(Chapter XII, section 18)
The object of the present section is to deal with the general group of brachycephalic peoples, other than the Osmanli Turks, who live in the regions lying between Syria and the Caucasus, and including both. These peoples include the various groups of Syrians, the Druses, the Armenians, the Assyrians and the Caucasic peoples proper.
Syria, an Arabic-speaking country, is bounded by the northern Arabian desert on the east, by Palestine on the south, and by Ottoman Turkish territory on the north. It is divided into the coastal mountain sections of Lebanon on the south and the Alawiya country on the north, and the inland portions administered from Damascus and Aleppo, respectively. In the very south is the Jebel Druz, some fifty miles east of the Lake of Tiberias. The majority of the inhabitants of the Lebanon region are Christians, of both Maronite and Orthodox sects; the Druses practice a secret religion of their own which arose from a Fatemid heresy in Egypt the eleventh century; the Alawiya or Nosairi are also Moslem heretics, being the most extremely schismatic of the Shiites.147
For anthropometric purposes, the Syrians may be divided into (1) the Syrian Bedawin, including the Ruwala, Akeydat, and Maualy, (2) the desert border groups, including the towns of Homs, Hama, and Aleppo, and the districts of Mharda, Hafar, and Hijana, (3) the mountain groups, including the Druse, the Lebanese, the Mitwali (Lebanese Moslems), and the Alawiya (Alouites). The Syrian Bedawin are dolichocephalic Arabs of pure Mediterranean race; the desert border groups are intermediate between the former and the mountain people, with mean cephalic indices of 77—79 for the country people, and 81—82 for the city dwellers. It is the third group, which is fully brachycephalic, that deserves special attention here. Both the Lebanese and the Druses have mean cephalic indices of 86, and the Mitwali of 87, while the mean of the Alawiya is 83.148
The mountain peoples, Lebanese, Alawiya, Mitwali, and Druse, are all racially very much alike, whatever their differences in religion, and a study of one will suffice for the whole. The Lebanese will serve as an example. They are of a little more than moderate European stature, with a mean of 167 cm.; their bodily proportions are medium, from the metrical standpoint; they are thicker set as a rule than Bedawin, and are built more often like the Anatolian Turks; some, who follow sedentary occupations, incline to corpulence.
In their head and face measurements, they are virtually identical with the more brachycephalic groups of Anatolian Turks studied in the last section; they likewise fall extremely close to the total means for Ghegs in northern Albania, in all characters studied except the nasal dimensions; the Lebanese being shorter and slightly broader-nosed. The nasal dimensions of the Lebanese are 55 mm. by 35 mm., with a nasal nasal index of 63.
Most of the Lebanese have brunet-white unexposed skin color, although some 20 per cent have pinkish-white skin, as light as that of most northern Europeans. About 50 per cent have black hair, a higher incidence than was found among Turks, while most of the rest have dark brown. Eighty-three per cent have pure brown eyes, with dark brown in the majority; the principal mixed color scheme is green-brown. Some 5 per cent have eyes which are either pure or nearly pure blue. The hair is usually wavy, and often fine in texture; it is often heavy on the beard and body, while the eyebrows are frequently thick, and in 77 per cent, concurrent.
The noses of the Lebanese, convex in profile in 53 per cent of the group, have usually a slight to medium nasion depression, a high, medium to broad root, and a high, broad bridge; the tip is of moderate thickness in most cases, and usually elevated; the wings are seldom compressed. Their foreheads usually have little slope, their browridges are of moderate development; occipital flattening of some degree is present in almost all who were born in Syria.
The Lebanese are Mediterraneans of the same type found in Palestine and northern Arabia, brachycephalized through the agency of the Alpine race. They differ from the brachycephals of Anatolia, who antedate the Osmanli Turks in origin, in very few characters; one is the possession of black hair, as opposed to dark brown, in half the group; another is a greater incidence of pure brown eyes. The difference between the two is largely due to the fact that the Arabian type of Mediterranean is naturally more brunet than the principal element in Anatolia. Among the Lebanese, dark brown-eyed, black-haired individuals tend to be shorter, longer-headed, and narrower-faced than the group as a whole, and thus lean in a Mediterranean direction; the blonds or near-blonds are the tallest, longest-faced, and narrowest-nosed. They thus assume the Noric form typical of a Nordic strain in this type of mixture. The Lebanese On the whole are Dinaricized Mediterraneans, but do not entirely merit the term Armenoid, any more than do the Osmanli Turks.
