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THE

INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES OF EUROPE.

THE Asiatic branches (Sanscritic and Medo-Persian) of the Indo-European class of languages are exhibited in two Maps. A third Map comprehends all the languages of this widely-extended class which are spoken in Europe. These languages, while they all adhere in a greater or less degree to the Medo-Persian and Sanscritic type of grammatical structure, yet possess certain individual characteristics of their own. Hence it is that they diverge into distinctive groups or families, without however losing the evidences of their original connection with each other, and with a long-lost and now unknown common stem. The families of this class, by which Europe is to a great extent divided, are the Celtic, Teutonic, Greco-Latin, Thraco-Illyrian, and Sclavonic. The phenomenon of the intersection of the area apparently belonging to this class, by languages of the Basque and Finnish families, will hereafter be explained.

At the

CELTIC.-The Celts were the first people of this class
by whom western Europe was colonised.
time of the Romans, we find them the occupants of
Gaul, of the British Isles, of part of Spain and
Germany, and of North Italy. Pannonia, Thrace,
and even Asia Minor, were at one period occupied by
them; and the Cimbri of Denmark are supposed to
have been a Celtic tribe. The time of their first
immigration into Europe is wholly unknown. After
reaching the extreme verge of Western Europe, they
appear in some instances to have partly retraced
their steps to the eastward; at least, the Celts of
Germany and Italy were considered emigrants from
Gaul. The Celts were compelled by the Romans
to recede from every country in which they had
established themselves, and afterwards they were
more effectually subjugated by the Teutonic tribes.
In the vast majority of instances, they became amal-
gamated in language and manners with their con-
querors; and not a single trace of their religion
(Druidism and Bardism) is now to be found, except
in the ruins of their sacred places, as at Stonehenge.
On the continent of Europe, where their language
was once predominant, it has now altogether dis-
appeared, except on a small strip of the coast of
Brittany. In the British Isles, however, the Celtic
language is still preserved. The following are the
cognate dialects into which it is now developed :-

I.-The Welsh or Cymric branch, spoken in
Wales, in part of Brittany, and formerly in
Cornwall.

II.-The Gaelic branch, spoken in the Highlands
of Scotland, in Ireland, and in the Isle of
Man.

TEUTONIC.-After the Celts, and the Greco-Latins

hereafter to be mentioned, the next great tide of population which rolled from Asia into Europe was the Teutonic. The Teutonic tribes, as their language indicates, were in a special manner connected with the Medo-Persian race, but the circumstances under which they separated from the parent stock are involved in impenetrable obscurity. When they first appeared upon the page of history, they were mere barbarians, destitute of the arts of social life; yet, even then, the inherent energy of this race was apparent the Celtic nations were rapidly displaced by them, and in the fourth century they achieved no less a conquest than that of the Roman empire. Under the name of Franks, Burgundians, Alemans, and Visigoths in Gaul, or Heruli, Goths, and Longobards in Italy, and of Suevi, Vandals, and Ostrogoths in Spain, they rendered themselves conspicuous in the history of the middle ages; and, unlike their predecessors, the Celts, they have to the present day retained their principal territorial possessions in Europe. In Spain, France, and Italy, indeed, they became mingled with other races, and merely contributed their quota to the formation of the languages of those countries; but Germany, England, Denmark, and the Scandinavian peninsula, still form the stronghold of the Teutonic race. A great change, however, at least in Germany, has taken place since the commencement of the historical era in the physical conformation of this people. The early Germans, as described by Roman writers, were a fair xanthous race, with blue eyes, and light and yellow hair. These characteristics are still preserved in the Scandinavian peninsula; but in Germany itself, the dark or melanic variety of complexion has now become almost uni

d

versal. This remarkable change has been attributed to the alteration produced in the climate of Germany by the uprooting of its vast forests.

The languages now spoken by the Teutonic race are referable to two primary divisions.

I. The Teutonic or Germanic, properly so called, comprising the German, Flemish, Dutch, Friesic, and English.

II. The Scandinavian, including Icelandic, Swedish, Danish, and Faroese. For a detailed account of each of these languages, as likewise of the now extinct Teutonic languages, Gothic, Alemannic, Old Saxon, and AngloSaxon, the reader may consult pp. 174–226 of this work.

