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Thread: Are the Caucasians European?

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    Are the Caucasians European?

    I was supprised when i say "North-Caucasian" in the tribal section of the profile settings, because the Caucasus is not in Europe.

    EDIT: why was this moved to "Europoid"? we all know that they are Europid/Caucasoid, i was talking about their geograpichal location not race.

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    Re: Are the Caucasians European?

    Quote Originally Posted by pro-Alpine
    EDIT: why was this moved to "Europoid"? we all know that they are Europid/Caucasoid, i was talking about their geograpichal location not race.
    Just a misunderstanding then. I'll move it.

  3. #3

    Re: Are the Caucasians European?

    When I was about 10 yrs old, it was nearly the first time I heard the word Caucasian in a movie, a dialog was going on and I heard the word Caucasian in a description dialog.

    I know that all white-skin people are called Caucasians, because ethnologists agree that the origin of the white people is from Caucases.
    Here is an article I took from this forum, but I coudn't find the link again for you to put it.
    ________________________________________ _______________________________
    Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Gilder Lehrman Center International Conference
    at Yale University

    Collective Degradation:

    Slavery and the Construction of Race

    November 7-8, 2003

    Yale University

    New Haven, Connecticut

    Why White People Are Called 'Caucasian?

    Nell Irvin Painter


    On first thought, the theme of collective degradation would seem to exclude white people, not only because white people are not now considered particularly degraded—at least, not as a race—and the themes of "slavery, resistance, and abolition" apply more intuitively to people of African rather than European descent. Even one of the classic texts in the history of whiteness, The Invention of the White Race, by Theodore W. Allen, associates slavery and race with black people. But as Allen realizes, the function of the general concept of race is to establish and maintain hierarchical boundaries in human

    1 My gratitude goes to William Clark, Patricia Springborg, Glenn Shafer, Ottmar Ette, Stephen Kotkin, Hans Aarsleff, Anthony Grafton, and Thadious M. Davis. I’d like to extend especial thanks to Suzanne Marchand, Michael Hagner, Lorraine Daston, and Nicolaas Rupke in Berlin and G.ttingen. I offer particularly heartfelt thanks to Malinda Alaine Lindquist, my research assistant in Princeton, whose help proved absolutely indispensable in the course of German research. Thanks also to Birgit. lsanger and Renate Sherer, my German teachers in Berlin. Further thanks go also to Ben Braude, Angela Rosenthal, and David Bindman. I thank David Brion Davis for the invitation to present this work at this conference.
    Taxonomy, even when the categories are not "black" and "white"; Allen, therefore, begins the first volume of his study with the case of the Irish.
    2 Sound as it is, Allen's Irish opening is relatively rare in race studies, which usually finger blackness compulsively. Blackness, however, is not my subject here; whiteness is. I address the issue of white people as "Caucasian" as a heuristic: usually the question is not asked, because whiteness has not been problematized as thoroughly as blackness. My question of why white people are called "Caucasian" and its answer belong to the relatively new field of whiteness studies, a field nowhere as developed as African-American studies, with its sophisticated literature on race, enriched by the scholars featured in this conference.

    Including the invention of "Caucasian" as the name of white people makes good sense in a conference dedicated to collective degradation, for the still current term "Caucasian" connects directly to collective degradation, in the form of the gendered, eastern slave trade, via the network of learned societies that so deeply influenced the history of science in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Before this essay turns to G.ttingen in 1795 and Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1762-1840), who is known for having invented the association, let me locate the Caucasus and its peoples.

    Obviously the name "Caucasian" connects to the Caucasus, the 440,000 square kilometers of land separating the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. The two ranges of the Caucasus Mountains cross the region running roughly east to west. The northern, Caucasus range

    2 See Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race. Volume One: Racial forms the natural border with Russia; the southern, lesser Caucasus forms the natural border with Turkey and Iran. Anthropologists classify the fifty Caucasian ethnic groups into three main categories: Caucasian, Indo-European, and Altaic. Among the Altaic peoples are the Kalmuck, whom Blumenbach and his colleagues considered an embodiment of ugliness. Circassian peoples and Georgians, famed for their beauty, also fall into the category of Caucasian people. Known to Westerners since prehistoric times, this geographically and ethnically complex area has been subject to numerous overlords and considerable confusion. They have sent slaves into Western Europe and Asia Minor since before the time of Herodotus.

    Oppression and Social Control. London: Verso, 1994: 22-24.

    The Caucasus3

    3 Rand McNally: The World, Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. N/P. rev/ ed., 1998: 154.

    Today "Caucasian" functions as a synonym for "white," as in this quote from a recent psychological paper:

    Moderation analysis indicated that although there was no difference in the stress-coping-depression relationship between Latinos and Caucasians, the relationship among perceived stress, anger coping, and depression was stronger for female than for male adolescents.

    4 In this representative quote, social science expresses the consequence rather than the cause of the association of Caucasian with white people. But what, exactly, is the relationship between the Caucasus and "Caucasians"? The political news of our day offers more guidance.

    The Caucasus appears today as Chechnya. In the Republic of Chechnya supporters of independence from Russia are draining the force out of the Russian Army in the Caucasus and bombing theatres and apartment buildings in Moscow. Akhmed Zakayev, chief negotiator for Chechnya's rebel government is the Chechen most recently in the news.5

    4 Elisha R Galaif, Steve Sussman, Chih-Ping Chou, Thomas A Wills, "Longitudinal
    relations among depression, stress, and coping in high risk youth," Journal of
    Youth and Adolescence 32, No. 4 (August 2003: 243-258, abstract.

    5 See Jonathan Steele and Nicholas Watt, "UK arrests Moscow's most wanted
    man," The Guardian Unlimited, 6 December 2002, and Open Here, "Europe:
    Russia Gathering Evidence to Boost Case for Chechen Leader's Extradition," 3
    November 2002.

    Akhmed Zakayev,

    Moscow's most wanted

    man. Russia accuses

    Zakayev of terrorism.

    To judge from his photo, Zakayev does look like a "white person" in the current meaning of the term.6 Like many Chechens, he may be Muslim. If so, his religion (like that of the Turks) would complicate his white identity. But religion is a tangential question, important only because Georgians, who live south of Chechnya and are sometimes also considered Caucasians, are largely (but by no means entirely) Christian. As symbolic Christians, Georgians have been more readily accepted as honorary Europeans than have Muslim Chechens.

    President Vladimir Putin's "terrorism" problem (as he conveniently defines it) has deep historical roots. The Chechen rebels in the news are continuing a struggle that reaches back to the eighteenth century and the imperial ambitions of Catherine the Great. The war

    6 Benjamin Braude cites a New York Times article of 11 October 1998 that says
    that in Russia, Caucasians (including Georgians) are relatively dark-skinned and
    abused as "chorniye" or "blacks." See "Remarks on the History of Race," paper
    delivered in Leipzig University, Germany, 8 July 2000: 6.

    In Chechnya begins to answer the question in this essay's title, because the historical antecedents of just such a war made white people into "Caucasians."

    The history of the term "Caucasian" pulls us out of our own early twenty-first-century episteme, out of thinking about race in terms of people of African descent.7 This two-centuries' old history demands two reorientations of American thought: One reorientation must be geographical, the second, historical. We turn away from the United States, with its racial history rooted in the Atlantic slave trade and African slavery, and turn toward central Europe, with its preoccupation with Russia and slavery in and from Russia and its empire. In the association of whiteness with "Caucasian," Russia and the Russian borderlands take the place of the tropical regions of Africa, the Caribbean islands, and the United States South. Just as one sort of Orientalism attaches to Africa and the American plantation lands, so another, Russian, Orientalism attaches to the lands from whence came white slaves.

