Early Civilisations of the Nordic Peoples

Roger Pearson
M.Sc. (Econ)

Alexander-Sarkophag-07

Following the exposition of Professor Hans F. K. Günther

ANTHROPOLOGICAL and archaeological research reveals that during the Neolithic period Northwest Europe shared a common culture with distinct and characteristic forms which corresponded to a definite racial type. Southern Scandinavia and northwestern Germany appear to reveal the earliest traces of this culture, while the oldest Nordic remains in central and southern Germany and in the British Isles show that these countries were settled by Nordic peoples at a somewhat later date.

Unfortunately the record of the earliest period of outgoing migration from this area is difficult to follow, since for a period of time the practice of body- burning prevailed, and the old saga of Beowulf tells us that the corpse of this great English hero was burned and not buried; but archaeology makes it possible for us to trace the Nordic migrations, even during the body-burning period, by the styles of building, ornament and technology which were left for us in the soil as Nordic culture spread throughout Europe. We can now see the Early Nordic peoples of the Neolithic Age moving steadily southwards in a broad stream from central and south Germany to the Balkans. With them goes the rectangular house, and the journey is traced in heavy panoply: strongholds mark its way. The word now is not merely peaceful penetration but conquest. So it is that Troy, on the Hellespont, is reached by them; so Mycene and Tiryns are reached through Thessaly and Boeotia…. Into Italy the Italic-Nordic streams come first along the road from Valona into the Po and Tiber country. Only much later, in the Hallstatt period, however, did Nordic nations enter into Britain, France and Spain in the west. But in these movements, all alike starting from the same centre, we behold our continent becoming Indo-European.1

The Nordic tribes that took part in this early folk-wandering were many. The Nordic Phrygians went to Troy and Asia Minor; the Nordic Hellenes to Greece; the Nordic Italics (Italians or Romans) to Italy; the Nordic Kelts to France and Spain. To all these lands they brought their Indo-European languages (for Latin and Greek were also Indo-European tongues) and established themselves as a ruling class, usually over a numerically superior Mediterranean or Slav people.

This record of conquests, however, represents only a small portion of the total wandering of the early Nordic peoples. Their triumphant military campaigns took them far into Asia and even into North Africa. Arldt in his book Germanische2 Völkerwellen und ihre Bedeutung in der Bevölkerungsgeschichte von Europa shows the enormous breadth of their historical and prehistoric wanderings, as far as China and beyond India. Many of the tongues spoken by these people have since vanished, after the racial strain of the conquering people had become diluted out of recognition, often, as it did also in the later Germanic wave of conquest – that of the Goth, Lombard, Burgundian and Teuton in the Mediterranean many centuries later. The vitalising wave poured southwards, making the south flourish, like water to the desert, but the desert was too vast for the supply of water available, and the water was soon sucked in, leaving only the hard sand behind.

Language, it is true, more often lived on after race had died, for the conquered generally clung to the culture learned from the Nordic ruling class, and proudly paraded the remnants of Nordic culture long after Nordic blood itself had run dry. The most important of these ancient Indo-European languages which survive to us today are: Sanskrit, Persian, Armenian, Greek, Latin, the Romance and Slav tongues, and, of course, the Keltic and Germanic languages. Apart from the clear evidence of anthropology and archaeology, the historical records and sculpture of these language groups indicate fairly clearly the existence of an earlier Nordic nobility, and in many cases there are proud traditions of an early immigration from the north which are faithfully remembered in folklore.

Most traces of the earliest Nordic waves have perhaps been lost for ever, although from early prehistory the northern parts of Europe appear to have been the “womb of nations” (vagina gentium), as the Romans later called it. Possibly the climate and geography were then less sympathetic to disease than in warmer areas, and the people undoubtedly appear to have been healthier than in the Middle Ages, when contact with the Middle East and the growth of cities brought plague and illness. But as a remembrance of the earliest wanderings, the unknown Nordic nations concerned left behind their memory in the dolmens – great stone structures that spread from Sweden, over Denmark, Schleswig Holstein, north Germany, the Low Countries, the British Isles, west France, Portugal, Spain, North Africa, and even down to Palestine and Abyssinia. In the Dolmens of Algeria were found the bones of a tall long-headed people, while in Abyssinia fair and light-eyed people are still sometimes found today.3 The Fair Berbers and ‘‘blond’’ Kabyles, both warlike tribesmen of North Africa, may even today be said to exhibit distinct Nordic characteristics.

In their wanderings to the south and east the Nordics also took with them various species of grain of north European origin, together with plough husbandry, cattle-breeding and definite laws of land-ownership, for besides being warriors, they were also great farmers who loved the land.4 All these signs reveal this course of early migration and settlement.

Zaborowski in his Les Peuples Aryans d’Asie at d’Europe discusses many Nordic nations and their remains in Asia today, and here the Amorites may be mentioned, since they brought the Nordic blood of the ‘‘sons of Anak” into the Jewish nation, especially, it would seem, into the people of Israel, which was the northernmost kingdom. David, who perhaps had an Amorite mother, is described as fair (Book of Kings i. 16, 17). The Amorites seem to have invaded Asia Minor from the Aegean Sea about 1500 B.C., and as their highest being they worshipped a hammer-wielding Thunder God, reminiscent of Thor. Egyptian paintings show the “Amurru” as fair, light-eyed men with Nordic features who threatened the Egyptian state as late as the thirteenth century B.C.

