Italy Is Over 2000 Years Old

April 8, 2020

People with an agenda to divide Italy who say that it's "not a real country" because it "didn't even exist until 1861" don't know their history. Italy was first unified by the Ancient Romans, and then it was divided by foreign powers after Rome fell. The movement for national unity was actually a reunification movement that went back to the Renaissance and was supported by many prominent Italians.

Italy was unified by Rome in the third century BC. For 700 years, it was a de facto territorial extension of the capital of the Roman Republic and Empire, and for a long time experienced a privileged status and was not converted into a province.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Italy remained united under the Ostrogothic Kingdom and later disputed between the Kingdom of the Lombards and the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire. Following conquest by the Frankish Empire, the title of King of Italy merged with the office of Holy Roman Emperor. However, the emperor was an absentee German-speaking foreigner who had little concern for the governance of Italy as a state; as a result, Italy gradually developed into a system of city-states. Southern Italy, however, was governed by the long-lasting Kingdom of Sicily or Kingdom of Naples, which had been established by the Normans. Central Italy was governed by the Pope as a temporal kingdom known as the Papal States.

This situation persisted through the Renaissance but began to deteriorate with the rise of modern nation-states in the early modern period. Italy, including the Papal States, then became the site of proxy wars between the major powers, notably the Holy Roman Empire (including Austria), Spain, and France.

Harbingers of national unity appeared in the treaty of the Italic League, in 1454, and the 15th-century foreign policy of Cosimo De Medici and Lorenzo De Medici. Leading Renaissance Italian writers Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli and Guicciardini expressed opposition to foreign domination. Petrarch stated that the "ancient valour in Italian hearts is not yet dead" in Italia Mia. Machiavelli later quoted four verses from Italia Mia in The Prince, which looked forward to a political leader who would unite Italy "to free her from the barbarians".

The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 formally ended the rule of the Holy Roman Emperors in Italy. However, the Spanish branch of the Hapsburg dynasty, another branch of which provided the Emperors, continued to rule most of Italy down to the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14).

A sense of Italian national identity was reflected in Gian Rinaldo Carli's Della Patria degli Italiani, written in 1764. It told how a stranger entered a café in Milan and puzzled its occupants by saying that he was neither a foreigner nor a Milanese. "'Then what are you?' they asked. 'I am an Italian,' he explained."


Roman Italy at the death of Augustus (14 A.D.)

136 comments

Onur Dincer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Onur Dincer said...

Italy is certainly a real political entity since the times of ancient Rome, which gradually evolved to become also a cultural entity as its inhabitants adopted the term Italy more and more and a sense of Italianness with it. So in this sense we can make comparisons with the evolutions of the terms Greece (Hellas), Asia Minor (later also called Anatolia), Iberia (formerly also called Hispania) and so on.

Sarah Nikas said...

Good article. I've been telling people this for years. The establishment of the Roman fatherland was the beginning of a unified italian identity and the notion of italoi being an inhabitant of the peninsula goes back even further to ancient greek conceptions.

One thing I'd like to ask however: Was sicily incorporated into "Roman Italia" by Augustus? Every map I've seen doesn't show sicily as becoming part of italy up until Diocletian.

Aitor said...

Also recall Cola di Rienzo's attempt to federate Italian cities in the 1300s, under his rehabilitated office of Roman Tribune. He is praised in Byron's poetry and Wagner dedicated an opera to him.

Also the (likewise 14th century) Roman cries after the Papacy's absence: "Romano lo volemo, o almanco italiano", where protests ended with the appointment of Pope Urban VI, a Neapolitan.

There was obviously a robust sense of Italian-ity.

The same could be said of Spain, where the united Gothic Regnum in the 7th century and the explicit idea that all Iberians descend from a common patriarch (from the pre-Christian apocryphal Jubilees, to Isidore's works in the late 6th/early 7th century, etc.) are frequently ignored.

Palermo Trapani said...

Sarah: Sicily became a province of Rome around 240 BC, actually before some of the regions In the Po Valley did. Everything South of the Po River was incorporated by 235 BC (5 years later). Milan was taken over by the Romans around 220 BC.

Sarah Nikas said...

Palermo: Sure, but provinces conquered by the Romans weren't considered part of Roman Italia. Roman Italia was actually the only land the Romans owned which was not considered a province at all, but their rightful fatherland and home. Just like how gaul and syria too became provinces but weren't considered Italian in any shape or form other than maybe the italian clonies created.

Po vally gained citizenship later on with lex rosica and was incorperated into roman italia by caesar. Until then, it was considered a province, just like sicily. I will say that after doing some more reading I found some conflicting sources. Cicero states marc antony gave sicily full roman citizenship immediately after caesars death and that caesar gave the island latin rights just beforehand. Pliny, witing some time later, however, states that only messina was notable of having roman citizenship but the lists about 60 various cities that had achieved latin rights (presumably under caesar.)

Either way. It is very likely and maybe even probably sicily was undergoing it's integration into roman italia long before diocletian, now that I've done some more research.

Palermo Trapani said...

Sarah: Fair enough. Italia was the land South of Rome and it was the Greeks who gave the name to the region. The area south of Rome (i.e.Southern Italy) were part of Magna Graecia, which includes the modern regions of Campania, Puglia, Calabria, Basilicata and Sicilia. It referred to peoples who had bulls and farmed and there is some hints of the ancient Southern Italians had as part of their religion, Bull Worship. I am not sure when the Romans applied the name Italia to the entire Italian peninsula.

Sarah Nikas said...

Whe we're referring to Italia as a mere nickname given from the greeks, along with it's natives being called "italiotes", you are correct. Calabria was the first place given the name and it spread further with more greek colonies to places like apuila, Later on. However, as the romans expanded and grew to conquer these regions during the pyhrric wars, they adopted the exonym as their own ethnic identity; calling themselves and their citizens italians (not sure the latin for the term. Perhaps itali or italici?). By the time of Augustus the roman historian Plinius acknowledges a notion of "Roman Italy", which is the defined as homeland of the romann people. It is divided into 10 regions, encompassing modern peninsular italy with the addition of istra. At this point plinus states that almost all of sicily has latin citizenship, but only messina had roman citizenship (again cotradicting cicero's accounts of marc antony giving the island Roman citizenship).

Either way sicily is spoken highly fondly of by both historians. I believe even cicero states their mere having of latin citizenship under julius caesar was "intolerable after all", referring to his desire for them granted full Roman Citizenship. You can read about it here:

http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=PerseusLatinTexts&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%2014.12

Sarah Nikas said...

*When, *Roman, *Plinius

Sorry for the typos.

Palermo Trapani said...

Sarah: Well as someone whose ancestors are all from Sicily (originally), the connection to Southern Italy is well established and that goes back to by the 1,000 BC, Sicily having at least 2 major populations that were from mainland Italy, the Elymians, who are now pretty much thought to have hailed from modern Liguria on the West side, the Sicels from the broader Oenotrians, who had three sub-groups, the Itali, Sicles and Morgates, the latter 2 clearly settled in Sicily. The Ausonians were in the Lipari Islands and set up trade with Campania and Northern Coast of Sicily and settled on the North Coast and many Ausonians were mercenaries in some of the conflicts in Sicily during the transition to Roman rule after the Punic wars.

So Roman citizenship vs. Latinization vs. Hellenic, etc notwithstanding, genetically by the time Sicily was a Roman province circa 250 BC, even before given the major tribes that were there, Sicily was no different than the regions South of Rome. The Antonio/Moots et al 2019 paper provides clear PCA plots of that fact. There are just as many of those Roman samples that cluster with modern Southern Italians/Sicilians as those that cluster with regions North of Rome. Iron Age samples plot more North, the Imperial Ones more South, and all those samples overwhelmingly plot in the Modern Italian Republic in the 20 Political regions. In addition those Roman/Lazio Samples are now available to be run using Gedmatch calculators and the spreadsheets at Vahaduo genetics. I have done that analysis and get very close distances using various calculators on many of those Roman samples and in fact using the site My True Ancestry's (MTA) ancient relative and Chroma Analysis, share DNA matches with many of them

So yes, the Romans were a Latin Tribe and they did Latinize the other Italic tribes across Italy, of which Sicilians were related to given the Siceles, Elymians, Morgante and Ausonians were all peoples that were part of Sicily, along with Pheonicians on the West Coast and of course Greek colonist pretty much across the entire Island stretching East to West as far as Selinunte and Segesta in Trapani.

https://ancientdnarelatives.blogspot.com/p/ancient-dna-samples.html


Cheers

Sarah Nikas said...

Palermo: I think you misunderstand me; I was never advocating that sicilians are not italians or specifically southern italians. I was simply attempting to address the history of the formation of the italian nation and give some time frames as to when a collective spirit of being a Roman Italian was legally solidified. This of course encompasses more things than just genetics (though DNA is arguably the most important aspect of national identity).

Certainly many closely related tribes inhabited both sicily and peninsular Italy before Rome's founding. Many of these tribes in the south were also quite close to the greeks as well, genetically speaking - there has never been much difference between greek and italian genetics as I'm sure you're aware, but one certainly wouldn't argue that greeks and italians are the same nation, today, despite the biological closeness. Things like culture, language, religion, shared history and traditions all play a vital role in molding a group of tribes into finding enough mutual commonality to consider each other a single people of the same fabric. Historically, this is easiest interpreted in the case of the Roman Italians by who they decided to include into Roman Italy - which is why putting it into a timeline of events fascinates me. That's all I'm getting at.

Also, while I believe the moots study gives us some general insights I would advise taking it with a heavy dose of salt. Both antonio and moots are stringent open border activists. Their paper reads like liberal propaganda with an agenda to multiculturalism. They classified caucasian hunter gatherer ancestry as “Iranian” to claim the romans race mixed with the near east and were some sort of modern multicultural paradise. They additionally acknowledge inflating the amount of north african ancestry they found (which was already tiny to begin with) and used a neolithic moroccan (which had previously been shown to have significant amounts of european ancestry) as their proxy for north africa.

I agree, that northern italians, specifically Bergamaschi, are likely the closest population to the villanovan people, etruscans and early era republic romans, however I don’t believe imperial era romans were mixed with iranians or syrians of all people. If anything they resemble most closely southern Italians and exhibit a higher degree of armenian or georgian admixture compared to the few hundred years previous.

I think the only thing I disagree with you on, in all of your posts is Sicilians having any degree of relatedness to the Phoenicians (presumably through carthage). The Cathaginians only had two or three colonies in Sicily by the end of the first punic war, and one of the conditions of the peace treaty to end it was that all Carthage colonies promptly leave the island. Many like to try to larp southern italians as some sort of middle eastern mongrels and I don’t buy it. For the few acts of colonization that have occurred from the south of the mediterranean in Sicily, all have been coupled with some sort of extermination or deportation campaign afterwards. In the case of the carthaginians I just mentioned, in the case of the islamic moors, Federick II of the holy roman empire reportedly enslaved and sold so many muslims to north africa that he had to repopulate entire ghost towns with soldiers from Lombardy. Italian history books refer to it as an “ethnic cleansing”. If there is any middle eastern ancestry left in italy, it would be almost exclusively in Sicily (not the rest of southern italy) and such a small amount that it would likely be impossible to determine. The fact that sicily genetically doesn’t differ from the rest of italy, which has no history of MENA colonization is evidence enough of this.

Onur Dincer said...

Many of the ancient genome samples from Imperial era Latium (including the city of Rome) have genetics similar to Southern Italy (including Sicily), pre-Slavic admixture mainland Greece or pre-Turkic admixture Asia Minor, which points to significant migrations to the center of the empire from those regions during the Imperial era. Levantine-, (North) Mesopotamian- or Armenian-like results are much less frequent during the same era, and so far there is no North African-, Arabian-, Caucasian- or Iranian-like result.

Certainly the Roman Empire was no multiculturalist paradise, but it was not something like the European colonial empires of the modern period with their racial-based divisions and regulations either. It was a classical empire, an empire in the true sense of the term. Multicultural in the sense that it harbored many different cultures within its borders, but centered on and governed with a specific culture, along with its religion and philosophy.

Having said these, it would be wrong to compare the Roman Empire to any modern state. There was much less mobility and intercultural interaction than today. A very different era with a very different set of parameters. If we revived the Roman Empire with the same laws, state structure and principles today, it would easily break down due to the changing paradigms and parameters during the centuries since its fall, no matter which of its falls (the 5th century and the 15th century) we take, as the world has changed immensely during the last couple of decades alone.

Onur Dincer said...

I think the Chalcedonian-Monophysite Schism and the later East-West Schism both have strong national aspects. In the former one Greeks and Latins of the Roman Empire increasingly preferred and identified with Chalcedonian Christianity while the non-Greek and non-Latin citizens in the eastern parts of the empire (Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Armenia and Arabia) were increasingly drawn to Monophysitism. Similarly, the East-West Schism and the long process leading to it were driven by the increasing estrangement between the Greek East and Latin West, bolstered by the increasing influence of Germanics, and particularly Franks, in the latter (hence the general term "Frank" for Western Christians). The former appeal of Arianism among Germanics can also be ascribed to a kind of primitive nationalism.

Onur Dincer said...

A very comprehensive critique of the BBC documentary The Story of Britain, including Roman Britain:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpDnTYYXXAY&list=LLKuFyt0bogP9kDRxsSZXBQg&index=1775

Palermo Trapani said...

Sarah: Ok, I am man enough to admit I may have misunderstood you a bit. I agree Antonio/Moots et al 2019 are EU/NGO type Globalist, I agree, they are not fans of Meloni for sure. Nevertheless, despite their "politics" and how they write, the data are what they are and those Ancient Romans all plot somewhere in Modern Italy. So there is what can be described as a genetic continuity from ancient Rome to today for all modern Italy, the Nordicist be darned.

As for Pheonican, no I agree what is understood as MENA is only about 4-5% in Sicily, i.e. North African-ME (Arabian). As the Raveane et al 2019 paper, Sicily as the South and as far up to Tuscany and Central Italy has significant CHG ancestry from ancient East Anatolia, Georgia, Armenia and Southern Italy and Sicily have significant Iran Neolithic type ancestry, so the Asia-Minor or East Med ancestry in Sicily and Southern Italy is actually more CHG/IN ancient ancestry and the MENA, at least the ME part of it is more Levant (ancient Syria/Lebanon).

Finally, while I get close matches on MTA with both ancient Romans and Greeks and yes modern Greeks and Italians, particulary Rome to the South share lots of common ancestry, I am culturally more Italian as I am a loyal Latin/Roman Rite Catholic always have been always will, although I am not a fan of the current Bishop of Rome.

Cheers and again, my apologies for misunderstanding your earlier post, cheers.

Sarah Nikas said...

Palermo: Glad we've come to some form of agreement. I certainly have no anti-mezzogiorno agenda. They are as much italians as the northerners - if not maybe more. I am a nationalist and also of entirely Italian descent - though mostly northern. If anything I would imagine my genetic profile would be most similar to a tuscan. And Yes, I agree. The entirety of the genetic spectrum of italy which has often been critiqued for being large compared to other european countries falls squarely within the genetic range of the Romans, which is proof enough of us being their legitimate heirs. It's not like we didn't already know that from the start of course, but fame breeds a lot of ahistorical larpers, with nordicists being just one of many.

As for MENA ancestry, I even think 4-5% is way too high for sicily. At the highest I would expect maybe 1-2% and honestly under 1% seems more realistic when you consider the colonizations of northern italians and normans that took place in addition to the mass deportations. Sicily and other southern italians + greek islanders only plot as southwards as they do on PCA charts because of their high levels of Caucuses hunter gatherer ancestry. Ancient armenia plots even further south than syria on these charts so having 20-30% of this type of ancestry creates a very exaggerated pull towards middle eastern nations, when in reality we are talking about an originally european form of ancestry found in all modern europeans today, which has always clustered in that region. In other studies CHG was compared to IN ancestry and only CHG was found throughout europe - no IN. The study included both italy and specifically sicily. I'm thoroughly convinced the "southern" ancestry is simply just from the Caucuses.

"I am culturally more Italian as I am a loyal Latin/Roman Rite Catholic always have been always will, although I am not a fan of the current Bishop of Rome."

I agree and see myself the same way. I would advise caution on referring to Bergoglio as a legitimate heir to the throne of Saint Peter, however. That clown brazenly teaches de facto heresy nearly every day of the weak. He refers to Luthranism as "The true faith" and claims "God can't exist without man". I advise you look into sedevacantism and the errors of the second vatican council - particularly in regards to the heresy of dignitatis humanae, a document that claims "all religions can go to heaven".

I too consider myself a Catholic and loyal to the Bishop of Rome, however it has been Catholic doctrine since the protestant reformation that any bishop, including that of Rome, who teaches manifest heresy in the very moment they knowingly do so, lose all form of authority and status that they once held - even if they were legitimately elected - Catholics are not to obey or follow a heretical bishop.

Also, no need to apologize. I wasn't too clear on my intended message and I realize that looking back.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

"Certainly the Roman Empire was no multiculturalist paradise, but it was not something like the European colonial empires of the modern period with their racial-based divisions and regulations either."

I think you might be surprised in how strongly nationalistic the romans really were towards their race. The Romans themselves were italian ethnic supremacists - they would've made hitler's ideas look like a joke if they were still around. I advise reading a bit of vitruvius' De Architectura in which he postulates the first theory of evolution (thousands of years before darwin might I add) in which he claims the italians are a peerless race having no equal, whose supremacy has been ordained by the gods which gave them the perfect land of Italia to inhabit - an environment that molded their spirit and intellect to be superior above all other races - especially those south and north of them.

Plinus - arguably Rome's greatest histrian echos the same sentiment in which he refers to italians as conquerors of the worlds with their supremacy being divinely ordained; while placing a secondary notion identity within europe, referring to it as a contintinent of conquerors whose importance largely outweighs its small geographical size.

"Similarly, the East-West Schism and the long process leading to it were driven by the increasing estrangement between the Greek East and Latin West, bolstered by the increasing influence of Germanics, and particularly Franks, in the latter (hence the general term "Frank" for Western Christians)."

I do agree with this. The byzantine neglect of roman italy and even its invitation to barbarians to conquer it lead to quite a bit of animosity between greeks and italians for centuries after. The rise of the venetian empire undercutting byzantine trade, followed by a greek massacre of 10,000 venetian merchants also aggrivated the situation. The east-west schism and the forth crusade were simply the straws that broke the proverbial camel's back. By the end of it you had emperors ordering crusades they couldn't even pay for and abiding by none of the terms of the contracts they agreed to be held to. It was madness and sadly the sacking of costantinople was the end result.

Sarah Nikas said...

Sorry again for the typos, guys. This keyboard is dying on me. I don't intend to type like an incoherant twat intentionally :D

Onur Dincer said...

@Palermo Trapani

those Ancient Romans all plot somewhere in Modern Italy

Actually not that simple.

The majority of the Iron Age and Republican Latium (you can assume the boundaries of modern Lazio) samples do not fall within the genetic variation of modern Italy. In fact, they do not even fall within the variation of any modern population in the world. Yes, they plot closely to modern Italy and Iberia, but they have too high Anatolian Neolithic and WHG and too low Iranian Neolithic/CHG type ancestry in general.

When we come to the Imperial period, a very different picture appears. Now those high Anatolian Neolithic and WHG and low Iranian Neolithic/CHG ancestry type populations are clearly in the minority and on the way to absorption, but this time it is populations that plot on a genetic cline that goes from the modern Aegean islands passing through Asia Minor minus the Turkic admixture all the way deep into the Levant that are in the majority. But this time a sizable number of the samples fall within the variation of modern Italy, especially Southern Italy (including Sicily). There is also a small minority of samples that plot north of the Alps.

In Late Antiquity the majority of the samples fall within the variation of modern Italy, but still mostly like Southern Italians. The populations that plot on the eastern cline now form a small minority and are on the way to absorption. But now there is an increase in the ratio of samples that plot north of the Alps.

In the Medieval and Early Modern periods the majority again fall within the modern Italian variation, still south-leaning, but now there is a further increase in the ratio of samples that plot north of the Alps. It may in fact be the mixing of these two genetic clusters within the last centuries that formed the more homogeneous modern Central Italian genetic cluster roughly speaking.

So there is what can be described as a genetic continuity from ancient Rome to today for all modern Italy, the Nordicist be darned.

Genetic continuity yes, but not in the sense of static genetic clusters, and not without some contribution from north of the Alps either. But certainly not in a way many Nordicists have been dreaming of: North European genetic influence decreases, not increases, as we move back towards the Roman Empire times.

I am culturally more Italian as I am a loyal Latin/Roman Rite Catholic always have been always will, although I am not a fan of the current Bishop of Rome.

Yes, there does not seem to be any likelihood that the East-West Schism will be resolved in the foreseeable future.

Onur Dincer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

I think you might be surprised in how strongly nationalistic the romans really were towards their race. The Romans themselves were italian ethnic supremacists - they would've made hitler's ideas look like a joke if they were still around. I advise reading a bit of vitruvius' De Architectura in which he postulates the first theory of evolution (thousands of years before darwin might I add) in which he claims the italians are a peerless race having no equal, whose supremacy has been ordained by the gods which gave them the perfect land of Italia to inhabit - an environment that molded their spirit and intellect to be superior above all other races - especially those south and north of them.

I was specifically referring to the Imperial period, especially after the full consolidation of the empire. What you say is mostly correct for the post-Italian unification Republican and early Imperial periods when being Italian had a special status and would eventually bring Roman citizenship to all Italians. But beginning from the early Imperial period, things gradually changed, many non-Italians gained Roman citizenship, and with the 212 AD decree of Caracalla all free inhabitants of the empire gained citizenship. By then, the empire had consolidated itself and all the prospect of reviving the republic had gone. I regard the Byzantine Empire as a continuation of the Roman Empire, so if we take the beginning of the 3rd century as the beginning of the classical imperial system (actually it had consolidated before, so I am being conservative here), then the Roman Empire had that system for about 1250 years.

I do agree with this. The byzantine neglect of roman italy and even its invitation to barbarians to conquer it lead to quite a bit of animosity between greeks and italians for centuries after. The rise of the venetian empire undercutting byzantine trade, followed by a greek massacre of 10,000 venetian merchants also aggrivated the situation. The east-west schism and the forth crusade were simply the straws that broke the proverbial camel's back. By the end of it you had emperors ordering crusades they couldn't even pay for and abiding by none of the terms of the contracts they agreed to be held to. It was madness and sadly the sacking of costantinople was the end result.

I am well aware of the historical background of the Sack of Constantinople. Tragic events happened on both sides. But the impact of the Sack of Constantinople far outweighs those of the other events. Without it, history of the Eastern Mediterranean could be very different. For instance, before the Sack of Constantinople, the Byzantine Empire still had the chance to recover all of Asia Minor, but after the crusaders' sack and massacres and the ensuing fragmentation, it effectively lost that chance and went into the process of decline and fall.

By the way, it was Alexios IV who signed a treaty with the crusaders, after his deposition the crusaders should have done a new treaty with the new emperor Alexios V, but they refused to do so and imposed the old treaty on Alexios V despite that it had nothing to do with him.

As for Italy, the Byzantine Empire could not efficiently protect and govern its Italian territories when it was for many centuries under Persian and later Muslim threat from the east and Slavic and Turkic threat from the north in its core territories, also losing easy access to Italy during that process.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

Plinus - arguably Rome's greatest histrian echos the same sentiment in which he refers to italians as conquerors of the worlds with their supremacy being divinely ordained; while placing a secondary notion identity within europe, referring to it as a contintinent of conquerors whose importance largely outweighs its small geographical size.

