Armenoid race

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The Armenoid race was a supposed sub-race in the context of a now-outdated model of dividing humanity into different races which was developed originally by Europeans in support of colonialism.[1] The Armenoid race was variously described (depending on author) as a "sub-race" of the "Aryan race"[2] or the "Caucasian race" (e.g. by Carleton Coon).

History of term[edit]

A Syrian Armenian man of Armenoid type, from The Races of Europe: A Sociological Study by William Zebina Ripley (1911)

The term was used by Austrian anthropologist Felix von Luschan and Eugen Petersen in the 1889 book Reisen in Lykien, Milyas und Kibyratis ("Travel in Lycia, Milyas and Kibyratis").[3][4] Carleton Coon (1904–81) described the regions of Western Asia such as Anatolia, the Caucasus, Iraq, Iran, and the Levant as the center of distribution of the Armenoid race.

Prominent Nazi and racial theorist Hans F. K. Günther used the term 'Near Eastern race' to describe the Armenoid type, and ascribed Near Eastern characteristics to several contemporary peoples, including: Armenians, Jews, Greeks, Iranians, Assyrians, Syrians, and Turks.[5] Günther regarded Jews as people of multiple racial origins but defined the Near Eastern race as their major basis, and described the race's characteristics such as its "commercial spirit" and as being "artful traders" who had strong psychological manipulation capacities that helped their trade, as well as being known to exploit people.[5] Günther's conception has been criticized for pseudoscientific analysis.[5] Nazis historically identified Jews as within the Armenoid type in the name of the Near Eastern race.[6]

The Nazis never fully clarified their racial doctrine, and Günther' s work was never canonised or entirely accepted even by the SS, who switched freely between race definitions.[7][8]


An Armenian man of Armenoid type, from The Early Inhabitants of Western Asia (1911)

Carleton S. Coon wrote that the Armenoid racial type is very similar to the Dinaric race, most probably due to racial mixture with the Mediterraneans (who often have olive skin) and the Alpines (who often have pale skin). The only difference is that Armenoids have a slightly darker pigmentation. He described the Armenoid as a sub-race of the Caucasoid race. Armenoids were said to be found throughout Eurasia. However, the largest concentrations occurred within Armenia, Transcaucasia, Iran, and Mesopotamia.

Armenoids were medium to tall, average height being 167 cm, usually with dark brown or black hair, wavy to curly in form,[9] tawny white to light-brown skin color, large round eyes that were usually dark brown, a round, brachycephalic head shape with a straight backing (planocciput) (see Cephalic index), high cheekbones and medium chin prominence, thick eyebrows, abundant hair on body and face, and a prominent, often aquiline nose.[9] Armenians were as a rule thin-lipped, with medium chin prominence, a palpable bilateral cleft in the chin, and flaring gonial angles. This racial type was believed to be prevalent among some Armenians, Assyrians, and northern, central and south-eastern Iraqis.[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ For the model of dividing humanity into races, see American Association of Physical Anthropologists (27 March 2019). "AAPA Statement on Race and Racism". American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Retrieved 19 June 2020. Instead, the Western concept of race must be understood as a classification system that emerged from, and in support of, European colonialism, oppression, and discrimination.
  2. ^ Ripley, William Z. (1899). The Races of Europe: A Sociological Study. D. Appleton & Company. p. 444.
  3. ^ Luschan, Felix Von (1911). "The Early Inhabitants of Western Asia". The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. 41: 242. doi:10.2307/2843172. hdl:2027/uc2.ark:/13960/t4nk3d322. JSTOR 2843172. When I first upheld in 1892, in my paper on the anthropological position of the Jews, the homogeneous character of these groups, I called them "Armenoids." But there can be no doubt that they are all descended from tribes belonging to the great Hittite Empire
  4. ^ Petersen, Eugen; Luschan, Felix von. Lykien, Milyas und Kibyratis (1889).
  5. ^ a b c Alan E Steinweis. Studying the Jew: Scholarly Antisemitism in Nazi Germany. Harvard University Press, 2008. P. 29.
  6. ^ Mitchell B. Hart. Jews & Race: Writings on Identity & Difference, 1880-1940. Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA: Brandeis University Press, 2011. P. 247.
  7. ^ McMahon, Richard Eoin (2007). The Races of Europe: Anthropological Race : Classification of Europeans 1839-1939 (Thesis). EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization. European University Institute. p. 270. doi:10.2870/79569.
  8. ^ Lutzhöft(1971), 21-22
  9. ^ a b Sharma, Ramnath; Sharma, Rajendra K. (1997). Anthropology. Atlantic. p. 108. ISBN 978-8171566730.
  10. ^ Fisher, William B. (2003). The Middle East and North Africa, Volume 50. Routledge. p. 444. ISBN 978-1-85743-184-1. The northern and eastern hill districts [of Iraq] contain many racial elements—Turkish, Persian, and proto-Nordic, with Armenoid strains predominating. […] the population of the riverine districts of Iraq displays a mixture of Armenoid and Mediterranean elements. North of the Baghdad district the Armenoid strain is dominant.
  11. ^ Fisher, William B. (1966). The Middle East: A Physical, Social and Regional Geography. Methuen. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-416-71510-1. Armenoid affinities are easily discerned in the peoples of northern, central and south-eastern Iraq., extract of page 444

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