Chapter VIII Part Three


THE Romans were the final inheritors of all power in the ancient history of the Mediterranean; they, too, were sprung from Nordic blood. As early as 2000 B.C. the pile dwellings of upper Italy show 'peculiarities' pointing to an influence coming from north of the Alps. It was first observed in the domain of the general culture. The immigrants settle down likewise in the protection of the lakes, and burn their dead.'85 The pottery and burning of the dead point to a Nordic inroad. Since the northern Italian pile dwellings contain both short- and long-headed men, it must be assumed that the people coming from the north, since they brought body-burning with them, and thus have left no bone-remains, formed a class ruling over Alpine-Mediterranean populations. Were they one of the Italic tribes settling here before the main Italic immigration, as its earliest forerunners? Were they the Oscan-(Samnite)-Umbrian tribes of the Italics? The lake-villages of upper Italy are laid out quite regularly, like the later 'Roma quadrata.' There were forms of worship connected with the bridges leading to the land, which are perhaps seen again in the title of 'pontifex' for the chief priest in Rome.

Map XVIa - The Prehistoric Italians about 2000 B.C.
(||| = body-burning Italians)

Map XVIb - The Prehistoric Italians about 1000 B.C.
(||| = body-burning Italians ## = Etruscans /// = body-burying Italians)

The true Italic immigration, leading to the foundation of Rome, came about later, 'at the height of the Bronze Age.'86 In the forms of its pottery it shows a migration that must have come from central Germany as its original home; and the same origin for the Italics is pointed to on philological grounds. Much87 writes as follows on the original home of the Italics: 'That the Italics were once settled north of the Alps is an irresistible conclusion to be drawn from their relations of kinship with the peoples of northern Europe.' Philology, owing to the close kinship between the Italic and the Keltic and Germanic, and between it and the Greek, cannot but assume some prehistoric region where these peoples (or the tribes whence these peoples are descended) were in contact; Bohemia or Moravia has been suggested for this region. Kretschmer assumes a region between the upper Danube and the Eastern Alps for the first home of the Italics. The Italic migration into Italy took place from the middle Danube over the lower passes of the Eastern Alps. Schuchhardt describes the road taken by the Italic forms of culture: 'This culture spreads along the Adriatic, then crosses the middle Apennines, and comes down the Tiber to Rome, where the pre-Romulean forum graves belong to it. Another branch keeps rather more to the north, and reaches Tarquinii, that is, southern Etruria; but, at the same time, the movement spreads east of the Apennines as far as Tarentum.' 'It is significant that the new culture skirts the main Etrurian region, evidently because here there was resistance from a well-established state system. The culture of Etruria does, in fact, form an old and solid block'.88 When we consider Roman history, we have the feeling that, in comparison with the non-Nordic people of Italy, the number of the Nordic new-comers who now prepared to found a world-empire was not very great, but that the Nordic gentes, through the strictest discipline and a simple and stern warriors' code, so fashioned and handed on the Roman type of the Nordic nature that down to late times the men of the blood of this creative race stood out as an unchanging people filled with stern resolve. The Romans are seen to be more Nordic than the Hellenes through their greater earnestness, the Roman gravitas and virtus, and through the freer position of the woman. In late Roman times what Giuffrida-Ruggeri said is still true: 'In the calm tenacity and quiet growth of the Roman people perhaps the descendants of H. Nordicus represented the turbulent restlessness of violent and bold individuals which, even in Roman history, one is able to discern from time to time.'89

The legendary age of the kingship still holds memories of the contest between the first Nordic comers and the Etruscans for the supremacy in Italy. It may be presumed that with the loss of their Nordic upper class the Etruscans, too, lost an invaluable source to them of leaders. Probably the Hither Asiatic and Alpine elements went on ever increasing in the Etruscan people, for the late Etruscans show a quite Oriental voluptuousness, and finally are called 'well fed and fat' (obesi et pingues) by the Romans. They were looked on as examples of relaxed morals.

The oldest historical sources of the Italic tribes relate the contests with the other Italic tribes of Nordic origin and their gradual incorporation -- the Umbrians and Oscans (Samnites), the Sabellans and Sabines. The Umbrians, perhaps the vanguard of the Italic tribes in prehistory, had already founded a State about the mouth of the Po. The Samnite love of fighting, the truthfulness and reserve of the Sabine tribe, and the chastity of its women are still spoken of in later Roman history, and may well point to these tribes having a strong element of Nordic blood.