We cannot date the brachycephalization of the Syrians exactly, but we know that brachycephals began travelling from that part of the world by sea as early as approximately 2200 B.C. Cyprus, an early center of maritime Bronze Age activity, is today inhabited by a Graeco-Turkish population, in which the Greeks, both linguistically and in religion, are the preponderant element.149 The living Cypriots are, like their Dinaric forebears, moderately tall, with a mean stature of 169 cm.; they are moderately brachycephalic, with a mean cephalic index of 82.5, and their anthropometric character in general is fully Dinaric. Slightly more than half of the Cypriots have brown eyes, and of the others the majority are greenish-brown. Thirty-five per cent have black hair, most of the others, dark brown. On the basis of available information, it is possible to admit both Greek and Turkish influences in a physical sense, while the major inheritance must be from the Cypriots of the Bronze Age.
It has long been believed by physical anthropologists that the quintessence of Near Eastern brachycephaly is to be found in the Armenians; the racial term Armenoid being named for them. The Armenians have long been established in the territory which is now only partly theirs; they had, before the arrival of the Turks, a powerful kingdom, which covered most of the territory between the Gulf of Alexandretta and the Caucasus. Their kingdom had its roots in the Early Iron Age, and a possible derivation, in part at least, from that of the Hittites. The endogamy of the Armenians in modern times is well known, and there is every reason to suppose that they have preserved a pre-Turkish racial complex with some fidelity. Endogamy, however, functions best under adversity, and there is reason to believe that in the time of their greatest power the Armenians absorbed other Near Eastern peoples into their linguistic and cultural body. There was, furthermore, a strong social division into military aristocrats and peasantry.
The present Armenians are greatly scattered, and so great has been the exodus from their own country that series measured elsewhere should show little influence of selection. A series of 1100 men, measured in America but adult at the time of immigration, furnishes ample material for the study of this people.150 They belong, as is well known, to the planoccipital brachycephalic division of the white race, a division which, as we have seen, possesses only such unity as that which results from a common principle of heredity.
They are men of medium stature, with a mean of 166 cm.; this varies extensively in accordance with geography; the eastern Armenians, from Van, Erivan, Bitlis, and Erzerum, are considerably taller than those in the west, who come from Sivas, Kaisarie, and Marash, while those geographically intermediate, from Kharput and Diarbekr, are intermediate in stature as well. The extremes are the Van people, with a mean of 169 cm., and those from Kaisarie and Marash, with means of 164 cm. They are, for their weight, very heavy people, with a mean of 160 lbs.; the lateral bodily habitus which the foregoing weight-stature ratio indicates is predominant in all regional groups, except Van. Mernbers of the western groups, on the whole, are more lateral than those from the east. The relative span, 104, and the relative sitting height, 53.2, fall into the general Alpine category.
The mean cephalic index for Armenians is 85.4; this varies from 84 in Van and Erivan, to 86 in Sivas and 87 in Erzerum. The mean head length, 185 mm. for the total, reaches 188 mm. in the east, and 183 mm. in the west. The breadth mean, 158 mm., is relatively constant. The auricular height, with a mean of 126 mm., is also subject to this east-west differentiation; local means reach 129 mm. in the east, 124 mm. in the west. The lateral dimensions of the face, 108 mm. for the minimum frontal, 144 mm. for the bizygomatic, and 110 mm. for the bigonial, show no geographical variation; they are comparable to the breadth dimensions found among moderate-sized Dinarics in Europe, although the jaw width is more reminiscent of Asia Minor and Greece. The inverse jaw-forehead ratio is the opposite from that of Albanian Dinarics.
Vertical diameters of the face are again divided geographically, the total face height mean is 128 mm., ranging from 130 mm. in the east to 125 mm. in the west; the upper face height similarly varies from 78 mm. to 75 mm., with a mean for the whole of 77 mm.; the facial and upper facial indices vary in consequence. The group as a whole is on the upper border of mesoprosopy, and mesene. Only Van is leptoprosopic and leptene.
The Armenian nose is extremely long, with a mean height of 60 mm., and quite wide, with a mean breadth of 38 mm. The nasal index, 64, is leptorrhine, but by no means as leptorrhine as the noses of European Dinarics. The difference between Albanian Dinaric and Armenian nasal indices lies entirely in the breadth. Like all other vertical dimensions, the nose height among Armenians is subject to geographical variation, but this is slighter than with most other characters, since a long nose is an essential Armenoid feature. The width also varies, from 37.4 mm. in Van, to 38.4 mm. in Kaisarie.
