The Asiatic background has its basis in the immense zone of steppes and deserts which stretches from the Caspian Sea to the Khin-gan Mountains, and is divided into two regions by the Pamir and the Thian Shan ranges. The western region, like the whole lowland district of West Asia, even to the extreme north, is a deserted sea-bed; the eastern (Tarim basin and Gobi) seems formerly to have been covered with great fresh-water lakes. The water-basins began to evaporate and to shrink to inland seas, while the intervening country became a desert. The largest remains of former enormous water-basins are the salt Caspian Sea and the sweet-water Aral Sea. In both regions all the moisture that falls evaporates, so that no rivers reach the open sea; most of them ooze away in the sand, and only the greatest, such as the Syr, Amu, Ili, Chu, Tarim, flow into large inland seas. The fact that the evaporation is greater than the fall of moisture, and that the latter takes place chiefly in the cold season, has important consequences, which account for the desert nature of the land. All the salt which is released by the weathering and decomposition of the soil remains in the ground, and only in the higher regions with greater falls of moisture, and by the banks of rivers is the soil sufficiently lixiviated to be fit for cultivation. Everywhere else is steppe and desert absolutely uncultivable. The surface of the land can be divided into six categories: sand-deserts, gravel-deserts, salt-steppes, loam-steppes, loess-land, and rocky mountains.
Of these the sand-deserts form by far the greatest part. They consist of fine drift-sand, which the driving storm wind forms into sickle-shaped shifting dunes (barkhans). The loose drift-sand is waterless, and for the most part without vegetation; the barkhans, however, here and there display a few poor saxaul and other shrubs; human life is impossible. The gravel-deserts, also very extensive, which form the transition between the sand-deserts and the steppes, have a sparse vegetation and serve the nomads as grazing-grounds in their wanderings to and from winter quarters and summer pastures. The adjoining salt-steppes, consisting of loam and sand, are so impregnated with salt that the latter settles down on the surface like rime. In spring they bear a scanty vegetation, which, on account of its saline nature, affords excellent pasture for numerous flocks of sheep. During the rain of autumn and spring the loam-steppes, consisting of loess-soil mixed with much sand, are covered with luxuriant verdure and myriads of wild flowers, especially tulips, and, on the drier ground, with camel-thorn (Alhagi camelorum), without which the camel could not exist for any length of time. These steppes form the real pastures of the nomads. In the loess-land agriculture and gardening are only possible where the soil has been sufficiently softened by rainfall and artificial canals, and is constantly irrigated. It forms the sub-soil of all cultivable oases. Without irrigation the soil becomes in summer as hard as concrete, and its vegetation dies completely. The oases comprise only two per cent. of the total area of Turkestan. As a rule the rocky mountains are quite bare; they consist of black gleaming stone cracked by frost and heat, and are waterless.
Roughly speaking these differences of vegetation follow one another from south to north, viz. the salt-, the sand- and the grass-steppes. A little below 50° N. latitude the landscape of West Asia changes in consequence of a greater fall of moisture. The undrained lakes become less frequent, the rivers reach the sea (Ishim, Tobol, etc.), and trees appear. Here begins, as a transition to the compact forest-land, the tree-steppe on the very fertile "black earth." On the Yenisei are park-like districts with splendid grass plains, and luxuriant trees. Northward come endless pine-forests, and beyond them, towards the Arctic Sea, is the moss-steppe or tundra
The climate is typically continental, with icy cold winters, hot summers, cold nights, and hot days with enormous fluctuations of temperature. The warmth increases quickly from winter to spring and decreases just as quickly from summer to autumn. In West Turkestan, the summer is almost cloudless and rainless, and at this time the steppes become deserts. On account of the dryness little snow falls; as a rule it remains loose and is whirled aloft by the north-east storm wind (buran). These storm burans are just as terrible as the summer storms of salt-dust in Trans-Caspia at a temperature of 104° to 113° Fahr. Considering that in summer the temperature sometimes reaches 118° in the shade, exceeding body-heat by 20°, and that in winter it sinks below -31°, and further that the heat, especially in the sand-deserts, reaches a degree at which the white of egg coagulates, the climate, even if not deadly, should be very injurious to man; Hindustan, which is far less hot, enervates the European on account of the greater moisture, and has changed the Aryan, once so energetic, to the weak and cowardly Hindu. Nevertheless the contrary is the case. The climate of Turkestan is wholesome, and its people are long-lived and healthy, and that especially in the hot summer, on account of the paralleled dryness of the air. Once acclimatised, one bears the heat very we , and likewise the extreme cold of winter. The climate of Central Asia furthers a rapid bodily and mental development and premature ageing, as well as corpulence, especially among the Altaians. Obesity is even regarded as a distinction, and it became so native to the mounted nomads that it accompanied them to Europe, it is characteristic of all the nomads who have invaded Europe; and Hippocrates mentions it expressly as a characteristic of the Scythians. The climate of Turkestan also influences the character, leading to an apathy which creates indifference to the heaviest blows of fate, and even accompanies the condemned to the scaffold.
The entire West Asiatic region from the salt-steppes to the compact forest-land forms one economic whole. The well-watered northern part, which remains green throughout the summer, feeds countless herds in the warm season, but affords no pasturage in winter owing to the deep snow. On the other hand, the southern part, which is poor in water--the grass-, sand-, and salt-steppes--is uninhabitable in summer. Thus the northern part provides summer pastures, the southern--the Aral-Caspian basin--winter pastures to one and the same nomad people.
The nomad then is the son and product of the peculiar and variable constitution--which nevertheless is an indivisible economic whole--of the Asiatic background. Any agriculture, worthy of the name, is impossible in the steppes and deserts--the few oases excepted--on account of the dryness of the summer, when animals also find no food. Life on the steppes and deserts is only possible in connexion either with the Siberian grass-region or with the mountains. This life is necessarily extremely hard and restless for man and beast and it creates a condition of nomadism, which must at the same time be a mounted nomadism seeing that a wagon would be an impossibility in the long trackless wanderings over mountain and valley, river and swamp, and that goods and chattels, together with the disjoinable dwellings, can only be carried on the backs of beasts of burden.
Setting aside the Glacial Period and the small Brückner cycle of 35 years or so, the climatic changes of Central Asia, according to Huntington [Huntington, Pulse, p. 359.], fall into cycles of several hundred years' duration within which the aridity rises and sinks considerably "All Central Asia has undergone a series of climatic pulsations during historic times. There seems to be strong evidence that at the time of Christ or earlier the climate was much moister and more propitious than it now is. Then during the first few centuries of the Christian era there appears to have been an epoch of increasing aridity. It culminated about A.D. 500, at which time the climate appears to have been drier than at present. Next came an epoch of more propitious climate which reached its acme about A.D. 900. There is a little evidence of a second epoch of aridity which was especially marked in the twelfth century. Finally, in the later Middle Ages, a rise in the level of the Caspian Sea and the condition of certain ruins render it probable that climatic conditions once again became somewhat favorable, only to give place ere long to the present aridity. [The view of Huntington (in Explorations in Turkestan, 1904, ed. by Pumpelly, Washington, 1908, p. 231 note).]
But Central Asia has not been, since the beginning of historic records, in a state of desiccation. The process of "geological desiccation was already ended in prehistoric times, and even the oldest historic accounts testify to the same climatic conditions as those of to-day. The earliest Babylonian kings maintained irrigation works, and Hammurabi (23rd cent. B.C.) had canals made through the land, one of which bore his name. Thus, as at present, without artificial irrigation agriculture was not possible there 4200 years ago. Palestine s climate too has not changed in the least since Biblical times: its present waste condition is the result of Turkish mismanagement, and Biot has proved from the cultivated plants grown in the earliest times that the temperature of China has remained the same for 3300 years. Curtius Rufus and Arrian give similar accounts of Bactria.
Amid the enormous wastes there are countless sand-buried ruins of populous cities, monasteries and villages and choked-up canals standing on ground won from the waste by systematic canalization; where the system of irrigation was destroyed, the earlier natural state, the desert, returned. The causes of such destruction are manifold. [Cholnoky in Geogr.. Zeitschr. xv. pp. 249 ff.] 1. Earthquake. 2. Violent rain-spouts after which the river does not find its former bed, and the canals receive no more water from it. 3. On the highest edge of the steppe, at the foot of the glacier, lie enormous flat heaps of debris, and here the canalisation begins. If one side of this heap rises higher than the other, the direction of the current is shifted, and the oases nurtured by the now forsaken stream become derelict. But the habitable ground simply migrates with the river. If, for example, a river altered its course four times in historic times, three series of ruins remain behind; but it is erroneous simply to add these ruins together, and to conclude from them that the whole once formed a flourishing land which has become waste, when in reality the three series of settlements did not flourish side by side but consecutively. this fallacy vitiates all accounts which assume a progressive or periodic desiccation as the chief cause of the abandonment of oases. 4. Continuous drought in consequence of which the rivers become so waterless that they cannot feed the canals of the lower river-basin, and thus the oases affected must become parched, and are not always re-settled in more favourable years a. Neglect of the extreme care demanded in the administration of the canal system. If irrigation is extended in the district next the mountain from which the water comes, just so much water is taken from the lower oases. But in this case too nothing is lost which cannot be replaced in another direction: vice versa if an oasis on the upper course of the river disappears through losing its canal system, the lower river course thus becomes well watered and makes possible the formation of a new oasis 6. The most terrible mischief is the work of enemies. In order to make the whole oasis liable to tribute they need only seize the main canal and the nomads often blindly plundered and destroyed everything. A single raid was enough to transform hundreds of oases into ashes and desert. The nomads moreover not only ruined countless cities and villages of Central Asia, but they also denuded the steppe itself, and promoted drift-sand by senseless uprooting of trees and bushes for the sake of firewood. But for them, according to Berg, there would be little drift-sand in Central Asia, for, in his opinion, all sand-formations must in time become firm. All the sand-deserts which he observed on the Aral Sea and in Semiryechensk were originally firm, and even now most of them are still kept firm by the vegetation.
With the varied dangers of irrigation systems it is impossible to decide in the case of each group of ruins what causes have produced them; it is therefore doubtful whether we can place in the foreground the secular changes of climate. It is not even true that the cultivation of the oases throve better in the damper and cooler periods than in the arid and hot ones. Thus the oases of Turfan in Chinese Turkestan, which is so extremely arid and so unendurably hot in summer, are exceptionally fertile. We may therefore conclude that the cultivation of the oases was considerably more extended in the damper and cooler periods, but considerably less productive than in the arid and hot ones of to-day. Changes in the volume of water of single rivers and lakes are clearly apparent within short periods, and these lead to frequent local migrations of the peasant population and to new constructions as well as to the abandonment of irrigation canals. Thus there is here a continual local fluctuation in the settlements, but history knows nothing of regular migrations of agriculturists.
