Friday, July 05, 2002

Alexander's soldiers Send this entry to: Spurl Ma.gnolia Digg Newsvine Reddit

Alexander's soldiers Did you know Kandahar was actually one of the ancient Alexandrias founded by Alexander the Great? And did you know that Alexander made it all the way to the border of modern day Pakistan and India-and that Caesar wept when he was Alexander's age at death for he had done nothing of note and Alexander had conquered the civilized world in 15 years? In any case, this article talks about the possible descendents of Alexander's soldiers, and an expedition to collect DNA from Afghans to compare them with sequences from Phillip of Macedon, Alexander's father (unless you believe he really was the son of Zeus-Ammon). I'm skeptical that the fair-skinned Afghans are descendents of Alexander's soldiers-I suspect that they are within the phenotypic range of the ancient Indo-Iranian peoples (ancestors of the Pashtuns and Tajiks). There are blonde freckled Persians after all, and no one wonder's if they are the scions of the ancient Macedonian hoplites. Also, the author of the article contrasts "European" and "Asian" genetic signatures, but Afghans are basically Caucasoid, an affinal branch of the western Eurasian race that stretches from the north Atlantic and into India (where it blends in various degrees with other strains). Amd using Phillip's DNA might not be very accurate if the Macedonian aristocracy had intermarried heavily with Greeks from the south while the mass of Macedonian's were only semi-Hellenized (as seems the case) and from a different group of Indo-European tribes (granted, the Balkan peoples were all probably close genetically).