Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/521

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THE ARYAN QUESTION AND PREHISTORIC MAN.

which can be given to the two questions which we put at starting are these: There was and is an Aryan race—that is to say, the characteristic modes of speech, termed Aryan, were developed among the blond long-heads alone, however much some of them may have been modified by the importation of non-Aryan elements. As to the "home" of the Aryan race, it was in Europe, and lay chiefly east of the central highlands and west of the Ural. From this region it spread west, along the coasts of the North Sea to our islands, where, probably, it met the brunet long-heads; to France, where it found both these and the brunet short-heads; to Switzerland and south Germany, where it impinged on the brunet short-heads; to Italy, where brunet short-heads seem to have abounded in the north and long-heads in the south; and to the Balkan Peninsula, about the earliest inhabitants of which we know next to nothing. There are two ways to Asia Minor, the one over the Bosporus and the other through the passes of the Caucasus, and the Aryans may well have utilized both. Finally, the southeastern tribes probably spread themselves gradually over west Turkistan, and, after evolving the primitive Indo-Iranian dialect, eventually colonized Persia and Hindostan, where their speech developed into its final forms. On this hypothesis, the notion that the Celts and the Teutons migrated from about Pamir and the Hindoo Koosh is as far from the truth as the supposition that the Indo-Iranians migrated from Scandinavia. It supposes that the blond long-heads, in what may be called their nascent Aryan stage—that is, before their dialects had taken on the full Aryan characteristics—were spread over a wide region which is, conventionally, European; but which, from the point of view of the physical geographer, is rather to be regarded as a continuation of Asia. Moreover, it is quite possible, and even probable, that the blond long-heads may have arrived in Turkistan before their language had reached, or at any rate passed beyond, the stage of primitive Aryan; and that the whole process of differentiation into Indo-Iranian took place during the long ages of their residence in the basin of the Oxus. Thus, the question whether the seat of the primitive Aryans was in Europe, or in Asia, becomes very much a debate about geographical terminology.

The foregoing arguments in favor of Latham's "Sarmatian hypothesis" have been based upon data which lie within the ken of history, or may be surely concluded by reasoning backward from the present state of things. But, thanks to the investigation of the prehistoric archaeologists and anthropologists during the last half-century, a vast mass of positive evidence respecting the distribution and the condition of mankind in the long interval between the dawn of history and the commencement of the recent epoch has been brought to light.