Nordic Scythians also overran Palestine in the seventh century B.C., and it would seem probable that some of their blood found its way into the Druses of Lebanon, amongst whom light skin, hair and eyes are still common. Similarly, the Philistines (after whom Palestine is named) were a people racially akin to the Achaens, that is to say with a Nordic ruling class and a Mediterranean lower class. They appear to have intruded into Asia from Crete, and possessed a Myceanean culture. “Their pottery from Gaza is degenerate Myceanean, so is Goliath’s armour, the greaves and the helmet, and his choice of single combat – a choice so full of unknown terrors to the Jews as it is becoming of to the Homeric heroes.”5 Goliath, expecting the leader of the opposing army to meet him in single combat, was killed by a stone slung from afar, and there can be no doubt that the custom of single combat was common amongst war-loving Nordic peoples. In India the early Aryans loved to see their leaders fight before the assembled armies “that all the world might see”6; amongst the Persian also the love of single combat is reflected in the story of the tragic duel between a father and his son who fight without recognising each other (Sohrab and Rustem). Among the Germans there is the Song of Hildebrand, where father and son, Hiltibrand and Hadubrand fight a duel before two armies; the Icelandic sagas are forever telling of the duel or “Holmgang”; the Nibelungenlied describes the fall of the Burgundians in terms of a series of duels between leaders, while to come back nearer to the Myceaneans once more, the Iliad portrays the Trojan War as a series of single combats. Keltic and Roman legend speaks also of war in similar terms.

Unfortunately it is in the warlike spirit of the Nordic peoples, and especially in the duel between members of the Nordic upper classes, that we see much of the destruction of the great race. This total lack of racial consciousness was carried even further, for no Nordic would boast a victory unless the enemy were a fellow Nordic, worthy of the combat. So the Nordic nobility of the Hellenes fought the Trojan Wat with the Nordic nobility of the Phrygians. The Persians fought the Medes and Indo-Aryans. The Persians fought, too, against the Hellenes. The Hellenes against the Romans. The Romans against the Kelts. The Kelts against the Hellenes. The Teutons against the Kelts. The Romans against the Teutons and so the terrible story drags on to the present day, resulting in each generation in a further weakening of Nordic blood, with the gap being always filled by non-Nordics or impure Nordics. It is only by an awakening of racial consciousness by men of Nordic blood in all Nordic nations that the ultimate destruction of the race can be prevented and a fresh strengthening of the Nordic element be brought about in our peoples.

The history of the Sacae or Scythians, with their many tribes or branches, is well worth following. They originated in south-east Europe, and moved through Asia as far as Turkestan and Afghanistan, even into India to the Indus. Many early writers (such as Polemon of Ilium, Galienos, Clement of Alexandria, Adamantos) state that the Scythians were similar to the Kelts and Germans, being fair or ruddy in hue. The Scythian Alans were described by Ammianus (A.D. 330-400 ) as “almost all tall and handsome, with hair almost yellow, and a fierce look”. From them are seemingly descended the chivalrous Ossetes, the most fair of the Caucasian people, being 30 per cent blond.7 Some of the Scythians seem to have merged with the Nordic Medes and Persians, others to have gone even to Siberia (Semireshchensk) and China. Hilden in 1914 found a Nordic strain amongst the Obi Ugrians, and amongst the Tartars there are still found today “scattered here and there, fair men with cheeks like milk and blood, who have the look of being cut off from the Swedish people”.8 The Tokhari, another Nordic people, left records in Inner Asia in an Indo-European language, mentioning their venture to the very border of China, around the 8th century A.D., while Chinese chronicles in the year 200 B.C. speak of a light-eyed, ruddy people, the Wusun nation, whom they liken to the (then) Nordic people of Persia, and who are described in the sixth century by a Chinese traveller as red-haired and blue-eyed, after they had beaten back the attack of a Mongolian people.

Other Nordic peoples, the Cimmerarians, akin to the Thracians, reached the Caucasus about the eighth century B.C., at the same time as the Nordic Phrygians reached the Armenian plateau from the west, having crossed the Hellespont centuries earlier, about 1400 B.C. These two gave the Armenians a language derived from the Nordic Phrygian tongue, although their blood died out, and the language was itself largely changed back to a Hither Asiatic vocabulary. Had a Nordic upper class lingered on longer amongst the Armenians, as it did in most other areas, then doubtless the language would have remained more clearly Indo-European.

The Cimmerarians and Phrygians were merely following the path of the Indo-Aryans and Persians, when they reached the Caucasus. The Nordic “Hindus” passed the same way about 1700 B.C., and were then probably identical with the Persians, as there appears to have been only one tongue originally, Indo-Iranic, which later developed separately into Persian and Sanskrit. The Indo-Iranians probably also spent some time in south east Europe, alongside the Finnish-Ugrian speaking peoples, who at the time of Herodotus inhabited central and northern Russia, since the latter language group exhibits many words borrowed from Indo-Iranian. Many names of rivers seem to point to Russia as the temporary home of the original Hindu-Persian peoples, such names, for example, as compounds of the Persian word danu, “river” (c.f. Ossetic don): the Don, the Dnieper (Danupris), Dniester (Danastrus) and Danube (Donau). Kretschmer believes that their home at the time of leaving the main Nordic family was the middle reaches of the Danube.

