fire. 
But to us it is plain that they are really keeping up by 
unchanging custom a remnant of the ruder life once led 
by their remote ancestors. On the whole, these various 
ways of examining arts and sciences all prove that they 
never spring forth perfect, like Athene out of the split head 
of Zeus. They come on by successive steps, and where 
other information fails, the observer may often trust himself 
to judge from the mere look of an invention how it probably 
arose. Thus no one can look at a cross-bow and a common 
long-bow without being convinced that the long-bow was 
the earlier, and that the cross-bow was made afterwards by 
fitting a common bow on a stock, and arranging a trigger 
to let go the string after taking aim. Though history fails 
to tell us who did this and when, we feel almost as sure of it 
as of the known historical facts that the cross-bow led up to 


the match-lock, and that again to the flint-lock musket, and 
that again to the percussion musket, and that again to the 
breech-loading rifle. 

Putting these various means of information together, it 
often becomes possible to picture the whole course of an 
art or an institution, tracing it back from its highest state 
in the civilized world till we reach its beginnings in the life 
of the rudest tribes of men. For instance, let us look at a 
course of modern mathematics, as represented in the books 
taken in for university honours. A student living, in Queen 
Elizabeth's time would have had no infinitesimal calculus to 
study, hardly even algebraic geometry, for what is now called 
the higher mathematics was invented since then. Going 
back into the Middle Ages, we come to the time when 
algebra had been just brought in,, a novelty due to the 
Hindu mathematicians and their scholars, the Arabs ; and 
next we find the numeral ciphers, o, i, 2, 3, &c., beginning 
to be known as an improvement on the old calculating 
board and the Roman L, II., III. In the classic ages yet 
earlier, we reach the time when the methods of Euklid and 
the other Greek geometers first appeared. So we get back 
to what was known to the mathematicians of the earliest 
historical period in Babylonia and Egypt, an arithmetic 
clumsily doing what children in the lower standards are 
taught with us to do far more neatly, and a rough geometry 
consisting of a few rules of practical mensuration. This is 
as far as history can go toward the beginnings of mathe- 
matics, but there are other means of discovering through what 
lower stages the science arose. The very names still used to 
denote lengths, such as cubit, hand, foot, span, nail, show 
how the art of mensuration had its origin in times when 
standard m.easures had not yet been invented, but men put 
their hands and feet alongside objects of which they wished 



to estimate the size. So there is abundant evidence that 
arithmetic came up from counting on the fingers and toes, 
such as may still be seen among savages. Words still 
used for numbers in many languages were evidently made 
during the period when such reckoning on the hands and 
feet was usual, and they have lasted on ever since. Thus a 
Malay expresses five by the word h'ma, which (though he 
does not know it) once meant "hand," so that it is seen to 
be a survival from ages when his ancestors, wanting a word 
for five, held up one hand and said " hand." Indeed, the 
reason of our own decimal notation, why we reckon by tens 
instead of the more convenient twelves, appears to be that 
our forefathers got from their own fingers the habit of count- 
ing by tens which has been since kept up, an unchanged 
relic of primitive man. The following chapters contain 
many other cases of such growth of arts from the simplest 
origins. Thus, in examining tools, it will be seen how the 
rudely chipped stone grasped in the hand to hack with, led 
up to the more artificially shaped stone chisel fitted as a 
hatchet in a wooden handle, how afterwards when metal came 
in there was substituted for the stone a bronze or iron blade, 
till at last was reached the most perfect modern foresters' 
axe, with its steel blade socketed to take the well-balanced 
handle. Specimens such as those in Chapter VIII. show 
these great moves in the development of the axe, which 
began before chronology and history, and has been from 
the first one of man's chief aids in civilizing himself. 

It does not follow from such arguments as these that 
civilization is always on the move, or that its movement is 
always progress. On the contrary, history teaches that it 
remains stationary for long periods, and often falls back. 
To understand such decline of culture, it must be borne in 
mind that the highest arts and the most elaborate arrange- 


nients of society do not always prevail, in fact they may be 
too perfect to hold their ground, for people must have what 
fits with their circumstances. There is an instructive lesson 
to be learnt from a remark made by an Englishman at 
Singapore, who noticed with surprise two curious trades 
flourishing there. One was to buy old English-built ships, 
cut them down and rig them as junks ; the other was to buy 
English percussion muskets and turn them into old-fashioned 
flintlocks. At first sight this looks like mere stupidity, but 
on consideration it is seen to be reasonable enough. It 
was so difficult to get Eastern sailors to work ships of 
European rig, that it answered better to provide them with 
the clumsier craft they were used to ; and as for the guns, the 
hunters far away in the hot, damp forests were better off 
with gunflints than if they had to carry and keep dry a 
stock of caps. In both cases, what they wanted was not 
the highest product of civilization, but something suited to 
the situation and easiest to be had. Now the same rule 
applies both to taking in new civilization and keeping up 
old. When the life of a people is altered by emigration into 
a new country, or by war and distress at home, or mixture 
with a lower race, the culture of their forefathers may be 
no longer needed or possible, and so dwindles away. Such 
degeneration is to be seen among the descendants of Por- 
tuguese in the East Indies, who have intermarried with the 
natives and fallen out of the march of civilization, so that 
newly-arrived Europeans go to look at them lounging about 
their mean hovels in the midst of luxuriant tropical fruits 
and flowers, as if they had been set there to teach by 
example how man falls in culture where the need of effort 
is wanting. Another frequent cause of loss of civilization 
is when people once more prosperous are ruined or driven 
from their homes, like those Shoshonee Indians who have 

c 2 

20 ANTHROPOLOGY. -: [chap. 

taken refuge from their enemies, the Blackfeet, in the wilds 
of the Rocky Mountains, where they now roam, called 
Digger Indians from the wild roots they dig for as part of 
their miserable subsistence. Not only the degraded state 
of such outcasts, but the loss of particular arts by other 
peoples, may often be explained by loss of culture under 
unfavourable conditions. For instance, the South Sea 
Islanders, though not a very rude people when visited by 
Captain Cook, used only stone hatchets and knives, being 
indeed so ignorant of metal that they planted the first iron 
nails they got from the English sailors, in the hope of 
raising a new crop. Possibly their ancestors never had 
metals, but it seems as likely that these ancestors were an 
Asiatic people to whom metal was known, but who, through 
emigration to ocean islands and separation from their 
kinsfolk, lost the use of it and fell back into the stone age. 
It is necessary for the student to be alive to the import- 
ance of decline in civilization, but it is here more particu- 
larly mentioned in order to point out that it in no way 
contradicts the theory that civilization itself is developed 
from low to high stages. One cannot lose a thing without 
having had it first, and wherever tribes are fallen from the 
higher civilization of their ancestors, this only leaves it to 
be accounted for how that higher civilization grew up. 

On the whole it appears that wherever there are found 
elaborate arts, abstruse knowledge, complex institutions, 
these are results of gradual development from an earlier, 
simpler, and ruder state of life. No stage of civilization 
comes into existence spontaneously, but grows or is 
developed out of the stage before it. This is the great 
principle which every scholar must lay firm hold of, if he 
intends to understand either the world he lives in or the 
history of the past. Let us now see how this bears on the 


antiquity and early condition of mankind. The monuments 
of Egypt and Babylonia show that toward 5,000 years ago 
certain nations had already come to an advanced state of 
culture. No doubt the greater part of the earth was then 
peopled by barbarians and savages, as it remained afterwards. 
But in the regions of the Nile and the Euphrates there was 
civilization. The ancient Egyptians had that greatest mark of 
a civilized nation, the art of writing ; indeed the hieroglyphic 
characters of their inscriptions appear to have been the 
origin of our alphabet. They were a nation skilled in 
agriculture, raising from their fields fertilized by the yearly 
inundation those rich crops of grain that provided subsist- 
ence for the dense population. How numerous and how 
skilled in constructive art the ancient Egyptians were, is 
seen by every traveller who looks on the pyramids which 
have made their name famous through all history. The 
great pyramid of Gizeh still ranks among the wonders of the 
world, a mountain of hewn limestone and syenite, whose 
size Londoners describe by saying that it stands on a square 
the size of Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, and rises above the height 
of St. Paul's. The perfection of its huge blocks and the 
beautiful masonry of the inner chambers and passages show 
the skill not only of the stonecutter but of the practical 
geometer. The setting of the sides to the cardinal points 
is so exact as to prove that the Egyptians were excellent 
observers of the elementary facts of astronomy ; the day of 
the equinox can be taken by observing the sunset across 
the face of the pyramid, and the neighbouring Arabs still 
adjust their astronomical dates by its shadow. As far 
back as anything is known of them, the Egyptians appear to 
have worked in bronze and iron, as well as gold and silver. 
So their arts and habits, their sculpture and carpentry, 
their reckoning and measuring, their system of official life 

23 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

with its governors and scribes, their reUgion with its orders 
of priesthood and its continual ceremonies, all appeat the 
results of long and gradual growth. What, perhaps, gives 
the highest idea of antiquity, is to look at very early monu- 
ments, such as the tomb of prince Teta of the 4th dynasty 
in the British Museum, and notice how Egyptian culture 
had even then begun to grow stiff and traditional. Art 
was already reaching the stage when it seemed to men 
that no more progress was possible, for their ancestors had 
laid down the perfect rule of life, which it was sin to alter 
by way of reform. Of the early Babylonians or Chaldseans 
less is known, yet their monuments and inscriptions show 
how ancient and how high was their civilization. Their 
writing was in cuneiform or wedge-shaped characters, of 
which they seem to have been the inventors, and whicli 
their successors, the Assyrians, learnt from them. They 
were great builders of cities, and the bricks inscribed witli 
their kings' names remain as records of their great temples, 
such, for instance, as that dedicated to the god of Ur, at 
the city known to Biblical history as Ur of the Chaldees. 
Written copies of their laws exist, so advanced as to have 
provisions as to the property of married women, the im- 
prisonment of a father or mother for denying their son, the 
daily fine of a half-measure of corn levied on the master 
who killed or ill-used his slaves. Their astrology, which 
made the names of Chaldean and Babylonian famous 
ever since, led them to make those regular observations 
of the heavenly bodies which gave rise to the science of 
astronomy. The nation which wrote its name thus 
largely in the book of civilization, dates back into the 
same period of high antiquity as the Egyptian. These 
then are the two nations whose culture is earliest vouched 
for by inscriptions done at the very time of their ancient 


grandeur, and therefore it is safer to appeal to them than 
to other nations which can only show as proofs of their 
antiquity writings drawn up in far later ages. Looking at 
their ancient civilization, it seems to have been formed by 
men whose minds worked much like our own. No super- 
human powers were required for the work, but just human 
nature groping on by roundabout ways, reaching great 
results, yet not half knowing how to profit by them when 
reached ; solving the great problem of writing, yet not see- 
ing how to simplify the clumsy hieroglyphics into letters ; 
devoting earnest thought to religion and yet keeping up 
a dog and cat worship which was a jest even to the 
ancients; cultivating astronomy and yet remaining mazed 
in the follies of astrology. In the midst of their most 
striking efforts of civilization, the traces may be discerned 
of the barbaric condition which prevailed before ; the 
Egyptian pyramids are burial-mounds like those of prae- 
historic England, but huge in size and built of hewn stone 
or brick ; the Egyptian hieroglyphics, with their pictures of 
men and beasts and miscellaneous things, tell the story of 
their own invention, how they began as a mere picture- 
writing like that of the rude hunters of America. Thus it 
appears that civilization, at the earliest dates where history 
brings it into view, had already reached a level which can 
only be accounted for by growth during a long prse-historic 
period. This result agrees with the conclusions already 
arrived at by the study of races and language. 

Without attempting here to draw a picture of life as it 
may have been among men at their first appearance on the 
earth, it is important to go back as far as such evidence 
of the progress of civilization may fairly lead us. In judg- 
ing how mankind may have once lived, it is also a great help 
to observe how they are actually found living. Human 

24 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

life may be roughly classed into three great stages, Savage, 
Barbaric, Civilized, which may be defined as follows. The 
lowest or savage state is that in which man subsists on wild 
plants and animals, neither tilling the soil nor domesticating 
creatures for his food. Savages may dwell in tropical forests 
where the abundant fruit and game may allow small clans to 
live in one spot and find a living all the year round, while 
in barer and colder regions they have to lead a wandering 
life in quest of the wild food which they soon exhaust in 
any place. In making their rude implements, the materials 
used by savages are what they find ready to hand, such 
as wood, stone, and bone, but they cannot extract metal 
from the ore, and therefore belong to the Stone Age. Men 
may be considered to have risen into the next or barbaric 
state when they take to agriculture. With the certain supply 
of food which can be stored till next harvest, settled village 
and town life is established, with immense results in the 
improvement of arts, knowledge, manners, and government. 
Pastoral tribes are to be reckoned in the barbaric stage, 
for though their life of shifting camp from pasture to 
pasture may prevent settled habitation and agriculture, they 
have from their herds a constant supply of milk and meat. 
Some barbaric nations have not come beyond using stone 
implements, but most have risen into the Metal Age. 
Lastly, civilized life may be taken as beginning with the 
art of writing, which by recording history, law, knowledge, 
and religion for the service of ages to come, binds together 
the past and the future in an unbroken chain of intellectual 
and moral progress. This classification of three great stages 
of culture is practically convenient, and has the advantage 
of not describing imaginary states of society, but such as 
are actually known to exist. So far as the evidence goes, 
it seems that civilization has actually grown up in the 


world through these three stages, so that to look at a savage 
of the Brazilian forests, a barbarous New Zealander or Daho- 
man, and a civilized European, may be the student's best 
guide to understanding the progress of civilization, only he 
must be cautioned that the comparison is but a guide, not a 
full explanation. 

In this way it is reasonably inferred that even in countries 
now civilized, savage and low barbaric tribes must have 
once lived. Fortunately it is not left altogether to the 
imagination to picture the lives of these rude and ancient 
men, for many relics of them are found which may be seen 
and handled in museums. It has now to be considered 
what sort of evidence of man's age is thus to be had from 
archaeology and geology, and what it proves. 

When an antiquary examines the objects dug up m any 
place, he can generally judge in what state of civilization 
its inhabitants have been. Thus if there are found weapons 
of bronze or iron, bits of fine pottery, bones of domestic 
cattle, charred corn and scraps of cloth, this would be 
proof that people lived there in a civilized, or at least a 
high barbaric condition. If there are only rude implements 
of stone and bone, but no metal, no earthenware, no 
remains to show that the land was tilled or cattle kept, this 
would be evidence that the country had been inhabited by 
some savage tribe. One of the chief questions to be asked 
about the condition of any people is, whether they have 
metal in use for their tools and weapons. If so, they may 
be said to be in the metal age. If they have no copper 
or iron, but make their hatchets, knives, spear-heads, and 
other cutting and piercing instruments of stone, they are 
said to be in the stone age. Wherever such stone imple- 
ments are picked up, as they often are in our own ploughed 
fields, they prove that stone-age men have once dwelt in the 

26 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

land. It is an important fact that in every region of the 
inhabited world ancient stone implements are thus found in 
the ground, showing that at some time the inhabitants were 
in this respect like the modern savages. In countries where 
the people have long been metal-workers, they have often lost 
all memory of what these stone things are, and tell fanciful 
stories to account for their being met with in ploughing or 
digging. One favourite notion, in England and elsewhere, is 
that the stone hatchets are "thunderbolts" fallen from the 
sky with the lightning flash. It has been imagmed that in 
the East, the seat of the most ancient civilizations, some 
district might be found without any traces of man having 
lived there in a state of early rudeness, so that in this part 
of the world he might have been civilized from the first. 
But it is not so. In Assyria, Palestine, Egypt, as in other 
lands, one may find sharp-chipped flints which show that 
here also tribes in the stone age once lived, before the 
use of metal brought in higher civilization. 

Whether it may be considered or not that Europe was a 
quarter of the globe inhabited by the earliest tribes of men, 
it so happens that remains found in Europe furnish at pre- 
sent the best proofs of man's antiquity. To understand 
these, it must be explained that the stone age had an earlier 
and a later period, as may be plainly seen in looking 
at a good collection of stone implements. Fig. i is in- 
tended to give some idea of those in use in the later stone 
age. The hatchet is neatly shaped and edged by rubbing 
on a grinding-stone, as is also the hammer-head. The 
spear and arrows, scraper, and flake-knife it would have 
been waste of labour to grind, but they are chipped out with 
much skill. / On the whole, these stone implements are 
much like those which the North American Indians have 
been using to our own day./ The question is, how long ago 




tribes who made such stone implements were Hving in 
Europe. As to this, we may fairly judge from the position 
in which they are found in Denmark. The forests of that 
country are mainly of beeches, but in the peat-mosses lie 
innumerable trunks of oaks, which show that at an earlier 
period oak-forests prevailed, and deeper still there lie trunks 
of pine trees, which show that there were pine-forests still 
older than the oak-forests. Thus there have been three 
successive forest-periods, the beech, the oak, and the 
pine, and the depth of the peat-mosses, which in places 

Fig. I. — Later Stone Age (neoKthic) implements. «, stone celt or hatchet; b, flint 
spear-head ; c, scraper ; d, arrow-heads; e, flint flake-knives ; f. core from which 
flint-flakes taken ofi" ; g, llint-awl ; //, flint saw ; i, stone hammer-head. 

is as much as thirty feet, shows that the period of the pine 
trees was thousands of years ago. While the forests have 
been changing, the condition of the people living among 
them has changed also. The modern woodman cuts down 
the beech-trees with his iron axe, but among the oak-trunks 
in the peat are found bronze swords and shield-bosses, which 
show that the inhabitants of the country were then in the 
bronze age, and lastly, a flint hatchet taken out from where 
it lay still lower in the peat beneath the pine-trunks, proves 
that stone-age men in Denmark lived in the pine-forest 

28 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

period, which carries them back to high antiquity. In 
England, the tribes who have left such stone implements 
were in the land before the invasion of that Keltic race 
whom we call the ancient Britons, and who no doubt came 
armed with weapons of metal. The stone hatchet-blades 
and arrow-heads of the older population lie scattered 
over our country, hill and dale, moor and fen, near the 
surface of the ground, or deeper underground in peat- 
mosses, or beds of mud and silt. Such bogs or mud-flats 
began at a date which chronologists would call ancient. But 
they are what geologists, accustomed to vaster periods of 
time, consider modern. They belong to the newer alluvial 
deposits, that is, they were formed within the times when 
the lie of the land and the flow of the streams were much 
as they are now. To get an idea of this, one has only to 
look down from a hillside into a wide valley below, and 
notice how its flat flooring of mud and sand, stretching 
right across, must have been laid down by flood-waters 
following very much their present course along the main 
stream and down the side slopes. The people of the 
newer stone age, whose implements are seen in Fig. i, 
lived within this historically ancient, but geologically mod- 
ern period, and relics of them are found only in places 
where man or nature could then have placed them. 

But there had been a still earlier period of the stone age, 
when yet ruder tribes of men lived in our parts of the world, 
when the climate and the face of the country were strangely 
different from the present state of things. On the slopes of 
river valleys such as that of the Ouse, in England, and the 
Somme, in France, 50 or 100 feet above the present river- 
banks, and thus altogether out of the reach of any flood 
now, there are beds of so-called drift gravel. Out of these 
beds have been dug numerous rude implements of flint, 




chipped into shape by the hands of men who had gained 
no mean dexterity in the art, as any one will find who will 
try his hand at making one, with any tools he thinks fit. 
The most remarkable implements of this earlier stone age 
are the picks or hatchets shown in Fig. 2. The coarseness 
of their finish, and the absence of any signs of grinding 
even at the edges of hacking or cutting instruments, show 
that the makers had not come nearly to the skill of the later 

Fig. 2. — Earlier Stone Age (palceolithic) flint picks or hatchets. 

stone age. It is usual to distinguish the two kinds of im- 
plements, and the periods they belong to, by the terms 
introduced by Sir J. Lubbock, palaeolithic and neolithic, 
that is "old-stone " and " new-stone." Looking now at the 
high gravel-beds in which palaeolithic implements such as those 
shown in Fig. 2 occur, it is evident from their position that 
they had nothing to do with the water-action which is now 
laying down and shifting sand-banks and mud-flats at the 
bottom of the valleys, nor with the present rain-wash which 
scours the surface of the hillsides. They must have been 
deposited in a former period when the condition of land 

30 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

and water was different from what it is now. How far this 
state of things was due to the valleys not being yet cut out 
to near their present depth, to the whole country lying lower 
above the sea-level, or to the rivers being vastly larger than 
at present from the heavier rainfall of a pluvial period, it 
would be raising too intricate geological questions to dis- 
cuss here. Geology shows the old drift-gravels to belong to 
times when the glacial or icy period with its arctic climate 
was passing, or had passed away, in Europe. From the 
bones and teeth found with the flint implements in the 
gravel-beds, it is known what animals inhabited the land at 
the same time with the men of the old stone age. The 
mammoth, or huge woolly elephant, and several kinds 
of rhinoceros, also extinct, browsed on the branches of 
the forest trees, and a species of hippopotamus much 
like that at present living frequented the rivers. The 
musk-ox and the grizzly bear, which England harboured 
in this remote period, may stiil be hunted in the Rocky 
Mountains, but the ancient cave-bear, which was one of 
the dangerous wild beasts of our land, is no longer on 
the face of the earth. The British lion was of a laiger 
breed than those now in Asia and Africa, and perhaps than 
those which Herodotus mentions as prowling in Macedonia 
in the fifth century b.c, and falling on the camels of Xerxes' 
army. To judge by such signs as the presence of the rein- 
deer, and the mammoth with its hairy coat, the climate of 
Europe was severer than now, perhaps like that of Siberia. 
How long man had been in the land there is no clear evi- 
dence. For all we know, he may have lasted on from an 
earlier and more genial period, or he may have only 
lately migrated into Europe from some warmer region. 
Implements like his are not unknown in Asia, as where in 
Southern India, above Madras, there lies at the foot of 



the Eastern Ghdts a terrace of irony clay or laterite, con- 
taining stone implements of very similar make to- those of 
the drift-men in Europe. 

These European savages of the mammoth-period resorted 
much to shelter at the foot of overhanging cliffs, and to 
caverns such as Kent's Hole near Torquay, where the 
implements of the men and the bones of the beasts are 
found together in abundance. In Central France especially, 
the examination of such bone-caves has brought to light 
evidence of the whole way of life of a group of ancient 

Fig. 3. — Sketch of mammoth f.oiii cave of La Madeleine (Lartet and Christy). 

tribes. The reindeer which have now retreated to high 
northern latitudes, were then plentiful in France, as appears 
from their bones and antlers imbedded with remains of the 
mammoth under the stalagmite floors of the caves of 
Perigord. With them are found rude stone hatchets and 
scrapers, pounding-stones, bone spear-heads, awls, arrow- 
straighteners, and other objects belonging to a life like that 
of the modern Esquimaux who hunt the reindeer on the 
coasts of Hudson's Bay. Like the Esquimaux also,- these 
early French and Swiss savages spent their leisure time in 
carving figures of animals. Among many such figures found 
in the French caves is a mammoth. Fig. 3, scratched on a 

32 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

piece of its own ivory, so as to touch off neatly the shaggy 
hair and huge curved tusks which distinguish the mammoth 
from other species of elephant. There has been also found 
a rude representation of a man, Fig. 4, grouped with two 
horses' heads and a snake or eel ; this is interesting as 
being the most ancient human portrait known. 

Thus it appears that man of the older stone age was 
already living when the floods went as high above our 
present valley-flats as the tops of the high trees growing 
there now reach, and when the climate was of that Lapland 
kind suited to the woolly mammoth and the reindeer, and 

Fig. 4.— Sketch of man and horses from cave (Lartet and Christy). 

the rest of the un-English looking group of animals now 
perished out of this region, or extinct altogether. From 
all that is known of the slowness with which such altera- 
tions take place anywhere in the lie of the land, the 
climate, and the wild animals, we cannot suppose changes 
so vast to have happened without a long lapse of time 
before the newer stone age came in, when the streams had 
settled down to near their present levels, and the climate and 
the wild creatures had become much as they were within the 
historical period. It is also plain from the actual remains 
found, that these most ancient known tribes were wild 
hunters and fishers, such as we should now class as savages. 
It is best, however, not to apply to them the term primitive 
men, as this might be understood to mean that they were 



the first men who appeared on earth, or at least like them. 
The life the men of the mammoth-period must have 
led at Abbeville or Torquay, shows on the face of it 
reasons against its being man's primitive life. These old 
stone-age men are more likely to have been tribes whose 
ancestors while living under a milder climate gained some 
rude skill in the arts of procuring food and defending them- 
selves, so that afterwards they were able by a hard struggle 
to hold their own against the harsh weather and fierce beasts 
of the quaternary period. 

How long ago this period was, no certain knowledge is 
yet to be had. Some geologists have suggested twenty 
thousand years, while others say a hundred thousand or 
more, but these are guesses made where there is no scale 
to reckon time by. It is safest to be content at present to 
regard it as a geological period lying back out of the range 
of chronology. It is thought by several eminent geologists 
that stones shaped by man, and therefore proving his pre- 

i sence, occur in England and France in beds deposited 
before the last glacial period, when much of the continent 
lay submerged under an icy sea, where drifting icebergs 
dropped on what is now dry land their huge boulders of 

^ rock transported from distant mountains. This cannot be 
taken as proved, but if true it would immensely increase 
our estimate of man's age. At any rate the conclusive 
proofs of man's existence during the quaternary or mam.- 
moth period do not even bring us into view of the remoter 
time when human life first began on earth. Thus geology 
establishes a principle which lies at the very foundation of 
the science of anthropology. Until of late, while it used 
to be reckoned by chronologists that the earth and man 
were less than 6,000 years old, the science of geology could 
hardly exist, there being no room for its long processes of 


34 ANTHROPOLOGY. . [chap. i. 

building up the strata containing tlie remains of its vast 
successions of plants and animals. These are now accounted 
for on the theory that geological time extends over millions 
of years. It is true that man reaches back comparatively 
little way into this immense lapse of time. Yet his first 
appearance on earth goes back to an age compared with 
which the ancients, as we call them, are but moderns. The 
few thousand years of recorded history only take us back 
to a praehistoric period of untold length, during which took 
place the primary distribution of mankind over the earth 
and the development of the great races, the formation of 
speech and the settlement of the great families of language, 
and the growth of culture up to the levels of the old world 
nations of the East, the forerunners and founders of modern 
civilized life. 

Having now sketched what history, archaeology, and 
geology teach as to man's age and course on the earth, 
we shall" proceed in the following chapters to describe more 
fully Man and his varieties as they appear in natural 
history, next examining the nature and growth of Language, 
and afterwards the development of the knowledge, arts, and 
institutions, which make up Civilization. 



Vertebrate Animals, 35— Succession and Descent of Species, 37 — Apes 
and Man, comparison of structure, 38 — Hands and Feet, 42 — Hair, 
44 — Features, 44 — Brain, 45 — Mind in Lower Animals and Man, 47. 

To understand rightly the construction of the human body, 
and to compare our own limbs and organs with those of other 
animals, requires a thorough knowledge of anatomy and 
physiology. It will not be attempted here to draw up an 
abstract of these sciences, for which such handbooks 
should be studied as Huxley's Elementary Physiology and 
Mivart's Elementary Anatomy. But it will be useful to 
give a slight outline of the evidence as to man's place in 
the animal world, which may be done without requiring 
special knowledge in the reader. 

That the bodies of other animals more or less correspond 
in structure to our own is one of the lessons we begin 
to learn in the nursery. Boys playing at horses, one on 
all-fours and the other astride on his back, have already 
some notion how the imagined horse matches a real one 
as to head, eyes, and ears, mouth and teeth, back and 
legs. If one questions a country lad sitting on a stile 
watching the hunters go by, he knows well enough that 
the huntsman and his horse, the hounds and the hare they 

D 2 

56 ANTHROPOLCGY. [chap. 

are chasing, are all creatures built up on the same kind 
of bony scaffolding or skeleton, that their life is carried on 
by means of similar organs, lungs to breathe with, a stomach 
to digest the food taken in by the mouth and gullet, a 
lieart to drive the blood through the vessels, while the eyes, 
ears, and nostrils receive in them all in like manner the 
impressions of sight, hearing, and smell. Very likely the 
peasant has taken all this as a matter of course without 
ever reflecting on it, and even more educated people are 
apt to do the same. Had it come as a new discovery, it 
would have set any intelligent mind thinking what must be 
the tie or connexion between creatures thus ftjrm^d as it 
were on one original pattern, only varied in different modes 
for different ends. The scientific comparison of animals, 
even when made in the most elementary way, does at once 
bring this great problem before our minds. In some cases, 
more exact knowledge shows that the first rough comparison 
of man and beast may want correction. For instance, 
when a man's skeleton and a horse's are set side by side, 
it becomes plain that the horse's knee and hock do not 
answer, as is popularly supposed, to our elbow and knee, 
but to our wrist and ankle. The examination of the man's 
limb and the horse's leads to a further and remarkable 
conclusion, that the horse's fore- and hind-leg really cor- 
respond to a man's arm and leg in which all the fingers and 
toes should have become useless and shrunk away, except 
one finger and one toe, which are left to be walked upon, 
with the nail become a hoof. The general law to be learnt 
from the series of skeletons in a natural history museum, is 
that throughorder after order of fishes, reptiles, birds, beasts, 
up to man b.imself, a common type or pattern may be 
traced; belonging to all animals which are vertebrate, that 
is, which have a backbone. Limbs may' still be recognised 


though their shape and service have changed, and though 
they may even have dwindled into remnants, as if left not 
for use, but to keep up the old model. Thus, although a 
perch's skeleton differs so much from a man's, its pectoral 
and ventral fins still correspond to arms and legs. Snakes 
are mostly limbless, yet there are forms which connect 
them with the quadrupeds, as for instance, the boa-con- 
strictor's skeleton shows a pair of rudimentary hind-legs. 
The Greenland whale has no visible hind-limbs, and 
its fore-hmbs are paddles or flippers, yet when dissected, 
the skeleton shows not only remnants of what in man 
would be the leg-bones, but the flipper actually has within 
it the set of bones which belong to the human arm and 
hand. It is popularly considered that man is especially 
distinguished from the lower animals by not having a tail ; 
yet the tail is plainly to be seen in the human skeleton, 
represented by the last tapering vertebra of the spine. 

All these are animals now living. But geology shows 
that in long-past ages the earth has been inhabited by 
species different from those at present existing, and yet 
evidently related to them. In the tertiary period, Australia 
was distinguished as now by its marsupial or pouched 
animals, but these were not of any present species, and 
mostly far larger ; even the tallest kangaroo now to be 
•seen is a puny creature in comparison with the enormous 
extinct diprotodon, whose skull was three feet long. So 
in South America there lived huge edentate animals, now- 
poorly represented by the sloths, anteaters and arma- 
dillos, to be seen in our Zoological Gardens. Elephants 
are found fossil in the miocene deposits, but the species 
were all different from those in Africa and India now. These 
are common examples of the great principle now received 
by all zoologists, that from remote geological antiquity 

38 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

there have from time to time appeared on earth new species 
of animals, so far similar to those which came before them 
as to look as if the old types had been altered to fit new 
conditions of life, the earlier forms then tending to die out 
and disappear. This relation between the older species of 
vertebrate animals and the newer species which have sup- 
planted them, is a matter of actual observation, and beyond 
dispute. Many zoologists, now perhaps the majority, go a 
step farther than this, not only acknowledging that there is 
a relation between the new species and the old, but seeking 
to explain it by the hypothesis of descent or develoj^ment, 
now often called, from its great modern expounder, the 
Darwinian theory. The formation of breeds or varieties of 
animals being an admitted fact, it is argued that natural varia- 
tion under changed conditions of life can go far enough to 
produce new species, which by better adaptation to climate 
and circumstances may supplant the old. On this theory, 
the present kangaroos of Australia, sloths of South America, 
and elephants of India, are not only the successors but the 
actual descendants of extinct ones, and the fossil bones of 
tertiary horse-like animals with three-toed and four- toed 
feet show what the remote ancestors of our horses were 
like, in ages before the unused toes dwindled to the splint- 
bones which represent them in the horse's leg now. Ac- 
cording to the doctrine of descent, when several species of 
animals living at the same time show close resemblance in 
structure, it is inferred that this resemblance must have been 
inherited by all from one ancestral species. Now of all the 
mammalia, or animals which suckle their young, those 
whose structure brings them closest to man are the apes 
or monkeys, and among these the catarhine or near- 
nostrilled apes of the Old World, and among these the 
group called anthropoid or manlike, which inhabit tropical 




40 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

forests from Africa to the Eastern Archipelago. By now- 
comparing their skeletons, it will be seen that in any scale 
of nature or scheme of creation these animals must be 
placed in somewhat close relation to man. No competent 
anatomist who has examined the bodily structure of these 
apes considers it possible that man can be descended from 
any of them, but according to the doctrine of descent they 
appear as the nearest existing offshoots from the same 
primitive stock whence man also came. 

Professor Huxley's Man's Place in Nature, in which this 
anatomical comparison is made, contains a celebrated draw- 
ing which is copied in Fig. 5 as the readiest means of show- 
ing how the anthropoid apes correspond bone for bone with 
ourselves. At the same time it illustrates some main points 
in which their bodily actions are unlike ours. It has been 
said that the child first takes on him the dignity of man 
when he leaves off going on all-fours. But in fact, stand- 
ing and walking upright is not a mere matter of training ; 
it belongs to the arrangement of the human body being 
different from that of quadrupeds. The limbs of the dog 
or cow are so proportioned as to bring them down on all- 
fours, and this is to a less degree the case with the apes, 
while the head and trunk of the growing child are lifted 
toward the erect attitude by the disproportionate growth of 
the lower limbs. Though man's standing upright requires 
continued muscular effort, he is so built as to keep his 
balance more readily than other animals in this posi- 
tion. It may be noticed from the figure how in man 
the opening at the base of the skull (occipital foramen) 
through which the spinal cord passes up into the brain, 
is farther to the front than in the apes, so that his skull, 
instead of pitching forward, is balanced on the top of the 
atlas vertebra (so called from Atlas supporting the globe). 


The figure shows also the S-Hke curvature of man's spine, 
and how the bony pelvis or basin forms a broad support 
for his intestines as he stands upright, in which attitude the 
feet serve as bases enabling the legs to carry the trunk. 
Thus the erect posture, only imitated with difficult effort 
by the showman's performing animals, is to man easy and 
unconstrained. Not through great differences of struc- 
ture, but by adjustments of bones and muscles, the fore- 
and hind- limbs of quadrupeds work in accord, while in 
man, whose muscular adaptation is for going on his legs, 
there is no such reciprocal action between the legs and 
arms. Of the monkey tribes, many walk fairly on all- 
fours as quadrupeds, with legs bent, arms straightened 
forward, soles and palms touching the ground. But the 
higher man-like apes are adapted by their structure for a 
climbing life among the trees, whose branches they grasp 
with feet and hands. When the orang-utan takes to the 
ground he shambles clumsily along, generally putting down 
the outer edge of the feet and the bent knuckles of the 
hands. The orang and gorilla have the curious habit of 
resting on their bent fists, so as to draw their bodies forward 
between their long arms, like a cripple between his crutches. 
The nearest approach that apes naturally make to the erect 
attitude, is where the gibbon will go along on its feet, 
touching the ground with its knuckles first on one side and 
then on the other, or will run some distance with its arms 
thrown back above its head to keep the balance, or when the 
gorilla will rise on its legs and rush forward to attack. All 
these modes of locomotion may be understood from the 
skeletons in the figure. The apes thus present interesting 
intermediate stages between quadruped and biped. But only 
man is so formed that, using his feet to carry him, he has 
his hands free for their special work. 




In comparing man with the lower animals, it is wrong to 
set down his pre-eminence entirely to his mind, without 
noticing the superiority of his limbs as instruments for 
practical arts. If one looks at the illustrations to " Reynard 
the Fox," where the artist does his best to represent the 
lion holding a sceptre, the she-wolf flirting a fan, or the fox 
writing a letter ; what he really shows is, how ill adapted the 
limbs of quadrupeds are to such actions. Man's being the 
" tool-using animal " is due to his having hands to use the 
tool as well as mind to invent it ; and only the apes, as 

Fig. 6. — a, hand, b, foot, of chimpanzee (after Vogt) ; c, hand, d, foot, of man. 

most nearly approaching man in their limbs, can fairly 
imitate the use of such instruments as a spoon or a knife. 
In Fig. 6 the hand and foot of the chimpanzee may be 
compared with those of man. Here the ape's foot b, looks 
so like a hand, that many naturalists have classed the higher 
apes under the name of four-handed animals, or quadrumana. 
In anatomical structure it is a foot, but it is a prehensile or 
grasping foot, able to clip or pinch an object by setting the 
great toe thumb-wise against the others, which the human 
foot d, cannot do. It is true that among people who go 
barefoot the great toe is not quite so helpless as that of a 



boot-wearing European. With the naked foot the savage 
Australian picks up his spear, and the Hindu tailor holds his 
cloth as he squats sewing. The above drawing is purposely 
taken, not from the free foot of the savage, but from the 
European foot cramped by the stiff leather boot, because 
this shows in the utmost way the contrast between ape and 
man. In the ape, it is seen that both the hands and feet 
gain their suitability for a tree-climbing life at the loss of 
their suitability for walking on the ground. But man's 
upper and lower extremities have become differentiated or 
specialised in two opposite ways, the human foot becoming 
a stepping-machine with less grasping-power than the ape- 
foot, while the human hand comes to excel the ape-hand as 
a special organ for feeling, holding, and handling. The figure 
r shows the longer and freely-acting thumb and the wider 
flexible palm in man, the sensitive cushions at our finger- 
ends also giving us greater delicacy of touch. It is most 
instructive to visit the monkey-house at the Zoological 
Gardens for the purpose of comparing hands of high and 
low kinds. The hand of the marmoset with its five 
claw-nailed digits, is a mere grasping instrument hardly 
capable of handling. Other low monkeys have the thumbs 
small and not opposable, that is, their ends do not 
meet those of the other fingers, whereas the thumbs of the 
higher apes are (as the figure shows) opposable like ours. 
How far the value of the hand as a mechanical instrument 
depends on this opposability, any one may satisfy himself 
by using his hand with the thumb stift". It is plain that 
man's hand, enabling him to shape and wield weapons and 
tools to subdue nature to his own ends, is one cause of 
his standing first among animals. It is not so obvious, but 
it is true, that his intellectual development must have been 
in no small degree gained by the use of his hands. From 

44 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

handling objects, putting them in different positions, and 
setting them side by side, he was led to those simplest 
kinds of comparing and measuring which are the first 
elements of exact knowledge, or science. 

Outwardly, the shaggy hair of the apes contrasts with the 
comparative nakedness of the human skin. In man as in 
lower animals, the thatch of hair indeed forms an effective 
shelter to the head. The hairy fringe round the human 
mouth in the adult male has in some races a strong growth, 
as in the European or the native of Australia. But in 
others, as the African negro and the so-called American 
Indian, the scanty face-hair looks as though it had dwindled 
to the mere remnant of a fuller growth. Looked at in this 
way, the hairy patches on the Englishman's breast and limbs, 
though practically of no importance, are an object of curious 
interest to the naturahsts who consider them relics from 
the remote period when man's ancestral stock had a fuller 
hairy covering, whose want is now supplied by artificial 
shelter suited to season and cfimate. It is interesting 
to notice that there are some few human beings to be 
met with, whose faces and bodies are largely covered 
with long shaggy hair. Such a face-covering hides the 
play of feature — that expressive m.eans of intercourse be- 
tween mind and mind. Llad the skeletons of apes and 
man in our figure been clothed with flesh, we should 
have seen plainly the signs of man's higher organisation in 
the flexible versatile features, in whose movements and folds 
are symbolised the pleasures and pains, the loves and hates, 
of every ])hase of human life. How coarse and clumsy are 
the corresponding changes of face in the monkey-tribes, 
such as the drawing back of the corners of the mouth and 
wrinkling of the lower eyefld which constitute an ape's 
smile, or the rise and fall of the baboon's evebrows and 


forehead in anger. The visitor from some other planet, so 
often imagined as coming to our earth and forming his 
judgments by what he sees, might well discern in the 
difference between man's face and the gorilla's muzzle 
some measure of the discrepancy within. 

The brain being the instrument or organ of mind, 
anatomists comparing the brains of animals have looked 
for well-marked distinctions between the less and the more 
intelligent. In the natural order of Primates, to which man 
belongs with the monkeys and lemurs, the series of brains 
shows a remarkable rise or development from lower to 
higher forms. The lemur has a small and comparatively 
smooth brain, whereas the high anthropoid apes have 
brains which strikingly approach man's. In fact the lemur 
has very little mind in comparison with the sagacious and 
teachable chimpanzee or orang-utan. But man's reason 
so vastly surpasses that of the highest apes, that naturalists 
have wondered at the likeness of their brain to ours, which 
is illustrated in the accompanying Fig. 7, representing 
the brain of the chimpanzee a^ and of man b^ whole on 
the left to show the convolutions, and cut across on the 
right to expose the interior. To compare their structure 
the two brains are drawn of the same size, but in fact the 
chimpanzee brain is much smaller than the human. It is 
one great difference between man and the anthropoid apes, 
that .his brain exceeds theirs in quantity ; in a rough way 
he has three pounds of brain to their one. It is seen also 
that in the ape-brain the lobes or hemispheres have fewer 
and simpler windings than the more complex convolutions 
of the human brain, which in general outline they resembfe. 
Now both size and complexity mean mind-power. The 
lobes af the brain consist within of the "white matter" 
with its innumerable fibres carrying nerve- currents, while 







the outer coating is formed of the "grey matter," contain- 
ing the brain-corpuscles or cells from which the fibres issue, 
and which are centres through which the combinations are 
made which we are conscious of as thoughts. As the ' < 
coating of grey matter follows the foldings of the brain 
down into the fissures, it is evident that the increased 
complexity of the convolutions, combined with greater 
actual size of brain, furnishes man with a vastly more 
extensive and intricate thinking-apparatus than the animals 
nearest below him in the order of nature. '\ 

Having looked at some of the important differences 
between the bodies of man and lower animals, we may 
venture to ask the still harder question. How far do their 
minds work like ours ? No full answer can be given, yet 
there are some well ascertained points to judge by. To 
begin, it is clear that the simple processes of sense, will, 
and action, are carried on in man by the same bodily 
machinery as in other high vertebrate animals. How like 
their organs of sense are, is well illustrated by the anatomist 
who dissects a bullock's eye as a substitute for a man's, to 
show how the picture of the outer world is thrown by the 
lenses on the retina or screen, into which spread the end- 
fibres of the optic nerve leading into the brain. Not but 
what the touch, sight, and other senses in the various orders 
of animals have their special differences, as where the eagle's 
eyes are focussed to see small objects far beyond man's 
range, while the horse's eyes are so set in his head that 
they do not converge like ours, and he must practically 
have two pictures of the two sides of the road to deal 
with. Such special differences, however, make the general 1 
resemblance all the more striking. Next, the nervous system i 
in beast and man shows the same common plan, the brain ^V 
and spinal cord forming a central nervous organ, to which 

48 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

the sensory nerves convey the messages of tlie senses, and 
from which the motor nerves carry the currents causing 
muscular contraction and movement. The involuntary acts 
of animals are like our own, as when the sleeping dog draws 
his leg back if it is touched, much as his master would do, 
and when awake, both man and beast wink when a finger 
pretends to strike at their eyes. If we go on to voluntary 
actions, done with conscious will and thought, the lower 
creatures can for some distance keep company with man- 
kind. At the Zoological Gardens one may sometimes see 
a handful of nuts divided between the monkeys inside the 
bars and the children outside, and it is instructive to notice 
how nearly both go through the same set of movements, 
looking, approaching, elbowing, grasping, cracking, munch- 
ing, swallowing, holding out their hands for more. Up to 
this level, the monkeys show all the mental likeness to man 
that their bodily likeness would lead us to expect. Now we 
know that in the scramble, there passes in the children's 
minds a great deal besides the mere sight and feel of 
the nuts, and the will to take and eat them. Between the 
sensation and action there takes place thought. To describe 
it simply, the boy knows a nut by sight, wishes to renew the 
pleasant taste of former nuts, and directs his hands and 
mouth to grasp, crack, and eat. But here are complicated 
mental processes. Knowing a nut by sight, or having an idea 
of a nut, means that there are grouped together in the child's 
mind memories of a number of past sensations, which have 
so become connected by experience that a particular form 
and colour, feel and weight, lead to the expectation of a 
particular flavour. Of what here- takes place in the boy's 
mind we can judge, though by no means clearly, from what 
we know about our own thoughts and what others have told 
us about theirs. What takes place in the monkeys' minds 


we can only guess by watching their actions, but these are 
so like the human as to be most readily explained by con- 
sidering their brain-work also to be like the human, though 
less clear and perfect. It seems as though a beast's idea or 
thought of an object may be, as our own, a group of re- 
membered sensations compacted into a whole. What makes 
this the more likely is that when part of the sensations 
present themselves, the animal seems to judge that the rest 
must be there also, much as we ourselves are so apt to do. 
Thus a dog will jump upon a scum-covered stream which it 
takes for dry land, or when offered a sham biscuit will come 
for it, turning away when smell and taste prove that the rest 
of the idea does not agree with what sight suggested. 

In much the same way, all people who attend to the 
proceedings of animals, account for them by faculties more 
or less like their own. Not only do creatures of all high 
orders give unmistakable signs of pleasure and pain, but 
our dealings with the brutes go on the ground of their 
sharing with us such more complex emotions as fear, affec- 
tion, anger, nay, even curiosity, jealousy, and revenge. Some 
of these show themselves in bodily symptoms which are 
quite human, as every one must admit who has felt the 
trembling limbs and throbbing heart of a frightened puppy, 
or looked at the picture in Darwin's Expression of the 
Emotions of the chimpanzee who has had his fruit taken 
from him, and displays his sulkiness by a pout which is a 
caricature of a child's. Again, the lower animals show a 
well-marked will, which like man's is not simply wish, but 
the resultant or balance of v.ashes, so that it is possible for 
two people calling a dog different ways, or both offering him 
bones, to distract his will in a way that reminds us of the 
philosopher's imaginary ass that died of starvation between 
its hay and its water. As to the power of memory in brutes, 


50 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

we have all had opportunities of noticing how lasting and 
exact it is. Some things which the animals remember may be 
explained simply by their ideas becoming associated through 
habit, as when the horse betrays its former owner's ways by 
stopping at every public-house ; this m.ay only mean that 
the familiar door suggests to the beast the memory of rest, 
and he stops. But to watch a dog dreaming makes us 
think that whole trains of ideas from the storehouse of 
memory are passing before his consciousness, as in our 
dream.s. A memory in which such a revival of the past 
is possible, is a source of experience whence to extract 
understanding of the present, and foresight of the future. 
To make the memory of what has been, the means of con- 
trolling what shall be, is the great intellectual faculty in 
man, and in simple and elementary forms it comes into 
view among lower creatures. To tell but one of the in- 
numerable animal stories which show expectation and 
design founded on experience. A certain Mr. Cops, who 
had a young orang-utan, one day gave it half an orange, 
put the other half away out of its sight on a high press, 
and lay down himself on the sofa, but the ape's movements 
attracting his attention, he only pretended to go to sleep ; 
the creature came cautiously and sadsfied himself of his 
master being asleep, then climbed up the press, ate the rest 
of the orange, carefully hid the peel among some shavings 
in the grate, examined the pretended sleeper again, and 
then went to lie down on his own bed. Such behaviour is 
only to be explained by a train of thought involving some- 
thing of what in ourselves we call reason. 

To measure the differences between beast and man is 
really more difficult than tracing their resemblances. One 
plain mark of the higher intellectual rank of man is that 
he is less dependent on instinct than the animals which 


migrate at a fixed season, or build nests of a fixed and r^ ' ;r h 
complicated pattern peculiar to their kind. Man has some V /^^ 
instincts plainly agreeing with those of inferior animals, ' 

such as the child's untaught movements to ward off danger, 
and the parental affection which preserves the offspring 
during the first defenceless period of life. But if man 
were possessed by a resistless longing to set off wandering 
southward before winter, or to build a shelter of boughs 
laid in a particular way, this would be less beneficial to his 
species than the use of intelligent judgment adapting his 
actions to climate, supply of food, danger from enemies, 
and a multitude of circumstances differing from district to 
district, and changing from year to year. If man's remote 
progenitors had instincts like the beavers' implanted in the 
very structure of their brain, these instincts have long ago 
fallen away, displaced by freer and higher reason. Man's 
power of accommodating himself to the world he lives in, 
and even of controlling it, is largely due to his faculty of 
gaining new knowledge. Yet it must not be overlooked that 
this faculty is in a less measure possessed by other animals. 
We may catch them in the act of learning by experience, 
which is indeed one of the most curious sights in natural 
history, as when telegraph-wires are set up in a new district, 
and after the second year partridges no longer kill themselves 
by flying against them, or where in Canada the wily marten 
baffles the trapper's ingenuity, finding out how to get the bait 
away, even from a new kind of trap, without letting it fall. 
The faculty of learning by imitation comes out in the apes 
in an almost human way. The anthropoid ape Mafuka, 
kept lately in the Zoological Gardens at Dresden, saw how 
the door of her cage was unlocked, and not only did it 
herself, but even stole the key and hid it under her arm 
for future use; after watching the carpenter she seized 

E 2 

52 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap, 

his bradawl and bored holes with it through the little table 
she had her meals on ; at her meals she not only filled her 
own cup from the jug, but, what is more remarkable, she 
carefully stopped pouring before it ran oven The death of 
this ape had an almost human pathos; when her friend 
the director of the gardens cam.e to her, she put her arms 
round his neck, kissed him three times, and then lay down 
on her bed and giving him her hand fell into her last sleep. 
One cannot but think that creatures so sagacious must learn 
in their wild state. Indeed less clever animals seem to some 
extent to teach their young, birds to sing, wolves to hunt, 
althouo;h it is most difficult for naturalists in such cases to 
judge what comes by instinct and what is consciously leamt. 
Philosophers have tried to draw a hard and fast line 
between the animal and human mind. The most celebrated 
of these attempts is Locke's, where in his Essay concerm?tg 
Human Understanding he lays it down that beasts indeed 
have ideas, but are without man's faculty of forming ab- 
3tract or general ideas. Now it is true that we have learnt 
to reason with abstract ideas, such as solidity and fluidity, 
quantity and quality, vegetable and animal, courage and 
cowardice ; and that there is not the least reason to suppose 
that such abstractions are formed by dogs or apes. But 
though the faculty of thus abstracting and generalising is 
one which rises to the highest flights of philosophic thought, 
it nmst be borne in mind that it begins in easy mental 
acts which seem quite possible to animals. Abstraction is 
noticing what several thoughts have in common, and neg- 
lecting their differences ; thus a general idea is obtained by 
not attending too closely to particulars. The simplest form 
of this is when only one sense at a time is attended to, as 
in Locke's example of the idea of whiteness, as being that 
which chalk, snow, and milk, agree ' in. But, to judge by 


animals' actions, they also will attend to one sense at a 
time, as where a bull is excited by anything red. And 
it is most interesting to watch animals comparing a new 
object with their recollections or ideas of previous ones, 
practically recognising in it what is already familiar, and 
expecting it to behave like other individuals of its class. 
Cats or monkeys do not require to be shown the use of a 
fresh rug or cushion, when it is at all like the old one it is 
put in place of, and the " dog of the regiment " will accept 
any man in the uniform as a master, whether he has seen 
him before or not. Thus, the very simplicity of animal 
thought foreshadows the results of man's higher abstraction 
and generalisation. Let us now read a few lines farther in 
Locke, and we shall see why he concludes that animals have 
not the power of forming abstract ideas. It is, he says, 
because they have no use of words or other general signs. 
But this itself is an easier point and far more worth arguing, 
than the hard question whether brutes have abstract ideas. 
In fact the power of speech gives about the clearest 
distinction that can be drawn between the action of mind 
in beast and man. It is far more satisfactory than another 
division attempted by philosophers who lay it down that 
while other animals have consciousness, man alone has self- 
consciousness, that is, he not only feels and thinks, but is 
aware of himself as feeling and thinking. Man, we know, 
is capable of this self-consciousness, which is cultivated by 
his being able to talk about himself as he does about other 
persons ; but it has never been proved that animals, who 
we know are not apt to mistake their own bodies for 
anything outside, have no consciousness of themselves. 
When we study the rules of sign-making and language, we 
really have some means of contrasting the animals with 
ourselves. Evidently it is by means of language that the 


54 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

luiman mind has been able to work out and mark the high 
abstract ideas we deal with so easily ; without words, how 
could we have reached results of combined and compared 
thought such as momentum, plurality, righteousness ? The 
great mental gap between us and the animals we study is well 
measured by the difference between their feeble beginnings 
in calling one another and knowing when they are called, 
and man's capacity for perfect speech. It is not merely 
that the highest anthropoid apes have no speech ; they have 
not the brain-organisation enabling them to acquire even its 
rudiments. Man's power of using a word, or even a 
gesture, as the symbol of a thought and the means of con- 
versing about it, is one of the points where we most 
plainly see him parting company with all lower species, and 
starting on his career of conquest through higher intellec- 
tual regions. 

In the comparison of man with other animals the 
standard should naturally be the lowest man, or savage. 
But the savage is possessed of human reason and speech, 
while his brain-power, though it has not of itself raised him 
to civilization, enables him to receive more or less of the 
education which transforms him into a civilized man. To 
show how man may have advanced from savagery to civiliza- 
tion is a reasonable task, worked out to some extent in the 
later chapters of this volume. But there is no such evidence 
available for crossing the mental gulf that divides the lowest 
savage from the highest ape. On the whole, the safest con- 
clusion warranted by facts is that the mental machinery of 
the lower animals is roughly similar to our own, up to a 
limit. Beyond this limit the human mind opens out into 
wide ranges of thought and feeling which the beast-mind 
shows no sign of approaching. If we consider man's 
course of life from birth to death, we see that it is, so to 


speak, founded on functions which he has in common with 
lower beings. Man, endowed with instinct and capable of 
learning by experience, drawn by pleasure and driven by 
pain, must like a beast maintain his life by food and 
sleep, must save himself by flight, or fight it out with 
his foes, must propagate his species and care for the next 
generation. Upon this lower framework of animal life is 
raised the wondrous edifice of human language, science, 
art, and law. 



Differences of Race, 56 — Stature and Proportions, 56— Skull, 60 — ■ 
Features, 62— Colour, 66 — Hair, 71 — Constitution, 73 — Tempera- 
ment, 74 — Types of Races, 75 — Permanence, 80 — Mixture, 80 — 

Variation, 84 — Races of Mankind classified, 87. 

In the first chapter something has been already said as 
to the striking distinctions between the various races of 
man, seen in looking closely at the African negro, the Coolie 
of India, and the Chinese. Even among Europeans, the 
broad contrast between the fair Dane and the dark Genoese 
is recognised by all. Some further comparison has now to 
be made of the special differences between race and race, 
though the reader must understand that, without proper 
anatomical examination, such comparison can only be slight 
and imperfect. Anthropology finds race-differences most 
clearly in stature and proportions of limbs, conformation of 
the skull and the brain within, characters of features, skin, 
eyes, and hair, pecuHarities of constitution, and mental and 
moral temperament. 

In comparing races as to their stature, we concern ourselves 
not with the tallest or shortest men of each tribe, but with 
the ordinary or average-sized men who may be taken as fair 
representatives of their whole tribe. The difference of 



general stature is well shown where a tall and a short people 
come together in one district. Thus in Australia the average 
EngUsh colonist of 5 ft. 8 in. looks clear over the heads of 
the 5 ft. 4 in. Chinese labourers. Still more in Sweden 
does the Swede of 5 ft. 7 in. tower over the stunted Lapps, 
whose average measure is not much over 5 ft. Among the 
tallest of mankind are the Patagonians, who seemed a race 
of giants to the Europeans who first watched them striding 
along their cliffs draped in their skin cloaks ; it was even 
declared that the heads of Magalhaens' men hardly reached 
the waist of the first Patagonian they met. Modern travel- 
lers find, on measuring them, that they really often reach 6 ft. 
4in., their mean height being about 5 ft. 11 in.— three or 
four inches taller than average EngUshmen. The shortest 
of mankind are the Bushmen and related tribes in South 
Africa, with an average height not far exceeding 4 ft. 6 in. 
A fair contrast between the tallest and shortest races of 
mankind may be seen in Fig. 8, where a Patagonian is 
drawn side by side with a Bushman, whose head only 
reaches to his breast. Thus the tallest race of man is less 1 
than one-fourth higher than the shortest, a fact which seems [ 
surprising to those not used to measurements. Struck by 
the effect of such difference of stature one is apt to form 
an exaggerated notion of its amount, which is really 
small compared with the disproportion in size between 
various breeds of other species of animals, as the toy pug 
and the mastiff, or the Shetland pony and the dray-horse. 
In general, the stature of the women of any race may be I 
taken as about one-sixteenth less than that of the men. ♦ 
Thus in England a man of 5ft. Sin. and a woman of 
5ft. 4 in. look an ordinary well-matched couple. 

Not only the stature, but the proportions of the body 
differ in men of various races. Care must be taken not to 




confuse real race-differences with the alterations made by the 
individual's early training or habit of life, such as the bow- 
legs of grooms, and the still more crooked legs of the 
Indians of British Columbia, who get them misshaped by 
continually sitting cramped up in their canoes. A man's 

b'lG. 8 — ratagon.aii and Bushman. 

measure round the chest depends a good deal on his way of 
life, as do also the lengths of arm and leg, which are not 
even the same in soldiers and sailors. But there are certain 
distinctions which are inherited, and mark ditferent 
races. Thus there are long-limbed and short-limbed tribes of 


mankind. The African negro is remarkable for length of 
arm and leg, the Aymara Indian of Peru for shortness. Sup- 
posing an ordinary Englishman to be altered to the build 
of a negro, he would want 2 in. more in the arm and i in. 
more in the leg, while to bring him to the proportions of 
an Aymara his arm would have to be shortened J in. and 
his leg 1 in. from their present lengths. An instructive 
way of noticing these differences is to look back to the 
skeletons of apes and man (Fig. 5). In an upright I 
position and reaching down with the middle finger, the | 
gibbon can touch its foot, the orang its ankle, the chim- \ 
panzee its knee, while man only reaches partly down his ' 
thigh. Here, however, there seems to be a real distinction * 
among the races of man. Negro soldiers standing at drill 
bring the middle finger-tip an inch or two nearer the knee 
than white men can do, and some have been even known to 
touch the knee-pan. Such differences, however, are less 
remarkable than the general correspondence in bodily pro- 
portions of a model of strength and beauty, to whatever race 
he may belong. Even good judges have been led to forget 
the niceties of race-type and to treat the form of the athlete 
as everywhere one and the same. Thus Benjamin West, the 
American painter, when he came to Rome and saw the 
Belvedere Apollo, exclaimed, " It is a young Mohawk 
warrior ! " Much the same has been said of the proportions 
of Zulu athletes. Yet if fairly-chosen photographs of Kafirs 
be compared with a classic model such as the Apollo, it will 
be noticed that the trunk of the African has a somewhat 
wall-sided straightness, wanting in the inward slope which 
gives fineness to the waist, and in the expansion below 
which gives breadth across the hips, these being two 
of the most noticeable points in the classic model which 
our painters recognise as an ideal of manly beauty. By this 

6o ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

kind of comparison much may be done in distinguishing 
standard types of races. Yet, while acknowledging the 
reality of such varieties in the build of men of different race, 
we have again to remark how slight they are compared with 
the variation in the Umbs of different breeds of lower animals. 

In comparing races, one of the first questions that occurs 
is whether people who differ so much intellectually as 
savage tribes and civilized nations, show any corresponding 
difference in their brain. There is, in fact, a considerable 
difference. The most usual way of ascertaining the quantity 
of brain is to measure the capacity of the brain-case by 
filling skulls with shot or seed. Professor Flower gives as 
a mean estimate of the contents of skulls in cubic inches, 
Australian, seventy-nine ; African, eighty-five ; European^, 
ninety-one. Eminent anatomists also think that the brain of 
the European is somewhat more complex in its convolutions 
than the brain of a Negro or Hottentot. Thus, though these 
observations are far from perfect, they show a connexion 
between a more full and intricate system of brain-cells and 
fibres, and a higher intellectual power, in the races which 
have risen in the scale of civilization. 

The form of the skull itself, so important in its relation 
to the brain within and the expressive features without, has 
been to the anatomist one of the best means of distin- 
guishing races. It is often possible to tell by inspection of 
a skull what race it belongs to. The narrow cranium of the 
negro (Fig. Cjo) would not be mistaken for the broad 
cranium of the vSamoyed (Fig. 9^.) On taking down from 
a museum shelf a certain narrow, wall-sided, roof-topped, 
forward-jawed skull with unusually strong brow-ridges (Fig. 
10^, there is no difficulty in recognising it as Australian. 
In comparing skulls, some of the most easily noticeable 
distinctions are the following 




When looked at from the vertical or top view, the pro- 
portion of breadth to length is seen as in Fig. 9. Taking 
the diameter from back to front as 100, the cross diameter 
gives the so-called index of breadth, which is here about 
70 in the Negro {a)^ 80 in the European {b), and 85 in 
the Samoyed {c). Such skulls are classed respectively as 
dolichokep/ialtc, or " long-headed ; " mesokephalic^ or "middle- 
headed ; " and brachykephalic, or '' short-headed." A model 
skull of a flexible material like gutta-percha, if of the middle 

Fig. 9 — Top view of skulJs. a, Negro, index 70, doHchokephaHc ; 3. European, 
index 80, mesokephalic; c, Samoyed, index 85, brachykephalic. 

shape, like that of an ordinary Englishman, might, by pres- 
sure at the sides, be made long like a negro's, or by pressure 
at back and front be brought to the broad Tatar form. In 
the above figure it may be noticed that while some skulls, 
as <5, have a somewhat elliptical form, others, as a^ are ovoid, 
having the longest cross diameter considerably behind the 
centre. Also in some classes of skulls, as in a, the zygo- 
matic arches connecting the skull and face are fully seen ; 
while in others, as b and r, the bulging of the skull almost 
hides them. In the front and back view of skulls, the pro- 
portion of width to height is taken in much the same way 

62 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

as the index of breadth just described. Next^ Fig, lo, 
which represents in profile the skulls of an Australian {d), 
a negro (<?), and an Englishman (/), shows' the strong 
difference in the facial angle between the two lov/er races 
and our own. The Australian and African are prognathous, 
or " for ward- jawed," while the European is orthognathous, 
or " upright-jawed." At the same time the Australian and 
African have more retreating foreheads than the European, 

Fig. io. — Side view of skulls, d. A;-.: tralian, prognathous; f, African, prognathous 
f, European, orthognathous. 

to the disadvantage of the frontal lobes of their brain as 
compared with ours. Thus the upper and lower parts of 
the profile combine to give the faces of these less-civilized 
peoples a somewhat ape-like slope, as distinguished from 
the more nearly upright European face. 

Not to go into nicer distinctions of cranial measurement, 
let us now glance at the evident points of the living face. 
To some extent feature directly follows the shape of the 




skull beneath. Thus the contrast just mentioned, between 
the forward-sloping negro skull and its more upright form 
in the white race, is as plainly seen in the portraits of a 
Swaheli negro and a Persian, given in Fig. ii. On looking 
at the female portraits in Fig. /^ the Barolong girl (South 
Africa) may be selected as an example of the effect of 
narrowness of skull {b), in contrast with the broader Tatar, 
and North American faces (^, /). She also shows the 
convex African forehead, while they, as well as the 

Hottentot (c), show the effect of high cheek-bones. The 
Tatar and Japanese faces {d, e) show the skew-eyeUds of the 
Mongolian race. Much of the character of the human face 
depends on the shape of the softer parts— nose, lips, cheeks, 
chin, &c., which are often excellent marks to distinguish race. 
Contrasts in the form of nose may even exceed that here 
shown between the aquiline of the Persian and the snub 
of the Negro in Figs, ii and 13. European travellers 
in Tartary in the middle acres described its flat-nosed 

h^: .. 

Fig. 12. — Female portraits, a. Negro (W. Africa) ; b, Barolong (S. Africa); c, Hot- 
tentot; d, Gilyak(N. Asia) ; e, Japanese ; / Colorado Indian (N. America^, 

g, linglish. 



inhabitants as having no noses at all, but breathing 
through holes in their faces. By pushing the tips of our 
own noses upward, we can in some degree imitate the 
manner in which various other races, notably the negro, 
show the opening of the nostrils in full face. Our thin, 
close-fitting lips, differ in the extreme from those of the 

Fig. 13. — African negro. 

negro, well seen in the portrait (Fig. 13) of Jacob Wain- 
wright, Livingstone's faithful boy. We cannot imitate the 
negro lip by mere pouting, but must push the edges up 
and down with the fingers to show more of the inner lip. 
The expression of the human face, on which intelligence 
and feeling write themselves in visible characters, requires 
an artist's training to understand and describe. The mere 





contour of the features, as taken by photography in an 
unchanging attitude, has deUcate characters which we ap- 
preciate by long experience in studying faces, but which 
elude exact description or measurement. With the purpose 
of calUng attention to some well-marked peculiarities of the 
human face in different races, a small group of female faces 
(Fig. 12) is here given, all young, and such as would be 
considered among their own people as at least moderately 

Fig. 14. — Section of negro skin, much magnified (after Kolliker). a, dermis, or true 
5kin ; /', c, rete mucosum ; d, epidermis, or scarf-skin. 

handsome. Setting aside hair and complexion, there is 
still enough difference in the actual outline of the features 
to distinguish the Negro, Kafir, Hottentot, Tatar, Japanese, 
and North American faces from the English face below. 

The colour of the skin, that important mark of race, may 
be best understood by looking at the darkest variety. The 
dark hue of the negro does not lie so deep as the innermost 


or true skin, which is substantially alike among all races of 
mankind. The seat of the colouring is well shown in Fig. 
14, a highly magnified section of the skin of a negro. Here 
a shows the surface of the true skin with its papillae ; this is 
covered by the mucous layer, the innermost cells of which 
{b) are deeply coloured by small grains of black or brown 
pigment, the colour shading down to brownish or yellowish 
toward the outer surface of this mucous layer {c), while even 
the outside scarf-skin (^ is slightly tinged. The negro, in 
spite of his name, is not black, but deep brown, and even 
this darkest hue does not appear at the beginning of life, 
for the new-born negro child is reddish brown, soon becom- 
ing slaty grey, and then darkening. Nor does the darkest 
tint ever extend over the negro's whole body, but his soles 
and palms are brown. When Blumenbach, the anthropolo- 
gist, saw Kemble play Othello (made up in the usual way, 
with blackened face and black gloves, to represent a negro) 
he complained that the whole illusion was spoilt for him 
when the actor opened his hands. The brown races, such 
as the native Americans, have the colouring of the skin in 
a less degree than the Africans, and with them also it is not 
till some time after birth that the full depth of complexion 
is reached. The colouring of the dark races appears to be 
similar- in nature to the temporary freckling and sun-burning 
of the fair white race. Also, Europeans have permanent 
dark colouring in some portions of the skin, though not ex- 
posed to the sun ; the areola of the breast, for instance ; 
while in certain affections, known by the medical name of 
melanism, patches closely resembling negro skin appear on 
the body. On the whole it seems that the distinction of 
colour, from the fairest Englishman to the darkest African, 
has no hard and fast lines, but varies gradually from one 
tint to another. It is instructive to notice that there occur 

F 2 

68 ANTHROPOLCGY. [chap. 

in the various races certain individuals in whom the colour- 
ing matter of the skin is wanting, the so-called albinos. The 
contrast between their morbid whiteness and any ordinary 
fairness of complexion is most remarkable in the negro 
albinos (to call them by this self-contradictory terra), who 
have the well-known African features, but in dead white, as 
it were a cast of a negro in plaster. 

The natural hue of skin farthest from that of the negro 
is the complexion of the fair race of Northern Europe, of 
which perfect types are to be met with in Scandinavia, 
North Germany, and England. In such fair or blonde 
people the almost transparent skin has its pink tinge by 
showing the small blood-vessels through it. In the nations 
of Southern Europe, such as Italians and Spaniards, the 
browner complexion to some extent hides this red, which 
among darker peoples in other quarters of the world ceases 
to be discernible. Thus the difference between light and 
dark races is well observed in their blushing, which is 
caused by the rush of hot red blood into the vessels near 
the surface of the body. Albinos shows this with the 
utmost intenseness, not only a general glow appearing, but 
the patches of colour being clearly marked out. The blush, 
vivid through the blonde skin of the Dane, is more ob- 
scurely seen in the Spanish brunette ; but in the dark- 
brown Peruvian, or the yet blacker African, though a hand 
or a thermometer put to the cheek will detect the blush by 
its heat, the somewhat increased depth of colour is hardly 
perceptible to the eye. The contrary effect, paleness, caused 
by retreat of blood from the surface, is in like manner 
masked by dark tints of skin. 

As a character of race, the colour of the skin has from 
ancient times been reckoned the most distinctive of all. 
The P^gyptian painters, three or four thousand years ago 


used regular tints for this purpose, as may be seen in paint- 
ings at the British Museum. These colours do not pretend 
to be exact, as is seen by. the native Egyptian gentlemen ^ 
being painted dark brick-red, but the ladies pale yellow, so 
as to signify in an exaggerated way their lighter complexion. 
It was in this conventional manner that they coloured the four | 
principal races of mankind known to them, the Egyptians ^ 
themselves red-brown, the nations of Palestine yellow-brown, ; 
the Libyans yellow-white, and the Ethiopians coal-black (see ; 
page 4). In the history of the world, colour has often been 
the sign by which nations accounting themselves the nobler 
have marked off their inferiors. The Sanskrit word for caste \ 
is varna, that is, " colour ; " and this shows how their distinc- 
tion of high and low caste arose. India was inhabited by 
dark indigenous peoples before the fairer Aryan race in- 
vaded the land, and the descendants of conquerors and 
conquered are still in some measure to be traced among the 
light-complexioned high-caste, and the dark-complexioned 
low-caste families. Nor has the distinction of colour ceased 
in the midst of modern civiUzation. The Englishman's 
white skin is to him, as of old, a caste- mark of separation 
from the ydlow, brown, or black " natives," as he con- 
temptuously calls them, in other quarters of the globe. 

The range of complexion among mankind, beginning with 
the tint of the fair-whites of Northern Europe and the dark- 
whites of Southern Europe, passes to the brownish -yellow 
of the Malays, and the full-brown of American tribes, the 
deep-brown of Australians, and the black-brown of Negros. 
Until modern times these race-tints have generally been 
described with too little care, and named as conventionally 
as the Egyptians painted them. Now, however, the traveller 
by using Broca's set of pattern colours, records the colour 
of any tribe he is observing, with the accuracy of a mercer 

73 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

matching a piece of silk. The evaporation from the human 
skin is accompanied by a smell which differs in different 
races. The peculiar rancid scent by which the African 
negro may be detected even at a distance is the most 
marked of tliese. The odour of the brown American tribes 
is again different, while they have been known, to express 
dislike at the white man's smell. This peculiarity, which 
not only indicates difference in the secretions of the skin, 
but seems connected with liability to certain fevers, &c., is 
a race-character of some importance. 

The part of the human body which shows the greatest 
variety of colour in different individuals, is the iris of the 
eye. This is the more noticeable because the adjacent 
parts vary particularly little among mankind. The sclerotic 
coat, which in a healthy European is almost what it is 
called, the " white " of the eye, only takes a slightly yellow 
tinge among the darkest races, as the African negro. Again, 
in ordinary eyes of all races, the pupil in the centre of the 
iris appears absolutely black, being in fact transparent, and 
showing through to the black pigment lining the choroid 
coat at the back of the eye. But the iris itself, if examined 
in a number of types of men, has most various colour. In 
understanding the coloration of the eye, as of the skin, the 
peculiarities of albinos are instructive. The pink of their 
eyes (as of white rabbits) is caused by absence of the black 
pigment above-mentioned, so that light passing out through 
the iris and pupil is tinged red from the blood-vessels at 
the back ; thus their eyes may be seen to blush with the 
rest of the face. This want of the protecting black pig- 
ment also accounts for the sensitiveness to light which 
makes albinos avoid a glare ; it was for this reason that the 
Dutch gave them the name of kakke7iaken^ or "cockroaches," 
these creatures also shunning the light. Prof. Broca, in 


his scale of colours of eyes, arranges shades of orange, 
green, blue, and violet- grey. But one has only to look 
closely into any eye to see the impossibility of recording its 
complex pattern of colours ; indeed what is done is to 
observe it from a distance so that its tints blend into one 
uniform hue. It need hardly be said that what are popu- 
larly called black eyes are far from having the iris really 
black like the pupil ; eyes described as black are commonly 
of the deepest shades of brown or violet. These so-called 1 
black eyes are by far the most numerous in the world, j 
belonging not only to brown -black, brown, and yellow races, 
but even prevailing among the darker varieties of the white 
race, such as Greeks and Spaniards. Aristotle remarks 
that the colour of the eyes follows that of the skin. Indeed 
it is plain that there is a connection of the colours of the 
skin, eyes, and hair among mankind. In races with the 
darker skin and black hair, the darkest eyes generally pre- 
vail, while a fair complexion is usually accompanied by 
the lighter tints of iris, especially blue. A fair Saxon with 
black eyes, or a full-grown negro with pale blue eyes, would 
be looked at with surprise. Yet we know by our own coun- 
try-people how difficult it is. to lay down exact rules as to 
matching colours in complexion. Thus the combination of 
black hair with dark blue or grey eyes is frequent in some 
districts of Great Britain. Dr. Barnard Davis and Dr. 
Beddoe think it indicates Keltic blood. 

From ancient times, the colour and form of the hair have 
been noticed as distinctive marks of race. Thus Strabo 
mentions the Ethiopians as black men with woolly hair, 
and Tacitus describes the German warriors of his day with 
their fierce blue eyes and tawny hair. As to colour of 
hair, the most usual is black, or shades so dark as to be 
taken for black, which belongs not only to the dark-skinned 

72 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

Africans and Americans, but to the yellow Chinese and the 
dark-whites such as Hindus or Jews. Mr. Sorby remarks 
that blackness of hair is due to black pigment being present 
in such quantity as to overpower whatever red or yellow 
pigment the hair may also contain. In the fair-white 
peoples of Northern Europe, on the contrary, flaxen or 
chestnut hair prevails. Thus we see that there is a connec- 
tion between fair hair and fair skin, and dark hair and dark 
skin. But it is impossible to lay down a rule for interme- 
diate tints, for the red-brown or auburn hair common in fair- 
skinned peoples occurs among darker races, and dark-brown 
hair has a still wider range. Our own extremely mixed 
nation shows every variety from flaxen and golden to raven 
black. As to the form of the hair, its well-known differences 
may be seen in the female portraits in Fig. 12, where the 
Africans on the left show the woolly or frizzy kind, where 
the hair naturally curls into little corkscrew-spirals, while tiie 
Asiatic and American heads on the right have straight hair 
like a horse's mane. Between these extreme kinds are the 
flowing or wavy hair, and the curly hair which winds in 
large spirals ; the English hair in the figure is rather of 
the latter variety. If cross sections of single hairs are 
examined under the microscope, their differences of form 
are seen as in four of the sections by Pruner-Bey (Fig. 15). 
The almost circular Mongolian hair {a) hangs straight ; the 
more curly European hair (b) has an oval or elliptical sec- 
tion ; the woolly African hair (r) is more flattened ; while 
the frizzy Papuan hair (i) is a yet more extreme example 
of the flattened ribbon-like kind. Curly and woolly hair 
has a loj)-sided growth from the root which gives the 
twist. Not only the colour and form of the hair, but 
its quantity, vary in different races. Thus the heads of 
the Bushmen are more scantily furnished with hair than 


ours, while among the Crow Indians it was common for 
the warrior's coarse black hair to sweep on the ground 
behind him. The body-hair also is scanty in some races 
and plentiful in others. Thus the Ainos, the indigenes of 
Yeso, are a shaggy people, while the Japanese possessors of 
their island are comparatively hairless. So strong is the 
contrast, that the Japanese have invented a legend that in 
ancient times the Aino mothers suckled young bears, which 
gradually developed into men. 

That certain races are constitutionally fit and others 
unfit for certain climates, is a fact which the English 
have but too good reason to know, when on the scorch- 
ing plains of India they themselves become languid and 

Fig. 15. — Sections of hair, highly magnified (after Pruner). a, Japanese ; d, German 
c, African negro ; d, Papuan 

sickly, while their children have soon to be removed 
to some cooler climate that they may not pine and die. 
It is well-known also that races are not affected alike 
by certain diseases. While in Equatorial Africa or the 
West Indies the coast-fever and yellow-fever are so fatal 
or injurious to the new-come Europeans, the negros and 
even mulattos are almost untouched by this scourge of 
the white nations. On the other hand, we English look 
upon measles as a trifling complaint, and hear with astonish- 
ment of its being carried into Fiji, and there, aggravated no 
doubt by improper treatment, sweeping away the natives by 
thousands. It is plain that nations moving into a new 

74 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

climate, if they are to flourish, must become adapted in 
body to the new state of life ; thus in the rarefied air 
of the high Andes more respiration is required than 
in the plains, and in fact tribes living there have the 
chest and lungs developed to extraordinary size. Races, 
though capable of gradual acclimatization, must not change 
too suddenly the climate they are adapted to. With 
this adaptation to particular climates the complexion 
has much to do, fitting the negro for the tropics and 
the fair-white for the temperate zone ; though, indeed, 
colour does not always vary with climate, as where in 
America the brown race extends through hot and cold 
regions alike. Fitness for a special climate, being matter 
of life or death to a race, must be reckoned among the 
chief of race-characters. 