Just to let you know, Pliny does not mention Europe as a continent of conquerors, but as "the foster-mother of that people which has conquered all other nations." What people from Europe which has conquered all other nations is he referring to? We learn that from another of his expressions in his book: "Italy, that conqueror of the world."

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

I agree and see myself the same way. I would advise caution on referring to Bergoglio as a legitimate heir to the throne of Saint Peter, however. That clown brazenly teaches de facto heresy nearly every day of the weak. He refers to Luthranism as "The true faith" and claims "God can't exist without man". I advise you look into sedevacantism and the errors of the second vatican council - particularly in regards to the heresy of dignitatis humanae, a document that claims "all religions can go to heaven".

I too consider myself a Catholic and loyal to the Bishop of Rome, however it has been Catholic doctrine since the protestant reformation that any bishop, including that of Rome, who teaches manifest heresy in the very moment they knowingly do so, lose all form of authority and status that they once held - even if they were legitimately elected - Catholics are not to obey or follow a heretical bishop.


I believe that disempowerment of religious authorities whose teachings and actions are openly against God's laws and order (e.g., pedophilia, advocating same-sex marriage) should be the standard procedure, and questioning their religious authority and status should be a duty for believers in all religions that claim to be from God.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

"The majority of the Iron Age and Republican Latium (you can assume the boundaries of modern Lazio) samples do not fall within the genetic variation of modern Italy. In fact, they do not even fall within the variation of any modern population in the world. Yes, they plot closely to modern Italy and Iberia, but they have too high Anatolian Neolithic and WHG and too low Iranian Neolithic/CHG type ancestry in general."

And yet, this totally neglects any sort of analysis of northern italian genomes of the same time period. Sure you can be stringent and say no modern populations are showing 100% the exact proportions of ancestral variation found in iron age lazio, but modern northerners are nonetheless incredibly similar and displaying all of the same exact ancestries just in slightly altered proportions - which in of itself is appearing to be the norm in european population history. To claim anything but continuity from iron age rome is an ahistorical fallacy that you'd have to apply to literally every modern population which has ever experienced a slight genetic shift in portions of ancestral markers, including Germans, British islanders, Eastern europeans etc. By that logic you'd be postulating no legitimate heirs of any ancient population exists because one population may have gained or lost 5% WHG markers over the course of 2-3k years, which is ridiculous. The "static genetic clusters" you speak of, transgressing thousands of years of history are nearly unheard of. The important takeaway from the study is how little italians have changed genetically over the course of 2k years and that no new forms of ancesty have been introduced since then - not so much that slight proportional changes have never occurred. I don't think any italian is going to argue that populations like the ostrogoths or lombards haven't contributed to their genome, but they certainly represent a impact so small and negligable that it's hardly worth mentioning.

In truth the changes we see before the iron age with massive swaths of neolithic farmer and then indo european ancestry entering the peninsula were far more drastic.

"I was specifically referring to the Imperial period, especially after the full consolidation of the empire."

And these authors were writing during the imperial period. Plinius addresses his book to vespasian and Vitruvius lived, served and wrote during the reign of augustus.

"But beginning from the early Imperial period, things gradually changed"

Again, this is the early imperial period. This is not just true of the republic.

"and with the 212 AD decree of Caracalla all free inhabitants of the empire gained citizenship."

That is actually false. The edict of carcalla (which itself has only been partially recovered) only gave Roman citizenship to those who already had latin rights (usually specifically Roman colonies). It makes a specific exclusion of the detiticii, which encompasses all conquered peoples who were free but bore no political standing and held no rights previous within the empire. While the edict of carcalla likely expanded citizenship, it did not do so to the high degree most people assume, usually biased by the modern perceptions of liberalized citizenship. It should also be noted that carcalla himself wasn't even an Italian. He was mixed race and likely had little care for the integrity of the nation which the Roman Italians had built and cherished.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

"I regard the Byzantine Empire as a continuation of the Roman Empire, so if we take the beginning of the 3rd century as the beginning of the classical imperial system (actually it had consolidated before, so I am being conservative here), then the Roman Empire had that system for about 1250 years."

I wouldn't consider the Byzantines as true heirs of the Romans, even if they may have been calling themselves as such. By that notion you may as well postulate that modern romania too is the heir of the Romans because they bore a common name. The reality is the byzantine power structure was centered around the greeks and their beliefs were a far cry from that of plinius or vitruvius. I find it more accurate to refer to them as greek inheritors of their borders rather than any sort of legitimate heirs. Similar to how the romans inherited egypt from the ptolemaic dynasty without a fight or struggle. Also, attributing the 3rd century to the beginning of the empire doesn't make any sense. The empire legally departed from the notion of a republic by the reign of augustus and the establishment of the notion of the principate. If you want to look at defacto decoupling from republican ideals and not legal this goes even further back to the autocracies of gaius marius, sulla and then julius caesar who never legally codified notions of political supremacy but all of whom in reality held them militarily with an iron fist.

"I am well aware of the historical background of the Sack of Constantinople. Tragic events happened on both sides. But the impact of the Sack of Constantinople far outweighs those of the other events. Without it, history of the Eastern Mediterranean could be very different. For instance, before the Sack of Constantinople, the Byzantine Empire still had the chance to recover all of Asia Minor, but after the crusaders' sack and massacres and the ensuing fragmentation, it effectively lost that chance and went into the process of decline and fall."

I agree the event itself was tragic and regretful - both specifically for the greeks and in a larger extent for the destruction of massive western power structures as a whole. However the violent result of the 4th crusade was certanly well warranted, even if the context of geopolitical turmoil it was carried out in was particularly poor. The doge of venice had actually sent a letter telling the troops not to attack the byzantines no matter what their poor ethics yeilded specifically because of the empires importance in maintaining a defense against invasion and destruction of large swaths of european christian populations. The letter, however, arrived after the fact.

"As for Italy, the Byzantine Empire could not efficiently protect and govern its Italian territories when it was for many centuries under Persian and later Muslim threat from the east and Slavic and Turkic threat from the north in its core territories, also losing easy access to Italy during that process."

Now that is a good joke. There is quite a bit of difference between "I can't provide troops" and "I've invited barbarians to conquer you". This is a prime example of why the Byzantines bore no true heritage from the Romans. The people that actually built the Roman empire considered Italy the only part of their rightful fatherland and the italians as their only rightful citizens. The Byzantines considered italy a backwater province that couldn't be bothered to be governed and thought it better off being conquered by barbarian hordes.

Palermo Trapani said...

Onur: Lets just say I don't agree with your assessments. I am not sure where you are from, but I suspect you have no cultural or ethnic ties to modern Italy. I could be wrong but that is what I gathered from reading your comments. As Sarah alluded to in an earlier post, the Antonio/Moots et al 2019 study was a team effort of researchers from several fields, including Genetics, Archaeology and History. So the text of the paper does have some modern EU/NGO open border type code words in it (not my politics personally). However, if you read the Supplementary information and tables (over 100 pages worth), you will see the 9 Iron Age Romans are defined as Etruscans (N=3) and Latins (N=6). Comparing the genetic ancestry of both groups, test statistics revealed no significant difference between the two groups (see pp. 24-25 of Supplement). So if you take the Mean ancestry of the Etruscans (3) and compared it to the Mean of the Latins (6), the T-statistic would not be large enough to lead to the conclusion that the ancestries are different. There are 11 total Iron Age Republican samples described below

Now, if you go to vahaduoe genetics site, it has the Dodecad K12B and Eurogenes K13 coordinates for all the Roman samples used in Antonio/Moots et al 2019. You can use the Dodecad 12B modern Updated samples and the Eurogenes K13 modern Updated samples and take all the Roman Sample Dodecad 12B and Eurogenes K13 ancient spread sheet and put those coordinates in the Target and then estimate which modern populations the Iron Age Romans are closest to.

R1 has a closest distance < 5 (10/10 modern Italian populations are top 10, more Central/Northern centered)

R475 has a closest distance 13 (Corsica, which is a Central Italian type population and of the top 10 (9 of 10 are modern Italian populations, Sicily being at 18 is #10, with Lazio, Tuscany, Marche, Emilia all being included)

R474 has a closest distance of 3.29 (Piedmonte), and 10/10 modern Italian populations are top 10 ranging to 8.4 Tuscany)

R473 has a closest distance of 8.8 (Baleares, Spain which is Greek origin btw) and of the top 10 distances, 8 of 10 are Modern Italian type populations, Northern Shifted with Trentino at 11.84 being 10th.

R437 has a closest distance of 4.79 (Campania) and of the top 10, 7 of 10 are modern Italian populations, more Southern Shifted with Greeks at 11.26 at the 10th spot.

R435 has a closest distance of 7.26 with Baleares again, and of top 10 distances, 2 of thte top 10 are modern Italian populations (Northern Shifted) the other 8 are Iberian populations from Spain and Portugal.

R1021 has a closest distance of 9.72 (Baleares again) but of the top 10, 8 of the top 10 are Modern Italian populations, Central-Northern Shifted, not modern Iberians

R1016 closest distance of 8.24 (Baleares again) and of the top 10 closest distances, 6 of the top 10 are modern Italian type populations (Northern Shifted).

R1015 closest distance of 8.21 (Baleares again) and of the top 10, 6 of the top 10 are modern Italian populations, again Northern Shifted

R850 closest distance Greek_Crete at 3.9, 4 of top 10 modern Italian populations, Southern Shifted (not surprising with Greek being 1st)

R851 closest distance Baleares of 8.35, of top 10, 4 modern Italian populations, more Northern Shifted.

So yes, it is accurate to say that the Iron Age Romans all are genetically related to modern Italian populations, to the degree that there is some affinity with non modern Italian populations, the affinity is with modern Iberians for Northern Shifted samples and Greek for Southern shifited. That result in reality is not surprising for if you go to the Sazzini et al 2016 paper and look at Figure 2, you will see Northern Italian populations closest cluster outside of Italy is Spain and perhaps Southern France, not Germany and certainly not Nordic countries and Southern-Sicily, even up to Central in areas like Abruzzo, Marche, Molise, closest cluster are Greeks.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

"Just to let you know, Pliny does not mention Europe as a continent of conquerors, but as "the foster-mother of that people which has conquered all other nations." What people from Europe which has conquered all other nations is he referring to? We learn that from another of his expressions in his book: "Italy, that conqueror of the world.""

That first notion is incorrect. You removed a very crucial context to the quote. The entire thing reads as follows: "I shall first then speak of Europe, the foster-mother of that people which has conquered all other nations, and itself by far the most beauteous portion of the earth. Indeed, many persons have, not without reason, considered it, not as a third part only of the earth, but as equal to all the rest, looking upon the whole of our globe as divided into two parts only, by a line drawn from the river Tanais to the Straits of Gades."

You've also forgotten that the entire chapter this is contained in does not address Italy but specifically the general context of europe as a whole. It's titled: "THE BOUNDARIES AND GULFS OF EUROPE FIRST SET FORTH IN A GENERAL WAY." Italy is specifically addressed later in the book in several later chapters which are titled aptly and yes, he does refer to it as "the mother of all nations" and "the conqueror of all peoples" as well, but we've no reason to believe that Italy is the only nation he is referring to in this european wide context.

What other people is he referring to then? Very likely the greeks, who had held a post alexandrian hegemony over the middle east all the way into Rome's coquests. A hegemony that was nearly exactly like the 19th century colonial racial divisions in africa, which segregated greek nationality by forming them into a ruling class. Cleopatra herself by the time of caesar was entirely greek in her family lineage despite her ancestors having ruled egypt for hundreds of years. Many very prominent Roman generals looked up to the greeks as the great conqerors that came before them, such as gaius julius caesar and scipio africanus. Additionally it was believed by vitruvius that northern barbarian tribes had a superior degree of courage and valour over that of races found south of the mediterranean, which made them superior in shock of arms. It would not be surprising at all if plinius was also referencing the gauls, whose conquests stretched from hispania to anatolia before the Romans superceded their territorial claims.

"I believe that disempowerment of religious authorities whose teachings and actions are openly against God's laws and order (e.g., pedophilia, advocating same-sex marriage) should be the standard procedure, and questioning their religious authority and status should be a duty for believers in all religions that claim to be from God."

I agree with your thinking here, however I refuse to acknowledge that their authority continues to exist as something that requires "disempowerment" by the time they voluntarily choose to teach heresy. It is one thing for a Pope to personally sin or err and correct himself after seeking forgiveness. It is another for him to knowingly get up and preach that "atheists are going to heaven" and then set up pagan pachamama statues in church to be worshipped.



Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

And yet, this totally neglects any sort of analysis of northern italian genomes of the same time period. Sure you can be stringent and say no modern populations are showing 100% the exact proportions of ancestral variation found in iron age lazio, but modern northerners are nonetheless incredibly similar and displaying all of the same exact ancestries just in slightly altered proportions - which in of itself is appearing to be the norm in european population history. To claim anything but continuity from iron age rome is an ahistorical fallacy that you'd have to apply to literally every modern population which has ever experienced a slight genetic shift in portions of ancestral markers, including Germans, British islanders, Eastern europeans etc. By that logic you'd be postulating no legitimate heirs of any ancient population exists because one population may have gained or lost 5% WHG markers over the course of 2-3k years, which is ridiculous. The "static genetic clusters" you speak of, transgressing thousands of years of history are nearly unheard of. The important takeaway from the study is how little italians have changed genetically over the course of 2k years and that no new forms of ancesty have been introduced since then - not so much that slight proportional changes have never occurred. I don't think any italian is going to argue that populations like the ostrogoths or lombards haven't contributed to their genome, but they certainly represent a impact so small and negligable that it's hardly worth mentioning.

In truth the changes we see before the iron age with massive swaths of neolithic farmer and then indo european ancestry entering the peninsula were far more drastic.


I am afraid you are misunderstanding or misrepresenting my statements and taking them out of their context and diverting the subject by references to other peoples and times. I wrote only in response to Palermo's statement "those Ancient Romans all plot somewhere in Modern Italy" and addressed it alone, so I limited my assessment to the ancient genomes of Latium and to the ones beginning from the Iron Age. My assessment is based on their results from three genetic analyses primarily: the PCA results on Vahaduo PCA website, and the PCA and ADMIXTURE analysis results in the Antonio et al. paper, you can check out yourself. And I already pointed to the genetic closeness of the Iron Age and Republican Latium genomes to modern Italians and Iberians by saying "they plot closely to modern Italy and Iberia." For the post-Republican Latium genomes, I pointed to the plotting of the majority within the genetic range of modern Italians. Also, I already mentioned the genetic continuity between the different periods of Latium, but also described the genetic transitions between the different periods. I mentioned "static genetic clusters" just to criticize that idea and to point to the futileness of assuming an almost isolated gene pool for any region of the world for 3000 years when testing genetic continuity. If some people move in from outside and some move out while the majority of the gene pool remains inside for the last 3000 years (what seems to have happened in Italy as a whole, at least based on the genetic signals from Latium), that is well enough for talking about genetic continuity, no need for every ancient genome during from the 3000 years to be within the genetic range of modern Italy.

Onur Dincer said...

@Palermo

Lets just say I don't agree with your assessments...

See what I have just written to Sarah above.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

And these authors were writing during the imperial period. Plinius addresses his book to vespasian and Vitruvius lived, served and wrote during the reign of augustus.

Again, this is the early imperial period. This is not just true of the republic.


Yes, see my above statement: "What you say is mostly correct for the post-Italian unification Republican and early Imperial periods."

That is actually false. The edict of carcalla (which itself has only been partially recovered) only gave Roman citizenship to those who already had latin rights (usually specifically Roman colonies). It makes a specific exclusion of the detiticii, which encompasses all conquered peoples who were free but bore no political standing and held no rights previous within the empire. While the edict of carcalla likely expanded citizenship, it did not do so to the high degree most people assume, usually biased by the modern perceptions of liberalized citizenship. It should also be noted that carcalla himself wasn't even an Italian. He was mixed race and likely had little care for the integrity of the nation which the Roman Italians had built and cherished.

Here is an English translation of the edict:

"Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Augustus Antoninus Pius says:
[. . .] rather [. . .] the causes and considerations [. . .] that I give thanks
to the immortal gods, because [when that conspiracy occurred] they
preserved me, thus I think that I should be able [magnificently
and piously] to make a suitable response to their majesty, [if] I were
able to lead [all who are presently my people] and others who should
join my people [to the sanctuaries] of the gods. I give to all of
those [who are under my rule throughout] the whole world, Roman
citizenship, [(with the provision that) the just claims of communities]
should remain, with the exception of the [ded]iticii.

The [whole population] ought [. . .] already to have been included in the victory.
[. . .] my edict will expand the majesty of the Roman [people. . .]."

I see no mention of Latin rights. All I see is the granting of full (Roman) citizenship to all free people except Dediticii. These info are in line with the writings of the contemporary writers.

Palermo Trapani said...

Onur Dincer: I read your response to Sarah. In Substance my post was accurate, and while the form we worded our posts might differ, I don't think the substance of your post significantly differs from mine. The fact that Iberians and Northern Italians are relatively close, even in the Iron Age is not surprising since the Ligurians (Ligures) were a people that lived in NW Italy and at one time their territory stretched all the way into Spain. So again, while the semantics between you and I may differ, all the major ancestries that shape Modern Italy were present by 1,000 BC. Yes, the admixture ratios may have moved a little bit one way vs the other but in totality, there is in fact genetic continuity from Roman times till today.

Even with respect to the Iron Age to Imperial, There are 11 Iron Age Samples vs. 48 Imperial, which from 27 BC to late 3rd Century AD, Rome had its longest period of Economic growth and peace. It would be good if there were more Iron Age samples to get the number closer to the number of Imperial samples.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

I wouldn't consider the Byzantines as true heirs of the Romans, even if they may have been calling themselves as such. By that notion you may as well postulate that modern romania too is the heir of the Romans because they bore a common name. The reality is the byzantine power structure was centered around the greeks and their beliefs were a far cry from that of plinius or vitruvius. I find it more accurate to refer to them as greek inheritors of their borders rather than any sort of legitimate heirs. Similar to how the romans inherited egypt from the ptolemaic dynasty without a fight or struggle.

After the loss of the western territories, the Roman Empire continued only in the east and it continued with its ancient institutions, official titles and symbols and its official language Latin, only to evolve to a more Greek-oriented empire with Greek as the sole official language graduall. But despite that, people always continued to refer to themselves and their language as Roman rather than Greek (Roman had also become the name of the Greek language) and their state as the Roman Empire. Also, as you know, Romanness was not something that only went from parent to children, it could be gained later in life, we are not talking about biological races. Even the example of the total Romanization of Italy points to that, people there obviously were not all descended from Roman colonists (I am not even mentioning the later total Romanization of other lands).

Also, attributing the 3rd century to the beginning of the empire doesn't make any sense. The empire legally departed from the notion of a republic by the reign of augustus and the establishment of the notion of the principate. If you want to look at defacto decoupling from republican ideals and not legal this goes even further back to the autocracies of gaius marius, sulla and then julius caesar who never legally codified notions of political supremacy but all of whom in reality held them militarily with an iron fist.

I did not say the 3rd century was the beginning of the empire, in fact, I said the empire had already consolidated by the 3rd century.

Gaius Marius was still a consul, however influential he was in politics and military. Sulla and Julius Caesar were dictators, dictatorship was a legal institution of the republic reserved for times of emergency and for specific purposes, however it could be misused sometimes (the ancient equivalent of the modern term dictator is not dictator but tyrant). Also bear in mind that during the 30 years between the dictatorships of Sulla and Caesar the executive power was again in consuls. Only with the principate the empire really begins, but its consolidation took some time as it inherited the republican institutions and system of government and it needed some time to transform them into ones more compatible with the needs of the empire and form its own system of government, which I call the classical imperial system.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

Now that is a good joke. There is quite a bit of difference between "I can't provide troops" and "I've invited barbarians to conquer you". This is a prime example of why the Byzantines bore no true heritage from the Romans. The people that actually built the Roman empire considered Italy the only part of their rightful fatherland and the italians as their only rightful citizens. The Byzantines considered italy a backwater province that couldn't be bothered to be governed and thought it better off being conquered by barbarian hordes.

After Justinian I's "reconquest" of Italy (through which Italy for the first time came under the rule of Constantinople since the times of Theodosius I), Byzantines tried to keep their territories in Italy as much as they could and they resisted Longobards' invasion of Italy, but the invasion of the more central Southeastern European territories of the empire by Slavs and the wars with Persia in the east during the same period and later the invasions of Muslim Arabs would greatly weaken the Byzantine Empire and it would not recover until well into the much later times of the Macedonian dynasty, during which the Byzantine possessions of Italy were already limited to Southern Italy. You seem to be expecting great powers from the Byzantine Empire, powers which it lacked for most of its existence.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

That first notion is incorrect. You removed a very crucial context to the quote. The entire thing reads as follows: "I shall first then speak of Europe, the foster-mother of that people which has conquered all other nations, and itself by far the most beauteous portion of the earth. Indeed, many persons have, not without reason, considered it, not as a third part only of the earth, but as equal to all the rest, looking upon the whole of our globe as divided into two parts only, by a line drawn from the river Tanais to the Straits of Gades."

You've also forgotten that the entire chapter this is contained in does not address Italy but specifically the general context of europe as a whole. It's titled: "THE BOUNDARIES AND GULFS OF EUROPE FIRST SET FORTH IN A GENERAL WAY." Italy is specifically addressed later in the book in several later chapters which are titled aptly and yes, he does refer to it as "the mother of all nations" and "the conqueror of all peoples" as well, but we've no reason to believe that Italy is the only nation he is referring to in this european wide context.

What other people is he referring to then? Very likely the greeks, who had held a post alexandrian hegemony over the middle east all the way into Rome's coquests. A hegemony that was nearly exactly like the 19th century colonial racial divisions in africa, which segregated greek nationality by forming them into a ruling class. Cleopatra herself by the time of caesar was entirely greek in her family lineage despite her ancestors having ruled egypt for hundreds of years. Many very prominent Roman generals looked up to the greeks as the great conqerors that came before them, such as gaius julius caesar and scipio africanus. Additionally it was believed by vitruvius that northern barbarian tribes had a superior degree of courage and valour over that of races found south of the mediterranean, which made them superior in shock of arms. It would not be surprising at all if plinius was also referencing the gauls, whose conquests stretched from hispania to anatolia before the Romans superceded their territorial claims.


Pliny is clearly talking about a single people from Europe when he says "that people which has conquered all other nations", not about multiple ones, and certainly not about Europeans as a whole. It would be a stretch to think otherwise, especially since Pliny's book is full of references to conquered European nations and tribes, it would be illogical for him to attribute to them an abstract quality of conquerorness, more so of conquerorness of all other nations (courage could be, but conquerorness, and of all other nations?!). Also, it is very clear that he is not talking about an abstract concept of conquerorness in that statement as he says "conquered", not "conqueror", so he is talking about a specific series of conquests in the past, and since he says "conquered all other nations" and elsewhere in his book talks about Italy as "that conqueror of the world", it is clear that he is referring to Italians or Romans as the people who conquered all other nations.