Taking these measurements as a whole, there is seen to be a strong east-west division within Armenia; this division is especially prominent in weight, stature, segments of stature, head length, the cephalic index, the auricular height, the face heights, and to a lesser extent in both nasal dimensions. Linear traits of the head and face as well as of the body are greater in the east, while the lateral dimensions are much the same everywhere.
The Armenians are metrically very much like the northern Albanians in most characters; the chief differences are the greater face length and greater nasal breadth of the Armenians. Although the differences between Armenians and Albanians are no greater than those between a number of European groups which collectively enjoy the designation Dinaric, the Armenians do stand at one extreme of the Armenoid-Dinaric combination, while the Osmanli Turks and the Syrian brachycephals fall much closer to the European end.
The skin color of the Armenians has been designated as pinkish-white, brunet, swarthy, and light brown. The two middle categories share almost equally over 85 per cent of the total. Pink skin, which includes 8 per cent, is far commonest at Van, light brown at Kaisarie. The east-west division holds in skin color as in other features. The hair color is mostly dark brown; 58 per cent belongs to this category while black and medium brown account for 18 per cent each. The remaining 6 per cent is almost entirely reddish brown. The men with black and dark brown head hair have, as a rule, beards of the same color; but the brown-haired men have reddish brown or red beards, in most cases. Thus, at least 75 per cent of the group may be considered completely brunet in hair color tendencies. The brown and reddish hair shades are commonest in the Lake Van region, the black in the south and west, nearest Syria.
To match the ratio of pure brunet hair, one finds 73 per cent of brown eye color; this is divided almost evenly between dark brown, light brown, and mixed-brown classes, the latter implying an iris form in which more than one brown shade is present. The high ratio of this class, one-fourth of the total series and one-third of the pure dark eyes, is due to the accuracy of the observer rather than to any peculiar condition. It means that more than one brunet strain is present among Armenians, a fact which other evidence confirms. Dark brown eyes are most numerous in the west, where they form 36 per cent of the whole, and rare in the Lake Van region, where they form 13 per cent. Mixed and light eyes, mostly green-brown, but including 2 per cent of pure blue, total 34 per cent in Van, and but 11 per cent in Kaisarie.
The hair form of the Armenians is mostly low waves; their pilosity is abundant. Beards are usually very heavy, and body hair as well; hairiness is an outstanding Armenian feature. As with most hairy people, many of the Armenians grow bald with advancing age. The eyebrows are unusually thick, and in 73 per cent of cases, concurrent. The foreheads of the Armenians, unlike those of Syrians and Turks, and of many European Dinarics, are as a rule quite sloping, more so than is found in the majority of white racial groups. The browridges, however, are seldom very heavy; the heaviest are found in the east.
The Armenian nasal features are extreme and consistent; the nasion depression is usually slight, but almost always present; both the root and the bridge are very high and quite broad. It is this breadth of the nose from root to tip, that differentiates it most from those of European Dinarics. The profile is convex in 62 per cent of cases, and very few are concave. The tip is thick in over 50 per cent of cases, and depressed in about 70 per cent. The wings are usually medium or flaring, compressed in only 20 per cent. Thinner roots and bridges and more compressed wings are characteristic of Armenians from the Lake Van country, thicker and more flaring in those from the south and west.
The Armenian orbit, high on the skull, does not permit frequent eyefolds; these are usually external or median, and are found mostly in the east. The eye opening is usually great, and there is, in nearly half the group, some obliquity of axis, although this is usually slight. The Armenians are as a rule thin-lipped, with medium to great chin prominence, a palpable bilateral cleft in the chin, and flaring gonial angles. Mid-facial prognathism is found in about one-fourth of the group, but it is seldom great; alveolar prognathism is very rare.
The occipital region is seldom protuberant, but more so among eastern than western Armenians; occipital flattening is found among 75 per cent, and its absence is commoner in the east than in the west. There can be little doubt that its intensity is partly due to unintentional cradling deformation, especially since the cradle was more commonly used in the west than in the east at the time that the men studied were infants. As in Albania, pronounced cranial asymmetry, a concomitant of unbound occipital flattening, is frequent.
In the characters of the nose, in the form of the skull, especially of the occipital region, in pilosity and in the prevalence of brunet pigmentation, the Armenians from all regions form a definite whole. Yet the variability of the different characters is so linked that the component factors in the blend may be seen upon analysis, and the composition of the Armnenoid racial type revealed. The partially blond element, as best designated by eye color, is quite different from the group as a whole; persons with mixed or light eyes are much more linear in build, taller, longer and higher-headed, longer- and narrower-faced, and longer- and narrower-nosed. The brunet skin color is associated, on the other hand, with a whole combination of characters, especially those concerned with bodily, cranial, and facial breadths; whereas the first type is Nordic, the second is Alpine in directional implication. The most brunet group, on the basis of skin color, is bimodal; it includes a long-faced, long-nosed, heavily bearded Irano-Afghan strain, and a smaller Mediterranean type, which is also a factor in the composition of the Syrian brachycephals.
