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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/693

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.for breakfast. As wild fruits and edible roots also abound along this coast, affording abundant nutriment at all seasons, it is not surprising that several peculiar linguistic stocks among the American languages appear to have originated in that genial region—just as others are found under similar conditions along the coast of California. There is, therefore, nothing improbable in the supposition that the first Aryan family—the orphan children, perhaps, of Semitic or Acadian fugitives from Arabia or Mesopotamia—grew up and framed their new language on the southern seaboard of Persia. As the number of their descendants increased, they would naturally spread northward over the province of Fars, and thence into the wide regions bounded by the Tigris, the Indus, and the Oxus, which we have recognized as the primitive seat of the Aryan power.

In pursuing our inquiry into the distinctive characteristics of this race it will not be necessary to resort to many authorities. All the important evidence has been carefully brought together by Prof. Rawlinson in his well-known work, "The Seven Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World." His lucid summaries are fortified by numerous references, and his conclusions are confirmed in the main by every writer who has treated on the subject. As regards the physical traits of the race, he presents us (in the third chapter of his history of the "Median Empire") with a picture which, according to our ideas, is highly prepossessing. "The general physical character of the ancient Aryan race," he observes, "is best gathered from the sculptures of the Achæmenian kings, which exhibit to us a very noble variety of the human species—a form tall, graceful, and stately; a physiognomy handsome and pleasing, often somewhat resembling the Greek; the forehead high and straight; the nose nearly in the same line, long and well formed, sometimes markedly aquiline; the upper lip short, commonly shaded by a mustache; the chin rounded and generally covered with a curly beard. The hair evidently grew in great plenty, and the race was proud of it." The color of the skin can not be determined from this source; but from other authorities and from the descriptions of ancient travelers we learn that it varied, and still varies, much as in central and southern Europe, from a fair and almost blond hue, with blue or gray eyes, in the northern highlands, to a clear brunette in central Persia, and an almost negro swarthiness along the torrid shores of the Persian Gulf. The Aryan complexion yields readily to climatic influences, and those who think they find the primitive type of the race solely in that small fraction of it which offers us fair skins, blue eyes, and flaxen hair, assuredly fail to observe in anthropology the rules of evidence which govern inquiries in every other branch of science.