Francis Lieber.

Library of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) online

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much greater extent than it would have been the case had a Greek emigrated from one
part of Greece into another. It would be more fit perhaps to institute a comparison
between the different Shemitic dialects and the Germanic languages among themselves:
German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, etc. ; or the Slavonic idioms: Lithuanian,
Lettish, Russian, Polish, Bohemian. But even these are not so far removed from each
other as the Shemitic idioms. What the latter have in common are those grammatical
and other characteristics indicated above, and the root-words themselves, which nearly


everywhere have the same original signification; only that in this respect the Arabic
shows by far the largest development of meanings out of the single roots, and conse-
quently an unparalleled wealth of derivatives. Yet it must not be forgotten that our
relics of ancient Hebrew arc of a scanty nature, and that the Arabic has remained a
living language until our day, and has, through Islam, spread further than any ancient
and perhaps even modern language.

Regarding the much vexed question as to which of the Shemitic languages is tha
oldest, it mu>t be confessed that no positive result has yet been attained. For although
the oldest palpable monuments of Shemitic have survived in Hebrew, while our earliest
documents in Aramaic date from Cyrus, and those in Arabic, even centuries after Christ
(Himyaritic, Ethiopic, 4th c. ; northern Arabic, 6th c. A.D.). yet AVC cannot now decide
which of these has preserved the type of the original mother-tongue most intact. It
sometimes happens that vast internal movements, or a series of events in the history of
a people wa iderings, wars, and the like change, quicken, and develop its language
even to decay, before it has had time to beget a literature. When this time does arrive,
we meet alrea ly with ( all the traces of this decay in imperfections, corruptions, and
archaisms of form. Thus, the Hebrew of the Bible, that is the most ancient form iu
which it has survived, offers more grammatical analogies (in incomplete structure,
inflection, etc.) to the modern than to the ancient Arabic, which lasted in its primitive
purity an 1 fullness of form as long as the simple life of the dwellers in the desert was
not broken by those events which upheaved, from the time of Mohammed, their whole
existence, and brought them in closest and most violent contact with other nations of
other tongues. Then that process of decomposition, or phase of negligence and corrup-
tion, set in, whien resulted in the looseness exhibited by modern Arabic. It thus reached
the downward sl:i:>;e of the Hebrew of the Old Testament at ever so much later a period.
Arabic cla i.-al literature thus exhibits, compared with the Hebrew, and even more with,
the Aramaic -which we meet in a wors3 state of aged and crippled organism and stunted
form about the sami vigor, freshness, and fullness of form and structure which the-
Sanskrit exhibits ainon^ the ludo-Germ inic or the Gothic in the narrower circle of tha
Germanic dialects. With all this, however, we cannot absolutely decide in favor of the
Arabic as the nearest approach to the original type. Ths phase in which it enters into
our historical horizon- in iv be as far if not further removed fro:n it. even as tho Aramaic.
Its hasty individual development may have quickened more radical changes than even
the decaying or decayed other branches present. So that, as we said, for the present at
least, the question of priority must remain open. We shall, however, allot the rirst place
to the second or southern Shemitic (Arabic) class, simply because of its copiousness of
word:! and development Of forms. A faint trace of -its peculiarity of article (aJ) is' sup-
posed to be found in Gen. x. 26 (Aim >:li I); but this seems fallacious enough, considering
that the Hebrew article must have been originally the same, and the word may simply
exhibit the ancient Hebrew form. In the golden epoch of the Hebrew literature, Arab
culture doe; i:i deed seem to have stood in high renown Solomon's wisdom is likened
unto that of the Arabs, queen Sheba is an Arab queen, and Job's friends are Arabs. On
its peculiar history and development, however, we cannot here dwell. See ARAIJIAX
LANGUAGE and LITERATURE. Suilice it to observe generally that Arabic is not only tha
richest of Shemitic, but one of the richest of all languages, with its more than 6,000
word-roots, and about 60,0 JO words; while the Hebrew has about 2,000 of the former
and 6,000 of the latter. The 22 consonants of the Aramaeans, and the 23 of the Hebrews,
have been augmented into 28 with the Arabs. They further have twice the number of
the Hebrew regular conjugations, in which again the latter exceed the AranVu'c by one.
The same abundance is noticeable iu the Arabic tenses, declensions, etc. The general
wealth of this language, however, will be best appreciated by its possessing some thou-
sand different terms for a sword, and a proportionate number of words for lion, serpent,
and the like ; while on the other hand, its adaptability and versatility is shown by one word
often possessing a vast number of meanings. Anciently it had *wo principal branches:
the Himyaritic, spoken iu the south, which has perished almost completely (a few partly
mutilated inscriptions, recently brought to the British museum, have been published
some time ago, and their interpretation has been attempted by Osiander and Levy in the
Germ. Or. Society a Transaction*), and the Koreishite, which, being the idiom of Moham-
med's tribe, became the paramount Arabic for all times. The Ethiopic (see ETHIOPIA) is
by some investigators held to have flowed from the Himyaritic; but from the 14th c. ,
the Amharic dialect (also Shemitic, but with little capacity for writing purposes) has
superseded the Ethiopic almost completely.

