Turanid race

Turanid race

Turanid race (also Turanoid or South Siberian race)[1][2][3] is an obsolete term of physical anthropology to denote South Siberian race,[4][5] originally intended to cover populations of Central Asia and Kazakhstan. It is known as a racial type or "minor race", subtype of the Europid (Caucasian) race with Mongoloid admixtures, which is situated at the boundary of the distribution of the Mongoloid and Europid "great races".[6][7] In European literature of the period a "Turanid race" was widely known as a Europid subtype, dwelling on the borders of the two racial groups since primeval times.[8] Eickstedt's Turanid race is represented in Siberia among the peoples of the Altay region. This race, he writes, corresponds in his classification to Deniker's "Turkic-Tatar" (or "Turanian") race and to Haddon's "Turkic".[9]

Soviet writers[10] regarded the terms "South Siberian" and "Turanian" as the same[11] wherefore for some time it was also associated with the spread of the Turanian languages (a now obsolete linguistic term),[12] which are the combination of the Uralic and Altaic families (hence also "Ural–Altaic race").[13] The idea of a Turanid race came to play a role of some significance in Pan-Turkism or "Turanism" in the late 19th to 20th century.


  • Ethnogenetic connections and considerations 1
    • Origins 1.1
  • Geographic distribution 2
  • Anthropological subdivision and characteristics 3
  • Ottoman period 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Ethnogenetic connections and considerations

The Turanid race was said to be connected with the Turkic peoples. It was characteristic of the Onogurs, Huns, Magyars, Pechenegs, Cumans, Ancient Uyghurs, Avars, Kabars, Khazars, the Volga Bulgars (8th–9th cc.) and was one of the composite elements of the ruling strata of the Hungarians at the time of the Conquest.[14][15][16][17][18][19] Anthropological studies based on burials from the Conquest period in Hungary, carried out by Bartucz, Nemeskeri and Lipták, were written to have demonstrated that the numerically strongest element among the Magyar conquerors was of the Turanid type (31,4%).[20] American anthropologist Merry E. Wiesner and German scientist Ferdinand von Richthofen hold the view that Scythians also had considerable Turanid elements.[21] Additionally, the Hungarian anhtropologist Gyula Henkey (1974) estimates that the Turanid type also constitutes about 20% of the modern-day Jász population in Hungary, of which 10% can be traced back to a Cuman ancestry and the other 10% to the Alano-Sarmatian lines.[22] In the groups of Gyula Henkey (1990), the Turanid type could be found in 43.7% of Nagykun, 41.2% of Őrség, 33.0% of Kiskun, 27.9% of Palóc and 25.5% of Jász groups.[23]

Hungarian archaeologist István Bóna argues that most of Europeans Huns were of Turanid Caucasoid and that less than 20-25% were of Mongoloid stock.[24] He analysed population of the Avars in Danube-Tisza midland region found that 80% of them showed Europoid characteristics of Turanid type predominant where as Mongoloid and Euro-Mongoloid types compose about one-third of the total population of the Avar graves of the eighth century.[25] An examined population of Bulgars from an abandoned medieval cemetery showed mixed in anthropological terms with brachicranial Caucasoid type as the primary representatives followed by the Mongoloid admixed type. Women's were not significantly different from men but were more Caucasoid than men.[26]

Between the seventh and fifth centuries B.C., the Sakas of the Aral Sea region seem to have a mixed population, consisting of a Europoid, mainly Andronovo stratum with a significant admixture of Mongoloid forms of Central Asian origin. Early Turanid was formed from a mixture of predominately Europoid with significant Mongoloid admixture.[27]


According to Ginzburg (1966), the Turanid type developed in Central Asia between 500 BCE to 1000 AD and developed from the intermixture of the Europoid Andronovo type, which had been aboriginal to Central Asia since the Bronze age, and a Mongoloid type coming from the east, the Andronovo being the basic stratum and the Mongoloid the secondary one (Ismagulov, 1970). In the second half of the 13th century, Mongol conquerors settled on the aboriginal population mainly along the Silk Road in northeast Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Consequently in these areas a Turanid type with a stronger Mongoloid characteristic became predominant in the 13-16th centuries. In the meantime, the areas of north and south Kazahstan and northern Uzbekistan, the Turanid form of strongly Europoid characteristics continued to predominate. According to Kazakh anthropologist Orazak Ismagulov, it is also of utmost importance to realize that the anthropologists of the former Soviet Union chose to give the Turanid label only to those forms which had stronger Mongoloid characteristics, whereas on the basis of historical anthropological studies, it is clear that the form with strongly Andronovo characteristics is the most ancient form of the Turanid type.[28]