It is about 1400 B.C. that the Indo-Aryans make their first appearance as a separate people, calling themselves “Hari”, that is “the Blonds”,9 and in old Indian sagas the Gods are always “the Blond”. The new immigrants to India brought with them the art of building in wood, and the habit of body-burning, which still survives in that sub-continent, and adapted the caste system as a means of racial preservation, to prevent the conquered from intermarrying with the “tall”, “white”, “blond”, “fair-nosed” Nordics. It is noteworthy that the Hindu word for caste is “varna” (colour). Today, after thousands of years, caste is still associated with colour, and a Nordic European may still find, as Haeckel did on his travels, that village Hindus wonder which is the very high caste to which he must belong.

At the time of the Rigvedas, about 1200 B.C., there was no mention of castes, only two racial classes, the conquering immigrants and the native people. Within three or four hundred years, however, castes had become all-important, and there were then intermediate stages between the “fair” and the “dark” Hindus. The Code of Manu was issued forbidding the mingling of the castes, and introducing many other useful eugenic precepts, and for sometime the caste system may have kept racial mixture within bounds. As a sign of dislike for the Hither Asiatic race (which reached as far as India) an old Indian proverb may be given “He whose eyebrows meet is evil”.10 These were the ages when the race was still comparatively pure, and it produced the great culture of which India boasts today: the heroic songs, akin to the Skandinavian sagas, the Hindu or Brahmin philosophy we hear so much about, the poetry and deep spiritualism of Hinduism, and Sanskrit literature. Buddhism, too, was the product of this people: Buddha himself being born a Hindu prince from one of the old conquering Indo-Nordic families. The creed, however, called for the renunciation of marriage by its leaders, and this, too, may have helped to weaken Nordic blood.

With the continual dilution of Nordic blood, and the Mongol conquest, the age of the great poets such as Kalidasa (fifth century A.D.) passed away, and “The Hindu mind ever drifted farther and farther away from the old Aryan, and began to fashion the Hindu gods as hideous many-headed, many-armed figures, glowing with sensuality, cruelty and ferociousness”.11 Physically today the inhabitants of India are a mixture of several dark races, varying from place to place in relative intensity, with, however, marked European or Nordic tendencies in the north and amongst the higher castes.

Round about 900 B.C. the other branch of the Indo-Iranic group, the Persians, had reached Azerbaijan, from whence they entered Iran, followed by the closely related Nordic Medes. The Persians, who were the more numerous, soon fell upon the neighbouring Medes and brought them under their yoke. But continuously we see Medic resistance flaring out, with the result that the two nations spent much energy and blood in mutual combat, even after the Persians had established themselves as lords of ‘Iran’. The ancient name ‘Iran’ for Persia derives from ‘Aryan’ as does the old Irish name, ‘Eire’ for Ireland settled by a westward moving Keltic-Italic branch of the Nordic family.

When they entered Iran the Persians practised a political and social system which was common to all Nordic peoples from the earliest of times. They instituted a nation-state based on a union of clans or family tribes, held together by a strong system of family or aristocratic rule, but with personal rights for all individuals and a form of basic representation for all freemen, that is to say, all male members of the race. Starting through the family the chain led upwards through the clan or local group to the nation as a whole. It is the same amongst the Hellenes and Romans, from the clan (gens), through the group of clans (phyle, tribus; among the Germans gau) to the entire nation (populus).12 In Hindu society, it was the duty of a main to produce a family before he was entitled to turn to a life of philosophy in old age. In many Hellenic towns celibacy was punished, and it was the Roman’s duty also to marry and preserve his family (matrimonium liberorum quaerendum causa). For the earliest Persians, too, the highest moral life was in bravery and the establishment of a sound family whose members might serve the nation. The family was thus always, amongst Nordic people, the basis of political and social life, and the Nordic peoples have been rightly called “a race glorying in wedlock”. Such a philosophy has deep and logical roots in nature, as the family is the basic evolutionary unit and the race is no more than the full and complete family or sub-species.

It was in this Persian society, which in the sixth century B.C. was still clearly Nordic, so that travellers said “they were nearly all fair and ruddy like Greeks”, that Spitama Zarathustra arose amongst the people, and taught a lofty form of national religion which is set forth in the Gatha songs of the Avesta. This religion was called Mazdaism, and it collated and modified the old mythology into the worship of one God, Ahura Mazda, the Good Spirit. This is the first conscious religious creation in history, long before Buddha and the oldest Jewish prophets, and the first to give an ethical basis to the relations of Man and State. It is the loftiest of the religious creations produced by persons of Nordic origin. Setting the basis of belief in terms of the battle of Good against Evil, Zarathustra takes the old Nordic trust in the importance of the individual conscience and makes this the basis of State ethics. Whatever was considered by the general consciousness of pure Aryan people to be good or evil became the universal good or evil for the nation. Man was enjoined to choose in favour of God and Goodness and Truth and Purity in the battle against evil, which he should carry on “in deed, word, and thought”.

