Sunday, November 29, 2009

Murcia (Spain)

The region is located in the eastern part of the Cordilleras Béticas mountains. An Iberian land (quite probably belonging to the Bastetani), what would be modern Murcia was part of Roman "Hispania Carthaginensis" then became independent as a taifa centered on the Moorish city of Murcia. Ferdinand III of Castile received the submission of the Moorish king of Murcia in 1243 and Muslims were evicted from the cities. The Spanish spoken in the region has its own accent and local words. The Murcian dialect tends to eliminate many syllable-final consonants and to emphasize regional vocabulary, much of which is derived from Aragonese and old Arabic words. In the early stages of Reconquista, a form of Catalan might have been spoken.

  • Sample :
Full Scale

  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Dark, leptomorphic, long high-rooted nose, close set eyes, angular and somehow pointy chin, large jaws
~ Atlanto-Med

A "lighter" variant can be found : in my opinion, this is the quintessential and proper"Iberian" type, so common on the whole Mediterranean coast from Andalusia to Catalonia.

A more square-faced variant :

- Type 2 : Dark, brachymorphic, square-faced, short nose, low wide-set eyes
~ Alpinoid

  • Final morphotypes :


  1. Jumping here from the Granada post...

    I'm thinking Murcians somehow seem to represent a more "normal" Iberian type which in many cases approaches the Basque type(s) quite a bit, even if with differences maybe.

    This cannot be explained by recolonization because Murcia retained its Mozarabic (Iberian Christian) population all the time. Actually, apart from the foundation of New Carthage (Cartagena) by the Phoenicians, I can't find of any event of colonization in all history or even quite deep in prehistory. Even Cardium Pottery seems to have spared the area and the Geometric Epipaleolithic (Tardenoisian-derived) also was absent. So it's likely, that, apart of minor normal flows, they can be related to at least Epipaleolithic of Azilian affinities if not directly to Gravettian.

    However it's also true that it was said "mata al Rey y vete a Murcia" (kill the King and go to Murcia)

    I'm going to give them a BI of 8 without any effort. I could even stretch it to 10 or so...

    The majority look rather "Northern Iberian" (affinities with Asturias, Catalonia... even Subnordic Europe).

  2. That's the first thing that came to my mind when sampling Murcia : those folks do have Northern Iberian faces and more particularly Catalan faces (at least according to how I portray Catalan people in a French context). As far as surnames are concerned, I could not detect any "foreign" imput : Murcian surnames are very localized and most of the time quite unique.

    * : Funnily enough, Catalan used to be spoken in Murcia.

    "E com la dita ciutat [de Múrcia] hac presa, poblàla tota de catalans, e així mateix Oriola, e Elx, e Alacant, e Guardamar, Cartagènia e los altres llocs. Sí, siats certs que tots aquells qui en la dita ciutat de Múrcia e en los davant dits llocs són, [...] parlen del bell catalanesc del món."

  3. I'd have to check but I'm pretty sure that Murcia was not colonized by Catalans in the late Middle Ages. However it's true that they fell for a time in the orbit of the Crown of Aragon and that their dialect, close to Andalusian has however some Aragonese influence, for instance the diminutive in "-ico", also used in southern Navarre and parts of La Rioja.

    My understanding is rather that the areas of Aragonese (as opposed to Catalan now) influence in the Valencian Country and Murcia eventually became Spanish speaking, while the ones influenced by Catalonia remained Catalan speaking till present (roughly). But this may be more a matter of elite domination than real replacement. Also the Catalan spoken in nearby Valencian Country is closest to Western (inner) Catalan than to Eastern (coastal) one, i.e. more "Pyrenean", including lacking then extended vocalic system of typical Catalan from Barcelona and using only five vowels instead as most Iberian languages, romance or not, lacking nasalizations, "ou", etc.

    But in any case I don't think it's a case of colonization as I cannot think of an scenario for it since Early Epipaleolihic.


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