Ancient-to-Modern Genetic Distances

October 8, 2020

Someone at Anthrogenica made these genetic distance maps that visualize how Modern West Eurasians are related to samples of Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans, with redder coloring indicating more genetic affinity. The Ancients are all closest to Modern Southern Europeans — mostly Italians from all over, but often also Greeks, Iberians, South French and Balkan peoples. (Note: The "Imperial Romans" sample includes some foreigners from the Eastern Mediterranean, who later disappeared).

Minoan Greeks:

Mycenaean Greeks:

Iron Age Romans:



Imperial Romans:

Late Antiquity Romans:

Medieval Romans:

Related: Genetically Italian Iron Age Balkans


Sarah Nikas said...

Beautiful maps. It's interesting that sardinians and southern italians come up as being closer related to the minoans and mycenaeans than modern greeks. I remember seeing them being very closely related in the original paper that documented ancient greek ancestry, but nowhere did it touch upon them being even more so than modern greeks (perhaps because the paper was written by a Greek to begin with).

Other than that, this is pretty much what I expected. As close as the distance already is to the ancient romans, I'd be willing to bet the association would be even stronger if they added in samples from both south and north italy (as opposed to just lazio).

It'd also be cool to see how close sicily is to sicilian bronze age and bell beaker populations. From what I recall on the PCA chart they were extremely similar in terms of where they plotted.

Arch Hades said...

Looks to me the Etruscans and Latins were pretty similar genetically, despite linguistic differences.

For the Mycenaean Greeks, "Southeast European" is a good term to describe them. Or maybe even "hyper Southeast European".

As for the original Latin tribes. Southwest European or "Southwest European Mediterranean". The Iron age and Republican era Romans are more on the northern periphery of Southern Europe. Southern European still, but more Northerly Southern European. At least we can say the Romans were more in the European norm genetically. The Ancient Greeks were some real outliers. Regarding the Latins-Early Romans, It appears they have more in common with Southern French and Northern Italians than with Greeks or Southern Italians. Although from a European exclusive context, they have almost nothing in common with Northern Europeans.

The data so far seems to indicate the Ancient Greeks were a hyper Southern European population. No modern Europeans have more than 75% Anatolian farmer ancestry except Sardinians. Maybe the Ancient Macedonian Greeks will be a little more genetically Northern.

Anyway, it's good to see the Nordicist lies falling apart. I mean we should always be objective and try to have an open mind to any hypothesis put forth, even the Nordicist ones. But really, there's absolutely no empirical support for their revisionist history. Nordicism is a total failure and has shown to have 0 predictive power. It's a total faliure as a legit hypothesis, based on a complete lack of data supporting it. That's my honest opinion regarding that doctrine and it's claims about the past. It is quite obviously total fiction. They should just stick with the Sintashta-Andronovo culture and Scythians because ancient Southern Europe is a total pipedream.

Crimson Guard said...

That Slav/Austrian fan created genetic distance maps look like biased shit overall despite any big picture deal on "Southern Europeanesss" of the ancient Italians for this blog post. The Avars coming out've the northern Russia, the Bulgarians resembling central/southern Italians and Greeks. Nonsense.

"Ardea-Latini" concentrated in Corsica, and more far Northern Italy but mainly even further north Then again in the west with what looks like hot spots in Southern France/Northern Spain and somehow Corsicans.

Latini having more in common with Northern Spanish people from like from Bilboa than actual people from the Lazio/Latin region,lol.

The proto Villanovan he's got to be mainly Northern Italian, from like Genoa and Milan, while the Villanovan looks like they're from somewhere in Northeastern Spain while having more in common with Iberians than Italians which is all laughable.

Prenestini one is a joke too. From Milan going all the way north/northeast .

According to the actual study on the ancient samples:

The Ancient and Modern Italians of Rome are pretty much the same with little change. Most of ancient/past Roman/Italian samples actually are clustering with Southern Italians and very little in Northern Italy & Central Italy.

Copper Age seems mainly related to only Sardinians according to what they presented.

Iron Age/Roman Republic seem to group in the middle of no where with some odd outliers, but somewhere between Northern and Southern Italians being indicted with the shape of their circles there is a connective group between the North and the South. Some kinda relationship to Cyprus pops for the first time. Seems there is far fewer samples for this period, but still clear that its North Italy overlapping with South Italy and Sicily, but centroid , indicating Central Italy. So I would think to this be Tuscany(Etruria). Perhaps if they included Central Italians that strange gap would've been filled up.

*R475 is an odd one, looks like is possibly a mix of North African and Southern European. But Early Neolithic Moroccans consisted of a migration of people from Europe as well as indigenous.

Imperial Rome comprises mainly of Southern Italians with very minor contribution samples from Northern Italy & Spain and Sardinia.

