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An anthropological overview of the Balkanian populations (Abstract)
Biasutti in his work “Le Razze ed i Popoli della Terra” stated that the Slavic-speaking Balkanians may not be categorized among any Slavic branch. Therefore they have only being “slavonised”. Slavic tribes passed the Danube to the Balkans during the 6th and the 7th centuries AD. However, these Slavic populations, as the anthropological data indicate, were not numerous enough to change the anthropological type that lived prior to the 6th century AD in the vast Balkan area. Same theories were supported by the Russian anthropologists Debbets (teacher of Poulianos too), Trofimova and Tseboksarov, as well as the Romanian Manuila, who, already since 1957, underlined the anthropological similarities throughout the entire Balkan region. Coon also supported p. ex. that Montenegrins, although they speak Slavic, they are not Slavs by origin. Thus, the common belief accepted among most scientists is that the spread of Slavic languages was not accompanied by a mass movement of Slavs in the Balkans.
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An anthropological overview of the Balkanian populations
Marios Dimopoulos, Linguist, nutritionist, author (Greece)
Biasutti in his work “La Razze ed i Popoli della Terra” (1954, p. 257) stated that the majority of the Slavic-speaking Balkanians may not be categorized among any Slavic branch. Therefore they have only being “slavonised”. Slavic tribes passed the Danube to the Balkans during the 6th and the 7th AD centuries. However, these Slavic populations, as the anthropological data indicate, were not numerous to change the anthropological type that lived before the 6th AD century in the vast Balkan area. Same idea was supported also by the Russian anthropologists G. Debbets (also teacher of A. Poulianos), T. Trofimova, and N. Tseboksarov, as well as the Romanian anthropologist A. Manuila, who, in 1957, was underlining the anthropological similarities throughout the entire Balkan region. Pittard, one of the anthropologists who knew better about the Balkan anthropological issues, was convinced that the majority of the Slavic-speaking Balkans do not belong to the original Slavic branch, instead they have been slavicised. On this issue, the famous Greek anthropologist Aris Poulianos, in his book “The Origin of the Greeks”, states: “It is known that the Slavic tribes passed the Danube to the Balkans during the 6th and 7th AD century. However, these movements, as anthropological data shows, were not so great as to change the natural type of peoples who lived in these countries.” (” The Origin of the Greeks “, p. 239). Thus, the common belief formed among scientists is that the spread of Slavic languages was not accompanied by a mass movement of Slavs.
According also to Coon (concerning the anthropology of Europe, page 591) as regards the Montenegrins, although they speak Slavic, they are not Slavs by origin. Montenegrin tribal organization was very similar to that of Northern Albania Ghegs. The similarity of the Montenegrins to their Gheg neighbours differentiates them from the Serbians too.
Same to the above applies to the Bulgarians which are of preslavic origin as well (most probably Thracian). Their territory was further invaded during the 7th century by Turkish-Tataric tribes. Although the Tataric conquerors dominated the place and had intense wars against the Byzantine Empire, eventually their characteristics were assimilated within the local population, both linguistically and anthropologically. This is why the Bulgarian anthropologist M. Popov in 1959 pointed out that in Bulgaria “…most common is the combination of features corresponding to the Mediterranean anthropological type, which is the basis of this population (i.e. at least since the prehistoric era). P. Boev & I. Schwidetzky (1979) stressed as well that: The southern part of Bulgaria presents today a strongly subtle Mediterranean structure, due to the high levels of preslavic population, presenting closer relations with the Mediterranean anthropological type.