There is nothing unclean about life itself in any Nordic religion, and fasting and celibacy are considered wrong, as obstacles to living, while the care of children and the yearly sowing of crops are objects of special approval. There is to be no shrinking from life, merely good clean living: industry, vigour of mind and body and full parenthood are good, lewdness and perversions are sinful. Here is the industry, simplicity, love of truth, valour and righteousness which is behind all Nordic beliefs; and the more we learn about Mazdaism, the more we appreciate the great flowering of Nordic ideas in early Persian thought.

Herodotus portrayed the Persians as tall, strong and proud and describes how the sons of nobles were brought up at the King’s court to ride, shoot with the bow and tell the truth. Herakleides calls them “the manliest and highest-minded of the Barbarians.” Xenophon praises the tall, beautiful Persian women – and at this time the paintings in the Ajanta caves outside Bombay showed the Persian envoys as light-skinned, blue-eyed and blond, or dark-skinned and blue-eyed with a fair beard.13 But by the fourth century the decline of the Nordic conquering class becomes evident, and the old pre-Nordic ideas find their way slowly back into the old philosophy and religion which now seeps up from the non-Nordic lower classes. Even then, in 330 B.C. when the Nordic Macedonians crushed the declining Persian empire, coloured representations on the Sidon sarcophagus show the Persian warrior class still with light eyes and hair, fair and reddish moustaches, Nordic noses, but now and again with almond-shaped Oriental eyes, or Hither Asiatic characteristics.14

The rule of the Nordic Macedonians lasted only a short time, although their impact was considerable, as the remains of cities such as that of Taxila in India reveal, and they disappeared in a generation or two because they made no laws for the racial conservation of their Nordic blood. Alexander the Great actually went so far as to encourage the marriage of his warriors to the subject peoples, in the hope thereby of building a lasting empire, but history shows that the effect was opposite, and after his death his empire crumbled more rapidly than most. The brief Macedonian conquest was followed in Persia by an attempted renaissance of Mazdaism, and then by Arab conquest and the bloody suppression of Mazdaism in which the leading and most steadfast Persian families suffered terribly.15 The cultural vitality of the Persians still survived for some time thereafter, but there was a steady winding down over the following centuries, even though the intellectual Sufist school arose as a special Persian form of Islam, being derived from old Persian Mazdaism, neo-Platonism, and especially the Hindu Vedanta. In modern Persia, however, signs of the old blood are still present in the handsome facial features, fair hair and light eyes which occur frequently in the older families.

The history of the Hellenes or Greek people is very similar to that of the rise and fall of Persian and Hindu cultures, tied as this was to the initial immigration and then the ultimate decay of the Nordic ruling classes.

A study of languages places the early home of the Hellenes a little further north than that of the Indo- Iranis; that is to say, between the middle and upper reaches of the Danube, round about what is now Hungary. “Like their Indo-European kinsfolk, especially their neighbours, the Thracians, the Greeks were originally a fair race.’’ ‘‘It is fair hair that Homer gives his chosen heroes… the Laconian maidens, sung by Alkman in his ‘Parthenia’, were blond, and the Boeotian women were still mostly blond in the third century.” “The Epic paints us Achilles, Ajax, the Atridae, as men of imposing stature.”16

Before the Ionic and Doric immigration of Nordic peoples, the population of Greece was predominantly Mediterranean, with fairly strong Dinaric and Hither Asiatic elements – the Pelasgians being of this mixture.

Greek place-names in consequence are frequently pre- Indo-European, and such elements of the Greek mythology which remain from pre-Nordic times, such as Poseidon, show Mediterranean characters: Poseidon was black-haired, as was Hephaistos. Mycenean culture was in fact a Mediterranean-Nordic compromise.

This first migration took place between 3000 and 2000 B.C. Then there was a second migration a thousand years latter. “Just as a first movement came from central Europe into Greece as early as the Stone Age, bringing the Megaron house, stretched burial, and all kinds of new ornamentation … so more than 1,000 years later, towards the end of the Bronze Age, a second movement of the same kind came about, more Nordic in character, and embodying more stubborn powers of life.” “The Greek people, it has often been held, preserved a clearer memory of the second Nordic immigration, which brought about the Dipylon culture. Eighty years after the taking of Troy, the Greek legend tells us, the Dorains, the Heraklidae, came from the north into Greece”.17

The heroic sagas of the Homeric period are typically Nordic in character. The invading Nordic bands were led by national heroes without overbearing authority, as was the case with the early Persians and Hindus, and also the later Vikings. They came in helmets, armed with spear and shield, and their heroic deeds still inspired us many generations later. They burnt their dead, and surrounded themselves with the warlike religious traditions of the North, which shortly developed into the Olympic figures of Homer’s Gods.18

The Hellenic sagas are concerned with the very earliest period of Hellas, when only a few Nordic tribes had arrived. Later the Ionians came, followed in about 1300 A.D. by the Aeolians and the Achaeans, and the Mycenean culture came into existence. Finally, about 1,100 B.C., the Doric invasion came, following which we find the Dipylon culture. Herodotus tell us that the Dorian’s ancestral home was amongst the snows. But the Iliad nevertheless gives a moving picture of the ideals of the Nordic nobility in the Heroic Age of the Hellenes which is a spiritual education for Nordic people of any land. Wright, in Feminism in Greek Literature, describes Homer’s ideas on sexual life as being “of a Scandinavian type”.