The oldest Roman constitution gives us, like the Doric, a clear picture of classes founded on race: the 300 Patricians who by themselves make up the Roman Senate correspond to the 300 families of the Latin and Sabine tribe of the Nordic conquerors; the Plebeians correspond to the earlier population, predominantly Mediterranean, but undoubtedly already by that time with an admixture of the Alpine, Dinaric, and Hither Asiatic, and they have no political rights. Patricians and Plebeians, therefore, stood originally not in an opposition of rank or status, but were racially sundered. The Plebeians were the descendants of Ligurian-Iberian, predominantly Mediterranean tribes. There are also some signs of the Plebeians living under mother-right, while the Nordic Italics made father-right, which belongs everywhere to the Nordic tribes (patria potestas), a very essential part of their law.90 Ridgeway has shown that the Italics brought with them the Nordic round shield, and Nordic body-burning, which as late as the Empire was practised more in the upper classes. He has also shown that the confarreatio, the Patrician marriage custom, through its difference from usus and coemptio -- the marriage customs of the Plebs -- points to the difference in the racial origin of the two classes.91

Figs. 224a, 224b - Julius Caesar, E, dark? H, dark, tall, fair-skinned

Figs. 225a, 225b - Unknown Roman of First Century B.C.

Fig. 226 - Matidia, Trajan's niece (?)

Fig. 227 - Member of the Julian ruling house (?)

The civil discipline and simple warrior customs of old Roman times remind us in many ways of the true Nordic culture that prevailed in Iceland in the tenth and eleventh centuries; even in the Latin ways of expression much has been found that can be compared with those of the Icelandic saga. There is little to remind us of the independent history of the peoples before the Romans. The strong Roman will seems to have wholly shut itself off from the aboriginal people. Did the blond Romans mistrust the dark-haired man? A proverb quoted by Horace (Sat., i. 4, 85) -- 'He is black, beware of him, Roman' (hic niger est; hunc tu, Romane, caveto!) -- goes back perhaps to early Roman times and their Nordic Mediterranean racial contrasts, though, of course, Horace could no longer know anything of such an origin for the proverb.

Eugenic practice was furthered by the killing of evidently misshapen children, prescribed by the Twelve Tables.92 But this seems to have led to abuses. The later Roman laws strive rather to raise the number of children, although the eugenic standpoint was never quite forgotten. Seneca, too, wrote:93 'We drown the weaklings and misshapen. It is not unreason, but reason, to separate the unfit from the fit.' But at that late time (about A.D. 41) this seems to have been a counsel rather than the description of a custom. It was only when denordization and degeneration had already brought about conditions beyond all remedy that certain men in Rome turned to considered eugenic practice.

The laws of the Twelve Tables, that oldest element in Roman law, were the result of the first legal adjustment of the relation between Patricians and Plebeians. The first serious changes in the racial division of the Roman people were brought in under the Republic. The consul, P. Valerius Poplicola, carried through laws which were to ensure him the favour of the Plebeians: henceforward men of new wealth of unpatrician blood were to be taken into the Senate (510 B.C.). Struggles arise between the two classes; young Patricians wish to bring in the kingship again; the Plebeians go off to the Holy Mountain to force their demands to acceptance; even the Patrician families are cloven with dissensions from one another, until at last agreements are reached, but agreements which mark the beginning of racial mixture. In 445 B.C. by a law, the Lex Canuleia de connubio, marriages between Patricians and Plebeians are declared valid. Before this the children of mixed unions had followed the pars deterior -- the 'worse hand,' as an old German law term has it. Thus the blood of the upper class had been kept pure. Now the children take the father's rank; the division between the races has vanished. This blotting out of distinctions ended by bringing so much Nordic blood into the Plebeian class that from it distinguished families arose later with true Nordic qualities -- families that down to the Punic wars appeared with great distinction mainly in the official nobility (nobilitas). The nobilitas formed of itself a new nobility of rank from the most capable families of the Patrician and the Plebeian class after the abolition of Patrician privileges.

Figs. 228a, 228b - Cicero (?)

Fig. 229 - Tragic actor, Dinaric strain

Fig. 230 - Unknown Roman, Alpine strain

Fig. 231 - Unknown Roman

Fig. 232 - Unknown Roman

The gradual change hereafter of the Roman constitution might be represented as the change in racial stratification. Nordic blood slowly runs dry; from it mainly come those warriors who fight for Rome's greatness and so fall, and those officials who govern the conquered lands. The struggles with the invading Nordic Kelts from the north had led to long wars in which Nordic race was opposed to Nordic race. Nordic blood wore itself out in the service of the motherland. Cato (d. 149 B.C.) will always be the type of the true Roman, born from the high nobility with lofty aims, a thorough patriot, a true Nordic general and statesman. He was (according to Plutarch and a satirical poem) fair-haired and light-eyed. But very likely in Cato's time Nordic blood was no longer strongly represented. The old Roman names chosen after Nordic characteristics -- such as Fulvius, Flavus, Rufus, and others -- were in part kept in use through tradition, and in part they may have been chosen again in late times because of the very rareness of fair hair. But again and again we find that, of two kinsmen with the same name, one gets the epithet niger (the Dark), the other rufus (the Fair) to distinguish them.

