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Thread: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    ....
    In either case I think it's pretty clear the Greeks on average were far lighter and fairer than Egyptians or North Africans, albeit not quite Scandinavian either as Athanaric points out and Alhoon implies with his perception of redheads and blonds from a Greek perspective. ...
    Yeah probably right. As I say some of the "Greeks" at my school were pink as me. There was a red head, and the blondes ranged from Viking looking dudes to classic 100' forehead straight nosed Greek stereotypes (think Disney Hercules) all the way through to deep tan. On average? Not sure there were only two Egyptians at my school (Copts) and they looked Hellenic to me.

    The real outlier as I say was Rom, but there were non locals migrating to Hellas since forever, good old Cadmus from Lebanon sticks out in my mind. Another outlier was the Pontian dude, he gets mistaken for Iranain and Spanish (?) and people think I look more Greek than him, and I'm 100% Irish ancestry.

    Some Hellenic ancestors must have come down from Yamnaya, some were Luwians, some must even have been from Kemet. Being a Hellene is about the brain, not the blood: we're all Hellenes in a way.
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  2. #22
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    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    LOL. Okay bro, whatever you say. The lady with the wide eyes is literally Queen Berenice II of Ptolemaic Egypt, a Macedonian Greek whose father was Magas of Cyrene. The guy with the red background literally decorates a Greco-Bactrian tapestry with mythological Greek centaurs on it and he wears a Hellenistic royal diadem, if his Greekness wasn't clear enough. The lady with the little head who for some reason you don't think is Greek is literally a Tanagra figurine from the Boeotian town of Tanagra in Greece, dated to the early Hellenistic period, the 4th century BC.

    Seriously bro, I'm starting to think you're an Ottoman Turkic Christian who came over to Greece after the population exchange and got a new surname.
    Heeey there... Let's clarify a few things:
    "Queen Berenice II of Ptolemaic Egypt" <=== Bad depiction. No human race looks like that. Her features are distorted and all. If you didn't know she was Queen XXX, there was no way from her facial features, not diameds and clothes etc to tell where she was from.
    Tinehead Boetian: Greeks (and humans ) have heads that are bigger than my hand. Now, about the features in general, they are too "Generic" from my view to assign ancestry to her.
    Grecobactrian: I know nothing about royal somethings that people wear; that's something you historians recognize not me. I believe you he's of Greek ancestry, I just said he doesn't look too Greek to me. That he is Grecobactrian actually confirms my gut feeling that he has mixed Asian features BTW.

    My personal ancestry: From several Greek places but I have a Crimean great great grandmother and some of my ancestors were born in Asia Minor to Greeks that emigrated to Asia Minor from Greek islands and immigrated back at the population exchange. Even my Greek-for-five-generations ancestors probably have some mix in them. I am not a 95% pureblood Greek. Probably around 70% or so. There's a legend in my family, that some Paul Komnenos turned his name to my family name to avoid prosecution. My great, great, grandfather (Father of father of father of father of father) was merchant from Trapezus.
    But I have been in Greece my whole life and I have seen Greeks. And the Grecobactrian doesn't resemble them much, he resembles the Asian-blooded Greeks you mentioned. The tinyhead resembles mostly everyone and the Queen bigeyes doesn't resemble anyone in any race.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    Being a Hellene is about the brain, not the blood: we're all Hellenes in a way.
    1. The Westerners because Western world culture is based on Grecoroman culture
    2. Ha ha ha... you wish!
    3. My ancestors (way back) would have taken severe offence. We didn't like barbarians. We traded with them, but looked down on them. Goes that way to the early modern age actually and there are many Greeks today that think the same (despite the quite apparent scientific and cultural output of the "savage Franks and Germans" that far outweights what we do here)
    Last edited by alhoon; September 25, 2019 at 04:55 PM.
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  3. #23
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    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    ...
    1. The Westerners because Western world culture is based on Grecoroman culture
    Western culture includes Hellenic culture, which includes many cultures (their grea strength was they talked and listened, the idiot xenophobes were a symptom of their decline). Lets be honest, while Rome was the dominant polity and politcal influence in the west, it was essentially a Hellenistic City state and Empire.

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    2. Ha ha ha... you wish!
    Are you denying the importance of Hellas in the tradition of the West?

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    3. My ancestors (way back) would have taken severe offence.
    Some of them thought slavery and sodomising children was cool, so what the flying **** do i care what they thought? Parts of their culture disgust me, as my culture surely will disgust my descendants.

