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Title: Human Origins
Author: Laing, S. (Samuel)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Published July 1892, 1500 copies.

Reprinted August 1892, 1500 copies.

Reprinted September 1892, 2000 copies.



    S. LAING


    With Illustrations



    [_All rights reserved_]




    INTRODUCTION                                                       1




    Historical Standard of Time--Short Date inconsistent with
    Evolution--Laws of Historical Evidence--History begins with
    Authentic Records--Records of Egypt oldest--Manetho's
    Lists--Confirmed by Hieroglyphics--Origin of Writing--The
    Alphabet--Phonetic Writing--Clue to Hieroglyphics--The
    Rosetta Stone--Champollion--Principles of Hieroglyphic
    Writing--Language Coptic--Can be read with certainty--Confirmed
    by Monuments--Manetho's Date for Menes 5004 B.C.--Old, Middle,
    and New Empires--Old Empire, Menes, to end of Sixth Dynasty--Break
    between Old and Middle Empires--Works of Twelfth
    Dynasty--Fayoum--Thirteenth and Fourteenth Dynasties--Hyksos
    Conquests--Duration of Hyksos Rule--Their Expulsion and Foundation
    of New Empire--Conquests in Asia of Seventeenth and Eighteenth
    Dynasties--Wars with Hittites and Assyrians--Persian and Greek
    Dynasties--Summary of Evidence for Date of Menes--Period prior
    to Menes--Horsheshu--Sphynx--Stone Age--Neolithic and Palæolithic
    Remains--Horner, Haynes, and Pitt-Rivers                           5



    Chronology--Berosus--His Dates mythical--Dates in Genesis--Synchronisms
    with Egypt and Assyria--Monuments--Cuneiform
    Inscriptions--How deciphered--Behistan Inscription--Grotefend
    and Rawlinson--Layard--Library of Koyunjik--How
    preserved--Accadian Translations and Grammars--Historical
    Dates--Elamite Conquest--Commencement of
    Modern History--Ur-Ea and Dungi--Nabonidus--Sargon I.,
    3800 B.C.--Ur of the Chaldees--Sharrukin's Cylinder--His
    Library--His Son Naram-Sin--Semites and Accadians--Accadians
    and Chinese--Period before Sargon I.--Patesi--De
    Sarzec's find at Sirgalla--Gud-Ea, 4000 to 4500 B.C.--Advance
    of Delta--Astronomical Records--Chaldæa and
    Egypt give similar results---Historic Period 6000 or 7000
    years--and no trace of a beginning                                42



    _China_--Oldest existing Civilization--but Records much later
    than those of Egypt and Chaldæa--Language and Traditions
    Accadian--Communication how effected.

    _Elam_--Very Early Civilization--Susa, an old City in First
    Chaldæan Records--Conquered Chaldæa in 2280 B.C.--Conquered
    by Assyrians 645 B.C.--Statue of Nana--Cyrus an
    Elamite King--His Cylinder--Teaches Untrustworthiness
    of Legendary History.

    _Phoenicia_--Great Influence on Western Civilization--but Date
    comparatively late--Traditions of Origin--First distinct
    Mention in Egyptian Monuments 1600 B.C.--Great Movements
    of Maritime Nations--Invasions of Egypt by Sea
    and Land, under Menepthah, 1330 B.C., and Ramses III.,
    1250 B.C.--Lists of Nations--Show Advanced Civilization
    and Intercourse--but nothing beyond 2000 or 2500 B.C.

    _Hittites_--Great Empire in Asia Minor and Syria--Turanian
    Race--Origin Cappadocia--Great Wars with Egypt--Battle
    of Kadesh--Treaty with Ramses II.--Power rapidly declined--but
    only finally destroyed 717 B.C. by Sargon II.--Capital
    Carchemish--Great Commercial Emporium--Hittite
    Hieroglyphic Inscriptions and Monuments--Only
    recently and partially deciphered--Results.

    _Arabia_--Recent Discoveries--Inscriptions--Sabæa--Minæans--Thirty-two
    Kings known--Ancient Commerce and Trade-routes--Incense
    and Spices--Literature--Old Traditions--Oannes--Punt--Seat
    of Semites--Arabian Alphabet--Older
    than Phoenician--Bearing on Old Testament Histories.

    _Troy and Mycenæ_--Dr. Schliemann's Excavations--Hissarlik--Buried
    Fortifications, Palaces, and Treasures of Ancient Troy--Mycenæ
    and Tiryns--Proof of Civilization and Commerce--Tombs--Absence
    of Inscriptions and Religious Symbols--Date
    of Mycenæan Civilization--School of Art--Pictures on
    Vases--Type of Race                                               66



    Egypt--Book of the Dead--Its Morality--Metaphysical
    Character--Origins of Religions--Ghosts--Animism--Astronomy
    and Astrology--Morality--Pantheism and Polytheism--Egyptian
    Ideas of Future Life and Judgment--Egyptian
    Genesis--Divine Emanations--Plurality of Gods
    and Animal Worship--Sun Worship and Solar Myths--Knowledge
    of Astronomy--Orientation of Pyramids--Theory
    of Future Life--the Ka--the Soul--Confession of
    Faith before Osiris.

    Chaldæan Religion--Oldest Form Accadian--Shamanism--Growth
    of Philosophical Religion--Astronomy and Astrology--Accadian
    Trinities--Anu, Mull-il, Ea--Twelve great
    and Omens--Penitential Psalms--Conclusions
    from                                                             105



    Evidence of Antiquity--Pyramids and Temples--Arithmetic--Decimal
    and Duodecimal Scales--Astronomy--Geometry
    reached in Egypt at earliest Dates--Great Pyramid--Piazzi
    Smyth and Pyramid-Religion--Pyramids formerly Royal
    Tombs, but built on Scientific Plans--Exact Orientation
    on Meridian--Centre in 30° N. Latitude--Tunnel points to
    Pole--Possible use as an Observatory--Procter--Probably
    Astrological--Planetary Influences--Signs of the Zodiac--Mathematical
    Coincidences of Great Pyramid--Chaldæan
    Astronomy--Ziggurats--Tower of Babel--Different Orientation
    from Egyptian Pyramids--Astronomical Treatise
    from Library of Sargon I., 3800 B.C.--Eclipses and Phases
    of Venus--Measures of Time from Old Chaldæan--Moon
    and Sun--Found among so many distant Races--Implies
    Commerce and Intercourse--Art and Industry--Embankment
    of Menes--Sphynx--Industrial Arts--Fine Arts--Sculpture
    and Painting--The Oldest Art the best--Chaldæan
    Art--De Sarzec's Find at Sirgalla--Statues and Works of
    Art--Imply long use of Bronze--Whence came the Copper
    and Tin--Phoenician and Etruscan Commerce--Bronze
    known 200 years earlier--Same Alloy everywhere--Possible
    Sources of Supply--Age of Copper--Names of Copper and
    Tin--Domestic Animals--Horse--Ox and Ass--Agriculture--All
    proves Extreme Antiquity                                         134



    Short Duration of Tradition--No Recollection of Stone
    Age--Celts taken for Thunderbolts--Stone Age in Egypt--Palæolithic
    Implements--Earliest Egyptian Traditions--Extinct Animals
    forgotten--Their Bones attributed to Giants--Chinese and American
    Traditions--Traditions of Origin of Man--Philosophical Myths--Cruder
    Myths from Stones, Trees, and Animals--Totems--Recent Events soon
    forgotten--Autochthonous Nations--Wide Diffusion of Prehistoric
    Myths--The Deluge--Importance of, as Test of Inspiration--More
    Definite than Legend of Creation--What the Account of the Deluge
    in Genesis really says--Date--Extent--Duration--All Life
    destroyed except Pairs preserved in the Ark--Such a Deluge
    impossible--Contradicted by Physical Science--By Geology--By
    Zoology--By Ethnology--By History--How Deluge Myths arise--Local
    Floods--Sea Shells on Mountains--Solar Myths--Deluge
    of Hasisadra--Noah's Deluge copied from it--Revised
    in a Monotheistic Sense at a comparatively Late
    Period--Conclusion--Rational View of Inspiration                 178



    Moral and Religious distinct from Historical Inspiration--Myth and
    Allegory--The Higher Criticism--All Ancient History unconfirmed by
    Monuments untrustworthy--Cyrus--Old Testament and
    Monuments--Jerusalem--Tablet of Tell-el-Amarna--Flinders Petrie's
    Exploration of Pre-Hebrew Cities--Ramses and Pi-thom--First certain
    Synchronism Rehoboam--Composite Structure of Old Testament--Elohist
    and Jehovist--Priests' Code--Canon Driver--Results--Book of
    Chronicles--Methods of Jewish Historians--Post-Exilic
    References--Tradition of Esdras--Nehemiah and Ezra--Foundation
    of Modern Judaism--Different from Pre-Exilic--Discovery of Book
    of the Law under Josiah--Deuteronomy--Earliest Sacred
    Writings--Conclusions--Aristocratic and Prophetic Schools--Triumph
    of Pietism with Exile--Both compiled partly from Old
    Materials--Crudeness and Barbarism of Parts--Pre-Abrahamic Period
    clearly mythical--Derived from Chaldæa--Abraham--Unhistoric
    Character--His Age--Lot's Wife--His double Adventure with
    Sarah--Abraham to Moses--Sojourn in Egypt--Discordant
    Chronology--Josephus' Quotation from Manetho--Small Traces of Egyptian
    Influence--Future Life--Legend of Joseph--Moses--Osarsiph--Life
    of Moses full of Fabulous Legends--His Birth--Plagues
    of Egypt--The Exodus--Colenso--Contradictions and
    Impossibilities--Immoralities--Massacres--Joshua and the
    Judges--Barbarisms and Absurdities--Only safe Conclusion no
    History before the Monarchy--David and Solomon--Comparatively
    Modern Date                                                      209




    Proved by Contemporary Monuments--As in History--Summary of
    Historical Evidence--Geological Evidence of Human Periods--Neolithic
    Period--Palæolithic or Quaternary--Tertiary--Secondary and Older
    Periods--The Recent or Post-Glacial Period--Lake-Villages--Bronze
    Age--Kitchen-Middens--Scandinavian Peat-mosses--Neolithic Remains
    comparatively Modern--Definition of Post-Glacial Period--Its
    Duration--Mellard Read's Estimate--Submerged Forests--Changes
    in Physical Geography--Huxley--Objections from
    America--Niagara--Quaternary Period--Immense Antiquity--Presence of
    Man throughout--First Glacial Period--Scandinavian and Laurentian
    Ice-caps--Immense Extent--Mass of _Débris_--Elevation and
    Depression--In Britain--Inter-Glacial and Second Glacial
    Periods--Antiquity measured by Changes of Land--Lyell's
    Estimate--Glacial _Débris_ and Loess--Recent
    Erosion--Bournemouth--Evans--Prestwich--Wealden Ridge and
    Southern Drift--Contain Human Implements--Evidence from New
    World--California                                                260



    Causes of Glacial Periods--Actual Conditions of existing Glacial
    Regions--High Land in High Latitudes--Cold alone insufficient--Large
    Evaporation required--Formation of
    Glaciers--They flow like Rivers--Icebergs--Greenland and
    Antarctic Circle--Geographical and Cosmic Causes--Cooling
    of Earth and Sun, Cold Spaces in Space, and Change
    in Earth's Axis, reviewed and rejected--Precession alone
    insufficient--Unless with High Eccentricity--Geographical
    Causes, Elevation of Land--Aërial and Oceanic Currents--Gulf
    Stream and Trade Winds--Evidence for greater
    Elevation of Land in America, Europe, and Asia--Depression--Warmer
    Tertiary Climates--Alps and Himalayas--Wallace's
    _Island Life_--Lyell--Croll's Theory--Sir R. Ball--Former
    Glacial Periods--Correspondence with Croll's
    Theory--Length of the different Phases--Summary--Croll's
    Theory a Secondary Cause--Conclusions as to Man's
    Antiquity                                                        293



    No longer doubted--Men not only existed, but in numbers and
    widely spread--Palæolithic Implements of similar Type found
    everywhere--Progress shown--Tests of Antiquity--Position
    of Strata--Fauna--Oldest Types--Mixed Northern and
    Southern Species--Reindeer Period--Correspondence of
    Human Remains with these Three Periods--Advance of
    Civilization--Clothing and Barbed Arrows--Drawing and
    Sculpture--Passage into Neolithic and Recent Periods--Corresponding
    Progress of Physical Man--Distinct Races--How tested--Tests applied
    to Historical, Neolithic, and Palæolithic Man--Long Heads and Broad
    Heads--Aryan Controversy--Primitive European Types--Canon
    Taylor--Huxley--Preservation of Human Remains depends mainly
    on Burials--About forty Skulls and Skeletons known from
    Quaternary Times--Summary of Results--Quatrefages and
    Hamy--Races of Canstadt--Cro-Magnon--Furfooz--Truchere--Skeletons
    of Neanderthal and Spy--Canstadt Type oldest--Cro-Magnon Type
    next--Skeleton of Cro-Magnon--Broad-headed and Short Race resembling
    Lapps--American Type--No Evidence from Asia, Africa, India,
    Polynesia, and Australia--Negroes, Negrillos, and Negritos--Summary
    of Results                                                       317



    Definition of Periods--Passage from Pliocene to Quaternary--Scarcity
    of Human Remains in Tertiary--Denudation--Evidence
    from Caves wanting--Tertiary Man a necessary
    inference from widespread existence of Quaternary Man--Both
    equally inconsistent with Genesis--Was the first
    great Glaciation Pliocene or Quaternary?--Section of
    Perrier--Confirms Croll's Theory--Elephas Meridionalis--Mammoth--St.
    Prest--Cut Bones--Instances of Tertiary
    for--Proofs of Human Agency--Latest Conclusions--Gaudry's
    Theory--Dryopithecus--Type of Tertiary
    Man--Skeleton of Castelnedolo--Shows no approach
    to the Missing Link--Contrary to Theory of Evolution--Must
    be sought in the Eocene--Evidence from the New
    World--Glacial Period in America--Palæolithic Implements--Quaternary
    Man--Similar to Europe--California--Conditions
    different--Auriferous Gravels--Volcanic Eruptions--Enormous
    Denudation--Great Antiquity--Flora and
    Fauna--Point to Tertiary Age--Discovery of Human
    Remains--Table Mountain--Latest Finds--Calaveras Skull--Summary
    of Evidence--Other Evidence--Tuolumne--Brazil--Buenos
    Ayres--Nampa Images--Take us farther
    from First Origins and the Missing Link--If Darwin's
    Theory applies to Man, must go back to the Eocene                343



    Monogeny or Polygeny--Darwin--Existing Races--Colour--Hair--Skulls
    and Brains--Dolichocephali and Brachycephali--Jaws
    and Teeth--Stature--Other Tests--Isaac Taylor--Prehistoric
    Types in Europe--Huxley's Classification--Language no Test of
    Race--Egyptian Monuments--Human and Animal Races unchanged for 6000
    years--Neolithic Races--Palæolithic--Different Races of Man as far
    back as we can trace--Types of Canstadt, Cro-Magnon, and
    Furfooz--Oldest Races Dolichocephalic--Skulls of Neanderthal and
    Spy--Simian Characters--Objections--Evidence confined to
    Europe--American Man--Calaveras Skull--Tertiary Man--Skull
    of Castelnedolo--Leaves Monogeny or Polygeny an open
    Question--Arguments on each side--Old Arguments from the Bible
    and Philology exploded--What Darwinian Theory requires--Animal
    Types traced up to the Eocene--Secondary Origins--Dog and
    Horse--Fertility of Races--Question of Hybridity--Application
    to Man--Difference of Constitutions--Negro and White--Bearing
    on Question of Migration--Apes and Monkeys--Question of Original
    Locality of Man--Asiatic Theory--Eur-African--American--Arctic--None
    based on sufficient Evidence--Mere Speculations--Conclusion--Summary
    of Evidence as to Human Origins                                  391


    TABLET OF SNEFURA AT WADY MAGERAH                  17


    PYRAMIDS OF GIZEH AND SPHYNX                       24


    HYKSOS SPHYNX                                      28

    STATUE OF PRINCE RAHOTEP'S WIFE                    38


    CUNEIFORM                                          46

    SYMBOLS                                            48

    CYLINDER SEAL OF SARGON I                          56

    HEAD OF ANCIENT CHALDÆAN                           60

    STATUE OF GUD-EA, WITH INSCRIPTION                 61

    SEA-FIGHT IN THE TIME OF RAMSES III                79

    KING OF THE HITTITES                               82

    CHIEF OF PUNT AND TWO MEN                          93

    QUEEN SENDING WARRIOR TO BATTLE                   102

    ADAM, EVE, AND THE SERPENT                        103

    JUDGMENT OF THE SOUL BY OSIRIS                    113

    PYRAMID                                           141

    ZIGGURAT RESTORED                                 151

    THE VILLAGE SHEIK                                 164

    PALÆOLITHIC CELT                                  319

    PALÆOLITHIC CELT IN ARGILLITE                     319

    PALÆOLITHIC FLINT CELT                            322


    PORTRAIT OF MAMMOTH                               328

      AND HORSES' HEADS                               328

    REINDEER FEEDING                                  328

    ARROW-HEADS                                       352

      BALÆONOTUS--PLIOCENE                            354

    CUT MAGNIFIED BY MICROSCOPE                       354



    COPARE QUATERNARY IMPLEMENTS                      360

    SECTION AT THENAY                                 362

    MIDDLE MIOCENE IMPLEMENTS                         364

    MIDDLE MIOCENE IMPLEMENTS                         365

    COMPARE QUATERNARY IMPLEMENTS                     367

      CUT THROUGH BY RIVERS                           377

      COUNTY, CALIFORNIA                              381

    THE NAMPA IMAGE                                   387

    L'HOMME AVANT L'HISTOIRE                          402



The reception which has been given to my former works leads me to
believe that they have had a certain educational value for those who,
without being specialists, wish to keep themselves abreast of the
culture of the day, and to understand the leading results and pending
problems of Modern Science. Of these results the most interesting are
those which bear upon the origin and evolution of the human race.
In my former works I have treated of these mainly from the point of
view of geology and palæontology, and have hardly touched on the
province which lies nearest to us, that of history and of prehistoric
traditions. In this province, however, a revolution has been effected
by the discoveries of the present century, which is no less important
than that made by geological research and by the doctrine of

Down to the middle of the nineteenth century, and to a considerable
extent down to the present day, the Hebrew Bible was held to be the
sole and sufficient authority as to the early history of the human
race. It was believed, with a certainty which made doubt impious,
that the first man Adam was created in or about the year 4004 B.C.,
or not quite 6000 years ago; and that all human and other life
was destroyed by a universal Deluge, 1656 years later, with the
exception of Noah and his wife, their sons and their wives, and pairs
of all living creatures, by whom the earth was repeopled from the
mountain-peak of Ararat as a centre.

The latest conclusions of modern science show that uninterrupted
historical records, confirmed by contemporary monuments, carry
history back at least 1000 years before the supposed Creation of Man,
and 2500 years before the date of the Deluge, and show then no trace
of a commencement; but populous cities, celebrated temples, great
engineering works, and a high state of the arts and of civilization,
already existing. This is of the highest interest, both as bearing on
the dogma of the Divine inspiration of the historical and scientific,
as distinguished from the moral and religious, portions of the Bible,
and on the still more important question of the true theory of
Man's origin and relations to the Universe. The so-called conflict
between Religion and Science is at bottom one between two conflicting
theories of the Universe--the first that it is the creation of a
personal God who constantly interferes by miracles to correct His
original work; the second, that whether the First Cause be a personal
God or something inscrutable to human faculties, the work was
originally so perfect that the whole succession of subsequent events
has followed by Evolution acting by invariable laws. The former is
the theory of orthodox believers, the latter that of men of science,
and of liberal theologians who, like Bishop Temple, find that the
theory of "original impress" is more in accordance with the idea
of an Omnipotent and Omniscient Creator, to whom "a thousand years
are as a day," than the traditional theory of a Creator constantly
interfering to supplement and amend His original Creation by
supernatural interferences.

It is evidently important for all who desire to arrive at truth,
and to keep abreast of the culture of the day, to have some clear
conception of what historical and geological records really
teach, and what sort of a standard or measuring-rod they supply
in attempting to carry back our researches into the depths of
prehistoric and of geological time.

I have therefore in this work begun with the historic period, as
giving us a solid foundation and standard of time, by which to gauge
the vastly longer periods which lie behind, and ascended from this
by successive steps through the Neolithic and Palæolithic ages,
and the Quaternary and Tertiary periods, so far as the most recent
discoveries throw any light on the mysterious question of "Human

If I have succeeded in stimulating some minds, especially those of my
younger readers, and of the working-classes who are striving after
culture, to feel an interest in these subjects, and to pursue them
further, my object will have been attained. They have been to me
the solace of a long life, the delight of many quiet days, and the
soother of many troubled ones, and I should be glad to think that I
had been the means, however humble, of introducing to others what I
have found such a source of enjoyment, and enlisting, if it were
only a few, in the service of that "divine Philosophy," in which I
have ever found, as Wordsworth did in Nature,

    "The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
    The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
    Of all my moral being."




   Historical Standard of Time--Short Date inconsistent with
   Evolution--Laws of Historical Evidence--History begins
   with Authentic Records--Records of Egypt oldest--Manetho's
   Lists--Confirmed by Hieroglyphics--Origin of Writing--The
   Alphabet--Phonetic Writing--Clue to Hieroglyphics--The
   Rosetta Stone--Champollion--Principles of Hieroglyphic
   Writing--Language Coptic--Can be read with certainty--Confirmed
   by Monuments--Manetho's Date for Menes 5004 B.C.--Old,
   Middle, and New Empires--Old Empire, Menes, to end of
   Sixth Dynasty--Break between Old and Middle Empires--Works
   of Twelfth Dynasty--Fayoum--Thirteenth and Fourteenth
   Dynasties--Hyksos Conquests--Duration of Hyksos Rule--Their
   Expulsion and Foundation of New Empire--Conquests in Asia of
   Seventeenth and Eighteenth Dynasties--Wars with Hittites and
   Assyrians--Persian and Greek Dynasties--Summary of Evidence for
   Date of Menes--Period prior to Menes--Horsheshu--Sphynx--Stone
   Age--Neolithic and Palæolithic Remains--Horner, Haynes, and

In measuring the dimensions of space we have to start from some
fixed standard, such as the foot or yard, taken originally from
the experience of our ordinary senses and capable of accurate
verification. From this we arrive by successive inductions at the
size of the earth, the distance of the sun, moon, and planets, and
finally at the parallax of the fixed stars. So in speculations as
to the origin and evolution of the human race, history affords the
standard from which we start, through the successive stages of
prehistoric, neolithic, and palæolithic man, until we pass into the
wider ranges of geological time.

Any error in the original standard becomes magnified indefinitely,
whether in space or time, as we extend our researches backwards into
remoter regions.

Thus whether the authentic records of history extend only for some
4500 years backwards from the present time to the scriptural date of
Noah's flood, as was universally assumed to be the case until quite
recently; or whether Egyptian and Chaldæan records carry us back for
7000 years, and show us then a dense population, powerful empires,
large cities, and generally a highly advanced civilization already
existing, makes a wonderful difference in the standpoint from which
we view the course of human evolution.

To begin with, a short date necessitates supernatural interferences.
It is quite impossible that if man and all animal life were created
only about 4000 years B.C., and were then all destroyed save the
few pairs saved in Noah's ark, and made a fresh start from a single
centre some 1500 years later, there can be any truth in Darwin's
theory of evolution. We know for a certainty from the concurrent
testimony of all history, and from Egyptian monuments, that the
different races of men and animals were in existence 5000 years ago
as they are at the present day; and that no fresh creations or marked
changes of type have taken place during that period. If then all
these types, and all the different races and nations of men, sprung
up in the interval of less than 1000 years, which is the longest that
can by any possibility be allowed between the Biblical date of the
Deluge and the clash of the mighty monarchies of Assyria and Egypt
in Palestine, the date of which is proved both by the Bible and by
profane historians, it is obviously impossible that such a state of
things could have been brought about by natural causes.

But if authentic historical records carry us back not for 3000
or 4000, but for 6000 or 7000 years, and then show no trace of a
beginning, the case is altered, and we may assume an almost unlimited
duration of time, through historical, prehistoric, neolithic, and
palæolithic ages, during which evolution may have operated. It is of
the first importance therefore to inquire what these records really
teach in the light of modern research, and what is the evidence for
the longer dates which are now generally accepted.

Furnished with such a measuring-rod it becomes easier to attempt to
bring into some sort of co-ordination the vast mass of facts which
have been accumulated in recent years as to prehistoric, neolithic,
and palæolithic man; and the glimpses of light respecting the origin,
antiquity, and early history of the human race, which have come
in from other sciences such as astronomy, geology, zoology, and

To do this exhaustively would be an encyclopædic task which I do
not pretend to accomplish, but I am not without hope that the
following chapters, connected as they are by the one leading idea of
tracing human origins backward to their source, may assist inquiry,
and create an interest in this most interesting of all questions,
especially among the young who are striving after knowledge, and
the millions who, not having the time and opportunity for reading
technical works, feel a desire to keep themselves abreast of modern
thought and of the advanced culture of the close of the nineteenth

Before examining these records in detail it is well to begin with the
general laws upon which historical evidence is based. History begins
with writings. All experience shows that what may be transmitted
by memory and word of mouth, consists mainly of hymns and portions
of ritual, such as the Vedas of the Hindoos; and to a certain
extent of heroic poems and ballads in which the historical element
is so overlaid by mythology and poetry, that it is impossible to
discriminate between fact and fancy. Thus the legend of Hercules
is evidently in the main a solar myth, and his twelve labours are
related to the signs of the zodiac, but it is possible that there
may have been a real Hercules, the actual or eponymic ancestor of
the tribe of Heraclides. So, at a later period, the descent of the
Romans from the pious Æneas, and of the Britons from another Trojan
hero Brute, are obviously fabulous; and at a still more recent date,
our own Arthurian legends are evidently a mediæval romance, though
it is possible that there may have been a chief of that name of the
Christianized Romano-Britons, who opposed a gallant resistance to the
flood of Saxon invasion.

But to make real history we require something very different;
concurrent and uninterrupted testimony of known historians; absence
of impossible and obviously fabulous dates and events; and, above
all, contemporary records, written or engraved on tombs, temples, and
monuments, or preserved in papyri or clay cylinders.

Another remark is, that these authentic records of early history
only begin to appear when civilization is so far advanced as to
have established powerful dynasties and priestly organizations.
The history of a nation is at first the history of its kings, and
its records are enumerations of their genealogies, successive
reigns, foundation or repair of temples, great industrial works, and
warlike exploits. These are made and preserved by special castes
of priestly colleges and learned scribes, and they are to a great
extent precise in date and accurate in fact. Before the establishment
of such historical dynasties we have nothing but legends and
traditions, which are vague and mythical, the mythological element
rapidly predominating as we go backwards in time, until we soon
arrive at reigns of gods, and lives of thousands of years. But as
we approach the period of historical dynasties the mythological
element diminishes, and we pass from gods reigning 10,000 years,
and patriarchs living to 900, to later patriarchs living 150 or 200
years, and finally to mortal men, living, and kings reigning, to
natural ages.

In fact, with the first appearance of authentic records the
supernatural disappears, and the average duration of lives, reigns,
and dynasties, and the general course of events, are much the same as
at present, and fully confirm, the statement of the Egyptian priests
to Herodotus, that during the long succession of ages of the 345 high
priests of Heliopolis, whose statues they showed him in the great
temple of the sun, there had been no change in the length of human
life or in the course of nature, and each one of the 345 had been a
_piromis_, or mortal man, the son of a _piromis_. The first question
is how far back these authentic historical records can be traced, and
Egypt affords the first answer.

The first step in the inquiry as to Egyptian antiquity is afforded
by the history of Manetho. Ptolemy Philadelphus, whose reign began
284 B.C., was an enlightened king. He founded the great Alexandrian
library, and was specially curious in collecting everything which
bore on the early history of his own and other countries. With this
view he had the Greek translation, known as the Septuagint, made
of the sacred books of the Hebrews, and he commissioned Manetho
to compile a history of Egypt from the earliest times, from the
most authentic temple records and other sources of information.
Manetho was eminently qualified for such a task, being a learned and
judicious man, and a priest of Sebennytus, one of the oldest and most
famous temples.

The history of Manetho is unfortunately lost, being probably
the greatest loss the world has sustained by the burning of the
Alexandrian library, but fragments of it have been preserved in
the works of Josephus, Eusebius, Julius Africanus and Syncellus,
of whom Eusebius and Africanus profess to give Manetho's lists and
dates of dynasties and kings from the first King Menes down to the
conquest of Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. With the curious want of
critical faculty of almost all the Christian fathers, these extracts,
though professing to be quotations from the same book, contain many
inconsistencies, and in several instances they have obviously been
tampered with, especially by Eusebius, in order to bring their
chronology more in accordance with that of the Old Testament. But
enough remains to show that Manetho's lists comprised thirty-one
dynasties, and about 370 kings, whose successive reigns extended over
a period of about 5500 years, from the accession of Menes to the
conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C., making the date
of the first historical king who united Upper and Lower Egypt, about
5800 B.C. There may be some doubt as to the precise dates, for the
lists, of Manetho have obviously been tampered with to some extent
by the Christian fathers who quoted them, but there can be no doubt
that his original work assigned an antiquity to Menes of over 5500

The only other historical information as to the history of Ancient
Egypt was gleaned from references to it in the extant works of
Josephus and of Greek authors, especially Homer, Herodotus, and
Diodorus Siculus. Josephus, in his _Antiquity of the Jews_, quotes
passages from Manetho, but they only extend to the period of the
Hyksos invasion, the Captivity of the Jews, and the Exodus, which are
all comparatively recent events in Manetho's annals. Homer's account
of hundred-gated Thebes does not carry us back beyond the echo
which had reached Ionian Greece of the splendours of the nineteenth
dynasty. Herodotus visited Egypt about 450 B.C., and wrote a
description of it from what he saw and heard on the spot. It contains
a good deal of valuable information, for he was a shrewd observer.
But he was credulous, and not very critical in distinguishing between
fact and fable, and it is evident that his sources of information
were often not much better than vague popular traditions, or the
tales told by guides, and even the more authentic information is so
disconnected and mixed with fable, that it can hardly be accepted
as material for history. As far as it goes, however, it tends to
confirm Manetho, as, for instance, in giving the names correctly of
the kings who built the three great pyramids, and in saying that he
saw the statues of 342 successive high priests of the great Temple of
Heliopolis, which correspond very well with Manetho's lists of 370

Diodorus gives us very much the same narratives as those of
Herodotus; and, on the whole, we had to fall back on Manetho as the
only authority for anything like precise dates and connected history.

Manetho's dates, however, were so inconsistent with preconceived
ideas based on the chronology of the Bible, that they were
universally thought to be fabulous. They were believed either
to represent the exaggerations of Egyptian priests desirous of
magnifying the antiquity of their country, or, if historical, to give
in succession the names of a number of kings and dynasties who had
really reigned simultaneously in different provinces. So stood the
question until the discovery of reading hieroglyphics enabled us to
test the accuracy of Manetho's lists by the light of contemporary
monuments and manuscripts. This discovery is of such supreme
importance that it may be well to begin at the beginning, and lay a
solid foundation by showing how it was made, and the demonstration on
which it rests.

Reading presupposes writing, as writing presupposes speech. Ideas
are conveyed from one mind to another in speech through the ear,
in writing through the eye. The origin of the latter method is
doubtless to be found in picture-writing. The palæolithic savage who
drew a mammoth with the point of a flint on a piece of ivory, was
attempting to write, in his rude way, a record of some memorable
chase. And the accounts of the old Empires of Mexico and Peru at
the time of the Spanish Conquest, show that a considerable amount
of civilization can be attained and information conveyed by this
primitive method. But for the purpose of historical record more is
required. It is essential to have a system of signs and symbols
which shall be generally understood, and by which knowledge shall
be handed down unchanged to successive generations. All experience
shows that before knowledge is thus fixed and recorded, anything that
may be transmitted by memory and word of mouth, fades off almost
immediately into myth, and leaves no certain record of time, place,
and circumstance. A few religious hymns and prayers like those of the
Vedas, a few heroic ballads like those of Homer, a few genealogies
like those of Agamemnon or Abraham, may be thus preserved, but
nothing definite or accurate in the way of fact and date. History,
therefore, begins with writing, and writing begins with the invention
of fixed signs to represent words. A system of writing is possible,
like the Chinese, in which each separate word has its own separate
sign, but this is extremely cumbrous, and quite unintelligible to
those who have not got a living key to explain the meaning of each
symbol. It is calculated that an educated Chinese has to learn by
heart the meaning of some 15,000 separate signs before he can read
and write correctly. We have a trace of this ideographic system in
our own language, as where arbitrary signs such as 1, 2, 3, represent
not the sounds of one, two, and three, but the ideas conveyed by
them. But for all practical purposes, intelligible writing has to be
phonetic, that is, representing spoken words, not by the ideas they
convey, but by the sounds of which they are composed. In other words
there must be an Alphabet.

The alphabet is the first lesson of childhood, and it seems such a
simple thing that we are apt to forget that it is one of the most
important and original inventions of the human intellect. Some
prehistoric genius, musing on the meaning of spoken words, has seen
that they might all be analyzed into a few simple sounds. To make
this more easily intelligible, I will suppose the illustrations to be
taken from our own language. "Dog" and "dig" express very different
ideas; but a little reflection will show that the primary sounds
made by the tongue, teeth, and palate, viz. 'd' and 'g,' are the
same in each, and that they differ only by a slight variation in the
soft breathing or vowel, which connects them and renders them vocal.
The next step would be to see that such words as "good" or "God,"
consisted of the same root-sounds, only transposed and connected with
a slight vowel difference. Pursuing the analysis, it would finally
be discovered that the many thousand words of spoken language could
all be resolved into a very small number of radical sounds, each of
which might be represented and suggested to the mind through the eye
instead of the ear by some conventional sign or symbol. Here is the
alphabet, and here the art of writing.

This great achievement of the human intellect appears to have been
made in prehistoric times; and where not obviously imported from a
foreign source, as in the Phoenician alphabet from the Egyptian and
the Greek from the Phoenician, it is attributed to some god, that is,
to an unknown antiquity.

Thus in Egypt, Thoth the Second, known to the Greeks as Hermes
Trismegistus, a fabulous demi-god of the period succeeding the reign
of the great gods, is said to have invented the alphabet and the
art of writing. The analysis of primary sounds varies a little in
different times and countries in order to suit peculiarities in the
pronunciation of different races and convenience in writing; but
about sixteen primitive sounds, which is the number of the letters
of the first alphabet brought by Cadmus to Greece, are always its
basis. In our own alphabet it is easy to see that it is not formed on
strictly scientific principles, some of the letters being redundant.
Thus the soft sound of 'c' is expressed by 's,' and the hard sound by
'k'; and 'x' is an abbreviation of three other letters, 'eks.' Some
letters also express sounds which run so closely into one another
that in some alphabets they are not distinguished, as 'f' and 'v,'
'd' and 't', 'l' and 'r'; while some races have guttural and other
sounds, such as 'kh' and 'sj,' which occur so frequently as to
require separate signs, while they baffle the vocal organs of other
races, and in some cases syllables which frequently occur, instead
of being spelt out alphabetically, are represented by single signs.
But these are mere details, the question substantially is this--if a
collection of unknown signs is phonetic, and we can get any clue to
its alphabet, it can be read; if not it must remain a sealed book.

To apply this to hieroglyphics; it had been long known that the
monuments of ancient Egypt were carved with mysterious figures,
representing commonly birds, animals, and other natural objects,
but all clue to their meaning had been lost. It seemed more natural
to suppose that they were ideographic; that a lion for instance
represented a real lion, or some quality associated with him, such as
fierceness, valour, and kingly aspect, rather than that his picture
stood simply for our letter 'l.' The long-desired clue was afforded
by the famous Rosetta stone. This is a mutilated block of black
basalt, which was discovered in 1799 by an engineer officer of the
French expedition, in digging the foundations of a fort near Rosetta.
It was captured, with other trophies, by the British army, when the
French were driven out of Egypt, and is now lodged at the British
Museum. It bears on it three inscriptions, one in hieroglyphics, the
second in the demotic Egyptian character employed for popular use,
and the third in Greek. The Greek can of course be read, and it is
an inscription commemorating the coronation of Ptolemy Epiphanes and
his Queen Arsinoe, in the year 196 B.C. It was an obvious conjecture
that the two Egyptian inscriptions were to the same effect, and that
the Greek was a literal translation of this. To turn this conjecture,
however, into a demonstration, a great deal of ingenuity and patient
research were required. The principle upon which all interpretation
of unknown signs rests may be most easily understood by taking an
illustration from our own language. The first step in the problem
is to know whether these unknown signs are ideographic or phonetic.
Thus if we have two groups of signs, one of which we have reason to
know stands for "Ptolemy" and the other for "Cleopatra," if they are
phonetic, the first sign in Ptolemy will correspond with the fifth in
Cleopatra; the second with the seventh, the third with the fourth,
the fourth with the second, and the fifth with the third; and we
shall have established five letters of the unknown alphabet, 'p, t,
o, l,' and 'e.' Other names will give other letters, as if we know
"Arsinoe," its comparison with "Cleopatra" will give 'a' and 'r,' and
confirm the former induction as to 'o' and 'e.'

And it will be extremely probable that the two last signs in Ptolemy
represent 'm' and 'y'; the first in Cleopatra 'c'; and the third,
fourth, and fifth in Arsinoe, 's, i,' and 'n.' Suppose now that we
find in an inscription on an ancient temple at Thebes, a name which
begins with our known sign for 'r,' followed by our known 'a,' then
by our conjectural 'm,' then by the sign which we find third in
Arsinoe, or 's,' then by our known 'e,' and ending with a repetition
of 's,' we have no difficulty in reading "Ramses," and identifying it
with one of the kings of that name mentioned by Manetho as reigning
at Thebes. The identification of letters was facilitated by the
custom of inclosing the names of kings in what is called a cartouche
or oval.


  (The oldest inscription in the world, probably 6000 years old.
  The king conquering an Arabian or Asiatic enemy.)]

This name reads "Snefura," which is the name of the king of the third
dynasty who reigned about 4000 B.C., or before the building of the
Great Pyramids, which inscription is the earliest contemporary one
of an Egyptian king as yet discovered. It was found at the copper
mines of Wady Magerah, in the peninsula of Sinai, and represents the
victory of the king over an Arabian or Asiatic enemy.

The first step towards the decipherment of the hieroglyphics on the
Rosetta stone was made in 1819 by Dr. Young, who was one of the
most ingenious and original thinkers of the nineteenth century, and
is also famous as the first discoverer of the undulatory theory of
light. But in both cases he merely indicated the right path and
laid down the correct principles. The development of his theories
was reserved for two Frenchmen; Fresnel in the case of Light, and
Champollion in that of Hieroglyphics. The task was one which required
immense patience and ingenuity, for the hieroglyphic alphabet turned
out to be one of great complexity. Not only were many of the signs
not phonetic, but ideographic or determinative; and some of them
standing for syllables and not letters; but the letters themselves
were not represented, as in modern languages, each by a single sign
or at most by two signs, as A and a, but by several different signs.
The Egyptian alphabet was in fact constructed very much as young
children often learn theirs, by--

    A was an apple-pie,
    B bit it,
    C cut it;

with this difference, that several objects, whose names begin with A
and other letters, might be used to represent them. Thus some of the
hieroglyphic letters had as many as twenty-five different signs or
homophones. It is as if we could write for 'a,' the picture either of
an apple, or of an ass, archer, arrow, anchor, or any word beginning
with 'a.'

However, Champollion with infinite difficulty, and aided by the
constant discovery of fresh inscriptions, solved the problem,
and succeeded in producing a complete alphabet of hieroglyphics
comprising all the various signs, thus enabling us to translate every
hieroglyphic sign into its corresponding sound or spoken word.

The next question was, what did these words mean, and could they
be recognized in any known language? The answer to this was easy;
the Egyptians spoke Egyptic, or as it is abbreviated Coptic, a
modern form of which is almost a living language, and is preserved
in translations of the Bible still in use and studied by the aid
of Coptic dictionaries and grammars. This enabled Champollion to
construct a hieroglyphic dictionary and grammar, which have been so
completed by the labours of subsequent Egyptologists, that it is not
too much to say that any inscription or manuscript in hieroglyphics
can be read with nearly as much certainty as if it had been written
in Greek or in Hebrew.

  Champollion's _Egypt_.)]

The above illustrations from English characters are only given as
the simplest way of conveying to the minds of those who have had no
previous acquaintance with the subject, an idea of the nature of
the process and force of the evidence, upon which the decipherment
of hieroglyphic inscriptions is based. In reality the process was
far from being so simple. Though many of the hieroglyphics are
phonetics, like our letters of the alphabet, they are not all so,
and many of them are purely ideographic, as when we write 1, 2, 3,
for one, two, and three. All writing has begun with picture-writing,
and each character was originally a likeness of the object which it
was wished to represent. The next stage was to use the character not
only for the material object, but as a symbol for some abstract idea
associated with it. Thus the picture of a lion might stand either
for an actual lion, or for fierceness, courage, majesty, or other
attribute of the king of animals. In this way it became possible to
convey meanings to the mind through the eye, but it involved both an
enormous number of characters, and the use of homophones, _i.e._ of
single characters standing for a number of separate ideas. To obviate
this, what are called "determinatives" were invented, _i.e._ special
signs affixed to characters or groups of characters to determine the
sense in which they were to be taken. For instance, the picture of a
star (*) affixed to a group of hieroglyphics may be used to denote
that they represent the name of a god, or some divine or heavenly
attribute; and the picture of rippling water ~~~~~~~~ to show that
the group means something connected with water, as a sea or river.
Beyond this the Chinese have hardly gone, and it is reckoned that it
requires some 1358 separate characters, or conventionalized pictures,
taken in distinct groups, to be able to read and write correctly the
40,000 words in the Chinese language. Even for the ordinary purposes
of life a Chinaman instead of committing to memory twenty-six letters
of the alphabet, like an English child, has to learn by heart some
6000 or 7000 groups of characters often distinguished only by slight
dots and dashes. Such a system is cumbrous in the extreme, and
involves spending many of the best years of life in acquiring the
first rudiments of knowledge. Indeed it is only possible when not
only writing but speech has been arrested at the first stage of its
development, and a nation speaks a language of monosyllables. In the
case of Egypt and other ancient nations the standpoint of writing
went further, and the symbolic pictures came to represent phonograms,
_i.e._ sounds or spoken words instead of ideas or objects; and these
again were further analyzed into syllabaries, or the component
articulate sounds which make up words; and these finally into their
ultimate elements of a few simple sounds, or letters of an alphabet,
the various combinations of which will express all the complex sounds
or words of a spoken language.

Now in the hieroglyphic writing of ancient Egypt, along with those
pure phonetics or letters of an alphabet, are found numerous
survivals of the older systems from which they sprung, and
Champollion, who first attempted the task of forming a hieroglyphic
dictionary and grammar, had to contend with all the difficulties of
ideograms, polyphones, determinatives, and other obstacles.

Those who wish to pursue this interesting subject further will do
well to read Dr. Isaac Taylor's book on the Alphabet, and Sayce on
the Science of Writing; but for my present purpose it is sufficient
to establish the scientific certainty of the process by which
hieroglyphic texts are read. With this key a vast mass of constantly
accumulating evidence has been brought to light, illustrating not
only the chronology and history of ancient Egypt, but also its
social and political condition, its literature and religion, science
and art. The first question naturally was how far the monuments
confirmed or disproved the lists of Manetho. Manetho was a learned
priest of a celebrated temple, who must have had access to all the
temple and royal records and other literature of Egypt, and who must
have been also conversant with foreign literature, to have been
selected as the best man to write a complete history of his native
country for the royal library in Greek. Manetho's lists of the reigns
of dynasties and kings when summed up show a date of 5867 B.C. for
the foundation of the united Egyptian Empire by Menes, a date which
is of course absolutely inconsistent with those given by Genesis, not
only for the Deluge, but for the original Creation.

It is evident that the monuments alone could confirm or contradict
these lists, and give a solid basis for Egyptian chronology and
history. This has now been done to such an extent that it may
fairly be said that Manetho has been confirmed, and it is fully
established, as a fact acquired by science, that nearly all his
kings and dynasties are proved by monuments to have existed, and
that successively and not simultaneously, so that the margin of
uncertainty as to the date of Menes is reduced to one of a few
hundred years on one side or other of 5000 B.C.

Mariette, who is the best and latest authority, and who has done
so much to discover monuments of the earlier dynasties, concludes,
as the result of a careful revision of Manetho's lists, and of the
authentic records from temples, tombs, and papyri, that 5004 B.C. is
the most probable date for the accession of Menes, and this date
is generally adopted by modern Egyptologists. Some make it rather
longer, as Boeck 5702 B.C., and Unger 5613 B.C.; while others make
it a little shorter, as Maspero 4500 B.C., and Brugsch[1] 4455;
but it is to be observed that the date has always lengthened with
the progress of discovery. Thus the earlier Egyptologists such as
Wilkinson, Birch, and Poole assigned a date not exceeding 3000
B.C. for the accession of Menes; twenty years later Bunsen and
Lepsius gave respectively 3623 and 3892 B.C.; and since the latest
discoveries, no competent scholar assigns a lower date than 4500
B.C., while some go up to 5702 B.C., and that most generally accepted
is 5004 B.C. It is safe to conclude, therefore, that about 5000 B.C.,
or very nearly 7000 years before the present time, may be taken
provisionally as the date of the commencement of authentic Egyptian
history, and that if this date be corrected by future discoveries it
is more likely to be increased than diminished.

  [1] Brugsch, however, confines himself mainly to kings whose
  names are confirmed by monuments, and takes no account of the
  numerous names of unknown kings in royal genealogies, of which no
  confirmation has yet been found, so that practically his estimate
  is not inconsistent with that of Mariette.

This immensely long period of Egyptian history is divided into three
stages--the Old, the Middle, and the New Empires. The Old Empire
began with Menes, and lasted without interruption for about 1500
years, under six dynasties of kings, who ruled over the whole of
Egypt. It was a period of peace, prosperity, and progress, during
which the pyramids, the greatest of all human works, were built,
literature flourished, and the industrial and fine arts attained a
high degree of perfection.

At the very commencement of this period we find the first King Menes
carrying out a great work of hydraulic engineering, by which the
course of the Nile was diverted, and a site obtained on its western
banks for the new capital of Memphis. His immediate successor is said
to have written a celebrated treatise on Medicine, and the extremely
life-like portrait-statues and wooden statuettes, which were never
equalled in any subsequent stage of Egyptian art, date back to the
fourth dynasty.

  [Illustration: PYRAMIDS OF GIZEH AND SPHYNX. (From Champollion's

It is singular that this extremely ancient period is the one of
which, although the oldest, we know most, for the monuments,
the papyri, and especially the tombs in the great cemeteries of
Sakkarah and Ghizeh, give us the fullest details of the political
and social life of Egypt during the fourth, fifth, and sixth
dynasties, with sufficient information as to the three first
dynasties to check and confirm the lists of Manetho. We really
know the life of Memphis 6000 years ago better than we do that of
London under the Saxon kings, or of Paris under the descendants
of Clovis.

The sixth dynasty was succeeded by a period which seems to have
been one of civil war and anarchy, during which there was a
complete cessation of monuments; or, if they existed, they have
not yet been discovered. The probable duration of this eclipse of
Egyptian records is somewhat uncertain, as we cannot be sure, in
the absence of monuments, that the four dynasties of short reigns
assigned to the interval between the sixth and the eleventh
dynasties by Manetho, and the numerous names of unknown kings on
the tablets, were successive sovereigns who reigned over united
Egypt, or local chiefs who got possession of power in different
parts of the Empire. All we can see is that the supremacy of
Memphis declined, and that its last great dynasty was replaced,
either in whole or in part, by a rebellion in Upper Egypt which
introduced two dynasties whose seat was at Heracleopolis on the
Middle Nile, In any case the duration of this period must have
been very long, for the eclipse was very complete, and when
we once more find ourselves in the presence of records in the
eleventh dynasty, the seat of empire is established at Thebes,
and the state of the arts, religion, and civilization are
different and much ruder than they were at the close of the great
Memphite Empire with the sixth dynasty. Mariette says, "When
Egypt, with the eleventh dynasty, awoke from its long sleep, the
ancient traditions were forgotten. The proper names of the kings
and ancient nobility, the titles of the high functionaries, the
style of the hieroglyphic writing, and even the religion, all
seemed new. The monuments are rude, primitive, and sometimes
even barbarous, and to see them one would be inclined to think
that Egypt under the eleventh dynasty was beginning again the
period of infancy which it had already passed through 1500 years
earlier under the third." The tomb of one of these kings of the
eleventh dynasty, Entef I., is remarkable as showing on a funeral
pillar the sportsman-king surrounded by his four favourite dogs,
whose names are given, and which are of different breeds, from a
large greyhound to a small turnspit.

However, the chronology of this eleventh dynasty is well
attested, its kings are known, and under them Upper and Lower
Egypt were once more consolidated into a single state, forming
what is known as the Middle Empire. Under the twelfth dynasty,
which succeeded it, this Empire bloomed rapidly into one of the
greatest and most glorious periods of Egyptian history. The
dynasty only lasted for 213 years, under seven kings, whose names
were all either Amenemes or Osirtasen; but during their reigns
the frontiers of Egypt were extended far to the south, Nubia was
incorporated with the Empire, and Egyptian influence extended
over the whole Soudan, and perhaps nearly to the equator on the
one hand, and over Southern Syria on the other. But the dynasty
was still more famous for the arts of peace.

One of the greatest works of hydraulic engineering which the
world has seen was carried out by Amenemes III., who took
advantage of a depression in the desert limestone near the
basin of Fayoum, to form a large artificial lake connected
with the Nile by canals, tunnelled through rocky ridges and
provided with sluices, so as to admit the water when the river
rose too high, and let it out when it fell too low, and thus
regulate the inundation of a great part of Middle and Lower
Egypt, independently of the seasons. Connected with this Lake
Moeris was the famous Labyrinth, which Herodotus pronounced to
be a greater wonder than even the great Pyramid. It was a vast
square building erected on a small plateau on the east side
of the lake, constructed of blocks of granite which must have
been brought from Syene, with a façade of white limestone; and
containing in the interior a vast number of small square chambers
and vaults--Herodotus says 3000--each roofed with a single large
slab of stone, and connected by narrow passages, so intricate
that a stranger entering without a clue would be infallibly
lost. The object seems to have been to provide a safe repository
for statues of gods and kings and other precious objects. In
the centre was a court containing twelve hypostyle chapels, six
facing the south and six the north, and at the north angle of the
square was a pyramid of brick faced with stone forming the tomb
of Amenemes III.

In addition to this colossal work, the kings of this dynasty
built and restored many of the most famous temples and erected
statues and obelisks, among the latter the one now standing
at Heliopolis. It was also an age of great literary activity,
and the biographies of many of the priests, nobles, and high
officers, inscribed on their tombs and recorded in papyri, give
us the most minute knowledge of the history and social life of
this remote period.

The prosperity of Egypt during the Middle Empire was continued
under the thirteenth dynasty of sixty Theban kings, to whom
Manetho assigns the period of 453 years. Less is known of this
period than of the great twelfth dynasty which preceded it, but
a sufficient number of monuments have been preserved to confirm
the general accuracy of Manetho's statements. A colossal statue
of the twenty-fourth or twenty-fifth king, Sevckhotef VI., found
on the island of Argo near Dongola, shows that the frontier
fixed by the conquests of Amenemes at Semneh, had not only been
maintained, but extended nearly fifty leagues to the south into
the heart of Ethiopia; and another statue found at Tanis shows
that the rule of this dynasty was firmly established in Lower
Egypt. But the scarcity of the monuments, and the inferior
execution of the works of art, show that this long dynasty was
one of gradual decline, and the rise of the next or fourteenth
dynasty at Xois, transferring the seat of power from Thebes to
the Delta, points to civil wars and revolutions.

  (From photograph by Naville in _Harper's Magazine_.)]

  [Illustration: HYKSOS SPHYNX. (From photograph by Naville in
  _Harper's Magazine_.)]

Manetho assigns seventy-five kings and 484 years to the fourteenth
dynasty, and it is to this period that a good deal of uncertainty
attaches, for there are no monuments, and nothing to confirm
Manetho's lists, except a number of unknown names of kings of the
dynasty enumerated among the royal ancestors in the Papyrus of Turin.
If Manetho's figures are correct, the period must have been one of
anarchy and civil war, for the average duration of each reign is
less than six and a half years, while that of the twelfth and other
well-known historical dynasties exceeds thirty years. The same remark
applies to the thirteenth dynasty, the reigns of whose sixty kings
average only seven and a half years each, and it is probable that
the end of this dynasty and the whole of the fourteenth was a period
of anarchy, during which so-called kings rose and fell in rapid
succession, as in the case of our own dynasties of Lancaster and
York, and the annals are so confused that the dates are unreliable.
What is certain is that the great Middle Empire sank rapidly into a
state of anarchy and impotence, which prepared the way for a great
catastrophe. This catastrophe came in the form of an invasion of
foreigners, who, about the year 2000 B.C., broke through the eastern
frontier of the Delta, and apparently without much resistance,
conquered the whole of Lower Egypt up to Memphis, and reduced the
princes of the Upper Provinces to a state of vassalage. There is
considerable doubt who these invaders were, who were known as Hyksos
or Shepherd Kings. They consisted probably, mainly of nomad tribes
of Canaanites, Arabians, and other Semitic races, but the Turanian
Hittites seem to have been associated with them, and the leaders
to have been Turanian, judging from the portrait-statues of two of
the later kings of the Hyksos dynasty which have been recently
discovered by Naville at Bubastis, and which are unmistakably
Turanian and even Chinese in type. Our information as to this Hyksos
conquest is derived mainly from fragments of Manetho quoted by
Josephus, and from traditions repeated by Herodotus, and is very
vague and imperfect. But this much seems certain, that at first
the Hyksos acted as savage barbarians, burning cities, demolishing
temples, and massacring part of the population and reducing the rest
to slavery. But, as in the parallel case of the Tartar conquest of
China, as time went on they adopted the superior civilization of
their subjects, and the later kings were transformed into genuine
Pharaohs, differing but little from those of the old national
dynasties. This is conclusively proved by the discoveries recently
made at Tanis and Bubastis, which have revealed important monuments
of this dynasty. At Tanis an avenue of sphynxes was discovered,
copied evidently from those at Thebes and from the Great Sphynx at
Gizeh, with lion bodies and human heads, the latter with a different
head-dress from the Egyptian, and a different type of feature. At
Bubastis two colossal statues of Hyksos kings, with their heads
broken off, but one of them nearly perfect, were unexpectedly
discovered by Naville in 1887, and it was proved that they had stood
on each side of the entrance to an addition made by those kings to
the ancient and celebrated temple of the Egyptian goddess Bast,
thus proving that the Hyksos had adopted not only the civilization
but also the religion of the Egyptian nation. There are but few
inscriptions known of the Hyksos dynasty, for their cartouches have
generally been effaced, and those of later kings chiselled over
them; but enough remains to show that they were in the hieroglyphic
character, and the names of two or three of their kings can still
be deciphered, among which are two Apepis, the second probably the
last of the dynasty. It was probably under one of these Hyksos kings
that Joseph came to Egypt, and the tribes of Israel settled on its
eastern frontier. The duration of the Hyksos rule is thus left in
some uncertainty. Manetho, if correctly quoted by Josephus, says
they ruled over Egypt for 511 years, though his lists only show one
dynasty of 259 years, and then the Theban dynasty, who reigned over
Upper Egypt for 260 years contemporaneously with Hyksos kings in
Lower Egypt. We regain, however, firm historical ground with the
rise of the eighteenth Theban dynasty of native Egyptian kings,
who finally expelled the Hyksos, after a long war, and founded what
is known as the New Empire. The date of this event is fixed by the
best authorities at about 1750 B.C., and from this time downwards we
have an uninterrupted succession of undoubted historical records,
confirmed by contemporary monuments and by the annals of other
nations, down to the Christian era. The reaction which followed the
expulsion of the Hyksos led to campaigns in Asia on a great scale,
in which Egypt came into collision with powerful nations, and for
a long time was the dominant power in Western Asia, extending its
conquests from the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea and Mediterranean,
and receiving tribute from Babylon and Nineveh. Then followed wars,
waged on more equal terms, with the Hittites, who had founded a great
empire in Asia Minor and Syria; and as their power declined and that
of Assyria rose, with the long series of warlike Assyrian monarchs,
who gradually obtained the ascendency, and not only stripped Egypt
of its foreign conquests, but on more than one occasion invaded
its territory and captured its principal cities. It is during this
period that we find the first of the certain synchronisms between
Egyptian history and the Old Testament, beginning with the capture
of Jerusalem by Shishak in the reign of Rehoboam, and ending with
the captivity of the Jews and temporary conquest of Egypt by
Nebuchadnezzar. Then came the Persian conquest by Cambyses and
alternate periods of national independence and of Persian rule, until
the conquest of Alexander and the establishment of the dynasty of
the Ptolemies, which lasted until the reign of Cleopatra, and ended
finally by the annexation of Egypt as a province of the Roman Empire.

The history of this long period is extremely interesting, as showing
what may be called the commencement of the modern era of great wars,
and of the rise and fall of civilized empires; but for the present
purpose I only refer to it as helping to establish the chronological
standard which I am in search of as a measuring-rod to gauge the
duration of historical time. We may sum up the conclusions derived
from Manetho's lists and the monuments as follows:--

Manetho's lists, as they have come down to us, show a date of 5867
years B.C. for the accession of Menes. Of this period, we may say
that we know 1750 years for the New Empire and the period of the
Persians and the Ptolemies, from contemporary monuments and records,
with such certainty that any possible error cannot exceed fifty or
one hundred years. The Hyksos period is less certain, but there is
no sufficient reason for doubting that it may have lasted for about
511 years. Manetho could have had no object in overstating the
duration of the rule of hated foreigners, and a long time must have
elapsed before the rude invaders could have so completely adopted the
civilization of the subject race. The dates of the Middle Empire, to
which Manetho assigns 1241 years, are more uncertain, and we can only
check them by monuments for the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth
dynasties. The length of the fourteenth Xoite dynasty seems to be
exaggerated, and the later obscure Theban dynasties may have been
contemporary with the rule of the Hyksos in Lower Egypt. Of the 2105
years assigned to the Ancient Empire, the first 1645 from Menes to
the end of the sixth dynasty are well authenticated by monuments
and inscriptions, and the 460 for the seventh, eighth, ninth, and
tenth are obscure, though a considerable time must have elapsed for
such a complete eclipse of the monuments and arts as appears to
have occurred between the nourishing period of the sixth dynasty
and the revival of the Middle Empire under the eleventh. We may
say, therefore, that we have about 4000 years of undoubted history
between the accession of Menes and the Christian era, and 1600 more
years for which we have only the authority of Manetho's lists, and
the names of unknown kings in genealogical records, with a few
scattered monuments, and to which it is difficult to assign specific
dates. This may enable us to appreciate the nature of the evidence
upon which Mariette and so many of the best and oldest authorities
base their estimates in assigning a date of about 5000 B.C. for the
accession of Menes.

The glimpses of light into the prehistoric stages of Egyptian
civilization prior to Menes are few and far between. We are told that
before the consolidation of the Empire by Menes, Egypt was divided
into a number of separate nomes or provinces, each gathered about
its own independent city and temple, and ruled by the Horsheshu or
servants of Horus, who were apparently the chief priests of the
respective temples, combining with the character of priest that of
king, or local ruler. Parts of the Todtenbuch or Sacred Book of the
Dead certainly date from this period, and the great Temple of the
Sun at Heliopolis had been founded, for we are told that certain
prehistoric Heliopolitan hymns formed the basis of the sacred books
of a later age. At Edfu the later temple occupies the site of a very
ancient structure, traditionally said to date back to the mythic
reign of the gods, and to have been built according to a plan
designed by Nuhotef the son of Pthah. At Denderah an inscription
found by Mariette in one of the crypts of the great temple, expressly
identifies the earliest sanctuary built upon the spot with the time
of the Horsheshu. It reads, "There was found the great fundamental
ordinance of Denderah, written upon goatskin in ancient writing of
the time of the Horsheshu. It was found in the inside of a brick
wall during the reign of King Pepi" (_i.e._ Pepi-Merira of the sixth
dynasty). The name of Chufu, the king of the fourth dynasty, who
built the great pyramid, was found by Naville in a restoration of
part of the famous temple of Bubastis, and its foundation doubtless
dates back to the same prehistoric period.

But the most important prehistoric monuments are those connected
with the great Sphynx. An inscription of Chufu (Cheops) preserved in
the museum of Boulak, says that a temple adjoining the Sphynx was
discovered by chance in his reign, which had been buried under the
sand of the desert, and forgotten for many generations. This temple
was uncovered by Mariette, and found to be constructed of enormous
blocks of granite of Syene and of alabaster, supported by square
pillars, each of a single block of stone, without any mouldings or
ornaments, and no trace of hieroglyphics. It is, in fact, a sort of
transition from the rude dolmen to scientific architecture. But the
masonry, and still more the transport of such enormous blocks from
Syene to the plateau of the desert at Gizeh, show a great advance
already attained in the resources of the country and the state of
the industrial arts. The Sphynx itself probably dates from the same
period, for it is mentioned on the same inscription as being much
older than the great Pyramids, and requiring repairs in the time of
Chufu. It is a gigantic work consisting of a natural rock sculptured
into the form of a lion's body, to which a human head has been added,
built up of huge blocks of hewn stone. It is directed accurately
towards the east so as to face the rising sun at the equinox, and was
an image of Hormachen, the Sun of the Lower World, which traverses
the abode of the dead. In addition to the direct evidence for its
prehistoric antiquity, it is certain that if such a monument had been
erected by any of the historical kings, it would have been inscribed
with hieroglyphics, and the fact recorded in Manetho's lists and
contemporary records, whereas all tradition of its origin seems to
have been lost in the night of ages.

Although there are no monuments of the Stone Age in Egypt like those
of the Swiss lake villages and Danish kitchen-middens, to enable us
to trace in detail the progress of arts and civilization from rude
commencements through the neolithic and prehistoric ages, yet there
is abundant evidence to show that the same stages had been traversed
in the valley of the Nile long prior to the time of Menes. Borings
have been made on various occasions and at various localities through
the alluvial deposits of the Nile valley, from which fragments of
pottery have been brought up from depths which show a high antiquity.
Horner sunk ninety-six shafts in four rows at intervals of eight
miles, across the valley of the Nile, at right angles to the river
near Memphis, and brought up pottery from various depths, which, at
the known rate of deposit of the Nile mud of about three inches per
century, indicate an antiquity of at least 11,000 years. In another
boring a copper knife was brought up from a depth of twenty-four
feet, and pottery, from sixty feet below the surface. This is
specially interesting, as making it probable that here, as in many
other countries, an age of copper preceded that of bronze, while a
depth of sixty feet at the normal rate of deposit would imply an
antiquity of 26,000 years. Borings, however, are not very conclusive,
as it is always open to contend that they may have been made at spots
where, owing to some local circumstances, the deposit was much more
rapid than the average.

These objections, however, cannot apply to the evidence which has
been afforded by the discovery of flint implements, both of the
neolithic and palæolithic type, in many localities and by various
skilled observers. Professor Haynes found, a few miles east of Cairo,
not only a number of flint implements of the types usual in Europe,
but an actual workshop or manufactory where they had been made,
showing that they had not been imported, but produced in the country
in the course of its native development. He also found multitudes
of worked flints of the ordinary neolithic and palæolithic types
scattered on the hills near Thebes. Lenormant and Hamy saw the same
workshop and remains of the stone period, and various other finds
have been reported by other observers. Finally, General Pitt-Rivers
and Professor Haynes found well-developed palæolithic implements of
the St. Acheul type, not only on the surface and in superficial
deposits, but from six and a half to ten feet deep in hard stratified
gravel at Djebel-Assas, near Thebes, in a terrace on the side of one
of the ravines falling from the Libyan desert into the Nile valley,
which was certainly deposited in early quaternary ages by a torrent
pouring down from a plateau where, under existing geographical and
climatic conditions, rain seldom or never falls. These relics, as
Mr. Campbell says, who was associated with General Pitt-Rivers in the
discovery, are "beyond calculation older than the oldest Egyptian
temples and tombs," and they certainly go far to prove that the high
civilization of Egypt at the earliest dawn of history or tradition
had been a plant of extremely slow growth from a state of provincial

  [Illustration: STATUE OF PRINCE RAHOTEP'S WIFE. (Refined type.)

  (Gizeh Museum.--Discovered in 1870 in a tomb near
  Meydoon.--According to the chronological table of Mariette, it is
  5800 years old.--From a photograph by Sebah, Cairo.)]

It is remarkable that all the traditions of the Egyptians represent
them as being autochthonous. There is no legend of any immigration,
no Oannes who comes out of the sea and teaches the arts of
civilization. On the contrary, Thoth and Osiris are native Egyptian
gods or kings, who reigned long ago in Egyptian cities. There are
no legends of an inferior race who were exterminated or driven up
the Nile; though it would seem from the portraits on early monuments
that there were two types in the very early ages one coarse and
approximating to the African, the other a refined and aristocratic
type, more resembling that of the highest Asiatic or Arabian races.

  (Coarse type.)]

It has been conjectured that this latter race may have come from
Punt, that is, from Southern Arabia, and the opposite African coast
of Soumali land, where there are races of a high, civilization at a
very early period. This conjecture is based on the fact that Punt
is constantly referred to in the Egyptian monuments as a divine
or sacred land, while other surrounding nations are loaded with
opprobrious epithets. Also the earliest traditions refer the origin
of Egyptian civilization not to Lower Egypt, where the Isthmus of
Suez affords a land route from Asia, nor to Upper Egypt, as if it
had descended the Nile from Africa, but to Abydos and This in
Middle Egypt, where the gods were feigned to have reigned, which
are comparatively close to Coptos, the port on the Red Sea by which
intercourse was most easily kept up between the valley of the Nile
and the land of Punt.

This conjecture, however, is very vague, and when we come to positive
facts we find that the language and system of writing, when we first
meet with them, are fully formed and apparently of native growth, not
derived from any Semitic, Aryan, or Turanian speech of any historical
nation. It is certainly an agglutinative language originally, but far
advanced beyond the simpler forms of that mode of speech as spoken by
Mongolians. It shows some distant affinities with Semitic, or rather
with what may have been a proto-Semitic, before it had been fully
formed, and is perhaps nearer to what may have been the primitive
language of the Libyans of North Africa. But there is nothing in the
language from which we can infer origin, and the pictures from which
hieroglyphics are derived are those of animals and objects proper to
the Nile valley, and not like those of the Accadians and Chinese,
such as point to a prehistoric nomad existence on elevated plains.
The only positive fact tending to confirm the existence of two races
in Egypt, one rude and aboriginal, the other of high type, is the
difference of type shown by the early portraits and the discovery
by Mr. Flinders Petrie, in the very old cemetery of Meydoon, of two
distinct modes of interment, one of the ordinary mummy extended
at full length, the other in a crouching attitude as is common in
neolithic graves.

For any further inquiries as to the origin and antiquity of Egyptian
civilization, we have to fall back on the state of religion, science,
literature, and art, which we find prevailing in the earliest records
which have come down to us, and which I will proceed to examine in
subsequent chapters. But before doing so, I will endeavour to exhaust
the field of positive history, and inquire how far the annals of
other ancient nations contradict or confirm the date of about 5000
years B.C., which has been shown to be approximately that of the
accession of Menes.



   Chronology--Berosus--His Dates mythical--Dates
   in Genesis--Synchronisms with Egypt and
   Assyria--Monuments--Cuneiform Inscriptions--How
   deciphered--Behistan Inscription--Grotefend and
   Rawlinson--Layard--Library of Koyunjik--How preserved--Accadian
   Translations and Grammars--Historical Dates--Elamite
   Conquest--Commencement of Modern History--Ur-Ea and
   Dungi--Nabonidus--Sargon I., 3800 B.C.--Ur of the
   Chaldees--Sharrukin's Cylinder--His Library--His son
   Naram-Sin--Semites and Accadians--Accadians and Chinese--Period
   before Sargon I.--Patesi--De Sarzec's find at Sirgalla--Gud-Ea,
   4000 to 4500 B.C.--Advance of Delta--Astronomical
   Records--Chaldæa and Egypt give similar results--Historic Period
   6000 or 7000 years--and no trace of a beginning.

Chaldæan chronology has within the last few years been brought into
the domain of history, and carried back to a date almost, if not
quite, as remote as that of Egypt. And this has been effected by a
process identical in the two cases, the decipherment of an unknown
language in inscriptions on ancient monuments. Until this discovery
the little that was known of the early history of Chaldæa was derived
almost entirely from two sources: the Bible, and the fragments quoted
by later writers from the lost work of Berosus. Berosus was a learned
priest of Babylon, who lived about 300 B.C., shortly after the
conquest of Alexander, and wrote in Greek a history of the country
from the most ancient times, compiled from the annals preserved
in the temples, and from the oldest traditions. He began with a
Cosmogony, fragments of which only are preserved, from which little
could be inferred, except that it bore some general resemblance to
that of Genesis, until the complete Chaldæan Cosmogony was deciphered
by Mr. George Smith from tablets in the British Museum. Then followed
a mythical period of the reigns of ten gods or demi-gods, reigning
for 432,000 years, in the middle of which period the divine fish-man,
Ea-Han or Oannes, was said to have come up out of the Persian Gulf,
and taught mankind letters, sciences, laws, and all the arts of
civilization; 259,000 years after Oannes, under Xisuthros (the Greek
translation of Hasisastra), the last of the ten kings, a Deluge is
said to have occurred; which is described in terms so similar to the
narrative of Noah's deluge in Genesis, as to leave no doubt that they
are different versions of the same legend.

Prior to the appearance of Oannes, Berosus relates, "that Chaldæa
had been colonized by a mixed multitude of men of foreign race, who
lived without order like animals," thus carrying back the existence
of mankind in large numbers, to some date anterior to 259,000 years
before the Deluge. There is also a legend resembling that of the
Tower of Babel and the confusion of languages, recorded in another
fragment of Berosus. These accounts are all so obviously mythical
that no historical value can be attached to them, and they have only
been preserved because early Christian writers saw in them some sort
of distorted confirmation of the corresponding narratives in the Old

For anything like historical dates therefore the Bible remained the
principal authority, until the recent discoveries made from the
monuments of Chaldæa and Assyria. This authority does not carry us
very far back. The first event which can advance any claim to be
considered as historical, is that of the migration of Terah from
Ur of the Chaldees to Haran, and the further migration of his son
Abraham from Haran to Palestine. This is said to have taken place in
the ninth generation after Noah, about 290 years after the Deluge,
and it presupposes the existence of a dense population and a number
of large cities both in Upper and Lower Mesopotamia. It mentions
also an event, apparently historical, as occurring in Abraham's
time, viz. a campaign by Chedorlaomer, King of Elam, with four
allies, one of whom is a King of Shinar, against five petty kings in
Southern Syria. Chedorlaomer has been identified from inscriptions
with Khuder-lagomer, one of the kings of the Elamite dynasty, who
conquered Chaldæa about 2300 B.C., and were expelled before 2000 B.C.

