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Thread: Genetic impact of the Great migrations in the Western Roman Empire

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    Post Genetic impact of the Great migrations in the Western Roman Empire



    Introduction

    From the 4th century the Roman Empire is starting to have trouble containing the hordes of Germanic tribes at its borders.

    As early as 288, the Franks are allowed to settle in the Germania Inferior region of Gallia Belgica.

    The Huns from central Asia advance westwards, forcing entire populations to follow the move. The Alans, from the northern Caucasus, settled in Pannonia (modern Hungary and around).

    In 376, the Visigoths are tolerated in Gaul on condition that they defend the borders of the empire; but they rebel and sack Rome in 410 and start ruling the empire.

    In 406, the Alans, Vandals, Suebi and Burgundians cross the Rhine and settle in Gaul. The first Burgundian kingdom appears in 411 in eastern Gaul. The Alans, Vandals and Suebi move to Iberia. The Suebi set up a kingdom in Gallica, while the Vandals move to North Africa.

    During that time, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes invade Roman Britain.

    In 493, the Ostrogoths, invited by the Byzantines to recover Rome from the Visigoths, invade Italy and create the Ostrogothic kingdom, pushing the Visigoths to southern Gaul and Iberia.

    At the same moment, the Lombards settle in the Danube valley around modern Austria. In 568 they defeat the Ostrogoths and become the new rulers of Italy.

    The Huns, after roaming through Europe, siding with one Germanic tribe or another, eventually settle in what is now called Hungary.

    Genetic analysis

    Reading a history book, one could think that the massacres committed during this period of wars and destructions left plenty of space for the invaders to spread their genes. They created new kingdoms that would evolve in medieval kingdoms, spawning many noble families, who usually had more children than poor peasants working for them.

    It has even been claimed that the Anglo-Saxons never intermarried with non-Germanic folks, and indeed exterminated most of the Romano-Britons and pushed the survivors away to Wales and Scotland.

    But how much of this is true ? For the first time we are able to find out the real answer, whatever history books tell us or don't tell us. Thanks to Y-DNA tests, it is possible to know the percentage of male Germanic lineages in each region of Europe.

    => see Y-DNA haplogroup frequencies in Europe by country

    The only thing that is not obvious from the table is the percentage of Germanic R1b. R1b is mostly a Celtic haplogroup, including ancient Italic, Iberian, British and Irish people. But one branch, known as U106 (or S21) originated in the Netherlands and northern Germany, homeland of the Frisians, Franks, Angles, Saxons and Lombards.

    Germanic ancestry can therefore be traced by looking at the R1b-S21, I1 and I2b haplogroups. I have calculated the approximate percentages by country.

    We can see that the only parts of the Roman Empire that have been massively settled by Germanic people (at least one third of the modern population) are England, the Benelux, northern and eastern France, southern Germany and Austria. This corresponds to the regions where Germanic languages are now spoken, or used to be spoken until a few centuries ago (Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Alsace, Lorraine).

    Nevertheless it is very clear that Germanic people did not replace the existing populations. In England, only half of the lineages are truly Germanic. The percentage is higher on the east coast, but this is also because the Vikings settled in great number there. Without the Vikings, England might now just be 1/3 Germanic.

    Austria and south-west Germany are surprisingly only one third Germanic themselves. In Baden-W├╝rttenberg, about 60% of lineages are Celtic, and at least 10% of Greco-Roman origin. Switzerland is even less Germanic (22% according to the data available to me). Interestingly, almost all R1b is Austria is the S21 variety, which let us suppose that the Lombards settled massively in the region.

    Italy was invaded by at least 5 Germanic tribes (Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Lombards, Franks), and yet less than 10% of modern lineages are Germanic. Most are to be found close to the Alps (or in Sicily, but that is due to the later Norman invasion).

    Iberia was the prey of the Visigoths, Vandals and Suebi, but they contribution to the modern Y-DNA haplogroups is a mere 5% of the population. The Vandals seem to have had the smallest impact, probably because they didn't settled in Iberia. Even in regions of the old Visigothic kingdom, in Catalonia and south-west France, only about 2% of modern lineages can be traced back to them. The Visigoths may have settled more around Aragon and Valencia. It is the Suebi who have had the biggest impact, judging by the slightly higher percentage of Germanic haplogroup around their old fief, in Galicia, north-western Iberia.

