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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/645

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623
THE PEOPLES OF THE BALKAN PENINSULA.

group distinctive: first, that it comprises some of the tallest men in the world, comparing favorably with the Scotch in this respect; and, secondly, that the Illyrians tend to be among the broadest-headed people known. In general, it would appear that the people of Herzegovina and northern Albania possess these traits to the most notable degree, while both in the direction of the Save and Danube and of the plains of Thessaly and Epirus they have been attenuated by intermixture. Presumably also toward the east among the Bulgarians in Macedonia and Thrace these characteristics diminish in intensity. Thus, for example, while the Herzegovinians, measured by Weisbach, yielded an average stature of five feet nine inches, the Bosnians were appreciably shorter; and the Dalmatians and Albanians were even more so. Nevertheless, as compared with the Greeks, Bulgars, Turks, or Roumanians, even the shortest of these Slavs stood high. From this specific center outward, especially around the head of the Adriatic Sea, over into Venetia, spreads the influence of this giantism. It confirms, as we have said, the classical theory of an Illyrian cross among the Venetians, extending well up into the Tyrol.

As for the second trait, the exaggerated broad-headedness, it too, like the tallness of stature, seems to center about Herzegovina and Montenegro. Thus at Scutari, in the corner of Albania near this lastnamed country, Zampa[1] found a cranial index of 89; in Herzegovina the index upon the living head ranges above 87. It would be difficult to exceed this brachycephaly anywhere in the world. The square foreheads and broad faces of the people correspond in every way to the shape of the heads. Its significance appears immediately on comparison with the long oval faces of the Greeks.

One more trait of the Balkan Slavs remains for us to note. The people are mainly pure brunets, as we might expect, but they seem to be less dark than either the Greeks or the Turks. Especially among the Albanians are light traits by no means infrequent. In this respect the contrast with the Greeks is apparent, as well as with the Dalmatians along the coast and the Italians in the same latitude across the Adriatic. Weisbach found nearly ten per cent of blond and red hair among his Bosnian soldiers, while about one third of the eyes were either gray or blue. The Herzegovinians are even lighter than the Bosnians, almost as much so as the Albanians. From consideration of these facts it would appear as if the harsh climate of these upland districts had been indeed influential in setting off the inland peoples from the Italian-speaking Dalmatians along the coast. For among the latter brunetness certainly increases from north to south, conformably to the general rule for the rest of Europe. In the interior, blondness apparently moves in the contrary direction, cul-


  1. 1886 b, p. 637.