The book of Ether, depicting the uprooting and scattering from the tower of a numerous population, shows them going forth not individually but in groups, and not merely family groups but groups of friends and associates: “thy friends and their families, and the friends of Jared and their families” (Ether 1:41). There was no point in having Jared’s language unconfounded if there was to be no one he could talk to, and his brother cried to the Lord that his friends might also retain the language. The same, however, would apply to any other language: If every individual were to speak a tongue all of his own and so go off entirely by himself, the races would have been not merely scattered but quite annihilated.1 We must not fall into the old vice of reading into the scripture things that are not there. There is nothing said in our text about every man suddenly speaking a new language. We are told in the book of Ether that languages were confounded with and by the “confounding” of the people: “Cry unto the Lord,” says Jared (Ether 1:34), “that he will not confound us that we may not understand our words” (italics added). The statement is significant for more than one thing. How can it possibly be said that “we may not understand our words”? Words we cannot understand may be nonsense syllables or may be in some foreign language, but in either case they are not our words. The only way we can fail to understand our own words is to have words that are actually ours change their meaning among us. That is exactly what happens when people, and hence languages, are either “confounded,” that is, mixed up, or scattered. In Ether’s account, the confounding of people is not to be separated from the confounding of their languages; they are, and have always been, one and the same process: the Lord, we are told (Ether 1:35—37), “did not confound the language of Jared; and Jared and his brother were not confounded . . . and the Lord had compassion upon their friends and their families also, that they were not confounded.” That “confound” as used in the book of Ether is meant to have its true and proper meaning of “to pour together,” “to mix up together,” is clear from the prophecy in Ether 13:8, that “the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; . . . and they shall no more be confounded,” the word here meaning mixed up with other people, culturally, linguistically, or otherwise.
Yet another important biblical expression receives welcome elucidation from our text: though Ether says nothing about “the whole earth” being “of one language and one speech” (Genesis 11:1), he does give us an interesting hint as to how those words may be taken. Just as “son” and “descendant” are the same word in Hebrew and so may easily be confused by translators (who in fact have no way of knowing, save from the context, in which sense the word is to be understood), so “earth” and “land” are the same word, the well-known eretz. In view of the fact that the book of Ether, speaking only of the Jaredites, notes that “there were none of the fair sons and daughters upon the face of the whole earth who repented of their sins” (Ether 13:17), it would seem that the common “whole earth” (kol ha-aretz) of the Old Testament need not always be taken to mean the entire globe. Certainly it is quite as legitimate to think of the days of Peleg as the time when, as the old Jewish writers describe it, “the children of Noah began to divide the earth among themselves,” 2 as, without the least authority, to visualize the drifting of the continents or the rending apart of the terrestrial globe. A reader’s first reaction to an ancient and fragmentary text usually becomes a lifelong credo, though research and revelation have combined in latter days to discredit this obvious and easy solution of the mysteries. The book of Ether, like First Nephi, is, when we come to examine it, heavily weighted in the direction of sober and factual history and was never meant to be a springboard for the imagination; for example, our record does not attribute the scattering of the people, as one might innocently suppose it does, to the confusion of tongues. After the brother of Jared had been assured that he and his people and their language would not be confounded, the question of whether they would be driven out of the land still remained to be answered: That was another issue, and it is obvious that the language they spoke had as little to do with driving them out of the land as it did with determining their destination. It was something else that drove the reluctant Jaredites from their homes. What could have forced them to leave? History to be sober and factual need not deal with the dull, normal, and everyday. The confounding and scattering of the people of the tower was no slow working out of the historical process. It was sudden and terrible, and the book of Ether gives the clearest possible indication of what caused it.
But this introduces a theme on which it is impossible for me to speak with brevity. Let us consign it to a later communication.
A Note on the Weather3
It is gratifying to know that you have at last read the book of Ether and found that it is not, in spite of its name, “chloroform in print.” The thing to which you are now objecting, “the extravagant and overdone account of how they crossed the ocean,” is the very thing to which my last letter was leading. We ended, you will recall, with the observation that it must have been something terrific that drove the Jaredites out of the land. What was it?
