Sorry, Italybros, I forgot to republish this article.
I have since written a more accurate article on Central Italian genetics, using more up-to-date data:
- Introduction: Voshart’s Anti-White propaganda
- Leftist Historical Revisionism
- Nordicism, Africanism, Semitism
- Italian ethnogenesis and the genetic history of Italy
- Appendix 1: Condensed Timeline
- Appendix 2: Nordicist Revisionism
Here’s the uncropped header image:
1. Introduction: Voshart’s Anti-White propaganda
As of late, there has been a significant increase in anti-Italian propaganda on social and mainstream media in the Anglosphere, with many influential figures and organizations attempting to distort and erase Italian history. This is likely a result of fresh propaganda dreamt up by Toronto-based artist, Daniel Voshart — a rabid Leftist and outspoken BLM supporter, who has posted multiple anti-White rants on Twitter. His artistic works (see below) are continually advertised as scientific, photorealistic, forensic facial reconstructions, even though he has openly admitted that they are “totally speculative,” an “artistic interpretation,” and “art, not science” — by which he means fictional propaganda.
In a Medium article, Voshart claimed that other Roman facial reconstruction artists have “distort[ed] primary and secondary sources to push a pernicious White supremacist agenda.” Does this mean that he is pushing a pernicious South Asian Supremacist agenda, given that most of his reconstructions resemble Tamil peoples of the Indian Subcontinent? Even the most darkly-pigmented Arabs do not resemble Voshart’s propaganda portraits. This is a clear-cut case of a virulently anti-White Leftist attempting to blackwash (or Indian-wash?) European history.
A compilation of evidence:
2. Leftist Historical Revisionism
The Left is fundamentally opposed to the truth, and they only care about history insofar as they can warp and revise it to justify modern perversions and their current political stances. This is exemplified in their attempt to paint the Roman Empire as a modern “multiculti,” multi-racial, LGBT-friendly, open-bordered wonderland, that welcomed and respected minorities. Ancient Rome couldn’t be further from their fantasy: It was a brutal, Italian-supremacist, imperialist, colonialist state, fueled by slavery, and founded on war and genocide. And it was one of the most epic collective achievements in European history, if not human history.
[Related article: Race, Ethnicity, and “Racism” in Greco-Roman Society]
3. Nordicism, Africanism, Semitism
Italians are stuck in a never-ending tug of war between various political factions, all attempting to take credit for their ancestors’ achievements (or discredit them). Africans claim that the Romans wuz Nubian kangz, Leftists claim that they were non-European “BIPOCS,” Nordicists claim that they were all blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryans, and Varg Vikernes types claim that the Italians are actually Semitic Middle Easterners.
None of these claims are true. Italians are certainly not Semitic and Southern Europeans are genetically distinct from Middle Easterners. Italians have some Northern European ancestry, but the men who founded Rome were by no means Nordic. Rome as kangz is especially untrue, there were no black emperors, period. Though, some of the later emperors had Punic (Phoenician North African) or Syrian ancestry.
4. Italian ethnogenesis and the genetic history of Italy
I’ll try to keep this simple as possible, starting at the beginning.
4.1. Upper Paleolithic
Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH, also known as Cro-Magnons) appeared in Italy during the Upper Paleolithic, having arrived in Europe around 45,000 BC. The earliest known European AMH (dated to 41,000–43,000 BC) were found in Southern Italy’s Grotta del Cavallo.
The earliest European culture, Aurignacian (41,000 – 26,000 BC), spanned the entire continent, and is renowned for producing various major technological advancements, including the oldest confirmed musical instruments and figurative depictions of human beings. At this point, Europeans belonged to a wider West Eurasian metapopulation and were not distinct from Central and West Asians (Middle Easterners).
A 2016 study found that all Europeans between 37,000 and 14,000 years ago descended from one single founder population, and that this founder population forms part of the ancestry of modern Europeans.
The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, peak of the Ice Age) led to significant depopulation throughout the continent, forcing Paleolithic Europeans to take refuge in Southern and Eastern Europe, where they diverged into unique genetic clusters, due to founder effects and genetic separation.
After the LGM, when the ice receded, Europe was repopulated by a unique lineage known as Western European Hunter-Gatherers (WHG). This lineage originated somewhere in the Eastern refugia, which was associated with the Epigravettian culture. A Northern Italian WHG, Villabruna Man, is the oldest known individual to have carried the male haplogroup R1b — which is now the most common male haplogroup in Western Europe.
In terms of appearance, WHG were facially similar to modern Europeans, but they had exclusively dark hair, blue and green eyes, and tanned skin. They are often described as “black” in the mainstream media, but this is a complete lie [I’ll write an article on this subject soon].
