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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 53/October 1898/The Racial Geography of Europe: Supplement - Russia and the Slavs XV





OCTOBER, 1898.



(Lowell Institute Lectures, 1896.)




ON the east, the west, and the north, the boundaries of the Russian Empire are drawn with finality. Its territory ends where the land ends. The quarter of this empire which is comprised in Europe is defined with equal clearness on three sides and a half. Only along the line of contact with western Europe, shown on our map facing page 724, is debatable territory to be found. Even here a natural frontier runs for a long way on the crest of the Carpathian Mountains. To l)e sure, Galicia, for the moment, owes political allegiance to Austria-Hungary; but the Ruthenians, who constitute the major part of her population, are nowise distinguishable from the Russians, as we shall soon see. This leaves merely the two extremes of the Baltic-Black Sea frontier in question. The indefiniteness of the southern end of this line, from the Carpathians down, is one cause of that Russian itch for the control of the Bosporus which no number of international conventions can assuage. The Danube could never form a real boundary; a great river like that is rather a unifying factor in the life of nations than otherwise. Hence the great problems of the Balkan Peninsula. From the Carpathians north to the Baltic Sea, likewise, no geographical line of demarcation can be traced with surety. No water shed, worthy of the name, between the Dnieper and Vistula exists, although the one runs east and the other west not far from the present boundary of Poland and Russia. The former country is possessed of no sharply defined area of characterization. The State of Texas has as clear a topographical title to independent political life. The partition of Poland was in a measure a direct result of geographical circumstances. These have condemned this unhappy country, despite the devoted patriotism of her people, to a nondescript political existence in the future. By language the Poles are affiliated with Russia, not Germany; but in religion they are Occidental rather than Byzantine. Thus Poland stands to-day, padded with millions of politically inert Jews, as a buffer between Russia and Teutonism. It is a case not unlike that of Alsace-Lorraine. In both instances the absolute inflexibility of physical environment as a factor in political life is exemplified.

From the Carpathian Mountains, where, as we have said, Russia naturally begins, a vast plain stretches away north and east to the Arctic Ocean and to the confines of Asia; an expanse of territory, in Europe, eleven times as large as France.[2] Nor is it limited to Europe alone. Precisely the same formation, save for a slight interruption at the Ural Mountains, extends on across Asia, clear to the Pacific Ocean. European Russia, only one quarter the size of Siberia, is, however, the only part of immediate interest to us here. Nowhere in all its vast expanse is there an elevation worthy the name mountain. Even the most rugged portion, the Valdäi Hills in southern Novgorod, are barely one thousand feet high; they are more like a tableland than a geological uplift.

Whatever its local character, be it great peat swamps or barren steppe, the impression of the country is ever the same. Monotony in immensity; an endless uniformity of geographical environment, hardly to be equaled in any country inhabited by European peoples. Thus is the geographical environment of the Russian people deter- mined in its first important respect. Their territory offers no obstacle whatever to expansion in any direction; the great rivers, navigable for hundreds of miles, are, in fact, a distinct invitation to such migrations. On the other hand, this plain surface and the great rivers offer the same advantages to the foreigner as to the native; there is a complete absence of those natural barriers behind which a people may seek shelter from the incursions of others. The only natural protection which the region offers is in its dense forests and swamps. These, however, unlike mountains, offer no variety of conditions or natural products; they afford no stimulation to advance in culture; they retard civilization in the act of protecting it; they are better fitted to afford refuge to an exiled people than to en- courage progress in a nascent one.

The second factor in determining a geographical area of char- acterization is its relative fertility. As we have observed before, this invites or discourages the movement of populations, in armies or in peaceful migration, just as much as the configuration of the surface makes this an easy or difficult matter. Judged by this second criterion, the territory of European Russia varies considerably. Leroy-Beaulieu divides it into three strips from north to south. The half lying north of a line from Kiev to Kazan (see map on page 731), constituting the forest zone, is light soiled; it varies from heavy forest on the southern edge to the stunted growth of the arctic plains. South of the forest belt, south of a line, that is, from Kiev to Kazan, lies the prairie country. This is the flattest of all; over a territory several times the size of France, a hill of three hundred and fifty feet elevation is unknown. This prairie or woodless strip is of surpassing fertility — the so-called Black Mold belt, just south of the forests, rivaling the basin of the Mississippi in its natural richness of soil. From this the country gradually becomes less and less fertile, with the decreasing rainfall, as we go south. This brings us at last to the third region, that of the barren steppes, or saline deserts, which center about the Caspian Sea. These are found also less extensively north of the Crimean Peninsula, as far west as the lower Dnieper. Their major part lies south and east of the Don River. As Leroy- Beaulieu observes, the real boundary between Europe and Asia, viewed not cartographically, but in respect of culture and anthro- pology, lies not at the Ural River and Mountains at all, where most of our geographies place it. Sedentary, civilized, racial Europe, roughly speaking, ends at a line, shown on our map, up the Don from its mouth to the knee of the Volga, thence up the latter and away to the northeast. This brings us to Asia, with its terrific extremes o£ continental climate, with its barren steppes, its slit-eyed Mongols, and its nomadic and imperfect culture.

A word must be said, before we proceed to the physical anthropology of Russia, as to the languages which are spoken there. The true Russians form about one half the population of the European portion of the country; the rest are Letto-Lithuanians, of whom we shall speak in a moment, Poles, Jews, Finns, and Mongols, with a sprinkling of Germans. The true Russians are divided into three groups of very unequal size.[3] These are said to differ not only in language, but in temperament as well. About fifty of the seventyodd millions of them, known as Great Russians, occupy the entire center, north, and east of the country. These are the "Muscovites," their historic center being in the ancient capital city of Moscow. Next in numbers come the people of Little Russia, or Ukraine, which, as our maps show, inhabits the governments of the southwest, up against Galicia. They in turn center politically in Kiev, covering a wedge-shaped territory, with its point lying to the east in Kharkov and Voronesh. The Cossacks, who extend down around the Sea of Azof into the Kuban, are linguistically Little Russians also. The third group, known as the White Russians, only four million souls in number, is found in the four governments shown on our maps, extending from Poland up and around Lithuania. This White Russian territory is flat, swampy, and heavily forested, in strong contrast to the fertile, open Black Mold belt of Little Russia. In topography and in the meagerness of its soil White Russia is akin to the sandy Baltic provinces from Lithuania north. Linguistically, the White and Great Russians are closely allied; the dialect of the Little Russians is considerably differentiated from them both. This is probably due to the Tatar invasions from the east across middle Russia. In face of these the Great Russians withdrew toward Moscow; the White Russians took refuge in their inhospitable swamps and forests, while the population of the Ukraine was left to itself at the south.

