THE ARYANS IN THEIR COMMON HOME. 53 The Aryans in their Primitive Home. — We know little regarding these noble Aryan tribes in their early camping- ground in Western Asia. From words preserved in the languages of their long-separated descendants in Europe and India, scholars infer that they roamed over the grassy steppes with their cattle, making long halts to raise crops of grain. They had tamed most of the domestic animals ; were acquainted with iron ; understood the arts of weaving and sewing ; wore clothes ; and ate cooked food. They lived the hardy life of the comparatively temperate zone ; and the feeling of cold seems to be one of the earliest common remembrances of the eastern and the western branches of the race. European and Indian Languages merely Varieties of Aryan Speech. — The forefathers of the Greek and the Roman, of the English and the Hindu, dwelt together in Western Asia, spoke the same tongue, worshipped the same gods. The languages of Europe and India, although at first sight they seem wide apart, are merely different growths from the original Aryan speech. This is especially true of the common words of family life. The names for father, mother, brother, sister, and widow are the same in most of the Aryan languages, whether spoken on the banks of the Ganges, of the Tiber, or of the Thames. Thus the word daughter, which occurs in nearly all of them, has been derived from the Aryan root dugh, which in Sanskrit has the form of duh, to milk ; and perhaps preserves the memory of the time when the daughter was the little milkmaid in the primitive Aryan household. Common Origin of European and Indian Religions. — The ancient religions of Europe and India had a common origin. They were to some extent made up of the sacred stories or myths, which our joint-ancestors had learned while dwelling together in Asia. Several of the Vedic gods were also the gods of Greece and Rome ; and to this day the Divinity is adored by names derived from the same old Aryan word (deva, the Shining One), by Brahmans in Calcutta, by the Protestant clergy of England, and by Roman Catholic priests in Peru. The Indo-Aryans on the March. — The Vedic hymns exhibit the Indian branch of the Aryans on their march to the
Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/57
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