Following same considerations, the fact that “Slavomacedonians” of FYROM (along with there bilingual Albanians) speak Slavic does not mean that they are Slaves. In order to ascertain what is the origin of the Slavophones of Macedonia, we should examine what was the origin of the people who lived in Macedonia (in northern Greece and in the territories of Fyrom), before the arrival of Slavs. Since ancient times, the residents of those places were of Greek or Greek-Pelasgian origin, or at least tribes relative to Greeks who had adopted the Greek language and culture. The common impression that only ancient Macedonians were of Greek (Dorian) origin is inaccurate. For example, Vottaioi, who lived in the ancient Macedonian Kingdom were Greek colonists from Crete. The ancient Macedonian Kingdom did not only include places of North Greece, but also a big part of the territories of Fyrom (Pelagonia). Let’s also do not forget that even Paeonia became part of the ancient Macedonian Kingdom, including not only places of the today Northern Greece, but also a big part of the FYROM (Pelagonia) and Bulgaria territories. Thus the peoples that are living today to the North of Greece (Bulgaria, FYROM, Montenegro, Serbia or even Croatia) were already anthropologically formed before the arrival of Slavs. So, medieval people of the wider area of Macedonia were descendants of those ancient people, and anthropologically they belonged mainly to the Mediterranean (Aegean) anthropological type, and to a lesser extent to the Dinaric (Epirotic) anthropological type.
The greatest proof for the not Slavic) origin of Slavic-speaking people of Macedonia is the thousands of Greek words that are preserved in the so-called Slavo-Macedonian language.
Greek North-Macedonian philologist Konstantinos Tsioulkas in his book “Contributions in the Bilingualism of the Macedonians by Comparing Slavonic Macedonian Language to Greek.”, published in 1907, found that in the Slavo-Macedonian idiom of his time, 1,260 words of Homeric origin were rescued (while modern Greeks use only 650 Homeric words) as well as 4,000 medieval and modern Greek words. This means that the Slavic-speaking inhabitants of Macedonia were speaking Greek prior to their linguistic slavisation. The existence of thousand ancient and medieval Greek words in the Slavo-Macedonian dialect clearly shows that its speakers were bilingual Greeks, i.e. speakers of the Greek and Slavic-Macedonian language. If we consider that a peasant does not use more than 800 words, we can realize the Greek substratum of the Slavo-Macedonian language.
The pre-slavic origin of the Slavic-speaking inhabitants of FYROM is also confirmed by N. Andriotis, professor of linguistics at the University of Thessaloniki, who writes: “As is the case with the other Slavic languages of the Balkans, the language that influenced the Slavic idiom of Skopje more than any other foreign language, is Greek. The continuous and uninterrupted cultural communication of its inhabitants with Greeks, its long management by the Byzantine state and the Orthodox Greek Church, and the undeniable fact that a significant part of its inhabitants came from Greeks who had been slavicised, explain the great multitude of Greek linguistic elements that occasionally existed and had been established in its Slavic idiom.” Greek words are not found in the Slavo-Macedonian idiom simply due to Greek cultural influence. As Andriotis states, these words are not just administrative, judicial, military and ecclesiastical terms, which the Balkan Slavs would naturally have to take from the dominant Byzantine state, for example, hartofilaks, panipersevast, sevastokrator, archierei, ikona, metanija, efharistija, and not just terms of school life, such as daskal, gramatik, kondil, filosof, and not just words of ancient Greek that became international scientific terms, such as apopleksija, epilepsija, diplomatika, politika. They are mostly words that express the concepts of everyday life, which normally one person does not borrow from another. This is another proof that a significant part of the Slavophones of Macedonia were of Greek origin.
Ethnologist Stylpon Kyriakidis in his book “The Northern Ethnological Limits of Hellenism” (Thessaloniki, 1946, p. 59), he came to the correct conclusion regarding the origin of Slavophones of Macedonia, by judging on the linguistic data. He writes: “Whatever was observed in the dialect of Pomaki in Thrace, was also observed in the dialect of Slavic-speaking people: there are abundant Greek elements similar to those found in the Pomaki, what cannot be explained by the influence of Greek culture, especially of the church and the school. However, such influences are the result of bilingualism, such as the verbs and the words of everyday life. In 1905, Philologist Bakuvalas congregated 656 Greek words in the Slavo-Macedonian language. He also observed the linguistic phenomenon of vowel raising ((elevation, because the vowel o is pronounced higher as u and the vowel e as i), which ethnologist Jirerek also observed in Eastern Rumelia (Macedonia of Pirin in Bulgaria), what shows the effect of northern Greek idioms on this Slavic dialect.”
From the above it becomes clear that language is not the main factor related to origin, as for example Ouzbeki and Kazaki are bilingual (since along with their own languages they also speak Slavian), but certainly they are not Slavs.