The type of idealised beauty in Greece remained Homeric throughout the whole history of that great civilisation.19 Hesiod, like Homer, calls the heroes and gods blond, blue-eyed and tall. In Homer, dark hair is the attribute of non-Hellenes. Greek sculptures in particular generally show pure Nordic features as their ideal,20 and as late as the fourth century A.D. the physician and sophist Adamantios describes the population of Greece as still distinctly Nordic, although we have grounds to wonder whether he was not somewhat swayed by the traditional concept of what a Greek should look like, as Greece was by then very considerably mixed. He writes: “Wherever the Hellenic and Ionic race has been kept pure, we see tall men of fairly broad and straight build, neatly made, of fairly light skin and blond; the flesh is rather firm, the limbs straight, the extremities well made. The head is of middling size, and moves easily; the neck is strong, the hair somewhat fair, and soft, and a little woolly; the face is rectangular, the lips narrow, the nose straight, and the eyes bright, piercing, and full of light; for of all the nations the Greek has the fairest eyes.” The reference to the hair being “a little woolly” is a definite concession to the mixing of blood which by then had progressed far, but the ideal of the Heroic Age was still in the writer’s mind.

Apart from the multitude of statues surviving from Hellenic days, a very clear impression of racial patterns is given by the small terra-cotta figures, mostly from the fourth century B.C., which bear traces of paint. These usually had light hair and blue eyes, the former being almost without exception red-brown.21 Painted statues from the time of the Persian wars (fifth century B.C.) almost generally have fair hair. Pindar, at the same age, calls his countrymen “the blond Dania”, and Xanthos (the blond)22 is fairly often found as a personal name, Sophocles praises the women of Thebes, who were generally held to be the most beautiful in Greece, and Dikaiarchos says of them: “They have fair hair, which they wear tied in a knot on the top of their head.”

From a fairly early date, however, the original pattern of Nordic nobility ruling over a subject Mediterranean population was in Greece affected by a steady flow of short-headed races, mainly Hither Asiatic, which appears to have trickled in from the Balkans, Asia Minor and Crete. Socrates, whose ethical discourses were not in the Nordic tradition, had a broad head and flat features, possibly Alpine, it being commonly remarked that his appearance was quite exceptional for one of such intellectual ability. Generally, in fact, the broad head was looked upon as comical, and used for comic masks, and Greek jesting figures always portray broad, blunted faces, small eyes, thick projecting noses and sometimes thick lips like those of a Negro, and were never Nordic or Mediterranean in appearance. Then, as dark hair became more common amongst the upper classes, dyes to colour the hair fair became popular, and Euripides leaves us with advice on how the hair may be dyed blond. Adamantios goes so far as to say that there was a general feeling amongst the late Hellenes that black or curly-haired people were deceitful and lustful.

Greek political history is little more than the interaction between a spirited Nordic upper class and an alien racial lower class. The constitution of the Spartans is typically illustrative of this interaction. There were three separate classes: an upper class of Nordic-Doric lords, the Spartiats; an intermediate, free class who were liable, as all freemen traditionally were in Nordic societies, for military service, probably made up of pre-Doric, but Nordic, Achaens; and a lower class of Helots or serfs, mostly of Mediterranean race, over whom the Achaens had formerly ruled. The lordly families had their hereditary estates, and the “Spartan” way of life was one of Nordic military discipline reinforced by eugenic practice. Brasidas warned his fellow Spartiats, “We are few in the midst of many foes”,23 and rewards were paid for large families amongst the freemen and nobility, whereas population increase amongst the Helots was discouraged. At the same time, although a man with four or more children was exempted from taxation, the children of the upper class were subjected to strict, if somewhat primitive, selection. Plutarch adds that the Spartans were also the first to improve the breed not only of dogs and horses, but of men. Xenophon says, “These measures could not but produce a race excelling in build and in strength. It will be hard to find a healthier and more efficient people than the Spartans.” In Sparta itself the nobility claimed that they were the only pure-blooded Hellenes remaining, and the women were praised by Spartans and non-Spartans alike for their beauty, health and chastity, while yet they had greater freedom than in the decaying Athens of the Periclean age. Bakchylides, in the fifth century, called them blond.

Although Sparta suffered heavily in war, the eugenic laws of Lycurgus could not but have their effect. It was a change in philosophy that destroyed Sparta, for the old national and community idea passed away, and instead emphasis on individualism caused the old laws to be repealed. Spartan freedom became license, and, as often happened, Nordic decay was heralded in by ideas of “enlightenment” and “individualism”. Buddhism had the same effect in India, when it attacked the old Brahmanic laws. Athens became decadent following the introduction of her age of “enlightenment”.

In Athens, as in Sparta, the decline of the state is marked by the decline in Nordic blood. When class divisions become based on wealth instead of race, mixed marriages begin to take place, and Nordic blood must go. The Solonic constitution of Athens first base values on landed property, but this is replaced by wealth in terms of money. Tyrants, or popular demagogues, relying for their support upon the “people” (the non-Nordic masses of Athens) begin to appear, and they cause the execution of the leaders of the nobles – of the boldest spirits among the nobles, that is to say.