In the destruction of the Nordic class the Punic wars above all, and then the civil wars, may have played their part. Through the Punic wars the old Patrician families are said to have vanished but for a dozen or so. Through the civil wars Nordic leaders fell on both sides, or fell to the vengeance of the victor. We know how Marius, the leader of the Plebeian lower class, after his victory over Sulla, the fair-haired and light-eyed (according to Plutarch) leader of the nobility, had many leading men in the nobility put to death, and how Sulla afterwards took the same bloody vengeance on the leaders of his enemies. The noble families of Rome died out, particularly since they -- under the weight of high taxation -- seem to have more and more deliberately lessened the number of their offspring. The Fabians had had to make a law for their own house that every child born of their family must be brought up. But malaria, warfare, civil wars, moral decay, and the spread of empire over the whole Mediterranean area and beyond, was bound to make the Nordic stratum thinner and thinner, particularly when no more Nordic blood came from the land. The disappearance of the peasantry as a result of the import of corn from the colonies dealt the hardest blow of all to the racial strength of Rome (as it did afterwards to England's). It is in the countryside that the Nordic element seems to keep soundest and last longest.

Figs. 233a, 233b - Unknown Roman from First Century B.C.

Figs. 234a, 234b - M. Vipsanius Agrippa, general under Augustus, of lowly descent (62 B.C.-A.D. 12)

Figs. 235a, 235b - Drusus Minor (from the Julian-Claudian ruling house)

The disappearance of the peasantry seems the first to show its effects of all the factors contributing to denordization and degeneration. But a certain Nordic upper class must still have clearly survived in the Roman state in the time of the Empire.

The fall of the Republic was at the same time the fall of the last of the men embodying the Nordic nature in the Roman state. Brutus and Cassius, and their fellows represented in their fall the fall, too, of the Republican ideal and of the remains of the Roman nobility. They had murdered Caesar, the leader of the 'people' -- that is, at this time, of the city masses of the lower orders. But in the end Caesar's monarchic ideal was victorious after his death against the old Roman republican ideal, which had no outstanding leaders; while Caesar is himself the example of a statesman high above all others and serving the 'declining years' of a late period. He founded Imperial rule in Rome, which gradually, in correspondence with racial changes, took on the features of Eastern despotism, and ended by becoming the splendid cloak thrown over a mouldering world.

Fig. 236 - Emperor Caracalla, father African, mother Syrian, short (murdered A.D. 217)

Fig. 237 - Emperor Nerva (died A.D. 98)

Fig. 238 - Emperor Probus (murdered A.D. 282)

Fig. 239 - Emperor Trebonianus Gallus (b. on an island in the Lesser Syrtis, d. A.D. 253)

Figs. 240a, 240b - Lucius Caccilius Jucundus, banker in Pompeii, predominantly Hither Asiatic

The nobility gradually faded out of Roman life. The last family to survive was that of the Calpurnii, in which noble figures are ever appearing as late as Imperial times, and down to the end of the first century A.D. The Roman emperors were often obliged to keep the favour of the 'people' by breaking out against noble Romans in high places. Instead of the racial opposition between Patricians and Plebeians, there had long been in Imperial times the opposition between rich and poor. Old families grew poor when they kept away fEmpire into a racial morass. The constitutional expression of this breaking down of all racial barriers that had now come about was the extension of the citizenship by the lex Antoniniana to all freemen living anywhere in the Empire. This law was promulgated in A.D. 212 under Caracalla, the son of an African and a Syrian woman (Fig. 236), and the dreadful example of a criminal degenerate. His extension of the citizenship was 'hailed with easily understood joy by all the proletariate of the Roman Empire, since henceforward the dole socialism of the Empire, the corn distribution and so forth, would be shared in by the masses of those towns that had not yet received the citizenship by special grant.'96

Fig. 241 - Augustus (63 B.C.-A.D. 14). H, fair (according to Suetonius). Suetonius also describes Nero as blond, Galba and Nero as blue-eyed.

The few noble and thoughtful men could now but strive for that self-control and calm which preserves the honour even amidst corruption and decay. For any other endeavour it was too late. Thus for the best men of the Roman Empire there was naught left but the Stoic attitude, which addresses itself to the individual, whom it calls upon to have strength to bear as a man even the most crushing fate. It is by its uprightness of mind, its dislike of all barren sophistries, and the stress it lays on ethical conduct, as also by its calmness and contempt for the world, that Stoicism (which comes down from Zenon and Poseidonios, Figs. 219 and 220) in this age of decay may have drawn to itself in particular men of Nordic nature, who wished even amidst the destruction of the Roman Empire to show their nobility. Cicero's work, written from the Stoical standpoint, De Officiis, gives a picture of a manly Nordic soul in a late age.

But late Stoicism was the state of mind of men that looked without hope on a catastrophe. Hence its dislike of marriage and offspring. Hence, too, the stress it laid on the individual: these last high-souled men could no longer feel any ties between themselves and their people. They were seeking to combine together all the noble-minded men of the world in those days, and overlooked the fact that by this very aim they were cutting away the last of the roots linking the individual with his people and race.97 The last strong figures of old Rome were lonely men, and many Stoics under the Empire were banished and executed.

