(Chapter XII, section 10)

Turks, Tatars, and Mongols of
European Russia

In estimating the influence of the Turks, Tatars, and Mongols upon the Finns and Slavs of European Russia, it is customary to assume that these peoples are, or at least were, fundamentally mongoloid in race. It will therefore be useful to examine the documents concerning the living representatives of these Asiatic peoples. We have already studied the skeletal remains of their ancestors (Chapter VII), and therefore know that the early nomads of the central Asiatic plain were European in type, and that many could be classed under the term Nordic with a strong Corded increment.

With the destruction of the Hiung-Nu empire of Mongolia by the Chinese, the Huns began their westward migration, finally arriving in and crossing Europe. These Huns, as we have seen, were mostly mongoloid, of the primitive Tungusic variety, but the Avars who followed them belonged more to the Buryat-Mongol type. With the Hunnish and Avar chiefs were many followers of the old central Asiatic Nordic race, and mixed retainers of a pseudo-Armenoid or Dinaric cranial form, caused, thout reasonable doubt, by a Mongol-Nordic or other Mongol-European hybridization. This medley of peoples, known as Turks or Tatars, invaded eastern Russia intermittently during the first 1500 years of the Christian era, before the tide turned, and the Slavs began the last leg of their eastward expansion. Besides those of the Turko-Tatars there were invasions of full-fledged Mongols. including the Kalmucks, whose descendants still pasture their flocks on the western side of the lower Volga, just north of the Caucasus. For purposes of facility in treatment, I have divided the Altaic speakers of European Russia into four groups: (a) Turkicized Finns and Ugrians, including the Chuvash, Bashkirs, and Meshcheryaks; (b) the Tatars in general, including all of the Turkish-speaking, mostly Moslem peoples of eastern Russia, from the Perm government down to the Caucasus; (c) the Crimean Tatars; and (d) the Kalmucks.

The Chuvash. who live in various parts of the former governments of Kazan, Simbirsk, Samara, Saratov, Orenburg, and Perm, number nearly half a million,108 of whom some 116,000 live in what is now their own administrative district.109 These are near neighbors of the Mordvins, and like the Bashkirs, who are historically survivors of the old Bulgar Empire of the Middle Ages, are probably the results of an early Turkic-Finnic cross.

The Chuvash are metrically similar to the Mordvins, but differ from these latter in the opposite direction from that in which the Mordvins differ from the Russians; in other words, in most metrical and morphological characters, there is a progression from Russians to Mordvins to Chuvashes. Their mean stature is about 164 cm., their cephalic index 80.5, their facial index 85, and their nasal index 71. They are thus shorter, longer headed, wider faced, and wider nosed than the Mordvins, and proportionately more so than the Russians. Only 2 per cent have black hair, 50 per cent dark brown (Fischer #4—5), and the rest almost entirely medium brown (Fischer #7—9). Pure brown eyes are confined to 19 per cent, and most of these are light brown; pure light irises to 3 per cent, although predominantly light ones total 14 per cent. Thus, while darker than the Mordvins, they are almost wholly a mixed pigment group.

The Chuvash are not simply Finns Tatarized in language, but show evidence in face form, nose form, and in the scarcity of true blondism, that the Turkish influence did bring some mongoloid traits blondism. It is interesting to note, however, that the cephalic index was not elevatedt as a result. Individually the Chuvash are extremely variable, as their portraits (see Plate 3) will show; complete Nordics of Corded tendency, and unmistakable mongoloids represent the end types, both of which may have been brought by the Turks.

