Near Eastern admixture in Tuscany: signal of Etruscans, or medieval slaves?

Mitogenomes from The 1000 Genome Project Reveal New Near Eastern Features in Present-Day Tuscans
Background

Genetic analyses have recently been carried out on present-day Tuscans (Central Italy) in order to investigate their presumable recent Near East ancestry in connection with the long-standing debate on the origins of the Etruscan civilization. We retrieved mitogenomes and genome-wide SNP data from 110 Tuscans analyzed within the context of The 1000 Genome Project. For phylogeographic and evolutionary analysis we made use of a large worldwide database of entire mitogenomes (>26,000) and partial control region sequences (>180,000).

Results

Different analyses reveal the presence of typical Near East haplotypes in Tuscans representing isolated members of various mtDNA phylogenetic branches. As a whole, the Near East component in Tuscan mitogenomes can be estimated at about 8%; a proportion that is comparable to previous estimates but significantly lower than admixture estimates obtained from autosomal SNP data (21%). Phylogeographic and evolutionary inter-population comparisons indicate that the main signal of Near Eastern Tuscan mitogenomes comes from Iran.

Conclusions

Mitogenomes of recent Near East origin in present-day Tuscans do not show local or regional variation. This points to a demographic scenario that is compatible with a recent arrival of Near Easterners to this region in Italy with no founder events or bottlenecks.

Something I never see mentioned in these papers attempting to make inferences about the origins of Etruscans based on genetic variation in modern Tuscans:
Until recently, slaves have been invisible in the literature on medieval Tuscany, leading scholars to overlook them as a means of contact with the east. Historians abandoned this assumption when Giulio Prunai and Iris Origo documented the importation of hundreds of slaves to the region, conclusively demonstrating that the institution was widespread in medieval Tuscany.

[Michael P. Kucher. The Water Supply System of Siena, Italy: The Medieval Roots of the Modern Networked Cities.]

THE DOMESTIC ENEMY: THE EASTERN SLAVES IN TUSCANY IN THE FOURTEENTH AND FIFTEENTH CENTURIES:
Introduction. Among the unfamiliar minor episodes of history - those shadowy backwaters which so often repay exploration - there is one that is little known even by students of mediaeval Florence: the story of the slaves brought to Tuscany from the Black Sea and from Africa, during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, who came to form no inconsiderable proportion of the Florentine population. A traveller arriving in Tuscany at this time might well have been startled by the appearance of the serving-maids and grooms of the Florentine ladies. Mostly small and squat, with yellow skins, black hair, high cheek-bones and dark slanting eyes, many of them deeply marked by smallpox and by scars or tattooed patterns on their faces, they certainly seemed to belong to a different race from the Florentine. Sometimes, too, a lady would be attended by a negro, or by a taller, fair-haired woman, white-skinned, but also unmistakably foreign; and if the traveller had friends in one of the Florentine palazzi and went to call, he found several other exotic figures there, too: swarthy or yellow little girls of eleven or twelve, and sometimes a small Moorish boy, acting as nursemaids or playmates for the little Florentine merchant-princes.

All these were slaves: most of them Tartars, but some also Russian, Circassian or Greek, Moorish or Ethiopian. Every prosperous noble or merchant had at least two or three of them; many had more. Even a notary's wife, or a small shopkeeper's, would have at least one, and it was far from uncommon to find one among the possessions of a priest or nun. [. . .]

Where had they all come from? Who were they? And - we may add - what was the part they played in the domestic life of Tuscany? The answer to these questions forms a curious story. It may be pieced together from deeds of sale and enfranchisements and wills, from the ledgers of foundling hospitals, from the bills of lading of trading-ships, from court records and judgments and city stat- utes, from private letters and diaries and account-books. Out of all these docu- ments a picture emerges of a whole underworld of alien, uprooted creatures - the "displaced persons" of their time. Sometimes a few of them succeeded in escaping from servitude - but often only to form the dregs of the predatory population of outlaws who lived by robbery on the Tuscan roads, or who swelled the crowd during bread riots or political tumults. And by far the greater number of them remained (often even after enfranchisement), in their masters' houses, the necessary background of every domestic scene, speaking a curious half-in- comprehensible jargon, waiting at every table, listening at every door, and mingling (as to this, the records leave us no doubt) their blood with that of their Tuscan hosts. Domestici hostes, domestic enemies - that was Petrarch's name for these inmates of every household, so alien and yet so close, and the author of a treatise of domestic economy in Sicily, Caggio, held the same opinion. "We have," he wrote, "as many enemies as we have slaves."

