Caucasian History

WHILE the Negro race seems to have retrograded from its original position on the earth, while the Mongolian has afforded the spectacle of a single permanent and pedantic civilization retaining millions within its grasp for ages in the extreme east of Asia, the Caucasian, as if the seeds of the world's progress had been implanted in it, has worked out for itself a splendid career on an ever-shifting theatre. First attaining its maturity in Asia, the Caucasian civilization has shot itself westward, if we may so speak, in several successive throes; long confined to Asia; then entering northern Africa, where, commingling with the Ethiopian, it originated a new culture; again, about the year B.C. 1000, adding Europe to the stage of history; and lastly, 2500 years later, crossing the Atlantic, and meeting in America with a diffused. and degenerate Mongolism. To understand this beautiful career thoroughly it is necessary to observe the manner in which the Caucasians disseminated themselves from their central home — to count, as it were, and note separately, the various flights by which they emigrated from the central hive. So far as appears, then, from investigations into language, etc., the Caucasian stock sent forth at different times in the remote past five great branches from its original seat, somewhere to the south of that long chain of mountains which commences at the Black Sea, and, bordering the southern coast of the Caspian, terminates in the Himalehs. In what precise way, or at what precise time, these branches separated themselves from the parent stock and from each other, must remain a mystery; a sufficiently clear general notion of the fact is all that we can pretend to. 1 st . The Armenian branch, remaining apparently nearest the original seat, filled the countries between the Caspian and Black Seas, extending also round the Caspian into the territories afterwards known as those of the Parthians. 2 d , The Judo-Persian branch, which extended itself in a southern and eastern direction from the Caspian Sea, through Persia and Cabool, into Hindoostan, also penetrating Bokhara. From this great branch philologists and ethnographers derive those two races, the distinction between which, although subordinate to the grand fivefold division of the Caucasian stock, is of immense consequence in modern history the Celtic and the Germanic. Pouring through Asia Minor, it is supposed that the Indo-Persian family entered Europe through Thrace, and ultimately, through the operation of those innumerable causes which react upon the human constitution from the circumstances in which it is placed, assumed the character of Celts and Germans the Celts being the earlier product, and eventually occupying the western portion of Europe namely, northern Italy, France, Spain and Great Britain - still undergoing subdivision, however, during their dispersion, into Iberians, Gaels, Cymri, &c.; the Germans being a later off-shoot, and settling rather in the centre and north of Europe in two great moieties - the Scandinavians and the Germans Proper. This seems the most plausible pedigree of the Celtic and Germanic races, although some object to it. 3 d , The Semitic or Aramaic branch, which, diffusing itself southward and westward from the original Caucasian seat, filled Syria, Mesopotamia, Arabia, etc., and founded the early kingdoms of Assyria, Babylonia, Phoenicia, Palestine, etc. It was this branch of the Caucasian variety which, entering Africa by the Isthmus of Suez and the Straits of Babelmandel, constituted itself an element at least in the ancient population of Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia; and there are ethnographers who believe that the early civilization which lined the northern coasts of Africa arose from some extremely early blending of the Ethiopic with the Semitic, the latter acting as a dominant caste. Diffusing itself westward along the African coast as far as Mauritania, the Semitic race seems eventually, though at a comparatively late period, to have met the Celtic, which had crossed into Africa from Spain; and thus, by the infusion of Arameans and Celts, that white or tawny population which we find in northern Africa in ancient times, distinct from the Ethiopians of the interior, seems to have been formed. 4th, The Pelasgic branch, that noble family which, carrying the Greeks and Romans in its bosom, poured itself from western Asia into the southeast of Europe, mingling doubtless with Celts and Germans. 5th, The Scythian, or Slavonic branch, which diffused itself over Russia, Siberia, and the central plains of Asia, shading off in these last into the Mongolian, Such is a convenient division of the Caucasian stock; a more profound investigation, however, might reduce the five races to these two - the Semitic and the Indo-Germanic; all civilized languages being capable, it is said, of being classified under these three families - the Chinese, which has monosyllabic roots; the Indo-Germanic (Sanscrit, Hindoostanee, Greek, Latin, German, and all modern European languages), which has dissyllabic roots; and the Semitic (Hebrew, Arabic, &c.), whose roots are trisyllabic. Retaining, however, the fivefold distribution which we have adopted, we shall find that the history of the world, from the earliest to the remotest times, has been nothing else than the common Caucasian vitality presenting itself in a succession of phases or civilizations, each differing from the last in the proportions in which it contains the various separate elements.

It is advisable to sketch first the most eastern Caucasian civilization - that is, that of India; and then to proceed to a consideration of the state of that medley of nations, some of them Semitic, some of them Indo-Persian, and some of them Armenian, out of which the great Persian empire arose, destined to continue the historic pedigree of the world into Europe, by transmitting its vitality to the Pelasgians.