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Anthropology: An Introduction to the Study of Man and Civilization

London: Macmillan and Co. 1881. First edition.

p. v-vii. Preface

'In times when subjects of education have multiplied, it may seem at first sight a hardship to lay on the already heavily-pressed student a new science. But it will be found that the real effect of Anthropology is rather to lighten than increase the strain of learning. In the mountains we see the bearers of heavy burdens contentedly shoulder a carrying-frame besides, because they find its weight more than compensated by the convenience of holding together and balancing their load. So it is with the science of Man and Civilization, which connects into a more manageable whole the scattered subjects of an ordinary education. Much of the difficulty of learning and teaching lies in the scholar's not seeing clearly what each science or art is for, what its place is among the purposes of life. If he knows something of its early history, and how it arose from the simpler wants and circumstances of mankind, he finds himself better able to lay hold of it than when, as too often happens, he is called on to take up an abstruse subject not at the beginning but in the middle. When he has learnt something of man's rudest means of conversing by gestures and cries, and thence has been led to see how the higher devices of articulate speech are improvements on such lower methods, he makes a fairer start in the science of language than if he had fallen unprepared among the subtleties of grammar, which unexplained look like arbitrary rules framed to perplex rather than to inform. The dislike of so many beginners to geometry as expounded by Euklid, the fact that not one out of three ever really understands what he is doing, is of all things due to the scholar not being shown first the practical common-sense starting point, where the old carpenters and builders began to make out the relations of distances and spaces in their work. So the law-student plunges at once into the intricacies of legal systems which have grown up through the struggles, the reforms, and even the blunders of thousands of years might have made his way clearer by seeing how laws begin in their simplest forms, framed to meet the needs of savage and barbaric tribes. It is needless to make a list of all the branches of education in knowledge and art; there is not one which may not be the easier and better learnt for knowing its history and place in the general science of Man.

With this aim in view, the present volume is an introduction to Anthropology, rather than a summary of all it teaches. It does not deal with strictly technical matter, out of the reach of readers who have received, or are receiving, the ordinary higher English education. Thus, except to students trained in anatomy, the minute modern researches as to distinction of races by skull measurements and the like would be useless. Much care has been taken to make the chapters on the various branches of the science sound as far as they go, but the more advanced work must be left to special students.

While the various departments of the science of Man are extremely multifarious, ranging from body to mind, from language to music, from fire-making to morals, they are all matters to whose nature and history every well-informed person ought to give some thought. It is much, however, for any single writer to venture to deal even in the most elementary way with so immense a variety of subjects. In such a task I have the right to ask that errors and imperfections should be lightly judged. I could not have attempted it at all but for the help of friends eminent in various branches of the science, whom I have been able to consult on doubtful and difficult points. My acknowledgments are especially due to Professor Huxley and Dr. E.A. Freeman, Sir Henry Maine, Dr. Birch, Mr. Franks, Professor Flower, Major-General Pitt-Rivers, Professor Sayce, Dr. Beddoe, Dr. D.H. Tuke, Professor W.K. Douglas, Mr. Russell Martineau, Mr. R. Garnett, Mr. Henry Sweet, Mr. Rudler, and many other friends whom I can only thank unnamed. [1] The illustrations of races are engraved from photographic portraits, many of them taken by the permission of Messrs. Dammann of Huddersfield from their valuable Albums of Ethnological Photographs.' [2]

February, 1881.

[This book is an introduction and summary of contemporary and current anthropological knowledge rather than an introduction to anthropological methodology]

Chapter 1: Man: Ancient and Modern

Summary: Antiquity of Man, 1—Time required for Development of Races, 1—of Languages, 7—of Civilization, 13—Traces of Man in the Stone Age, 25—Later Period, 26—Earlier Quaternary or Drift-Period, 29.

