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Crania Americana; or, A Comparitive View of the Skulls of Various Aboriginal Nations of North and South America: To which is Prefixed An Essay on the Varieties of the Human Species

Philadelphia: J. Dobson, 1839


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THE NILOTIC FAMILY. 27

the most motley and barbarous states in existence. Yet the Arab and Nubian lineaments predominate; and are seen in the oval face, the narrow pointed nose, the long, black hair and delicate limbs ; while the immemorial amalgamation of the Abyssinians with their Negro slaves, imparts to many the thick lips, the flat nose, and even the crisped and woolly hair of the genuine African. The present inhabitants are to the last degree barbarous, cruel and licentious. Even the Christian population is said to partake of the national anarchy, for they are divided into three parties, who are so inimical to each other that. they refuse to take the sacrament together. " The Abyssinians," says Gobat, in extenuation, "are liars, as well as the Arabs ; but they yet have a feeling of shame which the Arabs have not."

Their written language, the Gheez, has some affinity with the Arabic, which may be attributed to the long intercourse of the two nations.

The ancient intercourse of the Abyssinians with the Egyptians, is proved by the temples and obelisks among the ruins of Axoum, the port of Abyssinia on the Red Sea ; while at Meroe, in the interior, and at other places, are seen some stupendous architectural remains of high antiquity.

The Ancient Egyptians.—The physical traits of the Egyptians, as derivable from their monuments and mummies, may be embraced in the following summary. They appear to have been spare in person, with long limbs and delicate hands and feet. Their heads were formed as in the Hindoo, thus differing from the Caucasian only in being somewhat smaller in proportion to the body, and having a narrower and less elevated forehead. Mr. Madden, who speaks of having examined a great number of heads in the Theban catacombs, says "that the old Egyptian skull is extremely narrow across the forehead, and of an oblong shape anteriorly. I never found one with a broad expanded forehead."* There is a remarkable resemblance among the innumerable heads sculptured in the temples of the Nile ; and one who is accustomed to examine them becomes so familiar with the Egyptian physiognomy, that when other races are introduced, as the Jews and Negroes, the eye can mostly detect them. There is also a singular accordance in conformation between the sculptured heads, and the real ones taken from the Theban catacombs. Two prominent varieties are discernible in each : one of these has the rather low and narrow forehead above mentioned, while the other presents the full development of the Caucasian head. The

Tray. in Egypt, &c., II, p. 93.



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