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whose generalizations regarding an age of stone weapons, succeeded by one of weapons of bronze, and these again by another of weapons of iron, are held to shed light on the whole path of human civilization, and on the whole progress of the arts. Yet this theory is not modern, as the lines from Lucretius show:

“Man's earliest arms were fingers, teeth, and nails,

And stones, and fragments from the branching woods.
Then fires and fames they joined, detected soon;
Then copper next; and last, as latest traced,
The tyrant iron."

Fig. 73.

This kind of progress is not, however, true either to historic or prehistoric annals. Herodotus, writing about four hundred and fifty years before the Christian era, describes all the varied forms of weapons of war as obtaining at the same period in the army which Xerxes had,

his own time, led against Greece; the host numbered above five millions. Of these he tells us the Persians had“ breastplates with iron scales like those of fishes” (steel-plate armour?); the Assyrians "had helmets of brass, twisted in a barbarous fashion,” they had shields, and spears, and daggers, and “wooden clubs knotted with iron;” the Scythians carried bows peculiar to their country, and “daggers, and also battle-axes;” the Indians "clad with garments of cotton, had bows of cane, and arrows of cane tipped with iron.” The description, which is very full, is interesting both from the ethnological and antiquarian point of view. In its bearing on the early use of iron, its value is great. It shows that the more remote the situation of the tribe from the great centres of civilization at that time, the less was the use made of iron by them. Thus of the distant Ethiopians Herodotus says “they were clothed in panthers' and lions' skins, and carried long bows, not less than four cubits in length, made from

Crystals of Magnetic Iron Ore. branches of the palm tree; and on them short arrows made of cane; instead of iron they were tipped with a stone, which was made sharp, and of that sort on which they engrave seals.” These spears were pointed with flint or with different kinds of quartz, in the same way as those in use among the ancient Britons. Herodotus also mentions among the gifts presented by Alyattes the father of Croesus, to the oracle at Delphi, “a salver in steel curiously inlaid, a work among all the offerings at Delphi the best worth looking at” (Book i. 25). Yet the same author appears to intimate elsewhere, that the Spartans at least were behind some other nations in the art of forging iron. In relating the legend of the bones of Orestes, he represents the Spartan knight Lichas (Book i. 68) as entering accidentally a smith's workshop at Tegea, and gazing in wonder at the smith as he plied his art, “counter-stroke answering stroke.”


In the Homeric poems frequent allusions are made to the use of this metal. One or two examples will suffice :

* Bright Hebe waits ; by Hebe, ever young,

The whirling wheels are to the chariot hung.
On the bright axle turns the bidden wheel
Of sounding brass; the polished axle steel.”—(Iliad, b. v.)
“Great Areithous, known from shore to shore

By the huge, knotted, iron mace he bore."-(Iliad, b. vii.)

“Wide o'er the field, resistless as the wind,

For Troy they fly, and leave their lord behind.
Prone on his face he sinks beside the wheel,
Atrides o'er him shakes his vengeful steel."-(Iliad, b. vi.)

“Mentes my name; I rule the Taphian race,
Whose bounds the deep circumfluent waves embrace ;
A duteous people, and industrious isle,
To naval arts inur'd, and stormy toil.
Freighted with iron from my native land,
I steer my voyage to the Brutian strand;
To gain by commerce, for the labour'd mass,
A just proportion of refulgent brass.”—(Odyss., b. i.)


Many more references might be given. These show the very early date at which iron was employed, both in weapons of war, in mechanics, and in connection with a very highly advanced state of the fine arts. Quotations might be made from Mr. Layard's work on Nineveh corroborative of those given above. The value of such references is chiefly apologetic. It has often been alleged, that the allusions to various metals in the Scriptures cast a doubt on the great antiquity of the Old Testament. It is said, we have no warrant to believe that these metals, iron especially, were in common use till a comparatively recent period. It seems now, however, that few well-informed persons will doubt that evidence of the use of iron can be obtained from some of the sources of

Fig. 74.

profane history, at a date so remote as about 1540 B.C. In a book containing so many pictures of the earliest families of the human race as the Scriptures do, we might expect direct references to any of the metals with which they were acquainted, because these ever hold a chief place in the industrial arts of every people. At whatever period of the history of the chosen people, then, we meet with the mention of any of the metals, the use of which implies mechanical skill, we are entitled to regard this as one element of an important kind in the social history of the nation.

"Iron," says Job, " is taken out of the earth” (xxviii. 2); literally out of the dust, the word here translated earth being the same as that used in Gen. ii. 7, “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.” Man, asserts the patriarch of Uz, is great. He looks beyond the outward appearance of things. That which is but dust to the ignorant, is seen by the wise to contain treasure—“Iron is taken out of it.” In the magnificent description of “behemoth " in the same book (xl.), malleable iron is alluded to—“His bones are like bars of iron.” Zophar (xx. 24) says of the wicked —“He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him

Crystals of Spathic Iron Ore. through.” And Job shows that it was used for writing—“Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book! that they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever”.words whose true import requires that the pen and the lead be associated, for the reference is to the ancient custom of writing public documents on sheets of lead. The free translation of Dr. Good brings this well out:


“Oh that my words were now written down;

That they were engraven upon a table,
With a pen of iron upon lead !
That they were sculptured in a rock for ever!"-(xix. 23, 24.)