According to the Hungarian anhtropologist Pál Lipták (1955)[29] the Turanid type is present in Central Asia since the Bronze Age, arising from the mixture of the Andronovo type of Europoid features and the Oriental (Mongoloid). Hungarian anhtropologist Fóthi Erzsébet points out that the Turanid type emerged from a Cro-Magnon type population during the Bronze Age in South-Siberia and the northern plains of present-day Kazakhstan, in particular as an amalgation between Andronovo-typed and Paleo-Sibirid tribes.[30] Ginzburg (1966) holds the view that the Oriental (Mongoloid) mixture started at the Sakas (Scythians) already in the middle of the 1st millennium B.C., and the gradual shift of the Andronovo type to the Turanid one lasted till the end of the 1st millennium. The ancient Andronovo features, however, have dominantly survived in Kazakhstan till the end of the 12th century (Ismagulov 1970).[31] Ginzburg (1966) postulates the mixing of the Sakas with the Huns as early as the middle of the 1st millennium B.C. Anthropologically they were significantly different from the Persians (called now Iranians).[32]

Geographic distribution

The Turanid group is the predominant element in North- and South-Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz.[33] To a lesser degree it is also common among Karakalpaks, Telengits, Tofalars, Uyghurs, Bashkirs, Volga Tatars, Crimean Tatars, North-Uzbeks, Tajiks and partly Shors. To a greater or lesser extent, the Turanid racial type is found from Siberia throughout Russia and deep into Eastern Europe and even as far as Ukraine and from the North down to Afghanistan. The Kazakhs, Kirghiz and Telengets are regarded as characteristic representatives of the South Siberian race, and in a hybrid form this racial type appears among the Yakuts.[34] J. Arkho listed the Yenisei (Kets) and the Pacific Ocean (Chukchis) types as variants of the South Siberian racial type.[34]

In the beginning of the 1st millennium B.C., according to archeology, pastoral-agricultural tribes of the Bronze Epoch of the Southern Siberia and Kazakhstan steppes (so-called "Andronov Culture tribes") passed to a more progressive, nomadic cattle tribal. According to Ginzburg (1956, 1959) and Ismagulov (1962, 1970) these tribes belong to the nomadic Andronovo anthropological type which made a basis for the anthropological type of Kazakhs, Karakalpaks, Kyrgyz, Altaians, and partly Uzbeks.[35] Eickstedt also includes among the Turanids the Mountain Tajiks and the Pamir tribes.[9]

Tajiks are characterized by the Pamirian and Pamiro-Turanid, the South-Uzbeks by the Pamiro-Turanid and Turano-Pamirian[36] The three main components of the Central Asian populations, which seem to be anthropologically the closest to the Hungarian people, are the Turanid, the Pamirian and the East-Mediterranean (Ginzburg 1966).[37] The Turkic types (Turanid, Pamirian, Anterior-Asian and Oriental-Mongoloid) in modern Hungarians are estimated to 46.2%.[38] Turkmens are generally characterized by the Transcaspian variant of the East-Mediterranean type, though Oshanin (1957-1959)[39] could also observe Andronovo and Oriental (Mongoloid) features.[36] The Turanid hybrid forms of the Balkans are usually called "Dinaric".[40]

Eickstedt's map of the races of Europe (1889 - 1901) identified "Turanids" (red) as the dominant group in parts of far Southeast Europe, Northern and Eastern parts of the Caspian Sea, Northeast Kazakhstan, South Ukraine and the central parts of the Volga Region, including additional Turanid diffusion areas in Hungary and Central Anatolia (red circles).

