The ancient family

A prologue to European genealogy
by Mr. Larry
(Category: My family in history/Old World: The ancient family)

Like paratroopers from a distant age yet to come, the snowflakes fell. Each winter found these icy invaders in new territory, further and further south of their northern homeland. At first the snow quickly melted, and then it stayed– pressing deeper into the Spring, arriving earlier in the Fall.

In the northern regions and on the lower mountain slopes, it had become permanently entrenched. In the valleys and on the plains the summer’s temperatures became perceptibly cooler. Now herds of wildlife were moving south, only to be replaced by reindeer. The old trees were showing stress, many of their limbs barren during the summer; yet around their once sheltered trunks grew the hearty saplings of a different type of tree, ones that thrived in cooler, drier clime.

The sky was gray for much of the Fall and the great snow blitz which was inexorably leading to a Glacial Age, was underway.

Fifty Years Later

It was a cold, dark and uncertain time. Huddled together for security and warmth, The People comfort and console one another as they sit in a rudely constructed shelter against a cliff wall. It is late summer and already there is snow in the southern mountains. The elders recalled from their youth, a time when the snow level remained high on the mountains until mid winter. Game had been plentiful throughout the year, but that had all changed and the change could not be understood. Now, every Spring and Fall they had to move their families to the southern edge of the new hunting territory, a process that carried them farther and farther from their familiar northern mountain plains. Each Spring the game would not come as far north and each summer the herds seemed to move away earlier.

And so The People moved with the seasons, but as they proceeded south, they were unable to escape from the increasing cold.

Inside their bivouac and wrapped in skins, they could feel the cold air that came down from the mountain ice fields. Tomorrow they would abandon this shelter and move south for several more days before looking for a cave and building a winter camp.

As sleep covered their bodies, their minds roamed in dream. Some dreamed of warm bone marrow, others of the juicy summer berries which had been so hard to find this year, but all dreamed of getting away from the cold that seemed to follow them south all their lives.

On the European plains that had previously carried extensive Oak forests, the conversion to Poplar, then too Birch and finally to Tundra occurred within a period of about one hundred years. The change from interglacial warmth to glacial times occurred in less than two hundred years….and the Wűrm Glacial Age began.

20,000 Years Later

During the Ninth Millennium, BC, the environment was rapidly and severely modified by a change in climate. Those areas most profoundly affected were the territories bordering the last major glaciation and northern Africa.

In mid Europe, the periglacial and recently uncovered glacial fields quickly developed mixed Oak forests. This region, now growing richer in flora and fauna, constituted a marked improvement for human settlement.
By 8000 BC, the melting Scandinavian ice cap had uncovered the southern Baltic and this body of water was fresh water lake.

The European climate continued to moderate. By 6500BC the Post Glacial Period is considered to have begun; however, at the time there were still many bulky glaciers in the mountain valleys of the north.

Following the shrinking glacial fields and the Mastodon, as they retreated toward the north and east was a breed of Man whose ancestors had been trapped in Europe for the duration of the Ice Age. The  Neanderthal followed the Mammoth, the European Bison, the Saber tooth Tiger and Cave Bear out of Europe and into Extinction. He was bright, but too few in number, rigid in his diet and ways to adapt to the warmer climate with its changing flora and fauna.

For tens of thousands of years, the northern families of Man had been living on the vast lush, pluvial Saharan plains as their ancestral European homes were subjugated to the onslaught of the Wűrm Glacial Age. But now, the glaciers had receded; the European landscape was becoming extensively covered with forest.

And as the northern climate warmed, the rain belts abruptly shifted away from northern Africa toward Europe.

The greatly curtailed rainfall confronted the North African human population with sharply worse conditions. The land was becoming drier, the grass scantier and the grass eating animals fewer. These conditions could only be met by migration or a dramatic readjustment in Man’s way of life. So, The People moved in search of new hunting grounds; however, most were unsuccessful, perishing from either lack of food or in combat with other tribes of Men for control of diminishing hunting grounds.

