The Passing of the Great Race
By Madison Grant
Part II - European Races In History
THE NORDIC RACE
WE have shown that the Mediterranean race entered Europe from the south and forms part of a great group of peoples extending into southern Asia, that the Alpine race came from the east through Asia Minor and the valley of the Danube, and that its present European distribution is merely the westernmost point of an ethnic pyramid, the base of which rests solidly on the round skulled peoples of the great plateaux of central Asia. Both of these races are, therefore, western extensions of Asiatic subspecies, and neither of them can be considered as exclusively European.
With the remaining race, the Nordic, however, the case is different. This is a purely European type, and has developed its physical characters and its civilization within the confines of that continent. It is, therefore, the Homo europaeus, the white man par excellence. It is everywhere characterized by certain unique specializations, namely, blondness, wavy hair, blue eyes, fair skin, high, narrow and straight nose, which are associated with great stature, and a long skull, as well as with abundant head and body hair.
This abundance of hair is an ancient and generalized character which the Nordics share with the Alpines of both Europe and Asia, but the light colored eyes and light colored hair are characters of relatively recent specialization and consequently highly unstable.
The pure Nordic race is at present clustered around the shores of the Baltic and North Seas, from which is has spread west and south and east in every direction, fading off gradually into the two preceding races.
The centre of its greatest purity is now in Sweden, and there is no doubt that at first the Scandinavian Peninsula, and later the immediately adjoining shores of the Baltic, were the centres of radiation of the Teutonic or Scandinavian branch of this race.
The population of Scandinavia has been composed of this Nordic subspecies from the beginning of Neolithic times, and Sweden to-day represents one of the few countries which has never been overwhelmed by foreign conquest, and in which there has been but a single racial type from the beginning. This nation is unique for its unity of race, language, religion, and social ideals.
Southern Scandinavia only became fit for human habitation on the retreat of the glaciers about twelve thousand years ago and apparently was immediately occupied by the Nordic race. This is one
of the few geological dates which is absolute and not relative. It rests on a most interesting series of computations made by Baron DeGeer, based on an actual count of the laminated deposits of clay laid down annually by the retreating glaciers, each layer representing the summer deposit of the subglacial stream.
The Nordics first appear at the close of the Paleolithic along the coasts of the Baltic. The earliest industry discovered in this region is known as the Maglemose, found in Denmark and elsewhere around the Baltic, and is probably the culture of the Proto-Teutonic branch of the Nordic race. No human remains have as yet been found.
The vigor and power of the Nordic race as a whole is such that it could not have been evolved in so restricted an area as southern Sweden, although its Teutonic section did develop there in comparative isolation. The Nordics must have had a larger field for their specialization, and a longer period for their evolution, than is afforded by the limited time which has elapsed since Sweden became habitable. For the development of so marked a type there is required a continental area isolated and protected for long ages from the intrusion of other races. The climatic conditions must have been such as to impose a rigid elimination of defectives through the agency of hard winters and the necessity of industry and foresight in providing the year's food, clothing, and shelter during the short summer. Such demands on energy, if long continued, would produce a strong, virile, and self-contained race which would inevitably overwhelm in battle nations whose weaker elements had not been purged by the conditions of an equally severe environment.
An area conforming to these requirements is offered by the forests and plains of eastern Germany, Poland, and Russia. It was here that the Proto-Nordic type evolved, and here their remnants are found. They were protected from Asia on the east by the then almost continuous water connections across eastern Russia between the White Sea and the old Caspian-Aral Sea.
During the last glacial advance (the Wurm glaciation), which, like the preceding glacial advances, is believed to have been a period of land depression, the White Sea extended far to the south of its present limits, while the enlarged Caspian Sea, then and long afterward connected with the Sea of Aral, extended northward to the great bend of the Volga. The intermediate area was studded with large lakes and morasses. Thus an almost complete water barrier of shallow sea, located just west of the low Ural Mountains, separated Europe from Asia during the Wurm glaciation and long afterward. The broken connection was restored just before the dawn of history by the slight ele-
vation of the land and the shrinking of the Caspian-Aral Sea through increasing desiccation which left its present surface below sea level.
An important element in the isolation of this Nordic cradle on the south is the fact that from the earliest times down to this day the pressure of population has everywhere been from the bleak and sterile north southward and eastward into the sunny and enervating lands of France, Italy, Greece, Persia, and India.
In these forests and steppes of the north, the Nordic race gradually evolved in isolation, and at a very early date occupied the Scandinavian Peninsula, together with much of the land now submerged under the Baltic and North Seas.
Nordic strains form everywhere a substratum of population throughout Russia and underlie the round skull Slavs who first appear a little over a thousand years ago as coming, not from the direction of Asia, but from south Poland. Burial mounds called kurgans are widely scattered throughout Russia from the Carpathians to the Urals, and contain numerous remains of a dolichocephalic race; in fact, more than three-fourths of the skulls are of this type. Round skulls first become numerous in ancient Russian graveyards about 900 A.D., and soon increase to such an extent that in the Slavic period from the ninth to the thirteenth centuries one-half of the skulls were brachycephalic, while in modern cemeteries the proportion of round skulls is still greater. This ancient Nordic element, however, still forms a very considerable portion of the population of northern Russia and contributes the blondness and the red-headedness so characteristic of the Russian of to-day. As we leave the Baltic coasts the Nordic characters fade out both toward the south and east. The blond element in the nobility of Russia is of later Scandinavian and Teutonic origin.
When the seas which separated Russia from Asia dried up, and when the isolation and exacting climate of the north had done their work and produced the vigorous Nordic type, these men burst upon the southern races, conquering east, south, and west. They brought with them from the north the hardihood and vigor acquired under the rigorous selection of a long winter season, and vanquished in battle the inhabitants of older and feebler civilizations, only in their turn to succumb to the softening influences of a life of ease and plenty in their new homes.
