(Chapter XII, section 11)

The Magyars

There are approximately eleven millions of Hungarians in Europe, of whom some eight million live within the boundaries of their own kingdom three million have been placed in exile by the Treaty of Versailles These three million inhabit (or inhabited) the adjacent nations of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Rumania, most notably the latter, where a large bloc of Magyars, the Szekelers, live in Transylvania, under the curve of the Carpathians. Other groups are scattered widely between the Carpathians and the boundary of present Hungary.

The history of Hungary, reviewed in Chapter VII, has been one of extraordinary complexity. Within the Christian era the Hungarian plain has witnessed the invasion and settlement of numerous Slavs, Germans, Huns, Avars, and Ugrian Magyars; the introduction of foreigners of all kinds by the early Hungarian kings in their efforts to create a highly civilized state added further confusion. Out of this medley of peoples with their many languages and cultures, one speech, a partially Turkicized Ugric, has survived; one dominant cultural pattern has arisen; this seems partly Slavic, partly central Asiatic, and Romanized through the agency of Catholicism.

The ethnic structure of Hungary is extraordinarily complex, and as yet not wholly known. Many small sub-groups, located in various parts of Hungary and elsewhere, claim special descent, not from Arpad and his followers, but from the Avars, the Cumans, and other Turkish invaders. The Szekelers, who are claimed to be the purest of the Magyars, in the sense that they preserve the ancient types most faithfully, are descendants of colonists sent to the Carpathians to ward off the inroads of the Cumans. - These various traditions and individual histories indicate that the formation of the Hungarian people was no simple matter.

Almost every race or sub-race in Europe, and many in Asia, have contributed to the Magyar physical amalgam, and an adequate anthropometric study of the Hungarians would be a task of great magnitude. So far such a study has not been made, or at least, has not been published. Contemporary Hungarian anthropologists have concentrated rather upon the prodigious task of untangling the skeletal history of their country, with considerable success, as reviewed in Chapter VII. With this ample background, the analysis of the living material which they have accumulated and are accumulating will be made possible.116

The stature of living Magyars within the present kingdom of Hungary varies but slightly from region to region; local means run from 167 to 168 cm. The same is true of most of the Hungarian districts in Rumania, except for the Transylvanian Magyars, whose mean is 169 cm., and the Szekelers, with 170 cm. Thus the Magyars are taller than either the Ugrians or the Turks of eastern Russia, with a tendency for stature to increase from west to east.

The cephalic index mean maintains a brachycephalic level of 84 to 87, with the highest figures in the southeast, in the neighborhood of Szeged and Arad; on the whole, excessive brachycephaly is a South Hungarian phenomenon. The tall Szekelers of the bend of the Carpathians have the low mean, for Magyars, of 81.5. Head sizes of Hungarians are of normal, central European dimensions; the more brachycephalic groups have the larger heads, with length means in the neighborhood of 185 mm., and breadts of approximately 158 mm. They are thus equivalent to most Dinarics and Alpines in this respect. The less brachycephalic groups farther north have lengths of approximately 181—182 mm., and breadths of 152—153 mm.; figures of Neo-Danubian size. The Szekelers, by contrast, have large heads, with length and breadth means of approximately 191 mm. and 156 mm. If they have more Asiatic blood than the other Magyars, it must be Turkish in the sense of the Turkomans and Azerbaijanis.

Small series of Hungarians, taken as a whole, show fully European cranial and facial dimensions. Total face heights of less than 120 mm. are reminiscent of Ugrians as well as of modern Slavs, and are too short for either central Asiatic Turks or Dinarics. The mean bizygomatic diameter of 140 mm. precludes, furthermore, extensive Mongol or Turkish influence. A moderate leptorrhiny, with a mean nasal index of 68, is too high for Dinarics, but adequate for Neo-Danubians, Turks, or Alpines. On the whole, the metrical characters of the Magyars, as revealed by small and perhaps poorly representative samples, indicate Neo-Danubian and Alpine racial elements as the most prevalent, especially the former.

The pigment characters, judging from what has been published, are on the brunet side of medium; Over 50 per cent of eyes seem to be dark or predominantly dark, while black and dark brown hair shades reach approximately the same figure. The majority of Magyars have straight nasal profiles; a large minority of 25 per cent are concave, however, and a few of these are flattish in a manner which suggests ultimate Finnic or mongoloid derivation. Nasal convexity is not common, at least in the small series available.

According to Bartucz’s analysis, only about 15 per cent of the population of Hungary is Alpine racially, and this element is commonest in the German territories of the southern part of the kingdom. A Neo-Danubian racial type117 is the most numerous single element, which accounts for about 35 per cent of the whole, and is commonest in the northeast, over against Slovakia, and in this section it rises to 60 per cent of the population Dinarics include 20 per cent of the total and are concentrated in the south and especially the southwest, in contact with essentially Dinaric regions in Yugoslavia.

Bartucz finds about 20 per cent of the Magyars to show evidence of Asiatic Turkish blood, in the relatively non-mongoloid sense, while about 5 per cent manifest clearly recognizable mongoloid features. These Asiatic elements are not evenly distributed, but are concentrated in the purer Hungarian pastoral population, while the Turkish element is said to be especially visible in the nobility. The 5 per cent which remains after Bartucz’s partitionment must include Nordics and Norics, with the latter also forming part of the Dinaric allotment, as well as a few brunet Mediterraneans

Bartucz’s analysis, based upon long observation as well as upon unpublished materials, is more valid than deductions made from the small series of detailed measurements at our disposal. Hungary fits into the racial boundaries of the countries which surround her, without sharp transitions; at the same time she provides a refuge in central Europe for a minor central Asiatic survival. It is not accurate to say that the pre-Magyar inhabitants of Hungary have completely, or almost completely, absorbed the invaders whose speech is that of the nation, for the Ugric followers of Arpad, who came to these plains in thousands, must have been largely Neo-Danubian in race, as are many of their present-day descendants and successors.



116 Sources on the physical anthropology of living Hungarians include:

Bartucz, L., REHF, vol. 5, Paris, 1927, pp. 209—241; ZFRK, vol. 1, 1935, pp. 225— 240; MAGW, vol. 57, 1927, pp. [126—130]; NMNM, vol. 7, 1911, pp. 278—292; AFA, vol. 43, 1917, pp. 44—59.
Benyon, E. D., GR, vol. 17, 1927, pp. 586—604.
Biasutti, R., APA, vol. 51, 1921, pp. 154—184.
Hermann, 0., MAGW, vol. 35, 1905, pp. 53—63; vol. 49, 1919, pp. 3—5.
Hrdlička, A., The Old Americans.
Janko, J., Magyar Typuszok, Elsö Sorozat: A Balaton Mellékéröl.
Korosi, M., BSAP, ser. 3, vol. 1, pp. 308—309.
Scheiber, S. H., AFA, vol. 13, 1881, pp. 233—267; CRCA, 8 me sess., Budapest, 1876, 1, pp. 601—611.
Talko-Hryncewicz J., PAn, vol. 6, 1932, pp. 26—32, 118—119.

117 Bartucz calls it Oriental.