There are two other peoples living in the general region between the Volga and the Urals, and partly on the other side, who fall into the same general Turko-Finnic class; these are the Bashkirs and the Meshcheryaks. The Bashkirs are Moslems, some of whom are settled, while others are cattle nomads; still others hunt and trap for furs in the mountains and forests. In the thirteenth century they are said to have been still speaking the same language as the Hungarians,110 which must have been some form of Ugric. At that time they were both enemies and rivals of the Bulgars and Petchenegs. The Meshcheryaks, who formerly inhabited the Oka basin, were probably Finns; they split into two branches one of which moved westward and became Russified, the other eastward and Turkicized. Traces of the western branch may be found among the Russian-speaking population of the Penza and Tambov regions; the eastern branch has taken over the speech, religion, and habits of the Bashkirs, with whom they live and are closely identified. For present purposes only the eastern branch will be studied; the western branch is a part of the Great Russian ethnos.

The two peoples, Bashkirs and Meshcheryaks, are physically much alike, and not greatly different from the Chuvash.111 The Bashkirs are the taller, with a mean stature of 166 cm.; that of the Meshcheryaks is 164—165 cm. Both are as a rule long-bodied, with a relative sitting height of over 53, well-muscled and robust, with wide shoulders. The Bashkirs are brachycephalic, with a mean index of 83.5, while the Meshcheryaks run between one and two points lower. The Bashkirs have heads of moderate vault dimensions, and are comparable in this sense to the Volga Finns, rather than to the larger-headed central Asiatic Turks and Mongols. Their faces, however, are larger than those of most eastern Finns; breadths of 109 mm. for the minimum frontal, 143 mm. for the bizygomatic, and 112 mm. for the bigonial, approach a Turko-Mongol standard, especially in the excess of jaw width over that of the forehead. The total face height of 122 mm. lies closer to the Finnic and to the Mongol than to the Turkic mean. Various groups of Bashkirs have nasal index means ranging from 67 to 73; a low mesorrhiny is apparently usual. A mean interorbital distance of 33.5 mm. is greater than among most Europeans. In all of these metrical characters of the head and face, the Meshcheryaks differ slightly from the Bashkirs, in each case in a Finnic direction. They have thus been less thoroughly Turkicized racially than the Bashkirs.

Over 50 per cent of the Bashkirs have black hair, and over 75 per cent dark eyes. Of the latter, a large minority are black. What blondism the Bashkirs possess seems to be of the gray-eyed ash-blond variety. Fifteen per cent have convex nasal profiles, which in this particular case implies Turkish influence; about 20 per cent have the snubbed tip typical of Finns but not of Mongols. The Meshcheryaks seem to be blonder than the Bashkirs, and consistently more Finnish in every respect. A distinction is usually made between the sedentary and forest Bashkirs, who are taller, longer faced, and more frequently aquiline-nosed, and the pastoral Bashkir, who are shorter in stature, broader faced, and more mongoloid-looking. That there may be some such regional differentiations seems likely.

Before proceeding further with the examination of Turko-Tatar peoples in eastern and southern Russia, it may be well to study their central Asiatic prototypes, as exemplified by the Kirghiz-Kazak whose home is in the Altai Mountains112 but who also graze their flocks on the Aralo-Caspian plain. The Kirghiz are a pastoral nomadic nation par excellence, of Turkish antecedents but with a strong Mongol infusion; in this respect they may be considered to resemble the Turkish-speaking invaders of eastern Europe in earlier times. They are variable in stature but usually short, with group means ranging from 160 cm. to 165 cm.; they are exceptionally long-bodied and short-legged, with a relative sitting height of 54.7, higher than that of any European people whom we have studied.

They are completely brachycephalic, with a mean cephalic index of 85 for most groups, and their heads are of considerable size. A mean length of 188 mm., a breadth of 161 mm., and an auricular height of 128 mm. indicates a larger vault than those of eastern Finns or Tatarized Finns, as large as or larger than the heads of western European Alpines, but smaller than the heads found in northwestern Europe among Borreby descendants. The faces are absolutely large, with a mean height of 125 mm., which is comparable to that found on Nordic groups, and a bizygomatic breadth mean ranging tribally from 148 to 153. The last named breadth is typical of pure Central Asiatic Mongols, who are, however, shorter than the Kirghiz in absolute face height (120 mm.). Thus the Kirghiz face seems to be a hybrid one in its differential inheritance of dimensions, having received its breadth from a mongoloid ancestry, its height from a white. However, since a total face height mean of 133 mm. is found among living Tungus, the Turkish face height may also be partly derived from an alternate Mongoloid Source; this must be mentioned as a possibility, but, in view of the absence of other Tungusic features, it is unlikely. The Kirghiz are long-nosed, with a mean nasal height of over 55 mm., and a nasal index of 67. In this respect they differ from the shorter-nosed, messorrhine Mongols, and from some of the incipiently mongoloid Volga Finns.