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    We didn't like barbarians. We traded with them, but looked down on them.
    Who is we? You don't speak for (or own) Athens or Sparta or Makedonia (and its unlikely any of us trace sole descent to them-perhaps in Sardinia?). Some Hellenes were idiot bigots, no problem, but they hated one another at least as much as they hated foreigners. Just as often as they fought Persia they sold out to Persia to destroy their own cities or their rivals. Alexander did not destroy Persia, he aspired to its rule.

    Bigotry and racism and feelings of cultural superiority are not exclusive Hellenic feelings either, Romans scorned Hellas (even as they devoured its culture), French scholars have sought to erase or at least trivialise the monumentally important empire of East Rome: you can find idiot bigots in almost any time or place in history.

    Its not a proud part of Hellas, or some special distinguishing feature. I think the massive strength of Hellenic culture, and the feature that has passed down its strength to the world today, is speaking and listening to everyone. A Macedonian king was scolded if he did not listen (the story about Demetrios Polioketes has been told about other rulers too). Athens listened to its own people (for better or worse), and even Sparta had its assembly. Herodotus, that most influential master, spoke to Hellene and barbaroi alike and did not privilege the voice of one over the other. As a student I stand in awe of this greatest master, founder of the entire tradition.

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    Goes that way to the early modern age actually and there are many Greeks today that think the same (despite the quite apparent scientific and cultural output of the "savage Franks and Germans" that far outweights what we do here)
    Yes its sad when modern people try to pretend they own history. North Makedonia is prey to this rabid nonsense. At its worst the mystical racisyt nonsense leads you down the path of Mussolini and Hitler, and mystical fairy tales about a pure race/culture/land leads to self destruction.
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  4. #24
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    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by AqD View Post
    Just came across this:

    source
    Originally Posted by Oath of Alexander the Great
    whether you are white or dark-skinned.
    As previously mentioned, its fake.

    Edith Hall writes,

    They were culturally elastic, for they often intermarried with other people; they had no sense of ethnic inequality that was biologically determined. Indeed, they themselves often commented on how difficult was to distinguish Greek and no Greek, let alone free person from slave, if all the trappings of culture, clothing, and adornment were removed. But that does not mean that they were not the right people, in the right place, at the right time, to take up the human baton of intellectual progress for several hundred years.
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  5. #25
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    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    The Greek population is a mixture of Neolithic peoples that crossed over from Anatolia before the early Bronze Age (before the Chalcolithic period even), a Middle Eastern population that probably crossed from the same direction around the Early Bronze at the latest and an Indo-European speaking population that moved in from the north around the early to middle Bronze Age. Maybe also an Indo-European population that crossed from Anatolia during the Middle Bronze as a result of the Hittite migrations, maybe Luwian speaking moved at that time. The common hypothesis is that the Hittite migration caused Helladic peoples to move into the Balkans, but one could also argue that such a movement predates the Hittite invasion. This would be the Middle Helladic speakers which presumably conquered the people of the Early Helladic period, though personally I am not a fan of the theory that the Hittites displaced the Middle Helladic peoples. Would make more sense if it were the Luwians that chased them out, but not due to chain migrations into Anatolia by other people.

    Anyway the short of it is that Greeks would have been anywhere from tanned to light skinned. At some point during the Middle Bronze Age some Indo-European speakers conquered the people in Greece (which were similar to the Minoans or the Cypriots for example). The real question is where these Indo-Europeans came from, whether from Anatolia or the Danube-Eastern Europe area, and when they showed up exactly. Also how many migration waves there were, could have been one from the north and one from Anatolia. Maybe also the Dorian invasions, but that one has yet to be confirmed. Probably the most difficult one actually.
    Last edited by Lord Oda Nobunaga; October 10, 2019 at 08:34 PM.

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  6. #26
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    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    I think there isn't that much of a whiteness difference between most greeks and most northern europeans - unless you go to extremes, and obviously on average north europeans will be slightly paler.
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  7. #27
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    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyriakos View Post
    I think there isn't that much of a whiteness difference between most greeks and most northern europeans - unless you go to extremes, and obviously on average north europeans will be slightly paler.
    This, my fathers family come from Hunsrück, a poor rural mountainous hillbilly region in Rhineland-Palatine, for most of history far away from trade routes. Still he is black haired and got bronze tanned in the sun. And after the last hot and sunny summers in Germany i doubt you could differentiate a german from a greek in summer. Apart from the white socks with sandals...
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  8. #28
    alhoon's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyriakos View Post
    I think there isn't that much of a whiteness difference between most greeks and most northern europeans - unless you go to extremes, and obviously on average north europeans will be slightly paler.
    Considering that I am often mistaken for a foreigner because of my slightly-pale skin, or worse, for an American, I have to disagree. We're darker than Northeners.