Facial reconstruction of a WHG (Loschbour Man):
During the Neolithic, Europe was invaded and settled by a new ethnic group, notably different to Western European Hunter-Gatherers: The Anatolian Neolithic Farmers (ANF).
The ancestors of the ANF and WHG were once part of the same parent population, which split sometime around 43,000 BC when the ancestors of the WHG moved into Europe. The ancestors of the ANF remained in Anatolia (present-day Turkey) and the two populations evolved separately for thousands of years.
The ANF developed farming around 9,000 BC and had began their gargantuan expedition into Europe by 7,000 BC, interacting with the native WHG as they colonized the continent. Italy was one of the earliest locations they settled.
Genetic and archaeological evidence demonstrate that the two populations traded and intermarried with one another, eventually merging to form a new race of people known as the Early European Farmers (EEF). This may not have been an entirely peaceful process; it was once believed that the EEF were a pacifistic and matriarchal people, but archaeological evidence has since debunked this feminist theory. For example, the Talheim Death Pit of the EEF LBK Culture represents first evidence of organized mass violence or warfare in Europe.
A WHG man with his EEF wife (borrowed from Survive the Jive’s documentary):
Modern Italians derive the vast majority of their ancestry from Early European Farmers (~70% on average), peaking among ethnic Sardinians, who are genetically near-identical to the original EEF populations of Europe.
The EEF predominantly had brown eyes and dark hair, with skin pigmentation similar to that of modern Europeans. For reasons currently unknown, the EEF of Northern and Central Europe, such as the Funnelbeaker and Globular Amphora peoples, had notable amounts of blondism and blue eyes, unlike their southern cousins. This likely contributed to the pigmentation of modern Northern Europeans.
Self-depictions of EEF people from the Minoan civilization of Crete; they depicted women as pale as possible, and men as tanned as possible, a common artistic style found throughout the ancient Mediterranean:
4.4. Bronze Age
During the Bronze Age, the entirety of Western Europe experienced massive demographic change when the warlike Proto-Indo-Europeans (PIE), also known as Western Steppe Herders (WSH), migrated westward, out of the Eastern European steppes of Russia and Ukraine, and conquered the EEF populations of Europe.
The PIE were predominantly of Eastern European Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) descent (>65% on average), with additional ancestry from EEF and Caucasus Hunter-Gatherer (CHG) women. They did a lot of bridge kidnapping. As they migrated westward, founding the Corded Ware culture, PIE picked up additional EEF ancestry from the Globular Amphora peoples of Central Europe.
Ethnically, the PIE resembled modern Northern Europeans, with pale skin and a wide variety of hair and eye colors.
The Proto-Italic language likely arose among the Indo-European Urnfield peoples of Central Europe, who also originated the Celtic languages, associated with the subsequent Hallstatt culture. Italics invaded the Italian peninsula between 1800 and 1000 BC, imposing Indo-European language, culture, and religion upon the region. According to a recently published genetic study, Indo-Europeans arrived in central Italy as early as 1600 BC. This transition is associated with the Proto-Villanovan culture.
Jupiter, head of the Italian pantheon. His name derives from Proto-Indo-European ‘Dyḗus ph₂tḗr,’ meaning ‘Sky Father’:
4.5. Iron Age
In 2019, a comprehensive genetic study on the city of Rome found that six Latins (dated 900 to 200 BC) had ~30-40% PIE ancestry. This was significantly less than the early Proto-Italics of Central Europe, who derived over half of their ancestry from PIE and were more ethnically similar to modern Northwestern Europeans (e.g. Swedes, Dutch) than modern Italians. However, since modern Italians derive ~20-40% (avg. 30%) of their ancestry from PIE, this indicates that the Italics were already ethnically similar to modern Italians by the time of the Roman Republic.
Self-depictions in ancient Roman artwork display a range of European phenotypes, including people with lighter complexions, and some blonds — which is no different to the phenotypes found in modern Italy.
Similarly varied phenotypes are represented in Etruscan art. Interestingly the aforementioned study discovered that the Etruscans were ethnically near-indistinguishable from the Latins (same PIE ancestry), even though they spoke an EEF language and were culturally non-Indo-European.
4.6. Classical Antiquity: Roman Empire
According to the 2019 study mentioned earlier, the demographics of Rome itself changed significantly during the Roman Imperial age. As shown in the principal component analysis .gif below, many sampled individuals lay outside of the European genetic cluster, likely belonging to MENA populations, such as the Egyptians and Syrians. It should be noted that the non-Italian samples are almost certainly over-represented, since the Italics cremated their dead.
