Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/89

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Part II.
57
INTRODUCTION.

The great feature in the history of the Turanian races is that they were the first to people the whole world beyond the limits of the original cradle of mankind. Like the primitive unstratified rocks of geologists, they form the substructure of the whole world, frequently rising into the highest and most prominent peaks, sometimes overflowing whole districts and occu]iying a vast portion of the world's surface;—everywhere underlying all the others, and affording their disintegrated materials to form the more recent strata that now overlie and frequently obliterate them,—in appearance, at least.

In the old world the typical Turanians were the Egyptians; in the modern the Chinese and Japanese; and to these we are perhaps justified in adding the Mexicans. If this last adscription stands good, we have at three nearly equidistant points (120 degrees apart) on the earth's surface, and under the tropic of Cancer, the three great culmniating points of this form of civilization. The outlying strata in Asia are the Tamuls, who now occupy the whole of the south of India, and all the races now existing in the countries between India and China. The Turanians existed in the Valley of the Euphrates before the Semitic or Aryan races came there. The Tunguses in the north are Turanians, and so are the Mongols, the Turks, and all those tribes generally described as Tartars.

In Europe the oldest people of this family we are acquainted with are the Pelasgi and Etruscans, but the race also crops up in the Magyars, the Finns, the Lapps, and in odd broken fragments here and there, but everywhere overpowered by the more civilized Aryans, who succeeded and have driven them into the remotest corners of the continent.

In Africa they have been almost as completely overpowered by the Semitic race, and in America are now being everywhere as entirely overwhelmed as they were in Europe by the Aryan races, and in all probability must eventually disappear altogether.

Even if the linguist should hesitate to affirm that all their languages can be traced to a common root, or present sutficient affinities for a classification, the general features of the races enumerated above are so alike the one to the other, that, for all real ethnographic purposes, they may certainly be considered as belonging to one great group. Whether nearly obliterated, as they are in most parts of Europe, or whether they still retain their nationality, as in the eastern parts of Asia, they always appear as the earliest of races, and everywhere present peculiarities of feeling and civilization easily recognized, and which distinguish them from all the other races of mankind.

If they do not all speak cognate languages, or if we cannot now trace their linguistic affinities, we must not too readily assume that therefore they are distinct the one from the other. It must be more