(Chapter XII, section 15)



East of the Illyrians and north of the Macedonians lived, in classical times, the Thracians. Their territory reached beyond the Danube on the north to the border of Scythian country, and on the east to the Black Sea. In the period of their greatest power, between 450 and 300 B.C., they were a numerous and important people; Herodotus called them the most numerous west of India. The southern Thracians were more or less Hellenized culturally, the northern ones in later times were Romanized, and were also influenced by the settkment of Goths among them. The invasions of the South Slavs, however, put an end to what remained of their ethnic identity.

The Thracians are introduced here, at this late date, because they were not discussed in Chapter VI, along with the other Indo-European-speaking peoples of the Iron Age. The reason for this omission is that no skeletal material worthy of mention has been described which can be associated with them. A single skull which was probably Thracian, however, was dolichocephalic and leptorrhine. 132 Classical descriptions of Thracians make them tall, powerful, and apparently fair. As such they fit into the general scheme of the Iron Age Indo-European-speaking peoples.

Bulgaria was once Thracian country; a few centuries after its Romanization, it was submerged by a Slavic invasion, the advance guard of the movement which brought Slavic speech into Serbia. This Slavic invasion, which resulted in a permanent settlement of the country, was followed by a further invasion of still heathen Ugrian tribes under Turkish leadership, similar to the movement which brought the ancestors of the Magyars to Hungary. The subsequent history of Bulgaria was the opposite to that of Hungary; the Bulgars, who had left their eastern Russian home before the rise of the Bolgar Empire, kept their Ugrian name, but gave up their language, in favor of the speech of their Slavic predecessors. Whereas the Magyars became Catholics, the Bulgars adopted Orthodox Christianity The next invaders of Bulgaria of importance were the Ottoman Turks, who took over the fertile Danubian farm lands, and settled large colonies of Asiatic Turks on them. Sporadic invasions of Tatars from South Russia mingled themselves with this Turkish body. At the time of the Russian conquest of the Caucasus, many Moslem Cherkesses fled to Bulgaria to avoid submission to Christians.

Since the war, many of the Turkish peasants have left Bulgaria, and many of the Cherkesses as well. There are still islands of these people throughout the country, but especially in the eastern lowlands, and there are minor colonies of Greeks, of Tatars, and of Rumanians. To the west, the Bulgarians occupy the greater part of Yugoslavian Macedonia, and border in this neighborhood on the Albanians. To the south, they extend to the head of the Aegean, where their settlements are interspersed with those of Turks and Greeks. Most of the Bulgarians are still Orthodox Christians, but a large minority, especially in Macedonia, is Moslem.

The stature of the Bulgarians varies regionally from 166 cm. to 168 cm.; 133 the tallest are found in Macedonia, and also in the very northeastern part of Bulgaria. There is a strong social segregation on the basis of stature; students at the Sofia Military Academy had, in 1906, a mean stature of 171.5 cm.; 134 other socially selected samples rise to 170 cm. The Bulgar colonists who live in the Crimea have a mean of 169 cm., those in the Rumanian Dobruja, 167 cm. The mean cephalic index of over 5000 Bulgarian soldiers is 79.6; this varies within the kingdom of Bulgaria from 80.8 in the north, to 79.9 in the southwest, and 78.2 in the south. Christian Bulgars of Macedonia have a mean of 83.3, in the region of Monastir this rises to 85; Moslem Bulgars are less brachycephalic, with a mean of 80.5, while in the neighborhood of Salonika small local samples of Bulgars are actually dolichocephalic, with a mean of 76.4, and in the neighborhood of Adrianople in Turkish Thrace, the mean is only 78.3. Bulgarian émigrés in the Crimea have a mean of 78.7.

Thus within the Bulgarian people there is a strong tendency toward dolichocephaly, strong enough to impress mesocephaly upon the nation as a whole. The strongest expression of this tendency is found in the southern part of the kingdom, and beyond Bulgarian territory proper. True brachycephals are found only among the Macedonian Bulgars who live in close contact with Albanians.

