The Celto-Saxon Type: The Pioneering Stock of Shem

In their standard atlases and school geographies Europeans have hitherto colored Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden with the same tint to indicate that all those lands are inhabited by branches of the great "Teutonic" family. We cannot deny, even if we had the desire, that English and German are cousin tongues. It is an historical fact that the Celto-Saxons came over via lands lying on the eastern shores of the North Sea. But scholars who have studied the modern populations of Britain and Continental Europe have reached a very different conclusion. They hold firmly to the view that Briton and Teuton represent contrasted types of humanity.

The radical difference is in skull shape and the two forms leap to the eye. In the majority of Britons -- English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish -- the hinder part of the head, the occiput, projects prominently backwards behind the line of the neck. The British head is long in comparison with its width. In the vast majority of Teutons the occiput is flattened as if the hinder part of the head, when still young and plastic, had been pushed forwards and upwards. The peculiarity is due to no artificial means; we know that the prominent and flattened occiput are characters that breed true over thousands of years and that they are characters which indicate a profound racial difference. Even in the sixteenth century, Vesalius, who is universally regarded as the "father of anatomy", regarded the flat occiput as a "German" characteristic. We have also the evidence of Virchow -- the greatest of German anthropologists -- who came, with seeming reluctance, to the conclusion that the vast majority of modern German people differed from British, Dutch, Dane and Scandinavian in form of head.

How are we to reconcile history with actual facts? Is it demonstrable, from an anthropologist's point of view, that Briton and Teuton belong to opposite European types? The explanation is easy. With the exodus of the Franks to France and the Anglo-Saxons to Britain in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth centuries of our era, Germany was almost denuded of the longheaded elements in her population. It is only in certain areas that we find a good proportion of "long-heads" among the present German people. When the Franks and Anglo-Saxons were moving into France and England, the great area now covered by the old German Empire had been invaded from the east -- from the regions now occupied by Russians, Poles and Czechs -- by swarms of people with flat occiputs and round heads. History relates that by the end of the sixth century, this type had overrun most of modern Germany, except the lands along the western shores. We now know, however, that the permeation of Germany by men of the Teuton type did not begin with the breakup of the Roman Empire. In ancient graves of the early Iron, Bronze and Neolithic ages we find the identical type, showing that the western movement of the flat occiputs had set in thousands of years before the days of the Roman Empire.

With the exit of the Franks and Anglo-Saxons the short-headed ancestors of modern Germany were left as the dominant type. The famous French anthropologist, de Quatrefages, regarded the repression practiced by them as attributable to racial origin. Modern anthropologists are not inclined to regard any mental character which can be eradicated by education as a "racial" trait. Yet there can be no doubt that certain aptitudes do belong to certain races and breed true from generation to generation. The flat occiput has rarely shown an aptitude for the sea. All the races which have commanded the sea -- the Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegians and British -- have long heads with prominent occiputs.

Sir Arthur Keith, F.R.S., an anthropologist of the highest rank has written: "The British Isles are supposed to be inhabited by a mongrel people -- the most mixed in Europe. We are the descendants of Celts, Saxons, Angles, Jutes, Danes, Normans, Flemings and Huguenots. As dressed up in a Lord Mayor's Show we recognize each of these without difficulty. But suppose we return to the crowd which deploys into the city every morning -- can we recognize Celt from Saxon, Angle from Dane, Irishman from Scot? I confess that I cannot.

"'Of course you cannot', my critic replies, 'because in these recent centuries all our original races have become mixed up by intermarriage and migration.' The mixture is older than critics suppose. We know many burial places where early Saxon settlers laid their dead; we know English cemeteries of pre-Saxon date -- cemeteries in which Celts were buried. We know well the facial features and shapes of the head of the original Danish and Norman invaders.

"Yet the expert craniologist, when he examines a mixed collection of skulls, obtained from the Celtic, Saxon, Danish and Norman graveyards of England, has the same difficulty as the ordinary man has when he seeks to separate the descendants of these races in the morning crowd which emerges from Liverpool Street station.

"In facial feature and cranial shape, all these invaders of England were of the same general conformation. Celt, Saxon, Dane, and Norman. Although they came at different times, bringing with them peculiarities in speech, manners, and customs, were not, in a physical sense, different peoples; one and all they were offshoots of the same great parent stock of North-West Europe. They were cousin peoples.

"It is true today, just as it was in the time of Tacitus, that a dark-haired people of Mediterranean origin lives in Southern Wales; there are dark-haired people of similar origin in Southern Ireland. Notwithstanding these exceptions we may rightly look upon the Celto-Saxons as the least mongrel, the most uniform, to be found in any country of Europe." So declares this renowned anthropologist.

Thus the reader will see that dead bones can speak; what they tell us is that we are a less diverse people than we thought, and that although civilization is altering us, yet not to a degree which need give us any uneasiness on this score.

-- L. Buxton Gresty

Hope of Israel Ministries
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