The interest of this forgotten episode of history is a double one - social and ethnical. On the one hand it is curious to discover that Florentine society during the last centuries of the Middle Ages depended, even if to a lesser degree than that of Athens and Rome, on services of men who were un-free. Beneath the co- operative associations of the guilds - the Arti Maggiori e Minori - beneath even the oppressed, hungry rabble of the popolo minuto, the Tuscan cities held another class- made up of men and women without human or legal rights, without families of their own, without any recognized ties between them, with- out even a name, save that given to them by their master: the slaves.

Moreover, and perhaps this is the most interesting point- they came to form a sufficiently large proportion of the population to affect, by this strong alien infiltration, the Tuscan stock- and, perhaps, the Tuscan character. Many widely different strains had already contributed to the formation of the Tuscan people: Etruscan, Roman, Lombard, Frankish. And now there came this new blood from the East and, later on, from Africa - vigorous and vital, di genteferigna.* From the cities it spread - since slaves, as we shall see, were kept even in remote country villages - throughout the whole of Tuscany. We may see their features in many of the pictures of the time. To this day, if you watch a group of children squatting in a semicircle in the dust of a village street, their voices and hands upraised in the old Mediterranean game of morra, you will some- times see among them the crisp black curls, the dark skin and flashing eyes of an Arab boy, or the high cheek-bones and slanting eyes of a little Tartar.

[Iris Origo. The Domestic Enemy: The Eastern Slaves in Tuscany in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries. Speculum / Volume 30 / Issue 03 / July 1955, pp 321-366.]

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

How do you get from a "Near Eastern component" to slaves "from the Black Sea and from Africa...most of them Tartars...but some also...Ethiopian"? Does not compute.

Tuscans are genetically some of the whitest people in the world--more than any northern Europeans.

http://racialreality.blogspot.com/2013/12/global-admixture-analysis-at-k6.html

Iris Origo was an amateur biographer. Not a geneticist, not an anthropologist, not even a historian. But I know how much you love outdated pseudoscientific bullshit.

Anonymous said...

U7a is also found in Finland and Russia and there was a Pole or a Lithuanian on ABF who was looking for information on his mtdna.

Could be from some leftover steppe origin, either bronze age or from immigrants during the roman or medieval era. I know that the bulk of foreign slaves in Greece were Thracians, Scythians and Danubians so there could be some of those in Rome as well.

It seems that they can't date it's arrival though so we'll never know.

sixixix said...

@Anonymous

"Tuscans are genetically some of the whitest people in the world--more than any northern Europeans."

Thanks for the laugh.

Anonymous said...

http://s1.zetaboards.com/anthroscape/topic/4801348/7/

Anonymous said...

"Thanks for the laugh."

You're welcome. I find the mongrelized condition of northern Europeans hilarious too.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-DHky2L_Hcng/UEm5YZ0o6CI/AAAAAAAAGGE/5ewwEdvIqP8/s1600/figure9.png

lol

Anonymous said...

"You're welcome. I find the mongrelized condition of northern Europeans hilarious too."

ahahaha dance little monkey

n/a said...

'How do you get from a "Near Eastern component" to slaves "from the Black Sea and from Africa...most of them Tartars...but some also...Ethiopian"? Does not compute.'