I agree with your thinking here, however I refuse to acknowledge that their authority continues to exist as something that requires "disempowerment" by the time they voluntarily choose to teach heresy. It is one thing for a Pope to personally sin or err and correct himself after seeking forgiveness. It is another for him to knowingly get up and preach that "atheists are going to heaven" and then set up pagan pachamama statues in church to be worshipped.

That disempowerment is the responsibility of the religious authorities of course, not the common believers. I only mentioned questioning the authority and status of the religious authorities whose teachings and actions openly go against God's laws and order as a duty of the common believers.

Onur Dincer said...

@Palermo

I read your response to Sarah. In Substance my post was accurate, and while the form we worded our posts might differ, I don't think the substance of your post significantly differs from mine. The fact that Iberians and Northern Italians are relatively close, even in the Iron Age is not surprising since the Ligurians (Ligures) were a people that lived in NW Italy and at one time their territory stretched all the way into Spain. So again, while the semantics between you and I may differ, all the major ancestries that shape Modern Italy were present by 1,000 BC. Yes, the admixture ratios may have moved a little bit one way vs the other but in totality, there is in fact genetic continuity from Roman times till today.

Even with respect to the Iron Age to Imperial, There are 11 Iron Age Samples vs. 48 Imperial, which from 27 BC to late 3rd Century AD, Rome had its longest period of Economic growth and peace. It would be good if there were more Iron Age samples to get the number closer to the number of Imperial samples.


Yes, now we agree. It seems our disagreement was more semantic than of substance.

Onur Dincer said...

Greek as the sole official language graduall

gradually*

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

greeks, who had held a post alexandrian hegemony over the middle east all the way into Rome's coquests. A hegemony that was nearly exactly like the 19th century colonial racial divisions in africa, which segregated greek nationality by forming them into a ruling class. Cleopatra herself by the time of caesar was entirely greek in her family lineage despite her ancestors having ruled egypt for hundreds of years.

What have the origins of the Greek dynasts have to do with those of the Greek commoners? Also, have you seen any ancient genome results from Greek Egyptian dynasts or Greek Egyptian commoners? So far, all modern Greeks show genetics similar to the pre-Greek inhabitants of their known regions of origin. It is beyond doubt that Greeks assimilated and mixed with too many non-Greeks during their imperial rules like Latins did.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YtAutgb3F2lPkzbU0qS0-GKhDo0CSxPF/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1im5Guka2oBGLJTPksUkac8APCZSAxMLi/view?usp=sharing

If you are looking for an empire that comes somewhat close to the modern European colonial empires, it is the various empires of pre-Islamic Persia. Pre-Islamic Persians (also Parthians) did not spread their language and religion beyond their core territories at all (excluding their transplanted elite colonies of course) and mostly avoided mixing with peoples from outside their core territories as well, and even in their core territories they did not spread their language that much (even in modern Iran a substantial part of the population does not speak Persian as first language). Actually we see much more mixing with and assimilation of conquered peoples in the modern European colonial empires than in the pre-Islamic Persian empires, at least when it comes to the territories outside the core.

Onur Dincer said...
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Onur Dincer said...
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Onur Dincer said...

My final statements on the topic (as I see no point in continuing this discussion, having said almost everything that could be said):

I am not leftist and I am someone who is openly against open border policies and globalism (if you do not believe me, just ask Maju, the leftist Basque blogger with whom I have had polemics). So my assessments of history and genetics should not be expected to have any sort of leftist, pro-open border or pro-globalist bias. I just try as much as I can to make sure that my ideological views and feelings do not influence my assessments of history and genetics. If still some of my assessments are influenced by my ideological views and feelings, it should be totally unconscious.

Lastly, Italy should preserve its unity as much as it can and should not let the EU and other globalist actors impose open border policies on it.

Aitor said...

@ Onur

I don't think the parallel between pre-Islamic Persian and European colonial Empires holds.

You say Persians did not spread their language and religion beyond core territories. But European empires did. Much of Africa is francophone and anglophone. The Americas are overwhelmingly Christian and Spanish, Portuguese, English and French speaking. Many of these are settler populations.

Unless I misunderstand (which is of course possible), your comment contains a double standard: you distinguish the Greek Alexandrian from the European colonial model in that Greeks mixed with conquered locals, and argue for a Persian parallel with European colonialism on the grounds that they did not. But as evidence you invoke the integrity of Persian language and ethnos in a core territory, which is just as applicable to the Greek core (Greece proper), with its genetic continuity to Bronze Age Myceneans, as detailed on this blog. The Persian elites that held sway in conquered lands are as much a diluted historical relic as Greek dynasties outside Greece.

I add, because analysis easily veers into polemic, that none of the above is necessarily to the credit or discredit of the empires mentioned, and I am certainly an admirer of Persian culture and history.

Onur Dincer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Onur Dincer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Onur Dincer said...

@Aitor

You say Persians did not spread their language and religion beyond core territories. But European empires did. Much of Africa is francophone and anglophone. The Americas are overwhelmingly Christian and Spanish, Portuguese, English and French speaking. Many of these are settler populations.

Yes, that is why I said "comes somewhat close to" rather than "is close to" and then pointed to the significant differences between the experiences of the modern European colonial empires and those of the pre-Islamic Persian empires. The similarity is in the existence and preservation of a racial-based division (not necessarily corresponding to the biological races) and the legal regulations based on it. That in the modern European imperial experiences much more mixing occurred between the defined races than in the pre-Islamic Persian imperial experience does not change the fact that those racial divisions and the legal regulations based on them were more or less in place during those times.

Unless I misunderstand (which is of course possible), your comment contains a double standard: you distinguish the Greek Alexandrian from the European colonial model in that Greeks mixed with conquered locals, and argue for a Persian parallel with European colonialism on the grounds that they did not. But as evidence you invoke the integrity of Persian language and ethnos in a core territory, which is just as applicable to the Greek core (Greece proper), with its genetic continuity to Bronze Age Myceneans, as detailed on this blog. The Persian elites that held sway in conquered lands are as much a diluted historical relic as Greek dynasties outside Greece.

In the Greek and Roman imperial experiences, even if there were initially some racial divisions and legal regulations based on them, they did not last long and were soon replaced by race-blind (at least legally) systems. That in mainland Greece there is a high degree of genetic continuity today since at least the Late Bronze Age times does not change this fact. I make a distinction between the legal and practical aspects.

I add, because analysis easily veers into polemic, that none of the above is necessarily to the credit or discredit of the empires mentioned, and I am certainly an admirer of Persian culture and history.

No hard feelings. So far, I have been making assessments without making any value judgement. If you asked me which of the imperial models I would prefer, my answer would depend on the territories those empires expanded into.

I would not write any more comments on this thread, but since you (Aitor) made some objections, I felt a need to make some clarification.

Aitor said...

@ Onur

Thanks for the reply, I realize you're trying to disentangle (comment sections can be sticky)!

You referred to Greeks and Latins being genetically similar to the local populations that predated these Empires in the areas they came to inhabit. I’m not sure what populations you had in mind, but this is analogous to saying that the local populations were preserved genetically and assimilated culturally. It concerns the practical impact of an empire and not just its legal framework. That’s why I saw fit to dispute your dichotomy on practical grounds: The Greek, Roman and Persian Empires began restricting unions between founding stock and conquered peoples, but are today mainly identifiable as genetically continuous with their pre-imperial ancestors in their original homeland. The European diaspora, largely set up during colonial times, does not fit that reality.

If your claim is that Roman imperial policy gave up on restricting marriage between Latins and provincials in a way that Persian pre-Islamic imperial policy never did, then I defer to you, as I am ignorant concerning Persian legislation in the area. What comes to mind is the 14th/15th c. Zarathustrian Zand-i Vahman Yasht, which dissuades the mingling of Persian with non-Persian. But that is a religious text identifying such mingling with future tribulation, as I recall. Similar sentiments are expressed throughout the literature of many civilizations.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“I am afraid you are misunderstanding or misrepresenting my statements and taking them out of their context and diverting the subject by references to other peoples and times. I wrote only in response to Palermo's statement "those Ancient Romans all plot somewhere in Modern Italy" and addressed it alone, so I limited my assessment to the ancient genomes of Latium and to the ones beginning from the Iron Age. My assessment is based on their results from three genetic analyses primarily: the PCA results on Vahaduo PCA website, and the PCA and ADMIXTURE analysis results in the Antonio et al. paper, you can check out yourself. And I already pointed to the genetic closeness of the Iron Age and Republican Latium genomes to modern Italians and Iberians by saying "they plot closely to modern Italy and Iberia." For the post-Republican Latium genomes, I pointed to the plotting of the majority within the genetic range of modern Italians. Also, I already mentioned the genetic continuity between the different periods of Latium, but also described the genetic transitions between the different periods. I mentioned "static genetic clusters" just to criticize that idea and to point to the futileness of assuming an almost isolated gene pool for any region of the world for 3000 years when testing genetic continuity. If some people move in from outside and some move out while the majority of the gene pool remains inside for the last 3000 years (what seems to have happened in Italy as a whole, at least based on the genetic signals from Latium), that is well enough for talking about genetic continuity, no need for every ancient genome during from the 3000 years to be within the genetic range of modern Italy.“

I’m sorry if you feel that I’ve misinterpreted you. My point was simply that the statement, “well no modern Italian is 100% exactly a static cluster of iron age lazio” is not only somewhat misleading (as it applies to nearly every population over that span of history, not just italians), but worse it becomes implicative of attempting to deprive modern italians, who are still incredibly similar to their ancient populations, of their rightful Roman heritage. You may not have intended that, and what you say is technically correct, but ultimately the effect of a statement such as that becomes one that validates those who believe italians to be largely mongrelized or unrelated to the Romans and confuses readers who don’t understand the technicalities of these studies. It may not be an outright lie, but it is highly deceptive. I imagine a modern greek would not be too fond of me if I interjected into their conversation about their history as mycenaeans to proclaim “actually, no living population is actually representative of the Mycenaean or minoan genomes, including that of any modern greeks.” even though modern greeks are genetically very similar to ancient and bear clear heritage from them.

So yes, when you do the same to Italians expect us those of us with any degree of identity to take some offense. It’s misleading and by itself, contrary to the full picture of what the study showed.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“I see no mention of Latin rights. All I see is the granting of full (Roman) citizenship to all free people except Dediticii. These info are in line with the writings of the contemporary writers.”

And what do you think the dediticii were? Ulpianus defines them as free subjects of the empire from populations which were militarily conquered and considered enemies of the roman people, as well as freed slaves. They were a class of the libertini (i.e. free people) but bearing no legal rights. If you didn’t know already, there were only 3 classes of libertini: Roman citizens, Latin citizens and Dediticii. Caracalla granting Roman citizenship to all free people excluding the dediticii would mean that only those who held latin rights would receive roman citizenship, as obviously one who already bears Roman citizenship has no merit in getting it again.

“After the loss of the western territories, the Roman Empire continued only in the east and it continued with its ancient institutions, official titles and symbols and its official language Latin, only to evolve to a more Greek-oriented empire with Greek as the sole official language graduall. But despite that, people always continued to refer to themselves and their language as Roman rather than Greek (Roman had also become the name of the Greek language) and their state as the Roman Empire. Also, as you know, Romanness was not something that only went from parent to children, it could be gained later in life, we are not talking about biological races. Even the example of the total Romanization of Italy points to that, people there obviously were not all descended from Roman colonists (I am not even mentioning the later total Romanization of other lands).”

And ancient institutions were those? The republic was long gone and the religion had been replaced by Christianity? Militarily it persevered for some time, but even the military institutions had changed drastically by the time of the fall of the western half. As you said, the empire became greek oriented and the official language also became greek. One could try to postulate they were at least Roman in name, but they called themselves “Roman” only in the greek language (Romanoi), not “Romani” in the latin tongue. They did not consider themselves Latin or Italian and engaged in quarreling with whose who remained to be so. Similarly, I don’t think anyone would postulate Italian cities with greek names to be some sort of legitimate heir to greek identity and civilization.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“Also, as you know, Romanness was not something that only went from parent to children, it could be gained later in life, we are not talking about biological races.”

Perhaps in the notions of the Byzantine empire. Those who built the empire were so strict in regards to the biological notion of identity that those who even left Italy for colonies abroad had their citizenship revoked. Plinius himself does not refer to Rome as a world conquering empire, but instead a “world conquering nation” (Latin used: Gentum, meaning tribe, nation, people, race). Cato the Elder saw it the same way, as did Vitruvius who quite literally equates the Roman people with that of exclusively those who live in Italy (De Architectura, Book 6).

So yes, we are talking about biological races, as well as other cultural facets of identity if we want to talk about the Romans and not a nation of greeks who inherited the borders of a foreign empire. As for what the Byzantines you refer to had in regards to their conception of citizenship; that’s a different topic all together. If it’s anything like what you say, then it is totally contrary to the Roman institutions you claim they have upheld.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“Even the example of the total Romanization of Italy points to that, people there obviously were not all descended from Roman colonists”

Of course not, but there was already a conception of Common Italian ancestry within the peninsula even before its total conquest. Cato the elder wrote an entire book on this very topic titled “Origines”.

“I did not say the 3rd century was the beginning of the empire, in fact, I said the empire had already consolidated by the 3rd century. “

You stated, “But beginning from the early Imperial period, things gradually changed, many non-Italians gained Roman citizenship, and with the 212 AD decree of Caracalla all free inhabitants of the empire gained citizenship.”, which I interpreted as your believing of the imperial period starting sometime around the reign of Caracalla, as the only evidence you provided of legal citizenship possibly expanding beyond Italians was that of the Edict of Caracalla.

“Gaius Marius was still a consul, however influential he was in politics and military. Sulla and Julius Caesar were dictators, dictatorship was a legal institution of the republic reserved for times of emergency and for specific purposes, however it could be misused sometimes (the ancient equivalent of the modern term dictator is not dictator but tyrant).”

Gains Marius was Consul 7 times in a row if I recall correctly and bore immense loyalty to him from the legions of Rome. This would be the modern equivalent of, say for example a distinguished military general claiming presidency for life. He was a de facto autocrat and was driven out of Rome at the end of his life as a result of the senate’s rejection of his consolidation of power. Sulla and Julius Caesar were no different, and I’m not sure why you try to separate them as dictators from Gaius Marius. Marius too, was a “legal dictator” who used the status for his own consolidation of power. All three bore the title “consul” and held it to the day they died, with no other citizen having the ability to oppose their will unless they quite literally murdered them. The loyalty of their legions created de facto warlords out of all of these men and made each one very difficult to challenge because of this.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“Also bear in mind that during the 30 years between the dictatorships of Sulla and Caesar the executive power was again in consuls.”

The power structure of the Roman Republic within those 30 years was divided by the first triumvirate, which consisted of Caesar himself (an underdog general), Pompey Magnus (an experienced general), and Crassus (Possibly the wealthiest man in history and also a general). During this period the Senate would divide itself over which warlord to side with up until finally settling on Pompey Magnus as their leader. As we all know, Crassus preemptively died in wars against Parthia and Caesar ended up overcoming Pompey Militarily. This is hardly what I would call the division of power under of which the conception of the republic itself was built upon.

I’m not going to use words with negative connotations like tyrant because these men were quite well loved by their soldiers and the general population of Italy. This was chiefly a conflict between the aristocratic oligopolies of the senate, consolidating power around their own senatorial class using republican ideals and their grip on legislative power vs independent generals who saw great injustice as to the deteriorating financial situation of the common plebeians of Italia. We actually see many parallels today over similar behaviors in politicians, but that’s a topic for another time.

“Only with the principate the empire really begins, but its consolidation took some time as it inherited the republican institutions and system of government and it needed some time to transform them into ones more compatible with the needs of the empire and form its own system of government, which I call the classical imperial system.”

I mean you can use whatever names you want, but such terms have no bearing in common understood history. If you’d like to explain to me what you believe the “common imperial system” specifically is along with some evidence backing up your beliefs, I’m not opposed to hearing it, but you can’t expect me or anyone else to acknowledge, much less accept, it otherwise.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“After Justinian I's "reconquest" of Italy (through which Italy for the first time came under the rule of Constantinople since the times of Theodosius I), Byzantines tried to keep their territories in Italy as much as they could and they resisted Longobards' invasion of Italy, but the invasion of the more central Southeastern European territories of the empire by Slavs and the wars with Persia in the east during the same period and later the invasions of Muslim Arabs would greatly weaken the Byzantine Empire and it would not recover until well into the much later times of the Macedonian dynasty, during which the Byzantine possessions of Italy were already limited to Southern Italy. You seem to be expecting great powers from the Byzantine Empire, powers which it lacked for most of its existence.”

The lombards’ invasion of italy came long after the byzantine invitation for the ostrogoths to conquer it. There is really no excuse for that action no matter how you slice it. Sure, reconquest attempts were made later on, but they were not serious and few resources were devoted to it. When the Lombards entered italy their historians describe it as practically unguarded, not some sort of fortified byzantine stronghold. Ultimately, it ended up being the Pope who broke the reign of the Lombards over Italy with the help Charlemagne and his frankish military. Centuries after the destruction of the Lombards it would again be a Byzantine admiral who invites the moors to invade Sicily, sparking the first middle eastern domination of the island and several hundreds of years of painstaking reconquest by the Normans (utilizing Italian troops) and the Duchy of Benevento. Do you see the common trend? The Byzantines did not treat Italy with the same quality of protection and governance the Italians treated greece with. It was willfully neglected and suffered greatly as a result.

I expect “great powers” from the byzantine empire because it literally was the greatest military power in Europe and the mediterranean. The Byzantines routinely fielded standing professional armies of 200k-250k full time soldiers, meanwhile the closest european heavyweights behind them like the franks would only field a maximum of 30k part-time farmer/soldiers at any given time. If the slavic, islamic and mongol invasion were so brutal they likely would’ve been better contained had the byzantines governed their Italian lands and furnished professional soldiers out of them. While I don’t hate the byzantines as a civilization, they had many faults which lead to their demise and the neglect and abuse of Italy was arguably be one of the leading causes.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“Pliny is clearly talking about a single people from Europe when he says "that people which has conquered all other nations", not about multiple ones, and certainly not about Europeans as a whole. It would be a stretch to think otherwise, especially since Pliny's book is full of references to conquered European nations and tribes, it would be illogical for him to attribute to them an abstract quality of conquerorness, more so of conquerorness of all other nations-“

Again, Pliny himself literally references speaking of Europe as a generality in both the title of the chapter and the very statement you quoted of him. That includes Italy and many others. There’s no reason to assume otherwise, just as one can reference africans as “a people”, despite there being many separate nations within Africa. I’m not sure why you think this is a stretch when it was the norm of Romans at the time to see men like the Greeks as great conquerors and look up to men like Alexander the Great.

“(courage could be, but conquerorness, and of all other nations?!).”

All other nations in so far as much as the Romans were aware of. Again, the Roman perspective from its infancy was a world that was almost universally dominated by greeks to the south of them and full of independent european tribes to the north. The only notable change to this was the Romans themselves coming to conquer both of these regions. If that is the world you and all of your memorable ancestors grew up in, you would hardly question the notion of europeans being a race of conquerors, even if today we know enough to speak of smaller egyptian, babylonian, persian empires, as well as later on, arabic.

“Also, it is very clear that he is not talking about an abstract concept of conquerorness in that statement as he says "conquered", not "conqueror", so he is talking about a specific series of conquests in the past, and since he says "conquered all other nations" and elsewhere in his book talks about Italy as "that conqueror of the world", it is clear that he is referring to Italians or Romans as the people who conquered all other nations.”

I mean no offense, but this sounds like a lot of semantics and mental gymnastics. Of course he is speaking in past tense as he cannot know of future conquests. Were the Gauls not conquerors of galacia, parts of spain and parts of italy, previous to his writing? Was alexander not a conqueror of persia in the past? You are reading way too much into this to try to see something that simply isn’t there. You’re free to your opinion and I certainly am not one to talk down the greatness of Italy’s conquests, but his context is right there, clear as day, in speaking of Europe as a generality in both that chapter and statement.

Onur Dincer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“That disempowerment is the responsibility of the religious authorities of course, not the common believers. I only mentioned questioning the authority and status of the religious authorities whose teachings and actions openly go against God's laws and order as a duty of the common believers.”

It is certainly not only just but our necessary duty to question those who brazenly teach heresy or encourage apostasy and modernism. No disagreement with that.

“What have the origins of the Greek dynasts have to do with those of the Greek commoners?

What do they have in common? Their national origin of course. We don’t call them greeks just for fun. Their origin is that from Greece, coming from alexander’s armies and generals - hence as to why their royal blood rejected miscegenation to preserve their distinct identity as greek rulers.

“Also, have you seen any ancient genome results from Greek Egyptian dynasts or Greek Egyptian commoners? So far, all modern Greeks show genetics similar to the pre-Greek inhabitants of their known regions of origin.”

From the studies I’ve seen it’s the exact opposite. In places like Spain, greek colonies bore genetics that were identical to that of greece itself with no notable admixture. I would imagine in an even more dissimilar place like Egypt - especially amongst the royalty - this would be even more extreme. I will check your links in a bit.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“It is beyond doubt that Greeks assimilated and mixed with too many non-Greeks during their imperial rules like Latins did.”

The results of greek colonies in spain disagree with that assumption; as does the historical record of the ptolemaic, pontic, seleucid, and potentially even bactrian noble bloodline. Both the Latin notions of citizenship, nationhood and the genetic evidence from the Romans suggests otherwise as well. As both Palermo and I stated before we started this discussion with you, the ancient Romans bore genetics that are nearly equivalents of modern italian genetic variation and show clear continuity. I’m not going to postulate that there has never been a barbarian goth who never left a genetic legacy on Italy, but to claim the latins were miscegenating swashbucklers is again disinformation. Reducing civilizations to nothing but “institutions”, void of biological, linguistic, cultural and historic identity is totally foreign to the concept of nationhood (gentum) that the Latins used to describe the Roman people. With that evidence alone you are clearly attempting to define these terms from of your own conceptions and not out of what the Roman historians have written for us to read of them. That may not be your intent, but it has certainly been the result, and one I reject.

“If you are looking for an empire that comes somewhat close to the modern European colonial empires, it is the various empires of pre-Islamic Persia. Pre-Islamic Persians (also Parthians) did not spread their language and religion beyond their core territories at all (excluding their transplanted elite colonies of course) and mostly avoided mixing with peoples from outside their core territories as well, and even in their core territories they did not spread their language that much (even in modern Iran a substantial part of the population does not speak Persian as first language).”

You could be right about Persia. I am not a Persian history buff so I wouldn’t have an educated opinion on the topic, myself, but I’ll take your word for it.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“Actually we see much more mixing with and assimilation of conquered peoples in the modern European colonial empires than in the pre-Islamic Persian empires, at least when it comes to the territories outside the core.”

In places like south/central america, perhaps, but even then this is the exception to the rule. On top of that racial hierarchies still existed even if mixing became prevalent in that exception. Full blooded spaniards or Portuguese had considerably superior social standing than a mestizo, and castizos occupied an intermediate position between the two, with africans and full blooded natives being at the bottom of this scale. There was even an attempted “whitening campaign” enacted in these places, and there were no secrets about this. In most 19th century colonies segregation was the norm - particularly in Africa and India. There were cases of transgressions but it was rare and strongly condemned. In North america the social segregation of whites still largely remains a factor despite the government and many self styled “philanthropists” attempting to do away with the white race in its entirety by rabidly promoting miscegenation and condemning any appeal to european identity as “racist”. What’s even worse is that this has become exported to Europe.

