This, coupled with the realization of the fact that the value to France of her colonies was mainly commercial,, led at length to the abandonment of the attempt to impose on a great number of diverse peoples, some possessing (as in Indo-China and parts of West Africa) ancient and highly complex civilizations, French laws, habits of mind, tastes and manners.
Existing civilizations were respected, a considerable degree of autonomy was granted, and every effort made to raise the moral and economic status of the natives.
One of the oldest and most widespread methods of divining the future, both among primitive people and among several of the civilizations of antiquity, was the reading of omens in the signs noted on the liver of the animal offered as a sacrifice to some deity.
It was from a remote period, antedating certainly 3000 B.C., the highway of empire and of commerce between east and west, more specifically between Babylonia or Irak and Syria, and numerous empires, peoples and civilizations have left their records on its shores.
Palestinian states on the other, and that they could scarcely have escaped the all-pervading Babylonian influences of 2000-1400 B.C. It is now becoming clearer every day, especially since the discovery of the laws of Khammurabi, that, if we are to think sanely about Hebrew history before as well as after the exile, we can only think of Israel as part of the great complex of Semitic and especially Canaanite humanity that lived its life in western Asia between 2060 and 600 B.C.; and that while the Hebrew race maintained by the aid of prophetism its own individual and exalted place, it was not less susceptible then, than it has been since, to the moulding influences of great adjacent civilizations and ideas.
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