Historical Sketches Volume I

Historical Sketches, Volume I      (Newman, John Henry.  Historical Sketches.  Volume I. Fifth Edition. London : Pickering and Co. 1882.)


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Photo Credit: http://www.stmargaretward.co.uk

Dedication to « My Lord », Bishop of Kerry, David Moriarty.

Historical account ; Newman seems to be teaching an audience who knows little or nothing about the topics.

Newman mentions news of 1882 : Collision between Russians and Turks.



Topics :

  • Tartary (Middle Ages to Twentieth Century term used)
  • The Region and the Tartars[1]  (for Newman, Tartars include : Scythians, Massagetae, Sarmatians, Huns, Moguls, Turks etc.) (p. 10) Thus, Kalmucks, Cossacks. (p. 11)
  • War
  • Tartar Habits[2]
  • Conflict between North and South

About ancient Tartar history :

  • Herodotus quote
  • Darius


Lecture 1 : The Tribes of the North

A very hard description of the Tartars, savage, non- cultured people description of them : « he may be even said to live on horseback… » (p.4) « the fable has been current that he has  a centaur’s nature, half man and half beast. » (Ibid)

« But when the savage finds himself in closed in the continent and the wilderness, he draws the domestic animals about him, and constitutes himself the head of a sort of brute polity.  He becomes a king and father of the beasts, and by the economical arrangements which this pretension involves, advances a first step, though a low one, in civilization, which the hunter or the fisher does not attain. » (p.3-4)

« They would not know to construct a polity, how to conduct a government, hot to organize a system of slavery, or to digest a code of laws. » (p.9)  He continues about describing them as people of war, soldiers to be, already equipped to attack. (p. 6)  Not as peaceful people, living in their environment.

Newman generalizes ;

«I have thrown the various inhabitants of the Asiatic plain together, under one description, not as if I overlooked , or undervalued , the distinction of races, but because I have no intention of committing myself to any statements on so intricate and interminable a subject as ethnology. » (p.10)

For him, skulls, skins and languages are not essentials to divide groups but rather « place » and « climate ».  (p. 10)  Putting people all together but not discriminating specific groups.

End of Lecture 1

Note : Newman uses the words, slavery and barbarians.



♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

[1] Newman, Historical 1, 10.  For Newman, Tartars include : Scythians, Massagetae, Sarmatians, Huns, Moguls, Turks etc.) (p. 10)

[2]Newman, Historical 1, 11.  Newman assumes climate create habits.