“I am not leftist and I am someone who is openly against open border policies and globalism (if you do not believe me, just ask Maju, the leftist Basque blogger with whom I have had polemics). So my assessments of history and genetics should not be expected to have any sort of leftist, pro-open border or pro-globalist bias. I just try as much as I can to make sure that my ideological views and feelings do not influence my assessments of history and genetics. If still some of my assessments are influenced by my ideological views and feelings, it should be totally unconscious.”

I haven’t considered you distinctly a leftist. Personally I don’t play by french revolution politics; they were a degeneration and rebellion against western virtues and traditions. I don’t think your assessments are based upon the values of the globo-homos who are destroying Europe and her colonies, but I do think you have a distinct bias in attempting to strip biology as a defining factor of identity and I certainly believe that contradicts traditional notions of nationhood. I don’t mean for my replies to be attacks, even when we butt heads. I think we agree on far more than what we disagree on, but I am not going to yield Italy’s biology and say that Arabs, Chinese or Blacks can ever call themselves “Italians” with even a far cry of a hope of legitimacy.

“Lastly, Italy should preserve its unity as much as it can and should not let the EU and other globalist actors impose open border policies on it.”

Absolutely and without a doubt. If we fail we will cease to exist as a people. All nations should take this advice.

Onur Dincer said...

@Aitor

Thanks for the reply, I realize you're trying to disentangle (comment sections can be sticky)!

You are welcome. Yes, it is not like talking face to face, and many of your comments can be used for detrimental purposes by groups like open border activists if you do not make enough clarification.

You referred to Greeks and Latins being genetically similar to the local populations that predated these Empires in the areas they came to inhabit. I’m not sure what populations you had in mind, but this is analogous to saying that the local populations were preserved genetically and assimilated culturally.

To see which ancient populations, you can look at the second link I posted in one of my comments above as it includes a PCA with a lot of modern and ancient populations (shows the locations of the population averages, so not too cluttered). Let me send it again:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1im5Guka2oBGLJTPksUkac8APCZSAxMLi/view?usp=sharing

It concerns the practical impact of an empire and not just its legal framework. That’s why I saw fit to dispute your dichotomy on practical grounds: The Greek, Roman and Persian Empires began restricting unions between founding stock and conquered peoples, but are today mainly identifiable as genetically continuous with their pre-imperial ancestors in their original homeland.

The pre-Islamic Persian empires continued to restrict them both legally and in practice until the Islamic conquest of Persia. What later happened during the Islamic times is irrelevant. Also, by the pre-Islamic Persian (including Parthian too) imperial core I mean a territory roughly corresponding to the territory of modern Iran, but stretching somewhat to the east with the exact eastern borders changing from era to era (see the discussions on Turan and its distinction from Iran). What mixing happened between Iranian speakers and non-Iranian-speaking natives within the core before the formation of the first Persian empire (Achaemenids) and during the early times of the Achaemenid Empire before the consolidation of the racial and social divisions is a different issue, I was talking about the restrictions outside the core territory of the pre-Islamic Persian empires.

The European diaspora, largely set up during colonial times, does not fit that reality.

The European colonial experiences include all sorts of models: entirely unmixed settler populations, assimilated or non-assimilated fully native populations, and any combination of the two usually with the assimilation of the native elements. But of course there are significant differences between the Anglo colonies and the Iberian colonies and between the colonies of a single country.

If your claim is that Roman imperial policy gave up on restricting marriage between Latins and provincials in a way that Persian pre-Islamic imperial policy never did, then I defer to you, as I am ignorant concerning Persian legislation in the area. What comes to mind is the 14th/15th c. Zarathustrian Zand-i Vahman Yasht, which dissuades the mingling of Persian with non-Persian. But that is a religious text identifying such mingling with future tribulation, as I recall. Similar sentiments are expressed throughout the literature of many civilizations.

The pre-Islamic Persian empires had very strict class divisions reminiscent of the Indian caste system. Even in the Iranian-speaking and Zoroastrian core territory the class divisions were very strict, and non-Iranian-speaking and non-Zoroastrian populations outside the core were not even part of the Iranian social hierarchy, they were outcastes, distinct "races" not worthy of close interaction except for things like trade.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

I’m sorry if you feel that I’ve misinterpreted you. My point was simply that the statement, “well no modern Italian is 100% exactly a static cluster of iron age lazio” is not only somewhat misleading (as it applies to nearly every population over that span of history, not just italians), but worse it becomes implicative of attempting to deprive modern italians, who are still incredibly similar to their ancient populations, of their rightful Roman heritage. You may not have intended that, and what you say is technically correct, but ultimately the effect of a statement such as that becomes one that validates those who believe italians to be largely mongrelized or unrelated to the Romans and confuses readers who don’t understand the technicalities of these studies. It may not be an outright lie, but it is highly deceptive. I imagine a modern greek would not be too fond of me if I interjected into their conversation about their history as mycenaeans to proclaim “actually, no living population is actually representative of the Mycenaean or minoan genomes, including that of any modern greeks.” even though modern greeks are genetically very similar to ancient and bear clear heritage from them.

So yes, when you do the same to Italians expect us those of us with any degree of identity to take some offense. It’s misleading and by itself, contrary to the full picture of what the study showed.


Again I repeat: I mentioned that static genetic clusters idea just to criticize it. I may have sounded ambiguous at first, and I am sorry for that if that is the case (a common problem in written conversation), but I later clarified myself in my first response to you on this matter, and after that Palermo and I have come to realize that our seeming disagreement was more semantic than of substance. Sorry again if I sounded like disputing the high degree of genetic continuity in Italy, which has never been my intention or thought.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

And what do you think the dediticii were? Ulpianus defines them as free subjects of the empire from populations which were militarily conquered and considered enemies of the roman people, as well as freed slaves. They were a class of the libertini (i.e. free people) but bearing no legal rights. If you didn’t know already, there were only 3 classes of libertini: Roman citizens, Latin citizens and Dediticii. Caracalla granting Roman citizenship to all free people excluding the dediticii would mean that only those who held latin rights would receive roman citizenship, as obviously one who already bears Roman citizenship has no merit in getting it again.

By the time of the Edict of Caracalla, many people outside Italy had Latin rights, all of free Iberians for instance, so the Edict of Caracalla had an effect well beyond Italy. In fact, it would have almost no discernible effect if Latin rights were not then widespread outside Italy since all of free Italians had already Roman rights (full Roman citizenship) by then (not so sure about free Sicilians in this case).

And ancient institutions were those? The republic was long gone and the religion had been replaced by Christianity? Militarily it persevered for some time, but even the military institutions had changed drastically by the time of the fall of the western half. As you said, the empire became greek oriented and the official language also became greek. One could try to postulate they were at least Roman in name, but they called themselves “Roman” only in the greek language (Romanoi), not “Romani” in the latin tongue. They did not consider themselves Latin or Italian and engaged in quarreling with whose who remained to be so. Similarly, I don’t think anyone would postulate Italian cities with greek names to be some sort of legitimate heir to greek identity and civilization.

The transition to the empire was a process somewhat resembling the transition of the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich: many republican institutions remain, but they become dysfunctional or transform in the face of the newly emerging imperial institutions and system. And no, the transition was complete long before Christianity became a tolerated religion, the later rise of Christianity has nothing to do with that. As for Greek, it would become the sole official language as late as the early 7th century, so the transition to the Greek-oriented system would take a long time in the Eastern Roman Empire. The topic of legitimate heirship of the Roman Empire is a so politically- and religiously-loaded subject that I do not want to dwell on it further (hint: too many Orthodox Christians and especially Greeks would disagree with you).

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

Perhaps in the notions of the Byzantine empire. Those who built the empire were so strict in regards to the biological notion of identity that those who even left Italy for colonies abroad had their citizenship revoked. Plinius himself does not refer to Rome as a world conquering empire, but instead a “world conquering nation” (Latin used: Gentum, meaning tribe, nation, people, race). Cato the Elder saw it the same way, as did Vitruvius who quite literally equates the Roman people with that of exclusively those who live in Italy (De Architectura, Book 6).

All your examples so far are from the republican or early imperial times. Latinness and Romanness both gradually expanded to include many different peoples and regions. I am not saying this to imply that Italy changed drastically genetically through migrations from the newly Latinized or Romanized regions, as ancient genetics does not back such a result. Even the flow of slaves from North Africa to Italy was very limited as shown by the isotope and ancient DNA studies. Most of the non-European slaves in Italy were Greek (so mostly from largely Greek non-European regions such as Asia Minor).

So yes, we are talking about biological races, as well as other cultural facets of identity if we want to talk about the Romans and not a nation of greeks who inherited the borders of a foreign empire. As for what the Byzantines you refer to had in regards to their conception of citizenship; that’s a different topic all together. If it’s anything like what you say, then it is totally contrary to the Roman institutions you claim they have upheld.

Are Italians a biological race? Or let me reframe my question: are Italians a biological race distinct from Iberians, Southern French, mainland Greeks or Albanians (I have chosen the references from among the genetically closest modern populations to Italians)? The Byzantine system did not come out of nowhere, it gradually evolved from the ancient Roman imperial system it inherited (even its law was Roman law).

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

You stated, “But beginning from the early Imperial period, things gradually changed, many non-Italians gained Roman citizenship, and with the 212 AD decree of Caracalla all free inhabitants of the empire gained citizenship.”, which I interpreted as your believing of the imperial period starting sometime around the reign of Caracalla, as the only evidence you provided of legal citizenship possibly expanding beyond Italians was that of the Edict of Caracalla.

I did not mean that that Caracalla's reign was the beginning of the empire. Let me clarify: his edict was just a part of the process of gradually increasing naturalization of the various peoples and regions of the Roman Empire. You may not like that process, but I am not making any value judgement here, just trying to make objective assessments of the historical processes.

Gains Marius was Consul 7 times in a row if I recall correctly and bore immense loyalty to him from the legions of Rome. This would be the modern equivalent of, say for example a distinguished military general claiming presidency for life. He was a de facto autocrat and was driven out of Rome at the end of his life as a result of the senate’s rejection of his consolidation of power. Sulla and Julius Caesar were no different, and I’m not sure why you try to separate them as dictators from Gaius Marius. Marius too, was a “legal dictator” who used the status for his own consolidation of power. All three bore the title “consul” and held it to the day they died, with no other citizen having the ability to oppose their will unless they quite literally murdered them. The loyalty of their legions created de facto warlords out of all of these men and made each one very difficult to challenge because of this.

The power structure of the Roman Republic within those 30 years was divided by the first triumvirate, which consisted of Caesar himself (an underdog general), Pompey Magnus (an experienced general), and Crassus (Possibly the wealthiest man in history and also a general). During this period the Senate would divide itself over which warlord to side with up until finally settling on Pompey Magnus as their leader. As we all know, Crassus preemptively died in wars against Parthia and Caesar ended up overcoming Pompey Militarily. This is hardly what I would call the division of power under of which the conception of the republic itself was built upon.

I’m not going to use words with negative connotations like tyrant because these men were quite well loved by their soldiers and the general population of Italy. This was chiefly a conflict between the aristocratic oligopolies of the senate, consolidating power around their own senatorial class using republican ideals and their grip on legislative power vs independent generals who saw great injustice as to the deteriorating financial situation of the common plebeians of Italia. We actually see many parallels today over similar behaviors in politicians, but that’s a topic for another time.


As far as I know, Marius was never a dictator, but only a consul and general, correct me if I am wrong by pointing to the relevant historical sources. Yes, the late republic was marked by a tendency towards authoritarian rule (I do not mean that in a negative sense), but there was not yet any legal framework to guarantee the long-term survival of an authoritarian system of government, that would only come during the principate. I mentioned tyrants only to stress the difference of ancient dictators from tyrants.

Palermo Trapani said...

Onur:

I think it is more accurate to say Italians are a distinct "ethnicity" with an overlap from North to South that is highly correlated (Raveane et al 2019, Sazzinni et al 2016), with some regional variation in the admixture proportions/source ancestries. Nothern Italy shares some close genetic affinity with Southern France and Iberia as you say (supported by the literature), Central Italy sort holds the center and Southern Italy/Sicily shows close genetic affinity with Greece and Albania, and even Central Italy (Tuscany not as much, tend to shift more towards Southern France, although that could vary by region in Tuscany as it is long North to South) as well shows affinity with Balkan populations including Greeks and Albanians.

Just my two cents

Onur Dincer said...

I mean you can use whatever names you want, but such terms have no bearing in common understood history. If you’d like to explain to me what you believe the “common imperial system” specifically is along with some evidence backing up your beliefs, I’m not opposed to hearing it, but you can’t expect me or anyone else to acknowledge, much less accept, it otherwise.

I think I have explained it sufficiently in my comments on this thread, see especially my responses to Aitor for the details.

The lombards’ invasion of italy came long after the byzantine invitation for the ostrogoths to conquer it. There is really no excuse for that action no matter how you slice it. Sure, reconquest attempts were made later on, but they were not serious and few resources were devoted to it. When the Lombards entered italy their historians describe it as practically unguarded, not some sort of fortified byzantine stronghold. Ultimately, it ended up being the Pope who broke the reign of the Lombards over Italy with the help Charlemagne and his frankish military. Centuries after the destruction of the Lombards it would again be a Byzantine admiral who invites the moors to invade Sicily, sparking the first middle eastern domination of the island and several hundreds of years of painstaking reconquest by the Normans (utilizing Italian troops) and the Duchy of Benevento. Do you see the common trend? The Byzantines did not treat Italy with the same quality of protection and governance the Italians treated greece with. It was willfully neglected and suffered greatly as a result.

I expect “great powers” from the byzantine empire because it literally was the greatest military power in Europe and the mediterranean. The Byzantines routinely fielded standing professional armies of 200k-250k full time soldiers, meanwhile the closest european heavyweights behind them like the franks would only field a maximum of 30k part-time farmer/soldiers at any given time. If the slavic, islamic and mongol invasion were so brutal they likely would’ve been better contained had the byzantines governed their Italian lands and furnished professional soldiers out of them. While I don’t hate the byzantines as a civilization, they had many faults which lead to their demise and the neglect and abuse of Italy was arguably be one of the leading causes.


Italy was under the rule of the barbarian ruler Odoacer, who had ended the Western Roman Empire, when Zeno invited the Ostrogoth Theodoric to invade Italy and get rid of Odoacer, so it was already under barbarian rule. Replacing one barbarian ruler with a one who is more amicable to the empire is not a bad thing, though I agree that it would be better off if the empire invaded Italy itself and brought it under its more direct rule. Anyway, the Ostrogothic rule in Italy did not last long, the empire gained the control of Italy with Justinian I's conquests. As for Lombards, Byzantines never approved of their control of Italy and resisted their invasion, but the situations in Southeast Europe and the eastern parts of the empire impeded its actions against Lombards. By the mid 7th century, the empire was a shadow of its former self with most of its lands passed to Arabs and European barbarians and its remaining cities and armies significantly diminished. It would take the times of the much later Macedonian dynasty for it to begin to recover.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

Again, Pliny himself literally references speaking of Europe as a generality in both the title of the chapter and the very statement you quoted of him. That includes Italy and many others. There’s no reason to assume otherwise, just as one can reference africans as “a people”, despite there being many separate nations within Africa. I’m not sure why you think this is a stretch when it was the norm of Romans at the time to see men like the Greeks as great conquerors and look up to men like Alexander the Great.

All other nations in so far as much as the Romans were aware of. Again, the Roman perspective from its infancy was a world that was almost universally dominated by greeks to the south of them and full of independent european tribes to the north. The only notable change to this was the Romans themselves coming to conquer both of these regions. If that is the world you and all of your memorable ancestors grew up in, you would hardly question the notion of europeans being a race of conquerors, even if today we know enough to speak of smaller egyptian, babylonian, persian empires, as well as later on, arabic.

I mean no offense, but this sounds like a lot of semantics and mental gymnastics. Of course he is speaking in past tense as he cannot know of future conquests. Were the Gauls not conquerors of galacia, parts of spain and parts of italy, previous to his writing? Was alexander not a conqueror of persia in the past? You are reading way too much into this to try to see something that simply isn’t there. You’re free to your opinion and I certainly am not one to talk down the greatness of Italy’s conquests, but his context is right there, clear as day, in speaking of Europe as a generality in both that chapter and statement.


To the contrary, I am just trying to make the most direct and logical reading of Pliny's specific passage. I have already explained it, so will not dwell on it further. You may differ in your reading from mine, but do not expect everyone to agree with your specific reading. By the way, I am not contesting the references to conquerorness of various non-Italian European nations by various ancient Roman authors, I am just writing about Pliny's this specific passage.

Onur Dincer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

What do they have in common? Their national origin of course. We don’t call them greeks just for fun. Their origin is that from Greece, coming from alexander’s armies and generals - hence as to why their royal blood rejected miscegenation to preserve their distinct identity as greek rulers.

From the studies I’ve seen it’s the exact opposite. In places like Spain, greek colonies bore genetics that were identical to that of greece itself with no notable admixture. I would imagine in an even more dissimilar place like Egypt - especially amongst the royalty - this would be even more extreme. I will check your links in a bit.

The results of greek colonies in spain disagree with that assumption; as does the historical record of the ptolemaic, pontic, seleucid, and potentially even bactrian noble bloodline.


I know very well the published modern and ancient genetic Greek results, also know many modern Greek genetic results from the commercial testing companies.

Among modern Greeks it is clear that Greeks of the various specific regions genetically plot near the pre-Greek populations of their specific region and their modern non-Greek neighbors in and around those regions. You will see that clearly when you check out the links I posted, there is no dispute about it.

As for ancient Greek genetics, all we know so far are Mycenaean Greek results from Greece and results from some likely Greek people from ancient Italy and Spain. We can guess the likely Greek origins of some of those ancient individuals from Italy and Spain based on their Mycenaean-like results. But among the ancient genomes from ancient Italy, particularly imperial Italy, there are also some with results like Asia Minor ancient DNA results. Since we already know that Asia Minor had been largely Hellenized (Greek-speaking and worshiping Greek deities) back then, it would certainly not be a stretch to guess that those people with Asia Minor-like ancient DNA results are Asia Minor Greeks mostly, if not totally. This inference is backed by modern Asia Minor Greek genetic results, which show that they plot closest to post-Neolithic Asia Minor ancient genomes rather than Mycenaean Greeks among ancient genomes, and modern populations from Asia Minor and environs rather than from modern mainland Greece among modern populations. Certainly Greeks did not genocide the various Asia Minor populations during their Hellenization (bear in mind that Asia Minor has always been more populous than mainland Greece and the Aegean islands combined), Greeks were civilized people, not like the barbarian hordes from Northern Europe. Just as the Latin language and culture spread among many non-Italian (and before that also Italian) peoples, the Greek language and culture spread among many non-Greek peoples during the various imperial or colonial periods, but this is of course no justification for the modern invasion of European territories by foreigners, only people with detrimental agendas would make such a connection.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

Both the Latin notions of citizenship, nationhood and the genetic evidence from the Romans suggests otherwise as well. As both Palermo and I stated before we started this discussion with you, the ancient Romans bore genetics that are nearly equivalents of modern italian genetic variation and show clear continuity. I’m not going to postulate that there has never been a barbarian goth who never left a genetic legacy on Italy, but to claim the latins were miscegenating swashbucklers is again disinformation. Reducing civilizations to nothing but “institutions”, void of biological, linguistic, cultural and historic identity is totally foreign to the concept of nationhood (gentum) that the Latins used to describe the Roman people. With that evidence alone you are clearly attempting to define these terms from of your own conceptions and not out of what the Roman historians have written for us to read of them. That may not be your intent, but it has certainly been the result, and one I reject.

I am not presenting my views of how things should be here, not making any value judgement, and not allowing my biases to distort my interpretation of the past situations, events and processes. I am just plainly trying to make assessments of history and genetics as objectively as I can. These in no way influence my ideological views or are influenced by them, at least not consciously. Since I have already covered these subjects enough, there is no need to discuss them again as I hate it when I say the same thing over and over.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

In places like south/central america, perhaps, but even then this is the exception to the rule. On top of that racial hierarchies still existed even if mixing became prevalent in that exception. Full blooded spaniards or Portuguese had considerably superior social standing than a mestizo, and castizos occupied an intermediate position between the two, with africans and full blooded natives being at the bottom of this scale. There was even an attempted “whitening campaign” enacted in these places, and there were no secrets about this. In most 19th century colonies segregation was the norm - particularly in Africa and India. There were cases of transgressions but it was rare and strongly condemned. In North america the social segregation of whites still largely remains a factor despite the government and many self styled “philanthropists” attempting to do away with the white race in its entirety by rabidly promoting miscegenation and condemning any appeal to european identity as “racist”. What’s even worse is that this has become exported to Europe.

I agree with everything you say here except that, as someone who has read a lot of papers on modern New World and South African genetics and seen a lot of individual results from those regions, I have to confess that other than the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, full-blooded whites (i.e., not mixed with natives and black slaves) are generally rare in those regions. The former Anglo colonies I mentioned differ in having very large percentages of full-blooded whites. This points to the differences in the colonization of those regions. In the Anglo case the migrations happened with a sex balance from very early on with whole families migrating while in the Spanish and Portuguese cases many more many more males migrated than females during the early centuries of the colonies, which inevitably led to miscegenation in the colonies despite the regulations discouraging it. Add to that the overall lower densities of the native populations in the Anglo colonies than those in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies and the further diminishing of the native populations because of the Old World diseases, and you get the current result.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

I haven’t considered you distinctly a leftist. Personally I don’t play by french revolution politics; they were a degeneration and rebellion against western virtues and traditions. I don’t think your assessments are based upon the values of the globo-homos who are destroying Europe and her colonies, but I do think you have a distinct bias in attempting to strip biology as a defining factor of identity and I certainly believe that contradicts traditional notions of nationhood. I don’t mean for my replies to be attacks, even when we butt heads. I think we agree on far more than what we disagree on, but I am not going to yield Italy’s biology and say that Arabs, Chinese or Blacks can ever call themselves “Italians” with even a far cry of a hope of legitimacy.

I do not use French Revolution politics terminology either, that is why I define myself neither as rightist nor leftist, but people who know me usually classify me as rightist. Anyway, I certainly do not try to strip biology from the picture as someone who does master in a genetics-related field; to the contrary, I try to put it in its rightful location with no biases, just going by what it shows. Imagine a genetic plot with no population labels, how would I interpret the results? Just going by what the data show. What I do is applying the same method when the population labels are shown too. So when I say there is a high degree of genetic continuity in Italy since at least the Iron Age times, I mean it sincerely, not adding any bias (at least in a conscious way), just as I am sincere when I point to the genetic changes in Italy, or at least in the Latium region, during the course of those 3000 years.

I fully agree with you on being restrictive in defining who is Italian. Concepts like black Italian, Arab Italian, Chinese Italian and gypsy Italian are new creations intended to undermine both the Italian nation and Italian genetics.

Onur Dincer said...

@Palermo

I think it is more accurate to say Italians are a distinct "ethnicity" with an overlap from North to South that is highly correlated (Raveane et al 2019, Sazzinni et al 2016), with some regional variation in the admixture proportions/source ancestries. Nothern Italy shares some close genetic affinity with Southern France and Iberia as you say (supported by the literature), Central Italy sort holds the center and Southern Italy/Sicily shows close genetic affinity with Greece and Albania, and even Central Italy (Tuscany not as much, tend to shift more towards Southern France, although that could vary by region in Tuscany as it is long North to South) as well shows affinity with Balkan populations including Greeks and Albanians.