    As for the Huns from Central Asia, it is though that their genetic legacy is associated with haplogroup Q. It is bold of Hungarian people to think of themselves as the descendants of Attila. Indeed, only 3% of them belong to haplogroup Q (and 2.5% in neighbouring Slovakia, part of which was historically Hungary). Ukrainians are more Hunnic, with 5% of Q.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 07-08-13 at 15:49.

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    Germanic haplogroups in Iberia by region

    Aragon : about 18%
    Extremadura : about 15%
    Majorca : about 12%
    Galicia : about 11%
    Valencia : about 10%
    Asturias : about 8%
    Northwest Castille : about 6%
    West Andalusia : about 6%
    North Portugal : about 5%
    East Andalusia : about 2%
    Northeast Castille : <1%
    Catalonia : <1%
    Basque country : <1%
    South Portugal : <1%

    Sources : The Genetic Legacy of Religious Diversity and Intolerance: Paternal Lineages of Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula

    N.B. : Data is still sparse and percentage could vary by a few percentage points. It is especially difficult to separate R1b-S21 from other R1b with only STR data.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 07-08-13 at 15:49.

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    Were the Francs really even Germanic? Were they not actually 'freeman' made up of a whole bunch of different 'untermensch' swarthies. Deffinately one of the least Germanic Germanics. So I hear anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Knatchbull View Post
    Were the Francs really even Germanic? Were they not actually 'freeman' made up of a whole bunch of different 'untermensch' swarthies. Deffinately one of the least Germanic Germanics. So I hear anyway.
    The term "freeman" comes from the fact that they were the only foreigners people allowed to live in the Roman Empire without being directly subjected to Roman laws. Emperor Maximilian allowed the Franks to live in the province of Germania Inferior (approximately modern Belgium) in exchange for their help in defending the borders of the empire from other Germanic tribes. Many imperial generals and consuls from Gallia Belgica in the 4th and 5th centuries were Franks. Consuls were also Roman senators. Gaiso, Silvanus, Vitta, Merobaud, Richomer and Bauto were all consuls/senators of Frankish origins.

    The modern population of Belgium descends from the Belgae, the Romans and the Franks. The Franks were the only Germanic people and the last to arrive, and yet Germanic haplogroups account for about 50% of the total. If the Franks weren't Germanic, where did all those haplogroup I1, I2b1 and R1b-U106 come from ?
    Last edited by Maciamo; 27-07-09 at 20:00.

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    With regards to genetic analysis proving or disproving historical movements of people, we should take into to account what actually qualifies for sample populations. In England most tests only require the particpent to have four grandparents from the same area to qualify for sampling, this is all well and fine for telling us the population at the turn of the last century but not for say a thousand years or so ago. This is due to furthur historical demographic change. In England between the 1700's up till the 1960's millions of people left for the new world and were replaced by welsh, irish and scottish immigrants, which the act of union and the industrial revolution gave impetus too. I mention this because I do see history on the whole as being factual. When conducting genetic testing for historical purposes, it must take into account demographic movements, genealogy and history so as to rule out incorrect results and interpretations. In ireland they only sample people with gaelic irish surnames, yet in england they include people with irish, scottish and welsh surnames. Hopefully in the future, all y-dna tests will be based on people with english surnames and a proven paper trail from the 1700's. The people of the isles project due this year, includes english samples with celtic surnames, which for me does not give a fair result. Though I talk only of england, I imagine the same holds true for other populations, such as the french, dutch, germans etc.I apologise if the text is too long.

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    Quote Originally Posted by everwonder View Post
    With regards to genetic analysis proving or disproving historical movements of people, we should take into to account what actually qualifies for sample populations. In England most tests only require the particpent to have four grandparents from the same area to qualify for sampling, this is all well and fine for telling us the population at the turn of the last century but not for say a thousand years or so ago.
    I think you are referring to a very specific project, People of the British Isles. Their methodology is weak (only 2 generations), and it is not the standard used in genetic genealogy.

