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Thread: Race of the ancient Romans?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agrippa View Post
    At that time, the differences in Europe were probably less pronounced than they are now anyway, at least going after the record...
    Interesting. We need a wide reflection about how the phenotypic composition of the continent changed from region to region.


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    An etruscan legionary of Rome San Galgano's Avatar
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    I would like to clear some incoming questions anyway....

    quote:
    "The average recorded age at death for the slaves of the city of Rome was extraordinarily low: seventeen and a half years (17.2 for males; 17.9 for females)."

    (Harper, 1972)

    quote:

    "However, one piece of negative evidence...provides an intriguing hint that conventional estimates of slaves making up as much as 40 percent of Italy's population by the late first century B.C. may be far too high. An analysis of the genetic makeup of Italy's modern population argues that the various distinctive genetic combinations currently found in different regions within the peninsula by and large track the linguistic distribution that resulted from the migrations of the Iron Age. No data indicate the subsequent large-scale infusion of new genetic material into the populations of these regions except in the case of southern Italy and eastern Sicily, which is explained by the well-documented Greek migrations there. ... But if a population of 3 million slaves, representing as much as 40 percent of Italy's inhabitants in the first century B.C., was successfully reproducing itself, it would surely have left its mark on the genetic makeup of contemporary Italians. That it did not argues strongly for a very low rate of natural reproduction among Italy's slaves, which in turn is difficult to reconcile with the hypothesis that the number of slaves ever grew large enough to comprise 40 percent of the Italian population."

    (Rosenstein, 2004)


    Mind that every time someone thinks to Rome it often happens that he thinks to middleastern slaves. I'm not denying some middleastern could have landed as slave in Rome but slaves were not only from there but from the whole empire.
    Furthermore many slaves never set foot in Italy as since the middle eastern part of the empire was richer of resources than Europe so rich indeed that romans fought until the end against sassanids and many slaves were settled there.
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    REJOICE, 0 Florence, since thou art so great,
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    And throughout Hell thy name is spread abroad !


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  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maniot View Post







    Wogs.
    Romans from Egypt (Egyptians with Roman citizenship) - the pics are from the portraits of Fayyum, an importan Egyptian arheological site.






    Roman portraits from Pompei and Ercolano (Italy):







    For me the one on the right is not Roman or is a mix or simply a darker phenotype (dark people exist everywhere)...

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    An etruscan legionary of Rome San Galgano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RomanQueen View Post
    Romans from Egypt (Egyptians with Roman citizenship) - the pics are from the portraits of Fayyum, an importan Egyptian arheological site.






    Roman portraits from Pompei and Ercolano (Italy):







    For me the one on the right is not Roman or is a mix or simply a darker phenotype (dark people exist everywhere)...

    Right.
    You can barely find (really two or three over hundreds) roman frescoes in the whole Italy portraing egyptian or middleastern phenotype, and the one you can find are really of people of those places and not portrayed roman\italics from Italy with a "suspect" phenotype.
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    REJOICE, 0 Florence, since thou art so great,
    That over sea and land thou beatest thy wings,
    And throughout Hell thy name is spread abroad !


    Canto XXVI Inferno-Dante Alighieri-


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    The ethnic Romans are either Nordic ubermen or sudacan wogs, depending upon which authority is currently standing at the podium. Both extremes are full of crudstunk, of course.

    I'd call the Latin ancestors of the Romans Mediterranean Alpinids. A patrician Roman like Caesar, who supposedly had the kings of Alba Longa and Aeneas (Hittite?) amongst his forefathers, was described as being fairly tall, fair-skinned, and dark of hair and eye. His surviving sculptures also portray a fairly round-skulled, medium-featured man with a receeding hairline and a generously-sized nose.



    Ave Caesar!

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    Default Ancient Romans

    I have been collecting images of ancient Roman/Greek Mosaics and Frescoes. Basically any representation of the people that retains its color (Mosaics being the best), hundreds of images from 600 B.C. to the Renaissance, in an attempt to track changes in phenotypes.