Just my two cents


Yes, modern Northern Italians plot very close to modern Iberians. But it is actually the modern Central Italians rather than modern Southern Italians who plot very close to modern mainland Greeks and Albanians, but that is due to the medieval Slavic admixture in the latter, Mycenaean Greeks were more post-Neolithic Asia Minor- and Asia Minor/European Neolithic farmer-leaning than even modern Southern Italians:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1im5Guka2oBGLJTPksUkac8APCZSAxMLi/view

Onur Dincer said...

Imagine a genetic plot with no population labels, how would I interpret the results? Just going by what the data show. What I do is applying the same method when the population labels are shown too.

A formal test, ADMIXTURE or Vahaduo analysis is a better example to the plot here than a PCA as PCA results can sometimes be tricky to interpret without population labels.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

it would again be a Byzantine admiral who invites the moors to invade Sicily, sparking the first middle eastern domination of the island and several hundreds of years of painstaking reconquest by the Normans (utilizing Italian troops) and the Duchy of Benevento. Do you see the common trend? The Byzantines did not treat Italy with the same quality of protection and governance the Italians treated greece with. It was willfully neglected and suffered greatly as a result.

Forgot to reply to this part. That Byzantine admiral was a rebel and traitor, not someone acting at the emperor's command, but to the contrary, in rebellion to him going so far as to proclaim himself emperor! You do not expect that the Byzantine Empire would willfully give its own possession (Sicily) to Moors, do you? That traitor admiral used Moors for personal gain, but in the end lost both his life and dignity. The Byzantine Empire resisted the Moorish invasion of Sicily for a very long time, it took almost 150 years for Moors to gain full control of Sicily.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

A lot of these topics I’m going to stop replying to as I think we’re getting nowhere with them and just repeating ourselves.

“Sorry again if I sounded like disputing the high degree of genetic continuity in Italy, which has never been my intention or thought.”

It’s fine. I guess just adding more context in your interjection would’ve helped is all. I think we fundamentally agree on the topic, though.

“By the time of the Edict of Caracalla, many people outside Italy had Latin rights, all of free Iberians for instance”

Is there a source for this claim? I’ve never heard such a thing - only some colonies outside italy had latin or roman citizenship from my recollection and sure, I would consider that a degradation of the republican era policies, though not nearly one as large as caracalla’s edict.

“In fact, it would have almost no discernible effect if Latin rights were not then widespread outside Italy since all of free Italians had already Roman rights (full Roman citizenship) by then (not so sure about free Sicilians in this case).”

I find it very hard to imagine a time in which latin rights were so widespread. Like I said, as far as I’ve found latin rights were restricted to select colonial towns outside of Italy, not so much entire continents. I’m open to any evidence contrary though.

“The transition to the empire was a process somewhat resembling the transition of the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich:”

I would actually liken the third reich more of historically akin to carthage under hannibal during the 2nd punic war. National Socialism was a rallying cry of revolt against the awful conditions that the triple entente enforced upon it after the first world war, and just like carthage, they were ultimately defeated with some significant difficulty. The weimar republic itself had no organic or natural domestic tradition in Germany - it can be likened to foreign rule, unlike with the roman republic, in which this case of tradition came to represent a stumbling block to cohesive management.

“And no, the transition was complete long before Christianity became a tolerated religion, the later rise of Christianity has nothing to do with that.”

There is no way one can postulate the Empire could even be referred to as “byzantine” before Constantine. To say such a thing is not only a stretch but simply a lie. Power shifted to Greece nearly synonymously with Christianity becoming tolerated and then adopted as the state religion.

“The topic of legitimate heirship of the Roman Empire is a so politically- and religiously-loaded subject that I do not want to dwell on it further (hint: too many Orthodox Christians and especially Greeks would disagree with you).“

They’re free to disagree, but I think it’s hardly debatable that the nation that built the empire and equates its citizenship with the inhabitants of italy should have final say over who is their legitimate heir and who is not. Again, I’ve nothing against greeks, but I do have an issue with those pretending to be something they are not - just as you won’t see me or southern italians larping as heirs to the myceneaens. I’ve additionally had romanians angrily postulate that they are italians and legitimate heirs to rome as well - do you see how ridiculous this topic has gotten? None of these people even share their nationality/identity.

Sarah Nikas said...
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Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“All your examples so far are from the republican or early imperial times. Latinness and Romanness both gradually expanded to include many different peoples and regions. I am not saying this to imply that Italy changed drastically genetically through migrations from the newly Latinized or Romanized regions, as ancient genetics does not back such a result. Even the flow of slaves from North Africa to Italy was very limited as shown by the isotope and ancient DNA studies. Most of the non-European slaves in Italy were Greek (so mostly from largely Greek non-European regions such as Asia Minor).”

Correct - times in which the empire hadn’t been subverted out from the hands of the men who built it. In other words I am appealing to the actual italian romans, not the foreign subverters of roman nationhood. These are the people that built and controlled Rome for ~900 years of its 1100 year existence. You are sitting here postulating to me that only policies of the last 200 or so years up to its death, enacted by foreigners, which show a clear degregation of the first 900 are the only ones that count. I find that outrageous.

I agree that genetics haven’t changed much in Italy regardless of the time period of roman rule, but this is a topic beyond that, delving into Roman nationhood - and I keep stressing that last word because it is important to understand that the identity of being Roman was based on being part of a tribe/nation/race to these men - not just some civic concept of legal rights applied to whoever made themselves useful. I’ve given you plenty of sources proving that, and if you want me to start directly quoting them, I certainly can. I think this is probably where we disagree most out of anything at this point.

“Are Italians a biological race? Or let me reframe my question: are Italians a biological race distinct from Iberians, Southern French, mainland Greeks or Albanians (I have chosen the references from among the genetically closest modern populations to Italians)? The Byzantine system did not come out of nowhere, it gradually evolved from the ancient Roman imperial system it inherited (even its law was Roman law).”

We certainly are, though not in the modern concept of “macro-races” used to seperate biology that is more generalized to continents rather than tribes or ethnicities. Race was a term that was interchangeable with nation and tribe in ancient times and even going back as little as the 1800s. Greeks are probably the closest to us out of all those populations you list but still a very distinct people nonetheless.

I don’t pretend the Byzantine system poofed out of thin air, however what the byzantines inherited was a far cry from the first 900 years of roman rule and were likely more of based off of diocletian’s reforms than anything - whose intent was to scrap the institutions that came before him. Now, this isn’t to suggest I think every facet of the republic was necessarily beneficial - I don’t - but there is a clear departure from Roman notions of nationhood persevered all the way into the early empire in comparison to civic based citizenship that you begin to see emerge by the time of Caracalla.

Sarah Nikas said...

“I did not mean that that Caracalla's reign was the beginning of the empire. Let me clarify: his edict was just a part of the process of gradually increasing naturalization of the various peoples and regions of the Roman Empire. You may not like that process, but I am not making any value judgement here, just trying to make objective assessments of the historical processes.”

Sure I agree with this here. Sorry if I misinterpreted you originally.

“As far as I know, Marius was never a dictator, but only a consul and general, correct me if I am wrong by pointing to the relevant historical sources. Yes, the late republic was marked by a tendency towards authoritarian rule (I do not mean that in a negative sense), but there was not yet any legal framework to guarantee the long-term survival of an authoritarian system of government, that would only come during the principate. I mentioned tyrants only to stress the difference of ancient dictators from tyrants.”

Marius was made emergency dictator during the italian social war if I recall correctly. That was also the point in which his consolidations of power became unbearable to the senate and sulla. And certainly - there is quite a difference between virtuous autocrat/warlord/emperor and a tyrant. I think only the sad cases that cling to enlightenment philosophies would disagree with that.

“ Italy was under the rule of the barbarian ruler Odoacer, who had ended the Western Roman Empire, when Zeno invited the Ostrogoth Theodoric to invade Italy and get rid of Odoacer, so it was already under barbarian rule. Replacing one barbarian ruler with a one who is more amicable to the empire is not a bad thing, though I agree that it would be better off if the empire invaded Italy itself and brought it under its more direct rule. Anyway, the Ostrogothic rule in Italy did not last long, the empire gained the control of Italy with Justinian I's conquests. As for Lombards, Byzantines never approved of their control of Italy and resisted their invasion, but the situations in Southeast Europe and the eastern parts of the empire impeded its actions against Lombards. By the mid 7th century, the empire was a shadow of its former self with most of its lands passed to Arabs and European barbarians and its remaining cities and armies significantly diminished. It would take the times of the much later Macedonian dynasty for it to begin to recover.”

Sure, but it highlights the attitude the byzantines held towards the peninsula. The notion of it not being worth fighting for and being better given to the barbarians to rule. Gaius Marius used to tear his tunic off of his body to display the scars he’d acquired from shedding blood for Italy when the senate questioned his loyalty to Rome. The difference between the Byzantine government and that of the Romans is enormous when we start really looking at it. - that’s not to say the byzantines received nothing from the Italian Romans, but what they received certainly wasn’t Roman nationhood. I acknowledge the Byzantines had some great challenges, but so did the Romans of the republic and principate. The difference is one held the Italian nation and italy above all other nations and the other the nations of the greek world.

If in some altered reality Iberia managed to be entirely conquered by the Myceneaens, and by the middle ages grew to be an empire of massive proportions calling themselves “Los griegos” without any sort of widespread genetic, cultural or linguistic replacement I can hardly imagine the greeks looking upon them as legitimate heirs to their mycenaean ancestors. Would you disagree with that?

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“Among modern Greeks it is clear that Greeks of the various specific regions genetically plot near the pre-Greek populations of their specific region and their modern non-Greek neighbors in and around those regions. You will see that clearly when you check out the links I posted, there is no dispute about it.”

I was referring to ancient greek colonies, not modern greek populations living in turkey or italy or anything to that extent. The topic was on ancient greek dynastic colonies not the modern day greek diaspora. I’ve little knowledge on what a modern pontic greek looks like genetically, and if it’s more similar to a turk than a greek then perhaps they really aren’t greek at all at that point, and instead more akin to an Orthodox Christian Turk.

And yes, obviously places like modern Alexandria that no longer have a greek presence (probably wiped out by the rise of islam if not earlier) aren’t going to plot near modern or ancient greeks.

“Since we already know that Asia Minor had been largely Hellenized (Greek-speaking and worshiping Greek deities) back then, it would certainly not be a stretch to guess that those people with Asia Minor-like ancient DNA results are Asia Minor Greeks mostly, if not totally. This inference is backed by modern Asia Minor Greek genetic results, which show that they plot closest to post-Neolithic Asia Minor ancient genomes rather than Mycenaean Greeks among ancient genomes, and modern populations from Asia Minor and environs rather than from modern mainland Greece among modern populations.”

Sure I agree with this. I’m actually pretty curious as to what “post neolithic asia minor” genomes would’ve looked like by this time in terms AIM results. I would imagine very close to the ancient greeks of the day but you seem to believe otherwise. You seem to be saying that there are no studies on this, but I thought I recalled glimpses of bronze age anatolia sequencing in a few studies I’ve read.

“Greeks were civilized people, not like the barbarian hordes from Northern Europe. Just as the Latin language and culture spread among many non-Italian (and before that also Italian) peoples, the Greek language and culture spread among many non-Greek peoples during the various imperial or colonial periods, but this is of course no justification for the modern invasion of European territories by foreigners, only people with detrimental agendas would make such a connection.”

Sure I agree with that entirely.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“I am not presenting my views of how things should be here, not making any value judgement, and not allowing my biases to distort my interpretation of the past situations, events and processes.”

The fact that you choose to focus on the policies of the last 200 years of the western empire in the stead of the first 900 leads me to believe otherwise, and I’m not saying this as an insult. All people are biased with the limited information they posses and the limited faculties they have to interpret said information. As much as you may not want to be biased all of us are and this only becomes an issue when what we propose becomes noticeably at odds with reality (in this case historical accuracy).

“I am just plainly trying to make assessments of history and genetics as objectively as I can.”

Same, but my personal biases are heavily influenced by what I’ve historically found to be fact and common civilizational traditions, in contrast with modern norms. I don’t pretend this doesn’t influence my interpretation as our environment certainly has an ability to mold our perceptions.

“Since I have already covered these subjects enough, there is no need to discuss them again as I hate it when I say the same thing over and over.”

Well that’s why I’m dropping many of these topics. We’re just repeating ourselves in areas we don’t agree, and in areas we do agree there isn’t much left to be said.

“I agree with everything you say here except that, as someone who has read a lot of papers on modern New World and South African genetics and seen a lot of individual results from those regions, I have to confess that other than the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, full-blooded whites (i.e., not mixed with natives and black slaves) are generally rare in those regions. The former Anglo colonies I mentioned differ in having very large percentages of full-blooded whites. This points to the differences in the colonization of those regions. In the Anglo case the migrations happened with a sex balance from very early on with whole families migrating while in the Spanish and Portuguese cases many more many more males migrated than females during the early centuries of the colonies, which inevitably led to miscegenation in the colonies despite the regulations discouraging it. Add to that the overall lower densities of the native populations in the Anglo colonies than those in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies and the further diminishing of the native populations because of the Old World diseases, and you get the current result.”

Sure, though these colonizing populations often times did not leave a lasting demographics in many (maybe eve most) of the lands they possessed. There are not huge swaths of whites in india or africa despite both being totally conquered by various european powers. South africa is an exception and honestly the state of the dying Afrikaaner is a sad one today which I don’t think I have to elaborate on.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“I do not use French Revolution politics terminology either, that is why I define myself neither as rightist nor leftist, but people who know me usually classify me as rightist. Anyway, I certainly do not try to strip biology from the picture as someone who does master in a genetics-related field; to the contrary, I try to put it in its rightful location with no biases, just going by what it shows. Imagine a genetic plot with no population labels, how would I interpret the results? Just going by what the data show. What I do is applying the same method when the population labels are shown too. So when I say there is a high degree of genetic continuity in Italy since at least the Iron Age times, I mean it sincerely, not adding any bias (at least in a conscious way), just as I am sincere when I point to the genetic changes in Italy, or at least in the Latium region, during the course of those 3000 years.

I fully agree with you on being restrictive in defining who is Italian. Concepts like black Italian, Arab Italian, Chinese Italian and gypsy Italian are new creations intended to undermine both the Italian nation and Italian genetics.”

Well perhaps we agree more than I previously thought then. I guess my big thing is that nationhood is heavily dependent on biology and while certainly new nations can be created (take for example France in comparison to the gallic tribes that predated it), I certainly couldn’t remove that component in the case of any nation - even if they held a large empire like the British, Spanish, Portuguese, Romans or Greeks. I’m glad we can agree that modern western nationalities deserve their genetic preservation. What field have you mastered in that’s genetics-related, just out of curiosity?

“Forgot to reply to this part. That Byzantine admiral was a rebel and traitor, not someone acting at the emperor's command, but to the contrary, in rebellion to him going so far as to proclaim himself emperor! You do not expect that the Byzantine Empire would willfully give its own possession (Sicily) to Moors, do you? That traitor admiral used Moors for personal gain, but in the end lost both his life and dignity. The Byzantine Empire resisted the Moorish invasion of Sicily for a very long time, it took almost 150 years for Moors to gain full control of Sicily.”

This is true, and I’ll give you those points, however it again speaks as to the attitude and lack of national commitment the byzantine governance felt in regard to Italy. My point is that such an admiral is almost the exact opposite of a man like Marius or Caesar in this regard.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

A lot of these topics I’m going to stop replying to as I think we’re getting nowhere with them and just repeating ourselves.

Fully agree. I will also try to limit my replies and will try to be brief in my replies. Let’s see. :)

Is there a source for this claim? I’ve never heard such a thing - only some colonies outside italy had latin or roman citizenship from my recollection and sure, I would consider that a degradation of the republican era policies, though not nearly one as large as caracalla’s edict.

I find it very hard to imagine a time in which latin rights were so widespread. Like I said, as far as I’ve found latin rights were restricted to select colonial towns outside of Italy, not so much entire continents. I’m open to any evidence contrary though.


Tacitus has this to say about Vitellius (a mid 1st century emperor):

"He lavished special charters on allied communities and extended Latin rights to foreign towns: he remitted taxation here, granted immunities there."

Moreover, we know that all of Roman Spain (modern Iberia) was granted Latin rights by Vespasian. From Pliny:

"The Emperor Vespasianus Augustus, while still harassed by the storms that agitated the Roman state, conferred the Latin rights on the whole of Spain. The Pyrenean mountains divide Spain from Gaul, their extremities projecting into the two seas on either side."

The unknown author of The Life of Hadrian writes this about Hadrian:

"He granted Latin rights to many towns."

So it seems there was a trend of granting Latin rights to many parts of the empire outside the Italian (including Sicilian) territories and outside the Roman colonies since the 1st century AD. You can call that degradation, but I am only writing about the existence of such a trend, not advocating it.

I would actually liken the third reich more of historically akin to carthage under hannibal during the 2nd punic war. National Socialism was a rallying cry of revolt against the awful conditions that the triple entente enforced upon it after the first world war, and just like carthage, they were ultimately defeated with some significant difficulty. The weimar republic itself had no organic or natural domestic tradition in Germany - it can be likened to foreign rule, unlike with the roman republic, in which this case of tradition came to represent a stumbling block to cohesive management.

Yes, I agree with you about the rise of the Third Reich. I made the analogy just for the transformation of the institutions of the Roman Republic in the Roman Empire, the motives were very different from those of the Third Reich indeed.

There is no way one can postulate the Empire could even be referred to as “byzantine” before Constantine. To say such a thing is not only a stretch but simply a lie. Power shifted to Greece nearly synonymously with Christianity becoming tolerated and then adopted as the state religion.

I meant the transition to what I call the classical imperial system, not to the Christian Empire or the Byzantine Empire. I meant to say that that transition had already finished long before the times of Constantine I.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

They’re free to disagree, but I think it’s hardly debatable that the nation that built the empire and equates its citizenship with the inhabitants of italy should have final say over who is their legitimate heir and who is not. Again, I’ve nothing against greeks, but I do have an issue with those pretending to be something they are not - just as you won’t see me or southern italians larping as heirs to the myceneaens. I’ve additionally had romanians angrily postulate that they are italians and legitimate heirs to rome as well - do you see how ridiculous this topic has gotten? None of these people even share their nationality/identity.

Well, at least since the Edict of Caracalla, people from many non-Italian parts of the empire became Roman citizens too. Also, Greeks called themselves Roman and their language Roman language since at least their Christianization until the replacement of their Roman identity with the Greek identity and the name of their language with the name “Greek language” beginning from the 19th century with Greek nationalism under post-French revolution Western influence. The term "Byzantine Empire" is a neologism created by Western Europeans well after the fall of the empire it purported to designate, which always called itself nothing but Roman Empire or Romania. Romanians call themselves Roman and their language Roman language to this day (however their English equivalents conceal this fact by adding –ian after Roman) and they call their lands Romania (which was just one of the names of the Roman Empire like I stated). Who is to deprive Greeks and Romanians of their right to their long-established Roman identities and claims on the Roman Empire? Also, bear in mind that there were ancient Roman colonies throughout Southeast Europe and Asia Minor, we see their influence in Y-DNA haplogroups too, even my own Y-DNA haplogroup is from Roman colonists or Celtic immigrants with a very high probability.

I could agree with you if you objected only to the claims of non-Italians on the Italian identity. But no Greek or Romanian I know claims Italian identity (what practical consequence it would have if they claimed such an identity is also a question worth asking, but I do not want to divert the subject). If some of them claim ancient Italian ancestry but do not claim to be Italian, that should not even bother anyone. And I can guarantee you that no Greek, Romanian, Iberian, French or whatever has any intention to invade Italy. :) It is only the third worlders who have such intentions, and I know no third worlder claiming to have any Italian ancestry, however distant. You, as an Italian, can claim descent from Trojans based on Roman traditions, no one would have the right to deprive you of your claim to be descended from Trojans as it has some basis, however obscure, and it does not equal to having an intention to invade the historical homeland of Trojans.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

Correct - times in which the empire hadn’t been subverted out from the hands of the men who built it. In other words I am appealing to the actual italian romans, not the foreign subverters of roman nationhood. These are the people that built and controlled Rome for ~900 years of its 1100 year existence. You are sitting here postulating to me that only policies of the last 200 or so years up to its death, enacted by foreigners, which show a clear degregation of the first 900 are the only ones that count. I find that outrageous.

No, not the last 200 years. If we take the of the Edict of Caracalla as the beginning (just for the sake of being conservative), the last 1250 years. The Roman Empire ended not with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the late 5th century, but with the falls of Constantinople in 1453, Salmeniko and Trebizond in 1461, the Principality of Theodoro in 1475. The usage of the Western-centric term "Byzantine Empire" does not change this fact.

I agree that genetics haven’t changed much in Italy regardless of the time period of roman rule, but this is a topic beyond that, delving into Roman nationhood - and I keep stressing that last word because it is important to understand that the identity of being Roman was based on being part of a tribe/nation/race to these men - not just some civic concept of legal rights applied to whoever made themselves useful. I’ve given you plenty of sources proving that, and if you want me to start directly quoting them, I certainly can. I think this is probably where we disagree most out of anything at this point.

Were ancient Italians a single tribe or nation? Or was there ever a peninsular-wide tribe or nation? Etruscans were not even IE speakers, let alone Italic speakers, and not all IE speakers in Italy were Italic speakers either. Yet despite all those differences between the ancient peoples of Italy (I am talking about language and culture here, genetically they may not be so different), they were all subsumed under the Italian identity and Roman citizenship during the times of the Roman Republic. The Roman Republic was a state based on military, law and engineering and with an advanced civilization for its time, not a tribal confederation like those of the Northern European barbarians.

Also, like I said many times, neither Romanness nor Latinness stayed limited to the territory of Italy and spread much beyond it, especially during the empire.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

We certainly are, though not in the modern concept of “macro-races” used to seperate biology that is more generalized to continents rather than tribes or ethnicities. Race was a term that was interchangeable with nation and tribe in ancient times and even going back as little as the 1800s. Greeks are probably the closest to us out of all those populations you list but still a very distinct people nonetheless.

No nation is a biological race. I, as a genetics student, cannot call a nation a biological race. This has nothing to do with any ideological beliefs BTW, it is about plain scientific facts. I am certainly not a race denialist, very far from it. If you said Italians are a race in the sense of a nation without necessarily pointing to common descent, then I could accept it, but if you say they are a biological race, then I cannot. Common descent myths of nations are fine, I have no problem with them, but I do not mix them with scientific concepts such as biological race. West Eurasians (Caucasoids) are certainly a biological race, far from homogeneous, nevertheless distinct enough from all other human groups to be called a biological race. Italians do not fulfill that criterion as a nation, they are not genetically distinct enough from all other human groups.

I don’t pretend the Byzantine system poofed out of thin air, however what the byzantines inherited was a far cry from the first 900 years of roman rule and were likely more of based off of diocletian’s reforms than anything - whose intent was to scrap the institutions that came before him. Now, this isn’t to suggest I think every facet of the republic was necessarily beneficial - I don’t - but there is a clear departure from Roman notions of nationhood persevered all the way into the early empire in comparison to civic based citizenship that you begin to see emerge by the time of Caracalla.