Still less is an unfavourable climatic change the cause of the nomad invasions of Europe. The nomad does not remain at all during the summer in the parched steppe and desert; and in the periods of increasing aridity and summer heat South Siberia was warmer and the mountain glaciers retreated, and hence the pastures in both these directions were extended. The only consequence of this was that the distance between summer and winter pastures increased and the nomad had to wander further and quicker. The computation is correct in itself, that the number of animals that can be reared to the square mile depends on and varies with the annual rainfall; [Huntington, Pulse, p. 382.] but the nomad is not hampered by square miles; the poorer or richer the growth of grass the shorter or longer time he remains, and he is accustomed from year to year to fluctuations in the abundance of his flocks. Moreover a shifting of the winter pastures is not impossible, for their autumn and spring vegetation is not destroyed by a progressive aridity, and if the water current changes its bed, the nomad simply follows it. Further, the effect of a secular progressive aridity is spread over so many generations that it is not catastrophic for any one of them. The nomad invasions of China and Europe must therefore have had other causes; and we know something about the invasions of several nomad hordes--of the Avars, Turks (Osmans) and Cumans, for example.
Since the second half of the fifth century A.D.--that is, the time to which Huntington assigns the greatest aridity--there had existed in the Onus basin the powerful empire of the Ephthalite horde, on the ruins of which the empire of the West Turks was founded in the middle of the sixth century. Had Central Asia been at that time so arid and therefore poor in pasture, the then victorious horde would have driven out the other hordes in order to secure for themselves more pasture land. Yet exactly the opposite took place; the Turks enslaved the other hordes, and when the Avars fled to Europe, the Turkish Khagan claimed them back at the Byzantine Court. In like manner the Turks (Osmans) fled from the sword of the Mongols in 1225 from Khorasan to Armenia, and in 12235 the Cumans fled to Hungary. The violence of the Mongols is strikingly described by Gibbon: "from the Caspian to the Indus they ruined a tract of many hundred miles which was adorned with the habitations and labours of mankind, and five centuries have not been sufficient to repair the ravages of four years." Therefore the main cause of the nomad invasions of Europe is not increasing aridity but political changes.
There remains the question: How did the nomads originate? On the theory of a progressive desiccation it is assumed that the Aryan peasantry of Turkestan were compelled to take to a nomad life through the degeneration of their fields to steppes and wastes. But the peasant bound to the soil is incapable of a mode of life so unsettled, and requiring of him much new experience. Robbed of his corn-fields and reduced to beggary, could he be at the same time so rich as to procure himself the herds of cattle necessary to his existence, and so gifted with divination as suddenly to wander with them in search of pasture over immeasurable distances? A decrease of cultivable soil would bring about only a continual decrease in the number of inhabitants. The peasant as such disappeared, emigrated, or perished, and his home became a desert, and was occupied by another people who knew from experience how to make use of it in its changed state, i.e. as winter grazing-ground. This new people must have been already nomadic, and have made their way from the pastures of the North and therefore they must have belonged to the Altaian race. [Peisker, Beziehungen, p. 21.]
The delta oases have been the home of man from early prehistoric time, throughout Turkestan and northern Persia. The two oldest culture-strata of Anau [Pumpelly, in Explorations, 1904, pp. 38 ff., 67 ff.] prove that the settlers of the first Culture cultivated wheat and barley, had rectangular houses of air-dried bricks, but only wild animals at first, out of which were locally domesticated the long-horned ox, the pig and horse, and successively two breeds of sheep. The second Culture had the domestic ox, both long- and short-horned, the pig, and the horse. The domestic goat, camel, and dog appear, and a new hornless breed of sheep. The cultivation of cereals was discovered in Asia long before B.C. 8000. The domestication of cattle, pigs, and sheep and probably of the horse, was accomplished at Anau between B.C. 8000 and 6800. Consequently, the agricultural stage preceded the nomadic shepherd stage in Asia. It follows, therefore, that before domestication of animals was accomplished, mankind in Central Asia was divided sharply into two classes--settled agriculturists on the one hand, and hunters who wandered within a limited range on the other hand. When the nomadic hunters became shepherds, they necessarily wandered between ever-widening limits as the seasons and pasturage required for increasing herds. The establishment of the first domestic breeds of pigs, long-horned cattle, large sheep and horses, was followed by a deteriorating climate which may have--as Pumpelly, though questionably, assumes--changed these to smaller breeds. Dr. Duerst identifies the second breed of sheep with the turbary sheep (Torfschaf), and the pig with the turbary pig (Torfschwein), which appear as already domesticated in the neolithic stations of Europe. They must therefore have been descendants of those domesticated oil the oases of the Anau district. They make their appearance in European neolithic stations apparently contemporaneously with an immigration of a people of a round-headed Asiatic type which seems to have infiltrated gradually among the prevailing long-headed Europeans. The presumption is, therefore, that these animals were brought from Asia by this round-headed people, and that we have in this immigration perhaps the earliest post-glacial factor in the problem of Asiatic influence in European racial as well as cultural origins, for they brought with them both the art of cattle-breeding and some knowledge of agriculture.
The skulls of the first and second cultures in Anau are all dolichocephalic or mesocephalic, without a trace of the round-headed element. We are therefore justified in assuming that the domestication and the forming of the several breeds of domestic animals were ejected by a long-headed people. And since the people of the two successive cultures were settled oasis-agriculturists and breeders, we may assume as probable that agriculture and settled life in towns on the oases originated among people of a dolichocephalic type. Since Dr. Duerst identifies the second breed of sheep established during the first culture of Anau, with the turbary sheep in Europe, contemporaneously with skulls of the round-headed Galcha type, it should follow that the domestic animals of the European neolithic stations were brought thither, together with wheat and barley, by round-headed immigrants (of an Asiatic type). Since the original agriculturists and breeders were long-headed, it seems probable that the immigrants were broad-headed nomads who, having acquired from the oasis people domestic animals and rudimentary agriculture of the kind still practised by the shepherd nomads of Central Asia, infiltrated among the neolithic settlements of Eastern and Central Europe, and adopted the stone-implement culture of the hunting and fishing peoples among whom they came. In this connexion it is not without significance that throughout the whole historical period, the combination of settled town life and agriculture has been the fundamental characteristic of the Aryan-speaking Galchas, and of the Iranians inhabiting Western Central Asia and the Persian plateau, while the peoples of pure Asiatic mongoloid type have been essentially shepherd nomads, who, as already shewn, could have become shepherds only after the settled agriculturists of the oases had established domesticated breeds of cattle.
The origin of the taming of wild into domestic animals is one of the most difficult problems of economic history. What was its aim ? The use that we make of domestic animals ? Certainly not, for adaptability thereto could only gradually be imparted to the animals and could not be foreseen; it could not be anticipated that the cow and the goat would ever give more milk than their young needed, and that beyond the time of lactation; nor could it be anticipated that sheep not woolly by nature would develop a fleece. Even for us it would be too uneconomical to breed such a powerful animal and such a large consumer of fodder as the ox merely for a supply of meat; and besides beef is not readily eaten in Central Asia. Moreover the wild ox is entirely unsuitable for draught, for it is one of the shyest as well as strongest and most dangerous of animals. And it should be specially emphasized that a long step lies between taming individual animals and domesticating them, for as a rule wild animals, however well tamed, do not breed in captivity. Consequently the domestication was not produced simply by taming or for economic ends. It is the great service of Eduard Hahn [Hahn, Haustiere, pp 26 ff., Alter, pp. 91ff., Entstehung, pp. 57 ff., 93; Jevons, Hist. of Religion, pp. 113-118.] to have laid down the theory that the domestication--involuntary and unforeseen--was the result of forcing for religious purposes certain favourite animals of certain divinities into reservations where they remained reproductive, and at the same time gradually lost their original wildness through peaceful contact with man. The beasts of sacrifice were taken from these enclosures. Thus originated the castrated ox which quietly let itself be yoked before the sacred car; and by systematic milking for sacrificial purposes the milk-secretion of the cow and the goat was gradually increased. Lastly, when man perceived what he had gained from the animals, he turned to his own use the peculiarities thus produced by enclosure and gradual domestication
In general, cattle-rearing is unknown to the severest kind of nomadism. [Under nomad and nomadism, mounted-nomad (Ger. Reiternomade), etc., is henceforth to be understood.] The ox soon dies of thirst, and it has not sufficient endurance or speed for the enormous wanderings; its flesh has little value in the steppe. The animals actually employed for rearing and food are consequently the sheep (to a less extent the goat as leader of the sheep flocks), the horse, and here and there the ass; also, in a smaller number, the two-humped camel (in Turan the one-humped dromedary as well) as a beast of burden. Where the district admits of it, and long wanderings are not necessary (e.g. in Mongolia, in the Pamir, in the Amu-delta, in South Russia, etc.), the Altaian has engaged in cattle-breeding from the remotest times.
A wealthy Mongolian possesses as many as 20,000 horses and still more sheep. Rich Kirghiz sometimes have hundreds of camels, thousands of horses, tens of thousands of sheep. The minimum for a Kirghiz family of five is 5 oxen, 28 sheep, and 15 horses. Some have fewer sheep, but the number of horses cannot sink below 15, for a stud of mares, with their foals, is indispensable for the production of kumiz.
The Turkoman is poorest in horses. However, the Turkoman horse is the noblest in the whole of Central Asia, and surpasses all other breeds in speed, endurance, intelligence, faithfulness, and a marvellous sense of locality; it serves for riding and milk-giving only, and is not a beast of burden, as are the camel, the dromedary, or the ox. The Turkoman horse is tall, with long narrow body, long thin legs and neck, and a small head; it is nothing but skin, bones, muscles, and sinews, and even with the best attention it does not fatten. The mane is represented by short bristly hairs. On their predatory expeditions the Turkomans often cover 650 miles in the waterless desert in five days, and that with their heavy booty of goods and men. Their horses attain their greatest speed when they have galloped from 7 to 14 miles, and races over such a distance as that from London to Bristol are not too much for them. Of course they owe their powers to the training of thousands of years in the endless steppes and deserts, and to the continual plundering raids, which demanded the utmost endurance and privation of which horse and rider were capable. The least attractive to look at in Turkestan is the Kirghiz horse, which is small, powerful, and strong-maned. During snow-storm or frost it often does without food for a long time. It is never sheltered under n roof, and bears--40° Fahr. in the open air, and the extremest summer heat, during which it can do without water for Tom three to four days. It can easily cover 80 miles a day, and never tastes barley or oats in its life.
The Altaian rides with a very short stirrup, and thus trotting would be too exhausting both for man and horse, so as a rule he goes at a walk or a gallop. Instead of the trot there is another more comfortable movement in which the horse's centre of gravity moves steadily forward in a horizontal line, and shaking and jolting is avoided. The horse advances the two left feet one after the other, and then the two right feet (keeping the time of four threshers); in this way it can cover ten miles per hour. The most prized horses are the "amblers," which always move the two feet on one side simultaneously, and are sometimes so swift that other horses can scarcely keep up with them at a gallop. Spurs are unknown to the Altaian, and in the steppe horseshoes are not needed. The nomad spends the greater part of his life in the saddle; when he is not lying inactive in the tent he is invariably on horseback. At the markets everybody is mounted. In the saddle all bargains are struck, meetings are held, kumiz is drunk and even sleep is taken. The seller too has his wares--felt, furs, carpets, sheep, goats, calves--before, behind, and beneath him on his horse. The riding-horse must answer promptly to the bridle, and must not betray his master by neighing during a raid. Therefore the young stallion--for mares are not ridden--is taken from the herd with a lasso, and castrated.