Entirely distinct from the Slavs in language is the Letto-Lithuanian people, which, to the number of three million or more, occupies the territory between the White Russians and the Baltic Sea extending down into northern Prussia,[4] Their speech, in the comparative isolation of this inhospitable region—an isolation which made them the last people in Europe to accept Christianity—is the most archaic member of the great Aryan or inflectional family. Standing between Slavic and Teutonic, it is more primitive than
PSM V53 D747 Cephalic index map of eastern europe.png

either. Three tribes or peoples of them coexist here: Letts, Jmouds or Samogitians, and Lithuanians proper, as shown on our map. Contact with the Finnic-speaking peoples north of them—Esths, Livs, Tchouds, and Vods—has modified the purity of the Lettic speech considerably. These Finns, in turn, speak a language like that of the Magyars in Hungary, and the Basques, which is not European at all. It is similar in structure to the primitive languages of Asia and of the aborigines of America. It represents a transitional stage of linguistic evolution, through which the Aryan family has probably passed in earlier times. But the language of the Letto-Lithuanians, while primitive in many respects, bears no relation structurally to the Finnic; it is as properly Aryan as the speech of the Slavs.

The perfect monotony and uniformity of environment of the Russian people is most clearly expressed anthropologically in their head form. Our results are shown graphically, it is believed for the first time, by the accompanying map of cephalic index. The proportions of the head, as we have sought to prove in our previous papers, are to-day regarded as perhaps the most indubitable test of racial derivation for Europe, at least. The cephalic index is merely the breadth of the head in percentage of its maximum length from front to back. Thus a cephalic index of 82 means that the head is 82/100 as broad as it is long. A rise of index implies an increasingly broad or short head. Low indexes mean long heads; high ones denote a round or bullet-shaped cranium. Of course, as we must reiterate, our indexes are merely the averages for great numbers of individuals. They express more or less roughly the central type toward which the populations as a whole tends.

Bearing in mind that the Poles and Letto-Lithuanians along the Baltic Sea are not Russians properly, and excluding, of course, the Tatars of the Crimea, a moment's consideration of our map[5] shows at once a great similarity of head form prevailing all over Europe from the Carpathian Mountains east and north. The cephalic index oscillates but two or three points about a center of 82. This is about the head form of the northwestern French; appreciably broader, that is to say, than the standard for the Anglo-Saxon peoples. In places the breadth of head in Russia increases, especially among the Polesians isolated in the marshes of Pinsk and along the swamps of the Pripet River. These people are supposed to be infused with Polish blood, which may account for it,[6] as the southeastern Poles are quite brachycephalic (broad-headed). At other times, as in southern Smolensk, the index falls to 80.[7] Our widest range of variation in Russia is about five units. Compare this with our former results for western Europe. In France, less than half the size of this portion of the Russian people covered by our map, the cephalic index runs from 78 to 88. In Germany the limits are about the same; while in Italy, only one eighteenth the size of European Russia, the head form changes from an index of 75 in Sardinia to one of 89 in the Alps of Piedmont. These are about the extremes of long-and broad-headedness presented by the human species; the Russian type is about midway between the two.

One cause of this unparalleled extension of a uniform type, measured by the proportions of the head—a variability, notwithstanding the size of the country, only about one third of that in the restricted countries of western Europe—is not far to seek. It lies in the monotony of the Russian territory, which we have emphasized above. Once more are we confronted with an example of the close relation which exists between man and the soil on which he lives. A variety of human types is the natural accompaniment of diversity in physical environment. Intermixture and comparative purity of race may coexist side by side. Switzerland and the Tyrol offer us violent contrasts of this sort. Russia, devoid of all obstacles in the way of fusion, presents a great mean or average type, about halfway between the two limits of variation of which the European races elsewhere can boast. But pass beyond the foothills of the Caucasus, and behold the change! A Babel of languages—no less than sixty-eight dialects, in fact—and half as many physical types, of all complexions, all head forms, and all sizes. Truly it seems to be a law that mountains are generators of physical individuality, while the plains are fatal to it.

The population of Russia is not alone made up of Russians. We have in our preceding paragraph expressly excluded the population of the Baltic provinces. For the Letto-Lithuanians are not Slavs, as we have already observed, and of course the Finnic peoples, Esths, Tchoids, and Vods, are still more distinct. Our map at once brings the peculiar head-form of these groups into strong relief. All along the frontier of Germany, and away up to Finland, a strong tendency to long-headedness is manifested. This contrast, as it appears to the ordinary traveler, is exemplified in our portraits. A narrow head generally is accompanied by a rather long and narrow face; our Mongol types, with their very round bullet heads, are characteristically broad and squarish-faced. This is partially due to the prominence of the cheek bones. It is this latter characteristic of our American aborigines which gives them their peculiar Mongol aspect. I have observed the very broad face to be one of the most persistent traits in the cross-breeds. Dr. Boas has proved it statistically. Even a trace of Indian blood will often cause this peculiarity. Now, the Russians express their relative broad-headedness, as compared with the Letto-Lithuanians and Baltic Finns, in the relatively squarish form of their faces.[8] The Volga Finns, on the other hand, with more admixture of Mongol blood, are perceptibly broader faced. Our portraits make this difference apparent at once.