Few of the Kirghiz have pinkish-white, northern European skins; the ratio of these is under 5 per cent. Brunet-white and light brown skins account for some 33 per cent of the whole, while the rest, over 60 per cent, have a yellowish tinge of varying intensity, associated with varying degrees of pigmentation. No Kirghiz are really darker than light brown, however; von Luschan #15 seems to be the darkest shade on their normal range.

The hair color is black in 50 per cent of the Kirghiz; only 4 per cent are lighter than dark brown, and complete hair blondism is extremely rare. About 55 per cent have pure dark eyes, mostly dark brown with nearly 10 per cent of black; about 7 per cent or fewer are light-mixed or light, while the rest are dark-mixed. In series studied without scales, the pure darks are listed as high as 93 per cent; hence the majority of the mixed group must be dark-mixed indeed. The Kirghiz are predominantly brunet; they show no more blondism than many brunet Mediterranean peoples in Africa and Asia, but here the blondism definitely implies a Nordic or other blond racial increment, for there is no minority incidence of blondism among fully evolved, unmixed mongoloids. The presence of a submerged blond strain among the Kirghiz is clearly shown by the presence of 14 per cent of beards lighter than dark brown, a ratio 10 per cent higher than that for head hair color. The white strains that went into the Kirghiz blend were probably predominantly blond.

The prevailingly mongoloid character of the Kirghiz in their superficial or soft part anatomy is clearly seen by a study of hair abundance and hair distribution. Hair is absent from the chests and abdomens of 93 per cent of adult males; in the rest it is scanty. Arm and leg hair is absent er from 14 per cent, present in a minor degree on the shins only with 78 per cent; the remaining 8 per cent have a certain amount of hair on arms and thighs. The beard, not including the mustaches, is actually absent among 10 per cent of adult males, scanty with 56 per cent, and abundant with only 9 per cent. It is situated on the chin only with 26 per cent, on the lower jaw as well, under the jaw line, with 40 per cent more, and on the lower part of the cheek also with the remaining 34 per cent. In no instance studied did it cover the cheek profusely. The mustache is absent among 3 per cent, scanty among 55 per cent. The head hair is frequently coarse, almost always straight; the beard hair is wavy in 23 per cent of instances. The sparsity of body and beard hair is not as marked among most Kirghiz as among complete mongolo s, but it falls nearer a mongoloid than a white extreme.

In the form of the external eye, however, the Kirghiz are not notably mongoloid; only 15 per cent have the epicanthic fold, as compared to 83 per cent of Buryat-Mongols. Eye obliquity is found in 38 per cent, however, and the eye slit is characteristically narrow. Straight or vertical foreheads, common among Buryats and Mongols, are uncommon among Kirghiz; the slope is as great as that among Nordics and other Europeans. Browridges, usually but slightly developed among Mongols, are often medium to heavy among Kirghiz. In malar form, however, the Kirghiz tend in a mongoloid direction, since over 80 per cent protrude prominently forward. Lips are usually thin or medium.

The greatest morphological difference between Kirghiz and Mongols lies in the architecture of the nose; while the root is only of moderate height, and frequently broad, the bridge is often quite high, and the nasal profile is convex in 50 per cent of cases; the rest are almost entirely straight. Thus the lightly concave mongoloid profile is notably rare, except among women and children. The nasal tip is often thick, and is inclined downward in some 30 per cent of cases; the wings are moderate to flaring, the nostrils often highly excavated, and set usually at an oblique angle to the axis of the septum.

