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Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/107

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Part II.
75
INTRODUCTION.

selves in the country between that river and the Jumna, since known among themselves as Arya Varta, or the Country of the Just, for all succeeding ages.

More than a thousand years afterwards we find them, in the age of the Ramayana, occupying all the country north of the Vindya range, and attempting the conquest of the southern country,—then, as now, occupied by Turanians,—and penetrating as far as Ceylon.

Eight hundred years later we see them in the Mahabharata, having lost much of their purity of blood, and adopting many of the customs and much of the faith of the people they were settled amongst; and three centuries before Christ we find they had so far degenerated as to accept, almost without a struggle, the religion of Buddha; which, though no doubt a reform, and an important one, on the Anthropic doctrines of the pure Turanians, was still essentially a faith of a Turanian people; congenial to them, and to them only.

Ten centuries after Christ, when the Moslems came in contact with India, the Aryan was a myth. The religion of the earlier people was everywhere supreme, and with only a nominal thread of Aryanism running through the whole, just sufficient to bear testimony to the prior existence of a purer faith, but not sufficient to leaven the mass to any appreciable extent.

The fate of the western Aryans differed essentially from that of those who wandered eastward. Theoretically we ought to assume, from their less complex language and less pure faith, that they were an earlier offshoot; but it may be that in the forests of Europe they lost for a while the civilized forms which the happier climate of Arya Varta enabled the others to retain; or it may be that the contact with the more nearly equal Celtic races had mixed the language and the faith of the Western races before they had the opportunity or the leisure to record the knowledge they brought with them.

Be this as it may, they first appear prominently in the western world in Greece, where, by a fortunate union with the Pelasgi, a people apparently of Turanian race, they produced a civilization not purely Aryan, and somewhat evanescent in its character, but more brilliant, while it lasted, than anything the world had seen before, and, in certain respects, more beautiful than anything that has illumined it since their time.

They next sprang forth in Rome, mixed with the Turanian Etruscans and the powerful Celtic tribes of Italy; and lastly in Northern Europe, where they are now working out their destiny, but to what issue the future only can declare.

The essential difference between the eastern and western migration is this, that in India the Aryans have sunk gradually into the arms of a Turanian people till they have lost their identity, and with it all