A long interval then occurs during which the scattered notices in the
Bible relate mainly to the intercourse of the Hebrews with Egypt,
with the races of Canaan, with the Philistines, with the Phoenicians
of Tyre, and with the Syrians of Damascus. Mesopotamia first appears
after the rise of the Assyrian Empire had united nearly the whole of
Western Asia under the warlike kings who reigned at Nineveh, and when
Palestine had become the battle-field between them and the declining
power of Egypt, which under the eighteenth and nineteenth Egyptian
dynasties had extended to the Euphrates. The capture of Jerusalem in
the reign of Rehoboam by Shishak, the first king of the twenty-second
Egyptian dynasty, affords the first certain synchronism between
sacred and profane history. The date may be fixed within a few years
at 970 B.C. Assyria first appears on the scene two hundred years
later in the reign of Menahem King of Israel, when Pul, better known
as Tiglath-Pileser II., came against the land, and exacted a large
ransom from Menahem, whom he confirmed as a tributary vassal.

From this time forward the succession of Assyrian kings is recorded
more or less accurately in the Bible. Tiglath-Pileser accepted
vassalage and a large tribute from Ahaz to come to his assistance
against Rezin King of Syria, and Pekah King of Israel, who were
besieging Jerusalem, and Tiglath-Pileser came to his aid and captured
and sacked Damascus. Shalmaneser came up against Hoshea King of
Judah, who submitted, but was deposed for intriguing with Egypt,
and Shalmaneser then took Samaria and carried the ten tribes of
Israel away into Assyria, placing them in the cities of the Medes.
Sennacherib, in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah, took all the fenced
cities of Judah, and his general, Rab-shakeh, besieged Jerusalem,
which was saved by the repulse of the main army under the king when
marching to invade Egypt. The murder of Sennacherib by his two sons
and the succession of Esarhaddon are next mentioned.

Nineveh then disappears from the scene, and the great Babylonian
conqueror, Nebuchadnezzar, puts an end to the kingdom of Judæa, by
taking Jerusalem and carrying the people captive to Babylon. This
historical retrospect carries us back a very short distance, and
little can be gathered in the way of accurate chronology from the few
vague references prior to this date. So stood the question until the
date of Chaldæan history and civilization was unexpectedly carried
back at least 3000 years by the discovery of its monuments.

When the first Assyrian sculptures were found by Botta and Layard
not fifty years ago in the mounds of rubbish which covered the
ruins of Nineveh, and brought home to Europe, it was seen that they
were covered with inscriptions in an unknown character. It was
called the cuneiform, because it was made up of combinations of a
single sign, resembling a thin wedge or arrow-head. This sign was
made in three fundamental ways, _i.e._ either horizontal [symbol],
vertical [symbol], or angular [symbol], and all the characters were
made up of combinations of these primary forms, which were obviously
produced by impressing a style with a triangular head on moist clay.
They resembled, in fact, very much the strokes and dashes used in
spelling out the words conveyed by the electric telegraph, in which
letters are formed by oscillations of the needle.


This mode of writing had apparently been developed from
picture-writing, for several, of the groups of characters bore an
unmistakable resemblance to natural objects. In the very oldest
inscriptions which have been discovered the writing, is hardly yet
cuneiform, and the primitive pictorial character of the signs is

But the bulk of the cuneiform inscriptions not being pictorial, there
could be little doubt that they were phonetic, or represented sounds.
The question was, what sounds these characters signified, and when
translated into sounds, what words and what language did the groups
of signs represent?

The first clue to these questions was, as in the parallel case of
Egypt, afforded by a trilingual inscription. The kings of the
Persian Empire reigned over subjects of various races and languages.
The three principal were the Persians, an Aryan race who spoke an
inflectional language which has been preserved in old Persian and
Zend; Semites, who spoke Aramaic, a language closely allied to
Hebrew; and descendants of the older Accadian races, whose language
was Turanian, or agglutinative.

It is almost the same at the present day in the same region, where
edicts or inscriptions, to be readily intelligible to all classes of
subjects, would require to be made in Persian, Arabic, and Turkish.

Accordingly, the pompous inscriptions and royal edicts of these
ancient monarchs were frequently made in the three languages,
and specimens of these were brought to Europe. The difficulty of
deciphering them was, however, great, for the inscriptions were
all written, though in different languages, in the same cuneiform
characters, so that the aid afforded in the case of the Rosetta
stone by a Greek translation of the hieroglyphic inscription was not

The ingenuity of a German scholar, Grotefend, furnished the first
clue by discovering that certain groups of signs represented the
names of known Persian kings, and thus identifying the component
signs in the Persian inscription as letters of an alphabet.

A few years later Sir Henry Rawlinson copied, and succeeded in
deciphering, a famous inscription engraved by the great Persian
monarch, Darius the first, high up in the face of a precipice forming
the wall of a narrow defile at Behistan, and giving an historical
record of the exploits of his reign. The clue thus afforded was
rapidly followed up by a host of scholars, among whom the names of
Rawlinson, Burnouf, Lassen, and Oppert were most conspicuous, and
before long the text of inscriptions in Persian and Semitic could be
read with great certainty. The task was one which required a vast
amount of patience and ingenuity, for the cuneiform writing turned
out to be one of great complexity, Though phonetic in the main, the
characters did not always represent the simple elements of sounds,
or letters of an alphabet, but frequently syllables containing one
or more consonants united by vowels, and a considerable number were
ideographic or conventional representations of ideas, like our
numerals 1, 2, 3, which have no relation to spoken sounds.

Thus the simple vertical wedge [symbol] represented "man," and was
prefixed to proper names of kings so as to show that the signs
which followed denoted the name of a man; the sign [symbol] denoted
country, and so on. The difficulties were, however, surmounted,
and inscriptions in the two known languages could be read with
considerable certainty.


The third language, however, remained unknown until the finishing
stroke to its decipherment was given by the discovery by Layard
under the great mound of Koyunjik near Mosul on the Tigris, the site
of the ancient Nineveh, of the royal palace of Asshurbanipal, or
Sardanapalus, the grandson of Sennacherib, and one of the greatest
Assyrian monarchs, who lived about 650 B.C. This palace contained
a royal library like that of Alexandria or the British Museum, the
contents of which had been carefully collected from the oldest
records of previous libraries and temples, and almost miraculously
preserved. The secret of the preservation of these Assyrian and
Chaldæan remains, is that the district contains no stone, and all
the great buildings were constructed mainly of sun-dried bricks, and
built on mounds or platforms of the same material to raise them above
the alluvial plain. These, when the cities were deserted, crumbled
rapidly under the action of the air and rains, which are torrential
at certain seasons, into shapeless rubbish heaps of fine dry dust and
sand, under which everything of more durable material was securely

So rapid was the process, that when Xenophon on the famous retreat of
the ten thousand traversed the site of Nineveh only two hundred years
after its destruction, he found nothing but the ruins of a deserted
city, the very name and memory of which had been lost.

As regards the contents of the library the explanation of their
perfect preservation is equally simple. The books were written,
not on perishable paper or parchment, but on cylinders of clay.
It is evident that the cuneiform characters were exceedingly well
adapted for this description of writing, and probably originated
from the nature of the material. A fine tenacious clay cost nothing,
was readily moulded into cylinders, and when slightly moist was
easily engraved by a tool or style stamping on it those wedge-like
characters, so that when hardened by a slow fire the book was
practically indestructible. So much so, indeed, that though the
palace, including the library with its shelves and upper stories, had
all fallen to the ground, and the book-cylinders lay scattered on the
floor, they were mostly in a state of perfect preservation. Other
similar finds have been made since, notably one of another great
library of the priestly college at Erech, founded or enlarged as far
back as 2000 B.C. by Sargon II. Among the books thus preserved there
are fortunately translations of old Accadian works into the more
modern Aramaic or Assyrian, either interlined or in parallel columns,
and, also grammars and dictionaries of the old language to assist
in its study. It appears that as far back as 2000 years B.C. this
old language had already become obsolete, and was preserved as Latin
or Vedic Sanscrit are at the present day, as the venerable language
for religious uses, in which the earliest sacred books, historical
annals, and astrological and magical formulas had been written.
With these aids this ancient Accadian language can now be read with
almost as much certainty as Egyptian hieroglyphics, and the records
written in it are accumulating rapidly with every fresh exploration.
Some idea of the wealth of the materials already found may be formed
from the fact that the number of tablets in the different museums of
Europe from the Nineveh library alone exceeds 10,000. They present
to us a most interesting picture of the religion, literature, laws,
and social life of a period long antecedent to that commonly assigned
for the destruction of the world by Noah's Deluge, or even to that
of the creation of Adam. To some of these we shall have occasion
subsequently to refer, but for the present I confine myself to the
immediate object in view, that of verifying the earliest historical

The first certain date is fixed by the annals of the Assyrian King
Asshurbanipal, grandson of Sennacherib, who conquered Elam and
destroyed its capital, Susa, in the year 645 B.C. The king says that
he took away all the statues from the great temple of Susa, and among
others, one of the Chaldæan goddess Nana, which had been carried
away from her own temple in the city of Erech, by a king of Elam
who conquered the land of Accad 1635 years before. This conquest,
and the accession of an Elamite dynasty which lasted for nearly 300
years, is confirmed from a variety of other sources, and its date is
thus fixed, beyond the possibility of a doubt, at 2280 _B.C._ A king
of this dynasty, Khudur-Lagamar, synchronizes with Abraham, assuming
Abraham and the narrative in the Old Testament respecting his defeat
of that monarch to be historical.

This Elamite conquest of Chaldæa is a memorable historical era, for
it inaugurates the period of great wars and of the rise and fall of
empires, which play such a conspicuous part in the subsequent annals
of nations. Elam was a small province between the Kurdish mountains
and the Tigris, extending to the Persian Gulf, and its capital,
Susa, was an ancient and famous city; which afterwards became one
of the principal seats of the Persian monarchs. The Elamites were
originally a Turanian race like the Accads, and spoke a language
which was a dialect of Accadian, but, as in Chaldæa and Assyria,
the kings and aristocracy appear to have been Semites from an early
period. It was apparently an organized and civilized State, and the
conquest was not a passing irruption of barbarians, but the result
of a campaign by regular troops, who founded a dynasty which lasted
for more than 200 years. It evidently disturbed the equilibrium of
Western Asia, and led to a succession of wars. The invasion of Egypt
by the Hyksos followed closely on it. Then came the reaction which
drove the Elamites from Chaldæa and the Hyksos from Egypt. Then
the great wars of the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty, which carried
the arms of Ahmes and Thotmes to the Euphrates and Black Sea, and
established for a time the supremacy of Egypt over Western Asia. Then
the rise of the Hittite Empire, which extended over Asia Minor, and
contended on equal terms with Ramses II. in Syria. Then the rise of
the Assyrian Empire, which crushed the Hittites and all surrounding
nations, and twice conquered and overran Egypt. Finally, the rise of
the Medes, the fall of Nineveh, the short supremacy of Babylon, and
the establishment of the great Persian Empire. From the Persian we
pass to the Greek, and then to the Roman Empire, and find ourselves
in full modern history. It may be fairly said, therefore, that modern
history, with its series of great wars and revolutions, commences
with this record of the Elamite conquest of Chaldæa in 2280 B.C.

The next tolerably certain date is that of Ur-ea, and his son
Dungi, two kings of the old Accadian race, who reigned at Ur over
the united kingdoms of Sumir and Accad. They were great builders
and restorers of temples, and have left numerous traces of their
existence in the monuments both at Ur, and at Larsam, Sirgalla,
Erech, and other ancient cities. Among other relics of these kings
there is in the British Museum the signet-cylinder of Ur-ea himself,
on which is engraved the Moon-God, the patron deity of Ur, with the
king and priests worshipping him. The date of Ur-ea is ascertained
as follows--Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon, 550 B.C., was a
great restorer of the old temples, and, as Professor Sayce says, "a
zealous antiquarian who busied himself much with the disinterment
of the memorial cylinders which their founders and restorers had
buried beneath their foundations." The results of his discoveries
he recorded on special cylinders for the information of posterity,
which have fortunately been preserved. Among others he restored
the Sun-temple at Larsam, in which he found intact in its chamber
under the corner-stone, a cylinder of King Hummurabi or Khammuragas,
stating that the temple was commenced by Ur-ea and finished by his
son Dungi, 700 years before his time. Hummurabi was a well-known
historical king who expelled the Elamites, and made Babylon for the
first time the capital of Chaldæa, about 2000 B.C. The date of Ur-ea
cannot therefore be far from 2700 B.C.

The same fortunate circumstance of the habit, by kings who built or
restored famous temples, of laying the foundation-stone, such as
our royal personages often do at the present day, and depositing
under it, in a secure chamber, a cylinder recording the fact, has
given us a still more ancient date, that of Sharrukin or Sargon
I. of Agade. The same Nabonidus repaired the great Sun-temple of
Sippar, and he says "that having dug deep in its foundations for the
cylinders of the founder, the Sun-god suffered him to behold the
foundation cylinder of Naram-Sin, son of Sharrukin or (Sargon I.),
which for three thousand and two hundred years none of the kings
who lived before him had seen." This gives 3750 B.C. as the date of
Naram-Sin, or, allowing for the long reign of Sargon I., about 3800
B.C. as the date of that monarch. This discovery revolutionized the
accepted ideas of Chaldæan chronology, and carried it back at one
stroke 1000 years before the date of Ur-ea, making it contemporary
with the fourth Egyptian dynasty who built the great Pyramids. The
evidence is not so conclusive as in the case of Egypt, where the
lists of Manetho give us the whole series of successive kings and
dynasties, a great majority of which are confirmed by contemporary
records and monuments. The date of Sargon I. rests mainly on the
authority of Nabonidus, who lived more than 3000 years later, and
may have been mistaken, but he was in the best position to consult
the oldest records, and had apparently no motive to make a wilful
mis-statement. Moreover, other documents have been found in different
places confirming the statement on the cylinder of Nabonidus, and
the opinion of the best and latest authorities has come round to
accept the date of about 3800 B.C. as authentic. Professor Sayce,
in his Hibbert Lecture in 1888, gives a detailed account of the
evidence which had overcome his original scepticism, and forced him
to admit the accuracy of this very distant date. Since the discovery
of the cylinder of Nabonidus, several tablets have been found and
deciphered, containing lists of kings and dynasties of the same
character as the Egyptian lists of Manetho. One tablet of the kings
who reigned at Babylon takes us back, reign by reign, to about 2400
B.C. Other tablets, though incomplete, give the names of at least
sixty kings which are not found in this record of the Babylonian era,
and who presumedly reigned during the interval of about 1400 years
between Khammuragas and Sargon I. The names are mostly Accadian, and
if they did not reign during this interval they must have preceded
the foundation of a Semite dynasty by Sargon I., and thus extend the
date of Chaldæan history still further back. The probability of such
a remote date is enhanced by the certainty that a high civilization
existed in Egypt as long ago as 5000 B.C., and there is no apparent
reason why it should not have existed in the valleys of the Tigris
and Euphrates as soon as in that of the Nile.

Boscawen, in a paper read at the Victoria Institute in 1886, says
that inscriptions found at Larsa, a neighbouring city to Ur of the
Chaldees, show that from as early a period as 3750 _B.C._ a Semitic
population existed in the latter city, speaking a language akin to
Hebrew, carrying on trade and commerce, and with a religion which,
although not Monotheist, had at the head of its pantheon a supreme
god, Ilu or El, from whose name that of Elohim and Allah has been
inherited as the name of God by the Hebrews and Arabs. The latest
discoveries all point to the earliest dates, and some authorities
think that genuine traces of the earliest Accadian civilization can
be found as far back as 6000 B.C. There can be no doubt, moreover,
that this Sharrukin or Sargon I. is a perfect historical personage. A
statue of him has been found at Agade or Accad, and also his cylinder
with an inscription on it giving his name and exploits. It begins,
"Sharrukin the mighty king am I," and goes on to say, "that he knew
not his father, but his mother was a royal princess, who to conceal
his birth placed him in a basket of rushes closed with bitumen,
and cast him into the river, from which he was saved by Akki the
water-carrier, who brought him up as his own child." It is singular
how the same or a very similar story is told of Moses, Cyrus, and
other heroes of antiquity. It is probable from this that he was a
military adventurer who rose to the throne; but there can be no doubt
that he was a great monarch, who united the two provinces of Shumir
and Accad, or of Lower and Upper Mesopotamia, into one kingdom,
as Menes did the Upper and Lower Egypts, and extended his rule
over some of the adjoining countries. He says "that he had reigned
for forty-five years, and governed the black-headed (Accadian)
race. In multitudes of bronze chariots I rode over rugged lands. I
governed the upper countries. Three times to the coast of the sea I
advanced." If there is any truth in this inscription it would be very
interesting as showing the existence in Western Asia of nations to be
conquered in great campaigns, with a force of horse-chariots, at this
remote period, 2000 years earlier than the campaigns of Ahmes and
Thotmes recorded in the Egyptian monuments of the eighteenth dynasty.

  [Illustration: CYLINDER SEAL OF SARGON I., FROM AGADE. (Hommel,
  "Gesch. Babyloniens u. Assyriens.")]

The reality of these campaigns is moreover confirmed by inscriptions
and images of this Sargon having been found in Cyprus and on the
opposite coast of Syria, and by a Babylonian cylinder of his son
Naram-Sin, found by Cesnola in the Cyprian temple of Kurion. In
another direction he and his son carried their arms into the
peninsula of Sinai, attracted doubtless by the copper and turquoise
mines of Wady Maghera, which were worked by the Egyptians under the
third dynasty. Sargon I. is also known to have been a great patron
of literature, and to have founded the library of Agade, which was
long one of the most famous in Babylonia. A work on Astronomy and
Astrology, in seventy-two books, which was so well known in the time
of Berosus as to be translated by him into Greek, was also compiled
for him.

Another king of the same name, known as Sargon II., who reigned about
2000 B.C., either founded or enlarged the library of the priestly
college at Erech, which was one of the oldest and most famous cities
of Lower Chaldæa, and known as the "City of Books." It was also
considered to be a sacred city, and its necropolis extends over a
great part of the adjoining desert, and contains innumerable tombs
and graves ranging over all periods of Chaldæan and Assyrian history,
up to an unknown antiquity.

The exact historical date of Sargon I. may be a little uncertain;
but whatever its antiquity may be, it is evident that it is already
far removed from the beginnings of Chaldæan civilization. Sargon
II. is perfectly historical, and his library and the state of the
arts and literature in his reign prove this conclusively. He states
in his tablets that 350 kings had reigned before him, and in such a
literary age he could hardly have made such a statement without some
foundation. If anything like this number of kings had reigned before
2000 B.C., the date of Sargon II.'s Chaldæan chronology would have to
be extended to a date preceding that of Egypt. Moreover, Sargon was
a Semite, who founded a powerful monarchy over a mixed population,
consisting mainly of a primitive Accadian race, who had already
built large cities and famous temples, written sacred books, and
made considerable progress in literature, science, agriculture, and
industrial arts. This primitive race was neither Semitic nor Aryan,
but Turanian. They spoke an agglutinative language, and resembled the
Chinese very much both in physical type and in character. They were a
short, thick-set people, with yellow skins, coarse black hair, and,
judging from the ancient statues recently discovered, of decidedly
Tartar or Mongolian features. They were, like the Chinese, a
peaceable, patient, and industrious people, addicted to agriculture,
and specially skilled in irrigation. They were educated and literary,
but very superstitious in regard to ghosts, omens, and evil spirits.
This resemblance to the Chinese has been remarkably confirmed by
the discovery made within the last few years, that the Accadian and
Chinese languages are closely allied, and that a great many words are
identical. The early prehistoric and astronomical legends were almost
similar, and in some instances, as in the division of the year, the
names and order of the planets, and the number and duration of the
fabulous reigns of gods, so identical as to leave no doubt of their
having had a common origin. But as the Chinese annals do not extend
farther back than about 2700 B.C., the priority of invention must be
assigned to the Accadians.

This Turanian population had been long settled in Mesopotamia before
the accession of Sargon I., and before the supremacy of the Semitic
races began to assert itself. Though called Accadian, which is said
to mean "Highlanders," their principal seat was in Shumir or Lower
Mesopotamia, in the alluvial delta formed in the course of ages by
the Euphrates, Tigris, and other rivers which flow into the Persian
Gulf; and their traditions point to their civilization having come
from the shores of this Gulf, and having gradually spread northwards.
Their most ancient cities and temples were in the Lower Province
of Shumir, and the bulk of the population continued for ages to be
Turanian, while in Accad or Upper Mesopotamia, where the land rises
from the alluvial plain up to the mountains of Kurdistan and Armenia,
the Semitic element preponderated from an early period, though the
civilization and religion long remained those of Shumir or Chaldæa

When the Semite Sargon I. founded the united monarchy, the capital
of which was Agade in the upper province, he made no change in the
established state of things, maintained the old temples, and built
new ones to the same gods. Before his reign we have, as in the
parallel case of Egypt before Menes, little definite information from
monuments or historical records. We only know that the country was
divided into a number of small states, each grouped about a city with
a temple dedicated to some god; as Eridhu, the sanctuary of Ea, one
of the trinity of supreme gods; Larsam, with its Temple of the Sun;
Ur, the city of the Moon-god; Sirgalla, with another famous temple.
These small states were ruled by _patesi_, or priest-kings, a term
corresponding to the Horsheshu of Egypt; and a fortunate discovery by
M. de Sarzec in 1881 at Tell-loh, the site of the ancient Sirgalla,
has given us valuable information respecting its _patesi_. To the
surprise of the scientific world, with whom it had been a settled
belief that no statues were ever found in Assyrian art, M. de Sarzec
discovered and brought home nine large statues of diorite, a very
hard black basalt of the same material as that of the statue of
Chephren, the builder of the second pyramid, and in the same sitting
attitude. The heads had been broken off, but one head was discovered
which was of unmistakably Turanian type, beardless, shaved, and with
a turban for head-dress. With these statues a number of small works
of art were found, representing men and animals of a highly artistic
design and exquisite finish, and also several cylinders. Both these
and the backs of the statues are covered with cuneiform inscriptions
in the old Accadian characters, which furnish valuable historical
information. The name of one of the _patesi_ whose statues were found
was Gud-Ea, and his date is computed by some of the best authorities
at from 4000 to 4500 B.C., probably earlier, and certainly not later
than 4000 B.C. This makes the _patesi_ of Sirgalla contemporary with
the earliest Egyptian kings, or even earlier, and it shows a state of
the arts and civilization then prevailing in Chaldæa very similar to
those of the fourth dynasty in Egypt, and in both cases as advanced
as those of 2000 or 3000 years later date.


  (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

Before such a temple as that of Sirgalla could have been built and
such statues and works of art made, there must have been older and
smaller temples and ruder works, just as in Egypt the brick pyramids
of Sakkarah and the oldest temples of Heliopolis and Denderah
preceded the great pyramids of Gizeh, the temple of Pthah at Memphis,
and the diorite statues, wooden statuettes, and other finished works
of art of the fourth dynasty.


It is important to remark that in those earliest monuments both the
language and art are primitive Accadian, with no trace of Semitic
influences, which must have long prevailed before Sargon I. could
have established a Semitic dynasty over an united population of
Accads and Semites living together on friendly terms. The normal
Semites must have settled gradually in Chaldæa, and adopted to a
great extent the higher civilization of the Accadians, much as the
Tartars in later times did that of the Chinese. It is remarkable
also that this pre-Semitic Accadian people must have had extensive
intercourse with foreign regions, for the diorite of which the
statues of Sirgalla are formed is exactly similar to that of the
statue of the Egyptian Chephren, and in both cases is only found in
the peninsula of Sinai. In fact, an inscription on one of the statues
tells us that the stone was brought from the land of Magan, which was
the Accadian name for that peninsula. This implies a trade by sea,
between Eridhu, the sea-port of Chaldæa in early times, and the Red
Sea, as such blocks of diorite could hardly have been transported
such a distance over such mountains and deserts by land; and this is
confirmed by references in old geographical tablets to Magan as the
land of bronze from the copper mines of Wady-Maghera, and to "ships
of Magan" trading from Eridhu.

In any case, it is certain that a very long period of purely Accadian
civilization must have existed prior to the introduction of Semitic
influences, and long before the foundation of a Semitic dynasty by
Sargon I. With these facts it will no longer seem surprising that
some high authorities assign as early a date as 6000 B.C. for the
dawn of Chaldæan civilization, and consider that it may be quite as
old or even older than that of Egypt.

The great antiquity assigned to these dates from books and monuments
is confirmed by other deductions. The city of Eridhu, which was
generally considered to be the oldest in Chaldæa, and was the
sanctuary of the principal god, Eâ, appears to have been a sea-port
in those early days, situated where the Euphrates flowed into the
Persian Gulf. The ruins now stand far inland, and Sayce computes that
about 6000 years must have elapsed since the sea reached up to them.

Astronomy affords a still more definite confirmation. The earliest
records and traditions show that before the commencement of any
historic period the year had been divided into twelve months,
the course of the sun mapped out among the stars, and a zodiac
established of the twelve constellations, which has continued in
use to the present day. The year began with the vernal equinox, and
the first month was named after the "propitious Bull," whose figure
constantly appears on the monuments as opening the year. The sun,
therefore, was in Taurus at the vernal equinox when this calendar
was formed, which could only be after long centuries of astronomical
observation; but it has been in Aries since about 2500 B.C., and
first entered in Taurus about 4700 B.C.

Records of eclipses were also kept in the time of Sargon I., which
imply a long preceding period of accurate observation; and the
Ziggurat, or temple observatory, built up in successive stages above
the alluvial plain, which gave rise to the legend of the Tower of
Babel, is found in connection with the earliest temples. The diorite
statues also and engraved gems found at Sirgalla testify to a
thorough knowledge of the arts of metallurgy at this remote period,
and to a commercial intercourse with foreign countries from which the
copper and tin must have been derived for making bronze tools capable
of cutting such hard materials.

The existence of such a commercial intercourse in remote times is
confirmed by the example of Egypt, where bronze implements must have
been in use long before the date of Menes; and although copper might
have been obtained from Sinai or Cyprus, tin or bronze must have been
imported from distant foreign countries alike in Egypt and in Chaldæa.

Chaldæan chronology therefore leads to almost exactly the same
results as that of Egypt. In each case we have a standard or
measuring-rod of authentic historical record, of certainly not less
than 6000, and more probably 7000 years from the present time; and
in each case we find ourselves at this remote date, in presence, not
of rude beginnings, but of a civilization already ancient and far
advanced. We have populous cities, celebrated temples, an organized
priesthood, an advanced state of agriculture and of the industrial
and fine arts; writing and books so long known that their origin is
lost in myth; religions in which advanced philosophical and moral
ideas are already developed; astronomical systems which imply a long
course of accurate observations. How long this prehistoric age may
have lasted, and how many centuries it may have taken to develop
such a civilization, from the primitive beginnings of neolithic and
palæolithic origins, is a matter of conjecture. Bunsen thinks it may
have taken 10,000 years, but there are no dates from which we can
infer the time that may be required for civilization to grow up by
spontaneous evolution, among nations where it is not aided by contact
with more advanced civilizations from without. All we can infer is,
that it must have required an immense time, probably much longer than
that embraced by the subsequent period of historical record. And
we can say with certainty that during the whole of this historical
period of 6000 or 7000 years there has been no change in the
established order of Nature. The earth has revolved round its axis
and round the sun, the moon and planets have pursued their courses,
the duration of human life has not varied, and there have been no
destructions and renovations of life or other traces of miraculous
interference. And more than this, we can affirm with absolute
certainty that 6000 years have not been enough to alter in any
perceptible degree the existing physical types of the different races
of men and animals, or the primary linguistic types of their forms of
speech. The Negro, the Turanian, the Semite, and the Aryan, all stand
out as clearly distinguished in the paintings on Egyptian monuments
as they do at the present day; and the agglutinative languages are as
distinct from the inflectional, and the Semite from the Aryan forms
of inflections, in the old Chaldæan cylinders as they are in the
nineteenth century.



   _China_--Oldest existing Civilization--but Records much later
   than those of Egypt and Chaldæa--Language and Traditions
   Accadian--Communication how effected.

   _Elam_--Very Early Civilization--Susa, an old City in First
   Chaldæan Records--Conquered Chaldæa in 2280 B.C.--Conquered by
   Assyrians 645 B.C.--Statue of Nana--Cyrus an Elamite King--His
   Cylinder--Teaches Untrustworthiness of Legendary History.

   _Phoenicia_--Great Influence on Western Civilization--but Date
   comparatively late--Traditions of Origin--First distinct Mention
   in Egyptian Monuments 1600 B.C.--Great Movements of Maritime
   Nations--Invasions of Egypt by Sea and Land, under Menepthah,
   1330 B.C., and Ramses III., 1250 B.C.--Lists of Nations--Show
   Advanced Civilization and Intercourse--but nothing beyond 2000
   or 2500 B.C.

   _Hittites_--Great Empire in Asia Minor and Syria--Turanian
   Race--Origin Cappadocia--Great Wars with Egypt--Battle of
   Kadesh--Treaty with Ramses II.--Power rapidly declined--but
   only finally destroyed 717 B.C. by Sargon II.--Capital
   Carchemish--Great Commercial Emporium--Hittite Hieroglyphic
   Inscriptions and Monuments--Only recently and partially

   Discoveries--Inscriptions--Sabæa--Minæans--Thirty-two Kings
   known--Ancient Commerce and Trade-routes--Incense and
   Spices--Literature--Old Traditions--Oannes--Punt--Seat of
   Semites--Arabian Alphabet--Older than Phoenician--- Bearing on
   Old Testament Histories.

   _Troy and Mycenæ_--Dr. Schliemann's
   Excavations--Hissarlik--Buried Fortifications, Palaces,
   and Treasures of Ancient Troy--Mycenæ and Tiryns--Proof of
   Civilization and Commerce--Tombs--Absence of Inscriptions and
   Religious Symbols--Date of Mycenæan Civilization--School of
   Art--Pictures on Vases--Type of Race.


The first country to which we might naturally look for independent
annals approaching in antiquity those of Egypt and Chaldæa is China.
Chinese civilization is in one respect the oldest in the world;
that is, it is the one which has come down to the present day from
a remote antiquity with the fewest changes. What China is to-day it
was more than 4000 years ago; a populous empire with a peaceful and
industrial population devoted to agriculture and skilled in the arts
of irrigation; a literary people acquainted with reading and writing;
orderly and obedient, organized under an emperor and official
hierarchy; paying divine honours to ancestors, and a religious
veneration to the moral and ceremonial precepts of sages and
philosophers. Addicted to childish superstitions, and yet eminently
prosaic, practical, and utilitarian. Unlike other nations they have
no traditions attributing the origin of arts and sciences to foreign
importation, as in the Chaldæan legend of Oannes, or, as in Egypt,
to native gods; that is, to development on the soil from an unknown
antiquity. The Chinese annals begin with human emperors, who are only
divine in the sense of being wise and virtuous ancestors, and who are
represented as uttering long discourses on the whole duty of man, in
a high moral and philosophical tone.

But these annals do not profess to go back further than to about 2500
B.C., or to a period at least 2000 and probably 3000 years later
than the commencement of historical annals, confirmed by monuments
in Egypt and Chaldæa, and any traditions prior to this period are
of the vaguest and most shadowy descriptions. We only know with
certainty that prior to Chinese civilization there was an aboriginal,
semi-savage race, the Miou-tse, remnants of whom are still to
be found in the mountainous western provinces; and it had been
conjectured from the form of the hieroglyphics to which the Chinese
written characters can be traced back, that they were invented by a
pastoral people who roamed with flocks and herds over the steppes of
Central Asia. Thus the sheep plays a very prominent part, the idea of
"beauty" being conveyed by an ideogram meaning "a large sheep"; that
of "right" or "property" by one which means "my sheep," and so on in
many other instances.

There is a tradition also of a clan of 100 families who came down
from the West and descended the valley of the Yang-tse-Kiang,
expelling the aboriginal Miou-tse. But for any real information as
to Chinese origins we are indebted to recent discoveries of Accadian
records. It has been proved by Lacouperie, Bell, and other experts
in the oldest forms of the Chinese and Accadian languages, that they
are not only closely allied, as both forming part of the Ugrian or
Turkish branch of the Turanian family, but almost identical. Thus,
by following the well-known philological law by which an initial
'g' is often softened in course of time into a 'y,' it was found
that by writing 'g' for 'y' in many Chinese words beginning with the
latter letter, pure Accadian words were obtained. Thus "to speak"
is in Accadian _gu_, in the Mandarin Chinese _yu_, and in the old
form of Chinese spoken in Japan _go_; night is _ye_ in Chinese, _ge_
in Accadian. The very close connection between Accadian and Chinese
civilization is still more conclusively shown by the identity in many
matters which could not have been invented independently. Thus the
prehistoric period of Chaldæa before the Deluge is divided, according
to Berosus and the tablets, into ten periods of ten kings, whose
reigns lasted for 120 Sari or 432,000 years, a myth which is purely
astronomical. The early Chinese writers had a myth of precisely the
same number of ten kings and the same period of 432,000 years for
their united reigns. Chinese astronomy also, said by their annals
to have been invented by the Emperor Yao about 2000 B.C., was an
almost exact counterpart of that of the earliest Accadian records.
They recognized the same planets, and gave them names with the same
meanings; they divided the year into the Chaldæan period of twelve
months of thirty days each, making the new year begin, as in Chaldæa,
in the third month after the winter solstice; and counting the
calendar for the surplus days by the same cycle of intercalary days.
The oldest Chinese dictionaries give names of the months, which had
become obsolete, since the usage of mentioning the months by their
numbers, as second, third, and fourth months, had become general,
and the meaning of which had been lost. It turns out that several of
these names correspond with those of the Accadian calendar.

Such coincidences as these cannot be accidental, and it is obvious
that one nation must have derived its civilization from the other,
or both from a common source. There can be little doubt in this case
that Chaldæa taught China, for its astronomy, knowledge of the arts,
and general culture are proved by its records to have existed at
least 4000, and probably 5000 years B.C., and then to be attributed
to mythical gods and to a fabulous antiquity; while in China they are
said to have been taught ready-made by human emperors, at a date from
2000 to 3000 years later. The inference is irresistible that somehow
the elements of Accadian civilization must have been imported into
China from Chaldæa, at what is a comparatively modern date in the
history of the latter country. The only approach to a clue to this
date is that the great Chinese historian Szema-Tsien says that the
first of their emperors was Nai-kwangti, who built an observatory,
and by the aid of astronomy "ruled the varied year." The name is
singularly like that of Kuder-Na-hangti, who was the Elamite king who
conquered Babylonia about 2280 B.C. It is difficult to see how such
an intercourse between Chaldæa and China could have been established
across such an enormous intervening distance of mountains and
deserts, or by such a long sea-voyage; but it is still more difficult
to conceive how not only language, physical characteristics, and
civilization should have been so similar, but myths and calendars
should have been almost _verbatim_ the same in the two countries,
unless a communication really existed between them. Nor will the
theory of a common origin apply, for it is impossible to suppose that
any common ancestors of the Chinese and Accadians could have attained
to such a knowledge of astronomy, and of the industrial arts and
agriculture, while wandering as nomad shepherds over the steppes of
Central Asia.

We must remember also the fact that caravans actually do travel, and
have travelled for time immemorial, over enormous distances, across
the steppes of Central and Northern Asia, and that within quite
recent historical times, a whole nation of Calmucks migrated under
every conceivable difficulty from hostile tribes, pursuing armies,
and the extremes of winter cold and summer heat, first from China to
the Volga, and then back again from the Volga to China. Nor must we
overlook the fact that Ur and Eridhu were great sea-ports at a very
remote period, and that the facilities for pushing their commerce
far to the east were great, owing to the regular monsoons, and the
configuration of the coast.

We must be content, therefore, to take the facts as we find them, and
admit that China gives us no aid in carrying back authentic history
for anything like the time for which we have satisfactory evidence
from the monuments and records of Egypt and Chaldæa.


As regards other nations of antiquity, their own historical records
are either altogether wanting or comparatively recent, and our
only authentic information respecting them in very early times is
derived from Egyptian or Babylonian monuments. The most important
of them is Elam, which was evidently a civilized kingdom at a very
remote period, contemporary probably with the earliest Accadian
civilization, and which continued to play a leading part in history
down to the recent date of Cyrus. Elam was a small district between
the Zagros mountains and the Tigris, extending to the south along the
eastern shore of the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea. Its capital
was Shushan or Susa, an ancient and renowned city, the name of which
survives in the Persian province of Shusistan, as that of Persia
proper does in the mountainous district next to the east of Elam,
known as Farsistan. The original population was Turanian, speaking an
agglutinative language, akin to though not identical with Accadian,
and its religion and civilization were apparently the same, or
closely similar. As in Chaldæa and Assyria, a Semitic element seems
to have intruded on the Turanian at an early date, and to have become
the ruling race, while much later the Aryan Persians to some extent
superseded the Semites. The name "Elam" is said to have the same
significance as "Accad," both meaning "Highland," and indicating
that both races must have had a common origin in the mountains and
steppes of Central Asia. The native name was Anshad, and Susa was
"the City of Anshad." Elam was always considered an ancient land and
Susa an ancient city, by the Accadians, and there is every reason
to believe that Elamite civilization must have been at least as old
as Accadian. This much is certain, that as far back as 2280 B.C.,
Elam was a sufficiently organized and powerful state to conquer the
larger and more populous country of Mesopotamia, and found an Elamite
dynasty which lasted for nearly 300 years, and carried on campaigns
in districts as far distant as Southern Syria and the Dead Sea.

The dynasty was subverted and the Elamites driven back within their
own frontiers, but there they retained their independence, and took a
leading part in all the wars waged by Chaldæa and other surrounding
nations against the rising power of the warlike Assyrian kings of
Nineveh. The statue of the goddess Nana, which had been taken by the
Elamite conquerors from Erech in 2280 B.C., remained in the temple at
Susa for 1635 years, until the city was at length taken by one of the
latest Assyrian kings, Asshurbanipal, in the year 645 B.C.

We have already pointed out the great historical importance of the
Elamite conquest of Mesopotamia in 2280 _B.C._ as inaugurating the
era of great wars between civilized states, and probably giving the
impulse to Western Asia, which hurled the Hyksos on Egypt, and by
its reaction first brought the Egyptians to Nineveh, and then the
Assyrians to Memphis. A still more important movement at the very
close of what may be called ancient history, originated from Elam. To
the surprise of all students of history, it has been proved that the
account we have received from Herodotus and other Greek sources, of
the great Cyrus, is to a great extent fabulous. A cylinder and tablet
of Cyrus himself were quite recently discovered by Mr. Rassam and
brought to the British Museum, in which he commemorates his conquest
of Babylon. He describes himself as "Cyrus the great King, the King
of Babylon, the King of Sumir and Accad, the King of the four zones,
the son of Kambyses the great King, the King of Elam; the grandson
of Cyrus the great King, the King of Elam; the great-grandson of
Teispes the great King, the King of Elam; of the Ancient Seed-royal,
whose rule has been beloved by Bel and Nebo"; and he goes on to say
how by the favour of "Merodach the great lord, the god who raises
the dead to life, who benefits all men in difficulty and prayer, he
had conquered the men of Kurdistan and all the barbarians, and also
the black-headed race (the Accadians), and finally entered Babylon
in peace and ruled there righteously, favoured by gods and men, and
receiving homage and tribute from all the kings who dwelt in the high
places of all regions from the Upper to the Lower Sea, including
Phoenicia." And he concludes with an invocation to all the gods whom
he had restored to their proper temples from which they had been
taken by Nabonidus, "to intercede before Bel and Nebo to grant me
length of days; may they bless my projects with prosperity; and may
they say to Merodach my lord, that Cyrus the King, thy worshipper,
and Kambyses his son deserve his favour." This is confirmed by a
cylinder of a few years earlier date, of Nabonidus the last King
of Babylon, who relates how "Cyrus the King of Elam, the young
servant of Merodach," overthrew the Medes, there called "Mandan" or
barbarians, captured their King Astyages, and carried the spoil of
the royal city Ecbatana to the land of Elam.

How many of our apparently most firmly established historical
dates are annihilated by these little clay cylinders! It appears
that Cyrus was not a Persian at all, or an adventurer who raised
himself to power by a successful revolt, but the legitimate King
of Elam, descended from its ancient royal race through an unbroken
succession of several generations. He was in fact a later and
greater Kudur-Na-hangti, like the early conqueror of that name who
founded the first Elamite empire some 1800 years earlier. It may
be doubtful whether he was even an Aryan. At any rate this much is
certain, that his religion was Babylonian, and that we must dismiss
all Jewish myths of him as a Zoroastrian Monotheist, the servant of
the most high God, who favoured the chosen race from sympathy with
their religion. On his own showing he was as devoted a worshipper of
Merodach, Bel, and Nebo, and the whole pantheon of local gods, as
Nebuchadnezzar or Tiglath-Pileser.[2]

  [2] Sayce, in his _Fresh Light from Ancient Monuments_, says,
  "Both in his cylinder and in the annalistic tablet, Cyrus,
  hitherto supposed to be a Persian and Zoroastrian Monotheist,
  appears as an Elamite and a polytheist." It is pretty certain,
  however, that although descended from Elamite kings, these were
  kings of Persian race, who, after the destruction of the old
  monarchy by Asshurbanipal, had established a new dynasty at the
  city of Anshad or Susa. Cyrus always traces his descent from
  Achæmenes, the chief of the leading Persian clan of Pasargadæ,
  and he was buried there in a tomb visited by Alexander.

  But as regards religion, it is clear that Cyrus professed
  himself, and was taken by his contemporaries to be, a devoted
  servant of Merodach, Nebo, and the other Babylonian deities,
  to whom he prays for protection and thanks for victories,
  without any mention of the Zoroastrian supreme God, Ahura-Mazda.
  Zoroastrian Monotheism only came in with Darius Hystaspes, the
  founder of the purely Persian second dynasty, after that of Cyrus
  became extinct with his son Cambyses.

What a lesson does this teach us as to the untrustworthy nature
of the scraps of ancient history which have come down to us from
verbal traditions, and are not confirmed by contemporary monuments!
Herodotus wrote within a few generations of Cyrus, and the relations
of Greece to the Persian Empire had been close and uninterrupted. His
account of its founder Cyrus is not in itself improbable, and is full
of details which have every appearance of being historical. It is
confirmed to a considerable extent by the Old Testament, and by the
universal belief of early classical writers, and yet it is shown to
be in essential respects legendary and fabulous, by the testimony of
Cyrus himself.


Phoenicia is another country which exercised a great influence on the
civilization and commerce of the ancient world, though its history
does not go back to the extreme antiquity of the early dynasties of
Egypt and of Chaldæa. The Phoenicians spoke a language which was
almost identical with that of the Hebrews and Canaanites, and closely
resembled that of Assyria and Babylonia, after the Semite language
had superseded that of the ancient Accadians. According to their own
tradition, they came from the Persian Gulf, and the island of Tyros,
now Bahrein, in that Gulf, is quoted as a proof that it was the
original seat of the people who founded Tyre. There is no certain
date for the period when they migrated from the East, and settled
in the narrow strip of land along the coast of the Mediterranean
between the mountain range of Lebanon and the sea, stretching from
the promontory of Carmel on the south to the Gulf of Antioch on the
north. This little strip of about 150 miles in length, and ten to
fifteen in breadth, afforded many advantages for a maritime people,
owing to the number of islands close to the coast and small indented
bays, which afforded excellent harbours and protection from enemies,
which was further secured by the precipitous range of the Lebanon
sending down steep spurs into the Mediterranean, and thus isolating
Phoenicia from the military route of the great Valley of Coelo-Syria,
between the parallel ranges of the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, which
was taken by armies in the wars between Egypt and Asia. Here the
Phoenicians founded nine cities, of which Byblos or Gebal was reputed
to be the most ancient, and first Sidon and then Tyre became the
most important. They became fishermen, manufacturers of purple from
the dye procured from the shell-fish on their shores, and above all
mariners and merchants. Before the growth of other naval powers in
the Mediterranean they had established factories along the coasts
of Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy, and in all the islands of the
Egæan and the Cyclades. They had founded colonies in Cyprus, Crete,
Sicily, and on the mainland of Greece at Boeotian Thebes. They had
mined extensively wherever metals were to be found, and, as Herodotus
states, had overturned a whole mountain at Thasos by tunnelling it
for gold. They had even extended their settlements into the Black
Sea, along the northern coast of Africa, and somewhat later to Spain,
passed the Straits of Gibraltar, and finally reached the British
Isles in pursuit of tin.

There can be no question that this Phoenician commerce was a
principal element in introducing not only their alphabet, but many
of the early arts of civilization, among the comparatively rude
races of Greece, Italy, Spain, and Britain. The date however of this
earliest Phoenician commerce is very uncertain. All we can discern is
that, after having enjoyed an undisputed supremacy, the progress of
civilization among the Mediterranean races enabled them to develop a
maritime power of their own, superior to that of Phoenicia, and to
drive the Phoenicians from most of their settlements on the mainland
and islands, confining them to a few trading posts and factories,
and directing their more important enterprises towards the Western
Mediterranean, where they encountered less formidable rivals.

But although Phoenicia contributed thus largely to the civilization
of the ancient world, its antiquity cannot be compared to that of
Egypt and Chaldæa. The first reference to the country is found in
the cylinder of Sargon I., B.C. 3800, who marched to the coast of
the Mediterranean, and crossed over to Cyprus, where a cylinder of
his son Dungi has been found, but there is nothing to show that the
district was then occupied by the Phoenicians of later times. Kopt,
or the land of palms, of which Phoenicia is the Greek translation,
is first mentioned in the Egyptian annals of the Middle Empire, and
during the rule of the Hyksos the mouth of the Nile had become so
thickly populated by Phoenician emigrants as to be known as Kopt-ur,
Caphtor, or greater Phoenicia. The priests of the temple of Baal
Melcart, the patron deity of Tyre, told Herodotus that it had been
founded 2300 years before his time, or about 2750 B.C., and Old Tyre
which stood on the mainland was reputed to be more ancient than the
city of New Tyre which stood on an island. But this date is negatived
by the fact that in an Egyptian papyrus in which an envoy from Ramses
II. or Menepthah to the Court of Babylon about 1320 B.C. records his
journey, he mentions Byblos, Beryta, and Sidon as important cities,
while Tyre is only an insignificant fishing town.

The first distinct mention of Phoenician cities in Egyptian annals is
in the enumeration of towns captured by Thotmes III., B.C. 1600, in
his victorious campaigns in Syria, among which are to be found the
names of Beyrut and Acco, and two centuries later Seti I., the father
of Ramses II., records the capture of Zor or Tyre, probably the old
city on the mainland.

The first authentic information, however, as to the movements of the
Mediterranean maritime races is afforded by the Egyptian annals,
which describe two formidable invasions by combined land armies and
fleets, which were with difficulty repulsed. The first took place in
the reign of Menepthah, son of the great Ramses II. of the eighteenth
dynasty, about 1330 B.C.; the second under Ramses III. of the
nineteenth dynasty, about 1250 B.C. The first invasion came from the
West, and was headed by the King of the Lybians, a white race, who
have been identified with the Numidians and modern Kabyles, but were
reinforced to a confederacy of nearly all the Mediterranean races who
sent auxiliary contingents both of sea and land forces. Among these
appear, along with Dardanians, Teucri and Lycians of Asia Minor, who
were already known as allies of the Hittites in their wars against
Ramses II., a new class of auxiliaries from Greece, Italy, and the
islands, whose names have been identified by some Egyptologists as
Achæans, Tuscans, Sicilians, and Sardinians.

  [Illustration: SEA-FIGHT IN THE TIME OF RAMSES III. (From temple
  of Ammon at Medinet-Abou.)]

The second and more formidable attack came from the East, and was
made by a combined fleet and land army, the latter composed of
Hittites and Philistines, with the same auxiliaries from Asia Minor,
and the fleet of the same confederation of Maritime States as in
the first invasion, except that the Achæans have disappeared as
leaders of the Greek powers, and their place is taken by the Danaoi,
confirming the Greek tradition of the substitution of the dynasty of
Danaus for that of Inachus, on the throne of Argos and Mycenæ. The
Phoenicians alone of the Maritime States do not seem to have taken
any part in these invasions, and, on the contrary, to have lived on
terms of friendly vassalage and close commercial relations with Egypt
ever since the expulsion of the Hyksos, and the great conquests of
Ahmes and Thotmes III. in Syria and Asia. It is probably during this
period that the early commerce and navigation of Jebail and Sidon
took such a wide extension.

The details of these two great invasions, which are fully given
in the Egyptian monuments, together with a picture of the naval
combat, in which the invading fleet was finally defeated by Ramses
III., after having forced an entrance into the eastern branch of
the Nile, are extremely interesting. They show an advanced state of
civilization already prevailing among nations whose very names were
unknown or legendary. More than 300 years before the siege of Troy
it appears that Asia Minor and the Greek mainland and islands were
already inhabited by nations sufficiently advanced in civilization
to fit out fleets which commanded the seas, and to form political
confederations, to undertake distant expeditions, and to wage war on
equal terms with the predominant powers of Asia and of Egypt. But
though ancient as regards classical history, these beginnings of
Greek civilization are comparatively modern, and cannot be carried
back further than about 1500 B.C., while there is no evidence to
carry the preceding period of Phoenician supremacy and commerce in
the eastern Mediterranean, with the existence of the great trading
cities of its earliest period, Byblos and Sidon, beyond 2000, or, at
the very outside, 2500 B.C.


The history of another great Empire has been partially brought to
light, which was destroyed in 717 B.C. by the progress of Assyrian
conquest, after having lasted more than 1000 years, and long
exercised a predominant influence over Western Asia, viz. that of
the Hittites. The first mention of them in the Old Testament appears
in the time of Abraham, when we find them in Southern Syria, mixed
with tribes of the Canaanites and Amorites, and grouped principally
about Hebron. They are represented as on friendly terms with Abraham,
selling him a piece of land for a sepulchre, and intermarrying with
his family--Rebecca's soul being vexed by the contumacious behaviour
of her daughters-in-law, "the daughters of Heth." This, however, was
only an outlying branch of the nation, whose capital cities, when
they appear clearly in history, were further north at Kadesh on the
Orontes, and Carchemish on the Upper Euphrates, commanding the fords
on that river on the great commercial route between Babylonia and the
Mediterranean. They were a Turanian race, whose original seat was in
Cappadocia, and the high plateaux and mountainous region extending
from the Taurus range to the Black Sea. They are easily recognized
on the Egyptian monuments by their yellow colour, peculiar features
which are of Ugro-Turkish type, and their dress, which is that of
highlanders inhabiting a snowy district, with close-fitting tunics,
mittens, and boots resembling snowshoes with turned-up toes. They
have also the Mongolian characters of beardless faces, and coarse
black hair, which is sometimes trained into a pigtail.

  [Illustration: KING OF THE HITTITES. (From photograph by Flinders
  Petrie, from Egyptian Temple at Luxor.)]

The earliest mention of them is found in the tablets which were
compiled for the library of Sargon I. of Accad, in which reference is
made to the Khatti, which probably means Hittites, showing that at
this remote period, about 3800 B.C., they had already moved down from
their northern home into the valley of the Euphrates and Upper Syria.

Their affinity with the Accadians of Chaldæa is clearly proved
by their language, which the recent discovery of papyri at
Tell-el-Amara, containing despatches from the tributary King of
the Hittites to Amenophus IV., written in cuneiform characters,
has proved to be almost identical with Accadian. It seems probable
that part of the army which fought in defence of Troy may have been
Hittite, and there are many indications that the Etruscans, who were
generally believed to have come from Lydia, were of the same race and
spoke the same language.

It is in Egyptian records, however, that we meet with the first
definite historical data respecting this ancient Hittite Empire. In
these they are referred to as "Kheta," and probably formed part of
the great Hyksos invasion; but the first certain mention of them
occurs in the reign of Thotmes I., about 1600 B.C., and they appear
as a leading nation in the time of Thotmes III., who defeated a
combined army of Canaanites and Hittites under the Hittite King of
Kadesh, at Megiddo, and in fourteen victorious campaigns carried the
Egyptian arms to the Euphrates and Tigris.

For several subsequent reigns we find the Hittites enumerated as one
of the nations paying tribute to Egypt, whose extensive Empire then
reckoned Mesopotamia, Assyria, Phoenicia, Palestine, Cyprus, and
the Soudan among its tributary states. Gradually the power of Egypt
declined, and in the troubled times which followed the attempt of the
heretic King Ku-en-Aten to supersede the old religion of Egypt by
the worship of the solar disc, the conquered nations threw off the
yoke, and the frontiers of Egypt receded to the old limits. As Egypt
declined, the power of the Hittites evidently increased, for when
we next meet with them it is contending on equal terms in Palestine
with the revival of the military power of Egypt under Ramses I., the
founder of the nineteenth dynasty, and his son Seti I.

The contest continued for more than a century with occasional
treaties of peace and various vicissitudes of fortune, and at last
culminated in the great battle of Kadesh, commemorated by the
Egyptian epic poem of Pentaur, and followed by the celebrated treaty
of peace between Ramses II. and Kheta-Sira, "the great King of the
Hittites," the Hittite text of which was engraved on a silver tablet
in the characters of Carchemish, and the Egyptian copy of it was
engraved in hieroglyphics on the walls of the temples of Ramses, of
which we fortunately possess the entire text. The alliance was on
equal terms, defining the frontier, and providing for the mutual
extradition of refugees, and it was ratified by the marriage of
Ramses with the daughter of the Hittite King.

The peace lasted for some time; but in the reign of Ramses III. of
the twentieth dynasty, we find the Hittites again heading the great
confederacy of the nations of Asia Minor and of the islands of the
Mediterranean, who attacked Egypt by sea and land. The Hittites
formed the greater part of the land army, which was defeated with
great slaughter after an obstinate battle at Pelusium, about 1200
B.C. From this time forward the power both of the Hittites and of
Egypt seems to have steadily declined. We hear no more of them as a
leading power in Palestine and Syria, where the kingdoms of Judah,
Israel, and Damascus superseded them, until all were swallowed up by
the Assyrian conquests of the warrior-kings of Nineveh, and finally
the Hittites disappear altogether from history with the capture of
their capital Carchemish by Sargon II. in 717 B.C.

The wide extent, however, of the Hittite Empire when at its height
is proved by the fact that at the battle of Kadesh the Hittite army
was reinforced by vassals or allies from nearly the whole of Western
Asia. The Dardanians from the Troad, the Mysians from their cities of
Ilion, the Colchians from the Caucasus, the Syrians from the Orontes,
and the Phoenicians from Arvad are enumerated as sending contingents;
and in the invasion of Egypt in the reign of Ramses III., the
Hittites headed the great confederacy of Hittites, Teucrians,
Lycians, Philistines, and other Asiatic nations who attacked Egypt
by land, in concert with the great maritime confederacy of Greeks,
Pelasgians, Tuscans, Sicilians, and Sardinians who attacked it by

The mere fact of carrying on such campaigns and forming such
political alliances is sufficient to show that the Hittites must
have attained to an advanced state of civilization. But there is
abundant proof that this was the case from other sources. They were
a commercial people, and their capital, Carchemish, was for many
centuries the great emporium of the caravan trade between the East
and West. The products of the East, probably as far as Bactria and
India, reached it from Babylon and Nineveh, and were forwarded by
two great commercial routes, one to the south-west to Syria and
Phoenicia, the other to the north-west through the pass of Karakol,
to Sardis and the Mediterranean. The commercial importance of
Carchemish is attested by the fact that its silver mina became the
standard of value at Babylon, and throughout the whole of Western
Asia. The Hittites were also great miners, working the silver mines
of the Taurus on an extensive scale, and having a plentiful supply
of bronze and other metals, as is shown by the large number of
chariots attached to their armies from the earliest times. They were
also a literary people, and had invented a system of hieroglyphic
writing of their own, distinct alike from that of Egypt and from
the cuneiform characters of the Accadians. Inscriptions in these
peculiar characters, associated with sculptures in a style of art
different from that of either Egypt or Chaldæa, but representing
figures identical in dress and features with those of Hittites in
the Egyptian monuments, have been found over a wide extent of Asia
Minor, at Hamath and Aleppo; Boghaz-Keni and Eyuk in Cappadocia; at
the pass of Karakol near Sardis, and at various other places. Several
of those attributed by the Greeks to Sesostris or to fabulous
passages of their own mythology, have been proved to be Hittite, as,
for instance, the figure carved on the rocks of Mount Sipylos, near
Ephesus, and said to be that of Niobe, is proved to be a sitting
figure of the great goddess of Carchemish.

For a long time these inscriptions were an enigma to philologists,
but the researches of Professor Sayce and other scholars have quite
recently thrown much light on the subject, and enabled us partially
to decipher some of them, and the recent discovery of papyri at
Tel-el-Amara written partly in the Hittite language in cuneiform
characters, removes all doubt as to its nature and affinities.

It may be sufficient to state the result, that the Hittite language
was Turanian or agglutinative, closely allied, and indeed almost
identical, with Accadian on the one hand, and on the other so similar
to the ancient Lydian and Etruscan, as to leave it doubtful whether
these nations were themselves Hittites, or only very close cousins
descended from a common stock. For instance, the well-known Etruscan
names of Tarquin and Lar occur as parts of many names of Hittite
kings, and in the same, or a slightly modified form, in Accadian,
and survive to the present day in various Turkic and Mongolian
dialects. This much appears to be clear, that this Hittite Empire,
which vanished so completely from history more than 2500 years ago,
had for nearly 1000 years previously exercised a paramount influence
in Western Asia, and was one of the principal channels through which
Asiatic mythology and art reached Greece in early times, and through
the Etruscans formed an important element in the civilization of
ancient Rome. It was itself probably an offshoot from the still
older civilization of Accadia, though after a time Semitic and
Egyptian influences were introduced, as appears from the fact that
Sutek, Set or Seth, was the supreme god of the Hittites, as is
shown by the text of the treaty of peace between their great King
Khota-Sira and Ramses II.

As regards chronology, therefore, Hittite history only carries us
back about half-way to the earliest dates of Egypt and Chaldæa, and
only confirm these dates incidentally, by showing that other powerful
and civilized states already existed in Asia at a remote period.


The best chance of finding records which may vie in antiquity with
those of Egypt and Chaldæa, has come to us quite recently from an
unexpected quarter. Arabia has been from time immemorial one of the
least known and least accessible regions of the earth. Especially
of recent years Moslem fanaticism has made it a closed country to
Christian research, and it is only quite lately that a few scientific
travellers, taking their lives in their hands, have succeeded in
penetrating into the interior, discovering the sites of ruined
cities, and copying numerous inscriptions. Dr. Glaser especially has
three times explored Southern Arabia, and brought home no less than
1031 inscriptions, many of them of the highest historical interest.

By the aid of these and other inscriptions we are able to reduce
to some sort of certainty the vague traditions that had come down
to us of ancient nations and an advanced state of civilization and
commerce, existing in Arabia in very ancient times. In the words
of Professor Sayce, "the dark past of the Arabian peninsula has
been suddenly lighted up, and we find that long before the days of
Mohammed it was a land of culture and literature, a seat of powerful
kingdoms and wealthy commerce, which cannot fail to have exercised an
influence upon the general history of the world."[3]

  [3] The facts of this section are taken mainly from two articles
  by Professor Sayce in the _Contemporary Review_, entitled
  "Ancient Arabia" and "Results of Oriental Archæology."

The visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon affords one of the first
glimpses into this past history. It is evident that she either was,
or was supposed to be by the compiler of the Book of Kings not many
centuries later, the queen of a well-known, civilized, and powerful
country, which, from the description of her offerings, could hardly
be other than Arabia Felix, the spice country of Southern Arabia,
the Sabæa or Saba of the ancient world, though her kingdom, or
commercial relations, may have extended over the opposite coast of
Abyssinia and Somali-land, and probably far down the east coast of
Africa. Assyrian inscriptions show that Saba was a great kingdom in
the eighth century B.C., when its frontiers extended so far to the
north as to bring it in contact with those of the Empire of Nineveh
under Tiglath-Pileser and Sargon II. It was then an ancient kingdom,
and, as the inscriptions show, had long since undergone the same
transformation as Egypt and Chaldæa, from the rule of priest-kings of
independent cities into an unified empire. These priest-kings were
called "Makârib," or high-priests of Saba, showing that the original
state must have been a theocracy, and the name Saba like Assur that
of a god.

But the inscriptions reveal this unexpected fact, that old as the
kingdom of Saba may be, it was not the oldest in this district, but
rose to power on the decay of a still older nation, whose name of
Ma'in has come down to us in dim traditions under the classical form
of Minæans.

We are already acquainted with the names of thirty-two Minæan kings,
and as comparatively few inscriptions have as yet been discovered,
many more will doubtless be found. Among those known, however, are
some which show that the authority of the Minæan kings was not
confined to their original seat in the south, but extended over all
Arabia and up to the frontiers of Syria and of Egypt. Three names of
these kings have been found at Teima, the Tema of the Old Testament,
on the road to Damascus and Sinai; and a votive tablet from Southern
Arabia is inscribed by its authors, "in gratitude to Athtar (Istar or
Astarte), for their rescue in the war between the ruler of the South
and the ruler of the North, and in the conflict between Madhi and
Egypt, and for their safe return to their own city of Quarnu." The
authors of this inscription describe themselves as being under the
Minæan King "Abi-yadá Yathi," and being "governors of Tsar and Ashur
and the further bank of the river."

Tsar is often mentioned in the Egyptian monuments as a frontier
fortress on the Arabian side of what is now the Suez Canal, while
another inscription mentions Gaza, and shows that the authority of
the Minæan rulers extended to Edom, and came into close contact with
Palestine and the surrounding tribes. Doubtless the protection of
trade-routes was a main cause of this extension of fortified posts
and wealthy cities, over such a wide extent of territory. From the
most ancient times there has always been a stream of traffic between
East and West, flowing partly by the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, and
from the ends of these Eastern seas to the Mediterranean, and partly
by caravan routes across Asia. The possession of one of these routes
by Solomon in alliance with Tyre, led to the ephemeral prosperity of
the Jewish kingdom at a much later period; and the wars waged between
Egyptians, Assyrians, and Hittites were doubtless influenced to a
considerable extent by the desire to command these great lines of

Arabia stood in a position of great advantage as regards this
international commerce, being a half-way house between East and
West, protected from enemies by impassable deserts, and with inland
and sheltered seas in every direction. Its southern provinces also
had the advantage of being the great, and in some cases the sole,
producers of commodities of great value and in constant request.
Frankincense and other spices were indispensable in temples where
bloody sacrifices formed part of the religion. The atmosphere of
Solomon's temple must have been that of a sickening slaughterhouse,
and the fumes of incense could alone enable the priests and
worshippers to support it. This would apply to thousands of other
temples through Asia, and doubtless the palaces of kings and nobles
suffered from uncleanliness and insanitary arrangements, and required
an antidote to evil smells to make them endurable. The consumption of
incense must therefore have been immense in the ancient world, and it
is not easy to see where it could have been derived from except from
the regions which exhaled.

    "Sabæan odours from the shores of Araby the blest."

The next interesting result, however, of these Arabian discoveries
is, that they disclose not only a civilized and commercial kingdom at
a remote antiquity, but that they show us a literary people, who had
their own alphabet and system of writing at a date comparable to that
of Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chaldæan cuneiforms, and long prior
to the oldest known inscription in Phoenician characters. The first
Arabian inscriptions were discovered and copied by Seetzen in 1810,
and were classed together as Himyaritic, from Himyar, the country of
the classical Homerites. It was soon discovered that the language
was Semitic, and that the alphabet resembled that of the Ethiopic or
Gheez, and was a modification of the Phoenician written vertically
instead of horizontally. Further discoveries and researches have
led to the result, which is principally due to Dr. Glaser, that
the so-called Himyaritic inscriptions fell into two groups, one of
which is distinctly older than the other, containing fuller and more
primitive grammatical forms. These are Minæan, while the inscriptions
in the later dialect are Sabæan. It is apparent, therefore, that the
Minæan rule and literature must have preceded those of Sabæa by a
time sufficiently long to have allowed for considerable changes both
in words and grammar to have grown up, not by foreign conquest, but
by evolution among the tribes of the same race within Arabia itself.
Now the Sabæan kingdom can be traced back with considerable certainty
to the time of Solomon, 1000 years B.C., and had in all probability
existed many centuries before; while we have already a list of
thirty-three Minæan kings, which number will doubtless be enlarged by
further discoveries; and the oldest inscriptions point, as in Egypt,
to an antecedent state of commerce and civilization. It is evident
therefore that Arabia must be classed with Egypt and Chaldæa as one
of the countries which point to the existence of highly civilized
communities in an extreme antiquity; and that it is by no means
impossible that the records of Southern Arabia may ultimately be
carried back as far as those of Sargon I., or even of Menes.

This is the more probable as several ancient traditions point to
Southern Arabia, and possibly to the adjoining coast of North-eastern
Africa, as the source of the earliest civilizations. Thus Oannes is
said to have come up from the Persian Gulf and taught the Chaldæans
the first arts of civilization. The Phoenicians traced their origin
to the Bahrein Islands in the same Gulf. The Egyptians looked with
reverence and respect to Punt, which is generally believed to have
meant Arabia Felix and Somali-land; and they placed the origin of
their letters and civilization, not in Upper or Lower, but in Middle
Egypt, at Abydos where Thoth and Osiris were said to have reigned,
where the Nile is only separated from the Red Sea by a narrow land
pass which was long one of the principal commercial routes between
Arabia and Egypt.

The close connection between Egypt and Punt in early times is
confirmed by the terms of respect in which Punt is spoken of in
Egyptian inscriptions, contrasting with the epithets of "barbarian"
and "vile," which are applied to other surrounding nations such as
the Hittites, Libyans, and Negroes. And the celebrated equipment of
a fleet by the great queen Hatasu of the nineteenth dynasty, to make
a commercial voyage to Punt, and its return with a rich freight, and
the king and queen of the country with offerings, on a visit to the
Pharaoh, reminding one of the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon,
shows that the two nations were on friendly terms, and that the Red
Sea and opposite coast of Africa had been navigated from a very early
period. The physical type also of the chiefs of Punt as depicted on
the Egyptian monuments is very like that of the aristocratic type of
the earliest known Egyptian portraits.

  [Illustration: CHIEF OF PUNT AND TWO MEN.]

One point seems sufficiently clear; that wherever may have been the
original seat of the Aryans, that of the Semites must be placed
in Arabia. Everywhere else we can trace them as an immigrating or
invading people, who found prior populations of different race,
but in Arabia they seem to have been aboriginal. Thus in Chaldæa
and Assyria, the Semites are represented in the earliest history
and traditions as coming from the South, partly by the Persian
Gulf and partly across the Arabian and Syrian deserts, and by
degrees amalgamating with and superseding the previous Accadian
population. In Egypt the Semitic element was a late importation
which never permanently affected the old Egyptian civilization. In
Syria and Palestine, the Phoenicians, Canaanites, and Hebrews were
all immigrants from the Persian Gulf or Arabian frontier, either
directly or through the medium of Egypt and Assyria, who did not
even pretend to be the earliest inhabitants, but found other races,
as the Amorites and Hittites, in possession, whose traditions again
went back to barbarous aborigines of Zammumim, who seemed to them to
stammer their unintelligible language. The position of Semites in the
Moslem world in Asia and Africa is distinctly due to the conquests of
the Arab Mohammed and the spread of his religion.

In Arabia alone we find Semites and Semites only, from the very
beginning, and the peculiar language and character of the race must
have been first developed in the growing civilization which preceded
the ancient Minæan Empire, probably as the later stone age was
passing into that of metal, and the primitive state of hunters and
fishers into the higher social level of agriculturists and traders.

To return from these remote speculations to a subject of more
immediate interest, the discovery of these Minæan inscriptions shows
the existence of an alphabet older than that of the earliest known
inscriptions in Phoenician letters. The alphabets of Greece, Rome,
and all modern nations are beyond all doubt derived from that of
Phoenicia, and it has been generally supposed that this was formed
from an abridgment of the hieroglyphics or hieratics of Egypt. But
the Minæan inscriptions raise the question whether the Phoenician
alphabet itself and the kindred alphabets of Palestine, Syria, and
other countries near the Arabian frontier were not derived from
Arabia rather than from Egypt. The Minæan language and letters are
certainly older forms of Semitic speech and writing, and it seems
more likely that they should have been adopted, with dialectic
variations, by other Semitic races, with whom Arabia had a long
coterminous position and constant intercourse by caravans, than that
these races should have remained totally ignorant of letters, until
Phoenicia borrowed them from Egypt. Moreover, as Professor Sayce
shows, this theory gives a better explanation of the names of the
Phoenician letters, which in many cases have no resemblance to the
symbols which denote them. Thus the first letter Aleph, "an ox,"
really resembles the head of that animal in the Minæan inscriptions,
while no likeness can be traced to any Egyptian hieroglyph used for

Should these speculations be confirmed, they will considerably modify
our conceptions as to the early history of the Old Testament. It
would seem that Canaan, before the Israelite invasion, was already
a settled and civilized country, with a distinct alphabet and
literature of its own, older than those of Phoenicia; and it may be
hoped that further researches in Arabia and Palestine may disclose
records, buried under the ruins of ancient cities, which may vie in
antiquity with those of Egypt and Chaldæa.

But in the meantime we must be content to rely on the records and
monuments of these two countries, and especially those of Egypt, as
giving us the longest standard of genuine historical time, extending
backwards about 7000 years from the present century.