The burans of central Asia are terrible at all times. Ancient and modern travelers tell almost unbelievable but uniform tales of those appalling winds which almost daily shift vast masses of sand, dust, and even gravel from one part of the continent to another.4 The great loess deposits on the eastern and western fringes of the vast area bear witness to even more dreadful dust storms that accompanied the drying up of the land after the glacial epoch. But it is when the world’s weather gets out of hand, as it has a number of times in the course of history, that the blowing sands of Asia bring mighty empires to ruin, bury great cities almost overnight, and scatter the tribes in all directions to overrun and submerge the more favored civilizations of the east and west. The weather of Asia is the great central driving mechanism of world history. It is only in recent years that men have begun to correlate the great migrations of history, with their attendant wars and revolutions, with those major weather crises such as the great wind and drought of 2300—2200 B.C. and the world floods of 1300 B.C., which we now know to have taken place in the course of recorded history.5 So hypnotized have students of society become by the ease and directness with which an evolutionary rule-of-thumb may be applied to all the contingencies of life, that the raging of the elements and the crash of empires go unheeded in their graphs and handbooks. With examples gross as earth before them, they still disdain to recognize anything as cheaply sensational as plagues and earthquakes, nor will they acknowledge the frightening speed with which the scenes of world history are shifted.
Sir Aurel Stein in his book Lou-Lan has described the deserted houses and streets of that city standing exactly as they did fourteen centuries ago, when their inhabitants were driven forth by drought so sudden and severe that neither the wood of the fruit trees nor the most delicate fabrics have rotted since then.6 The mighty city of Etsina was just as suddenly deserted six hundred years ago, and not found until 1909: “All natural life died. The trees of the forest threw themselves to the ground [referring, of course, to the terrible winds] . . . and storms arose which soon buried the country in sand.” To this day the trees remain undecayed, “like sun-dried mummies, dead, naked and grey. . . . Over a vast area, once shady forest, they lay in thousands. . . . We passed other ruins of deserted strong-holds, and with strange sensations dug up objects that no human being had touched for more than six hundred years.”7 The same traveler who reports these things was to witness the recurrence of this familiar Asiatic tragedy with his own eyes:
Once we came upon an abandoned Sart village, where newly thrown-up dams and uncompleted excavations bore witness to the departed population’s desperate struggle to retain the vanishing water. . . . But a day had come when there was no more water to be had. The animals stood by the watering places and sought in vain for moisture, the women wept in the houses, and the men gathered in the mosque to pray to Allah for the miracle which alone could save their many homes. [Cf. Ether 1:38.] But no miracle happened; the village got no water, and in the last extremity of famine the people had thrown their most indispensable possessions on to the remaining horses and donkeys and hastily left their homes and the lands of their fathers to follow their aksakal [village elder, cf. the brother of Jared] out into the parched country around on a desperate search for water.8
The fate of the unhappy wanderers is thus described: “Later on we sometimes met with small parties of these former agricultural villagers, who now drifted about out on the steppes as unhappy nomads. The fugitives had been obliged to divide into small groups, since no one water-hole could accommodate them all.”9
Is not this the story of the dispersion in miniature? You know the story of how the ancestors of the Etruscans were driven out of Asia Minor by drought and moved to the west, hunting for a promised land. It is not merely water these people were looking for, but a better land, above all, a better grazing land. In the epic of the Banī Hilāl we are shown how one of the greatest of Arab tribes was driven from their homes by seven years of hot winds, and how they sought a promised land, first in Central Asia and then in Morocco. It was when the rest of the world was smitten with famine that Egypt became the refuge of the patriarchs, for “there was corn in Egypt.” As you know, there are two classic points or centers of radiation from which all the great migrations of antiquity took their beginning—the heart of Asia and (to a far lesser degree) the Arabian desert. Is it not remarkable that the migrations of the Book of Mormon take their departure from these same two centers?
You must get over the idea that history moves at a slow, even, majestic pace. It does not. The sudden calamity that overtook an Asian village in 1927 has struck repeatedly in the past, dispersing the inhabitants of mighty capitals to become wanderers on the earth, and “when the storm laid itself to rest, the flying sands solidified again and the terrified nomads found the whole face of nature changed into new shapes.”10 And of all the many cities and empires dispersed by a sudden puff of burning air, Babel, the city of the tower, has left behind the richest deposit of legend and tradition.
