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Arabid race

Egyptian Bedouin man of mixed Arabid-Hamitic type.

The Arabid race[1] (also Oriental race[2] or Syrid race) is a historical term for a morphological subtype of the Mediterranean race, as used in physical anthropology.


The Arabid race was thought to have originated in the Arabian Peninsula, and it is currently predominant there as well. It is a major element in the Levant region of the Middle East, and a minor element in other parts of Western Asia.[3]

The type was known as Araboid in forensic pathology and anthropology. In the Near East region, it is heavily mixed with the Armenoid race. This Armenoid-Araboid hybrid type is alternatively known as the Assyrid race. Levantine Arabs, which include Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians and Palestinians, are often of this physical type, as are many Arabized Armenians and northern Iraqis. The ancient Phoenicians, who were ancestral to the Lebanese and Syrians, also generally belonged to this type. A Semitic people, the Phoenicians made their way to Southern Europe, where they intermingled with the Italic peoples to form the Maltese people. Gulf Arabs, also known as Arabian Arabs or true Arabs, among whom are the Saudis, Bahrainis, Kuwaitis, southern Iraqis and the Bedouins, are more frequently of classic Arabid type. In areas bordering the Iranian plateau, the Arabid type also not seldom merges with the Irano-Afghan race, a local Mediterranean subtype.[3]

In parts of North Africa, mainly among the Arabic-speaking Bedouin herders of the deserts and oases of Egypt and the Maghreb, the Arabid type fuses with another local Mediterranean subtype, the Hamitic, to produce a new hybrid morphological type known as the Saharid race. The Hamitic type, however, predominates, especially among the Berbers and Fellahin, as it is the taxon to which most Ancient Libyans and Ancient Egyptians belonged.[4][5][6] A similar, minor Arabid element is found in parts of the Horn of Africa, having been introduced from the Gulf region in historic times by the first Islamic proselytizers as well as the adjacent Himyarites and Sabaeans of Hadhramaut. However, here again the Arabid element is secondary to the predominant Hamitic type of the region's first Hamito-Semitic speakers, who were ancestral to the Somalis, Abyssinians and other Ethiopid populations.[7]

In the Sudan area, classic Arabid types can be found among the Kababish and certain other Arabic-speaking desert tribes collectively known as Sudanese Arabs. Here they often occur in solution with the Negroid type of the region's indigenous Nilo-Saharan speakers, producing an Afro-Arab hybrid type.[8]

Physical appearance

The Arabid race was distinguished from the West-Mediterranean race by some minor characteristic facial traits. These include almond-shaped eyes, very dark hair color, the Semitic smile (conditioned by unusually deep Fossa canina), untanned skin color tending to a pale olive, and often but not always a narrow or a broad aquiline nose.

This physical type had in earlier times a broader-formed Syrid subtype, which was found among the farmers of the Fertile Crescent.

See also


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