(1) "Arab" and "Saracen" slaves were also recorded. (2) Tatars have predominantly West Eurasian mtDNA. (3) Low frequencies of sub-Saharan and East Asian mtDNA have also been observed in Tuscany. (4) The available ancient DNA studies don't support continuity from Etruscan times (one paper split up various modern Tuscan villages and attempted to claim that some showed continuity; but it's not plausible that specific villages preserved an Etruscan component over that span of time while neighboring villages did not). The ancient DNA studies so far have only looked at the HVR1 region, but that's enough to show that U7a4, for example, doesn't show up in the available Etruscan samples. (5) There's also evidence from autosomal DNA for an admixture event considerably more recent than the time of the Etruscans. According to Hellenthal, Tuscans can be decomposed into a "French-like" component and a "Cypriot-like" component (with the map at Hellenthal's website showing the "Cypriot-like" component can be fit as having come from Armenian, Syrian, Jordanian, Morroccan, Georgian, etc. samples). For a one-time admixture event, he calculates the date as 942CE (522CE - 1222CE). But of course it's unlikely the entirety of this component comes from a single admixture event. Part of it will come from more recent admixture events, and part of it from earlier admixture events.

'Iris Origo was an amateur biographer. Not a geneticist, not an anthropologist, not even a historian. But I know how much you love outdated pseudoscientific bullshit.'

It's not open to debate that hundreds of slaves were recorded in Tuscany (most of these representing just a single two year period of the decades in which slaves were being imported in significant numbers):

The list, however, even if incomplete, is very
informative: it describes not only the origins of the slaves, but their appearance
and characteristics. The first curious point is their race. Of the 357 slaves 274
were Tartars, thirty Greeks, thirteen Russians, eight Turks, four Circassians,
five Bosnians or Slavs, one Cretan and the rest "Arabs" or "Saracens."

n/a said...

"http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-DHky2L_Hcng/UEm5YZ0o6CI/AAAAAAAAGGE/5ewwEdvIqP8/s1600/figure9.png"

"ANE" is West Eurasian. As was obvious from the outset to people who were paying attention and who don't have inferiority complexes with respect to Northern European, this represents a proto-Caucasoid component in Amerindians, not a proto-Mongoloid component in Northern Europeans.

It's also interesting you've chosen a figure from a paper several years old; it seems the "Basal Eurasian" in Southern Europeans is something you prefer not to think about.

n/a said...

'U7a is also found in Finland and Russia and there was a Pole or a Lithuanian on ABF who was looking for information on his mtdna.'

The control region motif of U7a4 is easily searchable in the literature and public databases. Thus, in a large database of control region profiles, the HVS-I motif T16126C-A16309G-A16318T/A16318C has been found almost exclusively in the Near East and South Caucasus, including countries such as Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon and Azerbaijan (S3 Table; Fig. 2B). This haplogroup has never been found in Europe, with the exception of the one instance observed in our Tuscans and two other in West Russia. The phylogeographic characteristics of this U7a4 point clearly to an origin in the Near East (Fig. 2C and S1 Fig.), not necessarily in Turkey, but most likely further to the East. It is also in the Near East where this haplogroup shows more variability (S1 Fig.). In addition, U7a4a1a is mainly found in the Near East.

And U7a4 is only one of several Tuscan subclades the authors claim "probably had a Near East origin in a recent period". Others include:

Sequence #60 belongs to a new clade of T2d2, named T2d2a (S2 Fig.). Within T2d2a there are two other mitogenomes, one coming from Italy (JQ798109) and the other one from Georgia (HM852899). In the root of T2d2 there are only two mitogenomes (not shown in S2 Fig.), one sampled in Iran (JQ798108) and the other one in Spain (JX415318).

There is another Tuscan mitogenome (#29) belonging to haplogroup J1b1a3a (S2 Fig; there is only another member of this clade in the literature that was sampled in Armenia, namely, JF286633). The most immediate ancestral node of J1b1a3a is represented by a mitogenome sampled in Italy (EF660916) and another one sampled in Iran (KC911610). [. . .]