    However as I have said in the past, if you take 10000 Scandinavians and put them in an isolated community in Greece so that they don't mix with us olive-skinned, their skin will be as dark as ours within 5 generations at most. Someone in this thread suggested that his Northener relatives that worked outside on the fields became darker and they keep the tan even now.
    Samewise, if you take 10000 nicely tan Greeks, the dark ones you find in Messinia and Crete and send them in Scandinavia, their great grandkids will be pale white and getting red in the sun and all. Again an anecdote: My sister that was much darker than me went to Northern Italy in the "clouds, rain and stay inside" areas and now is ... well, still darker than me but much lighter than she was, even in the summer while she tries to get tan.
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  9. #29

    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    Considering that I am often mistaken for a foreigner because of my slightly-pale skin, or worse, for an American, I have to disagree. We're darker than Northeners.

    However as I have said in the past, if you take 10000 Scandinavians and put them in an isolated community in Greece so that they don't mix with us olive-skinned, their skin will be as dark as ours within 5 generations at most. Someone in this thread suggested that his Northener relatives that worked outside on the fields became darker and they keep the tan even now.
    Samewise, if you take 10000 nicely tan Greeks, the dark ones you find in Messinia and Crete and send them in Scandinavia, their great grandkids will be pale white and getting red in the sun and all. Again an anecdote: My sister that was much darker than me went to Northern Italy in the "clouds, rain and stay inside" areas and now is ... well, still darker than me but much lighter than she was, even in the summer while she tries to get tan.
    Southern Europeans are being genetically selected toward lighter complexions. For example, the selection coefficient for the derived SLC45A2 light skin allele ranges from 0.01 to 0.02 in Southern Europe (0.04 to 0.05 in Northern Europe). Skin tone, that is the range within which one is capable of adapting environmentally, is close to 100% heritable. So if you were to put an isolated population of dark complected people in Greece with some small percentage of the light skin variant of SLC45A2, the frequency of that light skin allele would increase 1 to 2% per generation. In other words, Southern Europe still selects for lighter complexion, just not as strongly as Northern Europe does.

    An isolated population of Northern Europeans put in Southern Europe wouldn't become genetically darker at any noticeable rate, though they may possibility become slightly so over a very long time due to a combination of drift and relaxed selection. The inverse is not true, an isolated Mediterranean population will become lighter at a noticeable rate, see Ashkenazi Jews for example, more likely to be olive-complected compared to other people in Northern Europe, but more likely to be light than other Mediterranean people, despite very low inward gene flow. What you are noticing is real, but not a multi-generational genetic effect, it's upregulation and downregulation of melanin due to long term environmental exposure.
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    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


  10. #30

    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    Southern Europeans are being genetically selected toward lighter complexions. For example, the selection coefficient for the derived SLC45A2 light skin allele ranges from 0.01 to 0.02 in Southern Europe (0.04 to 0.05 in Northern Europe). Skin tone, that is the range within which one is capable of adapting environmentally, is close to 100% heritable. So if you were to put an isolated population of dark complected people in Greece with some small percentage of the light skin variant of SLC45A2, the frequency of that light skin allele would increase 1 to 2% per generation. In other words, Southern Europe still selects for lighter complexion, just not as strongly as Northern Europe does.
    In modern societies, where people tend to work inside more and where more clothing than early humans, wouldn't seem to me to have as much evolutionary pressure to develop darker skins. On the other hand, we usually get enough vitamin D in our diet, and perhaps a greater risk of skin cancer offsets the need for lighter skin.

    In general, evolution has a use it or lose it tendency. If the body doesn't need something, you tend to lose those features so the body can devoted more resources to the things the body does need. If you are indoors most of the time, and have sunscreen to protect you from UV, does you body need to wasted resources making more melanin? It seem, over a long enough time, skin would naturally lighten up.