South and west of the Carpathian Mountains a second great division of the Slavs exists. This includes the Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Moravians; and—divided from them by the intrusive Magyars, who speak a Finnic language—the Slovenes, Serbo-Croatians, and Bosnians in the south. This congeries of scattered Slavic nationalities seems to be, for some reason, politically adrift in Europe. The Bulgars and Roumanians belong to a still different class. For the former, while Slavic in speech, is quite distinct in physical derivation; and the Roumanians, in origin probably allied to the Slavs, speak a corrupted Romance language. Matters are indeed becoming mixed as we approach the Balkan Peninsula. This entire group of southwestern Slavs is characterized by a very prevalent broad-headedness, much more marked than among the Russians, as Weisbach has been proving for twenty-five years. Their brachycephaly is directly conjoined to that of the Alpine highlands in the Tyrol, where we pass beyond the limits of Slavdom, and enter the territory once occupied by the Celts. Our map points to a once universal broad-headedness over all the present Austro-Hungarian Empire, from which a spur seems to extend over into Little Russia, becoming lost in an expanse of longer-headedness in the plains beyond. All the mountainous regions are still characterized by brachycephaly; it is a repetition of the law which holds good throughout western Europe. This
PSM V53 D752 Great russian with cephalic index 84.2.png
Great Russian. Vladimir Government. Cephalic Index, 84.2.
PSM V53 D752 Great russian with cephalic index 82.png
Great Russian. Vladimir Government. Cephalic Index, 82.
PSM V53 D752 Tatars from goursuf southern crimea.png
Tatars. Goursuf, southern Crimea.

Slavic Types (with Tatars).

brachycephaly is tempered only in those districts like Austria, where we know both from language and history that the Teutonic influencehas been strong. Other physical traits will corroborate this deduction shortly. Yet these Austrian Germans are to-day only distantly related to the blond Scandinavian Germans along the Baltic. They resemble the Bavarians and Swabians, who are, as we know, a cross between the blond Teutonic race and a thick-set, broad-headed Alpine one. Leaving aside for the moment the long-headed strip on the Black Sea, shown by our map, we can not resist the final inference that all this part of Europe, now inhabited by the southern Slavs, is fundamentally Alpine in racial type, although eroded in places by Teutonic influences from the north, and disturbed by the volcanic irruption of the Finnic Magyars and the Turkish Bulgarians.

The word Russian is undoubtedly derived from a root meaning-red. Our adjective rufous, and the name Ruthenian, applied to the inhabitants of Galicia, bear the same signification. The name is aptly applied, for the Russians, wherever found, are characterized by a distinct tendency toward what we would term a reddish blondness. Janczuk, in the government of Minsk, in White Russia, found almost half his peasants to have hair of this shade.[9] It is not a real red, however. It might be called either a light chestnut, a dark flaxen, or an auburn tint. This shade of hair, combined with what Talko-Hryncewicz terms a "beer-colored" eye, is the center from which variation up or down occurs. This range of variation is quite considerable, and seems to conform to the general law for all Europe, to which we have already called attention.[10] Brunetteness increases regularly from north to south. In Russia the population also manifests a distinct tendency toward darker hair and eyes from west to east. The Baltic Sea is the center of distribution for blondness, here as in Germany. The relations are well illustrated by the following table; statistics offer merely a scientific confirmation of the facts of common observation:

Percentage of Types (Hair,
Eyes, and Skin combined).
Blond 67 57 55 33 28 40
Mixed 28 31 29 46 32 40
Brunette 5 11 18 20 40 20

These figures show that the Letto-Lithuanians are the lightest people in the group. They are characterized most frequently by a blue eye, and light hair which rivals the Swedes and Norwegians in its purity.[11] Two thirds of these Baltic peoples appear as pure blondes. The Poles are nearly as light, apparently. Majer and Kopernicky,[12] in fact, found more blond types among adults even than Virchow did among his German school children, and this, too, despite the fact that the blondness of the latter would surely decrease with growth. Next to the Poles and Letto-Lithuanians come the White Russians and the people of Podolia (see map facing page 724), with still a majority of blond types. The Great Russians are somewhat darker but even they are appreciably lighter in complexion than the little Russians in the southern governments. These Ukainians are still blue or lightish in eye, but betray a strong disposition to dark-brown hair. This latter is here as common as the light brown.[13] The "beer-colored" eye, in most frequent combination with really dark hair, brings us to the culmination of brunetteness among the Galicians m the Carpathian Mountains. These Gorali, as our table indicates, in contrast with the Letto-Lithuanians, show the clear brunette at last outweighing the blond. The name "black Russians," applied to these mountaineers to distinguish them from the Ruthenians, or "red Russians," of the plains of Galicia, appears to be deserved. They seem to contain twice as many clear brunette types as the Ukrainians, who are in Russia accounted dark. Beneath all these variations, however, underlies the rufous tendency of which we have spoken. It distinguishes the Russian blondness from that of all other Europeans.

In stature the Russians are of medium height, but they betray the same susceptibility to the influences of environment as other Europeans Our map, herewith, illustrates this clearly. This investigation of upward of two million recruits, by the eminent anthropologist Anntchin, shows a considerable variation according to the fertility of the country. Thus in the northern half, above Moscow and Kazan, the adult males are two inches shorter than in the Ukraine about Kiev, which lies in the heart of the Black Mold belt. The difference between White and Little Russians is due to the same cause. Other influences besides physical environment are, however, at work, beyond question. This is especially the case in Poland! This unhappy country is the adopted fatherland of millions of Jews.

PSM V53 D755 Index map of russian statures.png

There are almost more here than in all the rest of Europe put together. These Jews are one of the most stunted peoples in Europe. In how far this is the result of centuries of oppression, and in what degree it is an inherent ethnic trait, we need not stop to consider. It is an indisputably proved fact. The presence of this horde of Jews, in Poland often outnumbering the natives, especially in the towns, is largely accountable for the short stature shown by our map. This does not exonerate the Poles by any means from the charge of relative diminutiveness. The degree in which they are surpassed by their Slavic neighbors is shown by our map on the next page. Comparisons with Russia are facilitated by the uniformity of tints. Yet even here in Austria-Hungary the shortness of the Poles and Ruthenians, which together form the population of Galicia, may be partly attributable to the large contingent of Jews.

The clearest example of stature as an unmitigated ethnic trait, hereditary and persistent, is shown in the eastern half of Austria-Hungary, on our second map. Notice the lightness of shading among all the Germans (Deutsche) in Austria, in the Tyrol, and in the northwestern corner of Bohemia (Böhmen). These are just the districts where Teutonic infiltration from the north has been historically proved since early times. We have already mentioned it in our study of the head form. The German-speaking Austrians, then, are by nature, and not by acquisition, an inch or two taller than many of the Slavic peoples subject to their political domination. It is the same phenomenon already so familiar to us in the case of the relatively gigantic Burgundian peasantry in France to-day; in the tallness of the people of Lombardy; and, above all, in the Teutonized eastern half of the British Isles. This latter example comes directly home to us, because we in America owe a large measure of our surpassingstature to the same ethnic cause. Never has a physical trait shown so surprising a persistency as in the height of these Teutonic peoples.

