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The Migrations of the Races

A lecture by
Rudolf Steiner
Berlin, n.d., 1904
GA Unknown
(245? or B12?)


For this lecture, the date is unknown, the GA# is unknown, and the translator is unknown! It was given in Berlin, at sometime during 1904.

This English edition is published in agreement with, and the permission of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland.
Please reference the article, Three Misleading Concepts at the Waldorf Answers site for a clearer understanding of the concept of race in Steiner's works.

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THE MIGRATIONS OF THE RACES

Rudolf Steiner

Berlin, n.d. 1904

If we want to have a picture in our minds of the migrations of the Fifth Root Race (Aryan), we must realize at the very outset that it is difficult to see clearly in this chaos. Descendants of many earlier races have continued to exist among us, and even in the Fourth Root Race (Atlantean) there was a population which spread out like rays and was itself mixed with descendants of other races. The peoples of Southern Asia are remains of the population of ancient Lemuria, whose descendants are still to be found in the interior of Australia. Remains of the Fourth Root Race (Atlantean) are to be found in Western and Northern Asia and in Southern Europe. That is the soil into which the branches of the Fifth Root Race (Aryan) were implanted.

Thus we have to do with the product of two streams: the Lemurian-Aryan on the one side, and the Atlantean-Aryan on the other. But all these civilizations have absorbed into themselves an even more ancient civilization. In Siberia, Scandinavia, Northern Russia, and China there are even remains of the Hyperborean civilization. These interminglings are difficult to unravel. We will try to follow the inroads of Aryan civilization.

This cultural civilizing process spread out radially from a point in Central Asia somewhere in the neighborhood of the Gobi and Shamo deserts. It was an eminently priestly culture, preparing a race of high spiritual development to penetrate into the chaos of the peoples, to send out colonies from which new civilizations were to arise. This small root-stock had arisen out of the Fifth Subrace (the Primal Semites) of the Fourth Root Race. We must bear in mind that to these Primal Semites was allotted the special mission laid down in the law of the Manu. (See note 1.) This law of the Manu was to bring to mankind over the widest possible area, what is expressed in the words of Jesus, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, neither shall they say, Lo here, or Lo there, for behold the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17: 20 – 21) Everything earlier was only a preparation for this. It was what became the keynote of Christianity: the hallowing of the personality, the full descent to the physical plane.

From the beginning, the Manu attached very little value to that in the human being which extends beyond birth and death. Such teachings, which had been of great importance in earlier times, now glimmered away and gradually disappeared. The aim of the Manu of the Fifth Root Race was to lead men right down to the physical plane in order that they should be able to understand the physical heart, the physical brain, lungs, and so on. In the first three subraces, therefore, these teachings concerning what extends beyond birth and death, slowly faded away. For even a Manu cannot direct destinies and happenings according to his own will. He must bring everything to consummation in accordance with the great Laws of Nature. Two vistas lay before the Manu of the Fifth Root Race: the civilization that proceeded from the Lemurians and was still present in Southern Asia, and the remains of Atlantean civilization in Africa. Thither he sent out his colonies, accompanied by Priest-Initiates: one to India, the other to Africa. He sent with them the teaching of non-reincarnation, the teaching of the life between birth and death. (In the very oldest Vedas nothing is, in fact, contained about what extends beyond birth and death.) The Manu said to himself: peoples who know nothing of reincarnation will then come into contact with others who have intimate knowledge of it and the right result will be achieved. In Egypt, these colonists came into contact with the descendants of the Atlanteans, among whom the teaching of reincarnation was by no means of cardinal importance. For whereas this teaching had reached a very high stage of development among the Lemurians of the latest period, among the Atlanteans it had already become perverted. In the Atlanteans, memory was the goal and the consummation. Memory was so intense that it preponderated over everything else. Everything of a physical nature lived in the memory through heredity.

In this first exodus, therefore, we have two branches: The Indo-Aryans and the Hamites (in Africa). In India, the immigrant Indo-Aryans who brought with them the teaching of the God-revealed Word (Veda-Word), received the doctrine of reincarnation, and in Brahmanism this latter teaching exists in a very beautiful form. This was the result brought about by the Manu. Meanwhile, out of the suppressed Lemurians came the Pariahs (Sudras/Outcasts), out of the Indians, the four castes. The principle followed by the Initiates is: the mingling of what is new with what is already there — in this case the powerful manasic spirituality with the doctrine of reincarnation. In the Hamitic branch this doctrine fell more into the background, was outwardly less definite. The Egyptians attached greater importance to preservation of the corpses. The system of hereditary transmission which attaches the main value to physical continuity, was more accentuated. The value of the single life was emphasized and moulded the ancient Rishi teaching into a new form. A less definite doctrine of reincarnation mingled with the doctrine of personality.

The dispatch of a new branch constituted the second migration. We can follow this when, to begin with, we look toward the East and study the Medes and Persians, and then the racial stock which made its way through Chaldea and into history in the journeyings of Abraham. On the other side, the racial stock that went Westward also came into contact with the remains of Atlantean civilization — actually the fourth subrace, the Turanian (?Iranian?) population — which had engaged in agriculture.

A strange mixture was the result. By dint of vigorous effort, this racial stock was grafted upon the former Turanian people who in earlier times had practiced magic. From here came the teachings of the Medes and Bactrians. Here labored the first Initiates of Zarathustra, intent upon employing the outer accomplishments of the age of magic in the service of civilization. The result is an imposing development of agriculture and vine-cultivation. These activities constituted a revival, in a new form, of the ancient magical achievements.

Another branch of colonists went to the West and came upon the remains of the Atlantean Primal Semites — those who had been chosen out in the first place — and these form what is known as the ancient Semitic stock: Chaldeans, Babylonians, Phoenicians, and Arabians. They constitute a Neo-Semitic civilization. We find the happenings of most importance to begin with among the Medes and Persians. These happenings are recounted in an old story of which there have been many new versions and which we finally encounter in the figure of Cyrus. (See note 2.) One of the kings had a daughter, Mandane, who married, not a Mede but a Persian. The father dreamt that a tree grew from his daughter's body. The interpretation of the dream was that the Persian stock would overshadow the Median. The old story of Cyrus had a deeply esoteric significance. Cyrus is the representative of the Persians who are an agricultural people, in contrast to the Medes who are not, and the tree indicates that the agricultural civilization triumphs. The ancient civilization passes over to agriculture.

We can see from the organization and development of the Persian character how this process came to its consummation. The goal of the Persians was physical strength, physical vigor. In this region there were no Lemurians. It was the Atlanteans who had prepared for the development of personality. Among the Persians, emphasis was laid above all on personal qualities and virtues. A noteworthy characteristic is that instruction was given in telling the truth (Wahrheitsagen). This, as well as gymnastics, was a compulsory subject