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there is any natural plastic art. Art has its laborious reflected development, and with it the sense of art is developed. Here the results of linguistic science meet most decidedly those of physics and physiology.
In returning to the subject of colour-sense, I should like to try and unroll before you, in however concise a completeness, the picture which I have gathered from a thousand details of the literatures and linguistic history of the human race. But I will only detain you some minutes longer in order to add a few words on the range of colours known to the earliest ages. In the genuine ancient Veda hymns there is not only no green, but even their yellow is not the pure colour of our spectrum. In the course of centuries the words signifying yellow lapse into the signification of green; in earlier times they themselves spring from roots by which gold is wont to be named, i.e., from yellow-red and red-brown. When in the pictorial representations in ancient Egyptian tomb-chambers we see the blackred-golden sun-fans carried about, we are reminded of the vast historical background on which is exhibited å primitive type of many a modern object. There really seems to have existed a black-red-golden age in the history of the sense of sight. The genuine Rigveda hymns represent this stage in contrast to the white-yellowred-black of the nascent Greek natural philosophy. In these hymns white is scarcely as yet distinguished from red.
The circumstance that the colour-terms originate according to a definite succession, and originate so
everywhere, must have a common cause. This cause cannot consist in the primarily defective distinction merely, for in the earliest times the colour of the sky is by no means called black or gold-yellow, which would be the proximately fittest word for its designation, but no mention at all is made of it. It would seem, indeed, that we must assume a gradually and regularly rising sensibility to impressions of colour, analogous to that which renders glaring contrasts of colour so unbearable to a cultivated taste, while the uneducated taste loves them. Perhaps, too, the intensity of the original impressions decreases in proportion as their extent and multiplicity increases. To men in the earliest antiquity at least the sense of the colours familiar to them was exceedingly keen and lively. The three phenomena upon which in reality the three colour-notions of that time were based—the night, the dawn, and the sun-produced an impression on the people of those times such as we are now scarcely able to conceive or to feel. The dualism of black and red stands out in very marked features as a first and most primitive period of all colour-sense behind the one hitherto described. But even this dualistic epoch is not without a recognisable beginning either. We can by the aid of etymology arrive at a still earlier stage, when the notions of black and red coalesce in the vague conception of something coloured.
The final decision as regards the nature of this whole development will only be come to by the co-operation of two scientific disciplines. It will not be possible, without availing ourselves of the important progress and discoveries which have been made in the most recent times precisely in the way of explaining the perception of colour; but neither will it be possible without a regard to the intimate connection of the entire development of language and ideas, and to its bearing on sensation and conception. Here a whole world of antique relics for our investigation lies hidden, not in fragments, but in unbroken, well-connected links. The whole chain of development of each of our ideas up to its most primitive form is lying buried before us in words, and is awaiting its excavation by linguistic science.
I have ventured to appear before you with a view to indicate the results to which this science is capable of leading us. Would I had succeeded in making you, gentlemen, share my own conviction that the time has arrived when linguistic and physical science, conscious of their common aims, must join hands. As the organism, notwithstanding the twofold manifestation of its existence, constitutes an indivisible unity, so only undivided science can lead to a knowledge of it—the science of nature, vast, entire, and indivisible.
P.S.—It is not without some hesitation that I submit the above lecture to the public at large. It could only be a compressed and scanty extract from extensive researches made already ten years ago, and ever since, from time to time, gone into again and completed; so that I am all the more fully aware how much there is still left for competent and reflecting readers to supply
and to object to in its present form. To avoid the semblance of a completeness which time and place of delivery forbade me, I have even foreborne to add the more particular references to the passages quoted. I hope, however, soon to be able to publish all the facts bearing upon the questions here mooted, and must entreat my readers meanwhile to suspend their judgment on any doubtful point. As regards the general inferences, too, a fuller examination of many facts stated will naturally tend to modify them. Since, however, on the other hand, they likewise partly depend on the decision as to the relation between ideas and words, notions and sensations, I beg in this respect to refer to my inquiries into Language and Reason, of which the first volume is in the press. What encourages me to do so is the indulgent and appreciative, and to me highly gratifying, manner in which the above lecture has been listened to by an assembly which numbers the most unprejudiced thinkers and investigators of Germany among its members. The universality of German physical sciencea noble acquisition of perhaps only the last decenniavouches for its having a great future, which promises to embrace all the interests of the human race.
On the Origin of Writing.
[Read before the General Meeting of the German Oriental Society at
Würzburg, October 3, 1868.]
IF I undertake to submit for renewed investigation to a meeting of highly honoured colleagues the question as to the origin of writing, it is not my intention once more here to discuss before you the origin of alphabetic writing, or of any other fully developed system. I rather propose to treat here the prehistoric beginnings of writing, so far as they may be inferred from the course which their development has taken since their appearance in history, and from other analogies. Only in this sense I beg you will permit me to take a brief survey of what has been revealed to us by historical discoveries about the origin of the systems of writing at present in use. The alphabets proper, it is well known, radiate, notwithstanding all their variety, from but a few centres. We not only know that our European characters are all primarily of Greek and secondarily of Semitic origin, but through Professor Mommsen's researches we also know exactly in what way the Italic alphabets have deve