The nomads of the Asiatic background all belong to the Altaian branch of the Ural-Altaian race. The Altaian primitive type displays the following characteristics: body compact, strong-boned, small to medium-sized; trunk long; hands and feet often exceptionally small; feet thin and short, and, in consequence of the peculiar method of riding (with short stirrup), bent outwards, whence the gait is very waddling; calves very little developed; head large and brachycephalic; face broad; cheek-bones prominent; mouth large and broad; jaw mesognathic; teeth strong and snow-white; chin broad; nose broad and flat; forehead low and little arched; ears large; eyes considerably wide apart, deep-sunken, and dark-brown to piercing black; eye-opening narrow, and slit obliquely, with an almost perpendicular fold of skin over the inner corner (Mongol-fold), and with elevated outer corner; skin wheat-colour, light-buff (Mongols) to bronze-colour (Turks); hair coarse, stiff as a horse's mane, coal-black; beard scanty and bristly, often entirely wanting, generally only a moustache; bodily strength considerable; sensitiveness to climatic influences and wounds slight; sight and hearing incredibly keen; memory extraordinary
The Ural-Altaian languages branch off as follows:
Six to ten blood-related tents (Mongol. yúrta)--on the average, families of five to six heads--form a camp (Turk. aul, Mongol. khoton, khotun, Roumanian catun) which wanders together; even the best grazing-ground would not admit of a greater number together. The leader of the camp is the eldest member of that family which possesses most animals. Several camps make a clan (Turk. tire, Mongol. aïmak). Hence there are the general interests of the clan and also the individual interests of the camps, which latter frequently conflict. For the settlement of disputes an authority is necessary, a personality who through wealth, mental capacity, uprightness, bravery, and wide relationships is able to protect the clan. As an election of a chief is unknown to nomads, and they could not agree if it were known, the chieftainship is usually gained by a violent usurpation, and is seldom recognized generally. Thus the judgment of the chieftain is mostly a decision to which the parties submit themselves more or less voluntarily.
Several clans form a tribe (uruk), several tribes a folk (Turk. il, Mongol. uluss). Conflicts within the tribes and the folks are settled by a union of the separate clan chieftains in an arbitration procedure in which each chieftain defends the claims of his clan, but very often the collective decision is obeyed by none of the parties. In times of unrest great hordes have formed themselves out of the folks, and at the head of these stood a Pagan or a Khan. The hordes, like the folks and tribes, form a separate whole only in so far as they are opposed to other hordes, folks, and tribes. The horde protects its parts from the remaining hordes, just as does the folk and the tribe. Thus all three are in a real sense insurance societies for the protection of common interests
The organization based on genealogy is much dislocated by political occurrences, for in the steppe the peoples, like the drift-sand, are in constant motion. One people displaces or breaks through another, and so we find the same tribal name among peoples widely separated from one another. Moreover from the names of great war-heroes arose tribal names for those often quite motley conglomerations of peoples who were united for a considerable time under the conqueror's lead and then remained together, for example the Seljuks, Uzbegs, Chagatais, Osmans and many others. This easy new formation, exchange, and loss of the tribal name has operated from the earliest times, and the numerous swarms of nomads who forced their way into Europe under the most various names are really only different offshoots of the same few nations.
The organization of the nomads rests on a double principle. The greater unions caused by political circumstances, having no direct connexion with the life and needs of the people in the desert, often cease soon after the death of their creator; on the other hand the camps, the clans, and in part the tribes also, retain an organic life, and take deep root in the life of the people. Not merely the consciousness of their blood-relationship but the knowledge of the degree of relationship is thoroughly alive, and every Kirghiz boy knows his jeti-atalar, that is, the names of his seven forefathers. What is outside this is regarded as the remoter relationship. Hence a homogeneous political organisation of large masses is unfrequent and transitory, and to-day among the Turks it is only the Kara-Kirghiz people of East Turkestan--who are rich in herds--that live under a central government--that of an hereditary Aga-Manap, beneath whom the Manaps, also hereditary, of the separate tribes, with a council of the "graybeards" (aksakals) of the separate clans, rule and govern the people rather despotically. What among the Turks is the exception, was from the earliest times known to history the rule among the Mongols, who were despotically governed by their princes. The Khan wielded unlimited authority over all. No one dared to settle in any place to which he had not been assigned. The Khan directed the princes, they the "thousand-men," the "thousand-men" the "hundred-men," and they the "ten-men." Whatever was ordered them was promptly carried out; even certain death was faced without a murmur. But towards foreigners they were just as barbarous as the Turks. The origin of despotism among the Altaians is to be traced to subjugation by another nomad horde, which among the Turkish Kazak-Kirghiz and the Mongol Kalmucks of the Volga developed into a nobility ("white bones," the female sex "white flesh") in contrast with the common people ("black bones," "black flesh").
The transitoriness of the wider unions on the one hand, and the indestructibility of the clans and camps on the other, explain why extensive separations, especially among the Turko-Tartars, were of constant occurrence. The desert rears to independence and freedom from restraint small patriarchally-directed family alliances with "gray-beards" (aksakals) from families of aristocratic strain at their head. These families boast of their direct descent from some Sultan, Beg or famous Batyr (" hero," recte robber, cattle-thief). But the "gray-beards" mostly exercise the mere shadow of dominion. The Turkomans say: "We are a people without a head, and we won't have one either; among us each S Padishah ; as an appendage to this, "Sahara is full of Sheikhs."
The wanderings of the nomads are incorrectly designated when they are called "roaming" wanderings, for not even the hunter "roams." He has his definite hunting-grounds, and always returns to his accustomed places. Still more regular are the wanderings of the nomads, however far they extend. The longest are those of the Kirghiz who winter by the Aral Sea and have their summer pastures ten degrees of latitude further north in the steppes of Troitsk and Omsk. The distance, allowing for the zig-zag course, comes to more than 1000 miles, so that each year the nomad must cover 2000 miles with all his herds and other goods.
During the winter the nomad in the desert is, so to speak, a prisoner in his tent, practical, neat, and comfortable as this is. It is a rotunda 15 feet high, and often over 30 feet broad. Its framework consists of a wooden lattice in six to ten separable divisions, which can be widened out, or pushed together for packing. Above this comes the roof-frame of light rafters which come together in a ring above. This is the opening for air, light an(i smoke, and is only covered at night and during severe cold. Inside a matting of steppe-grass runs round the framework, and outside is a felt covering bound round with ropes of camel's hair. Tent-pegs and ropes protect the tent from being overturned by the violent north-east orkan, during which the hearth-fire must be put out. As the felt absorbs and emits very little heat, the tent is warm in winter, and cool in summer. Inside the tent the sacks of victuals hang on the points of the wall-lattice; on the rafters above are the weapons, harness, saddles, and, among the heathen tribes, the idols. Behind the hearth, the seat of honour for guests and old men is spread with the best felt and carpets; in front of the hearth is the place for drinking-vessels and sometimes for fuel, the latter consisting of camel- and cattle-dung, since firewood is found only in a few places in the steppes and deserts. The nomad-life admits of only the most necessary and least breakable utensils: for preparing food for all in the tent there is a large cast-iron caldron, acquired in Chinese or Russian traffic, with tripod and tongs; a trunk-like kumiz-vat of four smoked horse-hides thickened with fat; kumiz-bottles, and water-bottles of leather; wooden chests, tubs and cans hollowed out of pieces of wood, or gourds ; wooden dishes, drinking-bowls, and spoons; among the slave-hunting Turkomans short and long chains, manacles, fetters, and iron collars also hung in the tent to the right of the entrance.
The accommodation provided by the tent, and the economising of space is astonishing; from long past times everything has had its assigned place; there is room for forty men by day, and twenty by night, notwithstanding the many objects hanging and lying about. The master of the household, with the men, occupies the place of honour; left and right of the hearth are the sleeping-places (felt, which is rolled up in the daytime); left of the entrance the wife and the women and children, to the right the male slaves, do their work. For anyone to leave his wonted place unnecessarily, or without the order of the master, would be an unheard-of proceeding. In three-quarters of an hour a large tent can be put up and furnished, and it can be taken to pieces and packed just as quickly; even with movables and stores it is so light that two camels suffice to carry it. The Nogai-Tartars carry their basket-like felt tents, which are only 8 to 10 feet in diameter, on two-wheeled carts drawn at a trot by small-sized oxen. In the thirteenth century, under Chinghiz and his followers, the Mongols also made use of such cart-tents, drawn by one camel, as store-holders, but only in the Volga-district and not in their own country in Mongolia. 'Whey also put their great tents--as much as thirty feet in diameter--on carts drawn by twenty-four oxen twelve in a line. [Rubruquis in Recueil, iv. p. 220; Marco Polo, i. p. 256.] The nature of the ground admitted of this procedure and consequently the tent had not to be taken to pieces at each stopping-place (as must be done in the steppes and deserts), but only where a considerable halt was made. In South Russia such wagon-tents date from the oldest times, and were already in use among the Scythians.
Among a continually wandering pastoral people the interests of neighbours often collide, as we know from the Bible-story of Abraham and Lot. Thus a definite partition of the land comes about. A folk, or a section of a folk--a tribe--regards a certain stretch of land as its special property, and tolerates no trespass from any neighbour whatsoever. The tribe, again, consists of clans and the latter of camps, which, in their turn, regard parts of the whole tribal district as their own. This produces a very confused medley of districts, over which the individual camps wander. In spring and autumn the nomad can find abundant fodder almost everywhere, in consequence of the greater moisture and luxuriant grass crop. The winter and summer abodes demand definite conditions for the prosperity of the herds. The winter settlement must not have too severe a climate, the summer grazing-ground must be as exempt as possible from the terrific plague of insects. Since many more conditions must be satisfied for the winter than for the summer pastures, it is the winter quarters which determine the density of the nomad population. Thus the wealth of a people accords with the abundance of their winter quarters, and all internal encounters and campaigns of former centuries are to be regarded as a constant struggle for the best winter settlements.
In winter, whenever possible, the same places as have been used for long times past are occupied; in the deep-lying valley of a once-existing river, not over-exposed to the wind, with good water, and grazing-places where the snow settles as little as possible, and the last year's dung makes the ground warmer and, at the same time, provides fuel. Here at the end of October the tent, made warmer by another covering, is pitched, protecting the nomad from the raging winter buran and the numbing cold. The herds, however, remain in the open air without a sheltering roof, and must scrape for themselves the withered shrubs, stalks, and roots from the snow. They get terribly thin; indeed sheep, camels, and oxen perish when the snow falls deep, and the horses in scraping for fodder trample down the plants and make them uneatable, or when ice forms and shuts out sustenance entirely. But in early spring the situation improves, especially for the sheep, which, from mere skeletons, revive and get fat on the salt-steppes where a cursory inspection reveals no vegetation on the glittering crust of salt. The salt-pastures are incomparably more nourishing than the richest Alpine meadows, and without salt there would be no sheep-rearing nomads in Central Asia. To freshen the spring-pasturage the steppe is burnt off as soon as the snow has melted, as the dry last year's steppe-grass gets matted under the snow, and would retard the sprouting of the new grass--the ground manured by the ashes then gets luxuriantly green after a few days.
