Sivut kuvina

tioned without ridicule; and in the Asia Polyglotta of M. Julius Klaproth, which has added very considerably to our acquaintance with the dialects and genealogy of the Asiatic races, we find the results of accurate investigation mixed up and blended with too much that is uncertain and hypothetical. It must, however, be allowed, that there are not a few writers in both earlier and later times, who are scarcely, if in any degree chargeable with the same faults, and whose acuteness and soundness of discernment are equal to their extensive and profound erudition. This may be truly said of Vossius and Edward Lhuyd among the philologists of former ages, and, in more recent times, of Professor Vater, the Schlegels, Bopp, and Professor Jacob Grimm.'—p. 4.

The cultivation of the Sanscrit language and literature has led to discoveries which have produced a new era in philological science. If, even under the reign of Louis XIV,' remarks a French writer, (M. Eichhoff,) referring to that period as the golden age of French literature, 'a voice had been raised, which

said—“There exists but one single language in Europe, of • which all the spoken idioms are but varieties, and the innumer• able forms of these idioms, which you would in vain endeavour ' to collect, are almost all found reproduced, with the same combinations and the same meaning, in a language spoken far from Europe,”—would not such an assertion have seemed a fable, and would any one have taken the trouble of verifying it ? Never• theless, this phenomenon exists; and thanks to the extent and

accuracy of the discoveries of the present age, which, disengaging itself from prepossessions, scrupulously applies itself to the investigation of facts, the treasures of India are open to us,

and the Sanscrit language is no longer a mystery.' * That the Greek, the Latin, the German, and the Slavonian dialects are all branches of the same primitive language as the Sanscrit, in which are found the roots of the various European dialects, is now admitted by all competent scholars. The more accurate the examination of these languages has been, the more extensive and deeply rooted their affinity has been discovered to be. Professor Jacob Grimm's lucid analysis of the Teutonic idioms, has shewn this with regard to the German, in which the affinity is, perhaps, the least obvious. “The historical inference hence de* duced is, that the European nations who speak dialects referrible ' to this class of languages, are of the same race with the Indians ' and other Asiatics to whom the same observation may be "applied.

Hitherto, however, many of the continental writers seem to have believed the Celtic to be a language of a distinct class, entirely unconnected with the other idioms of Europe. Pinkerton,

* Nouveau Journal Asiatique, 1828, tom. i. p. 425.

whose ignorance is rendered only the more conspicuous by his offensive dogmatism, declares in the most positive terms, that the Celte were a people entirely distinct from the rest of mankind; and Vans Kennedy, whose rashness and singular talent for blundering mar his unquestionable scholarship, affirms not less confidently, that the British or Celtic' has no connexion or affinity whatever with the languages of the East, and that no genuine Celtic words exist in any one language of Europe. The boldness of this sweeping assertion is startling; but when it is ascertained to have proceeded either from sheer ignorance or obstinate opinionativeness, and to be at variance with the most notorious facts, it becomes contemptible. Both Adelung and Murray have regarded the Celtic as a branch of the Indo-European stock ; but they appear to have had a very limited and imperfect acquaintance with the Celtic dialects; and the former has committed the error of supposing the Welsh to be derived from the language of the ancient Belgę. M. Eichhoff, in a paper to which we have already referred, on the influence of a knowledge • of Sanscrit on the study of the European languages,' has the following judicious observations.

' Although every thing concurs in assigning one common ‘source to the human race, and to language, that immediate gift

of the Creator, a primitive perfection and identity, we are nevertheless compelled to admit, antecedently to the records of his'tory, divisions of distinct races and tribes, who, detaching • themselves and retiring successively from the central point of

the human population, underwent modifications of manners, ' form, and language, which have been perpetuated through cen'turies. Among these races, the Indo-Germanic, or rather, Indo* European family is incontestably the most remarkable, and that

which interests us the most nearly. Placed between two an. cient systems of civilization, those of China and Arabia, it

speedily equalled and surpassed them both in several respects. Whether we fix its centre at Mount Caucasus, or place it near the Himalaya, it is seen to divide itself at an early period into two principal branches, one of which covers the plains of India • and Persia, and stretches as far as Armenia, while the other,

taking a westerly direction, occupies the whole extent of Europe. • Whatever was the primitive condition of the highly favoured ' continent which we inhabit, (and on this point we can have no * certain data) every thing proves that its civilization and actual • population entered it from the East.