Eusebius in his Chronicon, which has surprisingly proved one of the most reliable sources of early oriental history, cites the Sibyl to the effect that “when all men were of one tongue, some of them built a high tower so as to mount up to heaven, but God destroyed the tower by mighty winds.” 11 Two centuries earlier Theophilus of Antioch gave a fuller version of the story, quoting the Sibyl in verse: “After the cataclysm cities and kings had a new beginning, in this manner. The first city of all was Babylon, . . . and one by the name of Nimrod became its king. . . . Since at that time men tended to become scattered, they took counsel of themselves and not of the Lord, to build a city and a tower the top of which would reach to heaven, so that their own name might be glorified. . . . Thus speaks the Sybil: But when the threats of the great God were fulfilled of which he had warned mortal men at the time, they built a tower in the Assyrian land. They all once spoke the same language and wanted to mount up to the starry heavens. But forthwith the Immortal One laid great stress upon the blasts, so that the wind overthrew the mighty tower, and drove mortals to strive with one another. And when the tower had fallen, the languages of men were divided up into many dialects, so that the earth became filled with different kingdoms of men.”12 The Book of Jubilees (second century B.C.) tells how “the Lord sent a mighty wind against the tower and overthrew it upon the earth, and behold it was between Asshur and Babylon in the land of Shinar, and they called its name ‘Overthrow.’ “13 The zealous and learned Persian antiquary Tha’labi (d. A.D. 1030) records the report that the people were scattered from the tower by an awful drought, accompanied by winds of such velocity as actually to blow down the tower.14 “And forty years after the Tower was finished,” says Bar Hebraeus, who collected a vast amount of lore in central Asia in the thirteenth century, “God sent a wind and the Tower was overturned and Nemrodh died in it.”15 The picture of violent atmospheric disturbances accompanied by social upheavals, the scattering of tribes, and the changing of languages cannot but go back to some real experience; not only is it the sort of thing one would expect, but it is also definitely known to have happened time and time again—there is no reason for doubting that a great city called Babel once long ago suffered the same fate as the people of ‘Ad and Thamud, of Lou Lan, Etsingol, or the Nasamonians.16
But what of the Book of Mormon? In striking contrast to the story of Lehi, where the only terrors met on the journey by land and sea were the normal and familiar ones, including a typhoon, we have in the history of the Jaredite migration a very freakish state of things. The Lord commanded Nephi to build “a ship”—an ordinary ship, which his brothers felt sure he would never be able to finish. Yet the ship was finished, and the family set sail. Nephi’s brethren, for all their mocking, apparently had no scornful comments to make on the type of ship he was building. From which we conclude that it was, as it is repeatedly called, simply “a ship,” though, as a landsman, Nephi needed special guidance (1 Nephi 17:8). Now, Lehi’s people had to cross at least twice and probably three or four times as much water as the Jaredites, and an ordinary ship sufficed for their purpose. But Jared’s ships were altogether unusual vessels. The Lord gave the builder special instructions for every detail. They had to be submersible and yet ride very lightly on the surface of the waves. “They were small and they were light upon the water,” yet built to stand terrific pressure: “exceedingly tight,” “tight like unto a dish,” with special sealed vent holes that could not be opened when the water pressure on the outside was greater than the air pressure within. The Lord explained why it would be necessary to build such peculiar vessels: because he was about to loose winds of incredible violence that would make the crossing a frightful ordeal at best: any windows, he warns, will be dashed to pieces; fire will be out of the question; “ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. . . . Ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?” (Ether 2:23—25). This was no normal crossing and no brief passing storm: “The wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters” (Ether 6:8)—”the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters; . . . they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind” (Ether 6:5—6; italics added). It is perfectly clear from our account that the party was to spend a good deal of time below the surface of the sea! Of course such phenomenal and continual winds cannot have been a mere local disturbance, and we may confidently assume that the book of Ether is reporting the same super-winds that are said to have accompanied and possibly caused the destruction of the tower.