The wars with the Persians, and the internal strife with other Greek states, weakened the warrior upper class. Especially was this the case in the Peloponnesian war: Athens seldom had more than 30,000 citizens (Nordic freemen), and “in the Peloponnesian war alone the Athenians lost through the Sicilian expedition 60,000 men, only some of whom, naturally, were full citizens. After the fight at Chaeronea 20,000 of those who were not citizens had to be raised to citizenship”. Lykurgos bewailed this event, pointing out that prior to this act the pure descent from the land had been the pride of the Athenian citizens. “Athens fell through want of Athenians, and what is left of her glory is as the light of a planet which has long since disappeared.”24 So it was with all the Greek states. Those which did not mix with the masses, died out. The Doric military nobility put 8,000 men into the field at the time of the Persian wars; after the battle of Leuktra it could raise only 2,000 men and in the year 230 B.C. there were only 700 members left.

There can accordingly be little surprise when Manilius, a member of the powerful, still Nordic, Roman nation in the reign of Augustus, already included the Greeks among the dark nations (coloratae gentes),25 for their nobility had virtually vanished, and the masses had taken over. It is interesting to remember, however, that the Greek States which lasted the longest were those which retained their Nordic character the longest. Sparta survived longer than Athens, Thebes lived even longer. And as Greece waned, the Macedonians, keeping their Nordic blood purer in the mountains north of Greece, rose to prominence. The coloured sarcophagus of Sidon shows the Macedonians as white-skinned, fair-haired and blue-eyed, and “strongly developed mounds over the eyes, a slightly receding forehead, and a not very high skull, a sharp strong chin.”26

We know from accounts of the appearance of Alexander that he was long-headed, fair-skinned, blond, and that he had such delicate skin colouring that he could blush not only on the cheeks but right down to his chest. In Greece the Nordic blood was exhausted, but in Macedonia we had a Nordic people just struggling up. Alexander the Great led these people to fame half way across Asia, to scatter their tiny numbers across a far-flung empire, and so destroy them.

It was the Romans who inherited power from the Greeks, and they also came from Nordic blood. Their ancestors were the Italic tribes which gave Italy its name, and as long ago as 2000 B.C. pile lake dwellings in upper Italy show that a migration from north of the Alps had taken place. The immigrants burned their dead, and the pottery and burnings both point to a Nordic background.27 The lake-villages were laid out in regular patterns, similar to the later Roma quadrata, and there were apparently rituals connected with the bridges which led from the land to the villages, which are perhaps reflected in the title of “pontifex” for the chief priest in Rome.

The main Italian migration which led to the foundation of Rome, however, came later during the Bronze Age. The pottery again shows that central Germany must have been the original home of these people, and the Latin language, which is closely akin to the Keltic group, is also Indo-European. The Italians appear to have entered Italy over the Eastern Alps from Austria, and then moved down the centre of Italy, skirting the firmly entrenched Etruscan state. Relatively few in number, they were organised on a simple and stern warrior’s code, and the Latins appear in many ways to have been more Nordic than the Hellenes, certainly in their greater earnestness, the Roman gravitas and virtus, and the greater freedom for women.

The oldest Italian records tell of the legendary wars with the Etruscans, when Horatio kept the bridge, and saved Rome, and also of the slow extension of nationhood between the various Italic tribes, the Umbrians, Oscians, Sabellans and Sabines. We hear of the Oscian love of fighting, and the truthfulness and feminine chastity of the Sabines. The oldest constitution reveals a class system based on race: the 300 Patricians who make up the Roman Senate represent the 300 families of the Latine and Sabine tribe of the Nordic conquerors, whereas the Plebeians correspond to the subject Mediterranean – Alpine population, with Dinaric and Hither Asiatic elements, and the descendants of the Ligurian-Iberians. Marriage customs are different in the two groups, and although the Plebeians appear to some extent to have retained mother-rights in inheritance, the Nordics adhere to paternal lineage.28 The fair Romans had the proverb, quoted by Horace (Sat., i. 4, 85) : “hic niger es; hunc tu, Romane, caveto; He is black, beware of him, Roman.”

The oldest element in Roman Law is the Twelve Tables, in which we find provision for the killing of misshapen children.29 The later Roman Laws strove also without forgetting the eugenic ideal, to raise the number of children. Even then Seneca wrote, “We drown the weaklings and misshapen. It is not unreason but reason to separate the fit from the unfit.” But before that, in 445 B.C., the first element of decay had already appeared, when the law, the Lex Canuleia de Connubio permitted marriages between Patricians and Plebeians. Until this law the children of mixed descent went always to the Plebeian stock, thus tending if anything to spread Nordic blood amongst the Plebeians. This was the pars deterior, or the “worse hand” as old German laws called it. Now, instead, the blood of the Plebeians was to mingle with the Nordic upper classes. This was the first step in the downfall of Rome, sure to bring evil even though its effects were slow.

The history of the Roman constitution pictures the change in racial stratification of the Roman population, as power passes steadily into the hands of the Plebeians. The wars with the Nordic Kelts were borne by the Nordic Patricians the most. From the Patrician class came the soldiers and the administrators of the conquered territories. Cato (d. 149 B.C.) was the type of true Roman, born from the high nobility, with lofty aims, a complete patriot, a statesman and a general. According to Plutarch and a satirical poem he was fair-haired and light-eyed. But in his time Nordic blood was already running thinner. The old Roman names are still chosen – Fulvius, Flavus, Rufus and others denoting colouring, and of two kinsmen one is called niger (the dark) and the other rufus (the fair) to discriminate between identical names. But after the Punic Wars all the old Patrician families were said to have vanished, but for a dozen or so.