... p. 23-25: 'Without attempting here to draw a picture of life as it may have been among men at their first appearance on the earth, it is important to go back as far as such evidence of the progress of civilization may fairly lead us. In judging how mankind may have once lived, it is also a great help to observe how they are actually found living. Human [p. 24] life may be roughly classed into three great stages, Savage, Barbaric, Civilized, which may be defined as follows. The lowest or savage state is that in which man subsists on wild plants and animals, neither tilling the soil nor domesticating creatures for his food. Savages may dwell in tropical forests where the abundant fruit and game may allow small clans to live in one spot and find a living all the year round, while in barer and colder regions they have to lead a wandering life in quest of the wild food which they soon exhaust in any place. In making their rude implements, the materials used by savages are what they find ready to hand, such as wood, stone, and bone, but they cannot extract metal from the ore, and therefore belong to the Stone Age. Men may be considered to have risen into the next or barbaric state when they take to agriculture. With the certain supply of food which can be stored till next harvest, settled village and town life is established, with immense results in the improvement of arts, knowledge, manners, and government. Pastoral tribes are to be reckoned in the barbaric stage, for though their life of shifting camp from pasture to pasture may prevent settled habitation and agriculture, they have from their herds a constant supply of milk and meat. Some barbaric nations have not come beyond using stone implements, but most have risen into the Metal Age. Lastly, civilized life may be taken as beginning with the art of writing, which by recording history, law, knowledge, and religion for the service of ages to come, binds together the past and the future in an unbroken chain of intellectual and moral progress. This classification of three great stages of culture is practically convenient, and has the advantage of not describing imaginary states of society, but such as are actually known to exist. So far as the evidence goes, it seems that civilization has actually grown up in the [p. 25] world through these three stages, so that to look at a savage of the Brazilian forests, a barbarous New Zealander or Dahoman, and a civilized European, may be the student's best guide to understanding the progress of civilization, only he must be cautioned that the comparison is but a guide, not a full explanation.

In this way it is reasonably inferred that even in countries now civilized, savage and low barbaric tribes must have once lived. Fortunately it is not left altogether to the imagination to picture the lives of these rude and ancient men, for many relics of them are found which may be seen and handled in museums. It has now to be considered what sort of evidence of man's age is thus to be had from archaeology and geology, and what it proves.'

p. 33-34: '... At any rate the conclusive proofs of man's existence during the quaternary or mammoth period do not even bring us into view of the remoter time when human life first began on earth. Thus geology establishes a principle which lies at the very foundation of the science of anthropology. Until of late, while it used to be reckoned by chronologists that the earth and man were less than 6,000 years old, the science of geology could hardly exist, there being no room for its long processes of building up the strata containing the remains of its vast successions of plants and animals. These are now accounted for on the theory that geological time extends over millions of years. It is true that man reaches back comparatively little way into this immense lapse of time. Yet his first appearance on earth goes back to an age compared with which the ancients, as we call them, are but moderns. The few thousand years of recorded history only take us back to a praehistoric period of untold length, during which took place the primary distribution of mankind over the earth and the development of the great races, the formation of speech and the settlement of the great families of language, and the growth of culture up to the levels of the old world nations of the East, the forerunners and founders of modern civilized life.

Having now sketched what history, archaeology, and geology teach as to man's age and course on the earth, we shall" proceed in the following chapters to describe more fully Man and his varieties as they appear in natural history, next examining the nature and growth of Language, and afterwards the development of the knowledge, arts, and institutions, which make up Civilization.'

Chapter 2: Man and other animals

Summary: Vertebrate Animals, 35—Succession and Descent of Species, 37—Apes and Man, comparison of structure, 38—Hands and Feet, 42—Hair, 44—Features, 44—Brain, 45—Mind in Lower Animals and Man, 47.

p.35: 'To understand rightly the construction of the human body, and to compare our own limbs and organs with those of other animals, requires a thorough knowledge of anatomy and physiology. It will not be attempted here to draw up an abstract of these sciences, for which such handbooks should be studied as Huxley's Elementary Physiology and Mivart's Elementary Anatomy. But it will be useful to give a slight outline of the evidence as to man's place in the animal world, which may be done without requiring special knowledge in the reader.

That the bodies of other animals more or less correspond in structure to our own is one of the lessons we begin to learn in the nursery ...'

Chapter 3: Races of Mankind

Summary: Differences of Race, 56—Stature and Proportions, 56—Skull, 60— Features, 62—Colour, 66—Hair, 71 —Constitution, 73—Temperament, 74—Types of Races, 75—Permanence, 80—Mixture, 80 Variation, 84—Races of Mankind classified, 87.

p. 56: 'In the first chapter something has been already said as to the striking distinctions between the various races of man, seen in looking closely at the African negro, the Coolie of India, and the Chinese. Even among Europeans, the broad contrast between the fair Dane and the dark Genoese is recognised by all. Some further comparison has now to be made of the special differences between race and race, though the reader must understand that, without proper anatomical examination, such comparison can only be slight and imperfect. Anthropology finds race-differences most clearly in stature and proportions of limbs, conformation of the skull and the brain within, characters of features, skin, eyes, and hair, peculiarities of constitution, and mental and moral temperament.'