GRECO-LATIN.-The Greco-Latins appear to have preceded the Teutonic tribes in the colonisation of Europe, at least, of the southern parts. The Pelasgic or Hellenic Greeks were probably the first inhabitants of Greece, especially of the inland parts. The Lydian and other languages of Lesser Asia, and perhaps the ancient languages of Macedonia and Thrace, were allied to this stock. Italy appears to have been peopled by several different nations; and the origin of some of these nations has given rise to much conjecture. The origin of the Etruscan race, for instance, is a question of much interest, still awaiting its solution. The old Italic languages, comprehending the Latin, Umbrian, Oscan, Siculian, and some others, were in course of time absorbed in one language, which, under the name of Latin, became eventually the predominant language of the Roman empire. The wide diffusion of the Greek language at the commencement of our era, and of the Latin during the middle ages, has been already mentioned. On the destruction of the Roman empire by the Teutonic tribes, Latin still continued the language of the learned; but the vernacular of the populace, which probably had previously abounded in provincialisms, became mixed with the dialects of the Teutonic invaders; and thus a new language was produced, which, from the predominance of the Roman element, was designated the Romaunt or Romance. Up to the twelfth century this language, in its several dialectic varieties, was the prevailing vernacular language of Europe. In Spain it was called Catalan; in South France it was known as the Langue d'oc, Provençal or Romanese; and in Italy it went by the general name of Romance. Each of the dialects of this widely-diffused language was subsequently subjected to further changes, by the commingling of other elements induced by political vicissitudes. Thus gradually arose the Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and the DacoRoman or Wallachian languages. It will be seen, however, in our Map, that the language of the Troubadours has not wholly disappeared, dialects of

this language still forming the vernacular of the Vaudois, Piedmontese, and Enghadine nations. For particular details concerning each of the nations and languages belonging to this important family, the reader is referred to pp. 227–288.

THRACO-ILLYRIAN.-A people known in history as the Illyrians, and with whom the Thracians are considered by some historians to have been connected, were probably the first inhabitants of the eastern shore of the Adriatic. They are supposed to have been of kindred origin with the Pelasgi of Greece; and their language, though a distinct and peculiar idiom of the Indo-European stem, bears some affinity to Greek. This language is still spoken by the Albanians or Arnauts, the supposed descendants of the Illyrians, in the ancient Epirus, on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. A particular account of this language and people is given in p. 289.

SCLAVONIC.-The origin of the Sclavonic tribes, and the date of their first appearance in Europe, are involved in much uncertainty. They are generally supposed to be descended from the Sarmatæ, who in the time of the Romans occupied a region of Northern Europe, east of the Vistula, then known by the name of Sarmatia. Some writers are of opinion that the Sarmatæ derived their descent from a Scythian tribe; but in the present state of knowledge this is a problem which must still remain unsolved. The writers from whom we obtain the earliest accounts of the Sclavonic nations describe them as differing both from the Scythian and from the Teutonic tribes. The Sclavoni appear to have had more elevated conceptions of religion than their Asiatic neighbours; for although they worshipped a multitude of deities, they recognised the existence of one Supreme Being. On the other hand, unlike the Germans, they were possessed of the most vicious characteristics of Orientalists-polygamy, tyranny, and servility. Their physical conformation and their language, however, connect them with the IndoEuropean stock. They now occupy a considerable section of Europe, extending from the north-eastern extremity into the very centre of that continent. In some of the countries of Central Europe, particularly in Bohemia, nations of this race live intermingled with Teutonic nations, yet retaining their peculiar language and customs. The ancient language of Prussia was a Sclavonic tongue, but it is now completely extinct, having been superseded by the German. The Old Prussian language, so far at least as can be judged from its scanty store of literature, was closely connected with the Lettish and Lithuanian languages, while in many important respects it differed from other Sclavonic tongues. By some writers, these three cognate languages are referred to a distinct and separate branch of the Indo-European stem. For further details concerning the Scla vonic tongues, see pp. 291-313.

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Engraved for "THE BIBLE OF EVERY LAND, Samuel Bagster & Sons, Paternoster Row London.

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