    To understand "Caucasian," we must also go back to the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, before the World Wars that impoverished Europe through bloodshed and military spending and discredited anti-Semitism through atrocity. We must go back before the elaboration of scientific racism to the Enlightenment's rage for classification and early Romanticism's preoccupation with morphological aesthetics. The eighteenth century's

    7 I am using Michel Foucault's notion of episteme, especially in his history of
    science, Les Mots et les choses: Une archéologie des sciences humaines (1966).

    Theodore Allen, while extending the conflation of race with blackness, explicitly warns historians not to be blinded by the present. His warning against presentism warrants heeding. See Allen, Invention of the White Race: of learned societies linking far-flung savants must come back into view, as must
    voyages of discovery that revealed the existence of peoples Europeans had not known
    before. As "Caucasian" became the word for white people, scientific elaboration depended
    upon many of the same contingencies that influence the transmission of knowledge today:
    institutional prestige, connections among savants and, in turn, rich and well-educated

    Historical events shaped the elaboration of knowledge about human taxonomy and
    its attendant hierarchies. The universal, egalitarian ideals of the French and American
    Revolutions moved scholars to situate themselves for or against revolutionary political
    ideals. In Germany scholars pondered the meaning of race in a world in which the
    controversy over the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade raged. The Atlantic slave trade
    and African slavery remained theoretical in Germany, relegating them to the background
    of this particular history. Nonetheless, the phenomenon of slavery and the vulnerability to
    which it exposed women weighed heavily in this white racial naming, just as slavery still
    counts in stereotypes of blackness.

    A slave trade lies at the center of the history of white people as Caucasians: the age-old,
    eastern, white slave trade from the Russian borderlands to the eastern Mediterranean and
    the Middle East. Because the iconography of the eastern slave trade features women,
    women occupy a more central place in the history of "Caucasian" than in the iconography
    of the western, Atlantic slave trade.

    The figure of the white slave is invariably female, always young, emphatically
    white--sometimes even blonde--and invariably beautiful. Beauty plays a leading role in the
    designation of "Caucasian." A leading figure in Russian and Western European
    Orientalism, the beautiful white slave usually comes from Georgia or the Caucasus.8 The
    odalisque became one of the most popular subjects of nineteenth-century academic art. She
    appears in harem scenes full of naked white women or in sculpture such as the most
    popular statuary in the nineteenth-century United States: Hiram Powers's ravishing, young
    "Greek slave" (1847).9

    8 Despite the common conflation of Georgia and the Caucasus, the two regions
    are not exactly the same. The populations of both Georgia and the Caucasus are
    heterogeneous and overlapping, but Georgia lies to the south of the Caucasus.
    The Caucasus is largely mountainous; Georgia has mountains but is known for its
    fertile plains and valleys along the Black Sea.

    9 See Joy S. Kasson, Marble Queens and Captives: Women in Nineteenth-century
    American Sculpture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990, and Jean Fagan
    Yellin, Women and Sisters: The Antislavery Feminists in American Culture. New
    Haven: Yale University Press, 1989: 99-124.

    Hiram Powers, "The Greek Slave" (1847)10

    The connection between "Caucasian" and white people lies in this very history. The name
    "Caucasian" for white people includes an open genealogy, one originating in the work of a
    pioneering social scientist, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach. Beneath this history of
    classification and measurement, however, lies another, hidden history of beauty and
    hierarchy. Blumenbach's embrace of beauty links his classification, which serves large
    geographical races and American racial binaries, with the nineteenth-century division of
    white people into better and lesser breeds. Blumenbach borrowed the name "Caucasian"
    from a reactionary colleague who was interested in setting Germans and Aryans at the top
    of the white heap.

    10 In Yellin, Women and Sisters :101.

    Johann Friedrich Blumenbach

    White people are called "Caucasian" because Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-
    1840), an influential German scholar in an up-and-coming German university, chose the
    name on 11 April 1795 in G.ttingen, Lower Saxony, in what would become Germany.
    Blumenbach's and G.ttingen's scholarly prestige made “Caucasian” a scientific
    classification.11 The term “Caucasian” quickly entered scientific discourse, appearing first
    in English in an 1807 translation of Blumenbach's Handbuch der vergleichenden Anatomie
    (A Short System of Comparative Anatomy) by the influential English surgeon William
    Lawrence (1783-1867).

    Blumenbach portrait from the exhibition catalogue of Blumenbach

    correspondence in the G.ttingen University library, 1984.12

    11 "Caucasian" appeared as a scientific classification in English in 1807: . . .

    12 F. W. P. Dougherty, ed., Commercivm Epistolicvm J. F. Blvmenbachii: Aus
    einem Briefwechsel des Klassischen Zeitalters der Naturgeschichte. Katalog zur
    Ausstellung im Foyer der Nieders.chsischen Staats- und Universit.tsbibliothek
    G.ttingen 1. Juni-21. Juni 1984. G.ttingen: G.ttingen University: 1984:

    Nineteenth-century English- and German-speaking natural scientists honored
    Blumenbach as “the father of anthropology,” a distinction he had to share in the French-
    speaking world with his older contemporary George-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon.13 In
    the historiography of physical anthropology, Blumenbach appears as a Founding Father of
    racial science and the classification of races. The mere designation of classifier
    oversimplifies both Blumenbach’s own work and the history of Western racial thought.
    Placement at the head of the toxic school of racial science also distorts the complexity of
    Blumenbach’s role in Western scholarship.

    Blumenbach wrote forcefully of the kindredness of the human races. While no
    advocate of the French Revolution, he opposed the stress on racial hierarchies of worth by
    more conservative colleagues in his own university and elsewhere in Europe. There existed
    only one race of people, he insisted, criticizing those like the Dutch anatomist, Petrus

    Camper, whose “facial angles” proves so useful to scientific racists' so-called “Great Chain
    of Being” linking humankind with apes. Camper's racist elaborators (like Edward Tyson,
    Josiah Nott, G. R. Gliddon, and even Johann Caspar Lavater) placed Negroes and
    Kalmucks as close to apes as to Europeans.14 Possessing the first known Africana library

    13 Blumenbach was also called the “German Buffon,” an indication as much of
    French scientific prestige as a hierarchy of the two men’s scholarship. See Luigi
    Marino, Praeceptores Germaniae: G.ttingen 1770-1820. G.ttingen: Vandenhoeck
    & Ruprecht, 1995: 70-71.

    14 Robert Visser stresses Camper’s use of facial angle as a means of establishing
    the unity of humankind. According to Visser, Camper’s son Adriaan and
    successive generations of racists put the facial angle to uses Camper had not
    intended. See “Die Rezeption der Anthropologie Petrus Campers (1770-1850),” in
    Gunther Mann and Franz Dumont, eds., Die Natur des Menschen: Probleme der
    Physischen Anthropologie und Rassenkunde (1750-1850). Stuttgart: Gustav
    Fischer, 1990: 325-326, 329, 334-335. See also David Bindman, Ape to Apollo:

    and sharing the motives of future black bibliophiles, Blumenbach dedicated several pages
    of his Contributions to Natural History (1806) to the vindication of Ethiopians’ (i.e.,
    Africans’) capacity for civilization. Throughout his work, and especially in the definitive
    1795 edition of De generis humani varietate nativa (On the Natural Variety of Mankind),
    Blumenbach rejected racial hierarchy and emphasized the unity of mankind.

    Aesthetics and the Idea of Race in the 18th century. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell
    University Press, 2002.