Late Antiquity is really when actual Northern Italian samples appear in any contributing mentioning number but it ends by present day. This cluster is still mainly again made up mainly of Southern Italians . Plus even minor Sardinian,

Medieval and Early Modern still comprises still of mostly Southern Italians but also some again minority Northern Italian pop up and what looks like what should be central Italian and some lesser extent also Spanish and Sardinian.

Same story with the ancient Greek samples, they have more in common with Southern Italians than modern Greeks.

The Present day Romans still resemble Southern Italians.

Sarah Nikas said...


Not sure if you can say the Romans are exclusively represented by southern italy with this data set. What I really see is Lazio being genetically very close to modern northern italians around the iron age and then shifting to essentially sicilian like by the early empire, and then shifting back northward to an intermediate position since then (likely due from northern italian settlemet, not barbarian).

I'd be willing to bet samples of the same time periods from both north and south italy would yield results very similar to their modern populations as far back as the iron age, and in reality both were defined Romans.

Latinus said...

@ Arch Hades, Nordicists don't work with logic and they don't read (or ignore) genetic studies.

They are a very fanatical bunch that act like their people are the only ones capable of creativity, the only capable of building a civilization.

I think only Afrocentrists can rival them when it comes to lunatic perceptions of history.

Arch Hades said...


It's just a bunch of made up fairy tale bullshit. Their version of "We Wuz Kangs".

Sarah Nikas said...

The sad part is the notion of the italian people being the true and only heirs of the Romans was widely acknowledged less than 100 years ago.

"What finds expression here is the shaping power of ancient Rome, that master of law and political organisation, the purest heirs to which are the Italians." - Cornelieu Codreanu

Otto Carius, a WWII Panzer ace wrote similarly in his autobiography on the italian/roman connection saying "Lions do not give birth to Lambs".

Crimson Guard said...

Hey RR the forum has been compromised. Take action.

Vesuvius said...

Can you do a review of this recently published paper?

Ancient genomes reveal structural shifts after the arrival of Steppe-related ancestry in the Italian Peninsula
Tina Saupe et al. Curr Biol. 2021.

Sarah Nikas said...


I'd say the study you posted fleshes out evidence of the bronze age genome defining the shift towards and the becoming of Northern and some central italian like populations, such as those found in the iron age individuals from moots' study. You see a shift from people going from equivalents of sardinian-like ancestry to a less homogenous and more broad but centralized cluster over the genetic averages of modern northern+central italians - which also overlaps the samples from the roman iron age.

The south it would appear is more poorly sampled however. It'd be nice to see more bronze and iron age samples from southern italy - particularly in locations apart from the far western coast of sicily which in the bronze age so far appear to be mostly sardinian shifted still (granted still with a very small sample size).

Crimson Guard said...

"For the study, we extracted ancient DNA of 50 individuals from four archaeological sites located in Northeastern and Central Italy dated to Chalcolithic, Early Bronze Age, and Bronze Age. We were able to generate the first genome-wide shotgun data of ancient Italians dated to the Bronze Age period and study the arrival of the Steppe-related ancestry component in the Italian Peninsula. This genetic component, ultimately tracing its origin in the Pontic-Caspian Steppe, a steppeland located between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and very common in Central and Northern Europe. It is also presented in the Bronze Age Italian individuals which we scrutinised and suggesting that populations in the South of the Alps experienced a similar evolution," said the lead author of the work Tina Saupe, from the Institute of Genomics.

"For the genetic analysis, we used a reference dataset including individuals from the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, and Sardinia dated from the Neolithic to the Iron Age. We decided to study the new genomes altogether with available data to have a deeper insight into the genetic changes and demography of this important transition, but also to understand its impact in the following centuries" added co-author Francesco Montinaro from the same institution and from the University of Bari, Italy. Researchers found that samples dated to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic from the Italian Peninsula are more similar to Early Neolithic farmers in Eastern Europe and Anatolian farmers than to farmers from Western Europe, which opens the possibility of different histories for the two Neolithic groups in Europe.

"Because of the geographical distribution of the archaeological sites of published and newly generated genomes, we were able to date the arrival of the Steppe-related ancestry component to at least ~4,000 years ago in Northern Italy and ~3,600 years ago in Central Italy. We did not find the component in individuals dated to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic, but in individuals dated to the Early Bronze Age and increasing through time in the individuals dated to the Bronze Age," pointed out by Luca Pagani, Associate Professor at the Institute of Genomics and University of Padova and co-senior author of this work.

"In addition, we were able to find a shift in burial practice correlated with the change of relatedness between the individuals in two of the sites, but we did not find any changes in the phenotypes of ancient Italians during the transition," said Christiana L. Scheib, the aDNA research group leader at the Institute of Genomics and corresponding author.

Sarah Nikas said...

"These results of this study have shown that the genetic profile of ancient individuals from the Italian Peninsula changed with the movement and settlement of humans since the Neolithic. This knowledge enlightens us on our genetic origin and enables plans for further studies including a denser sampling of individuals dated to the Iron Age and Roman empire," concluded Scheib.

