Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lérida : Catalonia (Spain)

In ancient times the city of Lérida (Lleida in vernacular Catalan), named Iltrida and Ilerda, was the chief city of the Ilergetes, an Iberian tribe. Under the Romans, the city was incorporated into the Roman province of Hispania Tarraconensis : it stood upon an eminence, on the right bank of the river Sicoris (the modern Segre), the principal tributary of the Ebro, and some distance above its confluence with the Cinga (modern Cinca); thus commanding the country between those rivers, as well as the great road from Tarraco (modern Tarragona), the provincial capital, to the northwest of Spain.

Let's note that in the Pyrenees, when approaching Val d'Aran (a Gascon-speaking valley in the province of Lleida), toponymy exhibits a Basque (or Iberian ?) flavour : Esterri, Unarre, Tavascan, Lladorre, ...

  • Sample :
Full scale

  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Dark, leptomorphic, long and triangular head, long and straight nose, close-set eyes, full eyebrows, pointy chin and large jaw
~ Atlanto-Mediterranean

This is the basic Catalan type and is quite representative of the Eastern Pyrenees and the Mediterranean coast (on both sides of the border). When "dinaricized" and lighter, it gets more typical from Central Pyrenees, what some anthropologists would label as "Baskid" tendencies. Very dark dinaromorphic individuals that are prevailing in French Catalonia are surprisingly absent.

- Type 2 : Intermediate complexion, brachymorphic, large face, square-box head head, little and straight nose, rather distanced eyes, little eyelids, large jaw
~ Alpinoid

This type somehow sets Lérida apart from Central Pyrenean countries and links it with the coast. A typical Catalan variant noted for its convex nose was already identified in French Catalonia : it strikingly illustrates the West/East divide in the Pyrenees.

  • Final morphotypes :


  1. A very Pyrenean morphology here. The darker AM types are totally Basque looking (Lleida is clearly in the Basque toponymy area).

    Not so sure about the fairer types which in some cases are clearly Mediterranean (geographically speaking). The third lady of this block reminds me a lot of an in-law from Valencia and also to a Spanish TV presenter. Though also to a South African presenter of the Lonely Planet series. The first guy could fit within Basque variability but looks like from Araba, hence Ebro Valley, hence Mediterreanean geography again.

    The "Alpinoid" could fit too (specially the women) but are more generic, IMO. The first guy of first row in this series reminds me of some Irish types (compare with McGuinness), though would fit nearly anywhere in West Europe, the second guy in this row is a clearly Mediterranean type (where did you get the "Alpinid" for him?) and I'd dare say a very archetypal Iberian who I can easily imagine holding a falcata.

    You have some other things that are not so clear in this division, really. I would agree that there is a loose West/East divide around the Pyrenees, very specially in the peninsula, which seems to have a greater deal of East Mediterranean/Italian influence and also may have some older types of its own but I'd refine a lot. For example in the last row the three guys are so different... the first one is a typical Iberian, the second looks Italian and the third might relate with NW Spain (look his affinity with Zapatero but also with some rare types of NW Europe - and I know the occasional Basque with that freaky look that always reminds me of Jeff Goldblum, when young specially).

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