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418 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

the present instance they plundered until they were satisfied, and then withdrew from the

country, leaving the Parthians to reflect upon the costliness of refusing military pay to

half-savages.

But while the Empire thus happily emerged from the dangerous local complications which had

thickened around the last years of Phraates, another and more general peril came instead.

This was the pressure which now began to be felt on the northern and eastern frontiers

from the impact of human hordes bearing down out of the unknown regions beyond the

Jaxartes. In its origin, its character, and tendencies, it was one of the many irruptions

of the barbaric upon the civilized or half-civilized races of men. The philosophy of such

ethnic agitations is better understood as it respects the after-parts and results of the

innovations than with respect to their origin. The beginning of the migration of tribes is

a thing exceedingly hard to discover. After the warlike migrations have once been started,

it is easy enough to note the process by which one barbarous nation after another is

jostled from its seats until the last of the series is thrown across the borders of

civilization. Again, we may say that the primal impulse is partly cosmic and partly ethnic

in character. Time and again we have had occasion to remark upon the operation of those

subtle forces in the natural world by which the human race is pressed westward through all

continents and across all seas. Again, some races of men exhibit a peculiar aptitude for

movements of this kind. It might be said with truth that they are most susceptible in

their constitution to the influence of those far-reaching physical laws to which we have

just referred.

But as we have said, the origin, the source, the fountain of the disturbance is hardly

discoverable. The impulse rises far off in the regions of utter barbarism. Perhaps we

might find it in the peculiar fecundity of certain tribes, in certain stages of their

development. Such movements always precede the monogamic stage in the human evolution. At

any rate, we may contemplate a certain spot in barbarism as overstocked with human beings,

having the aggressive instinct the nomadic character. Migration ensues, and the

neighboring tribes are propelled in a direction a little to the south of west. This course

is sought under the same influence which carries the colony of bees to its destination

after leaving the parent hive. Europe has been many times troubled, and at least once

extinguished, by a barbarian avalanche precipitated under the influences here described.

At the time of which we speak Asia, as well as Europe, began to feel the pressure. Bactria

was the first to be smitten by the ram's-head of barbarism. About the time of the

accession of Artamanses the Bactrian provinces were despoiled by barbarians of the nomadic

peoples. A large part of the country was iKCtoally taken by tribes out of the North,

bfealong in as though they had been fired out of a catapult. But Bactria was not the only

part so threatened and assaulted. Aryans also invaded, and the Hyrcanian bottlers felt the

pressure. All along the fine of the Oxus, from its Caspian delta to its head-waters in the

mountains of Upper Lydia, the horde surged back and forth to find an entrance into the

Empire. They were an ominous cloud on the horizon, a constant menace to civilization.

The tribes were nameless and number- less. Their character has been depicted by Herodotus

and Strabo. The nomadic habit was the dominant trait. The tribes- men had wagons and carts

and the other apparatus peculiar to races of the woods and steppes; and the women and

children of the race were borne in these vehicles from one station to another. The

vocation was hunting, war, plunder. Domestic animals, especially cattle, and horses, were

carried along with the movement. The milk-drinking and cheeseparing appetite of the

Scyths is known wherever ancient history has been read. The social structure was based on

polyandria, the sexual union being much the same in manner as that of the North American

Indians.

The Asiatic barbarians were famous in their day for their skill in horsemanship and

archery. Their weapons were the bow and arrow, the spear and the lance, the knife, or

short sword, and the battle