(Chapter XI, section 5)

The Turks as Mediterraneans

In most of the Eurasiatic land mass, the brunet Mediterranean world is blocked from direct contact with mongoloids by intervening populations of other kinds of white men, but there is one exception to this rule. The Turkomans who live east of the Caspian, south of the Aral, west of the greater oases of Russian Turkestan, and north of the Iranian plateau, form an extension of the Mediterranean race into central Asia, where their territory borders on that of partially or fully mongoloid peoples to whom they are linguistically related. A few of them are likewise to be found in small colonies in the northern Caucasus.

The purer tribes of Turkomans are as a rule those who have not settled down, but who still maintain their pastoral nomadic existence. As an example of almost wholly unmixed Turkomans we may consider the Yomuds who live in the oasis of Khoresm, in Russian Turkestan.31

Several of the Turkoman groups studied in Iraq and in Turkmenistan are tall, with mean statures of 169 and 170 cm., but this is not true of all of them. The Yomuds, for example, have a mean of but 166 cm., as do their neighbors the Chaudir. The Yomuds are dolichocephalic, with a cephalic index of 75.2, and absolutely long-headed, with a mean head length of 194 mm. Their auricular height is very great, 132 mm., and they are markedly hypsicephalic. Other Turkoman tribes have cephalic indices ranging from 75 to nearly 80, but all seem to have auricular heights of 129 mm. or over.

With the great vault height goes an extraordinary height of the face; the mean for the Yomuds is 130 mm., and the same great facial length is found among all Turkoman groups studied. A mean bizygomatic diameter of 138 mm., absolutely on the narrow side of medium, yields the hyperleptoprosopic facial index of 95. The forehead and jaw, with mean breadths of 105 mm. and 108 mm., respectively, are by no means narrow. Narrower jaws, however, are found among Turkomans in Iraq. The mean nose height of Yomuds, 59 mm., and the nose breadth, 36 mm., combine to give the Turkomans the very leptorrhine nasal index of 61. In some Turkoman groups the index is as low as 59, or hyperleptorrhine.

All of the Turkoman tribes are predominantly brunet in head hair collor; the majority of head hair is black, straight or slightly wavy, and of fine texture. The beard, however, is sometimes lighter; among Turkomans in northern Mesopotamia no black beards were observed in a small series, and while 50 per cent were dark brown, the remainder were reddish-brown, red, and blond. Part of this beard blondism may have been derived from Kurdish mixture, but part must be native to the Turkomans.

Among the Yomuds, 65 per cent of eyes are pure brown, and the commonest color is dark brown; the same is true among Mesopotamian Turkomans, although mixed groups are darker eyed. Among the Yomuds the 35 per cent minority of eyes are all mixed, and most of these are dark mixed. Blondism of the iris is thoroughly mixed and definitely submerged.

Among Yomuds, the beard development is usually heavy; eyebrows are of moderate thickness. The forehead is of medium slope, as a rule; the browridges slight to medium in development. Most of the Yomuds have an oval face form, and a deeply excavated horizontal facial profile; the nasal root is almost always high and thin, the profile straight in 65 per cent of cases, and convex in most of the others. The nasal tip is of moderate thickness, and usually horizontal; it is elevated more often than depressed. The nostrils are oval and often parallel, the wings usually medium to compressed. The Turkoman nose, with its high, narrow bridge and its great absolute length, is definitely of Irano-Afghan size and proportions. The lips are usually thin, and little everted.

A trace of mongoloid admixture appears through the presence of a slight inner eyefold in 7 per cent of Yomuds; this is never, however, pronounced. In Mesopotamian Turkomans it never or almost never appears.

The Turkomans, as exemplified by the samples described above, with their medium-statured to tall bodies, slender build, thin extremities, and long, thin faces, with noses which reach the white extreme in height and thinness, form a characteristic racial sub-type of their own. They form a variety of the Irano-Afghan race, but differ most succinctly from other branches of it in one feature, the possession of an extremely high head vault. In this feature and in others they resemble the Corded who first appeared during the Neolithic.

