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Dinaric race

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Title: Dinaric race  
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Subject: Aryan race, Henric Sanielevici, Alpine race, The Races of Europe (Coon), Caucasian race
Collection: Historical Definitions of Race, History of the Balkans
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Dinaric race

An illustration showing a "Dinaric skull" from Hans F. K. Günther's Racial Elements of European History (1927)

Dinaric race, Adriatic race or Epirotic race were terms used by certain physical anthropologists in the early to mid-20th century[1][2][3] to describe the perceived predominant phenotype of the contemporary ethnic groups of Southeastern Europe (a sub-type of Caucasoid race).


  • History and physiognomy 1
  • Origin and distribution 2
  • "Noric" subtype 3
  • In modern, genetics-based research 4
  • References 5
  • Sources 6
  • External links 7

History and physiognomy

The concept of a Dinaric race originated with Joseph Deniker, but became most closely associated with the writings of Carleton S. Coon and Nazi eugenicist Hans F. K. Günther. The term was derived from the Dinaric Alps (the western part of the Balkan Peninsula) which was supposed to be the principal habitat.

According to Jan Czekanowski, the Dinaric race is a mixed type consisting of Nordic race and Armenoid race, what he proves by anthropological research involving geographical data, cephalic index, and characteristic racial features. He states:

"The Dinaric type is characterized by quite light skin, dark hair from dark brown to dark blonde, and a wide range of eye color; tall stature, a brachycephalic skull, long face, a very narrow and prominent nose, sometimes aquiline; a slender body type, and very big feet."

Characteristics were defined as very tall, mostly mesomorph bodily build, with relatively long legs and short trunk and a long arm span. The overall anatomy of the head was said to be brachycephalic to hyperbrachycephalic (Cranial index: 81–86) whereby the condition is caused by both rather high breadth of the head and a medium length of the neurocranium, whose back part is often somewhat flattened (planoccipital).

The type has been described as follows:

The vertical height of the cranium is high. Eyes are set relatively close and the surrounding tissue defines them as wide open. The iris is most often brown, with a significant percentage of light pigmentation in the Dinaric population. The nose is large, narrow and convex. The face is long and orthognathic, with a prominent chin, and also wide. The form of the forehead is variable, but not rarely it is bulbous. The hair color is usually dark brown, with black-haired and blond individuals in minority, blondness being the characteristic of the more Central European, morphologically similar Noric race (a race intermediate between Nordic and Dinaric races). The skin is lacking the rosy color characteristic for Northern Europe as well as the relatively brunet pigmentation characteristic for the southernmost Europe and on a geographical plane it is of medium pigmentation and often it is variable.

Origin and distribution

Joseph Deniker's map of European races (1899) identified "Dinarics" as the dominant group in parts of central Europe, Northern Italy and the North West Balkans.

Several theories were advanced regarding the genesis of the Dinaric race. Most researchers agreed that this race was autochthonous to its present habitat from the Neolithic period. Both Günther and Coon claimed that the Bell-Beaker people of the European Bronze Age were at least partially Dinaric.

Coon also argued, however, in The Origin of Races (1962), that the Dinaric and some other categories "are not races but simply the visible expressions of the genetic variability of the intermarrying groups to which they belong."

He referred to the creation of this distinctive phenotype from the mixing of earlier separate groups as "dinaricisation". In his view Dinarics were a specific type that arose from ancient mixes of the Mediterranean race and Alpine race.

According to the Dinaric model, Dinarics were to be found in the mountainous areas of Southeast Europe: Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania, Slovenia, Austria, part of northwestern Bulgaria, and northwestern Republic of Macedonia.

Northern and Eastern Italy was considered mostly a Dinaric area as well as western Greece, Romania, western Ukraine, southeastern German-speaking areas, and parts of southern Poland and southeastern France.

"Noric" subtype

The Noric race (German: Norische Rasse) was a racial category proposed by the anthropologist Victor Lebzelter. The "Noric race" was supposed to be a lighter sub-type of the Dinaric race.[4] The term derived from Noricum, a province of the Roman empire roughly equivalent to southern Austria. The term is not to be confused with Nordic.

Norics were characterized by tall stature, brachycephaly, nasal convexity, long face and broad forehead. Their complexion was said to be light, and blondness combined with light eyes to be their anthropologic characteristic.

In modern, genetics-based research

Biggest correlation (in terms of geographic distribution) of former Dinaric race with modern, genetics-based research into human settlement and distribution is found with Y-chromosome (patrilineal) Haplogroup I, more specifically the "southern" subgroup I2 whose most common branch I2a-M423 is often colloquially termed "Dinaric haplogroup" for purpose of popular scientific reporting. The so-called "Armenoid" subtype, however, correlates more with the Haplogroup J which is another branch of the common IJ group.

Genetic research in 21st century, Human Genome Project in particular, threw new light on human settlement of Europe and invalidated many conclusions of previous racial anthropology and even some foundations of contemporary history. For example, apparent common ancestry between inhabitants of Scandinavia with those in Dinaric Alps, as they comprise the common patrilineal Haplogroup I, was quite unexpected from the previous scientific consensus, which was mostly based on combining anthropological metrics with cultural and lingual history of Europeans.

However, one premise of settlement in Dinaric Alps, that that most of its population is autochthonous to the area at least since the Neolithic, was not invalidated by new data.


  1. ^ Anne Maxwell (2010). Picture Imperfect: Photography and Eugenics, 1870-1940. Sussex Academic Press.  
  2. ^ Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban (2006). Race and Racism: An Introduction. Rowman Altamira. pp. 132–.  
  3. ^ Coon 1939.
  4. ^ Renato Biasutti on Caucasoid Subraces



External links

  • Examples of Dinarics (plates 35-43) from Coon's The Races of Europe
  • Renato Biasutti on Caucasoid Subraces preserved at the Internet Archive
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