    One thing that is certain, is that the ancient and modern phenotype are not identical. There is a noticeable tendency towards fairer populations as we go back in time. Black Haired individuals being especially uncommon in Italic art. Brunettes and Blonds being quite common. That is what the Mosaics display.

    Based on their artistic representation of themselves, I don't see how this can be objectively denied.
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    Veteran Member Ibericus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pallamedes View Post
    The ethnic Romans are either Nordic ubermen or sudacan wogs, depending upon which authority is currently standing at the podium. Both extremes are full of crudstunk, of course.

    I'd call the Latin ancestors of the Romans Mediterranean Alpinids. A patrician Roman like Caesar, who supposedly had the kings of Alba Longa and Aeneas (Hittite?) amongst his forefathers, was described as being fairly tall, fair-skinned, and dark of hair and eye. His surviving sculptures also portray a fairly round-skulled, medium-featured man with a receeding hairline and a generously-sized nose.



    Ave Caesar!
    To me he looks very typical Italian.

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    An etruscan legionary of Rome San Galgano's Avatar
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    Black Haired individuals being especially uncommon in Italic art. Brunettes and Blonds being quite common.

    Mind that many patricians used blonde wigs and they were the most depicted.
    As soon as you look at normal people portrayed, the brown-chestnut type becomes the most common.
    Anyway black jet haired people are uncommon today too in Italy.
    ------------------------------------------------------
    REJOICE, 0 Florence, since thou art so great,
    That over sea and land thou beatest thy wings,
    And throughout Hell thy name is spread abroad !


    Canto XXVI Inferno-Dante Alighieri-


    ------------------------------------------------------

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    Default Ancient Roman Phenotypes

    Quote Originally Posted by San Galgano View Post
    Mind that many patricians used blonde wigs and they were the most depicted.
    As soon as you look at normal people portrayed, the brown-chestnut type becomes the most common.
    Anyway black jet haired people are uncommon today too in Italy.
    The wig phenomenon is definitely worth taking into consideration, but I don't think it fully explains away the difference between ancient and modern populations.

    The images of Roman mosaics I possess cover a range of time from the dawn of Rome to the Renaissance, all showing relatively the same trends in pigmentation. Wigs are a fad not likely to successfully conceal the true appearance of Romans for 1500 years.

    Other than that, there is something strangely curious about the nobility adopting a fashion that results in their physical approximation of Northern barbarian phenotypes. I don't know how common this trend was, nor how long it lasted, but if it was an enduring cultural item then it requires an explanation. If we imagine the Romans being darker than their Northern Barbarian enemies, it becomes counterintuitive to imagine them choosing to approach in appearance those they view with contempt. Especially when there are many alternate appearances to chose from.

    However, what would make sense, is this scenario:

    • Light pigmented Indo-European tribes cross the Alps and enter Italy.
    • Phenetic contrast between the autochthonous and Indo-European populations.
    • Indo-European population dominates autochthonous population.
    • Contrasting physical attributes of Indo-Europeans became symbolic of the ruling race and converted to cultural elements, later manifesting in wigs, etc. that remain constant in time even if the phenotype of the original Indo-Europeans did not, due to admixture with the autochthonous population, like in Britian.

    The above is all specualtion that I made up just now, but I don't think it is a bad explanation for their use of blond wigs. Although, it's still an unfavorable one to those that wish modern and ancient populations remained static.

    That said, I still maintain that the wig phenomenon is insufficient to explain what I see in their mosaics.

    However, there is one major conflict I have yet to resolve concerning the fair pigmentation trend depicted in ancient Italic art. This trend continues up to, and culminates, in the Renaissance (Northern genetic influx). I have yet to discover a shift in pigmentation towards a darker tendency represented in Italic art. It is always fairer than the modern population. Well this presents quite a problem. Shall I suppose this change in phenotype took place within the past 500 years? That is not quite what I was expecting to find and do not know if I can believe it. Although, it is not impossible.