In so many words, the book of Ether tells us that at the time of the dispersion the world was swept by winds of colossal violence. There are three main sources for checking on this: (1) the old traditions of the tower, which almost always mention the winds, (2) the studies of the paleoclimatologists which correlated with historical records show that the world has repeatedly passed through catastrophic climatic changes within the last 6,000 years, e.g. the great world drought and windstorms of cir. 2200 B.C., the terrible drought of 1000 B.C., the equally violent floods of 1300 B.C. and the Fimbulwinter of 850 B.C. etc.,17 and (3) actual historical records of places that have suffered the same fate as Babel, showing that to be not a fantastic but actually a characteristic occurrence in world history. A good example of such historical records is Qazwini’s Cosmography, which tells how in the Middle Ages the great dome of Bagdad, which “dome was the symbol (‘alam) of Bagdad, and the crown of the country, and the principal achievement of the sons of Abbas,” collapsed during a great windstorm. Scholars have often pointed out that the Tower of Babel was just such a symbol of the power and unity of its builders (Genesis 11:4).18
Not only does the Bible not mention the winds, but the Book of Mormon itself does so casually, albeit quite specifically, by way of explaining why the Jaredite ships were built as they were and in describing the sea voyage. This very casualness is a strong argument for the authenticity of the record.
The Way Out19
From the plain of Shinear the Jaredites moved northward into a valley named after Nimrod, the mighty hunter, and thence “into that quarter where there never had man been” (Ether 2:5). This would take them into the land of great broad valleys where the Tigris, Euphrates, Kura, and Araks rivers have their headwaters, a “hub of radiating valleys and routes to which the Euphrates owes its importance as a highway of commercial and military penetration.”20 The frequent occurrence of the name of Nimrod in this area, which we have already noted, may not be without genuine significance, for no historical phenomenon has been more thoroughly demonstrated than the extreme tenacity of place names. In many instances place names still in use among illiterate peasants or nomads have been proved to go back to prehistoric times.
Whether the party moved east or west from the valley of Nimrod is not a major issue, though a number of things favor an eastern course.21 For one thing, there is the great length of the journey: “for this many years we have been in the wilderness” (Ether 3:3); such a situation calls not only for vast expanses to wander in, but a terrain favorable to cattle-raising nomads and a region “in which there never had man been,” conditions to which the Asiatic rather than the European areas conform. But most revealing is the report that “the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land, while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind” (Ether 6:8). Now whether the Jaredites sailed from eastern or western shores, they would necessarily have to cross the ocean between the thirtieth and sixtieth parallels north, where the prevailing winds are westerly right around the world. Since the cause of these winds is tied up with the revolution of the earth and the relative coolness of the polar regions, it may be assumed that the same winds prevailed in Jared’s time as in ours. Of course, one cannot be too dogmatic on such a point, for weather has changed through the ages, and freak storms do occur; yet the extreme steadiness of the wind strongly suggests prevailing westerlies and a North Pacific crossing, since it would have meant a headwind all the way had the voyagers attempted the Atlantic. The length of the sea journey, 344 days, tells us nothing, since the vessels, though driven before the wind, apparently did not use sails: the almost perpetual hurricane conditions would have made sails impossible even if they had had them. But the fact that the party spent almost a year on the water even with the winds behind them certainly suggests the Pacific, and recalls many tales of Chinese junks that through the centuries have been driven helplessly before the wind to end up after a year or so at sea stranded on the beaches of our West Coast.22 Then too, we must not forget that a mountain of “exceeding height” stood near the point of Jaredite embarkation (Ether 3:1), and that there is no such mountain on the Atlantic seaboard of Europe, as there are at many points on the Asiatic shore.
But east or west, from the Baltic to the Pacific, “from the Gobi desert and the border of Korea to the Lower Danube and the Carpathian Mountains,” a single way of life has prevailed since the dawn of history, conditioned by a remarkably uniform type of terrain.23 A number of authoritative studies in the so-called Art of the Steppes, and the excavations of the Russians in recent years have confirmed the most extravagant speculations on the extent, antiquity, and uniformity of the steppe cultures. The newly discovered Kelteminarian culture, for example, would seem to bind together all the major languages of Europe and central Asia in a single, vast, prehistoric continuum that embraces not only the Indo-European family but the Turanian as well and even the ancient non-Aryan languages of India.24 Asia is the classic land of wandering tribes and nations, with a common type of culture and society which, as we shall see, is perfectly exemplified by the Jaredites.
