A Girl in Every Port

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.

1 thought on “A Girl in Every Port”

  1. I saw a similiar effect during a visit to Cuba

    Among the normally very dark latin/indian/black population were very tall blond women who looked for all the world like Catherine the Great but had names like Maria or Blanca.

    The Russian navy was gone but certainly not forgotten.

    Russ London


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