Now that's what I'd like to hear. More diverse geographies and more samples from the iron age and roman era in Italy. What are your thoughts on the recent bronze age study Crimson Guard?

Crimson Guard said...

I don't know, I only read the paper once and press releases/synopses twice. There really isnt any big changes to speak of and the way they talk is kinda awkward at times. With their Sardinian they say is basically a Neolithic Anatolian/WHG mix that would form into their new western Neolithic European group.

It should be noted that Yamnaya/Steppe people were a mixed population related to the Caucasus and South Asia and a group further east related to East Asians, Siberians and American Indians. In fact they're akin or correlated to near Easterners like Armenians that basically became admixed with Eastern Hunter Gatherers before moving westwards into central Europe.

Anyhow, to them there is two different Neolithic groups basically that exist in their time period, their western or European N appears to be Sardinian and WHG-like while their eastern or Anatolian N is essentially lacking WGH but has CHG. That Anatolian and CHG are related. That Iran Neolithic affinities they also admit have been found in central Italy and also this is connected to CHG and Anatolian .

So basically to these authors the Black Sea/Steppe people have more in common with western Europeans of this period due to the Sardinian/WHG component . Basically to them it was Bell Beakers from out've late Neolithic Germany or somewhere in the Trans Alpine region that moved into Italy and Sicily. That they were a mix of western Neolithic and Steppe related ancestries.

Basically from this they draw the conclusion that Steppe-related ancestry came from from north of the Alps region(outside of Italy) and related to their European Neolithic group. While Neolithic and Chalcolithic Peninsular Italians have largely remained Anatolian Neolithic.

Italians do not seem to have much Steppe related type ancestry. According to them what separates Sardinians from Sicilians is the steppe ancestry found in Sicily.

Out've their post-Mesolithic individuals that showed a significant enrichment for Steppe-related ancestry components was their Early BA and BA, Bell Beaker (I2478 and I1979) or Italian IA individuals.

Since these components are very similar, who knows what they're talking about, sometimes they make it out like very little changes occurred and whatever changes that did occur, occurred cause of a Steppe ancestry intruding into northern, central and southern Italy that was largely made up of early Eastern European farmers/Anatolian Neolithic peoples.

Its really nothing that new in the end , since we knew years ago that ancestry clines in Italy are largely due to the way Indo-European languages spread. Italy and the southern Balkans differed from the rest of Europe by having a lot of the Caucasus Hunter-Gatherer (CHG) component of Yamnaya, but not much of the Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) component or WHG either for that matter. Essentially Italic, Greek and Balkan branches of Indo-European may have spread directly from the Caucasus through Anatolia and not via the Russian Steppe which I think this study also reaffirms.

Sarah Nikas said...

I agree that there wasn't anything unexpected that really came out of it. What I find most interesting actually is that the absolute highest IE rich individuals found within in italy during the late bronze and iron age appeared to overlap balkanic populations such as romanians on the PCA they gave. This implies that the IE branch of proto-italic languages (as opposed to rhaetic/etruscan) originated from speakers that moved from and through the geography of modern hungary/romania, which is in line with modern linguistic theories of the formation of the italic languages. Your theory on balkanic/Italic IE languages coming out of anatolia and the caucuses is harder to verify imo, however. It appears the IE rich populations affecting italy during this period had higher degrees of IE admixture than anatolia or the caucuses has ever had as far as I can tell.

"Basically to them it was Bell Beakers from out've late Neolithic Germany or somewhere in the Trans Alpine region that moved into Italy and Sicily"

That's an odd take considering the above info. Not sure why so many authors seem to be so focused on a concept of german based invasions into italy with scant evidence. It's probably the least geographically accessible route with entrances from the balkans or provence being far more traversable.

As for IE relations to south asia, I don't think IE genetics were at all close the aboriginal genomes in india/pakistan. IE is mostly thought to be Eastern Hunter Gatherer (common in europe during the paleolithic) with a 20% input of caucuses hunter gatherer (likely from georgia). They're realistically quite distant from east asians, indians and siberians though certainly not a population isolate by any means.

"Italians do not seem to have much Steppe related type ancestry. According to them what separates Sardinians from Sicilians is the steppe ancestry found in Sicily."

So they're claiming still no CHG ancestry outside of what IE groups brought in the case of sicily by the late bronze age? Strange. If true that'd mean that the excess CHG component found in all southern italians arrived sometime by the early iron age or after.

Hannah Moots said...

What is the scale on these? If my intuition serves me correctly, each one is on a separate scale, so you couldn't compare across plots?

Questioni di genere said...

Looks like this guy has left the internet for good. Have you ever noticed that he was always online for no more than a couple of hours always between 8.00 and 10.00 am of New York time zone? the only possible explanation is that he was in jail and he was allowed to use the internet only for a limited amount of time each day.

Sarah Nikas said...

A study on early iron age Daunians in northern Puglia came out recently. You still alive Italianthro?