The Turanids (or 'Turki'), among whom the physical characters of their Europoid ancestors extending from the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea to the borders of Mongolia and a narrow tongue of Turanid territory stretches north of the Caspian to the Black Sea coast. The Mongoloid element in their features becomes progressively less towards the western limit of their territory.[41] The original 'Turki' type and temperament are probably best preserved amongst the remote Yakuts (though very mixed of the Lena, and the Kyrgyz groups (Kara-Kirghiz and Kirghiz-Kazaks) of the West Siberian steppe and the Pamir uplands.[42]

From the anthropological viewpoint Turanid, Pamirian and Mediterranean (Pontic) components appeared side by side with former traits.[43] During the 1st millennium A.D. Turanids and other Asiatic brachycephalic types had invaded the domain of the Iranian longheads.[44]

Turanoid elements were said to occur among the Bengalis and Oriya) to one common source, the Homo alpinus of the Pamirs and Chinese Turkestan, suggesting a migration of Alpine invaders from Central Asia over Gujarat, Deccan, Bihar, Bengal.[47] The Hungarian-British archaeologists Aurel Stein concurs with Chanda.[47]

At the archaeological site of Alfalou in North Africa there were also found brachycephalic (short-headed) and mesocephalic (medium-headed) Turanoid skulls dating to the Mesolithic age.[48]

Anthropological subdivision and characteristics

In 1952, German anthropologist Egon Freiherr von Eickstedt subdivided the Turanid type as follows:[49]

Species: Homo sapiens Modern human
Subspecies I: Homines sapientes albi Europids

Series C: Homines s. albi brachimorphi Mountain race belt
Variety 4: H. s. eurasicus Turanid
a) H. s. eur. turanicus Aralid
b) H. s. eur. pamiriensis Pamirid

According to von Eickstedt's typology, the Aralid type is a Central Asiatic Turanid influenced by Tungid. Aralids constitute the principal element among the Kazakhs, and are common among the Uzbeks and the Uyghurs. Oshanin calls this element "South Siberian Mongoloid" which is especially common among the Kazakhs.[50]

According to Hungarian anthropologist Gyula Henkey and the Kazakh anhtropologist Orazak Ismagulov there are five subdivisions of the Turanid type, of which one subtype is undetermined:[51]

Turanid, strongly Mongoloid Turanid, Middle Type Turanid, strongly Andronovo (Europoid) Turano-Pamirian
The average dimensions of the head and the zygomatic arch hardly deviate from the average dimensions of the former type (Henkey 1996), the face is slightly higher, the angle of the mandible less wide, the zygoma is more often strongly forward projecting, the glabella is less developed and the nasal back is more frequently slightly less than moderately pronounced. This form was noted in 26.1% frequency among the Kazakhs and Kyrgyz of China. The Middle Turanid type stands between the Turanid and the Mongoloid variant of the Turanid. Here the Europoid and Mongoloid features occur in 50-50% proportions. This form was found to occur in about 1% frequency among the Hungarians of today. Among the Kazahs who were examined in China the Turano-Pamirian transitional form is very common. This variant is characterized by the following: tall stature; proportionately large cranium; short cephalic index; very wide and moderately high face; very wide angle of the mandible; moderately frontally projecting zygoma; vertical or semi-vertical forehead profile; moderately developed (in males well-developed), glabella (=the part of the forehead above the root of the nose); moderately, or somewhat less moderately high, straight, or mildly convex nasal back; dark, or greenish eye color; brown-black hair color. This form was found to occur in about 43.5% frequency among the Kazakhs measured in Beijing. Kazakhs who have these traits are still mostly Mongoloid in appearance but with higher europoid traits. Compared to the Turanoid average, the face is slightly higher, the nasal back is somewhat longer and projecting forward a bit more frequently, and mostly slightly convex in shape. Among photos of the Kazakhs of Kazakhstan (Ismagul 1982), there were also forms close to the "Alföldi" Turanid variant.

The Turanid type can be determined by following sorting criteria: Intermediate body, medium broad face, brachycephalic head, projecting cheekbones, slight inner (epicanthic) eyefold, high medium or low nasal bridge, generally straight nasal profile, light brown skin, light wavy to straight and dark brown hair, prominent and straight nose, with a high bridge.[52][53]

