Sunday, February 7, 2010

Florence : Tuscany (Italy)

The origins of the Etruscans are lost in prehistory. The main hypotheses are that they are indigenous, probably stemming from the Villanovan culture (an earliest Iron Age culture of central and northern Italy, abruptly following the Bronze Age Terramare culture), or that they are the result of invasion from the north or the Near East. Etruscan expansion was focused both to the north beyond the Apennines and into Campania.

  • Sample :
Full scale

  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Dark complexion, dark eyes, leptomorphic, narrow face, long and straight high-rooted nose that can get convex, close set eyes, large jaw, pointy chin
~ Dinaromorphic Mediterraneans

Once more, we get to identify this pan-Italian phenotype. In Florence though, depigmented female variants are to be found which strikingly contrast with the absence of male "Nordoid" counterparts. As already conjectured elsewhere in Tuscany, sexual dimorphism seems to be a reality in this area.

- Type 2 :
Intermediate complexion (from brown to aqua-blue eyes, ...), brachymorphic, round face, little straight nose, a large jaw on females, close-set eyes
~ Alpino-Mediterranean

Archetypal "puffy" Alpinoid types are not present. Once more, women appear to be more robust than males. This series is completed by another one exhibiting strange secondary traits : very large face and jaw, a broad yet straight nose, dark features, narrow eyelids which confer individuals a "mestizo" look, ... Those extreme phenotypes are quite common in Tuscany and undoubtedly divide North Italy from Central Italy.

  • Final morphotypes :


  1. Most of your Alpino-Mediterraneans are not Alpinids but just Mediterraneans. Some (about half) might be atypical Alpinids but it's not clear in most cases. The redhair would be some sort of Borreby or Nordid I guess - she's very distinct.

    Anyhow, nowadays it's basically accepted that Etruscan elites must have arrived from Western Anatolia c. 1300 BCE (Vilanova culture), somewhere not far from Troy and the nearby island of Lemnos, where an Etruscan variant was still spoken in historical times. However the bulk of the population was surely native.

    I imagine that the Roman legend about Aeneas must be borrowed from Etruscans, who ruled the city for a long time and taught them architecture and engineering and even to write.

  2. Florence was a Roman foundation while nearby Etruscan Fiesole was small and on the fringes of Etruria.

    Heraus, why not do morphs for the old Etruscan heartland like Viterbo or Perugia or Grosseto.

    The Latins, including Rome, learned as much directly from the Greeks even in the earliest period as from the Etruscans.

  3. Doesn't pic number 5 of first row look like the archetypal Etruscan?

    Whatever the case, I agree that further south (Siena and that area) or even further North (Modena for instance) would better exemplify what might have been the typical Etruscan people.


    I would never deny the influence of Greece in Rome but the Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan one, not the Greek one, it were Etruscan engineers who drained the Forum allowing Rome to exist as we know it and who taught Romans how to build true domes. Romans may have admired more the Greeks, maybe in part because they shared the Indoeuropean ultra-Patriarchal culture (Etruscans were considered "libertines" by Romans because they ate with their wives, often in the same triclinium, and because Etruscan women had much more freedom and status than the poor wives of Indoeuropeans, who were back then not really any better than Talibans) but they owed as much if not more to Etruscans.

  4. The Latin alphabet came from the western or Cumaean variety of the Greek alphabet. The Etruscans merely adapted it and passed it on to Rome.

  5. Ok. Fair enough. Greeks taught literacy to Etruscans, who in turn taught the Romans. My point was that nearly everything (except military maybe) for what Romans are celebrated is in fact Etruscan.

  6. Pretty much!

    Even the great temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus was created by Etruscans according to Livy.

  7. LOL
    Mestizo look?
    have you ever5 seen a mestizo?
    Are you really the owner of this anthro blog or is it just a joke??

  8. You'll learn how "." is generally used in English. It was a light comment hinting to the distinctive character of these people.

    I'm quite aware of Latin American variability and I maintain that some of those people somehow exhibit a "mestizo" - read "pseudo-mestizo" - vibe (which is quite distinct from "mulatto" as I presume you don't get the difference). As far as I am concerned, this is a good way to describe these individuals for a larger audience. Subsequent Tuscan samples will prove that this is a very localized and original type.

    BTW, I'm all but an authorized reference. When writing my posts, I'm freely expressing how I analyze things. I welcome other points of view. Still, I have no duty to be accurate.

  9. LOL
    Moreover the guy with Keffia is clearly recently mixed, even a kid could notice that.

  10. I presume I'm not mature enough then. Do you want to lose your time collecting pics of Tuscan people with me ? "LOL" as you say in quite a distinctive manner (notice how "." expresses distance and cynicism, that'll be your first lesson).