The usual explanation given to account for the Mediterranean racial character of this Turkish-speaking people is that their linguistic ancestors were mongoloids who became transformed racially through the absorption of the old nomadic population of the central Asiatic plains. This explanation, however, seems inadequate; in the first place, the Scytho-Sarmatian nomads were Nordics, and there is not enough blondism in the Turkomans to permit such a derivation. In the second place the central Asiatic Nordics were broad-faced, and the mixture of a broad-faced white with a broader-faced mongoloid strain could hardly produce a facial form narrower than either.

Furthermore, they are probably not Turkicized brunet Iranians from the plateau, for their vault heights are too great for such a specific and recent relationship. The most logical explanation is that which has already been set forth in Chapter VII, that the Turkomans are descended from the early white people who went northward into Mongolia bearing Altaic speech, agriculture, and later, horse nomadism; their partially mongoloid relatives include the Kirghiz and the Turkish-speaking peoples of both Chinese and Russian Turkestan. That the Turkomans in their purest form have not wholly escaped a mongoloid infusion is to be expected.

Other Turkoman peoples show more mongoloid features than those studied, or than those in Turkmenistan proper. A mixed group of Turkomans is to be found in the northern Caucasus, that asylum for small fragments of peoples. This group includes sections of the tribes of Chaudir, whose main home is in Khoresm, and of Suyun-Djadji and Igdir. These Turkomans are shorter than the Yomuds, with a mean stature of 163.5 cm., and rounder headed, but equal in face and nose heights. They are darker eyed, less heavily bearded, straighter in forehead profile, and frequently round faced; their horizontal facial profile is often flat, their noses lower rooted. In mixture with a mongoloid strain which is perceptible in most individuals but strong in few, they have partly assumed the lateral breadth dimensions of the mongoloids, while retaining the sagittal length and height dimensions of their Mediterranean ancestors, except in head height and in stature; in soft part features, their position is intermediate.

Close relatives of the Turkomans, and less exposed to mongoloid in tory influences, are the Azerbaijani Turks, who occupy a large territory in northwestern Iran on the southeastern shores of the Caspian, and whose territory also includes a large portion of Russian Transcaucasia. Here the Azerbaijans have, besides a province which is theirs almost uniquely, scattered pastures and villages farther west and north, in the neighborhood of Kurds, Georgians, and Armenians.

These Azerbaijanis may be divided on a racial basis into two groups: those who are still mainly pastoralists and who are essentially similar to the Turkomans in all physical features, and those who live in scattered communities in Armenian, Georgian, or other territory and have been altered by local admixture.32 The longest-headed groups have cephalic index means ranging from 76 to 78, the roundest-headed as high as 81. The brachycephalizing agent in the latter case is not mongoloid, as with the Turkomans living on the northern slopes of the Caucasus, but Alpine, as with Armenians and Georgians. The head height and face height retain much of their original elevation among most of the Azerbaijanis, and the facial form is the same as with Turkomans. A majority of dark brown rather than black hair, however, is characteristic of the more altered groups, as is a ratio of over 50 per cent of mixed and light eyes. The mongoloid traits which appear sporadically among the Turkomans are here almost never encountered.

The Azerbaijanis, like the Turkomans, are members of the Irano-Afghan family of the Mediterranean race. Their ancestors entered Iran from the plains east of the Caspian at the beginning of the present millennium, and took part in the western thrust of Turkish peoples across northern Iran and into Anatolia, where other branches of the same ethnic family, the Seljuks and Osmanlis, founded empires, the latter destined to expand into southeastern Europe. The racial history of the Osmanli Turks in Anatolia and in Europe will be dealt with in the following chapter.



31 Iarcho, A. I., AZM, 1933, #1—2, pp. 70—119.
See also, Kappers, C. U. A., and Parr, L. W., op. cit.
I shall also use a series of 31 Turkomans measured at Kirkuk, Iraq, by Mr. Robert W. Ehrich, with his kind permission.

32 Anserov, N. I., AZM, 1934, #1—2, pp. 109-115.
Djawachischwili, A. L., AFA, vol. 48, 1925, pp. 77—89.
Chantre, E., Récherches anthropologiques dans l’Asie Occidentale.
Erckert, R. AFA, 18, 1889, pp. 263—281, pp. 297—335; vol. 19, 1890, pp. 55—84, 211—249, 331—356.
Iarcho A. I., AZM, 1932, #2, pp. 49—83.