Imagens das páginas
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

QUESTIONS. 1. Who created the world and mankind ? What was the name of mankind and the first man ?

2. How was the first woman made, and what was her name ? 3. What was the first employment of man? 4. What was the age of the first generations of men ? 5. How were the inhabitants of the earth destroyed, and why? Who were preserved from destruction ?-how and why?

6. How many sons had Noah? Which was the eldest ? and what sign was given that men should not be again de stroyed ?

7. How, when, and why were men dispersed ? 8. How was the earth divided ? 9, 10. Who were the descendants of Japheth? What countries did they settle ?

11. Who were the first inhabitants of Britain ?
12. What are the principal varieties of the human ca
13. Describe the Lapland race.
14. Describe the Tartars.
15. Describe the Hindoos.
16. Describe the negroes of Africa.
17. Describe the Europeans.
18. Describe the aboriginals of America.


TEUTONIO AND GOTHIC NATIONS. 19. State of Ancient Germany. For three thousand years after the dispersion of men, the inhabitants of the north of Europe continued in a rude uncivilized state. They are described by Roman authors as men of enormous stature, tall and somewhat fleshy, and of a fair complexion, with blue eyes, and a fierce countenance, which struck terror into their enemies. They were robust, being inured to cold and hardships, with little clothing in winter, and scarcely any in summer. To harden their bodies, they were accustomed to plunge into cold water, every morning, as soon as they rose from sleep. In battle, their first onset was impetuous and almost irresistible, but their strength and ardor were soon exhausted.

[graphic][merged small]

20. Food. The rude inhabitants of Europe subsisted at first on the fruits of forest trees, particularly acorns, and on the flesh of wild beasts, fish, and fowls. As

they advanced in population, they betook themselves to the raising of cattle. These constituted their principal means of subsistence, and their wealth. As they had no money, cattle were used in payments and in trade, instead of money; and hence fée, which originally signified cattle, came to signify money.

21. Manner of eating. Contrary to the custom of the eastern nations, who reclined at the table, the rude nations of Europe took their meals sitting, either on mats of straw or on skins, each with a separate table, which was a board, either on legs or placed on the knees. Hence our use of board for table, and for diet, to this day. Their drink was chiefly beer or hydromel, made from the honey of the forest.' Their dishes were a pot or pitcher of baked earth, horns, or human skulls of prisoners taken in war.

22. Clothing. The rude nations of Europe wore very little clothing, even in winter, and for the most part none at all. A Scythian, who was without clothing, when the snow was falling, was asked by the king, whether he was not cold. The man replied by asking the king, whether his face was cold. No, said the king. Neither am I cold, said the man, for I am all fuce. The garment chiefly worn was the sack, which was the skin of a beast, in a square form, like a mantle, covering only the shoulders and breast. It was called by the Persians guanac, whence our word gown. In a later stage of improvement, they wore bracks, or breeches, and hose, a kind of trowsers.

23. Habitations. Savage nations, having little occupation except war and hunting, spend much of their time in eating and sleep; reposing on the earth in summer, and on skins in winter. The inhabitants of Europe had at first no fixed habitations; they roved in quest of pasture for their cattle, or for the sake of plundering their neighbors. They sometimes erected huts like the wigwams of American Indians. Some tribes lived wholly in wagons, covered with skins, in which whole families were conveyed from place to place. In winter, many of them lived in large caves in the earth. Such was the condition of the northern nations of Europe,

when the Romans invaded Gaul, now France, half century before the Christian era.

24. Assemblies and festivals. Among the warlike nations of Europe, no person could appear in public without his arms, consisting of a sword, lance, and buckler. These they wore also in their festivals and in visits to private families. When they sat at table, each man had behind him a servant who held his lance and his buckler. When they rose from table, each man resumed his arms, and wore them, whether engaged in dancing, play, or other exercise. At death their arms were burnt or laid in their graves.

25. Dressing of the hair. Many of the inhabitants of Europe had light, red, or sandy hair, and the hair of the head was valued as a great ornament.

Hence both sexes took great pains to aid its growth, and to deepen its color to a fiery red. For this purpose, they used a kind of pomatum or soap, composed of fat, ashes, and lime. In the time of Augustus, the Roman ladies introduced the fashion of tinging the hair red, and to such excess was it carried, that it came under the censure of some of the Christian fathers.

26. The beard. The beard was treated with great respect. The usual practice was to shave the chin and the cheeks, but they left large mustaches or-whiskers. And it was customary to swear by the beard. In this manner, Clovis, king of France, and Alaric, king of the Goths, ratified a treaty of peace; Alaric touching the beard of Clovis, the two princes swore eternal friendship:

27. Ornaments. It was customary for princes and chief men to wear necklaces and bracelets. Historians mention an army of Gauls arrayed in order of battle, whose front rank was composed of men adorned with collars and bracelets.

28. Labor and amusements. In the early ages, men were devoted to war and the chase, and warriors disdained the drudgery of labor. This was left to old men, women, and children. But these rude nations were greatly attached to music and poetry. Hence they had an order of men called bards, who composed hymns in honor of brave men, and sung them at festivals.' Hence

their first laws, customs, and religious rites, were rehearsed or recorded in verse; and songs were their only histories.

29. Recitations of songs. The recitation of songs or poems was often accompanied with the music of an instrument, and with dancing in various forms. In these dances, the steps of the feet accorded to the mcasure of the verse, and hence the word foot came to be used for a division of a verse, consisting of a certain number of syllables. Their dances were performed by men in arms, and the practice was to keep the measure of the verse by striking a sword or halberd against the buckler. This was indeed to beat time.

30. State of learning. The inhabitants of northern Europe lived for two or three thousand years without the knowledge of letters. Even when letters were introduced into the south of Gaul, now France, by the Greeks, who first settled Marseilles, the Gauls and Germans neglected and even despised the use of them. The druids or priests pretended to have all the learning of those rude ages, but they would not commit their knowledge to writing. This prejudice against learning letters continued down to the time of Charlemagne, in the ninth century, and even later; for that emperor could not write his own name; and for ages after that period, many of the nobility could not write their names. Înstead of their proper signature to written instruments, they made a mark and set their seals.

31. Passion for war. The love of war is a remarkable trait in the character of our ancestors. When not engaged in a war of nations, the chiefs would sometimes invade their neighboring chiefs, either to revenge an injury or to seek booty. Hence the deadly feuds which existed at all times, between different tribes, producing quarrels and bloodshed. Such feuds between the English and Scots continued down to the time of queen Elizabeth.

32. Private combats. This passion for war among ferocious men gave rise to private combats or duels. Cowardice was detested ; and when one person injured or offended another, the injured party had recourse to

« AnteriorContinuar »