Who We Are: the History of the White Race

Who We Are: the History of the White Race
Who We Are #1
May 1978
Unity & Diversity in Nature, but Never Equality
Miscegenation Stifles Evolutionary Progress
Changing Climate Sped Eurasian Evolution

No people is morally and spiritually healthy unless it is imbued with a strong sense of its own identity. Essential to that sense of identity are an awareness and an understanding of all the qualities which the members of the people share in common.

It is doubly imperative that every man and woman who claims the privilege of membership in a community based on the bonds of common race and common culture knows and takes pride in his racial and cultural history, for in this history are all the elements which give his community its unique character and differentiate its members from all those who are not members.

When such knowledge and pride are lacking, a community is subject to a host of ills and cannot long endure. Solidarity and a sense of responsibility to the community give place to special-interest factionalism and alienation. A lack of a sense of identity blurs the distinction between compatriot and stranger, between friend and foe, and leaves the community prey to the greed or malice of aliens as well as of its own pathological members, who will grow mightily in numbers as loss of identity proceeds.

The National Alliance is still very small compared to the larger national-racial community of which it is a part, yet if it is to grow someday into a truly effective community of blood and spirit which can serve as a nucleus for the regeneration of the larger community, it must begin now the process of education which will later serve as a model for the re-education of our whole people. NATIONAL VANGUARD serves this purpose, and it is hoped that the series of articles entitled “Who We Are” which will appear in successive issues will contribute to its overall effectiveness in that direction.

Let us begin acquiring our understanding of who we are by going far, far back beyond our earliest historical records … back beyond man himself … back to … the Beginning.

In the Beginning was the Cosmos — and is and ever shall be. The Cosmos is the Whole, the All-encompassing. It comprises all things, material and spiritual. The blazing suns of the firmament; the formless gas between the stars; the silent, frozen mountain peaks of the moon; the rustling trees of earthly forests; the teeming creatures of the dark ocean depths; and man are parts of the Cosmos.

The Cosmos is ever-changing, ever-evolving, moving toward ever higher states of existence. Here on earth man partakes in this evolution, just as before man other living creatures partook in it, with each succeeding eon leading to higher and higher levels of order, of life, of self-awareness.

If we trace this evolution backward in time, following as best we can the scientific clues down through the eons; looking back toward more and more primitive forms of life — and even earlier, before the first biological life existed, before the earth itself had condensed, to a time when the only animate entity was the Whole itself, the only consciousness in the Cosmos its own immanent animus — we find ourselves approaching a singular set of conditions, in which temperature and density were everywhere much higher than now. In this early era neither stars nor planets had yet taken shape; matter did not yet exist in the forms with which we are familiar. The conditions which we can see when we look far enough backward in time were too extreme even for the existence of the neutrons, protons, and electrons which make up the material universe today; even time itself was ill-defined at the Beginning.

The Primordial Atom

We can look back some 15 billion years altogether, to a singular state of the Cosmos, when it existed as a primordial “atom” of infinite temperature and density. Beyond that singular state we cannot see, nor do we feel that it is even meaningful to ask what existed “before,” because, as already mentioned, time itself loses its familiar meaning as we probe deeper and deeper into that earliest era of evolution of the Cosmos.

That is a limiting situation which is not likely to change in the future, even as science enables us to make more and more refined and sophisticated observations, from which can be implied a more and more detailed and precise picture of the state of the Cosmos in the era just after the Beginning. But even today we can, with considerable confidence, draw a series of pictures of the early states of the Cosmos stretching back roughly 15 billion years, so long as we do not press too close to the Beginning.
Within the first million years of that 15 billion years — less than one ten-thousandth of the total interval — the Cosmos evolved very rapidly and changed a great deal, indeed. The primordial “atom” — the Cosmic fireball — had expanded and cooled to such an extent that all the types of particles with which we are familiar today could exist, and from the hot gases which these particles combined to form , the first stars were condensing.

The First Life

The evolution of the Cosmos has proceeded much more slowly since then, but a great deal has happened, nevertheless. Many of the earliest stars have evolved through their entire life cycles and returned their constituent matter to interstellar space, from which new generations of stars have been born and have, in their turn, died. This process of stellar evolution has gradually changed the makeup of the interstellar gas, enriching it more and more with heavy species of atoms.

From this enriched interstellar gas our own sun was born some five billion years ago, and the earth condensed from the same material at about the same time; the latest estimate of the earth’s age is around 4.6 billion years. Within a billion years of the earth’s formation, the first biological life appeared on its surface.

This earliest biological life — as distinguished from the more generalized “life” of the Cosmos — consisted merely of self-replicating molecules: complex aggregates of atoms which had, in the course of the inorganic evolution which preceded the first life, acquired the ability to organize the atoms and simpler molecules of their environment into replicas of themselves — i.e., the ability to “reproduce.”

As the process of organic evolution continued, new forms appeared — more complex, more highly organized forms than those preceding them. The process led from single, “living” molecules to the first creatures with a cellular structure, then from single-celled life to multi-celled forms. It led from the earliest forms of life in the primal seas to the amphibians to the reptiles to the birds and mammals — from trilobite to tyrannosaur to proto-tarsier — and, eventually, to man, who first appeared anywhere from one to three million years ago, depending upon where one arbitrarily draws the line between “man” and “ape-man.”

Homo erectus

The “men” of that distant era differed quite a bit from the members of any living race; they were merely the first creatures in a particular ape-to-man evolutionary line who exhibited certain characteristics which qualified them as members of genus Homo (man), rather than Pithecus (ape) or Pithecanthropus (ape-man). Among these characteristics were a more-or-less erect posture, the regular manufacture and use of tools, and cranial and dental features which were more manlike than those of the apes or the ape-men.

The oldest identifiable members of genus Homo are known to us today only through a few fragments of bone. By about 900,000 years ago, however, there lived on earth a species, Homo erectus, which left more plentiful remains and whose members are generally recognized as the immediate pre-human ancestors of today’s living races of man.

Until a few years ago the youngest fossil remains of H. erectus known were about 100,000 years old. It is now believed that H. erectus survived until as late as 10,000 years ago in isolated tropical areas. Long before that species became extinct, however, it had diversified into several different pre-human races, each of which evolved separately across the threshold between H. erectus and H. sapiens, the species to which all living human subspecies, or races, have been assigned by the taxonomists. And each of these major racial branches of H. sapiens has itself thrown out branchlets: the Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean subraces of the White (Caucasian, European) race, for example.

The Tree of Life

Later, we shall examine in detail the development of the White race over the last half-million years or so, paying particular attention to its branching away from the parent H. erectus stock and then its subsequent diversification. Before we concentrate our attention on our particular branch, however, we want to note several general characteristics of the Tree of Life.

The first thing to note is that it is branched. Man’s immediate progenitors were ape-like — as were, of course, the immediate progenitors of today’s apes. That means that the relationship between living apes and man is not a father-son relationship, but one between cousins — an obvious distinction, but one which has, nevertheless, been overlooked by a great many people since the notion gained popular currency that Charles Darwin had postulated that “man is descended from the monkeys.”

The Tree of Life branches and rebranches, with each branching marking the birth of a new species. This occurs whenever a portion of the population of an existing species becomes isolated from the rest of the population long enough for the genetic constitutions of the two groups to drift apart.


After a branching occurs there are several possibilities: one — or both — branches may terminate in extinction; a branch that does not terminate may continue to grow indefinitely without sending out any new shoots, although considerable evolutionary change may take place as the branch grows; or it may give birth to any number of other branches.

Also, divergent branches may occasionally recombine, in a rather untree-like manner. This last possibility may occur when two species, formerly isolated, are brought into contact, perhaps by a glacial or tectonic change which establishes a land bridge across a water barrier. If the species have not become too genetically disparate, hybridization may sometimes occur, although among nearly all animals there are strong built-in tendencies against this. (Contrary to popular misconception, the mere fact that two organisms belong to different species does not necessarily preclude their being able to mate and produce fertile offspring; although this seldom happens under natural conditions, there is a large number of pairs of species for which it can happen and has happened. The other side of the coin is that the mere fact of interfertility is, in itself, not a sufficient reason for classifying two types of organism — or two races — in the same species.)

The Unity of Life

The second outstanding characteristic of the Tree of Life to be noted is its unity. From a single trunk have grown all the myriad species, living and extinct, of the plant and animal kingdoms of this planet. No species exists apart from the others; none can claim an Immaculate Conception; all evolved from more primitive species. And a connection can be traced through the branches of the Tree between any two creatures, no matter how different, no matter how lowly the one and exalted the other.

Again, this is an obvious characteristic, but it is often ignored by those who would prefer to believe that man and the rest of the Cosmos are separate — in particular, by those who would wrench man’s own branch from the Tree of Life and make it a separate tree unto itself, governed by laws entirely different from those governing all other living things.

This vain attempt to create a special status for mankind finds among its staunchest boosters the racial egalitarians. These befuddled neo-humanists seem to believe that, by putting every featherless biped which can be squeezed into the Homo sapiens category on a high plateau above the rest of the animal kingdom, and by anointing those thereon with “human dignity” — a quality which sets them utterly apart from all creatures not so anointed — they are promoting the cause of “human brotherhood.”

The Evolutionary Continuum

Others who shun the fact of Nature’s unity do so for reasons of piety. Unless they can imagine a great gulf between man and non-man, they run into insurmountable difficulties in deciding which creatures are entitled to immortal souls and which are not.

Closely related to the unity of the Tree of Life is its continuity. Nature does not jump suddenly from one species to another. Although the rate of evolutionary change varies greatly from branch to branch and from time to time, it is always evolutionary, never revolutionary. Between any two life forms in the Tree, there are always intermediate forms (although, at a particular time, some of the intermediate forms may be extinct rather than living).

Thus, every living creature, including man, can trace his antecedents back through a 15-billion-year continuum of evolutionary states, in skin color, in intelligence, in facial features, in skull shape, or in any other characteristic distinguishing two races, as if the existence of mongrels in some way implies that everyone is a mongrel.

But they are less enthusiastic about the continuity between man and his non-human ancestors, as well as about the gradations which can be seen in many anatomical features between man and his living non-human cousins, because these cast a new light on human racial differences — a light which reveals the fact that Nature’s hierarchical principle, the progression from primitive to advanced forms, operates within H. sapiens as well as without. Some races of man are then seen all too clearly as intermediate forms between higher human types and non-human types.

Meaning of “Species”

One further digression is worthwhile, before we look in detail at our ancestors. Let us, in view of the preceding observations on the general characteristics of the Tree of Life, consider just what the designations “species” and “race” (subspecies) actually mean.

Historically both terms — especially race — have had many different meanings. Today a species is usually defined, very roughly, by zoologists as an interbreeding group of animals; and a race, or subspecies, as a morphologically distinct subdivision of a species.

An attempt at a more precise definition of species has been made by Theodosius Dobzhansky. According to Professor Dobzhansky (who is an unabashed propagandist for the cause of racial equality), two groups of sexually reproducing animals constitute two separate species when the groups “are reproductively isolated to the extent that the exchange of genes between them is absent or so slow that the genetic differences are not diminished or swamped.”

What does Dobzhansky’s definition really mean? Certainly, where the exchange of genes between two groups of animals is physically impossible, because no offspring or only infertile offspring can result from a mating, the groups are specifically distinct. Thus, for example, donkeys (Equus asinus) and horses (Equus caballus) belong to separate species, because their mongrel offspring, mules, are always sterile.

Nature Abhors a Mongrel

But, as already noted, there are a great many instances of pairs of groups which can interbreed with each other but, under natural conditions, either do not or do so relatively seldom, so that their genetic differences are not “swamped.” Such groups are customarily regarded as specifically distinct, in accord with Dobzhansky’s criterion.

One example of such a pair is provided by two very similar species of gazelles, Grant’s gazelle and Thomson’s gazelle. The two intermingle with each other in the wild, and they are interfertile, but they do not mate with each other. Although the morphological difference between the two species is slight — much less than the difference between a Nordic and a Mediterranean, not to mention the difference between a White and a Negro — the gazelles are able to recognize this difference (probably with their sense of smell), and mating is psychologically blocked.

Many other examples — not only among mammals, but also among birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and even invertebrates — could be given of pairs of species, potentially interfertile, whose separateness is maintained only by an instinctive, psychological barrier against miscegenation. This general revulsion in Nature against miscegenation has long been recognized by zoologists, and more than a century ago the distinguished French surgeon and naturalist Paul Broca wrote: “Animals that live in complete liberty and only obey their natural instincts seek ordinarily for their amours other animals that are altogether similar to their own kind, and mate almost always with their own species.”

Psychological Isolation

Were this not almost universally the case, the evolutionary process would be vastly less efficient than it is at producing new species. It would depend entirely upon geographical isolation. In fact, however, psychological isolation has played at least as important a role in preventing the recombination of incipiently divergent branches of the Tree of Life.

It should be noted, however, that psychological isolation often breaks down when animals are not in their natural state. In captivity or under domestication many of an animal’s built-in behavior patterns become inoperative or distorted, and this is especially true where mating is concerned. When confined, bulls may mount mares, roosters will sometimes attempt to copulate with ducks, and baboons have been known to lust after women.

The domestic dog, Canis familiaris, provides the classic example of the breakdown of the psychological inhibition against miscegenation, where races as divergent as the St. Bernard and the Chihuahua are not only interfertile but are willing to mate. Dogs have been domesticated and bred by men for at least the last 10,000 years, and constant interbreeding has prevented their separation into distinct species, despite the enormous range of somatic and psychic traits they display — a range approached by no other mammal except man.

Domesticated Man

Man, of course, is the most domesticated of all animals, and it is not surprising that his natural inhibition against miscegenation has become confused — even without the perverse efforts of the egalitarians to promote racial mixing. We should instead wonder at the degree to which this healthiest and most essential of our natural sexual predispositions has survived centuries of a most unnatural lifestyle.

There is a great deal of evidence, historical and otherwise, indicating that in the past the White race, at least, felt a much stronger inhibition against miscegenation than it does today. As urbanization has spread, so has racial mixing. The evidence also indicates a marked variation from race to race in the strength of the inhibition against miscegenation — a variation which, to be sure, may only reflect the effect of different racial lifestyles.

Aryans, Dorians, Goths

The ancient Nordic tribes of Europe universally abhorred racial mixing. The Aryans who conquered India more than 35 centuries ago imposed a strict ban on any sexual contact with the non-White indigenous population, a ban which survives in vestigial form to this day as the Indian caste system. The Dorians who conquered the Peloponnessus at about the same time — and were later known by the name of their chief city, Sparta — likewise forbade miscegenation with the non-Nordic Pelasgian natives. And the Goths who conquered Italy 2,000 years later refrained from mating with the mixed, partly Mediterranean population they encountered there.

In every case the inhibition eventually broke down, as the hardy conquerors settled into a new and softer lifestyle and departed more and more from their ancestral ways. As warriors, hunters, farmers, and craftsmen living in close communion with Nature in their northern fields and forests, their sexual instincts remained sound. But when they became city dwellers and merchants and clerks and administrators, their instincts became blunted, and this fact was reflected in gradually changing sexual mores.

Latin Miscegenation

In other races and subraces the pattern has been different. The Mediterranean peoples of southern Europe have generally shown less disinclination to mate with other races than have Nordics. One can see the effect of this difference most strikingly in the different colonial histories of North America and South America. The early colonists who settled the former were predominantly Nordic, and racial mixing with the indigenous Indians was minimal. But the latter continent was settled by Portuguese and Spaniards, both of whom had a heavy Mediterranean admixture. They interbred widely with the indigenous population, as well as with the Black slaves they imported from Africa.

The same difference can be noticed in the European colonization of Africa. The Portuguese interbred with the Blacks in their colonies of Angola and Mozambique, while the Dutch and English in South Africa and Rhodesia kept their blood largely untainted. Such mongrels as the Nordic settlers did produce were not absorbed into the White population, whereas those produced by the Portuguese were.

It is possible that this Nordic-Mediterranean difference can be partly accounted for in the two different religions the two races of colonizers brought with them to their colonies. The present pattern in America does not support such an accounting, however. Irish, Italian, Polish and other predominantly Catholic ethnic groups are displaying better instincts, on the whole, than the Protestant majority.

It must be remembered, of course, that both Catholicism and Protestantism have undergone significant changes in the last few decades, and that, with the exception of some Italian elements (primarily from southern Italy) and a few other elements from the Mediterranean area, most (White) Catholic ethnic groups in the United States today are very similar racially to the Protestant majority. Certainly, they are far less Mediterranean in their makeup than the Spanish and Portuguese colonizers of South America and Africa were.

Anything that Moves

In the case of the Negroes, their notorious lack of sexual discrimination clearly cannot be blamed on their religion. It is true that a civilized environment is even more unnatural for them than it is for Whites, but even in controlled situations, such as prisons, there remains a strong racial difference in behavior between Blacks and Whites. As anyone unfortunate enough to have spent any time in close confinement with them can testify, Blacks will attempt to copulate with anything that moves.

We can now see that the lumping together of Negroes, Whites, Mongolians, Australian aborigines, and others in a single species, H. sapiens, can be justified only because, under the unnatural conditions in which they live, they often interbreed with one another. Under natural conditions, where psychological barriers against miscegenation become more fully operative and the various races no longer form a single, interbreeding group, they must be classified as separate species.

Furthermore, if any one race achieves a sense of identity sufficient to make feasible the full reactivation of its natural loathing of racial mixing, whether by means of education or some other form of psychological conditioning capable of overcoming the instinct-blunting effects of an unnatural lifestyle, it thereby achieves for itself the status of a separate species.

Thus, the basis on which the concept of a single human species rests is quite tenuous. It is not a physical basis — the morphological differences among the races are more than sufficient to qualify them as separate species — but a psychological basis, and a basis in abnormal psychology, at that.

Brother to the Wolf

It is important to understand this, because with understanding comes freedom from the superstition of “human brotherhood.” We are one with the Cosmos and are, in a sense, brothers to every living thing: to the ameba, to the wolf, to the chimpanzee, and to the Negro. But this sense of brotherhood does not paralyze our will when we are faced with the necessity of taking certain actions — whether game control or pest control or disease control — relative to other species in order to insure the continued progress of our own. And so it must be with the Negro.

The enlightened attitude for which we should strive is one which places more emphasis than has been customary in the past on the unity of life, and which consequently values non-human life — whether redwood trees or whales — more than it does a minor human convenience or a temporary economic advantage, but which at the same time maintains a proper perspective toward all forms of life, whether closely related to us or not. No neo-humanistic superstition must allow any species — or sub-species, if one accepts the all-inclusive definition of H. sapiens now in vogue — to stand between us and our race’s evolutionary destiny.

Tracing Our Roots

Tracing modern man’s roots back to his pre-human ancestors is a fascinating task, but also a very difficult task, and a thankless one in terms of material reward; government and institutional support for paleontological research has always been scanty. Nevertheless, a number of exceptional men have devoted their lives to it, and the last century has seen an enormous increase in our knowledge of our roots. That knowledge, however, remains far from complete; in some areas it is sketchy, indeed.

Briefly, what we know is this: the first, primitive primates (the order of animals to which all monkeys, apes, and men belong) branched off from the rest of the mammals (warm-blooded, fur-bearing animals which bear their young alive and suckle them) in the neighborhood of 70 to 80 million years ago. These early primates (most nearly represented among living species of primates by the prosimians: tarsiers, lemurs, lorises, and tree shrews) differed from other mammals primarily in having somewhat larger brains (relative to their overall size), prehensile (grasping) hands and feet with nails rather than claws, and stereoscopic vision.

The primates continued to evolve and branch over the next few tens of millions of years. Some of the branches evolved quite slowly and others much more rapidly. About 25 million years ago one of the faster-evolving branches split in two. From one of those branches grew the family of apes, whose modern descendants are the gibbon, the orangutan, the gorilla, and the chimpanzee.

The Family of Man

From the other branch grew the family of man. This branch itself rebranched a number of times, but its only living descendants are those creatures today classified as Homo sapiens; the other branchings died out. Thus, man’s line of evolution separated from that of all the other animals alive today some 25 million years ago.

The ancestral apes of that day are exemplified by the species Dryopithecus africanus, otherwise known as Proconsul, an animal about the size of a modern chimpanzee. For a number of years in the latter half of the 19th century and the early part of this century, there was a search for Proconsul’s contemporary on man’s side of the fork — a contemporary which came to be popularly called “the missing link.”

In 1891 the Dutch naturalist Eugene Dubois discovered a fossil skull in Java he believed to be that of the missing link. He named the species represented by his skull Pithecanthropus erectus (erect ape-man). It was later decided that the skull belonged to a Javanese variation of Homo erectus, which came to be popularly known as Java Man.

From the ages of the geological strata where Dubois’s skull and similar ones were discovered, Java Man was found to have lived from 700,000 to 900,000 years ago.

More Links

Other fossil discoveries supplied other missing links in the chain stretching from H. erectus back nearly 25 million years to the time of Proconsul. One of the oldest of these links is the genus Ramapithecus, covering the span from 12 million years ago to about 15 million years ago. Another link is the genus Australopithecus, whose fossils range from something over four million to about 600,000 years old.

But as more and more fossils were found and dated, it became increasingly clear that reality was somewhat more complex than the searchers for various missing links had assumed. Links were being found not in a single evolutionary chain, but in several parallel chains.

Since 1960 the evidence has become overwhelming that for roughly the last three million years — the geologic epoch known as the Pleistocene — man’s family tree has looked rather like a hedge, with a confusing array of branches and twigs. This evolutionary proliferation has its origin in the unique environmental conditions which existed during the Pleistocene.

Ice Ages

For a great many millions of years — in particular, during 70 million years or so of primate evolution — the earth’s climate was warm and stable. Then, about three million years ago, a period of climatic instability set in. Global temperatures began oscillating, and these oscillations caused drastic changes in living conditions for animals in many parts of the world.

Associated with these temperature changes were the advance and retreat of huge ice sheets in the northern and southern temperate zones. After an initial two million years or so of relatively minor glacial periods, the Pleistocene temperature oscillations became more extreme, producing four major ice ages, beginning about 1.5 million years ago.

These four ice ages have been designated in chronological order by geologists as Guenz, Mindel, Riss, and Wuerm. The Wuerm glaciation began to recede about 15,000 years ago, in a general warming trend. At that time thick ice sheets covered much of North America, Europe, and Asia.

Actually, each major glacial period encompassed several global temperature oscillations, with the ice advancing and receding accordingly. During the recessions, which lasted from several thousand years to several tens of thousands of years, many areas which had been covered with ice became much warmer — some of them even warmer than today.

Change and Adaptation

The important thing, from the evolutionary standpoint, about the Pleistocene is not so much that it brought ice and cold weather to large areas of the earth, but that it brought change: a continuing series of drastic climatic changes from hot to cold, from wet to dry, and back again. Each change forced the animal and plant life exposed to it to adapt or to become extinct. The continuing pressure for rapid adaptation provided an enormous stimulus to the process of evolution.

It should be noted that the climatic changes of t????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????barrier. If the species have not become too genetically disparate, hybridization may sometimes occur, although among nearly all ?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ????????????????????????????????????????4????????? ?????????????????????????????4???????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????Many Pre-human Branches

Now we can see the difficulty of the paleontologists’ task. They would dig up a series of fossils covering a time span during which they could see evolutionary changes in a species of ape-man. Then they would find another fossil contemporary with one in their series, but substantially more advanced. The new fossil wrecked their nice picture of a simple progression of evolutionary stages and forced them to the realization that at some point in time the species whose progress they were following had begun diverging, part of it evolving much more rapidly than the remainder. This was something which happened repeatedly throughout the Pleistocene.