The Roman political unification of Italy was also civic-based. But if you say that in that case a genetically relatively homogeneous region was unified, then I do not object to that. Nevertheless, the civic bases of the unification are obvious. Not saying this to criticize the civic bases, just pointing to the facts.

But yes, after a time, the various ancient Italian peoples really began to form a coherent and uniform Italian identity and culture (also facilitated by the spread of Latin). So the Roman unification of Italy was certainly a successful project. I very much appreciate it and consider the modern Italian nation as with Roman Republic origins.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

Sure, but it highlights the attitude the byzantines held towards the peninsula. The notion of it not being worth fighting for and being better given to the barbarians to rule. Gaius Marius used to tear his tunic off of his body to display the scars he’d acquired from shedding blood for Italy when the senate questioned his loyalty to Rome. The difference between the Byzantine government and that of the Romans is enormous when we start really looking at it. - that’s not to say the byzantines received nothing from the Italian Romans, but what they received certainly wasn’t Roman nationhood. I acknowledge the Byzantines had some great challenges, but so did the Romans of the republic and principate. The difference is one held the Italian nation and italy above all other nations and the other the nations of the greek world.

I have already explained why I disagree with you on the Roman identity issue, so will not dwell on it further.

As for the issue of the Byzantine neglect of Italy, you are right about it, but the Byzantine Empire did not even rule its core territories efficiently except some limited periods of "golden ages" like those of Justinian I, the Macedonian dynasty (especially the second half of the Macedonian rule) and the Comnenian dynasty (except the last decades). The losses of Egypt and Syria were no less important given the prosperity of those regions and their importance for the economy and strength of the empire. Even Asia Minor and Southeast Europe, the very heartlands of the empire, did not receive the attention they needed. Certainly the Byzantine Empire was no paradise, Constantinople maybe.

If in some altered reality Iberia managed to be entirely conquered by the Myceneaens, and by the middle ages grew to be an empire of massive proportions calling themselves “Los griegos” without any sort of widespread genetic, cultural or linguistic replacement I can hardly imagine the greeks looking upon them as legitimate heirs to their mycenaean ancestors. Would you disagree with that?

Well, the ancient Greek identity was closely linked to language or at least religion (Greek paganism). The Roman identity, on the other hand, had a civic nature even during the late republic times as we see in the conferring of Roman citizenship to all the Italian peninsulars. Also, during the empire times the Roman citizenship was granted to many different regions and peoples of the empire by the empire itself that it gradually lost its connection to Italy. The Greek identity, too, gradually lost its connection to its original territory (the Greek mainland) as it spread more and more in regions and peoples outside the Greek mainland, but it usually spread with the language and religion due to its close link to the Greek language and Greek paganism. In fact, the reason Greeks, upon converting to Christianity, stopped calling themselves Greek and preferred to call themselves Roman instead was the close link of the ancient Greek identity with Greek paganism while the ancient Roman identity was not closely linked with any religion.

Onur Dincer said...

I was referring to ancient greek colonies, not modern greek populations living in turkey or italy or anything to that extent. The topic was on ancient greek dynastic colonies not the modern day greek diaspora. I’ve little knowledge on what a modern pontic greek looks like genetically, and if it’s more similar to a turk than a greek then perhaps they really aren’t greek at all at that point, and instead more akin to an Orthodox Christian Turk.

And yes, obviously places like modern Alexandria that no longer have a greek presence (probably wiped out by the rise of islam if not earlier) aren’t going to plot near modern or ancient greeks.

Sure I agree with this. I’m actually pretty curious as to what “post neolithic asia minor” genomes would’ve looked like by this time in terms AIM results. I would imagine very close to the ancient greeks of the day but you seem to believe otherwise. You seem to be saying that there are no studies on this, but I thought I recalled glimpses of bronze age anatolia sequencing in a few studies I’ve read.


Well, Greeks were very widely spread since the colonial times, and spread even further during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. During the colonial period mixing with the natives of the colonized regions was already in place, there are ancient Greek records about it. During the Hellenistic period the Greek identity spread in so many regions and peoples (but usually along with the Greek language and paganism) that it largely lost its ancient tribal links. Those individuals from imperial Italy with post-Neolithic Asia Minor-like genetic profiles might just be Asia Minor Greeks as a very large proportion of Asia Minor had already been Hellenized by then.

Modern Greeks, whether from Europe, Asia Minor, the Aegean or elsewhere, have almost no Turkic mix. That is because due to the shariah law under Muslim rule: 1- non-Muslim males are not allowed to marry Muslim females while Muslim males are allowed to marry non-Muslim females, 2- children of the unions of Muslim males and non-Muslim females have to be raised as Muslims just as in the case of those of the unions of Muslim couples and 3- the punishment for apostasy from Islam is death for males and imprisonment until converting back to Islam for females. Also, due to high jizya taxes imposed on non-Muslims and the ban on carrying weapons on non-Muslims, many of them converted to Islam in order to avoid paying those high taxes and to be able to carry weapons and be more secure under Muslim rule. So as a result, modern Greeks show almost no Turkic mix and modern Turks, due to the Islamization/Turkification of Greeks and other non-Muslim groups, are largely descended from the Islamized local peoples such as Greeks, Armenians, Slavs, etc. but mostly with some Turkic admixture. Here are some genetic results for illustration:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vrDrROU4T8JWGs96NgDTrUhEZzzAtiNY/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1l5rX18gfNf5qfeuUt2Bu6pdmU5e_e5ql/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1im5Guka2oBGLJTPksUkac8APCZSAxMLi/view?usp=sharing

BTW, in the last link I provided you can also see the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age Asia Minor (Anatolia) ancient genomes (I did not say they did not exist, I think you misunderstood my statements), and their genetic distances to the Mycenaean Greek genomes. They are not so genetically distant, yes. In fact, Mycenaean Greeks were genetically closer to at least some of those Asia Minor post-Neolithic people and to modern western and central Asia Minor Greeks than to modern mainland Greeks. This is due to the medieval Slavic admixture in modern mainland Greeks. So yes, Greeks assimilated and mixed with lots of non-Greek peoples during the ancient times, but those assimilated peoples were genetically not so distant to the Greeks of the time in many cases.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

The fact that you choose to focus on the policies of the last 200 years of the western empire in the stead of the first 900 leads me to believe otherwise, and I’m not saying this as an insult. All people are biased with the limited information they posses and the limited faculties they have to interpret said information. As much as you may not want to be biased all of us are and this only becomes an issue when what we propose becomes noticeably at odds with reality (in this case historical accuracy).

I have already objected to the 200 years argument above, so will skip this part.

Same, but my personal biases are heavily influenced by what I’ve historically found to be fact and common civilizational traditions, in contrast with modern norms. I don’t pretend this doesn’t influence my interpretation as our environment certainly has an ability to mold our perceptions.

Sure, that is why we moderns have to get rid of the shackles of modern perceptions when trying to make sense of pre-modern (including even early modern) times. But we also should be argus-eyed at discerning the differences between various pre-modern times, peoples, and sociopolitical organization and development levels. We are lucky that we now have ancient genome sequencing technology to complement the archaeological, isotopic, physical anthropological, radiocarbon, other chemical and (when available) linguistic study methods. When used together, all these study methods give a better picture, a picture that could not be available until recently. Thanks to these recent developments, most recently in the ancient DNA technologies, we have now begun to overcome the decades-long negative effects of personal and ideological biases on the interpretation of the available data.

Well perhaps we agree more than I previously thought then. I guess my big thing is that nationhood is heavily dependent on biology and while certainly new nations can be created (take for example France in comparison to the gallic tribes that predated it), I certainly couldn’t remove that component in the case of any nation - even if they held a large empire like the British, Spanish, Portuguese, Romans or Greeks. I’m glad we can agree that modern western nationalities deserve their genetic preservation. What field have you mastered in that’s genetics-related, just out of curiosity?

Glad to agree as well. Nations are big sociopolitical bodies, they unite different tribes or groups under one body through wars and alliances and give them a common culture, a common set of beliefs, a common history and, in most cases, also a common language. In modern times a lot of national and local mores, values and habits have significantly eroded through the intervention of the global "culture". This has made nations less important for people and more open to intrusions from outside. Many distant nations have come into close contact, influencing each other with the boundaries getting more and more blurred. The future of the world and Europe, as it seems from today, is bleak. The only viable solution I can see is isolation and militarization of countries, and a world with more wars and idealist leaders. Anyway, let's not talk anymore on politics since this is a genetics blog.

I do master's in bioinformatics, so have a lot of work with genetics and especially computational genetics (genetic analyses, statistics and so on).

This is true, and I’ll give you those points, however it again speaks as to the attitude and lack of national commitment the byzantine governance felt in regard to Italy. My point is that such an admiral is almost the exact opposite of a man like Marius or Caesar in this regard.

I have already made some comments on the territorial issue. Such traitors did a lot of harm in the core regions of the Byzantine Empire as well. I would advise you read more on Byzantine history. This way you can also better see its similarities and differences with ancient Rome.

Onur Dincer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Onur Dincer said...

In fact, Mycenaean Greeks were genetically closer to at least some of those Asia Minor post-Neolithic people and to modern western and central Asia Minor Greeks than to modern mainland Greeks.

According to some genetic analysis results, that is.

Onur Dincer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Onur Dincer said...

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vrDrROU4T8JWGs96NgDTrUhEZzzAtiNY/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1l5rX18gfNf5qfeuUt2Bu6pdmU5e_e5ql/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1im5Guka2oBGLJTPksUkac8APCZSAxMLi/view?usp=sharing


That Anatolia_Ottoman:MA2195 sample is probably from the Seljuk era of Asia Minor, when it was invaded by Central Asian Muslim Turkic nomads, rather than the later Ottoman era as she shows no Asia Minor native mix and closely clusters with the medieval Central Asian Turkic ancient genomes and no radiocarbon dating has been done on her skeleton. She must be a recent Turkic arrival from Central Asia, so probably from the Seljuk era of Asia Minor.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

We have much more agreements than disagreements. But I have focused on the apparent disagreements for the sake of brevity. Even then, it seems to me that much of those disagreements will turn out to be more semantic than actual with a careful examination.

In addition, since this is more a genetics and anthropology blog than a politics one and in order not to depart from the main subject, I have refrained from getting much into political subjects and making value judgements.

So have not the idea that I am writing to oppose your arguments. Think of this as dialectic. We are both ultimately in search of the truth and have already similar answers to many of the same questions independently from each other, and the dialectical method is the way to test our apparently diverging answers to get to know where we differ and whether they can be resolved. But ultimately this clash of arguments serves to move us closer to the truth and is thus beneficial for both sides.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

"He lavished special charters on allied communities and extended Latin rights to foreign towns: he remitted taxation here, granted immunities there.”

Sure. I don’t deny that the erosion of latin legal rights was beginning to occur by this time, but the equation of Roman identity and roman citizenship with the Italian nation was absolutely still dominant. Plinius even uses the term “italic rights” interchangeably with “Roman Rights” (Natural history book 3 24-27), again showing no conception of “civic identity” of the Italian Romans.

“Moreover, we know that all of Roman Spain (modern Iberia) was granted Latin rights by Vespasian. From Pliny:

”The Emperor Vespasianus Augustus, while still harassed by the storms that agitated the Roman state, conferred the Latin rights on the whole of Spain. The Pyrenean mountains divide Spain from Gaul, their extremities projecting into the two seas on either side.””

If you read the entire chapters on Hispania and not just this quote out of context it becomes very clear that this was a temporary measure introduced by Vespasian and not permanent. Not only is he speaking in the past tense but Plinius actually details all of the documented towns with latin or roman citizenship in both baetica and then rest of Iberia.

“Its towns [baetica] number in all 175, of which 9 are colonies, 10 municipalities of Roman citizens, 27 towns granted early latin rights, 6 free towns, 3 bound by treaty to Rome and 120 paying tribute” (Natural History book 3, 7-8)

Similarly on “Hither Spain”:

“In addition there are the islands which will be mentioned separately, but province itself contains, besides 293 states dependent on others, 189 towns, of which 12 are colonies, 13 are towns of Roman citizens, 18 have the old Latin rights, one is a treaty town and 135 are tributary.” (Natural History Book 3, 16-19)

Clearly this does not show anywhere near the whole of Spain having latin citizenship and he is speaking in the present tense here. The Roman colonies represent all the towns with roman citizenship, excluding 2, as he later uses the term “Roman citizen colonist” (book 3 77-80) to denote that universally, colonies themselves were retaining their citizenship by his time of writing. In the case of the towns with latin rights they account for only 12% of the entirety of towns Pliny numbers in Spain and that’s only amongst the settlements large enough to be recorded. Your assumption about how widespread latin rights were are vastly overblown.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“So it seems there was a trend of granting Latin rights to many parts of the empire outside the Italian (including Sicilian) territories and outside the Roman colonies since the 1st century AD. You can call that degradation, but I am only writing about the existence of such a trend, not advocating it.”

Sure, and it certainly is a degeneration and cheapening of what latin rights originally represented. But we didn’t have entire regions getting latin rights. Only a small minority of towns, presumably, those who’ve proved their loyalty to Rome.

“I meant the transition to what I call the classical imperial system, not to the Christian Empire or the Byzantine Empire. I meant to say that that transition had already finished long before the times of Constantine I.”

Again, this has no legal or historic precedent. You cannot expect me or anyone to understand ideas you’ve personally created and have chosen to refrain from explaining. There are notions such as the principate, the republic and the late empire, but this notion of an “imperial system” seems to take place in some unspoken time period with little to concretely define it.

“Well, at least since the Edict of Caracalla, people from many non-Italian parts of the empire became Roman citizens too.”

Caracalla, a Syrian usurper granting Italic Citizenship (Plinius’ words, not mine) to any foreigner he sees fit in the last 200 years of the 1100 year span of the western empire - that is what your focus is for understanding on what constitutes a Roman. I imagine presumably because it’s the only act that could give any legitimacy to the Byzantine empire as an actual heir and not that of an entirely foreign power structure of Greeks.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“Also, Greeks called themselves Roman and their language Roman language since at least their Christianization until the replacement of their Roman identity with the Greek identity and the name of their language with the name “Greek language” beginning from the 19th century with Greek nationalism under post-French revolution Western influence.”

The greeks called their empire “Roman”, they themselves never abandoned their greek identity and Latin was only the official language legally for administrative purposes. In reality Greek was the lingua franca of their empire and the mother tongue of its capital. You know who also called themselves Rome? The Germans of the supposed “Holy Roman Empire”. Were you all Rome? Did you all constitute legitimate heirs to Italy and its people and hold one unified empire just because you’ve used the name “Roman”? Of course not. Both were foreign knock offs, attempting to partake in the prestige of a dead empire that had nothing to do with their nation other than some of their ancestors being once subjugated by the people they pretend to be. As I’ve shown by many, many sources the Italians never actually “gave up” Roman citizenship to Non-italians. They had their dynasties conquered by slew of warlord foreigners claiming the title of imperator, which then handed out citizenship contrary to the 900 year traditions of the real Romans which restricted the prize of Roman/Italic citizenship and nationhood to Italians alone.

“The term "Byzantine Empire" is a neologism created by Western Europeans well after the fall of the empire it purported to designate, which always called itself nothing but Roman Empire or Romania.”

Yes, I’m sure the entire identity of Hellas just disappeared as soon as constantine crowned himself emperor. This is an incredibly dishonest statement and if it were even moderately true, you wouldn’t see the rejection of the latin language both in common use and officially. It is well known that the greeks enacted major changes and centered their empire around greek identity. The term “Rhōmaîoi” that they called themselves isn’t even a latin word!

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“Romanians call themselves Roman and their language Roman language to this day (however their English equivalents conceal this fact by adding –ian after Roman) and they call their lands Romania (which was just one of the names of the Roman Empire like I stated).”

And they are as equally faulted as the greeks and germans for doing so.

“Who is to deprive Greeks and Romanians of their right to their long-established Roman identities and claims on the Roman Empire?”

The Italians - who built and defined Rome solely by their nation: Italia - of which still exist today and will continue to take great insult to total foreigners posing as legitimate heirs to their great ancient Nation. You Greeks have the Myceneaens, the Byzantine empire, and Alexander; that is plenty enough. You don’t need, nor have any right to our identity and history as Romans.

“Also, bear in mind that there were ancient Roman colonies throughout Southeast Europe and Asia Minor, we see their influence in Y-DNA haplogroups too, even my own Y-DNA haplogroup is from Roman colonists or Celtic immigrants with a very high probability.”

Haplogroups first off is incredibly dubious as a measure of ethnic ancestry. If you want to go by haplogroups then the african nation of chad should be descended from nearly entirely info-europeans from western europe. Secondly, yes colonies existed - none of which had any notable genetic impact on the far larger native populations that came before them. If we were talking about some sort of region that was totally depopulated and replaced by Italians then sure; I wouldn’t mind them calling themselves Italians or Romans - but this just simply did not occur.

“I could agree with you if you objected only to the claims of non-Italians on the Italian identity. But no Greek or Romanian I know claims Italian identity (what practical consequence it would have if they claimed such an identity is also a question worth asking, but I do not want to divert the subject).”

That’s funny. In the “Myth of North-South racial differences” thread you posted on, there was also a Romanian who posted “- The notion of "Italy" became even wider under Diocletian, who reorganized the Empire and set the Italian borders beyond the Alps and in Dalmatia, a recognition of the fact that those adjacent territories were fully romanized and as much Italian as the former Italy created by Caesar and Augustus.”

Consider that it’s perhaps time to leave our nation alone and take some pride in your own. Much of us appreciate the admiration many had for our Empire but when non-italians start calling themselves “Roman” or “Italian” it’s likable to an insult to what we are and who we come from. No different than if I decided to dawn lederhosen and decide that I had “become” german just because the lombards conquered my ancestors once and left a highly negligible impact on my DNA.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“If some of them claim ancient Italian ancestry but do not claim to be Italian, that should not even bother anyone.”

Of course not. That’s not the issue we are addressing. We are distinguishing between the flesh and bone heirs of the nation of Rome and those who were subjugated by it and now use the name in their own native languages - most of which not even being latin derived.

“And I can guarantee you that no Greek, Romanian, Iberian, French or whatever has any intention to invade Italy. :)”

I agree with that. I do think eastern european immigration should be reduced, though I don’t necessarily have a problem with them in small numbers. It is the racial foreigners that must leave in their entirety. I’ve arbereshe friends whose families have been in Italy for generations and they are still identifiably separate from the natives. They are not bad people, but they should assimilate or return. Albania is no longer run by turks and the religious feeling there is quite agnostic.

“It is only the third worlders who have such intentions, and I know no third worlder claiming to have any Italian ancestry, however distant.”

Half breeds from south america are becoming its own problem, honestly, though I would consider that 2nd world, not third.

“You, as an Italian, can claim descent from Trojans based on Roman traditions, no one would have the right to deprive you of your claim to be descended from Trojans as it has some basis, however obscure, and it does not equal to having an intention to invade the historical homeland of Trojans.”

I’ve never claimed to have Trojan blood or nationality, as fanciful and neat as the myth sounds. I don’t see strong evidence to back it up. Even if it were true, it would certainly be a situation more of similar to the lombards than the Romans, as they would represent a small minority of invaders to only the region of Eturia.

“No, not the last 200 years. If we take the of the Edict of Caracalla as the beginning (just for the sake of being conservative), the last 1250 years.”

Only in the warped perception that the nationalist Roman Italians who brazenly championed their supremacy in nearly all of their writings, willfully handed over their national identity to foreigners and then left Italy to barbarian invasions. In the sense of Pliny and Vitruvius, no, it lasted at maximum to the fall of the western half of the empire and that itself is why credible historians mark such an event as “the fall of Rome” and gave the Byzantines a new name all together, along with HRE and modern Romania.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“The Roman Empire ended not with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the late 5th century”

Wrong. This period is universally referred to as the end and collapse of the Roman Empire by both historians and common dialogue.

“but with the falls of Constantinople in 1453, Salmeniko and Trebizond in 1461, the Principality of Theodoro in 1475. The usage of the Western-centric term "Byzantine Empire" does not change this fact.”

This is not a “western-centric” idea. The notion that you put forth is one that is in fact largely rejected around the world and only accepted by greeks. You are literally postulating a foreign nation of greeks leading an empire that abandoned the city and nation of Rome for 1000 years to in fact be some sort of legitimate heir to the Roman nation and it is anything but. You claim to have no conscious bias but such a statement is evidently nothing but a form of virtue signaling. I’ve read your other posts in which you also outlandishly claim the renaissance was supposedly started by “greek scholar migrants”, not italians - a good joke - as it seems the Italians aren’t allowed to be identified with any of their own history or accomplishments anymore. Again, instead of pretending to be Italian (synonymous with Roman as per vitruvius and plinius) or pretending that Italian accomplishments are secretly that of the greeks, you’d be infinitely better off highlighting the greek nationality and greek accomplishments. It’s almost embarrassing to to pretend to be a nationality one is not and take credit where it was never due - it implies that your own identity isn’t good enough to be spoken of; an identity that never ceased to exist at any point during the middle ages or previous. For a nation like the Greeks we certainly know that’s not the case and their accomplishments are no small feats.

“Were ancient Italians a single tribe or nation? Or was there ever a peninsular-wide tribe or nation?”

Before Roman domination they were a slew of closely related tribal nations, who were collectively referred to as “Italians”. Whether calling themselves sabines, ausones, romani, elymians, etruscans, sabines, cenonmani, euganaei, ligures, brutii or what have you, it was acknowledged that they were all still closely related genetically and in that metric all Italians. After Roman conquest and unification that notion of Italian identity became a manifest political reality enacted upon the world and the “various races of italy” as vitruvius puts it were unified further linguistically, culturally and historically by this notion of italian identity that had been conceived for hundreds of years prior and then finally forged into an autonomous reality.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“Etruscans were not even IE speakers, let alone Italic speakers, and not all IE speakers in Italy were Italic speakers either.”

Speaking an italic language was not some sort of necessary precursor to being Italian. Cato the elder was detailing italian tribes in cisalpine gaul who had only been conquered within his life time. They certainly were not speaking latin over the course of one generation and his book was dedicated to discussing only the origin of italian tribes, not those of the rest of the world. Your perception of some sort of gross cultural divide between celtic speaking italians and oscan or latin speaking italians is one of a modern invention not ancient history. The same is true of the Etruscans who, by far, were culturally closer to the Romans than any other tribe. Many Roman kings were even Etruscan nobility!

“The Roman Republic was a state based on military, law and engineering and with an advanced civilization for its time, not a tribal confederation like those of the Northern European barbarians.”

I wouldn’t go so far as to throw out the notion of tribal confederation. The socii very largely represent the first nearly pan italian coalition and nearly all nation states have evolved from such organizations of city states. Italy was no different in that regard and that’s a very natural and organic outgrowth.

“Also, like I said many times, neither Romanness nor Latinness stayed limited to the territory of Italy and spread much beyond it, especially during the empire.”

And as numerous Roman historians have stated, Roman rights in of themselves were synonymous with italian identity (again hence the term “italic rights”) for almost the entirety of the empire’s existence. There is no question about that up until the empire itself was no longer controlled by italians themselves - at that point rights were distributed as whatever foreigner ruler saw fit.