The strongly Mongoloid Turanid form was thought to be shown to exist among the present day Hungarians only in 0.5% frequency, the other characterized by the strongly Andronovo form. Lipták divided and renamed 'Cromagnoid-C' (recalling the "Andronovo type"),[54] 'Cromagnoid-C+Turanid', and 'Pamiro-Turanid'. In this way, broken up, redistributed, and renamed, Lipták succeeded in 'hiding' the strongly Europoid majority of the Turanid physical types from those scholars who were interested in tracing the Hungarian ancestry and prehistory. The Pamiro-Turanian form was thought to be shown to exist in 20.0% frequency in the Hungarian population, among all the Central Asian Turkic-speaking peoples, the Hungarians bear the closest physical resemblance not only to the predominantly Turanian Kazakhs, but also to the Turanid, Turanoid, Turano-Pamrian, Pamiro-Turanian, and Pamiroid Uzbeks as well. The closeness between the Europoid variants of the Turanoids and the transitional forms of the Pamiro-Turanian forms was thought to exist because the Andronovo type was one of the components not only of the Turanian but, according to Ginzburg, this type played an important role also in the development of the Pamirian type.[55]

Bartucz provides a refuge in central Europe for a minor central Asiatic survival. A variety of short-headed central Asian Turkic typed characteristics represented among the Hungarians, in the relatively non-mongoloid sense, was said to be the Turanid type (apx. 20%), which was thought to have entered the Carpathian Basin with the Huns and the Magyars, while about 5% were said to manifest clearly recognizable mongoloid features or Asiatic elements, especially concentrated in the Hungarian pastoral population. The purer Turkic element was said to be especially visible in the nobility. Bartucz originally called this race "Caucasus Tartaroid" but recently changed its name to the "Alföld" race or "Homo Pannonicus" because the largest number of these people can be found in the Great Hungarian Plain (Nagy Alföld) and in Transdanubia, especially concentrated among the pastoral Hungarian population. The Alföld race was formed from different regional types and these regional types showed a great resemblance to the original Turanid race. The ‘Hungarian type’ or ‘Alföld race’ is a complimentary expression. The Alföld race is the group of people that anthropologists formerly called a "Turkic" type people. Batucz writes that they are on average 165–166 cm tall, with a large skull, the face is slightly Tartaroid but not flat. The nose is more developed than that of the Asian Turanid race. The eyes are bigger. The color of the eyes is lighter, yellowish- brown. The face is reddish-brown.[15][56]

Ottoman period

European literature concerning the "Turanid race" was absorbed by the Ottoman elite, and was partly even translated into Ottoman Turkish, contributing to the idea of an essence of "Turkishness" (Türklük) the honour of which came to be protected under Turkish law until the revision of article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code in April 2008. The most influential of these sources were Histoire Générale des Huns, des Turcs, des Mongoles, et autres Tartares Occidenteaux (1756–1758) by Joseph de Guignes (1721–1800), and Sketches of Central Asia (1867) by Ármin Vámbéry (1832–1913), which was on the common origins of Turkic groups as belonging to one race, but subdivided according to physical traits and customs, and l’histoire de l’Asie (1896) by Leon Cahun (1841–1900), which stressed the role of Turks in "carrying civilization to Europe", as a part of the greater "Turanid race" that included the Uralic and Altaic speaking peoples more generally.[57] There was also an ideology of Hungarian Turanism.

