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Thread: Could Western Jews (Ash. and Seph.) descend from Aegeans and Levantine admixture?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Claudio View Post
    Kalonymides were either of Greek or Greko Southern Italian Jewry not directly Levantine.
    Add Southern Italian instead.
    Is there proof of this beyond the Greek name?
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    Also, the Hebrew-language scholarship on the founding of early Ashkenaz keeps referring to "five prominent families" in Mainz and Worms who were known to have come from France and Italy, but the only one mentioned explicitly is the Kalonymus family. Can anyone help fill the gap here? Not sure why these sources wouldn't bother to enumerate them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by StillWater View Post
    Is this what mortals are in 2019? Claudio, I'm not arguing for or against any narrative right now. I was using a narrative to demonstrate a point about G25, as opposed to using G25 to make a point about a narrative. I'm not going to make any more models for this point because their results will be irrelevant to my point, even if Polish goes up to 100% or to a reasonable %. I've already demonstrated the point. As a tangent, I asked you to show me that the Kalonymides came from South Italy/Greece - simply biographical info about that one family. In return, you allude to broader population movements and return back to arguing the Aegean narrative. It's not even a valid argument against the standard narrative - it's entirely circular. The standard narrative doesn't assume that the migration to Europe happened after the failed revolt against Heracles. It's certainly a possibility within the standard narrative. All what the standard narrative assumes is that the admixture event with South Europeans happened 35-50 generations ago. That means that whether they were in Israel or already long settled in the northern Mediterranean, they were hardly mixing with European Mediterraneans till much later. And in return, you reply by stating that they would've been admixed by this time. This is entirely circular. You're simply arguing for your thesis by effectively restating it.
    You might want to look into the validity of the study that came to the conclusion of no Southern European Admixture till 35-50 Generations ago,as this study used a mixed Italian data set of North,Central & Southern Italian.
    If Southern Italians already have Middle Eastern Admixture including them in a Data set to detect solely Italian European admixture is more than likely going to yield erroneous results including most likely an inaccurate number of generations for the Admixture event with Southern Europeans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hartaisarlag View Post
    Also, the Hebrew-language scholarship on the founding of early Ashkenaz keeps referring to "five prominent families" in Mainz and Worms who were known to have come from France and Italy, but the only one mentioned explicitly is the Kalonymus family. Can anyone help fill the gap here? Not sure why these sources wouldn't bother to enumerate them.
    They're the only ones who matter. Hint: no bias.
    הִנְנִי֩ מֵבִ֨יא אוֹתָ֜ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ צָפ֗וֹן

    Jeremiah 31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Claudio View Post
    For me Jonah it all depends on what ethogenesis narrative and timescale we are going with for western Jews?

    For Ashkenazim we have one narrative of post Heraclius revolt 7th Century full Levantine Jews moving to North Italy temporarily for 200 years then moving France/Germany then Eastern Europe.
    So whole Narrative lasts from full Levantine population in Levant 700AD to 1500 Eastern Europe so Roughly a genetic timescale narrative of only 700 years.

    2nd Narrative is 1st Century AD already partially mixed Levantine population movements plus a stay in Southern Europe for near on 600 years plus another 500 years bringing us up to Eastern Europe in 1500’s So in comparison we are talking about a partially mixed Levantine population with a genetic timescale narrative of twice as long as the first narrative at Roughly 1400 years.

    With both narratives we know there were converts to some degree (evidently almost exclusively women (Southern European,then Western and Eastern European women.

    With the first narrative I can see the possibility as you mention that of Western Jews being 40-50% Autosomaly descended from Roman era Levantines.

    I’m just not 100% convinced it would be possible with the second narrative which is for starters twice as long as the first,snd starts with an already admixed Levantine population movement.
    Plus then we have to factor in that we don’t know how much modern Autosomal Admixture of Western Jews was picked up solely as maternally inherited Admixture during this Roman period and subsequent extra 600 years in Southern Europe so Western Jews coming up only 25/30% Autosomaly Roman era Levantines doesn’t necessarily seem that unreasonable all things considered.
    That's a great point. I've said it here many times that my opinion is a combination of the two narratives (though not dependent on any major direct migration from the Levant in the 7th century, which I agree with Erik is not historically plausible).

    I think that Jews were first living in the Aegean region as early as the 3rd century BCE. Over time, different waves from the Mediterranean regions moved farther west into Sicily and north into Italy with gradual and uneven mixing with non-Jews over at least a few centuries. I guess the timescale partly depends on whether we think the number of mixed marriages decreased substantially after the relevant laws were codified around 200 CE. But either way, I'm not sure that the time scale should affect our judgment of how much this mixing/conversion impacted later generations.

    I don't think it actually makes sense to suppose that hypothetically fully-Levantine Jewish men would continue to marry non-Jewish women over multiple generations in any sort of consistent fashion. Just as an example, let's say these communities were mostly founded by unmixed Jewish men who all took non-Jewish wives in Italy or Greece. The next generation of mixed children should presumably be ~50% male ~50% female. Why would the sons then go and marry non-Jewish women? Who would marry the Jewish daughters? I very much doubt that any Jewish father in this scenario would willingly marry his daughter off to a non-Jewish man, especially before Judaism officially became matrilineal. I also doubt that it would happen after the switch.

