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Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/102

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Part II.

and they may have known "the trees, from the cedar which is in Lebanon to the hyssop that springeth out of the wall, and the names of all the beasts, and the fowls, and the creeping things, and the fishes;" but beyond this we know of nothing that can be dignified by the name of science among the Semitic races. They more than made up however for their deficient knowledge of the exact sciences by the depth of their insight into the springs of human action, and the sagacity of their proverbial philosophy; and, more than even this, by that wonderful system of Theology before which all the Aryan races of the world and many of the Turanian bow at the present hour, and acknowledge it as the basis of their faith and the source of all their religious aspirations.


It is extremely difficult to write anything very precise or very satisfactory regarding the Celtic races, for the simple reason that, within the limits of our historic knowledge, they never lived sufficiently long apart from other races to develop a distinct form of nationality, or to create either a literature or a polity by which they could be certainly recognized. In this respect they form the most marked contrast with the Semitic races. Instead of wrapping themselves up within the bounds of the most narrow exclusiveness, the Celt everywhere mixed freely with the people among whom he settled, and adopted their manners and customs with a carelessness that is startling; while at the same time he retained the principal characteristics of his race through every change of circumstance and clime.

Almost the only thing that can be predicated of them with certainty is, that they were either the last wave of the Turanians, or, if another nomenclature is preferred, the first wave of the Aryans, who, migrating westward from their parent seat in Asia, displaced the original and more purely Turanian tribes who occupied Europe before the dawn of history. But, in doing this, they seem to have mixed themselves so completely with the races they were supplanting, that it is extremely difficult to say now where one begins or where the other ends.

We find their remains in Asia Minor, whence Ethnologists fancy that they can trace a southern migration along the northern coast of Africa, across the Straits of Gibraltar, into Spain, and thence to Ireland. A more certain and more important migration, however, crossed the Bosphorus, and following the valley of the Danube, threw one branch into Italy, where they penetrated as far south as Rome; while the main body settled in and occupied Gaul and Belgium, whence they peopled Britain, and may have met the southern colonists