In the middle or at the end of April, during the lambing of the sheep, and the foaling of the mares, preparations for striking the winter tent are made. At this time the animals yield most milk, and a stock of hard cheese (kurut) is made. At the beginning of May the steppe begins to dry up, and the intolerable insects appear. Now the goods which are superfluous for the summer are secretly buried, the tent is struck, and loaded with all necessary goods and chattels on the decorated camels. It is the day of greatest rejoicing for the nomad, who leaves his inhospitable winter quarters in festal attire.
The winter quarters are regarded as the fixed property of the individual tent owners, but the summer pastures are the common property of the clan. Here each member of the clan, rich or poor, has in theory the right to settle where he likes. But the wealthy and illustrious always know how to secure the best places. To effect this each camp keeps the time of departure to the summer pastures and the direction to be taken as secret as possible; at the same time it makes an arrangement with the nearest-related camps, in conformity with which they suddenly depart in order to reach their goal as quickly as possible. If the place chosen is already occupied, the next which is still free is taken. At the beginning of spring, when the grass is still scanty, the camps can remain only a very short time--often one day or even only half a day--in one place; later on in their more distant wandering--from well to well--they can stay for weeks in the same place. At midsummer movement is more rapid, and in autumn, with an increasing abundance of water, it is again slower. In the sand-desert the nomad finds the wells covered by drift-sand, and he must dig down to them afresh, if necessary daily. The regulation of these wanderings is undertaken by the aksakals, not always according to justice.
The cattle can easily be taken of by a hostile neighbour, for the steppe is free and open. Therefore the nomads of the steppes, unlike the nomads of the mountains, do not split themselves into single families. They constantly need a small war-band to mover the stolen booty from the enemy. On the other hand, the instinct of self-preservation often drives a whole people to violate their neighbours' rights of property. When there is dearth of fodder the cattle are ruined, and the enterprise and energy of the owner cannot avert calamity. The impoverished nomad infallibly goes to the wall as a solitary individual, and only seldom is he, as a former wanderer (tshorva), capable of becoming a despised settler (tshomru). For he feels it to be the greatest misfortune and humiliation when he must take to the plough, somewhere by a watercourse on the edge of the desert; and so long as the loss of all his herds has not hopelessly crushed him, he does not resign himself to that terrible fate which Mahomet has proscribed with the words: "wherever this implement has penetrated, it has always brought with it servitude and shame."
In spring, when severe frost suddenly sets in after the first thaw, and the thin layer of snow is covered in a single night with a crust of ice an inch thick, the cattle cannot scrape food out of the snow, and the owner cannot possibly supply a substitute. When the frost continues hundreds of thousands of beasts perish, and whole districts previously rich in herds become suddenly poor. So as soon as ice appears the people affected leave their winter quarters, and penetrate far into their neighbours' territory until they find food for their herds. If they are successful a part at least of their cattle is saved, and when the weather changes they return home. But if all their cattle perish entirely, they must starve if they are unwilling to rob their wealthy neighbour of a part of his herds. Bloody feuds occur too in autumn on the return from the summer pastures, when the horses have become fat and powerful and the longer nights favour and cover long rides. The nomad now carries out the raids of robbery and revenge resolved upon and skilfully planned in the summer, and then he goes to his winter quarters.
But how can these barbarous robbers live together without exterminating each other? They are bridled by an old and tyrannical king, invisible to themselves, the deb (custom, wont). This prohibits robbery and murder, immorality and injustice towards associates in times of peace; but the strange neighbour is outlawed; to rob, enslave or kill him is an heroic deed. The nomads' ideas of justice are remarkably similar to those of our ancestors. Every offense is regarded as an injury to the interests of a fellow-man, and is expiated by indemnification of the loser. Among the Kazak-Kirghiz anyone who has killed a man of the plebs (a "black bone"), whether wilfully or accidentally makes no difference, must compensate the relations with a kun (i.e. 1000 sheep or 100 horses or 50 camels). The slaughter of a "white bone" costs a sevenfold kun. Murder of their own wives, children, and slaves goes unpunished, since they themselves are the losers. If a Kirghiz steals an animal, he must restore it together with two of the same value. If a wrong-doer is unable to pay the fine, his nearest relations, and failing them the whole camp, must provide it.
The principal food consists of milk-products--not of the fresh milk itself, which is only taken by children and the sick. A special Turko-Tartar food is yogurt, prepared with leaven from curdled milk. The Mongols also eat butter--the more rancid the more palatable--dripping with dirt and carried without wrapping in their hairy greasy coat-pockets. From mare's milk, which yields no cream, kumiz (Kirghiz), tshegan (Mongolish) is fermented an extremely nutritious drink which is good for consumption, and from which by itself life can be sustained. [Zemarchos (A.D. 668) mentions the drink kosmos at the Turkish Khan's Court, Rubruquis (A.D. 1263) cosmos (variant comos) among the Mongols, and the prince's drink cara-cosmos, Marco Polo, kemiz; all corruptions of the word kumiz.] However, it keeps only a few hours, after which it becomes too sour and effervescent, and so the whole supply must be drunk at once. In summer, with an abundance of mares, there is such a superfluity of kumiz that hospitality is unlimited, and half Altai is always drunk. The Turkomans and Karakalpaks, who possess few horses and no studs, drink kumiz seldom. She much-drunk airan from fermented unskimmed camel, cow, and sheep-milk quenches thirst for hours, just as does the kefir of the Tartars from cow's milk. The airan, after being condensed by boiling, and dried hard as stone into little balls in the sun, is made into kurt, kurut, which can be kept for months and is the only means of making bitter salt-water drinkable. According to Marco Polo it formed the provision of the Mongol armies, and if the horseman could not quench his thirst in any other way, he opened one of his horse's veins and drank the blood. From kumiz and also from millet a strong spirit (Kirghiz boza) is distilled, which produces dead-drunkenness followed by a pleasant Nirvana. sensation.
A comparison of Rubruquis' account with that of Radloff shews that the dairying among the Altaians has remained the same from the earliest times. [Rubruquis, pp. 227 ff.; Radloff, i. pp. 425 ff.] A late acquisition from China, and only available for the wealthier, is the "brick-tea,- which is also a currency, and a substitute for money.
Little meat is eaten, notwithstanding the abundance of the herds; it is only customary on festive occasions or as a consequence of a visit of special honour. In order not to lessen the stock of cattle, the people content themselves with the cattle that are sick beyond recovery, or dead and even decaying. The meat is eaten boiled, and the broth drunk afterwards. Only the Volga-Kalmucks and the Kara-Kirghiz, who are very rich in hocks, live principally on sheep and horse meat. That the Huns and Tartars ate raw meat softened by being carried under the saddle, is a mistake of the chroniclers At the present time the mounted nomads are accustomed to put thin strips of salted raw meat on their horses' sores, before saddling them, to bring about a speedy healing. But this meat, impregnated with the sweat of the horse and reeking intolerably, is absolutely uneatable. [Schwarz, Turkestan, p. 89 (note).]
From the earliest times, on account of the enormous abundance of game, hunting has been eagerly practised for the sake of food and skins, or as sport, either with trap and snare, or on horseback with falcon and eagle. From Persia came the long-haired greyhound in addition. Fishing cannot be pursued by long-wandering nomads, and they make no use even of the best-stocked rivers. But by the lakes and the rivers which do not dry up, fishing is an important source of food among short-wandering nomads.
For grain the seeds of wild-growing cereals are gathered; here and there millet is grown without difficulty, even on poor soil. A bag of millet-meal suffices the horseman for days; a handful of it with a drink of water appeases him well enough. Thus bread is a luxury for the nomad herdsman, and the necessary grain can only be procured in barter for the products of cattle-rearing and house-industry. But the Kirghiz of Ferghana in their short but high wanderings on the Pamir and Alai high above the last agricultural settlements, which only extend to 4600 feet, carry on an extensive agriculture (summer-wheat, millet, barley) by means of slaves and labourers at a height of 8500 feet, while they themselves climb with their herds to a height of 15,800 feet, and partly winter in the valleys which are bee from snow in winter. [Middendorff, pp. 329 ff.] The nomads eat vegetables seldom, as only carrots and onions grow in the steppes. The half-settled agricultural half-nomads of to-day can be left out of consideration. [For the transition from the nomad to the half-nomad state v. Vambery, Türkenvolk, p. 171.] According to Piano Carpini the Mongols had neither bread nor vegetables nor leguminous food, nor anything else except meat, of which they ate so little that other peoples could scarcely have lived on it. However, in summer they consumed an enormous quantity of milk, and that failing in winter, one or two bowls of thin millet boiled in water in the morning, and nothing more except a little meat in the evening.
We see that from the earliest times the Altaian nomad has lived by animal-rearing, and in a subsidiary degree by hunting and fishing, and here and there by a very scanty agriculture. As among some hordes, especially the old Magyars, fishing and hunting are made much of, many believe that they were originally a hunting and fishing folk, and took to cattle-rearing later. This is an impossibility. The Magyars, just as were the others, were pure nomads even during winter, otherwise their herds would have perished. Hunting and fishing they pursued only as stop-gaps when milk failed. A fishing and hunting people cannot so easily become mounted nomads, and least of all organised in such a terribly warlike way as were the Magyars.
The innate voracity of the Turko-Tartars is the consequence of the climate. The Bedouin in the latitude of 20° to 32°, at a mean temperature of 86° F. can easily be more abstinent and moderate with his single meal a day (meat, dates, truffles) than the Altaian in the freezing cold, between the latitudes of :38° and 58°, with his three copious meals. The variable climate and its consequences--hunger in winter, superfluity in summer --have so hardened the Altaian that he can without difficulty hold out for days without water, and for weeks (in a known case forty-two days) m a snowstorm without any food; but he can also consume a six-months' old wether at one sitting, and is ready to repeat the dose straight off !
Originally the Altaian clothed himself in skins, leather, and felt, and not till later in vegetable-stuffs acquired by barter, tribute, or plunder. To-day the outer-coat of the Kazak-Kirghiz is still made of the shining skin of a foal with the tail left on for ornament. The Tsaidan-Mongols wear next their bare skin a felt gown, with the addition of a skin in winter only, and leather breeches. All Central Asiatics wear the high spherical sheep-skin cap (also used as a pillow), the tshapan (similar to a dressing-gown and consisting of fur or felt in winter), leather boots, or felt stockings bound round with rags. Among many tribes the hair of the men is worn long or shaved of entirely (Herodotus tells of a snub-nosed, shaven-headed people in the lower Ural), and the Magyars, Cumans and others were shorn bare, but for two pigtails.