In particular, it happened to the Australopithecines. The older Australopithecines, four to five million years old, were clearly ancestral to man. But the later Australopithecines, only a million years old, were not, because a branching had taken place. The slower-evolving branch of the Australopithecine line eventually died out, but the faster-evolving branch gave rise to Homo erectus.

And this was even more so the story of Homo erectus, our direct ancestor. His fossils date from about 900,000 years ago (the end of the Guenz glaciation) to about 100,000 years ago (the beginning of the Wuerm glaciation), but not all the members of H. erectus who lived during that 800,000-year period are ancestral to all living men. As we shall see in the next installment in this series, H. erectus gave rise to several branches at different times. Some of these branches became extinct, and others gave rise to the various living races of man.


a) THE AMOEBA, a single-celled animal, is near the bottom of Nature’s animal hierarchy. It has an ancient lineage, however; single-celled animals have flourished, on earth for more than three billion years.

b) THE TRILOBITE, which exists only in fossil form today, was an arthropod (jointed-legged animal) which crawled on ancient seabeds half a billion years ago and flourished for 300 million years before becoming extinct.

c) THE TYRANNOSAUR, a 50-foot-long, carnivorous reptile, terrorized the earth 100 million years ago.

d) THE TARSIER is a prosimian, the most primitive group of living primates (the order of animals to which man belongs). The first primates, 70 million years ago, more closely resembled today’s prosimians than any other living primates.

e) THE OLD VIEW of Nature’s hierarchy (left) saw all the subspecies of H. sapiens grouped together far above other animals. The modern view (right) still sees the races of man as more advanced than any non-human species, but the distance is not as great, and the races of man are also ordered hierarchically.

Negro of Africa / Orangutan of Borneo
IF WE ACCEPT the animal on the left as an “equal,” why not also the animal on the right? Where are we to draw the line as to which creatures are entitled to civil rights — and which we are willing to breed with? If we do not have the courage to draw the line high enough, our race will sink back into the mass and perish.

EVERY DEFINITION man has used to set himself off from the rest of Nature has broken down. He is not the only animal which uses tools, nor which makes tools. He is not the only conceptual thinker, nor the only animal capable of learning a language. Chimpanzees can do all these things. The tool-making and tool-using chimp in this photograph has carefully selected a strong, straight branch and stripped the bark and side shoots from it, and she is using it to extract edible insects from an anthill. Chimps also make crude sponges, by crumpling a mass of leaves, and use them to sop up potable rain water from otherwise inaccessible crannies in the crotches of trees. They have .developed their tool-making and tool-using abilities on their own. Domesticated chimps have been taught to communicate with their human keepers, using both sign language and hieroglyphics. Some, such as the famous Washoe, have learned vocabularies of more than 200 words and can express abstract concepts with them. Man, of course, can make more sophisticated tools than chimpanzees can, and he has a much greater facility with language than they do. No chimp has ever invented the wheel or devised an alphabet of his own — but neither has any Negro. Chimpanzee, Negro, White man: the difference is one of degree.

PROCONSUL, who lived 25 million years ago, was the ancestor of today’s apes. When the creature with this skull was alive, his line of evolution had just separated from man’s.

JAVA MAN lived from 700,000 to 900,000 years ago. He was an early form of H. erectus.

Who We Are #2
June 1978
Nature’s Evolutionary Goal: Higher Consciousness
Neanderthal Man: Mongrel or Adaptation?

Last month we traced our race’s lineage through some 15 billion years of evolutionary development, from the time of the undifferentiated Cosmos, just after the Beginning, to the early Pleistocene. The Pleistocene, that epoch of drastic and repeated climatic change which greatly accelerated the pace of evolution in the earth’s temperate zones, began about 3.5 million years ago and saw two of the important evolutionary developments we will consider in this series: the transition of the proto-European root stock from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens and the diversification of the European race into the subraces which exist today.

For one other important development, however — the beginning of the divergence of the various prehuman evolutionary lines leading to today’s major races — we must push back a bit further, into the dimly remote Pliocene epoch. (In general, in this series we will not confuse matters by introducing the specialized jargon of the paleontologists and geologists — Pliocene, Miocene, Oligocene, etc. except where it is especially helpful. In particular we will try to keep the chronology simple, using absolute dates whenever possible, rather than the names of the various eras, periods, and epochs, which are defined in terms of the geologic deposits characterizing them. Much of the older writing on this subject uses dates differing substantially from those in the newer writing, because of earlier errors and uncertainties in assigning absolute dates to the various geologic deposits. The beginning of the Pleistocene epoch — whose Greek roots simply mean “most recent” — for example, was formerly dated at about one million years ago, and has only recently been extended another 2.5 million years. The Pliocene — meaning ,’more recent” — was the epoch extending from the beginning of the Pleistocene back to about 12 million years ago.)

The Antiquity of the Races

The present state of our knowledge does not allow us to fix with any degree of certainty the earliest time at which there were no racial differences among the ancestors of the various living subspecies of man. We do know, however, that human racial differences precede Homo sapiens; i.e., that the divergence into the various living races began at the prehuman level.

Even the oldest H. erectus fossils which have been found can be assigned to various racial categories, e.g., pre-European, pre-Mongoloid, etc. And even among the Australopithecines, from which H. erectus evolved, there are clearly discernible racial differences foreshadowing today’s living races.

The racial trail becomes very difficult to follow back beyond about three million years, and the best guess that can be made at this time is that to find a common ancestor for all of the living subspecies of H. sapiens we would have to go back into the late Pliocene epoch, somewhere around four or five million years ago.

Separate Development

Thus, evolution has proceeded separately along several different lines from subman to man, with each line crossing that evolutionary threshold separately — and at a different time. The profound physical and psychical differences which can be observed today among the various races of man — between Whites and Blacks, for example — have been accumulating for a period of several million years (several hundred thousand generations) and were also present, to a lesser degree, among the prehuman ancestors of those races.

The separate development of the races throughout the Pleistocene is now a well-established fact, but for a long time egalitarian prejudices blinded many people, who preferred to believe that racial differences were only a few thousand years old. There are still a number of charlatans, in fact, promoting the “hat rack” theory of human evolution, which would have all the modern races sprouting from the top of a single line of human development in recent times. They believe that they can minimize racial differences by minimizing their antiquity.

It is worthwhile, therefore, taking a brief look at the evidence establishing the great antiquity of racial differences, before we focus our attention almost exclusively on our own line of development.

The Physical Evidence

The first Homo erectus fossil discovered was a skull on the island of Java, in 1891. It was subsequently determined that the creature to whom the skull had belonged had lived about 700,000 years ago. He came to be known as Java Man.
In 1929 another fossil H. erectus skull was discovered, this time at Choukoutien, in northern China, near Peking. Its owner, Peking Man, also lived about 700,000 years ago.

In the 1960’s paleontologists began excavating a prehistoric site at Vertesszoelloes, a Hungarian village about 30 miles from Budapest. Two fairly complete fossil skulls have been found there and have been dated at about 700,000 years old.

Although the skulls of Java Man, Peking Man, and Vertesszoelloes Man are all approximately the same age, they differ markedly from one another in a number of respects. The cranial capacity (brain size) of Java Man, for example, was 850 cubic centimeters, while Peking Man had a cranial capacity of 1150 cubic centimeters — more than one-third larger. And Vertesszoelloes Man had a cranial capacity of 1475 cubic centimeters — practically as large as that of a modern European, and larger than that of living Negroes and Australian aborigines.

Java Man, Peking Man, and Vertesszoelloes Man also differed from one another in their teeth, facial structures, and shapes of their cranial vaults. The individual peculiarities displayed by the fossils can be linked to peculiarities which distinguish certain modern races.

As just one example, Peking Man’s fossils exhibit a dental peculiarity known as shoveling, a characteristic deformation of the incisors. The same dental peculiarity is found in most living Mongoloids, but it is extremely rare in other living races.

Pattern Confirmed

Thus, paleontologists have been able to identify Java Man as a predecessor of the living Australoids (Australian aborigines); Peking Man as an early, prehuman ancestor of the modern Chinese and related Mongoloid peoples; and Vertesszoelloes Man as a predecessor of the modern Europeans.

Many other fossils, some older and some more recent than those cited above, have confirmed the pattern. Carleton S. Coon, in his monumental work, The Origin of Races, assembled virtually all the evidence available up to 1962 and conclusively demolished the egalitarians’ “hat rack” theory of human evolution. Dr. Coon traced separate developmental lines for Europeans, Australoids, Negroes, Mongoloids, and Capoids (Bushmen) back to the middle Pleistocene, although his absolute time scale has since been corrected.

The Importance of Winter

When one studies the series of fossils in the various races’ lines of development, one is struck by the markedly different rates of evolution which are apparent. The general rule is that those races which evolved in the earth’s temperate zones did so more rapidly than those in the tropics.

The reasons were, first, the much sharper seasonal changes in the temperate zones than in the tropics; and, second, the much more drastic climatic changes which occurred in the temperate zones as the great ice sheets advanced and retreated repeatedly throughout the Pleistocene epoch.

Both types of change exerted strong selective pressure, the seasonal changes by requiring foresight and resourcefulness in preparing for the winter, and the climatic changes by eliminating life forms which could not adapt to long-term shifts in temperature and humidity.

Thus, for fossils of any given age, the temperate-zone European and Mongoloid lines will show a higher state of development than will the tropical Negroid and Australoid lines.

Which Way Is Up?

We might consider for a moment what we mean by a “higher” state of development. There is a natural tendency to think of man as more highly evolved than the living apes, of primates as more highly evolved than other mammals, of mammals as more highly evolved than fish, and so on. This tendency can sometimes be a bit misleading.

Since the ancestral lines of man and the apes split, some 25 million years ago, both have been evolving for exactly the same length of time, and both lines have undergone substantial changes. Those changes, however, have been in different directions — the apes’ line toward a better adaptation to one mode of existence and man’s line toward another. How are we justified in saying man’s direction of evolution has been more nearly “upward” than that of the apes?

Defining a Criterion

In attempting to answer this question we should note that there is no problem at all in saying a particular specimen is further evolved than another with regard to some specified characteristic. That is, we can pick any characteristic we want — cranial capacity, tooth size, degree of prognathism (projection of the lower portion of the face), or what have you — which changes with time along two or more ancestral lines of evolution; we can note the direction of change with time; and we can then pick contemporaneous specimens from two of the lines and note which line was further evolved at that time in the specified characteristic than the other.

If we then pick a second characteristic, we may find that, at the time in question, the line which was further evolved in the first characteristic may be less evolved in the second. Thus, at present, it is clear that apes are better brachiators, while man is a better cerebrator; likewise, Negroes are better sprinters, and Whites are better thinkers.

We can only speak of higher and lower grades of evolution if we pick a particular characteristic and a direction of change of that characteristic which we define as “upward.” The characteristic which we will always have in mind for this purpose is consciousness, and the direction of change is that of the Cosmos as a whole, namely, toward more and more fully developed states of consciousness.

Subman and Higher Man

Thus, from this point of view, we are justified in saying that man’s line of evolution turned generally upward when it separated from the apes’ line some 25 million years ago. And we are justified in referring to an earlier breed of manlike creatures with a less-developed sense of consciousness than we have as submen, just as we can correctly refer to a new breed with a more fully developed sense of consciousness as higher men.

Likewise, we can order the living races of man as to evolutionary grade.

In order to assign evolutionary grades to fossils, however, we must choose measurable characteristics which can be related to the level of consciousness. Characteristics of this sort which have been used are brain size, the shape of the cranial vault, tooth size, and the ratio of brain size to tooth size.

The use of brain size is obvious. The other three characteristics, however, are also related to the same developmental trend leading from small-brained, large-jawed skulls to large-brained skulls with smaller jaws and teeth. This trend progressively de-emphasized the lower face, with its biting and feeding functions, and emphasized the cranial vault, the seat of consciousness. Thus, as brains increased in size, teeth tended to shrink and prognathism to decrease simultaneously.

It is useful to have all these characteristics as criteria, because fossil skulls are often incomplete or badly damaged. Sometimes — as in the case of Heidelberg Man — only jaws and teeth have been found, and an estimate of evolutionary grade based on brain size alone is impossible.

In addition to the characteristics of the fossils themselves, cultural evidence is also used in judging evolutionary grade: the quality and diversity of the tools found with the fossils, indications of the use or non-use of fire, etc.

The First Human Beings

As we follow the lines of development for the various races through the Pleistocene, we find them reaching different evolutionary grades at different times. One grade of some interest is that at the erectus-sapiens threshold.

Vertesszoelloes Man had already crossed this threshold 700,000 years ago. The pre-Mongoloids crossed it approximately 150,000 years ago. And the predecessors of the modern Negroes crossed it less than 30,000 years ago.

The oldest hominid remains thus far unearthed in Europe are a massive lower jaw, with its teeth, found in 1907 in the German village of Mauer, six miles southeast of Heidelberg. The jaw, belonging to a creature known as Heidelberg Man, is 900,000 years old.

No artifacts were found with Heidelberg Man’s scanty remains, and it has not been possible to assign him with much certainty to a particular evolutionary grade, although it is generally considered that he was an advanced Homo erectus — perhaps just at the erectus-sapiens threshold.

The European Line of Descent

We do not know what the paleontologists may turn up later in Europe, but at this time we must look to Africa for older hominid fossils which may lie on the European line of descent. There we find the fossils of several races of A????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ????????????????????????????? ? ü ? ü ? ü ? ü ? ü ? ü ? ü ? ü ? ü `????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????hers to every living thing: to the ameba, to the wolf, to the chimpanzee, and to the Negro. But this sense of brotherhood does nulate at this time, however.

Returning to Europe, we can tentatively trace the European line through a period of three-quarters of a million years of evolution, all of it above the erectus-sapiens threshold. In the line of descent (ascent would be a more appropriate word, from the evolutionary viewpoint) from Vertesszoelloes Man, we have specimens from Swanscombe, in England, and Steinheim, in Germany, both about 500,000 years old. Then there are a number of fossil remains, all around 150,000 years old, scattered across Europe: Fontechevade, in France; Saccopastore, just outside Rome; Ehringsdorf, in Germany; Ganovce, in Slovakia; Krapina, in Croatia.

Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon

About 100,000 years ago, as Europe entered an intensely cold period of heavy glaciation, a type of Homo sapiens which differed in some respects from both earlier and later populations, appeared. This type has been named Neanderthal Man, after the river valley in Germany where his first fossil remains were unearthed, in 1856.

Neanderthal Man was more prognathous, had heavier brow ridges, and also displayed other skeletal features regarded as more primitive than his immediate predecessors. But his brain was not only larger than that of his predecessors, it was larger than that of modern Europeans.

About 30,000 years ago the Neanderthal populations were replaced with a type of man which was essentially modern in all respects. He did not display Neanderthal Man’s prognathism or heavy brow ridges, but his brain was equally large — about 80 cubic centimeters larger than that of today’s Whites. He has been named Cro-Magnon Man, after the site in the Dordogne region of France where his fossil remains were first excavated by scientists, in 1868.

Since Vertesszoelloes Man

As judged by the physical characteristics of their fossils, Europeans have not changed spectacularly in evolutionary grade during the last three-quarters of a million years. The earliest sapiens specimens we have found, at Vertesszoelloes, already had brains of essentially modern size , although 600,000 years later the Neanderthals had brains about 100 cubic centimeters larger.

There are reasons for believing that, considering size alone, brain evolution leveled off shortly above the erectus-sapiens threshold. The modern Mongoloids, for example, have brains as large as those of modern Europeans(1500 cubic centimeters), but their ancestors’ brains were substantially smaller than those of our ancestors. We crossed the erectus-sapiens threshold 600,000 years before they did, but they have been catching up with us since then. The Negroes and the Australian aborigines, who have just crossed that threshold, of course, still have brains substantially smaller than ours (1350 and 1300 cubic centimeters, respectively).

Cultural Evidence

There are other ways in which brains have evolved besides increasing in absolute size. We can compare brain structures between modern Whites and modern Negroes, for example, and note the morphological differences: Whites have more highly developed frontal lobes, an increased area of the cerebral hemispheres due to folding and fissuring, and larger associative areas.

One cannot make such comparisons directly among fossils, of course, because only bone has survived. We do have some clues, however. The patterns of certain brain arteries are visible as indentations on the interior surfaces of a few well-preserved fossil skulls, and one can categorize the patterns as primitive or advanced. Evidence of this sort is still too scanty to tell us a great deal.

We must turn to the cultural evidence in order to trace European man’s advance in consciousness more closely than we can from the evidence of his skeletal remains alone. That is the topic we will begin examining in the next installment in this series.

The Neanderthal Question

Because Neanderthal Man does not fit smoothly into a picture of continuous, unidirectional evolution between earlier and later European populations, paleontologists have suggested various explanations for his appearance in Europe 100,000 years ago and his disappearance 30,000 years ago. Of these explanations, only two are seriously considered today.

The first is that Neanderthal Man evolved from the preceding European population under the extreme selective pressure of the first Wuerm glaciation, developing his unique features as adaptations to the bitterly cold climate which prevailed during that period. Then, during the warmer period which followed, older features re-emerged, and the European population returned to the evolutionary track it had been following during the Riss-Wuerm interglacial period.

The second explanation is that Neanderthal Man was the product of racial mixture between Europeans and Mongoloids. Certainly, some of the Neanderthal peculiarities were suggestive of the Mongoloids of that day. Because the Mongoloids were already well adapted to cold weather, an admixture of their genes may have given a temporary survival advantage to a racially mixed population. As in the first explanation, when the climate later moderated the purely European genes re-emerged.

More Digging Needed

Which of these explanations — if either — is correct can only be decided after the paleontologists have gathered and carefully evaluated more fossil evidence.

Even more challenging than answering the Neanderthal question are the tasks of finding a few missing links between Heidelberg Man and Vertesszoelloes Man, and then of filling the gap between Heidelberg Man and the Olduvai Australopithecines. New evidence is coming to light practically every year, but a great deal more digging into the European past needs to be done before our knowledge of our identity can be completed.


a) AN ANCESTOR of European man? Designated Skull 1470, this fossil from Kenya is 2.8 million years old. With an estimated cranial capacity of 800 cubic centimeters, it belongs to a race greatly advanced over contemporary races of Australopithecines. It has been classified as Homo habilis, and some paleontologists suggest that it, rather than H. erectus, is the direct ancestor of the European race of H. sapiens.

b) EVOLUTION toward ever higher states of consciousness has resulted in a gradual shift of emphasis in the primate skull, over millions of years, from jaw to brain case. This tendency toward decreasing prognathism can be observed in fossils of different ages in the lines of descent of the various races of man. It can also be observed in the skulls of living animals, when they are ordered hierarchically according to evolutionary grade. The gorilla (left) exhibits a high degree of prognathism, with a facial angle of 60 degrees, while the European (right) is nearly orthognathous, with a facial angle of 82 degrees. The Negro (center), with a facial angle of 70 degrees, is intermediate in evolutionary grade between the gorilla and European man.

c) THE EVOLUTIONARY GRADES of the higher primates may be quantified in several different ways, e.g., by measuring the cranial capacity or the facial angle (see illustration on preceding page). The ratio of the sides of the basic rectangle of the mandible (lower jaw) may also be used. As one goes downward in evolutionary grade the mandible becomes progressively longer relative to its width, corresponding to increasing prognathism. For European man (A) the average length-to-breadth ratio of the mandible is 0.87. For the Negro (B) it is 0.97. For the chimpanzee (C), man’s closest living relative, it is 1.56. For the orangutan (D) it is 1.75. Note also the increasing extent of the bony shelf (“simian shelf”) directly behind the incisors as one proceeds downward in evolutionary grade from European man, in whom the shelf is virtually absent. The Negro has a moderately deep simian shelf, while in the chimpanzee and the orangutan the shelf extends well back along the mandible. (Drawings and data from Professor W.G. Kinzey, Dept. of Anthropology, Univ. of California at Davis; published in Nature 228, pp. 289-290, October 17, 1970.)

d) EVOLUTIONARY LINES for four of today’s living subspecies of H. sapiens show separate evolution across the erectus-sapiens threshold at different times. Fossil remains alone show relatively little change in evolutionary grade for European man in the last 700,000 years, but cultural evidence implies a continuing increase in his level of consciousness. Many more points on the lines of descent have been established by fossil remains than those indicated here.

e) NEANDERTHAL MAN, with certain primitive traits, may have been the mongrel offspring of the European and Mongoloid proto-races, or he may have been a temporary adaptation to the cold climate during Europe’s first Wuerm ice age.

f) CRO-MAGNON MAN’s earliest known fossils are about 30,000 years old, He was essentially modern in every respect and had a cranial capacity even larger than the average for Whites today.

g) RHODESIAN MAN, a race of H. erectus, was the ancestor of living Negroes. This flesh reconstruction of Rhodesian Man (left) is based on a fossil skull 30,000 years old. Today’s Negro (right) has lost most of Rhodesian Man’s bony eye ridges but retains his prognathism and relatively thick bones of the cranial vault.

h) THIS HOMO erectus group is an artist’s visualization of the prehuman species from which Homo sapiens is descended — although in the case of European man only one tentatively erectus fossil (the Heidelberg jaw) has been found. Our European ancestors passed through the erectus stage long before the other races did.

 Who We Are #3
August 1978
World’s First True Men Evolved in Europe
Did Cro-Magnon Man Equal Us?

We have now looked at our ancestors’ physical remains — fossil skulls, teeth, and other bones — dating from prehuman times down to the appearance of Cro-Magnon Man, some 37,000 years ago. Judging from these somatic remains alone, we have only slight evidence of any increase in evolutionary grade during long portions of the three-quarters of a million years since the first appearance of Homo sapiens. Cro-Magnon Man’s remains indicate, if anything, a higher evolutionary grade than that of his present-day descendants. Only in the cultural evidence — tools, weapons, artistic creations, and the like — can we look for signs of really substantial evolutionary progress.

And it is highly questionable whether even the cultural evidence shows any increase in inherent human quality during the past 30,000 years, as we shall soon see. But, if we look back far enough, we can see in the remains of man’s tools and other artifacts unmistakable signs of changing evolutionary grade.

We have good reason for believing that our race has advanced not only in its cultural achievements but also in its inherent capacity for cultural achievement — and, by implication, in its level of consciousness — during the last million years, if not during the last 30,000.

Meaning of Culture

Culture has been defined in different ways by different anthropologists. We will define it here as all purposeful animal behavior which is learned rather than instinctual and which involves artifacts or symbols. Artifacts are extra-somatic objects modified as a part of or in furtherance of learned behavior; tools, weapons, and clothing are examples. Symbols may be spoken words, gestures, or ritualized or customary actions.

Specifically excluded from the realm of culture is behavior which is purely instinctual. Thus, the nest-building activity of birds, even though it involves artifacts, is not cultural. The hunting behavior of predatory mammals, even though it is at least partially learned by the young from their elders, is not, in most cases, considered cultural unless it involves the use of artifacts (weapons).

Nevertheless, culture is not an exclusively human attribute. Man’s prehuman ancestors possessed culture more than two million years before the attainment of the sapiens level, and some of man’s living non-human relatives possess it today.

