"Phoenician" DNA….

By Razib Khan | October 31, 2008 2:20 am

Dienekes and Kambiz both hit a new paper which claims to find the Y chromosomal (direct male descent lines) signatures of the ancient Phoenician colonization of the Mediterranean. I tend to see a lot of merit in Dienekes’ criticisms, the net here is thrown so wide that it’s almost one of those models where it explains everything so that it explains nothing. Compare this to the recent work on the genetics of the Etruscans and modern populations of Tuscany, which strongly lend credence to ancient myths of their origin in Anatolia The historical data I’ve seen suggests that both the Phoenician and Greek colonial expansions were characterized by an enormous male skew; the Rape of the Sabine Women echoes incidents which are alluded to in founding myths of several prominent cities in Magna Graecia. So sniffing around the Y is the way to go even if J2 is a false lead. In Carthage he noble lineage of Hannibal’s family had attested female ancestors who were Sicilian Greek, which implies that the Barcids were an amalgam of Greek, autochthonous Sicils, Berber as well as the male descent line from the Phoenician settlers from Tyre. Finally, do note that the likelihood of “supermale” lineages such as that of Genghis Khan doesn’t make it implausible for me that a handful of elite males hooked into the cheap and efficient Mediterranean transport network could have leave a very strong genetic imprint for the future. The Phoenician expansion into North Africa, Spain an Sicily is probably most well analogized to the Spanish conquistadors who subjugated the New World in less than a century.


Comments (3)

  1. I assailed Thomas Szasz for his misunderstanding of Hannibal’s racial/ethnic type here.

  2. Seafaring is E1b1b Somalid not J2 Mesopotomian farmers!
    In Italy our heaviest E1b1b population centers are on the coasts, it doesn’t matter if its Northern Coasts or Southern Coasts, up until Genoa E1b1b is still presistant at a strong 24% of the modern population!
    In Syria, Cyprus & coastal Turkey those coastal folks were the same people that moved to the Balkan Coasts & later Italy.

  3. Syrid Iraqi J2

    J2 came from ancient mesopotamia it spread to lebanon then europe same route of pottery just ask yourselves whats closer to lebanon Syrid J2 (Mesopotamia) or Somalid E1b1b (Horn of Africa) !


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com


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