The Armenoid type is a stable hybrid between two principal elements, the Alpine race and the Irano-Afghan division of the Mediterranean stock, mixed at the ratio of 2 of the latter to 1 of the former. The combination has produced a greater laterality than either parent stock, an excess of brachycephaly, and an excess of facial length and nasality. In northern and eastern Armenia, a strong Nordic infusion has altered the blend in a linear direction, and has infused a minority with partial blondism; in southern and western Armenia, a parallel infusion of Mediterranean factors, comparable to those found in Syria and Arabia, has reduced the stature and other linear dimensions, while increasing the brunet character of the pigmentation.
Thus the Armenoid race is a product of the same principle of hybridization which has produced Dinarics in Europe,151 the chief difference being that among the Armenians the Mediterranean factor involved is Irano-Afghan, while in countries farther east it is one of several varieties more familiar to Europeans. In tracing relationships between Dinarics and Armenoids, as between groups of Dinarics, it is futile to look for historic associations, since the relationship is parallel rather than derivative. Racial analysis has indicated something that archaeology has only begun to reveal; that Anatolia, the Syrian highlands, and the Armenian plateau are not, in all likelihood, basic Mediterranean racial territory, but the former homelands of a population similar to that living in Europe during late glacial times. The Alpine race, here as in central Europe, from France to Albania, has reëmerged, and in so doing has blended with Mediterranean forms in a characteristic way. Another conclusion which one may make from this study is that Anatolia was never, until the time of the Ottoman Empire, an important highroad of racial movements; its main role has been that of a refuge area, and the same is true of the Syrian mountains and those of Armenia.
A separate group of brachycephalic Near Eastern people living until recently in the neighborhood of the eastern Armenians is that of the Aissores, or Assyrians, Christians who still speak the old Syric language, now used in Syria in a ritual sense only, but once widespread also in Mesopotamia. These Assyrians, Christians in Mesopotamia since their conversion in 70 AD., were, at the time of the Arab conquest of their country, granted a firman issued by the Prophet himself permitting them to practice their religion without hindrance. Under this sanction they flourished greatly, sent missionaries to China, and founded a colony, which still exists, in India.152 At the time of the Mongol invasions, between 1230 and 1400 A.D., their country was laid waste, and those who survived the calamity fled northward into Turkey, settling in the mountain district of Hakkiari, in Kurdish country, south of Lake Van and west of Lake Urmia. In 1914, 80,000 of them were still established there, while another 35,000 lived in Iran, near Lake Urmia, and 10,000 more had returned to the lowlands of Iraq, near Mosul. During the World War and in the two decades since, the Assyrians have suffered further political disasters which have left them homeless and have greatly reduced their numbers.
These Assyrians, whose ancestors, presumably plainsmen from Iraq, may have been no different in a physical sense from the other inhabitants of that valley, are now, after some six hundred years of living in the mountains, more brachycephalic than the Armenians.153 Their mean stature is about 167 cm., their cephalic index mean about 87, with series by different authors varying from 85 to 90. They are almost purely brunet, and characteristically aquiline in nasal profile. Their total resemblance to Armenians, however, is not close; the faces of the Assyrians are both shorter and narrower than those of the Armenians, and their noses are likewise smaller. It is possible that mixture with Armenians produced the initial stimulus toward hyperbrachycephaly, but whatever its immediate origin, the facial dimensions show that the basic Mediterranean type involved is western, and not Irano-Afghan.
