AT the farthest point in the past to which human knowledge extends a race called Iberian inhabited the entire peninsula of Spain, from the Mediterranean to the Pyrenees. They also extended over the southern part of Gaul as far as the Rhone.
"It is thought that the Iberians from Atlantis and the north-west part of Africa," says Winchell, "settled in the Southwest of Europe at a period earlier than the settlement of the Egyptians in the north-east of Africa. The Iberians spread themselves over Spain, Gaul, and the British Islands as early as 4000 or 5000 B.C. . . . The fourth dynasty (of the Egyptians), according to Brugsch, dates from about 3500 B.C. At this time the Iberians had become sufficiently powerful to attempt the conquest of the known world." ("Preadamites," p. 443.)
"The Libyan-Amazons of Diodorus--that is to say, the Libyans of the Iberian race--must be identified with the Libyans with brown and grizzly skin, of whom Brugsch has already pointed out the representations figured on the Egyptian monuments of the fourth dynasty." (Ibid.)
The Iberians, known as Sicanes, colonized Sicily in the ancient days. They were the original settlers in Italy and Sardinia. They are probably the source of the dark-haired stock in Norway and Sweden. Bodichon claims that the Iberians embraced the Ligurians, Cantabrians, Asturians, and Aquitanians. Strabo says, speaking of the Turduli and Turdetani, "they are the most cultivated of all the Iberians; they employ the art of writing, and have written books containing memorials
of ancient times, and also poems and laws set in verse, for which they claim an antiquity of six thousand years." (Strabo, lib. iii., p. 139.)
The Iberians are represented to-day by the Basques.
The Basque are "of middle size, compactly built, robust and agile, of a darker complexion than the Spaniards, with gray eyes and black hair. They are simple but proud, impetuous, merry, and hospitable. The women are beautiful, skilful in performing men's work, and remarkable for their vivacity and grace. The Basques are much attached to dancing, and are very fond of the music of the bagpipe." ("New American Cyclopædia," art. Basques.)
"According to Paul Broca their language stands quite alone, or has mere analogies with the American type. Of all Europeans, we must provisionally hold the Basques to be the oldest inhabitants of our quarter of the world." (Peschel, "Races of Men," p. 501.)
The Basque language--the Euscara--"has some common traits with the Magyar, Osmanli, and other dialects of the Altai family, as, for instance, with the Finnic on the old continent, as well as the Algonquin-Lenape language and some others in America." ("New American Cyclopædia," art. Basques.)
Duponceau says of the Basque tongue:
"This language, preserved in a corner of Europe by a few thousand mountaineers, is the sole remaining fragment of, perhaps, a hundred dialects constructed on the same plan, which probably existed and were universally spoken at a remote period in that quarter of the world. Like the bones of the mammoth, it remains a monument of the destruction produced by a succession of ages. It stands single and alone of its kind, Surrounded by idioms that have no affinity with it."
We have seen them settling, in the earliest ages, in Ireland. They also formed the base of the dark-haired population of England and Scotland. They seem to have race affinities with the Berbers, on the Mediterranean coast of Africa.
Dr. Bodichon, for fifteen years a surgeon in Algiers, says
"Persons who have inhabited Brittany, and then go to Algeria, are struck with the resemblance between the ancient Armoricans (the Brètons) and the Cabyles (of Algiers). In fact, the moral and physical character is identical. The Breton of pure blood has a long head, light yellow complexion of bistre tinge, eyes black or brown, stature short, and the black hair of the Cabyle. Like him, he instinctively hates strangers; in both are the same perverseness and obstinacy, same endurance of fatigue, same love of independence, same inflexion of the voice, same expression of feelings. Listen to a Cabyle speaking his native ton(rue, and you will think you bear a Breton talking Celtic."
The Bretons, he tells us, form a strong contrast to the people around them, who are "Celts of tall stature, with blue eyes, white skins, and blond hair: they are communicative, impetuous, versatile; they pass rapidly from courage to despair. The Bretons are entirely different: they are taciturn, hold strongly to their ideas and usages, are persevering and melancholic; in a word, both in morale and physique they present the type of a southern race--of the Atlanteans."
By Atlanteans Dr. Bodichon refers to the inhabitants of the Barbary States--that being one of the names by which they were known to the Greeks and Romans. He adds:
"The Atlanteans, among the ancients, passed for the favorite children of Neptune; they made known the worship of this god to other nations-to the Egyptians, for example. In other words, the Atlanteans were the first known navigators. Like all navigators, they must have planted colonies at a distance. The Bretons, in our opinion, sprung from one of them."
Neptune was Poseidon, according to Plato, founder of Atlantis.
I could multiply proofs of the close relationship between the people of the Bronze Age of Europe and the ancient inhabitants of Northern Africa, which should be read remembering that "connecting ridge" which, according to the deep-sea soundings, united Africa and Atlantis.