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Thread: Ashkenazi Jews and the Balkans: Autosomal and Haplogroups

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    Ashkenazi Jews and the Balkans: Autosomal and Haplogroups

    Much has been written on the haplogroups present in Ashkenazi Jews, as well as their autosomal DNA. In terms of autosomal DNA, Ashkenazi Jews are frequently presented as similar to Italians. This is despite their Middle Eastern roots. This study, from 2014, placed Ashkenazi Jews within a "Southeastern European" group, more specific than just the southern part of Europe. This makes me wonder about a possible Balkan origin. It seems as though Ashkenazi E1b1b came from the Middle East, but I'm wondering about further research among this Y-DNA haplogroup which is so common among Ashkenazi men. Haplogroup G among Ashkenazi men is found in different branches, and these could easily be from Europe, the Caucasus, or Central Asia, probably all. As you can see here on Eupedia, Ashkenazi J-M67 (a branch of J2) is closest to European branches of J2. Ashkenazi J1 lineages are clearly Middle Eastern. I won't rule out a Middle Eastern origin for Ashkenazi J2, but perhaps it just may have an East Mediterranean origin near the Balkans, and is thus related to the "Southeastern European" autosomal proximity of Ashkenazi Jews.

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    @ Dinarid,


    Nice thread

    But as concerns Balkans
    you better Search Separadim Jews,
    they were expanded from Greece to Serayevo and from Albania to Con/polis

    do we have something about them,

    I do not know if Donmie jews came from Separadim or Eskenazim Jews
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinarid View Post
    Much has been written on the haplogroups present in Ashkenazi Jews, as well as their autosomal DNA. In terms of autosomal DNA, Ashkenazi Jews are frequently presented as similar to Italians. This is despite their Middle Eastern roots. This study, from 2014, placed Ashkenazi Jews within a "Southeastern European" group, more specific than just the southern part of Europe. This makes me wonder about a possible Balkan origin. It seems as though Ashkenazi E1b1b came from the Middle East, but I'm wondering about further research among this Y-DNA haplogroup which is so common among Ashkenazi men. Haplogroup G among Ashkenazi men is found in different branches, and these could easily be from Europe, the Caucasus, or Central Asia, probably all. As you can see here on Eupedia, Ashkenazi J-M67 (a branch of J2) is closest to European branches of J2. Ashkenazi J1 lineages are clearly Middle Eastern. I won't rule out a Middle Eastern origin for Ashkenazi J2, but perhaps it just may have an East Mediterranean origin near the Balkans, and is thus related to the "Southeastern European" autosomal proximity of Ashkenazi Jews.
    The similarity of Ashkenazi with Italians is exaggerated. Ashkenazi are more southern eastern than most Italians (North and Central Italians) and Ashkenazi overlap more with Southern Italians and Southern Greeks


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    i dont know much about them but there were/are(?) romanioti who wikipedia tells me are the earliest jewish community on the european continent, in greece and surrounding areas. Between Mizrahi, Sephardic and Ashkenazi jewish populations I don't hear much mention of the Romaniotes, but possibly they could be a missing link for the similarities between Italian, Greek, and Ashkenazi populations?

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    Quote Originally Posted by selectivememri View Post
    Romaniotes, but possibly they could be a missing link for the similarities between Italian, Greek, and Ashkenazi populations?
    Romaniotes, Eastern Roman Empire Jews

    Probably, genetical they are the most Anatolian Jew comunity so your opinion is realistic view.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selectivememri View Post
    i dont know much about them but there were/are(?) romanioti who wikipedia tells me are the earliest jewish community on the european continent, in greece and surrounding areas. Between Mizrahi, Sephardic and Ashkenazi jewish populations I don't hear much mention of the Romaniotes, but possibly they could be a missing link for the similarities between Italian, Greek, and Ashkenazi populations?
    Romaniotes possibly are 2 major groups

    one is so old from the times of Apostole Paulos, around 70 AD and before
    second in a rather later I do not know when, the Karaites

    Romaniotes lost a big % of them at WW2, above 80% in some areas, a % that other Hebrew groups in balkans see from deep under.

    nobody knows exactly the origin of Romaniotes,
    I have not any genetical info about them
    some scholars wrote that were Greeks who accepted Judaism in difference with Karaites
    some say that are 2000 years ago, in Greece.
    their literature and written shows a full level knowledge or asimilation with Greek language, and less with Greek alphabet.
    (they used Hebrew-palestinian alphabet to write in Greek language)

    Yevanic language dialect has 2 branches
    1 is the Jewish Koine Greek or Romaniotika
    2 is the Con/polis Jewish Greek the Karaitika

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yetos View Post
    @ Dinarid,


    Nice thread

    But as concerns Balkans
    you better Search Separadim Jews,
    they were expanded from Greece to Serayevo and from Albania to Con/polis

    do we have something about them,

    I do not know if Donmie jews came from Separadim or Eskenazim Jews
    The Donme came from Sephardim.

