GENETICS 1st century Nubian mercenary genome from Serbia (Roman Empire)

Apollo

Staff Member
A new ancient genome study. It was focused on Serbia, but a Nubian mercenary was detected. He clusters near modern Nubians and North Sudanese Arabs. He carried haplogroup E-V32 (common in Somalis). Can we please stop this false meme that before Islam Nubians and North Sudan were like Dinkas:

EwYoFsc.png


Source: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.30.458211v1.supplementary-material
 
A new ancient genome study. It was focused on Serbia, but a Nubian mercenary was detected. He clusters near modern Nubians and North Sudanese Arabs. He carried haplogroup E-V32 (common in Somalis). Can we please stop this false meme that before Islam Nubians and North Sudan were like Dinkas:

I don't know where people would ever have gotten such an impression. Horners ourselves are literally North-Sudanese. Our ancestors lived there before around 3000 BCE then migrated down to the Horn which explains why around 3000 BCE the Horn suddenly goes from being in the Paleolithic to there being cattle, goat, sheep and donkey pastoralism with grain collecting & processing, shepherd/hunting dogs, pottery, bows and arrows and all the other stuff like burial mounds, dolmens, rock-carvings, cave-paintings... no place makes that drastic a cultural shift that fast and the linguistic evidence strongly points to an origin in the Sudanese Neolithic:

The evidence that Proto-sahelian borrowed its words for “goat” from an already distinct ancestral beja language in the later seventh millennium6 supports the conclusion that the initial divergence of Proto-Cushitic into the Beja (North Cushitic) branch and Agäw-East-South-Cushitic branches began before 6500 BCE - History and the Testimony of Language by Christopher Ehret

w6JFXEq.png


So even as early 5,000-6,000 years ago at the minimum, Sudan was already looking like a Nilotic - Middle-Eastern intermixture on a genetic level and I reckon it clearly stayed that way eversince. Especially along areas like the Red Sea hills and what is regarded as Nubia. All that happened is that new admixture elements got tacked on. Like historic period Egyptian, Islamic period Arabian and West-African ancestry carrying Nilotic elements.
 

The paternal marker of this African mercenary is E-V32 (Northeast African) and his maternal marker is L2a1j...so where is the Eurasian admixture in this man?

Nilo-Saharan populations like the Masalit have high frequencies of E-M78 lineages and L2a1j has been found in the Nilotic Acholi population.
 

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The paternal marker of this African mercenary is E-V32 (Northeast African) and his maternal marker is L2a1j...so where is the Eurasian admixture in this man?

Nilo-Saharan populations like the Masalit have high frequencies of E-M78 lineages and L2a1j has been found in the Nilotic Acholi population.
Autosomal DNA.
 

Apollo

Staff Member
The paternal marker of this African mercenary is E-V32 (Northeast African) and his maternal marker is L2a1j...so where is the Eurasian admixture in this man?

Nilo-Saharan populations like the Masalit have high frequencies of E-M78 lineages and L2a1j has been found in the Nilotic Acholi population.

Darfurians are not representative of the first people with E-V32. They only carry one particular sub-lineage of it called E-V5933. They acquired it from people like this Nubian individual (autosomally intermediary between North Africans and SSAs) and then went through founder effects similar to what happened to R1b Chadic groups who acquired R1b from Iberian influenced Maghribs and then underwent a founder effect (i.e. also not representative of the initial R1b paternal founders) without acquiring much North African autosomal ancestry. This is a common thing with paternal lineages, e.g. T carrying Somalis are nothing like the original T population.

As for where the Eurasian autosomal ancestry comes from. It came to Nubians/Ancient North Sudanese people from the original E-M78 population (E-M78 is ancestral to E-V32, see this wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taforalt#Ancient_DNA) in addition to coming from the non-L mtDNA like M1, N1, U6 etc found in North Sudanese populations. Individual haplogroup results do not provide the full picture as this individual could easily have cousins with maternal lineage N1 etc. Haplogroups only get acquired in a direct lineage, not all ancestors pass on their haplogroup to you.
 