Non-human Culture

It has already been mentioned in an earlier installment in this series that chimpanzees use and, to a limited extent, make tools. They use stones as missiles, handfuls of leaves as toilet paper or napkins, wads of chewed leaves as sponges, sticks as levers or clubs. They also modify twigs in order to suit them to specific purposes, usually as probes for extracting insects from their nests, but occasionally for other purposes as well.

This tool-using and tool-making behavior certainly has an instinctual component; chimpanzees are born with both the ability and the urge to pick up and manipulate objects. But careful observation of chimpanzees, both in captivity and in the wild, has established the fact that they learn the specific uses and modifications of objects by observing other chimpanzees. Thus, they have developed a tool-using and tool-making tradition which is passed from one generation to the next by non-genetic means: i.e., they have a culture.

No Basis for Distinction

Some anthropologists have attempted to qualitatively distinguish non-human cultures, such as those of chimpanzees and man’s earliest ancestors, from human cultures on the basis that the latter show progressive changes from one generation to the next, while the former remain essentially unchanged. There is, however, very little evidence for such a conclusion. Chimpanzee culture has been under close human observation for barely two chimpanzee generations, and while it is known that prehuman cultures remained virtually unchanged for thousands of generations, the same was true of early human cultures. It was also true of Australian aborigine, African Negro, and other non-White cultures even until recent times.

In this age of extraordinarily rapid cultural change, it may be difficult to realize that throughout man’s long prehistory cultural change was much slower. The rule has been for cultural evolution to keep pace with biological evolution rather than to race far ahead of it, as in this exceptional and troubled age.

Thus, we have no good reason for considering chimpanzee and prehuman cultures to be qualitatively different from primitive human cultures. They differ only in their level of development, and we can with good reason hope to learn much about the origins of our own culture by studying that of the chimpanzees and our prehuman ancestors — just as we have already gained valuable insights into the purely instinctual aspects of human behavior by studying animal behavior.

Prehuman Culture

The first tools used by man’s prehuman ancestors were the sticks and stones he could pick up around him and use without modification as clubs, projectiles, or hand-held hammers, just as chimpanzees use them today. The evidence of this earliest use of tools survives today in accumulations of hand-size stones found in association with the fossils of shattered animal bones at locations where stones of the type in question do not occur naturally. For example, when river-smoothed pebbles are found in caves several miles from the nearest stream, along with animal bones which have been smashed to get at the marrow, we may safely assume that some creature carried the pebbles there and used them as tools.

Sometime around three million years ago, pre-men learned that stones could be used for much more than hurling and pounding, if they were first modified. By striking stones together to fracture them, they produced sharp edges which could be used for cutting, scraping, or chopping. These first “pebble tools,” as they have been generically labeled, were very crude tools indeed, but for the creatures who produced them they represented an enormous advance in ability to cope with the environment.

The First Tool Makers

Who were these creatures? We are still not certain. In the Olduvai Gorge and other archeological sites in East Africa the fossil remains of Australopithecines have been found with pebble tools dated at nearly three million years old. The Australopithecines were omnivorous primates, not much larger than modern chimpanzees, who walked on two feet. Their cranial capacities averaged about 500 cubic centimeters, only 100 cubic centimeters larger than that of the modern chimpanzee. It is generally assumed that they made the pebble tools and hunted and ate the other animals whose remains are found with theirs.

But contemporary with these Australopithecines was a substantially more advanced primate, Homo habilis, whose fossils are much scarcer than those of the Australopithecines. Homo habilis, with a cranial capacity of 800 cubic centimeters, may have been the only maker of pebble tools three million years ago, and he may have hunted and eaten the Australopithecines whose remains have been found with these earliest artifacts. More evidence needs to be gathered before it can be decided with confidence whether the Australopithecines made pebble tools or were the victims of more advanced pebble tool makers.

Europe as Old as Africa

Pebble tools were also made in Europe three million years ago. A prehuman living site near Bugiulesti, in Romania, which is at least as old as the oldest sites in Olduvai Gorge, contains pebble tools and smashed animal bones — but no primate fossils. Whether the Bugiulesti site was inhabited by Australopithecines or Homo habilis or an early form of Homo erectus is unknown.

What is quite certain, however, is that from the time man’s prehuman ancestors developed the first rudiments of culture — long before the first pebble tools were made — their cultural, social, and biological evolution became inseparably intertwined, all three interacting strongly with one another,

One can gain some insight into the tightness of the cultural-social-biological interdependence which governed the development of man’s ancestors by considering only the social and biological implications of the first freeing of prehuman hands for tool using. As some early race of primates in man’s line of descent gradually ceased walking on all fours and became erect, using their forefeet as hands, their pelvises necessarily changed. The new shape of the pelvis accommodated bipedal locomotion better, but at the same time it reduced the available space for a birth canal.

Origin of the Family

Since the use of tools required a larger brain than before, and since the birth canal had become smaller, infants had to be born in a premature state, with a relatively long period of postnatal development and growth ahead of them. This meant a long period of incapacitation for mothers, while they nursed and cared for their helpless young. And this in turn required a prolonged dependence of the female on the male.

Thus, stable male-female pairing, with the male taking the role of hunter-provider and the female the role of mother-nurse, became established in our evolutionary line hundreds of thousands of generations ago. It is what is natural for our race, in that a predisposition for it is born with us. The foolish liberals who see it as the “oppression” of women and imagine that they can abolish it with a few acts of Congress or a Constitutional amendment have not the faintest understanding of what they are tampering with.


Just as the nuclear family is much more than a purely cultural-social institution, so also were larger social groupings precultural in their origins. Only as a member of a band of his peers did the first inventor have a reasonable chance to transmit his invention to others, making it the collective property of the race, to be transmitted down the endless chain of generations.

Certain fundamental social institutions thus became genetically related to certain cultural developments, in that the race of primates which, at a precultural stage, developed social groupings and relationships favorable to the transmission of culture gained a survival advantage over races without such groupings and relationships. In this way an inborn predisposition toward certain general social forms became part of the race’s genetic heritage.

Another example of cultural-biological interdependence is given by man’s instinctual attachment to his weapons. For hundreds of thousands of generations of prehuman evolution — followed by some 30,000 generations of Homo sapiens — the ancestors of today’s men lived long enough to pass on their genes or not depending upon whether or not they had lethal weapons at hand, day and night, which they knew how to use effectively. As every gun lover knows, the modern American’s feelings for his firearms goes far deeper than reason, culture, or social tradition.

A similar explanation almost certainly holds for our racial predisposition toward tinkering with gadgets and hobbying with tools. Indeed, many men feel almost as deeply about their tools as they do about their weapons.

Ecological Revolution

So long as man’s ancestors were at the precultural level, they — like all other animals — were effectively confined to the habitat in which they had evolved and to which they were, therefore, biologically adapted. Without tools, weapons, clothing, fire, or artificial shelters, they had no control over their environment and were entirely at its mercy.

In the late Pliocene — four or five million years ago — the prehuman habitat was probably tropical savanna: grassland with scattered trees, intermediate between the open plains and the tropical forests. Outside such regions man’s ancestors could not survive, and the result was that most of the earth’s surface was uninhabited.

Then began what is known as the Ecological Revolution, with the first primate use of tools. Tool use gave man’s ancestors their first partial independence of their environment, allowing them to expand beyond their original habitat. Probably sometime in the early Pleistocene — perhaps three million years ago — the habitat of tool-using prehumans had expanded into the earth’s temperate regions, including southern and central Europe.

European Focus

And once prehumans’ use of tools allowed them to live in the temperate zones, their rate of evolution — cultural-social-biological — greatly increased, due to the much more strongly selective climate of the temperate zones. Thus, the focus of prehuman evolution shifted from the tropics to temperate Eurasia about three million years ago and has remained there since.

By the beginning of the Middle Pleistocene about 800,000 years ago the very crude chipped-pebble choppers with which man’s ancestors began their tool-making career had given way in more advanced areas to much more effective stone tools. Instead of merely knocking a few chips off a pebble to create a very rough cutting edge, the tool makers of this period shaped the whole pebble to convert it into a highly functional tool, which has been given the generic name “handax.”

The owner of a stone handax had not only a formidable weapon which increased tenfold his ability to kill enemies or medium-size game, but also a tool with which he could easily skin and dismember animals — and cut the fuel for cooking them too, because he also was using fire regularly by then. (In Europe, that is, where the earliest known hearths are a million years old. In the more slowly evolving tropical areas fire did not appear until much later. It was not used in Africa until about 60,000 years ago.)

Human Threshold

At approximately the time the cultural threshold from pebble tools to handaxes was crossed, the biological threshold from subman to man was also crossed. From about three-quarters of a million years ago true men, with brains nearly as large as those of modern Europeans (and larger than those of modern Blacks), lived in Europe, although the tropical areas of the world continued to be inhabited only by submen.

It is interesting that the first handaxes should have appeared at about the same time as the first true men, but not really surprising, when one considers the interdependence of cultural and biological factors in man’s evolution — and when one understands that pebble tools and the more sophisticated tools which supplanted them differ in more than the degree of craftsmanship required for their manufacture.

When one looks at tools of different ages in a particular area, one notes two types of differences. There is, first, generally an evolution in craftsmanship, so that one can classify any particular type of tool, say pebble choppers, as relatively primitive or relatively advanced.

Then there are differences in the type of manufacturing process between different types of tools. Some of these latter differences allow us to draw inferences about changes in the level of consciousness of the creatures who made the tools. That is, there are sometimes quantum jumps in the degree of mental abstraction required on the part of the maker in advancing from one type of tool to another.

Harder Than It Looks

Pebble tools may not look very sophisticated, but the level of intellect required to make them is substantially higher than that required to use them. Every modern archeologist worth his salt learns how to make various types of stone tools. But the average person — carpenter or businessman or engineer — who gives it a try without any prior instruction soon finds that it’s not as easy as it looks. Some types of stone will fracture properly, yielding a sharp-edged break when struck, and others will not. And there’s quite a trick to knocking just the right sort of chip off even the most suitable pebble.

But beyond these difficulties is the requirement for imagination. The animal who has a smooth pebble and wants a cutting edge must be able to visualize beforehand the transformation he is attempting to bring about. When one then goes from the very simplest pebble tools to those with a cutting edge produced by knocking a series of intersecting flakes off a pebble, the degree of conceptualization required is even greater. It is certainly a step beyond the sort of imagination required of a chimpanzee who converts a twig broken from a tree into a smooth, straight probe for pulling ants from an anthill.

Capacity for Abstraction

In advancing from a pebble chopper to a handax, the significant difference is not a higher degree of manual skill or craftsmanship required. The significant difference lies in the fact that making a handax requires a more profound transformation of the original stone than making a pebble chopper; a higher degree of abstraction is required of the tool maker to visualize in the raw stone the finished handax which it will become.

By about 350,000 years ago handax makers were producing flake tools from carefully prepared stone cores which required nearly the same degree of visualization and foresight needed by a modern diamond cutter planning the cleaving blows with which he will reduce an irregularly shaped raw diamond to one or more perfectly faceted gems.

Another type of artifact which appeared during the Middle Pleistocene was the tool whose sole purpose was to make other tools: the second-order tool. Notched-stone spokeshaves for smoothing wooden spears and arrows, chisel-like stone burins for working bone into needles and hooks, and elastic punches made of antler for producing flaked stone tools are examples.

Again, the evolutionary significance of such artifacts lies not in a higher degree of craftsmanship, but rather in the fact that they required a higher order of abstraction on the part of their makers than previous tools required. They could not appear until a certain threshold in human consciousness had been reached.

Riss-Wuerm Interglacial

By about 150,000 years ago, in the middle of the warm Riss-Wuerm interglacial period, man’s tool-making capabilities allowed him to further expand his habitat. The principal move in Europe was to the north, from the Mediterranean toward the Baltic.

The early Europeans were by this time skilled makers of stone, bone, and wooden implements. They produced sewed leather clothing and used bone- and stone-tipped spears for big-game hunting. They lived in artificial shelters heated by fire during cold weather.

When they moved north the focus of human evolution moved with them, shifting from the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal areas of Western Europe to the great northern Eurasian plain. The cultural achievements of these northern European big-game hunters of 150,000 years ago surpassed those of all other contemporary human groups.

What were these people of the Riss-Wuerm interglacial period like? Their physical remains are, unfortunately, much scarcer than their artifacts. From Fontechevade Cave, in central France, has come some of the best evidence we have to date. Portions of two skulls dating from that period indicate a race not remarkably different from today’s Europeans. Their head shape was essentially modern, without heavy brow ridges and with a cranial capacity fully as large as that of present-day White men, but with a slightly more rugged and thicker bony structure.

No Sense of Beauty

It is only the cultural evidence — or the lack of it — which leads one to believe that man has made some evolutionary progress during the last 150,000 years. Fontechevade Man had no art, so far as we know. He was a skilled tool maker, but he and his kind left behind only their tools and weapons: no cave paintings, no engraved decorations, no sculpture, no personal ornaments, no indications whatever of a sense of beauty or a self-consciousness highly enough developed to lead them to portray in durable form their mental image of themselves and the world around him.

More than 100,000 years passed — in which Fontechevade Man was replaced by Neanderthal Man, who in turn gave way to Cro-Magnon Man — before solid evidence appeared that man had reached a level of consciousness roughly equal to today’s.

During Neanderthal times there appeared the first evidence of human self-consciousness, with human remains ritually buried instead of being left to decay where they fell. But, still, Neanderthal Man developed no art. Only with Cro-Magnon Man — who was physically at least as advanced as modern Europeans — did genuine artistic creation appear.

An End of Evolution?

Cro-Magnon Man differed only slightly from Fontechevade Man in his skeletal remains, but the cultural achievements of the former are a clear indication that he had achieved a new evolutionary level.

And, in fact, Cro-Magnon Man created art of such quality and variety, revealing such sensitivity and capacity for visualization, that one may well ask whether there has been any biological progress at all in the last 30,000 years. Certainly, there has been substantial progress in social organization (until the last 200 years, at least) and in culture. And a certain amount of European subracial differentiation must have still remained to take place since Cro-Magnon times.

But whether modern man’s capacity for culture (as opposed to his actual achievement) is greater than that of Cro-Magnon Man remains an open question. If a thousand modern European infants could be magically transported back 30,000 years in time, to grow up in the care of their Cro-Magnon ancestors, would they turn out to be creative geniuses, relatively speaking, or just ordinary Cro-Magnon citizens — or perhaps even sluggards? We do not know, although further findings may eventually suggest an answer.

Thus, it may be that our race had already reached, in Cro-Magnon times, a point of diminishing returns in the balance between the biological and the cultural-social aspects of evolution. The more effective man’s social organizations and his technology became in shielding him from the selective pressures of his environment, the less biological progress he made from one generation to the next. Indeed, there can be no doubt at all that the race has gone backward biologically during the last few hundred years, with large portions of each generation which should have been eliminated early in life by environmental pressures surviving to reproduce.

We may, in fact, see in this phenomenon the explanation for the narrowing of the evolutionary gap between the Mongoloid and European races during the last few hundred thousand years. Europeans achieved the Homo sapiens evolutionary grade long before the Mongoloids, but the superior European technology may have been the factor which allowed the Mongoloids, evolving in a climate of similar rigor, to begin catching up. Even the much more retarded races of Africa have narrowed the evolutionary gap somewhat between themselves and Europeans in the last million years or so.

Conscious Evolution

The lesson in this is obvious: there came a point in the upward evolution of the Cosmos when the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection should have been smoothly taken over by a conscious process of artificial selection, not just on a temporary and local basis as in ancient Sparta and in National Socialist Germany, but permanently and universally. When that point came we cannot be sure, but it may have been 30,000 years ago.

It should also be clear that the way to clean up the present mess our race has gotten itself into and avoid getting into a similar mess in the future lies not in a cultural retrogression or Luddite-like suppression of, technological progress but in bringing the biological progress of the race once again into line with its cultural progress.

Next month we will trace the cultural and social progress of our race from Cro-Magnon times toward the Neolithic Age.


a) AUSTRALOPITHECINES of three million years ago, as rendered by an artist. They may have been the first tool makers on this planet.

b) THERE IS AN OVERLAP between human and animal culture, just as there is between human and animal instinctual behavior. Chimpanzees regularly use sticks and stones as tools and weapons and have learned how to modify some natural objects to make better tools of them. Furthermore, their use and modification of natural objects is, to a large extent, learned by observation. The adolescent chimpanzee (left) preparing to hurl a stone at another chimp with whom he is having a quarrel, has learned this use of stones by watching his elders. Other chimpanzee behavior besides the use of tools and weapons is reflected in many ways in human behavior. The peculiarly Jewish genital-touching greeting used in Old Testament times, for example, probably had its origin in a generalized primate practice observed in chimpanzees. (Translators of the Old Testament into Aryan languages have generally euphemized descriptions of this practice by rendering it as the placing of one Jew’s hand “under the thigh” of the other.) Likewise, certain primitive races today, such as the African Bushmen, still show a number of behavioral traits seen more often in non-human primates than in the higher human races. Just as the female chimpanzee will crouch in the primate intercourse position with her buttocks elevated as a sign of submission to a dominant male even when no sexual intercourse is anticipated, female Bushmen will “present” their genitalia in a similar fashion, as the one above is doing. The distinguished ethologist, Professor Irenaeus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, has written of the Bushmen: “…genital displays, including sexual presentation in a primate-like fashion, are performed by girls…. Certainly, we are dealing here with one of the older primate behavior patterns, which persist in some human groups more than in others.”

MAN’S FIRST TOOLS: The pebble chopper (above) is from Olduvai Gorge, Africa, and is more than 1,000,000 years old. The handax (right) is from Swanscombe, England, and is about 500,000 years old.

CRO-MAGNON art yields little in subtlety or precision to that of our own time. Considering the limited tools and facilities available, Cro-Magnon paintings on rough cave walls (such as the cave of Altamira, Spain, where several exquisite paintings of bison have been found) are phenomenal. Further findings of the cultural remnants of these 30,000-year-old ancestors of ours may help us evaluate better their level of consciousness relative to our own. Who knows what poets, philosophers, and statesmen may have lived in prehistoric Europe?

 Who We Are #4
September 1978
Ice-Age White Hunters Created First Art, Music
Upper Paleolithic Began With Racial Revolution

Thirty thousand years ago Europe was entering the last part of a million-year-long succession of Ice Ages. Actually, for a few thousand years around that time the climate was relatively mild, with an average temperature approaching today’s. This mild period was a break between the earlier and later portions of the Wuerm Ice Age.

Harsh Environment

By the time the glaciation associated with the Wuerm Ice Age had advanced to its final maximum, around 25,000 years ago, a great ice sheet thousands of feet thick covered Scotland, most of Ireland, all of Scandinavia except the east coast of Denmark, northern Germany, the Baltic countries, northern Poland, and northwestern Russia. In addition separate Alpine glaciers covered large parts of the mountainous regions of Europe.

Substantial areas of Europe which remained unglaciated were so cold that they consisted only of treeless, scrub-covered tundra. Only in a few parts of Europe was there heavy forestation during the last Wuerm maximum.

For more than 10,000 years the climate of Europe approximated that of northern Alaska today, until, about 12,000 years ago, the ice once again began receding and the forests sprang up in its wake.

It was in such an environment, usually harsh and demanding, though with milder periods interrupting the frigid normality, that our ancestors underwent their last period of development.

Stimulus of the North

It has been mentioned before in this series, but it is worth repeating: the various populations of men and submen living in different parts of the world were subject to quite different environments during their evolution. The glacial conditions that existed in Europe and northern Asia off and on during the last million or so years never reached the tropical regions of the earth. Only in the earth’s north temperate zone were man and his predecessors subjected to the repeated climatic changes associated with the advance and retreat of the great ice sheets, and, more importantly, to the perennial demands of the winter season.

The relatively constant and moderate living conditions in the tropics did not subject the inhabitants there to the rigorous selective pressures which were exerted in the north. The poor planner, the inefficient worker, the irresponsible ne’er-do-well who could get by in the seasonless tropics perished in the north during the first winter for which he failed to make the necessary preparations.

Lagging Tropics

Thus, evolution proceeded at a much faster rate in Europe and in northern Asia than in Africa and other tropical areas. Submen crossed the human threshold in Europe three-quarters of a million years before they did so in Africa. The cultural achievements of our Ice Age ancestors, living sometimes in the cool northern forest and sometimes on the frigid, treeless tundra, reached a level never matched by Negroes, even today. What passes for Negro sculpture and architecture and is proudly held up as evidence of the Negro ability to construct buildings of stone and make art objects of bronze and iron as early as two millennia ago did not develop indigenously. The necessary technology came from the north, first from the Phoenicians and the Egyptians, and later from the Arabs.

And, as we shall see, these Mediterranean bearers of culture to Africa had earlier been the beneficiaries of inventive genius which flowered still further north. But that takes us ahead of our story.

Upper Paleolithic Man

For roughly 20,000 years during the closing chapter of the Ice Ages — the period known to archaeologists as the Upper Paleolithic, or “late old stone age” — our ancestors lived as big-game hunters in Europe, ranging from the Mediterranean coast to the edge of the ice in the north. Their physical remains and those of their artifacts are relatively plentiful, giving us a great deal of information about them and their lifestyle.

One of the most striking things about the Upper Paleolithic inhabitants of Europe was their physical homogeneity. Measurements made on their skeletal remains indicate a population more racially homogeneous than that of any European country today — and this population was spread over an enormous area throughout a span of time very long compared to that of all recorded human history.

As one would expect, the evidence of their art indicates a corresponding degree of psychic homogeneity. A remarkable similarity exists, for example, in cave paintings found at locations ranging from the Iberian peninsula all the way to the Urals, a distance of more than 3,000 miles.

Sexual Dimorphism

They were a tall, long-limbed, sturdily built race. They had narrow hips, broad shoulders, deep chests, and large hands and feet. The average height of the males was nearly 69 inches, taller than the average for any European country today except Iceland.

These Upper Paleolithic White men and women exhibited a large degree of sexual dimorphism, or physical difference between the sexes. The average height of the women was nearly seven inches less than that of the men, and their skulls were not only smaller but showed other secondary sexual differences, resulting in a less “masculine” and more “feminine” facial appearance. Whereas the men had distinctly craggy, faces, those of the women had softer contours.

Racial Variation

Sexual dimorphism varies greatly among the present-day races. Mongoloids, for example, have relatively slightly developed secondary sexual characteristics, while Europeans, on the average, show much greater secondary differences between the sexes. And among the subraces of the White race sexual dimorphism increases from south to north, with Mediterraneans exhibiting the least dimorphism and Nordics the most.

In general, a large degree of sexual dimorphism in a race is an indication of evolutionary adaptation to markedly different male and female social roles. When men and women have similar lifestyles, there is relatively little need for them to differ physically, except in their reproductive organs. But in the big-game hunting society of Upper Paleolithic Europe, the men went out into the forests or the tundra to do the hunting and killing, and the women stayed at home to bear and raise the children — for a thousand generations.

Rugged, Brainy

Upper Paleolithic Whites had broad, rugged faces with large, wide jaws, prominent chins, and — judging from the nasal openings in their skulls — prominent noses of narrow-to-medium width. And they had large brains: nearly 100 cubic centimeters larger than the White average today.

They were predominantly dolichocephalic (long-headed, like modern Nordics and Mediterraneans), although this was one physical trait in which the Upper Paleolithic population showed substantial diversity, with a larger minority of mesocephalic and brachycephalic (round-headed, like modern Alpines) skulls in the west than in the east.

