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Thread: Dna from Muslim burial in early Medieval France

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    Dna from Muslim burial in early Medieval France

    See:
    Early Medieval Muslim Graves in France: First Archaeological, Anthropological and Palaeogenomic Evidence

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0148583

    They're talking about three adult males buried in "Islamic" style in a burial in Nimes around the time that there is evidence for a Muslim presence in the area from about 720 CE to 760 CE.

    All three men belonged to the "Berber" clade, E-M81. The mtDna is H1, L1c3 and K1a4/

    It seems pretty clear, as the authors conclude, that on the paternal side these were Berbers who converted to Islam and became part of the "Saracen" forces. Whether the K1a and H1 were picked up in North Africa or in Iberia is unclear. There's a lot of H1 in North Africa, but less K1a, so I don't know.

    "Abstract
    The rapid Arab-Islamic conquest during the early Middle Ages led to major political and cultural changes in the Mediterranean world. Although the early medieval Muslim presence in the Iberian Peninsula is now well documented, based in the evaluation of archeological and historical sources, the Muslim expansion in the area north of the Pyrenees has only been documented so far through textual sources or rare archaeological data. Our study provides the first archaeo-anthropological testimony of the Muslim establishment in South of France through the multidisciplinary analysis of three graves excavated at Nimes. First, we argue in favor of burials that followed Islamic rites and then note the presence of a community practicing Muslim traditions in Nimes. Second, the radiometric dates obtained from all three human skeletons (between the 7th and the 9th centuries AD) echo historical sources documenting an early Muslim presence in southern Gaul (i.e., the first half of 8th century AD). Finally, palaeogenomic analyses conducted on the human remains provide arguments in favor of a North African ancestry of the three individuals, at least considering the paternal lineages. Given all of these data, we propose that the skeletons from the Nimes burials belonged to Berbers integrated into the Umayyad army during the Arab expansion in North Africa. Our discovery not only discusses the first anthropological and genetic data concerning the Muslim occupation of the Visigothic territory of Septimania but also highlights the complexity of the relationship between the two communities during this period."


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    Cool, what a straightforward case.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    Weird to think of North African Muslims in France 1,400 years ago, before any of the modern issues. The study didn't give raw mtDNA data. L1c3 is obvisouly of African origin. H1 is typical of Europe and NorthWest Africa, but since they didn't give raw data we can't know if it was a European or NW African version of H1. K1a4a is very typical of Europe, so I suspect this person had a European mother. But, I don't have much NW African mtDNA, so maybe it's also typical for NW Africa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Haired14 View Post
    Weird to think of North African Muslims in France 1,400 years ago, before any of the modern issues. The study didn't give raw mtDNA data. L1c3 is obvisouly of African origin. H1 is typical of Europe and NorthWest Africa, but since they didn't give raw data we can't know if it was a European or NW African version of H1. K1a4a is very typical of Europe, so I suspect this person had a European mother. But, I don't have much NW African mtDNA, so maybe it's also typical for NW Africa.
    they intended to loot and conquer all Europe
    Europe didn't have a regular army then
    Karel Martel recruted and trained an army and beat them in 732 AD near Poitier
    that batlle stopped their advance

    this DNA again proves that Islam was often spread by the sword
    the Umayyads were moderate and tolerant Muslims tough, they were followed by the fundamentalist Abasids

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    This confirm that most of the saracens were berbers more than arabs
    Sicilians and mainlander Southern Italian phenotype galleries.

    http://italicroots.lefora.com/topic/1111/Re-Groups-of-Sicilians
    http://italicroots.lefora.com/topic/375/Southern-italians-how-we-really-look

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    You're back projecting today's situation into the past.

    They weren't the Huns, for goodness sakes. Was there raiding along the coasts for slaves and booty? Yes, there was, and it was terrible. There are "Saracen Towers" all along my coast where look outs were posted. Many coastal Italian towns were abandoned and new towns established inland.