The north Shemitic or Aramaic, to which we now turn, is the language of the whols
district between the Mediterranean and the Tigris, s. of the Taurus, 'n. of Phcnicia. the

country, it can hardly be doubted that another dialect besides the Aramai was spoken
in it. But whether this was " Medo- Persian." ("like the Assyrian"), or some othei
"Turanic" idiom, largely mixed with Shemitic ingredients, must remain doubtful until
our knowledge of " Turanian" and our reading of cuneiforms shall have advanced some-
what further. There is, however, but one voice among competent investigators, thai


whatever strange elements the Babylonian and Assyrian languages may contain, they
have a full claim to be reckoned among the Shemitic. The Aramaic in general is, a8
has been observed before, poorer than the Hebrew in grammatical forms, vowels, etc.,
besides having a peculiar tendency to blunting its consonants, changing its soft s into d,
ts into t, sfi into th, and the like. It further does not express its article by a prefix, but
by an Alcf, and it forms its passives, not by a change of vowels, but by a special syllable
prefixed to the root. The first distinct trace of a difference between Hebrew and
Aramaic is found in Gen. xxxi. 47, where it is found necessary to translate Laban's
designation of the stone-heap erected in memory of his peace with Jacob. Although
tiie ancient Babylonians had, in all probability, a rich and important literature; yet
nothing of it has survived. The so-called Babylonian fragments supposed to have come
down in Arabic translations are a mere fiction. All the Aramaic literature which we
now possess is derived from the Jews, and of a very late date. The Babylonian exiles,
both those who returned to Palestine and those who stayed in the land of their captivity,
made Aramaic their habitual language. It was the common tongue of Palestine at the
time of Christ, the Hebrew being then chiefly the " holy language" i.e., the language
of temple and synagogue. Thus the Shemitic words used in the New Testament are
one and all Aramaic (Mammon; Raka; Eli, Eli, etc.; Talitha Kumi; Abba; etc.), and
the same may be said of the Shemitic terms found in Josephus. The oldest remains in
this idiom (variously called H,cbraisti, Arami, Sursi, Chaldee) are certain portions of the
Old Testament (Daniel, Ezra, etc.), the Targums (q.v.), the Mishua (to a certain extent at
least), the Talmuds, and the Midrashim. Idiomatic shades are again observable in
these different documents; but while, as a living language, it was spoken and pro-
nounced' differently in the different districts of Palestine and Babylon, yet the special
subdivisions into special provincial dialects which have been attempted can hardly be
said to be correct. From the 2d c. A.D. Christian writers, chiefly in Mesopotamia,
Edessa, Carrhae, Nisibis, began to use this language in their writings, which are princi-
pall} r theological (translation of the Bible) and dogmatical, but which also treat of medi-
cine, history, philosophy, mathematics, etc. Yet their Aramaic assumed a character so
essentially different that, in some respects at least, it becajne uu entirely distinct dialect,
viz.. Syriac, which, at a later period, assumed also to make the breach complete an
alphabet of its own (Estrangelo). Many have been the attempts to account for this strange
difference (the very existence of which was, on the other hand, almost tolally denied at
one time), but with no satisfactory result. Certain it is that the mere geographical
.reasons (east and west Aramaic, etc.) do not hold good, and are arbitrary and iallacious.
The Syriac, as a living language, ceased to be spoken since the 10th c., and only a few
Syrian Christians in Kurdistan and Mesopotamia are supposed to use a kind of vulgar
Aramaic. Syriac literature ceased about three centuries later. As the language of the
church, however, it is still in use with the Jakobite, Nestorian, and Maronile branches
of the Syrian church. Minor sister dialects of Aramaic are the Samaritan, a corrupt
Judseo-Aramaic mixed with Arabic words; the Zabian or Nazaraean (Mandaic) the
language of a theosophical sect (" disciples of John the Baptist") standing between the
Syriac and Chaldee, and mixed with Persian, but bearing altogether the stamp of an
uncouth, ungrammatical, sadly-neglected idiom; further, the Palmyrcne (Palmyra),
which, with a written character closely akin to the square Hebrew, offers but little varia-
tions from the Syriac; and finally, the ^Egypto- Aramaic, which is found on a few
monuments (stone of Citrpentras, Papyri), and probably belongs to Jews, who,- at a late
period, had immigrated into Egypt, and liad adopted the Egyptian religion. Its words
are principally Judseo- Aramaic, but with a large infusion of foreign elements.

