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Philosophical Inquiry is essentially the chief intellectual study 
of our age. It is proposed to produce, under the title of " The 
English and Foreign Philosophical Library," a series of 
works of the highest class connected with that study. 

The English contributions to the series consist of original 
works, and of occasional new editions of such productions as 
have already attained a permanent rank among the philosophical 
writings of the day. 

Beyond the productions of English writers, there are many 
recent publications in German and French which are not readily 
accessible to English readers, unless they are competent German 
and French scholars. Of these foreign writings, the translations 
have been entrusted to gentlemen whose names will be a guaran- 
tee for their critical fidelity. 

" The English and Foreign Philosophical Library" claims 
to be free from all bias, and thus fairly to represent all develop- 
ments of Philosophy, from Spinoza to Hartmann, from Leibnitz 
to Lotze. Each original work is produced under the inspection 
of its author, from his manuscript, without intermediate sugges- 
tions or alterations. As corollaries, works showing the results 
of Positive Science, occasionally, though seldom, find a place in 
the series. 

The series is elegantly printed in octavo, and the price regu- 
lated by the extent of each volume. The volumes will follow in 
succession, at no fixed periods, but as early as is consistent with 
the necessary care in their production. 

Vols. L-III.] Vol. II., post 8vo, pp. 406, cloth, price los. 6d. 


By Professor F. A. IjANGE, 

Authorised Translation from the German by Eknest C. Thomas. 

Second Edition. Vol. I., post 8vo, pp. 350, cloth, price los. 6d. 

(Vol, III. in the press.) 

" This is a work which has long and impatiently been expected by a large circle of 
readers. It has been well praised by two eminent scientists, and their words have 
created for it, as regards its appearance in our English tongue, a sort of ante-nat;il 
reputation. The reputation is in many respects well deserved. Tlie book is marked 
throughout by singular ability, abounds in striking and suggestive reflections, subtle 
and profound discussions, felicitous and graphic descriptions of mental and social move- 
ments, both in themselves and in their mutual relations."— ;ScoiS7?ian. 

" Although it is only a few years since Lange's book was originally published, it 
already ranks as a classic in the philosophical literature of Germany. . . . So far as he has 
proceeded, Mr. Thomas has done his work with great spirit and intelligence. We have 
tested the translation at different points, and have always found that it reflects the 
original freely and accurately." — Pall Mall Gazette. 

"We see no reason for not endorsing the translator's judgment that it is raised far 
above the level of ordinary controversial writing by its thoroughness, comprehensiveness, 
and impartiality." — Conteviporary Review, 


Vol, IV.] Post 8vo, pp. xii. — 362, cloth, price los. 6d. 

NATURAL LAW: An Essay in Ethics. 


Second Edition. 

"Miss Sim cox deserves cordial recognition for the excellent work she has done in 
vindication of naturalism, and especially for the high nobility of her ethical purpose." — 

" A book which for the rest is a mine of suggestion." — Academy. 

" This thoughtful and able work is in many respects the most important contribution 
yet made to the ethics of the evolution theory." — Mind. 

Vols. V., VI.] In Two Volumes, post 8vo, pp. 268 and 288, cloth, price 15s. 


By W. R. GREG. 

Sixth Edition, with a New Introduction. 

" No candid reader of the ' Creed of Christendom ' can close the book without the 
secret acknowledgment that it is a model of honest investigation and clear exposition, 
conceived in the true spirit of serious and faithful research." — Westminster Review. 

" Til is work remains a monument of his industry, his high literary power, his clear 
intellect, and his resolute desire to arrive at the truth. In its present shape, witii its 
new introduction, it will be still more widely read, and more warmly welcomed by tliose 
Who believe that in a contest between Truth and Error, Truth never can be worsted." — 

Vol. VII.] Second Edition. Post 8vo, pp. xix. — 249, cloth, price 7s. 6d. 



By C. P. TIELE, 
Dr. Theol., Professor of the History of Religions in the University of Leiden. 

Translated from the Dutch by J. Estlin Carpenter, M.A. 

'•Few books of its size contain the result of so much wide thinking, able and laborious 
study, or enable the reader to gain a better bird's-eye view of the latest results of inves- 
tigations into the religious history of nations. As Professor Tiele modestly says, ' In this 
little book are outlines — pencil sketches, I might say — nothing more.' But there are 
8ome men wbose sketches from a thumb-nail are of far more worth than an enorlnous 
canvas covered with tlie crude painting of others, and it is easy to see that these pages, 
full of information, these sentences, cut and perhaps also dry, short and clear, condense 
the fruits of long and thorough research. " — Scotsman. 

Vol. VIII.] Post 8vo, pp. 276, cloth, 7s. 6d, 


Containing a Brief Account of the Tliree Religions of the Chinese, with 

Observations on the Prospects of Christian Conversion 

amongst that People. 

By JOSEPH EDKINS. D.D., Peking. 

"We confidently recommend a careful perusal of the present work to all interested 
in this great subject." — London and China £x2oress. 

" Dr. Edkins has been most careful in noting the varied and often complex phases of 
opiuion, so as to give an account of considerable value of the suh^Qct."— Scotsman. 


Vol. IX. ! Post 8vo, pp. 216, cloth, 7s. 6d. 



" An essay of marked ability that does not belie its title." — Mind. 

" On the whole a candid, acute, and honest attempt to work out a problem which is 
of vast and perpetual interest." — Scotfsman. 

" It is Impossible to go through this work without forming a very high opinion of his 
speculative and argumentative power, and a sincere respect for his temperance of state- 
ment and his diligent endeavour to make out the best case he can for the views he rejects." 
— Academy. 

" This is a telling contribution to the question of questions. The author has pushed 
a step further than any one before him the bearing of modern science on the doctrine of 
Theism." — Examiner. 

Vol. X.] Post 8vo, pp. xii. — 282, cloth, los. 6d. 

THE COLOUR SENSE : Its Origin and Development. 

By GRANT ALLEN, B.A., Author of "Physiological Esthetics." 
" The book is attractive throughout, for its object is pursued with an earnestness and 
singleness of purpose which never fail to maintain the interest of the reader." — Saturday 

"A work of genuine research and bold originalitj. "—Westminster Revieio. 
"All these subjects are treated in a very thorough manner, with a wealth of illustra- 
tion, a clearness of style, and a cogency of reasoning, which make up a most attractive 
volume." — Nature. 

Vol. XI.] Post 8vo, pp. 336, cloth, los. 6d. 




Delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, 

IN February and March 1877. 

By "WTLLIAM POLE, Mus. Doc. Oxon. 

Fellow of the Eoyal Societies of London and Edinburgh ; one of the Examiners in Music 

to the University of London. 

The great and justly celebrated work recenth- published by Professor Helmholtz, of 
Berlin, " Tlie Doctrme of the Perception of Musical Sounds, considered as a Pliysiological 
Basis for the Theory of Music," consists of two parts, which may be called the Physical 
and the Musical Parts respectively. Tlie former, containing the author's novel investi- 
gations and discoveries in the domains of Acoustics, has been already made familiar in 
this country by popular illustrative works ; but the latter portion, which is the more 
interesting to the musical public, as containing the philosophical application of these 
investigations and discoveries to the Science of Music, has received, as yet, but little 
attention, and can only be studied in the elaborate form in which it exists in the author's 

Tiie object of the present publication is to explain the Philosophical Theory of Music, 
as based on Helmhoitz's investigations, in a way which, it is hoped, will be intelligible 
to practical musicians, and to such of the general public as take an interest in the art. 
And it is thought that such an introduction to the subject may be particularly useful at 
the present time, when the Universities are beginning to insist on tiieoretical knowledge 
as an indispensable qualification for the musical honours granted by them. 

Vol. XIL] Post 8vo, pp. 168, cloth. 


Author of " Origin and Evolution of Human Speech and Eeason." 

Translated from the Second German Edition by David Asher, Ph.D., 

Corresponding Member of the Berlin Society for the Study 

of Modern Languages and Literature. 



Two Volumes, post 8vo, pp. 348 and 374, with Portrait, cloth, 2I8. 

LESSING : His Life and Writings. 


Second Edition. 

, "It Is to Lessing that an Englishman would turn with readiest aflfection. We cannot 
but wonder that more of this man is not known amongst us." — Thomas Carlyle. 

" But to Mr. James Sime has been reserved the honour of presenting to the English 
public a full-length portrait of Lessing, in which no portion of the canvas is uncovered, 
and in which there is hardly a touch but tells. He has studied his subject with that 
patient care which only reverence and sympathy can support ; he has attained the true 
proportion wliich can alone be gained by penetration and clear insight into motive and 
purposes. We can say that a clearer or more compact piece of biographic criticism has 
not been produced in England for many a day." — Wc^tmin&Ur Review. 

" An account of Lessing's life and work on the scale which he deserves is now for the 
first time offered to English readers. Mr. Sime has pei'formed his task with industry, 
knowledge, and sympathy ; qualities which must concur to make a successful biogra- 
pher."— Paii Mall Gazette. 

" This is an admirable book. It lacks no quality that a biography ought to have. Its 
method is excellent, its theme is profoundly interesting : its tone is the happiest mixture 
of sympathy and discrimination : its style is clear, masculine, free from effort or siffecta- 
tion, yet eloquent by its very sincerity. It is not a page too long ; and thoutrh the reader 
closes it with regret, the critic must own that it is not a page too short." — Standard. 

"He has given a life of Lessing clear, interesting, and full, while he has given a 
study of his writings which bears distinct marks of an intimate acquaintance with his 
subject, and of a solid and appreciative judgmeut." — ScotsmoM. 

Vol. III.] I Vol. I., post Svo, pp. 264, cloth, price 7s. 6d. 




By ABRAHAM FORNANDER, Circuit Judge of the Island of Maui, H.I. 
"Mr. Fomander lias evidently enjoyed excellent opportunities for promoting the 
study which has produced this work. IJulike most foreign residents in Polynesia, he has 
acquired a good knowledge of the language spoken by the people among whom he dwelt. 
This has enabled liim, during his thirty-four years' residence m the Hawaiian Islands, to 
collect material which could be obtained only by a person possessing such an advantage. 
It is so seldom that a private settler iu the Polynesian Islands takes an intelligent interest 
in local ethnology and archaeology, and makes use of the advantage he possesses, that 
we feel especially thankful to Mr. Fornander for his labours in this comparatively little 
known field of research." — Academy. 

VoLB. IV., v.] In Two Volumes, post Svo, pp. viii. — 408 ; viii. — 402, cloth. 



Vol. VI.] Vol. II., post Svo, pp. 408, cloth, price los. 6d. 




By ABRAHAM FORNANDER, Circuit Judge of the Island of Maui, H.I. 













^ran0lateti from ti)e Seconti (Serman (EBnition 






[All rights reserved.] 


It is a source of lively satisfaction to me to have 
been chosen as the medium of introducing to the 
English public the late lamented author of the follow- 
ing Lectures and Essays, one of the most original 
thinkers Germany has produced in recent times, and 
the "greatest of her philologers," as he has been 
styled by a competent judge. His work itself, how- 
ever, will best speak for him, and needs no commen- 
dation on my part. Let me only add that, though 
these Lectures and Essays, now submitted to the Eng- 
lish reader, are but " chips " from the author's *' work- 
shop," as it were, yet I believe they afford a good 
glimpse of his eminent powers and brilliant genius as 
an investigator. But a word, I feel, is needed on 
behalf of myself as translator, l^o one can be more 
fully alive than myself to the difficulties of translation, 
and hence it is not with a "liprht heart" that I ever 



undertake the task. If I have ventured to do so on 
this occasion, it was owing to my belief in the adage : 
Amor vincit omnia. Love of the language into which 
I had to translate, happened to combine, in this 
instance, with love of the subject and adlniration of 
the author. From his exceedingly clear, aye, pellucid 
style, my difficulties have certainly been considerably 
lessened ; still, a conscientious translation is always an 
arduous task, and I can only hope, conscious of having 
honestly striven to do justice to the original, I may 
have succeeded in likewise satisfying the English reader. 


Leipsic, June 1880. 


In editing the following Lectures and Dissertations 
of my late brother, I have to crave the indulgence of 
the public for having ventured, as a non-scientific 
man, to undertake such a task. But I deem it my 
duty not to withhold from the world any of the 
author's investigations, and now put forth, as a first 
instalment, the present pages, which the departed was 
about himself to revise for the purpose of publication 
when death overtook him. The first five Disserta- 
tions are a literal reprint of the Lectures as they 
were delivered, and partly already published; only 
in the second I have added from the MS. a passage 
in brackets which had been omitted in delivery so 
as not to exceed the measure of time allotted to each 
speaker. The last Essay, written in 1869-70, was 
intended for a scientific periodical, and was to open 
a series of similar dissertations. The unremitting 

viii PREFACE. 

endeavour which ever distinguished the author to 
improve and perfect his labours prevented him from 
sending the Essay to its destination, as he was not 
spared to give it a final touch. 


Frankfort-on-the-Maine, Junt 1871. 










Language and its Importance in the History 
of the Developinent of the Huma7i Race, 

[A Lecture delivered at the Commercial Club of Frankfort-on-the- 
Maine, December 7, 1869.] 

In the restless activity which science displays in our 
times, there appears, with ever-increasing distinctness, 
a phenomenon which, more than any other, confers on 
it a noble humanity and significance : it is the inter- 
penetration of the practical and ideal. The period is 
not yet far behind us when practical and scientific 
labour stood apart from each other as strangers. On 
the one side was seen the great mass of the toiling 
people, who did not understand how to respect their 
own activity, and were almost ashamed of it ; on the 
other, erudition, confined to a class, and often barren 
of any result. Occasionally there arose a lonely un- 
comprehended thinker, who carefully concealed himself 
from his contemporaries, because to be understood 
was almost sure to entail excommunication and death. 
Ho\v different is it now, when mechanical labour finds 
a hif^rher reward in the elevatincj consciousness of 
having co-operated in the mighty and arduous work 
of rendering mankind happy than in the wages it earns, 


'a]a^Vhe]n,sc?;enc'e' takes refuge in warm, feeling hearts, 
to share their cravings and hopes, and perhaps, too, to 
raise them to those heights from which she has de- 
scended ! 

The chemistry of our days gives us information ahout 
the air we breathe, the provisions we are to select ; it 
teaches us how to cultivate the soil and how to pro- 
duce thousands of objects of art and industry ; but at 
the same time it lays open to us the mysterious nature 
of things. In decomposing before our eyes an appar- 
ently uniform body into various invisible elements, it 
rends the veil of outward appearance and of illusion, 
teaches us to doubt the evidence of our senses, and 
at the same time to comprehend the perpetual trans- 
formation and growth in nature. Mechanics, by means 
of which man's machines are built and the giant forces 
of heat and electricity rendered subservient to his use, 
at the same time put the great question to him, what 
light, sound, heat, and electricity are ; and suggest to him 
a primitive power which disguises itself, as it were, in 
all these phenomena, appearing now as sound, now as 
heat, and may be finally transformed even into mecha- 
nical force, a pressure, or an impulse. Equally so 
the study of language, besides its practical objects 
known to us all, has in our days acquired an incom- 
parable philosophical importance, seeing that it affords 
a key to one aspect of the world and existence which 
physical science could never have reached, and gives 
us an explanation of what we are and of what once 
we were, of our reason and our history. 


The first commonplace object which may induce 
us to study languages is, in the first instance, a purely 
practical one. We may wish to find our way in the 
streets of some foreign city or learn to converse with 
foreigners who have come to visit us. But, however 
commonplace such a proficiency may be, it already 
touches, without our always being aware of the fact, 
upon a marvellous domain. We face a being which 
thinks as we do, but which seems by nature to be 
relegated to another sphere as regards its mode of 
expression. The strangeness of this phenomenon is 
felt by every one who, for the first time, hears a 
foreign child speak its native language or sees him- 
self surrounded abroad by people all speaking a foreign 
tongue. Language seems to us so natural and human, and 
it seems such a matter of course that what we say should 
be at once understood — and now, all of a sudden, behold ! 
there is a barrier between man and man, analogous to, 
though infinitely thinner than, that between man and 
the brute, who likewise do not understand each other 
by nature, and can learn to do so only very imperfectly 
by art. The first discovery of a people speaking a 
foreign language must have been attended with tre- 
mendous surprise ; at least as great as the first sight 
of men of a different colour of the skin. In speaking 
a foreign tongue, therefore, we surmount in reality a 
barrier raised by Nature herself, and as the ocean, 
which, in the words of the Eoman poet, was created 
to separate the nations, has by navigation been con^ 
verted into an immense channel of communication, 


the study of living languages tends to create an asso- 
ciation of men out of groups of peoples scattered 
about by nature. In reading distinguished authors in 
a foreign language, we feel a kind of emancipation from 
the narrow boundary of nationality; new spheres of 
thought, new conceptions are opened up to us with 
every newly unlocked literature; the peculiar forms 
in which each people clothes its divinations, its love, 
its scientific thought, its political hopes, and its inspi- 
rations, enrich our minds ; all these become ours, we 
become all these. And how much greater will be our 
profit if we do not content ourselves with merely 
crossing the boundary line which a mountain or a 
stream or an accidental circumstance in the migration 
and spreading of our ancestors has drawn for our 
nation, but find in language a means of penetrating 
the darkness of ages, of transposing ourselves into the 
past in order to communicate with the minds of 
primeval times ! It is no small matter to say to one's 
self, " These words which I am reading, the sounds which 
I am reviving with my lips, are the same as those with 
which Demosthenes once called upon his native city, 
ensnared by treason, to try to regain her freedom, — 
the same in which Plato couched his own and his 
master's lofty teachings." By the Nile on the Theban 
plain there is seen a gigantic statue of King Ameno- 
phis, enthroned on high — the so-called pillar of Memnon 
— sixty feet high. In the days of the Eoman Empire 
there was heard in this statue daily at sunrise a 
musical sound ; all the world went on a pilgrimage to 


the miraculous statue ; men and women for centuries 
left their names and hymns of praise expressive of 
their admiration inscribed on the gigantic monument, 
and told how they had beheld its stupendous size and 
heard its divine song. Homer resembles this Memnon 
statue. If all who have for millennia repaired to this 
marvellous monument of the earliest ages of Greece 
in order to listen to the sounds of the dawning of 
European poetry, could have left us their names in- 
scribed at his feet, what a catalogue it would be ! 

But however incalculably great is the influence which 
the treasures of ancient literature have exercised and 
are still exercising — thereby, at the same time, bearing 
an elevating testimony to the immortality of the crea- 
tions of the human mind, even beyond the life of the 
language in which they are written — yet they present 
another aspect which is calculated to stir our hearts, 
if not more strongly, at all events more deeply. The 
authors of past ages tell us a great deal that is sug- 
gestive and instructive, in the same way as they im- 
parted it to their compatriots, for whom they designed 
it ; but in doing so they, in addition, betray something 
else which they could not intend at all. Involuntarily 
they afford us, by a casual description, or an uninten- 
tional word, that was superfluous for them but is invalu- 
able to us, a picture of the life of their time ; and what 
results from the careful collection of all these minute 
traits is the lesson that human thought and volition, 
from the earliest times of which a record has come 
down to us, have been subject to a mighty trans- 


formation. Accordingly the writings of ancient times 
are no longer mere literary productions for us to enjoy, 
and to enjoy so much the better the nearer they come 
to our own time and the more congenial they are to our 
minds, but they are monuments which we study, and 
which, on the contrary, we grasp at the more eagerly the 
older and more alien they are to us. The conscious- 
ness of the importance of literature in this sense is of 
very recent date ; nay, I may say it is not even now 
sufficiently developed. It is true the study of antiquity 
has been in vogue ever since the revival of learning at 
the beginning of the modern era, but its object was not 
to gain from the reports of the authors an idea of the 
condition of mankind in their days, but inversely to 
gain that knowledge of the state of antiquity which 
was requisite for the purpose of understanding the 
authors. Even down to the last century Homer was 
judged by the standard of poets in general. He was 
ranked, let us say, by the side of Tasso or Milton, in 
the same way as we may mention Shakespeare and 
Schiller together. At length F. A. Wolf came forward 
with the question whether Homer had had any know- 
ledge of the art of writing, and more especially had 
practised it himself ; and having negatived it, he argued 
that such extensive poems could not possibly be pro- 
duced by a single person from memory. He then 
endeavoured to show that we have in them the work of 
many individual singers, who composed short detached 
pieces and recited them to the cithern, as the singers 
mentioned in Homer himself were wont to do. No 


doubt he had not yet found the right solution, and the 
question as to the origin of the Homeric poems con- 
tinues even now to be discussed over and over again ; 
but it is indubitable that the matter of these poems 
cannot possibly have sprung from one head. The 
Trojan war is not a true history dressed up by the poet, 
still less is it his own invention ; but in reality it is, 
with all its details, a primitive popular belief, much 
older than any line of any existing epic. Achilles and 
Odysseus are not imaginary poetical characters, but 
were demigods of the Greeks in primeval times; and 
mythology, with all its oddities, far from being invented 
by the poets for the purpose of ornamenting their 
poetry, was, on the contrary, the sacred conviction of 
that primeval age. The stories of Hera struck by Zeus 
in his anger and suspended in the clouds, of Hephsestos, 
who wishes to come to the rescue of his mother, and 
whom Zeus seizes by the leg and flings down to the 
earth, where he alights in Lemnos and is picked up 
half dead, formed in the age of Voltaire the subject 
of sneering criticism ; they were, in his eyes, insipid 
fancies, which a polite poet at the court of Louis XIY. 
would certainly not have indulged in. But there is no 
doubt tl>at, whoever was the Homer of these and similar 
poems, he fervently believed in the truth of precisely 
such legends. They were sacred to him and his audi- 
ence ; they were already then ancient and not under- 
stood; they conceal some deep mysterious meaning; 
how and when may they have originated ? Here the 
problem of the formation of myths, of the origin of 


faiths, the solution of which has only just begun, is 
exhibited to our view. 

While an unexpected background became thus visible 
behind a book which thousands had read and fancied 
they understood, the present century has resuscitated 
an even remoter antiquity, and gained for the investi- 
gation of primitive times a new subject, the very extent 
of which alone cannot but raise astonishment, and of 
which our ancestors dreamt as little as of the great 
technical inventions of our age. 

We now know monuments and writings compared 
with which all that formerly was regarded as most 
ancient. Homer and the Bible included, appears 
almost modern. The French expedition to Egypt 
under Napoleon I. had an importance for European 
science similar to that which Alexander's to the East 
had : it gave rise to the investigation and representa- 
tion of ancient Egyptian monuments, and at the same 
time to the discovery of that ever-memorable stone 
of Kosetta, which in an Egyptian and Greek inscrip- 
tion contained the proper nouns that led to the de- 
cipherment of the hieroglyphics. Two discoveries, 
indeed, concurred in bringing about this great result. 
The one, already previously made, was that the 
language of the ancient Egyptians was substantially 
identical with the Coptic, still preserved in the eccle- 
siastical literature of the Egyptian Christians; the 
other is ChampoUion's, that the hieroglyphics were a 
phonetic, partly even an alphabetical, writing. Those 
singular pictures, which had so long been thought 


confused symbolical mysteries of priests, turned out 
to be writing once accessible and intelligible to the 
whole people. It was not always profound wisdom 
which was hidden beneath these hieroglyphics: over 
a picture representing oxen might be read the simple 
words, " These are oxen." Champollion read and trans- 
lated innumerable inscriptions ; he composed a gram- 
mar and a dictionary of the hieroglyphics, and 
already in the first of his works, masterly both for 
their style and matter, he communicated the decipher- 
ment of a quantity of names of Eoman, Greek, and 
national rulers of Egypt, from which an entire 
history of the kingdom up to an incredibly early 
period began to dawn. There appeared, composed 
of hieroglyphics, the names of Alexandres, PhUippos, 
Berenice, Cleopatra, Tiberius, Claudius, Nero, Ves- 
pasianus, Titus, Domitianus, Nerva, Trajanus, Had- 
rianus, Antoninus, Diocletianus, as well as Xerxes and 
Darius, Psammetichus, Shishank, and Eameses; and 
gradually there were gathered and identified from pyra- 
mids and rock-tombs, from the walls of temples and 
palaces, the whole long list of names which Manetho, 
a priest of the time of Ptolemseus Philadelphos, has 
preserved to us — a list of thirty dynasties, to the six- 
teenth of which, at the earliest, belonged the first 
Pharaoh, the contemporary of Abraham, mentioned in 
the Bible. The 331 names of kings which the Egyptian 
priests enumerated to Herodotus from a papyrus, the 
346 colossal wood-carvings of Theban high-priests 
which they showed him, as they had succeeded each 


other from father to son, all men and sons of men, 
without a sinojle orod or demisjod, are no lonf^er fables 
for us. All the Pharaohs have risen from their graves, 
and in addition to them the numberless gay pictures 
of a full and abundant life of the people, all ranks and 
all occupations being preserved with wonderful fidelity, 
and domestic scenes of touching truth and simplicity, 
three and four millennia old ! No inconsiderable relics 
of literature, too, have been found, — documents from 
daily life, historical records, and poetry, and of the 
sacred books, especially the so-called Book of the Dead, 
upon which criticism has already laid its hands, trying 
to separate a more ancient nucleus from subsequent 

Far less important, but interesting as the solution 
of a problem which seemed almost impossible to be 
solved, is the decipherment of the Persian cunei- 
form writing. On a precipitate side of a rock about 
1500 feet high, near Bisitun, in ancient Media, there 
was found, at an inaccessible height, the coloured 
relievo-portrait of a king, who, attended by his guards, 
sits in judgment upon his vanquished foes. One of 
them is lying prostrate, and the king sets his foot 
on his body; nine others are standing chained before 
him. This relievo is surrounded by not less than a 
thousand lines of cuneiform characters. Similar char- 
acters were found on the rocks of Nakhsh in Eustein, 
on the ruins of the palaces of Persepolis, and in other 
places. But neither the writing nor the language 
of the inscriptions was known ; aye, not even an 


approximate guess at their contents could be made. 
How could hopes be entertained of their ever being 
read ? And yet we have succeeded so completely that at 
this day we are able to read the Persian inscriptions 
with nearly the same certainty as Latin. The first 
successful attempts in this direction were made here 
at Frankfort. Professor Grotefend, since 1803 vice- 
principal of the grammar-school of this city, with 
the sagacity of genius, recognised in some briefer 
inscriptions, copies of which were at his command, 
the passages where names of kings were to be ex- 
pected, and with a rare gift of combination he dis- 
covered, by a comparison of the names of the Persian 
rulers known to us according to their sounds and 
the relationships of the kings bearing these names, those 
of Xerxes and Darius. The latter called himself in 
an inscription son of Hystaspes; this, too, Grotefend 
recognised on finding that, in agreement with history, 
the title of king was absent in the case of Hystaspes. 
He had at once recognised in the Persian cuneiform 
inscriptions an al^abej^ic writing: from the names 
deciphered he traced out part of the alphabet and 
attempted lo read entire inscriptions. Upwards of 
thirty years, however, elapsed ere Professor Lassen 
succeeded in discovering an alphabet complete in all 
essentials, and, the science of language having mean- 
while made rapid strides, and languages which had 
great affinity with ancient Persian having become 
better known, in actually deciphering and translating 
the inscriptions. At present we read on the Bisitun 


monument a whole history of the reign of Darius in 
his own words. The man on whom the king, armed 
with a bow, puts his foot, is the false Smerdis, or, in 
Persian, Barthiya, known to us from Herodotus. The 
inscription beneath his portrait runs thus: "This is 
Gumata, the magician ; he has cheated ; he said : I am 
Barthiya, son of Kurush. I am king." 

On the sites where Nineveh and Babylon once stood 
there have been quite recently, as is well known, like- 
wise brought to light, amongst ruins of palaces and 
imposing sculptures, numerous inscriptions, especially 
tiles and cylinders, bearing cuneiform writing — the 
only gloomy remnants of Assyrian and Babylonian 
magnificence and universal empire. 

Here, too, the problem was not only to decipher 
unknown contents conveyed in an unknown writing, but 
first to discover a language, nay, several languages, the 
very existence of which had partly been unknown. 
Fortunately the Assyrian language is met with on 
Persian monuments too; on several of them one and 
the same inscription is repeated in the Persian and 
Assyrian languages ; and the Persian text having once 
been deciphered, it also afforded a clue to the decipher- 
ment of the Assyrian. 

In order to appreciate the ejBPect which the coming 
to light of all these new and yet most ancient marvels 
could not fail to produce on the conception of our time, 
we need but realise the impression made by a ruin 
only a few centuries old, or the excavation of an 
ancient coin or utensil, or even a mere rough stone 


that in olden times passed through the hands of 
man, and still shows traces of having done so. The 
curiosity raised by what we have never before seen, the 
desire and craving of lifting the veil from the realms 
of the past, and of catching a glimpse, at least, of what 
has for ever perished, are blended with a feeling of awe 
and devoutness. How peculiarly are we moved at the 
sight of the slightest object brought to daylight from 
the buried streets of Herculaneum and Pompeii ; how 
many reminiscences it evokes ! In the case of an 
unknown, strange antiquity, however, that suddenly 
begins to revive and stir before our eyes, every one 
feels something analogous to what we feel at the sight 
of the curious extinct animals of the antediluvian 
world — the Ichthyosauri and the Mastodons. We cast 
a divinatory glance at unmeasured periods of creation, 
and begin darkly to guess at that great mystery — the 
mystery of our development. 

And yet it was not the treasures discovered beneath 
the soil which were destined to contribute most to the 
elucidation of tihat mystery. 

The finding, nay, one may say, the discovery of two 
literatures, which were indeed defunct, but were so in no 
other sense than the Latin or Hebrew — that is to say, 
which still continue to be studied and reverenced by 
living peoples — this discovery, with its consequences, 
it was which formed an era in European conception as 
to the past of humanity. Both literatures were dis- 
covered in East India. Zend literature, the sacred 
writings of the ancient Persians, ascribed to Zoroaster, 


had been carried away with them to India by the Par- 
sees, who remained faithful to the ancient religion, on 
their flying from their native land to save themselves 
from the Mahomedans. Sanskrit literature is the holy 
national literature of the Brahmanic Hindoos them- 
selves. The merit of having discovered and promul- 
gated these treasures, of which, until about the middle 
of last century, no European scholar had any inkling, 
is due, in the first instance, to the English and the 
Erench, who were at that time engaged in a mutual 
struggle for the possession of India. The knowledge 
of the Zend writings we owe before all to Erench, that 
of Sanskrit to English science. It is German scholars, 
however, who in a pre-eminent degree have thoroughly 
investigated both, and who have more especially made 
use of them in perfecting linguistic science. As 
Columbus, urged on by an irresistible impulse which 
made him overcome all doubts and surmount all diffi- 
culties, went in quest of the western hemisphere, so 
Anquetil du Perron, from 1754, searched for the cele- 
brated writings of Zoroaster among the priests of the 
Parsees in India, and employed his life in translating 
and commenting upon them. Nothing more strikingly 
exhibits the contrast of our times to those than the 
disappointment which the writings, brought home at 
so much sacrifice, then caused in Europe. Of the 
wisdom which so great a name led to expect they con- 
tained but little. On the other hand, the god Ahura- 
mazda occasionally revealed in them things which, 
from their childlike naivete, could only call forth smiles ; 


so especially the well-known passages referring to the 
dog, the sacred animal of the Persians, in which the 
mode of his keep, his punishment when he bites, his 
character, his treatment in illness or when not quite in 
his senses, and how one has to proceed if he refuses to 
take the medicine, are discussed with solemn gravity. 