The wife occupies a very dependent position. On her shoulders falls the entire work of the household, the very manifold needs of which are to be satisfied almost entirely by home industry. She must take down the tent, pack it up, load it on camels, and pitch it: she must prepare leather, felt, leather-bottles, cords, waterproof material, and colours from various plants; she must spin and weave wool and hair; she must make clothes, collect camel- and cattle-dung, knead it with dust into tough paste and form and dry it into cakes; she must saddle and bridle horses and camels, milk the sheep, prepare kumiz, karat, and airan, and graze the herds of sheep in the night--for the husband does this only by day, and in addition only milks the mares; his remaining occupation is almost entirely war and plundering. To share the domestic work would be for an Altaian paterfamilias an unheard-of humiliation.
Originally the choice of a wife was as unrestricted among all the Altaians as among the Mongols, who, according to Piano Carpini and Marco Polo, might marry any relative and non-relative except their own mothers and daughters, and sisters by their own mothers. But to-day several nomad peoples are strictly exogamic. The bride was chosen by the father, when still in her childhood; her price (kalym) was twenty-seven to a hundred mares, and her dowry had roughly the same value. Polygamy was consequently only possible among tribes rich in herds, but it was a necessity, as one wife alone could not accomplish the many duties. Virgin purity and conjugal fidelity are among the Turko-Tartars, and especially among the Kirghiz, somewhat rare virtues; on the other hand, Marco Polo agrees with Radloff in praising the absolute fidelity of the Mongol women.
The upbringing of the children entails the extreme of hardening. During its first six weeks the new-born child is bathed daily, summer and winter alike, in the open air; thenceforward the nomad never washes, his whole life long. The Kalmuck in particular is absolutely shy of water. Almost to puberty the children go naked summer and winter; only on the march do they wear a light khalat and fur-cap. They are suckled at the breast to their fifth year. At three or four they already sit free with their mother on horseback, and a six-year-old girl rides like a sportsman. The education of the boys is limited to siding; at the most falconry in addition. On the other hand, the girls are put to most exhausting work from their tenderest years, and the value of a bride is decided by the work she can discharge. Among nearly all Altaian peoples the son thinks little of his mother, but towards his father he is submissive.
Hereditary right is purely agnatic. As soon as the married son is able to look after himself, he is no longer under the authority of his father, and if he likes he can demand as inheritance a part of the herds adequate to establishing a separate household. Then however he is entirely settled with, and he cannot inherit further on the death of his father when there are younger sons--his brothers--still unportioned. If impoverished the father has the right to take back from his apportioned sons every fifth animal from the herds (Kalmucks). The daughters are never entitled to inherit, and on marrying receive merely a suitable dowry from their brothers, who then receive the kalym. If only daughters survive, the inheritance goes to the father's brothers or cousins, who in that case receive the kalym as well
Speedy as the Altaian is on horseback, on foot he is helpless and unwieldy; and so the dance is unknown to him. All games full of dash and excitement are played on horseback. His hospitality is marvellous; for weeks at a time he treats the new arrival to the best he has, even when it is the despised and hated Shiitish Persian. He possesses many sagas and songs--mostly in the minor key, and monotonous as the steppes--which are accompanied on a two-stringed guitar. Tenor and mezzo-soprano predominate, and the gait of the horse and the stride of the camel mark the rhythm.
The surplus of the female house-industry and of the herds is, as a rule, exchanged in barter for weapons and armours, metal and wooden articles, clothing material, brick-tea and grain. Instead of our gold and silver coinage they have--sit venia verbo--a sheep coinage, in which all valuations are made. Of course they were acquainted with foreign coins from the earliest times, and obtained countless millions of pounds from tribute, plunder, and ransom of prisoners, and they used coins, now and then, in external trading, but among themselves they still barter, and conclude all their business in sheep, cattle, horses, and camels. Rubruquis says of the Mongols in 1253: "trite found nothing purchasable for gold and silver, only for fabrics, of which we had none. When our servant shewed them a Hyperpyron (Byzantine gold coin), they rubbed it with their fingers and smelt it to see if it were coppery They have no hand-workers except a few smiths.
The Altaian, and especially the Turko-Tartar barbarian, considered only the advantage of the moment; the unlimited plundering was hostile to any transit-trade. But when and so long as a strong hand controlled the universal plundering spirit, a caravan trade between north and south, and especially between east and west was possible, and, with high duties, formed a considerable source of income for the Central-Asiatic despots.
The religious conceptions of a group of primitive people inhabiting such an enormous district were of course never uniform. To-day the greatest part of the Altaians is Buddhist, or Islamitic, and only a few Siberian Turkish tribes remain true to the old-Altaian Shamanism.
The characteristic feature of Shamanism is the belief in the close union of the living with their long dead ancestors; thus it is an uninterrupted ancestor worship. This faculty however is possessed only by a few families, those of the Shamans (Mong. shaman, Turk. kam), who pass on their power from father to son, or sometimes daughter--with the visible symbol of the Shaman drum by means of which he can call up the spirits through the power of his ancestors, and compel them to active assistance, and can separate his own soul from his body and send it into the kingdoms of light and of darkness. He prepares the sacrifice, conjures up the spirits, leads prayers of petition and thanksgiving, and in short is doctor, soothsayer, and weather prophet. In consequence he is held in high regard, but is less loved than feared, as his ceremonies are uncanny, and he himself dangerous if evil inclined. The chosen of his ancestors attains to his Shaman power not by instruction but by sudden inspiration; he falls into a frenzy, utters inarticulate cries, rolls his eves, turns himself round in a circle as if possessed, until, covered with perspiration, he wallows on the ground in epileptic convulsions; his body becomes insensible to impressions; according to accounts he swallows automatically, and without subsequent injury, red-hot iron, knives, and needles, and brings them up again dry. These passions get stronger and stronger, till the individual seizes the Shaman drum and begins "shamaneering." Not before this does his nature compose itself, the power of his ancestors has passed into him, and he must thenceforth "shamaneer." He is moreover dressed in a fantastic garb hung with rattling iron trinkets. The Shaman drum is a wooden hoop with a skin, painted with gay figures, stretched over both sides, and all kinds of clattering bells and little sticks of iron upon it. In "shamaneering" the drum is vigorously struck with one drum-stick, and the ancestors thus invoked interrogated about the cause of the evil which is to be banished, and the sacrifice which is to be made to the divinity in order to avert it. The beast of sacrifice is then slaughtered and eaten, the skin together with all the bones is set aside as the sacrificial offering. Then follows the conjuration-in-chief, with the most frantic hocus-pocus, by means of which the Shaman strives to penetrate with his soul into the highest possible region of heaven in order to undertake an interrogation of the god of heaven himself
From the great confusion of local creeds some such Shaman system as the following can be constructed; though the people themselves have only very vague conceptions of it.
The universe consists of a number of layers separated one from another by a certain something. The seventeen upper layers form the kingdom of light, seven or nine the underworld of darkness. In between lies the surface of man's earth, constantly influenced by both powers. The good divinities and spirits of heaven protect men, but the bad endeavour to destroy them. Originally there was only water and neither earth nor heaven nor sun nor moon. Then Tengere Kaira Khan (" the kind heavens) created first a being like himself, Kishi, man. Both soared in bliss over the water, but Kishi wished to exalt himself above the creator, and losing through his transgression the power to fly, fell headlong into the bottomless water. In his mercy Kaira Khan caused a star to rise out of the flood, upon which the drowning Kishi could sit; but as he could no longer fly Kaira Khan caused him to dive deep down and bring up earth, which he strewed upon the surface of the water. But Kishi kept a piece of it in his mouth in order to create a special country out of it for himself. This swelled in his mouth and would have suffocated him had he not spat it out so that morasses formed on Kaira Khan's hitherto smooth earth. In consequence Kaira Khan named Kishi Erlik, banished him from the kingdom of light, and caused a nine-branched tree to grow out of the earth, and under each branch created a man as first father of each of the nine peoples of the present time. In vain Erlik besought Kaira Khan to entrust to him the nine fair and good men; but he found out how to pervert them to evil. Angered thereat Kaira Khan left foolish man to himself, and condemned Erlik to the third layer of darkness. But for himself he created the seventeen layers of heaven and set up his dwelling in the highest As the protector and teacher of the now deserted race of man he left behind Mai-Tärä (the Sublime). Erlik too with the permission of the Kaira Khan built himself a heaven and peopled it with his own subjects, the bad spirits, men corrupted by him. And behold, they lived more comfortably than the sons of the earth created by Kaira Khan. And so Kaira Khan caused Erlik's heaven to be shattered into small pieces, which falling on the earth formed huge mountains and gorges. But Erlik was doomed until the end of the world to everlasting darkness. And now from the seventeenth layer of heaven Kaira Khan controls the destiny of the universe. By emanation from him the three highest divinities came into being: Bai Ülgön (the Great) in the sixteenth, Kysagan Tengere (the Mighty) in the ninth, and Mergen Tengere (the All-wise) in the seventh layer of heaven, where "Mother Sun" dwells also. In the sixth is enthroned "Father Moon," in the fifth Kudai Yayutshi (the highest Creator). Ülgön's two sons Yayik and Mai-Tärä, the protecting patrons of mankind, dwell in the third on the milk-white sea Süt-ak-köl, the source of all life; near it is the mountain Sürö, the dwelling of the seven Kudai, with their subjects the Yayutshi, the guardian angels of mankind. Here is also the paradise of the blessed and righteous ancestors of living men who mediate between the divinities of heaven and their own descendants, and can help them in their need. The earth is personified in a community of spirits (Yer-su) beneficent to man, the seventeen high Khans (princes) of the seventeen spring districts, whose abodes lie oil the seventeen snow peaks of the highest mountains, by the sources of the seventeen streams which water the land. In the seven layers of the dark underworld prevails the dismal light of the underworld sun peculiar to them. This is the dwelling of all the evil spirits who waylay men at every turn: misshapen goblins, witches, Körmös, and others ruled by Erlik-khan the dreadful prince on the black throne. Still deeper lies the horrible hell, Kasyrgan, where the sinners and criminals of mankind suffer just punishment. All evil comes from Erlik, cattle-disease, poverty, illness, and death. Thus there is no more important duty for man than to hold him steadfastly in honour, to call him "father Erlik," and to appease him with rich sacrifices. If a man is to be born, Ülgön, at the request of the former's ancestors, orders his son Yayik to give a Yayutshi charge of the birth, with the life-force from the milk-white sea. This Yayutshi then watches over the newly-born during the whole of his life on earth. But at the same time Erlik sends forth a Körmös to prevent the birth or at least to hamper it, and to injure and misguide the newly-born his whole life long. And if Erlik is successful in annihilating the life-forces of a man, Körmös drags the soul before Erlik's judgment-seat. If the man was more good than bad, Erlik has no power over him, Körmös stands aside, and the Yayutshi brings the soul up to paradise. But the soul of the wicked is abandoned by its Yayutshi, dragged by its Körmös to hell in the deepest layer of the underworld, and flung into a gigantic caldron of scalding tar. The worst sinners remain for ever beneath the surface of the tar, the rest rise gradually above the bubbling tar until at last the crown of the head with the pigtail comes to view. So even the sinner's good works are not in vain. The blessed in heaven reflect on the kindnesses once done by him, and they and his ancestors send his former Yayutshi to hell, who grasps him by the pigtail, pulls him out of the tar, and bears the soul up to heaven. For this reason the Kalmucks let their pigtails grow, as did many of the nomad peoples of history.
