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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/697

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the excellence of a language; and, though the Aryan speech undoubtedly ranks well in this quality, there are found to be many languages in America and in Africa which decidedly surpass it. In certain other characteristics it is anything but admirable. Those who created and fashioned it seem to have been endowed with a peculiar linguistic talent or language-making faculty, which was not under the control of any logical force. What could be more absurd than the preposterous gender-system which the Sanskrit, the Greek, and the German have inherited from this Aryan mother-tongue, and from whose ridiculous trammels the speakers of all the later derived idioms in Asia and Europe have been for centuries striving to shake themselves free? The senseless superfluity of declensions and conjugations, the needless variety in the methods of forming the plural, the inordinate perplexity of the irregular verbs, are only a few of the evidences to be noted of the striking deficiency in logical and classifying power which, amid all their unquestioned excellences, the earlier Aryan languages everywhere betray.

But, it will naturally be asked, if the primitive Aryans were really a people of such moderate endowments, both in intellect and in morality, how do we explain the immense progress and the admitted headship and mastery among the nations of the world which their descendants have attained in Europe? The answer is ready at hand, and, indeed, almost self-evident. The people of Europe are of mixed race. They are Aryan exactly as the modern Peruvians are Spanish, or as the modern Egyptians are Arab. There is good reason to believe that primeval Europe was inhabited by tribes belonging to. various races, differing considerably in character, but all of them distinguished by a love of freedom and a sentiment of personal independence. These traits caused the population to be broken up into numerous petty communities, each of which fell an easy prey to the Aryan invaders. The latter were not only, as we have seen, a race of remarkably brave and energetic warriors, but they had also the immense advantage, for an invading force, of a disposition which led them to render implicit obedience to their rulers. It is this trait of character which in Africa has often enabled the leader of a horde to establish his sway over a vast agglomeration of disconnected tribes. It is evident that in such a case, as in the case of the Turkish conquest of Asia Minor and eastern Europe, the subdued populations may be superior to their conquerors in every quality except in the capacity for combined effort.

The earlier inhabitants of Europe seem to have been of three distinct races—in the southeast Semitic, in the southwest Iberian, in the north and center Uralian. The Semitic tribes, which peopled Greece and probably a part of Italy and of the Mediterranean