"The Celts themselves, long regarded as the European autochthones, furnish evidence, by what remains of their language, of an Indo-Germanic origin. They may be regarded as in 'some sort the forerunners of this great migration,--as the tribe - which, being the first to separate from the common stock fixed in

Asia, penetrated to the most western extremity of Europe, where they found themselves in contact with the Cantabrian ‘race, the Semitic origin of which appears to be proved by the • Biscayan language, and which undoubtedly was introduced from ' Africa. The second migration, judging of it from the analogy

of the Sanscrit, the successive development of which may serve

us here as a scale of proportion, appears to have been that of • the Scandinavians and Germans ... The Slavonic and Sarma• tian nations must have separated more recently, and naturally range themselves on the third line.'*

It must, however, be confessed, that, at the earliest dawn of history, the different European races are found nearly in the same relative situations which they now occupy. The Teutonic nations inhabited the plains of Northern Europe at a period not long subsequent to the age of Herodotus ; and if the Guttones be, as Dr. Prichard supposes, the same as the Goths t, we already discern, in the North of Europe, two of the most celebrated nations belonging to the Germanic family, in an age when the name of Rome had scarcely become known to the Greeks. The Finns and the Slavonians are generally supposed to have been the latest among the nations who entered Europe. But Finningia and the Fenni', the Author remarks, are men

tioned by Tacitus and Pliny, who place them beyond Germany, • and towards the Vistula. The Sclavonians are not early dis

tinguished in Europe under that name; but, by the appellation

of Wends, given to the Sclavonic race by the Germans, we re* cognise them in the geographical descriptions of Pliny and Ta• citus, who mention the Venedi, and place them near the Finns, and on the borders of Finningia.

If we may lay any stress upon the resemblance in the appellations, the Guttones might seem to be rather the Jutes or Ghetes, whose name Wachter derives from Gode, tall men; and who, though leagued with the Saxons, appear to have been of the Scandinavian family. With regard, however, to the Goths, Dr. P. remarks, the ample specimen of their language preserved in the version of Ulphilas, proves that, conformably to their own

* Journ. Asiat. tom. i. pp. 426, 7.

+ The Goths have been confounded, by ancient and modern writers, with the Thracian Getæ. M. Pelloutier, in his History of the Celts, maintains this opinion, citing the authorities of Isidorus of Seville, Orosius, and Procopius; and according to this ingenious, but fanciful writer, these Getæ or Goths, the ancestors of the Dacians, were also Celts. Les noms des villes et cantons des Daces indiquent assez o clairement, que la langue de ce peuple étoit l'ancient Celle ou Tudesque.' (Pelloutier, tom. i. p. 81.)

traditions, they were nearly allied in kindred to the northern tribes of the German family.

The Celtæ, properly so called, were a people of Gaul; and, according to early tradition, they crossed the Alps as invaders, to spread themselves over the fertile plains of Lombardy, called from them, by the Romans, Cisalpine Gaul. In the Latin form of Celts, we have the Kelti and Galati of the Greeks; the names given by them to the people of Gaul and Gallo-Græcia ; and by substituting the digamma for the guttural, the word Keato. becomes without violence, Welsh. The word Gaul is evidently the same as Gael,-a contraction of Gaidheal, the proper name of the Celtic race who inhabit the Scottish Highlands; whence Gaelic or Gaidheilig, the language of the Gael. Even to the present day, the Italians of Lombardy are called Welsh or Gauls by their German neighbours. Thus, not only are the Celtic and Gallic nations closely allied ; but the names under which they are known, appear to vary only as the same word disguised under different dialects. When, however, Gaul became peopled by various races, it was necessary to distinguish between the Celtic Galli, the true autochthones, and the Belgic and Aquitanic nations of Gaul. "The dialects of Gaul', remarks the Author of Celtic Researches, ' appear to have been preserved up to the pe‘riod in which the power of the Roman empire declined ;-this, 'too, in parts of the territory wherein a character of national in• dependence could least be expected. The city of Tréves lay ' in that part of Gaul where the natives were mixed with invaders from Germany. Before it became a part of the Roman