This pseudo-Armenoid or Armenoid-looking nose, typical of the Kirghiz if by no means found among all of them, differs from the true Dinaric or Armenoid organ in the fact that its root is usually low, while its bridge height is frequently great only by comparison. It is obviously a hybrid nose, just as the dimensions of the Kirghiz face suggest a hybrid origin. The pseudo-Armenoid skulls of the Medieval Avar and Turkish cemeteries of eastern Europe and Hungary are thus explained as a consequence of the mixture of the Buryat-Mongol mongoloid variety with white men presumably to a large extent Nordic, on the central Asiatic grasslands. This Kirghiz Turkish hybrid form is, furthermore, a phenomenon parallel to the formation of Norics in central Europe, and of Dinarics and Armenoids themselves elsewhere.

Let us return to the Tatars of eastern and southern Russia, other than the Tatar-Finnish and Tatar-Ugric mixtures whom we have already studied. These include numerous scattered peoples from the Bashkir country down to the foothills of the Caucasus, and living, in its southern reaches, on the western side of the Volga. With the exception of the Kassimov Tatars in the government of Rjäsan, who are said to be Tatarized Finns, like the Chuvash and Bashkirs,113 and who resemble the latter closely, most of these Tatar groups conform fairly well to the Tatar standard as exemplified by the Kirghiz. As a whole, however, they are less frequently yellow-skinned; their eyes are pure brown in only 53 per cent of a composite group studied; the hair is black or dark brown in only half the total, while medium brown shades account for most of the rest. Deviations from a Kirghiz standard result from the absorption not of Finns, but of the remnants of Iranian tribes, and of other early occupants of the southern steppe country. This will be made clear when we come to study the Turkomans and other Turkish-speaking nomads of former Iranian territory in what is now Russian central Asia.

The peninsula of Crimea, which lies immediately south of Ukrainian territory, represents the most distant outpost of the Tatars in a southwestern direction, except for their colonies in Rumania and Bulgaria. The history of the Crimea is one of many radical changes of ownership; the Cimmerians were driven to the mountains by the Scythians in the seventh century B.C.; subsequently Greeks colonized the peninsula in large numbers, and it remained largely Greek until overrun by Goths in 250 A.D. We have already seen (Chapter VI, p. 206) that these Goths faithfully preserved their Germanic skeletal character as long as they kept their ethnic identity. Huns and Khazars followed the Goths, and later Byzantines, Kipchak Turks, Mongols, and Italian merchants, all had their share in the possession and exploitation of the Crimea. The Tatars began their settlement in the thirteenth century, and became the principal inhabitants, flourishing especially under Ottoman Turkish domination. When the Crimea became Russian territory in 1783, many of the Tatars migrated to Turkey.

There are still Greeks in the Crimea, as well as some Bulgarians, Germans, Albanians, Karaite Jews, and, of course, Russians. The Tatars, however, still make up the bulk of the population. These are divided into the Coastal Tatars, who have been very much mixed with other peoples, the Mountain Tatars, and the Tatars of the steppe regions, away from the southeastern coastal highlands.

In some respects there is a considerable difference between these groups; the Steppe Tatars are the shortest, with a stature mean of about 164 cm., and are brachycephalic (C. I. = 85); they resemble closely their relatives the Nogai Tatars, many of whom live near the Kalmucks in the territory north of the Caucasus.114 (See Map 16.) On the whole, they seem to be more frequently mongoloid than the rest of the Crimean Tatars. The coastal and mountain groups are both taller, with regional means rising high as 170 cm., but with the general level situated at 167—168 cm. All, however, are brachycephalic, with cephalic index means of 84 and 85; the facial dimensions are moderate, and white rather than mongoloid. They are predominantly brunet, with over 50 per cent of dark eyes, and 65 per cent or more of black and dark brown hair color. This brunet pigmentation, however, may have been derived from a number of sources, as may the brachycephaly of this people. They are a very mixed group, and show little morphological evidence of their partially mongoloid ancestry.