From the books of Moses alone we learn, that at the early period in the history of the world in which they were written, the use of iron was common as an article of household furniture, as employed in the mechanical and industrial arts, and also in the practices of war.

Instead, then, of holding that even as to material wants God left


man, as the phrase is, to look after himself, there is a higher, a nobler view which may be associated with this, and one much more in keeping with the fatherly goodness of God to the infant race. His care of them in regard to their clothing has already been noticed; and there seems no doubt at all that he who later put his spirit into Bezaleel, in order to the realization of some of the highest aspects of industrial art, guided the immediate descendants of Adam to the knowledge of arts indispensable, in the region in which they were placed, to their very existence. And that this was in the family of Cain still more interests us. They knew him not as a father, though he still regarded them as children, just as he now says to one and another, “My son, give me thine heart,” even while we withhold the heart from him, and acknowledge not the divine paternal relation.

But this is not mere theory. The power and skill implied in forming iron into useful articles was such at that time as to find its explanation only in the direct guidance of God, vouchsafed to the immediate descendants of Adam. Even with the acknowledgment of most protracted lives claimed for the antediluvians, art had not had time, according to the well-known laws of human progress, to reach the point to which in the youth of Tubal-cain it had attained. This conclusion is drawn from the fact, that the iron could not be native iron, properly so called. Native iron is of very rare occurrence; so rare, indeed, that if articles in iron could have been made only from it, they would have been ten times more precious than gold. It is found native under two Fig. 75.

forms—1. It occurs in thin laminæ, or filaments, in connection with magnetic ironstone, or with sulphur pyrites. In the former association it is sometimes met with in very small quantities among the platina sands of the Ural Mountains, and in the latter association in the Keuper beds of Thuringia. 2. It occurs as meteoric iron, sometimes in a large mass; in one case on record the weight was found to be 30,000 pounds ; but this is very rare. Most frequently it is met with

only in particles, in meteorolites, or meteoric stones. Arborescent Iron Pyrites. The inferences from this are clear-namely, that the iron with which Tubal-cain worked was not native iron, but a species similar to the clay ironstones, which in this land chiefly yield the iron of commerce; and that the application of art necessary in order to fit this for useful purposes implied, in those early times, a knowledge of industrial pursuits far higher than is commonly believed. Iron melts at a temperature of about 3000° Fahrenheit. It is curious that the Greek account of the discovery of iron is traced to an accidental application of fire to it. The tradition was, that in 1406 B.C. the burning of Mount Ida fused the veins of ironstone contained in it, and suggested to the people the use of the melted matter in the arts and in war.


Iron is very frequently mentioned in Scripture, and is named twelve times in the writings of Moses alone. Sometimes the notices are accompanied by other references which shed light on the industrial habits of the Hebrews. Thus Jeremiah (chap. xv. 12) asks,“ Shall iron break the northern iron and the steel?” The northern iron seems to have been superior to that in the mountains of Syria proper, and to have been imported for higher uses than the common kind was found equal to. The word rendered “steel” in this passage, and also in Psalm xviii. 34, refers to a compound of copper.

An interesting illustration of the comparative value of iron and alloys of copper in very early times, is given by Mr. Layard in his well-known work on Nineveh. “It would appear,” says Mr. Layard, “ that the Assyrians were unable to give elegant forms or a pleasing appearance to objects in iron alone, and that, consequently, they frequently overlaid that metal with bronze, either entirely or partially, by way of ornament. Numerous interesting specimens of this nature are included in the collection in the British Museum. Although brass is now frequently cast over iron, the art of using bronze for this purpose had not, I believe, been introduced into modern metallurgy. The feet of the ring tripods urnish highly interesting specimens of this process, and prove the progress made by the Assyrians in it. The iron inclosed within the copper has not been exposed to the same decay as that detached from it, and will still take a polish.”

Herodotus also indirectly informs us that iron was in common use in Egypt at a very early period.—(See extract under Numbers xi. 4–6.)

Only two other subjects require a brief notice here. These are, the address of Lamech, and the advance in spiritual worship among men. Lamech's address introduces us to another proof of high civilization in Adamic times, when it is looked at along with the arts which were first cultivated by his sons. We have the poetry of the father, the music of one son, and the industrial and mechanical arts of another. Much speculation has been brought to bear on the words of Lamech. They have been held to declare the descendant of Cain to have been worse than Cain himself, or to have formed a part of a continuous history of antediluvian times, a scrap or fragment of which Moses had picked up,

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