(Chapter XII, section 9)

The Living Slavs

(b) Poland and Russia

(Part 1)

The study of the living Slavic-speaking peoples of Poland and Russia should, at this point, be a comparatively simple matter, since we have already reviewed early Slavic history (Chapter VI, section 7), and have studied the physical anthropology of the Finno-Ugrian peoples, whom the Slavs, in their eastward expansion, have largely absorbed, as well as that ct the near relatives of the Slavs, the Balts. Although Poland and Russia between them occupy approximately half the land area of the continent of Europe, it would be difficult to deal with their Slavic-speaking populations as two units divided by political boundaries, since between the two there lies no natural frontier, geographic, linguistic, or racial.

Poland, although largely Slavic, is a nation without ethnic or linguistic unity. The Poles themselves, who are the most numerous single group, occupy most of the western half of the country, interspersed by hundreds of small German islands; the eastern half is divided between Ukrainians in the southern quadrant and White Russians in the northern, with thousands of Lithuanians living in the region of Vilna. In the Ukrainian section the Poles themselves are scattered in small communities as a minority population. (See Map 14.) Poland, and especially Galicia, is the home of the largest body of Jews in Europe; these Jews will be treated in a separate section later.

From the geographical standpoint, Poland resembles Germany. The bulk of the country is a vast, low plain, for the most part exceptionally fertile, separated from the Baltic everywhere except at the Polish Corridor by East Prussia and Lithuania. Toward the south the land gradually rises, until the crest of the Carpathians forms a natural border, comparable to the Alps farther west. Thus, like Germany, Poland is blocked from the south but open to the north and to either side. From West Prussia to Poland to Russia is a natural progression, in which the racial transition is as gradual as the geographical. But from the north to the south of Poland the change is more rapid and more significant, since, while the plain is the home of typical Poles in the racial sense, the Carpathians hold an Alpine-Dinaric population comparable to that of southern Germany. This latter must derive part, at least, of its ancestry from the Bell Beaker people who wandered into the mountains in search of minerals, far to the north and east of most of their fellows.

The plain of Poland was a great center for the Corded people, who hindered the expansion of the earlier agriculturalists, and whose physical type was predominant there until the adoption of cremation. When burial had once more become fashionable, Poland was largely a Nordic country, as it remained until after the rise and spread of the Slavs, when the old Danubian peasant stock broke through its Corded and Nordic chrysalis and reemerged.85 Throughout its history, however, Poland has contained minor incidences of a flat-faced brachycephalic racial type, the Ladogan, whose home lay in the forests and swamps to the north, and which was initially associated with the Kammkeramik hunting and fishing culture. In the living population of Poland, this element has assumed a position of considerable, if secondary, importance.

No nation in Europe has shown greater activity in studying the physical anthropology of its people than has Poland; detailed surveys of many thousands give accurate data on every province, including every village in the Republic. As in parts of Germany and of Russia, we are embarrassed with a plethora of information, to all of which it is impossible to do justice. Our method will be to review the general surveys, and then to study some of the regional populations, including White Russians, Ukrainians, and Carpathian Mountaineers, which overlap the Polish frontiers.

The mean stature for Poland is about 165-166 cm.,86 medium for Europeans, and close to that of Lithuanians and Carelian Finns. It is tallest (166-1 67 cm.) in the west, in the provinces of Poznan and Pomorz, in the region of maximum German settlement, including the famous Polish Corridor; this relatively tall stature may not, however, be entirely due to German influence, since the Polish tribes who settled there were as tall as that in the beginning. Shortest statures (164-165 cm.), are found especially in the southeast, in Ukrainian territory; in fact, nearest the supposed Slavic home-land, and in Lodz in central Poland.

The mean weight for Polish recruits is about 140 lbs., moderately heavy for their age and stature. The heaviest live in the eastern part of the country, in White Russian and Ukrainian regions. The bodily proportions of the inhabitants of Poland are similar to those of Lithuanians; the relative span of 105 or more, and the relative sitting height of 53, indicate long arms and long bodies in relationship to leg length. Both shoulders and hips are, as a rule, broad. The western Poles show less of these lateral features than do the others.87 Similarly, the northwestern Poles are the flattest chested, the Ukrainians the least so.88

Social differences in these characters are greater than regional differences, however; among the upper classes the stature rises to over 170 cm., and the relative span falls to the Nordic level of 102-103. Selection, which is responsible for this differentiation, has also played a great part in the migration of Poles to America; Polish immigrants in the United States have a mean stature of 170 cm., and a relative span of 103.89 Since social and economic stimuli can so readily segregate different size and bodily form elements in the Polish population, it is not surprising that submerged racial types have reappeared during the course of centuries.