    Blumenbach's long career as a teacher at the University of G.ttingen and a citizen
    of the world of science stretched from the mid-eighteenth century, with its Enlightenment
    emphasis on rigorous measurement and classification, well into the Romantic era, with its
    preoccupation with human beauty and its fascination with the various Orients. Over the
    years, Blumenbach's thought came to bear the traces of other German thinkers, notably the
    G.ttingen philosopher Christoph Meiners (1747-1810), whose values and methodologies
    differed from his. Meiners stressed ethnocentric travelers’ accounts and philology
    connecting Germans to ancient Greeks as fellow Aryans and used skeletal measurements to
    rank peoples according to their physical beauty. Romantic themes also appear in
    Blumenbach’s late eighteenth-century writing, in the guise of an emphasis on physical
    appearance and mentions of ancient German racial purity.

    Blumenbach’s 1775 G.ttingen dissertation, De generis humani varietate nativa (On the
    Natural Variety of Mankind) made him a medical doctor and a star in the German

    academic firmament. The dissertation was published immediately, and Blumenbach joined
    the faculty at G.ttingen, the most rigorously scholarly German university of the time.15

    Blumenbach’s long career in G.ttingen brought him honors in abundance. He
    married into the family of Professor Christian Gottlob Heyne, who controlled his
    institution’s library, scientific society, and administrative destiny. The connection with
    Heyne's library brought Blumenbach into contact with the library's great benefactor, Georg
    von Asch of St. Petersburg. Blumenbach taught a bevy of aristocrats and other privileged
    men, including three English princes, the crown prince of Bavaria, and the brothers
    Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt. Gifts from grateful colleagues and students
    continually enriched his natural history collection. Led by the von Humboldts, his students
    supervised the celebration of his jubilee—the fiftieth anniversary of his doctorate—in
    1825. The medal struck for the occasion showed Blumenbach’s portrait on the right and
    skulls of three (of Blumenbach’s five) principal human races.

    Blumenbach jubilee medal.

    The medal revises Blumenbach’s number of races from five to three and sharpens
    his hierarchy. The “Caucasian” at the top faces forward, highlighting the high forehead and

    15 Blumenbach’s prime years in the last quarter of the eighteenth century
    coincided with his university’s apogee. See Luigi Marino, Praeceptores
    Germaniae: 48-52, 74.

    small face. On the right, the “Ethiopian” appears in profile, as though to reinforce the
    authority of Petrus Camper’s unflattering “facial angle.” On the left, the placement of the
    “Mongolian” skull emphasizes the breadth Blumenbach saw as its prime and ugly
    characteristic.16 The difference between Blumenbach's own five-fold, scientific
    classification and the more older and more popular notion of three races points to the
    difficulty of science to overcome prevailing cultural concepts regarding race.

    By the time he died at 88 in 1840, Blumenbach’s membership in seventy-eight
    learned societies attested to his eminence. In the eighteenth century, learned societies
    consolidated the masculine realm of letters. Organizations like the Royal Societies in
    London and St. Petersburg and G.ttingen’s own Royal Scientific Society brought together
    “scholars and moneybags” from across the Western world.17 In the learned societies,
    academic scientists—professional thinkers often short of the wealth necessary for the
    active pursuit of science—met and corresponded with rich and aristocratic men (like Sir
    Joseph Banks of London and Alexander von Humboldt of Paris and Berlin) who could
    afford to undertake foreign travel and amass vast collections of exotica. In his capacity of
    corresponding secretary of his own scholarly society in G.ttingen, Blumenbach cemented
    his ties with colleagues on several continents.

    Maintaining the status of a world-renowned scholar demanded more than profound
    thinking on important topics such as the place of humankind in nature. It also required

    16 Title page of K. F. H. Marx, “Zum Andenken an Johann Friedrich Blumenbach.”

    17 The quoted phrase comes from Suzanne L. Marchand, Down from Olympus:
    Archaeology and Philhellenism in Germany, 1750-1970. Princeton: Princeton
    University Press, 1996: 193.

    influential contacts, honors, the backing of strong institutions, and something to show off,
    for instance, a collection of skulls or a royal garden: Linnaeus and Buffon kept royal
    gardens in Uppsala and Paris. By the end of his life, Blumenbach owned the greatest
    contemporary collection of human skulls (what he terms his “Golgotha”): 245 whole skulls
    and fragments and two mummies.18

    Blumenbach used what he and his peers saw as complete and scientific means of
    classifying races. In addition to the already commonly accepted index of skin color, he
    factored into account a series of other bodily measurements, notably of skulls. Unlike
    Petrus Camper in Amsterdam, Blumenbach measured skulls along several lines. Placing
    scores of skulls of individuals from around the world in a line and measuring the height of
    the foreheads, the size and angle of the jawbone, the angle of the teeth, the eye sockets, the
    nasal bones, and also Camper’s facial angle in profile, Blumenbach produced what he
    called the norma verticalis.19

    18 Rudolph Wagner, “On the Anthropological Collection of the Physiological
    Institute of G.ttingen,” G.ttingen, 1856, in Bendyshe: 384.

    Germany’s National Socialist regime took such anthropological collecting of
    skeletons and skulls to a perverted, murderous extreme. See Robert Jay Lifton,
    The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide. New York:
    Basic Books, 1986: 284-287.

    19 Stefano Fabbri Bertoletti, “The Anthropological Theory of Johann Friedrich
    Blumenbach,” in Stefano Poggi and Maurizio Bossi, Romanticism in Science:
    Science in Europe, 1790-1840. Dordrecht, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994:

    Blumenbach’s norma verticalis.20

    Adding skin color to the norma verticalis, Blumenbach classified the single species of
    human beings into five races. Such rigorous methods endowed the “Caucasian” race with
    an unimpeachable scientific pedigree.

    The 1775 (1st) and 1781 (2nd) Editions of On the Natural Variety of Mankind

    Blumenbach's 1775 doctoral dissertation, On the Natural Variety of Mankind,
    followed his “immortal Linnaeus,” in designating four human races by their geographical
    situation: “Europe,” “Asia,” “Africa,” and “America.” The dissertation went into print
    immediately. Two subsequent revisions followed: a minor one in 1781, a major one in

    The first edition corrected prevailing misconceptions about differences between
    various peoples. Blumenbach pointed out that climate produced differences in skin color,
    so that dark -colored people live in hot places and light colored people live in cold places.
    He reminded his readers that individual bodies contained lighter and darker places (the
    genitals of light-colored people often being dark) and that outdoor work darkens people
    with light skin. He also cautioned his readers against drawing conclusions about whole

    20 Citation for image of norma verticalis.

    races based on only one or two individuals, for instance regarding beauty and ugliness. His
    example came from a people from the northeastern Caucasus-western Asian regions, the
    Kalmucks, noted for their ugliness: Blumenbach warned that one traveler’s drawing of an
    ugly Kalmuck’s skull could not sustain conclusions about the group as a whole. For
    another traveler described Kalmuck men as beautiful and symmetrical, adding that their
    young women “would find admirers in cultivated Europe.”21 This allusion to young
    women’s sexual attractiveness to European men follows a pattern common among
    European travelers, virtually all of whom were male. Under various spellings (“Calmucks,”
    “Kalmyks”), Kalmucks remained salient exemplars of ugliness well into the nineteenth

    Despite the prominent role Blumenbach ascribed to culture and climate in
    determining outward appearance, he believed that certain groups maintain their distinctive
    physical and cultural characteristics over successive generations and changing geographic
    situations. Among the people of Europe, for instance, the Swiss retained their open
    countenance; the Turks remained manly and serious, the people of the far north kept their
    simple and guileless look; and despite long residence among Gentiles, “the Jewish race
    presents the most notorious and least deceptive [example], which can easily be recognized
    everywhere by their eyes alone, which breathe of the East.”22

    21 On the Natural Variety of Mankind, 1st ed. (1775) in Bendyshe: 116-117.

    22 On the Natural Variety of Mankind, 1st ed. (1775) in Bendyshe: 122.

    This first edition of On the Natural Variety of Mankind noted in passing the
    relative beauty and elegance of the various kinds of people, portraying brown skin as less
    beautiful than white, but without undue stress.