    Quote Originally Posted by San Galgano View Post
    As soon as you look at normal people portrayed, the brown-chestnut type becomes the most common.
    I would say "dirty blond" and a medium brown being the most common. Which is not what we see in modern Italian populations. But you know, this disagreement assumes the appearance of subjectivity only because we simply have not counted what is represented in the art. It really is that easy to solve; collect the art, use a standard index of coloring, and start counting.

    Quote Originally Posted by San Galgano View Post
    Anyway black jet haired people are uncommon today too in Italy.
    I probably should not have said black, I should have said very dark brown (like mine).
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    An etruscan legionary of Rome San Galgano's Avatar
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    The images of Roman mosaics I possess cover a range of time from the dawn of Rome to the Renaissance, all showing relatively the same trends in pigmentation. Wigs are a fad not likely to successfully conceal the true appearance of Romans for 1500 years.
    I think there are several types of mosaics. The ones made by romans who portrayed usually the patricians, and the others made later by byzantine artists in Italy who tried a remake of the romans' ones(with their own customization) in their attempt to revitalize the old time of the western empire.
    The mosaics of the renaissance were usually only ornamental compositions.
    If you meant the renaissance paintings, artists usually portrayed nobles families as well or at least they used men or women which weren't directly connected to the poor levels of the society which comprised paesants, usually accustomed to a tanned skin due to their jobs in the fields.
    For the nobles, on the other hand, the pasty skin meant that they belonged to a social class who didn't need to work in the field and this was a status they needed to respect.
    If you take a look at paintings of italian commanders of the middle age though, you'll notice that it's not so difficult to find tanned skin, and this cause for them it meant they spent time fighting in the open air. There are paintings of famous commanders in which the same person in the classic knight style(horse, sword,etc,etc)presents a tan and in the other painting a pasty skin in his own castle or court or whatever.
    The same goes for legionaries or emperors.
    Other than that, there is something strangely curious about the nobility adopting a fashion that results in their physical approximation of Northern barbarian phenotypes. I don't know how common this trend was, nor how long it lasted, but if it was an enduring cultural item then it requires an explanation. If we imagine the Romans being darker than their Northern Barbarian enemies, it becomes counterintuitive to imagine them choosing to approach in appearance those they view with contempt.
    Romans mostly despised the attitude of the nordic tribes not their appearence.
    I also think that many times this fashion to use a blonde or red wig, was more like an attempt from romans to copy greeks, and etruscans since it seems they started this trend as shown by many greek and etruscan frescoes.
    Of course there were even natural blonde romans too.
    However, what would make sense, is this scenario:

    • Light pigmented Indo-European tribes cross the Alps and enter Italy.
    • Phenetic contrast between the autochthonous and Indo-European populations.
    • Indo-European population dominates autochthonous population.
    • Contrasting physical attributes of Indo-Europeans became symbolic of the ruling race and converted to cultural elements, later manifesting in wigs, etc. that remain constant in time even if the phenotype of the original Indo-Europeans did not, due to admixture with the autochthonous population, like in Britian.
    Roman-latins were indoeuropeans. Just as much as almost all the italic tribes melted with them, save maybe etruscans, even if i'm still convinced they were proto-indoeuropeans.
    But Romans worshipped etruscans and basically started their society basing over them. Gods, architecture and so on were their heritages basically.
    All of roman mythology (although legendary)linked to Aenea which was a trojan. Now i suppose if romans would have been at the begin a blonde people coming with the waves of indoeuropeans retaining a "blonde" culture and superimposing themselves over a preexisting mediterranean dark haired people we should have had even a mithology linked to north of the alps too togheter with blonde wigs symbols of a past time.

    This makes me think that the light skin and blond hair of the past indoeuropeans is pretty a local phenomena as well and not homogeneus.
    There are manuscripts in which celts are described light haired light skinned in some places of Europe and dark haired dark eyed in others.
    Last edited by San Galgano; 07-26-2010 at 04:27 PM.
    ------------------------------------------------------
    REJOICE, 0 Florence, since thou art so great,
    That over sea and land thou beatest thy wings,
    And throughout Hell thy name is spread abroad !


    Canto XXVI Inferno-Dante Alighieri-


    ------------------------------------------------------

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