Even more of a refuge area than Asia Minor, the Caucasus mountain range and the valleys to either side provide shelter to an extremely varied conglomeration of peoples. Besides the Armenians, the Aissores, the Kurds, the Tats, who are Iranians living near Baku, and the Azerbaijani Turks, and some Tatars and Mongols, the Caucasus contains the Caucasians proper, who are the speakers of Caucasic languages, and the Ossetes, whose language is Iranian and for whom descent is claimed from the Alans, the last ethnic survivors of the Sarmatians recorded in history.154
The Caucasic speakers
are divided into four main branches, each of which has many subdivisions;
these branches are the Lesghians, the Chechens, the Cherkesses or
Circassians, and the Georgians. Map 16 will show the distribution of these
peoples. The various subdivisions of
these peoples, living in their separate valleys, follow different forms of
Christianity and of Islam, while the presence of Jewish villages complicates
the religious pattern. The Georgians, however, are mostly Christian, the
Cherkesses mostly Moslems; with the Russian conquest of the northern Slopes
of the Caucasus, many of the latter emigrated to Ottoman Turkish territory,
including Syria and the Balkans. Most of the Lesghians are
also Moslems, while the Chechen are for the most part Christians, as is the
majority of the Indo-European-speaking Ossetes. The Tats are
As far as one can tell from present material, the Ossetes do possess a Nordic strain, which has, however, been partly altered by local admixture into Noric; other elements are one or more forms of Mediterranean, not all of which were high-headed or long-faced, and Alpine. On the whole, the result might be called incipiently Dinaric. That the Ossetes are the result of a mixture of Scytho-Sarmatian refugees from the plains to the north with indigenous peoples is, on the basis of the physical data, quite possible.
The Caucasic-speaking peoples157 differ from their Ossete neighbors in a number of respects, one of which is that they are nearly all shorter in stature. The mean stature for Georgians is 165 cm., and most of the Cherkess groups fall at the same level, although the Kabardians have a mean 2 cm. higher. The Lesghians vary by tribal groups from 164 cm. to 168 cm., while the Chechen mean is about 168 cm.
Nearly all are brachycephalic or sub-brachycephalic; the Georgian means stand consistently at about 84, as do those of the Chechens, while the Lesghians are more brachycephalic, with means of 86 and 87, and the Cherkess less so, with means of 81 and 82 on the northern side of the Caucasus, and 83 and 84 on the south of it. As a rule the faces of the Caucasic-speaking peoples are of moderate height, in the low or middle 120’s, and in the middle 140’s in breadth; facial indices are all mesocephalic; the noses, too, lack the great size of those of the Armenians or of the long-heed Kurds and Azerbaijanis; nasal indices are moderately leptorrhine only, with indices of approximately 65.
The Caucasian peoples are, as a whole, dark-mixed in pigmentation. In most of the tribal series, dark hair and dark eyes total well over 50 per cent, while the presence of a little more than a third of light-mixed individuals in each group is sufficient to create the impression, fostered by the Turks, that they are fair. Light skin is commoner than light hair or eyes, and it is for their skin color more than for their blondism that Circassian beauties, among others, are famous.
Aside from the Ossetes, the Georgians are the blondest, as well as the shortest, of the peoples of the Caucasus. The Cherkesses, on the other hand, are the darkest as well as the tallest and least brachycephalic; they seem, in view of their geographical location on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea, to contain much of the brunet Mediterranean or Atlanto-Mediterranean racial strain which we have already studied in Bulgaria, Rumania, and the Ukraine, and which the Russian anthropologists call the Cherkess or Pontic type when found elsewhere in Russia.
The Caucasic-speaking peoples as a whole, from an anthropometric standpoint, represent a blend between a local Alpine racial nucleus and several kinds of Mediterraneans. The Georgians and the Lesghians are the most Alpine, the Cherkesses the least so. The facial dimensions preclude, in most groups, the presence of a long-faced Irano-Afghan element in any quantity; except among the Cherkesses, the head size, with mean lengths in the low 180’s, limits the possible Mediterranean elements to the smaller-headed varieties. These are apparently both Danubian and Cappadocian; there is too much true facial Dinaricism for the Danubian to be the only factor, and too much blondism and nasal concavity for the Cappadocian.
The Georgians, with a high incidence of concave noses, as well as the greatest blondism, are the most nearly Danubian; except for the Cherkesses, most of the other peoples are more Dinaric. On the whole, the Dinaricism of the Caucasian area is only partial; there are too many unaltered Mediterraneans, and too many Alpine-Danubian mixtures, which, here as in Croatia and Slovenia, fail to assume a Dinaric facial form, to make the Caucasus as Dinaric a country as the Tyrol or Albania.
Syria, Anatolia, Armenia, and the Caucasus form a zone of Alpine reëmergence
on the border of Mediterranean racial territoiy. In all four regions there
has been a major blending with Mediterraneans, and the differences between
the racial characters of the regions depend upon (a) the relative degree of
Alpine reëmergence, and (b) the kinds and relative amounts of Mediterranean
involved in each. The linguistic complexity, involving Semitic, Uralic,
Altaic, Indo-European, and Caucasic languages, merely reflects the racial
complexity within the Mediterranean component of this primary refuge area.
147 Lammens, H., Islam, Beliefs and