    Having initially built upon the Linnaean scheme, Blumenbach in the 1780s and 1790s
    departed from Linnaeus’s four-way racial classification of Homo sapiens. Revising his
    presentation of the human species in light of exploration of the southern Pacific and the
    exigencies of his scholarly network, Blumenbach invented and elaborated his own, five-
    fold classification

    The second edition of On the Natural Variety of Mankind of 1781 added Malays
    and introduced the five-fold racial categorization (Europeans, Ethiopians, Mongolians,
    Americans, Malays) for which Blumenbach is known. However the designation of
    Europeans as “Caucasian ” did not yet appear. Blumenbach explained in the 1781 that five
    races were “more consonant to nature” than Linnaeus’s four. He cited the account of
    Johann Reinhold Forster of Captain James Cook’s second voyage to the South Pacific in
    1772-75, on which Forster and his son Georg headed a team of naturalists.23

    23 Of seventh-century English background, both Fosters lived and worked in
    Germany. They published accounts of the voyage: Georg Forster, A voyage round
    the world, in His Britannic Majesty's sloop, Resolution, commanded by Capt.
    James Cook, during the years 1772, 3, 4, and 5. London: B. White , 1777; and
    Johann Reinhold Forster, Observations made during a voyage round the world, on
    physical geography, natural history, and ethic philosophy. London: G. Robinson,
    1778. Johann Reinhold Forster was accepted into the Royal Society in 1771,
    Georg Foster in 1777, sponsored by Sir James Banks. See Michael Charles
    Carhart, “The Writing of Cultural History in Eighteenth-Century Germany,”
    unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Rutgers History Department, 1999: 38-39. See
    also Rolf Siemon, “Soemmerring, Forster und Goethe: “Naturkundliche

    Begegnungen" in G.ttingen und Kassel,”

    The 1795 (3rd) Edition of On the Natural Variety of Mankind

    In the 1795 third edition of On the Natural Variety of Mankind, Blumenbach
    perfected the descriptions of his five varieties of humankind and described one of his races
    as “Caucasian,” the designation for which he is remembered. Now as much a Romantic as
    an Enlightenment taxonomist, he stressed a racial hierarchy of physical beauty.
    Nonetheless, he reiterated his conviction that all people belonged to the same species,
    “Bimanus,” with only one variety, Homo. Laying out the basis for his conclusions, he
    presented five “perfect examples” of these varieties.24 Blumenbach realized that the issue
    of the exact number of human races (or varieties, as he called them) remained open, and he
    invited his reader to consider twelve competing schemes of human taxonomy and “choose
    which of them he likes best.” Three of his authorities, including Blumenbach’s G.ttingen
    colleague, Christoph Meiners, designated two races (Meiners’s were “handsome” and
    “ugly”); one designated three races; six designated four races; one, Buffon, designated six
    races; and one designated seven races.25 (Two hundred more years’ worth of racial inquiry
    have not diminished confusion over the true number of existing human races.)

    24 Interestingly, four of Blumenbach’s five typical skulls came from women. He did
    not comment on the significance of their gendered identity. On the Natural Variety
    of Mankind, 3rd ed. (1795) in Bendyshe: 152, 155-162.

    25 On the Natural Variety of Mankind, 3rd ed. (1795) in Bendyshe: 226-227.

    Skin color played a far larger role in the third edition of On the Natural Variety of
    Mankind than in earlier editions. Blumenbach also now ranked skin color in a frank
    hierarchy. He began with the white, not merely because he believed it to be the oldest race
    of man.26

    1. The white colour holds the first place, such as is that of most European
    peoples. The redness of the cheeks in this variety is almost peculiar to it: at
    all events it is but seldom to be seen in the rest.

    After white comes “second is the yellow, olive-tinge.” Then, third, “copper colour (Fr.
    bronzé)”; fourth is “Tawny (Fr. basané)”; “Lastly, the tawny-black, up to almost a pitchy
    blackness (jet-black)”27

    As in the first and second editions, the 1795 edition of On the Natural Variety of
    Mankind ascribed differences of skin color to climate and individual experience. Individual
    difference characterizes non-Europeans as well as Europeans, as Blumenbach reminded his
    readers. Poor people who work outside, for instance, become darker, and European skin
    becomes lighter in winter: “our own experience teaches us every year, when in spring very
    elegant and delicate women show a most brilliant whiteness of skin, contracted by the

    26 The most accessible discussion of Blumenbach and his five-fold racial
    classifications lies in Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man, Rev. ed. New
    York: W. W. Norton, 1996, esp. 401-412. However, as Thomas Junker points out,
    Gould’s visual representation of Blumenbach’s “racial geometry” conveys a
    misleading impression. See Junker, “Blumenbach’s Racial Geometry,” ISIS 89,
    No. 3 (1998): 498-501.

    Blumenbach’s contemporary Thomas Jefferson joined the legions citing red
    and white complexions as one of white people’s claims to racial superiority. Notes
    on the State of Virginia: [P# T/K].

    27 On the Natural Variety of Mankind, 3rd ed. (1795) in Bendyshe: 209.

    indoor life of winter.” If those women are careless and go into the summer sun and air,
    they lose “that vernal beauty before the arrival of the next autumn, and become sensibly

    As though to disregard his own explanations of individual difference, Blumenbach
    went on to describe the “racial face” of each of his five human varieties, dwelling longest
    on the Caucasian (from whom Lapps were now newly excluded):

    Caucasian variety. Colour white, cheeks rosy; hair brown or
    chestnut-colored; head subglobular; face oval, straight, its parts moderately
    defined, forehead smooth, nose narrow, slightly hooked, mouth small. The
    primary teeth placed perpendicularly to each jaw; the lips (especially the
    lower one) moderately open, the chin full and rounded. In general, that kind
    of appearance which according to our opinion of symmetry, we consider
    most handsome and becoming. To this first variety belong the inhabitants of
    Europe (except the Lapps and the remaining descendants of the Finns) and
    those of Eastern Asia, as far as the river Obi, the Caspian Sea and the
    Ganges; and lastly, those of Northern Africa.29

    His long footnote quoted the seventeenth-century traveler, Jean Chardin, as only one of a
    “cloud of eye-witnesses” making the same point.30

    28 On the Natural Variety of Mankind, 3rd ed. (1795) in Bendyshe: 227, 214.

    29 On the Natural Variety of Mankind, 3rd ed. (1795) in Bendyshe: 264-265; “racial
    face,” 229.

    30 On the Natural Variety of Mankind, 3rd ed. (1795) in Bendyshe: 269. The
    Chardin footnote reads: “From a cloud of eye-witnesses it is enough to quote one
    classical one, Jo. Chardin, T. I. p.m. 171. ‘The blood of Georgia is the best of the

    East, and perhaps in the world. I have not observed a single ugly face in that
    country, in either sex; but I have seen angelical ones. Nature has there lavished
    upon the women beauties which are not to be seen elsewhere. I consider it to be
    impossible to look at them without loving them. It would be impossible to point
    more charming visages, or better figures, than those of the Georgians.’”