Darfurians are not representative of the first people with E-V32. They only carry one particular sub-lineage of it called E-V5933. They acquired it from people like this Nubian individual (autosomally intermediary between North Africans and SSAs) and then went through founder effects similar to what happened to R1b Chadic groups who acquired R1b from Iberian influenced Maghribs and then underwent a founder effect (i.e. also not representative of the initial R1b paternal founders) without acquiring much North African autosomal ancestry. This is a common thing with paternal lineages, e.g. T carrying Somalis are nothing like the original T population.

As for where the Eurasian autosomal ancestry comes from. It came to Nubians/Ancient North Sudanese people from the original E-M78 population (E-M78 is ancestral to E-V32, see this wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taforalt#Ancient_DNA) in addition to coming from the non-L mtDNA like M1, N1, U6 etc found in North Sudanese populations. Individual haplogroup results do not provide the full picture as this individual could easily have cousins with maternal lineage N1 etc. Haplogroups only get acquired in a direct lineage, not all ancestors pass on their haplogroup to you.

Hmm, my only gripe with your statements, abowe, is R1b-V88 among Chadics. Isn't it lately more plausible that it came via the Balkans into the Middle-East and then via the Levant into Northeast Africa? Chadic is closest, seemingly, to Egyptian. Some suggest they even share a Chado-Egyptian node and R1b-V88's high frequency among groups like Siwans makes me think it was once strong in parts of Egypt/Sudan that were Chadic speaking and neighboring their close linguistic relatives in Masr and that's where R1b-V88 comes from rather than via the Iberian Peninsula and Berbers whom R1b-V88 isn't very common among at all outside of Egypt residing Siwans as far as I know?

That being said your overall point still stands. There are West-African Chadic speakers like Hausas who are 90-95%+ SSA and yet their Y-DNA is R1b-V88.
 
Darfurians are not representative of the first people with E-V32. They only carry one particular sub-lineage of it called E-V5933. They acquired it from people like this Nubian individual (autosomally intermediary between North Africans and SSAs) and then went through founder effects similar to what happened to R1b Chadic groups who acquired R1b from Iberian influenced Maghribs and then underwent a founder effect (i.e. also not representative of the initial R1b paternal founders) without acquiring much North African autosomal ancestry. This is a common thing with paternal lineages, e.g. T carrying Somalis are nothing like the original T population.

As for where the Eurasian autosomal ancestry comes from. It came to Nubians/Ancient North Sudanese people from the original E-M78 population (E-M78 is ancestral to E-V32, see this wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taforalt#Ancient_DNA) in addition to coming from the non-L mtDNA like M1, N1, U6 etc found in North Sudanese populations. Individual haplogroup results do not provide the full picture as this individual could easily have cousins with maternal lineage N1 etc. Haplogroups only get acquired in a direct lineage, not all ancestors pass on their haplogroup to you.

So the pre-Islam Nubians are a result of an admixed North African population that then mixed with Nilotics in Sudan?

What is the frequency of non-L mtdna in modern Nubian populations?

PS: Your post was very informative. Thank you.
 

Apollo

Staff Member
So the pre-Islam Nubians are a result of an admixed North African population that then mixed with Nilotics in Sudan?

What is the frequency of non-L mtdna in modern Nubian populations?

PS: Your post was very informative. Thank you.

I think the area to the North and to the East of what is now Khartoum have been something in between the Taforalt population (see previous wiki link) and 'true' Nilotes (e.g. Dinka style) for a long time. Like since the Neolithic. Those people probably looked a bit like Horners.

The other areas of North Sudan though, could have been populated by real Nilotes into relatively modern times. Not too deep into modern Sudanese history, but the areas where Sudanese Arabs live may have been more recently acquired from more fully Nilotes (displaced them), but that's my guess only.