There is another Tuscan haplotype (#95; S2 Fig.) that belongs to haplogroup J1d6; there are control-region defined haplotypes within this clade that have been suggested to be of Near East origin [8]. Curiously, when searching the EMPOP database for the motif A73G-T152C-A263G-C295T-C462T-T489C-C1606?9T-T16126C-C16193T(J1d), a high incidence of this haplogroup is identified in Near East: there are perfect matches in Dubai (n = 2), Uzbekistan (n = 2), Egypt (n = 1), and Iraq (n = 1). We observed a similar pattern when searching one-step mutation haplotypes (data not shown). There are three other mitogenomes belonging to J1d6, respectively sampled in Iran (KC911316), the Caucasus (Ossetia, JQ797894), and Republic of Tatarstan (GU122987).

Anonymous said...

"According to Hellenthal, Tuscans can be decomposed into a "French-like" component and a "Cypriot-like" component"

That study is complete horse shit.

Other results are more questionable; for example, the authors assert that Sardinians are an admixed population with one side being "Egyptian-like" and the other "French-like" whereas the ancient DNA evidence as it stands would rather indicate that Sardinians are the best approximation of Neolithic Europeans currently in existence and so are more likely to (mostly) possess a gene pool that traces back to ~8-9 thousand years in Europe. It will be quite the surprise if so many Europeans from 5kya or earlier look like modern Sardinians and ancient Sardinians don't!
http://dienekes.blogspot.ca/2014/02/human-admixture-common-in-human-history.html


"It's not open to debate that hundreds of slaves were recorded in Tuscany"

But it is open to debate how much the slaves interbred with Tuscans and affected their appearance, and you and your whore Iris are all bullshit and no proof. The facts: just 8% recent Near Eastern (ie, West Eurasian) mtDNA and far less non-WE autosomal admixture than any northern Europeans--not really compatible with a whole lot of mixing, especially with all those >half-Asian Tartars.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Oa3bBts6e3M/Ur6VH_81tpI/AAAAAAAAAUI/JGoPs1UmWyA/s1600/Lazaridis2014_EDF3_K6.png

Anonymous said...

""ANE" is West Eurasian . . . it seems the "Basal Eurasian" in Southern Europeans is something you prefer not to think about"

Only in white nationalist bizarro world. In the real world of genetic science, Basal Eurasian is West Eurasian and ANE is mongrel.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-WPN5riOY_Cw/Ur6VFta1XbI/AAAAAAAAAUA/TVgvyG1xee0/s1600/Lazaridis2014_EDF3_K6_ancient.png

"have inferiority complexes with respect to Northern European"

Says the northern European mongrel who gets off on trolling Tuscans.

n/a said...


What the fuck is a proud Tuscan doing in Canada? I have nothing against Tuscans, and this post was not an "attack" on anyone, aside from researchers making unfounded assumptions of continuity.

If you want to deal with reality, you're welcome to keep reading. If you want a guido hugbox, go back to racial retardity's or wherever you came from.

"ANE" is not East Eurasian, while "Basal Eurasian" in all likelihood represents gene flow from Africa. Deal with it.

Our model-building was motivated by three
observations (SI12): (1) Eastern non-Africans (Oceanians, East Asians, Native Americans, and
Onge, indigenous Andaman islanders 24 ) are genetically closer to ancient Eurasian hunter-
gatherers (Loschbour, Motala12 and MA1) than to Stuttgart; (2) Every eastern non-African
population except Native Americans is genetically equally close to Loschbour, Motala12, and
MA1
, but Native Americans are genetically closer to MA1 than to European hunter-gatherers 6 ;
and (3) All three hunter-gatherers and Stuttgart are genetically closer to Native Americans than
to other eastern non-Africans. We jointly fit models to data from Loschbour, Stuttgart, MA1,
Karitiana and Onge (SI12), and found that there was a unique model with two admixture events
that fit the data; models with one or zero admixture events could all be rejected (SI12). One of
the inferred admixture events is the ANE gene flow into both Europe 6 and the Americas 6 that has
previously been documented. The successful model (Fig. 2A) also suggests 44 ± 10% “Basal
Eurasian” admixture into the ancestors of Stuttgart: gene flow into their Near Eastern ancestors
from a lineage that diverged prior to the separation of the ancestors of Loschbour and Onge.
Such a scenario, while never suggested previously, is plausible given the early presence of
modern humans in the Levant 25 , African-related tools made by modern humans in Arabia 26, 27 ,
and the geographic opportunity for continuous gene flow between the Near East and Africa
28 .