    Blumenbach placed the Caucasian race’s northeastern boundary at he River Obi (or
    Ob), farther to the east than the Ural mountains, usually considered the boundary between
    Europe and Asia.31 He put the southeastern boundary at the Ganges. Although he included
    north Africans in the category of Caucasian, he mentioned no particular geographic
    demarcation dividing Caucasians from Ethiopians.

    Regarding human beauty, Blumenbach was of three minds: First, he said he based his
    taxonomy on the measurement of skulls, but, second, his descriptions of the human
    varieties stressed personal beauty, not simply the beauty of skulls:

    Caucasian variety. I have taken the name of this variety from Mount
    Caucasus, both because its neighborhood, and especially its southern slope,
    produces the most beautiful race of men, I mean the Georgian.

    Skull measurements counted, but beauty counted for more. Third, while extolling the
    beauty of Caucasians, he also recognized Europeans’ racial chauvinism. He jokingly found
    this conceit in toads: “If a toad could speak and were asked which was the loveliest
    creature upon god’s earth, it would say simpering, that modesty forbad[e] it to give a real
    opinion on that point.”32 As in the first edition of On the Natural Variety of Mankind,

    31 One of Russia’s greatest rivers, the Obi flows north out of central Asia, passing
    Novosibirsk, Russia’s third most populous city, to empty into the Kara Sea.

    32 K. F. H. Marx, “Zum Andenken an Johann Friedrich Blumenbach”: 30, note 1.

    Blumenbach qualified his estimation of European beauty as lying in the eyes of Europeans

    Cultural relativism did not prevent Blumenbach’s dwelling on Caucasian beauty:
    He used the word “beautiful” compulsively—five times on one page--to describe the
    Georgian woman’s skull, which by 1795 had became “my beautiful typical head of a
    young Georgian female always of itself attracts every eye, however little observant.”33
    The stunning power of beauty, Blumenbach concluded, made “Caucasian” inevitable for
    his first variety of humankind.

    The beautiful Georgian skull that made white

    people into Caucasians.34

    In Blumenbach’s time as today, naming evokes differing impressions. The
    Caucasus is the chain of rugged, stunning, snow-covered mountains, which now attract

    33 On the Natural Variety of Mankind, 3rd ed. (1795) in Bendyshe: 300. Here, as
    elsewhere, Blumenbach falls back on the authority of untutored observers to
    reinforce his scientific truths.

    mountain-climbing tourists: Mount Elbrus, the tallest mountain in Europe, is 5,633 meters
    high; Mt.Shkhara is 5,068m. high; and Mt. Kazbek is 5,047m. high. 35 The names of the
    countries, in contrast, summon up histories of enslavement and endemic warfare and
    genocide: Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Chechnya.36 Twentieth- and twenty-first
    century wars concern access to oil (Azerbaijan, Grozny, Maykop and the Caspian Sea,
    especially Baku hold rich old deposits); earlier struggles sought slaves (notably from
    Circassia), wine, fruit, and other agricultural produce (from the valleys along the Black
    Sea), and a variety of natural resources (e.g., manganese deposits and coal, copper,
    molybdenum, and tungsten). 37

    Caucasians represented Blumenbach’s “primeval” race because, he wrote, Noah’s
    ark came to rest in the Caucasus mountains. The idea that all people originated between the
    Black and Caspian Seas was an old one: Genesis 6-8 mentions Mount Ararat as the ark’s
    resting place after the flood, and in the thirteenth century Marco Polo located Mount Ararat
    in Armenia. Situated south of Georgia in eastern Turkey, at the confluence of Armenia,

    34 Dougherty 1984 149.

    35 See and

    36 Blumenbach reflects the terminological confusion prevailing in his time:
    while he says a skull from Georgia inspired him, his terminology slips. Rather than
    call his white race “Georgian,” he draws upon the more ambiguous “Caucasian.”
    Neither European nor Asian, the region and the people of the Caucasus evoke
    mythology as much as their all-too-bloody history.

    37 See Source: National
    geographics - feb 1996 - By Mike Edwards. See also

    Iraq, and Iran in the country of the Kurds, Mount Ararat, at 5185 meters or some 17,000-ft.
    high, is Turkey’s highest mountain. Blumenbach conflated the Caucasus mountains with
    Mount Ararat.

    Western Europeans had long traced their origins to amorphous Eurasian regions,
    calling not only Caucasians, but also Scythians and Circassians, their beautiful, powerful--
    and always pre-Muslim--ancestors. The semi-mythological Scythians were said to have
    ruled the Caucasus-Black Sea-Crimean-Caspian region from Paleolithic times until the
    seventh-century Arab conquest.

    Blumenbach never explained why he did not call white people “Georgian.”
    Certainly the long-standing European fascination with the vaguely known place called as
    the Caucasus was older than Blumenbach.38 Its very vagueness probably made it more
    attractive than the more precisely located “Georgia,” whose name lacked this Caucasus’
    mythological and symbolic charm.

    European fascination with the borderland of Europe and Asia, the area between the
    Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, remounts to antiquity. According to Greek mythology,
    Prometheus toiled in the Caucasus and Jason and his Argonauts sought the Golden Fleece
    in the land of Colchis (near present-day Georgian city of Poti).39 Jason obtained the Golden

    38 In “Europea als Bewegung: Zur literarischen Konstruktion eines Faszinosum,”
    unpublished paper, 2001, Ottmar Ette discusses the nowhereness of the idea of
    Europe. Like the idea of the Caucasus, Europe also grows out of a vague
    borderland. See especially 5, 15-17.

    39 The legendary high-point of Georgian greatness is considered to be the reign of
    Queen Tamar (1189-12113). By the 16th C. Turkey had taken control of western
    Georgia, Iran of eastern Georgia. Russian control began with a treaty in 1783,
    which made Georgia a Russian protectorate. The Russian revolution made
    Georgia independent in 1918, but the USSR quickly re-annexed Georgia in 1921.

    Fleece from King Aeetes, but only thanks to the magic powers of the daughter of King
    Aeetes, the princess Medea. She used her potions against both the dragon guarding the
    fleece and her father, who was withholding the fleece, even after Jason had yoked the fire-
    breathing bulls to a plow, sowed the field with a dragon’s teeth, and vanquished the
    warriors who sprang therefrom.

    After the break-up of the USSR, the Republic of Georgia became independent in
    1991. The most famous Georgian (after Stalin), Eduard Shevardnadze, assumed
    leadership in 1992 and was elected president in 1995. and See on-line
    Encyclopedia of Central Asia, Caucasus and Russia:

    In Homer’s Odyssey, Circe, the sister of King Aeetes, transformed half of
    Odysseus’s men into animals and seduced Odysseus. Hesoid and Aeschylus tell the story
    of Prometheus, son of a Titan, punished for having stolen the secret of fire. Zeus chained
    Prometheus to a mountain in the Caucasus and sent an eagle to peck at his liver every day
    for 30,000 years. 40

    Greek mythology accords the women of the Caucasus extraordinary powers,
    whether magical, as in the case of Medea and Circe, or warlike, as in the case of the
    Amazons, who originated in the Caucasus and later moved to Asia Minor. Writers today
    unfailingly mention these myths as corroboration of the inherent magic of a region known
    to Herodotus, Strabo, and Pliny.41

    40 See Robert Bedrosian, “Eastern Asia Minor and the Caucasus in Ancient
    Mythologies,” in

    41 Fritz F. Pleitgen, Durch den Wilden Kaukasus. Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch,
    2000: 22-24, 26.