Just here a difficulty confronts us—one which no anthropologist has satisfactorily explained. Our second map shows a very tall population among the southern Slavs, the Slovenes, Serbo-Croatians, and Bosnians, contrasted with the short Poles, Ruthenians, and Slovaks in the northeast. This can not historically be traced to a Teutonic ancestry. Anthropologically it is even less probable, because these southern Slavs are all very dark in hair and eye, being in this respect as in head form the polar extreme from the Teutons of the north. A distinct subcenter of giantism, inexplicable but established beyond all doubt, exists just east of the Adriatic Sea. Its influence radiates through the Slovenes over into northeastern Italy. We find indication of it in the Rhætian parts of Switzerland. Deniker, in his recent classification of the anthropological types of Europe, carries it even further, under the definite name of the Adriatic or Dinaric race.[14] Can it be denied that the tallness of the Tyrolese, who in their mountainous habitat, despite the depressing influence of their environment, surpass the Swiss, the Bavarians, the Austrians, and the Italians, may not possibly be due to a double ethnic source? At just this point in the Tyrol the Teutonic wave of tall stature from the north and the Adriatic one from the south come

PSM V53 D757 Population diversity map of austria hungary.png

together. Thus an exception to the law that, other things equal, the populations of mountains are unfavorably affected in stature by their environment may possibly be explained.

Turning back to our map of stature in Russia, on page 731, we observe a distinctly lighter shading—that is to say, a taller stature along the coast of the Baltic Sea. This is merged in the mediocre stature of the Great Russians, a little east of Novgorod. Although unfortunately our map does not give the data for Finland, we know that a similar superiority of stature extends all across this province. All the Tinns in this part of Russia are very tall. G. Retzius, Bonsdorff, Hjelt, Eliséev, and all observers agree in this. An average height not a whit less than that of the pure Scandinavians in Norway and Sweden is proved. It lessens toward the north in contact with the Lapps, most stunted of men at an average of only five feet for adult males. It decreases on the east among the Karelian Finns, falling rapidly to the Russian average. Bear in mind that in no other part of northern Europe, save in Scandinavia, just across the Baltic Sea, is an average stature anywhere near that of the Finns to be found; that a cross with the Swedes in consequence is inadequate as an explanation for this tallness; that wherever there is contact with the Slav, precisely as in Austria-Hungary, where, as we have seen, an ethnic trait ran up against Slavdom, the bodily height falls to mediocrity; and draw the only inference possible both from geography and physical anthropology. We shall deal with the philologists later. The Finn and the Scandinavian are at bottom of the same race.

Summarizing our results thus far, we find two physical types more or less clearly coexisting in the Russian people, and throughout all the Slavs, too, for that matter. One is tall, blondish, and longheaded; the other is brachycephalic, darker-complexioned, and of medium height. The relative proportions of each vary greatly from one region to another. Among Lithuanians and Poles, the former is more noticeable; in the Ukraine the other type becomes more frequent; the Great Russians stand between the two; while among the southern Slavs the blond, long-headed variety entirely disappears. Not only do the relative proportions of these component types vary from one region to another. Distinct differences in the several social strata of the same locality appear. The tall dolichocephalic blondes are more characteristic of the upper classes as a rule, so far as the matter has been examined.[15] Our results for western Europe are entirely harmonious with this tendency. And, thirdly, it is curious to note that the relative proportions of these two ethnic types have changed entirely since prehistoric times. This point is of so great significance that we must examine it a bit more in detail.

Nowhere else in Europe is the complete submergence of an old race by an intrusive one more 'clear than in the Slavic portion of Europe. Bogdanof, founder of Russian archæology, devoted his entire life to proof of this fact in his own country,[16] The first indications of this submerged aboriginal population were given by crania
PSM V53 D759 Blond lithuanian.png
Blond Lithuanian.
PSM V53 D759 Finn from the west coast of finland cephalic index 78.png
Finn. West coast, Finland. Cephalic index, 78.
PSM V53 D759 Mari and mordwin women from the urals.png
Cheremiss.Volga Finns.Mordwin.

Finno-Teutonic Types.


from the tumuli which are scattered all over Russia from the Carpathians almost to the Ural chain, and even beyond in Siberia. These Kurgans, so called, are merely large mounds of earth from twenty to fifty feet high, sometimes single, sometimes arranged in series for miles. They are not unlike the simpler relics of our own mound builders. The dead level of the country makes them in the open prairies often of great service to herdsmen in tending their flocks. These tumuli were found for the most part to date from the stone age; no implements or ornaments of metal were unearthed in them. The absence of weapons or utensils of war in the Kurgans also denoted a peaceable folk. The population must have been considerable, for these tumuli are simply innumerable. The men of this prehistoric period betrayed a notable homogeneity of type, even more uniform than that of the modern living population. The crania were almost invariably of a pure, long-headed variety; the cephalic indexes ranging as low or lower than that of the purest living Teutonic peoples to-day. Remembering that the modern Russians are well up among the moderately broad-headed Europeans, it will be seen what this discovery implied. Nothing else was known save that this extinct people were very tall, considerably above the standard of the Russian mujik to-day. The most obvious explanation, in view of the fact that Finnic place names occurred all over Russia, was that these tumuli were the remains of an extinct substratum of Finns, driven out or absorbed by the incoming Slavs. Their civilization, made known to us by Uvarof, and more recently by Inostranzef, was definitely connected with that of the Merian people, so called by the historians.