The ideal of beauty in late Roman times is still Nordic so, too, are some of the men.

Fig. 242 - Constantine the Great

Down to the second century A.D., Roman portrait busts were painted; the hair and lips often show remains of paint which to-day are of a light brown colour. But one cannot presume that the originals were fair, even when their features are predominantly Nordic. It may be that the paint was to show the hair-colouring associated with the idea of noble blood. The greatest part of the population, however, must about the time of the birth of Christ have been very predominantly a Mediterranean-Alpine-Dinaric mixture. Caesar, who was himself tall and fair-skinned, refers to the shortness of the Romans compared with the Gauls; and Strabo, describing a British (Keltic) tribe, the Coritavi (in the Lincolnshire of to-day), says that youths belonging to this tribe (described by him as blond), whom he had seen in Rome, were very much taller than the inhabitants of Rome. Under the Empire the height for the army had to be brought down to 1.48 metres. The Roman nobility, however, seems often to have still been recognizable by its fair hair. Anyone belonging to the wealthy and fashionable class who had dark hair liked to hide it: Juvenal (Sat., vi. 120) tells us of Messalina that she hid her black hair under a fair wig. The rich upstarts (homines novi) made their black-haired wives and daughters buy fair hair from Germany. In this way it was hoped to win a 'noble appearance.' Ovid mentions the custom of fair wigs. Juvenal, Martial, Lucan, and Pliny mention methods of dyeing the hair blond. Caracalla, of African-Asiatic blood, often used (according to Herodian) to put on a fair wig and walk about in Germanic garb. Horace's ideal of beauty is Nordic, although he was himself dark, short, and fat. Vergil's ideal of beauty is Nordic.98 But among the living, too, fair hair is still to be seen: the swarthy Ovid knew two blond Hellene women. His ideal of beauty is founded on the Nordic race: he paints Romulus and Lucretia as fair. The swarthy Tibullus calls Delia blond; Martial speaks of several blond contemporaries; Horace names blond women; and other writers name other blond men and women who have played a part in history.99 Apuleius, born in an African colony, a member of an old Roman family, and a follower of Platonism, calls himself tall, slender, and blond. Most of the sculptures representing Romans100 have a Nordic, or predominantly Nordic, expression. The narrow face, the long head, the sharp chin, the 'Roman nose,' taken all together make up heads which do not differ from hard Nordic heads of our time. His was already struck by the fact that Marcus Antonius, Caesar, Galba, Vespasian, and Trajan had a shape of the head which he had called the 'High Mountain form' after his discoveries in his own country, Switzerland, and which now is recognized as the shape of the Nordic head.101 Augustus himself was (according to Suetonius) very fair, and had light eyes; his mild expression recalls certain calm Nordic men. The later emperors in the time of Roman decay were often of 'barbaric' blood, of the blood of northern peoples, and are often painted as Nordic men by the old writers. The first true German on the throne of the Caesars was Maximinus Thrax (A.D. 235-238), the son born in Thrace of a Goth and an Alan woman. He was, according to old accounts, of giant stature, strikingly handsome, and with a dazzling fair skin. Valentinian I (d. A.D. 375), who was of barbaric blood, shows tall stature, fair skin and hair, and blue eyes. Under these late Roman emperors, who were often of Germanic blood, there was such a stream of Germanic mercenaries into the Roman Army, who finally settled within the Italian borders, that with these times a fresh flow of Nordic blood into the Roman Empire began, which stayed its fall for some time. It was even possible again to raise the height for the army in the fourth century to 1.65 metres, and for the Guard even to 1.72 metres. Tertullian describes, perhaps exaggerating, the change in conditions, this apparent new life in the midst of decay which the stream of Nordic blood had brought about:

'The world strides on front day to day. Now there are roads everywhere, all is looked into, all is busy. Estates have taken the place of ill-famed wildernesses, forests are held in check by sown land, wild life is driven back before herds, sandy wastes are sown, swamps are drained dry, there are more towns than there were once huts.'

But the true Roman-Nordic creative powers were exhausted; the Empire went the way of its fall, and was finally brought to an end by the last Nordic wave, the invading Germans. The last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus (one feels it is symbolical) was deposed from his throne, A.D. 476, by the first Germanic king of Italy, Odoacar. That which was still called the Roman people -- indeed, that which already in the time of Augustus and his successors was called the Roman people -- was a racial morass arising from the decomposition of peoples and every kind of mixture, a mob wherein now and again Nordic characteristics might appear. The decaying Roman Empire, anyhow the Mediterranean lands, was now mainly peopled by a mixture of the pre-Roman Mediterranean race with very much 'Semitic' blood -- that is, with blood made up from various races, above all from Hither Asiatic, Oriental, Hamitic, and Negro elements (cp. Chapter IV), the blood of the many 'Semitic' slaves and freedmen (coming from Semitic-speaking nations). Besides these there came African recruits with Negro blood for the army, and fragments of Inner Asiatic races. Further, there came into Italy itself heavy strains of the Alpine and the Dinaric race. It was the end of everything, a true racial morass, whose degeneration and decomposition bred those repellent things we learn of from the last days of Rome.102 It was this swamp which Christianity had to go through before it reached the Germanic nations.