    By the seventeenth century, when the French traveler Jean Chardin described the
    people of the Caucasus, and the eighteenth century, when Blumenbach drew upon the
    name, the women of the region were known not for potency, but as enslaved embodiments
    of vulnerability. The tradition of seeing the peoples of the Caucasus as the most beautiful
    in the world endured well into the twentieth century.42 Although he chose “Caucasian,”
    Blumenbach might as well have called his beautiful people Circassian.

    In today’s iconography of the Caucasus, people appear less prominently than
    images of warfare, oil drilling, and a strikingly mountainous landscape. Pictures of
    Caucasians show gnarled old people as proof of the life-prolonging powers of yogurt.

    Once Blumenbach had established the superiority of Caucasians, the term floated away
    from its geographical origin. Actual Caucasians--the people of the Caucasus, living cheek
    to jowl with the Turks and the Semites of the eastern Mediterranean and the supposedly
    hideous Kalmucks--lost their semiotic standing as ur-Europeans. Although real Caucasians
    fell off the apex of the racial pyramid, the idea of the “Caucasians” lived on, as did its
    claims of racial superiority and beauty.

    The fact that Blumenbach's unblemished young woman's skull came from the
    Caucasus-Georgia had to do not only with youth, beauty, warfare, and mythical history,

    42 More than a century after Blumenbach, “Caucasian” and beauty still went
    together. The classic (1910-1911) eleventh edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica
    even singled out the most beautiful of the beautiful. The Britannica praised the
    Circassians of the northwestern part of the Caucasus as particularly outstanding:
    "In the patriarchal simplicity of their manners, the mental qualities with which they
    were endowed, the beauty of form and regularity of feature by which they were
    distinguished, they surpassed most of the other tribes of the Caucasus."

    but also with networks of scholarly exchange that transported the Georgian skull from
    Moscow to G.ttingen.

    Scholarly Exchange

    The third edition of On the Natural Variety of Mankind grew out of scholarly
    exchange. Blumenbach acknowledged Georg Thomas (Egor Fedotvich), Baron von Asch
    of St. Petersburg as the source of the skull inspiring the designation “Caucasian” race.43

    43 Actually Blumenbach offered far more fulsome thanks to the extremely
    wealthy and influential English naturalist, Sir Joseph Banks (1740-1820). President
    of the Royal Society of London, Banks for decades dominated the worldwide
    enterprise of scientific exploration. Blumenbach dedicated the 1795 edition of On
    the Natural Variety of Mankind to Banks, thanking him for skulls and other
    precious scientific items and for his hospitality in London in 1792. The tribute to
    Banks refers to the invention of the fifth, Malay race, as though Banks’s gifts had

    revealed its existence. Blumenbach had actually added a fifth race in 1781 on the
    basis of the Forsters’ travel accounts. The dedication to Banks in 1795 did not, in
    fact, represent gratitude for his having made possible a brand new discovery. For
    the Forsters had offered that new knowledge several years earlier.

    The dedication to Banks cemented the relationship between a researcher in
    G.ttingen (still the provinces of academic western Europe, compared with London
    and Paris) and a sovereign figure in the European scientific kingdom. Blumenbach
    had initiated a correspondence (in French) with Banks in 1783, sending him
    information on German plants. Corresponding with Banks not only bolstered
    Blumenbach’s standing as a scientist with international connections, it also
    prepared the way for requests for exotic skulls and other foreign materials Banks
    controlled. Blumenbach later joined the legions of pilgrims to Banks’s home and
    vast scientific collection.

    From his seat of power in the Royal Society, the wealthy wool merchant Sir
    Joseph Banks ruled the natural history establishment of the day. He had
    sponsored the collecting of specimens during Cook’s second voyage to what Cook
    named Botany Bay.43 By dint of persistent correspondence in French and then in
    English, Blumenbach finally got a South Sea skull out of Banks. According
    flattering recognition to the most powerful figure in late-eighteenth-century natural
    history, Blumenbach in 1795 proclaimed his new (in 1781) race the Malay and
    placed it between the beautiful Caucasian and the ugly Mongolian.

    Asch proved quite generous with skulls. A medical doctor born St. Petersburg of German
    parents, Asch had received his medical degree from the University of G.ttingen in 1850
    and headed the Russian army’s medical service during the era of Catherine the Great’s first
    war in the Caucasus. As befit his status as a scientist, Asch belonged to Russia’s leading
    learned societies in St. Petersburg and Moscow as well as in G.ttingen. 44

    Asch sent Blumenbach skulls from European and Asian Russia throughout the
    1780s and 1790s: In 1788, for instance, he sent an example of the kind of skulls
    Blumenbach considered supremely ugly: a Kalmuck skull from Astrakhan. The following
    year Asch sent Blumenbach a whole skeleton and four Tartar skulls. In 1792 he sent
    another nine skulls. In 1897 Asch sent a Persian skull.

    Shortly after Catherine won her second war against the Ottomans for the Caucasus,
    Asch sent Blumenbach the prized Georgian skull.45 In his 1793 cover letter to

    44 Asch had begun his medical studies in Tübingen and finished them in G.ttingen
    with the famous Albrecht von Haller in 1750, before Blumenbach’s time. Asch was
    born in the same year as Blumenbach’s father-in-law, the classicist Christian
    Gottlob Heyne (1729-1812), who was responsible for the G.ttingen University
    library. The Asch-Heyne correspondence, begun in 1771, holds over 120 letters
    from Asch to Heyne, many accompanying Asch’s generous gifts to the G.ttingen
    University Library. In G.ttingen Asch is known as one of the library’s foremost
    patrons, for in addition to sending Blumenbach numerous skulls, Asch also
    enriched the university library’s collection with gifts of Slavic and Persian books.
    Books from Asch even had their own bookplate indicating they had come from
    him. See Helmut Rohlfing, ed., “Ganz Vorzügliche und Unverge.liche
    Verdienste”—Georg Thomas von Asch als F.rderer der Universit.t G.ttingen.
    Nieders.chsiche Staats- und Universit.tsbibliothek: G.ttingen, 1998: 2-3, and Rolf
    Siemon, “Soemmerring, Forster und Goethe: ‘Naturkundliche Begegnungen’ in
    G.ttingen und Kassel”: http://www.sub.uni-

    45 F. W. P. Dougherty, ed., Commercivm Epistolicvm J. F. Blvmenbachii: 76, 114-
    116, 148, 150, 171.

    Blumenbach, Asch explained the circumstances surrounding his receipt of this skull. It
    belonged to a woman the Russian forces had taken captive and brought back to Moscow.
    Although Asch’s letter sheds no light on the nature of the captive woman’s life in Russia,
    he does hint at adversity, reporting her sudden death from venereal disease. A professor of
    anatomy in Moscow had performed an autopsy, then forwarded the skull to Asch in St.