Soon a new and significant point began to be noted. While the range of this primitive long-headed people, so different from the living Russians, was distinctly set on the north and east, no definite limits could be set to it toward the southwest. In the meanwhile Kopernicky and others, from 1875 on, began to find evidence of the same dolichocephalic stratum of population, underlying all the Slavs in Podolia and Galicia.[17] Their track has been followed, entirely antedating the modern Slavs, down into Bohemia and Moravia, by Niederle[18] and Matiegka,[19] and as far as Bosnia, where, in the great discoveries at Glasinac,[20] the existence of this same aboriginal population was abundantly proved. On the west, Lissauer followed it across Prussia beyond the Vistula.[21] Thus on every side it was traced to the limits of Slavdom, and found to underlie it throughout. Two explanations were suggested for this widespread phenomenon. Bogdanof and a few others asserted that civilization implied an increased broad-headedness, that a morphological change had taken place in the same people, while the majority of anthropologists found in it proof of an entire change of race since the earliest times. The first explanation, even granting that the brachycephalic races as a rule are endowed with a greater cranial capacity than the long-headed ones, could hardly be accorded a warm reception in any of the Anglo-Saxon countries like our own. To relegate long-headedness to an inferior cultural position would result not only in damning the entire Teutonic race, but that one also which produced the early Semitic, Greek, and Roman civilizations. No explanation for the recency of broad-headedness in the Slavic countries is, then, tenable for a moment, save that the brachycephalic contingent is a newcomer in the land.

Which of these two ethnic elements which have contended so long for mastery among the people of this part of Europe represents the primitive Slavic type? It is a delicate matter, by no means free from national prejudice. The Germans have always looked down upon their eastern neighbors, by reason of their backwardness in culture. Our ignoble word "slave" is a product of this disdain in Europe of the Slav.[22] To find the primitive Slavic type, therefore, in that variety, which accords so completely with our pattern of the Teutonic race, is disheartening to the Germans as for the Slavs themselves; it runs counter to their distrust of modern aggressive Teutonism. Even science is not free to violate the provisions of the Triple Alliance with impunity.

The most generally accepted theory among anthropologists as to the physcal relationship of the Slavs is that they were always, as the majority of them are to-day, of the same stock as the broad-headed Alpine (Celtic) race. This latter occupies, as we have seen, all the central part of western Europe. It predominates among the north Italians, the French in Auvergne and Savoy, and the Swiss. It prevails in the Tyrol and all across southern Germany, in Alsace-Lorraine, Würtemberg, and Bavaria. The French anthropologists, especially Topinard, have emphasized the direct similarity in head form which exists between all these people and the Slavs. The name Celto-Slavic has been applied to this broad-headed race by virtue of this fact. It was a logical deduction from the first discovery of broad-headedness among the Slavs by A. Retzius, von Baer, and Weisbach. The main objection to it came from the philologists, who found the Slavic languages much nearer the Teutonic than the Celtic branch. This Celto-Slavic theory, affirmed by the French anthropologists, mainly on the ground of similarity of head form, is generally sustained by the Germans on the basis of their investigations of relative brunetteness among school children.[23] These have all tended to show that the Slavonized portions of Germany and Austria were darker than the 'purely Teutonic ones.

The native anthropologists are divided in theory as to the type of their Slavic ancestors. No one pretends to question the facts in the case; the divergence of opinion is merely as to which stratum of population, which region, or which social class of the two we have described, is entitled to claim the honored title. Thus Anutchin,[24] Tarenetsky[25] Talko-Hryncewicz,[26] Olechnowicz,[27] Kopernicky,[28] Pic,[29] Ikof,[30] and Janczuk[31] identify the modern broad-headed population as a Slavic invader of originally Finnic territory; while Bogdanof,[32] Zograf,[33] and especially Niederle, [34] represent the claims of the extinct Kurgan people to the honored name of Slav. Leroy--Beaulieu seems to represent a popular tendency in favor of this latter view.[35] For our own part, we rather incline to agree with Matiegka that it is a question which the craniologists are not competent to settle.[36] That the Alpine (Celtic) racial type of western Europe is the best claimant for the honor seems to us to be the most logical inference, especially in the light of studies of the living aborigines of Russia, to which we must now turn.

Three ethnic elements are generally recognized as component parts of the Russian people—the Slav, the Finn, and the MongolTatar. The last two lie linguistically outside the family of related peoples which we call Aryans, the only other non-Aryan language in Europe being the Basque.[37] In any classification of them, according to their physical characteristics, we must, however, set aside all the evidences of language as untrustworthy. To admit them as a basis of classification would involve us at once in inextricable confusion.[38] These tribes have all been more or less nomadic for ages in this great plain country; they have taken on and put off customs, language, and religion time and again, according to circumstances. The latter characteristic, religion, in fact, affords us a far better standard for ethnic classification than language, for the Finns have persisted in Christianity, the Turks and Tatars have held to Mohammedanism, and the Mongols proper to Buddhism, with a remarkable constancy. The varying proportions of barbarism in each group are well illustrated by this fact; for in race, as in religion, the Finns are truly indigenous to western Europe, the Tatar-Turks are Oriental, while the Mongols proper are Asiatic.

The evils incident to any linguistic classification of the aborigines in Russia are best illustrated by a comparison of the Lapps with the Livs, Eths, and Tchouds of the Baltic provinces; both groups alike speak Finnic languages; the philologists, therefore, from Castren to Mikkola, class them as alike members of a Finnic "race," along with the Magyars or Hungarians, who are also Finnic in speech. Nothing could be more absurd than to assert a community of physical origin for the three. The Magyars, among the finest representatives of a west European type, are no more like the Lapps than the Australian Bushmen; and the Baltic Finns are equally distinct. The Lapps, as our portraits illustrate, are among the broadest-headed people in the world.[39] Their squat faces show it. In stature they are among the shortest of the human species. Virchow's celebrated hypothesis that they are a "pathological race" seems excusable on this ground. Their hair and eyes are very dark brown, often black. Could any type of human beings be further removed from this than the Finns described to us by G. Retzius, Bonsdorff, Eliséef, or Mainof? These latter are among the tallest of men, with fair skin, flaxen or tow-colored hair, and blue eyes. Turn to our map on the next page. It shows us among the Esths, on the Baltic coast, through the Cheremisse on the Volga, and clear beyond the Ural Mountains among Ostiaks and Voguls in Siberia, a long-headedness not a whit less pronounced than throughout Teutonic Germany. The contrast of tints on our map corresponds to a radical contrast of physical type.