Travellers notice striking distinctions in the temper of 
races. There seems no difference of condition between the 
native Indian and the African negro in Brazil to make 
the brown man dull and sullen, while the black is over- 
flowing with eagerness and gaiety. So, in Europe, the un- 
likeness between the melancholy Russian peasant and the 
vivacious Italian can hardly depend altogether on climate 
and food and government. There seems to be in mankind 
inbred temperament and inbred capacity of mind. History 
points the great lesson that some races have marched on 
in civilization while others have stood still or fallen back, 
and we should partly look for an explanation of this in 
differences of intellectual and moral powers between such 
tribes as the native Americans and Africans, and the Old 
World nations who overmatch and subdue them. In mea- 
suring the minds of the lower races, a good test is how far 
their children are able to take a civilized education. The 
account generally given by European teachers who have 


had the children of lower races in their schools is that, 
though these often learn as well as the white children up to 
about twelve years old, they then fall off, and are left behind 
by the children of the ruling race. This fits with what 
anatomy teaches of the less development of brain in the 
Australian and African than in the European. It agrees 
also with what the history of civilization teaches, that up to 
a certain point savages and barbarians are like what our 
ancestors were and our peasants still are, but from this 
common level the superior intellect of the progressive 
races has raised their nations to heights of culture. The 
white man, though now dominant over the world, must 
remember that intellectual progress has been by no means 
the monopoly of his race. At the dawn of history, the 
leaders of culture were the brown Egyptians, and the 
Babylonians, whose Akkadian is not connected with the 
language of white nations, while the yellow Chinese, whose 
Tatar affinity is evident in their hair and features, have been 
for four thousand years or more a civilized and literary nation. 
The dark-whites, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Persians, Greeks, 
Romans, did not start but carried on the forward move- 
ment of culture, while since then the fair-whites, as part 
of the population of France, Germany, and England, have 
taken their share not meanly though latest in the world's 

After thus noticing some of the chief points of difference 
among races, it will be well to examine more closely what 
a race is. Single portraits of men and women can only in 
a general way represent the nation they belong to, for no 
two of its individuals are really alike, not even brothers. 
What is looked for in such a race-portrait is the general 
character belonging to the whole race. It is an often 
repeated observation of travellers that a European landing 

-j^ ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

among some people unlike his own, such as Chinese or 
Mexican Indians, at first thinks them all alike. After days of 
careful observation he makes out their individual pecuHari- 
ties, but at first his attention was occupied with the broad 
typical characters of the foreign race. It is just this broad 
type that the anthropologist desires to sketch and describe, 
and he selects as his examples such portraits of men and 
women as show it best. It is even possible to measure the 
type of a people. To give an idea of the working of this 
problem, let us suppose ourselves to be examining Scotch- 
men, and the first point to be settled how tall they are. 
Obviously there are some few as short as Lapps, and some 
as tall as Patagonians; these very short and tall men 


SFT8 /ii 

Fig. i6. — Race or Population arranged by Stature (Galton's method). 

belong to the race, and yet are not its ordinary members. 
If, however, the whole population were measured and made 
to stand in order of height, there would be a crowd of men 
about five feet eight inches, but much fewer of either five 
feet four inches or six feet, and so on till the numbers 
decreased on either side to one or two giants, and one or 
two dwarfs. This is seen in Fig. i6, where each indi- 
vidual is represented by a dot, and the dots representing 
men of the mean or typical stature crowd into a mass. 
After looking at this, the reader will more easily understand 
Quetelet's diagram. Fig. 17, where the heights or ordinates 
of the binomial curve show the numbers of men of each 




stature, decreas'ing both ways from the central five feet eight 
inches which is the ststure of the mean or typical man. 
Here, in a total of near 2,600 men, there are 160 of five 
feet eight inches, but only about 150 of five feet seven 
inches or five feet nine inches, and so on, till not even ten 
men are found so short as five feet or so tall as six feet four 
inches. As the proverb says, " it takes all sorts to make a 
world," so it thus appears that a race is a body of people 
comprising a regular set of variations, which centre round 
one representative type. In the same way a race or nation 
is estimated as to other characters, as where a mean 



/ 1 \ '' 

1 ' \ r° 

/ 1 \ ,^^ 

/ 1 \ ../^ 

/ 1 \ "^ 

/ i \ Krt 

/ ' \ 

/ ! \ 'fr, 

/ 1 1 i \ 30 

. .^ . ,.i. .;■! ...!,. . .>~^.. •" 

a'sT b'.o' 5.4 s'.8 6.0 6.4 6.8 


-Race or Population arranged by Stature (Quetelet's method). 

or typical Englishman may be said to measure ;^6 inches 
round the chest, and weigh about 144 pounds. So it is 
possible to fix on the typical shade of complexion in a 
nation, such as the Zulu black-brown. The result of these 
plans is to show that the rough-and-ready method of 
the traveller is fairly accurate, when he chooses as his 
representative of a race the type of man and woman 
which he finds to exist more numerously than any 




Fig. i8. — Carib,-, 




The people whom it is easiest to represent by single 
portraits are uncivilised tribes, in whose food and way of 
life there is little to cause difference between one man and 
another, and who have lived together and intermarried for 
many generations. Thus Fig. i8, taken from a photograph 
of a party of Caribs, is remarkable for the close likeness 
running through all. In such a nation the race-type is 
peculiarly easy to make out. It is by no means always thus 
easy to represent a whole population. To see how difficult 

Fig. 19. — (<^) Head of Rameses II., Ancient Egypt. (i3) Sheikh's sen, Modera 
Egypt. (After Hartmanii.) 

it may be, one has only to look at an English crowd, with 
its endless diversity. But to get a view of the problem 
of human varieties, it is best to attend to the simplest 
cases first, lookinf< at some uniform and well-marked 


race, and asking what in the course of ages may happen 
to it. 

The first thing to be noticed is its power of lasting. 
Where a people lives on in its own district, without too 
much change in habits, or mixture with other nations, there 
seems no reason to expect its type to alter. The Egyptian 
monuments show good instances of this permanence. In 
Fig. ig, a is drawn from the head of a statue of Rameses, 
evidently a careful portrait, and dating from about 3,000 
years ago, while l> is an Egyptian of the present day, 
yet the ancient and modern are curiously alike. Indeed, 
the ancient Egyptian race, who built the Pyramids, and 
whose life of toil is pictured on the walls of the tombs, 
are with little change still represented by the fellahs of the 
villages, who carry on the old labour under new tax-gatherers. 
Thus,, too, the Ethiopians on the early Egyptian bas-reliefs 
may have their counterparts picked out still among the 
White Nile tribes, while we recognise in the figures of 
Phoenician or Israelite captives the familiar Jewish profile 
of our own day. Thus there is proof that a race may keep 
its special characters plainly recognizable for over thirty 
centuries, or a hundred generations. And this permanence 
of type may more or less remain when the race migrates 
far from its early home, as when African negroes are 
carried into America, or Israelites naturalize themselves 
from Archangel to Singapore. Where marked change has 
taken place in the appearance of a nation, the cause of this 
change must be sought in intermarriage with foreigners, or 
altered conditions of life, or both. 

The result of intermarriage or crossing of races is familiar 
to all English people in one of its most conspicuous examples, 
the cross between white and negro called mulatto (Spanish 
tnulato^ from mula^ a mule). The mulatto complexion and 




hair are intermediate between those of the parents, and 
new intermediate grades of complexion appear in the 
children of white and mulatto, called quadroon or quarter- 
blood (Spanish cuarkron), and so on ; on the other hand, the 
descendants of negro and mulatto, called sambo (Spanish 
zambc) return towards the full negro type. This intermediate 

Fig. 20.— Malay Mother and Half-caste Daughters. 

character is the general nature of crossed races, bit with 
more or less tendency to revert to one or other of the parent 
types. To illustrate this, Fig. 20 gives the portrait of a 
Malay mother and her half-caste daughters, the father being 
a Spaniard ; here, while all the children show their mixed 
race, it is sometimes the European and sometimes the 





Malay cast of features that prevails. The effect of mixture 
is also traceable in the hair, as may often be well noticed in 
a mulatto's crimped, curly locks, between the straighter 
European and the woolly African kind. The Cafusos of 
Brazil, a peculiar cross between the native tribes of the land 
and the imported negro slaves, are remarkable for their hair, 
which rises in a curly mass, forming a natural periwig which 
obliges the wearers to stoop low in passing through their hut 
doors. This is seen in the portrait of a Cafusa, Fig. 21, 

Fig 21. — Cafusa Woman. 

and seems easily accounted for by the long stiff hair of the 
native American having acquired in some degree the negro 
frizziness. The bodily temperament of mixed races also 
partakes of the parent-characters, as is seen in the mulatto 
who inherits from his negro ancestry the power of bearing 
a tropical climate, as well as freedom from yellow fever. 

Not only does a mixed race arise wherever two races 
inhabit the same district, but within the last few centuries 
it is well known that a large fraction of the world's popula- 
tion has actually come into existence by race-crossing. 


This is nowhere so evident as on the American continent, 
where since the Spanish conquest such districts as 
Mexico are largely peopled by the mestizo descendants 
of Spaniards and native Americans, while the importation 
of African slaves in the West Indies has given rise to 
a mulatto population. By taking into account such inter- 
crossing of races, anthropologists have a reason to give for 
the endless shades of diversity among mankind, without 
attempting the hopeless task of classifying every little 
uncertain group of men into a special race. The water- 
carrier from Cairo, in Fig. 22, may serve as an example of 
the difficulty of making a systematic arrangement to set 
each man down to his precise race. This man speaks 
Arabic, and is a Moslem, but he is not an Arab proper, 
neither is he an Egyptian of the old kingdom, but the child 
of a land where the Nubian, Copt, Syrian, Bedouin, and 
many other peoples have mingled for ages, and in fact his 
ancestry may come out of three quarters of the globe. 
Among the natives of India, a variety of complexion and 
feature is found which cannot be classified exactly by race. 
But it must be remembered that several very distinct 
varieties of men have contributed to the population of the 
country, namely the dark-brown indigenes or hill-tribes, 
the yellow Mongolians who have crossed the frontiers from 
Tibet, and the fairer ancient Aryans or Indo-Europeans 
who poured in from the north-west ; not to mention others, 
the mixture of these nations going on for ages has of course 
produced numberless crosses. So in Europe, taking the 
fair nations of the Baltic and the dark nations of the 
Mediterranean as two distinct races or varieties, their inter- 
crossing may explain the infinite diversity of brown hair 
and intermediate complexion to be met with. If then it 
may be considered that man was already divided into a few 

G 2 




great main races in remote antiquity, their intermarriage 
through ages since will go far to account for the innumerable 
slighter varieties which shade into one another. 

It is not enough to look at a race of men as a mere body 

Fig. 22.— Calrene. 

of people happening to have a common type or likeness. For 
the reason of their likeness is plain, and indeed our calling 
them a race means that we consider them a breed whose 
common nature is inherited from common ancestors. Now 
experience of the animal world shows that a race or breed, 


while capable of carrying on its likeness from generation to 
generation, is also capable of varying. In fact, the skilful 
cattle-breeder, by carefully choosing and pairing individuals 
which vary in a particular direction, can within a few years 
form a special breed of cattle or sheep. Without such direct 
interference of man, special races or breeds of animals form 
themselves under new conditions of climate and food, as in 
the familiar instances of the Shetland ponies, or the mustangs 
of the Mexican plains which have bred from the horses 
brought over by the Spaniards, It naturally suggests itself 
that the races of man may be thus accounted for as breeds, 
varied from one original stock. It may be strongly argued- 
'n this direction that not only do the bodily and mental 
varieties of mankind blend gradually into one another, but 
that even the most dissimilar races can intermarry in all 
directions, producing mixed or sub-races which, when left 
to themselves, continue their own kind. Advocates of the 
polygenist theory, that there are several distinct races of 
man, sprung from independent origins, have denied that 
certain races, such as the English and native Australians, 
produce fertile half-breeds. But the evidence tends more 
and more to establish crossing as possible between all races, 
which goes to prove that all the varieties of mankind are 
zoologically of one species. While this principle seems to 
rest on firm ground, it must be admitted that our knowledge"! 
of the manner and causes of race-variation among mankind is ' 
still very imperfect. The great races, black, brown, yellow, 
white, had already settled into their well-known characters 
before written record began, so that their formation is 
hidden far back in the prae-historic period. Nor are 
alterations of such amount known to have taken place in 
any people within the range of history. It has been 
plausibly argued that our rude primitive ancestors, being 



86 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

less able than their posterity to make themselves inde- 
pendent of climate by shelter and fire and stores of 
food, were more exposed to alter in body under the in- 
fluence of the new climates they migrated into. Even in 
modern times, it seems possible to trace something of 
race-change going on under new conditions of life. Thus 
Dr. Beddoe's measurements prove that in England the 
manufacturing town-life has given rise to a population 
an inch or two less in stature than their forefathers when 
they came in from their country villages. So in the Rocky 
Mountains there are clans of Snake Indians whose stunted 
forms and low features, due to generations of needy outcast 
life, mark them off from their better nourished kinsfolk in 
the plains. It is asserted that the pure negro in the United 
States has undergone a change in a few generations which 
has left him a shade lighter in complexion and altered his 
features, while the pure white in the same region has be- 
come less rosy, with darker and more glossy hair, more 
prominent cheek-bones and massive lower jaw. These are 
]3erhaps the best authenticated cases of race-change. There 
is great difficulty in watching a race undergoing variation, 
which is everywhere masked by the greater changes caused 
l)y new nations coming in to mingle and nitermarry with 
the old. He who should argue from the Greek sculptures 
that the national type has changed since the age of Perikles, 
would be met with the answer that the remains of the old 
stock have long been inextricably blended with others. 
The points which have now been brought forward will 
suffice to show the uncertainty and difficulty of any 
attempt to trace exactly the origin and course of the races 
of man. Yet at the same time there is a ground-work 
to go upon in the fact that these races are not found 
spread indiscriminately over the earth's surface, but certain 


races plainly belong to certain regions, seeming each to 
have taken shape under the influences of climate and soil 
in its proper district, where it flourished, and whence it 
spread far and wide, modifying itself and mingling widi 
other races as it went. The following brief sketch may 
give an idea how the spreading and mixture of the great 
races may have taken place. It embodies well-considered 
views of eminent anatomists^ especially Professors Huxley 
and Flower. Though such a scheme cannot be presented 
as proved and certain^ it is desirable to clear and fix our 
ideas by understanding that man's distribution over the 
earth did not take place by promiscuous scattering of tribes, 
but along great lines of movement whose regularity can be 
often discerned, where it cannot be precisely followed out. 

That there is a real connexion between the colour of 
races and the climate they belong to, seems most likely from 
the so-called black peoples. Ancient writers were satisfied 
to account for the colour of the Ethiopians by saying that 
the suVi had burnt them black, and though modern anthro- 
pologists would not settle the question in this off-hand way, 
yet the map of the world shows that this darkest race-type 
is principally found in a tropical climate. The main line 
of* black races stretches along the hot and fertile regions of 
the equator, from Guinea in West Africa to that great island 
of the Eastern Archipelago, which has its name of New 
Guinea from its negro-like natives. In a former geological 
period an equatorial continent (to v/hich Sclater has given 
the name of Lemuria) may even have stretched across from 
Africa to the far East, uniting these now separate lands. 
The attention of anthropologists has been particularly 
attracted by a line of islands in the Sea of Bengal, the 
AndamanSy which might have been part of this former 
continent, and were found inhabited by a scanty population 

88 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

of rude and childlike savages. Tiiese Mincopis (Fig. 23) 
are small in stature (the men under five feet), with skin of 
blackness, and hair very flat in sectipn and frizzled, which 
from their habit of shaving their heads must be imagined by 
the reader. But while in these points resembling the African 

FiG. 23. — Andaman Islanders. 

negro, they are unlike him in having skulls not narrow, but 
broad and rounded, nor have they lips so full, a nose so wide, 
or jaws so projecting as his. It has occurred to anatomists, 
and the opinion has been strengthened by Flower's study 
of their skulls, that the Andaman tribes may be a remnant 
of a very early human stock, perhaps the best representa- 


tives of the primitive negro type which has since altered in | 
various points in its spread over its wide district of the 
world. The African negro race, with its special marks of 
narrow skull, projecting jaws, black-brown skin, woolly 
hair, flattened nose, full and out-turned lips, has already 
been here described (see pages- 61 to 67). Its type 
perhaps shows itself most perfectly in the nations near 
the equator, as in Guinea, but it spreads far and wide 
over the continent, shading off by crossing with lighter 
coloured races on its borders, such as the Berbers in the 
north, and the Arabs on the east coast. As the race 
spreads southward into Congo and the Kafir regions, there is 
noticed a less full negro complexion and feature, looking as 
though migration from, the central region into new climates 
had somewhat modified the type. In this respect the small- 
grown Hottentot-Bushman tribes of §outh Africa (see Figs. 
8, 12^) are most remarkable, for while keeping much negro 
character in the narrow skull, frizzy hair, and cast of 
features, their skin is of a lighter tint of brownish-yellow. 
There is nothing to suggest that this came by crossing the 
negro type with a fairer race, indeed there is no evidence 
of such a race to cross with. If the Bushman is a 
special modification of the Negro, then this is an excellent 
case of the transformation of races when placed under 
new conditions. To return now to Southern Asia, there 
are found in the Malay Peninsula and the Philippines 
scanty forest-tribes apparently allied to the Andamaners 
and classed under the general term Negritos {i.e. "little 
blacks "), seeming to belong to a race once widely spread 
over this part of the world, whose remnants have been 
driven by stronger new come races to find refuge in the 
mountains. Fig. 24, represents one of them, an Aheta from 
the island of Luzon. Lastly corne the wide-spread and 

90 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

complicated varieties of the eastern negro race in the region 
known as Melanesia, the "^ black islands," extending from 
New Guinea to Fiji. The group of various islanders (Fig. 25) 
belonging to Bishop Patteson's mission^ shows plainly the 
resemblance to the African negro, though with some marked 
points of difference, as in the brows being more strongly 

Fig. 24. — Aheta (Negrito), PhiLppine Islands. 

ridged, and the nose being more prominent, even aquiline — 
a striking contrast to the African. The Melanesians about 
New Guinea are called Papuas from their woolly hair (Malay 
pap2iwah=.{nzzQd), which is often grown into enormous 
mops. The great variety of colour in Melanesia, from 
the full brown-black down to chocolate or nut-brown, shows 




that there has been much crossing with lighter populations. 
Such mixture is evident in the coast-people of Fiji, where 
the dark Melanesian race is indeed predominant, but crossed 
with the lighter Polynesian race to which much of the lan- 
guage and civilization of the islands belongs. Lastly, the 
Tasmanians were a distant outlying population belonging to 
the eastern blacks. 


Fig. 25. — Melanesians. 

In Austraha, that vast island-continent, whose plants and 
animals are not those of Asia, but seem as it were survivors 
from a long-past period of the earth's history, there appears 
a thin population of roaming savages, strongly distinct from 
the blacker races of New Guinea at the north, and Tas- 
mania at the south. The Australians, with skin of dark 








Fig. 28. — Australian (Queensland) women. 

chocolate-colour, may be taken as a special type of the brown 
races of man. While their skull is narrow and prognathous 
like the negro's, it differs from it in special points which have 




been already mentioned (page 60), and has, indeed, pecu- 
liarities which distinguish it very certainly from that of other 
races. In the portraits of Australians, Figs. 26, 27, 28, there 
may be noticed the heavy brows and projecting jaws, the 
wide but not flat nose, the full lips, and the curly but not 
woolly black hair. Looking at the map of the world to see 

FiG. 29. — Dravldian hill-man (after Fryer). 

where brown races next appear, good authorities define 
one on the continent of India. There the hill-tribes present 
the type of the old dwellers in south and central India before 
the conquest by the Aryan Hindus, and its purest form 
appears in tribes hardly tilling the soil, but living a wild 
life in the jungle, while the great mass, more mixed in 
race with the Hindus, under whose influence they have 




been for ages, now form the great Dravidian nations of 
the south, such as the Tamil and Telugu. Fig. 29 repre- 
sents one of the- ruder Dravidians, from the Travancore 
forests. Farther west, it has been thought that a brown 

Fig. 30. — Kalmuk (after Goldsmid). 

race may be distinguished in Africa, taking in Nubian 

and less distinctly traceable in the Berbers of Algiers and 

Tunis. If so, to this race the ancient Egyptians would seem 




mainly to belong, though mixed with Asiatics, who from 
remote antiquity came in over the Syrian border. The 
Egyptian drawings of themselves (as in Chaps. IX. to XL) 
require the eyes to be put in profile and the body coloured 
reddish-brown to represent the race to us. None felt more 
strongly than the Egyptian of ancient Thebes, that among 

Fig. 31.— Goldi (Amur). 

the chief distinctions between the races of mankind were 
the complexion and feature which separated him from the 
y4^2thiopian on the one hand, and the Assyrian or Israelite 
on the other. 

Turning to another district of the world, the Mongoloid 
type of man has its best marked representatives on the vast 




steppes of northern Asia. Their skin is brownish-yellow, / 
their hair of the head black, coarse, and long, but face- 
hair scanty. Their skull is characterized by breadth, pro- 
jection of cheek-bones, and forward position of the outer 

Fig. 32. — Siamese actresses. 

edge of tlie orbits, which, as well as the slightness of 
brow-ridges, the slanting aperture of the eyes, and the 
snub-nose, are observable in Figs. 30 and 31, and in 
Fig. 12 d. The Mongoloid race is immense in range and 


98 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

numbers. The great nations of south-east Asia show their 
connexion with it in the familiar complexion and features ot 
the Chinese and Japanese. Figs. 32, 33, 34 are portraits 
from Siam, Cochin- China, and Corea. In his wide migra- 
tions over the world, the Mongoloid, through change of 
climate and life, and still farther by intermarriage with other 
races, loses more and more of his special points. It is so 


in the South-east, where in China and Japan the character- 
istic breadth of skull is lessened. In Europe, where from 
remotest antiquity hordes of Tatar race have poured in, 
their descendants have often preserved in their languages, 
such as Hungarian and Finnish, clearer traces of their Asiatic 
home than can be made out in their present types of com- 
plexion and feature. Yet the Finns, Figs. 35 and ^6, have 
not lost the race-differences which mark them off from the 




Swedes among whom they .dwell, and the stunted Lapps 
show some points of likeness to their Siberian kinsfolk, 
who wander like them with their reindeer on the limits of 
the Arctic regions. 

Fig. 34. — Coreans. 

In pursuing beyond this point the examination of the 
races of the world, the problem becomes more obscure. 
On the Malay peninsula, at the extreme south-east corner 
of Asia, appear the first members of the Malay race, 

H 2 







seemingly a distant branch of the Mongoloid, which spreads 
over Sumatra, Java, and other islands of the Eastern 
Archipelago. Figs. 37 and 38 give portraits of the more 
civilised Malays, while Fig. 39 shows the Dayaks of Borneo, 
who represent the race in a wilder and perhaps less mixed 
state. From the Malay Archipelago there stretch into the 
Pacific the island ranges first of Micronesia and then of 
Polynesia, till we reach Easter Island to the east and New 
Zealand to the south. The Micronesians and Polynesians 
show connexion with the Malays in language, and more or 
less in bodily make. But they are not Malays proper, and 
there are seen among them high faces, narrow noses, and 
small mouths which remind us of the European face, as in 
the Micronesian, Fig. 40, who stands here to represent this 
varied group of peoples. The Maoris are still further from 
being pure Malays, as is seen by their more curly hair, often 
prominent and even aquiline noses. It seems hkely that an 
Asiatic race closely allied to Malays may have spread over 
the South Sea Islands, altering their special type by 
crossing with the dark Melanesians, so that now the 
populations of different island groups often vary much 
in appearance. This race of sailors even found their 
way to Madagascar, where their descendants have more or 
less blended with a population from the continent of Africa. 
Turning now to the double continent of America, we find 
in this New World a problem of race remarkably different 
from that of the Old World. The traveller who should 
cross the earth from Nova Zemlya to the Cape of Good 
Hope or Van Diemen's Land would find in its various 
climates various strongly-marked kinds of men, white, 
yellow, brown, and black. But if Columbus had surveyed 
America from the Arctic to the Antarctic regions, he 
would have found no such extreme unlikeness in the 




Fig. 39.— Dayaks. 




inhabitants. Apart from the Europeans and Africans who 
have poured in since the fifteenth century, the native 

Fig. 40. — Kingsmill Islander. 

Americans in general might be, as has often been said, of 
one race. Not that they are all alike, but their differences 
in stature, form of skull, feature, and complexion, though 


considerable, seem variations of a secondary kind. It is 
not as if several races had formed each its proper type in 
its proper region, but as if the country had been peopled by 
migrating tribes of a ready-made race, who had only to 
spread and acclimatise themselves over both tropical and 
temperate zones, much as the European horses have done 
since the time of Columbus, and less perfectly the white 
men themselves. The race to which most anthropologists ^ 
refer the native Americans is the Mongoloid of East Asia, 
who are capable of accommodating themselves to the ex- 
tremest climates, and who by the form of skull, the light- 
brown skin, straight black hair, and black eyes, show con- 
siderable agreement with the American tribes.. Figs. 41 
and 42 represent the wild hunting-tribes of North America 
in one of the finest forms now existing, the Colorado 
Indians, while in Fig. ^2) the Cauixana Indians may stand 
as examples of the rude and sluggish forest-men of Brazil. 
While tribes of America and Asia may thus be of one 
original stock, we must look cautiously at theories as to 
the ocean and island routes by which Asiatics may have 
migrated to people the New World., It is probable that 
man had appeared there, as. in the Old World, in an 
earlier geological period than the present, so that the first 
kinship between the Mongols and the North American 
Indians may go back to a time when there was no ocean 
between them. What looks like later communication be- 
tween the two continents, is that the stunted Eskimo with 
their narrow roof-topped skulls may be a branch of the 
Japanese stock, while there are signs of the comparatively 
civilized Mexicans and Peruvians having in some way 
received arts and ideas from Asiatic nations. 

We come last to the white men, whose nations have all 
through history been growing more and more dominant 




Fig. 41. — Colorado Indian (North America). 

intellectually, morally, and politically on the earth. Though 
commonly spoken of as one variety of mankind, it is plain 
that they are not a single uniform race, but a varied and 




Fig. 42. — Colorado Indian (North America). 

mixed population. It is a step toward classing them to 
separate them into two great divisions, the dark-whites and 
fair-whites (melanochroi, xanthochroi). Ancient portraits 




Fig. 43. — Cauixana Indians (South America), 

have come down to us of the dark-white nations, as Assy- 
rians, Phoenicians, Persians, Greeks, Romans ; and when 


beside these are placed moderns such as the Andakisians, 
and the dark Welshmen or Bretons, and people from the 
Caucasus, it will be evident that the resemblance running 
through all these can only be in broad and general charac- 
ters. They have a dusky or brownish-white skin, black or 
deep brown eyes, black hair, mostly wavy or curly ; their 
skulls vary much in proportions, though seldom extremely 
broad or narrow, while the profile is upright, the nose 
straight or aquiline, the lips less full than in other races. 
Rather for form's sake than for a real type of the dark- whites, 
a group of Georgians are shown in Fig. 44. Opposite them 
Fig. 45, a group of Swedes, somewhat better represents the 
fair-whites, whose transparent skin, flaxen hair, and blue 
eyes may be seen as well, though not as often, in England 
as in Scandinavia or North Germany. The earliest recorded 
appearance of fair-whites may be in the paintings where 
Egyptian artists represent with yellowish-white skin and 
blue eyes certain natives of North Africa, a district where 
remnants of blonde tribes are still known. These fair 
Libyans, as well as the fair red-haired people who appear 
about Syria, and are known to us as forming a type among 
the Jews, may perhaps be connected in race with the fair 
nations who were already settled over the north of Europe 
when the classic writers begin to give accounts of its barbar- 
ous inhabitants, from the Goths northward to the dwellers in 
Thule. The intermarriage of the dark and fair varieties 
which has gone on since these early times, has resulted in 
numberless varieties of brown-haired people, between fair 
and dark in complexion. But as to the origin and first home 
of the fair and dark races themselves, it is hard to form an 
'opinion. Language does much toward tracing the early 
history of the white nations, but it does not clear up the 
difficulty of separating fair-whites from dark-whites. Both 


sorts have been living united by national language, as at this 
day German is spoken by the fair Hanoverian and the darker 
Austrian. Among Keltic people, the Scotch Highlanders 
often remind us of the tall red-haired Gauls described in 
classical history, but there are also passages which prove 

Fig. 44. — Georgians. 

that smaller darker Kelts like the modern Welsh and 
Bretons existed then as well. As a help in clearing up this 
problem, which so affects our own ancestry^ Huxley suggests 
that the fair-whites were the original stock, and that these 
crossing with the brown races of the far south may have 





given rise to the various kinds of dark-whites. However 
this may be, such mixture of the white and brown races 
seems indeed to have largely formed the population of 
countries where they meet. The Moors of North Africa, 
and many so-called Arabs who are darker than white men, 



may be thus accounted for. It is thus that in India 
millions who speak Hindu languages show by their tint that 
their race is mixed between that of the Aryan conquerors 
of the land and its darker indigenes. An instructive in- 
stance of this very combination is to be seen in the 




Gypsies, low-caste wanderers who found their way from 
India and spread over Eurppe not many centuries since. 
Fig, 46, a Gypsy woman from Wallachia, is a favourable 
type of these latest incomers from the East, whose broken- 
down Hindu dialect shows that part of their ancestry 

Fig. 46.— Gypsy. 

comes from our Aryan forefathers, while their complexion, 
swarthiest in the population of our country, marks also 
descent belonging to a darker zone of the human species. 
Thus to map out the nations of the world among a few 


main varieties of man, and their combinations, is, in spite 
of its difficulty and uncertainty, a profitable task. But to 
account for the origin of these great primary varieties or 
races themselves, and exactly to assign to them their earliest 
homes, cannot be usefully attempted in the present scan- 
tiness of evidence. If man's first appearance was in a 
geological period when the distribution of land and sea 
and the climates of the earth were not as now, then on 
both sides of the globe, outside the present tropical zones, 
there were regions whose warmth and luxuriant vegetation 
would have favoured man's life with least need of civilized 
arts, and whence successive waves of population may have 
spread over cooler climates. It may perhaps be reasonable 
to imagine as latest-formed the white race of the temperate 
region, least able to bear extreme heat or live without the 
appliances of culture, but gifted with the powers of knowing 
and ruling which give them sway over the world. 



Sign-making, 114 — Gesture-language, 114 — Sound-gestures, 120 — Na- 
tural Language, 122 — Utterances of Animals, 122— Emotional and 
Imitative Sounds in Language, 124 — Change of Sound and Sense, 
127 — Other expression of Sense by Sound, 128 — Children's Words, 
128 — Articulate Language, its relation to Natural Language, 129 — 
Origin of Language, 130. 

There are various ways in which men can communicate 
with one another. They can make gestures, utter C7'ies, 
speak wo?-ds, ^x-^c^n pictures, write characters or letters. These 
are signs of various sorts, a.nd to understand how they do 
their work, let us begin by looking at such signs as are 
most simple and natural. 

When for any reason people cannot talk together by word 
of mouth, they take to conversing by gestures, in what is 
called dumb show or pantomime. Every reader of this has 
been able from childhood to carry on conversation in this 
way, more or less cleverly. Imagine a simple case. A boy 
opens the parlour door, his brother sitting there beckons to 
him to be quiet for his father is asleep ; the boy now inti- 
mates by signs that he has come for the key of the box, to 
which his brother answers by other signs t]]at it is in the 


pocket of his coat hanging in the hall, concluding with a 
significant gesture to be off and shut the door quietly after 
him. This is the gesture-language as we all know how to use 
it. But to see what a full and exact means of communica- 
tion it may be worked up to, it should be watched in use 
among the deaf-and-dumb, who have to depend so much 
upon it. To give an idea how far gestures can be made to 
do the work of spoken words, the signs may be described 
in which a deaf-and-dumb man once told a child's story in 
presence of the writer of this account. He began by 
moving his hand, palm down, about a yard from the 
ground, as we do to show the height of a child — this 
meant that it was a child he was thinking of. Then he 
tied an imaginary pair of bonnet-strings under his chin (his 
usual sign for female), to make it understood that the child 
was a little girl. The child's mother was then brought on 
the scene in a similar way. She beckons to the child and 
gives her twopence, these being indicated by pretending to 
drop two coins from one hand into the other ; if there had 
been any doubt as to whether they were copper or silver 
coins, this would have been settled by pointing to some- 
thing brown, or even by one's contemptuous w\ay of handling 
coppers which at once distinguishes them from silver. The 
mother also gives the child a jar, shown by sketching its 
shape with the forefingers in the air, and going through the 
act of handing it over. Then by imitating the unmistake- 
able kind of twist with which one turns a treacle-spoon, it 
is made known that it is treacle the child has to buy. Next, 
a wave of the hand shows the child being sent off on her 
errand, the usual sign of walking being added, which is 
made by two fingers walking on the table. The turning of 
an imaginary door-handle now takes us into the shop, where 
the counter is shown by passing the flat hands as it were 

I 2 

ii6 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

over it. Behind this counter a figure is pointed out ; he is 
shown to be a man by the usual sign of putting one's hand 
to one's chin and drawing it down where the beard is or 
would be ; then the sign of tying an apron round one's 
waist adds the information that the man is the shopman. To 
liim the child gives her jar, dropping the money into his 
hand, and moving her forefinger as if taking up treacle, to 
show what she wants. Then we see the jar put into an 
imaginary pair of scales which go up and down ; the great 
treacle-jar is brought from the shelf and the little one filled, 
with the proper twist to take up the last trickHng thread ; 
the grocer puts the two coins in the till, and the little girl 
sets off with the jar. The deaf-and-dumb story-teller went 
on to show in pantomime how the child, looking down 
at the jar, saw a drop of treacle on the rim, wiped it off 
with her finger and put the finger in her mouth, how she 
was tempted to take more, how her mother found her out 
by the spot of treacle on her pinafore, and so forth. 

The student anxious to master the principles of language 
will find this gesture-talk so instructive, that it will be well 
to explain its working more closely. The signs used are of 
two kinds. In the first kind things actually present are 
shown. Thus if the deaf-mute wants to mention '• hand " 
or " shoe," he touches his own hand or shoe. Where a 
speaking man would say " I," ^' thou," " he," the deaf-mute 
simply points to himself and the other persons. To express 
" red " or " blue " he touches the inside of his own lip or 
points to the sky. In the second kind of signs ideas are 
conveyed by imitation. Thus pretending to drink may 
mean ''water," or "to drink," or "thirsty." Laying the 
cheek on the hand expresses "sleep" or "bedtime." A 
significant jerk of the whip-hand suggests either "whip" 
or "coachman," or "to drive," as the case may be. A 


"lucifer" is indicated by pretending to strike a match, 
and " candle " by the act of holding up the forefinger like a 
candle and pretending to blow it out. Also in the gesture- 
language the symptoms of the temper one is in may be 
imitated, and so become signs of the same temper in others. 
Thus the act of shivering becomes an expressive sign for 
^'cold"; smiles show "joy," "approval," "goodness," while 
frowns show "anger," "disapproval," "badness." It might 
seem that such various meanings to one sign would be 
confusing, but there is a way of correcting this, for when a 
single sign does not make the meaning clear, others are 
brought in to supplement it. Thus if one wants to express 
"a pen," it may not be sufficient to pretend to write with 
one, as that might be intended for " writing " or " letter," 
but if one then pretends to wipe and hold up a pen, this 
will make it plain that the pen itself is meant. 

The signs hitherto described are self-expressive, that is, 
their meaning is evident on the face of them, or at any rate 
may be made out by a stranger who watches their use. Of 
such self-expressive or natural signs, the gesture-language 
mostly consists But where deaf-mutes live together, there 
come into use among them signs which a stranger can 
hardly make out until it is explained to him how they arose. 
They will, for instance, mention one another by nickname- 
signs, as when a boy may be referred to by the sign of 
sewing, which on inquiry proves to have been given him 
because his father was a tailor. Such signs may be very 
far-fetched ; for instance, at the Berlin Deaf-and-dumb 
Institution, the sign of chopping off a head means a 
Frenchman, and on inquiry it appears that the children, 
struck by reading of the death of Louis XVI. in the 
history-book, had fixed on -this as a sign-name for the 
whole nation. But to any new child who learnt these 


n8 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap, 

signs without knowing why they were chosen, they would 
seem artificial. 

Next to studying the gesture-language among the deaf- 
and-dumb, the most perfect way of making out its principles 
is in its use by people who can talk but do not understand 
one another's language. Thus the celebrated sign-languages 
of the American prairies, in which conversation is carried on 
between hunting-parties of whites and natives, and even be- 
tween Indians of different tribes, are only dialects (so to 
speak) of the gesture-language. Thus "water" is ex- 
pressed by pretending to scoop up water in one's hand and 
drink it, ''stag" by putting one's thumbs to one's temples 
and spreading out the fingers. There is a great deal of 
variety in the signs among particular tribes, but such a way 
of communication is so natural all the world over, that 
when outlandish people, such as Laplanders, have been 
brought to be exhibited in our great cities, they have been 
comforted in their loneliness by meeting with deaf-and- 
dumb children, with whom they at once fell to conversing 
with deHght in the universal language of signs. Signs to be 
understood in this way must be of the natural self-expressive 
sort. Yet here also there are some which a stranger might 
suppose to be artificial, till he learnt that they are old 
signs which have lost their once plain intention. Thus a 
North American sign for "dog" is to draw one's two first 
fingers along like poles being trailed on the ground. This 
seeniingly senseless sign really belongs to the days when the 
Indians had few horses, and used to fasten the tent-poles 
on the dogs to be dragged from place to place; though 
the dogs no longer have to do this, custom keeps up 
the sign. 

It has to be noticed that the gesture-language by no 
means matches, sign for word, with our spoken language. 


One reason is that it has so little power of expressing 
abstract ideas. The deaf-mute can show particular ways of 
making things, such as building a wall or cutting out a coat, 
but it is quite beyond him to make one sign include what is 
common to all these, as we use the abstract term to "make." 
Even "in" and "out" must be expressed in some such 
clumsy way as by pretending to put the thing talked of in, 
and take it out. Next let us compare an English sentence 
with the signs by which the same meaning would be ex- 
pressed among the deaf-and dumb. It will at once be seen 
that many words we use have no signs at all corresponding 
to them. Thus when we should say in words, "77/^ hat 
ivhich I left on the table is black," this statement can be 
practically conveyed in gestures, and there will be signs for 
what we may call the " real " words, such as hat, leave, black. 
But for what may be called the " grammatical " words, 
the, which, is, there will be no signs, for the gesture-language 
has none. Again, grammars lay down distinctions between 
substantives, adjectives, and verbs. But these distinctions 
are not to be found in the gesture-language, where pointing 
to a grass-plot may mean "grass" or "green," and pre- 
tending to warm one's hands may suggest ''warm" or "to 
warm oneself," or even "fireplace." Nor (unless v/here 
artificial signs have been brought in by teachers) is there 
anything in the gesture-language to correspond with the 
inflexions of words, such as distinguish goest from go, liijii 
from he, domum from domus. What is done is to call up a 
picture in the minds of the spectators by first setting up 
something to be thought about, and then adding to or 
acting on it till the whole story is told. If the signs do not 
follow in such order as to carry meaning as they go, the 
looker-on will be perplexed. Thus in conveying to a deaf- 
and-dumb child the thought of a green box, one must make 


a sign for '^ box " first^ and then show, as by pointing to the 
grass outside, that its colour is " green." The proper gesture- 
syntax is " box green," and if this order were reversed as it 
is in the EngHsh language, the child might fail to see what 
grass had to do with a box. Such a sentence as English 
" cats kill mice " does not agree with the order of the deaf- 
mute's signs, which would begin by showing the tiny mouse 
running, then the cat with her smooth fur and whiskers, and 
lastly the cat's pouncing on the mouse — as it were ■ "■ mouse 
cat kill." 

This account of the gesture-language will have made it 
clear to the reader by what easy and reasonable means man 
can express his thoughts in visible signs. The next step 
will be to show the working of another sort of signs, namely, 
the sounds of the human voice in language. Sounds of 
voice may be spoken as signs to express our feelings and 
thoughts on much the same jDrinciples as gestures are made, 
except that they are heard instead of being seen. 

One kind of sounds used by men as signs, consists of 
emotional cries or tones. Men show pain by uttering 
groans as well as by distortion of face ; joy is expressed by 
shouts as well as by jumping; when we laugh aloud, the 
voice and the features go perfectly together. Such sounds 
are gestures made with the voice, sound-gestures, and the 
greater number of what are called interjections are of this 
class. By means of such cries and tones, even the compli- 
cated tempers of sympathy, or pity, or vexation, can be 
shown with wonderful exactness. Let any one put on a 
laughing, sneering, or cross face, and then talk, he may 
notice how his tone of voice follows ; the attitude of 
features belonging to each particular temper acts directly 
on the voice, especially in affecting the musical quality of 
the vowels. Thus the speaker's tones becom-e signs of the; 


emotion he feels, or pretends to feel. That this mode of 
expression is in fact musical, is. shown by its being imitated 
on the violin, which by altering its quality of tone can 
change from pain to joy. The human voice uses other 
means of expression belonging to music^ such as the con- 
trast of low and loud, slow and quick, gentle and violent, 
and the changes of pitch, now rising in the scale and now 
falling. A speaker, by skilfully managing these various 
means, can carry his hearer's mind through moods of mild 
languor and sudden surprise, the lively movement of cheer- 
fulness rising to eager joy, the burst of impetuous fury 
gradually subsiding to calm. We can all do this, and what 
is more, we do it without reference to the meaning of the 
words used, for emotion can be expressed and even delicately 
shaded off in pronouncing mere nonsense-syllables. For 
instance, the words of an Italian opera in England are to a 
great part of the audience mere nonsense-syllables serving 
as a means of musical and emotional expression. Clearly 
this kind of utterance ought to be understood by all man- 
kind, whatever be the language they may happen to speak. 
It is so, for the most savage and outlandish tribes know how 
to make such interjections as ah ! oh ! express by their 
tone such feelings as surprise, pain, entreaty, threatening, 
disdain, and they understand as well as we do the growling 
ur-r-r ! of anger, or the /z//^/ of contempt. 

The next class of sounds used as expressive signs are 
imitative. As a deaf-and-dumb child expresses the idea of 
a cat by imitating the creature's act of washing its face, so 
a speaking child will indicate it by imitating its miaou. If 
the two children wish to show that they are thinking of a 
clock, the dumb one will show with his hand the swinging of 
the pendulum, while the speaking one will say ^'tick-tack" 
Here again the sounds are gestures made with the voice, or 

122 ' ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

sound-gestures. In this way an endless variety of objects 
and actions can be brought to mind by imitating their proper 
sounds. Not only do children delight in such vocal imita- 
tions, but they have come into ordinary language, as when 
people speak of the coo of the pigeon, the hee-haw of the 
donkey, the ding-dojtg of the bell, and the rat-iat of the 
knocker. It need hardly be said that these ways of ex- 
pression are understood by mankind all the world over. 

Now joining gesture-actions and gesture-sounds, they will 
form together what may be called a Natural Language. 
This natural language really exists, and in wild regions even 
has some practical value, as when a European traveller 
makes shift to converse in it with a party of Australians 
round their camp-fire, or with a Mongol family in their 
felt tent. What he has to do is to act his most expressive 
mimic gestures, with a running accompaniment of exclama- 
tions and imitative noises. Here then is found a natural 
means of intercourse, much fuller than mere pantomime of 
gestures only. It is a common language of all mankind, 
springing so directly from the human mind that it must have 
belonged to our race from the most remote ages and most 
primitive conditions in which man existed. 

Here a very interesting question arises, on which every 
student has the means of experimenting for himself. How 
far are the communications of the lower animals, by their 
actions and sounds, like this natural language of mankind ? 
Every one who attends to the ways of beasts and birds is 
sure that many of their movements and cries are not made 
as messages to one another, but are merely symptoms of the 
creature's own state of mind ; for instance, v/hen lambs frisk 
in the meadow, or eager horses paw in the stable, or beasts 
moan when suffering severe pain. Animals do thus when 
not aware that any other creature is present, just as when a 


man in a room by himself will clench his fist in anger, or 
groan in pain, or laugh aloud. When gestures and cries serve 
as signals to other creatures, they come nearer to real signs. 
The lower animals as well as man do make gestures and 
cries which act as communications, being perceived by 
others, as when horses will gently bite one another to invite 
rubbing, or rabbits stamp on the ground and other rabbits 
answer, and birds and beasts plainly call one another, 
especially males and females at pairing-time. So distinct 
are the gestures and cries of animals under different cir- 
cumstances, that by experience we know their meaning 
almost certainly. Human language does not answer its 
purpose more perfectly than the hen's cluck to call her 
chickens, or the bellow of rage with which the bull, tossing 
his head, warns off a dog near his paddock. As yet, how- 
ever, no observer has been able to follow the workings of 
mind even in the dog that jumps up for food and barks for 
the door to be opened. It is hard to say how far the dog's 
mind merely associates jumping up with being fed, and 
barking with being let in, or how far it forms a conception 
like ours of what it is doing and why it does it. Anyhow, 
it is clear that the beasts and birds go so far in the natural 
language as to make and perceive gestures and cries as 
signals. But a dog's mind seems not to go beyond this 
point, that a good imitation of a mew leads it to look for a 
cat in the room ; whereas a child can soon make out from 
the nurse saying miaou that she means something about \V^ 
some cat, which need not even be near by. That is, a ^ it 
young child can understand what is not proved to have 
entered into the mind of the cleverest dog, elephant, or , 
ape, that a sound may be used as the sign of a thought or / 
idea. Thus, while the lower animals share with man the 
beginnings of the natural language, they hardly get beyond 

124 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

its rudiments, while the human mind easily goes on to higher 

In describing the natural language of gestures and excla- 
mations, we have as yet only looked at it as used alone 
where more perfect language is not to be had. It has now 
to be noticed that fragments of it are found in the midst of 
ordinary language. A people may speak English, or Chinese, 
or Choctaw, as their mother-tongue, but nevertheless they 
will keep up the use of the expressive gestures and inter- 
jections and imitations which belong to natural language. 
Mothers and nurses use these in teaching little children to 
think and speak. It is needless to print examples of this 
nursery talk, for unless our readers' minds have already been 
struck by it, they are not likely to study philology to much 
purpose. In the conversation of grown people, the self- 
expressive or natural sounds become more scanty, yet they 
are real and unmistakable, as the following examples will 
serve to show. 

As for gestures, many in constant use among our own 
and other nations must have come down from generation to 
generation since primitive ages of mankind, as when the 
orator bows his head, or holds up a threatening hand, or 
thrusts from him an imaginary intruder, or points to the 
sky, or counts his friends or enemies on his fingers. 
Next, as to emotional sounds, a variety of these is 
actually used in every language. For instances, a few 
may be cited from among the interjections set down in 
grammars : 

ILngYish—a/i I oh! ztgh ! fohl ha! ha I tut I {i-i) sh ! 
Sanskrit — aho I (surprise), aha! (reproach), z/;;/ / (vexation). 
Malay — t"/^ / (triumph), zueh! (compassion), chih! (dislike). 
Galla — o! woyo ! (sorrow), 7>ie! (entreaty). 
Australian — 7idh ! (.-surprise), pooh! (contempt). 


As for imitative words, all languages of mankind, ancient 
and modern, savage and civilized, contain more or less of 
them, and any English child can see how the following set 
of animals and instruments were named by appropriate 
sound : — 

Ass = eo (Egyptian). 
Crow = kaka (Sanskrit). 
Cat — mau (Chinese). 
Nightingale — bulbul (Persian). 
Hoopoe = uptipa (Latin). 
Rattlesnake = shi-shi-giua (Algonquin). 
Fly = bumberoo (Australian). 

Drum = dundu (Sanskrit). 
Flute = uhde (Galla). 
Whistle =:/?)!>//' (Malay). 
Bell = kwa-lal-kiva-lal (Yakama). 
Blow-ture — ptib (Quiche). 
Gun = pung (Botokudo). 

Such words are always springing up afresh in dialect 
or slang ; for instance English pop, meaning ginger-beer ; 
German gaggele, an egg, from the cackle of the hen as she laid 
it; French "maitre Jiji,'^ a scavenger (as it were ''master 
fie-fie^'). In the same way many actions are expressed 
by appropriate sounds. Thus in the Tecuna language of 
Brazil the verb to sneeze is haitscku, while the Welsh for 
a sneeze is tis. In the Chinuk jargon, the expressive 
sound humni means to stink, and the drover's- kish-kish 
becomes a verb meaning to drive horses or cattle. It is 
even possible to find a whole sentence made with imitative 
words, for the Galla of Abyssinia, to express " the smith 
blows the bellows," says, tiimtun bufa biifii, much as an 
English child might say "the tumtum ptiffs the puffer T 
Such words being taken direct from nature, it is to be 
expected that people of quite different language should 

126 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

sometimes hit on nearly the same imitations. Thus the Ibo 
language of West Africa has the word okoko for the bird we 
call a cock. The English verbs to pat and to bang seem to 
come from imitations of sound, much the same being found 
elsewhere ; as when the Japanese say pata-pata to express 
the sound of flapping or clapping, and the Yoruba negros 
have the verb gbang, to beat. 

Students whose attention is once directed to this class of 
self-expressive words, will notice them at a glance in each 
fresh language they master. It takes more careful observa- 
tion to trace them when the sound has been transferred by 
the process of metaphor (i.e. carrying over) to some new 
meaning not close to the original sense, but there are plenty 
of clear cases to choose illustrations from. In the Chinuk 
jargon of the West Coast of America, a tavern is called a 
'■' keehee-\\o\\sQ,^' a term which puzzles a foreigner till he 
understands that among the people who speak this curious 
dialect the imitative word heehee signifies not only laughter 
but the amusement which causes it, so that the term in fact 
means "amusement-house." It might seem difficult to hit 
upon an imitative word to denote a courtier, but the Basuto 
of South x'Xfrica do this perfectly ; they .have a word ntsi-ntst\ 
which means a fly, being, indeed, an imitation of its buzz, 
and they simply transfer this word to mean also the flattering 
parasite who buzzes round the chief like a fly round meat. 
These instances from uncivilized languages are like those 
which appear among the most polished nations, as when we 
English take the imitative verb to ///jf from its proper sense 
of blowing, to express the idea of inflated, hollow praise. 
Now if the pronunciation of such words becomes changed, 
their origin may be only recognised by old records happen- 
ing to preserve their first sound. Thus when F.nglish 7voe 
is traced back to Anglo-Saxon wd, it is found to be an 


actual groan turned (like German weJi) into a substantive 
expressing sorrow or distress. So an Englishman would 
hardly guess from the present pronunciation and meaning 
of the word pipe^ what its origin was ; yet when he com- 
pares it with the Low Latin pipa, French pipe^ pronounced 
more like our word peep, to chirp, and meaning such 
a reed-pipe as shepherds played on, he then sees how 
cleverly the very sound of the musical pipe has been made 
into a word for all kinds of tubes, such as tobacco-pipes 
and water-pipes. Words like this travel like Indians on 
the war-path, wiping out their footmarks as they go. For 
all we know, multitudes of our ordinary words may have 
thus been made from real sounds, but have now lost 
beyond recovery the traces of their first expressiveness. 

We have not yet come to the end of the intelligible ways 
in which sound can be made to express sense. When 
people want to show alteration in the meaning of a word, 
it is enough to make some change in its pronunciation. It 
is not difficult to see how, in the Wolof language of West 
Africa, where dagou means to walk, ddgoii signifies to walk 
proudly; dagana means to ask humbly, but dagdna to de- 
mand. In the Mpongwe language the meaning can be 
actually reversed by changing the pronunciation: as ''mi 
ionda^' I love, but "mi tonda" I love not. The English 
reader can manage to do much the same tricks by varying 
the tones of his own verbs wa/k, ask, love. This process of 
expressing difference of sense by difference of sound may 
be carried much farther. An instructive instance of clear 
symbolism by sound is to be found in a word coined by the 
chemist Guyton de Morveau. In his names for chemical 
compounds he had already the term sulfate (made on a Latin 
pattern like sulphumti(s\ but afterwards he wanted a word 
to denote a sulphur-salt of different proportions, and there- 


128 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

upon, to express the fact that there was an alteration, he 
changed a vowel and made the term sulfite. He perhaps 
did not know that he was here resorting to a device found in 
many rude languages. Thus in Manchu, contrast of sound 
serves to indicate difference of sex, chadia meaning " male " 
and cheche "female," ama "father" and erne "mother.^' 
So distances are often expressed by altering the vowel, 
as in Malagasy ao means a little way off, eo still nearer, io 
close at hand. In this way it is easy to make sets of 
expressive personal pronouns ; as in the Tumal language 
iigi " I," ngo " thou," 7ig7i "he." Another well-known pro- 
cess is reduplication or doubling, which serves a number 
of different purposes. It shows repetition or strengthening 
of meaning, as where the Polynesian aka " to laugh," be- 
comes akaaka "to laugh much," while loa "long," becomes 
lololoa " very long." Our words haw-haw and bonbon are 
like these. It is also easy to form plurals by reduplication, 
as Malay orang "man," orang-07'ang "men;" Japanese 
fito " man," fito-bito " men." Among the kinds of redu- 
plication best known to us is that which marks tenses in 
verbs, like didomi and tetupha in Greek, movwrdi in Latin. 

These clever but intelligible devices for making the 
sound follow the sense, show how easily man gets beyond 
mere imitation. Language is one branch of the great art of 
sign-making or sign-choosing, and its business is to hit upon 
some sound as a suitable sign or symbol for each thought. 
Whenever a sound has been thus chosen there was no doubt 
a reason for the choice. But it did not follow that each 
language should choose the same sound. This is well 
shown by the peculiar class of words belonging to children's 
language or baby-language, of which the word baby itself is 
one. These words are made up all over the world from the 
few simple syllables which children first utter, chosen almost 



iv;] LANGUAGE. 129 

anyhow to express the nursery ideas of mother, father, nurse, 
toy, sleep, &c. Thus while we have our way of using papa 
and mama, the Chilians say papa for "mother," and the 
Georgians ma7na for '' father," while in various languages 
dada may mean " father," " cousin," " nurse ; " tata " father,^' 
"son," "good-bye"! Such children's words often find 
their way into the language of grown people, and any slight 
change makes them look like ordinary words. Thus in 
English one might hardly suspect pope and abbot of having 
their origin in baby-words, yet this is evident when they are 
traced back to Latin papa and Syriac abba, both meaning 

These nursery words have already come beyond the 
" natural language " of self- expressive gestures and sounds. 
From its simple and clear facts we thus pass to the more 
difficult and obscure principles of "articulate language." 
On examining English, or any other of the thousand 
tongues spoken in the world, it is found that most of the 
words used show no such connection between sound and 
sense as is so plain in the natural or self-expressive words. 
To illustrate the difference, when a child calls a pocket 
timepiece a tick-tick, this is plainly self-expressive. But 
when we call it a watch, this word does not show why it is 
used. It is known that the instrument had its name from 
telling the hours like a watch-m.Si\-\, whose name 'denotes his 
duty to watch, Anglo-Saxon wosccan, from wacan, to move, 
ivake ; but here explanation comes to a stop, for no philolo- 
gist has succeeded in showing why the syllable wac came to 
denote this particular idea. Or if the same child call a loco- 
motive engine a puff-puff, this is self-expressive. Grown 
people call it an engine, a term which came through French 
from Latin ingenium, which meant that which is "in- born," 
thence natural ability or genius, thence an effort of genius, 



invention or contrivance, and thence a machine. By going 
farther back and taking the Latin word to pieces, it is seen 
that the syllables in and gen convey the ideas of " in " and 
"birth"; but here again etymology breaks down, for why 
these sounds were chosen for thesj meanings no one knows. 
Thus it is with at least nine-tenths of the words in diction- 
aries ; there is no apparent reason why the word go should 
not have signified the idea of coming, and the word come 
the idea of going; nor can the closest examination show 
cause why in Llebrew cliay means live, and meth dead, or 
why in Maori pai means good and kino bad. It is main- 
tained by some philologists that emotiona-1 and imitative 
sounds such as have been described in this chapter are 
the very source of all language, and that although most 
words now show no trace of such origin, this is because 
they have quite lost it in the long change of pronuncia- 
tion and meaning they have gone through, so that they 
are now become mere symbols, which children have to 
learn the meaning of from their teachers. Now all this 
certainly has taken place, but it would be unscientific to 
accept it as a complete explanation of the origin of language. 
Besides the emotional and imitative ways, several other 
devices have here been shown in which man chooses sounds 
to express thoughts, and who knows what other causes may 
liave helped ? All we have a right to say is, that from what 
is known of man's ways of choosing signs, it is likely that 
there was always some kind of fitness or connection which 
led to each particular sound being taken to express a par- 
ticular thought. This seems to be the most reasonable 
opinion to be held as to the famous problem of the Origin 
of Language. 

At the same time, what little is known of man's ways 
of making new words out of suitable sounds, is of great 




importance in the study of human nature. It proves that 
so far as language can be traced to its actual source, that 
source does not lie in some lost gifts or powers of man, but 
in a state of mind still acting, and not above the level of 
children and savages. The origin of language was not an 
event which took place long ago once for all, and then 
ceased entirely. On the contrary, man still possesses, and 
uses when he wants it, the faculty of making new original 
words by choosing fit and proper sounds. But he now 
seldom puts this faculty to serious use, for this good reason, 
that whatever language he speaks has its stock of words 
ready to furnish an expression for almost every fresh thought 
that crosses his mind. 


LANGUAGE — {co7itimted ) . 

Articulate Speech, 130— Growth of Meanings, 131 — Abstract Words, 
135 — Real and Grammatical Words, 136 — Parts of Speech, 138 — 
Sentences, 139 — Analytic Language, 139- — Word Combination, 
140 — Synthetic Language, 141 — Affixes, 142- — Sound-change, 
143 — Roots, 144 — Syntax, 146 — Government and Concord, 147 — 
Gender, 149— Levelopment of Language, 150. 

A SENTENCE being made up of its connected sounds as a 
limb is made up of its joints, we call language articulate 
or ^'jointed," to distinguish it from the inarticulate or 
"unjointed" sounds uttered by the lower animals. Such 
conversation by gestures and exclamations as was shown in 
the last chapter to be a natural language common to man- 
kind, is half-way between the communications of animals 
and full human speech. Every peoj^le, even the smallest 
and most savage tribe, has an articulate language, carried 
on by a whole system of sounds and meanings, which serves 
the speaker as a sort of catalogue of the contents of the 
world he lives in, taking in every subject he thinks about, 
and enabling him to say what he thinks about it. What a 
complicated and ingenious apparatus a language may be, 
the Greek and Latin grammars sufficiently show. Yet the 

CH. v.] LANGUAGE. 133 

more carefully such difficult languages are looked into, the 
more plainly it is seen that they grew up out of earlier and 
simpler kinds of speech. It is not our business here to 
make a systematic survey of the structure of languages, such 
as will be found in the treatises of Max Miiller, Sayce, 
Whitney, and Peile. What we have to attend to, is that 
many of the processes by which languages have been built 
up are still to be found at work among men, and that 
grammar is not a set of arbitrary rules framed by gram- 
marians, but the result of man's efforts to get easier, fuller, 
and exacter expression for his thoughts. It may be 
noticed that our examples are oftener taken from English 
than from any other tongue. The reason of this is not 
merely the convenience of using the most familiar words 
as instances, but that English is of all existing languages 
perhaps the best for explaining the development of language 
in general. While its words may in great part be traced to 
high antiquity, its structure has passed through extreme 
changes in coming down to modern times, and in its present 
state the language at once keeps up relics of ancient forma- 
tions, and has the freest growth actually going on. Thus, 
in one way or another, English has something to show in 
illustration of three out of four of the processes known to 
have helped in the making of language, at any time and 

As in the course of ages man's knowledge became wider 
and his civilization more complex, his language had to keep 
up with them. Comparatively few and plain expressions 
had sufficed for his early rude condition, but now more and 
more terms had to be added for the new notions, imple- 
ments, arts, offices, and relations of more highly organized 
society. Etymology shows how such new words are made 
by altering and combining old ones, carrying on old words 

134 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

from the old state of things to do duty in the new, shifting 
their meanings, and finding in any new thought some resem- 
blance to an old one that would serve to give it a name. 
English is full of traces of these ways of word-making and 
word-shifting. For instance, that spacious stone building is 
still called, as its rough predecessors were, a barrack (that 
is, liut) j in it a regiment (that is, a ruling or command) of 
soldiers (that is, paid men) of the infantry (that is, lads, who 
fought on foot) are being inspected (that is, looked into) ; each 
company (that is, those who have bread together) being 
under a captain (that is, head-man) and his lientena7its (that 
is, place-holders). On the front of the building is a clock, a 
machine which keeps on its old name, meaning a bell, from 
the ages when its predecessor was only a bell on which a 
watchman struck the hours ; in later times were added the 
weigJits, lumps of metal so-called from the weights of the 
l)alance, \\\q pejiduluni (or hanger), and what are metaphor- 
ically called the face and hands, for showing on a scale (or 
ladder) the hours {or times), divided into minutes (or smalls), 
and then again into seconds (or foUowings). These instances 
are intentionally not drawn from the depths of etymology, but 
are taken to show the ordinary ways in which language finds 
means to supply the new terms of advancing society. It will 
be worth while to give a few cases showing that the languages 
of less civilized races do their duty in much the same ways. 
The Aztecs called a boat a " water-house " {acalli), and 
thence the censer in which they burnt copal as incense 
came to be called a " little copal-boat " {copalacaltontli). 
The Vancouver Islanders, when they saw how a screw- 
steamer went, named it at once yetseh-yetsokleh, that is, the 
" kick-kicker." The Hidatsas of the Missouri till lately had 
only hard stone for their arrows and hatchets ; so when 
they became acquainted with iron and copper they made 

v.] LANGUAGE. 135 

names for these metals — uetsasipisa and uetsahistsi, that is 
to say, " stone black " and " stone red," The horse, when 
brought by the white men among peoples who had never 
seen it, had to be named, and accordingly the Tahitians 
called it " pig-carry-man," while the Sioux Indians said it 
was a "magic-dog." 

As a help to understand how words have come to ex- 
press still more difficult thoughts, it is well to remember the 
contrast between the gesture-language and spoken English 
(p. 119). It was seen how the deaf-and-dumb fall short of 
our power of expressing general and abstract ideas. Not 
that they cannot conceive such ideas at all. They use signs 
as general terms when they can lay hold of some quality or 
action as the mark of a whole class. Thus flapping one's 
arms like wings means any bird, or birds in general, and the 
sign of legs-four, means beasts, or quadrupeds in general. 
The pretence of pouring something out of a jug expresses the 
notion of fluid, which they understand, as we do, to comprise 
water, tea, quicksilver ; and they probably have, though 
more dimly than we, such other abstract notions as the 
whiteness common to all white things, and the length, 
breadth, and thickness which all solid objects have. But 
while the deaf-mute's sign must always make us think of the 
very thing it imitates, the spoken word can shift its meaning 
so as to follow thought wherever it goes. It is instructive 
to look at words in this light, to see how, starting from 
thoughts as plain as those shown by the signs of the Ameri- 
can savage, they can come on to the most difficult terms of 
the lawyer, the mathematician, and the philosopher. To 
us words have become, as Lord Bacon said, counters for 
notions. By means of words we are enabled to deal with 
abstract ideas, got by comparing a number of thoughts, but 
so as only to attend to what they have in common. The 

136 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

reader of this no doubt uses easily, and perhaps correctly, 
such words as soi't^ kind, thing, cause, to make, be, do, suffe?\ 
If he will try to get clear to his mind what is actually meant 
by these words, that is, what sense they carry with them 
wherever used, he may teach himself the best lesson he ever 
learnt, either in language or philosophy. To Englishmen 
who know no language but their own, these words are 
indeed, as it were, counters, chosen at random to express 
thoughts. Having learnt by practice how and where to 
apply them, they are seldom even conscious of their highly" 
abstract nature. The philologist cannot trace the complete 
history of them all, but he knows enough to satisfy him that 
they came out of words easier to understand. As in the 
Eornu language of Africa, tando, to " weave," has become a 
general verb to "make," and in Hebrew bard, to " cut" or 
" hew," has come to be used for the making of the heavens 
and earth ; so our word to make may have meant originally 
to fit, or join. The English word so7't comes from Latin 
SOTS, a " lot," through such a set of meanings as allotment, 
oracle, fate, condition, chance, portion ; kind meant of one 
kindred or descent; to be may have meant to grow; to 
suffer meant to bear as a burden. It belongs to high 
metaphysics to talk of the apprehension of ideas) but these 
now abstruse words originally meant " catching hold " of 
"sights." One use of etymology is that it teaches how 
men thus contrived, from words which expressed plain 
and easy thoughts, to make terms for more complex 
and abstruse thoughts. This is the high road along 
which the human mind has travelled from ignorance to 

The next contrivance of language to be noticed is the use 
of ''grammatical" words, which serve to connect the "real" 
words and show what they have to do with one another. 

v.] LANGUAGE. I37 

This again is well seen by looking at the gesture-language 
(p. 119). If a deaf-and-dumb man wants to convey in ges- 
tures ''John is come, he has brought the harness of the 
pony and put it on a bench," he can communicate the sense 
of this well enough, but he does it by merely giving the real 
parts, as "John, harness, pony, carry, bench, put." But the 
articles " a " and " the," the preposition "of," the conjunction 
"and," the substantive verb "is," and the pronouns "he," 
"it," are grammatical devices which have not signs in his 
natural system, and which he does not even learn the mean- 
ing of till he is taught to read. Nevertheless, the deaf-mute, 
if obliged to be very exact in his account, can actually give 
us a good idea of the way in which we speaking-people have 
come to use grammatical words. Though he cannot intimate 
that it is a bench, he can hold up one finger to show that it 
is one bench ; though he has no sign for the pony, he can as 
it were point it out so as to show it is that pony ; instead of 
expressing of the pony as we do, he can go farther by pre- 
tending to take the harness off the pony. Now English 
etymology often shows that our grammatical words were 
made in very much this way out of real words ; an or a was 
originally the numeral "one," still Scotch aiie; the is of 
the same family of words with that and there ; of is derived 
from the same source with off; the conjunction a7id may be 
traced back to the more real meaning of " further " or 
" thereto " ; the verb to have has become a mere auxiliary 
in " I have come," yet it keeps its old full sense of to hold 
or grasp, when one man seizing another cries " I have him ! " 
When an Englishman says he ^'stands corrected," this does 
not mean that he is on his legs, but the verb has sunk into 
a grammatical auxiliary, n'ow conveying little more than the 
passive sense he "is corrected." It is curious to notice 
pronouns being thus formed from more real words. As the 

138 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

deaf-mute simply points with his finger to express " I " 
and " thou," so the Greenlander's uvanga =^ "I/'zW///=^ 
" thou," are plainly derived from uv = "here," iv - "there." 
Quite a different device appears in Malay, where d?nba — 
"slave" is used as a pronoun " I," and tuwan = "lord'' 
as a pronoun " thou." How this came to pass is plainly 
shown by Hebrew, in such phrases as are translated in 
the English Bible, "///>' se7'vant saith," ^^my /^r^ knoweth; " 
these terms are on the road to become mere personal 
pronouns meaning " I " and " thou," as in the Malay they 
actually have done. An exact line cannot be drawn between 
real and grammatical words in English or any other language, 
for the good reason that words pass so gradually from the 
i-eal into the grammatical stage, that the same word may be 
used in both ways. But though the distinction is not an 
exact one, it should be noticed attentively. Any one who will 
try to tell an intelligible story in English real words only, 
without the help of the grammatical particles which are the 
links and hinges of the sentence, will see how the use of 
grammatical words was one of the greatest moves made by 
man in the formation of articulate speech. 

Philology goes still further in explaining how the com- 
plicated devices of grammar arose from simple beginnings. 
The distinction of "parts of speech," familiar to us in a 
highly-developed state from the Greek and Latin grammars, 
is a useful means of showing the relations among the several 
thoughts talked of in the sentence. But it is possible to 
do without parts of speech, and it is not to be supposed 
that they existed in the earliest forms of language. In 
the gesture language it has been already noticed that there 
is no such distinction even betv^een noun and verb. In 
classical Chinese, tJiwan means round, a ball, to make 
round, to sit round, and so on ; ngan means quiet, quietly, 

v.] LANGUAGE. 139 

to quiet, to be quiet, &c. We English can quite enter 
into this, for our language has so far dropped the ancient 
inflexions as to break up distinctions between parts of 
speech in almost Chinese fashion, using a word either as 
substantive, adjective, or verb, as the people's quiet, a quiet 
people, to quiet the people, and without scruple turning a 
verb into a substantive, as a workmen's strike, or a sub- 
stantive into a verb, as to horse a coach. The very forma- 
tion of new parts of speech may be seen going on, as 
where Chinese shows how prepositions may be made out 
of nouns or verbs. Thus ^^\mq chung,^^ that is "kingdom 
middle^^ is used to mean "in the kingdom," and "sha jin 
/thing," that is, "kill man use stick," expresses "to kill 
a man with a stick." So an African language, the Man- 
dingo, may be caught in the act of making prepositions out 
of the nouns kang, "neck," and ko7io, "belly," when they 
say " put table neck " for " on the table," and " house belly " 
for " in the house." 

We have next to look at the way in which language grows 
by combining its words to form new ones. To see this, 
words have to be noticed not as they stand by them- 
selves, but as they come together in actual speaking. 
Language consists of sentences, and a sentence is made up 
of words, each word being a distinct spoken sound carrying 
a distinct meaning. The simplest notion of a sentence may 
be had from such a language as Chinese, where it can be 
taken apart into words which are each a single syllable. 
Thus kou chi shi jin sse, that is "dog sow eat man food" 
means that dogs and sows eat the food of men. The class 
of languages which can be taken to pieces in this perfect 
way are called analytic or isolating. In most languages 
of the world, however, which are more or less synthetic or 
compounding, the tendency is not so strong to keep words 


separate, and they are apt to attach themselves together. 
To bring clearly before our minds how the joining or com- 
pounding of words takes place, let us notice rather more 
closely than usual one of our English sentences. On 
listening, it will appear that the spoken words have not 
really breaks between them as in writing, but the syllables 
run on continuously till the speaker pauses, and what marks 
a word" is, not its being really separated, but its having an 
emphasis, or stress (as it is called by Mr. Sweet). Now, 
from time to time, certain words may be noticed becoming 
actually fixed together. How this joining gradually takes 
place we sometimes try to show by writing them differently, 
as hard ware, hard-ivare, hardware ; or steain ship, steam- 
ship, steamship. On listening to such joined words, it is found 
that one of the two has lost its stress, the whole compound 
having now but one stress. This is how in talking English 
our minds give a sign by our voices that two words have 
become one. The next step is when the sound of one of 
the part-words becomes slurred or broken down, as in the 
end-words of ivaterman, wrongful. Or both the simple 
words may have broken down, as in boatswain and cox- 
swain, where writing keeps up the original meaning of the 
swain in charge of the boat or cock-ho^i, but in actual speak- 
ing the words have shrunk to what may be spelt bosun, 
COX717L Now this process of forming a new word by (so 
to speak) welding together two or more old ones, is one of 
the chief acts by which word-makers, ancient and modern, 
have furnished themselves with more manageable terms, 
which again as the meanings of the separate parts were less 
cared for, were cut shorter in speaking. AVhen this has not 
gone too far, philologists can still get back to the original 
elements of such words, discerning the fourteen flight in 
fortnight ; the u/ms and decern in undecim, shrunk still farther 

v.] LANGUAGE. 141 

in French onze , the jus^ dico, in Latin judex, which in 
Enghsh comes down to judge. 

As examples how word-compounding goes on in unfamiHar 
tongues, may be taken the Malay term for " arrow," which 
is anak-pa7iah, or '' child-(of-the)-bow ; " and the native 
Australian term for "unanimous," which is gurdugynyul, or 
'•heart-one-come." To show how such compound words 
become shortened, take the Mandingo word for " sister," 
mbadingmuso, which is made up of mi bado dingo muso, 
meaning "my-mother-child-female." The natives of Van- 
couver's Island gave to a certain long-bearded Englishman 
the name Yakpiis ; this appears to have come from 
yakhpekukselkous, made up of words signifying "long-face- 
hair-man," which in speaking had been cut down Xo yakpus. 
No one who did not happen to be told the history of 
this word could ever have guessed it. This is an important 
lesson in the science of language, for it is likely that tens of 
thousands of words in the languages of the. world may have 
come into the state in which we find them by the shorten- 
ing of long compound words, and when this has been done 
recklessly as in the last example, and the history lost, all 
reasonable hope is gone of ever getting back to the original 
form and meaning. Nor does this process of contraction 
affect only compound words, but it may act on a whole 
sentence, fusing it as it were into one word. Here the 
synthetic or compounding principle reaches its height. As 
a contrast to the analytic Chinese sentence given at page 
139, to show the perfect distinctness of their words, we may 
take a sentence of an African language to show how utterly 
that distinctness may be lost. When a Grebo negro wishes 
to express that he is very angry, he says in his metaphorical 
way "it has raised a bone in my breast." His full words 
for expressing this would be e ya mu kra wudi, but in 

142 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

speaking he runs them together so that what he actually 
utters is ya77iiikroure. Where such breaking down has gone 
on unchecked, it is easy to see how the language of a 
barbaric tribe may alter so much in a few generations as 
hardly to be recognised. Indeed, any one who will attend 
to how EngHsh words run together in talking may satisfy 
himself that his own language would undergo rapid changes 
like those of barbaric tongues, were it not for the school- 
master and the printer, who insist on keeping our words 
lixed and separate. 