Only the book of Ether sees the now dry and dusty landscapes under peculiar conditions: “And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord. And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise” (Ether 2:6—7; italics added). The crossing of many waters under continual direction comes as a surprise, “the sea” in question being apparently but one—though the most formidable—of many waters to be crossed. Now it is a fact that in ancient times the plains of Asia were covered with “many waters,” which have now disappeared but are recorded as existing well down into historic times; they were of course far more abundant in Jared’s time. Even as late as Herodotus, the land of the Scythians (the region into which Jared’s people first advanced) presented formidable water barriers to migration: “The face of the country may have differed considerably from what it is now,” says Vernadsky, “the rivers were much deeper and many lakes were still left from the glacial age which later turned into swamps.”25 Indeed, Pumpelly’s theory of the development of civilization from oasis cultures rests on the assumed existence of vast inland seas, now vanished, but well attested even as late as the Chinese annals, which speak of “expansive bodies of water of which Lob-nor and other shrunken lakes and brackish tarns are the withered survivals.”26 The steady and continual drying up of the Asiatic “heartland” since the end of the last ice age is one of the basic facts of history and is even looked upon by some experts as the mainspring of world history. But it is a relatively recent discovery. Whoever wrote the book of Ether showed remarkable foresight in mentioning waters rather than deserts along the migrants’ way, for most of the deserts are of very recent origin, while nearly all the ancient waters have completely vanished. We need only remind ourselves that Sven Hedin has discovered that there are lakes which actually move in Central Asia!
1. Among traditions of the dispersion, that story is not lacking of the righteous man whose language was not changed. Certain rabbis, says Bar Hebraeus, in E. A. Wallis Budge, The Chronography of Bar Hebraeus, 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1932), 1:8—9, teach that the “Hebrew . . . was preserved with Abher (Eber), for he was a righteous man and did not agree to the building of the tower.” This theory is necessary to defend the belief, popular among the Jews, that Hebrew is the language of paradise. The book of Ether is much more realistic.
2. Jubilees 8:8.
3. Part 3 of “The World of the Jaredites,” IE 54 (November 1951): 786—87, 833—35, began at this point.
4. John de Pian de Carpini opens his account of his travels in Central Asia in the 13th century with a description of these winds, in Manuel Komroff, ed., Contemporaries of Marco Polo (New York: Liveright, 1928), 4. Such modern explorers as G. N. Roerich, Trails to Inmost Asia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1931), 49, refer to them repeatedly, e.g., “We were approaching the great desert basin of inner Asia, and each breath of wind brought dust from its vast sandy expanse,” 110, 193—95, 404, etc.
5. Good general treatments of the major weather changes in ancient history may be found in C. E. P. Brooks, Climate Through the Ages (London: Benn, 1926); A. R. Burn, Minoans, Philistines, and Greeks (New York: Knopf, 1930); Christopher Dawson, The Age of the Gods (London: Murray, 1928); J. L. Myres, “The Ethnology and Primitive Culture of the Nearer East and the Mediterranean World,” in Edward Eyre, ed., European Civilization, 7 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1934—38), 1:94—95, 103; J. B. S. Haldane, “A Biologist Looks at England,” Harpers 175 (August 1937): 284, 286; V. Gordon Childe, New Light on the Most Ancient East (New York: Praeger, 1953), ch. 2.
6. Aurel Stein, Serindia, 5 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1921; reprinted Delhi: Matilal Banarsidass, 1980—83), 1:369—449; Aurel Stein, Innermost Asia, 3 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1928), 1:214—16.