Imagine if I based my notions of Greek identity off what an ottoman sultan which controlled their land had to say? That is the equivalent of what you are doing to the Italians. It’s a ridiculous assertion and a purposefully dishonest standard. The men who built the empire and held it for 900 out of its 1100 years are those who should define it, not those who stole it out from under them and left the city of Rome itself to die with the fatherland of the empire.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“No nation is a biological race. I, as a genetics student, cannot call a nation a biological race.”

You certainly can. Race is applied on many different scales. As I’ve already stated latin word for race, “Gentum”, is also the primary word used for nation. All it is a reference to is a biological division of people; be it tribal, national, or continental.

“This has nothing to do with any ideological beliefs BTW, it is about plain scientific facts.”

The plain fact is that your understanding of what a race is constitutes a very modern one. As someone who seems to strive to see things in the way the men of old saw them, it would behoove you to take note and challenge your own assumptions with the widely available etymological and historic data of the term.

“I am certainly not a race denialist, very far from it. If you said Italians are a race in the sense of a nation without necessarily pointing to common descent, then I could accept it, but if you say they are a biological race, then I cannot.”

We are both. We are uniquely genetically Italian and also have the capacity to enforce our own autonomy as a political real unified nation (Mostly. We still need corsica and istra back.) That’s not to say larger races don’t exist which we are also apart of; such as europeans. They certainly do.

“Common descent myths of nations are fine, I have no problem with them, but I do not mix them with scientific concepts such as biological race.”

This isn’t a myth and there’s nothing questionable about it. To question Italians being a race is to deny their common genetic ancestry in of itself. I used to think like you once, but the more history I read, the more I realize how warped our modern understandings of these ancient terms are.

“West Eurasians (Caucasoids) are certainly a biological race, far from homogeneous, nevertheless distinct enough from all other human groups to be called a biological race.”

Europeans are the most homogenous race that exists last I checked. I certainly would not identify myself with every last person with a caucasoidal skeleton though. That’s quite a wide grouping and includes people from ethiopia, to india, to norway.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“Italians do not fulfill that criterion as a nation, they are not genetically distinct enough from all other human groups.”

And what part of the etymology of the term race or gentum requires being distinct from every other human group that exists? We share enough common ancestry to certainly be considered a race. Just because the term just isn’t widely used interchangeably with ethnicity as of the last 100 or so years doesn’t mean such usage has become invalid.

“The Roman political unification of Italy was also civic-based. But if you say that in that case a genetically relatively homogeneous region was unified, then I do not object to that. Nevertheless, the civic bases of the unification are obvious. Not saying this to criticize the civic bases, just pointing to the facts.”

Wrong, it was nationally based. Again, hence terms like “italic citizen”. The very notion of giving citizenship with blood as a precursor is one specific to nations, not civic states or civic empires which base their rights off of mere legal formalities. Focusing on the few exceptions to that rule doesn’t change the rule itself.

“But yes, after a time, the various ancient Italian peoples really began to form a coherent and uniform Italian identity and culture (also facilitated by the spread of Latin). So the Roman unification of Italy was certainly a successful project. I very much appreciate it and consider the modern Italian nation as with Roman Republic origins.”

Glad we agree.

“The losses of Egypt and Syria were no less important given the prosperity of those regions and their importance for the economy and strength of the empire. Even Asia Minor and Southeast Europe, the very heartlands of the empire, did not receive the attention they needed. Certainly the Byzantine Empire was no paradise, Constantinople maybe.”

With my point that had the byzantines been Romans, and not Greeks calling themselves Rhōmaîoi, the last land to fall would be Italy, the fatherland of the empire, not Greece and Constantinople. Again, just like how I’m not going to postulate modern Lombardians being the heirs of the Lombards, I’m certainly not going to accept the notion of the Rhōmaîoi being heirs of the Romans; even if that’s the myth they have built for themselves.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“Well, the ancient Greek identity was closely linked to language or at least religion (Greek paganism). The Roman identity, on the other hand, had a civic nature even during the late republic times as we see in the conferring of Roman citizenship to all the Italian peninsulars.”

Ha, so Roman (According to Plinius and Vitruvius: Italic) identity is for everyone but greek identity is only for greeks? I’m amazed you have the audacity to pretend you have no conscious bias when you proclaim BS like this. Wasn’t it alexander himself who said the greek empires should be civic based and that greeks should mix with local population? That sounds awfully like what you’re describing the greeks not to be, and alexander himself was certainly the greatest conqueror and possibly even the greatest figurehead Greece has ever had. By your own statement, modern greeks bear no identity to that of the ancient as they are no longer pagan, so perhaps they should give up the name, hm? We can both play this stupid game, but in reality I don’t have any desire to erode the greek identity by using any exception I can cherry pick in the history of Greece. I am simply kindly asking you that you stop doing the same to the Roman identity which is clearly a blatant form of cherry picking. I also noticed you dodged the original question, which shows me you would, in fact, not acknowledge a bunch of de facto Iberians calling themselves “los griegos” as some sort legitimate heir to Greek identity. Hence my point.

“Modern Greeks, whether from Europe, Asia Minor, the Aegean or elsewhere, have almost no Turkic mix. That is because due to the shariah law under Muslim rule: 1- non-Muslim males are not allowed to marry Muslim females while Muslim males are allowed to marry non-Muslim females, 2- children of the unions of Muslim males and non-Muslim females have to be raised as Muslims just as in the case of those of the unions of Muslim couples and 3- the punishment for apostasy from Islam is death for males and imprisonment until converting back to Islam for females. Also, due to high jizya taxes imposed on non-Muslims and the ban on carrying weapons on non-Muslims, many of them converted to Islam in order to avoid paying those high taxes and to be able to carry weapons and be more secure under Muslim rule. So as a result, modern Greeks show almost no Turkic mix and modern Turks, due to the Islamization/Turkification of Greeks and other non-Muslim groups, are largely descended from the Islamized local peoples such as Greeks, Armenians, Slavs, etc. but mostly with some Turkic admixture. Here are some genetic results for illustration:”

The genetic results are interesting but I question the levantine ancestry. As far as I can tell greeks have had little to no historical connection to levantine populations, similar to Italians. 10% seems incredibly high, given that the mycenaeans and Minoans had 0%. That’s an interesting find on greeks living in turkey though.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“They are not so genetically distant, yes. In fact, Mycenaean Greeks were genetically closer to at least some of those Asia Minor post-Neolithic people and to modern western and central Asia Minor Greeks than to modern mainland Greeks. This is due to the medieval Slavic admixture in modern mainland Greeks. So yes, Greeks assimilated and mixed with lots of non-Greek peoples during the ancient times, but those assimilated peoples were genetically not so distant to the Greeks of the time in many cases.”

The ancient greeks themselves place their origin in asia minor to begin with. It’s not so far of a stretch to liken it to the roman conquests of cisalpine gaul. They weren’t calling themselves greek at that time but they easily could have and assuming assimilation took place, there would be no large differences.

“Sure, that is why we moderns have to get rid of the shackles of modern perceptions when trying to make sense of pre-modern (including even early modern) times. But we also should be argus-eyed at discerning the differences between various pre-modern times, peoples, and sociopolitical organization and development levels. We are lucky that we now have ancient genome sequencing technology to complement the archaeological, isotopic, physical anthropological, radiocarbon, other chemical and (when available) linguistic study methods. When used together, all these study methods give a better picture, a picture that could not be available until recently. Thanks to these recent developments, most recently in the ancient DNA technologies, we have now begun to overcome the decades-long negative effects of personal and ideological biases on the interpretation of the available data.”

I have to disagree with that last part. The biases are certainly still there and they blatantly write them in to every study conducted. Moots was posing the romans to be some sort of mongrelized mixture of levantines and modern Italians as a 2 way germanic-levantine mixture to promote her godless open border society. Authors like Lazaridis proudly proclaim the mycenaeans as having no MENA admixture while authoring papers that have the audacity to postulate modern Sicilians as half north african - and those who don’t do their own diligence take it all as fact. You see a world of growing technological adaptations to previous deficiencies; I see the results of the very same technology being monopolized and misconstrued by academic institutions using it to promote awful agendas at the expense of truth.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“Glad to agree as well. Nations are big sociopolitical bodies, they unite different tribes or groups under one body through wars and alliances and give them a common culture, a common set of beliefs, a common history and, in most cases, also a common language. In modern times a lot of national and local mores, values and habits have significantly eroded through the intervention of the global "culture". This has made nations less important for people and more open to intrusions from outside. Many distant nations have come into close contact, influencing each other with the boundaries getting more and more blurred. The future of the world and Europe, as it seems from today, is bleak. The only viable solution I can see is isolation and militarization of countries, and a world with more wars and idealist leaders. Anyway, let's not talk anymore on politics since this is a genetics blog.”

I agree that the future for Europe is quite bleak. The solution I see is an organized response to the traitors and subverters of identity on a national scale. These people should face punishments even worse than that of a foreign enemy and be made an example of, because make no mistake; their goal is to annihilate people like you and I and all that of which we value, and this would start with the supposed NGOs and “philanthropists” funneling billions of dollars into politicians to abuse the revolving door system of democracy (which in of itself is what so easily exposes us to manipulation). As Codreanu would say, “If I had but one bullet and I were faced by both an enemy and a traitor, I would let the traitor have it.”

“I do master's in bioinformatics, so have a lot of work with genetics and especially computational genetics (genetic analyses, statistics and so on).”

That’s cool to hear. I’ll be interested in your take on later studies that come out. It’d be nice to hear interpretations of data that does’t come from overtly subversive academia for once.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

“I have already made some comments on the territorial issue. Such traitors did a lot of harm in the core regions of the Byzantine Empire as well. I would advise you read more on Byzantine history. This way you can also better see its similarities and differences with ancient Rome.”

Any recommendations on Byzantine historians of choice (preferably those who were actually byzantines)?

“We have much more agreements than disagreements. But I have focused on the apparent disagreements for the sake of brevity. Even then, it seems to me that much of those disagreements will turn out to be more semantic than actual with a careful examination.

In addition, since this is more a genetics and anthropology blog than a politics one and in order not to depart from the main subject, I have refrained from getting much into political subjects and making value judgements.

So have not the idea that I am writing to oppose your arguments. Think of this as dialectic. We are both ultimately in search of the truth and have already similar answers to many of the same questions independently from each other, and the dialectical method is the way to test our apparently diverging answers to get to know where we differ and whether they can be resolved. But ultimately this clash of arguments serves to move us closer to the truth and is thus beneficial for both sides.”

I agree, and I too have focused on the disagreements as I’m not one to dwell on obvious points in which there’s no contention or any further words needed. It is difficult not to include politics in relation to identity and genetics because the topics themselves are highly intertwined, much like that of clergy and kings. While we can specify one, the entire context of its history necessarily becomes intertwined with the rest. But I agree, my goal wasn’t to pivot to purely political conversation. I just speak of the world as I see it entirely and that encompasses multiple factors.

A dialectic is a healthy way to view our conversation. I do not see you as some sort of enemy and I’d probably get along better with you than most in person. An exploration of the truth in the form of a debate is certainly how I’ve also come to regard it and that can certainly be carried out without any hard feelings, even if we disagree sharply on a few specific points out of the many we have covered.

Sarah Nikas said...

Onur:

One note that I will add of relevance to the moots study on Roman genetics is that while I was reading Plinius since you’ve spurred me to pull his enyclopedia off the shelf, he mentions the various people that have inhabited Rome and Latium. Within it, other than the obvious central italian tribes, he includes southern italian tribes such as the sicels and ausones but no northern tribes - which paints a very accurate genetic picture aligning with the data from the study (even if moots herself thinks otherwise). I actually bought this entire encyclopedia for something like 250 dollars chiefly to deal with people who continue to postulate their foreign nations as heirs to Rome or having been true Romans. I’ve had this conversation with many Nords, Germans, English, Celts, Romanians, Levantines, even native americans and subsaharan africans! Imagine a native american attempting to tell an Italian that his ancestors weren’t european! The audacity of such idiocy astounds me! And now I have this same conversation once again with a Pontic Greek. You are but one of many that believe their ancestors to be Roman and it is all equally invalid outside of the nation state Rome built and defined in both her borders and by her historians. Regardless of your misconception you seem like a good person and I wish the best to you.

Palermo Trapani said...

Sarah: Do you have a DNA Kit at GEDMATCH? If so, go to Vahaduo and there are several of the ancient spreadsheets there that have Coordinates to run the estimates. You can estimate your own Coordinates from GEDMATCH and post them in the Target tab at Vahaduo and run your own genetic distances to those ancient Roman samples in Antonio/Moots et al 2019. You can also take the modern Italian populations and put them in the Target and run the calculator to see which modern Italian region those ancient Roman samples plot closest to.

Let me give you a Hint, It ain't Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, English, Russians, or even Germans. The only modern Europeans that are anywhere close are Southern French and Iberians, maybe through the ancient Ligure Tribe whose territory stretched from NW Italy along Southern France into Iberia?

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

Since I have already replied to many of your objections, this time I will keep it short and will not attempt to reply to your objections to which I have already given detailed answers. One more reason I will do this is that I am now more convinced that our disagreements are more semantic than based in actual differences of opinion.

If you read the entire chapters on Hispania and not just this quote out of context it becomes very clear that this was a temporary measure introduced by Vespasian and not permanent. Not only is he speaking in the past tense but Plinius actually details all of the documented towns with latin or roman citizenship in both baetica and then rest of Iberia.

“Its towns [baetica] number in all 175, of which 9 are colonies, 10 municipalities of Roman citizens, 27 towns granted early latin rights, 6 free towns, 3 bound by treaty to Rome and 120 paying tribute” (Natural History book 3, 7-8)

Similarly on “Hither Spain”:

“In addition there are the islands which will be mentioned separately, but province itself contains, besides 293 states dependent on others, 189 towns, of which 12 are colonies, 13 are towns of Roman citizens, 18 have the old Latin rights, one is a treaty town and 135 are tributary.” (Natural History Book 3, 16-19)

Clearly this does not show anywhere near the whole of Spain having latin citizenship and he is speaking in the present tense here. The Roman colonies represent all the towns with roman citizenship, excluding 2, as he later uses the term “Roman citizen colonist” (book 3 77-80) to denote that universally, colonies themselves were retaining their citizenship by his time of writing. In the case of the towns with latin rights they account for only 12% of the entirety of towns Pliny numbers in Spain and that’s only amongst the settlements large enough to be recorded. Your assumption about how widespread latin rights were are vastly overblown.


This is the problem with ancient history. We do not have a clear sense of the true extent of the regions and towns that had Roman rights and those that had Latin rights at a given time due to the limited and sometimes conflicting historical sources. What is clear is that the general trend was towards their increasing in number and geographical scope rather than decreasing.

But we didn’t have entire regions getting latin rights. Only a small minority of towns, presumably, those who’ve proved their loyalty to Rome.

Can you say this for also the 3rd, 4th and 5th centuries AD? (not asking about the centuries after the fall of the Western Roman Empire since you are western-focused)

Caracalla, a Syrian usurper granting Italic Citizenship (Plinius’ words, not mine) to any foreigner he sees fit in the last 200 years of the 1100 year span of the western empire - that is what your focus is for understanding on what constitutes a Roman. I imagine presumably because it’s the only act that could give any legitimacy to the Byzantine empire as an actual heir and not that of an entirely foreign power structure of Greeks.

What do you mean by "Western Empire"? The western and eastern parts of the Roman Empire began to split only during the late 3rd century AD and permanently split only during the last decade of the 4th century AD. Also, the empire begins during the late 1st century BC, before that is the era of the Roman Republic (and the era of the Roman Kingdom before the republic). Lastly, like I said before, the empire really ends not in the 5th century AD with the fall of the western empire, but in the 15th century AD with the falls of what is now called the Byzantine Empire in Western historiography and its offshoots.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

The greeks called their empire “Roman”, they themselves never abandoned their greek identity and Latin was only the official language legally for administrative purposes. In reality Greek was the lingua franca of their empire and the mother tongue of its capital. You know who also called themselves Rome? The Germans of the supposed “Holy Roman Empire”. Were you all Rome? Did you all constitute legitimate heirs to Italy and its people and hold one unified empire just because you’ve used the name “Roman”? Of course not. Both were foreign knock offs, attempting to partake in the prestige of a dead empire that had nothing to do with their nation other than some of their ancestors being once subjugated by the people they pretend to be. As I’ve shown by many, many sources the Italians never actually “gave up” Roman citizenship to Non-italians. They had their dynasties conquered by slew of warlord foreigners claiming the title of imperator, which then handed out citizenship contrary to the 900 year traditions of the real Romans which restricted the prize of Roman/Italic citizenship and nationhood to Italians alone.

Yes, I’m sure the entire identity of Hellas just disappeared as soon as constantine crowned himself emperor. This is an incredibly dishonest statement and if it were even moderately true, you wouldn’t see the rejection of the latin language both in common use and officially. It is well known that the greeks enacted major changes and centered their empire around greek identity. The term “Rhōmaîoi” that they called themselves isn’t even a latin word!


In contrast to your deep knowledge of things related to Italians and Italian history, which I appreciate, you have a deficiency in knowledge of things related to Greeks and Greek history. Otherwise you would never make statements like "they themselves never abandoned their greek identity", "I’m sure the entire identity of Hellas just disappeared as soon as constantine crowned himself emperor. This is an incredibly dishonest statement" and "It is well known that the greeks enacted major changes and centered their empire around greek identity", and would never compare the situation of Greeks to that of Germans. The truth is, Greeks DID abandon their Greek identity in favor of the Roman identity (Romaios or Romios in Greek, which is the Greek equivalent of Latin Romanus) with their Christianization. The reason for this, like I said, is that the Greek identity (Hellen in Greek) was closely linked with Greek paganism. You can even see reflections of this in the New Testament usage.

True, some educated Greeks during the late centuries of the Byzantine Empire tried to revive the Greek (Hellen) identity under the influence of ancient Greek writers they read, but they were a small educated minority and never had an influence on the self-identification of the masses. The Greek masses and also the vast majority of educated Greeks identified themselves as Roman (Romaios or Romios) and their language as Roman (Romaiike or Romaiika in Greek) instead of Greek beginning from the Christianization of Greeks until the birth and spread of Greek nationalism under Western influence in the 19th century (and even until the 20th century in some regions).

German masses of the "Holy Roman Empire", in contrast, never identified themselves as Roman irrespective of what name their rulers used for their state.

And they are as equally faulted as the greeks and germans for doing so.

Romanians still identify themselves and their language as Roman and their lands as Romania (one of the names of the Roman Empire) as they have been doing for centuries. Would you demand them to change those names if you came to power in Italy?

Onur Dincer said...

The Italians - who built and defined Rome solely by their nation: Italia - of which still exist today and will continue to take great insult to total foreigners posing as legitimate heirs to their great ancient Nation. You Greeks have the Myceneaens, the Byzantine empire, and Alexander; that is plenty enough. You don’t need, nor have any right to our identity and history as Romans.

I am merely describing the historical and modern usages of the terms. We cannot change the past, but of course you are free to criticize people for how they identify themselves, their language and their lands.

Haplogroups first off is incredibly dubious as a measure of ethnic ancestry. If you want to go by haplogroups then the african nation of chad should be descended from nearly entirely info-europeans from western europe. Secondly, yes colonies existed - none of which had any notable genetic impact on the far larger native populations that came before them. If we were talking about some sort of region that was totally depopulated and replaced by Italians then sure; I wouldn’t mind them calling themselves Italians or Romans - but this just simply did not occur.

The subclades of R1b found in Chadians have nothing to do with Indo-Europeans. Chadians have R-V88 subclades, which separated from the precursor subclades to those of Proto-Indo-Europeans about 17,000 or more years ago, so more than 10,000 years prior to the formation of the Proto-Indo-European language. My own specific R1b line, in contrast, has confirmed precursors among early Indo-European peoples such as Bell Beakers and was still in Western/Central Europe until about 2900 years ago at the earliest. But I agree with you about the limited genetic impact of the Roman colonies.

This is not a “western-centric” idea. The notion that you put forth is one that is in fact largely rejected around the world and only accepted by greeks. You are literally postulating a foreign nation of greeks leading an empire that abandoned the city and nation of Rome for 1000 years to in fact be some sort of legitimate heir to the Roman nation and it is anything but. You claim to have no conscious bias but such a statement is evidently nothing but a form of virtue signaling. I’ve read your other posts in which you also outlandishly claim the renaissance was supposedly started by “greek scholar migrants”, not italians - a good joke - as it seems the Italians aren’t allowed to be identified with any of their own history or accomplishments anymore. Again, instead of pretending to be Italian (synonymous with Roman as per vitruvius and plinius) or pretending that Italian accomplishments are secretly that of the greeks, you’d be infinitely better off highlighting the greek nationality and greek accomplishments. It’s almost embarrassing to to pretend to be a nationality one is not and take credit where it was never due - it implies that your own identity isn’t good enough to be spoken of; an identity that never ceased to exist at any point during the middle ages or previous. For a nation like the Greeks we certainly know that’s not the case and their accomplishments are no small feats.

It is Western-centric in the sense that it was created by Westerners with a Western (thus Latin-focused) conception of Roman Empire in mind and neglects the centuries-long use of the term Roman Empire and the Roman identity in the Greek East. I have never stated that I prefer the Roman identity to the Greek identity, I am merely stating the historical facts without making much comment on them.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

Before Roman domination they were a slew of closely related tribal nations, who were collectively referred to as “Italians”. Whether calling themselves sabines, ausones, romani, elymians, etruscans, sabines, cenonmani, euganaei, ligures, brutii or what have you, it was acknowledged that they were all still closely related genetically and in that metric all Italians. After Roman conquest and unification that notion of Italian identity became a manifest political reality enacted upon the world and the “various races of italy” as vitruvius puts it were unified further linguistically, culturally and historically by this notion of italian identity that had been conceived for hundreds of years prior and then finally forged into an autonomous reality.

All people of the continental parts of what is now Italy south of the Alps began to be referred to as Italian and their lands as part of Italy (Italia) beginning from the times of the writings of Cato the Elder during the mid-2nd century BC. That is after the Roman political unification of Italy.

Speaking an italic language was not some sort of necessary precursor to being Italian. Cato the elder was detailing italian tribes in cisalpine gaul who had only been conquered within his life time. They certainly were not speaking latin over the course of one generation and his book was dedicated to discussing only the origin of italian tribes, not those of the rest of the world. Your perception of some sort of gross cultural divide between celtic speaking italians and oscan or latin speaking italians is one of a modern invention not ancient history. The same is true of the Etruscans who, by far, were culturally closer to the Romans than any other tribe. Many Roman kings were even Etruscan nobility!

Where have I mentioned a gross cultural divide? You are attributing to me ideas that I do not have in mind or express.

You certainly can. Race is applied on many different scales. As I’ve already stated latin word for race, “Gentum”, is also the primary word used for nation. All it is a reference to is a biological division of people; be it tribal, national, or continental.

By biological race I mean races defined based on biological attributes (e.g., head shape, complexion and/or genetics). This is the biological race concept. But that does not mean that nations cannot have biologically identifiable correlations. For instance, modern Italians are located on a specific genetic cline within the much larger Caucasoid genetic cline and are partially intersecting with some other nations.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9n4j3PQ81RcU0FkYXhLSl9UeVU/view?usp=sharing

Europeans are the most homogenous race that exists last I checked. I certainly would not identify myself with every last person with a caucasoidal skeleton though. That’s quite a wide grouping and includes people from ethiopia, to india, to norway.

