On this episode of the Unsupervised Learning podcast, Razib discusses the history and genetics of Anatolia, from the first farmers to the Ottoman conquest of the peninsula. He focuses on the underappreciated reality that prehistoric Anatolia was the font of the first wave of farmers that built the majestic Neolithic societies of Europe, from arid Iberia north to the shores of the Baltic. These people left the vast stoneworks that dot Europe’s Atlantic coasts to this day, beginning with the megaliths of Brittany and culminating in the enigmatic site of Stonehenge.
Razib also points out the role of Anatolia in the emergence of historical states, like the nearly forgotten ancient empire of the Hittites, plus the storied Byzantines, who held the armies of Islam at bay for nearly 1,000 years. Finally, he addresses the ethnogenesis of the Turkish-speaking population in Anatolia and its transformation from the eastern frontier of Greek speech to the western edge of the Turkic world.