  11. Okay, forgive me.
    I'm not either tuscan, but those dark feature pics seem quite extreme, and i presume it is because many people think that etruscan genes are still present in modern day tuscans(where it is not the truth- and search for the darkest features forgiving that etruscans were all but a single people which intermixed with ligures, umbrians and villanovians and where the cromagnoid type and the "giant men" were present .
    Florence too is not a good place to find the typical tuscan since it has had a big recent immigration from south Italy.
    Many surnames i've seen of selected tuscans were from south Italy.
    The average tuscan is like this:

    and this:

    Then you have few people like these especially in Garfagnana where R1b is near 70%:
    and this from Arezzo:

    Anyway the guy with kefyah in the photos is really mixed. I have been in Tuscany for over 5 years and i have never seen a phenotype like that.
    If we admitted etruscans really left a genetic imprint, the extreme phenotype should be like an extreme greek phenotype not like a creole from Luisiana.

  12. Last thing.
    I have chosen a photo that i think it is representative.
    This is a photo of a Tuscany cycle team.
    Usually cycle teams (at least in Tuscany)enlist many people from the countries, then you have real ethnic tuscans since immigration usually affects the city(as Florence)and not surrounding areas.

    There you have every phenotype from light to dark(in the european range) but anyone show unusual look.

  13. I've only selected people from very rural areas in "provincia di Firenze" that had very local surnames. That such phenotypes are only found in Tuscany somehow should hint to the reality of this type amongst rural Tuscan people. I would never judge an area according to people inhabiting towns whose background is diverse. For instance, I had complaints that my sample in Granada did not reflect how people looked in Granada. The fact is that I chose people from the countryside with very local surnames, hence phenotypes that cosmopolitan people might not be familiar with. In my home Gascony, I've long noticed that people living in towns could not recognize who was local from who was not anymore. Not that it's important but a whole "phenotypical" knowledge is vanishing in more urban areas.

    I don't aim at explaining why such phenotypes are present in Tuscany. There are too many contradictory papers about the Etruscans to properly know. I just notice in all objectivity. Areas such as Piedmont also experimented southern migrations. Yet, you won't find such extreme phenotypes.

    You illustrated what you believe to be a rare Tuscan look with a man named Cherubini (not very local) who was born in Rome. It then makes your point dubious. I chose very local and unique surnames such as Meini, Mugnai, Cafaggi, ... all localized in "Firenze". Here are individuals sampled from little towns in Arezzo or Firenze : they don't look "South Italian" as you can check in other samples I made. They just look different and I see no reason to doubt that reality.


    1. Heraus, actually you have proved that you don't know very much about the Tuscan surnames. Cherubini is a Tuscan surname and Lorenzo Cherubini is fully Tuscan. Btw having a local surname it doesn't imply a fully Tuscan ancestry. There are many Tuscan with a Tuscan father and a mother from other regions, especially southern Italian regions.

  14. Lorenzo Cherubini is from Cortona(Arezzo), he was born in Rome cause his father worked for vatican.
    The other guy is Cipollini a well know bicycle rider with a typical surname in those areas(Lucca).
    I would not say those phenotypes are rare,i'd say there are few compared to this ( is of course the dominant phenotype not only in Tuscany but in the whole southern countries with the exception of Croatia maybe.

    As for the pic, i'm still convinced that the guy with Kefyah is recently mixed.

  15. "many people think that etruscan genes are still present in modern day tuscans(where it is not the truth...)"

    Actually what the research on ancient Etruscan DNA revealed was:

    1. Markedly more affinity with Turks than with Basques.

    2. That those haplogroups are still present in Tuscany but not at all at the frequencies found in aristocratic burials, suggesting maybe that the Anatolian-originated Etruscan aristocrats were not the bulk of the Etruscan population, who had mostly a native Italian origin.

    As no commoner burials have been researched we can't go beyond this point. Of course there could have been a massive population replacement but we should have reference of it in historical texts. We do not.

  16. This guy's surname is Ghinazzi from the Arezzo area and i would say is a quite typical phenotype in Tuscany as well:

    This is the major of Florence and as you can see is not so different from the above pic.

    Close to my area (Prato)there are also phenotype like these(Cecconi is the surname.Quite typical too):

    And this(surname Diamanti)from the area of Prato right close to Florence:

  17. "Markedly more affinity with Turks"

    From what is now extreme western Turkey i.e Instanbul and Smirne, where most of the studies have been done.
    Smirne and Instanul have been largely unhabited by greeks(greeks in Smirne were 2\3 of the people until 1922).Instanbul particularly have been settled by every european people with the exception of english maybe.
    There is still a large genoese community from the time of crusades and later togheter with Smirne.
    I'd like to see what kind of results if only central turks would be tested.
    I mean in the place where galates settled.
    Maybe a connection with French?