The genetically most homogeneous continents based on the pre-Columbian genetics are the Americas because they are the last to be colonized and were colonized by a relatively small number of founders. I do not call Ethiopians and Indians Caucasoid given their large amounts of non-Caucasoid DNA.

And what part of the etymology of the term race or gentum requires being distinct from every other human group that exists? We share enough common ancestry to certainly be considered a race. Just because the term just isn’t widely used interchangeably with ethnicity as of the last 100 or so years doesn’t mean such usage has become invalid.

Like I said, I have no problem with the use of the term race in the meaning of ethnicity. I merely state that that is not the biological race concept. I think we should stop these semantic discussions and focus on actual matters.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

Wrong, it was nationally based. Again, hence terms like “italic citizen”. The very notion of giving citizenship with blood as a precursor is one specific to nations, not civic states or civic empires which base their rights off of mere legal formalities. Focusing on the few exceptions to that rule doesn’t change the rule itself.

Another semantic argument. Granting Italian status or identity to the conquered or allied peoples is something done through a legal or administrative framework. But over time those legally/administratively unified peoples converge culturally, linguistically and ideologically to form a single nation.

Ha, so Roman (According to Plinius and Vitruvius: Italic) identity is for everyone but greek identity is only for greeks? I’m amazed you have the audacity to pretend you have no conscious bias when you proclaim BS like this. Wasn’t it alexander himself who said the greek empires should be civic based and that greeks should mix with local population? That sounds awfully like what you’re describing the greeks not to be, and alexander himself was certainly the greatest conqueror and possibly even the greatest figurehead Greece has ever had. By your own statement, modern greeks bear no identity to that of the ancient as they are no longer pagan, so perhaps they should give up the name, hm? We can both play this stupid game, but in reality I don’t have any desire to erode the greek identity by using any exception I can cherry pick in the history of Greece. I am simply kindly asking you that you stop doing the same to the Roman identity which is clearly a blatant form of cherry picking. I also noticed you dodged the original question, which shows me you would, in fact, not acknowledge a bunch of de facto Iberians calling themselves “los griegos” as some sort legitimate heir to Greek identity. Hence my point.

Where have I stated that Greeks did not mix with or assimilate other peoples? I have stated exactly the opposite, that they were already Hellenizing and mixing with non-Greeks during the ancient times. That Greek paganism was closely linked to the Greek identity does not contradict this fact as the worship of the Greek gods also spread in ancient times. The modern disconnect between the Greek identity and Greek paganism is a recent phenomenon as Greek nationalism and its popularization of the Greek identity is a recent phenomenon.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

The genetic results are interesting but I question the levantine ancestry. As far as I can tell greeks have had little to no historical connection to levantine populations, similar to Italians. 10% seems incredibly high, given that the mycenaeans and Minoans had 0%. That’s an interesting find on greeks living in turkey though.

I have done a Global 25-based Vahaduo analysis using the various mainly Neolithic populations representing the various Neolithic ancestral streams as the source populations and all the available post-Neolithic ancient and modern populations of what are now Italy, Corsica, Greece, Albania, Turkey, Cyprus and Bulgaria except the low-resolution samples of them as the target populations. I have also included the medieval and modern populations of what is now Germany to show the genetic contrast of the native Northern Mediterranean populations from the Germanic peoples. For the Neolithic of North Africa I have chosen the Moroccan Early Neolithic sample since it has no European admixture unlike the Moroccan Late Neolithic sample. I have divided the Ottoman-era sample of Turkey into two because the two individuals constituting that sample are genetically too far from each other and the one with the label MA2195 is likely from the earlier Seljuk era like I explained before. The samples with "o" attached to their name represent the genetically outlier rather than typical individuals for the population they are from.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1a5byEejcptHST6X2L6Exb60uGXnyI6tZYI7HWG-EkkE/edit#gid=0

As can be seen, among the non-outlier ancient samples of Italy, only the ones from imperial Roman era, Renaissance-era Tivoli, Middle Bronze Age Sicily and Punics have meaningful levels of the sum of the CHG, Iran Neolithic, Levant Neolithic and Moroccan Early Neolithic components (by CHG I mean that part outside the Yamnaya component). The relatively high Moroccan Early Neolithic component of the Punic sample is especially not expected. BTW, the Iron Age sample from Asia Minor is likely from a population with some East Eurasian (Mongoloid) ancestry (Cimmerian?) given its relatively high level of Russian Far East Neolithic component.

Among modern Italians, only some Southern Italian samples have meaningful levels of the sum of the CHG, Iran Neolithic, Levant Neolithic and Moroccan Early Neolithic components. Expectedly, among the modern populations in my analysis, the one with the highest level of Levant Neolithic component is Cypriots (normal given their geography), the Levant Neolithic level of the Greek island of Kos is notable too.

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

The ancient greeks themselves place their origin in asia minor to begin with. It’s not so far of a stretch to liken it to the roman conquests of cisalpine gaul. They weren’t calling themselves greek at that time but they easily could have and assuming assimilation took place, there would be no large differences.

Various ancient Greek groups placed their origin in various different places, some in remote locations like Egypt. Obviously all those stories cannot be correct. What is clear and supported by genetics is that the Greek language is ultimately from the Pontic-Caspian steppe like all other Indo-European languages (maybe except the Anatolian branch). There is no indication that Greeks were in Asia Minor before Southeastern Europe.

I have to disagree with that last part. The biases are certainly still there and they blatantly write them in to every study conducted. Moots was posing the romans to be some sort of mongrelized mixture of levantines and modern Italians as a 2 way germanic-levantine mixture to promote her godless open border society. Authors like Lazaridis proudly proclaim the mycenaeans as having no MENA admixture while authoring papers that have the audacity to postulate modern Sicilians as half north african - and those who don’t do their own diligence take it all as fact. You see a world of growing technological adaptations to previous deficiencies; I see the results of the very same technology being monopolized and misconstrued by academic institutions using it to promote awful agendas at the expense of truth.

I do not think anyone claims that Sicilians are half North African. They have some North African mix, but in no way high enough to call them half, a quarter and even 1/8 North African. They do not even have 1/10 North African ancestry if you ask me. By North African, I mean recent North African type ancestry. If we mean Early Neolithic North African ancestry, then it is much less, about 2-3% according to my analysis.

I think the biggest problem is not the scientific papers, but the press, which frequently distorts the findings of the papers for political purposes. We have seen this most clearly in the press reports of Cheddar Man, presenting him like a Negroid despite the fact that he was genetically within the Caucasoid range, albeit outside the more limited range of modern Caucasoids, but still way closer to them than to any other existing human group.

I agree that the future for Europe is quite bleak. The solution I see is an organized response to the traitors and subverters of identity on a national scale. These people should face punishments even worse than that of a foreign enemy and be made an example of, because make no mistake; their goal is to annihilate people like you and I and all that of which we value, and this would start with the supposed NGOs and “philanthropists” funneling billions of dollars into politicians to abuse the revolving door system of democracy (which in of itself is what so easily exposes us to manipulation). As Codreanu would say, “If I had but one bullet and I were faced by both an enemy and a traitor, I would let the traitor have it.”

Fully agree with that as traitors have a way bigger impact per capita.

Onur Dincer said...
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Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

Any recommendations on Byzantine historians of choice (preferably those who were actually byzantines)?

Procopius is a must read for the early era and Porphyrogenitus is for the middle era. For the later eras I could recommend Attaliates, Bryennius, Anna Comnena and Pachymeres.

One note that I will add of relevance to the moots study on Roman genetics is that while I was reading Plinius since you’ve spurred me to pull his enyclopedia off the shelf, he mentions the various people that have inhabited Rome and Latium. Within it, other than the obvious central italian tribes, he includes southern italian tribes such as the sicels and ausones but no northern tribes - which paints a very accurate genetic picture aligning with the data from the study (even if moots herself thinks otherwise). I actually bought this entire encyclopedia for something like 250 dollars chiefly to deal with people who continue to postulate their foreign nations as heirs to Rome or having been true Romans. I’ve had this conversation with many Nords, Germans, English, Celts, Romanians, Levantines, even native americans and subsaharan africans! Imagine a native american attempting to tell an Italian that his ancestors weren’t european! The audacity of such idiocy astounds me! And now I have this same conversation once again with a Pontic Greek. You are but one of many that believe their ancestors to be Roman and it is all equally invalid outside of the nation state Rome built and defined in both her borders and by her historians. Regardless of your misconception you seem like a good person and I wish the best to you.

Thanks. No hard feelings. In some cases it is better for us to just agree to disagree. Apart from the few fundamental disagreements, I see no major disagreement between us. But bear in mind that it is not my intention to come to an agreement with you. If I have agreements with you, it is overwhelmingly because of my long-existing convictions. But still, I have learned some valuable new info from you (e.g., the details you provided about Vespasian) and am thankful to you for them. Hope the best for you as well.

Onur Dincer said...

I have now added the modern Maltese to my analysis.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1a5byEejcptHST6X2L6Exb60uGXnyI6tZYI7HWG-EkkE/edit#gid=0

Aitor said...

@ Onur, Your comments regarding Greek identification with Rome are overstated. Not wrong as such, but need mitigating. Roman identity was political, often compared to Christian conversion. The operant principle is a translatio imperiis comparable to that of the Holy Roman Empire, albeit with greater continuity in political structures. Greek identity continued to be present as genos and an paideia. Byzantine thinkers and their antecedents present a synthesis of Roman politics and Greek education, not as a replacement of one by the other. The Byzantine legal stipulation that Emperors descend from Aeneas is not categorically different from the same claim as made by the descendants of Charlemagne, and of whole northern histories according to which Nordic peoples are Trojan (see the massively influential Geoffrey of Monmouth, Snorri Sturluson, etc.).
Consider:
-The last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI’s speech: “Present your shield, swords, arrows…so that the impious may learn that they are dealing not with dumb animals but with their lords and masters, the descendants of the Greeks and the Romans.”
-Those Byzantine thinkers who considered Minerva a prefigure of the Holy Virgin, or Plethon’s liturgies to pagan deities, or John Mauropous’ prayer for Plato, etc.
-Mid 13th C., Georgios Akropolites, Against the Latins, 2.27: “No other nations were ever as harmonious as the Greeks – Graikoi – and the Italians…for science and learning came to the Italians from the Greeks. And after that point, so that they need not use their ethnic names, a New Rome was built to complement the Elder one, so that all were called Romans…And just as they received the most noble name from Christ, so too did they take upon themselves the national (ethnikon) name.”
-In the 10th century, heirs to the Second Sophist, guys like Symeon Metaphrastis, emphasized Attic Greek linguistic purity over the use of Latin.
-6th C. Iannes Lydos writes about the inhabitants of Europe (mainland Greeks) who spoke the language of the Italians despite being Greek.
-4th C. Emperor Julian wrote to a friend, Saloustios, in the Misopogon 352a, “you who should be among the first of the Greeks on account of your lawfulness, and the rest of virtue, the peak of oratory, and familiarity with philosophy”, and calls Greece his true fatherland on account of education, paideia.
-4th C. Libanios of Antioch, in his Oration, 30, to Emperor Theodosios, On Behalf of the Temples, decries the use of Latin and erosion of local Greek culture.
-4th C. Constantius II, Address to the Senate concerning Themistios, 21a: “in receiving from us a Roman rank, he offers us Hellenic wisdom in exchange”.
-2nd C. Lucian, Demonax 40: When someone approaches Demonax and tells him, using incorrect grammar, that the Emperor has made him a Roman, Demonax responds, “would that he had made you a Greek rather than Roman,” indicating that speaking with proper grammar is a Greek trait. Again, Roman state, Greek paideia.
-2nd C. Aristeides, Panathenaic Oration: Rome is supreme in rule, in law, and Greece in culture.
-Much of this proceeds from the 1st C. BC Dionysus of Halikarnassos.
-You say Greek identity was linked to paganism and this caused Christian Greeks to adopt Roman identity. Roman identity carried with it the connotation of anti-Christian persecution and a state-cult rejected by Christians. Consider the New Testament’s usage of the word Logos with its possible allusion to Greek philosophical categories, or St. Paul’s quoting of a pagan Greek poem about Zeus to refer to God in the New Testament. Consider how early theologians used Aristotle and Plato to approach their theology. Adoption of Roman political identity is a matter of Roman imperial prowess and legal sophistication. The theological motive is dubious.
Again, you aren't wrong as such, but the continuity of Greek identity as an explicit element of the Byzantine synthesis deserves mentioning.

Onur Dincer said...

@Aitor

I am not making anything up. I am just summarizing the general situation without even providing my subjective opinions. And none of your examples contradict my statements or confirm your statement about the continuation of the Greek identity all through the Christian era. Some of your examples are from pagans and thus irrelevant BTW. Christian Greeks were conscious of their Greek origins and emphasized that when needed and the Byzantine elite culture attached great importance to reading the ancient Greek sources and imitating their styles and expressions, but these do not negate the fact that Christian Greeks almost only identified as Roman (Romaios/Romios) rather than Greek (Hellen) until well into the 19th century.

The ancient Roman identity was less linked with any specific religion than the Greek identity and lost all its pagan connotations with the Christianization of the Roman emperors and the imperial elite. In addition, the theological aspect of the Roman identity is obvious to any Orthodox Christian. Unlike Western Christians, who have attributed a position to the bishop of Rome higher than all the secular monarchs for centuries, in the Orthodox world and the Byzantine Empire the emperor was above all the patriarchs (main bishops), and the Byzantine Empire (Roman Empire in reality) was considered as the earthly copy of the Kingdom of God. Many people could not even imagine a Church without the emperor.

Aitor said...

@Onur

“I am not making anything up. I am just summarizing the general situation without even providing my subjective opinions.”
I didn’t say you were making anything up. However, your summary valorizes things in a questionable manner.
“And none of your examples contradict my statements or confirm your statement about the continuation of the Greek identity all through the Christian era.”
I didn’t say “all throughout”. My examples do, however, suggest Greek identity was a consciously held element of Byzantine identity at least until the 6th century and again beginning in the 10th. I imagine there are sources that could fill in that gap. You’ve got Constantin XI referring to his people as Romans and Greeks, Georgios Akropolites praising the unity of Romans and Greeks, the intellectual hegemony of using Attic Greek over Latin, explicit distinctions between speaking Latin and being ethnically Greek (Iannos Lydos), and so on.
“Some of your examples are from pagans and thus irrelevant BTW.”
I did write “and their antecedents” to indicate that some precede our subject manner, but were influential on later thinkers. However, my thesis is that Greek identity was a component of Byzantine identity, and certainly pagan thinkers were highly influential in the crafting of that identity. I would hardly consider a pagan writer under Emperor Justinian, for example, irrelevant to what became the Byzantine compact. For example, it was a pagan, Tribonian, who codified much of the legal corpus that remained in use during a later overwhelmingly Christian period, namely Justinian’s Codex Justinianus, the Corpus Juris Civilis.
“Christian Greeks were conscious of their Greek origins and emphasized that when needed and the Byzantine elite culture attached great importance to reading the ancient Greek sources and imitating their styles and expressions, but these do not negate the fact that Christian Greeks almost only identified as Roman (Romaios/Romios) rather than Greek (Hellen) until well into the 19th century.”
They identified as Romans politically, which is to say, as Roman citizens. Insofar as they “were conscious of” and “emphasized…when needed” their Greek origins, they also identified as Greek. Indeed, I have provided explicit primary sources referring to Greek identity in terms of genos and paideia, or descent and education/culture.
“The ancient Roman identity was less linked with any specific religion than the Greek identity and lost all its pagan connotations with the Christianization of the Roman emperors and the imperial elite.”
Roman identity immediately preceding Christian conversion is explicitly linked to the cult of the Caesar, that is, to the explicitly religious deference paid to that figure, and this was explicitly rejected by most Christians.
“In addition, the theological aspect of the Roman identity is obvious to any Orthodox Christian. Unlike Western Christians…Many people could not even imagine a Church without the emperor.”
The Pope draws on Roman Emperorship too (titles like “Pontifex Maximus”), but yes, Emperorship is historically more often a point of contention in the west (the Ghibellines, etc.). Roman Emperorship in Byzantium was theologically significant for Christians (as it had been for pagans – indeed, in its laws, Christian Byzantium explicitly uses the pagan justification for Emperorship – namely Virgil’s narrative of Trojan descent) and identification with the Roman state was a part of the Byzantine synthesis. The other part, Greek paideia and the use of 'Greek' as ethnonym, along with Roman, is explicitly referred to in those primary sources I have cited, for starters.

As I said, you were not initially wrong, per se, but it seems to me you had overstated your case.

Onur Dincer said...
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Onur Dincer said...
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Onur Dincer said...
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Onur Dincer said...

@Aitor

I am afraid, like Sarah, you are engaging in semantic hairsplitting in your objections to me. The Byzantine elite of course referred to the language of ancient Attica, which was a dead thus non-spoken language in their time, as Greek, but they still referred to their actual spoken Greek language as Roman like the Greek commoners did. I have already mentioned the importance of ancient Greek education and texts for the Byzantine elite and their reference to their Greek origins and their embracing of their ancient Greek legacy. I have even referred to the limited and ultimately failed attempts of reviving the Greek identity among some members of the late Byzantine elite (some would even go too far and would even attempt to revive Greek paganism). But none of these change the clear fact that it was the Roman identity rather than Greek identity that was the identity of the overwhelming majority of Greeks from the Byzantine era up to the 19th century. The Roman identity of Greeks was far from just a political one during the Byzantine era and during the Islamic/Ottoman era since it was the identity of the Greek commoners too, it was so internalized by Greeks, so not any different in that aspect from the Roman identity of Romanians/Vlachs. I have already stated that the ancient Roman identity had some pagan connotations, however loose compared to the ones of the Greek identity, but the Roman identity lost all those pagan connotations and transformed into a Christian identity with the Christianization of the Roman Empire.

Onur Dincer said...

With all these facts being stated, no Greek or Romanian/Vlach I know has any claim or ambition of invading Italy. Italy has much more important problems to deal with, the demographic invasions of third worlders, who do not have any kind of Roman identity now or in their genealogically traceable past and who do not go shouting "we are Romans", being the first.

Onur Dincer said...

third worlders, who do not have any kind of Roman identity now or in their genealogically traceable past

Obviously here I exclude Melkite Christians, who are members of the Greek (and thus historically Roman/Romios/Rum) Orthodox Church. But they are a small population and Italy is not among their preferred destinations of migration anyway.

Aitor said...

Onur,

No hairsplitting, just an explicit acknowledgement that your initial characterisation was correct but in need of mitigating. So I provided that mitigation through several primary sources.

You wrote “The truth is, Greeks DID abandon their Greek identity in favor of the Roman identity...with their Christianization. The reason for this, like I said, is that the Greek identity (Hellen in Greek) was closely linked with Greek paganism. You can even see reflections of this in the New Testament usage.”

The prominence of Greek identity as genos + source of paideia in Christian Byzantium (until the very last Emperor who referred to his people as sons of Romans and Greeks) did not come through in this statement.

The sources I cited span the centuries and would have had a wide readership, coming from prominent authors or being known to us for their later impact. They make mention of Roman identity as well as Greek and therefore allow us to understand these terms as often complementary (which can be described to as Roman politics and Greek paideia).

To wit, a political identity need not be limited to the elite or to state structures. It is a sense of allegiance to Roman Emperorship and therefore palpably cultural.

But identifying as Roman was common in much of Europe: Spaniards called themselves Hispano Roman, and in al-Andalus they were referred to as Romans just like the Greeks would be under the Ottomans (al-Rum), but were also obviously aware of themselves as Hispanians.

On the religious question: Greek pagan philosophy is utilised in the New Testament through the category of Logos and as I’ve indicated, St Paul even cites a poem about Zeus, meanwhile the Roman state was considered idolatrous by early Christianity. The issue here is therefore more complex.

Again, you weren’t wrong. Take these posts as a source of nuance. A “yes, and also

Onur Dincer said...

@Sarah

I’ve read your other posts in which you also outlandishly claim the renaissance was supposedly started by “greek scholar migrants”, not italians - a good joke - as it seems the Italians aren’t allowed to be identified with any of their own history or accomplishments anymore.

Forgot to address this objection. Yes, you are right in that criticism. What triggered the Renaissance was actually the transmission of the ancient Greek classics to the West rather than the migrations of the Greek scholars themselves (the Greek immigrant scholars contributed to the Renaissance as well, but did not trigger it), so migrations of ideas rather people, and that transmission did not only come directly from the Greek originals but often through the Arabic translations, which in turn had been translated from the Syriac translations of the Greek originals.

Onur Dincer said...
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Onur Dincer said...

@Aitor

Thanks for bringing up the example of Iberians. Indeed, the Roman identity was much more widespread in the past. Also, the various Vulgar Romance varieties were in the past all referred to as Roman or Latin rather than using regional names such as Italian, Spanish, French, etc. It is due to political fragmentation (not saying it is good or bad) during the Middle Ages that over time regional identities came to the fore and replaced the Roman identity (and also largely the Latin identity) in the West.

As for Greeks, I very well know the relevant statement of the last Byzantine emperor. But he is from the late Byzantine era, which witnessed a limited revival of the Greek identity among the Byzantine elite, so his example cannot be generalized to the earlier eras of the Byzantine Empire or to the Islamic/Ottoman era. When the Greek nationalists introduced the Greek (Hellen/Hellenas/Yunan) identity to the Greek masses during the 19th century, they had to convince them to abandon their long-existing Roman (Romaios/Romios/Rum) identity for an identity that the majority of them were not even aware of besides hearing during the church services mostly in the citations from the Bible.

Onur Dincer said...
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Onur Dincer said...
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Onur Dincer said...

Some notes of clarification: I myself do not endorse racial policies such as those found in the 3rd Reich or the colonial and post-colonial Americas, individuals should have freedom to choose their partner (I personally do not prefer mixing with a genetically or culturally distant individual, but I am also aware that not everyone is like me in that). What I support politically is isolationism (concepts such as nationalism and conservatism can be included in it, I prefer the term "isolationism" due to its concreteness), the opposite of globalism, multiculturalism, open borders, etc. If countries become more isolated from each other, this will inevitably lead to less mixing of peoples and cultures anyway. Also, even though I think that wars might bring some good outcomes in the short or long term, in principle I am against going to war without a justifiable reason.

mooreisbetter said...

I just read a most excellent book that drives home the exact points you make. Might I suggest that you get a copy and review it here?

https://www.amazon.com/Mezzogiorno-Mistaken-Myths-Southern-Italians/dp/B08929ZBGG/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3092EZN2PLVKN&dchild=1&keywords=mezzogiorno+mistaken&qid=1591401638&sprefix=mezzogiorno%2Caps%2C500&sr=8-1

It's called "Mezzogiorno Mistaken: The Top 10 Myths About Southern Italians."

It has a chapter devoted to the ancientness of the concept of Italy, and goes into detail about its history.

Onur Dincer said...
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Onur Dincer said...

I have now updated my Global 25-based Vahaduo analysis, adding the Neolithic samples of the respective regions, all the modern and ancient (beginning from the Neolithic) samples from Iberia and the recently published ancient samples from what is now Turkey.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1a5byEejcptHST6X2L6Exb60uGXnyI6tZYI7HWG-EkkE/edit#gid=0

Daniele Grech Pereira said...

Get off my island!