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Thread: A-M13 in a Sicilian man?

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    A-M13 in a Sicilian man?

    I've been scratching my head on this one for a while - from a preliminary 12-STR comparison of 53 kits from 20 countries, my closest match was a Sicilian (#N61746) from FTDNA's A Haplogroup Project:




    Here's a more recent distribution map - Courtesy of Passa

    After a higher 37-STR comparison, the Sicilian still remained the closest match - this factors in genetic distance as well as steps on specific markers with different rates of mutation.



    Interestingly, the owner of the kit is an elderly man that happens to live less than 1.5 hours away in Buffalo, NY. We've corresponded a few times and he's accepted my offer for a BigY test; the order was batched last month on July 26th.
    Despite being my closest Y-DNA match, the relation is still very distant. Using Mcgee's TMRCA calculator at 33 years per generation, our TMRCA is 1947 ybp. If there's any merit to this prelimnary estimate, it surprisingly happens to be eerily close to Rome's first penetration into Upper-Nubia.

    The BigY results and subsequent Yfull analysis will of course be the one-all in validating a reliable range for MRCA. For all we know, the relation could date much further back in antiquity.
    For many on the forum, it must be extremely tiresome reading an amateur's contrived explanation to link historical events to a common ancestor but I just can't help myself here - I'm not satisfied without at least an array of different plausible scenarios for this particular A-M13



    If the afmd TMRCA stays within the same time-period after Yfull's TMRCA analysis, I'd propose the following culminating event as a plausible explanation. In short, this hypothesis relies on Augustus supposedly directly receiving 1,000 Nubian prisoners whilst on a long sojourn in Sicily *(22-21BC). To me, this better explains why the Sicilian ironically appears strikingly closer related in terms of genetic distance and steps to someone of deeper/upper-nilotic heritage than other A-M13s found in more proximate regions (Algeria (1), Tunisia (1), Egypt (3), Crete (1) and Turkey(2).





    Chronology of Events Leading to Proposed MRCA:


    30 BC - Octavian defeats Mark Anthony, disposes Cleopatra and annexes the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt to the Roman Empire -- the Roman Province Aegyptus is born.

    27 BC - In an effort to further expand Rome's borders, Augustus orders Aelius Gallus, second Prefect of Egypt, to prepare a military expedition in Arabia Felix (the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula).

    26-25 BC - The expedition is a failure. News of a considerable withdrawal of forces from Upper-Egypt spreads panic throughout southern Egypt. Revolts among inhabitants of Southern-Egypt spark with an aim to put an end the client status and obligation of the Pay Poll Tax to Rome (Török, 2008).

    25-24 BC - Amanirenas, queen of the Meroitic Kingdom of Kush, takes advantage of the revolts and in the absence of Aelius Gallus on campaign in Arabia her armies plunder towns throughout the region.
    According to ancient Greek Historian Strabo, she easily defeats the depleted Roman forces in Lower Nubia and briefly occupies Syene, Philae and Elephantine (Fluehr-Lobban, 1998). Inhabitants are carried off, the towns are looted and statues of Augustus are pulled down.

    The iconic Meroë Head, a well preserved beheaded statue of Augustus found purposely buried under the steps of a victory altar in a Meroitic Temple:
     

    23 BC - In retaliation, the Roman governor of Egypt, Publius Petronius, invades Nubia to end Meroitic raids in southern Egypt.

    Map showing the areas of Egypt and Nubia (including Napata) where Petronius fought:
     

    22 BC - Petronius sacks Napata razing it to the ground; 1,000 of it's inhabitants are enslaved and sent to Augustus (presumably for the games).

    Remains of the Amun Temple at Jebel Barkal destroyed by the Romans in 22BC:
     

    *22-21 BC - Augustus is visiting Sicily, carrying out reforms and establishing coloniae in six Sicilian cities: Syracuse, Tauromenium, Panormus, Catania, Tyndaris, and Thermae Himerenses (4/6 are in Eastern Sicily).






    Distribution Map of the A-M13 "Branciforte" surname in Sicily:




    Distribution in the rest of Italy:



    Courtesy of cognomix.it

    If this is the winning scenario, it's hard to fathom that this lineage primarily remained in Sicily for nearly two thousand years.