    In On the Natural Variety of Mankind of 1795, Blumenbach sought authority for
    naming Caucasians the most beautiful people in the world in a prestigious travel narrative:
    The Travels of Sir John Chardin into Persia and the East Indies, 1673-1677 (1686), the
    two-volume, seventeenth-century travel account of Jean Chardin (1643-1713). Chardin’s
    status as a fellow Fellow of the Royal Society surely reinforced his authority in
    Blumenbach’s mind.46

    Chardin’s story mostly concerned Persia. But having been barred from the normal
    route east through Constantinople, he had passed through the Caucasus on his second
    journey to Persia in 1671 and wrote several passages on the people of the Caucasus.
    Brigands controlled the chaotic region of Georgia, causing Chardin much anxiety over the
    fate of his life, his goods, and his freedom. Such fears did not prevent his noting the beauty

    46 Chardin made two long visits to Persia and India in the 1670s and 1680s to
    satisfy his curiosity and advance the family jewelry business. (His Huguenot family
    supplied jewelry to the court of Louis XIV.) On his return to Paris in 1677 he
    encountered anti-Protestant persecution and moved to London, where he spent
    the rest of his life as Sir John Chardin, jeweler to the British crown. On the strength
    of his Persian account, Chardin was made a Fellow of the Royal Society. The
    catalogue entry in Blumenbach’s skull collection also mentioned Chardin’s
    comment on Georgian beauty.

    of Caucasian women, whom he compared favorably with darker-skinned, broader visaged

    On a boat leaving the Black Sea region Chardin encountered an enslaved Caucasian
    woman with a baby at her breast. He took the woman to be twenty-five years old and
    thought her beautiful white complexion, regular features, and lovely breast (the most
    beautiful he had ever seen, he said) practically begged to be loved. Elsewhere he compared
    Persians and Georgians, concluding that “the Nobility of Persia had been the ugliest Men
    in the World,” because they were Tartars: “short and thick, have their Eyes and Nose like
    the Chinese, their Face flat and broad, and their Complexion yellow, mix'd with black.”

    Through marriage with lovely Georgian and Circassian women (whose beauty lies “both
    upon the Account of the Shape and Complexion”), Chardin thought the Persians’ looks had
    improved enormously.

    Blumenbach followed Chardin and others (such as Petrus Camper, who dedicated
    whole sections of his work to Kalmucks) in finding Mongolians (or Kalmucks)
    embodiments of ugliness, as ugly as black Africans.47 The Kalmucks’ near neighbors, the
    Georgians of the Caucasus, meanwhile, appeared as the most beautiful people in the
    world.48 Situated at the junction of Europe and Asia, the Caucasus remained in the realm of

    47 See Miriam Claude Meijer, Race and Aesthetics in the Anthropology of Petrus
    Camper (1722-1789). The Hague, Cip-Gegvens Koninklijke, 1999: 139-144.

    48 This information comes from an audio recording of Dirk van der Cruysse
    speaking at the University of Paris IV (Sorbonne) on 13 February 1999, available
    through the web site of the Centre de Recherche sur la Littérature des Voyages at See also
    van der Cruysse, Chardin le Persan, Paris: Editions Fayard, 1998. The discussion
    of improving Persians’ looks through intermarriage with Georgians and
    Circassians is at

    The ugliest
    and the handsomest people were thought to live in close geographical proximity to each
    other and to Russia. Ugly or beautiful, they fell prey to Catherine the Great's pursuit of
    empire at the expense of Poland in the west and Ottoman Turkey in the south. Catherine
    waged two wars against the Ottomans, in 1768-1774 and 1787-91; the second brought
    Blumenbach his favorite skull. The skull came from Georgia; the name “Caucasian,”
    however, came from a colleague in G.ttingen.
    imagination: beyond the European familiar but not quite into foreign Asia.49

    . Paris, :Editions du
    CTHS, 1990: 403.
    See also Georgette Legée, “Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840), La
    Naissance de l’Anthrolologie à l’Epoque de la Révolution Française,” in
    Scientifiques et Sociétés Pendant la Révolution et l’Empire

    Christoph Meiners’s Beautiful Caucasians

    Blumenbach owed the philosopher Christoph Meiners complicated and ambiguous
    debts. One of G.ttingen University’s best known but most reactionary scholars, Meiners
    exerted a contradictory power over the second revision of On the Natural Variety of
    Mankind. Meiners, like Blumenbach, had studied at the University of G.ttingen and taken
    his terminal degree there. He assumed a G.ttingen professorship in 1776, about the same
    time as Blumenbach.50 During the 1790s his voluminous publications shaped the work of

    49 See Hanna Franziska Augstein, “From the Land of the Bible to the Caucasus
    and Beyond: the Shifting Ideas of the Geographical Origin of Humankind,” in
    Waltraud Ernst and Bernard Harris, eds., Race, Science and Medicine, 1700-
    1960.London: Routledge, 1999: 59.

    50 Meiners’s life is not nearly as well documented as Blumenbach’s. The fullest
    recent sources for information in his regard are found in the work of Dougherty,
    Zantop, Britta Rupp-Eisenreich, and Carhart, mentioned in these notes.

    his more distinguished colleague.51 Meiners’s name appears only once in the influential
    1795 edition of Varieties of Humankind, but Blumenbach’s language--notably the
    emphasis on beauty (and the evocation of an ancient Greek ideal), the repeated mention of
    Tacitus and the “ancient Germans’” racial purity, and even the name “Caucasian”--betrays
    the pull of his contrary colleague’s opinions.52

    While both Meiners and Blumenbach joined the lively discussion over the divisions
    of humankind, their views diverged over methodology, politics, and conclusions but
    converged over the naming of races and the importance of personal appearance.53 Where
    Blumenbach gave skull measurement pride of place methodologically, Meiners relied on
    travel literature, which he read selectively and represented unreliably. Meiners wrote
    hastily and at great length, distorting the meaning of scholars whose work he cited and
    filling his pages with contradictory statements. Blumenbach and Georg Forster criticized

    51 See Suzanne Zantop, Colonial Fantasies: Conquest, Family, and Nation in
    Precolonial Germany, 1770-1870. Durham: Duke University Press, 1997: 67-68.

    52 A fascination with ancient Greece dominated German thought throughout the
    eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as did a selective reading of the Roman
    author, Tacitus, on the ancient Germans. See Suzanne L. Marchand, Down from
    Olympus: 3-24.

    53 Aesthetic judgments figure prominently in the thought of several late-eighteenth
    and early-nineteenth century intellectuals. For all his revolutionary fervor, Georg
    Forster included comments about relative beauty in his writing on humankind. In
    the early nineteenth century, the founder of the rigorous German educational
    system, Wilhelm von Humboldt (who had studied at G.ttingen), made aesthetic
    considerations fundamental to his thinking about languages. See Hans Aarsleff,
    “Introduction,” in Wilhelm von Humboldt, On Language: The Diversity of Human
    Language-Structure and Its Influence on the Mental Development of Mankind,
    Peter Heath, trans. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1988: vii-lxv,
    esp. x, xxix, xxxii, xliii, lvii-lxiii.

    Meiners’s intellectual one-sidedness as well as his political convictions. For Meiners,
    certain peoples were inferior to others, and their inferiority justified, even required,
    enslavement and despotism for its control.54

    Meiners thought about race in two ways. Initially he posited a binary racial scheme
    in his Grundri. der Geschichte der Menschheit, published in 1785:

    1. Tartar-Caucasian, divided into Celtic and Slavic, and

    2. Mongolian.

    The Tartar-Caucasian was first and foremost the beautiful race, for Meiners laid great
    stress on the importance of beauty as a criterion for racial classification. Within the Tartar-
    Caucasian, the Celts were the most “gifted in spirit and rich in virtues.” The Mongolian
    was the ugly race, “weak in body and spirit, bad, and lacking in virtue,” as characterized by
    the Kalmucks. Not surprisingly, the ugly race was dark skinned, the pretty race, light-
    skinned. Meiners joined his German contemporaries in locating the ideal of human beauty
    in ancient Greece. 55 Later he concentrated on differences among Europeans and venerated
    the ancient Germans on racial grounds.

