Early debatesThese differentiations occurred following long-standing claims about the alleged differences between the Nordic and the Mediterranean people. Such debates arose from responses to ancient writers who had commented on differences between northern and southern Europeans. The Greek and Roman people considered the Germanic and Celtic peoples wild, red haired barbarians. Pseudo-Aristotle argued that the Greeks were an ideal people because they possessed a medium skin-tone, in contrast to pale northerners and dark southerners. By the nineteenth century, long-standing cultural and religious differences between Protestant northwestern Europe and the Roman Catholic south were being reinterpreted in racial terms.
19th centuryIn the nineteenth century, the division of humanity into distinct races became a matter for scientific debate. In 1870, Thomas Huxley argued that there were four basic racial categories (Xanthochroic, Mongoloid, Australioid and Negroid). The Xanthochroic race were the "fair whites" of north and Central Europe. According to Huxley,
On the south and west this type comes into contact and mixes with the "Melanochroi," or "dark whites"...In these regions are found, more or less mixed with Xanthochroi and Mongoloids, and extending to a greater or less distance into the conterminous Xanthochroic, Mongoloid, Negroid, and Australioid areas, the men whom I have termed Melanochroi, or dark whites. Under its best form this type is exhibited by many Irishmen, Welshmen, and Bretons, by Spaniards, South Italians, Greeks, Armenians, Arabs, and high-caste Brahmins...I am much disposed to think that the Melanochroi are the result of an intermixture between the Xanthochroi and the Australoids. It is to the Xanthochroi and Melanochroi, taken together, that the absurd denomination of "Caucasian" is usually applied.
|Teutonic||Long||Long||Very light||Blue||Tall||Narrow, aquiline||Nordic (Deniker), Homo Europaeus (Lapouge)|
|Alpine (Celtic)||Round||Broad||Light chestnut||Hazel, gray||Medium; stocky||Variable; rather broad, heavy||Occidental (Deniker), Homo Alpinus (Lapouge)|
|Mediterranean||Long||Long||Dark brown or black||Dark||Medium; slender||Narrow, slightly aquilline||Ibero-Insular, Atlanto-Mediterranean (Deniker)|
"The Celtic Race (anc. Galatae, Pyreni), are characterised by a well-formed head, elongated from front to back, and moderate in breadth; face oval; features well defined and elegantly formed; complexion dark; dark brown or black eyes; black hair turning early gray; form middle size, handsome; feet and hands small. Mental powers quick, active, and energetic, rather than profound. Passions and affections strong. Fond of society, but not forgetful of injuries. Monarchial in their governments. They occupy the southern and insular parts of Europe."