    And while polygamy wasn't forbidden, it was reserved for the wealthy and probably wouldn't have much of an impact in this scenario either.

    I see it as a gradual and uneven process that maybe looked something like some Jews from the Aegean region (who may have been like 80% Levantine 20% Greek) moving west to Sicily and Southern Italy, where they mixed some more. Maybe by the time some started moving north into Northern Italy, they were closer to 60/40 Levantine/Southern European. Then they mixed some more in Northern Italy and Southern France, perhaps picking up another 10% or so. All of this could've happened over the course of a few hundred years.

    Ashkenazim later picked up some Central and Eastern European, while Italian and Sephardi Jews may have mixed somewhat with their respective neighbors. And I think that the Jews who stayed in the Aegean region mixed more with Aegean populations during the same time frame. This is obviously oversimplified, and I do think that there were multiple waves of migrations, including the potential Geonic-period Mizrahi wave that has been discussed recently. (And obviously none of this accounts for the Berber admixture in European Jews.)

    I do think that because of Rome's importance as a city, there could've been some direct Levantine transplants to Rome, but I don't know if these transplants would be numerous enough to have a meaningful genetic impact.

    On a slightly different note, while there are clear limitations to drawing analogies with today, I think that contemporary trends can shed some light on what may have happened as well. Much like today, I think that the more traditional the Jews were, the less likely they'd be to intermarry, especially before there was any formalized conversion process. Like today, children of mixed marriages would be much less likely to retain a distinct Jewish identity and pass it on to their descendants. And, again, being Jewish was generally not advantageous, so there would be numerous social and political motivations to shedding Jewish identity. If we looked at early 20th century intermarriage rates among Jews living in Central and Western European urban centers, we might predict that modern Ashkenazim (who weren't already in the US) would 25-50% Central/Western European. This clearly isn't the case, partly because these urban Jews made up a small portion of the overall Ashkenazi population at the time and partly because of the Holocaust, but also because the vast majority of surviving descendants from these marriages were assimilated into the Christian population.

    There are of course other factors today that could be relevant, such as the number of children that more traditional vs less traditional Jews have, but due to high infant mortality rates, it's probably less significant.

    Anyway, until we eventually get some Roman-era Western Jewish samples (hopefully from Malta), it's all largely speculative. Many different models can produce nice fits and support different historical narratives.
    Last edited by jonahst; 08-14-2019 at 01:11 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bleach View Post
    Fair enough,
    But that way of reasonning brings about the inverse effect..
    If we can no longer use the closest populations from Levantines in the nmonte set, like Egyptians and Anatolians, because they could potentially
    tap Levantine ancestry through their combination, then you are bound to attribute a quite portion of your 40% -50% Levant LBN Roman to
    each population of converts that could be modelized with Levant LBN as Southern Italians , Anatolians, Egyptians and even Berbers
    Finally, it's tomayto, tomahto isn't it ?
    I think that Egyptians and Anatolians undoubtedly left some mark on Western Jews, but I doubt it's anywhere near as high as some of these models suggest.

    One thing I have noticed, which I mentioned earlier, is that for whatever reason using South Italians and Sicilians instead of ancient Greek samples produces much better fits, and eliminates all of the unnecessary and illogical NW European in Western Jews.

    I think it's also not insignificant that in the new 23andMe beta updates, non-Ashkenazi Western Jews get direct matches with Sicily and Sardinia. It was also interesting that most of the MENA ancestry in non-Ashkenazi Western Jews was "broadly" while a lot of the Southern European was attributed to specific regions. What does this all mean? I don't know, but could it reflect the fact that the most of the MENA ancestry diverged from neighboring non-Jews much farther in the past than the Southern European?
    Last edited by jonahst; 08-14-2019 at 01:16 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Claudio View Post
    You might want to look into the validity of the study that came to the conclusion of no Southern European Admixture till 35-50 Generations ago,as this study used a mixed Italian data set of North,Central & Southern Italian.
    If Southern Italians already have Middle Eastern Admixture including them in a Data set to detect solely Italian European admixture is more than likely going to yield erroneous results including most likely an inaccurate number of generations for the Admixture event with Southern Europeans.
    Again, I'm not arguing narratives right now. I simply explained to you that the standard narrative doesn't hinge on the exodus from the Heraclian revolt.

    Why even dig into that study when it's not the only source for it? You even previously alluded to 23andMe's model. (It's practically the same).
    הִנְנִי֩ מֵבִ֨יא אוֹתָ֜ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ צָפ֗וֹן

    Jeremiah 31

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    Quote Originally Posted by hartaisarlag View Post
    Is there proof of this beyond the Greek name?

    No.
    But the period of time that Kalonymides appear matches the same time period we have historical sources stating population movements of Jews out of Greko South Italy moving Northwards up the Italian peninsular into Lombard territory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonahst View Post
    That's a great point. I've said it here many times that my opinion is a combination of the two narratives (though not dependent on any major direct migration from the Levant in the 7th century, which I agree with Erik is not historically plausible).