The few examples here given of new words made by 
compounding old ones may serve to illustrate the great prin- 
ciple that such combination, far from being a mere source of 
confusion, has been one of the great means of building up 
language. Especially, one of the great discoveries in modern 
philology is how grammadcal formation and inflexion has 
partly come about by a kind of word-compounding. It 
must have seemed to the old scholars a mysterious and 
arbitrary proceeding that Latin should have fixed upon a 
set of meaningless affixes to inflect and make into different 
parts of speech ago, agis, agit, agere, agens, actum, actor, 
actio, activus, actrcc, (S:c. But the mystery to some extent 
disappeared when it was noticed how in modern languages 
the running together of words produced something of the 
kind. Thus the Jiood of womanhood, priesthood, which is now 
a mere grammatical suffix, was in old English a word of 
itself, had, meaning form, order, state ; and the suffix-/^ was 
once the distinct word " hke," as is seen by Anglo-Saxon 
saying cwcn-//V, " queen-///(r," where modern English says 
quecn/y. In Chaucer's English it is seen how the pronoun 
thoiL had dwindled into a mere verb-ending, 

" He pokyd Johan, and seyde, Slepistt77C' .^ 
Herdist^w ever slik a sanir er now?" 

v.] LANGUAGE. 143 

In English the future tense of the verb to give is " I will 
give," or, colloquially, " I'll give." Here writing separates 
what speaking joins, but the modern French future tense 
donnerai, donneras^ is the verb donner with the auxiliary 
verb ai, as, both spoken and written on to it, so that " je 
donnerai "is a phrase like ''I have to give." The plural 
dotmerons, donnerez, can no longer be thus taken to 
pieces, for the remains of the auxiliary verb have passed 
into meaningless grammatical affixes ons, ez. There is 
reason to suppose that many of the affixes of Greek 
and Latin grammar arose in this way by distinct words 
combining together and then shrinking. Not that it would 
be safe to assert that all affixes came into existence in 
this particular way. As was pointed out in the last 
chapter, men wanting to utter a thought are clever enough 
to catch up in very far-fetched ways a sound to express 
it. Thus the prefix ge^ which German uses to make past 
participles with, seems to have originally signified "with" 
or " together," which sense it still retains in such words as 
gespiele^ " playfellow ; " but by a curious shifting of purpose 
it came to serve as a means of forming participles, as 
spielen, to play, gespielt, played. It was so used also 
in Anglo-Saxon, as dypian, to call, geclypod, called, which 
word in its later form yckpt still keeps up among us a 
trace of the old grammatical device. Philologists have 
to keep their eyes open to this power which language- 
'makers have of using sounds for some new purpose 
they were not intended for. Thus, in English, the change 
of vowels in foot, feet, and in find, found, now serves as 
a means of declining the noun and conjugating the verb. 
But history happens to show that the vowel change was 
not originally made with this intention at all. The 
Anglo-Saxon declension proves that the vowel was not 



then a sign of number in the noun ; it was singular fot, 
fdtes,fef, ^\Mm\ fit, fota, fotu??i. Nor was it a sign of tense 
in the Anglo-Saxon verb, where the perfect of Jindan, to 
find, had different vowels in its singular, ic /and, I found, 
and its plural, we fundon, we found. It was the later 
Englishmen who, knowing nothing of the real reasons 
which brought about the variation of the vowels, took to 
using them to mark singular from plural, and present from 

It is the work of grammarians in examining any language 
to take all its combined words to pieces as far as possible. 
Greek and Latin grammars now teach how to analyze words 
by stripping off their affixes, so as to get down to the real 
part or root, which is generally a simple sound expressing 
a simple notion. A root is best understood by considering 
it to have been once a separate word, as it would be in 
such a language as English. Even in languages where the 
roots seldom appear without some affix attached, they may 
stand by themselves as imperative, like Latin die ! say ! 
Turkish sev ! love ! But in many languages roots can 
only be found as imaginary forms, by comparing a group 
of words and getting at the common part belonging to 
them all. Thus in Latin it appears from gnosco, gnotus, &c., 
that there must be a root gno which carries the thought 
of knowing. Going on to Greek, there is found in gignosko, 
gnosis, gjiome, &c., the same root gno with the same mean- 
ing. Turning next to Sanskrit, a similar sound, jnd, appears 
as the root-form for knowing. In this w^ay, by com- 
paring the whole set of Aryan or Indo-European lan- 
guages, it appears that there must have been in ancient 
times a word something like gna, meaning to know, which 
is to be traced not only in Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin, but 
in many other languages of the family, as Russian zfiat. 

v.] LANGUAGE. 145 

English know. A few more such Aryan roots, which the 
reader recognises at once in well-known languages, are sta^ 
to stand, sad^ to sit, ga, to go, /, to go, ma, to measure, da^ 
to give, vid^ to see, rag, to rule, mar, to die. These simple 
sounds seem to have already become fixed to carry their 
meanings in the remote ages when the ancestors of the 
Aryan peoples wandered with their herds on the highlands 
of Central Asia. It is not needful to tell the student of an- 
thropology how interesting it is to arrive thus at the earliest 
known root-words of any family. But it should at the 
same time be noticed that even in the earliest of these sets 
of roots, we seldom come to anything like an actual origin 
or beginning. Some few may indeed have been taken direct 
from the natural language, for instance ru, to roar, and if 
this was so here is a real origin. But most roots, to what- 
ever languages of the world they may belong, are like the 
group given above, where it is impossible to say con- 
fidently how their sound came to express their meaning. 
Unless this can be done, it is safest not to take such roots 
as really primitive formations, for they may have a long 
lost history of the utmost change. How this may happen, 
our own language has a useful lesson to teach. Imagine 
one who knows no language but English trying to get at 
its roots. To him the verb to roll might seem a root-word, 
a primitive element of language; indeed it actually has 
been fancied a natural sound imitating the act of rolling. 
Yet any philologist would tell him that English roll is a 
comparatively modern form, which came through a long 
series of earlier stages ; it was borrowed from French rolle, 
roller, now role, rouler, all from Latin rotulus, diminutive 
of rota, a wheel, even this coming from a more ancient 
verb and signifying a runner or goer. Still more adven- 
turous is the history of another English word which has 


146 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

now all the parts of a verb, to check, checking, checked, 
besides such forms as a check in one's course, the check- 
string to stop the coachman, the checks2XNt to stop the 
water in a pipe. This word check has all the simplicity of 
sound and sense which might belong to an original root- 
word. Yet strange to say, it is really the Persian word 
shah, meaning ''king," which came to Europe with the 
game of chess as the word of challenge to the king, and 
thence by a curious metaphor passed into a general word 
for stopping anybody or anything. For all that is known, 
many root-words among the Greeks or Jews, or even the 
simple-looking monosyllables of the Chinese, may during 
pre-historic ages have travelled as far from their real origin 
as these English verbs. Thus the roots from which lan- 
guage grows may often be themselves sprung as it were from 
yet earlier seeds or cuttings, grown at home or imported 
from abroad, and though in our time w^ords mostly come 
from the ancient roots, the power of striking new roots is 
not yet dead. 

Having now, in such a broad way as suits the present 
purpose, looked at the formation of words, something may 
be said as to how language contrives |;o show the relations 
among the words of a sentence. This is done by what 
grammarians call syntax, concord, and government. It 
has been seen (p. 119) that the gesture-language, though 
wanting in grammatical forms, has a strongly marked syntax. 
The deaf-mute's signs must follow one another in proper 
order, otherwise they may convey a wrong meaning or seem 
nonsense. So, in spoken languages which do not inflect 
their words, such as the Chinese, syntax is the main part of 
grammar ; thus 1 1 ping = sharp weapons, J>in§- li = weapons 
(are) sharp ; chi kuo = to govern the kingdom, but kuo chi = 
the kingdom is governed. This seems quite natural to us, for 

v.] LANGUAGE. I47 

modern English has come far towards the Chinese plan of 
making the sense of the sentence depend on the order of the 
words, thus marking the difference between rank of families 
^nd families of rank, or between men kill lions and lions kill 
7nen. In Latin it is very different, where words can be put 
about with such freedom, that the English reader may be 
hardly able to make sense of one of Tacitus' sentences 
without fresh sorting the words into some order he can 
think them in. Especially in Latin verses there is often 
hardly more syntax than if the words were nonsense- 
syllables arranged only to scan. The sense has to be made 
out from the grammatical inflections, as where it is seen 
that in ''vile potabis modicis Sabinum cantharis," the 
cheapness has to do with the wine and the smallness 
with the mugs. It is because so many of the inflections 
have disappeared from English, that the English translation 
has to obtain a proper understanding by stricter order of 
words. Where the meaning of sentences depends on order 
or syntax, that order must be followed, but it must be borne 
in mind that this order differs in different languages. For a 
single instance, in Malay, where orang = man and tilan = 
forest, savages and apes are called orang ulan, which is 
just opposite to the English construction "forest man." 

Every one who can construe Greek and Latin sees what 
real service is done by government and agreement in show- 
ing how the words of a sentence hang together, what quality 
is stated of what thing, or who is asserted to act on what. 
But even Greek and Latin have changed so much from their 
earlier state, that they often fail to show the scholar clearly 
what they mean to do, and why. It is useful to make ac- 
quaintance with the languages of ruder nations, which show 
government and agreement^in earlier and plainer stages of 
growth. One great object of grammatical construction is to 

L 2 

148 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

make it quite dear which of two nouns concerned is subject 
and which object, for instance, whether it was a chief who 
killed a bear, or a bear who killed a chief. A particle 
properly attached will do this, as when the Algonquin 
Indians put on the syllable un both to noun and verb, in 
a way which we may try to translate by the pronoun him, 
thus : — • 









This gives a notion of the natural manner in which gram- 
matical government may have come into use to mark the 
parts of the sentence. At the same time, it shows that 
different languages may go different ways to work, for here 
the verb and object agree together, and the subject (so to 
speak) governs both, which is quite unlike our familiar rule 
of the verb agreeing with the nominative or subject. To 
see the working of concord or agreement in a far clearer 
and completer form than Latin can show it, we may look 
at the Hottentot language, where a sentence may run some- 
what thus, '■'■ That woman-i-/^(?, our tribe's-jr/^d', rich-being- j-/^^, 
another village-in-dwelling-.<r/^^, praise-we-do cattle-of-j-/^^, she- 
does present-US two calves-of-^/^^-from." Here the pronoun 
running through the whole sentence makes it clear to the 
dullest hearer that it is the woman who is rich, who dwells 
in another village, whose cattle are praised, and who gives 
two of her calves. The terminations in a Greek or Latin 
sentence, which show the agreement of substantive and 
adjective with their proper verb, are remains of affixes which 
may have once carried their signification as plainly as they 
still do in the language of the llottentots. A different plan 
of concord, but even more instructive to the classical scholar, 

v.] LANGUAGE. 149 

appears in the Zulu language, which divides things into 
classes, and then carries the marking syllable of the class right 
through the sentence, so as to connect all the words it is 
attached to. Thus *' u-3?/-kosi ^-etu o-^z^-kulu /^//-ya-bonakala 
si-/^2^-tanda," means " our great kingdom appears, we love 
it." Here du, the mark of the class to which kingdom be- 
longs, is repeated through every word referring to it. To 
give an idea how this acts in holding the sentence together. 
Dr. Bleek translates it by repeating the dom of kingdom in 
a similar way ; " the king-dopt, our dom, which dom is the 
great dom, the dom appears, we love the dom.^' This is clumsy, 
but it answers the great purpose of speech, that of making 
one's meaning certain beyond mistake. So, by using different 
class-syllables for singular and plural, and carrying them 
on through the whole sentence, the Zulu shows the agree- 
ment in number more plainly than Greek or Latin can do. 
But the Zulu language does not recognise by its class- 
syllables what we call gender. It is in fact one of the 
puzzles of philology, what can have led the speaker of 
Aryan languages like Greek, or Semitic languages like 
Hebrew, to classify things and thoughts by sex so un- 
reasonably as they do. For Latin examples, take the 
following groups : J>es (masc), maims (fem.), brachium 
(neut.) ; amor (masc), virtus (fem.), delictum (neut), 
German shows gender in as practically absurd a state, as 
witness der Hund, die Ratte ; das Thier, die Pflanze. In 
Anglo-Saxon, t^/z/" (English wife), was neuter, while wif-man 
{i.e. "wife-man," English woman) was masculine. Modern 
English, in discarding an old system of grammatical gender 
that had come to be worse than useless, has set an example 
which French and German might do well to follow. Yet it 
must be borne in mind that the devices of language, though 
they may decay into absurdity, were never originally absurd. 



No doubt the gender-system of the classic languages is the 
remains of an older and more consistent plan. There are 
languages outside our classical education which show that 
gender (that is genus, kind, class,) is by no means necessarily 
according to sex. Thus in the Algonquin languages of North 
America, and the Dravidian languages of South India, things 
are divided not as male or female, but as alive or dead, 
rational or irrational, and put accordingly in the animate or 
major gender, or in the inanimate or minor gender. Having 
noticed how the Zulu concord does its work by regularly 
repeating the class-sign, we seem to understand how in the 
Aryan languages the signs of number and gender may have 
come to be used as a similar means of carrying through the 
sentence the information that this substantive belongs to 
that adjective and that verb. Yet even in Sanskrit, Greek, 
Latin, and Gothic, such concord falls short of the fulness 
and clearness it has among the barbarians of Africa, while 
in the languages of modern Europe, especially our own, it 
has mosdy disappeared, probably because with the advance 
of intelligence it was no longer found necessary. 

The facts in this chapter will have given the reader some 
idea how man has been and still is at work building up 
language. Any one who began by studying the gram- 
mars of such languages as Greek or Arabic, or even of such 
barbarous tongues as Zulu or Eskimo, would think them 
wonderfully artificial systems. Indeed, had one of these 
languages suddenly come into existence among a tribe of 
men, this \vould have been an event mysterious and un- 
accountable in the highest degree. But when one begins 
at the other end, by noticing the steps by which word-making 
and composition, declension and conjugation, concord and 
syntax, arise from the simplest and rudest beginnings, then 
the formation of language is seen to be reasonable, purpose- 

v.] LANGUAGE. 151 

ful, and intelligible. It was shown in the last chapter that 
man still possesses the faculty of bringing into use fresh 
sounds to express thoughts, and now it may be added that 
he still possesses the faculty of framing these sounds into 
full articulate speech. Thus every human tribe has the 
capabilities which, had they not inherited a language ready- 
made from their parents, would have enabled them to make 
a new language of their own. 



Adoption and loss of Language, 152 —Ancestral Language, 153— 
P'amilies of Language, 155— Aryan, 156— Semitic, 159— Egyptian, 
Berber, &c. 160 — Tatar or Turanian, 161 — South-East Asian, 162 
— Malayo-Polynesian, 163 — Dravidian, 164 — African, Bantu, 
Hottentot, 164 — American, 165 — Early Languages and Races, 165. 

The next question is, What can be learnt from languages 
as to the history of the nations speaking them, and the 
races these nations belong to ? 

In former chapters, in dividing mankind into stocks or 
races according to their skulls, complexions, and other 
bodily characters, language was not taken into account as 
a mark of race. In fact, a man's language is no full and 
certain proof of his parentage. There are even cases in 
which it is totally misleading, as when some of us have seen 
persons whose language is English, but their faces Chinese 
or African, and who, on inquiry, are found to have been 
brought away in infancy from their native countries. It is 
within every one's experience how one parent language dis- 
appears in intermarriage, as where persons called Boileau or 
MuUer may be now absolutely English as to language, in 
spite of their French or ancestry. Now not only 
individuals but whole populations may have their n^itive 


languages thus lost or absorbed. The negroes shipped as 
slaves to America were taken from many tribes and had no 
native tongue in common, so that they came to talk to one 
another in the language of their white masters, and there is 
now to be seen the curious spectacle of black woolly-haired 
families talking broken-down dialects of English, French, 
or Spanish. In our own country the Keltic language of the 
Ancient Britons has not long since fallen out of use in 
Cornwall, as in time it will in Wales. But whether the 
Keltic language is spoken or not, the Keltic blood remains 
in the mixed population of Cornwall, and to class the 
modern Cornishmen as of pure English race because they 
speak English, would be to misuse the evidence of language. 
Much bad anthropology has been made by thus carelessly 
taking language and race as though they went always and 
exactly together. Yet they do go together to a great extent. 
Although what a man's language really proves is not his 
parentage but his bringing-up, yet most children are in fact 
brought up by their own parents, and inherit their language 
as well as their features. So long as people of one race and 
speech live together in their own nation, their language will 
remain a race-mark common to all. And although mi- 
gration and intermarriage, conquest and slavery interfere, 
from time to time, so that the native tongue of a nation can 
never tell the whole story of their ancestry, still it tells a 
part of it, and that a most important part. Thus in Corn- 
wall the English tongue is a real record of the settlement 
of the English there, though it fails to tell of the Keltic 
race who were in the land before them, and with whom 
they mixed. In a word, the information which the language 
of a nation gives as to its race is something like what a 
man's surname tells as to his family, by no means the whole 
history, but one great line of it 

154 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

It has next to be seen what the languages of the world 
can show as to the early history of nations. Great care has 
to be taken with the proofs of connexion between languages. 
It is of little use to compare two languages as old-fashioned 
philologists were too apt to do when, if they found half-a- 
dozen words at all similar, they took these without more 
ado to l)e remnants of one iDrimitive tongue, the origin of 
both. In the more careful philological comparisons of the 
present day many similarities of words have to be thrown 
aside as not proving connexion at all. In any two lan- 
guages a few words are sure to be similar by mere accident, 
as where, in the Society Islands, tiputa means a cloak, like 
tippet with us. Words must only be compared when there 
is a real correspondence of meaning as well as sound, or the 
way would be opened for fancies like that of a writer who 
connects the well known Polynesian word tabu, sacred, with 
tabut, the Arabic name of the ark of the covenant, appa- 
rently because that was a very sacred object. Also, words 
imitated from nature prove nothing in this way, as where 
the Hindus and the savages of Vancouver's Island both call 
a crow kaka, this being not because their languages are 
connected, but because it is the bird's cry. What is most 
important of all is to make sure that the words compared 
really belong to the old stock of the language they are 
found in. Before now a writer has proved to his own satis- 
faction that Turkish, Arabic, and Persian are all branches of 
one primitive language, his argument being that the Turks 
call a man adam^ as the Arabs call the first man, and a 
father pader, which is like the Persian word. The fact is 
true enough, but what the argument omits to notice is 
that the Turks have been for ages enriching their own 
barbaric language by taking words from the cultured Arabic 
and Persian, and adam and pader are such lately borrowed 


words, not philologically Turkish at all. Borrowed words 
like these are indeed valuable evidence, but what they 
prove is not the common origin of languages, it is inter- 
course between the nations speaking them. They often 
give the clue to the country from which some new produce 
was obtained, or some new instrument, or idea, or insti- 
tution, was learnt. Thus in English it is seen by the very 
words how Italy furnished us with opera, sonata, chiaroscuro, 
while Spain gave gallina and mulaiio, how from the 
Hebrews we have sabbath and jubilee, from the Arabs zei'o 
and magazine, while Mexico has supplied chocolate and 
tomato, Haiti hanmiock and hurricane, Peru guano and 
quinine^ and even the languages of the South Sea Islands 
are represented by taboo and tatoo. But in all this there is 
not one particle of evidence that any one of these languages 
is sprung from the same family with any other. 

When two languages have such a common descent, the 
philologist is not content to ascertain it by merely looking 
for a few words of similar sound. Indeed he expects to 
find that the words of the ancestral language will not only 
have changed in its descendant languages, but that they 
will often have changed according to different rules. Thus 
he knows that according to the rule called Grimm's law, 
the English te7i, tame, should appear in German with a 
different initial, zehn, zahm, while again these should be 
represented in Latin by decern, domare. With the same 
regularity of change, the sound which in some of the Poly- 
nesian languages is k, in others has become // thus the word 
man, in the Sandwich Islands kanaka (whence our sailors 
call any South Sea Islander a kanaker), appears in New 
Zealand under the form of tangata. Going beyond the 
sound of words into their structure, the comparative philo- 
logist reckons that when two languages are allied, they 

156 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

ought to show such similarity in the roots and in the putting 
together, that neither chance nor borrowing can account for 
the resemblance. In the first chapter, for another purpose, 
examples were given of languages continuing to show their 
intimate connexion while diverging from their parent tongues. 
The reader may find it worth while to look back to these 
illustrations (p. 8) before going on to the following sketch of 
the families of language belonging to the various races of man. 
The languages of white men mostly belong to two great 
families, the Aryan and Semitic. First as to the Aryan 
family, called also Indo-European, which takes in the lan- 
guages of part of South and West Asia, and almost the whole 
of Europe. The original tongue whence these are all 
descended may be called the Primitive Aryan. What the 
roots of this ancient language were like, and how they were 
put together into words, the student may gain an idea from 
Greek and Latin, but a still better from Sanskrit, where 
both roots and inflexions have been kept up in a more per- 
fect and regular state. As a rough illustration of the way 
in which words of our familiar European languages may be 
discerned in Sanskrit, one line of the first hymn of the Veda 
is here given, where the worshippers entreat Agni, the divine 
Fire, that he will be approachable to us as a father to a son, 
and will be near for our happiness : 

Sa nah pita-iva sunave Agne su-upayanah bhava : sachasva nah 

Here may be more or less clearly made out words connected 
with Latin, Greek, and English nos, pater, son, ignis, up, be, 
segui, eiiesto, and others. Though the original Aryan is a 
lost language, philologists try to reconstruct it by compar- 
ing its oldest and most perfect descendants, Sanskrit, Old 
Persian, Greek, Latin, Old Russian, Gothic, Old Irish, &c. 


Granting that a primitive Aryan tongue once existed, there 
must once have been a nation who spoke it, and whose 
descendants carried it down to later ages. It is hard to 
draw any certain bodily picture of the primitive Aryans 
themselves (see page 109), for in their course of migra- 
tion and conquest they so mingled with other races, that 
now the nations united by Aryan speech range through 
the utmost varieties of white men, from the Icelander 
to the Hindu. The early home of the Aryans is supposed 
to have been in Inner Asia, perhaps in the present 
Turkestan, in the region of the Oxus and Yaxartes, for 
here the practicable way of migration for nomads with 
flocks and herds lies open down into Persia on the one 
side, and India on the other. As India and Persia have 
preserved in their sacred languages the Aryan tongue 
less changed than elsewhere, it may be judged that the 
land whence the invading Aryans came was not far off. 
But it may have been further east in Central Asia, or further 
west on the Russian plains. In this home-land, wherever it 
may have been, the Aryans lived in barbaric but not savage 
clans, tilling the soil and grazing their flocks and herds, 
workers in metal and skilled in many arts of life, a warlike 
folk who went forth to fight in chariots, a people able to 
govern and obey, to make laws and abide by them, a reli- 
gious people earnest in the worship of the sun, and sky, 
and fire, and waters, and with pious faith in the divine spirits 
of their ancestors. Carrying with them their language, laws, 
and religion, these nation-founders spread in radiating tracks 
of migration over South-West Asia and all Europe. Where 
they went they found the land peopled by Dravidians, 
Tatars, and doubtless many other stocks once spread far 
and wide, like the Basques, whose language still lingers in 
the Pyrenees. Where the old languages have vanished. 

158 ' ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

the record of the early populations of Europe is only to be 
had from their tombs, and seen in the features of the pre- 
sent nations, which may be often more those of the original 
people than of the Aryan invaders. The earliest Aryan hordes 
who started on their westward migration may have been 
the ancestors of the Keltic nations, for their language has 
undergone most change, and they are found in the far west 
of Europe, as though they had been pressed on by the 
Teuton-Scandinavian tribes who followed them, distant 
kinsfolk but not friends. The ancestors of the Grseco-Italian 
nations migrated westward till they reached the Mediter- 
ranean, and last came the Slavonic peoples who now occupy 
Eastern Europe. Thus much of the beginnings of the Aryan 
nations may be learnt from their languages and their places 
on the map. It is not in the earliest ages of history that 
they appear on the world-stage where Egyptians and Baby- 
lonians had long played the great parts. The Aryans become 
prominent within a thousand years before the Christian era, 
when in India there arises among them the religion of 
Buddha, now reckoned the most numerous in the world ; 
when the Medes and Persians come into power, and 
Cyrus appears with his conquering host ; when the Greeks 
bring their wondrous intellect to bear on art, science, 
and philosophy ; and the Romans set up the military and 
legal system which gave them their empire. In later ages 
our Teutonic nations, who made their first appearance as 
the ravagers of culture, come to be its promoters. The 
Aryan nations have kept up in the modern world the career 
of conquest and the union with other peoples which they 
began in prs-historic ages. Outside the world known to 
the ancients, Aryan languages are now spoken on far conti- 
nents and islands, whether the men who speak tliem are 
white colonists from Europe, who have slain or driven out 


the old dwellers on the soil, or whether they have become 
blended with the native nations as in Mexico and Peru. 

To proceed now to the languages of the next family, the 
Semitic, an idea of these can be most easily gained from 
Hebrew. Any student seriously bent on the science of 
language should learn at least enough Hebrew to spell out a 
few chapters of Genesis, for all the other languages com- 
monly taught in England being of the Aryan family, this 
will serve to bring his mind out of that groove, by familiar- 
izing him with speech of a different material. A very 
moderate number of roots, mostly of three consonants, by 
altering their internal vowels and changing their affixes, 
are made to form the greater part of the language so 
regularly that Hebrew dictionaries are arranged throughout 
by the roots. Thus from the root 7n-l-ch are derived verb 
and noun forms with the sense of reigning, as malach = he 
reigned, mdlchu = they reigned, yimloch = he shall reign, 
ti7nloch = thou shalt reign, melech = king (familiar in the 
name of Melchi-zedek^ " king of righteousness "), meldchim = 
kings, malchenu = our king, malchdh = queen, mamldchdh 
- kingdom, and so on. The principal languages belonging 
to the Semitic family are the Assyrian, Hebrew and Phoe- 
nician, Syrian, Arabic and Ethiopic. The Assyrian of 
the Nineveh inscriptions and the Arabic spoken by the 
desert Beduins between them best represent the original 
language they are all descended from. The ancient or 
modern peoples speaking Semitic tongues belong mainly 
to the dark-white race, the type in which they agree being 
now most plainly seen in the Jewish countenance, with its 
aquiline nose, full lips, and curly black hair. Yet by 
features alone it would not have been possible to distinguish 
the Jews, Assyrians, and Arabs, among the mass of dark- 
white nations. Here is seen the value of language, which 

i6o ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

comes in to show that a certain group of nations are 
connected by common ancestry from an ancient people, 
who spoke the lost tongue whence Arabic and Hebrew are 
offshoots, and who in the ages when history begins were 
dwelling in South- West Asia, and sending forth their migrat- 
ing tribes to found new nations, whose acts in the world 
form one of the great chapters of history. The conquering 
Assyrians took up and carried on the older Chaldsean 
civilisation. The Phoenicians became the great merchants 
of the old world, with trading colonies along the Mediter- 
ranean and commerce in the far East, nor was it only stuffs 
and spices that they carried, but they spread arts and 
thoughts into new regions, and in their hands the clumsy 
hieroglyphic writing became the alphabet. The Israelites, 
though as a nation they never reached such power or 
culture, made their conquests in the world of religion, 
and while the crowd of deities worshipped in Assyrian 
and Phoenician temples vanished away, the worship of 
Jehovah passed on into Christianity, and overspread the 
world. Latest, the warrior-tribes of Arabia carried the 
banner of their prophet among the nations around, and 
founded the faith of Islam, a civilizing power in the middle 
ages, and even in these days of its decay an influence across 
the world from Western Africa to the islands of the far East. 
The language of the ancient Egyptians, though it cannot 
be classed in the Semitic family with Hebrew, has im- 
portant points of correspondence, whether due to the long 
intercourse between the two races in Egypt, or to some 
deeper ancestral connection ; and such analogies also appear 
in the Berber languages of North Africa. These difficult 
questions can merely be mentioned here. Attempts have 
been made, though with little result, to prove the Aryan 
and Semitic languages themselves to be descended from a 


single parent tongue. If it is so, then ages of change have 
so wiped away the traces of common origin that philologi- 
cal comparison fails to substantiate them. While speaking 
of the Aryan and Semitic families of language, it should be 
noticed that many philologists connect them as belonging 
to one class, as being "inflecting" languages, or such as can 
blend their roots and affixes, and alter the roots themselves 
internally so that, as the beginner in Greek grammar well 
knows, it is often no easy matter to see where the root 
ends and the terminaUon begins. The inflecting families 
have certainly a power of compact word-formation which 
has done much to give expressiveness and accuracy to such 
poetical and philosophical languages as Greek and Arabic. 
But the distinction is by no means clear between the struc- 
ture of such inflecting languages and the agglutinating lan- 
guages of other nations, as the Tatars. Could the Aryan 
and Semitic families be both traced back to the same 
family, this would not prove the whole white race to have 
had one original language, for the Georgian of the Caucasus, 
the Basque of the Pyrenees, and several more would still 
lie outside, apparently unconnected with either of the great 
families, or with one another. 

In the middle and north of Asia, on the steppes or 
among the swamps and forests of the bleak north, wandering 
hordes of hunters or herdsmen show the squat-built brown- 
yellow Tatar or Mongolian type, and speak languages of one 
family, such as Mahchu and Mongol. Although principally 
belonging to Asia, these Tatar or Turanian languages have 
established themselves in Europe. At a remote period, 
rude Tatar tribes had spread over northern Europe, but 
they were followed up and encroached on by the invad- 
ing Aryans, till now only much-mixed outlying remnants 
of them, Esths, Finns, Lapps, are found speaking Tatar 


i62 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

languages. Id later ages, history records how armies of 
Tatar race, Huns and Turks, poured into Europe in their 
turn, subduing the Aryan peoples, so that now the Hun- 
garian and Turkish languages remain records of these last 
waves of invasion from Central Asia. The Tatar hordes 
are first heard of in history as barbarians, as many tribes 
are still, but their chief nations becoming Buddhists, Mo- 
hammedans, or Christians, have adopted the civiHsation 
belonging to these religions. The Tatar languages are of 
the kind called agglutinative, forming words by putting 
first the root, which carries the sense and is followed by 
suffixes strung on to modify it. Thus in Turkish the 
root sev, to love, makes sevishdii-ilmediler, they were not to 
be brought to love one another. In some languages of this 
class, a remarkable law of vowel-harmony compels the 
suffix to conform its vowel to that of the root it is attached 
to, as if to make clear to the hearer that it belongs to it ; 
thus in Hungarian hdz = house, forms hdzam = my house, 
but szek = cliair, forms szckem = m.y chair. 

The dense population of South-East Asia, comprising the 
Burmese, the Siamese, and especially the Chinese, shows a 
type of complexion and feature plainly related to the Tatar 
or Mongolian, but the general character of their language is 
different. The Chinese language is made up of mono- 
syllables, each a word with its own real or grammatical 
sense, so that our infant-school books in one syllable give 
some notion of Chinese sentences. Other neighbouring 
languages share this habit of using monosyllables, and as 
this limits them to an inconveniently small number of words, 
they have taken to the expedient of making the musical 
pitch or intonation alter the meaning, as in Siamese, where 
the syllable ha, according to the notes it is intoned on, 
means a pestilence, or the number five, or the verb to seek. 


Thus the intoning which in England serves to express emotioi'^ 
or distinguish question -from answer is turned to account in 
the far East for making actually different words, an example 
how language catches at any available device when a means 
of expression is wanted. Looking on the map of Asia at 
this south-east group of nations, it is plainly not by accident 
that the people of such neighbouring districts should have 
come to talk in words of one syllable, but the habit seems 
to have come from a common ancestral source, and gives 
the whole set of languages a family character. These 
monosyllable languages are often used to illustrate what the 
simple childlike constructions of man's primitive speech 
may have been like. But it is well to mention that Chinese 
or Siamese, simple as they are, must not be relied on as 
primitive languages. The childlike Chinese phrases may 
be not primitive at all, but may come of the falling away 
of older complicated grammar, much as our own English 
tends to cut short the long words and drop the inflexions 
used by our ancestors. Chinese simplicity of grammar by 
no means goes with simplicity of thought and life. The 
Chinese nation, like the Egyptian and the Babylonian, had 
been raised to a highly artificial civilisation in ages before 
the Phoenicians and Greeks came out of barbarism. It is 
not yet clear to what race the old Babylonians belonged who 
spoke the Akkadian tongue, but this shows analogies which 
may connect it with the Tatar or Mongolian languages. 

It has been already seen (p. 102) how the Malays, Micro- 
nesians, Polynesians, and Malagasy, a varied and mixed 
population of partly Mongoloid race, are united over their 
immense ocean-district half round the globe by languages of 
one family, the Malayo-Polynesian. The parent language of 
this family may have belonged to Asia, for in the Malay 
region the grammar is more complex, and words are found 

M 2 

i64 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

like tasik = sea and langit = sky, while in the distant islands 
of New Zealand and Hawaii these have come down to fai 
and /ai, as though the language became shrunk and form- 
less as the race migrated further from home, and sank into 
the barbaric Hfe of ocean islanders. 

The continent of India has not lost the languages of the 
tribes who were in the land before the Aryan invasion gave 
rise to the Hindu population. Especially in the south 
whole nations, though they have taken to Hindu civilisation, 
speak languages belonging to the Dravidian family, such as 
Tamil, Telugu, and Canarese. The importance of this 
element of Indian population may be seen by these non- 
Aryan tongues still extending over most of the great triangle 
of India south of the Nerbudda, besides remnants *in dis- 
tricts to the north. Yet Aryan dialects are spoken in India by 
many mixed tribes who may have little of Aryan blood. In 
the forests of Ceylon are found the only people in the world 
leading a savage life who speak an Aryan language akin to 
ours. These are the Veddas or " hunters," shy wild men who 
build bough huts, and live on game and wild honey, the chil- 
dren, as it seems, of forest-natives mingled with Singhalese 
outcasts whose language in a broken-down state they speak. 

Among the black races, whether or not the eastern negros 
of Melanesia are connected by race with the African negros, 
the Melanesian languages stand apart. Nor do all African 
negros speak languages of one family, but some, such as the 
Mandingo, seem separate from the great language-family of 
Central and South Africa, named the Bantu from tribes 
caUing themselves simply " men " {ba-nhi). One of the 
chief peculiarities of the Bantu languages is their working 
(just unlike the Tatar languages) by putting prefixes in front. 
Thus the African magician is called 7nganga^ the plural of 
which is waganga, magicians. The Kafirs of a certain 


district bear the well-known name of the basuto, which is 
a plural form, a single native being called niosuto, while his 
country is lesuio, his language sesuto, and his character or 
quality bosuto. In South Africa lies a very different language- 
family, the Hottentot-Bushman, remarkable for the way in 
which " clicks," much like what among us nurses make to 
children and coachmen to horses, do duty as consonants in 
words. Lastly, turning to America, the native languages 
fall into a variety of families. Some of these are known to 
English readers by a word or two, as the Eskimo of the 
Arctic coasts by the name of the kayak or single boat on which 
our sport canoes are modelled ; the Algonquin which pre- 
vailed from New England to Virginia at the time of the 
early colonists, and whence we have mocassin and to77ia- 
hawk ; the Aztec of Mexico known by the ocelot 2Xi^ the cacao- 
bean ; the Tupi-Carib of the West Indies and the Brazilian 
forests, the home of the toucan and jaguar ; lastly the 
Quichua or Peruvian, the language of the inca. 

In concluding this account of the chief families of 
language, it is to be noticed that there are many more, 
some only consisting of a few dialects or a single one. 
Altogether a list of fifty or a hundred might perhaps be made, 
of which no one has been satisfactorily shown to be related 
to any other. It may, indeed, be expected that often two 
or three which now seem separate may prove on closer 
examination to be branches of one family, but there seems 
no prospect of the families all coming together in this way 
as offshoots of one original language. The question whether 
there was one primitive speech, or many, has been in past 
times most useful in encouraging the scientific comparison 
of languages. Both theories claim to account for the actual 
state of language in the world. On the one hand it may 
be argued that the languages descended from the primitive 

i66 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap, vi, 

tongue have branched off so far apart as often no longer to 
show their connection ; on the other hand, if there were 
many primitive languages, of which those that survived have 
given rise to families, this would come to much the same 
state of things. But if, as seems likely, the original forma- 
tion of language did not take place all at once, but was a 
gradual process extending through ages, and not absolutely 
stopped even now, then it is not a hopeful task to search 
for primitive languages at all (see page 131). In the present 
improved state of philology it answers better to work back 
from known languages to the lost ancestral languages 
whence they must have come down. It has been seen that 
this study leads to excellent results as to the history, not 
only of the languages themselves, but of the nations speak- 
ing them, as when it gives the clue to the peopling of the 
South Sea Islands, or proves some remote ancestral con- 
nexion between the ancient Britons, and the Enghsh and 
Danes who came after them to our land. Yet though language 
is so valuable a help and guide in national history, it must 
not be trusted as if it could give the whole origin of a race, 
or go back to its beginning. All negroes do not speak 
languages of one family, nor all yellow, or brown, or white 
men. In exploring the early life of nations, their languages 
may lead us far back, often much farther than historical 
records, but they seem hardly to reach anywhere near the 
origins of the great human races, still less to the general 
orierin of mankind. 



Picture-writing, i68 — Sound-pictures, 169 — Chinese Writing, 170 — 
Cuneiform Writing, 172 — Egyptian Writing, 173 — Alphabetic 
Writing, 175 — Spelling, 178 — Printing, 180. 

Taught as we are to read and write in early childhood, 
we hardly realize the place this wondrous double art fills in 
civilized life, till we see how it strikes the barbarian who 
has not even a notion that such a thing can be. John 
Williams, the South Sea Island missionary, tells how once 
being busy carpentering, and having forgotten his square^ 
he wrote a message for it with a bit of charcoal on a chip, 
and sent this to his wife by a native chief, who, amazed to 
find that the chip could talk without a mouth, for long after- 
wards carried it hung by a string round his neck, and told 
his wondering countrymen what he saw it do. So in South 
Africa a black messenger carrying a letter has been known 
to hide it under a stone while he loitered by the way, lest it 
should tell tales of him, as it did of whatever was going on. 
Yet the art of writing, mysterious as it seemed to these 
rude men, was itself developed by a few steps of invention, 
which if not easy to make, are at any rate easy to understand 
when made. Even uncivilized races have made the first 




step, that of picture-writing. Had the missionary merely 
made a sketch of his L"Square on the chip, it would have 
carried his message, and the native would have understood 
the whole business as a matter of course. Beginning at 
this primitive stage, it will be possible to follow thence 
through its whole course the history of writing and 

Fig. 47 shows a specimen of picture-writing as used by 
the hunting tribes of North America. It records an expedi- 
tion across Lake Superior, led by a chief who is shown on 

Fig. 47. — Picture-writing, rock near Lake Superior (after Schoolcraf:). 

horseback with his magical drumstick in his hand. There were 
in all fifty-one men in five canoes, the first of them being 
led by the chiefs ally, whose name, K^shkemunazee, that 
is, Kingfisher, is shown by the drawing of this bird. Their 
reaching the other side seems to be shown by the land- 
tortoise, the well-known emblem of land, while by the picture 
of three suns under the sky it is recorded that the crossing 
took three days. Now most of this, childlike in its sim- 
plicity, consists in making pictures of the very objects meant 
to be talked of. But there are devices which go beyond this 
mere imitation. Thus when the tortoise is put to represent 

VII.] Vv^RITING. 169 

land, it is no longer a mere imitation, but has become an 
emblem or symbol. And where the bird is drawn to mean 
not a real kingfisher, but a man of that name, we see the 
first step toward phonetic writing or sound writing, the 
principle of which is to make a picture stand for the sound of 
a spoken word. How men may have made the next move 
toward writing may be learnt from the common child's 
game of rebus^ that is, writing words ' ' by things." Like many 
other games, this one keeps up in child's sport what in earlier 
ages was man's earnest. Thus if one writes the word 
" waterman " by a picture of a water-jug and a man, this is 
drawing the meaning of the word in a way hardly beyond 
the American Indian's picture of the kingfisher. But it is 
very different when in a child's book of puzzles one finds 

P ^X3 

pa- te noch te. 

Fig. 48. — Paternoster in Mexican picture-writing (after Aubin). 

the drawing of a water-can, a man being shot, and a date- 
fruit, this representing in rebus the word " can-di-date." 
For now what the pictures have come to stand for is no 
longer their meaning, but their mere sound. This is true 
phonetic writing, though of a rude kind, and shows how the 
practical art of writing really came to be invented. This 
invention seems to have been made more than once, and in 
somewhat different ways. The old Mexicans, before the 
arrival of the Spaniards, had got so far as to spell their 
names of persons and places by pictures, rebus fashion. 
Even when they began to be Christianized, they contrived 
to use their picture-writing for the Latin words of their new 
religion. Thus they painted a flag {pan), a stone {te), a 
prickly-pear [fioch) (Fig. 48), which were together pronounced 


pa-te-noch-te, and served to spell pater nosier, in a way 
that was tolerably exact for Mexicans who had no r in their 
language. In the same way they ended the prayer with the 
picture of water (^),and aloe {me), to express a??ien. 

This leads on to a more important system of writing. 
Looking at the ordinary Chinese characters on tea-chests or 
vases, one would hardly think they ever had to do with pic- 
tures of things. But there are fortunately preserved certain 
early Chinese characters, known as the " ancient pictures," 
which show how what were at first distinctly formed sketches 
of objects came to be dashed off in a few strokes of 
the rabbit' s-hair pencil, till they passed into the mean- 
ingless-looking cursive forms now in use, as is seen in 
rig. 49. 

sun moon mountain tree dog 

A„c.,nQ 1)^1^ 

--0 n "^ -^ f: 

Fig. 49. — Chinese ancient pictures and later cursive forms (after Endlicher). 

The Chinese did not stop short at making such mere 
pictures of objects, which goes but little way toward writing. 
The inventors of the present mode of Chinese writing 
wanted to represent the spoken sounds, but here th^y 
v/ere put in a difficulty by their language consisting of 
monosyllables, so that one word has many different meanings. 
To meet this they devised an ingenious plan of making com- 
pound characters, or " pictures and sounds," in which one 
part gives the sound, while the other gives the sense. To 
» give an idea of this, suppose it were agreed that a picture of 
' a box should stand for the sound box. As, however, this sound 
has several meanings, some sign must be added to show 

vii] WRITING. 171 

which is intended. Thus a key might be drawn beside it 
to show it is a box to put things in, or a leaf if it is to mean 
the plant called box^ or a hand if it is intended for a box on 
the ear, or a whip would show that it was to signify the box 
of a coach. This would be for us a clumsy proceeding, but 
it would be a great advance beyond mere picture-writing, 
as it would make sure at once of the sound and the 
meaning. Thus in Chinese, the sound chow has various 
meanings, as ship, fluff, flickering, basin, loquacity. There- 
fore the character which represents a ship, choiv, which 
is placed first in Fig. 50, is repeated afterwards with 
additional characters to show which particular meaning 
of cho7v is intended. A recognisable pair of feathers is 

"k m Wt 'M "^ 

ship fluff flickeriag bas'.ii loquacity 

P'ici. 50.— Chinese compound characters, pictures and sounds. 

placed by it to mean chow = fluff; next, the sign of fire 
makes it chow = flickering ; next, the sign of water makes it" 
chow = basin ; and lastly, the character for speech is joined 
to it to make cho7u = loquacity. These examples, though 
far from explaining the whole mystery of Chinese writing, 
give some idea of the principles of its sound-characters and 
keys or determinative signs, and show why a Chinese has to 
master such an immensely complicated set of characters in 
order to write his own language. To have introduced such 
a method of writing was an effort of inventive genius in 
the ancient Chinese, which their modern descendants show 
their respect for by refusing to improve upon it. At the 
same time it is not entirely through conservatism that they 
have not taken to phonetic writing like that of the western 

172 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

nations, for this would for instance confuse the various kinds 
of chow which their present characters enable them to keep 
separate. But the Japanese, whose language was better 
suited than the Chinese for being written phonetically, 
actually made themselves a phonetic system out of the 
Chinese characters. Selecting certain of these, they cut 
them down into signs to express sounds, one to stand for /, 
another for ro^ another for fa, &c. Thus a set of forty- 
seven such characters (which they call accordingly the 
I'rofa), serve as the foundation of a system with which they 
write Japanese by sound more accurately than our writing 
conveys it. 

Next, as to the cuneiform writing, such as is to be seen 
at the British Museum on the huge man-headed bulls of 
Nineveh, or on the fiat baked bricks which were pages of 
books in the library of Sennacherib. The marks like 
wedges or arrow-heads arranged in groups and rows do not 
look much like pictures of objects. Yet there is evidence 
that they came at first from picture-writing ; for instance, the 
sun was repres'ented by a rude figure of it made by four 
strokes arranged round. Of the groups of characters in an 
inscription, some serve directly to represent objects, as man, 
woman, river, house, while other groups are read phonetically 
as standing for syllables. The inventors of this ancient 
system appear to have belonged to tlie Akkadian group of 
nations, the founders of early Babylonian civiHzation. In 
later ages the Assyrians and Persians learned to write their 
languages by cuneiform characters, in inscriptions which 
remain to this day as their oldest records. But the cunei- 
form writing was cumbrous in the extreme, and had to give 
way when it came into competition with the alphabet. To 
understand the origin of that invention, it is necessary to go 
back to a plan of writing which dates from antiquity probably 




even higher than the cuneiform of Babylonia, namely, the 
hieroglyphics of Egypt. 

The earliest known hieroglyphic inscriptions of Egypt 
belong to a period approaching 3,000 B.C. Even at this 
ancient time the plan of writing was so far developed that 
the scribes had the means of spelling any word phonetically, 
when they chose. But though the Egyptians had thus come 
to writing by sound, they only trusted to it in part, combin- 
ing it with signs which are evidently remains of earlier 
picture-writing. Thus the m.ere pictures of an ox, a star, a 
pair of sandals, may stand for ox, star, sandals. Even where 
they spelt words by their sounds, they had a remarkable way 
of adding what are called determinatives, which are pictures 
to confirm or explain the meaning of the spelt word. One 
short sentence given as an example from Renouf s Egyptian 
Grammar^ shows all these devices. The meaning is : "I 





sun god 





sun god coming 



^ I 

T one 


F enemy pi. F 

xeftu — f 

against enemies — his 

(am) the Sun-god coming forth from the horizon against his 
enemies." Here part of the pictures of animals and things 
are letters to be read into Egyptian words, as shown under- 
neath. But others are still real pictures, intended to stand for 
what they represent. The sun is shown by his picture, with 
a one-mark below, and followed by the Ijattle-axe which is 
the symbol of divinity, while further on comes a picture of 
the horizon with the sun on it. Beside these, some of the 

174 ANTHROPOLOGY. [char 

figures are determinative pictures to explain the words, the 
verb to walk being, followed by an explanatory pair of legs, 
and the word enemy having the picture of an enemy after it, 
and then three strokes, the sign of plurality. It seems that 
the Egyptians began Avith mere picture-writing like that of the 
barbarous tribes of America, and though in after ages they 
came to use some figures as phonetic characters or letters, 
they never had the strength of mind to rely on them entirely, 
but went on using the old pictures as well. How they were 
led to make a picture stand for a sound is not hard to see. 
In the figure a character may be noticed which is read r. 
This is an outline of an open mouth, and indeed is often 
used to represent a mouth ; but the Egyptian word for mouth 
being ro, the sign came to be used as a character or letter 
to spell the sound RO or r wherever it was wanted. So 
much of the history of the art of writing may thus be read 
in a single hieroglyphic sentence. 

These carefully drawn hieroglyphic or " sacred-sculpture " 
pictures, used as they were for the solemn records of church 
and state, were kept up for sacred purposes into the time of 
the Greek dynasty, and even the Roman empire in Egypt. 
Indeed after the secret of deciphering them had been lost 
for many ages, the names of Ptolemy and Cleopatra were 
among the first identified by Dr. Thomas Young. But from 
very ancient times the Egyptian scribes, finding the elaborate 
pictures too troublesome for business writing on papyrus, 
brought them down (much as the Chinese did theirs) to a 
few quick strokes. These were the "hieratic" characters, 
a few of which are seen in the second column of Fig. 5 1 
following their hieroglyphic originals. Yet even when they 
used these, the Egyptian scribes never freed themselves from 
the trammels of their early picture-writing, so as to do away 
with the unnecessary multitude of phonetic signs, and drop 


the determinative pictures as useless. This great move was 
made by foreigners. 

Tacitus, in a passage of his Annals describing the origin 
of letters, says that the Egyptians first depicted thoughts of 
the mind by figures of animals, which oldest monuments of 
human memory are to be seen stamped on the rocks, so that 
they (the Egyptians) appear as the invenjtors of letters, which 
the Phoenician navigators brought thence to Greece, obtaining 
the glory as if they had discovered what they really borrowed. 
This account may be substantially true, but it does not give 
the Phoenicians credit for their practical good sense, which 
they were able to follow, being strangers and not bound by 
the sacred traditions of Egypt. No doubt the Phoenicians (or 
some other Semitic nation), when they learnt the Egyptian 
hieroglyphics, saw that the picture-signs mixed with the 
spelt words had become mere surplusage, and that all they 
really wanted was a small number of signs to write the sound 
of their words with. Thus was invented the earliest so- 
called Phoenician alphabet. Some of its letters may have 
been actually copied from the Egyptian characters, as is seen 
by Fig. 51, which shows a selection from the compared set 
drawn up by De Rouge, so arranged as to pass from the 
original Egyptian hieroglyphic to its hieratic form in the 
current writing, and thence to the corresponding letter of 
the Phoenician alphabet, with its value in our letters and 
examples of similar letters in other well known forms of the 

It seems to have been about the tenth century B.C., that 
the original alphabet was made, forms of which were 
used by the Moabites, Phoenicians, Israelites, and other 
nations of the Semitic family to write their languages. A 
curious proof that it was among these Semitic nations that 
the alphabet was first shaped, has come down to us in its 




name. To understand this, it has to be noticed that the letters 
were named, each by a word beginning with it. The Hebrew 
forms of these names are famiHar to EngHsh readers from 
Psalm cxix., where they stand in their order aleph or " ox " for 
a^ heth or " house " for h, gimel or '' camel " for g, and so on. 
This is a natural way of naming letters ; indeed our Anglo- 
Saxon ancestors had another such set of names belonging 






D {Grreeh/S^ 

H V Qjcbrev^ 

^ a 

R {Greek^^ 

1L V 




[Hehrew ^) 



51. — Egyptian hieroglyphic and hieratic characters compared with letters of 
Phoenician and later alphabets (after De Rouge). 

to th'' rune-letters they used in old times, calling their 
letter d, hcorc or " birch," their letter ;;/, ma7i, their letter th, 
thor?i. Now what confirms the history that the Phoenicians 
had the alphabet first and the Greeks learnt the art of writ- 
ing from them, is that the Greeks actually borrowed the 
Phoenician names for the letters, which were like the Hebrew 


ones just given, and which in Greek passed into the well- 
known forms alpha, beta, gamma, &c. Thence comes the 
word alphabet, which thus preserves the traces of the letters 
having been made and named by the Phoenicians, having 
passed from them to the Greeks and Latins, and at last came 
down to us. It is interesting to look through a book of 
alphabets, where not only may be traced the history of the 
Greek and Latin letters^ and others plainly related to them, 
such as the Gothic and Slavonic, but it may even be made 
out that others at first sight so unlike as the Northmen's 
runes and the Sanskrit characters, must all be descendants 
of the primitive alphabet. Thus the Brahman writes his 
Veda, the Moslem his Koran, the Jew his Old and the 
Christian his New Testament, in signs which had their origin 
in the pictures on temple walls in ancient Egypt. 

Such changes, however, have taken place in writing, that 
it often requires most careful comparison to trace them. If 
one showed a Chinese an English note scribbled in modern 
handwriting, it would not be quite easy to prove to him that 
the characters were derived from old Phoenician ones such 
as those in Fig. 51. Our running-hand must be traced back 
through copybook-hand, and from small letters to Roman 
capitals, and so further back. Readers will find this worth 
doing as an exercise. They may also be recommended to 
look at old-fashioned English writing, such as a Parish 
Register of the i6th century, which will show how much 
more the writing of that period was like the crabbed hand in 
which it is still thought proper to write German. We English 
fortunately learnt a simpler and better style from the Italian 
writing-masters, who taught us the " Roman hand " which 
Malvolio recognizes in Twelfth N^ight. Alterations in letters 
were not only made for convenience, but also for decoration. 
Thus among the scribes of the middle ages there arose 


178 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

fanciful varieties such as what we call Old English and 
Black Letter, and still use for ornamental purposes. This 
style of manuscript being in fashion when printing was 
introduced in Europe, English books were at first printed 
in it, as many German books are still. One has only to 
read a page of a German book so printed to satisfy oneself 
how great a gain of clearness it was to discard these letters 
with forms broken by unmeaning lines, and return to the 
more distinct Latin letters we now use. 

Beside these general changes of alphabet, the history of 
writing shows how from time to time alterations have been 
made as to particular letters. The original Phoenician 
alphabet was weak in vowels, in a way which the learner 
of Hebrew can understand when he tries to read it 
without the vowel points, which are more modern marks 
put on for the benefit of those who do not know the 
language well enough to tell how each word should be pro- 
nounced. The Phoenician alphabet did not altogether suit 
the writers of Greek and Latin, who altered some letters and 
made new ones in order to write their languages more per- 
fectly, and thus other nations have made free in adding, 
dropping, and altering letters and their sounds, to get the 
means required for each to express its own tongue. To such 
causes may be traced letters not known to the primitive alpha- 
bet, such as Greek O and English w, which are explained by 
their names of Omega or '' great-o," and " double-u/' The 
digamma or F fell out of use in Greek, and the two valu- 
able Anglo-Saxon //^letters, S and ]>, are lost to modern 
English. The letters H and X are examples of letters which 
in Greek served purposes other than those English uses 
them for. By arranging their alphabets to suit the sounds 
of their languages, nations contrive with more or fewer 
letters to spell with some accuracy, Italian managing this 



fairly with twenty-two letters, while Russian uses thirty-six. 
English has an alphabet of twenty-six letters, but works 
them without regular system, so that our spehing and 
pronunciation disagree at every turn. One cause of this 
state of things has been the attempt to keep up side by side 
two different spellings, English and French, as where g is 
used to spell both the English word ge^ and the French 
word gentle. Another cause has been the attempt to keep up 
ancient sounds in writing, although they have been dropped 
in speaking; thus in throuGn, casile, scene, the now silent 
letters are relics of sounds which used to be really heard 
in Anglo-Saxon thum^ Latin casiellum^ Greek sYibie. What 
makes this the more perplexing is, that in many words Eng- 
lish writing does simply try to spell what is actually spoken ; 
English tail does not keep up the lost guttural of Anglo- 
Saxon t^gel^ nor does English palsy retain letters for the 
sounds that have vanished in its derivation from French 
paralysie. Our wrong spelling is the result not of rule but 
of want of rule, and among its most curious cases are those 
where the grammarians have managed to put both sound 
and etymology wrong at once, writing island, rhyme, scythe, 
where their forefathers rationally wrote Hand, rime, sithe. It 
is reckoned that on an average, a year of an English child's 
education is wasted in overcoming the defects of the 
present mode of spelling. 

The invention of writing was the great movement by 
which mankind rose from barbarism to civilization. How 
vast its effect was, may be best measured by looking at the 
low condition of tribes still living without it, dependent on 
memory for their traditions and rules of life, and unable to 
amass knowledge as we do by keeping records of events, 
and storing up new observations for the use of future genera- 
tions. Thus it is no doubt right to draw the line between 

N 2 

i8o ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

barbarian and civilized where the art of writing comes in, for 
this gives permanence to history, law, and science. Such 
knowledge so goes with writing, that when a man is spoken 
of as learned, we at once take it to mean that he has read 
many books, which are the main source men learn from. 
Already in ancient times, as compositions of value came to be 
written, there sprang up a class of copyists or transcribers, 
whose business was to multiply books. In Alexandria or 
Rome one could go to the bibliopole or bookseller and buy 
a manuscript of Demosthenes or Livy, and in later ages 
the copying of religious books splendidly illuminated, be- 
came a common occupation, especially in monasteries. But 
manuscripts were costly, only the few scholars could read 
them, and so no doubt it would have remained had not a 
new art come in to multiply writing. 

This was a process simple enough in itself, and indeed 
well known from remote ages. Every Egyptian or Baby- 
lonian who smeared some black on his signet-ring or en- 
graved cylinder, and took off a copy, had made the first step 
towards printing. But easy as the further application now 
seems to us, no one in the Old World saw it. It appears 
to have been the Chinese who invented the plan of engrav- 
ing a whole page of characters on a wood-block and printing 
off many copies. They may have begun as early as the sixth 
century, and at any rate in the tenth century they were busy 
printing books. The Chinese writing, from its enormous 
diversity of characters, is not well suited to printing by 
movable types, but there is a record that this plan was 
early devised among them, having been carried on with 
separate terra-cotta types in the eleventh century. Moslem 
writers early in the fourteenth century describe Chinese 
printing, so that it was probably through them that the art 
found its way to Europe, where not long afterwards the 



so-called "block-books," printed from whole page wood- 
blocks after the Chinese manner, make their appearance, 
followed by books printed with movable types. Few ques- 
tions have been more debated by antiquaries than the claims 
of Gutenberg, Faust, and the others to their share of honour 
as the inventors of printing. Great as was the service these 
worthies did to the world, it is only fair to remember that 
what they did was but to improve the practical application 
of a Chinese invention. Since their time progress has been 
made in cheapening types, making paper by machinery, 
improving the presses, and working them by steam-power, 
but the idea remains the same. Such is, in few words, the 
history of the art of printing, to which perhaps, more 
than to any other influence, is due the difference of our 
modern life from that of the middle ages. 

In examining these methods of writing, we began with the 
rude hunter's pictures, passing on to the Egyptian's use of 
a picture to represent the sound of its name, then to the 
breaking down of the picture into a mere sound-sign, till in 
this last stage the connexion between figure and sound 
becomes so apparently arbitrary, that the child has to be 
taught, this sign stands for A, this for B. In curious con- 
trast with this is the modern invention of the phonograph, 
where the actual sound spoken into the vibrating diaphragm 
marks indentations in the travelling strip of tinfoil, by 
which the diaphragm can be afterwards caused to repeat 
the vibrations and re-utter the sound. AVhen one listens 
to the tones coming forth from the strip of foil, the 
South Sea Islander's fancy of the talking chip seems hardly 



Development of Instruments, 183 — Club, Hammer, 184— Stone-flake, 
185 — Hatchet, 188 — Sabre, Knife, 189 — Spear, Dagger, Sword, 
190 — Carpenter's Tools, 192 — Missiles, Javelin, 193 — Sling, 
Spear-thrower, 194 — Bow and Arrow, 195 — Rlow-tube, Gun, 196 — 
Mechanical Power, 197 — Wheel-carriage, 198 — Hand-mill, 200 — 
Drill, Lathe, 202 — Screv/, 203 — -Water-mill, Wind-mill, 204. 

The arts by which man defends and maintains himself, 
and holds rule over the world he Hves in, depend so much 
on his use of instruments, that it will be well to begin with 
some account of tools and weapons, tracing them from 
their earliest and rudest forms. 

Man is sometimes called, to distinguish him from all 
lower creatures, the ''tool-using :inimal." This distinction 
holds good in a general way, marking off man with his 
spear and hatchet from the bull goring with his horns, or 
the beaver carpentering with his teeth. But it is instructive 
to see how plainly the ape tribes, coming nearest to 
ourselves in having hands, have also rudiments of the 
implement-using faculty. Untaught by man, they defend 
themselves with missiles, as when orangs in the durian 
trees furiously pelt passers-by with the thorny fruit. 


The chimpanzee in the forests is said to crack nuts with a 
stone, as in our Zoological Gardens monkeys are often 
taught to do by the keepers, where they take readily to 
the use of these and more difficult implements, as soon as 
the thought has been put into their minds. 

The lowest order of implements are those which nature 
provides ready-made, or wanting just a finish; such are 
pebbles for slinging or hammering, sharp stone splinters 
to cut or scrape with, branches for clubs and spears, thorns 
or teeth to pierce with. These of course are oftenest found 
in use among savages, yet they sometimes last on in the 
civilized world, as when we catch up any stick to kill a rat 
or snake with, or when in the south of France women 
shell the almonds with a smooth pebble, much as the apes 
at Regent's Park would do. The higher implements 
used by mankind are often plainly improvements on 
some natural object, but they are adapted by art in ways 
that beasts have no notion of, so that it is a better definition 
of man to call him the " tool-maker " than the " tool-user." 
Looking at the various sorts of implements, we see that 
they were not invented all at once by sudden flashes of 
genius, but evolved, or one might almost say grown, 
by small successive changes. It will be noticed also that 
the instrument which at first did roughly several kinds of 
work, afterwards varied off in different ways to suit each 
particular purpose, so as to give rise to several different 
instruments. A Zulu seen at work scraping the stick that 
is to be the shaft of his assegai, with the very iron head 
that is to be fixed on it, may give an idea what early tool- 
making was like, before men clearly understood that the 
pattern of instrument suitable for a lance-head was not the 
best for cutting and scraping. We should be horrified at the 
thought of the blacksmith pulling out one of our teeth 

i84 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

with his pincers, as our forefathers would have let him do ; 
the forceps we expect the dentist to use is indeed a 
variety of the smith's tool, but it is a special variety 
for a special purpose. Thus in the history of instruments, 
the tools of the mechanic cannot well be kept separate from 
the weapons of the hunter or soldier, for in several cases it 
will be seen that both tool and weapon had their origin in 
some earlier instrument that served aUke to break skulls 
and cocoa-nuts, or to hack at the limbs of trees and 
of men. 

Among the simplest of weapons is the thick stick or 
cudgel, which when heavier or knobbed passes into the 
club. Rude champions have delighted in the ferocious 
roughness of such a gnarled club as Herkules in the pictures 
carries on his shoulder, while others spent their leisure hours 
in elegant shaping and carving, like that of the South Sea 
Island clubs to be seen in museums. From savage through 
barbaric times the war-club lasted on into the middle ages 
of Europe, when knights still smashed helmets in with 
their heavy maces. Mostly used as a weapon, it only now 
and then appears in peaceful arts, as in the ribbed clubs 
with which the Polynesian women beat out bark cloth. 
It is curious to see how the rudest of primitive weapons, 
after its serious warlike use has ceased, survives as a 
symbol of power, when the mace is carried as emblem 
of the royal authority, and is laid on the table during 
the sitting of Parliament or the Royal Society. While 
the club has been generally a weapon, the hammer has 
been generally an implement. Its history begins with 
the smooth heavy pebble held in the hand, such as 
African blacksmiths to this day forge their iron with, on 
another smooth stone as anvil. It was a great improve- 
ment to fasten the stone hammer on a handle; this was 




done in very ancient times, as is seen by the stone heads 
being grooved or bored on purpose (see Fig. 54/). Though 
the iron hammer has superseded these, a trace of the older 
use of stone remains in our very name hammer, which is the 
old Scandinavian hamarr, meaning both rock and hammer. 
From beating we come to hacking and cutting. At the 
earliest times known of man's life on the earth, his pointed 
and edged instruments of sharp stone are among his chief 
relics. Even in the mammoth-period he had already 
learnt not to be content with accidental chips of flint, but 

Fig. 52. — Gunflint-maker's core and flakes (Evans). 

knew how to knock off two-edged flakes. This art of flaking 
flint or other suitable stones is the foundation of stone- 
implement making. Perhaps the best idea of it may be 
gained from the Suffolk gunflint makers who at this day 
carry on the primaeval craft, though with better tools and 
for so different a purpose. Fig. 52 shows a gunflint-maker's 
core of flint, with the flakes replaced where he has knocked 
them off, and the mark of the blow is seen which brought 
away each flake. The flakes made by Stone Age men for 

1 86 



instruments may be three-sided like the Australian flake 
in Fig. 53 b. Bat the more convenient flat-backed shape 
a, c, has been used from the earliest known times. The 
flint core, Fig. 54^ with the flakes e taken from it, shows 
how by previous flaking or trimming it was prepared for 
the new flake to come off with a suitable back. The finest 

Fig. 51. — Stone Flakes: — «, Palseolithic ; i^. Modern Australia; c, Ancient Denmark. 

flakes are those not struck off", but forced ofl" by pressure 
with a flaking-tool of wood or horn. The neat Danish flake, 
Fig. 53 r, was no doubt made so, and the still more beautiful 
sharp flakes of obsidian with which the native barbers of 
Mexico, to the astonishment of Cortes' soldiers, used to 
shave. A stone flake just as struck off" may be fit for use 
as a knife, or as a spear head like that in Fig. 58 ^ ; or by 
further chipping it may be made into a scraper, arrowhead, 
or awl, like those in Fig. 54. 




The oldest known tribes of men have left in the drift 
gravels of the quaternary or mammoth-period not only 

Fig. 54. — Later Stone Age (neolithic) implements, a, stone celt or hatchet ; b, flint 
spear-head ; c, scraper; d, arrow-heads; e, flint flake-knives ; _/, core from which 
flint-flakes taken off" ; ^, flint-awl ;. k, flint saw ; /, stone hammer-head, 

rough flakes like Fig. 53 ^, but the stone implements already 
mentioned in the first chapter, of which the drawing is here 

Fig. 55.— Earlier Stone Age (paleolithic) flint picks or hatchets. 

repeated in Fig. 55. Chipped to an edge a41 round, they 
may have served with the pointed end as picks and the 
broad end as hatchets. It is not clear whether any of 




them were fixed in handles, but there are specimens found 
which have only one end chipped to a point, but the other 
end of the flint left smooth, so that they were evidently 
grasped in the hand to hack with. There is nothing to show 
that these men of the old drift-period ever ground a stone 
implement to an edge. Thus their stone implements were 
far inferior to the neatly-shaped and sharp-edged ground 
celts of the later Stone Age, Fig. 54 a, Fig. 56 ^. The 
Avord celt used for the various chisel-like instruments of rude 
and ancient tribes is a convenient term, taken from Latin 

P'lG. 56. — Stone Axes, &c. a, polished stone celt (England); b, pebble ground to 
edge and mounted in twig handle (modern Botocudo, Brazil); c, celt fixed in 
wooden club (Ireland); d, stone axe bored for handle (England); e, stone adze 
(modern Polynesia). 

celtts, a chisel, in the Vulgate translation of Job xix. 24, 
'' celte sculpantur in silice ; " but it has been thought that 
"graven with a chisel {celfe) in the rock" is only a copyist's 
blunder for " graven surely {certe) in the rock ; " and if so, 
then celtis and celt are curious fictitious words. It may be 
worth while to mention that the name of the implements 
called celts has nothing to do with the name of the people 
called Celts or Kelts. A stone celt only requires a handle 




to make it into a hatchet. This was done very simply by 
the forest Indians of Brazil, who would pick up a suitable 
water-worn pebble, rub one end down to an edge, and bind 
it in a twig, Fig. 56 <^. Another rude way of mounting a 
celt was to stick it into a club, so as to form a woodman's 
or warrior's axe such as c, which shows one dug out of a 
bog in Ireland. The most advanced method was to 
drill a hole through the stone blade to take the handle 
as in d. When the stone blade is fixed with the edge 
across, the tool becomes a carpenter's adze, as e^ which is 
the instrument used by the canoe -building Polynesians. 

Fig. 57. — a. Egyptian battle-axe : b, Egyptian falchion; c, Asiatic sabre; 
d, European sheaih-knife ; e, Roman ctilter ; f, Hindu bill-hook. 

When metal came into use, the forms of the stone imple- 
ments were imitated in copper, bronze, or iron, and though 
the patterns were of course lightened and otherwise improved 
to suit the new material, it may be plainly seen that the 
stone hatchets and spear-heads in museums are the ancestors 
(so to speak) of the metal ones made ever since. But also 
the use of metal brought in new and useful forms Which 
stone was not suited to. An idea of these important changes 
may be gained by careful looking at the series of metal 


cutting-instruments in Fig. 57. We begin with a, which is 
an Egyptian bronze battle-axe, not very far changed from 
the stone hatchet. But b, the bronze falchion carried also 
by Egyptian warriors, is a sort of axe-blade with the handle 
not at the back, but shifted down ; this convenient altera- 
tion could not have been made in the stone hatchet, which 
would have broken in the shank at the first blow, while in 
metal it answers perfectly. It may very well have been such 
transformed hatchets that led to the making of several most 
important classes of weapons and tools, in which a blade 
with stout back and front edge is fixed to a handle below it 
for chopping, slashing, or cutting. Among these are all the 
various forms of the sabre or scimitar, represented by c, all 
our ordinary knives, represented here by the European 
sheath-knife d, and all cleavers, represented by the Roman 
culter e. Nor does the development stop here, for the group 
of instruments to which our bill-hook belongs is made with 
a concave edge, as in the Indian form, /, and this again 
leads on to the still more curved forms of the sickle and 
the scythe, which are not drawn here. Thus there is some 
reason to suppose that all these instruments, whether tools 
or weapons, or such as, like the bill-hooks of the early 
English and the modern Malays, served alike for peace and 
war, may have all originated from the early metal hatchet? 
which itself is derived from the still earlier hatchet of stone. 
From the early stone spear-heads another set of weapons 
seem to have gradually arisen, as may be seen in Fig. 58. 
Looking at the spear from the Admiralty Islands, a, the 
head of which is a large flake of obsidian, it is plain that 
such a spear, when the shaft is bro-ken off short, becomes a 
dagger. In fact one often cannot tell whether the flint 
blades of shapes like h, which are dug up in Europe, were 
intended for mounting as spears or as daggers. Now the 




brittleness of stone was against the use of stone blades 
more than a few inches long, but when metal came in, the 
blades could be made long, taper, and sharp, thus developing 
into two-edged daggers of deadly effect. In old Egyptian 
pictures warriors are seen armed with spear and dagger, 
these two weapons having blades of similar shape, so 
that the dagger may be described as a large spear-head 
with a hilt to grasp in the hand. It seems as though the 
metal dagger, by further lengthening, passed into the two- 
edged sword, a weapon impossible in stone. To give an 

Fig. 58. — a. Stone spear-head (Admiralty Is.) ; b, stone spear-head or dag.^er-blade 
(England); c, bronze spear-head (Denmark); d, bronze dagger; e, bronze leaf- 
shaped sword. 

idea how this may have come about. Fig. 58 shows three 
specimens from the bronze-period of Northern Europe, 
where it is seen how the spear-head c may have been 
lengthened into the dagger d, and that again into the leaf- 
like sword e. Straight two-edged swords may of course 
be used for cut or thrust, or both. But on placing side 
by side a one-edged sabre and a two-edged broadsword 

132 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

or rapier, it will now be seen that though both are called 
swords, and are fitted up with similar hilts, hand-guards, 
and sheaths, they are nevertheless two weapons of separate 
nature and origin, the sabre being a transformed hatchet, 
while the rapier is a transformed spear. This last spear- 
type, of which one modern development is the bayonet, 
has mostly served for warlike purposes. Yet it is not un- 
known as a peaceful implement, as may be seen in African 
two-edged knives, which are evidently derived from spear 
heads ; and also in the instrument which our surgeons, 
conscious of its original model, call the little spear 
or lancet. 

To proceed to other kinds of tools. Thorns, pointed 
splinters of bone, or flint flakes worked to a point 
(Fig. 54 ^''), served early tribes of men as borers. The saw 
probably invented itself from a jagged flint flake, which 
afterwards became the more artificial flint saw. Fig. 54//. 
Thus the men of the Stone Age had in rude and early forms 
some of the principal tools, which were improved upon in 
the ages of metal. It is interesting to look in Wilkinson's 
Ancient Egyptians at the contents of the Egyptian car- 
penter's tool-basket, where the bronze adze, saw, chisels, 
&c. show traces of likeness to the old stone implements. 
On the other hand, this Egyptian set of tools, and still more 
those of the ancient Greek and Roman carpenters, come 
remarkably near those we are using at this day. One 
difference which kept the ancient carpenters below ours was 
that they had not got beyond nails, never having seized the 
idea of the screws which are so essential to modern con- 
struction, nor of such tools as the screw-auger and gimlet, 
which depend on the screw for their action. Among the 
ancient cultured nations of Egypt and Assyria, handicrafts 
had already come to a stage which could only have 

viii.J ARTS OF LIFE. 193 

been reached by thousands of years of progress. In 
museums may still be examined the work of their joiners, 
stonecutters, goldsmiths, wonderful in skill and finish, and 
often putting to shame the modern artificer. Of course 
these results were obtained by the ancient craftsman with 
what we should consider a wasteful expenditure of labour. 
The use of steel and other improvements have given the 
modern workman great advantages, and what is more, the 
modern world has utterly outstripped the ancient in the 
use of machines, as will be more fully seen presently 
when the examination of the simpler instruments has been 
gone through. 

To continue the survey of weapons. The cudgel or club 
is hurled by the hunter or warrior, as when the Zulu v^all 
bring down an antelope at a surprising distance with a 
throw of his round-headed club or knob-kerry, and the 
Turk till modern times used to throw his mace in battle. 
The sporting use outlasts the warlike, and even in England 
the fowler's throwing-cudgel is not unknown in country 
parts, where it is called a squoyle. A flat thin club made 
curved or crooked by following the branch it is cut out of 
has been liked by sportsmen of various nations for its 
destructive whirling flight, as where the old Egyptian fowler 
may be seen in the pictures flinging his flat curved throw- 
stick into the midst of a flight of wild-duck. The Australians 
not only throw wooden clubs and blades as weapons in 
this ordinary way, but make and throw with surprising skill 
a peculiar light curved blade which has been called the 
"come-back" boomerang, which veers in its course and 
returns to the thrower, in ways which may be seen by 
cutting boomerangs out of a visiting-card and flipping them. 
Again, it is evident that stones flung by hand must have 
been among man's first weapons. A simple instrument for 

194 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

lengthening the arm and accumulating momentum is the 
sling, which is so generally known even among the lowest 
tribes of man, that it is probably of great antiquity. 

The rudest spear, which is a mere pointed stick, is known 
everywhere in the savage world, the point being often hard- 
ened by thrusting it into the fire. Of spears, whether such 
clumsy sticks or more artificially pointed weapons, the heavier 
kinds serve for thrusting and the lighter for throwing, while 
intermediate sizes are fit for both purposes. It is obvious 
how, to prevent the spear from coming out of the wound, 
it came to be barbed. Another device, known widely among 
rude hunters and fishers, is to put the point loosely on to 
the shaft, attaching it by a cord of some length which 
uncoils when the points sticks in the animal and the shaft 

Fig. 59. — Australian spear thrown with spear-thrower (after Erough Smyth) 

drops off, so that the struck beast cannot break away the 
shaft but drags it trailing, or the fish is held and marked 
down by the floating wood. The distance to which the spear 
can be hurled by hand is much increased by using a spear- 
thrower, acting like a sling. In Captain Cook's time the New 
Caledonians slung their spears with a short cord with an eye 
for the finger, while the Roman soldiers had a thong (amen- 
tmii) made fast to their javelins near the middle of the shaft 
for the same purpose. But wooden spear-throwers from one 
to three feet long, grasped at one end and with a peg or 
notch at the other to take the butt of the spear, have been 
more favourite with savage and barbaric races. Thus 
Fig. 59 shows the Australian spear-thrower. This looks a 


more primitive instrument than the bow, which indeed was 
not known to these rude savages. It seems as though with 
the progress of weapons the spear-thrower was discarded, 
for it is not found among any nation higher than the 
old Mexicans, and even among them it seems to have 
been kept up ceremonially from old times, rather than 
seriously used. The bow and arrow (as General Pitt- 
Rivers suggests) may very likely have grown out of a simpler 
contrivance, the spring-trap set in the woods by fitting a 
dart to an elastic branch, so fastened back as to be let go 
by a passing animal, in whose track it discharges the 
weapon. However invented, the bow came into use in 
ages before history. Its arrow is a miniature of the full- 
sized javelin, and the old stone arrow-heads found in most 
regions of the world (see Fig. 54^) show the existence of 
the bow-and-arrow in the Stone Age, though hardly back 
to the drift-period. The art of feathering the arrow goes 
back as far as history, and we know not how much further. 
The simplest kind of long-bow is like that we still use in 
the sport of archery, made of one piece of tough wood. 
Fig. 60 a shows a long-bow of the forest-tribes of South 
America, unstrung, with its string hanging loose. What 
may be called the Tatar or Scythian bow is formed of 
several pieces of wood or horn, united with glue and sinews. 
Shorter than the long-bow, it gets its spring by being 
bent outside-in to string it ; thus the concave side of the 
ancient Scythian-bow b would become the convex side when 
strung. Bows of this class belong especially to northern 
regions where there is a scarcity of tough wood suited to 
making long-bows in one piece. As a warlike weapon, 
the bow lasted on in Europe through the middle ages, and 
as late as 1814 the world looked on with wonder to see the 
Cossack cavalry ride armed with bows-and-arrows through 

o 2 




the streets of Paris. A further step in the history of the 
bow was to mount it on a stock, so as to take aim at leisure 
and touch a trigger to let go the string. Thus it became 
the cross-bow, which seems to have been invented in the 
East, and was known in Roman Europe about the sixth 
century. In the figure, c represents it in its perfected form 
with a winch to draw the bow, as soldiers used it in the 

Fig. 60, 

-Bows, a. South American long-bow (unstrung) ; b, Tatar or Scythian 
bow; c, European cross-bow. 

sixteenth century. Cross-bows are still made in Italy for 
shooting birds with a bolt or pellet. 

To understand the next great move in missile weapons, 
it is necessary to look back to savage life. The blow-tube, 
through which the forest Indian of South America (Fig. 43) 
blows his tiny poisoned plug-darts, or the similar Malay 
weapon called the sumpitan, may have been easily invented 


wherever long large reeds grew. With simple darts or 
pellets the blow-tube served for shooting birds, and it is 
often kept up as a toy, as in our boys' peashooters. When, 
however, gunpowder was applied in warfare, its use was soon 
adapted to make the blow-tube an instrument of tremendous 
power, when instead of the puff of breath in a reed, the 
explosion of powder in an iron barrel drove out the 
missile. In the early guns of the middle ages, the powder 
was fired by putting a coal or match to the touchhole, as 
continued to be done till lately with cannon. For hand- 
guns, this early match-lock was followed by the wheel-lock. 
This led up to the flint-lock, which it is curious to compare 
with the cross-bow, for the bent bow released by the trigger, 
which in the cross-bow did the actual work of shooting 
out the missile, has now come down, in the form of a spring 
and trigger, to the subordinate use of striking the light to 
ignite the powder which actually propels the ball. In more 
modern guns, the trigger and spring still remain, the im- 
provement lying in the use of fulminating silver in the cap, 
ignited by the blow of the hammer. The rifling of the 
bullet by means of grooves in the barrel is the modern 
representative of the ancient plan of slightly twisting the 
spear-head or feathering the arrow to cause it to rotate, this 
giving increased steadiness of flight. The modern conical 
shot shows a partial return from the spherical bullet towards 
the ancient bolt or arrow, and at last breech-loading goes 
back to the old plan of putting the arrows in at the butt- 
end of the savage blow-tube. 

As thus plainly appears, the ingenuity of man has been 
eminent in the art of destroying his fellowmen. In survey- 
ing the last group of deadly weapons, from the stone hurled 
by hand to the rifled cannon, there comes well into view 
one of the great advances of culture. This is the progress 


from the simple tool or implement, such as the club or 
knife, which enables man to strike or cut more effectively 
than with hands or teeth, to the machine which, when 
supplied with force, only needs to be set and directed by 
man to do his work. Man often himself provides the power 
which the machine distributes more conveniently, as when 
the potter turns the wheel with his own foot, using his 
hands to mould the whirling clay. The highest class of 
machines are those which are driven by the stored-up forces 
of nature, like the saw-mill where the running stream does 
the hard labour, and the sawyer has only to provide the 
timber and direct the cutting. 

As to how simple mechanical powers were first learnt, it 
is of no use to guess in what rude and early age men found 
that stones or blocks too weighty to hft by hand could be 
prized up and moved along with a stout stick, or rolled on 
two or three round poles, or got up a long gentle slope more 
easily than up a short steep rise. Thus such discoveries as 
those of the lever, roller, and inclined plane, are quite out of 
historical reach. The ancient Egyptians used wedges to 
split off their huge blocks of stone, and one wonders that, 
knowing the pulley as they did, it never appears in the rigging 
of their ships (see Fig. 71). A draw-well with a pulley is 
to be seen in the Assyrian sculptures, where also a huge 
winged bull is being heaved along with levers, and dragged 
on a sledge with rollers laid underneath. 

