Turanid race

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Turanid race or Ural-Altaic race is a now obsolete term, originally intended to cover populations of Central Asia and Kazakhstan associated with the spread of the Turanian languages, which are the combination of the Uralic and Altaic families (hence also "Ural–Altaic race").[1]

The latter usage implies the existence of a Turanid racial type or "minor race", subtype of the Europid (Caucasian) race with Mongoloid admixtures, situated at the boundary of the distribution of the Mongoloid and Europid "great races".[2][3] The idea of a Turanid race came to play a role of some significance in Pan-Turkism or "Turanism" in the late 19th to 20th century. A "Turanid race" was widely known as a Europid subtype in European literature of the period. Eickstedt's Turanid race is represented in Siberia among the peoples of the Altay region. This race, he writes, corresponds in his classification to Deniker's "Turkic-Tatar" (or "Turanian") race and to Haddon's "Turkic".[4]

Ethnogenetic connections and considerations[edit]

The Turanid race is connected with the Turkic peoples. It was characteristic of the Onogurs, Huns, Magyars, Pechenegs, Cumans, Ancient Uyghurs, Avars, Kabars, Khazars, the Volga Bulgars (8th–9th cc.) and was one of the composite elements of the ruling strata of the Hungarians at the time of the Conquest.[5][6][7][8][9] Anthropological studies based on burials from the Conquest period in Hungary, carried out by Bartucz, Nemeskeri and Lipták, have demonstrated that the numerically strongest element among the Magyar conquerors was of the Turanid type (31,4%).[10] American anthropologist Merry E. Wiesner and German scientist Ferdinand von Richthofen hold the view that Scythians also had considerable Turanid elements.[11]

According to Ginzburg (1966), the Turanid type developed in Central Asia between 500 BCE to 1000 AD and developed from the intermixture of the Europoid Andronovo type, which had been aboriginal to Central Asia since the Bronze age, and a Mongoloid type coming from the east, the Andronovo being the basic stratum and the Mongoloid the secondary one (Ismagulov, 1970). In the second half of the 13th century, Mongol conquerors settled on the aboriginal population mainly along the Silk Road in northeast Kazahstan, and Kirghizistan. Consequently in these areas a Turanid type with a stronger Mongoloid characteristic became predominant in the 13-16th centuries. In the meantime, the areas of north and south Kazahstan and northern Uzbekstan, the Turanid form of strongly Europoid characteristics continued to predominate. According to Kazakh anthropologist Orazak Ismagulov, it is also of utmost importance to realize that the anthropologists of the former Soviet Union chose to give the Turanid label only to those forms which had stronger Mongoloid characteristics, whereas on the basis of historical anthropological studies, it is clear that the form with strongly Andronovo characteristics is the most ancient form of the Turanid type.[12]

According to the Hungarian anhtropologist Pál Lipták (1955)[13] the Turanid type is present in Central Asia since the Bronze Age, arising from the mixture of the Andronovo type of Europoid features and the Oriental (Mongoloid). Ginzburg (1966) holds the view that the Oriental (Mongoloid) mixture started at the Sakas (Scythians) already in the middle of the 1st millennium B.C., and the gradual shift of the Andronovo type to the Turanid one lasted till the end of the 1st millennium. The ancient Andronovo features, however, have dominantly survived in Kazakhstan till the end of the 12th century (Ismagulov 1970).[14] Ginzburg (1966) postulates the mixing of the Sakas with the Huns as early as the middle of the 1st millennium B.C. Anthropologically they were significantly different from the Persians (called now Iranians).[15]

Geographic distribution[edit]

The Turanid group is the predominant element in North- and South-Kazakhs, North-Uzbeks, Karakalpaks, Tatars, Bashkirs, Kyrgyz, Hungarians, Turkmens, Telengits, Yakuts, Tofalars, Tajiks, and, to a lesser extent, in Turkey and Balkans.[16][17][18][19][20][21] Eickstedt also includes among the Turanids the Mountain Tajiks and the Pamir tribes.[4]