Yet the question as to the character of the people's 
imagination, by what motives it must have been 
swayed when the Persians nursed the dog with such 
solicitous care, or when the Egyptians built vaults at 
Memphis to the holy embalmed corpses of Apis, sixty- 
four generations thereof lying buried there, is of such 
importance to us, that we willingly forego the wise 
teachings of those times, seeing that there is no lack 
of such in our own days, would we but listen to them. 
We are here reminded of an incident communicated by 
Professor Max MuUer touching that portion of San- 
skrit literature which is the most important to us — 
the Yedas. A talented young German, Dr. Eosen, who 
died at an early age, being occupied in the rich library 
of the East In^lia Company in London with copying 
the Veda hymns, which he commenced editing in 1838, 
the enlightened Brahmin, Eamahan Eai, being then in 
London, could not wonder enough at this undertaking : 
the Upanishad, he said, were of greater importance and 
much more deserving of publication. These, the young- 
est portion of the Vedas, contain a mystic philosophy 
in which may be found a kind of monotheism or pan- 
theism, which seemed to the Hindoo rationalist, as to 
many others, the non plus ultra of all religious wisdom. 


But in reality the primeval Veda hymns, quite pagan, 
naive, and often grotesque though they are, of which 
the Hindoo with his modern culture may have been 
secretly ashamed, but in which the youth of mankind 
breathes with delightful freshness, are to us the true 
jewel of Sanskrit literature. They do not, indeed, con- 
tain a religious system available for us, but they teach 
us how the religion of man was developed. 

The knowledge we gained of the Sanskrit language 
in itself, however, quite apart from its literary trea- 
sures, was perhaps productive of still greater effects. 
That language, notwithstanding the wide space that 
separates us from it, exhibited a close affinity to our 
European languages. There were found in it the words 
jpitar father, mdtar mother, hhrdtar brother, svasar sister, 
sunu son, duhitar daughter ; names of animals, such as 
go cow, hansa goose (German Gans) ; and numerals, such 
as dvau 2, trajah 3, shat 6, ashtau 8, and nava 9. This 
is quite a different relation from that existing between 
our language and French when we borrow from it 
such a word as, for instance, Onkel. Sanskrit has not 
only its vocabulary in common with German, but even 
the inflection : e.g., asti ist, santi sind. In words bor- 
rowed from the French, on the contrary — as, for in- 
stance, in marschiren (to march) — we retain the German 
inflection, and say, for instance, ich marschire (I march), 
du marschirst (thou mar chest). In eliminatino- from 
a language all foreign words, its vocabulary indeed 
diminishes, but nevertheless a complete languao-e still 
remains. Cognate languages, on the contrary, have so 


much in common that, were we to eliminate all of 
it, only something quite incomplete would be left. 
French, for instance, is closely related to Italian, and 
we here see quite plainly why both languages would 
cease to exist if they were to abstain from all the 
words and forms they have in common. The reason 
is, French was not by any means a finished lan- 
guage which borrowed Italian words, like German 
when it admitted the word Onkel, but the resemblance 
arises from the fact of French and Italian being both 
derived from the Latin, thus once forming a single lan- 
guage, viz., this very Latin. Such, too, must be exactly 
the case with German and Sanskrit; both must once 
have formed one language ; only this one language, of 
which German and Sanskrit may be almost called the 
daughters, as French and Italian are of Latin, is no 
longer extant. We know there has been a people that 
spoke Latin, viz., the Eomans. Equally there must 
have been a people that spoke the original language 
from which Germa^ and Sanskrit have descended, a 
people that existed at a time when there were as yet 
neither Germans nor Hindoos. Not only German, 
however, but Latin, Greek, Eussian, and all the Sla- 
vonic languages too, as likewise the Keltic, and in 
Asia the Armenian and Persian, with some collateral 
branches, are related to Sanskrit. The ancestors of all 
those peoples who spoke these languages must, there- 
fore, have constituted one people, together with the 
ancestors of the Germans and Hindoos, and the science 
of language must therefore assume a primitive people 


much older than anything we know of in European 
history. Where it had its seat is not yet determined, 
still less the time at which we have still to think of its 
being united. On the other hand, language ajffords re- 
markable indications by means of which we may ascer- 
tain something as to that people's stage of culture. 

The common prehistoric language referred to can 
\ obviously have had words only for such objects as the 
^people that spoke it were acquainted with. Thus if, for 
instance, shi'p in Sanskrit, as in Greek, is naus, in Latin 
navis, a word akin to our Naue and Nacheii, the Indo- 
European prehistoric people must have known the ship. 
Equally we find a common word for oar, but none for 
sail. Vehicles must likewise have been known to 
that people ; of arms it knew the sword, but scarcely 
the bow. In all probability the custom of painting and 
tattooing it had in common with the aborigines of 
America and Australia. Our word Zeichen (sign) is not 
only connected with zeichnen (to design, draw), but also 
with the Greek arly/Jba and to stigmatise, i.e., to tattoo. 
The first sign, and the first design, were those which 
were tattooed in the skin. 

Here we have an example of the employment of 
words as keys to the history of human civilisation. A 
word which we use now, but which originated at an 
earlier time, very often enables us to guess at the for- 
mer condition of the thing which it denotes. Suppose, 
e.g., we did not know what writing material preceded 
our steel pen, the word pen would perhaps suggest to 
us that it was taken from a bird. Such inferences, 



indeed, lead far, very far back. If we do not limit 
them to a single family of languages, but endeavour to 
gather, as far as possible, all that is preserved of such 
indications in the languages of the whole earth, results 
will be arrived at of the utmost importance to our 
knowledge of the earliest ages of mankind. In our 
retrospect we finally come down to a condition which, 
though superior to that of animals, is yet inferior to that 
of any savage people whatever of whom history contains 
a record. All human beings possess tools, and have 
within the memory of man always possessed them ; aye, 
such possession belongs to the distinguishing character- 
istics of man as compared to animals. But now there 
is to be traced in a great number of the words denoting 
activity with tools a more ancient idea, implying an 
analogous activity, but such as is carried on with 
natural organs. What follows thence ? I believe 
nothing but that, as in modern times we have in writing 
passed from the bird's feather to the metallic pen, as in 
primeval times tattooing changed into drawing and writ- 
ing, so at a much earlier period all cutting to pieces 
was preceded by tearing. Man was at one time with- 
out tools^and in his outward mode of life differed but 
little from the animal. And as it is with the outward 
man, so the inner man, too, shows a strong contrast. 
If we regard his moral condition, we must not, in look- 
ing at prehistoric times, ask merely whether man has 
since improved, whether the passions have softened 
down and crimes diminished. We find, on the con- 
trary, and that partly down to historical times, the 

A% «/« >t»*v^ i^* 


notions of good and evil differing very essentially from 
ours, e.g., cannibalism, not merely practised out of glut- 
tony or barbarism, but regarded as a downright good and 
religious action. The notions of justice at the period 
when the Indian Code of Menu originated rested so 
entirely on a fantastic foundation, that, according to 
that code, an individual of the lower caste, for striking 
a member of the higher one with a stick, was to lose 
his hand, and for kicking him, his foot. And in con- 
formity with this, the breaking of a dyke is menaced 
with the punishment of drowning. This purely out- 
ward mode of retaliation, according to which justice is 
not sought for in the due proportion between the pun- 
ishment and the gravity of the offence committed, but 
in a material similarity between the two, is met with 
at the lowest stage of legislation among all nations. 
The oldest Eoman and German laws contain many such 
provisions. Thus we find in German antiquity the 
chopping off of the hand as a punishment of perjury, 
for no other reason than because the hand is raised in 
taking the oath. To the same category belongs the law 
of retaliation (lex talionis), which, was already known 
by this name to the Eoman law, and formed one of the 
most ancient elements in the laws of the twelve tables. 
But almost everywhere we find, as nations enter on the 
stage of history, the progress already made that, under 
the form of compensation and ransom, a new practice 
has been substituted for the primeval formulae, and a 
changed, more developed conception of law has taken 
■ their place. The Biblical " eye for eye, tooth for tooth," 


was already in ancient times interpreted to mean a cor- 
responding fine, and the interpretation probably acted 
on throughout the historical period. If capital punish- 
ment appears to us at present most justified in the case 
of murder, we must not forget that this penalty is, after 
all, based only on the same principle of retaliating like 
for like, and therefore on a fantastic foundation. 

If we examine the words, those oldest prehistoric 
testimonies, all moral notions contain something morally 
indifferent. G-erecht (just), e.g., is only equivalent to 
recM, richtig (right) ; it is connected with ragen, recken 
(to stretch), and originally meant stretched out straight. 
Now Gerechtigkeis (justice), however, is not by any 
means likened merely to what is straight, such as we 
speak of straightforwardness of mind ; but, in reality, 
it only means the right, straight way. Treu and ivahr 
(true) are actually eq'aivalent to trustworthy ; still 
earlier they only signified firm, fortified. Bose (bad) 
we still use of what is damaged, and say bad (rotten) 
apples, bad (sore) fingers. 

But why have not the morally good and bad their , 
own names in the language ? Why do we borrow them / 
from something else that had its appellation before ? ^ 
Evidently because language dates from a period when 
a moral judgment, a knowledge of good and evil, had , 
not yet dawned in man's mind. / 

And as regards the intellectual condition of man, it 
must likewise have once been incredibly low. Thus it 
is not to be doubted that numeration is a relatively 
young art. There are still nations that cannot count 


three. But, what says more than anythiDg, language 
diminishes the farther we look back, in such a way that 
we cannot forbear concluding it must once have had 
no existence at all. Here I am touching upon the diffi- 
cult question as to the connection between language 
and thought ; and indeed I can to-day do no more than 
touch upon it. We can only imagine man to have at 
any time been without language under the supposition 
that the other advantage which distinguishes him now, 
reason, had not as yet manifested itself either. In 
the case of certain ideas, the dependence on the words 
is more particularly obvious. Thus the numbers, for 
instance, cannot possibly be separated from the nume- 
rals. Mere sight scarcely shows the difference between 
nine and ten. A child that cannot count will not 
perceive that of ten cherries one or two have secretly 
been taken away. For larger numbers counting is 
absolutely requisite ; without it no one will be able to 
distinguish a hundred objects or persons from ninety- 
nine. The dim feeling of the more or less which 
here supplies the place of consciousness would, if we 
wholly lacked names for the qualities, resemble the 
not less vague feeling that the one differed from the 
other, but we should not be able to account for it. 
Where language does not suffice, we are to this day 
in the same position. We cannot, for instance, clearly 
explain to ourselves wherein the difference between 
the national features of Frenchmen and Germans con- 
sists. Let us imagine a time when as yet there was 
no definite designation for hlach, and the contrast 


between the negro and the white man will be found 
to have then been doubtless perceived equally vaguely. 
If now, again, there was a time when man had no such 
words as " lamb," " dog," or " cat," the perception of the 
differences between these species of animals must have 
been much less distinct than ours. Though a dog 
differs considerably enough from a cat, and though we 
all alike think of something definite in using the word 
" dog," yet it will be extremely difficult to an individual 
not scientifically trained to state at once the charac- 
teristics by which a dog may be at a glance distin- 
guished from a cat. He will, if he tries, soon perceive 
that he never thought of the minute differences, but 
had always contented himself with the vague impres- 
sion which all the characteristics taken together pro- 
duce. And it is just here where the origin of the word 
played a great part. We must consider what a great 
difference in the understanding of a piece of music the 
knowledge of the notes makes; how the non-profes- 
sional man in a changed melody notices indeed the 
change, but only obscurely and without knowing in 
what it consists. But notes are to music what lan- 
guage is to the objects of human thought. 

Now, if the mind of man, according to all this, 
exhibits at that dark, immeasurably distant period, 
when language had not yet originated, an immense 
inferiority to its present condition, we shall in the 
next instance be eager to learn wherein his actual 
divergence from the animal consisted. And this eager- 
ness will be the greater, as in this very divergence 



the reason will have to be found why he in the sequel 
developed language and reason and the animal did not. 
This question, I think, can only be answered out of 
lanoruage and its earliest contents themselves. I be- 
lieve I have found out that language originally and 
essentially expressed only visible activities. And this 
circumstance remarkably coincides with the fact that 
animals, especially mammalia, have only a very 
limited sense for the visible world in itself. On 
the whole, it is true, they see the same that we 
do, but they take interest in but few things. The 
dog, e.g., recognises his food solely by scent, so that 
when his olfactory nerve is cut through he is quite 
at a loss how to choose his nourishment, and com- 
mits the most incredible mistakes. When the traveller 
Kohl traversed the steppes of South Eussia, the well- 
known phenomenon of the Fata Morgana appeared on 
the horizon, and raised within him, as if by enchant- 
ment, the illusory hope of finding in the arid, waterless 
plains a large refreshing surface of water. His Tartar 
coachman explained the phenomenon, adding the horses 
could not be deceived, " for," said he, " they smell the 
water." The same may be said of the camels of the 
Arabian desert : they, too, are not exposed to the dis- 
appointments which occasionally await the languishing 
caravan through the flattering sense of sight. Certainly 
there are individual objects which interest the eyes 
of the mammalia, especially of the carnivorous species. 
At least I have decidedly noticed a cat being deeply 
interested in pigeons flying past at a rather considerable 


distance, though she could see them only through a 
closed window. Of course, it was only a very selfish 
interest that actuated her. 

It is only in the ape that the sense of sight and the 
interest in the visible world assumes more importance. 
We see mankind at a low stage of civilisation stiU 
availing themselves of the faculty of scent, and examin- 
ing objects by its means, while we are wholly deficient 
in such a faculty. At length sight attains higher x 
and higher dominion, and the interest concentrated / 
upon it seems therefore to be the real privilege of 
man. Jf now it could be proved that the importance 
of sight increased and extended in the course of history 
such as it is reflected in language, such a fact would be 
tantamount to a development of our race from a mere 
animal to a human nature.^ And it does seem capable 
of proof. Eeason in the species at large undergoes the 
same process as that which in individual instances we 
witness in ourselves on a smaller scale. When the 
Eomans for the first time came into contact with the 
Germans, they were so overwhelmingly struck by their 
high statures, blue defiant eyes, and light hair, that 
Tacitus says they all look alike. We should at first 
receive the same impression among a negro population. 
A nearer acquaintance enables us to perceive the dif- 
ferences which previously escaped, us. Something 
analogous happened to the earliest generations of man, 
only that it was the whole of creation which they had 
first slowly to learn partly to distinguish according to 
its individual objects and partly to notice at least with 


interest. And what may it have been which they 
soonest noticed in such a way? It was that which 
was nearest their hearts — the motions and actions of 
their fellow-men. For what ever again captivates and 
gratifies man most is man. Even the glory of Nature 
herself would fill us with shuddering if we knew our- 
selves alone, quite alone. Only exceptionally and 
temporarily things that do not live and act as we 
do can affect us. I will not attempt to describe the 
moment when for the first time the impression of a 
human motion found sympathetic expression in an 
uttered sound. But permit me to mention an incident 
which I have myself witnessed, not without surprise, 
and which is analogous to the moment that lies at 
such an immeasurable distance beyond all our recol- 
lection. A boy who had been almost totally bereft 
of hearing by an illness at an age when he was already 
able to lisp a child's first words, passed with his mother 
through our town on her way to our vicinity, where 
she hoped to get her unhappy child cured. The hand- 
some, lively boy was then six years old, and had long 
since forgotten the little he had ever spoken. He 
had lost all power of speech, but he could hear loud, 
rumbling noises. A carriage happened to drive past, 
unseen by him. Quite like a younger child that can 
hear, the boy put his finger to his ear, prepared to 
listen, and then waved his hand as if he were cracking 
a whip. It was, therefore, not the rolling of the wheels 
which he heard, nor the trotting of the horses which 
had most vividly impressed him. He chose, out of 


all that belonged to the carriage, only the one human 
action which he had witnessed on beholding the 
phenomenon of the rolling carriage, and imitated 
that action. And he did so in order to communi- 
cate his impression; but the whole interest of this 
communication consisted for the child only in the 
desire of awakening the like sensation within us 
that he felt; it was, in fact, only an expression of 
his own inward sensation. And such an expression, 
without any other purpose but the impulse to ex- 
press ourselves, to give utterance to our joyful interest 
in what we see, we must assume to have alone origi- 
nated the first sound, the germ of all speech. 

The evolution of language, which has long since 
clothed with its sounds the whole rich intellectual 
world from one primitive sound, has perhaps at first 
sight something surprising in it ; but there is no other 
solution of the riddle involved in it. The various 
attempts to find a reason why we name one object by 
one sound, another by another, have failed. We can, 
indeed, find a reason why we designate the head of 
man by the word Koipf. This word is nearly related to 
Knfe (coop or vat). Ko^pf, properly speaking, means 
skull, and in all probability in the sense of a drinking 
vessel, reminding us of those days when the skull of 
the enemy was converted into a drinking-cup. We 
likewise know " foot " to be derived from a root imply- 
ing " to tread." But as we proceed the possibility of 
assigning reasons ceases. The root of " foot," just men- 
tioned, was primarily 'pad ; but why the sound pad 


happened to be chosen for the meaning of " to tread " 
cannot be accounted for. It was thought, down to 
the most recent date, that the oldest roots had been 
imitations of animal sounds ; others have seen in them 
a kind of interjection, such as ah ! eh ! In the one 
case the root 'pad would be an imitation of the sounds 
produced by steps ; in the other, perhaps an expression 
of the surprise that was felt on hearing such steps. 
Max Miiller has sneered at both these hypotheses, 
bestowing on them the appellation of bow-wow and 
pah-pah theories — bow-wow being intended for an 
onomatopcetic designation of the dog. He himself is 
of opinion that man is a sounding being ; that his soul, 
in the earliest times, by means of a now lost faculty, 
like a metal, as it were, had responded to the ring of 
various objects in nature, and thus produced words. 
This view has not escaped a sneer on its part either. 
It has in England been called the ding-dong theory. 
What alone perfectly corresponds with experience is, 
that from one word several others spring differing in 
sound and meaning. A word for shell {Schale) may, on 
the one hand, come to mean husk, and on the other be 
used for tortoise-shell, drinking-cup, nay, for head. 

But that in this way all words have proceeded from 
one original form has not only its significant analogy 
in the history of the evolution of the organisms in the 
animal and vegetable kingdoms, but also in the origin 
of the nations, such as language itself teaches it. How 
different are Germans and Hindoos ! How much does 
the German language differ from the Sanskrit ! Only 


science recognises their identity, and shows that what 
is now different must once have been identical. And 'o^^ c< 
if we compare the difference between French and 
Italian with the much greater one between German 
and Sanskrit, and consider that only the longer separa- 
tion and greater distance of the nations from each 
other has called forth these differences, we shall at 
least not deem it impossible that all the languages of 
the earth have sprung from one single germ, and have 
only grown to be so very different by a still longer 
period of separation. That variety should proceed 
from unity seems to be the great fundamental law of 
all evolution, both physical and mental. In language 
this law leads us back to a quite insignificant germ, a 
first sound which expressed -the excessively little, the 
only thing that man then noticed and saw with in- 
terest ; and from that germ the whole wealth of lan- 
guage — aye, I do not hesitate to pronounce it as my 
conviction — all languages were gradually developed in ,^ 
the course of many, very many millennia. 

Thus we have come down to a primitive condition of 
man's mind, of which both the prospect and retrospect is 
equally great, far-reaching, marvellous, aye, even deeply 
affecting. The moment when the faculty of speech 
took its rise cannot well have coincided with that of 
his coming into being. As a being that neither speaks 
nor thinks, at least certainly not in the sense in which 
we are conscious of thinking as our own inborn human 
possession, man belongs to another sphere, and becomes 
subject to the history of the evolution of the animal 


kingdom. Thanks to the aid of language, the for- 
tunes of humanity, from its emerging from the animal 
condition up to its complete maturity, lie spread out 
more clearly before us. These I have to-day endea- 
voured cursorily to pass in review before you. It could 
not be my intention to convince by proofs, seeing that 
in such a narrow compass they would probably have 
been mere semblances of proofs. Enough for me if I 
have succeeded in awakening within you a sense of the 
mighty past of the human race. Of such unfathomable 
depth nature is here too ! Our deeds, our thoughts, all 
have an incalculably old pedigree, and to be man is a 
high nobility, though one that is newly acquired by 
taking a higher flight from generation to generation. 

No doubt occasionally, when on the farthest horizon 
the infancy of our race is seen to rise, when of the 
noble features which confer on man's stature its proud 
dignity, one after another threatens to fade from his 
picture, a melancholy, an uneasiness may seize us on 
looking down from the height on which we stand to so 
low a depth, in fact, on our primeval, now so metamor- 
phosed, selves. But between the infancy of man and his 
manhood lie the well-preserved ideals of his youth, the 
virgin blossoms of his thoughts, his works of art, reli- 
gion, and morality, the offspring of his beautiful and 
glowing inspiration. The veneration for the lofty crea- 
tions of antiquity, the admiration of all the great things 
that preceded us, and that we now, combined as they 
are to such wealth, are permitted to behold, enjoy, and 
1 understand — these are our own undiminished posses- 


sions, inviolable like an imperishable sanctuary. And 
who would venture to assert that we have already- 
reached the goal? Who knows whether the mighty 
movement which now, seizing all the nations of the 
earth, its waves rolling farther and farther, and 
rising higher and higher, and uncontrollably trans- 
forming our feeling, thinking, and acting, is not that 
very everlastingly young impulse of growth and deve- 
lopment ? And should there still be on this dark path 
on which we are led, without man's own individual 
will being able materially to promote or check his pro- 
gress, any guiding star, any ray of enlightenment, it 
will probably be nought else but that very light of 
consciousness which is dawning upon us in our days — 
the consciousness of our past. , 

( 32 ) 


The Earliest History of the Human Race in 
the Light of Language, with Special Re- 
ference to the Origin of Tools. 

[Read before the International Congress for Archaeology and History 
at Bonn, September 15, 1868.] 

The questions which have been placed at the head of 
your transactions comprise subjects of mighty import 
to the history of man, and, at the same time, of an 
almost unlimited range. If I now venture to express 
my views on a part of them, I am aware that the 
shortness of the time allotted to me will permit me to 
place only a very slight sketch before you, and I have 
asked permission to speak less for the purpose of dis- 
cussing results than with a view to directing your 
attention to an important source and method for 
such inquiries, hitherto taken notice of but sparingly. 
Archaeology proper, i.e., the searching out and investi- 
gating of palpable relics of antiquity, has to contend 
with difficulties which, it would seem, menace to set 
it limits before it can reach its final goal. I will say 
nothing about the more accidental difficulty of deter- 
mining with certainty, in each instance, the age of an 


object found, and of duly appropriating it. But the 
higher the antiquity and the more primitive the con- 
dition of man, the more imperfect and the less durable 
must be his works, at least beyond a certain boundary : 
thus fewer relics will obviously have been preserved of 
a wood age than of a stone or metal age. At the same 
time, too, man's works are always the less recognisable 
the less artistic they are. We might, therefore, just 
happen to discover, from times which are the most 
important to the origin of things, implements in which 
we could not with certainty recognise the human hand 
that fashioned them. Besides, it is with these rude 
productions of art as with everything that has come 
into being ; we see them lie before us, indeed, but they 
tell us nothing about their origin or the mental process 
that preceded it. If there ever was a time when man 
was as yet without any tools and altogether without 
any industrial art, his earliest dwellings can at most 
manifest this to us by silence. Precisely as regards 
that remote period, I believe I may appeal to language 
as a living testimony, and I would beg of you to permit 
me just to touch upon this linguistic archaeology, the 
results of which I hope soon to publish in the second 
volume of my work on the Origin of Language and 

Man had language before he had tools, and before he 
practised industrial arts. This is a proposition which, 
obvious and probable in itself, also admits of complete 
proof from language. On considering a word denoting an 
activity carried on with a tool, we shall invariably find 


it not to have been its original meaning, "but that it 
previously implied a similar activity requiring only 
the natural organs of man. Let us, e.g., compare the 
ancient word mahlen (to grind), Muhle (mill), Latin, 
molOy Greek, fivkr]. The process, well known from 
antiquity, of grinding the grains of the bread-fruit 
between stones, is no doubt simple enough to be pre- 
supposed as practised already in the primitive period 
in one form or another. Nevertheless, the word that 
we now use for an activity with implements has pro- 
ceeded from a still more simple conception. The root 
mal or mar, so widely diffused in the Indo-European 
family of languages, implies " to grind with the 
fingers" as well as "to crush with the teeth." I 
would remind you of mordeo, " to bite," and the Sanskrit 
root mrid, which implies to pulverise and to rub, e.g., 
one's forehead with one's hand ; of the Greek fioXwca, 
to spread over and soil with flour, mud, or the like, 
which may be compared to the Sanskrit mala, " soiling," 
Gothic mulda, " soft earth." On the one hand, fieXaf;, 
" black," on the other, fiaXa/co^, mollis, " mellow," belong 
to this class ; aye, so do even a number of designations 
of morass-like fluids and the word Meer (sea). In 
German, two different words from cognate roots per- 
fectly coincide in sound: the mahlen (grinding) of 
the corn and the malen (painting) of pictures. The 
fundamental meaning of both is to rub or spread with 
the fingers ; and an equally close resemblance may be 
found in the designation of these two notions in the 
Latin ]pinso and pingo. 


This phenomenon of the activity with implements 
deriving its name from one more simple, ancient, and 
brute-like, is quite universal ; and I do not know how 
otherwise to account for it but that the name is older 
than the activity with tools which it denotes at the 
present time ; that, in fact, the word was already extant 
before men used any other organs but the native and 
natural ones. Whence does sculpture derive its name ? 
Sculpo is a collateral form of scalpo, and at first im- 
plied only scratching with nails. The art of weaving 
or matting is of primeval date ; it plays a part in the 
earliest religious myths. History records no stage of 
culture which was wholly without it. As the Greeks 
often describe Athena to be employed in weaving, so 
do the Veda hymns make the sun-god, the goddess 
Aramati, and, in a mystic sense, the priests, occupy 
themselves with that work. Of the sun-god, e.g., they 
say, with reference to the alternation of day and night, 
" Such is the divinity of Surya, such his greatness, that 
amid his work he draws in again the stretched-out 
web." The root here used for to stretch out at the 
same time supplies the word for the warp of the 
texture, while the weft in Sanskrit is denoted by the 
root ve, the simpler form of our word weben (to weave), 
similar to the English weft and woof. If, now, we 
compare with this root the various others closely 
related to it, and beginning with the same consonant 
{w), e.g., the Latin vieo, many of them afford a hint 
enabling us to say on which objects the art of weaving, 
or rather matting, may first have been employed. The 


Latin vimen, for instance, which, properly speaking, 
implies a means for matting, is used of branches of 
trees and shrubs in their natural state and growth, and 
especially so far as they are worked up into all kinds 
of wickerwork, or serve as ropes for binding, of their 
artificial state. The Weide (willow) derived its name 
in the earliest times from the special fitness of its 
branches for such purposes, and so did many species 
of grass and reeds. That plant the fibres of which 
have pre-eminently continued among us to be made 
use of in the art of weaving, viz.. Flacks (flax), has its 
name from flecliten (plaiting), as Flechse (tendon), i.e., 
" band, sinew," clearly shows. 

Simple mattings of fibres of plants and of flexible 
twigs are the first objects of art in this department ; but 
language leads us still a step farther back. There are 
words in which the idea of the entanglement of the 
boughs of the bush or of trees with dense foliage is 
found so intimately allied with the plaiting of plants 
that it becomes probable this natural plaiting may 
have served the artistic activity of man as a model. 
The sight of closely entwined branches and of reeds 
growing in luxuriant entanglement, keeping pace with 
the transformation in the culture of man, gradually 
led to the first roughly plaited mat as a product 
of his art. Aye, the natural plaiting of the tree was, 
perhaps, the first object on which his art was practised. 
There are still extant transitions which render it ex- 
tremely probable that a kind of nest-building in the 
branches of trees with dense foliage was natural to 


man in the earliest times, and sufficed him for the 
preparation of his dwelling. From Africa, in so many- 
respects a land of wonders as regards the history of 
man, the traveller Barth gives an account of the Ding- 
Ding people, of whom he says they partly dwell in 
trees. In much the same low condition are the ex- 
tremely barbarous inhabitants of the island of Anna- 
tom, who use the branches of certain groups of trees 
fit for the purpose as a kind of very primitive hut. 
Of the Puris, Prince Maximilian, in his description of 
his Brazilian tour, tells us something similar, only that 
they, in addition, have the hammock, which is peculiar 
to the South Americans, and seems to be a remnant 
of their former habit of sleeping between the branches 
of trees. The word Hdngematte (iiammock) has come 
to us, along with the thing itself, from those parts. It 
belongs to the language of Hayti, where Columbus 
found it in the form of amaca, and whence, in various 
languages of Europe, it was transformed into hamac, 
hammock, and (among the Dutch) into hangmack, until 
finally, by misconception, it became hangmat, Hange- 
or Hdnge-matte (in German). 

Another point, viz., the figure of man, seems to me 
to be a decided indication that the tree must have been 
his original habitation. His erect gait finds its most 
natural explanation in his former climbing mode of life, 
and from his habit of clasping the tree in his ascent 
we can best explain the transformation of the hand 
from a motory organ into a grasping one, so tliat we 
shall be found to owe to the lowest stage of our culture 


that seems credible our distmirmsliinfT advantagjes — the 
free and commandinsj elevation of our head and the 
possession of that organ which Aristotle has called the 
tool of tools. 

However mighty the transformation of human acti- 
vity which the secrets hidden in words betray to us, 
yet we have no reason for seeing aught else in it but 
the sum of quite gradual processes, such as, in other 
instances, we still daily see going on. Since a compara- 
tively few years we have denoted by the word ndhen 
(to sew), no longer merely a manual work, but also 
one of the machine ; by scJiiessen (to shoot) we under- 
stand something very different from that which was 
understood by it previously to the invention of gun- 
powder. How very differently is a ship now constructed 
from what it was at the time when it differed in 
nothing from a trough, a hollow wooden vessel, such as 
the name indicates 1 How little resemblance is there 
between our locomotives and the first thing which was 
called waggon, and which, I have reason to believe, 
was nothing but a simple stump of a tree rolling down- 
wards ! The transformation of man's mode of life pro- 
ceeds very gradually, and we have the right to assume, 
I think, that it has never done otherwise. We must 
guard against ascribing to reflection too large a share 
in the origin of tools. The first simplest tools were 
doubtless of incidental origin, like so many other great 
inventions of modern times. They were probably 
rather stumbled upon than invented. I have formed 
this view more particularly from having observed 


that tools are never named from the process by which 
they were made, never genetically, but always from 
the work they are intended for. A pair of shears, a 
saw, a hoe, are things that shear, saw, or hoe. This 
linguistic law must appear the more surprising as the 
implements which are not tools are wont to be desig- 
nated genetically, or passively, as it were, according to 
the material of which they are made or the work that 
produced them. Schlauch (hose), e.g., is everywhere 
thought of as the skin stripped off an animal. Be- 
side the German word Schlauch stands the English 
slough; the Greek aaKo^; signifies both hose and skin 
of an animal. Here, then, language quite plainly 
teaches us how and of what material the implement 
called hose was made. With tools such is not the 
case, and they may, therefore, as far as language is 
concerned, not have at first been made at all ; the first 
knife may have been a sharp stone accidentally found, 
and, I might say, employed as if in play. 

It might next be imagined that if tools have been 
named from the work for which they are intended, an 
idea of such work must have preceded the name ; e.g., if 
a cutting tool is designated as something cutting, the 
idea of cutting seems thereby to be presupposed. But 
we know that all these words originally denoted ac- 
tivities which were carried on without any other than 
the natural tools. The word " shears" plainly shows 
this. It denotes at present a double knife, a two-armed 
cutting tool. I need hardly mention that this meaning 
was not the oris^inal one. Indeed the Hindoos and the 


Greeks have a cognate word signifying shearing (or 
shaving) knife, and the Swedish slzdra means sickle. 
It may be fairly assumed that shears and shearing 
knives were primarily used by the Indo-European 
nomads of primitive times in shearing sheep. At the 
same time, however, the custom, not of shearing sheep, 
but of plucking them with the hand, may be traced 
down to comparatively late times. Varro maintains 
it to have been the general process previous to the 
invention of the shears, but he also speaks of such 
as were still practising it in his days ; and even Pliny 
says, " Sheep are not shorn everywhere ; in some places 
the custom of plucking continues " (viii. 2, 73). The 
close connection between the word scheren (to shear) 
and scharren (to scrape), and, among others too, the Old 
High German name of the mole, scero, the scraping 
animal, render it besides more than probable that 
again the original meaning of the word was only to 
shave, to scratch, to scrape, and show the shears there- 
fore to have been conceived as a tool for scraping and 
scratching the skin for the purpose of plucking it. In 
this way we may suppose the names of the tools and 
the work done with them sprung by a slow process 
from a quite gradual evolution of human movements, 
such as they were already from the first possible to 
the body of man left to itself. 