Christianity, which was now spreading, was at first the religion of the lowest classes in the Roman Empire, to whom the political ideals of the Roman freemen were just as foreign as the free thought and artistic creativeness of the Hellenes. In its origin and in the blood of its early followers it stood nearer to the Oriental standpoint than to the Nordic standpoint of the early Hellenic and Roman times. The laws of the first Christian emperor, Constantine, were directed against the setting out of children, a eugenically meant custom which had existed from the oldest times, but which had now undoubtedly grown to be an abuse. The Christian state church now built foundling homes; but in bringing up the blind, the deaf, the dumb, and the deformed, it also made their propagation possible; 'and with much good has also come much evil.'103

The importance of race in a people is seen particularly clearly from the Roman example. The remarkable Geschichte des Untergangs der antiken Welt, by Seeck (1910), which in its account makes much use of anthropological and eugenic considerations, comes to the conclusion that of all the causes given for the fall of Rome one is left always, 'the one main cause above all others: the mental and physical degeneracy of the race.'104 Disraeli, the English statesman, and a Jew proud of his blood, declared that race was the key to history, and the one and only, truth; and that any race which heedlessly mingles its blood with others must perish.105 In India racial separation by stern laws of caste had been long in existence before it disappeared with changes in general beliefs; in Greece and in Rome the racial opposition seems to have been less felt and to have disappeared sooner. Everywhere the running dry of Nordic blood, and its heedless dilution, meant the death of a whole culture. The fall of the world of 'Antiquity' was not only the end of all creative strength; the strength even to keep the culture which had been built up was no longer there; this is seen, too, in the fact that the preservation of the technical knowledge acquired in the creative times (which was very considerable) was now beyond the powers of the denordicized and degenerate times following the fall of the Roman Empire.106

If we survey the fall of the cultures of the peoples under Nordic leadership, certain agreements in its process are to be seen, which I have pointed out in the Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes through the following consideration: By following up the conception of the nordicizing and denordicizing of the peoples of Indo-European speech, a true theory of form for Nordic migration and history might be worked out, which would show the common features in the rise and fall of all peoples with a Nordic composition. The social or political form (if one may use such terms for these early times) probably went through changes mostly at the time the original home was left. Where the Nordics, keeping their racial purity, settle over an unbroken area, some kind of popular government must come into being, wielded by the most respected men of the several tribes. For areas with pure race some kind of republican system might well be fitting, since here for once it was really free and equal men alone that settled, and a graduation became possible only through the special gifts and energy of certain clans, and only so long as their energy lasted and was inherited. Popular rule, a kind of republic, might be brought in; as among the Nordic Icelanders, so among the Nordic Ditmarshers, and so, too, in earliest prehistoric times in all the regions of pure Nordic race. But so soon as the homeland had been left, there were bound to arise aristocratic forms, a rule by the nobles or the king. The Nordic tribe moved through foreign lands, overcame peoples of other races, and ruled them as a class of nobles and husbandmen, as masters. Strongholds had to be built for securing the rule. It is very significant that the original Nordic home in north-west Germany has no strongholds. It is very significant, too, that the path of all Nordic peoples is marked by them, and in them stand rectangular houses and halls.

From district to district pushing forward as a ruling people from north-western Europe, not trickling in, but breaking in and conquering -- it was thus that the migrations southward and eastward took place.

In long-drawn out struggles their destiny, we may suppose, led the several tribes to where their real settlement began in each case. When these Nordic tribes had once settled, and when fresh Nordic bands no longer found their way, then began the process which was to lead to the formation of separate peoples. The upper class felt itself at last no longer as foreign, but as the nobility and peasantry of a certain people, or rather, of certain tribes; for in all peoples of Indo-European speech the primitive form of collective life is the tribe made up of clans (wider families), which is led by a leader with restricted powers. The union of such tribes in a State to make one people under one king was a second stage in the growth of the community. The fusion of the two racial classes into a people which feels itself a unit generally lies in a time far earlier than the historical records of such a people. For their own historical consciousness tA contest in daring, in journeying and fighting, whirls the whole people into deeds which are sung by the old Hindu and Persian poetry, by the Greek Iliad, the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf, the Edda, the Icelandic Saga, and the German Nibelungenlied. The noble-minded men of this age always ask themselves whether their deeds can meet the eyes of the 'fathers'; they have a fixed code of honour, they lay much stress on clan discipline, they choose a wife almost always from the other free families, and give their daughters to hardly any but proved men. The clans that are famed for capacity and energy join their sons and daughters with one another. Weakly children are set out or killed.107 Heroism is the highest law, the individual thinks less of himself than of the clan and tribal honour. He demands strictly of himself that he keep all the traditional laws of vengeance, of duelling, of inheritance, and of religion. The commandments are: loyalty to oneself, loyalty to one's fellows, the extension and defence of the people that has come into being; what is prized is liberality, a generous heart, a noble mind, love of truth, self-confidence. The 'native hue of resolution,'108 that true Nordic hue, belongs to the nature and aspect of Nordic men in these early times. Thus do the early cultures of Nordic-led peoples arise, who ever fill us with wonder by their unconscious sure grasp of the laws of pure blood, healthy offspring, and the warrior's honour.

