Against Karl Earlson’s "Nordic Hellas"
by Dienekes Pontikos
Left: Athenian woman from a 5th c. BC white lekythos. Right: Greek warrior from a 4th c. BC mural (Paestum)

Karl Earlson, a neo-Nordicist author writes in his article Nordic Hellas

He [Angel] observed that prior to the Classical period, the Nordic element had been larger, and that after it, the element in question had declined. [Angel (1943; 1944; 1945; 1946a, b, c.] Angel (1971), also noted that the immigrant Indo-Europeans, were of Nordic subrace.

This represents a complete distortion of the position held by J. Lawrence Angel who writes (Social Biology of Greek Culture Growth, American Anthropologist, 1946)

But the invaders’ destructiveness cleared away rigid sections of Mycenaean social structure leaving room for new traits. After emigrations of Aeolians and Achaeans, Ionians and the more adventurous of the Dorians, the invaders were quickly absorbed ethnically, either by adopting local landowners into their tribes as in the Peloponnese, or by greater strength of the local society as apparently in Attica. After Submycenaean heterogeneity and local diversity in physical type a parallel process of absorption occurs during the Geometric phase of fusion and culture growth. Fusion was promoted by close linguistic similarity of invaded and conquered, by the Dinaroid-Alpine central trend of the invaders like that of both earlier and later northern intruders, and by persistence, especially among the females of the Mycenaean racial blend

Greek Morphological Types: Table from J. Lawrence Angel, Social Biology of Greek Culture Growth, American Anthropologist, 1946

Unlike Earlson’s allegations, before the Classical Age, in the Late Helladic III and Early Iron Age, which saw among other things: the Trojan War, the Coming of the Dorians, the birth of the Greek alphabet and the beginning of the Olympic Games, the Nordic-Iranian element amounted to 10.45% and 14.29% respectively. While, in the subsequent Roman and Byzantine times it was 13.51% and 15.79%. Thus, in Roman and Byzantine times there were more (!) Nordic-Iranians in Greece than there were during the formative years of the Hellenic nation.

We must also note that in Angel’s Taxonomy the Nordic-Iranian element included several subtypes, only 2 of which, Nordic (D1), Danubian-Hallstatt (D5) he considered to be of northern origin, while Corded (D2) could be of either northern, or eastern origin, while Iranian (D4) and Iranian-Mediterranean (D3) were of eastern origin. Moreover, Angel notes that the Corded element was probably not as blond in Greece as in its northern manifestations, while Coon (Races of Europe, 1939) gives a black-haired, brown-eyed Afghan as a metrically perfect example of a Corded type:

Afghan of Corded type

We conclude by presenting five modern Greeks, which represented according to Angel (Skeletal Material from Attica, Hesperia, 1945, Volume 14, Issue 4) the Nordic-Iranian morphological type as found among the ancient Greeks.

Athenian of Arcadian parentage


East Thracian