The cephalic index goes down to means of 80 and 81 in various sections of North and West Poland, and up to 85 in Galicia and Ruthenia. The common level for the nation is between 82 and 83. A rise of about 5 index points has taken place since the Slavic settlement, as we have also observed in Bohemia; but the brachycephalizing agents in the two countries are not entirely the same.90

The mean head lengths of Poles are about 186 mm., and do not attain or surpass 190 mm. regionally except in selected upper class series;91 the inhabitants of the northern and western districts of Poland are absolutely longer headed than those of the south and east. The breadth means range from 154 to 157 mm., with a national mean of about 155.5 mm.; the broadest are in the south, especially in Galicia. The head size of the Poles, as of the Ukrainians and White Russians, is too small to be derived in any considerable measure from an unreduced Brunn or Borreby source; it is also too small for living Nordic populations, and is about equal to that of the Danubian agriculturalists, and of the Alpines and Dinarics. It is at the same time comparable to that of non-Baltic Finns, and of most Lithuanians.

The facial breadths, minimum frontal, bizygomatic, and bigonial, are approximately 108 mm., 143 mm., and 110 mm.; too wide for Nordics or for pure Danubian survivors, and necessitating Alpine, Dinaric, or Ladogan influences, or all three. The menton-nasion face height, with means as low as 118-120 mm. in central and eastern Poland, rises to the full Dinaric height of 127 mm. in Galicia and Ruthenia. Except for these mountainous southern regions, the facial index is uniformly eury- to mesoprosopic. The noses are leptorrhine in most of Poland but approach mesorrhiny in the south and east; there is a progression from means of about 63 in the Polish Corridor and Poznan to 68-70 on the opposite side of the country.

There is abundant evidence to show that all but the southern section of Poland, along the Carpathian foothills, falls within the blondest pigment area of Europe.92 The skin is almost uniformly light, except in the south; the commonest hair colors are medium to dark brown, and a dark ash-blond. The incidence of truly fair hair is as great here as in Scandinavia, while the eyes are predominantly light-mixed, with gray shades commoit Brown eyes seldom exceed 10 per cent except in the very southern mountain sections. With these same exceptions, Poland is too blond a country for Alpines or Dinarics to be present in any numbers. The pigmentation of the population, by and large, is Nordic in shades and in intensity; the virtual absence of rufosity argues against the presence of many Palaeolithic survivors of the types found in western Europe.

Although complete sets of morphological observations on Poles are not common, there is an abundance of data on the form of the nose; the profile is most commonly straight, with a large concave minority, and few in the convex category. The nasal root is usually medium in breadth, the wings medium or slightly flaring; the tip is either horizontal or inclined upward, and, in a large minority of cases, snubbed in a manner highly suggestive of Lapps and eastern Finns. Beard and body hair growth are often on the light side of the European norm, which fact again precludes a strong Alpine increment.

The facial features which typify the Polish peasantry are quite different, as a rule, from those found among the nobility and the upper classes in general. The noblemen have less blond and less really dark hair; fewer dark eyes, and fewer instances of brunet skin color, than the peasants; their noses, however, present their greatest distinction; these are not only longer and narrower, but also frequently convex in profile, with concave forms reduced to a minimum. Old Corded and Nordic tendencies segregate themselves, at least in stature, bodily build, pigmentation, and facial features, in this superordinate class, as do Danubian and Ladogan tendencies among the peasantry.

Contemporary Polish anthropologists have studied the population of their country by dividing it into types, and plotting the proportions of these types by regions.93 These types include what would in our present terminology be Nordic, Neo-Danubian, Lappish, Ladogan, Alpine, and Dinaric, as well as Armenoid, and both tall and short Mediterraneans. The last three, however, are admittedly much in the minority, if they are present at all. The Nordic element is strongest in the Polish Corridor, where East Baltic factors, unusual in Poland in our definition of the term,94 are also found.95 The Nordic element is also strongest on the German border, and elsewhere it is concentrated along main water courses, the highroads of migration in pre-Slavic Gothic times, as well as later. Its identity with a social and economic upper level, however, is probably stronger than its geographical differentiation. The Neo-Danubian element, which has probably gained in stature through its Nordic interlude, is as blond as the Nordic, on the whole, and this fact leads one to the conclusion that the pre-Corded peasants of eastern Europe, as of the Danube Valley, were already partly blond. The combination of ash-blond hair with gray-mixed eyes seems to be a Neo-Danubian specialty.