The existence of civilization and commerce among other ancient
nations which have disappeared from history, have received a
remarkable confirmation from the excavations of Dr. Schliemann at
Troy and Mycenæ. The site of Troy has been identified with the
mound of Hissarlik which formed its citadel, and the accuracy of
the descriptions in Homer's _Iliad_ has been wonderfully verified.
The ruins of seven successive towns, superimposed one on the other,
have been found in excavating the mass of _débris_ down to the bed
rock. The lowest of these was a settlement apparently of the later
neolithic or earliest bronze ages, while the next, built on the
ruins of the first at a level of eleven to twenty feet above it, was
a strongly fortified city, which had been destroyed by fire, and
which answers almost exactly to the description of Homer's Troy. The
citadel hill had been inclosed by massive walls, and was surmounted
by a stately palace and other buildings, the foundations of which
still remain. It was protected on one side by the river Scamander,
and on the other the city extended over the plain at the foot of
the citadel, and was itself also surrounded by a strong wall, of
which a small fragment remains. The third, fourth, fifth, and sixth
settlements consisted of mean huts or dwelling-houses built of quarry
stones and clay, and the seventh, or uppermost, was the Græco-Roman
Ilion of classical writers. The main interest therefore centres
in the second city, which, from the articles found in it and the
many repairs and alterations of the walls and buildings, must have
been for a long time the seat of a nourishing and powerful people,
enriched by commerce, and far advanced in the industrial and fine

Notwithstanding the destruction and probable plunder of the city,
the quantity of gold and silver found was very considerable, chiefly
in the vaults or casemates built into the foundations of the walls,
which were covered up with _débris_ when the citadel was burnt,
and the roofs and upper buildings fell in. In one place alone Dr.
Schliemann found the celebrated treasure containing sixty articles of
gold and silver, which had evidently been packed together in a square
wooden box, which had disappeared with the intense heat. The nature
of these citadels shows a high degree not only of civilization but
of wealth and luxury, as proved by the skill and taste of jeweller's
work displayed in the female ornaments, which comprise three
sumptuous diadems, ear-rings, hairpins, and bracelets.

There are also numerous vases and cups of terra-cotta, and a few
of gold and silver, and bars of silver which have every appearance
of being used for money, being of the same form and weight. The
fragments of ordinary pottery are innumerable, the finer and more
perfect vases are often of a graceful form, and moulded into shapes
of animals or human heads, and decorated with spirals, rosettes, and
other ornaments of the type which is more fully illustrated as that
of the pre-Hellenic civilization of Mycenæ.

For Schliemann has not only restored the historic reality of Priam
and the city of Troy, but also that of Agamemnon "King of men,"
and his capital of Mycenæ. The result of his explorations on this
site has been to show that a still larger and more wealthy city
existed here for a longer period than Troy, and which affected a
more extensive area, for its peculiar art and civilization were
widely diffused over the whole of the eastern coast of Greece and
the adjoining islands, and specimens of it have been found on the
opposite coasts of Asia Minor, as we have seen at Troy, and as
far off as Cyprus and Egypt, where they were doubtless carried by
commerce. The existence of an extensive commerce is proved by the
profusion of gold which has been found in the vaults and tombs buried
under the _débris_ of the ruined city, for gold is not a native
product, but must have been obtained from abroad, as also the bronze,
copper, and tin required for the manufacture of weapons. The city
also evidently owed its importance to its situation on the Isthmus of
Corinth, commanding the trade route between the Gulfs of Argos and
of Corinth, and thus connecting the Eastern Mediterranean and Asia
with the Western Sea and Europe. The still older city of Tiryns, of
which Mycenæ was probably an offshoot, stood nearly on the shore of
the eastern gulf, while Mycenæ was in the middle of the isthmus about
eight miles from either gulf. Tiryns was also explored by Schliemann,
and showed the same plans of buildings and fortifications as Troy and
Mycenæ, and the same class of relics, only less extensive and more
archaic than those of Mycenæ, which was evidently the more important
city during the golden period of this great Mycenæan civilization.

Those who wish to pursue this interesting subject further will
find an admirable account of it in the English translation of
Schliemann's works and essays, with a full description of each
exploration, and numerous illustrations of the buildings and articles
found. For my present object I only refer to it as an illustration
of the position that Egypt and Chaldæa do not stand alone in
presenting proofs of high antiquity, but that other nations, such
as the Chinese, the Hittites, the Minæans of Southern Arabia, the
Mycenæans, Trojans, Lydians, Phrygians, Cretans, and doubtless many
others, also existed as populous, powerful, and civilized states, at
a time long antecedent to the dawn of classical history. If these
ancient empires and civilization became so completely forgotten, or
survived only in dim traditions of myths and poetical legends, the
reason seems to be that they kept no written records, or at any rate
none in the form of enduring inscriptions. We know ancient Egypt from
its hieroglyphics, and from Manetho's history; Chaldæa and Assyria
from the cuneiform writing on clay tablets; China, up to about 2500
B.C., from its written histories; but it is singular that the other
ancient civilizations have left few or no inscriptions. This is the
more remarkable in the case of the Mycenæan cities explored by Dr.
Schliemann, for their date is not so very remote, their jewellery,
vases, and signet-rings are profusely decorated, their dead interred
in stately tombs with large quantities of gold and silver, and
yet not a single instance has been found of anything resembling
alphabetical or symbolical writing, or of any form of inscription.
Atreus, Agamemnon, and a long line of kings lie in their stately
tombs, with their gold masks and breastplates, and their arms and
treasures about them, without a word or sign to distinguish father
from son, ancestor from successor. Their queens are buried in their
robes of cloth of gold, their tiaras, necklaces, bracelets, rings
and jewels, equally without a word to say which was Clytemnestra and
which Electra. How different is this from the Egyptian royal tombs
and palaces, where pompous inscriptions record the genealogies of
kings for fifty or more generations, and the first care of every
Pharaoh is to carve the annals of his exploits on imperishable

Another strange peculiarity of this Mycenæan civilization is the
absence of religious subjects. Images and pictures of their gods
abound on all the monuments of Egypt and Chaldæa. Every frieze and
tablet, every seal and scarabæus, is full of representations of
Osiris and Isis, of Thoth and Ammon; or in Chaldæa of Bel, Merodach,
and Istar, and their other pantheon of gods, each under its own
symbolical form, and innumerable little idols or figurines attested
their hold on the population. But at Troy, Tiryns, and Mycenæ there
is nothing of the sort. Animals and mortal men are freely depicted
on the vases, and moulded as ornaments for domestic utensils, but
religious subjects are so scarce that it is even doubtful whether a
few scanty specimens bear this character or not.

There is a pit in the central court of the palace at Mycenæ which has
been thought to be a sacrificial pit under an altar, but this rather
because such an altar is described in Homer, than for any positive
evidence. There are also a very few figurines of terra-cotta, which
have been thought to be idols, because they are too clumsy to be
taken for representations of the human figure by such skilled
artists, and because they bear some sort of resemblance to the rude
Phoenician idols of the goddess Astarte. But, with this exception,
there is nothing at Troy or Mycenæ to indicate a belief in the
Homeric or any other mythology.

As a question of dates, we know that the supremacy of Mycenæ and its
civilization came to an end with the invasion of the Dorians, which
is generally placed about 1000 B.C. We know also that it must have
had a long existence, but for anything approaching to a date we must
refer to the few traces which connect it with Egypt. A scarabæus was
found at Mycenæ with the name of Queen Ti engraved on it who lived
in the thirteenth century B.C. Mycenæan vases have been found of the
older type with lines and spirals, in Egyptian tombs of about 1400
B.C., and of the later type with animals in tombs of about 1100 B.C.,
and Mr. Flinders Petrie, by whom they were discovered, says that any
error in these dates cannot exceed 100 years. Mycenæan pottery has
also been found at Thera under volcanic ashes which geologists say
were thrown up about 1500 B.C.

We are pretty safe, therefore, in supposing this Mycenæan
civilization to have flourished between the limits of 1600 and 1000
B.C. In this case it must have been contemporary with the great
events of the New Empire in Egypt which followed on the expulsion
of the Hyksos; with the victorious campaigns of Ahmes and Thotmes
which carried the Egyptian arms to the Euphrates and to the Black
Sea; with the rise of the Hittite power which extended far and wide
over Asia Minor, and contended on equal terms in Syria with Ramses
II.; and with the coalition of naval powers which on two occasions,
in the reigns of Menepthah and Ramses III., commanded the sea
and invaded Egypt. The mention of Achæans among the allies whose
fleet was defeated in the sea-fight on the Pelusian mouth of the
Nile, depicted on the triumphal tablet of Ramses III., becomes an
historical reality, and some of the hostile galleys may well have
been those of a predecessor of Agamemnon.

It is doubtful, however, whether these Mycenæans or Achæans can be
properly called Greek. Both their civilization and art are Asiatic
rather than Hellenic; they have left no clue to their language in any
writing or inscription; and the type of the race, as far as we can
judge of it from paintings on the vases, was totally unlike that of
classical Greece.

  [Illustration: QUEEN SENDING WARRIOR TO BATTLE. (From "Warrior
  Vase," Mycenæ. Schliemann.)]

In one instance alone the human form is represented on the vases
found at Mycenæ, viz. on that known as the great "warrior vase."
This is a large amphora, with a broad band of figures round it,
representing on one side attacking warriors hurling spears, and on
the other a queen, or female figure, sending out warriors to repel
them. The vase is broken, but there are in all eight figures with
their heads nearly perfect, and all of the same type, which is such
an extraordinary one, that I annex a copy of the woman and one of the

One asks oneself in amazement, can this swine-snouted caricature of
humanity be the divine Helen, whose beauty set contending nations
in arms, and even as a shade made Faust immortal with a kiss; and
this other, Agamemnon, king of men, or the god-like Achilles? And
yet certainly they must be faces which the dwellers in Mycenæ either
copied from nature, or introduced as conventional ideals. They cannot
be taken as first childish attempts at drawing the human face, like
those of the palæolithic savages of the grottos of the Vezere, for
they are the work of advanced artists who, in other cases, drew
beautiful decorations and life-like animals; and in these figures the
attitudes, dress, and armour show that they could draw with spirit
and accuracy, and give a faithful representation of details when they
chose to do so.

  [Illustration: ADAM, EVE, AND THE SERPENT. (From a Babylonian

The only approach to a clue I can find for an explanation of these
extraordinary Mycenæan faces is afforded by the picture of Adam
and Eve, with the Serpent and Tree of Life, on an old Babylonian
cylinder in the British Museum.

It will be seen at once that there is a considerable resemblance
between the two types of countenance, and it strikes me as possible
that, as Mycenæan art was so largely derived from Babylonian, this
may have become a conventional type for the first human ancestors, in
which it was thought by the Mycenæan copyists that heroes and kings
ought to be represented.

This, however, is a mere conjecture, and all we can infer with any
certainty from Troy and Mycenæ is, that a considerable civilization
and commerce must have prevailed in the Eastern Mediterranean at a
date long prior to the commencement of classical history, though much
later than that of the older records of Egypt and Chaldæa.



   Egypt--Book of the Dead--Its Morality--Metaphysical
   Character--Origins of Religions--Ghosts--Animism--Astronomy
   and Astrology--Morality--Pantheism and Polytheism--Egyptian
   Ideas of Future Life and Judgment--Egyptian Genesis--Divine
   Emanations--Plurality of Gods and Animal Worship--Sun Worship
   and Solar Myths--Knowledge of Astronomy--Orientation of
   Pyramids--Theory of Future Life--the Ka--the Soul--Confession of
   Faith before Osiris.

   Chaldæan Religion--Oldest Form Accadian--Shamanism--Growth
   of Philosophical Religion--Astronomy and Astrology--Accadian
   Trinities--Anu, Mull-il, Ea--Twelve great
   and Omens--Penitential Psalms--Conclusions from.

The religious ideas of a nation afford a pretty good test of the
antiquity of its civilization. Thus, if 5000 years hence all traces
of England being lost except a copy of the Athanasian Creed, it would
be a legitimate inference that the race who retained such a creed
as part of their ritual, had long passed the primitive period of
fetichism or animism, had schools of priests and philosophers, and
that their religion had developed into a stage of subtle and profound
metaphysical speculations. If this would be true in the hypothetical
case of England, it is equally true in the actual case of Egypt.
In its sacred book, the Todtenbuch, or Book of the Dead, which we
meet with at the earliest periods of Egyptian history, we find
conceptions of the Great First Cause of the Universe, which are in
many respects identical with those of Athanasius. In fact, with some
slight alterations of expression, his creed might be a chapter of the
Todtenbuch, and it is clear that in his controversy with Arius he got
his inspiration from his native Alexandria, and from the old Egyptian
religion stripped of its polytheistic and idolatrous elements, and
adapted to the modern ideas of the Neo-Platonic philosophy and of

The Egyptian religion, as disclosed to us in the earliest records, is
one which of itself proves its great antiquity. There is an extensive
literature of a religious character; the Book of the Dead, which
contains many of the principal prayers and hymns, and descriptions
of the Last Judgment, is already a sacred book. Portions of it are
certainly older than the time of Menes, and it had already acquired
such an authority in the times of Pepi, Teta, and Unas, of the sixth
dynasty, about 3800 B.C., that the inner walls of their pyramids are
covered with hieroglyphics of chapters taken from it. From this time
forward, almost every tomb and mummy-case contains quotations from
it, just as passages of the Bible are quoted on our own gravestones.
The Book of Isis, and hymns to various gods, are of the same
nature and early date; and in addition to these, there are ethical
treatises, ascribed to kings of the oldest dynasties, as well as
works on medicine, geometry, mensuration, and arithmetic. Education
was very general, as is proved by the fact that the workmen at the
mines of Wady Magarah could scrawl hieroglyphic inscriptions on the
walls of their tunnels, and on their blocks of dressed stone. Birch,
in his _Ancient History of Egypt from_ _the Monuments_, which I
prefer to quote from as, being published by the Society for Promoting
Christian Knowledge, it cannot be suspected of any bias to discredit
orthodoxy, says that, "In their moral law the Egyptians followed the
same precepts as the Decalogue (ascribed to Moses 2500 years later),
and enumerated treason, murder, adultery, theft, and the practice
of magic as crimes of the deepest dye." The position of women is
one of the surest tests of an advanced civilization; for in rude
times, and among savage races, force reigns supreme, and the weaker
sex is always the slave or drudge of the stronger one. It is only
when intellectual and moral considerations are firmly established
that the claims of women to an equality begin to be recognized. Now
in the earliest records of domestic and political life in Egypt, we
find this equality more fully recognized than it is perhaps among
ourselves in the nineteenth century. Quoting again from Birch, "The
Egyptian woman appears always as the equal and companion of her
father, brethren, and husband. She was never secluded in a harem, sat
at meals with them, had equal rights before the law, served in the
priesthood, and even mounted the throne."

In fact the state of civilization in Egypt 6000 years ago appears
to have been higher in all essential respects than it has ever been
since, or is now, in any Asiatic and in many European countries.
And it has every appearance of being indigenous, and having grown
up on the soil. There are no traces in the oldest traditions of any
foreign importation, such as we find in the early traditions of other
countries. There is no fish-man who comes up out of the Persian Gulf
and teaches the Chaldæans the first elements of civilization; no
Cadmus who teaches the Greeks their first letters; no Manco-Capac
who lands on the shore of Peru. On the contrary, all the Egyptian
traditions are of Egyptian gods, like Osiris and Thoth, who reigned
in the valley of the Nile, and invented hieroglyphics and other arts.

These are lost in a fabulous antiquity, and the only trace of a
link to connect the historical Egyptians with the neolithic races
whose remains are found in abundance in the form of flint knives and
arrows, and are brought up by borings through thick deposits of Nile
mud, or the still older palæolithic savages, whose rude implements
were found by General Pitt-Rivers and other explorers in quaternary
gravels near Thebes of geological antiquity, is furnished by the use
of a stone knife to make the first incision on the corpse in turning
it into a mummy, and by the animal worship, which may have been a
relic of primitive fetichism and totemism.

The highly metaphysical nature of the Egyptian creed is another
conclusive proof of the antiquity of the religion. Among existing
races we find similar religions corresponding to similar stages of
civilization. With the very rudest races, religion consists mainly of
ghost worship and animism. Herbert Spencer has shown how dreams lead
to the belief that man consists of two elements, a body and a spirit,
or shadowy self, which wanders forth in sleep, meets with strange
adventures, and returns when the body awakes. In the longer sleep of
death, this shadowy self becomes a ghost which haunts its old abodes
and former associates, mostly with an evil intent, and which has to
be deceived or propitiated, to prevent it from doing mischief. Hence
the sacrifices and offerings, and the many devices for cheating
the ghost by carrying the dead body by devious paths to some safe
locality. Hence also the superstitious dread of evil spirits, and the
interment with the corpse of food and implements to induce the ghost
to remain tranquilly in the grave, or to set out comfortably on its
journey to another world.

Animism is another tap-root of savage superstition. As the child
sees life in the doll, so the savage sees life in every object,
animate or inanimate, which comes in contact with him, and affects
his existence. Animals, and even stocks and stones, are supposed to
have souls, and who knows that these may not be the souls of departed
ancestors, and have some mysterious power of helping or of hurting
him? In any case the safer plan is to propitiate them by worship and

From these rude beginnings we see nations as they advance in
civilization rising to higher conceptions, developing their ghosts
into gods, and confining their operations to the greater phenomena
of Nature, such as the sky, the earth, the sea, the sun, the stars,
storms, seasons, thunder, and the like. And by degrees the unity of
Nature begins to be felt by the higher minds; priestly castes are
established who have leisure for meditation; ideas are transmitted
from generation to generation; and the vague and primitive Nature
worship passes into the phase of philosophical and scientific
religion. The popular rites and superstitions linger on with the mass
of the population, but an inner circle of hereditary priests refines
and elevates them, and begins to ask for a solution of the great
problems of the universe; what it means, and how it was created; the
mystery of good and evil; man's origin, future life and destiny; and
all the questions which, down to the present day, are asked though
never answered by the higher minds of the higher races of civilized
man. In this stage of religious development metaphysical speculations
occupy a foremost place. Priests of Heliopolis, Magi of Eridhu and of
Ur, reasoned like Christian fathers and Milton's devils of

    "Fate, free-will, foreknowledge absolute,"

and like them

    "Found no end, in wandering mazes lost."

Theories of theism and pantheism, of creations and incarnations,
of Trinities and atonements, of polarities between good and evil,
free-will and necessity, were argued and answered, now in one
direction and now in another. Science contributed its share,
sometimes in the form of crude cosmogonies and first attempts at
ethnology, but principally through the medium of astronomy. An
important function of the priests was to form a calendar, predict
the seasons, and regulate the holding of religious rites at the
proper times. Hence the course of the heavens was carefully watched,
the stars were mapped out into constellations, through which the
progress of the sun and planets was recorded; and myths sprang into
existence based on the sun's daily rising and setting, and its annual
journey through the seasons and the signs of the zodiac. Mixed up
with astronomy was astrology, which, watching the sun, moon, and five
planets, inferred life from motion, and recognized Gods exerting
a divine influence on human events. The sacred character of the
priests was confirmed by the popular conviction that they were at
the same time prophets and magicians, and that they alone were able
to interpret the will of personified powers of Nature, and influence
them for good or evil.

The element of morality is one of the latest to appear. It is only
after a long progress in civilization that ideas of personal sin
and righteousness, of an overruling justice and goodness, of future
rewards and punishments, are developed from the cruder conceptions
and superstitious observances of earlier times. It was a long road
from the jealous and savage local god of the Hebrew tribes, who
smelt the sweet savour of burnt sacrifices and was pleased, and who
commanded the extermination of enemies, and the slaughter of women
and children, to the Supreme Jehovah, who loved justice and mercy
better than the blood of bulls and rams. It is one great merit of the
Bible, intelligently read, that it records so clearly the growth and
evolution of moral ideas, from a plane almost identical with that of
the Red Indians, to the supreme height of the Sermon on the Mount and
St. Paul's definition of charity.

There is one phenomenon which appears very commonly in these ancient
religions, that of degeneration. After having risen to a certain
height of pure and lofty conception they cease to advance, branch
out into fanciful fables accompanied by cruel and immoral rites, and
finally decay and perish. This is an inevitable consequence of the
law of birth, growth, maturity, decay and death, which underlies all

    "The old order changes, giving place to new."

Environment changes, and religions, laws, and social institutions
change with it. Empires rise and fall, old civilizations disappear,
old creeds become incredible, and often, for a time, the course of
humanity seems to be retrograde. But as the flowing tide rises,
though the successive waves on the shore advance and recede,
evolution, or the law of progress, in the long run prevails, and
amidst the many oscillations of temporary conditions, carries the
human race ever upwards towards higher things.

In the case of ancient religions it is easy to see how this
process of degeneration is carried out. Priests who were the
pioneers of progress, and leaders of advanced thought, became first
conservatives, and then obscurantists. Pantheistic conceptions,
and personifications of divine attributes, lead to polytheism. As
religions become popular, and pass from the learned few to the
ignorant many, they become vulgarized, and the real meaning of myths
and symbols is either lost or confined to a select inner circle.

But for my present purpose, which is mainly chronological, these
vicissitudes in religious beliefs are not important. If, at the
earliest date to which authentic history extends, we find a national
religion which has already passed from the primitive into the
metaphysical stage, and which embodies abstract ideas, astronomical
observations, and a high and pure code of morals, it is a legitimate
inference that it is the outcome of a long antecedent era of
civilization. This is eminently the case with regard to the ancient
religions of Egypt and Chaldæa.

The ancient Egyptians were the most religious people ever known.
Their thoughts were so fixed on a future life that, as Herodotus
says, they looked upon their houses as mere temporary inns, and their
tombs as their true permanent homes. The idea of an immediate day of
judgment for each individual soul after death was so fixed in their
minds that it exercised a constant practical influence on their life
and conduct. Piety to the gods, loyalty to the throne, obedience to
superiors, justice and mercy to inferiors, and observance of all
the principal moral laws, and especially that of truthfulness, were
enforced by the conviction that no sooner had the breath departed
from the body, and it had been deposited as a mummy, with its Ka or
second shadowy self, in the tomb, than the soul would have to appear
before the supreme judge Osiris, and the forty-two heavenly jurors,
where it would have to confess the naked truth, and be tried and
rewarded or punished according to its merits. It is very interesting,
therefore, to learn what the religion was which had taken such a firm
hold of the minds of an entire nation, and which maintained that hold
for the best part of 5000 years.

  BAD DEEDS. (From Champollion's _Egypt_.)]

Our authority for the nature of this religion is derived mainly
from the Todtenbuch or Book of the Dead, which was the Egyptian
bible. This sacred Book was of immense antiquity, and much of it was
certainly in existence before the time of Menes. We know it from the
multiplied copies which were frequently deposited in tombs, and from
the innumerable extracts and quotations which appear on almost every
mummy-case and sarcophagus, as well as from the many manuscripts of
works on religious subjects which have been preserved in papyri.

The fundamental idea was that of a primitive ocean, or, if you like
to call it chaos, of nebulous matter without form and void, and of
a one infinite and eternal God who evolved himself and the Universe
from his own essence. He is called in the Todtenbuch "the one only
being, the sole Creator, unchangeable in his infinite perfection,
present in all time, past and future, everywhere and yet nowhere."
But although one in essence, God is not one in person. He exists as
Father, but reproduces himself under another aspect as Mother, and
under a third as Son. This Trinity is three and yet one, and has
all the attributes of the one--infinity, eternity, and omnipotence.
Thus far the Athanasian Creed might be a chapter of the Todtenbuch,
and it is very evident where the Alexandrian saint got those subtle
metaphysical ideas, which are so opposed to the rigid monotheistic
creeds of Judaism and Mahometanism.

But the Egyptian religion was more logical, and carried these
ideas much further than an original Trinity. It is evident that
if we admit the two fundamental ideas, 1st, that God is the only
real existence, author of and identical with the universe; 2nd,
that this incomprehensible essence or First Cause can be made
more comprehensible by personifying his various qualities and
manifestations, there is no reason why we should stop at three. If
we admit a Trinity of Father, Mother, and Son, why not admit a
daughter and other descendants; or if you personify the Power to make
a universe, the Knowledge how to make it, and the Will to do it, as
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, why not the Benevolence to do it well,
the Malevolence to do it badly, and a hundred other attributes which
metaphysical ingenuity can devise to account for the complication of
the known, and the mysteries of the unknown facts of existence?

The Egyptian priests accepted this view, and admitted a whole
Pantheon of secondary gods who were either personifications of
different attributes of the Supreme God, or separate portions of the
one Divine Essence. Thus Ammon was God considered in his attribute of
the first Generative power; Pthah the supreme Artist who fashioned
all things wisely; Osiris the good and benevolent aspect of the
Deity; Set or Typhon his opposite or the Author of Evil, and so on.
And once personified, these attributes soon came to be considered as
separate beings; to have a female principle or wives added to them,
and to be worshipped as the patron gods of separate temples and
provinces. Finally, the pantheistic idea became so prevalent, and
that of separate personifications of the Deity was carried so far,
that portions of the Divine essence were supposed to be incarnated
in the sun and heavenly bodies, in the Pharaoh and his family, and
even in bulls, cats, and other sacred animals. In the latter case
it may be a question whether we do not see a survival of the old
superstitious fetiches and totems of semi-savage times, adopted by
the priests into their theology, as so many pagan superstitions
were by the early Christian missionaries. At any rate such was the
result, a mixture of the most childish and absurd forms of popular
superstition, with a highly philosophical and moral creed, held by
the educated classes and stamped upon the mass of the nation by the
firmly established belief in a future life and day of judgment.

Among the more philosophical articles of this creed, astronomy
assumed a prominent place from a very early date. The sun, it is
true, was described in the original Cosmogony as having been called
into existence by the word of the Supreme God, but it came to be
taken as his visible representative, and finally worshipped as a god
itself. Its different phases were studied and received different
names, as Horus when on the horizon rising or setting, Ra in its
midday splendour, Osiris during its journey in the night through
the underground world of darkness. Of these Ra naturally had the
pre-eminence; the title of Pharaoh, or Pi-ra, was that given to
kings, who were assumed to be semi-divine beings descended from the
Sun. The Osiris myth which was the basis of the national belief
in a future life and day of judgment was clearly solar. Egyptian
astronomy, like that of the Chaldees and all early nations, assumed
that the sky was a crystal dome or firmament which separated the
waters of the upper world from the earth and waters below, and
corresponded with a similar nether world of darkness below the earth.
The Sun was born or rose into the upper world every morning, waxed
in strength and glory as his bark navigated the upper waters until
noon, then declined and finally sank into the nether world or died,
slain by an envious Typhon, but to be born again next morning after
traversing the perils and encountering the demons of the realm of
darkness. The same idea was repeated by the annual course of the sun
through Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, and it translated itself
as applied to man into the ideas of birth, growth, manhood, decline,
and death, to be followed by a sojourn in Hades, a day of judgment,
and a resurrection.

The Egyptian religion, however, seems never to have been so largely
astronomical as that of Chaldæa, and to have concentrated itself
mainly on the Sun. The planets and signs of the zodiac did not, as
with the Chaldees, afford a principal element of their sacred books
and mythologies. The Egyptian priests had doubtless long studied
astronomy; they had watched the stars, traced the annual course of
the sun, divided the year into months and the circle into 360°, and
constructed calendars for bringing the civil into correspondence
with the sidereal year. They not only had intercalated the five
supplemental days, bringing the duration of the year from 360 to 365,
but they had invented a sothic cycle for the odd quarter of a day, by
which at the end of every 1460 years a year was added, and the sun
brought back to rise on the first day of the first month of Thoth in
the same place in the heavens, determined by the heliacal risings of
the brightest of the stars, Sothis or Sirius.

But they applied this knowledge, which must have been gathered from
long observations, mainly to practical purposes, such as the reform
of the calendar and the orientation of the pyramids, temples, and
tombs, rather than to mythology. The idea of a future life, which
took such a firm hold of all classes of ancient Egypt, is that to
which we are indebted for the preservation of these wonderful records
of the remote past. The theory was that man consisted of three parts;
the body or ordinary living man; the Ka or Double, which was a sort
of shadowy self which came out of the body and returned to it as in
dreams; and the soul, a still more subtle essence, which at death
went to the gods, was judged, and either rewarded for its merits by
living with them in heaven, or punished for its sins by being sent
to the nether world of torment. But this soul still retained such a
connection with its former body as to come down from time to time
to visit it; while the Ka or Double retained the old connection so
closely as to live habitually in it, only coming out to eat, drink,
and repeat the acts of its former life, but incapable of existing
without a physical basis in the old body or some likeness of it.
The same doctrine of the Double was applied to all animated and
even to inanimate objects, so that the shadowy man could come out
of his mummy, live in his own shadowy house, feed on shadowy food,
be surrounded by shadowy geese, oxen, and other objects of his
former possessions. Hence arose the extraordinary care in providing
a fitting tomb and preserving the mummy, or, failing the mummy,
which in course of time might decay, providing a portrait-statue or
painted likeness, which might give a _point d'appui_ for the Ka, and
a receptacle for the occasional visits of the soul. While these were
preserved, conscious personal life was continued beyond the grave,
and the good man who went to heaven was immortal. But if these were
destroyed and the physical basis perished, the Ka and soul were
left without a home, and either perished also, or were left to flit
like gibbering ghosts through the world of shadows without a local
habitation or a name. The origin of this theory as regards the Ka
is easily explained. It is, as Herbert Spencer has conclusively
shown, a natural inference from dreams, and is found everywhere, from
interments of the stone period down to the crude beliefs of existing
savages. It even survives among many civilized races in the belief
in ghosts, and the precautions taken to prevent the Ka's of dead men
from returning to haunt their former homes and annoy their posterity.
The origin of the third element or soul is not so clear. It may
either be a relic of the animism, which among savage races attributes
life to every object in nature, or a philosophical deduction of more
advanced periods, which sees an universal spirit underlying all
creation, and recognizing in man a spark of this spirit which is
indestructible, and either migrates into fresh forms, or into fresh
spheres of celestial or infernal regions, and is finally absorbed in
the great ocean from which it sprang.

It is singular that we find almost the precise form of this Egyptian
belief among many existing savage or semi-civilized men separated
by wide distances in different quarters of the world. The Negroes
of the Gold Coast believe in the same three entities, and they call
the soul which exists independently of the man, before his birth
and after his death, the Kra, a name which is almost identical with
the Egyptian Ka. The Navajos and other tribes of Red Indians have
precisely the same belief. It seems probable that as we find it in
the earliest Egyptian records, it was a development, evolved through
ages of growing civilization by a succession of learned priests,
from the primitive fetichism and fear of ghosts of rude ancestors;
and in the animal worship and other superstitions of later times we
find traces of these primitive beliefs still surviving among the
mass of the population. Be this as it may, this theory of a future
life was firmly rooted at the dawn of Egyptian history, and we are
indebted to it, and to the dryness of the climate, for the marvellous
preservation of records which give us such an intimate acquaintance
with the history, the religion, the literature, and the details of a
domestic and social life which is distant from our own by an interval
of more than 6000 years.

No other nation ever attained to such a vivid and practical belief
in a future existence as these ancient Egyptians. Taking merely the
material test of money, what an enormous capital must have been
expended in pyramids, tombs, and mummies; what a large proportion of
his income must every Egyptian of the upper classes have spent in the
preparations for a future life; how shadowy and dim does the idea
of immortality appear in comparison among the foremost races of the
present day!

The elevated moral code of the Todtenbuch is another proof of the
great antiquity of Egyptian civilization. Morality is a plant of slow
growth which has hardly an existence among rude and primitive tribes,
and is only slowly evolved either by contact with superior races or
by long ages of settled social order. How many centuries did it take
before the crude and ferocious ideas of the Hebrew tribes wandering
in the desert or warring with the Canaanites, were transformed into
the lofty and humane conceptions of the later prophets, of Hillel and
of Jesus! And yet we find all the best maxims of this later morality
already existing 5000 years before the Sermon on the Mount, in the
Sacred Book of ancient Egypt. The prayer of the soul pleading in the
day of judgment before Osiris and the Celestial Jury, which embodies
the idea of moral perfection entertained by the contemporaries of
Menes, contains the following articles--

"I have told no lies; committed no frauds; been good to widows; not
overtasked servants; not lazy or negligent; done nothing hateful to
the gods; been kind to slaves; promoted no strife; caused no one to
weep; committed no murder; stolen no offerings to the dead; made
no fraudulent gains; seized no lands wrongfully; not tampered with
weights and measures; not taken the milk from sucklings; not molested
sacred beasts or birds; not cut off or monopolized watercourses; have
sown joy and not sorrow; have given food to the hungry, drink to the
thirsty, and clothed the naked:

"I am pure, I am pure."

It is evident that such an ideal of life, not imported from foreign
sources, but the growth of an internal civilization, must be removed
by an enormous time from the cannibal feasts and human sacrifices of
the first glimpses of ideas of a future life in the stone ages.

It is to be observed also that the religion of ancient Egypt seems
to be of native growth. No trace is to be found, either in record
or tradition, of any importation from a foreign source, such as may
be seen in the Chaldæan legend of Oannes and other religions of
antiquity. On the contrary, all the Egyptian myths and traditions
ascribe the invention of religion, arts, and literature, to Thoth,
Osiris, Horus, and other native Egyptian gods.

The invention of the art of writing by hieroglyphics affords
strong confirmation of this view. It is evidently a development on
Egyptian soil, in prehistoric times, of the picture-writing of a
primitive period. The symbols are taken from Egypt and not from
foreign objects, and are essentially different from those of the
Chaldæan cuneiform, which is the only other form of writing which
might possibly compare in point of antiquity with the Egyptian
hieroglyphics and hieratic. These were certainly known prior to the
time of Menes, and they are the parents of the Phoenician, Hebrew,
Greek, and all more modern alphabets.

In all other ancient systems of writing, such as Chaldæan and
Chinese, we see the development from the original picture-writing
into conventional signs, syllabaries, and finally into ideographs and
phonetics; but in the case of Egyptian, when we first get sight of it
in the earliest dynasties, it is already fully formed, and undergoes
no essential changes during the next 5000 years. Even the hieratic,
or cursive hieroglyphic for ordinary purposes, was current in the Old
Empire, as is proved by the celebrated Prisse papyrus.

The Chaldæan religion is not so easily described as that of Egypt,
for it started from a lower level, and went through more changes
in the course of its evolution. In the case of Egypt, the earliest
records show us a highly intellectual and moral religion, with only
a few traces remaining of primitive barbarism in the form of animal
worship, and this religion remained substantially unchanged until the
conversion of the country to Christianity. The influences of Semitic
and other foreign conquests and intercourse left few traces, and
the only serious attempt at a radical religious revolution by the
heretic king who endeavoured to dethrone the old Egyptian gods, and
substitute a system more nearly monotheistic under the emblem of the
winged solar-disc, produced no permanent effect, and disappeared in
one or two generations. But in Chaldæa, Semitic influences prevailed
from a very early period, and when we reach the historical periods
of the great Babylonian and Assyrian empires, the kings, priests,
and nobles were Semite, and the Accadian had become a dead language,
which could only be read as we read Latin or Hebrew, by the aid of
translations and of grammars and dictionaries. Still its records
remained, as the Hebrew Bible does to us, and the sacred books of the
old religion and its fundamental ideas were only developed and not

In the background of this Accadian religion we seem to see a much
nearer approach than we do in that of Egypt to the primitive
superstitions peculiar to the Turanian race. To this day the religion
of the semi-barbarous races of that stock is essentially what is
called "Shamanism"; a fear of ghosts and goblins, a belief that the
universe swarms with myriads of spirits, mostly evil, and that the
only escape from them is by the aid of conjuror-priests, who know
magical rites and formulas which can baffle their malevolent designs.
These incantations, and the interpretation of omens and auguries,
occupy a great part of the oldest sacred books, and more than 100
tablets have been already recovered from the great work on Astronomy
and Astrology, compiled from them by the priests of Agade, for the
royal library of Sargon I. They are for the most part of the most
absurd and puerile character; as, for instance, "if a sheep give
birth to a lion there will be war "; "if a mare give birth to a dog
there will be disaster and famine"; "if a white dog enter a temple
its foundation will subsist; if a gray dog, the temple will lose its
possessions," and so on. This character of magicians and soothsayers
clung to the Chaldæan priests even down to a later period, and under
the Roman Empire Chaldæan rites were identified with sorcery and

But out of this jungle of silly superstitions the elements of an
enlightened and philosophical religion had evolved themselves in
early Accadian times, and were continually developed as Semitic
influences gradually fused themselves with Accadian, and formed
the composite races and religions which came to be known in later
times as Babylonian and Assyrian. The fundamental principle of this
religion was the same as that of Egypt, and of most of the great
religions of the East, viz. Pantheism. The great underlying First
Cause, or Spirit of the universe, was considered as identical with
his manifestations. The subtle metaphysical conceptions which still
survive in the Creed of St. Athanasius, were invoked to make the
incomprehensible comprehensible, by emanations, incarnations, and
personified attributes. These again were attached to the striking
phenomena of the universe, the sun, moon, and planets, the earth and
sky, the winds, rains, and thunder. And ever as more phenomena were
observed more gods were invented, who were thought to be symbols,
or partial personifications, of the one great Spirit, and not more
inconsistent with his unity than the "and yet there are not three
Gods, but one God" of Athanasius.

But the Chaldæan, like the Egyptian priests, did not stop at one
Trinity, but invented a whole hierarchy of Trinities, rising one
above the other to form the twelve great gods, while below them
were an indefinite number of minor gods and goddesses personifying
different aspects of natural phenomena, and taken for the most part
from astronomical myths of the sun, moon, planets, and seasons.
For the religion of the Chaldees was, even more than that of the
Egyptians, based on astronomy and astrology, as may be seen in their
national epic of Izdubar, which is simply a solar myth of the passage
of the sun through the twelve signs of the zodiac, the last chapter
but one being a representation of the passage through the sign of
Aquarius, in the fable of a universal deluge.

The first Accadian triad was composed of Anu, Mull-il, and Ea. Anu,
or Ana, is the word for heaven, and the god is described as the
"Lord of the starry heavens," and "the first-born, the oldest, the
Father of the gods." It is the same idea in fact as that expressed
by the Sanscrit Varuna, the Greek Ouranus. Mull-il, the next member
of this triad, is the god of the abyss and nether world, while
Ea is the god of the earth, seas, and rivers, "the Lord of the
Deep," and personifies the wise and beneficent side of the Divine
Intelligence, the maintainer of order and harmony, the friend of
man. Very early with the introduction of Semitic influences Mull-il
dropped out of his place in the Trinity, and was superseded by Bel,
who was conceived as being the son of Ea, the personification of
the active and combative energy which carries out the wise designs
of Ea by reducing the chaos to order, creating the sun and heavenly
bodies, and directing them in their courses, subduing evil spirits
and slaying monsters. His name simply signifies "the Lord," and
is applied to other inferior deities as a title of honour, as
Bel-Marduk, the Lord Marduk or Merodach, the patron god of Babylon.
In this capacity Bel is clearly associated with the midday sun, as
the emblem of a terrible yet beneficent power, the enemy of evil
spirits and dragons of darkness.

The next triad is more distinctly astronomical. It consists of Uruk
the moon, Ud the sun, and Mermer the god of the air, of rain and
tempest. These are the old Accadian names, but they are better known
by the Semitic translations of Sin, Shamash, and Raman. The next
group of gods is purely astronomical, consisting of the five planets,
Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn, personified as Nergal,
Nebo, Marduk, Ishtar, and Nindar. The number of gods was further
increased by introducing the primary polarity of sex, and assigning
a wife to each male deity. Thus Belit, or "the Lady," was the wife
of Bel, he representing the masculine element of Nature, strength
and courage; she the feminine principle of tenderness and maternity.
So also Nana the earth was the wife of Anu, the god of the strong
heavens; Annunit the moon the wife of Shamash the sun; and Ishtar
(Astarte, Astoreth, or Aphrodite), the planet Venus, the Goddess of
Love and Beauty, though a great goddess in her own right, was fabled
to have had Tammuz or Thammuz, one of the names of the sun, as a
husband, whence in later times came the myth of Nature mourning for
the sun-god, slain by the envious boar, winter.

But of these only Belit and Istar were admitted into the circle of
the twelve great gods, consisting of the two triads and the planets,
who held the foremost place in the Chaldæan and Assyrian mythology.
Of the minor gods, Meri-dug or Marduk, the Merodach of the Bible,
is the most remarkable, for he represents the idea which, some 5000
years later, became the fundamental one of the Christian religion;
that of a Son of God, "being of one substance with the Father,"
who acts the part of Mediator and friend of man. He is the son of
Ea and Damkina, _i.e._ of heaven and earth, and an emanation from
the Supreme Spirit considered in its attribute of benevolence. The
tablets are full of inscriptions on which he is represented as
applying to his father Ea for aid and advice to assist suffering
humanity, most commonly by teaching the spells which will drive away
the demons who are supposed to be the cause of all misfortunes and
illness. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that he and Istar,
the lovely goddess, were the favourite deities, and occupied much
the same position as Jesus and the Virgin Mary do in the Catholic
religion of the present day, while the other deities were local gods
attached to separate cities where their temples stood, and where they
occupied a position not unlike that of the patron saints and holy
relics of which almost every considerable town and cathedral boasted
in mediæval Christianity. Thus they rose and fell in rank with the
ascendancy or decline of their respective cities, just as Pthah and
Ammon did in Egypt according as the seat of empire was at Memphis
or Thebes. In one instance only in later times, in Assyria, which
had become exclusively Semitic, do we find the idea of one supreme
god, who was national and not local, and who overshadowed all other
gods, as Jahve in the later days of the Jewish monarchy, and in the
conception of the Hebrew prophets, did the gods of the surrounding
nations. Assur, the local god of the city of Assur, the first capital
of Assyria, became, with the growth of the Assyrian Empire, the one
supreme god, in whose name wars were undertaken, cities destroyed,
and captives massacred or mutilated. In fact the resemblance is very
close between Assur and the ferocious and vindictive Jahve of the
Israelites during the rude times of the Judges. They are both jealous
gods, delighting in the massacre and torture of prisoners, women and
children, and enjoining the extermination of nations who insult their
dignity by worshipping other gods. We almost seem to see, when we
read the records of Tiglath-Pileser and Sennacherib and the Books of
Judges and of Samuel, the origin of religious wars, and the spirit
of cold-blooded cruelty inspired by a gloomy fanaticism, which is so
characteristic of the Semitic nature, and which in later times led
to the propagation of Mahometanism by the sword. With the Hebrews
this conception of a cruel and vindictive Jahve was beaten out of
them by persecutions and sufferings, and that of a one merciful god
evolved from it, but Assyria went through no such schooling and
retained its arrogant prosperity down to the era of its disappearance
from history with the fall of Nineveh; but it is easy to see that
the course of events might have been different, and Monotheism might
have been evolved from the conception of Assur. These, however, are
speculations relating to a much later period than the primitive
religion with which we are principally concerned.

It is remarkable how many of our modern religious conceptions find an
almost exact counterpart in those of this immensely remote period.
Incarnations, emanations, atonements, personifications of Divine
attributes, are all there, and also the subtle metaphysical theories
by which the human intellect, striving to penetrate the mysteries of
the unknowable, endeavours to account for the existence of good and
evil, and to reconcile multiplicity of manifestation with unity of
essence. If Wordsworth sings of a

                          "sense sublime
    Of something far more deeply interposed,
    Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
    And the round ocean and the living air,
    And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
    A motion and a spirit that impels
    All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
    And rolls through all things,"

he conveys the fundamental idea which was at the bottom of these
earliest religions, and which has been perpetuated in the East
through their successors, Brahmanism and Buddhism--the idea of
Pantheism, or of an universe which is one with its First Cause,
and not a mechanical work called into existence from without by a
personal Creator.

An ancient priest of Egypt or Chaldæa might have written these verses
of the philosophic poet of the nineteenth century, only he would have
written Horus or Bel for the "setting sun"; Ea for the "round ocean";
Anur for the "sky," and so on. Side by side with these intellectual
and philosophical conceptions of these ancient religions, we find
the element of personal piety occupying a place which contrasts
wonderfully with the childish and superstitious idea of evil spirits,
magical spells, and omens. We read in the same collections of
tablets, of mares bringing forth dogs and women lions; and psalms,
which in their elevation of moral tone and intensity of personal
devotion might readily be mistaken for the Hebrew Psalms attributed
to David. There is a large collection of what are known as "the
Penitential Psalms," in which the Chaldæan penitent confesses his
sins, pleads ignorance, and sues for mercy, almost in the identical
words of the sweet singer of Israel. In one of these, headed "The
complaints of the repentant heart," we find such verses as these--

"I eat the food of wrath, and drink the waters of anguish."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Oh, my God, my transgressions are very great, very great my sins.

"The Lord in his wrath has overwhelmed me with confusion."

       *       *       *       *       *

"I lie on the ground, and none reaches a hand to me. I am silent and
in tears, and none takes me by the hand. I cry out, and there is none
who hears me."

       *       *       *       *       *

"My God, who knowest the unknown,[4] be merciful to me. My Goddess,
who knowest the unknown, be merciful."

  [4] Or, as some translators read, "Who knowest that I knew not,"
  _i.e._ that I sinned in ignorance.

       *       *       *       *       *

"God, who knowest the unknown, in the midst of the stormy waters take
me by the hand; my sins are seven times seven, forgive my sins!"

Another hymn is remarkable for its artistic construction. It is in
regular strophes, the penitent speaking in each five double lines,
to which the priest adds two, supporting his prayer. The whole is in
precisely the same style as the similar penitential psalms of the
Hebrew Bible, as will appear from the following quotation of one of
the strophes from the translation of Zimmern.

_Penitent._ "I, thy servant, full of sighs call to thee. Whoso is
beset with sin, his ardent supplication thou acceptest. If thou
lookest on a man with pity, that man liveth. Ruler of all, mistress
of mankind, merciful one to whom it is good to turn, who dost receive

_Priest._ "While his god and his goddess are wroth with him he calls
on thee. Thy countenance turn on him, take hold of his hand."

These hymns are remarkable, both as showing that the sentiments
of personal piety and contrition for sin as a thing hateful to
the Supreme Being, might be as intense in a polytheistic as in a
monotheistic religion; and as illustrating the immense interval
of time which must have elapsed before such sentiments could have
grown up from the rude beginnings of savage or semi-civilized
superstitions. The two oldest religions of the world, those of Egypt
and Chaldæa, tell the same story; that of the immense interval which
must have elapsed prior to the historical date of 5000 B.C. when
written records begin, to allow of such ideas and such a civilization
having grown up from such a state of things as we find prevailing
during the neolithic period, and still prevailing among the inferior
races of the world, who have remained isolated and unchanged in the
hunting or nomad condition.

I have dwelt at some length on the ancient religions, for nothing
tends more to open the mind, and break down the narrow barriers of
sectarian prejudice, than to see how the ideas which we have believed
to be the peculiar possession of our own religion, are in fact the
inevitable products of the evolution of the human race from barbarism
to civilization, and have appeared in substantially the same forms
in so many ages and countries. And surely, in these days, when faith
in direct inspiration has been so rudely shaken, it must be consoling
to many enlightened Christians to find that the fundamental articles
of their creed, trinities, emanations, incarnations, atonements, a
future life and day of judgment, are not the isolated conceptions of
a minority of the human race in recent times, but have been held from
a remote antiquity by all the nations which have taken a leading part
in civilization.

To all enlightened minds also, whatever may be their theological
creeds, it must be a cheering reflection that the fundamental axioms
of morality do not depend on the evidence that the Decalogue was
written on a stone by God's own finger, or that the Sermon on the
Mount is correctly reported, but on the evolution of the natural
instincts of the human mind. All advanced and civilized communities
have had their Decalogues and Sermons on the Mount, and it is
impossible for any dispassionate observer to read them without
feeling that in substance they are all identical, whether contained
in the Egyptian Todtenbuch, the Babylonian hymns, the Zoroastrian
Zendavesta, the sacred books of Brahmanism and Buddhism, the Maxims
of Confucius, the Doctrines of Plato and the Stoics, or the Christian

None are absolutely perfect and complete, and of some it may be
said that they contain precepts of the highest practical importance
which are either omitted or contradicted in the Christian formulas.
For instance, the virtue of diligence, and the injunction not to be
idle, in the Egyptian and Zoroastrian creeds contrast favourably
with the "take no thought for the morrow," and "trust to be fed like
the sparrows," of the Sermon on the Mount. But in this, and in all
these summaries of moral axioms, apparent differences arise not from
fundamental oppositions, but from truth having two sides, and passing
over readily into

    "The falsehood of extremes."

Even the injunction to "take no thought for the morrow," is only an
extreme way of stating that the active side of human life, strenuous
effort, self-denial, and foresight, must not be pushed so far as
to stifle all higher aspirations. Probably if the same concrete
case of conduct had been submitted to an Egyptian, a Babylonian or
Zoroastrian priest, and to the late Bishop of Peterborough, their
verdicts would not have been different. Such a wide extension does
the maxim take, "One touch of Nature makes the world akin," when we
educate ourselves up to the culture which gives some general idea of
how civilized man has everywhere felt and believed since the dawn of
history very much as we ourselves do at the close of the nineteenth



   Evidence of Antiquity--Pyramids and Temples--Arithmetic--Decimal
   and Duodecimal Scales--Astronomy--Geometry reached in
   Egypt at earliest Dates--Great Pyramid--Piazzi Smyth and
   Pyramid-Religion--Pyramids formerly Royal Tombs, but built
   on Scientific Plans--Exact Orientation on Meridian--Centre
   in 30° N. Latitude--Tunnel points to Pole--Possible use as
   an Observatory--Procter--Probably Astrological--Planetary
   Influences--Signs of the Zodiac--Mathematical Coincidences
   of Great Pyramid--Chaldæan Astronomy--Ziggurats--Tower
   of Babel--Different Orientation from Egyptian
   Pyramids--Astronomical Treatise from Library of Sargon
   I., 3800 B.C.--Eclipses and Phases of Venus--Measures of
   Time from Old Chaldæan--Moon and Sun--Found among so many
   distant Races--Implies Commerce and Intercourse--Art and
   Industry--Embankment of Menes--Sphynx--Industrial Arts--Fine
   Arts--Sculpture and Painting--The Oldest Art the best--Chaldæan
   Art--De Sarzec's Find at Sirgalla--Statues and Works of
   Art--Imply long use of Bronze--Whence came the Copper and
   Tin--Phoenician and Etruscan Commerce--Bronze known 200 years
   earlier--Same Alloy everywhere--Possible Sources of Supply--Age
   of Copper--Names of Copper and Tin--Domestic Animals--Horse--Ox
   and Ass--Agriculture--All proves Extreme Antiquity.

The conclusion drawn from the religions of Egypt and Chaldæa, as to
the existence of a very long period of advanced civilization prior
to the historical era, is fully confirmed by the state of the arts
and sciences at the commencement of the earliest records. A knowledge
of astronomy implies a long series of observations and a certain
amount of mathematical calculation. The construction of great works
of hydraulic engineering, and of such buildings as temples and
pyramids, also proves an advanced state of scientific knowledge. Such
a building, for instance, as the Great Pyramid must have required
a considerable acquaintance with geometry, and with the effects of
strains and pressures; and the same is true of the early temples and
ziggurats, or temple observatories of Chaldæa. There must have been
regular schools of astronomers and architects, and books treating on
scientific subjects, before such structures could have been possible.

The knowledge of science possessed by a nation affords a more
definite test of its antecedent civilization than its religion. It is
always possible to say that advanced religious ideas may have been
derived from some supernatural revelation, but in the case of the
exact sciences, such as arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy, this is
no longer possible, and their progress can be traced step by step by
the development of human reason. Thus there are savage races, like
the Australians at the present day, who cannot count beyond "one,
two, and a great number"; and some philologists tell us that traces
of this state can be discovered in the origin of civilized languages,
from the prevalence of dual forms which seem to have preceded those
of the plural.

The next stage is that of counting by the fingers, which gives rise
to a natural system of decimal notation, as shown by such words
as ten, which invariably means two hands; twenty, which is twice
ten, and so on. Many existing races, who are a little more advanced
than the Australians, use their fingers for counting, and can count
up to five or ten, and even the chimpanzee Sally could count to
five. But when we come to a duodecimal system we may feel certain
that a considerable advance has been made, and arithmetic has come
into existence as a science; for the number 12 has no natural basis
of support like 10, and can only have been adopted because it was
exactly divisible into whole numbers by 2, 3, 4, 6. The mere fact
therefore of the existence of a duodecimal system shows that the
nation which adopts it must have progressed a long way from the
primitive "one, two, a great many," and acquired ideas both as to the
relation of numbers, and a multitude of other things, such as the
division of the circle, of days, months, and years, of weights and
measures, and other matters, in which ready division into whole parts
without fractions had become desirable. And at the very first in
Egypt, Chaldæa, and among the Turanian races generally, we find this
duodecimal system firmly established. The circle has 360 degrees,
the year 360 days, the day 24 single or 12 double hours, and so on.
But from this point the journey is a long one to calculations which
imply a knowledge of geometry and mathematics, and observations of
celestial bodies which imply a long antecedent science of astronomy,
and accurate records of the motions of the sun, moon, and planets,
and of eclipses and other memorable events.

The earliest records, both of Egypt and Chaldæa, show that such an
advanced state of science had been reached at the first dawn of the
historical period, and we read of works on astronomy, geometry,
medicine, and other sciences, written, or compiled from older
treatises, by Egyptian kings of the old empire, and by Sargon I. of
Accade from older Accadian works. But the monuments prove still
more conclusively that such sciences must have been long known.
Especially the Great Pyramid of Cheops affords a very definite
proof of the progress which must have been made in geometrical,
mechanical, and astronomical science at the time of its erection. If
we were to believe Professor Piazzi Smyth, and the little knot of his
followers who have founded what may be called a Pyramid-religion,
this remarkable structure contains a revelation in stone for future
ages, of almost all the material scientific facts which have been
discovered since by 6000 years of painful research by the unaided
human intellect. Its designers must have known and recorded, with
an accuracy surpassing that of modern observation, such facts as
the dimensions of the earth, the distance of the sun, the ratio of
the area of a circle to its diameter, the precise determination
of latitude and of a true meridian line, and the establishment of
standards of measure taken, like the metre, from a definite division
of the earth's circumference. It is argued that such facts as these
could not have been discovered so accurately in the infancy of
science, and without the aid of the telescope, and therefore that
they must have been made known by revelation, and the Great Pyramid
is looked upon therefore as a sort of Bible in stone, which is, in
some not very intelligible way, to be taken as a confirmation of the
inspiration of the Hebrew Bible, and read as a sort of supplement to

This is of course absurd. A supernatural revelation to teach a
chosen people the worship of the one true God, is at any rate an
intelligible proposition, but scarcely that of such a revelation
to an idolatrous monarch and people, to teach details of abstruse
sciences, which in point of fact were not taught, for the monument
on which they were recorded was sealed up by a casing of polished
stone almost directly after it was built, and its contents were only
discovered by accident, long after the facts and figures which it
is supposed to teach had been discovered elsewhere by human reason.
The only thing approaching to a revelation of religious import which
Piazzi Smyth professed to have discovered in the Pyramid was a
prediction, which is now more than ten years overdue, of the advent
of the millennium in 1881.

But these extravagances have had the good effect of giving us
accurate measurements of nearly all the dimensions of the Great
Pyramid, and raising a great deal of discussion as to its aim and
origin. In the first place it is quite clear that its primary
object was to provide a royal tomb. A tomb of solid masonry with
a base larger than Lincoln's Inn Fields, and 130 feet higher than
St. Paul's, seems very incomprehensible to modern ideas, but there
can be no doubt as to the fact. When the interior is explored both
of this and other pyramids, nothing is found but one or two small
sepulchral chambers containing the stone coffins of a king or queen.
The Great Pyramid is not an exceptional monument, but one of a series
of some seventy pyramid-tombs of kings, beginning with earlier and
continued by later dynasties of the Old Empire. The reason of their
construction is obvious. It originates from the peculiar ideas, which
have been already pointed out, of the existence of a Ka or shadowy
double, and a still more ethereal soul or spirit, whose immortality
depended on the preservation of a material basis in the form of a
mummy or likeness of the deceased person, preferably no doubt by
the preservation of the mummy. This led to the enormous outlay, not
by kings only, but by private persons, on costly tombs, which, as
Herodotus says, were considered to be their permanent habitations.
With an absolute monarchy in which the divine right of kings was
strained so far that the monarch was considered as an actual god,
it was only natural that their tombs should far exceed those of
their richest subjects, and that unusual care should be taken to
prevent them from being desecrated in future ages by new and foreign
dynasties. Suppose a great and powerful monarch to have an unusually
long and prosperous reign, it is quite conceivable that he should
wish to have a tomb which should not only surpass those of his
predecessors, but any probable effort of his successors, and be an
unique monument defying the attacks not only of future generations,
but of time itself.

This seems, without doubt, to have been the primary motive of the
Great Pyramid, and in a lesser degree of all pyramids, sepulchral
mounds, and costly tombs. But the pyramids, and especially the Great
Pyramid, are not mere piles of masonry heaped together without plan
or design. On the contrary, they are all built on a settled plan,
which implies an acquaintance with the sciences of geometry and
astronomy, and which, in the case of the Great Pyramid, is carried to
an extent which shows a very advanced knowledge of those sciences,
and goes far to prove that it must have been used, during part of
the period of its construction, as a national observatory. The full
details of this plan are given by Procter in his work on the Great
Pyramid, and although the want of a more accurate knowledge of
Egyptology has led him into some erroneous speculations as to the age
and object of this pyramid, his authority is undoubted as to the
scientific facts and the astronomical and geometrical conclusions
which are to be drawn from them.

It appears that the first object of all pyramid builders was to
secure a correct orientation; that is, that the four sides should
face truly to the north, south, east, and west, or in other words
that a line drawn through the centre of the base parallel to
the sides should stand on a true meridian line. This would be a
comparatively easy task with modern instruments, but before the
invention of the telescope it must have required great nicety of
observation to obtain such extremely accurate results in all the
sides and successive layers of such an enormous building. There are
only two ways in which it could be attempted--one by observing the
shadow cast by a vertical gnomon when the sun was on the meridian,
the other by keeping a standard line constantly directed to the true
north pole of the heavens. In the case of the Great Pyramid another
object seems to have been in view which required the same class of
observations, viz. to place the centre of the base on the thirtieth
degree of north latitude, being the latitude in which the pole of
the heavens is exactly one-third of the way from the horizon to the

Both these objects have been attained with wonderful accuracy. The
orientation of the Great Pyramid is correct, and the centre of
its base corresponds with the thirtieth degree of north latitude
within a slight error which was inevitable, if, as is probable, the
Egyptian astronomers were unacquainted with the effect of atmospheric
refraction in raising the apparent above the true place of celestial
bodies, or had formed an insufficient estimate of its amount. The
centre of the base is 2328 yards south of the real thirtieth
parallel of latitude, which is 944 yards north of the position which
would have been deduced from the pole-star method, and 3459 yards
south of that from the shadow method, by astronomers ignorant of the
effect of refraction. The shadow method could never have been so
reliable as the polar method, and it is certain therefore _à priori_
that the latter must have been adopted either wholly or principally,
and this conclusion is confirmed by the internal construction of the
pyramid itself, which is shown by the subjoined vertical section.

  [Illustration: PYRAMID]

The tunnel A B C is bored for a distance of 350 feet underground
through the solid rock, and is inclined at an angle pointing
directly to what was then the pole-star, Alpha Draconis, at its
lower culmination. As there is no bright star at the true pole, its
position is ascertained by taking the point half-way between the
highest and lowest positions of the conspicuous star nearest to
it, and which therefore revolves in the smallest circle about it.
This star is not always the same on account of the precession of
the equinoxes, and Alpha Draconis supplied the place of the present
pole-star about 3440 B.C., and practically for several centuries
before and after that date.

Now the underground tunnel is bored exactly at the angle of 26°
17´ to the horizon, at which Alpha Draconis would shine down it at
its lower culmination when 3° 42´ from the pole; and the ascending
passage and grand gallery are inclined at the same angle in an
opposite direction, so that the image of the star reflected from
a plane mirror or from water at B, would be seen on the southern
meridian line by an observer in the grand gallery, while another
very conspicuous star in the southern hemisphere, Alpha Centauri,
would at that period shine directly down it. The passages therefore
would have the double effect, 1st, of enabling the builders to
orient the base and lower layers of the pyramid up to the king's
chamber in a perfectly true north and south line; 2nd, of making the
grand gallery the equivalent of an equatorially-mounted telescope
of a modern observatory, by which the transit of heavenly bodies
in a considerable section of the sky comprising the equatorial and
zodiacal regions, across the meridian, and therefore at their highest
elevations, could be observed by the naked eye with great accuracy.

Those who wish to study the evidence in detail should read Procter's
work on the _Problems of the Pyramids_, but for the present purpose
it may be sufficient to sum up the conclusions of that accomplished
astronomer. He says, "The sun's annual course round the celestial
sphere could be determined much more exactly than by any gnomon by
observations made from the great gallery. The moon's monthly path and
its changes could have been dealt with in the same effective way. The
geometric paths, and thence the true paths of the planets, could be
determined very accurately. The place of any visible star along the
zodiac could be most accurately determined."

If therefore the pyramid had only been completed up to the fiftieth
layer, which would leave the southern opening of the great gallery
uncovered, the object might have been safely assumed to be the
erection of a great national observatory. But this supposition is
negatived by the fact that the grand gallery must have been shut
up, and the building rendered useless for astronomical purposes in
a very short time, by the completion of the pyramid, which was then
covered over by a casing of polished stone, evidently with a view of
concealing all traces of the passages which led to the tomb. The only
possible solution seems to be that suggested by Procter, that the
object was astrological rather than astronomical, and that all those
minute precautions were taken in order to provide not only a secure
tomb but an accurate horoscope for the reigning monarch. Astrology
and astronomy were in fact closely identified in the ancient world,
and relics of the superstition still linger in the form of Zadkiel
almanacs. When the sun, moon, and five planets had been identified
as the celestial bodies possessing motion, and therefore, as it was
inferred, life, and had been converted into gods, nothing was more
natural than to suppose that they exercised an influence on human
affairs, and that their configuration affected the destinies both of
individuals and of nations. A superstitious people who saw auguries
in the flight of birds, the movements of animals, the rustling of
leaves, and in almost every natural occurrence, could not fail to be
impressed by the higher influences and omens of those majestic orbs,
which revolved in such mysterious courses through the stationary
stars of the host of heaven. Accordingly in the very earliest
traditions of the Accadians and Egyptians we find an astrological
significance attached to the first astronomical facts which were
observed and recorded. The week of seven days, which was doubtless
founded on the first attempts to measure time by the four phases of
the lunar month, became associated with the seven planets in the
remotest antiquity, and the names of their seven presiding gods, in
the same order and with the same meaning, have descended unchanged to
our own times, as will be shown more fully in a subsequent chapter.

Observations on the sun's annual course led to the fixing of it along
a zodiac of twelve signs, corresponding roughly to twelve lunar
months, and defined by constellations, or groups of stars, having a
fanciful resemblance to animals or deified heroes. Those zodiacal
signs are of immense antiquity and world-wide universality. We find
them in the earliest mythology of Chaldæa and Egypt, in the labours
of Hercules, in the traditions of a deluge associated with the sign
of Aquarius, and even, though in a somewhat altered form, in such
distant countries as China and Mexico. Probably they originated
in Chaldæa, where the oldest records and universal tradition show
the primitive Accadians to have been astronomers, who from time
immemorial had made observations on the heavenly bodies, and who
remained down to the Roman Empire the most celebrated astrologers,
though it is not quite clear whether Egyptian astronomy and astrology
were imported from Chaldæa or invented independently at an equally
remote period.

Even if we admit, however, Procter's suggestion that the pyramids had
an astrological origin in addition to their primary object as tombs,
it is difficult to understand how such enormous structures could have
been built. The Great Pyramid must have been built on a plan designed
from the first, and not by any haphazard process of adding a layer
each year according to the number of years the monarch happened to
reign. How could he foresee the exact number of years of an unusually
long life and reign, or what security could he have that, if he
died early, his successor would complete his pyramid in addition to
erecting one of almost equal magnitude for himself? How could three
successive kings have devoted such an amount of the nation's capital
and resources to the building of three such pyramids as those of
Cheops, Chephren, and Mycerinus, without provoking insurrections?

Herodotus has a piece of gossip, probably picked up from some
ignorant guides, which represents Cheops and Chephren as detested
tyrants, who shut up the temples of the gods, and confounds the
national hatred of the shepherd kings, who conquered Egypt some
2000 years later, with that of these pyramid-builders; but this
is confuted by the monuments, which show them as pious builders
or restorers of temples of the national gods in other localities,
as for instance at Bubastis, where the cartouche of Chephren was
lately found by M. Naville on an addition to the Temple of Isis. All
the records also of the fourth or pyramid-building dynasty, and of
the two next dynasties, show it to have been a period of peace and

The pyramids therefore must still remain a subject enveloped in
mystery, but enough is certain from the undoubted astronomical facts
disclosed in their construction to show the advanced state of this
science at this remote period. Nor is this all, for the dimensions
of the Great Pyramid, when stripped of the fanciful coincidences
and mystical theories of Piazzi Smyth, still show enough to prove a
wonderful knowledge of mathematics and geometry. The following may be
taken as undoubted facts from the most accurate measurements of their

1st. The triangular area of each of the four sloping sides equals the
square of the vertical height. This was mentioned by Herodotus, and
there can be no doubt that it was a real relation intended by the

2nd. The united length of the four sides of the square base bears to
the vertical height the same proportion as that of the circumference
of a circle to its radius. In other words it gives the ratio, which
under the symbol [Greek: pi] plays such an important part in all the
higher mathematics. There are other remarkable coincidences which
seem to show a still more wonderful advance in science, though they
are not quite so certain, as they depend on the assumption that the
builders took as their unit of measurement, a pyramid inch and sacred
cubit different from those in ordinary use, the former being equal
to the 500,000,000th part of the earth's diameter, and the latter
containing twenty-five of those inches, or about the 20,000,000th
part of that diameter. To arrive at such standards it is evident that
the priestly astronomers must have measured very accurately an arc
of the meridian or length of the line on the earth's surface which
just raised or lowered the pole of the heavens by 1°; and inferred
from it that the earth was a spherical body of given dimensions.
Those dimensions would not be quite accurate, for they must have
been ignorant of the compression of the earth at its poles and
protuberance at the equator, but the measurement of such an arc at
or near 30° of north latitude would give a close approximation to
the mean value of the earth's diameter. Procter thinks that from the
scientific knowledge which must have been possessed by the builders
of the pyramid, it is quite possible that they may have measured an
arc of the meridian with considerable accuracy, and calculated from
it the length of the earth's diameter, assuming it to be a perfect
sphere. And if so they may have intended to make the side of the
square base of the pyramid of a length which would bear in inches
some relation to the length of this diameter; for it is probable
that at this stage of the world's science, the mysterious or rather
magical value which was attached to certain words would attach
equally to the fundamental facts, figures, and important discoveries
of the growing sciences. It is quite probable, therefore, that the
sacred inch and cubit may have been invented, like the _metre_, from
an aliquot part of the earth's supposed diameter, so as to afford
an invariable standard. But there is no positive proof of this from
the pyramid itself, the dimensions of which may be expressed just as
well in the ordinary working cubit, and it must remain open to doubt
whether the coincidences prove the pyramid inch, or the inch was
invented to prove the coincidences.

Assuming, however, for the moment that these measures were really
used, some of the coincidences are very remarkable. The length of
each side of the square base is 365-1/4 of these sacred cubits, or
equal to the length of the year in days. The height is 5819 inches,
and the sun's distance from the earth, taken at 91,840,000 miles,
which is very nearly correct, is just 5819 thousand millions of
such inches. It has been thought, therefore, that this height was
intended to symbolize the sun's distance. But independently of the
fact that this distance could not have been known with any approach
to accuracy before the invention of the telescope, it is forgotten
that this height had been already determined by a totally unconnected
consideration, viz. the ratio of the diameter of a circle to its
circumference. The coincidence, therefore, of the sun's distance must
be purely accidental.

A still more startling coincidence has been found in the fact that
the two diagonals of the base contain 25,824 pyramid inches, or
almost exactly the number of years in the precessional period. This
also must be accidental, for the number of inches in the diagonals
follows as a matter of course from the sides being taken at 365-1/4
cubits, corresponding to the length of the year; and there can be no
connection between this and the precession of the equinoxes, which,
moreover, was unknown in the astronomy of the ancient world until it
was discovered in the time of the Ptolemies by Hipparchus.

But with all these doubtful coincidences, and the many others which
have been discovered by devotees of the pyramid religion, quite
enough remains to justify the conclusion that between 5000 and 6000
years ago there were astronomers, mathematicians, and architects in
Egypt, who had carried their respective sciences to a high degree of
perfection corresponding to that shown by their engineers and artists.

When we turn to Chaldæa we find similar evidence as to the advance
of science, and especially of astronomical science, in the earliest
historical times. Every important city had its temple, and attached
to its temple its ziggurat, which was a temple-observatory. The
ziggurat is in some respects the counterpart of the pyramid, being
a pyramidal structure built up in successive stages or platforms
superimposed on one another and narrowing as they rose, so as to
leave a small platform on the top, on which was a small shrine
or temple, and from which observations could be made. These
ziggurats being built entirely of bricks, mostly sun-burnt, have
crumbled into shapeless mounds of rubbish, but a fair idea of
their size and construction may be obtained from the descriptions
and pictures of them preserved in contemporary tablets and slabs,
especially from those of the great ziggurat of the seven spheres
or planets at Borsippa, a suburb of Babylon, which was rebuilt by
Nebuchadnezzar about 500 B.C., on the site of a much more ancient
ruined construction. This, which was the largest and most famous of
the ziggurats, became identified in after times with the tower of
Babel and the legend of the confusion of tongues, but it was in fact
an astronomical building in seven stages dedicated to the sun, moon,
and five planets, taken in the order of magnitude of their respective
orbits, and each distinguished by their respective colours. Thus the
lowest or largest platform was dedicated to Saturn, and coloured
black; the second to Jupiter was orange; the third to Mars red; the
fourth to the Sun golden; the fifth to Venus pale yellow; the sixth
to Mercury an azure blue, obtained by vitrifying the facing bricks;
and the seventh to the Moon was probably coated with plates of
silver. The height of this ziggurat was 150 feet, and standing as
it did on a level alluvial plain, it must have been a very imposing

  [Illustration: ZIGGURAT RESTORED (Perrot and Chipiez), THE TOWER

It may be affirmed of all these ziggurats that they were not tombs
like the Egyptian pyramids, but were erected exclusively for
astronomical and astrological purposes. The number of stages had
always reference to some religious or astronomical fact, as three to
symbolize the great triad; five for the five planets; or seven for
these and the sun and moon; the number of seven being never exceeded,
and the order the same as that adopted for the days of the week, viz.
according to the magnitudes of their respective orbits. They were
oriented with as much care as the pyramids, which is of itself a
proof that they were used as observatories, but with this difference,
that their angles instead of their faces were directed towards the
true north and south. To this rule there are only two exceptions,
probably of late date after Egyptian influences had been introduced,
but the original and national ziggurats invariably observe the
rule of pointing angles and not sides to the four cardinal points.
This is a remarkable fact as showing that the astronomies of Egypt
and Chaldæa were not borrowed one from the other, but evolved
independently in prehistoric times. An explanation of it has been
found in the fact recorded on a geographical tablet, that the
Accadians were accustomed to use the terms north, south, east, and
west to denote, not the real cardinal points, but countries which lay
to the N.W., S.E., and S.W. of them. It is inconceivable, however,
that such skilful astronomers should have supposed that the North
Pole was in the north-west, and a more probable explanation is to be
found in the meaning of the word ziggurat, which is holy mountain.

