Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/131

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SHEMITIC CIVILIZATION.

during the last half century, have been to shew, in the general development of our races, two elements of such a nature which, mixing in unequal proportions, have made the woof of the tissue of history. From the seventeenth century—and, indeed, almost from the middle ages—it has been acknowledged that the Hebrews, the Phœnicians, the Carthagenians, the Syrians, the Babylonians (at least from a certain period), the Arabs, and the Abyssinians, have spoken languages most intimately connected. Eichhorn, in the last century, proposed to call these languages Shemitic, and this name, most inexact as it is, may still be used.

A most important and gratifying discovery was made in the beginning of our century. Thanks to the knowledge of Sanscrit, due to English scholars at Calcutta, German philologists, especially M. Bopp, have laid down sure principles, by means of which it is shown that the ancient idioms of Brahmanic India, the different dialects of Persia, the Armenian, many dia-