Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Red-Haired Prophecy of Constantinople

Yey, new post. First up a really excellent find from Emanuela. It comes from a book found on Google Books tilted Forschungen zur osteuropäischen Geschichte - which translates as Research on Eastern European History.

https://books.google.it/books?id

On page 57 it contains a curious reference to red hair. It concerns a prophecy relating to the city of Constantinople;

(click to enlarge)

It reads;
"The version which is possibly the oldest ends in a prophecy: one day, the "red-haired" people (rusyi rod) would reign over the Place of the Seven Hills (the New Rome) and restore to Christianity its ancient capital."
This is quite fascinating and is something I'm surprised not to have came across before. It's also interesting as it reaffirms the speculation linking Russia with red hair, and the idea that the name Russia possibly translates as "land of the reds". Something often repeated online and elsewhere. We've mentioned the possible etymological links with words such as rust, rose, russet, etc on this blog before.

On page 58 it then adds a little more, furthering this Russian connection;


This is definitely something worthy of further investigation :)

Following on from the Russian and Christian theme I also recently came across a paper that once again reiterates the unexpected commonness of red hair amongst the Jewish population. It's titled;

Jewish evolutionary perspectives on Judaism, antisemitism, and race science in late nineteenth-century England: a comparative study of Lucien Wolf and Joseph Jacobs

(A quick Google search should bring up the PDF).

I've yet to read the entire thing, but a quick search of the text brought up the following few bits.
In relation to hair, eyes, and complexion, he offered another meta-study (totalling 120,000 measurements) and showed that while Jews had darker hair and eyes than other nationalities, they included 21% blue eyes and 29% fair hair, and a surprisingly high number of red-heads (with Sephardim having three times as many red-haired as Ashkenazim).
In relation to red hair, Jacobs dismissed any claim that variation from the Jewish type should be interpreted as disproving purity of race; he argued that the Jewish type represented an average and that “the variations, though they may be due to intermixture, may also be merely normal divergences from the standard.” Red hair, Jacobs admitted, was the most difficult to understand in terms of divergence from the dark norm since it was “exceptionally prevalent” among Jews, but he noted that in biological terms “erythrism” was a kind of albinism and a matter of natural variance of certain pigments; he concluded that it was not due to intermixture but was the probable result of defective nutrition (since it occurred mostly among Jews of Africa and the East).
Interesting. Not too sure about the idea that red hair is the product of defective nutrition though xD

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