empire, and the seat of its provincial government, the chief men ‘of that city affected a German origin; yet, the populace had

preserved their ancient language. St. Jerom resided there • about A.D. 360, and passing through Galatia in Asia Minor, 'ten years afterwards, he recognised the language of Tréves. ' These long separated people, must, therefore, have retained the 'tongue which their common ancestors had used a thousand years . before; and the Galatians here described, were descendants,

not of the Goth, or German, but of the Gaul. This, it may 'be said, was the Belgic dialect, and therefore different from that

of Gallia Celtica. But the language of the Celtæ, under that name, had also been preserved. Ausonius, when celebrating the * admired cities, after the death of the tyrant Maximus, towards ' the end of the fourth century, thus addresses a beautiful stream • that watered his native Burdigala :

• " Salve, urbis Genius, medico potabilis haustu

Divona, Celtarum lingua-Fons addite divis!” • Here we find the Celtic language in a polished and lettered city

on the very opposite coast of Gaul, quoted with respect, and upon a favourite subject, by a man of consular pre-eminence, as presenting the accurate etymology of local names. It cannot, then, be doubted, that Celtic had hitherto flourished in the retired parts of Gaul, remote from the Massilian Greeks, from

the first province of the Romans, from the incursions of the • Germans, and from the dialects of Belgium or of Aquitania.' *

That the etymology of most of the local names, even in Cisalpine Gaul, is to be found in the Celtic, there is strong reason to believe ; and indeed, a Gaelic Dictionary is found to afford, without violence, a translation of names that have puzzled both ancient and modern etymologists. For example, the Pennine Alps, and the Apennines, there can be no question, take their name from Ben, or Pen, a summit. The Graian Alp is probably named from Carraig or Graig, a cliff or rock. The word Alp is also itself Celtic. In the ancient Duria Major and Minor, now Doria, we have evidently the Celtic Dor, or Dur, water. Monte Bolca, near Verona, seems to take its name from Bolch or Bwlch, a pass. The Brenner, supposed to derive its name from Brennus, the Gaulish chieftain, has its etymology preserved in the Welsh brinn or bryn, a hill. Monaco, on the Ligurian coast, is the Celtic monach, mountainous; and, not to multiply instances, Mediolanum (Milan), for which the ancients found an etymology worthy of ranking with our Bull and Mouth, resolves itself into two good Celtic words, meadh-loin (or iolann) in the midst of the meadows, or, between the rivulets ;--answering, perhaps, to Interamna. Mr. Pinkerton, however, tells us, that all etymo

logy of names is folly, but Celtic etymology is sheer frenzy ;' and Mr. Vans Kennedy thinks, that, harsh as this censure may

appear, its justness cannot be disputed.' This is one way of settling a question ; but whether it be a philosophical or satisfactory one, we leave our readers to judge.

Dr. Prichard, however, has not relied upon etymologies, or coincidences of mere vocabulary. His Comparison of the Celtic with the Sanscrit and the Indo-European dialects, is carried on chiefly by means of a very careful and profound investigation of their grammatical forms and structure. On comparing various languages, he remarks, four different relations between them are discovered.

.1. In comparing some languages, we discover little or no analogy in their grammatical structure, but we trace, nevertheless, a resemblance more or less extensive in their vocabularies, or in the terms for particular objects, actions, and relations. If this correspondence is the result of commercial intercourse, or conquest, or the introduction

* Davies's Celtic Researches, p. 217.

« EdellinenJatka »