The Passing of the Great Race
By Madison Grant
Part II - European Races In History
THE ALPINE RACE
THE Alpine race is clearly of Eastern and Asiatic origin. It forms the westernmost extension of a widespread subspecies which, outside of Europe, occupies Asia Minor, Iran, the Pamirs, and the Hindu Kush. In fact the western Himalayas were probably its centre of original evolution and radiation, and its Asiatic members constitute a distinct subdivision, the Armenoids.
The Alpine race is distinguished by a round face and correspondingly round skull which in the true Armenians has a peculiar, sugarloaf shape, a character which can be easily recognized. The Alpines must not be confounded with the sliteyed Mongols who centre around Thibet and the steppes of north Asia. The fact that both these races are round skulled does not involve identity of origin any more than the long skulls of the Nordics and of the Mediterraneans require that they be both considered of the same subspecies, although good anthropologists have been misled by this parallelism. The Alpines are of stocky build and moderately short stature, except where they have been crossed with
Nordic elements. This race is also characterized by dark hair, tending to a dark brown color, and in Europe at the present time the eye is usually dark but sometimes grayish. The ancestral Proto-Alpines from the highlands of western Asia must, of course, have had brunet eyes, and very dark, probably black, hair. Whether we are justified in considering gray eyes peculiar to populations of mixed Alpine and Nordic blood is difficult to determine, but one thing is certain, the combination of blue eyes and flaxen hair is never Alpine.
The European Alpines retain very little of their Asiatic origin, except the skull, and have been in contact with the Nordic race so long that in central and western Europe they are everywhere saturated with the blood of that race. Many populations now considered good Germans, such as the majority of the Wurtembergers, Bavarians, Austrians Swiss, and Tyrolese, are merely Teutonized Alpines.
The first appearance in Europe of the Alpines, dates from the Azilian Period when it is represented by the Furfooz-Grenelle race. There were, later, several invasions of this race which entered Europe during Neolithic times from the Asia Minor plateaux, by way of the Balkans and the valley of the Danube. It appears also to have passed north of the Black Sea, as some slight traces have been discovered there of round skulls which long ante-
date the existing population, but the Russian brachycephaly of to-day is of much later origin.
This race in its final expansion far to the northwest, ultimately reached Norway, Denmark, and Holland, and planted among the dolichocephalic natives small colonies of round skulls, which still exist. When this invasion reached the extreme northwest of Europe its energy was spent, and the invaders were soon forced back into central Europe by the Nordics. The Alpines at this time of maximum extension, about 1800 B.C., crossed into Britain, and a few reached Ireland and introduced bronze into both these islands. As the metal appears about the same time in Sweden, it is safe to assume that it was introduced by this same invasion, a record of which persists to this day in the existence of a colony of round skulls in southwest Norway.
Bronze culture everywhere antedates the earliest appearance of the Celtic-speaking Nordics in western Europe.
The men of the Round Barrows in England were Alpines, but their numbers were so scanty that they have not left behind them in the skulls of the living population any demonstrable evidence of their conquest. If we are ever able to accurately dissect out the various strains that enter, in more or less minute quantities, into the blood of the British Isles, we shall find traces of these
Round Barrow men as well as other interesting and ancient remnants, especially in the western isles and peninsulas.
In the study of European populations the great and fundamental fact about the British Isles is the absence there to-day of Alpine round skulls. It is the only important state in Europe in which the round skulls play no part, and the only nation of any rank composed solely of Nordic and Mediterranean races in approximately equal numbers. To this fact is undoubtedly due many of the individualities of the English nation.
The invasion of central Europe by Alpines, which occurred in the Neolithic, following in the wake of the Azilian forerunners of the same type- the Furfooz-Grenelle race - represented a very great advance in culture. They brought with them from Asia the art of domesticating animals and the first knowledge of the cereals and of pottery, and were an agricultural race in sharp contrast to the flesh eating hunters who preceded them.
The Neolithic populations of the lake dwellings in Switzerland and the extreme north of Italy, which flourished about 5000 B.C., all belonged to this Alpine race. A comparison of the scanty physical remains of these lake dwellers with the inhabitants of the existing villages on the lake shores demonstrates that the skull shape has changed little or not at all during the last seven thousand years, and affords us another proof of the persistency of unit characters.