Turning to the Russian aborigines, then, with an eye single to their purely physical characteristics, we may relegate them to two groups, sharply distinguished in isolation, but intermixed along their lines of contact. Our map of cephalic index herewith will roughly

make the division clear. Our two pages of portraits, chosen as representatives of each, will strengthen the contrast. The first group is distinctly long-headed, with an index as low as 79 or 80,

PSM V53 D764 Cephalic index map of russia.png

among the Livs, Esths, Cheremisse, Chouvaches, and Vogul-Ostiaks in Siberia. These are all more or less clearly blond, with a distinctly rufous tendency, even among the extreme eastern tribes of Voguls and Ostiaks.[40] Sometimes, as among the Votiaks, whom Dr. Beddoe[41] inclines to identify with the Budini of the Greeks, because of their red hair, we find this trait very marked, especially in the beard. It seems to be somewhat less pronounced along the Baltic, where the Livs, Esths, and Tschouds shade off imperceptibly into the pure blond Letto-Lithuanians. Here we discover the source of that peculiar reddish blondness of the modern Russians of which we have spoken, for a widespread admixture of blood in the Slav from this stock is recognized by all. In this first type we recognize the Finn, using the linguistic term guardedly, with the express reservation that not every tribe of Finnic speech is of this racial ancestry.

Our second physical type of the Russian aborigines is the polar extreme from this long-headed, red-blond one. We may follow it on our map by the black tints, indicating a prevalent broad-headedness. This is best exemplified at the two extremes of Russia, in the Lapp at the northwest and the Kalmuck and Kirghez hordes of the Caspian steppes. The Samoyeds are merely a continuation of the Lapp type toward Asia along the Arctic coast. These people correspond closely to what we popularly regard as Mongolian. They are all dark or black haired, with swarthy skins; they are peculiarly beardless. With the round face corresponding to the bullet head, high cheek bones, squint eyes, and lank hair, they constitute an unmistakable type.[42] We may provisionally call it Mongol for want of a better word, but it must not be confused with the Turk or Tatar, which is quite distinct. Across middle Russia, and above all among the Bashkirs, we discover a variety of mongrels, compounded of Finn and Mongol, with a strong infusion of Tatars through the whole. Kazan, at the elbow of the Volga, is truly a meeting place of the tribes. The intermingling of strains of blood, of religions, customs, and of linguistic stocks may be observed here at a maximum. Especially where, like the Mordvins, widely disseminated in little groups, not aggregated in solid communities, as among Cheremisse or Tchouvaches, has the infusion of Tatar traits taken place. An interesting fact in this ethnic intermixture is the extreme insidiousness of the Mongolian features. This is a fertile source of confusion of the Finnic and the Asiatic tribes. Many long-headed red-blondes, as among the Ostiaks and Zyrians, who are surely Finnic at bottom, superficially resemble the Mongols in cast of countenance. We have explained, however, in the case of the Basques, how unreliable these facial features are a test of physical descent, for, being distinctive and noticeable, they are immediately subject to the disturbing influences of artificial selection. They may thus wander far from their original type, becoming part of the local ideal of physical beauty prevalent among a primitive people. Only in this way can we explain the almond eyes, flat noses, and high cheek bones of tribes which by their blondness and head form betray unmistakably a Finnic descent.

One objection to our ascription of the name Finn to a long-headed type is bound to arise. We must meet it squarely. If the Finns are of this stock, why is all Finland relatively so broad-headed as our map makes it appear? Here is the largest single aggregation of Finnic-speaking people; ought we not to judge of the original type from their characteristics in this region? By no means, for Finland is the refuge of a great body of aborigines driven forth from Great Russia by the advent of the Slavs, just as also all along the isolated peninsulas of the Baltic and in the Valdai Hills north of Tver. But in Finland, in contradistinction to these other places of refuge, the Finns were crowded in together against the Lapps. Especially in the north we see clear evidence of intermixture. The Russian Lapps are very much less broad-headed than their pure Scandinavian fellows, by reason of such a cross.[43] Can we deny, contrariwise, that a similar rise of index in the case of the Finns must have ensued for the same reason? The Karels, further removed from the Lapps, are somewhat longer-headed; the Baltic Finns, being quite free from their influence, are much more so. Moreover, all along the southwest coast of Finland the heads are much longer. Observations upon twenty-eight Finns in the lumber camps of Michigan by my friend Mr. David L. Wing, yielded an average index of only 78.9, while thirty-nine Swedes were two units lower. A portrait of one of these Finns will be found on our page of Finnic types. Granting that the infusion of Swedish blood all along this coast must be reckoned as a factor, a distinct tendency to this long-headedness among the Finns appears. Coupled with the long-headedness of the Cheremisse, Yogul-Ostiaks, and others, and especially the tendency of the mongrel Bashkirs to dolichoecphaly as we leave the Caspian Mongol influence and approach the Ural Mountains, our affirmation of an original long-headedness of this type seems to be justified.

If our original Finns are proved to be long-headed blondes, oftentimes very tall; if the Letto-Lithuanians, contrasted with the Russian Slavs, betray the same physical tendencies; if, just across the Baltic Sea, the main center of this peculiar racial combination is surely located in Scandinavia; and, finally, if in every direction from the Baltic Sea, whether east across Russia or south into Germany, these traits vanish into the broader-headed, darker-complexioned, mediumstatured, and stocky Alpine (Slavo-Celtic?) type: how can we longer
PSM V53 D767 Lapp and samoyed people.png
Lapp, Scandinavia.
Cephalic Index, 94.
Samoyed, Arctic Coast.
Cephalic Index, 87.
PSM V53 D767 Khirgiz people from the horde of bukee.png
Kirghez, Horde of Bukee.
PSM V53 D767 Kalmuck people.png
Kalmuck. Cephalic index, 86 Kalmuck. Cephalic, 79.

Mongol Types.

deny that Finns, Letto-Lithuanians, and Teutons are all offshoots of the same trunk? A direct physical relationship between the three, referring them all to a so-called nordic race, is confirmed by the very latest and most competent authority;[44] and this in absolute independence of our own conclusions.