Permit me, gentlemen, on this occasion, at least to 

point out a most important difference, which is cal- 

[ culated to make the expression " evolution " as applied 

to the tool a full truth. I mean the difference between 


primary and secondary tools. The tool, observed in its \ 
evolution, marvellously resembles a natural organ ; ex- 
actly like this it has its transformations and its differ- 
entiations. "We should vrhoUy misconceive the tool if 
we always wanted to find the cause of its origin in its 
immediate purpose, just as we should misconceive the 
webbed foot of the duck were we to think of it as un- 
connected with the formation of the feet of birds that 
cannot swim. Thus, e.g., Klemm has already drawn 
attention to the fact that the^ gimlet originated in the / 
fire-drill of primitive times, that remarkable apparatus, 
the common use of which in various parts of the earth 
quite remote from each other would alone suffice to 
let us presume an external connection, an intercom- 
munication between the various peoples of the earth to 
an almost unbounded extent. The aborigines of North 
and South America, from the Aleutes to the Pescherse, 
and the Caffres in South Africa, as well as the Austra- 
lians, have the custom of drilling a stick of hard wood 
into a softer one, and to turn it round in the latter 
until the shavings themselves and the dry leaves used 
as tinder ignite. It is well known that this process, 
which, as contrasted with the use of the flint, repre- 
sents the^ wood age;^ is met with in quite a surprising 
agreement In the Veda hymns, where the two arani or 
friction-sticks play an important part in the sacrifice. 
Nor is this a solitary instance in which archaeology and 
linguistics teach us to trace back the condition of 
highly civilised nations to the lowest stage of culture 
still to be met with among one or the other savage 



tribe, and lets us recognise a universal laio where we at 
first should have been disposed to see an isolated pecu- 
liarity. There is hidden in the history of language, 
nay in what often even later vrriters of antiquity betray 
to us, an immense deal which is of importance to the 
knowledge of our earliest history, and it will be pains 
well bestowed to penetrate into these depths and dig 
up their treasures. 

An analogy to the origin of the secondary tool by 
transformation is presented by the development of the 
musical string from the bowstring, such as Wilkinson 
has pointed it out. How well the bowstring was cal- 
culated to excite the musical sense to such an applica- 
tion is shown in a remarkable passage in Homer: 
" As when a man skilled on the cithern and in song 
lightly fastens the string to a new peg, tightening 
on both sides the well-twisted sheep-gut, so without 
labour Odysseus stretched his great bow. Then with 
his right hand he seized the string and examined it ; 
it emitted a beautiful sound, resembling the voice of a 
swallow" (Odyss. 21, 406 sqq.). How comparatively re- 
cent stringed instruments are may be inferred from the 
circumstance alone that, at the time of the discovery of 
America by the Europeans, none such were met with 
among the indigenous population. If we consider of 
what importance the sight of the vibrating string is to 
musical consciousness, we must admire the momentous 
effects which were produced by a trifling and accidental 
observation, by the chance possession of a bow provided 
with a vibratinfij sinew. 


In order to recognise how much we are ourselves 
still undergoing the process of a like transformation, 
and to gain, at the same time, a standard by which to 
judge of those [remote] processes, it suffices to point 
out the quite modern invention of the umbrella, which 
is an imitation of the primitive parasol, only for 
a different purpose. The parachute of aeronauts is 
likewise such a transformation. Do not such develop- 
ments of the productions of man's ideas and volition 
present a parallel to what happens in nature when, 
under altered conditions and necessities, the arm is, in 
the case of birds, converted into a wing ? But it may 
here be mentioned that the parasol, in the earliest 
times, served religious purposes, and we here arrive at 
a new point of the highest moment in the history of 
implements, which I can here only touch upon. Eeli- 
gion, in its primitive form, gives so mighty an impulse 
to the customs, conceptions, and creations of man — it 
was, in fact, the source of so much of whose connec- 
tion with religion we have not the faintest notion — that 
without entering upon its investigation we are unable 
ever to learn to understand from an historical point of 
view our own doings, and more especially the objects 
that surround us, that have been produced by our hand, 
and distinguish us in our outward life from the brute. 

The use of implements shaped by himself is more 
decidedly than aught else an evident distinctive char- 
acteristic of man's mode of life. For this reason the 
question as to the origin of the tool is a subject of the 
greatest moment in our early history, and I therefore 


thought I might treat the question as to the nature 
of the implements of man in primitive times in this 
partly rather narrower, partly wider sense. I do not 
hesitate to assert that there must have been a time 
when man did not possess any implements or tools, but 
contented himself to work wholly with his natural 
organs; that then followed a period when he was 
already able to recognise and use accidentally found 
objects resembling those organs, and by their aid to 
enlarge, heighten, and arm the power of his natural 
tools ; e.g., to employ a hollow shell of a plant as a sul> 
stitute for the hollow hand, which was the first vessel. 
Not until after the employment of these objects that 
accidentally presented themselves had become fami- 
liar did man's creative activity in the shape of imita- 
tion take its rise. 

[Perhaps, gentlemen, you will the more readily 
permit me to cast a side glance at one special prepara- 
tive activity, seeing that it is likewise connected with 
another subject proposed to this meeting for discus- 
sion, viz., our nourishment. Among the various modes 
of preparing food, boiling is naturally one of the most 
.recent. Cook found the aborigines of Tahiti totally 
unacquainted with the process of boiling in pots; 
meat they roasted either by the fire or in earth- 
holes between hot stones. The Homeric heroes, too, 
ate their meat roasted on the spit or stewed in the 
pan ; boiling it in water seems to have been unknown 
to the poet. Thus, too, the German word kocfien^ " to 
boil," is a foreign word derived from the Latin coquo. 


The idea is clearly developed from direct preparations 
by the fire, such as roasting and baking, even in 
words from which these meanings were subsequently 
wholly excluded. One more step and we find these 
very words, which, from denoting the effect of the 
boiling water, have returned to express that of the 
fire, used of the sun. Thus the Greek TreVo-a), " to 
cook," still implies in Homer to ripen, and this mean- | 
ing the Sanskrit ^ak likewise bears. The Eussian 
'pdch still signifies the burning, stinging of the sun. 
A very remarkable adjective from the same root, in 
its notional relations common to the early period of 
the Greek and Sanskrit languages, leads us still farther. 
It is the Greek ireircov, Sanskrit jpKhi'a. IHttcov, signi- 
fies " ripe ; " in Homer and Hesiod, however, it does 
not occur in this sense, but in another which cannot 
have sprung from the former. They invariably use 
it as an address ; in two passages it signifies a reproach 
for indolence or cowardice ; in many others, however, 
it is equivalent to "0 dear one." In observing the 
use of the word paJcva in the Yeda hymns we shall 
not be able to find in it a reference to cooking or 
ripening either ; it there obviously means only " sweet " 
or " eatable." The fact is, it is used not only of grain, 
of a tree, of branches, when it may mean to ripen, 
but also of milk in the frequently recurring thought 
"In the living cows, the black, the red, thou hast 
put the milk, ready and white." " Sweet " may be the 
meaning of the Greek word too in the insinuating 
address, and when, e.g.^ the dazzled Cyclop in the 


" Odyssey " says to his favourite ram, Kpil irkirovy we 
shall have to render it by " sweet or tender ram.'* As 
a reproach, however, it would, according to the de- 
velopment of the word, mean effeminate or lazy. 
Herewith, then, all that refers to the preparation of 
food has disappeared from the word kochen (to cook), 
for to this the adjective in question bears close 
affinity. From something soft and eatable, let us 
say, from some fruit met with in this condition, the 
idea merges into that of softening by the sun, by fire, 
or boiling water. By the way, let me observe here 
that language shows no period when man did not eat 
meat; on the contrary, it seems to have been his 
earliest food. At the same time there is nothing to 
show that it was from the first prepared in any way ; 
it was, doubtless, for a long time consumed in a raw 
state only.] 

The vestiges of his earliest conceptions still pre- 
served in language proclaim it loudly and distinctly 
that man has developed from a state in which he 
had solely to rely on the aid of his organs, differed 
little in his habits from the brute creation, and with 
respect to the enjoyment of existence, nay, to his pre- 
servation, depended almost entirely on whatever lucky 
chance presented to him. He became more powerful 
the more his ability to avail himself of the things 
around him increased. And how came it to be in- 
creased ? Simply because his faculty of 'perceiving the 
things increased, a faculty which is none other than 
reason itself. It is the theoretical nature of man 


that has made him so great. The present age has 
opened for the tool a new grand development; it 
creates in the machine, which is constantly being 
perfected and becomes more and more powerful, an 
implement emancipated from the hand of man, and 
inspiring its own maker with a peculiar admiration. 
It is not accidental that in this same age mankind 
should endeavour with so much consciousness to 
reflect on its past, and a meeting such as yours should 
make the beginnings of human culture the subject 
of its scientific investigations and debates. The state 
of culture of our species and its historical conscious- 
ness are quantities that increase simultaneously. We 
at once, with wistful and searching glances, take a 
retrospective view of the dark past from which we 
have started, and with bold hope look forward towards 
the no less dark goal whither we are being led. Shall 
we ever wholly penetrate the night of the primeval 
ages? Shall we ever reach the goal of perfection 
that so temptingly lures us onward from afar? We 
do not know. But our inner impulse irresistibly urges 
us on to pursue our inquiries in either direction and 
bids us march on ! 

( 48 ) 


On Co lotir- Sense m Primitive Times and 
its Develop7nent, 

[Read before the Meeting of German Naturalists at Frankfort-on-tlie- 
Maine, September 24, 1867.] 

The subject to which, for a brief space, I would request 
your attention, will, I hope, not be found unworthy 
of it. Has human sensation, has perception by the 
senses, a history ? Were the organs of man's senses 
thousands of years ago in the same condition as 
now, or can we perhaps prove that at some remote 
period these organs must have been incapable of 
some of their present functions ? These questions, 
it is true, fall within the province of physiology, or, 
if I am permitted to coin the term, oi jpalceo-]physiology ; 
but the means of answering them necessarily differ 
to some extent from those which in general are at the 
command of natural science. By means of geological 
"finds" we may gain a conception of the skeleton, 
and perhaps the whole external appearance, of an 
extinct species of animals; we can from remnants of 
skulls draw general conclusions as to an imperfectly 
developed human race of early times; but it would 


be difficult to form an idea from the sight of the 
head, the remnants of which have been preserved 
in the Neander valley as a problem for our days, 
as to how it may have thought. Fortunately, the 
history of the mind, too, has its primeval relics, its 
deposits and petrifactions of another kind, affording 
more instructive explanations than one should be 
inclined to believe; and, if carefully pursued, they 
lead to perhaps unexpected, but, I think, on that 
account not less trustworthy results. 

The history of colour-sense is of paramount im- 
portance to the total development of sensation. In 
the earliest mental productions that are preserved 
to us of the various peoples of tha earth there lies 
stored up an uncommonly rich material for the study 
of the impression which colour made in primitive 
times ; and I beg, in the first instance, to direct your 
attention to a negative result that arises from a search 
into that rich material. At an early stage, notwith- 
standing a thousand obvious and often urgently press- 
ing occasions that presented themselves, the colour hlue, 
is not mentioned at all. If we consider the nature 
of the books to which this observation applies, . the 
idea of chance must here be excluded. Let me first 
mention the wonderful, youthfully fresh hymns of the 
Eigveda, the discovery of which amidst the mass of 
Indian literature seems destined to become as im- 
portant to the present century in awakening a sense of 
genuine antiquity as the revival of Greek antiquity at 
the threshold of modern times was to that period in 


'-" h; 



arousing the sense of beauty and artistic taste. These 
hymns, consisting of more than 10,000 lines, are 
nearly all filled with descriptions of the sky. Scarcely 
any other subject is more frequently mentioned; the 
variety of hues which the sun and dawn daily display 
in it, day and night, clouds and lightnings, the atmos- 
phere and the ether, all these are with inexhaustible 
abundance exhibited to us again and again in all 
their magnificence ; only the fact that the sky is blue 
could never have been gathered from these poems by 
any one who did not already know it himself. I re- 
frain from adducing proofs, which, in order to be ex- 
haustive, might easily swell on to the entire contents 
of the books, and will only state, with respect to the 
astronomical standpoint of those poems, that, according 
to all appearance, they know of a lunar year with a 
thirteenth intercalary month; in genuine passages, 
however, hardly the name of any constellation is men- 
tioned, and most certainly not the difference between 
planets and fixed stars, which, indeed, belongs to 
the relatively late discoveries of the ancient science 
of astronomy. 

The Yeda hymns represent the earliest stage of the 
human mind that has been preserved in any literature, 
if one may use this term of hymns transmitted orally. 
But as regards the blue colour, the same observation 
may be made of the Zendavesta, the books of the Par- 
sees, to whom, as is well known, light and fire, both the 
terrestrial and heavenly, are most sacred, and of whom 
one may expect an attention to the thousand-fold hues 


of the sky similar to that in the Vedas. The Bible, in 
which, as is equally well known, the sky or heaven plays 
no less a part, seeing that it occurs in the very first 
verse, and in upwards of 430 other passages besides, 
quite apart from synonymous expressions, such as ether, 
&c., yet finds no opportunity either of mentioning the 
blue colour. Nay, even in the Homeric Poems the blue 
sky is not mentioned, although in the regions where 
they originated^ it exercises such a special charm on 
every visitor. 

You will grant that such a series of agreements 
cannot well be deemed mere chance, but that we must 
seek an explanation of them in some law. 

The words by which we designate the colours are 
divided in two easily recognised classes. The most 
definite, but at the same time most recent terms, are as 
a rule derived from objects which have a definite hue 
and admit of easy comparison, e.g., strohgelh (straw- 
yellow), veilchenUau (violet-blue), rosa (pink). Such 
terms are artificial. At the time when words originated 
naturally, people contented themselves with the con- 
trast, for instance, between the yellow and the red ; all 
particulars appeared as insignificant niceties. In all 
spheres in which we are able to separate in language 
more recent notions from older ones we observe some- 
thing analogous. The notions start from extremities, 
and gradually pass on to designations of similar things 
of a less extreme character. I can here state this law 
only thus broadly. As to the colours, the indifference 
with respect to the intermediate ones rises, as we ap- 


proacli primeval ages, to an ever-increasing degree, until 
at length only the outermost extremes, black and red, 
are left. Aye, the historical progress may be shown to 
have taken place in conformity with the scheme of the 
colour-spectrum, so that, e.g.^ the sensibility to yellow 
was awakened before that to green. On the other hand, 
language, as may be easily conceived, does not acknow- 
ledge the proposition that black is no colour ; it desig- 
nates it at a very early period as the most decided 
contrast to red ; nay, more, it joins the weakest tone of 
the colour-scale for which it has still a name, viz., blue, 
to this dark end. 

Of the words that in any language are used for hluCy 
a smaller number originally signified green ; the greater 
number in the earliest time signified hlach. This ap- 
plies to our term llau (blue), which is to be met with in 
the Old North in the compound bld-madhr, " black man. 
Moor," and is related to the English " black." It equally 
applies, to mention a remote example, to the Chinese 
hiuan, which at present signifies sky-Uue, but in early 
times meant Uack. In ancient books it occurs in the 
combination hiuan te, te meaning virtue or merit, and 
both words together naturally not blue, but obscure or 
unknown merit. A word for blue at present diffused 
over a great part of Asia is nil, probably identical with 
the name of the Nile, which seems to be derived from 
the Persians.^ Nila, too, in ancient writings, signifies 

1 The Nile, according to Greek records, is said to have originally 
been called "the Black." The name Neilos does not occur as yet in 
Homer (the Nile with him is called Aigyptos), and in Hesiod is per- 
haps not to be understood as applying to the Egyptian, but to some 
mythological river. 


only black, and is nothing but the Hindoo form of the 
Latin niger. 

What may have been the physiological condition of 
a generation that could have called the colour of the 
sky only black ? Does the contrast with us consist 
in the appellation or in the perception ? In this re- 
spect it is interesting to notice the singular gravity with 
which different colours bearing one name are considered 
alike. Thus a Hindoo philosopher, in investigating the 
cause of the blue colour of the sky, quotes a certainly 
somewhat strange opinion, according to which the cause 
is subjective, and the black colour of the eye is com- 
municated to the heavens, just as to the jaundiced eye 
everything looks yellow. 

No one, I should think, who reflects on the way 
in which Homer speaks of blue and violet objects will 
fail to be somewhat surprised. According to the ana- 
logies already cited, it may be less surprising that the 
word Kvavo<iy our Cyan, is with him the deepest black. 
The mourning garment of Thetis he calls Kvdveov, and 
at the same time "black as no other garment." The 
same colour-term is applied to the storm-cloud and 
the black cloud of death, and several times, by adding 
fxkXa^, it is distinctly explained as black. On the con- 
trary, Odysseus' hair is likened to the hyacinth, and the 
ancient Greek commentators, to whom the conception 
was not yet so foreign as to us, quite correctly refer the 
simile to the black colour. Pindar speaks in the same 
sense of violet locks, and Homer of iron as of violet hue. 
When Mr. Gladstone, while at the head of the adminis- 

7 / 


tration of the Ionic Islands, devoted his leisure to 
Homeric studies, he did not fail to perceive how sur- 
prising such and similar passages were, and he was 
thereby tempted to give credit to the ancient legend 
according to which Homer is said to have shared the 
lot which he himself ascribes to a bard of the prehistoric 
world : " The Muse bestowed on him good and evil ; 
she bereft him of his sight and gave him sweet songs." 
If, however, this pathological explanation should apply 
to Homer (his individual existence presupposed), many 
other poets of antiquity, the whole human race itself, 
must have been in the same condition during a whole 
series of millennia. Only the Egyptians form a par- 
tial exception here ; but who indeed would quote the 
builders of the giant-temple of Karnak as a proof with 
respect to primeval times ? On the other hand, it is 
noteworthy down to what a late period both the Greeks 
and the Komans still confounded blue and violet, espe- 
cially with grey and brown. Even long after scientific 
observation had separated these colours they seem to 
have been mixed up together in popular conception. 
And thus it happened that Theocritus, and, in imita- 
tion of him, Virgil, by way of excuse for the bronzed 
hue of a beautiful face, could still say, "Are not the 
violets, too, and the hyacinths black ? " With a similar 
intention Virgil says : " The white privets fall ; it is the 
black hyacinths which are sought after and loved." 
Nay, even Cassiodorus, at the beginning of the sixth 
century after Christ, gives an account of the four colours 
employed in the Circensian games, which, as is well 


known, sometimes acquired a fatal significance : green 
had been dedicated to spring, red to summer, white, 
on account of the hoar-frost, to autumn, blue to the 
cloudy winter — venetus nubilce Tiiemi, Classical anti- 
quity, in fact, possessed no word for pure blue. The 
Latin cceruleus is of a slipperiness which has at times 
driven philologists to despair ; it runs through a de- 
velopment from black passing through grey towards 
blue. The Eomanic languages found indeed no fit word 
for blue in the original Eoman tongue, and were obliged 
partly to borrow it from the Germans. Thus, among 
others, the Trench hleu and the older Italian liavo are, 
as is well known, borrowed from our hlau, which, in 
its turn, as I have stated before, in L*he earliest time 
signified black.^ 

In a certain respect, it is true, a parallel to this sin- 
gular fact of a pathological kind seems to present itself. 
Goethe mentions two young men, not above twenty years 
of age, whose sight in general was keen enough, but in 
whom he observed a condition which he calls Akyano- 
hlepsy, and he accounts for it by their having no eye for 
blue. He is of opinion that the sky appeared to them 
rose colour, and everything green in tones from yellow 
to russet, somewhat like what it appears to us in autumn. 

^ The Koran does not as yet know the blue colour either, however 
much it speaks of the heavens. On the other hand, the Arabic philo- 
sopher Al-Kindi in the ninth century wrote a treatise " On the Nature 
of the Sphere and the constant Azure-like Hue which is observed in the 
Direction towards Heaven." Nor is the blue sky mentioned in th^e 
Edda hymns. In the Alvis-hymn, igroen (all-green) is enumerated 
among the names of the earth, but among the appellations of the sky 
enumerated by the side of them none refers to its colour. ^ 


" If," he says, " one leaves conversation with them to 
chance, and interrogates them only on objects lying 
before them, one becomes quite confused and is afraid 
of going mad. With a little method, however, one may 
come considerably nearer an understanding of the law 
of this abnormity." In these words Goethe at once 
pretty accurately describes what we feel in attempt- 
ing to determine the real value of the ancient terms 
for colours. Without venturing actually to draw a 
comparison between the two conditions,^ I must never- 
theless be allowed to state that the agreement with 
regard to green appears to me even more striking than 
that respecting blue. 

I The colour green is met with in antiquity one stage 
farther back than the blue, then to disappear likewise. 
Naturally people saw green objects while there was 
vegetation on earth; and if the heavens from holy 
causes engaged their attention, the earth, on which 
they and their cattle fed, could not interest them less. 
Yet the ten books of Kigveda hymns, though they 
frequently mention the earth, no more bestow on it 
the epithet green than on the heavens that of blue. 
They speak of trees, herbs, and fodder-grass, of ripe 
branches, lovely fruit, food-yielding mountains, of sow- 
ing and ploughing, but never of green fields. Still 
more surprising is the same phenomenon in the Zenda- 
vesta. In that book the interest in the earth and its 
fertility is still more prominent ; the condition of the 
people resulting from it is founded on agriculture ; the 

^ Cf. Dr. Brandis's letter on the subject in Goethe's works, vol. xl. 
p. 49. 

-^.05^; -A -'- 


tillers of the soil occupy the third rank, by the side of 
warriors and priests. In an apostrophe to the personi- 
fied holy sacrificial plant Haoma we read, " I praise the 
earth, the wide, broad, fertile, patient, that bore thee ; 
I praise the soil where thou didst grow in fragrance." 
The trees are designated as fruitful, beautiful, shot up, 
mighty, and, finally, in one passage, too, as golden-hued, 
with reference to the gold of the fruits. As regards the 
Greeks, %Xo>/)09, which Hesiod uses of a green bough, 
in the Homeric poems almost everywhere quite un- 
mistakably signifies yellow: it alternates with w%/oo9, 
whence our Ocher (ochre) is derived. Only in a later DW^z^C)'a 
hymn to Apollo the same epithet bears the sense of the 
green of the mountain and the visible impression of the 
vegetable kingdom, which till then we find taken notice 
of only from the aspect of its utility, -i.e., in so far as 
it is appreciable by the taste. Yet the Greek word 
has never wholly acquired the meaning of our green, 
but always only that of a beginning of that colour, 
including yellow; and so late as in the Aristotelian 
"Book of Colours" it is contrasted with the proper 
green, which is paraphrased by " grass- coloured " or 
" leek- coloured." 

Another remarkable instance of the difference in the 
conception of a natural phenomenon at different periods 
is the rainhow. Aristotle, in his " Meteorology," calls it 
tri- coloured, viz., red, yellow, and green. Two cen- 
turies before, Xenophanes had said, " What they call 
Iris is likewise a cloud, purple, reddish, and yellow in 
appearance ; " where he leaves out the green, or, at all 


events, does not clearly define it. In the Edda, too, 
the rainbow is explained to be a tri-coloured bridge. 

Democritus and the Pythagoreans assumed four fun- 
damental colours, hlack, white, red, and yellow, a con- 
ception which for a long time obtained in antiquity.^ 
Nay, ancient writers (Cicero, Pliny, and Quintilian) 
state it as a positive fact that the Greek painters, 
down to the time of Alexander, employed only those 
four colours. This has been deemed incredible, since, 
with such appliances, neither the green of the earth 
nor the blue of the sky could be represented. But 
whatever may be thought of the statement of those 
writers, judging from the above-mentioned analogies, 
this objection does not warrant us to pronounce it 
false. There is nothing at all contradictory in the 
assumption that those times did not yet feel the want 
of representing the colours of the heavens and the earth. 

In one passage of the Zendavesta we have found the 
blossoms designated as fragrant ; in the Veda hymns I 
have not met with a similar epithet. The sense of 
fragrance too — and this remark will perhaps not be 
found quite unserviceable as an analogy for the ques- 
tions concerning the sense of sight — has not been at all 
times innate in man. The custom of offering incense 
with the sacrifice is not yet met with in the Rigveda, 
though it is found in the more recent Yadshurveda. 
Among the biblical books, the sense of the fragrance 

1 The Chinese have since olden times assumed five colours, viz., 
green in addition to the above. The same we meet with among Arabic 



of flowers first makes its appearance in the " Song of 
Songs." According to the description in Genesis, there 
were in Paradise all kinds of trees " that were pleasant 
to the sight and good for food." The apocryphal book 
of Henoch (of the last century before Christ, or still 
somewhat later), extant in Ethiopian, likewise describes 
Paradise, but does not omit to extol the delightful fra- 
grance of the Tree of Knowledge as well as of other trees 
of Paradise. That the sense of fragrance is not innate " 
may be proved from language too ; and though it may 
not be always advisable to draw an exact parallel be- 
tween the development of the child and that of the 
human race, yet in this case it is instru,ctive to observe 
how indifferent children for a long time continue to — 
fragrance, and even to bad odours. The objection that 
among the keen senses of savage tribes the sense of 
smell plays a prominent part is only an apparent one. 
Scent by means of the sense of smell materially differs ^ 
from the sensibility to pleasant or unpleasant sensa- 
tions that lie in the perception of odour itself ; nay, the 
two perhaps bear an inverse ratio to each other. As 
regards the brute creation the fact is self-evident. The 
dog is distinguished for his scent ; but how much soever 
this animal is extolled for his good and human-like 
qualities, his greatest admirer would hardly be tempted 
to gladden his dog with a nosegay. 

The sense of euphony or the pleasure of hearing has 
a similar history. That sense is not innate in man 
either. Man does not sing " as the bird sings that lives 
in the branches." There is no natural song any more than 


there is any natural plastic art. Art has its laborious 
reflected development, and with it the sense of art is 
developed. Here the results of linguistic science meet 
most decidedly those of physics and physiology. 

In returning to the subject of colour- sense, I should 
like to try and unroll before you, in however concise 
a completeness, the picture which I have gathered 
from a thousand details of the literatures and lin- 
guistic history of the human race. But I will only 
detain you some minutes longer in order to add a few 
words on the range of colours known to the earliest ages. 
In the genuine ancient Veda hymns there is not only 
no green, but even their yellow is not the pure colour 
of our spectrum. In the course of centuries the words 
signifying yellow lapse into the signification of green ; 
in earlier times they themselves spring from roots by 
which gold is wont to be named, ^.e., from yellow-red 
and red-brown. When in the pictorial representations 
in ancient Egyptian tomb-chambers we see the black- 
red-golden sun-fans carried about, we are reminded of 
the vast historical background on which is exhibited a 
primitive type of many a modern object. There really 
seems to have existed a Uack-red-golden age in the his- 
tory of the sense of sight. The genuine Eigveda hymns 
represent this stage in contrast to the white-yellow- 
red-black of the nascent Greek natural philosophy. In 
these hymns white is scarcely as yet distinguished 
from red. 

The circumstance that the colour-terms originate 
according to a definite succession, and originate so 


everywhere, must have a common cause. This cause 
cannot consist in the primarily defective distinction 
merely, for in the earliest times the colour of the 
sky is by no means called black or gold-yellow, which 
would be the proximately fittest word for its desig- 
nation, but no mention at all is made of it. It 
would seem, indeed, that we must assume a gra- 
dually and regularly rising sensibility to impressions 
of colour, analogous to that which renders glaring 
contrasts of colour so unbearable to a cultivated taste, 
while the uneducated taste loves them. Perhaps, too,-^ 
the intensity of the original impressions decreases in 
proportion as their extent and multir.Ticity increases. 
To men in the earliest antiquity at least the sense of 
the colours familiar to them was exceedingly keen and ' 
lively. The three phenomena upon which in reality the 
three colour-notions of that time were based — the night, 
the dawn, and the sun — produced an impression on the 
people of those times such as we are now scarcely able 
to conceive or to feel. The dualism of Hack and red 
stands out in very marked features as a first and most 
primitive period of all colour-sense behind the one 
hitherto described. But even this dualistic epoch is 
not without a recognisable beginning either. We can 
by the aid of etymology arrive at a still earlier stage, 
when the notions of black and red coalesce in the vague 
conception of something coloured. ^ 

The final decision as regards the nature of this whole 
development will only be come to by the co-operation 
of two scientific disciplines. It will not be possible, 






without availing ourselves of the important progress 
and discoveries which have been made in the most 
recent times precisely in the way of explaining the 
perception of colour; but neither will it be possible 
without a regard to the intimate connection of the 
i entire development of language and ideas, and to its 
bearing on sensation and conception. Here a whole 
world of antique relics for our investigation lies hidden, 
not in fragments, but in unbroken, well-connected links. 
The whole chain of development of each of our ideas 
up to its most primitive form is lying buried before 
us in words, and is awaiting its excavation by linguistic 

I have ventured to appear before you with a view to 
indicate the results to which this science is capable of 
leading us. Would I had succeeded in making you, 
gentlemen, share my own conviction that the time has 
' arrived when linguistic and physical science, conscious 
of their common aims, must join hands. As the organ- 
ism, notwithstanding the twofold manifestation of its 
existence, constitutes an indivisible unity, so only undi- 
vided science can lead to a knowledge of it — the science 
of nature, vast, entire, and indivisible. 

F.S. — It is not without some hesitation that I sub- 
mit the above lecture to the public at large. It could 
only be a coinpressed and scanty extract from extensive 
researches made already ten years ago, and ever since, 
from time to time, gone into again and completed ; so 
that I am all the more fully aware how much there is 
still left for competent and reflecting readers to supply 


and to object to in its present form. To avoid the 
semblance of a completeness which time and place of 
delivery forbade me, I have even foreborne to add the 
more particular references to the passages quoted. I 
hope, however, soon to be able to publish all the facts 
bearing upon the questions here mooted, and must entreat 
my readers meanwhile to suspend their judgment on 
any doubtful point. As regards the general inferences, 
too, a fuller examination of many facts stated will 
naturally tend to modify them. Since, however, on the 
other hand, they likewise partly depend on the decision 
as to the relation between ideas and words, notions and 
sensations, I beg in this respect to refer to my inquiries 
into Language and Eeason, of which the first volume is 
in the press. What encourages me to do so is the 
indulgent and appreciative, and to me highly gratifying, 
manner in which the above lecture has been listened to 
by an assembly which numbers the most unprejudiced 
thinkers and investigators of Germany among its mem- 
bers. The universality of German physical sdence — 
a noble acquisition of perhaps only the last decennia — 
vouches for its having a great future, which promises to 
embrace all the interests of the human race. 

( 64 ) 


On the Origin of Writing. 

[Read before the General Meeting of the German Oriental Society at 
Wiirzburg, October 3, 1868.] 