    54 Luigi Marino, Praeceptores Germaniae: 112-116.

    55 The quoted material comes from Britta Rupp-Eisenreich, "Des Choses Occultes
    en Histoire des Sciences Humaines: le Destin de la ‘Science Nouvelle’ de
    Christoph Meiners" L'Ethnographie 2 (1983): 151. See also Frank W. P.
    Dougherty, “Christoph Meiners und Johann Friedrich Blumenbach im Streit um
    den Begriff der Menschenrasse,” in Gunther Mann and Franz Dumont, eds., Die
    Natur des Menschen: 103-104 and Luigi Marino, Praeceptores Germaniae: 111-
    114. See also Suzanne Zantrop, “The Beautiful, the Ugly, and the German: Race,
    Gender and Nationality in Eighteenth-Century Anthropological Discourse,” in

    Patricia Herminghouse and Magda Mueller, eds., Gender and Germanness:
    Cultural Productions of Nation. Providence, RI: Berghahn Books, 1997: 23-26.

    Blumenbach’s conclusions in 1795 overlapped with Meiners’s from 1785, but
    Blumenbach did not acknowledge the relationship. Blumenbach borrowed Meiners’s
    name, “Caucasian.” But to explain his choice, Blumenbach reached for higher authority
    and cited the illustrious Jean Chardin, not Meiners’s Grundri. der Geschichte der
    Menschheit, on the beauty of Caucasians. Though more widely read than his more
    respectable colleagues, Meiners lacked the intellectual status of a member of the London
    Royal Society.

    G.ttingen’s scholarly community muttered about Meiners’s sloppy methods and
    cranky conclusions, but with the exception of Blumenbach and Georg Forster, the sharpest
    criticism remained in private letters. Meiners’s popularity may explain the prevailing
    public diffidence, for his work circulated extensively. Grundri. der Geschichte der
    Menschheit went through three editions and was translated into several languages.
    Whatever its basis, the paucity of public outcry over Meiners’s writing preserved his
    citizenship in the republic of letters.56

    In work published in the mid-1780s to 1790, Meiners drew binary comparisons
    between the European-Asian/light-dark/ handsome-ugly races. But in the early 1790s, he
    wrote a series of articles positing the superiority of Germans among Europeans. Meiners
    described some Europeans’ color as “dirty white,” and compared it to their detriment to the

    56 The popular Berlin writer August Lafontaine (1758-1831) published a four-
    volume satiric novel making fun of Meiners and his ugly dark and beautiful blond

    “whitest, most blooming and most delicate skin” of the people of German stock. To a
    greater degree than any other Europeans, Germans possessed the prized quality of racial

    people in 1795-1796. See Britta Rupp-Eisenreich, “Des Choses Occultes”: 167.
    See also Suzanne Zantrop, “The Beautiful, the Ugly, and the German”: 30-31.

    By the mid-1790s, when Blumenbach was revising On the Natural Variety of
    Mankind, Meiners had moved racial discourse in G.ttingen beyond comparisons between
    Europeans and non-Europeans. He depicted an intra-European hierarchy of lightness and
    beauty with ancient Germans on top.57 In the late 1790s, French counter-revolutionaries
    like Charles de Villiers stayed in G.ttingen and studied with Meiners. Villiers and his
    school instructed succeeding generations of anti-Semitic German nationalists, notably
    Arthur de Gobineau, Richard Wagner, and, in the early twentieth century, Houston Stewart
    Chamberlain, all inspirations for German National Socialism.58

    Both a potent and a shadowy presence in Blumenbach’s masterwork, Meiners
    connects the eighteenth-century, scientific discourse on race to the more popular
    Nordic/Aryan race chauvinism of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Meiners
    suggested the name “Caucasian” to Blumenbach, for which Blumenbach became famous.
    Meiners also inspired a rank ordering of white people within Europe, thereby rendering
    “Caucasian” obsolete.


    57 See Suzanne Zantrop, “The Beautiful, the Ugly, and the German”: 28-29, and
    Suzanne Zantop, Colonial Fantasies: 87-90.

    The magnitude of Blumenbach’s contribution to scientific racism sometimes lumps
    him in with the white-supremacist mass of racist scientists and pseudoscientists. Although
    he survived into their times, Blumenbach was not such a figure. Through his wide
    correspondence and influential publications, Blumenbach consistently opposed nonsensical
    propositions advanced by colleagues like Meiners. A conscientious collector of artifacts
    crucial to his study, like skulls, Blumenbach also assembled the first collection of books by
    Africana authors in order to support his contention that people of African descent were not
    essentially inferior to other races. In the history of black bibliophilia, Blumenbach stands at
    the head of the line.

    It may seem odd that the scholar who gave a name to white people and placed them
    at the top also prized the intellectual endeavors of black people and knew of their works.
    But the mouth of Blumenbach’s work spoke out of two sides. At the same time he
    vindicated black people’s abilities, his aesthetic standards prized whiteness above all. He
    reinforced the habit of embedding non-scientific themes, such as “ancient Germans,”
    “Greek ideal of beauty,” and the fetishism of racial and cultural purity, into scientific
    writing. He furthered the expression of ethnocentrism as truth. Succeeding generations’
    ethnocentrism divided Blumenbach’s Caucasians into a welter of superior and inferior
    races of Europe.

    58 See Britta Rupp-Eisenreich, "Des Choses Occultes”: 132-136.

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    Re: Are the Caucasians European?

    Well i was talking about the present-day persons of the Caucasus not Caucasoids.

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    Re: Are the Caucasians European?

    The Caucasus is in Europe's periphery.

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    Re: Are the Caucasians European?

    Quote Originally Posted by pro-Alpine
    I was supprised when i say "North-Caucasian" in the tribal section of the profile settings, because the Caucasus is not in Europe.

    Look at these maps, every geologist comes with his own map, the way he thinks that its right!
    No one can assure that the Caucases is not from Europ, as well as no one can assure that it is!
    It's location is between two continent!

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    Re: Are the Caucasians European?

    No, they are Near Eastern.

    I think of it this way: Let's say the base/default racial-cultural European stock is the Central European Alpinid Catholic, i.e. the Hungarian. Start from there. You move in any direction from the heart of Central Europe and you get into gradually varying racial-cultural clines. Go Southeast and you hit the Balkans, with more Eastern Christians, Muslims, more Dinaroid racial forms. Go further Southeast and you're in the Near East, predominantly Muslim and Eastern Christian, Dinaroid/Armenoid. Go further Southeast and you're in the Middle East, predominantly Muslim and Araboid. Start from Hungary and go Northeast, you'll hit the Baltics, more Protestant and East Baltic, go further Northeast and you're in Finland/Karelia, predominantly Protestant and predominantly East Baltic.

  8. #8

    Re: Are the Caucasians European?

    Quote Originally Posted by lg View Post
    No, they are Near Eastern.

    I think of it this way: Let's say the base/default racial-cultural European stock is the Central European Alpinid Catholic, i.e. the Hungarian. Start from there. You move in any direction from the heart of Central Europe and you get into gradually varying racial-cultural clines. Go Southeast and you hit the Balkans, with more Eastern Christians, Muslims, more Dinaroid racial forms. Go further Southeast and you're in the Near East, predominantly Muslim and Eastern Christian, Dinaroid/Armenoid. Go further Southeast and you're in the Middle East, predominantly Muslim and Araboid. Start from Hungary and go Northeast, you'll hit the Baltics, more Protestant and East Baltic, go further Northeast and you're in Finland/Karelia, predominantly Protestant and predominantly East Baltic.
    Well, saying east or west always depends on your prospective!
    For example, if you look at Europ from the American lands, you would say its in the east part too!

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    Mad Re: Are the Caucasians European?

    They are not europeans!!!!!
    Someday caucsians maby was white, but not now. the have brown skin, black hair and very dark eyes. Every day we fight against them. They occupaid our land like turks in Germania. We or them!!!!
    Sieg oder Tot! Victory or death!! Pobeda ili smert!

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