    An isolated population of Northern Europeans put in Southern Europe wouldn't become genetically darker at any noticeable rate, though they may possibility become slightly so over a very long time due to a combination of drift and relaxed selection. The inverse is not true, an isolated Mediterranean population will become lighter at a noticeable rate, see Ashkenazi Jews for example, more likely to be olive-complected compared to other people in Northern Europe, but more likely to be light than other Mediterranean people, despite very low inward gene flow. What you are noticing is real, but not a multi-generational genetic effect, it's upregulation and downregulation of melanin due to long term environmental exposure.
    In the case of the Ashkenazi, there may be 2 factors to tend to make them more light skinned. One, that given all the numerous purges of Jews throughout the history of Europe, those who looked less "Mediterranean" and more "European" likely would more likely to survive a purge by being able to successfully pass them off as non Jewish until th purge was over. At least they would not stand out as visibly as their more Mediterranean looking neighbors. The other factor is that the Ashkenazi Jews may have more "Khazar" blood in them or blood of those who converted to Judaism. That Christian authorities sometimes had to warn against it indicated that such marriages occurred, however the Church officials wished they didn't. Both sides had a interest in down playing such intermarriage. I am not saying it such Jewish-non Jewish intermarriage happened a lot, but overtime even a small degree of intermarriage could add up. Just a possibility.

    And evolution finds it much easier to lose an unneeded feature than to gain a new one.

  11. #31

    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    In modern societies, where people tend to work inside more and where more clothing than early humans, wouldn't seem to me to have as much evolutionary pressure to develop darker skins. On the other hand, we usually get enough vitamin D in our diet, and perhaps a greater risk of skin cancer offsets the need for lighter skin.

    In general, evolution has a use it or lose it tendency. If the body doesn't need something, you tend to lose those features so the body can devoted more resources to the things the body does need. If you are indoors most of the time, and have sunscreen to protect you from UV, does you body need to wasted resources making more melanin? It seem, over a long enough time, skin would naturally lighten up.
    You are correct regarding relaxation of selection pressure for melanin production, but light complexion in Europeans is the result of measurable positive selection. Most people don't get enough vitamin D from diet alone. Roughly 40% of Europeans are vitamin D deficient, and the problem is of course much worse in darker skin immigrant populations. Remarkably, darker complected immigrant populations in Europe aren't worse off than controls in their countries of origin, due to poorer diet in those countries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    In the case of the Ashkenazi, there may be 2 factors to tend to make them more light skinned. One, that given all the numerous purges of Jews throughout the history of Europe, those who looked less "Mediterranean" and more "European" likely would more likely to survive a purge by being able to successfully pass them off as non Jewish until th purge was over. At least they would not stand out as visibly as their more Mediterranean looking neighbors. The other factor is that the Ashkenazi Jews may have more "Khazar" blood in them or blood of those who converted to Judaism. That Christian authorities sometimes had to warn against it indicated that such marriages occurred, however the Church officials wished they didn't. Both sides had a interest in down playing such intermarriage. I am not saying it such Jewish-non Jewish intermarriage happened a lot, but overtime even a small degree of intermarriage could add up. Just a possibility.
    There is no genetic evidence of Khazar origin in Ashkenazi Jews. In fact, the Khazars probably never converted to Judaism. There are no reliable texts that mention it and no archaeological evidence. A small degree of intermarriage did not add up to anything significant, and was almost certainly less a factor than rape, which was likewise insignificant on a demographic level. This is measurable. Ashkenazi Jews descend from just ~350 individuals. The roughly 50% European ancestry in Ashkenazi Jews is predominately Southern European, from a small number of Southern European women who made up the founding population. For example, 40% of Ashkenazi Jews are direct maternal descendants of just four women. So if Ashkenazi Jews are on average lighter than you'd expect from a 50/50 Southern European/Levantine ancestry, it has to be largely due to selection. Although, there are plenty of Ashkenazi Jews who have typically Mediterranean complexions, which is more obvious when living in more southern environments.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


  12. #32
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    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    Considering that I am often mistaken for a foreigner because of my slightly-pale skin, or worse, for an American, I have to disagree. We're darker than Northeners.