The wheel-carriage, which is among the most important 
machines ever contrived by man, must have been invented 
in ages before history. To see what constructive skill the 
leading nations had already attained to in times we reckon 
as of high antiquity, it is worth while to examine closely 
the Egyptian war-chariots, with their neatly-fitted and firmly- 
tired spoke-wheels turning on their axles secured by linch- 




pins, while the body, pole, and double harness show equal 
technical skill. In looking for some hint as to how wheel- 
carriages came to be invented, it is of little use to judge 
from such high skilled work as was turned out by these 
Egyptian chariot-builders, or by the Roman carpentarii or 
carriage-builders from whom our carpenters inherit their 
name. But as often happens, rude contrivances may be 
found which look as though they belonged to the early 
stages of the invention. The plaustrum or farm-cart 
of the ancient world in its rudest form had for wheels two 

Fig. 61. — Ancient bullock-waggon, from the Antonine Column. 

solid wooden drums near a foot thick, and made from a 
tree-trunk cut across, which drums or wheels did not turn 
on the axle but were fixed to it ; the axle was kept in place 
by wooden stops, or passed through rings at the bottom 
of the cart, and went round together with its pair of wheels, 
as children's toy carts are made. It is curious to notice 
how, under changed conditions, the builders of railway- 
carriages have returned to this early construction. In the 
ancient cart, Fig. 61, the squared end of the axle shows 
that it must turn with the wheels. In such countries as 

200 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

Portugal the old classic bullock-cart on this principle is still 
to be seen, and it has been reasonably guessed that sucn 
carts tell the story how wheel-carriages came to be invented. 
Rollers were early used, on which a block of stone or other 
heavy weight was trundled. Suppose such a roller made of 
a smoothed tree-trunk to be improved by cutting the middle 
part smaller, so that it became an axle and pair of broad 
wheels in one j^iece, then by making this axle work under- 
neath the rudest framework, the simplest imaginable wheel- 
carriage is made. If the first notion of a cart were 
thus suggested, the wheels might afterwards be made 
separately and pinned on to the square axle, and provided 
with tires. Then, for light wheels and smooth ground, the 
wheels would at last be made to turn on fixed axles. This 
is only conjecture, but at any rate it puts clearly before our 
minds what the nature of a carriage is. 

Another ancient machine is the mill. The rudest tribes 
of savages had a simple and effective means ready to hand 
for powdering charcoal and ochre to paint themselves with, 
or for the more useful work of bruising wild seeds gathered 
for food. The whole apparatus consists of a roundish stone 
held in the hand, and a larger hollowed stone for a bed. It 
is curious to notice how closely our pestle and mortar still 
keeps to this primitive type. Now any one using the pestle 
and mortar may notice that it works in two ways, the stuff 
being either pounded by striking, or ground by rubbing 
against the side of the mortar. When people took to 
agriculture, and grain became a chief part of their food, 
and mealing it the women's heavy work, forms of mealing- 
stones came into use suited not for pounding but for grind- 
ing only, and doing this m.ore perfectly. An example may 
be seen in Fig.^62, a rude ancient corn-crusher dug up in 
Anglesey, the stone muller or roller having its sides hollowed 



20 1 

for the hands of the grinder, who worked it back and for- 
ward on the bed-stone. The perfection of such a corn- 
crusher may be seen in the " metate " with its neatly shaped 
bed and rolHng-pin of lava, with which the Mexican women 
crush the maize for their corn- cakes or tortillas. But it is 
by one stone revolving upon the other that grain is best 
ground, and here we have the principle of the mill. The 
quern or hand-mill of the ancient world in its simple form 
consisted of two circular flat mill stones, the upper being 
turned by a handle, while the grain was poured in through 
the hole in the centre, and came out as meal all round the 
edge. This early hand-mill has lasted on into the modern 

Fig. 62. — Corn-crushtr, Anglesey (after W. O. Stanley). 

world, and Fig. 6^ shows " two women grinding at <-he mill," 
as they might be seen in the Hebrides in the last century ; 
the long stick, which hangs from a branch above, has its end 
in a hole in the upper stone, and a cloth is spread on the 
ground to catch the meal. The quern is still used in north 
Scotland and the islands. If the reader will notice the 
construction of a modern flour-mill, it will be seen that the 
neatly faced and grooved millstones are now of great weight, 
and the upper one balanced on the pivot which give^ it rapid 
rotation from below by means of water or steam-power, 
but notwithstanding these mechanical improvements, the 
essential principle of the primitive hand-mill is still there. 




Another group of revolving tools and machines begins 
with the drill. The simplest mode of twirling the boring- 
stick between the hands is to be seen in fire-making (Fig. 
72). In this clmxisy way rude tribes know how to bore 
holes through hard stone by patiently twirling a reed or 
stick with sharp sand and water. This primitive tool was 
improved both for making fire and boring holes, by winding 

Fig. 63.— Hebrides womea grinding with the quern or hand-mill (after Pennant). 

round the stick a thong or cord, which by being pulled 
backward and forward worked the drill, as the ancient ship- 
wrights boring their timbers are described in the Odyssey 
(ix. 384). The ingenious plan of using a bow with its string 
to drive the drill, so that one man can manage it, was already 
known in the old Egyptian workshops, but the still more 
perfect Archimedean drill is modern. The turning-lathe 

viii.J ARTS OF LIFE. 203 

seems to have had its origin in the drill. To those who have 
only seen the lathe in its improved modern forms this may 
not be clear, but it is seen by lookmg at the old-fashioned 
pole-lathe with which the turner used to shape his wooden 
bowls and chair-legs, which were made to revolve by a cord 
pulled up and down, on somewhat the same principle as the 
Homeric drill. The foot-lathe, with its crank and con- 
tinuous revolution, superseded this, to be itself encroached 
upon by the introduction of steam-power for driving, and 
even for applying the tool in the self-acting lathe. 

In examining these groups of instruments and machines, 
the development of many of them has been traced back 
till their origins are lost in dim pras-historic ages, or to 
where ancient history can show them arising from a fresh 
idea or a new turn given to an old one. It is seldom pos- 
sible to get at the real author of an ancisnt invention. 
Thus no one knows exactly when and how that wonderful 
mechanical contrivance, the screw, appeared. It was fami- 
liar to the Greek mathematicians, and the screw linen- 
presses and oil-presses of classic times look almost modern 
in their construction. In the period of ancient civilization 
there appear the beginnings of that immense change which 
is remodelling modern life, by inventions which set the 
forces of nature to do man's heavy work for him. This 
great change seems to have been especially brought on by 
contrivances to save the heavy toil of watering the fields. 
A simple hand-labour contrivance of this kind is the shadoof 
of the Nile valley, where a long pole with a counterpoise 
at one end is supported on posts, and carries a bucket 
hanging to the longer end to dip up water from below. 
One need not travel to the East to watch this old con- 
trivance, for it is to be seen at work in our brickfields. 
For irrigation, it was mechanically an improvement on 

204 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

this to set a gang of slaves to turn a great wheel with 
buckets or earthen jars at its circumference, which rose 
full from the water below, and as they turned over 
emptied themselves into a trough at a higher level. But 
when such a wheel was built to dip in a running stream, 
then the current itself would turn the wheel, and thus 
would come into existence the noria or irrigating water- 
wheel often mentioned in ancient literature, and to be 
seen still at work both in the East and in Europe.- By 
these or some similar steps of invention the water-wheel 
was made a source of power for doing other work, such as 
grinding corn, instead of the women at the quern or the 
slaves at the treadmill, or the mill-horse in his everlasting 
round. As the Greek epigram says, " Cease your work, ye 
maids who laboured at the mills, sleep and let the birds sing 
to the returning dawn, for Demeter has bidden the water 
nymphs to do your task ; obedient to her call, they throw 
themselves on the wheel and turn the axle and the heavy 
mill." The classical corn-mill, with the cog-wheels driven 
by the water-wheel, may have been a good deal like the 
water-mills still working on our country streams. Such 
machinery was early applied to grinding corn, and after- 
wards to other manufactures, so that now the word mill 
no longer means a grinding-mill only, but is also used 
where machinery is driven by power for other purposes. 
It was a great movement in civilization for the water-mill 
and its companion contrivance the wind-mill to come into 
use as force-providers, doing all sorts of labour, from the 
heaviest work of the European factory down to turning the 
Tibetan prayer-wheels, which go round repeating for ever 
the sacred Buddhist formula. Within the la^ century 
the civilized world has been drawing an immense supply of 
power from a new source, the coal burnt in the furnace 


of the steam-engine, which is already used so wastefuUy 
that economists are uneasily calculating how long this 
stored-up fossil force will last, and what must be turned to 
next — tide force or sun's heat — to labour for us. Thus, in 
modern times, man seeks more and more to change the 
labourer's part he played in early ages, for the higher duly 
of director or controller of the world's force. 


ARTS OF LIFE — {continued). 

Quest of wild food, 206 — Huntings, 207 — Trapping, 211 — Fishing, 
212— Agriculture, 214 — Implements, 216 — Fields, 218 — Cattle, 
pasturage, 219 — War, 221 — Weapons, 221 — Armour, 222 — War- 
fare of lower tribes, 223 — of higher nations, 225. 

Having, in the last chapter, examined the instruments 
used by man, we have next to look at the arts by which he 
maintains and protects himself. His first need is to get his 
daily food. In tropical forests, savages may easily live on 
what nature provides, like the Andaman Islanders, who 
gather fruits and honey, hunt wild pigs in the jungle, and take 
turtle and fish on the coast. Many forest tribes of Brazil, 
though they cultivate a little, depend mostly on wild food. 
Of such the rude man has no lack, for there is game in 
plenty and the rivers swarm with fish, while the woods yield 
him a supply of roots and bulbs, calabashes, palm-nuts, 
beans, and many other fruits ; he collects wild honey, birds' 
eggs, grubs out of rotten wood, nor does he despise insects, 
even ants. In less fertile lands savage life goes on well 
while game and fish abound, but when these fail it becomes 
an unceasing quest for food, as where the Australians roam 
over their deserts on the look-out for every eatable root or 


insect, or the low Rocky Mountain tribes gather pine-nuts 
and berries, catch snakes, and drag lizards out of their 
holes with a hooked stick. The Fuegians wander along 
their bleak inhospitable shores feeding mostly on shell-fish, 
so that in the course of ages their shells, with fish-bones 
and other rubbish, have formed long banks above high- 
water mark. Such shell-heaps or " kitchen-middens " are 
found here and there all round the coasts of the world, 
marking the old resorts of such tribes ; for instance on the 
coast of Denmark, where archaeologists search them for 
relics of rude Europeans, who, in the Stone age, led a life 
somewhat like that of Tierra del Fuego. Hunting and 
fishing go on through all levels of society, beginning with 
the savages who have no other means of subsistence, till at 
last among civilized nations game and fish hardly do more 
than supplement the more regular supplies of grain and 
meat from the farm. Looking at the devices of the hunter 
and fisher, it will be seen how thoroughly most of them 
belong to the ruder stages of culture. 

The natives of the Brazilian forests, to whom tracking 
game is the chief business of life, do it with a skill that 
fiHs with wonder the white men who have watched them. 
The Botocudo hunter, gliding stealthily through the under- 
wood, knows every habit and sign of bird and beast ; the 
remains of berries and pods show him what creature has 
fed there ; he knows how high up an armadillo displaces 
the leaves in passing, and so can distinguish its track from 
the snake's or tortoise's, and follow it to its burrow by the 
scratches of its scaly armour on the mud. Even the sense 
of smell of this savage hunter is keen enough to help him 
in tracking. Hidden behind the trunk of a tree, he can 
imitate the cries of birds and beasts to bring them within 
range of his deadly poisoned arrow, and he will even entice 


the alligator by making her rough eggs grate together where 
they lie under leaves on the river-bank. If an ape he has 
shot high in the boughs of some immense tree remains 
hanging by its tail, he will go up after it by a hanging 
creeper where no white man v/ould dimb. At last, laden 
with game and useful forest things, such as palm-fibre to 
make hammocks, or fruit to brew liquor, he finds his way 
back to his hut by the sun and the lie of the ground, and 
tlie twigs that he bent back for way-marks as he crept 
through the thicket. In Australia, the native hunter will 
lie in wait behind a screen of boughs near a water-hole till 
the kangaroos come to drink, or will track one in the open 
for days, camping by his little fire at night to be ready for 
the pursuit again at dawn, keeping unseen and to the 
leeward till at last he can creep near enough to hurl his 
spear, seldom in vain. When the natives hunt together, 
they will put up brush fence in two long wings converging 
towards a pit, and so drive the kangaroos into it ; or they 
will form a great hunting party for a battue, surrounding 
half a mile of bush-land, and with shouts and clatter of 
weapons driving all the game to the centre where they can 
close round and despatch them with spears and waddies. 
In fowling the Australians show equal expertness. A native 
will swim under water breathing through a reed, or will 
merely cover his head with water-weed till he gets among a 
flock of ducks, which one by one he noiselessly pulls under 
and tucks into his belt. This shows in a simple form a kind 
of duck-hunting which is found in such distant parts of the 
world, that travellers have been puzzled to guess whether 
the idea spread from one tribe to another, or was invented 
many times. It may be seen on the Nile, where a harmless- 
looking calabash floats in among the water-fowl, with a 
swimming Egyptian's head inside. The Australian hunter 


takes the wallaby (a small kangaroo) by fastening to a long 
rod like a fishing-rod a hawk's skin and feathers, making the 
sham bird hover with its proper cry till it drives the game 
into a bush where it can be speared. Of devices of stalking 
with an imitated animal, one of the most perfect is that of 
the Dogrib Indians, when a pair of hunters go after rein- 
deer; the foremost carries a reindeer's head, while in the 
other hand he has a bunch of twigs against which he makes 
the head rub its horns in a lifelike way, and the two men, 
walking as the deer's fore and hind legs, get among the herd 
and bring down the finest. In England, till of late years, 
fowlers used to hide behind a wooden horse moved along 
on wheels, and a relic of this survives in the phrase " to 
make a stalking-horse of one," often now used by people 
who have no idea what the word meant. 

Hunting with dogs was very ancient, and was found 
among uncivilized tribes ; thus the Australians seem to have 
trained the dingo or native dog for the chase, and most of 
the North American Indians had their native hunting-dogs. 
Still dogs were not so universal among rude tribes as they 
have been since European breeds were carried all over the 
world j for instance, the natives of Newfoundland seem to 
have had no dogs. The largest and fiercest animal whose 
instinct of prey man has thus taken advantage of is the 
hunting-leopard or cheetah, which in India or Persia is 
carried in an iron cage to the field and let loose upon the 
deerj when it has pounced on the game the huntsman 
draws it off with the taste of blood and gives it a leg for 
its share in the partnership. Already in classic times there 
is mention of birds of prey trained to strike game-birds or 
drive them into the net, or to pounce on hares. Hawking 
or falconry reached its height as a royal sport in mediaeval 
Tartary, where Marco Polo describes the Great Khan going 


out, borne by two elephants in his litter hung with cloth 
of gold and covered with lion-skins, to see the sport of 
his ten thousand falconers flying their hawks at the pheasa,nts 
and cranes. From the East hawking spread over Europe. 
It was familiar to our early English ancestors, and if one 
had to paint a symbolic picture of the middle ageS; one 
could hardly choose more characteristic figures than the 
knight and lady riding out with their hooded hawks on 
their fists. Since then falconry has all but died out in 
Europe, and nowadays the traveller may best see it in the 
Asiatic district where it first came up, Persia or the neigh- 
bouring countries. In such sports the quest of food (now 
often contemptuously called " pot-hunting ") becomes sub- 
ordinate to the excitement of the chase. It was so especially 
where fleet animals like the deer were hunted on horseback, 
till at last the royal stag-hunt became a court ceremony 
with its cavalcades and its great officers of state in splendid 
uniforms. Such pageantry is, indeed, declining in modern 
Europe, but the place it used to hold in English court life is 
shown by noblemen still occupying in the Royal household 
the places of Master of the Buckhounds and Hereditary 
Grand Falconer. 

The modern hunter has a vastly increased power of killing 
game, from the use of fire-arms instead of the bow and spear 
which came down from savage times. The effect of bring- 
ing in guns is seen among the native American buffalo- 
hunters. They were always reckless in destruction when 
they once came within reach of the herds, but now with 
the help of the white man and the use of his rifles there 
is such slaughter that travellers have found the ground and 
air for miles foul with the carcases of bufi'alo killed merely 
for the hides and tongues. In the civilized world, what 
with killing off game, and what with the encroachment of 


agriculture on the wild lands, both the supply and the need of 
game for man's subsistence have much lessened. But the 
hunter's Hfe has been from the earliest times man's school 
of endurance and courage, where success and even trial 
gives pleasure in one of its in tensest forms. Thus it has 
come to be kept up artificially where its practical use has 
fallen away. In civilized countries it is seen at its best( 
where it keeps closest to barbaric fatigue and danger, like : 
grouse-shooting in Scotland, or boar-hunting in Austria, but 
at its meanest, where it has come down to shooting grain-fed 
pheasants as tame as barn-door fowls. 

Next, as to trapping game. This was seen in a curiously 
simple form in Australia, where a native would lie on his 
back on a rock in the sunshine with a bit of fish in his hand, 
pretending to be fast asleep, till some hawk or crow pounced 
on the bait, only to be itself pounced on by the hungry 
man, who broiled and ate it then and there. A plan of 
taking game which must have readily suggested itself to 
rude hunters was the pitfall, in its simplest shape a mere 
hole too deep for a heavy beast to get out of when it has 
fallen in. The savage trapper will dig such a pit, and cover 
it with brushwood or sods, as in Africa the bushmen take 
the huge hippopotamus and elephant, while in fur-countries 
the hunters arrange their pitfalls in various ways, the most 
artificial plan being to cover them with a wooden floor which 
upsets when trodden on. The word trap^ meaning originally 
step' (like German treppe), may have come from its usually 
being some contrivance for the game to tread on. It is so 
not only with the pitfall, but with other common kinds of 
trap, which, when the animal steps on the catch, drop 
down on it, or pull a noose round it, or let fly a dart at it, 
all which are plans known in the uncivilized world. The 
art of catching birds and beasts with a noose, held in the 

p 2 

212 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

hand or fastened to the end of a stick, is universal. Perhaps 
the most skilful noosing is that done on horseback by the 
herdsmen of Mexico, though it should be noticed that their 
lazo is not a native American invention ; it was brought over 
by the Spaniards with its name, which is simply Latin 
laqueus^ a rope. To use the noose for trapping purposes, it 
is only necessary to set it in the track where game pass, 
for them to run their heads into, as the North American 
Indians do. But the noose may also be attached to a bough 
bent back so as to spring up when an animal touches it, and 
catch him. Or a spear may be arranged as the savages of 
the Malay Peninsula do it, with an elastic bamboo so bent 
back that when released by the animal it will spear him. 
The suggestion has been already mentioned (p. 195) that 
such a spring-trap first led to the invention of the bow 
and arrow. Actual bows and arrows are set as traps in 
such countries as Siberia, and the spring-gun is a modern 
improvement on these. 

Lastly, the net is one of the things known to almost all 
men so far as history can tell. The native Australians net 
game like ancient Assyrians or English poachers, and are 
not less skilled in netting wild fowl. To see this art at its 
height we may look at the pictures of fowling scenes on 
the monuments of ancient Egypt, which show the great 
clap-nets taking geese by scores; even the souls of the 
dead are depicted rejoicing in this favourite sport in the 
world beyond the tomb. 

Among the various arts of the fisherman, one common 
among rude tribes was easily hit upon. Every day at the 
turn of the tide at river-mouths and on low shores, and 
inland near streams after a flood, fish are left behind in the 
shallow pools. Led by this experience, the savage has wit 
enough to assist nature, as where the Fuegians put up stake 


fences on the coast at low-water mark, while in South Africa 
near the rivers large flats are walled in with loose stones 
ready for the floods. Thus our fish-weirs and fish-dams are 
no novelties in civilization. Nor is the device of drugging 
or narcotizing fish a civilized invention, but to be seen in 
perfection among the tropical forest-tribes of South America, 
who use for the purpose a score or so of different plants. 
There is nothing surprising, however, in its being known to 
men so rude, for it must often occur by accident, from the 
branches or fruit of the right kind of euphorbia or paullinia 
falling into some forest pool, an experiment which the 
observant native would not be slow to try again. Next, a 
mode of fishing usual among savages, is spearing, the spear 
for this being barbed, and often made more effective by the 
head spreading into several barbed prongs. An account of 
a native Australian fishing describes him lying athwart his 
bark canoe, with his spear-point dipping into the water ready 
to go down without splashing, and what is more remarkable, 
the fisherman keeping his own eyes under water, so that not 
only the ripple does not disturb his view, but his aim is not 
interfered with by the refraction of light which makes it so 
difficult for a man out of the water to hit an object below 
the surface. The wilder races also know well how after dark 
fish come to a light, so that salmon-spearing by torchlight, 
now that it is no longer so frequent in Scotland or Norway, 
may be seen in all its picturesqueness among the Indians of 
Vancouver's Island. Shooting fish with the bow and arrow, 
which many low tribes do with wonderful dexterity, may be 
counted as a variety of fish-spearing. The fish-hook is a 
contrivance not known to all savage tribes, but some have 
it, as the AustraHans who cut their hooks out of shell, and 
are even known to fish with a hawk's claw attached 
to a line. The ancient Egyptian would sit like -a modern 

214 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

European angler by a canal or pond, fishing with rod and 
line ; his hook was of bronze. Only fly-fishing seems not to 
have been known in ancient times. On the whole it is 
remarkable how little modern fishermen have moved from 
the methods of the rudest and oldest men. The savage fish- 
spear, with its three or four barbed prongs, is curiously like 
that our sailors still use, and call a fish-gig. Only we make 
the head of iron, not of wood and fish-teeth. So it is with 
the harpoon used by American whalers, with its loosely 
fitting point which comes off when the fish is struck, only 
remaining attached by a long cord to the floating shaft ; this 
is copied, but with a steel point, from the bone-headed 
harpoon of the Aleutian Islanders. Our fishermen carry on 
their business on a large scale, with their steam-trawlers and 
seines which sweep a whole bay, but their net-fishing is 
much of the same kinds as may be found among the 
peoples from whom we have here taken our early examples 
of spearing and angling. 

Thus man, even while he feeds himself as the lower 
animals do, by gathering wild fruit and catching game and 
fisli, is led by his higher intelligence to more artificial means 
of getting these. Rising to the next stage, he begins to grow 
supplies of food for himself. Agriculture is not to be 
looked on as a difficult or out-of-the-way invention, for the 
rudest savage, skilled as he is in the habits of the food-plants 
he gathers, must know well enough that if seeds or roots 
are put in a proper place in the ground they will grow. 
Thus it is hardly through ignorance, but rather from roving 
life, bad climate, or sheer idleness, that so many tribes 
gather what nature gives, but plant nothing. Even very 
rude people, when they live on one spot all the year round, 
and the climate and soil are favourable, mostly plant a little, 
like the Indians of Brazil, who clear a patch of forest round 


their huts to grow a supply of maize, cassava, bananas, and 
cotton. When we look at the food-plants of the world, it 
appears that some few are grown much as in their wild state, 
like the coco-nut and bread-fruit, but most are altered by 
cultivation. Sometimes it is possible to find the wild plant 
and show how man has improved it, as where the wild 
potato is found growing on the cliffs of Chile. But the 
origin of many cultivated plants is lost to tradition and has 
become a subject for tale-tellers. This is the case with 
those edible grasses which have been raised by cultivation 
into the cereals, such as wheat, barley, rye, and by their 
regular and plentiful supply have become the mainstay of 
human life and the great moving power of civilization. It 
is clear that the development of these grain-plants from 
their wild state was before the earliest ages of history, 
which throws back the beginnings of agriculture to 
times older still. How ancient was the first tilling of the 
soil, is shown by ancient Egypt and Babylonia, with their 
governments and armies, temples and palaces, for it could 
have been only through carrying on agriculture for a 
long series of ages that such populations •could have 
grown up so closely packed together as to form a civi- 
lized nation. Plants, when once brought into cultivation, 
make their way from people to people across the globe. 
Thus the European conquerors of America carried back the 
maize or Indian corn which had been cultivated from un- 
known antiquity over the New World, and which now 
furnishes the Italian peasant with his daily meal of polenta 
or porridge ; it is grown even in Japan, and down to the 
south of Africa, where it is the "mealies" of the colonist. 
An English vegetable garden is a curious study for the 
botanist who assigns to each plant its proper home, and to 
the philologist who traces its name. Sometimes this tells 




its story fairly^ as where damson and peach describe these 
fruits as brought from Damascus and Persia. But the 
potato, brought over in Queen EHzabeth's time, seems to 
have borrowed the name of another 
plant botanically different, the batata, 
or sweet-potato. The luscious tro- 
pical ananas has lost its native Malay 
name except among botanists, and has 
taken the name of the common fir- 
cone or pine-apple, which in shape it 
so closely resembles. 

By noticing how rude tribes till the 
soil, much is to be learnt as to the 
invention of agricultural implements. 
Wandering savages like the Australians 
carry a pointed stick to dig up eatable 
roots with, as in Fig. 64 a. Considering 
liow nearly planting a root is the same 
work as digging one up, it is likely that 
a tribe beginning to till the soil would 
use their root-digging sticks for the 
new purpose ; indeed, a pointed stake 
has been found as the rude husband- 
man's implement both in the Old and 
New World. It is an improvement 
on this to dig with a flat-bladed tool 
like a spear, sword, or paddle, and thus 
we have the civilized spade. A more 
important tool, the hoe, is derived from 
The wooden picks of the New Cale- 
donians serve both as weapons and for planting yams, while 
the African's hatchet — an iron blade stuck in a club — only 
has to have the blade turned across to become his hoe. It 

digging-stick ; b, Swedish 
wooden hack. 

the pick or hatchet. 




is curious to find in Europe the rudest imaginable hoe, less 
artificial than the elk's shoulder-blade fastened to a stick, 
with which the North American squaws hoed their Indian 
corn. This is the Swedish " hack," Fig. 64 b, a mere stout 
stake of spruce-fir with a bough sticking out at the lower 
end cut short and pointed. With this primitive implement 
in old times fields were tilled in Sweden, and it was to be seen 
in forest farmhouses within a generation or two. Swedish 
tradition records the steps by which agriculture improved. 
The wooden hack was made heavier and dragged by men 
through the ground, thus ploughing a furrow in the simplest 
way j then the implement was made in two pieces, with a 

Fig. 65. — Ancient Egyptian hoe and plough. 

handle for the ploughman and a pole for the men to drag 
by, the share was shod with an iron point, and at last a pair 
of cows or mares were yoked on instead of the men. This 
seems nearly the way in which, thousands of years earlier, 
the hoe first passed into the plough. Fig. 65 is from, a 
picture of agriculture in ancient Egypt. Here the labourer 
is seen following the plough to break up the clods with his 
peculiar hoe, with its long, curved, wooden blade roped to 
the handle. Now looking at the plough itself, it is seen to 
be such a hoe, rope and all, only heavier and provided with 
a pair of handles for the ploughman to guide and keep it 
down, while a yoke of oxen drag it through the ground. The 

2i8 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

valley of the Nile was one of the districts where high agri- 
culture earliest arose, and in the picture here copied we may 
almost fancy ourselves seeing at its birth the great invention 
of the plough. To arm it with a heavy metal ploughshare, 
to shape this so that it shall turn the sod over in a continu- 
ous ridge, to fix a coulter or " knife " in front to give the 
first cut, and to mount the whole on wheels ; all these were 
improvements known in Rome in the classical period. In 
modern times we have the self-acting plough no longer 
needing the ploughman to follow at the plough-tail, and the 
steam-plough has a more powerful draught than oxen or 
horses. Yet those who have looked at the earlier stages 
can still discern in the most perfect modern plough the 
original hoe dragged through the ground. 

There survives even now in the world a barbaric mode 
of bringing land under cultivation, which seems to show us 
man much as he was when he began to subdue the primaeval 
forest, where till then he had only wandered, gathering wild 
roots and nuts and berries. This primitive agriculture was 
noticed by Columbus, when landing in the West Indies he 
found the natives clearing patches of soil by cutting the 
brushwood and burning it on the spot. This simple plan, 
where the wood is not only got out of the way, but the 
ashes serve for dressing, may still be seen among the hill- 
tribes of India, who till these plots of land for a couple 
of years and then move on to a new spot. In Sweden this 
brand-tillage, as it may be called, is not only remembered 
as the old agriculture of the land, but in outlying dis- 
tricts it has lasted on into modern days, giving us an idea 
what the rough agriculture of the early tribes may have 
been like when they migrated into Europe. It is not to be 
supposed, on looking at an English farm of the present day, 
that its improvements were made all at once. The modern 


farming system has a long and changing history behind it. 
One interesting point in its growth is that in long-past ages 
much of Europe was brought under cultivation by village- 
communities. A clan of settlers would possess themselves 
of a wide tract of land, and near their huts they would 
lay out great common fields, which at first they perhaps 
tilled and reaped in common as one family. It became 
usual to parcel out this tillage land every few years into 
family lots, but the whole village-field was still cultivated 
by the whole community, working together in the time 
and way settled by the village elders. This early com- 
munistic system of husbandry may still be seen not much 
changed in the villages of such countries as Russia. Even 
in England its traces have out-lasted the feudal system, 
and remain in the present days of landlord and tenant. In 
several English counties there may still be noticed the 
boundaries of the great common-fields, divided lengthwise 
into three strips, which again were divided crosswise into 
lots, held by the villagers ; the three divisions were man- 
aged on the old three-field system, one lying fallow while 
the other two bore two kinds of crops. 

Next, as to the history of domesticating animals for food. 
The taming of sociable creatures like parrots and monkeys 
is done by low forest tribes, who delight in such pets ; and 
very rude tribes keep dogs for guard and hunting. But it 
marks a more artificial way of life when men come to keep 
and breed animals for food. The move upwards from the 
life of the hunter to that of the herdsman is well seen 
in the far north, the home of the reindeer. Among the 
Esquimaux the reindeer was only hunted. But Siberian 
tribes not only hunt them wild, but tame them. Thus the 
Tunguz live by these herds, which provide them not only 
with milk and meat, but with skins for clothing and tents, 

220 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

sinews for cord, bone and horn for implements, while as 
they move from place to place the deer even serve as beasts 
of draught and burden. Here is seen a specimen of pastoral 
life of a simple rude kind, and it is needless to go on de- 
scribing at length the well-known life of higher nomade 
tribes, who shift their tents from place to place on the 
steppes of Central Asia or the deserts of Arabia, seeking 
pasture for their oxen and sheep, their camels and horses. 
There is a strong distinction between the life of the wander- 
ing hunter and the wandering herdsman. Both move from 
place to place, but their circumstances are widely different. 
The hunter leads a life of few appliances or comforts, and 
exposed at times to starvation ; his place in civilization is 
below that of the settled tiller of the soil. But to the 
pastoral nomade, the hunting which is the subsistence of the 
ruder wanderer, has come to be only an extra means of life. 
His flocks and herds provide him for the morrow, he has 
valuable cattle to exchange with the dwellers in towns for 
their weapons and stuffs, there are smiths in his caravan, 
and the wool is spun and woven by the women. What best 
marks the place in civilization which the higher pastoral life 
attains to, is that the patriarchal herdsman may belong to 
one of the great religions of the world ; thus the Kalmuks 
of the steppes are Buddhists, the Arabs are Moslems. A yet 
higher stage of prosperity and comfort is reached where the 
agricultural and pastoral life combine, as they already did 
among our forefathers in the village communities of old 
Europe just described. Here, while the fields were culti- 
vated near the village, the cattle pastured in summer on 
the hills and in the woodlands belonging to the com- 
munity, where also the hunter went for game, while nearer 
home there were common meadows for pasture and to 
provide the hay for the winter weather, when the cattle were 



brought under shelter in the stalls. In countries so thickly 
populated as ours is now, the last traces of the ancient 
nomade life disappear when the herds are no longer driven 
off to the hills in summer. 

After the quest of food, man's next great need is to defend 
himself. The savage has to drive off the wild beasts which 
attack him, and in turn he hunts and destroys them. But 
his most dangerous foes are those of his own species, and 
thus in the lowest known levels of civilization war has al- 
ready begun, and is carried on against man with the same 
club, spear, and bow used against wild beasts. General 
Pitt- Rivers has shown how closely man follows in war the 
devices he learnt from the lower animals ; how his weapons 
imitate their horns, claws, teeth, and stings, even to their 
venom ; how man protects himself with armour imitated 
from animals' hides and scales ; and how his warlike strata- 
gems are copied from those of the birds and beasts, such 
as setting ambushes and sentinels, attacking in bodies under 
a leader, and rushing on with war-cries to the fight. 

We have already in the last chapter examined the principal 
offensive weapons. The daubing on of venom to make 
them more deadly is found among low tribes far over the 
world. Thus the Bushman mixes serpent's poison with the 
euphorbia juice, and the South American native poison- 
maker, prepared by a long fast for the mysterious act, con- 
cocts the paralysing urari or curare in the secret depths 
of the forest, where no woman's eye may fall on the fearful 
process. Poisoned arrows were known to the ancient world, 
as witness the lines which tell of Odysseus going to Ephyra 
for the man-slaying drug to smear his bronze-tipped arrows ; 
but Ilos would not give it, for he feared the ever-living gods. 
Thus it seems that in eacrly ages the moral sense of the 
higher nations had already condemned the poisoned weapons 


222 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

of the savage, with something of the horror Europeans now 
feel in examining the Itahan bravo's daggers of the middle 
ages, with their poison-grooves imitated from the serpent's 

How the warrior's armour comes from the natural armour 
of animals is plainly to be seen. The beast's own hide 
may be used, as where one sees in museums the armour of 
bear-skins from Borneo, or breast-plates of crocodile's skin 
from Egypt. The name of the cuirass shows that it was at 
first of leather, like the buff jerkin. The Bugis of Sumatra 
would make a breastplate by sewing upon bark the cast- 
off scales of the ant-eater, overlapping as the animal wore 
them ; and so the natural armour of animals was imitated 
by the Sarmatians, with their slices of horses's hoofs 
sewed together in overlapping scales like a fir-cone. Such 
devices, when metal came in, would lead to the scale 
armour of the Greeks, imitated from fish-scales and serpent- 
scales, while their chain-mail is a sort of netted garment 
made in metal. The armour of the middle ages con- 
tinued the ancient kinds, no¥/ protecting the whole body 
with a suit from head to foot {cap-a-pee) of iron scales, or 
mail (that is, meshes) or of jointed plates of iron copied 
from the crab and lobster, such as the later suits of armour 
which decorate our manorial halls. With the introduction 
of gunpowder, armour began to be cast aside, and except 
the helmet, what remains of it in military equipment is 
more for show than use. The shield also, once so im- 
portant a part of the soldier's panoply, has been discarded 
since the days of musketry. Our modern notion of a shield 
is that of a large screen behind which the warrior can shelter 
himself, but this does not appear to have been the original 
intention. The primitive shield was probably the parrying- 
shield, used like the narrow Australian parrying-stick, which 


is only four inches across in the middle where it is grasped, 
but with which the natives ward off darts with wonderful 
dexterity. The small round Highland target, one of the 
varieties of shield which remained latest in civilized Europe, 
is made to be thus dexterously handled as a weapon of 
defence, to ward off javelins, or parry the thrust of spear 
or sword. It is easy to see that such parrying-shields belong 
to the early kind of warfare where the battle was a skirmish, 
and every warrior took care of himself But when fighting 
in close ranks began, then the great screen-shields would 
come in, serving as a wall behind which the old Egyptian 
soldiers could ensconce themselves, or the Greek or Roman 
storming-party creep up to the foot of the wall in spite of 
stones and darts hurled down on them. 

The savage or barbarian is apt to fall on his enemy un- 
awares, seeking to kill him like a wild beast, especially 
where there is bitter personal hatred or blood-vengeance. 
But even among low tribes we find a strong distinction drawn 
between such manslaughter and regular war, which is waged 
not so much for mutual destruction as for a victory to settle 
a quarrel between two parties. For instance, the natives of 
Australia have come far beyond mere murder when one 
tribe sends another a bunch of emu-feathers tied to the end 
of a spear, as' a challenge to fight next day. Then the two 
sides meet in battle array, their naked bodies terrific with 
painted patterns, brandishing their spears and clubs, and 
clamouring with taunts and yells. Each warrior is paired 
with an opponent, so that the fight is really a set of duels, 
where spear aftei spear is hurled and dodged or parried 
with wonderful dexterity, till at last perhaps a man is killed, 
which generally brings the fray to an end. Among the rude 
Botocudos of Brazil, a quarrel arising from one tribe hunting 
hogs on another's ground might be settled by a solemn 

224 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

ciidgelling-match, where pairs of warriors belaboured one 
another with heavy stakes, while the women fought by 
scratching faces and tearing hair, till one side gave in. But 
if in such an encounter the beaten party take to their bows 
and arrows, the scene may change into a real battle. When 
it comes to regular war, the Botocudos will draw up their 
men fronting the enemy, pouring in arrows, and then rush- 
ing together with war-whoops to fight it out tooth and nail, 
killing man, woman, and child. They make expeditions to 
plunder the villages of their settled neighbours, and when 
enemies are near in the forest they will stick spUnters in the 
ground as caltrops to lame them, and shoot from ambush 
behind fallen trunks or shelters of boughs. The slain in 
battle they will carry off to cook and devour at the feast, 
where with wild drunken dancing their warlike zeal is in- 
flamed to frenzied rage. Thus to excite courage is the 
purpose of the frantic war-songs and war-dances, which are 
common to mankind, among savages and even far more 
cultured nations. Low tribes also keep up the fierce hatred 
and pride of battle by trophies of the enemy — his head dried 
and hung as an ornament of the hut, or his skull fashioned 
into a drinking-cup. The wars of the North American 
Indians have picturesque incidents often described in our 
books, the braves smoking in solemn council of war, the 
declaration of war by the bundle of arrows wrapped in a 
rattlesnake's skin, or the blood-red war-hatchet struck into 
the war-post, the recruiting-feast where the dog was eaten as 
emblem of fidelity, the war-party creeping through the woods 
in single line (which we thence call " Indian file ") the stealthy 
attack on the enemy's camp or village, the wild scalp-dance 
of the returning victors, the torturing of the captives at the 
stake, where the very children were set to shoot arrows at 
the helpless foe, who bore his torments without a groan, 


boasting of his own fierce deeds and taunting his conquerors 
in his death-agony. Indian war was " to creep like a fox, 
attack like a panther, and fly Hke a bird." Yet at times the 
warriors of two tribes would meet in fair battle, standing 
to watch duels between pairs of champions, or all rushing 
together in a general melee. 

In the warfare of rude races, it is to be noticed how 
fighting for quarrel or vengeance begins to pass into fighting 
for gain. Among some tribes the captives, instead of being 
slain, are brought back for slaves, and especially set to till 
the ground. By this agriculture is much increased, and also 
a new division of society takes place, to be seen still arising 
among such warlike tribes as the Caribs, where the captives 
with their children come to form a hereditary lower class. 
Thus we see how in old times the original equality of men 
broke up, a nation dividing into an aristocracy of warlike 
freemen, and an inferior labouring caste. Also forays are 
made for the warriors to bring home wives, who are the 
slaves and property of their captors. With this wife-capture 
is connected the law widely prevailing among the ruder 
peoples of the world, and lasting on even among the more 
civilized, that a man may not take a wife from his own clan 
or tribe, but from some other. As property increases, there 
appears with it warfare carried on as a business, by tribes 
living more or less by plunder, glorying in their murderous 
profession, and despising the mean-spirited farming villagers 
whose labour provides them with corn and cattle. A per- 
fect example of such a robber-tribe were the Mbayas of 
South Arrierica, whose simple religion it was that their deity, 
the Great Eagle, had bidden them live by making war on 
all other tribes, slaying the men, taking the women for wives, 
and carrying off the goods. 

War among civilized nations differs from that of savage 


226 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

tribes in being carried on with better weapons and appliances, 
and by warriors being trained to fight in regular order. The 
superiority of a regular army to a straggling savage war-party 
may be well seen by looking at the pictures in Wilkinson's 
Ancient Egyptians, of troops marching in rank and step to 
sound of trumpet, especially noticing the solid phalanx of 
heavy infantry with spear and shield. The strength of 
such Egyptian solid squares of 10,000 men is described in 
the Cyropsedia (probably with truth as to military tactics if 
not to actual history), how they could not be broken even 
by the victorious Persians, but amid the rout of man and 
horse the survivors still held out, sitting under their shields, 
till Cyrus granted them honourable surrender. An Egyptian 
army had its various corps divided into companies, 
and commanded by officers of regular grades. In batde 
the heavy immovable phalanx held the centre, the archers 
and light infantry in the wings acted in line or open order, 
there were bodies of slingers, and the noble warriors drove 
their chariots into the thick of the opposing host. This 
military efficiency was attained by having a standing army 
formed by a regular military class, trained from youth in the 
art of war, and maintained by eight acres of land assigned 
to every soldier. From an early time also we find the 
Egyptians employing foreign mercenary troops, whose 
peculiar costumes and faces are conspicuous in the battle- 
pictures. Thus also the Assyrian war-scenes show that their 
military system was on a level with that of Egypt. The rise 
of the science of war to a higher stage belongs to Greece, 
and the whole history of its growth is told in Greek litera- 
ture. Beginning with the Iliad, the descriptions there show 
war and armies in a state more barbaric than in Egypt, with 
little discipline and less generalship, and encounters of Greek 
and Trojan champions with the armies lookini 


would do. But when we come to later ages of Greek 
history, it is seen that they had by that time not only learnt 
what the older civilization had to teach, but had brought 
their own genius to develop it further. Their corps of all 
arms, archers, charioteers, cavalry, and the phalanx of spear- 
men, were disciplined and ranged in order of battle much 
after the ancient Egyptian and Assyrian manner. But where- 
as in old times a battle had been a trial of mere strength 
between two armies drawn up facing one another, the 
military historian Xenophon describes the change made in 
the art of war by the Theban leader, Epaminondas, when at 
Leuktra, with forces fewer than the Spartans, he charged 
with his men in column fifty deep against their twelve deep 
right wing, and by breaking them threw the whole line into 
disorder, and won the battle. At Mantineia, carrying out 
this plan yet more skilfully, he arranged his troops in a 
wedge-shaped body with the weaker divisions slanting off 
behind so as to come up when the enemy's front was 
already broken. In such ways was developed the science 
of military tactics, which made skilful manoeuvring as im- 
portant as actual fighting. The Romans, a nation drilled 
to battle and conquest, came at last to rule the world by 
the mere force of military discipline. In the middle ages 
the introduction of gunpowder increased the killing-power 
of troops whose artillery from bows and arrows became 
muskets and heavy cannon. The reader's attention has 
been already drawn to the military scenes of Egypt and 
Assyria. If now, fresh from watching the manoeuvres of a 
modern army in sham fight, he will look at these pictures 
to see war as it was three or four thousand years ago, he 
will observe how substantially the new system is founded 
on the old, with developments due to two new ideas, 
namely, tactics and the use of fire-arms. 

o 2 

228 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. ix. 

Somewhat the same lesson may be learnt by comparing 
the older and ruder kinds of fortification and siege with 
those of modern times. Tribes at the level of the Kam- 
chatkans and the North American Indians knew how to 
fortify their villages with embankments and palisades. In 
ancient Egypt and Assyria and neighbouring countries, 
strong and high fortress-walls and towers were defended by 
archers and slingers, and attacked by storming-parties with 
scaling-ladders. Old sieges were unscientific, as is so 
curiously seen in the Homeric poems, where the Greeks 
encamp over against Troy, but seem to have no notion 
of regularly investing it, inuch less of attack by sap and 
trench. The Greeks and Romans came on to use higher 
art in fortification and siege, and there appear among them 
machines of war such as the ancient battering-ram, heavy 
and skilfully engineered, while contrivances of the nature 
of huge bows like the catapult led up to the cannon of 
later ages which superseded them. 

Lastly, looking at the army system as it is in our modern 
world, one favourable change is to be noticed. The employ- 
ment of foreign mercenary troops, which almost through 
the whole stretch of historical record has been a national 
evil alike in war and peace, is at last dying out. It is not 
so with the system of standing armies which drain the life 
and wealth of the world on a scale more enormous even than 
in past times, and stand as the great obstacle to harmony 
between nations. The student of politics can but hope 
that in time the pressure of vast armies kept on a war- 
footing may prove unbearable to the European nations which 
maintain them, and that the time may come when the 
standing army may shrink to a nucleus ready for the 
exigencies of actual war if it shall arise, while serving in 
peace time as a branch of the national police. 


ARTS OF LIFE — {coiitiniied). 

Dwellings: — Caves, 229 — Hut?, 230 — Tents, 231— Houses, 231 — Stone 
and Brick Building, 232 — Arch, 235 — Development of Architec- 
ture, 235. Dress : — Painting skin, 236 — Tattooing, 237 — Defor- 
mation of Skull, &c., 240 — Ornaments, 241 — Clothing of Bark, 
Skin, &c., 244 — Mats, 246 — Spinning, Weaving, 246 — Sewing, 
249 — Garments, 249, Navigation : — Floats, 252 — Boats, 253 — 
Rafts, 255 — Outriggers, 255 — Paddles and Oars, 256— Sails, 256 — 
Galleys and Ships, 257. 

We have next to examine the dwellings of mankind. 
Thinking of the nests of birds, the dams of beavers, the 
tree-platforms of apes, it can scarcely be supposed that 
man at any time was unable to build 'himself a shelter. 
That he does not always do so is mostly because while on 
the move from place to place he may be content to sleep in 
the open, or take to the natural shelter of a tree or rock. 
Thus in the Andaman Islands the roving savages have been 
noticed to resort to the sea-shore, where, under some over- 
hanging cliff that kept off the wind, they would scoop 
themselves out each a hole in the sand to lie in. Rock- 
shelters under the cliffs were in Europe the resort of the 
ancient savages, as is proved by the bones and flint flakes 
and other remains that are found lying there in the ground. 

230 anthropology: [chap. 

Caves are ready-made houses for beast or man. It has 
been already mentioned (p. 31) how in such countries as Eng- 
land and France, caverns were the abodes of the old tribes 
of the reindeer and mammoth period, and the Bushmen of 
South Africa are a modern example of rude tribes thus given 
to dwelling in caves in the rocks. But caverns are so con- 
venient, that they are now and then still used in the civilized 
world, and most of us have seen some cave in a cliff forming 
the back of a fisherman's cottage, or at least a storehouse. 
It is not so much with these natural dwellings that we are 
here concerned as with artificial structures, however rude, 
set up by man for his shelter. 

In the depths of Brazilian forests, travellers have come 
upon the dwellings of the naked Puris, which are not even 
huts, -only sloping screens made by setting up a row of huge 
palm-leaves some eight feet long, leaning against a cross- 
pole. Being put up to windward, this shelters the lazy 
Indian as he lolls in his hammock slung between two trees, 
and with the dense foliage overhead life is not comfortless on 
fine days, though in bad weather the family and dogs have 
to crouch defenceless round the wood fire on the ground. 
Even in these tropical forests, what is generally met with is 
a real hut, thougli it may be such a rude one as the Boto- 
cudos make with these same great palm-leaves, sticking a 
number of them with their stalks in the ground in a circle, 
and bringing their points together, so as to form a roof 
overhead. The Patachos go to work more artificially, bend- 
ing together young growing trees and poles stuck in the 
ground, so that by binding their tops together they form a 
framework which is then thatched over with large leaves. 
Much the same lesson in primitive architecture may be 
leaint from the natives of Australia, among whom a party 
camping out will be content to set up a line of leafy boughs 

f. X.] ARTS OF LIFE. 231 

in the ground to form a screen or breakwind for the night ; 
but when they take the pains to interlace such boughs over- 
head, the screen becomes a hut, and where they stay for a 
while they will make a regular framework of branches, 
covering them in with sheets of bark, or leaves and grass, 
and even laying on sods or daubing the outside with clay. 
The invention of the simple round hut is thus easily under- 
stood. It is plain, too, how a conical hut, when roving 
tribes like the American Indians carry from place to place 
its poles and skins or sheets of bark, becomes in fact a 
portable tent, and this shows how tents came to be invented. 
The more cultured herdsmen of the East carry for their 
tent-coverings sheets of felted hair or wool, and we ourselves 
use for temporary shelter tents of canvas. Indeed one has 
only to look at the common bell-tent of the soldier to see 
that it is a transformed savage hut. Now the circular hut, 
whether beehive or conical, is low to creep into and small 
to lie or crouch in. More room is often got by digging the 
earth out some feet deep within, but a greater improvement in 
construction is to raise the hut itself on posts or a wall, so 
that what was at first the whole house now becomes the 
roof. Thus is built the round hut with its side-posts filled 
in with wattle and mud, or its solid earthen wall carrying 
the thatched roof which may reach beyond in shady eaves. 
Such were in ancient times common peasants' dwellings in 
Europe, as they still are in other quarters of the world, and 
indeed we perhaps keep up a memory of them in the round 
thatched summer-houses in our gardens, which are curiously 
like the real huts of barbarians. Next, as African travellers 
remark, one great sign of higher civilization is when people 
begin to build their houses square-cornered instead of round. 
The circular hut to be easily built must be small, and room 
is best gained by building the house oblong, with a ridge 

232 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

pole along the roof where the sloping poles from the sides 
meet. By being able to build to any required length, it 
became possible for many families, often twenty, to live 
together in village-houses as rude peoples often do. In 
barbaric countries spacious houses are built with the roofs 
carried on lofty pgsts with cross-timbers, or on solid walls 
of earth or stones ; in fact they are constructed on much the 
same principles as our modern houses, though more rudely. 

It does not seem difficult to make out how stone and 
brick architecture came into use. Where wood is scarce, 
men readily take to building walls of stones, turf, or earth. 
Thus the Australians are known to build shelters by heaping 
up loose stones as a wall, and roofing with sticks laid across. 
Rough stones, though they make good embankments and 
low walls, would be too unsteady for high walls, except 
slaty and stratified slabs which form natural building-stones. 
With mere stones out of the ground dwellings would 
hardly be built of a higher kind than the curious beehive- 
houses of the Hebrides, whose small rudely vaulted cham- 
bers are formed by the piled stones overlapping inwards 
till they almost meet above, and covered in with growing 
turf, so that they look like grassy hillocks with passages for 
the dwellers to creep in. This primitive building is very 
ancient, and though such houses are no longer made, the 
old ones still serve as shealings in summer. The ancient 
Scotch underground dwellings or "weems," {i.e. caves) have 
chambers of rough stones, and remind antiquaries of Tacitus' 
account of the caves dug by the ancient Germans and 
heaped over with dirt, where they stored their grain and 
took refuge themselves from the cold, and in time of war 
from the enemy. When the craft of the mason is brought 
in, buildings of a higher order begin. The stones may 
at first be merely trimmed to fit one another like the 

X.] ARTS OF LIP^E. 233 

pieces of a mosaic, as in the so-called Cyclopean stone- 
work of old Etruscan and Roman walls. But the world 
soon adopts a higher way, not arranging the plan to suit 
the stones, but shaping the stones to fit the work, 
especially using rectangular blocks of stone to lay down 
in regular courses of masonry. In ancient Egypt, the 
masons hewed and smoothed even granite and porphyry to 
a finish which is envied by the architects of our own day, 
and the pyramids of Gizeh are as wonderful for the fine 
masonry of their slopes, chambers, and passages, as for 
their prodigious size. Our modern notion of a stone build- 
ing is that the blocks of stone are to be fixed together with 
a layer of mortar to bind them, but in the old and beautiful 
architecture of Egypt and Greece the faced stone blocks lie 
on one another, having no cement to hold them, and needing 
none. Clamps of metal were used when required to hold 
the stones together. Cement or mortar (so called from the 
mortar or trough in which it was mixed) was also well known 
in the ancient world. The Roman builders not only used 
the common lime-and-sand mortar, which hardens by absorb- 
ing carbonic acid from the air, but they also knew how by 
adding volcanic ash or pozzolana to make a water-resisting 
cement, whence the name of " Roman cement " given to a 
composition used by our masons. Mention has been already 
made of the practice of coating the sides of the savage 
bough-hut with clay. The ancient people who built their 
settlements on piles out in the Swiss lakes used to do this, 
as is proved by bits of the clay coating which were acci- 
dentally baked when the huts were burnt down, and fell 
into the water, where they may still be found, showing the 
impressions of the long-perished reed cabins on which the 
moist clay was plastered. We still have something of the 
kind in what cottage-builders call " wattle and daub." One 

234 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

also sees now and then in an English country lane a cottage 
or cowhouse which is a relic of another sort of primitive 
architecture, its walls being simply built of " cob ", that is, 
clay mixed with straw. Such hut-walls of clay or mud are 
very usual in dry climates such as Egypt, where they are 
cheaper and better than timber. This being so, there is no 
difficulty in understanding how sun-dried bricks came into 
use, these being simply convenient blocks of the same mud 
or loam mixed with straw which was used to build the 
cottage walls. These sun-dried bricks were used, in the 
East from high antiquity. Some of the Egyptian pyramids 
still standing are built of them, and the pictures show how 
the clay was tempered and the large bricks formed in wooden 
moulds much as in modern brickfields. With these the 
architects of Nineveh built the palace walls ten or fifteen 
feet thick, which were panelled with the slabs of sculptured 
alabaster. For such sun-dried bricks, clay and water form 
a sufiicient cement. Building with mud-bricks, which indeed 
suits the climate well, goes on in these countries as of old. 
They were used also in America, and to this day the traveller 
in such districts as Mexico will often find himself lodged in 
a house built of them. The sun-dried brick is there called 
adobe, a word which is actually their ancient Egyptian name 
tobj which when adopted into Arabic became with the 
article, at-tob, and thence was adopted into Spanish as adobe. 
Baked bricks seem to have been a later invention, easy 
enough to nations who baked earthen pots, but only wanted 
in more rainy climates. Thus the Romans, whom mere 
mud-bricks would not have suited, carried to great perfection 
the making of kiln-burnt bricks and tiles. 

For ordinary house-building, we now have recourse to the 
mason or bricklayer to build the walls, and tiles or slates 
are an improvement on the old thatch. But we so far 

X.] ARTS OF LIFE. 235 

keep to the old wooden architecture, that the floors 
and the timbering of the roof are still wood-work. For 
tombs and temples, however, built to last for ages, means 
were early wanted of roofing over spaces with the bricks 
or stones themselves without trusting to wooden beams. 
There are two modes of doing this, the false arch and 
the real arch, which are both ancient. The false arch is 
an arrangement which would occur to any builder, in fact it 
is what children make in building with wooden bricks, 
when they set them overlapping more and more till the 
top ones come near enough for one brick to cover the 
gap. Passages and chambers roofed in like this with 
projecting blocks of stone may be seen in the pyramids 
of Egypt, in ancient tombs of Greece and Italy, in the 
ruined palaces of Central America ; and thus are built the 
domes of the Jain temples in India. It does not follow 
that the architects were ignorant of the real arch ; they 
may have objected to it from its tendency to thrust the 
walls out. It is not known exactly how and when the 
arch was invented, but the idea might present itself even 
in roofing over doorways with rough stones. In the 
tombs of ancient Egypt real arches are to be seen, con- 
structed in mud-bricks, or later in stone, by architects who 
quite understood the principle. Yet though the arch 
was known in what we call ancient times, it was not at once 
accepted by the world. It is remarkable that the Greek 
architects of the classic period never took to it. It was left 
to the Romans, who applied it with admirable skill, and 
from whose vaulted roofs, bridges, and domes, those of the 
mediaeval and modern world are derived. 

In thus looking over the architecture of the world, we 
see that its origins lie^too far back for history to record its 
beginning and earliest progress. Still there is reason to 

236 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

believe that, in architecture as in other arts, man began with 
the simple and easy before he came on to the complex and 
difficult. There are many signs of stone architecture having 
grown out of an earlier wooden architecture. Thus on 
looking at the Lykian tombs in the entrance-hall of the 
British Museum, it will be seen that though they are of 
hewn stone, their forms are copied from wooden beams 
and joists, so that the mason shows by his very patterns 
that he has taken the place of an earlier carpenter. Even 
in the early stone-work of Egypt, traces of wooden forms 
are to be seen. In India there are stone buildings whose 
columns and architraves are not less plainly copied from 
wooden posts, and horizontal beams resting on them. It 
is possible that when men first took to setting up stone 
columns and supporting stone blocks upon them, this idea 
may have come into their minds from the wooden posts 
and beams they had been used to. But when it is said, as 
it often has been, that the porticos of Greek temples are 
copies in stone of older wooden structures, practical archi- 
tects object that the Parthenon is not really like carpenter's 
work. Indeed it is known that the Greeks did not invent 
their own column-architecture, but taking the idea of it 
from what they saw in Egypt and other countries, carried 
it out according to their own genius. 

After dwellings, we come to examine clothing. It has 
first to be noticed that some low tribes, especially in the 
tropical forests of South America, have been found by 
travellers living quite naked. But even among the rudest 
of our race, and in hot districts where clothing is of least 
practical use, something is generally worn, either from ideas 
of decency or for ornament. Where little or no clothing 
is worn, it is common to paint the body. The Andaman 
islanders, who plaster themselves with a mixture of lard and 

X.] ARTS OF life:. 237 

coloured earth, have a practical reason for so doing, this 
coat of paint protecting their skin from heat and mosquitos ; 
but they go off into love of display when they proceed to 
draw lines on the paint with their fingers, or when a dandy 
will colour one side of his face red, and the other olive- 
green, and make an ornamental border-line where the two 
colours meet down his chest and stomach. Among the 
relics of the ancient cave-men of Europe are hollowed 
stones, which were their primitive mortars for grinding the 
ochre and other calours for painting themselves. Indeed, 
few habits mark the lower stages of human life so well as 
the delight in body-patterns of bold spots and stripes in 
striking colours, familiar to us in pictures of Australians 
dancing at a corroboree^, or Americans working themselves 
up to frenzy in the scalp-dance. The primitive sign of 
mourning also makes its appearance where savage mourners 
blacken (or whiten) themselves over. In the higher civiliza- 
tion, faded beauties may still make a poor attempt to 
revive youthful bloom with touches of red and white. But 
the ancient war-paint is now looked down on as a sign of 
utter barbarism ; so much so that the ancient Britons, though 
a nation of considerable civilization, have been treated by 
many historians as mere savages because they kept up this 
rude practice, as Caesar says, staining themselves blue with 
woad, and so being of horrider aspect in war. Among our- 
selves the guise which was so terrific in the Red Indian 
warrior has come down to make the circus-clown a pattern 
of folly. It is very likely that his paint-striped face may 
represent a fashion come down from the ancient times when 
paint was worn by the barbarians of Europe, much as in 
Japan actors paint their faces with bright streaks of red, 
doubtless keeping up what was once an ordinary decoration. 
When the skin is tattooed, the chief purpose of this is no 


doubt beauty, as where the New Zealander had himself 
covered with patterns of curved Hnes such as he would 
adorn his club or his canoe with ; it was considered shame- 
ful for a woman not to have her mouth tattooed, for people 
would say with disgust " she has red lips." Tattooing 
prevails as widely among the lower races of the world as 
painting, and the fashionable designs range from a few blue 
lines on the face or arms, up to the flower-patterns with 
which the skins of the Formosans are covered like damask. 
Where the art is carried to perfection as in Polynesia, the 
skin is punctured, and the charcoal-colour introduced, by 
tapping rows of little prickers. But a rougher mode is 
common, as in Australia or Africa, where gashes are made 
and wood-ashes rubbed in so that the wound heals in a 
knob or a ridge. Marks on the skin often serve other 
purposes than ornament, as in Africa, where a long scar 
on a man's thigh may mean that he has done valiantly in 
battle, or the tribe or nation a negro belongs to may be 
indicated by his mark, for instance, a pair of long cuts down 
both cheeks, or a row of raised pimples down his forehead 
to the tip of his nose. Higher up in civilization, tattooing 
still lasts on, as where Arab women will slightly touch up 
their faces, arms, or ankles with the needle, and our sailors 
amuse themselves with having an anchor or a ship in full 
sail done with gunpowder on their arms, but in this last 
case the original purpose is lost, for the picture is hidden 
under the sleeve. Naturally, as clothing comes more and 
more to cover the body, the primitive skin-decorations cease, 
for what is the use of adorning oneself out of sight? 

The head is frequently cropped or shaved close as a sign 
of mourning. Some tribes thus go bsld always, like the 
Andaman islanders ; or let the hair grow in tonsure-fashion 
in a ring round the shaved crown, like the Coroado (that is. 

X.] ARTS OF LIFE. 239 

''crowned") Indians of Brazil; or wear a shaven head with 
a long scalp-lock or pigtail like the North American Indians, 
or the Manchus of Tartary, from whom the modern Chinese 

Fig. 66,— Natives of Lepers' Island (New Hebrides.) 

have adopted this habit. A curious mode of twisting the 
hair with strips of bark into hundreds of long thin ringlets 
is seen in the portraits of natives of Lepers' Island, Fig. 66. 


Various tribes grind their front teeth to points, or cut 
them away in angular patterns, so that in Africa and else- 
where a man's tribe is often known by the cut of his teeth. 
Long finger-nails are noticed even among ourselves as show- 
ing that the owner does no manual labour, and in China 
and neighbouring countries they are allowed to grow to a 
monstrous length as a symbol of nobility, ladies wearing 
silver cases to protect them^ or at least as a pretence that 
they are there (see the portraits of Siamese actresses in 
royal dress, Fig. ^2)^ Or the nails may be let to grow as a 
sign that the wearer leads a religious life, and does no 
worldly work, as in the accompanying figure of the hand of 
a Chinese ascetic. Fig. 67. 

As any nation's idea of beauty is apt to be according to 
the type of their own race, they like to see their distinctive 
features exaggerated. Looking at a Hottentot face, Fig. 12 ^, 
one understands why the mothers would squeeze the 
babies' snub noses yet further in, while in ancient times a 
little Persian prince would have a bold aquiline nose shaped 
for him, to come like Fig. 11 /^ In all quarters of the 
globe is found the custom of compressing infants' heads by 
bandages and pads to make the little plastic skull grow to 
an approved shape. But as to what that shape ought to be, 
tastes differ extremely. Li the Columbia River district, 
some Flathead tribes will so flatten out the forehead that 
tlieir front faces look like a pear with the large end upper- 
most, while neighbouring tribes press in the upper part of 
the skull so that their faces look like the pear with the 
small end up. Hippokrates, the ancient physician, mentions 
the artificially deformed skulls of the Makrokephali or 
"long-heads" of the Black Sea district. The genuine 
Turkish skull is of the broad Tatar form, while the nations 
of Greece and Asia Minor have oval skulls, which gives the 




reason why at Constantinople it became the fashion to 
mould the babies' skulls round, so ,that they grew up with 
the broad head of the conquering race. Relics of such 
barbarism linger on in the midst of civilization, and not 
long ago a French physician surprised the world by the fact 
that nurses in Normandy were still giving the children's 
heads a sugar-loaf shape by bandages and a tight cap. 

Fig. 67. — Hand of Chinese ascetic. 

while in Brittany they preferred to press it round. No 
doubt they are doing so to this day. 

The propensity to beautify the body with ornaments 
belongs to human nature as low down as we can follow it. 
In South America the naked people were adorned with rings 
on legs and arms, and one tribe had as their only apparel 





a macaw's feather stuck in a hole at each corner 
of their mouths, and strings of shells hanging from their 
noses^ ears, and under-lips. This latter case is a good 
example of the ornaments being fastened into the body, 
which is pierced or cut to receive them. Various tribes 
wear labrets or lip-ornaments, some gradually enlarging the 
hole through the under-lip till it will take a wooden plug 
two or three inches across, as in the portrait (Fig. 68) of a 
woman of the Botocudos, a Brazilian tribe who owe their 

Fig. 68. — Botocudo woman with lip-and ear-ornaments. 

name to this labret, which the Portuguese compared to a 
hotoque or bung. Ear-ornaments, as the figure shows, are 
put in the same way in the lobe of the ear, which they 
stretch so that when the disc of wood is taken out it falls 
in a loop and even reaches the shoulder. Thus it is possible 
that there may be some truth in the favourite wonder-tale 
of the old geographers, about the tribes whose great ears 
reached down to their shoulders^ though the story had to 
be stretched a good deal farther when it was declared that 


they lay down on one ear and covered themselves with the 
other for a blanket. The great interest to us in these 
savage ornaments is in the tendency of higher civilization to 
give them up. In Persia one still finds the nose-ring through 
one side of a woman's nostril, but European taste would be 
shocked by this, though it allows the ear to be pierced to 
carry an ear-ring. As to ornaments which are merely put 
on, they are mostly feathers, flowers, or trinkets worn in 
the hair, or strung-ornaments or rings on the neck, arms, and 
legs. In what remote times man had begun to take pleasure 
in such decorations may be seen by the periwinkle-shells 
bored for stringing found in the cave of Cro-Magnon, 
which no doubt made necklaces and bracelets for the 
girls of the mammoth-period. In the modern world neck- 
laces and bracelets remain in unchanged use, though anklets, 
such as the bangles of the Hindu dancing-girl, have of course 
disappeared from the costume of civilized wearers of shoes 
and stockings. It would not suit our customs to keep an 
affectionate memory of dead relatives by wearing their finger 
and toe bones strung as beads, as the Andaman women 
do, but our ladies keep in fashion barbaric necklaces of such 
things as shells, seeds, tigers' claws, and especially polished 
stones. The wearing of shining stones as ornaments lasts 
on, whether they have come to be precious pearls or rubies, 
or glass beads which are imitation stones. Where metal 
becomes known it at once comes into use for ornament, 
and this reaches its height where amused travellers describe 
some Dayak girl with her arms sheathed in a coil of stout 
brass wire, or some African belle whose great copper rings 
on her limbs get so hot in the sun that an attendant carries 
a water-pot to sluice them down now and then. To see 
gold jewelry of the highest order, the student should 
examine that of the ancients, such as the Egyptian, 

R 2 

244 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap 

Greek, and Etruscan in the British Museum, and that of 
mediaeval Europe. The art seems now to have passed its 
prime, and become a manufacture, of which the best pro- 
ducts are imitations from the antique. The cutting of 
precious stones such as diamonds into facets is, however, a 
modern art. As to finger-rings, if their use arose out of 
the signet-rings of Egypt and Babylon, then the few which 
are still engraved as seals keep up the original idea, while 
those which only carry pearls or diamonds have turned into 
mere ornaments. 

To come now to clothing proper. The man who wants 
a garment gets it in the simplest way when he takes the 
covering off a tree or a beast, and puts it on himself. 
The bark of trees provides clothes for rude races in many 
districts, as for instance in the curious use which natives of 
the Brazilian forests have long made of the so-called " shirt- 
tree" (lecythis), A man cuts a four or live feet length of 
the trunk, or a large branch, and gets the bark off in an 
entire tube, which he has then only to soak and beat soft 
and to cut slits for armholes, to be able to slip it on as 
a ready-made shirt ; or a short length will make a woman's 
skirt. The wearing of bark has sometimes been kept up as 
a sign of primitive simplicity. Thus in India it is written in 
the laws of Manu that when the grey-haired Brahman retires 
into the forest to end his days in religious meditation, he 
shall wear a skin or a garment of bark. A ruder people, 
the Kayans of Borneo, while in common life they like the 
smart foreign stuffs of the trader, when they go into mourn- 
ing throw them off and return to the rude native garment of 
bark-cloth. In Polynesia the manufacture of tapa from the 
bark of the paper-mulberry was carried to great perfection, 
the women beating it out with grooved clubs into a sort of 
vegetable felt, and ornamenting it with coloured patterns 

X.J arts' OF LIFE 245 

stamped on. The people were delighted with the white 
paper of the Europeans, and dressed themselves in it as a 
fine variety of tapa, till they found that the first shower of 
rain spoilt it. Leaves, also, are made into aprons or skirts 
which clothe various rude tribes. Not only are there " leaf- 
wearers " in India, but at a yearly festival in Madras the 
whole low-caste population cast off their ordinary clothing, 
and put on aprons of leafy twigs. 

The skin garments worn by the savages of the ancient 
world have rotted away these many thousand years, but we 
may see how generally they used to be worn, by the vast 
numbers of skin-dressing implements of sharp stone (see 
Fig. 54, c), found in the ground. Till lately the Patagonians, 
when they came on their journeys to a place where suitable 
flint or obsidian was to be found, would load themselves with 
a supply of lumps to chip into these primitive currier's 
scrapers. Savages, that their fur robes or deer-skin shirts 
should not dry stiff, know how to dress the leather skilfully 
by such processes as rubbing in fat or marrow, and suppling 
with the hands ; they also smoke it, to keep. Thus the 
North Americans know how to prepare deer-skin for 
garments into something like what we call chamois leather. 
But it hardly seems as though the lower races had taught 
themselves the process of actual tanning with bark or 
galls, where the tannic acid forms in the substance of 
the skin insoluble compounds which resist change for ages, 
so that the beautiful cut and embossed work in tanned 
leather from ancient Egypt may still be seen perfectly 
preserved in our museums. In such riding countries as 
Mexico, suits of leather are still worn, while in Europe the 
buff jerkin and the huntsman's buckskins are disappearing ; 
but it is still everywhere acknowledged that there is nothing 
like leather for covering the feet. In wearing furs, our 

246 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

height of luxury keeps curiously close to the savage fashion 
of the primitive world. 

Plaiting and matting are arts of such simplicity that they 
are known to savages. In hot countries matting is convenient 
for dress, as when South Sea Islanders make gowns of plaited 
grass, and the old art still provides the civilized world with 
hats and bonnets of straw or chip. Next, if we pull a scrap 
of woven cloth to pieces, we see that it is in fact a piece of 
matting done with thread. Therefore, to understand weav- 
ing, we have to begin with the making of string or thread. 
All mankind can twist string, but some tribes do it in a 
far lower way than we are accustomed to. They take 
vegetable fibre, wool or hair, and twist it by rolling between 
their flat palms, or with one hand on the thigh. It is quite 
worth the reader's while to try to imitate this process, by 
twisting two strands of tow, and then rolling these into 
one with the reverse movement. At any rate he will find 
liow much practice he would take to do it as cleverly as 
the Australians when they have the women's hair cut to 
furnish a supply of fishing-lines, or the New Zealanders when 
they run out a handful of native flax by inches into a neat 
and perfect cord. But the higher nations use a mechanical 
contrivance, the spindle, for thread-making, and the question 
is how this came to be invented. Fig. 69 shows what may 
have happened. At a is figured a cross-stick, form- 
ing a simple reel or winder, on which the Australians 
wind their hair-string just mentioned. Now if it had 
occurred to one of these savages to secure his thread by 
drawing it into a split at the end of the stick, he might 
have seen that by giving the hanging reel a twirl he could 
make it twist a new strand for him much faster than he 
could do between his hands. The Australian never saw 
how to do this. But looking at b in the figure, which 




represents an ancient Egyptian woman spinning, it is 
evident that such a spindle as she is working with may have 
been invented by turning a mere reel to this new use. 
Such spindles were known over the ancient civilized world, 
and among the commonest objects dug up near old dwell- 
ings are the spindle-whorls of stone or terra-cotta, Hke 
great buttons, which with a stick through the middle formed 
the whole simple implement. Spindles may still be seen in 
the hands of peasant women in Italy or Switzerland. The 
spinning-wheel of the middle ages was a little machine to 

Fig. 69. — a, Australian winder for hand-twisted cord ; b, Egyptian woman spinning 
with the spindle. 

drive a spindle, and the spinning-frames in factories show 
the ancient instrument worked with still more modern im- 
provements, a hundred spindles in a row being driven 
rapidly by steam-power, and all tended by a single operative. 
The next point is how people provided with thread or 
yarn taught themselves to weave it into cloth. As has just 
been said, cloth is a sort of matting made with threads, 
but as these cannot be held stiff like rushes, a number of 
them may be stretched in a frame to form a warp, and 
then the cross-thread or woof worked in and out with the 




fingers, or on a stick, as the Mexican girl is doing in Fig. 
70. This toilsome method still suits the difficult patterns 
of the tapestry-weaver. But time-saving contrivances were 
invented very early. The ancient Egyptian pictures already 
show the alternate threads of the warp being lifted by 
cross-bars, so as to allow the woof-thread carried by a 
shuttle to be sent right across the piece of cloth at one 
throw. The looms of classic Greece and Rome were 
much the same, and little improvement was made in the 
machine during the middle ages. Indeed in out-of-the- 
way places such as the Hebrides, the tourist may still see 

Fig. 70. — Girl weaving. (From an Aztec picture.) 

the old cottage-loom which, except in being horizontal so 
that the weaver sits to it instead of standing, hardly differs 
from the loom at which Penelope may be imagined weaving 
the famous shroud that she undid at night. Only about a 
century ago improvement began again, when the "flying 
shuttle" was invented, which instead of being thrown by 
hand, was driven swifdy across by a pair of levers or arti- 
ficial arms. Of late years this improved loom has passed 
into the power-loom, the steam-engine now doing the hard 
labour instead of the weaver's hands and feet. The 

X.] ARTS OF LIFE. 249 

ingenious device of the Jacquard loom with its perforated 
cards arranging the threads, has made it possible to weave 
even landscapes and portraits. 

The primitive tailor ox "cutter" {tailleur) had not only 
to cut his skin or bark into shape, but to join pieces by 
means of sinew or thread. This art of sewing makes its 
appearance among savages, and is seen in its rudest form 
among the Fuegians who pierce their guanaco-skins with 
a pointed bone, push the thread through, and make a tie at 
each hole. Among tribes who have only such bone awls, 
or stiff thorns, to work with, sewing cannot get beyond the 
shoemaker's fashion of first making a row of holes and then 
pushing and pulling the thread through. But bone needles 
with eyes are found in the reindeer-caves of France, so 
that possibly the seamstresses of the mammoth- period may 
already have known how to stitch and embroider their soft 
skins. When the metal-period began, bronze needles came 
into use such as are to be seen in museums, and in modern 
times the fine steel needles have become an example how 
finish and cheapness may be gained by division of labour, 
one set of workpeople being entirely occupied in grinding 
the points, another in drilling the eyes, and so on. But the 
sewing-needle is still in principle that of the ancient world, 
and hand-sewing, after holding its place for thousands of 
years, has suddenly had to compete with the work of the 
new sewing-machine, which runs its more rapid seams in a 
mechanically different way. 

Next, as to the shape of garments. If we knew of no 
costume but what we commonly wear now, we might think 
it more a product of mere fancy than it really is. But on 
looking carefully at the dresses of various nations, it is seen 
that most garments are variations of a few principal kinds, 
each made for a particular purpose in clothing the body. 

250 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap 

The simplest and no doubt earliest garments are v/raps 
wound or hung on the body, and by noticing how these 
are worn it may be guessed how they led to the later use 
of garments fitted to the wearer's shape. To begin with the 
simplest mantles, a skin or blanket with a hole through 
the middle forms a ready-made garment of the poncho 
kind. When one throws a rug or blanket over one's 
shoulders, it becomes a garment which requires fastening 
in front, or on one shoulder, to leave the arm free. This 
fastening may be done with a thorn or bone pin, the 
primitive brooch^ that is, "skewer" (French broche) \ we 
now use the word brooch to mean the more civiHzed metal 
pin with a safety-clasp, the \.2X\xv fibula or " fixer." Now if 
one stands thus draped in a blanket or sheet, one has only 
to raise the arms to show how naturally sleeves came to be 
made by sewing together under the arms. Next, putting 
the blanket over the head and holding it under the chin, it 
is seen how the part over the head will make a hood, which 
can be thrown back when not wanted. When it was found 
convenient to make the hood separate, there arose various 
kinds of head-covering, whose baggy shape often shows 
their origin, for instance the pointed "fool's-cap." When 
the mantle thrown over the shoulders is short, it forms the 
cape or cope ; when long, it becomes the cloak, which owes 
its name to its likeness to a bell (French cloche). For 
convenience, many varieties of the mantle are cut into 
shape, as for instance the toga in which the ancient 
Roman draped himself was rounded off. But ever since 
the invention of weaving, certain garments have been worn 
just as they came from the loom, such as the Scotch plaid, 
and that ancient Eastern wrapper which we still know by 
its Persian name of shawl {shdl). Such woven garments 
are apt to keep a mark of their origin in the fringe, which 

x] ARTS OF LIFE. 251 

in its original form is the ends of the warp-threads left on 
by the weaver, and when these threads are tied together 
in bundles they give rise to tassels. Another great group 
of garments are tunics, seen in a simple form in the chiton 
of ancient Greek female dress, which has been compared 
to a linen sack open at both ends, and was held up by 
a brooch on each shoulder, leaving openings for the arms. 
The tunic, closed at the shoulders and generally provided 
with sleeves, is the most universal of civilized garments, 
whether worn hanging loose like a shirt, or drawn in at the 
waist by a girdle or belt. In its various forms it is seen 
as the tunic of the Roman legionary and the "red shirt" 
of the Garibaldian volunteer, the coat of the mediaeval 
noble, the smock-frock of the English peasant, the 
blouse of the French workman, and lastly, it led to our 
modern coats and waistcoats, which are tunics made to 
open in front and close with buttons. One of the great 
steps in personal cleanliness and therefore in culture made 
by our forefathers, was the adoption of a linen tunic next 
the skin, the ^' short" garment, or shirt. Again, a piece 
of cloth wrapped round the body and held up by a girdle 
forms the skirt or kilt, and the way in which Eastern 
women fasten their skirts together between the feet for 
convenience of walking, shows how trousers were invented. 
Many ancient nations wore trousers, as the Sarmatians, 
whose modern-looking costume may be seen on Trajan's 
column, and the Gauls and Britons, so that it is a mistake 
to call the present Highland costume the "garb of old 
Gaul." The classic Greeks and Romans looked on the 
bracccB or breeches as belonging to barbarism, but their 
opinion has not been accepted by the civilized world. 