Throughout the Upper Paleolithic this White proto-race lived not only in Europe but also in a band stretching across northern Asia to the Pacific. In Siberia and other eastern regions they were eventually displaced or absorbed by Mongoloid peoples, although isolated pockets of them have survived even until the present (the Ainu people of Japan seem to be an example, but even they show Mongoloid admixture).

Glacial Retreat

In Europe, when the Ice Ages came to an end, some of the White big-game hunters changed their way of life, and some did not, but instead followed the retreating glaciers northward as they shrank back toward their nucleus in the mountains of the Scandinavian peninsula.

Neither the Nordics nor the Alpines of today are physically identical to the Upper Paleolithic Whites, although both are ultimately related to them. In both the Nordic and the Alpine areas of Europe, however, one finds local populations which are essentially Upper Paleolithic in type. By selecting from these populations individuals whose skeletal measurements fit those of Upper Paleolithic fossils, we can gain a good idea of what the Ice Age hunters of 25,000 years ago looked like.

And from their artifacts we can gain a good idea of how they lived. Most of these artifacts are tools or weapons made of bone or stone, but there are also carved art-objects, paintings, hearths, and remnants of dwellings.

Craftsmen and Artists

They made a great variety of stone implements, prominent among which were long, thin blades struck from carefully prepared stone cores with a single, precise blow. Such stone blades were not entirely unknown during the preceding, Neanderthal stage of human development, but now they became much more common, and the tool-making technology associated with them took several strides forward.

Another distinguishing feature of Upper Paleolithic European culture was the extensive use of bone. It was carved into sewing needles, clothing fastenings and ornaments, statuettes, harpoon and spear heads, musical instruments, and many other items, using stone tools manufactured especially for the purpose.

The Upper Paleolithic economy was based on herd animals: horses, woolly mammoths, bison, and, especially, reindeer. These animals flourished on the tundra, and the people of Europe depended almost totally on them. From their flesh came food, from their hides clothing and coverings for shelters, and from their bones tools and implements.

Permanent Villages

Some groups of hunters apparently followed the herds on their seasonal migrations, but others established year-around settlements. Typically these settlements were occupied by from five to 20 families (from 20 to 100 individuals), and the habitations varied from single-family huts, probably covered with animal skins, to long, multi-family houses with gable roofs. One such Ice Age long house in southern Russia was nearly 450 feet long.

Despite the harsh environment, the tundra supported large herds, and the hunters apparently had plenty to eat. They obviously had the leisure time — and the inclination — to devote themselves to non-essential pastimes, such as art and music.

Birth of Ceramics

These Ice Age Europeans were inventive people. In a few thousand years they introduced more cultural innovations than in all of mankind’s previous existence.

They learned, for example, to use coal as a fuel. And they learned that by firing statuettes and other objects molded of clay, they obtained a much more durable. water-resistant product. Fired-clay objects recently found at Dolni Vestonice, in Moravia, and dated at 28,000 years ago represent man’s first use of the ceramic techniques which played such an important role in his later cultural development. Until quite recently, archaeologists had assumed that ceramic technology was first developed by farming peoples in the Middle East almost 20,000 years later.

There is also evidence that the Ice Age hunters carried on trade over distances of hundreds of miles, at least.

Ice-Age Archers

Two enormously significant inventions which date from the closing phase of the Wuerm Ice Age are the spear-thrower and the bow. Approximately 15,000 years ago Upper Paleolithic Whites learned to throw a hunting spear with much greater force by using the leverage provided by a piece of carved reindeer antler hooked over the butt. This invention gradually spread over the world, and the racially backward Australian aborigines still use spear-throwers for hunting today.

Some 11,000 years ago our European ancestors invented the world’s second propulsive weapon, the bow. Although the earliest bow which has been found (at Holmgard, Denmark) is only about 8,000 years old, collections of arrows 3,000 years older, with clearly identifiable notches for a bowstring, have been unearthed at Stellmoor, near Hamburg. The bow gave man an incalculable advantage in hunting, as he no longer had to creep up on his prey to within spear range.

Two gaps in Upper Paleolithic man’s cultural achievements are primarily responsible for the limitations in our knowledge of him and his ways: he did not write, and he seldom portrayed human beings in his prolific art.

First Writing

Actually, the world’s first writing may have appeared in western Europe shortly after the close of the last Ice Age, during the Mesolithic period (middle stone age). We will look at the evidence for that in the next installment in this series. But from the Ice Ages only a few geometric symbols and patterns of dots and scratches have come down to us. It is believed that some of these were used as a means of keeping track of time and, thus, constitute the earliest approaches to a calendar, but they convey virtually no information to us.

We are puzzled as to why our Ice Age ancestors, who possessed marvelous artistic ability, lavished it almost exclusively on the animals they hunted and so seldom produced drawings or carvings of men and their activities. In the few cases where human beings are portrayed in cave paintings, they are usually stick figures, with little or no detail shown.

And most of the human carvings from this period are only caricatures of people, the most common item being the so-called “venuses,” which were obviously female sex-objects (perhaps with fertility-cult significance) rather than attempts at realistic portrayals. It is possible, of course, that other art showing people was produced, but on perishable material, such as wood, which has not survived.

Conservative Neanderthals

One of the most interesting questions we have about the Upper Paleolithic period is why the people who lived then were so much more progressive culturally than those who preceded them. During the more than 600,000 years of the Middle Pleistocene — spanning approximately the time from the first crossing of the sapiens threshold in Europe to the time of the Neanderthals — cultural progress was extremely slow, hardly any changes taking place over thousands of generations (although European culture still remained well ahead of culture elsewhere in the world).

And Neanderthal Man himself was an extraordinarily conservative creature. During the 100,000 or so years of his existence he made no major innovations, but merely continued a slow elaboration and development of the flake-tool industry inherited from his predecessors.

Spurt of Progress

It is true that during the Riss-Wuerm interglacial period some 150,000 years ago (before the appearance of Neanderthal
Man and just after man’s expansion into the northern Eurasian plain) there was a relatively sudden spurt of technological progress. Tools and weapons found at Ehringsdorf, Germany, on the edge of the northern plain, dating from that time are far ahead of anything known previously — or anything from more southerly sites of the same age. Among the Ebringsdorf implements are the world’s first true projectile points, the heads of hand-thrown spears.

But it was not until the appearance of Cro-Magnon Man more than 100,000 years later, at the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic, that the sort of progress seen at Ehringsdorf once more took hold.

A New Race

Actually, there was no sudden technological revolution to usher in the Upper Paleolithic. The first Upper Paleolithic tools were not dissimilar from those of the Neanderthal period. The Upper Paleolithic revolution was racial rather than cultural.

The break with the past was in the appearance of a new race of men, and the men of this new race, within a few thousand years, created a technological revolution which brought forth ceramics and archery, among other things. Even from the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic, however, it was evident that the new race was of a higher evolutionary grade than anything which had come before; this evidence was in the capacity for music and art which manifested itself then.


One modern explanation of the racial transformation from Neanderthal Man to Cro-Magnon Man involves the zoological phenomenon called neoteny. Animals displaying this phenomenon are those which fail to develop fully to the adult stage and retain certain larval or infantile characteristics throughout their life spans. Young neotenous animals differ from non-neotenous animals of the same species only in their glandular functions; a gland controlling maturation fails to produce the normal level of hormones.

Since young Neanderthals much more closely resembled young Cro-Magnons than the adults of the two races resembled each other, it has been suggested that a mutation occurred at some time around 40,000 years ago involving a change in Neanderthal Man’s pituitary gland. The “childlike” (relative to Neanderthal Man) Cro-Magnon race was the result, and Cro-Magnon Man’s neotenous condition manifested itself psychically in his musical and artistic inclinations and in the absence of the extreme conservatism which characterized his predecessors.

Our First Kinsmen

Whether neoteny provides the correct explanation for the developments of the Upper Paleolithic period or not, it is clear that the race which hunted reindeer on the tundra of northern Europe from the second Wuerm glacial advance until about 10,000 years ago was essentially modern, not only physically but also psychically, and was, therefore, the first race to appear on this earth with whom we can feel the bond of full kinship.

In the next installment we will follow the Upper Paleolithic people of Europe into the Mesolithic period, and we will examine the cultural and subracial developments which took place then, including the first appearance of the Indo-Europeans, or Aryans.


a) EUROPE 25,000 years ago, the time of the last glacial maximum: the Upper Paleolithic sites mentioned in the text are indicated on the map. Note that Europe’s coastal configuration was substantially different during the Ice Ages, because of lowered sea levels. The English Channel, St. George’s Channel, the North Sea, and the head of the Adriatic Sea were dry land, although ice covered portions of all but the last.

b) THIS MAMMOTH-IVORY carving of a woman’s head is one of the very few realistic portrayals of human beings from the Upper Paleolithic period. It came from Brassempouy, in the extreme southwestern corner of France.

c) ICE AGE SURVIVORS in Europe today: these men have skeletal measurements which fit almost perfectly the pattern of the White big-game hunters of the Upper Paleolithic period. The two on the left are from Sweden (Goeteborg and Helsingborg), the two on the right are from Ireland (County Cork and County Clare), and the one in the middle is a Ruthenian from the Ukraine.

d) UPPER PALEOLITHIC hunters’ houses, as reconstructed by an artist from remnants found at Ostrava-Petrkovice, Czechoslovakia.

e) THIS MAN lived 25,000 years ago at Sungir, near Moscow. More than 3,000 carved ivory beads were sewn in decorative patterns on his leather clothing, long since turned to dust. The time and effort which must have been required to produce such apparel indicates a well-defined social division of labor and an economy sufficiently prosperous to allow non-essential crafts to flourish.

f) THE BOW shown here, from Denmark, is only 8,000 years old, but arrows with chisel-shaped stone heads have been found at 11,000-year-old sites in Germany.

g) THESE FLUTES, made from hollow bird bones, are from the Dordogne valley of southwestern France. They are approximately 27,000 years old.
THIS CLAY HEAD was sculpted at Doini Vestonice, Moravia, about 28,000 years ago.

i) THE SPEAR-THROWER was invented by a White hunter of Upper Paleolithic Europe about 15,000 years ago. Typically made from a piece of reindeer antler and decorated with animal carvings, the spear-thrower gave the hunter additional leverage and allowed him to hurl his spear or harpoon faster and further. It was the world’s first propulsive weapon.

THIS BROKEN REMNANT of one of our ancestors’ artistic creations was carved from the Ivory of a wooly mammoth tusk. The artist and the horse he portrayed lived near Vogelherd, in southern Germany, 30,000 years ago.

THESE SYMBOLS carved on a piece of antler found at Isturitz, France, are 12,000 years old and may be man’s oldest pictographs, although their meaning, if any, is presently unknown. Does the rayed figure symbolize the rising or setting sun?

THE CAVE COMPLEX of Le Madeleine, in the Dordogne region of southwestern France, was inhabited by White big-game hunters toward the close of the Wuerm Ice Age. The caves where Upper Paleolithic artifacts have been found are the lowest openings in the cliff face, just above the river. The ruins above are those of a medieval castle. From La Madeleine comes the generic name of a whole culture, the Magdalenian, the highest and last peak of Ice Age man’s cultural achievement.

 Who We Are #5
October 1978
Invasion of Europe by Mediterranean Race 9,000 years Ago

Roughly 10,000 years ago the glaciers which had covered much of Europe for so long melted, and the 3,000,000-year-long geologic epoch known as the Pleistocene came to an end.

The Pleistocene had seen the first tools and weapons made by man’s prehuman ancestors; the firm establishment of the various racial divisions of these prehumans, as the different hominid stocks continued their divergence from common roots in the preceding Pliocene epoch; the expansion of the hominid habitat from the original subtropical savanna to include the earth’s northern temperate zone; the evolution of the various geographically separated hominid racial groups across the human threshold at various times; and the continued, slow, cultural-biological-social evolution of European man until the Upper Paleolithic period, beginning roughly 40,000 years ago, when he acquired the physical and psychical traits which made him virtually indistinguishable from his present-day descendants.

Disappearing Tundra

During the Upper Paleolithic period (i.e., the late old stone age) Europeans were hunters of the herd animals which flourished on the frozen tundra covering much of Europe during that time. But when the glaciers melted and the tundra thawed and forests sprang up across the face of Europe, our ancestors were forced to change their lifestyle.

The roving herds of reindeer, bison, mammoths, and other animals which were adapted to the tundra were not able to survive in the dense, northern forests. One dramatic example of a tundra-adapted animal was the Giant Irish Deer (Megaceros giganteus), which had an antler spread of up to 11 feet. With such massive antlers it simply could not move through heavily forested areas, and it became extinct.

Most of the herd animals succumbed to the loss of their food supply, which consisted of the small, scrubby, ground-hugging plants of the tundra. As the forests spread over the former tundra, the trees kept the life-sustaining sunlight from the forest floor, and the tundra vegetation could not grow.

Changing Lifestyle

This transition from tundra to forest took place quite rapidly, the glacier which covered northern Europe retreating at a rate of about 20 miles per century at the close of the Pleistocene. The resulting transition in European lifestyle and culture was also rather abrupt, and it signaled the beginning of the period known to archaeologists as the Mesolithic (i.e., the middle stone age).

A much more profound revolution in lifestyle and culture came later, with the beginning of the Neolithic period (i.e., the new stone age). The Neolithic revolution involved the change from hunting, fishing, and gathering for sustenance to farming and animal domestication. The Mesolithic period was, in a sense, a transitional period between the herd-hunting lifestyle of the Upper Paleolithic and the farming lifestyle of the Neolithic, but it also saw some innovative and highly successful cultural-social developments of its own.

Unlike the sharp transition from Upper Paleolithic to Mesolithic, the transition to the Neolithic was more diffuse. It spread rather gradually throughout Europe over a period of more than 3,000 years, during which time the climate became suitable for farming, first in the south and then in the north.

Varying Mesolithic

Thus, the duration of the Mesolithic period varied for different areas of Europe. In northern Europe it lasted longest from the glacial retreat of 10,000 years ago to the replacement of the first post-glacial, cold-adapted, evergreen forests of the north by deciduous forests of oak and other temperate-zone trees about 6,000 years ago. In southeastern Europe it lasted as little as 2,000 years — even less in Greece.

As the warmer climate spread northward in Europe, carrying with it successive varieties of forest, new peoples and cultures also entered Europe from the south. The Mesolithic was, thus, a period of changing racial patterns in Europe as well as changing climate and lifestyles.

During the nearly 30,000-year duration of the Upper Paleolithic, the racial character of northern Europe, from Ireland to the Urals, was quite uniform, as was the lifestyle. But shortly after the advent of the Mesolithic, the uniformity was lost: a part of the Upper Paleolithic population followed the retreating ice northward and maintained a modified Upper Paleolithic lifestyle well into Mesolithic times; a part remained in the forests that sprang up on the thawed tundra and developed a distinctive, new, Mesolithic lifestyle; and a part began interacting almost immediately with the new peoples and cultures from the south, making the transition to a Neolithic lifestyle quite rapidly.

New Racial Patterns

New lifestyles inevitably lead, in time, to new racial characteristics, because of the strong interdependence of cultural and biological evolution. Thus, only the first group mentioned in the preceding paragraph retained a purely Upper Paleolithic racial character. In the south racial migrations and racial mixture began taking place. And even where there was no significant racial intermixture, there were biological changes, a notable example being the process of brachycephalization (increasing head breadth) which affected significant areas of Europe, beginning in Mesolithic times and continuing even into historic times, eventually producing the Alpine subrace of today.

That part of the Upper Paleolithic population which adapted itself to forest living when the tundra disappeared did so quite successfully. The most outstanding Mesolithic cultural pattern which developed in northern Europe has been given the name Maglemosian by the archaeologists, with a site in a Danish bog at Mullerup on the Baltic yielding artifacts considered typical. (The name itself comes from the Danish words magle mose, meaning “large bog.”)

When their herds of reindeer disappeared about 10,000 years ago, the pre-Maglemosians turned to fishing and forest hunting. For the former they became skilled boat builders, navigating all the rivers and coasts of northern Europe, They developed fishhooks, fishnets, and other paraphernalia for efficient fishing.

For the latter they greatly expanded the use of the bow, which they had invented just before the close of the Upper Paleolithic. In order to be able to make forest clearings for their villages and to utilize trees for structural purposes, they developed ground-stone axes, which were much more effective at felling trees than the flaked-stone axes of the Upper Paleolithic.

Solitary Hunters

The Maglemosian forest-dwellers became solitary hunters, in contrast to their Upper Paleolithic forebears, who had hunted in bands. They domesticated the dog as an aid in hunting, and they invented skis and sleds for winter mobility. And they settled new areas, which had not been habitable earlier, such as Scotland.

Although most of the Maglemosian sites which have been excavated are in northwestern Europe, centering around Denmark, the Maglemosian culture spread among the racially similar people who lived in the vast forest covering the entire northern Eurasian plain. A Maglemosian site has recently been dug up by Russian archaeologists as far east as Perm, in the western foothills of the Urals.

An outgrowth of the Maglemosian culture is named after another Danish site, Ertebolle, which lay on the north coast of the Danish peninsula in late Mesolithic times. The Ertebolle people were primarily fishermen, and they developed the first real pottery in their part of Europe.

To the south, in the region of the French Pyrenees, the descendants of the Upper Paleolithic people who had developed the Magdalenian culture modified their tools and weapons in the Mesolithic period to produce what is known to archaeologists as the Azilian culture (after the cave at Mas d’Azil, France, where typical artifacts have been found). The Azilian culture is not particularly exciting in most respects, but a few of the Azilian artifacts are enigmatic, indeed.

From the cave at Mas d’Azil and from a few nearby sites archaeologists have recovered pebbles painted with symbols which are strongly suggestive of alphabetic characters believed to have originated in the eastern Mediterranean area some 5,000 years later. The conventional archaeological reaction to the Azilian “alphabet stones” has been to dismiss them as a fluke, the symbols on them being mere random daubings, without linguistic significance, which by chance happen to resemble later Phoenician, Cretan, and Greek alphabetic characters.

The rational basis for this reaction is that the Azilian symbols seem to stand by themselves; no earlier symbols have been found from which the Azilian ones were obviously derived. In the eastern Mediterranean and in Mesopotamia, on the other hand, archaeologists can trace the development of written language from pictographs (drawings resembling the object or action named) to more and more abstract symbols, culminating in a true alphabet in the eastern Mediterranean and in Sumerian cuneiform word-symbols in Mesopotamia.

Oriental Bias

But there is more than the rational involved in the conventional reaction to the Azilian symbols. A bias in favor of the Middle East as the “cradle of civilization” has been so strong for so long that it dies hard, even in the face of the rapidly mounting proof that many of the arts of civilization — although not cities themselves — had their origins in Europe rather than in the Middle East.

Part of this bias was originally religious in nature and stemmed from the veneration formerly attached to the Old Testament by Europeans. Jewish mythology, of course, locates the Garden of Eden, whence man and his culture supposedly spread over the earth, in the Middle East.

Also, the oldest cities quite clearly were in the Middle East — the ruins of Jericho, for example, date back some 9,000 years — and there was an understandable tendency to assume that a higher intellectual and cultural level existed in the teeming cities of the Middle East than in the scattered villages of Europe in the millennia following the close of the Ice Age. Thus arose the archaeological presumption, ex oriente lux (light from the east), which saw the Middle East as a brightly glowing center of cultural innovation, from which new inventions and ideas spread out like illuminating rays, eventually reaching even the most backward areas of Europe.

Whether the 9,000-year-old Azilian alphabet stones are meaningless daubings or man’s first writing can only be decided after a great deal more archaeological research into the Mesolithic period has been done. Uncovering Mesolithic artifacts in Europe is much more difficult than finding Neolithic artifacts in the Middle East, where population densities were 100 times greater. But what is already certain is that many cultural innovations which had formerly been attributed to the Middle East actually were European in origin.

Neolithic Revolution

There can be little doubt, however, that the Neolithic revolution began in the Middle East. At the time when the first cereal grains were being cultivated in the Middle East more than 10,000 years ago, the climate in Europe was wholly unsuitable for farming. By about 9,000 years ago, however, farming had spread to eastern Greece. By 8,000 years ago it had reached Italy and the Balkans.

And as the climate in Europe continued to change, farming moved northward. By about 6,000 years ago it had virtually blanketed Europe, reaching as far as northern Scotland, where evidence of 6,000-year-old cultivated grains was found earlier this year.

For some time, however, the new Neolithic and the older Mesolithic lifestyles existed side by side in Europe. The cultural uniformity that had existed during the Upper Paleolithic was not regained in Europe, in fact, until the Middle Ages. And, as already mentioned, with cultural changes came racial changes.

Until now we have traced the development of a single, rather homogeneous racial group: the Whites of the Upper Paleolithic period who hunted the herds on the northern Eurasian plain, and their forest-and-coast-dwelling descendants in the Mesolithic period. In the last installment we saw what they looked like: tall, ruggedly built, large-headed people with broad faces, large jaws, and craggy features. There were substantial secondary sexual differences between male and female adults.

Mediterranean Subrace

But throughout the whole Upper Paleolithic period there was another subracial type on the southern and southeastern margins of Europe. Averaging about five inches shorter than the Upper Paleolithic Whites, with slenderer builds, smaller heads, narrower faces, and more delicate features, the male and female members of this southern subrace were quite similar in skeletal appearance. That is, they were a pedomorphic subrace, to use the ethnological term; the adults did not develop as strong a degree of sexual differentiation as did the Upper Paleolithic Whites. These were the ancestors of today’s small, dark, narrow faced, pedomorphic Mediterraneans.

Some 150,000 years ago, during the relatively mild Riss-Wuerm interglacial period, the ancestors of the Upper Paleolithic Whites first expanded from southern Europe into the northern Eurasian plain, as described in the third installment in this series. But some of their fellows remained behind, along both the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean and in the Middle East. Those who went north and became big-game hunters went through the Neanderthaloid phase and eventually evolved into the Cro-Magnon type of the Upper Paleolithic. Those who remained in the south evolved under different conditions, becoming the Mediterranean type.

Blond Pharaohs

There was never total isolation between the Upper Paleolithic people and the Mediterraneans. In North Africa and in the Middle East there are a few Ice Age fossils of the taller, more rugged Upper Paleolithic types as well as of the smaller Mediterraneans. And later, during the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, groups of men from northern Europe evidently wandered as far south as Libya, because Egyptian artists (who were of the Mediterranean type) portrayed Libyans as blond, with Nordic features. Today, of course, these Libyan Nordics have disappeared without a trace into a dark sea of Mediterraneans and Mediterranean-Negro hybrids.

Mediterraneans, however, have predominated heavily in north Africa and the Middle East for at least the last 10,000 years. In the Middle East it was they who first turned from food gathering to food producing, thus introducing the Neolithic revolution. To be sure, other subracial types made their presence felt in the south during Neolithic times — the Sumerians, for example, differed in several subracial characteristics from their Mediterranean neighbors, and several members of the Egyptian royalty were blond, the first known instance being Queen Hetep-Heres II of the IVth Dynasty, daughter of Cheops, builder of the great pyramid — but it was much more the Mediterraneans who made their presence felt in the north.

Population Explosion

Farming and animal husbandry is a vastly more efficient lifestyle than hunting and gathering, and it allows a given area to support a much larger population. The population density in the earliest Neolithic areas exploded by a factor of about a hundred, whereas Mesolithic Europe remained virtually empty in comparison.