But the fusion of the Nordic upper class into one people with the non-Nordic lower class has already brought the possibility of racial mixture. Every constitutional change may disturb the class divisions, and for us to-day is a sign of such disturbance. The lower orders press for a shifting of power, as the upper class disappears. Therefore it is that racial mixture progresses as soon as 'the people' (the Demos, the Plebeians, the lower castes) has shaken the class divisions. This often happens under the lead of Nordic men who for some reason or other have become haters of the nobility. The lower orders win rights; many of the members have become wealthy, and their money buys them an influence in the State. Thus we gradually come to a 'rule of the people.' But this rule now means something quite other than in the purely Nordic regions, where, in fact, free and equal men were settled in the land.109 The rule of the people now means the rule of the masses, who cannot bear any men of distinction, as Herakleitos of Ephesus, the philosopher who came from the nobility, angrily says of them, and expresses his opinion by advising the Ephesians to hang one another man by man, for it was their view that 'no one of us shall be the bravest, or if he is to be, then it must be elsewhere, and among others.'110 The rule of the people now means the rule of the masses, led by agitators, and, above all, by the money of non-Nordic upstarts. The government becomes government by the masses. It is no longer based on landed property and descent, but on the possession of wealth. The land-owning nobility grows poor compared with the moneyed class of upstarts. Poverty brings the nobility to doubtful relations with the moneyed class; thus many members of the nobility degenerate. Capitalism is a sign of changed racial conditions, and hastens the disappearance of the Nordic upper class. Theognis, the Greek elegiac poet and writer of apophthegms, who lived at the time of such a change, has from his standpoint of the nobility given a clear description of this displacement of power: 'Wealth has ruined the race.'

For the student of race it is very significant that the newcomer attracts notice and makes himself ridiculous. Wealth was a noble thing so long as it was essentially landed property, and belonged to a class that through its race was fitted for ruling, and brought up to own property, and loved wealth not for its own sake, but for the sake of power, and treasure, and honour. Wealth becomes something mean so soon as a class collects it which does not bring a high mind to the task; it becomes something mean in the history of a people under Nordic influence the moment the non-Nordic man comes to riches. He has not inherited the way of life that befits wealth if it is not to be something base. Rule and possession are not in his blood; hence he exaggerates, hence he seeks to copy the clothes and bearing of the Nordic class, and so makes himself ridiculous; for he makes mistakes every day. The purse-proud upstart, the new man, are seldom found among the Nordics. If a Nordic man should be raised from poverty to wealth, he would so have within him the way of life of the original upper class that he would not attract attention. The new man makes himself ridiculous and offensive because he tries to copy the Nordic in his life.111 The history of all peoples under Nordic influence shows the figure of the newly rich man with political influence -- the Roman satirists often draw his picture -- and the moment of his appearance marks racial movement and change. From this moment the decline of the people is hastened.

The disruption shows itself in the daily life. Elements from the lower class have become rich, elements that have built up no idea of honour of their own, that are held back by no traditional sense of dignity from using their wealth to the full. Everything now can be bought: the State can be bought, so can fair hair to make a pretence of noble blood; the nobility itself can be bought. The ideas of the former upper class become ridiculous to the people that is changing: the heroic age lies far behind. Customs belonging to the races of the pre-Nordic populations again make their appearance. Morals change; the class-divisions are effaced by an unbounded freedom and restlessness, but, above all, by the rise of the new rich. The racial mixture has broken up the nobility; the new rich control the State, and use their power against the free peasantry, who now have the comparatively purest Nordic blood. The land goes to waste, the towns grow. The general mixture of blood ('the blood chaos,' Lundborg), to which the flow of foreign racial elements contributes, breeds the mob of the great cities -- masses of men, who, as a result of the mixed blood, are utterly without goal, and exposed to any and every influence. Late Rome is a good example of this.