    However as I have said in the past, if you take 10000 Scandinavians and put them in an isolated community in Greece so that they don't mix with us olive-skinned, their skin will be as dark as ours within 5 generations at most. Someone in this thread suggested that his Northener relatives that worked outside on the fields became darker and they keep the tan even now.
    Samewise, if you take 10000 nicely tan Greeks, the dark ones you find in Messinia and Crete and send them in Scandinavia, their great grandkids will be pale white and getting red in the sun and all. Again an anecdote: My sister that was much darker than me went to Northern Italy in the "clouds, rain and stay inside" areas and now is ... well, still darker than me but much lighter than she was, even in the summer while she tries to get tan.
    You are in Crete. People there may be darker. But I hail directly from the Great Komnenoi emperors (evidence in my profile pic), so I am a little whiter
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  13. #33

    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    Frankly when my darker-than-me sister moved to Northern Italy, within 15 years she stopped getting as dark during the summer. Her body apparently lost part of its ability to tan the skin quickly.
    Hahaha, does this actually happen then? I met a half-Russian, half-French guy who grew up in Berlin on a summer hike this year, at which several Greek friends of mine participated besides me, and for some reason he was surprised we were "so white", even though we all have the typical brown eye/dark hair combination. At some point he asked me if our skin has become whiter after we emigrated to the north and I laughed out loud, because I thought he really harbored outlandish notions about how Greeks look, but maybe he was right after all? I can't really remember if I looked darker, when I lived in Greece, I basically have the same tan all year round and have had it for years, since I am always doing lots of outdoor activities. What I do realise, however, by looking at old photos is that my skin used to be very pale, when I was a kid, until the age of maybe 15-16, and my sister, who takes extra care not to expose herself to sunlight during summer, still maintains this paleness; even my nieces have it, although their father is dark-skinned like me. So I believe the skin color we are born with, "the natural state" is as pale as a German's, but we grow darker over the course of time through consistent exposure to greater irradiance.

    And I think there are revealing evidence to suggest the same thing happened in antiquity: for example, Xenophon records a trick of king Agisilaus, when he was mustering and training his army at Ephesus. He stripped some captive Persian horsemen of their clothes to show their bodies to his men, the intention being that they would scorn them and hold them in contempt for not having a dark tan, which people laboring, marching, fighting or training at gymnasia under the hot Greek sun would acquire. Even more bizarrely, the same stratagem was repeated by Emperor Julian to some Persian cataphracts many centuries later, even though he had brought many Gallic legionaries with him to the East, who had served with him, since his days as Ceasar.

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    There was a red head, and the blondes ranged from Viking looking dudes to classic 100' forehead straight nosed Greek stereotypes (think Disney Hercules) all the way through to deep tan
    Ironically, the most Viking-looking dude I have ever seen in my life (besides Travis Fimmel) was a red-haired, red-bearded Greek, at my old gym in Athens. I was shocked the first time he opened his mouth and started talking in Greek, I even asked him if he had foreign ancestry (that he knew of), then I gave it some thought and I came to the conclusion that he must be, like 100%, a descendant of a Varangian that did not return to Scandinavia.
    Last edited by Timoleon of Korinthos; October 21, 2019 at 08:35 PM.
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  14. #34
    Abdülmecid I's Avatar ¡Ay Carmela!
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    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Probably he has some Slavic origins. If you still maintain contact with him, it would be interesting to know from which place of Greece he's coming from. Still, I doubt he can surpass al-Douri, who looks more like a British investor in London, instead of an unrepentant Iraqi Baathist and the current head of the Naqshbandi Order. As for Agesilaus and Julian, I'm not sure how reliable these accounts really are. Xenophon's biographical works are closer to rhetorical encomiums than historiography. The episode doesn't make much sense, to be honest, and by the way, it doesn't necessarily refer to horsemen. The passage says that the Persian captives were soft, because they traveled upon wheeled vehicles (ὀχημάτων), which presumably refers to either chariots or carriages. This sounds more like a stereotypical caricature of Oriental luxury than a genuine description of a not particularly efficient stratagem.

    In what concerns Julian, the affair is probably invented out of thin air. Ammianus Marcellinus, who is, I believe, the author of the statement, consciously tries to imitate Xenophon and compare the Roman Emperor Julian with the Spartan King Agesilaus. Xenophon has been traditionally been the idol of military historians and biographers of Antiquity, while the insistence over Julian's frugality and ethos are clear allusions to Agesilaus, whom his Athenian employee had established as the ultimate paragon of moral virtue. Consequently, it's safe to assume that either Ammianus or Julian (both of them exceptionally acquainted with classical literature) attempted to copy Xenophon and Agesilaus respectively (the expedition in Sassanid Mesopotamia providing obvious parallels with Sparta's campaign in Achaemenid Anatolia), but the former hypothesis definitely sounds more plausible to me.

