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CLASS IV.-DETACHED FAMILIES.
F. CAUCASIAN FAMILY.
FOR SPECIMENS OF THIS VERSION, SEE PLATE 8, PAGE 334.
I. GEOGRAPHICAL EXTENT AND STATISTICS.
GEORGIA, the country of the ancient Iberi, lies along the southern foot of Mount Caucasus, between the Black Sea and the Caspian, and comprises an area of 18,000 square miles, and a population estimated at upwards of 500,000. The adjacent tracts of country, sometimes loosely included under the general name of Georgia, are occupied by the Mingrelians, the Imeritians, the Suani, and the Lazians, who all form part of the Georgian race, and speak dialects of that language; the collective amount of population, including Georgia Proper, is estimated, from the latest date, to exceed 3,000,000. Since the beginning of the present century, Georgia has formed a portion of the Russian empire, and the national religion is the same as that of Russia.
II. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LANGUAGE.
Although in the structure of the Georgian language there are several remarkable points of analogy connecting it on the one hand with the languages of the Indo-European class, and on the other with those of Eastern and Central Asia, yet it differs in words and roots from all known languages, and is therefore entitled to be regarded as a peculiar and distinct idiom. Its frequent use of postpositions, and the ease with which certain words can be made to subserve alternately the offices of substantives, adjectives, and adverbs, are points in which it claims affinity with the Turkish or Tartarian stock; while its multiplicity of inflections, formed for the most part by variations of termination, seems to connect it with the Indo-European class. Indeed it has been brought back to the Sanscrit by Bopp, but not satisfactorily. It possesses eight distinct cases, formed according to rules that are both simple. and uniform; and in abundance of verbal inflections it is surpassed by few languages; for though it has but two moods, the indicative and the imperative, yet the perfect tense in certain verbs can present itself under seven or eight different forms, to which the future tense has as many corresponding ones. Moreover, the combination of participles with a dative construction of the object governed, forms a feature of this language, more remarkable than in Armenian, or in any kindred dialect of it. In fact, its forms of verbs are almost innumerable, for nearly every verb has some peculiarities in conjugation which can be learnt only by practice.
The alphabetical characters used by the Georgians are of two distinct kinds, the one appropriated to civil and the other to ecclesiastical purposes. The first seems to be a combination of various elements, some of which are Indian, but the latter is derived from the Armenian; and, in spite of the political relations between the two nations, comparatively few Armenian words have been engrafted on the classic Georgian language. A greater admixture of such terms, with the addition of Turkish,
Greek, and other foreign words, serves principally to distinguish the modern language of Georgia from the venerable idiom in which the version of the Scripture is written.
III. VERSIONS OF THE SCRIPTURES IN THIS LANGUAGE.
According to a tradition of the Georgian church, the Scriptures were translated into this language, in the eighth century, by Euphemius, the founder and patron of the Iberian monastery on Mount Athos. It is stated, however, by other authorities, that in the sixth century the Georgians sent young men of talent into Greece to study the Greek language, and that on their return they furnished their countrymen with a translation of the Scriptures and of the liturgical books of the Greek Church. But whoever may have been the translator, it is certain that the Georgian version of the Old Testament was translated from the Septuagint, and the New Testament from Greek MSS. of the Constantinopolitan family; and that the entire version was executed at some time between the sixth and the eighth centuries. This version would have been of great value in a critical point of view, had it not been corrupted during the many centuries through which it has passed. In the beginning of the eighteenth century, it was in particular grossly interpolated, for it was then collated with the Sclavonic version, and portions of the Old Testament, which had been lost during the political troubles of Georgia, were translated anew from the Sclavonic. This revision was carried on at Moscow, under the superintendence of Georgian princes who had sought refuge in Russia. Prince Arcil was the first to engage in the work, but he died before it was completed, and a new and more careful revision was commenced by Prince Vakuset, who rendered the entire version as conformable as possible to the Sclavonic, and introduced the use of verses in imitation of that text. A printed edition was brought out under his direction, at Moscow, in 1743, at the expense of his brother, Prince Bacchar; the types were cast in that city, and the correction of the press was committed to four native Georgians. This was the first occasion on which the entire Georgian version had been committed to the press; but a small edition of the New Testament, with the Psalms and Prophets, had been printed a few years previously under the care of Prince Vaktangh, at Tiflis, in Georgia.
The Moscow edition formed the text of the New Testament printed by the Moscow Bible Society in 1815, under the superintendence of the Georgian Metropolitan, Ion, and of Archbishop Pafnut, both resident in the Kremlin of Moscow. The edition consisted of 5000 copies, and the types from which it was printed were cast from the very matrices which had been used for the former edition, and which had been providentially preserved during the conflagration of the city at the time of Napoleon's invasion. The Society was induced to issue this edition by information received through Dr. Pinkerton, in 1814, concerning the state of the Greco-Georgian church. At that period there were at least 2000 churches in Georgia, Imeritia, and Mingrelia; and 200 copies of the Bible could not be found amongst them all. In consequence of this scarcity of the Scriptures, the clergy were very ignorant; but the women of Georgia were noted for the zeal with which they devoted themselves to the acquisition of religious knowledge. The tradition that the Georgian nation was first converted to Christianity by the preaching of a Greek virgin, named Ninna, in the fourth century, had much influence on public opinion; and a proper acquaintance with the doctrines of Scripture has always been considered in Georgia an indispensable part of female education. In 1818, the Society printed another edition of 2000 copies of the New Testament: in this edition the civil or common characters were adopted, which were found more generally intelligible to the laity, the former editions having been printed in the sacred or ecclesiastical character, which is almost exclusively used by the clergy. More recent editions of various portions of the Scriptures have been printed at Tiflis and in Russia, but concerning these editions we have no particular account.