    However, many of the invaders came to settle, particularly the Berbers. We have evidence of that in Iberia and Sicily. Do I approve of the discrimination practiced against non-Muslims in the Muslim domains in times of greater persecution in terms of higher taxes etc.? No, of course not. The fact remains that they were good stewards of the land, far better than their predecessors, and built thriving cultures far more advanced in every way than most of the Christian west of their time.

    Muslim Spain was a marvel, as was Muslim Era Sicily.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Andalus

    As for southern France, as I mentioned, the Muslim states of Iberia were often allied with the Occitan nobility and populace. The extermination came from the Franks.

    See:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albigensian_Crusade

    History is much more complicated than Christianity good, Muslim evil, or Near East evil, Europe good. Take a look at the establishment of the Crusader kingdoms in the east.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela;

    Muslim Spain was a marvel, as was Muslim Era Sicily.
    [URL
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Andalus[/URL]

    As for southern France, as I mentioned, the Muslim states of Iberia were often allied with the Occitan nobility and populace. The extermination came from the Franks.

    See:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albigensian_Crusade

    History is much more complicated than Christianity good, Muslim evil, or Near East evil, Europe good. Take a look at the establishment of the Crusader kingdoms in the east.
    Complicated? in some way, yes, but not too much; we see that today between states and multinational companies, without clear cut between the concerned grounds.
    For the little I know, the Muslims/Christians war in Spain, long during with surely some interruptions, saw alliances between Christians and Muslims on BOTH SIDES of the moving borders! None was a saint. Middle-Ages knew more 'immobiler' competition (to gain lands) than national wars.
    Concerning material culture of Muslims in Spain, sure they made beautiful things but I'm not sure they were made by wellwilling "partners" (ture too on the other side!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    You're back projecting today's situation into the past.

    They weren't the Huns, for goodness sakes. Was there raiding along the coasts for slaves and booty? Yes, there was, and it was terrible. There are "Saracen Towers" all along my coast where look outs were posted. Many coastal Italian towns were abandoned and new towns established inland.

    However, many of the invaders came to settle, particularly the Berbers. We have evidence of that in Iberia and Sicily. Do I approve of the discrimination practiced against non-Muslims in the Muslim domains in times of greater persecution in terms of higher taxes etc.? No, of course not. The fact remains that they were good stewards of the land, far better than their predecessors, and built thriving cultures far more advanced in every way than most of the Christian west of their time.

    Muslim Spain was a marvel, as was Muslim Era Sicily.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Andalus

    As for southern France, as I mentioned, the Muslim states of Iberia were often allied with the Occitan nobility and populace. The extermination came from the Franks.

    See:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albigensian_Crusade

    History is much more complicated than Christianity good, Muslim evil, or Near East evil, Europe good. Take a look at the establishment of the Crusader kingdoms in the east.
    the Umayyads were very tolerant Muslims, more tolerant than most Christians
    they were on the run for the fundamentalist Abasids who had defeated them in Bagdad and they settled in Spain
    the Saracens in southern France were raiders and looters though
    the Umayyads in Spain were replaced by fundamentalist and intolerant Almohavides and they were replaced by fundamentalist Christians