    This is due to furthur historical demographic change. In England between the 1700's up till the 1960's millions of people left for the new world and were replaced by welsh, irish and scottish immigrants, which the act of union and the industrial revolution gave impetus too. I mention this because I do see history on the whole as being factual. When conducting genetic testing for historical purposes, it must take into account demographic movements, genealogy and history so as to rule out incorrect results and interpretations. In ireland they only sample people with gaelic irish surnames, yet in england they include people with irish, scottish and welsh surnames. Hopefully in the future, all y-dna tests will be based on people with english surnames and a proven paper trail from the 1700's. The people of the isles project due this year, includes english samples with celtic surnames, which for me does not give a fair result. Though I talk only of england, I imagine the same holds true for other populations, such as the french, dutch, germans etc.I apologise if the text is too long.
    Don't worry, everything is taken into account. In fact surnames are usually irrelevant in genetic studies. When analysing populations and tracing back ancestries it is important to always look at the big picture. Haplogroups were determined for each part of the world. Once enough data is collected, statistics can be established. Overall we see that some haplogroups are found only in specific parts of the world. For instance, over 90&#37; of Native Americans belong to Y-DNA haplogroup Q1a3a. Most East Asians belong to haplogroup O. In the Arabian peninsula J1 makes up over 70% of the lineages. In Ireland or Wales about 80% of the people belong to R1b.

    Each haplogroup has a number of subclades, which allow to be even more specific about the region of origins. For instance, haplogroup Q is found at high densities both in Central Asia and the Americas. So when one pops up in Western Europe, we could wonder how it got there. If it is a Q1a3a in Spain, chances are that it is a Native American lineage brought back during the colonial period (maybe after some intermarriage with Spaniards in the Americas, so the first person of that lineage to reach Spain might not even have looked Native American, but mestizo). If on the other hand, a Scot is found to be Q1a2, a subclade common among Siberians and Central Asians, it can easily be guessed that this lineage came to Europe with the Hunnic invasion, and eventually arrived in Scotland either through the Vikings (there is a theory that some Huns settled in Scandinavia) or through the French Normans (the Huns did invade Gaul/France).

    STR markers make it possible to be even more precise, and to know tell two people apart with an accuracy of less than 10 generations. We can estimate the time to most recent common ancestors between any two individual with STR markers. So when a Germanic haplogroup I1 is found in Spain or Italy, it can be compared with those from North Germany or Scandinavia. If some matches share an ancestor less than 2000 years ago but consistently over 1000 years ago, it is proof enough that this I1 lineage got to southern Europe during the Germanic invasions.

    This has been done between Britain, the Netherlands, North Germany and Scandinavia to estimate the proportion of British lineages with Germanic roots (as opposed to the ancient Britons). In fact the UK and Ireland are the best studied part of the world at the moment, thanks to the popularity of genetic genealogy there and in the USA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Knatchbull View Post
    Were the Francs really even Germanic? Were they not actually 'freeman' made up of a whole bunch of different 'untermensch' swarthies. Deffinately one of the least Germanic Germanics. So I hear anyway.
    Don't forget, the Germans were also considered to be swarthy by the English and the American colonists. Review the writings of Benjamin Franklin. The Germans are really not traditionally blond- that belongs to Scandinavia- and then to their conquests.

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    What about the Bavarians?
    Most of the Lombards migrated to Italy in 568, therefore their genetic impact on the modern Austrian population is likely to be very small, furthermore, they settled in the eastern part of Austria and not the whole country. Most of today's Austrian German ancestry derives from the Bavarians.
    If most R1b is of the U106/S21 variety, what is the proportion of this subclade in South Bavaria?

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    Yeah that's right and the very word Swarthy, comes into English from the German Schwarz ( Black). Tully

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Introduction

    From the 4th century the Roman Empire is starting to have trouble containing the hordes of Germanic tribes at its borders.

    As early as 288, the Franks are allowed to settle in the Germania Inferior region of Gallia Belgica.

    The Huns from central Asia advance westwards, forcing entire populations to follow the move. The Alans, from the northern Caucasus, settled in Pannonia (modern Hungary and around).

    In 376, the Visigoths are tolerated in Gaul on condition that they defend the borders of the empire; but they rebel and sack Rome in 410 and start ruling the empire.

    In 406, the Alans, Vandals, Suebi and Burgundians cross the Rhine and settle in Gaul. The first Burgundian kingdom appears in 411 in eastern Gaul. The Alans, Vandals and Suebi move to Iberia. The Suebi set up a kingdom in Gallica, while the Vandals move to North Africa.