The Bulgarians of the kingdom have heads of moderate size, with a mean length of about 189 mm. and a breadth of 150 mm.; they are comparable in this respect to the longer-headed Greeks. Their faces, however, are narrower than those of most Balkan peoples; the minimum frontal mean is 105 mm., the bizygomatic 139 mm., and the bigonial 108 mm. As with the Greeks, the jaw is wider than the forehead, but both widths are much narrower than with the latter. The face height, 121 mm., is moderate, the facial index, 87, mesoprosopic. On the other hand the upper facial index, 55, is relatively high. The ratio between the two facial indices assumes a Mediterranean position. The nasal diameters, 55 mm. by 36 mm., yield a moderately leptorrhine index, 65.

So far, the metrical position of the main group of Bulgarians is that of a moderately tall-statured Mediterranean group, with the addition of some brachycephalizing agent in a minor numerical position. The pigmentation of the Bulgars, while lighter than that of the Greeks, is predominantly dark. About 25 per cent have pure dark eyes, about 15 per cent light and light-mixed; the remaining majority are dark or evenly mixed. The head hair is dark brown or very dark reddish brown in almost the entire group; even among children, definitely blond combinations of hair, eye, and skin color do not exceed 10 per cent of the whole. Among adults light head hair is rare. The beard, however, shows the same tendency to disproportionate lightness found among Albanians, Montenegrins, and Cretans, but not among Greeks; the brunet colors found in about 90 per cent of the head hair occurs in only 50 per cent of the beards. Medium and light brown beards account for most of the rest. There is a notable absence of ash-blondism in this group.

Most of the Bulgars have straight nasal profiles; concave forms are found principally in the northwest, adjoining Serbian territory, where they amount to 12 per cent. Convexity is rare among all Bulgarians, but least so in Macedonia. The snubbed tip so characteristic of northern and eastern Slavs is by no means unknown among them, but is in the minority.

The Bulgarians are a composite people, with the following racial elements easily discernible: (a) a medium to tall-statured Atlanto-Mediterranean; (b) a partially blond Neo-Danubian, of typical snub-nosed form; (c) a Nordic; (d) a Dinaric, with the usual Alpine corollary; (e) a brachycephalic central Asiatic Turkish or Tatar form. The basic element is the Atlanto-Mediterranean, which probably goes back to the Neolithic; the Neo-Danubian is probably of both Slavic and Ugrian introduction, although some of it may be older; the Nordic may be of several origins, including Thracian; the Dinaric is simply the result of Bulgarian admixture with local elements in Macedonia; the Turkic is found mostly in eastern Bulgaria, and then among townsmen and shepherds rather than among agriculturalists. Of these varied elements, the first two are the most important, and the first more than the second. The presence of a strongly entrenched Atlanto-Mediterranean population of Neolithic date in all of the lowland Balkans south and east of the Iron Gate is becoming increasingly evident. In Bulgaria it is geographically most concentrated along the southern ethnic periphery, and among Bulgarian colonies abroad, as in the Crimea.


132 Weisbach, A., MAGW, vol. 29, 1899. The foregoing discussion of the Thracians is based mainly on Lebzelter, V., MAGW, vol. 49, 1929, pp. 61-126. See also, Pittard, E., Les Peuples des Balkans, pp. 139-153.

133 Wateff, S., BMSA, ser. 5, vol. 5,1904, pp. 437-458.
Drontschilow, K., AFA, vol. 42, 1915, pp. 1-76.
Hasluck, M., and Morant, O. M., Biometrika, vol. 21, 1929, pp. 325-334.
Kirkoff, N., BMSA, ser. 5, vol. 7, 1906, pp. 226-233.
Lebzelter, V., MAGW, vol. 59, 1929, pp. 61-126; vol. 53, 1933, pp. 233-251.
Nosov, A., Z. AntrK, vol. 3, 1929, pp.1-53; PCZA, 1930, pp. 311-312.
Pittard, E., Les Peuples des Balkans.

134 Kirkoff, N., BMSA, 1906.