p. 60: 'In comparing races, one of the first questions that occurs is whether people who differ so much intellectually as savage tribes and civilized nations, show any corresponding difference in their brain. There is, in fact, a considerable difference. The most usual way of ascertaining the quantity of brain is to measure the capacity of the brain-case by filling skulls with shot or seed. Professor Flower gives as a mean estimate of the contents of skulls in cubic inches, Australian, seventy-nine; African, eighty-five; European, ninety-one. Eminent anatomists also think that the brain of the European is somewhat more complex in its convolutions than the brain of a Negro or Hottentot. Thus, though these observations are far from perfect, they show a connexion between a more full and intricate system of brain-cells and fibres, and a higher intellectual power, in the races which have risen in the scale of civilization.

The form of the skull itself, so important in its relation to the brain within and the expressive features without, has been to the anatomist one of the best means of distinguishing races. It is often possible to tell by inspection of a skull what race it belongs to. The narrow cranium of the negro...would not be mistaken for the broad cranium of the Samoyed ...' [Tylor goes on to contrast appearance, temperament etc, as set out in the summary of the chapter]

p. 82-83: 'Not only does a mixed race arise wherever two races inhabit the same district, but within the last few centuries it is well known that a large fraction of the world's population has actually come into existence by race-crossing.

This is nowhere so evident as on the American continent, where since the Spanish conquest such districts as Mexico are largely peopled by the mestizo descendants of Spaniards and native Americans, while the importation of African slaves in the West Indies has given rise to a mulatto population. By taking into account such inter-crossing of races, anthropologists have a reason to give for the endless shades of diversity among mankind, without attempting the hopeless task of classifying every little uncertain group of men into a special race.'

p. 84-86: 'Now experience of the animal world shows that a race or breed, while capable of carrying on its likeness from generation to generation, is also capable of varying. In fact, the skilful cattle-breeder, by carefully choosing and pairing individuals which vary in a particular direction, can within a few years form a special breed of cattle or sheep. Without such direct interference of man, special races or breeds of animals form themselves under new conditions of climate and food, as in the familiar instances of the Shetland ponies, or the mustangs of the Mexican plains which have bred from the horses brought over by the Spaniards, It naturally suggests itself that the races of man may be thus accounted for as breeds, varied from one original stock. It may be strongly argued in this direction that not only do the bodily and mental varieties of mankind blend gradually into one another, but that even the most dissimilar races can intermarry in all directions, producing mixed or sub-races which, when left to themselves, continue their own kind. Advocates of the polygenist theory, that there are several distinct races of man, sprung from independent origins, have denied that certain races, such as the English and native Australians, produce fertile half-breeds. But the evidence tends more and more to establish crossing as possible between all races, which goes to prove that all the varieties of mankind are zoologically of one species. While this principle seems to rest on firm ground, it must be admitted that our knowledge of the manner and causes of race-variation among mankind is still very imperfect. The great races, black, brown, yellow, white, had already settled into their well-known characters before written record began, so that their formation is hidden far back in the prae-historic period. Nor are alterations of such amount known to have taken place in any people within the range of history. It has been plausibly argued that our rude primitive ancestors, being less able than their posterity to make themselves independent of climate by shelter and fire and stores of food, were more exposed to alter in body under the influence of the new climates they migrated into. Even in modern times, it seems possible to trace something of race-change going on under new conditions of life. Thus Dr. Beddoe's measurements prove that in England the manufacturing town-life has given rise to a population an inch or two less in stature than their forefathers when they came in from their country villages.'

p. 87: 'That there is a real connexion between the colour of races and the climate they belong to, seems most likely from the so-called black peoples. ...'

p. 112-113: 'Thus to map out the nations of the world among a few main varieties of man, and their combinations, is, in spite of its difficulty and uncertainty, a profitable task. But to account for the origin of these primary varieties or races themselves, and exactly to assign to them their earliest homes, cannot be usefully attempted in the present scantiness of evidence. If man's first appearance was in a geological period when the distribution of land and sea and the climates of the earth were not as now, then on both sides of the globe, outside the present tropical zones, there were regions whose warmth and luxuriant vegetation would have favoured man's life with least need of civilized arts, and whence successive waves of population may have spread over cooler climates. It may perhaps be reasonable to imagine as latest-formed the white race of the temperate region, least able to bear extreme heat or live without the appliances of culture, but gifted with the powers of knowing and ruling which give them sway over the world.'