Thus, when Neolithic Mediterranean farmers began moving north and west, they were able to initially swamp Europe’s sparsely settled Mesolithic hunters. Three principal streams of Mediterranean immigrants entered Europe: those who crossed from North Africa into the Iberian peninsula; those who settled Greece and Italy by sea; and those who moved northward around the eastern end of the Mediterranean, thence across the Bosporus into the Balkans, and finally along the Danube valley into central Europe.

The Mediterraneans brought their new lifestyle with them and their genes. Some of them, unfortunately, were contaminated with a Negroid strain, as evidenced by the prognathous character of some of the skulls from this period. The net result was that much of Europe became predominantly Mediterranean in subracial character early in Neolithic times.

Nordic Migrations

As the hunting and fishing people of Europe began farming and breeding livestock themselves, they were able to greatly expand their numbers too, but the strong Mediterranean subracial element remained in all but the northernmost areas of Europe.

However, the Cro-Magnon types were reinforced by migrations in a few areas, rather than being swamped; not all the immigrants who moved north in Neolithic times were short, dark, and pedomorphic. In the next installment we will look at the megalith builders who traveled by sea up the Atlantic coast to Britain, western France, and Scandinavia; and at the Battle-ax People, who moved from the plains of southern Russia across central Europe to northern Germany and Scandinavia.


AZILIAN “alphabet stones” were painted with symbols strikingly similar to ones archaeologists believe originated in the Mediterranean area around 4,000 years ago, but the Azilian symbols are approximately 9,000 years old! Did Mesolithic Europeans develop the world’s first alphabet, or are these symbols meaningless? Only more archaeological evidence than is now available can provide an answer.

CAVE ENTRANCE at Mas d’Azil, in southern France. Mesolithic hunters sheltered here and produced tools, weapons, and other artifacts — perhaps including the first known specimens of writing — which typify the Azilian culture of post-glacial Europe.

TARTARIA tablet (left), one of three baked-clay tablets inscribed with pictographic symbols which were dug up at Tartaria, Romania, in 1961, has been dated at 7,500 years old by radiocarbon assay of charcoal found with it. The symbols on the Tartaria tablet are strongly suggestive of Sumerian pictographs, as on the 5,500-year-old Sumerian tablet to the right. Archaeologists long believed, however, that writing originated in Sumeria about 5,500 years ago and gradually spread westward and northward. They tended, therefore, to discount the significance of all evidence to the contrary. As recently as a decade ago one archaeologist wrote: “But do the Tartaria tablets actually bear writing? Probably not…. It seems quite possible that they are merely an uncomprehending imitation of more civilized peoples’ written records…. Perhaps the Tartaria tablets are nothing more than a pretense by some unlettered barbarian to command the magic embodied in an art he had witnessed but did not understand.” Such an interpretation can only be made if one disbelieves the radiocarbon date of the Tartaria tablets.

ALPINE subrace is characterized by medium stature, stocky build, round heads. Their pigmentation varies from blond to brunet. They are descended from Upper Paleolithic Whites through a process which has involved a reduction in stature, an increase in relative head breadth, and a slight decrease in sexual differentiation. The man on the left is a German from Brandenburg, the one in the middle is a German from the Spreewald, and the one on the right is a Hungarian.

MEDITERRANEAN subrace is characterized by small stature, dark complexion, dark hair and eyes, pedomorphy, narrow-to-medium skulls. This subrace probably branched from the Paleolithic White root stock about 150,000 years ago, remaining on the southern fringe of Europe and in northern Africa and the Middle East while other Paleolithic Whites moved into the northern Eurasian plain. The man to the left is from Crete, the one in the middle is from Portugal, and the one on the right is from Bulgaria.

 Who We Are #6
December 1978
Civilization of Old Europe Was 2,000 Years Ahead of Middle East
Most Ancient Civilization Finally Being Uncovered

Before we consider the racial and cultural complexities of the Neolithic period and the ensuing Bronze Age, let us briefly summarize the principal developments of the first five installments in this series.

From the Beginning, some 15 billion years ago, we traced the ongoing self-creation of the Cosmos through an ascending continuum of evolutionary stages. We saw the first biological life appear on the earth 3.5 billion years ago, and we followed its development through ever higher and more complex forms, from protozoan to mammal, in the Cosmic quest for self-consciousness.

Antiquity of Races

We saw the primate line separate from the rest of the mammals 70 million years ago, and 25 million years ago we saw the hominid line — man’s ancestral line — split off from that of the pongids (manlike apes). After that the hominid line continued to evolve, and by sometime late in the Pliocene epoch, about four or five million years ago, it had diversified into several distinct races of Australopithecines.

The Australopithecines were chimpanzee-sized primates who hunted and ate other animals and made and used simple stone tools. Near the beginning of the Pleistocene epoch, approximately three million years ago, one of the more advanced races of Australopithecities expanded beyond the tropical savanna of Africa, which was its original habitat, into the earth’s northern temperate zone. To this race belonged European man’s prehuman ancestors. Although no Australopithecine fossils have yet been found in Europe, artifacts have been found there which must have been made by Australopithecines.

Under the greater selective pressure of the northern environment, these early ancestors of ours evolved — culturally, biologically, and socially, the three aspects strongly interdependent — much faster than their cousins who remained in the tropics. They crossed the threshold from Australopithecus to Homo erectus, and then finally reached the sapiens level about three-quarters of a. million years ago, hundreds of thousands of years before any of the non-White races. Vertesszoelloes Man, whose fossils in Hungary are of that age, still retained many of the primitive features of H. erectus, but his brain was large enough to qualify him as H. sapiens.

Mediterranean Separation

The descendants of Vertesszoelloes Man continued to evolve throughout the more than 600,000 years of the Middle Pleistocene. As we saw, European culture advanced from the crude handaxes of Vertesszoelloes Man to the finely crafted implements of stone, wood, and bone made by men on the edge of the northern European plain during the Riss-Wuerm interglacial period, about 150,000 years ago.

It was from this time, immediately prior to the Neanderthal phase of human development, that the separation of the European stock took place which led eventually to the Cro-Magnon subrace on the one hand and to the widely varied group of racial types which have been classified as “Mediterranean” on the other hand. This separation, which was never total, came about as the result of a complex of changes involving climate, habitat expansion, and lifestyle.

Cro-Magnon Ancestors

During the relatively mild Riss-Wuerm interglacial period, the first Europeans began living in the northern plain. They were a relatively advanced group, whose cultural attainments made it possible for them to adapt successfully to the new habitat.

But others remained in the southern coastal areas of Europe and in the adjacent portions of northern Africa and the Middle East. As the Wuerm glaciation brought a more severe climate to Europe, those who had remained in the south were effectively kept there. There was a certain amount of gene transfer with their neighbors to the north during the next 100,000 years, but there was also some genetic contact with non-European races to the south.

The net result was that when the Cro-Magnon subrace — a tall, ruggedly built, large-headed subrace with a large degree of sexual differentiation — appeared in Europe about 40,000 years ago, it differed to a greater or lesser extent from the various Mediterranean types to the south and southeast.

Variety of Mediterraneans

Some of these Mediterraneans — those who had continued to exchange genes with the northern Europeans during the Wuerm glaciation — can be considered as kinsmen of the Cro-Magnons and as fully White. They differed primarily in being somewhat more gracile (less rugged and angular in bony structure) and in having somewhat smaller heads and narrower faces and jaws.

Others, whose genetic contacts were less with Europe and more with the Middle East and Africa, differed substantially from the Cro-Magnons. Most of these were much shorter (although there were notable exceptions, e.g., in northeast Africa) and more gracile than the Cro-Magnons, pedomorphic, and — judging from their descendants — dark. Their heads were smaller and their facial structure quite different — so different, in fact, that they should not be classified as White.

Racial Classifications

European anthropologists have developed a somewhat involved scheme of racial classification to comprise these non-White Mediterraneans, with groupings designated as Hither Asiatic, Oriental, Hamitic, etc. Since we are concerned only with the ancestors of today’s Whites, we will not become involved further with the subtleties of these groupings but will merely try to indicate whether any particular Mediterranean group should be considered fully White, marginally White, or non-White. Because of the racial mixing which has taken place in the Mediterranean area, with a consequently large number of gradations of racial character, such indications may sometimes be arbitrary.

Neanderthal Period

The period between 150,000 and 40,000 years ago, corresponding to the first Wuerm glacial advance, was the Neanderthal period. There has been a great deal of confusion about Neanderthal Man in the past, based primarily on the fact that the fossil specimens originally taken as typical were not really representative of most Europeans during this period but represented instead a local and rather specialized variation of the race.

The evidence which is available now indicates strongly that the Neanderthal phase was neither a regression nor the result of a major genetic intrusion, but instead was a smooth continuation of developments rooted in the pre-Neanderthal period. Both culturally and biologically a continuum has been established between the northern Europeans of the Riss-Wirerm interglacial period and the more generalized northern Neanderthals of the first Wuerm advance.

A similar continuum joins the southern varieties of Neanderthal Man with the inhabitants of the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern areas during the Riss-Wuerm interglacial.

The more highly specialized Neanderthals — i.e., those with heavy brow ridges, prognathism. and other “regressive” peculiarities — either died out or were absorbed by their neighbors.

Upper Paleolithic

The Cro-Magnon subrace, which was the principal racial element in Europe during the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods — i.e., from about 40,000 years ago until the introduction of farming 6,000-8,000 years ago — is represented today by groups of Upper Paleolithic survivors in Ireland, northern Germany, Scandinavia, and other parts of northern Europe. They were described and pictured in the fourth installment in this series.

The Cro-Magnon homeland may be considered to be the vast northern European plain, stretching from the Alps in the south to the North Sea and the Baltic Sea in the north, and from Ireland in the west to the Urals in the east.

Alpine Subrace

The Alpine subrace, which was described in the fifth installment, has been derived from the Cro-Magnon subrace through a complex of genetic changes involving a reduction in stature, a decrease in relative head length, a slight decrease in sexual differentiation — and, perhaps, some Mediterranean admixture. The Alpine homeland is the mountain belt stretching across western and central Europe – i.e., it is in that region that Alpines have historically constituted the largest portion of the population.

And the various Mediterranean types, whose ancestors developed more or less separately from the Cro-Magnon subrace, have their homelands along the African and European shores of the Mediterranean Sea and in the Middle East.

Population Explosion

When men everywhere lived by hunting, fishing, and gathering natural vegetation, population densities were everywhere quite small: on the order of one person for every five square miles of habitable land. When they began living by farming and raising livestock, however, population densities rapidly increased more than a hundredfold.

We noted in the fifth installment that it was in the Mediterranean racial area, on Europe’s borders rather than in its interior, that the Neolithic revolution began. And, thus, beginning about 9,000 years ago, the Mediterraneans gained a strong numerical advantage over the Cro-Magnons and their Alpine relatives. Several groups of Mediterraneans, representing several varieties, were able to push northward and westward into Europe, initially swamping the sparse hunter-gatherer population.

Even though the Cro-Magnons themselves experienced a population surge when they became farmers, the initial advantage of the Mediterraneans resulted in a lasting Mediterranean numerical dominance in many areas which had formerly been Cro-Magnon. Most areas of Mediterranean penetration became racially mixed, with the ratio of Cro-Magnon to Mediterranean blood varying from place to place.

Tall, Blond Warriors

But the Mediterraneans were not the only ones to invade the Cro-Magnon areas of Europe during the Neolithic period. From the steppes of southern Russia, in the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian, came wave after wave of a subrace which differed from all the others we have encountered thus far. Not quite as ruggedly built as the Cro-Magnons, yet more so than the Mediterraneans, they were tall and fair.

They may have learned the arts of agriculture from earlier contact with a nearby Mediterranean group, or they may have developed farming on their own, but, whichever the case, they were already carrying these arts westward and northwestward with them nearly 6,000 years ago. Superb craftsmen as well as farmers and cattle breeders, they were, above all else, warriors. Wherever they went they conquered and ruled.

Nordics Take Lead

And their culture ruled also. Their language replaced the language of the conquered peoples everywhere, as did also their religion, their art, and their social customs. They were the Nordics.

The Nordics will play the leading role in this series henceforth, just as they have in the world for the past 6,000 years. But let us fix in our minds a few of the more significant general features of the European world of the Neolithic period which we have not considered yet, before we focus our attention on the Nordics.

First Farmers

The Neolithic revolution had reached the northernmost corners of Europe by 6,000 years ago. It brought with it certain changes in stone technology initially, but these were of relatively minor importance compared to the far-reaching social changes accompanying the replacement of the hunting-gathering lifestyle by the farming-livestock raising lifestyle.

As already mentioned, the new lifestyle was more efficient, and it allowed a given area of land to support a much larger population. The most significant social change which came with this higher population density was increased specialization: a much more pervasive and highly structured division of labor than had existed with the Mesolithic or Paleolithic lifestyles.

Interdependence and Innovation

Men ceased being jacks of’ all trades, each dependent entirely on his own efforts or those of his immediate family for his food, his clothing, his shelter, his weapons, and all his other needs. Instead, various individuals specialized in trades, supplying the needs of several families or of a whole village with the fruits of their skilled labors and depending in turn upon individuals in other trades for supplying some of their needs.

There had been a certain amount of specialization among hunter-gatherers, but never before to such an extent. Europeans lost some of their independence with their increased division of labor, but with the new interdependence came an enormously increased rate of cultural innovation. The man who could spend a lifetime doing nothing but making pots had a chance to learn how to do it exceedingly well — much better, at any rate, than his predecessor who had been obliged to spread his attention and his labors over a much broader field of endeavor.

Social Organization

With the division of labor came new divisions of wealth and social status. Social classes came into being: a class of peasants and craftsmen, a class of warrior-rulers, a class of priests. Society became truly organized for the first time.

These new social developments came about first in that part of Europe where the Neolithic lifestyle first took hold. From Crete and the coastal areas of Greece and southern and eastern Italy they had spread by 8,500 years ago to a wide area of southeastern Europe, encompassing all of the Balkan peninsula and extending from the head of the Adriatic Sea the Dniester-Dnieper region northwest of the Black Sea. Included were all of modern Austria, Hungary, and Romania and part of the Ukraine.

Hard-fired pottery was being produced in the Balkans by this time, which was also about when it first appeared in the Middle East, although the most recent findings seem to give precedence to the Balkans. Within another millennium — i.e., by about 7,500 years ago — a complex civilization had sprung up throughout this entire southeastern European area.

This Old European civilization, as it has been recently named, boasted walled towns of more than 1,000 inhabitants (one near Kiev had 20,000), with stone temples and brick houses. Copper objects were being produced at several sites, and a linear script had come into use. This latter development was nearly 2,000 years ahead of a similar development in the Middle East.

Strictly European

Although extensive trade in both raw materials and manufactured products was being carried on with Asia Minor and the Middle East, it should be emphasized that the Old European culture of 7,500 years ago was strictly European and not a Middle Eastern import. The Mediterranean farmers who began spreading from the coastal areas into the Balkan interior 9,000 years ago brought sheep, goats, and barley (which were not indigenous to Europe) with them, but after that initial impulse the Old European culture developed in its own distinctive way, independently of the Middle East.

The Old European civilization lasted about 3,000 years — i.e., until about 5,500 years ago — and then it disintegrated utterly. Its temples and gods, its towns, its language — all disappeared in an overwhelming disaster: the arrival of Bronze Age Nordic warriors from the east.

Lost Civilization

It may seem surprising that so little was known of the Old European civilization until the archaeological findings of the last few years, considering the fact that it flourished so long and reached such heights right in the European heartland. How is it that we know so much more about the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt than about a civilization so much more important to us?

Part of the answer undoubtedly is that the Old European civilization thrived in an area which has been much more exposed to the ravages of time, with armies and migrating streams of people crossing and recrossing it throughout the last 5,500 years, while the ruins of other civilizations have lain abandoned and relatively undisturbed.

Undeciphered Script

And part of the answer lies in the thoroughness of the transformation wrought by the Nordic conquerors of Old Europe. In Egypt, despite invasions by alien peoples from time to time, and despite the gradual racial mongrelization of the Egyptians, there has remained a certain degree of continuity over the last 5,000 years. But of Old Europe there remains hardly a trace above ground.

We are unable to decipher a single Old European inscription , and only in a few modern European place names does any evidence of their language survive, much in the way American Indian place names survive in this country today. Besides the artifacts and fossils now being unearthed by archaeologists, one of our few sources of knowledge of the Old Europeans may lie in the religious myths of the descendants of their conquerors, as we shall soon see.

Room for Dreaming

A tantalizing thought is that the fantasies of writers such as Robert E. Howard, with his Cimmerian hero Conan the Barbarian living, loving, and fighting amid the splendors of a vanished, ancient civilization, become less fantastic the more we learn of Old Europe. During its 3,000 years of efflorescence there may even be room to fit in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth and the wonders of Gondor, Rohan, and Mordor!

In any event, our ideas of European prehistory have certainly been stretched during the past few years of discovery.

The creators of the Old European civilization were a blend of the Mesolithic Cro-Magnons originally in the Balkan area and the Neolithic Mediterraneans who infiltrated the area, beginning a little over 8,500 years ago. Most of these Mediterraneans were of a variety anthropologists call Danubian, and they were short, gracile, and pedomorphic.

Because the Cro-Magnon population differed physically in so many respects from the Danubians, there were substantial geographical variations in racial type in Old Europe, depending on the proportions of the two basic stocks present in the blend. When the Nordics arrived, the geographical racial pattern became even more varied. The racial homogeneity which had existed in most of Europe during the Upper Paleolithic period was gone for good.

In the next installment we will consider certain aspects of the interaction between the Nordics and the citizens of Old Europe, and we will also look at the Megalithic culture of Western Europe.


a) NORDICS of today display a range of racial characteristics, the results of mixing with Cro-Magnon and White Mediterranean types — although there are a few areas of Europe with a significant population having the unmixed characteristics of the Battle-Axe People. Above, from left to right: Unmixed Battle-Axe Nordic from New England; Norwegian; Pole, showing Cro-Magnon-Nordic mixture; Fleming, showing mixture of Nordic and partly Alpinized Cro-Magnon.

b) CRETAN GODDESS or priestess of Ivory and gold is 3,700 years old and shows the features of a Mediterranean type which was fully White, having none of the Middle Eastern characteristics of other Mediterranean types often described as “greasy.” The girl who modeled for this statue may be typical of the Mediterranean element in the megalithic people of Western Europe. Even today Crete has more blondness than other Mediterranean areas.

c) SOME of the characters used in the Old European linear script, which predated the earliest known writing in the Middle East. by 2,000 years. A few of the Old European characters are identical to characters in the runic script used in northern Europe as much as 7,000 years later.

Who We Are #7
January 1979
Nordic Invasions 6,000 Years Ago Brought Masculine Spirit to Europe
Nordic Establish New Heartland in North
Language Gives Clues to Racial Roots

The Nordic subrace of the White, or European, race made its first appearance in Europe west of the Black Sea about 6,400 years ago. Before that the Nordics were concentrated in southern Russia and the eastern Ukraine, in the region north of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

At the close of the Ice Age they may have been even further east, in the vast expanse of Turkistan, which stretches 1,500 miles from the Caspian Sea to Mongolia. We cannot speak with certainty about this earlier period, however, because the evidence is very scanty. The earliest origins of the Nordics must remain shrouded in the mists of remote antiquity until the archaeologists and the anthropologists have done more digging, measuring, and dating in this area of western Asia.

Nordic Characteristics

The Nordic subrace is characterized physically both by skeletal features and by pigmentation. The Nordic skull is long, with a high forehead, a narrow nose, and stronger brow ridges and muscular markings (roughened areas of bone where tendons are attached) than occur in the Mediterraneans. Nordics are also taller and more rugged in appearance than Mediterraneans, with heavier bones and a larger degree of sexual differentiation in adults. Their jaws are deeper and stronger than those of Mediterraneans, although not so wide as those of Cro-Magnons.

Skeletally they fall between the Cro-Magnon and Mediterranean extremes in several respects, but they present a unique set of skeletal characteristics of their own. They resemble the early Sumerians, but whether a close Sumerian-Nordic relationship actually exists remains unknown.

Ice Age Blondes

The earliest evidence on the Nordics tells us nothing about their pigmentation, and we can only infer that they were blondes, with light hair and skin and blue or gray eyes, from later evidence. We have good general reasons, however, for believing that all the peoples in Europe at the close of the Ice Age, except those on the southern border, were blondes.

Most of Europe was cold and cloudy at that time, with the surface receiving relatively little sunlight. Thus, the dark pigmentation that protects races which evolved in sunny climates from excessive ultraviolet radiation would have served no useful purpose for Paleolithic Europeans.

It would, in fact, have been a disadvantage, in that it would have hindered the formation of vitamin D in their skin, a process which is energized by the ultraviolet radiation which penetrates the outer layers of skin (which explains why members of dark-skinned races living in northern climates — such as Negroes in New England — are so susceptible to rickets). The evolutionary tendency is to provide enough pigmentation to protect from excessive solar radiation, but not so much as to hinder vitamin D formation.

The Mediterraneans who invaded Europe in Neolithic times had presumably not been there long enough to lose their pigmentation by the time of the first Nordic incursion, and so there would have been a strong contrast in the appearance of the two subraces.


The Nordic homeland in southern Russia was wetter 7,000 years ago than it is today, and what is now arid steppe was then an area of mixed forest and grassland. The geologic evidence for this agrees well with the linguistic evidence.

Comparative linguists have made substantial efforts to reconstruct the original language of the Nordics, as it was before their dispersal from their homeland. That language, Proto-Indo-European (of which more will be said shortly), had words for oak, birch, fir, elder, elm, ash, aspen, willow, and beech, and fossil seeds of all these species of trees have been found in the homeland region.

Proto-Indo-European also had words for a number of wild animals, among which were aurochs, elk, boar, bear, wolf, fox, beaver, squirrel, and badger; and for the domesticated sheep, ox, cow, pig, and horse. Other Proto-Indo-European words indicated a familiarity with farming, stock breeding, and textile production.

The Nordics were domesticating and riding horses by 6,500 years ago, and shortly thereafter they were using horse-drawn vehicles with wheels.

The oldest Nordic artifacts from southern Russia are of stone. Knives, agricultural tools, and axe heads were made of polished stone, with an extraordinary degree of craftsmanship.

Corded Culture

There are no significant sources of metal ore in the Nordic homeland, and the first Nordic use of metal undoubtedly came from their contact with the people living south of them, in the Caucasus Mountains, where copper was smelted as early as 7,000 years ago. Initially the Nordics acquired copper implements by trade, but by 5,500 years ago they had established their own colonies near the ore supplies of the Caucasus and were themselves engaged in metallurgy. And by this time they were deliberately adding arsenic to their copper, producing a hard, tough arsenical bronze.

Nordic pottery was characteristically decorated with impressions made by winding cord around the wet clay. Archaeologists have, in fact, designated the entire Nordic culture as the Corded Pottery culture.

In southern Russia the Nordics buried their dead (at least those of high rank) in kurgans, or stone burial vaults covered with earth mounds. Study of these graves has provided much information about early Nordic society.

Nordics were, above all else, warriors. Weapons were always the most prominent artifacts buried with them. Next to their weapons in their regard were their horses, and a dead warrior’s horse was often sacrificed and buried with him.

So, too, sometimes were their wives and their slaves. (The Hindu practice of suttee had its origin in the Nordic invasion of India 35 centuries ago.) Both slave sacrifice and the rich burials of some Nordics testify to a highly stratified or hierarchical social structure.