The third principal branch, the middle Shemitic, which comprises Hebrew and
Pheuician (Punic) and all the questions connected with these have been discussed at
some length under JEWS and PHENICIA to which we refer.. See also the special articles

SHEMITIC NATIONS or SHEMITES. The different nations generally comprised
tinder this name, viz., the Assyrians, the Chaldeans or Babylonians, the Syrians, Pbeni-
cians, Hebrews, Arabs, and Ethiopians, are all treated specially in the course of this
work; it only remains here to add a few observations on the characteristics ascribed to
them all in common, and on the influence they have exercised upon the history and
development of humanity. As regards the language, the poverty of the inflections, the
well-nigh absolute impossibility of expressing abstract ideas, the general absence of
compound verbs and substantives, and the primitive state of the syntax in the Shemitic,
as contrasted with the wealth and vigor of the Aryan, have been noticed in the previous
article. From this arises, as an almost natural consequence, the general inferiority of
Shemitic literature to what we emphatically call "classical literature." Certain most
important forms of Indo-Gcrmanic poetry, for instance, are completely wanting in th<
Shemitic, such aw the epopee and the drama; although, on the other hand, the peculiar
ancient form of Arabic poetry the Kasida and the grand bursts of pathos found in the
religions books -of the Hebrews are vainly sought in Indo-European literature. Again,
a primitive state of law seems to have developed among the Aryan nations, the chipf
characteristic of which was a recognition, albeit a dim enough one, of individual rights,
in as far as they did not war against the complex unity of the "state." With th

407 Sliemltlc.

^* w Sliiiistone.

Shemites, in the absence of that talent for organization and conciliation which is so
essential a mark of the Indo-Europeuns, we find either a patriarchal, an anarchical, or a
despotical kind of government. Science and philosophy, in the larger sense of the
word, are the almost exclusive property of the Aryans. The inferiority of the Shemites
in these respects, however, is amply counterbalanced by the sublime place they take as
the ethical teachers of all humanity. How the hard and narrow egotism which, not
quite unjustly, is ascribed to them ever came to bear and ripen those grand moral
maxims with which we meet in the earliest Jewish records, and which, wrought up to
their purest idealism, form the shining glory of the New Testament, is a problem of
which some seek the solution in a peculiar intensity of character inherent in the Shemitic
races; while others account for it by direct "inspiration:" The same ma}' be said of
that monotheism which belonged, in the nrst instance, to the Hi brews out of all the
nations of the earth. It is a grave mistake, however, to describe, as Renan does, the
Shemites indiscriminately as mouotheists. Babylon and Assyria, anri Syria or Phenicia,
and the ante-Islamic Arabs, were neither more nor less polytheistic than the early or
present inhabitants of India. And, we may svell add, not bcf< re th return from the
Babylonian exile are the Jews themselves, as a body, to be considered as real moncthe-
ists. But eversince, both they, and, from the time'of Mohammed, the Arabs, have been
the representatives of a more austere and exclusive dcgma of the unity of the godhead
than a great part of the civilized world has found good to accept up to this day. Both
Christianity and Islam, the most powerful religious agents, the one for nearly 2,000
years, the other for about 1200, are in their origin Shemitic, and their influence need
not here be enlarged upon. For what we owe to the Shemites in the field of industry
and inventions, and the civilization these carried with them wherever they were im-
ported, we need only refer to PHEKICIA. Nor ought we to forget that the very alphabet
itself is of Shemitic origin.