    • Alternatively, there's a theory that lends itself to a more vague interaction between "Aethiopians" (mostly tropical-Africans from the upper-nile region) and the Greek world in Southern-Italy (Magna Graecia); apparently there was a sizable "black" population throughout this period. This included artisans, slaves, actors and athletes among other occupations (Africans in Ancient Greek Art - Hemingway, 2008).

    • There's another idea for a TMRCA in slightly more recent times (1st-3rd century AD), it comes from a source I never considered until recently - will post later




    A-M13 in Ancient Sudan: although derived from a small sample set, the abstract from this paper speaks to a wider presence of A-M13 in earlier periods of northern Sudan (Hassan, 2009)
     

    Abstract:

    Accordingly, through limited on number of aDNA samples, there is enough data to
    suggest and to tally with the historical evidence of the dominance by Nilotic elements
    during the early state formation in the Nile Valley, and as the states thrived there was a
    dominance by other elements particularly Nuba/Nubians. In Y-chromosome terms this
    mean in simplest terms introgression of the YAP insertion (haplogroups E and D), and
    Eurasian Haplogroups which are defined by F-M89 against a background of haplogroup
    A-M13.
    The data analysis of the extant Y-chromosomes suggests that the bulk of genetic
    diversity appears to be a consequence of recent migrations and demographic events
    mainly from Asia and Europe, evident in a higher migration rate for speakers of Afro-
    Asiatic as compared to the Nilo-Saharan family of languages, and a generally higher
    effective population size for the former.
    Last edited by Angoliga; 08-15-2017 at 05:42 AM. Reason: Recent Distribution MAP added - Courtesy of Passa

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    Given that the haplogroup also exists in the Middle East (see Saudi Arabia on the chart you posted), it is more likely to me it came indirectly from the Middle East to Sicily. During Arab rule the island, especially the west, was settled by people from every part of the Middle East and North Africa, though most of them were North Africans and Levantines.

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    i think this is his match
    Attachment 18145

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sikeliot View Post
    Given that the haplogroup also exists in the Middle East (see Saudi Arabia on the chart you posted), it is more likely to me it came indirectly from the Middle East to Sicily. During Arab rule the island, especially the west, was settled by people from every part of the Middle East and North Africa, though most of them were North Africans and Levantines.
    So far, none of the 20+ Middle eastern and North-African A-M13s have a genetic distance to suggest an MRCA as recent as the Muslim conquest of Sicily (827 AD)
    At some point, could a newly detected MENA A-M13 prove otherwise? -- sure it's possible, but the wide array of currently tallied data leans against a post islamic MENA connection when GD and steps are taken into account.
    - If interested, the compared STR markers can be found here and here, mutation/yr rates here

    Moreover, *if we're to go by the distribution of the Branciforte surname (distr. map posted above), the higher eastern concentration in Catania (18), Syracuse (13) and Enna (14) would go against the odds of a theorized western-Sicilian connection from the Muslim conquest. Evidently, however, the town of the Sicilian's progenitor, Caltanissetta, happens to be a name derived from Arabic -- that being said, in light of the afmd STR comparisons, I wouldn't draw any conclusions from this.


    Quote Originally Posted by kingjohn View Post
    i think this is his match
    Attachment 18145
    Yea, I'm pretty sure that's the same guy, he's also here (Kit #N61746)


    Unfortunately, no way of verifying a connection to this guy :/ -- the last prominent Branciforte line died out in the early 19th century:

    "The extinction of the Branciforte family occurred through the simple absence of male heirs. One of the last prominent Brancifortes was Nicolň, prince of Leonforte, senator of Palermo in 1799 and again in 1803. His only surviving child, a daughter, inherited all the Branciforte titles and lands. She wed Giuseppe Lanza, a distant cousin, thus keeping the familial property "in the family" but without the Branciforte name except occasionally added to that of the male line as "Lanza Branciforte."