This Alpine race in Europe is now so thoroughly acclimated that it is no longer Asiatic in any respect, and has nothing in common with the Mongols except its round skulls. Such Mongolian elements as exist to-day in scattered groups throughout eastern Europe are remnants of the later invasions of Tatar hordes which, beginning with Attila in the fifth century, ravaged eastern Europe for hundreds of years.
In western and central Europe the present distribution of the Alpine race is a substantial recession from its original extent, and it has been everywhere conquered and completely swamped by Celtic and Teutonic speaking Nordics. Beginning with the first appearance of the Celtic-speaking Nordics in western Europe, this race has been obliged to give ground, but has mingled its blood everywhere with the conquerors, and now after centuries of obscurity it appears to be increasing again at the expense of the master race.
The Alpines reached Spain, as they reached Britain, in small numbers and with spent force, but they still exist along the Cantabrian Alps as well as on the northern side of the Pyrenees, among the French Basques. There are also dim traces all along the north African coast of a round skull
invasion about 3000 B.C. through Syria, Egypt, Tripoli, and Tunis, and from there through Sicily to southern Italy.
The Alpine race forms to-day, as in Caesar's time, the great bulk of the population of central France, with a Nordic aristocracy resting upon it. They occupy, as the lower classes, the uplands of Belgium, where, known as Walloons, they speak an archaic French dialect closely related to the ancient langue d'oil. They form a majority of the upland population of Alsace, Lorraine, Baden, Wurtemberg, Bavaria, Tyrol, Switzerland, and north Italy; in short of the entire central massif of Europe. In Bavaria and the Tyrol the Alpines are so thoroughly Teutonized that their true racial affinities are betrayed by their round skulls alone.
When we reach Austria we come in contact with the Slavic-speaking nations which form a subdivision of the Alpine race, appearing late in history and radiating from the Carpathian Mountains. In western and central Europe, in relation to the Nordic race, the Alpine is everywhere the ancient, underlying, and submerged type. The fertile lands, river valleys, and the cities are in the hands of the Teutons, but in eastern Germany and Poland we find conditions reversed. Here is an old Nordic broodland, with a Nordic substratum underlying the bulk of the peasantry; which now consists of round skull Alpine Slavs. On top of these again we have an aristocratic upper class of relatively recent introduction. In eastern Germany this upper class is Saxon, and in Austria it is Swabian and Bavarian.
The introduction of Slavs in east Germany is known to be by infiltration and not by conquest. In the fourth century these Wends were called Venethi, Antes, and Sclaveni, and were described as strong in numbers but despised in war. Through the neglect of the Teutons they were allowed to range far and wide from their homes near the northeastern Carpathians, and to occupy the lands formerly belonging to the German nations, who had abandoned their country and flocked into the Roman Empire. Goth, Burgund, Lombard, and Vandal were replaced by the lowly Wend, and his descendants to-day form the privates in the east German regiments, while the officers are everywhere recruited from the Nordic upper class. The medieval relation of these Slavic tribes to the dominant Teuton, is well expressed in the meaning slave-which has been attached to their name in western languages.
The occupation of eastern Germany and Poland by the Slavs probably occurred from 400 A.D. to 700 A.D., but these Alpine elements were reinforced from the east and south from time to time during the succeeding centuries. Beginning early in the tenth century, under their Emperor, Henry
the Fowler, the Saxons turned their attention eastward, and during the next two centuries they reconquered and thoroughly Germanized all this section of Europe.
A similar series of changes in racial predominance took place in Russia where, in addition to a nobility largely Nordic, a section of the population is of ancient Nordic type, although the bulk of the peasantry consists of Alpine Slavs.
The Alpines in eastern Europe are represented by various branches of the Slavic nations. Their area of distribution was split into two sections by the occupation of the great Dacian plain by the Hungarians in about 900 A.D. These Magyars came from somewhere in eastern Russia beyond the sphere of Aryan speech, and their invasion separated the northern Slavs, known as Wends, Czechs, Slovaks, and Poles, from the southern Slavs, known as Serbs and Croats. These southern Slavs entered the Balkan Peninsula in the sixth century from the northeast, and to-day form the great mass of the population there.
The center of radiation of all these Slavic-speaking Alpines was located in the Carpathians, especially the Ruthenian districts of Galicia and eastward to the neighborhood of the Pripet swamps and the head-waters of the Dnieper in Polesia, where the Slavic dialects are believed to have developed, and whence they spread throughout Russia about the eighth century. These early Slavs were probably the Sarmatians of the Greek and Roman writers, and their name " Venethi" seems to have been a later designation. The original Proto-Slavic language, being Aryan, must have been at some distant date imposed by Nordics on the Alpines, but its development into the present Slavic tongues was chiefly the work of Alpines.