    During that time, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes invade Roman Britain.

    In 493, the Ostrogoths, invited by the Byzantines to recover Rome from the Visigoths, invade Italy and create the Ostrogothic kingdom, pushing the Visigoths to southern Gaul and Iberia.

    At the same moment, the Lombards settle in the Danube valley around modern Austria. In 568 they defeat the Ostrogoths and become the new rulers of Italy.

    The Huns, after roaming through Europe, siding with one Germanic tribe or another, eventually settle in what is now called Hungary.

    Genetic analysis

    Reading a history book, one could think that the massacres committed during this period of wars and destructions left plenty of space for the invaders to spread their genes. They created new kingdoms that would evolve in medieval kingdoms, spawning many noble families, who usually had more children than poor peasants working for them.

    It has even been claimed that the Anglo-Saxons never intermarried with non-Germanic folks, and indeed exterminated most of the Romano-Britons and pushed the survivors away to Wales and Scotland.

    But how much of this is true ? For the first time we are able to find out the real answer, whatever history books tell us or don't tell us. Thanks to Y-DNA tests, it is possible to know the percentage of male Germanic lineages in each region of Europe.

    => see Y-DNA haplogroup frequencies in Europe by country

    The only thing that is not obvious from the table is the percentage of Germanic R1b. R1b is mostly a Celtic haplogroup, including ancient Italic, Iberian, British and Irish people. But one branch, known as U106 (or S21) originated in the Netherlands and northern Germany, homeland of the Frisians, Franks, Angles, Saxons and Lombards.

    Germanic ancestry can therefore be traced by looking at the R1b-S21, I1 and I2b haplogroups. I have calculated the approximate percentages by country.

    We can see that the only parts of the Roman Empire that have been massively settled by Germanic people (at least one third of the modern population) are England, the Benelux, northern and eastern France, southern Germany and Austria. This corresponds to the regions where Germanic languages are now spoken, or used to be spoken until a few centuries ago (Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Alsace, Lorraine).

    Nevertheless it is very clear that Germanic people did not replace the existing populations. In England, only half of the lineages are truly Germanic. The percentage is higher on the east coast, but this is also because the Vikings settled in great number there. Without the Vikings, England might now just be 1/3 Germanic.

    Austria and south-west Germany are surprisingly only one third Germanic themselves. In Baden-W├╝rttenberg, about 60% of lineages are Celtic, and at least 10% of Greco-Roman origin. Switzerland is even less Germanic (22% according to the data available to me). Interestingly, almost all R1b is Austria is the S21 variety, which let us suppose that the Lombards settled massively in the region.

    Italy was invaded by at least 5 Germanic tribes (Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Lombards, Franks), and yet less than 10% of modern lineages are Germanic. Most are to be found close to the Alps (or in Sicily, but that is due to the later Norman invasion).

    Iberia was the prey of the Visigoths, Vandals and Suebi, but they contribution to the modern Y-DNA haplogroups is a mere 5% of the population. The Vandals seem to have had the smallest impact, probably because they didn't settled in Iberia. Even in regions of the old Visigothic kingdom, in Catalonia and south-west France, only about 2% of modern lineages can be traced back to them. The Visigoths may have settled more around Aragon and Valencia. It is the Suebi who have had the biggest impact, judging by the slightly higher percentage of Germanic haplogroup around their old fief, in Galicia, north-western Iberia.

    As for the Huns from Central Asia, it is though that their genetic legacy is associated with haplogroup Q. It is bold of Hungarian people to think of themselves as the descendants of Attila. Indeed, only 3% of them belong to haplogroup Q (and 2.5% in neighbouring Slovakia, part of which was historically Hungary). Ukrainians are more Hunnic, with 5% of Q.
    My understanding is that there have not been enough comprehensive studies accomplished and many of the figures will likely change when more thorough work is done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cambria Red View Post
    My understanding is that there have not been enough comprehensive studies accomplished and many of the figures will likely change when more thorough work is done.
    They certainly will. Science is constantly in progress. A lot of what we learn at school is already outdated. Genetics is one of the fastest progressing science, so I expect figures to change all the quicker. But that doesn't mean we can't interpret the current data.

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