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    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    I dunno for al-Andalus but muslim era in Sicily wasn't this paradise. It was initially 140 years of internal war (827 begin of the conquest and 965 the end of the conquest) and the independent emirate of Sicily (born in 948) was divided in a lot of taifas in around 1020 and weakened by the return of Byzantium (Maniakes) and Rome (the so called Normans who in truth used mostly Italian forces from a lot of states).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hauteville View Post
    I dunno for al-Andalus but muslim era in Sicily wasn't this paradise. It was initially 140 years of internal war (827 begin of the conquest and 965 the end of the conquest) and the independent emirate of Sicily (born in 948) was divided in a lot of taifas in around 1020 and weakened by the return of Byzantium (Maniakes) and Rome (the so called Normans who in truth used mostly Italian forces from a lot of states).
    Hauteville, correct me if I am wrong, but didn't the Norman led force from Reggio Calabria land in Messina in 1060 and reached Palermo by 1070 something? or there was already resistance within Sicily during this period?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hauteville View Post
    I dunno for al-Andalus but muslim era in Sicily wasn't this paradise. It was initially 140 years of internal war (827 begin of the conquest and 965 the end of the conquest) and the independent emirate of Sicily (born in 948) was divided in a lot of taifas in around 1020 and weakened by the return of Byzantium (Maniakes) and Rome (the so called Normans who in truth used mostly Italian forces from a lot of states).
    I don't know, but whenever tolerance and advanced culture in Islam history is discussed, the Omayyad era in Spain is mentioned.
    Are there other examples of tolerance or advanced culture in Islam history?
    Some Moghul rulers in India were I think, but then others weren't, and the last one certainly not.
    It seems to me every time tolerance appeared it was overruled by strict Islamic groups.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    It seems to me every time tolerance appeared it was overruled by strict Islamic groups.
    This is correct. The Aglabids were the first wave Muslims to eventually conquer Sicily (and Malta as it was part of it) and parts of south Italy.....who were the tolerant sort, however they were followed by the Fatmids who were very strict and imposed taxes on Christians and probably restrictions on Christian rituals. The Irony is that the initial Norman liberators to the Christians (removing high taxes and freedom of worship), had included the Muslims in an equal society. It wasn't till decades later that Muslims and Jews were forced to convert or leave.

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    0 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maleth View Post
    Hauteville, correct me if I am wrong, but didn't the Norman led force from Reggio Calabria land in Messina in 1060 and reached Palermo by 1070 something? or there was already resistance within Sicily during this period?
    The war between muslims and christians lasted 30 years, from 1061 to 1091. Most of Sicily remained still christian during muslim rule.

    I don't know, but whenever tolerance and advanced culture in Islam history is discussed, the Omayyad era in Spain is mentioned.
    Are there other examples of tolerance or advanced culture in Islam history?
    Some Moghul rulers in India were I think, but then others weren't, and the last one certainly not.
    It seems to me every time tolerance appeared it was overruled by strict Islamic groups.
    I have some doubts that aghlabids were tolerants. Were one of them attacked the eastern Sicily it was very bloody. Syracuse was destroyed and there were few survivors.

    The Irony is that the initial Norman liberators to the Christians (removing high taxes and freedom of worship), had included the Muslims in an equal society. It wasn't till decades later that Muslims and Jews were forced to convert or leave.
    Only Roger II was tolerant but after him the muslims were attacked by the christians and forced to leave to North Africa or al-Andalus or to take refuge in the mountains until Frederick II definitive expulsion.

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    2 out of 3 members found this post helpful.
    My point was that the "Saracens" were not just raiders; they were also settlers, establishing thriving civilizations when they had enough numbers and enough time had passed, as in Iberia, for example. This is separate from any discussion of whether they were tolerant of other religions or how fervent and observant they were in their religious practices. After all, as I mentioned in another thread, the Puritans (Protestants wishing to purify Anglicanism) were extremely intolerant of religious dissent, and very rigorous if not rigid in their practices, yet they carved a thriving civilization out of the American wilderness.

    In Sicily they were present only for a period of one to two centuries depending on the area (and only a couple of decades in pockets of the mainland), not the hundreds of years that they ruled two thirds of Spain, so the cases are somewhat different. It took a long time to pacify Sicily and there was a great deal of internal strife between Sunnis versus Shias, Berbers versus Arabs etc. So yes, it was a total two hundred year period of warfare and strife in which Sicily was never totally pacified or assimilated. One gets the impression from the Arab chronicles and "tourist" acounts that it was still rather on the periphery, a sort of "frontier" of Islam. Certainly not anyone's idea of a paradise. However, I don't know of any "paradise" state anytime in history. Look at the 20th Century in the west.

    My point was that they left Sicily materially better off than they found her, and I think an argument could be made that they were better stewards than the Angevins or certainly than the Spaniards.