Chapters 4-5: Language, Chapter 6 Language and Race, Chapter 7: Writing

[The chapters' summaries suffice to show the topics Tylor covers ]

Chapter 4 Summary: Sign-making, 114—Gesture-language, 114—Sound-gestures, 120—Natural Language, 122—Utterances of Animals, 122—Emotional and Imitative Sounds in Language, 124—Change of Sound and Sense, 127—Other expression of Sense by Sound, 128—Children's Words, 128—Articulate Language, its relation to Natural Language, 129—Origin of Language, 130

Chapter 5 Summary: Articulate Speech, 130—Growth of Meanings, 131—Abstract Words, 135—Real and Grammatical Words, 136—Parts of Speech, 138—Sentences, 139—Analytic Language, 139-—Word Combination, 140—Synthetic Language, 141—Affixes, 142-—Sound-change, 143—Roots, 144—Syntax, 146—Government and Concord, 147—Gender, 149—Development of Language, 150.

Chapter 6Summary: Adoption and loss of Language, 152—Ancestral Language, 153—Families of Language, 155—Aryan, 156—Semitic, 159—Egyptian, Berber, &c. 160—Tatar or Turanian, 161—South-East Asian, 162—Malayo-Polynesian, 163—Dravidian, 164—African, Bantu, Hottentot, 164—American, 165—Early Languages and Races, 165.

Chapter 7 Summary: Picture-writing, 168—Sound-pictures, 169—Chinese Writing, 170— Cuneiform Writing, 172—Egyptian Writing, 173—Alphabetic Writing, 175—Spelling, 178—Printing, 180.

Chapter 8: Arts of Life

Summary: Development of Instruments, 183—Club, Hammer, 184—Stone-flake, 185—Hatchet, 188—Sabre, Knife, 189—Spear, Dagger, Sword, 190—Carpenter's Tools, 192—Missiles, Javelin, 193—Sling, Spear-thrower, 194—Bow and Arrow, 195—Blow-tube, Gun, 196—Mechanical Power, 197—Wheel-carriage, 198—Hand-mill, 200—Drill, Lathe, 202—Screw, 203—-Water-mill, Wind-mill, 204.

This chapter, written before Tylor came to Oxford (and before the Pitt Rivers Collection at Oxford existed, seems heavily influenced by Pitt-Rivers' own theories; he was, of course, thanked in the foreword.

p. 182: 'The arts by which man defends and maintains himself, and holds rule over the world he lives in, depend so much on his use of instruments, that it will be well to begin with some account of tools and weapons, tracing them from their earliest and rudest forms.'

p. 183: 'The lowest order of implements are those which nature provides ready-made, or wanting just a finish; such are pebbles for slinging or hammering, sharp stone splinters to cut or scrape with, branches for clubs and spears, thorns or teeth to pierce with. These of course are oftenest found in use among savages, yet they sometimes last on in the civilized world, as when we catch up any stick to kill a rat or snake with ... The higher implements used by mankind are often plainly improvements on some natural object, but they are adapted by art in ways that beasts have no notion of, so that it is a better definition of man to call him the "tool-maker" than the "tool-user." Looking at the various sorts of implements, we see that they were not invented all at once by sudden flashes of genius, but evolved, or one might almost say grown, by small successive changes. It will be noticed also that the instrument which at first did roughly several kinds of work, afterwards varied off in different ways to suit each particular purpose, so as to give rise to several different instruments.'

p. 197-198: 'As thus plainly appears, the ingenuity of man has been eminent in the art of destroying his fellowmen. In surveying the last group of deadly weapons, from the stone hurled by hand to the rifled cannon, there comes well into view one of the great advances of culture. This is the progress from the simple tool or implement, such as the club or knife, which enables man to strike or cut more effectively than with hands or teeth, to the machine which, when supplied with force, only needs to be set and directed by man to do his work. Man of ten himself provides the power which the machine distributes more conveniently, as when the potter turns the wheel with his own foot, using his hands to mould the whirling clay. The highest class of machines are those which are driven by the stored-up forces of nature, like the saw-mill where the running stream does the hard labour, and the sawyer has only to provide the timber and direct the cutting.'

p. 203: 'In examining these groups of instruments and machines, the development of many of them has been traced back till their origins are lost in dim praehistoric ages, or to where ancient history can show them arising from a fresh idea or a new turn given to an old one. It is seldom possible to get at the real author of an ancient invention.'

