Italy Anthropology Part II

By | February 16, 2022

Stature. – According to themeparktour, the general average height turns out to be m. 1.645. This stature also corresponds to the general average of humanity. However, we must observe that this figure, like the others that we will present, refers to “suitable” young people, that is, to a selected group. Livi himself, examining the stature of the young people of five classes, previous to those considered here, but for all the “members”, he found a stature of 21 mm. inferior. On the other hand, it must also be considered that young people at 20 have not reached their final stature. However, since the large statistics of height mostly refer, in civilized nations, to young people in their 20s, a relative judgment of height is possible. From the Livi data it appears that the Italian population is composed: 18.2% of stature under m. 1.60; 35% of height between m. 1.60 and m. 1.65, 29, 2% of height between m. 1.65 and m. 1.70; 17.6% of stature over m. 1.70. From the Livi distribution papers, there are three main centers of high stature in Italy. One, the largest, includes most of the Veneto; one, Tuscan-Emilian, which occupies the northern part of Tuscany (with a small invasion in Liguria) and the eastern portion of Emilia, divided by a patch of short stature, corresponding to the two mountainous districts of Pavullo and Vergato; and a third, Lombard, in the eastern and northern part of Lombardy. Populations of shorter stature, on the other hand, form a large strip, which, starting from the southern half of the Marches, initially narrowed between the Adriatic and the Apennines, extends towards the south, passing through the Sannio and reaching Lucania and Calabria. A small town is also well delineated on the southern coast of Sicily. Another center of very low populations is constituted by the whole of Sardinia, with the exception of an area to the north-east. Livi believes that the explanation for the differences in stature is to be found in the combined action of race and environment. The intervention of the first factor is, for Livi, unquestionable and results well in comparison with certain areas which present more or less the same economic and social conditions and yet different stature. Such, for example, Veneto and Piedmont, western and eastern Tuscany, central and eastern Abruzzo. Among the variations determined by the environment we must first consider that of the mountains, since a large part of the Italian soil, especially in the south, is mountainous. Livi asserted the existence of a depressing influence of the height on the part of the mountain, in the sense at least that this influence is sensitive up to 900 meters. This influence, however, would not be of a physical nature, but only of an economic-social nature. This would result, for Livi, from the examination of the average height of the three social groups he established in the young soldiers: 1. Students, professionals, employees, etc .; 2. Farmers; 3. Other activities. Even in the provincial capitals located at greater heights (Cuneo, Perugia, Aquila, Campobasso, Potenza, Caltanissetta) the first group is much taller. Among the most conspicuous general facts of distribution is the presence of a fairly wide band of relatively low stature, in correspondence with the northern Apennines and which from Piedmont reaches the Marche, to re-attach to the area of ​​short stature that we have already mentioned. The stature distribution map for Italy confirms what is known in general for this character, i.e. its low racial value and its influence by peristatic (environmental) factors, so that, also for Italy, we cannot give the height in general a great value for establishing the racial elements that have intervened in its ethnic composition.

Colorful. – As for the color, its relief was made on the basis of the eyes and hair and not the skin, and the results of it were translated cartographically in four ways, namely by frequency of pure types and mixed types. Pure types are the type with dark or black hair and eyes (brown type) and the type with blond hair and blue or gray eyes (blond type). Mixed types mean the percentages that are obtained by adding all the dark or black eyes and all the black hair, or all the blond hair and the blue or gray eyes, even when they are not on the same individual and referring these sums to the number total of observations. From all four maps of Livi per encircle, as well as from the large mixed brown type map for districts, there is almost the same geographical distribution of the color, namely: the more blond populations are all grouped towards the northern border of Italy, forming a stretch of union with the populations of Savoy, Switzerland, Austria, notoriously more blond than the Italians. It is unusual to observe that the whole Po valley is decidedly darker than some regions of central Italy, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche. In the Po Valley the entire southern part of the Po and a pre-Apennine belt are decidedly darker. The northern Apennines, on the other hand, are rather clear. Another clear area is given by the provinces of Chieti, Campobasso, Benevento, Avellino. Calabria is darker than Sicily, but Sardinia surpasses all other regions for brownness.

It is singular in this regard, the fact, well revealed by the map for districts, that while Puglia, Calabria and Sicily manifest differences that are often sensitive due to the color between districts close to each other, Sardinia, located almost at the same latitude as Italy southern continental, shows very small differences. Clearly this fact excludes a climatic factor and instead indicates the presence of an ethnic factor in mainland Italy and Sicily, a factor which has remained largely absent in Sardinia. Regarding the relationship between color and mountainous inhabited area, Livi established that in the mountains (places above 400 meters) the proportion of blond hair is always greater and that of brown eyes is less. Only one region is an exception, Abruzzo, but this is a mountainous region and the proportion of the lowlanders in it is insignificant. In the mountains, according to Livi, there would be a greater proportion of light colors, because in them there is a greater number of individuals subjected to general or local influences that retard body development and the normal evolution of color, which, as is well known, darkens from birth onwards.

However, it seems that the explanation is much more complicated and, while not excluding the Livi factor, one should resort, at least for central Italy and the northernmost part of the south, to a racial factor, as will be seen later. In this regard, it is worth mentioning that a very small difference between the plains and the mountains would occur in Lombardy, where an ethnic factor is precisely more evident.

Italy Anthropology 2