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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 647 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 01.

[1] Hakluyt, I, 22.

[2] Acre, in Palestine—­E.

CHAP.  VII.

Sketch of the Revolutions in Tartary.

Our limits do not admit of any detailed account of the history of those numerous and warlike pastoral nations, which in all ages have occupied the vast bounds of that region, which has been usually denominated Scythia by the ancients, and Tartary by the moderns:  yet it seems necessary to give in this place, a comprehensive sketch of the revolutions which have so strikingly characterized that storehouse of devastating conquerors, to elucidate the various travels into Tartary which are contained in this first book of our work; and in this division of our plan, we have been chiefly guided by the masterly delineations on the same subject, of the eloquent historian of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire[1].

In their navigation of the Euxine, and by planting colonies on its coasts, the Greeks became acquainted with Western Scythia, extending from the Danube, along the northern frontiers of Thrace, to mount Caucasus.  The great extent of the ancient Persian Empire, which reached at one period from the Danube to the Indus, exposed its whole northern frontier to the Scythian nations, as far to the east as the mountains of Imaus or Caf, now called the Belur-tag.  The still more eastern parts of Scythia or Tartary were known of old to the Chinese, and stretch to the utmost north-eastern bounds of Asia.  Thus from the Danube and Carpathian mountains, in long. 26 deg..  E, to the promontory of Tschuts-koi-nos, or the East Cape of Asia, in long. 190 deg..  E. this vast region extends in length 160 degrees of longitude, or not less than 8000 miles.  Its southern boundaries are more difficultly ascertainable:  but, except where they are pressed northwards by the anciently civilized empire of China, these may be assumed at a medium on the thirty-fifth degree of north latitude; from, whence Scythia or Tartary extends in breadth to the extremity of the frozen north.

Next to the nomadic nations of Western Scythia, who encountered and baffled the arms of Darius, King of Persia, under the general name of Scythians, who were perhaps congeneric, or the same with those afterwards known by the name of Goths, the dreaded name of the Huns became known to the declining Roman Empire.  But our object does not require us to attempt to trace the history of these nations, under their various appellations of Huns, Topa, Geougen, Turks, Chozars, and others, till the establishment of the vast empire of Zingis connected the history and devastating conquests of the Tartars with the affairs of modern Europe[2].

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