If I undertake to submit for renewed investigation 
to a meeting of highly honoured colleagues the ques- 
tion as to the origin of writing, it is not my inten- 
tion once more here to discuss before you the origin 
of alphabetic writing, or of any other fully developed 
system. I rather propose to treat here the prehistoric 
beginnings of writing, so far as they may be inferred 
from the course which their development has taken 
since their appearance in history, and from other ana- 
logies. Only in this sense I beg you will permit me 
to take a brief survey of what has been revealed to 
us by historical discoveries about the origin of the 
systems of writing at present in use. The alphabets 
proper, it is well known, radiate, notwithstanding 
all their variety, from but a few centres. We not 
only know that our European characters are all pri- 
marily of Greek and secondarily of Semitic origin, but 
through Professor Mommsen's researches we also know 
exactly in what way the Italic alphabets have deve- 


loped. The Gothic alphabet of Ulfilas is not less of 
Greek origin than the Cyrillian of the Slavs ; nay, even 
the Kunes are undoubtedly a form of development from 
the same source, having probably come at an early 
date to the Gauls by way of Massilia, and from them 
to the Teutons.^ Professor Albrecht Weber has made 
a Semitic origin of the Indian Devanagari, too, appear 
very probable, whereby a great number of Asiatic sys- 
tems of writing are referred to the same source, since not 
only the indigenous systems of Hindostan and Farther 
India, such as Bengali, Uriya, Telinga, Tamil, as well 
as the Burmese and Javanese systems, but also the 
Tibetan, are offsprings or sister-system^; of the Devana- 
gari. The writings of the Mongols, Tunguses, and 
Manchus, as Klaproth has already observed, are formed 
out of the Syrian by changing the horizontal into the 
upright position of the Chinese columns. If we add 
to these the still preserved characters of the funda- 
mental Semitic alphabet itself in its Hebrew, Ethio- 
pian, Samaritan, Zend or Middle Persian, Syrian, and 
Arabic branches, and if we further consider that the 
latter branch has been adopted by the Turks, Per- 
sians, Malays, and the Hindustani, we cannot but be 
astonished at the capability in such a discovery of 
being diffused from one point. Permit me only, for the 
sake of completeness, to mention the two youngest and 

^ Lauth, on the contrary, assumes the German Runes to have come 
from the Teutons to the Gauls, and at the same time gives a different 
and satisfactory explanation of the passage in Tacitus, which has been 
construed to imply the un acquaintance of the Germans with alphabetic 
writing, by referring it to a merely epistolary intercourse. 



not least noteworthy scions of our alphabet, which are 
not borrowed from it, but merely invented in imitation of 
it from vague report, viz., the writing of the Cherokees, 
invented by Sequoyah about 1823, and that of the 
Negroes of the Vei country, dating ten years later, by 
Doalu Bukere. The two inventions present interesting 
points of agreement. Both the Indian and the African 
inventor, by observing the epistolary intercourse of the 
Europeans, were set to reflect on the possibility of 
writing their mother tongue ; both had an imperfect 
knowledge of the English alphabet. Neither of them set 
up an alphabetic, but both a syllabic writing. Sequoyah, 
indeed, had at first set up, as the Vei writing had, about 
200 characters, but subsequently reduced them to 85. 
Leaving these psychologically interesting phenomena 
of the most recent times out of the question, of all 
the modes of writing in use on the whole earth, only 
the Chinese and the syllabic writing of the Japanese, 
formed out of it, may be with certainty excluded from 
the universal descent from the one Semitic alphabet. 
But the ever-memorable discoveries of the present 
century have made us acquainted, in the Egyptian 
hieroglyphs, with a most remarkable antique parallel 
to the Chinese; in various species of arrow-headed 
writing with very complete alphabets ; in the Assyrian 
with an intermediate stage between word- and syllabic- 
writing, promising the most important clues; and by 
the side of these we have the hieroglyphs of the abori- 
gines of America, being an as yet unsolved though not 
insolvable problem. Have we thus arrived at a last 


and radical variety ? Do the three systems of picture- 
writing of the Egyptians, Chinese, and Americans, the 
mixed system of the Assyrians, and, finally, the alpha- 
betic writings of the Persians and Semites, offer ns at 
least six independent solutions of the gigantic problem 
as to the exhibition of our ideas to the eye ? Although 
the time for the final decision of this question has not 
yet arrived, I cannot forbear stating it as my conviction 
that such a sixfold origin of the most marvellous art 
which it was at all possible for man to create appears 
to me incredible. Nay, from what has in other respects 
forced itself upon my mind as probable with regard 
to a primeval intercourse between the entire human 
race, the diffusion of that art from one common centre 
seems by no means impossible. The original home of 
the alphabet destined to such wide dissemination was 
doubtless Babylon, which, since Professor Bockh, we 
have known to be the starting-point of the system of 
weights and measures universally adopted in antiquity, 
and come down thence to us, and the importance of 
which to astronomy and mathematics is perhaps not 
even yet sufficiently appreciated. The names of the 
letters of the Hebrew alphabet are of Chaldean origin ; 
at least the occurrence of the camel as the name of 
the third letter precludes our thinking of Palestine 
proper. The Phoenicians may indeed have been the 
disseminators, but cannot have been the inventors, of 
the alphabet. Although the connecting links are not 
yet discovered, according to all analogy hardly any one, 
considering the close vicinity, will be inclined to be- 


lieve that the ancient Persian alphabetic writing should 
have had a second independent origin. But I ask, did 
this Persian mode of writing originate independently 
of the varieties of the cuneiform writing connected with 
it, especially independently of the Assyrian ? Should 
not Egypt have been able to influence Assyrian writing 
in the earliest time, in the same way as at a later period 
Assyrian influence on the hieroglyphs becomes percep- 
tible ? The similarity of the principle of Semitic writing 
to that of the hieroglyphics, expressing as these do only 
the initial consonant of the word represented in the 
) picture, was noticed already by Champollion at an early 

On the other hand, the most ancient pictures, which, 
<^«A,\/wvv\^ according to Prof. Oppert, belong to a Scythian or Tura- 
nian people, and from which the arrow-headed forms 
are derived, have in them something that, as regards at 
least their general impression, reminds one of the an- 
cient Tchuen writing of the Chinese. Considered on the 
whole, there is no reason why we should think a trans- 
mission, at a very early period, of the rudiments of a 
system of writing from one people and part of the earth 
to another impossible. Nay, the traces discovered by 

1 Already, in his "Lettre a M. Dacier," Champollion expresses 
himself clearly on this subject. He says, " J'oserai dire plus : il serait 
possible de retrouver, dans cette ancienne ecriture phonetique egyp- 
tienne, quelque imparfaite qu'elle soit en elle-meme, sinon I'origine, 
du moins le modele sur lequel peuvent avoir ete caiques les alphabets 
des peuples de I'Asie occidentale," &c. After dwelling upon the resem- 
blance of the two systems, he arrives at the conclusion, and says : 
*' C'est dire enfin que I'Europe, qui regut de la vieille Egypte les ele- 
ments des sciences et des arts, lui devrait encore 1' inappreciable bien- 
fait de I'ecriture alphabetique. " 


Alexander von Humboldt of an intercourse that once ,, 
existed between Mexico and Eastern Asia do not even 
wholly exclude a migration of picture-writing as far 
as those parts. But as all this must still remain 
simply an hypothesis, we may meanwhile be quite 
satisfied with the inner unity which, so far as any 
mode of writing had a natural development, is every- 
where conspicuous. It may perhaps 'be regarded as 
an acknowledged fact, which only does not always 
admit of proof owing to the lack of authorities to refer 
to, that every phonetic symbol springs from a pictorial 
representation. As every element of language, even 
derivative syllables at present all b^'t meaningless, 
originally had its signification, so every letter was origi- 
nally a picture. This statement, however, must not 
be understood to imply that writing once originated in 
a species of painting, or that the first representation 
of man's ideas were paintings. Even if we leave all 
secondary employments of Chinese and Egyptian hiero- 
glyphics out of consideration, and assume a period 
when writing consisted only of the sensuous copies 
of things, such as a man, the sun, a bird, it does not 
on that account become — what misconception has to 
this day made of the Mexican — the total representation 
of an event intended for the eye instead of for the 
mind. That writing is a s^^bol for language, has been 
already said by Aristotle, and the definition is verified / 
by the hieroglyphics up to their very first origin. 
Even where the word and the thing coincide, the pic- 
ture is only the symbol of the word : it is intended 


to awaken language, to remind ns of a sound, not of a 
thing ; to speak through the eye to the ear, not imme- 
diately to reason. Writing, in fact, is not an object for 
mute contemplation; it wants reading — loud reading. 
Kot like figures in a painting, but as words are co- 
ordinated to sentences, so must these pictures be com- 
bined to the totality of an action. They also represent 
the symbolised word to the whole extent of its idea, 
and not only from its symbolised side. Or can it be 
supposed that the Chinese picture for the sun ever 
signified the word shi only in the sense of sun and 
not likewise in that of day ? That is quite impossible. 
Precisely in the earliest time man with his whole 
reason was so completely under the dominion of the 
word, that necessarily a picture would signify what 
its name was, and be understood as it sounded when 

It is well known in what way the hieroglyphics 
could dwindle down to phonetic symbols, aye, even 
to mere letters. But in their earliest form they in- 
variably denoted words, never anythiug more. The 
fundamental law of the development of writing is the 
gradually growing independence of the sound, while 
at first sound and conception are represented as not 
divorced from each other. Of course not every word 
comes at once to be represented; those have prece- 
dence the conception of which, from its corresponding 
to something shaped, invites representation. Already 
at an early period the word-pictures contained more 
than could be conveyed in a drawing which had to 


start from a far more limited object than the concep- 
tion of the word in all its bearings. The process of 
painting in words conquers a wider territory for the 
meanings of a sign : it gives the same sound a wider 
scope, seeking for conceptions which seem to coincide 
with what it originally denotes. 

The first mode, however, of multiplying signs by the 
representation of such words as, after the invention of 
word-pictures — which are to writing what roots are to 
language — had been brought to an end, had not fitted 
in with any of those extant, was that of forming col- 
lective pictures by juxtaposition. The Chinese simple 
pictures g shi, " sun," and^ yue, " mor.n," signify when 
placed together, the word ming, " lustre " ( 0y^ ). It can 
hardly be supposed that we have here the abstract idea 
of lustre as a quality of both heavenly bodies pre- 
sented to us; but the first meaning represented was 
undoubtedly morning, being the time when the sun is 
seen in the heavens simultaneously with the moon, — 
the meeting of day and night. Thus the morning-star is 
called 'ki-ming ( B^ y^^ Shi-King, ii. 5, 9), properly 
speaking, "opening the morning," ming-shi, "to-mor- 
row ; " and the employment of the word for the future 
likewise proceeds from this meaning. Another repre- 
sentation of the idea of morning is the picture of the 
word tdn, " morning, day,'' EJ , representing the sun 
above the horizon. If below this sign that of the moon 
too is placed, so that the latter is represented as below, 

the sun as above, the horizon, there arises ^^^ the 


picture of the word ydng, " sunrise, bright sky, bright- 
ness." But the sun above the moon, ^^ , signifies the 

word I, " change," which e.g., is met with in the name 
of the book I-King. The sign evidently represents the 
moon as alternating with the sun, that is to say, the 
alternation of day and night. The first phonetic signs 
seem to have proceeded from an enlarged use of the 
pictures for homonymous words, similar in idea but 

yet distinguishable.^ The sign ^ for tsing, signifying 

the blue and green colours, combined with the sign -j— }- 
for thsao, " plant," form the nearly homonymous word 
tsing, " flourishing, luxuriant " (Shi, ii. 3, 2), and with the 

^ for m%, " rice, food," the ^ ^ for 'tsing, " ripe, full 

grown, finished, able." The pictures for " growth" or for 
" rice " certainly never denoted the words tsing, 'tsing ; 
but it is probable that the sign representing colour was 
also once used for them, and only subsequently received 
the explanatory supplement defining the idea. The 

same holds good of / ^ 'tsing, " pure," of fluids (Shi, ii. 

5, 10, 6, 6; iii. i, 5 ; iv. 3, 2), which is combined with 

the notional sign 'Y for water. We must not imagine 

that a character ever proceeded from an idea without 

^ Professor Steinthal, too ("The Development of "Writing," p. 94), 
finds the bridge between notional and phonetic writing ' ' where the 
identity of the sound of two words coincides with a cognate significa- 
tion." The description of the phonetic element of Egyptian and 
Chinese writing and its development is perhaps the most beautiful, 
and, according to my conviction, most successful, portion of that bril- 
liant treatise. 


regard to the sound, since the remoter the period, the 
more the former was extant in the latter only for the 
conception, and the mind was chained to the word. 
Not the designation of the sound, but its independent 
designation, detached from the idea, forms the essen- 
tial feature of the higher stage of writing. All that 
we know of the nature of Mexican writing shows 
us that it is subject to the same laws. The same 
difference that we observe between the Egyptian pic- 
tures and the hieroglyphics accompanying them is 
equally to be remarked among the Mexican. Even as 
regards the Chinese characters, it took a long time before 
Europe came to know to what extent "they are phonetic 
WTiting. The French missionaries, who read these 
characters with ease, who understood the language in 
which they are written, who lived in the country where 
they were constantly employed and where the principle 
of their composition was perfectly understood, enter- 
tained, nevertheless, the most erroneous ideas of their 
figurative signification. It was reserved for M. Abel 
E(^musat to disseminate more correct notions on this 
subject. What trouble it cost to gain the convic- 
tion that the Egyptian hieroglyphics have a phonetic 
value, how isolated and obscure are the utterances on 
this matter of the elder writers down to ChampoUion, 
who, in his turn, was aided by the light thrown on 
Chinese writing and justly often refers to it, is notorious. 
We need certainly, therefore, not wonder at Spanish 
writers who represent Mexican picture-writing as 
consisting of actual paintings. But it is with this 


exactly as with the two other modes of writing similar 
to it. On a closer inspection we find in all of them 
the contrast to ours indeed great enough, but not so 
absolute as at first sight it appeared. We find the 
true and irreconcilable contrast between writing and 
painting by no means annulled in them ; the picture 
represents the thing while writing represents the word, 
and in this sense the hieroglyphics of the Mexicans, 
as well as those of the Egyptians and Chinese, are, 
no doubt, writing and not pictures. What, therefore, 
we may designate as the real invention of writing 
would have been the collection of a limited cycle of 
pictures of visible objects, each of which reminds 
us equally of the word, i.e.^ the name of the object. 
Here writing certainly coincides with drawing, but not 
in such a way as to necessitate our believing there 
had previously existed an independent, non-symboli- 
cal employment of painting. Language points to a re- 
versed way : the German malen, as derived from Gothic 
meljan, primarily signifies "to write;" of jpdcfKo the 
same holds good. The Slavonic pisatj, to whose affinity 
with the nipistam of the Persian inscriptions Professor 
Spiegel has drawn attention, signified already among 
the two Indo-European peoples " to write," while the 
Greek itolklKo^, and the well-known corresponding 
Sanskrit words refer to colour. But, I would ask, 
what was the object of these ancient drawings, and 
what gave rise to them? It is plain that this ques- 
tion is inseparable from that as to the earliest employ- 
ment of writing, its subject-matter, and even the material 


on which people wrote. And here, again, language 
affords us a momentous hint. It is well known that 
a great number of the words signifying " to write " can 
be proved to be derived from the signification "to 
scratch," Fpdcjico and scriho, the English to write, the 
!N"orthern rista runir, to scratch Eunes, our reissen, 
Miss, are obvious examples. The same may be said 
of the Sanskrit root likh. The earliest writing was 
scratched. But on what ? We see it in the remotest 
antiquity engraved on rocks and applied to sacred monu- 
mental purposes. But there are also numerous testi- 
monies to the process of scratching in wood, and this 
seems the more likely as regards the jirimitive time at 
which the very first beginnings of writing took their 
origin. I would remind you of the Chinese wood-tablets 
which are mentioned in the Shi-King (ii. 8), where a 
warrior laments, saying, " Why should I not think of my 
return home ? But I fear the writing on this tablet," 
i.e., the command written on a wooden tablet. Still 
simpler and as numerously testified is the process of 
writing on the bark of trees, especially on that of the 
birch. Pliny (xvi. 1 3) gives an account of the proceed- 
ings of spies who carve letters, which are at first invi- 
sible, in the fresh bark of trees. In our German Zache 
we have a special word for a sign carved in a tree; 
it is probably related to the Sanskrit root liJch. In 
" Yikramorvasi " we meet with a passage spoken of in 
Professor Max Muller's "History of Ancient Sanskrit 
Literature," where Urvasi writes a love-letter on a 


birch leaf, i.e., a leaf of birch bark. Even in " Simpli- 
cissimus" we still read of a book written on birch 
bark. But if we inquire more searchingly into the 
motives that may have determined the people in 
primitive times to supersede with such consistency 
as, at least, etymology renders it probable, so simple 
a process as the spreading of colour by carving, and 
altogether if we seriously ask ourselves what might 
have been their immediate motive for writing or 
drawing, we shall perhaps be induced to go a step 
farther guided by language. A closer observation of 
nearly all the words used for the idea of writing 
seems to go a considerable way towards proving 
that the writing material which floated, as it were, 
before language in bestowing these appellations was 
no other than the human body; in other words, that 
writing has developed from tattooing. The special 
direction which the development of the meaning has 
in each case taken is a subject never to be neglected 
in tracing the historical root of a word-notion. Thus, 
e.g., it would be insufficient to have set up in rypdcpco, 
" to write," a general primary meaning of " to grave," 
and we should be even absolutely wrong if we 
attempted to find the connecting link between the 
two ideas in stone or wood writing. Eor the Greek 
word has its definite history; before it acquired its 
special meaning to write, it already had a special 
signification, which was not that of chiselling and 
hewing of stone and wood, but quite distinctly the 


scratching into the skin. Its idea is in the first 
instance connected, not indeed with sculpo, ry\v(f)Q}, 
but with scal^po and fyXdcpco. Homer seven times uses 
the word with its derivations of slight wounds caused 
by missiles, of hurts in the skin, grazing or flaying, also 
of scratching with thorns ; once, too, iiriypdcpco occurs 
in the " Iliad " of the sign which is scratched on the lot; 
once ypacjxo in the much-discussed passage (vi. 167 sq.) 
where Proitos "dreads indeed to kill Bellerophon, 
but sends him to Lycia, giving him sad signs, after 
having scratched many fatal ones on a folded tablet, 
which he commands him to show his father-in-law, so 
that he may perish." The reference to the skin, 
moreover, is still extant in the later word jpaTrrT]^, 
" wrinkled." To the word ypicj^ao-daL, which Professor 
Benfey very correctly places by the side of scriho, " to 
write," Hesychius ascribes the additional meanings in 
the Laconic dialect of " to scrape " and " pluck " {^vetv, 
(TKvXkeLv). The Hebrew sefer, "writing," may in the 
same way be explained by the Chaldean sappar, " to 
shear," mispera, "shears," for which, according to all 
analogy, we may assume the scraping of the skin to have 
been the fundamental idea. The word Jcatah, common 
to the Semitic family, occurs at such an early date as 
Semitic writing is mentioned at all (Lev. xix. 28), in 
the prohibition "not to print any marks upon" the 
skin, and the hetdbet there used seems to be a deriva- 
tive expressly intended to convey the sense of tattooing, 
which is thereby at the same time indicated as, accord- 


ing to all appearance, a religious practice among the 
Semitic peoples.^ 

The word " tattoo " is borrowed from the Marquesas 
dialect of the Oceanic family of languages, its form 
there being tatu. In the language of the Sandwich 

^ In connection with the above lecture, Professor Fleischer has 
added from the Arabic a considerable number of examples of the transi- 
tion of the idea from scratching to writing, but expressed his dissent 
with regard to the derivation of hataba from the same fundamental 
idea, and, comparing it with ^-afiSa^ww, "army," kattaba, ** collecting 
such a one, levying " — though it is to be presumed without associating 
with it the idea of conscription — assumed for it the signification of 
joining, stringing together. I will not attempt to oppose such a 
meaning of the root in question, and am ready to acknowledge that 
the parallel quoted by Professor Fleischer is well worthy of attention. 
Yet, apart from the consideration that the words quoted might be 
kept wholly distinct from the root signifying "to write," a root 
having two quite diiferent significations being notoriously nothing 
uncommon in Semitic languages, two further explanations appear 
to me admissible. First, the meaning "host" might equally with 
the German word Schar be derived from "separating" as well as from 
"joining," and go back to the primary sense of "scratching" assumed 
for hataba, which would be connected with qasab, "to split, to 
shear," chasab, "to carve," e.g., writing on rocks, and the like. But, 
secondly, there are some positive instances in which the idea of 
counting proceeds from that of writing, i.e., in the sense of "making 
strokes." Thus the Kafir word bala signifies to "write," "count," 
and "reckon," and finally, too, to " relate ; " and yet the words here 
formed of the root with the meanings of "sign," " stain," " colour," 
show writing to be the fundamental idea. Dohne in his Zulu Kafir 
Dictionary (Cape Town, 1857) expresses himself on this subject on 
the whole very correctly thus : ' ' The original idea of writing and 
numbering with the Kafir Avas that of representing things by a simple 
figure, and coincides with those of other nations. If a description of 
a thing was to be given, a certain shape, form, stroke, or line was 
made in the sand, or in the ground. These were the signs for both 
writing and numbering, every new number being represented by 
another stroke or mark. Or, if this practice was not convenient for 
counting, one finger of the hand was raised instead of a stroke in the 
ground. The sense of writing is, therefore, primary, and that of 
counting secondary." Compare with this, too, the above-mentioned 


Islands k is substituted for the missing t; the word 
hakau, "to write," belonging to it, does not there- 
fore materially differ from tatu. In the language of 
the Marquesas itself, too, tatau means "to read, cipher, 
draw." Another word, common to both dialects, with 

significations "to reckon," **to draw," in the word tatau of the 
Marquesas Islands. The analogy of ideas here quoted from quite 
distant spheres of language, on the nature of which in general I beg 
to refer the reader to the first volume of my work, " Ursprung und 
Entwickelung der menschlichen Sprache und Vernunft " ("On the 
Origin and Evolution of Human Speech and Eeason," Stuttgart, 
J. G. Cotta, 1868) — the above lecture is only an abridged extract 
from a chapter of the as yet unpublished second volume — seems to 
me important, too, for the history of the Hebrew root safar, of 
which Fiirst justly lays down three principal* meanings in the 
folloAving order :— i. To incise, write ; 2. to count, appropriately 
to make incisions, marks ; and 3. to relate. While, namely, 
safar means only "to count," and sipper (in the Piel), "to 
count" and "relate" (subsequently also "to speak," e.g., "Adam 
spoke Aramean," Synh. 38b.), and the substantive derivation 
mispar and some others less in use convey the same meaning, sefer 
mostly signifies "book, " often, too, "document, letter, "in some passages 
the material on which was "WTitten, besides absolutely " wiiting," to, 
ypd/xfiara, e.g., " to teach the wiiting and language of the Chaldeans" 
(Dan. i. 4); the prophet Isaiah expresses "to know to read" (xxix, 
1 1, 12) by yada sefer. The sense of "register," which the word, Gen. v. i, 
may be taken to bear, is intermediate between to count and WTite ; and 
the same applies to the remarkable word sofer. This word evidently 
denoted the dignitary whom we find represented on Egyptian and 
Assyrian monuments with the writing tablet or scroll in the act of 
recording, and might therefore be translated by "writer" as well as by 
" teller, recorder." In the post-biblical language the word appears in 
quite a different meaning, viz., as scholar. Only with reference to 
Ezra we meet with this signification also in several biblical passages. 
Should it here be only a change made in the spirit of the time in the 
case of Ezra's title, which perhaps he had brought with him from 
Babylon in quite a different sense ? For the rest, the honourable title 
in the passages in question seems only intended to express that Ezra 
was able to read well (see especially 'Neh. viii. and Ezra vii 6) ; at 
most perhaps that he was well read {litteratus), i.e., in the law ; and I 
Vfould here render it rather by " reader " than " scribe" {i.e., writer). 


a slight variation, is tiki — in the Sandwich Islands, 
hihi — " to tattoo, paint, write." It also means " carved 
image," in which sense it springs from " token " (sign), 
like signum. A New Zealand tomb, too, an illustra- 
tion of which is given in Hochstetter's " Neuseeland " 

The meaning "scholar*" doubtless proceeds from sefer in the sense of 
writing, art of reading ; a " scholar " was originally he that could read 
and write, for this earliest import of grammar and the grammarian 
{ypa/x/j-aTiK-^, ypafifiartKds) was for some time the sum total of all 
erudition. When matters changed, sofer not only received the idea of 
learned man (scribe, ypafifiareiLis), but even that of elementary teacher, 
as conveyed by the Greek word ypa/x/xaTLari^s ; nay, as the once rare 
learning had passed on to the children, we meet even with a Talmudic 
passage (of the third century) where the Abecedarians are called Soferini 
(Kidd. iv. 13). Another Talmudical passage (Kidd, 30) derives this (at 
that time obsolete) appellation of the ' ' former " scholars from the sig- 
nification "to count," i.e., as of those who had counted the letters of 
the law. In the latest Hebrew, sofer means scribe {scriba, notarius), 
copyist (of the law, religious documents, &c.). Now, as regards Jcatab, 
this root does not occur in Genesis, as, indeed, it is significant that before 
the exodus from Egypt writing is not spoken of in the Bible, and even 
sefer only in the passage quoted above (Gen. v. i), in the sense of 
register. Subsequently Jcatab, as is well known, is the ordinary verbal 
root for to write, with which the substantive sefer is very frequently 
connected. But there are also some few passages in which the verb 
signifies nothing but to count, especially Isa. x. 19, "And the rest 
of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may count (write) 
them," where mispar too, in the first half of the verse, properly speak- 
ing, means as much as "what can be counted." Again, "The Lord 
shall count (yispor), when he writeth up the people, that this man was 
born there " (Ps. Ixxxvii. 6). Such a use of Jcatab no doubt proceeds 
from counting by strokes, not from a more complicated notation. If 
in the first quoted passage the writing of the number in Hebrew letters 
was perhaps to be conveyed, we have to consider that in them 400 is 
easier to write than 11, and not much more difficult than i. Accord- 
ingly the Arabic Jcattbatun too might go back to such a primitive 
counting in writing and simply mean "number," the rather as the 
sofer of the ancient Hebrew writings, too, had principally to note 
down the army (see particularly Isa, lii. 25, 2 Kings xxv. 19, 2 Chron. 
xxvi. II). Indeed counting by strokes is to be traced back to as early 
a date as writing in general, and even the employment of the letters 
of the alphabet as figures was introduced along with it in Europe. 


(p. 20i), was pointed out to him by the natives by the 
designation of tiki. As regards the original significa- 
tion of tiki, we gather it from tikao, " to sting, irritate," 
tikaue, "gnat," tikao and tiko-tiko, "sensual pleasure." 
According to Wilhelm von Humboldt's statement in 
" Ueber die Verschiedenheit des menschlichen Sprach- 
baus" (On the Variety of Structures of Human 
Languages," p. 406), Jacquet observes "that among 
those tribes the ideas of writing and tattooing are 
closely connected." 

In Zimmermann's " Dictionary of the Gang Language," 
which is spoken by a tribe on the Gold Coast of West 
Africa, the root nma is explained by ''to scratch" — 
e.g., the face—" to make strokes or signs, to write." In 
the Burmese language koh (according to Schleier- 
macher) means "to scratch," as children do, and "to 
write." The same transition is found in the Kafir 
word loba. 

In order to find a similar connection of the two 
ideas among the ancient civilised nations probable, 
we should remember the testimony we have to the 
early and widely diffused practice of marking the 
body with signs scratched in. Tattooing itself occurs 
among the savage tribes in Europe and Asia, as well 
as in the more recently discovered parts of the earth. 
Of the Kabyls it is reported that, by way of dis- 
tinguishing their tribes, they wear pictures of aninaals 
on the forehead, nose, temples, or on one of the cheeks ; 
such tattooing is done by puncturing the skin with fine 
needles dipped in a caustic fluid. A similar process is 


met with everywhere in Central Africa, as well as in 
the Caroline Archipelago. " Tattooing," says Hero- 
dotus (v. 6), speaking of the Thracians, " is considered 
aristocratic ; non-tattooed people are looked down upon 
as ignoble." Xenophon gives a somewhat more minute 
description of the same practice among the Mosynoekoi 
(An. V. 4, 32). He says, "They showed us pampered 
children of aristocratic parents, who had been fed with 
boiled chestnuts; they were very delicate and white, 
and nearly as stout as they were tall; their backs 
and fronts were tattooed, the former in gaudy colours, 
the latter all over with marks." Also on the Egyptian 
monuments of Biban-el-Moluk tattooed men are found 
depicted. Among the Greeks and Eomans, as we learn 
from Petronius (Sat. c. 103 sqq}), it was a common 
practice to brand criminals and slaves, for which latter 
it seems to have been originally introduced; and equally 
so among the Persians, of whom Herodotus (vii. 233). 
reports they ha,d, at Xerxes' orders, branded with the 
royal mark the Theban deserters at Thermopylae. This 
practice, which had no other intention but that of dis- 
tinguishing by some mark, proceeded from tattooing. 
At all events, we are wrong in giving the Greek word 
a different sense, especially that of an actual burning 
in of the mark. It is, in fact, the GTiCiio used for 
tattooing in the passages quoted. The correspond- 
ing, punishment of the Chinese has adhered to this 
original form. It consists in pricking with a needle 
marks in the flesh of the culprit and then making 
them durable by a black dye. This process, which 


closely resembles tattooing, is called thsi, S ij, and 

Jchinff, p^^f y J||, ^f,. The Manchu word 

for it is sahsimhi (according to von der Gabelentzj, 
"to brand, to tattoo, and a work with the needle." 
Perhaps the idea of acupuncture, which in times im- 
memorial the Chinese employed as a remedy, is like- 
wise to be traced to the tattooing process, so far as 
it might be regarded as holy and salutary. Horses 
were notoriously provided among the Greeks with 
marks branded in their haunches for the purpose of 
distinguishing their breed. For this object characters 
were employed, and their being thus employed was 
probably as old a practice among the Greeks as alpha- 
betic writing itself; at least the letter Jccppa, that 
so early ceased to be used in writing, was among 
those characters. The Caucasians have to this day 
a complete and abundant alphabet of signs which 
likewise serve no other purpose but that of distinguish- 
ing their horses. 

The Biblical expression, " I will not forget thee 
(Zion) ; I have graven thee upon the palms of my 
hands ; thy walls are continually before me " (Isa. xlix. 
15, 16), may, perhaps, remind us of the practice of 
tattooing. Equally so the well-known incident 
reported by Herodotus (v. 35), that Histiseus, w^ith 
a view by stealth to summon Aristagoras to revolt, 
shaved a slave, wrote the missive on his head, and, 
his hair having grown again, despatched him on his 
errand, points to a sphere of ideas which is not un- 


accustomed to regard the human body as writing 
material. It only remains to be mentioned as note- 
worthy that Herodotus in the passage cited uses the 
word earc^e, which proceeds from the idea of tattooing 
or puncturing. With respect to form, writing presents 
no contrast to tattooing. Some tribes mark their skin 
with figures of animals of the most various kinds. Such 
marks are in form regular pictures like the earliest 
writing. Mostly, however, the marks scratched in the 
flesh are linear. Hochstetter says of the sepulchral 
monuments of the Maoris, the aborigines of New 
Zealand (" Neuseeland," p. 299), " They are figures four 
feet high, carved out of wood, round which are hung 
garments or cloths, and on which the faithful imitation 
of the tattooed lines on the face of the deceased is the 
most remarkable feature. By them the Maori knows 
to whom the monument is erected. Certain lines de- 
note the name, others the family to which the deceased 
belonged, and others again the person himself. Close 
imitation of tattooing in the face, therefore, is to the 
Maori tantamount to the likeness of a portrait, and 
he requires no further inscription to know what chief 
lies buried underneath." The style of drawing here is 
linear, and it is noteworthy that the words used for 
" writing " likewise generally have the primary sense 
of making strokes. From the Greek <ypd(^ay, e.g., the 
idea of " line," " stroke," rypd/ji/jL7j, is developed in as 
direct a manner as " writing " and " picture." 

A curious relic of genuine tattooing has been pre- 
served amidst our very civilisation. Among Euro- 


pean sailors, and partly, too, among soldiers, regular 
gaudy tattooing is still practised. The operation 
is performed by experts with an instrument quite 
similar to that described by Cook, viz., composed of 
stuck-up needles. In this way sailors or soldiers have 
their arms and chests marked with symbols of their 
profession ; sometimes, too, regular writing is used. 
This is doubtless an imitation of savage tribes. 