7. Henning Haslund, Men and Gods in Mongolia (New York: Dutton, 1935), 106—10.
8. Ibid., 176—77.
9. Ibid., 177.
10. Ibid., 106.
11. Eusebius, Chronicorum I, 4, in PG 19:116.
12. Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum II, 31, in PG 6:1101; virtually the same text in the Sibylline Books 3:98—107, in R. H. Charles, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1912), 2:380—81. The idea that the tower was built expressly to unify the human race which was tending to become dispersed is found in Sibylline Books 5:423: “touching the very clouds and seen of all, so that all the faithful and all the righteous may see the glory of the invisible God.” Of this idea Emil G. Kraeling, “The Earliest Hebrew Flood Story,” JBL 66 (1947): 283, says, “Here is indeed a primitive, yet profound philosophy concerning the nature of the Oriental city.” Whether Babel was a tower or a city, ibid., 280—83, is a mere quibble, since the two normally go together. In spite of everything, God cursed the project because it was undertaken by men on their own without consulting him: “Woe to thee, Babylon, golden-throned and golden-sandaled, thou who for many a year wast queen, sole sovereign of the world, of old so great and cosmopolitan,” Sibylline Books 5:434—5.
13. Jubilees 10:26.
14. Thaclabi, Qiṣaṣ al-Anbiyya, 43.
15. Budge, Chronography of Bar Hebraeus, 1:8.
16. For ‘Ad and Thamud, R. A. Nicholson, A Literary History of the Arabs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1930), 1—3; Herodotus, Histories II, 31—32. The suddenness of the fall of world-ruling Babylon made an ineradicable impression on the minds of men, who have applied the name of that city as a “code-word” to every doomed world-metropolis since then, e.g., Rome, Alexandria.
17. The magazine article at this point reads: “I suppose that one would only have to find the next major catastrophe before 2300 B.C. in order to date the Tower of Babel with some accuracy. Meantime, I must insist again, we are concerned only with the sort of thing that happened. Not only does the Bible not mention the winds, but the Book of Mormon itself does so casually, albeit very specifically, by way of explaining something else. This very casualness is a strong argument for the authenticity of the record. As we said at the beginning, the Book of Ether leads one into the strangest regions. Now we shall demonstrate the surprising fact that even at its oddest, our story never loses touch with historical reality. That is going to take a good deal of time and paper, so let this suffice for the present and expect more.” IE 54 (1951): 835.
18. “This dome was the symbol (‘alam) of Baghdad, and the crown of the country, and the principal achievement of the sons of Abbas.” cf. Genesis 11:4. The passage is in E. Harder, Arabische Chrestomathie (Heidelberg: Goos, 1911), 166.
19. Part 4 of “The World of the Jaredites,” IE 54 (December 1951): 862—63, 946—47, began at this point. Originally, this installment began with the following paragraph, the basic content of which appears as the last paragraph of the preceeding section: “So you think my account of the Big Wind is a bit farfetched. I make no claim that the tower was blown over, but only point out that the ancients had a very old, widespread, and persistent tradition that its fall was accompanied by high winds. This I correlate with the description of the winds in the Book of Ether. To show you that such a thing is possible, however, I will give you one historical parallel. Qazwini in his Cosmography says that the great dome of Bagdad was a sign and symbol of the power and unity of the land. Scholars have often pointed out that the Tower of Babel served as a like symbol. Qazwini further informs us that this mighty structure was destroyed by a terrible wind—at least he says it fell during a windstorm and leaves us to draw our conclusions.”
20. Alexandre Moret, Histoire de l’Orient, 2 vols. (Paris: Presses Universitaires, 1929—36), 1:306.
21. See appendix 1.
22. See Charles E. Chapman, A History of California: The Spanish Period (New York: Macmillan, 1926), 21—30.
23. The quotation is from Louis Marin, foreword to G. N. Roerich, Trails to Inmost Asia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1931), ix.
24. V. Altman, “Ancient Khorezmian Civilization in the Light of the Latest Archaeological Discoveries (1937—1945),” JAOS 67 (1947): 81—85.
25. George Vernadsky, Ancient Russia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1943), 15—16. In the 12th century it was possible to ward off invasion from the great central Asian kingdom of Khwarazm by flooding the country, Karl A. Wittfogel and FÃªng Chia-ShÃªng, “History of Chinese Society Liao,” TAPS 36 (1946): 647.
26. Raphael Pumpelly, Explorations in Turkestan, 2 vols. (Washington: Carnegie Institution, 1908), 2:286; cf. 1:66, 70-75.