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    Sephardic Jews are genetically similar, but their haplogroups are different. There is higher R1b among men. There don't seem to be in-depth studies on Sephardic R1b, unfortunately.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    it does stand to reason that i have seen many south eastern europeans regularly score small percentages of jewish ancestry. In my dad's town, Bitola there is a jewish cemetary dating back to the 1400's, which would correspond to the influx of sephardic populations coming from spain. So I would assume the balkan+sephardic connection is likeliest, however, if the romaniote's were not just greek converts, it is possible that they mixed with local christian or muslim populations, and that could be the reason for the shared east med snp's that seem to be arbitrarily designated as either ashkenazi or sephardic? that's my two cents anyways, it is a very interesting subject though!

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by selectivememri View Post
    it does stand to reason that i have seen many south eastern europeans regularly score small percentages of jewish ancestry. In my dad's town, Bitola there is a jewish cemetary dating back to the 1400's, which would correspond to the influx of sephardic populations coming from spain. So I would assume the balkan+sephardic connection is likeliest, however, if the romaniote's were not just greek converts, it is possible that they mixed with local christian or muslim populations, and that could be the reason for the shared east med snp's that seem to be arbitrarily designated as either ashkenazi or sephardic? that's my two cents anyways, it is a very interesting subject though!

    yes Monasterion had the second Biggest Separadim community in area after Thessaloniki and third was Βεροια Veroia (little Jerusalem)
    they had Hahami (a kind of bishop) and Thessaloniki had Mega Hahami
    many of them later moved to Florina,

    Separadim came after 1490 from Spain and Navarra
    a second wave of Ladino speakers came later at around end 16th to 17th century from Italy mainly and France.

    Romaniotes were 1400 years before other Jews in Greece,
    and I do not how long before Separadim and Eskenazim, were karaites in Con/polis
    but surely after 4rth century. 3 centuries after Romaniotes at least.

    their cultural and ethnic feeling difference as also their power and social class difference is known from the times of Greek revolt and especially after 1860.
    If I expand more the most easyis to gain the title of as anti-Semitic

    anyway there is a book pressed lately in Greek on how connected or isolated they were
    and soon will be in Francais I hope and in other languages, about the Idols chamber, Στοα των ειδωλων, las incantadas

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    Romaniotes are neither Sephardic nor Ashkenazi. That's based not only on their genetics but their accepted history.

    See this:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romaniote_Jews

    "The Romaniotes are Greek Jews, distinct from both Ashkenazim and Sephardim, who trace back their history to the times of the Greek-speaking Byzantine Jews and can be subdivided in a wider sense in a Rabbanite community and in the Greco-Karaite community of the Constantinopolitan Karaites which still survives to this day.[2][3][4][5] A Romaniote oral tradition tells that the first Jews arrived in Ioannina shortly after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE.Before the migration of the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi Jews into the Balkans and Eastern Europe, the Jewish culture in these areas consisted primarily of Romaniote Jews.[6]
    The Romaniote Rites represent those of the Greek-speaking Jews of the Byzantine (or former Byzantine) empire, ranging from southern Italy (in a narrower sense the Apulian, the Calabrian and the Sicilian Jewish communities) in the west, to much of Turkey in the East, Crete to the south, Crimea (the Krymchaks) to the north and the Jews of the early medieval Balkans and Eastern Europe.[7]"

    "
    In the 12th century, Benjamin of Tudela recorded details about communities of Jews in Corfu, Arta, Aphilon, Patras, Corinth, Thebes, Chalkis, Thessaloniki, and Drama. The largest community in Greece at that time was in Thebes, where he found about 2000 Jews. They were engaged mostly in cloth dyeing, weaving, in producing of silverware and making silk garments. At the time, they were already known as "Romaniotes"."

    "Waves of Sephardi Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492; many settled in Ottoman-ruled Greece. They spoke a separate language, Ladino. Thessaloniki had one of the largest (mostly Sephardi) Jewish communities in the world and a solid rabbinical tradition. On the island of Crete, the Jews historically played an important part in the transport trade. In the centuries following 1492 most of the Romaniote communities were assimilated by the more numerous Sephardim.

    At the beginning of the 20th century, the Romaniote community of Ioannina numbered about 4,000 people, mostly lower-class tradesmen and craftsmen. Their numbers dwindled after that due to economic out-migration; and on the eve of World War II, there were approximately 1950 Romaniotes left in Ioannina. Centered around the old fortified part of the city (or Kastro), where the community had been living for centuries, they maintained two synagogues, one of which, the Kehila Kedosha Yashan Synagogue still remains today."

    Their rabbinic literature is closer to that of Italian Jews than to that of Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrachi Jews.

    Despite some absorption of Sephardic ancestry they still form a cluster of their own, close to Italian Jews.



    General PCA including Jews which I think is pretty accurate:



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    On that graph, it seems as though Ashkenazi Jews fall neatly between Southern Europeans and Middle Easterners. But the proximity of Ashkenazi Jews to Greeks is clearly in the Southeastern direction, and I don't think that can be ignored. One could almost draw a line straight down for the Balkan peoples, and, depending on how it was drawn, it would catch the Ashkenazi.

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    I came across another forum seeing that the Ashkenazi-heavy haplogroup E-Y6923 also appears among non-Jewish Cypriotic men. How I see it, is that, though Ezra did implement endogamy among the original Jews, many probably intermarried or converted to Judaism during the Hellenistic (and Roman) period, in which there were numerous cultures and religions, such as the Mithras cult, Zoroastrianism, numerous other messianic groups.
    This haplogroup may have also entered Cyprus through levantines such as Phoenicians though.

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