Page:The Outline of History Vol 1.djvu/256

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§ 1. Nomadic and Settled Religion. § 2. The Priest Comes into History. § 3. Priests and the Stars. § 4. Priests and the Dawn of Learning. § 5. King against Priest. § 6. How Bel-Marduk Struggled against the Kings. § 7. The God-Kings of Egypt. § 8. Shi Hwang-ti Destroys the Books.

§ 1

WE have already told what there is to tell of the social life of the Aryan tribes when they were settling down to the beginnings of civilized life; we have seen how they were associated in great households, grouped together under tribal leaders, who made a sort of informal aristocracy rather like that of the sixth form and prefects in an English boys' school; we have considered the rôle of the bards in the creation of an oral tradition, and we have glanced at their not very complex religious ideas. We may note one or two points of difference from the equivalent life of the nomadic Semites.

Like the early Aryan life, it was a life in a sort of family-tribe household. But it had differences due originally perhaps to the warmer, drier climate. Though both groups of races had cattle and sheep, the Aryans were rather herdsmen, the Semites, shepherds. The Semites had no long winter evenings and no bardic singing. They never sat in hall. They have consequently no epics. They had stories, camp-fire stories, but not verbally beautified story-recitations. The Semite also was more polygamous than the Aryan, his women less self-assertive,[1] and the

  1. The Sumerians allowed much more freedom and authority to women than the Semites. They had priestess-queens, and one of their great divinities was a goddess, Ishtar.