It was a cardinal point in their cosmogony that the heavens formed
a crystal vault, which revolved round an exceedingly high mountain
as an axis, and the ziggurats were miniature representations of this
sacred mountain of the gods. The early astronomers must have known
that this mountain could be nowhere but in the true north, as the
daily revolutions of the heavenly bodies took place round the North
Pole. It was natural, therefore, that they should direct the apex
or angle of a model of this mountain rather than its side to the
position in the true north occupied by the peak of the world's pivot.

Be this as it may, the fact that the ziggurats were carefully
oriented, and certainly used as observatories at the earliest dates
of Chaldæan history, is sufficient to prove that the priestly
astronomers must have already attained an advanced knowledge of
science, and kept an accurate record of long-continued observations.
This is fully confirmed by the astronomical and astrological treatise
compiled for the royal library of Sargon I., date 3800 B.C.,
which treats of eclipses, the phases of Venus, and other matters
implying a long previous series of accurate and refined astronomical

The most conclusive proof, however, of the antiquity of Chaldæan
science is afforded by the measures of time which were established
prior to the commencement of history, and have come down to the
present era in the days of the week and the signs of the zodiac.
There can be no doubt that the first attempts to measure time beyond
the single day and night, were lunar, and not solar. The phases of
the moon occur at short intervals, and are more easily discerned
and measured than those of the sun in its annual revolution. The
beginning and end of a solar year, and the solstices and equinoxes
are not marked by any decided natural phenomena, and it is only
by long-continued observations of the sun's path among the fixed
stars that any tolerably accurate number of days can be assigned
to the duration of the year and seasons. But the recurrence of new
and full moon, and more especially of the half-moons when dusk and
light are divided by a straight line, must have been noted by the
first shepherds who watched the sky at night, and have given rise to
the idea of the month, and its first approximate division into four
weeks of seven days each. Accordingly we find that in all primitive
languages and cosmogonies the moon takes its name from a root which
signifies "the measurer," while the sun is the bright or shining one.

A relic of this superior importance of the moon as the measurer of
time is found in the old Accadian mythology, in which the moon-god
is masculine and the sun-god feminine, while with the Semites and
other nations of a later and more advanced civilization, the sun is
the husband, and the moon his wife. For as observations multiplied
and science advanced, it would be found that the lunar month of
twenty-eight days was only an approximation, and that the solar
year and months defined by the sun's progress through the fixed
stars afforded a much more accurate chronometer. Thus we find the
importance of the moon and of lunar myths gradually superseded by
the sun, whose daily risings and settings, death in winter and
resurrection in spring, and other myths connected with its passage
through the signs of the solar zodiac, assume a preponderating
part in ancient religions. Traces, however, of the older period of
lunar science and lunar mythology still survived, especially in the
week of seven days, and the mysterious importance attached to the
number 7. This was doubtless aided by the discovery which could
not fail to be made with the earliest accurate observations of the
heavens, that there were seven moving bodies, the sun, moon, and
five planets, which revolved in settled courses, while all the other
stars remained fixed. Scientific astrology, as distinguished from a
mere superstitious regard of the flight of birds and other omens, had
its origin in this discovery. The first philosophers who pondered on
these celestial phenomena were certain to infer that motion implied
life, and in the case of such brilliant and remote bodies divine
life; and that as the sun and moon exerted such an obvious influence
on the seasons and other human affairs, so probably did the other
planets or the gods who presided over them. The names and order of
the days of the week, which have remained so similar among such a
number of ancient and modern nations, show how far these astrological
notions must have progressed when they assumed their present form,
for the order is a highly artificial one.

Why do we divide time into weeks of seven days, and call the days
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday,
and why are these names of special planets, or of the special gods
associated with them, identical, and occur in the same order among so
many different nations? For whether we say Thor's-day or Jove's-day,
and call it  "Thursday" or "Jeudi," the same god is meant, who is
identified with the same planet, and so for the others. It is quite
clear that the names of the seven days of the week were originally
taken from the seven planets--i.e. from the seven celestial bodies
which were observed by ancient astronomers to move, and, therefore,
be presumably endowed with life, while the rest of the host of
heaven remained stationary. These bodies are in order of apparent

    1. The Sun.
    2. The Moon.
    3. Jupiter.
    4. Venus.
    5. Mars.
    6. Saturn.
    7. Mercury

And this is the natural order in which we might have expected to find
them appropriated to the days of the week. But, obviously, this is
not the principle on which the days have been named; for, to give
a single instance, the nimble Mercury, the smallest of the visible
planets, comes next before the majestic Jupiter, the ruler of the
heavens and wielder of the thunderbolt.

Let us try another principle, that of classifying the planets in
importance, not by their size and splendour, but by the magnitude
of their orbits and length of their revolutions. This will give the
following order:--

    1. Saturn.
    2. Jupiter.
    3. Mars.
    4. The Sun (_i.e._ really the earth).
    5. Venus.
    6. Mercury.
    7. The Moon.

We are now on the track of the right solution, though there is still
apparently hopeless discord between this order and that of the days
of the week. The true solution is such an artificial one, that we
should never have discovered it if it had not been disclosed to us by
the clay tablets exhumed from ancient royal libraries in the temples
and palaces of Chaldæa. These tablets are extremely ancient, going
back in many cases to the times of the old Accadians who inhabited
Chaldæa prior to the advent of the Semites. Some of them, in fact,
are from the royal library of Sargon I., of Accade, whose date is
fixed by the best authorities at about 3800 B.C. These Accadians
were a civilized and literary people, well versed in astronomy, but
extremely superstitious, and addicted beyond measure to astrology.
Every city had its ziggurat, or observatory-tower, attached to its
temple, from which priests watched the heavens and calculated times
and seasons. To some of those ancient priests it occurred that the
planets must be gods watching over and influencing human events,
and that, as Mars was ruddy, he was probably the god of war; Venus,
the lovely evening star, the goddess of love; Jupiter, powerful;
Saturn, slow and malignant; and Mercury, quick and nimble. By degrees
the idea expanded, and it was thought that each planet exerted its
peculiar influence, not only on the days of the week, but on the
hours of the day; and the planet which presided over the first hour
of the day was thought to preside over the whole of that day. But
the day had been already divided into twenty-four hours, because the
earliest Chaldæans had adopted the duodecimal scale, and counted by
sixes, twelves, and sixties. Now, twenty-four is not divisible by
seven, and, therefore, the same planets do not recur in the same
order, to preside over the same hours of successive days. If Saturn
ruled the first hour, he would rule the twenty-second hour; and, if
we refer to the above list of the planets, ranged according to the
magnitude of their orbits, we shall find that the Sun would rule the
first hour of the succeeding day, and then in succession the Moon,
Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus, round to Saturn again, in the
precise order of our days of the week. This order is so artificial
that it cannot have been invented separately, and wherever we find
it we may feel certain that it has descended from the astrological
fancies of Accadian priestly astronomers at least 6000 years ago.

Now for the Sabbath. The same clay tablets, older by some 1000 years
than the accepted Biblical date for the creation of the world,
mention both the name and the institution. The "Sabbath" was the day
ruled over by the gloomy and malignant Saturn, the oldest of the
planetary gods, as shown by his wider orbit, but dimmed with age,
and morose at having been dethroned by his brilliant son, Jupiter.
It was unlucky in the extreme, therefore, to do any work, or begin
any undertaking, on the "Sabbath," or Saturday. Hence, long centuries
before Jewish Pharisees or English Puritans, rules of Sabbatarian
strictness were enforced at Babylon and Nineveh, which remind one of
the knight who

    "Hanged his cat on Monday
    For killing of a mouse on Sunday."

The king was not allowed to ride or walk on the Sabbath; and, even if
taken ill, had to wait till the following day before taking medicine.
This superstition as to the unluckiness of Saturn's day was common
to all ancient nations, including the Jews; but when the idea of a
local deity, one among many others, expanded, under the influence of
the later prophets and the exile, unto that of one universal God,
the ruler of the universe and special patron of his chosen people,
the compilers of the Old Testament dealt with the Sabbath as they
did with the Deluge, the Creation, and other myths borrowed from
the Chaldæans. That is to say, they revised them in a monotheistic
sense, wrote "God" for "gods," and gave them a religious, rather than
an astronomical or astrological, meaning. Thus the origin of the
Sabbath, as a day when no work was to be done, was transferred from
Saturn to Jehovah, and the reason assigned was that "in six days the
Lord created the heaven and the earth, and all that therein is, and
rested on the seventh day."

One more step only remains to bring us to our modern Sunday, and this
also, like the last, is to be attributed to a religious motive. The
early Christian Church wished to wean the masses from Paganism, and
very wisely, instead of attacking old-established usages in front,
turned their flank by assigning them to different days. Thus the
day of rest was shifted from Saturday to Sunday, which was made the
Christian Sabbath, and the name changed by the Latin races from the
day of the sun to the Lord's Day, "Dominica Dies," or "Dimanche."
It has remained Saturday, however, with the Jews, and it is quite
clear that it was on a Saturday, and not a Sunday, that Jesus walked
through the fields with his disciples, plucking ears of corn, and
saying, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."
It is equally clear that our modern Sabbatarians are much nearer in
spirit to the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked, and to the old Accadian
astrologers, than to the founder of Christianity.

It is encouraging, however, to those who believe in progress, to
observe how in this, as in many other cases, the course of evolution
makes for good. The absurd superstitions of Accadian astrologers led
to the establishment of one day of rest out of every seven days--an
institution which is in harmony with the requirements of human
nature, and which has been attended by most beneficial results. The
religious sanctions which attached themselves to this institution,
first, as the Hebrew Sabbath, and, secondly, as transformed into the
Christian Sunday, have been a powerful means of preserving this day
of rest through so many social and political revolutions. Let us,
therefore, not be too hasty in condemning everything which, on the
face of it, appears to be antiquated and absurd. Millions will enjoy
a holiday, get a breath of fresh air and glimpse of nature, or go to
church or chapel cleanly and respectable in behaviour and attire,
because there were Accadian Zadkiels 6000 years ago, who believed in
the maleficent influence of the planet Saturn.

When we find that these highly intricate and artificial calculations
of advanced astrological and astronomical lore existed at the dawn of
Chaldæan history, and are found in so many and such widely separated
races and regions, it is impossible to avoid two conclusions.

1st. That an immense time must have elapsed since the rude Accadian
Highlanders first settled in and reclaimed the alluvial valleys and
marshy deltas of the Tigris and Euphrates.

2nd. That the intercourse between remote regions, whether by land
or sea, and by commerce or otherwise, must have been much closer in
prehistoric times than has been generally supposed.

As in the days of the week, so in the festivals of the year, we
trace their first origin to astronomical observations. When nations
passed from the condition of savages, hunters, or nomads, into the
agricultural stage, and developed dense populations, cities, temples,
priests, and an organized society, we find the oldest traces of it
everywhere in the science of astronomy. They watched the phases
of the moon, counted the planets, followed the sun in its annual
course, marking it first by seasons, and, as science advanced, by
its progress through groups of fixed stars fancifully defined as
constellations. Everywhere the moon seems to have been taken as the
first standard for measuring time beyond the primary unit of day and
night. Its name very generally denotes the "Measurer" in primitive
languages, and it appears as the male, and the sun as female, in the
oldest mythologies--a distinction of sex which is still maintained
in modern German. This is natural, for the monthly changes of the
moon come much more frequently, and are more easily measured from
day to day, than the annual courses of the sun. But, as observations
accumulate and become more accurate, it is found that the sun, and
not the moon, regulates the seasons, and that the year repeats on
a larger scale the phenomenon presented by the day and night, of a
birth, growth, maturity, decay, and death of the sun, followed by a
resurrection or new birth, when the same cycle begins anew. Hence the
oldest civilized nations have taken from the two phenomena of the day
and year the same fundamental ideas and festivals. The ideas are
those of a miraculous birth, death, and resurrection, and of an upper
and lower world, the one of light and life, the other of darkness
and death, through which the sun-god and human souls have to pass to
emerge again into life. The festivals are those of the four great
divisions of the year: the winter solstice, when the aged sun sinks
into the tomb and rises again with a new birth; the spring equinox,
when he passes definitively out of the domain of winter into that of
summer; the summer solstice, when he is in full manhood, "rejoicing
like a giant to run his course," and withering up vegetation as with
the hot breath of a raging lion; and, finally, the autumnal equinox,
when he sinks once more into the wintry half of the year and fades
daily amidst storms and deluges to the tomb from which he started.
Of these festivals Christmas and Easter have survived to the present
day, and the last traces of the feast of the summer solstice are
still lingering in the remote parts of Scotland and Ireland in the
Bel fires, which, when I was young, were lighted on Midsummer night
on the highest hills of Orkney and Shetland. As a boy, I have rushed,
with my playmates, through the smoke of those bonfires without a
suspicion that we were repeating the homage paid to Baal in the
Valley of Hinnom.

When we turn from science to art and industry, the same conclusion
of immense antiquity is forcibly impressed on us. In Egypt the reign
of Menes, 5000 B.C., was signalized by a great engineering work,
which would have been a considerable achievement at the present day.
He built a great embankment, which still remains, by which the old
course of the Nile close to the Libyan hills was diverted, and a
site obtained for the new capital of Memphis on the west side of
the river, placing it between the city and any enemy from the east.
At the same time this dyke assisted in regulating the flow of the
inundation, and it may be compared for magnitude and utility to the
modern _barrage_ attempted by Linant Bey and carried out by Sir Colin
Moncrieff. Evidently such a work implies great engineering skill,
and great resources, and it prepares us for what we have seen a few
centuries later in the construction of the Great Pyramids.

Many of the most famous cities and temples also of Egypt date back
for their original foundation to a period prior to that of Menes.
There is indeed every reason to suppose that one of the most colossal
and remarkable monuments, the Sphynx, with the little temple of
granite and alabaster between its paws, is older than the accession
of Menes. A tablet discovered by Mariette informs us that Khufu, the
builder of the Great Pyramid, discovered this temple, which had been
buried in the sand, and restored it. If a building of such simplicity
and solidity of structure required repairs, it must have existed
for a long time and been lost sight of. It is almost certain also
that if such a colossal and celebrated monument as the Sphynx had
been constructed by any of the historical kings, it would have been
mentioned by Manetho, as for instance is that of the step-pyramid of
Sakkarah by the fourth king of the first dynasty, and of a temple
of Pthah at Memphis, and a treatise on medicine, by the king who
succeeded Menes. The name of the Sphynx also, "the great Hor," points
to the period of the Horsheshu, or ruler priests of Horus, prior to
the foundation of the empire by Menes, and to the time before Osiris
superseded Horus, as the favourite personification of the Solar God.

Be this as it may, there is abundant proof that at the dawn of
Egyptian history, some 7000 years ago, the arts of architecture,
engineering, irrigation, and agriculture had reached a high level
corresponding to that shown by the state of religion, science, and
letters. A little later the paintings on the tombs of the Old Empire
show that all the industrial arts, such as spinning, weaving, working
in wood and metals, rearing cattle, and a thousand others, which
are the furniture of an old civilized country, were just as well
understood and practised in Egypt 6000 or 7000 years ago as they are
at the present day.

This being the case, I must refer those who wish to pursue this
branch of the subject to professed works on Egyptology. For my
present purpose, if the oldest records of monuments prove the
existence of a long antecedent civilization, it is superfluous to
trace the proofs in detail through the course of later ages.

When we turn to the Fine Arts we find the same evidence. The
difficulty is not to trace a golden age up to rude beginnings, but
to explain the seeming paradox that the oldest art is the best. A
visit to the Museum of Boulak, where Mariette's collection of works
of the first six dynasties is deposited, will convince any one that
the statues, statuettes, wall-pictures, and other works of art of
the Ancient Empire from Memphis and its cemetery of Sakkarah, are
in point of conception and execution superior to those of a later
period. None of the later statues equal the tour _de force_ by which
the majestic portrait statue of Chephren, the builder of the second
great pyramid, has been chiselled out from a block of diorite, one of
the hardest stones known, and hardly assailable by the best modern
tools. Nor has portraiture in wood or stone ever surpassed the ease,
grace, and life-like expression of such statues as that known as the
Village Sheik, from its resemblance to the functionary who filled
that office 6000 years later in the village where the statue was
discovered; or those of the kneeling scribes, one handing in his
accounts, the other writing from dictation. And the pictures on the
walls of tombs, of houses, gardens, fishing and musical parties, and
animals and birds of all kinds, tame and wild, are equally remarkable
for their colouring and drawing, and for the vivacity and accuracy
with which attitudes and expressions are rendered. In short Egypt
begins where most modern countries seem to be ending, with a very
perfect school of realistic art.

  Museum, from Gizeh.--According to the chronological table of
  Mariette, this statue is over 6000 years old. From a photograph
  by Brugsch Bey.]

For it is remarkable that this first school of art of the Old Empire
is thoroughly naturalistic, and knows very little of the ideal or
supernatural. And the tombs tell the same story. The statues and
paintings represent natural objects and not theological conventions;
the tombs are fac-simile representations of the house in which the
deceased lived, with his mummy and those of his family, and pictures
of his oxen, geese, and other belongings, but no gods, and few of
those quotations from the Todtenbuch which are so universal in later
ages. It would seem that at this early period of Egyptian history
life was simple and cheerful, and both art and religion less fettered
by superstitions and conventions than they were when despotism and
priestcraft had been for centuries stereotyped institutions, and
originality of any sort was little better than heresy. War also and
warlike arms hardly appear on these earliest representations of
Egyptian life, and wars were probably confined to frontier skirmishes
with Bedouins and Libyans, such as we see commemorated on the tablet
of Snefura at Wady Magerah.

In Chaldæa the evidence for great antiquity is derived less from
architectural monuments and arts, and more from books, than in Egypt,
for the obvious reason that stone was wanting and clay abundant
in Mesopotamia. Where temples and palaces were built of sun-dried
bricks, they rapidly crumbled into mounds of rubbish, and nothing was
preserved but the baked clay tablets with cuneiform inscriptions. In
like manner sculpture and wall-painting never flourished in a country
devoid of stone, and the religious ideas of Chaldæa never took the
Egyptian form of the continuance of ordinary life after death by
the Ka or ghost requiring a house, a mummy, and representations
of belongings. The bas-relief and fringes sculptured on slabs of
alabaster brought home by Layard and others, belong mostly to the
later period of the Assyrian Empire.

Accordingly, the oldest works of art from Chaldæa consist mainly
of books and documents in the form of clay cylinders, and of gems,
amulets, and other small articles of precious stones or metals. But
the recent discovery of De Sarzec at Sirgalla shows that in the very
earliest period of Chaldæan history the arts stood at a level which
is fairly comparable to that of the Old Empire in Egypt. He found
in the ruins of the very ancient Temple of the Sun nine statues of
Patesi or priest-kings of Accadian race, who had ruled there prior to
the consolidation of Sumir and Accad into one empire by Sargon I.,
somewhere about 3800 B.C. The remarkable thing about these statues is
that they are of diorite, similar to that of the statue of Chephren,
which is believed to be only found in the peninsula of Sinai, and is
so hard that it must have taken excellent tools and great technical
skill to carve it. The statues are much of the same size and in the
same seated attitude as that of Chephren, and have the appearance of
belonging to the same epoch and school of art. This is confirmed
by the discovery along with the statues of a number of statuettes
and small objects of art which are also in an excellent style,
very similar to that of the Old Egyptian dynasty, and show great
proficiency both in taste and in technical execution.

The discovery of these diorite statues at such a very early date
both in Egypt and Chaldæa, raises a very interesting question as to
the tools by which such an intractable material could be so finely
wrought. Evidently these tools must have been of the very hardest
bronze, and the construction of such works as the dyke of Menes and
the Pyramids, shows that the art of masonry must have been long known
and extensively practised. But this again implies a large stock of
metals and long acquaintance with them since the close of the latest
stone period.

Perhaps there is no test which is more conclusive of the state of
prehistoric civilization and commerce than that which is afforded by
the general knowledge and use of metals. It is true that a knowledge
of some of the metals which are found in a native state, or in easily
fusible ores, may coexist with very primitive barbarism. Some even
of the cannibal tribes of Africa are well acquainted with iron, and
know how to smelt its ores and manufacture tools and weapons. Gold
also, which is so extensively found in the native state, could not
fail to be known from the earliest times; and in certain districts
pure copper presents itself as only a peculiar and malleable sort
of stone. But when we come to metals which require great knowledge
of mining to detect them in their ores, and to produce them in
large quantities; and to alloys, which require a long practice of
metallurgy to discover, and to mix in the proper proportions, the
case is different, and the stone period must be already far behind.
Still more is this the case when tools and weapons of such artificial
alloys are found in universal use in countries where Nature has
provided no metals, and where their presence can only be accounted
for by the existence of an international commerce with distant
metal-producing countries. Iron was no doubt known at a very early
period, but it was extremely scarce, and even as late as Homer's time
was so valuable that a lump of it constituted one of the principal
prizes at the funeral games of Patroclus. Nor is there any reason to
suppose that the art of making from it the best steel, which alone
could have competed with bronze in cutting granite and diorite, had
been discovered. It may be assumed, therefore, that bronze was the
material universally used for the finer tools and weapons by the
great civilized empires of Egypt and Chaldæa during the long interval
between the neolithic stone age and the later adoption of iron.

Evidently then, both the Egyptians and the Chaldæans must have been
well provided with bronze tools capable of hewing and polishing the
hardest rocks. Now bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. Copper is
a common metal, easily reduced from its ores, and not infrequently
occurring in a metallic state, as in the mines of Lake Superior,
where the North American Indians hammered out blocks of it from the
native metal. And we have proofs that the ancient Egyptians obtained
copper at a very early date from the mines of Wady Magerah in the
peninsula of Sinai, and probably also from Cyprus. But where did they
get their tin, without which there is no bronze? Tin is a metal
which is only found in a few localities, and in the form of a black
oxide which requires a considerable knowledge of metallurgy to detect
and to reduce. The only considerable sources of tin now known are
those of Cornwall, Malacca, Banca, and Australia. Of these, the last
was of course unknown to the ancient world, and it is hardly probable
that its supplies were obtained from such remote sources as those of
the extreme East. Not that it is at all impossible that it might have
been brought from Malacca by prehistoric sea-routes to India, and
thence to Egypt by the Red Sea and to Chaldæa by the Persian Gulf,
and this is the conjecture of one of the latest authorities in a very
interesting work just published on the _Dawn of Ancient Art_. But it
seems highly improbable that, if such routes had been established,
they should have been so completely abandoned as they certainly
were when the supply of tin for the Eastern world was brought from
the West. In fact, when we get the first authoritative information
as to the commerce in tin, about 1000 B.C., we find that it was
supplied mainly by Tyre, and came from the West beyond the Straits of
Gibraltar; and in the Greek Periplus, written in the first century,
it is distinctly stated that India was supplied with tin from Britain
by way of Alexandria and the Red Sea, which is hardly consistent
with the supposition that the tin of Malacca had been long known and

In the celebrated 27th chapter of Ezekiel, which describes the
commerce of Tyre when in the height of its glory, tin is only
mentioned once as being imported along with silver, iron, and lead
from Tarshish, _i.e._ from the emporium of Gades or Cadiz, to
which it had doubtless been brought from Cornwall. The only other
reference to tin is, that Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, _i.e._ the
Ionians, and tribes of Asia Minor in the mountainous districts to
the south of the Black Sea, traded with slaves and vessels of brass,
and if brass meant bronze, this would imply a knowledge of tin. The
only other considerable supply of tin which is certainly known came
from the Etruscans, who worked extensive tin mines in Northern Italy.
But the evidence of these does not go back farther than from 1000
to 1500 B.C., and it leaves untouched the question how Egypt and
Chaldæa had obtained large stocks of bronze, certainly long before
5000 B.C.; and how they kept up these stocks for certainly more than
2000 years before the Phoenicians appeared on the scene to supply
tin by maritime commerce. It is in some other direction that we
must look, for it is certain that neither Egypt nor Chaldæa had any
native sources of this metal. They must have imported, and that from
a distance, either the manufactured bronze, or the tin with which to
manufacture it themselves by alloying copper. The latter seems most
probable, for the Egyptians worked the copper mines of Sinai from
a very early date, and drew supplies of copper from Cyprus, which
could only have been made useful by alloying it with tin, while if
they imported all the immense quantity of bronze which they must have
used, in the manufactured state, the pure copper would have been
useless to them.

A remarkable fact is that the bronze found from the earliest
monuments downwards, throughout most of the ancient world, including
the dolmens, lake villages, and other prehistoric monuments in which
metal begins to appear, is almost entirely of uniform composition,
consisting of an alloy of 10 to 15 per cent. of tin to 85 or 90 per
cent. of copper. That is for tools and weapons where great hardness
was required, for objects of art and statuettes were often made of
pure copper, or with a smaller alloy of tin, showing that the latter
metal was too scarce and valuable to be wasted.[5] Evidently this
alloy must have been discovered in some locality where tin and copper
were both found, and trials could be made of the proportions which
gave the best result, and the secret must have been communicated
to other nations along with the tin which was necessary for the
manufacture. Where could the sources have been which supplied this
tin and this knowledge how to use it, to the two great civilized
nations of Egypt and Chaldæa, where we can say with certainty that
bronze was in common use prior to 5000 B.C.? If we exclude Britain
and the extreme East, there are only two localities in which
extensive remains of ancient workings for tin have been discovered;
one in Georgia on the slopes of the Caucasus, and the other on the
northern slope of the Hindoo-Kush in the neighbourhood of Bamian.
And the knowledge both of bronze and of other metals, such as iron
and gold, seems to have been universally diffused among the Turanian
races who were the primitive inhabitants of Northern Asia. How
could Egypt have got its tin even from the nearest known source?
Consider the length of the caravan route; the number of beasts of
burden required; the necessity for roads, depôts, and stations; the
mountain ranges, rivers, and deserts to be traversed; such a journey
is scarcely conceivable either through districts sparsely peopled and
without resources, or infested by savage tribes and robbers. And yet
if the tin did not come by land, it must have come for the greater
part of the way by water, floating down the Euphrates or Tigris, and
being shipped from Ur or Eridhu by way of the Persian Gulf and Red

  [5] This normal alloy does not seem to have been in general use
  in Egypt before the eighteenth dynasty, and the bronze of earlier
  periods contains less tin. But evidently a very hard alloy of
  copper must have been used from the earliest times, to chisel out
  statues of granite and diorite, and although tin was too scarce
  for common use, the tools for such purposes must have contained a
  considerable percentage of it.

It is difficult to conceive that such an international commerce
can have existed at such a remote period, and the difficulty is
increased by the fact that in Europe, where we can pretty well
trace the passage from the neolithic into the bronze period, bronze
does not seem to have been known until some 2000 or 3000 years
later, when the Phoenicians had migrated to the eastern shore of
the Mediterranean, and extended their commerce and navigation far
and wide over its northern coasts and islands; and at a still later
period, when the Etruscans had established themselves in Italy and
exported the products of the Tuscan tin mines by trade routes over
the Rhætian Alps. It is even doubtful whether there was any knowledge
of metals in Europe prior to the Phoenician period, as the Aryan
names for gold, silver, copper, tin, and iron are borrowed from
foreign sources; and have no common origin in any ancestral language
of the Aryan races before they were differentiated into Greek, Latin,
Teutonic, Celtic, and Slavic. Copper seems to have been the first
metal known, and there are traces of a copper age prior to that of
bronze in some of the older neolithic lake villages of Switzerland
and Italy, and in very old tombs and dolmens in Hungary, France,
and the south-west of Spain. But these copper implements are very
few and far between, they are evidently modelled in the prior forms
of polished stone, and must have been superseded after a very short
time by the invention or importation of bronze, which, as already
stated, implies a supply of tin, and a common knowledge of the art of
alloying copper with it in the same uniform proportion which gives
the best result.

But in the historic records and remains of Egypt and Chaldæa, which
go so much further back, bronze had evidently been long known when
history commences. The Accadian name for tin, _Id-Kasdaru_, is the
oldest known, and reappears in the Sanscrit _Kastira_, the Assyrian
_Kasugeteira_, and the Greek _Kassiteros_. The oldest known name for
copper is the Accadian _urud_ or _urudu_, which singularly enough
is preserved in the Basque _urraida_, while _as rauta_ it reappears
as the name for iron in Finnish, and as _ruda_ for metal generally
in Old Slavonic. In Semitic Babylonian, copper is _eru_, which
confirms the induction that the metal was unknown to the primitive
Semites, and adopted by them from the previously existing Accadian
civilization. We are thus driven back by every line of evidence
to the conclusion that Egypt and Chaldæa were in the full, bronze
age, and had left the stone period far behind them, long before the
primitive stocks of the more modern Aryan and Semitic populations of
Europe and Western Asia had emerged from the neolithic stage, and
for an unknown period before the definite date when their history
commences, certainly not less than 7000 years ago.

We are also driven to the conclusion that other nations, capable of
conducting extensive mining operations, must have been in existence
in the Caucasus, the Hindoo-Kush, the Altai, or other remote regions;
and that routes of international commerce must have been established
by which the scarce but indispensable tin could be transported from
these regions to the dense and civilized communities which had grown
up in the alluvial valleys and deltas of the Nile and the Euphrates.

It is very singular, however, that if such an intercourse existed,
the knowledge of other objects of what may be called the first
necessity, should have been so long limited to certain areas and
races. For instance, in the case of the domestic animals, the horse
was unknown in Egypt and Arabia till after the Hyksos conquest, when
in a short time it became common, and these countries supplied the
finest breeds and the greatest number of horses for exportation. On
the other hand, the horse must have been known at a very early period
in Chaldæa, for the tablet of Sargon I., B.C. 3800, talks of riding
in brazen chariots over rugged mountains. This makes it the more
singular that the horse should have remained so long unknown in Egypt
and Arabia, for it is such an eminently useful animal, both for peace
and war, that one would think it must have been introduced almost
from the very first moment when trading caravans arrived. And yet tin
must have arrived from regions where in all probability the horse had
been long domesticated before the time of Menes. The only explanation
I can see is, that the tin must have come by sea, but by what
maritime route could it have come prior to the rise of Phoenician
commerce, which was certainly not earlier than about 2000 B.C., or
some 3000 years after the date of Menes? Could it have come down the
Euphrates or Tigris and been exported from the great sea-ports of
Eridhu or Ur by way of the Persian Gulf and Red Sea?

This seems the more probable, as Eridhu was certainly an important
maritime port at the early period of Chaldæan civilization. The
diorite statues found at Tell-loh by M. de Sarzec are stated by an
inscription on them to have come from Sinai, and indeed they could
have come from no other locality, as this is the only known site
of the peculiar greenish-black basalt or diorite of which those
statues and the similar one of the Egyptian Chephren of the second
pyramid are made. And in this case the transport of such heavy
blocks for such a distance could only have been effected by sea.
There are traces also of the maritime commerce of Eridhu having
extended as far as India. Teak wood, which could only have come from
the Malabar coast, has been found in the ruins of Ur; and "Sindhu,"
which is Indian cloth or muslin, was known from the earliest times.
It seems not improbable, therefore, that Eridhu and Ur may have
played the part which was subsequently taken by Sidon and Tyre, in
the prehistoric stages of the civilizations both of Egypt and of
Chaldæa, and this is confirmed by the earliest traditions of the
primitive Accadians, which represent these cities on the Persian Gulf
as maritime ports, whose people were well acquainted with ships, as
we see in their version of the Deluge, which, instead of the Hebrew
ark of Noah, has a well-equipped ship with sails and a pilot, in the
legend of Xisuthros.

The instance of the horse is the more remarkable, as throughout a
great part of the stone period the wild horse was the commonest of
animals, and afforded the staple food of the savages whose remains
are found in all parts of Europe. At one station alone, at Solutre
in Burgundy, it is computed that the remains of more than 40,000
horses are found in the vast heap of _débris_ of a village of the
stone period. What became of these innumerable horses, and how is it
that the existence of the animal seems to have been so long unknown
to the great civilized races? It is singular that a similar problem
presents itself in America, where the ancestral tree of the horse is
most clearly traced through the Eocene and Miocene periods, and where
the animal existed in vast numbers both in the Northern and Southern
Continent, under conditions eminently favourable for its existence,
and yet it became so completely extinct that there was not even a
tradition of it remaining at the time of the Spanish conquest. On
the other hand, the ass seems to have been known from the earliest
times, both to the Egyptians and the Semites of Arabia and Syria, and
unknown to the Aryans, whose names for it are all borrowed from the
Semitic. Large herds of asses are enumerated among the possessions
of great Egyptian landowners as far back as the fifth and sixth
dynasties, and no doubt it had been the beast of burden in Egypt for
time immemorial.

It is in this respect only, viz. the introduction of the horse, that
we can discern any foreign importation calculated to materially
affect the native civilization of Egypt, during the immensely long
period of its existence. It had no doubt a great deal to do with
launching Egypt on a career of foreign wars and conquests under the
eighteenth dynasty, and so bringing it into closer contact with other
nations, and subjecting it to the vicissitudes of alternate triumphs
and disasters, now carrying the Egyptian arms to the Euphrates and
Tigris, and now bringing Assyrian and Persian conquerors to Thebes
and Memphis. But in the older ages of the First and Middle Empire,
the ox, the ass, the sheep, ducks and geese, and the dog, seem to
have been the principal domestic animals. Gazelles also were tamed
and fed in herds during the Old Empire, and the cat was domesticated
from an African species during the Middle Empire.

Agriculture was conducted both in Egypt and Chaldæa much as it is
in China at the present day, by a very perfect system of irrigation
depending on embankments and canals, and by a sort of garden
cultivation enabling a large population to live in a limited area.
The people also, both in Egypt and Chaldæa, seem to have been
singularly like the modern Chinese, patient industrious, submissive
to authority, unwarlike, practical, and prosaic. Everything,
therefore, conspires to prove that an enormous time must have elapsed
before the dawn of history 7000 years ago, to convert the aborigines
who left their rude stone implements in the sands and gravels of
these localities, into the civilized and populous communities which
we find existing there long before the reigns of Menes and of Sargon.



   Short Duration of Tradition--No Recollection of
   Stone Age--Celts taken for Thunderbolts--Stone Age
   in Egypt--Palæolithic Implements--Earliest Egyptian
   Traditions--Extinct Animals forgotten--Their Bones attributed
   to Giants--Chinese and American Traditions--Traditions
   of Origin of Man--Philosophical Myths--Cruder Myths from
   Stones, Trees, and Animals--Totems--Recent Events soon
   forgotten--Autochthonous Nations--Wide Diffusion of Prehistoric
   Myths--The Deluge--Importance of, as Test of Inspiration--More
   Definite than Legend of Creation--What the Account of the
   Deluge in Genesis really says--Date--Extent--Duration--All
   Life destroyed except Pairs preserved in the Ark--Such a
   Deluge impossible--Contradicted by Physical Science--By
   Geology--By Zoology--By Ethnology--By History--How Deluge
   Myths arise--Local Floods--Sea Shells on Mountains--Solar
   Myths--Deluge of Hasisadra--Noah's Deluge copied from
   it--Revised in a Monotheistic Sense at a comparatively Late
   Period--Conclusion--National View of Inspiration.

In passing from the historical period, in which we can appeal to
written records and monuments, into that of palæontology and geology,
where we have to rely on scientific facts and reasons, we have to
traverse an intermediate stage in which legends and traditions still
cast a dim and glimmering twilight. The first point to notice is that
this, like the twilight of tropical evenings, is extremely brief, and
fades almost at once into the darkness of night.

It is singular in how short a time all memory is lost of events
which are not recorded in some form of writing or inscription, and
depend solely on oral tradition. Thus it may be safely affirmed that
no nation which has passed into the metal age retains any distinct
recollection of that of polished stone, and _à fortiori_ none of
the palæolithic period, or of the origins of their own race or of
mankind. The proof of this is found in the fact that the stone axes
and arrow-heads which are found so abundantly in many countries
are everywhere taken for thunderbolts or fairy arrows shot down
from the skies. This belief was well-nigh universal throughout the
world; we find it in all the classical nations, in modern Europe,
in China, Japan, and India. Its antiquity is attested by the fact
that neolithic arrow-heads have been found attached as amulets in
necklaces from Egyptian and Etruscan tombs, and palæolithic celts
in the foundations of Chaldæan temples. In India many of the best
specimens of palæolithic implements were obtained from the gardens
of ryots, where they had been placed on posts, and offerings of
ghee duly made to them. Like so many old superstitions, this still
lingers in popular belief, and the common name for the finely-chipped
arrow-heads which are so plentifully scattered over the soil from
Scotland to Japan, is that of elf-bolts, supposed to have been shot
down from the skies by fairies or spirits.

Until the discoveries of Boucher-de-Perthes were confirmed only half
a century ago, this belief was not only that of simple peasants, but
of the learned men of all countries, and the volumes are innumerable
that have been written to explain how the "cerauni," or stone-celts,
taken to be thunderbolts, were formed in the air during storms. They
are already described by Pliny, and a Chinese Encyclopædia says that
"some of these lightning stones have the shape of a hatchet, others
of a knife, some are made like mallets. They are metals, stones, and
pebbles, which the fire of the thunder has metamorphosed by splitting
them suddenly and uniting inseparably different substances. On some
of them a kind of vitrification is distinctly to be observed."

The Chinese philosopher was evidently acquainted with real meteorites
and with the stone implements which were mistaken for them, and his
account is comparatively sober and rational. But the explanations
of the Christian fathers and mediæval philosophers, and even of
scientific writers down to a very recent period, are vastly more
mystical. A single specimen may suffice which is quoted by Tylor
in his _Early History of Mankind_. Tollius in 1649 figures some
ordinary palæolithic stone axes and hammers, and tells us that
"the naturalists say they are generated in the sky by a fulgurous
exhalation conglobed in a cloud by the circumfused humour, and are as
it were baked hard by intense heat, and the weapon becomes pointed
by the damp mixed with it flying from the dry part, and leaving the
other end denser, but the exhalations press it so hard that it breaks
out through the cloud and makes thunder and lightning."

But these attempts at scientific explanations were looked upon
with disfavour by theologians, the orthodox belief being that the
"cerauni" were the bolts by which Satan and his angels had been
driven from heaven into the fiery abyss. These speculations, however,
of later ages are of less importance for our present purpose than the
fact that in no single instance can anything like a real historical
tradition be found connecting the stone age with that of metals,
and giving a true account of even the latest forms of neolithic

This is the more remarkable in the case of Egypt, where historical
records go back so very far, for here, as we have seen in a previous
chapter, the relics of a stone age exist in considerable numbers.
There is every probability, therefore, that Egyptian civilization had
been developed, mainly on the spot, from the rude beginnings of a
palæolithic age, through the incipient civilization of the neolithic,
into the age of metals, and the advanced civilization which preceded
the consolidation of the empire under Menes and the commencement of
history.[6] And yet no tradition, with a pretence to be historical,
goes back farther than with a very dim and nickering light for
a few centuries before Menes, when the Horsheshu, or priests of
Horus, ruled independent cities, and small districts attached to
the temples. There are accounts of some passages of the Todtenbuch
being taken from old hymns written on goatskin in the time of these
Horsheshu, and of historical temples built on plans taken from older
temples and attributed to Thoth; and it seems probable also that the
Sphynx and its temple may date from the same period. But beyond these
few and vague instances, there is nothing to confirm the statement
attributed to Manetho, that, prior to Menes, historical kings had
reigned in Thebes for 1817 years, in Memphis for 1790 years, and in
This for 350 years; before whom came heroes and kings for 5813 years,
heroes for 1255 years, and gods for 13,900 years.

  [6] Stone implements were used for common purposes, especially
  for sickles to cut heads of corn, down to a comparatively late
  period, but as Spurrell observes in Petrie's, _Illahun Kahun and
  Gurob_, "these implements do not represent work of the stone age
  properly considered." They are not so much survivals of neolithic
  forms, as imitations, in the cheaper material of flint, of
  metallic forms for rough work and common use. The use of a flint
  knife for making the first incision on the corpse in preparing it
  for a mummy, is the only fact which looks like a survival from
  neolithic into historical times.

The disappearance of all historical recollections of a stone age
is paralleled by the oblivion of the origin of the remains of the
great extinct quaternary animals which were contemporary with man.
Everywhere we find the fossil bones of the elephant and rhinoceros
attributed to monsters and giants, both in the ancient and modern
worlds. St. Augustine denounces infidels who do not believe that
"men's bodies were formerly much greater than now," and quotes, in
proof of the assertion, that he had seen himself "so huge a molar
tooth of a man, that it would cut up into a hundred teeth of ordinary
men,"--doubtless the molar of a fossil elephant. Marcus Scaurus
brought to Rome from Joppa the bones of the monster who was to have
devoured Andromeda. The Chinese Encyclopædia, already referred to,
describes the "Fon-shu, an animal which dwells in the extreme cold
on the coast of the Northern Sea, which resembles a rat in shape,
but is as big as an elephant, and lives in dark caverns, ever
shunning the light. There is got from it an ivory as white as that
of an elephant;" evidently referring to the frozen mammoths found
in Siberia. Similar circumstances gave rise to the same myth in
South America, and the natives told Darwin that the skeletons of the
mastodon on the banks of the Parana were those of a huge burrowing
animal, like the bizchaca or prairie-rat.

Numerous similar instances are given by Tyler in his _Early History
of Mankind_, and among the whole multitude of this class of myths,
there is only one which has the least semblance of being derived
from actual tradition, viz. the bas-relief of the sacrifice of a
human victim by a Mexican priest, who wears a mask of an animal
with a trunk resembling an elephant or mastodon; and certain vague
traditions among some of the Red Indian tribes speak of an animal
with an arm protruding from its shoulder. It is more probable,
however, that these may have been derived from traditions brought
over from Asia like the Mexican Calendar, or be creations of the
fancy, like dragons and griffins, inspired by some idea of an
exaggerated tapir, than that, in this solitary instance, a Mexican
priest should have been actually a contemporary of the mammoth or

If fossil animals have thus given rise everywhere to legends of
giants, fossil shells have played the same part as regards legends
of a deluge. These are in many cases so abundant at high levels
that they could not fail to be observed, and, if observed, to be
attributed to the sea having once covered these levels, and inundated
all the earth except the highest peaks. The tradition of an universal
deluge is however so important that I reserve it for separate
consideration at the end of the present chapter.

If then all memory of a period so comparatively recent as that of the
neolithic stone age and of the latest extinct animals was completely
lost when the first dawn of history commences, it follows as a
matter of course that nothing like an historical tradition survives
anywhere of the immensely longer palæolithic period and of the origin
of man. Man in all ages has asked himself how he came here, and
has indulged in speculations as to his origin. These speculations
have taken a form corresponding very much to the stage of culture
and civilization to which he had attained. They are of almost
infinite variety, but may be classed generally under three heads.
Those nations which had attained a sufficient degree of culture to
personify first causes and the phenomena of Nature as gods, attribute
the creation of the world and of man to some one or more of these
gods; and as they advance further in philosophical reasonings,
embellish the myth with allegories embodying the problems of human
existence. Thus if Bel makes man out of clay, and moulds him with his
own blood; or Jehovah fashions him from dust, and breathes into his
nostrils the breath of life; in each case it is an obvious allegory
to explain the fact that man has a dual nature, animal and spiritual.

So the myth of the Garden of Eden, the Temptation by the Serpent,
the Trees of Knowledge and of Life, and the Fall of Adam, which we
see represented on a Babylonian cylinder as well as in the second
chapter of Genesis, is obviously an allegorical attempt to explain
what remains to this day the perplexing problem of the origin of
evil. These philosophical myths are, however, very various among
different nations. Thus the orthodox belief of 200,000,000 of Hindoos
is that mankind were created in castes, the Brahmins by an emanation
from Brahma's head, the warriors from his chest, the traders and
artisans from his legs, and the sudras or lowest caste from his feet;
obviously an _ex post facto_ myth to account for the institution of
castes, and to stamp it with divine authority.

But before reflection had risen to this level, and among the savage
and semi-barbarous people of the present day, we find much more
crude speculations, which, in the main, correspond with the kindred
creeds of Animism and Totemism. When life and magical powers were
attributed to inanimate objects, nothing was more natural than to
suppose that stones and trees might be converted into men and women,
and conversely men and women into trees and stones. Thus we find the
stone theory very widely diffused. Even with a people so far advanced
as the early Greeks, it meets us in the celebrated fable of Deucalion
and Pyrrha peopling the earth by throwing stones behind them, which
turned into men and women; and the same myth, of stones turning into
the first men, meets us at the present day in almost every reliable
myth of creation, brought home by missionaries and anthropologists
from Africa, America, and Polynesia. In some cases trees take the
place of stones, and transformations of men into both are among the
commonest occurrences. From Daphne into a laurel, and Lot's wife
into a pillar of salt, down to the Cornish maidens transformed into
a circle of stones for dancing on Sunday, we find everywhere that
wherever natural objects present any resemblance to the human figure,
such myths sprung up spontaneously in all ages and countries.

Another great school of creation-myths originates in the widespread
institution of the totem. It is a step in advance of the pure
fetich-worship of stocks and stones, to conceive of animals as having
thought and language, and being in fact men under a different form.
From this it is a short step to endowing them with magical attributes
and supernatural powers, adopting them as patrons of tribes and
families, and finally considering them as ancestors. Myths of this
kind are common among the lower races, especially in America, where
many of the tribes considered themselves as descendants of some
great bear or elk, or of some extremely wise fox or beaver, and held
this belief so firmly, that intermarriage among members of the same
totem was considered to be incestuous. The same system prevails
among most races at an equally low or lower stage of civilization,
as in Australia; and there are traces of its having existed among
old civilized nations at remote periods. Thus the animal-worship of
Egypt was probably a survival of the old faith in totems, differing
among different clans, which was so firmly rooted in the popular
traditions, that the priests had to accommodate their religious
conceptions to it, as the Christian fathers did with so many pagan
superstitions. The division of the twelve tribes of Israel seems also
to have been originally totemic, judging from the old saga in which
Jacob gives them his blessing, identifying Judah with a lion, Dan
with an adder, and so on. And even at the present day, the crest of
the Duke of Sutherland carries us back to the time when the wild-cat
was the badge, and very probably some great and fierce wild-cat the
ancestor, in popular belief, of the fighting clan Chattan.

But in all these various and discordant myths of the creation of man,
it is evident there is nothing which comes within a hundred miles of
being a possible historical reminiscence of anything that actually
occurred; and they must be relegated to the same place as the
corresponding myths of the creation of the animal world and of the
universe. They are neither more or less credible than the theories
that the earth is a great tortoise floating on the water, or the sky
a crystal dome with windows in it to let down the rain, and stars
hung from it like lamps to illuminate a tea-garden.

Even when we come to comparatively recent periods, and have to deal
with traditions, not of how races originated, but how they came into
the abodes where we find them, it is astonishing how little we can
depend on anything prior to written records. Most ancient nations
fancied themselves autochthonous, and took a pride in believing that
they sprang from the soil on which they lived. And this is also the
case with ruder races, unless where the migrations and conquests
recorded are of very recent date. Thus Ancient Egypt believed itself
to be autochthonous, and traced the origin of arts and sciences to
native gods. Chaldæa, according to Berosus, was inhabited from time
immemorial by a mixed multitude, and though Oannes brought letters
and arts from the shores of the Persian Gulf, he taught them to a
previously existing population. This is the more remarkable as the
name of Accad and the form of the oldest Accadian hieroglyphics make
it almost certain that they had migrated into Mesopotamia from the
highlands of Kurdistan or of Central Asia. The Athenians also and
other Greek tribes all claimed to be autochthonous, and their legends
of men springing from the stones of Deucalion, and from the dragon's
teeth of Cadmus, all point in the same direction. The great Aryan
races also have no trustworthy traditions of any ancient migrations
from Asia into Europe, or _vice versâ_, and their languages seem
to denote a common residence during the formation of the different
dialects in those regions of Northern Europe and Southern Russia in
which we find them living when we first catch sight of them. The only
exception to this is in the record in the Zendavesta of successive
migrations from the Pamer or Altai, down the Oxus and Jaxartes into
Bactria, and from thence into Persia. But this is not found in the
original portion of the Zendavesta, and only in later commentaries
on it, and is very probably a legend introduced to exemplify the
constant warfare between Ormuzd and Ahriman. The Hindoo Vedas contain
no history, and the inference that the Aryans lived in the Punjaub
when the Rig-Veda was composed, and conquered Hindostan later, is
derived from the references contained in the oldest hymns which point
to that conclusion, rather than from any definite historical record.
Rome again had no tradition of Umbrian pile-dwellers descending from
neolithic Switzerland, expelling Iberians, and being themselves
expelled by Etruscans.

It is singular, considering the almost total absence of genuine
historical traditions, how certain myths and usages have been
universally diffused, and come down to the present day from a very
remote antiquity. The identity of the days of the week, based on a
highly artificial and complicated calculation of Chaldæan astrology,
has been already referred to as a striking instance of the wide
diffusion of astronomical myths in very early times. Many of the
most popular nursery tales also, such as Jack the Giant-killer, Jack
and the Beanstalk, and Cinderella, are found almost in the same form
in the most remote regions and among the most various races, both
civilized and uncivilized, and many of them are obviously derived
from the oldest and simplest forms of solar myths.

I come now to the tradition of a Deluge, which is most important
both on account of its prevalence among a number of different races
and nations, often remote from one another, and because it affords
the most immediate and crucial test of the claim of the Bible to
be taken as a literally true and inspired account, not only of
matters of moral and religious import, but of all the historical and
scientific facts recorded in its pages. The Confession of Faith of an
able and excellent man, the late Mr. Spurgeon, and adopted by fifteen
or twenty other Nonconformist ministers, says--

"We avow our firmest belief in the verbal inspiration of all Holy
Scripture as originally given. To us the Bible does not merely
_contain_ the Word of God, but _is_ the Word of God."

Following this example, thirty-eight clergymen of the Church of
England have put forward a similar Declaration. They say--

"We solemnly profess and declare our unfeigned belief in all the
Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as handed down
to us by the undivided Church in the original languages. We believe
that they are inspired by the Holy Ghost; that they are what they
profess to be; that they mean what they say; and that they declare
incontrovertibly the actual historical truth in all records, both
of past events, and of the delivery of predictions to be thereafter

It is perfectly obvious that for those who accept these Confessions
of Faith, not only the so-called "higher Biblical Criticism," but
all the discoveries of modern science, from Galileo and Newton down
to Lyall and Darwin, are simple delusions. There can be no question
that if the words of the Old Testament are "literally inspired," and
"mean what they say," they oppose an inflexible _non possumus_ to all
the most certain discoveries of Astronomy, Geology, Zoology, Biology,
Egyptology, Assyriology, and other modern sciences. Now the account
of the Deluge in Genesis affords the readiest means of bringing this
theory to the test, and proving or disproving it, by the process
which Euclid calls the _reductio ad absurdum_.

Not that other narratives, such as those of the Creation in Genesis,
do not contain as startling contradictions, if we keep in mind the
assertion of the orthodox thirty-eight, that the inspired words
of the Old Testament "mean what they say," _i.e._ that they mean
what they were necessarily taken to mean by contemporaries and long
subsequent generations; for instance, that if the inspired writer
says days defined by a morning and an evening, he means natural
days, and not indefinitely long periods. But this is just what
the defenders of orthodoxy always ignore, and all the attempts at
reconciling the accounts of Creation in Genesis with the conclusions
of science turn on the assumption that the inspired writers do
_not_ "mean what they say," but something entirely different. If
they say "days," they mean geological periods of which no reader
had the remotest conception until the present century. If they
say that light was made before the sun, and the earth before the
sun, moon, and stars, they really mean, in some unexplained way,
to indicate Newton's law of gravity, Laplace's nebular theory, and
the discoveries of the spectroscope. By using words therefore in a
non-natural sense, and surrounding them with a halo of mystical and
misty eloquence, they evade bringing the pleadings to a distinct and
definite issue such as the popular mind can at once understand. But
in the case of the Deluge no such evasion is possible. The narrative
is a specific statement of facts alleged to have occurred at a
comparatively recent date, not nearly so remote as the historical
records of Egypt and Chaldæa, and which beyond all question must be
either true or false. But if false, there is an end of any attempt to
consider the whole scientific and historical portions of the Bible
as written by Divine inspiration; for the narrative is not one of
trivial importance, but of what is really a second creation of all
life, including man, from a single or very few pairs miraculously
preserved and radiating from a single centre.[7]

  [7] The following arguments so closely resemble those of
  Professor Huxley in a recent Article in the _Nineteenth Century_,
  that it may be well to state that they were written before I
  had seen that article. I insert them not as attempting to vie
  with the greatest living master of English prose, but as showing
  that the same conclusions inevitably force themselves on all who
  understand the first rudiments of Modern Science.

Consider then what the narrative of the Deluge really tells
us. First, as to date. The Hebrew Bible, from which our own is
translated, gives the names of the ten generations from Noah to
Abraham, with the precise dates of each birth and death, making the
total number of years 297 from the Flood to Abraham. For Abraham,
assuming him to be historical, we have a synchronism which fixes the
date within narrow limits. He was a contemporary of Chedorlaomer,
or Khuder-Lagomar, known to us from Chaldæan inscriptions as one of
the last of the Elamite dynasty, who subverted the old dynasty in
the year 2280 B.C., and who reigned for 160 years. Abraham's date
is, therefore, approximately about 2200 B.C., and that of the Deluge
about 2500 B.C. The Septuagint version assigns 700 years more than
that of the Hebrew Bible for the interval between Abraham and Noah;
but this is only done by increasing the already fabulous age of
the patriarchs. Accepting, however, this Septuagint version, though
it has been constantly repudiated by the Jews themselves, and by
nearly all Christian authorities from St. Jerome down to Archbishop
Usher, the date of the Deluge cannot be carried further back than
to about 3000 B.C., a date at least 1000, and more probably 2000,
years later than that shown by the records and monuments of Egypt
and Chaldæa, when great empires, populous cities, and a high degree
of civilization already existed in those countries. The statement of
the Bible, therefore, is that, at a date not earlier than 2200 B.C.,
or at the very earliest 3000 B.C., a deluge occurred which "covered
all the high hills that were under the whole heaven," and prevailed
upon the earth for 150 days before it began to subside; that seven
months and sixteen days elapsed before the tops of the mountains were
first seen; and that only after twelve months and ten days from the
commencement of the flood was the earth sufficiently dried to allow
Noah and the inmates of the Ark to leave it.

Naturally all life was destroyed, with the exception of Noah and
those who were with him in the Ark, consisting of his wife, his three
sons and their wives, and pairs, male and female, of all beasts,
fowls, and creeping things; or, as another account has it, seven
pairs of clean beasts and of birds, and single pairs of unclean
beasts and creeping things. The statement is absolutely specific:
"All flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of
cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth
upon earth, and every man." And again: "Every living substance was
destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both men and
cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven, and they
were destroyed from the earth; and Noah only remained alive, and they
that were with him in the Ark." And finally, when the Ark was opened,
"God spake unto Noah and said, Go forth of the Ark, thou and thy
wife, and thy sons and sons' wives with thee. Bring forth with thee
every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl and
of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth,
that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and
multiply upon the earth."

It is evident that such a narrative cannot be tortured into any
reminiscence of a partial and local inundation. It might possibly be
taken for a poetical exaggeration of some vague myth or tradition
of a local flood, if it were found in the legends of some early
races, or semi-civilized tribes. But such an interpretation is
impossible when the narrative is taken, as orthodox believers take
it, as a Divinely-inspired and literally true account contained in
one of the most important chapters in the history of the relations
of man to God. In this view it is a still more signal instance than
the fall of Adam, of God's displeasure with sin and its disastrous
consequences, of his justice and mercy in sparing the innocent and
rewarding righteousness; it establishes a new departure for the human
race, a new distinction between the chosen people of Israel and the
accursed Canaanites, based not on Cain's murder of Abel, but on Ham's
irreverence towards his father; and it introduces a covenant between
God and Noah, which continued through Abraham and David, and became
the basis of Jewish nationality and of the Christian dispensation. If
in such a narrative there are manifest errors, the theory of Divine
inspiration obviously breaks down, and the book which contains it
must be amenable to the ordinary rules of historical criticism.

Now, that no such Deluge as that described in Genesis ever took place
is as certain as that the earth moves about the sun. Physical science
tells us that it never _could_ have occurred; geology, zoology,
ethnology, and history all tell us alike that it never _did_ occur.
Physical science tells us two things about water: that it cannot be
made out of nothing, and that it always finds its level. In order to
cover the highest mountains on the earth and remain stationary at
that level for months, we must suppose an uniform shell of water of
six miles in depth to be added to the existing water of the earth.
Even if we take Ararat as the highest mountain covered, the shell
must have been three miles in thickness over the whole globe. Where
did this water come from, and where did it go to? Rain is simply
water raised from the seas by evaporation, and is returned to them
by rivers. It does not add a single drop of water to that already
existing on the earth and in its atmosphere. The heaviest rains do
nothing but swell rivers and inundate the adjacent flat lands to a
depth of a few feet, which rapidly subsides. The only escape from
this law of nature is to suppose some sudden convulsion, such as a
change in the position of the earth's axis of rotation, by which
the existing waters of the earth were drained in some latitudes and
heaped up in others. But any such local accumulation of water implies
a sudden and violent rush to heap it up in forty days, and an equally
violent rush to run it down to its old level when the disturbing
cause ceased, as it must have done in 150 days. Such a disturbance
in recent times is not only inconsistent with all known facts, but
with the positive statement of the narrative that the whole earth was
covered, and that the Ark floated quietly on the waters, drifting
slowly northwards, until it grounded on Ararat. The only other
alternative is to suppose a subsidence of the land below the level
of the sea. But a subsidence which carried a whole continent 15,000,
or even 1500 feet down, followed by an elevation which brought it
back to the old level, both accomplished within the space of twelve
months, is even more impossible than a cataclysmal deluge of water.
Such movements are now, and have been throughout all the geological
periods, excessively slow, and certainly not exceeding, at the very
outside, a few feet in a century.

And, if physical science shows that no such Deluge as that described
in Genesis could have occurred, geology is equally positive that it
never did occur. The drift and boulders which cover a great part
of Europe and North America are beyond all doubt glacial, and not
diluvial. They are strictly limited by the extension of glaciers and
ice-sheets, and of the streams flowing from them. The high-level
gravels in which human remains are found in conjunction with those
of extinct animals, are the result of the erosion of valleys by
rivers. They are not marine, they are interstratified with beds of
sand and silt, containing often delicate fluviatile shells, which
were deposited when the stream ran tranquilly, as the coarser gravels
were when it ran with a stronger torrent. And the gravels of adjacent
valleys, even when separated by a low water-shed, are not intermixed,
but each composed of the _débris_ of its own system of drainage, by
which small rivers like the Somme and the Avon have, in the course
of ages, scooped out their present valleys to an extent of more than
100 feet in depth and two miles in width. Masses of loose sand,
volcanic ashes, and other incoherent materials of tertiary formation
remain on the surface, which must have been swept away by anything
resembling a diluvial wave. And, above all, Egypt and other flat
countries adjoining the sea, such as the deltas of the Euphrates,
the Ganges, and the Mississippi, which must have been submerged by
a slight elevation of the sea or subsidence of the land, show by
borings, carried in some cases to the depth of 100 feet and upwards,
nothing but an accumulation of such tranquil deposits as are now
going on, continued for hundreds of centuries, and uninterrupted by
anything like a marine or diluvial deposit.

Zoology is even more emphatic than geology in showing the
impossibility of accepting the narrative of the Deluge as a true
representation of actual events. Whoever wrote it must have had ideas
of science as infantile as those of the children who are amused by
a toy ark in the nursery. His range of vision could hardly have
extended beyond the confines of his own country. And, if a _reductio
ad absurdum_ were needed of the fallacies to which reconcilers are
driven, it would be afforded by Sir J. Dawson's comparison of the
Ark to an American cattle-steamer. Recollect that the date assigned
to the Deluge affords no time for the development of new species and
races, since every "living substance was destroyed that was upon the
face of the ground," except the pairs preserved in the Ark. It is a
question, therefore, not of one pair of bears, but of many--polar,
grizzly, brown, and all the varieties, down to the pigmy bear of
Sumatra. So of cattle: there must have been not only pairs of the
wild and domestic species of Europe, but of the gaur of India, the
Brahmin bull, the yak, the musk-ox, and of all the many species of
buffaloes and bisons. If we take the larger animals only, there
must have been several pairs of elephants, rhinoceroses, camels,
horses, oxen, buffaloes, elk, deer and antelopes, apes, zebras, and
innumerable others of the herbivora, to say nothing of lions, tigers,
and other carnivora. Let any one calculate the cubic space which such
a collection would require for a year's voyage under hatches, and
he will see at once the absurdity of supposing that they could have
been stowed away in the Ark. And this is only the beginning of the
difficulty, for all the smaller animals, all birds, and all creeping
things have also to be accommodated, and to live together for a
year under conditions of temperature and otherwise which, if suited
for some, must inevitably have been fatal for others. How did polar
bears, lemmings, and snowy owls live in a temperature suited for
monkeys and humming-birds?

Then there is the crowning difficulty of the food. Go to the
Zoological Gardens, and inquire as to the quantity and bulk of a
year's rations for elephants, giraffes, and lions, or multiply by
365 the daily allowance of hay and oats for horses, and of grass of
green food for bullocks, and he will soon find that the bulk required
for food is far greater than that of the animals. And what did the
birds and creeping things feed upon? Were there rats and mice for the
owls, gnats for the swallows, worms and butterflies for the thrushes,
and generally a supply of insects for the lizards, toads, and other
insectivora, whether birds, reptiles, or mammals? And of the humbler
forms which live on microscopic animals and on each other, were they
also included in the destruction of "every living substance," and was
the earth repeopled with them from the single centre of Ararat?

Here also zoology has a decisive word to say. The earth could not
have been repeopled, within any recent geological time, from any
single centre, for in point of fact it is divided into distinct
zoological provinces. The fauna of Australia, for instance, is
totally different from that of Europe, Asia, and America. How did the
kangaroo get there, if he is descended from a pair preserved in the
Ark? Did he perchance jump at one bound from Ararat to the Antipodes?

Ethnology again takes up a limited branch of the same subject, but
one which is more immediately interesting to us--that of the variety
of human races. The narrative of Genesis states positively that
"every man in whose nostrils was the breath of life" was destroyed
by the Flood, except those who were saved in the Ark, and that "the
whole earth was overspread" of the three sons of Noah--Shem, Ham,
and Japheth. That is, it asserts distinctly that all the varieties
of the human race have descended from one common ancestor, Noah,
who lived not more than 5000 years ago. Consider the vast variety
and diversity of human races existing now, and in some of the most
typical instances shown by Egyptian and Chaldæan monuments to have
existed before Noah was born--the black and woolly-haired Negroes,
the yellow Mongolians, the Australians, the Negritos, the Hottentots,
the pygmies of Stanley's African forest, the Esquimaux, the American
Red Indians, and an immense number of others, differing fundamentally
from one another in colour, stature, language, and almost every
trait, physical and moral. To suppose these to have all descended
from a single pair, Noah and his wife, and to have "spread over the
whole earth" from Ararat, since 3000 years B.C., is simply absurd. No
man of good faith can honestly say that he believes it to be true;
and, if not true, what becomes of inspiration?

If anything were wanting to complete the demonstration, it would be
furnished by history. We have perfectly authentic historical records,
confirmed by monuments, extending in Egypt to a date certainly 2000
years older than that assigned for Noah's Deluge; and similar records
in Chaldæa probably going back as far.

In none of these is there any mention of an universal deluge as
an historical event actually occurring within the period of time
embraced by those records. The only reference to such a deluge is
contained in one chapter of a Chaldæan epic poem based on a solar
myth, and placed in an immense and fabulous antiquity. In Egypt the
case is, if possible, even stronger, for here the configuration
of the Nile valley is such that anything approaching an universal
deluge must have destroyed all traces of civilization, and buried
the country thousands of feet under a deep ocean. Even a very great
local inundation must have spread devastation far and wide and been
a memorable event in all subsequent annals. When remarkable natural
events, such as earthquakes, did occur, they are mentioned in the
annals of the reigning king, but no mention is made of any deluge.
On the contrary, all the records and monuments confirm the statement
made by the priests of Heliopolis to Herodotus when they showed
him the statues of the 360 successive high priests who had all been
"mortal men, sons of mortal men," that during this long period there
had been no change in the average duration of human life, and no
departure from the ordinary course of nature.

When this historical evidence is added to that of geology, which
shows that nothing resembling a deluge could have occurred in the
valleys of the Nile or Euphrates without leaving unmistakable traces
of its passage which are totally absent, the demonstration seems as
conclusive as that of any of the propositions of Euclid.

It remains to consider how so many traditions of a deluge should
be found among so many different races often so widely separated.
There are three ways in which deluge-myths must have been inevitably

1. From tradition of destructive local floods.

2. From the presence of marine shells on what is now dry land.

3. From the diffusion of solar myths like that of Izdubar.

There can be no doubt that destructive local floods must have
frequently occurred in ancient and prehistoric times as they do at
the present day. Such an inundation as that of the Yang-tse-Kiang,
which only the other year was said to have destroyed half a million
of people, or the hurricane wave which swept over the Sunderbunds,
must have left an impression which, among isolated and illiterate
people, might readily take the form of an universal deluge. And
such catastrophes must have been specially frequent in the early
post-glacial period, when the ice-dams, which converted many valleys
into lakes, were melting.

But I am inclined to doubt whether the tradition of such local
floods was ever preserved long enough to account for deluge-myths.
All experience shows that the memory of historical events fades
away with surprising rapidity when it is not preserved by written
records. If, as Xenophon records, all memory of the great city of
Nineveh had disappeared in 200 years after its destruction, how can
it be expected that oral tradition shall preserve a recollection of
prehistoric local floods magnified into universal deluges?

And when the deluge-myths of different nations are examined closely,
it generally appears that they have had an origin rather in solar
myths or cosmogonical speculations, than in actual facts. For
instance, the tradition of a deluge in Mexico has often been referred
to as a confirmation of the Noachian flood. But when looked into, it
appears that this Mexican deluge was only a part of their mythical
cosmogony which told of four successive destructions and renovations
of the world by the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water. The
first period being closed by earthquakes, the second by hurricanes,
the third by volcanoes, it did not require any local tradition to
ensure the fourth being closed by a flood.

Again, deluge-myths must have inevitably arisen from the presence
of marine shells, fossil and recent, in many localities where they
were too numerous to escape notice. If palæolithic stone implements
and bones of fossil elephants gave rise to myths of thunderbolts
and giants, sea-shells on mountain-tops must have given rise to
speculations as to deluges. At the very beginning of history,
Egyptian and Chaldæan astronomers were sufficiently advanced in
science to wish to account for such phenomena, and to argue that
where sea-shells were found the sea must once have been. Many of the
deluge-myths of antiquity, such as that of Deucalion and Pyrrha, look
very much as if this had been their origin. They are too different
from the Chaldæan and Biblical Deluge, as for instance in repeopling
the world by stones, to have been copied from the same original, and
they fit in with the very general belief of ancient nations that they
were autochthonous.

In a majority of cases, however, I believe it will be found that
deluge-myths have originated from some transmission, more or less
distorted, of the very ancient Chaldæan astronomical myths of the
passage of the sun through the signs of the zodiac. This is clearly
the case in the Hindoo mythology, where the fish-god Ea-han, or
Oannes, is introduced as a divine fish who swims up to the Ark and
guides it to a place of refuge.

The legend in Genesis is much closer to the original myth, and
in fact almost identical with that of the deluge of Hasisadra in
the Chaldæan epic, discovered by Mr. George Smith among the clay
tablets in the British Museum. This poem was obviously based on an
astronomical myth. It was in twelve chapters, dedicated to the sun's
passage through the twelve signs of the zodiac. The adventures of
Izdubar, like those of Heracles, have obvious reference to these
signs, and to the sun's birth, growth, summer splendour, decline to
the tomb when smitten with the sickness of approaching winter by the
incensed Nature-goddess, and final new birth and resurrection from
the nether world.

The Deluge is introduced as an episode told to Izdubar during his
descent to the lower regions by his ancestor Hasisadra, one of the
God-kings, who are said to have reigned for periods of tens of
thousands of years in a fabulous antiquity. It has every appearance
of being a myth to commemorate the sun's passage through the rainy
sign of Aquarius, just as the contests of Izdubar and Heracles with
Leo, Taurus, Draco, Sagittarius, etc., symbolize his passage through
other zodiacal constellations. It forms the eleventh chapter of the
Epic of Izdubar, corresponding to the eleventh month of the Chaldæan
year, which was the time of heavy rains and floods.

Now, this deluge of Hasisadra, as related by Berosus, and still
more distinctly by Smith's Izdubar tablets, corresponds so closely
with that of Noah that no doubt can remain that one is taken from
the other. All the principal incidents and the order of events are
the same, and even particular expressions, such as the dove finding
no rest for the sole of her foot, are so identical as to show that
they must have been taken from the same written record. Even the
name Noah is that of Nouah, the Semitic translation of the Accadian
god who presided over the realm of water, and navigated the bark
or ark of the sun across it, when returning from its setting in
the west to its rising in the east. The chief difference is the
same as in the Chaldæan and Biblical cosmogonies of the creation of
the universe--viz. that the former is Polytheistic, and the latter
Monotheistic. Where the former talks of Bel, Ea, and Istar, the
latter attributes everything to Jehovah or Elohim. Thus the warning
to Hasisadra is given in a dream sent by Ea, who is a sort of
Chaldæan Prometheus, or kindly god, who wishes to save mankind from
the total destruction contemplated by the wrathful superior god, Bel;
while in Genesis it is "Elohim said unto Noah." In Genesis the altar
is built to the Lord, who smells the sweet savour of the sacrifice,
while in the Chaldæan legend the altar is built to the seven gods,
who "smelt the sweet savour of sacrifice, and swarmed like bees about

The Chaldæan narrative is more prolix, more realistic, and, on the
whole, more scientific. That is, it mitigates some of the more
obvious impossibilities of the Noachian narrative. Instead of an
ark, there is a ship with a steersman, which was certainly more
likely to survive the perils of a long voyage on the stormy waters
of an universal ocean. The duration of the Deluge and of the voyage
is shortened from a year to a little more than a month; more human
beings are saved, as Hasisadra takes on board not his own family
only, but several of his friends and relations; and the difficulty of
repeopling the earth from a single centre is diminished by throwing
the date of the Deluge back to an immense and mythical antiquity.
On the other hand, the moral and religious significance of the
legend is accentuated in the Hebrew narrative. It is no longer the
capricious anger of an offended Bel which decrees the destruction of
mankind, but the righteous indignation of the one Supreme God against
sin, tempered by justice and mercy towards the upright man who was
"perfect in his generations."

