The Norsemen are a Germanic race, and belong, accordingly, to the Aryan family. Their next of kin are the Swedes and Danes. Their original home was Asia, and probably that part of Asia which the ancients called Bactria, near the sources of the rivers Oxus and Jaxartes. Not only the Norsemen are supposed to have come from this region, but the ancestors of all the Aryan nations which now inhabit the greater portion of the civilized world. Among the first to leave this cradle of nations were the tribes which settled upon the eastern islands and peninsulas of the Mediterranean, and, under the name of Hellenes, developed, long before the Christian era, an art and a literature which are, in some respects, yet unrivalled. The early Italic tribes, from which sprung in time the world-empire of Rome, trace their descent from the same ancestry; as do also the Kelts, who in ancient times inhabited England, Ireland, and France; the Slavs who settled in the present Russia, Bohemia, and the northern Turkish provinces; and the Germans, who occupied the great central regions of the European continent. Among Asiatic nations, the Iranians inhabiting Persia, and the Hindoos in India, have Aryan blood.
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