In some words used to convey the idea of writing, 
there is a certain vacillation between the primary sense 
of scratching in and dyeing. This may, perhaps, be 
accounted for by the fact that tattooing implied both 
together, and, by aid of the blood floving from the 
wound, did so from the very first. From man's own 
body the characters were probably next transferred to 
objects to which they were applied as marks. It is even 
reported that some Indian tribes, for the purpose of 
preserving their pedigrees, carved, in the order of their 
succession, the so-called totem, i.e., symbolic pictures 
of their tribes, for which they employed figures of 
animals, such as the bear, buffalo, and the like, in 
trees, oars, canoes, and weapons. This is already a 
kind of waiting for the mere purpose of recording, with- 
out reference to the material on which the writing 
is carried on. The walls of Egyptian temples and 
palaces, owing to the mass of characters with which 
they were covered, have been likened to books; the 
inscriptions on the mighty rocks at Persepolis and 
Bisitun contain entire histories ; why should not, in a 
ruder stage, a like use be made of trees and animals ? 


The loosening of the bark, with writing upon it, from 
a tree, the stripping of the skin, furnished with marks, 
from an animal, would be, at the same time, the 
first step towards rendering the writing independent, 
— the production of the first book, as it were. Among 
the New Zealanders, who have adopted an alphabet of 
fourteen letters from the English, the custom at pre- 
sent prevails of writing their names or greetings to 
their friends with shells on the leaves of flax bushes. 
" The Dinka negroes," as Mitterrutzner reports, " often 
scratch or carve with a thorn or pointed iron on soft 
pumpkin shells the rough outlines of human beings, 
crocodiles, tortoises, and other animals. This mode of 
graving they call gor. When they happened to see a 
missionary write, they would ^2ij jen a gor, he engraves, 
scratches in, draws." The most ancient relics of 
Chinese writing that are still preserved are inscrip- 
tions on consecrated vessels, and in so far as the 
inscription was presumably intended as a mark of the 
utmost durability, a satisfactory explanation is afforded 
why at first it was not written on, but graven in, the 
vessels. An analogous conception seems to have been 
at all times associated with the idea of " sign : " signum, 
e.g., as Professor George Curtius has justly inferred from 
sigillum, was primarily an engraved sign. Ebel has ex- 
plained it from stignum, and has unnecessarily, I think, 
subsequently withdrawn this ingenious explanation ; 
for signum would in that case be related not only to 
the Gothic taihns, the English token, our Zeichen, but 
also to stechen (to sting) and o-tl^(o, the genuine Greek 


designation for tattooing, mentioned above. That zeich- 
nen (to design) was derived from Zcichen (sign), and 
dessiner from signum, sliows us anew the symbolic pur- 
pose at first associated with designing. An object, an 
animal, a man was designed, that is, provided with a 
sign which made it recognisable, marked it as a pos- 
session or consecrated it. There is a consecration by 
the impression of a sign still more primitive than that 
just described, and the purpose of which is at the same 
time transparent enough: I mean the so-called red 
hand of the Indians. Schoolcraft has found it depicted 
as a holy emblem on bark, on hides of animals, on 
wooden tablets, but also on the bodies cf dancers. In 
the latter case the picture was produced by the print 
of a hand smeared with clay on the chest, the 
shoulder, and other parts of the body. What this 
hand, so universal among the Indian tribes, may mean, 
will scarcely remain doubtful to any one who has seen 
the radiant hands of the sun-god on Egyptian repre- 
sentations, or read in the Veda hymns of the golden- 
handed Savitri. The red, or sometimes white, hand, 
with which an object, and even the body of a man, is 
painted and consecrated in the most simple manner, is 
hardly aught else but the sun. 

Long as the way may seem from such a sign, im- 
pressed almost like an incidental animal trace, up to 
our alphabet of twenty-four letters, in which the faint 
remnant of a hand denotes simply the sound i or/, yet 
I believe the origin of writing may be explained in 
this manner without leaving too wide gaps. To 


scratch in signs with a view to making them per- 
manent, to multiply them, to employ them more espe- 
cially on monuments, to make use of them as phonetic 
signs, to arrange them into a kind of system, as was 
done by one or several gifted tribes, these are steps 
which betoken indeed an admirable but no longer an 
absolutely marvellous progress. Equally the transition 
from an Egyptian system of hieroglyphics to real 
alphabetic writing is certainly by no means incon- 
ceivable. The latest form of Egyptian writing, the so- 
called Demotic, though only its last abbreviation in 
current hand, produces outwardly the impression of an 
alphabetic writing, and was considered as such before 
people ventured to seek for a phonetic principle in the 
hieroglyphics. It is to that impression, and to the 
decipherment under its dominion by De Sacy and 
Akerblad in the first instance, that we owe that of the 
hieroglyphics too, and the resuscitation of the lan- 
guage and primeval history of Egypt in general. As to 
the nature and the application of the hieroglyphic sym- 
bols, we must consider that the employment of the 
hieroglyphs which comes nearest that of alphabetic 
writing, viz., that where the initial sound has a value, 
happens to be indisputably the practice in foreign 
names, and that the Egyptians, if they had wished to 
make use of their writing for a Semitic language, would 
certainly have done so according to that principle. The 
great step to a real alphabetic writing consists in the 
latter having only one sign for a sound, whereas hiero- 
glyphic writing, even when it proceeds strictly on the 


alphabetic principle, has always the option left between 
various pictures. Without the reduction of phonetic 
hieroglyphics to the smallest number possible, the 
alphabet would have had many hundreds of letters 
instead of twenty-two, and this reduction would there- 
fore be what we may allow to pass for the invention of 
alphabetic writing. Those acquainted with Egyptian 
writing are aware that supports for such a simplifica- 
tion exist in hieroglyphic orthography itself, which, by 
the way, far from having been a conscious choice, may 
perhaps have been the outcome of a development ex- 
tending over many centuries. 

If, instead of starting from an entk'ely instinctive 
origin of writing, wholly unconscious of its final pur- 
poses, we were to set human ingenuity the task of 
creating this wonderful art, we should encounter the 
same impossibility as when we would make language 
originate in human reason and reflection. If language 
were an invention, the wisdom of man previous to such 
invention would have been infinitely superior to what 
it is at present. As in language, so in writing too, 
with all the intellect displayed in it, though it was 
developed in what was already nearly the historical 
period, we cannot recognise a production of the in- 
tellect itself, but only one of those instinctive crea- 
tions of the human mind which, though results of an 
irrational evolution, conceal within them the highest 
and most admirable symptoms of reason, exactly as do 
the marvels of nature that surround us. 

( 90 ) 


The Discovery of Fire, 

[A Lecture delivered at the Museum Club at Frankfort-on-tlie-Maine, 
March 25, 1870.] 

Among the blessings which man from the earliest times 
called his own, some are so indispensable to him, aye, so 
inseparable from his nature, that it is easier for him 
to believe he has possessed them from all time than to 
form any conception of how he may have acquired them. 
The most universal of these purely human blessings, lan- 
guage, still lies within the sphere of the forces of nature. 
If its possession by man ever had a beginning, it could 
only have come to him by nature, but could not have 
been discovered or invented by him. But it is different 
with those blessings that he owes to culture. Impos- 
sible as, for instance, it is to ascribe alphabetic writing 
to a conscious invention, seeing that such an invention 
would presuppose a superhuman wisdom by which the 
inventor perceived that all our speech is only a thou- 
sand-fold combination of twenty-four sounds ; yet writ- 
ing cannot have developed without the aid of reflection. 
Man is perhaps by nature a speaking being, certainly 
not a writins one. In a still higher de.gree this holds 


good of material productions, of implements and tools 
with which the^ human race has supplied and improved 
its existence. [ Each of these implements must, in how- 
ever rude a condition, have once become serviceable to 
man for the first time ; the idea of its utility must once 
have dawned upon some generation or another ; and 
however great the difference may be between a steam- 
engine of our day and the earliest stone hammer, the 
being who for the first time armed his hand with such 
a tool, and in this way for the first time perhaps beat 
the kernel of a fruit out of its hard shell, must, it would 
appear, have felt within him a breath of that inspira- 
tion which a discoverer in our own tijy»3 feels when a 
new idea flashes upon him. And in this sense, I sup- 
pose, we may venture to call the preparation of arti- 
ficial fire an invention, a discovery,/ though the same 
rule applies to fire as to all the characteristically distinc- 
tive acquisitions of man as compared to the brute, viz., 
their being in fact too great, of too momentous conse- 
quences to the fortunes of the race, not to make it 
appear doubtful whether we may trace them back to a 
human origin, to a discovery of the human mind. 

Fire belongs to those distinctive possessions of man, 
such as tools and implements, language and religion, 
without which we cannot conceive of humanity. 
All the reports about tribes who were said not to 
have any knowledge of it have proved fables, nay, 
inconceivable. But surely it is no less inconceivable 
for an animal to make fire itself, or even to avail itself 
of it. Its effect on the higher brute creation is terror 


the wolf, the lion, the elephant, are kept aloof from the 
encampments of man by fire. And if we admire in 
genius not only a superior intellectual endowment but 
the boldness of attempting to think of what has never 
been thought of by any one before, and to undertake 
w^hat has never been done before, it was surely an act of 
genius when man approached the dreaded glow, when he 
bore the flame before him over the earth on the top of 
the ignited log of wood — an act of daring without a proto- 
type in the animal world, and in its consequences for the 
development of human culture truly immeasurable. If 
antiquity beheld in that hero of the well-known legend, 
in Prometheus, who brought down fire from heaven, the 
author of all culture, we who live in the age of indus- 
try, we to whom fire is the substitute for millions of 
hands and horse power, will probably be inclined to 
rate such a boon still more highly. But in the domain 
of material progress we are too much accustomed to that 
great feat of man to think we need for the beginnings 
of the history of our civilisation the aid of gods or 
demigods ; we rather seek for a motive which might in 
some measure resemble the powerful and intelligent 
industry of our times, and (singularly enough in the 
case of a thing having such an infinite variety of uses 
as fire) we shall be forced to acknowledge that such a 
motive, a practical reason for meditating the invention, 
or even for endeavouring to get possession of fire 
for practical application, can scarcely have existed in 
primeval times. 

It is easy to think of an accidental impulse, perhaps 


of an object set fire to by a flash of lightning or a 
forest-fire, which may for the first time have thrown 
the flame of itself, as it were, into the hands of man, 
who would then soon have learned to avail him- 
self of it. But though little weight may be attached 
to the observation, it is notwithstanding to be taken 
into consideration that such accidents are least likely 
to have happened in those very places where there was 
most occasion for really making use of the fire thus 
presented to man. Tor it is precisely a warm climate 
or a hot temperature which particularly favours such 
accidents, and it hardly admits of doubt that the origi- 
nal home of the human race is to be luoked for in hot 
regions, if not even in the torrid zone itself, in the 
vicinity of the equator. But what did he care there 
for the flame generated by lightning ? No necessity 
rendered it worth his while to preserve it. It could 
not be the preparation of his food which made fire a 
desirable object to him ; he must have for a long time 
subsisted without such preparation, and without the 
experience or any suspicion that fire might aid him 
in it. Naturalists are not agreed as to whether the 
earliest food of man was animal or merely vegetable. 
Historically and linguistically considered, I, for my 
own part, certainly deem it indubitable that, since man 
has been man, he has been carnivorous. It is perhaps 
not nature to which we may appeal when we kill 
animals for the purpose of our own preservation; it 
is perhaps only habit which makes this food appear 
indispensable to us at present. In ancient times, and 


still more in India, serious objections were notoriously 
raised to it ; and even among us, the more syinpathis- 
ingly we try to understand the animal soul, the more 
regretfully we feel this habit to be repugnant to our 
more tender volition; but we cannot deny that it is 
at any rate a very old habit, as is evident from the cir- 
cumstance that notions such as flesh, hody, and perhaps 
animal too, almost everywhere proceed from that of 
food ; that language, therefore, decidedly presupposes 
animal food, and that since any such words have existed 
at all such food must have been common. 

Not only are our own word Fleisch and the English 
meat derived from roots signifying "to eat," but also 
the French word chair is so derived, though according to 
the present usage of the language it happens not to imply 
meat as food. The noble Greek word sarx, which forms 
the first component in " sarcophagus," originally meant 
nothing but a morsel picked off. When we speak of 
a sarcastic smile, we have no idea how this epithet can 
be connected with the sarx just mentioned, nor could 
the Greeks themselves tell. Sarcasm, properly speak- 
ing, is not the subtle irony which we designate by it ; 
it is a grin, a distortion of the mouth, or a showing one's 
teeth, and this forms the transition to the idea of pull- 
ing at a piece of meat with the teeth, whence that 
designation meat, which has become quite honourable 
in Greek by usage, has developed. At Logon in Central 
Africa, thd means "food," thic "meat," and tha "ox." 
Among other African tribes there exists only one word 
for meat and animal, and fish is called " water-flesh." 


And what words allow us to guess agrees with all 
that we know of the mode of life of savage tribes in 
times past and present. Man in the most barbarous 
state subsists everywhere by hunting, and only occa- 
sionally by catching fish; from the chase only he 
passes on to a nomadic life and the breeding of cattle. 
But it would be premature, from the indisputable pre- 
ponderance of meat as food in prehistoric time^, to 
infer a preparation by fire. To this day some Indian 
tribes — e.g., in Florida — consume the booty they bring 
home from the chase raw, and of the Huns it is noto- 
riously reported that they knew how to soften their 
meat without fire. There is no trace to be found in 
language of such a preparation having preceded the 
enjoyment of meat as food. What in this respect can 
be more deceptive than our word Braten (roast) ? Who 
should doubt that it really implied something roasted ? 
And yet it does not. We have here one of those 
curious, puzzling words before us which convey to 
us quite a different sense from what they did to 
their first inventors. Braten in the older language 
signified nothing but "meat" and "flesh." It is not 
derived from the verb Iraten (to roast) as now in 
use, but from a homonymous root signifying " to eat," 
and which is also found in Wildjpret (game). Brot \^^ 
(bread) is derived from the same root, and observation 
will show that appellations of bread often consist in 
such words as in earlier times signified meat. If 
we cast a glance at the various employments of fire 
in the preparation of food in their historical succes- 


^ sion, we shall find boiling to be the latest mode. In 
the South Sea islands a preliminary step towards 
it has been met with in the stewing of viands in 
pits heated by red-hot stones. The earliest and most 
direct preparation was the process of roasting, and 
even Homer knew as yet of no other for the repasts 
of his heroes. Nor was grain-fruit by any means 
always baked, but for a long time consumed only in 
. roasted grains, as, e.g., they have been found in pile- 
dwellings. Language leads one step farther. The 
Cook root from which our word hochen (to boil) is derived 

shows in cognate languages not only the idea of roast- 
iniT but that of sun-burnincr, as well as that of the 
ripening and mellowing of fruits and their becoming 
eatable ; and equally so the Mexican icuxitia, " to boil," 
I is derived from icuci, " to ripen." Such traces indicate 
a time lying still within the development of language 
when fire was not yet used as a medium between the 
produ^ions of the forest and the field and man's neces- 
sity for,food. 

What event may first have opened man's eyes and 
pointed out to him a means by which he learned in so 
many respects to render himself independent of the un- 
friendliness of surrounding Nature ? It is certain that 
not only the frost, but even more, perhaps, want of food, 
^ would have prevented him from populating the earth 
beyond his original home if he had not understood 
how to recognise in the most formidable of elements 
a beneficent power, and to make it do, in an enlarged 
sphere, the work of the sun, which had till then warmed 


and partly, too, nourished him. Though history seems 
to leave us in the dark on the cause of so momentous 
a change in man's mode of life, yet we have at our 
command very extensive and significant observations 
on the way in which artificial fire was produced, and 
there is every reason to suppose that we still have 
even the original, the really earliest, mode of making 
fire before us in the process adopted by many rude 
tribes. Among the Botocudos in Brazil as among some 
Korth American tribes, among the Greenland ers and in 
New Zealand, in Kamtshatka as among the Hottentots, 
the practice of producing fire by twirling or drilling 
two pieces of wood has been uniformly met with. 
The simplest, but also the most troublesome and time- 
wasting, process is that of placing a stick of wood per- 
pendicularly on another lying horizontally, and rapidly 
turning it like a twirling-rod between the palms of 
the hands until the loosened shavings catch fire and 
ignite slips of bast kept in readiness. 

If the employment of this apparatus for fire-making 
in parts so distant from each other is already calcu- 
lated to excite some surprise, what shall we say when 
we find it used in earlier times, even in Arabia, China, 
India, Greece, Italy, nay, even in Germany ? It is a 
merit due to comparative mythology to have proved 
the existence of the friction apparatus for producing 
fire in the Indo-European primeval times, i.e., at that 
indefinably remote period when a third of mankind, 
among it the ancestors of nearly the whole present 
population of Europe, constituted as yet only one 


horde; and it appears at once that among the Indo- 
Europeans fire was already then made, on the whole, in the 
same way as it has been in the present century in America 
and the South Sea Islands. The process by which the 
sacred fire in Hindostan is even now lighted consists 
in twirling, which, according to the description of eye- 
witnesses, perfectly resembles the churning of butter 
still practised there by milling the milk with a stirring- 
rod. According to Stevenson's description, one piece 
of wood is drilled into another by pulling a string 
tied to it with a jerk with the one hand while the 
other is slackened, and so alternately until the wood 
takes fire. The fire is received on cotton or flax by 
the bystanding Brahman. We shall be obliged to own 
that this mode of producing fire well suits the char- 
acter of a period when man was not only destitute of 
any metal but even as yet of stone implements— that 
is to say, of a wood age, such as must have preceded 
the stone age. A more primitive process can hardly be 
presumed. But, neverthelesss, it is not simple, not 
obvious enough, to appear independently with such 
uniformity at several points of the earth. Though we 
do not know the way in which the fire-drill may have 
spread from India and Australia to South America, it 
can scarcely have been invented at various times in the 
same way. There are many puzzling though undeni- 
,able vestiges extant of a primeval connection between 
Eastern Asia and Mexico. As regards the Australian 
Archipelago, the influence of India on it is clearly to 
be proved by linguistic elements and legends. I^ay, 


there is a chain of traditions and borrowings that ex- 
tends over those islands as far as Madagascar and 
Central Africa ; and we meet again among the Kaffres 
and negro tribes with fables and tales which can have 
reached them by no other way, and which may be a 
hint to us not to decide too hastily to what distances 
the influence man exercises on man may extend. Once 
discovered in one place, fire could not but be diffused 
by immigrants from more gifted tribes among those 
inferior to them, and(§(3on' carried over the whole earth. 
The contagious power of ideas is, in fact, greater in 
primitive times, and the isolation of peoples less, than 
is frequently believed. Together with the great diver- 
gences of contemporaneous stages of culture, there has 
been at all times going on among the entire human 
race a reciprocal action, which would not allow too 
violent contrasts to exist together for too long a space 
without their being adjusted. As in modern times 
firearms have incessantly spread, so a much more im- 
portant transformation of the outward life of prehistoric 
times could not possibly escape being gradually carried 
from one dwelling-place to another, and sooner or later 
the wonderful spectacle of a nocturnal camp-fire would 
call forth a universal imitation even in the remotest 
corners of the inhabited world, though it should 
have had to penetrate from the one hemisphere to 
the other by way of the Polar region, where Green- 
landers and Eskimos form the connecting link. 
But in realising the condition of the human race, 
which, no doubt, lies far behind us, and has, therefore. 


something strange to our conceptions — the condition, 
I say, in which mankind were when, on the whole, 
they lived as yet without fire, and had first to become 
acquainted with it as a new invention on the part of a 
favoured tribe — it will at least not appear incredible to 
us that with the use of fire the mode of producing it, 
the primitive fire apparatus of the earliest times, were 
simultaneously diffused. 

While so many uncivilised tribes of the present time, 
by their having preserved the fire-drill in daily use, 
afford us a living view of a primitive condition, the 
holy use which Brahmans make of it may throw a light 
upon the history of that important implement. In 
the age when the earliest Yeda hymns took their origin, 
the sacred fire was daily lighted in the early morning 
by the priests. With the greatest solicitude they 
attended to the prescribed measures of two equally 
sized pieces of wood, of the spindle which, proceeding 
from the one, was fixed on to the other, and the cord 
which served for the turning, nay, even the choice 
of the wood was not a matter of indifference ; it was 
chiefly to be composed of the aQvattha or banana tree, 
the so-called Ficns religiosa. Among the Eomans, the 
vestal flame, when gone out, was, as Plutarch relates, 
rekindled by means of a species of primitive reflec- 
tor by the sunlight, but, according to other reports, 
by drilling, for which the priests had to make use of 
the wood of a fruit-tree. It is most remarkable that 
we should meet with quite a corresponding practice 
among the Peruvians : there, too, the sacred fire in- 


trusted to the sun- virgins was, when by* mistake' or* 
accidentally extinguished, relighted either by the sun 
by means of a golden concave mirror, or by rubbing 
together two pieces of wood. Among the Iroquois the f^-Uhon p[»*/ 
fire in the huts is extinguished every year, and relighted 
by the magician with the flint or by the friction of two - 
pieces of wood. The Mexicans celebrated every fifty- 
two years a great fire-festivity, or a regeneration of the 
world, the doom of which they dreaded at the end of 
each such period. All fires were then extinguished ; a 
grand procession of men, disguised in the garb of the 
gods, repaired, accompanied by an immense crowd, to 
Mount Huichashta, and here, at midnight, the fire was 
reproduced by two pieces of wood being rubbed together 
on the chest of the prisoner of war intended for the 
sacrifice. Amidst shouts of joy raised by the people, 
who were looking on in eager expectation from all the 
hills, temples, and roofs round about, the flame blazed 
forth from the stake of the victim, and was thence 
spread before daybreak over all the altars and hearths of 
Anahuac. And if we return from this distant region to 
our own immediate neighbourhood, we have even here 
numerous, certainly more innocent, traces of a produc- 
tion of fire in the same primitive fashion originally 
adopted for religious purposes. In various parts of 
Germany, as well as in England, Scotland, and Sweden, 
the practice continued down to the very latest centuries 
of lighting the so-called need-fire, on certain days of 
the year, by turning a wooden windlass bored into a 
stake, and keeping it in motion by a rope wound round it. 
From almost everywhere reports have reached us that 


.alltiLe-iireg in houses had first to be extinguished and 
renewed again by this need-fire, endowed, as it was 
supposed to be, with a variety of miraculous virtues. 

If one could doubt the omnipotent, irresistible pro- 
gress of human thought over unmeasured space, this 
truly astounding agreement of German customs with 
those of the aborigines of America, this religious renewal 
of fire common to them both, would, I opine, alone 
suffice to rouse in us the belief in an unceasing inter- 
\xi^ communication between all peoples, in a constant uni- 

versal intercourse between all parts of the earth. 

But, I would ask, what may have induced the ancient 
peoples to apply the art of fire-making in such uni- 
versal agreement, to an extent embracing nearly the 
whole world, to purposes of divine worship ? There is 
scarcely one people of antiquity in whose worship fire 
was not of quite a paramount importance. Among the 
Persians its sacredness is so evident as to have made 
their religion be for a long time regarded as absolute 
fire-worship. But fire was here, as everywhere else, 
only a type, a representation of the heavenly fire, i.e., 
the sun. Comparative mythology has taught us that 
the earliest divinities of the Indo-European peoples 
"^ ^ were gods of light, and no one doubts that the sun 

occupied the highest place among them. We are less 
certain, however, as to the conceptions of Nature which 
lie hidden beneath the charming veil of primitive 
metaphors and legends, or as to the meaning of the 
infinitely entangled magic knot of struggles, adventures, 
and miracles, and that world of odd shapes of partly 
sublime, partly strangely repulsive appearance, that 


world of gods, demons, giants, dwarfs, and monsters of 
every description with whicli their mythology abounds. 

It is, however, indisputable that the struggle between 
light and darkness — the sun combating and vanquishing 
the powers of darkness — is the central idea of all those 
contrasts with which the inexhaustible imagination of 
man sports, ever again creating new shapes, and on 
which for centuries all the ingenuity of the human 
mind was exclusively employed. Professor Adalbert 
Kuhn is of opinion that the sacred fire was even in 
later times lighted by drilling only from adherence to 
ancient custom. But there is no testinjony extant that 
primitive times knew of a profane, over and above the 
sacred fire-making apparatus, and from all the facts trans- 
mitted to us I have sjained a firm conviction that men, 
far from transferring the use of the fire-drill from daily 
life into divine worship, invented it, on the contrary, 
precisely for the purpose of such worship, and only 
subsequently learned to use it in practical life. Aye ! 
I cannot forbear declaring that fire is a religious dis- 
covery : it sprang from the worship of deities in times 
when men, on the one hand, did not yet even feel a 
practical want of producing it, and were, on the other, 
not yet even capable at all of reflecting on a technical 
invention such as fire-making by friction. 

In the Yeda hymns, that purest expression of the 
childlike faith of man, we see the divinities of heaven, 
the sun and dawn, unceasingly extolled. Heaven and 
earth, conceived as living beings, as was the original 
conception of all peoples, are invoked in the early 
morning ; often heaven as father, the earth as mother. 


" Which," we read in one of these primitive hymns, 
" which of the two arose sooner, which later, how they 
originated, sages, who knoweth it? By their own 
strength they bear the universe, like two wheels do 
day and night revolve." " Powerfully separating two 
wheels," we read in another passage, "with the axle, 
as it were, Indra fasteneth heaven and earth." When 
>/ Ushas, dawn, arose, she was welcomed with songs by 

the host of the pious worshippers who had awaited 
her appearance with holy eagerness. " She is ap- 
proaching, she shineth forth, heaven's daughter, visible 
now. She, the mighty one, thrusteth out darkness by 
light, and the glorious one produceth brightness." 

In transparent metaphors the goddess of dawn is 
celebrated, how she supersedes her black sister, night, 
and precedes the sun-god. 

" Heaven's daughter, lo ! hath appeared, dawning, 
imV\\^ ]y young, in reddish garment; mistress of every earth- 
born blessing, Ushas, break forth, beneficent one, 
here now this day! She followeth in the wake of 
her who preceded: she goeth before the everlasting 
ones who are coming; dawning, she calleth forth all 
that liveth, and whatever is dead Ushas awakeneth. 
When will she be united to those who have shone 
already and will yet be shining ? She followeth her 
predecessors with eagerness; united to others, lus- 
trously she leadeth the way. Gone are they, the mortals 
who once beheld the breaking of former dawns ; now 
she is here and is seen by us, and others will come 
who one day shall behold her. . . . Ever before the 
goddess dawned, and thus too the gracious one hath 


dawned this day ; and thus, too, she will dawn in later 
days, not aging, she, the immortal one, cometh to the sac- 
rifice. In colours she shine th on the borders of heaven ; 
the goddess strippeth off her black cover, awakening, 
Ushas with her ^ steeds, driveth on a beautifully 
appointed chariot. She carrieth gifts along with her, 
rich in blessings, and gaineth brightness in making her 
appearance. Ushas gloweth, the last of those that have 
passed, and the first of those that shine forth." 

With such hymns the dawn was hailed 3000 years 
ago on the banks of the Indus. The seers of those 
days have long since passed away, ai^d other mortals 
have come to behold immortal dawn. Although she 
no longer finds her ancient sacrifices amongst us, her 
sacred songs are still read by us after such a long 
interval, and those magic verses, of whose enchanting 
sounds I have only been able to present to you a faint 
echo, well deserve that, absorbed in the study of them, 
we watch for the dawn of day as did the primeval 
Hindoo poets who sang them. 

Now, with these descriptions of the morning sky are 
blended those of the flames of the sacrificial fire, which 
was lighted daily in the early morning while it was still 
dark, and on account of its unfailing return is almost 
regarded as an independent phenomenon of Nature, 
and even celebrated as the god of fire, Agni, himself. 

" Agni is awake," we read ; " out of the earth riseth 
the sun-god ; Ushas, the high yellow one, hath dawned." 

" Up rose the rgd^ heaven-touching smoke ; the men 
light Agni." 

Other passages run thus : ** By the might and great- 


ness of the kindled blaze, heaven and earth alike in 
lustre shine. Up rise thy flames, the not old ones, Agni, 
the new-born, lighted. A red smoke thou ascendest 
heavenward, as a messenger thou goest, Agni, to the 
gods. Eoused is Agni by men's lighting before Ushas, 
approaching like a cow. Like swarms flying up from 
the bough, his flames blaze forth towards heaven." 

Amidst such hymns fire was made at the primeval 
seat of the progenitors of the Hindoo people. Often 
Agni is designated as the child of heaven and earth, 
but occasionally also as the child of the two pieces of 
wood; and, say the songs, scarcely born, the terrible 
child consumeth both his parents. This is no contra- 
diction. The two pieces of wood are, indeed, heaven 
and earth. The revolution of heaven and earth pro- 
duces the sun ; by the turning of the sticks of wood, 
fire, his representative on earth, is produced. Hence 
precisely those gods to whom, in some Hindoo tradi- 
tion, a golden fire-making apparatus is attributed, 
are the two horse-gods whom Max Muller has shown 
to refer to dawn. According to a Homeric hymn, the 
god who first used the fire-making apparatus was 
Hermes, also a god of dawn, a medium between the 
upper and lower world, and, like the Hindoo fire-god, 
a messenger of the gods. Hence, too, the Hindoos 
do not choose the wood which is practically the fittest, 
but that of the Ficus religiosa, and that not only be- 
cause this tree bears a reddish fruit, but, as is expressly 
said, and as analogies of other holy trees amongst kin- 
dred peoples, e.g., the mistletoe, so sacred among the 
Gauls, testify, because it takes root upon other trees, 


and its branches hang down in great abundance. It 
is manifestly a type of the sun, for he is often com- 
pared to a wonderful tree, whose roots are high up in 
the air, and which sends down its rays like branches 
on to the earth. 

Of some remarkable Teutonic customs, preserved 
down to modern times from the remotest antiquity, 
the signification is almost unmistakable. In many 
parts of the ''Mark" (Brandenburg) the need-fire is 
lighted in the nave of a wheel by drilling. The same 
is reported from the last century of the Isle of Mull 
on the west coast of Scotland, and i^ found again in 
the Frisian laws. In many other parts of Germany 
and France they used to light instead, mostly in the 
night of the summer solstice, disks or wheels, then 
flung them up high so as to make them describe a 
shining curve in the air; or, as was still the practice 
at the Moselle a hundred years ago, a burning wheel 
was made to roll down from the top of a mountain 
into the river. It is surely nothing but the diurnal 
course of the sun which was intended to be symbolised 
by these ceremonies on some distinguished day of the 
year, and equally certain it is that the flame lighted 
every morning in prehistoric times by the Hindoos 
had the same object. When, full of expectation, the 
wise men of that period, at the dawn of the morning, 
directing their glances towards the East where the 
shining god was to appear to them, prefigured by 
twirling two pieces of wood, that most primitive type 
of the great progenitors of the two worlds revolving 
like a wheel, the revolution of the heavens which was 


preparing the advent of the beneficent appearance of 
the new-born day; when in their naive faith they 
imagined they might assist or even further that revo- 
lution by this incessantly repeated holy work, and 
when in the centre of the small type of the world 
which they were turning between their hands the 
spark suddenly flashed up, as did up yonder in the 
great celestial world the wonderful majestic flame of 
the morning sun — what joy and awe must have thrilled 
their hearts on seeing that the great god of heaven, 
Agni himself, had descended into their sanctuaries, 
was sitting as a guest at their sacrifice, and as a priest 
himself bore it up in smoke to heaven ! And if 
there ever was a time when the fire first burst forth 
from the match — the new, strange guest, exciting, per- 
haps, fear and dismay — it was a god who was to 
be approached and cultivated, and for whose sake 
men would venture what, for mere utility's sake, they 
would perhaps never have ventured, as men indeed 
have at all times suffered incredible things for their 
religious convictions' sake. That the fire was trans- 
ferred from this holy origin into daily life, as, for 
instance, we find, at the Mexican fire-festival, the 
sacred fire spread over all the hearths, we shall deem 
less surprising when we consider to what extent fire was 
sacred still among the classical nations, and that it 
was regarded as holy not only on the altars, but on 
the domestic hearths. From the standpoint of our 
culture we find it hard to derive what is quite common 
from mythic, purely fantastic sources. But this may 
be proved by innumerable minor and greater instances 


extending over our whole cultural life. Tobacco-smok- 
ing sprang from the fire-worship of the Indian tribes ; 
the umbrella from the parasol, which was originally a 
sacred type of the sun; gold owes its high value to 
its sunlike, and therefore sacred colour. In 181 1 the 
captive Eussian Captain Golownin was asked in Japan 
whether the Eussians had changed their religion, Lax- 
mann, who in 1792 had been there as ambassador, hav- 
ing worn a pigtail dusted with flour. So ingrained is 
the habit with non-Europeans of seeing a connection 
even between most insignificant customs and religion. 