These remarks may lead readers to look attentively 
into books of costume, which indeed are full of curious 

252 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

illustrations of the way in which things are not invented 
outright by mere fancy, but come by gradual alterations of 
what was already there. To account for our present absurd 
"chimney-pot" hat, we must see how it came by successive 
changes from the conical Puritan hat and the slouched 
Smart hat, and these again from earlier forms. The sense 
of the hat-band must be found in its once having been a 
real cord to draw in the mere round piece of felt which 
was the primitive hat ; and to understand why our hat is 
covered with silk nap, it must be remembered that this is an 
imitation of the earlier beaver-fur hat, which would stand 
rain. Even the now useless seams and buttons on modern 
clothes (see page 15) are bits of past history. 

This chapter may be concluded with an account of boats 
and ships. He who first, laying hold of a floating bough, 
found it would bear him up in the water, had made a be- 
ginning in navigation. Naturally, history has kept no record 
of the origin of such an art. Yet the rudest forms of floats, 
rafts, and boats, may still be seen in use among savages, and 
even the civilized traveller coming to a stream or lake may 
be glad to make shift with a log or a bundle of bulrushes to 
help him across, and carry his gun and clothes over dry. 
Comparing these rough-and-ready means with the contri- 
vances made with skill and care for permanent use, a fair 
idea may be had of the stages through which the shipwrights' 
art grew up. 

The mere float comes lowest, as where a South Sea Island 
child goes into the water with an unhusked coco-nut to hold 
on by ; or a Hottentot will swim his goats across the river, 
supporting his body by sprawling on one end of a drift-log 
of willow, which he calls his "wooden-horse." Australians 
have been known to come out to our ships sitting astride 
logs pointed at the ends, and paddling with their hands, 

x] ARTS OF LIFE. 253 

while native fishermen of CaHfornia will sit on a bundle of 
rushes tied rp in the shape of a sailor's hammock. Rude 
as these are, they at any rate show that the makers have 
noticed the advantage which the craft with a sharp bow has 
over the blunt-ended log in getting through the water. In 
all quarters of the glotje, men improve on the float by 
making it hollow for buoyancy; it thus becomes a boat. 
One way of doing this is to scoop out a log. Any one who 
happens to have been up country in America may have 
paddled himself in such a "dug-out" across a pond or 
river ; and after experience of the care required to keep a 
cylinder from rolling over in the water, he will know how 
great an improvement it was in boat-building when a keel- 
was put on to steady the craft. To savages with their stone 
hatchets, the hollowing out of a log is a laborious business 
when the wood is of a hard kind, and they are apt to use 
fire to help them, setting the tree-trunk alight along the 
proper line and hacking away the burning wood. Colambus 
was struck with the size of such vessels made by the natives 
of the West Indies, mentioning in his letters many canoes 
of sohd wood, " multas scaphas solidi ligni," some so large 
as to hold seventy to eighty rowers. The Spaniards adopted 
their Haitian name canpa, whence our canoe. Yet this dug- 
out, or monoxyle (" one-tree "), to use its Greek name, was 
well known in other barbaric countries, and had been com- 
mon in Europe in ages before history, as may be seen by 
the specimens in museums, preserved by the peat or sand 
in which they were found imbedded. Even the Latin word 
scapha, used above, carries the record of this early boat- 
building ; it is Greek skap/ie, which corresponds so exactly 
in meaning to the term " dug-out," as to be an evident relic 
of the time when boats were really scooped out of solid 
trunks ; related to these words are English skiff and ship, so 

254 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

that the line of connexion in names runs through from first 
to last. Another very simple way of making a boat is that 
seen among the Australians, where a man will strip a sheet 
of bark off the stringy-bark tree, tie it together at the ends, 
and paddle off in this improvised bark-canoe. If, however, 
it is to be used more than once, he sews the ends together, 
and puts in stretchers or cross-pieces of wood to keep it in 
shape. Thus appears the bark-canoe, not unknown in Asia 
and Africa, and attaining in North America its greatest 
perfection, with its framework of cedar and sheathing of 
sheets of birch-bark sewed together with fibrous cedar-roots. 
Such canoes are still in full use in districts like the Hudson^s 
Bay territory, being well suited to a broken navigation where 
rapids make it needful to carry boat and cargo overland, or 
a '' portage " has to be made from one river to another. 
The principle of skin-canoes is much the same, using hide 
for bark. North American Indians crossing rivers have been 
known to turn the skins of their tents into vessels by means 
of a few twigs to keep them stretched. Scarcely above this 
are the round skin-covered boats of boughs of Mesopo- 
tamia, and the portable coracles of the ancient Britons ; on 
the Severn and the Shannon fishermen still go down to the 
river carrying on their backs their coracles, now made of 
tarred canvas on a frame, but modelled on the ancient 
type. The Esquimaux kayak has its framework of bone or 
drift-wood on which are stretched the seal-skins which 
convert it into a water-tight life-buoy, in which the skin-clad 
paddler can even turn over sideways and bring his boat up 
right on the other side. Our modern so-called canoes are 
imitations of this in wood. 

Next, when the barbaric shipwright comes to improving a 
dug-out canoe by sewing or lacing on a strip of thin board 
as a gunwale, or making his whole boat by sewing thin 

X.] ARTS OF LIFE. 255 

boards together over the ribs, instead of skins or sheets of 
bark, he brings his vessel a stage nearer to our boats. 
From Africa across to the Malay Archipelago, such sewn 
ships used to be, and often still are, the ordinary native 
craft. The South Sea Island canoes, thus laced together 
with sinnet or coco-nut fibre braid so neatly that the joints 
hardly , show, are marvels of barbaric carpentry. In the 
gulf of Oman, men used to go across to the coco-nut 
islands with their tools, cut down a few palms, make the 
wood into planks, sew these together with cord made from 
the bark, make sails of the leaves, load the new-made ships 
with the nuts, and set sail. 

Before coming to the ships of civilized nations, let us look 
back for a moment to the ruder floats. Two or three logs 
fastened together form a raft, which though clumsy to move 
has the advantage of not upsetting, and carrying a heavy 
load. At the time of the discovery of Peru, the Spaniards 
were amazed to meet with a native raft out in the ocean, 
and with a sail set. The rafts which bring goods down 
the Euphrates and Tigris are buoyed with blown sheep- 
skins ; at the end of the voyage the raft is broken up 
and the wood sold, so that only the empty skins have to 
go back to serve another time. With still more perfect 
economy, the rafts down the Nile are buoyed with earthen pots 
for sale in the bazar, so that nothing goes back. Timber- 
rafts, like those on the Rhine, are well arranged for merely 
floating down stream. But when a raft has to be driven 
through the water by oars or sails, its resistance is excessive, 
and it has occurred to the Fijians and other islanders 
that a raft formed by two parallel logs united by cross-poles 
and carrying a raised platform, would go more easily. Look- 
ing at this simple contrivance, it has been reasonably 
thought that it led up to the invention of the outrigger 

256 ANTHROPOLOGY. chap. 

canoe, known in ancient Europe, and now prevailing in the 
Pacific and as far as Ceylon. One of the two logs is now 
represented by the canoe, the second remaining as the out- 
rigger log, fastened to the ends of the two projecting poles, 
so as to steady the whole in rough weather. Or indeed the 
two logs may both become canoes, and the platform be 
retained ; thus we have the Polynesian double-canoe, 
whose principle has been lately turned to account in the 
double -steamboat to smooth the passage between Dover 
and Calais. 

Next, as to the ways by which boats are propelled 
through the water. The origin of rowing is plainly shown 
by the Australian straddling his pointed log and paddling 
with his hands, or by the fisherman of the Upper Nile 
propelling with his feet the bundle of stalks he sits astride 
on. The primitive wooden paddle, imitating the form and 
doing the w^ork of the flat hand or foot, is well known to 
savages, who mostly use the single paddle with a blade 
or shovel end ; the double-ended paddle, such as our 
canoeists have borrowed from the Esquimaux, is a peculiar 
improved form. The paddle used free-handed to dig or 
sweep at the water, is best suited to the narrow bark- 
canoe or hollowed trunk, but for larger craft it is a rude 
contrivance as compared with the civilized oar, which is a 
lever pulled against a fulcrum so as to use more of the 
rower's force, and in a steadier pull. The difference between 
barbaric and civilized knowledge of mechanical principles, 
is well seen by comparing a large South Sea Island canoe 
with twenty paddlers shovelling the water, to one of our 
eight-oared launches. Of sails, perhaps the simplest idea 
is to be seen in Catlin's sketch of North American Indians 
standing up each in his canoe, holding up his blanket 
with outstretched arms with its lower end tied to his leg, 

X.] ' ARTS OF LIFE. 257 

and so going before the wind. The rudest regular sail 
used anywhere is a mat or cloth held up by two sticks as 
stays at the upper corners and made fast below, or sup- 
ported by an upright pole and cross-piece, the primitive 
mast and yard. It is so common for the lower tribes of 
men never to sail their boats, that it is difficult to imagine 
that their ancestors ever knew how. Surely they would 
have kept it up, for the art of saving so much labour with 
so little pains would not easily have fallen out of mind. 
It seems more likely that the invention of the sailing vessel 
belongs to a period when civilization was far advanced. 
Yet this period was very ancient. 

Up to this point, in making out how the simpler kinds of 
boats came into existence, history gives no help. Not only 
does their origin mostly lie beyond record, but by the time 
we come fairly into history we find the ancient nations 
knowing how to build vessels of more advanced order, 
framed with keel and ribs, and sheathed with nailed 
planks, in fact the direct predecessors of our own ships. 
Egypt, or somewhere else in that Old World region of 
ancient culture, may have been the original centre whence 
the higher shipwrights' craft spread over the world. It is 
instructive to study the ancient Egyptian vessel (Fig. 71) 
depicted on the wall of a Theban tomb, and to see how 
far it already has in a rudimentary state the parts which 
we recognise as belonging to the fully-developed ship. As 
was common, it was a combination of rowing-galley and 
sailing-ship. The rowers sit on cross benches, pulling at 
the oars which pass through loops, while at the stern is 
worked the great steei-ing-oar which is the ancestor of 
our rudder (this used to be merely an oar, which its 
name originally meant, like ruder in German). There 
is a mast held up by stays and carrying yards, with 





ropes rigged to hoist them and to furl the sail. The 
forecastle and poop are already represented by raised struc- 
tures on the deck. In the Egyptian pictures of war-ships 
it is seen how these served as stations for the archers, 
while the fighting-men were also protected behind a bul- 
wark, and there is even the "crow's nest" on the top of 
the mast serving as a place for slingers to hurl stones from 
at the enemy, from which comes our *' mast-head." Com- 
paring with the Egyptian vessels the ancient galleys and 
ships of the Mediterranean, whether Phoenician, Greek, 

Fig. 71. — Ancient Nile-boat, from wall-painting, Thebes. 

or Roman, it is impossible to think these can have 
come into existence by separate lines of invention ; the 
family likeness among them is too strong. Even farther off, 
the likeness of the craft still used in the Ganges to the ancient 
Nile-boats is surprising, and the eye of Osiris painted on 
the Egyptian funeral bark that carried the dead across the 
lake to the western burial-place, may perhaps have first 
suggested the painting of eyes as ornaments on the bows of 
boats, from the barks in Valetta harbour in the west to the 
junks of Canton in the east. In following the course of 


development from the ancient to tlie modern ship, we 
notice that from time to time new appliances come in, as 
metal sheathing to protect the planks from the boring teredo, 
the iron fluked anchor instead of a great stone, the capstan 
for hauling, &c. More masts and spars now served to carry- 
more sails, and tier above tier of rowers impelled the classic 
bireme and trireme. The war-galley lasted on into our 
own time in the Venetian navy, kept in use in spite of 
its bad sea-going quality, for its power of dashing upon 
sailing-vessels helpless in a calm. The galley-slaves who 
laboured at the huge oars were captives or criminals, and 
though the French galleys no longer remain for penal 
servitude, the term galerien or galley-slave still means a 
convict. The vast improvement of European sailing-vessels 
in the middle ages is in great measure due to an invention 
learnt from the far east — the mariner's cofupass. Ships, now 
able to steer their courses on long voyages out of sight of 
land, were improved in build and rigging, while the men- 
of-war with several decks armed with tiers of cannon 
became floating castles. Lastly, during the present century, 
steam-power has been appHed to propel the ship from 
within, the paddle-wheel or screw in fact taking the place 
of the old banks of oars, and the changeable wind-power 
being now only turned to account as an occasional aid and 
means of saving fuel. It is needless to describe the changes 
which modern armour-plating and huge guns have made 
in the construction of ships of war, but even these still 
show plainly enough how they were formed by successive 
alterations from the primitive canoe. 

s 2 


ARTS OF \.\Y^^{concluded). 

Fire, 260 — Cookery, 264 — Bread, &c., 266 — Liquor?, 268 — Fuel, 270 
— Lighting, 272 — Vessel?, 274— Pottery, 274 — Glass, 276 — Metals, 
277 — Bronze and Iron Ages, 278 — Barter, 281 — Money, 282 — 
Commerce, 285. 

The subject next to be considered is Fire and its uses. 
Man understands fire and deals witli it in ways quite beyond 
the intelligence of the lower animals. There is an old story 
how, in the forests of equatorial Africa, when travellers had 
gone away in the morning and left their fires burning, the 
huge manlike apes called pongos (probably our gorillas) 
would come and sit round the burning logs till they went 
out, not having the sagacity to lay more wood on. This 
story is often repeated to contrast human intelligence with 
the dulness of even the highest apes. Of course there had 
been forest-fires in ages before man, as when the trees had 
been set in flames by lightning or by a lava stream. But 
of all creatures man alone has known how to manage fire, 
to carry it from place to place with burning brands, and 
when it went out to produce it afresh. No savage tribe 
seems really to have been found so low as to be without 
fire. In the limestone caverns, among the relics of the 


mammoth period, morsels of charcoal and burnt bones are 
found imbedded, which show that even in that remote 
antiquity the rude cave-men made fires to cook their food 
and warm themselves by. 

As to the art of producing fire, the savage way was mostly 
by the friction of two pieces of wood, and to this day 
travellers may now and then see the simple apparatus at 
work. The hand fire-drill consists of a stick like an arrow- 
shaft cut to a blunt point, which is twirled like a chocolate- 
muUer between the hands (shifted up when they get too 
far down) with such speed and pressure as to bore a 
hole into an under-piece of wood, till the charred dust 
made by the boring takes fire. Fig. 72 shows a Bushman 
thus drilling fire while his companion attends to the tinder. 
The Polynesian way is different, pushing the pointed stick 
along a groove of its own making in the under-piece of 
wood. Either method will make fire in a few minutes, 
but knack and proper choice of wood are needed, and 
one of us will hardly succeed. For easier working, some 
nations have long had a mechanical improvement on the 
simple savage fire-drill, by driving it with a thong wound 
a couple of turns round the stick, and pulled to and 
fro ; also, working it with a bow like the common bow- 
drill of our tool-shops is not unknown. In either case a 
top-piece is required to keep the drill down (not too hard) 
on its bearing. 

Among civilized nations, the old fire-drill had already in 
ancient times been superseded in common use by better 
contrivances, especially the flint and steel. But although 
discarded from practical life, it has been kept up for 
ceremonial purposes. As has been already mentioned, 
(p. 16) the Brahmans may be still seen "churning" with 
a fire-drill driven by a hair- cord the pure divine fire for 




their sacrifices, thus rehgiously keeping to the old-fashioned 
instrument used in daily life by the early Aryans. The 
ancient Romans had such a survival of their past state of 
.arts in the law that if the vestal virgins let out the sacred 
fire, it was to be made afresh by drilling into a wooden 
board. The old art lias even lasted on in Europe to our 
own day as the orthodox means of kindhng the *' need-fire," 
wdth which, when there was a murrain, the peasants in 
many parts used to light bonfires to drive the horses and 
cattle through, to save them from the pestilence. This 
rite, inherited from the religion of pra^-Christian times, 

Fig. 72. — Bushman drilling fire (after Chapman). 

requires new wild- fire made by friction, not the tame fire 
of the hearth. The last need-fire on record in Great 
Britain is perhaps one that was made in Perth in 1826, but 
they may still be seen in Sweden and elsewhere when there 
is cholera or other pestilence about. In the last century 
there was a law passed forbidding the superstitious friction- 
fire in Jonkoping, the very district now famous for its 
cheap tandstickor or tinder-sticks, that is, lucifer-matches. 
So curiously do the extremes of civilization come together 
in the world. 

The fire-drill is a means of converting mechanical force 


into heat till the burning-point of wood is reached. But all 
that is really wanted is a glowing hot particle or spark, and 
this can be far more easily got in other ways. Breaking a 
nodule of iron pyrites picked up on the sea-shore, and witli 
a bit of flint striking sparks from it on tinder, is a way of 
fire-making quite superior to the use of the wooden drill. 
It was known to some modern savages, even the miserable 
natives of Tierra del Fuego ; to the prae-historic men of 
Europe, as appears from the bits of pyrites found in their 
caves ; and of course to the old civilized world, as witness 
the Greek name of the mineral, purites ox "fiery." Sub- 
stitute for this a piece of iron, and we have the flint-and- 
steel, the ordinary apparatus of nations from their entry 
into the iron age till modern times. Yet even this has now 
been so discarded that the old-fashioned kitchen tinder-box 
with its flint and U-shaped steel, and damper for preparing 
the tinder from scraps of burnt linen to light the brimstone- 
match with, has become a curiosity worth securing when 
found by chance in some farmhouse. Mention need hardly 
be made here of the burning-lens and the concave mirror 
known in ancient Greece, nor of the wooden condensing 
syringe (much like that described in our books on physics) 
known in the Chinese region ; these are rather curious than 
practically important. Quite otherwise with the invention 
of the lucifer-match, dating from about 1840, Its action 
depends on phosphorus igniting by being rubbed, the head 
of an ordinary lucifer being of an inflammable composition, 
containing chlorate or nitrate of potash, which is fired by 
particles of phosphorus mixed in with it , for the safety- 
match, these particles of phosphorus are put, not in the 
match-head, but on the rubber instead. 

In the low levels of civilization the hut is often so small 
that the fire has to be made outside. But when it becomes 

264 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

spacious enough, the fire of logs burns on the hard-trodden 
earth in the middle of the hut, the smoke finding its 
way out as it can by door and cracks. Those who have 
chanced to spend a night lying on the ground with their 
feet to the fire in such a dwelling, know both what place the 
fire has in barbaric comfort, and how that comfort was 
increased when builders took the trouble to make a smoke- 
hole in the roof, and afterwards came to a real chimne3^ 
The history of artificial warming from this point lies so 
plainly before us as not to need a long description. From 
the fire of a few sticks on the cottage hearth, we come to 
the wide fire-places in the halls of country houses, with their 
fire-dogs, after the fashion of the middle ages.^ Then come 
the coal- fires in open grates, the closed stoves, and the 
arrangements for warming the house with currents of hot 
air, or circulating pipes of hot water. 

From house-warming we come to cookery The heat 
applied in cooking food, bursting the cells and softening the 
tissues so as to make it easier to chew, is an important aid 
to digestion, saving energy which would be wasted on as- 
similating raw flesh or vegetables. It would not indeed be 
impossible for man to live on uncooked food, and perhaps 
the nearest approach to this is found on some coral islands 
of the Pacific, where raw fish and coco-nuts form a great 
part of the native diet. Low tribes, especially half-starved 
wanderers of the deserts, such as the Australians, eat 
insects, grubs, shellfish, and small reptiles, raw as they find 
them ; and Brazilian forest-men have been seen to imitate 
the ant-bear by poking a stick into an ant-hill, and letting 
the ants run up it into their mouths. These practices shock 
Europeans, who themselves however have no scruples as 
to oysters and cheese-mites, to which they happen to be 
accustomed. But these rude tribes know how to cook, as 



indeed all mankind do, the familiar definition of man as 
the "cooking animal" having no proved exception, ancient 
or modern. Civilized nations have come so thoroughly to 
this way of assisting nature, that they cook almost every- 
thing they eat, only keeping up primitive habits in eating 
nuts, berries, and other fruit raw as more pleasing to the 
taste. It has long been looked on as a sign of low culture 
to eat raw meat, like the Eurytanes of the interior of Greece 
whom Thukydides mentions as " most ignorant in their 
speech, and said to be raw-eaters {o7iiophagoi)y Even the 
native tribes of New England were struck with this habit 
among the roving race of the far north, whom they called 
accordingly Eskimantsic or " raw-flesh-eaters," a name they 
still bear in its French form Esquimaux. 

The roughest ways of cooking are to be seen among 
savages, who broil their meat on the burning logs, or roast 
it stuck on the primitive spit, a pointed stake planted 
sloping over the fire, or bury it in the hot embers as boys 
do chestnuts or potatoes. From this latter mode comes 
the invention of the oven, which in its simplest form may 
be a hollow tree set on fire and smouldering inside, or a 
pit dug in the ground and heated by a wood-fire, often 
with red-hot stones put in to help the baking. Brazilian 
tribes set up four posts with a grating of branches across, 
on which they laid their game and fish with a slow fire 
underneath. Meat prepared on such a boucan will keep 
a long while ; the pirates of the West Indies used thus to 
prepare their stores of meat, whence comes the word 
biicaneer. To the buffalo-hunting tribes of North America 
belongs the invention oi pem77iican, meat dried and pounded 
for keeping, while in many parts of the world people 
know how to dry sheets or strips of meat in the hot sun ; 
this is called jerked meat, and will keep. The use of hot 

266 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

stones in baking has just been mentioned. From this the 
important art of boiUng food may have been derived. In 
many parts of the world, among tribes who do not know 
how to make an earthen pot, there is found the curious 
art of stone-boiHng, which is a sort of wet baking. The 
Assinaboins of North America have their name, which 
means ''stone-boilers," from their old practice of digging a 
hole in the ground, lining it with a piece of the slaughtered 
animal's hide, and then putting in the meat with water, and 
hot stones to boil it. Tribes of the far West actually managed 
by means of red-hot stones to boil salmon and acorn- 
porridge in their baskets made of close-plaited roots of the 
spruce fir. The process of stone-boiling has lasted on even in 
Europe where found convenient for heating water in wooden 
tubs. Linnaeus on his northern tour found the Both- 
land people brewing beer in this way, and to this day 
the "rude Carinthian boor" drinks such "stone-beer," as it 
is called. As soon as the cooks anywhere are provided 
with earthen pots or metal kettles, boiling over the fire 
becomes easy. Yet it is curious to notice the absence 
of boiled meats from the feasts of the Homeric heroes, 
where there is so much about the joints stuck on spits to 
roast, and the vengeful Odysseus rolling to and fro on his 
bed is compared to an eager roaster turning a stuffed 
paunch before the blazing fire. Among the old Northmen 
it was otherwise, for it is told in the Edda how the 
warriors feast every night in Walhalla on the sodden 
flesh of the boar Saehrimnir, who is daily boiled in the huge 
kettle, and comes to life again ready for the morrow's hunt. 
The simplest ways of making bread, such as seem to 
have come in with the earliest cultivation of grain, answer 
so well for some purposes that they may still be seen 
almost unchanged. Thus in a north country cottage the 


housewife moistens the oatmeal and kneads it into dough, 
which spread out thin is baked into oatcakes on the hot 
iron girdle (it u sed to b e a hot stone) ; and the damper of 
the Australian colonist is as simply made with flour and 
water in thick cakes, baked in the embers. These take us 
back near the primitive stages of an art which almost more 
than any other has civilized mankind. Such unleavened 
bread being first in use, the invention of leavened bread 
would follow as a matter of course, by the sour dough on 
the uncleaned vessel fermenting into leaven (French levain, 
lightening), which starts fermentation through the fresh 
dough, disengaging bubbles of carbonic acid within it 
which expand it into a spongy mass. In later times the 
yeast from brewing was found to be a better means than 
leaven ; and there are modern processes of introducing the 
gas by means of baking-powder (such as sal-aeratus or 
aerated salt, bicarbonate of soda), or the bread may be 
aerated by mixing the carbonic acid gas mechanically. 
The other great means of preparing farinaceous or starchy 
food is by boiling, which lets the starch out to mix with 
the water by bursting the tiny granules in which it is 
enclosed. Rice boiled whole furnishes about half the food 
of mankind, and among other staple articles of vegetable 
food are the various kinds of pap or porridge made 
with wheat, barley, oats, maize, sago, cassava, &c. Look- 
ing over a modern cookery-book, it is seen what an 
endless list of dishes and sauces have been contrived by 
clever cooks, to please the palate and make one wish for 
more. As to progress in cookery in this way, no doubt the 
moderns have left the ancients behind. But, after all, the 
main purpose of cooking food is to bring it into a proper 
condition for keeping up and working the human machine, 
body and mind. Examining it from this point of view, it 

268 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

is curious to notice what an old-world business it is. Its 
main processes of roasting, baking, and boiling, belong to 
the barbaric stage of culture, and had their origin in ages 
before history. 

The liquors drunk by man may next be noticed. Savage 
tribes such as the Australians were water-drinkers when 
discovered by the Europeans, and even the Hottentots and 
North American Indians knew no fermented drinks. It is 
difficult to suppose that an indulgence so tempting wo'uld 
ever be forgotten, if once known ; so that possibly the 
ancestors of these peoples may have from the first been 
ignorant of the art of fermenting liquor. But in most 
countries, especially where grain and fruit were cultivated, 
one would think that the process must sooner or later 
discover itself, by the accident of some suitable juice or 
mash being left to stand. In Mexico the milky juice of 
the aloe is fermented into pulque ; in Asia and Africa 
palms are tapped for palm- wine or toddy ; cider from 
apple -juice, and mead from honey and water, are well 
known ; the Tatars ferment their mares' milk into kumiss. 
Especially liquors of the beer kind prevail widely; the first 
mentioned in history is the beer brewed from barley by the 
ancient Egyptians, whence may perhaps be traced the 
ancient ale or beer of Europe ; allied to it are the kvass 
or rye-beer of Russia, the pombe or millet- beer of Africa, 
the so-called rice-wine of the Chinese, the chicha made 
with maize or cassava by the natives of America. Wine 
seems not less ancient, and the Egyptian paintings show 
the vineyards, the wine-presses, the wine-jars ; indeed, 
wine-making is still much what it was in those early ages 
of history. In ancient times it is curious to notice 
the frank undoubting delight of men in intoxicating 
drink, as a divinely given means of drowning care and 


stimulating dulness into wild joy. They drank it solemnly 
in their religious feasts and offered it to their gods. The 
ancient bards of the Vedic hymns thought no ill in singing 
of Indra the Heaven-god, reeling drunk with the libations 
of the sacred soma poured out by his worshippers, and in 
later ages the Greeks chanted in bacchanal processions the 
praises of the beneficent Dionysos, who made all nations 
happy with the care-dispelling juice of the grape. But in 
early times also there comes into view an opposite doctrine. 
The guardians of religion, sensible of the evil of drunken- 
ness, begin to proclaim not only excess as hateful, but the 
very tasting of strong drink a sin. The Brahmans, although 
the libation of the soma remains by old tradition among 
their sacred rites, yet account the drinking of spirituous 
liquors one of the five great sins; while in the old rival 
religion of Buddha, one of the ten precepts or command- 
ments which the novice promises to obey, is that forbidding 
the use of intoxicating liquor. Though the religion of 
Mohammed arose in great measure out of Judaism and 
Christianity, he cast off their ancient honour for wine and 
its use in sacred rites, forbidding it as an abomination. It 
was not till the middle ages that distilled spirit, though 
more ancient in the East, came into use among the western 
nations. It was generally accepted as beneficial, as is well 
seen in the name of "water of life," Latin aquavitce, French 
eau-de-vie, Irish usqicehaiigh (for shortness ivhisky). Alco- 
holic spirit is now produced in immense quantities from the 
refuse of wine-making, brewing, sugar-refining, &c. Its 
employment as a habitual stimulant is among the greatest 
evils of the modern world, bringing about in the low levels 
of the population a state of degradation hardly matched in 
the worst ages of history. On thp other hand, modern 
civilized life has gained in comfort by taking to the use of 

270 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

warm slightly stimulant drinks. Tea, at first valued by the 
Buddhist monks in Central Asia as a drug to keep the 
ascetic awake for his nightly religious duties, seems to have 
been introduced as a beverage in China at about the 
Christian era, and has spread from thence all over the 
world. Coffee is at home in Arabia, and the world owes 
its general use to the Moslems. Chocolate was brought by 
the Spaniards from old Mexico, where it was a favourite 
drink. With these, mention has to be made of tobacco, 
also an importation from America, where at the time of 
the discovery it was smoked by natives of both the north 
and south continent. 

In here describing fires and fire-places (p. 264), wood 
has been taken as the primitive fuel. Indeed, the fire of 
fallen boughs made at a picnic in the woods may take our 
minds fairly back to prge-historic life. When in the savage 
hut the logs are piled on the earthen floor, this simple 
hearth already becomes the gathering-place of the family 
and the type of home. But in treeless districts the want of 
fuel is one of the difficulties of life, as where on the desert 
plains the buffalo-hunter has to pick up for the evening fire 
the droppings which he calls '' buffalo-chips " or '' bois de 
vache." Even in woodland countries, as soon as people 
collect in villages, the fire-wood near by is apt to run short. 
When some American Indians were asked what reason they 
supposed had brought the white men to their country, they 
answered quite simply that no doubt we had burnt up all 
our wood at home, and had to move. The guess was so 
far good, that something of the kind must really have 
happened had we depended on the fuel from our forests 
and peat-bogs, for the supply in England was giving out. 
Thus what was in old times the forest-land of Kent and 
Sussex, and has still kept its name of the Weald {i.e. wood), 


is not now well timbered, but this is because in Queen 
Elizabeth's time it had been stripped to make charcoal for 
the iron furnaces. Indeed, there then seemed danger that 
as population increased and manufactures throve, England 
might become like North China now, where in the cold 
weather people huddle at home wrapped in furs, fuel being 
too scarce except for the cooking-stove. But instead of 
this coming to pass, there took place an industrial change 
in England, which multiplied the population and brought 
on our present prosperity. This was the use of coal, on 
which our modern manufacturing system depends. Even 
for household purposes the coal-cellar has almost superseded 
the wood-stack, and the blazing yule-log has become a 
picturesque relic of the past. The very word coal, which 
in the English Bible keeps its original sense of burning 
wood, has since been usurped by the mineral. It must not, 
however, be supposed that the use of coal was only dis- 
covered in modern times. The Chinese have mined it 
from time immemorial. In the thirteenth century, the 
famous Venetian traveller, Marco Polo, related that in 
Cathay there is a kind of black stones, which are dug out 
of veins in the mountains, and burn like faggots ; and I 
can tell you (he says) that if you put them on the fire in 
the evening so that they catch well, they will burn all night 
and even be alight in the morning. That this was told and 
received as a wonder in Europe, shows how unfamiliar the 
use of coal then was. Though lithanthrax or " stone-coal " 
was not unknown to the ancients, its full importance to 
modern life only came gradually into view. Having first 
been brought in for economy to meet the scarcity of wood, 
it afterwards became, when applied to the steam-engine, an 
almost boundless source of power for all mechanical 
work. A steam-engine, for every few shovelfuls of coal 

272 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap, 

its furnace is fed with, will do the day's work of a 
horse. Thus the yearly output of millions of tons of steam- 
coal in Great Britain alone, furnishes a supply of force in 
comparison with which what was formerly available from 
windmills and watermills and the labour of men and beasts 
was quite small, while the workman's task becomes more 
and more that of directing this brute force to grind and 
hammer, to spin and weave, to carry across land and sea. 
It is like the difference between driving the waggon and 
carrying the sacks of corn to market on one's own back. It 
is an interesting problem in political economy to reckon the 
means of subsistence in our country during the agricultural 
and pastoral period, and to compare them with the re- 
sources we now gain from coal, in doing home-work and 
manufacturing goods to exchange for foreign produce. 
Perhaps the best means of realizing what coal is to us, will 
be to consider, that of three Englishmen now, one at least 
may be reckoned to live by coal, inasmuch as without it 
the population would have been so much less. 

The Australian savage would catch up a blazing brand 
from the camp-fire, to light him into the dark forest and 
scare away the demons. Thus there is as yet no difference 
between his primitive means of artificial heat and light. 
The two begin to separate when resinous pine-splints or the 
like are set aside to serve as natural flambeaux, and from 
this the next step is to make artificial flambeaux, of which 
the commonest is the twist or torch (from Latin torquere) of 
oakum dipped in pitch or wax. Till this century we used 
torches much as the ancient Romans did, but they are now 
seldom to be seen, and by their disuse the picturesque side 
of life loses many striking effects of torchlight glare and 
shadow on banquet and procession — the delight of painters 
and poets. Not half the passers-by in old-fashioned streets 


now know that the extinguishers on the iron raiUngs were to 
put out the links or torches carried to hght the company 
to their coaches. The candle looks as though it might 
have been invented from the torch. The rushlight, made 
of the pith of the rush dipped in melted fat, was in com- 
mon use in Pliny's time, as was also the wax or tallow 
candle with its yarn wick. The old classic lamp 'was a 
flattish oval vessel with a nozzle (;>., nostril) at one end 
for the wick to come out at. Simple as this construction 
is, it has had a long unchanged use. Museums have few 
Greek and Roman objects more plentiful than such earthen- 
ware lamps, nor more exquisite specimens of metal-work 
than the bronze ones ; and to this day the traveller off the 
main road in Spain or Italy is lighted to his bedroom with 
a brass stand-lamp much after the manner of the ancients, 
with its pick-wick hanging to it by a chain. The lamp only 
came into its improved modern make about a century ago, 
when Argand let the air in from below, and put on the glass 
chimney to set up a draught. The gas-lamp is still later, 
only having come into practical use during the last sixty 
years. But it is curious to notice that natural gas-lighting 
had long been known in places where decomposing bi- 
tuminous beds underground set free carburetted hydrogen. 
Thus at the famous fire-temples of Baku (west of the 
Caspian), a hollow cane was stuck in the ground near the 
altar, through which the gas rose and burnt at its mouth, 
while the pilgrini fire-worshippers prostrated themselves and 
adored the sacred flame. In China, at salt springs where 
such a supply of natural gas comes up, the practical- 
minded people are content to lay it on through bamboos 
into the buildings, to boil the brine-kettles and light up the 

The examination here made of the modes of cooking 


274 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

requires some notice of vessels. For water-vessels men 
can make shift without the art of the potter, using joints of 
bamboo, coco-nut shells, calabash rinds, buckets scooped 
out of wood, pails of bark, bottles of skin. The horseman 
in desert regions carries his water-gourd at his saddle-bow, 
and even where a glass imitation has come in, the French go 
on calling it d. gourde^ just as we keep up the name of the old 
leather bottle for the glass ones we use now. It was one of 
the greatest household inventions to make earthen pots 
to stand the fire for boiling. When and where pottery was 
invented, is too far back to say. On the sites of ancient 
dwellings, wherever earthenware was in use, potsherds 
may be picked up in the ground. Where they are not 
to be found, as among the relics of tribes of the rein- 
deer-period in the caves of France, it may be safely 
concluded that these early savages had not come so far in 
civilization. The same is true of the Australians, Fuegians, 
and many other modern savages who had no pottery, and 
no broken bits in their soil to show that their predecessors 
ever had. One asks, how did men first hit upon the idea of 
making an earthen pot? It may not look a great stretch of 
invention, but invention moved by slow steps in early cul- 
ture, and there are some facts which lead to the guess that 
even pots were not made all at once. There are accounts of 
rude tribes plastering their wooden vessels with clay to stand 
the fire, while others, more advanced, moulded clay over 
gourds, or inside baskets, which being then burnt away left 
an earthen vase, and the marks of the plaiting remained as 
an ornamental pattern. It may well have been through such 
intermediate stages that the earliest potters came to see that 
they could shape the clay alone and burn it hard. This 
shaping was doubtless at first done by hand, as in America 
or Africa the native women may still be seen building up 


large and shapely jars or kettles from the bottom, moulding 
on the clay bit by bit. So in Europe, as any museum of an- 
tiquities shows, the funeral urns and other earthen vessels 
of the stone and bronze ages were hand-made ; and even 
now tourists who visit the Hebrides buy earthen cups and 
bowls of an old woman who makes them in ancestral 
fashion without a potter's wheel, and ornaments them with 
lines drawn with a pointed stick. Yet the potter's wheel 
was known in the world from high antiquity. Fig. 73 re- 
presents Egyptian potters at work, as shown in the wall- 
paintings of the Tombs of the Kings. It is seen that they 
turned the wheel by hand. So the Hindu potter is described 

■ ' • Fig. 73.— Ancient Egyptian Potter's Wheel (Beni Hassan). 

as now going down to the river side when a flood has 
brought him a deposit of fine clay, when all he has to do is 
to knead a batch of it, stick up his pivot in the ground, 
balance the heavy wooden table on the top, give it a spin 
round, and set to work. It was an improvement on this 
simplest wheel to work it from below by the foot, and in our 
potteries a labourer drives it with a wheel and band, but the 
principle remains unchanged. As we watch with untiring 
pleasure the potter with this simple machine so easily bring- 
ing shape out of shapelessness, we can well understand how 
in the ancient world it seemed the very type of creation, 
so that the Egyptians pictured one of their deities as a 

T oi 

276 ANTHROPOLOGY. [ciiap. 

potter moulding Man on the wheel. Fine art made son-;e 
of its earliest and most successful efforts in shaping the 
earthen vase, engraving and moulding patterns or figures 
on it. and painting it with pictures of gods and heroes, or 
scenes from myth or daily life, so that much of our know- 
ledge of such nations as Etruscans and even Greeks is 
derived from the paintings on their vases, art-relics almost 
everlasting though so fragile. A great part of the pottery 
of the world is still of the first and simplest kind, mere 
baked clay (Italian terra cottd) without glaze like our flower- 
pots, and therefore porous. To cure this fault, some people, 
as the Peruvians, varnished it, while even the Greeks often 
burnt in bitumen. The great improvement of glazing, that 
is, melting on a glassy coating in the furnace, was already 
known in ancient Egypt and Babylonia, while in later ages 
glazed earthenware reached high artistic excellence in the 
Persian ware and the majolica (from Majorca). In China a 
more perfect ware had been made above a thousand years 
before European potters got at the secret of imitating it. 
We call it chma^ or by the curious name porcelain, which 
originally meant a kind of oriental nacre or mother-of-pearl. 
China -or porcelain dishes are made of fine white kaolin or 
porcelain clay, and fired so intensely that the ware becomes 
vitrified not only at the glazed surface but through the sub- 
stance. The common principle in all these varieties of 
earthenware is that silica (which with alumina is present in 
all clay) forms fusible glassy silicates, which in terra cotta 
bind the mass together, and in glazed earthenware and china 
coat it on the surface or through. 

Glass itself is a fusible silicate of this kind, the base being 
potash, soda, and sometimes lead. There is a fanciful 
story told by Pliny, describing its invention as having taken 
place on a sandy shore of Phoenicia, where a ship happening 


to be moored, the merchants finding no stones to boil 
their kettle on, brought on shore lumps of nitre with which 
the ship happened to be laden, whereupon the fire melted 
the silica and alkali into glass. But the fact is that glass- 
making was an Egyptian art ages before the rise of Phoenician 
commerce, and to all appearance the Phoenicians and other 
nations learnt it from thence. Fig. 74 shows an Egyptian 
glass-blower. Among other things he would have made 
flasks to be covered with reed, much like our present 
oil-flasks. The ancient Egyptians made glass beads, and 
variegated glass cups, which even the Venetian glassworks 

Fic 7^. — Ancii-nt Egyptian Glass-blowing (Benl Hassan). 

can hardly match. But modern Europe may claim the 
clever art of making crown glass for window-panes by 
twhUng the red-hot blown globe till it opens in a circular 
sheet, and also the polishing of sheets of plate-glass, which 
make possible our great looking-glasses with their backs of 
brilliant tin amalgam. 

Fire is so important a means in extracting metal from the 
ore and working it afterwards, that some account of the use 
of metal may properly come in this chapter. But in 
thinking how men were led to the difficult processes of 
smelting ores to extract the metal, it has to be remembered 
that some metals are found in the metallic state. Thus the 
native copper near Lake Superior was used in long-past ages 


by the tribes then living in the country, who treated bits 
of the metal as a kind of malleable stone, hammering it 
cold into hatchets, knives, and bracelets. The same is 
true of gold, natural nuggets of which can be beaten cold 
into ornaments. It is only a guess that metal-working 
may have begun in this simple way ; still it seems a 
likely guess. Iron also is found in the metallic state, 
especially in the aerolites or meteoric stones which fall 
on the earth from time to time. Though in many of 
these the metal is apt to shiver to bits under the hammer, 
there is some meteoric and other native iron fit to 
be made into implements when heated white-hot in the 
forge, and it can even be to some extent worked cold. 
Some of the ores of metal are. themselves so metallic- 
looking that the smith would attempt to w^ork them in the 
fire, and this may have led to proper smelting. Thus 
magnetic iron ore not only looks like iron, but can be 
heated in the forge, and then and there hammered into 
such things as horse-shoes. 

It is a question whether men first worked copper or iron. 
In classic times, indeed, people felt certain that bronze was 
in use before iron. This bronze is an alloy of copper with 
about a ninth of tin to harden it, what an English mechanic 
would now call "gun-metal." An often-quoted line of 
Hesiod's tells how the men of old worked in bronze when 
as yet black iron was not ; and Lucretius, the Epicurean 
poet, taught that after the primitive time when men fought 
with sticks and stones, iron and bronze were discovered, 
but bronze was known before iron. However, the Greeks 
and Romans did not really remember very ancient times, 
and in some countries the use of iron was early. 
Egyptian and Babylonian inscriptions make mention of 
iron as well as copper. A piece of wrought iron taken 

XI.] . ARTS OF LIFE. 279 

out of the masonry of the great pyramid may be seen in 
the British Museum, and there are Egyptian pictures even 
showing the blue steel which the butcher had hanging 
at his side to sharpen his knife on. Now what is to be 
particularly noticed is that the Egyptians, though tliey thus 
had iron, mostly made their carpenters' tools of bronze. 
Among the Homeric Greeks, the smiths knew of iron, and 
even of steel or steely iron, if one may judge so from the 
famous passage in the Odyssey (ix. 391), about the hissing 
of the axe as the smith dips it in the cold water to 
strengthen the iron. Yet all the while bronze was the 
ordinary material not only for the warrior's armour and 
shield, but for his spear and sword. Clearly we have here 
a state of arts very unlike our own now, and it is worth 
while to try to understand tlie difference. An instructive 
remark in Kaempfer's account of Japan near two cen- 
turies ago, may help to explain it, where he says that both 
copper and iron were smelted in the country, and were 
about the same price, so that iron tools cost as much as 
copper or brass ones. The state of things far back in the 
ancient world may have been something like this. Iron, 
though known, was hard to smelt from the ore, and 
Homer's calling it the " much-wrought iron " shows how 
difficult the smiths found it to forge. But copper was 
plentiful, one well-known source being the island of Cyprus, 
whence its name of ces Cyprium {copper). Tin had not to 
be fetched from the ends of the world ; there were mines in 
Georgia, Khorassan, and elsewhere in inner Asia, where 
perhaps the discovery was made of using it to harden copper 
into bronze. When once this had been hit upon, the ease 
with which bronze could be melted, and such things as 
hatchets cast in stone moulds, would make it more con- 
venient than iron to the ancient artificer. This may have 

28o ANTHROPOLOGY. . [chap. 

been the real reason why the '' bronze age " set in over a 
great part of Europe and Asia, and was only followed by the 
" iron age " when iron coming to be better worked, cheaper 
and more plentiful, and steel especially being improved, 
brought out that superiority to bronze for tools and weapons 
which to us seems a matter of course. The remains of the 
lake-dwellings of Switzerland show how central Europe was 
once inhabited by rude tribes using stone implements, how 
at a later period bronze hatchets and spears prevailed, and 
lastly iron came in. Such, too, has been the history of the 
stone, bronze, and iron ages, traced by archaeologists in the 
burial-places of old Scandinavia, whether the use of the 
new metals was learnt by the native nations or brought in 
by conquering invaders. Nations living in the bronze age 
are known to history, especially the Mexicans and Peruvians, 
whom the Spaniards at the conquest found working in bronze 
with some skill, but knowing nothing of iron ; their state 
was like that of the Massagetae of central Asia, described 
by Herodotus some two thousand years earlier. Most of 
Africa, on the other hand, seems to have had no bronze 
age, but to have passed directly from the stone age to the 
iron age. Iron-smelting seems to have com.e into Africa in 
the north, and only spread lately down to the Hottentots, 
w^ho still remember in their stories the time when their 
ancestors used to cut down trees with stones. The Africans 
easily dig up their rich iron ore and smelt it with wood in 
simple furnaces which may be mere holes in the ground, the 
draught being generally by bellows. The primitive pair of 
bellows may there be seen, made of whole skins of goats or 
other animals, of which the one full of air is pressed or 
trodden on, while the empty one is pulled up to fill itself 
through a slit or valve. This shows iron-smelting not far 
from its rudest and probably earliest state. Among the 


various improvements which have now made iron more 
plentiful than in ancient times are the use of coke instead 
of charcoal for smelting; the introduction of cast-iron, 
which seems old in China, but was not common in England 
till the last century ; the use of machinery for rolling and 
forging. The progress of steel-making has been such as 
lately to make it possible for railways to be laid down with 
steel at a penny a pound. 

Other metals and their effect on civilization may be spoken 
of briefly. Silver has from ancient times been the companion 
of gold, as precious metals. Lead was easily extracted, and 
served the Romans for roofs and water-pipes. The alloy of 
copper and zinc was made by the Romans not by fusing 
together the two metals, but by heating copper with the zinc 
ore called calamine ; the result was brass, an inferior kind 
of bronze. Quicksilver was known to the ancients, who 
distilled it from the red cinnabar, and understood its use in 
extracting gold and silver, and for gilding. Of the many 
metals which have become known in modern times some 
have practical uses. Thus platinum is valuable for vessels 
which have to bear extreme heat or resist the action of 
acids, and aluminium is useful for its remarkable lightness. 
But we still mostly depend on the metals whose origin is 
lost in antiquity — iron, copper, tin, lead, silver, and gold. 

The mention of these last precious metals leads us to 
notice the important part which coin has had in developing 
civiUzation, and this again belongs to the general history of 
trade or commerce. The modern Englishman, accustomed 
to shops and counting-houses, hardly realises from what 
rude beginnings our comiplex commercial system arose. 
It is instructive to see trade in its lowest form among such 
tribes as the Australians. The tough greenstone, valuable 
for making hatchets, is carried hundreds of miles by natives 

282 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

who receive from other tribes in return the prized products 
of their districts, such as red ochre to paint their bodies 
with ; they have even got so far as to let peaceful traders 
pass unharmed through tribes at war, so that trains of youths 
might be met, each lad with a slab of sandstone on his 
head to be carried to his distant hom.e and shaped into a 
seed-crusher. When strangers visit a tribe, they are re- 
ceived at a friendly gathering or corrobboree, and presents 
are given on both sides. No doubt there is a general sense 
that the gifts are to be fair exchanges, and if either side is 
not satisfied there will be grumbling and quarrelling. But 
in this roughest kind of barter we do not yet find that clear 
notion of a unit of value which is the great step in trading. 
This higher stage is found among the Indians of British 
Columbia, whose strings of haiqua-shells, worn as orna- 
mental borders to their dresses, serve them also as currency 
to trade with, a string of ordinary quality being reckoned 
as worth one beaver's skin. In the Old World many traces 
have come down of the times when value was regularly 
reckoned in cattle ; as where in the Iliad, in the description 
of the funeral games, we read of the great prize tripod that 
was valued at twelve oxen, while the female slave who was 
the second prize was only worth four oxen. Here the 
principle of unit of value is already recognised, for not 
only could the owner of oxen buy tripods and slaves with 
them, but also he who had a twelve-ox tripod to sell could 
take in exchange three slaves reckoned at four oxen each. 
To this day various objects of use or ornament pass as 
currency, especially where money is scarce. Thus the 
traveller in Abyssinia may have to buy what he wants with 
cakes of salt, while elsewhere in Africa he has to carry iron 
hoe-blades, pieces of cloth, and strings of beads as money. 
Cowry-shells are still small change in South Asia, as they 


have been since time immemorial. These things do more 
or less clumsily what metal money does so conveniently. 
The use of money arose out of gold and silver being in old 
times bartered by weight for goods, as may be seen in the 
pictures of the ancient Egyptians weighing in scales heaps 
of rings of gold and silver, which shows that these were 
not yet real money. It is thus still with much of the gold 
and silver traded with in the East, where the little ingots 
have to be weighed and reckoned for what each is worth. 
The invention of coin comes in when pieces of metal are 
made of a fixed weight and standard, and marked with a 
figure or inscription to certify them, so that they may be 
taken without weighing or testing. This looks a simple 
thing to do, but the old Egyptians and Babylonians are not 
known to have hit upon it. Perhaps the earliest money 
may have been the Chinese little marked cubes of gold, 
and the pieces of copper in the shapes of shirts and 
knives, as though intended to represent real shirts or 
knives. Coins appear in Lydia and ^gina, in their early 
form, as rude dumps of precious metal stamped on one 
side only with a symbol such as the tortoise, the other 
side showing the mark of the anvil or tool they were 
placed on to be struck, which accidental back-pattern 
came to be improved in later coins into the ornamental re- 
verse. Art came on fast in coinage, so that among the most 
beautiful coins in the world are the gold staters of Philip of 
Macedon, with the laurel-crowned head on one side and 
the two-horse chariot on the other. But one reason why 
coins are no longer struck in such high relief is because 
they would be rubbed down by wear. The Roman as was 
not stamped but cast ; it seems to have been at first a pound 
of copper, its name meaning " one " (as ace at cards still 
does). From early ages the coinage has been a government 

284 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

monopoly, and the practice soon began of lowering the 
standard and lessening the weight for the profit of the royal 
treasury. How this debasing the coinage was carried on in 
Europe by one king after another may be seen in the fact 
that the libra or pound of silver came down in value to the 
French livre or franc, worth tenpence, and to the '■'■pound 
Scots," worth twenty pence. Though changed in value, the 
coinage of old times may be traced on to the present day, 
in our still keeping accounts in the £^ s. d. (librae, solidi, 
denarii) of the Romans. 

For small trading and at home, metal money answers 
well. But there is great trouble and risk in sending coin 
hundreds of miles to pay for goods bought at a distance. 
An easily carried substitute for gold and silver is the bank- 
note, a promise to pay so much, issued by the treasury or 
some banker, and passing as money from hand to hand. The 
Emperor of China appears to have issued such notes in 
exchange for treasure about the eighth century, and in the 
thirteenth century Marco Polo, the famous merchant-traveller 
in Tartary, describes the Great Khan's money of stam.ped 
pieces of mulberry-bark. It is plain from this account that 
the notion of paper-money was still strange to the mind of 
an European trader, but since then bank-notes have be- 
come an important part of the world's currency. Even 
more useful to commerce was t'lie invention of bills of ex- 
change. Suppose a merchant of Genoa to have sent silks to 
a merchant in London. He does not send for his money 
in return, but gives an order on a slip of paper that his cor- 
respondent in London, who owes him so much, is to pay 
it in so many days. This slip of paper is a bill of exchange, 
and is bought by another Genoese merchant who happens 
to owe money in London, and pays it by sending over the 
bill which claims the payment of the money there. Thus, 



instead of gold being sent backwards and forwards to pay 
for siiipments between London and Genoa, one debt is set 
off against another. This is describing in its simplest form 
the system which is so worked in the exchanges of mer- 
cantile cities all over the world, that the immense transac- 
tions of commerce are carried on by mutual credit, with 
only so much actual travelling of gold and silver as is 
necessary to adjust the balances between the different 

The main principle of modern commerce is still just 
what it was among the rude Indians of Brazil, where the 
tribes who make the deadly arrow-poison prepare more 
than they want for their own use, so as to exchange the rest 
for spears of the hard wood that grov/s in other districts, 
or the hammocks of palm-fibre netted by tribes elsewhere. 
Wealth is created by trade as well as by manufactures. 
The Canadian trapper wants for his own use but few of his 
plentiful furs, but all he can take are wealth to him, because 
the trader brings him in exchange the clothes and groceries 
and other things he wants. The general history of com- 
merce in the world, which is the development of this simple 
principle, need not be dwelt on here by giving details of 
the ancient traffic of Egypt with Assyria and India, the 
Phoenician trading colonies on the Mediterranean, the old 
trade-routes across Asia and Europe, the rise of the mer- 
chant princes of Genoa and Venice, the first voyages round 
the Cape to the East Indies, the discovery of America, the 
rise of ocean steam-navigation. It is specially interesting to 
the student of civilization to notice that the travelling 
merchant had in early ages another business hardly less im- 
portant than conveying ivory and incense and fine linen from 
where they were plentiful to where they were scarce. He 
was the bringer of foreign knowledge and the explorer of 

286 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap; xi. 

distant regions in days when nations were more shut up than 
now within their own borders, or went across them only as 
enemies to ravage and destroy. The merchants did much 
to break down the everlasting jealousy and strife between 
nations into peaceful and profitable intercourse. More- 
over it may be plainly proved that the old hostile system of 
nations is kept up by every kind of restriction on trade, 
every protective duty imposed to force the production of 
commodities in countries ill-suited to them, to prevent their 
coming in cheap and good from where they are raised with 
least labour. There is no agent of civilization more 
beneficial than the free trader, who gives the inhabitants of 
every region the advantages of all other regions, and whose 
business is to work out the law that what serves the general 
profit of mankind serves also the private profit of the 
individual man. 



Poetry, 287 — Verse and Metre, 28S — Alliteration and Rhyme, 289 — 
Poetic Metaphor, 289 — Speech, Melody, Harmony, 290 — Musical 
Instruments, 293 — Dancing, 296— Drama, 298 — Sculpture and 
Painting, 300 — Ancient and Modern Art, 301 — Games, 305. 

To those who have not thought particularly about straight- 
forward prose talk, and poetry which is set in metre and 
rhyme, and song which is chanted to a tune, it may seem 
that these are three clearly distinct things. But on careful 
examination it is found that they shade into one another, 
and it can be made out how human speech passed into all 
three states. Savage tribes have some set form in their 
chants, which shows they feel them different from common 
talk. Thus Australians, to work themselves into fury before 
a fight, will chant, "Spear his forehead! — Spear his breast! 
; — Spear his liver ! — Spear his heart!" and so on with the 
other parts of the enemy's body. Another Australian chant 
is sung at native funerals, the young women taking the first 
line, the old women the second, and all together the third 
and fourth. 

" Kardang garro *' Young-brother again 

Mammul garro Son again 

Mela nadjo Hereafter I-shall 

Nunga broo." See never." 


Here the words of the savage chant are no longer mere 
prose, but have passed into a rude kind of verse. All bar- 
baric tribes hand down such songs by memory, and make 
new ones. The North American hunter has chants which 
will bring him on the bear's track next morning, or give him 
victory over an enemy. The following is the translation of a 
New Zealand song : — 

" Thy body is at Waitemata, 
But thy spirit came hither 
And aroused me from my sleep. 

Chorus — Ha-ah, ha-ah, ha-ah, ha ! " 

This last shows a feature extremely common in barbaric 
songs, the refrain of generally meaningless syllables. We 
moderns are often struck with the absurdity of the nonsense- 
chorus in many of our own songs, but the habit is one which 
seems to have been kept up from the stages of culture in 
which the Australian savage sings " Abang ! abang ! " over 
and over at the end of his verse, or a Red Indian hunting- 
party enjoy singing in chorus " Nyah eh wa ! nyah eh wa ! " 
to an accompaniment of rattles Hke thosj which children 
use with us. 

It is among nations at a higher stage of culture that 
there appears regular metre, where the verses are measured 
accurately in syllables. The ancient hymns of the Veda are 
in regular metre, and this is proof how far the old Aryans 
had advanced beyond the savage state. Indeed the re- 
semblances between the metre of the most ancient Indian 
and Persian and Greek poetry show that in the remote ages 
of their national connection their measured verse had already 
begun. Metre is best known to us from Greek and Latin 
verses, but there are more metres in the world than Horace 
knew of For instance, when Longfellow versified a collection 


of American native tales in his "Song of Hiawatha," 
he found no metre among the Indians themselves, who were 
not cultured enough to have such a device ; so he imitated 
the peculiar metre of the Kalewala, the epic poem chanted 
by the native bards of Finland. Our own poetry, where 
the verses are scanned by accent, differs in its nature from 
the classic metres whose syllables are measured by quantity 
or length. Later than the invention of metre, came other 
means by which the poet could please his hearers with new 
effects of matched and balanced sounds. Thus our early 
English forefathers rejoiced in alliteration, where the same 
consonant comes in again and again, with a frequency which 
would * weary our modern taste, though our ear is pleased 
with occasional touches of it, as 

" Sober he seerade, and very sagely sad." — Spenser. 
" He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell." — Byron. 

Rhyme, too, seems comparatively modern in the world's 
history of poetry. Its clumsy beginnings may be judged 
from such lines as these of an old Latin poet (perhaps 
Ennius) quoted by Cicero : — ■ 

" Coelum nitescere, arbores fi-ondescere, 
Vites Isetificas pampinis pubescere, 
Rami bacarum ubertate incurvescere." 

Thus the Christian hymns of the middle ages, such as the 
famous "Dies Irae," did not bring in rhyme as quite a 
novelty, but they used it skilfully and made it common, and 
it was taken up also by the Troubadours, the masters and 
teachers of Europe in the poetic art. 

The best poetry of our own day is full of quaint fancy 
and delicate melody, the setting of lovely thought in har- 
monious language, at once pictures for the imagination and 


290 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

music for the ear. But besides this, it has a curious interest 
to the student of history, as keeping aUve in our midst the 
ways of thought of the most ancient world. Much of poetic 
art Ues in imitating the expressions of earHer stages of culture, 
when poetry was the natural utterance of any strong emotion, 
the natural means to convey any solemn address or ancestral 
tradition. The modern poet still uses for picturesqueness 
the metaphors which to the barbarian were real helps to 
express his sense. This may be seen in analyzing a poem 
of Shelley's : — 

" How wonderful is Death, 

Death and his brother, Sleep ! 
One, pale as yonder waning moon, 

With lips of lurid blue ; 

The other, rosy as the morn 
When throned on ocean's wave 

It blushes o'er the world." 

Here the likeness of death and sleep is expressed by the 
metaphor of calling them brothers, the moon is brought in 
to illustrate the notion of paleness, and the dawn of redness ; 
while to convey the idea of the dawn shining over the sea 
the simile of its sitting on a throne is introduced, and its 
reddening is compared on the one hand to a rose, and on 
the other to blushing. Now this is the very way in 
which early barbaric man, not for poetic affectation, but 
simply to find the plainest words to convey his thoughts, 
would talk in metaphors taken from nature. Even our daily 
prose is full of words, now come down to ordinary use, 
which show vestiges of this old nature-poetry, and the 
etymologist may, if he will, set up again the pictures of the 
old poetic thoughts which made the words. 

To read or recite poetry as we moderns do is to alter its 
proper nature, for the purpose of poetry was to be chanted. 


But this very chanting or singing grew out of talking. On 
listening carefully to the talk going on around us, we may 
observe that it does not run in an unchanged monotone, but 
that all sentences are intoned to an imperfect tune, a rise 
and fall of pitch marking the phrases, distinguishing question 
and answer, and touching emphatic words with a m.usical 
accent. This half-melody of common speech may be 
roughly written down in notes; it is not the same in EngHsh 
and German ; and indeed one way in which a Scotchman's 
talking is known from an Englishman's is the different in- 
toning of his phrases. When speech becomes solemn or 
impassioned, it passes more and more into natural chanting, 
which at devotional meetings may be heard nearly passing 
into distinct tune. The intoning in churches arose from the 
same natural utterance of religious feeling, but in course of 
time it became fixed by custom, and was forced into the 
regular intervals of the musical scale. So the artificial 
recitative of the opera is a modern musical working up of 
what has come down by tradition of the ancient tragic 
declamation, which- once swayed the listening throng of the 
Greek theatre. 

We are apt to take it as a matter of course that all music 
must be made up of notes in scale, and that scale the one 
we have been used to from childhood. But the chants of 
rude tribes, which perhaps best represent singing in its early 
stages, run in less fixed tones, so that it is difiicult to write 
down their airs. The human voice is not bound to a scale 
of notes, for its pitch can glide up and down. Nor among 
nations who sing and play by musical scales are the tones 
of these scales always the same. The question how m.en 
were led to exact scales of tones is not easy to answer fully. 
But one of the simplest scales was forced upon their atten- 
tion by that early musical instrument the trumpet, rude 

u 2 

292" ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

forms of which are seen in the long tubes of wood or bark 
blown by forest tribes in South America and Africa. A 
trumpet (a six feet length of iron gas- pipe will do) will sound 
the successive notes of the "common chord," which maybe 
written c e g c, on which the trumpeter performs the simple 
tunes known so well as trumpet-calls. This natural scale, 
perfect so far as it goes, contains the most important of 
musical intervals, the octave, fifth, fourth, and third. Another 
scale, of more notes than this, though of fewer than our full 
scale, is not less familiar to English ears. This is the old 
five-tone scale, without semitones, which can be played on 
the five black keys of the pianoforte, and the best-known 
form of which may be written c, d^ <?, g^ a, c. Old Scotch 
airs are on the five-tone scale, which indeed may sdll be 
met with across the world, as where some traveller in China 
watching a funeral procession has been surprised to hear a 
melancholy dirge like what he last heard played by a piper 
on the shore of a Highland loch. Engel, in his Music of 
Ancient Nations, shows that music of this pentatonic or 
five-toned kind has belonged since early times to other 
Eastern nations, so that any genuine Scotch melody like 
'^Auld Lang-syne" may give some idea of the music of anti- 
quity. The more advanced seven-tone scale which prevails 
in the modern world is nearly taken from that of the 
musicians of classic Greece, who accompanied the singer's 
voice on the eight-stringed lyre. Pythagoras, who first 
brought musical tones under arithmetical rule, had the 
curious fancy that the distances of the seven planets are 
related as the seven tones of the octave, an idea which 
still dimly survives among us in the phrase " music of the 

Modern music is thus plainly derived from ancient. But 
there has arisen in it a great new development. The music 


of the ancients scarcely went beyond melody. The voice 
might be accompanied by an instrument in unison or at an 
octave interval, but harmony as understood by modern 
musicians was as yet unknown. Its feeble beginnings may 
be traced in the middle ages, when musicians were struck 
by the effects got by singing two different tunes at once, 
when one formed a harmony to the other. It is still a joke 
among musicians to sing together in this old-fashioned 
way two absurdly incongruous tunes, for instance, " The 
Campbells are coming" and **The Vesper hymn," so 
arranged that one makes a sort of accompaniment to the 
other. The old rounds and catches, still popular, thus make 
one part of the tune serve as a harmony for the other. 
The Roman church part-music, and the Protestant singing 
by the congregation, with the organ to accompany them, 
had great effect in making the change by which the mere 
melody of the ancients grew into the harmonized melody 
of the moderns. This great step once understood, the 
student can follow in the history of music its successive 
stages in part-singing and orchestral composition, in the 
church and the concert-room, till in the hands of the great 
composers of the last three centuries the full resources of 
modern musical art were developed. 

The musical instruments of the present day may all be 
traced back to rude and early forms. The rattle and the 
drum are serious instruments among savages ; the rattle has 
come down to a child's toy with us, but the drum holds its 
own in peace and war. Above these monotonous instru- 
ments comes the trumpet, which, as has just been seen, brings 
barbaric music a long step further on. The pipe or flageolet 
appears in its simplest form in the common whistle, and is 
improved by holes, by which the player alters the length of 
the pipe so as to give several notes. From very remote 

294 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

times, and far and wide over the earth, the familiar pipe is 
found, played single or double, and sometimes blown with 
the nostril instead of the mouth. Already in the ancient 
world it was often provided with a skin wind-bag which 
made it into the bagpipe , or, held sideways and blown across 
the mouth-hole, it became the flute. Another way of bring- 
ing out a range of notes is seen in the Pan's pipes, the row 
of reeds of different lengths, in old classic days associated 
with the grac2 of rural poetry, but now come down to sound 
the vulgar pipings of the street showman. In the modern 
orchestra, the cornet is a trumpet provided with stops. The 
clarionet is a development of the grass-stem with a vibrating 
slit or tongue such as children cut in the fields in spring. 
The whole class of musical instruments to which the har- 
monium belongs, work with these vibrating tongues, which 
by their name of "reeds" still keep up the memory of their 
origin. The organ carries out in the widest range and grandest 
proportions the principle of the simple pipe or whistle, so 
that there is scientific correctness in the disrespectful name 
of " kist o' whistles " given it by the Scotch, who disliked its 
use in church. Not less primitive are the rudest forms in 
which stringed instruments appear. It is told in the Odyssey 
(xxi. 410) how the avenging hero, when he has strung his 
mighty bow compact of wood and horn, gives the stretched 
string a twang that makes it sing like a swallow in a soft 
tone beautifully. One might well guess that the strung bow 
of the warrior would naturally become a musical instrument, 
but what is more, it really is so used. The Damara in South 
Africa finds pleasure in the faint tones heard by striking the 
tight bowstring with a little stick. The Zulu despises the 
bow as a cowardly weapon, but he still uses it for music ; 
his music-bow, shown in Fig. 75 a, has a ring slid along the 
string to alter the note, and is also provided with a hollow 





gourd acting as a resonator or sounding-box to strengthen 
the feeble twang. Next, looking at b in the figure, it is seen 
how the ancient Egyptian harp may have been developed 
from such a rude music-bow, the wooden back being now 
made hollow so as to be bow and resonator in one, while 
across it are strung several strings of different lengths. 
All ancient harps, Assyrian, Persian, even old Irish, 

Fig. 75. — Development of the Harp, a, music-bow with gourd resonator (South 
Africa) ; b, ancient harp (Egypt) ; c, mediaeval harp with front-pillar (England). 

were made on this plan, yet we can see at a glance 
that it was defective, the bending of the wooden back 
putting the strings out of tune. It was not till modern 
ages that the improvement was made of completing the 
harp with the front-pillar, as seen in <r, which makes the 
whole frame rigid and firm. Looking at the three figures, it 

296 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

is seen how the course of invention was by gradual growth ; 
the harp with the pillar could not have been first invented, 
for no men could have been so stupid as to go on making 
harps and leave out the front-pillar when once the idea of it 
had come into their minds. The harp, though now made 
more perfect than of old, is losing its ancient place in music ; 
but the reason of this is easy to see, it has been supplanted 
by modern instruments which have come from it. The very 
form of a grand piano shows that it is a harp laid on one 
side in a case, and its strings not plucked with the fingers 
but struck with hammers worked from a keyboard. It is 
the latest development from the bowstring of the prsehistoric 

Dancing may seem to us moderns a frivolous amusement ; 
but in the infancy of civilization it was full of passionate 
and solemn meaning. Savages and barbarians dance their 
joy and sorrow, their love and rage, even their magic and 
religion. The forest Indians of Brazil, whose sluggish 
temper few other excitements can stir, rouse themselves at 
their moonlight gatherings, when, rattle in hand, they stamp 
in one-two-three time round the great earthen pot of intoxi- 
cating kawi-liquor ; or men and women dance a rude courting 
dance, advancing in lines with a kind of primitive polka 
step ; or the ferocious war-dance is performed by armed 
warriors in paint, marching in ranks hither and thither with 
a growling chant terrific to hear. We have enough of the 
savage left in us to feel how Australians leaping and yelling 
at a corrobboree by firelight in the forest can work themselves 
up into frenzy for next day's fight. But with our civiHzed 
notions it is not so easy to understand that barbarians' 
dancing may mean still more than this ; it seems to them 
so real that they expect it to act on the world outside. 
Thus among the Mandan Indians, when the hunters failed 


to find the buffalos on which the tribe depended for food, 
every man brought out of his lodge the mask made of a 
buffalo's head and horns, with the tail hanging down behind, 
which he kept for such an emergency, and they all set to 
dance buffalo. Ten or fifteen masked dancers at a time 
formed the ring, drumming and rattling, chanting and 
yelling; when one was tired out he went through the 
pantomime of being shot with bow and arrow, skinned, and 
cut up ; while another, who stood ready with his buffalo-head 
on, took his place in the dance. So it would go on, without 
stopping day or night, sometimes for two or three weeks, 
till at last these persevering efforts to bring the buffalo 
succeeded, and a herd came in sight on the prairie. The 
description and sketch of the scene will be found in Catlin's 
North American Indians. Such an example shows how, in 
the lower levels of culture, men dance to express their 
feelings and wishes. All this explains how in ancient 
religion dancing came to be one of the chief acts of worship. 
Religious processions went with song and dance to the 
Egyptian temples, and Plato said that all dancing ought to 
be thus an act of religion. In fact, it was so to a great 
extent in Greece, as where the Cretan chorus, moving in 
measured pace, sang hymns to Apollo, and in Rome, where 
the Salian priests sang and danced, beating their shields, 
along the streets at the yearly festival of Mars. Modern 
civilization, in which sacred music flourishes more than 
ever, has mostly cast off the sacred dance. To see this 
near its old state the traveller may visit the temples of India, 
or among the lamas of Tibet watch the mummers in animal 
masks dancing the demons out, or the new year in, to wild 
music of drums and shell-trumpets. Remnants of such 
ceremonies, come down from the religion of England 
before Christian times, are still som.etimes to be seen 

298 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

in the dances of boys and girls round the Midsummer 
bonfire, or of the mummers at Yuletide ; but even these 
are dying out. The dances of choristers in plumed hats 
and the dress of pages of Philip III.'s time, still performed 
before the high altar of Seville Cathedral, are now among 
the quaintest relics of a rite all but vanished from Christen- 
dom. Even sportive dancing, as a graceful exercise, is 
falling off in the modern world. The pictures from ancient 
Egypt show that the professional dancers were already 
skilful in their art, which perhaps reached its highest artistic 
pitch in classic Greece and Rome. Something of the old- 
fashioned picturesque village-dancing may still be seen at 
festivals in most countries of Europe except England, but 
the ball-room dances of modern society have lost much of 
the old art and grace. 

At low levels in civilization it is clear that dancing and 
play-acting are one. The North American dog-dance and 
bear-dance are mimic performances with ludicrously faithful 
imitations of the creatures' pawing and rolling and biting. 
So the scenes of hunting and war furnish barbarians with 
subjects for dances, as when the Gold Coast negroes have 
gone out to war, and their wives at home dance a fetish- 
dance in imitation of battle, to give their absent husbands 
strength and courage. Historians trace from the sacred 
dances of ancient Greece the dramatic art of the civilized 
world. Thus, in the festivals of the Dionysia, the wondrous 
life of the Wine-god was danced and sung, and from its 
solemn hymns and laughable jests arose tragedy and comedy. 
In the classic ages the player's art divided into several 
branches. The pantomimes kept up the earliest form, where 
the dancer acted in dumb show such pieces as the labours 
of Herakles, or Kadmos sowing the dragon's teeth, while the 
chorus below accompanied the play by singing the story ; 


the modern pantomime ballets, which keep up remains of 
these ancient performances, show how grotesque the old 
stage gods and heroes must have looked in their painted 
masks. In Greek tragedy and comedy the business of the 
dancers and chorus was separated from that of the actors, 
who recited or chanted each his proper part in the 
dialogue, so that the player could now move his audience 
by words of passion or wit, delivered with such tone and 
gesture as laid hold on all who listened and looked. Greek 
tragedy, once begun, soon reached its height among the 
fine arts, so that the plays of ^schylos and Sophokles are 
read as examples of the higher poetry, and the modern 
acted imitations like the Ph^dre of Racine give an idea of 
their power when the genius of the actors can rise to their 
height of emotion. The modern drama belongs not so 
much to the sacred mystery-plays of the middle ages as to 
the classic revival or renaissance of four centuries ago. 
Those who have seen the ruins of classic theatres at 
Syracuse, or on the hill-side of Tusculum, will best under- 
stand how a modern playhouse shows its Greek origin 
not only in the arrangement, but in the Greek names of its 
parts — the theatre^ ox spectators' place, which still keeps its 
well-planned horse-shoe shape ; the scene with its painted 
background and curtain in front \ while the orchestra or 
dancing-place, which was formerly for the choi'ns, is now 
given up to the musicians. The change in the tragedy and 
comedy performed in the modern theatre from those of the 
classic world is partly due to their having dropped the stiff 
solemn declamation which belonged to tlx^m while they were 
still religious ceremonies, and their personages divine. In 
the hands of modern dramatists, of Shakspere above all, the 
characters came to be more human, though representing 
human nature in its most picturesque extremes, and life in 

300 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

its intensest moments. Modern plays are not indeed bound 
to be strictly natural, but can still call in the supernatural, 
as where now fairies or angels may hover over the scene 
where in classic days the gods used to pass in mid-air 
borne in their machines. In the modern comedy the per- 
sons dress and talk as near as may be like daily life ; 
yet, even here, when the audience gravely fall in with the 
pretence that some of the speeches, though spoken aloud, 
are "asides" not heard by the actors close by, this shows 
that the modern world has not lost the power to make- 
believe, on which all dramatic art is founded. 

On this same power of make-believe or imagination are 
founded the two other fine arts, sculpture and painting. 
Their proper purpose is not to produce exact imitations, 
but what the artist strives to bring out is the idea that 
strikes the beholder. Thus there is often more real art in 
a caricature done with a few strokes of the pencil, or in a 
rough image hacked out of a log, than in a minutely painted 
portrait, or a figure at a waxwork show which is so like life 
that visitors beg its pardon when they walk up against it. 
The painter's and sculptor's art seems to have arisen in 
the world from the same sort of rude beginnings which 
are still to be seen in children's attempts to draw and carve. 
The sheets of bark or skins on which barbarous tribes have 
drawn men and animals, guns and boats, remind us of the 
slates and barn doors on which English children make their 
early trials in outline. Many of these children will grow up 
and go through their lives without getting much beyond 
this childish stage. The clergyman of a country parish 
some years ago set the cottagers to amuse themselves with 
carving in wood such figures as men digging or reaping. 
They produced figures so curiously uncouth, and in style so 
like the idols of barbarous tribes, that they w^ere kept as 


examples of the infancy of sculpture, and are now to be 
seen in the museum of Kew Gardens. Yet mankind, under 
favourable circumstances, especially with long leisure time 
on their hands, began in remote antiquity to train themselves 
to skill in art. Especially the sketches and carvings of 
animals done by the old cave-men of Europe have so 
artistic a touch that some have supposed them modern 
forgeries. But they are admitted to be genuine and found 
over a wide^ district, while forgeries which have been really 
done to palm oif on collectors are just wanting in the pecu- 
liar skill with which the savages who lived among the rein- 
deer and mammoths knew how to catch their forms and 
attitudes. Two of these ancient carvings are drawn in 
Figs. 3 and 4, and others in Lubbock's Prehistoric Times. 
The art of colouring would naturally arise, for savages who 
paint their own bodies with charcoal, pipeclay, and red and 
yellow ochre, would daub their carved figures and fill in 
their outline drawings with the same colours. Travellers in 
Australia sheltering from the storm in caves, wonder at the 
cleverness of the rude frescos on the cavern-walls of kan- 
garoos and emus and natives, dancing, while in South Africa 
the Bushmen's caves show paintings of themselves with 
bows and arrows, and the bullock-waggons of the white 
men, and the dreaded figure of the Dutch boer with his 
broad-brimmed hat and pipe. Among such people as the 
West Africans and Polynesians, the native sculptor's best 
skill has been used on images of demons and gods, made 
to receive worship and serve as bodies in which the 
spiritual beings are to take up their abode. Thus the idols 
of barbarians, as specimens of early stages of sculpture, 
have a value in the history of art as well as of religion. 