Tajiks are characterized by the Pamirian and Pamiro-Turanid, the South-Uzbeks by the Pamiro-Turanid and Turano-Pamirian, whereas North-Uzbeks, Karakalpaks and South-Kazakhs are characterized by the Turano-Pamirian, Turanoid-"Alföld" and Turanid with strong Andronovo forms.[21] The three main components of the Central Asian populations, which seem to be anthropologically the closest to the Hungarian people, are the Turanid, the Pamirian and the East-Mediterranean (Ginzburg 1966).[22] The Turkic types (Turanid, Pamirian, Anterior-Asian and Oriental-Mongoloid) in modern Hungarians are estimated to 46.2%.[23] Turkmens are generally characterized by the Transcaspian variant of the East-Mediterranean type, though Oshanin (1957-1959)[24] could also observe Andronovo and Oriental (Mongoloid) features.[21] The Turanid hybrid forms of the Balkans are usually called "Dinaric".[20]

Eickstedt's map of the races of Europe (1889 - 1901) identified "Turanids" (red) as the dominant group in parts of far Southeast Europe, Northern and Eastern parts of the Caspian Sea, Northeast Kazakhstan, South Ukraine and the central parts of the Volga Region, including additional Turanid diffusion areas in Hungary or Central Anatolia (red circles).

The Turanids (or 'Turki'), among whom the physical characters of their Europoid ancestors extending from the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea to the borders of Mongolia and a narrow tongue of Turanid territory stretches north of the Caspian to the Black Sea coast. The Mongoloid element in their features becomes progressively less towards the western limit of their territory.[25]

From the anthropological viewpoint Turanid, Pamirian and Mediterranean (Pontic) components appeared side by side with former traits.[26] During the 1st millennium A.D. Turanids and other Asiatic brachycephalic types had invaded the domain of the Iranian longheads.[27]

Anthropological subdivision and characteristics[edit]

In 1952, German anthropologist Egon Freiherr von Eickstedt subdivided the Turanid type as follows:[28]

Species: Homo sapiens Modern human
Subspecies I: Homines sapientes albi Europids

Series C: Homines s. albi brachimorphi Mountain race belt
Variety 4: H. s. eurasicus Turanid
a) H. s. eur. turanicus Aralid
b) H. s. eur. pamiriensis Pamirid

According to von Eickstedt's typology, the Aralid type is a Central Asiatic Turanid influenced by Tungid. Aralids constitute the principal element among the Kazakhs, and are common among the Uzbeks and the Uyghurs.

According to Hungarian anthropologist Gyula Henkey and the Kazakh anhtropologist Orazak Ismagulov there are five subdivisions of the Turanid type, of which one subtype is undetermined:[29]

Turanid, strongly Mongoloid Turanid, Middle Type Turanid, strongly Andronovo (Europoid) Turano-Pamirian
The average dimensions of the head and the zygomatic arch hardly deviate from the average dimensions of the former type (Henkey l996), the face is slightly higher, the angle of the mandible less wide, the zygoma is more often strongly forward projecting, the glabella is less developed and the nasal back is more frequently slightly less than moderately pronounced. This form was noted in 26.1% frequency among the Kazakhs and Kyrgyz of China. The Middle Turanid type stands between the Turanid and the Mongoloid variant of the Turanid. Here the Europoid and Mongoloid features occur in 50-50% proportions. This form was found to occur in about 1% frequency among the Hungarians of today. Among the Kazahs who were examined in China the Turano-Pamirian transitional form is very common. This variant is characterized by the following: tall stature; proportionately large cranium; short cephalic index; very wide and moderately high face; very wide angle of the mandible; moderately frontally projecting zygoma; vertical or semi-vertical forehead profile; moderately developed (in males well-developed), glabella (=the part of the forehead above the root of the nose); moderately, or somewhat less moderately high, straight, or mildly convex nasal back; dark, or greenish eye color; brown-black hair color. This form was found to occur in about 43.5% frequency among the Kazakhs measured in Beijing. Compared to the Turanoid average, the face is slightly higher, the nasal back is somewhat longer and projecting forward a bit more frequently, and mostly slightly convex in shape. Among photos of the Kazakhs of Kazakhstan (Ismagul l982), there were also forms close to the "Alföldi" Turanid variant.

