Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/640

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
618
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

distressing political spectacle to observe what light, if any, anthropology may shed upon the problem.

 

From the relative isolation of the Greeks at the extreme southern point of the peninsula and especially in the Peloponnesus, it would seem that they might be relatively free from those ethnic disturbances which have worked such havoc elsewhere in the Orient. Nevertheless, Grecian history recounts a continuous succession of inroads from the landward north, as well as from the sea. It would transcend the limits of our study to attempt any detailed analysis of the early ethnology of the country.[1] Examination of the relationship of the Pelasgi to their contemporaries we leave to the philologists. Positively no anthropological data on the matter exist. We are sufficiently grateful for the hundred or more well-authenticated ancient Greek crania of any sort which remain to us. It is useless to attempt any inquiry as to their more definite ethnic origin within the tribal divisions of the country,[2] The testimony of these ancient Greek crania is perfectly harmonious. All authorities agree that the ancient Hellenes were decidedly long-headed, betraying in this respect their affinity to the Mediterranean race, which we have already traced throughout southern Europe and Africa.[3] Whether from Attica; from Schliemann's successive cities excavated upon the site of Troy; or from the coast of Asia Minor; at all times from 400 b. c. to the third century of our era; it would seem proved that the Greeks were of this dolichocephalic type. Stephanos gives the average cranial index of them all as about 75.7, betokening a people like the present Calabrians in head form; and, for that matter, about as long-headed as the Anglo-Saxons in England and America. More than this concerning the physical traits of these ancient Greeks we can not establish with any certainty. No perfect skeletons from which we can ascertain their statures remain to us. Nor can we be more positive as to their brunetness. Their admiration for blondness in heroes and deities is well known. As Dr. Beddoe ('93) says, almost all of Homer's favorites were blond or chestnut-haired, as well as large and tall. Lapouge[4] seems inclined to regard this as proof that the Greeks themselves were of this type, a deduction which appears to us in no wise well founded.[5] As we shall see, every characteristic in their modern descendants and


  1. Consult Fligier, 1881. Stephanos, 1884, p. 430, gives a complete bibliography of the older works. Cf. also Reinach, 1893 b, in his review of Hesselmeyer; and on the supposed Hittites, the works of Wright, De Cara, Conder, etc.
  2. Stephanos, 1884, p. 432, asserts the Pelasgi to have been brachycephalic, while Zampa, 1886 b, p. 639, as positively affirms the contrary view.
  3. Nicolucci, 1865 and 1867; Zaborowski, 1881; Virchow, 1882 and 1893; Lapouge, 1896 a, pp. 412-419; and Sergi, 1895 a, p. 75, are best on ancient Greek crania.
  4. 1896 a, p. 414.
  5. Stephanos, 1884, p. 439.