  15. #35
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdülmecid I View Post
    Probably he has some Slavic origins.
    Maybe, which would be more likely than some descendant of a Varangian. To be honest a large minority of Greeks simply have red hair, like the comedian and actor Zach Galafianakis, and some are just straight up blonde, like the American media giant Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington. These traits clearly go back to antiquity as proven not just by artworks like mosaics and frescoes depicting Greeks, but even writings by ancient Greek authors, stretching as far back as Homer. For that matter the Greeks' stereotypical view of Thracians was that they were all red-heads with blue eyes and we know from aforementioned Greek authors that tens of thousands of Thracians lived in and around the city-state of Athens alone. Also, Greek royal houses and nobility frequently intermarried with their Thracian and Illyrian counterparts.

    For instance, of his many wives (most of whom were Greek), Philip II of Macedon was married to Meda of Odessos, a Thracian queen, and Audata, an Illyrian queen. I would bet 50 drachmae that both women either had red or blonde hair, or at the very least blondish and reddish hair over brunette.

  16. #36

    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    and some are just straight up blonde, like the American media giant Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington.
    I'm going to go with gray hair plus blonde dye in that particular case:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


  17. #37
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    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    and perhaps a greater risk of skin cancer offsets the need for lighter skin.
    The sun is a double edged sword. Although the UVB serve as an etiological factor in melanomagenesis, it is also necessary for vitamin D formation that can attenuate carcinogenesis, tumor progression and tumor growth.Vit D has anticarcinogenic properties/anti-inflammatory properties and involve the regulation of the immune system.


    Vitamin D signaling and melanoma: role of vitamin D and its receptors

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  18. #38

    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdülmecid I View Post
    Probably he has some Slavic origins. If you still maintain contact with him, it would be interesting to know from which place of Greece he's coming from. Still, I doubt he can surpass al-Douri, who looks more like a British investor in London, instead of an unrepentant Iraqi Baathist and the current head of the Naqshbandi Order. As for Agesilaus and Julian, I'm not sure how reliable these accounts really are. Xenophon's biographical works are closer to rhetorical encomiums than historiography. The episode doesn't make much sense, to be honest, and by the way, it doesn't necessarily refer to horsemen. The passage says that the Persian captives were soft, because they traveled upon wheeled vehicles (ὀχημάτων), which presumably refers to either chariots or carriages. This sounds more like a stereotypical caricature of Oriental luxury than a genuine description of a not particularly efficient stratagem.

    In what concerns Julian, the affair is probably invented out of thin air. Ammianus Marcellinus, who is, I believe, the author of the statement, consciously tries to imitate Xenophon and compare the Roman Emperor Julian with the Spartan King Agesilaus. Xenophon has been traditionally been the idol of military historians and biographers of Antiquity, while the insistence over Julian's frugality and ethos are clear allusions to Agesilaus, whom his Athenian employee had established as the ultimate paragon of moral virtue. Consequently, it's safe to assume that either Ammianus or Julian (both of them exceptionally acquainted with classical literature) attempted to copy Xenophon and Agesilaus respectively (the expedition in Sassanid Mesopotamia providing obvious parallels with Sparta's campaign in Achaemenid Anatolia), but the former hypothesis definitely sounds more plausible to me.
    First of all, in my experience Slavs do not look like Scandinavians, there is what, 10% chance you will mistake a Swede for a Russian or a Bulgarian for a Norwegian? That guy I mentioned looked to me exactly like how I would have imagined a Viking (except for the fact that he was just average in stature).

    Now, concerning Agesilaus' trick, Xenophon's passage also states:

    ὁρῶντες οὖν οἱ στρατιῶται λευκοὺς μὲν διὰ τὸ μηδέποτε ἐκδύεσθαι

    which means: "when the soldiers saw them (the captives) be white due to the fact that they never get undressed..."


    Furthermore, there was no need for Ammianus Marcellinus to make up a story about Julian repeating a stratagem of a Spartan king, because Julian was so obsessed with revered figures from the Greco-Roman past, that he was providing ample material through his zeal to emulate their deeds at every opportunity, which often led to stupid courses of action and eventually cost them the war (trying unsuccessfully to batter down a gate of a besieged city, like Scipio Africanus had done in Spain, burning the ships that had sailed down the Euphrates with him, like Agathocles had done when he landed on Africa, discussing philosophy rather than making arrangements for his succession before his impending death, like Socrates, etc).