In the civil wars Nordic blood was spilt lavishly. Marius, leader of the Plebeians, after his victory over fair-haired and light-eyed (Plutarch) Sulla, had many leading members of the nobility executed, and Sulla afterwards took similar vengeance on the leaders of the Plebeians, amongst whom, due to the relaxation of the old marriage laws, a considerable amount of Nordic blood must have spread. Another blow was the disappearance, outside the city, of the yeoman Nordic peasantry in the entire area of Italic settlement, with the import of cheap corn from the colonies. It is generally in the country, in contact with Nature and the land, that Nordic blood keeps fittest and survives the longest. The fall of the Republic was the fall also of the last of the Patrician element. Bled of its Nordic class, the Republic gave way, and the government passed to a series of autocrats, purporting to have the sympathy of the Plebeian masses, whose support they won often with “bread and circuses”. Imperial rule in Rome took on the cloak of Oriental despotic magnificence, but it was merely a splendid cloak hiding a mouldering state.

The old Republican nobility were replaced by a new moneyed nobility, the equites, who thrived on financial speculation and lived in great personal luxury. Their example was the beginning of moral decay, and while their financial power ground down the freemen, the officials were corrupted by their bribes. So Caesar commented (Gallic Wars i. 39, 40), and Vergil protested that a new race must come down from heaven if the situation were to be rectified. As the old Italic blood died out, the administration began to fear for the recruitment of the legions. Censor Metellus had in 131 B.C. demanded legal sanction to oblige citizens to marry. Caesar, Augustus, Nero, Trajan and Hadrian provided for rewards to parents of numerous families. But without success, the effects of war were not made good; and to fill the empty spaces foreign blood flowed into Italy, and quite commonly African and Eastern slaves. As in modern days, the inferior appeared to have the higher birth-rate, and as a result the last days of Rome are repulsive. Pliny noticed this, and pointed out that in the early days of Rome, there had been little need for physicians. There came also a proverb, “A crooked countenance is followed by crooked morals” (distortum vultum sequitur distortio morum). The blood of hundreds of thousands of slaves, mostly from Africa and Asia, turned Imperial Rome into a racial morass, and finally citizenship was extended to all freemen living within the limits of the empire. This last law was published under the infamous Caracalla (A.D. 212), the son of an African slave and a Syrian woman, a notorious criminal degenerate.

The larger part of the Roman population must, by the birth of Christ, have been Mediterranean- Dinaric-Alpine. Caesar, who was himself tall and light-eyed with Nordic features, compares the Romans with the Gauls of that age, indicating how short the Romans were by comparison, and mentions that the Keltic Coritavi of modern Lincolnshire were blond in youth, and by comparison tall, for the minimum height of the Roman soldier had by that time been brought down to 1.48 metres. When considering height, however, we must recollect that this is determined not merely by heredity, but by diet and health in infancy.

Many of the more noble and thoughtful men who survived turned to Stoicism, in dislike of the sophistry and falseness of the age; Cicero’s De Officiis gives a Nordic spirit to those few noble men who struggled on. But Stoicism was without hope in its philosophy, and in consequence militated against marriage. These last strong figures of ancient Rome were lonely, and many were in fact banished and executed. But for the fact that new Keltic and Nordic blood was seeping in from France and Germany, to give Rome a backbone of strong legions, and later on even administrators, the collapse of this repulsive charade would have been spontaneous.

A number of the later Emperors who strove to hold the disintegrating and festering empire together were of immediate German origin. The first of these was Maximinus Thrax (A.D. 235-238), the son of a Goth man and an Alan woman, both Nordic peoples. According to every record he was of giant stature, strikingly handsome, and dazzlingly fair. Valentinian I (A.D. 375) was also of “barbaric” blood, with tall stature (in relation to the Plebeians who would seem very short by modern English or German averages), fair skin, blue eyes and light hair. With the influx of German mercenaries to the legions, it became possible to raise the height of the army in the fourth century to 1.63 metres, and for the Guard to 1.72 metres. Tertullian portrays, perhaps with some exaggeration, the revival of life in the Empire following the new German or Gothic influx, which became especially marked with the Gothic conquest and rule of Theodoric. “The world strides on from day to day,” he writes, “Now there are roads everywhere, all is looked into, all is busy. Estates have taken the place of ill-famed wildernesses, forests are held in check by sown land, swamps are drained dry, wild life is driven back before the herds, sandy wastes are sown, there are more towns than there were once huts.”

But the old Romano-Nordic power and lineage was gone, for Tertullian wrote in the last days of the old empire, already mingling with the beginning of the Middle Ages. The invasions of Odoacer (A.D. 476) and Theodoric represent the fresh wave of Teutonic conquest which was to usher in the Middle Ages and to set the pattern for the modern nations of Europe today. Rome itself had become a racial morass which was despised by the new conquerors, a mob in which only now and then would Nordic characteristics reappear. It was the rabble which made Jahn say: “The purer a people the better; the more mixed it is the more it is like a rabble.” Amongst all this the Christian state church now built homes for the poor and protected the lowest from the law. But in doing so it made the propagation of the mentally and physically weak possible, and “with much good has also come much evil.”

