Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/56

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[5*] CHAPTER IV. The Aryans in India. The Aryan Stock. — At a very early period we catch sight of a nobler race from the north-west, forcing its way in among the primitive peoples of India. This race belonged to the splendid Aryan or Indo-Germanic stock, from which the Brahman, the Rajput, and the Englishman alike descend. Its earliest home seems to have been in Western Asia. From that common camping-ground certain branches of the race started for the east, others for the further west. One of the western offshoots built Athens and Sparta, and became the Greek nation ; another went on to Italy, and reared the city on the Seven Hills, which grew into Imperial Rome. A distant colony of the same race excavated the silver ores of prehistoric Spain ; and when we first catch a sight of ancient England, we see an Aryan settle- ment fishing in wattle canoes, and working the tin mines of Cornwall. Meanwhile other branches of the Aryan stock had gone forth from the primitive Asiatic home to the east. Power- ful bands found their way through the passes of the Himalayas into the Punjab, and spread themselves, chiefly as Brahmans and Rajputs, over India. The Aryans conquer the Early Races in Europe and Asia. — The Aryan offshoots, alike to the east and to the west, asserted their superiority over the earlier peoples whom they found in possession of the soil. The history of ancient Europe is the story of the Aryan settlements around the shores of the Mediterranean ; and that wide term, modern civilization, merely means the civilization of the western branches of the same race. The history of India consists in like manner of the history of the eastern offshoots of the Aryan stock who settled in that land.