    I think that Jews were first living in the Aegean region as early as the 3rd century BCE. Over time, different waves from the Mediterranean regions moved farther west into Sicily and north into Italy with gradual and uneven mixing with non-Jews over at least a few centuries. I guess the timescale partly depends on whether we think the number of mixed marriages decreased substantially after the relevant laws were codified around 200 CE. But either way, I'm not sure that the time scale should affect our judgment of how much this mixing/conversion impacted later generations.

    I don't think it actually makes sense to suppose that hypothetically fully-Levantine Jewish men would continue to marry non-Jewish women over multiple generations in any sort of consistent fashion. Just as an example, let's say these communities were mostly founded by unmixed Jewish men who all took non-Jewish wives in Italy or Greece. The next generation of mixed children should presumably be ~50% male ~50% female. Why would the sons then go and marry non-Jewish women? Who would marry the Jewish daughters? I very much doubt that any Jewish father in this scenario would willingly marry his daughter off to a non-Jewish man, especially before Judaism officially became matrilineal. I also doubt that it would happen after the switch.

    And while polygamy wasn't forbidden, it was reserved for the wealthy and probably wouldn't have much of an impact in this scenario either.

    I see it as a gradual and uneven process that maybe looked something like some Jews from the Aegean region (who may have been like 80% Levantine 20% Greek) moving west to Sicily and Southern Italy, where they mixed some more. Maybe by the time some started moving north into Northern Italy, they were closer to 60/40 Levantine/Southern European. Then they mixed some more in Northern Italy and Southern France, perhaps picking up another 10% or so. All of this could've happened over the course of a few hundred years.

    Ashkenazim later picked up some Central and Eastern European, while Italian and Sephardi Jews may have mixed somewhat with their respective neighbors. And I think that the Jews who stayed in the Aegean region mixed more with Aegean populations during the same time frame. This is obviously oversimplified, and I do think that there were multiple waves of migrations, including the potential Geonic-period Mizrahi wave that has been discussed recently.

    I do think that because of Rome's importance as a city, there could've been some direct Levantine transplants to Rome, but I don't know if these transplants would be numerous enough to have a meaningful genetic impact.

    On a slightly different note, while there are clear limitations to drawing analogies with today, I think that contemporary trends can shed some light on what may have happened as well. Much like today, I think that the more traditional the Jews were, the less likely they'd be to intermarry, especially before there was any formalized conversion process. Like today, children of mixed marriages would be much less likely to retain a distinct Jewish identity and pass it on to their descendants. And, again, being Jewish was generally not advantageous, so there would be numerous social and political motivations to shedding Jewish identity. If we looked at early 20th century intermarriage rates among Jews living in Central and Western European urban center, we might predict that modern Ashkenazim (who weren't already in the US) would 25-50% Central/Western European. This clearly isn't the case, partly because these urban Jews made up a small portion of the overall Ashkenazi population at the time and partly because of the Holocaust, but also because the vast majority of surviving descendants from these marriages were assimilated into the Christian population.

    There are of course other factors today that could be relevant, such as the number of children that more traditional vs less traditional Jews have, but due to high infant mortality rates, it's probably less significant.

    Anyway, until we eventually get some Roman-era Western Jewish samples (hopefully from Malta), it's all largely speculative. Many different models can produce nice fits and support different historical narratives.
    Even the assimilated, argued to be a traitor by some, Josephus Flavius consistently married ethnic Jews, even if he had to go far for them. The first one, Vespasian had to arrange for him - she was a captured Judean. Then, it was an Alexandrian Jewish woman. That's Egypt. And he found the final one in Crete. Meanwhile, I won't even use JDate.

    Also, why Malta? And suppose we do find a Roman era Jew there. According to the Aegean narrative, any 2 given Jews during that period could've differed massively, by being the offspring of different admixtures. One could've been born to an Aegean mother, the other to a Berber woman. Doesn't that narrative greatly rely on eventual mixing of such Jews, to get roughly uniform levels of admixtures and further uniformity in Ashkenazim from the bottle neck? However, if you mean this Jew would be from some early time in the Roman era, before any of us here suggest such mixing would've occurred, then that will be one of the most massive events in Jewish history.
    Last edited by StillWater; 08-14-2019 at 01:26 AM. Reason: conceptual correction
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    Quote Originally Posted by Claudio View Post
    You might want to look into the validity of the study that came to the conclusion of no Southern European Admixture till 35-50 Generations ago,as this study used a mixed Italian data set of North,Central & Southern Italian.
    If Southern Italians already have Middle Eastern Admixture including them in a Data set to detect solely Italian European admixture is more than likely going to yield erroneous results including most likely an inaccurate number of generations for the Admixture event with Southern Europeans.
    So if Ashkenazim have southern Italian ancestry how do we know how much of their "Levantine" ancestry is truly ancient Hebrew, rather than being Phoenician or Punic inherited from southern Italian and Sicilian ancestors?

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