    This accademia article on Muslim Sicily is pretty good, although the best, most detailed treatment is Leonard Chiaroni's "A History of Muslim Sicily".
    https://www.academia.edu/7561123/The...rule_in_Sicily

    Sicily under the Muslims was part of a thriving trade network, and it had a bustling market based money (bi-metallic) economy. In the countryside they introduced widespread hydraulic irrigation bringing virtually the whole island under cultivation. Through underground channels and canals they also brought clean water into the cities. Citrus fruits, sugar cane, and dates were introduced and farmed. The growing of grain once again reached levels not seen since the Romans. There is evidence for widespread animal herding as well. Sicily once again not only supplied for its own needs but had enough for export. Added to this was mining on a large scale, the first paper in Europe was made from the papyrus plants that they imported and cultivated, and they imported silk worms and instituted the lucrative silk weaving industry.

    The arts and intellectual endeavors were also not neglected. This is where we find the first medical schools in Europe:
    http://jima.imana.org/article/view/5551

    As in all the Muslim realms of this period scholars read, translated, and incorporated the surviving manuscripts of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

    The same points are made more generally in this Wiki article.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emirate_of_Sicily
    "The new Muslim rulers initiated land reforms which in turn, increased productivity and encouraged the growth of smallholdings, a dent to the dominance of the landed estates. The Arabs further improved irrigation systems through qanats, and oranges, lemons, pistachio and sugarcane were introduced to Sicily. A description of Palermo was given by Ibn Hawqal, a Baghdad merchant who visited Sicily in 950. A walled suburb called the Kasr (the palace) is the center of Palermo until today, with the great Friday mosque on the site of the later Roman cathedral. The suburb of Al-Khalisa (Kalsa) contained the Sultan's palace, baths, a mosque, government offices, and a private prison. Ibn Hawqual reckoned 7,000 individual butchers trading in 150 shops. By 1050, Palermo had a population of 350,000, making it one of the largest cities in Europe, second only to Islamic Spain's capital Cordova, which had a population of 450,000. In contrast, under the succeeding Christian Kingdom of Sicily, Palermo's population had dropped to 150,000, though it became the largest city in Europe due to the larger decline in Cordova's population; by 1330, Palermo's population had declined to 51,000.[14]"

    The wonders of the Emirate of Cordoba are even more widely known, largely perhaps because they had more time for consolidation.

    As I said, we have to be wary of back projecting the conditions in the Muslim World of the present into the past.

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    In contrast, under the succeeding Christian Kingdom of Sicily, Palermo's population had dropped to 150,000, though it became the largest city in Europe due to the larger decline in Cordova's population; by 1330, Palermo's population had declined to 51,000.[14]"
    Dropped because the deportations, the pogroms (often with the physical elimination began in 1166) and the gradual exile of the muslims.

    https://books.google.it/books?id=ke3...ulmani&f=false

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hauteville View Post
    Dropped because the deportations, the pogroms (often with the physical elimination began in 1166) and the gradual exile of the muslims.

    https://books.google.it/books?id=ke3...ulmani&f=false
    I'm sure that had a lot to do with it, but it also dropped because of a decline in agriculture and commerce. Spain and Portugal experienced the same thing. After the expulsions, fields lay empty because of lack of farmers, so there were no surpluses for export, shops were vacant, trade dwindled. Spain was saved by the looting of the gold and silver of the New World although that created its own problems, and the benefits didn't last.

    In terms of intolerance I'd also say that from everything I've seen the paying of the surtax was enough to insure the safety of the "people of the book". The Spaniards were far less tolerant. It's they who introduced the Inquisition and the burning of Muslims and Jews to Sicily.

    As to what changed in the Muslim world whole books have been written about it but I've seen nothing that satisfactorily explains it to me.

