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SOURCES AND DIVISIONS OF HISTORY.
1. THE former inhabitants of our world are known to us by three kinds of evidence: (1) Written Records; (2) Architectural Monuments; (3) Fragmentary Remains.
2. Of these the first alone can be considered as true sources of History, though the latter afford its most interesting and valuable illustrations. Several races of men have disappeared from the globe, leaving no records inscribed either upon stone or parchment. Their existence and character can only be inferred from fragments of their weapons, ornaments, and household utensils found in their tombs or among the ruins of their habitations. Such were the Lake-dwellers of Switzerland, and the unknown authors of the shell-mounds of Denmark and India, the tumuli of Britain, and the earthworks of the Mississippi Valley.
3. The magnificent temples and palaces of Egypt, Assyria, and India have only afforded materials of history since the patient diligence of oriental scholars has succeeded in deciphering the inscriptions which they bore. Within a few years they have added immeasurably to our knowledge of primeval times, and explained in a wonderful manner the brief allusions of the Bible.
4. The oldest existing books are the Hebrew Scriptures, which alone* of ancient writings describe the preparation of the earth for the abode of man; his creation and primeval innocence; the entrance of Sin into the world, and the promise of Redemption; the first probation, and the almost total destruction of the human race by a flood; the vain attempt of Noah's descendants to avert similar punishment in future by building a “city and
*Scattered traditions of the same events have been found in several nations. The most remarkable were in the writings of Berosus (see note, p. 18), who, to his account of the Creation, added that the monstrous living creatures which had floated in the darkness of the primeval ocean perished at the appearance of light. These must have been the pre-adamite animals which Geology has made known to us only within the present century. Berosus describes a deluge, from which only righteous men were saved.
tower whose top should reach unto heaven," and their consequent dispersion. The Bible lays the foundation of all subsequent history by sketching the division of the human race into its three great families, and describing their earliest migrations.
5. The family of SHEM, which was appointed to guard the true primeval faith, remained near the original home in south-western Asia. Of the descendants of HAM, a part settled in the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, and built the great cities of Nineveh and Babylon; while the rest spread along the eastern and southern shores of the Mediterranean, and became the founders of the Egyptian Empire. The children of JAPHETH constituted the Indo-Germanic, or Aryan race, which was divided into two great branches. One, moving eastward, settled the table-lands of Iran and the fertile valleys of northern India; the other, traveling westward along the Euxine and Propontis, occupied the islands of the Ægean Sea, and the peninsulas of Greece and Italy. By successive migrations they overspread all Europe.
6. Our First Book treats of the Hamitic and Semitic empires. With the rise of the Medo-Persian monarchy, the Aryan race came upon the scene, and it has ever since occupied the largest place in History. The Hamitic nations were distinguished by their material grandeur, as exemplified by the enormous masses of stone employed in their architecture, and even in their sculpture; the Semitic, by their religious enthusiasm; the Indo-Germanic, by their intellectual activity, as exhibited in the highest forms of art, literature, and political organization.
7. History is divided into three great portions or periods: Ancient, Mediæval, and Modern.
Ancient History narrates the succession of empires which ruled Asia, Africa, and Europe, until the Roman dominion in Italy was overthrown by northern barbarians, A. D. 476.
Mediæval History begins with the establishment of a German kingdom in Gaul, and ends with the close of the fifteenth century, when the revival of ancient learning, the multiplication of printed books, and the expansion of ideas by the discovery of a new continent, occasioned great mental activity, and led to the Modern Era, in which we live.
8. Ancient History may be divided into five books:
I. History of the Asiatic and African nations, from the earliest times to the foundation of the Persian Empire, B. C. 558.
II. History of the Persian Empire, from the accession of Cyrus the Great to the death of Darius Codomannus, B. C. 558—330.
III. History of the States and Colonies of Greece, from their earliest period to the accession of Alexander of Macedon, B. C. 336.
IV. History of the Macedonian Empire, and the kingdoms formed from it, until their conquest by the Romans.
V. History of Rome from its foundation to the fall of the Western Empire, A. D. 476.
9. In the study of events, the two circumstances of time and place constantly demand our attention. Accordingly, CHRONOLOGY and GEOGRAPHY have been called the two eyes of History. It is only by the use of both that we can gain a complete and life-like impression of events.
10. For the want of the former, a large portion of the life of man upon the globe can be but imperfectly known. There is no detailed record of the ages that preceded the Deluge and Dispersion; and even after those great crises, long periods are covered only by vague traditions. We have no complete chronology for the Hebrews before the building of Solomon's Temple, B. C. 1004; for the Babylonians before Nabonassar, B. C. 748; or for the Greeks before the first Olympiad, B. C. 776. When its system of computation was settled, each nation selected its own era from which to date events; but we reduce all to our common reckoning of time before and after the Birth of Christ.
11. The study of GEOGRAPHY is more intimately connected with that of History than may at first appear. The growth and character of nations are greatly influenced, if not determined, by soil and climate, the position. of mountains, and the course of rivers.
NOTE.—It is recommended to Teachers that the Geographical sections which precede Parts 1 and 2 of Book I, Book III, and Book V, be read aloud in the class, each pupil having his or her eye upon the map, and pronouncing the name of each locality mentioned, only when it is found. By this means the names will become familiar, and questions upon the peculiarities of each country can be afterward combined with the lessons.
Pupils are strongly urged to study History with the map before them; if possible, even a larger and fuller map than can be given in this book. Any little effort which this may cost, will be more than repaid in the ease with which the lesson will be remembered, when the places where events have occurred are clearly in the mind.