The Turanid type can be determined by following sorting criteria: Intermediate body, medium broad face, brachycephalic head, projecting cheekbones, slight inner (epicanthic) eyefold, high medium or low nasal bridge, generally straight nasal profile, light brown skin, light wavy to straight and dark brown hair, prominent and straight nose, with a high bridge.[30][31]

The strongly Mongoloid Turanid form can be shown to exist among the present day Hungarians only in 0.5% frequency, the other characterized by the strongly Andronovo form. Lipták divided and renamed 'Cromagnoid-C' (recalling the "Andronovo type"),[32] 'Cromagnoid-C+Turanid', and 'Pamiro-Turanid'. In this way, broken up, redistributed, and renamed, Lipták succeeded in 'hiding' the strongly Europoid majority of the Turanid physical types from those scholars who were interested in tracing the Hungarian ancestry and prehistory. The Pamiro-Turanian form can be shown to exist in 20.0% frequency in the Hungarian population, among all the Central Asian Turkic-speaking peoples, the Hungarians bear the closest physical resemblance not only to the predominantly Turanian Kazakhs, but also to the Turanid, Turanoid, Turano-Pamrian, Pamiro-Turanian, and Pamiroid Uzbeks as well. The closeness between the Europoid variants of the Turanoids and the transitional forms of the Pamiro-Turanian forms may exist because the Andronovo type was one of the components not only of the Turanian but, according to Ginzburg, this type played an important role also in the development of the Pamirian type.[19]

A variety of short-headed characteristics represented among the Hungarians is the Turanid type, which entered the Carpathian Basin with the Huns and the Magyars. Bartucz originally called this race "Caucasus Tartaroid" but recently changed its name to the "Alfold" race or "Homo Pannonicus" because the largest number of these people can be found in the Great Hungarian Plain (Nagy Alföld) and in Transdanubia. The Alföld race was formed from different regional types and these regional types showed a great resemblance to the original Turanid race. The ‘Hungarian type’ or ‘Alföld race’ is a complimentary expression. The Alföld race is the group of people that anthroplogists formely called a "Turkic" type people. Batucz writes that they are on average 165-166 cm tall, with a large skull, the face is slightly Tartaroid but not flat. The nose is more developed than that of the Asian Turanid race. The eyes are bigger. The color of the eyes is lighter, yellowish- brown. The face is reddish-brown.[6]

Ottoman period[edit]

