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C.) and the whole of Western Asia passed under the Medo-Persian power of Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius, till the time of the triumph of the Macedonian army under Alexander the Great (330 B. After the Selucidæ, Western Asia passed into the power of the Parthian, Arsacid, and Sassanian dynasties of Persia, and remained so until the advent and the seeping triumph of the Mohammedan armies in the seventh century of the Christian era.

While the Sassanian kings held their power and authority over the whole region east of the Euphrates, the Romans had absolute power over Syria, parts of northern Mesopotamia, and Asia Minor .

In the present article it is intended to give a rapid survey of the geography, ethnography, political and religious history of Asia, and especially of the rise, progress, and actual condition of Asiatic Christianity and Catholicism.

For further information concerning the religious conditions of the various Asiatic countries, the reader is referred to the special articles on the subject in this Encyclopedia.

The existence and supremacy of this Turanian element in the southern part of the Tigris-Euphrates valley is historically attested by the old Babylonian inscriptions, by their system of writing, language, civilization, and governing dynasties.

Scholars have given the name Turanians, or Akkadians, or better Sumerians, to this foreign invading element, and they are all agreed that their power and authority remained uncontested for about a thousand years, i.e., till about the beginning of the third millennium B.

At what period man first made his appearance in Asia we do not know, although there have been various and conflicting theories as to when that even took place.Soon after, Western Asia passed into the power of the Ottoman Turks who have succeeded in maintaining their authority intact over the same regions till our own day.The Mongolian tribes of Northern Asia seem to have grown as early as the second millennium B. into various kingdoms and nationalities, such as the Chinese, the Japanese, the Tatars, with their distinct kingdoms and dynasties.Asia is the largest of the continents, having a geographic area of about 17,000,000 square miles, or about one-third of the whole of the dry land.It is also the oldest known portion of the globe, the earliest known seat of civilization, and, in all probability, the cradle of the human race, although scholars differ as to whether the primitive home of mankind should be located in South-western Asia, and more particularly in the Tigris-Euphrates valley, as the Biblical tradition of Genesis seems to indicate, or rather in Central Asia, and more particularly in the Indo-Iranian plateau.

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