Chapter 9: Arts of life (continued)

Summary: Quest of wild food, 206—Hunting, 207—Trapping, 211—Fishing, 212—Agriculture, 214—Implements, 216—Fields, 218—Cattle, pasturage, 219—War, 221—Weapons, 221—Armour, 222—Warfare of lower tribes, 223—of higher nations, 225.

p. 206: 'Having, in the last chapter, examined the instruments used by man, we have next to look at the arts by which he maintains and protects himself. ...'

[describes various weapons and tools like traps for catching animals and fish, and hunting and fishing methods, early agricultural tools and methods and the history of the domestication of animals [without naming sources for anecdotal evidence, as elsewhere in the volume]

p. 220: 'There is a strong distinction between the life of the wandering hunter and the wandering herdsman. Both move from place to place, but their circumstances are widely different. The hunter leads a life of few appliances or comforts, and exposed at times to starvation; his place in civilization is below that of the settled tiller of the soil. But to the pastoral nomads, the hunting which is the subsistence of the ruder wanderer, has come to be only an extra means of life. His flocks and herds provide him for the morrow, he has valuable cattle to exchange with the dwellers in towns for their weapons and stuffs, there are smiths in his caravan, and the wool is spun and woven by women.'

p. 221: 'After the quest of food, man's next great need is to defend himself. The savage has to drive off the wild beasts which attack him, and in turn he hunts and destroys them. But his most dangerous foes are those of his own species, and thus in the lowest known levels of civilization war has already begun, and is carried on against man with the same club, spear, and bow used against wild beasts. General Pitt-Rivers has shown how closely man follows in war the devices he learnt from the lower animals ...'

p. 228: [Lastly with the irony of hindsight for present day readers:] 'Lastly, looking at the army system as it is in our modern world, one favourable change is to be noticed. The employment of foreign mercenary troops, which almost through the whole stretch of historical record has been a national evil alike in war and peace, is at last dying out. It is not so with the system of standing armies which drain the life and wealth of the world on a scale more enormous even than in past times, and stand as the great obstacle to harmony between nations. The student of politics can but hope that in time the pressure of vast armies kept on a war-footing may prove unbearable to the European nations which maintain them, and that the time may come when the standing army may shrink to a nucleus ready for the exigencies of actual war if it shall arise, while serving in peace time as a branch of the national police.'

Chapter 10: Arts of Life (continued)

Summary: Dwellings:—Caves, 229—Huts, 230—Tents, 231—Houses, 231—Stone and Brick Building, 232—Arch, 235—Development of Architecture, 235—Dress:—Painting skin, 236—Tattooing, 237—Deformation of Skull, &c., 240—Ornaments, 241—Clothing of Bark, Skin, &c., 244—Mats, 246—Spinning, Weaving, 246—Sewing, 249—Garments, 249—Navigation:—Floats, 252—Boats, 253—Rafts, 255—Outriggers, 255—Paddles and Oars, 256—Sails, 256 Galleys and Ships, 257.

p. 235: 'In thus looking over the architecture of the world, we see that its origins lie too far back for history to record its beginning and earliest progress. Still there is reason to believe that, in architecture as in other arts, man began with the simple and easy before he came on to the complex and difficult.'

p. 236: 'After dwellings, we come to examine clothing. It has first to be noticed that some low tribes, especially in the tropical forests of South America, have been found by travellers living quite naked. But even among the rudest of our race, and in hot districts where clothing is of least practical use, something is generally worn, either from ideas of decency or for ornament.'

p. 249-250: 'Next, as to the shape of garments. If we knew of no costume but what we commonly wear now, we might think it more a product of mere fancy than it really is. But on looking carefully at the dresses of various nations, it is seen that most garments are variations of a few principal kinds, each made for a particular purpose in clothing the body. The simplest and no doubt earliest garments are wraps wound or hung on the body, and by noticing how these are worn it may be guessed how they led to the later use of garments fitted to the wearer's shape....'

p. 251-252: 'These remarks may lead readers to look attentively into books of costume, which indeed are full of curious illustrations of the way in which things are not invented outright by mere fancy, but come by gradual alterations of what was already there. To account for our present absurd "chimney-pot" hat, we must see how it came by successive changes from the conical Puritan hat and the slouched Smart hat, and these again from earlier forms. The sense of the hat-band must be found in its once having been a real cord to draw in the mere round piece of felt which was the primitive hat; and to understand why our hat is covered with silk nap, it must be remembered that this is an imitation of the earlier beaver-fur hat, which would stand rain. Even the now useless seams and buttons on modern clothes (see page 15) are bits of past history.'