European literature concerning the "Turanid race" was absorbed by the Ottoman elite, and was partly even translated into Ottoman Turkish, contributing to the idea of an essence of "Turkishness" (Türklük) the honour of which came to be protected under Turkish law until the revision of article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code in April 2008. The most influential of these sources were Histoire Générale des Huns, des Turcs, des Mongoles, et autres Tartares Occidenteaux (1756–1758) by Joseph de Guignes (1721–1800), and Sketches of Central Asia (1867) by Ármin Vámbéry (1832–1913), which was on the common origins of Turkic groups as belonging to one race, but subdivided according to physical traits and customs, and l’histoire de l’Asie (1896) by Leon Cahun (1841–1900), which stressed the role of Turks in "carrying civilization to Europe", as a part of the greater "Turanid race" that included the Uralic and Altaic speaking peoples more generally.[33] There was also an ideology of Hungarian Turanism.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Races of Europe by Carleton S. Coon
  2. ^ Racial and cultural minorities: an analysis of prejudice and discrimination, Environment, development, and public policy, George Eaton Simpson, John Milton Yinger, Springer, 1985, ISBN 0-306-41777-4, p.32.
  3. ^ American anthropologist, American Anthropological Association, Anthropological Society of Washington (Washington, D.C,), 1984 v. 86, nos. 3-4, p. 741.
  4. ^ a b Eickstedt, Rassenkunde und Rassengeschichte der Menschheit, 1934, pp. 169-174. In: Maksim Grigorʹevich Levin, Ethnic origins of the peoples of northeastern Asia, Arctic Institute of North America by University of Toronto Press, 1963, p.31.
  5. ^ Gyula László, István Rácz: The treasure of Nagyszentmikloś, Corvina, 1984, p.171.
  6. ^ a b László Botos, The Road to the Dictated Peace, Árpád Publishing Company, 1999, p.23.
  7. ^ László Rásonyi, Tuna köprüleri, 1984, p.12.
  8. ^ Akadémiai Kiadó, Vorträge, vol. 2, part 2, 1968, p.42.
  9. ^ Mehmet Dikici, Türklerde inançlar ve din, Akçağ, 2005, p. 340.
  10. ^ Ilse Schwidetzky, Bruno Chiarelli, Olga Necrasov, Physical Anthropology of European Populations, 1980, p.366:
  11. ^ Nurettin Koç, İslamlıktan önce Türk dili ve edebiyatı, 2002, p.52.
  12. ^ Ginsburg, V.V. (1966) Enstehung der mittelasiatischen zwischenstromtipus. Homo 17. 172-190, and Ismagulov, O. (1970), Naszelenyie Kazahsztana ot epochi bronzu do szovremennosti. Alma-Atay. In: International Journal of Central Asian Studies, Volume 3, 1998. ISSN 1226-4490.
  13. ^ Lipták, Pál. Recherches anthropologiques sur les ossements avares des environs d'Üllö (1955) - In: Acta archaeologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, vol. 6 (1955), pp. 231-314
  14. ^ Endre Czeizel, Genetics of the Hungarian population: ethnic aspects, genetic markers, ecogenetics and disease spectrum, Springer Verlag, 1991, p.96
  15. ^ Endre Czeizel, Genetics of the Hungarian population: ethnic aspects, genetic markers, ecogenetics and disease spectrum, Springer Verlag, 1991, p.110
  16. ^ Wilmot Robertson, Instauration, volumes 21-22, Howard Allen Enterprises, Inc., 1995, p.12.
  17. ^ Felix von Keudell, The Internet: The Book Of Revelations, vol. 5, Books on Demand, 2012
  18. ^ Zeitschrift für Morphologie und Anthropologie, vol. 37, E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1938, p.420.
  19. ^ a b The Turks, Volume 1: Early ages, Y.T., 2002, X.
  20. ^ a b Alan H. Kelso De Montigny, International Anthropological and Linguistic Review, Vol. 2,Ausgaben 1-4, 1954, p.44.
  21. ^ a b c Endre Czeizel, Heide-G. Benkemann, H. Werner Goedde, Genetics of the Hungarian Population: Ethnic Aspects, Genetic Markers, Ecogenetics, and Disease Spectrum, Akadémiai Kiadó, 1991, p. 109.
  22. ^ Endre Czeizel, Heide-G. Benkemann, H. Werner Goedde, Genetics of the Hungarian Population: Ethnic Aspects, Genetic Markers, Ecogenetics, and Disease Spectrum, Akadémiai Kiadó, 1991, p. 96.
  23. ^ Endre Czeizel, Heide-G. Benkemann, H. Werner Goedde, Genetics of the Hungarian Population: Ethnic Aspects, Genetic Markers, Ecogenetics, and Disease Spectrum, Akadémiai Kiadó, 1991, p. 95.
  24. ^ Antropologischeskij sostav naselenija Srednei Azi i etnogenez jeje narodov' [The Anthropological Composition of the Population of Central Asia and the Ethnogenesis of its Peoples], Parts 1-3, Yerevan, 1957/59.
  25. ^ John Randal Baker: Race, Oxford University Press, 1974, p.225
  26. ^ Péter Hajdú, Ancient culture of the Uralian peoples, Corvina, 1976, p. 140.
  27. ^ Carl William Blegen, Troy: excavations conducted by the University of Cincinnati, 1932-1938, Vol. 1, Princeton University Press, 1950, p. 29.
  28. ^ Egon von Eickstedt, In: Fritz Kern, Historia Mundi - Frühe Menschheit (Early humanity), Volume 1, University Microfilms, 1952, p.224.
  29. ^ Henkey, Gyula: A Karpatmedence es Kozep-Azsia nepesedestorteneti es embertani kapcsolatai ["The anthropological and ethnogenetic relationships between the Carpathian Basin and Central Asia"]. Kapu l996, no. 10. 24-29. Ismagulov, Orazak: Ethnic anthropology of Kazakhstan: (somatological research). Alma-Ata, 1982. In: International Journal of Central Asian Studies, Volume 3, 1998. ISSN 1226-4490.
  30. ^ The Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 1, Americana Corp., 1973, p.452.
  31. ^ Annales historico-naturales Musei Nationalis Hungarici, volumes 3-4, Természettudományi Múzeum (Hungary), Nepmuvelesi propaganda iroda, 1953, p. 285.
  32. ^ Pál Lipták, Avars and Ancient Hungarians, Akadémiai Kiadó, 1983, p.134.
  33. ^ Gülden z Kibris, Creating Turkishness: An Examination of Turkish Nationalism through Gök-Börü, Sabanci University (2005)[1]
  • Leon Cahun L’histoire de l’Asie (1896).
  • Ilse Schwidetzky, Turaniden-Studien, Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, F. Steiner Verlag, Mainz, (1950).