Members of the early forest types with their incipiently mongoloid facial features have seeped in everywhere north of the Carpathians, but more in the east than in the west. They too were probably partly blond from the beginning, but not as blond as the Danubians with whom they have become thoroughly blended. Dinarics, commonest in the Carpathians, are found in solution throughout Poland, and the same is true of the Alpines. The rare brunet Mediterraneans noted by the Polish authors are probably related to the commoner brunet long heads of southern Rus-sia, of Bulgaria, and of the Caucasus, with whom we shall deal later.

The territory occupied by the White Russians is divided between northwestern Poland and the U.S.S.R., with more than half lying on the Russian side. Here it includes not only the White Russian S. S. Republic, but also adjoining districts in the Ukraine, in Smolensk, and to the north. The White Russians have as their neighbors Great Russians, Ukrainians, Letts, Lithuanians, and Poles; although they are Slavic in speech and in tradition, they are physically almost identical with the Lithuanians.96 They are slightly smaller headed than the Lithuanians, slightly wider in the distance between the eyes, and slightly less leptorrhine; their noses are a little more often concave in profile, up-tilted, and snubbed; their eye openings are more frequently narrow, their lips a little thicker, and their body and beard hair considerably less abundant. Their skins are a little darker, their hair and eyes less frequently blond. In hair color, the Fischer numbers 4, 5, 8, and 26 are the commonest, indicating a prevalence of dark to medium brown and dark ash-blond hair. In eye color, the White Russians have less than 20 per cent pure light, and no more than 10 per cent pure brown. The majority are light-mixed, as with most Slavs and Balts.

The identity or near identity of the White Russians with the Lithuanians makes it very possible that the former were at one time Balts who succumbed to Slavic influences, just as the East Prussians were Germanicized Balts. But the fact is that all of these people, Balts who have been subjected to a minimum of local influences on the Baltic shore, and Slays who have not been Germanicized, Dinaricized, or influenced by Finns, are so much alike that it is dangerous to postulate specific relationships. The White Russians, with a mean stature of 166 cm., a cephalic index of 82, a nasal index of 69, and a moderate to small head size, are simply the descendants of the Neolithic peasants, an original Mediterranean-Ladogan blend, which has reemerged through a Corded and Nordic upper crust, so that a Neo-Danubian residue is left. Among individual White Russians Nordics can be found, and semi-mongoloid-looking Ladogans, but the majority follow the Neo-Danubian pattern most closely.

The territory occupied by the Ukrainians is much larger than that of the White Russians; it includes, beside the whole southwestern quadrant of Poland and the eastern end of Czechoslovakia (the Ruthenians and Coral mountaineers are linguistically Ukrainians), the large Ukrainian Republic of the U.S.S.R., which extends over much of southern Russia to the northeastern end of the Sea of Azov, and large areas outside the Republic in southeastern Russia and the foothills of the Caucasus. Next to the Great Russians, the Ukrainians are the most numerous and most important people in the Soviet Union.

The racial history of the Slavic peoples may largely be interpreted in terms of the previous inhabitants of the countries in which they have expanded. The White Russians are linked with the Baits, and the Great Russians with Scandinavians and Finns, especially the latter; the Ukrainians, in their eastward expansion over the plains of southern Russia, must have absorbed the remnants of the Iranian Scyths and Sarmatians, of the Black Sea Goths, of the Greek colonists of the Euxine shore, as well perhaps as of the mysterious pre-Scythic Cimmerians. It was, furthermore, the Ukrainians who, of all the Slays, came into the closest relationship with the Turks and Tatars of southern Russia during the Middle Ages. In the Crimea and points east, Ukrainian and Tatar territories are still contiguous. Mixture between Russians and Tatars was not, however, frequent or important in the early days of the Tatar hegemony, when the Slays kept for the most part to their own farming environment and the Asiatic nomads to their pastures; it has taken place in greater measure during the last few centuries, in consequence of the more recent Slavic expansion eastward over Tatar territory into Siberia and Turkestan.