See also


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  2. ^ Archaeologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Volume 10, Akadémiai Kiadó, 1959, p.272.
  3. ^ György Acsádi, János Nemeskéri. "History of Human Life Span and Mortality." Akdémiai Kiadó, 1970. page 233:
    • "(ii) Medium stature, brachycranic, euryprosopic, with moderate flatness. This type has developed at the boundary of the Europoid and Mongoloid main races, and can be classified as belonging to the South-Siberian (Turanoid) type."
  4. ^ Юрий Венедиктович Кнышенко. История первобытного общества (рус.). Изд-во Рост. ун-та (1973). Page 100
  5. ^ Георгий Никитич Румянцев. Происхождение хоринских бурят (рус.). Бурятское книжное изд-во (1962). Page 119
  6. ^ Racial and cultural minorities: an analysis of prejudice and discrimination, Environment, development, and public policy, George Eaton Simpson, John Milton Yinger, Springer, 1985, ISBN 0-306-41777-4, p.32.
  7. ^ American anthropologist, American Anthropological Association, Anthropological Society of Washington (Washington, D.C,), 1984 v. 86, nos. 3-4, p. 741.
  8. ^ Egon Eickstedt (Freiherr von), Rassenkunde und Rassengeschichte der Menschheit. F. Enke, 1934. p.170.
    • "... einer Zeit der großen Verwirrung und Verwechslung rassischer, sprachlicher und ethnologischer Namen und Verhältnisse, wurden die Turaniden von Turkestan und Vorderasiens (Osmanli) oft als mongolid angesehen, ein Irrtum, der selbst jetzt noch in manchen Laienköpfen spukt. Heute wird die turanide Rasse aber von allen wissenschaftlichen Autoren zu den Europiden gestellt — jedoch meist mit einer Einschränkung: es werden ihr auch einige mongoloide Züge zugestanden. Tatsache ist, daß die Turaniden seit uralter Zeit, gewissermaßen seitdem die „Menschheit" besteht, an der Grenze der beiden Rassenkreise lebt, und daß sie hier, und zwar zweifellos schon vor der Zeit der endgültigen Differenzierung der Rassen, in Kontakt und biologischer \ erflechtung mit altmongoliden Formen stand."
  9. ^ a b Eickstedt, Rassenkunde und Rassengeschichte der Menschheit, 1934, pp. 169-174. In: Maksim Grigorʹevich Levin, Ethnic origins of the peoples of northeastern Asia, Arctic Institute of North America by University of Toronto Press, 1963, p.31.
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  13. ^ The Races of Europe by Carleton S. Coon
  14. ^ Gyula László, István Rácz: The treasure of Nagyszentmikloś, Corvina, 1984, p.171.
  15. ^ a b László Botos, The Road to the Dictated Peace, Árpád Publishing Company, 1999, p.23.
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    • "In bezug auf die Verbreitung konkurriert die turanide Rasse mit sämtlichen anderen Rassen. Von Sibirien angefangen durch ganz Rußland und tief nach Mitteleuropa, ja bis nach Frankreich und von Norden bis herunter nach Indien, Persien und dem Balkan finden wir sie überall in kleinerem oder größerem Prozentsatz, und zwar überall dort, wo berittene Nomadenvölker irgendwann in der Geschichte einmal aufgetaucht sind. Die turanide Rasse war, sowohl was die Zahl wie die Aktivität anbelangt, eines der Hauptrassenelemente in dem Menschenmaterial der alten Hunnen, Awaren, Bulgaren, Uiguren, Magyaren, Petschenegen, Kumanen und der späteren verschiedenen türkischen und tatarischen Völker. Auch heute finden wir sie noch in verhältnismäßig großer Zahl auf den Steppen Südwest-Asiens, hauptsächlich in südlichen Gebieten Sibiriens, in Turkestan, auf den kirgisischen Steppen, im Altai-Gebirge, auf der Pamir-Hochebene."
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  21. ^ Nurettin Koç, İslamlıktan önce Türk dili ve edebiyatı, 2002, p.52.
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    • "Megállapítása szerint a mai jászdózsai lakosságban 20%-ban fordul elo turanid (a honfoglaló magyarok egyik legfontosabb antropológiai eleme), 10%-ban a (mindenekelôtt a kúnokra jellemzó) eló ázsiai és majdnem 10%-ban a dínári (a szarmata-alán eredetu jászok egyik lényeges összetevöje) típus."
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    • "Térben és időben Dél-Szibéria bronzkoráig vezethető vissza. Nagyobb lélekszámú cro-magnoni típusú (Andronovo, paleoszibirid) europid népesség élt hatalmas kiterjedésű területen Dél-Szibéria és a mai Észak-Kazahsztán pusztáin. Az ezt követő évszázadokban szétterjedtek az egész ázsiai sztyeppén nagy létszámú népességet létrehozva a Kaszpi-tengertől az Altaj hegységig. Az időszámítás utáni első évezredben fokozatosan, a különböző területeken eltérő mértékben mongolid népességekkel keveredve jött létre az a típus, amely nem tűnt el az idők folyamán, ma is jól felismerhető Közép-Ázsia török nyelvet beszélő népei, elsősorban a kazahok között. Magyarországon a honfoglalók vezető rétegében, majd a kunok és a besenyők között gyakori.
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    • "Während aber die turaniden Einschläge auf eine gemeinsame Wurzel zurückgehen, gilt das für die mongoloiden Beeinflussungen nicht. Diese müssen in Begalen auf eine Kontaktmetamorphose durch die benachbarten Palämongoliden zurückgeführt werden [p.161]. ... Turanide, deren Herkunft längst verschollen ist, führten über Belutschistan hinaus brachykephale Elemente nach Bengalen und Maharaschtra, was schon Risley 1) erkannte [p.328]."
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