Religious Contrast

The most common symbolism on pottery, amber pendants, and other grave items was solar, confirming the fact that the Nordics were (and always have been) worshippers of the sun and the sky — more generally, of Nature, with an emphasis on its active, male, creative aspect, as epitomized by the life-giving sun. This contrasts sharply with the religious symbolism of the Neolithic society to the west, in Old Europe, with its Mediterranean racial basis; that symbolism was feminine, centered on the female-reproductive aspect of Nature.

The Nordics lived typically in small villages or settlements of only a few timbered houses, an arrangement suited to their need for relatively large amounts of open land for grazing. Though they were settled relatively sparsely in their homeland, the Nordics maintained a high degree of cultural uniformity over a rather large territory, a consequence of the high degree of mobility which their lifestyle conferred upon them.

Conquest of Europe

They erupted into Old Europe in three major waves, beginning about 6,400 years ago and spanning 16 centuries.

The Nordics cut through Old Europe like a hot knife through warm butter. Their first invasion wave carried them as far west as the Rhine. It was a relatively thin wave, however, and it left some areas of Old Europe more or less intact — notably, the western Ukraine — while other areas were totally disrupted and subjugated. Even in the latter areas — such as the region immediately west of the Black Sea, comprising present-day Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Hungary — the Nordics were not numerous enough to replace the Mediterranean population.

Instead, the conquering Nordics of the first wave reduced the Mediterraneans to helots and formed a ruling aristocracy over them. In some cases it was a purely male aristocracy, formed by Nordic warriors who were not accompanied by women and children of their own race but who instead took Mediterranean wives from the conquered areas. Everywhere the conquerors built citadels, usually hill forts, to anchor their conquests.

The Second Wave

The two races and their cultures coexisted in this way for more than 800 years. Then the second wave of Nordics came boiling out of their eastern homeland, about 5,400 years ago, and the last remnants of Old Europe were submerged. The warriors of this second wave brought their women with them, and the racial makeup of Europe began to change more profoundly.

They also brought bronze weapons and implements with them — the first hard metal to appear west of the Black Sea. And they brought a uniformity of culture to Europe which had not existed since the Ice Age. The Old European civilization had developed in a number of distinct, local directions, resulting in different cultures in different areas. The Nordics, with their horses, were much more mobile, and they maintained an active commerce among the various regions under their domination.

Meanwhile, population pressure continued to build up back in the Nordic heartland. The third wave to hit Europe, between 5,000 and 4,800 years ago, was more massive than the first two, and the racial balance was shifted even further toward a Nordic predominance in many areas. In eastern Europe only Crete, the Cyclades, and Greece remained unaffected, with a relatively pure Mediterranean population.

Nordic Dominance

The racial situation in Europe 4,800 years ago, then, was roughly as follows: the Mediterraneans were the principal population element in southwestern Europe and in the aforementioned areas of southeastern Europe. The Nordics were the principal element in southern Russia, from the Urals to the Dniester, which was the old Nordic homeland; and in north-central Europe, north to the Baltic and west to Jutland, which had not been heavily settled prior to the Nordic invasions. In the northern Balkans and along the Danube valley — the former territory of the Old Europeans the population was mixed, with the Nordic-Mediterranean ratio varying from place to place, but with the Nordics socially and politically dominant everywhere.

The detailed racial distribution was actually more complex than the foregoing rough description indicates. Groups of Mediterraneans displaced from their original habitat by one or another of the Nordic waves later amalgamated with Nordics in areas well beyond the bounds of Old Europe. And, of course, there were still areas of predominant Cro-Magnon population, principally in the far north and the far west.

A New Heartland

The process of racial change begun by the Nordic invasions from the east continued long after the invasions ended. They were as decisive in shaping the racial destiny of Europe — and of the planet — as was the Mediterranean invasion of Cro-Magnon Europe 3,000 years earlier. They established a new Nordic heartland in northern Europe — a Nordic heartland from which new invasions would pour forth in the future, transforming southern Europe, as we shall see in future installments in this series.

With the biological changes in Europe came profound cultural and spiritual changes. The two principal subraces involved Nordic and Mediterranean differed even more markedly in their psychical characteristics than they did physically.

In fact, one of the most tantalizing hints of the change wrought in Europe is to be found in the Nordic religious mythology — specifically, Scandinavian mythology — which has come down to us from that time of radical transformation.

Soil-Bound Spirit

The religion of the people of Old Europe, like the religion of every race, was created in their own image, a spiritual reflection of their inner nature. They were farmers, Mediterranean and passive. They were a settled race, and their ties were to the soil.

Although we can decipher none of their religious inscriptions, it seems safe to assume that, like other soil-bound peoples, their religion was centered on the concept of fertility. Certainly, this is suggested by the abundance of female figurines, stylized vulva symbols, and other evidences of a flourishing fertility cult which have been unearthed by archaeologists along with other remnants of the Old European culture.

The abundance of the life-giving soil, the seasonal death and rebirth of the green earth, the mating and birthing of their domestic animals: these were the essential mysteries, and it was around these that the religious concepts of their matriarchal society must have been formed. Theirs was the religion of the Earth Mother.

Warrior Religion

In contrast, the Battle-Axe People, the blond horsemen from the east, the conquerors of Old Europe, were a race on the move. Nordic, active, patriarchal, dominating, they, too, farmed and, bred livestock, but they were far less soil-bound in their outlook than the Mediterraneans. Warriors, explorers, rulers, they were less concerned with the mysteries of plant and animal reproduction and more concerned with valor, honor, and authority. Their spiritual focus was upward and outward, toward the sky and far horizons, rather than downward toward the soil and inward toward their own bodily functions, as in the case of the Mediterraneans. Theirs was the religion of the Sky Father.

The religion of the Scandinavians until a few hundred years ago, when it was forcibly replaced by Christianity, had a pantheon divided into gods and goddesses belonging to two distinct groups, the Aesir and the Vanir. The principal gods among the Aesir — Odin, Thor, and Tyr — are associated with the sky and with manly activities. Both Odin and Tyr were, at different times, assigned the roles of Sky Father and of war god. Thor, the thunderer, was the god of the air, of lightning, and of defense against enemies.

The three principal Vanir — Njord, Frey, and Freya — are, on the other hand, associated with the earth and the sea, with fecundity, and with sexual pleasure. Njord is clearly a masculinized version of Nerthus, the Earth Mother. Frey and Freya personify the male and female sexual principles, respectively.

Ancient Legends

It is very tempting to see in these two disparate groups constituting the Scandinavian pantheon an imperfect blending of the religions of two disparate peoples, the Aesir belonging originally to the Nordic Battle-Axe People and the Vanir to the Neolithic Mediterraneans conquered by the former.

Indeed, the ancient legends speak to us of just such a blending: of a war between the two groups of gods in the dawn of time, followed eventually by a truce and the acceptance by the Aesir of hostages from the Vanir.

The Heimskringla, a semi-historical compendium of the lives of the Norse kings, written early in the thirteenth century by Snorri Sturlason, the great Icelandic poet and historian, begins with the Ynglingasaga, an almost wholly non-historical account of conflict between Aesir and Vanir. In Snorri’s scheme of things the Aesir were the biological ancestors of the Norse kings, and he interprets the racial memory of a long-ago migration of people in this light.

His account correctly places the ancestral home of the Aesir (i.e., of the people whose gods the Aesir were) in the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, but its geographical and historical details are not to be relied on. According to Snorri:

Vanaheim and Asgard

“North of the Black Sea lies Svithjoth the Great or the Cold (Russia)…. Out of the north, from the mountains which are beyond all inhabited districts, a river runs through Svithjoth whose correct name is Tanais (the Don River). In olden times it was called Tana Fork or Vana Fork. Its mouth is in the Black Sea. The land around the Vana Fork was then called Vanaheim, or Home of the Vanir. This river divides the three continents. East of it is Asia, west of it Europe.
“The land east of the Tana Fork was called Home of the Aesir, and the capital of that country they called Asgard. In this capital the chieftain ruled” whose name was Odin….

“Odin made war on the Vanir, but they resisted stoutly and defended their land. Now the one , now the other was victorious, and both devastated the land of their opponents, doing each other damage. But when both wearied of that they agreed on a peace meeting and concluded a peace, giving each other hostages. The Vanir gave their most outstanding men, Njord the Wealthy and his son Frey….

“Odin appointed Njord and Frey to be priests for the sacrificial offerings, and they were gods among the Aesir. Freya was the daughter of Njord. She was the priestess at the sacrifices. It was she who first taught the Aesir magic such as was practiced among the Vanir….

Invasion and Conquest

“A great mountain chain runs from the northeast to the southwest. It divides Svithjoth the Great from other realms. South of the mountains it is not far to Turkey…. Because Odin had the gift of prophecy and was skilled in magic, he knew that his offspring would inhabit the northern part of the world. Then he set his brothers Ve and Vili over Asgard, but he himself and all gods and many other people departed. First he journeyed west to Garthriki (western Russia) and then south to Saxland (northwestern Germany). He had many sons. He took possession of lands far and wide in Saxland and set his sons to defend these lands. Then he journeyed north to the (Baltic) sea and fixed his abode on an island. That place is now called Odense (Odin’s Island), on the island of Funen.”

Besides Snorri’s tendency to switch the roles of gods and men back and forth, there are other defects in his account. The most serious of these is his chronological sequence of events. Before the migration into Europe even starts, Snorri has already brought about the reconciliation and union of Aesir and Vanir, of Nordic and Mediterranean religions, something which could not have happened until the conquest of the Neolithic-Mediterranean peoples by the Nordics had already taken place.

It is evident that the oral sagas must have undergone significant changes before Snorri began setting them down in writing, In fact, one should be surprised that, after the passage of several millennia, the sagas should still contain any historical truth at all. Nevertheless, the Ynglingasaga does appear to give us a link, however tenuous, between the Scandinavian mythology of seven centuries ago and actual events which took place more than five millennia ago, as indicated by the archaeological evidence.

New Language

The transformation from a matriarchal, egalitarian, pacifist, soil-bound society to a patriarchal, hierarchical, mobile society ruled by warrior chieftains was accompanied by another cultural change of enormous significance — the replacement of the languages of Old Europe by Indo-European languages.

Today, although the Mediterranean race survives in Europe, no Mediterranean language except Basque (Euskarian), spoken by fewer than a million people in the Pyrenees of southern France and northern Spain, is native on European soil. (Georgian and related Mediterranean languages of the Caucasic family may have strayed a few miles across the border from Asia into Europe, but not far enough to be noteworthy. And, of course, we are not counting isolated intruders into Europe who speak Mediterranean languages — such as Hebrew.)

The Esths and the Finns of the eastern Baltic region and the Magyars of Hungary and Romania speak non-Indo-European (and non-Mediterranean) languages of the Uralic family, and there are a number of pockets of speakers of Uralic and Altaic languages in the European portion of the Soviet Union, most of them near the eastern border of Europe with Asia.

Gift of Unity

With these exceptions Indo-European languages are native everywhere in Europe, from Iceland in the west to the Urals in the east and from Tromso in the north to Gibraltar in the south. Beyond this, they are also native in vast areas outside Europe — not only areas of recent White conquest, such as the western hemisphere, Australia, southern Africa, and much of the Asiatic portion of the Soviet Union, but also in such thoroughly non-White areas as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, where the native tongues were replaced by those of their Nordic conquerors thousands of years ago.

It is, of course, a shame that we have not a trace left of the languages spoken by the Cro-Magnon hunters of the Ice Age, and only a few undecipherable scraps left of the languages spoken (and, perhaps, written) by the Mediterranean peoples of Old Europe. Those languages of our White cousins and ancestors are lost to us forever. But the Nordic conquerors of Europe, in those long-ago invasions, though they thoroughly obliterated the indigenous languages of Europe, gave us something immensely valuable in return in the form of linguistic unity over a vast area of the earth’s surface.

Language and Race

It is because of this that 99 per cent of the White people on earth today speak languages which are closely related to one another. The psyche of a race, which is genetically determined, in turn determines the broad outlines of the forms taken by the race’s cultural developments, including language. And the structure of a people’s language certainly plays a major role in that people’s approach to the world around them — ultimately, in their manner and degree of success in coping with the world.

English, Swedish, and German may sound quite different to the ear, but they are, in fact, very close to one another; their structures are the same; they have words for the same concepts; they are used by peoples whose manner of thinking is the same. And they differ radically from any non-Indo-European language, such as Chinese, Hebrew, or Xhosa.

The study of the native language of a people can tell us a great deal about that people; in particular, the study of the Indo-European family of languages can tell us two things: it can tell us about the Nordics in southern Russia 7,000 years ago who spoke Proto-Indo-European — about their lifestyle, the structure of their society, their technological accomplishments, their religious beliefs, and many other aspects of their lives — and it can tell us much about what has happened to them since they left their homeland, settled in other areas, and gradually began speaking new languages which evolved in various ways from Proto-Indo-European.

Indo-European Roots

The efforts of linguists to reconstruct Proto-Indo-European, and a few of the words they have determined were in its vocabulary, have been mentioned briefly above. These efforts are based on a study of related words in different Indo-European languages and on a knowledge of certain rules of language evolution. The linguists have, in effect, traced these related words backward in time to their common roots.

This linguistic detective work is highly technical and is beyond the scope of this series. A couple of the conclusions drawn from it are worth noting, however. One of these conclusions is the geographical delineation of the Nordic homeland. The presence of certain animal and plant words in the Proto-Indo-European vocabulary provide clues about the natural environment which existed in the Nordic homeland: it had to be an area in which the species for which words existed were actually present at the time in. question. The absence of certain animal and plant words provide other clues.

Silver Birch Clue

For example, the original Nordics had a word for the silver birch, a word whose etymological meaning is “the shining, white tree.” Forests of silver birch are not found south of 45 degrees north latitude nor west of the Vistula, which corresponds very roughly to the northern shore of the Black Sea and the western border of the Ukraine. Other vocabulary clues pin the location down further.

The students of Proto-Indo-European believe that the language resulted from the blending of two earlier languages between 7,500 and 6,500 years ago — that is, only shortly before the beginning of the Nordic invasions. And these invasions, of course, led to the splitting of the language into new languages.

Splitting and Branching

The earliest split of Proto-Indo-European was into a western (or “centum”) branch and an eastern (or “satem”) branch. To the western branch belong the Germanic, Celtic, Italic, and Greek languages; to the eastern branch the Baltic, Slavic, Iranian, and Indic languages. (The last two groups of languages are spoken by non-European peoples today, the consequence of prehistoric conquests by Nordics.)

After this initial splitting, further branching has occurred: Germanic has branched into the North Germanic languages (Icelandic, Faeroese, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish) and the West Germanic languages (German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Flemish, Frisian, and English); Celtic has branched into Welsh, Breton, Irish Gaelic, and Scottish Gaelic; and Italic has branched into Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, Provencal, French, Italian, Rhaeto-Romanic, Sardinian, and Romanian (to mention only extant languages).


a) NORDIC INVASIONS of Old Europe and adjacent areas of north-western Europe began a radical cultural and racial transformation of Europe 6,400 years ago. Arrows show Nordic thrusts between 6,400 and 4,800 years ago.

b) THE BATTLE-AXE PEOPLE is one of the names which his been applied to the Nordics who swept across Old Europe more than 6,000 years ago, because of their characteristically boat-shaped battle-axes. These axe heads of polished stone show exquisite craftsmanship and represent a peak of Neolithic technology which was unequalled.

  Who We Are#8
March 1979
Scientific Dating Shows Megalithic Culture Originated in Northwest Europe
Megalithic Racial Stocks Were Cro-Magnon, Nordic

Between the Indo-European invasions of Old Europe and adjacent territories, beginning about 6,400 years ago, and the invasions of Greece and Italy 2,500 years later which precipitated the birth of classical civilization, a number of interesting developments took place, both racially and culturally.

The Nordic Indo-Europeans who swept across Neolithic Old Europe also pushed their way deep into Mesolithic areas west and north of the settled region in which farming was an established way of life. And the Nordic invaders were farmers and cattle-breeders as well as warriors. While their advent toppled the Mediterranean civilization of Old Europe everywhere except in the Aegean islands, Crete, Greece, and southeastern Italy, at the same time it introduced the food-producing lifestyle to the farthest corners of northwestern Europe.

Nordic Preemption

Northwestern Europe would certainly have switched from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic lifestyle around 6,000 years ago in any event, because the new and a vastly more efficient lifestyle was sweeping inexorably northward just as fast as the gradually changing climate would allow. But, had the Nordics not invaded the area at this time, it would have been Mediterraneans rather than Nordics who brought the change. Then the relatively empty spaces of the north would have acquired a Mediterranean population base.

As it was, a new Nordic heartland was soon established in Scandinavia and the Baltic-North Sea area, profoundly influencing the further development of all western and central Europe. Just as the Mediterraneans had earlier swamped the food-gathering Mesolithic population of the Balkan peninsula by having a lifestyle which allowed the land to support a much higher density of population, so the Nordic invaders of the north and northwest greatly expanded their numbers there within a short time, preempting any further Mediterranean expansion.

Failure to Kill

In most instances the Nordics did not kill off the indigenous populations of the Mediterranean-occupied areas they conquered, leaving the land empty for themselves. Instead they enslaved the natives, establishing themselves as a ruling aristocracy.

Thus, only in those areas of Mediterranean settlement which received a very substantial Nordic influx was there a significant change in the racial character of the population. Elsewhere the Nordics imposed their Indo-European language, their religion, and other elements of their culture on the Mediterranean population and then gradually sank from sight into the numerically greater Mediterranean substratum as interbreeding took its toll.

In the north, however, things proceeded differently. For one thing, the largely Cro-Magnon population there was quite sparse, as was always the case where a food-gathering economy prevailed. Secondly, the Cro-Magnon race was not as amenable to being enslaved as was the Mediterranean race — even if there had been enough of them to support a Nordic ruling class with their labors.

Organic Development

The development in the north, therefore, was much more organic than in the conquered lands to the south: Nordics became not only the ruling aristocracy, but the peasantry as well. They blended with the Cro-Magnons, producing local populations which varied from mostly Nordic to mostly Cro-Magnon, but with the Nordic element eventually predominating in most areas.

This transformation of northwestern Europe took place over a period of many centuries, and all its details are by no means clear to prehistorians yet. One outstanding development during this period was the erection of megalithic structures in many areas of western Europe (megalith: “large stone”). Massive blocks of stone, some weighing more than 100 tons, were used to build collective tombs and open-air temples, from the Orkney Islands in the north to Malta in the south.

Megalithic Technology

Megalithic structures vary significantly in style in different areas. Most of those in the north, as well as many in the south, involve little or no quarrying or artificial shaping of stone, but instead are constructed of naturally occurring stones. Even when artificial means were used to bring stones to the approximate size and shape desired by the builders, in most cases no careful dressing or fine smoothing was done. Nevertheless, a remarkable degree of technological skill is revealed by a study of megalithic remains.

Stonehenge, the celebrated megalithic temple and observatory in southern Britain, although it is exceptional in some ways, provides excellent insight into several aspects of life in northwestern Europe in the period following the first Indo-European arrival there.

The impressive stone monument which we think of today as Stonehenge was constructed about 4,100 years ago. It stands on the site of earlier constructions of similar purpose, however, which may be as much as 200 years older.

Structure of Stonehenge

In its final form, 4,100 years ago, Stonehenge consisted of two concentric circular and two semicircular arrays of standing stone slabs, ranging in weight from less than five tons to more than 50 tons, plus half-dozen or so other large stones outside the circular arrays. The whole was surrounded by a circular bank, flanked by a ditch on the outside, approximately 100 yards in diameter.

There were 80 or so stones of the five-ton size, arranged inside a circle of 30 much larger stones, averaging about 25 tons, which were capped with a ring of lintel stones weighing about seven tons each. The diameter of the ring was just under 100 feet. Finally, inside that ring was a semicircle of 15 very large stones, some weighing more than 50 tons and standing nearly 30 feet high. These last were arranged in groups of three (trilithons), each consisting of two uprights joined by a lintel.

Today many of the original stones are missing, having been removed to be used for other purposes in past centuries, their former presence attested only by the holes in which they once stood. Others have fallen over. All are badly weathered and scarred by the passage of more than 40 centuries.

Remarkable Feat

Originally, however, Stonehenge was a work of exceptional order, precision, and craftsmanship. Unlike most megaliths, the stones of Stonehenge were carefully shaped. The lintel stones were fitted to the uprights they capped by mortise and tenon, precisely cut into the exceptionally hard material.

The heavy slabs of stone were carried to their destination as far as 240 miles over land and water. They were erected with a precision that resulted in a maximum error of only four inches in the positions of stones in a 100-foot circle. It is estimated that 1.5 million man-days of labor were required in the building of Stonehenge — quite a feat of management, logistics, and engineering for those days.

Solar Observatory

Even more impressive, however, is the purpose for which Stonehenge was used. The alignments of the trilithons and other stones in the structure prove conclusively that it was laid out precisely to facilitate the ritual observation of certain astronomical events: sunrise and sunset on the days of the summer and winter solstices and the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, and the northerly and southerly limits of the moon’s rather more complex pattern of rising and setting. There is also evidence that Stonehenge was used as a rather sophisticated astronomical computer to predict solar and lunar eclipses.

White “Barbarians”

Until a few years ago most prehistorians took it for granted that the builders of Stonehenge — and of all other megalithic structures in western Europe — copied earlier megalithic models in the eastern Mediterranean. Some believed that Mediterranean immigrants to northwestern Europe carried their skills with them, while others held that it was only the knowledge itself which had traveled northwestward, but all agreed that the White “barbarians” of Europe couldn’t possibly have managed a feat like Stonehenge by themselves. It had to have been done — or, at least, the know-how furnished —by some Levantines, some clever Semites.

Such an assumption followed naturally from the Judeo-Christian bias of the 19th century, a century which was still greatly under the influence of the Old Testament, with its Middle Eastern locale: all human culture originated in the Garden of Eden and spread out from there.

Radiocarbon Dating

Even with the advent of radiocarbon dating in 1949, the notion of cultural diffusion from the Middle East was maintained by many. It was not until the calibration of radiocarbon dates against the absolute tree-ring calendar in the late 1960’s that the insidious tyranny of the ex oriente lux (light from the East) doctrine was finally overthrown.

This recent revolution in prehistoric dating and the changes it caused in our understanding of the roles of various races in the cultural developments upon which our civilization rests is so important that it deserves a brief excursus.

Radiocarbon dating depends upon the presence in all living organisms of a radioactive isotope of carbon, C-14. This radioisotope is formed in the atmosphere (primarily in the stratosphere) as a consequence of cosmic ray bombardment.

Neutrons freed from atmospheric atoms by cosmic rays combine with the nitrogen of the air to cause a nuclear reaction which yields carbon of atomic mass number 14 (naturally occurring carbon atoms have mass numbers of 12 and 13). The C-14 nucleus is unstable, and it decays into nitrogen again by emitting a beta particle (electron). The rate of decay is such that exactly half the atomic nuclei in any given sample of C-14 will emit electrons and become non-radioactive nitrogen nuclei in a period of 5,600 years.

Carbon Equilibrium

Meanwhile, however, the C-14 being continually formed in the upper atmosphere combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide, which diffuses throughout the atmosphere and enters into the respiration of plant life, along with it non-radioactive carbon dioxide. Eventually an equilibrium is reached, with the proportion of C-14 to C-12 and C-13 reaching a constant value in all living organisms, which undergo a continuous exchange of carbon with the environment.