In the ancient nations of Egypt and Babylonia art had 
already risen to higher levels. Indeed Egyptian sculpture 

302 ANTHROPOLOGY. [char 

reached its best in the earlier rather than the later ages, for 
the stone statues of the older time stand and step with 
more free life in their limbs, and the calm proud faces of 
the colossal Thothmes and Rameses portraits (like Fig. 19) 
show the grandest ideal of an eastern despot, half tyrant, 
half deity. In the sculpture halls of the British Museum, 
it is seen that the early school of Egyptian sculptors were 
on _their way to Greek perfection, but they stopped short 
With trained mechanical skill they wrought statues by tens 
of thousands, hewing gigantic figures of the hardest granite 
and porphyry which amaze the modern stone-cutter, but 
their art, bound by tradition, grew not freer but more stiff and 
formal. They might divide their plans into measured squares, 
and set out faces and limbs by line and rule, but their 
conventional forms seldom come up to the Greek lines of 
beauty, and their monuments are now prized, not as models 
of art, but as records of old-world history. In the British 
Museum also, the alabaster bas-reliefs that adorned the 
palace-courts of Nineveh give a wonderfully clear idea of 
what Assyrian life was like, how the king rode in his chariot, 
or let fly his arrows at the lior^ at bay, or walked with the 
state umbrella held over his head ; how the soldiers swam 
the rivers on blown skins and the storming party scaled the 
fortress, while the archers shot down among them from the 
battlements, and the impaled captives hung in rows full in 
view outside the walls. But in such scenes proportion did 
not much matter if only the meaning were conveyed. It did 
not seem artistically absurd to the Assyrians to make archers 
so big that two fill a whole parapet ; nor did the Egyptians 
feel the comic impression made on our modern minds by 
the gigantic figure of the king striding half across the 
battle-field and grasping a dozen pigmy barbarians at a 
grip, to slash their heads off wilh one sweep of his mighty 


falchion. It was in Greece that the rules of art were 
developed which reject the figures of the older nations as 
stifif in form and unlifelike in grouping. Greek art is 
sometimes written of as though it had itself begun in the 
rudest stage, with clumsy idols of wood and clay, till by 
efforts of their own surpassing genius the Greek sculptors 
came to hew in marble the forms which are still the wonders 
of the world. But great as Greek genius was, it never did 
this. The Greek nations had been for ages in contact with 
the older civiHzatione of the Mediterranean ; their starting- 
point was to learn what art could do in Egypt, Phoenicia, 
Babylonia, and then their genius set them free from the 
hard old conventional forms, leading them to model life 
straight from nature, and even to fashion in marble shapes of 
ideal strength and grace. The Egyptian sculptors would not 
spoil polished granite with paint, but many of their statues 
were coloured, and there are traces of paint left on the 
Assyrian sculptures and on Greek statues, so that we are 
apt to have a wrong idea of a Greek temple, as though its 
marble gods and goddesses used to be of the glaring white- 
ness of a modern sculpture-gallery. The Greek terracotta 
statuettes in the British Museum are models of antique 
female grace in form and costume, only wanting the lost 
colour restored to make them the prettiest things in the 

In colour-drawing, or painting, the Egyptian wall-paint- 
ings show a style half-way between the lowest and the 
highest Here the scenes of old Egyptian life are caught 
at their characteristic moments, the shoemaker is seen 
drawing his thread, the fowler throwing at the ducks, the 
lords and ladies feasting and the flute-players and tumblers 
performing before them. Yet with all their clever expres- 
siveness, the Egyptian paintings have not quite left behind 

304 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

the savage stage of art. In fact they are still picture- 
writings rather than pictures, repeating rows of figures with 
heads, legs, and arms drawn to pattern, and coloured in 
childish daubs of colour — hair all black, skin all red-brown, 
clothing white, and so on. The change from these to the 
Greek paintings is surprising ; now we have no more rows 
of man-patterns, but grouped studies of real men. The best 
works of the Greek painters are only known to moderns by 
the admiring descriptions of the ancients, but more ordi- 
nary specimens which have been preserved give an idea 
what the paintings of Zeuxis and Apelles may have been. 
The tourist visiting for the first time the museum of Naples 
comes with a shock of surprise in face of Alexander of 
Athens' picture of the goddesses at play, the boldly drawn 
frescos of scenes from the Iliad, and the groups of dancers 
elegant in drawing and colouring. Most of these pictures 
from Herculaneum and Pompeii were done by mere house 
decorators, but these tenth-rate Greek painters had the 
traditions of the great classic school, and they show plainly 
that from the same source we also have inherited the art of 
design. Modern European painting comes in two ways from 
ancient art. On the one hand, Greek painting spread over 
the Roman Empire and into the East, and for ages found 
its chief home in the Christian art of Constantinople, whence 
arose the Byzantine style, often called pre-Raffaelite, which 
though wanting in the older freedom of classic Athens, 
was expressive and rich in colour. On the other hand, 
when in the fifteenth century the knowledge of classic 
art and thought revived in Europe, the stiff pictures of 
saints and martyrs gave place to more natural and graceful 
forms, and modern painting arose under Raffaelle and 
Michael Angelo, Titian and Murillo, in whom the two 
streams from the fountain-head of Greek art, so long 


separated, joined again. The ancients mostly painted on 
walls like the present fresco-painting, or on waxed wooden 
panels ; they did not know the use of oil to mix the ground 
colours with. This is just mentioned in the tenth century, 
so that the story of the brothers Van Eyck inventing oil- 
painting in the fifteenth century is not quite true. But they 
turned it to practical use, and from their time painters 
brought the substance and play of colour to a perfection 
which there is no reason to suppose the ancients ever 
approached. In modern times water-colour painting, used 
by the old masters for light sketches and studies, has 
also become an art of itself, especially in England. One 
branch of painting in which the moderns unquestionably 
surpass the ancients is landscape. Of old, however admi- 
rably the figures might be drawn, the hard conventional 
mountains, forests, and houses behind were still in the picture- 
writing stage, they rather stood as signs of the world outside 
than depicted it as it is. But now the artist's eyes are turned 
on nature, which he renders with a truthfulness unknown to 
the old masters who first gave living form to gods and heroes, 
apostles and martyrs. 

Something has now to be said of games, for play is one 
of the arts of pleasure. It is doing for the sake of doing, 
not for what is done. One class of games is spontaneous 
everywhere, the sports in which children imitate the life 
they will afterwards have to act in earnest. Eskimo 
children play at building snow huts, and their mothers 
provide them with a tiny oil-lamp with a bit of wick to set 
burning inside. Among the savages whose custom it is to 
carry off their wives by force from neighbouring tribes, 
the children play at the game of wife-catching, just as 
with us children play at weddings with a clergyman and 
bridesmaids. All through civilization, toy weapons and 


3o6 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

implements furnish children at once play and education ; 
the North American warrior made his boy a little bow and 
arrow as soon as he could draw it, and the young South 
Sea Islander learnt by throwing a reed at a rolling ring how 
in after-life to hurl his spear. It is curious to see that 
when growing civilization has cast aside the practical use 
of some ancient contrivance, it may still survive as a toy, 
as where Swiss children to this day play at making fire by 
the old-world plan of drilling one piece of wood into 
another ; and in our country lanes the children play with 
bows and arrows and slings, the serious weapons of their 

It is not quite easy to say whether man in a low savage 
state ever goes beyond these practical sports, and invents 
games of mere play. But higher up in civilization, such 
games are known from very ancient times. A trifling game, 
if it exactly takes hold of the playful mind, may last on in 
the world almost for ever. The ancient Egyptians, as their 
old paintings show, used to play our childish game of hot- 
cockles, where the blind-man who stoops down has to 
guess who thumped him on the back. These Egyp- 
tians played also the game of guessing the sum of the 
fingers held up by the two players, which is still popular in 
China, and in Italy, where one hears it half the night 
through with shouts of " three ! " " seven ! " " five 1 " 
" 7/wra I " ; it is a pity we have not this as a children's 
game in England, for it trains a sharp eye and a quick 
hand. While some of our games, such as hoops and 
whipping-tops, have gone on in the Old World for thousands 
of years, others are modern importations ; thus it was only 
about Stuart times that English children learnt from the 
Chinese, or some other nation in the far East, the art of 
flying kites. Or modern sports may be late improvements 


on old ones ; the split shank-bones fastened under the 
shoes for going on the ice delighted the London 'prentices 
for centuries before they were displaced by steel skates. 
How a game may sometimes go on for ages unchanged, 
and then suddenly turn into a higher form, is curiously seen 
in the game of ball. The ancients tossed and caught balls 
like children now, and a famous Greek and Roman lad's 
game was '• common ball," where there were two sides, and 
each tried to get the ball and throw it to the opposite goal. 
This is still played in a few country-places in England ; its 
proper name is "hurling," and football with the great 
leather ball is a variety of it. The ancients never seem to 
have used a stick or bat in their ball-play. But some 1,000 
or 1,500 years ago the Persians began to play ball on horse- 
back, which of course could only be done with a long stick, 
mallet, or racket ; in this way there came into existence the 
fine sport of chaugdn, which has lasted ever since in the 
East, and lately established itself in England under the 
name oi polo. When once the club or racket had been in- 
vented for horseback, it was easy to use it on foot, and thus 
in the middle ages there began the whole set of games in 
which balls are hit with bats, such as pall-mall and croquet, 
tennis, hockey and golf, rounders and cricket. 

Indoor games, too, have their curious history. Throwing 
lots or dice is far too ancient for any record to remain of 
its beginning, and the very draught-boards and men which 
the old Egyptians used to play on are still to be seen. The 
Greeks and Romans were draught-players, but their games 
were not like our modern game of draughts. ' On the other 
hand our merells or morris belongs to an old classical group 
of games, and Ovid alludes to the childish game of tit-tat-to. 
These games are played in China as well, and it is not known 
at which end of the earth they were first devised. The great 

X 2 

3o8 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. xir. 

invention in intellectual games may have been made a 
thousand years or so ago, when some Hindu, whose name 
is lost, set to work upon the old draught-board and men, 
and developed out of them a war-game, where on each side 
a king and his general, with elephants, chariots, and cavalry, 
and the foot-soldiers in front, met in battle array. This was 
the earliest chess, which with some little change passed into 
the modern European chess that still holds pre-eminence 
among sports, taxing the mind to its utmost stretch of fore- 
sight and combination. Our modern draughts is a sort 
of simplified chess, where the pieces are all pawns till they 
get across the board and become queens." The story in 
the history-books that cards were invented in France to 
amuse Charles VI. is a fiction, for they were known in the 
East centuries earlier. But at any rate the Europeans make 
with them combinations of skill and chance which excel 
anything contrived by their Asiatic inventors. Games which 
exercise either body or mind have been of high value in 
civilization as trainers of man's faculties. Games of pure 
chance played for money stand on quite a different footing ; 
they have been from the first a delusion and a curse. In 
our own time, there is perhaps no more pitiable sign of the 
slowness with which scientific ideas spread, than to hear 
the well-dressed crowds round the gaming-table at Monaco 
talking about runs of luck, and fancying that it makes a 
difference whether one backs the black or the red. This 
goes on although schoolboys are now taught the real 
doctrine of chances, and how to reckon the fixed percentage 
of each week's stakes that will be raked in by the croupier, 
and not come back. 



Science, 309 — Counting and Arithmetic, 310 — Measuring and Weigh- 
ing, 316 — Geonaetry, 318 — Algebra, 322 — Physics, 323 — Chemistry, 
328 — Biology, 329 — Astronomy, 332 — Geography and Geology, 335 
— Methods of Reasoning, 336 — Magic, 338. 

Science is exact, regular, arranged knowledge. Of com- 
mon knowledge savages and barbarians have a vast deal, 
indeed the struggle of life could not be carried on without 
it. The rude man knows much of the properties of matter, 
how fire burns and water soaks, the heavy sinks and the 
light floats, what stone will serve for the hatchet and what 
wood for its handle, which plants are food and which are 
poison, what are the habits of the animals that he hunts or 
that may fall upon him. He has notions hov\r to cure, and 
much better notions how to kill. In a rude way he is a 
physicist in making fire, a chemist in cooking, a surgeon in 
binding up wounds, a geographer in knowing his rivers and 
mountains, a mathematician in counting on his fingers. All 
this is knowledge, and it was on these foundations that 
science proper began to be built up, when the art of writing 
had come in and society had entered on the civilized stage. 
We have to trace here in outline the rise and progress of 


science. And as it has been especially through counting 
and measuring that scientific methods have come into use, 
the first thing to do is to examine how men learnt to count 
and measure. 

Even those who cannot talk can count, as was well shown 
by the deaf-and-dumb lad Massieu, who wrote down among 
the recollections of his childhood before the Abbe Sicard 
educated him, " I knew the numbers before my instruction ; 
my fingers had taught me them." We ourselves as children 
began arithmetic on our fingers and now and then take to 
them still, so that there is no difficulty in understanding 
how a savage whose language has no word for a number 
above three will manage to reckon perhaps a list of 
fifteen killed and wounded, how he will check off one finger 
for each man, and at last hold up his hand three times to 
show the result. The next question is, how numeral words 
came to be invented. This is answered by many languages, 
which show in the plainest way how counting on fingers and 
toes led to making numerals. When a Zulu wants to ex- 
press the number six, he says tatisitupa, which means " taking 
the thumb ; " this signifies that the speaker has counted all 
the fingers of his left hand, and begun with the thumb of 
the right. When he comes to seven, for instance when he 
has to express that his master bought seven oxen, he will 
say II kombile^ that is, " he pointed " ; this signifies that in 
counting he had come to the pointing-finger or forefinger. 
In this way the words "hand," ''foot," "man," have in 
various parts of the world become numerals. An example 
how they are worked may be taken from the language of the 
Tamanacs of the Orinoco ; here the term for five means 
" whole hand," six is " one of the other hand," and so on up 
to ten or "both hands " ; then " one to the foot " is eleven, 
and so on to '^ whole foot" or fifteen, "one to the other 

xiii.J SCIENCE. 311 

foot " or sixteen, and thence to " one man," which signifies 
twenty, " one to the hands of the next man " being twenty- 
one, and the counting going on in the same way to " two 
men " which stands for forty, &c. &c. Now this state of 
things teaches a truth which has sometimes been denied, 
that the lower races of men have, like ourselves, the faculty 
of progress or self-improvement. It is evident that there 
was a time when the ancestors of these people had in their 
languages no word for fifteen or sixteen, nor even for five or 
six, for if they had they could not have been so stupid as 
to change them for their present clumsy phrases about hands 
and feet and men. We see back to the time when, having 
no means of reckoning such numbers except on their fingers 
and toes, they found they had only to describe in words 
what they were doing, and such a phrase as " both hands " 
would serve them as a numeral for ten. Then they would 
keep up these as numerals after their original sense was lost, 
like the Vei negros who called the number twenty mo ba7ide^ 
but had forgotten that this must have meant *'a person 
finished." The languages of nations long civiHzed seldom 
show such plain meaning in their numerals, perhaps because 
they are so ancient and have undergone such change. But 
all through the languages of the world, savage or civilized, 
with exceptions too slight to notice here, there is ineffaceable 
proof that the numerals arose out of the primitive counting 
on fingers and toes. This always led men to reckon by fives, 
tens, and twenties, and so they reckon still. The quinary 
kind of counting (by fives) is that of tribes like the negros 
of Senegal, who count one, two, three, four, five, five-one, 
five-two, &c. ; we never count numbers thus in words, but 
we write them so in the Roman numerals. The decimal 
counting (by tens) is the most usual in the world, and our 
ordinary counting is done by it, thus eighty-three is " eight 

312 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

tens and three." The vigesimal counting (by twenties) 
which is the regular mode in many languages, has its traces 
left in the midst of the decimal counting of civilized Europe, 
as in English "fourscore and three," French " quatre-vingt 
trois," that is "four twenties and three." Thus it can hardly 
be doubted that the modern world has inherited direct from 
primitive man his earliest arithmetic worked on nature's 
counting-board — the hands and feet. This also explains 
(p. 1 8) why the civilized world uses a numeral system based 
on the inconvenient number ten, which will not divide 
either by three or four. Were we starting our arithmetic 
afresh, we should more likely base it on the duodecimal 
notation, and use dozens and grosses instead of tens and 

To have named the numbers was a great step, but words 
hardly serve beyond the very simplest arithmetic, as any one 
may satisfy himself by trying to multiply " seven thousand 
eight hundred and three " by " two hundred and seventeen " 
in words, without helping himself by turning them in 
thought into figures. How did men come to the use of 
numeral figures ? To this question the beginning of an 
answer may be had from barbaric picture-writing, as where a 
North American warrior will make four little marks 1 1 1 1 to 
show that he has taken four scalps. This is very well for 
the small numbers, but becomes clumsy for higher ones. So 
already when writing was in its infancy, the ancients had 
fallen upon the device of making special marks for their 
fives, tens, hundreds, &c., leaving the simple strokes to be 
used only for the few units over. This is well seen in Fig. 76 
which shows how numeration was worked in ancient Egypt 
and Assyria. Nor has this old method died out in the world, 
for the Roman numerals I., V., X., L., still in common use 
among ourselves, are arranged on much the same principle. 


Another device, which arose out of the alphabet, was to 
take the letters in their order to stand for numbers. Thus 
the sections of Psalm cxix. are numbered by the letters 
of the Hebrew alphabet, and the books of the Iliad by the 
letters of the Greek alphabet. By these various plans the 
arithmetic of the ancient civilized nations made great 
progress. Still their numeration was very cumbrous in com- 
parison with that of the modern world. Let us put down 
MMDCLXIX. and multiply by CCCXLVIII., or (^xi'e'hy 


1 = 1 n = 10 (^ = 100 


(^(^ nnn 1 1 1 

^ ^^111= 4359 

Q. nn 1 1 1 


1 = 1 ^=10 T*~~ ^°° \ 1*^ ^^° '^ ^°°^ ~ ^°°° 

Fig. 76. — Ancient Egyptian and Assyrian numeration. 

Tfirj, and a few minutes' trial will not fail to convince us of 
the superiority of our ciphers. 

To understand how the art of ciphering came to be in- 
vented, it is necessary to go back to a ruder state of things. 
In Africa, negro traders may be seen at market reckoning 
with pebbles, and when they come to five, putting them 
aside in a little heap. In the South Sea Islands it has 
been noticed that people reckoning, when they came to ten, 
would not put aside a heap of ten things, but only a single 
bit of coco-nut stalk to stand for ten, and then a bigger 
piece when they wanted to represent ten tens or a hundred. 
Now to us it is plain that this use of different kinds of 

314 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

markers is unnecessary, but all that the reckoner with little 
stones or beans has to do, is to keep separate his unit-heap, 
his ten-heap, his hundred-heap, &c. This use of such 
things as pebbles for "counters," which still survives in 
England among the ignorant, was so common in the ancient 
world, that the Greek word for reckoning was psephizein^ 
from psephos, a pebble, and the corresponding Latin word 
was calculare from calculus, a pebble, so that our word calcu- 
late is a relic of very early arithmetic. Now to work such 
pebble-counting in an orderly manner, what is wanted is 
some kind of abacus or counting-board with divisions. 
These have been made in various forms, as the Roman 
abacus with lines of holes for knobs or pegs, or the Chinese 
swan-pan with balls strung on wires, on which the native 
calculators in the merchants' counting-houses reckon with a 
speed and exactness that fairly beats the European clerk 
with his pencil and paper. It may have been from China 
that the Russian traders borrowed the ball-frame on which 
they also do their accounts, and it is said that a Frenchman 
noticing it in Russia at the time of Napoleon's invasion 
was struck with the idea that it would serve perfectly to 
teach Uttle children arithmetic; so he introduced it in 
France, and thence it found its way into English infants' 
schools. Now whatever sort of abacus is used, its principle 
is always the same, to divide the board or tray into columns, 
so that in one column the stones, beans, pegs, or balls, 
stand for units, in the next column they are tens, in the 
next hundreds, and so on, Fig. 77. Here the three stones 
in the right-hand column stand for 3, the nine in the next 
column for 90, the one in the fourth column for 1,000 
and so on. The next improvement was to get rid of the 
troublesome stones or beans, and write down numbers in 
the columns, as is here shown with Greek and Roman 




numerals. But now the calculator could do without the 
clumsy board, and had only to rule Hnes on his paper, to 
make columns for units, tens, hundreds, &c. The reader 
should notice that it is hot necessary to the principle of the 
abacus that each column should stand for ten times the one 
next it. It may be twelve or twenty or any other number of 
times, and in fact the columns in our account-books for 
^ s. d. or cwts. qrs. lbs., are surviving representatives of 
the old method of the abacus. Such reckoning had still 
the defect that the numbers could not be taken out of 
the columns, for even when each number from one to 

















Fig. 77 — Mode of calculation by counters and by figures on Abacus. 

nine has a single figure to stand for it, there would 
still be here and there an empty column (as is purposely 
left in Fig. 77) which would throw the whole into con- 
fusion. To us now it seems a very simple thing to put 
a sign to show an empty column, as we have learned to do 
with the zero or o, so that the number expressed in the 
picture of the abacus can be written down without any 
columns, 241093. This invention of a sign for nothing, 
was practically one of the greatest moves ever made in 
science. It is the use of the zero which makes the ,4^i 
ference between the old arithmetic and our easy ciphi 



3i6 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

We give the credit of the invention to the Arabs by using 
the term Arabic numerals, while the Arabs call them Indian, 
and there is truth in both acknowledgments of the nations 
having been scholars in arithmetic o'ne to the other. But 
this does not go to the root of the matter, and it is still 
unsettled whether ciphering was first devised in Asia, or 
may be traced further back in Europe to the arithmeticians 
of the school of Pythagoras. As to the main point, how- 
ever, there is no doubt, that modern arithmetic comes out of 
ancient counting on the columns of the abacus, improved by 
writing a dot or a round o to show the empty column, 
and by this means young children now work calculations 
which would have been serious labour to the arithmeticians 
of the ancient world. 

Next as to the art of measuring. Here it may be fairly 
guessed that man first measured, as he first counted, on 
his own body. When barbarians tried by finger-breadths 
how much one spear was longer than another, or when in 
building huts they saw how to put one foot before the 
other to get the distance right between two stakes, they 
had brought mensuration to its first stage. We sometimes 
use this method still for rough work, as in taking a horse's 
height by hands, or stepping out the size of a carpet. 
If care is taken to choose men of average size as measurers, 
some approach may be made to fair measurement in this 
way. That it was the primitive way can hardly be doubted, 
for civilized nations who have more exact means still use 
the names of the body-measures. Besides the cubit, hand, 
foot, span, nail, already mentioned in p. 17, we have in 
English the ell, (of which the early meaning of arm or fore- 
arm is seen in <?/-bow, the arm -bend), also the fatho7n or 
cord stretched by the outspread arms in sailors' fashion, and 
the pace or double step (Latin passus) of which a thousand 

xiii.] SCIENCE. 317 

{milk) made the vitle. But though these names keep up the 
recollection of early measurement by men's limbs, they are 
now only used as convenient names for standard measures 
which they happen to come tolerably near to, as for instance 
one may go a long way to find a man's foot a foot long by 
the rule. Our modern measurements are made by standard 
lengths, which we have inherited with more or less change 
from the ancients. It was a great step in civilization when 
nations such as the Egyptians and Babylonians made pieces 
of wood or metal of exact lengths to serve as standards. The 
Egyptian cubit-rules with their divisions may still be seen, 
and the King's Chamber in the Great Pyramid measures very 
exactly 20 cubits by 10, the cubit being 20*63 of our inches. 
Our foot has scarcely altered for some centuries, and is not 
very different from the ancient Greek and Roman feet. 
The French at the first Revolution made a bold attempt to 
cast off the old traditional standards and go straight to 
nature, so they established the vietre^ which was to be a 
ten-millionth of the distance from the pole to the equator. 
The calculation however proved inexact, so that the metre is 
now really a standard measure of the old sort, but so great is 
the convenience of using the same measures, that the metre 
and its fractions are coming more and more into use for 
scientific work all over the world. The use of scales and 
weights, and of wet and dry measures, had already begun 
among the civilized nations in the earliest known times. 
Our modern standards can even to some extent be traced 
back to those of the old world, as for instance the pound 
and ounce, gallon and pint, come from the ancient Roman 
weights and measures. 

From measuring feet in length, men would soon come to 
reckoning the contents, say of an oblong floor, in square feet. 
But to calculate the contents of less simple figures required 




more difficult geometrical rules. The Greeks acknowledged 
the Egyptians as having invented geometry, that is, " land- 
measuring," and there may be truth in the old story that 
the art was invented in order to parcel out the plots of 
fertile mud on the banks of the Nile. There is in the 
British Museum an ancient Egyptian manual of mensuration 
(the Rhind papyrus), one of the oldest books in the world, 

Fig. 78. — Rudimentary practical Geometry. 1, scalene triangle ; 2, folded right 
angle ; ^, folded triangle ; 4, rectangle folded in c.rcle. 

originally written more than i, coo years before Euklid's time, 
and which shows what the Egyptians then knew and did not 
know about geometry. From its figures and examples it 
appears that they used square measure, but reckoned it 
roughly ; for instance, to get the area of the triangular field 
ABC Fig. 78 (i) they multiplied half ac by ab, which would 
only be correct when bac is a right angle. When the 


Egyptians wanted the area of a circular field, they sub- 
tracted one-ninth from the diameter and squared ; thus if 
the diameter were 9 perches, they estimated that the circle 
contained 64 square perches, which the reader will find 
on trial is a good approximation. All this was admirable 
for the beginnings of geometry, and the record may well 
be believed that Greek philosophers such as Thales and 
Pythagoras, when they came to Egypt, gained wisdom 
from the geometer-priests of the land. But these Egyptian 
mathematicians, being a priestly order, had come to regard 
their rules as sacred, and therefore not to be improved on, 
while their Greek disciples, bound by no such scientific 
orthodoxy, were free to go on further to more perfect 
methods. Greek geometry thus reached results which have 
come down to us in the great work of Euklid, who used the 
theorems known to his predecessors, adding new ones and 
proving the whole in a logical series. It must be clearly 
understood that elementary geometry was not actually in- 
vented by means of definitions, axioms, and demonstrations 
like Euklid's. Its beginnings really arose out of the daily 
practical work of land-measurers, masons, carpenters, tailors. 
This may be seen in the geometrical rules of the altar-builders 
of ancient India, -which do not tell the bricklayer to draw 
a plan of such and such lines, but to set up poles at certain 
distances, and stretch cords between them. It is instructive 
to see that our term sti-aight line still shov/s traces of such 
an early practical meaning ; line is lijien thread, and straight 
is the participle of the old verb to stretch. If we stretch a 
thread tight between two pegs, we see that the stretched 
thread must be the shortest possible ; which suggests how 
the straight line came to be defined as the shortest distance 
between two points. Also, every carpenter knows the 
nature of a right angle, and he is accustomed to parallel 

320 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

lines, or such as keep the same distance from one another. 
To the tailor, the right angle presents itself in another way. 
Suppose him cutting a doubled piece of cloth to open out 
into the gore or wedge-shaped piece bag in Fig. 78 (2). He 
must cut ADB a right angle, or his piece when he opens it will 
have a projection or a recess, as seen in the figure. When 
he has cut it right, so that bdc opens in a straight line, then 
he cannot but see that the sides ab, ac, and the angles 
ABC, ACB must exactly match, having in fact been cut out 
on one another. Thus he arrives, by what may be called 
tailor's geometry, at the result of Euklid I. 5, which now 
often goes by the name of the " asses' bridge." Such easy 
properties of figures must have been practically known very 
early. But it is also true that the ancients, were long 
ignorant of some of the problems which now belong to 
elementary teaching. Thus it has just been mentioned how 
the Egyptian land-surveyors failed to make out an exact 
rule to measure a triangular field. Yet had it occurred 
to them to cut out the diagram of a triangle from a sheet of 
papyrus, as we may do with the triangle abc in Fig. 78 (3), 
and double it up as shown in the figure, then they would have 
found that it folds into the rectangle efhg, and, therefore, its 
area is the product of the height by half the base. It would 
be seen that this is no accident, but a property of all 
triangles, while at the same time it would appear that the 
three angles at a, b, c, all folding together at d, makeup two 
right angles. Though the more ancient Egyptian geometers 
do not seem to have got at either of these properties of 
the triangle, the Greek geometers had in some way become 
well aware of them before Euklid's time. The old historians 
who tell the origin of mathematical discoveries do not 
always seem to have understood what they were talking of. 
Thus it is said of Thales that he was the first to inscribe 


the right-angled triangle in the circle, and thereupon sacri- 
ficed a bull. But a matliematician of such eminence could 
hardly have been ignorant of what any intelligent carpenter 
has reason to know, how an oblong board fits into a circle 
symmetrically ; the problem of the right-angled triangle in 
the semicircle is involved in this, as is seen by (4) in the 
present figure. Perhaps the story really meant that Thales 
was the first to work out a strict geometrical demonstration 
of the problem. The tale is also told of Pythagoras, and 
another version is that he sacrificed a hekatomb on discover- 
ing that the square On the hypothenuse of a right-angled 
triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two 
sides (Euklid I. 47). The story is not a Hkely one of a 
philosopher who forbad the sacrifice of any animal. As for 
the proposition, it is one which may present itself practically 
to masons working with square paving-stones or tiles ; thus, 
when the base is 3 tiles long, and the perpendicular 4, 
the hypothenuse will be 5, and the tiles which form a square 
on it will just be as many as together- form squares on the 
other two sides. Whether Pythagoras got a hint from such 
practical rules, or whether he was led by studying arithmetical 
squares, at any rate he may have been the first to estabHsh 
as a general law this property of the right-angled triangle, 
on which the whole systems of trigonometry and analytical 
geometry depend. 

The early history of mathematics seems so far clear, that 
its founders were the Egyptians with their practical survey- 
ing, and the Babylonians whose skill in arithmetic is plain 
from the tables of square and cube numbers drawn up by 
them, which are still to be' seen. Then the Greek philo- 
sophers, beginning as disciples of these older schools, soon 
left their teachers behind, and raised inat hematics to be, 
as its name implies, the "learning" or "discipfine" of the 


322 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

human mind in strict and exact thought. In its first stages, 
mathematics chiefly consisted of arithmetic and geometry, 
and so had to do with known numbers and quantities. 
But in ancient times the Egyptians and Greeks had 
already begun methods of dealing with a number without as 
yet knowing what it was, and the Hindu mathematicians, 
going further in the same direction, introduced the method 
now called algebra. It is to be noticed that the use of 
letters as symbols in algebra was not reached all at once 
by a happy thought, but grew out of an earlier and clum- 
sier device. It appears from a Sanskrit book that the venera- 
ble teachers began by expressing unknown quantities by the 
term " so-much-as," or by the names of colours, as "black," 
" blue," " yellow," and then the first syllables of these words 
came to be used fur shortness. Thus if we had to express 
twice the square of an unknown quantity, and called it "so 
much squared twice," and then abbreviated this to so sq 2, 
this would be very much as the Hindus did in working out the 
following problem, given in Colebrooke's Hi7idii, Algebra : 
" The square root of half the number of a swarm of bees is 
gone to a shrub of jasmin : and so are eight-ninths of the 
whole swarm : a female is buzzing to one remaining male, 
that is humming within a lotus, in which he is confined, 
having been allured to it by its fragrance at night. Say, lovely 
woman, the number of bees." This Hindu equation is 
worked out clumsily from the want of the convenient set of 

signs =: H , which were invented later in Europe, but the 

minus numbers are marked, and the solution is in principle an 
ordinary quadratic. The Arab mathematicians learnt from 
India this admirable method, and through them it became 
known in Europe in the middle ages. The Arabic name 
given to it is al-jahr wa-l-imikabalah^ that is, " consolidation 
and opposition," this meaning what is now done by transposing 


quantities on the two sides of an equation ; thence comes the 
present word algebra. It was not till about the 17th century 
in Europe that the higher mathematics were thoroughly estab- 
lished, when Descartes worked into a system the application 
of algebra to geometry, and Galileo's researches on the path 
of a ball or flung stone brought in the ideas which led up 
to Newton's fluxions and Leibnitz's differential calculus, 
with the aid of which mathematics have risen to their modern 
range and power. Mathematical symbols have not lost the 
traces of their first beginnings as abbreviated words, as 
where n still stands for number and r for radius, while >/> 
which is a running-hand r, does duty for root {radix), and 
f, which is an old fashioned s, stands for the sum {summa) 

in integration. 

Mechanics and Physics, worked mathematically, now form 
the very foundation of our knowledge of the universe. But 
in the old barbaric life, men had only rudimentary notions of 
them. The savage understands the path of a projectile 
well enough to aim it, and how to profit by momentum 
wlien he mounts his axe on a long rather than a short 
handle. But he hardly comes to bringing these practical 
ideas to a principle or law. Even the old civifized nations 
of the East, though they could lift stones with the lever, set 
their masonry upright with the plumb-line, and weigh gold in 
the balance, are not known to have come co scientific study 
of mechanical laws. What makes this more sure is that if 
they had, the Greeks would have learnt it of them, whereas 
it is among the Greek philosophers that the science is found 
just coming into existence. In Aristotle's time they were 
thinking about mechanical problems, though by no means 
always rightly; it was considered that a body is drawn 
toward the centre of the world, but the greater its weight 
the faster it will fall. The chief founder of mechanical 

Y 2 

324 ANTHROPOLOGY, [chap, 

science was Archimedes, who worked out from the steel- 
yard the law of the lever, and deduced thence cases of all the 
particles of a body balancing on a common centre, now 
called its centre of gravity , he even gave the general theory 
of floating bodies, which mathematicians far on in the 
middle ages could hardly be brought to understand. In- 
deed, mechanical science, after the classical period, shared 
the general fate of knowledge during the long dead time 
when so much was forgotten, and what was left was in 
bondage to the theology of the schoolmen. It sometimes 
surprises a modern reader that the '' wisdom of the ancients " 
should still now and then be set up as an authority in 
science. But the scholars of the middle ages, who on 
many scientific points knew less than the ancient Greeks, 
might well look up to them. It is curious to look at the 
book of Gerbert (Pope Sylvester II.) who was a leading 
mathematician in the tenth century, and who bungles like 
an early Egyptian over the measurement of the area of a 
triangle, though the exact method as stated by Euklid had 
been well known in classical times. Physical science might 
almost have disappeared if it had not been that while the 
ancient treasure of knowledge was lost to Christendom, the 
Mohammedan philosophers were its guardians, and even 
added to its store. For this they have not always had due 
praise. A pretty story is told of Galileo inventing the pen- 
dulum, being led to it by watching the great hanging lamp 
in the cathedral of Pisa swinging steadily to and fro ; but as 
a matter of fact, it appears that six centuries earlier Ebn 
Yunis and other Moorish astronomers were already using the 
pendulum as a time-measurer in their observations. Of all 
the services which Galileo did for science, perhaps the 
greatest was his teaching clearer ideas of force and motion. 
People had of old times been deceived by the evidence of 


their senses into the belief that the force of a moving body 
would gradually become exhausted and it would stop of 
itself, but this idea of force was changed by the new prin- 
ciple that force is as much required to stop a moving body as 
to set it in motion, and that did no opposing force retard 
the arrow or the wheel, the one would fly and the other roll 
on for ever. In that age of mathematics applied to science 
new discoveries followed fast. If Archimedes could have come 
to life again, he would have seen progress going on at last, 
when the pressure of the air was weighed with Torricelli's 
barometer, and Stevin of Bruges made out the principle of 
the parallelogram of forces. The notion of an attractive 
force had come into the minds of philosophers by observing 
how the magnet attracts iron at a distance, and glass and 
other substances when rubbed become attractive. Thus the 
way was open for Newton to calculate the effect of gra- 
vitation as such an attractive force, and by it to ex- 
plain the movements of the heavenly bodies, thus brmging 
the visible world within the sway of one universal law. In 
the present day, among the great laws w^hich have been 
established in physical science, is that of the conservation 
of energy, that power is not created and destroyed in 
the processes of nature or the machines of man, but is 
transformed into new manifestations equivalent to those 
which were before. Philosophers' minds used often to be 
set on tha invention of a perpetual moving power, that 
should go on creating irs own force. But nowadays this 
idea is so discarded that, when some projector plans 
an absurd machine, he is sufficiently answered by being 
shown that if his machine could work, the perpetual 
motion would be possible. The modern mechanician 
has only to apply in the most desirable way the stores 
of force placed at his disposal by nature, and within 

326 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

this well-understood boundary his business flourishes more 
and more. 

Among the forms or manifestations of energy are sound, 
light, heat, electricity. The classic philosophers knew in a 
vague way that sound spreads like waves ; and the relation 
between the length of a harpstring and its note was laid down 
in arithmetical rule by Pythagoras, who measured it with 
the instrument we still use, the monochord. But it 
was the moderns who measured the velocity of sound, ex- 
plained musical pitch by the rate of vibration, and made the 
science of tone. About light the ancients knew more. Their 
polished metal mirrors, flat and curved, had taught them the 
first principles of reflexion. Nor were they ignorant of 
refraction ; they already knew the familiar experiment of 
putting'a ring in a basin and pouring in water till it becomes 
visible. A rock-crystal lens has been dug up at Nineveh, 
and the Greeks and Romans were well acquainted with glass 
lenses^ One is surprised that neither the Arab astronomers, 
who knew a good deal of optics, nor Roger Bacon, who 
in the thirteenth century gave an intelligent account of 
their science, ever seem to have combined two lenses into 
a telescope. It was not till the seventeenth century that a 
telescope is plainly mentioned in Holland, and Galileo, 
hearing of it, made the famous instrument with which he 
saw Jupiter's moons, and revolutionized men's ideas of the 
universe. The microscope and telescope may be called 
inverted forms of one another, and their inventions came 
nearly together. By these two instruments the range of 
man's vision has been so vastly extended beyond his 
unaided eyesight, that animalcules under a ten-thousandth 
of an inch long can now be watched through all the stages 
of their life, while stars whose distance from the earth is 
hundreds of thousands of billions of miles, are within the 


maps of the universe. The rainbow led to the problem of 
the decomposition of light and the theory of colour. The 
doctrine that light was as it were bright particles emitted 
in straight lines from the luminous body, failed to explain 
effects such as light extinguishing light by interference, and 
it has yielded to the undulatory theory, of ethereal light- 
waves of extreme smallness and speed. In our own day 
the lines of the spectrum have become the means of re- 
cognising a glowing substance, so that the astronomer 
whose telescope reveals the faint shine of a nebula in the 
depths of the heavens, may test its composition with the 
spectroscope, as if it were a gas-jet on the laboratory table. 
Closely connected with the science of light, is the science of 
heat. Not only do heat and light proceed together from the 
sun or fire, but the two were seen to be subject to the 
same laws, when it was noticed that the mirror or lens 
which concentrated a bright spot of light, also brought to 
the same focus heat that would set wood on fire. The 
great -step in the study of heat was the invention of the 
heat-measurer or thermometer. Who first made it is not 
known, but it was about three centuries ago, and its earliest 
form may have been the air-flask with its tube in which 
coloured water rises and falls, which is still the most striking 
way of showing a class the principle of thermometers. The 
doctrine of heat as due to vibration explains how heat is 
transformed force, so that the steam-hammer worked by the 
heat used m the furnace can be set to beat cold iron till it 
IS white-hot ; thus part of the force which came from heat 
has gone back into heat, and with the heat re-appears the 
other form of radiant energy, light. Lastly, the history of 
electricity comes from the time when the ancients wondered 
to see amber when rubbed pick up morsels of straw, and 
the loadstone draw bits of iron. The pointing of the 

328 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

loadstone south and north seems to have been earUest 
noticed by the Chinese, whence in the middle ages came 
its world-wide use in navigation. The electrical machine 
is only an enlarged form of the old experiment of rubbing 
the bit of amber. But the discoveries associated with the 
name of Volta and Galvani brought in a new method of 
generating electricity by chemical action in the battery. 
Franklin's kite proved the lightning-flash to be but a great 
electric " spark. Oersted's current-wire deflecting a magnetic 
needle showed the relation between electricity and mag- 
netism, and set on foot the line of invention to which the 
world owes the electric telegraph and much besides. 

Next, as to chemistry. Its beginnings lie in practical 
processes such as smelting metal from the ore, fusing sand 
and soda into glass, and tanning leather with astringent pods 
or bark. The oldest civilized nations knew these and m'any 
other chemical arts, which not only were learnt by the 
artificers of Greece and Rome, but from time to time new 
processes were added to the store of knowledge, as when 
we hear of their distilling mercury from cinnabar, or treating 
copper with vinegar to make verdigris. In early civilized 
ages also there arose beside these practical recipes the first 
dim-outhnes of scientific chemistry. The Greek philosophers 
expressed their ideas of the states of matter by the four 
elements, fire, air, water, earth ; and they also had learnt or 
invented the doctrine of matter being made up of atoms — a 
principle now more influential than ever in modern lecture- 
rooms. The successors of the Greeks were the Arabic alche- 
mists, and their disciples in mediaeval Christendom. Their 
belief that matter might be transmuted or transformed led 
many of them to spend their lives among their furnaces and 
alembics in the attempt to turn baser metals into gold. To 
modern chemists, who would not be surprised to find all the 


many so-called elements proved to be forms of one matter, 
the alchemists' idea does not seem quite unreasonable in 
itself, and practically it led them to the pursuit of truth by 
experiment, so that though they found no philosophers' 
stone, they were repaid by discoveries such as alcohol, 
ammonia, sulphuric acid. Their method, being founded on 
trials of real fact, cleared itself more and more from the 
magical folly it had grown up with, and the alchemist pre- 
pared the way for the later chemist. What of all things 
brought on the new chemical knowledge, was the explana- 
tion of what takes place in burning, rusting, and breathing. 
How is it that the air in a receiver is spoilt by a burning 
candle or a mouse within, so that it no longer allows flame 
or life ? How is it that while some substances, like char- 
coal, seem to be dissipated by fire, others, like lead or iron, 
turn into matter heavier than before ? The answers to 
such questions led the way to clearer notions of chemical 
combination, but it was long before it was understood by what 
fixed laws of affinity and proportion this combination takes 
place. The advanced student of chemistry may spend an 
instructive hour in looking over old chemistry books, where 
the catalogue of substances is a confused chaos, not as 
yet brought into form and order on the lines of Dalton's 
atomic theory. 

From the chemical nature of matter we pass to the nature 
of living things. The more evident parts of biology or the 
science of life, have come under man's attentive observation 
from the first. So far as zoology and botany consist in 
noticing the forms and habits of animals and plants, savages 
and barbarians are skilled in them. Such people, for in- 
stance, as the natives of the South American forests, have 
names for each bird and beast, whose voices, resorts, and 
migrations they know with an accuracy that astonishes the 

330 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

European naturalist whom they guide through the jungle. 
The catalogue of the Brazilian native names of animals and 
plants, often curiously descriptive of their natures, would 
inake a small book. Thus the jaguara pimina or painted 
jaguar is distinguished from the jaguarete or great jaguar ; 
the capybara signifies the creature " living in the grass," the 
ipe-caa-goene^ or "little wayside-plant-emetic," is our ipeca- 
cuanha. Mankind everywhere possesses this sort of popular 
Natural History. So it is with anatomy. When the savage 
kills a deer, cuts it up, cooks the joints, heart, and liver, 
makes clothes and straps of the hide, cuts harpoon-heads 
arid awls out of the long bones, and uses the sinews for 
thread, it stands to reason that he must have a good rough 
knowledge of the anatomy of an animal. The barbaric 
warrior and doctor have beyond such butchers' anatomy an 
acquaintance with the structure of man's body, as may be 
seen in the description of the wounds of the heroes in the 
Iliad, where the spear takes one in the diaphragm below the 
heart, and another has the shoulder-tendon broken which 
makes his arm drop helpless. Among the Greeks such rough 
knowledge passed into the scientific stage when Aristotle 
wrote his book on animals, and Hippokrates took medicine 
away from the priests and sorcerers to make it a method of 
treatment by diet and drugs. The action of the body came 
to be better understood during this classical period, as, for in- 
stance, is seen in the nerves leading to and from the brain 
being no longer confounded with the sinews which pull the 
limbs, although the same Greek word neuron {nerve) still 
continued to be used for both. It is curious how long it took 
the ancients to get at the notion of what muscle is, and how 
it acts. They never understood the circulation of the blood, 
though they had ideas about it, as in Plato's celebrated 
passage in the Timaios which compares the heart to a foun- 


tain sending the blood round to nourish the body, which is 
like a garden laid out with irrigating channels. Imperfect 
as ancient knowledge was, it may be plainly seen how 
modern science is based upon it. Thus the medical terms 
of Galen's system, such as the diagnosis of disease, are 
still used; and indeed many old physician's words have 
passed into common talk, as when one is said to be in 
a sanguine humour, which carries us back to the time when 
the humours or fluids of the body were thought to cause 
the state of mind, the humour which is sanguine, or "of 
the blood," being lively and impetuous. But in knowledge 
of the body the moderns have left the ancients quite behind, 
now that the microscope shows its minute vessels and tissues, 
and there have been made out the circulation of the blood, 
the process of respiration, the chemistry of digestion, and 
the travelUng of currents along the nerves. Natural History 
still goes on the principles of Aristotle, when he traces life on 
from lifeless matter through the series of plants and animals. 
Modern naturalists like Linnaeus so improved the old classi- 
fication, that it became possible to take a plant or animal one 
had never seen before and did not know the name of, and 
make out by examination that it must belong to such and 
such a genus and species. Moreover, naturalists have long 
been seeking to understand why the thousands of species 
should arrange themselves in groups or genera, the species 
in each genus being connected by a common likeness, and 
the genera themselves falling into higher groups, or orders. 
The thought that the likeness among the species forming a 
genus is a family likeness, due to these species being in 
fact the varied descendants of one race or stock, is the 
foundation of that theory of development or evolution 
which for many ages has been in the minds of naturalists, 
and now so largely prevails. This is not the place to discuss 

332 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

the doctrine of descent or development (see page 38), 
but it is worth while to remember that the very word genus 
meant originally birth or race, so that the naturalist who sets 
down the horse, ass, zebra, quagga, as all belonging to one 
genus Equus, is really suggesting that they are all descended 
from one kind of animal, and are in fact distant cousins, 
which is the first principle of the development-theory. 

The world we live in is the subject of astronomy, geo- 
graphy, geology. It seems plain how the rudiments of 
these sciences began from the evidence of men's senses. 
Children living unschooled in some wild woodland would 
take it as a matter of course that the earth is a circular 
floor, more or less uneven, arched over with a dome or 
firmament springing from the horizon. Thus the natural 
and primitive notion of the world is that it is like a round 
dish with a cover. Rude tribes in many countries are found 
thinking so, and working out the idea so as to account for 
such phenomena as rain, which is water from above dripping 
in through holes in the sky-roof. This firmament is studded 
with stars, and is a few miles off. There is nothing to 
suggest to the savage that the sun should be enormously 
more distant than the cloud it seems to plunge into. The 
sun seems to go down in the west into the sea, or through 
an opening in the horizon, and to rise in like manner in 
the east, so that sunset and sunrise force on the minds of 
the first rude astronomers the belief in an under-world or 
infernal region, through which the sun travels in the night, 
and which to many a nation has seemed also the abode of 
departed souls, when after their bright day of life they sink 
like the sun into the night of death. The sun and moon 
move as living gods in the heaven, or at least are drawn or 
driven by such celestial powers, while the presence of living 
beings in the sky seems peculiarly manifest in eclipses, when 


invisible monsters seize or swallow the sun and moon. All 
this is very natural, so natural indeed that more correct 
astronomy has not yet rooted it out of Europe. Not many 
years ago a schoolmaster who ventured to lecture on 
astronomy in the west of England roused the displeasure 
of the country folk, that this young man should tell them 
the world was round and went about, when they had lived 
on it all their lives and knew it was flat and stood still. 
One part of the earUest astronomy, which was so sound as 
to have held its own ever since, was the measurement of 
time by the sun, moon, and stars. The day and the month 
fix themselves at once. In a less exact way the seasons of 
the year, such as the rainy season, or the icy season, or the 
growing season, furnish a means of reckoning, as where a 
savage tells of his father's death having been three rains or 
three winters ago. Rude tribes, who observe the stars to 
find their way by, notice also that the rising and setting of 
particular stars .or constellations mark the seasons. Thus 
the natives of South Australia call the constellation Lyra 
the Loan -bird, for they notice that when it sets with the sun, 
the season for getting loan-birds' eggs has begun. It stands 
to reason that the great facts of the year's course, the change 
of the sun's height at noon, and the lengthening and shorten- 
ing of the days, would be noticed, so that even among 
people who have not as yet measured them with any ac- 
curacy, there exists in a loose way the notion of the year. 
Within the year, too, the successive moons or months come 
to be arranged with some regularity, as where the Ojibwas 
reckoned in order the wild-rice moon, the leaves-falling 
moon, the ice-moon, the snow-shoes moon, and so forth. 
But such lunar months have to be got into the year as 
they best may. Indeed what distinguishes the uncivilized 
calendar, is that though days, months, and years are known, 

354 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

the days are not yet fitted regularly into the months, nor is 
it settled how many months, much less how many days, 
the year is to consist of. 

When we look from this to the astronomy of the ancient 
cultured nations, we find great progress made in observing 
and calculating. Yet the astronomer-priests who for ages 
watched and recorded the aspect of the heavens, had not 
yet cut themselves free from the ideas of their barbarian 
forefathers as to what the world as a whole was like. In 
the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the departed souls descend 
with the sun- god through the western gate, and travel with 
him among the fields and rivers of the under-world, and 
the Assyrian records also tell of the regions below, where 
Ishtar descends into the dark abode of fluttering ghosts, 
the house men enter but cannot depart from. Yet the 
Egyptians who held to this primitive astronomy had set the 
Great Pyramid by the cardinal points with remarkable ex- 
actness. In reckoning the year, they not only added to the 
12 solar months of 30 days 5 intercalary days to make 365, 
but becoming aware that even this was not accurate, they 
recorded its variation till it should come round in a cycle of 
1,461 years, as determined by the rising of Sirius. Even 
more advanced was the astronomy of the Chaldseans, with 
its records of eclipses extending over 2,000 years. In the 
astronomy of barbarians the five planets Mercury, Venus^ 
Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, are not thought much of in com- 
parison with the Sun and Moon. But among the Chaldaeans 
all the seven planets were classed together as objects of 
worship and observation, starting the ideas of the sacred 
number seven, which thence pervaded the mystical philosophy 
of the ancients. It may have been among the Babylonian 
astronomers that the study of the motions of the planets 
led to the theory that they were carried round on seven 


crystal spheres ; to this day people talk of being " in the 
seventh heaven." The next and great step in astronomy 
was when the long-treasured knowledge of Babylon and 
Egypt was taken up by the Greeks, to be carried on by the 
exact methods of the geometer. The Greek astronomers 
were familiar with the idea of the earth being a sphere ; they 
calculated its circumference, and usually taking it as the centre 
of the universe, they measured the apparent movements of the 
heavenly bodies. This system, in its most perfect form 
known as the Ptolemaic, held its place into the middle ages, 
when it came into rivalry with the Copernican system of a 
central sun round which revolve the earth and other planets. 
How this became in the hands of Kepler and Newton a 
mechanical theory of the universe, and how man was at 
last stripped of the fond conceit that his little planet was 
the centre of all things, need not be re-told here. 

Geography is a practical kind of knowledge in which the 
rudest tribes are well skilled, so far as it consists in 
the lie of their own land, the course of the streams, the passes 
over the mountains, how many days' marches through forest 
and desert to reach some distant hunting-ground, or the hill- 
side where hard stone for hatchets is to be found. However 
uncivilized a people may be, they name their mountains and 
rivers in such term.s as "red hill" or " beaver brook." In- 
deed the atlas contains hundreds of names of places that once 
had meanings in tongues which no man any longer speaks. 
Scientific geography begins when men come to drawing 
maps, an art which perhaps no savage takes to untaught, 
but which was known to the early civilized nations ; the 
oldest known map is an Egyptian plan of the gold-mines 
of Ethiopia. The earUest known mention of a geographer 
attempting a map of the world is by Herodotus, who 
tells of Aristagoras's bronze tablet inscribed with the 

336 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

circuit of the whole earth, the sea and all rivers. But to 
the ancients the known world was a very limited district 
round their own countries. It brings the growth of geography 
well before our minds to look at the map in Gladstone's 
Juventus Mu7idi, representing the world according to the 
Homeric poems, with its group of nations round the 
Mediterranean, and the great Ocean River encircling the 
whole. Later, in the world as known to geographers such 
as Strabo, the lands of men form a vast oval, reaching 
from the pillars of Herakles across to far India, and 
from tropical Africa up to polar Europe. How land and 
sea came to lie as they do, it is the business of geology 
to explain. This is among the most modern of sciences, 
yet its problems had long set rude men thinking. Even the 
Greenlanders and the South Sea Islanders have noticed the 
fossils inland and high on the mountains, and account for 
them by declaring that the earth was once tilted over, or 
that the sea rose in a great flood and covered the mountains, 
leaving at their very tops the remains of fishes. In the 
infancy of Greek science, Herodotus speculated more 
rightly as to how the valley of Egypt had been formed by 
deposits of mud from the Nile, while the shells on the 
mountains proved to him that the sea had once been where 
dry land now is. But two thousand years had to pass 
before these lines of thought were followed up by the 
modern geologists, to whom the earth is now revealing the 
long history of the deposit and removal, rising and sinking 
of its beds, and the succession of plants and animals which 
from remote ages have lived upon it. 

From this survey of the various branches of science, it is 
clear that their progress has been made in age after age by 
facts being more fully observed and more carefully reasoned 
on. Reasoning or logic is itself a science, but like other 


sciences, it began as an art which man practised without 
stopping to ask himself why or how. He worked out his 
conclusions by thinking and talking, untold ages before it 
occurred to him to lay down rules how to argue^ Indeed, 
speech and reason work together. A language which dis- 
tinguishes substantive, adjective, and verb, is already a 
powerful reasoning-apparatus. Men had made no mean 
advance toward scientific method when their language 
enabled them to class wood as heavy or light, and to form 
such propositions as, light wood floats, heavy wood sinks. 
The rise of reasoning into the scientific stage was chiefly 
due to the Greek philosophers, and Aristotle brought argu- 
ment into a regular system by the method of syllogisms. 
Of course the simpler forms of these had always belonged 
to practical reasoning, and a savage, aware that red-hot 
coals burn flesh, would not thank a logician for explaining 
to him that in consequence of this principle a particular red- 
hot coal will burn his fingers. It must not be supposed 
that the introduction of logic as a science had the efi'ect of 
at once stopping bad argument, and it was rather by setting 
practically to work on exact reasoning, especially in mathe- 
matics, that the Greeks brought on a general advance in 
knowledge. The importance of science was recognised 
when the famous Museum of Alexandria flourished, the 
type of later universities, with its great libraries, its labora- 
tories, its zoological and botanical gardens. Hither students 
came by thousands to follow mathematics, chemistry, 
anatomy, under professors who resorted there at once to 
teach others and to learn themselves. Looking at the his- 
tory of science for eighteen hundred years after this flourish- 
ing time, though some progress was made, it was not what 
might have been expected, and on the whole things went 
wrong. The so-called scholastic period which prevailed in 

338 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

Europe was unfavourable, partly because excessive reverence 
for the authority of the past fettered men's minds, and 
partly because the learned successors of Aristotle had come 
to believe so utterly in argumentation as to fancy that the 
problems of the world could be dealt with by arguing 
about them, without increasing the stock of real know- 
ledge. The great movement of modern philosophy with 
which the name of Bacon is associated as a chief ex- 
pounder, brought men back to the sound old method of 
working experience and thought together, only now the 
experience was more carefully sought and observed, and 
thought arranged it more systematically. We who live in 
an age when every week shows new riches of nature's facts, 
and new shapeliness in the laws that connect them, have 
the best of practical proof that science is now moving on 
a right track. 

The student who wishes to compare the mental habits 
of rude and ancient peoples with our own, may look 
into a subject which has now fallen into contempt from 
its practical uselessness, but which is most instructive in 
showing how the unscientific mind works. This is Magic. 
In the earlier days of knowledge men relied far more than 
we moderns do on reasoning by analogy or mere associa- 
tion of ideas. In getting on from what is known already 
to something new, analogy or reasoning by resemblance 
always was, as it still is, the mind's natural guide in the 
quest of truth. Only its results must be put under the 
control of experience. When the Australians picked up the 
bits of broken bottles left by the European sailors, the like- 
ness of the new material to their own stone flakes at once 
led them to try it for teeth to their spears ; experience 
proved that in this case the argument from analogy held 
good, for the broken glass answered perfectly. So the 


North American Indian, in default of tobacco, finds some 
more or less similar plant to serve instead, such as willow- 
bark.. The practical knowledge of nature possessed by 
savages is so great, that it cannot have been gained by mere 
chance observations ; they must have been for ages con- 
stantly noticing and trying new things, to see how far their 
behaviour corresponded with that of things partly like them. 
And where the matter can be brought to practical trial by 
experiment, this is a thoroughly scientific method. But the 
rude man wants to learn and do far more difficult things — 
how to find where there is plenty of game, or whether his 
enemies are coming, how to save himself from the lightning, 
or how to hurt some one he hates, but cannot safely throw a 
spear at. In such matters beyond his limited knowledge, he 
contents himself with working on resemblances or analogies 
of thought, which thus become the foundation of magic. On 
looking into the " occult sciences," it is easy to make out in 
them principles which are intelligible if one can only bring 
one's mind down to the childish state they belong to. 
Nothing shows this better than the rules of astrology, 
although this is far from the rudest kind of magic. Accord- 
ing to the astrologers, a man born under the sign Taurus is 
likely to have a broad brow and thick lips, and to be brutal 
and unfeeling, but when enraged, violent and furious. If 
he had been born under the sign Libra, he would have 
had a just and well-balanced mind. All this is because two 
particular groups of stars happen to have been called the bull 
and the balance ; the child whose hour of birth has some sort 
of astronomical relation to these constellations is imagined 
to have a character resembling that of a real bull or a real 
pair of scales. So with the planets. He over whom Mars 
presides in his better aspect will be bold and fearless, but 
where the planet is " ill-dignified," then he will be a boastful 

Z 2 

340 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

shameless bully, ready to rob and murder. Had he but 
been born when Venus was in the ascendant, how different 
would he have been, with dimpled cheek and soft voice apt 
to speak of love. Practically foolish as all this is, it is not 
unintelhgible. There is in it a train of thought w^hich can 
be followed quite easily, though it is a train of thought 
hardly strong enough for a joke, much less for a serious 
argument. Yet such is the magic which still pervades the 
barbaric world. The North American Indian, eager to kill 
a bear to-morrow, will hang up a rude grass image of one 
and shoot it, reckoning that this symbolic act will make the 
real one happen. The Australians at a burial, to know in 
what direction they may find the wicked sorcerer who has 
killed their friend, will take as their omen the direction of 
the flames of the grave-fire. The Zulu who has to buy 
cattle may be seen chewing a bit of wood, in order to 
soften the hard heart of the seller he is dealing with. The 
accounts of such practices would fill a volume, and they do 
not seem broken-down remains of old ideas, for there is no 
reason to suppose they ever had more sense in them than 
is to be plainly seen now. They may be derived from some 
such loose savage logic as this : — Things which are like one 
another behave in the same way — shooting this image of a 
bear is like shooting a real bear — therefore, if I shoot the 
image I shall shoot a real bear. It is true that such 
magical proceedings, if tested by facts, prove to be worth- 
less. But if we wonder that nevertheless they should so 
prevail among mankind, it may be answered that they last 
on even m our own country among those who are too 
ignorant to test them by facts- — the rustics who believe a 
neighbour's ill-wishing has killed their cow, and who, on 
true savage principles, try to punish the evil-doer by putting 
a heart spitefully stuck full of pins up the chimney to shrivel 


in the smoke, that in like manner sharp pangs may pierce 
him and he may waste away. 

In another and very different way the student of science 
is interested in magic. Loose and illogical as man's early 
reasonings may be, and slow as he may be to improve them 
under the check of experience, it is a law of human pro- 
gress that thought tends to work itself clear. Thus even 
the fancies of magic have been sources of real knowledge. 
Few magical superstitions are more troublesome than the 
Chinese geomancy or rules of "wind and water," by which 
a lucky site has to be chosen for building a house. Absurd 
as this ancient art is, its professors appear to have been 
the earliest to use the magnetic compass to determine the 
aspects of the heavens, so that it seems the magician gave 
the navigator his guide in exploring the world. What 
exact science owes to astrology is well known, how in 
Chaldsea the places of the stars were systematically ob- 
served and recorded for portents of battle and pestilence, 
and registers of lucky and unlucky days. The old magical 
character' hung to astronomy even into modern ages, when 
astrologers like Tycho Brahe and Kepler, who believed that 
the destinies of men were foretold by the planets, helped 
by their observation and calculation to foretell the motions 
of the planets themselves. Thus man has but to go 
on observing and thinking, secure that in time his errors 
will fall away, while the truth he attains to will abide 
and grow. 


THE S P I R I T - W O RL D. 

Religion of Lower Races, 342 — Souls, 343 — Burial, 347 — Future 
Life, 349 — Transmigration, 350 — Divine Ancestors, 351 — Demons, 
352 — Nature Spirits, 357 — Gods, 358— Worship, 364 — Moral In- 
fluence, 368. 

It does not belong to the plan of this book to give 
a general account of the many faiths of mankind. The 
anthropologist, who has to look at the religions of nation's as 
a main part of their life, may best become acquainted with 
their general principles by beginning with the simple notions 
of the lower races as to the spirit-world. That is, he has to 
examine how and why they beheve in the soul and its 
existence after death, the spirits who do good and evil in 
the world, and the greater gods who pervade, actuate, and 
rule the universe. Any one who learns from savages and 
barbarians what their belief in spiritual beings means to 
them, will come into view of that stage of culture where 
the religion of rude tribes is at the same time their philo- 
sophy, containing such explanation of themselves and the 
world they live in as their uneducated minds are able to 

The idea of the soul which is held by uncultured races, 
and is the foundation of their religion, is not difficult to us 


to understand, if we can fancy ourselves in their place, 
ignorant of tlie very rudiments of science, and trying to get 
at the meaning of life by what the senses seem to tell. The 
great question that forces itself on their minds is one that we 
v^ with all our knowledge cannot half answer, what the life is 
which is sometimes in us, but not always. A person who a 
few minutes ago was walking and talking, with all his senses 
active, goes off motionless and unconscious in a deep sleep, 
to wake after a while with renewed vigour. In other con- 
ditions the life ceases more entirely, when one is stunned 
or falls into a swoon or trance, where the beating of the 
heart and breathing seem to stop, and the body, lying deadly 
pale and insensible, cannot be awakened ; this may last for 
minutes or hours, or even days, and yet after all the patient 
revives. Barbarians are apt to say that such a one died for 
a while, but his soul came back again. They have great 
difficulty in distinguishing real death from such trances. 
They will talk to a corpse, try to rouse it and even feed 
it, and only when it becomes noisome and must be got rid 
of from among the living, they are at last certain that the 
life has gone never to return. What, then, is this soul or 
life which thus goes and comes in sleep, trance, and death ? 
To the rude philosopher, the question seems to be answered 
by the very evidence of his senses. When the sleeper 
awakens from a dream, he believes he has really somehow- 
been away, or that other people have come to him. As it 
is well known by experience that men's bodies do not go on 
these excursions, the natural explanation is that every man's 
living self or soul is his phantom or image, which can go out 
of his body and see and be seen itself in dreams. Even 
waking men in broad daylight sometimes see these human 
phantoms, in what are called visions or hallucinations. They 
are further led to believe that the soul does not die with the 

344 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap, 

body, but lives on after quitting it, for although a man may 
be dead and buried, his phantom-figure continues to appear 
to the survivors in dreams and visions. That men have such 
unsubstantial images belonging to them is familiar in other 
ways to the savage philosopher, who has watched their 
reflexions in still water, or their shadows following them 
about, fading out of sight to reappear presently somewhere 
else, while sometimes for a moment he has seen their living 
breath as a faint cloud, vanishing though one can feel that it 
is still there. Here then in few words is the savage and 
barbaric theory of souls, where life, mind, breath, shadow, 
reflexion, dream, vision, come together and account for one 
another in some such vague confused way as satisfies the 
untaught reasoner. The Zulu v/ill say that at death a man's 
shadow departs from his body and becomes an ancestral 
ghost, and the widow will relate how her husband has 
come in her sleep and threatened to kill her for not taking 
care of his children ; or the son will describe how his 
father's ghost stood before him in a dream, and the souls 
of the two, the living and the dead, went off together 
to visit some far-off kraal of their people. The Malays 
do not like to wake a sleeper, lest they should hurt 
him by disturbing his body while his soul is out. The 
Ojibwas describe how one of their chiefs died, but while 
they were watching the body, on the third night his shadow 
came back into it, and he sat up and told them how 
he had travelled to the River of Death, but was stopped 
there and sent back to his people. The Nicaraguans, when 
questioned by the Spaniards as to their religion, said that 
when a man or woman dies, there comes out of their mouth 
something that resembles a person and does not die, but the 
body remains here — it is not precisely the heart that goes 
above, but the breath that comes from their mouth and is 


called the life. The lower races sometimes avoid such 
confusion of thoughts as this, by treating the breath, the 
dream-ghost, and other appearances, as being separate souls. 
Thus, some Greenlanders reckoned man as having two souls, 
his shadow and his breath ; and the Fijian s said that the 
" dark spirit " or shadow goes down to the world below, but 
the " light spirit " or reflexion seen in water stays near where 
he dies. The reader may call to mind examples how such 
notions of the soul lasted on hardly changed in the classic 
world ; how in the Iliad the dead Patroklos comes to the 
sleeping Achilles, who tries in vain to grasp him with loving 
hands, but the soul like smoke flits away below the earth ; or 
how Hermotimos, the seer, used to go out from his body, till 
at last his soul, coming back from a spirit-journey, found that 
his wife had burnt his corpse on the funeral pile, and tliat he 
had become a bodiless ghost. At this stage the idea of the 
soul was taken up by the Greek philosophers and refined 
into more metaphysical forms ; the life and mind were 
separated by dividing the soul into two, the animal and 
the rational soul, and the conception of the soul as of thin 
ethereal substance gave place to the definition of the 
immaterial soul, which is mind without matter. To follow 
the discussion of these transcendental problems in ancient 
and modern philosophy will occupy the student of meta- 
physics, but the best proof how the earlier and grosser soul- 
theory satisfied the uncultured mind is that to this day it 
remains substantially the belief of the majority of the human 
race. Even among the most civilized nations language still 
plainly shows its traces, as when we speak of a person being 
in an ecstasy or " out of himself" and " coming back to 
himself," or when the souls of the dead are called shades 
(that is, " shadows ") or spirits or ghosts (that is, " breaths "), 
terras which are relics of men's earliest theories of life. 

346 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

It may have occurred to some readers that the savage 
philosopher ought, on precisely the same grounds, to believe 
his horse or dog to have a soul, a phantom-likeness of its 
body. This is in fact what the lower races always have 
thought and think still, and they follow the reasoning out in 
a way that surprises the modern mind, though it is quite 
consistent from the barbarian's point of view. If a human 
soul seen in a dream is a real object, then the spear and 
shield it carries and the mantle over its shoulders are real 
objects too, and all lifeless things must have their thin flitting 
shadow-souls. Such are the souls of canoes and weapons 
and earthen pots that the Fijians fancy they see swimming 
down the stream pellmell into the life to come, and the 
ghostly funeral gifts with which the Ojibwas imagine the 
souls of the dead laden on their journey to the spirit-land — 
the men carrying their shadowy guns and pipes, the women 
their baskets and paddles, the little boys their toy bows and 
arrows. The funeral sacrifices, which in one shape or other 
are remembered or carried on still in every part of the globe, 
give us the clearest idea how barbaric religion takes in 
together the souls of men, animals, and things. In Peru, 
where a dead prince's wives would hang themselves in order 
to continue in his service, and many of his attendants would 
be buried for him to take their souls with him, people 
declared that they had seen those who had long been dead 
walking about with their sacrificed wives, and adorned with 
the things that were put in the grave for them. So only a 
few years since in Madagascar it was said that the ghost of 
King Radama had been seen dressed in a uniform buried 
with him, and mounted on one of the horses that were 
killed at his tomb. With such modern instances before us, 
we understand the ancient funeral rites of which the traces 
remain in the burial-mounds on our own hills, with their 


skeletons of attendants lying round the chief, and the bronze 
weapohs and golden arm-rings. Classic literature abounds 
in passages which show how truly the modern barbarian 
represents the ancient ; such are the burning of Patroklos 
with the Trojan captives and the horses and hounds, the ac- 
count of the Scythian funerals by Herodotus, and his story of 
Melissa's ghost coming back shivering because the clothes 
had not been burnt for her at her burial. There are dis- 
tricts in India where the suttee or "good wife" is even now 
burnt on her husband's funeral pile. In Europe, long after 
the wives and slaves ceased thus to follow their master, 
the warrior's horse was still solemnly killed at his grave 
and buried with him. This was done as lately as 1781 
at Treves, when a general named Friedrich Kasimir was 
buried according to the rites of the Teutonic Order; 
and in England the pathetic ceremony of leading the horse 
in the soldier's funeral is the last remnant of the ancient 
sacrifice. Other quaint relics of the old funeral customs 
are to be met with. There are German villages where the 
peasants put shoes on the feet of the corpse (the "hell- 
shoon " with which the old Northmen were provided for the 
dread journey to the next world), and elsewhere a needle 
and thread is put in for them to mend their torn clothes, 
while all over Europe, at an Irish wake for instance, the 
dead has a piece of money put in his hand to pay his 
way with. 

Mention has just been made of ancient burial-mounds. 
Seeing how barbarians reverence and fear the souls of 
the dead, we may understand the care they take of their 
bodies, leaving the hut as a dwelling for the dead, or drying 
the corpse and setting it up on a scaffold, or burying it 
in a canoe or coffin, or building up a strong tomb over it, 
or for the ashes, if the people have taken to cremation. 

348 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

Prehistoric burial-places in our own country are still won- 
ders to us for the labour they must have cost their barbaric 
builders. Most conspicuous are the great burial-mounds 
of earth or cairns of stones. Some of the largest of these 
appear to date from the stone-age. But their use lasted on 
through the bronze-age into the iron-age ; and to this day 
in the Highlands of Scotland the memory of the old cus- 
tom is so strong, that the mourners, as they may not build 
a cairn over the grave in the churchyard, will sometimes set 
up a little one where the funeral procession stops on the 
way. Within the old burial-mounds or barrows, there may 
be a cist or rude chest of stone slabs for the interment, or 
a chamber of rude stones, sometimes with galleries. Many 
such stone structures are to be seen above ground, especially 
the dolmens, i.e. stone tables, formed of three or four great 
upright stones, with a top-stone resting on them, such as 
Kit's Coty House, not far from Rochester. The remains 
dug up show that the dolmens were tombs. Another kind 
of early stone monuments are the menhirs, i.e. long stones 
set up singly. It happens that the Khasias of north-east 
India have gone on to modern times setting up such rude 
pillars as memorials of the dead, so that it may be reasonably 
guessed that those in Brittany for instance had the same 
purpose. Another kind of rude stone structures well known in 
Europe are the cromlechs, or stone circles, formed of upright 
stones in a ring, such as Stanton Drew, not far from Bristol. 
There is proof that the stone circles have often to do with 
burials, for they may surround a burial-mound, or have a 
dolmen in the middle. J But considering how tombs are apt 
to become temples where the ghost of the buried chief or 
prophet is worshipped, it is likely that such stone circles 
should also serve as temples,^ as in the case of South India 
at the present time, where cocks are actually sacrificed to 


the village deity, who is represented by the large stone in 
the centre of a cromlech. Rude stone monuments may be 
traced in a remarkable line on the map, from India across 
to North Africa, and up the west side of Europe {see 
Fergusson's map.) The purpose of them all is not fully 
understood, especially the lines of great stones at Camac 
and Abury, and Stonehenge with its great hewn upright 
and cross stones. But, as has been here shown, there 
are facts which go far to explain the meaning of dol- 
mens, menhirs, and cromlechs. The fanciful speculations 
of the old-fashioned antiquaries, such as that the dol- 
mens were " Druid's altars," are givmg place to sober 
examination such as the reader may find in Lubbock's 
Prehistoric Tiines. 

In the barbaric religion, which has left such clear traces in 
our midst, what is supposed to become of the soul after 
death ? The answers are many, but they agree in this, that 
the ghosts must be somewhere whence they can come to visit 
the living, especially at night time. Some tribes say that 
the soul continues to haunt the hut where it died, which 
is accordingly deserted for it ; or it hovers near the burial- 
ground, which is sometimes the place of village resort, so 
that the souls of ancestors can look on kindly, like the old 
people sitting round the village green watching the 
youngsters at their sports j or the ghosts flit away to some 
region of the dead in the deep forests or on mountain-tops 
or far-away islands over the sea, or up on the plains above 
the sky, or down in the depths below the ground where the 
sun descends at night. Such people as the Zulus can show 
the holes where one can descend by a cavern into the 
under-world of the dead, an idea well known in the classic 
lake Avernus, and which has lasted on to our own day in 
St. Patrick's Purgatory in Lough Dearg. By a train of fancy 

350 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

easy to follow, it is often held that the home of the dead has 
to do with that far-west region where the sun dies at 
night. Islanders like the Maoris imagine the souls speed- 
ing away from the westernmost cape of New Zealand, just 
as on the coast of Brittany, where Cape Raz stands out 
westward into the ocean, there is the " bay of souls," the 
launching-place where the departed spirits sail off across the 
sea. Many rude tribes think the spirit-world to be the 
pleasant land they see in dreams, where the dead live in 
their spirit-villages, and there is game and fish in plenty, and 
the sun always shines ; but others fancy it the dim land of 
shadows, the cavernous under-world of night. Both ideas 
are familiar to us in poetry — one in the earthly paradise of 
the legends, the other in such passages as describe Odysseus' 
visit to the bloodless ghosts in the dreary dusk of Hades, or 
the shadows of the dead in Purgatory wondering to see 
Dante there, whose fleshly body, unlike their own phantom 
forms, stops the sunlight and casts a shadow. 

Hitherto we have been speaking of the bodiless souls or 
ghosts of tlie dead, but it also agrees with their nature that 
they may enter into new bodies and live again on earth. In 
fact one of the most usual beliefs of the lower races is that 
the souls of dead ancestors are re-born in children, an idea 
which explains the fact of children having a likeness to the 
father's or mother's family. For instance, the Yoruba negroes 
greet anew-born child with the salute, *'Thou art come!" 
and then set themselves to decide what ancestral soul has 
returned. It does not, however, follow that the body in 
which the soul takes up its new abode should be human : it 
may enter into a bear or jackal, or fly away in a bird, or, as 
the Zulus think, it may pass into one of those harmless 
snakes which creep about in the huts, liking the warmth of 
the family hearth, as they did while they were old people, 



and still kindly taking the food given by their grandchildren. 
In such simple forms there appears among the- lower races 
the notion of transmigration which in Brahmanism and 
Buddhism becomes a great religious doctrine. 
. To return to the souls of the dead which flit to and fro as 
ghosts. These, wherever they dwell, are naturally believed 
to keep up their interest in the living, and their families hold 
kindly intercourse with them. Thus, in North America a 
Mandan woman will talk by the hour to her dead husband 
or child ; and a Chinese is bound to announce any family 
event, such as a wedding, to the spirits of his ancestors, 
present in their memorial tablets. The ghosts of dead 
kinsfolk are not only talked to but fed ; the family offer them 
morsels of food at their own meals, and hold once a year a 
feast of the dead, when the souls of ancestors for genera- 
tions back are fancied present and invisibly partaking of the 
food. Such offerings to the dead not only go on through 
the savage and barbaric world, but last on into higher 
civilization, their traces still remaining in Europe. The 
Russian peasant, who fancies the souls of his forefathers 
creeping in and out behind the saints' pictures on the little 
icon-shelf, puts crumbs of cake there for them. One has 
only to cross the Channel to see how the ancient feast of the 
dead still keeps its primitive character in the festival of All 
Souls, which is its modern representative; even at the 
cemetery of Pere-Lachaise they still put cakes and sweet- 
meats on the graves, and in Brittany the peasants that night 
do not forget to make up the fire and leave the fragments of 
the supper on the table, for the souls of the dead of the 
family who will come to visit their home. All this belongs 
to the ancestor-worship or religion of the divine dead, which 
from remote antiquity has been, as it is even now, the main 
faith of the larger half of mankind. But this worship does 

352 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

not come only from family affection, for the ghosts of the 
dead are looked upon as divine beings, powerful both for 
good and harm. The North American Indian, who prays to 
the spirits of his forefathers to give him good weather or 
luck in hunting, if he happens to fall into the fire will believe 
he has neglected to make some offering to the spirits, and 
they have pushed him in to punish him. In Guinea the 
negroes who regularly bring food and drink to the images of 
their dead relatives look to them for help in the trials of life, 
and in times of peril or distress crowds of men and women 
may be seen on the hill-tops or the skirts of the forest, calling 
in the most piteous and touching tones on the spirits of their 
ancestors. Such accounts help us to understand what real 
meaning there is in the ancestor-worship which to a Chinese 
or Hindu is the first business of life, and how the pious rites 
for the dead ancestors or lares formed the very bond which 
held a Roman family together. Our modern minds have 
rather lost the sense of this, and people often think the 
apotheosis of a dead Roman emperor to have been a mere 
act of insane pride, whereas in fact it was an idea under- 
stood by any barbarian, that at death the great chief should 
pass into as great a deity. 