However, there is no absolute justice. The gods of light, like the spirits of darkness, allow themselves to be won over by sacrificial viands, and, if rich offerings are forthcoming, they willingly wink at transgression; they are envious of man's wealth and demand gifts from all, and so it is advisable to stand well with both powers, and that can only be done through the medium of the Shamans. So long as Erlik IS banished in the darkness, a uniform ordering of the universe exists till the last day when everything created comes to an end, and the world ceases to be. [Radloff, ii. pp. 1ff.]
With Shamanism fire-worship was closely associated. Fire purifies everything, wards off evil, and makes every enchantment ineffective. Hence the sick man, and the strange arrival, and everything which he brings with him must pass between two fires. Probably fire-worship was originally common to all the Altaians, and the Magyars also of the ninth century were described by the Arabian geographer as fire-worshippers.
In consequence of the healthy climate, the milk diet, and the Spartan hardening, the Altaian enjoys excellent health, hence the saying "Healthy as a Kirghiz." There are not a few old men of eighty, and some of a hundred years. Infectious diseases are almost unknown, chiefly because the constant smoke in the tent acts as a disinfectant, though combined with the ghastly filthiness it promotes the very frequent eye-complaints, itch, and eruptions of the skin. In consequence of the constant wandering on camel-back, and through the Shaman hocus-pocus, illness and death at home are vexatious, and sudden death on the field of battle is preferred In order not to be forgotten, the Turko-Tartar--in contrast to the Mongol--likes to be buried in a conspicuous place, and, as such places do not exist on the steppes, after a year there is heaped over the buried corpse an artificial mound which, according to the wealth of the dead man, rises to a hill-like tumulus. At the same time an ostentatious funeral festival lasting seven days is held, with races, prize combats, and other games on horseback. Hundreds of horses, camels, and sheep are then consumed.
The nomad loves his horses and weapons as himself. The principal weapon IS the lance, and in European warfare the Uhlans and Cossacks survive from the armies of the steppes. The nomad-peoples who invaded Europe were all wonderfully sure bowmen. The value of the bow lies in the treacherous noiselessness of the arrow, which is the best weapon for hunting and ambush, and is therefore still in use to-day together with the rifle. In addition there have always been long-handled iron hatchets and pick-shaped battle-axes for striking and hurling, and the bent sabre. The warrior's body was often protected by a shirt of armour made of small polished steel plates, or by a harness of ox-leather plates, the head by a helmet; all mostly Persian or Caucasian work
The hard restless life of the mounted nomad is easily disturbed by pressure from his like, by the death of his cattle from hunger and disease, and by the prospect of plunder, which makes him a professional robber. Of this the Turkoman was long a type. the leading features in the life of a Turkoman are the alaman (predatory expedition) or the tchapao (the surprise). The invitation to any enterprise likely to be attended with profit finds him ever ready to arm himself and to spring to his saddle. The design itself is always kept a profound secret even from the nearest relative; and as soon as the serdar (chief elect) has had bestowed upon him by some mollah or other the fatiha (benediction), every man betakes himself, at the commencement of the evening, by different ways, to a certain place indicated before as the rendezvous. The attack is always made either at midnight, when an inhabited settlement, or at sunrise, when a caravan or any hostile troop is its object. This attack of the Turkomans, like that of the Huns and Tartars, is rather to be styled a surprise. They separate themselves into several divisions, and make two, hardly ever three, assaults upon their unsuspecting prey; for, according to a Turkoman proverb, "Try twice, turn back the third time." The party assailed must possess great resolution and firmness to be able to withstand a surprise of this nature; the Persians seldom do 80. Very often a Turkoman will not hesitate to attack five or even more Persians, and will succeed in his enterprise. Often the Persians, struck with a panic, throw away their arms, demand the cords, and bind each other mutually; the Turkomans have no occasion to dismount except for the purpose of fastening the last of them. He who resists is cut down; the coward who surrenders has his hands bound, and the horseman either takes him up on his saddle (in which case his feet are bound under the horse's belly), or drives him before him: whenever from any cause this is not possible, the wretched man is attached to the tail of the animal and has for hours and hours--even for days and days--to follow the robber to his desert home. Each captive is then ill-treated until his captor learns from him how high a ransom can be extracted from his kinsmen. But ransoming was a long way from meaning salvation itself, for on the journey home the ransomed were not seldom captured again and once more enslaved. Poor captives were sold at the usual price in the slave-markets at Bokhara, Khiva, etc.; for example, a woman of fifty for ten ducats. Those that could not be disposed of and were retained as herdsmen, had the sinews of their heels cut, to hinder them from flight. Until their overthrow by Skobelev in 1881 more than 15,000 Tekke-Turkomans contrived such raids day and night; about a million people in Persia alone were carried off in the last century, and made on the average certainly not less than £10 per head. [Vambery, Travels, pp. 99 ff., 276 ff., 364 ff.]
In the ninth century the Magyars [Marquart, pp. 466 ff.] and their nomadic predecessors in South Russia, according to Ibn Rusta's Arabian source, behaved exactly as the Turkomans in Persia; they provided for the slave-markets on the Pontus so many Slav captives that the name slave finally became the designation in the West of the worst servitude.
With man-stealing was associated cattle-stealing (baranta), which finally made any attempt at cattle-rearing impossible for the systematically plundered victim, and drove him to vegetarianism without milk nourishment. And what a vegetarianism, when agriculture had to suffer from the ever-recurring raids, and from bad harvests ! And where the predatory herdsman settled for the winter in the midst of an agricultural population and in his own interests allowed them a bare existence as his serfs, there came about a remarkable connexion of two strata of people different in race and, for a time, in speech also.
A typical land in this respect is Ferghana, the former Khanate of Khokand, on the southern border of the Great Kirghiz horde. The indigenous inhabitants of this country, the entirely vegetarian Tadjiks and Sarts, from immemorial times passed from the hands of one nomad people to another in the most frightful servitude. In the sweat of their brows they dug canals for irrigation, cultivated fields, and put into practice a hundred arts, only to pay the lion's share to their oppressors who, in the full consciousness of their boundless power, indulged the most bestial appetites. But the majority of the dominant horde could not turn from their innate and uncontrollable impulse to wander; in the spring they were drawn irresistibly to the free air of the high-lying steppes, and only a part of them returned to winter among the enslaved peasantry. This hopeless state of affairs continued to the Russian conquest in 1876 for the directly adjoining deserts always poured forth wild hordes afresh who nipped in the bud any humaner intercourse of herdsmen and peasants. For rapine and slavery were inevitable wherever the nomads of the vast steppes and deserts made their abode in the immediate neighbourhood of more civilised lands. What their own niggardly soil denied them, they took by force from the fruitful lands of their neighbours. And because the plundered husbandman could not pursue t-he fleet mounted nomad into the trackless desert, he remained unprotected. The fertile districts on the edge of the Sahara and the Arabian desert were also in this frightful position, and Iran felt this calamity all the harder, because the adjoining deserts of Turan are the most extensive and terrible, and their inhabitants the wildest of all the nomads of the world.
No better fared the peoples inhabiting East Europe, on the western boundaries of the steppe-zone. As early as the fourth century B.C. Ephorus stated that the customs, according to the individual peoples, of the Scythians and the Sarmatians (both names covered the most medley conglomerations of nomads and peasants) were very dissimilar. Some even ate human beings (as the Massagetae ate their sick or aged parents), others abstained from all animals. A thousand years later Pseudo-Caesarius of Nazianzus tells of a double people, that of the Sklavenes (Slavs) and Phisonites on the lower Danube, of whom the Sklavenes abstained from meat eating. And Constantine Porphyrogenitus in the year 952 stated that the Russians ('Ros, North Germanic Varangians, who coming from Scandinavia held sway over the Slavs of Russia) bought horses, cattle and sheep from their terrible nomadic neighbours the Patzinaks, because they had none of these animals themselves (i.e. in the Slav lands which they dominated). In certain districts of East Europe therefore vegetarianism was permanent among the peasant folk, who for more than two thousand years had been visited by the Altaians with rapine and murder; this can be proved from original sources to have been the case from the fourth century B.C to the tenth century A.D.--that is, for 1400 years! It is exactly the same state of things as in Ferghana in modern times.
As long as a nomad horde finds sufficient room in the steppe it does not think of emigration, and always returns home from its raids richly laden with the plunder. But if the steppe-zone is thrown into a ferment by struggles for the winter pastures or by other causes, the relatively weakest horde gets pushed out of the steppe, and must conquer a new home outside the zone. For it is only weak against the remaining nomad hordes, but against any other State upon which it falls it is irresistible. All the nomads of history who broke into Europe, the Scythians, Sarmatians, Huns, Bulgarians, Avars, Magyars, Cumans, were the weakest in the steppes and had to take to flight, whence they became assailants of the world, before whom the strongest States tottered. With an energetic Khan at their head, who organised them on military lines, such a horde transformed itself into an incomparable army, compelled by the instinct of self-preservation to hold fast together in the midst of the hostile population which they subjugated; for however superfluous a central government may be in the steppe, it is of vital importance to a conquering nomad horde outside it. Consequently, while that part of the people which remained in the steppe was split up into loose clan associations, the other part, which emigrated, possessed itself of immense territories, exterminated the greater part of entire nations and enslaved the rest, scattered them as far as they pleased, and founded a despotically governed State with a ridiculously small band of horsemen.
The high figures in the chronicles are fictions exaggerated by terror and imagination, seeing that large troops of horsemen, who recklessly destroyed everything around them, would not have found in a narrow space even the necessary pasture for their many horses. Each Mongol under Chinghiz Khan, for example, was obliged to take with him 18 horses and mares, [Marco Polo (Ramusio's edition), i. p. 48] so as always to have a fresh steed and sufficient mare's milk and horse's blood for food and drink. Two corps under the command of Sabutai and Chebe sufficed this great conqueror for the overthrow of West Asia. [Vambery's Türkenvolk, p. 180; Bretschneider, 1. p. 294.] In four years they devastated and in great part depopulated Khorasan, North Persia, Azerbaidjan, Georgia, Armenia, Caucasia, the Crimea, and the Volga territories, took hundreds of towns, and utterly defeated in bloody engagements the large armies of the Georgians, Lesghians, Circassians, and Cumans, and the united forces of the Russian princes. But they spared themselves as much as possible, by driving those of the subjugated people who were capable of bearing arms into the fight before them (as the Huns and Avars did previously), and cutting them down at once when they hesitated.