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    After the expulsions, fields lay empty because of lack of farmers, so there were no surpluses for export, shops were vacant, trade dwindled.
    The area behind Palermo, where muslims lived (Jato, Entella, Corleone etc) was totally depopoulated when Frederick II deported them and had a weak repopoulation with some other North Italians (settled in Corleone and Vicari) and later with some Albanians and Greek refugees after the Ottoman conquest (Contessa Entellina, Palazzo Adriano, Piana degli Albanesi etc).

    It's they who introduced the Inquisition and the burning of Muslims and Jews to Sicily.
    In 1492 there weren't muslims in Sicily but only a minority (3-5% of population) of jews who settled in Rome or in Ottoman empire, some converted to Christianity but controlled by inquisition.

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    I don't know much about the Muslims in Sicily.
    And the Saracens, little is known about them except from the Frankish and Christian side, who were there enemies, so I guess there is some bias.

    My point is, always when Muslims claim Islam was tolerant and superior in culutre, they come back to one single example, it is the Spanish Omayyads.
    And they even forget to mention that the Omayyads were overthrown by the intolerant Almohavides.
    So I ask again, is there no other example in history except the Omayyads?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    I don't know much about the Muslims in Sicily.
    And the Saracens, little is known about them except from the Frankish and Christian side, who were there enemies, so I guess there is some bias.

    My point is, always when Muslims claim Islam was tolerant and superior in culutre, they come back to one single example, it is the Spanish Omayyads.
    And they even forget to mention that the Omayyads were overthrown by the intolerant Almohavides.
    So I ask again, is there no other example in history except the Omayyads?

    I don't know why you're linking religious tolerance with a sophisticated culture. You can have a highly advanced culture which is very intolerant as well as one that is tolerant. My point was that the achievements of the Muslim dominions in Europe were independent of whether or not the ruling group was the Umayyads or a later, more fundamentalist group. Much of the Sicilian occupation was under the control of the Fatimids. In Spain, the culture didn't fall apart when the Umayyads lost power.

    As for other Muslim dominions, you can look to the Ottoman Empire, which was more tolerant than the states of Christendom.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ...Ottoman_Empire

    "Under Ottoman rule, dhimmis (non-Muslim subjects) were allowed to "practice their religion, subject to certain conditions, and to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy" (see: Millet) and guaranteed their personal safety and security of property.[4] While recognizing the inferior status of dhimmis under Islamic rule, Bernard Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, states that, in most respects, their position was "very much easier than that of non-Christians or even of heretical Christians in medieval (Catholic) Europe."[5] For example, dhimmis rarely faced martyrdom or exile, or forced compulsion to change their religion, and with certain exceptions, they were free in their choice of residence and profession.[6]"

    For cultural achievements there is this simplified version:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultur...Ottoman_Empire

    Also see:
    http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Ottoman_Empir

    "Although Western writers have typically depicted the Ottoman Empire as decadent and corrupt, life for many people in the vast empire was secure and peaceful. Over-taxation was not common and, as noted earlier, law was uniformly and fairly administered. People could move freely throughout the empire. Ethnicity and race were not barriers to progress. The compulsory recruitment of non-Christian boys into the military, though, was problematic for the families concerned. On the other hand, many such children rose to prominence.


    The Sufi form of Islam, renowned for its tolerance, flourished in Ottoman Turkey, where Rumi (1207-1273) founded his order of “whirling dervishes” and taught the unity of all beings, goodness, charity, and love."

    Of course, as all Empires do eventually, it went into decline.

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    I don't link religious tolerance with sophisticated culture, the Omayyad Andalus happened to have both.
    And alltough the system didn't fall apart under the Almohavides, no progress was made any more.

    I doesn't say Ottomans were tolerant, it says they were 'a bit better than Spain and England'.
    They didn't torture people to convert, but there was serious discrimination. For ambitious people there was little alternative to conversion to Islam.
    And it ended in a big mess. They commited a lot of crimes in the Balkans and the Armenian genocide.


    And the Sufi, I like them, they don't see Muslims as superior to other people.
    But there are not many, and many other Muslims hate them.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    The emirs of Sicily the Kalbids were known to be tolerants with local christians said Michele Amari.

