Thursday, 28 January 2016

Mount Elbruz

A splendid dramatic picture of Mount Elbruz, the highest peak in the Caucasus mountain range, taken by Alexander Trashin.

It used to be believed that it was here that the Aryan races of Europe originated; hence the word "Caucasian" for the body of an unidentified white man in American crime dramas. Heinrich Himmler believed this story of Aryan origins, and in the Second World War, as Nazi forces approached the Caucasus, he sent an S.S. mountaineering team to scale Mount Elbruz and plant a banner on the summit, to show that the Aryan race had returned to its homeland.
   In fact, when I was down in Georgia, south of the Caucasus, thirty years ago, it was noticeable that none of the locals bore any resemblance to the Aryan racial ideal of blond hair, fair skin and blue eyes. In fact they all looked very like that most famous of Georgians, Joseph Stalin; especially the women!
   Nowadays the story of the all-conquering Aryans sweeping through Europe in the Bronze Age is generally dismissed as a myth. Instead the less emotive term "Indo-European" is used to describe not a race, but a group of languages which have a common root. This group includes Persian (the words "Iran" and "Aryan" being much the same), Hindustani, the ancient Hittite language and most of the languages of Europe, with a few exceptions such as Finnish, Hungarian and Basque. However, I don't anticipate the word "Caucasian" disappearing from our TV screens in the foreseeable future.   

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