    Also, Ammianus models his history off Polybius, not Xenophon, whose work he aspired to mirror: as Polybius recorded the rise of Rome to "world" domination, so Ammianus wished to tell the story of the collapse of Roman power (in the aftermath of the terrible defeat at Andrianople).

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    To be honest a large minority of Greeks simply have red hair, like the comedian and actor Zach Galafianakis,
    Lol, exactly how large do you think this minority actually is? I have met many blond Greeks, even though most of them are them you call dark blond, but redheads are extremely rare, even the more common reddish/brownish variation. I can only recall like 3 persons off the top of my head - one of them being the Greek-speaking Viking dude from my old gym... man, that guys' looks have really left a deep scar upon my consciousness, I still remember him after all those years and I can barely recall the faces of my deceased grandparents! There's no way that guy was not a assimilated Varangian!
    Last edited by Timoleon of Korinthos; October 23, 2019 at 07:52 PM.
    "Blessed is he who learns how to engage in inquiry, with no impulse to hurt his countrymen or to pursue wrongful actions, but perceives the order of the immortal and ageless nature, how it is structured."
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    "This is the disease of curiosity. It is this which drives to try and discover the secrets of nature, those secrets which are beyond our understanding, which avails us nothing and which man should not wish to learn."
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  19. #39
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Timoleon of Korinthos View Post
    Lol, exactly how large do you think this minority actually is? I have met many blond Greeks, even though most of them are them you call dark blond, but redheads are extremely rare, even the more common reddish/brownish variation. I can only recall like 3 persons off the top of my head - one of them being the Greek-speaking Viking dude from my old gym... man, that guys' looks have really left a deep scar upon my consciousness, I still remember him after all those years and I can barely recall the faces of my deceased grandparents! There's no way that guy was not a assimilated Varangian!
    I was thinking more the ruddy reddish brunette variety typical of the Balkans, perhaps even like the kind you see among some Asiatic Jews in the Levant, more than the stereotypical pasty white Irish ginger with freckles variety that you are thinking about.

    Anyways, you don't have to take my word for it and you already seem to know about the blonds among them. Just look at any large gaggle of Greeks to gain an idea of how many blonds and redheads exist among the otherwise sea of black, brown and light brunette haired Greeks. None of this has anything to do with their milky light versus dark olive skin tones, however, since they can typically have either, and it was probably like that even before the influx of North Africans & West Asians into Hellenistic civilization following Alexander's conquests:

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  20. #40
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    Default Re: Were ancient Greeks predominately light skinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    I was thinking more the ruddy reddish brunette variety typical of the Balkans, perhaps even like the kind you see among some Asiatic Jews in the Levant, more than the stereotypical pasty white Irish ginger with freckles variety that you are thinking about.

    Anyways, you don't have to take my word for it and you already seem to know about the blonds among them. Just look at any large gaggle of Greeks to gain an idea of how many blonds and redheads exist among the otherwise sea of black, brown and light brunette haired Greeks. None of this has anything to do with their milky light versus dark olive skin tones, however, since they can typically have either, and it was probably like that even before the influx of North Africans & West Asians into Hellenistic civilization following Alexander's conquests:

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    Yeah that seems right. Obviously some are dyed, but there's a widen variety there in any case.

    The "stereotype" of each race, the "typical look" we expect can be startlingly different from the wide variety of examples IRL. In medieval art Jews were often depicted as redheads (and Judas was usually depicted as such), likewise when Hellenic philosophers wanted a stereotype for a syllogism they took "all Thracians are redheads" as readily as they used "all Kretans are liars", and we know the bit about redheads is not true.

    Not so sure about the Kretans, but as an aside their reputration seems to have improved: they are stereotyped as courageous honest people by Britons at least (from their WWII exploits). I recall reading in Orhan Pamuk how Albanians enjoyed a reputation as sober and honest people in ottoman Constantinople, quite at odds with the current Western stereotype.

    I'd say the Ancient Hellenes were not "predominantly" any skin colour, I think ancient Hellas (from Magna Graecia and Massalia to Naucratis and that one in Syria I forget, not Antioch, it was founded in the Helladic period) was diverse AF.
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

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