SHEMITIC PLURAL. The Shemitic languages, particularly the Hebrew, often use the
plural where other languages only make use of the singular. This is particularly the
case in terms of space and time their vastness being conceived, f-o to say, as a multi-
] licity. Thus certain regions, like heaven which, through the influence of the Bible
language, is also with ns sometimes used pluraliter the expanse of water; further, the
place at a person's- head or feet, or even certain limbs of the body (conceived as space),
like neck, face, etc. ; or, again, periods of times, like youth, age, life, and special lasting
qualities or states, like barrenness, blindness, mercifulness, and the like, are put in
plural number, where we have the singular only. It is further applied to might and t
strength, as consisting originally of a multiplicity of elements of power. This is par-J
ticularly shown in the word Elohim (q.v.), & unity of many "mights" i.e., the
Supreme Being. The false conclusions as to the plurality of the Divine Persons being
proved by this word are best refuted by the occurrence of the plural in the word Master
(Adon), Lord (Baal), when these stand unmistakably for a single human individual, and
are meant to express merely his proprietorship of some object or other.

SHENANDO'AH, a river of Virginia, the largest tributary to the Potomac, drains the
beautiful and fertile valley between the Blue ridge and the principal range of the
Alleghanies. It rises in two branches near the center of the state, and runs n.e. to the
Potomac, 170 m., being navigable for small boats 100 miles. In the war of 1861-65 this
valley was the scene of numerous conflicts, was successively occupied by the opposing
armies, and finally laid waste by gen. Sheridan in the autumn of 1864.

SHENANDO'AH, a co. in n. Virginia, bounded on the s.e. by the Massanutten
mountain, drained by Cedar creek, and the n. fork of the Shenandoah river; on a branch
of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and the Virginia Midland ; about 500 sq.m. ; pop.
'80, 18,2041006 colored. The surface is heavily wooded. The soil is fertile. Tne
principal productions are corn, wheat, and cattle. Co. seat, Woodstock.

SHENDY, a t. of Africa, in lower Nubia, on the right bank of the Nile, 100 in. in
direct line below Khartoum. At its markets, two of which take place every week, a
large variety of articles, as wheat, straw, salt, and cotton goods, are sold. Near the town,
which gives name to a large district, the finest senna is obtained. Pop. about 10,000.

SHEN-SEE', a province of China, on the Hoang-Ho; bounded n. by Mongolia. The
Hoaug-Ho forms most of its e. boundary, and it is intersected by the Hoei-Ho; 67,400
q.m.; pop. 10,207,256. The productions arc wheat, millet, rhubarb, and ginseng. The
tmrface is mountainous, and iron, gold, porphvry. jasper, and copper are alnmdant.
The principal manufactures are agricultural and military implements, and felt for mill-
tary cloth.

SHENSTONE, WILLIAM, the son of Thomas Shenstone of the Leasowes. Ihiloa Owen,
Shropshire, and his wife Anne Penn, was born there in the year 1714. In 1782 he was
sent to Pembroke college, Oxford. While there he devoted himself much to the study
of English poetrv, and in 1737 he published without his name a small volume of miscel-
laneous verse. Subsequently, for some years, he lived in a somewhat vagrant way, yet
"without ceasing to cultivate his talent. In 1741 appeared his Jti<ff/n>en( of Ilcrciilts;
and next year. "" The Schoolmistress, the work by which chiefly lie continues to be remem-
bered. In 1745, his parents being dead, he established himself on his property of th

Sheol. 490


Lcasowes, where he thenceforth continued to reside. He busied himself with landscape
gardening, and such WHS his success in beautifying his little estate, that it attracted visi-
tors from all quart;- rs, and brought him more fame than his poetry, lie was thus, how-
ever, led into serious pecuniary embarrassments, from which, on Feb. 11, 1763, a putrid
fever relieved him.

The Schoolntjalreaa, which has secured for its author a permanent if humble place
among English poets, is written in the stanza and antique manner of Spenser's Faery
Q'.uen; and in the contrast between the stateliuess of the vehicle, and the familiar and
homely quality of the subject, with the graphic truth of its treatment, there is a singu-
lar source of charm. The other works of Shenstone are for the most part quite insignifi-
cant; but his Paxtoral Ballad lias touches of exquisite tenderness and truth of sentiment
expressed in a simple and appropriate melody.