Over time, the Saharan populations split into groups, moving south east and north. Of the tribes moving north, our family descended from those which skirted the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, continued north across the Caucus, between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea to settle in the steppes of eastern Europe.

As these men move north, it should be realized they knew nothing of receding glaciers or rain belts. They had no glimmering conception that each was a generation in a family that was successful, migrating or perishing locally.

[15,000 year old cave drawings, Altamira Cave, Altamira, Spain. The paintings depict bison, boars, and horses, leaping and plunging across the cave ceiling; they are perhaps the most beautiful cave paintings anywhere.]

In these distant reaches of time, before recorded history, men were part of historical events on so grand a scale that they can be referred to only as statistical masses, but not as isolated individuals. In reality, relatively few people followed the rain belts north and these moved so slowly between generations, that they were probably unaware they were moving.

And the children of The People settled in the steppes of Eastern Europe.

Hand in hand with the disappearance of the continental ice sheet and the mountain spawned glaciers was a reduction in the large herds of herbivorous animals, which were being replaced with the more scattered, less abundant and more agile deer, wild boar and numbers of smaller animals.

By 8000 BC, Man took a step forward from the nomadic life of hunting and fishing to a life based somewhat on agriculture. He was beginning to domesticate animals, to live in small settlements, in communities and to gather if not cultivate cereal crops.

Arriving in the Caspian Steppes, The People found wild sheep which had a wild distribution ranging from central Asia to southeast Europe.
By 6500 BC, the sheep were domesticated, providing meat, milk and wool, and becoming the main agent for the pastoral expansion of these people. [Above left: Neolithic tools,  ca 8000 BC]

Around 6000 BC, Western Europe was invaded by warm, moist air, Mixed Oak forests became even more extensive as the climate which had kept Europe cool since the glacial retreat, changed. The forests broke up human settlements, creating small isolated bands. The herds of grass eating animals almost disappeared and the successful Paleolithic way of life, in which men were still primarily big game hunters and nomads, was replaced by a way of life where man was a gleaner, fisherman or hunter of small game in wooded terrain.

From roughly 6000 BC to 2500 BC, the climate provided plentiful rainfall for the east European grassland steppes. The herdsmen flourished as the grasslands supported greater numbers of domesticated livestock, which in turn supported larger families.
[Above right: Replica of Neolithic Danubian house, ca 5000BC]

About 4000 BC, when the climate was moister than even now, The People of the northern steppe region had become fairly well settled into a Neolithic culture. They lived in wattle and daub huts often grouped in a circle and occupying a defensive site. Their subsistence was derived from growing cereals, breeding cattle, sheep, goats, dogs, pigs and hunting and fishing.

[Concept painting: Neolithic farming, ca 4000BC]

Just prior to 3000 BC, there were three broad varieties of men living in the West, these were:

the Northern Flatlanders, Highlanders and the Southern Flatlanders. These men had slightly different physical features and broad cultural differences as seen in the following table.

Varieties of Man living in the West just before 3000 BC.

Northern Flatlanders Highlanders Southern Flatlanders
Long heads Round heads Long heads
Long boned Stocky boned Less tall, slight bones (about 5 feet tall)
Lighter: eye, hair and complexion Darker: eye, hair and complexion
Inflected Indo European language Agglutinative language Inflected Semite language
Pastoral Gardeners Pastoral
Patriarchal Matriarchal Patriarchal
Sky worshipers Fertility gods, Earth worshipers Weather gods, storm worshipers
Herders of cattle and sheep Herds of antelope, camel and asses
Wore long hair and beards Closely cropped hair, no beards
Became European and North American Anglo Became Orientals Became Arabs

The geographic region of the Northern Flatlands is bordered on the south by a west to east spine of mountains which extend from the Pyrenees, through the Swiss Alps, the Apennines, the Balkan highlands and on to the  Himalayas. The eastern boarder is 80º East Longitude. The northern boarder lies south of the Netherlands. The heart of the Northern Flatlands lies in a region just north of and extending from the black Sea to the Caspian Sea.