  18. Heraus you are doing a great work, forgive my first comments.
    Once said this, I know that is not so easy from a foreign point of view to distinguish regional surnames. I learned how to make it since it's enough time i live in Tuscany.
    The guy you addressed as weird looking named "Cafaggi" is probably from south Italy since "Cafaggi" is to be found in larger number around Naples more than Tuscany.

    Tuscans have been largely targeted after those fake studies about etruscans(much like people thought about spaniards\moors until genetic proved they are almost fully R1b), but i assure that they have not extreme phenotypes. Quite the opposite to be real.

    Proof is that before the fake study i mentioned above anyone spoke about a "Tuscans phenotype" over the net.
    Seems to me that over the net is now the time of Tuscans and Galicians.
    Once considered the fairest spaniards,the galicians have now to face some false statements because of few neolithic northafrican admixture.
    Next will be the welsh i suppose.

    Anyway greetings Heraus.
    Thanks again for your great work.

  19. I don't recall all the details but the paper basically concluded confirming the old theory that Etruscans had arrived from Anatolia. However this would only apply to the elites and not the commoners.

    The theory was established partly on the existence of Etruscan speakers in Lemnos, just in front of where once Troy stood. I strongly suspect that the Roman belief on Trojan ancestry via Aeneas was in fact an Etruscan myth (Romans owed almost everything to the Etruscan genius), more or less faithful to reality: proto-Etruscan civilization (Villanova culture) appeared c. 1300 BCE, not long before Troy was destroyed and in an unstable context of East-West transmediterranean interaction also apparent in parts of Iberia (though in this case it's surely Mycenaean Greek influence).

    While obviously Turkey has got immigrants from many places through history, the bulk of the ancestry should be local. Anatolia has been a densely populated region since Neolithic, so immigrants have only made a small impact. Even Turks made a very small impact on the overall ancestry, really.

    Whether you like it or not, late Prehistory in Italy, specially in the south but also in the central areas, is mostly a story of influences from the Aegean. Italy was in all that period rather a secondary region and that only changed with the Etruscans and, of course, the Romans after them. However it's really difficult to evaluate how much of that impact was demographic and how much merely cultural. There was also some impact from the West(?) in the Megalithic period but less long-lived.

  20. The distribution of people named Cafaggi in Tuscany is too intense to be caused by recent migrations. As proved by genealogical data (geneanet for instance), people named Cafaggi lived in Tuscany in the 1830s. Looks local to me.

    As for Cecconi or Diamanti, I don't find them localized enough. Here's Arezzo :

    BTW, I do not find those odd-looking individuals Campanian-looking. I'll try to post something about proper Campania when I have more time.

    I'm quite inclined to admit that those people could very well be "Southern-admixed" but the truth is that I don't really get which Southerners would provoke such phenotypical results. Calabrians don't look anything like that, people in Basilicata look very Italic, most Sicilians look Western to my eyes, Sardinians are their own thing (many of them look Catalan IMO), ... Furthermore, using the very same samping methods, I did not find such individuals in areas such as Piedmont which were subject to many internal Italian migrations.

    Siena already looked much different in that respect. We'll see.

  21. I have no problem with aegean sea theory, but just as you stated it's really difficult to evaluate how much impact was cultural and how much demographic.
    Though many have the idea to connect the hypotetic migration of Lydians-etruscans with the rising of a great eastern civility in Italy, but this doesn't support the Herodotus' chronology and then we should displace the migration at the end of the VIII century b.C(i.e in a time where we have lot of archeology data that doesn't show direct connection with the happening)

    In the other hand the display of an eastern civilization in Italy is not tied with an instantaneous and radical change, more like a slow and graduale changing which was already happening in the previous villanovian time.

    We should then clear out false theories of an unexpected migration of foreign colonizers. If that was the case we should find some tracks in the place were they were supposed to come from.
    Then we should have archaeological finds supporting proto-etruscans society in Anatolie too, which is not.

    Then again there are no proofs of a sudden arrival of an etruscan culture in Tuscany as it happened in southern Italy with greek colonizers and supported by many archeological finds and data.
    The etruscans appeared as "they are" only in Italy like a people culturally defined.
    We have any data of an etruscan people with a defined culture from anywhere nor west nor east.

    Then to me the eastern connection is largely overstimated and the roots of etruscans lie in the villanovian culture(which was not from eastern med) with the contribution of(maybe) few individuals from aegean sea.