The Kalmucks, who pasture their cattle on the Astrakhan steppe to the west of the mouth of the Volga, are a relatively pure Mongol people, transplanted from central Asia, who have retained their original speech and manner of living in their new home. They have preserved the moderately short stature, 164 cm., of the native Mongolians, but are less brachycephalic, since their cephalic index mean is 83, while that of the Mongols at home is about 85.115 In their facial dimensions, including a mean bizygomatic diameter of over 150 mm., they are fully Mongolian, as they are likewise in skin color, in hair form and texture, and in hair pigmentation. Their noses, whether concave, straight, or convex in profile, are usually low-bridged; their malars prominent, their eyes frequently bordered by epicanthic folds. Although some mixture with Russians and Tatars must inevitably have taken place, this cannot have been extensive, and has not sufficed to deprive them of their essentially Mongol racial character.

The foregoing survey of Turkic and Mongolic-speaking peoples on European soil, with an excursion into Asia for purposes of comparison, has served to define the racial elements which these people have brought with them into the European racial corpus. Except for the first Hunnish and Avar inroads, and the late invasions of the Mongols themselves, pure Mongols were seldom involved; a mixed mongoloid-white type, already partly formed in central Asia, was the principal racial factor.



108 Jochelson W., Peoples of Asiatic Russia, pp. 20, 21.

109 Vishnevski, B. N., Antropologicheskoe izuchenie chuvashi, K Otchetu po Issledovanijam, 7, pp. 229—252.
Vishnevski is the source for the anthropometric data which follow.

110 On the authority of those two intrepid and observant churchmen, John Plano de Carpini and William of Rubruck.

111 Maliev, N., TKU, vol. 5, #5, 1876. Résumé in AFA, vol. 10, 1878, P 434.
Nazarov, P. S., TILE, vol. 68, #9, 1890, Col. 350—367.
Nikolski, D. P., Bashkiri. Résumé in RAJ, vol. 1, 1900, pp. 116—118.
Sommier, S., APA, vol. 11, 1881, pp. 255—296.
Weissenberg, S., ZFE, vol. 24, 1892, pp. 181—233.
Zograf, N. J., AAM, vol. 3, 1879, pp. 7—23; résumé in AFA, vol. 14, 1883, p. 294

112 Baronov, S. F., Bukeĭkhan, A. N., and Rudenko, S. I., Kazaki, Antropologicheskie
Itarcho, A. I., SAM, #1—2, 1930, pp. 76—99.
Oshanin, L. V., ITL, vol. 10, 1927, pp. 233—270.
Roguinski, J., AZM, 1934—35, pp. 105—126.

113 Benzengre, B., RDAP, ser. 2, vol. 2, 1881, pp. 211—221.
Nefedov, J. W., AAM, vol. 1, 1879, pp. 200—201, 320—322. Résumé in AFA, vol. 14, 1883, p. 291.
Talko-Hryncewicz, J, AFA, vol. 34, 1907, p. 224.
Willer, O., PAn, vol. 1, 1926, pp. 84—91.

114 Kharusin, A. N., ULE, vol. 68, 1890, fasc. 7, col. 249—288; fasc. 8, Pp. 303—322. Résumé in Anth, vol. 3, 1892, pp. 481—482; also AFA, vol. 26, 1900, p. 831.
Nosov, A., Antrk, 1929, vol. 2, 1928, pp. 9—69.
Poschen, P., RAJ, vol. 8, 1912, pp. 36—42. Rev. in ZBFA, vol. 17, 1912, pp. 274—275.
Talko-Hryncewicz, J., MAAE, vol. 7, 1904, pp. 3—100.
Tebebinskaia-schenger, N., RAJ, vol. 17, 1928, pp. 1253. Résume in Anth, vol. 39, 929, p. 408.

115 Korolev, S. R., AFA, vol. 32, 1906, pp. 90—92.
Vorobiev, V. V., AFA, vol. 32, 1906, pp. 87—90.