What Race Were the Greeks and Romans?

What Race Were the Greeks and Romans?

The evidence is clear — but often ignored

Recent films about ancient Greece such as Troy, Helen of Troy, and 300, have used actors who are of Anglo-Saxon or Celtic ancestry (e.g. Brad Pitt, Gerard Butler). Recent films about ancient Rome, such as Gladiator and HBO’s series Rome, have done the same (e.g. Russell Crowe). Were the directors right, from an historical point of view? Were the ancient Greeks and Romans of North European stock?

Most classical historians today are silent on the subject. For example, Paul Cartledge, a professor of Greek culture at Cambridge, writes about his specialty, Sparta, for educated but non-academic readers, yet nowhere that I can find does he discuss the racial origins of the Spartans. Some years ago I asked several classics professors about the race of the ancient Greeks only to be met with shrugs that suggested that no one knew, and that it was not something worth looking into. Today, an interest in the race of the ancients seems to be taken as an unhealthy sign, and any evidence of their Nordic origins discounted for fear it might give rise to dangerous sentiments.

A hundred years ago, however, Europeans took it for granted that many Greeks and Romans were the same race as themselves. The famed 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, published in 1911, noted that “survival of fair hair and complexion and light eyes among the upper classes in Thebes and some other localities shows that the blond type of mankind which is characteristic of north-western Europe had already penetrated into Greek lands before classical times.” It added that the early Greeks, or Hellenes, were Nordic, one of “the fair-haired tribes of upper Europe known to the ancients as Keltoi.” Sixty years ago even Bertrand Russell, the British philosopher and socialist, believed that the Hellenes “were fair-haired invaders from the North, who brought the Greek language with them” (History of Western Philosophy, 1946).

A reproduction of Phidias\

Scholars today recoil at this pre-1960s consensus. The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece, written in 1996, scoffs at the “undoubtedly dubious racial theories underlying much of this reconstruction,” but offers no theory to replace it, conceding only that “the origin of the Greeks remains a much-debated subject.” The Penguin author makes this startling admission, however: “Many of the ideas of racial origins were developed in the 19th century and, although they may have had some foundation in historical tradition, archaeology or linguistics, they were often combined with more dubious presumptions.” The author fails to list these dubious presumptions. Beth Cohen, author of Not the Classical Ideal: Athens and the Construction of the Other in Greek Art (2000), asserts that the Thracians, distant cousins of the Greeks, had “the same dark hair and the same facial features as the Ancient Greeks.”

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Jews and Russians before the First World War: The Growing Awareness

Jews and Russians before the First World War: The Growing Awareness

200 Years Together

In Russia—for another ten years it escaped its ruin—the best minds among the Russians and the Jews had had time to look back and evaluate from different points of view the essence of our common life, to seriously consider the question of culture and national destiny.

The Jewish people made its way through an ever‐changing present by dragging behind it the tail of a comet of three thousand years of diaspora, without ever losing consciousness of being “a nation without language nor territory, but with its own laws” (Salomon Lourie), preserving its difference and its specificity by the force of its religious and national tension—in the name of a superior, meta‐historical Providence. Have the Jews of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries sought to identify with the peoples who surrounded them, to blend into them? It was certainly the Jews of Russia who, longer than their other co‐religionists, had remained in the core of isolation, concentrated on their religious life and conscience. But, from the end of the nineteenth century, it was precisely this Jewish community in Russia that began to grow stronger, to flourish, and now “the whole history of the Jewish community in the modern age was placed under the sign of Russian Jewry”, which also manifested “a sharp sense of the movement of History.”1

For their part, the Russian thinkers were perplexed by the particularism of the Jews. And for them, in the nineteenth century, the question was how to overcome it. Vladimir Solovyov, who expressed deep sympathy for the Jews, proposed to do so by the love of the Russians towards the Jews.

