The estimable John Noble Wilford reports on a new DNA study that shows the Phoencians, that sea-faring race of antiquity (no, not residents of Phoenix) have had a lasting genetic imprint on Mediterranean populations.
“Scientists reported Thursday that as many as 1 in 17 men living today on the coasts of North Africa and southern Europe may have a Phoenician direct male-line ancestor.
These men were found to retain identifiable genetic signatures from the nearly 1,000 years the Phoenicians were a dominant seafaring commercial power in the Mediterranean basin, until their conquest by Rome in the 2nd century B.C.”
So those old sailors got around. I think it’s interesting that we have lots of genetic influence from the Phoenicians, but not so much cultural influence. Though, as I understand we do have to give them props for originating the alphabet. As an aside, I’m in the midst of A History of Writing and would recommend it to you all. Even if it is from the evil Reaktion Books.
This piece reminded me of the stories from a few years ago telling us that half of us are descended from Genghis Khan.