One more point remains to be touched upon, one 
objection to be removed which might be raised to the 
accidental discovery of fire by using the fire-making 
apparatus. Was not the ignition of the pieces of 
wood at the ceremonies we have described foreseen 
and intended ? Are we to think that the turning 
process was originally purposeless ? I am decidedly 
of opinion that that religious toying consisted essen- 
tially only in the rotatory motion without regard to 
what misjht become of it. This seems to me to result 
from the fact that the process of turning in order to 
obtain fire was not the only one that served the 
same purpose; the preparation of butter by a quite 
analogous process was likewise holy, and butter there- 
fore a principal element in the morning sacrifice. 
Nay, even the mill, which in its simplest shape con- 
sisted of two stones and a twirling-rod, and therefore 
very much resembled that ancient fire-machine from 
which it has perhaps developed, is frequently brought 
in connection with sun-myths, and significant legends 


tell of mills which grind gold. But I must more particu- 
larly mention here a curious religious implement which, 
in the sphere where it occurs, has certainly lost the 
connection with its origin, and is not now understood, 
but may perhaps receive as well as spread light in 
the environment in which we are able to place it. 

In the domain of Buddhism and its transformations, 
in Tibet among the Kalmuks and Mongols no less 
than in Japan, it has been observed with wondering 
that prayers are not only spoken but likewise offered 
up with equally great merit by a machine. Bound 
a cylinder which is set in rotatory motion by a strap 
by means of a spring-wheel, slips of paper of great 
length, on which prayers are inscribed, unroll, repeat- 
ing the same text in a hundred-fold and a thousand- 
fold copy, it being the more efficient for the salvation 
of the being for whom the prayer is offered up the 
more copies wind round the cylinder. And not by 
man's hand alone, but by pendulums too, by wind-sails, 
nay, quite like wheels through a millrace, the prayer- 
wheels are set in motion. There are prayer-mills con- 
taining the identical formula which was printed at 
Petersburgh for that purpose a hundred millions of 
times, and which, therefore, by being turned ten times, 
effect as much salvation as if the formula had been 
recited a thousand millions of times. It is, no doubt, 
not wholly unjustified that attention should have been 
directed to the progress which is to be expected even 
here from steam power, and to the rapidity with which 
an incredible quantity of salvation might be produced 
by steam-mills. We receive, indeed, the impression 


of something eminently heathen when we see people 
find merit and a salutary effect in such strictly 
mechanical practices, void of all sentiment of devout- 
ness. But this mechanism evidently has its rea- 
sons notwithstanding. Buddhism is a comparatively 
modern and reflected religion, but its symbols are 
transformations, and in the last instance invariably 
proceed from rites practised in the earliest nature- 
worship. Originally it was not the prayers but the 
turning of the wheel itself which wrought salvation. 
In Japan there are found in the cemeteries posts to 
which a simple iron wheel is attact»3d that can be 
turned with the hand. The relation of the revolu- 
tion of the wheel to salvation is rendered intelligible 
by the representation of the metempsychosis under 
this image. But even that is only a transformation 
of the primitive practices of milling and turning as 
symbols of the diurnal revolution of the sun and the 
firmament, exactly as is the habit of the Hindoo, by 
way of reverence, to circumambulate objects or persons 
with their faces turned to the right. At present men 
will inquire, if not into the purpose of acts and 
ceremonies, at least into their signification. But to 
the earliest acts of mankind this method of treating 
things is not quite applicable; their customs had no 
signification, they were not intended to express any 
ideas. They are not symbols but instinct. What in 
the twilight of primitive history we perceive of the 
mysterious doings of mankind shows us our own image 
singularly altered, aye ! of almost ghastly strangeness. 
If by cir cum ambulation, by circular processions or 


races, by turning objects of various kinds, the move- 
ment of the heavens is imitated, these are outbursts of 
a once powerful instinct, of an imitative impulse which 
must once have swayed mankind with irresistible 
might at a certain stage of their existence. The 
variety of games, dances, representations, and mum- 
meries of the ancient peoples in honour of the gods, 
the lamentation over the effigy of the dead Adonis, 
the processions of the Egyptian priests in the guise 
of animal-gods, have some resemblance to children's 
games. But we see all this proceed with a solemn 
gravity which has in it something ghostly, as it were. 
A similar serious game of childlike mankind it was 
which gradually taught them the use of fire and the 
preparation of food, which at first was only a sacrificial 
viand; indeed, a history of sacrifices and religious 
ceremonies in general would perhaps comprise, among 
many other surprising facts, a history of the art of 
cooking too. Belief, legend", mythology are all only 
one, perhaps not even the fullest, aspect of religion. 
As the mimic instinct appearing everywhere in the 
history of religion reminds us of the beginnings of 
language, in which I can likewise see only the effects 
of an involuntary instinctive mimicry and imitation, 
so in the spell which fire has exercised over men 
another analogy to the original source of language is 
presented to us, in so far as here, too, it is proclaimed 
aloud that it is the eye to which we owe our being 
raised above brute nature. Not the beneficent effect 
of fire, not its usefulness, not even its grateful warmth 


it is which are extolled in the primitive monuments, 
but its lustre, its red glow ; and in so far as the names 
given by language may be interpreted with certainty, 
it is likewise neither the warmth, nor even the 
quality of burning, consuming, or causing pain, but 
the red colour from which they proceed. The sense 
of colour, then, was the earliest interest which at- 
tracted men to the fire. In this purely human interest 
lies the solution of the riddle why man alone pos- 
sesses fire, but, at the same time, we may on closer 
investigation divine also something of the immense 
importance which the development ^i this sense of 
colour had for mankind. 

Though man undoubtedly struggled up to his present 
height from the poverty and helplessness of the animal, 
we still see his early childhood already clothed in the 
sheen of the ideal, and it is by no means necessity 
that made him inventive, nor his practical sense that 
prompted him to ameliorate his material condition, but 
precisely in his earliest productions inspiration and 
fancy appear most at work, and what was destined to 
become of the greatest benefit to him is not his capa- 
city of discovering what is useful, but the artistic dis- 
position in him which led him to shape and fashion 
without any definite object, and the sense of heavenly 
beauty, a ray of which fell on his eye. 

To all appearance it was not at first the increase of 
comfort which endeared fire to man, nor the pleasure in 
more savoury food, still less its usefulness in industry, 
which indeed had not yet even dawned upon him. But 



ifc was the light in which he rejoiced. With it he had 
overcome the uncomfortable dread of the night, during 
which he was liable to all kinds of danger, and was 
helplessly abandoned to the attacks of the beasts of 
the forest issuing forth in quest of prey. We who 
illumine the night by flaming torches and radiant chan- 
deliers, or electric light as bright as the sun, we can 
scarcely realise those horrors which man felt in the 
reign of darkness, which was unbroken as yet by any 
art, and populated his imagination with ghastly shapes. 
We can barely sympathise with that anxiety which 
still speaks so vividly in the prayers of the Veda poets, 
or with the terrors that for a long time seized the 
intimidated hearts of men on the occasion of solar 
eclipses, when they feared the sun's light might disap- 
pear for ever even in the day, and an everlasting night 
break in upon them. And yet how comparatively 
modern is the wax-candle, nay, the oil lamp! In 
Homer it is still shavings and a bundle of brushwood 
which illumined the spacious halls. 

Wherever we cast our eye, a chain of development 
is shown in the history of every object, the possession 
of which at present seems to us quite a matter of 
course, and at a misty distance there looms a period 
when such development had not yet begun. It is true 
it is only an outward possession which we see disap- 
pear with fire, with artificial light, from the series of 
our earthly blessings, but still we are ever again re- 
minded thereby of our remotest past, of the singularly 
wonderful fortune that has led our species up to be at the 


head of the animal world, and of this earth in general. A 
few steps backward and we should see a second blessing 
disappear from this precious inheritance of humanity, 
and then a third ; religion too, and finally language. A 
retrospective glance at those remote times, such as our 
age affords above all its predecessors, liberates our soul 
by making it partake of a past infinity. When Goethe, 
absorbed in osteological studies, confessed to have 
meditated amidst world-stirring events his discovery 
of the physical affinity of man to brutes, Borne's anger 
was roused, his ardent spirit yearning impatiently for 
deeds. And when the July revolutip^n broke out, and 
the faithful Eckermann, finding Goethe greatly excited 
on the subject of the great event that had happened 
at Paris, was about to begin to speak of the faults of 
the overthrown ministers, Goethe replied, " We do not 
seem to comprehend each other. I do not speak at all 
of those people ; my mind is occupied with quite dif- 
ferent things. I am speaking of the dispute that has 
openly broken out in the Academy between Cuvier 
and Geoffroy de St. Hilaire, of such paramount import- 
ance to science. Henceforth mind will rule in France 
too in the investigation of nature, and prevail over 
matter. Glimpses will be caught of great maxims of 
creation, of God's mysterious workshop. Now," con- 
tinued Goethe, " Geoffroy de St. Hilaire too is deci- 
dedly on our side, and with him all his more distin- 
guished disciples and adherents in France. This event 
is of incredible value to me, and I justly exult over the 
finally arrived universal triumph of a cause to which I 


have devoted my life, and which is pre-eminently my 
own." The idea the victory of which Goethe at that 
time saw with his mind's eye, and which Geoffrey de 
St. Hilaire declared to be his own — the idea of the 
evolution of the world — will, I doubt not, emancipate 
the world as much as any of the greatest historical 
achievements did. Nor do I fear being misconstrued 
when I own to you, my honoured fellow-towns-men and 
women, that the thought has often floated through my 
mind that the soil of this city of ours possesses some 
claim to this liberating idea of evolution ; that in this 
town, which owes so much to natural development, the 
voice of admonition sounds doubly loud to continue 
to meditate the idea of the development of humanity, 
aye ! perhaps to think it out to an end. This idea will 
one day teach us what man has to expect and to claim 
for himself from humanity and from nature. And as 
it opens to us a vista into the future, so with it begins 
to open a retrospective view of the past, just as hap- 
pened with space from the moment when the sky 
ceased to arch over us as a stony cover, and we began 
to cast glances into, and indulge in speculations on, 
the unbounded universe. History is no longer a 
limited horizon ; the same things are not in wearisome 
uniformity repeated from century to century, but in 
unfathomed depths one form of existence succeeds an- 
other. Nature reveals to us her wonders in an infinite 
series, and the soul of man is elevated, becoming a 
heavenly genius which soars with mighty wing through 

( 117 ) 


On the Primitive Home of the I ndo- Europeans, 

The discovery of the primitive stock of tlie Indo- 
Europeans, which has been made within the past 
sixty years, is a fact of incredible .importance, and 
of incalculable influence on the conception of man's 
earliest past. The almost marvellous results which 
our century has obtained in the decipherment of the 
hieroglyphics and cuneiform inscriptions led to a direct 
knowledge, gained from the monuments themselves, of 
the life of peoples which one could not till then have 
hoped ever to see resuscitated from its millennial sleep. 
Historical details have been authenticated, dating from 
times which fancy had ever regarded as its indisputable 
domain and had populated with grotesque shapes. But 
the people of the pyramids and hieroglyphics is, not- 
withstanding, an historical, well-known, palpable people. 
It is certainly astounding that we should have learned 
to find some centuries before Moses — that earliest histo- 
rian, as the last century was fond of calling him — the 
names of Palestinian cities — e.g., of the still existing 
Zephath — on Egyptian monuments. We are strangely 
moved and feel a thrill of awe running through us, as 


on entering a mysterious sanctuary, when we see be- 
fore our eyes the veil lifted from the deeply-hidden 
and dark past. But such more especially are our 
emotions when we approach the primitive stock from 
which the head and flower of the whole human race 
was destined to proceed — the stock from which has 
sprung the present civilised Europe with its mighty 
colonies, and not less so a large portion of the population 
of Asia, as far as the boundaries of China. We have 
here, in this people in its primitive condition, a germ 
before us with an abundance of developments latent 
within it, as it were ; and though history does not con- 
tain any record of this people, and it has not left any 
monuments itself, so that we are able only to infer its 
existence, yet we can by no means doubt its having 
existed. How did a people in such a primitive condi- 
tion live? How did it think? how speak? These 
questions alone have a deep interest; but to them 
must be added that all the civilisation of Europe, and, 
more or less, the condition of mankind at the present 
time, have been connected with the fortunes of that 
primitive people and swayed by its intellectual capa- 
cities, thus pointing back to the origin of that people 
for their own. 

On its being first remarked that in the languages 
of Hindostan and Persia words and forms of words 
occur bearing a striking resemblance to Latin, Greek, 
and German words, many endeavoured to account for 
this singular phenomenon by a mutual intercourse, 
which they supposed to have carried foreign words 


from one people to another. The Germans have bor- 
rowed their marsch (march) from the Trench; halt 
(stop), which we must presume to be a more German 
notion, was given to the French in exchange for it; 
and pascholl is even Eussian. Now it is no doubt 
somewhat farther from Benares or Pondicherry to 
Frankfort or Augsburg, and no 181 3 probably ever 
brought Germans and Hindoos together in a battle 
of nations. Nevertheless — but I will let Adelung 
speak here, because it is not uninteresting to see how 
a man of considerable linguistic knowledge and much 
judgment could, in 1806, still think on such questions. 
" That even German elements should be found in 
Persian has excited wonder, in some even astonish- 
ment. The fact is undeniable; and this German so 
found in Persian does not consist only in a considerable 
number of rg-dical sounds and words, but also in deriva- 
tive syllables and even grammatical forms. . . . This 
phenomenon may be accounted for in two ways : either 
by a subsequent intermixture after the two languages 
were already formed, or by a common descent from 
a more ancient mother tongue. The situation and 
history of Persia seem to favour the former view. 
Being situated on the way which nearly all the 
savage hordes from Upper Central Asia had to take 
to the West, it could not well continue wholly free 
from an admixture with other conquering and con- 
quered peoples. It is more especially known that 
the Goths dw^elt for several centuries by the Black, 
and Caspian Seas— i.e., at the gates of Persia; that, 


with their savage bravery, they weighed down on 
their neighbours, at the same time constantly trying 
to push forward into more favoured countries. History 
even mentions an entire Gothic tribe which had in- 
vaded Persia and became amalgamated with the ancient 
inhabitants into one people. Such may have been the 
case with several tribes, especially when the Goths had 
to give way to the Huns, though the meagre history of 
those times does not record anything of it (Mithridates, 
i. 277)." But now it is well known that the greatest dif- 
ficulty encountered by such hypotheses was the great 
number, and especially the sphere of ideas, of the words 
which those Asiatic languages had in common with the 
European ones. Who could believe that Persians and 
Germans would just happen to have borrowed from 
each other such words as padar = Vater (father), madar 
= Mutter (mother), hiradar =: Bruder (brother), ast — 
ist (is) ? Hence even Adelung already inclined to the 
second view — the descent from a common mother- 
tongue. " The Parsee, Zend, and Pehlevi," he says, " are 
very ancient languages, and near the seat of the first 
formation of language, and may therefore descend, like 
Sanskrit, if not from the first language itself, at least 
from one of her oldest daughters. The Teutons, like 
all ancient Western peoples, are descended from Asia, 
and although we are now no longer able to determine 
the region they inhabited previous to their emigration, 
there are no reasons why we should not be allowed ta 
place them in Central Asia, bordering directly upon 
Persia and Tibet, whose unsettled hordes have both 


populated Europe and shaken it on more than one 
occasion." People then believed in a primitive lan- 
guage — the language of the first human beings — and 
looked for remnants of it in all languages. Thus the 
great agreement between two such "old" languages 
as German and Sanskrit was thought to be based on 
the preservation of a particularly great number of 
remnants of the "first language," or on the descent 
from "one of her oldest daughters." Immediately 
behind this separation of languages lay the building 
of the tower of Babel and Paradise. The conceptions 
of the origin of man and of that of the formation of 
the individual Indo-Teutonic peoples coalesced in the 

It was Friedrich Schlegel who, in his brilliant work, 
"Ueber die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier" ("On 
the Language and Wisdom of the Hindoos," 1808), 
put an end to this want of clearness. He determined 
pretty accurately the limits comprising the Indo- 
European languages, and pronounced the Latin, Greek, 
Teutonic, and Persian, on the one hand, and the Arme- 
nian, Slavonic, and Keltic languages, on the other, to 
be, the former more nearly, the latter more remotely, 
related to Sanskrit. Other families of languages, e.g., 
that to which Hebrew belongs, he decidedly excluded 
from this affinity. The relation of Sanskrit to the 
other cognate dialects he conceived as that of a mother- 
tongue to its offsprings. Nay, taking his stand on the 
great agreement he also found in the sphere of the 
ideas and legends of India and the rest of antiquity, 


lie declared the populations of Europe to be actual 
" Indian colonies," of which he makes the priests the 
special leaders, and held those colonies to have been 
more important and efficacious than, though not essen- 
tially different from, the later Greek settlements. 
Since then we have learned to recognise that such an 
analogy to an ordinary emigration, such as occurs in 
historic times, is not applicable to that primeval age. 
The European languages, Latin and German, for in- 
stance, do not bear to Sanskrit the relation of daugh- 
ters, such as Spanish, Italian, and French do to Latin. 
Sanskrit, on the contrary, is only a co-ordinate sister- 
language, e.g., of German and Greek. Sanskrit and 
Greek bear the same relation to each other as French 
and Italian. The primary language, which should bear 
the same relation to the principal Indo-European lan- 
guages as does Latin to her daughters, if such ever 
existed, is, at any rate, no longer extant. The dialect 
which the ancestors of the Teutons, Greeks, and 
Hindoos once spoke in common was no more Hindoo 
than German or Greek : it was the primitive Indo- 
European language. Hence, too, it was not the Hindoo 
people which all those ancestors together constituted, 
but the primitive Indo-European people. Besides, the 
earliest Indian literature still affords traces of the 
Hindoos having only by gradually advancing towards 
the east and the south reached the Ganges ; they must 
have separated from their near relations, the Persians, 
at a comparatively late date only, in order to take 
possession of India proper. All the less did the primi- 


tive Indo-European people inhabit India. But where 
then did they dwell ? Which was the first home of the 
Indo-Europeans, who were destined to play so promi- 
nent and unique a part in history, and are at present 
spread over the whole earth, actually ruling it ? That 
with the earliest guesses at the kinship of European 
and Asiatic peoples the presumption was associated 
that the cradle of the Europeans had been Asia, may be 
gathered from what I have stated. Previously to my 
continuing to trace the history of the opinions on this 
question, permit me briefly to express my own present 
conviction, that the primitive hom,'^ of the Indo- 
Europeans is to be looked for in Germany, perhaps 
more especially in its central and western parts. 

The first to oppose the hypothesis, which is univer- 
sally accepted though it has never been supported by 
evidence, of the descent of the Indo-Europeans from 
Asia was E. G. Latham. His opinion, as far as I am 
aware, is for the first time expressed in his work, " The 
Native Eaces of the Eussian Empire" (London, 1854). 
In a subsequent work, "Elements of Comparative 
Philology" (London, 1862, p. 611), he establishes it in 
the following words : — 

"Has the Sanskrit reached India from Europe, or 
have the Lithuanic, the Slavonic, the Latin, the Greek, 
and the German reached Europe from India ? If his- 
torical evidence be wanting, the d 'priori presumptions 
must be considered. 

" I submit that history is silent, and that the pre- 
sumptions are in favour of the smaller class having 


been deduced from the area of tlie larger rather than 
vice, versd. If so, the situs of the Sanskrit is on the 
eastern, or south-eastern, frontier of the Lithuanic ; 
and its origin is European. . . . 

" I do not deny the fact, as it is usually stated, as a 
fact. It may be one, in spite of any amount of pre- 
sumptions against it. If sufficient evidence be brought 
forward in favour of it, I am prepared to take it as it 
is given. . . . 

" I may be wrong, however, in asserting the absolute 
non-existence of evidence ; in other words, in holding 
that the presumptions are, really, all we have to go on. 
Upon this I am open to correction. I can, however, 
truly say that, if there be evidence on the matter, I 
have failed, after a careful search, to find it. What I 
have found in its stead is a tacit assumption that, as the 
East is the probable quarter in which either the human 
species, or the greater part of our civilisation, origin- 
ated, everything came from it. But surely, in this, 
there is a confusion between the primary diffusion of 
mankind over the world at large and those secondary 
movements by which, according to even the ordinary 
hypothesis, the Lithuanic, &c., came from Asia into 
Europe. ... In zoology and botany the species is 
always deduced from the area of the genus, rather than 
the genus from the area of the species ; and this is the 
rule which I go upon here. ... 

" The fact of a language being not only projected, so 
to say, into another region, but entirely lost in its own, 
is anything but unique. There is no English in Ger- 


many. A better example, however, is found in the 
Magyar of Hungary, of which no trace is to be found 
within some 700 miles of its present area. Yet the 
Magyar is not twelve hundred years old in Europe." 

We shall see that not only is the evidence in favour 
of the still accepted Asiatic hypothesis wanting, but 
that the opposite assumption will, by a whole series of 
arguments, be rendered highly probable; and, having 
ascertained a sharply defined original European home 
of the Indo-Europeans, we shall be enabled to establish 
the latter hypothesis on a safe basis. , 

These arguments are of various descriptions. I shall 
begin with a physiological phenomenon, which, though 
certainly not decisive, yet, when considered \k connec- 
tion with other aspects of the question, is most note- 
worthy. The remarkable fair type, the combination 
of light hair and blue eyes, are essentially confined to 
Indo-European peoples. In the North, neighbouring 
Fin tribes in some measure partake of this pecu- 
liarity; with this exception, it is not met with any- 
where. In the South it disappears, in some parts more, 
in others less,' even among the Indo-Europeans. How 
are we to account for this circumstance ? If the hair 
and eyes of the Hindoos have become black, and even 
the colour of their skin yellowish, this fact can hardly 
be accounted for in any other way than by an inter- 
mixture with the aborigines of India. Something 
similar is at least possible wherever we meet with 
dark Indo-Europeans. But since, so far as we are 
aware, no non-Indo-European people ever existed froui 


which the Northern Indo-Europeans could have con- 
tracted the light colour, we are, from the ethnological 
point of view, certainly more justified in regarding 
the fair type, wherever we meet with it, as the un- 
alloyed Indo-European type. This view favours the 
assumption that the Indo-Europeans have remained 
most unmixed where the blonde type shows itself 
purest; and it is well known how much the latter 
struck the Eomans on their meeting with the Germans. 
We shall, therefore, scarcely assume too much when 
we claim the highest probability of indigenousness for 
that people which has preserved the original type in 
its greatest purity, and has least come into contact 
with tribes foreign to its stock. 

On an Egyptian monument, dating so far back as 
the fourteenth century before Christ, there is to be 
seen in a grouping of various races of men consisting of 
Egyptians, Negroes, and Semites, also a representa- 
tion, of masterly fidelity, of a man having a thoroughly 
white skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair. Champollion 
already recognised a European in this surprising 
picture. That the Egyptians should, at so early a 
period, have known of such men is most remarkable. 
What people they may have belonged to we shall 
perhaps discuss in the sequel; to meet premature 
objections, however, let me observe that these men, 
wherever may have been their home, and however far 
they may have migrated from it, can nevertheless not 
prove anything as regards the so much earlier period 
that preceded the Indo-European migration. Eor 


another monument of the eighteenth century B.C., where 
an ape is designated by an Indian, or at least Aryan 
name, haf (Sanskrit, ha^i), proves that the Indo- 
Europeans must at all events have migrated to Asia 
previously to that time. The Chinese, too, must very 
early have known blonde-haired men, for " the black- 
haired people" is an appellation of honour which the 
ancient hymns of the Shi-King already bestow on them. 
For one of the hymns in this collection, and evidently 
not one of the oldest, we have an astronomical date, 
viz., the year 'jy'j before the Christian era. 

Important data to aid us in deciding on the original 
home of the Indo-Europeans lie in the inferences which 
may be drawn from the sphere of words and ideas of the 
Indo-European tribes. Since Professor Adalbert Kuhn 
commenced, from an examination of the vocabulary 
common to the cognate tribes, to draw conclusions as 
to the stage of culture of the primitive people, our 
conceptions of the mode of life of the peoples of that 
period have daily assumed a more definite shape. Little 
justified as Schlegel was in attributing the culture of an 
individual historically known people to a primitive age 
as well, yet it would be a great mistake to imagine the 
condition of the prehistoric Indo-Europeans to have 
been a species of embryonic existence or of semi-human 
savageness. The primitive people was doubtless ex- 
tremely barbarous, but it possessed a political organisa- 
tion, bred cattle, carried on agriculture and even trade, 
and had productions of skill and industry exhibiting a 
comparatively high stage of culture, and a not incon- 


siderable intercourse with other peoples. In other 
words, it was a real nation, more highly civilised than 
many existing out of Europe at this day. When we 
find the word naus, "ship," quite uniform, both in 
Greek and Sanskrit, and as an equivalent in Latin 
warns, in German Naue, Naclien (boat), there can be no 
doubt that this community of name must have its cause 
in the community of the object, and the possession of 
the ship must have preceded the separation of the lan- 
guages here mentioned. But in the same way Wageti 
(waggon). Bad or Welle (wheel), Achse (axle), and Joch 
(yoke, harness), are likewise met with as far as India. 
The ancient Indo-Europeans, therefore, did not only go 
by boat, as the so-called savages likewise do, but they 
availed themselves besides of cars and waggons drawn 
by animals, a proceeding which indicates by no means 
a condition without reflection. Very abundant, ably 
treated materials, enabling us to judge of the life of the 
Indo-Europeans, are afforded us by Adolphe Pictet in 
his work " Les Origines Indo-Europeennes " (Paris, 
i. partie 1859, ii. partie 1863), where nature and human 
life, such as they are exhibited in the vocabularies of 
the Indo-European languages, are described with great 
completeness. Certainly too much may be inferred 
from the possession of a word. Thus, e.g., from the 
uniformity with which the name of the Hund (hound, 
dog) occurs in all the Indo-European dialects, the 
possession of this domestic animal has been inferred ; 
whereas it is more than probable that in the prehistoric 
times the dog was still wild, and known to the Indo-. 


Europeans only in the untamed condition. A still 
graver and yet rather general error will easily become 
comprehensible on considering the mode in which the 
separation of the peoples must have come to pass. 
The once -undivided nucleus of so many nations can 
certainly not be assumed to have at some time or other 
burst asunder in all directions at once, so as in this way 
to form the present nations that have sprung from it. 
The separation must have taken place at various times 
and successively. The actual affinity existing between 
the various languages places this proposition beyond all 
doubt. Sanskrit and ancient Persian or Zend, e.g., are 
so much more closely related than, say, Sanskrit and 
Latin, that, as no one doubts, the Persians must neces- 
sarily have a special affinity to the Hindoos, which may 
be accounted for by the circumstance that the separation 
of these two nations is not yet so very old, not so old 
by a long way as that of the Eomans and Hindoos. 
Between the Lithuanic and the Slavonic there exists a 
similar special affinity. It may be easily perceived 
how premature it would be to consider a word found 
only in Persian and Sanskrit as a primitive possession 
of the Indo-Europeans, and of such an error no linguist 
will be likely to render himself guilty. But as long as 
of some other peoples the succession in which they 
have separated from the original stock is not yet accu- 
rately ascertained, the danger of similar fallacies is 
very great. Thus, for instance, Benfey (in his Preface 
to Pick's "Worterbuch der Indogermanischen Grund- 
sprache " (" Dictionary of the Original Indo-Germanic 



Language"), in describing the high stage of culture 
which the ancient Indo-Europeans must have reached, 
says, " They had weapons, especially arrows ; they 
painted and composed poetry, especially hymns." The 
word on which the inference respecting arrows is based 
can be none other than the Greek ios, " arrow," which 
is nearly related to the Sanskrit isdius. But if arrows 
were certainly known to the Greeks and Hindoos at 
the time when they were still united, does it follow 
hence that they must have been known to the actual 
primitive people which, among others, comprised the 
ancestors of the Teutons as well ? It is, indeed, for 
many reasons very probable that the Greeks, though not 
so nearly related to the Indians and Persians as these 
are to each other, are yet pre-eminently so, and must 
have been longer united with them than the Teutonic 
and Gallic, probably even than the Italic tribes. 
Now in none of the languages which, accordingly, are 
more distantly related to Sanskrit than is the Greek 
language, is there a word for " arrow " comparable to the 
word ischus to be met with ; on the contrary, each branch 
of the Indo-European family uses a special word for 
'' arrow" as well as for "bow." The Eomans, e.g., say for 
bow and arrow, arcus and sagitta; the Eussians, luh and 
stryela ; while for sword, e.g., there is found among the 
Hindoos asis, and among the Romans ensis, i.e., a 
common appellation. We must, therefore, conversely 
conclude that the primitive Indo-European people did 
not know the bow. Our word Bogen (bow) signified 
in the earliest times the bow of the arm, the elbow 


(Sanskrit, hdhus ; Greek, pechys). As to the painting 
of the Indo-Europeans, we shall soon return to it. 
These observations likewise apply to the hymns. How- 
ever great the probability that the people in ques- 
tion may not have been wholly destitute of hymns, we 
have no linguistic evidence of it : for a similar reason, 
liymnos, of which Benfey thinks, proves nothing. 

As is evident, therefore, it is necessary somewhat to 
modify our conception of the primitive Indo-European 
people. We must, in fact, not think of one such, but 
of several succeeding each other in strata. One of the 
latest strata is represented by the time when Indians 
and Persians still formed one people, and which may 
be called the Aryan period. An older stratum shows 
us the time when the Aryan people was united with 
the Greeks. Let us call this the Aryo-Hellenic period. 
A good deal of what has been thought to belong to the 
Indo-Europeans collectively is merely Aryo-Hellenic. 
The Aryo-Hellenes were a highly cultivated people in 
a quite different sense from the Indo-Europeans. They 
had real, doubtless sacerdotal, poetry in well-developed 
regular metres. As regards that period, we shall yet 
one day succeed in placing it in a clear, weU-nigh his- 
torical light. 