  22. I found this, it's in italian but there are percentages:

    As for the phenotypical feautures related to southern italians, i think i developed a particular eye. I'm quite inside the tuscan reality and although there are local differences from town to town, i can see differences with southern Italy.

  23. Ok i understood about Piedmont.
    Probably it is a Tuscany's peculiarity then, but during my stay here i didn't see so many of those phenotypes.
    More like the Ghinazzi's phenotype that i think fits better than the Lucarelli's one(the player with red jersey).

  24. Anonymous:


    While the classical sources say "Lydians", Etruscans obviously did not spoke Lydian/Luwian, an Indoeuropean dialect of the same family as Hittite. So their migration surely happened BEFORE the full indoeuropeization of the area, which must have happened in the earliest Iron Age, soon after Troy's fall and some time after the fall of non-Greek Minoan Crete.

    So it's likely that the foundation of Villanova Culture was already caused by such immigration from the Aegean. Otherwise we would have to push the chronology too much towards historical times and that doesn't seem to make sense because we know of no more "Pelasgians" (other than the Lemnians) by the 7th century BCE, when Greece was already recovering and building its memorable classical civilization.

    As I said before, there were clear East-West interactions in the Mediterranean in that period of the middle Bronze Age, so I am totally for Villanova being already Etruscan.

    Now I would not be able to say if they were closer to Trojans or Cretans or some other pre-IE people of the Aegean area, though Troy is a nice candidate (because of the location of Lemnos and the Aeneas myth).

    "We should then clear out false theories of an unexpected migration of foreign colonizers. If that was the case we should find some tracks in the place were they were supposed to come from".

    In this you are right. Sadly I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable to give you a clear opinion. All I can say is that I have read some material on Etruscans and their origins and the migrational origin was clearly among the candidates.

    Also the classical Etruscan art reminds a lot of Cretan one and, even more than the art, the aesthetics of the people (hairstyle clearly) and the less outrageously patriarchal society (Etruscan women were pretty much free, unlike Roman or Greek ones), clearly suggest a different origin with links to the Aegean.

    Anyhow, for what I know, Italy up to the northern Apenines was receiving Aegean influences since long before Villanova culture coalesced, so we should not be too surprised to see such a "foreign" elite building the first Italian civilization proper.

    It is possible that this is also the case in Iberia but the civilizations are older (since c. 2600 BCE) and the connections much less clear. In any case in the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1500-1200 BCE), El Argar became clearly Hellenized in burial practices (pithoi), illustrating how the East-West Mediterranean interactions had by then become important.

    However all the time the focus of Mediterranean "colonialism" (??) was not in Italy but further west, looking to the Atlantic (and the fact that the first Phoenician colony ever was Gadir, illustrates this very well), where there were bountiful resources of tin (highly valued material in the Bronze Age) and other minerals, including gold, silver, copper... That's why Italy was at most an intermediate port in the way to Iberia in all that period (though even in Herakles journey, it's evident than a North African route was the most normal one - though later it'd be monopolized by Phoenicians).


    Heraus: I look forward to your comparisons of diverse Italian populations. Looks like you have got a clear picture by now of the various Italian looks by region. :)

  25. Well, if the villanovian culture had been largely influenced from the aegean sea we should then have at least a similar culture there at same time.
    Here is the problem.

  26. A friend of mine from France told me Tuscans on average look like southern french, and that light eyes are largely distributed all over Tuscany.

  27. Tuscans are a swarty people, i live there!

  28. ^
    I live there too and i'm English, they are not swarthy at all.

  29. "Tuscans are a swarty people, i live there!"

    How are those swarthy? Many could pass in Switzerland.
    I have seen swarthier people on some examples from more northern places over here.

  30. Tuscans are "swarthy"? That's a new one, but a compliment. Most Tuscans, and I am one, look awfully pale compared to other Italians. We Tuscans turn red after a day at the beach and many of us have blue eyes so we need to use a lot of sun screen.

  31. How the heck an alpine med with large jaws should imply that there is a divide between North Italy and Tuscany?
    Those guys don't look nothing S.Italians either.

  32. "Montelatici" i agree with you.

  33. If you want to see how Tuscans really look, take a look at this blog, the pics are based on famous people from Tuscany, not taken from random Facebook people of uncertain origin

  34. Your Tuscan series is the worst one, 1/3 are clearly not native Tuscans.


I've chosen to let people comment freely on my posts. Nevertheless, you'll lose your time taunting me and calling me a fascist (which I'm really not) : I pray you to read my introduction which will reassure that my intentions genuinely aim at achieving amateurish knowledge. I understand that you may not share my passion for the history of the peopling of the World, just don't let me know as clear conscience gained by bashing a humble documentary work is useless.