If we had to decide on internal evidence only, there could be
little doubt that the Hebrew narrative is of much later date than
the Chaldæan. It is, in fact, very much what might be expected from
a revised edition of it, made at the date which is assigned by
all competent critics for the first collection of the legends and
traditions of the Hebrew people into a sacred book--viz. at or about
the date when the first mention is made of such a book as being
discovered in the Temple in the reign of Josiah. Kuenen, Wellhausen,
and other leading authorities place the date of the Elohistic and
Jehovistic narratives, which include the Creation and Deluge, even
later; and, if not compiled during or after the Babylonian Captivity,
they were certainly revised, and have come down to us in their
present form after that event. Even the most orthodox critics, such
as Dillman and Canon Driver, admit that they were written in the
golden age of Hebrew literature, and in the spirit of the later
prophets, such as Isaiah and Jeremiah, and do not think it possible
to assign to them an earlier date than 800 or 900 B.C., while many
parts may be much later.

But the question is not one of internal evidence only, but of the
positive fact that, even if these chapters of Genesis were written
by Moses, or about 1350 B.C., and even accepting the Septuagint
addition of 700 years to the already mythical duration of the
lives of the patriarchs, the date of the Biblical Deluge cannot be
carried back beyond 3100 or 3200 B.C., while a practically identical
account of the same event is given, as a legendary episode of
fabulous antiquity, in an epic poem, based on a solar myth, which
was certainly reduced to writing many centuries before the earliest
possible date of the Scriptural Deluge. It is absolutely certain
also that the Egyptian records and traditions, which extend in an
uninterrupted succession of dynasties and kings for at least 2000
years before this alleged universal Deluge, know nothing whatever of
such an event; and, on the contrary, assume an unvarying continuance
of the ordinary laws of Nature.

I have dwelt at such length on the Deluge because it affords a
crucial test of the dogma of Divine inspiration for the whole of
the Bible. The account of the Creation may be obscured by forced
interpretations and misty eloquence; but there can be no mistake
as to the specific and precise statements respecting the second
creation of man and of animal life. Either they are true or untrue;
and the issue is one upon which any unprejudiced mind of ordinary
intelligence and information can arrive at a conclusive verdict.
If there never was an universal Deluge within historical times; if
the highest mountains were never covered; if all life was never
destroyed, except the contents of the Ark; if the whole animal
creation, including beasts, birds, and creeping things, never lived
together for twelve months cooped up in it; and if the earth was
not repeopled with all the varieties of the human race, and all the
orders, genera, and species of animal life, from a single centre at
Ararat, then the Bible is not inspired as regards its scientific and
historical statements. This, however, in no way affects the question
of the inspiration of the religious and moral portions of the Bible.

I have sometimes thought how, if I were an advocate stating the case
for the inspiration of the Bible, I should be inclined to put it.
I should start with Bishop Temple's definition of the First Cause,
a personal God, with faculties like ours, but so transcendentally
greater that he had no occasion to be perpetually patching and
mending his work, but did everything by an original impress, which
included all subsequent evolution, as the nucleolus in the primitive
ovum includes the whole evolution and subsequent life of the chicken,
mammal, or man. I should go on to say that the Bible has clearly
been an important factor in this evolution of the human race; that
it consists of two portions--one of moral and religious import, the
other of scientific statements and theories, relating to such matters
of purely human reason as astronomy, geology, literary criticism,
and ancient history; and that these two parts are essentially
different. It is quite conceivable that, on the hypothesis of a
Divine Creator, one step in the majestic evolution from the original
impress should have been that men of genius and devout nature should
write books containing juster notions of man's relations to his Maker
than prevailed in the polytheisms of early civilizations, and thus
gradually educating a peculiar people who accepted these writings
as sacred, and preparing the ground for a still higher and purer
religion. But it is not conceivable that this, which may be called
inspiration, of the religious and moral teaching, should have been
extended to closing the record of all human discovery and progress,
by teaching, as it were by rote, all that subsequent generations
have, after long and painful effort, found out for themselves.

In point of fact, the Bible does not teach such truths, for in the
domain of science it is full of the most obvious errors, and teaches
nothing but what were the primitive myths, legends, and traditions
of the early races. It is to be observed also that, on the theory
of "original impress," those errors are just as much a part of the
evolution of the Divine idea as the moral and religious truths.
Those who insist that all of the Bible must be inspired or none,
remind me of the king who said that, if God had only consulted him
in his scheme of creation, he could have saved him from a good many
mistakes. It is not difficult to understand how, even if we assume
the theory of inspiration, or of original impress, for the religious
portion of the Bible, the other or scientific portion should have
been purposely left open to all the errors and contradictions of the
human intellect in its early strivings to arrive at some sort of
conception of the origin of things, and of the laws of the universe.
And also that a collection of narratives of different dates and
doubtful authorship should bear on the face of them evidence of the
writers sharing in the errors and prejudices, and generally adopting
points of view of successive generations of contemporaries.

Assuming this theory, I can only say for myself that the removal of
the wet blanket of literal inspiration makes me turn to the Bible
with increased interest. It is a most valuable record of the ways of
thinking, and of the early conceptions of religion and science in the
ancient world, and a most instructive chapter in the history of the
evolution of the human mind from lower to higher things. Above all,
it is a record of the preparation of the soil, in a peculiar race,
for Christianity, which has been and is such an important factor in
the history of the foremost races and highest civilizations. With
all the errors and absurdities, all the crimes and cruelties which
have attached themselves to it, but which in the light of science
and free thought are rapidly being sloughed off, it cannot be denied
that the European, and especially our English-speaking races, stand
on a higher platform than if Gibbon's suggestion had been realized,
the Arabs had been victorious at Tours, and Moslem Ulemas had been
expounding the Koran at the University of Oxford.



   Moral and Religious distinct from Historical Inspiration--Myth
   and Allegory--The Higher Criticism--All Ancient History
   unconfirmed by Monuments untrustworthy--Cyrus--Old Testament
   and Monuments--Jerusalem--Tablet of Tell-el-Amarna--Flinders
   Petrie's Exploration of Pre-Hebrew Cities--Ramses and
   Pi-thom--First certain Synchronism Rehoboam--Composite
   Structure of Old Testament--Elohist and Jehovist--Priests'
   Code--Canon Driver--Results--Book of Chronicles--Methods
   of Jewish Historians--Post-Exilic References--Tradition
   of Esdras--Nehemiah and Ezra--Foundation of Modern
   Judaism--Different from Pre-Exilic--Discovery of Book
   of the Law under Josiah--Deuteronomy--Earliest Sacred
   Writings--Conclusions--Aristocratic and Prophetic
   Schools--Triumph of Pietism with Exile--Both compiled
   partly from Old Materials--Crudeness and Barbarism of
   Parts--Pre-Abrahamic Period clearly mythical--Derived from
   Chaldæa--Abraham--Unhistoric Character--His Age--Lot's
   Wife--His double Adventure with Sarah--Abraham to
   Moses--Sojourn in Egypt--Discordant Chronology--Josephus'
   Quotation from Manetho--Small Traces of Egyptian
   Influence--Future Life--Legend of Joseph--Moses--Osarsiph--Life
   of Moses full of Fabulous Legends--His Birth--Plagues
   of Egypt--The Exodus--Colenso--Contradictions and
   Impossibilities--Immoralities--Massacres--Joshua and the
   Judges--Barbarisms and Absurdities--Only safe Conclusion no
   History before the Monarchy--David and Solomon--Comparatively
   Modern Date.

In dealing with the historical portion of the Old Testament, it
is important to keep clearly in view the distinction between the
historical and the religious and moral elements which are contained
in the collection of works comprised in it. It is quite open to any
one to hold that a certain moral and religious idea runs through
the whole of these writings, which is gradually developed from rude
beginnings into pure and lofty views of an Almighty God who created
all things, and who loves justice and mercy better than the blood of
bulls and rams. It is open to him to call this inspiration, and to
see it also in the series of influences and events by which the Jews
were moulded into a peculiar people, through whose instrumentality
the three great Monotheistic religions of the world, Judaism,
Christianity, and Mahometanism, superseded the older forms of

With inspiration in this sense I have no quarrel, any more than I
have with Bishop Temple's definition of "original impress," though
possibly I might think "Evolution" a more modest term to apply, with
our limited faculties and knowledge, to that "unceasing purpose"
which the poet tells us

                                        "Through the ages runs,
    And the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns."

But admitting this, I do not see how any candid man, who is at all
acquainted with the results of modern science and of historical
criticism, can doubt that the materials with which this edifice was
gradually built up, consist, to a great extent, of myths, legends,
and traditions of rude and unscientific ages which have no pretension
to be true statements, or real history.

After all this is only applying to the Old, the same principles
of interpretation as are applied to the New Testament. If the
theory of literal inspiration requires us to accept the manifest
impossibilities of Noah's Deluge, why does it not equally compel
us to believe that there really was a certain rich man who fared
sumptuously every day, a beggar named Lazarus, and definite
localities of a Heaven and Hell within speaking distance of one
another, though separated by an impassable gulf. The assertion is
made positively and without any reservation. There _was_ a rich man;
Lazarus _died, and was carried to Abraham's bosom_; and Dives _cried_
to Abraham, who _answered him in a detailed colloquy_. But common
sense steps in and says, all this never actually occurred, but was
invented to illustrate by a parable the moral truth that it is wrong
for the selfish rich to neglect the suffering poor.

Why should not common sense equally step in, and say of the narrative
of the Garden of Eden with its trees of Knowledge and of Life,
that here is an obvious allegory, stating the problem which has
perplexed so many generations of men, of the origin of evil, man's
dual nature, and how to reconcile the _fact_ of the existence of
sin and suffering with the _theory_ of a benevolent and omnipotent
Creator? Or again, why hesitate to admit that the story of the
Deluge is not literal history, but a version of a chapter of an old
Chaldæan solar epic, revised in a monotheistic sense, and used for
the purpose of impressing the lesson that the ways of sin are ways
of destruction, and that righteousness is the true path of safety?
This is in effect what continental critics have long recognized, and
what the most liberal and learned Anglican Divines of the present
day are beginning to recognize; and we find men like Canon Driver,
Professor of Hebrew at Oxford, and Canon Cheyne, insisting on "the
fundamental importance of disengaging the religious from the critical
and historical problems of the Old Testament." We hear a great deal
about the "higher criticism," and those who dislike its conclusions
try to represent it as something very obscure and unintelligible,
spun from the inner consciousness of German pedants. But really there
is nothing obscure about it. It is simply the criticism of common
sense applied from a higher point of view, which embraces, not the
immediate subject only, but all branches of human knowledge which are
related to it. This new criticism bears the same relation to the old,
as Mommsen's _History of Rome_ does to the school-boy manuals which
used to assume Romulus and Remus, Numa and Tarquin, as real men who
lived and reigned just as certainly as Julius Cæsar and Augustus, and
who found nothing to stagger them in Livy's speaking oxen.

This criticism has now been carried so far by the labours of a number
of earnest and learned men in all the principal countries of Europe
for the last century, that it has become to a great extent one of
the modern sciences, and although there are still differences as to
details, the leading outlines are no more in dispute than those of
Geology or Biology. The conclusions of enlightened English divines
like Canons Driver and Cheyne are practically very nearly the same
as those of foreign professors, like Kuenen, Welhausen, Dillman, and
Renan, and any one who wishes to have any intelligent understanding
of the Hebrew Bible must take them into consideration.

Although the Old Testament does not carry history back nearly as
far as the records of Egypt and Chaldæa, still, when freed from
the incubus of literal inspiration, it affords a very interesting
picture of the ways of thinking of ancient races, of their manners
and customs, their first attempts to solve problems of science and
philosophy, and of their popular legends and traditions.

It is with these historical results only that I propose to deal,
and this not in the way of minute criticism, but of the broad,
common-sense aspects of the question, and in view of the salient
facts which rise up like guiding pillars in the vast mass of
literature on the subject, of which it may be said, in the words of
St. John's Gospel, that if all that has been written were collected,
"I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books."

I may begin by referring to the extreme uncertainty that attaches
to all ancient history unless it is confirmed by monuments, or by
comparison with annals of other nations which have been so confirmed.
The instance of Cyrus is a most instructive one. Here is one of
the greatest conquerors the world has seen, and the founder of a
mighty Empire; who flourished at a comparatively recent period, and
whose life and exploits are related by well-known historians, such
as Herodotus, who wrote within a few generations after his death;
confirmed also to a great extent by almost contemporary records of
Hebrew writers who were in close relations with him. The picture
given of him is that of the son of a Median princess by an obscure
Persian; in common with so many of the gods and heroes of antiquity,
he is said to have been exposed in infancy and saved miraculously
or marvellously; he incites the poor and hardy people of Persia to
revolt; defeats the Medes, consolidates Media and Persia, conquers
Lydia and all Asia Minor; and finally, as the "servant of the most
High God," and instrument of his vengeance on Babylon, takes and
destroys the cruel city of Nebuchadnezzar, and allows the Jews to
return from exile out of sympathy with their religion.

Unexpectedly a tablet of Cyrus himself turns up, and plays havoc
alike with prophets and historians Instead of being the son of an
obscure Persian father, he proves to be the legitimate descendant of
a long line of Elamite kings; instead of being a servant of the most
High God, or even a Zoroastrian, he appears as a devoted worshipper
of the Chaldæan gods, Assur, Merodach, and Nebo; so far from being
an instrument of divine vengeance for the destruction of Babylon, he
enters it without a battle, and is welcomed by its priests and people
as an orthodox deliverer from the heretical tendencies of the last
native king Nabonidus. It is apparent from this and other records,
that Darius and not Cyrus was the real founder of the Persian Empire.
Cyrus indeed founded a great Empire, but it fell to pieces after the
death of his son Cambyses and the usurpation of the Magi, and it was
Darius who, after years of hard fighting, suppressed revolts, really
besieged and took Babylon, and reconstituted the Empire, which now
for the first time became Persian and Zoroastrian.

Such an example teaches us to regard with considerable doubt all
history prior to the fifth or sixth century B.C. which is not
confirmed by contemporary monuments. Of such nations, Egypt and
Chaldæa (including in the latter term Assyria) alone give us a series
of annals, proved by monuments confirming native historians, which
extend for some 4000 years back, from the commencement of what may be
called the modern and scientific history of the Greek period.

The historical portion of the Old Testament is singularly deficient
in this essential point of confirmation by monumental evidence.
Of Hebrew inscriptions there are none except that of the time of
Hezekiah in the tunnel which brought water from the Pool of Siloam
into the city; and the Moabite stone, which confirms the narrative in
2 Kings of the siege of Rabbah by Jehoshaphat and Jehoram, and their
repulse after the sacrifice of his eldest son in sight of the armies
by the King of Moab. Both of these inscriptions are of comparatively
modern date, and close to or within the period when contact with the
Assyrian Empire removes all uncertainty as to the history of Judæa
and Israel under their later kings. The capture of Jerusalem by
David and the building of the Temple there by Solomon are doubtless
historical facts, but they cannot be said to receive any additional
confirmation from monuments. There have been so many destructions and
rebuildings of temples on this site, that it is difficult to say to
what era the lower strata belong. It is apparent, moreover, from the
Egyptian tablets of Tel-el-Amarna, the city founded by the heretic
king, Amenophis IV., about 1500 B.C., that Jerusalem was a well-known
city and sacred shrine prior to the Hebrew conquest, and even to
the date of the Exodus. Professor Sayce tells us that on one of
these tablets is written, "The city of the mountain of Jerusalem (or
Urasalim), the City of the temple of the God Uras, whose name there
is Marra, the City of the King, which adjoins the locality of the men
of Keilah." Uras was a Babylonian deity, and Marra is probably the
Aramaic Mare, "lord," from which it may be conjectured that Mount
Moriah received its name from the Temple of Uras which stood there.

Some of the other tablets show that in the century before the Exodus,
Jerusalem was occupied by a semi-independent king, who claimed to
have derived his authority from "the oracle of the mighty King,"
which is explained to mean a deity, though he acknowledged the
superiority of Egypt, which still retained the conquests of the
eighteenth dynasty in Palestine. This, however, relates not to the
Hebrews, but to the state of things prior to their invasion, when
Palestine was occupied by comparatively civilized races of Amorites
and Canaanites, and studded with numerous fenced cities.

A glimpse at the later state of things, when those earlier nations
and cities were overwhelmed by an invasion of a rude nomad race, as
described in the Books of Joshua and Judges, has been afforded quite
recently by the exploration by Mr. Flinders Petrie of a mound on the
plain of Southern Judæa, which he is disposed to identify with the
ancient Lachish. A section of this mound has been exposed by the
action of a brook, and it shows, as in Dr. Schliemann's excavations
on the supposed site of Troy at Hissarlik, several successive
occupations. The lowest and earliest city was fortified by a wall of
sun-burnt bricks, 28 feet 8 inches thick, and which still stands to
a height of 21 feet. It shows signs of great antiquity, having been
twice repaired, and a large accumulation of broken pottery was found
both outside and within it.

This city, which Petrie identifies with one of those Amorite cities
which were "walled up to heaven," had been taken and destroyed, and
the wall had fallen into ruins. Then, to use Professor Sayce's words,
"came a period when the site was occupied by rude herdsmen, unskilled
in the arts either of making bricks or of fortifying towns. Their
huts were built of mud and rolled stones from the Wady below, and
resembled the wretched shanties of the half-savage Bedouins, which we
may still see on the outskirts of the Holy Land. They must have been
inhabited by the invading Israelitish tribes, who had overthrown the
civilization which had long existed in the cities of Canaan, and were
still in a state of nomadic barbarism."

Above this come newer walls, which had been built and repaired three
or four times over by the Jewish kings, one of the later rebuildings
being a massive brick wall 25 feet thick, with a glacis of large
blocks of polished stone traced to a height of 40 feet, which Petrie
refers to the reign of Manasseh. Then comes a destruction, probably
by the Assyrians under Sennacherib, and then other buildings of minor
importance, the latest being those of a colony of Greeks, who were
swept away before the age of Alexander the Great.

This discovery is of first-rate importance as regards the early
history of the Hebrews, and especially as to their relations with
Egypt, their sojourn there, and the Exodus. If Abraham really came
from Ur of Chaldæa, the seat of a very old civilization; and if his
descendants really lived for 400 years or longer in Egypt, mixed
up a good deal with the native population, and for a great part
of the time treated with favour, and occupying, if the legend of
Joseph be true, the highest posts in the land; and if they really
left Egypt, as described in the Exodus, laden with the spoils of
the Egyptians, and led by Moses, a priest of Heliopolis skilled in
all the lore of that ancient temple, it is inconceivable that in a
single generation they should have sunk to such a level as that of
the half-savage Bedouins, as indicated by Petrie's researches. And
yet who else could have been the barbarians whose inroad destroyed
the walled city of the Amorites; and how well does this condition of
rude savagery correspond with the bloodthirsty massacres, and the
crude superstitions, which meet us at every turn in the traditions
of the period between the departure from Egypt and the establishment
of a monarchy, which have been used by the compilers of the Books of
Exodus, Joshua, and Judges?

If we are ever to know anything beyond legend and conjecture as to
this obscure period, it is to the pick and the spade that we must
look for certain information, and the exploration of mounds of ruined
cities must either confirm or modify Petrie's inference as to the
extreme rudeness of the nomad tribes who broke in upon the civilized
inhabitants of older races.

Another exploration by Mr. Flinders Petrie, that of the ruins of
Pi-thom and Ramses, gives a certain amount of monumental confirmation
to the statement in Exodus i. 2, that during the captivity of the
Israelites in Egypt they were employed as slaves by Ramses II. in
building two treasure cities, Ramses and Pi-thom. Some wall-paintings
show slaves or forced labourers, of a Jewish cast of countenance,
working at the brick walls under the sticks of taskmasters.

The first certain synchronism, however, between the Egyptian
monuments and Jewish history is afforded by the capture of Jerusalem
by Shishak in the reign of Rehoboam in the year 974 B.C. Among the
wall-paintings in the temple at Thebes commemorating the triumphs
of this campaign of Shishak, is a portrait of a captive with Jewish
features, inscribed Yuten-Malek. This has been read "King of the
Jews," and taken to be a portrait of Rehoboam, but it is more
probable that it means "Kingdom of the Jews," and that the portrait
is one representative of the country conquered. In any case this
gives us the first absolutely certain date in Old Testament history.
From this time downwards there is no reason to doubt that annals
substantially correct, of successive kings of Judah and Israel, were
kept, and after the reign of Ahaz, when the great Assyrian Empire
appeared on the scene, we have a full confirmation, from the Assyrian
monuments, of the principal events recorded in the Book of Kings. In
fact, we may say that from the foundation of the Jewish Monarchy by
Saul and David, we are fairly in the stream of history, but that for
everything prior to about 1000 B.C. we have to grope our way almost
entirely by the light of the internal evidence afforded by the Old
Testament itself.

The first point evidently is to have some clear idea of what this
Old Testament really consists of. Until the recent era of scientific
criticism, it was assumed to constitute, in effect, one volume,
the earlier chapters of which were written by Moses, and the later
ones by a continuance of the same Divine inspiration, which made
the Bible from Genesis to Chronicles one consistent and infallible
whole, in which it was impossible that there should be any error or
contradiction. Such a theory could not stand a moment's investigation
in the free light of reason. It is only necessary to read the two
first chapters of Genesis to see that the book is of a composite
structure, made up of different and inconsistent elements. We have
only to include in the first chapter the two first verses printed in
the second chapter, and to write the original Hebrew word "Elohim"
for "God," and "Yahve" or Jehovah for "Lord God," to see this at a

The two accounts of the creation of the heaven and earth, of animal
and vegetable life, and of man, are quite different. In the first Man
is created last, male and female, in the image of God, with dominion
over all the previous forms of matter and of life, which have been
created for his benefit. In the second Man is formed from the dust of
the earth immediately after the creation of the heavens and earth and
of the vegetable world, and subsequently all the beasts of the field
and fowls of the air are formed out of the ground, and brought to
Adam to name, while, last of all, woman is made from a rib taken from
Adam to be an helpmeet for him.

The two narratives, Elohistic and Jehovistic, distinguished both by
the different names of God, and by a number of other peculiarities,
run almost side by side through a great part of the earlier portion
of the Old Testament, presenting often flagrant contradictions.

Thus Lamech, the father of Noah, is represented in one as a
descendant of Cain, in the other of Seth. Canaan is in one the
grandson of Adam, in the other the grandson of Noah. The Elohist
says that Noah took two of each sort of living things, a male and a
female, into the ark; the Jehovist that he took seven pairs of clean,
and single pairs of unclean animals.

The difference between these narratives, the Elohistic and
Jehovistic, is, however, only the first and most obvious instance
of the composite character of the Pentateuch. These narratives are
distinguished from one another by a number of minute peculiarities
of language and expressions, and they are both embedded in a much
larger mass of matter which relates mainly to the sacrificial and
ceremonial system of the Israelites, and to the position, privileges,
and functions of the priests and priestly caste of Levites. This is
commonly known as the "Priests' Code," and a great deal of it is
obviously of late date, having relation to practices and ceremonies
which had gradually grown up after the foundation of the Temple at
Jerusalem. A vast amount of erudition has been expended in the minute
analysis of these different documents by learned scholars who have
devoted their lives to the subject. I shall not attempt to enter
upon it, but content myself with taking the main results from Canon
Driver, both because he is thoroughly competent from his knowledge
of the latest foreign criticism and from his position as Professor
of Hebrew, and because he cannot be suspected of any adverse leaning
to the old orthodox views. In fact he is a strenuous advocate of the
inspiration of the Bible, taken in the larger sense of a religious
and moral purpose underlying the often mistaken and conflicting
statements of fallible writers.

The conclusions at which he arrives, in common with a great majority
of competent critics in all countries, are--

1. That the old orthodox belief that the Pentateuch is one work
written by Moses is quite untenable.

2. That the Pentateuch and Book of Joshua have been formed by the
combination of different _layers_ of narrative, each marked by
characteristic features of its own.

3. That the Elohistic and Jehovistic narratives, which are the oldest
portion of the collection, have nothing archaic in their style, but
belong to the golden period of Hebrew literature, the date assigned
to them by most critics being not earlier than the eighth or ninth
century B.C., though of course they may be founded partly on older
legends and traditions; and, on the other hand, they contain many
passages which could only have been introduced by some post-exilic

4. That Deuteronomy, which is placed almost unanimously by critics in
the reign of either Josiah or Manasseh, is absolutely inconsistent in
many respects with the Priests' Code, and apparently of earlier date,
before the priestly system had crystallized into such a definite code
of minute regulations, as we find it in the later days of Jewish
history after the Exile.

5. There is a difference of opinion, however, in respect to the date
of the Priests' Code, Kuenen, Wellhausen, and Graf holding it to
be post-Deuteronomic, and probably committed to writing during the
period from the beginning of the exile to the time of Nehemiah, while
Dillman assigns the main body to about 800 B.C., though admitting
that additions may have been made as late as the time of Ezra.

Being concerned mainly with the historical question, I shall not
attempt to pursue this higher criticism further, but content myself
with referring to the principal points which, judged by the broad
conclusions of common-sense, stand out as guiding pillars in the mass
of details. Taking these in ascending order of time, they seem to me
to be--

1. The Book of Chronicles.

2. The foundation of modern Judaism as described in the Books of Ezra
and Nehemiah.

3. The discovery of the Book of the Law or Deuteronomy in the reign
of Josiah.

The Book of Chronicles is important because we know its date, viz.
about 300 B.C., and to a great extent the materials from which it
was compiled, viz. the Books of Samuel and Kings. We have thus an
object-lesson as to the way in which a Hebrew writer, as late as
300 B.C., or nearly 300 years after the exile, composed history and
treated the earlier records. It is totally different from the method
of a classical or modern historian, and may be aptly described as a
"scissors and paste" method. That is to say, he makes excerpts from
the sources at his disposal; sometimes inserts them consecutively and
without alteration; at other times makes additions and changes of his
own; and, in Canon Driver's words, "does not scruple to omit what is
not required for his purpose, and in fact treats his authorities with
considerable freedom." He also does not scruple to put in the mouth
of David and other historical characters of the olden time, speeches
which, from their spirit, grammar, and vocabulary, are evidently of
his own age and composition.

If this was the method of a writer as late as 300 B.C., whose work
was afterwards received as canonical, two things are evident. First,
that the canon of the earlier Books of the Old Testament could not
have been then fixed and invested with the same sacred authority
as we find to be the case two or three centuries later, when the
Thora, or Book of Moses and the Prophets, was regarded very much as
the Moslems regard the Koran, as an inspired volume which it was
impious to alter by a single jot or tittle. This late date for fixing
the canon of the Books of the Old Testament is confirmed by Canon
Cheyne's learned and exhaustive work on the Psalter, in which he
shows that a great majority of the Psalms, attributed to David, were
written in the time of the Maccabees, and that there are only one or
two doubtful cases in which it can be plausibly contended that any of
the Psalms are pre-exilic.

Secondly, that if a writer, as late as 300 B.C., could employ this
method, and get his work accepted as a part of the Sacred Canon, a
writer who lived earlier, say any time between the Chronicler and
the foundation of the Jewish Monarchy, might probably adopt the same
methods. If the Chronicler put a speech of his own composition into
the mouth of David, the Deuteronomist might well do so in the case
of Moses. According to the ideas of the age and country, this would
not be considered to be what we moderns would call literary forgery,
but rather a legitimate and praiseworthy means of giving authority to
good precepts and sentiments.

A perfect illustration of this which I have called the "scissors and
paste" method, is afforded by the first two chapters of Genesis,
and the way in which the Elohistic and Jehovistic narratives are
so strangely interblended throughout the Pentateuch. No attempt is
made to blend the two narratives into one harmonious and consistent
whole, but excerpts, sometimes from one and sometimes from the
other, are placed together without any attempt to explain away the
evident contradictions. Clearly the same hand could not have written
both narratives, and the compilation must have been made by some
subsequent editor, or editors, for there is conclusive proof that
the final edition, as it has come down to us, could not have been
made until after the Exile. Thus in Leviticus xxvi. we find, "I will
scatter you among the heathen, and your land shall be desolate, and
your cities waste," and "they that are left of you shall pine away
in their iniquity in your enemies' land." And in Deuteronomy xxix.,
"And the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath,
and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is
to this day." Even in Genesis, which professes to be the earliest
Book, we find (xii. 6), "and the Canaanite was then in the land."
This could not have been written until the memory of the Canaanite
had become a tradition of a remote past, and this could not have been
until after the return of the Jews from the Babylonian Captivity, for
we find from the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah that the Canaanites were
then still in the land, and the Jewish leaders, and even priests and
Levites, were intermarrying freely with Canaanite wives.

The Apocryphal Book of Esdras contains a legend that the sacred books
of the Law having been lost or destroyed when Jerusalem was taken by
Nebuchadnezzar, they were re-written miraculously by Ezra dictating
to five ready writers at once in a wonderfully short time. This is a
counterpart of the legend of the Septuagint being a translation of
the Hebrew text into Greek, made by seventy different translators,
whose separate versions agreed down to the minutest particular. This
legend, in the case of the Septuagint, is based on an historical fact
that there really was a Greek translation of the Hebrew Sacred Books
made by order of Ptolemy _Philadelphus_; and it may well be that the
legend of Esdras contains some reminiscence of an actual fact, that
a new and complete edition of the old writings was made and stamped
with a sacred character among the other reforms introduced by Ezra.

These reforms, and the condition of the Jewish people after the
return from the Captivity, as disclosed by the Books of Nehemiah and
Ezra, afford what I call the second guiding pillar, in our attempt to
trace backwards the course of Jewish history. These books were indeed
not written in their present form until a later period, and, as most
critics think, by the same hand as Chronicles; but there is no reason
to doubt the substantial accuracy of the historical facts recorded,
which relate, not to a remote antiquity, but to a comparatively
recent period after the use of writing had become general. They
constitute in fact the dividing line between ancient and modern
Judaism, and show us the origin of the latter.

Modern Judaism, that is, the religious and social life of the Jewish
people, since they fairly entered into the current of modern history,
has been marked by many strong and characteristic peculiarities.
They have been zealously and almost fanatically attached to the idea
of one Supreme God, Jehovah, with whom they had a special covenant
inherited from Abraham, and whose will, in regard to all religious
rites and ceremonies and social usages, was conveyed to them in
a sacred book containing the inspired writings of Moses and the
Prophets. This led them to consider themselves a peculiar people,
and to regard all other nations with aversion, as being idolaters
and unclean, feelings which were returned by the rest of the world,
so that they stood alone, hating and being hated. No force or
persuasion were required in order to prevent them from lapsing into
idolatry or intermarrying with heathen women. On the contrary, they
were inspired to the most heroic efforts, and ready to endure the
severest sufferings and martyrdom for the pure faith. The belief in
the sacred character of their ancient writings gradually crystallized
into a faith as absolute as that of the Moslems in the Koran; a
canon was formed, and although, as we have seen in the case of the
Chronicles and Psalms, some time must have elapsed before this sacred
character was fully recognized, it ended in a theory of the literal
inspiration of every word of the Old Testament down even to the
commas and vowel points, and the establishment of learned schools of
Scribes and Pharisees, whose literary labours were concentrated on
expounding the text in synagogues, and writing volumes of Talmudic

Now during the period preceding the Exile all this was very
different. So far from being zealous for one Supreme God, Jehovah was
long recognized only as a tribal or national god, one among the many
gods of surrounding nations. When the idea of a Supreme Deity, who
loved justice and mercy better than the blood of bullocks and rams,
was at length elaborated by the later prophets, it received but scant
acceptance. The great majority of the kings and people, both of Judah
and Israel, were always ready to lapse into idolatry, worship strange
gods, golden calves, and brazen serpents, and flock to the alluring
rites of Baal and Astarte, in groves and high places. They were also
always ready to intermarry freely with heathen wives, and to form
political alliances with heathen nations. There is no trace of the
religious and social repulsion towards other races which forms such
a marked trait in modern Judaism. Nor, as we shall see presently, is
there any evidence, prior to the reign of Josiah, of anything like a
sacred book or code of divine laws, universally known and accepted.
The Books of Nehemiah and Ezra afford invaluable evidence of the
time and manner in which this modern Judaism was stamped upon the
character of the people after the return from exile. We are told
that when Ezra came to Jerusalem from Babylon, armed with a decree
of Artaxerxes, he was scandalized at finding that nearly all the
Jews, including the principal nobles and many priests and Levites,
had intermarried with the daughters of the people of the land, "of
the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites,
Egyptians, and Amorites." Backed by Nehemiah, the cup-bearer
and favourite of Artaxerxes, who had been appointed governor of
Jerusalem, he persuaded or compelled the Jews to put away these wives
and their children, and to separate themselves as a peculiar and
exclusive people from other nations.

It was a cruel act, characteristic of the fanatical spirit of
priestly domination, which never hesitates to trample on the natural
affections and the laws of charity and mercy, but it was the means of
crystallizing the Jewish race into a mould so rigid, that it defied
wars, persecutions, and all dissolving influences, and preserved
the idea of Monotheism to grow up into the world-wide religions of
Christianity and Mahometanism, So true is it that evolution works out
its results by unexpected means often opposed to what seem like the
best instincts of human nature.

What is important, however, for the present object is, to observe
that clearly at this date the population of the Holy Land must have
consisted mainly of the descendants of the old races, who had been
conquered but not exterminated by the Israelites. Such a sentence
as, "for the Canaanites were then in the land," could not have been
written till long after the time when the Jews were intermarrying
freely with Canaanite wives. Nor does it seem possible that codes,
such as those of Leviticus, Numbers, and the Priests' Code, could
have been generally known and accepted as sacred books written by
Moses under Divine inspiration, when the rulers, nobles, and even
priests and Levites acted in such apparent ignorance of them. In fact
we are told in Nehemiah that Ezra read and explained the Book of the
Law, whatever that may have included, to the people, who apparently
had no previous knowledge of it.

By far the most important landmark, however, in the history of the
Old Testament, is afforded by the account in 2 Kings xxii. and
xxiii. of the discovery of the Book of the Law in the Temple in the
eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah. It says that Shaphan the
scribe, having been sent by the king to Hilkiah the high priest, to
obtain an account of the silver collected from the people for the
repairs of the Temple, Hilkiah told him that he had "found the Book
of the Law in the house of the Lord." Shaphan brought it to the king
and read it to him; whereupon Josiah, in great consternation at
finding that so many of its injunctions had been violated, and that
such dreadful penalties were threatened, rent his clothes, and being
confirmed in his fears by Huldah the prophetess, proceeded to take
stringent measures to stamp out idolatry, which, from the account
given in 2 Kings xxiii., seems to have been almost universal. We
read of vessels consecrated to Baal and to the host of heaven in the
Temple itself, and of horses and chariots of the Sun at its entrance;
of idolatrous priests who had been ordained by the kings of Judah to
burn incense "unto Baal, to the Sun, and to the Moon, and to the
planets, and to all the host of heaven"; and of high places close
to Jerusalem, with groves, images, and altars, which had been built
by Solomon to Ashtaroth, the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the
god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and had
apparently remained undisturbed and places of popular worship ever
since the time of Solomon.

On any ordinary principles of criticism it is impossible to doubt
that, if this narrative is correct, there could have been no previous
Book of the Law in existence, and generally recognized as a sacred
volume written by Divine inspiration. When even such a great and
wise king as Solomon could establish such a system of idolatry, and
pious kings like Hezekiah, and Josiah during the first eighteen
years of his reign, could allow it to continue, there could have
been no knowledge that it was in direct contravention of the most
essential precepts of a sacred law dictated by Jehovah to Moses. It
is generally admitted by critics that the Book of the Law discovered
by Hilkiah was Deuteronomy, or rather perhaps an earlier or shorter
original of the Deuteronomy which has come down to us, and which had
already been re-edited with additions after the Exile. The title
"Deuteronomy," which might seem to imply that it was a supplement
to an earlier law, is taken, like the other headings of the books
of the Old Testament in our Bible, from the Septuagint version, and
in the original Hebrew the heading is "the Book of the Law." The
internal evidence points also to Deuteronomy, as placing the threats
of punishment and promises of reward mainly on moral grounds, and in
the spirit of the later prophets, such as Isaiah, who lived shortly
before the discovery of the book by Hilkiah. And it is apparent that
when Deuteronomy was written, the Priests' Code, which forms such an
important part of the other books of the Pentateuch, could not have
been known, as so many of the ceremonial rites and usages are clearly
inconsistent with it.

It is not to be inferred that there were no writings in existence
before the reign of Josiah. Doubtless annals had been kept of the
principal events of each reign from the foundation of the monarchy,
and many of the old legends and traditions of the race had been
collected and reduced to writing during the period from Solomon to
the later kings.

The Priests' Code also, though of later date in its complete
form, was doubtless not an invention of any single priest, but a
compilation of usages, some of which had long existed, while others
had grown up in connection with the Second Temple after the return
from exile. So also the civil and social legislation was not a code
promulgated, like the Code Napoleon, by any one monarch or high
priest, but a compilation from usages and precedents which had come
to be received as having an established authority. But what is
plainly inconsistent with the account of the discovery of the Book
of the Law in the reign of Josiah, is the supposition that there
had been, in long previous existence, a collection of sacred books,
recognized as a Bible or work of Divine inspiration, as the Old
Testament came to be among the Jews of the first or second century

It is to be observed that among early nations, such historical annals
and legislative enactments never form the first stratum of a sacred
literature, which consists invariably of hymns, prayers, ceremonial
rites, and astronomical or astrological myths. Thus the Rig Veda of
the Hindoos, the early portions of the Vendedad of the Iranians, the
Book of the Dead of the Egyptians, and the penitential psalms and
invocations of the Chaldæans formed the oldest sacred books, about
which codes and commentaries, and in some cases historical allusions
and biographies, gradually accumulated, though never attaining to
quite an equal authority.

There is abundant internal evidence in the books of the Old Testament
which profess to be older than the reign of Josiah, to show that
they are in great part, at any rate, of later compilation, and could
not have been recognized as the sacred Thora or Bible of the nation.
To take a single instance, that of Solomon. Is it conceivable that
this greatest and wisest of kings, who had held personal commune
with Jehovah, and who knew everything down to the hyssop on the
wall, could have been ignorant of such a sacred book if it had
been in existence? And if he had known it, or even the Decalogue,
is it conceivable that he should have totally ignored its first
and fundamental precepts, "Thou shalt have no other gods but me,"
and "thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image"? Could
uxoriousness, divided among 700 wives, have turned the heart of such
a monarch so completely as to make him worship Ashtaroth and Milcom,
and build high places for Chemosh and Moloch? And could he have done
this without the opposition, and apparently with the approval, of
the priests and the people? And again, could these high places and
altars and vessels dedicated to Baal and the host of heaven have
been allowed to remain in the Temple, down to the eighteenth year of
Josiah, Under a succession of kings several of whom were reputed to
be pious servants of Jehovah? And the idolatrous tendencies of the
ten tribes of Israel, who formed the majority of the Hebrew race, and
had a common history and traditions, are even more apparent.

In the speeches put into the mouth of Solomon in 1 Kings, in which
reference is made to "statutes and commandments spoken by Jehovah by
the hand of Moses," there is abundant evidence that their composition
must be assigned to a much later date. They are full of references to
the captivity in a foreign land and return from exile (1 Kings viii.
46--53, and ix. 6--9). Similar references to the Exile are found
throughout the Book of Kings, and even in Books of the Pentateuch
which profess to be written by Moses. If such a code of sacred
writings had been in existence in the time of Josiah, instead of
rending his clothes in dismay when Shaphan brought him the Book of
the Law found by Hilkiah, he would have said, "Why this is only a
different version of what we know already."

On the whole the evidence points to this conclusion. The idea of a
one Supreme God who was a Spirit, while all other gods were mere
idols made by men's hands; who created and ruled all things in heaven
and earth; and who loved justice and mercy rather than the blood of
rams and bullocks, was slowly evolved from the crude conceptions of
a jealous, vindictive, and cruel anthropomorphic local god, by the
prophets and best minds of Israel after it had settled down under
the Monarchy into a civilized and cultured state. It appears for the
first time distinctly in Isaiah and Amos, and was never popular with
the majority of the kings and upper classes, or with the mass of the
nation until the Exile, but it gradually gained ground during the
calamities of the later days, when Assyrian armies were threatening
destruction. A strong opposition arose in the later reigns between
the aristocracy, who looked on the situation from a political
point of view and trusted to armies and alliances, and what may be
called the pietist or evangelical party of the prophets, who took
a purely religious view of matters, and considered the misfortunes
of the country as a consequence of its sins, to be averted only by
repentance and Divine interposition.

It was a natural, and under the circumstances of the age and country
quite a justifiable proceeding on the part of the prophetic school to
endeavour to stamp their views with Divine authority, and recommend
them for acceptance as coming from Moses, the traditional deliverer
of Israel from Egypt. For this purpose no doubt numerous materials
existed in the form of legends, traditions, customs, and old records,
and very probably some of those had been collected and reduced to
writing, like the Sagas of the old Norsemen, though without any idea
of collecting them into a sacred volume.

The first attempt in this direction was made in the reign of Josiah,
and it had only a partial success, as we find the nation "doing
evil in the sight of the Lord," that is, relapsing into the old
idolatrous practices, in the reigns of his three next successors,
Jehoiachin, Jehoiachim, and Zedechiah. But the crowning calamity of
the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and the seventy years'
exile, seems to have crushed out the old aristocratic and national
party, and converted all the leading minds among the Jews of the
Captivity, including the priests, to the prophetical view that the
essence of the question was the religious one, and that the only
hope for the future lay in repentance for sins and drawing closer to
the worship of Jehovah and the Covenant between him and his chosen
people. Prophets disappear from this period because priests, scribes,
and rulers had adopted their views, and there was no longer room for
itinerant and unofficial missionaries. Under such circumstances the
religion, after the return from the Exile, crystallized rapidly into
definite forms. Creeds, rituals, and sacred books were multiplied
down to the third century B.C. or later, when the canon was closed
with the Books of Chronicles and Daniel and the later Psalms, and the
era began of commentaries on the text of a Koran or Bible, every word
of which was held to be infallibly inspired.

The different crystals in solution have now united into one large
crystal of fixed form, and henceforward we are in the full age of
Talmudism and Pharisaism.

It is not to be supposed, however, that the books which thus came
to be considered sacred were the inventions of priests and scribes
of this later age. Doubtless they were based to a great extent on
old traditions, legends, and written annals and records, compiled
perhaps in the reigns of Solomon and his successors, but based
themselves on still older materials. The very crudeness of many of
the representations, and the barbarism of manners, point to an early
origin. It is impossible to conceive any contemporary of Isaiah, or
of the cultured court of Solomon, describing the Almighty ruler of
the universe as showing his hinder part to Moses, or sewing skins to
clothe Adam and Eve; and the conception of a jealous and vindictive
Jehovah who commanded the indiscriminate massacre of prisoners of
war, women and children, must be far removed from that of a God
who loved justice and mercy. These crude, impossible, and immoral
representations must have existed in the form of Sagas during the
early and semi-barbarous stage of the people of Israel, and become
so rooted in the popular mind that they could not be neglected when
authors of later ages came to fix the old traditions in writing, and
religious reformers to use them in endeavouring to enforce higher
views and a purer morality. It is from this jungle of old legends and
traditions, written and re-written, edited and re-edited, many times
over, to suit the ideas of various stages of advancing civilization,
that we have to pick out as we best can what is really historical,
prior to the foundation of the Monarchy, from which time downwards
we doubtless have more or less authentic annals, and meet with
confirmations from Egyptian and Assyrian history.

The first figure which arrests our attention in the Old Testament as
possibly historical, is that of Abraham. Prior to him everything is
plainly myth and legend. We have two accounts of the creation of the
universe and of man in Genesis, contradictory with one another, and
each hopelessly inconsistent with the best established conclusions
of astronomy, geology, ethnology, and other sciences. Then follow
ten antediluvian patriarchs, who live on the average 847 years each,
and correspond manifestly with the ten reigns of gods or demi-gods
in the Chaldæan mythology; while side by side with this genealogy is
a fragment of one which is entirely different, mentioning seven only
of the ten patriarchs, and tracing the descent of Enoch and Noah from
Adam through Cain instead of through Seth.

Then comes the Deluge with all the flagrant impossibilities which
have been pointed out in a preceding chapter; the building of
the Tower of Babel, with the dispersion of mankind and confusion
of languages, equally opposed to the most certain conclusions of
history, ethnology, and philology. The descent from Noah to Abraham
is then traced through ten other patriarchs, whose ages average 394
years each, and similar genealogies are given for the descendants of
the other two sons of Noah, Ham and Japheth. It is evident that these
genealogies are not history but ethnology, and that of a very rude
and primitive description, by a writer with imperfect knowledge and
a limited range of vision. A great majority of the primitive races
of the world, such as the Negroes and the Mongolians, are omitted
altogether, and Semitic Canaan is coupled with Turanian Hittite as
a descendant not of Shem but of Ham. It is unnecessary to go into
details, for when we find such an instance as that Canaan begat
Sidon his first-born, it is evident that this does not mean that two
such men really lived, but is an Oriental way of stating that the
Phoenicians were of the same race as the Canaanites, and that Sidon
was their earliest sea-port on the shore of the Mediterranean.

The whole of this Biblical literature prior to Abraham is clearly
myth and legend, and not history; and whoever will compare it
dispassionately with the much older Chaldæan myths and legends known
to us from Berosus and the tablets, can hardly doubt that it is taken
mainly from this source, revised at a later date, in a monotheistic
sense. Whole passages are simply altered by writing "God" for "gods,"
and pruning off or toning down grotesque and revolting incidents. To
give a single instance, where the Chaldæan solar epic of Izdubar,
in the chapter on the passage of the sun through the rainy sign of
Aquarius, which describes the Deluge, says that "the gods smelt the
sweet savour of the sacrifice offered by Hasisadra on emerging from
the ark, and flocked like flies about the altar," Genesis says simply
that "the Lord smelled a sweet savour"; and where the mixture of a
divine and animal nature in man is symbolized in the Chaldæan legend
by Bel cutting off his own head and kneading the clay with the blood
into the first man, the Jehovist narrative in Genesis ii. says, that
"the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed
into his nostrils the breath of life." But when we arrive at Abraham
we feel as if we might be treading on really historical ground. There
is the universal tradition of the Hebrew race that he was their
ancestor, and his figure is very like what in the unchanging East
may be met with to the present day. We seem to see the dignified
sheik sitting at the door of his tent dispensing hospitality, raiding
with his retainers on the rear of a retreating army and capturing
booty, and much exercised by domestic difficulties between the women
of his household. Surely this is an historical figure. But when we
look closer, doubts and difficulties appear. In the first place the
name "Abram" suggests that of an eponymous ancestor, like Shem for
the Semites, or Canaan for the Canaanites. Abram, Sayce tells us,
is the Babylonian Abu-ramer or "exalted father," a name much more
likely to be given to a mythical ancestor than to an actual man.
This is rendered more probable by the fact that, as we have already
seen, the genealogy of Abraham traced upwards consists mainly of
eponyms: while those which radiate from him downwards are of the
same character. Thus two of his sons by Keturah are Jokshan and
Midian; and Sheba, Dedan, and Assurim are among his descendants.
Again, Abraham is said to have lived for 175 years, and to have had a
son by Sarah when she was ninety-nine and he one hundred; and a large
family by Keturah, whom he married after Sarah's death. Figures such
as these are a sure test that legend has taken the place of authentic

Another circumstance which tells strongly against the historical
character of Abraham is his connection with Lot, and the legend of
Lot's wife. The history of this legend is a curious one. For many
centuries, in fact down to quite modern times, the volcanic phenomena
of the Dead Sea were appealed to as convincing confirmations of the
account in Genesis of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha, and
hundreds of pious pilgrims saw, touched, and tasted the identical
pillar of salt into which Lot's wife was changed. It is now certain
that the volcanic eruptions were of an earlier geological age, and
that the story of Lot's wife is owing to the disintegration of a
stratum of salt marl, which weathers away under the action of wind
and rain into columnar masses, like those described by Lyell in a
similar formation in Catalonia. Innumerable travellers and pilgrims
from early Christian times down to the seventeenth century returned
from Palestine testifying that they had seen Lot's wife, and this was
appealed to by theologians as a convincing proof of the truth of the
Scripture narrative. Some saw her big, some little, some upright,
and some prostrate, according to the state of disintegration of the
pillars pointed out by the guides, which change their form rapidly
under the influence of the weather, but no doubt was entertained as
to the attestation of the miracle. It turns out, however, to be one
of those geological myths of precisely the same nature as that which
attributed the Devil's Dyke near Brighton to an arrested attempt of
the Evil One to cut a trench through the South Downs, so as to let
in the sea and drown the Weald. The episode of Lot and his daughters
is also clearly a myth to account for the aversion of the Hebrews
to races so closely akin to them as the Moabites and Ammonites, and
it could hardly have originated until after the date of the Book of
Ruth, which shows no trace of such a racial aversion.

Many of the events recorded of Abraham's life, though not so
wildly extravagant as those attributed to Noah, are still clearly
unhistorical. That a woman getting on towards one hundred years
old should be so beautiful that her husband passes her off for his
sister, fearing that, if known to be his wife, the king would kill
him in order to take her into his harem, does not seem to be very
probable. But when precisely the same thing is said to have occurred
twice over to the same man, once at the court of Pharaoh and again
at that of Abimelech; and a third time to his son Isaac, at the same
place, Gerar, and to the same king Abimelech, the improbability
becomes impossibility, and the legend is obviously mythical. Nor is
it very consistent with the character of the pious patriarch, the
father of the chosen people, to have told such lies, and apparently
connived at his wife's prostitution, so that he could save his own
skin, and grow rich on the "sheep and oxen, asses, manservants,
maidservants, and camels" given him by the king on the supposition
that he was Sarah's brother.

Nor can we take as authentic history, Abraham talking with the Lord,
and holding a sort of Dutch auction with him, in which he beats down
from fifty to ten the number of righteous men who, if found in Sodom,
are to save it from destruction.

On the whole, I do not see that there is anything in the account of
Abraham and his times which we can safely assume to be historical,
except the general fact that the Hebrews were descended from a
Semitic family or clan, who migrated from the district of Ur in Lower
Chaldæa probably about the time, and possibly in consequence, of the
Elamite conquest, about 2200 B.C., which set in motion so many wars,
revolutions, and migrations in Western Asia.

The chronology from Abraham to Moses is hopelessly confused. If
Abraham is really an historical character, his synchronism with
Chedorlaomer or Kudur-lagomer, the Elamite King of Chaldæa, must
be admitted, which fixes his date at about 2200 B.C. Again, if the
narrative of the Exodus is historical, it is generally agreed that
it took place in the reign of Menepthah, or about 1320 B.C. The
interval between Abraham and Moses therefore must have been about 900
years. But if we take the genealogies as authentic history, Jacob, in
whose time the Hebrews went into Egypt, was Abraham's grandson, and
Moses, under whom they left it, was the son of Jochebed, who was the
granddaughter of Levi, the son of Jacob, who was a man advanced in
life when he came to Egypt. The genealogies therefore do not allow of
more than five generations, or, at a high average for each, about 200
years for this interval between Abraham and Moses.

The tradition respecting this seems to have been already very
confused when Genesis was compiled, for we find in chap. xv. vers.
15, 16, the Lord saying to Abraham, that his descendants shall come
back to Palestine and possess the whole country from the river of
Egypt to the river Euphrates, "in the fourth generation" after
Abraham had "gone to his fathers in peace, and been buried in a good
old age"; while only one verse before it is said, "thy seed shall be
a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and
they shall afflict them for four hundred years."

Even if 400 years were allowed for the sojourn of the Hebrews in
Egypt, it would not extend the interval between Moses and Abraham
to more than 500 years, or 400 years less than is required by the
synchronism with Chedorlaomer. It is needless to say that neither in
the fourth or in any other generation did the descendants of Abraham
"possess the whole country from the river of Egypt to the river

There is no period of Jewish history so obscure as that of the
sojourn in Egypt. The long date is based entirely on the distinct
statement in Genesis xii., that the sojourning of the children of
Israel was 430 years, and other statements that it was 400 years,
both of which are hopelessly inconsistent with the genealogies.
Genealogies are perhaps more likely to be preserved accurately by
oral tradition than dates and figures, which Oriental races generally
deal with in a very arbitrary way. But there are serious difficulties
in the way of accepting either date as historical. There is no
mention of any specific event during the sojourn of the Israelites
in Egypt between their advent in the time of Joseph and the Exodus,
except their oppression by a new king who knew not Joseph, and
the building of the treasure cities, Pi-thom and Ramses, by their
forced labour. The latter fact may be taken as probably true from the
monuments discovered by Mr. Flinders Petrie; and if so, it occurred
in the reign of Ramses II. But there is no other confirmation, from
Egyptian records or monuments, of any of the events related in the
Pentateuch, until we come to the passage quoted from Manetho by
Josephus, which describes how the unclean people and lepers were
oppressed; how they revolted under the leadership of a priest of
Hieropolis, who changed his name from Osarphis to Moyses; how they
fortified Avaris and called in help from the expelled Hyksos settled
at Jerusalem; how the Egyptian king and his army retreated before
them into Ethiopia without striking a blow; and the revolters ruled
Egypt for thirteen years, killing the sacred animals and desecrating
the temples; and how, at the end of this period, the king and his son
returned with a great army, defeated the rebels and shepherds with
great slaughter, and pursued them to the bounds of Syria.

This account is evidently very different from that of Exodus, and
does not itself read very like real history, nor is there anything
in the Egyptian monuments to confirm it, but rather the reverse.
Menepthah certainly reigned many years after he was said to have
been drowned in the Red Sea, and his power and that of his immediate
successors, though greatly diminished, still extended with a sort of
suzerainty over Palestine and Southern Syria. It is said that the
Egyptians purposely omitted all mention of disasters and defeats, but
this is distinctly untrue, for Manetho records events such as the
conquest of Egypt by the Hyksos without a battle, and the retreat of
Menepthah into Ethiopia for thirteen years before the impure rebels,
which were much more disgraceful than would have been the destruction
of a pursuing force of chariots by the returning tide of the Red Sea.

The question therefore of the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt
and the Exodus has to be considered solely by the light of the
internal evidence afforded by the books of the Old Testament.
The long period of 430 years is open to grave objections. It is
inconceivable that a people who had lived for four centuries in an
old and highly-civilized empire, for part of the time at any rate on
equal or superior terms under the king who "knew Joseph"; and who
appear to have been so much intermixed with the native Egyptians as
to have been borrowing from them as neighbours before their flight,
should have carried away with them so little of Egyptian manners and
relics. Beyond a few rites and ceremonies, and a certain tendency to
revert to the animal worship of the golden calf, there is nothing
to show that the Hebrews had ever been in contact with Egyptian
civilization. This is most remarkable in the absence of all belief in
a resurrection of the body, future life, and day of judgment, which
were the cardinal axioms of the practical daily life of the Egyptian
people. Temporal rewards and punishments to the individual and his
posterity in the present life, are the sole inducements held out to
practise virtue and abstain from vice, from the Decalogue down to
the comparatively late period of Ecclesiastes, where Solomon the
wise king is represented as saying, "there is no work, nor device,
nor knowledge in the grave whither thou goest." Even down to the
Christian era the Sadducees, who were the conservative aristocracy
who stood on the old ways and on the law of Moses, and from whose
ranks most of the high priests were taken, were opposed to the
newfangled Pharisaic doctrine of a resurrection. How completely
foreign the idea was to the Jewish mind is apparent from the writings
of the Prophets and the Book of Job, where the obvious solution of
the problem why goodness was not always rewarded and wickedness
punished, afforded by the theory of a judgment after death and future
life, was never even hinted at by Job or his friends, however hardly
they might be pressed in argument.

If the sojourn in Egypt really lasted for 430 years, it must have
embraced many of the greatest events in Egyptian history. The
descendants of Jacob must have witnessed a long period of the rule
of the Hyksos, and lived through the desolating thirty years' war
by which these foreign conquerors were gradually driven back by
the native armies of Upper Egypt. They must have been close to the
scene of the final campaigns, the siege of Avaris, and the expulsion
of the Hyksos. They must have been subjects of Ahmes, Thotmes,
and the conquering kings of the eighteenth dynasty, who followed
up the fugitive Hyksos, and carried the conquering arms of Egypt
not only over Palestine and Syria, but up to the Euphrates and
Tigris, and over nearly the whole of Western Asia. They must have
witnessed the decline of this empire, the growth of the Hittites,
and the half-century of wars waged between them and the Egyptians in
Palestine and Syria.

The victory of Ramses II. at Kadesh and the epic poem of Pentaur
must have been known to the generation before the Exodus as signal
events. And if there is any truth in the account quoted by Josephus,
they must have been aware that they did not fly from Egypt as a body
of fugitive slaves, but as retreating warriors who for thirteen years
had held Egypt up to Ethiopia in subjection. And yet of all these
memorable events there is not the slightest trace in the Hebrew
annals which have come down to us.

An even greater difficulty is to understand how, if the children of
Israel had lived for anything like 400 years in such a civilized
empire as Egypt, they could have emerged from it in such a plane
of low civilization, or rather of ferocious savagery and crude
superstitions as are shown by the books of the Old Testament, where
they burst like a host of Red Indians on the settlements and cities
of the Amorites, and other more advanced nations of Palestine.
The discoveries at Lachish already referred to show that their
civilization could not have exceeded that of the rudest Bedouins, and
their myths and legends are so similar to those of the North American
Indians as to show that they must have originated in a very similar
stage of mental development.

If we adopt the short date of the genealogies we are equally
confronted by difficulties. If the Exodus occurred in the reign of
Menepthah, 180 years back from that date would take us, not to the
Hyksos dynasty where alone it would have been possible for Joseph
to be a vizier, and for a Semitic tribe of shepherds to be welcomed
in Egypt, but into the midst of the great and glorious eighteenth
dynasty who had expelled the Hyksos, and carried the dominion of
Egypt to the Euphrates. Nor would there have been time for the
seventy souls, who we are told were all of the family of Jacob who
migrated into Egypt, to have increased in three generations into
a nation numerous enough to alarm the Egyptians, and conquer the

The legend of Joseph is very touching and beautiful, but it may just
as well be a novel as history, and this suspicion is strengthened
by the fact that the episode of Potiphar's wife is almost verbatim
the same as one of the chapters of the Egyptian novel of the _Two
Brothers_. Nor does it seem likely that such a seven years' famine
and such a momentous change as the conversion of all the land of
Egypt from freehold into a tenure held from the king subject to
payment of a rent of one-fifth of the gross produce, should have
left no trace in the records. Again, the age of 110 years assigned
to Joseph, and 147 to his father, are a sufficient proof that we are
not upon strictly historical ground; and on the whole this narrative
does not go far, in the absence of any confirmation from monuments,
to assist us in fixing dates, or enabling us to form any consistent
idea of the real conditions of the sojourn of the people of Israel
in Egypt. It places them on far too high a level of civilization
at first, to have fallen to such a low one as we find depicted in
the Books of Exodus, Joshua, and Judges. Further excavations in
the mounds of ruined cities in Judæa and Palestine, like those
of Schliemann on the sites of Troy and Mycenæ, can alone give us
anything like certain facts as to the real condition of the Hebrew
tribes who destroyed the older walled cities of the comparatively
civilized Amorites and Canaanites. If the conclusion of Mr. Flinders
Petrie from the section of the mound of Lachish, as to the extremely
rude condition of the tribes who built the second town of mud-huts on
the ruins of the Amorite city, should be confirmed, it would go far
to negative the idea that the accounts of their having been trained
in an advanced code of Mosaic legislation, can have any historical

We come next to Moses. It is difficult to refuse an historical
character to a personage who has been accepted by uniform tradition
as the chief who led the Israelites out of Egypt, and as the great
legislator who laid the foundations of the religious and civil
institutions of the peculiar people. And if the passage from
Manetho is correctly quoted by Josephus, and was really taken from
contemporary Egyptian annals, and is not a later version of the
account in the Pentateuch modified to suit Egyptian prejudices,
Moses is clearly identified with Osarsiph the priest of Hieropolis,
who abandoned the worship of the old gods, and headed the revolt of
the unclean people, which probably meant the heretics. It may be
conjectured that this may have had some connection with the great
religious revolution of the heretic king of Tel-el-Amarna, which
for a time displaced the national gods, worshipped in the form of
sacred animals and symbolic statues, by an approach to Monotheism
under the image of the winged solar disc. Such a reform must have
had many adherents to have survived as the State religion for two or
three reigns, and must have left a large number of so-called heretics
when the nation returned to its ancient faith; and it is quite
intelligible that some of the more enlightened priests should have
assimilated to it the doctrine of one Supreme God, which was always
at the bottom of the religious metaphysics of the earliest ages in
Egypt, and was probably preserved as an esoteric doctrine in the
priestly colleges. This, however, must remain purely a conjecture,
and we must look for anything specific in regard to Moses exclusively
to the Old Testament.

And here we are at once assailed by formidable difficulties. As
long as we confine ourselves to general views it may be accepted as
historical that the Israelites really came out of Egypt under a great
leader and legislator; but when we come to details, and to the events
connected with Moses, and to a great extent supposed to have been
written by him or taken from his journals, they are for the most part
more wildly and hopelessly impossible than anything related of the
earlier patriarchs, Abraham and Joseph. The story of his preservation
in infancy is a variation of the myth common to so many nations, of
an infant hero or god, whose life is sought by a wicked king, and who
is miraculously saved. We find it in the myths of Khrishna, Buddha,
Cyrus, Romulus, and others, and in the inscription by Sargon I. of
Accade on his own tablet; he states himself to have been saved in an
ark floated on the river Euphrates, just as Moses was on the Nile.
When grown up he is represented first as the adopted son of Pharaoh's
daughter, and then as a shepherd in the wilderness of Midian talking
with the Lord in a fiery bush, who for the first time communicates
his real name of Jehovah, which he says was not known to Abraham,
Isaac, or Jacob, although constantly used by them, and although men
began to call him by that name in the time of Enos, Adam's grandson.
At Jehovah's command Moses throws his rod on the ground, when it
becomes a serpent from which he flies, and when he takes it up by
the tail it becomes a rod again; and as a farther sign his hand is
changed from sound to leprous as white as snow, and back again to
sound, in a minute or two of time.

On returning to Egypt Moses is represented as going ten times into
the presence of Pharaoh demanding of him to let the Hebrews depart,
and inflicting on Egypt a succession of plagues, each one more than
sufficient to have convinced the king of the futility of opposing
such supernatural powers, and to have made him only too anxious to
get rid of the Hebrews from the land at any price. What could have
been the condition of Egypt, if for seven days "the streams, the
rivers, the ponds and pools, and even the water in the vessels of
wood and of stone, through all the land of Egypt," had been really
turned into blood? And what sort of magicians must they have been who
could do the same with their enchantments?

The whole account of these plagues has distinctly the air of being
an historical romance rather than real history. Those repeated
interviews accompanied by taunts and reproaches of Moses, the
representative of an oppressed race of slaves, in the august presence
of a Pharaoh who, like the Inca of Peru or the Mikado of Japan,
was half monarch and half deity, are totally inconsistent with all
we know of Egyptian usage. The son and successor of the splendid
Ramses II., who has been called the Louis XIV. of Egyptian history,
would certainly, after the first interview and miracle, either have
recognized the supernatural power which it was useless to resist,
or ordered Moses to instant execution. It is remarkable also how
the series of plagues reproduce the natural features of the Egyptian
seasons. Recent travellers tell us how at the end of the dry season
when the Nile is at its lowest, and the adjacent plains are arid
and lifeless, suddenly one morning at sunrise they see the river
apparently turned into blood. It is the phenomenon of the red Nile,
which is caused by the first flush of the Abyssinian flood, coming
from banks of red marl. After a few days the real rise commences, the
Nile resumes its usual colour, percolates through its banks, fills
the tanks and ponds, and finally overflows and saturates the dusty
plains. The first signal of the renewal of life is the croaking of
innumerable frogs, and soon the plains are alive with flies, gnats,
and all manner of creeping and hopping insects, as if the dust had
been turned into lice. Then after the inundation subsides come the
other plagues which in the summer and autumn seasons frequently
afflict the young crops and the inhabitants--local hail-storms,
locusts, murrain among the cattle, boils and other sicknesses while
the stagnant waters are drying up. It reads like what some Rider
Haggard of the Court of Solomon might have written in working up the
tales of travellers and old popular traditions into an historical
romance of the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.

When we come to the Exodus the impossibilities of the narrative
are even more obvious. The robust common-sense of Bishop Colenso,
sharpened by a mathematical education, has reduced many of these to
the convincing test of arithmetic. The host of Israelites who left
Egypt is said to have comprised 603,550 fighting men above the age
of twenty; exclusive of the Levites and of a mixed multitude who
followed. This implies a total population of at least 2,500,000,
who are said to have wandered about for forty years in the desert
of Sinai, one of the most arid wildernesses in the world, destitute
alike of water, arable soil, and pasture, and where a Bedouin tribe
of even 600 souls would find it difficult to exist. They are said
to have been miraculously fed during these forty years on manna, a
sweetish, gummy exudation from the scanty foliage of certain prickly
desert plants, which is described as being "as small as the hoar
frost," and as being so imbued with Sabbatarian principles, as to
keep fresh only for the day it is gathered during the week, but for
two days if gathered on a Friday, so as to prevent the necessity of
doing any work on the Sabbath.

Bishop Colenso points out with irresistible force the obvious
impossibilities in regard to food, water, fuel, sanitation,
transport, and other matters, which was involved in the supposition
that a population, half as large as that of London, wandered about
under tents from camp to camp for forty years in a desert. No attempt
has ever been made to refute him, except by vague suppositions
that the deserts of Sinai and Arabia may then have been in a very
different condition, and capable of supporting a large population.
But this is impossible in the present geological age and under
existing geographical conditions. These deserts form part of the
great rainless zone of the earth between the north tropical and south
temperate zones, where cultivation is only possible when the means
of irrigation are afforded by lakes, rivers, or melting snow. But
there are none of these in the deserts of Sinai and Northern Arabia,
and therefore no water and no vegetation sufficient to support any
population. No army has ever invaded Egypt from Asia, or Asia
from Egypt, except by the short route adjoining the Mediterranean
between Pelusium and Jaffa, and with the command of the sea and
assistance of trains to carry supplies and water. And the account
in Exodus itself confirms this, for both food and water are stated
to have been supplied miraculously, and there is no mention made of
anything but the present arid and uninhabited desert in the various
encampments and marches. In fact, the Bible constantly dwells on the
inhospitable character of the "howling wilderness," where there was
neither grass nor water. Accordingly reconcilers have been reduced
to the supposition that ciphers may have been added by copyists, and
that the real number may have been 6000, or even, as some writers
think, 600. But this is inconsistent with the detailed numeration
by twelve separate tribes, which works out to the same figure of
603,550 fighting men for the total number. Nor is it consistent with
the undoubted fact that the Hebrews did evacuate Egypt in sufficient
numbers and sufficiently armed to burst through the frontiers,
and capture the walled cities of considerable nations like the
Amorites and Canaanites, who had been long settled in the country.
The narrative of Manetho, quoted by Josephus, seems much more like
real history; that the Hebrews formed part of an army, which, after
having held Lower Egypt for thirteen years, was finally defeated,
and retreated by the usual military route across the short part of
the desert from Pelusium to Palestine, the Hebrews, for some reason,
branching off, and taking to a Bedouin life on the outskirts of
the desert and cultivated land, just as many Bedouin tribes live a
semi-nomad life in the same regions at the present day.

Apart from statistics, however, the Books of the Pentateuch
ascribed to Moses are full of the most flagrant contradictions and
absurdities. It is evident that, instead of being the production of
some one contemporary writer, they have been compiled and edited,
probably many times over, by what I have called the "scissors and
paste method," of clipping out extracts from old documents and
traditions, and piecing them together in juxtaposition or succession,
without regard to their being contradictory or repetitions.

Thus in Exodus xxxiii. 20, God says to Moses: "Thou canst not see
my face and live; for there shall no man see me and live"; and
accordingly he shows Moses only his "back parts"; while in ver. 11 in
the very same chapter we read, "And the Lord spoke unto Moses face
to face, as a man speaketh unto a friend." Again in Exodus xxiv.
the Lord says to Moses, "that he alone shall come near the Lord"
(ver. 2), while in vers. 9--11 of the same chapter, we are told
that "Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of
Israel went up; and they saw the God of Israel, and there was under
his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone," and although
they saw God, were none the worse for it, but survived and "did eat
and drink." Is it possible to believe that these excessively crude
representations of the Deity, and these flagrant inconsistencies,
were all written at the same time, by the same hand, and that the
hand of a man who, if not a holy inspired prophet, was at any rate
an educated and learned ex-priest of Hieropolis, skilled in all the
knowledge of the Egyptians?

The contradictions in the ideas and precepts of morality and religion
are even more startling. These oscillate between the two extremes of
the conception of the later prophets of a one Supreme God, who loves
justice and mercy better than sacrifice, and that of a ferocious
and vindictive tribal god, whose appetite for human blood is as
insatiable as that of the war-god of the Mexicans. Thus we have, on
the one hand, the commandment, "Thou shalt do no murder," and on the
other, the injunction to commit indiscriminate massacres. A single
instance may suffice. The "Book of the Law of Moses" is quoted in 2
Kings xiv. as saying, "The fathers shall not be put to death for the
children, nor the children for the fathers; but every man shall be
put to death for his own sin." In Numbers xxxi., Moses, the "meekest
of mankind," is represented as extremely wroth with the captains
who, having warred against Midian at the Lord's command, had only
slaughtered the males, and taken the women of Midian and their little
ones captives; and he commands them to "kill every male among the
little ones, and every woman that hath known man by lying with him;
but all the women children that have not known man by lying with him,
keep alive for yourselves."

These Midianites, be it remembered, being the people whose high
priest Jethro had hospitably received Moses when he fled for his
life from Egypt, and gave him his daughter as a wife, by whom he had
children who were half Midianites, so that if the zealous Phinehas
was right in slaying the Hebrew who had married a Midianite woman,
Moses himself deserved the same fate.