In other words, the expansion of the Alpines of the Slavic-speaking group seems to have occurred between 400 and 900 A.D., and they have spread in the East over areas which were originally Nordic, very much as the Teutons had previously overrun and submerged the earlier Alpines in the West. The Mongol, Tatar, and Turk, who invaded Europe much later, have little in common with the Alpine race, except the round skull. All these purely Asiatic types have been thoroughly absorbed and Europeanized, except in certain localities in Russia, especially in the east and south, where Mongoloid tribes have maintained their type either in isolated and relatively large groups, or side by side with their Slavic neighbors. In both cases the isolation is maintained by religious and social differences.
The Avars, also of Asiatic origin, preceded the Magyars in Hungary and the Slavs in the Balkans, but they have merged with the latter without leaving traces that can be identified, unless certain
Mongoloid characters found in Bulgaria are of this origin.
The original physical type of the Magyars and the European Turks has now practically vanished, as a result of prolonged intermarriage with the original inhabitants of Hungary and the Balkans. These tribes have left little behind but their language, and in the case of the Turks, their religion. The brachycephalic Hungarians to-day resemble the Austrian-Germans much more than they do the Slavic-speaking populations surrounding them on the north and south, or the Rumanians on the east.
Following in the wake of the Avars, the Bulgarians appeared south of the Danube about the end of the seventh century, coming from eastern Russia, where the remnants of their kindred still persist along the Volga. To-day they conform physically in the western half of the country with the Alpine Serbs, and in the eastern half with the Mediterranean race, as do also the Rumanians of the Black Sea coast.
Little or nothing remains of the ancestral Bulgars except their name. Language, religion, and nearly, but not quite all, of the physical types have disappeared.
The early members of the Nordic race, in order to reach the Mediterranean world, had to pass through the Alpine populations, and must have absorbed a certain amount of Alpine blood. Therefore the Umbrians in Italy and the Gauls of western Europe, while predominantly Nordic, were more mixed with Alpine blood than were the Belgae or Cymry, or their Teutonic successors, who, as Goths, Vandals, Burgundians, Helvetians, Alemanni, Saxons, Franks, Lombards, Danes, and Northmen, appear in history as pure Nordics of the Teutonic group.
In some portions of their range, notably Savoy and central France, the Alpine race is much less affected by Nordic influence than elsewhere, but on the other hand shows signs of a very ancient admixture with Mediterranean and even earlier elements. Brachycephalic Alpine populations in comparative purity still exist in the interior of Brittany, although almost completely surrounded by Nordic populations.
While the Alpines were everywhere swamped and driven to the fastnesses of the mountains, the warlike and restless nature of the Nordics has enabled the more stable Alpine population to slowly reassert itself, and Europe is probably much more Alpine to-day than it was fifteen hundred years ago.
The early Alpines made very large contributions to the civilization of the world, and were the medium through which many advances in culture were introduced from Asia into Europe. This race at the time of its first appearance in the west brought to the nomad hunters the knowledge of
agriculture and of primitive pottery and of the domestication of animals, and thus made possible a great increase in population and the establishment of permanent settlements. Still later its final expansion was the means through which the knowledge of metals reached the Mediterranean and Nordic populations of the west and north. Upon the appearance on the scene of the Nordics the Alpine race lost its identity and sank to the subordinate and obscure position which it still occupies.
In western Asia members of this race are entitled to the honor of the earliest civilization of which we have knowledge, namely, that of Sumer and its northerly neighbor, Accad in Mesopotamia. It is also the race of Susa, Elam, and Media. In fact, the whole of Mesopotamian civilization belongs to this race with the exception of later Babylonia and Assyria, which were Arabic and Semitic, and of Persia and the empire of the Kassites, which were Nordic and Aryan.
In classic, medieval, and modern times the Alpines have played an unimportant part in European culture, and in western Europe they have been so thoroughly Nordicized that they exist rather as an element in Nordic race development than as an independent type. There are, however, many indications in current history which point to a great development of civilization in the Slavic branches of this race, and the world must be prepared to face, as one of the results of the present war, a great industrial and cultural expansion in Russia, perhaps based on military power.
Continue on to Part 2, Chapter 5 - THE MEDITERRANEAN RACE