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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

The Aryan Race and its Migrations


Germany under the Saxons and Frank Emperors, Twelfth Century 139

Germany under Napoleon, 1812 401

Metz and Vicinity 441

The German Empire, 1871 446

A HISTORY OF GERMANY.

CHAPTER I.

THE ANCIENT GERMANS AND THEIR COUNTRY.

(330 B. C.--70 B. C.)

The Aryan Race and its Migrations. --Earliest Inhabitants of Europe. --Lake Dwellings. --Celtic and Germanic Migrations. --Europe in the Fourth Century B. C. --The Name "German." --Voyage of Pytheas. --Invasions of the Cimbrians and Teutons, B. C. 113. --Victories of Marius. --Boundary between the Gauls and the Germans. --Geographical Location of the various Germanic Tribes. --Their Mode of Life, Vices, Virtues, Laws, and Religion.

The Germans form one of the most important branches of the Indo-Germanic or Aryan race--a division of the human family which also includes the Hindoos, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, and the Slavonic tribes. The near relationship of all these, which have become so

separated in their habits of life, forms of government and religious faith, in the course of many centuries, has been established by the evidence of common tradition, language, and physiological structure. The original home of the Aryan race appears to have been somewhere among the mountains and lofty table-lands of Central Asia. The word "Arya," meaning _the high_ or _the excellent_, indicates their superiority over the neighboring races long before the beginning of history.

When and under what circumstances the Aryans left their home, can never be ascertained. Most scholars suppose that there were different migrations, and that each movement westward was accomplished slowly, centuries intervening between their departure from Central Asia and their permanent settlement in Europe. The earliest migration was probably that of the tribes who took possession of Greece and Italy; who first acquired, and for more than a thousand years maintained, their ascendency over all other branches of their common family; who, in fact, laid the basis for the civilization of the world.

[Sidenote: 330 B. C.]

Before this migration took place, Europe was inhabited by a race of primitive savages, who were not greatly superior to the wild beasts in the vast forests which then covered the continent. They were exterminated at so early a period that all traditions of their existence were lost. Within the last fifty years, however, various relics of this race have been brought to light. Fragments of skulls and skeletons, with knives and arrow-heads of flint, have been found, at a considerable depth, in the gravel-beds of Northern France, or in caves in Germany, together with the bones of animals now extinct, upon which they fed. In the lakes of Switzerland, they built dwellings upon piles, at a little distance from the shore, in order to be more secure against the attacks of wild beasts or hostile tribes. Many remains of these lake-dwellings, with flint implements and fragments of pottery, have recently been discovered. The skulls of the race indicate that they were savages of the lowest type, and different in character from any which now exist on the earth.


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