The same injunction of indiscriminate massacre in order to escape
the jealous wrath of an offended Jehovah is repeated, over and
over again, in Joshua and Judges, and even as late as after the
foundation of the Monarchy, we find Samuel telling Saul in the
name of the Lord of Hosts, to "go and smite Amalek, and utterly
destroy them, slaying both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox
and sheep, camel and ass," and denouncing Saul, and hewing Agag in
pieces before the Lord, because this savage injunction had not been
literally obeyed. Even under David, the man after the Lord's own
heart, we find him torturing to death the prisoners taken at the fall
of Rabbah, and giving up seven of the sons of Saul to the Gibeonites
to be sacrificed before the Lord as human victims. It is one of
the strangest contradictions of human nature that such atrocious
violations of the moral sense should have been received for so many
centuries as a divine revelation, rather than as instances of what
may be more appropriately called "devil worship."

Nor is it a less singular proof of the power of cherished
prepossessions that such a medley of the sublime religious ideas and
lofty poetry of the prophetic ages, with such a mass of puerile and
absurd legends, such obvious contradictions, and such a number of
passages obviously dating from a later period, should be received by
many men of intelligence, even to the present day, as the work of a
single contemporary writer, the inspired prophet Moses.

When we pass from the Pentateuch to the succeeding Books of Joshua
and of Judges the same remarks apply. The falling of the walls of
Jericho at the sound of the trumpet, and the defeat of an army of
135,000 men of Midian and Amalek with a slaughter of 120,000, by 300
men under Gideon, armed with pitchers and trumpets, are on a par with
the wandering of 2,500,000 Israelites in the desert for forty years,
fed with manna of the size of hoar-frost. The moral atmosphere also
continues to be that of Red Indians down to the time of David, for
we read of nothing but murders and massacres, sometimes of other
races, sometimes of one tribe by another; while the actions selected
for special commendation are like those of Jael, who drove a nail
into the head of the sleeping fugitive whom she had invited into her
tent; or of Jephthah, who sacrificed his daughter as an offering to
the Lord in obedience to a vow. This barbarous state of manners is
confirmed by Flinders Petrie's discoveries at the supposed site of
Lachish, which show the ruins of a walled city of the Amorites, built
upon by the mud hovels of a race as rude as the rudest Bedouins who
now wander on the edge of the Arabian desert.

The only safe conclusion seems to be that authentic annals of Jewish
history only begin with the Monarchy, and that everything prior to
David and Solomon, or possibly Saul and Samuel, consists of myth,
legend, and oral tradition, so inextricably blended, and so mixed up
with successive later additions, as to give no certain information as
to events or dates.

All that it is safe to assume is, that in a general way the Hebrews
were originally a Semitic tribe who migrated from Chaldæa into
Palestine and thence into Egypt, where they remained for an uncertain
time and were oppressed by the national dynasty which expelled the
Hyksos; that they left Egypt probably in the reign of Menepthah, and
as a consequence of the rebellion recorded by Manetho; that they then
lived for an unknown time as wandering Bedouins on the frontier of
Palestine in a state of very rude barbarism; and finally burst in
like a horde of Aztecs on the older and more civilized Toltecs of
Mexico. For a long period after this, perhaps for 200 or 300 years,
they lived in a state of chronic warfare with one another, and with
their neighbours, massacring and being massacred with the alternate
vicissitudes of war, but with the same rudeness and ferocity of
superstitions and manners. Gradually, however, they advanced in
civilization, and something of a national feeling arose, which led to
a partial consolidation under priests, and a more complete one under

The first king, Saul, was opposed by priestly influence and defeated
and slain in battle, but a captain of condottieri, David, arose,
a man of great energy and military genius, who gradually formed a
standing army and conquered province after province, until at his
death he left to his successor, Solomon, an empire extending from the
frontier of Egypt to Damascus, and from the Red Sea almost to the

This kingdom commanded two of the great commercial routes between
the East and West, the caravan route between Tyre and Babylon, _viâ_
Damascus and Tadmor, and the route from Tyre to the terminus at
Ezion-Gebir, of the sea-routes to Arabia, Africa, and India. Solomon
entered into close commercial relations with Tyre, and during his
long and splendid reign, Jerusalem blossomed rapidly into a wealthy
and a cultured city, and the surrounding cities and districts shared
in the general prosperity. The greatness of the kingdom did not
last long, for the revolt of the ten tribes and the growth of other
powers soon reduced Judæa and Samaria to political insignificance;
but Jerusalem, down to the time of its final destruction by
Nebuchadnezzar, _i.e._ for a period of some 400 years after Solomon,
never seems to have lost its character of a considerable and
civilized city. It is evident from the later prophets that it was
the seat of a good deal of wealth and luxury, for their invectives
are, to a great extent, what we should call at the present day,
Socialist denunciations of the oppression of the poor by the rich,
land-grabbing by the powerful, and extravagance of dress by the
ladies of fashion. There were hereditary nobles, organized colleges
of priests and scribes, and no doubt there was a certain amount of
intellectual life and literary activity. But of a sacred book there
is no trace until the discovery of one in the Temple in the reign of
Josiah; and the peculiar tenets of modern Judaism had no real hold
on the mass of the people until after the return from Exile and the
reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah.

The history, therefore, contained in the Old Testament is
comparatively modern. There is nothing which can be relied on as
authentic in regard to events and dates prior to the establishment
of the Monarchy, and even the wildest myths and the most impossible
legends do not carry us back within 2000 years of the time when we
have genuine historical annals attested by monuments both in Egypt
and Chaldæa.





   Proved by Contemporary Monuments--As in History--Summary
   of Historical Evidence--Geological Evidence of
   Human Periods--Neolithic Period--Palæolithic or
   Quaternary--Tertiary--Secondary and Older Periods--The
   Recent or Post-Glacial Period--Lake-Villages--Bronze
   Age--Kitchen-Middens--Scandinavian Peat-mosses--Neolithic
   Remains comparatively Modern--Definition of Post-Glacial
   Period--Its Duration--Mellard Read's Estimate--Submerged
   Forests--Changes in Physical Geography--Huxley--Objections from
   America--Niagara--Quaternary Period--Immense Antiquity--Presence
   of Man throughout--First Glacial Period--Scandinavian
   and Laurentian Ice-caps--Immense Extent--Mass of
   _Débris_--Elevation and Depression--In Britain--Inter-Glacial
   and Second Glacial Periods--Antiquity measured by Changes of
   Land--Lyell's Estimate--Glacial _Débris_ and Loess--Recent
   Erosion--Bournemouth--Evans--Prestwich--Wealden Ridge and
   Southern Drift--Contain Human Implements--Evidence from New

We have now to take leave of historical records and fall back on the
exact sciences for further traces of human origins. Our guides are
still contemporary records, but these are no longer stately tombs
and temples, massive pyramids and written inscriptions. Instead
of these we have flint implements, incised bones, and a few rare
specimens of human skulls and skeletons, the meaning of which has to
be deciphered by skilled experts in their respective departments of

Still these records tell their tale as conclusively as any
hieroglyphic or cuneiform writings in Egyptian manuscripts or on
Babylonian cylinders. The celt, the knife, the lance and arrow-heads,
and other weapons and implements, can be traced in an uninterrupted
progressive series from the oldest and rudest palæolithic specimens,
up to the highly-finished ones of polished stone, and through these
into the age of metals, and into historic times and the actual
implements of existing savage races. It is impossible to doubt that
one of the palæolithic celts from St. Acheul or St. Prest is as truly
a work of the human hand, guided by human intelligence, as a modern
axe; and that an arrow-head from Moustier or Kent's Cavern is no more
an elf-bolt, or a _lusus naturæ_, than is a Winchester rifle.

Before entering on this new line of investigation, it may be well to
sum up briefly the evidence as to the starting-point from history and
tradition. The commencement of the strictly historical period takes
us back certainly for 6000 and in all probability for 7000 years in
Egypt, and certainly for 5000 and probably for 6000 or 7000 years in
Chaldæa. In each case we find populous cities, important temples and
public works, writing and other advanced arts and industries, and all
the signs of an old civilization already existing. Other nations also
evidently then existed with whom these ancient empires had relations
of war and of commerce, though the annals of even the oldest of them,
such as China, do not carry us back further than from 4000 to 5000

Traditions do not add much to our information from monuments, and
fade rapidly away into myths and legends. The oldest and most
authentic, those of Egypt, simply confirm the inference of great
antiquity for its civilization prior to Menes, but give no clue as
to its origin. They neither trace it up to the stone age, which we
know existed in the valley of the Nile, nor refer it to any foreign
source. The Egyptian people thought themselves autochthonous, and
attributed their arts, industries, and sciences to the inventions
of native gods, or demi-gods, who reigned like mortal kings, in a
remote and fabulous antiquity. We can gather nothing therefore from
tradition that would enable us to add even 1000 years with certainty
to the date of Menes; while from the high state of civilization
which had been evolved prior to his accession, from the primitive
conditions of the stone period whose remains are found at Cairo and
Thebes, we might fairly add 10,000 or 20,000 years to his date of
5004 years _B.C._, as a matter of probable conjecture for the first
dawn of historical civilization. In any case we shall be well within
the mark if we take 10,000 years as our first unit, or standard
of chronological measurement, with which to start in our further
researches, as we do with terrestrial standards in gauging the
distances of suns and stars.

It may be well also to supplement this statement of the historical
standard by a brief review of the previous geological periods through
which evidences of man's existence can be traced. Immediately behind
the historic age lies the recent period during which the existing
fauna and flora, climate and configuration of seas and lands, have
undergone no material change. It is characterized generally as the
neolithic period, in which we find polished stone superseding the
older and ruder forms of chipped stone, and passing itself into the
copper, bronze, and iron ages of early history. It may also be called
the recent or post-glacial period, for it coincides with the final
disappearance of the last great glaciation, and the establishment of
conditions of climate resembling those of the present day.

Behind this again comes the quaternary or pleistocene period, so
called from its fauna, which, although containing extinct species,
shows along with them many existing forms, some of which have
migrated and some remain. This also may be called the glacial period,
for although the commencement, termination, and different phases of
the two great glaciations and intermediate inter-glacial periods
cannot be exactly defined, and hard-and-fast lines drawn between the
later pliocene at one end and the post-glacial at the other, there
is no doubt that in a general way the quaternary and glacial periods
coincide, and that the changes of climate were to a considerable
extent the cause of the changes of flora and fauna.

Behind the quaternary comes in the tertiary, with its three great
divisions of Pliocene, Miocene, and Eocene, each containing numerous
subdivisions, and all showing a progressive advance in forms of
life, from older and more generalized types towards newer and more
specialized ones, and a constant approach towards genera and species
now existing. Behind the tertiary comes the secondary period, into
which it is unnecessary to enter for the present purpose, for all
is different, and even mammalian life is only known to be present
in a few forms of small and feeble marsupials. Nor is it necessary
to enter on any detailed consideration of the Eocene or earlier
tertiary, for the types of mammalian life are so different from those
of later periods, that it cannot be supposed that any animal so
highly organized as man had then come into existence. The utmost we
can suppose is that, as in the case of the horse, some ancestral form
from which the quadrumana and man may possibly have been developed
may be found. But up to the present time nothing has been found
in the Eocene more nearly approaching such a missing link than an
ancient form of lemur; and it is not until we get into the Miocene
that any evidence presents itself that man, or some near ancestor of
man, may possibly have existed.[8]

  [8] Since this was written the scientific world has been startled
  by the discovery announced by Professor Ameghino in the lower
  tertiary, supposed to be Eocene, of Patagonia, of numerous small
  monkeys of the American type of cebidæ, affording evidence of
  the existence of anthropoid primates at this extremely early
  date.--Lydekker in _Natural Science_ for April 1892. He adds,
  "Perhaps still more noteworthy are the signs of affinity
  exhibited by these early primates to the extinct South American
  protopytheridæ. The latter are clearly related to the aberrant
  ungulate typotherium of the South American tertiaries, which
  appears to be allied on the one hand to the extinct toxodon, and
  on the other to the rodents. If substantiated, such an unexpected
  relationship as that of the American primates to the toxodonts
  will materially modify some of our present views as to the mutual
  relationships of mammals." And I may add, throw a flood of light
  on the question of the "Missing Link," and the development of man
  and the quadrumana from a common ancestral type.

My present object being not to write a book on geology, but on
human origins, I shall not attempt to trace back the geological
evidence beyond the Miocene, or to enter on any details of the later
periods, except so far as they bear on what may be called geological
chronology, _i.e._ on the probable dates which may be assigned to the
first appearance and subsequent evolution of the human race going
back from historical times.

Beginning with the recent or post-glacial period, the Swiss and
Italian lake-villages supply clear evidence of the progress of man
in Western Europe through the neolithic into the historical period.
They afford us an unbroken series of substantially the same state of
society, existing down to the time of the Romans, for a great many
centuries back of communities living in lake-villages built upon
piles, like the villages in Thrace described by Herodotus, or those
of the present day in New Guinea. Some of these have been occupied
continuously, so that the _débris_ of different ages are stored in
consecutive order like geological strata, and afford an unerring
test of their relative antiquity. It is clear that many of those
lake-villages were founded in the age of stone, and passed through
that of bronze into the age of iron. The oldest settlements belong to
the neolithic age, and contain polished stone implements and pottery,
but they show a state of civilization not yet very far advanced.
The inhabitants were only just emerging from the hunting into the
pastoral stage. They lived principally on the produce of the chase,
the bones of the stag and wild boar being very plentiful, while those
of ox and sheep are rare. Agriculture and the cereals seem to have
been unknown, though stores of acorns and hazel nuts were found which
had been roasted for food.

By degrees the bones of wild animals become scarce, and those of ox
and sheep common, showing that the pastoral stage had been reached;
and the goat, pig, and horse were added to the list of domestic
animals--the dog being included from the first, and the horse only at
a later period. Agriculture follows next in order, and considerable
proficiency was attained, barley and wheat being staple articles of
food, and apples, pears, and other fruit being stored for winter
consumption. Flax also was grown, and the arts of spinning and
weaving were introduced, so that clothing, instead of being confined
to skins, was made of coarse linen and woollen stuffs.

The most important advance, however, in the arts of civilization is
afforded by the introduction of metals. These begin to appear about
the middle of the neolithic period, at first very sparingly, and
in a few districts such as Spain, Upper Italy, and Hungary, where
native copper was found and was hammered into shapes modelled on the
old stone implements; but as a general rule, and in all the later
settlements, bronze, in new and improved shapes, supersedes stone
and copper. For the most part these bronze implements seem to have
been obtained by foreign commerce from the Phoenicians, Etruscans,
and other nations bordering on the Mediterranean, though in some
cases they were cast on the spot from native or imported ores. The
existence of bronze, however, must go back to a far greater antiquity
than the time when the neolithic people of Europe obtained their
first supplies from Phoenician traders. Bronze, as we have seen in a
former chapter, is an alloy of two metals, copper and tin, and the
hardest and most serviceable alloy is only to be obtained by mixing
the two in a certain definite proportion. Now it is to be noted, that
nearly all the prehistoric bronze found in Europe is an alloy in this
definite proportion. Clearly all this bronze, or the art of making
it, must have originated from some common centre.

All this, however, is very conjectural, and all that can be concluded
from it is, that any indications as to the antiquity of man derived
from the bronze age as known to us in Europe, hardly carry us back
to dates as remote as those furnished by the monuments of Egypt
and Chaldæa. Indeed, there are no facts certainly known to us from
remains of the bronze age in Europe that imply a greater antiquity
than 1500 or possibly 2000 years B.C., a date at which bronze had
undoubtedly been already known in Egypt and the East for many

The neolithic period which preceded that of metals is of longer
duration, but still comparatively recent. Attempts have been made
to measure it by a sort of natural chronometer in the case of the
lake-villages, by comparing the amount of silting up since the
villages were built with the known rate of silting up since Roman
times. The calculations vary very much, and can only be taken as
approximative; but the oldest dates assigned do not exceed 5000
B.C., and most of them are not more than 2000 or 3000 B.C. It must
be remembered however that the foundation of a lake-village on piles
implies a long antecedent neolithic period, to have arrived at a
stage of civilization which made the construction of such villages

This civilization coincides wonderfully with that of the primitive
Aryans as shown by linguistic palæontology. The discussion as to
the origin of the Aryans has thrown a great deal of light on this
question, and has gone far to dispel the old notion that they
radiated from some centre in Asia, and overran Europe in successive
waves. On the contrary, all the evidence and all the best authorities
point to their having occupied, when we first get traces of them,
pretty much the same districts of the great plain of Northern Europe
and Southern Russia as we now find them in, and developed there their
distinct dialects and nationalities; while the words common to all or
nearly all the Aryan families point to their having been pastoral
nomads, in a state of civilization very like that of the earlier
lake-villagers, before this separation took place.

The Scandinavian kitchen-middens, or shell-mounds, carry us further
back into this early neolithic period. The shell-mounds which
are found in great numbers along the Baltic shore of Denmark are
often of great size. They are formed of an accumulation of shells
of oysters, mussels, and other shell-fish, bones of wild animals,
birds, and fish, all of existing species, with numerous implements of
flint or bone, and occasional fragments of coarse pottery. They are
decidedly more archaic than the lake-dwellings, showing a much ruder
civilization of savages living like the Fuegians of the present day,
in scanty tribes on the sea-shore, supported mainly by shell-fish,
supplemented by the chase of wild animals.

The dog was their only domestic animal, and their only arts the
fabrication of rude pottery and implements of stone and bone, unless
it can be inferred from the occasional presence of bones of cod and
other deep-sea fish, that they possessed some form of boat or canoe,
and had hooks and lines or nets. These mounds must have taken an
enormous time to accumulate, for they are very numerous, and often
of great bulk, some of them being 1000 feet long, 200 feet wide, and
ten feet thick. How long such masses must have taken to accumulate
must be apparent when we consider that the state of civilization
implies a very scanty population. It has been calculated that if the
neolithic population of Denmark required as many square miles for
its support as the similar existing populations of Greenland and
Patagonia, their total number could not have exceeded 1000, and
each mound must have been the accumulation of perhaps two or three
families. Ancient, however, as these mounds must be, they are clearly
neolithic. They are sharply distinguished from the far older remains
of the palæolithic period by the knowledge, however rude, of pottery
and polished stone, and still more by the fauna, which is entirely
recent, and from which the extinct animals of the quaternary period
have disappeared; while the position of the mounds shows that only
slight geological changes, such as are now going on, have occurred
since they were accumulated. Similar mounds, on even a larger scale,
occur on the sea-coasts of various districts in Europe and America,
but they afford no indication of their date beyond that of great

The peat-mosses of Denmark have been appealed to as affording
something like a conjectural date for the early neolithic period
in that country. These are formed in hollows of the glacial drift,
which have been small lakes or ponds in the midst of forests, into
which trees have fallen, and which have become gradually converted
into peat by the growth of marsh plants. It is clearly established
that there have been three successive ages of forest growth, the
upper one of beech, below it one of oak, and lowest of all one of
fir. The implements and relics found in the beech stratum are all
modern, those in the oak stratum are of the later neolithic and
bronze ages, and those in the lowest, or fir-horizon, are earlier and
ruder neolithic, resembling those found in the older lake-villages
and shell-mounds. Now beech has been the characteristic forest tree
of Denmark certainly since the Roman period, or for 2000 years, and
no one can say for how much longer. If the speculations as to the
origin of the Aryan race in Northern Europe are correct, it must have
been for very much longer, as the word for beech is common to so
many of the dialects into which the primitive Aryan language became
divided. The stages of oaks and firs must equally have been of long
duration, and the different stages could only have been brought about
by slow secular variations of climate during the post-glacial period.
Still this affords no reliable information as to specific dates, and
we can only take Steenstrup's calculation of from 4000 to 16,000
years for the formation of some of these peat-bogs as a very vague
estimate, and this only carries us back to a time when Egypt and
Chaldæa must have been already densely peopled, and far advanced in

On the whole, it seems that the neolithic arrow-heads found in
Egypt, and the fragments of pottery brought up by borings through
the deposits of the Nile, are the oldest certain human relics of the
neolithic age which have yet been discovered, and these do not carry
us back further than a possible date of 15,000 or 20,000 years B.C.

Nor is there any certainty that any of the neolithic remains found
in the newer deposits of rivers and the upper strata of caves go
further, or even so far back as these relics of an Egyptian stone
period. All that the evidence really shows is, that while the
neolithic period must have lasted for a long time as compared with
historical standards, its duration is almost infinitesimally small
as compared with that of the preceding palæolithic period. Thus in
Kent's Cavern neolithic remains are only found in a small surface
layer of black earth from three to twelve inches thick; while below
this, palæolithic implements and a quaternary fauna occur in an
upper stalagmite one to three feet thick, below it in red cave earth
five to six feet thick; then in a lower stalagmite in places ten or
twelve feet thick, and below it again in a breccia three or four feet
thick. This is confirmed by the evidence of all the caves explored in
all parts of the world, which uniformly show any neolithic remains
confined to a superficial layer of a few inches with many feet of
palæolithic strata below them. And river-drifts in the same manner
show neolithic remains confined to the alluvia and peat-beds of
existing streams, while palæolithic remains occur during the whole
series of deposits while these rivers were excavating their present
valleys. If we say feet for inches, or twelve for one, we shall be
well within the mark in estimating the comparative duration of the
palæolithic and neolithic periods, as measured by the thickness
of their deposits in caves and river-drifts; and as we shall see
hereafter, other geological evidence from elevations and depressions,
denudations and depositions, point to even a higher figure.

In going back from the neolithic into the palæolithic period, we
are confronted by the difficulty to which I have already referred,
of there being no hard-and-fast lines by which geological eras are
clearly separated from one another. Zoologically there seems to be
a very decided break between the recent and the quaternary. The
instances are rare and doubtful in which we can see any trace of the
remains of palæolithic man, and of the fauna of extinct animals,
passing gradually into those of neolithic and recent times. But
geologically there is no such abrupt break. We cannot draw a line
at the culmination of the last great glaciation and say, here the
glacial period ends and the post-glacial begins. Nor can we say of
any definite period or horizon, this is glacial and this recent.

A great number of palæolithic remains and of quaternary fossils are
undoubtedly post-glacial in the sense of being found in deposits
which have accumulated since the last great glaciers and ice-caps
began to retreat. Existing valleys have been excavated to a great
extent since the present rivers, swollen by the melting snows and
torrential rains of this period of the latest glacial retreat,
superseded old lines of drainage, and began to wear down the surface
of the earth into its present aspect. This phase is more properly
included in the term glacial, for both the coming on and the
disappearance of the periods of intense cold are as much part of the
phenomenon as their _maximum_ culmination, and very probably occupied
much longer intervals of time. In like manner, we cannot positively
say when this post-glacial period ended and the recent began. Not, I
should say, until the exceptional effects of the last great glacial
period had finally disappeared, and the climate, geographical
conditions, and fauna had assumed nearly or entirely the modern
conditions in which we find them at the commencement of history.
And this may have been different in different countries, for local
conditions might make the glacial period commence sooner and continue
later in some districts than in others. Thus in North America, where
the glaciation was more intense, and the ice-cap extended some ten
degrees further south than in Europe, it might well be that it was
later in retreating and disappearing. The elevation of the Laurentian
highlands into the region of perpetual snow was evidently one main
factor of the American ice-cap, just as that of Scandinavia was of
that of Europe, and it by no means follows that their depression
was simultaneous. It would be unwise, for instance, to take the time
occupied in cutting back the Niagara gorge by a river which only
began to run at some stage of the post-glacial period, as an absolute
test of the duration of that period all over the world. Indeed, the
glacial period cannot be said to have ended and the post-glacial
begun at the present day in Greenland, if the disappearance of the
ice-cap over very extensive regions is to be taken as the test.

Any approximation to the duration of the post-glacial period in any
given locality can only be obtained by defining its commencement with
the first deposits which lie above the latest glacial drift, and
measuring the amount of work done since.

This has been done very carefully by the officers of the Geological
Survey and other eminent authorities in England and Scotland, and the
result clearly shows that since the last glaciation left the country
buried in a thick mantle of boulder-clay and drift, such an amount of
denudation, and such movements of elevation and depression have taken
place, as must have required a great lapse of time. The most complete
attempt at an estimate of this time is that made by Mr. Mellard Read
of the Geological Survey, from the changes proved to have occurred in
the Mersey valley.

In this case it is shown that the valley, almost in its present
dimensions, must have been first carved out of an uniform plain of
glacial drift and upper boulder-clay by sub-aërial denudation; then
that a depression let the sea into the valley and accumulated a
series of estuarine clays and silts; then an elevation raised the
whole into a plain on which grew an extensive forest of oak rooted
in the clays; this again must have subsided and let in the sea for a
second time, which must have remained long enough to leave a large
estuarine deposit, and finally the whole must have been raised to
the present level before historical times. The phenomenon of the
submerged forest is a very general one, being traced along almost all
the sea-coasts of Western Europe, where shelving shores and sheltered
bays favour the preservation of patches of this primæval forest.
It testifies to a considerable amount of elevation and subsequent
depression, for its remains can be traced below low-water mark, and
are occasionally dredged up far out to sea, and stately oaks could
not have flourished unless more or less continental conditions had

It is evident that in this age of forests the German Ocean must
have been dry land, and the continent of Europe must have extended
beyond the Orkneys and Hebrides, probably to the hundred fathom
line. Such movements of elevation and depression, so far as we know
anything of them, are extremely slow. There has been no change in
the fords of rivers in Britain since Roman times, and the spit
connecting St. Michael's Mount with Cornwall was dry at ebb and
covered at flood as at the present day, when the British carted
their tin across it to trade with the Phoenicians 2500 years ago.
Mr. Read goes into elaborate calculations based on the time required
for these geological changes, and arrives at the conclusion that
they point to a date of not less than 50,000 or 60,000 years ago
for the commencement of the post-glacial period. These calculations
are disputed, but it seems certain that several multiples of the
historical standard of say 10,000 years, must be required to
measure the period since the glacial age finally disappeared,
and the earth, with its existing fauna, climate, and geographical
conditions, came fairly into view. This is confirmed by the great
changes which have taken place in the distribution of land and
water since the quaternary period. Huxley, in an article on the
Aryan question, points out that in recent times four great separate
bodies of water--the Black Sea, the Caspian, the Sea of Aral, and
Lake Balkash--occupied the southern end of the vast plains which
extend from the Arctic Sea to the highlands of the Balkan peninsula,
of Asia Minor, of Persia and Afghanistan, and of the high plateaux
of Central Asia, as far as the Altai. But he says, "This state of
things is comparatively modern. At no very distant period the land
of Asia Minor was continuous with that of Europe, across the present
site of the Bosphorus, forming a barrier several hundred feet high,
which dammed up the waters of the Black Sea. A vast extent of Eastern
Europe and of west-central Asia thus became one vast Ponto-Aralian
Mediterranean, into which the largest rivers of Europe and Asia,
the Danube, Volga, Oxus, and Jaxartes, discharged their waters, and
which sent its overflow northwards through the present basin of the
Obi." The time necessary for such changes goes far to confirm Mellard
Read's estimate for the long duration of the recent or post-glacial

In fact, all the evidence from the Old World goes to confirm the
long duration of the post-glacial period, and the immensely greater
antiquity of the glacial period taken as a whole. It is only from
the New World that any serious arguments are forthcoming to abridge
those periods, or rather the post-glacial period, for that alone is
affected by the facts adduced. It is said that recent measurements
of the recession of the Falls of Niagara show, that instead of
requiring 35,000 years, as estimated by Lyell, to cut back the gorge
of seven miles from Kingston to the Falls, 10,000 years at the
outside would have been amply sufficient; and that this is confirmed
by the gorges of other rivers, such as that of the Mississippi at St.
Paul's. The evidence is not conclusive, for it depends on the rate
of erosion going on for the last twenty or thirty years, which may
obviously give a different result from the true average, and in fact
older estimates, based on longer periods, gave the rate adopted by
Lyell. But if we admit the accuracy of the modern estimates, it does
not affect the total duration of the glacial period, but simply that
of a late phase of the post-glacial, when the ice-cap which covered
North America to a depth often of 2000 or 3000 feet, had melted away
and shrunk back 400 miles from its original southern boundary, so as
to admit of the waters of the great lakes finding an outlet to the
north-east instead of by the old drainage to the south. Nothing is
more likely than that, as the great Laurentian ice-cap of America was
deeper and extended further than the Scandinavian ice-cap of Europe,
it may have taken longer to melt the larger accumulation of ice,
and thus postponed the establishment of post-glacial conditions and
river-drainage to a later period than in the warmer and more insular
climate of Europe. It is a matter of everyday observation, that the
larger a snowball is the longer it takes to melt, and that when the
mass is large it requires a long time to make it disappear even after
mild weather has set in.

The only other argument for a short glacial period is drawn from the
rate of advance of the glaciers in Greenland, which is shown to be
much more rapid than that of the glaciers of Switzerland, from which
former calculations had been made. But obviously the rate at which
the fronts of glaciers advance when forced by a mass of continental
ice down fiords on a steep descending gradient, into a deep sea,
where the front is floated off in icebergs, affords no clue as to
that of an ice-cap spread, with a front of 1000 miles, over half a
continent, retarded by friction, and surmounting mountain chains 3000
feet high. Nor does the rate of advance afford the slightest clue
to the time during which the ice-cap may have remained stationary,
alternately advanced and retreated, and finally disappeared.[9]

  [9] The following is the latest pronouncement on the subject from
  a well-known American geologist:--

  "Students of the Ice Age will read with interest a paper by
  Mr. N. S. Shaler on the antiquity of the last glacial period,
  submitted to the Boston Society of Natural History, and printed
  in the latest instalment of the Society's Proceedings. Mr. Shaler
  differs decidedly from those geologists who suppose that the end
  of the glacial period is probably not very remote from our own
  day. One of the strongest of his arguments is derived from the
  distribution of the vegetation, which in America has regained
  possession, by migration, of the glaciated district. We must
  conceive, he points out, that as the ice retreated and gradually
  disappeared from the surface, a considerable time elapsed before
  existing forests attained their organization. He assumes as
  certain that the black walnut and the pignut hickory, between
  Western Minnesota and the Atlantic coast, have advanced, on the
  average, a distance of 400 miles north of the ancient ice front
  to which their ancestors were driven by the presence of the
  glacial sheet. For several reasons he believes that the northward
  progress of these forms must have been due mainly, not to the
  action of streams or tornadoes, but to the natural spread of the
  seed from the extremities of boughs, and to the carriage of the
  seed by rodents. But allowing for every conceivable method of
  transportation, he argues that a period of ten or even twenty
  thousand years is wholly inadequate to account for the present
  distribution of these large-seeded trees. If they occurred only
  sporadically in the northernmost part of the field they occupy,
  their implantation might be regarded as due to chance action. The
  fact, however, that they extend from the Atlantic to Minnesota
  indicates that the advance was accomplished by causes of a
  general and continuous nature."

We have now to adjust our time-telescope to a wider range, and see
what the Quaternary or glacial period teaches us as to the antiquity
of man. The first remark is, that if the post-glacial period is much
longer than that for which we have historical records, the glacial
exceeds the post-glacial in a far higher proportion. The second, that
throughout the whole of this glacial period, from its commencement
to its close, we have conclusive evidence of the existence of man,
and that not only in a few limited localities, but widely spread over
nearly all the habitable regions of the earth.

The first point has been so conclusively established by all
geologists of all countries, from the time of Lyell down to the
present day, that it is unnecessary to enter on any detailed
arguments, and the leading facts may be taken as established. It may
be sufficient, therefore, if I give a short summary of those facts,
and quote a few of the instances which show the enormous lapse of
time which must have elapsed between the close of the tertiary and
the commencement of the modern epoch.

The glacial period was not one and simple, but comprised several
phases. During the Pliocene the climate was gradually becoming
colder, and either towards its close or at the commencement of the
Quaternary, this culminated in a first and most intense glaciation.
Ice-caps radiating from Scandinavia crept outwards, filling up the
North Sea, crossing valleys and mountains, and covering with their
boulders and moraines a wide circle, embracing Britain down to the
Thames valley, Germany to the Hartz mountains, and Russia almost as
far east as the Urals. In North America a still more massive ice-cap
overflowed mountain ranges 3000 feet high, and covered the whole
eastern half of the continent with an unbroken mantle of ice as far
south as New York and Washington.

At the same time every great mountain chain and high plateau sent
out enormous glaciers, which, in the case of the Alps, filled up
the valley of the Rhone and the Lake of Geneva, buried the whole of
the lower country of Switzerland under 3000 feet of ice, and left
the boulders of its terminal moraine, carried from the Mont Blanc
range, at that height on the opposite range of the Jura. Nor is this
a solitary instance. We find everywhere traces of enormous glaciers
in the Pyrenees and Carpathians, the Atlas and Lebanon, the Taurus
and Caucasus, the highlands of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales; in the
Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada; the Andes and Cordilleras of South
America; in South Africa and in New Zealand. These may not have all
been simultaneous, but they certainly all belong to the same period
of the great glaciation, and show that it must have been affected by
some general cause, and not been entirely due to mere local accidents.

How this first great glacial period came on, or how long it lasted,
we do not know, unless Croll's astronomical theory, which will be
considered later, affords a clue. But we know generally that it must
have lasted for an immense time from the amount of work done and the
changes which took place. The ice, which covered so great a portion
of the northern hemisphere, was not a polar ice-cap, but spread
outwards in all directions from great masses of elevated land, as
is proved conclusively from the direction of the striæ which were
engraved by it on the subjacent rocks. This land must have been more
elevated than at present, so as to rise, like Greenland, far into
the region of perpetual snow, where all rain falls and accumulates
in the solid form; and also to supply the enormous mass of _débris_
which the ice-caps and glaciers left behind them. It is not too
much to say that a million of square miles in Europe, and more in
North America, were covered by the _débris_ of rocks ground down by
these glaciers, and often to great depths. Most of the _débris_ of
the first glaciation have been removed by denudation, or ploughed
out by the second great advance of the ice, leaving only the larger
and harder boulders to testify to their extent; but enough remains
to show that the first series of boulder-clays and drifts must have
been on a scale larger than those of the second and subsequent
glaciations, which now form the superficial stratum of so much of the
earth's surface, and often attain a depth of several hundred feet.
Wright, in his _Ice Age in North America_, estimates that "not less
than 1,000,000 square miles of territory in North America is still
covered with an average depth of fifty feet of glacial _débris_."

However, this first period of elevation and of intense glaciation
passed away, and was succeeded by one of depression and of milder
climate. Whether or no the depression was due, as some think, to
the weight of the enormous mass of ice weighing down the yielding
crust of the earth, and whether or no the milder climate was partly
occasioned by this depression letting in the sea, the fact is certain
that the two coincided, and were general and not merely local
phenomena. Marine shells at the top of what are now high hills, and
which during the preceding glaciation were probably higher, attest
the fact that a large amount of land must have sunk below the sea
towards the close of this first glacial period. It is equally clear
that a long inter-glacial period ensued, during which many changes
took place in the geographical conditions and in the fauna and flora,
requiring a very long time. Thus Britain, which had been reduced to
an Arctic Archipelago, in which only a few of the highest mountain
peaks emerged as frozen islands, became united to the continent, and
the abode of a fauna consisting in great part of African animals. At
one time boreal shells were deposited, at the bottom of an Arctic
ocean, on what is now the top of Moel-Tryfen in Wales, a hill 1300
feet above the present sea-level; while at another the hippopotamus
found its way, in some great river flowing from the south, as far
north as Yorkshire, and the remains of African animals such as the
hyena accumulated in our caves. In Southern France we had at one time
a vegetation of the Arctic willow and reindeer moss, at another that
of the fig-tree and canary-laurel. When we consider that little if
any change has occurred either in geographical conditions or in fauna
or flora, within the historical period of some 10,000 years, it is
difficult to assign the time which would be sufficient to bring about
such changes by any known natural causes. And yet it comprises only
a portion of the glacial period, for after this inter-glacial period
had lasted for an indefinite time the climate again became cold, and
culminated in a second glaciation, which, if not equal to the first,
was still of extreme severity, and brought back ice-caps and glaciers
almost to their former limits, passing away slowly and with several
vicissitudes and alternate retreats and advances.

It is not always easy to determine the position of each individual
phase of the two glacial and the inter-glacial periods, for they
must often be intermixed, and the results of the last glaciation and
of subsequent denudation have to a great extent obscured those of the
earlier periods. But taking a general view of the glacial period as
a whole, there are a few leading facts which testify conclusively to
its immense antiquity. First, there is the amount of elevation and
depression. We have seen that marine Arctic shells have been found
on the top of Moel-Tryfen, 1300 feet above the present sea-level.
Nor is this an isolated instance, for marine drifts apparently of
the same character have been traced on the mountains of Scotland,
Wales, and Ireland to a height of between 2000 and 3000 feet. In
Norway, also, old sea beaches are found up to a height of 800 feet.
Nor are these great movements confined to the Old World or to limited
localities. According to Professor Le Conte, at the last meeting of
the Geological Congress at Washington, a great continental movement,
commencing in the later tertiary and terminating in the beginning of
the quaternary, caused changes of level amounting to 2500 or 3000
feet on both sides of the continent of North America.

Now elevation and depression of large masses of land are, as far as
we know anything certain about them, very slow processes, especially
in countries unaffected by recent volcanic action, which is the
case with nearly all the regions in North America and Europe which
were covered by the great ice-sheets. There has been little or no
perceptible change anywhere since the commencement of history, and
the only accurate measurements of changes now going on are those
made in Sweden, where it appears that in some cases elevation, and
in others depression, is taking place at the rate of about two and
a half feet in a century. In volcanic regions earthquakes have
occasionally caused movements of greater amount in limited areas,
but there is no trace of anything of the sort in these movements of
the glacial period which have apparently gone on by slight secular
changes in the earth's crust as they are now doing in Scandinavia.

But in this case a depression of 2000 feet, followed by an elevation
of equal amount, at Lyell's rate of two and a half feet per century,
would require 160,000 years, without allowing for any pauses during
the process. And this only embraces part of the whole glacial period,
for the depression did not begin until after the climax of the
first great glaciation, when the land probably stood higher than at
present. Of course the actual movements may have been more rapid,
but unless we resort to the exploded theories of cataclysms and
catastrophes, the time for such movements must have been very great.

An equally conclusive proof of the immense antiquity of the glacial
period is afforded by the formation known as the loess, which fills
up so many of the valley systems of Europe, Asia, and America to
great depths, and spreads over the adjacent table-lands. It is a
tranquil land deposit of fine glacial mud, from sheets of water which
inundated the country when great rivers from glaciated districts
ran at higher levels, and began to excavate their present valleys.
Lyell estimates the thickness of this deposit in the Rhine valley at
800 feet, and it is found at much higher levels on upland plains.
Now this loess is not a marine or lacustrine deposit, as is proved
by the shells it contains, which are all of land species; nor is it
a deposit of running water, for there are no sands or gravels, but
distinctly such a deposit from tranquil sheets of muddy water as is
now accumulated in Egypt by the inundations of the Nile. When the
Rhine brought down such volumes of muddy water from the glaciers of
the Alps as to overflow the upland plains, it must have flowed at a
level many hundred feet higher than its present valley, which must
have been since scooped out by sub-aërial denudation. The rate of
deposition of the Nile mud is about three inches per century, and
there seems no reason why that of the fine glacial mud should have
been more rapid, charged as the Nile is every year with mud from the
torrential rains of the Abyssinian highlands. At this rate it would
have required 320,000 years to accumulate the 800 feet of loess of
the Rhine valley. Here again the rate may have been faster, but it
is sufficient to show that an immense time must have elapsed, and
the loess is a distinctly glacial deposit, containing palæolithic
human remains and a pleistocene fauna, and embracing only a portion
of the quaternary period. Nor is it an isolated phenomenon confined
to Europe, but is found over the whole world wherever rivers have
flowed from regions which were formerly buried under ice and snow.
It is found in great force in the valleys of the Yang-tse-Kang and
the Mississippi, and Sir Charles Lyell, referring to the fossil human
bone found in it at Natchez, says--"My reluctance in 1846 to regard
the fossil human bone as of post-pliocene date arose, in part, from
the reflection that the ancient loess of Natchez is anterior in time
to the whole modern delta of the Mississippi. The table-land was,
I believe, once a part of the original alluvial plain or delta of
the great river before it was upraised. It has now risen more than
200 feet above its pristine level. After the upheaval, or during
it, the Mississippi cut through the whole fluviatile formation, of
which its bluffs are now formed, just as the Rhine has in many parts
of its valley excavated a passage through its ancient loess. If I
was right in calculating that the present delta of the Mississippi
has acquired, as a minimum of time, more than 100,000 years for its
growth, it would follow, if the claims of the Natchez man to have
coexisted with the mastodon are admitted, that North America was
peopled more than a thousand centuries ago by the human race. But,
even were that true, we could not presume, reasoning from ascertained
geological data, the Natchez bone was anterior in date to the antique
flint _haches_ of St. Acheul."

Human remains have since been found in the United States, both in the
loess and in drifts, which are presumably older; but even if this
were doubtful, the evidence would remain the same for the immense
time required for such a deposit, and there is abundant proof in
Europe, that human implements, and even skulls and skeletons, have
been found at considerable depths in the loess, along with remains of
the mammoth and other extinct animals.

It must be remembered also, that the loess is only one part of the
work due to glacial erosion. It is, in fact, only the deposit of the
fine mud ground from the rocks by glaciers, and carried down further
by rivers issuing from them than the coarser _débris_, which, as we
have seen, cover 1,000,000 square miles to an average depth of fifty
feet in North America alone. The volumes, therefore, of the loess
and of the _débris_ correspond, and tell the same story of enormous
erosion requiring immense periods of time.

Even in comparatively recent times striking proofs of immense
antiquity are afforded by the amounts of denudation and erosion which
have taken place since the ice disappeared and the lands and seas
assumed substantially their present contours and levels. I will give
one instance which, although comparatively modern, will come home
readily to most British readers. Dr. Evans in his _Ancient Stone
Implements_, referring to those found at Bournemouth 100 feet above
the present sea-level in the gravels of the old Solent river, which
then ran at that height, says--

"Who, standing on the edge of the lofty cliff at Bournemouth, and
gazing over the wide expanse of waters between the present shore and
a line connecting the Needles on the one hand and the Ballard-Down
Foreland on the other, can fully comprehend how immensely remote was
the epoch when what is now that vast bay was high and dry land, and
a long range of chalk downs, 600 feet above the sea, bounded the
horizon on the south? And yet this must have been the sight that met
the eyes of those primæval men who frequented that ancient river,
which buried their handiworks in gravels that now cap the cliffs,
and of the course of which so strange but indubitable a memorial
subsists, in what has now become the Solent Sea."

And the same may be said of the still wider strait which separates
England from France. No geologist could look either at the Needles
and Ballard Foreland, or at Shakespeare's Cliff and Cape Grisnez,
without a conviction that the chalk ridge was once continuous, and
has been worn away, inch by inch, by the very same process as is now
going on. Nor can the action of ice or river floods be evoked to
accelerate the process, for evidently it has throughout been a case
of marine erosion. The only question is whether this dates back even
into the later phases of the glacial period, for the opposite cliffs
show no sign of having been either depressed beneath the sea or
elevated above it, but rather appear to have stood at their present
level since the erosion began. In any case it can only have occupied
a comparatively short and recent phase of the glacial period, for
there is abundant evidence that the British islands have been
connected with the Continent in comparatively recent times.

Great, however, as is the antiquity shown by these comparatively
modern instances, they sink into insignificance compared with that
shown by a recent discovery, which I quote the more readily because
it rests on the high authority of Professor Prestwich, who has been
foremost among modern geologists in reducing the time required for
the glacial period and for the existence of man. This is afforded
by the upland gravels in Kent and Surrey, which are scattered over
wide areas of the chalk downs and green-sand, at elevations far
above existing valleys and watersheds, and which could only have
been deposited before the present rivers began to run, and when the
configuration of the country was altogether different. Quite recently
Mr. Harrison, a shopkeeper at Ightham in Kent, who is an ardent
field-geologist, discovered palæolithic implements, in considerable
numbers and in various localities, up to an elevation of 750 feet
above the sea level, in these gravels of the great southern drift.
These discoveries, which have since been repeated by other observers,
led Professor Prestwich to institute an exhaustive inquiry as to
these upland drifts; and the startling conclusion he arrives at
is, that the oldest of them, or great southern drift, in which the
implements are found, could only have come from a mountain range 2000
to 3000 feet high, which formerly ran from east to west in the line
of the anticlinal axis which runs down the centre of the present
Weald of Kent, between the north and south chalk-downs, and which has
been since worn down to the present low forest-ridge by sub-aërial
denudation. The reasoning by which this inference is supported seems
irresistible. The drift could not have been deposited by the present
rivers or with the present configuration of the country, for it is
found at levels 300 or 400 feet higher than the highest watersheds
between the existing valleys. It consists not only of chalk flints,
but to a great extent of cherts and sandstones, such as are found at
present in the forest-ridge of the Wealden and nowhere else. It must
have been brought by water, for the gravels are to a considerable
extent rounded and water-worn. This water must have run down-hill and
with considerable velocity during floods, from the size of the rolled
stones, and it must have come from the south, because the cherts
and grits are only found there, and because the levels at which the
gravels are found rise in that direction. By following these levels
as far as the present surface extends, which is to the southern
edge of the green-sand, it is easy to plot out what must have been
the continuation of this rising gradient to the south, and what the
elevation of the southern range in which these northward-flowing
streams took their origin. Prestwich has gone into the question in
full detail, and his conclusion is, that the height of this Wealden
ridge must have been at least 2800 feet, or in other words, that
about 2000 feet must have disappeared by denudation. This is the more
conclusive as Prestwich is the highest authority, and he approached
the subject with a bias for shortening rather than lengthening the
periods commonly assigned for the glacial epoch and the antiquity of

The present average rate of denudation of continents has been
approximately measured by calculating the amount of solid matter
brought down by rivers. It varies a good deal according to the
nature of the area drained, but the average is about one foot in
3000 years. At this rate the time required for the removal of 2000
feet of the Wealden ridge would be no less than 6,000,000 years; but
of course this would be no fair test, as denudation would be vastly
more rapid than the present average rate, on hilly ranges and under
glacial conditions of climate. It is enough to say that the time
required must have been extremely great, and quite ample to fit in
with the most extended time required by Croll's theory of the varying
eccentricity of the earth's orbit.

It is to be noted also, that Prestwich pronounces part of this
high level or southern drift to be older than the Westleton pebble
drift which forms part of the Upper Pliocene series in Suffolk and
Norfolk, and which the Professor has traced over many of our southern
counties. If this conclusion is correct, it solves the problem of
tertiary man by showing numerous palæolithic implements in a stage
older than an undoubted Pliocene bed. The implements found in these
high-level southern drifts are all of a very rude type, and the
discovery is confirmed by similar implements having been found at
corresponding elevations on the chalk downs of Hertfordshire and on
the South Downs.[10]

  [10] In a recent paper read to the Anthropological Society
  by Professor Prestwich, in Feb. 1892, he confirms the above
  statement, and says that 1452 specimens have now been found at
  heights of from 400 to 800 feet, and extending over an area
  of twenty miles in length; while similar implements have been
  found on the South Downs near Eastbourne 350 feet above the sea
  level; and at heights of 596 and 760 feet on the hills near
  Dunstable. He says, "Looking at the very distinctive features
  of those plateau implements, such as their rudeness of make,
  choice of material, depth of wear and staining, peculiarity of
  form--taken in conjunction with the extreme rarity of valley
  forms--they constitute characters so essentially different from
  those of the latter implements, that by these characters alone
  they might be attributed to a more primitive race of men; and as
  this view accords with the geological evidence, which shows that
  the drift-beds on the chalk plateau with implements are older
  than the valley drifts, I do not see how we are to avoid the
  conclusion, that not only was the plateau race not contemporary
  with the valley men, but also that the former belonged to a
  period considerably anterior to the latter--either an early
  glacial or a pre-glacial period."

I will mention only one other instance, which shows that the New
World confirms the conclusion as to the antiquity of the quaternary
age. The auriferous gravels of California consist of an enormous
mass of _débris_ washed down by pre-glacial or early glacial rivers
from the western slopes of the great coast range. During their
deposition they became interstratified with lavas and tuffs from
eruptions of volcanoes long since extinct, and finally covered by an
immense flow of basalts, which formed a gently inclined plane from
the Sierra Nevada to the Pacific. This plane was attacked by the
denudations of the existing river-courses, and cut down into a series
of flat-topped hills, divided by steep cañons and by the valleys of
the present great rivers. In one case, that of the Colombia river,
this denudation has been carried down to a depth of over 2000 feet,
and the river flows between precipitous cliffs of this height. The
present gold-mining is carried on mainly by shafts and tunnels driven
through superficial gravels and sheets of basalts and tuffs, to the
gravels of the pre-glacial rivers, which are brought down in great
masses by hydraulic jets. In a great number of these cases stone
implements of undoubted human origin have been found at great depths
under several successive sheets of basalts, tuffs, and gravels. Mr.
Skertchly, an eminent English geologist, who recently visited the
district, says of these gravels, "Whatever may be their absolute age
from a geological standpoint, their immense antiquity historically is
beyond question. The present great river system of the Sacramento,
Joaquin, and other rivers has been established; cañons 2000 feet deep
have been carried through lava, gravels, and into the bed rock; and
the gravels, once the bed of large rivers, now cap hills 6000 feet
high. There is ample ground for the belief that these gravels are of
Pliocene age, but the presence of objects of human formation invests
them with a higher interest to the anthropologist than even to the

I will return to this subject more fully in a later chapter, when
dealing with the question of the human remains found in these
Californian gravels.

Those who wish to pursue the subject further will find abundant
evidence in the works of Lyell, Geikie, Evans, Boyd Dawkins, and
other modern geologists, and a popular summary of it in my _Modern
Science and Modern Thought_.

It is sufficient for my present purpose to have shown that even
taking the quaternary period alone, geology shows that there is an
abundant balance in the bank of Time to meet any demands that may be
made upon it by any of the kindred sciences. But it is to those we
must look for any chance of even an approximate measurement in years
or centuries, for geology and palæontology only show immense periods,
but give no certain information as to definite durations. The clue,
if any, must be sought in Croll's astronomical theory of the glacial
period, which I now proceed to consider.



   Causes of Glacial Periods--Actual Conditions of existing
   Glacial Regions--High Land in High Latitudes--Cold alone
   insufficient--Large Evaporation required--Formation of
   Glaciers--They flow like Rivers--Icebergs--Greenland and
   Antarctic Circle--Geographical and Cosmic Causes--Cooling of
   Earth and Sun, Cold Spaces in Space, and Change in Earth's Axis,
   reviewed and rejected--Precession alone insufficient--Unless
   with High Eccentricity--Geographical Causes, Elevation of
   Land--Aerial and Oceanic Currents--Gulf Stream and Trade
   Winds--Evidence for greater Elevation of Land in America,
   Europe, and Asia--Depression--Warmer Tertiary Climates--Alps and
   Himalayas--Wallace's _Island Life_--Lyell--Croll's Theory--Sir
   R. Ball--Former Glacial Periods--Correspondence with Croll's
   Theory--Length of the different Phases--Summary--Croll's Theory
   a Secondary Cause--Conclusions as to Man's Antiquity.

I turn from the effects to the causes of that great glacial
period which has been described in the last chapter. This line of
investigation is peculiarly interesting in the search after human
origins, for it affords the only chance of reducing the vague periods
of immense duration shown by geology, to something like a definite
chronology of years and centuries. If astronomical causes, the dates
of which admit of mathematical calculation, can be shown to have
been, if not the sole or principal, yet one of the causes which must
have influenced the phenomena of the glacial epoch, we may assume
these dates for the occurrence of the human remains which accompany
these phenomena. Otherwise we must fall back on immense antiquity,
which may mean anything from 50,000 or 100,000, to 500,000 or
1,000,000 years, since the first authentic evidence for palæolithic

The first step towards an investigation of the cause of glacial
periods, is to consider what are the conditions of the actual ones
which are now prevailing. We have one such period in Greenland,
another in the Antarctic region, a third in high mountain chains like
those of Alaska, and of the Swiss and New Zealand Alps. In all these
cases we find certain common conditions. High land in high latitudes,
rising in great masses above the snow-line or temperature which
condenses water in the solid form; and winds which are charged with
great quantities of watery vapour raised by evaporation, to be so

Cold alone is insufficient to produce glaciers and ice-caps, as may
be seen by the example of the coldest regions in the world, Siberia
and the tundras of Northern Asia and of North America, where the
earth is permanently frozen to a depth of many feet; but there are
no glaciers, The reason obviously is, that there is no sufficient
supply of moist air from warm oceans to furnish more snow in winter
than is melted in summer. Heat is in a certain sense as necessary
as cold to account for glacial periods, for snow and ice can no
more than other things be made out of nothing, and every snowflake
implies an equal amount of aqueous vapour raised somewhere else by
evaporation. But if an abundant supply of liquid or gaseous water is
combined with cold sufficient to condense it into the solid form, it
becomes fixed, and if the summer heat is insufficient to melt the
excess of snow, it necessarily accumulates. The growth of glaciers,
follows as an inevitable consequence. The snow is converted into
ice by pressure and by alternate freezing and melting, and this
grows year by year, until an equilibrium is established by the ice
pushing down glaciers into lower levels, where the melting is more
rapid, or into the sea, where the front is floated off in icebergs,
and drifts into lower latitudes. The process is the same as that
by which the rainfall on high levels is drained off by rivers into
the sea, so that an equilibrium is established between waste and
supply. And it is to be remarked that the glacier, though composed
of solid ice, behaves exactly like a river, or rather like a river
of some viscous fluid like pitch or treacle. Its size depends on the
magnitude of the reservoir or area drained by it; it conforms to the
configuration of the valley by which it descends and the obstacles
which it encounters; it flows rapidly, and with a broken current,
through narrow gorges and down steep inclines; slowly and tranquilly
over wide and level areas; its velocity is greatest at the surface
and in the middle where friction is least, slowest at the bottom and
sides where it is greatest. In short a glacier is simply a solid
and slowly-flowing river, discharging an excess of solid ice to the
lower level from which it came, just as a liquid river does with the
rainfall of warmer regions. The cause of this tendency of solid and
brittle ice to flow like a viscous fluid is not quite understood,
though recent researches, especially those of Tyndall, have thrown
a good deal of light upon it; but all glacialists are agreed on
the _fact_ that it does so, and we can argue from it with great
confidence as to the conditions under which glaciation has acted in
the past and is now acting.

Thus even if Namsen had never crossed Greenland, or Ross had never
discovered Mounts Erebus and Terror, we might have inferred with
certainty the existence of enormous ice-caps, implying continental
masses of elevated land, in both the Arctic and Antarctic circles,
from the number and size of the icebergs floated off into the
Northern Atlantic and Southern Pacific Oceans. Icebergs are
frequently met with in the latter down to 50° south latitude, or
even lower, of a mile in length and 500 feet high above the sea;
and in some instances icebergs three miles long and 1000 feet high
have been recorded. As upwards of eight feet of ice must be under
water for every foot that floats above it, some of these icebergs
must be considerably over a mile in thickness, which implies that
there must be land ice towards the south pole so thick that it is,
in places, over 5000 feet in thickness at its outer margin. It has
been estimated from the great size and abundance of these icebergs,
that in the interior of the great Antarctic continent the ice may
be twenty miles or more thick, and in Greenland the great interior
ice-cap rises in a dome to at least 9000 or 10,000 feet above the
sea-level, a great part of which is solid ice, while during the great
glacial period it was certainly very much thicker.

As a first step therefore towards a solution of the problem of the
glacial period we may start with the axiom that it requires abundant
evaporation, combined with a temperature low enough to precipitate
an excess of that evaporation in the solid form. This does not
necessarily imply any great and permanent refrigeration of the whole
earth, for although this would give the cold it would not give the
evaporation, and would tend rather to extend the conditions of
Siberia than those of Greenland. Longer and colder winters with
shorter and hotter summers would seem more adapted to the growth of

But for a more exact investigation our next step must be to inquire
what are the causes which may have produced these postulates of a
glacial period, lower temperature with larger evaporation. They may
be classed under two heads.

1st. Geographical causes, arising from latitude, aërial and oceanic
currents, and a different distribution of sea and land.

2nd. Cosmic causes, such as variations of solar and terrestrial heat,
passage through colder regions of space, the position of the poles,
precession, and the eccentricity of the earth's orbit.

All these have had supporters in their time, but the result of
the latest science has been to leave only two seriously in the
field--Lyell's theory of a different distribution and elevation
of sea and land, carrying with it changes in aërial and oceanic
currents; and Croll's theory of the effects of precession combined
with high eccentricity of the earth's orbit.

Thus, of the geographical causes, latitude is no doubt an important
factor in determining temperature, but it cannot of itself be the
cause of the glacial periods, for it has remained unchanged through
all the vicissitudes of heat and cold in geological times. The
latitude of Greenland and Spitzbergen is presumably the same now as
it was in the Miocene period, when they were the seat of a luxuriant
temperate vegetation; and at the present day we have only to follow
the isothermal lines to see to what a great extent climate in the
same latitudes is modified by other influences, such as the Gulf

Of cosmic causes, the progressive cooling of the earth naturally
presents itself, at the first blush, as sufficient to account for the
glacial period. But although this has doubtless been an all-important
factor in pregeological times, in fashioning our planet from glowing
vapour into a habitable earth, it is no longer operative as an
immediate cause of vicissitudes of temperature. It is enough to say
that if it were, the cooling ought to be progressive, and having
once got into a glacial period we never ought to have got out of
it. But we clearly have recovered from the paroxysms of cold, both
of the first and second great glaciations of the recent period; and
according to most geologists, from the immensely earlier ones of the
Permian and Carboniferous, and perhaps of the Cambrian ages. As far
as it acts at all on surface temperature, the secular cooling of the
earth only acts indirectly by causing elevations and depressions of
the outer crust, and crumpling it into wrinkles, which originate
mountain chains, as the nucleus contracts, and thus affecting
geographical conditions.

The same objection applies with equal force to the theory that the
glacial period was caused by the sun giving out less heat owing to
its cooling by radiation. Here also it is obvious that if a glacial
period were once established from such a cause it ought never to
recover, but progress from bad to worse. We ought also, in this case,
to have had a uniform progressive refrigeration from the beginning
of geological time down to the present day, which has certainly not
been the case. On the contrary, geologists are generally agreed that
there are unmistakable traces of at least two glacial periods in the
Carboniferous and Permian ages, and the earliest Eocene was certainly
cooler than its later stages, as shown by their flora.

The conjecture that the sun is a variable star is also negatived
by the consideration that in this case there ought to have been
periodical variations in the earth's temperature, and hot and cold
climates recurring at regular intervals throughout geological time,
which has certainly not been the case.

Again, the passage of the solar system through cold regions of
space has been suggested, but it is a mere conjecture, unsupported
by a particle of evidence, and opposed to all we know of the laws
of heat, and of the constitution of the universe. It is hard to
conceive how hot regions can exist surrounded by cold ones, or _vice
versâ_, without walls of a non-conducting medium to separate them, or
that the faint heat from the fixed stars can ever have perceptibly
affected the temperature of space. And such a theory, if it were
possible, would fail to account for the frequent vicissitudes of hot
and cold at short intervals within the glacial period, and for the
great differences of temperature prevailing in the same latitudes.

An alteration in the position, of the poles has also been suggested,
but this also is clearly inadmissible. There is no evidence that the
present position has ever materially varied, and there is no known
law that could cause such a variation. On the contrary, all the
elaborate mathematical calculations by which the motions of the sun,
moon, and planets are deduced from Newton's law of gravity, tend to
negative such a supposition.

And what is perhaps even more convincing to a nonmathematical mind,
the position of the poles implies the position of the equator, and
cannot change without a corresponding change in the earth's shape.
Now the earth is not a sphere, but an oblate spheroid, of almost
the exact shape which a fluid mass would take revolving about the
present axis. The centrifugal force arising from the greater velocity
of rotation in going from the poles to the equator would pile up
a protuberant belt where the velocity was greatest, and in point
of fact the earth's equatorial diameter is longer than the polar
diameter by about twenty-eight miles. Any displacement therefore
of the poles, which carried them away from their present position,
must displace the present equator to a corresponding extent. This
mass of twenty-eight miles in thickness of earth and ocean must
be thrown out of the old position, and driven to establish a new
equilibrium in a position many degrees north or south of it in order
to affect climates materially, submerging all existing lands, and
leaving, until removed by denudation, miles upon miles of solid earth
in unsymmetrical belts, like the moraines of retreating glaciers,
as the equator shifted into new positions. And all this must have
occurred, not once, but twice at least, and that with many minor
vicissitudes, within the narrow limit of the quaternary period. It is
unnecessary to say that nothing of the sort could by any possibility
have occurred. Some evidence has recently been adduced that some
very slight changes in latitude are going on at the observatories
of Dorpat and Greenwich, but if confirmed these can only be of
very minute amount, arising from slight changes in the position
of the earth's centre of gravity owing to partial elevations and
depressions, and could never have been sufficient to account for
great variations of climate.[11]

  [11] The latest researches seem to show that these slight
  variations in latitude do not exceed 2" or 3", and are
  periodical, with a period of no longer than 300 to 310 days.

Neither could the precession of the equinoxes have been of itself
a principal cause, for here also the limit of time negatives the
supposition. This precessional circle carries the perihelion and
aphelion, and with it the seasons, completely round, and brings
them back to the old position, in about 21,000 years, and therefore
if glacial periods were occasioned by them, there ought to be
alternations from _maximum_ of cold to _maximum_ of warmth in each
hemisphere every 10,500 years. But this has certainly not been the
case even in recent times, and still less if we go back to the
quaternary, tertiary, and earlier geological periods.

In fact it is only when combined with periods of high eccentricity
of the earth's orbit, according to Croll's theory, that precession
can pretend to have any claim to be an important factor in the
production of glacial periods. And even then the question is not of
its being the sole or principal cause, but only whether it has had
such a perceptible auxiliary effect on other more powerful causes,
as may enable us to use it as a chronometer in assigning approximate
dates for some of the more important phenomena of the long and varied
period between the close of the Tertiary and the establishment of the
Recent period.

As man certainly existed throughout the whole of this period,
the possibility of finding such a chronometer becomes intensely
interesting, and I proceed to discuss the latest state of scientific
opinion respecting it. But as Croll's theory if a real is clearly
only an auxiliary cause, I will, in the first instance, point out
what are the certain and admitted causes which account for variations
of temperature irrespective of latitude.

They may be summed up, in Lyell's words, as different combinations
of sea and land, for on these depend the secondary conditions which
affect temperature. Thus elevation of land is as certain a cause
of cold as high latitude, and even Kilimanjaro, under the equator,
retains patches of unmelted snow throughout the year. It is estimated
that a rise of 1000 feet in height is about equivalent to a fall of
3° F. in mean annual temperature, and that the line of perpetual
snow is, on the average, a little higher than the line where this
mean annual temperature is at 32° F., or freezing-point. If there
is any mass of land so high as to be below this temperature, snow
accumulates and forms glaciers, which descend some 4000 feet below
the snow-line before the excess of ice pushing down is melted off by
the summer heat unless it has been previously floated off in icebergs
at a higher level. Now the mean temperature of the north of Scotland
at sea-level is about 46° F., so that an elevation of 8000 or 10,000
feet would bring a great part of it well above the snow-line, and
vast glaciers would inevitably accumulate, which would push down
through the principal valleys almost to the sea-level; a state of
things which actually exists in New Zealand, where glaciers from the
Southern Alps at about this elevation descend, in some instances to
within 700 feet of the sea-level, in the latitude of Devonshire.
But a still more important factor of temperature is found in aërial
and oceanic currents, which again, to a great extent, are a product
of the configuration of sea and land. The most familiar instance
is that of the Gulf Stream, which raises the temperature of Western
Europe some 10°, and in Norway as much as 15° F., above that due to
latitude, and which prevails on the other side of the Atlantic. The
northern extremity of the British Islands in Shetland is on the same
parallel of latitude as the southern extremity of Greenland, Cape
Farewell. One is buried under perpetual ice, in the other there is so
little frost in winter that skating is an unknown art.

What is the reason of this? We must go to the tropics to find it. A
vast mass of vapour is raised by the sun's heat from the oceans near
the equator, which being lighter rises and overflows, the trade winds
rushing in from the north to supply its place, and being deflected
to the west by the earth's rotation. This prevalence of easterly
surface winds sweeps the waters of the Atlantic to the west, where
they are intercepted by South America, turned northwards into the
Gulf of Mexico, where they circle round under a tropical sun and
become greatly heated, and finally run out through the Straits of
Florida with a rapid current, and spread a surface return current
eastwards over the Northern Atlantic. The shores of North-west Europe
are thus in the position of a house warmed by hot-water pipes, while
their neighbours over the way in North-eastern America have no such

This oceanic circuit of warm water has a counterpart in the aërial
circuit of heated air. The vapour which rose in the tropics
overflows, and as it cools and gets beyond the region of the trade
winds, descends mainly over the Northern Atlantic, carrying with it
its greater velocity of rotation, and so causing westerly winds,
which reach our shores after blowing over a wide expanse of ocean
heated by the Gulf Stream, thus bringing us warmth and wet, while the
corresponding counter-currents which blow over continental Europe and
Asia from the north-east bring cold and drought. The extreme effects
of this may be seen by comparing the Black Sea at Odessa, where ice
often stops navigation, with the North Sea at the Lafoden islands,
where the cod-fishing is carried on in open boats in the middle of
winter. We in England are in the happy position where on the whole
the mild and genial west winds prevail, though not exclusively, so as
to give us the drenching rains of Western Ireland and Scotland, or to
prevent spells of a continental climate which give us bracing frosts
in winter, and alternations of cold and heat in summer.

If we turn from these temperate regions to those in which exactly
opposite conditions prevail, we find them still in the icy chains of
a glacial period. Greenland, for instance, which is a typical case,
shows us what happens when a continental mass of land stands at a
high elevation in high latitudes with no Gulf Stream, but instead
of it cold currents from a Polar ocean, and seas around it frozen
or covered with icebergs for nine months out of the year. We have a
dome of solid ice piled up to the height of 9000 feet or upwards,
and sending millions upon millions of tons of glaciers down to the
sea to be floated off as icebergs. The only trace we can see here of
the old great glacial period is that these conditions were formerly
more intense. Thus the glaciation of some of the mountain sides and
islands off the coast of Greenland seem to show that the ice formerly
stood 2000 or 3000 feet higher than at present, a result which
would be attained if the whole continental mass, which is now slowly
subsiding, had then been elevated to that extent.

The southern hemisphere affords a still more striking example of this
on a larger scale, for we have there, in all probability, higher land
in higher latitudes, surrounded by frozen seas, and washed by cold
currents. I pass from this however, as beyond these general facts the
special conditions of the Antarctic Circle are not known to us like
those of Greenland.

From the above facts we are very safe in drawing the conclusion that
during the great quaternary glacial period the conditions which
now cause glaciation must have existed in an aggravated degree,
and those which now give us temperate climates in regions once
glaciated must have disappeared or been reversed. On the other hand,
the warm climates which prevailed during the tertiary and other
geological epochs, and permitted a temperate flora to flourish as
far north as Grinnell Land and Spitzbergen, could only have occurred
under conditions exactly the reverse of those which produced the
cold. If high land in high latitudes is the principal cause of the
present glaciation of Greenland, still higher land must have been
so in causing the still greater glaciation of the former period.
Scandinavia, Laurentia, the British Islands, the Alps, Apennines,
Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada, and all great mountain ranges in the
northern hemisphere must have stood at greater elevations. There must
have been such an accumulation of ice and snow as to chill the air,
cause fogs, and prevent the summer heat of the sun from melting off
the water which fell in the solid form during winter; and on the
other hand, there must have been hot summers and great expanses of
ocean to the south to supply the abundant evaporation which became
condensed by contact with the chilly mountains and uplands of the

One supposition is that the Isthmus of Panama was then submerged, so
that the Gulf Stream ran into the Pacific. But this wants geological
confirmation, as the Isthmus shows no sign of such recent marine
formations as must have been deposited if it had been submerged to a
sufficient depth to let the Gulf Stream escape, and the extension of
the ice-cap in North America to much lower latitudes than in Europe,
points rather to the conclusion that the Gulf Stream must have run
very much in its present course.

The only geological evidence bearing on this question is the
recent discovery of deep oceanic deposits such as the Globigerena
ooze, above tertiary deposits in Barbadoes and Jamaica, leading to
the inference that the whole West Indian area was a deep sea in
comparatively modern times. This no doubt might affect both the
temperature and the velocity of the Gulf Stream to a considerable

But the geological evidence is much more conclusive for the greater
elevation of the land during the periods of greater glaciation as
well as for its depression during the inter-glacial period. American
geologists estimate that a large part of Eastern Canada with adjacent
regions must have been at least 2000, and may have been as much as
3000 feet above its present level during the first great glaciation;
while the Champlain marine beds show that it was some hundreds of
feet below the present, sea-level during part of the inter-glacial
period. Scandinavia stood at least 2000 feet higher than at present
during the climax of the glacial period as proved by the depths of
the fiords, and afterwards 500 or 600 lower as proved by the raised
beaches. In Great Britain and Ireland we have conclusive evidence
both of higher elevation, and of depression of at least 1300 feet,
and probably more than 2000 feet below the present sea-level, as
proved by the marine shells on the top of Moel-Tryfen.

But these elevations and depressions are small in amount compared
with the mountain building which is known to have occurred in Asia in
comparatively recent geological times. Here the Himalayas, stretching
for 1500 miles from east to west, and rising to heights of from
20,000 to 29,000 feet above the sea, have been formed in great part
during this period. Within the same period the great table-lands
of Thibet and Central Asia have been uplifted, and the Asian
Mediterranean Sea, of which the Black Sea, the Caspian, the Salt
deserts and Lake Balkash are the remnants, has been converted into
dry land. Movements of this magnitude, of which there are many other
examples, may well account for great changes in isothermal lines and

The complete removal of the conditions which produced the glacial
period might go far to account for the preceding tertiary period.
We have only to suppose a different configuration of sea and land;
nothing but low lands and islands in high latitudes; free access for
warm oceanic currents like the Gulf Stream into the limited area
of the Polar basin; no great continents or lofty mountain ranges
to drain the return trade winds of their moisture; in short, all
the conditions of a mild and moist insular climate, as opposed to
those of a continental one, to understand how forests of temperate
trees might flourish as far north as Greenland and Spitzbergen. And
the geological evidence which, as we have seen, shows that great
elevation of land in the northern hemisphere did in fact inaugurate
the glacial period, favours the conclusion that the reverse
conditions actually prevailed during the tertiary and preceding

The presence of the Nummulitic and other marine Eocene and Miocene
formations over such extensive areas, and at such great elevations,
is a conclusive proof that a great part of our existing continents
were then at the bottom of deep oceans. The Alps were certainly
10,000 feet lower than their present level, and the Himalayas more
so; and when this was the case a great part of Europe and Asia must
have been sea, in which only a few of the highest peaks and elevated
plateaux stood up as islands. The Pacific and Indian Oceans as well
as the Atlantic might then have poured their Gulf Streams into the
Polar basin, and prevalent southerly and westerly winds, blowing
over wide expanses of water, have deposited their vapour in genial
showers instead of in solid snow. The effect of such geographical
conditions in producing both heat and cold is admirably worked out
by Wallace in his _Island Life_, and few who read it can doubt
that Lyell was right in saying that they have been the principal
causes of the vicissitudes of climate. And here I may say a word to
express my admiration of the innate sagacity with which Lyell, many
years ago, and with comparatively few facts to work upon, sketched
out the leading lines of geology, which have been confirmed by
subsequent research. Details may have been corrected or added, but
his main theories have stood the fullest test of the survival of the
fittest. His law of the uniformity of natural causes, continued for
long intervals of time, holds the field unchallenged. These causes
may have operated a little more quickly or slowly in former ages
than at present, but they have been of the same order. The waste of
continents, instead, of averaging one foot in 4000 years, may have
averaged ten or twenty feet during certain periods, and certain
portions of the earth's crust may have been elevated or depressed at
a quicker rate than is now going on in Scandinavia; but no one any
longer believes in paroxysms throwing up mountain chains or sinking
continents below the ocean at a single blow.