Bear in mind that Rome was the wealthy capital of a multi-racial empire that spanned the entirety of the Middle East and the North African coast. It’s only natural that it would attract grifters, merchants, and economic opportunists from around the Empire. This does not mean that the true Romans — the Italics — were not European.
4.7. Middle Ages: Collapse and Rebirth
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the city of Rome suffered catastrophic depopulation, which enabled ethnic Europeans to steadily repopulate the region once again. Italy was also flooded by waves of Germanic Barbarians, such as the Goths and Lombards, resulting in Northern Italians having a notable amount of Germanic ancestry. During this period, Italy returned to original EEF+WHG+PIE dominated population (present-day Italian genetics) with little to no genetic impact from the multi-racial population of Imperial Rome.
5. Non-European ancestry in Modern Italians
Some intermixing likely occurred between native Italians and non-European immigrant populations during the imperial era, but the lasting impact of this foreign genetic influx is insignificant. The overall genetic contribution of non-European peoples to modern Italians is minuscule; that of Sub-Saharan Africans is less than 1% (in most places 0%) and North Africans less than 2% (in many places 0%) [source]. The only outlier is Sicily, which was conquered and occupied by North African Saracens; their DNA contribution maxes out at 6% [source]. The largest non-Italian genetic legacy found in Italy is that of the Greeks in Sicily, who made a significant genetic contribution of 37%.
Note that if we edit Ashkenazi Jews out of the below PCA, there is a clear distinction between the MENA and European genetic clusters. Ashkenazim are a mixed-race population, with around 50% Middle Eastern, 35% Southern European, and 15% Northern European ancestry [see here]. Jews overlap slightly with Southern Italians on a PCA due to their mixed ancestry, but that does not mean they are literally Southern Italians. Genetic data like this conclusively debunks the myth that Italians are “Middle Eastern” in origin.
- The ancient Italic tribes (Bronze Age Indo-Europeans) were initially genetically and phenotypically very similar to present-day Northern and Central Europeans, such as the Germanic peoples.
- Genetic evidence indicates that this changed pretty quickly, as they mixed with the non-Indo-European native Neolithic population of Italy (Early European Farmers) while invading the peninsula.
- The Early European Farmers of Italy were genetically and phenotypically very similar to present-day Sardinians. They had darker pigmentation than the Early European Farmers of North and Central Europe; which is where Southern Europeans get their Mediterranean phenotype — not from Middle Easterners and North Africans!
- The ancient Romans and modern Italians are a mix of 30:70 PIE to EEF, on a North-South gradient, with increased EEF ancestry in the South.
- The majority of Italian DNA has been native to Italy for ~6,000 years and present in Europe for ~9,000 years
- Non-European races contributed an insignificant amount to the DNA of modern Italians.
- The ancient Romans were not Nords, nor North Africans, nor Middle Easterners, and certainly not Kangz, but White Southern Europeans who were genetically almost identical to modern Italians.
The answer to the question “What race were the ancient Romans?” is: “The same race as the modern Romans.”
7. Appendix 1: Condensed Timeline
Condensed genetic timeline from the aforementioned study on Rome.
- WHG inhabit the entirety of Europe
- EEF arrive from Anatolia and absorb WHG population
- Resurgence of WHG ancestry beginning in Middle Neolithic
- Indo-European Italics arrive in Italy
- Present-day Italian population formed
- Imperial Rome results in a multi-racial society
- Rome collapses and multi-racialism slowly fades away
- Italy returns to original EEF+WHG+PIE population (present-day Italian genetics) with little to no genetic impact from the multi-racial population of Imperial Rome
8. Appendix 2: Nordicist Revisionism
The image and quotes below are often shared by Nordicists to prove that the ancient Romans were radically different from present-day Italians, presumably because they want to take credit for the Roman Empire.
While the skin pigmentation is reasonably accurate, it’s evident that the artist responsible for creating these reconstructions has completely overstated the blondness of Roman emperors by choosing the lightest possible color within the ranges described. Nero, for example, is a redhead, yet the artist has depicted him with light strawberry blond hair. Augustus is described as having ‘sub-flavum’ hair, literally meaning “under blond” (“yellowish,” or “somewhat yellow”), which could be anything from light brown to dirty blond — yet the artist has depicted him with vibrant sunshine blond hair.
The most accurate reconstruction of Augustus produced to date:
It is absolutely true that many Emperors had light eyes and lighter hair, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they were all blond, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they were bleach-blond, as this artist’s reconstructions imply. Indo-European society was caste-based, so higher caste people (i.e., Emperors) may have had more Indo-European (or North/Central European) DNA, which would explain an increased prevalence of blondism among Rome’s ruling elite. These Nordicist reconstructions aren’t quite as bad as Voshart’s anti-White propaganda, but they are still misrepresentative and dishonest.