http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2013/12/23/001552

Figure 3: Modelling the relationship of European to non-European populations.
From
Ancient human genomes suggest three ancestral populations for present-day Europeans
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v513/n7518/fig_tab/nature13673_F3.html


"But it is open to debate how much the slaves interbred with Tuscans and affected their appearance"

Yes. So debate it if you want to debate it. With facts, not emotion. That some degree of interbreeding occurred is clear. I don't claim to be in a position to quantify the exact contribution of these slaves to the modern Tuscan gene pool. The episode simply provides one illustration of why attempts to settle debates on the origins of the Etruscans using modern DNA are misguided.


"far less non-WE autosomal admixture than any northern Europeans"

No.


"those >half-Asian Tartars"

The Tatars I've seen don't look anything like half Mongoloid. If you're aware of relevant autosomal DNA studies, post them.

Anonymous said...

Are you blind or just stupid?

Stuttgart is half Basal Eurasian but 100 percent pure West Eurasian. BE is called "Eurasian" for a reason, and it branches off of "Non-African"--it's just a more ancient WE component. MA1 on the other hand, is mixed with all sorts of eastern proto-shit that isn't WE, including "Native American" and some "Papuan."

"The ancient samples appear to be mostly West Eurasian in their ancestry, although the hunter gatherers are also inferred to have greater or lesser extents of an eastern non-African (ENA) component lacking in Stuttgart."

Tuscans have near zero non-WE admixture. All northern Europeans have more, some a lot more (just by chance the ones with more ANE).

I'll help you: WE is blue, other colors are non-WE

Anonymous said...

Some comments are so sad. You do not deserve any evolution.

n/a said...

BE is called "Eurasian" for a reason, and it branches off of "Non-African"

In terms of the actual samples they use, it branches off non-Pygmy. And, no, by calling it "Eurasian" they're not making any statements about where it was 20,000 or 30,000 years ago (which they were not in any position to do with the available ancient samples). Reich et al. directly acknowledge this component is likely associated with African gene flow, and even if they hadn't, this would be the obvious explanation to anyone passingly familiar with the relevant archaeology, physical anthropology, or genetics.


Stuttgart is half Basal Eurasian but 100 percent pure West Eurasian

ADMIXTURE results on samples tens of thousands of years old are fairly meaningless (and even the ADMIXTURE results on modern samples don't mean what you think they mean; I would recommend learning how a program actually works before investing your hopes in it). MA1 obviously does not have any Papuan ancestry, for example, but is separated by thousands of years of drift from modern samples. It's clear from f4 statistics that MA1 is no more similar to Papuans than western European hunter gatherers, and that these groups are only closer to Papuans than Stuttgart because of the "Basal Eurasian" admixture in Neolithic farmers.

Now explain to us what you're doing in a "mongrel" Northern European country.

spagetiMeatball said...

I think people are making too many certain statements about "basal eurasian" without any samples from the ancient near east.

Didn't you say yourself that BE is probably gene flow from north africa into farming communities in the early neolithic levant?

In that case it's not really sub-saharan african ancestry, but something really isolated.

Anonymous said...

Is Racial Reality/Italianthro run by Rienzi/JWH?

Anonymous said...

Who gives a fuck where BE was 30,000 years ago. It's called "Eurasian" because autosomally it's an ancient (West)Eurasian-like component and it branches off the same reconstructed ancestral population as all other Eurasians. Non-Africans split from Africans long before any out migration.

Are you related to that "genetiker" idiot? You sound about the same.

Amerindian-like admixture in northern Europe is real

"ADMIXTURE results . . . are fairly meaningless"

I'm sure that's what you repeat over and over to yourself in the mirror every day.

Anonymous said...

lol u mad anon?

n/a said...

sm,

"In that case it's not really sub-saharan african ancestry, but something really isolated."