While the early times were marked by a state of things that unconsciously worked for the good of the race and for efficiency, a change has now come about which leads straight to the preservation of the inferior blood, and the preservation and handing on of diseased tendencies. Fitness is no longer the principle of selection, but rather the cunning of great cities; it is not the daughter of the most capable family that is sought after, but the daughter of the rich house, even if she have the worst hereditary tendencies. A certain flight from responsibility for the future of the nation may lead to the raising of such children as would earlier have been exposed or killed. In Homer Thersites is the only cripple; in the late Roman writers long lists could be made of bodily deformities and signs of degeneration. In these late times, an upright mind is what leads least of all to advancement; the upright man may often be removed as it were from the heritage of the people by assassination or banishment (ostracism, proscription, religious persecution, banishment of the nobility). Sometimes these late times so hasten on the degeneration that a people becomes wholly changed in a short while. The money-power itself may, consciously or unconsciously, even breed up a degenerate mob for its own ends; great masses from their very nature fall quickest before the moneyed influence; they let themselves be paid by the new wealth, the invisible money-wealth, bread and the games, and then turned against what is left of the much smaller but visible wealth of landed property.

Although landed property down to late times was in the hands of an hereditary class, which probably had kept many Nordic characteristics, yet this, too, falls in the late times into the hands of the moneyed wealth of the towns. It would seem that, in the financial world of the cities of Greece and Rome in their decay, men with Hither Asiatic features were often met with. The Hither Asiatic race, indeed, has commonly a special gift for trade and the knowledge of men. Gregory of Tours (d. 594) mentions the Jewish and Syrian traders that went about in Gaul; and Jews and Syrians are just those nations with a strong Hither Asiatic strain (cp., too, Fig. 240).

The end of Greece, as of Rome, is marked by the want of outstanding men: Nordic blood has mostly run dry. The end of Greece and of Rome alike is marked by the more or less invisible domination of various financiers, by the mob-mind characterizing the more and more degenerate, more and more racially mixed people, finally by a slow dying out of whole regions. The records of antiquity speak of the ruin of formerly populous towns; the Mediterranean lands were exhausted. It was only the descendants of slaves from the farthest parts of the world that did not feel disgust. Thousands of men, and those without doubt the loftiest minded, eagerly entered the monkhood of the growing Christianity, turned away from this decaying world, and died without offspring. The 'fall' had come.

And so the history was bound to end of all Nordic-led peoples once they had in their progress taken a direction that led to the disappearance of the Nordic element. The process was bound to be speedier in those peoples who once for all had been cut off from the original Nordic region. Hindus, Hellenes, Persians, Romans, and some of the Kelts were, owing to the area they occupied, cut off from the main body of Nordic peoples, that had to stay in the German area, near the original home. A renewal of the Nordic blood within these southern peoples was impossible.

When we survey the fall in each case of the great empires and creative cultures from India to the West, this much is always clearly to be seen: that every 'fall' of a people of Indo-European speech is brought about through the running dry of the blood of the creative, the Nordic race.

A book is much spoken of now in Germany and Europe: Oswald Spengler's Der Untergang des Abendlandes. In his book Spengler has examined into all the signs of the decay of the great cultures; but the cause -- the exhaustion of Nordic blood in the peoples in question -- Spengler has not seen. It is worth while here to examine Spengler's statements in the light of racial science.

For Spengler the so-called anthropological method in history has as yet been barren -- but this is so far hardly a reproach. Thus we find false interpretations, as in the following example:

Spengler looks on it as a self-understanding of the Greek soul, living without history, without any conception of time, 'as a symbol of the first rank and unparalleled in the history of art,' that the prehistoric Hellenes 'suddenly' 'come back again' from building in stone to building in wood. And further on he declares: 'In the Homeric, as in the Vedic, times, there takes place the sudden step from burial to burning for which no material foundation can be found.' In all this, Spengler, therefore, overlooks the fact that it is not the same 'soul' which thus expresses itself. He overlooks this: the Nordic (Aryan) conquering, invading Hindus of the Vedic times, like the Nordic conquering, invading Greeks of the 'Homeric' times, bring their Nordic customs 'suddenly' with them into the lands, where they then further develop their 'soul'; they bring with them body-burning, which is common to all Nordic peoples;112 they bring with them building in wood, which still prevails among the Nordic Scandinavians. Thus Spengler keeps on overlooking the racial factors in historical phenomena. Other examples could be given; but we have no room here. Had Spengler made use of a racial view of history, he could not but see that, taken strictly, we cannot speak at all of the Greek people growing old, and the same is true for the Roman people; nor can we speak of a 'new feeling of life' arising in or after a late age. The 'degenerating' people, indeed, has for a long time not been the Nordic Grecian people whose likenesses its artists carved in marble. Degenerating Rome has long been no more the Nordic Rome that founded a world-empire. The 'new feeling of life' was, however, in each case that felt by the mixed population, which in the 'late times' went on living its uncreative mass-life as before; and every 'fall' in history, from India to the West, was always the running dry of the blood of the creative race in the life of a state and of a spirit.