If it be established by further investigation, our theory goes far to simplify the entire problem of the physical anthropology of Europe. It is not a new idea. Europeans advanced it twenty years ago on the basis of the then recent archæological discoveries of a long-headed, tall race in the tumuli of the stone age, but it never gained any acceptance at the time. A curious corollary of this theory is that De Quatrefages and Virchow, in their celebrated international controversy over the origin of the Prussians, were both partly in the right. Virchow resented the view of a Finnic origin of his people as an insult, because Lapps and Finns were then confused with one another, and he certainly was right in denying any affinity of Prussians with Lapps. De Quatrefages, in asserting that the Prussians were of Finnic ancestry, was equally in the right, if our theory be true; but he erred in supposing that this damned them as non-Teutonic. For us the Prussians, along with the Hanoverians and Scandinavians, are all at bottom Finnic. We would not stop here. We would agree absolutely with Europeans in his further hypothesis—that these Finns of northern Europe are directly related with that primitive Mediterranean long-headed stock, sprung from the same root as the negro, which we have shown to underlie all the other races of Europe.[45] Its blondness is an acquired characteristic, due to the combined influences of climate and artificial or natural selection. From this center in the north, invigorated by the conditions of its habitat, and speedily pressing upon the meager subsistence afforded by Nature, this race has once again during the historic period retraced its steps far to the south, appearing among the other peoples of Europe as the politically dominant Teutonic race.

The anthropological history of northeastern Europe is now clear. The Slavs penetrated Russia from the southwest, where they were physically an offshoot from the great Alpine race of central Europe. In so doing they forced a way in over a people primitive in culture, language, and physical type. This aboriginal substratum is represented to-day by the Finns, now scarcely to be found in purity, pushed aside into the nooks and corners by an intrusive people, possessed of a higher culture acquired in central Europe. Yet the Finn has not become extinct. His blood still flows in Russian veins, most notably in the Great and White Russian tribes. The former, in colonizing the great plain, has also been obliged to contend with the Asiatic barbarians pressing in from the east. Yet the impress of the Mongol-Tatar upon the physical type of the Great Russian, which constitutes the major part of the nation, has been relatively slight. For instead of amalgamation or absorption, as with the Finn, elimination, or what Leroy-Beaulieu calls "secretion," has taken place in the case of the Mongol hordes. They still remain intact in the steppes about the Caspian; the Tatars are banished to the eastern governments as well, save for those in the Crimea. The Asiatic influence has probably been more strong in determining the Great Russian character than the physical type. A struggle for mastery of eastern Europe with the barbarians has perhaps made the Great Russian more aggressive; vigor has developed at the expense of refinement. The result has been to generate a type well fitted to perform the arduous task of protecting the marches of Europe against barbarian onslaught, and also capable at the same time of forcefully extending European culture over the aborigines of the neighboring continent of Asia.


M. Adhemar Leclère relates of the King of Cambodia, as illustrating one of the superstitions dominant in the country, that a French trader had a fowling piece of remarkable accuracy, which he valued very highly. The king wanted to buy it, but the trader did not care to sell. The king then said he would have a bottle enchanted by his sorcerer, which the man should shoot at. If he missed it, the king would take the gun and pay for it. If he hit it, the king would pay for the gun and the man might keep it. The offer was accepted; the bottle was enchanted and hung up at a distance of a hundred and sixty feet. The king and his sorcerer were satisfied that the man could not hit it; but it flew to pieces at the first shot. The king was very angry at his sorcerer, who fled for home as ashamed of himself "as a fox captured by a hen."

The highest flight of kites made at Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory in 1897 was on October 15th, when the meteorograph was raised to a height of 3,571 metres, or about 11,600 feet above sea level, while the highest kite rose more than 120 feet above this. About 20,475 feet of line were used, and the pull, when the line was in the air, varied between 12.3 and 128 pounds. At the highest point reached the temperature was 41° F., while at the observatory it was 70° F. An interesting feature of this flight was the passage of the meteorograph through the cumulus and alto-cumulus levels of the clouds, as shown by the increase followed by a decrease of humidity at heights corresponding with those occupied by such clouds.

    Note.—This map seems to give average statures slightly lower than those of other observers, like Weisbach, Korösi, and Janko; but, on the other hand, they are corroborated by Scheiber, Majer and Kopernicky, and Zuckerhandl. In all cases the relativity of the various districts is precisely the same; it is confirmed by the maps for the empire by Le Monnier and Mvrdacz. It seems to fit perfectly the results for neighboring countries, given by Livi, Zakrezewski, and Anutchin.

