Vanished Races

Vanished Races
Catalog # SKU1364
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 3.00 lbs
Author Name E. A. Allen


Vanished Races
The Prehistoric World

E. A. Allen

THIS volume the author has sought to lay before the reader a description of life and times lying beyond the light of history. This is indeed an extensive subject, and calls for some explanation, both as to the general design of the work and what steps have been taken to secure correct information.


History is a word of varied import. In general, when we talk about history, we mean those accounts of past events, times, and circumstances of which we have written records. Not necessarily meaning alphabetical writing, because hieroglyphic records have furnished much true history.

Hieroglyphic writing, which long preceded alphabetical writing, is itself a comparatively recent art. In no country do we find any records carrying us further back than a few thousand years before the Christian era. We have every reason to believe that the historical part of man's life on the globe is but an insignificant part of the whole. This historic period is not the same in all countries. It varies from a few centuries in our own country to a few thousands of years in Oriental lands. In no country is there a hard and fast line separating the historic period from the prehistoric. In the dim perspective of years the light gradually fades away, the mist grows thicker and thicker before us, and we at last find ourselves face to face with the unknown past.

This extensive period of time is not, however, utterly lost to us. We have simply to gather our information in some other way. Enthusiastic explorers, digging beneath the ashes of Vesuvius, have brought to light the remains of an entombed city. Of this city we indeed have historic records, but even if all such records had long since disappeared, we would gather much information as to the nationality of the inhabitants, their customs, and manners, by a simple inspection of the relics themselves. Everywhere over the earth, entombed beneath the feet of the living, or crumbling on the surface, are the few relics of a past far antedating the relics of Pompeii. They are the proofs positive that some people inhabited the land in far away times.

Our object is to gather together the conclusions of the scientific world as to primitive man. We wish to see how far back in the geological history of the globe we can find evidence of man's existence, and we desire to learn his surroundings and the manner of his life. There can be no more important field than for us to thus learn of the past. To read the story of primitive man, to walk with him the earth in ages long ago, with him to wage war on the huge animals of a previous epoch, to recede with him before the relentless march of the ice of the Glacial Age, to watch his advance in culture, to investigate whether there are any races of men now living which are the direct descendants of this primeval man.

WHO CAN read the book of the past? Who can tell us the story of Creation's morn? It is, not written in history, neither does it live in tradition. There is mystery here; but it is hid by the darkness of bygone ages. There is a true history here, but we have not learned well the alphabet used. Here are doubtless wondrous scenes; but our stand-point is removed by time so vast, the mist of years is so thick before us, that only the ruder outlines can be determined. The delicate tracery, the body of the picture, are hidden from our eye. The question as to the antiquity and primitive history of man, is full of interest in proportion as the solution is beset with difficulties. We question the past; but only here and there a response is heard. Surely bold is he who would attempt, from the few data at hand, to reconstruct the history of times and people so far removed. We quickly become convinced that many centuries, and tens of centuries, have rolled away since man's first appearance on the earth. We become impressed with the fact, "that multitudes of people have moved over the surface of the Earth, and sunk into the night of oblivion, without leaving a trace of their existence: without a memorial through which we might have at least learned their names."

To think of ourselves, is to imagine for our own nation an immortality. We are so great, so strong, surely nothing can move us. Let us learn humility from the past: and when, here and there, we come upon some reminder of a vanished people, trace the proofs of a teeming population in ancient times, and recover somewhat of a history, as true and touching as any that poets sing, let us recognize the fact, that nations as well as individuals pass away and are forgotten.

The past guards its secret well. To learn of it we must seek new methods of inquiry. Discouraged by the difficulties in the way, many have supposed it hidden from the present by a veil which only thickens as time passes. In the remains of prehistoric times they have failed to recognize the pages of history. They saw only monuments of ancient skill and perseverance: interesting sketches, not historical portraits.

Some writers have held that we must give up the story of the past, "whether fact or chronology, doctrine or mythology-whether in Europe, Asia, Africa, or America-at Thebes, or Palenque-on Lycian shore, or Salisbury plain-lost is lost and gone is gone for evermore." Such is the lament of a gifted writer, amongst the first to ponder over the mysteries of the past. At the present day, with better means at hand, a more hopeful view is taken. But here a caution is necessary; for, in attempting to reconstruct the history of primitive times, such is the interest which it inspires, that many allow imagination to usurp the place of research, and write in terms too glowing for history. The human mind is sleepless in the pursuit of knowledge. It is ever seeking new fields of conquest. It must advance: with it, standing still is the precursor of defeat. If necessary it invents new methods of attack, and rests not until it gains its objective point, or demonstrates the hopelessness of its quest.

The world needs but be informed that on a given point knowledge is dim and uncertain, when there are found earnest minds applying to the solution of the mystery all the energies of their natures. All the resources of science are brought to bear; every department of knowledge is made to contribute of its store: and soon a mass of facts is established and a new science is added to the department of human knowledge.

Thus, with our knowledge of prehistoric times, what so seemingly vain as to attempt to roll back the flight of time, and learn the condition of primeval man? All the light of ancient history makes but little impression on the night of time. By its aid we can but dimly see the outlines of the fortieth century back; beyond is gloom soon lost in night. But a few short years ago, men did not think it possible to gain further information. With the materials at hand this could not be done. The triumph of the intellect was simply delayed, not hopelessly repulsed. Geology was but just beginning to make good its claim to a place among the sciences.

This unfolded to man the physical history of the world as read from the rocks, and deals with times so vast and profound that we speak no longer of years, but of ages. And with the aid of Geology grand secrets were wrung from the past, and new light was thrown on the manners and customs of primitive man. Thus the foundation for still another science was laid, called Archæology, or the science of Human Antiquities. These two sister sciences are the keys by whose aid we have not only acquired much information of a past that seemed a hopeless enigma-but, as Columbus on the waste of waters could perceive traces of land as yet invisible, so can the present seekers after knowledge trace the signs of a satisfactory solution of many of the great questions relating to the origin and history of the vanished races of mankind.

In whatever land we commence our investigations, we quickly come upon the evidences of an ancient life long antedating all historical information.

Ancient Egypt has been a fruitful theme for the antiquarians pen. The traveler has moralized over the ruins of her past greatness, and many pointed illustrations of national growth and decay have been drawn from her history.

410+ pages - 10.5 x 7.5 inches SoftCover


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