« AnteriorContinuar »
Office of Correspondence, Office of the Imperial Seal and registration. All power was centered in the Caliph, who was the spiritual as well as the temporal head. The ministers of the various departments were responsible to him. So were the prefects who stood as his representatives in the provinces.
Justice was administered by Cadis appointed by the Caliph, his Vizier or the prefect. To be eligible to this appointment one must be a free male Moslem, of suitable age, sound mind, good morals and learned in the law. The Cadis had general civil and criminal jurisdiction and of guardianships and es-tates, and over mosques, schools and public buildings. To assist him the Cadi had Notaries, Secretaries and Deputies. From the decision of the Cadi an appeal might be taken to the Court of Appeal, which was presided over by the Caliph in person till the time of Mohtadi, after which a special judge appointed for that purpose presided. In the provinces there were Marshals who kept records of the birth and death of descendants of the family of the Prophet. The Imams officiated at the Mosques.
The practical application of the Koran in the decision of causes by the Cadis and the religious sentiment of the believers combined in calling out innumerable commentaries, seeking to elucidate and make plain whatever was obscure. Judges with a fixed guide for their decisions were a marked improvement over despotism, notwithstanding the meager rules afforded by the Koran. Under the Caliphs a new and better civilization than any which had preceded it developed, and the seats of learning and progress in literature, art and science were within the Moslem world. As the lights grew dim in the crumbling empire of Rome and Constantinople they burned more brightly at Damascus and Bagdad, illuminating the followers of Islam from India to Andalusia. Though the teachings of Mohammed were not so pure and exalted as those of Christ, they were coupled with more practical means for their observance, and on Asiatic and African soil they manifested superior adaptation. In Europe they never took firm root, save among the Moors in Spain and the Turks in the east.
Though at this day it is estimated that near 175,000,000 people are Mohammedans, the empire of the Caliphs is in scattered fragments. The Koran sanctions slavery and polygamy and, while it forbids wine and gaming in this world, it promises a sensual idlers' heaven. Its ideals are neither pure nor exalted and its standard of justice is partial and deficient. While apparently of great use in its time, like all other rigid systems enforced by a religious sanction, it perpetuates its errors and vices, and in the lapse of centuries these seem to overshadow the good and render the whole an obstacle to be removed to make way for something better. But so well is the faith with its rewards and punishment adapted to certain types of men, that neither Christianity nor Buddhism has succeeded in transplanting it.
INDIA Within the geographical limits of what we call India there are, and in the earliest times of which we have any accounts were, so many people, differing in race, language and social condition from each other, that generalizations become exceedingly difficult and a connected historical statement of the development of their civilization quite impossible. No single race has at any known date occupied the whole territory. No one language has been spoken by all the people. At this day the ethnologist finds there an ample field for the study of the diverse types of men. Connected histories by native writers are almost wholly wanting. The material from which the student must proceed to construct an account of the past is fragmentary. The earliest accounts come through the sacred writings of the Aryan invaders, who entered the country from the northwest. The date of their advent into the Punjab is variously estimated by scholars on data which leave a very wide margin for difference of inference, with no means of definitely settling the point. It seems safe to say that it was more than 1000 B.C. and may have been thousands of years earlier.
These invaders found the country already peopled by numerous tribes, some of whom used iron implements and were considerably advanced above the savage state. Of the people occupying those parts of the country remote from the invaders we have no accounts reaching back to so early a time.
From the Vedic hymns are gathered the leading facts relating to the movement of the Indian branch of the great Aryan family from the common home in the mountain region from which the Oxus and Jaxartes flowed. What causes have produced the Brahmin type in India and the Persian, Median and European in the west it is not our purpose to inquire, but it may be noticed that the race is generally the dominant one wherever found. The earliest songs disclose the clans in Cabul north of Khyber Pass, the later ones show them to have reached the Ganges. They were a very religious people and placed great reliance on the aid of their gods. The RîchVéda shows the Aryans dwelling along the banks of the Indus, divided into tribes, sometimes warring with each other, sometimes united against the dark skinned aborigines. Each father of a family was also its priest. The chief acted as priest of the tribe, but at the great festivals chose some one specially learned in the rites to conduct the sacrifices. Chiefs were elected. Husband and wife together were rulers of the house, and the marriage relation was held sacred. Caste and the burning of widows were unknown. Before entering India through the Kyber Pass and while still in the mountainous region near Cabul, the Aryans had already discovered or learned many of the arts of civilization. They had blacksmiths, coppersmiths , goldsmiths, carpenters and barbers. They fought in chariots and with horses, they reared cattle, tilled the soil, spun and wove. When and where the art of writing was learned by them is a point on which scholars differ widely. While it is agreed on all hands that the hymns of the Rig Véda are of very ancient composition, definite dates have not been fixed, and it is claimed that they were not reduced to writing for many centuries after their original composition.
This strong, vigorous and highly religious race of people descended into the valley of the Indus, which they found already occupied by inferior people. Most of the aboriginal tribes found by the Aryans were of a negroid or mongolian type, not more advanced in culture than the American Indians at the time of the discovery of the western continent. There were others mentioned in Sanskrit literature as wealthy and possessed of castles and forts. They adorned their dead with raiment and ornaments of bronze, copper and gold. There are ample evidences of the existence in early times of rude tribes, who used stone implements, but just at what stage of development all the native people had arrived at the time
of the advent of the Aryans, it is impossible to state. That the invaders were superior as warriors, as well as in culture, is evident from the extension of their possessions, which spread from the valley of the Indus to that of the Ganges and ultimately extended over most of the peninsula. The conquests of the Aryans however, were not merely the extension of military power and governmental control over the native population, but the encroachments of a superior race, which either drove out or subjugated the inferior. Race and religious superiority were asserted rather than mere sovereignty, and the invaders came to make the conquered country their home.
The non-Aryan races are said to belong to three principal stocks, the Tibeto-Burman, the Kolarian and Dravidian. The language of the Tibeto-Burman indicates Mongolian and Chinese origin, and it is inferred that they crossed into the country they now inhabit along the skirts of the Himalayas from Central Asia. The Kolarians are also supposed to have entered India from the north and are now found mainly in the north and along the northern edge of the southern tableland. At the present time they appear as scattered tribes, whose common origin is proved by similarity of language and appearance rather than any social connection or tradition of common origin. The Dravidians form a compact mass in southern India, and the dialects classed as Dravidian are spoken by nearly 50,000,000 people. Aside from these principal stocks, the presence of Africans and Arabs in India in very early times is well established, and their blood has been preserved and mixed with the other stocks to a considerable degree. At all periods in its history India seems to have attracted to it people from the north and west, not only for trade, but also for permanent settlement and conquest.
Chaldeans, Assyrians and Egyptians as well as Chinese have known of and traded with the people of India from very early times, yet very little can be learned of the early conditions of the people from accounts derived through these sources. It is impossible to trace the governmental and social state of India through the historical period and ignore