However, some study I read some time ago claims South Cushites potentially migrated via South Sudan into Lake Turkana as they found Neolithic sites near Lake Turkana linked to South Cushites, but I highly doubt that theory. I think they entered the Horn via Eritrea into Ethiopia and then into the rest of Southeast Africa.

By the way, this individual is actually not that similar to the Christian Nubians found 600 years later and is also a bit different from modern-day Sudanese Arabs. Perhaps @Shimbiris or @The alchemist can explain in more detail how an ancient genome sample who is similar to a modern group can still have different origins (e.g. Ancient South Cushites samples found in Kenya and Somalis are a bit similar but had quite different sub-origins).
 

Apollo

Staff Member
@Molotoff

We Wuz in the Balkans for nearly two thousand years. :damn:

Would be hilarious if a handful of racist Serbians are his descendants (no, E-V13 doesn't count). They have found African Roman mercenary descendants living today in England and even Norway before.
 
@Apollo

We were already just South of Khartoum when the medieval Nubian kingdom of Alwa arrived in the Gezira, so we were not displaced by Sudanese Arabs in their current places.
 

Apollo

Staff Member
@Apollo

We were already just South of Khartoum when the medieval Nubian kingdom of Alwa arrived in the Gezira, so we were not displaced by Sudanese Arabs in their current places.

By the way, the way Ancient Egyptians depicted foreigners is kind of misleading. I think this is where the Nubians looked like Dinkas meme comes from.

They exaggerated phenotypic traits of foreigners, like make Berbers/Libyans and Semites look whiter than they actually were and made Nubians be depicted in a more exaggeratedly black way than they actually were. The Ancient Egyptians liked to distance themselves from outsiders in their art.
 
By the way, the way Ancient Egyptians depicted foreigners is kind of misleading. I think this is where the Nubians looked like Dinkas meme comes from.

They exaggerated phenotypic traits of foreigners, like make Berbers/Libyans and Semites look whiter than they actually were and made Nubians be depicted in a more exaggeratedly black way than they actually were. The Ancient Egyptians liked to distance themselves from outsiders in their art.


Yes, but the differences between the apparent real phenotype of the ancient 'Nubians' and how they were depicted was the most stark.

Why did the ancient Egyptians depict some of the Sudanese populations they encountered with the precise attire, hairstyles, build, skin-tones and facial features of Dinka-like Nilotics?

Why did the Romans also depict men like this?

DP356288.jpg


The ancient Egyptians had no problem depicting the people of Punt in the same fashion as themselves, so why would they just make an exception for Sudanese populations?

PS: The ethnic Kasu of Kush were not Nubians; they were actually at war with the Nubae-Nobatae-Noba of the Western Desert; the Ezana Stone differentiates the Noba (Nubians) from the Kasu.
 

Apollo

Staff Member
@Nilotic

We don't have that many depictions from Romans or Greeks about the Nubians. Only a handful and it could have been inspired by the Egyptian style to depict Nubians. Since those folks lived in Europe and never (or extremely rarely) saw any black people those artists could have been mesmerized by the more SSA looking Nubians and used them as the standard for depictions.

Virtually all Ancient Nubians who have been genetically analyzed so far are more Eurasian than Somalis and are about the same Eurasian level as Northern Habeshas, lol. There is no way they all look like those dudes like the one above. Most likely they just looked like modern Nubians:

 
@Apollo

so how do you explain the accounts of Roman historians?