[he concludes the chapter by looking at water transport]

Chapter 11: Arts of life (concluded)

Summary: Fire, 260—Cookery, 264—Bread, &c., 266—Liquors, 268—Fuel, 270—Lighting, 272—Vessels, 274—Pottery, 274—Glass, 276—Metals, 277—Bronze and Iron Ages, 278—Barter, 281—Money, 282 Commerce, 285

p. 286: The merchants did much to break down the everlasting jealousy and strife between nations into peaceful and profitable intercourse. Moreover it may be plainly proved that the old hostile system of nations is kept up by every kind of restriction on trade, every protective duty imposed to force the production of commodities in countries ill-suited to them, to prevent their coming in cheap and good from where they are raised with least labour. There is no agent of civilization more beneficial than the free trader, who gives the inhabitants of every region the advantages of all other regions, and whose business is to work out the law that what serves the general profit of mankind serves also the private profit of the individual man.'

Chapter 12: Arts of Pleasure

Summary: Poetry, 287—Verse and Metre, 28S—Alliteration and Rhyme, 289—Poetic Metaphor, 289—Speech, Melody, Harmony, 290—Musical Instruments, 293—Dancing, 296—Drama, 298—Sculpture and Painting, 300—Ancient and Modern Art, 301—Games, 305.

p. 292-293: 'Modern music is thus plainly derived from ancient. But there has arisen in it a great new development. The music of the ancients scarcely went beyond melody. The voice might be accompanied by an instrument in unison or at an octave interval, but harmony as understood by modern musicians was as yet unknown. Its feeble beginnings may be traced in the middle ages, when musicians were struck by the effects got by singing two different tunes at once, when one formed a harmony to the other.'

p. 293: 'The musical instruments of the present day may all be traced back to rude and early forms.'

p. 296: 'Dancing may seem to us moderns a frivolous amusement but in the infancy of civilization it was full of passionate and solemn meaning. Savages and barbarians dance their joy and sorrow, their love and rage, even their magic and religion.'

p. 300: 'On this same power of make-believe or imagination are founded the two other fine arts, sculpture and painting. Their proper purpose is not to produce exact imitations, but what the artist strives to bring out is the idea that strikes the beholder. Thus there is often more real art in a caricature done with a few strokes of the pencil, or in a rough image hacked out of a log, than in a minutely painted portrait, or a figure at a waxwork show which is so like life that visitors beg its pardon when they walk up against it. The painter's and sculptor's art seems to have arisen in the world from the same sort of rude beginnings which are still to be seen in children's attempts to draw and carve.'

Chapter 13: Science

Summary: Science, 309—Counting and Arithmetic, 310—Measuring and Weighing, 316—Geometry, 318—Algebra, 322—Physics, 323—Chemistry, 328—Biology, 329—Astronomy, 332—Geography and Geology, 335—Methods of Reasoning, 336—Magic, 338.

p. 309-310: 'Science is exact, regular, arranged knowledge. Of common knowledge savages and barbarians have a vast deal, indeed the struggle of life could not be carried on without it. The rude man knows much of the properties of matter, how fire burns and water soaks, the heavy sinks and the light floats, what stone will serve for the hatchet and what wood for its handle, which plants are food and which are poison, what are the habits of the animals that he hunts or that may fall upon him. He has notions how to cure, and much better notions how to kill. In a rude way he is a physicist in making fire, a chemist in cooking, a surgeon in binding up wounds, a geographer in knowing his rivers and mountains, a mathematician in counting on his fingers. All this is knowledge, and it was on these foundations that science proper began to be built up, when the art of writing had come in and society had entered on the civilized stage. We have to trace here in outline the rise and progress of science. And as it has been especially through counting and measuring that scientific methods have come into use, the first thing to do is to examine how men learnt to count and measure.'

