Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

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Re: Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

Postby MoonlightSkywriter » 23 Aug 2012, 00:38

Squigy its like me saying if I am an eggplant then why is my color purple instead of brown. The southern region used to belong to Africa and Sicilians were once attached to Africa years ago, their skin color is naturally darker brown due to the sun and the culture where my family comes from we are all Olive complextion vs my cousins who live in Milano which their skin color is pure white like snow, they do not get the vitamin D like we get here, and that we stay out alot and do alot of things in the sun, outdoors. Vs those who stay inside alot

I am proud of my color... if god wanted me to be totally white he would have dropped diamonds on the ground for me to go out and pick them up.
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Re: Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

Postby 113yearslater » 21 Apr 2014, 18:20

It's an everything influence, really. Africa, Vikings, Greece ... everyone invaded southern Italy and left their DNA there at one point or another. My dad was very dark, my mom has Snow White coloring (blue-black hair before it went grey and porcelain skin). Her mom had grey eyes. All of us siblings are somewhere in the middle. My oldest brother lived in Saudi Arabia for a while and when he walked into a little shop once and spoke English, he was told, "Stop showing off, Masri (Egyptian). Speak Arabic." I used to get weird looks from the Sudanese guys at college because I was walking around with my hair showing and they could have sworn I was one of them.

And one of my cousins, just as southern Italian as me (more so actually since her maternal side was from Campania and mine is Abruzzese), had blue eyes and blond hair and was once told by a schoolteacher one time to go home and ask her parents if she was really Italian. It's all a big mishmash.
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Re: Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

Postby carubia » 12 Jun 2014, 10:42

Southern Italians vary a lot in coloring. My mother's ancestors are 100% Sicilian, yet most of them are very white. My GM's sisters were so white they were practically translucent, while my GF's father had blue eyes and was called "Tedescu" ("German" in Sicilian). My mother had reddish hair, hazel eyes, freckles, and sunburned easily, as if she were Irish.
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Re: Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

Postby crystalblue » 21 Jun 2014, 02:46

My family is also from Southern Italy (Calabria and Sicily). While somewhat dark skinned, many in my family have light green eyes. It would be interesting to know where their ancestors came from originally. Maybe one day I will be able to get a DNA test.
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Re: Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

Postby Manhattan » 27 Oct 2014, 15:24

After reading these posts I feel the need to answer. I am a third generation American of Sicilian descent on all sides of my family. My immediate family, most of my relatives, and myself are light-skinned. I am not as fair as a red head but I don't tan easily in the summer and in fact burn as do my parents. I come from an Italian neighborhood where many southern Italians including those "
Moorish" Sicilians are not olive or dark skinned. Yes there are those that are darker but not the quantity that many outsiders would like to believe. In fact I've known Sicilians who have light eyes and hair, myself being blond as a baby.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying that being dark or darker is a negative thing but a fact is a fact and the appearance of Italians is not black and white. There is a huge gray area. It so irritates me when people who find out that I'm Italian- American ask me "where in Italy my ancestors came from" because I know that these people (mainly northern Europeans) are fishing around to see if I am a northern Italian because there image of southern Italians are those charcoaled characters on reality t.v.
I don't mind being the "whitest" looking guy in the room, after all, my great-grandparents strived to be accepted in this country and my family and I will never and have never been eligible to receive minority benefits! :D
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Re: Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

Postby PeterTimber » 27 Oct 2014, 16:31

You know I was the first respondent to the original inquiry by some young lady many many years ago and I marvel that this subject has never died a peaceful death! I even remember describing that the original Hellenes were actually early Vikings penetrating the Mediterranean coming down the south flowing rivers of Scandinavia and northern Europe and settling inGreece. Peter
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Re: Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

Postby PeterTimber » 28 Oct 2014, 15:50

Vikings were sentby the Emperor Justinian with the famous Eastern Empire General Belisarius (his name is still being used in Italy as Belisario) who briefly rejoined the eastern and western Roman Empire for a brief period. In brief, the Vikings who had long known about the Roman empire used to come down the Volga and raid the eastern empire towns and cities were never vanquished but hired as the emperor's private prized legion and was sent along with General Belisarius which no doubt added to the Gene pool in Italy and wherever... Peter
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Re: Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

Postby Manhattan » 28 Oct 2014, 16:28

I know what you mean but for some reason this is a topic that seems to creep up in the oddest places. Perhaps if we were a more 'silent' group where pop culture and the media didn't exploit us,it wouldn't be such a popular topic.
I knew the Vikings invaded southern Italy a bunch of times but didn't know about the original Hellenes.
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Re: Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

Postby PeterTimber » 28 Oct 2014, 22:27

All I know is that Western Scandinavia Vikings are within our west European ken but there is a part of the Eastern Viking World that I know little about but recall reading about their journeys South thru the Balkans and Russia to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Peter
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Re: Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

Postby PeterTimber » 30 Oct 2014, 22:17

Hi folks I managed to find the time to research The yet unreached consensus on the origin of the blonde haired historic Greeks (Achaeans). In Homer the color of the hair of the greeks is always mentioned as light whenthat color is mentioned at all. The complexion is inferred from the color of the hair for 3 of the famous greeks known as Achilles, Menelaus and Odysseus. They are always blondes plus three other less known characters (Meleager, Rhadamanthus, Agamede and the goddess Demeter). The color of the hair of the beautiful HELEN is never revealed neither is Penelope. Hector had black hair and is the only warrior on either side that was said to be dark. Alas it has become impossible to distinguish the racial difference between the Torjans and the Greeks based on just this information alone. (John A. Scott The Classical Journal March 1925 -St Olaf College Minnesota). But The Hellenes became the common name for greek civilization identity and inhabitated the north central part of Greece.) Peter
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Re: Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