When an organism dies, however, respiration ceases. If the dead organism (or portion of an organism) does not undergo organic decomposition, then the proportion of C-14 in it will gradually decline, with a half-life of 5,600 years. Such is the case with charcoal, for example. Likewise, wood is sometimes preserved for quite a while after it has died. The prehistorian can often determine the age (i.e., the time since death occurred) of a bit of charcoal or wood or other carbonaceous material of organic origin by measuring its radioactivity — that is, its relative C-14 content.

Good to 50,000 Years

If, for example, the activity is half that of a living sample, then the time since death has been 5,600 years. If the activity is down to one-eighth, then the age is 16,800 years (three half-lives). Reasonably accurate measurements can be made out to about eight or ten half-lives (50,000 years or so).

The technique of radiocarbon dating has been greatly refined since 1949 and has become an invaluable tool for prehistorians, since a presumptive date can be established, with a relatively small margin of error, for any prehistoric site from which a piece of charcoal or wood can be recovered. Until the late 1960’s, however, the technique suffered from a major flaw: it depended critically upon the assumption that the cosmic ray bombardment of the earth’s atmosphere has not varied significantly in the last 50,000 years. That assumption turned out to be incorrect.

Tree-Ring Chronology

The discovery that the relative abundance of C-14 in the earth’s atmosphere has fluctuated in the past was made by measuring the C-14 content of very old samples of wood whose exact age was known from a count of seasonal growth rings.

In particular, the bristlecone pine, a very slow-growing and long-lived tree native to parts of the western United States, has some living specimens which are more than 4,000 years old — the oldest living things on earth. Only the outermost layer of these trees is alive, however. The inner layers died off over the millennia, one layer per year.

By counting growth rings inward from the living layer on a core plug taken from such a tree, the absolute age of any given layer of the wood can be determined exactly. A measurement of its C-14 activity then provides a calibration correction for any other sample, anywhere in the world, with the same C-14 activity.

Prehistory Pushed Back

By matching up sections of the growth-ring patterns of living bristlecone pines with sections of the patterns in even older specimens from long-dead trees, an absolute chronology stretching back nearly 8,000 years has now been established. When applied to sites in northwestern Europe of the megalithic period, the effect of the new tree-ring calibration is to push radiocarbon dates back about 500 years. Thus, a radiocarbon age of 3,600 years for Stonehenge has been corrected to 4, 100 years.

Other megalithic henge-type remnants in western Europe date back more than 5,600 years, and there are megalithic stone tombs in Brittany more than 6,000 years old. The oldest massive-stone structures in the Mediterranean region, the Egyptian pyramids, are about 4,700 years old. And the megalithic tombs of Malta and Crete, which were once thought to have been the models for similar tombs in northwestern Europe, are many centuries younger.

Megalithic cultural diffusion, if it took place at all, was from northwest to southeast, not the other way.

Megalithic Race

For us the most interesting question is the racial character of the megalith builders of western Europe. Actually, the remains found in the megalithic tombs belong to a range of subracial types. If there is any single common denominator it is a type which has been named Atlanto-Mediterranean.

But the Atlanto-Mediterranean was not at all Mediterranean, in the sense that the short, gracile inhabitants of the Middle East and the Mediterranean coastal regions were. He was much taller , more rugged skeletally, and less pedomorphic. The word “Mediterranean” is part of his name only because it was earlier assumed that the megalith builders had to be Mediterraneans, who traveled by sea from the eastern Mediterranean through the Strait of Gibraltar and up the Atlantic coast to Brittany, Britain, and Scandinavia.

The Atlanto-Mediterraneans, in fact, were derived from the two basic subracial stocks of northern Europe: the Cro-Magnons, who had been there for 35,000 years; and the Nordics, who began arriving just before the beginning of the megalithic period. This conclusion is supported by everything we know about the megalithic society of northwestern Europe.

Indo-European Traits

It was, in the first place, not a typically Mediterranean society. It was, as indicated by Stonehenge, a society of sun-worshippers, a typically Indo-European trait. And it was a hierarchical society ruled by warrior-chieftains, as indicated by the rich grave goods, including bronze weapons, found in megalithic tombs. Again, this indicates Indo-European rather than Mediterranean influences.

Of course, the racial situation in megalithic Europe was fairly complex, and it was by no means uniform. Some Mediterraneans undoubtedly found their way into northwestern Europe and formed an element in the megalithic population. But they probably came by land, from the portions of central and southeastern Europe disrupted by the Indo-European invasions from beyond the Black Sea, rather than by sea.

No Mediterranean Import

The Nordics did not, by any means, fill up all of northwestern Europe and convert the entire region into a new Nordic homeland. Mediterranean groups were observed in this part of Europe by the Romans (the Silures of Wales, described by Tacitus as having dark complexions and curly hair, were one such group).

But it is clear that the megalithic culture was a native European development and not an import from the Mediterranean.

Northwestern Europe was not the only region on which Indo-European warriors exerted a decisive influence. We shall soon follow their expeditions of conquest and culture-building into prehistoric Italy, Greece, and India.


a) STONEHENGE ruins have survived 4, 100 years, and they still bear witness to the genius and industry of the people who designed and built the world’s first astronomical observatories, of which Stonehenge Is the foremost example. The sun-worshipping Indo-Europeans pioneered the use of massive blocks of stone for their temples and tombs.

b) OLDEST LIVING thing on earth is this bristlecone pine in California’s White Mountains. When Stonehenge was built it was a tiny, green sapling. When Caesar’s legions conquered Gaul and Britain it was already 2,000 years old. It has provided us with a precise and dependable tool for dating the prehistory of our race as far back as 8,000 years.

c) MEGALITHIC TOMBS dot the countryside In northwestern Europe. This one, In Denmark, was built at about the time of Stonehenge. Others date back another 2,000 years.

 Who We Are #9
May 1979
Indo-European Invasions Led to Aegean, Greek Civilizations
Hellenic, Pelasgian Spirits Clashed
Greek Myths Hint at Ancient Race War in Mediterranean Area

From the far north they came, the xanthoi, the golden-haired ones: tall, blue-eyed and grey-eyed giants, on horseback and on foot, carrying their battleaxes and their spears, bringing their women and their wagons and their cattle. Warrior-farmers, craftsmen and traders, they worshipped the shining Sky Father and spoke an Indo-European language. They were the Greeks.

The Greeks — or Hellenes, as they later called themselves — crashed down upon the Mediterranean world in a long sequence of waves. The first wave, a relatively weak one — and more properly described merely as Indo-European rather than as specifically Greek — hit about 5,100 years ago, and it apparently took a roundabout course, passing first from the north into western Asia Minor, and thence, by way of the Cyclades and other islands of the southern Aegean, westward into Crete and Greece.

Bronze Age

That first wave introduced metal tools and weapons to the Neolithic culture existing at that time in Crete and on the Greek mainland and laid the basis for the later rise of the Bronze Age Minoan-Mycenaean civilization. It was one of the far-flung arms of the last, great wave of Indo-European migration into central and western Europe from the ancient Indo-European heartland north and east of the Black Sea.

The invaders made a decisive cultural impact on the Aegean world. The archaeological evidence from that period shows a marked break between the nearly static Neolithic tradition which had existed prior to the first Indo-European arrivals and the subsequent Bronze Age cultures.

These later cultures — called Early Cycladic, Early Minoan, and Early Helladic in the Cyclades, Crete, and the Greek mainland respectively — arose rather abruptly about 5,100 years ago and underwent rapid developments in technology, craftsmanship, and social organization.

Blue-eyed Cycladeans

In the Cyclades this first, thin wave of Indo Europeans had a racial as well as a cultural impact. Small marble figurines from the Early Cycladic period still show traces of the pigments with which they were colored, indicating they were made by a red-headed, blue-eyed race.

On Crete and the Greek mainland, however, the Nordic newcomers soon were completely absorbed into the Mediterranean population. The Minoan art of later periods depicts brunet Mediterranean types only.

That Mediterranean population in the Aegean was related to the one which had been overrun farther north, in the Danube valley and the Balkans, by other Indo-Europeans. Shorter than the Nordic Indo-Europeans, darker and more gracile, the Mediterraneans of Crete and Greece were conservative farmers, slow to change their ways, relatively passive and unwarlike. They spoke a non-Indo-European language, the only traces of which remain today are some Greek place-names and a few inscriptions in the undeciphered “Linear A” script. For the time being, however, they kept both their language and their religion; the first Indo-European wave was too thin to change those.

The bulk of the Indo-Europeans in those early invasions from beyond the Black Sea settled in the relatively empty spaces of the far north, along the shores of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, in Germany, the Baltic states, and Scandinavia, where they established a new Nordic heartland. A thousand years later they began boiling out of this new heartland in wave after wave, heading south. The Romans — themselves the descendants of one of these waves — would later refer to the German-Scandinavian area as vagina gentium, the womb of nations.

But the Greeks came first, through the Cyclades again into Crete about 4,100 years ago, and overland from the north 100-200 years later. The wave which struck Crete provided the impetus for the building of the great Minoan civilization on the basis which had been laid a thousand years earlier by the first Indo-Europeans to reach that part of the world.

Will to Order

The Minoan civilization was in its essence, however, much more a Mediterranean than a Nordic civilization. The Greeks did not bring civilization to Crete; they brought only the tendency toward civilization and the capacity for building it inherent in the higher human type which they represented.

They brought an innovative spirit and the Nordic will to order, and they imposed that will on the essentially passive and egalitarian Mediterranean society they found, reorganizing it along hierarchical lines. Thus, they established the stratified social basis necessary for the emergence of civilization, and they also provided the ruling stratum.

The same pattern was repeated over and over again, not just in the Mediterranean world, but wherever Nordics encountered other races, whether in Iran or India: the Nordics would conquer the non-Nordic natives of a region and establish themselves as a ruling aristocracy over the vanquished people. This freed the Nordic stratum from the necessity of manual labor and gave free rein to the Nordic creative spirit. Rapid cultural innovation followed.

Mixing and Retrogression

But inevitably racial mixing occurred, sometimes soon and sometimes later. The Nordics would disappear into the mass, and the civilization they had created would lose its vital spark, stagnating and eventually retrogressing, although it might coast for centuries on its momentum after the disappearance of the Nordic element before retrogression set in. (Racemixing and retrogression were avoided only when the Nordics exterminated the non-Nordic natives of an area instead of merely conquering them. But then there was left no large serf-class for the maintenance of a culturally innovative aristocracy.)

In some areas this process occurred more than once; a new wave of Nordic conquerors would revitalize the decayed remnant of a civilization established by an earlier wave. If this happened often enough, or if later waves were stronger numerically, there might be an appreciable cumulative effect, both racially and culturally.

As indicated above, the first two Nordic waves to hit Crete were not strong enough to change the basic character of the population there; the Minoan civilization was Mediterranean in its essence, retaining both a Mediterranean religion and language until the impact of later Nordic waves on the Greek mainland took effect and that effect had spread to Crete.

Rise of Mycenae

The Greeks who invaded the mainland around 2000-1900 B.C. took over an area strongly under Minoan influence and gave it a new character — still partly Minoan, but now also partly Greek. The strongest center of Greek influence on the mainland was Mycenae, and on this center a new civilization arose in the l6th century B.C. Despite the lack of any real literature, it reached greater cultural heights than any previously achieved by man.

In social organization, in architecture, in sculpture and metalwork and ceramics, and in the other arts of civilization the Mycenaean Greeks totally eclipsed the Cretans. The artistic treasures unearthed from the ruins of Mycenae by German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in the 19th century astounded the world.

Conquest of Crete and Troy

Early in the 14th century B.C. the Mycenaeans also eclipsed Crete politically, invading that island and subduing it.

A little over a century later — around 1250 B.C. — the Mycenaeans also subdued Troy, in northwestern Asia Minor. The conflict between Mycenae and Troy is the subject of Homer’s great epic, the Iliad.

Troy itself was, at that time, also a Greek city, and had been for 700 years. An earlier city on the same site, essentially Mediterranean and Minoan in character, had been conquered and rebuilt by Greek invaders in part of the same wave that entered the Greek mainland just after 2000 B.C.

The language of the Mycenaeans was Greek — i.e., Indo-European rather than Mediterranean — as attested by inscriptions in “Linear B,” the earliest written form of Greek, found at Mycenae and other sites under Mycenaean control.

Social Structure

Their social structure was also Indo-European. Each realm was headed by a king or prince (wanax), sometimes with a separate military leader (lawagetas) and sometimes with the wanax himself fulfilling this function. Then came the landed nobility (hequetai), the professional military class, who were aristocrat-farmers in time of peace. Under them were the free craftsmen and farmworkers. Finally came the serfs, the conquered non-Greeks.

A portion of the produce of the land was given to the king as a tax, allowing him to build up a reserve which, in time of war, could be used to support his army. In time of peace it supported craftsmen and artists, who did much of their work directly for the king.

Greek architecture of the second millennium B.C. also reflected the northern origins of the Mycenaean Greeks. Their settlements were built around strongly fortified citadels and surrounded by defensive walls, contrasting with the unprotected villages of the unwarlike Mediterraneans.

Megaron Palaces

The typical dwelling of the Greek nobleman introduced into the area by the northern invaders had as its principal component the megaron, a large, rectangular hall with a central hearth. These halls were similar to those which had been built by Indo-Europeans elsewhere for thousands of years — and which were still being built in northern Europe thousands of years later, in the time of Beowulf and on into the Middle Ages.

The graves and tombs found at Mycenae and other Greek sites contained bronze swords, daggers, and battleaxes, and gold jewelry and utensils, all of exceptionally high craftsmanship and all testifying to the wealth and the martial lifestyle of the Greek upper classes.

Burial itself, however, was a Mediterranean characteristic. The adoption of burial in the place of the original Greek practice of cremation was only one of many ways in which the invading Greeks of that early era were influenced by the Mediterranean natives.

One of the profoundest cultural interactions between northern invaders and southern natives, and one which shows with special clarity the racial differences in outlook and psychology between Hellenes and Pelasgians (as the Hellenes called the native Mediterraneans), involved religion. By the beginning of the historical period in Greece (around 650 B.C.), when we have our first extensive written references to religious matters (the “Linear B” inscriptions, dating back to 1300 B.C., were far too scanty to yield much insight in this regard), “Greek” religion was already a nearly inseparable blend of Hellenic and Pelasgian elements. Even Homer’s tales of a period six centuries earlier contain references to Greek gods who were no longer purely or exclusively Indo-European.

Olympian Pantheon

Nevertheless, it is still possible to analyze the religion of the Greeks of the historical period into Hellenic and non-Hellenic components. When the Hellenes first came to Greece, they brought with them an Olympian pantheon created in their own image, both physically and psychically. Their gods, with one notable exception (Poseidon, the black-haired sea god), were described by Homer as golden-haired and ivory-skinned.

In behavior, the gods were as human as their creators: sometimes bold and sometimes hesitant, sometimes forthright and sometimes devious, sometimes generous and forgiving, and sometimes stingy and vindictive — but never mysterious.

Altogether, the Olympian religion was a remarkably sharp reflection of the Hellenic spirit and Hellenic life. Even the legendary home assigned to their gods by the Greeks of the historical period, Mt. Olympus, lay far to the north of the centers of Greek civilization, reflecting their own northern origins.

Sky Father

At the head of the Olympian pantheon was Zeus, the Sky Father. His name was derived from an Indo-European root which means “the Shining One.” His counterparts existed in the religions of all the other Indo-European peoples, whose characteristic spiritual orientation is upward and outward. The inherent Indo-European religious tendency has always been, in a sense, solar, even when the sun was not explicitly regarded as a deity.

And Zeus, in his relations with his family of gods and goddesses, perfectly reflected the essentially masculine spirit and the patriarchal structure of all natural and healthy Indo-European societies.

Pelasgian religion was, on the contrary, chthonic (embedded in the earth) in its orientation, feminine in its spirit, matriarchal in its structure. The gods and goddesses of the Pelasgians were mysterious, subterranean creatures, headed by the Earth Mother, who has homologues in the religions of most other Mediterranean peoples.
The Pelasgian tendency, in contrast to the universality of Zeus and his fellow Olympians, was to localize their deities. Thus, while the concept of an Earth Mother was widespread among the Mediterranean peoples, she tended to be given various attributes in various areas, much as the various Virgin Mary cults of the Christian era, with their localized Our Lady of this or that.

The Pelasgians’ deities were concerned, above all else, with sexual reproduction, and they were worshipped in orgiastic rites and with much sexual symbolism. Snakes and bulls, for example, the former both phallic and chthonic, the latter a symbol of reproductive potency, played a major role in Minoan religion.

Religious Interaction

From the first contact between Hellenes and Pelasgians, there was an interaction between their religions, with each race over the course of time adopting and adapting elements from the religion of the other. Thus, for example, the Cretans adopted Zeus and adapted him as a youthful fertility god, portraying him sometimes as a bull, whose role was to fertilize the Earth Mother. They even claimed Crete as the birthplace of Zeus, thus provoking the indignation of the Hellenes, who already regarded the Cretan Pelasgians as an especially deceitful and untrustworthy people.

More interesting to us is the influence of Pelasgian religion on that of the Hellenes. Some Mediterranean deities were adopted into the Olympian family and modified to suit their new relatives, while some Olympians acquired certain Mediterranean attributes. Black-haired Poseidon has already been mentioned.

But even as Hellenic a deity as Athena, the gray-eyed goddess of wisdom, daughter of Zeus, was adapted from a variant of the Pelasgian fertility goddess already localized in Attica when the Hellenes arrived, a sort of Our Lady of Athens. Even after she was adopted by the Olympians and universalized, she retained some of the essence of a local goddess.

Dionysus is an example of a god who came to be worshipped by both Hellenes and Pelasgians, but whose cult was much more Pelasgian than Hellenic in character, involving orgiastic rites.

Hera, the wife of Zeus, is clearly an adopted and modified variant of the Mediterranean Earth Mother.

Greek mythology accounts for this dual nature and dual origin of the gods in a way remarkably reminiscent of the Scandinavian religious tradition of a war between Indo-European gods (Aesir) and Mediterranean gods (Vanir), after which hostages were exchanged (see installment 7, in the January 1979 issue of National Vanguard). The hostages from among the Vanir went to live in Asgard with Odin and the other Scandinavian gods and eventually came to be accepted on equal terms with the Aesir.

Poseidon and Njord

These adopted Vanir included Frey and Freya, the personifications respectively of the male and female sexual principles, and Njord, a masculinized version of Nerthus, which was one of the names of the Earth Mother. It is interesting to note that Njord also doubled as the Scandinavian version of Poseidon.

In Greek tradition Zeus overthrew an older group of gods, the children of Gaia, the Earth Mother, before securing his own role as Sky Father and supreme deity. Just as in the case of the Scandinavians it is very tempting to see in this tradition a mythologized reference to the ancient conflict between invading Indo-Europeans and conquered Mediterraneans.

Because the Mediterraneans were only conquered and not exterminated; because they formed the bulk of the economic base on which Greek society rested; because the lifestyle of Hellenes themselves changed, becoming more dependent on agriculture than before; and because race mixture inevitably followed conquest, it is not surprising that the religion of the conquerors underwent a change and assimilated many elements from the religion of the conquered natives.

Clouded Mirror

A people’s religion generally reflects the essential elements of the race-soul of that people, but it is only under completely natural conditions, free from extraneous cultural and racial intrusions, that the reflection is perfect. Whenever a mixing of diverse peoples occurs, the mirror of the soul is clouded; likewise, when a religion of alien origin is imposed on a people, even without racial mixture.

In the latter case the genetic spiritual predispositions remain unchanged and will eventually reassert themselves. Often this reassertion may take many centuries, because the magnet of the soul’s compass is not as strong as we might wish; a long period is required for it to settle down and find its true direction again after it is jarred.

Protestants and Catholics

When Christianity came to Europe from the Middle East, it was imposed on a racially diverse population, largely Nordic in the north, Mediterranean in the south, Alpine between. Although the religion was modified in an attempt to adapt it to the European psyche, tensions inevitably developed, because this psyche was not everywhere the same.

It should be no surprise that when the rupture came, it divided Europe largely into Protestant North and Catholic South, although a number of political quirks marred the neatness of the geographical division. And in the South the Earth Mother reigned again, in a new guise. (The foregoing should not be read as a slight upon the Indo-European pedigree of any individual with a Catholic background. For 500 years, in the Middle Ages, all Europeans, north and south, were Catholics. Christianity was, in many instances, propagated by fire and sword, and the confessional division of Europe following the Reformation was determined by similar means. As mentioned, there were many quirks and vagaries in this division, especially those which left Catholic enclaves in the North; Ireland and Poland are only two examples. Nevertheless, the phenomenon of reversion to inherently determined forms is quite real, and it is reflected in the generally stronger tendency to Catholicism and Mariolatry in the areas of Europe with a predominantly Mediterranean population.)

In the next installment we will look at the last waves of Greek-speaking Indo-Europeans to invade the Mediterranean world; we will see the rise of Classical Greece; and we will then move on to the Italian peninsula and the beginnings of Rome.


a) GREECE and the Aegean.

b) NORDIC-MEDITERRANEAN racial contrast is reflected in the gods themselves. The vase on the left is decorated with a mask of Dionysus, a god worshipped by the Mediterranean natives in frenzied, orgiastic rites. Because of his popularity with the Mediterraneans, Dionysus was looked down on by Homer’s Hellenic heroes. Athena, on the other hand, referred to in the Iliad by Homer as “gray-eyed Athena,” was a dignified favorite of the Nordic Hellenes. Her bronze head (right) is blackened by the passage of 24 centuries, but the gray enamel on her irises is still intact.

c) MYCENAE’S “Lion Gate” was one of the sites of Schliemann’s excavation in the 3,500-year-old Hellenic city. From Mycenae, King Agamemnon’s armies sailed to battle the Trojans In the 13th century B.C.

d) EXCAVATED ruins of Troy. Also built by Indo-Europeans, Troy was a rival of Mycenae.

e) GOLDEN death mask found in the ruins of Mycenae. When German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann dug up this mask in the 19th century, he telegraphed the king of Greece: “Today I have looked upon the face of Agamemnon.” Actually, mask is 300 years older than Agamemnon.

Who We Are #10
July 1979
Last Nordic Invasion of Greece Precedes Rise of Classical Civilization
Dorians Brought Iron, New Blood to Greece
Athenian Democracy Led to Downfall

Greece was invaded by Greek-speaking Northerners several times during prehistory. Those who arrived in the period 2,100-1,900 B.C. founded the great Mycenaean civilization, which flourished from the end of the l6th century until about 1,200 B.C.

Homer, whose Iliad and Odyssey describe Mycenaean Greece, refers to the Greeks, or Hellenes, inclusively as “Achaeans.” In fact, however, the Achaeans were only one of the Hellenic tribes which were in Greece in Mycenaean times.

Aeolians and Ionians

In addition to the Achaeans, who occupied most of the Peloponnesus (the southern peninsula of Greece, in which Mycenae was located), there were the Aeolians and the Ionians, who occupied other portions of the mainland, many of the Aegean islands, and the west coast of Asia Minor. The Ionians, in particular, settled in Attica and were the founders of Athens.

These tribal divisions apparently predate the arrival of the first Hellenes in Greece, and it seems likely that the Achaeans, Aeolians, and Ionians invaded the Aegean region separately, over a period of several centuries.