If, then, we are to speak of a people of Indo-European speech 'growing old,' what we are to understand by this can only be: the disappearance of the blood of the creative upper class. Before Spengler, Breysig113 had already pointed out the likeness in the course of Greek, Roman, and German history, and shown that a Greek of 500 B.C. was at about the same 'stage' as a Roman of 330 B.C., and a German of A.D. 1500. But Breysig, no more than Spengler, had seen that this kind of 'contemporaneousness' in the history of Indo-European peoples is the result of the stage of denordization being the same.114

To Chapter IX Part One

Back to Index

Footnotes for Chapter VIII Part Three

85 Schuchhardt, op. cit.

86 Id.

87 Deutsche Stammeskunde, 1920.

88 Schuchhardt, op. cit.

89 'A Sketch of the Anthropology of Italy,' Journ. Anthrop. Inst., vol. xlviii., 1918.

90 The growth of Roman Law out of the legal ideas common to all Nordic peoples is described by Kuhlenbeck, Die Entwicklungsgesch. d. Röm. Rechts, 1913.

91 'Who were the Romans?' Proc. Brit. Acad., 1907-8.

92 Cicero, de legibus, iii. 8. Cp. Roper, Ancient Eugenics, 1913.

93 de ira, i. 18.

94 Cp. Kuhlenbeck, op. cit. chap. iii.

95 The lowest, tax-free, class was called proletarii, because all that could be hoped for from it for the State was offspring.

96 Kuhlenbeck, op. cit.

97 This Stoic individualism, so destructive of nationality and race, is especially the subject of Lenz's 'Rassenwertung i. d. hellen. Philosophie' (Archiv f. Rassen- u. Gesellschaftsbiologie, Heft 5-6, 1913).

98 In his Aeneid, Vergil calls the following blond or golden-haired: Mercury, Turnus, Camillus, Lavinia, and even Dido, the Phoenician.

99 de Lapouge, L'Aryen, 1899, gives a list of these writers.

100 Cp. Hekler, Die Bildniskunst d. Griechen u. Römer, 1912.

101 'Beschr. einiger Schädel altschweiz. Bevölkerung,' Arch. für Anthrop., Bd. i., 1866.

102 Jahn may have got from late Roman times the views which he thus expresses in his Deutsches Volkstum, 1810: 'The purer a people, the better; the more mixed it is, the more it is like a rabble.'

103 Roper, Ancient Eugenics, 1913.

104 Unfortunately Seeck's work suffers from its estimate of the culture-level of the Germans being an untenably low one, and that is not in accordance with the views of to-day (this is a surprising thing when we consider his thoroughness), so that he has been reproached with giving 'a distorted caricature of the character of the German people' (Kauffmann, Deutsche Altertumskunde, 1916).

105 In Coningsby, 1844.

106 Cp. Diels, Antike Technik, 1920.

107 Cp. Roper's excellent book, Ancient Eugenics, 1913. Plato, however, who lived in late times that were not so conscious of responsibility, demands in his Republic (third book) the exposure of useless and deformed children, 'in a fitting way.' So, too, Seneca, who lived in a late age. Neither Plato nor Seneca are to be accused of harshness; both are rather of a kindly disposition. Instead of the removal of the unfit, which is no longer possible for our feelings, sterilization has made its appearance in the laws of the United States, and is indeed suggested by many of the men themselves in question (cp. Chapter XII).

108 Shakespeare, Hamlet, iii. I.

109 It is therefore to be noted that 'the democratic ideal' in Sweden or Norway does not mean the same as it does in more strongly denordicized peoples, particularly in Norway, where the governing class for some four centuries up to 1814 came from the less Nordic Denmark.

110 Diels. Fragmente d. Vorsokratiker, i. 1912.

111 In this connexion we might point to the fact that in France, speaking of a man of common appearance or bearing, they say: 'Il n'a pas de race' (He has no race) -- that is, nothing of the blood of the (at any rate formerly) Nordic leading race.

112 Cp. The Iliad, Beowulf.

113 Der Stufenbau u. d. Gesetze d. Weltgesch., 1905. The first writer, however, to put forward the conception of 'stages' in the life of nations was (unless we name the Roman writer Varro) the Italian philosopher Vico, (1688-1744); and the first to put forward the idea of the 'decay' of the West was Count Gobineau.

114 The examples of decay outside the circle of the peoples of Indo-European speech which Spengler considers will likewise have their natural causes. 'I incline to the view that most of the cases of a rising culture to be observed have come about from the existence of one race set over another, from the development of strength which seems to arise from the co-operation of leaders and led. . . . Thus where there is the "fall" of a people and culture, the question arises whether a ruling race has not disappeared in this people, and which race. It is, for example, exceedingly likely that the importance of the Nordic race in the life of the Indo-European peoples has its analogy in the importance which the Hamitic (Ethiopian) race has had, and still has, in the life of many African tribes, especially those with Hamitic speech' (Rassenk. d. deutsch. Volkes). Cp., too, with this the section 'Rasse, Rassenmischung u. Gesittung,' in Der Nordische Gedanke unter den Deutschen, 1925.