But what the Altaian armies lacked in numbers was made up for by their skill in surprises, their fury, their cunning, mobility, and elusiveness, and the panic which preceded them and froze the blood of all peoples. On their marvellously fleet horses they could traverse immense distances, and their scouts provided them with accurate local information as to the remotest lands and their weakness. Add to this the enormous advantage that among them even the most insignificant news spread like wildfire from aul to aul by means of voluntary couriers surpassing any intelligence department, however well organised. The tactics of the Mongols are described by Marco Polo in agreement with Piano Carpini and all the other writers as follows: "They never let themselves come to close quarters, but keep perpetually riding round and shooting into the enemy. And as they do not count it any shame to run away in battle, they will sometimes pretend to do so, and in running away they turn in the saddle and shoot hard and strong at the foe, and in this way make great havoc. Their horses are trained so perfectly that they will double hither and thither, just like a dog, in a way that is quite astonishing. Thus they fight to as good purpose in running away as if they stood and faced the enemy, because of the vast volleys of arrows that they shoot in this way, turning round upon their pursuers, who are fancying that they have won the battle. But when the Tartars see that they have killed and wounded a good many horses and men, they wheel round bodily and return to the charge in perfect order and with loud cries; and in a very short time the enemy are routed. In truth they are stout and valiant soldiers and inured to war. And you perceive that it is just when the enemy sees them run, and imagines that he has gained the battle, that he has in reality lost it; for the Tartars wheel round in a moment when they judge the right time has come. And after this fashion they have won many a fight." The chronicler, Peter of Zittau, in the year 1315, described the tactics of the Magyars in exactly the same way.
When a vigorous conqueror like Attila or Chinghiz arose among the mounted nomads and combined several hordes for a cyclonic advance, they swept all before them on the march, like a veritable avalanche of peoples. The news of the onward rolling flood scared the bravest people, and compelled them to fly from their homes; thus their neighbours, too, were set in tumultuous motion, and so it went on until some more powerful State took defensive measures and stemmed the tide of peoples. Now the fugitives had to face the assailant. A battle of nations was fought, the flower of famous peoples strewed the field, and powerful nations were wiped out. The deserted or devastated territories were occupied by peoples hitherto often quite unknown or settled by nations forcibly brought there by the conqueror; States, generally without duration and kept together only by the one powerful hand, were founded. The giant State, having no cohesion from within, fell to pieces at the death of the conqueror or shortly after; but the sediment of peoples, together with a stratum of their nomad oppressors which remained from the flood, could not be pushed back again, and immense areas of a continent received once again an entirely new ethnography--the work of one single furious conqueror.
Oftener and longer than in Europe successive Altaian empires held together in Asia, where the original population had long become worn out by eternal servitude and the central zone of the steppes supplied a near and secure base for plundering hordes. That some of these Asiatic empires attained to a high degree of prosperity is not due to the conquerors, who indeed quickly demongolised themselves by marriage with aliens, but was the consequence of the geographical position, the productivity of the soil, and the resigned tractableness and adaptability of the subjugated who, in spite of all the splendour of their masters, were forced to languish in helpless servitude.
Out of Central Asia from time immemorial one nomad horde after another broke into the steppes of South Russia and of Hungary, and after exterminating or pushing out their predecessors and occupying their territories, used this new base to harry and enslave the surrounding peoples far and wide, forcibly transforming their whole being, as in Ferghana.
But the bestial fury of the nomads not only laid bare the country, recklessly depopulated enormous tracts, dragged off entire peoples and forcibly transplanted and enslaved them, but where their sway was of any duration they brought their subjects down to the level of brutes, and extirpated every trace of nobler feeling from their souls. Central Asia of to-day, as Vambery states from personal observation, is a sink of all vices. And Franz von Schwarz draws the following cheerless picture of the Turkestan Sarts, among whom he lived for fifteen years: With respect to character they are sunk as low as man possibly can be. But this is not at all to be wondered at, as for thousands of years they were oppressed and enslaved by all possible peoples, against whom they could only maintain themselves by servility, cunning, and deceit. The Sart is cowardly, fawning, cringing, reticent, suspicious, deceitful, revengeful, cruel, and boastful. At the same time he shews in his appearance and manner a dignity and bearing that would compel the uninitiated to regard him as the ideal of a man of honour. In the former native States, as in Bokhara and Khiva to-day, the entire system of government and administration was based exclusively on lying, deceit, and bribery, and it was quite impossible for a poor man to get justice.
The opposite of the Sart is his oppressor the Kirghiz, who is shy, morose, and violent, but also honourable, upright, good-hearted, and brave. 'She terrible slave-hunting Turkoman is distinguished from all other Central Asiatics by his bold and piercing glance and proud bearing. In wild bravery no other race on earth can match itself with him, and as a horseman he is unsurpassed. He has an unruly disposition and recognizes no authority, but his word can be absolutely relied upon. [Schwarz, Turkestan, pp. 26 ff.
What a tragic fate for an enslaved people. Although its lowest degradation is already behind it, how long yet will it be the object of universal and not unnatural contempt, while its former oppressor, void of all humane feeling, a professional murderer and cattle-thief, remains as a hero and ideal super-man ?
So long as the dominant nomad horde remains true to its wandering life, it lives in the midst of the subjugated only in winter, and proceeds in spring to the summer pastures. But it is wise enough to leave behind overseers and guards, to prevent revolts. The individual nomad has no need to keep many slaves; besides, he would have no occupation and no food for them, and so an entire horde enslaves entire peoples, who must provide food for themselves. In so far as he does not winter directly among them, the nomad only comes to plunder them regularly, leaving them nothing but what is absolutely indispensable
The peasantry had to supply the nomads and their herds who wintered among them with all that was demanded For this purpose they stored up grain and fodder during the summer, for in Central and East Europe the snow falls too deep for the herds to be left to scrape out fodder alone. During the winter the wives and daughters of the enslaved became a prey to the lusts of the yellow-skins, by whom they were incessantly violated, and thus every conjugal and family tie and as a further consequence the entire social organization was seriously loosened. The ancient Indo-European patriarchal principle, which has exclusively prevailed among the Altaians also from the earliest times, languished among the enslaved just because of the violation and loosening of the conjugal bond, which often continued for hundreds of years. The matriarchal principle came into prominence, for the Altaian adulterer repudiated bastards, and still more did the husband where there was one, so the children followed the mother. Where therefore matriarchal phenomena occur among Indo-Europeans, usually among the lower strata of population, they are not survivals of pre-patriarchal times, but probably arose later from the corruption of married life by systematic adultery Thus the subjugated Indo-Europeans became--here more, there less--mongolised by the mixture of races, and in places the two superimposed races became fused into a uniform mixed people. [The Mongol type of features extends westward to Bavaria and Wurttemberg.]
Indo-European usage and law died out, and the savage wilfulness of the Altaians had exclusive sway. Revolutions among the people driven to despair followed, but they were quelled in blood, and the oppression exercised still more heavily. Even if here and there the yoke was successfully shaken or, the emancipated, long paralysed and robbed of all capability of self-organisation, were unable to remain independent. Commonly they fell into anarchy and then voluntarily gave themselves up to another milder-seeming servitude, or became once more the prey of an if possible rougher conqueror.
In consequence of the everlasting man-hunting and especially the carrying off of women in foreign civilised districts there ensued a strong mixing of blood, and the Altaian race-characteristics grew fainter, especially to the south and west. The Greeks by the time of Alexander the Great were no longer struck by the Mongol type--already much obliterated--of the nomads pasturing in the district between the Oxus and the Jaxartes. This led to the supposition that these nomads had belonged to the Indo-European race and had originally been settled peasants, and that they had been compelled to limit themselves to animal rearing and to become nomads only after the conversionb of their fields to deserts through the evaporation of the water-basins This supposition is false, as we have seen before.
The steppes and deserts of Central Asia are an impassable barrier for the South Asiatics, the Aryans, but not for the North Asiatic, the Altaian; for him they are an open country providing him with the indispensable winter pastures. On the other hand, for the South Asiatic Aryan these deserts are an object of terror, and besides he is not impelled towards them, as he has winter pastures near at hand. It is this difference in the distance of summer and winter pastures that makes the North Asiatic Altaian an ever-wandering herdsman, and the grazing part of the Indo-European race cattle-rearers settled in limited districts. Thus, while the native Iranian must halt before the trackless region of steppes and deserts and cannot follow the well-mounted robber-nomad thither, Iran itself is the object of greatest longing to the nomadic Altaian. Here he can plunder and enslave to his heart's delight, and if he succeeds in maintaining himself for a considerable time among the Aryans, he learns the language of the subjugated people, and by mingling with them loses his Mongol characteristics more and more. If the Iranian is now fortunate enough to shake off the yoke, the dispossessed iranised Altaian intruder inflicts himself upon other lands. So it was with the Scythians. [Ukert, Geographie, iii. 2, p. 275; Schwarz, Sintflath, pp. 346, 489ff]
Leaving their families behind in the South Russian steppes, the Scythians invaded Media c. B.C. 630 and advanced into Mesopotamia and Syria as far as Egypt. In Media they took Median wives and learned the Median language. After being driven out by Cyaxares, on their return some twenty-eight years later, they met with a new generation, the offspring of the wives and daughters whom they had left behind, and slaves of an alien race. A thorough mixture of race within a single generation is hardly conceivable. A hundred and fifty years later Hippocrates found them still so foreign, so Mongolian, that he could say that they were "very different from the rest of mankind, and only like themselves, as are also the Egyptians." He remarked their yellowish-red complexion, corpulence, smooth skins, and their consequent eunuch-like appearance--all typically Mongol characteristics. Hippocrates was the most celebrated physician and natural philosopher of the ancient world. His evidence is unshakable, and cannot be invalidated by the Aryan speech of the Scythians. Their Mongol type was innate in them, whereas their Iranian speech was acquired and is no refutation of Hippocrates' testimony. [Peisker. Besiehungen, pp. 22 ff.] On the later Greek vases from South Russian excavations they already appear strongly demongolised and the Altaian is only suggested by their hair, which is as stiff as a horse's mane--hence Aristotle's epithet euthytriches--the characteristic that survives longest among all Ural-Altaian hybrid peoples.
If a nomad army is obliged to take foreign non-nomadic wives, there occurs at once a dualism, corresponding to the two sexes, in the language and way of living of each individual household. The new wives cannot live in the saddle, they do not know how to take down the tent, load it on the beasts of burden, and set it up again, and yet they must share the restless life of the herdsman. Consequently, where the ground admits of it, as in South Russia, the tent is put on wheels and drawn by animals. Thus the Scythian women were hamaxobiotic (wagon-inhabiting), the men however remained true to their horse-riding life and taught their boys too, as soon as they could keep themselves in the saddle But the dualism in language could not maintain itself; the children held to the language of the mother, the more easily because even the fathers understood Medish, and so the Altaian Scythian people, with their language finally iranised, became Iranian. But their mode of life remained unchanged: the consumption of horse-flesh, soured horse's milk (kumiz) and cheese of the same, the hemp vapour bath for men (the women bathed differently), singeing of the fleshy parts of the body as a cure for rheumatism, poisoning of the arrow-tips, wholesale human offerings and slaughter of favourite wives at the burials of princes, the placing on horseback of the stuffed bodies of murdered warriors round the grave, etc.--all such customs as are found so well defined among the Mongols of the Middle Ages.