    The list of feudal towns in their possession are *mostly from eastern Sicily, a good number happen to be within Caltanissetta or adjacent provinces where the progenitor (M. Branciforte, 1887 b.) was born.
    Perhaps at some point it was custom for some commoners to take on the name of their town's nobility? I have yet to follow up on the topic
    Last edited by Angoliga; 08-15-2017 at 06:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NiloSaharan View Post

    Unfortunately, no way of verifying a connection to this guy :/ -- the last prominent Branciforte line died out in the early 19th century:

    "The extinction of the Branciforte family occurred through the simple absence of male heirs. One of the last prominent Brancifortes was Nicolň, prince of Leonforte, senator of Palermo in 1799 and again in 1803.
    His only surviving child, a daughter, inherited all the Branciforte titles and lands. She wed Giuseppe Lanza, a distant cousin, thus keeping the familial property "in the family" but without the Branciforte name except occasionally added to that of the male line as "Lanza Branciforte."




    The list of feudal towns in their possession are *mostly from eastern Sicily, a good number happen to be within Caltanissetta or adjacent provinces where the progenitor (M. Branciforte, 1887 b.) was born.
    Perhaps at some point it was custom for some commoners to take on the name of their town's nobility? I have yet to follow up on the topic

    The surname of the Sicilian noble family Branciforte (probably) derives from the French Blanchefort/Blancafort or Catalan Blancafort.

    It is unlikely that the Sicilian (#N61746) from FTDNA descends from the noble Noble family. Italian-Americans and Sicilian-Americans are very very rarely of Noble extraction, vast majority of them come from the lowest social classes.


    Perhaps at some point it was custom for some commoners to take on the name of their town's nobility? I have yet to follow up on the topic

    More specifically it was custom for servants and slaves released from slavery to take the surname of the family where they had served. And slaves of African origin existed in Sicily, they were not the most common, they were rarely released and given the opportunity to convert and start a new life but they existed. They were called generically "Ethiopian".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taurus View Post
    The surname of the Sicilian noble family Branciforte (probably) derives from the French Blanchefort/Blancafort or Catalan Blancafort.

    It is unlikely that the Sicilian (#N61746) from FTDNA descends from the noble Noble family. Italian-Americans and Sicilian-Americans are very very rarely of Noble extraction, vast majority of them come from the lowest social classes.





    More specifically it was custom for servants and slaves released from slavery to take the surname of the family where they had served. And slaves of African origin existed in Sicily, they were not the most common, they were rarely released and given the opportunity to convert and start a new life but they existed. They were called generically "Ethiopian".
    Interesting scenario, that would be quite the exception -- would you happen to have any sources?

    I found this from a quick search regarding the Sicilian saint Benedetto da San Fratello:

    "Benedetto, also known as "il Moro" (the Moor) was, as Martire somewhat inexactly described him, "a black, an Italian, a freed slave and a Franciscan monk"... Martire observed that Benedetto was a black born in Sicily to Christian "Ethiopian" slaves of a Christian Master. (Martire took from his sources the identifier "Ethiopian," which in the sixteenth century applied to all of sub-Saharan Africa. Martire observed that Benedetto was a black born in Sicily." (Epstein, 2001)

    This scenario however falls short with the A-M13 STR data we currently have.
    None of the over 53 A-M13 kits have a genetic distance to suggest a connection to the slave trade of the 15-19th century; this includes the Ethiopians (2), Sudanese (2) and Ugandan (1).

    Until the BigY and subsequent Yfull analysis confirms a TMRCA, the time-period of Rome's first contact within the upper-nile region (Sudan) seems like the most parsimonious scenario. The Ugandan nilote having the closest TMRCA among the +53 A-M13 kits from over 20 countries seems to corroborate this theory.
    Moreover, these afmd events which directly link Nubians to Sicily happen to also overlap the TMRCA (~1947 ybp).
    Last edited by Angoliga; 08-15-2017 at 11:03 PM.

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    Results for his Big-Y just got delayed, expected dates are now 10/02/2017 - 10/16/2017:

     



    - His kit was first submitted back in 2008, I wonder if the age of his kit is a factor. I got my BigY results in 3 weeks from a kit submitted a year prior.

    Last edited by Angoliga; 09-19-2017 at 02:20 AM. Reason: *delayed

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    ... and another delay:




    That'll make it 14-16 weeks since the kit was batched on July 24th. I wonder if Hurricane Harvey and the hg38 update are to blame.

    I had my BigY results within 3 weeks -- this wait is deeply excruciating

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    Pushed back another 2-4 weeks:


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