In like manner later geologists have corrected details in the
distribution of land and sea suggested by Lyell to account for the
glacial period, but his main law has only received confirmation--viz.
that this distribution, and especially high land in high latitudes,
has been the principal cause of such periods.

At the same time there is a pretty general consensus of the best and
latest geologists, that, as Lyell himself suggested, elevation and
depression and other geographical changes, though the principal, are
not the sole causes of the glacial period. The main argument is, that
the phases of this period, though not exactly simultaneous over the
whole world, are too nearly so to be due to mere local movements,
and require the intervention of some general cosmic cause. We have
already seen that of such causes there is none which appears feasible
except Croll's theory of the effects of precession combined with high

Let us consider what this theory really asserts. If the earth were
a perfect sphere, its orbit round the sun a perfect circle, and the
equator coincided with the ecliptic, there would be no seasons. The
four quarters of the year would each receive the same quantity of
solar heat and light, and the days and nights would be always equal.
But the inclination of the equator to the ecliptic, that is, of the
earth's plane of daily rotation to that of its annual revolution,
necessitates seasons. Each pole must be alternately turned to and
away from the sun every year. Each hemisphere, therefore, must
have alternately its spring, summer, autumn, and winter. But if
the earth's orbit were exactly circular, these seasons would be of
equal duration, and the distance from the sun no greater in one than
in another. But the earth's orbit is not circular, but elliptic,
and the eccentricity, or deviation of the oval from the circular
form, varies considerably over very long periods, though always
coming back to the amount from which it started. These variations
are due to perturbations from the other bodies of the solar system
acting according to the law of Newton's gravitation, and therefore

Again, the earth is not a perfect sphere, but a spheroid, and
there is a factor called precession, due to the attraction on the
protuberant mass at and towards the equator. The effect of this is,
that instead of the earth's axis pointing uniformly towards the same
celestial pole, it describes a small circle round it. This circle is
completed in about 21,000 years, so that if the earth is nearest to
the sun when the North Pole is turned away from it, and it is winter
in the northern hemisphere, as is now the case, in 10,500 years the
conditions will be reversed, and the southern hemisphere will be in
perihelion, or nearest the sun, when its pole points away from it.
And as the perihelion portion of the earth's orbit is, owing to its
eccentricity, shorter and more quickly traversed than the aphelion
portion, this means practically that winters will be shorter than
summers in the hemisphere which precession favours, and longer in
that to which it is adverse.

As precession now favours the northern hemisphere, which is warmer
than the southern in corresponding latitudes, it might be thought at
first sight that this was the cause of the glacial period. But it is
evident that this is not the case, for the precessional revolutions
come round far too rapidly, and it is impossible to suppose that
there have been glacial and genial periods alternating every 10,500
years, with all the inevitable changes of seas and lands, and of
fauna and flora, accompanying each alternation throughout the whole
of geological time. In fact, it is abundantly evident, on historical
evidence alone, that there has been no approach to any such changes
during the last 10,500 years, which carries us back to a period when
our northern summers were short and our winters long.

But Croll's theory brings in the secular variation of the
eccentricity, and contends that although precession may have little
or no effect while the earth's orbit is nearly circular, as it is
now, it must have a considerable effect when the orbit flattens
out, so that the distances from the sun and the durations of summer
and winter become exaggerated. Croll calculated the periods when
such _maxima_ and _minima_ of eccentricity occurred for several
revolutions back from the formula of the great astronomer Leverrier,
and found that going back for the last 260,000 years there had been
two _maxima_ of high eccentricity, one 100,000 years, and the other,
and more intense, 210,000 years ago, with corresponding _minima_ of
low eccentricity between, which corresponded remarkably well with the
refrigeration commencing in the Pliocene, culminating towards its
close or in the early Quaternary, subsiding into a long inter-glacial
period, rising again in the later Quaternary to a second glacial
_maximum_ a little less intense than the first, and finally gradually
subsiding into the low eccentricity and temperate climates of more
recent times; especially as the geological evidence shows many minor
oscillations of heat and cold and advances and retreats of glaciers
during each phase of these periods, such as must have occurred from
the shorter recurrent effects of precession according to Croll's

Croll's calculations show that, at the period of _maximum_
eccentricity 210,000 years ago, the earth would have been in
mid-winter 8,736,420 miles further from the sun than it is now, and
the winter half of the year nearly twenty-eight days longer than the
summer half, instead of being six days shorter as at present. It
appears, moreover, from a volume just published, _On the Astronomical
Causes of an Ice Age_, by Sir R. Ball, one of the highest authorities
on mathematics and astronomy, that Croll had understated his case.
Ball says that "Croll, misled by a statement of Herschell's, had
assumed the number of units of heat received from the sun, in a
hemisphere of the earth, as equal in summer and winter. But in
reality, of 100 such units, 63 are received in summer and only 37
in winter. As the maximum of eccentricity which is possible would
produce an inequality between summer and winter of 33 days, they
had the following possible conditions in a hemisphere--summer 199
days and winter 166 days, or summer 166 days and winter 199 days.
In each case it must be borne in mind that 63 heat units arrived in
summer and 37 in winter. If the summer were a long one and the winter
short, then the allotment of heat between the two seasons would be
fairly adjusted. The 63 units were distributed over 199 days and the
37 units over 166 days, and a general inter-glacial state was the
result on the hemisphere. If, however, a torrent of heat represented
by 63 units was poured in during a brief summer of 166 days, whilst,
the balance of 37 units is made to stretch itself over 199 days, a
brief, intensely hot summer would be followed by a very long and cold
winter, and as this condition lasted for many centuries, it seemed
sufficient to produce a glacial epoch."

It would be going, too far, however, to assume that these conditions
necessarily produced glacial periods whenever they occurred, and
Ball himself points out that even on astronomical grounds, several
conditions must concur before high eccentricity alone would affect
climate. But even with this reservation the same objection applies
to assigning, this as the sole or principal cause of Ice Ages, as
to precession alone, viz. that periods of high eccentricity occur
too frequently to allow us to suppose that every such period in the
past has had its corresponding glacial period. There was a _maximum_
phase of eccentricity 700,000 years ago, even higher than that of
210,000 years, and there must have been at least two or three such
_maxima_ within each of the twenty-eight geological ages. But there
are only two or three traces of glacial periods in past epochs on
which geologists can rely with confidence, as proving extensive
ice-action--one in the Permian, the other in the Carboniferous age.

There are a few other instances which look like glacial action, as
the conglomerate of the Superga at Turin, the Flysch of Switzerland,
the great conglomerate at the base of the Devonian; and Professor
Geikie thinks that the oldest Cambrian rocks in the West Highlands
have been rounded and smoothed by ice before the Silurian strata were
deposited on them. But even if these were authenticated and proved to
be due to general and not merely local causes, they would not supply
anything like the number of glacial periods required by Croll's
theory. Croll attempts to meet this by the extensive denudation which
has repeatedly carried away such large portions of land surface;
but this scarcely explains the absence of the boulders of hard
rocks, which accompany every moraine and iceberg; and still less the
continuance of the same fauna and flora throughout whole geological
periods with little or no change. We have no such abrupt changes as
during the last glacial period, when at one time the canary laurel
flourished in Central France, while at another the reindeer moss and
Arctic willow extended to the Pyrenees, both occurring within what
may be called a short time, geologically speaking. On the contrary,
there seems to have been no material changes in the flora throughout
very long geological periods such as that of the Coal Measures.

The only real answer to this objection is that the question is,
not whether Croll's theory is the sole or even the principal cause
of glacial periods, or able to influence them materially if the
geographical conditions favour genial climates; but whether it has
not a co-operating effect, when these conditions are such as to
produce glaciation. It seems difficult to suppose that such contrasts
of conditions as are pointed out by Sir R. Ball can have had no
perceptible effect on climates; or that such close coincidences as
are shown between the astronomical theory and geological facts,
during the last glacial period, can be due to mere accident.

Geology shows six phases of this period:--(1) a refrigeration
coming on in the Pliocene; (2) its culmination in a first and most
intense _maximum_; (3) a gradual return to a milder inter-glacial
period; (4) a second refrigeration; (5) its culmination in a second
_maximum_; (6) a second return to genial conditions, such as still
prevail. Croll's theory shows six astronomical phases, corresponding
to these six geological phases. Geology shows that each of its six
phases involves several minor alternations of hot and cold; Croll
shows that this must have been the case owing to the effects of the
shorter cycles of precession, occurring during the long cycles of
variations in eccentricity. Geology tells us that cold alone would
not account for a glacial period; we must have heat to supply the
evaporation which is condensed by the cold; Croll shows that with
high eccentricity cold and long winters must have been accompanied
by short and hot summers. And Sir R. Ball's recent calculations show
that the argument is really very much stronger than Croll puts it.

The duration of each of the phases of Croll's theory corresponds
also, on the whole, remarkably well with that required for each
phase of the geological record. They would average about 40,000
years each for Croll's phases, and a less time can hardly be allowed
for the immense amount of geological work in the way of denudation
and deposition, elevation and depression, and changes of fauna
and flora which have occurred since the commencement of the great
refrigeration in the late Pliocene. In fact the only reasonable doubt
seems to be whether Croll's times are sufficient, and whether, as
Lyell was inclined to think, the first and greatest glaciation must
not be carried back to the extreme period of high eccentricity which
occurred about 700,000 years ago.

Unless we are prepared to ignore all these considerations and
deny that Croll's theory, as amended by Sir R. Ball, has had any
appreciable effect on the conditions of the glacial period, it
follows with mathematical certainty, that this period, taking it
from the commencement of the great refrigeration in the Pliocene to
its final disappearance in the Recent, must have lasted for about
200,000 years. And as man clearly existed in the pre-glacial period,
and was already widely spread and in considerable numbers in the
early glacial, 250,000 years may be taken as an approximation to the
_minimum_ duration of the existence of the human race on the earth.
To this must be added an indefinitely long period beyond, unless we
are prepared to disprove the apparently excessively strong evidence
for its existence in the Pliocene and even in the Miocene periods;
evidence which has been rapidly accumulating of late years; and to
which, as far as I know, there has been no serious and unbiassed
attempt at scientific refutation; and to which confirmation is given
by the undoubted fact that the Dryopithecus, the Hylobates, and other
quadrumana, closely resembling man in physical structure, already
existed in the Miocene, and, if Professor Ameghino's discoveries
referred to at p. 264 are confirmed, in the vastly more remote period
of the early Eocene.



   No longer doubted--Men not only existed, but in numbers and
   widely spread--Palæolithic Implements of similar Type found
   everywhere--Progress shown--Tests of Antiquity--Position of
   Strata--Fauna--Oldest Types--Mixed Northern and Southern
   Species--Reindeer Period--Correspondence of Human Remains
   with these Three Periods--Advance of Civilization--Clothing
   and Barbed Arrows--Drawing and Sculpture--Passage into
   Neolithic and Recent Periods--Corresponding Progress of
   Physical Man--Distinct Races--How tested--Tests applied to
   Historical, Neolithic, and Palæolithic Man--Long Heads and
   Broad Heads--Aryan Controversy--Primitive European Types--Canon
   Taylor--Huxley--Preservation of Human Remains depends mainly on
   Burials--About forty Skulls and Skeletons known from Quaternary
   Times--Summary of Results--Quatrefages and Hamy--Races
   of Canstadt--Cro-Magnon--Furfooz--Truchere--Skeletons of
   Neanderthal and Spy--Canstadt Type oldest--Cro-Magnon Type
   next--Skeleton of Cro-Magnon--Broad-headed and Short Race
   resembling Lapps--American Type--No Evidence from Asia, Africa,
   India, Polynesia, and Australia--Negroes, Negrillos, and
   Negritos--Summary of Results.

The time is past when it is necessary to go into any lengthened
argument to prove that man has existed throughout the Quaternary
period. Less than half a century has elapsed since the confirmation
of Boucher-de-Perthes' discovery of palæolithic implements in the old
gravels of the Somme, and yet the proofs have multiplied to such an
extent that they are now reckoned, not by scores or hundreds, but by
tens of thousands. They have been found not in one locality or in one
formation only, but in all the deposits of the Quaternary age, from
the earliest to the latest, and in association with all the phases of
the Quaternary period, from the extinct mammoth, woolly rhinoceros,
and cave-bear, to the reindeer, horse, ox, and other existing
animals. No geologist or palæontologist, who approaches the subject
with anything like competent knowledge, and without theological or
other prepossessions, doubts that man is as much a characteristic
member of the Quaternary fauna as any of these extinct or existing
animals, and that reasonable doubt only begins when we pass from the
Quaternary into the Tertiary ages. I will content myself, therefore,
instead of going over old ground and proving facts which are no
longer disputed, with showing what bearing they have on the question
of human origins.

  [Illustration: PALÆOLITHIC CELT (type of St. Acheul).

  From Quaternary deposits of the Nerbudda, India.]


  From the Delaware, United States (Abbott).]

The first remarkable fact to note is, that at this remote period man
not only existed, but existed in considerable numbers, and already
widely spread over nearly the whole surface of the habitable earth.

Implements and weapons of the palæolithic type, such as celts or
hatchets, lance and arrow-heads, knives, borers and scrapers of
flint, or if that be wanting of some hard stone of the district,
fashioned entirely by chipping without any grinding or polishing,
have been found in the sands and gravels of most of the rivers of
Southern England, France, Belgium and Germany, of the Tagus and
Manzanares in Spain, and the Tiber in Italy. Still more numerously
also in the caves and glacial drifts of these and other European
countries. Nor are they confined to Europe. Stone implements of the
same type have been found in Algeria, Morocco, and Egypt, and in
Natal and South Africa. Also in Greece, Syria, Palestine, Hindostan,
and as far east as China and Japan, while in the New World they have
been found in Maryland, Ohio, California, and other States in North
America, and in Brazil, and the Argentine pampas in the South. And
this has been the result of the explorations of little more than
thirty years, prior to which the coexistence of man with the extinct
animals was almost universally denied; and of explorations which
except in a few European countries have been very partial.

  [Illustration: PALÆOLITHIC FLINT CELT (type of St. Acheul).

  From Algeria (Lubbock).]



In fact the area over which these evidences of man's existence
have been found may be best defined by the negative, where they
have not been found, as there is every probability that it will
eventually be proved that, with a few exceptions, wherever man could
have existed during the Quaternary period, there he did exist. The
northern portions of Europe which were buried under ice-caps are
the only countries where considerable search has failed to discover
palæolithic implements, while nearly all Asia, Africa, and America,
and vast extents of desert and forests remain unexplored.

The next point to observe is, that throughout the whole of the
Quaternary period there has been a constant progression of human
intelligence upwards. Any theory of human origins which says that man
has fallen and not risen is demonstrably false. How do we know this?
The time scale of the Quaternary as of other geological periods is
determined partly by the superposition of strata, and partly by the
changes of fauna. In the case of existing rivers which have excavated
their present valleys in the course of ages, it is evident that the
highest deposits are the oldest. If the Somme, Seine, or Thames left
remains of their terraces and patches of their silts and gravels at
heights 100 feet or more above their present level, it is because
they began to run at these higher levels, and gradually worked their
way downwards, leaving traces of their floods ever lower and lower.
In the case of deposits in caves or in still water, or where glacial
moraines and _débris_ are superimposed on one another, the case is
reversed, and the lowest are the oldest and the highest the most

In like manner if the fauna has changed, the remains found in the
highest deposits of rivers and lowest, of caves will be the oldest,
and will become more modern as we descend in the one case or ascend
in the others.

This is practically confirmed by the coincidence of innumerable
observations. The oldest Quaternary fauna is characterized by a
preponderance of three species, the mammoth (Elephas primigenius),
the woolly rhinoceros (Rhinoceros tichorinus), and the cave-bear
(Ursus spelæus).

There are a few survivals from the Pliocene, as the gigantic elephant
(Elephas antiquus) and a few anticipations of later phases, as
the reindeer, horse, and ox, but the three mentioned are, with
palæolithic man, the most characteristic. Then comes a long period
when a strange mixture of northern and southern forms occurs. Side
by side with the remains of Arctic animals such as the mammoth, the
glutton, the musk ox, and the lemming, are found those of African
species adapted only for a warm climate, the lion, panther, hyena,
and above all the hippopotamus, not distinguishable from the existing
species, which could certainly not have lived in rivers that were
frozen in winter.

The intermixture is most difficult to account for. No doubt Africa
and Europe were then united, and the theory of migration is invoked.
The Arctic animals may, it is said, have moved south in winter and
the African animals north in summer, and this was doubtless the case
to some extent. But there are some facts which militate against
this theory; for instance, the hyena caves, which seem to show a
continuous occupation by the same African species for long periods.
Nor is it easy to conceive how the hippopotamus could have travelled
every summer from Africa to Yorkshire, and retreated every autumn
with the approach of frost. Such instances point rather to long
inter-glacial periods with vicissitudes of climate, enabling now a
northern, and now a southern fauna to inhabit permanently the same

Be this as it may, the fact is certain that this strange intermixture
of northern and southern species is found in almost all the European
deposits of the Quaternary age, until towards its close with the
coming on of the second great glacial period, when the southern
forms disappear, and the reindeer, with an Arctic or boreal flora
and fauna, become preponderant, and extend themselves over Southern
France and Germany up to the Alps and Pyrenees.

The Quaternary period is therefore roughly divided by geologists into
three stages: 1st, that of the mammoth and cave-bear, there being
some difference of opinion as to which came first, though probably
they were simultaneous; 2nd, the middle stage of the mixed fauna;
3rd, the latest stage, that of the reindeer.

Now to these stages there is an exact correspondence in the character
of the human implements found in them. In the earliest, those of
the oldest deposits and of the oldest animals, we find the rudest
implements. They consist almost exclusively of native stones, chipped
roughly into a few primitive shapes: celts, which are merely lumps
of flint or other hard stone with a little chipping to supplement
natural fractures in bringing them to a point or edge, while the
butt-end is left rough to be grasped by the hand; scrapers with
a little chipping to an edge on one side; very rude arrow-heads
without the vestige of a barb or socket; and flakes struck off at
a blow, which may have served for knives. As we ascend to later
deposits we find these primitive types constantly improving. The
celts are chipped all over and the butt-ends adapted for haftings,
so also are the other implements and weapons, and the arrow-heads
by degrees acquire barbs. But the great advance occurs with the use
of bone, which seems to have been as important a civilizing agent
for palæolithic as metals were for neolithic man. This again seems
to have been due to the increasing preponderance of the reindeer,
whose horns afforded an abundant and easily manipulated material for
working into the desired forms by flint knives.

At any rate the fact is, that as we trace palæolithic man upwards
into the later half of the Quaternary period when the reindeer became
abundant, we find a notable advance of civilization. Needles appear,
showing that skins of animals were stitched together with sinews
to provide clothing. Barbed arrows and harpoons show that the arts
of war and of the chase had made a great advance on the primitive
unhafted celt. And finally we arrive at a time when certain tribes
showed not only an advance in the industrial arts, but a really
marvellous proficiency in the arts of sculpture and drawing. In the
later reindeer period, when herds of that animal and of the wild
horse and ox roamed over the plains of Southern France and Germany,
and when the mammoth and cave-bear, though not extinct, were becoming
scarce, tribes of palæolithic savages who lived in the caves and
rock shelters of the valleys of Southern France and Germany, and of
Switzerland and Belgium, drew pictures of their chases and of the
animals with which they were surrounded, with the point of a flint
on pieces of bone or of schist. They also carved bones into images
of these animals, to adorn the handles of their weapons or as idols
or amulets. Both drawings and sculptures are in many cases admirably
executed, so as to leave no doubt of the animal intended, especially
in the case of the wild animals, for the rare portraits of the human
figure are very inferior. Most of them represent the reindeer in
various attitudes, but the mammoth, the cave-bear, the wild horse,
the Bos primigenius, and others, are also represented with wonderful

With the close of the reindeer age we pass into the Recent period
and from palæolithic to neolithic man. Physically there is no
very decided break, and we cannot draw a hard-and-fast line where
one ends and the other begins. All we can say is, that there is
general evidence of constantly decreasing cold during the whole
post-glacial period, from the climax of the second great glaciation
until modern conditions of climate are fairly established, and the
existing fauna has completely superseded that of the Quaternary,
the older characteristic forms of which having either become
extinct or migrated. How does this affect the most characteristic
of all Quaternary forms, that of man? Can we trace an uninterrupted
succession from the earliest Quaternary to the latest modern times,
or is there a break between the Quaternary and Recent periods which
with our present knowledge cannot be bridged over? And did the
division of mankind into distinct and widely different races, which
is such a prominent feature at the present day and ever since the
commencement of history, exist in the case of the palæolithic man,
whose remains are so widespread?

These are questions which can only be answered by the evidence of
actual remains of the human body. Implements and weapons may have
altered gradually with the lapse of ages, and new forms may have
been introduced by commerce and conquest, without any fundamental
change in the race using them. Still less can language be appealed to
as a test of race, for experience shows how easily the language of
a superior race may be imposed on populations with which it has no
affinity in blood. To establish distinction of races we consult the
anthropologist rather than the geologist or philologist.

  [Illustration: PORTRAIT OF MAMMOTH.

  Drawn with a flint on a piece of Mammoth's ivory; from Cave of La
  Madeleine, Dordogne, France.]


  From Grotto of Les Eyzies. Reindeer Period.]

  [Illustration: REINDEER FEEDING.

  From Grotto of Thayngen, near Schaffhausen, Switzerland.]

On what are the distinctions of the human race founded? Mainly on
colour, stature, hair, and on the anatomical character of skulls and
skeletons. These are wonderfully persistent, and have been so since
historical times, intermediate characters only appearing where there
has been intercrossing between different races. But the primitive
types have continued unchanged, and no one has ever seen a white race
of Negroes, or a black one of Europeans. And this has certainly been
the case during the historical period, or for at least 7000 years,
for the paintings on old Egyptian tombs show us the types of the
Negro, the Libyan, the Syrian, and the Copt as distinct as at the
present day, and the Negroes especially, with their black colour,
long heads, projecting muzzles, and woolly hair growing in separate
tufts, might pass for typical photographs of the African Negro of the
nineteenth century.

Of these indications of race we cannot hope to meet with any of the
former class in Quaternary gravel or caves. We have to trust to the
anatomical character to be drawn from skulls and skeletons, of which
it may be inferred, as a matter of course, that they will be few and
scanty, and will become constantly fewer and more imperfect as we
ascend the stream of time to earlier periods. It must be remembered
also that even these scanty specimens of early man are confined
almost entirely to one comparatively small portion of the earth, that
of Europe, and that we have hardly a single palæolithic skull or
skeleton of the black, the yellow, the olive, the copper-coloured, or
other typical race into which the population of the earth is actually

We are confined therefore to Europe for anything like positive
evidence of these anatomical characters of prehistoric and primæval
man, and can only draw inferences from implements as to those of
other portions of the earth and other races. Fortunately these racial
characters are very persistent, especially those of the skull and
stature, and they exist in ample abundance throughout the historic,
prehistoric, and neolithic ages, to enable us to draw very certain
conclusions. Thus at present, and as far as we can see back with
certainty, the races which have inhabited Europe may be classified
under the heads, tall and short, long-headed and broad-headed, and
those of intermediate types, which latter may be dismissed for the
present, though constituting a majority of most modern countries,
as they are almost certainly not primitive, but the result of

Colour, complexion, and hair are also very persistent, though, as we
have pointed out, we have no certain evidence by which to test them
beyond the historical period. But the form of skulls, jaws, teeth,
and other parts of the skeleton remain wonderfully constant in races
where there has been little or no intermixture.

The first great division is in the form of the skull. Comparing the
extreme breadth of the skull with its extreme length from front to
back, if the breadth does not exceed three-fourths or 75 per cent. of
the length, the skull is said to be dolicocephalic or long-headed; if
it equals or exceeds 83 per cent. it is called brachycephalic, _i.e._
short or broad-headed. Intermediate indices between 75 and 83 per
cent. are called sub-dolicocephalic, or sub-brachycephalic, according
as they approach one or the other of these extremes, but these are of
less importance, as they probably are the result of intercrossing.

The prognathism also of the jaws, the form of the eye-orbits and
nasal bones, the superciliary ridges, the proportion of the frontal
to the posterior regions of the skull, the stature and proportions of
the limbs, are also both characteristic and persistent features, and
correspond generally with the type of the skull.

The controversy as to the origin of the Aryans has led to a great
deal of argument as to these ethnological traits in prehistoric and
neolithic times, and the interesting volume of Canon Taylor's on the
_Origin of the Aryans_, and Professor Huxley's article on the same
subject in the _Nineteenth Century_ for November 1890, give a summary
of the latest researches on the subject. We shall have to refer to
these more fully in discussing the question as to the place or places
of human origins; but for the present it is sufficient to state the
general result at which the latest science has arrived.

The theory of a common Asiatic centre from which all the races of
mankind have migrated is given up as unsupported by the slightest
vestige of evidence. When we first know anything of the Aryan and
other European races, we find them occupying substantially very much
the same regions as at present. There are four distinct European
types, two tall and two short, two long-headed and two broad-headed.
Of these two were fair, and two dark, and one, apparently the oldest
in Western Europe and in the Mediterranean region, and probably
represented by the Iberians, and now by the Spanish Basques, was
short, dark, and long-headed; a second short, dark, and broad-headed,
who are probably represented by the ancient Ligurians, and survive
now in the Auvergnats and Savoyards; a third, tall, fair, and
long-headed, whose original seats were in the regions of the Baltic
and North Sea, and who were always an energetic and conquering race;
and the fourth, like the third, tall and fair, but with broad heads,
and possibly not a primitive race, but the result of some very
ancient intermixture of the third or Northern type with some of the
broad-headed races.

Now as far back as frequent human remains enable us to form some
satisfactory conclusion, that is up to the early neolithic period,
we find similar race-types already existing, and to a considerable
extent in the same localities. In modern and historical times we
find, according to Canon Taylor, "all the anthropological tests
agreeing in exhibiting two extreme types--the African, with long
heads, long eye-orbits, and flat hair; and the Mongolian, with
round heads, round orbits, and round hair. The European type is
intermediate--the head, orbits, and sections of hair are oval. In the
east of Europe we find an approximation to the Asiatic type; in the
south of Europe to the African."

More specifically, we find in Europe the four races mentioned above
of tall and short long-heads, and tall and short broad-heads. The
question is, how far back can any of these races be identified?

The preservation of human remains depends mainly on the practice of
burying the dead. Until the corpse is placed in a tomb protected by
a stone coffin or dolmen, or in a grave dug in a cave, or otherwise
sheltered from rains, floods, and wild beasts, the chances of its
preservation are few and far between. Now it is not until the
neolithic period that the custom of burying the dead became general,
and even then it was not universal, and in many nations even in
historical times corpses were burnt, not buried. It was connected
doubtless with ideas of a future existence, which either required
troublesome ghosts to be put securely out of the way, or to retain
a shadowy existence by some mysterious connection with the body
which had once served them for a habitation. Such ideas, however,
only come with some advance of civilization, and it is questionable
whether in palæolithic times the human animal had any more notion of
preserving the body after death than the other animals by which he
was surrounded.

This neolithic habit moreover of burying, though it preserves many
relics of its own time, increases the difficulty when we come to
deal with those of an earlier age. A great many caves which had been
inhabited by palæolithic man were selected as fitting spots for the
graves of their neolithic successors, and thus the remains of the two
periods became intermixed. It is never safe to rely on the antiquity
of skulls and skeletons found in association with palæolithic
implements and extinct animals, unless the exploration has been made
with the greatest care by some well-known scientific observer, or the
circumstances of the case are such as to preclude the possibility of
later interments. Thus in the famous cavern of Aurignac there is no
doubt that it had been long a palæolithic station, and that many of
the human remains date back to this period; but whether the fourteen
skeletons which were found in it, and lost owing to the pietistic
zeal of the Mayor who directed their burial, were really palæolithic,
is a disputed point, or rather the better opinion is that they were
part of a secondary neolithic interment.

But to return to undoubted neolithic skulls, we have very clear
evidence that the four distinct European races already existed. Thus
in Britain we have two distinct forms of barrows or burial tombs, one
long, the other round, and it has become proverbial that long skulls
go with long barrows, and round skulls with round barrows. The long
barrows are the oldest, and belong entirely to the stone age, no
trace of metal, according to Canon Greenwell, having ever been found
in them. The skulls and skeletons are those of a long-headed, short,
and feeble race, who may be identified with the Iberians; while
the round barrows contain bronze and finally iron, and the people
buried in them were the tall, fair, round-headed Gauls or Celts of
early history, or intermediate types between these and the older
race. Later came in the tall, fair, and long-headed Anglo-Saxon and
Scandinavian races, so that we have three out of the four European
types clearly defined in the British islands and traceable in their
descendants of the present day. But when we attempt to go beyond
the Iberians of the neolithic age in Britain, we are completely
at fault. We have abundant remains of palæolithic implements, but
scarcely a single undoubted specimen of a palæolithic skeleton, and
it is impossible to say whether the men who feasted on the mammoth
and rhinoceros in Kent's cavern, or who left their rude implements
in the high-level gravel of the chalk downs, were tall or short,
long-headed or round-headed. On the contrary, there seems a great
hiatus between the neolithic and the palæolithic periods, and, as
Geikie has shown, this appears to be the case not in England only but
in a great part of Europe. It would almost seem as if the old era had
disappeared with the last glacial period, and a completely new one
had been introduced. But although the skulls and bones of palæolithic
races are wanting in Britain and scarce everywhere, enough of them
have been found in other European countries to enable anthropologists
not merely to say that different races already existed at this
immensely remote period, but to classify them by their types, and
see how far these correspond with those of later times. This has
been done especially in France and Belgium, where the discoveries of
palæolithic skeletons and skulls have been far more frequent than
elsewhere. Debierre in his _L'Homme avant l'histoire_, published in
the _Bibliothèque Scientifique_ of 1888, enumerates upwards of forty
instances of such undoubted Quaternary human remains, of which at
least twenty consisted of entire skulls, and others of jaws and other
important bones connected with racial type.

The best and latest conclusions of modern anthropology from these
remains will be found in this work of Debierre's, and in Hamy's
_Palæontologie humaine_, Quatrefages' _Races humaines_, and
Topinard's _Anthropologie_, and it will be sufficient to give a short
summary of the results.

The history of Quaternary fossil man is divided, in the _Crania
Ethnica_ of Quatrefages and Hamy, into four races: 1st, the Canstadt
race; 2nd, the Cro-Magnon race; 3rd, the races of Grenelle and
Furfooz; 4th, the race of Truchere.

The Canstadt race, so called from the first skull of this type,
which was discovered in the loess of the valley of the Rhone near
Wurtemburg, though it is better known from the celebrated Neanderthal
skull, which gave rise to so much discussion, and was pronounced by
some that of an idiot, by others the most pithecoid specimen of a
human skull yet known, in fact almost the long-sought-for missing

A still later discovery, however, has set at rest all doubt as to
the reality of this Neanderthal type, and of its being the oldest
Quaternary human type known in Western Europe. In the year 1886 two
Belgian savants, Messrs. Fraissent and Lohest, one an anatomist,
the other a geologist, discovered in a cave at Spy near Namur two
skeletons with the skulls complete, which presented the Neanderthal
type in an exaggerated form. They were found under circumstances
which leave no doubt as to their belonging to the earliest Quaternary
deposit, being at the bottom of the cave, in the lowest of three
distinct strata, the two uppermost of which were full of the usual
palæolithic implements of stone and bone, while the few found in the
lowest stratum with the skeletons were of the rudest description.
Huxley pronounces the evidence such as will bear the severest
criticism, and he sums up the anatomical characters of the skeletons
in the following terms--

"They were short of stature, but powerfully built, with strong,
curiously curved thigh-bones, the lower ends of which are so
fashioned that they must have walked with a bend at the knees.
Their long depressed skulls had very strong brow-ridges, their lower
jaws, of brutal depth and solidity, sloped away from the teeth
downwards and backwards, in consequence of the absence of that
especially characteristic feature of the higher type of man, the chin

M. Fraissent says, "We consider ourselves in a position to say that,
having regard merely to the anatomical structure of the man of Spy,
he possessed a greater number of pithecoid characters than any other
race of mankind."

And again he says--

"The distance which separates the man of Spy from the modern
anthropoid ape is undoubtedly enormous; but we must be permitted to
point out that if the man of the Quaternary age is the stock whence
existing races have sprung, he has travelled a very great way. From
the data now obtained, it is permissible to believe that we shall
be able to pursue the ancestral type of man and the anthropoid apes
still further, perhaps as far as the Eocene and even beyond."

This Canstadt or Neanderthal type was widely diffused early in the
Quaternary period, having been found in a skull from the breccia
of Gibraltar, in skulls from Italy, Spain, Austria, Sweden, and in
France, Belgium, and Western Germany; in fact almost everywhere
where skulls and skeletons have been found in the oldest deposits
of caves and river-beds, notably in the alluvia of the Seine valley
near Paris, where three distinct superimposed strata are found,
each with different human types, that of Canstadt being the oldest.
Wherever explorations have been carefully made it seems to be certain
that the oldest race of all in Europe was dolicocephalic, and
probable that it was of the Canstadt type, the skulls of which are
all low and long, the length being attained by a great development
of the posterior part of the head, which compensates for a deficient

This type is also interesting because, although the oldest, it shows
occasional signs of survival through the later palæolithic and
neolithic ages down to recent times. The skulls of St. Manserg, a
mediæval bishop of Toul, and of Lykke, a scientific Dane of the last
century, closely resemble the Neanderthal skull in type, and can
scarcely be accounted for except as instances of that atavism, or
reversion to old ancestral forms, which occasionally crops up both
in the human and in animal species. It is thought by many that these
earliest palæolithic men may be the ancestors of the tall, fair,
long-headed race of Northern Europe; and Professor Virchow states
that in the Frisian islands off the North German coast, where the
original Teutonic type has been least affected by intermixture, the
Frisian skull unmistakably approaches the Neanderthal and Spy type.
But if this be so, the type must have persisted for an immense time,
for, as Huxley observes, "the difference is abysmal between these
rude and brutal savages, and the comely, fair, tall, and long-headed
races of historical times and of civilized nations." At the present
day the closest resemblance to the Neanderthal type is afforded by
the skulls of certain tribes of native Australians.

Next in antiquity to the Canstadt type, though still in the early age
when the mammoth and cave-bear were abundant, and the implements and
weapons still very rude, a totally different type appears, that of
Cro-Magnon. The name is taken from the skeleton of an old man, which
was found entire in the rock shelter of Cro-Magnon in the valley of
the Vezere, near the station of Moustier, which gave the type of some
of the oldest and rudest stone implements of the age of the mammoth.
The skeleton was found in the inner extremity of the shelter,
buried under a mass of _débris_ and fallen blocks of limestone, and
associated with bones of the mammoth and implements of the Moustier
type, so that there can be no doubt, of its extreme antiquity.

The skull, like that of the Canstadt type, is dolichocephalic,
but in all other respects totally different. The brow-ridges and
generally bestial characters have disappeared; the brain is of
fair or even large capacity; the stature tall; the forehead fairly
high and well-rounded; the face large; the nose straight, the jaws
prognathous, and the chin prominent.

This type is found in a number of localities, especially in the
south-west of France, Belgium, and Italy, and it continued through
the quaternary into the neolithic period, being found in the caves
of the reindeer age, and in the dolmens. It is thought by some
ethnologists to present analogies to the Berber type of North Africa,
and to that of the extinct Guanches of the Canary Islands.

Coexistent with or a little later than this type is one of a totally
different character both from it and from that of Canstadt, viz. that
of a brachycephalic race of very short stature, closely resembling
the modern Lapps. This has been subdivided into the several races
of Furfooz, Grenelle, and Truchere, according to the degree of
brachycephaly and other features; but practically we may look on
these as the results of local variations or intercrossings, and
consider all the short, brachycephalic races as forming a third type
sharply opposed to those of Canstadt and Cro-Magnon.

We have thus distinct evidence that the Quaternary fauna in Europe
comprised at least three distinct races of palæolithic men, and there
is a good deal of evidence for the existence of a fourth distinct
race in America with features differing from any of the European
races, and resembling those of the native American men in recent
times. But this affords absolutely no clue as to the existence of
other palæolithic types in Asia, Africa, India, Australia, and other
countries, forming quite three-fourths of the inhabited world, in
which totally different races now exist and have existed since the
commencement of history, who cannot possibly have been derived from
any of the European types within the lapse of time comprised within
the Quaternary period.

The Negro race is the most striking instance of this, for it differs
essentially from any other in many particulars, which are all in the
direction of an approximation towards the pithecoid type.

The size of the brain is less, and a larger proportion of it is
in the hinder half; the muzzle much more projecting, and the
nose flatter; the fore-arm longer; and various other anatomical
peculiarities all point in the same direction, though the type
remains perfectly human in the main features. It diverges, however,
from the known types of Quaternary man in Europe and from the
American type, as completely as it does from those of modern man,
and it is impossible to suppose that it can be derived from them, or
they from it, in the way of direct descent. If there is any truth
in evolution, the Negro type must be one of the oldest, as nearest
to the animal ancestor, and this ancestor must be placed very far
back beyond the Quaternary period, to allow sufficient time for the
development of such entirely different and improved races.

This will be the more evident if we consider the case of the pygmy
Negritos and Negrillos, who are spread over a wide tropical belt
of half the circumference of the earth, from New Guinea to Western
Africa. They seem originally to have occupied a large part of this
belt, and to have been driven into dense forests, high mountains,
and isolated islands, by taller and stronger races, such as the
true Negro, the Melanesian, and the Malay, and probably represent
therefore a more primitive race. But they had already existed long
enough to develop various sub-types among themselves, for although
always approaching more to the Negro type than any other, the Asiatic
Negrito and the African Negrillo and Bushman differ in the length of
skull, colour, hair, prognathism, and other particulars. But they all
agree in the one respect which makes it impossible to associate them
with any known Quaternary type, either as ancestors or descendants,
viz. that of dwarfish stature. As a rule the Bushmen and Negritos do
not average above four feet six inches, and the females three inches
less; while in some cases they are as low as four feet--_i.e._ they
are quite a foot shorter than the average of the higher races, and
nearly a foot and a half below that of the Quaternary Cro-Magnon and
Mentone skeletons, and of the modern Swedes and Scotchmen. And they
are small and slightly built in proportion, and by no means deformed
specimens of humanity. Professor Flower suggests that they may be
"the primitive type from which the African Negroes on the one hand,
and the Melanesians on the other have sprung." In any case they must
certainly have existed as a distinct type in the Quaternary period,
and probably much earlier. It is remarkable also that the very oldest
human implements known get continually smaller as they get older,
until those of the Miocene, from Thenay and Puy Courny, are almost
too small for the hands even of Stanley's pygmies. If mere guesses
were worth anything, it would be rather a plausible one that the
original Adam and Eve were something between a monkey and an Andaman

In concluding this summary of the evidence as to Quaternary man,
I must remark on the analogy which it presents to that of the
historical period dealt with in the earlier chapters. In each case
we have distinct evidence carrying us a long way back; in that of
the historical period for 7000 years; in that of the Quaternary for
a vastly longer time, which, if the effects of high eccentricity,
postulated by Croll's theory, had any influence on the two last
glacial periods, cannot be less than 200,000 years, an estimate which
is confirmed by the amount of geological work and changes of flora
and fauna which have taken place. In each case also the positive
evidence takes us back to a state of things which gives the most
incontrovertible proof of long previous existence; in the historical
case the evidence of a dense population and high civilization
already long prevailing when written records began; in the case of
palæolithic man, that of his existence in the same state of rude
civilization in the most remote regions, and over the greater part
of the habitable earth, his almost uniform progression upwards from
a lower to a higher civilization, and his existing at the beginning
of the Quaternary period already differentiated into races as remote
from one another as the typical races of the present day. These facts
of themselves afford an irresistible presumption that the origin of
the human race must be sought much further back, and it remains to
consider what positive evidence has been adduced in support of this



   Definition of Periods--Passage from Pliocene
   to Quaternary--Scarcity of Human Remains in
   Tertiary--Denudation--Evidence from Caves wanting--Tertiary Man
   a necessary inference from widespread existence of Quaternary
   Man--Both equally inconsistent with Genesis--Was the first great
   Glaciation Pliocene or Quaternary?--Section of Perrier--Confirms
   Croll's Theory--Elephas Meridionalis--Mammoth--St. Prest--Cut
   Bones--Instances of Tertiary Man--Halitherium--Balæonotus--Puy
   Courny--Thenay--Evidence for--Proofs of Human Agency--Latest
   Conclusions--Gaudry's Theory--Dryopithecus--Type of Tertiary
   Man--Skeleton of Castelnedolo--- Shows no approach to the
   Missing Link--Contrary to Theory of Evolution--- Must be sought
   in the Eocene--Evidence from the New World--Glacial Period in
   America--Palæolithic Implements--Quaternary Man--Similar to
   Europe--California--Conditions different--Auriferous Gravels---
   Volcanic Eruptions--Enormous Denudation--Great Antiquity--Flora
   and Fauna--Point to Tertiary Age--Discovery of Human
   Remains--Table Mountain--Latest Finds--Calaveras Skull--Summary
   of Evidence--Other Evidence--Tuolumne--Brazil--Buenos
   Ayres--Nampa Images--Take us farther from First Origins and the
   Missing Link--If Darwin's Theory applies to Man, must go back to
   the Eocene.

The first difficulty which meets us in this question is that of
distinguishing clearly between the different geological periods. No
hard-and-fast line separates the Quaternary from the Pliocene, the
Pliocene from the Miocene, or the Miocene from the Eocene. They pass
from one into the other by insensible gradations, and the names given
to them merely imply that such considerable changes have taken place
in the fauna as to enable us to distinguish one period from another.
And even this only applies when we take the periods as a whole, and
see what have been the predominant types, for single types often
survive through successive periods. The course of evolution seems to
be that types and species, like individuals, have their periods of
birth, growth, maturity, decay, and death. Thus fish of the ganoid
type appear sparingly in the Silurian, culminate in the Devonian, and
gradually die out in the later formations. So also Saurian reptiles
appear in the Carboniferous, culminate in the Lias, and die out with
the Secondary, or so nearly so that the crocodilia are their sole
remaining representatives.

And this applies when we attempt to take our first step backwards in
tracing the origin of man, and follow him from the Quaternary into
the Pliocene. When did the Pliocene end and the Quaternary begin?
Within which of the two did the first great glacial period fall? Does
pre-glacial mean Pliocene, or is it included in the Quaternary? and
to which do the oldest human remains belong, such as the skeletons of

The difficulty of answering these questions is increased because,
as we go back in time, the human remains which guide us in the
Quaternary age necessarily become scarcer. Mankind must have been
fewer in number, and their relics to a great extent removed by
denudation. Thus the evidence from caves, which affords by far the
most information as to Quaternary man, entirely fails us as to the
Pliocene and earlier periods. This may be readily accounted for when
we consider the great amount of the earth's surface which has been
removed by denudation. In fact we have seen that nearly 2000 feet of
a mountain range must have disappeared from denudation in the Weald
of Kent, since the streams from it rolled down the gravels with human
implements, scattered over the North Downs as described by Professor
Prestwich. What chance would Tertiary caves have of surviving such an
extensive denudation? Moreover, if any of the present caves existed
before the glacial period, their original contents must have been
swept out, perhaps more than once, before they became filled by the
present deposits. There is evidence in many caves that this was the
case, from small patches of the older deposit being found adhering
to the roof, as at Brixham and Maccaguone in Sicily, in which latter
case flakes of chipped stone and pieces of carbon were found by Dr.
Falconer in these patches of a hard breccia.

There is another consideration also which must have greatly
diminished the chance of finding human remains in Tertiary deposits.
Why did men take to living in dark and damp caves? Presumably for
protection against cold. But in the Miocene and the greater part
of the Pliocene there was no great cold. The climate, as shown by
the vegetation, was mild, equable, and ranged from semi-tropical to
south-temperate, and the earth was to a certain extent covered by
forests sustaining many fruit-bearing trees. Under such conditions
men would have every inducement to live in the open air, and in or
near forests where they could obtain food and shelter, rather than
in caves. And a few scattered savages, thus living, would leave
exceedingly few traces of their existence. If the pygmy races of
Central Africa, or of the Andaman Islands, became extinct, the
chances would be exceedingly small of a future geologist finding
any of their stone implements, which alone would have a chance of
surviving, dropped under secular accumulations of vegetable mould in
a wide forest.

It is the more important therefore where instances of human remains
in Tertiary strata, supported by strong _primâ facie_ evidence,
and vouched for by competent authorities, do actually occur, to
examine them dispassionately, and not, as a good many of our English
geologists are disposed to do, dismiss them with a sort of scientific
_non possumus_, like that which was so long opposed to the existence
of Quaternary man, and the discoveries of Boucher-de-Perthes. It is
perfectly evident from the admitted existence of man throughout the
Quaternary period, already spread over a great part of the earth's
surface, and divided into distinct types, that if there is any truth
in evolution, mankind must have had a long previous existence. The
only other possible alternative would be the special miraculous
creations of men of several different types, and in many different
centres, at the particular period of time when the Tertiary was
replaced by the Quaternary. In other words that, while all the rest
of the animal creation have come into existence by evolution from
ancestral types, man alone, and that not merely as regards his
spiritual qualities, but physical man, with every bone and muscle
having its counterpart in the other quadrumana, was an exception to
this universal law, and sprang into existence spontaneously or by
repeated acts of supernatural interference.

As long as the account of the creation in Genesis was held to be a
divinely-inspired narrative, and no facts contradicting it had been
discovered, it is conceivable that such a theory might be held,
but to admit evolution for Quaternary, and refuse to admit it for
Tertiary man, is an extreme instance of "straining at a gnat and
swallowing a camel," for a duration of even 10,000 or 20,000 years is
just as inconsistent with Genesis as one of 100,000 or half a million.

In attacking the question of Tertiary man, the first point is to
aim at some clear conception of where the Pliocene ends and the
Quaternary begins. These are after all but terms applied to gradual
changes through long intervals of time; still they require some
definition, or otherwise we should be beating the air, and ticketing
in some museums as Tertiary the identical specimens which in others
were labelled as Quaternary. This turns very much on whether the
first great glaciation was Pliocene or Quaternary, and must be
decided partly by the order of superposition and partly by the fauna.
If we can find a section where a thick morainic deposit is interposed
between two stratified deposits, a lower one characterized by the
usual fauna of the Older Pliocene, and an upper one by that of the
Newer Pliocene, it is evident that the glacier or ice-cap which left
this moraine must have existed in Pliocene times. We know that the
climate became colder in the Pliocene, and rapidly colder towards
its close, and that in the cliffs of Cromer, the forest bed with
a temperate climate had given place to Arctic willows and mosses,
before the first and lowest boulder-clay had brought blocks of
Scandinavian granite to England. We should be prepared, therefore,
for evidence that this first period of greatest cold had occurred
within the limits of the Pliocene period.

Such evidence is afforded by the valleys which radiate from the great
central boss of France in the Auvergne. The hill of Perrier had
long been known as a rich site of the fossil remains of the extinct
Pliocene fauna, and its section has been carefully studied by some of
the best French geologists, whose results are summed up as follows by
Hamy in his _Palæontologie humaine_--

"The bed-rock is primitive protogine, which is covered by nearly
horizontal lacustrine Miocene, itself covered by some metres of
fluviatile gravels. Above comes a bed of fine sand, a mètre thick,
which contains numerous specimens of the well-known mammalian fauna
of the Lower Pliocene, characterized by two mastodons (_M. Armenicus_
and _M. Borsoni_). Then comes a mass of conglomerates 150 mètres
thick, consisting of pebbles and boulders cemented by yellowish mud;
and above this a distinct layer of Upper Pliocene characterized by
the _Elephas Meridionalis_.

"The boulders, some of which are of great size, are all angular,
never rounded or stratified, often scratched, and mostly consisting
of trachyte, which must have been transported twenty-five kilomètres
from the Puy de Dôme. In short, the conglomerate is absolutely
indistinguishable from any other glacial moraine, whether of the
Quaternary period or of the present day. It is divided into three
sections by two layers of rolled pebbles and sands, which could only
have been caused by running water, so that the glacier must have
advanced and retreated three times, leaving each time a moraine fifty
mètres thick, and the whole of this must have occurred before the
deposit of the Upper Pliocene stratum with its _Elephas Meridionalis_
and other Pliocene mammals."

The importance of this will presently be seen, for the _Elephas
Meridionalis_ is one of the extinct animals which is most directly
connected with the proofs of man's existence before the Quaternary
period. It is also important as confirming the immense time which
must have elapsed between the date of the first and second _maxima_
of glacial cold, and thus adding probability to the calculations
derived from Croll's periods of maximum and minimum eccentricity.

The three advances and retreats of the great Perrier glacier also fit
in extremely well with the calculated effects of precession during
high eccentricity, as about three of such periods must have occurred
in the period of the coming on, culminating, and receding of each
phase of maximum eccentricity.

This evidence from Perrier does not stand alone, for in the
neighbouring valleys, and in many other localities, isolated boulders
of foreign rocks which could only have been transported by ice, are
found at heights considerably above those of the more recent moraines
and boulders which had been supposed to mark the limit of the
greatest glaciation. Thus on the slopes of the Jura and the Vosges,
boulders of Alpine rocks, much worn by age, and whose accompanying
drifts and moraines have disappeared by denudation, are found at
heights 150 or 200 mètres above the more obvious moraines and
boulders, which themselves rise to a height of nearly 4000 feet, and
must have been the front of glaciers from the Alps which buried the
plain of Switzerland under that thickness of solid ice.

The only possible alternative to this evidence from Perrier would be
to throw back the duration of the Quaternary and limit that of the
Pliocene enormously, by supposing that all the deposits above the
great glacial conglomerate or old moraine, are inter-glacial and
not Tertiary. This is, as has been pointed out, very much a question
of words, for the phenomena and the time required to account for
them remain the same by whatever name we elect to call them. But it
still has its importance, for it involves the fundamental principle
of geology, that of classifying eras and formations by their fauna.
If the _Elephas Meridionalis_ is a Pliocene and not a Quaternary
species, we must admit, with the great majority of continental
geologists, that the first and greatest glaciation fell within the
Pliocene period. If, on the other hand, this elephant is, like the
mammoth, part of the Quaternary fauna, we may believe, as many
English geologists do, that the first glacial period coincided with
and probably occasioned the change from Pliocene to Quaternary, and
that everything above the oldest boulder-clays and moraines is not
Tertiary but inter-glacial.

As bones of the _Elephas Meridionalis_ have been frequently found in
connection with human implements, and with cuts on them which could
only have been made by flint knives ground by the human hand, it will
be seen at once what an interest attaches to this apparently dry
geological question, of the age of the great southern elephant.

The transition from the mastodon into the elephant took place in
the Old World (for in America the succession is different) in the
Pliocene period. In the older Pliocene we have nothing but mastodons,
in the newer nothing but elephants, and the transition from the
older to the newer type is distinctly traced by intermediate forms
in the fossil fauna of the Sewalek hills. The _Elephas Meridionalis_
is the oldest known form of true elephant, and it is characteristic
of all the different formations of the Upper Pliocene, while it is
nowhere found in cave or river deposits which belong unmistakably
to the Quaternary. It was a gigantic animal, fully four feet higher
than the tallest existing elephant, and bulky in proportion. It had
a near relation in the _Elephas Antiquus_, which was of equal size,
and different from it mainly in a more specialized structure of the
molar teeth, and the remains of this elephant have been found in the
lower strata of some of the oldest bone-caves and river-silts, as to
which it is difficult to say whether they are older or younger than
the first glacial period. The remains of a pygmy elephant, no bigger
than an ass, have also been found in the Upper Pliocene, at Malta
and Sicily, and those of the existing African elephant in Sicily and
Spain. It would seem, therefore, that the Upper Pliocene was the
golden age of the elephants where they were most widely diffused,
and comprised most species and most varieties, both in the direction
of gigantic and of diminutive size. But in passing from the Pliocene
into the Quaternary period, they all, or almost all, disappeared,
and were superseded by the _Elephas Primigenius_, or mammoth, which
had put in a first appearance in the latest Pliocene, and became
the principal representative of the genus _Elephas_ in Europe and
Northern Asia down to comparatively recent times.

This succession is confirmed by that of the rhinoceros, of which
several species were contemporary with the _Elephas Meridionalis_,
while the _Rhinoceros tichorinus_, or woolly rhinoceros, who is the
inseparable companion of the mammoth, appeared and disappeared with

In these matters, those who are not themselves specialists must
rely on authority, and when we find Lyell, Geikie, and Prestwich
coinciding with all modern French, German, Italian, and Belgian
geologists, in considering _Elephas Meridionalis_ as one of the
characteristic Upper Pliocene fauna, we can have no hesitation in
adopting their conclusion.

In this case the section of St. Prest, near Chartres, affords a first
absolutely secure foothold in tracing our way backwards towards human
origins beyond the Quaternary. The sands and gravels of a river which
ran on the bed rock without any underlying glacial _débris_ are here
exposed. It had no relation to the existing river Eure, the bed
of which it crosses at an angle, and it must have run before that
river had begun to excavate its valley, and when the drainage of
the country was quite different. The sands contain an extraordinary
number of bones of the _Elephas Meridionalis_, associated with old
species of rhinoceros, and other Pliocene species. Lyell, who visited
the spot, had no hesitation in calling it a Pliocene river. In fact
it never would have been disputed if the question of man's antiquity
had not been involved in it, for in these sands and gravels have been
found numerous specimens of cut bones of the _Elephas Meridionalis_,
together with the flint knives which made the cuts, and other stone
implements, rude but still unmistakably of the usual palæolithic type.

The subjoined plate will enable the reader to compare the arrow-head,
which is the commonest type found at St. Prest, with a comparatively
recent arrow-head from the Yorkshire wolds, and see how impossible
it is to concede human agency to the post-glacial and deny it to the
Pliocene specimen.

  [Illustration: PLIOCENE.


  (Hamy, _Palæontologie Humaine_.)



  (Evans, _Stone Implements_.)]

In this and other instances, cut bones afford one of the most
certain tests of the presence of man. The bones tell their own
tale, and their geological age can be certainly identified. Sharp
cuts could only be made on them while the bones were fresh, and
the state of fossilization, and presence of dendrites or minute
crystals alike on the side of the cuts and on the bone, negative any
idea of forgery. The cuts can be compared with those on thousands
of undoubted human cuts on bones from the reindeer and other later
periods, and with cuts now made with old flint knives on fresh bones.
All these tests have been applied by some of the best anthropologists
of the day, who have made a special study of the subject, and who
have shown their caution and good faith by rejecting numerous
specimens which did not fully meet the most rigorous requirements,
with the result that in several cases there could be no reasonable
doubt that the cuts were really made by human implements guided by
human hands. The only possible alternative suggested is, that they
might have been made by gnawing animals or fishes. But as Quatrefages
observes, even an ordinary carpenter would have no difficulty in
distinguishing between a clean cut made by a sharp knife, and a
groove cut by repeated strokes of a narrow chisel; and how much
more would it be impossible for a Professor trained to scientific
investigation, and armed with a microscope, to mistake a groove
gnawed out by a shark or rodent for a cut made by a flint knife. No
one who will refer to Quatrefages' _Hommes fossilés_, and look at the
figures of cut bones given there from actual photographs, can feel
any doubt that the cuts there delineated were made by flint knives
held by the human hand.

In addition to this instance of St. Prest, Quatrefages in his
_Histoire des Races Humaines_, published in 1887, and containing
the latest summary of the evidence generally accepted by French
geologists as to Tertiary man, says that, omitting doubtful cases,
the presence of man has been signalized in deposits undoubtedly
Tertiary in five different localities, viz. in France by the
Abbé Bourgeois, in the Lower Miocene of Thenay near Pontlevoy
(Loir-et-Cher); by M. Rames at Puy Courny near Aurillac (Cantal), in
the Upper Miocene; in Italy by M. Capellini in the Pliocene of Monte
Aperto near Sienna, and by M. Ragazzoni in the Lower Pliocene of
Castelnedolo near Brescia; in Portugal by M. Ribiero at Otta, in the
valley of the Tagus, in the Upper Miocene.

  BALÆONOTUS--PLIOCENE. From Monte Aperto, Italy. (Quatrefages,
  _Histoire des Races Humaines_.)]


To these may be added the cut bones of Halitherium, a Miocene
species, from Pouancé (Maine et Loire), by M. Delaunay; and those
on the tibia of a Rhinoceros Etruscus, and other fossil bones from
the Upper Pliocene of the Val d'Arno. In addition to these are the
numerous remains, certainly human and presumably Tertiary, from
North and South America, which will be referred to later, and a
considerable number of cases where there is a good deal of _primâ
facie_ evidence for Tertiary human remains, but where doubts remain
and their authenticity is still denied by competent authorities.
Among these ought to be placed the instance from Portugal, for
although a large celt very like those of the oldest palæolithic type
was undoubtedly found in strata which had always been considered as
Miocene, the Congress of Palæontologists who assembled at Lisbon were
divided in opinion as to the conclusiveness of the evidence.

But there remain six cases in the Old World, ranging from St. Prest
in the Upper Pliocene to Thenay in the Lower Miocene, in which the
preponderance of evidence and authority in support of Tertiary man
seems so decisive, that nothing but a preconceived bias against the
antiquity of the human race can refuse to accept it.

I have already discussed this evidence so fully in a former work
(_Problems of the Future_, ch. v. on Tertiary Man) that I do not
propose to go over the ground again, but merely to refer briefly to
some of the more important points which come out in the above six
instances. In three of them, those of the Halitherium of Pouancé, the
Balæonotus of Monte Aperto, and the rhinoceros of the Val d'Arno,
the evidence depends entirely on cut bones, and in the case of St.
Prest on that of cut bones of _Elephas Meridionalis_ combined with
palæolithic implements.

The evidence from cut bones is for the reasons already stated
very conclusive, and when a jury of four or five of the leading
authorities, such as Quatrefages, Hamy, Mortillet, and Delaunay, who
have devoted themselves to this branch of inquiry, and have shown
their great care and conscientiousness by rejecting numbers of cases
which did not satisfy the most rigid tests, arrive unanimously at the
conclusion that many of the cuts on the bones of Tertiary animals
are unmistakably of human origin, there seems no room left for any
reasonable scepticism. I cannot doubt therefore that we have positive
evidence to confirm the existence of man, at any rate from the
Pliocene period, through the long series of ages intervening between
it and the Quaternary.

But the discovery of flint implements at Puy Courny in the Upper
Miocene, and at Thenay in the Lower Miocene, carry us back a long
step further, and involves such important issues as to the origin of
the human race, that it may be well to recapitulate the evidence upon
which those discoveries rest.

The first question is as to the geological age of the deposits in
which these chipped implements have been found. In the case of
Puy Courny this is beyond dispute. In the central region of the
Auvergne there have been two series of volcanic eruptions, the latest
towards the close of the Pliocene or commencement of the Quaternary
period, and an older one, which, from its position and fossils,
is clearly of the Upper Miocene. The gravels in which the chipped
flints were discovered by M. Rames, a very competent geologist, were
interstratified with tuffs and lavas of these older volcanoes, and no
doubt as to their geological age was raised by the Congress of French
archæologists to whom they were submitted. The whole question turns
therefore on the sufficiency of the proofs of human origin, as to
which the same Congress expressed themselves as fully satisfied.


The specimens consist of several well-known palæolithic types, celts,
scrapers, arrow-heads and flakes, only ruder and smaller than those
of later periods. They were found at three different localities in
the same stratum of gravel, and comply with all the tests by which
the genuineness of Quaternary implements is ascertained, such as
bulbs of percussion, conchoidal fractures, and above all, intentional
chipping in a determinate direction. It is evident that a series
of small parallel chips or trimmings, confined often to one side
only of the flint, and which have the effect of bringing it into a
shape which is known from Quaternary and recent implements to be
adapted for human use, imply intelligent design, and could not have
been produced by the casual collisions of pebbles rolled down by an
impetuous torrent. Thus the annexed plate of an implement from the
high level drift on the North Downs, shown by Professor Prestwich
to the Anthropological Society, is rude enough, but no one has ever
expressed the least doubt of its human origin.

The chipped flints from Puy Courny also afford another very
conclusive proof of intelligent design. The gravelly deposit in
which they are found contains five different varieties of flints,
and of these all that look like human implements are confined to one
particular variety, which from its nature is peculiarly adapted for
human use. As Quatrefages says, no torrents or other natural causes
could have exercised such a discrimination, which could only have
been made by an intelligent being, selecting the stones best adapted
for his tools and weapons.



  Puy Courny. Upper Miocene (Rames).

  (Quatrefages, _Races Humaines_, p. 95.)


  Puy Courny. Upper Miocene (Rames)

  (Quatrefages, _Races Humaines_, p. 95.)]

The general reader must be content to rely to a great extent on the
verdict of _experts_, and in this instance of Puy Courny need not
perhaps go further than the conclusion of the French Congress of
archæologists, who pronounced in favour both of their Miocene and
human origin. It may be well, however, to annex a plate showing in
two instances how closely the specimens from Puy Courny resemble
those of later periods, of the human origin of which no doubt
has ever been entertained. It is certainly carrying scientific
scepticism to an unreasonable pitch to doubt that whatever cause
fashioned the two lower figures, the same cause must equally have
fashioned the upper ones; and if that cause be human intelligence
in the Quaternary period it must have been human or human-like
intelligence in the Upper Miocene.



  (Evans, _Stone Implements_, p 473.)


  North Downs, Kent (Prestwich).]

The evidence for the still older implements of Thenay is of the
same nature as that for those of Puy Courny. First as regards the
geological horizon. Subjoined is the section at Thenay as made by
M. Bourgeois, verified by MM. Vibraye, Delaunay, Schmidt, Belgrand,
and others, from personal inspection, and given by M. Hamy in his
_Palæontologie humaine_.

It would seem that there could be little doubt as to the geological
position of the strata from which the alleged chipped flints come.
The Faluns are a well-known marine deposit of a shallow sea spread
over a great part of Central and Southern France, and identified,
beyond a doubt, as Upper Miocene by its shells. The Orleans Sands
are another Miocene deposit perfectly characterized by its mammalian
fauna, in which the _Mastodon Angustidens_ first appears, with other
peculiar species. The Calcaire de Beauce is a solid freshwater
limestone formed in the great lake which in the Miocene age occupied
the plain of the Beauce and extended into Touraine. It forms a clear
horizon or dividing line between the Upper Miocene, characterized
by the Mastodon, and the Lower Miocene, of which the Acrotherium, a
four-toed and hornless rhinoceros, is the most characteristic fossil.

  [Illustration: SECTION AT THENAY.]

The supposed chipped flints are said to appear sparingly in the upper
deposits, disappear in the Calcaire de Beauce, and reappear, at
first sparingly and then plentifully, in the lacustrian marls below
the limestone. They are by far the most numerous in a thin layer of
greenish-yellow clay, No. 3 of section, below which they rapidly
disappear. There can be no question therefore that if the flints
really came from the alleged deposits, and really show the work of
human hands, the savages by whom they were chipped must have lived
on the shores or sand-banks of this Miocene lake. As regards the
geological question, it is right to observe that Professor Prestwich,
who visited the section a good many years ago in company with the
Abbé Bourgeois, and who is one of the highest authorities on this
class of questions, remained unconvinced that the flints shown him
really came from the alleged strata below the Calcaire de Beauce, and
thought that the specimens which appeared to show human manufacture
might have come from the surface, and become intermixed with the
natural flints of the lower strata.

The geological horizon, however, seems to have been generally
accepted by French and Continental geologists, especially by the
latest authorities, and the doubts which have been expressed have
turned mainly on the proof of human design shown by the implements.
This is a question which must be decided by the authority of experts,
for it requires special experience to be able to distinguish between
accidental fractures and human design, in implements of the extremely
rude type of the earlier formations. The test is mainly afforded
by the nature of the chipping. If it consists of a number of small
chips, all in the same direction, with the result of bringing one
face or side into a definite form, adapted for some special use,
the inference is strong that the chips were the work of design. The
general form might be the result of accident, but fractures from
frost or collisions simulating chipping could hardly be all in the
same direction, and confined to one part of the stone. The inference
is strengthened if the specimen shows bulbs of percussion, where the
blows had been struck to fashion the implement, and if the microscope
discloses parallel striæ and other signs of use on the chipped edge,
such as would be made by scraping bones or skins, while nothing of
the sort is seen on the other natural edges, though they may be
sharper. But above all, the surest test is afforded by a comparison
with other implements of later dates, or even of existing savages,
which are beyond all doubts products of human manufacture.

Tried by these tests, the evidence stands as follows--

When specimens of the flints from Thenay were first submitted to the
Anthropological Congress at Brussels, in 1867, their human origin
was admitted by MM. Worsae, de Vibraye, de Mortillet, and Schmidt,
and rejected by MM. Nilson, Hebert, and others, while M. Quatrefages
reserved his opinion, thinking a strong case made out, but not being
entirely satisfied. M. Bourgeois himself was partly responsible for
these doubts, for, like Boucher-de-Perthes, he had injured his case
by overstating it, and including a number of small flints, which
might have been, and probably were, merely natural specimens. But the
whole collection having been transferred to the Archæological Museum
at St. Germain, its director, M. Mortillet, selected those which
appeared most demonstrative of human origin, and placed them in a
glass case, side by side with similar types of undoubted Quaternary
implements. This removed a great many doubts, and later discoveries
of still better specimens of the type of scrapers have, in the words
of Quatrefages, "dispelled his last doubts," while not a single
instance has occurred of any convert in the opposite direction, or of
any opponent who has adduced facts contradicting the conclusions of
Quatrefages, Mortillet, and Hamy, after an equally careful and minute



  (Hamy, _Palæontologie Humaine_, p. 49.)


  (Showing bulb of percussion. Quatrefages, _Races Humaines_, p.

In order to assist the reader in forming an opinion as to the claim
of these flints from Thenay, to show clear traces of human design, I
subjoin some illustrations of photographs in which they are compared
with specimens of later date, which are undoubtedly and by universal
consent works of human hands, guided by human intelligence.

These figures seem to leave no reasonable doubt that some at least of
the flints from Thenay show unmistakable signs of human handiwork,
and I only hesitate to accept them as conclusive proofs of the
existence of man in the Middle Miocene, because such an authority as
Prestwich retains doubts of their having come from the geological
horizon accepted by the most eminent modern French geologists.


  BORER, OR AWL. Thenay. Miocene.

  (Congrès Préhistorique, Bruxelles, 1872.)


  (Gaudry. Quatrefages, p. 92.)]

The evidence of the authenticity of these implements from Thenay is,
moreover, greatly strengthened by the discovery of other Miocene
implements at Puy Courny, which have not been seriously impugned,
and by the essay of Professor Prestwich, confirming the discovery of
numerous flint implements in the upper level gravels of the North
Downs, which could only have been deposited by streams flowing from a
mountain ridge along the Anticlinal of the Weald, of which 2000 feet
must have disappeared by sub-aërial denudation since these rivers
flowed northwards from its flanks. How far back such a denudation may
carry us is a matter of speculation. Certainly, as Prestwich admits,
into the pre-glacial or very early glacial ages, and possibly into
the Tertiaries, but at any rate for a time which, by whatever name
we call it, must be enormous according to any standard of centuries
or millenniums. And what is specially interesting in these extremely
ancient implements is that, in Prestwich's words, "these plateau
implements exhibit distinct characters and types such as would denote
them to be the work of a more primitive and ruder race than those
fabricated by palæolithic men of the valley drift times."


  SCRAPER. Yorkshire Wold.

  (Evans, _Stone Implements_.)

  QUATERNARY. Mammoth Period.

  River Drift, Mesvin. Belgium.

  (Congrès Préhistorique, Bruxelles, 1872.)

  QUATERNARY. Chaleux, Belgium.

  Reindeer Period. (Congrès Préhistorique, Bruxelles, 1872.)]

In fact we have only to look at the figures which accompany
Prestwich's essay,[12] to see that their types resemble those of Puy
Courny and Thenay, rather than those of St. Acheul and Moustier.

  [12] _Journal of Anthropological Institute_, Feb. 1892, p. 262.

The following remarks of the Professor would apply almost as well to
the Miocene implements as to those of the plateau--

"Unlike the valley implements, the plateau implements are, as a rule,
made of the _fragments_ of natural drift flints, that are found
scattered over the surface of the ground, or picked up in gravel-beds
and merely roughly trimmed. Sometimes the work is so slight as to be
scarcely apparent; at others, it is sufficient to show a distinct
design and object. It indicates the very infancy of the art, and
probably the earliest efforts of man to fabricate his tools and
weapons from other substances than wood or bone. That there was an
object and design is manifest from the fact that they admit of being
grouped according to certain patterns. These are very simple, but
they answered to the wants of a primitive people.

"With few exceptions, the implements are small, from 2 to 5 inches
in length, and mostly such as could have been used in the hand,
and in the hand only. There is, with the exceptions before named,
an almost entire absence of the large massive spear-head forms of
the valley drifts, and a large preponderance of forms adapted for
chipping, hammering, and scraping. With these are some implements
that could not have been used in the hand, but they are few and
rude. The difference between the plateau and the valley implements
is as great or greater than between the latter and the neolithic
implements. Though the work on the plateau implements is often so
slight as scarcely to be recognizable, even modern savage work, such
as exhibited for example by the stone implements of the Australian
natives, show, when divested of their mounting, an amount of work no
greater or more distinct, than do these early palæolithic specimens.