  1. To a number of eminent anthropologists I am especially indebted for assistance in the collection of original Slavic materials used as the basis of this paper. Among these should be especially mentioned with grateful recognition of their invaluable aid: Prof. D. N. Anutschin, president of the Society of Friends of Natural Science, Ethnology, and Anthropology in the Imperial University at Moscow; Prof. A. Tarenetzky, president of the Imperial Military Medical Academy at St. Petersburg; Prof. Lubor Niederle, of Prague; Dr. Adam Zakrewski, chief of the Statistical Bureau at Warsaw; Dr. Talko-Hryncewicz, now in Transbaikal, Siberia; Dr. Olechnowicz, of Lublin; Dr. Matiegka, of Prague, and others. In the translation of the Slavic monographs, I have been aided by Charles S. Hall, Esq., of the Suffolk bar, and Dr. Leo Wiener, of Harvard University. All references run to an exhaustive Bibliography of the Anthropology and Ethnology of Europe, which, after more than a year of unceasing application, is about to be issued as a special bulletin by the Boston Public Library. It will contain the complete title in the original language of every monograph to which reference is made. Through the courtesy and liberality of the librarian and trustees, together with the generosity of many Slavic authors, it is due that nearly all these papers, many of them rare, are now in the collections of the library.
  2. Leroy-Beaulieu, 1881-'89, gives a superb description of the country. Its simple geology is shown by map in Petermann, xli, 1895, No. 6.
  3. Rittich, 1878 b, has mapped their distribution in minute detail.
  4. Müschner and Virchow, 1891, have studied these Prussians.
  5. Our data for this map may be found mainly in the original and excellent compilation of Niederle, 1896 a, pp. 54-57. Additional material of great value, especially from unpublished sources, is given in Deniker, 1897 and 1898 a; while his work, announced in extenso (1898 b), promises to give the most notable results. An especial feature will be his map of the cephalic index of Europe, prepared through the munificence of Prince Roland Bonaparte. It will be a contribution unsurpassed for comprehensiveness. We had, prior to the knowledge of these, independently collected data from the original sources, published in L'Anthropologie, vol. vii, 1896, p. 513, in part; but these later authorities agree so perfectly with our own observations, that reference to them is sufficient. We can only add certain unpublished data on the Magyars from Dr. Janko, of Buda-Pesth; Talko-Hryncewicz's (1897) recent observations in Podolia; Varobdev on the population of Great Russia; etc.
  6. Talko-Hryncewicz, 1894, p. 159, on the anomalous position of the Polesians. Rittich, 1878 b, divides them dialectically between White and Little Russians. Talko-Hryncewicz, 1893, p. 133, and 1894, p. 172, gives his observations on head form. The seriation points to a strong brachycephaly.
  7. Deniker asserts an index of 80.8 in southern Volhynia and of 86 in southern Kiev; but I am unable to confirm it by adequate data.
  8. Talko-Hryncewicz, 1893, p. 169, and Majer and Kopernicky, 188.5, p. 59, show the round broad face of the Poles in Galicia, as compared with the Ruthenians. The Carpathian mountaineers seem to be anomalously long-faced. (Kopernicky, 1889, p. 49.)
  9. 1890 b, col. 69.
  10. Popular Science Monthly, vol. 1, April, 1897, p. 765.
  11. Talko-Hryncewicz is the only observer who has consistently applied a uniform system of observation to various localities. This table, arranged from his works of 1893, p. 112, 1894 p. 168, and 1897, p. 279, presents the best summary of his conclusions. He has covered 'Lithuania, White and Little Russia. We have added results from Majer and Kopernicky 1877, p. 112, and 1885, p. 43, and Kopernicky, 1889, as to the Ruthenians and Poles in Galicia. We add, although not strictly comparable, Zograf's (1892 a, p. 165) results on the Great Russians. More definite comparisons, yielding, however, entirely parallel results, may be drawn from the color of the hair alone. Thus we may include the Poles and even the southern Slavs as far as Bulgaria. To the tables in Talko-Hryncewicz's papers may then be directly added Weisbach's observations over a large field. Niederle, 1896, pp. 60 et seq., has done this most satisfactorily.
  12. 1877, pp. 90 and 112, and 1885, p. 34. Elkind's results (1896) also show a marked blondness.
  13. Tschubinsky, 1878, p. 364, confirms these results.
  14. 1898 a, with map. We emphasized the same fact in our general stature map of Europe in the Popular Science Monthly, li, May, 1897, p. 30.
  15. Olechnowiez, 1893, 1894, and 1897, has obtained some highly interesting results among the "petite noblesse" in Poland. Talko-Hryncewicz, 189Y, confirms it, in Bull. Acad. Science, Cracow.
  16. The facts yielded by his first investigation in 1867 have been confirmed by every observation since. We are fortunate in that a complete summary of his life work was given by himself at the International Congress of Anthropology at Moscow in 1892. Titles of all his monographs will be found in our bibliography above mentioned.
  17. Kohn and Mehlis, 1879, give a complete resumé of Kopernicky's results in an excellent, work which seems to be little known. See especially vol. ii, pp. 108-110, 152, 153.
  18. 1891a, 1894 a, p. 277, and best of all in his masterly work of 1896 a, pp. 67-75, where he gives data for all Slavic countries in detail. His paper in French, at the Moscow Congress of 1892, gives a mere outline of the results obtained. Palliardi, 1894, deals with Moravia also.
  19. 1892 b, and 1894 a.
  20. Glück, 1897 c. p. 575.
  21. 1874-'78
  22. Consult Canon Taylor, Words and Places, p. 303, and Leroy-Beaulieu, 1893-'96, i, p. 97, on this.
  23. Vide our article on Germany in Popular Science Monthly, vol. lii, November, 1897, p. 67. Kollmann, 1882 b, and Ranke, 1886-'87, vol. ii, p. 267, dissent from it. Cf. Rhamm in Globus, vol. lxxi, No. 20.
  24. 1892, pp. 279-281.
  25. 1884, pp. 63-65.
  26. 1893, p. 171.
  27. 1893, p. 37; 1895, p. 70.
  28. Kohn and Mehlis, vol. ii, pp. 114, 153, and 164.
  29. Athenæeum, Prague, vol. viii, p. 193.
  30. 1890, col. 103.
  31. 1890 a, col. 202.
  32. 1892, pp. 10 and 13.
  33. 1896, p. 63.
  34. 1893-'96, vol. i, pp. 96 and 108.
  35. 1891 a, 1892 a, and especially in his positively brilliant 1896 a, pp. 50 et seq. Consult his answer to criticisms, 1891 b, and in Globus, vol. lxxi, No. 24 also. His bibliography of the subject is superb.
  36. 1891, p. 152.
  37. Vide Popular Science Monthly, vol. li, September, 1897, p. 613.
  38. The errors of such a classification are well exemplified in Leroy-Beaulieu's otherwise excellent work, in which his aborigines are utterly confused in relationship. Rittich in all his work, and Keane, 1886, and in his Ethnology, 1896, pp. 803 et seq., are equally at sea. Since the days of Nilsson and Prichard, the philologists have befogged the questions of physical descent. Niederle, 1896, in his appendix upon the subject, seems to be very confused. Topinard, Anthropology, p. 465, has alone avoided the prime difficulty.
  39. Sommier, Kelsief, Kharuzin, Garson, and others have studied them in detail.
  40. Sommier, 1888, p. 246; 1887, p. 104.
  41. 1893, p. 42.
  42. Ivanovsky is the best authority on these people.
  43. Kelsief, 1886, and Kharuzin, 1890 b.
  44. Consult Deniker's map of the Races of Europe, 1898 a, in L'Anthropologie, vol. ix, p. 129. Talko-Hryneewicz, 1893, p. 170, emphasizes the similarity of Letto-Lithuanians and Finns. Kohn and Mehlis, vol. ii, pp. 108 a; d 153, acknowledge the similarity of Kopernicky's Kurgan people and the Teutonic Reihengräber, as does Bogdanof, 1892, pp. 19-21, also.
  45. The Aryan Question, Popular Science Monthly, vol. lii, January, 1898, pp. 309 et seq. This is in perfect accord with Sergis's most recent work in Centralblatt für Anthropologie, 1898, p. 2; and with Niederle's conclusions (1896, p. 131; and especially in Globus, vol. lxxi, No.-24).