The earliest appearance in history of Aryan-speaking Nordics is our first dim vision of the Sacae introducing the Sanskrit into India, the Cimmerians pouring through the passes of the Caucasus from the grasslands of south Russia to invade the Empire of the Medes, and the Achaeans and Phrygians conquering Greece and the Aegean coast
of Asia Minor. About 11OO B.C. Nordics enter Italy as Umbrians and Oscans, and soon after cross the Rhine into Gaul. This western vanguard was composed of Celtic-speaking tribes which had long occupied those districts in Germany which lay south and west of the Teutonic-speaking Nordics, who at this early date were probably confined to Scandinavia and the immediate shores of the Baltic, and were beginning to press southward.
This first wave of Nordics seems to have swept westward along the sandy plains of northern Europe, entering France through the Low Countries. From this point as Goidels they spread north into Britain, reaching there about 800 B.C. As Gauls they conquered all France and pushed on south and west into Spain, and over the Maritime Alps into northern Italy, where they encountered their kindred Nordic Umbrians, who at an earlier date had crossed the Alps from the northeast. Other Celtic-speaking Nordics apparently migrated up the Rhine and down the Danube, and by the time the Romans came on the scene the Alpines of central Europe had been thoroughly Celticized. These tribes pushed eastward into southern Russia and reached the Crimea as early as the fourth century B.C. Mixed with the natives, they were called by the Greeks the Celto-Scyths. This swarming out of Germany of the first Nordics was during the closing phases of the Bronze Period, and was contemporary with, and probably caused by, the first great expansion of the Teutons from Scandinavia by way both of Denmark and the Baltic coasts.
These invaders were succeeded by a second wave of Celtic-speaking peoples, the Cymry, who drove their Goidelic predecessors still farther west and exterminated and absorbed them over large areas. These Cymric invasions occurred about 300-1OO B.C., and were probably the result of the growing development of the Teutons and their final expulsion of the Celtic-speaking tribes from Germany. These Cymry occupied northern France under the name of Belgae and invaded England as Brythons, and their conquests in both Gaul and Britain were only checked by the legions of Caesar.
These migrations are exceedingly hard to trace because of the confusion caused by the fact that Celtic speech is now found on the lips of populations in nowise related to the Nordics who first introduced it. But one fact stands out clearly, all the original Celtic-speaking tribes were purely Nordic.
What were the special physical characters of these tribes, in which they differed from their Teutonic successors, is now impossible to say, beyond the possible suggestion that in the British Isles the Scottish and Irish populations in which red hair and gray or green eyes are abundant have rather more of this Celtic strain in them than have the
flaxen haired Teutons, whose china blue eyes are clearly not Celtic.
When the peoples called Gauls or Celts by the Romans, and Galatians by the Greeks, first appear in history, they are described in exactly the same terms as were later the Teutons. They were all gigantic barbarians with fair and very often red hair, then more frequent than to-day, with gray or fiercely blue eyes, and were thus clearly members of the Nordic subspecies.
The first Celtic-speaking nations with whom the Romans came in contact were Gaulish, and had probably incorporated much Alpine blood by the time they crossed the mountains into the domain of classic history. The Nordic element had become still weaker by absorption from the conquered populations, when at a later date the Romans broke through the ring of Celtic nations and came into contact with the purely Nordic Cymry and Teutons.
After these early expansions of Gauls and Cymry, the Teutons appear upon the scene. Of the pure Teutons within the ken of history, it is not necessary to mention more than the most important of the long series of conquering tribes.
The greatest of them all were perhaps the Goths, who came originally from the south of Sweden and were long located on the opposite German coast, at the mouth of the Vistula. From here they crossed Poland to the Crimea, where they were known in the first century. Three hundred years later they were driven westward by the Huns and forced into the Dacian plain and over the Danube into the Roman Empire. Here they split up; the Ostrogoths after a period of subjection to the Huns on the Danube, ravaged the European provinces of the Eastern Empire, conquered Italy, and founded there a great but shortlived nation. The Visigoths occupied much of Gaul and then entered Spain, driving the Vandals before them into Africa. The Teutons and Cimbri destroyed by Marius in southern Gaul about 1OO B.C.; the Gepidae; the Alans; the Suevi; the Vandals; the Helvetians; the Alemanni of the upper Rhine; the Marcomanni; the Saxons; the Batavians; the Frisians; the Angles; the Jutes, the Lombards and the Heruli of Italy; the Burgundians of the east of France; the Franks of the lower Rhine; the Danes; and latest of all, the Norse Vikings, swept through history. Less well known but of great importance, are the Varangians, who, coming from Sweden in the ninth and tenth centuries, conquered the coast of the Gulf of Finland and much of White Russia, and left there a dynasty and aristocracy of Norse blood. In the tenth and eleventh centuries they were the rulers of Russia.
The traditions of Goths, Vandals, Lombards, and Burgundians all point to Sweden as their
earliest homeland, and probably all the pure Germanic tribes came originally from Scandinavia and were closely related.
When these Teutonic tribes poured down from the Baltic coasts, their Celtic-speaking Nordic predecessors were already much mixed with the underlying populations, Mediterranean in the west and Alpine in the south. These "Celts" were not recognized by the Teutons as kin in any sense, and were all called Welsh or foreigners. From this word are derived the names "Wales," "Cornwales" or "Cornwall," "Valais," "Walloons," and " Wallachian " or "Vlach."
Continue on to Part 2, Chapter 7 - TEUTONIC EUROPE