As is to be expected of a numerous people covering a wide stretch of territory, the Ukrainians are regionally variable in a racial sense. The Ukrainian-speaking mountaineers of southern Poland and eastern Czechoslovakia are more brachycephalic than the others; they will be dealt with presently. The southeastern Ukrainians, in the country just north of the Black Sea, are tall, with regional stature means as high as 170 cm.; while those in the Volhyn, a district lying between Lwow in Poland and Kiev in Russia, are much shorter, with a mean of 165 cm. Since these Volhynians occupy basic Slavic territory, and since they have been subjected to careful measurement and analysis,97 they will be treated in some detail here.

In general, the Volhynians resemble the White Russians closely, and differ from them in the same direction that the White Russians differ from the Lithuanians. As one moves southeastward from the Baltic to the Black Sea there is a progressive change from a most Nordic to a most Danubian extreme, within a relatively small anthropometric range. The mean stature of the Volhynians is 164.6 cm.; the relative span of 106 indicates the usual arm and body proportions. The bodily build is thick-set to medium, and corpulence, especially with the women, is not uncommon. The mean cephalic index is 82.2, the head length 184 mm., the breadth 151 mm., and the vault height 125 mm.98 The bizygomatic, 139 mm., is not especially great; the bigonial, 108 mm., comparatively wide. The total face height is 120 mm.; the facial index, 86.6, or mesoprosopic; while the upper facial index is 51.1, mesene. The nasal diameters, 52.5 mm. by 35.5 mm., yield a mean index of 66.5. The moderation at the lateral diameters of the head and face indicate that the Ladogan element, which is so common in other eastern Slavic groups, is at a minimum here. The Neo-Danubian base of the Volhynians is metrically more Danubian than elsewhere.

Most of them have the expected white skin, ranging on the inner arm from von Luschan #7-12, while roughly one-eighth are darker, with brunet-white or light brown shades (von L. #13-16). Vascularity is as common as among most Nordics, and the women, working outdoors. are often red-cheeked. The hair color usually changes with age, as in all prevailingly blond populations; between the ages of 21 and 30, medium brown (Fischer #5, #8) and ash-blond (#26) shades are most frequent; later these darken in many cases. There is little or no truly black hair, and rufosity is almost absent. The beards are as a rule lighter than the head hair, and over 50 per cent of adult males have face hair which is light-blond (Fischer #12-20). About 15 per cent have pure light eyes (Martin #15-16), and 6 per cent pure brown. The commonest shades are light-mixed, however. As is usual in light-mixed eye color populations, the eyes often lose their brown pigmentation progressively with advancing age. On the whole, the Volhynians are a light-mixed pigment group, with the emphasis on ash-blondism and gray-mixed eye shades. Compared with other Ukrainians, they are blonder as well as shorter in stature.

In the morphology of the face, the Volhynians are for the most part typical Neo-Danubians. Median eyefolds, indicative of a low orbit and a heavy fatty deposit in the upper lid, are found among 38 per cent; the nose is concave in 25 per cent of the group, and snubbed in 20 per cent. A heavy deposit of fat on the malars is common, especially among the women; in this type it seems to assume the nature of a secondary sex character. Round faces and plump cheeks are typical. There is, however, a minority which shows Dinaric or Armenoid features; a convex nasal profile, present in 17 per cent of the group, indicates this, as do other nasal and facial characters. This minority Dinaric strain is connected geographically with the population of the Carpathians immediately southwest of Volhynia.

The Ukrainians who live farther east, along the northern shore of the Black Sea, are not only taller than the Volhynians, but also darker in hair and eye color. They are longer faced, but no different in head form, except that in the region of Kiev they are more brachycephalic, with mean indices of 83 and 84. There is a strong Dinaric element in the central and eastern Ukraine, which often in combination with the Nordic and Neo-Danubian takes on a None or approximately similar form. Tall, moderately blond, brachycephalic and thin-faced men, are not uncommon here. Individual variation in southern Russia is great; it is easy to pick out, beside the western Ukrainian forms already described and the composite type mentioned, Nordics, Dinarics, and patently mongoloid Tatar hybrids. This variability increases as one proceeds eastward into what is actually Tatar territory.

Part 2