Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Aryans, or Indo-Europeans, the largest, most widespread, and most highly-cultured division of the Caucasic family of mankind, extending from prehistoric times almost continuously across a great part of the eastern hemisphere from India to Scandinavia and the British Isles, and since the discovery of the New World widely spread throughout America, South Africa, and Australasia. There are two distinct types: (1) the Xanthochroi, or Fair, tall, with flaxen or light brown wavy hair, blue eyes, florid complexion, dolichocephalic head, large straight nose, orthognathous jaw, low cheek-bone; (2) the Melanochroi, or Dark, short or medium stature, with black or dark brown straight or curly hair, black or brown eyes, pale complexion inclining to sallow, small hands and feet. The fair is probably the primitive Aryan stock, the dark the non-Aryan peoples, on whom the first imposed their language and culture, and with whom they became almost everywhere intermingled. Hence the presence of both types now constantly observed in every part of the Aryan world, and even within every special group, and in the family circle itself. But speaking generally, the fair predominates mainly amongst the Scandinavians and other Northern Europeans, the dark elsewhere in Europe and throughout south-west Asia. The question of the original home of the primitive Aryans has in recent times been much discussed, the prevailing opinion hitherto locating them in south-west Asia, the Iranian plateau, or even the Pamir. But lately the view first put forward by Latham that the cradle of the race is to be sought in Europe has gained strength, and is now accepted as almost demonstrated by Penka, Canon Isaac Taylor, Professor G. H. Rendall, Poesche, and especially Dr. O. Schrader. In his Prehistoric Antiquities of the Aryan Peoples (English edition by F. B. Jevons, 1890), this writer follows Leskien in fixing the south-west Russian Steppes as the region where the Aryan nomads first tended their flocks, and whence they spread eastwards to Asia, and by the Volga, Don, and Danube throughout North and Central Europe. In some, places the migratory tribes were the first occupiers of the land, and were thus able to preserve the purity of their race for many ages. Elsewhere they found the land already more or less thickly peopled by other races, with whom they became amalgamated, thus producing the above described mixed types. But in Europe they ultimately imposed their Aryan speech everywhere except in the north-east (Finnic domain) and in the south-west (Iberian domain, still represented by the Basques of the Western Pyrenees). Hence Europe is now almost exclusively Aryan. In Asia their domain has been largely encroached upon during the historic period, especially by the Turki peoples, by whom they have been driven out or nearly absorbed in Anatolia and many parts of the Iranian plateau. The theory that the primitive Aryans were a cultured people, with an elaborate religion and mythology, is now exploded. Before the dispersion they appear to have been rude pastoral and agricultural nomads at a low stage of culture, practising a few simple industries, with probably a shamanistic form of religion, worshipping the spirits dwelling in the heavenly bodies, in the thunder-cloud, in the forests, mountains, fire, and water. At that period the difference was perhaps not great between them and the surrounding peoples; and their later upward evolution, placing them at the head of the intellectual and political world, was mainly due to their more favourable environment in the temperate climate, fertile lands, and diversified seaboard of the Mediterranean regions. On the whole the Aryans must be regarded not as a single race, but as an amalgam of many Caucasic and, no doubt, some Mongolic peoples, leavened by an original Aryan element, and endowed with a certain racial uniformity by the immense predominance of the Caucasic physical characteristics and by general adoption of Aryan speech, traditions, and usages. Wherever located the original element is certainly of vast antiquity, appearing as a distinct ethnical group probably at the close of the last glacial epoch. The process of amalgamation resulting in the historic Aryan peoples had its beginning with the first contact of the migrating tribes with alien races after the dispersion from a common centre, and this process has never ceased throughout historic times. It is now developing new and often profoundly modified Aryan groups in North America (Franco-Canadian half-breeds), throughout Spanish and Portuguese America (Mestizos), in Indo-China (Franco-Anamese), in North Russia and Siberia (Russo-Ugrians), and in other places. But as a rule the Anglo-Saxon or British Aryans, who are by far the most numerous and widespread out of Europe, do not amalgamate with the aborigines. Hence Anglo-American, Anglo-African, or Anglo-Australian half-castes are rare, and the modifications of the Aryan types undoubtedly going on in the "Greater Britain" beyond the seas are due, not to miscegenation, but to the changed environment.