Chapter 14: The Spirit-World

Summary: Religion of Lower Races, 342—Souls, 343—Burial, 347—Future Life, 349—Transmigration, 350—Divine Ancestors, 351—Demons, 352—Nature Spirits, 357—Gods, 358—Worship, 364—Moral Influence, 368.

p. 343: 'It does not belong to the plan of this book to give a general account of the many faiths of mankind. The anthropologist, who has to look at the religions of nation's as a main part of their life, may best become acquainted with their general principles by beginning with the simple notions of the lower races as to the spirit-world. That is, he has to examine how and why they believe in the soul and its existence after death, the spirits who do good and evil in the world, and the greater gods who pervade, actuate, and rule the universe. Any one who learns from savages and barbarians what their belief in spiritual beings means to them, will come into view of that stage of culture where the religion of rude tribes is at the same time their philosophy, containing such explanation of themselves and the world they live in as their uneducated minds are able to receive.'

p. 362-363: 'This will give a notion of the confusion which begins in religion as soon as the worshippers cease to think of a deity by his first meaning and purpose, and only know of him as the god so-and-so, whose image stands in such-and-such a temple. The wonder is not that the origin of so many ancient gods is now hard to make out, but that so many show so clearly as they do what they were at first, a divine ancestor, or a sun, or sky, or river.'

p. 368: 'We have hitherto only looked at barbaric religion as such an early system of natural philosophy, and have said nothing of the moral teaching which now seems so essential to any religion. The philosophical side of religion has been kept apart from the moral side, not only because a clearer view may be had by looking at them separately, but because many religions of the lower races have in fact little to do with moral conduct.'

p. 371: 'Animism, or the theory of souls, has thus been shown as the principle out of which arose the various systems of spirits and deities, in barbaric and ancient religions, and it has been noticed also, how already among rude races such beliefs begin to act on moral conduct. We here see under their simplest aspects the two sides of religion, its philosophical and its moral side, which the reader should keep steadily in view in further study of the faiths of the world. In looking at the history of a religion, he will have to judge how far it has served these two great purposes—on the one hand that of teaching man how to think of himself, the world around him, the awful boundless power pervading all—on the other hand that of practically guiding and strengthening him in the duties of life.'

p. 372: 'Unless religion can hold its place in the front of science and of morals, it may only gradually, in the course of ages, lose its place in the nation, but all the power of statecraft and all the wealth of the temples will not save it from eventually yielding to a belief that takes in higher knowledge and teaches better life.'

Chapter 15: History and Mythology

Summary: Tradition, 373—Poetry, 375—Fact in Fiction, 377—Earliest Poems and Writings, 381—Ancient Chronicle and History, 383—Myths, 387—Interpretation of Myths, 396—Diffusion of Myths, 397.

p. 373: 'History is no longer looked to for a record of the earliest ages of man. As the first chapter of this volume shows, we moderns know what was hidden from the ancients them- selves about the still more ancient ancients. Yet it does not at all follow that ancient history has lost its value. On the contrary, there are better means than ever of confirming what is really sound in it by such evidence as that of antiquities and language, while masses of very early writings are now newly opened to the historian. It was never more necessary to have clear ideas of what tradition, poetry, and written records can teach as to the times when history begins.

The early history of nations consists more or less of traditions handed down by memory from ages before writing.'

p. 379: 'Much of what is called ancient history has to be looked at in this way. Historical criticism, that is, judgment, is practised not for the purpose of disbelieving but of believing. Its object is not to find fault with the author, but to ascertain how much of what he says may be reasonably taken as true. Thus a modern reader may have a sounder opinion about early Roman history than the Romans themselves had in the time of Livy and Cicero.'

p. 387: 'Having thus looked at the sources of early history as belonging to the study of mankind, we need not go over the well-trodden ground of later history. It remains to notice myth, the stumbling-block which historians have so often fallen over. Myth is not to be looked on as mere error and folly, but as an interesting product of the human mind. It is sham history, the fictitious narrative of events that never happened. Historians, especially in writing of early ages, have copied down the traditions of real events so mixed up with myths, that it is one of the hardest tasks of the student to judge what to believe and what to reject. He is fortunate when he can apply the test of possibility, and declare an event did not happen because he knows enough of the course of nature to be sure it could not.'

p. 400: 'For understanding the thoughts of old-world nations, their myths tell us much we should hardly learn from their history.'