With the question as to the people, that as to its 
original seat likewise assumes a different aspect. 
After abandoning the Indian hypothesis, the Aryan 
region, the home of the still undivided Hindoos and 
Persians, the north-west of India was assumed to be 
the cradle of all the Indo-Europeans, Prom here the 


kindred peoples, one after another, must have migrated. 
Hindoos and Iranians, with their numerous rami- 
fications, remained behind last, and finally separated, 
the former migrating eastwards, the latter westwards. 
Latham presupposes an Indo-European population in 
Europe, to which the Indians likewise once belonged. 
He endeavours to determine the seats which the Indians 
occupied on European soil, and assumes, by way of 
hypothesis, Podolia or Volhynia to have been such, 
guided in this assumption by a certainly one-sided 
conception of a specially close relationship between 
Sanskrit and Lithuanic. Benfey very appropriately 
adduces for a primeval European home the absence of 
a community of names for the specially Asiatic animals, 
such as the tiger and the camel, for instance. Pictet, in 
his excellent work above quoted, had already employed 
the same method, and attempted, from an abundant 
stock of like and unlike designations of natural objects, 
to conclude to the country to which the objects named 
by an identical or similar word refer. Thus, for in- 
stance, from the manifest identity of Slavonic, Latin, 
and German words for Meer (ocean, sea) among each 
other and with the Sanskrit mira (ocean), he, equally 
with Benfey, infers that the Indo-Europeans of primi- 
tive times must have known some sea. He takes it to 
be the Caspian, and places the original home of the 
Indo-Europeans in Bactria and the valley of the Oxus. 
If we consider that the Aryo- Hellenes may have 
become isolated by their own migration, as well as by 
the emigration of- their brethren, and bear in mind that 


for this very reason the abode of the Aryo-Hellenes, 
previous to the formation of a separate Greek people, 
need not have been the primitive seat of the Indo- 
Europeans, we shall have to deal with the materials 
from which linguistic inferences are to be drawn 
touching the original home of the Indo-Europeans, in 
the same way as with the inferences concerning their 
stage of culture and mode of life. Peoples and lan- 
guages do not originate by fits and starts, nor are the 
migrations which have created the chief branches of 
the Indo-European world of peoples to be understood 
as sudden, fitful, or violent breakings up. In a great 
many instances the spreading doubtless goes on gra- 
dually, and equally so does the estrangement, and with 
it the marked linguistic divergence. Hence the first 
starting-point of the whole movement is perhaps more 
easily to be discovered than are the intermediate 
stages. Now for this first starting-point or the original 
home of the Indo-Europeans we have a tolerably good 
guide in the tree vegetation, such as it is exhibited in 
languages which have been separated so long as Ger- 
man and Sanskrit or German and Greek. Here three 
trees especially are prominent, which must have re- 
ceived their names at one and the same time, and 
must therefore have been found together in the region 
where they were named, viz., the hirck, the heech, and 
the oak. 

The hirch, as is well known, is that tree whose name 
recurs with the most decided uniformity in India and 
the greater part of Europe. It is called in Sanskrit 


hh'^rdschas, in Lithuanic hennas, in Eussian hereza. 
The Lithuanic z sounds like a French j ; in the Eus- 
sian word, which, through Berezina, -i.e., birchwood, has 
acquired so terrible a celebrity, z is pronounced like in 
Trench as a soft s. We can account for the slightest 
phonetic divergence by which this name is distin- 
guished from our Birkc (birch). The ancient Indo- 
European form must have been hhergds. The short e 
is an unaccented, vaguely pronounced vowel, which in 
German developed into i, in Sanskrit into u. In a 
still earlier time the word doubtless sounded hhargas. 
The permutation of the original g into a German k 
ensued legitimately according to Grimm's law; the 
transitions into dsch in Sanskrit and into soft s in 
Eussian are not more striking than is, for instance, 
the pronunciation of Ct/7^us (Italian Ciro, " Tchiro" 
French Cyrus) for Kurush. That the Ih had to be 
transmuted in German, Lithuanic, and Eussian into h 
is also quite according to rule. 

What did the name of the birch signify for the an- 
cient Indo-Europeans ? The conception which may 
have guided so early a time in naming trees is in itself 
decidedly interesting, and in this instance the nomen- 
clature has an additional and quite peculiar interest. 
Grimm declines to explain the word birch. He says " the 
root is entirely hidden in the dark." Pictet assumes 
an affinity to Borke (bark), and this explanation is 
no doubt very satisfactory as a matter of fact, for 
birch-bark was already at an early age used in many 
ways, among others, in India, as Pictet himself men- 


tions, for writing purposes. Nevertlieless I hold myself 
bound to derive the name of the Birke, (birch) from 
its colour. The Birhhuhn (grouse or moorhen) is 
usually conceived to be a fowl living in birch forests 
and feeding on birch buds. But apart from the fact 
that this is not the bird's only mode of life, and that 
it is even found in the treeless steppes of Southern 
Kussia (whereat Kohl, misled by the name of the bird, 
was not a little astonished), how are we in that case to 
understand Birkfuchs (common fox) ? But tree, bird, 
and fox have plainly something in common. The 
Birkfuchs is a fox with a white spot {Blume ; cf. my 
work just published, " Ursprung der Sprache " [" On 
the Origin of Language "], page 243) , as contradistin- 
guished from a Brandfuchs {Canis alojpex), which has a 
black spot. The grouse has whitish spots, and so has 
birch-bark. HaselhuJm (hazel-grouse), too, is gene- 
rally derived from the hazel-nut tree. But the Eng- 
lish haze means " grey," and doubtless not only hazel 
means a grey plant, but even Hase (hare) means nothing 
more and nothing less than the " grey one." Hence 
perhaps, too, the Haselmaus (dormouse) is called so 
from likewise being of ash-grey colour. The latter 
analogy also favours the assumption that the syllable 
Birk (birch) was not only intended to designate birch- 
like hues, but that its primary meaning already was 
white or spotted with light marks ; and there is a root 
admitting of ready comparison in the Sanskrit hharg, 
German hreh or lerh, signifying light and light colour 
(bright), and whence, too, Bertha, for instance, ^.e., 


Berchta, the Iriglit one, is derived. Accordingly, Birke 
would imply " the white one," and the scientific appel- 
lation which the tree to this day bears, Betula alha, 
would lie already in its primitive name. The letula is 
called by Pliny a Gallic tree. In fact, the Keltic name 
of the birch is heith: and thousjh diverg^inor, it mioht 
have been derived from the same primary form as 
Birke, in which case betula would likewise already 
signify alha. In support of this supposed primary 
sense of " white," I can adduce the following additional 
argument. The Eomans, not wanting the name of the 
birch for their native vegetation, made use of it in 
another way. In fraxinus, the name of the ash (French 
frene), the affinity to birch has long since been recog- 
nised. Now the ash happens to have the whitish hue 
in common with the birch. Nay, more, the word " ash " 
(German Esche) itself likewise means "white." The 
corresponding Kussian word is yaseny, "ash," from yascrij 
" clear." With this Eussian word not only ash (old High 
German asc), but probably too the Latin ormis, wild 
ash, manna ash, in which the r may have originated in 
s, is connected. 

No one can fail to recognise the Buche (beech) in the 
'Latm fagus. In German, u has its origin in long a, as 
in Mutter (mother), Bruder (brother), &c. B corre- 
sponds quite according to rule to the Latin /, and 
German ch to the Latin g. Equally unmistakable is 
the affinity of the Greek phegos. But — and this is a 
much-discussed singularity — the Greek word does not 
signify " beech," but a species of oak. The common 


property which rendered it possible to employ a name 
of the beech for that of an oak has been supposed by 
some to be the eatableness of the fruit of each — the 
acorns of the one, and those of the other, called beech 
acorns — and accordingly they explained " beech " by 
the Greek ephagon^ " I ate." For my own part, I am of 
opinion that we have here an instance analogous to 
the transfer of the name of the birch to the ash. It 
was the darker bark, as there the light one, which 
yielded the point of comparison. I appeal here, as I 
did above, to the Buchmaus or Bilchmaus (fat dormouse, 
Mus glis), or garden squirrel, to the Buchfinken (chaf- 
finch), i.e.y redfinch, and to Buchwaizeii (buckwheat), 
though these names admit of other explanations besides 
tliis, and would remind the reader of the Greek phaios, 
"grey." For the rest, the primary form of Buche 
(beech), which must have been hhdga, strikingly re- 
sembles that of Birhe (birch), hliarga, and this can 
scarcely be accidental when we consider that in Keltic 
too the beech is called heath, and the birch heith. In 
order to comprehend the considerable divergence of 
our modern High German forms, it has to be remem- 
bered that rg, as a rule, is converted in that dialect 
into rh, e.g., the Greek ergon (originally vergon), Ger- 
man Werk (work) ; while in general g becomes cJi, e.g., 
ego, ich (I).^ Now, is it not remarkable that not only 

^ The English form, "beech," strictly speaking, corresponds to our 
Biiche. A word accurately corresponding to Buche would preserve the k 
in the same way as does " book," Buck. As here, so in birch too the 
vowel is the cause of the permutation of the h into ch, while, e.g. , the 
BorJce is bark. 


Esclie (ash), but even Eiclie (oak) should be formed 
quite in the same way ? And as the ch in Escke, being 
a permutation of ^, seems to be a mere derivative 
which is wanting in the Kussian form of the word, 
may we not conclude that in Buche, Birhe, and Eiche, 
too, hha, hilar, and ai only form the roots ? For this 
reason I also surmise that the origin of those names 
of the trees belongs to one and the same period, such 
being generally the case with words formed according to 
quite the same rule. The root ai, too, which, after the 
deduction of the formative syllable, would be left of 
Eiche, seems to imply a colour, viz., hlack. In Greek 
we meet with the name aigilops for a species of oak ; 
another name of a tree is hrataigos ; finally, aigeiros 
is the black poplar. In Lithuanic the oak is called 
azolas, auzolas, or uzolas. I have elsewhere endea- 
voured to render it probable that the syllable Ei in 
Eisen (iron), too, signifies black, and is connected with 
a Sanskrit adjective meaning " coloured." 

What may have made the Greeks transfer the name 
of the beech to the oak ? This question has led Pro- 
fessor Max Mtiller to very ingenious though extremely 
hazardous conjectures. He first draws attention to a 
similar transfer of the name of our Fohre (fir), com- 
paring it with the Latin quercus (oak). Let us hear 
the illustrious linguist himself on the subject. 

" At first sight," he says, " the English word Jir does 
not look very like the Latin quercus, yet it is the same 
word. If we trace fir back to Anglo-Saxon, we find 
it there under the form of furh. According to Grimm's 


law, / points to p,li to k ; so that in Latin we should 
have to look for a word the consonantal skeleton of 
which might be represented as pre. Guttural and 
labial tenues change, and as Anglo-Saxon fif points 
to quinque, so furh leads to Latin quercus, ' oak.' In 
old High German, foraha is Pinus silvestris ; in modern 
German, Fohre has the same meaning. But in a pas- 
sage quoted from the Lombard laws of Eothar, /ere^a, 
evidently the same word, is mentioned as a name of 
oak (roborem aut quercum quod est fereha) ; and 
Grimm in his 'Dictionary of the German Language' 
gives ferch in the sense of oak, blood, life. 

" It would be easy enough to account for a change 
of meaning from fir, or oak, or beech to tree in general, 
or vice versa. We find the Sanskrit dru, ' wood ' (cf. 
druma, 'tree,' ddru, 'log'), the Gothic triu, 'tree,' 
used in Greek chiefly in the sense of oak, drys. The 
Irish darachf Welsh deriv, mean oak, and oak only. 
But what has to be explained here is the change of 
meaning from fir to oak and from oak to beech, i.e., 
from one particular tree to another particular tree. 
While considering these curious changes, I happened 
to read Sir Charles Lyell's new work, ' The Antiquity 
of Man,' and I was much struck by the following 
passage, p. 8, seq. : — 

" * The deposits of peat in Denmark, varying in depth 
from ten to thirty feet, have been formed in hollows 
or depressions in the Northern drift or boulder forma- 
tions hereafter to be described. The lowest stratum, 
two or three feet thick, consists of swamp peat, com- 


posed cliiefly of moss or sphagnum, above which lies 
another growth of peat, not made up exclusively of 
aquatic or swamp plants. Around the borders of the 
bogs, and at various depths in them, lie trunks of 
trees, especially of the Scotch fir (Pinus silvestris), often 
three feet in diameter, which must have grown on the 
margin of the peat mosses, and have frequently fallen 
into them. This tree is not now, nor has ever been in 
historical times, a native of the Danish islands, and when 
introduced there has not thriven ; yet it was evidently 
indigenous in the human period, for Steenstrup has 
taken out with his own hands a flint instrument from 
below a buried trunk of one of these pines. It appears 
clear that the same Scotch fir was afterwards sup- 
planted by the sessile variety of the common oak, of 
w^hich many prostrate trunks occur in the peat at 
higher levels than the pines; and still higher the 
pedunculated variety of the same oak (Quercus rohur, 
L.) occurs with the alder, birch (Betula verrucosa, Wirh.), 
and hazel. The oak has in its turn been almost super- 
seded in Denmark by the common beech.' " — Lectures 
on the Science of Language, second series, London, Long- 
mans, 1864, p. 222 ff. 

The conclusion which Max Miiller arrives at in 
this way he expresses as follows : — " The fact that 
jpihegds in Greek means oak, and oak only, while 
fagus in Latin, hoka in Gothic, mean 'beech,' re- 
quires surely an explanation; and until a better one 
can be given, I venture to suggest that Teutonic and 
Italic Aryans witnessed the transition of the oak 


period into the beecli period, of the bronze age into 
the iron age, and that while the Greeks retained 
phegds in its original sense, the Teutonic and Italian 
colonists transferred the name, as an appellative, to 
the new forests that were springing up in their wild 
homes" {ibid., p. 235). 

Max Muller does not himself overlook the diffi- 
culties involved in this calling in aid of the geo- 
logical periods for the explanation of the changes 
in the meaning of some words. And, indeed, his 
conjecture, as we shall presently see, is untenable. 
The supersedure of the oak by the beech is noto- 
riously neither ah isolated occurrence in Denmark 
nor a merely antediluvian one, or even altogether 
an accomplished fact. It is a slow, but, it would 
seem, irresistible process, observed in the latter cen- 
turies, and still going on in Germany and France. 
The beech, which thrives in the shade, and, at the 
same time, is capable, as Vaupell and Heyer have 
shown, of depriving of light, by overshadowing, trees 
requiring it, and thus bringing them to decay, dis- 
places by virtue of these properties, step by step, 
not only the oak, but, to a still greater extent, the 
birch and pine from our woods, and finally supersedes 
them. When Caesar crossed over to Britain he did not 
yet find the beech there. In the Dutch peat-bogs on 
the frontiers of East Frisia stupendous wooden bridges 
were discovered in 1 8 1 8, which were traced back to the 
expeditions of Germanicus in the first Christian cen- 
tury. Among the trees which had been used for these 
-bridges, pine and birch are found in great -number, 


but never beech. Here, tben, we have historical, and 
not even so very remote, periods when the beech 
had not yet pushed its way into countries where at 
present it is quite common. In Normandy, where 
now beech forests occur more frequently than in any 
other province of France, and where, on the other 
hand, the pine forms, at least, no natural forests, 
the submarine forests of the coasts exhibit pine, oak, 
birch, elm, and hazel, but no beech. Whereas the 
latter occurs as a fossil in the Holstein moors. 

As may be seen, we have not here to deal with 
contrasts of sharply defined geological periods, but 
with diffusion, migration, and gradual increase. The 
beech spreads from a point of Europe which must 
evidently have been situated more to the south than 
the coasts of the Baltic and the German Ocean, and 
more to the west than the Prussian Baltic provinces, 
which to this day are chiefly covered with pine and 
birch. Is the change in the meaning of its Indo- 
European name connected with this migration? In 
other words, did the beech come to the Indo-Europeans 
and usurp the name of the oak in the same way as 
it usurped the soil of their forests ? 

A simple consideration will clear up the matter 
for us. " Oak " cannot at first have been the mean- 
ing of beech, — " beech " is its genuine and primary 
signification. Eor the Eomans agree with the Teutons 
in the use of the word, and only the Greeks use it 
in the form of ;plieg6s as a name for a species of oak. 
The divergence from its original use must therefore 
undoubtedly be looked for among the Greeks; a 


common and uniform divergence on the part of the 
Eomans and Teutons would be quite inexplicable. 
With this the whole analogy to the palseontological 
periods falls to the ground of itself, and the question 
as to the connection of the change of name with the 
migration of the beech must likewise be negatived. 
Not that the beech came to the Indo-Europeans, nay, 
not even the Indo-Europeans coming to the beech, 
is the cause of the vacillation to be observed in the 
words between beech and oak. We have here quite 
an identical instance with the above-mentioned trans- 
fer of the name of the birch to the ash in the Latin 
fraximis. Both, it appears to me, admit of only one 
interpretation. The Romans, or rather their near 
Italic kindred and ancestors, populated Italy from 
the North, and therewith the birch disappeared from 
their view; the Greeks, advancing still farther to 
the South, now no longer required the old name for 
the beech. In the conception of the Italics the birch 
was superseded by the ash, which, from its whitish 
hue, reminded them of it, and for the Greeks a similar 
oak took the place of the beech. 

As to the comparison of quercus with Folire, it is 
for this very reason less safe, because in Old High 
German by the side of foraliaj Fohre, another word, 
feraha, likewise occurs with the meaning of oak. The 
intermediate form jpercuSy which must be assumed 
between quercus and feraha, points to the Greek perJcos, 
"blackish." The great part which colour plays in 
the nomenclature of trees reminds us of a similar one 


in the still older nomenclature of animals, and testifies 
to what a high degree man is an animal guided by 
the eye, and how everywhere language and reason 
grew up for him through his sight. Do we not even 
to this day see names of colours used with predilec- 
tion in the names of trees by way of more accurate 
distinction, such as red beech, black poplar, white 
fir, or in Black Forest and the like? The common 
and connecting sense of Folire and "oak" would 
accordingly be "black tree," not tree in general. 
Here, too, let me add that the succession of mean- 
ings assumed by Max Muller will probably have to be 
reversed. Oak is the original notion common to Eomans 
and Germans, Fohre only the Teutonic idea. Provided 
the names are connected, only a partial migration 
of a tribe from an oak area into one of fir can have 
been the cause of the transfer. We meet with a 
quite similar instance of such a transfer : the above- 
mentioned drys, tree and oak, occurs in Lithuanic in 
the form of derwa for " pinewood," " resinous wood." 

That the jpine was known to the Indo-Europeans 
before their separation appears from its name, which 
is to be met with among the Greeks, Lithuanics, and 
Eomans, as well as in Germany. In addition, they 
knew the willow, ash, alder, and hazel, but hardly 
any real fruit-tree ; at most, perhaps, a kind of primi- 
tive apple. This, together with the demonstrable 
history of the beech, requires us to confine its home 
within somewhat narrow boundaries. The oak pre- 
ponderated, as the use of the general word " tree " for 


" oak " among Greeks and Kelts seems to prove. The 
birch, too, must have had the power of vividly im- 
pressing the imagination to have been able to preserve 
its name almost unchanged to this day among people 
of such different regions; but the beech could not 
be greatly inferior to it, since its name was formed 
about the same time and in a similar way. Consider- 
ing that about the beginning of the Christian era the 
beech had not yet advanced into Holland and Eng- 
land, and had in the primitive Indo-European time 
probably extended even far less northward, we must, 
I presume, proceed southward into the undisputed 
ancient area of that tree, which, as regards Germany, 
. would take us about as far as the Thuringian Forest. 
As regards grain-fruit, it is an established fact that 
in primitive times harley was known to the Indo- 
Europeans. But their knowledge of wheat isjin the 
very highest degree improbable. The Greek zea, 
" spelt," it is true, agrees with the Sanskrit and Zend 
javas; but this happens to be barley, and the deriva- 
tive javasa means herbage for fodder, the Lithuanic 
Jawas generally corn. Among the Ossets in the 
Caucasus jau is millet. Of the highest importance, 
on the contrary, is the acquaintance with rye on 
the part of the Indo-Europeans, and the remarkable 
divergence in the meaning of this name in their pre- 
sent various abodes. By means of Grimm's and 
Pictet's comparisons it has been ascertained that the 
Sanskrit word vHhi, " rice," is in reality identical with 
Eoggen, "rye," Lithuanic ruggys, Kussian rosh, and 


that the significations fluctuate between the two kinds 
of grain according to the climatic variation. Our 
word RdsSy "rice," is, in the first instance, derived 
from the French riz ; this from the Greek oryza, which 
in its turn must have been borrowed from the Persian 
word for the Indian vrihi. Heiss, therefore, is a word 
of foreign origin. That, however, not only Slavonians, 
Lithuanians, and Germans participated in the meaning 
"rye," but that even the ancient Thracians had the 
word hriza for it, is a most remarkable circumstance, 
to which I shall return in the sequel, and which proves 
that the meaning of " rice " was merely Indo-Persian, 
and " rye " the real primary signification. An area in 
which rye and barley, and not also wheat, thrive, is, 
perhaps, to be found only in Northern Europe; but 
with reference to a very early time we must, doubt- 
less, exclude even a somewhat more southerly zone 
from the culture of wheat. 

Before I quit this line of argument, by which I am 
endeavouring to establish my proposition on botanical 
grounds, and pass on to another series of arguments, 
I must mention a plant which has escaped both Pictet 
and the author of the "Worterbuch der Indogerma- 
nischen Grundsprache " ("Dictionary of the Original 
Indo-Germanic Language"), and the occurrence of which 
among the primitive Indo-Europeans may, for various 
reasons, claim a high share of interest on our part. It 
is the woad, a genuine European dye- weed, which, in 
more recent times, owing to the importation of indigo, 
has in a great measure lost its importance. The word 


is of ancient Indo-European origin ; and though, for 
intelligible reasons, it is not to be met with in Sanskrit, 
the Greek, Latin, and German forms are sufficient evi- 
dence of the fact. In Greek, the name of the plant 
is isatis or isate ; in Latin, vitrum. Its real name in 
Greek, however, must have been visafAs, and, as hap- 
pened in all the words in which the v occurred, it must 
have lost this sound. The German Waid is derived 
from waisd, as the medieval Latin forms waisda, wesdia, 
guaisdium, old French giiesde, now guede, show. Accord- 
ingly we shall have to assume that vitrum too comes 
from vistrum. The Gauls called the plant glastum or 
guastum. Glas signifies in the Keltic languages blue, 
green, grey; and the striking agreement of this glas 
with our Glas (glass), while the Latin mtrum signifies 
both woad and glass, has been already explained very 
correctly by Diefenbach in such a way that both objects 
may have received their names from their bluish colour. 
We must here remember that glass was originally by 
no means colourless ; the earliest was probably green. 
The leaves of the woad plant (provided these, not per- 
haps the sap, were regarded in giving it a name) are 
likewise light blue-green, and the syllable vis must in 
the first instance have signified to the Indo-Europeans 
the green colour, which, however, was not sharply dis- 
tinguished either from the blue or from the grey. To 
compare with it the Latin viridis, green, does not cause 
the least etymological difficulty : idis is a termination 
which is generally idus, and as such occurs in many 
adjectives descriptive of colours, e.g., jpallidus, pale. 


That s between vowels in Latin often changes into r 
is a well-known fact; the root of viridis then is vis. 
But now, at a somewhat later period, blue objects too 
were designated by words from this root, especially 
some flowers. It is more than probable that the Greek 
name of the violet, ion, is derived from vion, and this 
again from vison. The Eomans formed viola out of vion 
by appending a diminutive syllable ; and from the Latin 
word again our Veilchen (violet) is derived. The Hin- 
doos designated another blue flower by the same name, 
visha -pushpa, the " visa - flower " (for sh occurs here, 
according to a well-known phonetic law in Sanscrit, 
instead of s). Visini, too, is the blue lotos. On the 
other hand, vishada is green vitriol, which reminds us 
that our Vitriol too is equally derived from the above- 
mentioned Latin vitrum. But originally visa signified 
every turbid fluid ; hence visha in Sanskrit, virus in 
Latin, ios in Greek, mean poison, venom, drivel. The 
Greek word also implies rust, which the language con- 
ceives as dirt. From the notion of " turbid fluid " the 
word was transferred to the " dyeing fluid," which at 
first needed not necessarily be green or blue : in Sans- 
krit vigada even means " white." 

The foregoing deductions may perhaps appear too 
minute, but connected as they are with the question 
as to how far the primitive age already distinguished 
blue from green, they could not well be passed over. 
But what may have inspired the Indo-Europeans at 
that remote period with such a lively interest in the 
woad plant to make use of a colour-term, otherwise 


scarcely familiar to them, for its appellation ? No other 
plant besides bearing a name in common with it from 
the root vis, the woad must have been the real " blue 
flower" of the primitive time, the prototype of the 
violet and lotos flower. Now, was it perhaps the 
"paintings" of the Indo-Europeans which made the 
woad plant important to them, or did they already, 
like classical antiquity, dye their woollen stuffs with 
it ? An interesting fact which several ancient writers 
report to us leaves no doubt on the subject. It con- 
cerns the Britons. Caesar, Pliny, and Pomponius Mela 
testify to us that it was their own body which the 
ancient Britons used to paint with woad. According 
to Pliny, " the British women, on certain festive days, 
used to paint the whole body with Gallic glastum, imi- 
tating the colour of the Ethiopians." Caesar says " all 
the Britons painted themselves blue (cseruleum) with 
woad {vitro), and they looked all the more terrible for it 
in battle." Pomponius says "it is uncertain whether 
the Britons painted their bodies with woad for the pur- 
pose of ornament or for some other reason." If this 
British custom, which was doubtless a religious rite, 
presents a wonderful parallel to that of the Indians in 
the New World, reliable testimonies are not lacking 
that the Britons regularly tattooed themselves. In 
the same way as this practice recurs on the whole 
earth, they drew figures on their skins by needle-pricks, 
which were then painted over with a dye (atramento) 
(Isidorus, Hisp. Or. ix. 2., 103, and xx. See Dief en- 
bach, Orig. eur. s. v. Britones). Herodian states they did 


not clothe themselves on purpose to let the figures on 
the skin be seen, and wore scarcely anything but iron 
hoops round the neck and body. According to Csesar, 
however, they clothed themselves in skins of animals. 
Petersen has recently directed attention to reports 
about cannibalism in Britain so late as in the fifth 
century of the Christian era. On comparing the bar- 
barous condition of those earliest Indo-European inhabi- 
tants of the British Isles with the comparatively great 
culture of their near relatives, the Gauls, it is impos- 
sible to account for that condition by a retrogression. 
Supposing the Kelts populating Britain had found there 
non-Indo-European savage aborigines, yet the influence 
of these on a superior people would nevertheless not 
have sufficed to depress it to their low level, any more 
than it gave up its language. On the other hand, it is 
well known that the first cause of all cultural progress 
of the Gauls was the establishment of the Greek colony 
at Marseilles about 600 before Christ. 

It is truly astonishing how from every spot on which 
a Greek foot stepped culture spread abroad. The Gauls 
owed to Greek influence the start they had of the Teu- 
tons throughout ancient times. The Gauls learned 
from the Greeks the alphabet, and in their turn taught 
it to the Teutons, whose Eunes have thus originated ; and 
altogether the civilisation of the Teutons increased in 
proportion as they intercommunicated with the Gauls. 
Subsequently the Gauls eagerly received Eoman culture, 
and the influence, not always rated at its proper value, 
which France of old, and nearly at all times, exercised 


on German literature, science, and mode of life, is due 
to her early and unbroken connection with ancient 
Southern culture. What, however, was the condition 
of the Kelts before their contact with these civilising 
influences, that of the Britons evidently represents in 
the most unadulterated manner, though even here some 
deductions will have to be made, as the intercourse with 
the Kelts of the Continent continued brisk, and accord- 
ing to Caesar, e.g.^ besides iron, brass served as money, 
though the latter metal was not indigenous in the 
island, but imported. As to the climate, in Britain it 
was not of a nature from which one might expect a 
brutalising influence ; on the contrary, it was milder 
there than in Gaul, which was in bad repute among 
the Eomans for its cold. Evidently the barbarous 
inhabitants of Britain present to us the original stage 
of Keltic culture, and we shall certainly not be inclined 
to presuppose in these savage Kelts a highly civilised 
Aryan people, which, on its farther migrations, was 
degraded to the level of tattooed savages, but surely 
deem it more probable that it is the wholly unmodified, 
most embryonic forms of the Indo-European nature 
which we find left here in the North. And if the 
above-mentioned fair-skinned man represented in the 
tomb-chambers of King Sethos is really an Indo-Euro- 
pean, and, in that case, of course, by far the earliest 
Indo-European individual we know of, his representa- 
tion quite agrees with such conceptions, seeing that he 
is likewise tattooed. To all appearance the Britons 
emigrated at a very early date from Gaul to their 


island, and most faithfully preserved the character of 
their native stock on the primitive level which it occu- 
pied at the time of their emigration. This opinion is 
favoured by the religious importance which Britain, 
according to Caesar's statement, had for the Gauls of 
the Continent, who sent their sons to the Druidical 
school there, where they had to learn many thousands 
of holy verses ; a circumstance which is scarcely con- 
ceivable without an ancient venerable seat of the priest- 
hood; nay, which might even permit us to conclude 
to re-immigrated British colonies into Gaul, who con- 
sidered the intercourse with the British Druids as a 
connection with their original home. 

The presumption that the primitive Indo-European 
stock was of Northern origin is likewise in perfect 
agreement with what language reveals to us as to the 
climatic conditions. The common vocabulary shows 
us snow and ice, winter and spring, but not summer 
and autumn. The deep and permanent impression 
which the cold of the winter must have made on that 
people has not escaped Pictet. For this reason, too, 
he chooses among the Southern countries, where he con- 
siders himself bound to place that stock, the coldest and 
bleakest. But this is evidently inconsistent ; and if we 
consider the matter without prejudice, we must not, in 
the first instance, think of a cold climate that owes its 
nature to its mountains or some local accident, but of 
a IN'orthern one. Pictet mentions the three seasons, 
spring, summer, and winter, known by the Vedic 
Hindoos, and also quotes Tacitus' statement that the 


Germans had ideas and words {intelledum et vocahula) 
for winter, spring, and summer, but that the name of 
autumn was as unknown to them as its gifts. By 
reason of this remarkable passage alone I presume we 
may say : If the home of the primitive Indo-Europeans 
was not Germany, it must, at least, as regards the 
temperature and impression of the seasons, have fully 
resembled the Germany as Tacitus still knew it. The 
assumption of a temperate but still frosty climate agrees 
also with the poverty of the Indo-European languages 
in common names for insects. Thus the spider, for 
instance, has no ancient name (unless we would com- 
pare together the Eussian pauk and the Cymrian copyn, 
Anglo-Saxon coppa, English cob; for aranea is only 
borrowed from the Greek arachne), and the bug, too, 
spared those patriarchs of Europe. Ants, gadflies, and 
gnats were extant among them. The mammalia which 
they indubitably knew are the ox, sheep, pig, horse, 
stag, and dog; the bear, wolf, mouse, badger (Greek 
trochos), and probably the fox too. That they were 
not acquainted with the jackal is tolerably certain. 
The heaver and the viverra, of which latter word it is 
difficult to decide if it originally meant the martin, 
ferret, weasel, or squirrel, are also interesting. The 
Greeks, among whom it signifies squirrel, have cor- 
rupted the name into sJciuros, which seems to imply 
" shadow-tail." This is only a specimen of the well- 
known word - disfigurement by popular etymology, 
which has peculiarly affected this word. In passing on 
from Greek to Latin and then to French it assumed 



the forms sciurulus, dcureuil, and the French form has 
given birth to our Eiclihorn, as well as to a series of 
other disfigurements already met with in the old Teu- 
tonic dialects. Of our word Katze (cat) it is not certain 
either if it was not used for weasel, in the same way as 
felis vacillates between the same double meaning. The 
earliest form of Katze is most faithfully preserved in 
the Ossetic gado, and this is probably identical with 
the Greek galee, weasel or cat. Among the species of 
birds, which to all appearance were numerous, let me 
mention only, by way of selecting those about which 
we are most certain, the vulture, the raven, the starling, 
the wild goose, and the duck ; the pigeon was most 
likely not known. There existed a general word for 
worm, and equally so one for serpent. The otter and 
the eel were known, but no other name of a fish seems 
to be found, nor any common word for shell. There is 
no denying that a consideration of this circumstance 
must tend considerably to shake the assumption that 
the primitive Indo-Europeans were familiar with the 
sea. The mere existence of a word for sea cannot 
by any means prove such familiarity, as any inland 
people of some degree of activity, and not living 
wholly excluded from intercourse with the outer 
world, must come to hear something of the existence 
of the sea. To this must be added that the Indo- 
Europeans have not even an expression properly and 
exclusively signifying the sea. Meer (sea) not only 
means also lake, but, moreover, even moor, morass. 
Nor does there exist an ancient Indo-European word for 


"salt." In the words for " wave" all the branches of lan- 
guage differ. The Bund, (sound) of the northern seas 
reappears in Sanskrit as smc^Aw (stream), and has there 
become the proper name of the Indus, and for us, after 
the example of the Persians, even that of India. Even 
for the oyster the inhabitants of the coasts of the 
German Ocean had to borrow a Greek name. Finally^ 
the primitive Indo-Europeans in their navigation used 
the oar indeed, but no sails; and yet, if they had 
lived by the sea, these could hardly have remained 
unknown to them. Of metals they knew gold; far 
less certain are we as to silver in the earliest time. 
Their acquaintance with iron is scarcely to be doubted, 
as the agreement between the German, Sanskrit, and 
Zend here speaks quite plainly ; but I doubt whether 
they knew brass or copper, for the agreement between 
the Latin ces and the Gothic ais may easily arise from 
the Goths having borrowed the Latin word; and the 
Greek clwdkos means, indeed, in Homer copper, and not 
till Pindar also iron. But as a cognate word in Eussian 
means only iron, and the Greek chalkis is also the 
name of a hlacJc bird, I stiU think iron to be the older 
notion, which was only subsequently transferred to 
another metal. Other metals than gold and iron, and 
perhaps silver and brass, were not known to the primi- 
tive Indo-Europeans; nor were they acquainted with 
precious stones or pearls. 