Despite all this, the ideal of beauty remained Nordic to the end. Up to the second century A.D. Roman portrait busts were painted, the hair often showing remains of paint which was of a light brown colour, and the features quite frequently Nordic. It may be, however, that the idea of light-colouring for the hair was deliberate, as colouring is usually the first thing to change with darker admixtures, and the light hair colouring is more frequent than the Nordic features. Light colouring could therefore be deliberate to give an aristocratic impression.

From the point of view of individual choice, nevertheless, anyone amongst the nobility who had dark hair liked to hide it, and Juvenal tells us (Sat. vi, 120) that Messalina hid her black hair under a fair wig, while the rich new Plebeians bought fair hair from Germany to make wigs for their wives and daughters, and gave them the “noble appearance” which Vergil gave to the blond Mercury, Turnus, Camillus, Lavinia, and even Dido, the Phoenician. Ovid mentions the custom of fair wigs, Martial, Luca and Pliny give methods of dying the hair blond. Even half-African Caracalla wore a blond wig and walked around in Germanic garb. Both Horace and Vergil’s ideal of beauty is the Nordic, and Ovid paints Romulus and Remus as fair.30 Apuleius, born of Roman parentage in an African colony, calls himself slender, tall and blond, and follows Platonistic philosophy.

Most of the sculptures representing Romans, too, show Nordic features, a narrow face, long head, sharp chin, and the famous “Roman nose”; though again, how far did the sculptor err in favour of traditional ideas of beauty with the intention of flattering? Marcus Antonius, Caesar, Galba, Vespasian and Trajan were all praised for having the handsome “High Mountain Form” forehead, the high brow which is so typically Nordic. It is an irony that the racial characters that once qualified the whole race, should remain the ideal of beauty amongst the rabble of aliens, ugly in their heterogeneous confusion of characteristics. But such was the case in Rome. The memory of the Heroic Age was eagerly seized by all who could take power, by fair means or foul, but that age could not be recaptured, and despite the temporary improvements effected by Germanic conquerors such as Theodoric, the racial material on which they had to work was of little value, and their efforts bore no fruit after their own demise.


1  Suchhhardt, Alteuropa.

2  Arldt does not choose the term germanisch (German) well here, for the Germans or Teutons were only the last wave of conquerors, “Nordic” would be more suitable

3  Vernau, Anthropologie de l’Éthiopie.

4  Karutz, Der Fachbogen.

5  Schuchhardt, Alteuropa.

6  Hopkins, The Social and Military Position of the Ruling Caste in Ancient India.

7  Chantre, Recherches anthropologiques dans le Caucase.

8  Hilden, Fennia vol. xlii 1920.

9  Hiising, Die Inder von Boghazkoi in the Festschrift for Baudouin, Cracow 1921.

10  Stobaeus, De nuptiis, Ecl. Serm. 68, p. 67.

11  Oldenburg, Die Indische Religion (Kultur d. Gegen I. iii. l).

12  Kuhlenbeck, Die Entwicklungsgesch des romischen Rechts is very good on this.

13  De Ujfalvy, L’Anthropologie, vol. ii.

14  Winter, Der Alexandersarkophag.

15  Some of its adherents fled to India, where some 100,000, known as Parsees, still live, one of the world’s most prosperous communities. As a result of their ancient religious moral teaching, they are considered by many to be the most reliable businessmen in the sub-continent, and handshake is amongst them as irrevocable as a written contract. They are generally fair-skinned, and the children sometimes have light hair and eyes.

16  Beloch, Griesch. Gesch. i.

17  Schuchhardt, Alteuropa.

18  Ridgeway, The Early Age of Greece.

19  Homer in the Iliad refers to Aphrodite, Demeter, Rhadamanthus, Aurora, Agamede, Herakles, Harmonia, Lykos, Achilles, Menelaus, Meleager, Helen, and Briseis, blond. Pindar’s Gods are all blond as are Theocritus’s. See De Lapouge L‘Aryan.

20  The only non-Nordic sign in the majority of statues is the absence of the Nordic projection at the back of the head. But this can be explained by the fact that most statues were only made to be looked at from the front, and the back was therefore left partially, or even totally uncompleted.

21  Kekule, Grisch. Tonfiguren aus Tanagra.

22  Aristotle describes the colour xanthos as that of the fire and the sun. The lion’s mane was also described as xanthos.

23  Thucydides, lv 126.

24  Hoernes, Natur u. Urgeschichte des Menschen.

25  Astronomica, lv 719.

26  De Ujfalvy, Le Type physique dAlexandre le Grand.

27  Schuchhard, Alteuropa.

28  The growth of Roman Law from the legal ideas shared by all Nordic peoples is described by Kuhlenbeck, Die Entwicklungsgesch d. ro. Rechts.

29  Cicero, De legibus iii, 8.

30  De Lapouge lAryen gives a list of writers mentioning Nordic characteristics. Although colour is not itself a conclusive racial argument, it is one of the first Nordic characteristics to disappear, even when the more significant physical features are retained, and its presence is a healthy sign indicating the survival of considerable Nordic elements.

Copyright 1965 by Roger Pearson, M.Sc. (Econ)

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