"Some persons may be disposed to look upon the slight and rude work
which these flints have received as the result only of the abrasion
and knocking about caused by collision during the transport of the
drift. This belief prevailed for a time even in the case of the
comparatively well-fashioned valley implements. A little practice,
and comparison with natural drift flints, will show the difference,
notwithstanding the, at first, unpromising appearance of these early
specimens of man's handicraft. It is as such, and from their being
the earliest such work with which we are acquainted, that they are
of so great interest, for they give us some slight insight into the
occupation and surroundings of the race by whom they were used. A
main object their owners would seem to have had in view, was the
trimming of flints to supply them with implements adapted to the
breaking of bones for the sake of the marrow, scraping skins, and
round bodies such as bones or sticks, for use as simple tools or
poles. From the scarcity of the large massive implements of the
pointed and adze type, so common in the valley drifts, it would seem
as though offensive and defensive weapons of this class had not been
so much needed, whether from the rarity of the large mammalia, so
common later on in the low-level valley drifts, or from the habits
and character of those early people."

The positive evidence is therefore extremely strong that men existed
in the Tertiaries, and if we add to it the irresistible inference
that he must have done so to develop so many different races, and
leave his rude implements in so many and such remote regions as we
found early in the Quaternary, I do not see how it is possible to
avoid accepting it as an established fact.

But in using the term Tertiary Man, I do not venture to define the
exact meaning of "man," or the precise stage in his evolution which
had been attained at this enormously remote period. M. Gaudry, an
excellent authority, while admitting that the flints from Thenay
showed evidence of intentional chipping, thought that they might
have been the work of the Dryopithecus, a fossil ape, supposed to
be nearer man than any existing anthropoid, whose remains had been
found at Sausan in the Middle Miocene. But the Dryopithecus has
been deposed from his pride of place by the subsequent discovery of
a more perfect jaw, and he is now considered, though undoubtedly
an anthropoid ape, to be of a lower type than the chimpanzee or
gorilla.[13] The strongest argument however for the essentially
human character of the artificers of the flints of Thenay and Puy
Courny is that their type continues, with no change except that of
slight successive improvements, through the Pliocene, Quaternary,
and even down to the present day. The scraper of the Esquimaux and
the Andaman islanders is but an enlarged and improved edition of the
Miocene scraper, and in the latter case the stones seem to have been
split by the same agency, viz. that of fire. The early knowledge of
fire is also confirmed by the discovery, reported by M. Bourgeois in
the Orleans Sand at Thenay, with bones of mastodon and dinotherium,
of a stony fragment mixed with carbon, in a sort of hardened paste,
which, as we can hardly suppose pottery to have been known, must be
the remnant of a hearth on which there had been a fire.

  [13] Having applied to Professor Flower, as the highest
  authority, to inform me of the actual position of the evidence
  as to the Dryopithecus, he was good enough to reply to me as

  "Dryopithecus (Middle Miocene of France) is an undoubted
  anthropoid, allied to gorilla and chimpanzee, but the recent
  discovery of a more complete jaw than that first found shows
  that it is rather a lower form than the two just mentioned,
  instead of higher as once thought. See Gaudry, Mem. Soc. Geol.
  France--_Palæontologie_, 1890.

  "The animal called _Pliopithecus_, from the same formation, is
  now generally considered to be not distinguishable from the genus
  Hylobates (Gibbon).

  "So there is no doubt about the existence of anthropoid apes in
  the Miocene of Europe, but not of a higher type than the present
  African or Asiatic species. Yours truly,

    "W. FLOWER."

There must always, however, remain a doubt as to the nature of this
ancestral Tertiary man, until actual skulls and skeletons have been
found, under circumstances which preclude doubt, and in sufficient
numbers to enable anthropologists to speak with the same confidence
as to types and races, as they can of his Quaternary successors.
This again is difficult from the rarity of such remains, and from
the fact that after burial of the dead was introduced, graves must
often have been dug down from the surface into older strata, with
which in course of time their contents become intermixed. No case,
therefore, can be safely admitted where the find was not made by
well-known scientific authorities, under circumstances which preclude
the possibility of subsequent interment, and vouch for the geological
age of the undisturbed deposit. This test disposes of all the alleged
discoveries of human remains in the Tertiaries of the Old World,
except one, and although it is quite possible that some may be
genuine among those rejected, it is safer not to rely on them. There
is one, however, which is supported by extremely strong evidence, and
the discussion of which I have reserved for the last, as if accepted
it throws a new and unexpected light on the evolution of the human

The following is the account of it, taken from Quatrefages' _Races

"The bones of four individuals, a woman and two children, were found
at Castelnedolo, near Brescia, in a bed identified by its fossils
as Lower Pliocene. The excavations were made with the utmost care,
in undisturbed strata, by M. Ragazzoni, a well-known scientific
man, assisted by M. Germani, and the results confirmed by M. Sergi,
a well-known geologist, after a minute personal investigation. The
deposit was removed in successive horizontal layers, and not the
least trace was found of the beds having been mixed or disturbed. The
human bones presented the same fossilized appearance as those of the
extinct animals in the same deposit. The female skeleton was almost
entire, and the fragments of the skull were sufficiently perfect to
admit of their being pieced together so as to show almost its entire

The first conjecture naturally was that it must have been a case of
subsequent interment, a conjecture which was strengthened by the fact
of the female skeleton being so entire; but this is negatived by
the undisturbed nature of the beds, and by the fact that the other
bones were found scattered at considerable distances throughout the
stratum. M. Quatrefages sums up the evidence by saying, "that there
exists no serious reason for doubting the discovery, and that if made
in a Quaternary deposit, no one would have thought of contesting its
accuracy. Nothing can be opposed to it but theoretical _à priori_
objections similar to those which so long repelled the existence of
Quaternary man."

But if we accept this discovery, it leads to the remarkable
conclusion that Tertiary man not only existed, but has undergone
little change in the thousands of centuries which have since elapsed.
The skull is of fair capacity, very much like what might be expected
from a female of the Canstadt type, and less rude and ape-like than
the skulls of Spy and Neanderthal, or those of modern Bushmen and
Australians. And the other bones of the skeleton show no marked

This makes it difficult to accept the discovery unreservedly,
notwithstanding the great weight of positive evidence in its favour.
The great objection to Tertiary man has been, that as all other
species had changed, and many had become extinct two or three times
over since the Miocene, it was unlikely that an animal so highly
specialized as man should alone have had a continuous existence. And
this argument of course becomes stronger the more it can be shown
that the oldest skeletons differed little if it at all from man of
the Quaternary and Recent ages. Moreover, the earlier specimens
of Quaternary man which are so numerous and authentic, show, if
not anything that can be fairly called the "missing link," still
a decided tendency, as they get older, towards the type of the
rudest existing races, which again show a distinct though distant
approximation towards the type of the higher apes. The oldest
Quaternary skulls are dolichocephalic, very thick with enormous
frontal sinuses; low and receding foreheads; flattened vertices;
prognathous jaws, and slight and receding' chins. The average cranial
capacity is about 1150 cubic centimètres, or fully one-fourth less
than that of modern European man, and of this smaller brain a larger
proportion is in the posterior region. The other peculiarities of
the skeletons all tend in the same direction, and, as we have seen
in Huxley's description of the men of Spy, sometimes go a long way
in the pithecoid direction, even to the extent of not being able to
straighten the knee in walking.

It would, therefore, be contrary to all our ideas of evolution to
find that some 100,000 or 200,000, or more probably 400,000 or
500,000 years prior to these men of Spy and Neanderthal, the human
race had existed in higher physical perfection nearer to the existing
type of modern man.

Quatrefages meets this by saying that Tertiary men with a larger
brain, and therefore more intelligence than the other Tertiary
mammals, might have survived, where these succumbed to changes and
became extinct. This is doubtless true to some extent, but it hardly
seems sufficient to account for the presence of a higher and more
recent type, like that of Castelnedolo in the Lower Pliocene, that is
a whole geological period earlier than that of the Lower Quaternary.
It is more to the purpose to say with Gaudry that the changes on
which the distinction of species are founded are often so slight that
they might just as well be attributed to variations of races; and to
appeal to instances like that of the Hylobates of the Miocene, one
of the nearest congeners of man, in which no genuine difference can
be detected from the Hylobates or Gibbon of the present day; and if
the discovery referred to at p. 264, of anthropoid primates in the
Eocene of Patagonia, should be confirmed, it would greatly strengthen
the argument for the persistence of the order to which man belongs
through several geological periods.

In any case we require more than the evidence of this one discovery
before we can assume the type of Tertiary man as a proved fact with
the same confidence as we can the existence of something like man
in those remote ages, from the repeated evidence of chipped stones
and cut bones, showing unmistakable signs of being the work of human
intelligence. And in the meantime, the only safe conclusion seems to
be that it is very probable that we may have to go back to the Eocene
to find the "missing link," or the ancestral animal which may have
been the common progenitor of man and of the other quadrumana.

I turn now to the evidence from the New World. I have kept this
distinct, for there is no such proof of synchronism between the later
geological phases of this and of the Old World as would warrant us in
assuming that what is true in one is necessarily true in the other.
Thus in Europe the presence of the mastodon is a conclusive proof
that the formation in which its remains are found is Upper Miocene or
Pliocene, and it has completely disappeared before the glacial period
and the Quaternary era. But in North America it has survived both
these periods, and it is even a question whether it is not found in
recent peat-mosses with arrow-heads of the historical Indians.

The glacial period also, which in the Old World affords such a clear
demarcation between Tertiary and Recent ages, and such manifest
proofs of two great glaciations with a long inter-glacial period,
presents different conditions in America, where the ice-caps
radiated from different centres, and extended further south and
over wider areas. There is no proof whether the great cold set
in sooner or later, and whether the elevations and depressions of
land synchronized with those of Europe. The evidence for a long
inter-glacial period is by no means so clear, and the best American
geologists differ respecting it. And above all, the glacial period
seems to have lasted longer, and the time required for post-glacial
or recent denudation, and erosion of river-gorges, to be less than is
required to account for post-glacial phenomena on this side of the

The evidence, therefore, from the New World, though conclusive as
to the existence of man from an immense antiquity, can hardly be
accepted as equally so in an attempt to prove that antiquity to
be Tertiary in the sense of identifying it with specific European
formations. With this reservation I proceed to give a short account
of this evidence as bearing on the question of the oldest proofs of
man's existence. The first step or proof of the presence of man in
the Quaternary deposits which correspond with the oldest river-drifts
of Europe, has only been made quite recently. Mr. Abbott was the
first to discover such implements of the usual palæolithic type
in Quaternary gravels of the river Delaware, near Trenton in New
Jersey, and since then they have been frequently found, as described
by Dr. Wright in his recently-published _Ice Age in America_, in
Ohio, Illinois, and other States, in the old gravels of rivers which
carried the drainage of the great lake district to the Hudson and
the Mississippi, before the present line of drainage was established
by the Falls of Niagara and the St. Lawrence. So far the evidence
merely confirms that drawn from similar finds in the Old World of the
existence of man in the early glacial or Quaternary times, already
widely diffused, and everywhere in a similar condition of primitive
savagery, and chipping his rude stone implements into the same forms.
But if we cross the Rocky Mountains into California, we find evidence
which apparently carries us further back and raises new questions.

The whole region west of the Rocky Mountains is comparatively recent.
The Coast Range which now fronts the Pacific is composed entirely
of marine Tertiary strata, and when they were deposited, the waves
of the Pacific beat against the flanks of the Sierra Nevada. At
length the Coast Range was upheaved and a wide valley left between
it and the Sierra of over 400 miles in length, and with an average
breadth of seventy-five miles. The Sierra itself is old land, the
lower hills consisting of Triassic slates and the higher ranges
of granite, and it has never been under water since the Secondary
Age though doubtless it stood much higher before it was so greatly
denuded. All along its western flank and far down into the great
valley is an enormous bed of auriferous gravel, doubtless derived
from the waste of the rocks of the Sierra during an immense time by
old rivers now buried under their own deposits. While these deposits
were going on a great outburst of volcanoes occurred on the western
slope of the Sierra, and successive sheets of tuffs, ashes, and
lavas are interstratified with the gravels, while finally an immense
flow of basalt covered up everything. The country then presented the
appearance of a great plain, sloping gradually downwards from the
Sierra according to the flow of the basalt and lavas. This plain was
in its turn attacked by denudation and worn down by the existing main
rivers into valleys and gorges, and by their tributary streams into
a series of flat-topped hills, capped by basalt and divided from one
another by deep and narrow cañons.

The immense time required for this latest erosion may be inferred
when it is stated that where the Columbia river cuts through the axis
of the Cascade Mountains, the precipitous rocks on either side, to a
height of from 3000 to 4000 feet, consist of this late Tertiary or
Post-Tertiary basalt, and that the Deschutes river has been cut into
the great basaltic plain for 140 miles to a depth of from 1000 to
2500 feet, without reaching the bottom of the lava. The American and
Yuba valleys have been lowered from 800 to 1500 feet, and the gorge
of the Stanislas river has cut through one of these basalt-covered
hills to the depth of 1500 feet.


  _a_, _a_, basalt; _b_, _b_, volcanic ashes; _c_, _c_, tertiary;
  _d_, _d_, cretaceous rocks; _R_, _R_, direction of the old
  river-bed; _R´_, _R´_, sections of the present river-beds.

    (Le Conte, from Whitney.)]

The enormous gorge of the Colorado has cut its cañons for hundreds
of miles from 3000 to 6000 feet deep through all the orders of
sedimentary rocks from the Tertiaries down, and from 600 to 800 feet
into the primordial granite below, thus draining the great lakes
which in Tertiary times occupied a vast space in the interior of
America which is now an arid desert.

Evidently the gravels which lie below the basalt, and interstratified
with the tuffs and lavas, or below them, and which belong to an older
and still more extensive denudation, must be of immense antiquity,
an antiquity which remains the same whether we call it Quaternary
or Tertiary. It is in these gravels that gold is found, and in the
search for it great masses have been removed in which numerous stone
implements have been found.

The great antiquity of those gravels and volcanic tuffs is further
confirmed by the changes in the flora and fauna which are proved to
have occurred. The animal remains found beneath the basaltic cap
are very numerous, and all of extinct species. They belong to the
genera rhinoceros, elatherium, felis, canis, bos, tapirus, hipparion,
elephas (primigenius), mastodon, and auchenia, and form an assemblage
entirely distinct from any now living in any part of North America.
Some of the genera survived into the Quaternary age as in Europe,
but many, both of the genera and species, are among those most
characteristic of the Pliocene period.

The flora also, which is well preserved in the white clays formed
from the volcanic ash, comprises forty-nine species of deciduous
trees and shrubs, all distinct from those now living, without a
single trace of the pines, firs, and other conifera which are now the
prevalent trees throughout California.

Tried by any test, therefore, of fauna, flora, and of immensely
long deposit before the present drainage and configuration of the
country had begun to be established, Professor Whitney's contention
that the auriferous gravels are of Tertiary origin seems to be
fully established. It can only be met by obliterating all definite
distinction between the Quaternary and the Pliocene, and adding to
the former all the time subtracted from the latter. And even if we
apply this to the physical changes, it would upset all our standards
of geological formations characterized by fossils, to suppose that
a fauna comprising the elatherium, hipparion, and auchenia could be
properly transferred to the Quaternary. In fact no one would have
thought of doing so if human implements and remains had not been
found in them.

The discovery of such implements was first reported in 1862, and
since then a large number have been found, but their authenticity
has been hotly contested. The most common were stone mortars very
like those of the Indians of the present day, only ruder, and it was
objected, first, that they were ground and not chipped, and therefore
belonged to the neolithic age; secondly, that they might have slipped
down from the surface or been taken down by miners. The difficulty
in meeting these objections was that the implements had been found
not by scientific men _in situ_, but by ignorant miners, who were
too keen in the pursuit of gold to notice the particulars of the
find, and only knew that they had picked them out in sorting loads
of the gravels, and generally thrown them aside. This, however, had
occurred in such a number of instances, over such wide areas, and
with such a total absence of any motive on the part of the miners to
misrepresent or commit a fraud, that the cumulative evidence became
almost irresistible; and we cannot sum it up better than in the words
of the latest and best authority, Professor Wright, in an article in
the _Century_ of April 1891, which is the more important because only
two years previously, in his _Ice Age in North America_, he had still
expressed himself as retaining doubts.

He says, "But so many of such discoveries have been reported as to
make it altogether improbable that the miners were in every case
mistaken; and we must conclude that rude stone implements do actually
occur in connection with the bones of various extinct animals in the
undisturbed strata of the gold-bearing gravel."

Fortunately the most important human remains have been found in what
may be considered as a test case, where it was physically impossible
that they could have been introduced by accident, and where the
evidence of a common workman as to the locality of the find is as
good as that of a professed geologist.

During the deposition of the auriferous gravel on the western
flanks of the Sierra there were great outbursts of volcanoes near
the summits of that range. Towards their close a vast stream of
lava flowed down the shallow valley of the ancient Stanislas river,
filling up its channel for forty miles or more, and covering its
extensive gravel deposits. The modern Stanislas river has cut across
its former bed, and now flows in a gorge from 1200 to 2000 feet
deeper than the old valley which was filled up by the lava stream,
the surface of which appears as a long flat-topped ridge, known
as Table Mountain. In many places the sides of the valley which
originally directed the course of the lava have been worn away,
so that the walls on either side present a perpendicular face one
hundred feet or more in height.

The gravel of the ancient Stanislas river being very auriferous,
great efforts have been made to reach the portion of it which lies
under Table Mountain. Large sums have been spent in sinking shafts
from the top through the lava cap, and tunnelling into it from the
sides. Great masses of gravel have been thus quarried and removed,
and a considerable amount of gold obtained, though in most cases
not enough to meet the expenses, and the workings have been mostly


  _b_, lava; _G_, gravel; _S_, slate; _R_, old river-bed; _R´_,
  present river-bed. (Le Conte.)]

It is evident that objects brought from a great depth below this lava
cap must have remained there undisturbed since they were deposited
along with the gravels, and that the evidence of the simplest miner,
who says he brought them with a truck-load of dirt from the bottoms
of shafts, or ends of tunnels pierced for hundreds of feet through
the solid lava, is, if he speaks the truth, as good as if a scientist
had found them _in situ_. And this evidence, together with that of
mining inspectors and respectable residents who took an interest in
scientific subjects, has been forthcoming in such a large number of
instances as to preclude any supposition of mistake or fraud. Three
of the latest of these discoveries were reported at the meeting of
the Geological Society of America on the 30th December, 1890, and
they seem to be supported by very first-class evidence.[14] Mr.
Becker, one of the staff of the United States Geological Survey, to
whom has been, committed the responsible work of reporting upon the
gold-bearing gravels of California, exhibited to the Society a stone
mortar, and some arrow or spear-heads, with the sworn statement from
Mr. Neale, a well-known mining superintendent, that he took them
with his own hands from undisturbed gravel in a mine of which he had
charge under the lava of Table Mountain.

  [14] Professor Wright in _Century_, April 1891.

A second object exhibited was a pestle found by Mr. King, who was at
one time General Director of the United States Geological Survey, and
is an expert whose judgment on such matters should be final, and who
had no doubt that the gravel in which he found the object must have
lain in place ever since the lava came down and covered it. The third
object was a mortar taken from the old gravel at the end of a tunnel
driven diagonally 175 feet from the western edge of the basalt cliff,
and 100 feet or more below the surface of the flat top of Table
Mountain, as supported by evidence entirely satisfactory to Professor
Wright, who had just visited the locality and cross-examined the
principal witnesses. This may prepare us to consider the case of the
celebrated Calaveras skull as by no means an isolated or exceptional
one, but antecedently probable from the number of human implements
found in the same gravels, under the same beds of basalt and lava, at
Table Mountain and numerous other places.

Professor Wright in the article already referred to, which is the
latest on the subject, and made after his visit to California in
1890, which he says enabled him to add some important evidence, sums
up the facts as follows--

"In February 1866, Mr. Mattenson, a blacksmith living near Table
Mountain, in the county Calaveras, employed his spare earnings in
driving a tunnel under the portion of the Sierra lava flow known as
Bald Hill. At a depth of 150 feet below the surface, of which 100
feet consisted of solid lava, and the last fifty of interstratified
beds of lava, gravel, and volcanic tuffs, he came upon petrified
wood, and an object which he at first took for the root of a tree,
thickly encased in cemented gravel. But seeing what he took for one
of the roots was a lower jaw, he took the mass to the surface, and
gave it to Mr. Scribner, the agent of an express company, and still
living in the neighbourhood, and highly respected. Mr. Scribner, on
perceiving what it was, sent it to Dr. Jones, a medical gentleman
of the highest reputation, now living at San Francisco, who gave
it to Professor Whitney, who visited the spot, and after a careful
inquiry was fully satisfied with the evidence. Soon afterwards
Professor Whitney took the skull home with him to Cambridge, where,
in conjunction with Dr. Wynam, he subjected it to a very careful
investigation to see if the relic itself confirmed the story told
by the discoverer, and this it did to such a degree that, to use
Professor Wright's words, the circumstantial evidence alone places
its genuineness beyond all reasonable question."

This is not a solitary instance, for the Professor reports as the
result of his personal inquiries only a year ago in the district,
that "the evidence that human implements and fragments of the human
skeleton have been found in the stratum of gravel underneath the lava
of Table Mountain seems to be abundantly sufficient;" among others a
fragment of a skull which came up with a bucketful of dirt from 180
feet below the surface of Table Mountain at Tuolumne.

Dr. Wallace, in an article on the "Antiquity of Man in North
America," in the _Nineteenth Century_ of November 1887, thus
enumerates some of the principal instances--

"In Tuolumne county from 1862 to 1865 stone mortars and platters were
found in the auriferous gravel along with bones and teeth of mastodon
90 feet below the surface, and a stone muller was obtained in a
tunnel driven under Table Mountain. In 1870 a stone mortar was found
at a depth of 60 feet in gravel under clay and 'cement,' as the hard
clay with vegetable remains (the old volcanic ash) is called by the
miners. In Calaveras county from 1860 to 1869 many mortars and other
stone implements were found in the gravels under lava beds, and in
other auriferous gravels and clays at a depth of 150 feet. In Amador
county stone mortars have been found in similar gravel at a depth of
40 feet. In Placer county stone platters and dishes have been found
in auriferous gravels from 10 to 20 feet below the surface. In Nevada
county stone mortars and ground discs have been found from 15 to 30
feet deep in the gravel. In Butte county similar mortars and pestles
have been found in the lower gravel beneath lava beds and auriferous
gravel; and many other similar finds have been recorded....

"Even these Californian remains do not exhaust the proofs of man's
great antiquity in America, since we have the record of another
discovery which indicates that he may, possibly, have existed at
an even more remote epoch. Mr. E. L. Berthoud has described the
finding of stone implements of a rude type in the Tertiary gravels
of the Crow Creek, Colorado. Some shells were obtained from the same
gravels, which were determined by Mr. T. A. Conrad to be species
which are 'certainly not older than Older Pliocene, or possibly

I do not dwell on the discoveries which have been made of human
implements and skeletons in the cases of Minas Geraes in Brazil, and
in the drift or loess of the pampas of Buenos Ayres, for although
associated with extinct animals usually considered as Pliocene, there
is a difference of opinion among competent geologists, whether the
deposits are really Tertiary or only early Quaternary.

There is, however, one discovery, made since the date of these above
recorded, of human work below the great basalt cap of North-Western
America, brought up from a great depth of underlying gravels and
sands of a silted-up lake, formerly forming part of the course of the
Snake river at Nampa in Idaho, which is as startling in its way as
that of the Calaveras skull. The following account of it is given on
the authority of Professor Wright, who, having visited the locality
in the summer of 1890, states that he found "abundant confirmatory

The Nampa image was brought up in boring an Artesian well, at Nampa
in Ada county, Idaho, through a lava-cap 15 feet thick, and below
it about 200 feet of the quicksands and clays of a silted-up lake,
formed in a basin of the Snake river, which joins the Columbia
river, and flows into the Pacific, forming part, therefore, of the
same geographical and drainage system as the Californian gravels.
At this depth the borers came down to a stratum of coarse sand,
mixed with clay balls at the top, and resting at the bottom on an
ancient vegetable soil, and the image came up from the lower part of
this coarse sand. The borer, or liner of the well, was a six-inch
iron tube, and the drill was only used in piercing the lava, while
the sands below it were all extracted by a sand pump. Mr. King, a
respectable citizen of Nampa, who was boring the well, states that
he had been for several days closely watching the progress of the
well and passing through his hands the contents of the sand pump as
they were brought up, so that he had hold of the image before he
suspected what it was. Mr. Cumming, superintendent of that portion
of the Union Pacific Railway, a highly-trained graduate of Harvard
College, was on the ground next day and saw the image, and heard
Mr. King's account of the discovery, and Mr. Adams, the president
of the railway, happening to pass that way about a month later,
he brought it to the notice of some of the foremost geologists in
the United States. The image was sent to Boston by Mr. King, who
gave every information, and it was found to be modelled from stiff
clay, like that of the clay balls found in the sand, slightly if at
all touched by fire, and incrusted like those balls with grains of
oxide of iron, which Professor Putnam considers to be a conclusive
proof of its great antiquity. Mr. Emmons, of the State Geological
Society, gives it as his opinion that the strata in which this image
is said to have been found, is older by far than any others in which
human remains have been discovered, unless it be those under Table
Mountain, in California, from which came the celebrated Calaveras
skull. So much for the authenticity of the discovery, which seems
unassailable, but now comes the remarkable feature of it, which to a
great extent revolutionizes our conception of this early palæolithic
age. The image, or rather statuette, which is scarcely an inch and
a half long, is by no means a rude object, but on the contrary more
artistic, and a better representation of the human form, than the
little idols of many comparatively modern and civilized people, such
as the Phoenicians. It is in fact very like the little statuettes so
abundantly found in the neighbourhood of the old temple-pyramids of
Mexico, which are generally believed to be not much older than the
date of the Spanish Conquest.




  (Drawn from the object by J. D. Woodward.)]

In the face of this mass of evidence, from both the Old and New
Worlds, it seems more like obstinate incredulity than scientific
caution to deny the existence of Tertiary man. Indeed the objections
put forward by those who still cling to the notion that any proofs
of greater antiquity of man take them further back from the orthodox
standpoint of Genesis, are sufficient of themselves to show the
straits to which they are driven to explain the facts. A conspiracy
has been imagined of many hundreds of ignorant miners, living
hundreds of miles apart, to hoax scientists, or make a trade of
forging implements, which is about as probable as the theory that the
palæolithic remains of the Old World were all forged by the devil,
and buried in Quaternary strata in order to discredit the Mosaic
account of creation. It is enough to say that the great majority
of the implements had been thrown away as rubbish, and that not a
single instance has ever been adduced in which money was asked or
offered for any of them.

Another equally wild theory is that gold-mining tunnels had been
driven by some race of prehistoric Indians through hundreds of feet
of solid basalt and quicksands, who left their implements in them;
and this on the face of the fact that no such tunnels or evidences of
ancient mining have ever been found in California, and that gold was
unknown there until its recent discovery.

In accepting, however, the evidence for Tertiary man, we must accept
with it conclusions which are much opposed to preconceived opinions.
In the two best authenticated instances in which human skulls have
been found in presumably Tertiary strata, those of Castelnedolo and
Calaveras, it is distinctly stated that they present no unusual
appearance, and do not go nearly as far in a brutal or pithecoid
direction as the Quaternary skulls of Neanderthal and Spy, or as
those of many existing savage races. The Nampa image also appears
to show the existence of considerable artistic skill at a period
which, if not Tertiary, must be of immense antiquity. How can this be
reconciled with the theory of evolution and the descent of man from
some animal ancestor common to him and the other quadrumana? Up to a
certain point, viz. the earliest Quaternary period, the evidence of
progression seems fairly satisfactory. If we take the general average
of this class of skulls as compared with modern skulls, we find
them of smaller brain-capacity, thicker and flatter, with prominent
frontal sinuses, receding foreheads, projecting muzzles, and weaker
chins. The brain is decidedly smaller, the average being 1150 cubic
centimètres as compared with 1250 in Australians and Bushmen, and
1600 in well-developed Europeans; and of this smaller capacity a
larger proportion is contained in the posterior part.[15] Other parts
of the skeleton will tell the same story, and in many of the earliest
and most extreme instances, as those of Neanderthal and Spy, a very
decided step is made in the direction of the "missing link."

  [15] Quatrefages and Hamy, _Crania Ethnica_.

But if we accept the only two specimens known of the type of Tertiary
man, the skulls of Castelnedolo and Calaveras, which are supported
by such extremely strong evidence, it would seem that as we recede
in time, instead of getting nearer to the "missing link," we get
further from it. This, and this alone, throws doubt on evidence
which would otherwise seem to be irresistible, and without a greater
number of well-authenticated confirmations we must be content to
hold our judgment to a certain extent in suspense. This, however, it
must be remarked, extends only to the type of man as shown by these
two skulls, and does not at all affect the fact that man, of some
type or other, did exist in the Pliocene and Miocene periods, which
is established beyond reasonable doubt by the numerous instances in
which chipped implements and cut bones have been found by experienced
observers, and pronounced genuine by the highest authorities.

All we can say with any certainty is, that if the Darwinian theory
of evolution applies to man, as it does to all other animals, and
specially to man's closest kindred, the other quadrumana, the common
ancestor must be sought very much further back, in the Eocene, which
inaugurated the reign of placental mammalia, and in which the
primitive types of so many of the later mammals have been found. Nor
will this appear incredible when we consider that man's cousins,
the apes and monkeys, first appear in the Miocene, or even earlier
in the Eocene, and become plentiful in the later Pliocene, and that
even anthropoid apes, and one of them, the Hylobates, scarcely if at
all distinguishable from the Gibbon of the present day, have been
found at Sansan and other Miocene deposits in the south of France, at
OEningen in Switzerland, and Pikermi in Greece; while if Professor
Ameghino's discoveries are to be credited, anthropoids already
existed in the Eocene, and their development may be traced from the
oldest Eocene forms.



   Monogeny or Polygeny--Darwin--Existing
   Races--Colour--Hair--Skulls and Brains--Dolichocephali
   and Brachycephali--Jaws and Teeth--Stature--Other
   Tests--Isaac Taylor--Prehistoric Types in Europe--Huxley's
   Classification--Language no Test of Race--Egyptian Monuments---
   Human and Animal Races unchanged for 6000 years--Neolithic
   Races--Palæolithic--Different Races of Man as far back
   as we can trace--Types of Canstadt, Cro-Magnon, and
   Furfooz--Oldest Races Dolichocephalic--Skulls of Neanderthal
   and Spy--Simian Characters--Objections--Evidence confined to
   Europe--American Man--Calaveras Skull--Tertiary Man--Skull
   of Castelnedolo--Leaves Monogeny or Polygeny an open
   Question--Arguments on each side--Old Arguments from the Bible
   and Philology exploded--What Darwinian Theory requires--Animal
   Types traced up to the Eocene--Secondary Origins--Dog and
   Horse--Fertility of Races--Question of Hybridity--Application
   to Man--Difference of Constitutions--Negro and
   White--Bearing on Question of Migration--Apes and
   Monkeys--Question of Original Locality of Man--Asiatic
   Theory--Eur-African--American--Arctic--None based on sufficient
   Evidence--- Mere Speculations--Conclusion--Summary of Evidence
   as to Human Origins.

The immense antiquity of man upon earth having been established,
other questions of great interest present themselves as to the origin
of the race. These questions, however, no longer depend on positive
facts of observation, like the discovery of palæolithic remains in
definite geological deposits, but on inference and conjecture from
these and other observed facts, most of which are of comparatively
recent date and hardly extend beyond the historical period.

Thus if we start with the existing state of things, we find a great
variety of human races actually prevailing, located in different
parts of the world, and of fundamental types so dissimilar as to
constitute what in animal zoology would often be called separate
species,[16] and yet fertile among themselves, and so similar in
many physical and mental characters as to infer an origin from
common ancestors. And we can infer from history that this was so to
a great extent 6000 years ago, and that the length of time has been
insufficient to produce any marked changes, either in physical or
linguistic types of the different fundamental races.

  [16] Topinard, one of the latest and best authorities, says in
  his book on Anthropology: "We have seen the marked difference
  between woolly and straight hair, between the prognathous and
  the orthognathous, the jet black of the Yoloff and the pale
  complexion of the Scandinavian, between the ultra-dolichocephalic
  Esquimaux or New Caledonian, and the ultra-brachycephalic
  Mongolian. But the line of separation between the European
  and the Bosjesman, as regards these two characters, is, in a
  morphological point of view, still wider, as much so as between
  each of the anthropoid apes, or between the dog and the wolf, the
  goat and the sheep."

Was this always so, and what inference can be drawn as to the
much-disputed question between monogeny and polygeny, that is,
between the theory of descent from a single pair in a single
locality, and that of descent from several pairs, developed in
different localities by parallel, but not strictly identical, lines
of evolution?

This is a question which cannot be decided off-hand by _à priori_
considerations. No doubt Darwinism points to the evolution of all
life from primitive forms, and ultimately, perhaps, from the single
simplest form of life in the cell or protoplasm. But this does not
necessarily imply that the more highly specialized, and what may be
called the secondary forms of life, have all originated from single
secondary centres, at one time and in one locality.

On the contrary, we have the authority of Darwin himself for saying
that this is not a necessary consequence of his theory. In a letter
to Bentham he says--"I dispute whether a new race or species is
necessarily or even generally descended from a single or pair of
parents. The whole body of individuals, I believe, became altered
together--like our race-horses, and like all domestic breeds which
are changed through unconscious selection by man."

The problem is, therefore, an open one, and can only be solved
(or rather attacked, for in the present state of our knowledge a
complete solution is probably impossible) by a careful induction from
ascertained facts, ascending step by step from the present to the
past, from the known to the unknown.

The first step is to have a clear idea of what actually exists at the
present moment. There are an almost endless number of minor varieties
of the human race, but none of them of sufficient importance to imply
diversity of origin, with the exception of four, or at the most five
or six fundamental types, which stand so widely apart that it is
difficult to imagine that they are all descended from a common pair
of ancestors. These are the white, yellow, and black races of the Old
World, the copper-coloured of America, and perhaps the olive-coloured
of Malaysia and Polynesia, and the pygmy races of Africa and Eastern
Asia. The difficulty of supposing these races to have all sprung
from a single pair will at once be apparent if we personify this
pair under the name of Adam for the first man and Eve for the first
woman, and ask ourselves the question, what do we suppose to have
been their colour?

But colour alone, though the most obvious, is by no means the sole
criterion of difference of race. The evidence is cumulative, and
other equally marked and persistent characters, both of physical
structure and of physiological and mental peculiarities, stand out
as distinctly as differences of colour in the great typical races.
For instance, the hair is a very persistent index of race. When
the section of it is circular, the hair is straight and lank; when
flattened, woolly; and when oval, curly or wavy. Now these characters
are so persistent that many of the best anthropologists have taken
hair as the surest test of race. Everywhere the lank and straight
hair and circular section go with the yellow and copper-coloured
races; the woolly hair and flat section with the black; and the wavy
hair and oval section with the white races.

The solid framework of the skeleton also affords very distinctive
types of race, especially where it is looked at in a general way as
applicable to great masses of pure races, and not to individuals of
mixed race, like most Europeans. The skull is most important, for
it affords the measure of the size and shape of the brain, which is
the highest organ, and that on which the differentiation of man from
the lower animals mainly depends. The size of the brain alone does
not always afford a conclusive proof of mental superiority, for it
varies with sex, height, and other individual characters, and often
seems to depend more on quality than on quantity. Still, if we take
general averages, we find that superior and civilized races have
larger brains than inferior and savage ones. Thus the average brain
of the European is about 1500 cubic centimètres, while that of the
Australian and Bushman does not exceed 1200.

The shape as well as the size of the skull affords another test
of race which is often appealed to. The main distinction taken
is between dolichocephalic and brachycephalic, or long and broad
skulls. Here also we must look at general averages rather than at
individuals, for there is often considerable variation within the
same race, especially among the mesocephalic, or medium between the
two extremes, which is generally the prevalent form where there has
been much intermixture of races. But if we take widely different
types there can be no doubt that the long or broad skull is a
characteristic and persistent feature. The formation of the jaws
and teeth affords another important test. Some races are what is
called prognathous, that is, the jaws project, and the teeth are
set in sockets sloping outwards, so that the lower part of the face
approximates to the form of a muzzle; others are orthognathous,
or have the jaws and teeth vertical. And the form of the chin
seems to be wonderfully correlated with the general character and
energy of the race. It is hard to say why, but as a matter of fact
a weak chin generally denotes a weak, and a strong chin a strong,
race or individual. Thus the chimpanzee and other apes have no
chin, the negro and lower races generally have chins weak and
receding. The races who, like the Iberians, have been conquered or
driven from plains to mountains, have had poor chins; while their
successive conquerors, of Aryan race,--Celts, Romans, Teutons, and
Scandinavians,--might almost be classified by the prominence and
solidity of this feature of the face.

Stature is another very persistent feature. The pygmy races of
Equatorial Africa described by Stanley have remained the same since
the early records of Egypt, while the pure Aryan races of the north
temperate zone, Gauls, Germans, and Scandinavians, have from the
first dawn of history amazed the shorter races of the south by their
tall stature, huge limbs, blue eyes, and yellow hair. Here and there
isolated tall races may be found where the race has become thoroughly
acclimatized to a suitable environment, as among some negro tribes,
and the Araucanian Indians of Patagonia; but as a rule the inferior
races are short, the bulk of the civilized races of the world of
intermediate stature, and the great conquering races of the north
temperate zone decidedly tall.

Other tests are afforded by the shape of the eye-orbits and nasal
bones, and other characters, all of which agree, in the words of
Isaac Taylor in his _Origin of the Aryans_, in "exhibiting two
extreme types--the African with long heads, long orbits, and flat
hair; and the Mongolian with round heads, round orbits, and round
hair. The European type is intermediate, the head, the orbit, and the
hair being oval. In the East of Europe we find an approximation to
the Asiatic type; in the South of Europe to the African."

Taking these prominent anthropological characters as tests, we find
four distinct types among the earliest inhabitants of Europe, which
can be traced back from historic to neolithic times. They consist
of two long-headed and two short-headed races, and in each case one
is tall and the other short. The dolichocephalic are recognized
everywhere throughout Western Europe and on the Mediterranean basin,
including North Africa, as the oldest race, and they are thought
still to survive in the original type in some of the people of Wales
and Ireland and the Spanish Basques; while they doubtless form a
large portion, intermixed with other races, of the blood of the
existing populations of Great Britain and Ireland, of Western and
Southern France, of Spain, Portugal, Sicily, Sardinia, North Africa,
and other Mediterranean districts. This is known as the Iberian race,
and it can be traced clearly beyond history and the knowledge of
metals, into the neolithic stone age, and may possibly be descended
from some of the vastly older palæolithic types such as that of
Cro-Magnon. The type is everywhere a feeble one, of short stature,
dolichocephalic skull, narrow oval face, orthognathic teeth, weak
chin, and swarthy complexion. We have only to compare a skull of this
type with one of ruder and stronger races, to understand how the
latter must have survived as conquerors in the struggle for existence
in the early ages of the world, before gunpowder and military
discipline had placed civilization in a better position to contend
with brute force and energy. Huxley sums up the latest evidence as
to the distinctive types of these historic and prehistoric races of
Europe as follows--

1. Blond long-heads of tall stature who appear with least admixture
in Scandinavia, North Germany, and parts of the British Islands.

2. Brunette broad-heads of short stature in Central France, the
Central European Highlands, and Piedmont. These are identified with
the Ligurian race, and their most typical modern representatives are
the Auvergnats and Savoyards.

3. Mongoloid brunette broad-heads of short stature in Arctic and
Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, represented by the Lapps and other
tribes of Northern Russia, passing into the Mongols and Chinese of
Eastern Asia.

4. Brunette long-heads of short stature--the Iberian race.

Huxley adds, "The inhabitants of the regions which lie between these
five present the intermediate gradations which might be expected
to result from their intermixture. The evidence at present extant
is consistent with the supposition that the blond long-heads, the
brunette broad-heads, and the brunette long-heads--_i.e._ the
Scandinavian, Ligurian, and Iberian races--have existed in Europe
very nearly in their present localities throughout historic times
and very far back into prehistoric times. There is no proof of any
migration of Asiatics into Europe west of the basin of the Dnieper
down to the time of Attila. On the contrary, the first great
movements of the European population of which there is any conclusive
evidence are that series of Gaulish invasions of the East and South,
which ultimately extended from North Italy to Galatia in Asia Minor."
I may add, that in more recent times many of the principal movements
have been from west to east, viz. of Germans absorbing Slavs, and
Slavs absorbing or expelling Fins and Tartars.

The next question is, how far can we trace back the existence of the
present widely different fundamental types of mankind by the light of
ascertained and certain facts?

The most important of these facts is, that Egyptian monuments enable
us to say, that the existing diversities of the typical races of
mankind are not of recent origin, but have existed unchanged from the
first dawn of history, say 7000 years ago. The Egyptians themselves
have come down from the Old Empire, through all the vicissitudes of
conquests, mixtures of races, changes of religion and language, so
little altered that the fellah of to-day is often the image of the
Egyptians who built the pyramids. The wooden statue of an officer of
Chephren who died some 6000 years ago, was such a striking portrait
of the village magistrate of to-day, that the Arab workmen christened
it the "Sheik-el-beled." And these old Egyptians knew from the
earliest times three at least of the fundamental types of mankind:
the Nahsu, or negroes to the south, who are represented on the
monuments so faithfully that they might be taken as typical pictures
of the modern negro; the Lebu to the west, a fair-skinned and
blue-eyed white race, whose descendants remain to this day as Kabyles
and Berbers, in the same localities of North Africa; and to the east
various tribes of Arabs, Syrians, and other Asiatics, who are always
painted of a yellowish-brown colour, and whose features may often be
traced in their modern descendants.

The same may be said of the wild and domestic animals of the various
countries, which are the same now, unless where subsequently
imported, as when they were first known to the ancient Egyptians.

We start, therefore, with this undoubted fact, that a period of
6000 or 7000 years has been insufficient to make any perceptible
change in the types of pure races, whether of the animal or of human
species. And doubtless this period might be greatly extended if we
had historical records of the growth of Egyptian civilization in the
times prior to Menes, for in the earliest records we find accounts of
wars both with the Nahsu and the Lebu, implying large populations of
those races already existing both to the south and west of the valley
of the Nile.

These positive dates carry us back so far that it is of little use to
investigate minutely the differences of races shown by the remains
of the neolithic period. They were very marked and numerous, but
we have no evidence to show that they were different from those of
more recent times, or that their date can be certainly said to be
much older than the oldest Egyptian records. All we can infer with
certainty is, that whether the neolithic period be of longer or
shorter duration, no changes have taken place in the animal fauna
contemporary with man which cannot be traced to human agency or other
known causes. No new species have appeared, or old ones disappeared,
in the course of natural evolution, as was the case during the
quaternary and preceding geological periods.

The neolithic is, however, a mere drop in the ocean of time compared
with the earlier periods in which the existence of palæolithic man
can be traced by his remains; and as far back as we can go we find
ourselves confronted by the same fact of a diversity of races. As
we have seen in the chapter on Quaternary man, Europe, where alone
skulls and skeletons of the palæolithic age have been discovered,
affords at least three very distinct types--that of Canstadt, of
Cro-Magnon, and of Furfooz.

The Canstadt type, which includes the men of Neanderthal and Spy,
and which was widely diffused, having been found, as far south as
Gibraltar, is apparently the oldest, and certainly the rudest and
most savage, being characterized by enormous brow-ridges, a low
and receding forehead, projecting muzzle, and thick bones with
powerful muscular attachments. It is very dolichocephalic, but
the length is due mainly to the projection of the posterior part
of the brain, the total size of which is below the average. The
Cro-Magnon type, which is also very old, being contemporary with
the cave-bear and mammoth, is the very opposite of that of Canstadt
in many respects. The superciliary ridges are scarcely marked, the
forehead is elevated, the contour of the skull good, and the volume
of the brain equal or superior to that of many modern civilized
races. The stature was tall, the nose straight or projecting, and
the chin prominent. The only resemblance to the Canstadt type is,
that they are both dolichocephalic chiefly on the posterior region,
and both prognathous; but the differences are so many and profound
that no anthropologist would say that one of these races could have
been derived directly from the other. Still less could he say that
the small round-headed race of Furfooz could have been a direct
descendant of either of the two former. It is found in close vicinity
with them over an extensive area, but generally in caves and deposits
which, from their geological situation and associated fauna, point to
a later origin. In fact, if we go by European evidence alone, we may
consider it proved that the oldest known races were dolichocephalic,
that the brachycephalic races came later, and that as long ago as in
neolithic times, considerable intercrossing had taken place, which
has gone on ever since, producing the great variety of intermediate
types which now prevail over a great part of Europe.

This inference of the priority of the Canstadt type is strengthened
by its undoubted approximation to that of the most savage existing
races and of the anthropoid apes. If we take the skulls and skeletons
of Neanderthal and Spy, and compare them with those of modern
civilized man, we find that while they are still perfectly human,
they make a notable approximation towards a savage and Simian type in
all the peculiarities which have been described by anthropologists
as tests. The most important of all, that of the capacity and form
of the brain, is best illustrated by the subjoined diagram of the
skulls of the European, the Neanderthal, and the chimpanzee placed in

  [Illustration: L'HOMME AVANT L'HISTOIRE. (From Debierre.)]

It will be seen at a glance that the Neanderthal skull, especially in
the frontal part, which is the chief seat of intelligence, is nearer
to the chimpanzee than to modern man. And all the other characters
correspond to this inferiority of brain. The enormous superciliary
ridges; the greater length of the fore-arm; the prognathous jaws,
larger canine teeth, and smaller chin; the thicker bones and stronger
muscular attachments; the rounder ribs; the flatter tibia, and many
other characters described by palæontologists, all point in the same
direction, and take us some considerable way towards the missing link
which is to connect the human race with animal ancestors.

Still there are other considerations which must make us pause before
asserting too positively that in following Quaternary man up to
the Canstadt type, we are on the track of original man, and can
say with confidence that by following it up still further we shall
arrive at the earlier form from which man was differentiated. In
the first place, Europe is the only part of the world where this
Canstadt type has hitherto been found. We have abundant evidence from
palæolithic stone implements that man existed pretty well over the
whole earth in early Quaternary times, but have hitherto no evidence
from human remains outside of Europe from which we can draw any
inference as to the type of man by whom these implements were made.
It is clear that in Europe the oldest races were dolichocephalic,
but we have no certainty that this was the case in Asia, in so many
parts of which round-headed races exclusively prevail, and have done
so from the earliest times. Again, we have no evidence as to the
origin of another of the most strongly marked types, that of the
Negro, or of the Negrito, Negrillo, Bushmen, Australian, or other
existing races who approach most nearly to the Simian type. The
only evidence we have of the type of races who were certainly early
Quaternary, and may very possibly go back to an older geological
age than that of the men of Neanderthal and Spy, comes from the New
World, from California, Brazil, and Buenos Ayres, and points to a
type not so savage and Simian as that of Canstadt, but rather to
that which characterizes all the different varieties of American
man, though here also we find evidence of distinct dolichocephalic
and brachycephalic races from the very earliest times. Another
difficulty in the way of considering the Canstadt type as a real
advance towards primitive man and the missing link, arises from
the totally different and very superior type of Cro-Magnon being
found so near it in time, as proved by the existence in both of the
cave-bear, mammoth, and other extinct animals. We can hardly suppose
the Cro-Magnon type to have sprung by slow evolution in the ordinary
way of direct succession, from such a very different type as that of
Canstadt during such a short interval of time as a small portion of
one geological period. Again, it is very perplexing to find that the
only Tertiary skulls and skeletons for which we possess really strong
evidence, those of Castelnedolo, instead of showing, as might be
expected, a still more rude and Simian aspect than that of Canstadt,
show us the Canstadt type indeed, but in a milder and more human form.

All that can be said with certainty is, that as far as authentic
evidence carries us back, the ancestral animal, or missing link, has
not been discovered, but that man already existed from an enormous
antiquity, extending certainly through the Quaternary into the
Pliocene, and probably into the Miocene period, and that at the
earliest date at which his remains have been found the race was
already divided, as at present, into several sharply distinguished

This leaves the question of man's ultimate origin completely open to
speculation, and enables both monogenists and polygenists to contend
for their respective views with plausible arguments, and without
fear of being refuted by facts. Polygeny, or plural origins, would
at first sight seem to be the most plausible theory to account for
the great diversities of human races actually existing, and which can
be shown to have existed from such an immense antiquity. And this
seems to have been the first guess of primitive nations, for most of
them considered themselves as autochthonous, sprung from the soil,
or created by their own native gods. But by degrees this theory gave
place to that of monogeny, which has been for a long while almost
universally accepted by the civilized world. The cause of this
among Christians, Jews, and Mahometans has been the acceptance of
the narratives in Genesis, first of Adam and secondly of Noah, as
literally true accounts of events which actually occurred. This is
an argument which has completely broken down, and no competent and
dispassionate thinker any longer accepts the Hebrew Scriptures as a
literal and conclusive authority, on facts of history and science
which lie within the domain of human reason. The question, therefore,
became once more an open one, but as the old orthodox argument
for monogeny faded into oblivion, a new and more powerful one was
furnished by the doctrine of Evolution as expounded by Darwin. The
same argument applies to man as to the rest of the animal world, that
if separate species imply separate creations, these supernatural
creations must be multiplied to such an extent as to make them
altogether incredible; as for instance 150 separate creations for
the land shells alone of one of the group of Madeira islands; while
on the other hand genera grade off into species, species into races,
and races into varieties, by such insensible degrees, as to establish
an irresistible inference that they have all been developed by
evolution from common ancestors. No one, I suppose, seriously doubts
that this is in the main the true theory of life, though there may
still be some uncertainty as to the causes and mode of operation,
and of the different steps and stages of this evolution. Monogeny
therefore in this general sense of evolution from some primitive
mammalian type, may be accepted as the present conclusion of science
for man as it has come to be for the horse, dog, and so many other
animals which are his constant companions. Their evolution can in
many cases be traced up, through successive steps, to some more
simple and generalized type in the Eocene; and it may be permitted
to believe that if the whole geological record could be traced as
far back as that of the horse, in the case of man and the other
quadrumana, their pedigree would be as clearly made out. This,
however, does not conclude the question, for it is quite permissible
to contend that in the case of man, as in that of the horse, though
the primary ancestral type in the Eocene may be one, the secondary
types from which existing races are more immediately derived may be
more than one, and may have been evolved in different localities.
Thus in the case of the dog, it is almost certain that some of the
existing races have been derived from wolves, and others from jackals
and foxes; but this is quite consistent with the belief that all the
canine genus have been evolved from the marsupial Carnivora of the
Eocene, through the Arctocyon, who was a generalized type, half dog
and half bear. In fact, we have the authority of Darwin himself, as
quoted in the beginning of this chapter, for saying that this would
be quite consistent with his view of the origin of species.

Now the controversy between monogenists and polygenists has turned
mainly on these comparatively recent developments of secondary types.
It has been fought to a great extent before the immense antiquity of
the human race had been established, and it had become almost certain
that its original starting-point must be sought at least as far back
as in the Eocene period.

The main argument for monogeny has been that the different races
of mankind are fertile among themselves. This is doubtless true to
a great extent, and shows that these races have not diverged very
far from their ancestral type. But the researches of Darwin and his
successors have thrown a good deal of new light on the question of
hybridity. Species can no longer be looked upon as separated from one
another and from races by hard-and-fast lines, on one side of which
is absolute sterility and on the other absolute fertility; but rather
as blending into one another by insensible gradations from free
intercrossing to sterility, according as the differences from the
original type became more pronounced and more fixed by heredity.

To revert to the case of dogs, we find free interbreeding between
races descended from different secondary ancestors, such as wolves,
jackals, and foxes, though freer, I believe, and more permanent
as the races are closer; but as the specific differences become
more marked, the fertility does not abruptly cease, but rapidly
diminishes. Thus Buffon's experiment shows that a hybrid cross
between the dog and the wolf may be produced and perpetuated for at
least three generations, and the leporine cross between the hare and
rabbit is almost an established race. On the other hand, we see in
the mule the last expiring trace of fertility in a cross between
species which have diverged so far in different directions as the
horse and the ass.

The human race repeats this lesson of the animal world, and shows
a graduated scale of fertility and permanence in crosses, between
different types according as they are closely or distantly related.
Thus if we take the two extremes, the blond white of North temperate
Europe and the Negro of Equatorial Africa, the disposition to union
is almost replaced by repugnance which is only overcome under special
circumstances, such as slavery, and an absence of women of their own
race; while the offspring, the mulatto, is everywhere a feeble folk,
with deficient vitality, diminished fertility, and prone to die out,
or revert to one or other of the original types. But where the types
are not so extremely divergent the fertility of the cross increases,
as between the brunet white of Southern Europe and the Arab or Moor
with the Negro, and of the European with the native Indian of America.

Perhaps the strongest argument for polgyeny is that derived from the
different constitutions of different races as regards susceptibility
to climatic and other influences.

At present, and as far back as history or tradition enables us to
trace, mankind has, as in the case of other animals, been very much
restricted to definite geological provinces. Thus in the extreme
case of the fair white and the Negro, the former cannot live and
propagate its type south of the parallel of 40°, or the latter north
of it. This argument was no doubt pushed too far by Agassiz, who
supposed the whole world to be divided into a number of limited
districts, in each of which a separate creation both of men, animals,
and plants had taken place suited to the environment. This is
clearly inconsistent with facts, but there is still some force in
it when stripped of exaggeration, and confined to the three or four
leading types which are markedly different. Especially it bears on
the argument, on which monogenists mainly rely, of the peopling of
the earth by migration from one common centre. No doubt migration
has played a very great part in the diffusion of all animal and
vegetable species, and their zoological provinces are determined very
much by the existence of insurmountable barriers in early geological
times. No doubt also man is better organized for migration than
most other terrestrial animals, and history and tradition show that
in comparatively recent times he has reached the remotest islands
of the Pacific by perfectly natural means. But this does not meet
the difficulty of accounting, if we place the origin of man from a
single pair anywhere in the northern hemisphere, for his presence in
palæolithic times in South Africa and South America. How did he get
across the equatorial zone, in which only a tropical fauna, including
the tropical Negro, can now live and flourish? Or _vice versâ_, if
the original Adam and Eve were black, and the Garden of Eden situated
in the tropics, how did their descendants migrate northwards, and
live on the skirts of the ice-caps of the glacial period? Or how did
the yellow race, so tolerant of heat and cold, and of insanitary
conditions, and so different in physical and moral characters from
either the whites or the blacks, either originate from them, or give
rise to them? The nearest congeners of man, the quadrumana, monkeys
and apes, are all catarrhine in the Old World, and all platyrhine
in America. Why, if all are descended from the same pair of
ancestors, and have spread from the same spot by migration? We can
only reconcile the fact that it is so with the facts of evolution,
by throwing the common starting-point or points of the lines of
development much further back into the Eocene, or even further; and
if this be true for monkeys, why not for man?

One point seems quite clear, that monogeny is only possible by
extending the date of human origins far back into the Tertiaries.
On any short-dated theories of man's appearance upon earth--as
for instance that of Prestwich, that palæolithic man probably
only existed for some 20,000 or 25,000 years before the neolithic
period--some theory like that of Agassiz, of separate creations in
separate zoological provinces, follows inevitably. If the immense
time from the Miocene to the Recent period has been insufficient to
differentiate the Hylobates and Dryopithecus very materially from the
existing anthropoid apes, a period such as 40,000 or 50,000 years
would have gone a very little way in deriving the Negro from the
white, or the white from the Negro. To deny the extension of human
origins into the Tertiaries is practically to deny Darwin's theory
of evolution altogether, or to contend that man is an exception to
the laws by which the rest of the animal creation have come into
existence in the course of evolution.

The question of the locality in which the human species first
originated depends also very materially on the date assigned for
human origins. The various speculations which have been hazarded on
this subject are almost all based on the supposition that this origin
took place in comparatively recent times when geographical and other
causes were not materially different from those of the present day.
It was for ages the accepted belief that all mankind were descended
primarily from a single pair of ancestors, who were miraculously
created in Mesopotamia, and secondarily from three pairs who were
miraculously preserved in the ark in Armenia. This of course never
had any other foundation than the belief in the inspired authority of
the Bible, and when it came to be established that this, as regards
its scientific and prehistoric speculations, was irreconcilable
with the most certain facts of science, the orthodox account of the
Creation fell with it. The theory of Asiatic origin was, however,
taken up on other grounds, and still lingers in some quarters,
mainly among philologists, who, headed by Max Müller, thought they
had discovered in Sanscrit and Zend the nearest approach to a common
Aryan language. Tracing backwards the lines of migration of these
people, the Sanscrit-speaking Hindoos and the Zend-speaking Iranians,
they found them intersecting somewhere about the Upper Oxus, and
jumped at the conclusion that the great elevated plateau of Pamir,
the "roof of the world," had been the birthplace of man, as it was of
so many of the great rivers which flowed from it to the north, south,
east, and west. This theory, however, has pretty well broken down,
since it has been shown that other branches of the Aryan languages,
specially the Lithuanian, contain more archaic elements than either
Sanscrit or Zend; that language is often no conclusive test of race;
that Aryan migrations have quite as often or oftener been from west
to east than from east to west; and that all history, prehistoric
traditions, and linguistic palæontology point to the principal Aryan
races having been located in Northern and Central Europe and in
Central and Southern Russia very much as we find them at the present

The question of the locality of human origins is now being debated
on very different grounds, and although it is not denied that Max
Müller's "somewhere in Asia" may turn out to be a correct guess, it
is denied that there is at present a particle of evidence to support
it. For really the whole question is very much one of guesswork.
The immense antiquity which on the lowest possible estimate can
be assigned for the proved existence of man, carries us back to a
period when geological, geographical, and climatic conditions were
so entirely different, that all inferences from those of the present
period are useless. For instance, certainly half the Himalayas, and
probably the whole, were under the sea; the Pamir and Central Asia,
instead of being the roof of the world, may have been fathoms deep
under a great ocean; Greenland and Spitzbergen were types of the
north temperate climate best suited for the highest races of man.

In like manner language ceases to be an available factor in any
attempt to trace human origins to their source. It is doubtless true
that at the present day different fundamental types of language
distinguish the different typical races of the human family. Thus
the monosyllabic type, consisting of roots only without grammar,
characterizes the Chinese and its allied races of the extreme east of
Asia; the agglutinative, in which different shades of meaning were
attached to roots, by definite particles glued on to them as it were
by prefixes or suffixes, is the type adopted by most of the oldest
and most numerous races of mankind in the Old World as their means
of conveying ideas by sound; while in the New World the common type
of an immense variety of languages is polysynthetic, or an attempt
to splutter out as it were a whole sentence in a single immensely
long word made up of fragments of separate roots and particles, a
type which in the Old World is confined to the Euskarian of the
Spanish Basque. And at the head of all as refined instruments for
the conveyance of thought, the two inflectional languages, the Aryan
and Semitic, by which, though in each case by a totally different
system, roots acquire their different shades of meaning by particles,
no longer mechanically glued on to them, but melted down as it were
with the roots, and incorporated into new words according to definite
grammatical rules.

But this carries us back a very little way. Judging by philology
alone, the Chinese, whose annals go back only to about 2500 B.C.,
would be an older race than the Egyptians or Accadians, whose
languages can be traced at least 2000 years further back. And if
we go back into prehistoric and geological times we are absolutely
ignorant whether the neolithic and palæolithic races spoke these
languages, or indeed spoke at all. Some palæontologists have fancied
that there was evidence for some of the older palæolithic races being
speechless, and christened them "Homo alalus," but this is based
on the solitary fact that a single human jaw, that of Naulette, is
wanting in the genial tubercle, absent also in anthropoid apes, to
which one of the muscles of the tongue is attached. But apart from
this being a single instance, some of the best anatomists deny that
this genial tubercle is really essential to speech, which the latest
physiological researches show to be dependent on the development of
a small tract in the third frontal convolution of the right side of
the brain, any injury to which causes aphasia, or loss of the power
of speech, though its physical organs of the larynx remain unimpaired.

It is probable, however, that from the very first man had a certain
faculty, like other animals, of expressing meaning by sounds and
gestures, and the researches of Romanes, and quite recently those
of Professor Garner on the language of monkeys and apes, make this
almost certain. But at what particular moment in the course of the
evolution of man this faculty ripened into what may be properly
called language is a matter of the purest conjecture. It may have
been in the Tertiary, the Quaternary, or not until the Recent period.

All we can say is, that when we first catch sight of languages, they
are already developed into the present distinct types, arguing,
as in the case of physical types, either for distinct miraculous
creations, or for such an immensely remote ancestry as to give time
for the fixation of separate secondary types before the formation
of language. Thus, if we confine ourselves to the most perfect and
advanced, and apparently therefore most modern form of language
of the foremost races of the world, the inflectional, we find two
types, the Semitic and Aryan, constructed on such totally different
principles that it is impossible for one to be derived from the
other, or both to be descended from a common parent. The Semitic
device of expressing shades of meaning by internal flexion, that is,
by ringing the changes of vowels between three consonants, making
every word triliteral, is fundamentally different from the Aryan
device for attaining the same object by fusing roots and added
particles into one new word in which equal value is attached to
vowels and consonants. We can partly see how the latter may have been
developed from the agglutinative, but not how the stiff and cramped
Semitic can have been derived either from that or from the far more
perfect and flexible type of the Aryan languages. It has far more the
appearance of being an artificial invention implying a considerable
advance of intellectual attainment, and therefore of comparatively
recent date. In any case we may safely accept the conclusion that
there is nothing in language which assists us in tracing back human
origins into geological times, or indeed much further than the
commencement of history.

We are reduced, therefore, to geological evidence, and this gives us
nothing better than mere probabilities, or rather guesses, as to the
original centre or centres of human existence upon the earth. The
inference most generally drawn is in favour of the locality where
the earliest traces of human remains have been found, and where the
existence of the nearest allied species, the apes and monkeys, can be
carried back furthest. This locality is undoubtedly Eur-Africa, that
is the continent which existed when Europe and Africa were united by
one or more land connections. And in this locality the preference
must be assigned to Western Europe and to Africa north of the Atlas;
in fact to the portion of this ancient continent facing the Atlantic,
and Western Mediterranean, then an inland sea. Thus far Central
and South-Western France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Algeria have
afforded the oldest unequivocal proofs of the existence of man, and
of the coexistence of anthropoid apes. Accordingly Darwin inclined
to the view that North Africa was probably the scene of man's first
appearance, and the latest authority on the subject, Brinton, in his
_Races and Peoples_, gives at length reasons for assigning this to
somewhere in Eur-Africa.

But it must be remembered that this inference rests entirely on the
fact that the district in question has been more or less explored,
while the rest of the earth can hardly be said to have been explored
at all, for anything prior to those Quaternary paleolithic implements
which prove the existence of man already spread over nearly the
whole of the habitable globe. Nor would the origin of the white
race in Eur-Africa, even if it were established, help us to account
for the existence of the Negro race on the other side of the Atlas
and the Sahara, or of the yellow race in Eastern Asia, or of the
American race. Indeed America may fairly compete with Eur-Africa for
the honour of being the original seat of the human race, for the
geological conditions and the animal fauna of the auriferous gravels
of California point to the Calaveras skull and other numerous human
remains and implements found in them being of Tertiary age, and
quite possibly as old or even older than anything which has been
found in Europe.[17] The wide diffusion of the same peculiar racial
type over the whole continent of America down to Cape Horn, and its
capability of existing under such different conditions of climate
and environment, also point to its being an extremely ancient and
primitive race, and the generic distinction between the apes and
monkeys of the Old and New Worlds is a remarkable circumstance which
is not accounted for by any monogenist theory of the origin of the
order of quadrumana.

  [17] If Ameghino's discoveries of an anthropoid type in the Lower
  Eocene of Patagonia should be confirmed, it would incline the
  balance of evidence in favour of South America, or rather of the
  temperate zone of the southern hemisphere, as the most probable
  scene of the evolution of the quadrumana, including the human
  variety, from ancestral forms allied to the marsupials of the
  Secondary period.

It is to be observed also, that although all American races have
a certain peculiar type in common, still there are differences
which show that secondary types must have existed from a very
early period, intercrossing between which must have given rise to
numerous varieties. Thus, according to Morton, dolichocephaly was
most prevalent among the tribes who inhabited the eastern side of
the continent facing the Atlantic both in North and South America,
while brachycephaly prevailed on the western, side facing the
Pacific. Great differences of colour and stature are also found
often among contiguous tribes, and irrespective of latitude. On the
whole, however, the American type approximates in many important
particulars, such as colour, hair, and anatomical structure, more
nearly to the yellow races of Eastern Asia than to any other, though
it is a fairly open question which of the two may have been the
earliest to appear in the immensely remote ages of the Tertiary

Another theory is that man probably originated in some continent
of the Arctic Circle, where, as we know from fossil remains of the
Miocene and Eocene periods, Greenland and Spitzbergen enjoyed a mild
climate and forest vegetation, admirably adapted for the evolution
of a temperate mammalian fauna, including the human species. This is
a very plausible theory, but at present it is a mere theory, like
that of a lost Atlantis, or submerged continents in the Pacific or
Indian Oceans. The only thing approaching to evidence to support
it is, as far as I am aware, that Sir Joseph Hooker and other
eminent botanists think that the diffusion of the forest trees and
other flora of America can be traced along lines radiating from the
extreme north, along the mountain chains and elevated plateaux which
form the backbone of the continent from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.
There seems a probability also that the evolution of the human race,
which turns mainly on the development of the erect stature, which
is the basis of the larger brain and other anatomical differences
between man and the other quadrumana, must have taken place not in
tropical regions of dense forests, where climbing would have had a
decided advantage over walking in the struggle for life, but rather
in some region of wide plains and open forests, where it would be an
advantage to see enemies or prey at a distance, or over tall grass or

It must be admitted, however, that in our present state of knowledge
all these theories of the place, time, and manner of human origins
are speculations rather than science. We have proof positive that man
was already spread over most parts of the world in the Quaternary
period, and the irresistible inference that he must have existed
long before, is confirmed by conclusive evidence as to the finding
of his remains and implements in the earliest Quaternary and latest
Pliocene periods, and very strong evidence for carrying them back
into the Miocene. Anthropoid apes, which are so similar to man in
physical structure, and in their ways are as highly specialized
from any more general and primitive ancestral form as man himself,
undoubtedly did exist in the Miocene period, and have come down to
us with comparatively little change. It puzzles the best anatomists
to find any clear distinction between the present Hylobates and the
Hylobates of the Middle Miocene, while that between the white man and
the Negro is clear and unmistakable. Why then should "Homo" not have
existed as soon as "Hylobates," and why should any prepossession in
favour of man's recent creation, based mainly on exploded beliefs
in the scientific value of the myths and guesses of the earliest
civilized nations of Asia, stand in the way of accepting the enormous
and rapidly increasing accumulation of evidence, tracing back the
evolution of the mammal man to the same course of development as
other mammals?

As regards the course of this evolution, all we know with any
certainty is, that as far as we can trace it back, the human species
was already differentiated into distinct races, and that in all
probability the present fundamental types were already formed. When
and where the primitive stock or stocks may have originated, and
the secondary ancestral races may have branched off from it, is at
present unknown. All we can say is, that the more we examine the
evidence, the more it points to extreme antiquity even for these
secondary stocks, and makes it probable that we must go, as in the
case of the horse and other existing mammals, at least as far back as
into the Eocene to look for the primitive generalized type or types
from which these secondary lines of quadrumanous and human evolution
have taken their origin. As regards the secondary types themselves,
there is no certainty as to the place or time of their origin, but
the balance of evidence points rather in favour of polygeny, that
is, of their having followed slightly different lines of evolution
from the common starting-point, under different circumstances of
environment and in different localities; so that when man, as we
know him, first appeared, he was already differentiated into races
distinct though not very far apart.

In conclusion, I may remark that these hotly-contested questions
as to monogeny or polygeny, and as to the place of man's first
appearance on earth, lose most of their importance when it is
realized that human origins must be pushed back at least as far as
the Miocene, and probably into the Eocene period. As long as it was
held that no traces of man's existence could be found, as Cuvier
held, until the Recent period; or even as some English geologists
still contend, until the post-glacial, or at any rate the glacial
or Quaternary periods, it was evident that the facts could only be
explained by the theory of a series of supernatural interferences.
Agassiz's theory, or some modification of it, must be adopted, of
numerous special creations of life at special centres, as of the
Esquimaux and polar bear in Arctic regions, the Negro and gorilla in
the tropics, and so forth. This theory has been completely given up
as regards animals, in favour of the Darwinian theory of evolution by
natural causes, and no one now believes in a multiplicity of miracles
to account for the existence of animal species. Is man alone an
exception to this universal law, or is he like the rest of creation,
a product of what Darwinians call "Evolution," and enlightened
theologians "the original impress"?

The existing species of anthropoid apes, the orang, the chimpanzee,
and the gorilla, do not differ more widely from one another than
do many of the extreme types of the human species. In colour,
hair, volume of brain, form of skull, stature, and a hundred other
peculiarities, the Negro and the European stand further apart than
those anthropoids do from one another, and no naturalist from Mars or
Saturn, investigating the human family for the first time, and free
from prepossession, would hesitate to class the white, black, yellow,
red, and perhaps five or six other varieties, as different species.

In the case of these anthropoid apes no one supposes that they were
miraculously created in recent times. On the contrary, we find their
type already fully developed in the Miocene, and we infer, that like
the horse, camel, and so many other existing mammals, their origin
may be traced step by step backwards to some lower and generalized
type in the Eocene. Who can doubt that physical man, an animal
constructed almost exactly on the same anatomical ground-plan as
the anthropoids, came into existence by a similar process? The only
answer would be, if it could be proved, that his existence on earth
had been so short as to make it impossible that so many and so great
specific variations as now exist, and some of which have been proved
to have existed early in the Quaternary period, could have been
developed by natural means and by the slow processes of evolution.
But this is just where the evidence fails, and is breaking down more
and more every year and with every fresh discovery.

Recent man has given place to Quaternary man; post-glacial to
inter-glacial and pre-glacial; and now the evidence for the existence
of man or of some ancestral form of man, in the Tertiary period,
has accumulated to such an extent that there are few competent
anthropologists who any longer deny it.

But with this extension of time the existence of man, instead of
being an anomaly and a discord, falls in with the sublime harmony of
the universe, of which it is the dominant note.


_Richard Clay & Sons, Limited, London & Bungay._

Transcriber's note:
    The spelling of words in languages other than English, have been
    left as they appear in the book. Minor spelling inconsistencies,
    mainly hyphenated words, have been harmonized.
    Obvious typos have been corrected. An "Illustration"
    section has been added as an aid to the reader.

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