National Geographic : 1897 Jun
176 THE EFFECTS OF GEOGRAPHIC ENVIRONMENT geographic environment caused the creation of many small states; then a city became a state, frequently at war with its neighbors. Literature, arts, and sciences, enriched with personal liberty and freedom of action, were added to the civilization of the Orient. In Greece all nature was on a small scale. Civilization needed a broader field, and from Greece it moved westward to Rome, where it acquired the principles of order and stable gov ernment and established its rule over many nations and peoples savage, barbarian, and civilized. But personal freedom was, after the second century A. D., lost. The Roman tribune became an imperial Augustus, the world subject again to a single will. The Dark Ages followed, wherein the foundations of the states of modern Europe were laid. These ages of darkness must pre cede the Renaissance, and then for a short time the march of civ ilization was turned back toward the land of its birth. Constan tinople was founded-that great and wonderful city, beautiful in situation, overlooking the Eastern and Western worlds; where continuous imperial power has existed longer than in any other city; where the literature, art, and science of the Old World were preserved that they might be handed down to Italy again when the Dark Ages were past. With the Renaissance, civilization finally turned westward and wended its way from Constanti nople to Venice and Genoa. From Italy the culture of the Old World was carried on the great lines of travel to central and northern Europe. With the Renaissance the lethargy of the Dark Ages was broken. Printing was invented, America was discovered, and civilization started on its westward course across the Atlantic to its home in a new world, where public schools, science, art, mo rality, and religion, with equality and freedom, are working out the civilization of the future. We have seen that in the early life of our race man was not only dependent on his environment, but a slave to it. As he passed from savage to civilized life, he gradually threw off the yoke, relying more and more upon himself and becoming less and less dependent on his surroundings. Cold and heat, snow and rain, storm and sunshine, time and space, no longer control him. He not only rises superior to their power, but uses them for his own pleasure and purposes. In the infancy of his race the feeblest and most helpless of animals, the slave of his en vironment, he has in his manhood claimed and exercised the right to rule and become its master.