I must here break off, reserving a farther series of 
arguments for a later dissertation. If what I have 
hitherto brought forward should let the proposition 


that the primitive Indo-European people had its home 
in Germany still appear hypothetical — if, perhaps, we 
should not succeed at all in attaining absolute certainty 
on so difficult a question — I beg, on the other hand, 
the reader may calmly consider what arguments are 
really extant in favour of the conception hitherto 
current, and that, at the worst, hypothesis would only 
be opposed to hypothesis. At first the source of the 
mighty stream of peoples that poured down over half 
a world was looked for on the remote south-eastern 
frontier, and then, urged by weighty arguments, it was 
moved back only as far as was indispensably necessary. 
But as no point of the earth in this respect has any 
right of being preferred to another, a compromise is 
in no way better than a totally opposite view. Mean- 
while only one of the two opposite hypotheses is sup- 
ported by arguments; for as to the migration from the 
east, no evidence has ever been adduced in its favour. 
He, therefore, that eschews hypotheses must at least be 
just, and be satisfied not to know aught on the present 
question. But if he is inclined to give the preference 
to either hypothesis, I believe he will have to give it 
to that which is comparatively best established, even 
though the arguments should not yet suffice for a final 





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F. Stenzler, Ph.D,, Prof, of Oriental Languages in the University of Breslau. 

Svo, pp. iv. and 78, cloth. 1876. 4s, 6d. 
Vol. III. VaitAna Sutra : The Ritual of the Athara^a Veda. Edited, with 

Critical Notes and Indices, by Dr. R. Garbe. Svo, pp. viii, and 120, sewed. 

1878. 5s. 
Vol.I V, — Vardhamana's Ganaratnamahodadht, with the Author's Commentary. 

Edited, with Critical Notes and Indices, by Julius Eggeling, Pli.D. Part I., 

Svo, pp. xii. -240, wrapper. 1879. 6s. 

AUGIER.— Diane. A Drama in Verse. By Emile Augier, Edited with English 
Notes and Notice on Augier, By Theodore Karcher, LL,B., of tlie Royal Military 
Academy and the University of London. 12mo, pp. xiii, and 146, cloth. 1867. 
2s. 6d. 

AUSTIN. — A Practical Treatise on the Preparation, Combination, and Applica- 
tion of Calcareous and Hydraulic Limes and Cements. To which is added many 
useful Recipes for various Scientific, Mercantile, and Domestic Purposes. By 
James G. Austin, Architect. 12nio, pp. 192, cloth. 1832. 5s. 

AXON, — The Mechanic's Friend. A collection of Receipts and Practical Sug- 
gestions relating to Aquaria, Bronzing, Cements, Drawing, Dyes, Electricity, 
Gilding, Glass- working. Glues, Horology, &c. Numerous Woodcuts. Edited by 
William E. A. Axon, M.R.S.L., F.S.S. Crown Svo, pp. xii. and 339, cloth. 1875. 
4s. 6d. 

BABA, — An Elementary Grammar of the Japanese Language, with easy progressive 
Exercises. By Tatui Baba. Crown Svo, pp. xiv. and 92, cloth. 1873, os. 

BACON.— The Life and Times of Francis Bacon. Extracted from the Edition of 
his Occasional Writings by James Spedding. 2 vols. Post Svo, pp. xx., 710, and 
jiv., 708, cloth. 1878. 21s. 

BADEN-POWELL.— Protection and Bad Times, with Special Reference to the 
Political Economy of English Colonisation. By George Baden-Powell, M.A., 
F.R. A.S., F.S.S,, Author of "New Homes for the Old Country," &c., &c. Svo, 
pp. xii. -376, cloth. 1879. 6s. 6d. 

BADER.— The Natural and Morbid Changes of the Human Eye, and theib 
Treatment. By C. Bader. Medium Svo, pp. viii. and 506, cloth, 1868. 16s. 

4 A Catalogue of Important Works, 

BABER. — Plates illustrating the Natural and Morbid Chanoks op the Human 
Eye. By C. Bader. Six chromo-lithographic Plates, each containing the figures 
of six Eyes, and four lithographed Plates, with figures of Instruments. AYith an 
Explanatory Text of 32 pages. Medium 8vo, in a portfolio. 21s. Price for Text 
and Atlas taken together, £1, 12s. 

BADLEY. —Indian Missionary Eecord and Memorial Volume. By the Rev. B. 
H. Badley, of the American Methodist Mission. 8vo, pp. xii. and 280, cloth. 

1876. 10s. 6d. 

BAIRD.— Annual Eecord of Science and Industry. Edited by Spencer T. Baird, 

8vo, cloth. 1871-79. 10s. each. 
BALFOUR.— Waifs and Strays from the Far East ; being a Series of Disconnected 

Essays on Matters relating to China. By Frederick Henry Balfour. ] vol. demy 

8vo, pp. 224, cloth. 1876. 10s. 6d. 

BALLAD Society— Subscriptions, small paper, one guinea; large paper, two guineas 
per annum. List of publications on application. 

BALLANTYNE. — Elements op Hindi and Braj Bhakha Grammar. Compiled for 
the use of the East India College at Haileybury. By James K. Ballantyne. Second 
Edition. Crown 8vo, pp. 38, cloth. 1868. 5s. 

BALLANTYNE. — First Lessons in Sanskrit Grammar; together with an Introduc- 
tion to the Hitopade^a. New Edition. By James R. Ballantyne, LL.D., Librarian 
of the India Office. Svo, pp. viii. and 110, cloth. 1873. 3s. 6d. 

BARANOWSKI. — Vade Mecum de la Langue Fran^atse, redige d'apres les Dic- 
tionnaires classiques avec les Exemples de Bonnes Locutions que donne I'Academie 
Fran^aise, on qu'on trouve dans les ouvrages des plus celebres auteurs. Par J. J. 
Baranowski, avec Tapprobation de M. E. Littr^, Senateur, &c. 32mo, pp. 224. 
1879. Cloth, 2s. 6d. ; moi-occo, Ss. 6d. ; morocco tuck, 4s. 

BARENTS' RELICS.— Recovered in the sunmier of 1876 by Charles L. W. Gardiner, 
Esq., and presented to the Dutch Government. Described and explained by J. 
K. J. de Jonge, Deputy Royal Architect at the Hague. Published by command 
of His Excellency, W. F. Van F.R.P. Taelman Kip, Minister of Marine. Trans- 
lated, with a Preface, by S. R. Van Camjien. With a Map, Illustrations, and a 
fac-simile of the Scroll. 8vo, pp. 70, cloth. 1877. 5s. 

BARRI^RE and Capendu. — Les Fahx Bonshommes, a Comedy. By Theodore 
Barribre and Ernest Capendu. Edited, with English Notes and Notice on Bar- 
riere, by Professor Ch. Cassal, LL.D., of University College, London. 12mo, pp. 
xvi. and 304, cloth. 1868. 4s. 

BARTLETT. — Dictionary op Americanisms. A Glossary of Words and Phrases 
colloquially used in the United States. By John Russell Bartlett. Fourth 
Edition, considerably enlarged and improved. Svo, pp. xlvi. and 814, cloth. 

1877. 20s. 

BATTYE. — What IS Vital Force? or, a Short and Comprehensive Sketch, includ- 
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Appendix upon Geology, Is the Dentrital Theory of Geology Tenable? By 
Richard Fawcett Battye. Svo, pp. iv. and 336, cloth. 1877. 7s. 6d. 

BAZLEY.— Notes on the Epicyclodial Cutting Frame of Messrs. Holtzapffel & 
Co. With special reference to its Compensation Adjustment, and with numerous 
Illustrations of its Capabilities. Bv Thomas Sebastian Bazley, M.A. Svo, pp. 
xvi. and 192, cloth. Illustrated. 1872. 10s. 6d. 

BAZLEY.— The Stars in Their Courses: A Twofold Series of Maps, with a 
Catalogue, showing how to identify, at any time of the year, all stars down to the 
5.6 magnitude, inclusive of Heis, which are clearly visible in English latitudes. 
By T. S. Bazley, M.A.. Author of "Notes on the Epicycloidal Cutting Frame." 
Atlas folio, pp. 46 and 24, Folding Plates, cloth. 1878. 15s. 

BEAL. — Travels op Fah-Hian and Sung-Yun, Buddhist Pilgrims, from China to 
India (400 A. D. and 518 a. d. ) Translated from the Chinese. By Samuel Beal, B. A. , 
Trin. Coll., Cam., &c. Crown Svo, pp. Ixxiii. and 210, with a coloured Map. 
cloth, ornamental. 1869. 10s. 6d. 

BEAL. — A Catena op Buddhist Scriptures from the Chinese. By S. Beal, B.A., 
. Trinity College, Cambridge ; a Chaplain in Her Majesty's Fleet, &c. Svo, pp. 
xiv. and 436, cloth. 1871. 15s. 

BEAL — The Romantic Legend of Sakya Buddha. From the Chinese-Sanskrit. 
By the Rev. Samuel Beal. Grown 8 vo., pp. 408, cloth. 1875. . 12s. 

PuUislied hy Trilhner & Co. 5 

BEAL.— Texts from the Buddhist Canon, commonly known as Dhammapada, 
with accompanying narratives. Translated from the Chinese by Samuel Beal, 
B.A., Trinity College, Cambridge, Professor of Chinese, University College, 
London. Post 8vo, pp. viii. and 176, cloth. 1878. 7s. 6d. 

BEAMES.— OUTLINP.S of Indian Pailolooy. With a Map, showing the Distribution 
of Indian Languages. By John Beames, M.II.A.S., Bengal Civil Service, Member 
of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, the Philological Society of Loudon, and the 
Societe Asiatique of Paris. Second enlarged and revised Edition. Crown Svo, 
pp. viii. and 96, cloth. 1868. 5s. 

BEAMES.— A Comparative Grammar of the Modern Aryan Languages op India, 
to wit, Hindi, Panjabi, Sindlii, Gujarati, Marathi, Oriya, and Bengali. By John 
Beames, Bengal Civil Service, M.R.A.S., kc. &.c. Demy Svo. Vol. I. On Sounds. 
Pp. xvi. and 360, cloth. 1872. 16s.— Vol. II. The Noun and the Pronoun. 
Pp. xii. and 348, cloth. 1875. 16s.— Vol. III. The Verb. Pp. xii. and 316, cloth. 

BELLEW. — From the Indus to the Tigris. A Narrative of a Journey through the 
Countries of Balochistan, Afghanistan, Khorassan, and Iran in 1872 ; together 
with a complete Synoptical Grammar and Vocabulary of the Brahoe Language, and 
a Record of the Meteorological Observations and Altitudes on the March from the 
Indus to the Tigris. By Henry Walter Bellew, C S.I.. Surgeon, Bengal Staff 
Corps. Demy 8vo, pp. viii. and 496, cloth. 1874. 14s. 

BELLEW. — Kashmir and Kashghar : a Narrative of the Journey of the Embassy 
to Kashghar in 1873-4. By H. W. Bellew, C.S.L Demy 8vo, pp. xxxii. and 
420, cloth. 1875. 16s. 

BELLOWS.— English Outline Vocabulary for the use of Students of the Chinese, 
Japanese, and other Languages. Arranged by John Bellows. With Notes on the 
Writing of Chinese with Roman Letters, by Professor Summers, King's College, 
London. 1 vol. crown Svo, pp. vi. and 368, cloth. 1867. 63. 

BELLOWS. — Outline Dictionary for the use op Missionaries, Explorers, and 
Students of Language. By Max Muller, M. A., Taylorian Professor in the Uni- 
versity of Oxford. With an Introdviction on the proper use of the ordinary 
English Alphabet in transcribing Foreign Languages. Tlie Vocabulary compiled 
by John Bellows. Crown 8vo, pp. xxxi. and 368, limp morocco. 1867. 7s. 6d. 

BELLOWS. — Tous les Verbes. Conjugations of all the Verbs in the French and 
English Languages. By John Bellows. Revised by Professor Beljame, B.A., 
LL.B., of the University of Paris, and Official Interpreter to the Imperial Court, 
and George B. Strickland, late Assistant French Master, Royal Naval School, 
London. Also a New Table of Equivalent Values of French and English Money, 
Weights, and Measures. 32mo, 76 Tables, sewed. 1867. Is. 

BELLOWS. — French and English Dictionary for the Pocket. By John Bellows. 
Containing the French-English and English-French divisions on the same page ; 
conjugating all the verbs ; distinguishing the genders by different types ; giving 
numerous aids to pronunciation ; indicating the liaison or non-liaison of terminal 
consonants ; and translating units of weight, measure, and value, by a series of 
tables differing entirely from any hitherto published. The new edition, which is 
but six ounces in weight, has been remodelled, and contains many thousands of 
additional words and renderings. Miniature maps of France, the British Isles, 
Paris, and London, are added to the Geographical Section. Second Edition. 32mo, 
pp. 608, roan tuck, or Persian without tuck. 1877. 10s. 6d. ; morocco tuck, 12s. 6d. 

BENEDIX.— Der Vetter. Comedy in Three Acts. By Roderich Benedix. With 

Grammatical and Explanatory Notes by F. Weinmann, German Master at the 

Royal Institution School, Liverpool, and G. Zimmermann, Teacher of Modern 

Languages. 12mo, pp. 128, cloth. 1863. 2s. 6d. 
BENFEY. — A Practical Grammar op the Sanskrit Language, for the use of Early 

Students, By Theodor Benfey, Professor of Sanskrit in the University of Gottin- 

gen. Second, revised, and enlarged Edition. Royal 8vo, pp. viii. and 296, cloth. 

1868. 10s. 6d. 
BBNTHAM. — Theory op Legislation, By Jeremy Bentham, Translated from the 

French of Etienne Dumont by R. Hildreth. Post 8vo, pp. xv. and 472, clotli. 

1876, 7s. 6d. 
BEVERIDGE.— The District op Bakarganj. Its History and Statistics. By H 

Beveridge, B.C.S., Magistrate and Collector of Bakarganj. Svo, pp. xx. and 

460, cloth. 1876. 21s. 
BICKNELL. ^VcHafiz. 

6 A Catalogue of Ini'portant Works ^ 

BIGANDET,— The Lifk or Legend of Gaudama, the Buddha of the Burmese, with 
Annotations. The Ways to Neibban, and Notice on the Phonfi^yies or Burmese 
Monks. By the Kight Rev. P. Bigandet, Bishop of Ramatha, Vicar Apostolic of 
Ava and Pegu. Third Edition. 2 vols. Post 8vo, pp. xx.-268 and viii.-326, cloth. 
1880. 21a. 

BIRCH.— Fasti Monasttoi Aevi Saxontci ; or, An Alphabetical List of the Heads of 
Religious Houses in England previous to the Norman Conquest, to which is pre- 
fixed a Chi-onological Catalogue of Contemporary Foundations. By "Walter de 
Gray Birch. Svo, jip. vii. and 114, cloth. 1873. 5s. 

BIRD.— Physiological Essays. Drink Craving, Differences in Men, Idiosyncrasy, and 
the Origin of Disease. By Robert Bird, M.D. Demy Svo, pp. 246, cloth. 1870. 7s. 6d. 

BLADES. —Shaksperk and Typography. Being an Attempt to show Shakspere's 
Personal Connection with, and Technical Knowledge of, tlie Art of Printing ; also 
Remarks upon some common Typographical Errors, with especial reference to the 
Text of Shakspere. By William Blades. 8vo, pp. viii. and 78, with an Illustra- 
tion, cloth. 1872. 3s. 

BLADES.— The Biography and Typography of William Caxton, England's First 
Printer. By Willinm Blades. Founded to a great extent upon the Author's 
*'Life and Tyi^ography of William Caxton." Brought up to the Present Date, 
and including all Discoveries since made. Elegantly and appropriately printed in 
demy 8vo, on hand-made paper, imitation old bevelled binding. 1877. £1, Is. 

BLAKEY.— Memoirs of Dr. Robert Blakey, Professor of Logic and Metaphysics, 
Queen's College, Belfast, Author of "Historical Sketch of Moral Science," &c., 
&c. Edited by the Rev. Henry Miller, of St. Andrews (Presbyterian Church of 
England), Hammersmith. Crown 8vo, pp. xii.-252, cloth. 1879. Ss. 

BLEEK.— REYN4RI) THE Fox in South Africa; or, Hottentot Fables and Tales, 
chiefly Translated from Original Manuscripts in the Library of His Excellency Sir 
George Grey, K.C.B. By W. H. I. Bleek, Ph.D. Post Svo, pp. xxvi. and 94, 
cloth. 1864. 3s. 6d. 

BLEEK.— A Brief Account of Bushman Folk Lore, and other Texts. By W. H. 
I. Bleek. Ph.D. Folio, pp. 21, paper. 23. 6d. 

BOEHMER.— Spanish Reformers of Two Centuries, from 1520, their Lives and 
Writings. Described by E. Boehmer, D.D., Ph. D. Vol. 1, Royal 8vo, pp. 232, 
cloth, 1874. 12s. 6d. Roxburgh, 15s. 

BOGARDUS.— Field, Cover, and Trap Shooting.- By Adam H. Bogardus, Cham- 
pion Wing Shot of the World. Embracing Hints for Skilled Marksmen. Instruc- 
tions for Young Sportsmen, Haunts and Habits of Game Birds, Flight and Resorts 
of Water Fowl, Breeding and Breaking of Dogs. With full Directions on Glass 
Ball Shooting, &c. Edited by Charles J. Foster. New Edition. 12mo, j)p. 444. 
Illustrated, cloth. 1878. 10s. 

BOJESEN.— A Guide to the Danish Language. Designed for English Students. 
By Mrs Maria Bojesen. 12mo, pp. 250, cloth. 1863. Ss. 

BOY ENGINEERS.— See under LuKiN. 

BOYD.— NIgXnanda ; or, the Joy of the Snake World. A Buddhist Drama in Five 
Acts. Translated into English Prose, with Explanatory Notes, from the Sanskrit 
of Sa-Harsha-Deva. By Palmer Boyd, B.A., Sanskrit Scholar of Trinity College, 
Cambridge. With an Introduction by Professor Cowell. Crown Svo, jij). xvi. 
and 100, cloth. 1872. 4s. 6d. 

BRENTANO.— On the History and Development of Gilds, and the Origin of 
Trade- Unions. By Lujo Brentano, of Aschaffenburg, Bavaria, Doctor Juris 
Utriusque et Philosophise. 1. The Origin of Gilds. 2. Religious (or Social) 
Gilds. 3. Town-Gilds or Gild-Merchants. 4. Craft-Gilds. 5. Trade-Unions. 
Svo, pp. xvi. and 136, cloth. 1870. 3s. 6d. 

BRETTE.— French Examination Papers set at the University of London from 
1839 to 1871. Arranged and edited by the Rev. P. H. Ernest Brette, B.D. 
Crown Svo, pp. viii. and 278, cloth. 3s. 6d.; interleaved, 4s. 6d. 

BRITISH MUSEUM.— List of Publications of the Trustees of the British 
Museum, on application. 

BROWN.— The Dervishes ; or. Oriental Spiritualism. By John P. Brown, 
Secretary and Dragoman of the Legation of the United States of America at Con- 
stantinople. Crown Svo, pp. viii. and 416, cloth, with 24 Illustrations. 1868. 14s. 

Puhlished hy Trilhner & Co. 7 

BROWN.— Sanskrit Prosody and Numerical Symbols Explained. By Charles 
Philip Brown, M.R.A.S., Author of a Telugu Dictionary, Grammar, &c., Professor 
of Telugu in the University of London. 8vo, pp. viii. and 56, cloth. 1869. 3s. 6d. 
BROWNE.— How TO USE the Ophthalmoscope; being Elementary Instruction in 
Ophthalmoscopy. Arranged for the use of Students. By Edgar A. Browne, Sur- 
geon to the Liverpool Eye and Ear Infirmary, &c. Crown Svo, pp. xi. and 108, 
with 35 Figures, cloth. 1876. 3s. 6d. 
BUCHNER,— Force and Matter : Empirico-Philosophical Studies intelligibly ren- 
dered. With an additional Introduction expressly written for the English edition. 
By Dr Louis Buchner. Edited by J. Frederick Collingwood, F.R.S.L., F.G.S. 
Second English, comjdeted from the Tenth German Edition. With a Portrait of 
the Author. Crown 8vo, pp. civ. and 272, cloth. 1870. 7s. 6d. 
BUDGE.— Archaic Classics. Assyrian Texts ; being Extracts from the Annals 
of Shalmaneser II., Sennacherib, and Assur-Bani-Pal. With Philological Notes. 
By Ernest A. Budge, M.R.A.S., Assyrian Exlribitioner, Christ's College, Cam- 
bridge. Small 4to, pp. viii. and 44, cloth. 1880. 7s. 6d. 
BURGESS. —Arch^ological Survey of Western India. Report of the First 
Season's Operations in the Belg^m and Kaladgi Districts. Jan. to May 1874. 
By James Burgess, F.R.G.S. With 56 Photographs and Lithographic Plates. 
Royal 4to, pp. viii. and 45 ; half bound. 1875. £2, 2s. 
BURGESS.— Report on the Antiquities of KIthiawId and Kachh, being the 
result of the Second Season's Operations of the Archaeological Survey of Western. 
India, 1874-75. By J. Burgess, F.R.G.S. Royal 4to, pp. x. and 242, with 74 
Plates ; half bound. 1876. £3, 3s. 
BURGESS. - Report on the Antiquities in the Bidar and Aurangabad Dis- 
tricts, in the Territories of His Highness the Nizam of Haiderabad, being the 
result of the Third Season's Operations of the Archaeological Survey of Western 
India, 1875-76. By James Burgess, F.R.G.S., M.R. A.S., Archaeological Surveyor 
and Reporter to Government, Western India. Royal 4to, pp. viii. and 138, with 
63 Photographic Plates ; half bound. 1878. £2, 2s. 
BURNELL.— Elements op South Indian Pal.eography, from the Fourth to the 
Seventeenth Century A.D., being an Introduction to the Study of South Indian 
Inscriptions and MSS. By A. C. Burnell. Second enlarged and Improved 
Edition. 4to, pp. xiv. and 148, Map and 35 Plates, cloth. 1878. £2, 12s. 6d. 
BURNELL.— A Classified Index to the Sanskrit MSS. in the Palace at 
Tanjore. Prepared for the Madras Government. By A. C. Burnell, Ph.D., &c., 
&c. 4to, stiff wrap])er. Part I., pp. iv.-80, Vedic and Technical Literature; 
Part II., pp. iv.-80, Philosophy and Law. Part III., Drama, Epics, Puranas, and 
Zantras ; Indices. 1879. 10s. each. 
BURNEY.— The Boys' Manual of Seamanship and Gunnery, compiled for the use 
of the Training-Ships of the Royal Navy. By Commander C. Burney, R.N., 
F.R.G.S., Superintendent of Greenwich Hospital School. Seventh Edition.^ Ap- 
proved by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to be used in the Training- 
Ships of the Royal Navy. Crown Svo, pp. xxii. and 352, with numerous Illus- 
trations, cloth. 6s. 
BURNEY.— The Young Seaman's Manual and Rigger's Guide. By Commander 
C. Burney, R.N., F.R.G.S. Sixth Edition. Revised and corrected. Approved 
by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. Crown Svo. pp. xxxviii. and 592, 
cloth. With 200 Illustrations and 16 Sheets of Signals. 1878. 7s. 6d. 
BURTON.— Captain Richard F. Burton's Handbook for Overland Expeditions ; 
being an English Edition of the "Prairie Traveller," a Handbook for Overland 
Expeditions. With Illustrations and Itineraries of the Principal Routes between 
the Mississippi and the Pacific, and a Map. By Captain Randolph B. Marcy (now 
General and Chief of the Staff, Army of the Potomac). Edited, with Notes, by 
Captain Richard F. Burton. Crown Svo, pp. 270, numerous Woodcuts, Itinera- 
ries, and Map, cloth. 1863. 6s. 6d. 
BUTLER.— The Spanish Teacher and Colloquial Phrase-Book. ^ An easy and 
agreeable method of acquiring a Speaking Knowledge of the Spanish Language. 
By Francis Butler. Fcap. Svo, pp. xviii. and 240, half -roan. 2s. 6d. 
BUTLER.— Hungarian Poems and Fables for English Readers. Selected and 
Translated by E. D. Butler, of the British Museum-; with Illustrations by A. G. 
Butler. Foolscap, pp. vi. and 88, limp cloth. 1877. 2s. 
CAITHNESS.— Serious Letters to Serious Friends. By the Countess of Caith- 
ness, Authoress of " Old Truths in a New Light." Crown Svo, pp. viii. and 352, 
cloth. 1877. 7s. 6d. 

8 A Catalogue of Important Works ^ 

CAITHNESS. — Lectures on Popular and Scientific Subjects. By the Earl of 
Caithness, F.K.S. Delivered at various times and places. Second enlarged 
Edition. Crown 8vo, pp. 174, cloth. 1879. 2s. 6d. 

CALDER.— The Coming Era. By Alexander Calder, Officer of the Legion of 
Honour, and Author of "The Man of the Future." 8vo, pp. 422, cloth. 1879. 
10s. 6d. 

CALDWEIiL.— A Comparative Grammar op the Dravidian, or South Indian 
Family of Languages. By the Rev. R. Caldwell, LL.D. A second, corrected, 
and enlarged Edition. Demy 8vo, i)p. 804, cloth. 1875. 28s. 

CALL.— Reverberations. Revised. With a chapter from My Autobiography. 
By W. M. W. Cull, M.A., Cambridge, Author of "Lyra Hellenica " and 
"Golden Histories." Crown 8vo, pp. viii. and 200, cloth. 1875. 4s. 6d. 

CALLAWAY.— Nursery Tales, Traditions, and Histories of the Zulus, Iu 
their own words, with a Translation into English, and Notes. By the Rev. Canon 
Callaway, M.D. Vol. I., 8vo, pp. xiv. and 378, cloth. 1868. 16s. 

CALLAWAY.— The Religious System of the Amazulu. 

Part I.— Unkulunkulu ; or. The Tradition of Ci-eation as existing among the 
Amazulu and other Tribes of South Africa, in their own words, with a Transla- 
tion into English, and Notes. By the Rev. Canon Callaway, M.D. 8vo, pp. 
128, sewed. 1868. 43. 

Part II.— Amatongo; or. Ancestor Worship, as existing among the Amazulu, in 
their own words, with a Translation into English, and Notes. By the Rev, 
Canon Callaway, M.D. 8vo, pp. 127, sewed. 1869. 4s. 

Part III. — Izinyanga Zokubula ; or. Divination, as existing among the Amazulu, 
in their own words, witli a Translation into English, and Notes. By the Rev. 
Canon Callaway, M.D. 8vo, pp. l.oO, sewed. 1870. 4s. 

Part IV. — On Medical Magic and Witchcraft. 8vo, pp. 40, sewed, Is. 6d. 

CAMERINI.— L'Eco Italiano ; a Practical Guide to Italian Conversation. By E. 
Camerini. With a Vocabulary. 12mo, pp. 98, cloth. 1860. 4s. 6d. 

CAMPBELL.— The Gospel of the World's Divine Order. By Douglas Camp- 
bell. New Edition. Revised. Crown 8vo, pp. viii. and 364, cloth. 1877. 43. 6d. 

CANDID Examination of Theism. By Physicus. Post 8vo, pp. xviii. and 198, 
cloth. 1878. 7s. 6d. 

CANTICUM CANTICORUM, reproduced in facsimile, from the Scriverius copy in the 
British Museum. With an Historical and Bibliographical Introduction by I. Ph. 
Berjeau. Folio, pp. 36, with 16 Tables of Illustrations, Vellum. 1860. £2, 2s. 

CAREY. — The Past, the Present, and the Future. By H. C. Carey. Second 
Edition. 8vo, pp. 474, cloth. 1856. lOs. 6d. 

CARNEGY.- Notes on the Land Tenures and Revenue Asses^^ments op Upper 
India. By P. Cai-negy. Crown 8vo., pp. viii.-136 and forms. Cloth. 1874. 6s. 

CATHERINE IL, Memoirs of the Empress. Written by herself. With a Preface 
by A. Herzen, Trans, from the French. 12mo, pp. xvi. and 352, bds. 1859. 7s. 6d. 

CATLIN. — 0-Kee-Pa. A Religious Ceremony ; and other Customs of the Mandans. 
By George Catlin. With 13 coloured Illustrations. Small 4to, pp. vi. and 52, 
cloth. 1867. 14s. 

CATLIN.— The Lifted and Subsided Rocks of America, with their Influence on 
the Oceanic, Atmosphei'ic, and Land Currents, and the Distribution of Races 
By George Catlin. With 2 Maps. Cr. 8vo, pp. xii. and 238, cloth. 1870. 6s. 6d 

CATLIN.— Shut your Mouth and save your Life. By George Catlin, Author of 
" Notes of Travels amongst the North American Indians," &c. &c. With 29 lUus 
trations from Drawings by the Author. Seventh Edition, considerably enlarged 
Crown 8vo, pp. 106, cloth. 1878. 2s. 6d. 

CAXTON CELEBRATION, 1877.— Catalogue of the Loan Collection op Anti 
quities. Curiosities, and Appliances Connected with the Art of Printing 
Edited by G. Bullen, F.S.A. Post 8vo, pp. xx. and 472, cloth, 3s. 6d. 

CAZELLES.— Outline of the Evolution-Philosophy. By Dr W. E. Gazelles, 
Translated from the French by the Rev. O. B. Frothingiiam. Crown 8vo, pp 
156, cloth. 1875. 3s. 6d. 

CHALMERS.— The Speculations on Metaphysics, Polity, and Morality op 
" The Old Philosopher," Lau-tsze. Translated from the Chinese, with an Intro- 
duction by John Chalmers, M. A. Fcap. 8vo, pp. xx. and 62, cloth. 1868. 4s. 6d. 

PuUislied hy Truhner & Co, 9 

CHAPMAN. — Chloroform and other Anesthetics : Their History and Use dur- 
ing Childbirth. By John Chapman, M.D. 8vo, pp. 51, sewed. 1859. Is. 

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32 A Catalogue of Important Woi'ks, 

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THOMSON.— Institutes of the Laws of Ceylon. By Henry Byerley Thomson, 
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THORBURN.— Banni? ; OR, Our Afghan Frontier. By S. S. Thorburn, F.CS., 
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44 A Catalogue of Important Works, 

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Essays on the Sacred Language, Writings, and Religion of 
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WHEELER.— The History of India from the Earliest Ages. By J. Talboys 
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WHIST.— Short Rules for Modern "Whist, Extracted from the "Quarterly 
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WHITNEY.— A Sanskrit Grammar, including both the Classical Language and the 
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WHITWELL.— Iron Smelters' Pocket Analysis Book. By Thomas Whit well. 
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50 A Catalogue of Important Works. 

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WISE.— Facts and Fallacies of Modern Protection. By Bernhard Ringrose 
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WOOD.— Chronos. Mother Earth's Biography. A Romance of the New School. 
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