Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/348

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for a considerable period neighbors, which is confirmed by the intimate correspondence of their religious and tribal traditions, so that, even after a separation, the Hamites and Semites yet formed an indissoluble unit. Their identity continued during the period of speech-growth, and was first lost when, through the pressure of the Upper Asiatic bands, the Hamites were sundered from the Semites, and were pushed on one side into the region bordering the Tigris and Euphrates, and on the other into Africa.

As we have already considered the immigration of the Hamites into the north of Africa in reviewing the peoples of this continent, there only remain to be examined the Semitic and Indo-European stocks.

Everywhere where the Semites appear we find them successors of the Hamites. It is so in Mesopotamia, in Palestine, in north Africa, presumably in Arabia, as it would seem from the dialects retained in south Arabia, entirely distinct from the Arabian tongue, and, lastly, in Abyssinia, a settlement effected from southwestern Arabia and across the Red Sea. In most places the Hamitic cultus disappears, ethnologically speaking, in that of the Semites, only leaving traces of its influence behind in the national characteristics. So in Mesopotamia, in Palestine—the Phœnicians are, for instance, Semiticized Hamites—in Abyssinia. And only when we know that the inhabitants of Mesopotamia are Semiticized Hamites is the harmony or coincidence of the Assyrian-Babylonian culture (Semitic) with that of the Egyptian (Hamitic) explained.

As regards the Indo-Europeans, we have first sought their aboriginal center about the sources of the Oxus and the Jaxartes, on the table-lands of Pamir, presumably because this point is nearest to the homes of two of the most easterly removed branches of this stock, viz., the Iranians and the Indians, and both these people certainly entered their territory from the northwest and northeast. But of late it has not unreasonably been insisted that the vocabulary of the Indo-European affords no evidence which intimates an acquaintance with the fauna and flora of Asia. On the contrary, the names of most trees known to all the Indo-European peoples, as birch, beech, oak, point rather to eastern Europe than to Asia. Therefore many authorities incline to locate the primitive home of the Indo-Europeans, or that point where they last composed an homogeneous unit, in the Lithuanian-Russian plains, or even farther west.

When, in conformity with this view, which has a very strong likelihood in its favor, we assume the original center of the Indo-Europeans to have been in southeastern Europe, then we can not but regard them as autochthonous at this point, yet as having first reached here from the Armenian highlands in the indefinite past. We are driven to this hypothesis by the racial unity of the Indo-Europeans with the Hamito-Semitic and Caucasian stocks, for it is impossible for both to have emigrated from the west into the highlands overlying Mesopotamia.