That barbarians should imagine the manes or ghosts of 
their dead to be such active powerful beings, arises naturally 
from their notions of the soul ; but this requires a word of 
explanation. As during life the soul exercises power over 
the body, so after death when become a ghost it is believed 
to keep its activity and power. Such ghosts interfering in the 
affairs of the living are usually called good and evil spirits, or 
demons. There is no clear distinction made between ghosts 
and demons ; in fact, savages generally consider the demons 
who help or plague them to be souls of dead men. Good or 
evil, the man keeps after death the temper he had in mortal 


life. Not long ago, in South India, where the natives are 
demon-worshippers, it was found that they had lately built a 
shrine of which the deity was the ghost of a British officer, a 
mighty hunter, whose votaries, mindful of his tastes in life, 
were laying on his altar offerings of cheroots and brandy. 
The same man will be a good spirit to his friends and an 
evil spirit to his enemies, and even to his own people he 
may be sometimes kind and sometimes cruel, as when the 
Zulus believe that the shades of dead warriors of their tribe 
are among them in battle and lead them to victory; but if 
these ghostly allies are angry and turn their backs, the fight 
will go against them. When people like the American 
Indians or the African negroes believe that the air around 
them is swarming with invisible spirits, this is not nonsense. 
They mean that life is full of accidents which do not happen 
of themselves ; and when in their rude philosophy they say 
the spirits make them happen, this is finding the most dis- 
tinct causes which their minds can understand. This is 
most plainly seen in what uncivilized men believe about 
disease. We have noticed already that they account for 
fainting or trance by supposing the soul to leave the body 
for a time, and here it may be added that weakness or 
failure of health is in the same way thought to be caused 
by the soul or part of it going out. In these cases, to 
bring the soul back is the ordinary method of cure, as 
where the North American medicine-man will pretend to 
catch his patient's truant soul and put it back into his 
head, or in Fiji a sick native has been seen lying on his 
back, bawling to his own soul to come back to him. 
But in other conditions of disease the patient's behaviour 
seems rather that of a man who has got a soul in him that 
is not his proper soul. In any painful illness, especially 
when the sick man is tossing and shaking in fever, or 

A A 

354 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

writhing in convulsions on the ground, or when in delirium 
or delusion he no longer thinks his own thoughts or speaks 
with his own voice, but with distorted features and strange, 
unearthly tones breaks into wild raving, then the explanation 
which naturally suggests itself is that another spirit has 
entered into or possessed him. Any one who watches the 
symptoms of a hysterical-epileptic patient, or a maniac, 
will see how naturally in the infancy of medical science 
demoniacal possession came to be the accepted theory of 
disease, and the exorcism or expulsion of these demons 
the ordinary method of treatment. It is so among savages, 
as v/hen a sick Australian will believe that the angry ghost 
of a dead man has got into him and is gnawing his liver ; 
or when in a Patagonian skin hut the wizards may be seen 
dancing, shouting, and drumming to drive out the evil 
demon from a man down with fever. Such ideas were 
at home in ancient history, as in the well-known Egyptian 
memorial tablet of the time of Rameses XII (12th cen- 
tury B.C.) to be seen in the Paris Library, and translated 
in Reco7'ds of the Fast, where the Egyptian god Khons 
was sent in his ark to cure the little princess Bentaresh 
of the evil movement in her limbs. When he came, the 
demon said, "Great god who chasest demons, I am thy 
slave, I will go to the place whence I came." Then they 
made a sacrifice for that spirit, and he went in peace, leav- 
ing the patient cured. As far back as the history of medicine 
reaches, we find the contest between this old spirit-theory of 
disease and the newer ideas of the physicians, with their diet 
and drugs ; and though the doctors have now taken the upper 
hand, yet in any nation short of the most civilized the 
earlier notions may still be found unchanged. When Prof. 
Bastian, the anthropologist, was travelling in Burma, his cook 
had an apoplectic fit, and the wife was doing her best to 


appease the offended demon who had brought it on, by- 
putting little heaps of coloured rice for him, and prayers, 
" Oh, ride him not ! Ah, let him go ! Grip him not so 
hard ! Thou shalt have rice ! Ah, how good that tastes ! " 
In countries where this theory of disease prevails, the patients' 
own delusions work in with and confirm it in most striking 
ways. As fully persuaded as the bystanders of the reaHty of 
their demons, they will recognise them in the figures they 
dream of or see in their delirium, and what is more, under 
delusion or diseased imagination they so lose their sense of 
being themselves, as to talk with what they believe to be the 
voice of the demon within them, answering in its name, just 
as the sick princess did in Syria three thousand years ago. 
Englishmen in India and the far East often have the 
opportunity of being present at these strange old-world 
scenes, and hearing the demon-voice whisper, or squeak, or 
roar, out of the patient's mouth, that he is the spirit so-and- 
so, and tell what he is come for ; at last, when satisfied with 
what he wants, or subdued by the exorcist's charms and 
threats, the demon consents to go, and then the patient 
leaves off his frantic screams and raving, his convulsive 
writhing quiets down, and he sinks into an exhausted sleep, 
often relieved for a time when the malady is one where 
mental treatment is effective. Nor is it necessary to go to 
India or China for illustrations of this early theory of disease. 
In Spain the priests still go on exorcising devils out of 
the mouths and feet of epileptic patients, though this will 
probably cease in a few years, when it is known how 
successfully that hitherto intractable disease may be treated 
with potassium bromide. 

In other ways the notion of spirits serves to account for 
whatever happens. That certain unusually fierce wolves or 
tigers are " man-eaters " is explained by the belief that the 

A A 2 

356 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

souls of wicked men go out at night and enter into wild- 
beast bodies to prey on their fellow-men; these are the 
man-tigers and were- wolves — that is, " man-wolves " — which 
still live in the popular superstition of India and Russia. 
Again, we all know that many living people grow pale 
and bloodless and pine away; in Slavonic countries this 
is thought to be caused by blood-sucking nightmares, 
whose dreadful visits the patient is conscious of in his 
sleep, and these creatures are ingeniously accounted for 
as demon-souls dwelhng in corpses, whose blood accord- 
ingly keeps fluid long after death; they call them vam- 
pires. It has been suggested that primitive men gained 
from their ideas of souls and spirits their first clear notions 
of a cause of anything, and this is at any rate so far true 
that rude tribes do find in the doings of spirits around 
them a reason for every stumble over a stone, every odd 
sound or feeling, every time they lose their way in the 
woods. Thus, in the scores of good and evil chances which 
meet the barbarian from hour to hour, he finds work for 
many friendly or unfriendly spirits. Especially his own 
luck or fortune takes shape in a guardian spirit who 
belongs to him and goes about with him. This may be, 
as the rude Tasmanians have thought, a dead father's soul 
looking after his son, or such a patron-spirit as the North 
American warrior fasts for till he sees it in a dream; or 
it may be, like the genius of the ancienr Roman, a spirit 
born with him for a companion and guardian through life. 
The genius of Augustus was a divine being to be prayed and 
sacrificed to, but how we moderns have left behind the 
thoughts of the ancients, while still using their words, is 
curiously seen in the changed meaning with which we now 
talk of the genius of Handel or Turner. Not less striking 
is the change which has come in our thoughts about the 


world around us, the sky and the sea, the mountains and 
the forests. We have learnt to watch the operation of 
physical laws of gravity and heat, of growth and decomposi- 
tion, and it is only with an effort that we can get our 
imagination back to the remote days when men looked to 
an infinite multitude of spiritual beings as the causes of 
nature. Yet this belief arises plainly from the theory of the 
soul, for these spirits are looked upon as souls working 
nature much as human souls work human bodies. It is they 
who cast up the fire in the volcano, tear up the forest in the 
hurricane, spin the canoe round in the whirlpool, inhabit the 
trees and make them grow. The lower races not only talk 
of such nature-spirits, but deal with them in a thoroughly 
personal way which shows how they are modelled on 
human souls. Modern travellers have seen North Americans 
paddling their canoes past a dangerous place on the river 
and throwing in a bit of tobacco with a prayer to the river- 
spirit to let them pass.- An African woodcutter who has made 
the first cut at a great tree has been known to take the precau- 
tion of pouring some palm-oil on the ground, that the angry 
tree-spirit coming out may stop to lick it up, while the 
man runs for his life. The state of mind to which these 
nature-spirits belong must have been almost as clearly 
remembered by the Greeks, when they could still fancy the 
nymphs of the lovely groves, and springs, and grassy mea- 
dows, coming up to the council of the Olympian gods and 
sitting around on the polished seats, or the dryads growing 
with the leafy pines and oaks, and uttering screams of pain 
when the woodman's axe strikes the trunk. The Anglo-Saxon 
dictionary preserves the curious word wood?nare for an echo 
[wudu-mcer = wood-nymph), a record of the time when 
Englishmen believed, as barbarians do still, that the echo is 
the voice of an answering spirit ; the word j?iare, for spirit or 

358 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

demon, appears also in nightmare^ the throttling dream- 
demon who was as real to our forefathers as he is to the 
natives of Australia now. Superseded by physical science, 
the old nature -spirits still find a home in poetry and folk- 
lore ; the Loreley is only a modernized version of the river- 
demon who drowns the swimmer in the whirlpool ; the heal- 
ing water-spirits of the old sacred wells have only taken 
saints' names, the little elves and fairies of the woods are 
only dim recollections of the old forest-spirits. It may surprise 
the readers of Huxley's Physiography to recognise in fairy- 
tales the nature-spirits in whose personal shape prehistoric 
man imagined the forces of nature. 

Above the commonalty of souls, demons, and nature- 
spirits, the religions of all tribes recognise higher spirits, or 
gods. Where ancestor-worship prevails, the souls of great 
chiefs and warriors or any celebrated persons may take this 
divine rank. Thus, the Mongols worship as good deities the 
great Genghis Khan and his princely family. The Chinese 
declare that Pang, who is worshipped by carpenters and 
builders as their patron divinity, was a famous artificer who 
lived long ago in the province of Shangtung, while Kwang-tae, 
the War-god, was a distinguished soldier who lived under 
the Han dynasty. The idea of the divine ancestor may even 
be carried far enough to reach supreme deity, as where the 
Zulus, working back from ghostly ancestor to ancestor, talk 
of Unkulunkulu, the Old-Old-one, as the creator of the world ; 
or the Brazilian tribes say that Tamoi the Grandfather, the 
first man, dwelt among them and taught them to till the soil, 
at last rising to the sky, where he will receive their souls 
after death. Among the nature-spirits also the barbarian 
plainly perceives great gods who rule the universe. The 
highest deity of the African negroes is the Sky, who gives the 
rain and makes the grass grow, and when they wake in the 




morning they thank him for opening the door to let the 
sun in. Thus they are at the same stage of thought as our 
Aryan ancestors, whose great deity Dyu, sung of in the 
hymns of the Veda, was at once the solid personal Sky that 
rains and thunders, and the Heaven-god who animates it. 
This deity remains even in name in the Greek Zeus, and 
Latin Jupiter, the Heaven-father, both religions keeping 
up its double sense of sky and sky-god, belonging to the 
barbaric theology which could see massive life in the over- 
arching firmament, and could explain that life by an in- 
dwelling deity, modelled on the human soul. We may 
best understand what was meant by the Heaven-god, if we 
think of him as the soul of the sky. Among all the relics 
of barbaric religion which surround us, few are more striking 
than the phrases which still recognise as a deity the living 
sky, as *' Heaven forgive me ! " " The vengeance of Heaven 
will overtake him." The rain and thunder are mostly taken 
as acts of the Heaven-god, as where Zeus hurls the thunder- 
bolt and sends the showers. But some peoples have a 
special Rain-god, like the Khonds of Orissa, who pray to 
Pidzu Pennu that he will pour down the waters through his 
sieve upon their fields. Others have a special Thunder- 
god, like the Yorubas, who say it is Shango who casts down 
with the lightning-flash and the thunder-clap his thunder- 
axes, which are the stone celts they dig up in the ground ; 
we English keep up the memory of the god Thunder or 
Thor in our word Thursday, which is a translation of 
Dies Jovis. In barbaric theology, Earth, the mother of 
all things, takes her place, as when the pious Ojibwa 
Indian digging up his medicine-plants is careful to leave 
an offering for great-grandmother Earth. No fancy of 
nature can be plainer than that the Heaven-father and 
the Earth-mother are the universal parents, nor could 

36o ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

any ceremony acknowledge them more naturally than the 
Chinese marriage when bride and bridegroom prostrate 
themselves before Heaven and Earth. The Earth-goddess 
is clear in classic religion, Demeter, Terra Mater, and per- 
haps the last trace of her worship among ourselves may be 
the leaving of the last handful of corn-ears standing in the 
field or the carrying it in triumph in the harvest-home. In 
modern times it is among the negroes of the Guinea coast 
that the clearest idea ot the Sea-god is to be found, when 
the native kings, praying him not to be boisterous, would 
have rice and cloth and bottles of rum, and even slaves, cast 
into the sea as sacrifices. So a Greek or Roman general, 
before embarking on the dangerous waves, would sacrifice a 
bull to Poseidon or Neptune. To men who could thus look 
on the sky, earth, and sea as animated, intelligent beings, 
the Sun, giver of light and life to the v/orld, rising and crossing 
the sky and descending at night into the under-world whence 
he arose, has the clearest divine personality. There is a 
quaint simplicity in the account which not many years ago 
a Samoyed woman gave of her daily prayers ; at sunrise, 
bowing to the sun, she said, "When thou, God, risest, I too 
rise from my bed ! " and in the evening, ''When thou, God, 
goest down, I too get me to rest." As far back as ancient 
history reaches, the Sun-god appears, as where, in the pictures 
on Egyptian mummy-cases, Ra, the Sun, is seen travelling 
in his boat through the upper and lower regions of the 
universe. Every morning those modern ancients, the 
Brahmans, may be seen standing on one foot with their 
hands held out before them and their faces turned to the east, 
adoring the Sun : among the oldest prayers which have come 
down unchanged from the old Aryan world is that which 
they daily repeat, •' Let us meditate on the desirable light 
of the divine Sun ; may he rouse our minds I " The Moon- 


god or goddess marks the festivals of rude forest tribes 
who dance by the light of the full moon. It is not un- 
common for the Moon to rank above the Sun, as perhaps 
for astronomical reasons was the case in ancient Babylonia ; 
but more usually the Sun stands first, as seem.s to us more 
natural ; and commonly Sun and Moon are looked on as a 
pair, brother and sister, or husband and wife. It is easy to 
understand why at the famous temple in Syria, Sun and 
Moon had no images like the other gods, because they 
themselves were to be seen by all men. No doubt this is 
why of all the old nature-gods they alone still have personal 
obeisance done to them among us to this day ; in Germany 
or France one may still see the peasant take off his hat to 
the rising sun, and in England the new moon is saluted with 
a bow or curtsey, as well as the curious practice of " turning 
one's silver/' which seems a relic of the offering of the 
moon's proper metal. Fire, though hardly a deity of the 
first order, is looked upon as a personal being, and wor- 
shipped both for the good and harm it does to man^ and as 
minister of the greater gods. Among the Aryan nations, 
the first word of the Veda is the name of Jpti, the Fire- 
god (Latin Ignis\ the divine priest of sacrifice ; the Parsis, 
representatives of the religion of ancient Persia, whose most 
sacred place is the temple at the burning wells of Baku 
(p. 273), are typical fire-worshippers ; among the old Greeks 
Hestia, the sacred hearth, was fed with fat and libations of 
sweet wine, and her name and worship went on in Rome in 
the temple of Vesta, with the eternal fire in her sanctuary. 
The Wind-gods are as well known to the North American 
Indians and the South Sea Islanders as they were to the 
Greeks, from whose religion they have come down to us so 
that every ploughman's child hears of rude Boreas and gentle 
Zephyr. To conclude the list, the Rivers have seemed 

362 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

beings so far greater than the little spirits of the brooks, 
that they often, like Skamandros and Spercheios, had temples 
and priests of their own ; men swore by them, for they 
could seize and drown the perjurer in their floods, and to 
the Hindus still the most awful of oaths is by a divine river, 
above all the Ganges. 

Such a list of gods, the vast souls of the sky, earth and 
sea, of the sun and moon, and the rest of the great powers 
of nature, each with his own divine personality, his own 
rational purpose and work in the world, goes far to explain 
polytheism, as it is found in all quarters of the globe The 
explanation cannot, however, be complete, because both the 
names and natures of many gods have become confused. A 
deity worshipped in several temples is apt to split up into 
several deities, and men go on worshipping these by different 
names after their first sense is forgotten. Among nations who 
have become blended by alliance or conquest, the religions 
also mix, and the vaiious gods lose their distinct personality. 
The classical dictionary is full of examples of all this. The 
thundering sky a;id the n;iny sky, Jupiter Tonans and 
Jupiter Pluvius, came to be adored like two distinct beings. 
The Latin Neptunus and the Greek Poseidon, put together 
into one because both were sea-gods, form a curious divine 
compound. Under the name of Mercurius, god of trade, 
comes in another ancient deity, the Greek Hermes, 
messenger of the gods, leader of the dead into the land 
of Hades, god of thieves and merchants, of writing and 
science, who himself bears traces of having been pieced 
together out of yet older deities, among them the writing- 
god of ancient Egypt, the ibis-headed Thoth. This will 
give a notion of the confusion which begins in religion 
as soon as the worshippers cease to think of a deity by 
his first meaning and purpose, and only know of him 


as the god so-and-so, whose image stands in such-and- 
such a temple. The wonder is_not that the origin of so 
many ancient gods iTliow hard to make out, but that so 
many show so clearly as they do what they were at first, a 
divine ancestor, or a sun, or sky, or river. The gods of 
barbaric religion also show plainly at work, in the minds of 
the rude theologians, a thought destined to vast importance 
in higher stages of civilization. Regarding the world as 
the battle-ground of good and evil spirits, some religions see 
these ranged in two contending armies with higher good and 
evil gods over them, and above all the sovereign good deity 
and evil deity. This system of duaHsm,as it is called, is worked 
out in the contest between the powers of light and darkness, 
under Ormuzd and Ahriman, the good and evil spirits, in 
the religion of ancient Persia. In barbaric stages of religion 
there appears also in rude forms the system of divine 
government, so well known in the faiths of more cultured 
nations. As among the worshippers themselves there are 
common men, and chiefs above them, and great rulers 
or kings above all, with high and low officers to do their 
bidding ; so among their gods they frame schemes of lower 
and higher ranks of deities, with above all the majesty 
of a supreme deity. It is not agreed everywhere which god 
is to have this supremacy. As has been already said, men 
who look to the souls of the dead as their gods may hold 
even the highest divinity to be such a soul, an ancestor 
expanded into creator and ruler of the world. Often, and 
naturally, the heaven-god is looked upon as supreme creator 
and controller of the universe. Among the nations of West 
Africa, some say Heaven does his will through his servants, 
the lesser spirits of the air, but others think him too high 
above to trouble himself much with earthly things. The 
doctrine of the Congo negroes shows a thoughtful, if not a 

364 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

happy, philosophy of life. They say it is the crowd of good 
and evil spirits, souls of the departed, who are still active in 
the concerns of life, and mostly the evil spirits have the 
best of it ; but now and then, when they have made the 
world unbearable, the great Heaven rouses himself, terrifies 
the bad demons with his thunder, and lets fly his thunder- 
bolts at the most obstinate ; then he goes back to rest, and 
lets the spirits rule as before. A more cheerful view of 
nature-spirits working beneath heaven is familiar to us in 
the Homeric court of the gods on Olympus, where Zeus, the 
personal sky, sits enthroned above, holding sway over the 
lower gods of earth, air, and sea. In other countries the 
Sun may be looked upon as supreme, as he is among many 
hill-tribes of India, where he rules over the gods of the 
forest and the plain, the tribe-gods, and the ancestral ghosts. 
Or there may be, as among the native tribes of North 
America, a Great Spirit, who is, as it were, the soul of the 
universe, which he created and still controls, supreme over 
even such mighty nature-gods as the sun and moon. When the 
reader goes on to study the religion and philosophy of the 
ancient civiHzed world, he will find men's thoughts working 
in these same two ways toward pantheism or monotheism, 
according as they conceive the whole universe as one vast 
body animated by one divine soul, or raise to the same 
divine height the one deity who reigns supreme over the 
rest. It lies beyond our range to follow this argument 
further here. 

Let us now look at the chief acts of barbaric worship, 
which are not hard to understand when it is borne in mind 
that the deities they are paid to are actual human souls, or 
transformed human souls, or beings modelled on human 
souls. Even among savages, prayer is already found; in- 
deed, nothing could be more natural than that the worshipper 


should address with respectful words and entreaties for help 
a divine being who is perhaps his own grandfather. The 
prayers of barbarians have often been listened to and written 
down. Thus among the Zulus, the sacrificer says : " There 
is your bullock, ye spirits of our people. I pray for a healthy 
body that I may live comfortably, and thou so-and-so, treat 
me with mercy, and thou so-and-so "' (mentioning by name the 
dead of the family). The following is part of a prayer of the 
Khonds, when offering a human sacrifice to the Earth- 
goddess : " By our cattle, our flocks, our pigs, and our grain 
we procured a victim and offered a sacrifice. Do you now 
enrich us. Let our herds be so numerous that they cannot 
be housed ; let children so abound that the care of them 
shall be too much for the parents, as shall be seen by their 
burnt hands ; let our heads ever strike against brass pots 
innumerable hanging from our roofs ; let the rats form their 
nests of shreds of scarlet cloth and silk ; let all the kites in 
the country be seen in the trees of our village, from beasts 
being killed there every day. We are ignorant of what it 
is good to ask for. You know what is good for us. Give 
it to us." These two specimens of prayers are chosen 
because they show how closely prayer is connected with 
sacrifice, how the offering is brought and the favour asked 
with it, just as would be done to a living chief Barbaric 
sacrifices are not mere formal tokens of respect ; they 
are mostly food, and will be consumed by the divinity, 
though he, being a spirit, is apt to take only the spirit, 
flavour, or essence, of the viands ; or he snuffs up the 
steam or smoke as it ascends from the altar fire, a 
spiritual food of much the same thin ethereal substance 
which the spirit or god himself is thought to be of. It 
is in the higher religions that the sacrificial rite loses its 
grosser sense of feeding the deity, so that although the 

366 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

drink-offering is still poured out and the bullock burnt on 
the altar, the act has passed into the giving up of some- 
thing prized by the worshipper, and a sign of adoration 
acceptable to the god. 

There are several ways in which the worshipper can hold 
personal intercourse with his deities. These, being souls or 
spirits, are of course to be seen at times in dreams and 
visions, especially by their own priests or seers, who thus 
get (or pretend to get) divine answers or oracles from them. 
Being a soul, the god can also enter a human body, and act 
and speak through it, and thus hysterical and epileptic 
symptoms, which we have seen to be ascribed to an evil 
demon possessing the patient, are looked on more favourably 
when the spirit is considered to be a deity come to inspire 
his minister and talk by his voice. The convulsions, the 
unearthly voice in which the possessed priest answers in the 
name of the deity within, and his falling into stupor when 
his god departs, all fit together, and in all quarters of the 
world the oracle-priests and diviners by familiar spirits seem 
really diseased in body and mind, and deluded by their 
own feelings, as well as skilled in cheating their votaries 
with sham symptoms and cunning answers. The inspira- 
tion or breathing-in of a spirit into the body of a priest 
or seer appears to such people a mechanical action, like 
pouring water into a jug. Also, as in the ordinary trans- 
migration of souls, a deity is considered able to enter into 
the body of an animal, as when he flies from place to 
place in the form of a sacred bird, or lives in the divine 
snake fed and worshipped among the negroes of the Slave 
coast. This leads on to a belief which seems still stranger 
to our minds. The modern Englishman wonders that a 
human being, however ignorant, should prostrate himself 
before a stake stuck in the ground or a stone picked up by 


the wayside, and even talk to it and offer it food : but when 
the African or Hindu explains that he beUeves this stock or 
stone to be a receptacle in which a divine spirit has for a 
time embodied itself, this shows that there is a rational 
meaning in the act. Images of gods, from the rudely carved 
figures of ancestors which the Ostyaks set up in their huts, 
to the Greek statues shaped by Phidias or Praxiteles to 
represent the heaven-god or the sun-god, are mostly formed 
in the likeness of man — an additional proof of how these 
nature-gods are modelled on human beings. When such 
images stand to represent gods, the worshipper may look on 
them as mere signs or portraits, but commonly he is led by 
his spirit-philosophy to treat them as temporary bodies for 
the deities. A Tahitian priest, when asked about his carved 
wooden idol, would explain that his god was not always in 
the image, but only now and then flew to it in the body of 
a sacred bird, and at times would come out of the idol and 
enter his own (the priest's) body, to give divine oracles by 
his voice. Tliis takes us back to the times when, fifteen 
hundred years ago, Minucius Felix describes the heathen 
gods entering into their idols and fattening on the steam of 
the altars, or creeping as thin spirits into the bodies of men, 
to distort their limbs and drive them mad, or making their 
own priests rave and whirl about. Lastly, rude tribes may 
believe in and worship spirits without having come to build 
houses for them and set up tables for their food. . Yet 
such temples and altars appear far back in barbaric re- 
ligion, and remain still with the thoroughly human character 
of the worship as plain as ever in them ; as when in India 
the image of Vishnu is washed and dressed by his attendants, 
and set up in the place of honour in his temple with a 
choice feast before him, and musicians and dancing girls 
to divert him. This is the more instructive to us, because we 

368 ANTHROPOLOGY [chap. 

know Vishnu before bis original meaning was so spoilt, when 
he was a sun-god, an animating principle or soul of the 
sun in personal human shape, and thus a remnant of pre- 
historic natural philosophy. 

We have hitherto only looked at barbaric religion as such 
an early system of natural philosophy, and have said nothing 
of the moral teaching which now seems so essential to any 
religion. The philosophical side of religion has been kept 
apart from the moral side, not only because a clearer view 
may be had by looking at them separately, but because 
many religions of the lower races have in fact little to 
do with moral conduct. A native American or African 
may have a distinct belief in souls and other spirits as 
the causes of his own life and of the events of the surround- 
ing world, and he may worship these ghostly or divine beings, 
gaining their favour or appeasing their anger by prayers 
and offerings. But though these gods may require him to 
do his duty towards them, it does not follow that they should 
concern themselves with his doing his duty to his neighbour. 
Among such peoples, if a man robs or murders, that is for 
the party wronged or his friends to avenge ; if he is stingy, 
treacherous, brutal, then punishment may fall on him or he 
may be scouted by all good people ; but he is not necessarily 
looked upon as hateful to the gods, and in fact such a man 
is often a great medicine-man or priest. While they hold 
also that the soul will continue to exist after death, flitting 
as a ghost or demon among the living or passing to the 
gloomy under-world or the shining spirit-land, they often 
think its condition will be rather a keeping-up of earthly 
character and rank, than a reward or punishment for the 
earthly life. If some readers find it difficult to under- 
stand such theology separate from morals, they may be 
reminded how, among more civiHzed nations, religions 


may drop into the same state by losing the use of the 
moral laws they profess ; as when a Hindu may lead the 
wickedest of lives, whib the priests for gifts make his peace 
with the gods, or as in Europe brigands are notoriously devout 
church goers. As a rule, the faiths of the higher nations 
have more and better moral influence than the faiths of the 
ruder tribes. Yet even among savages the practical effect of 
religion on men's Hves begins to show itself. The worship of 
the dead naturally encourages good morals ; for the ancestor 
who, when living, took care that his family should do right 
by one another, does not cease this kindly rule when he be- 
comes a divine ghost powerful to favour or punish. This 
manes-worship does not bring in new doctrines or reforms ; 
indeed it is felt that nothing displeases the ancestral deity like 
changing the old customs he was used to. But for keeping 
up old-fashioned family goodness-, the worship of ancestors 
has an influence over the many nations among whom it still 
prevails, from the Zulu, who believes that he must not ill- 
treat his brothers lest the father should come in a dream 
and make him ill, to the Chinese, who lives ever in 
presence of the family spirits, and fears to do wrong lest 
they should leave him to fall into distress and die. In the 
great old-world religions, where a powerful priesthood are 
the intellectual class, the educators and controllers of society, 
we find moral teaching fully recognised among the great 
duties of religion. The gods take on themselves the 
punishment of the wicked ; the Heaven-god smites the 
perjurer with his thunderbolt, and the Nation-god brings 
sickness and death on the murderer. The doctrine of the 
transmigration of souls is brought to bear as a moral power ; 
as where the Hindu books threaten evil-doers with being re- 
born in other bodies in punishment for their sins done in this, 
when the wicked shall be born again blind or deformed, 

B B 

370 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap 

the scandal-monger shall have foul breath and the horse- 
stealer shall go lame, the cruel man shall be born as a beast 
of prey, the grain-stealer as a rat ; and thus, eating the fruits 
of past actions, men shall work out the consequences of 
their deeds, souls sunk in darkness being degraded to brutes, 
while the good rise in successive births to become gods. 
Even more widely spread is the doctrine that man's Hfe 
is followed by judgment after death, when evil-doers are 
doomed to misery, and only those who have lived righteously 
on earth will enter into bliss. How this doctrine prevailed 
in ancient Egypt, the papyrus strips of the Book of the Dead, 
and its pictures and hieroglyphic formulas on the mummy- 
cases, remain to show. Thus in any museum we may still 
see the scene of the weighing of the soul of the deceased, 
and his trial by Osiris, the judge of the dead, and the forty- 
two assessors, while Thoth, the writing-god, stands by to enter 
the dread record on his tablets. In the columns of hiero- 
glyphics are set down the crimes of which the soul must 
clear itself, a curious mingling of what we should call cere- 
monial and moral sins, among them the following: " I have 
not privily done evil against mankind. I have not told 
falsehoods in the tribunal of Truth. I have not done any 
wicked thing. I have not made the labouring man do more 
than his task daily. I have not calumniated the slave to 
his master. I have not murdered. I have not done fraud 
to men. I have not changed the measures of the country. 
I have not injured the images of the gods. I have not 
taken scraps of the bandages of the dead. I have not 
committed adultery. I have not withheld milk from the 
mouths of sucklings. I have not hunted wild animals in 
the pasturage. I have not netted sacred birds. I am pure, 
I am pure, I am pure ! " Thus, among the cultured old- 
world nations, already in the earliest historical ages theology 


had joined with ethics, and religion as a moral power was 
holding sway over society. 

Animism, or the theory of souls, has thus been' shown as 
the principle out of which arose the various systems of spirits 
and deities, in barbaric and ancient religions, and it has 
been noticed also, how already among rude races such beliefs 
begin to act on moral conduct. We here see under their 
simplest aspects the two sides of religion, its philosophical 
and its moral side, which the reader should keep steadily in 
view in further study of the faiths of the world. In looking 
at the history of a religion, he will have to judge how far 
it has served these two great purposes — on the one hand 
that of teaching man how to think of himself, the world 
around him, the awful boundless power pervading all — on 
the other hand that of practically guiding and strengthening 
him in the duties of life. One question the student will often 
ask himself — how it is that faiths once mighty and earnest fall 
into decay and others take their place. Of course to no small 
extent such changes have come by conquest, as where in 
Persia the religion of Mohammed well nigh stamped out 
the old Zoroastrian faith of Cyrus and Darius. But the 
sword of the conqueror is only a means by which religions 
have been set up and put down in the world by main force, 
and there arc causes lying deeper in men's minds. It needs 
but a glance through history at the wrecks of old religions 
to see how they failed from within. The priests of Egypt, 
who once represented the most advanced knowledge of their 
time, came to fancy that mankind had no more to learn, 
and upheld their tradition against all newer wisdom, till the 
world passed them by and left them grovelling in super- 
stition. The priests of Greece ministered in splendid 
temples and had their fill of wealth and honours, but men 
who sought the secret of a good Hfe found that this -was not 

B B 2 

372 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. xiv. 

the business of the sanctuary, and turned away to the 
philosophers. Unless a religion can hold its place in the front 
of science and of morals, it may only gradually, in the 
course of ages, lose its place in the nation, but all the 
power of statecraft and all the wealth of the temples will 
not save it from eventually yielding to a belief that takes in 
higher knowledge and teaches better life. 



Tradition, 373— Pottry, 375— Fact in Fiction, 377 — Earliest P.iems and 
Writings, 381 — Ancient Chronicle and History, 383 — Myths, 387— 
Interpretation of Myths, 396— Diffusion of Myths, 397. 

History is no longer looked to for a record of the earliest 
ages of man. As the first chapter of this volume shows, 
we moderns know what was hidden from the ancients them- 
selves about the still more ancient ancients. Yet it does nut 
at all follow diat ancient history has lost its value. On the 
contrary, there are better means than ever of confirming what 
is really sound in it by such evidence as th;it of antiquities 
and language, while masses of very early writings are now 
newly opened to the historian. It was never more necessary 
to have clear ideas of what tradition, poetry, and written 
records can teach as to the times when history begins. 

The early history of nations consists more or less of 
traditions handed down by memory from ages before writing. 
Our own experience does not tell us much as to what such 
oral tradition may be worth, for it has so fallen out of use 
in the civilised world, that now one knows little of what 
happened beyond one's great-grandfather's time, unless 
it has been written down. But writing has not yet quite 

374 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

overspread the globe, and there are still peoples left whose 
whole history is the tradition of their ancestors. Thus the 
South Sea Islanders, who till quite lately had no writing, were 
intelligent barbarians, much given to handing down recol- 
lections of bygone days, and in one or two cases which it 
has been possible to test among them, it seems as though 
memory may really keep a histoi ical record long and correctly. 
It is related by Mr. Whitmee the missionary that in the 
island of Rotuma there was a very old tree, under which 
according to tradition, the stone seat of a famous chief had 
been buried ; this tree was lately blown down, and, sure 
enough, there was a stone seat under its roots, which must 
have been out of sight for centuries. In the Ellice group 
the natives declared that their ancestors came from a valley 
in the distant island of Samoa generations before, and they 
preserved an old worm-eaten staff, pieced to hold it together, 
which in their assemblies the orator held in his hand as 
the sign of having the right to speak ; this staff was lately 
taken to Samoa, and proved to be made of wood that grew 
there, while the people of the valley in question had a 
tradition of a great party going out to sea exploring, who 
never came back. Among these Polynesian traditions the 
best known are those handed down by the Maoris as to the 
peopling of New Zealand by their ancestors. They tell 
how, after a civil war, their forefathers migrated in canoes 
from Hawaiki in the far north-east ; they give the names of 
the builders and crews of these vessels and show the places 
where they landed ; they repeat, generation by generation, 
the names of the chiefs descended from those who came 
in the canoes, by which they reckon about eighteen genera- 
tions, or 400 to 500 years, since their taking possession 
of the islands. Notwithstanding that, as might be expected, 
the traditions of various districts disagree a good deal, they 


are admitted as the title-deeds by which the natives hold 
land in the right of their ancestors who landed in the canoes 
Shark (Arawa) and God's-Eye {Mata-atud)^ and it can hardly 
be doubted that such genealogies, constantly repeated among 
people whose lands depended on them, are founded 
on fact. Yet these Maori traditions are about half made 
up of the wildest wonder-tales ; when the builder of one 
of the canoes cuts down a great tree to make the hull, on 
coming back to the forest next morning he finds that the 
tree has got up again in the night; and when the canoe is 
finished and puts to sea, a certain magician is left behind, 
but on getting to New Zealand there he is before them on 
the shore, having come across the ocean on the back of a 
sea-monster, like Arion on his dolphin. These traditions of 
a modern barbarous people may give us not an unfair idea 
of the mixture of real memory and mythic fancy in the 
early history of Egypt or Greece, where it has come down 
by tradition from the distant past when there was as yet 
no scribe to engrave on a stone tablet even the names 
of kings. 

Traditions are yet more lasting when handed down in 
fixed words, which is especially when the poets have set 
them in verse. Even now in England some notable event 
^ may be made into a ballad and sung through the length and 
breadth of the land. In days before printing, the import- 
ance of the poet as historian was far greater, and many 
an old European chant has touches of true chronicle. The 
old songs of Brittany are often very true to history, as 
where in one there is mention of Bertrand du Guesclin's 
hair being like a lion's mane, and in another, Jeanne de 
Montforfc (Jeanne-la-Flamme) going forth from Hennebont 
with sword and burning brand to fire the French camp, is 
described as putting on her suit of armour, which history 

376 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

elsewhere records that she really wore. But though the 
poet or minstrel preserves many picturesque incidents like 
these, he has not the historian's conscience about facts. 
Eager to rouse and delight his audience, to flatter the 
national pride of his people and the family pride of the chief- 
tain in whose halls he sang, the singer brought in real names 
and events, but he shifted them as would best suit his 
dramatic scenery, or he even made his own history outright. 
The great German epic, the Nibelungen Lied, begins m 
Burgundy, wliere the three kings hold court at Worms on 
the Rhine, their sister is the lovely Kriemhilt, whose hus- 
band Sifrit is treacherously slain at the well by Hagen's 
spear ; afterwards she marries Attila the LIun-king, and 
the tale of blood, ending with her vengeance and death, 
leaves Attila and Theodoric of Verona (Etzel and Dietrich 
von Bern) weeping together over the slaughter of their 
men. Here are places and personages historical enough to 
make a poem history, if history could be made by sich 
means ; but the reader of Gibbon knows that Attila really 
died two years before Theodoric \vas born. In fact the 
poem is a late version of a story preserved in an earlier 
shape in Scandinavia as the saga of the Volsungs ; the 
court at Worms, and the tournament, and the rest of the 
historic names and local circumstances, are w^orked in to 
give poetic substance and colour. If poets ventured thus 
to falsify history in die middle ages, when the chronicles 
were there to convict them, how are we to tell fact from 
fiction in the poems of ages where the check of history is 
wanting? The Iliad and the Odyssey may contain many 
memories of real men and their deeds, an Agamemnon may 
have reigned in Mykenai, there may have been a real siege 
of Troy, perhaps round the very mound where Schliemann 
has dug out the golden cups and necklace. But it is too hard 


a task to sift out historic truth in Homer, whcro natural 
events are as hopelessly mixed up with miracles as in the 
Maori legends. It is too hard to judge how far chronicles 
of old nations are impartially preserved by a bard whose 
ru]e it is (as Mr. Gladstone pomis out in his Frimer of 
J-Iomer) that no considerable Greeis chieftain is ever slain 
in fair fight by a Trojan. Were nothing to be had out of 
ancient poetry except distorted memories of historical events, 
the anthropologist might be wise to set it aside altogether. 
Yet, looked at from another point of view, it is one of his 
most perfect and exact sources of knowledge. 

Although what the poet relates may be fiction, what he 
mentions is apt to be history. In the names of nations and 
countries and cities, he is unconsciously pourtraying for us 
the world and its inhabitants as they were in his time. The 
catalogue of ships and men in the second book of the Iliad 
is a chart and census of the Mediterranean. Homer knows of 
the ^-^gyptians, their irrigated fields and their skill in medi- 
cine, and of the ship-famed Phoenicians and their purple stuffs. 
The name of Kadmos belongs to the Phoenician tongue, and 
signifies the '-'Eastern," while the "seven-gated" Thebes 
built by his people shows that they had that reverence for 
the mystic number seven, which has its origin in the worship 
of the seven planets in Babylon, The poet can hardly have 
thought, when he told his wonder-tales v.'ith the circum- 
stances of the actual world around him, how future ages 
would prize for itself that record of real life. Odysseus, 
clinging under the belly of the great ram, or sailing to the 
land of Hades to the weak shades of the dead, is mere 
myth. Yet the description of Polyphemos is one of the 
few ancient pictures of the manners of low barbarians, and 
the visit to Hades is a chapter of old Greek religion, 
recording what men thought of the dull ghost-life beyond 

378 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

the tomb. So it is with the descriptions of life and manners. 
Nausikaa, the king's daughter, drives the wain with the pair 
of mules down to the river's mouth to carry the clothes to 
be washed. Odysseus walks through the streets of the sea- 
faring Phaiakians, wondering at the haven and the mighty 
walls and bastions, till he crosses the bronze threshold of the 
palace of Alkinoos, and entering, clasps the knees of Queen 
Arete ; then he crouches on the hearthstone in the ashes, till 
the king, mindful of Zeus the Thunderer standing near to care 
for the suppliant, takes the guest by the hand, and makes 
hmi sit by him on his own son's glittering seat. Thus follow- 
ing the romantic fortunes of the many-wiled Odysseus, we 
see as in the scenes of a dissolving- view how the heroes of old 
days went spear in hand with their swift dogs at their heel, 
how at the house-door they threw aside their garments to 
go into the bath -chamber, and came forth anointed with oil 
to the feast where with no such refinements as plates or 
knives they ate their fill of roast meat and cakes of bread j 
how they diverted themselves with throwing quoits on the 
smooth turf, or lounged on outspread hides in the sunshine 
playing merells ; how in solemn rites they poured the 
libations of dark wine and burned the meat in sacrifice, 
with prayers for what their hearts desired, yet knowing all 
the while that the gods would, as they listed, this grant and 
that deny. All this is not only history, but history of the 
finest kind. Looked at by the student of culture, even the 
wild mixture of the natural and supernatural, so bewildering 
to the modern mind, is the record of an early stage of 
religious thought. The gods meet in council in the halls 
of cloud-gathering Zeus, to settle what shall be done with 
their contending armies of worshippers on the plains below. 
In the very fray of mortal warriors divine beings take part ; 
Poseidon plucks out the bronze tipped spear from the shield 


of Aineias, lifts up the Trojan hero and bears him away un- 
harmed over the heads of the warriors; even the goddesses 
set on one another Hke mortal shrews, when Here tears 
away the bow and quiver of Artemis, and with scornful 
laughter boxes her ears with them till the virgin huntress 
goes off in tears, leaving her bow behind. It would be 
wrong to think that all this seemed mere make-believe and 
poetic ornament to the men who first listened to the wondrous 
rhapsodies. They were in the changing state of religion 
described in the last chapter (see p. 362) when the spiritual 
beings, which to their ruder forefathers had served as personal 
causes of nature and events, were passing away from their 
first clearness, yet were still regarded as divinities presiding 
over nature and interfering with men's lives. Contrasting 
such a state of thought with that of the present day will 
help us to realize one of the greatest events in all history, 
the change of men's minds from the mythological temper 
to the historical temper. This change did not happen all 
at once, but has for many ages been gradually coming 
about. There is hardly a more instructive chapter in Grote's 
History of Greece, than that in which he describes the philo- 
sophic age, when the Greeks were beginning to notice with 
perplexity and pain that the Homeric poems, become to 
them a sacred book, agreed but ill with their own experience 
of life, so that they asked themselves, can the world have 
really so changed since the days when men sat at table 
with the gods? 

Much of what is called ancient history has to be looked 
at in this way. Historical criticism, that is, judgment, is 
practised not for the purpose of disbelieving but of believ- 
ing. Its object is not to find fault with the author, but to 
ascertain how much of what he says may be reasonably taken 
as true. Thus a modern reader may have a sounder opinion 

38o ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

about early Roman history than the Romans themselves had 
in the time of Livy and Cicero. We see more plainly than 
they, that the name of Rome is less likely to have been 
given from a man called Romulus, than that the name of 
Romulus was invented to account for the city being called 
Rome. To modern minds, the whole famous story of the 
wolf-fosterinother of Romulus and Remus collapses when it 
is known to be only a version of the same old wonder-tale 
told by Herodotus as the story of the birth of Cyrus. Yet 
here ag.ain may be seen the indirect value of history even 
where its events are most questionable. Though there may 
never have been any such person as Romulus, the legend 
of the ttacing of the city walls by his bronze plough-share 
is a true record of the ceremony with which cities were 
anci^-ntly founded. Even later liistory, where the historian 
had written records to go upon, must often be sifted in 
this way. Suppose a class reading the 35th book of Livy. 
Such matters as Hannibal's oath, and the preparations for 
war with Antiochus, are taken without question as good 
history. But when it comes to the story that about this 
time an ox belonging to one of the consuls uttered the 
awful words " Roma, cave tibi ! " there is a laugh. Here 
it is not enough for tlie form-master simply to pass the 
story by as Livy's nonsense. He has to admit that the 
historian probably took it from tlie official record of pro- 
digies, so tliat at any rate it is good historical evidence 
that in ancient Rome men not only bjiieved that an ox 
might speak, but that its so doing would be a divine portent, 
and notions of this kind had so become part of the national 
religion and government, that the augurs took care a regular 
supply of such omens should be forthcoming to guide the 
rulers of the state, or at least to enable them to impose upon 
the multitude. Thus the passages of history which seem at 


first sight most silly and false, may be solid facts in the 
history of civilisation. 

It is plain that the compositions which serve as records 
of old-world life need not have been intended as history. 
If only the genuine words and thoughts of the ancients 
about anything have been handed down, it is for the 
moderns to extract history from them. Thus the Sanskrit 
hymns collected in the Veda serve as a record of the daily 
life of the early Aryans who chanted them. For when a 
hymn to the wind gods brings them in as driving in chariots 
with strong felloes and well-fashioned reins and cracking 
whips, then it is plam to the modern reader that the Aryan 
people among whom the hymn was made drove themselves 
in such chariots. Where the bright gods have gold chains on 
their breasts for beauty, carry spears on their shoulders and 
daggers at their sides, this mythical fancy gives a real 
picture of the accoutrement of the Aryan warrior. Thus, 
piece by piece, this praehistoric hymn-book shows the old 
patriarchal Aryan life, with the herds of cattle roaming over 
wide pastures or shut in the winter cow-stall, the ploughing 
of the fields and the reaping of the corn, the family ties and 
legal rights, the worship of the great nature-gods of sky and 
earth, sun and dawn, fire and water and winds, the intense 
belief in the shining regions of the immortal dead, the 
honour to the almsgiver and praise to the just man. In 
the sacred books of the old Persians, collected in the 
Avesta, have come down the long-remembered traditions of 
another branch of the Aryan race, who, dividing oft' from 
their Brahman kinsfolk, followed the faith of Zarathustra. 
The deep schism between the two religions is seen in the 
Zarathustrians having degraded th^ bright gods {deva) of 
the Brahmans into evil demons {dari'a). Their horror of 
defiling the sacred fire by burning corpses as the Brahmans 

382 ANTHROPOLOGY. ' [chap. 

do had already led them to expose the dead to be devoured 
by wild beasts and carrion birds, as the Parsis still do in 
their "towers of silence." In the beginning of the Avesta, 
there is mentioned as first and best of the good regions 
created by the good deity, the country called Airyana vaejo^ 
the " Aryan seed," which afterwards the evil deity cursed 
with ten months' winter ; this description of the climate 
looks as though the old Persians believed their early Aryan 
home was on the bleak slopes of Central Asia toward the 
sources of the Oxus and Yaxartes. Here and there 
among the sacred verses comes a touch of the life of these 
proud fierce herdsmen and tillers of the soil, little like the 
corrupt Persian and the thrifty Parsi of modern times. 
Their enthusiasm for the rough work of making the earth fit 
for man's abode is quaintly shown where they sing of 
the delight the earth feels when the husbandman drains 
the wet soil and waters the dry, how she brings wealth to 
him who tills her with the right arm and the left, with the 
left arm and the right : 

" When the corn grow?, then the demons hiss ; 
When the shoots sprout, then the demons cough ; 
When the stalks rise, then the demons weep ; 
When the thick ears come, then the demons fly." 

So necessary were the fierce dogs which kept the wolf 
from the fold and the thief from the village, that there are 
solemn ordinances about them, how the dog who does not 
bark and is not right in his mind is to be muzzled and tied 
up, and what punishment is to be inflicted on the man who 
gives a dog bad food ; it is as sinful (they say) as if he had 
done it to a well-to-do householder. One forms a lifelike 
picture of the sturdy farmers who made these laws to 
be repeated to their children's children and carried on to 
future ages. 


While these rough Aryans were handing on memories 
of the past by word of mouth in their sacred verses, more 
cultured nations had long since begun to write down 
memorials of their own times. The best way to bring to our 
minds what this earliest contemporary history was like, is to 
look at the translations of Egyptian and Assyrian documents 
in Records of the Fast, published under the directions of the 
Society of Biblical Archceology. Here is to be found, for in- 
stance, Dr. Birch's translation of the inscription recording 
the expeditions of Una, crown-bearer to king Teta, before 
2,000 B.C. (see page 3), and of the account on the sanctuary 
walls of Karnak, of the battle of Megiddo, where Thothmes 
in., about 1,500 B.C., overcame the armies of Syria and 
Mesopotamia and opened the way into the interior of Asia. 
It is related how the king, marching from Gaza, reached 
the south of Megiddo on the shore of the waters of Kaner, 
where he pitched his tent and made a speech before his 
whole army : " Hasten ye, put on your helmets, for I shall 
rush to fight with the vile enemy in the morning!" The 
watchword was passed, " Firm, firm, watch, watch, watch 
actively at the king's pavihon ! ' It was on the morning of 
the festival of the new moon that the king went forth in his 
golden decorated chariot in the midst of his army, the god 
Amun being the protection in his active hmbs, and he pre- 
vailed over his enemies ; they fell prostrate before him, left 
their horses and chariots, and fled to the fort, where the 
garrison shut up inside pulled off their clothes to haul them 
up over the walls. The Egyptians slaughtered their enemies 
till they lay in rows like fish, and conquering entered the 
fort of Megiddo, where the chiefs of the land came bearing 
tribute, silver and gold, lapis lazuli and alabaster, vessels of 
wine and flocks. The lists of spoil, made with curious 
minuteness, include living captives 240, hands (cut off the 


dead) 83, mares 2,041, fillies 191, an ark of gold of the 
enemy, 892 chariots of the vile army, and so on. A later 
})art of the inscription commemorates the liberal endow- 
ments bestowed by the victorious king on the god Amen 
Ra, the fields and gardens to supply his temple, the pairs 
of geese to fill his lakes, to supply him with the two trussed 
geese daily at sunset, a charge to remain for ever, and so 
on with the loaves of bread and pots of beer for daily 
rations. As the king says in his inscription, he does 
not boast of what he has done, saying that he has done 
more when he has not, and so causing men to contradict 
him. Here we see the check of public opinion beginning 
to act in history. It does not really compel exact truth, it 
allows national victories to be exaggerated and defeats kept 
out of sight, but even the vainglorious scribes of Egypt 
vrould hardly venture to record events without a foundation 
of fact. Turning now to the inscriptions of the Babylonian- 
Assyrian district, we may take as an example a temple-brick 
of the famous city Ur of the Chaldees, now called Mugheir, 
which bears these words in cuneiform writing : 

*' To (the.fjod) Ur, eldest son of Bel hi^ king, 
Urukh, the p iweiful man, the fierce wanior, 
King of (the city) Ur, king of Sumir and Akkad, 
Bit-tim^al the house of his delight built." 

Suinir and Akkad, here mentioned, were the seats of the 
old Chaldfean civilisation. As early as the i6th century B.C., 
Hammurabi overcame these nations, a great event in the 
change that absorbed their ancient culture and religion into 
the conquering Assyrian empire. In an inscrif)tion of this 
king of Babylon, he says, "the favour of Bel gave into my 
government the people of Sumir and Akkad, for them I 
dug out afresh the canal called by my name, the joy of 
men, a stream of abundant waters for the people, all its 


banks I restored to newness, new supporting walls I 
heaped up, perennial waters I provided for the people of 
Sumir and Akkad." 

By the aid of such contemporary writings, historians are 
now able to check the recorded lists of ancient kings, and to 
piece together something like a continuous line of dynasties 
in Egypt and Babylonia since the foundation of the great 
cities Memphis and Ur, We may notice where the records 
and traditions of the Israelites, written down in later ages 
in the historical books of the Old Testament, come in 
contact with ancient history from the monuments. Israelite 
tradition records (Gen. xi., xii.) that their ancestors had 
been in the Chaklaean district of Ur, and in Egypt, which 
is evidence of their intercourse with the two great nations 
of the ancient world. The mention in Exodus (i. 11) of 
the Israelites being set to build for Pharaoh a city called 
Rameses, points to their oppression in Egypt having been 
under the Great Rameses II. of the XIX. dynasty, apparently 
about 1400 B.C., which makes a point of contact between 
Egyptian and Hebrew chronology. In the books of Kings 
there come into view later persons and events, well known 
in the contemporary records of other countries, as in the 
mention of Shishak, king of Egypt, who fought against 
Rehoboam and plundered the temple (i K. xiv. 25). It 
seems likely, when Herodotus (ii. 141) describes the army 
of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, being put to flight from the 
mice gnawing the soldiers' bows, that this is a version of 
the great disaster of Sennacherib, of which the Bible gives a 
different account (2 K. xix.). 

With Herodotus the student comes in view of the Old 
World as it was known to a Greek traveller and geo- 
grapher of the 5th century B.C. The Father of History, as 
he has been called, wrote not as a chronicler of his own 

c c 

386 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

nation, but with the larger view of an anthropologist to 
whom all knowledge of mankind was interesting. The 
way in which modern discoveries have come in to confirm 
his statements, justifies us in relying on ancient historians 
when, like him, they are careful to distinguish mere legend 
or hearsay from what they have themselves enquired into. 
Thus Herodotus tells the strange story of the impostor who 
passed himself oft' as Smerdis, and sat on the tlirone of 
Persia till he was detected by his cropped ears, and Darius 
slew him. When, a few years ago, the cuneiform 
characters of the inscription sculptured in a high wall of 
rock near Behistan in Persia were deciphered, it proved to 
be the very record set up by Darius the king in the three 
languages of the land, and it matches the account given 
by Herodotus closely enough to show what a real grasp he 
had of the course of events in Persia a century before his 
time. Yet more remarkable is the test which can be 
put to what Herodotus says he learnt fiom the priests 
in Egypt about their kings who reigned 2000 years before. 
From their dictation he wrote down the names of the 
pyramid-kings Cheops, Chephren, Mykerinos, In later 
ages critics had sometimes come to doubt whether these 
kings belonged to fact or fable, but when the lost mean- 
ing of the Eo;yptian hieroglyphics was anew interpreted 
by modern scholars, there stood the names recognisable 
as the Greek historian heard them. The best ancient 
history is apt to receive such confirmation from long-lost 
monuments. Thucydides relates (vi. 54) that Peisistratos 
(the younger) dedicated two altars, from one of which the 
Athenians erased the inscription, but the other (the his- 
torian says) may still be read, though in faint letters : "this 
monument of his archonship Peisistratos son of Hippias set 
up in the enclosure of Pythian Apollo." Professor Newton 


reports that this very stone with its inscription is declared 
to have been found in 1878 in a courtyard near the IHssos. 
How lively a sense of reality such monuments give to 
history may be understood by the student who, fresh 
from his books, goes to the British Museum and sees 
among the ancient coins the grand head of Alexander the 
Great with the ram's horns, commemorating that curious 
episode of his life when he was declared to be son of Zeus 
Ammon ; or who notices with surprise the gold coins 
that prove Cymbeline, now best known in Shakspere, to 
have been a real British king who coined money with 
his name. 

Having thus looked at the sources of early history 
as belonging to the study of mankind, we need not go 
over the well-trodden ground of later history. It remains 
to notice myth, the stumbling-block which historians 
have so often fallen over. Myth is not to be looked 
on as mere error and folly, but as an interesting product of 
the human mind. It is sham history, the fictitious narrative 
of events that never happened. Historians, especially 
in writing of early ages, have copied down the traditions 
of real events so mixed up with myths, that it is one of the 
hardest tasks of the student to judge what to believe and 
what to reject. He is fortunate when he can apply the 
test of possibility, and declare an event did not happen 
because he knows enough of the course of nature to be sure 
it could not. For instance, cultured nations have learnt 
from science that what appears to be a blue dome or 
firmament above our heads, the sky or heaven, is not 
really the solid vault the ancients thought it was, but 
only thin air and watery vapour. The consequence of 
knowing this is that people have had to strike out of their 
history the old myths of gods dwelling in palaces and 

c c 2 

388 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

holding courts in the skies, of men climbing or flying up 
from earth into heaven, of giants heaping mountain Ossa 
on Pelion, to scale the cloudy heights and wage battle 
with the gods above. Besides this way of detecting myth 
by its relating what could not have taken place, there are 
other means of judging it. It is often possible to satisfy 
oneself that some story is not really history, by knowing 
the causes which led to its being invented. 

We know how strong our own desire is to account for 
everything. This desire is as strong among barbarians, 
and accordingly they devise such explanations as satisfy their 
minds. But they are apt to go a stage further, and their 
explanations turn into the form of stories with names of 
places and persons, thus becoming full-made myths. 
Educated men do not now consider it honest to make 
fictitious history in this way, but people of untrained mind, 
in what is called the myth-making stage, which has lasted 
on from the savage period and has not quite disappeared 
among ourselves, have no such scruples about converting 
their guesses at what may have happened, into the most 
life-like stories of what they say did happen. Thus, when 
comparative anatomy was hardly known, the finding of huge 
fossil bones in the ground led people to think they were the 
remains of huge beasts, and enormous men, or giants, who 
formerly lived on the earth. Modern science decides that 
they were right as to the beasts, which were ancient species 
of elephant, rhinoceros, &c., but wrong as to the giants, 
none of the great bones really belonging to any creature 
like man. But while the belief lasted that they were bones 
of giants, men's imagination worked in making stories about 
these giants and their terrific doings, stories which are told 
still in all quarters of the globe as though they were 
traditions of real events. Thus the Sioux of the western 


prairies of North America say their land was once inhabited 
by great animals, bits of whose bones they still keep for 
magic, and also, they tell of the giant Ha-o-kah, who could 
stride over the largest rivers and the tallest pines, and to 
whom they sing and dance at their festivals. It appears 
that fossil bones, very likely of the mastodon, had to do 
with this native belief in old monstrous beasts, nor need 
we be surprised at the giants coming into the story, con- 
sidering that so lately as the last century Dr. Cotton Mather, 
the Puritan divine, sent to our Royal Society an account of 
the discovery of such bones in New England, which he 
argued were remains of antediluvian giants. 

Another thing which in all parts of the world has set the 
imagination of myth-makers to work, is the fact that people 
live in tribes or nations, each known by a particular name, 
such as Ojibwa, Afghan, Frank. The easiest and favourite 
way of accounting for this is to suppose each tribe or nation 
to have had an ancestor or chief of the like name, so that his 
descendants or followers inherited their tribe-name from him. 
It really happens so sometimes, but in most cases a pre- 
tended tradition of such an eponymic or name-ancestor 
arises from the makers of genealogies first inventing him out 
of the name of the tribe, and then treating him as a 
historical personage. They may now and then be caught 
in the act of doing this. Thus among the native race of 
Brazil and Paraguay, some tribes are called Tiipi and 
others Guaraiii^ so to account for tliis division, a tradition 
is related that two brothers named Tupi and Gtiarani came 
over the sea to Brazil, and with their children peopled the 
country, but a talking parrot made strife between the wives 
of the two brothers, and this grew into a quarrel and 
separation, Tupi staying in the land, and Guarani going off 
with his family into the region of La Plata. Now there 

390 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

happens to be a means of checking this story, for Martius^ 
says that the name guarani (meaning warrior) was first 
given by the Jesuits to the southern Indians whom they 
collected in their missions, so that the tale of the two 
ancestor-brothers must be a myth of modern manufacture. 
Such eponymic myths of national ancestors were not only 
made in ancient times, but are mixed up in the chronicles 
of Old World nations as though they were real history. 
The classical student knows the legends of the twin brothers 
Danaos and Aigyptos, ancestors of the Danaoi (Greeks) and 
Egyptians ; and of Hdlen^ father of the Hellenes^ whose 
three sons Aiolos, Doros, Xoutlws, were fathers of the 
yEolians, Dorians, &c. 

Having looked at these two frequent kinds of myths 
derived from fossil bones and national names, it is worth 
while to notice how both come together in our own country. 
The History of the Britons, compiled in the 12th century 
by Geoffrey of Monmouth, relates that our island was in 
old time called Albion, and was only inhabited by a few 
giants ; but Brutus, a banished Trojan prince, landed with 
his followers and called the land Britain, after his own 
name, and his companions Britons. With him came a 
leader called Gorineiis, and he called the part of the country 
which fell to him Corinea and his people Corineans, that is, 
Cornish. In that part the giants were most numerous, and 
one especially, named Cf^^w^^^?/ (elsewhere called Gogniagog) 
was twelve cubits high, and could pull up an oak like a 
hazel wand. On a certain day, when there had been a 
battle and the Britons had overcome a party of giants and 
slain all except this hugest monster, he and Corineus had a 
wrestling-match, when Corineus caught the giant up in his 
arms, and running with him to the top of the cliff now 
called the Hoe at Plymouth, cast him over, wherefore 


(says the chronicler) the place is called ''Goemagot's leap" 
to this day. Quaint as this legend is, it is not hard to find 
the sense of it. It was the fashion to trace the origin of 
nations from Troy ; Brutus and Corineus were invented to 
account for the names of Britain and Cornwall; Goeinagot 
or Gogmagogh the Biblical GogSin^ Magog rolled into one, 
these personages being recognised in tradition as giants. But 
why the story of his having been thrown over the Hoe at Ply- 
mouth ? The answer seems to be that this is a place where 
the bones of fossil animals are actually dug up, such as were 
looked upon as remains of giants. Even in modern times, 
when excavations were being made on the Hoe for the fortifi- 
cations, huge jaws and teeth were found, which were at once 
settled by public opinion to be the remains of Gogmagog. 

These are examples of the myths easiest for modern 
civilised minds to enter into, for they are litde more than 
inferences or guesses as to what may have actually happened, 
worked up with picturesque details which give them an air 
of reality. But to understand another kind of myths we 
must get our minds into a mood which is not that of scientific 
reasoning in the class-room, but of telling nursery tales in 
the twilight, or reading poetry in the woods on a summer 
afternoon. Former chapters have shown how, in old times 
and among uncultured people, nodons of the kind which 
still remain among us as poetic fancy were seriously believed. 
When to the rude philosopher the action of the world around 
him was best explained by supposing in it nature-life like 
human life, and divine nature-souls like human souls, then the 
sun seemed a personal lord climbing proudly up the sky, and 
descending dim and weary into the under-world at night ; 
the stormy sea was a fearful god ready to swallow up the 
rash sailor ; the beasts of the forest were half-human in 
thought and speech ; even the forest-trees were the bodily 

392 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

habitations of spirits, and the woodman, to whom the 
rusthng of their leaves seemed voices, and their waving 
branches beckoning arms, hewed at their trunks with a half- 
guilty sense of doing murder. The world then seemed to 
be " such stuff as dreams are made on ; " transformation of 
body and transmigration of spirit were ever going on ; a 
man or god might turn into a beast, a river, or a tree ; rocks 
might be people transformed into stones, and sticks trans- 
formed snakes. Such a state of thought is fast disappearing, 
but there are still tribes living in it, and they show what the 
men's minds are like who make nature-myths. When a 
story-teller lives in this dreamland, any poetic fancy becomes 
a hint for a wonder-tale, and though (one would think) he 
must be aware that he is romancing, and that the adventures 
he relates are not quite history, yet when he is dead, and 
his story has been repeated by bards and priests for a few 
generations, then it would be disrespectful, or even sacri- 
legious, to question its truth. This has happened all over 
the world, and the Greek myths of the great nature-gods 
which Xenophanes and Anaxagoras ventured to disbelieve 
with such ill consequences to themselves, were of much 
the same fabric as those of modern barbarians like the 
South Sea Islanders. Let us look at a few nature-myths, 
choosing such as most transparently show how they came 
to be made. 

The Tahitians tell tales of their sea-god Hiro, whose 
followers were sailing on the ocean while he was lulled to 
sleep in a cavern in the depths below ; then the wind-god 
raised a furious storm to destroy the canoe, but the sailors 
cried to Hiro, till, rising to the surface, he quelled the storm, 
and his votaries came safe to port. So in Homer, Poseidon 
the sea-god, dweller in caves of ocean, sets on the winds 
to toss the frail bark of Odysseus among the thundering 


waves, till Ino comes to his rescue and bids him strip 
and swim for the Phaiakian shore. Both tales are word- 
pictures of the stormy sea told in the language of nature- 
myth, only with different turns. The New Zealanders have 
a story of Maui imprisoning the winds, all but the wild west- 
wind, whom he cannot catch to shut into its cavern by 
a great stone rolled against its mouth ; all he can do is to 
chase it home sometimes, and then it hides in the cavern, 
and for a while dies away. All this is a mythic description 
of the weather, meaning that other winds are occasional, 
but the west wind prevalent and strong. These New 
Zealanders had never heard of the classic myth of ^olus 
and the cave of the winds, yet how nearly they had come 
to the same mythic fancy, that it is from such blow-holes 
in the hill-sides that the winds come forth. The negroes 
of the West Indies tell a tale of the great quarrel between 
Fire and Water, how the Fire came on slowly, stopped by the 
stream, till he called the Wind to his aid, who carried him 
across everything, and the great fight came off, the Bon Dieu 
looking on from behind a curtain of clouds. It is not likely 
that these negro slaves had ever heard of the twenty-first 
Ihad, to know hovy the same world-old contest of the ele- 
ments is told in the great battle between the Fire-god and 
the Rivers, when the Winds were sent to help, and carried 
the fierce flames onward, and the eels and fish scuttled hither 
and thither as the hot breath of the blast came upon them. 

The beams of light darting down from the sun through 
openings in the clouds seem to have struck people's fancy 
in Europe as being like the rope over the pulley of an old- 
fashioned draw-well, for this appearance is called in popular 
phrase, " the sun drawing water." The Polynesians also 
see the resemblance of the rays to cords, which they 
say are the ropes the sun is fastened by, and they tell 


a myth how the sun once used to go faster, till a god 
set a noose at the horizon and Caught him as he rose, 
so that he now travels bound and slowly along his daily 
appointed path. In English such an expression as that the sun 
is '' swallowed up by night " is now a mere metaphor, but the 
idea is one which in ancient and barbaric times people took 
more seriously. The Maoris have made out of it the story 
of the death of their divine hero Maui. You may see, they 
say, Maui's ancestress, Great- Woman-Night, flashing and as 
it were opening and shutting out on the horizon where sea 
and sky come together ; Maui crept into her body and 
would have got through unharmed, but just at that moment 
the little flycatcher, the tiwakaivaka^ broke out with its 
merry note and awoke the Night, and she crushed Maui. 
That this is really a nature-myth of the setting sun dying 
as he plunges into the darkness, is proved by the mention 
of the bird, which has the peculiarity of singing at sunset. 
Of all the nature-myths of the world, few are so widely 
spread as those on this theme of night and day, where with 
mythic truth the devoured victims were afterwards disgorged 
or set free. The Zulu story-tellers describe the maw of the 
monster as a country where there are hills and houses and 
cattle and people living, and when the monster is cut open, 
all the creatures come out from the darkness ; with a neat 
touch of nature which shows that the story-teller is thinking 
of the dawn, the cock comes out first, crying, ^^ kukuliiku! 
I see the world ! " Our English version of the old myth 
is the nursery tale of Little Red Ridinghood, but it is 
spoilt by leaving out the proper end (which German nurses 
have kept up with better memory), that when the hunter 
ripped up the sleeping wolf, out came the little damsel in 
her red satin cloak, safe and sound. 

Such stories are fanciful, but the fancy of the myth-maker 


can take yet further flights. The mythic persons as yet de- 
scribed have been visible objects hke the sun, or at least what 
can be perceived by the senses and made real objects of, such 
as wind, or day. But when the poet is in the vein of myth- 
making, whatever he can express by a noun and put a verb 
to, becomes capable of being treated as a person. If he 
can say, summer comes, sleep falls on men, hope rises, 
justice demands, then he can set up summer and sleep, hope 
and justice, in human figures, dress them, and make them 
walk and talk. Thus the formation of myth is helped by what 
Professor Max Muller has called a " disease of language." 
This, however, is not the whole matter. We saw in the last 
chapter how the notion of soul or spirit helped men on to 
the notion of cause. When the cause of anything presents 
itself to the ancient mind as a kind of soul or spirit, then 
the cause or spirit of summer, sleep, hope, justice, comes 
easily to look like a person. No one can really understand 
old poetry without knowing this. Homer could fancy on the 
field of battle the awful Ker^ whose figure was shown on the 
shield of Achilles with blood-stained garment flung over her 
shoulders, as she seized some warrior wounded to the death, or 
dragged a corpse by the feet out of the fighting throng. This 
being is not merely a word turned into a reality, she is a 
personal cause, a spirit-reason, why one warrior is slain and 
not another. So far is the idea of her spread in Aryan mytho- 
logy, that it appears again among the Northmen, when Odin 
sends to every battle the maidens who in Walhalla serve the 
feast and fill the bowls with ale for the spirits of the heroes ; 
these maidens are the Valkyriur, who guide the event of 
victory, and choose the warriors who shall fall. Another 
well-known mythic group shows again how what to us 
moderns are but ideas expressed in words, took personal 
form in the minds of the ancients. In the classic books of 

396 ANTHROPOLOGY. ^ [chap. 

Greece and Rome we read of the three fate-spinners, the 
Moirai or Parcse, and their Scandinavian counterparts appear 
in the Edda as the three wise women whose dwelling is near 
the spring under the world-ash Ygdrasill, the Norns who fix 
the lives of men. The explanation of these three mythic 
beings is that they are in personal shape the Past, Present, 
and Future, as is shown by the names they bear, JVas, Is, 
Shall ( Urdhr, Verdhafidi, Skuld). 

Stories are always changing and losing their meanings, 
and from age to age new bards and tale-tellers shape the 
old myths into new forms to suit new hearers. Considering 
how stories thus grow and change, one must expect their 
origins to be as often as not lost beyond recovery. While, 
as we have seen, it may be often possible to make out what 
they came from, this must be done cautiously. Clever 
writers are too apt to sit down and settle the mythic origin 
of any tale, as if this could be done by ingenious guessing. 
Even if it is nonsense and never was intended for anything 
else, the myth- interpreter can find a serious origin for it all 
the same. Thus a learned but rash mythologist declares 
that in our English nursery rhyme, " the cow jumped over 
the moon," is a remnant of an old nature-myth, describing 
as a cow a cloud passing over the moon. What is really 
wanted in interpreting myths is something beyond simple 
guessing ; there must be reasons why one particular guess 
is more probable than any other. It would have been rash 
to judge that Froinetliens the fire-bringer is a personification 
of the wooden fire-drill (p. 262), were it not known that the 
Sanskrit name of this instrument is pra?nantha ; taken 
together, the correspondence of name and nature amounts 
to a high probability that we have got back to the real origin 
of the Prometheus-legend. We may choose another ex- 
ample from the mythology of India, in the story of Vamana, 


the tiny Brahman, who, to humble the pride of King Bali, 
begs of him as much land as he can measure in three steps, 
but when the bnon is granted, the little dwarf expands into 
the gigantic form of Vishnu, and, striding with one step 
across the earth, another across the air, and a third across 
the sky, drives Bali down into the infernal regions, where 
he still reigns. This most remarkable of all the Tom 
Thumb stories seems really a myth of the sun, rising tiny 
above the horizon, then swelling into majestic power and 
crossing the universe. For Vamana, the " dwarf," is one of 
the incarnations of Vishnu, and Vishnu was originally the 
Sun. In the hymns of the Veda the idea of his three 
steps is to be found before it had become a story, when it 
was as yet only a poetic metaphor of the Sun crossing the 
airy regions in his three strides. " Vishnu traversed (the 
earth), thrice he put down his foot ; it was crushed under 
his dusty step. Three steps hence made Vishnu, unharmed 
preserver, upholding sacred things." 

It remains to see how myths spread. Whenever a good 
story is told, whether real or made-up does not matter, it 
becomes part of the story-teller's stock, who puts to it 
any new name that will suit, and often succeeds in 
planting it not only in popular legend, but even in 
history. There is a fragment by Demaratus preserved 
in the collection of Stobaeus, where there is related with 
Greek names, as an episode of the history of Arkadia, the 
grand story which we were taught as an event of Roman 
history, the legend of the Horatii and Curiatii. Roman 
history, it seems, only borrowed it from an earlier tale, 
much as modern Swiss history borrowed from older folklore 
the tale of the archer and the apple, to adorn their national 
hero. Tell. To show how legend is put together from 
many sources, historical and mythical, let us take to pieces 

398 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

one of the famous children's tales of Europe. Blue Beard 
was a historical person. He was Gilles de Retz, Sieur de 
Laval, Marshal of France, nicknamed Barbe Bleue from 
having a beard of blue-black shade. Persuaded by an 
Italian alchemist that his strength could be restored by- 
bathing in the blood of infants, he had many children 
entrapped for this hideous purpose into his castle of 
Champtoce on the Loire, the ruins of which are still to 
be seen. At last the horrible suspicions of the country folk 
as to v'hat was going on were brought to proof, and the 
monster was burnt at the stake at Nantes in 1440. In all 
this, however, there is not a word about murdered wives. 
Indeed the historical Blue Beard, in his character of murder- 
ous monster, seems to have inherited an older tale belonging 
to the wife-murderer of Breton legend, Comor the Cursed? 
Count of Poher, whose name and deeds are set down to 
near a thousand years earlier, in the legendary chronicles 
which tell of him as a usurper and tyrant who married and 
murdered one wife after another, till at last when he had 
wedded and killed the beautiful Trifine, vengeance overtook 
him, and he was defeated and slain by the rightful prince. 
It is not easy to say whether this is a version of a yet older 
story, or whether there is a historical foundation for it ; if 
Henry VIH. of England had lived in those times, such a 
legend might have gathered round his name. Other points 
of the modern Blue Beard appear already in the story of 
Trifine, her sending for aid to her kinsmen when she 
knows her danger, and her discovery of the murder of 
the former wives. This last, how^ever, does not come to 
pass in the modern way ; in the legend, Trifine goes down 
into the chapel to pray in the hour of need, and there 
the tombs of the four murdered wives open and their 
corpses stand upright, each with the knife or cord or w^hat- 



ever she was murdered with in her hand. Instead of this 
powerful and ghastly scene, the modern version brings in 
the hackneyed episode of the forbidden chamber, which 
had long been the property of story-tellers for use on suitable 
occasions, and is to be found in the Arabian Nights. The 
old Trifine legend has a characteristic ending. Her wicked 
husband pursues her into the forest and cuts her head off, but 
St. Gildas makes her body carry it back to Comor's castle, 
which he overthrows by flinging a handful of dust at it, 
then he puts Trifine's head on for her again, and she retires 
into a convent for the rest of her life. The story-tellers of 
later times prefer a more cheerful if more commonplace 

The miracle-legend just quoted brings us back to the 
historical use of myth, which was spoken of earlier in this 
chapter. The story of St. Gildas bringing the fair Trifine 
back to her castle with her head in her hand, and his after- 
wards putting it back on her shoulders, is history. It 
records the intellectual state of the age when it was held 
edifying to tell such wonders of holy men, for holy men were 
believed able to do them. Old tales which seem extravagant 
to our minds are apt thus to have historical value by point- 
ing back to the times when, seeming possible, they were 
made. This is true even of ^sop's fables. In the stage of 
thought when human souls are thought able to live in animals' 
bodies, when a wolf may have one's enemy's soul in him, 
or one's grandfather may be crawling on the hearth in the 
body of a snake, stories of rational beasts themselves seem 
rational. Among the Buddhists, where beast-tales early 
became moral apologues, they are told as incidents of the 
many births or transmigrations of the great founder of the 
religion. It was Buddha himself who, as a bird, took the 
bone out of the lion's throat, and was repaid by being told 

400 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap xv. 

that he was lucky to be so well out of it. It was Buddha 
who, bom in the body of a i)easant, listened to the ass in 
the Hon's skin, and said he was but an ass. That millions 
of people should have this as part of their sacred literature 
is a fact of interest in the study of civilization, warning us 
not to cast aside a story as worthless, because it is mythical. 
For understanding the thoughts of old-world nations, their 
myths tell us much we should hardly learn from their 




Social Stages, 401 — Family. 402 — Morals of Lower Race?, 405 — Public 
Opinion and Custom, 408 — Moral Progress, 410 — Vengeance and 
Justice, 414— War, 418— Property, 419— Legal Ceremonies, 423 — 
Family Power and Responsibility, 426— Patriarchal and Military 
Chiefs, 428 — Nations, 432 — Social Ranks, 434 — Government, 436. 

