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  1. AurunciSidicini

    Genetic makeup of modern Italians

    Hello, my user name is AurunciSidicini and I am a new member so I am introducing myself. I chose AurunciSidicini because my maternal grandparents were from Maranola, Italy, which is a village in the Aurunci tribal area near Formia and Gaeta, (Aurunci were a pre-Roman tribe incorporated into the Roman state), and they were granted entry into the tribe Aemilia, with voting rights by a counsel in the late 200's, B.C.. My fraternal grandparents were from modern day "Teano," Italy, which was the pre-Roman Sidicini tribal area, "Teanum Sidicinum." Teano was the place were Garibaldi symbolically "presented Italy (a lot of it anyway) to King Victor Emmanuel during the struggle for Italian Unification. Teano is said to have the most archeological remains of any Italian area. When I was a kid 50 years' ago and Americans still considered themselves ethnic, my grandmother used to proudly say, "We are not Napolitano, we are Romanese!" The Liri River Valley was the traditional border between Latium and Campania, and years ago the Italian Americans who were originally from Latina Province made a point they were not from Campania. In Rhode Island, where I was born, about 60% of the population of the state was Italian, and we thought of ourselves as Italian first and American second. Many of us old timers still do I believe. In fact, one neighborhood in Providence was overwhelmingly from Itri, a small town near Formia and Maranola, so everyone had loads of cousins. They still celebrate the festival of Madonna Della Civita, the Madona of the City, and the Mayor of Itri used to make official visits to Providence I have relatives from that town as well. I have a book written during the early 1940's under Mussolini's regime which is about the origin, anthropology and history of the Aurunci people, but I do not read Italian, and can find no one where I live in Florida who can read it to me. For your further edification, the Aurunci lands produce some of the finest eating olives in the world, "Gaeta" olives, which I encourage you to try. It makes wonderful olive oil as well. If you visit Maranola, you will find a medieval castle--Maranola is a very old fortified village. The castle-village overlooks the Gulf of Gaeta, and the Appian Way goes right through Formia. Cicero had a villa in Formia, and you can still see his grave marker there. I don't know if his body is there, however. The Moors raided the coast in early medieval time, and of course the people had to flee somewhere for protection. A Papal assigned "Duke" governed the area in I think I remember the 9th century A. D. I don't know anything about the history between 410 A.D. and that time, but I suspect local magnates remained in control of governance as the Empire's administrative policies and officials probably existed in most places for at least a century after it "fell." Oh, interesting point--the Moors kept the captive slaves in an inactive volcano near Teano, "Rocca-------?" (I forgot the Italian name) prior to transporting them to the slave market(s) elsewhere. I feel bad that so many young people today will never know the history and culture of the marvelous peoples I grew up with--Syrians, Armenians, the "drunks" as they were called in Italian--the Irish!, the French Canadians, a the few leftover Yankees who originally colonized Rhode Island. We all had our separate customs and beliefs in those days and all the young men chose women from another group. Italians favored the Irish girls, but the grandmothers disapproved of that. Now, unfortunately, everyone wears sneakers and tee shirts, and everything is homogonized into a muddle called "American," with not much difference. In my opinion, as someone who studied Anthropology and History, there is no such thing as a typical "American", because the U.S. is divided among several discernable cultural areas. For example, the Northeast and Middle Atlantic States are still heavily "European" in thought; and the Midwestern and Southern sections are culturally like other countries. I think people who do not know the U.S. well think it is one country, and "Americans" are the same. It could not be further from the truth. (Forgive me for going on, I am old so I have an excuse!) Now, about the genetic makeup of Italians as affected by the barbarians, I read that only a very small percentage of Italians carry Lombard or Gothic genes, though there are pockets in southern Italy which have Norman traces from Norman inroads centuries later, (and Greek of course.) A couple of towns in northern Italy had some detectable amount of Germanic and I suppose pre-Slavic genes, but I was surprised that so little of the genetic material of the invaders was still detectable. The geneticists did a pretty comprehensive study of Italy, about which some of you may be interested. Please don't ask me for the links, because I am an old man and not very good about keeping track of those, but you can Google the question(s). Regards to all the other members.