SHEOL (LXX. ILule*, Tkajuitos, Vulg. Inferi), a Hebrew term of very frequent occur-
rence (65 times) in the Old Testament, and rendered by the authorized version: grave,
hell, or pit. Its derivation id doubtful: while some connect it with a root, denoting to
seek, others derive it from a root, ''to dig out," " to hollow" (compare Germ. llii'.l.e). The
use of the word in the original would seem to prove a great fluctuation of the dogma
respecting the world to come, during the various periods represented in the special parts
of the Bible. Sometimes it does stand unmistakably for " tomb," although our notions
of an artificially prepared grave do not originally belong to it; at other tunes, it is the
abode of disembodied spirits, whether good or evd. It is the place where the elead go to
be united with their " people," their " ancestors," friends, and all the departed. It was
placed in the center of the earth, or below the ocean, and was a dismal d;irk place, like
the Orcus, or Tartarus. It has gates and b:irs, it has chambers, valleys, and rivers, and
its inhabitants the shadows (rephaim=feeh\e ones), who ordinarily enjoy deep repose
in this "reign of silence," are troubled by being called up to the surface, or tremble at
the arrival of some great t3^raut. As the? receptacle of all things, it contains the shadows
even of trees anil kingdoms. It is described as all-devouring, remorseless, and insati-
able. There can be no doabt of the existence of an idea however vague if not of
immortality, in the modern sense, yet of some state after life among the Hebrews, even,
in the earliest times. For the Gehenna (Ge-IIinom) of the New Testament the con-
temporaneous Sheol see HELL.

SIIEPARD, CHARLES UPHAM, LL.D., b. R I., 1804; graduated at Amherst college,
1824; studied botany and mineralogy at Cambridge, and taught th?m at Boston; was
assistant to prof. Silliman at Yale two years, and lecturer on natural history, 1800-47;
professor of chemistry and natural history, A:nherst, 1815-53; in tho medical college at
Charleston, S. C. , 1854-61; professor of. natural history again at Amlisrst from 1831 to
tjie 1 present time. He has formed at Am'ierst a rem;r:fibly fine collection of minerals
and meteorites; and is author of a tre itis3 on mineralogy, a report on tho guolojy of
Coimcc'ticut, and many scientific papers.

SHEPARD, THOMAS, 1605-49; b. England; 'graduated at Emanuel college, Cam-
bridge, 1627; became a preacher and was silenced for non-conformity; arrived at Bos-
ton, 1635; aided in establishing Harvard college, 1638, and became pastor of Ihe church
in Cambridge as successor of the rev. Thomas Hooker, after whom he was esteemed tho
most learned theologian in New England. Among his writings published during his
life are: Ne'O E,i,gl;i:id'-i L'inieiit<ition,for Old E:ig'an:l'n Errors; The Sound Belief?.)'; and
Thews SubbaHcas. He left also numerous MS. works some of which have been pub-
lished in Engluid and an autobiography, first printed at Cambridge, 1832. An edition,
of his works, in 3 vols., was published in Bjston, 1853.

SHEPARD. WILLIAM, 1737-1817; b. Mass. ; was capt. under sir Jeffrey Amherst
through the French war, and during the revolution took part in 23 engagements; became
a farmer at Westfield. Mass.; as brig.geu. of militia defended the arsenal at Springfield
in the Shays insurrection, and was afterward maj.get. of militia; was a member of
the executive council 1783-3.), and of congress 1797-1863. In his old age he was very


SHEPHERD'S DOG, OH SIIV.EP DOG, the most useful and valuable of all kinds of dog,
and universally employed by shepherds throughout Europe, and in the countries colonized
from Europe, and also in some parts of Asia, to assist them in the tending of their flocks.
Without it the shepherd would be utterly incapable of taking care of the great number
of sheep often under his charge; and the expense of keeping the requisite number of
Shepherds would far more than take away the profits of sheep-farming. That the dog
was employed in the tending of sheep in very ancient times we learn from Hie allusion
to the doys of the flick in Job xxx 1. Bnffon imagined the shepherd's dog to be the
original of all the domesticated dogs; but was unable to assign any good reason for such an
opinion. The shepherd's doir exhibits nearly the same characters in all parts of Europe,
although there are slight diversities in different countries, as between that of England
and that of Scotland, there known as the mltis. It is of middling size differences of
size, however, being among the characteristics of different races; of rather slender form,
with a pretty sharp muzzle ; the ears erect, or, in some races, drooping at the lip; tho

<f 90 Sheol.


hair soft, long, shaggy, and somewhat waved; the tail slightly pendulous, more or less
recurved, and very bushy; the feet well protected by hair, so as to be adapted for jmigh
ground. The eye is very bright and intelligent, although the ordinary demeanor of the
animal is remarkably calm and quiet. .No kind of dog is more intelligent, and perhaps
none so docile. Its ready comprehension of the meaning of its master, its prompt obedi-
ence to his word or gesture, its evident knowledge of what is requisite to be done, and

Online LibraryFrancis LieberLibrary of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) → online text (page 99 of 203)