    I'm sure that had a lot to do with it, but it also dropped because of a decline in agriculture and commerce.
    It is interesting that the first muslims who left when christians rule returned were likely people of science, literature etc before farmers.

    https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Ballan%C5%ABb%C4%AB
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_Hamdis
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Maziri

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hauteville View Post
    The emirs of Sicily the Kalbids were known to be tolerants with local christians said Michele Amari.


    It is interesting that the first muslims who left when christians rule returned were likely people of science, literature etc before farmers.

    https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Ballan%C5%ABb%C4%AB
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_Hamdis
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Maziri
    I think this could be called "The Exile's Lament" by Ibn Hamdis, yes?

    "When Sicily fills my memory,
    Ah what pain I feel,
    Upon remembering my youth, my glory,
    My delirious love!"

    I've been interested since my university days in the impact of Arabic lyric poetry on the development of poetry in the west, on the troubadours of southern France, on the Sicilian School of Poetry and then to Petracco and Dante and from there to Shakespeare. I believe it was only the shift in geo-politics that led to Dante's Tuscan becoming the template for Italian instead of the Sicilian of the Sicilian school.
    http://www.webexhibits.org/poetry/home_movements.html
    The more well to do had more resources and somewhere to go, perhaps. The poorer people probably tried to hang on, only to eventually be forcibly ejected. Given the low level of E-M81 in Sicily, some converted, or some of their children remained, but the percentage is too small for most of the settlers to have stayed, even if one hypothetically includes some of the other "E" clades or "J1" clades.

    @Bicicleur,

    I don't see why the Muslim kingdoms should have standards applied to them which aren't applied to the Christian world. By the standards of the day, the Ottomans were tolerant of other religions.

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    Unfortunately, no autosomal dna was tested, although the authors say that might be forthcoming. That would help to clarify if there had already been admixture with European women in Spain, although the time line is a bit tight for that.

    The other thing that's interesting about all of this is what might have been the impact on modern French genetics. I've always thought, given the short time period, that it must have been minimal. We're talking only about the period from 720 to about 760, after all, roughly the same amount of time that they spent in pockets of mainland southern Italy. No matter how many women were in their harems it's hard to fathom how this could have led to much impact autosomally. Of course, the state of French genetics being what it is, we don't have much to go on. In Italy, we have some 23andme results showing about a 1-3% figure for some southern Italians. I don't put much stock in the Busby, Hellenthal papers, which bizarrely show no recent North African admixture anywhere except Sardinia, but show West African admixture. It seems to me that any West African influx in Spain and southern Italy would have had to have been mediated by North Africans, and even if not, how could the West African influx have been larger than the North African one. It doesn't make sense, but then neither does a recent admixture of 20% or more "Near Eastern" in the France of that time. We certainly can't attribute it to any massive phantom movement of "Byzantines" after the Muslim invasions as some people have tried to do for Italy. There's absolutely no historical evidence for it at all.






    That's one of my problems with that study. I know that genetics trumps history to some degree, but before I accept a genetics study that totally contradicts a common sense understanding of history, I want to be assured that they're getting it right, particularly in terms of the dating for these admixtures. Just to bring up Italy again, how can you also find this admixture with "Levantines",which from the map is probably just generally "Near Eastern", even if perhaps 10%, in Toscana, but no recent admixture with the Lombards for whose invasion in larger numbers in that area we have so much evidence?

    Anyway, I don't want to derail the thread.

    Oh, there's one other source for this ancestry in France, the Fraxinetum of Provence in a later period.
    https://www.academia.edu/3537846/Fra...ntury_Provence

    It's not clear to me how many in this group were converts versus men with North African or Near Eastern roots. I would think it was a mixed bag.

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    Yes Ibn Hamdis became famous for singing his despair after being forced to abandon his homeland.
    Sicilia mia. Disperato dolore
    si rinnova per te nella memoria
    Giovinezza. Rivedo le felici follie perdute
    e gli amici splendidi

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    thanks for this information

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