Before him, Dostoyevsky had noticed the disproportionate fury provoked by his remarks, certainly offensive but very scarce, about the Jewish people: “This fury is a striking testimony to the way the Jews themselves regard the Russians… and that, in the motives of our differences with the Jews, it is perhaps not only the Russian people who bears all the responsibility, but that these motives, obviously, have accumulated on both sides, and it cannot be said on which side there is the most.”2

From this same end of the nineteenth century, Teitel reports the following observation: “The Jews are in their majority materialists. Strong in them is the aspiration to acquire material goods. But what contempt for these material goods whenever it comes to the inner ‘I’, to national dignity! Why, in fact, the mass of Jewish youth—who has completely turned away from religious practice, which often does not even speak its mother tongue—why did this mass, if only for the sake of form, not convert to Orthodoxy, which would have opened to it wide the doors of all the universities and would have given it access to all the goods of the earth?” Even the thirst for knowledge was not enough, while “science, superior knowledge was held by them in higher esteem than fortune.” What held them back was the concern not to abandon their co‐religionists in need. (He also adds that going to Europe to study was not a good solution either: “Jewish students felt very uncomfortable in the West… The German Jew considered them undesirable, insecure people, noisy, disorderly,”; and this attitude was not only that of the German Jews, “the French and Swiss Jews were no exception.”3

As for D. Pasmanik, he also mentioned this category of Jews converted under duress, who felt only more resentment towards the power and could only oppose it. (From 1905, conversion was facilitated: it was no longer necessary to go to orthodoxy, it was enough to become a Christian, and Protestantism was more acceptable to many Jews. In 1905 was also repealed the prohibition to return to Judaism.4)

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by Brett Stevens

Western Civilization was a good thing. Starting a thousand years ago, it fell into decline, but, as is the nature of decline, this was not an absolute condition but a gradual one, overlapping some of the greatest moments of Western Civilization. Thus it seemed to be both rising and falling at the same time, but its ultimate direction was toward failure.

Between 1789 and 1968 the West fully collapsed, and all of us born after those times have inherited a vast disaster which we alternately try to save and escape from. This schizophrenic state cannot last; we must choose one, and the sensible answer is to stand and fight, saving what is good and throwing out the rest.

That requires however that we give up false allegiances. Our only allegiance can be to Western Civilization and the genetic stock of Western Europeans that produces it. Everything else is an intermediate, a symbol standing for those great things, and by misdirecting us from the reality to the symbol, these become parasites.

What we think of as our nations — governments and institutions — are dead. They are working against us. The only solution is to destroy them, much as we would destroy any other enemy, so that in their place we can create something that works again. The real culture we need is within our souls, but all the established means to that end need to be removed because they have become corrupted.

We must burn every American and German flag. And cheat every tax authority and public institution. We should ignore all social obligations. Whatever destroys this society is good, and whatever helps it is bad. Burn it down to the ground and keep what we have that still works, carried over from the past, and rebuild on the basis of keeping what is good and destroying what is bad.

Most people do not realize that we exist in a fallen civilization. Western Civilization, once great, died before we were born. Now we are either those who are trying to hold on to an illusion from the past or those who are ready to erase that illusion and instead re-create Western Civilization by displacing the parasites who rule its corpse, renewing it like a phoenix rising among the ashes.

Here are ten ways you can tell that you are living in a dying age:

  1. Overpopulation. We hit 7.5 billion human monkeys this week. How will all of these people live? The answer is simple: by consuming everything we know of as our environment, and leaving behind only ruined wastelands full of starving people who cannot allocate the resources or achieve the social organization necessary to feed themselves. The First World is imploding, and the Third World exploding.
  2. Diversity. To survive, every group needs to prioritize itself above all others. This is sensible, but means that multiple groups cannot co-exist in the same society. Groups which fail to prioritize themselves will simply fade away. As a result, diversity cannot work, and creates the ethnic tensions that Leftists — consummate reality-deniers — call “racism.”
  3. Tragedy of the Commons. A tragedy of the commons happens when a resource exists and individuals discover that they have an incentive to exploit it. The Left blames “capitalism” for this problem, but really, it occurs anytime a resource is owned by no one but is accessible to all. Imagine a forest: if every person needs firewood, each will cut as much as he can, and soon there will be no forest. With cultural cooperation and a shared purpose, people limit their own takings, but in an atomized, dying civilization, each person exploits to the maximum of his own benefit and to the ruin of all.
  4. Ineptitude. Societies that are dying tend to formalize rules and procedures as a means of working around the inequality of human beings, which simply mean that some are more competent than others. So, instead of choosing the best, these societies set up “meritocracies” based on memorization and obedience. This means that they select incompetents in both the public and private sectors, leading to the idiocy of the likes of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, American President Barack Obama, and Catholic Pope Francis.
  5. Low Human Quality. When a civilization is dying, it becomes inverted, or focused on the opposite of every meaning. This is so it can make everyone feel accepted. This means that the good are penalized so the bad can be included as well. This keeps the society together despite its citizens no longer having any real relevance to each other. As a result, the good fail to breed and are replaced by the thoughtless, selfish, and mediocre.This correlates highly with a “free rider” problem. In organized societies it is expected that every person contribute as they are able and take in proportion to what they give, so that the most valuable members of the community are those who contribute the most. When free riders, or those who take more than they give, are allowed, the society becomes dedicated to justifications, rationalizations, and excuses, instead of being focused on actions and taking responsibility for them. This creates an industry out of government where people are paid to manage the free riders, and in turn become a type of “mega free rider” themselves by blessing the decay and being rewarded handsomely for it, despite makingnegative contributions to the society.
  6. Pollution. No sane society sacrifices tomorrow for today, but every dying civilization does exactly that, because, in absence of a cooperative spirit, each person wants to extract as much wealth as possible and flee the collapsing ruin. As a result, it becomes culturally acceptable to be self-centered to the point of disregarding the environment. Disregarding others is socially taboo, but externalizing cost to the world is encouraged, especially because most resent nature for not making them equal.
  7. Existential Misery. To live in a dying time is to know that all is for naught; every act of the individual will be ground down into the same uniformity as everything else, and nothing honestly good will be appreciated. In addition, people are aware at a gut level that their society is crashing and dying. As a result, they become alienated and unstable because they have no actual hope for the future. This misery spreads between individuals.Existential misery relates strongly to a sense of purpose. Healthy civilizations have some form of purpose which is shaped from an ongoing and immutable goal, even something as simple as “be the best possibility of what we are.” When a civilization turns inward, and focuses on people instead of purpose, the existential certainty and meaning that comes from purpose is forgotten, and the citizens turn aimless, starting with the most sensitive and intelligent.
  8. Inversion. In a collapsing civilization, the actual goal of results in reality is replaced by a social goal, which consists of doing things that are approved of by others. This leads to inversion, or the changing of definitions and goals to be the opposite of what they once were. Good becomes whatever flatters most, even though that is bad; heroism becomes victimhood; benevolence becomes cleaning up after a crime instead of preventing it.
  9. Pretense. An awakened person in the last stages of a civilization will notice that most people around them are pretentious, holding forth as if they are a gift to humanity and nature alike. This is their projection and preemptive passive aggression that allows them to act as if they are victims when criticized, despite the fact that they are acting in an exploitative way. Pretense is required to conceal the actuality of their behavior, and enables them to fend off criticism despite it being well-deserved.
  10. Ugliness. Healthy societies produce beauty, pleasure, goodness and honesty. Dying societies cannot do this, so they produce novelty and freakishness as a way of garnering attention, and then claim that is beauty, inverting the original meaning. When you see brutalist architecture, ugly modern art, crass mass culture, and aggressive, unpleasant social interactions, this is a sure sign of the decline.

I favour two general responses to the decay. The first is “clean up, rebuild and restart” and the second could be characterized as “burn it down and start over.” These two are compatible in that they implicate the same action: remove the dysfunctional, collect those who are still able to think realistically (the “remnant”), and then rebuild civilization according to the ways that have worked for time immemorial.


Another way to put this is that an accurate assessment of human existence never changes because humans never change. The pitfalls of our cognition that lead us toward bad acts remain the same, as do the impulses that impel us toward positive acts. Even if we become transhumanist super-geniuses, the same struggles will afflict us. Much as the cosmos might be seen as a struggle between creation and emptiness, the soul of the thinking animal — human or not — will always be a struggle between good and evil (hubris, narcissism, individualism, solipsism and egoism).

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