For in the correspondingly situated places on our side of the equator, that is those on the Summer Tropic [i.e. at Egypt's latitude], people do not yet have the color of the Aithiopians, and there are no rhinoceros and elephants; but in places not much to the south of these, moderately black people are to be found, such as those who live in the "Thirty Schoinoi" [region in lower Nubia] outside of Soene. Of the same type, too, are the people of Garame, whom Marinos also says (and indeed, for this very reason) live neither right on the Summer Tropic nor to the north, but entirely to the south of it. But in places around Meroe people are already quite black in color, and are at last pure Aithiopians, and the habitat of the elephants and more wonderful animals is there."
--Ptolemy

It was a market place to which the Ethiopians bring all the products of their country; and the Egyptians in their turn take them all away and bring to the same spot their own wares of equal value, so bartering what they have got for what they have not. Now the inhabitants of the marches (Nubian/Egyptians border) are not yet fully black but are half-breeds in matter of color, for they are partly not so black as the Ethiopians, yet partly more so than the Egyptians.” Flavius Philostratus: c.170 to c.247,


If Upper Egyptians, Puntites and North Sudanese populations resembled each other to some degree... why did the Romans refer to the inhabitants of the border as only "half-breeds in matter of color", while the inhabitants of Meroe were noted specifically for their blackness?

The people in 'Lower Nubia' were only half as black as the Aithiopians of Meroe according to these accounts.

The Kulubnarti paper "places admixture occurring on average during the early-2nd to late-3rd centuries CE...

..
so what do you suppose the bulk of them looked like (genetically) prior to that period? The operative word is average, but it seems that some admixture took place significantly earlier-- as evinced by this paper.
 
Yes, but the differences between the apparent real phenotype of the ancient 'Nubians' and how they were depicted was the most stark.

Why did the ancient Egyptians depict some of the Sudanese populations they encountered with the precise attire, hairstyles, build, skin-tones and facial features of Dinka-like Nilotics?

Why did the Romans also depict men like this?

View attachment 199186

The ancient Egyptians had no problem depicting the people of Punt in the same fashion as themselves, so why would they just make an exception for Sudanese populations?

PS: The ethnic Kasu of Kush were not Nubians; they were actually at war with the Nubae-Nobatae-Noba of the Western Desert; the Ezana Stone differentiates the Noba (Nubians) from the Kasu.

Ancient Masris seemed pretty racist and exaggerated in their depictions. I talked about this once before:

Yes, everyone notices this about Syrians. To be fair, most are in reality dark-haired, dark-eyed and olive-skinned but they do indeed have a higher incidence of lighter features, even when looking at Alawites. People used to like claiming it's due to "Crusaders" but, in reality, it is due to a genetic shift in the direction of Anatolia and Iranics like Kurds found among them and the Lebanese.

Funnily enough, you know who else noticed this? Ancient Egyptians:

iYJYCSF.jpg


I swear... Masris were doing race based propaganda long before anyone. For example, most Nubians would have most assuredly been 40-60% ancient MENA people like Horners and yet, according to ancient Masris, a huge portion of them were essentially just Dinkaoids in the same Leopard skin loinclothes we see them in today:

S2AFl9s.jpg


And the ridiculously stark distinction they make between themselves and Levantines like the Hyksos when we know the two populations, especially this late into Egypt, would have been extremely similar genetically:

NMOWF5Y.jpg


They had a remarkable talent for exaggerating physical differences between populations, most likely for political purposes.

These guys were doing race-based propaganda before it was even a thing.
 
@Affliction, for real, dawg. According to ancient Masris Syrians back then were Nords, Nubians were Dinkaoids and ancient Palestinians and Masris were so different that one looked like typical Shemites whilst the other looked like weird ancient Horneroids. These niggas were on some shit, walaal. Propaganda 100%.
 
@Shimbiris

The Hebrews and others in the Levant were depicted correctly and some of the Libyans were depicted as light as coastal Berbers.

How did the Egyptians perfectly represent the attire and hairstyles of Nilotics, if they didn't encounter them? Mere propaganda can't account for that level of accuracy.

Libyans were not all represented as lily white:

220px-Ramesses_III_faience_tile_-_Libyan_chief.jpg


Syrians:

Theban_tomb_Nebamun.jpg
 
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