The moist Atlantic climate which entered the continent about 6000 BC, prevailed in Europe and China for over 3000 years, but around 2500 BC it too began to give way. A warmer and drier Sub Boreal period settled across the continent for 1500 years, from 2500 BC til 1000 BC.

As the Steppe dried, the grass became scantier, supporting smaller herds. Nature exerted pressure on The People to either have smaller families, live poor lives or migrate.

Coincident with the drying of the grasslands, there occurred two major inventions which would eventually propel The People out of the Steppe:

1)  Living wild on the plains and having a natural distribution which extended from the tundra, across the Eurasian steppes to the forests, were horses. Horses were first domesticated on the Caspian steppes around 2250 BC. AT first they provided meat, milk and were used for haulage, but soon they were to be ridded in war.

The first traces of nomadic herdsmen began to show up around 2300 BC. These men spoke the Inflected Indo-European language and lived in felt tents supported by a light frame work.

As nomadic pastoral societies began to spread, signs of rank and wealth began to appear.

2)  By 2200 BC, the Copper Age had arrived on the Steppes. The invention of the battle ax and its use by the mounted nomadic herdsman began to establish these Aryan peoples as a local governing class. Small groups with great mobility began attacks against the peasant cultivators and settled peoples to the west.

3) The men that made the new metal, the new tools and the new weapons, in turn created opportunities for yet other kinds of men. The men that adopted these new tools and weapons were highly mobile herdsmen who lived in a land that was becoming drier and drier.

As time passed they became warrior herdsmen.

Around 1800 BC, these Bronze Age invaders now known as the Getic Nations, broke out of the drying Northern Flatlands, from an area north of the Caspian Sea. The first wave of these peoples moved into central Europe and India.

Six hundred years later, around 1200 BC, another wave swept out of the Northern Flatlands.
The Massa-Getae seem to have been the rear guard of the Getic Nations. Having developed and Iron Age technology over the centuries, these invaders exploded out of that area of the northern Balkans into central and Western Europe. As they migrated west toward the Atlantic, various groups spun off to form the nations of Classical History.

During the migration, interbreeding occurred between the Getae and the indigenous populations, but the ruling caste did not at all diverge from their warlike temper.

The invaders were held together by their military strength, which was derived from a combination of warriors and weapons and by a hierarchical priesthood. The royal kinsmen constituted a great family, it was they who held the highest offices and who married into other royal families. In the time of the XVIII Egyptian Dynasty, around 1450 BC, the foundation had been laid for international royal caste which has continued to some degree until the present. [Above: Bronze age swords.]

The Getae moved west. Near the Danube River, the Thracians settled. The migration turned north occupying southern Poland, and then turned west spinning off the Germanic nations. Part of the Germanic branch continued west and settled in northern France (Gaul).
Now, the main body of the Getae advanced north along the Vistula river, giving rise to the Vandals and Lombard’s. Expanding toward the west they left the Saxons and Angli. The migration continued from the shores  of the Baltic Sea into Scandinavia, settling Sweden, Norway and Denmark (Historically known as Jutland). Here the Aryans found themselves in an almost empty world and thus avoided hybridization,  while maintaining the stability and purity of their speech. They may have been the first settlers of this area, as it’s thought that the Lapps and Finns came in afterwards from Asia.


References from prehistory through the ‘Ancient Lines of Familial Descent ‘

  • The Dawn of Civilization, edited by Stuart Piggot, © 1967, McGraw-Hillbook Co.;
  • The Evolution of Man and Society by C,D,Darlington, © 1969, Simon andSchuster,NY;
  • The Evolution of Civilization by Carrol Quigley, © 1961, The Macmillan Co.;
  • The Weather Conspiracy by The Impact Team, © 1977 Ballantine Books, NY;
  • The Face of the Earth by G.H. Dury, © 1959,England.
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