Chapter 16: Society

Summary: Social Stages, 401—Family. 402—Morals of Lower Races, 405—Public Opinion and Custom, 408—Moral Progress, 410—Vengeance and Justice, 414—War, 418—Property, 419—Legal Ceremonies, 423—Family Power and Responsibility, 426—Patriarchal and Military Chiefs, 428—Nations, 432—Social Ranks, 434—Government, 436.

p. 402: 'Mankind can never have lived as a mere struggling crowd, each for himself. Society is always made up of families or households bound together by kindly ties, controlled by rules of marriage and the duties of parent and child. Yet the forms of these rules and duties have been very various.'

p. 404-405: 'Marriage has been here spoken of first, because upon it depends the family, on which the whole framework of society is founded. What has been said of the ruder kinds of family union among savages and barbarians shows that there cannot be expected from them the excellence of those well-ordered households to which civilized society owes so much of its goodness and prosperity.'

p. 410: 'Thus communities, however ancient and rude, always have their rules of right and wrong. But as to what acts have been held right and wrong, the student of history must avoid that error which the proverb calls measuring other people's corn by one's own bushel. Not judging the customs of nations at other stages of culture by his own modern standard, he has to bring his knowledge to the help of his imagination, so as to see institutions where they belong and as they work. Only thus can it be made clear that the rules of good and bad, right and wrong, are not fixed alike for all men at all times.'

p.426: 'To come now to the last subject of this volume, the history of government. Complicated as are the political arrangements of civilised nations, their study is made easier by their simple forms being already found in savage and barbaric life. The foundation of society, as has been already seen, is the self-government of each family.'

p. 434: 'As society in tribes and nations became a more complex system, it early began to divide into classes or ranks. If we look for an example of the famous first principle of the United States, ''that all men are created equal," we shall in fact scarcely find such equality except among savage hunters and foresters, and by no means always then.'

p. 436: 'As nations become more populous, rich, and intelligent, the machinery of government has to be improved. The old rough-and-ready methods no longer answer, and the division of labour has to be applied to politics.'

p. 438-439: 'Here this sketch of Anthropology may close. The examination of man's age on the earth, his bodily structure and varieties of race and language, has led us on to enquire into his intellectual and social history. In his many-sided life there may be clearly traced a development, which, notwithstanding long periods of stoppage and frequent falling back, has on the whole adapted modern civilized man for a far higher and happier career than his ruder ancestors. In this development, the preceding chapters have shown a difference between low and high nations, which it only remains to put before the reader as a practical moral to the tale of civilization. It is true that both among savage and civilized peoples progress in culture takes place, but not under the same conditions. The savage by no means goes through life with the intention of gathering more knowledge and framing better laws than his fathers. On the contrary, his tendency is to consider his ancestors as having handed down to him the perfection of wisdom, which it would be impiety to make the least alteration in. Hence among the lower races there is obstinate resistance to the most desirable reforms, and progress can only force its way with a slowness and difficulty which we of this century can hardly imagine. Looking at the condition of the rude man, it may be seen that his aversion to change was not always unreasonable, and indeed may often have arisen from a true instinct. With his ignorance of any life but his own, he would be rash to break loose from the old tried machinery of society, to plunge into revolutionary change, which might destroy the present good without putting better in its place. Had the experience of ancient men been larger, they would have seen their way to faster steps in culture. But we civilized moderns have just that wider knowledge which the rude ancients wanted. Acquainted with events and their consequences far and wide over the world, we are able to direct our own course with more confidence toward improvement. In a word, mankind is passing from the age of unconscious to that of conscious progress. Readers who have come thus far need not be told in many words of what the facts must have already brought to their minds—that the study of man and civilization is not only a matter of scientific interest, but at once passes into the practical business of life. We have in it the means of understanding our own lives and our place in the world, vaguely and imperfectly it is true, but at any rate more clearly than any former generation. The knowledge of man's course of life, from the remote past to the present, will not only help us to forecast the future, but may guide us in our duty of leaving the world better than we found it.'

Transcribed by AP January 2013

Second edition 1889

Notes by transcriber

[1]Thomas Henry HuxleyEdward Augustus FreemanHenry James Sumner Maine, Dr. Birch is presumably Samuel Birch, Augustus Wollaston Franks, William Henry Flower, Augustus Henry Pitt-Rivers, Archibald Henry Sayce, John Beddoe, Daniel Hack Tuke, Professor W.K. Douglas, Russell Martineau, Richard Garnett (I am presuming this is the right match), Henry Sweet, Frederick William Rudler. The most unexpected person on this list to me is Tuke, assuming I have identified the right person, as he was a doctor, specialist in mental health, and not someone I had previously associated with Tylor. I have not been able to identify who Professor Douglas was. 

[2] The Pitt Rivers Museum photographic collections hold some Damman photographs.

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