Yes, it's likely "Basal Eurasians" descend at least in part from a back-migration to Africa. But, no, it's unlikely they were completely isolated from sub-Saharans. According to physical anthropologists, Natufian and some Neolithic skeletons show some negroid traits (though they were predominantly Caucasoid).


"Is Racial Reality/Italianthro run by Rienzi/JWH?"

No. Rienzi is a 128 IQ Italian from the Northeast. Racial Reality is a 108 IQ Italian from California. (And, commenting in this thread, we have an ethnically insecure/resentful Italian living in Canada who is even dumber and less significant than Racial Reality.)


"Amerindian-like admixture in northern Europe is real"

You're incredibly fucking slow.

Frank said...

'Are you related to that "genetiker" idiot? You sound about the same.'

Though n/a seems to have some predisposition against Italians due to his early clashes with the racialreality blogger, the comparison does not do geneticker justice.

At the very least you have to admit that n/a is as factual as a blogger can be, something very unlike geneticker whose opinion changes rapidly depending on his mood swings, does not have an ounce of objectivity in him and constantly misinterprets data. (I'd apply Hanlon's Razor to this, same for Maciamo)

Overall you can learn quite a bit from blogs such as this or Dienekes whereas geneticker is simply all about custom-made genetic calculator drivel that are ultimately not that useful.

spagetiMeatball said...

n/a, sorry to derail this thread even further, but if I may ask one last question: How much basal eurasian ancestry do you estimate near easterners to have now (assuming the maximum is in bedouins)?

Anonymous said...

"At the very least you have to admit that n/a is as factual as a blogger can be, something very unlike geneticker whose opinion changes rapidly depending on his mood swings, does not have an ounce of objectivity in him and constantly misinterprets data."

I haven't bothered to read much of either blog, but in terms of denying the Amerindian-like admixture in northern Europe, they're practically twins. And why not? They're both basically dumb white nationalists. Maybe "n/a" is even worse. I don't think "genetiker" tries to negrify Basal Eurasians.

Anonymous said...

"I haven't bothered to read much of either blog, but in terms of denying the Amerindian-like admixture in northern Europe, they're practically twins."

Assume it's true that NE's are more admixed with 'Amerind' than SE's are with semitic and/or negroid. It's inconceivable that they'd be as butthurt about their admixture as SE chauvinists are about theirs. This cannot seriously be disputed.

Even though attempts to portray SE's as 'more European' than NE's will never meet with anything but derision, please carry on. Your pathetic example serves as an object lesson in how not to think about race.

M said...

Mamma mia! You a gettin me all a riled uppa!

But seriously, Tuscans are painfully fair. Really just attractive fucking people, whatever they be.

Anonymous said...

Southern Europeans are not semitic and/or negroid.

http://italianthro.blogspot.it/2014/06/mediterranean-sea-as-genetic-barrier.html

Roma Sabinus said...

Complete nonsense;
If the slaves in Medieval Tuscany were Tartars and Africans than what does that have to do with Near Eastern admixture?

Roma Sabinus said...

It should also be noted that in Pardo-Seco et al 2014 [K=4] admixture anlyses:
African (sub-saharan) is 0.0% in Tuscans as also East Asian is 0.0%, only Europeans that possesed sub-saharan (African) admixture were Spaniards (with also a substantial amount of Near Eastern). Blows the 'medieval slave impact' tripe concerning Tuscans;
In Gunther et al 2015 [K=15] Tuscans differ from ancient Europeans in having a higher Caucasus component (also given in French and Greek) - once again no African or East Asian; Where as once again Spaniards display a substantial African (Mozabite) admixture which is absent in ancient Europeans;

Anonymous said...

This article is pretty much a bunch of bullshits in order to Levantinize Tuscans.
Slaves in Tuscany were sometimes only in noble families working as servants moreover, not taken by millions to work in cotton fields like in Usa. I doubt they have impacted genotype and if they were Africans,(Tuscans have 0% SSA) i can't see what the hell has to do with West Asian signatures . There are latest studies showing that the link between West Asia and Tuscany date back to neolithic in any case.