The modern Tartars of the Crimea, whose classical beauty sometimes rivals that of the Greeks and Romans, underwent, in the same land, the same change to the Aryan type.
The same is the case with the Magyars whose mounted nomadic mode of life and fury, and consequently their origin, was Turkish, but their language was a mixture of Ugrian and Turkish on an Ugrian basis. [v. the table of languages above.] Evidently a Magyar army, Turkish in blood, formerly advanced far to the north where it subdued an Ugrian people and took Ugrian wives; the children then blended the Ugrian speech of their mothers with the Turkish speech of their fathers. But they must also once have dominated Indo-European peoples and mixed themselves very strongly with them, for Gardêzî's original source from the middle of the ninth century describes them as "handsome, stately men." At that time they were leading the nomad existence in the Pontic Steppe--the old Scythia--whence they engaged in terrible slave-hunting among the neighbouring Slavs; and as they were notorious women-hunters, they must have assimilated much Slav, Alan, and Circassian blood, and thus became "handsome, stately men." [Marquart, pp. 144 ff., 468 ff.] However the change did not end there. At the end of the ninth century their army, on its return from a predatory expedition, found their kindred at home totally exterminated by their deadly enemies, the Patzinaks, a related stock. Consequently the whole body had again to take foreign wives, and they occupied the steppes of Hungary. Before this catastrophe the Magyars C are said to have mustered 20,000 horsemen--an oriental exaggeration, X for this would assume a nomad people of 200,000 souls. Consequently f only a few thousand horsemen could have fled to Hungary. There they mixed themselves further with the medley race-conglomeration settled there, which had formed itself centuries before, and assimilated stragglers from the related Patzinak stock. [Vambery, Ursprung, pp. 128 ff., 380 A., 407 ff.; A magyarsâg, pp. 152 ff.] By this absorption the Altaian type asserted itself so predominantly that the Frankish writers were never tired of depicting their ugliness and loathsomeness in the most horrifying colours. Their fury was so irresistible that in sixty-three years they were able with impunity to make thirty-two great predatory expeditions as far as the North Sea, and to France, Spain, Italy, and Byzantium. thus the modern Magyars are one of the most varied race-mixtures on the face of the earth, and one of the two chief Magyar types of to-day--traced to the Arpad era by tomb-findings--is dolichocephalic with a narrow visage. There we have before us Altaian origin, Ugrian speech, and Indo-European type combined.
Such metamorphoses are typical for all nomads who, leaving their families at home, attack foreign peoples and at the same time make war oil one another. In the furious tumult in which the Central Asiatic mounted hordes constantly swarmed, and fought one another for the spoils, it is to be presumed that nearly all such people, like the Scythians and Magyars, at least once sustained the loss of their wives and children. The mounted nomads could, therefore, remain a pure race only where they constantly opposed their own kin, whereas to the south and west they were merged so imperceptibly in the Semitic and Indo-European stock, that no race-boundary is perceivable.
The most diversified was the destiny of those mounted nomads who became romanised in the Balkan peninsula (Roumanians or Vlakhs, Blachoi) but, surprising as it may be outside the steppe region, remain true to this day to their life as horse and sheep nomads wherever this is still at all possible. During the summer they grazed on most of the mountains of the Balkan peninsula, and took up their winter quarters on the sea-coasts among a peasant population speaking a different language. Thence they gradually spread, unnoticed by the chroniclers, along all the mountain ranges, over all the Carpathians of Transylvania, North Hungary, and South Galicia to Moravia; towards the north-west from Montenegro onwards over Herzegovina, Bosnia, Istria, as far as South Styria; towards the south over Albania far into Greece. In the entire Balkan peninsula there is scarcely a span of earth which they have not grazed. And like the peasantry among which they wintered (and winter) long enough, they became (and become) after a transitory bilingualism, Greeks, Albanians, Serbians, Bulgarians, Ruthenians, Poles, Slovaks, Chekhs, Slovenes, Croatians, seeing that they appeared there not as a compact body, but as a mobile nomad stratum among a strange-tongued and more numerous peasant element, and not till later did they gradually take to agriculture and themselves become settled. In Istria they are still bilingual. On the other hand they maintain themselves in Roumania, East Hungary, Bukovina, Bessarabia for the following reasons: the central portion of this region, the Transylvanian mountain belt, sustained with its rich summer pastures such a number of grazing-camps (Roumanian catun, Mongol. khotun), that the nomads in the favourable winter quarters of the Roumanian plain were finally able to absorb the Slav peasantry, already almost wiped out by the everlasting passage through them of other wild nomad peoples. In Macedonia, too, a remainder of them still exists. Were they not denationalised, the Roumanians to-day would be by far the most numerous--but also the most scattered--people of South Europe,--not less than twenty million souls.
The Roumanians were not descendants of Roman colonists of Dacia left behind in East Hungary and Transylvania. [Hunfalvy. On the contrary, Jorga, Ghergel, etc.] Their nomadic life is a confutation of this, for the Emperor Trajan (after A.D. 107) transplanted settled colonists from the entire Roman Empire. And after the removal and withdrawal of the Roman colonists (c. A.D. 271) Dacia, for untold centuries, was the arena of the wildest international struggles known to history, and these could not have been outlived by any nomad people remaining there. To be sure, some express the opinion that the Roumanian nomad herdsmen fled into the Transylvanian mountains at each new invasion (by the Huns, Bulgarians, Avars, Magyars, Patzinaks, Cumans successively) and subsequently always returned. But the nomad can support himself in the mountains only during the summer, and he must descend to pass the winter. On the other hand, each of these new invading nomad hordes needed these mountains for summer grazing for their own herds. Thus the Roumanians could not have escaped, and their alleged game of hide-and-seek would have been in vain. But south of the Danube also the origin of the Roumanians must not be sought in Roman times, but much later, because nomads are never quickly denationalised. For in the summer they are quite alone on the otherwise uninhabited mountains, having intercourse with one another in their own language, and only in their winter quarters among the foreign-speaking peasantry are they compelled in their dealings with them to resort to the foreign tongue. Thus they remain for centuries bilingual before they are quite denationalized, and this can be proved from original sources precisely in the case of the Roumanians (Vlakhs) in the old kingdom of Serbia. Accordingly the romanising of the Roumanians presupposes a Romance peasant population already existing there for a long time and of different race, through the influence of which they first became bilingual and then very gradually, after some centuries, forgot their own language. In what district could this have taken place? For nomads outside the salt-steppe the seacoast offers--precisely on account of the salt, and the mild winter--the most suitable winter quarters, and, as a matter of fact, from the earliest times certain shores of the Adriatic, the Ionian, Aegean, and Marmora, were crowded with Vlakhian catuns, and are partly so at the present time. Among all these sea-districts, however, only Dalmatia had remained so long Romanic as to be able entirely to romanise a nomad people. [Jirecek (Denkeshriften Acad. Wien, xlviii. pp. 20, 34) assigns the centre of the oldest Roumanians to Serbia and its neighbourhood (where the district in which the Latin language was spoken was most extended) because the Roumanian language is very different from the dialect of the ancient Dalmatians. But because these central lands offer few suitable winter pastures on account of their rave climate and heavy snowfall, it must be assumed that the district in which the Romanic speech adopted by the ancestors of the Roumanians was spoken, somewhere reached notwithstanding to the Adriatic Sea.] From this district the expansion of the Roumanians had its beginning, so that the name Daco-Roumanians is nothing but a fiction.
The Spanish and Italian nomad shepherds too can have had no other origin. Alans took part in Radagaisus' invasion of Italy in 405, and, having advanced to Gaul, founded in 411 a kingdom in Lusitania which was destroyed by the Visigoths. The remainder advanced into Africa with the Vandals in 429. Traces of the Alans remained for a long time in Gaul. Sarmatian and Bulgarian hordes accompanied Alboin to Italy in 568, and twelve places in northern Italy are still called Bolgaro, Bolgheri, etc. A horde of Altaian Bulgars fled to Italy later, and received from the Lombard Grimoald (662-672) extensive and hitherto barren settlements in the mountains of Abruzzi and their neighbourhood. In the time of Paulus Diaconus (Ý797) they also spoke Latin, but their mother tongue was still intact, for only on their winter pastures in Apulia and Campania, in contact with Latin peasants in whose fields they encamped, were they compelled to speak Latin. The old Roman sheep-rearing pursued by slaves has no connexion with nomadism.
Therefore neither the non-Mongol appearance, nor the Semitic, Indo-European or Finno-Ugrian language of any historical mounted nomad people can be held as a serious argument for their Semitic, Indo-European, or Finno-Ugrian origin. Everything speaks for one single place of origin for the mounted nomads, and that is in the Turanian-Mongol steppes and deserts. These alone, by their enormous extent, their unparalleled severity of climate, their uselessness in summer, their salt vegetation nourishing countless herds, and above all by their indivisible economic connexion with the distant grass-abounding north--these alone give rise to a people with the ineradicable habits of mounted nomads. The Indo-European vocabulary reveals no trace of a former mounted nomadism; there is no ground for speaking of Indo-European, Semitic, Finno-Ugrian nomads, but only of nomads who have remained Altaic or of indo-europeanised, semiticised, ugrianised nomads. The Scythians became Iranian, the Magyars Ugrian, the Avars and Bulgarians Slavic, and so on.
The identical origin of all the mounted nomads of historic and modern times is also demonstrated by the identity of their entire mode of life, even in its details and most trivial particulars, their customs, and their habits. One nomad people is the counterfeit of the other, and after more than two thousand years no change, no differentiation, no progress is to be observed among them. Accordingly we can always supplement our not always precise information about individual historical hordes, and the consequences of their appearance, by comparisons with the better known hordes. We are best informed about the Mongols of the thirteenth century, and that by Rogerius Canon of Varad, Thomas Archdeacon of Spalato, Piano Carpini, Rubruquis, Marco Polo and others, whose accounts are therefore indispensable for a correct estimation of all earlier nomadic invaders of Europe.
This is the rôle of nomadism in the history of the world: countries too distant from its basis it could only ravage transitorily, with robbery, murder, fire, and slavery, but the stamp which it left upon the peoples which it directly dominated or adjoined remains ineffaceable. The Orient, the cradle and chief nursery of civilisation, it delivered over to barbarism; it completely paralysed the greater part of Europe, and it transformed and radically corrupted the race, spirit, and character of countless millions for incalculable ages to come. That which is called the inferiority of the East European is its work, and had Germany or France possessed steppes like Hungary, where the nomads could also have maintained themselves and thence completed their work of destruction, in all probability the light of West European civilization would long ago have been extinguished, the entire Old World would have been barbarized, and at the head of civilization to-day would be stagnant China.