Postby PeterTimber » 30 Oct 2014, 23:25

The Hellenes who were considered to denote a common Greek civizilational identity were
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Re: Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

Postby PeterTimber » 30 Oct 2014, 23:36

The Hellenes who name were used synonomously to denote a common Greek civilization identity were always cited for their light complexion and blonde hair. Although debated, John Scotts treatise in 1925 about the blonde locks of the Achaeans (Greeks), especially those who were mentioned by Homer are popularly known as Achilles, Menelaus and Odysseus. Hector had black hair and is the only warrior on eitgher side whose hair is said to be dark. It is impossible, however from this single passage to argue that this marks a racial difference between the Trojans and the Achaeans (Greeks). Peter
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Re: Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

Postby Anizio » 12 Nov 2014, 03:02

I just want to throw my 2 cents in, because I see a lot of people referencing Germanic influence, Arab influence, Greek influence.

The truth is, as someone who has looked into the Genetics of Italy in the past (and the information is easily found on the internet) the Greek colonists were small compared to the native populations in the pre-Roman days that they have about a 10% spread evenly across all of Italy. Making this an influence in the difference unlikely.

Similarly, although the Germanic peoples invaded Italy, the Lombards among them, all they did was impose their language and some cultural elements by replacing the upper class. In terms of genetic footprint, studies show 1% Germanic influence on Italian DNA - fact is Italians, like most Europeans, are genetically predisposed to lighter skin, eyes, and hair.

This is why, even though most of my ancestors for the past 400 years are from Abruzzo, Lazio, and Le Marche, red and blonde hair, blue and hazel eyes, and pale skin have run in my family since at least the 1800s.

In fact one of the aboriginal populations, south of Rome, in the pre-Roman days were called Rutuli (translated as "the red ones" but meaning "the blond ones."

There are some theories that a lot of the light hair, light skin, light eyes, comes from pre-Indoeuropean ancestry and the areas which had larger aboriginal (Pelasgian) populations that were assimilated by Indo-Europeans tend to have lighter hair - following that logic, the parts of Italy which would have lighter hair would be: Emilia-Romagna, Lombardia, Liguria, Piemonte, Le Marche -- pretty much the areas inhabited by the Ligures and other non-Indo Europeans.

The one people who have had a huge impact on modern Italian genetics is the Arabs, with the same studies I mentioned pointing to as much as 10% genetic impact of Arabs/Phoenecians in the south, while almost none in the north. Yet this also is unlikely the be the reason because Normans in the South, especially Sicily contribute 8-15%, a much higher level.

So Greeks would not make a difference because they are evenly spread except in the alps. Arabs and ancient Phoenicians had some impact, but not enough to explain the difference between North and South.
I tend to think its a mix of factors: minor middle-eastern influence, along with Indo-European vs Aboriginal Italian ratios, which explains why people in Lazio have skin and hair which is not as light as the north yet not as dark as a lot of people in the south.

Just my two cents and someone who has spent a long time studying this, as who has expertise in Pre-Roman Italian ethnic groups.
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Re: Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

Postby carubia » 12 Nov 2014, 03:37

The contribution of Greek colonists to Italian genetics has been much debated, and is certainly higher in Sicily than Italy as a whole. Here is an example of an article in the European Journal of Human Genetics that estimates the Greek contribution at 37% for Sicily:

http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v17/ ... 8120a.html

Abstract:

The presence or absence of genetic heterogeneity in Sicily has long been debated. Through the analysis of the variation of Y-chromosome lineages, using the combination of haplogroups and short tandem repeats from several areas of Sicily, we show that traces of genetic flows occurred in the island, due to ancient Greek colonization and to northern African contributions, are still visible on the basis of the distribution of some lineages. The genetic contribution of Greek chromosomes to the Sicilian gene pool is estimated to be about 37% whereas the contribution of North African populations is estimated to be around 6%.

In particular, the presence of a modal haplotype coming from the southern Balkan Peninsula and of its one-step derivates associated to E3b1a2-V13, supports a common genetic heritage between Sicilians and Greeks. The estimate of Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor is about 2380 years before present, which broadly agrees with the archaeological traces of the Greek classic era. The Eastern and Western part of Sicily appear to be significantly different by the χ2-analysis, although the extent of such differentiation is not very high according to an analysis of molecular variance. The presence of a high number of different haplogroups in the island makes its gene diversity to reach about 0.9. The general heterogeneous composition of haplogroups in our Sicilian data is similar to the patterns observed in other major islands of the Mediterranean, reflecting the complex histories of settlements in Sicily.
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Re: Why are Southern Italians darker than Northern Italians?

Postby Anizio » 12 Nov 2014, 03:46

carubia wrote:The contribution of Greek colonists to Italian genetics has been much debated, and is certainly higher in Sicily than Italy as a whole. Here is an example of an article in the European Journal of Human Genetics that estimates the Greek contribution at 37% for Sicily:

http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v17/ ... 8120a.html


I have never heard of such huge numbers, and the Greeks at no point outnumbered the native populations enough for that high a percentage:

L23 has a remarkably uniform distribution over all the Italian peninsula, making between 5% and 10% of the male lineages. It is found at a slightly higher frequency in Campania and Calabria due to the Greek colonies, and decreases under 5% of the population only around the Alps.
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