In the reports of crimes which appear daily in the news- 
papers of our civilized land, such phrases often occur as 
savage fury, barbarous cruelty. These two words have come 
to mean in common talk such behaviour as is most wild, 
rough, and cruel. Now no doubt the life of the less civilized 
people of the world, the savages and barbarians, is more 
wild, rough, and cruel than ours is on the whole, but the 
difference between us and them does not lie altogether in 
this. As the foregoing chapters have proved, savage and 
barbarous tribes often more or less fairly represent stages of 
culture through which, our own ancestors passed long ago, 
and their customs and laws often explain to us, in ways we 
should otherwise have hardly guessed, the sense and reason 
of our own. It should be understood that it is out of the 
question to give here even a summary of the complicated 
systems of society : all that can be done is to put before the 

D D 

402 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

reader some of its leading principles in ancient and modern 

Mankind can never have lived as a mere struggling crowd, 
each for himself. Society is always made up of families or 
households bound together by kindly ties, controlled by rules 
of marriage and the duties of parent and child. Yet the 
forms of these rules and duties have been very various. 
Marriages may be shifting and temporary pairing, or unions 
where the husband may have several wives, and the wife 
several husbands. It is often hard to understand the 
family group and its ties in the rude and ancient world. 
Thus it seems to us a matter of course to reckon family 
descent in the male line, and this is now put in the clearest 
way by the son taking the father's surname. But in lower 
stages of civilization, on both sides of the globe, many tribes 
take the contrary idea as a matter of course. In most 
Australian tribes the children belong to the mother's clan, 
not the father's ; so that in native wars father and son 
constantly meet as natural enemies. Chiefship often goes 
down in the royal mother's line, as among the Natchez, who 
had their sun-temples in what is now Louisiana. Yet this 
widespread law of female descent, deep as it lies in the 
history of society, had been so lost sight of among the 
ancient civilized nations, that when Herodotus noticed it 
among the Lykians, who took their names from their mothers 
and traced their pedigrees through the female branches 
only, the historian fancied this was a peculiar custom, in 
which they were unlike all other people. In the savage 
and barbaric world there prevails widely the rule called by 
McLennan exogamy or marrying-out, which forbids a man 
to take a wife of his own clan — an act which is considered 
criminal, and may even be punished with death. It is a 
strange contrast to the popular idea that savage life has no 


rules, when we find Australian tribes where every man is 
bound to marry into the particular clan which is, so to speak, 
the wife-clan to his own. Among the Iroquois of North 
America the children took the clan-name or totem of the 
mother ; so if she were of the Bear clan, her son would be 
a Bear, and accordingly he might not marry a Bear girl, but 
might take a Deer or Heron. Such laws appear also among 
higher nations who reckon descent in the male line. Thus 
in India a Brahman is not to marry a wife whose clan-name 
(her " cow-stall," as they say) is the same as his ; nor may a 
Chinese take a wife of his own surname, Though the family 
and tribe rules of the savage and barbaric world are too in- 
tricate to be fully discussed here, there are some instructive 
points to which attention should be called. Marriage is in 
early stages of society a civil contract. Thus, among the 
wild hunting-tribes of Nicaragua, the lad who wishes a girl 
for a wife kills a deer and lays it with aheap of firewood at" 
the door of her parents' hut, which symbolic act is his 
offer to hunt and do man's work ; if the gift is accepted, it is 
a marriage, without further ceremony. Among peoples of 
higher culture more formal promises and ceremonies come 
in, with feasts and gatherings of kinsfolk ; and then, as in 
other important matters of life, the priest is called in to give 
divine blessing and sanction to the union. Where this is 
done, a wedding has come to be very different from what it 
was in the rough times of marriage by capture, such as 
might be seen in our own day among fierce forest tribes in 
Brazil, w^here the warriors would make forays on distant 
villages and by main force bring home wives. Ancient 
tradition knows this practice well, as where the men of 
Benjamin carry off the daughters of Shiloh dancing at the 
feast, and in the famous Roman tale of the rape of the 
Sabines, a legend putting in historical form the wife-capture 

D D 2 

404 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

which in Roman custom remained as a ceremony. What 
most clearly shows what a recognised old-world custom 
it was, is its being thus kept up as a formality where milder 
manners really prevail. It had passed into this state among 
the Spartans, when Plutarch says that though the marriage 
was really by friendly settlement between the families, the 
bridegroom's friends went through the pretence of carrying 
off the bride by violence. Within a few generations the 
.same old habit was kept up in Wales, where the bridegroom 
and his friends, mounted and armed as for war, carried 
off the bride ; and in Ireland they used even to hurl 
spears at the bride's people, though at such a distance 
that no one was hurt, except now and then by accident, 
as happened when one Lord Hoath lost an eye, which 
mischance seems to have put an end to this curious relic 
of antiquity. It was one of the consequences of increase 
of property in the world, that the practice of buying 
wives came in, as where a Zulu bargains with a girl's 
people to let him have her perhaps for five oxen or ten. 
This was the custom in England among our barbaric fore- 
fathers, as appears in the West-Saxon law of Ine— " If a 
man buy a wife," &c. Cnut somewhat later forbade the 
wife to be sold, but the husband might give something 
of his own will. It is an interesting problem in the history 
of law how the money once paid as the bride's price 
I3assed into a gift or dower for her ; some provision 
of this kind became necessary when the widow was no 
longer provided for by being taken, as she would have 
been in a ruder state of society, as a wife by her husband's 

Marriage has been here spoken of first, because upon it 
depends the family, on which the whole framework of society 
is founded. What has been said of the ruder kinds of family 


union among savages and barbarians shows that there cannot 
be expected from them the excellence of those well-ordered 
households to which civilized society owes so much of its 
goodness and prosperity. Yet even among the rudest clans 
of men, unless depraved by vice or misery and falling to 
pieces, a standard of family morals is known and lived by. 
Their habits, judged by our notions, are hard and coarse, 
yet the family tie of sympathy and common interest is already 
formed, and the foundations of moral duty already laid, in 
the mother's patient tenderness, the father's desperate valour 
in defence of home, their daily care for the little ones, the 
affection of brothers and sisters, and the mutual forbearance, 
helpfulness, and trust of all. From the family this extends 
to a wider circle. The natural way in which a tribe is formed 
is from a family or group, which in time increases and 
divides into many households, still recognising one another 
as kindred, and this kinship is so thoroughly felt to be the 
tie of the whole tribe, that, even when there has been a 
mixture of tribes, a common ancestor is often invented to 
make an imaginary bond of union. Thus kindred and kind- 
ness go together — two words whose common derivation 
expresses in the happiest way one of the main principles of 
social life. 

Among the lessons to be learnt from the life of rude tribes 
is, how society can go on without the policeman to keep 
order. It is plain that even the lowest men cannot live 
quite by what the Germans call " faustrecht," or " fist-right," 
and we call "club law." The strong savage does not rush 
into his weaker neighbour's hut and take possession, driving 
the owner out into the forest with a stone-headed javelin 
sent flying after him. Without some control beyond the 
mere right of the stronger, the tribe would break up in a 
week, whereas in fact savage tribes last on for ages. Under 

4o6 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

favourable circumstances, where food is not too scarce nor 
war too v/asting, the life of low barbaric races may be m its 
rude way good and happy. In the West Indian islands 
where Columbus first landed, lived tribes who have been 
called the most gentle and benevolent of the human race. 
Schomburgk, the traveller, who knew the warlike Caribs 
well in their home life, draws a paradise-like picture of 
their ways, where they have not been corrupted by the vices 
of the white men ; he saw among them peace and cheerful- 
ness and simple family affection, unvarnished friendship, and 
gratitude not less true for not being spoken in sounding 
words ; the civilized world, he says, has not to teach them 
morality, for though they do not talk about it, they live in it. 
At the other side of the world in New Guinea, Kops, the 
Dutch explorer, gives much the same account of the Papuans 
of Dory, who live in houses built on piles in the water, 
like the old lake-men of Switzerland ; he speaks of their mild 
disposition, their inclination to right and justice, their strong 
moral principles, their respect for the aged and love for their 
children, their living without listenings to their houses — for 
theft is considered by them a grave offence, and rarely 
occurs. Among the rude non-Hindu tribes of India, Eng- 
lish officials have often recorded with wonder the kindliness 
and cheerfulness of the rude men of the mountains and the 
jungle, and their utter honesty in word and deed. Thus Sir 
Walter Elliot mentions a low poor tribe of South India, 
whom the farmers employ to guard their fields, well knowing 
that they would starve rather than steal the grain in their 
charge ; and they are so truthful that their word is taken at 
once in disputes even with their richer neighbours, for 
people say "a Kurubar always speaks the truth." Of 
course these accounts of Caribs and Papuans show them on 
the friendly side, while those who have fought with them 


call them monsters of ferocity and treachery. But cruelty 
and cunning in war seem to them right and praiseworthy ; and 
what we are here looking at is their home peace-life. It is 
clear that low barbarians may live among themselves under 
a fairly high moral standard, and this is the more instructive 
because it shows what may be called natural morality. 
Among them religion, mostly concerned with propitiating 
souls of ancestors and spirits of nature, has not the strong 
moral influence it exerts among higher nations; indeed 
their behaviour to their fellows is little affected by divine 
command or fear of divine punishment. It has more to do 
with their life being prosperous or miserable. When want 
or the miseries of war upset their well-being, they (like their 
betters) become more brutal and selfish in their ways, and 
moral habits are at all times low among the comfortless 
hordes of savages whose daily struggle for existence is too 
harsh for the gentler feelings to thrive. Moreover, there is 
this plain difference between low and high races of men, that 
the dull-minded barbarian has not power of thought enough 
to come up to the civilized man's best moral standard. The 
wild man of the forest, forgetful of yesterday and careless 
of to-morrow, lolling in his hammock when his wants are 
satisfied, has little of the play of memory and foresight 
which is ever unrolling before our minds the panorama of 
our own past and future life, and even sets us in thought in 
the places of our fellows, to partake of their lives and enter 
into their joys and sorrows. Much of the wrong-doing of 
the world comes from want of imagination. If the drunkard 
could see before him the misery of next year with something 
of the vividness of the present craving, it would overbalance 
it. Ofttimes in the hottest fury of anger, the sword has been 
sheathed by him across whose mind has flashed the prophetic 
picture of the women weeping round the blood-stained 

4o8 AxNTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

corpse. The lower races of men are so wanting in 
foresight to resist passion and temptation, that the moral 
balance of a tribe easily goes wrong, while they are rough 
and wantonly cruel through want of intelligent sympathy 
with the sufferings of others, much as children are cruel 
to animals through not being able to imagine what the 
creatures feel. What we now know of savage life will 
prevent our falling into the fancies of the philosophers of 
die last century, who set up the "noble savage" as an 
actual model of virtue to be imitated by civilized nations. 
But the reality is quite as instructive, that the laws of virtue 
and happiness may be found at work in simple forms among 
tribes who make hatchets of sharpened stones and rub 
sticks together to kindle fire. Their life, seen at its best, 
shows with unusual clearness the great principle of moral 
science, that morality and happiness belong together — in fact 
that morality is the method of happiness. 

It must not be supposed that in any state of civilization 
a man's conduct depends altogether on his own moral sense 
of right and wrong. Controlling forces of society are at 
work even among savages, only in more rudimentary ways 
than among ourselves. Public opinion is already a great 
power, and the way in which it acts is particularly to be 
noticed. Whereas the individual man is too apt to look to 
his own personal interest and the benefit of his near friends, 
these private motives fall away when many minds come 
together, and public opinion with a larger selfishness 
takes up the public good, encouraging the individual to 
set aside his private wishes and give up his property or 
even his life for the commonwealth. The assembled tribe 
can crush the mean and cowardly with their scorn, or give 
that reward of glory for which the high-spirited will risk 
goods and life. Travellers have remarked that the women. 


however down-trodden, know how to make their influence 
felt in this way; and many a warrior whose heart was failing 
him in face of the enemy, has turned from flight when he 
thought of the girls' mockery when he should slink home to 
the village, safe but disgraced. This pressure of public 
opinion compels men to act according to custom, which 
gives the rule as to what is to be done or not done in most 
affairs of life. Explorers of wild countries, not finding the 
machinery of police they are accustomed to at home, have 
sometimes rashly concluded that the savages lived un- 
restrained at their own free will. We have here already 
noticed that this is a mistake, for life in the uncivilized 
world is fettered at every turn by chains of custom. To 
a great extent it is evident that customs have come into 
existence for the benefit of society, or what was considered 
so. For instance, it is generally held right in wild countries 
that hospitality shall be freely given to all comers, for 
every one knows he may want it any day himself. But 
whether a custom is plainly useful or not, and even when 
its purpose is no longer known, once established as a 
custom it must be conformed to. Savages may have finger- 
joints cut ofl", or undergo such long and severe fasts that 
many die ; but often the only reason they can give for 
inflicting such suffering on themselves is that it was the 
custom of their ancestors. In some parts of Australia 
custom forbade to the young hunters, and reserved for the 
old men, much of the wild fowl and the best joints of the 
large game. No doubt this was in some measure for the 
public benefit, as the experienced elders, who were past the 
fatigue of hunting, were able to stay in camp, make nets and 
weapons, teach the lads, and be the repositories of wisdom 
and the honoured counsellors of the tribe. Nothing could 
prove more plainly how far society is, even among such 


wild men of the desert, from being under the mere sway of 
brute force. 

Thus communities, however ancient and rude, always 
have their rules of right and wrong. But as to wliat acts 
have been held right and wrong, the student of history 
must avoid that error which the proverb calls measuring 
other people's corn by one's own bushel. Not judging 
the customs of nations at other stages of culture by his own 
modern standard, he has to bring his knowledge to the 
help of his imagination, so as to see institutions where they 
belong and as they work. Only thus can it be made clear 
that the rules of good and bad, right and wrong, are not 
fixed alike for all men at all times. For an example of 
this principle, let us observe how people at different stages of 
civilization deal with the aged. Some of the lower races take 
much care of their old folks even after they are fallen into 
imbecility, treating them with almost gentle considerateness 
and very commonly tending them till death, when respect 
to the living ancestor passes into his worship as an ancestral 
spirit. But among other tribes filial kindness breaks down 
earlier, as among those fierce Brazilians who knock on the 
head with clubs the sick and aged, and even eat them, 
whether they find their care too burdensome, or whether 
they really think, as they say, that it is kind to end a life 
no longer gladdened with fight and feast and dance. We 
realize the situation among roving tribes. The horde must 
move in quest of game, the poor failing creature cannot 
keep up in the march, the hunters and the heavily laden 
women cannot carry him ; he must be left behind. Many a 
traveller has beheld in the desert such heartrending scenes 
as Catlin saw when he said farewell to the white-haired old 
Puncah chief, all but blind and shrunk to skin and bone, 
crouched shivering by a few burning sticks, for his shelter a 


buffalo-hide set up on crutches, for his food a dish of 
water and a few half-picked bones. This old warrior was 
abandoned at his own wish when his tribe started for new 
hunting-grounds, even as years before, he said, he had left 
his own father to die when he was no longer good for any- 
thing. When a nation settled in the agricultural state has 
reached something of wealth and comfort, there is no 
longer the excuse of necessity for killing or abandoning the 
aged. Yet history shows how long the practice was kept 
up even in Europe, partly with the humane intent of 
putting an end to lingering misery, but more through the 
survival of a custom inherited from harder and ruder 
times. The Wends in what is now Germany practised 
the hideous rite of putting the aged and infirm to death, 
cooking and eating them, much as Herodotus describes 
the old Massagetae as doing. In Sweden there used to 
be kept in the churches certain clumsy wooden clubs, 
called "family- clubs," of which some are still preserved, 
and with which in ancient times the aged and hope- 
lessly sick were solemnly put to death by their kinsfolk. 
It is interesting to trace m the old German records 
the change from such hard ancient barbarism to gentler 
manners, when the infirm old house-father, dividing his 
substance among his children, is to sit henceforth well 
cared for in the "cat's place" by the hearth. One of 
the marks of advancing civilization was the growing sense 
of the sacredness of human life, even apart from its use 
and pleasure, and under this feeling the cutting short of 
even a burdensome and suffering existence, which our 
ancestors resorted to without reproach, has come to be 
looked upon with horror. 

It must be clearly understood also that the old-world 
rules of moral conduct were not the same towards all men. 


A man knew his duty to his neighbour, but all men were not 
his neighbours. This is very clearly seen in the history of 
men's ideas of manslaughter and theft. The slaying of a 
man is scarcely held by the law of any people to be of 
itself a crime, but on the contrary it has been regarded as 
an allowable or praiseworthy act under certain conditions, 
especially in self-defence, war, revenge, punishment, and 
sacrifice. Yet no known tribe, however low and ferocious, 
has ever held that men may kill one another indiscrimi- 
nately, for even the savage society of the desert or the 
jungle would collapse under such lawlessness. Thus all 
men acknowledge some law "thou shall not kill," but the 
question is how this law applies. It is instructive to see 
how it works among those fierce tribes who approve the 
killing of men simply as a proof of valour. Thus the young 
Sioux Indian, till he had killed his man, was not allowed 
to stick the feather in his head-dress and have the title of 
brave or warrior ; he could scarcely get a girl to marry him 
till he had " got the feather." So the young Dayak of Borneo 
could not get a wife till he had taken a head, and it was thus 
with the skull or scalp which the Naga warrior of Asam had 
to bring home, thereby quahfying himself to be tattooed 
and to marry a wife, who had perhaps been waiting years 
for this ugly marriage-licence. The trophy need not have 
been taken from an enemy, and might have been got by 
the blackest treachery, provided only that the victim were 
not of the slayer's own tribe. Yet these Sioux among 
themselves hold manslaughter to be a crime unless in blood- 
revenge ; and the Dayaks punish murder. This state of 
things is not really contradictory ; in fact its explanation lies 
in the one word " tribe." The tribe makes its law, not on 
an abstract principle that manslaughter is right or wrong, 
but for its own preservation. Their existence depends on 

XVI.] SOCIETY. • 413 

holding their own in deadly strife with neighbouring tribes, 
and thus they put a social premium on the warrior's proof of 
valour in fight against the enemy, though in these degenerate 
days they allow the form to be meanly fulfilled by bringing 
in as a warrior's trophy the head of some old woman or 
wretched waylaid stranger. In this simple contrast between 
one's own people and strangers, the student will find a clue 
to the thought of right and wrong running through ancient 
history, and slowly passing into a larger and nobler view. 
The old state of things is well illustrated in the Latin 
word hostis, which, meaning originally stranger, passed quite 
naturally into the sense of enemy. Not only is slaying an 
enemy in open war looked on as righteous, but ancient 
law goes on the doctrine that slaying one's own tribesman 
and slaying a foreigner are crimes of quite difterent order, 
while killing a slave is but a destruction of property. Nor 
even now does the colonist practically admit that killing a 
brown or black man is an act of quite the same nature as 
killing a white countryman. Yet the idea of the sacredness 
of human life is ever spreading more widely in the world, 
as a principle applying to mankind at large. 

The history of the notion of theft and plunder follows 
partly the same lines. In the lower civilization the law, 
" thou snalt not steal," is not unknown, but it appHes to 
tribesmen and friends, not to strangers and enemies. Among 
the Ahts of British Columbia, Sproat remarks that an article 
placed in an Indian's charge on his good faith is perfectly 
safe, yet thieving is a common vice where the property 
of other tribes or of white men is concerned. But, he 
says, it would be unfair to regard thieving among these 
savages as culpable in the same degree as among ourselves, 
for they have no moral or social law forbidding thieving 
between tribe and tribe, which has been commonly practised 


for generations. Thus, although the Africans within their own 
tribe-Hmits have strict rules of property, travellers -describe 
how a Zulu war-party, who have stealthily crept upon a 
distant village and massacred men, women, and children, 
will leave behind them the ransacked kraal flaring on the 
horizon and return with exulting hearts and loads of 
plunder. The old-world law of a warlike people is well 
seen among the ancient Germans in Caesar's famous 
sentence, " Robberies beyond, the bounds of each com- 
munity have no infamy, but are commended as a means of 
exercising youth and diminishing sloth." Even in the midst 
of modern civilization, a declaration of war may still carry 
society back to the earlier stages of plunder and prize- 
money- But in peace the safety of property as wxil as life 
is becoming more settled in the world. The extradition 
treaties by which criminals, deprived of their old refuge 
over the border, are now given up to justice in the country 
where they offended, mark the modern tendency to unite 
nations in one community, which recognises among all its 
members mutual right and duty. 

Hitherto we have been looking at right and wrong chiefly 
as worked by men's own moral feelings and by public 
opinion. But stronger means have at all times been 
necessary. It is now reckoned one of the regular duties 
of civilization to have a criminal law to punish wrong-doers 
with fine, imprisonment, blows, and even death. This 
system, however, only gradually arose in the world, and 
history can show plain traces of how it grew up from the 
early state of things when there were as yet no professional 
judges or executioners, but it was every man's right and duty 
to take the law into his own hands, and that law was what 
we now call vengeance. When in barbaric life fierce passion 
breaks loose and a man is slain, this rule of vensjeance comes 



into action. How it works as one of the great forces of 
society may well be seen among the Australians. As Sir 
George Grey says in his account of it, the holiest duty a 
native is called on to perform is to avenge the death of his 
nearest relation. If he left this duty unfulfilled, the old 
women would taunt him ; if he were unmarried, no girl would 
speak to him ; if he had wives, they would leave him ; his 
mother would cry and lament that she had given birth to so 
degenerate a son, his father would treat him with contempt, 
and he would be a mark for public scorn. But what is to 
be done if the murderer escapes, as must in so wild and 
thinly peopled a country be easy ? Native custom goes on 
the ancient doctrine that the criminal's whole family are re- 
sponsible ; so that when it is known that a man has been 
slain, and especially when the actual culprit has escaped, his 
kinsfolk run for their lives ; the very children of seven years 
old know whether they are of kin to the manslayer, and, if 
so, they are off at once into hiding. Here then we come in 
view of two principles which every student of law should 
have clearly in his mind in tracing its history up from its 
lowest stages. In the primitive law of vengeance of blood, 
he sees society using for the public benefit the instinct of 
revenge which man has in common with the lower animals ; 
and by holding the whole family answerable for the deed 
of one of its members, the public brings the full pressure 
of family influence to bear on each individual as a means of 
keeping the peace. No one who sees the working of blood- 
vengeance can deny its practical reasonableness, and its use 
in restraining men from violence while there are as yet no 
judges and executioners. Indeed among all savages and 
barbarians the avenger of blood, little as he thinks it himself 
in his wild fury, is doing his part toward saving his people 
from perishing by deeds of blood. Unhappily his usefulness 

4i6 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

is often marred through ignorance and delusion turning his 
vengeance against the innocent. These Australians are 
among the many savages who do not see why anybody 
should ever die unless he is killed, so they account for what 
we call natural death by settling it that some enemy killed 
the sufferer by magic art, wounding him with an invisible 
weapon, or sending a disease-demon to gnaw his vitals. 
Therefore, when a man dies, his kinsmen set themselves to 
find out by divination what malignant sorcerer did him to 
death, and when they have fixed on some one as the secret 
enemy the avenger sets out to find and slay him ; then of 
course there is retaliation from the other side, and a heredi- 
tary feud sets in. This is one great cause of the rancorous 
hatred between neighbouring tribes which keeps savages in 
ceaseless fear and trouble. 

Passing to higher levels of civilization, among the nations 
of the ancient world we still find the law of blood- vengeance, 
but it is being gradually modified by the civilization which 
in time ousts it altogether. Thus the law of the Israelites, 
while still authorizing the avenger of blood, provides that 
there shall be cities of refuge, and that the morally inno- 
cent manslayer shall not be as the wilful murderer. Among 
nations where wealth has been gathered together, and espe- 
cially where it has come to be measured by money, the old 
fierce cry for vengeance sinks into a claim for compensa- 
tion. In Arabia to this day the earlier and later stages may 
be seen side by side ; while the roaming Beduin tribes of the 
desert carry on blood-feuds from generation to generation 
with savage ferocity, the townsfolk feel that life can hardly go 
on with an assassin round every street-corner, so they take 
the blood-money and loose the feud. This state of things 
is instructive as being like that of our own early ancestors 
when the Teutonic law was still that a man took vengeance 


for hurt done to him or his, unless he compounded it. 
The Anglo-Saxon word for such composition was wer-gild, 
probably meaning "man-money," 200 shillings for a free man, 
less for lower folk, and less for a Welshman than an English- 
man. Again, where the rule of vengeance is a life for a life, 
lesser hurts are also repaid in kind, which is the Roman lex 
talionis, or '' law of the like ''—retaliation. This is plainly set 
forth in the Jewish law, liie for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, 
wound for wound, stripe for stripe. It is still law in Abyssinia, 
where not long since a mother prosecuted a lad who had 
accidentally fallen from a fruit-tree on her little son and 
killed him ; the judges decided that she had a right to send 
another son up into the tree to drop on the boy who had un- 
intentionally caused the first one's death, which remedy 
however she did not care to avail herself of. Of course 
retaliation came to be commuted into money, as when old 
English laws provide that, if any one happen to cut off the 
fist or foot of a person, let him render to him the half of a 
man's price, for a thumb half the price of a hand, and so on 
down to 5J-. for a little finger and 4^. for a litde-finger nail. 
In the times we live in, justice has passed into a higher 
stage, where the State takes the duty of punishing any serious 
wilful hurt done to its citizens. Reading some murderous 
tale of a Corsican " vendetta," we hardly stop to think of it 
as a relic of ancient law lingering in a wild mountain island. 
Yet our criminal law grew out of such private vengeance, as 
is still plain to those who attend to traces of the past, when 
they hear such phrases as " the vengeance of the law," 
or think what is meant by the legal form by which a 
private person is bound over to prosecute, as though he must 
still be suing, as he would have done in long-past ages, for 
his own revenge or compensation. It is now really the State 
that is seeking to punish the criminal for the ends of public 

E E 

4i8 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

justice. The avenger of blood, once the guardian of public 
safety, would now be himself punished as a criminal for 
taking the law into his own hands, while the moralists, now 
that the conditions of society are changed, lay it down that 
vengeance is sinful. 

Law, however, though it has so beneficially taken the 
place of private vengeance, has not fully extended its sway 
over the larger quarrels between State and State. The rela- 
tion of private vengeance to public war is well seen among 
rude tribes, such as inhabit the forests of Brazil. When a 
murder is done within the tribe, then of course vengeance 
lies between the two families concerned ; but if the murderer 
is of another clan or tribe, then it becomes a public wrong. 
The injured community hold council, and mostly decide for 
war if they dare ; then a war- party sets forth, in which the 
near kinsmen of the murdered man, their bodies painted 
with black daubs to show their deadly office, rush foremost 
into the fight. Among neighbouring tribes the ordinary way 
in which war begins is by some quarrel or trespass, then a 
man is killed on one side or the other, and the vengeance 
for his death spreads into blood-feud and tribal war ever 
ready to break out from generation to generation. This 
barbaric state of things lasted far on into the history of 
Europe. It was old German law that any freeman who had 
been injured in body, honour, or estate might, with the help 
of his own people, avenge himself if he would not take the 
legal commutation ; that is to say, he had the right of private 
war. It was a turning-point in English history when King 
Edmund made a law to restrain this " unrighteous fighting," 
but it was not stopped at once, especially in Northumberland, 
and we know how it went on into modern times between 
clan and clan in the wild Scotch Highlands. Long after 
the mere freeman ceased to go to war with his neighbours, 


there were nobles who stood to their old right. As late as 
the time of Edward IV. Eord Berkeley and his followers 
fought a batde with Lord Lisle at Nibley Green in Glouces- 
tershire. Lord Lisle was slain, and in the end Lord Berkeley 
compounded by a money payment to the widow. Freeman, 
who in his Comparative Politics mentions this curious in- 
cident of fifteenth-century history, thinks it the last English 
example either of private war or the payment of the wer- 
gild. The law of England which forbids the levying of 
private war represents one of the greatest steps in national 
progress. The State now replaces, by the justice of legal 
tribunals, the barbaric expedients of private vengeance and 
private war. But State and State still fight out their quarrels 
in public war, which then becomes on a larger scale much 
what deadly feud used to be between clan and clan. 

The civil law of property may, like the criminal law, be 
traced from the ideas of old times. A fair notion may bo 
had of what early rules of property were like, by noticing 
what they are in the uncivilised world still. Among the 
lower races, the distinction which our lawyers make between 
real and personal property appears in a very intelligible way. 
Of the land all have the use, but no man can be its absolute 
owner. The simplest land-law, which is also a game-law, 
is found among tribes who live chiefly by hunting and fish- 
ing. Thus in Brazil each tribe had its boundaries marked 
by rocks, trees, streams, or even artificial landmarks, and 
trespass in pursuit of game was held so serious that the 
offender might be slain on the spot. At this stage of 
society in any part of the world, every man has the right 
to hunt within the bounds of his own tribe, and the game 
only becomes private property when struck. Thus there is 
a distinct legal idea of common property in land belonging 
to the clan or tribe. There is also a clear idea of family 

E E 2 

420 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

property : the hut belongs to the family or group of fami- 
lies who built it ; and when they fenced in and tilled the 
plot of ground hard by, this also ceased to be common 
land, and became the property of the families, at least 
while they occupied it. To each family belonged also 
the hut-furniture, such as hammocks, mealing-stones, and 
earthen pots. At the same time personal ownership appears, 
though still under the power of the family, through the 
father or head. Personal or individual property was chiefly 
what each wore or carried — the man's weapons, the orna- 
ments and scanty clothing of both sexes, things which they 
had some power to do as they liked with during life, and at 
death very commonly took away with them to the world 
beyond the grave (see p. 346). Here then we find barbarians 
already acquainted with the ideas of common land, family 
freehold, family and personal property in movables, which 
run through the systems of old-world law. Not that they 
are worked out in the same way everywhere. Thus in the 
village communities which had so great a part in settling 
Asia and Europe, and whose traces still remain in modern 
England, not only the hunting-grounds and meadows were 
held in common, but the families did not even own the 
ploughed fields, which were tilled by common labour or 
re-allotted from time to time among the households, so 
that the family freehold did not reach beyond its house and 
garden-plot. At various times in history, the rise of military 
nations revolutionised the earlier ways of land-holding. In 
invaded countries, lands of the conquered were distributed 
by the king or leader to be held by his captains or soldiers 
doing military service in return ; the greatest and best-known 
example is the feudal system of Europe in the Middle Ages. 
It is instructive to notice how in England, before the Norman 
Conquest, the folk-land, the common property of the state. 



was already passing into the hands of the king to grant at 
his pleasure. Or in a mihtary state the sovereign may be- 
come the universal landlord, allowing his subjects to hold 
lands on payment of an annual tribute or tax — a system well 
known in ancient Egypt and modern India. In Roman 
history we find the state, or families owning large lands, 
letting portions of them as farms to tenants who paid part of 
the produce in return. This shows the beginning of rent, a 
thing unknown to primitive law. While these changes were 
coming on as to the land, movable property was becoming 
more and more important. War-captives kept as slaves to 
till the soil became part of the wealth of the family, and the 
pastoral life brought in cattle, hot only for food, but to 
plough the fields. The manufacture of valuable goods, the 
growth of commerce, the accumulation of treasure, and the 
use of money, added other possessions. If now we look 
at our modern ways of dealing with property, it is seen what 
great changes we have made by taking it out of the hands 
of the family and allowing an individual owner to hold and 
dispose of it — an arrangement suited to our age of shifting 
trading enterprise. Even land is bought and sold by indi- 
viduals, though the law, by making a field and cottage 
transferable by a different process and with greater formality 
and cost than a diamond necklace or a hundred chests of 
tea, keeps up traces of the old system under which it could 
only have changed hands, if at all, with difficulty and by 
the consent of many parties. Through all changes it is 
instructive to notice how far the old family system of pro- 
perty holds its place. This is well seen by considering what 
becomes of a man's property when he dies. The two most 
usual arrangements made in early times are the simplest, 
namely, either that the family shall go on living on the' 
undivided property, or that it shall be divided among the 

422 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

children, or sons. When the eldest son is patriarchal head 
of the family, to keep up this dignity he may have an extra or 
double portion for his "birth-right" ; this is a well-known 
ancient rule, common to the Aryan and Semitic nations, for 
it is both in the Hindu laws of Manu and in Deuteronomy. 
In France at this day the ancient principle of division 
is legally enforced, and the family take their shares 
as a matter of right. In England the power of wills 
has become so great, that in theory a man may leave 
his property to whom he pleases ; but practically this is 
kept within bounds by moral feeling and public opinion, 
which condemn it as an unnatural act for a man to strip 
his own children to endow a stranger or a hospital. If 
the Englishman dies without leaving a will, the law re- 
cognises the rights of his family by fairly dividing 
them his personal property. It is otherwise with the land 
or real estate, which in most cases will pass to the eldest 
son. Why the law should thus allow the claims of the rest 
of the family to the money, but not to the land, is an in- 
teresting point of history. The reader of Maine's Ancient 
Law will find how, in Europe about a thousand years ago, 
lands held as fiefs came to pass to the eldest son, not by 
any means for the purpose of enriching him by disinheriting 
the others, but that the united kinsfolk might live upon 
the land and defend it under him as chief of the litde 
clan. If in modern times the head of the family has 
become possessed of the family estate for his own use, 
this is because old laws working under new circumstances 
are apt to produce results which those who framed them 
never foresaw. Primogeniture did not prevail over the 
whole of England, but older rules of family inheritance 
have in some parts lasted on from times before feudal- 
ism. The best known of these is where at the father's 



death the land is divided among the sons, as Domesday 
Book shows was usual in Edward the Confessor's time. This 
is now known as gavelkind, or the custom of Kent, but 
it appears elsewhere ; for instance, Kentish Town in the 
north of London is supposed to have its name from lands 
so held there. There even exists in England a rule of 
inheritance which seems to belong to a yet earlier state of 
society. This is the custom of borough-english, by which, 
for instance at Hackney or Edmonton, if a man die intes- 
tate the land passes to his youngest son. This right of the 
youngest, strange as it seems to us, is still found here and 
there in Europe and Asia. It is. a reasonable law of in- 
heritance of the settlers in a new country, whefe there is yet 
plenty of land to be had for the taking, and the sons as 
they grow up and marry go out and found new homesteads 
of their own. But the youngest stays at home and takes 
care of the old father and mother ; he is, as the Mongols 
say, the " fire-keeper," and at their death he naturally 
succeeds to the family home. This is one of the hundreds 
of cases of customs which seem arbitrary and unreasonable, 
because they have lost their sense by lasting on from the 
state of life to which they properly belonged. 

In the old days before there were lawyers and law books, 
solemn acts and rights were made plain to all men by 
picturesque ceremonies suited to lay hold of unlettered 
minds. Many of these old ceremonies are still kept up 
and show their meaning as plainly as ever. For example, 
when two parties wish to make firm peace or friendship, 
they will go through the ceremony of mixing their blood, 
so as to make themselves blood-relations. Travellers often 
now ally themselves in such blood-brotherhood with bar^ 
barous tribes ; an account of East Africans performing the 
rite describes the two sitting together on a hide so as to 

424 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

become " of one skin," and then they made little cuts in 
one another's breasts, tasted the mixed blood, and rubbed 
it into one another's wounds. Thus we find still going on 
in the world a compact which Herodotus describes among 
the ancient Lydians and Scythians, and which is also men- 
tioned in the Sagas of the old Northmen and tire ancient 
Irish legends. It would be impossible to put more clearly 
the great principle of old-world morals, that a man owes 
friendship not to mankind at large but only to his own kin, 
so that to entitle a stranger to kindness and good faith he 
must become a kinsman by blood. With much the same 
thought even rude tribes hold that eating and drinking 
together is a covenant of friendship, for the guest becomes 
in some sort one of the household, and has to be treated as 
morally one of the family. This helps to explain the vast 
importance people everywhere give to the act of dining 
together. Among the millions of India at this day the very 
constitution of society turns on the caste rules whom a man 
may or may not eat with. Among the marriage ceremonies of 
the world, one well known in the far East is that the couple 
ly eating together out of one dish become man and wife. 
How ceremony expresses meaning in still more striking 
metaphor is seen in the Hindu marriage, where the skirts of 
the bridegroom and bride's garments are tied together as a 
sign of union, and the bride steps on a stone to show she 
will be as firm as stone. A custom is described among 
English vagrants of the last century, where a man and 
woman would join hands across the body of a dead beast, 
thus promising that they would be joined till death should 
part them. Among the dramatic ceremonies known to 
European law is the scene in an ancient Roman law-court, 
where a man put in his claim to a slave by stepping forward 
and touching him with a rod which represented a spear ; or 


when in old Germany a piece of land was transferred by 
the owner handing over a sod of the turf with a green twig 
stuck lap in it ; or when in feudal times the vassal placed his 
hands between the lord's, and so ''putting himself in his 
hands " became his man. 

There were ceremonies in old-world law which were more 
than such gesture-language. Barbaric law early began to 
call on magical and divine powers to help in the difficult 
tasks of discovering the guilty, getting the truth out of wit- 
nesses, and making a promise binding. This led to the 
wide-spread system of ordeals and oaths. Some ordeals 
have really served to discover truth by their effect on the 
conscience of the evil-doer. It is thus with the mouthful of 
rice taken by all of a suspected household in India, which 
the thief s nervous fear often prevents him from swallowing. 
This used to be done in England with the corsnasd or trial- 
slice of consecrated bread or cheese ; even now peasants 
have not forgotten the old formula, " May this bit choke me 
if I lie ! " Another of the few ordeals that linger in popular 
memory may be seen when, in some out-of-the-way farm- 
house, all suspected of a theft are made to hold a bible 
hanging to a key, which is to turn in the hands of the 
thief; this keeps up a form of divination practised in the 
classic world with a sieve hanging by the points of an open 
pair of shears. Ordeals have had their day, and are now 
discarded from the laws of the most civihsed nations. 
Nowadays one has to go to such countries as Arabia to 
find the ordeal by hot iron recognised by law, as it was in 
England in the days when the legend was told of Queen 
Emma walking over the red-hot ploughshares; the conjurors 
now go through this ancient performance as a circus-show. 
Yet even of late years, English rustics have been known to 
duck some wretched old woman supposed to be a witch, little 

426 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

knowing that they were keeping up the ancient water-ordeal, 
where the sacred element rejects the wrong and accepts 
the right, so that the guilty floats and the innocent sinks 
• — a judicial rite which forms part of the old Hindu law- 
book of Manu, and which in English law, till the beginning 
of the 13th century, was a legal means of trying those accused 
of murder or robbery. Ordeals by which the taker brings 
down present harm on himself if he is guilty, are of much 
the same nature as oaths. It is usual, however, for oaths 
to call down future punishment, in this life or after death, 
as when, in Russian law-courts in Siberia, the curious spec- 
tacle may be seen of bringing in a bear's head that an 
Ostyak may bite at it, thereby calling on a bear to bite him 
if he is forsworn. The legal oaths in our own country bear 
in their gestures the traces of high antiquity. In Scotland 
the witness holds up his hand toward heaven, the gesture 
by which Greek and Jew took the supreme Deity to witness, 
and called down divine vengeance on the perjurer. In 
England the kissing of the book comes from the practice of 
touching a halidome, or sacred object, as an ancient Roman 
touched the altar, or Harold the casket of relics. The 
form " So help me God," is inherited from ancient Teutonic- 
Scandinavian law, under which the old Northman, touching 
the blood-daubed ring on the altar, swore " So help me 
Frey, and Niordh, and the almighty god " (that is, Thor). The 
first and last of these are the two old English gods whose 
names we keep up in Friday and Thursday. 

To come now to the last subject of this volume, the 
history of government. Complicated as are the political 
arrangements of civilised nations, their study is made easier 
by their simple forms being already found in savage and 
barbaric life. The foundation of society, as has been 
already seen, is the self-government of each family. Its 

xvi.l SOCIETY. 


authority is apt to be vested in the head of the household ; 
thus among low barbaric tribes in the Brazilian forests, 
the father may do as he pleases with his own wives and 
children, even selling them for slaves, and the neighbours 
have no right or wish to interfere. Even what civilised 
nations now take as a matter of course, that every human 
being coming into the world has a right to Hve, is scarcely 
recognised by the lower races. In such a life of hardship 
as the Australians and many savages lead, new-born children 
are often put out of the way from sheer need, because 
the parents have already as many mouths as they can feed. 
That among such tribes this comes of hardness of life, 
rather than hardness of heart, is often seen when the 
parents will go through fire and water to save the very 
child they were doubting about, a few weeks before, 
whether it should live or die. Even where the struggle for 
existence is not so severe, the wretched custom of infan- 
ticide remains still common in the world. Nothing more 
clearly shows that European nations came up from a barbaric 
. stage than the law which the ancient Romans had in com- 
mon with our Teutonic ancestors, that it was for the father 
of the family to say whether the new-born child should be 
brought up or exposed. Once become a member of the 
household, the child has a firmer assurance of life ; and 
when the young barbarian grows up to be a warrior, and 
becomes himself the head of a new household, he is usually 
a free man. But the oldest Roman law shows the head of 
the family ruling with a strictness hardly imaginable to our 
modern minds, for the father might chastise or put to 
death his grown-up sons, give them in marriage or divorce 
them, and even sell them. With the advance of civilization, 
in Rome as elsewhere, the sons gradually gained their 
rights of person and property ; and in comparing old-world 


life wrth our own, it is plainly seen how Christianity, look- 
ing not to family rights but to individual souls, tended 
toward personal freedom. With all the growth of individual 
freedom in modern life, the best features of family despot- 
ism remain in force; it is under parental authority that 
children are trained' for their future duties, and the law is 
careful how it gives the child personal rights against the 
parent, lest it should weaken the very cement which binds 
society together. As, however, the family ceased to be so 
perfect a little kingdom within itself, the individual became 
responsible for his own doings. We have seen how, in 
rude society, when a crime is committed, the family of the 
aggrieved take vengeance on the culprit's family. Modern 
ideas of justice may teach us that this is wrong, that it is 
punishing the innocent for the guilty. But in the lower 
barbaric life it is practically the best way to keep order, 
and to those who live under it it seems right and natural, 
as where, among the Australians, when one of a family has 
done a murder the others take it as a matter of course that 
they are guilty too. Far from this idea being confined to. 
savages, the student becomes familiar wdth it in the law 
of ancient nations, such as Greece and Rome. Here it 
will be enough to quote the remarkable passage from the 
Hebrew law which at once records what the old principle 
was, and reforms it by bringing in the ideas of higher juris- 
prudence : — " The fathers shall not be put to death for the 
children, neither shall the children be put to death for the 
fathers : every man shall be put to death for his own sin." 
(Deut. xxiv. 1 6.) 

Wherever the traveller in wild regions meets a few families 
roaming together over the desert, or comes upon a cluster 
of huts by a stream in the tropical forest, he may find, if he 
looks closely enough, some rudiments of government ; for 


there is business which concerns the whole little community, 
such as a camping-ground to be chosen, or a fishery quarrel 
to be settled with the next tribe down the river. Even among 
the Greenlanders, as little governed a people as almost any 
in the world, it was noticed that whe^ several families lived 
together all the winter, one weather-wise old fisherman 
would have the north end of the snow-house for his place 
and be appointed to look after the inmates, taking care 
about their keeping the snow walls in repair, and going 
out and coming in together so as not to waste heat ; also 
when they went out in hunting parties an experienced 
pathfinder would be chosen as leader. It is common 
to find among rude tribes such a headman or chief, 
chosen as the most important or shrewdest ; but he has 
little or no actual authority over the families, and gets 
his way by persuasion and public opinion. Naturally such 
a headman's family is of consequence already, or, if not, he 
makes them so, and thus there is a tendency for his oflice to 
become hereditary. In' tribes formed under the rule of 
female kinship, where the chief's own son may be out of the 
succession, the new chosen chief will probably be a younger 
brother or a nephew on the mother's side. Under the rule of 
succession on the father's side, which is so much more 
familiar to us, the very growth of the family brings on a 
patriarchal government. Suppose a single household to 
move out into the wilds and found a new settlement, it 
begins under the rule of the father, who, as new huts are 
built round the first home, remains head of the growing 
clan ; but as old age comes on, his eldest son more and 
more acts in his name, and at his death will be recognised 
as succeeding him in the headship of the community. Here 
then is seen the rise of the hereditary chief or patriarch of 
the tribe, first in rank as representing the ancestor, and with 

430 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

more or less of real autliority. But here also there is a 
practical power of setting the successor aside if he is too 
timid or wilful or dull, when perhaps his uncle or brother 
will be put in his place, though the line of succession is not 
set aside by this. The patriarchal system extends far on in 
civilization. It is not confined to one particular race or 
nation, but may at this day be studied alike among the 
brown hill-men of India and the negroes of West Africa. 
To us it is especially well known from the Old Testament, 
which shows it in the form it takes in a pastoral nation, 
and which still may be seen with little change among the 
Arabs of the desert, whose clans and tribes are governed by 
their patriarchs, the sheykhs or old men. Not less does it 
lie at the foundation of the politics of the Aryan race, where 
its remains may still be traced'in the village communities of 
India and Russia, the village elder presiding in the council 
of " white-heads " being the modern representative of the 
earlier patriarch with the chiefs of younger branches of the 
clan around him. Under such mild rule, people of few 
wants may prosper in time of peace, in the kindly commu- 
nism which is possible where there are no rich and no poor. 
The weak point of such a society is that it can hardly 
advance, for civilization is at a standstill where it is regu- 
lated by ancestral custom administered by great-grandfathers. 
Everywhere in the world, in war some stronger and 
more intelligent rule than this is needed and found. The 
changes which have shaped the descendants of wild hordes 
into civilized nations have been in great measure the work 
of the war-chief. 

When among such uncultured tribes war breaks out, the 
peace-chief is pushed aside and a leader chosen, or in war- 
like tribes the war-chief may be the acting head at all times. 
Of course he is a tried warrior, and his endurance may even 


be put to a special examination, as when the Caribs would 
test a candidate for war-chief by mercilessly flogging and 
scratching him, smoking him in a hammock over a fire of 
green leaves, or burying him up to the middle in a nest of 
stinging-ants. We even find in America the principle of 
competitive examination for king, when Chilian* tribes would 
choose as their chief the man who could lift the biggest 
tree on his shoulder and carry it longest. In these rude 
countries the change is wonderful when war turns the 
loose crowd into an army under a leader, with powers of 
life and death to enforce discipline. When Martius the 
naturalist was travelling through a Brazilian forest with a 
Miranha chief, they came to a fig-tree where the skeleton of 
a man was bound to the trunk with cords of creepers, and 
the chief grimly explained that this was one of his men who 
had disobeyed orders by not summoning a neighbouring 
tribe to help against the invading Umg.uas, and he had him 
tied up there and shot to death with arrows. In barbarous 
countries the tribe-chief and the war-chief may be found 
side by side ; but when the power of the bow and spear once 
asserts itself, it is apt to grow further. Throughout history, war 
gives the bold and able leader a supremacy which may nomi- 
nally end with the campaign, but which tends to pass into 
dictatorship for life. Military government in civil affairs is, 
in fact, despotism ; and if the military leader can thus become 
the tyrant of his own land, still more can he rule with a rod 
of iron a conquered country. The negro kingdom of 
Dahome, the result of two centuries of barbaric military 
rule, is an astounding specimen of what a people will 
submit to from a despot whom they regard as a kind of 
deity; they approach him grovelling on all-fours, and 
throwing dust over their heads ; tl^e whole nation are 
his slaves, whose lives he takes at will ] the women are all 

432 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

his, to give or sell ; the land is all his, and none owns any- 
thing but at his pleasure. The kings of Asiatic nations have 
been theoretically as absolute as this, but practically in 
advancing civilization the king makes or sanctions laws which 
bind himself and his successors, making society more fixed 
and life more tolerable. Also, as soon as religion becomes 
a power in the state, it becomes joined or mixed with civil 
and military government. Thus among negroes the high- 
priest and war-chief may be the two heads of the govern- 
ment, while the Incas of Peru, as descendants and re- 
presentatives of the divine sun, ruled their nation with 
paternal despotism which settled for the people what they 
should do and eat and wear, and whom they should marry. 
In such a kingdom royalty must be hereditary in the 
divine ruling family. Indeed, monarchy, however gained, 
tends to become hereditary, and especially the miUtary 
usurper will found a dynasty on the model of a patri- 
archal chief. Thus sovereignty may be elective, hereditary, 
military, ecclesiastical, and, difficult as is the history of 
kingdoms, some combination of these causes can always 
be traced in them. 

The effects of war in consolidating a loosely formed society 
are described by travellers who have seen a barbaric tribe 
prepare to invade an enemy 'or defend their own borders. 
Provisions and property are brought into the common 
stock ; the warriors submit their unruly wills to a leader, and 
private quarrels are sunk in a larger patriotism. Distant 
clans of kinsfolk come together against thfe (Common enemy, 
and neighbouring tribes with no such natural union make 
an alliance, their chiefs serving under the orders of a leader 
chosen by them all. Here are seen in their simplest forms 
two of the greatest facts in history, — the organised army, 
where the several forces are led by their own captains under 


a general, and the confederation of tribes, such as in higher 
civilisation brings on political federations of states like those 
in Greece and Switzerland. Out of such alliances of tribes, 
when they last beyond the campaign, there arise nations, 
where often, as in old Mexico, the head of the strongest 
tribe will become king. Tribes which thus unite are apt to 
be of common race, speaking kindred dialects, for this is' 
everywhere a natural bond of union ; and when they have 
allied themselves into one people, and come to bear a 
common name, such as Dorians or Hellenes, they willingly 
take up the old patriarchal idea, and imagine themselves 
more closely of one nation or "birth" than they really are, 
even setting up, as we have seen (p. 389), a fictitious as a 
national ancestor. Events take a different course, but with a 
somewhat like effect, when some Kafir leader conquers other 
tribes around, and, setting himself above them all, forces 
the conquered chiefs to bring him tribute and warriors to 
fight his battles. This is empire on a small scale and with 
rude surroundings, but on the same principles as that of a 
Caesar or a Napoleon. Thus one understands why in the 
early history of nations it is so inextricably difficult to make 
out how far any people have grown up from a single unmixed 
tribe, or have been built up by alliance and conquest. 
What shows how this piecing together of nations must have 
gone on, is the number and variety of their gods. While 
a tribe grows of itself, the names and worship of the same 
tribe-gods will be a bond of union in all the clans, and 
even when they move far off they will sometimes go on 
pilgrimage to the shrines of their old home. But when 
peoples amalgamate, their different gods are kept up, as when 
the Peruvians gave places to the gods of conquered tribes 
under their own great deities. Every district in ancient 
Egypt shows by its varied combination of gods how many 

F F 

434 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

little states and local religions went to make up the great 
despotism and hierarchy. It was plainly through this growth 
of nations, which had been going on we know not how long 
before history began, that the higher civilization of mankind 
arose. Scattered families of barbarians in a land where 
there is still elbow room may thrive without strong govern- 
ment ; but when men live in populous nations and crowded 
cities, there has to be public order. That this political 
order came out of military order cannot be doubted. War 
not only put into the hands of the sovereign the power over 
a whole nation, but his army served as his model on which 
to organize his nation. It is one of the plainest lessons 
of history that through military discipline mankind were 
taught to submit to authority and act in masses under com- 
mand. Egypt and Babylon, with military system pervading 
not only the standing army, but the orders of priests and 
civilians, developed industry and wealth highest in the 
ancient world, and were the very founders of literature and 
science. They built up for future ages the framework of 
government, which we freer miOderns of our own will submit 
ourselves to for our own benefit. A constitutional govern- 
ment, whether called republic or kingdom, is an arrange- 
ment by which the nation governs itself by means of the 
machinery of a military despotism. 

As society in tribes and nations became a more complex 
system, it early began to divide into classes or ranks. 
If we look for an example of the famous first principle 
of the United States, '' that all men are created equal," 
we shall in fact scarcely find such equality except 
among savage hunters and foresters, and by no means 
always then. The greatest of all divisions, that between 
freeman and slave, appears as soon as the barbaric warrior 
spares the life of his enemy when he has him down,^ and 


brings him home to drudge for him and till the soil. How 
low in civilization this begins appears by a slave caste for- 
bidden to bear arms forming part of several of the lower 
American tribes. How thoroughly slavery was recognized 
as belonging to old-world society may be seen by the way 
it formed part of the Hebrew patriarchal system, where the 
man-servant and maid-servant are reckoned as a man's 
wealth just before his ox and his ass. It was no less so under 
Roman law, as is evident from the very word fami7y, which 
at first meant not the children but the slaves {famulus). We 
live in days when the last remains of slavery are disappear- 
ing from the higher nations ; but though the civilized world 
has outgrown the ancient institution, the benefits which 
early society gained from it still remain. It was througli 
slave labour that agriculture and industry increased, that 
wealth accumulated, and leisure was given to priests, scribes, 
poets, philosophers, to raise the level of men's minds. Out 
of slavery probably arose the later custom of hired service, the 
very name of which, as derived from servus, a slave, tells the 
story of a great social change. The master at first let out his 
slaves to work for his profit, and then free men found it to 
their advantage to work for their own profit, so that there 
grew up the great wage-earning class whose numbers and 
influence make so marked a difference between ancient and 
modern society. In all communities, except the smallest 
and simplest, the freemen divide themselves into ranks. 
The old Northmen divided men into three classes, " earls, 
churls, and thralls," which roughly match what we should 
now call nobles, freemen, and slaves. Nobles again fall into 
different orders, especially those who can claim royal blood 
forming a princely order, and looking down on the dn^ef- 
tains and ofiicers of the army, state, and church who fill 
the lower ranks of nobility. 

436 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

As nations become more populous, rich, and intelligent, 
the machinery of government has to be improved. The 
old rough-and-ready methods no longer answer, and the 
division of labour has to be applied to politics. Thus, one 
of the chief's early duties was to be judge. A Kafir chief- 
tain will make it his business to hear suits between his 
people ; each side brings him a gift of oxen. At higher 
levels of civilization the Eastern monarch sits in the gate of 
justice ; and it was so among the ancient Germans, where 
the king sat crowned and gave judgment in his own court. 
It is still the king's court, but the actual administration 
has long passed into the hands of professional judges. So 
with other departments of government. By the time civili- 
zation had come to the level of ancient Egypt and Babylon 
public affairs were admmistered by officials in grades like 
an army, who collected the taxes, attended to public works, 
punished offences, and did justice between man and man. 
It has just been noticed how far a modern nation is worked 
by an official system similar to that of the ancients, and 
how we, really among the freest of peoples, preserve the 
forms of an absolute monarchy, where sovereign power 
is administered through servants of the Crown down to 
the exciseman and constable. In the politics of savages 
and barbarians, the outlines of the civilized system of 
government already come into view. We have seen how 
among such rude tribes the chief or king appears, who 
holds his place in some form through higher nations. Even 
the consul or president of a republic is a kind of temporary 
elective king. Of not less antiquity is the senate. The 
old men squatting round the council fire of an Indian tribe 
on the prairies have in their way a greater influence than a 
civilized senate, for where there are no written records and 
books the old men are the very sources and treasuries of 


wisdom. In the nations of the world, seats at such councils 
are given to wise old men, priests and officers of high rank, 
and heads of great families, so that the two terms senate 
and house of loi'ds both have their proper meaning, and the 
two claims of wisdom and rank are more or less com- 
bined. With the very beginning of political life appears 
also the popular assembly. In small tribes the whole com- 
munity, or at least the freemen, come together. It may 
be only a forest tribe in Brazil called together by the 
chief to decide some question of an expedition to net 
wildfowl or attack a neighbouring tribe, yet solemn form 
will be observed. There is silence for the orators, and if 
the assembly approve they will at last cry " good ! " or " be 
it so ! " More civilized forms of the assembly of the 
people may be studied in Freeman's comparison of the 
Achaian agora described in the second book of the 
Iliad, with the " great meeting " held outside London in 
Edward the Confessor's time. Even in our own day the 
great meeting of the people has not disappeared from 
Europe. The wonderful sight is still to be seen of the 
people of a Swiss canton gathered together in a wide 
meadow or market-place to vote Yes or No on the great 
questions which their supreme authority decides. With 
the growth of nations the folk-moot or assembly of the 
whole people, never a good deliberative body, soon becomes 
unmanageable by mere numbers ; but there is a way by 
which its authority may be kept in a less unwieldy form 
when the people, no longer able to go themselves, send 
chosen representatives to act for them. This seems a simple 
device enough, and indeed the first savage tribe that ever 
sent a discreet orator to negotiate peace or war on its 
behalf had seized the idea of a political representative. 
But in fact it is one of the most remarkable points in 

438 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. 

political history, how the principle of popular representation 
has been worked out in England from the time of Simon de 
Montfort's famous parliament in the 13th century. It is 
for historians to discuss how the knights and burgesses 
who came up to grant the king's supplies passed into the 
lower house of parliament as it is now ; what has to be 
noticed here is the change which, while the huge pro- 
miscuous assembly of the people shrank into an aristocratic 
upper house, gave us a new elective popular body, the 
Jiouse of coninions. It is not too much to say that no 
event in English history has had so great an effect in 
shaping the course of modern civilization. On the whole, 
looking at what government is coming to among the most 
enhghtened nations, it will be seen that it attains its ends, 
not so much by casting off the methods of our rem.ote bar- 
baric ancestors, as by improving and regulating them. The 
administration of the state under the system of sovereign 
authority, the control of the senate, and the source of 
political power in the will of the nation itself, are made to 
work together and restrain one another so as fairly to keep 
the benefits and neutralize the excesses of all, while the con- 
stitution has within it the power of continual reform, so that 
the machine of government may be ever shaping itself into 
more perfect fitness to its work. 

Here this sketch of Anthropology may close. The ex- 
amination of man's age on the earth, his bodily structure 
and varieties of race and language, has led us on to enquire 
into his intellectual and social history. In his many-sided 
life there may be clearly traced a development, which, not- 
withstanding long periods of stoppage and frequent falling 
back, has on the whole adapted modern civilized man for a 
far higher and happier career than his ruder ancestors. 
In this development, the preceding chapters have shown a 


difference between low and high nations, which it only 
remains to put before the reader as a practical moral to the 
tale of civilization. It is true that both among savage and 
civilized peoples progress in culture takes place, but not 
under the same conditions. The savage by no means goes 
through life with the intention of gathering more knowledge 
and framing better laws than his fathers. On the contrary, 
his tendency is to consider his ancestors as having handed 
down to him the perfection of wisdom, which it would be 
impiety to make the least alteration in. Hence among 
the lower races there is obstinate resistance to the most 
desirable reforms, and progress can only force its way 
with a slowness and difficulty which we of this century can 
hardly imagine. Looking at the condition of the rude 
man, it may be seen that his aversion to change was not 
always unreasonable, and indeed may often have arisen 
from a triie instinct. With his ignorance of any life but 
his own, he would be rash to break loose from the old tried 
machinery of society, to plunge into revolutionary change, 
which might destroy the present good without putting better 
in its place. Had the experience of ancient men been 
larger, they would have seen their way to faster steps in 
culture. But we civilized moderns have just that wider 
knowledge which the rude ancients wanted. Acquainted 
with events and their consequences far and wide over the 
world, we are able to direct our own course with more con- 
fidence toward improvement. In a word, mankind is pass- 
ing from the age of unconscious to that of conscious pro- 
gress. Readers who have come thus far need not be told 
in many words of what the facts must have already brought 
to their minds — that the study of man and civilization 
is not only a matter of scientific interest, but at once 
passes into the practical business of life. We have in it 

440 ANTHROPOLOGY. [chap. xvi. 

the means of understanding our own lives and our place in 
the world, vaguely and imperfectly it is true, but at any rate 
more clearly than any former generation. The knowledge 
of man's course of life, from the remote past to the present, 
will not only help us to forecast the future, but may 
guide us in our duty of leaving the world better than we 
found it. 


Physical and Descriptive Anthropology : — 
Waitz, Anthropologic der Naturvolker. 
Topinard, Anthropology. 
Darwin, Descent of Man. 
Huxley, Man's Place in Nature ; Geographical Distribution of 

Mankind i^n Journal of Ethnclogical Society, Nq\. II. 1870). 
Vogt, Lectures on Man. 
Prichard, Natural History of Man. 
Wood, Natural History : Man. 
Peschel, Races of Man. 
Quatrefages, Human Species. 
Flower, Hunterian Lectures on "The Comparative Anatomy 

of Man." Nature, July 1879, and May and June 1880. 
Broca, Instructions Craniologiques. 
Anthropological Notes and Queries for Travellers, &c. (British 

Journal of the Anthropological Institute (London). 
Revue d' Anthropologic (Paris). 
Zeitschrift fiir Ethnologic (Berlin). 
Accounts of races by travellers and missionaries, such as Catlin, 

North American Indians ; Ellis, Polynesian Researches ; 

Wallace, Travels on the Amazon, and Malay Archipelago ; 

Burton, Lake Regions of Central Africa ; J. L. Wilson, 

Western Africa ; Crey, Travels in Australia; etc., etc. 

Geolocy and Archeology of Man : — 
Lubbock, Prehistoric Times. 
Lyell, Antiquity of Man. 

Dawkins, Cave-hunting ; Early Man in Britain. 
Evans, Ancient Stone Implements of Great Britain. 
Fergusson, Rude Stone Monuments. 
Keller and Lee, Lake Dwellings of Switzerland. 
Nilsson, Primitive Inhabitants of Scandinavia. 
Wilson, Prehistoric Man. 


Philology : — 

Max Miiller, Lectures on the Science of Language. 

Sayce, Comparative Philology ; Introduction to the Science of 

Whitney, Language and the Study of Language. 
Plovelacque and Vinson, The Science of Language. 
Pictet, Origines Indo-Europeennes. 
Steinthal, Charakteristik der hauptsachlichsten Typen des 


Civilisation : — 

Maine, Ancient Law. 

Lubbock, Origin of Civilisation. 

Bagehot, Physics and Politics. 

Freeman, Comparative Politics ; Historical Essays. 

Draper, Intellectuai Development of Europe. 

McLennan, Studies in Ancient PLstory, 

Morgan, Ancient Society, 

Spencer, Principles of Sociology, 

Klemm, Allgemeine Culturgeschichte ; Culturwissenchafi. 

Tylor, Early History of Mankind ; Prar.itivc Culture. 


Abacus, 314 

Abstract ideas, 52, 119, 135 

words, 135 
Acclimatisation, 74 
Administralicn, 434 
^sop, 399 
Affixes, 142 
Africans, 2, 57, 65, 87 

languages, 164 
Aged, 409 _ 

Agglutinating languages, i6i 
Agriculture, 214 
Ainos, 73 
Albmos, 68 
Alchemy, 328 
Alcoholic liquors, 268 
Algebra, 322 ' 

Alliteration, 389 
Alphabet, 175 
Altar, 367 
Amentum, 194 
Americans, 63, 102, i68 

languages, 165 
Analogy, 338 
Analytic languages, 139 
Anatomy, 330 

Ancestor-worship, 352, 358, 369 
Animals, cries of, 122 

domesticated, 219 

quaternary, 30 

succession of^ 37 
Animism, 371 

Antiquity of Man, i. 25. 33, 40, 113, 1C6 
Apes and Man, 38, 48, 260 • 
Arabs, 109 

language, 11, 159 
Arch, 235 

Architecture. 21, 232 
Aristocracy, 225, 435 
Anthmetic, 17, 314 
Armour, 222 
Army, 226, 434 

Arrow, 26, 195, 212 
poisoned, 221 
Artillery, 227 
Aryans, 10, 109, 156, 381 

languages, 10, 156 
Assyrians, 22, 160, 313, 384 

language, 160 
Astrology, 339 
Astronomy, 21, 332 
Australians, 57, 91 
Auxiliary words, 137 
Avesta, 381 


Babylonians, 22. 163, 172 

language, 163 
Baking, 266 
Ball, 307 

Bantu languages, 149, 164 
Barbaric stage, 24, 401 
Bark -clothing, 244 
Barometer, 325 
Barter, 281 
Basuto. 165 
Beast-fables, 399 
Beer, 268 
Berbers, 95 

language, 160 
Biblical history, 385 
Bill-hook, 190 
Bills of exchange, 284 
Black races, 2, 5, 80, 87 
Blood-brotherhood, 423 
Blood-vengeance, 414 
Blow-tube, 196 
Blue Beard, 398 
Boat, 252 

Body-measures, 17, 316, 266 
Boomerang, 193 
Borer, 192 
Botany. 329 
Bow. 16, 195, 212 
Brachykephal.c, 6i 



Brain, 45, 60 

Brand-tillage, 218 

Bread, 266 

Brick, 234 

Broiling, 265 

Bronze, 21, 278 

Bronze Age, 25, 279 

Brown races, 2, 5, 91 

Buddha, 399 

Burial, 347 

Burning-lens and mirror, 263 

Bushmen, 57, 89, 165 

Cafusos, 82 

Candle, 272 

Cannibalism, 224, 410 

Canoe, 252 

Cardinal points, 21, 334 

Caribs, 78 

Caste, 69 

Cattle, 219 

Cause, spirit, 356 

Cave-men, 30, 261 

Caves, 229 

Celt, 26, 187 

Cereals, 215 

Ceremonies, 365, 403, 423 

Chaldeans, 22, 384 

Chemistry, 328 

Chess, 308 

Chiefs, 428 

Children's language, 128 

Chimney, 264 

Chinese, 2, 57, 63, 162, 170 

language, 162 
Civilisation, 13. 18, 24, 75, 180, 4C0 
Civilised staere, 24, 401 
Clicks, 165 
Clothing, 15, 2^6 
Club. 184 
Coffee, 270 
Coin, 283 
Colour, 66, 81, 85 
Comedy, 299 
Commerce, 285 
Common land, 419 
Compass, 28, 341 
Concord, 147 
Consciousness, 53 
Constitution of races, 73 
Constitutionalism, 438 
Cookery, 264 
Copper, 277 
Corn, 215 
Counting, 18, 310 
Creator, 358 
Cromlech, 34S 
Cross-bow, 16, 196 
Crossed races, 6, 80 
Cultivation, 215 
Cuneiform writing, 172, 31 
Custom, 409 

Dagger, 190 
Dancing, 224, 296 
Dark-whites, 2, 56, 68, 107 
Dead, worship of. 352 
Deaf-and-dumb signs, 115 
Death, 343 

Decimal counting, 311 
Decline of culture, 19 
Deformation of skull, &c., 240 
Degeneration, 19, 86 
Demoniacal possession, 353 
Demons, 352 
Demon-worship, 353 
Descent, female and male, 402 
Despotism, 431 
Digging-stick, 216 
Diseases, 73, 353 
Distilling, 269, 328 
Dog, 209 

Dolichokephalic, 2, 61 
Dolmen, 348 

Domesticated animals, 219 
Drama, 298 
Dravidians, 94 

languages, 164 
Drawing, 31, 300 
Dreams, 343 
Drift, animals of, 30 

implements of, 28, 187 
Drift-period, 28 
Drill, 202 
Drum, 293 
Dryads, 357 
Dualism, 363 
Dutch, 9 
Dwellings, 229 

Ear- and nose-ornaments, 242 

Earth-god, 359 

Echo, 357 

Education, capacity for, 74 

Egyptians, 3, 21, 69, 79, 95, 173, 

language, 160 
Electricity, 327 
Elephants, fossil, 30, 388 
Emotional sound, 120, 124 
Empire, 433 
English, 133 
Eponymic myths, 389 
Esquimaux, 105, 265 
Ethiopians, 69 
Etymology, 126, 134 
Europeans, 60, 109 
Evolution, 36, 331 
Exogamy, 402 
Exorcism, 354 
Eyes, 2, 63, 70 



Facial angle , 62 

Fair- whites, 2, 56, 68, 107 

Families of language, 9, 155 

Family* 402, 426 

Fates, 395 

Father, power of, 427 

Features, 44, 63 

Federation, 433 

Female succession, 429 

Feudalism, 420 

Fiction, 379 

Fields, 218, 420 

Figures, 312 

Fijians, 90 

Finger- and toe-counting, 18, 3u» 

Finger-nails 240 

Finns, 98 

Fire, 260 

Firearms, 17, 197, 227 

Fire-drill, 16, 261 

Fire-god. 361 

First man, 358 

Fish-hook, 213 

Fishing, 212 

Flakes, stone, 26, 185 

Flint-and-steel, 2G1 

Food, 206, 264 

Forests, succession of, 27 

Fortification, 228 

Fossil bones, 388 

Fowling, 208 

Freemen, 225, 434 

Fruits, 216 

Future life, 344, 349 


Game law, 419 
Games, 305 
Garments, 249 
Gas, 273 
Gender, 149 
Genius, 356 
Geography, 335 
Geology, 29, 32, 336 
Geometry, 17, 318 
Germans, no 

language, 9 
Gesture-language, 114, 124, 3; 
Ghosts, 344, 349 
Giants. 388 _ 
Glacial period, 30 
Glass, 276 
Gods, 358 
Gogmagog, 390 
Government, 15, 428, 437 
Grain, 215 

Grammar, 119, 146, 156 
Grammatical words, 137 
Giavitation, 325 
Gieeks, 158 

Grimm's law, 155 
Guardian spirits, 356 
Gypsies, 112 

Hair, 2, 44, 71, 82 
Hair-dressing, 238 
Hammer, 185 
Hand and foot, 42 

counting on, 18, 310 
Harmony, 293 
Harp, 204 
Harpoon, 214 
Hatchet, 188 
Hawking, 209 
Heat, 327 
Heaven-god, 359 
Hebrew, 11, 159 
Herodotus, 385 
Hieroglyphics, 173 
Hindus, m, 157 
Historic period, 5, 22, 375 
Hoe, 216 « 

Horatii and Curiatii, 397 
Hospitality, 409 
Hottentots, 89, 165 

language, 165 
House, 231 

Houses of Lords and Commons, 437 
Hungarians, 98 

language, 162 
Hunting, 207, 220 
Hut, 230 


Ideas, 52, 119, 135 
Idols, 366 
Imitative signs, 116 

sounds, 124 

words, 121 
Implements, 183 
Index, Kephahc, 6r 
India, hill-tribes, 2, 94 

laterite, 31 

races, in, 164 
Individuals, 421, 428 
Infanticide, 427 
Inflecting languages, 161 
Inheritance, 421 
Inspiration, 366 
Instinct, 51 
Interjectijns, 121, 124 
Intonation, 162, 291 
Iron, 21, 277 
Iron Age, 25, 279 
Italians, 158 


Javelin, 193 

Jews, 4, 109, 159, 385 

Justice, 436 



Keltic peoples, 28, 71, xio, 153 

languages, 158 
Kephalic index, 61 
Killing, 412 

old and infirm, 410 
King, 430, 436 
Knife, 189 

Labret, 242 
Lamp, 272 
Lancet, 192 

Land, common, 219, 419 
Land-law, 218, 419 
Language, 7, 53, 129, 152, 337 

analytic and synthetic, 139 

and race, 166 

children's, 128 

connexion of, 154 

development of, 130 

families of, 9, i. 
natural, 122 
origin of, 130, i( 

Lapps, 98 

Lathe, 203 

Latin, 7, 156 

Law, 405, 412, 423 

Lazo, 212 

Leather, 245 

Lens, 263 

Libyans, 6g 

Life, future, 344, 343 

Light, 326 

Lijn, cave, 30 

Liquors, 268 

Logic, 3j6 

Long-bow, 16, 195 

Loom, 248 

l^ucifer-matches, 263 

Machines, 198 
Magic, 338 
Maize, 215 
Malayo-Polynesians, ic 

language, 163 
Malays, 99 
Mammoth, 30 
Man, 38, 45 

antiquuy of, 1, 25, 

first, 35S 

primitive, 33. 40, 113 

unity of, 6, 85 

races of, i, 56, 75, 85, 
Manes. 352, 358 
Manslaughter, 412 
Ma..ris, 102, 374 
Mariner's compass, 328, 3, 
Marriage, 402 
Masonry, 21, 233 
Mathematics, 17, 321 
Mats, 246 

33^ 40. 113- I' 

Maui. 393 
Measures, 17, 316 
Mechanics, 323 
Medicine, 15, 3^10 
Melanesians, 89 
Melanochroi, 107 
Melody, 293 
Memory, 49 
Menhir, 348 
Mensuration, 317 
Mes^.kcphalic, 61 
Metal Age, 25, 189 
Metals, 20, 189, 277 
Metaphor, 126, 290 
Metre, 288 
Mexicans, 105, 169 
Micrones.ans, 102 
Mill, 200, 204 
Mind, 47 
Mirror, 2G3. 326 
Missiles, 103 
Mixed races, 80, 85 
Monarchy. 431 
Money, 282 
Mongolians, 5, 63, 96 

languages. 102 
Monosyliab.c languages. 162 
Monotheism, 364 
Moon-god, 361 
Moors, III 
Morals, 368, 405 
Mourning. 237 
Mulattos, 80 
Music, 291 
Mutilations, 240 
Myth, 387 


Nation. 433 

Natural language, 122 

Nature-mytijs, 391 

Nature-sp.rits, 356, 391 

Need-fire, 262 

Needle, 249 

Negritos, 89 

Negro-European dialects. 153 

Negros, 2. 57, 65, 87 

Neolithic iniplemems, 26, 187 

Nets, 212 

Nightmare, 357 

Nobles, 435 

Nomades, 219 

Norns, 395 

Nose, 63 

Nubians, 94 

Numerals, 18, 310 

Nymphs, 357 

Oar, 256 
Uath, 362, 425 
Oblique eyes, 2, 63 
Oracle-priests, 366 

Ordeal, 425 

Origin of language, 130, 165 

of man, 85 
Ornaments, 241 
Orthognathous, 62 
Outrigger, 255 


Quadroons, 80 
Quaternary period. 29 
Quinary numeration, 311 


Paddle, 256 
Painting, 301 

body, 237 
Palaeolithic implements, 26, j86 
Pantheism, 364 
Pantomime, 114. 298 
Paper-money, 284 
Papuas. 72, 90 
Parts of speech, 138 
Pasturage, 219 
Patagonians, 57 
Paternal power, 427 
Patriarchal system, 429 
Pendulum. 324 
Persians, 63, 157, 381 
Personal property, 420 
Personification, 395 
Peruvians, 59, 105 
Phoenicians, 175 

language, 59 
Physics, 323 
Picture-writing, 168 
Pipe, 294 
Plaiting, 246 
Plants, 214 
Plough, 217 
Poetry, 287, 375 
Poison, arrow-, 221 

fish. 213 
Polynesians, 102, 374 

language, 163 
Polytheism, 362 
Popular assembly, 437 
Porcelain, 276 

Possession, demoniacal, 15. 353 
Potato, 215 
Pottery, 274 

wheel, 27s 
Prae-historic period, 5, 374 
Prayer, 360, 364 
Primogeniture, 422 
Printing, 180 
Private war, 419 
Prognathous, 62 
Prometheus, 396 
Pronouns, 138 
Property. 419 
Proportions of body, 58 
Prose, 287 
Public opinion. 40S 
Pullev, 198 
Punishment, 414 
Pyramids, 21, 233, 334 
Pyrites, 263 

Races and languages, 153, 165 

characters of, i, 56, 75, 80, 113 

degeneration of, 86 

mixture or crossing of, 80, 85 

permanence of, 80 

variation of, 80, 85 
Raft, 255 
Rain-god, 359 
Rank, 434 
Real words, 137 
Reason, 50, 336 
Red Ridmghood, 394 
Re luplicatiun, 128 
Religion, 342, 368, 407, 432 
Rent, 420 

Representation, political, 437 
Retaliation, 417 
Retribution, future, 368 
Rhyme, 289 
Right of l.fe, 427 
River-god, 361 
Romance languages, 7 
Romulus and Remus, 380 
Roots, 144 

Rude stone monuments, 34S 
Rudimentary organs, 36 


Sacrifice, 346, 360, 365 
Sail, 256 
Samoyeds, 60 
Sanskrit, 10, 156 
Savage stage, 24, 32, 401 
Saw, 192 

Scandinavians, iii, 158 
Screw, 192, 203 
Sculpture, 300 
Sea-god, 360 
Semitic nations, 4, 69. 80 

languages, 11, 159 
.Senate, 436 
Sentences, 139 
Sewing, 249 
Shield, 222 
.Ship, 257 
Siamese, 97, 162 
.Sign-language, 114 
Skin, 2, 66, 81 
Skull, 2, 60 

defjrmation, 240 
Sky.god, 359 
Slavery, 225, 421, 434 
Sling, 104 

.Smell of races, 2, 70 
Society, 401 



Song, 224, 287, 375 

Soul, 343, 350, 369 

Sound, 326 

South-East Asian languages, 162 

Spade, 216 

Spear, 186, 194, 213 

Spear-throwers, 194 

Species, descent of, 36, 331 

Spelling, 178 

Spinning, 246 

Spirit, 344, 349, 356, 391 

Stature, 56, 76 

Steam-power, 204, 259, 271 

Steel, 278 

Stone Age, 25, 28, 187, 279 

implements, 26, 187 

monuments, 348 
Stove, 264 
String, 246 
Succession, 429, 432 
Sun-god, 360, 368 
Sun-myth, 394, 397 
Supreme deity, 364 
Survivals, 13 
Sword, 190 

Symbolic sound, 126, 143 
Syntax, 119, 139, 146 
Synthetic languages, 141 
Syrians, 69, 80 

Tactics, 226 
Tanning, 245 
Tasmanians, 91 
Tatars, 98 

language. 161 
Tatooing, 237 
Tea, 270 

1'emperament of races, 74 
Temple, 348, 367 
Tent, 231 
Teutons, 158 
Theatre, 298 
Theft, 413 

Thunderbolt, 26, 359 
Thunder-god, 359 
Tools, 183, 192 
Torch, 272 
Totem, /103 
Trade, 285 
Tradition, 373 
Tragedy, 299 
Trance, 343 

Transmigration of soul, 350, 369 
Trapping, 211 

Tree-spirits, 357 
Tribe-land, 419 
Trumpet, 293 
Turanian languages, 161 
Typical men, 76 

Vampire, 356 
Variation of races, 84 
Veda, 156, 381 
Veddas, 164 
Vengeance, 414 
Verse, 287 
Vertebrates, 35, 47 
Vesseh, 274 

Vigesimal counting, 311 
Village community, 219, 420 
Vishnu, 367, 397 
Visions, 343 


Wages, 435 

War, 221, 418, 433 

War-chief, 430 

Water-wheel, 204 

Weapons, 184, 221 

Weaving, 247 

Werewolf, 356 

Wergild, 416 

Wheel-carriage, 198 

White race, 2, 5, 57, 69, 109, 113 

Widow, 346, 404 

Wife-capture, 225, 305, 403 

Wife-purchase, 404 

Wilhelm Tell, 397 

Wind-god, 361 

Windmill, 204 

Wine, 268 

Words, borrowed, 155 

combination, 140 

formation, 126, 140 
Worship, 364 
Writing, 169 

Xanthochroic, 107 


Yellow race, 2, 5, 69, 96 


Zoology, 329 


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PHYSICAL science: 13 

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Th O m S O n — continued. 

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Tylor, Edward B. 'GN 

Ant|;iropolog7;an introduction 

to the study of man and civilization