CLASS IV.-DETACHED FAMILIES.
G. SAMOIEDE FAMILY.
THE term "Samoiede," or "Samoyede," or "Samojede," is difficult to interpret. It means properly "eaters of themselves;" but this etymology cannot be good, since those tribes have never been anthropophagi. In some works written in Russian, the Samoyedes are also called "Syrojedes," eaters of raw flesh, an appellation far better suited to them than the former. But as Klaproth states, the term "Samoyede" seems to extend far to the eastward in Siberia, and may possibly be of Mongolian origin. Be that as it may, under the term "Samoyede," are understood a great number of tribes, occupying a tract of country which ranges from the 40th to the 110th degree of longitude, and reaching as far as along the Yenisei, to the foot of the Altai range. They They are a degraded, ignorant race, depending for a precarious subsistence upon fishing and the chase, and slaves to the most abject superstition; scattered in divided groups over a large portion of Siberia, as well as over the Arctic shores of the European continent, their settlements extending almost from the Dvina and the neighbourhood of Archangel to the Lena in East Siberia. They are divided into Western, Eastern, and Southern Samoiedes, and their tongue, or rather tongues and dialects, seems to approximate nearer to the Finnish stock of languages than to any other, as shown by the vocabularies of Samoiede words collected by Pallas and Klaproth.
As early as 1819, a proposal emanating from Johannes Wernagoff, of Beresov, was laid before the Branch Bible Society at Tobolsk, to translate the Scriptures into Samoiede. Nothing more, however, was heard of the undertaking till the year 1824, when, at a meeting of the Russian Bible Society, a specimen of the first chapter of St. Matthew, in Samoiede, was sent for inspection by Neophitos, bishop of Archangel. This chapter had been read to several Samoiedes, who understood it very well, and several clergymen of the parish of Ischemsk were in consequence employed to continue the translation, under the inspection of Bishop Neophitos. The Committee resolved to encourage the work, in the hope of bringing a people sitting in gross darkness to the saving light of the Gospel; but unhappily the suspension of the Society by an imperial ukase, in 1826, prevented the prosecution of the translation.
CLASS IV.-DETACHED FAMILIES.
H. DIALECTS OF THE ISLANDS OF EASTERN ASIA, AND OF COREA.
FOR SPECIMEN OF THE JAPANESE VERSION, SEE PLATE 9, PAGE 356.
THE Japanese empire consists of four large and many small islands, lying off the eastern shores of the Asiatic Continent, between lat. 30° and 45° N., and long. 128° and 146° E. The Japanese have been the predominant race in this extensive empire from time immemorial, and it is now impossible to ascertain from what region they originally emigrated, for in physical conformation, religion, and language, they differ from all the neighbouring nations. It has been conjectured that the population of this empire, exclusive of its dependencies, amounts to 50,000,000; but our information on this point, as on every thing connected with the interior of Japan, is very imperfect, and other estimates rate the population at only half that amount.
The primitive religion of the Japanese is called Sin-siu, literally, "doctrine of spirits:" it consists in the adoration of numerous spirits or divinities supposed to preside over all things visible and invisible, and among the foremost in the ranks of these false gods are included the progenitors of the present line of emperors. This ancient form of belief has, however, in a great measure been superseded by Buddhism, which is now the prevailing religion in Japan. There are also many followers of Confucius, who, as in China, devote their sole attention to the affairs of this life, without reference to a future state of existence.
I. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LANGUAGE.
Japanese is a polysyllabic language, and altogether different in structure and idiom from the Chinese. The very organs of articulation are dissimilar in the two nations; and such Chinese words as have passed into the Japanese vocabulary are greatly altered in pronunciation. Words of Chinese origin are however very common in Japanese, having been introduced by Chinese colonies, but more particularly by the influence of Chinese literature, upon which all the learning of Japan is based. Yet there are points in which the Japanese coincides with the monosyllabic and Tartarian classes of languages: it has, for instance, no terminational distinctions of gender, and the cases of substantives are denoted by suffixes; the verbs have regular inflections to denote the difference of tense, but they are invariable with respect to number and person. In many of its most simple and radical words, Japanese also claims affinity with the idioms of Eastern Asia; and several such elemental terms have been pointed out by Klaproth as common to the Japanese, Mongolian, and Finnish languages. The Chinese characters were formerly used in writing Japanese, but not being found adapted to express the sounds of this language, three different syllabaries were invented by the Japanese, and are now in general use; they consist chiefly of modified and contracted Chinese characters. Those in principal
1 Васня ульнесь вѣлъ, и вѣлъ ульнесь Пазонь Першарїокъ шамакъ ылэнъ, шамакашъ блэнъ 1
Юманъ доранъ, и Юма ылэнъ шамакъ. Седа 2
ヒトチカニイノチァル、コイチク ニンゲンノヒカリ。コヒカリククラサニカ・ベクタンク セカイノクライニングソ
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Engraved for THE BIBLE OF EVERY LAND Samuel Bagster & Sons, Paternoster Row, London.
SPECIMEN OF THE