And there were also the non-Greek Pelasgians, the Mediterranean aborigines, who occupied the lowest stratum of Greek society and substantially outnumbered the Hellenes in Mycenaean times. As pointed out in the last installment, the Mycenaean Greeks were influenced culturally by these Mediterraneans — and, as time passed, racially as well.

Divine-Born Heroes

In the late 14th and early 13th centuries B.C. more Greek-speaking Indo-Europeans arrived, coming westward across the Aegean in ships. They were Homer’s “divine born” heroes, the fathers and grandfathers of the warriors who sacked Troy about 1,250 B.C.: golden-haired Achilles, the sons of Atreus, and the other princes and kings of the Iliad. They settled in Greece, founded dynasties, and lived in a manner remarkably like that of northern Europe’s feudal lords more than 20 centuries later.

A couple of generations after the fall of Troy — exactly 80 years afterward, according to Greek tradition — a new group of divine-born warriors swept down on Greece, this time from the north. They were the Heraclidae, the supposed descendants of the blond demigod Hercules, and with them came the Dorians, the last of the major Hellenic tribes to reach the Aegean region.

Dorian Invasion

The Dorians, who had settled in central Greece a few years earlier, proceeded to conquer the Achaeans, occupy the Peloponnesus, and extinguish Mycenaean civilization. But, in so doing, they prepared the way for the rise of a new civilization which would greatly surpass the old one.

The Dorian invasion was actually a more complex phenomenon than the preceding lines might suggest. It involved repeated interactions with other peoples on a protracted journey which, although generally southward, included a number of detours, loops, and rest stops. And their legendary leaders, the Heraclidae, had already been south once before, prior to the Trojan war.

It also involved the displacement of other peoples, and it came during a period when lesser Greek-speaking tribes were undertaking invasions of their own to the south. Displaced Achaeans, Aeolians, and Ionians migrated to new areas, sometimes displacing those people already there and sometimes amalgamating with them.

Blond but Rude

The Dorians were blonder than the Achaeans they conquered, but that is only because the Achaeans had been mixing with the Mediterranean aborigines for several centuries before the Dorians arrived; originally the two tribes had been of the same racial composition.

But the Achaeans were certainly more civilized than the rude, new arrivals from the north, and it was 400 years before Greece recovered from the cultural shock of the Dorian invasion. When the civilization of Classical Greece bloomed in the seventh century B.C., it comprised some elements of the old, Mycenaean culture and some which were the consequence of the social, political, and demographic changes wrought by the newcomers.

Dark Age

The four centuries between the Dorian invasion and the flowering of the literate Classical civilization are referred to by most historians as “the Dark Age,” for much the same reasons that the period between the fall of Rome, more than 15 centuries later, and the flowering of Mediaeval civilization is also called “the Dark Ages.”

In both cases a people of an older civilization, who had begun to succumb to racial mixing and decadence, was overwhelmed by a more vigorous and racially healthier but culturally less advanced people from the north. And in both cases a period of gestation took place over a dozen generations or so, during which a synthesis of old and new elements, racial and cultural, occurred, before a new and different civilization arose from the ruins of the old.

Historians’ Bias

Unfortunately, most historians tacitly assume that the records of political and cultural activity which have come down to us from periods of civilized literacy provide all the data needed to yield an understanding of the historical process. The state of development and degree of organization and complexity of city life are taken as a yardstick by which to evaluate the significance or historical importance of a particular period. And if one’s standards of value are geared to such things as the volume of commerce, the gross national product, or even the intensity of scientific, literary, and artistic activity, such a yardstick may seem, at first glance, to be proper.

Racial Values

But there are other standards of value, such as those of the National Alliance, which differ somewhat from the customary ones. For it is not in the external forms of organization and activity of a people that we see the most important criteria for making a judgment as to the significance of a particular period, but rather in the actual racial constitution of a people and in the dynamic processes which, for better or worse, are influencing that racial constitution.

Although the basic racial constitution of a people is always intimately related to that people’s achievements in commerce, science, industry, art, politics, and warfare, still the two sets of criteria can lead to fundamentally different evaluations of a given historical period. This is a consequence of the fact that race building and decay are usually strongly out of phase with civilization building and decay.

Rise and Fall of Races

Thus, the long ages between the periods of maximum civil activity — ages which the historian customarily ignores as being of only slight importance — may very well be periods of the greatest interest from a standpoint of racial dynamics.

It is, of course, true that the periods of maximum civil activity are precisely those which yield a maximum of written records, artifacts, and the other raw materials from which the historian builds his tale. But relative abundance of evidence should not be interpreted as equivalent to relative historical significance, regardless of the historian’s value criteria.

The record of the rise and fall of pure races constitutes the primary history of mankind, and the rise and fall of civilizations occupy a place of secondary importance. This statement may seem self-evident to those already accustomed to looking at history from a racial viewpoint, but it is by no means generally accepted by historians today. Until it is, much historical writing will continue to be flawed in a fundamental way.

Bringers of Iron

Rude though the Dorian newcomers from the north were, in one regard they stood on a higher cultural level than the bronze-using Achaeans they conquered: the Dorians brought iron tools and weapons and the secrets of ferrous metallurgy with them, ushering the Aegean world into the Iron Age.

At about the same time they occupied the Peloponnesus the Dorians also conquered and colonized Crete and a number of other Aegean islands, but the center of their power came to rest in the southern Peloponnesus, in the district of Laconia. The principal Laconian city was Sparta, and the Dorians made it their capital.

Spartans, Allies, and Serfs

The Dorians of Laconia organized the Peloponnesian population in a three-layered hierarchy. At the top were the citizens of Sparta, the Spartiates, all of pure Dorian blood, ruled by their kings.

Next came the Perioeci, or allies, who were free Hellenes, both Dorians and Achaeans. The Perioeci gave up all rights in the fields of foreign policy and military leadership to the Spartiates and fought under Spartan direction in time of war, but they retained the rights of self-government in other fields.

At the bottom of the social structure were the Helots, or serfs, consisting of the aboriginal Mediterranean elements as well as many of the conquered Achaeans of mixed blood. The Helots belonged exclusively to the Spartiates, worked the land on the Spartan hereditary estates, could not be bought or sold, and were obliged to render military service.

There were never more than 30,000 Spartiates altogether, about 8,000 of whom were adult males. They ruled over more than 600,000 Perioeci and Helots. This extreme numerical disadvantage, with the continual danger of revolt by the subject peoples it entailed, led the Dorians of Sparta to a unique mode of existence.

Warrior Caste

They focused nearly all their creative energies on the military sphere. Every Spartan man was a lifetime member of the warrior caste. Every Spartan boy received an upbringing designed solely to make him a worthy member of this caste.

For the sake of the single goal of military prowess the Spartiates not only exempted themselves from work and the other concerns of ordinary life, they positively forbade any occupation other than that of soldier. No Spartiate could engage in trade or practice a craft. The Perioeci handled all their commerce, and the Helots provided all their other needs.

City without Walls

Sparta thus had the only full-time, professional army in the Aegean world, and this fact gave her an influence vastly disproportionate to her numbers. So thoroughly did Sparta dominate all her neighbors, and so thoroughly feared and respected by all other Greeks for their military prowess were the Spartiates, that for more than 800 years the city had no need of walls or an acropolis, in marked contrast to every other Greek city of those times.

It is unfortunate that no written documents of any real significance survive from the centuries immediately following the Dorian invasion. It would be quite interesting to follow in detail the development of the unique Spartan lifestyle. Most historians take it for granted that it was solely the need to keep their Peloponnesian subjects in line, especially after their difficulty in putting down a major revolt in Messenia, a province to the west of Laconia, that forced the Spartiates into a military mold.

Beyond Imperialism

But the Dorians did more than create a professional military caste of unprecedented efficiency in the Spartiates, and it may be that their leaders had much more than empire in mind. Several aspects of Spartan life suggest even more a desire to avoid social and racial decadence than to intimidate neighbors or extort tribute.

For one thing, the Spartiates not only did not take advantage of the opportunity for opulence and luxury which their domination of the Peloponnesus gave them, but they instead went to an extreme in avoiding these things. Although each Spartan family was allotted a hereditary estate worked by Helots, the jewelry, perfumes, expensive dress, and other finery typical of ruling elites elsewhere were singularly absent from Spartan life.

Gold and silver were forbidden possessions, and traders in luxury items gave Sparta a wide berth. In food, in personal adornment, and in accommodations, austerity was the chosen Spartan way, rather than a necessity. And although other Dorians proved that their inherent talents in architecture, in music , and in the other fine arts were second to none, the Spartiates did not spend much of the time which their exemption from manual labor gave them lolling about writing poetry or plucking the lyre. Physical exercise and practice in the martial arts were unremitting occupations.


For another thing, the Spartiates gave an emphasis to racial fitness which went far beyond the needs of a strong and efficient army. Their eugenics program placed a premium on physical beauty — on aesthetic qualities, not just on raw strength or robustness.

Spartan women, for example, were a far cry from the muscle-bound behemoths one sees on Soviet women’s Olympic teams these days; instead, they were judged by other Greeks to be among the most beautiful and graceful, as well as the fairest, of Hellenic women, rivaled in beauty only by the women of Thebes.

Spartan eugenics not only eliminated the uncomely, the weak, and the deformed through a carefully supervised program of infanticide, but it went to considerable lengths to increase the number of offspring of the best men and women. Ted O’Keefe’s article in the June 1978 issue of National Vanguard, “Leonidas and the Spartan Ethos,” cites several examples of Spartan eugenic practices.

Admirable Institution

Another Spartan practice which suggests that racial rather than imperialistic motives may have been uppermost in the minds of their leaders was the regular thinning out of the Helot population, in what was known as the crypteia. This admirable institution sent teams of young Spartiates out into the countryside with daggers to dispatch Helots by the hundreds — an undertaking hardly consonant with a desire for as many subjects as possible, which is the norm for imperialists.

It easy to imagine the Spartiates, upon their arrival in Laconia, surveying the moral decadence and the racemixing which had made the Achaeans such an easy conquest for the Dorians, and then instituting a carefully designed program to safeguard themselves from a similar fate. For a time this program succeeded; the moral character and the racial quality of the Spartiates remained famously high. But ultimately it failed in both regards.

Despicable Vice

The Dorian conquest of Crete resulted in the infection of the Dorians with a despicable vice which was endemic there: homosexuality. From Crete this disease spread to the Greek mainland, and not even the Spartiates were immune to it (see box).

The other failing of the Spartan program was a simple matter of numbers: the Spartiates’ birthrate was insufficient to maintain their population at a viable level. As with other ruling classes at other times, the Spartiates did not produce enough children to make up for their losses in war. Even heavy penalties for celibacy and late marriage, and exemption from taxes for those Spartan families with four or more children, did not solve the problem.

Spartan Tragedy

At the beginning of the fifth century B.C. the Spartiates were able to field an army of 8,000 men against the Persians, but after the costly Spartan victory over Athens and her allies in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) Spartan numbers declined rapidly. When the Spartiates marched against Thebes in 371 B.C., there were too few of them to prevail. After their decisive defeat by the Thebans at Leuctra, the Spartan army numbered only 2,000 warriors. A century and a half later there were only 700 of them, and they passed from the pages of history.

The Spartiates never succumbed to racemixing, but they did succumb to their own lifestyle. They would have been well advised to eliminate the Helots of the Peloponnesus and the Mediterranean population of Crete altogether and to establish a purely Dorian peasant class in those areas. Then they may well have been able to practice a successful eugenics program, maintain their moral health, and have a stable population too. But, of course, they did not have the advantage which hindsight gives us.

The other Hellenic tribes did succumb to racemixing. Their populations did not suffer the decline in numbers which the Spartiates’ did, but they suffered a decline in racial quality which resulted in their extermination, perhaps more slowly but just as surely — and less cleanly.


Athens was Sparta’s great political rival during much of the Classical Age. Athenian society came to be organized along quite different lines from Spartan society, but at the dawn of Greek history the similarities outweighed the differences.

The Ionian Greeks had already been in Attica, the east-central peninsula in which Athens is located, for several centuries before the Dorian invasion. That invasion set off a number of internal migrations in the Aegean world, and many Mycenaean refugees from the Peloponnesus arrived in Attica in the 12th century B.C. Thus, when Greek historical records begin in the seventh century, the Athenian population had been exposed to cosmopolitan influences for some time.

Predominantly Nordic

Still, the earliest Athenians were, like the other Hellenes, predominantly Nordic in blood and culture. Their social structure was aristocratic, and they were ruled originally by hereditary kings, just as in the case of the Spartiates.

Although Athenian tradition credits the legendary King Theseus with the political unification of the various semi-independent townships of Attica into a single “greater Athens” during the Heroic Age, it is certain that this unification actually did not take place until long after the Dorian invasion. In any event, the monarchy did not last long in unified Attica, and at the dawn of history the Athenians were ruled by a coalition of noble families, the Eupatrids (“those who are well sired”).

Free Citizen-Peasantry

In the seventh century there were two principal differences, from a racial viewpoint, between Sparta and Athens. The first difference, in favor of Sparta, was a culturally and racially more homogeneous class of citizens in Sparta than in Athens. The second was that Athens had a free citizen-peasantry — a decided plus for her.

Although Sparta’s professional army made her stronger militarily, there can be little doubt of the advantage Athens gained by not having to depend — at least, initially — upon such a large slave population for her agriculture and industry.

The Athenian army may not have been as efficient as Sparta’s, but it was thoroughly patriotic. In time of war every Athenian became a soldier, with no office or trade conferring exemption from duty. In a later century even Socrates donned armor and fought alongside his pupils.

Solonic Constitution

By the beginning of the sixth century, however, the Athenian peasants were in danger of losing their freedom, many of them having already been sold into slavery and others being effectively chained by indebtedness.

The social unrest resulting from this situation led the Athenians to give absolute power to Solon, a nobleman, in the hope that he could improve things. Solon gave Athens a constitution which wrought a number of changes with long-lasting effects, some good and some bad.

On the positive side, he outlawed the practice of enslavement for indebtedness. But he also took the decisive step of transferring the power of the Athenian state from the hands of the aristocracy into the hands of a plutocracy.

Although this latter change was only de jure at first, since the aristocrats were also the plutocrats, it shifted the ultimate criterion of fitness to rule from blood to gold. Henceforth, any sufficiently wealthy speculator who had acquired enough land to yield the specified amount of agricultural produce could theoretically qualify for the highest office in the state and for membership in the Council of the Areopagus (the highest judicial body in Athens, made up of nobles who had formerly held the office of archon, or ruler).

Race-Based Citizenry

Even after Solon, however, democracy did not devour the Athenians all at once. Solon and the tyrants who gained power shortly after his administration, the Peisistratids, governed an Athens in which citizenship was still a racial matter, being based on membership in one of the kinship groups, or clans, which made up the Hellenic tribes of Attica.

In 509 B.C., 85 years after the beginning of. Solon’s administration, another “reformer,” Cleisthenes, took office, and he undertook a program of gerrymandering which laid the basis for changing citizenship from a racial to a geographic affair. From this point it was downhill all the way for Athens, racially speaking.

Half a century later the last remnants of power were transferred from the Areopagus to a popular council. All the abuses of mass party politics with which Americans are all too familiar were thenceforth the lot of the Athenians.

Law of Pericles

As the prosperity of Athens grew, more and more foreigners crowded into Attica, with intermarriage inevitably occurring. A temporary halt to the pollution of the Athenian citizenry by the offspring of aliens came in 451 B.C., when the great Pericles pushed through a law restricting citizenship to those born of an Athenian father and an Athenian mother. Only four decades later, however, in order to make up the enormous losses suffered in the Peloponnesian War, Athens bestowed citizenship on tens of thousands of foreigners.

And in the fourth century, although the citizenship law of Pericles remained on the books, every variety of Levantine mongrel was claiming Athenian citizenship. The banking industry of Athens, for example, was entirely in the hands of Semites, who had taken Greek names and were awarded citizenship for “service to the state,” much in the way Jews and Negroes have been elevated to the British “nobility” by the score in recent decades.

Darkening of Hellas

Intermarriage was rife, and the darkening of the Hellenes of Athens was well under way. Racial, moral, and cultural decline went hand in hand. The second-century historian Polybius described his countrymen as “degenerate, pleasure-seeking beggars, without loyalty or belief, and without hope for a better future.”

A century later, in the reign of Augustus, the Roman writer Manilius reckoned the Hellenes among the dark nations (coloratae genies). And so the Athenians, like the Spartiates, passed from the pages of history.

If it is difficult to believe that as great a state as Athens could pass from Nordic genius and glory to mongrelized squalor in a few centuries, just think for a moment of the racial transformation of America which has taken place in a single century. And imagine what America will be like two or three centuries hence (barring a White revolution), when Whites are a minority, outnumbered by both Blacks and Chicanos. America’s technology and industry may coast along for a century or two on the momentum acquired from earlier generations, as Athens’ culture did, but the American people — the real Americans — will have passed from the pages of history.

The passing of the Hellenes must be regarded as one of the greatest tragedies of our race. A great-hearted and noble people, filled with genius and energy, they seized upon the resources in labor, material, and land which their conquest of the conservative Mediterranean world offered, and they wrought one of the most progressive civilizations this earth has yet seen. Indeed, many of their creations remain unsurpassed to this day.

Faustian Spirit

In the Hellenes subtlety of intellect was combined with the adventurous, ever-questing Faustian spirit which has always been the preeminent trait of the Nordic peoples. In the same tribes were Homer’s warrior-princes, Achilles and Odysseus, courageous, boldly aggressive, proud and skilled in arms, for whom manly honor was the supreme virtue; and Archimedes and Euclid, whose insight into the nature of the universe around them and whose powers of reason elevated man to a new level of cosmic consciousness and gave him potent new means for further elevating himself.

Into the art of the Hellenes were distilled both these essences, a deeply sensitive expression of man’s awareness of his universe combined with an upward-yearning Faustian boldness, yielding a beauty of such intensity that the heart of the beholder aches with longing.

Aristotle Onassis

And what a contrast between the Hellenes and their achievements, on the one hand, and what existed before — and has existed since — in Greece! That is not to say that every Greek of today is unimaginative or insensitive or ugly, but it is clear that something essential has been lost between the time of Aristotle and the time of his late namesake, Mr. Onassis. And the loss was at least as great between the time of Achilles and Aristotle, although the culture-lag phenomenon tends to mask this earlier decline in racial quality.

The Hellenic genes are still there, the genes of the race which gloried in single combat between equals facing one another on the field of battle and pitting skill, courage, and strength in a contest to the death, but they are now submerged in the genes of a race which always preferred to sling its stones from afar, to lie in stealthy ambush, to give a surprise knife-thrust from the rear. The race-soul which first envisioned the symmetry of the Doric temple and pondered the mysteries of existence as none before it has become inextricably mingled with one concerned, first and last, with personal advantage and disadvantage, profit and loss.

Extermination or Expulsion

This catastrophic mixing of bloods has occurred over and over again in the history and prehistory of our race, and each time it has been lethal. The knowledge of this has been with us a long time, but it has always failed us in the end. The Hellenes of Sparta and Athens both strove to keep their blood pure, but both ultimately perished. The only way they could have survived would have been to eliminate the entire indigenous population, either through expulsion or extermination, from the areas of the Mediterranean world in which they settled.

The Hellenes always possessed a certain feeling of racial unity, distinguishing themselves sharply from all those not of their blood, but this racial feeling was, unfortunately, usually overshadowed by intraracial conflicts. The rivalries between Hellenic city-states were so fierce and so pervasive, that the Mediterranean natives were more often looked upon as a resource to be used against other Hellenes than as a biological menace to be eliminated.


The Ancient Greeks and Homosexuality

One can only speculate on the reasons why homosexuality was so common among the Greeks of the Classical Age, whether Athenian or Spartiate. As best we can judge from Homer’s epics, this vice was not a problem in the Heroic Age. All the heroes of the Iliad seem motivated by normal sexual drives; healthy heterosexual themes, in fact, underlie the entire epic, from the abduction of Helen by the Trojans and the Greek expedition to retrieve her to the squabble over slave girls which gave rise to the animosity between Achilles and Agamemnon. And one can also reasonably infer that it had not become a problem in Homer’s own time, presumably in the ninth century B.C.; otherwise it seems likely some homosexual flavor would have crept into his compositions.

On the other hand, we know that homosexuality was deeply ingrained in many of the native populations of the Mediterranean region, and not just among the Cretans. The ancient Hebrews, for example, practiced mass ritual masturbation and priestly buggery, and Moses was hard put to convince them to give up these habits. Even after Moses’ time, the traditional Jewish manner of sealing a bargain and of greeting was to seize one another’s genitals, a practice euphemistically described in the King James version of the Old Testament as “placing the hand under the other’s thigh.”

But we cannot say why this vileness, initially absent among the Greeks, later spread so virulently among them. Certainly it would be rash to attribute a special weakness for homosexuality to the Greeks. Our experience in America shows that, once certain weaknesses in the social structure have come about and public tolerance of depravity has set in, homosexuality can spread like wildfire.

One would form an entirely different estimate of Americans’ inherent susceptibility to it from a survey made today then from a survey made even 20 years ago. Unfortunately, the problem seems certain to be even worse in America 20 years hence, as our society continues to degenerate unless a revolution has swept the practitioners of this perversion from our shores by then.

And the American experience is probably our best guide in judging the Greeks’ homosexual problem. Even when homosexuality was most widespread, there were a great many Hellenes who remained untouched by it, still as healthy in their sexual attitudes as their Nordic forebears had been when they first arrived in the Mediterranean world. At its worst, it was only one of many symptoms of decay which cast a pall over the essentially healthy and beautiful culture which the Greeks created.


a) ATHENS’ THESEION, dedicated to the legendary King Theseus, is one of the best-preserved Doric temples. Harmony, strength, and simplicity characterize the architectural style created by the last major wave of Nordics into Greece.

b) PERICLES, 5th-century B.C. Athenian statesman, was of the best Hellenic stock, and his legislation restricting citizenship was a step toward preserving the racial health of that stock. Unfortunately, the step was too little and too late. And it is ironic that Pericles also, in his quest for political power, appealed to the lowest elements of Athenian society and nourished the social disease called democracy, thereby hastening the decadence and decline of his people.

c) DEMOSTHENES (left), 4th-century B.C. Athenian patriot and outstanding orator; and Menander, 4th-century B.C. Athenian poet. Both heads show the Nordic character of Athens’ earliest Hellenic population.

d) THE BEAUTY of the human body was an ever-present and ever-powerful source of artistic, philosophical, and spiritual inspiration to the Hellenes. They were the first human beings to successfully embody an ideal vision of beauty In sculpture which was at the same time thoroughly naturalistic, and they have never been surpassed in this art.




Who We Are #11
August 1979
Indo-Europeans Conquered Middle East, Perished through Racemixing
Mighty Hittite Empire Was Built by Nordics, Destroyed by Nordics
Aryan Warriors Ruled Persian Empire, India
Only Total Separation Can Preserve Racial Quality

Before we deal with the next Indo-European peoples of the Classical Age — the Macedonians and the Romans — let us review briefly the history of our race to this point, and let us also look at the fate of some Indo-Europeans who, unlike those we have already studied, invaded Asia instead of Europe.

The White race of today consists of three principal White elements — plus, unfortunately, a certain admixture of non-White elements. The former are the Cro-Magnon element, a White Mediterranean element, and the Nordic element.

Original Europeans

The Cro-Magnons were the original White people of Europe. Their traces go back 35,000 years, into the last of the great Ice Ages. They were a tall, rugged race, a race of hunters, who thrived on the frozen tundra